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Toronto Deals: Art of the Steal, Lebanon, Get Low

The smaller Toronto deals are starting to flow. In addition to IFC's pick-up of Valhalla Rising and Sony Worldwide Acquisition Group's genre-film buy Defendor, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired U.S. rights to Samuel Maoz's Venice Golden Lion winner Lebanon, which is expected to be Israel's submission for the Oscars. The movie is based on Maoz's experience as a tank driver. (SPC acquired Israel's Waltz with Bashir last year.) And Sundance Selects, IFC-owner Rainbow Media's other theatrical and VOD label, acquired North American rights to Don Argott’s art-world documentary The Art of the Steal, set for 2010 theatrical release. Both films are set to play the NYFF.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 21, 2009 4:19 AM
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Toronto: Winners, Losers, Oscar Contenders

There was plenty to see in Toronto. Here's how the films shook out for me.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2009 3:20 AM
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Toronto Wrap: Indie Bloodbath

Toronto Wrap: Indie Bloodbath
If industry-watchers didn't see it coming, they figured it out at this year's Toronto Film Festival.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2009 9:09 AM
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  • 17 Comments

TIFF#: Leaves of Grass Director Nelson Directs Two Nortons

TIFF#: Leaves of Grass Director Nelson Directs Two Nortons
Like many indie films these days, Leaves of Grass (like Men Who Stare at Goats, a stoner comedy) rose like a Phoenix from the ashes of another project. Back in 2006, actor-writer-director Tim Blake Nelson (The Grey Zone), who is the kind of talented, responsible guy who tries to do the right thing and expects other people to do the same, was faced with a movie deal gone south during pre-production on Seasons of Dust. "It was horrible, the worst year of my life," he says.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 16, 2009 10:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment

TIFF#: Michael Moore Talks Capitalism: A Love Story

TIFF#: Michael Moore Talks Capitalism: A Love Story
With his latest agit-prop documentary Capitalism: A Love Story, Michael Moore delivers a scathing, entertaining portrait of how America's "greed is good" credo got us to where we are today. As the country heads toward recovery, the movie remains timely and accommodates the new Obama perspective. But the doc, which Overture opens limited in NY and LA on September 23, feels slightly unfocused.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 16, 2009 5:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment

TIFF#: A Single Man Ignites Fest's First Big Sale

TIFF#: A Single Man Ignites Fest's First Big Sale
I was lining up to see designer Tom Ford's first feature A Single Man this morning as the deal was closing for The Weinstein Co. to release the picture. This acquisition title has generated more heat than anything else so far. (Critical buzz is also strong on Get Low, but buyers seem to be holding back on the Robert Duvall picture.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 15, 2009 7:36 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Overture Buys Brooklyn's Finest; Senator Slate in Flux

Overture Buys Brooklyn's Finest; Senator Slate in Flux
Antoine Fuqua's operatic cop drama Brooklyn Finest, starring Richard Gere and Ethan Hawke, debuted at Sundance in January and was instantly acquired by neophyte distrib Senator, whose CEO Marco Weber invested in a new cut of the film, seven minutes longer, which just screened at the Venice Film Festival. (Fuqua isn't happy with that cut, which boasts a new ending, and wants to spend more time in the editing room.) Now Senator is under financial duress and several of its films, including Brooklyn's Finest, are finding new homes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 14, 2009 7:20 AM
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  • 3 Comments

TIFF#: Precious Producers Want Credit

TIFF#: Precious Producers Want Credit
Without Colorado-based producers Sarah Siegel-Magness and her husband Gary Magness, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire might never have been made.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 13, 2009 7:51 AM
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  • 5 Comments

The Road Will Open November 25

The Weinstein Co. has been moving around the release date of The Road, trying to figure out what it has. Well, post-Venice and Telluride, where the film earned mostly glowing reviews, it looks like Harvey and Bob Weinstein are going for a holiday play after all on a prime awards season spot, November 25. (The movie carries the Dimension label.) TWC was going to go wide with the movie on October 16.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 9, 2009 9:36 AM
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Paladin's Urman Heads for Toronto

Indie vet Mark Urman, former ThinkFilm and Senator exec, has wasted no time returning to the depleted indie distribution ranks. In July he formed Paladin, and will be hunting for pick-ups in Toronto. His latest pick-up debuted at last year's festival--Tennesee Williams' 20s romance Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Ellen Burstyn and Ann-Margret, will open in NY and LA in December.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 9, 2009 6:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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