A Martin Luther King biopic, a French drama about the world’s worst soprano and the follow-up to Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary on the Indonesian genocide are heading to Australian cinemas next year.
These were among the titles pre-bought by distributors at the Toronto International Film Festival. From the Oz viewpoint it was a “solid, not spectacular market," according to Transmission Films co-founder Andrew Mackie, whose acquisition reps were in Toronto.
“As usual there was a lot more on offer for the US market, with many key titles that were already spoken for here in Australia still open for the US,” Mackie said.
In light of the contraction of the independent/specialty market in Australia and worldwide, Mackie said he is taking a cautious approach to the smaller art house titles that are struggling to find a foothold theatrically and don't have much ancillary value.
Transmission pre-bought Xavier Giannoli's Marguerite, which will star Haute Cuisine’s Catherine Frot as a French woman in the 1920s who was known as the world’s worst opera singer. The distributor is closing deals for several other Toronto titles.
Studiocanal bought Selma, which chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s struggle to secure voting rights for his people, culminating in the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama which led to President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The cast includes David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Andre Holland, Alessandro Nivola, Dylan Baker, Giovanni Ribisi, Tessa Thompson, Jeremy Strong, Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey.
Studiocanal also picked up Automata, a sci-fi thriller starring Antonio Banderas as an insurance agent at a robotics corporation who investigates cases of manipulating robots; that title will go direct-to-DVD in Australia.
Madman Entertainment nabbed four films including The Look of Silence, Oppenheimer’s sequel to The Act of Killing, which follows a family who, after viewing the previous film, discovered and confronted the former right-wing militiamen who murdered their son during Indonesia's anti-communist purges of the mid-1960s.
Ramin Bahrani's 99 Homes stars Andrew Garfield as an unemployed contractor who gets evicted with his family from his childhood home by Michael Shannon’s shady real estate agent and then gets involved in insurance fraud.
Giulio Ricciarelli's German drama Labyrinth of Lies features Alexander Fehling of Inglourious Basterds as a young prosecutor who in 1958 discovers a conspiracy to cover up Nazi war crimes.
Isabel Coixet's Learning to Drive stars Patricia Clarkson, Ben Kingsley and Grace Gummer in the saga of a self-obsessed book editor who goes through grief and anger before developing a determination to become self-sufficient after her husband leaves her.
Umbrella Entertainment said it had a successful TIFF and is in negotiations on a number of titles to add to its 2015 theatrical slate.