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Romanian Crime-Thriller ‘The Whistlers’ Bought for North America

Dave McNary

Magnolia Pictures has bought North American rights to the Romanian crime thriller “The Whistlers” following its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, the film stars Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar, Antonio Buil, Agustí Villaronga, Sabin Tambrea, Julieta Szonyi and George Pisterneanu. Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical release for later this year.

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Ivanov plays a corrupt police inspector in Bucharest who has been sent to the island of La Gomera in the Canaries to learn the ancient whistling language to pull off a high-stakes heist.

“‘The Whistlers’ is an incredible gush of pure entertainment,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. “Corneliu Porumboiu has been making brilliant films for the last few years and he has outdone himself with his most crowd-pleasing work yet.”

Porumboiu’s 2006 feature “12:08 East of Bucharest” won the Caméra d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival. His 2015 film “The Treasure” won the Prix Un Certain Talent prize at the 2015 festival.

Production companies are 42 Km Film, Les Films du Worso and Komplizen Film in co-production with ARTE France Cinéma, WDR, Film I Vast, Filmgate Films, Studioul de Creatie Cinematografica with the support of Romanian National Film Center, Eurimages, Bord Cadre Films and Cinema City. Producers are Marcela Mindru Ursu, Patricia Poienaru, Sylvie Pialat, Benoît Quainon, Janine Jackowski, Jonas Dornbach and Maren Ade.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia’s John Von Thaden with mk2 Films’ Fionnuala Jamison on behalf of the filmmakers. Mk2 Films has been handling sales. The news was first reported by Deadline.

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