09 November 2008

Variety International

Corsan slate includes Billie August film

Belgian co. preps English-language movies


Posted: Sat., Nov. 8, 2008, 9:00pm

Belgian shingle Corsan has put together a slate of English-language movies including the next projects by Lee Tamahori, Roland Joffe and two-time Cannes Palme d'Or winner Bille August.

Company, headed by Paul Breuls, has made extensive use of Belgian tax-based financing laws and is able to finance many of its pics without setting them up as co-productions, which would dilute its equity interest and potentially lead to creative compromises.

Tamahori will direct "The Devil's Double," an adaptation of a series of books about Latif Yahia, a man who was forced to be the body double of Saddam Hussein's son Uday. Screenplay is by Michael Thomas. Production on a E15 million ($19.1 million) budget will take place in Spain starting next June.

August will direct "If Not Now, When?," an adaptation by Greg Latter ("Goodbye Bafana") of the Primo Levi novel about a group of Russian, Polish and Hungarian Jews who eschewed passive resistance and became partisans in WWII. Casting is undetermined, but Breuls says the pic, also on a $19 million budget, will lense starting in September.

Company is moving ahead with previously announced Joffe project "Singularity," which stars Indian star Aishwarya Rai. The $33 million pic is an epic story set across two time periods and continents. Plot involves a British officer in colonial India who falls in love with an Indian (Rai), and an American marine biologist struggling to save his research partner, who is trapped in the wreckage of a colonial Brit merchant ship. Lensing is tentatively skedded for next October.

Breuls and Corsan have been active for some 20 years, but the past year and a half have seen restructuring of the company as a vertically integrated operation spanning development, production, Benelux distribution and, most recently, international sales. Sales are handled in conjunction with Robbie Little's the Little Co.

"For us Belgium is a 'virtual location.' We are not making culturally specific films triggering local subsidy schemes. Instead we are now making projects with a global feel for world distribution. That means English-language and high quality based upon good scripts," Breuls says.

Also coming up is Breuls' soph helming effort, "Meant to Be," a romantic comedy scripted by Kara Holden that will lense starting in January.

Corsan World Sales is handling Breul's first film, "The Hessen Affair," a period heist film that has its market preem at AFM. ends

Trailer Saddam Son documentary Film THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE