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10 February 2005

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  • Russian 4 polarises festival opinion

    By consensus, the 34th International Film Festival Rotterdam(IFFR), which ended at the weekend with a screening of Howl's MovingCastle, was a solid but unspectacularaffair. Box-office was slightly up on last year and a steady streamof international filmmakers - Alexander Payne, Roger Michell, Lukas Moodyssonand Pawel Pawlikowski among them - passed through town. Most agreed that Sandra Den Hamer in her first year as solodirector had maintained the festival's reputation as
  • Alexander conquers $120m mark over weekend

    Alexander grossed an estimated $4.2m through alldistributors on 1,890 screens in 52 territories at the weekend, raising itsinternational running total to $120m.In its only major release of the weekend the epic openedin the top five in Japan through Summit Entertainment on $1.9m on 261 screens.Alexander added $303,000 on 302 in its fifthweekend in Spain for a $14.5m running total, and raised its total in France to$10.6m. It added $628,800 in its
  • Almodovar to tango with Cruz in Volver

    Pedro Almodovar is plottinghis return to female-centred comedies with what looks set to be his next film, Volver, starring Penelope Cruz.The director said the project, one of several he has in development, would be hisnext over the weekend in Rome where his Bad Education (La Mala Educacion) was honored with the Nastro d'Argento prize forbest foreign film.He described Volver (literally, "to come back") as a"generational story" about three women: a grandmother
  • Amelio unlocks top Italian film prize with Keys

    Gianni Amelio scooped Italy'sprestigious Nastro D'Argento prize as best director for The House Keys, during a ceremony held on Friday night in Rome'sAuditorium.Adapted from author GiuseppePontiggia's autobiographical novel, Born Twice, about a father's relationship with his severelydisabled teenage son, The House Keyscaused a furor among local critics when it walked away from the Venice FilmFestival empty-handed. The Rai Cinema picture was put later forward as Ital
  • Aviator continues to soar for Miramax in Germany, France

    The Aviator grossed an estimated $6m through MiramaxInternational at the weekend, raising its international running total to $31.6mfrom five territories.Highlightsincluded a climb to number one in Germany on $1.4m in The Aviator's third weekend for a $6.3m runningtotal, and $2.2m for $6.6m in its second weekend in France, where it slippedfrom first to second place.Elsewhere, TheAviator added $1.2m for$5.1m in its second weekend in Italy,
  • Bafta compensates for hot air of awards ceremony

    If you've ever suspectedthat awards ceremonies are a load of hot air, now there is proof.This Saturday's Orange BAFTAceremony will produce almost 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide accordingto climate change company Future Forests. Its calculations are based on theamount of energy, travel and waste used to put on the event - all of which itsays contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming. This year, however, BAFTAhas worked with Future Forests to take responsibil
  • Berlusconi plans RAI privatisation

    SilvioBerlusconi's government has announced that Italian state broadcaster RAI willbe partly privatised before the end of the year."RAI'sprivatisation is something positive. It will help propel forward therestructuring of the company, which is already underway," said ItalianTreasury minister Domenico Siniscalco. He added: "It is also a guaranteea
  • Boogeyman

    Dir:Stephen Kay. US. 2005. 86mins. Hollywood'srun of low-cost, high return horror movies looks set to continue with Boogeyman,a young-skewing chiller that's better than its generic sounding title suggests.With a stronger than expected US opening under its belt, this second projectfrom Ghost House Pictures - the joint venture between Mandate Pictures(formerly Senator International) and producers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert thatpreviously scored big with
  • Boogeyman is the new king of horror at US box office

    Boogeyman, Ghost House Pictures' follow-up to lastyear's debut release The Grudge, capitalised on horror's mass appeal with anestimated $19.5m number one opening.Trailing someway behind in second place on $11m was Gold Circle's romantic comedy TheWedding Date, released in domestic theatres through Universal.Boogeyman stars Barry Watson and Emily Deschaneland concerns the tale of a young man who returns home following his father'sdeath to face a childhood fear.
  • Boogeyman makes it two for two for Ghost House

    Boogeyman, Ghost House Pictures' follow-up to lastyear's debut release The Grudge, capitalised on horror's mass appeal with anestimated $19.5m number one opening.Trailing some way behind in second place on $11m was GoldCircle's romantic comedy The Wedding Date,released in domestic theatres through Universal.Boogeyman stars Barry Watson and Emily Deschaneland concerns the tale of a young man who returns home following his father'sdeath to face a childhood fea
  • Boyle's Millions wins top film prize at Sarasota

    Danny Boyle's Millions won the 2005 Narrative FeatureCompetition Award at the 7th Annual Sarasota Film Festival closing ceremony (6)and Stephen Vittoria's One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer OfGeorge McGovern tookdocumentary honours.In the audienceawards, Dave McKean's Mirrormask won best narrative feature, Rebecca Dreyfus's Stolen took best documentary, Prachya Pinkaew'sThai picture OngBak: Thai Warrior won the world c
  • Brick

    Dir/scr. Rian Johnson.US. 2005.Shot in 20 days with alow, low budget, Brick is an exciting debut from director-screenwriterRian Johnson. Having screened in American Dramatic Competition at Sundance, thefilm sold worldwide rights to Focus Features for nearly $3m and earned aSpecial Jury prize for originality of vision - and rightly so.The premise of Brickis instantly appealing - a noir detective story set in high school - but unlike
  • Buyers look to take Nispel's Pathfinder

    With English-language projects at a premium in Berlin, buyers arescrambling to get their hands on Marcus Nispel's Pathfinder, a $45maction movie being produced by Mike Medavoy and Arnie Messer's PhoenixPictures, and being represented for territorial sales by Endeavor.Nobody from the agency ispresent at the market, but Endeavor's Modi Wiczyk said yesterday that responseto the project from buyers in Berlin is intense and that key territorial dealsare likely to be closed in the nex
  • Buyers out in force for Berlin market

    Film buyers and sellers are pouring in to Berlin inunprecedented numbers in time for this year's festival and European Film Market(EFM), which starts today.Buyer numbers are understood to be up by about 30%. Salescompanies are shoe-horned into the EFM's Debis building and scores more areoperating out of hotels in and around the Potsdamer Platz. "It's going to be a bumpy ride," acknowledged marketorganiser Beki Probst, "but we will get through it all safe and sound."With m
  • Celluloid takes on sales for Sundance winner Blue

    Leading French sales agent Celluloid Dreams hasadded to its Berlin slate, picking up two films from this year's Panoramasection. FortyShades Of Blue won the dramatic competition at lastmonth's Sundance festival, while Hostage,by Constantine Giannaris, is based on a real-life bus hijack which took placein Greece.Celluloid president, Hengameh Panahi said:"We screened
  • Closer passes $50m for Sony with $6.5m weekend

    Continuing itssuccessful international run, Closer added an estimated $6.5m on its peak level of 2,405international prints through Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) atthe weekend to raise its running total to $55.2m.The drama stayedtop in its second weekend in Australia on $830,000 for $2.9m, and added $1m on330 in its fourth weekend in the UK for an excellent $12.9m running totalthere.It opened in thetop 10 in South Korea on $500,000 on 100 screens, and is exp
  • Columbia TriStar, SPRI pick up Brown Bunny

    Columbia TriStar has pickedup DVD and television rights from Wellspring to Vincent Gallo's The BrownBunny, with Sony Pictures ReleasingInternational (SPRI) acquiring a slew of international rights from Kinetique.SPRI picked up rights to the UK, Italy, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand,India, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, and Asia, excluding Japan and Thailand.The Brown Bunny stirred up astorm in Cannes 2003, when a fellatio scene between Gallo and former loverChloe
  • Constantine

    Dir: Francis Lawrence.US. 2005. 121mins.The Matrix meets The Exorcist in Constantine, orat least that how things superficially appear. In fact, while it does sharesome characteristics - including its distributors and star Keanu Reeves - withthe Wachowski brothers' trilogy, this graphic novel adaptation from Warner andVillage Roadshow also has enough atmosphere and attitude to stand on its own asan enjoyable if overblown fantasy-
  • Daniel Taylor appointed MGM president

    DanielTaylor has been appointed president of MGM following completion of the sale tothe Sony-led LOC Acquisition Company consortium.Taylor will be responsible for overseeing all operations of MGM, includingdevelopment and production of a smaller slate of theatrical and televisionproduct through co-financing and distri
  • De Hadeln takes helm at new Montreal festival

    Moritz De Hadeln, the veteran festivaldirector of Berlin and Venice, has accepted the top job at the new filmfestival in Montreal, Festival Internationale du Films de Montreal (FIFM).The new event was announced last Decemberfollowing a long simmering dispute between the Montreal World Film Festival(MWFF) and its principal public sector financiers Telefilm Canada and Quebec'sSODEC. The latter withdrew their support of MWFFand issued a call for proposals for a new film event in th
  • Director Eytan Fox floats The Bubble at Berlin

    After the high-profile success of last year's Panoramaopening film Walk On Water, Israeli-American director Eytan Fox is using Berlin as the platform for his next film The Bubble.New French sales company Scalpel Films has picked upinternational rights to the story of three young people who share an apartmentin Tel Aviv's trendiest art district.
  • Dream gets international on Tell Them Who You Are

    LosAngeles-based production and international sales company Dream Entertainmenthas picked up international rights to Mark Wexler's documentary Tell ThemWho You Are and willbegin sales at the European Film Market in Berlin.The picturepremiered at Venice last year and offers a portrait of the filmmaker's fatherHaskell Wexler, the legendary cinematographer, outspoken left-wing activist andall-round firebrand. THINKFilm will release Tell Them Who You Are i
  • EASTERN EUROPE Production Listings - Feb 9

    RUSSIA PRE-PRODUCTION BASTARDS (SVOLOCHI)(Rolan Bykov's Fund/ Rithm telecompany). Co-prod: Paradise. Genre/synopsis:drama, action. Almaty 1943. Colonel Vishnevsky has a governmental task: toprepare a diversion group of fighters, consisting of 14-15 years old orphans,to block all activities of selected German formations Edelweiss. All these guysshould
  • Echo Bridge buys domestic DVD distributor Platinum Disc

    LosAngeles-based independent Echo Bridge Entertainment is consolidating its NorthAmerican distribution enterprise with the announced merger of leading NorthAmerican home entertainment distributor Platinum Disc Corporation and its2,000-title library.TheWisconsin-based Platinum Disc Corporation will become Platinum Disc, asubsidiary of Echo Bridge Entertainment, and will continue to operate as beforewith its 225 staff intact."This deal goesa long way towards reaching our goal to b
  • Eichinger voted 'most important player' in German film

    Producer-distributor Bernd Eichinger has been voted as themost important player in the German film business in an industry surveypublished on Sunday.Industry veteran Eichinger saw his production of OliverHirschbiegel's Hitler bunker drama Downfallreceive a nomination in the Academy Awards' Foreign Language Filmcategory last month.A jury of leading film critics, TV executives, andexhibitors including SAT.1's managing director Roger Schawinski, ZDFdirector-general Markus Sc
  • Elektra adds $2m for Fox as Sideways builds momentum

    Elektra grossed an estimated $2m on 1,172international screens through Fox International at the weekend, raising itsinternational cumulative total to $18.9m.The comic bookadaptation opened in Italy on $626,088 on 215 for an unconfirmed ranking, andopened in fourth place in each of Peru and Ecuador.The Aviator, which the distributor handles only inSpain, added $554,613 in its fourth weekend there on 375 screens for a strong$6.9m running total.
  • Famous Players target of 'family values' boycott

    Canada's largest exhibitor Famous Players has found itselfthe target of a boycott campaign over objections to a pre-show advertisement insupport of marriage rights for same-sex couples.The Canada Family Action Coalition (CFAC), which opposes same-sex marriage, iscalling for a national boycott of Famous for having "subjected patrons to apro-gay 'marriage' ad," according to its website.The 10-second advertisement is a still slide that states "'I do' is the samewhether you're gay
  • FFC Australia bankrolls four new features

    Four new Australian features - Two Fists One Heart,Razzle Dazzle - A Journey Into Dance, Footy Legends and Macbeth -are all are going into production thanks to investment decisions madetoday by Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC).The country's principal film backer is also puttingpost-production finance into The Magician, which has already been shotby writer/director Scott Ryan, who also produced the film alongside NashEdgerton and Chopper produc
  • Finland's Frozen Land takes top Gothenburg prize

    Finnishfeature Frozen Land (Paha Maa) by director Aku Louhimies has won the top prize inthe Nordic competition at the 28th Gothenburg Film Festival.Thefilm - an alternative and dark look at Finnish society - premiered lastmonth in Finland, taking the top spot at the box office for two weeks. FrozenLand is thestory of a teacher who is fired from his job and then transfers the weight ofhis depression onto his family. In typical Scandinavian style, the downwardsspiral
  • Flightplan on cruise control after second weekend

    Touchstone's thriller Flightplan stayed topof the charts as it added an estimated $15m haul to raise the domestic runningtotal to $46.2m after two weekends.Opening in second place on $10.1m was Serenity, Universal's sci-fi thriller starring Nathan Fillionand Gina Torres. Joss Whedon's picture drew very strong reviews and averaged$4,634 on 2,188 screens.Overall box office fell after four "up" weekends in a row, as the top 12 titlesgrossed $75.3m, dow
  • Fockers closing on $100m at international box office

    DreamWorksInternational's Meet The Fockershas a shot at passing $100m this weekend following an explosive run that hasalready produced $31.4m in the UK, $24.9m in Australia and $8.3m in Mexico.Currently on an $88.4m cumulative total from all its markets, Fockers goes out through UIP in Italy today (11)and should prosper, bearing in mind the original opened top on $2.4m on 210screens in February 2001.Miramax International's FindingNeverland was due to opent
  • Fockers maintains international box office lead

    MeetThe Fockers easily retained the international box officelead at the weekend, thanks to strong holdovers including the UK and six newterritory launches led by Spain's $4.7m (Euro 3.6m).Otherlaunches came in Sweden, Denmark and Taiwan (all $0.4m), Israel ($0.3m) andCroatia ($43,000). The UK has given the film a phenomenal $29.2m (£15.5m)
  • Fortissimo rolls with Pen-ek's Invisible Waves

    Fortissimo Filmshas secured a slew of territories on Pen-ek Ratanaruang's follow-up to LastLife In The Universe, called Invisible Waves. The film, whichreunites Pen-ek with his Last Life cinematographer Christopher Doyle andstar Asano Tadanobu, has gone to PalmPictures for North America, France's Wildside, Triangel Films has come in forScandinavian territories, A-Films for Benelux, Prooptiki in Greece andPortugal's Lusomundo.To commencesh
  • Fox, UTV partner on Nair's Namesake

    Indian production anddistribution outfit UTV has partnered with Fox Searchlight on Mira Nair'sThe Namesake. The film is based on the 2001Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Namesakeby Jhumpa Lahiri and the script is written by Sooni Taraporewala.The novel tells the story of a Calcutta family who leaveIndia to come to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the US in the 1960s. There, theyface a tough battle to assimilate.The $9.6m feature will beco-produced by Fox Searchl
  • Fox's Eucalyptus wilts under script rewrite

    Fox Searchlight Pictures has announced that production onJocelyn Moorhouse’s Eucalyptus,which stars Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, will not go ahead as scheduled”to allow time for further work on the script”.The news felt somehow prophetic to local film observers whohad been disturbed at the prospect of the considerably older Kidman playing the19-year-old in Murray Bail’s iconic Australian novel of the same name.The script was being rewritten to accommodate her.In the
  • Foxx, Swank, cast of Sideways seal SAG Award victories

    Jamie Foxx and Hilary Swank won top individual Screen Actors Guildhonours at the 11th Annual SAG Awards in Los Angeles at the weekend (5), while Sideways won the ensemble cast award.
  • Franka Potente readies directorial debut

    Run Lola Run starFranka Potente, who is a member of the International Jury at this year'sBerlinale, is to make her directorial debut this spring with a 25-30-minuteshort film.Producer Stefan Arndt of X-Filme creative pool told that Wer Die Tollkirsche Ausgraebt will be 'a really classical silent film likefrom the beginning of the last century except for a little surprise at the endwhen a time traveller arrives in the film.'Arndt revealed that
  • French DVD market surges

    The French Film Commission (CNC) has released video and DVDfigures for 2004 in conjunction with market research group GfK. The numberspoint to the continuing development of the DVD market while video salesdecline. Overall, the DVD/Video market saw a 32.1% rise in sales toEuros 1.96bn. Sales of DVDs rose 30.4% on 2003 to Euros 1.84bn. VHS salesdropped 53.4% to Euros 114.2m. The number of DVDs sold rose 56.1%, nearly twice thepercentage increase in revenue. The CNC puts this discr
  • Goal kicks off without Diego Luna

    Kuno Becker has replaced Diego Luna as the lead actor infootball drama Goal!, which started shooting in London on January 29. Buena Vista International have picked up Internationalrights to the film, while Latino targeted film label Arenas Entertainment hasUS rights.Mexican actor Becker, whose credits include ImaginingArgentina, stars in the rags to riches story of a young Latino player whojournies from the Barrios of East LA to the glamour of the English Premierle
  • Goldwyn, SPE snap up The Squid And The Whale

    Samuel GoldwynFilms and Sony Pictures Entertainment have jointly acquired worldwiderights to Noah Baumbach's Sundance prizewinner The Squid And The Whale.Samuel Goldwyn will take the lead on distribution in North America and expectsto release the picture this autumn, while Sony Pictures Releasing Internationalwill handle the international roll-out.Baumbach's autobiographical tale chronicles the impact of divorce and stars Jeff Daniels, LauraLinney, Jesse Eisenberg and O
  • Greenaway to write, direct Rembrandt project

    Peter Greenaway iswriting and will direct a film about Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. Thefilm, titled Nightwatching, is initiated by Dutch Kasander Film Companyand is due to be released next May (2006) to co-incide with the 400th anniversary ofthe famous painter. The film is based onthe painting of The Nightwatch, Rembrandt's most famous piece. "Thispainting set off an important change in his life", explains producer KeesKasander. While painting the piece, Rembrandt lo
  • Guadalajara to open with Waters' Shame

    TheGuadalajara International Film Festival will open on March 11 with thescreening of John Waters' new film Dirty Shame.The filmis the story of an employee who suffers a brain concussion and becomes a sexaddict. It stars Tracey Ullman, Selma Blair and Johnny Knoxville.TheMexican festival will also play four of Waters' previous features: PinkFlamingos (1972), Hairspray (1988), Pecker (1998) and DirtyShame (2004).
  • here! Films picks up US rights to Julie Johnson

    here! Films has picked upall US rights to Bob Gosse's relationship drama Julie Johnson from Cinemavault Releasing and plans to premiere thetitle in June on its gay and lesbian premium television network here!Julie Johnson stars Lili Taylorand Courtney Love as best friends who move in together and eventually fall inlove. Mischa Barton, Noah Emmerich and the late Spalding Gray also star.The picture originally played
  • Hitch

    Dir: Andy Tennant. US2005. 115minsWhile it may not be on apar with benchmark romantic comedies like Pretty Woman, Andy Tennant's Hitchproves that even the unlikeliest love story works if backed up by a solid freshscript and believable, ingratiating characters.Columbia can expect a solidreturn on its this perfect date flick, both theatrically (it opens in the UStoday) and in ancillary markets, moreso given the relatively warm welcom
  • HONG KONG 7 February

    Universe Entertainment's CrazyN' The City held onto the top spot in its third week, grossing US$268,948from 21 screens and seeing off competition from US openers Elektra and SeedOf Chucky. Crazy N' The City, a police comedy starring Eason Chan, Francis Ng andJoey Yung, has benefited from positive reviews and strong word-of-mouth. Amongopening films, Panasia's Seed Of Chucky came in second with US$172,941from 23 screens while Fox's
  • Hong Kong has a new box-office champion

    Stephen Chow's Kung-fuHustle has become the highest-grossing local film ever at the Hong Kong boxoffice, overtaking the previous record holder, Shaolin Soccer, alsostarring and directed by Chow. As of Feb 7, the comedyblockbuster, which was backed by Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, hadgrossed $7.81m (HK$60.89m) in 47 days.In comparison Shaolin Soccer, which opened in July 2001, grossed $7.78m(HK$60.74m) in 85 days. Columbia and its Hong Kongdistribut
  • INTERNATIONAL 11 February

    MeetThe Fockers easily retained the international box officelead at the weekend, thanks to strong holdovers including the UK and six newterritory launches led by Spain's $4.7m (Euro 3.6m).Otherlaunches came in Sweden, Denmark and Taiwan (all $0.4m), Israel ($0.3m) andCroatia ($43,000). The UK has given the film a phenomenal $29.2m (£15.5m)
  • Investors cool on UK film business

    One year on from thegovernment's February 10 crackdown on tax financing, forecasts say the amountof money being offered by investors is down by as much as two thirds on lastyear's levels.The worst hit are theproduction equity schemes, which offer film-makers a larger chunk of theirbudgets but require investors to take more risk. The end of the financial yearshould be the busiest time of the year for funds raising money from investors.But even investor demand for traditional sale and le
  • Ireland to appoint LA film ambassador

    Ireland's Arts ministerJohn O'Donoghue has proposed the appointment of an Irish film ambassador.O'Donoghue made theproposal while on a trade mission to Los Angeles to meet with senior executivesat Warner Brothers, Sony, Universal, Paramount, Disney and 20th Century Fox.
  • ITALY 9 February

    BVI's Finding Neverlandwas the clear winner at the weekend, as it shot straight to the top of theItalian box office and rallied $2,120,139 from 269 screens for an impressiveaverage of $7,875 per screen.The Johnny Depp vehiclepushed The Aviator down into second place, with the Martin Scorsesepicture shedding a huge 44% off its earnings on its second weekend. Currentlyplaying on 429 screens, The Aviator has now earned $5,099,903 for 01Distribution
  • Italy unveils Festa del Cinema cut-price tickets

    The Italian film industry isto introduce its first ever three-day Festa del Cinema in April, when it willoffer cut-price tickets and is expected to heavily promote summer releases.The Festa del Cinema will take place between April 25 - anational holiday - and April 28. Spectators who buy one full price ticket willbe able to buy another ticket for Euros 1.50. Tickets in Italy currently costfrom Euros 4.50-7.50.The initiative,which follows the lead of France's 20 year-old Fete du
  • Kadokawa, Intermedia to remake One Missed Call

    Kadokawa Pictures USA andIntermedia are to jointly remake One Missed Call, the Takashi Miikehorror that grossed $14.6m (Y1.5bn) in Japan following its release in January2004. The deal was announced byYasushi Akimoto, who wrote the novel on which the film was based, at the Tokyopremiere of One Missed Call 2 on February 5. According to KadokawaPictures, the partners have tentatively agreed to each put up half of theproduction budget, "though more partners may come on
  • Koltai's Fateless steps up to Berlin competition

    Fateless (Sorstalansag), the directorial debut of celebrated Hungariancinematographer Lajos Koltai, will make a splash in Berlin as a last minuteentrant to the official competition. It will play on Wednesday (Feb16) in a time slot vacated by Heights, Chris Terio's New York-set drama, which was previously announced as playing in official selection, out-of-competition. . Fateless underlines the 2005 festival's emphasis on Germanhistory and wartime self-ex
  • Lions Gate sells Rwanda to Germany, France, Australia

    Lions Gate FilmsInternational (LGFI) has closed a raft of sales on its Oscar nominated HotelRwanda, which makes itsinternational premiere in official selection at the 2005 Berlinale.Tobis has picked up the Rwandan genocide drama forGermany, Metropolitan for France, Village Roadshow for Australia, and AscotElite for Switzerland.Hotel Rwanda co-producer Mikado is set to release thepicture in Italy on Mar 11, while LGFI closed a UK deal with Entertainment lastweek. En
  • London Critics honour Scorsese, Sideways

    Martin Scorsese was nameddirector of the year for The Aviator at the 25th Awards ofthe London Film Critics' Circle last night.Scorsese was presented withthe award by Cate Blanchett, one of the stars of the film, at a ceremony in aidof the NSPCC at the Dorchester Hotel in London.However The Aviatormissed out on the Film of the Year award, which went to Sideways. Othercompetitors in the best film category were Eternal Sunshine Of The SpotlessMind, The Motor
  • Lumina picks up international rights to Salles backed City

    Lumina Films, the newLondon-based sales agent, has picked up international rights to the WalterSalles-produced Lower City (CidadeBaixa).The film is amusically-charged story about a group of friends who fall in love with the samewoman. It stars Lazaro Ramos of MadameSata, Wagner Moura and City Of Godstar Alice Braga.The film is the seco
  • Mackenzie readies post-Asylum projects

    Rising young Scottish director David Mackenzie,whose latest film Asylum screens in Berlin's main competition, ishatching two new Scottish-based projects. Through Glasgow-based Sigma Productions,Mackenzie is set to direct an adaptation of Peter Jinks' novel Hallam Foe.A dark tale of an adolescent whose pet hobby is voyeurism, the film promises tobe in similar register to Mackenzie's debut feature, Young Adam. The protagonist is a 17-year-old boy who isconvinc
  • Man To Man

    UK-Fr-S Afr. 2004. 125mins.An uninspiring Berlinopener, Man To Man offers audiences an efficient but ultimately rathertrite Technicolor workout for their European post-colonial guilt.Regis Wargnier, director ofIndochine, here returns to a different jungle and a different colonialera with a st
  • Michell set to embark on London Marathon

    In Rotterdam last week for the festival screening of EnduringLove, British director Roger Michellrevealed further details of two future projects he is working on with WorkingTitle.Michell is about to take the leap into producing with theWorking Title backed Marathon, aportmanteau picture about six people competing in the London Marathon, one ofthe biggest events of its kind in the world. The project is being written and directed by Tim Sullivan (Jackand Sarah
  • Miramax Films acquires Pathe's Mrs Henderson Presents

    Miramax Films has acquired the North American, Latin American, and German distribution rights to Stephen Frears's Mrs. Henderson Presents.Starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins, Mrs. Henderson Presents is a Pathe Pictures-BBC Films production written by Martin Sherman and produced through Heyman-Hoskins Productions by Norma Heyman, and executive produced by Bob Hoskins and David Aukin. Mrs. Henderson Presents tells the story of an eccentric wealthy widow who b
  • Momentum celebrates biggest UK opening

    Jumping the gun on theupcoming schools half-term holiday, UK independent distributor MomentumPictures has bred a champion with family pick-up Racing Stripes.The film gave Momentum itsall-time biggest opening with $2.16m (£1.145m) from 394 sites, beating March2002 Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads which took $2.12m (£1.126m) from373 sites.Racing Stripes is the official film of Red Nose Day 2005, a majorUK charity event, in an initiative not previously underta
  • Motley named UIP acquisitions vice-president

    UIP has appointed EricaMotley as vice president of acquisitions.Aformer head of Film for Elisabeth Murdoch's production company Shine, Motley takes over fromNuala OHalloran, who is returning to Australia. TheUS-born andeducatedexecutive, whose was most recently managing director of Ice Productions, took up this post thismonth.HerCV includes stints at Home Box Office in New York, Fox in Los Angeles andBertelsmann in the US and Germany.
  • MPAA announces pair of new policy posts

    Capitol Hill veteran John Feehery has been appointedexecutive vice president and chief communications officer at the MPAA, whileRich Taylor becomes senior vice president of external affairs and education.Feehery formerly served as press secretary to the Speaker of the House ofRepresentatives, Dennis Hastert. Based in Washington, the newly created postwill require him to oversee worldwide communications with the media and otherpublic constituents.Taylor also assumes a newlycrea
  • MPD tips Laberge for corporate development role

    Alliance Atlantis' Motion Picture Distribution (MPD) hasappointed Paul Laberge to the newly created position of executive vicepresident of corporate development and general counsel for MPD as well asgeneral counsel and corporate secretary of Movie Distribution Income Fund.MPD and the Fund incorporate the income trust created when Alliance Atlantisspun off its distribution arm in 2003, a transaction on which Laberge played aninstrumental role as corporate development officer for ACC.
  • Narnia embarks on Czech shoot

    Production on TheChronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe has moved to theCzech Republic and will shoot for two weeks beginning on February 7. Director Andrew Adamson (Shrek,Shrek 2) began principal photography in New Zealand in June. The film is shooting in anorthernpart of the country known as 'Bohemian Switzerland' for its unusual sandstoneformations.Thefilm is a co-production by Walt Disney Pictures, Walden Media and Lamp PostProduction
  • NBC Universal signs distribution deal with Japan's Broadmedia

    NBC Universal and Broadmedia Studios Corporation have signed anexclusive, multi-year distribution agreement for free and basic subscriptioncable television rights to a wide selection of Universal's features andtelevision product in Japan.Under the terms of the agreement, Broad
  • NETHERLANDS 8 February

    Dutch actioner VetHard!, a remake of Danish 2002 hit film Old Men In New Cars,achieved an impressive second place in the local chart with Euros 233,000 on 79screens. 25-Year old debutdirector Tim Oliehoek has proven himself quite a media personality for the lastfew weeks, appearing extensively in all possible papers, broadcasts and radioshows. Vet Hard! producer San Fu Maltha has launched theyoungster as this year's most promising Dutch d
  • NEW ZEALAND 9 February

    It was a very unusualweekend at the New Zealand box office with nearly half the films rising up inthe chart instead of dropping down. This was caused by a combination of factorsincluding children being back at school, which has given more grown-up films aboost, strong word of mouth being created by previews and, in the case of acouple of limited release pictures, the addition of a few more prints. UIP's Ray and BVI's FindingNeverland, for example, were
  • Obituary: Humbert Balsan

    TheBerlinale began under a cloud with the news of the sudden death yesterday ofFrench producer and European Film Academy chairman Humbert Balsan. "We have lost one of our dearest friends and we willl miss him terribly," said festival director Dieter Kosslick.In a long producing career, Balsan worked with directorsof the stature of Youssef Chahine, Claire Denis and James Ivory. He alsochampioned the work of su
  • Obituary: Joan Weidman

    Joan Weidman, president ofproduction at International Film Guarantors (IFG) and one of the industry'smost knowledgeable veterans, passed away on Feb 6.Weidman oversaw allproduction and financial aspects of completion bonding for IFG, a leadingcompletion bond company, and was a key player in the financing and productionof such pictures as The Aviator, Ray and Downfall.Weidman served as aproduction executive at IFG from 1994 to 1996, supervising projects bonded bythe
  • Ocean's Twelve passes $200m at international box office

    Ocean's Twelve passed $200m at the international boxoffice for Warner Bros International at the weekend as it raised its runningtotal by an estimated $11.2m to $201.1m.The key driver was the picture's $6.6m second place debut in 450 UK theatres, astrong launch that still wasn't enough to beat Meet The Fockers in itssecond weekend.According to distribution executives at the studio, Ocean's Twelve's UKdebut was 81% of the amount grossed by Ocean's Eleven
  • Overture sweeps Thai Oscars

    Local Thai box office hit TheOverture (Hom Rong), a period film about a Thai classical musician, has wonseven Supannahongsa Film Awards.Directed by IthisoonthornVichailuck, The Overture won awards for best film, best director, bestscreenplay, best sound effects, best script, and best cinematography. It wasnominated in 14 categories. Pidisak Yaovanaan won thebest actor award in The Judgement (Ai Fak), a remake of theaward-winning Kam Pipaksa, while Ann
  • Pathe joins Marshall's Descent as shooting wraps

    Celador Films has concluded principal photography on TheDescent, Neil Marshall's follow up to his 2002 hit, Dog Soldiers. Pathe Pictures International is to handle worldwide salesand Pathe UK will handle UK distribution.Shooting began on location in Scotland at the end of lastyear and moved to Pinewood Studios in January where the majority of the action,which is set in an underground network of caves, was filmed. Celador are fully financing the £3.5m product
  • Pollack wraps on Frank Gehry documentary

    Sydney Pollack has completed shooting on his firstdocumentary Sketches Of Frank Gehry, about the famed architect whosecreations include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and theGuggenheim Museum in Bilbao.Pollack, a close friend of Gehry's for more than 25 years, spent four yearsmaking the picture and shot on location in Europe and the US.Dennis Hopper, Julian Schnabel, architect Philip Johnson and LA artist andlongtime Gehry associate Ed Ruscha are among frie
  • Producing nominees finalised for best picture Oscar race

    The Academy ofMotion Picture Arts And Sciences has issued its final roster of producersassociated with each of the five best picture nominees.Michael Mann andGraham King are nominated for The Aviator; Richard N Gladstein and Nellie Bellflower for FindingNeverland; ClintEastwood, Albert S Ruddy and Tom Rosenberg for Million Dollar Baby; Taylor Hackford, Stuart Benjamin andHoward Baldwin for Ray;and Michael London for Sideways.Producers for Th
  • Quebec films lead Genie nominations

    Films from Quebec held sway as Canada's Genie Awardsannounced its 2005 nominees, however the big news was the absence of GoldenGlobe winner and Oscar nominee Annette Bening in the best actress categorydespite a best picture nod for the Robert Lantos-produced Being Julia.Also shut out of major prize contention was Don McKellar's Childstar, which was passed over for best picture and bestdirector and had to make do with two nominations best supporting actress forJennifer Ja
  • Renaissance gets Pretty, sells Dogs

    RenaissanceFilms has acquired international rights to Marcos Siega's PrettyPersuasion,and has concluded a string of sales on Rwandan genocide drama Shooting Dogs.UKbased international sales financing outfit Renaissance will give PrettyPersuasion itsfirst market screening at the European Film Market during this year'sBerlin Film Festival. RoadsideAttractions/Goldwyn recently acquired the North American rights at lastmonth's Sundance Film Festival where it was
  • Rize

    Dir. David LaChapelle.US. 2004. 84mins.A delirious celebrationof dance, Rize is an eye-popping portrait of a south-central Los Angelescommunity that has turned its back on gang culture to embrace the music andmotion of a dance craze known as "krumping".Having screened inSundance's American Spectrum strand, where Lions Gate Films acquired worldwiderights, this potent combination of lithesome gyrations and super-fastmanipulations will bring
  • Rotterdam names Tiger Award winners

    An Italian, aRussian and a Spanish film were named the winners of the three Tiger Awards onFriday (Feb 4) at this year's Rotterdam Film Festival. Italy's ChangingDestiny (Nemmeno il Destino),directed by Daniele Gaglianone, Spain's The Sky Turns (El Ciero Gira), directed by Mercedes Alvarez, and 4 by Russian director Ilya Khrzhanovsky,came out on top of the 14 international films competing. Earlier in the week, Khrzhanovsky was also awarded thefirst Golden Ca
  • Russia on target to produce more than 160 films in 2005

    Russia is on target toproduce more than 160 feature films this year with an economic boom drivingproduction funding and an increase of 40% at the box office last year makingfilm production start to look attractive for local backers. It also has heated up thedebate over the long stalled privatisation of state owned film studios. Gorky Film Studios incentral Moscow will be the first to go on the block with the Russian governmentannouncing that it will be auctioned next month for a
  • Saidel's V!S takes on sales for Littin's La Ultima Luna

    Paris-based sales agent MaxSaidel has picked up world rights on Chilean veteran Miguel Littin's latestfeature, La Ultima Luna.Sales will be handled out ofSaidel's newly-renamed V!S, formerly Vision International. Saidel is alsogeneral manager of Spanish sales consortium Latido, specialising in Latinofilms.Set between Palestine andChile and shot in Arabic and Hebrew, La Ultima Luna tells thebittersweet tale of a Palestinian man forced to leave his homeland and reloc
  • Skillset launches flagship film industry website

    UKtraining body Skillset has launched a new film website for people working orwanting to work in the UK film industry. The siteis billed as a one-stop shop for all information on getting in and getting onin film careers.Coveringall aspects of film from development through to exhibition, the site includes: - 5,000 film and media coursessearchable online.- 40interviews with leading industry professionals and company heads.-Descriptions and career paths for ove
  • Skoll to back Deutchman's US digital network

    New York-basedEmerging Pictures is preparing to launch its long-gestating digital cinemanetwork with the backing of former eBay founder Jeff Skoll's Los Angeles-basedParticipant Productions.The initiativewill establish a nationwide network for the distribution and exhibition ofspecialty films in museums, performing arts centres, science and technologyinstitutions, and restored movie palaces.The venues willscreen English-language and foreign narrative and documentary titles, as w
  • Smalltown, Italy (Provincia Meccanica)

    LeeMarshall in RomeDir: Stefano Mordini. Italy. 2005. 107mins.The only Italian film in competition at Berlin this year, Smalltown,Italy depicts a bleak, post-industrial, dysfunctional Bel Paese that is along way from the tourist postcard cliches. Though the film is not without itsflaws, this is a promising debut for first-timer Mordini, a 37-year-olddirector with several documentaries and videoclips to his name.Somewill find the ultra-laconic dia
  • Son Of The Mask

    Dir: Lawrence Guterman.US. 2005. 86mins.A decade after the aggressively manic original helped make Jim Carrey astar, New Line's family-oriented sequel to The Mask tries to make up forCarrey's absence by adding warm and fuzzy elements to the cartoonish,CG-enhanced (and still pretty in-your-face) comedy.It's a logical approach to abelated sequel: plenty of the moviegoers who turned the original comicbook-based film into a hit will now identify
  • South Africa, Australia co-production treaty mooted

    The governing council of theScreen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) is expected next week toendorse a report arguing the case for a co-production arrangement to be put inplace with South Africa.If it happens, the reportwill be presented to the Australian Film Commission (AFC), the governmentagency that administers such arrangements. The working party behind thepush grew out of a session held during the annual SPAA conference in August2004. Those particularly involved in
  • Spanish outfit launches Euros 30m fund at Berlinale

    Spanish company Markab Creativos is using theBerlinale as a platform to present its landmark new Euros 30m fund offeringmyriad facilities to film and television producers.Under the banner Markab Finances, the company has set up thefund with backing from an as-yet unannounced global group of investors relatedto the film industry and advised by investment bank GBS Finanzas.Facili
  • Studio Babelsberg prepares for flotation

    Studio Babelsberg is planning to go public in the first halfof this year, according to managing director and co-owner Carl Woebcken.In an interview with the business newspaper Euro AmSonntag at the weekend, he revealed thatthe German film studios were 'in intensive talks' about an IPO whichwould be undertaken within the first six months of 2005. Woebcken and partner Christoph Fisser bought the Babelsbergstudios from the French media concern Vivendi Universal (VU) last Jul
  • Studs cranks up for Dublin shoot with Gleeson

    A five week shoot starts this week in county Dublin onBrother Films' Studs, the feature filmdebut of playwright and theatre director Paul Mercier who has adapted his ownplay of the same title for the screen.BrendanGleeson heads the cast as the mysterious, volatile and threatening soccertrainer who takes on a team of no-hopers. Lacing up their boots alongsideGleeson are Liam Carney, David Wilmot, Eamonn Owens, Tomas O Suilleabhain,Eanna MacLiam and David Herlihy.Backing fo
  • Sundance Channel buys de Lestrade's Staircase

    The Sundance Channel haspicked up pay television rights to Jean-Xavier de Lestrade's true-crimedocumentary The Staircase.The eight-part miniseriesfollows the investigation into the cause of death of Nortel executive KathleenPeterson, and will premiere as a special Sundance Channel DOCday seriesbeginning on Apr 4.The Maha Films production isthe latest release from de Lestrade, who won the 2002 best documentary AcademyAward for Un Coupable Ideal w
  • Survey highlights pay inequality for film industry women

    Women working in the UK film industry earn less thantheir male counterparts despite being better qualified, according to a majornew survey conducted by the UK Film Council and Skillset.The Feature Film Production Workforce Survey, which isbased on responses from 903 people working in feature films, also found that mostpeople working in the industry get their jobs through word of mouth and live inLondon and the South East.The organisations said the survey underlines the need fort
  • Sweden's Sonet readies international shoots

    Swedish distribution and productioncompany Sonet Film is readying a number of international film projects to addto its slate of local productions.The first project is English language title A PerfectFamily, a co-production with Sonet's newAmerican partner, independent production company Sound Pictures. Currently inpre-production, the absurd and romantic drama comedy centres on a family aboutto implode. It wil
  • TFI International takes on sales for Cattleya trio

    TF1International has taken on international distribution rights to Italiandirector Cristina Comencini's La Bestia Nel Cuore, a new production fromRome outfit Cattleya.Backed by RaiCinema, La Bestia Nel Cuore is a family drama adapted from Comencini's ownnovel about a woman who was abused by her father as a child. The film iscurrently shooting in Italy and the US, with Best of Youth actorsAlessio Boni and Luigi Lo Cascio, as well as Stefania Rocca and GiovannaMezzog
  • The Incredibles passes ET in all-time international pantheon

    The Incredibles became the 20th biggest international release of all time at theweekend as it pushed ET out of the top 20.
  • The Squid And The Whale

    Dir: Noah Baumbach. US.2005. 81mins.Noah Baumbach, afilm-maker who made a splashy debut with three pictures in the mid-90s (Kicking& Screaming, Mr Jealousy, Highball), returns with astingingly honest, admirably unsentimental autobiographical portrait of hisparents' divorce which marks him out - again - as one of the smartest young USfilm-makers around today.One of the most witty andmature films in American dramatic competition at the recent Sun
  • The Wedding Date

    Dir: Clare Kilner. US. 2005. 85minsImagine Pretty Womanin reverse. Instead of a handsome, sophisticated businessman hiring abeautiful, vivacious call girl to serve as his date for the weekend, it is thewoman, in this case sweet but neurotic, who pays a professional male escort topose as her boyfriend for three days. Now imagine Pretty Woman strippedof all charm, humour and exuberance and without the infectious appeal of JuliaRoberts. Y
  • Top Euro buyers swallow Throat rights

    Ahead of moreanticipated business at Berlin later this week, Summit Entertainment hasannounced a slew of key European sales on Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato'sdocumentary Inside Deep Throat.The picture, which received its world premiere at Sundanceand plays in Berlin's Panorama programme, sold to Momentum in the UK.Constantin in Germany, Metropolitan FilmExport in France, Mikado in Italy, andAurum in Spain.Other keydistributors include Nordisk in Scandinavia, Dandy in Au
  • UK censor to take tougher action against racism in film

    Films with scenes involvingracism face a tougher entrance into the UK market after the local certificationbody published new guidelines.The British Board of FilmCertification (BBFC) cited incitement to racial hatred or violence andexpletives with a racial association as a chief area of growing public concern.The body based its researchon the views of over 11,000 people, using focus groups to look at violence, badlanguage and drugs.Language which offendsvulnerable minoriti
  • UK set for Roundabout vs Spongebob battle

    It will be Europe versus USin the children's market at the UK box office this weekend as French-UKco-production The Magic Roundabout takes on The SpongeBob SquarePantsMovie for the first weekend of the school half-term holiday.Both titles are based on hittelevision shows adored by legions of pre-teens and stoner students and areevenly matched going into the weekend with
  • Universal/UIP scores $2.7m weekend for Ray

    Universal's Ray grossed an estimated $2.7m through UIPon 1,250 screens in 27 territories at the weekend, raising the internationalrunning total to $13.5m.Highlightsincluded a decent second weekend hold in Australia that raised the total by$550,000 on 205 to $1.6m. The picture added $390,000 on 198 in the UK for $2.7mafter three weekends, and took $360,000 on 123 in its fifth weekend in Germanyfor $3.6m.Ray opened on $155,000 on 41 in Brazil, whi
  • Venice set to honour Miyazaki and streamline festival

    Hayao Miyazaki will receive a career Golden Lion at thenext Venice Film Festival, which will take place from August 31-September 10.Itis the first time the award will be handed out to an animation filmmaker."HayaoMiyazaki is the giant who knocked down the walls which enclosed Japaneseanimation," said Venice artistic director Marco Mueller. "He wasdescribed as Japan's Disney in too much of a hur
  • Vera Drake wins Evening Standard film prizes

    Oscar nominees Mike Leigh and Imelda Staunton were bothwinners at the 2004 Evening Standard British Film Awards on Sunday evening.Leigh's Vera Drakewas named best film and lead actress Staunton was named best actress. Otherwinners included Paddy Considine, who won the best actor prize for his role in DeadMan's Shoes. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason was named Evening Standard Readers' Film of 2004 atthe central London ceremony.
  • Vue CEO Tim Richards joins Skillset Board

    Vue Cinemas founder and CEO has joined Board of UK industry training body Skillset
  • War of words erupts after De Hadeln's Montreal move

    With the ink barely dry on his contract,Moritz De Hadeln, the new director of programming of the newly-launchedFestival Internationale du Films de Montreal (FIFM), has already come underfire from rival festival supremo Serge Losique's Montreal World Film Festival(MWFF).On Wednesday, the MWFF issued aterse one-page press release warning the new event that the names "Festival International du Film de Montreal" and "MontrealInternational Film Festival" were out of bounds. De Hadeln's FIFM
  • Warner Bros: a very local engagement

    The popular image ofHollywood as an American superpower steamrolling over the interests ofEurope's local filmmaking industry with one-size-fits-all global products wasgiven a sharp rebuke yesterday by Warner Bros. top international executive. Delivering the keynotespeech at Screen International's third annual European Film FinanceSummit in Berlin, Richard Fox, Warner's executive vice president ofinternational, painted his studio as an impassioned advocate of local-languagecinem
  • Wild Bunch buys world rights to Sundance comedy Dirty Love

    Wild Bunch has picked up international sales on Dirty Love,John Asher's Sundance comedy that played in the Park City at Midnight programme.Written by and starring Jenny McCarthy, Dirty Love is a send-up ofLos Angeles life and centres on a jilted women who embarks upon a bizarre questto "find the white pony". Carmen Electra and Eddie Kaye also star. A domestic deal is said to be close on the picture, wh
  • Wild Bunch enjoys Dirty Love with McCarthy

    French sales and distribution outfit Wild Bunch has picked up Dirty Love,the screenwriting debut from model Jenny McCarthy. Wild Bunch has taken world rights outside the US and will distribute thefilm in France via its nascent distribution company Pan Europeenne.Wild Bunch chief Vincent Maraval bills the film as a 'sort of AmericanPie but trashier and more vulgar.' Starring McCarthy and Carmen Electra, Love was directed by JohnMallory Asher on a rough
  • Women In Film, UIP launch third Directing Change scheme

    Directing Change, a UK scheme to address theunder-representation of women directors in the industry, is to run for a thirdconsecutive year in 2005.Runby Women in Film and Television (WFTV) and backed by United InternationalPictures (UIP), it gives women directors the opportunity to work alongside anexperienced and internationally established director during a forthcomingfeature film production. Thetwo beneficiaries of the Directing Change scheme in 2003 were
  • X-Filme launches in-house world sales division

    Berlinproduction house X-Filme creative pool has set up an in-house world salesdivision to handle the international distribution of Dani Levy's box office hitGo For Zucker - An Unorthodox Comedy (Alles auf Zucker!). PreviouslyX-Filme's titles have been handled on a deal-by-deal basis by Bavaria FilmInternational and Beta Cinema, amongst others.X-FilmeWorld Sales has been specifically set up to handle Zucker, but thedivision is to be an ongoing concern and will hand