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Fest Buyer Sony Pictures Classics Heads to the Middle East (VIDEO)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 16, 2012 at 5:02PM

Sony Pictures Classics has always leaned heavily on foreign acquisitions in advance of the awards season. Michael Barker and Tom Bernard are often betting on the likely submissions for the best foreign film entry, and can be counted upon to wind up with more than one in the final five. At the same time they can't handle too many movies at once, so they must pick well.

“I come from a small town in Saudi Arabia, a country where showing movies in public is illegal," says Haifaa Al-Mansour. "To write and direct the first film ever to be shot inside Saudi Arabia, with one of the leading companies in Europe, Razor Films, was beyond my wildest dreams. To premiere my film at the Venice Film Festival was even more incredible, and now to have Sony Classics bring the film to North America, the place from where I first saw the power and emotional possibilities of film, is beyond anything I ever could have imagined.”

"'Wadjda' captivated audiences in Telluride in a spectacular, richly rewarding way," stated SPC. "For the first time we are seeing a movie from that part of the world, and it's a great movie."

The film will open in 2013. SPC also worked with Razor Films and producers Roman Paul and Gerhard Meixner on animated doc "Waltz with Bashir."

This article is related to: Festivals, Festivals, Sony Pictures Classics, Sony/Screen Gems/Sony Pictures Classics, Academy Awards, Awards, Awards, Oscars

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Thompson on Hollywood

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.