Hot off announcing a $145mnjoint-venture devoted to co-producing and acquiring big budget films, France'sWild Bunch enters the AFM with a new $7m nature documentary that echoes its USmega-success The March Of The Penguins.
The company has signed withNational Geographic Feature Films to handle Call Of The North, a five-year odyssey in the lives of a polar bearand a walrus who must learn to survive on a continent that is constantlydisappearing.Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson directed.
Wild Bunch has world rightsto the film outside the US, UK and Latin America which are being handled by amajor US studio. Before heading to Santa Monica, Wild Bunch chief VincentMaraval says buyerswere already lining up for what promises to be one ofthe hottest AFM titles this year.
Also on Wild Bunch's slateare two Mark Canton productions - Chuck Russell's remake of 70s cult classic Piranha and Christian Charles' teen comedy Nothing ButThe Truth which New Line willrelease domestically in April next year.
According to Maraval, NothingBut The Truth is "American Pie meets Liar, Liar" about a teenager who has a penchant for lying only to wake up one dayand find out the stories he's told have come true.
Richard Kelly's SouthlandTales will also start sales at theAFM. Kelly's Donnie Darko was acritical favorite in 2001. The recently wrapped Tales stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean William Scottwith music by Moby.
Wild Bunch will have firstimages of and begin sales on Respiro director Emanuele Crialese's The Golden Door starring Charlotte Gainsbourg. The film is alanguorous look at a family's passage from Sicily to Ellis Island and the hardtruths they must face upon arrival.
Also from Italy, DellmorteDellamore director Michele Soavi haswrapped Arrivederci Amore, Ciaobased on a popular Italian best-seller.The Euros 4m action thriller starsAlessio Boni of The Best Of Youth.Mikado will release the Rai Cinema co-production in Italy in March with WildBunch's Pan-Europeenne Distribution releasing in France.
Wild Bunch works once againwith Iranian master Mohsen Makhmalbaf on Scream Of The Ants, the story of a cynical husband and histrue-believer wife honeymooning in India.Thefilmtakes avoyage across all the religions of India and recalls someofMakhmalbaf'searlier work. Ants should be ready for Berlin.
Another first film comesfrom Uros Stojanovic. With a working title of Charleston & Vendetta, the Yugoslav production tells the story of a townwhere all the men have died at war leaving it hard to grow the community. Thetwo prettiest girls are thus chosen to set out and bring hope back fromBelgrade. Maraval calls it "a triumphant western a la Sergio Leone. It's veryfresh and surprising. Sort of like the first time we saw Kusturica." The filmwill be ready for Berlin or Cannes.
Continuing theirrelationship with Japanese director Lu Ye after Purple Butterfly, Wild Bunch will handle Summer Palace. Currently in post-production the film is being cutfor a potential Berlin slot.
First images will also beavailablefromGuillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, Claude Chabrol's La Comedie Du Pouvoir starring Isabelle Huppert and the pre-production of Outlander, a Vikingaction sci-fi pic which was announcedat Cannes.