Munich, 22 August 2008. At this year’s summer festivals in Venice and Toronto, Beta Cinema will roll out the red carpet seven times for its movies. Opening the season is the International Venice Film Festival, where Beta Cinema will be presenting the world premieres of the two Italian productions PA-RA-DA (opening film of the Horizons section) by Marco Pontecorvo and MACHAN (Venice Days) by Uberto Pasolini. At the Toronto International Film Festival, Beta Cinema will be screening no fewer than five films from its portfolio. The Constantin production A WOMAN IN BERLIN by Max Faerberboeck, which has already been sold in almost a dozen countries, will be given its first public screening at the Special Presentations; Hans Steinbichler's MY MOTHER, MY BRIDE AND I will be premiered in the Contemporary World Cinema section. Also scheduled for screening is Paolo Sorrentino's Cannes Jury Prize winner IL DIVO (Special Presentations) as well as the Venice entries PA-RA-DA (Vanguard) and MACHAN (Contemporary World Cinema) as international premieres.
PA-RA-DA is the feature-film debut of Marco Pontecorvo, the director of photography of "Firewall," "Die letzte Legion" and the prestigious HBO series "Rome." The film relates the true story of the Franco-Algerian clown Miloud Oukili, who sets up a circus with Romanian street children in Bucharest, thus giving them a chance to regain a place in society and live in dignity. PA-RA-DA will be released in Italian theatres in September by 01 Distribution (Rai Cinema).
MACHAN is the true story of 23 young men from the slums of Sri Lanka who come together to form their country's sole handball team in order to be invited to a Bavarian handball tournament and obtain the appropriate visas. Shortly after the beginning of the tournament, the team disappears without a trace. Responding to inquiries about the lost national handball team, the Sri Lankan Olympic Committee says: "We have no handball team." Fox Searchlight (Germany) and Mikado (Italy) are distributing this first film directed by Uberto Pasolini, who made a name for himself as producer of "The Full Monty" and "The Emperor's New Clothes."
Nina Hoss ("The White Masai"), who was recently honoured with the German Film Award and the Silver Bear for "Yella," plays the lead role in A WOMAN IN BERLIN. Directed by Golden Globe nominee Max Faerberboeck ("Aimée & Jaguar") and produced by Guenter Rohrbach ("The White Masai," "The Boat "), the film is based on the diary of an author who remained anonymous until her death and was the only woman to report about the rapes of German women by Russian soldiers in 1945. The book, a unique historical document, drew worldwide attention. A WOMAN IN BERLIN has been sold by Beta Cinema even before completion to Belgium and the Netherlands (A-Film), Poland (Monolith), Greece (Seven Films), Argentina and Chile (Alfa-Films) among others.
In MY MOTHER, MY BRIDE AND I, Hans Steinbichler ("Winter Journey," "Hierankl") follows 41-year-old Erwin (Matthias Brandt, "Counterparts"), who runs a service station and longs for a wife. Though he finds a woman in Romania through a contact agency, his domineering mother (Monica Bleibtreu, "Four Minutes") stands in the way of his happiness.
Paolo Sorrentino's ("The Family Friend," "The Consequences of Love") IL DIVO is the story of Giulio Andreotti, who determined the course of Italian politics for nearly half a century and was taken to court several times for his alleged ties to the Mafia. Beta Cinema has sold IL DIVO to the Canadian distributor Mongrel Media, as well as to Great Britain (Artificial Eye), Spain (Wanda), Australia and New Zealand (Palace Pictures), Israel (Orlando) and Greece (Odeon). Negotiations are nearly concluded in Germany.