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1 July 2002

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  • 10

    Dir: Abbas Kiarostami. Iran/France 2002. 94 mins. In competitionA defiantly no-frills exercise even by his ascetic standards, 10 is Abbas Kiarostami's triumphant vindication of digital video's potential to produce a kind of cinema that cannot be achieved by other means. This is screen minimalism at its most uncompromising: 10 sequences of varying length, shot with a locked-off DV camera, of people talking in a car, seemingly improvising around what may be a very loose
  • 28 titles join Nielsen EDI's international $100m club

    UIP picked up ten Nielsen EDI International Gold Reel awards, which are given to distributors with films grossing more than $100m internationally, at the Cinema Expo exhibitor's conference in Amsterdam. UIP's $100m-plus grossers included A Beautiful Mind, Shrek and Bridget Jones's Diary. "They are the bedrock of the industry and the driving force of admissions growth around the world," Nielsen EDI president Tom Borys said of the 28 films to have grossed over $100m.
  • Alan Parker re-appointed chairman of UK Film Council

    Alan Parker has been re-appointed as chairman of UK support body the Film Council for a further two years, film minister Kim Howells announced on Wednesday.Parker is understood to feel he needs another two years to see through changes begun by the council, which launched two years ago. He said that the council is developing proposals aimed at encouraging structural change in the UK film industry."I am delighted to have been re-appointed as chairman of the Film Council and look f
  • Alliance Atlantis posts 35% increase in net earnings

    Canada's Alliance Atlantis recorded improved year-end results, ending a bad run for the company with net earnings of $31m (C$47.3m), a 35% increase over the previous fiscal year. In January, the company reduced its LA office, cutting 80 staff and paring down distribution and marketing operations. A further 35 positions were cut in the company's broadcast arm.The distribution group notched up its best-ever year, driven by the first instalment of The Lord Of The Rings
  • Alternative cinema content remains an unexploited revenue stream

    Alternative content has long been a holy grail for exhibitors, with the potential to create new profit streams - which can even amount to as much as 19% of revenue. And despite the fact that no solid market for alternative content - be it sporting events, rock concerts or other live events - has emerged in mainstream European circuits, the potential is still there to be exploited, delegates at Amsterdam's Cinema Expo were told.'The alternative business is a growing one,' said Jo
  • AMW announces Lord Of The Rainy Season as Franco-Thai co-production

    AMW International, an independent Thai media group, used Hong Kong's FilMart to launch its new film Lord Of The Rainy Season. The project is based on Claire Keefe-Fox's historical novel of the same title Le Ministre Des Moussons documenting France's first official foray into Asia and the meeting between explorer Phaulcon and King Narai of Siam. AMW International's managing director Scott Rosenberg estimated the production to have a budget of some $10m and sa
  • And Now... Ladies And Gentlemen

    Dir: Claude Lelouch. France. 2002. 135 mins. His Palme D'Or in 1966 for A Man And A Woman notwithstanding, Claude Lelouch has never been a critics' favourite and his latest offering, unveiled to the press in Cannes to sniggers and walk-outs, was no exception. And indeed even the director's fans will concede that this is not one of his better films. But it retains enough of his irrepressible romanticism and glossy showmanship to regale the faithful when it opens in Fran
  • Angela

    Dir: Roberta Torre. Italy. 2002. 95mins. Dispensing with the musical numbers that peppered her first two films, but remaining true to her fascination with the character and people of Palermo, Roberta Torre still adds little new to the well-worn themes of Angela. Based on true events from the mid-1980s, the tale of a Mafia wife who betrays her husband's love but not their criminal code of honour is flatly handled and mostly uninvolving. The events themselves can only ha
  • Applause to give an encore to horror hit The Eye

    Hong Kong production house Applause Pictures has added several new projects to its development slate including a sequel to its recent horror film The Eye which grossed a healthy $1.8m (HK$13.8m) at the local box office in May and June.Thailand's Pang Brothers will again direct and are currently scripting the film with Jo-jo Hui. Production is scheduled to start this year in Thailand with a Thai and Hong Kong cast for release during summer 2003.Meanwhile, Applause has also
  • Bank loan saves RTV Family Entertainment

    Animation production house RTV Family Entertainment has moved out of temporary insolvency after receiving a bridging credit line from its bank syndicate backed by a letter of credit from majority shareholder Ravernsburger AG. This step restores RTV to full financial solvency, but additional cash funds of Euros 4m will be needed up to the end of 2002.In a statement, RTV noted that Ravensburger was prepared to close this additional gap "dependent on further successes in the restru
  • Black And White

    Dir: Craig Lahiff. Australia/UK. 2002. 99mins.The Sydney Film Festival traditionally opens with the world premiere of a quality Australian feature: last year it was the free-flowing, cinematically intense Lantana. This year's opener was an altogether more stolid affair - the worthy dramatisation of a 1958 South Australian murder trial and its racist ramifications which fed several appeals, an appearance before the Privy Council in London, a Royal Commission and the fir
  • Can DreamWorks' Spirit run free at the international box office'

    DreamWorks SKG's latest animated effort, Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron, made its European debut in Germany this week, its first major international territory, but can the 2D-film finally give the company an international triumph over rival studio, and animation giant, Disney'Spirit, distributed internationally by UIP, is DreamWorks first animated title since winning the inaugural Best Animated Film Academy Award for last year's Shrek in March. Shrek is th
  • Casting awards go to German, UK agents

    German casting agent Rita Serra-Roll (Manitu's Shoe) and UK casting agency Hubbard Casting (Chocolat, The Lord Of The Rings) are the winners of this year's National and International Casting Awards which have been sponsored by the private media fund Erste MedienDachFonds.The two casting awards will be presented at a gala ceremony organised by Munich-based Actors and Arts Group of Companies on (Monday) July 1 at the Munich Filmfest along with its 'Rising Movie Talent Award
  • China Central Television launches English-language channel

    State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) used president Zhang Zemin's visit to Hong Kong to mark the fifth anniversary of the territory's handover to China to launch its English-language channel CCTV-9 on Hong Kong Cable. The launch, which takes place today (July 1), was announced at a high profile launch ceremony and was one of an increasing number events using Hong Kong's FilMart as a media platform. The deal was announced by SARFT deputy chief editor Tian Jin, deputy
  • Cinema Expo seminar poses the $10bn digital question

    It may have been the first major picture to be shot entirely with high-end digital technology, but the release of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones has seen the film projected at cinemas around the world using considerably less digital equipment.Episode II has been released on only 103 digital screens out of a possible 116 digital systems worldwide, falling short of previous industry speculation that by the release of Episode II, the industry's migration
  • Columbia sets up studio three-way for Peter Pan

    In an extremely rarethree-way partnership, Universal Pictures and Joe Roth's RevolutionStudios have joined up with Columbia Pictures to co-produce the live actionfilm of Peter Pan which is set toshoot in Queensland, Australia, in the autumn. The film, which will be directedby Australia's PJ Hogan, is being scheduled for release at Christmas2003.Universal will release thefilm theatrically and on home video in North America and in all media in theUK, Australia, South Africa, Franc
  • Cultural Cinema Consortium formed in Ireland

    In parallel with the UK Film Council's ongoing plans to fund a so-called virtual circuit of art house cinemas around the country, and in contrast to continental European efforts to access EU support for similar purposes, the Irish Arts Council has formed a Cultural Cinema Consortium with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI), the Northern Irish Film and Television Commission (NIFTC) and The Irish Film Board to 'enhance access to art house cinema on the island of Ireland". The Art
  • East & Sinclair name company Spitfire, start Masked & Anonymous

    Former Intermediaco-chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East have named their new production outfitSpitfire Pictures and started production in Los Angeles on their first filmunder the banner Masked & Anonymous. The all-star film which is directed by TV veteran Larry Charles, is aco-production with Destiny Productions and BBC Films. Spitfire is co-financingthe film with the BBC and Intermedia, which is handling international sales.The film, an ensemble drama,stars Jeff Bridges, Penel
  • European Film Awards to travel to Rome

    Following an invitation by Rome's cinephile mayor Walter Veltroni, the European Film Awards will be travelling for the first time to the Italian capital. Traditionally alternating between the European Film Academy's home town of Berlin and other European cities, the relocated ceremony will take place on December 7th 2002. The event will be hosted in Rome's newly-unveiled futuristic Music Auditorium, a lead and wooden dome designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. A traditional all-ind
  • FilMart wins broad delegate approval

    This year's Hong Kong International Film and Television Market (FilMart) ended on an upbeat note on Friday (June 28) with many delegates agreeing that the event was busier and had attracted a broader mix of participants than in previous years."We've seen more buyers from more countries and the prices being offered were very reasonable," said Golden Harvest director of film distribution Teerachai Triwongwaranat.Josh Lee, sales executive from Korean major Cinema Service, said the
  • Four German documentary prizes awarded

    Four up-and-coming German documentary filmmakers were awarded this year's Bavarian Documentary Prize "The Young Lion" on the eve of the 20th Munich Filmfest this weekend.The three Young Lions- with a purse each of Euros 8,000 - went to producer-director-writer Caterina Klusemann for her film Ima; to the director-writer team of Sonja Heiss and Vanessa van Houten for Karma Cowboy; and to producer-director-writer Claudia Heuermann for A Bookshelf On Top Of The Sky
  • German TV rights package boosts market optimism

    RTL Television, Germany's leading private broadcaster, has acquired a package of films and TV series from Warner Bros. International Television (WBIT), including the free TV rights to Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, The Lord Of The Rings, Ocean's Eleven, The Matrix, and The Perfect Storm.RTL's CEO Gerhard Zeiler declared that "the purchase of these magnificent films highlights RTL's extraordinary feature film competence" while Jeffery R. Schlesinger, president W
  • Global Film School strikes scholarship deal with Fox Searchlab

    Global Film School (GFS),the virtual film school jointly founded by UCLA's School of Theater Filmand Television, the Australian Film Television and Radio School and theNational Film And Television School of Great Britain, has signed a strategicagreement with Fox Searchlab offering Fox Searchlab's film-makerprogramme to GFS's student base.Under the terms of theagreement, Fox Searchlab, a director programme created by Fox SearchlightPictures to discover film-makers an
  • Helkon Media reports increased turnover, reduced earnings

    While Helkon Media's turnover increased by 48% in the first nine months of its 2001/2002 financial year (August 1 2001 - 30 April 2002) from Euros 98m to Euros 145m, its earnings from usual business activities plummeted to Euros - 21.9m (2001: Euro 3.1m).In a statement Helkon explained that its nine-month results had been influenced by two key factors.Firstly, depreciations of Euros 10m had been made on the group's film library "due to the insecure forecasts for the German pay T
  • Hong Kong broadcaster lowers pay-TV asking price

    Hong Kong broadcaster TVB has reportedly lowered the asking price for a 50% stake in its pay-TV arm, Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting, as it struggles to find investors in the proposed platform.TVB originally planned to sell the stake for $200m, but is scaling back the project in an attempt to attract investors, according to Dow Jones wire reports.Under the terms of its licence, awarded in July 2000, TVB is required to sell a 50% stake in Galaxy to prevent it from dominating the pa
  • Hong Kong's Panorama signs library deal with Japan's Shochiku

    Hong Kong distributor Panorama Entertainment has signed an output deal with Japan's Shochiku giving it exclusive video rights to the studio's back catalogue of around 4,000 films. The five-year deal, unveiled at FilMart on Thursday, includes titles such as the hit Tora-San comedy series, Yoji Yamada's 1977 The Yellow Handkerchief and Fall Guy, directed by Kinji Fukasaku in 1981. It also covers Shochiku's Classic Movies label which includes masterpieces from leading
  • Hour Of Religion tops Nastro d'Argento award nominations

    Marco Bellocchio's Hour Of Religion, the story of an atheist painter who finds out his brothers want to beatify their dead mother, led the nominations for Italy's Nastri d'Argento, the country's oldest movie awards.Nominations for Bellocchio's film, which is performing well at the local box office with a running total gross of Euros 1.9m, include: best Italian film, best story, best screenplay, best actor (Sergio Castellitto), best supporting actress (Piera degli Esposti), best
  • Independent Feature Project reveals 13 No Borders titles

    The Independent Feature Project (IFP) has announced the international projects which will take part in the 2002 No Borders Co-Production Market, to be held between Sept. 27 - Oct. 4 in New York City.Thirteen international projects have been announced for No Borders, which takes place during the IFP Market. The projects include work from the producers of Ratcatcher, The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain, Ma Vie En Rose and Waking Ned and come from the
  • India's film censors to allow pornographic cinemas

    India's traditionally ultra-conservative Censor Board has announced that it may allow pornographic films to be played in certain cinemas. Having so far been unable to control widespread abuse of its rules, it has opted to regulate the practice and, presumably, impose entertainment taxes.Filmmaker Vijay Anand, Chairman of India's Central Board of Film Certification is revising the Cinematograph Act of India 1952 and planning to introduce the concept of approved adult cinemas across Indi
  • Jingle Ma to direct Jackie Chan in $40m Titanium Rain

    Media Asia has lined up hot Hong Kong director Jingle Ma to direct its $40m Jackie Chan vehicle Titanium Rain.The futuristic action title is set in China, the US and Japan and is being scripted in both English and Mandarin. Production is scheduled to start next March for release during Chinese New Year (February) 2004."We've had lots of offers but decided not to take any equity partners in the project," said Media Asia head of sales and distribution Jeffrey Chan. "We'll s
  • Judges announced for Nike Young Directors Award

    Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, producer Barnaby Thompson and BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry are among the names on the judging panel on this year's Nike Young Directors Award.Entrants are to write scripts for a three-minute sport-themed film. Three finalists will each receive£7,000 to turn their treatments into films, which will be screened in October. The winner will be distributed through specialist short film company Britshorts.The judges include
  • Ketan Mehta to produce The Rising, raise $12m via IPO

    Veteran Hindi film producer and director Ketan Mehta has announced plans to produce a three-part international English-language feature titled The Rising based on the 1857 revolt of the Indian forces against the British Raj. Mehta, chairman and managing director of Maya Entertainment Ltd (MEL), told Screendaily that the company is also planning a $12m public rights issue on the Mumbai stock exchange in 2003. Plans for the new capital include: $6m to expand Maya Entertainm
  • Kissing Jessica Stein proves effective counter-programming

    Spider-Man continued its box domination while Kissing Jessica Stein scored as effective World Cup counter-programming in a weekend that saw little change at the box office.Spider-Man eased off 28% in its second week, a modest fall reflecting its sluggish start due to last weekend's World Cup tournament matches. The second week decline compares well with 20th Century Fox's Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones which dropped 59% in its second week.
  • Larry Meyers turns consultancy gig at Trilogy into evp job

    Veteran executive Lawrence Steven Meyers aka Larry Meyers has joined LA-based independent production outfit Trilogy Entertainment Group as executive vice president. Meyers has been consulting for Trilogy since Sept 2000.Working with Trilogy co-chairmen Pen Densham and John Watson, Meyers is charged with helping to grow the company, particularly the feature film arena through the development of new domestic and international co-production and financing opportunities. He will also work w
  • Lucasfilm spins off THX as independent company

    George Lucas'Lucasfilm has spun off theatrical audio standard outfit THX as an independentcompany. Originally a division of Lucasfilm, THX is now a privately heldcompany with Lucasfilm among several corporate and private investors. The movewas made to allow the company to expand into markets outside Lucasfilm'score areas of expertise.THX has also reorganized itsprogrammes and services into five key areas: THX Studio, THX Cinema, THX Home,THX Mobile and THX Games. In
  • MDP gets $17.5m cash infusion from Cheng Family

    MDP Worldwide Entertainment,the LA-based financier/distributor run by Mark Damon and publicly traded on theMontreal Stock Exchange, has closed a deal in principle with Music BoxEntertainment Ltd whereby Music Box will make a $17.5m equity investment in MDP.Music Box is a new company to be owned by Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs DrHenry Cheng Kar-Shun and Sammy S LeeThe deal completesnegotiations between MDP and pop legend Michael Jackson, who struck a dealearlier this year for he and pa
  • Men In Black II

    Dir: Barry Sonnenfeld. US. 2002. 82 mins. The invigorating burst of zany energy that made sci-fi comedy Men In Black the surprise smash of the 1997 summer season was never going to be easy to reproduce. So it's hardly surprising that Men In Black II feels more slight and less refreshing than its smartly entertaining predecessor. What the sequel lacks in originality, however, it largely makes up for in self-confidence, a breezy sense of its own comic possibilitie
  • Mike Newell to pilot Deighton's Bomber

    Mike Newell is to direct an adaptation of Len Deighton's World War II novel Bomber.Roger Randall-Cutler, whose credits include Dance With A Stranger and The Commitments, is producing Bomber with Robert Cheek at the First Film Company. Leigh Jackson is adapting the book, which follows 24 hours in an Allied bombing raid.The project is one of five titles that secured development funding in the latest round of National Lottery awards from UK support body
  • Mr Deeds

    Dir: Steven Brill. US. 2002. 96 mins. The Adam Sandler hit factory appears to be back in business. After falling way short of their usual box office standards with 2000's surreally wacky Little Nicky, the boyish star and his regular writing and producing partners revert to much safer material with Mr Deeds, a soppy, messy but, taken on its own terms, broadly funny romantic comedy loosely adapted from Frank Capra's 1936 classic Mr Deeds Goes To Town. Criti
  • Myriad backs Bombay Ice, ropes in Burton, Willing

    Myriad Pictures has optioned Leslie Forbes' novel Bombay Ice and has closed a deal with Mark Burton, the producer of Cherish who himself has close ties to India, to produce it. Nick Willing (Dr Sleep, Photographing Fairies) is in negotiations to write and direct the film.A murder mystery set in India, Bombay Ice was first published in 1998 and takes place in the dark underbelly of Indian culture. The story follows a BBC correspondent who returns to the India
  • No Man's Land producer to head Locarno festival jury

    No Man's Land producer, Cedomir Kolar is to head the jury for the upcoming Locarno film festival (Aug 1 -11), while the event's "Indian Summer" retrospective will include Rajiv Menon's Tamil adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Finding One's Self (Kandukondain Kandukondain), and politically active Bengali filmmaker Mrinal Sen's This, My Land.Also sitting on the international competition jury will be Bread And Tulips actor Bruno Ganz, Iranian di
  • PACT, CineMart partner for Immersion 2002: Europe

    UK producers association PACT and the Rotterdam International Film Festival's CineMart have become partners in the 'Immersion 2002: Europe' co-production gathering for Canadian and European producers held in Paris from November 18-22, 2002.The event will gather a selected group of 30 Canadian producers with a selection of up to 70 producers from Germany, the UK, France, Belgium and other European countries. The producers selected must have produced or co-produced a featur
  • Pandora returns to German distribution with Kaurismaki

    Karl "Baumi" Baumgartner and Reinhard Brundig's distribution venture Pandora Filmverleih is staging a comeback on the German market nearly four years after being swallowed up by the Kinowelt empire in July 1998. Its first theatrical release - on 14 November - will be Aki Kaurismaki's Cannes prize-winner The Man Without A Past, which Pandora Film Produktion co-produced.Pandora's revived theatrical arm will operate out of Aschaffenburg near Frankfurt under the management of Thoma
  • Paradox Lake wins top $50,000 prize at Los Angeles Film Festival

    The eighth annual LosAngeles Film Festival (LAFF) - operating under the aegis of IFP/West fora second year - closed on Saturday night with a screening of MiguelArteta's The Good Girl. Andat its awards ceremony earlier in the day, Przemyslav Reut's ParadoxLake won the $50,000 TargetFilmmaker Award for best narrative feature. Paradox Lake, a drama about a New Yorker who volunteers to helpout at a summer camp for autistic children, had its world premiere
  • Poland joins EU's MEDIA Plus programme

    In another step towards the European Union's (EU) enlargement, Poland has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the EU enabling it to participate in the MEDIA Plus programme.The agreement, which was backdated to January 1, 2002, foresees Poland contributing Euro 1.55m per year to the MEDIA budget until 2005, with part of the payments coming from the country's state budget and part from Poland's PHARE national programme. With immediate effect, professionals in the Polish film
  • Sales agents, distributors awarded MEDIA cash

    The UK's FilmFour, Pathe International, Bavaria Media and Adriana Chiesa Enterprises are among 18 European sales agents granted over Euros 700,000 in financial support by the European Union's MEDIA Plus programme to promote the trans-national distribution of European films. MEDIA's sales agent support scheme works in two phases. Firstly, there is the generation of a potential fund available to each sales agent, which is calculated according to the performance of the company on the Euro
  • Sandler charms $37.6m opening for Mr Deeds

    Adam Sandler wasback on top of the box office over the weekend as his latest comedy Mr Deeds opened with a smashing estimated $37.6mat 3,231 sites for Columbia Pictures. The film marks another hit for the studioafter Spider-Man and PanicRoom, and continues arun of success which should reach record proportions if next weekend's MenIn Black II and StuartLittle 2 (July 19) openaccording to expectations.Sandler hasscored multiple hits
  • Shaolin Soccer is still the talk of the town

    One of the hottest topics of conversation at the Hong Kong international film & TV market (FilMart) is not the level of deal-making at the event, or even the forthcoming World Cup final, but the enduring box-office success of local hit comedy Shaolin Soccer.As World Cup fever continues to dominate Japan, football-themed Hong Kong hit Shaolin Soccer this week climbs back to number three in the country's chart, below I Am Sam and the ubiquitous Spider-Man. Wit
  • Singapore's Raintree strikes joint production deal with Media Asia

    Singapore's Raintree Pictures is planning a substantial production expansion after signing a deal with Hong Kong major Media Asia.The deal sees the two companies agree to jointly produce between four and six films per year. Production costs will be equally shared. "It resembles a first look deal, but with a commitment to a certain number of films," said Daniel Yun, chief executive of Raintree. "We have already put aside a sum of money for the slate that we produce together." Both firms
  • SKYY Short Film Awards give French short its top prize

    The SKYY Vodka Short FilmAwards took place in Los Angeles last Thursday night as part of the IFP/WestLos Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) in a ceremony which premiered JamesWoods' directorial debut Falling In Love With Pongo Panga, a short which was commissioned by SKKY.Woods attended the eventalong with host Kevin Pollak, Joe Pantoliano and Laura Harring. 1,400submissions were made to the Short Film Awards and all 39 finalists werescreened as part of LAFF. The w
  • Spain's Plural Entertainment close to taking 80% of Tesela

    Spanish production house Plural Entertainment is rumoured to be closing a deal to buy out an 80% share of up-and-coming Madrid-based producer Tesela PC.The transaction would provide Tesela with a direct link to heavyweight Spanish media and publishing conglomerate Grupo Prisa, which owns 100% of Plural Entertainment.Tesela was launched in May 1998 under the direction of veteran film executive Jose Antonio Felez. The company is perhaps best known as producer of Achero Manas' awar
  • Spider-Man takes Spain's opening gross record - by a whisker

    Spider-Man's Spanish release has seen the film claim the all-time biggest opening gross in the territory, by a slender margin of just $4,088.The film grossed $4,966,824 (Euros 5,014,686) for Columbia TriStar Films de España, narrowly beating previous record-holder Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, which earned $4,962,736 (Euros 5,010,559) on its November 30, 2001 release.Spider-Man also broke another record in Spain as the widest release ever: i
  • Strong overseas film sales reported by troubled FilmFour

    On the eve of what many expect to be a dramatic re-focusing on lower-budget films made for the local market, the UK's FilmFour has underlined its international strengths with a host of overseas sales.Sales arm FilmFour International is closing US deal with Sony Pictures Classics on Cannes title Once Upon A Time In The Midlands, having bucked a depressed international market to record its second best Cannes after 2000. Ironically, the operation's biggest international sale
  • Swedish TV comedy outfit plans first feature film

    Sweden's most popular TV comedy production outfit, Killingganget, will celebrate its ten-year anniversary by making its first feature film.In line with actor/writer group Killingganget's hugely successful TV formula the project will be a comedy consisting of several stories tied together the central characters.The Swedish-language film, which has three different working titles and an as-yet unconfirmed budget, is being produced by SVT Fiktion, the drama department of Swedish bro
  • Teze confirmed as head of Miramax and TF1's TF/M Distribution

    TF1 has confirmed the appointment of Perrine Teze as head of TF/M Distribution, the French broadcaster's theatrical joint venture with Miramax. Teze, formerly deputy general manager of TF1's foreign sales division TF1 International, has developed close ties with Miramax. "In fact, it was them who suggested my candidature," she says, adding : "I'm thrilled. I love building up from scratch." Which is exactly what she did when she was appointed head of foreign film sales at TF1 Internati
  • Tough times see Spanish producers adopt novel approach

    The tough climate for film financing in Spain is causing producers to turn to literary adaptations, especially works which have already proven popular with audiences and critics. Indeed, there are currently more than a dozen films based on novels in advanced stages of production in Spain.The current batch includes director Isabel Coixet's My Life Without Me, based on a short story by Nanci Kincaid, in post-production at the Almodovar brothers' El Deseo; David Trueba's Soldier
  • Unknown Pleasures (Ren Xiao Yao)

    Dir: Jia Zhang-Ke. China 2002. 113 mins. CompetitionA film about teenage aimlessness that evokes its subject only too well, the third feature by Jia Zhang-Ke, director of Xiao Wu and Platform, is a loose, funky digital venture that undoubtedly feels as if it captures the authentic beat of contemporary Chinese life. But its narrative leisureliness, occasional obscurities and specific references to the modern Chinese scene finally make it a frustrating experience. Where Jia's f
  • US Producers Guild sets up new media division

    TheProducers Guild Of America (PGA) has formed The New Media Council (NMC) with aview to explore the state of the digital arena and recognize the producers whoproduce and distribute digital entertainment.Theseprojects expand beyond film and TV and are defined in five categories:movie/video production (companies such as BMW Films and Duality), animatedproduction (Gary The Rat and Timber Wol
  • VU's fifth board member exit leaves Messier on the brink

    Jean-Marie Messier has retained his position as chairman of the world's second-largest media group - despite the departure of the fifth board member this year and a temporary dive in Vivendi Universal share value to a 13-year low.Yesterday, June 25, Vivendi Universal shares rebounded to $19.80 following a turbulent slide likely triggered by the resignation of Messier ally Bernard Arnault, chairman of luxury goods company LVMH, reportedly France's second wealthiest individual and six-ye
  • Women In The Mirror (Kagami No Onnatachi)

    Dir: Kijyu Yoshida. Japan. 2002. 129mins.Kijyu Yoshida's first feature in 14 years, Women In The Mirror, is a throwback to the humanistic films with a political slant that once flowed from Japan's 1960s Nouvelle Vague, of which he was a key member. It is also a reminder of why such films have become harder to sell to younger Japanese audiences. Yoshida's concern with the impact of the bomb on Hiroshima across the decades will hardly seem pressing to an apolitical gener