Weekly Roundup: Sales, acquisitions and updates

MDF Productions begins production on Momster's Playground; 1K Film Challenge films to screen next week; deals for eOne (Twice Born pictured), Fremantle Corporation and Doomsday Studios' Ramona Macdonald.

Here’s a summary of the various industry news to land at Playback recently (the second of two roundups this week):

Momster’s Playground begins production

Toronto-based MDF Productions, the prodco behind Grand Benders, has begun production on Momster’s Playground.

The dramatic short, funded by bravoFACT, stars Tara Spencer-Nairn (Corner Gas), Cara Ricketts (Cymeline) and Lucy Filippone.

The film, produced by MDF’s Peter Gentile and shot in Mississauga, is written and directed by Stephen Roscoe.

Momster’s Playground is a fresh take on the age old themes of greed and the pursuit of power. It’s also a cautionary tale for today’s over-achieving parents,” said Roscoe in a statement.

The film focuses on a mundane event that occurs at the local playground, which escalates into a comedy of errors.

1K Film Challenge: the 1K Wave

Of the 34 filmmaking teams that took on the 1K Film Challenge, initiated by pUNK Films Inc.’s Ingrid Veninger and The Royal’s Stacey Donen, five were selected for funding and will be screened at the Royal on Oct. 11, 12 and 13.

The five selected teams received $1,000 in funding – from box office proceeds for i am a good person / i am a bad person and Veninger’s 2011 Jay Scott Prize.

The films, exec produced and mentored by Veninger and Donen, are as follows: Hotel Congress, written by Nadia Litz and directed by Litz and Michael Kandinsky; Me, the Bees and Cancer, written by John Board and directed by Board and Hector Centeno; Mourning has Broken, written, produced and directed by Brett and Jason Butler; Sockeye, written by Ben (who also directs) and Rick Roberts; and Liquid Handcuffs: the un-making of Methadonia, written and directed by John L’Ecuyer.

In addition, 50% of the box office revenue from the screenings will go toward the next $1K feature challenge.

For the screening schedule, visit The Royal website.

Sales, acquisitions, deals: eOne, Fremantle Corporation

eOne Films on Friday announced that it acquired the North American distribution rights in all media from Wild Bunch for war-drama Twice Born (pictured).

The film, from Italian writer-director-actor Sergio Castellitto, stars Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch, and tells the story of a single mother who brings her teenage son to Sarajevo, where his father died in the Bosnian conflict previously.

Twice Born, which screened at TIFF, is planned for theatrical release in the U.S. and Canada in 2013.

The company also announced that it acquired North American home entertainment and digital rights to animated series Puppy in My Pocket – Adventures in Pocketville, from Mondo TV, co-produced with MEG and Giochi Preziosi.

The 52 x 13 series, aimed at girls ages four to eight years old, celebrates the bond between children and their pets.

The series currently airs Monday to Friday on Cartoon Network’s Boomerang Channel, and is based on the MEG pocket toys. eOne is planning a DVD launch for mid-2013.

Ottawa-based producer Ramona Macdonald of Doomsday Studios has inked a deal for Canadian theatrical distribution and international sales with Cinema Esperanca International Inc. for her 9 lives.

Macdonald will write and direct the film, to be shot in Kaunas, Lithuania and Shanghai, China.

The Fremantle Corporation has licensed its classic series Zorro, Conan and Tarzan and the Lost World into several international territories, including Finland, Russia, Eastern and Central Europe, the Caribbean, the U.K. and Ireland.

And Black Beauty, which was licensed to Russia, was renewed in the U.S., along with Swiss Family Robinson.

The company also inked sales for Baryshnikov’s Nutcracker (Russia), Memphis, Caesar and Cleopatra and Bowfire (Brazil, Latin America and Russia). Documentaries Bhutto, Women: War and Peace, Weird and Wonderful Hotels, Last Mogul and Ali were sold, either individually or in combination, to India, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Finland and the Caribbean.

And Fremantle parent co Kaleidoscope Entertainment inked sales for Canuck series The New Addams Family and Breaker High.