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Cannes: Jolie's Directing Debut Goes to FilmDistrict, Which Also Buys Looper, Starring Willis

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 15, 2011 at 4:35AM

Angelina Jolie isn't just coming to Cannes in support of partner Brad Pitt, who stars in Monday's debut of Terrence Malick's long-awaited The Tree of Life. She is also in the market to sell her debut as a director, the Bosnian war film In The Land of Blood and Honey. FilmDistrict, which has enjoyed a torrid three days of intense dealmaking, has picked up the Graham King production for December 23 domestic release the English-language version of the writer-director's film. Which makes sense, as King owns FilmDistrict. Bob Berney will mount a limited release holiday campaign for the film, which features local Bosnian talent, not Jolie.
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Angelina Jolie isn't just coming to Cannes in support of partner Brad Pitt, who stars in Monday's debut of Terrence Malick's long-awaited The Tree of Life. She is also in the market to sell her debut as a director, the Bosnian war film In The Land of Blood and Honey. FilmDistrict, which has enjoyed a torrid three days of intense dealmaking, has picked up the Graham King production for December 23 domestic release the English-language version of the writer-director's film. Which makes sense, as King owns FilmDistrict. Bob Berney will mount a limited release holiday campaign for the film, which features local Bosnian talent, not Jolie.

Saturday the fledgling company also entered final negotiations for U.S. rights (with Sony) to writer-director Rian Johnson's futuristic sci-fi actioner starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, which Endgame's James Stern and Ram Bergman announced at Cannes a year ago. And at the fest's start FilmDistrict acquired Playing the Field, starring Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel. Sony also acquired David Frankel's Meryl Streep project Great Hope Springs. And Weinstein Co. landed Streep's other movie, The Iron Lady.


IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY is set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War in the ‘90s. This bold new film illustrates the consequences of the lack of political will to intervene in a society stricken with conflict. “The film is specific to the Bosnian War, but it’s also universal,” says Jolie. “I wanted to tell a story of how human relationships and behavior are deeply affected by living inside a war."“Working with Angelina on this film and story has been a great collaboration and I am extremely proud of this film,” said King. “The filmmaking is impeccable, and signals the arrival of a visceral and compelling storyteller.”

IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY features a completely local cast, most of whom were children of the war. The film was simultaneously shot in English and their native language. During the time of the war the language spoken was Serbo-Croatian and is now referred to as BHS. FilmDistrict will release the English language version on Dec. 23.

“The former Yugoslavia has a rich history of dramatic arts. The cast was extraordinary. I was privileged and honored to work with them and I am very excited for everyone to see their immense talent,” adds Jolie.

IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY stars Zana Marjanovic (Snow), Goran Kostic and Rade Serbedzija (In The Rain).


This article is related to: Festivals, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Studios, Cannes, Sci-fi, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Weinsteins, Sony/Screen Gems/Sony Pictures Classics


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.