A round-up of the latest news taken from the Screen International AFM dailies
For related stories from the 2002 American Film Market - type: AFM into the search bar at the top of the screendaily homepage.
Promark Entertainment Group, Jonathan Kramer's LA-based production and sales group owned by Germany's Das Werk, has closed a $23.5m credit facility with Comerica Entertainment Group (CEG), the entertainment lending division of Comerica Bank, California. The funding will be used for working capital and production finance needs.
Promark has been a client of CEG, formerly Imperial Entertainment Group, for more than six years covering 30 films such as Pilgrim starring Ray Liotta, Contaminated Man with William Hurt and After Alice starring Keifer Sutherland.
The deal was closed by Kramer with Promark by Valerie Brosset, vice president of CEG.
Miramax has picked up Australian rights to Norway's foreign-language picture Oscar nominee Me Myself I (Elling), adding to its haul of recent acquisitions for direct release down under.
The comedy, directed by Peter Naess has been a box office sensation in its domestic Norwegian market taking $4.5m to September 2001, and a hit on the international festival circuit. North American rights to the film were sold last week in Berlin to First Look Pictures.
Miramax recently set up its own distribution operation in Australia under former Roadshow executive David Collins. Miramax says its Australasian operation will perform a similar function to its supervisory offices already established in London and Rome, providing a closer oversight relationship not only with local distributors who have licensed Miramax's films, but also with the creative and production communities
Miramax had also been negotiating to pick up South African rights to Elling, but it is understood that discussions between the company and seller Trust Film Sales broke down over issues of price.
Neil Friedman's Menemsha Entertainment has acquired international sales rights to Bruce Sweeney's Canadian romantic comedy Last Wedding, which was the opening night film at last year's Toronto Film Festival.
The story of a couple (Benjamin Ratner & Frida Betrani) who announce that they are to marry only to discover that none of their friends or family want them to, Last Wedding also stars Molly Parker, Tom Scholte and Nancy Sivak and marks Sweeney's first picture since Dirty in 1988.
Last Wedding is the latest international title to be handled by Friedman who is celebrating his second consecutive Oscar nomination in the best foreign language film category with Son Of The Bride, the Argentinian hit which was recently picked up for US distribution by Sony Pictures Classics.
Since its Oscar nomination, Son Of The Bride has registered a 60% increase in admissions in Spain where it was released by Alta Films. Menemsha has also sold Michael Cuesta's LIE in five territories. The award-winning film starring Brian Cox went to Metro Tartan in the UK, Gemini in France, Xenix in Switzerland, Scandinavian Entertainment Group in Norway and Cine Video Y TV in Mexico.
Neil Sacker and Julie Savay-Ross's Creative Union Entertainment (CUE) has acquired international distribution rights to Rosanna Arquette's directorial debut Searching For Debra Winger, a feature-length documentary about the pressures faced by actresses in the entertainment industry. Arquette also produced the movie alongside Immortal Entertainment.
The film looks at the commonalities between actresses who are interviewed for the film and how they support each other. On-screen subjects include Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston, Jane Fonda, Sharon Stone, Whoopi Goldberg, Frances McDormand, Meg Ryan and Winger herself. Arquette, who became a major star in France after playing the lead in Luc Besson's The Big Blue, is a regular attendee at the Cannes Film Festival and the film is an obvious choice for selection there.
Momentum Pictures has picked up UK rights to MDP Worldwide's United States Of Leland which is being produced by Kevin Spacey and Bernie Morris's production banner Trigger Street Productions.
The film, which is currently in production, stars Ryan Gosling (The Believer) as a 15 year-old who murders an autistic child and is sent to a juvenile facility. Don Cheadle plays the teacher who tries to unravel the mystery.
Jena Malone, Chris Klein, Michelle Williams and Spacey co-star in the film which was written and is being directed by Matthew Ryan Hoge. The film is co-produced with Palmer West and Jonah Smith's Thousand Worlds production company. Damon is executive producer.
Momentum's acquisitions chief Sally Caplan concluded the deal with MDP which is ramping up its financing and production activities which also include the Stephen Gaghan-scripted Havoc and the time travel thriller The I Inside.