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TIFF Roundup: New Deals & Partnerships, Incl. Drafthouse, 'Leviathan,' Backup Media & Groupe 1, Plus eOne Buys Alliance

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood September 7, 2012 at 2:07PM

A roundup of news from the Toronto fest...
A scene from "Leviathan."
The Cinema Guild A scene from "Leviathan."

- Cinema Guild has acquired the U.S. distribution rights for Lucien Castaing-Taylor's "Leviathan," which will screen next week at TIFF. The fishing documentary is shot "in the very waters where Melville’s Pequod gave chase to Moby Dick," and the TIFF program notes describe the film as "an all-hands-on-deck view of commercial fishing in the North Atlantic that is visually and sonically explosive." The doc has its U.S. premiere at NYFF in October, and will open theatrically in early 2013.

- Drafthouse Films will be partnering with Films We Like at TIFF for Canadian distribution of the Drafthouse's distinctive brand of button-pushing, niche films. The first film in the deal is Danish provacateur Mads Brugger's "undercover" mockumentary "The Ambassador," in which the director poses as a tacky Euro-African consul. Check out the trailer and interview tidbits with Brugger here. Other films in the pipeline for the Drafthouse-Films We Like alliance is the Oscar-nominated "Bullhead" and Quentin Dupieux's "Wrong," a Sundance 2012 oddity about a man's bizarre quest for his kidnapped dog.

- Solution Entertainment Group is busily selling Peter Chisholm's upcoming dramedy "Hector and the Search for Happiness" at the TIFF market. The film, yet to go into production, has Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike and Christopher Plummer lined up for the leads. The film revolves around an eccentric London psychiatrist (Pegg) who goes on a global search for contentment, with Pike playing his girlfriend and Plummer playing the leading professor of the "Happiness Studies" department at UCLA.

- Canada's Entertainment One will acquire distrib Alliance Films. The purchase, at $225 million, will give eOne access to films from the Weinstein Co., Focus Features, Relativity and more. eOne is also planning to expand in the US. Here's more details.

- Film financier Backup Media are partnering with Daniel Marquet's Groupe 1 to source and represent ten to fifteen international projects per year, ranging from $1-30 million Euros in the film and TV markets. Both Marquet (former deputy GM of Studio Canal) and Backup Media co-founder Jean-Baptiste Babin will be at Toronto. Marquet states;

“In the last 3 decades, I have witnessed the film sector being subject to constant changes and economical challenges. We always had to adapt and find creative solutions to keep our film culture alive. Today, there’s a serious growing pool of new forms of film investment available to all of us and it represents one of the most active changes in the film business. But financing independent pictures has become more complex. Adding my experience and network to Backup dynamic forces will lead to stronger and powerful ways to put together pictures for the benefit of the producers."


This article is related to: Toronto International Film Festival, Festivals, Documentary, Drafthouse Films, Cinema Guild, Christopher Plummer

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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.