US distributors picked uptwo more international titles at the Toronto International Film Festival. IFCFilms has picked up all US rights on Canadian Guy Maddin's raucous comedy TheSaddest Music In The World,following the film's North American premiere at the event. Samuel Goldwyn Filmshas taken US rights on Margarethe von Trotta's Rosenstrasse, a true story of the Aryan wives of Jewish husbandswho stood up against the Nazi regime.
Like Saddest Music, it premiered at Venice, where lead Katja Riemannwon the Best Actress award.
Saddest Music, an adaptation by Maddin and George Toles of anoriginal screenplay by UK novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, tells the story of a cynicalbeer baroness who mounts an international competition of the musically morosewith the single aim of having people buy beer to cry into.
The film stars IsabellaRossellini, Mark McKinney and Maria de Medeiros. Produced by Niv Fichman andJody Shapiro of Toronto-based Rhombus Media, and co-produced by Phyllis Lang ofWinnipeg-based Buffalo Gal Pictures, the film was executive produced byRhombus' Danny Irons alongside Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan.
"I couldn't be more happywith my big fat American distribution deal," said Maddin in a statement. IFCpresident Jonathan Sehring, who has a long history of acquiring Rhombusmaterial from his days at Bravo USA, called the film "one of the smartest,funniest films I've seen in years: it's exactly the kind of project that IFC isinterested in releasing."
The IFC deal was negotiatedby Sehring and Sarah Lash for IFC and Fichman, Danny Irons and Sheena Macdonaldfor Rhombus. The film's Canadian distributor, TVA Films, has agreed to postponethe local release to match IFC, which anticipates a Spring 2004 release.
Based on actual events, Rosenstrassefollows the story over threegenerations, following the initial 1943 round-up and through their immigrationto and lives in the US. Of the film, Samuel Goldwyn president Meyer Gottliebsaid in a statement: "This is a powerful film, beautifully directed by vonTrotta. Audiences will be moved by it and I'm proud to be itsdistributor."
Gottlieb and Samuel Goldwynvice president of acquisitions Tom Quinn negotiated the deal with John Kochmanand Muriel Sauzay of StudioCanal. Release date is set for 2004.
Meanwhile, also yesterday, Nordisk Film International Sales sold German rightsto its comedy The Green Butchersto Solo Film. Newmarket Films has bought US rights to the film.