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1 July 2007

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  • 29 films to receive awards for crossing $100m internationally

    This year's Nielsen EDI International Gold Reel Awards for crossing the $100m in international markets will honour 29 films. Special Platinum Reel Awards will also go to the three films that crossed $500m outside the US: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Spider-Man 3. Together the 29 represent $5.5bn in box-
  • 2929 signs on with Cherry Lane Music Publishing

    Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company has added 2929 Productions to its roster of film industry clients. Under a multi-year, worldwide administration agreement the New York-based music publisher will represent and exploit all 2929-owned music while securing performance rights fees from various music publishers worldwide.Los Angeles-based 2929 is owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban and known for recent features including Good Night, And Goo
  • A Beijing spring

    New cinemas and foreign films are the driving force behind recent Chinese growth, says Sen-Lun Yu. March and April are usually slow months at the Chinese box office, when small to mid-sized films are released in batches before the blockbusters are rolled out during the May national holidays.But this year, cinema owners across the country had plenty to smile about as box office exceeded expectations. The total box office for the first quarter of 2007 increased 42
  • Abu Dhabi to establish branch of New York Film Academy

    The Abu Dhabi government has signed a deal to establish a branch of the New York Film Academy (NYFA), the first film and acting school in the Gulf. Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, the director-general of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), Jerry Sherlock, Director, President and Founder of the NYFA, and the school's provost and director of education, Michael Young, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in New York yesterday. The school, NYFA's first in the Middle Eas
  • Admissions down in Argentina by 7% in first half of 2007

    Admissions figures in Argentina dropped by an estimated 7% for the first half of 2007. The period saw 18.2m admissions as opposed to 19.5m in 2006.However, total box office was up 15.5% from the same period last year because of the rise in the average ticket price from $2.65 to $3.25. Hollywood blockbusters took an 84.8% share of the market (87.8% in the same period of 2006), local productions logged 4.4% (from last year's 4.1%), while European, Asian and other Latin Amer
  • Ana Katz: the wandering star

    The Argentinian winner of San Sebastian's Films in Progress proved a true labour of love. Diego Batlle talks to the film's director. At just 31, Argentinian film-maker Ana Katz is one of the most prolific and versatile artists of her generation. A renowned film, theatre and commercials actor-writer-producer-director, Katz's second feature The Wandering Bride (Una Novia Errante), co-written with Ines Bortagaray, premiered at Cannes in Un Certain Regard
  • Anderson's Darjeeling Ltd to open New York Film Festival

    Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited has been set to open the 45th New York Film Festival (NYFF), which runs from Sept 28 to Oct 14, and Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country For Old Men will fill the festival's Centerpiece slot. Also screening at the festival, hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, will be Cannes Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days
  • Animation veteran Seibert launches feature outfit Frederator Films

    Animation veteran Fred Seibert is launching Frederator Films, a new US company that plans to make 2D animated genre features with budgets below $20m. Among the company's first projects is a big screen version of Cartoon Network hit Samurai Jack. Seibert, a one-time president of Hanna-Barbera and creative director of MTV, currently heads TV animation company Frederator Studios (The Fairly Odd Parents). H
  • Arthouse Films buys worldwide rights to The Cool School

    New York-based independent Arthouse Films has acquired worldwide rights to feature documentary The Cool School: How Los Angeles Learned to Love Modern Art. Directed by Morgan Neville and narrated by Jeff Bridges, the film focuses on the story of Los Angeles' legendary Ferus Gallery, which helped launch artists including Ed Ruscha, Craig Kauffman, Ed Moses and Robert Irwin in the fifties and sixties. It was produced by Neville and Kristine McKe
  • August Evening, Billy The Kid win $50,000 prizes at LAFF

    Chris Eska's August Evening won the Target Film-maker Award for best narrative feature at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival, while Jennifer Venditti's Billy The Kid won the Target Documentary Award for best documentary feature. Each film was awarded an unrestricted cash prize of $50,000 funded by Target.The awards, presented by Terrence Howard and Aidan Quinn, were announced at the Spirit Of Independen
  • Awards heat for Cotillard starts early with Hollywood Award nod

    La Vie en Rose star Marion Cotillard is to receive the Hollywood Film Festival's Hollywood Breakthrough Actress of the Year Award at the festival's October 22 awards ceremony in Beverly Hills. Cotillard plays French chanteuse Edith Piaf in Olivier Dahan's La Vie en Rose, which was released theatrically in the US by Picturehouse on June 8. She previously won the Cesar for best supporting actr
  • Bangkok opener Persepolis pulled from festival line-up

    Persepolis has been withdrawn as the opening film of the Bangkok International Film Festival, which is scheduled to start on July 19, following a request from the Iranian Embassy in Bangkok. 'TAT has decided to comply because of the good diplomatic relationship between Thailand and Iran. It is a shame that the Thai audience won't have the opportunity to see the film,' says Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, chief officer of the festival and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)'s director
  • Bavaria Film International picks up The Anarchist's Wives

    Bavaria Film International has picked up international distribution rights to Marie Noelle and Peter Sehr's new feature The Anarchist's Wives which begins its German shoot at the MMC Studios in Cologne today (Friday). The German-Spanish-French co-production between Noelle and Sehr's P'Artisan Filmproduktion, ZIP Films (Barcelona), KV Entertainment/Ibarretxe & Co. (Bilbao), and Cine Boissiere (Paris) is a love story against all odds based on the real-life experiences of Marie N
  • Bela Tarr: inmemory of the man from France

    When his producer died early in production, Hungarian film-maker Bela Tarr fought to reconstruct his Cannes Competition title. Theodore Schwinke reports. For Hungarian director Bela Tarr, The Man From London is a memorial to the film's late French producer, Humbert Balsan.Balsan committed suicide in January 2005, two days before the start of principal photography. Tarr's crew had just started building a $2.7m set in Corsica. On hearing of Balsan's death,
  • Box office opinion: is word of mouth mere lip service'

    No-one really knows what word-of-mouth is, whether it works or how to measure it. So what use is it, asks Leonard Klady. There can be few businesses where the received industry wisdom is so often wrong. Or to be more diplomatic, by the time anything looks set as a rule, it's apt to be out of date.And why should that be a surprise' One spends years, even decades learning the ins and outs of some possibly arcane aspect of the movies' art, science or commerce only
  • Breakthrough D-cinema agreement signed with US studios

    A potential breakthrough in the 'who pays'' deadlock that has stunted digital cinema rollout is unveiled today at Cinema Expo in Amsterdam.Digital distribution pioneer Arts Alliance Media (AAM) has reached an agreement with Universal Pictures International and Twentieth Century Fox to offer Europe's virtual print fee (VPF), which could cover up to 7,000 screens.The studios have also committed themselves to distribute digital content to theatres signing up in countries inc
  • Bulgaria: Nu Boyana on the block

    Nu Image's transformation of Boyana studios has placed Bulgaria on the film map. Now other producers want a piece of the action. Theodore Schwinke reportsBulgaria is a country showing significant promise. Since the transformation of Boyana studios by Nu Image last year there has been a steady stream of low-budget and major US features entering its doors.Nu Image bought Boyana studios in the capital Sofia for $7.5m cash in January 2006, out-bidding rivals includi
  • Celestial Pictures launches kung-fu mobile TV channel

    Hong Kong-based Celestial Pictures has launched a mobile TV channel, Kung Fu TV, on leading Thai mobile network provider Advanced Info Service (AIS). The channel features original kung-fu content from Celestial's Shaw Brothers film library, ranging in length from 30 seconds to three minutes, including video clips of fight sequences, music videos, action movie trailers, animated wallpapers and video ringtones. 'Mobile operators are constantly looking for opportunities to increase r
  • Chapa to play Latin spy in thriller Fuego

    Amadeus Pictures is set to start production this month in Europe on Fuego, an international spy thriller starring Amadeus founder/president Damian Chapa together with David Carradine (Kill Bill Vol 2) and Nickolai Stoilov (Lara's Rain).Chapa, who started his career as an actor in films including Blood In, Blood Out and
  • Charlie Cox leads cast for Scottish feature Stone Of Destiny

    Scottish feature Stone Of Destiny started principal photography this week on location in Glasgow and London. Charlie Cox, Billy Boyd, Kate Mara, Robert Carlyle and Brenda Fricker star. Charles Martin Smith wrote and directed the project, based on Ian Hamilton's book, The Taking Of the Stone Of Destiny. The film is based on the true story of nationalist Ian Hamilton, one of the group who tried to bring the Stone of Scone from London back to Scotland in the 1950
  • Christie crosses 3,000 digital cinema systems mark around globe

    US visual solutions company Christie says it has become the first manufacturer to install more than 3,000 digital cinema systems around the world, giving it a nearly 80% share of the emerging digital system market. The company says that by the end of the year it expects to have installed 4,000 of its DLP Cinema projectors. More than 2,600 systems have been installed in the US as part of the AccessIT software and funding vehicle introduced in 2005. But the company's system
  • Cruise, Wagner to make Thursday presentation at Cinema Expo

    Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, the new heads of the reactivated United Artists (UA), will make a presentation to delegates at Cinema Expo International in Amsterdam on Thursday evening, screening five-and-a-half minutes of footage from UA's first feature Lions For Lambs in which Cruise stars.They will be joined in the presentation by Tomas Jegeus and Paul Hanneman, the co-presidents of 20th Century Fox International, which is handling internation
  • Czech Republic: 'More expensive than Budapest'

    Can the Czech Republic retain its competitive edge when it comes to production' Theodore Schwinke reportsOn paper, the Czech Republic's production service sector is looking healthy. Andrew Adamson is shooting Walden Media's The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian at Barrandov's new 4,000 square metre stage, which also hosted Eli Roth's bloody horror Hostel: Part 2, while producer Iain Smith has chosen Prague Studios over Pinewood for Timur Bekmambetov's
  • Denzel Washington to receive Kubrick honour from BAFTA/LA

    Denzel Washington is to receive the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA).The two-time Oscar-winning actor will be presented with the honour at the 2007 BAFTA/LA Cunard Britianna Awards on November 1 at Los Angeles' Century Plaza Hotel.Washington will next be seen in November release American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott and co-starri
  • Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free Or Die Hard)

    Dir: Len Wiseman. US. 2007. 129mins'You're a Timex watch in a digital age'. So says the smooth master criminal pitted against Bruce Willis' action-hero cop John McClane in Die Hard 4.0 (known as Live Free Or Die Hard in the US), the much anticipated fourth instalment of the franchise. The line neatly encapsulates the strengths and weakness of the movie. An unabashed throwback to the explosive hyperbole of the 1980s and 1990s action movie - o
  • Die Hard 4.0, Transformers bring muscle to international box office

    Three more summer blockbusters - Transformers, Die Hard 4.0 and Ratatouille - make their international debuts this weekend, ramping up competition in a global marketplace already dominated by four major Hollywood earners.Fox International's Die Hard 4.0, with Bruce Willis returning after more than a decade for a fourth installment of the action franchise, opens i
  • Disney cooks up number one domestic opening for Ratatouille

    Disney's Ratatouille bit a hefty chunk out of the domestic box office pie at the weekend and beat off the five-day debut of Live Free Or Die Hard thanks to a three-day $47.2m estimated launch.This was actually a subdued performance by Pixar's lofty standards that many attributed to the conceptually unpalatable subject matter - a gourmet rat takes over a restaurant kitchen - as well as the stiff competit
  • Dobson elected to head LA-based Australians In Film

    Los Angeles-based public relations executive Susie Dobson has been elected president and chief executive officer of the board of directors of Australians In Film, the organisation for expatriate Australians in the US entertainment industry. Producer/business affairs consultant Paula Paizes has been elected the organisation's vice president, and manager/producer Rob Marsala secretary/chairman of the board. Terms are for two years effective July 1, 2007.Dobson is president
  • Eastern Europe - Festival watch - Karlovy vary

    This year's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (June 29-July 7) in the Czech Republic boasts a diverse range of more than 200 films, including nine world premieres.Competition titles from the region include Zoltan Kamondi's Dolina, a tale of an isolated town in the Eastern Carpathians, that picked up an award at the Hungarian Film Week in February, Krzysztof Krauze's Savior's Square, which won the grand prize at the Polish Film Festival last September, Jan Sverak's Empties, which
  • EdgeStone Capital Partners acquires 49% of Canada's MPD

    Canada's distribution landscape shifted again today as Canadian private equity firm EdgeStone Capital Partners announced plans to acquire the 49 per cent share of Motion Picture Distribution LP owned by Movie Distribution Income Fund. The other 51 per cent will be controlled by Goldman Sachs, part of the US investment bank's over-arching deal with CanWest Global to acquire MPD's parent company, Alliance Atlantis Communications. Fund unit holders will receive C$10 per unit.
  • Editorial opinion: D-cinema is E for effort

    The announcement of a major European financing deal for digital cinema put the proverbial cat among the pigeons at this week's Cinema Expo in Amsterdam.To be fair, the virtual print fee (VPF) agreement announced by Arts Alliance Media, Fox and Universal Pictures International didn't need to be the fiercest of felines. Over the last few years in Europe, the description 'headless chickens' might have been more ornithologically exact than pigeons.Europe once had real ambitions to l
  • Edward Yang dies of cancer aged 59

    Director Edward Yang, who ignited the Taiwan New Wave with his debut feature That Day On The Beach, died on Friday afternoon at his home in Beverly Hills from colon cancer, aged 59. Born in Shanghai in 1947, Yang moved to Taiwan with his family two years later. He graduated in electrical engineering in Florida and briefly studied at the film school of the University of Southern California before quitting to take a computer job in Seattle. There, he rediscovered his love of cinema
  • Effie Brown's Duly Noted lines up Mos Def for two films

    Producer Effie Brown's Duly Noted Inc production company has signed actor and hip-hop artist Mos Def (The Italian Job) to star in and executive produce Bobby Zero, from writing-directing team Markus and Mason Canter, aka The Flying Canter Brothers (Chasing The Horizon). In his first romantic lead, Mos Def will play the title character, a down-on-his-luck social sati
  • European Producers Club elects new board of directors

    The European Producers Club (EPC) has announced the election of a new board of directors. In their posts for the next two years are: Jean Cazes (Initial Productions, France), Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre (MACT, France), Patrick Quniet (Artemis Productions, Belgium), Antonio Saura (Zebra Producciones, Spain) and Ruth Waldburger (Vega Film, Switzerland). The executive committee is comprised of Jean Cazes as president, Constantin's Martin Moszkowicz as vice president and UGC YM's Yves Marmion as tr
  • European screenwriters' manifesto: world in motion

    Signatories from the US and Europe have backed a manifesto to give more rights to writers. John Hazelton reportsLaunched at this year's Berlin International Film Festival, the European Screenwriters' Manifesto had around 2,000 signatories as of late May.Most of them were writers, but the document has also been endorsed by directors, producers, actors and film critics, says Christina Kallas, president of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, which initiated
  • Fantastic rise of the green ogre

    Shrek The Third kept the number one slot as it continued its fairytale stomp around the world's box offices, adding more than $58m during the weekend with strong openings in Germany, Spain and half-a-dozen smaller countries.Among possible heirs to the throne, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer debuted at number one in Mexico and Australia, which helped speed its total to $56.6m, while third-place Ocean's Thirteen opened second in France and Brazil, boosting
  • France's Fete du Cinema ticket sales hold steady at 2.8m

    The 23rd Fete du Cinema wrapped Tuesday night in France to tie last year's results with 2.8m tickets sold. The reduced-price ticket scheme, organized by the National Cinema Federation (FNCF), offers free entry to all films over three days after a one-time $2.70 (Euros 2) ticket purchase. Tuesday's figures jumped 13% compared to last year while Sunday and Monday were slightly down. The FNCF notes that although there were several big Hollywood films on offer, the public was disa
  • Fulwell 73 on board for Hawkes' Breathing and Drawing Dead

    UK production company Fulwell 73, who are behind recent Cannes Market hit documentary In The Hands Of The Gods, have optioned two new projects from writer/director Kieron Hawkes. The new projects are Check If I'm Still Breathing, a love story following a couple through a turbulent 10-year period. Hawkes has written the script and will also direct.Fulwell 73's Leo Pearlman and Gabe Turner will produce. Casting is ongoing.Also, Fulwell 73 has taken on the proj
  • Galway bookends with Red Like the Sky and Seraphim Falls

    The 19th Galway Film Fleadh will open July 10 with Cristiano Bortone's feature Red Like the Sky, inspired by the true story of Italian sound editor Mirco Mencacci. Bortone will attend for a Q&A session following the screening. The Fleadh will close July 15 with David Von Ancken's western Seraphim Falls starring Irish actors Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan. Bortone is one of 15 international feature and documentary directors who will accompany their films to the
  • Gazzale to succeed Picker Firstenberg at head of AFI

    Film historian and Emmy-nominated television writer-producer Bob Gazzale has been appointed president and CEO of the American Film Institute (AFI).Gazzale has been a senior executive at AFI for 15 years, most recently serving as director of AFI Productions. He will succeed Jean Picker Firstenberg, who announced she would retire at the end of AFI's fortieth anniversary celebration this autumn. Gazzale will assume the office on November 1.'After considering a diverse and im
  • Gill & Sackers's Film Department launches with $200m in financing

    The Film Department, the new independent finance, production and international sales company formed by Mark Gill and Neil Sacker, has raised $200m in financing and hopes to unveil its first projects within the next few weeks.Gill and Sacker said the financing should also allow them to conclude negotiations with an international sales chief who will introduce the projects to buyers at Toronto and the AFM. When revolved and re-invested, the $200m will fund The Film Departme
  • Greece gets first digital screens at two Village sites in Athens

    Greece will get its first two digital cinema installations as Village Cinemas digitises two of its largest screens in Athens, Village Faliro and the Village Park 20. Spacevision designed the Village system with both Kodak and Christie components, with 3D capability from Real D. Kodak's JMN3000 player has been installed in each and the first film shown was the Disney 3D animation project Meet The Robinsons. 'We like the unique cinema experience that digital 3D offers,' said
  • Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

    Dir: David Yates. US/UK. 2007. 138 mins.The choice of celebrated UK TV director David Yates to take on the fifth in the Harry Potter series proved a wise one for producer David Heyman and Warner Bros. Yates ramps up the adrenalin and menace while adding new layers of emotional anguish befitting the adolescent years now reached by the teenage protagonists. 20 minutes shorter than the previous film and a good deal tighte
  • Hounsou steps up to Summit's Get Some

    Summit Entertainment has cast two-time Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) to star opposite Sean Faris and Amber Heard in its action/drama Get Some. Also cast in the story of a Florida fight club for teens is Cam Gigandet (The OC). A Mandalay Independent Pictures production, Get Some is to be directed by Jef
  • Hungary: on the ascendant

    New studios and a significant tax rebate mean that Hungary is challenging the Czech Republic as the hottest production hub in the region. Theodore Schwinke reportsThe Hungarian capital of Budapest and its surroundings are packed with productions, despite a recent rise in the Hungarian forint against the dollar and euro. This is largely thanks to the new $124m Korda Studios, which boasts four sound stages, and a 20% tax rebate incentive for foreign film
  • Image amends merger agreement with Bergstein investor group

    North American video distributor Image Entertainment has amended its merger agreement with an investor group led by David Bergstein to give Image investors more cash per share and to allow them to retain a minority interest in the merged operation.BTP Acquisition Company, the group led by Capitol Films and THINKfilm owner Bergstein, had already elected to keep Image a publicly traded company with a NASDAQ listing. Now Image stockholders will receive the same aggregate cash considerat
  • Industry moves

    Three join ParticipantFormer ICM chief financial officer Robert Murphy has joined the US's Participant Productions as chief financial officer and executive vice-president. Bonnie Abaunza and Liana Schwarz have joined as vice-presidents of social action, campaign development and operations.Auffret to head AAM's new Paris officeDigital film services company Arts Alliance Media has opened a new office in Paris, headed by Gwendal Auffret. He had been CEO of Eclair Digital Cin
  • International projects take the lead with new German fund

    International co-productions shooting in Germany have received more than half of the $28m (Euros 20.9m) allocated by the new German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) in its first six months of operation. Speaking at a review of the DFFF's first six months at this week's Munich Film Festival, project manager Christine Berg explained that $16.3m (Euros 12.1m) had been awarded to international productions shooting in Germany, with the bulk of this - $12m (Euros 9m) - going to one single project,
  • James Purnell named UK Culture Secretary in Brown's new cabinet

    As new UK prime minister Gordon Brown today unveils his new cabinet, James Purnell has been named Culture Secretary. He replaces Tessa Jowell, who will now be Olympics Secretary. The role means Purnell will now be in charge of areas including film co-production treaties, and he will also have ultimate sign-off on the new Cultural Test For British Film, which is now administered by the UK Film Council. Purnell, a rising star among young Labour leaders, had served as Creative
  • Kahleen Crawford: cast away

    Casting director Kahleen Crawford is frustrated by the lack of confidence in UK actors among some UK producers, she tells Patricia Dobson. If working with Des Hamilton, whose most recent acting discovery was This Is England's much-praised Thomas Turgoose, taught Kahleen Crawford anything, it was to keep an open mind. 'I learnt not to do anything too conventionally,' says the Scottish casting director.'I look all over, but I'm open to everything. Even if y
  • Kaneshiro to star in first Japanese film in six years

    Actor Takeshi Kaneshiro is set to star in his first Japanese film in six years. Based on Kotaro Isaka's novel The Accuracy Of Death (Shinigami No Seido) the story follows an irreverent version of the Grim Reaper (Kaneshiro) who visits people with a week left to live and passes judgment on whether they should be given more time on earth. 'He's an actor I like a lot, so I was surprised and pleased,' stated the author, who has had four previous novels adapted into films
  • Katz named head of production at The Film Department

    Robert Katz has joined Mark Gill and Neil Sacker in their new independent venture The Film Department as president of production.While executive vice president of production for The Yari Film Group, Katz was in charge of production on 18 films including Crash, The Illusionist, Prime, The Matador, Hostage and The Painted Veil. While at Yari, he worked with Sacker who was COO; Gill also worked with Yari b
  • Kings

    Dir: Tom Collins. Ire-UK. 91mins.A melancholy drama of Irish displacement, Kings has 'based on a stage play' written all over it. Not only in a negative sense: this study of the unfulfilled hopes, dreams and promises of five friends who moved to London from the west of Ireland years before is a subtle male-bonding drama with some punchy dialogue, and strong performances from a mostly Gaelic-speaking cast headed by Colm Meaney. But in the end, despit
  • Koch Lorber, Red Envelope buy domestic rights to Water Lilies

    Koch Lorber Films and Netflix's Red Envelope Entertainment have jointly acquired all US and Canadian rights to French coming-of-age tale Water Lilies (La Naissance des Pieuvres).First time writer-director Celine Sciamma's film about a group of teenage girls who gather at a suburban swimming pool premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at this year's Cannes Film Festival. After additional
  • Kremen

    Dir: Aleksei Mizgiryov. Russ. 2007. 83mins.Perhaps the Taormina festival catalogue errs a little on the side of enthusiasm in comparing Aleksei Mizgiryov's debut feature Kremen to Taxi Driver. But there is something in the claim: like Scorsese's classic, this is a tale of a disturbed, asocial innocent with a rigid moral code who takes on a corrupt metropolis and, in his own way, wins. Though over-stylised at times, Kremen sticks in the mind thanks to
  • Lichtmeer moves into production with Angelopoulos project

    Munich-based distributor Lichtmeer Filmverleih has relaunched itself as the Cologne/Berlin production company Lichtmeer Film, which will have Theo Angelopoulos's next feature Dust Of Time as its first project. The co-production with Italy's Classic and Albachiara and the director's own company Angelopoulos Film, will star Harvey Keitel, Bruno Ganz, Willem Dafoe and Valeria Golino and be partly shot from the end of October in North Rhine-Westphalia where it received $1m (Euros 750,
  • Local production: riding Romania's wave

    Following the Cannes triumph of Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, Romanian film-making is on a high. Theodore Schwinke reportsDespite the international festival success of such films as The Death Of Mr Lazarescu, 12:08 East Of Bucharest, California Dreamin' and 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, young Romanian directors caution against talk of a Romanian New Wave.'We don't share the same vision,' says Cristian Mu
  • Locarno picks 13 Middle Eastern projects for Open Doors lab

    Locarno film festival organisers have selected 13 projects from 120 submission for this year's Open Doors co-production lab. The lab is focused on projects from the Near and Middle East. The selections include new films from directors Ra'anan Alexandrowicz (James' Journey to Jerusalem) and Tawfik Abu-Wael (Thirst).Open Doors runs Aug 5-8, during the 60th Locarno International Film Festival (Aug 1-11).Open Doors selections are: Harag we marag
  • Mark Woods to leave Ausfilm when contract expires in August

    Ausfilm chief executive Mark Woods today said that he will not seek an extension of his two-year contract when it expires in August. Ausfilm is the government-industry partnership that has responsibility for talking international producers into using Australia 's locations, crews and facilities for their film and television productions. Woods, who was previously chief executive of the Irish Film Board, said he has achieved the two-year plan he had in mind when he took the top job
  • Maya buys world on August Evening after LAFF premiere

    New US production, distribution and exhibition company Maya Entertainment has acquired Chris Eska's August Evening for worldwide distribution. The deal was sealed after the film's world premiere in the narrative competition of Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival. Written and directed by Eska and produced by Connie Hill and Jason Wehling, the film is the story of an undocumented worker and his widowed daughter-in-law. It stars Pedro Ca
  • MDC takes on sales for Meletzky's Shanghai winner Plan

    Berlin-based sales company MDC has picked up international distribution rights for Franziska Meletzky's According To The Plan (Frei Nach Plan) which won best film honours at the Jin Jue Awards in the competition section of the Shanghai International Film Festival this weekend. The film, which is Meletzky's second feature after her graduation film Nachbarinnen at the Academy for Film & Television in Potsdam-Babesberg, also won the best actress for its ensemble female cast in
  • Medb Films wins Kent Business Award

    The Ramsgate-based UK mini-studio Medb Films has just won the top prize in the Creative Industries Category at the Kent Business Awards. Medb was founded by Elaine Wickham and Jan Dunn, the pair behind acclaimd British dogme feature Gypo and the newly completed Ruby Blue, starring Bob Hoskins and Josiane Balasko. The company is next working on The Calling, which will also shoot in Kent starting in August. Brenda Blethyn will star alongside Natalie Press.
  • MGM to launch channel in Netherlands, Flemish-speaking Belgium

    MGM Networks, the branded TV channel division of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, is to launch a new MGM Channel movie service customised for audiences in the Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium.Subtitled in Dutch, the new channel, 100% owned by MGM, will be transmitted and distributed through an agreement with Chellomedia, the Europe-based content division of Liberty Global. The channel will feature contemporary hit films like Get Shorty, Manha
  • Montreal World Film Festival to honour Jon Voight

    The Montreal World Film Festival will mount a tribute to veteran actor Jon Voight and present the world premiere of his latest film, Christopher Cain's September Dawn. The film, the story of a massacre in 19th century Utah, also features Tamara Hope, Trent Ford, Lolita Davidovitch and Terence Stamp. Director Cain, co-star Hope, producer Scotth Duthie and executive producer Patrick Imeson will also attend the festival.A Best Actor A
  • Networkmoves into theatrical withFlight Of The Red Balloon

    UK-based Network has taken TV, theatrical and DVD rights three Cannes 2007 titles: Hou Hsiao Hsien's The Flight Of The Red Balloon, and Albert Lamorisse's 1956 short The Red Balloon and 1953's precursor White Mane. The Flight Of The Red Balloon stars Juliette Binoche as a single mother who hires a Taiwanes film student to care for her son. It takes its inspiration from Lamorisse's classic short, which won the Palme D'Or and an Oscar. Network is
  • On location: Good

    Fluctuations in the exchange rate caused problems for a UK production looking for savings in Hungary. Louise Tutt reports. The $16m UK production of Good headed to Hungary in search of savings but almost lost out as a result of exchange rate fluctuations.Lured to Budapest by the 20% tax allowance on production spend and low shooting costs, producer Miriam Segal found herself rapidly re-punching numbers into her calculator when the Hungarian forint sudde
  • On location: Hero Wanted

    Small-town America has been recreated in detail on a Bulgarian backlot. Theodore Schwinke visits the set of Hero Wanted. The traffic lights are always green and the theatre posters promote only Nu Image pictures. Otherwise Nu Boyana's Ilientzi set, on the ourtskirts of Bulgaria's capital Sofia, is a convincing replica of small-town America.The 500-square metre set, designed by Oscar winner Dante Ferretti and costing $750,000, first played 1940s Los Ange
  • Other Israel Film Festival set for Nov dates in New York

    The first Other Israel Film Festival, dedicated to showcasing the life, images, voices and stories of Arabs in Israeli society, has been set for Nov 8-15 in New York City. The Festival will screen 18-20 narrative features, documentaries and short films. In addition, there will be panel discussions, post-screening question-and-answer sessions and other opportunities to meet with filmmakers and participants. The schedule of films and participants is scheduled to be announced later this
  • Overture Films takes domestic rights to De Niro/Pacino thriller

    Overture Films has come aboard to distribute Millenium Films' Robert De Niro-Al Pacino action thriller Righteous Kill in North America.The film, which will be produced by Randall Emmett and Rob Cowan along with Millenium, is set to start shooting in September in Bridgeport, Connecticut and New York City. Overture's executive vice president, productions and acquisitions Sean Furst will oversee production on behalf of his company.Jon
  • Palm Pictures to provide content to social media network imeem

    Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures has formed a strategic content partnership with imeem, the San Francisco-based 'social media network' that claims more than 16 million active users. The partnership will kick off on June 29 with online screenings of The Method (El Metodo), Marcelo Pineyro's award-winning 2005 Argentinian drama. Palm says the screenings will mark the first time a movie company has premiered full-length content on a social media n
  • Paramount grants license for theme park in UAE

    The licensing arm of Paramount Pictures has signed a long-term agreement that will allow United Arab Emirates (UAE) company Ruwaad Holdings to develop a Paramount-branded theme park in the UAE. The park will feature rides, shows and attractions based on Paramount movies, and will also, according to a Paramount statement, 'have a unique blend of Hollywood, Bollywood and Arabian motion picture entertainment content.' It will be part of a $2.5bn destination envisioned to incorporate bou
  • Paramount/Warner epic Beowulf to get IMAX treatment

    Robert Zemeckis' animated epic Beowulf is set to get the IMAX treatment. Backed by Paramount, Warner Bros. and Shangri-La Entertainment, the film will be digitally converted to the giant-screen 3D format and distributed through IMAX cinemas internationally within three weeks of the November 16, 2007 conventional release. Paramount will distribute in the US and Canada. Warner has the picture for international. Featuring the voices of Ray Winsto
  • Poland: film city targets pole position

    Despite a lack of tax incentives, an ambitious new studio and financial support from the Polish Film Institute is making the territory an attractive prospect for international film-makers. Theodore Schwinke reports.The Polish Film Institute recently unveiled plans to build Film City, a 10-stage studio near Warsaw. When completed in 2009, the full-service complex will rival Barrandov, Korda and Shepperton studios in scale.Construction costs are tagged at $133m, o
  • Romania: youth and experience

    Romania's potential as a location gained momentum with the arrival of Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth last year, but can the territory keep pace with its neighbours' Theodore Schwinke reportsRomania is in a unique position in Eastern Europe in being better known for its homegrown cinema than as a location for footloose productions - Romanian film-makers have emerged onto the international scene via Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days
  • Rothblum promoted at Warner Bros International TV Distribution

    Warner Bros International Television Distribution (WBITD) has promoted Sylvia Rothblum to senior vice president and managing director, German-speaking territories.Based in Munich, Rothblum will supervise WBITD's operations in German-speaking Europe, overseeing the licensing of content including series, theatrical and TV movies and animation to free and pay TV operators over terrestrial, cable, satellite and IPTV platforms. She will also supervise licensing to selected new media clien
  • Screenwriting: odds even.

    Initiated at Sundance, screenwriters' group 1.3.9 hopes to work directly with actors and directors on film projects. So how will the arrangement work' John Hazelton reportsChristopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and Erik Jendresen (TV series Band Of Brothers) hatched the idea for 1.3.9, their recently launched writers' co-operative, after stints teaching at the Sundance Screenwriters' Lab.A productive experience at the Lab, says Jendresen, showe
  • Seasons of change

    Vin Bhat, the founder of fast-growing New York-based Indian pay-TV service Bodvod, has been celebrating a successful year for Bollywood movies at the North American box office.Hits in 2006 included Kriish - India's first action superhero film - and Dhoom 2, about a malicious gang of Bombay bikers, which grossed more than $2.6m.Bhat created Bodvod in 2004 following a trip to India, where he was helping Bob Kelty, head of Richard Gere's charity The Heroes Project, mobilise the med
  • Serbia to host first national film festival with two competitions

    Film Center Serbia and State of Exit, the company responsible for creating huge European music festival Exit, are organising the first Film Festival of Serbia, to be held July 3-8 in Novi Sad. The organisers wanted to promote national cinema. In former Yugoslavia, the national competition festival was Pula, which is now the Croatian national festival. Until Montenegro separated from Serbia in May 2005, the Herceg Novi Film Festival was the national one for the former union. The fe
  • Shrek, Transformers, Die Hard deliver gigantic international numbers

    Shrek The Third stayed atop the overseas charts following its biggest weekend so far and combined with the international launch of Transformers to generate a $100m-plus weekend for Paramount/PPI.The green ogre hoisted his international running total to $259m on the back of an estimated $69.6m haul from 6,489 sites in 52 territories that fully vindicates the decision not to open the animated saga day-and
  • SIFF takes first step on long march to global recognition

    Chinese stars Gong Li, Jackie Chan, Aaron Kwok and Fan Bingbing turned out for the closing night of the 10th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), which wrapped with the Jin Jue awards and a screening of Hou Hsiao-hsien's Flight Of The Red Balloon. German feature According To The Plan, directed by Franziska Meletzky, was awarded best film and best actress, while Tian Zhuangzhuang's The Go Master picked up best director and cinematography (see full l
  • Six new TV companies join IFTA

    The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) has added six new members from the television arena, among them E! Entertainment Television and SND/M6 Droits Audiovisuels.E! is the 24-hour US network whose entertainment-related programming is seen in more than 120 countries worldwide. SND/M6 Droits Audiovisuels is the international distribution subsidiary of M6, France's second private television network.Other new TV members of IFTA, the global trade association of the
  • Sony picks up slew of rights to ContentFilm's Outpost

    Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG) has acquired all distribution rights to ContentFilm's horror thriller Outpost for a package of territories including North America, the UK and Australia.Set in war-torn Eastern Europe, Outpost follows a band of mercenaries who undertake a dangerous mission at the behest of a mysterious businessman. The multi-national cast includes Ray Stevenso
  • Spanish focus for screenwriters' festival

    Spanish cinema is to play a prominent role at this year's International Screenwriters Festival.Writers and film-makers from Spain will be be the centre of a series of sessions at the event in the UK town of Cheltenham (July 3-6).Those present will include Ines Paris writer and director of Miguel And William; producer Antonio Saura Oculto, Salome, and Miguel And William; Pere Roca, director of the Institut Catala de Les Industries Culturels (ICIC); and screen
  • Stephen Frears to speak at Screenwriters Festival

    Stephen Frears is the latest big name speaker to join the line-up for next week's International Screenwriters Festival in the UK. The director of The Queen, Dirty Pretty Things, The Grifters and High Fidelity will talk about how he collaborates with screenwriters in a conversation with critic Nigel Floyd.Oscar nominee Frears has worked on award-winning films with writers including Peter Morgan (The Queen), Christopher Hampton
  • Sundance Directors Lab: a mountain of work

    The Sundance Directors Lab, which took place this month at the Sundance resort in the Utah mountains, has opened its doors to a new wave of international film-makers. Mike Goodridge visited the lab and met some of the writer-directors being put through their paces. A fair amount of legend has built up around the Sundance Institute's Directors Lab, which takes place in the Utah mountains over three weeks in the summer. This, after all, is the workshop, or as one of this ye
  • Ted Leonsis: the filmanthropist

    Ted Leonsis, producer of Nanking, is also the vice-chairman of AOL and a crusader for making a new type of film. Lily Oei reports. Film-makers have long depended on the generosity of outside investors. But by prioritising impact over profit, Ted Leonsis, producer of documentary Nanking, has added a twist to the familiar formula, and given it a name - filmanthropy.With Nanking, Leonsis, who is vice-chairman of AOL, joins a growing list of m
  • Tele Muenchen signs longterm free TV deal with MGM

    Tele Muenchen has signed a long term licensing deal covering free TV German-language rights to recent, forthcoming and future MGM and United Artists films and TV movies. Included in the deal between the Munich-based German media group and MGM International TV Distribution are the upcoming 22nd James Bond film; a new installment of The Pink Panther franchise; Lions for Lambs, the first release from the T
  • The Band's Visit wins top honour at Munich

    Admissions were up almost 10% to around 62,000 for the 25th anniversary of the Munich Film Festival, which closed with the world premiere of Rainer Kaufmann's Runaway Horse (Ein Fliehendes Pferd) based on the novel of the same name by Martin Walser.This year's opening film - Eran Kolirin's feature debut The Band's Visit - was the title on everyone's lips during the festival's nine days winning the Bayer
  • The East European picture

    Eastern Europe is well-established as a cheaper alternative to shooting in the US or the UK. But how do international producers choose between the packages on offer' Theodore Schwinke reportsBudapest airport on a Friday night is like the canteen at Pinewood,' says Chris Symes, executive producer of Universal's Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, now shooting at Hungary's Korda Film Studios.It is a scene repeated at airports across the region as Eastern Europe pla
  • Thessaloniki competitors to include Jonas Cuaron's Year Of The Nail

    Thessaloniki Film Festival director Despina Mouzaki has announced the first films selected for the 14-film competition section of 46th edition of the event (Nov 16-25). The competition is reserved to first and second features and the films already earmarked have a strong Spanish-language flavour, coming from Mexico, Colombia and Spain. Titles selected so far are The Year Of The Nail (Ano Una) from Mexico, The Influence (La Influencia) from Spain-Mexico, and the U
  • TIFF announces 32 titles for September

    The Toronto International Film Festival today announced more than 30 films destined for this September's event, including Bela Tarr's Cannes title The Man From London, Alexander Sokurov's Alexandra, Jacques Rivette's Ne Touchez Pas La Hache and Volker Schlondorff's Ulzhan. The announcement also includes several titles confirmed last week, including the Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men and Hou Hsiao-hsien's
  • TIFF to hold pre-festival press screenings in New York, LA

    The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will be press screening select titles in New York City and Los Angeles in advance of the September event, according to TIFF director of communications Andrea Grau. The pre-screenings are part of TIFF co-director Noah Cowan's effort to boost the profile of films that might get lost in the shuffle once TIFF is underway. Cowan will select between seven and 10 films, all most likely world premieres.The festival is keen to balance
  • TIFF to hold pre-festival press screenings in New York, LA

    The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will be press screening select titles in New York City and Los Angeles in advance of the September event, according to TIFF director of communications Andrea Grau. The pre-screenings are part of TIFF co-director Noah Cowan's effort to boost the profile of films that might get lost in the shuffle once TIFF is underway. Cowan will select between seven and 10 films, all most likely world premieres.The festival is keen to balance
  • Trade, El Cantante bookend New York Latino festival

    The eighth annual New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF), taking place July 24-29, has set human trafficking drama Trade as its opening night film and salsa music epic El Cantante as its closing night attraction. The festival will feature 16 world premieres from Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain and other countries. More than 80 US and international feature films, document
  • Tribeca, William Morris, CIMG create Beijing film event

    Tribeca Film Festival organiser Tribeca Enterprises is linking up with the William Morris Agency (WMA) and lifestyle content creator China Interactive Media Group (CIMG) to present a two-day independent film event in Beijing, China.The Tribeca 798 Film Festival Beijing will take place on July 10 and 11 and will centre around special screenings of director Benson Lee's Planet B-Boy, a documentary about the global resurgence of break-dancing that
  • TWC shows Sicko trailer on building exteriors near hospitals

    In an innovative - and cheeky - marketing move, the Weinstein Company has today (June 25) projected the trailer for Michael Moore's Sicko on the outside of buildings near the headquarters of health insurance companies and hospitals in five US cities. The company said the trailer screenings 'will enable millions of Americans, including employees at leading HMOs [health maintenance organisations], insurance companies and hospitals, to see a sneak
  • UK sales companies join forces for new group Film Export UK

    Thirty-one UK sales companies have joined forces to create the new trade association Film Export UK.The group's remit is to give the sales companies the strength of a united voice to lobby their interests; to create a platform to discuss common practices - especially in tricky areas such as new media rights; to encourage growth and training in the sales sector; and to increase awareness for the companies and their projects in the international marketplace. The board include
  • UK's Vue cinemas to offer live Formula One coverage

    UK cinema chain Vue Entertainment is continuing the diversification of its programme offerings by hosting a live Formula One event. In a first, Vue will screen Formula One racing live and uninterrupted from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 8. The event will be broadcast to big screens at 30 multiplexes across the UK in HD Quality and Dolby Digital 5:1 Surround Sound. Tickets for the advertisement break-free broadcast are going for about $29 (£15) each. The cost also i
  • United Kingdom - Youth movement

    Four years ago, as students at Bournemouth University, Paul Taylor and Teddy Leifer knew they wanted to find a film project to work on together. And what a project it turned out to be: their first documentary, We Are Together (Thina Simunye) is backed by HBO and the Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation (aka Britdoc), has won awards at Idfa and Tribeca, and has a UK theatrical deal with EMI. US buyers are also in negotiations (Annie Roney of ro*co handles sales).It all started
  • Verve and Dogwoof join Film Distributors' Assocation

    Verve Pictures and Dogwoof Pictures have joined the UK 's Film Distributors' Association (FDA). The FDA now has a membership of 20 companies, including 14 independent distributors. Verve's forthcoming releases include Charlie Bartlett, while Dogwoof's future releases include Ecoute Le Temps. Mark Batey, the FDA's chief executive, said: 'In recent years, both Verve and Dogwoof have established themselves successfully in a crowded market place through innova
  • Warner Bros Germany to distribute Breloer's Buddenbrooks

    Warner Bros. Pictures Germany will distribute writer-director Heinrich Breloer's feature film debut Buddenbrooks - Ein Geschaeft Von Einiger Groesse which begins shooting from Aug 1. The adaptation of Thomas Mann's novel Buddenbrooks about the life and decline of a 19th-century mercantile family is being produced by Bavaria Film and Colonia Media with the Munich-based private financier FilmInterest, with backing from the German Federal Film Board, MEDIA, Filmstiftung NRW, a
  • Warner Bros, HP to streamline post-production, restoration

    In a move the studio says will streamline its post-production processes and 'future-proof' films going into its archive, Warner Bros Entertainment is deploying media storage technology from computer maker HP that uses the 4K digital format, the highest resolution format for digital video. Warner and HP formed a strategic partnership several years ago. Now the studio will use HP storage technology - already deployed on the production of recent release
  • Writers' co-op: singular vision

    John Wells' Writers' Co-Op draws together a stable of veteran writers to generate scripts and share in a project's upside. Unveiled three months ago, John Wells' Writers' Co-Op has been in the works for several years.For Wells (writer of ER and producer of movies including White Oleander and Doom) and screenwriters Tom Schulman (Dead Poets Society) and Nick Kazan (Reversal Of Fortune), the impetus for the venture, Kazan expla
  • Writers rights

    Screenwriters are looking to change the way they are treated by the industry - and win more recognition. As the UK's International Screenwriters' Festival (July 3-6) opens, John Hazelton explores the writers' lot. It's in the zeitgeist that the writers' lot must be improved in order for movies to get better.' So says Hollywood screenwriter Robin Swicord (Memoirs Of A Geisha), echoing the sentiments of writers on both sides of the Atlantic who are trying to chang