Fox International, Fortissimo Team Up

Italian and Russian gangster films to kick off rare collaboration between major U.S. studio and indie sales company

On the eve of the Cannes Film Festival, Fox International Pictures and Fortissimo Films have announced an agreement by which Fortissimo will act as the sales agent for a number of high-profile FIP films.

The new partnership will begin with two films about the criminal underworld, both currently in post-production: “Vallanzasca” (below), director Michele Placido’s story of an Italian gangster in the 1970s; and “Chuzhaya” (“Alien Girl”), an Anton Barmatov film about a Russian mobster who sends four hitmen to kill a woman hiding in the Czech Republic. Fortissimo will handle all rights outside of Italy, France, Germany and Scandinavia for the former film, and all rights outside of Russia for the latter.

The collaboration between a major U.S. studio and an independent film sales company is unusual. In the press release announcing the deal, FIP president Sanford Panitch commented, “Fortissimo’s success in matching local distributors with independent films and Michael’s own familiarity with the kind of studio level pictures we are developing and producing makes this a perfect fit for both parties and will prove an incredible benefit to the film makers and projects involved.”

Fox International Pictures, a division of Fox Filmed Entertainment, was formed two years ago to produce, finance, acquire and distribute local language films around the world.

Fortissimo Films, based in Amsterdam, was founded in 1991 as an international film, television and home entertainment sales organization. At Cannes, it is currently representing the competition selection “My Joy,” the Critics Week entry “Sandcastle,” and another six films at the Film Market.