Mirovision, the Korean seller and distribution newcomer, has picked up international rights on Deserted Valley, a Vietnamese film which attended the Berlin festival's Forum section and a daring new picture about ageing.
Deserted Valley, which charts a multi-layered love story involving two teachers, a school manager and one of their students, is set in rural Vietnam. By woman director, Pham Nhue Giang , Valley is the first from that country to show on-screen sex and nudity. It is also one of the first from Vietnam to be sent abroad for sound mixing and developing.
Mirovision has also laid claim to Too Young To Die, a mockumentary about a newly-married couple who are in their seventies. In graphic detail - including penetrative sex and genital close-ups - it charts all the usual ups and downs of young love. Documentarian turned first-time feature director, Park Jin-pyo uses a real-life couple throughout. A slot in a Cannes sidebar is seen as a possibility.
French sales outfit President Films continued to rack up sales on its Jacques Perrin documentary Travelling Birds. The film, which has been lauded in France for its lyrical lensing - the director used specially constructed planes to fly alongside the winged creatures - has sold to Taiwan's Cineplex, Russia's Central Partnership and Australia's New Vision. US buyers have also been circling.
Three major buzz films from President are also beginning to make waves. Le Boulet (Dead Weight), a chase comedy set in Morocco will likely be a hot seller at Cannes said Hugo Bergson-Vuillaume, the company's president. He also points to two prestige films currently in their early stages, which will be important titles at Cannes.
Body Snatch (Corps A Corps), which is shooting now, is a dark love story directed by video and ad helmer Francois Hanss and stars Emmanuelle Seigner and Philippe Torreton.
Red Dragon (Dragon Rouge; working title), from director Helene Angel is in pre-production with Daniel Auteil, Sergi Lopez and Emmanuelle Devos in the principal roles. The film is produced by Michel St. Jean who was also behind sleeper successes Harry He's Here to Help, The Town is Quiet and The Dreamlife of Angels.
President has also had a string of sales on Gangsters featuring La Femme Nikita star Anne Parillaud and Richard Anconina.
Yuen Wo Ping, celebrated action choreographer, is to direct Kung Fu Cop for Hong Kong powerhouse China Star Entertainment.
The film will crank up in April after Yeun completes work on The Matrix Reloaded. Set in contemporary China, the story sees a New York cop who has martial arts skills, sent on a mission to mainland China.
The cast is headed by Andy On, star of Black Mask 2: City Of Masks (on which Yuen was the action director) with the American lead yet to be confirmed. Below the line costs are set at $7m.
"While Hong Kong is currently making more comedies for local consumption, the buyers are all looking for contemporary action pictures," said China Star sales chief Ann Hung.
Hung is also reporting strong interest in Fat Choi Spirit, an Andy Lau and Cecilia Cheung-starring vehicle directed by Johnnie To, which made its market debut at AFM.
Within 24 hours of committing to sell the picture on behalf of producer ZentAmerica, BV International Pictures (BVIP) closed a Japanese pre-sale on the $2m One Point 0 that stars Udo Kier.
The picture, which is directed by feature film first timers Jeff Renfrowe and Marteinn Thorsson, was sold for an undisclosed sum to New Select, which is riding high after its success with the release of Amelie.
Heather Playford-Denman, the BVIP executive handling the film, says she is confident of closing other key territories by the end of the AFM. She said: "I'm going to make this film bigger than Trainspotting," a film she previously handled while at FilmFour.
The debut feature from Thomas Mai's ZentAmerica Entertainment production label, One Point 0 has a futuristic grunge style and sees airborne computer viruses tested on a building full of eccentric characters.
It is written and co-directed by Jeff Renfrowe and Marteinn Thorsson, a team who made a name for themselves in music videos and commercials. "Some people would be puzzled by a co-directing team, but in fact it is this film's greatest strength. We get two creative brains for the price of one," said BVIP chief Bjorg Veland.
Mai, a colourful character who used to head Zentropa's Trust Film Sales arm, founded ZentAmerica two years ago with RD Robb and Kyle Gates. Explaining why the picture is not set up with Trust, Mai said: "I spoke with Peter Aalbaek Jensen and Annakarin Strom and explained that this was an offer that was too good to refuse. They are cool with that."
The film's production budget comes from Canadian private sources, the Icelandic Film Fund with BVIP putting up the rest in return for world sales rights. Cinematography is by Christopher Soos.
Porchlight Entertainment has struck a three-picture deal with Lions Gate Entertainment for domestic home video and DVD rights to Fangs, The Trial Of Old Drum and Durango Kids.
The deal was brokered on behalf of Lions Gate by Jason Constantine, director of acquisitions, and Wendy Jaffe, director of business affairs, with Michael Jacobs, senior vice president of worldwide sales for Porchlight. Lions Gate had previously handled three other PorchLight titles: Wind River, Heartwood starring Hilary Swank, and Ricochet River with Kate Hudson.
Fangs stars Corbin Bernsen and Tracy Nelson; The Trial Of Old Drum stars Ron Perlman and Randy Travis and Durango Kids features Taylor Root and Brendon Ryan.
PorchLight also concluded a worldwide distribution agreement with Entertainment In Motion (EIM) for the in-flight and seaboard release of five PorchLight feature titles. The titles are family movies such as The Brainiacs.com and The Trial Of Old Drum, which will feed EIM's new family label.
Regent Entertainment's new gay-themed imprint HERE! Films has acquired international rights to three films - Urbania, Big Eden and Hard.
Urbania, which played in competition at the Sundance Film Festival 2001 and was distributed domestically by Lions Gate, was written and directed by Jon Shear and stars Dan Futterman as a man getting over his lover's murder. Alan Cumming, Lothaire Bluteau, Matt Keeslar and Barbara Sukowa star.
Big Eden, which was the closing night film of the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival in 2000, was released in the US by Jour de Fete. A romantic comedy about a man who returns to a small town and falls for a native American man, the film stars Arye Gross and Louise Fletcher. It was written and directed by Thomas Bezucha.
Here! has also acquired Hard, a thriller about a gay serial killer on the loose in Los Angeles, stars Noel Palomaria and was also released through Jour de Fete in the US.<