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1 March 2002

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  • Adjani replaces Marceau for Bon Voyage

    Isabelle Adjani is to replace a pregnant Sophie Marceau as the female lead in the much-awaited Bon Voyage, Jean-Paul Rappeneau's first film after the 1995 Horseman On The Roof.This is not the only change in the lengthy setting up of Bon Voyage, a WWII romantic drama set in Bordeaux in the early days of the German invasion of France, which is scheduled to start shooting mid-2002. Another move sees Virginie Ledoyen replace Audrey Tautou in a cast which also includes
  • AFM buyer numbers down but screenings, sellers up

    The American Film Market(AFM) closed yesterday and organizing body AFMA announced the closingattendance figures as down 6% from 7,127 in 2001 to 6,714 in 2002. Registeredbuyers were down at 1,327 from 1,447 in the previous year, although the numberof non-US registered buyers was down only 2% from 2001.The number of salescompanies which took exhibition space stood at 338, the highest in themarket's 22-year history, compared to 332 in 2001. The number of filmsscreened was also up to 408,
  • Alliance Atlantis posts 66% distribution increase

    Alliance Atlantis Communications' film distribution business jumped 66% in the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2001, with revenues up $25m (C$40.2m) to $62.6m (C$100.7m) from $37.6m (C$60.5m) in the prior year's period, boosted by the strong performance of Lord Of The Rings:, increased video and DVD demand and sales to broadcasters in both Canada and the UK. In all the company recorded a 37% rise in net earnings for its third quarter, to $13.5m (C$21.7m) from $9.8m (C$15.8m) in the
  • An uncertain regard at Cannes' Lynch-mob hopefuls

    While Cannes Film Festival selector Thierry Fremaux is said to have been given freer rein this year by festival president Gilles Jacob, there seems a good chance that many familiar, arthouse heroes will be strutting the Croisette than ever before.Despite selectors from all of the festival's sections said to be running behind schedule at the moment - it would appear that this year's festival (May 15-26) will bear witness to the rise of Korean, Thai and Chinese cinema, coupled with a wha
  • Beart, and Ardant to co-star in Nathalie Ribout

    Emmanuelle Beart and Fanny Ardant, currently together on the French screens in Francois Ozon's musical whodunit 8 Femmes, are to co-star in Nathalie Ribout, the next film by Anne Fontaine.Currently at script stage, Nathalie Ribout will go before the cameras in 2003, produced by Les Films Alain Sarde, in which Vivendi Universal holds a controlling 49% stake, through StudioCanal.Fanny Ardant, who has finished shooting Liria Begeja's Change Moi Ma Vie
  • Celluloid Dreams closes out 8 Femmes sales

    After launching FrancoisOzon's 8 Women at the AFMlast year, French sales house Celluloid Dreams has come full circle with aspate of finalised deals. PierreMenahem, who has been overseeing the market for the independent outfit, saidyesterday that only four territories remain unsold (Singapore, South Africa,Peru and India) but that those could close after the film's final screeningwhich was yesterday afternoon.Deals completed at the AFMinclude Korea (Keowon), Poland (Gutek), Colum
  • Charlotte Gray struggles to find box office gold

    Charlotte Gray's status as FilmFour's biggest production to date failed to translate into UK box-office gold this weekend. But FilmFour calculates that the WW2 drama, based on the novel by Sebastian Faulks, will still have a profitable UK release across all windows after taking $644,104 (£450,229) from 217 sites.Along with suffering from largely negative reviews and a lack of nominations in the current awards season, the picture appears to have been hurt by the continued vi
  • Coastlines

    Dir Victor Nunez. US. 2002. 116min.Coastlines, Victor Nunez's latest film to be set on the unique landscape of Florida's unfamiliar coast, should be regarded as an instalment in his Panhandle trilogy, a follow-up to the poetic Ruby In Paradise (1993) and character-driven Ulee's Gold (1997), which featured Peter Fonda in one of his best performances. Like the first two segments, Coastlines is a tale of reconciliation and redemption, th
  • ContentFilm teams with Furst, WMA on digital pics

    Ed Pressman and JohnSchmidt's New York-based production outfit ContentFilm has formed atwo-year strategic alliance with LA-based producer Sean Furst and his FurstFilms. And in an unusual angle to the deal, Rena Ronson and Cassian Elwes ofWilliam Morris Agency division WMA Independent will provide "strategicsupport" by sharing its resources with the alliance.The alliance plans tojumpstart development and production of a number of films to be shot partiallyor wholly on digital video whic
  • Deutsche Telekom/Liberty deal is blocked

    Germany's Federal Cartel Office has blocked Deutsche Telekom's planned sale of six regional cable TV companies to the US media concern Liberty Media throwing the German media landscape into disarray.In an official communique, Deutsche Telekom (DT), which had seen such a transaction as being "a clear stimulus to competition", regretted the decision, pointing out that "the emergence of a new infrastructure provider in the local network would have been a particular benefit". DT declared
  • Disney gets Spirited Away for North America

    Walt Disney Co. has acquired North American rights to Hayao Miyazaki's smash animated hit Spirited Away, which has broken all box office records in Japan. Disney also bought rights to the film for Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and France in previously concluded deals. Meanwhile, sales agent Wild Bunch is handling other world rights to the film, excluding South Korea, and has recently concluded distribution deals for the UK, Switzerland, Italy and Russia.Learning from Miram
  • Doug Wick named ShoWest producer of the year

    Douglas Wick, the producerof Columbia Pictures' summer release Stuart Little 2, has been named 2002 producer of the year byexhibitors' convention ShoWest. Wick will receive the award at theconvention's gala awards banquet in Las Vegas on March 7.Wick's credits includeRidley Scott's Gladiatorfor which he won an Oscar for Best Picture, Tony Scott's Spy Game, Mike Nichols' Wolf and Working Girl, Paul Verhoeven's Hollow Man, James Mangold's Girl
  • Endemol to buy German film production companies

    Dutch media giant Endemol Entertainment plans to expand its role as a producer for cinema and television in Germany with the purchase of a number of film production companies. In an interview with the business daily Handelsblatt, Endemol Deutschland general manager Werner Schwaderlapp revealed that negotiations are already underway for the acquisition of majority 51% stakes in four to five film production companies this year. He stressed that the size of the companies under cons
  • European DVD market sets new sector records

    The meteoric rise in the global popularity and profitability of the DVD format has seen Germany and the UK join the many markets experiencing record business in the sector.In Germany, the home video industry's turnover exceeded the Euros 1bn mark for the first time ever in 2001, according to statistics published by the video trade body Bundesverband Video (BVV) collated by the GfK market research institute.Overall turnover on the rental and sales of DVDs and videocassettes reac
  • Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven

    Dir: Daniel Burman. Argentina/Spain. 2001. 98mins.A brooding, fatalistic romance, faintly reminiscent of Julio Medem's Lovers Of The Arctic Circle or Vincent Ward's A Map Of The Human Heart in mood, Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven establishes third-time director Daniel Burman as a talent to watch. Burman's first two films, A Chrysanthemum Bursts In Cincoesquinas and Waiting For The Messiah, have already attracted attenti
  • Film division boosts Sogecable's net profit

    Spanish media group Sogecable has reported positive year-end financial results for the first time since 1998, citing the success of its film division Sogecine, as a major contributing factor. Sogecable posted Euros 2.8m in net profits for 2001 compared with a loss of Euros 11.4m in 2000. Group revenue rose by 12.6% to Euros 1bn in 2001 from the previous year.Among the group's strongest units was film production house Sogecine, which backed hits The Others, Sex And Lucia (Luci
  • Franchise wins 1st court battle with Intertainment

    Franchise Pictures has won acourt victory against Germany's Intertainment Licensing GmbH, asubsidiary of the publicly traded Intertainment AG. The two companies have beenembroiled in legal battle for over a year now regarding the terms of an outputdeal Franchise had sealed with Intertainment in 2000.Yesterday's judgmentsees Intertainment liable for $6.5m for failing to make payment on delivery ofthe 2001 film Caveman's Valentine starring Samuel L Jackson. Franchise has claimed t
  • Guadalajara fest to go ahead with new director

    Mexico's premiere film event, the Guadalajara Mexican Film Showcase, kicks off next week despite the resignation of its newly-appointed director Enrique Ortiga, who never even got a chance to manage the event once.Deputy director Kenya Marquez Alkadef stepped in to replace Ortiga, who left amidst claims that he had neglected the event for his duties as marketing director of Titan Prods, co-producer Mexican blockbuster Sexo, Pudor Y Lagrimas. Nevertheless, programming is t
  • Hollywood plans remakes of Korean comedies

    Two Korean hit comedies from 2001, My Sassy Girl and Hi, Dharma!, have been sold to Hollywood studios for English-language remakes. Korean distributor IM Pictures revealed that DreamWorks SKG has bought remake rights to My Sassy Girl (pictured) for $750,000 plus 4% of worldwide revenues earned by the remake. The film will reportedly be produced by Maverick Films, the film production arm of Madonna's company Maverick. The story of a gullible college student
  • Hong Kong cinemas slash ticket prices

    Hong Kong's largest cinema chains have slashed ticket prices in an attempt to counter the combined effects of piracy, a post-Chinese New Year cinemagoing decline and a slowing economy with record levels of unemployment.UA and Broadway cinemas announced that tickets would cost $3.20 (HK$25) every Tuesday and Wednesday in an effort to lure audiences back to the cinema. UA and Broadway operate 40 and 43 screens between them respectively, of the territory's estimated 180 screens. "
  • House Of The Dead to go live action in May

    After Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and most recently Tekken (Screen Daily Feb 21), attention has now turned to Sega's best-selling video game, House Of The Dead for a live-action feature production. The Euros 12m project is set to crank up in May in Vancouver under the direction of German producer-director Uwe Boll, whose previous credits include the English-language thrillers Sanctimony and Blackwoods. According to Bol
  • Howard's Mind gets beautiful reception

    After taking home two BAFTA awards last weekend and boasting eight Academy Award nominations, not to mention the amount of press Russell Crowe alone seems to generate, it is no surprise that A Beautiful Mind has enjoyed a host of strong international releases this week. However, the Ron Howard film, which has already grossed a massive $132.7m in North America, has not reached the hearts and minds of all major territories.In Italy the drama scored a huge hit for UIP (handling dis
  • Lantana, Moulin Rouge bag Oz critics awards

    Producer Jan Chapman won the best film award for Lantana at the Film Critics Circle Awards on Feb 22, while Baz Luhrmann took home the best director trophy for Moulin Rouge, making it less of a one-horse race than the Australian Film Institute Awards in November had been. Lantana also won best adapted screenplay for Andrew Bovell, and actor gongs for Kerry Armstrong, Anthony LaPaglia and Daniela Farinacci. Moulin Rouge, meanwhile, also earned Donald M
  • Lauren Bacall to present Denmark's top film award

    Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall will add extra glamour to this weekend's award ceremony in Copenhagen, when the Danish association of film critics hands out its prestigious Bodil awards on March 3. 77 year-old Bacall, who is presently starring opposite Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany and fellow veterans Ben Gazzara and Philip Baker Hall in Lars von Trier's Dogville, will come to Copenhagen on Sunday night to present the Best Film award The nominees for the prize are: A Song
  • Massis does multi-picture deals in Italy, Israel

    Alex Massis' NewYork-based marketing and sales outfit The Film Source has closed multi-picturedeals with Dall'Angelo Pictures in Italy, Israel Cable Programming (ICP)in Israel and Pengloss in Switzerland.The video/DVD and TV dealsclosed at NATPE and the Berlin Film Market consisted of four classic Mario Bavahorror films (Lisa & The Devil, Baron Blood, House Of Exorcism and Four Time That Night) to Dall'Angelo, 15 US, Canadian andAustralian films including seven directed b
  • MEDIA! AG anticipates declining fortunes

    German production services provider MEDIA! AG anticipates a negative result in the 2001/2002 financial year and sales target of Euros 30m, although it could reach a positive annual result in the next financial year (2002/2003). Reporting on the first half of the current financial year to December 31, 2001, the Munich-based company posted sales of Euros 17.1m and half-yearly earnings of (minus) Euros 12.6m, noting that restructuring costs and balance sheet adjustments totalling Euros 6.
  • Michael Kuhn co's first picture rolls in Rome

    Shooting has started inRome's Cinecitta Studios on 20th Century Fox's Sin Eater, the first project to go into production throughformer PolyGram Filmed Entertainment chief Michael Kuhn's new productionoutfit.Directed by Brian Helgeland(A Knight's Tale), Sin Eater is the story of a mysterious character who exorcisesthe sins of dead people and stars Heath Ledger (Helgeland's lead in AKnight's Tale) in the role ofa young rebellious priest. It also features Peter
  • Millimages buys 51% of Toons 'N' Takes

    Leading French animation house Millimages has acquired a 51% majority stake in Hamburg-based studio Toons 'N' Takes.The move is seen as part of an intensification of their existing working collaboration on animation series for television.Millimages, which has been listed on France's Nouveau Marche d'Euronext since June 2001, opened a US outpost in Los Angeles and an office in Paris to handle the merchandising of its cartoon figures last year as part of its international expansio
  • Miramax to go Full Frontal this August

    Miramax Films has moved theUS release date of Steven Soderbergh's low budget ensemble piece FullFrontal from its scheduled March 8to August 2 which not only coincides exactly with the 1989 release date ofSoderbergh's first film sex, lies, & videotape but also opens the film up to a possible worldpremiere in the Cannes Film Festival - where sex, lies won the Palme d'Or 13 years ago. Full Frontal has been described by Soderbergh as a sequel ofsorts to sex,
  • Premiere Group unveils first titles starting June

    Mitchell Goldman's USdistribution outfit The Premiere Marketing & Distribution Group -which he announced at AFM last year - has finally unveiled its debutslate which will kick off with Slap Her, She's French, a comedy originally housed at Fox Searchlight, onJune 7. Action drama Madisonstarring Jim Caviezel will follow on Aug 23. Premierewas launched by Goldman, former head of distribution at New Line Cinema, torelease studio-level in
  • Shaolin Soccer scores with Hong Kong award nods

    Stephen Chow's kung fu and soccer comedy, Shaolin Soccer, led the pack in the nominations for the 21st Hong Kong Film Awards with 13 nods including best film and best director.The record-breaking film, which became Hong Kong's biggest-grossing local production ever last year, with a box office haul of $7.4m (HK$60m), also scored in the technical categories with nominations for cinematography, editing, action choreography and visual effects. Chow was also nominated for best scree
  • ShoWesters to view footage of digital Star Wars II

    Exhibitors at nextweek's ShoWest convention will get a world-first glimpse of footage fromGeorge Lucas' Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones as part of a presentation by its producer RickMcCallum on shooting digitally with the Sony 24P camera.The convention'sOpening Night Dinner will be hosted next Tuesday (March 5) by the DLP Cinemadivision of Texas Instruments and Christie Digital Cinema, organizations which specializein superior digital projection on theatre screens.
  • Spain's Morena Films announces three new titles

    Spanish film and TV producer Morena Films has unveiled three new feature films for its 2002 slate, following its co-production of the Oliver Stone Cuba documentary Looking For Fidel.Alvaro Fernandez Armero, director of local box office smash The Art Of Dying (El Arte De Morir), has signed on to an as-yet untitled "submarine story" written by Alberto Porlan and Marcelo Figueras (Burnt Money). The wartime action drama about a Spanish submarine which sank at mi
  • Stones (Piedras)

    Dir: Ramon Salazar. Spain. 2001. 130mins.Some Spanish critics have seen Ramon Salazar as Pedro Almodovar's heir, and Stones certainly looks on paper like a sequel to the latter's 1991 comedy High Heels: it tells five women's interlocking stories through their feelings about their feet. The female-dominated subject, a light scattering of erotic detail and the film's several simpatico male gay characters probably encouraged the comparison. But any hopes tha
  • Stuart Ford named acquisitions co-head at Miramax

    Stuart Ford who is currentlysenior vice president of acquisitions and international operations at MiramaxFilms has been promoted to co-head of acquisitions alongside Agnes Mentre,executive vice president and co-head of acquisitions and co-productions.Together with Mentre, Ford will oversee Miramax's busy acquisitionsdepartment.Ford, who is based in NewYork, will report to Mentre and Harvey Weinstein, the co-chairman of Miramax,with regard to acquisition activities. Mentre continues to
  • Telefonica reports decline in net profits

    Spanish telecoms operator Telefonica reported a drop in net profit for 2001, down 15.9% to Euros 2.1bn from Euros 2.5bn in 2000. The company estimates the devaluation of the Argentine peso impacted its results by as much as Euros 369m.Telefonica media filial Admira posted Euros 347.3m in net losses, a figure which represented a 44.7% year-on-year improvement over 2000 losses totalling Euros 627.4m. The company posted positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisati
  • The Diaries Of Vaslav Nijinsky

    Dir: Paul Cox. Australia. 2002. 95 mins.One of prolific Paul Cox's most admired movies is his 1987 'docudrama' Vincent, a portrait of Van Gogh told by flowing imagery and close inspection of the paintings in situ, accompanied by voice over excerpts (read by John Hurt) from Vincent's letters to his ever-faithful brother. Now Cox turns the same intense non-narrative gaze on another disturbed creative genius, the legendary dancer and choreographer Nijinsky who plunged int
  • TV doldrums dampen AFM sales business

    Some 46 years ago, a budding rights-trader pursued the German television rights to Federico Fellini's La Strada, borrowing 25,000 Deutschmarks from his wife in order to complete the acquisition and kick-start what would much later become one of Europe's pivotal media empires. Today, the $6bn debt albatross that now hangs around the neck of that stealthy buyer, Leo Kirch, is one of the reasons why the independent film business arena has sunk to one of its cyclical low-points.From
  • UK's Granada and Carlton call off merger talks

    UK commercial television companies Granada and Carlton have called off merger talks, it was announced on Wednesday (Feb 27).A link-up would have given the broadcasters 90% control of commercial television network ITV. The decision is said to have been made because of onerous regulatory hurdles, although talks could restart ahead of a relaxation of media ownership rules expected in 2003."Carlton and Granada have been in discussions regarding a possible combination of their busine
  • UK's Granada and Carlton end secret merger talks

    UK commercial television companies Granada and Carlton have called off a planned merger, it was announced on Wednesday (Feb 27).A link-up would have given the broadcasters 90% control of commercial television network ITV. But the annual savings from the merger - estimated at $71m (£50m) by 2002-3 - pale beside existing costs at Carlton and Granada's ITV Digital service. The operation reportedly needs a further $510m (£360m) to keep it going until 2003-2004, when it is due to