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Tipped for Venice, Toronto and Rome: What's News

by Sydney Levine
July 20, 2010 11:42 AM
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Freida Pinto is already being touted for the Oscar for Best Actress for her upcoming role in Miral (tipped for Toronto and Venice). Aside from that, Cameron Bailey's Facebook and Twitter postings on his activities for Toronto IFF are lively signs of activity. Almost everything else is quiet on the rumor front for the upcoming fall festivals. However, at least two possible Romanian films (continuing their winning steak in festivals) are worth mentioning here and a couple other quiet rumors are circulationg along with the usual suspects (those titles which were already tipped for Cannes and not shown). Perhaps these will be the majority of the festivals' programs. Stay tuned.

JUST IN: Barney's Version directed by Richard J. Lewis is tipped for TIFF. David Schwimmer's Trust will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival according to an article by AP.

Tipped for Venice or Toronto is Miral or both, whose trailer on the internet is drawing scads of comments, especially about Freida Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire being tipped for an Oscar for Best Actress. It also stars one of my favorite actresses, the great French-Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas who is now filming her next, Peace After Marriage. Based on the book of Italo-Palestinian writer Rula Jebreal and set in the 1948 Jerusalem, a Palestinian woman creates an orphanage following the creation of the Israeli state. Freida plays the main protagonist Miral, who is sent to the orphanage in 1978 by her father. She later starts teaching at a refugee camp and falls in love with a political activist and her journey continues as she is torn between resistance and education as separate paths to political change. Pathe is the ISA and The Weinstein Company has U.S.

Continuing their winning streak in festival films, the Romanians have at least two films that are festival bound. A new and interesting possibility for Toronto and Venice or Rome is the Romanian (again!) film scheduled to finish its post in time for the festivals according to Film New Europe, Lucian Georgescu's first feature whose music is by the German composer Johannes Malfatti in Berlin. The € 1.2 million film is produced by Lucian Georgescu and Generic Audiovizual SRL (GAV) - Romania. This European co-production received a grant from the Romanian Film Centre, and a €20,000 grant from the MEDIA Programme. The film is co-financed by the Romanian companies Mediacom, Starcom Media, Initiative Media and Media Direction. Based on a story of the cult American screenwriter Barry Gifford (Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, City of Ghosts), Gifford plays a small part in The Phantom Father (Tatal Fantoma). The main character - an American professor starting a trip to Vienna, Transylvania and Bucovina in order to find his roots - is played by the Romanian actor Marcel Lureş (Mission: Impossible, Amen, The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 2). The story is partly biographical since Gifford's grandfather left Bucovina for Vienna and finally settled in the United States.


The Phantom Father

Joachim Von Vietinghoff is Senior Consultant Producer. The DOP is Liviu Marghidan (California Dreamin'). The film is in English, but the cast (except Gifford) is entirely Romanian (Mihaela Sârbu, Mihai Constantin, Valer Dellakeza, Nicodim Ungureanu, Mirela Oprişor). The Phantom Father is the first part of "a trilogy of bitter comedies and fantasy tales of foreigners visiting a mysterious land with which they share love and hate, stories, memories or ghosts," the producers said.

And, Columbia Film School graduate and Student Academy Awards nominee, Romanian director Bogdan George Apetri's first feature Outbound (Periferic) will have its world premiere in the International Competition at Locarno and is being handled by MK2. It is a European co-production which received a grant of €270,000 from the National Centre for Cinema and participated in the Sarajevo and Berlin Co-Production Markets.

Also Peter Weir's The Way Back is tipped for Toronto (ISA is Exclusive). Update: I've already mentioned Even the Rain and the South African Retribution along with the Czech-Romanian co-production Roming, which seems to be headed for Toronto. Aardvaark which had a sneak preview last week in New York's Rooftop Series is scheduled for Locarno - and has no international sales agent (ISA) yet.

Variety posts the usual suspects (see past June 26's Toronto holdovers from Cannes' Tipsheet) plus the newly mentioned Warner Bros' Ben Affleck-directed The Town which might go to a gala but hardly seems like a festival film and Tsui Hark's D-Project. Confirmed for Venice now is Darren Arnofsky: Black Swan (Fox Searchlight). Otherwise the list includes the already mentioned films of Kelly Reichardt: Meek’s Cutoff, Tom Tykwer: Three (Drei) and Takashi Miike: Thirteen Assassins.

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