Flowers plucked by US newcomers
By Patrick Frater
Tue, 08 November 2011, 18:29 PM (HKT)
ZHANG Yimou 張藝謀's epic-scale The Flowers of War 金陵十三釵 (2011) has been acquired for North American distribution by two small US companies. They will quickly give film a platform release in three cities in order that Flowers can compete in the main categories of the Oscars.
Separately it was today announced that Zhang will receive an award for outstanding achievement in film in the Asia-Pacific region from the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF). It will be presented at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) ceremony on 24 Nov.
The film's buyers are Wrekin Hill Entertainment, a distribution and production outfit headed by former Newmarket Entertainment executive Chris Ball, and Row 1 Productions. The company is a private film, sports and medical investment group that has this year also backed Stephen Frears' Lay The Favorite, Nicolas Cage-vehicle Frozen Ground, and Broken City starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe.
Flowers (previously known as 13 Flowers of Nanjing and The Heroes of Nanking), stars Christian BALE as an American in 1937 Nanjing who holes up in a cathedral with two groups of schoolgirls and prostitutes while the city is besieged by the Japanese army.
It is set for a wide release in China and around Asia from 16 Dec following three premiere events in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Wrekin Hill and Row 1 say that they Row 1 will open the film in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in late December 2011 and the release will then expand through early 2012.
"Flowers of War just blew me away. Not only is it incredibly powerful but the artistry is absolutely sensational. ... It follows in the tradition of some of the classic films we have had the privilege of releasing over the past decade," said Ball.
It is based on a screenplay by LIU Heng 劉恆 and is adapted from YAN Geling 嚴歌苓's historical novella 13 Flowers of Nanjing. The film is fully financed by ZHANG Weiping 張偉平's Beijing New Picture Film Co 北京新畫面影業有限公司. It is executive produced by David LINDE, Deng Chaoying and Bill KONG 江志強, with rights sales in international territories (excluding North America and parts of Asia) handled by FilmNation Entertainment LLC.
The Flowers of War
Good-looking but dramatically weak Nanjing Massacre drama, with a miscast Christian Bale.
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