news 3 months ago

Shanghai Festival: Fortissimo Films Picks up Three Competition Titles

Variety — Patrick Frater

Sales company Fortissimo Films has picked up international rights to three of the movies that will unspool in competition over the next ten days at the Shanghai International Film Festival. All are world premieres.

Top feature director Zhang Yang (“Spicy Love Soup,” “Shower,”) makes an appearance with “The Sound of Dali,” a documentary that examines the natural beauty surrounding Dali in Yunnan Province.

Noted actress, Qin Hailu (“The Pluto Moment,” “Red Amnesia,” “Durian, Durian”) makes her directorial debut with “The Return.” The film is a drama about an old soldier living in Taiwan who would like to return to mainland China. But doing so would mean leaving behind his companion from the Red Envelope Club singers. The film stars Chang Feng, Ge Lei, and Lei Kesheng. It is set for a theatrical release in China through distribution Companies Hehe Pictures, White Horse Film, and Pie Film Distribution on Sept. 12, 2019.

“Vortex” is a Chinese crime action film produced by Cao Baoping (director of “The Dead End” and “Cock and Bull”) and directed by Gan Jianju, winner of the best feature prize at the 2015 edition of the Xining First Film Festival with “Sometimes Naïve.” The story involves a scam that goes wrong, involving a girl in the trunk of a car. It stars Da Peng, Ou Hao and Li Meng.

The 22nd edition of the festival runs June 15-24, 2019. The competition prizes will be decided by a jury headed by Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Fortissimo is also responsible for handling sales of “The Fourth Wall,” a drama that has its premiere in the Shanghai festival’s Asian New Talent section, where it is nominated for best film and for screenplay. The film is written and directed by Zhang Chong and Zhang Bo and stars Liu Lu (“Mountains May Depart,” “A Touch Of Sin”) and Wang Ziyi in a tale of suppressed memories and parallel worlds.

After more than 20 years an Amsterdam- and Hong Kong-based operation, Fortissimo was revived two years ago by Alibaba-backed Hehe Pictures and reborn as a Beijing based sales operation. Like its predecessor which was a pioneer of Asian cinema, the new Fortissimo largely specializes in Chinese and Asian art house titles.

Among its other upcoming titles is Ann Hui’s “Love After Love,” which is an adaptation of an Eileen Chang novel. Its powerhouse cast includes Eddie Peng and Ma Sichun. World class production crew include director of photography Christopher Doyle (“In the Mood for Love”), costume designer Emi Wada (“Ran,” “Hero,”), sound designer Tu Duu Chih (“In the Mood for Love”) and editor Eric Kwong Chi-Leung (“Battle of Wits”). The film is backed by Alibaba Pictures, Hehe Pictures, Qingniao Pictures, Maxtime Culture, Black Ant Film and Dongtai Each Media.

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