Friday, September 7, 2012

TIFF 2012: Wheeling and dealing over top-quality, mid-sized movies - Toronto Star

Act of Valor

Courtesy of IATM LLC Act of Valor, an independently financed film, made it to the top box office spot, helping support the market for mid-sized movies.

Size matters at TIFF â€" especially mid-size.

While the big players chase the big productions, there’s an alternate universe where an army of mid-sized buyers fights over a wide array of viable, affordable commercial titles.

Variety magazine is predicting deals galore for the more modest productions at the 37th incarnation of the festival.

“There are a lot of very good movies for sale (at TIFF),” WME Global head Graham Taylor told the magazine, adding it’s been an especially strong year for independent film.

Taylor, a top dealmaker in distributing independent films, noted the market for mid-size works is supported by the fact that independently financed films â€" such as Act of Valor, The Grey and The Woman in Black â€" keep landing No. 1 at the box office.

“These are commercially viable films,” says Taylor, whose company is one of the world’s largest talent agencies. “As studios become more focused on (larger films that will sustain their cash flow and revenue), it’s an ideal time for independent film as it creates an opportunity for the $10 million to $60 million film.”

Variety says some of the hot properties on the block this year include Neil Jordan’s Byzantium’ John Carney’s Can a Song Save Your Life, Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, Sally Potter’s Ginger and Rosa, Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s Imogene, Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Stuart Blumberg’s Thanks for Sharing.

The Hollywood Reporter agreed TIFF is filled with incredible works, but at least one indie sales agents said any film would have to be “perfect” to play mainstream this year.

That doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen.

In 2008, Fox Searchlight grabbed and quickly launched Slumdog Millionaire and TheWrestler after TIFF â€" and the rest is history.

Some industry experts say the success of the smaller indie-financed productions is simply due to the fact that movies such as Rian Johnson’s Looper and Paul Anderson’s The Master have the look and feel of studio fare.

TIFF’s indie sector has been hyped for the past month with announcements and profiles indicating a healthy market that will continue on even after the festival closes.

The Hollywood Reporter agrees with Variety’s picks but also says other films that could catch fire include: Midnight’s Children, Much Ado About Nothing, No One Lives, Reincarnated, To The Wonder and What Maisie Knew

For celebrity news, news conference coverage and red carpet mayhem, follow the Star on Twitter @torontostar#starTIFF, and visit our TIFF page at

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