Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cannes '09: Festival notes part 4

Five Star embraces the Macabre
Thailand's Five Star Production has stepped up its game as a distributor, picking up the rights to Macabre, a horror thriller produced by Singapore's Gorylah genre label (love the name, lah) and directed by Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel, a pair of Indonesians who call themselves the Mo Brothers. Screen Daily's Liz Shackleton has the news from the Cannes Film Market. It's the first time Five Star has bought a non-Thai property for distribution, and it holds the Asian rights outside of Singapore and Indonesia. Lots more about Macabre can be found at Movie Cafe. Five Star also made sales deals on its upcoming titles: Red Eagle by Wisit Sasanatieng and starring Ananda Everingham, due to start filming in August, and Slice, Kongkiat Khomesiri's crime thriller that's co-scripted by Wisit. Read the Screen Daily article for the details. (Also at Bangkok 1080.)

Cash from Singapore
Thailand take note: Here's one example of how a government supports its film industry. Singapore's Media Development Authority has established an International Film Fund, which invests in co-productions being made by overseas filmmakers and Singapore media companies. Now Hong Kong's Distribution Workshop has signed a deal to handle global sales of all the movies produced under the IFF scheme. The Hollywood Reporter and Screen Daily have stories. Want in on the deal? Applications for the IFF are being accepted, with the deadline set for July 31, 2009.

Bloody carpet
The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt rounds up all the blood and guts that have been on display in Cannes. These are movies like Brillante Mendoza's Kinatay, Antichrist by Lars von Trier, Spring Fever by Lou Ye, Mother by Bong Joon-ho and Johnnie To's Vengeance. Says Honeycutt: "And those filmmakers known for a love of violence -- Quentin Tarantino, Sam Raimi and Gaspar Noe -- haven't even screened their pictures yet!" Meanwhile, Tarantino, whose Inglourious Basterds (is that spelled correctly?) is showing the main competition, was invited to a late Sunday night dinner by Johnnie To. Surely they compared notes on their favorite Melville movies.

In the dark
Wildgrounds has posted two clips from Kinatay. So you can see some of what the critics were moaning about.

Independencia day
Filipino indie director Raya Martin is back in Cannes with his Independencia playing in the Un Certain Regard competition. It's a story of a family living in the jungle during the American occupation of the Philippines in the early 1900s. Critical reception is still a bit thin on the ground. Something to Sing About rounds up one review. It's from Howard Feinstein of Screen Daily who is generally negative, saying it's too melodramatic and too slow. Wildgrounds turned to Twitter looking for buzz about Independencia but came up with little. But they have a trailer from YouTube, which looks really cool. I went ahead and embedded it below.

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