Two more films screening at the Toronto International Film Festival secured domestic distribution deals over the weekend. Newmarket Films took US rights to Lukas Moodysson's Lilya 4-ever from Trust Film Sales, while Lions Gate Films beat out competitors including Miramax and New Line to buy North American rights to horror picture Cabin Fever from production companies DownHome Entertainment, Tonic Films, Black Sky Entertainment and Deer Path Films.
For Newmarket's president Bob Berney, the Lilya acquisition marks a reunion with Moodysson whose last film Together Berney distributed while at IFC Films. Set in contemporary Russia, the Swedish-made film is a grim tale of a 13 year-old's struggle to survive on the streets of Moscow. The film stars Oksana Akinshina as Lilya and world premiered in the Controcorrente section at the Venice Film Festival prior to Toronto.
Lions Gate bought Cabin Fever a day after its world premiere on Thursday, making a massive p&a commitment for a wide release on over 2,000 prints in July 2003. The film is directed by Eli Roth (a protégé of David Lynch) and following four five friends on a vacation deep in the mountains. However, when one of the friends contracts a virulent flesh-eating disease, it's survival of the fittest.
Lions Gate's president Tom Ortenberg, president of home entertainment, acquisitions and new media Peter Block and vice president of acquisitions Jason Constantine negotiated the deal on behalf of Lions Gate with executive producer Susan Jackson of Turtles Crossing and Cassian Elwes of The William Morris Agency on behalf of the film-makers.
The film is the third Toronto acquisition for Lions Gate after Irreversible and Stevie; Newmarket also bought Open Hearts and Spun. Other Toronto domestic sales included Jet Lag and The Magdalene Sisters to Miramax Films, Novo to IFC Films and Together to United Artists.