As fest hits final straits, sales multiply after Linde, Keitel, Pullman and Corman add U.S. heft to proceedings
“Interchange,” “The Last Family” and “Glory” led early sales announcements at an ever more hectic Locarno Festival where “Moka” and “Paula” drew positive critical plaudits – boding well for break-out sales as top Locarno titles segue from the Swiss Alps to Toronto.
Harvey Keitel, Bill Pullman and Roger Corman collected career awards, lending an U.S. edge to an event which largely focuses on European arthouse and world cinema. The most significant industry presence was, however, that of Participant CEO David Linde who talked about his career as an independent producer and emphasised his belief – and that of Participant founder Jeff Skoll – in further growth in international markets as an estimated 5 billion people, largely in Asia and Africa, will come online for the first time in the next 5 years.
Attendance at Locarno’s Industry Days, which ran Aug. 6-8, came in at around 1,100, on a par with 2015, after sustained rapid growth since their inauguration in 2009.
Further expansion may now come outside the festival. Already consolidating as Europe’s biggest big fest industry exec think tank, via its Step-In panels and work group discussion platforms, Locarno confirmed this week its fifth Locarno Industry Academy International, after events at Locarno itself, New York’s Lincoln Center, Mexico’s Morelia Fest and the Cinema do Brasil Boutique Cinema mini-mart.
Targeting sales, distribution and exhibition execs – a market focus which runs through Locarno industry events – the fourth Locarno International Academy will unspool Nov. 7-11 during Greece’s Thessaloniki Festival, the country’s main movie event.
Negotiations on many main Locarno Piazza Grande titles – Frederic Mermoud’s drama-thriller “Moka,” sold by Pyramide Intl, and The Match Factory-sold “Paula,” a bio of trail-blazing German painter Paula Modersohn-Becker, both of which drew upbeat reviews – will only really kick in as buyers return to their offices and will stretch well beyond Toronto. Others Locarno movies, such as Films Distrbution’s “Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe” and the Beta Cinema-sold “Vincent and the End of the World,” still have to run the critical gauntlet at Locarno or at least engender international reviews.
So major industry news at Locarno cuts other ways: Sales on select fest players, often screening in its first days; Locarno title sales agent pick-ups; production announcements; acquisitions on titles at Venice or Toronto, as sales agents seek to position new bets at Locarno before the biggest of pre-fall fest markets.
In this sense, news was legion. As this year’s Locarno headed towards its final straits early Wednesday, Paris-based Reel Suspects confirmed that “Interchange,” a supernatural nourish procedural with sci-fi elements from Malaysia’s Dain Iskander Said had closed Spain at Locarno with Luis Bellaba’s Film Buro Producciones Internacionales. Reel Suspects has also licensed Switzerland (Preasens Film) and Taiwan (Deltamac). GSC Movies handles domestic theatrical distribution in Malaysia. Germany is in negotiation; “Interchange” is sparking “a lot of interest in France,” Reel Suspects’ Matteo Lovadina reported.