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10 January 2003

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  • ...while Okay and Open Hearts dominate Danish Oscar nominations

    Susanne Bier's Dogme hit Open Hearts and Jesper W. Nielsen's Okay both scooped nine nominations for the Danish Oscars, the 20th Robert Film AwardsThe Danish Film Academy's nominations for Open Hearts include best film, best director, best actor (Mads Mikkelsen), best actress (Sonja Richter) as well as three best supporting actors (Paprika Steen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Birthe Neumann). Okay 's likewise include best film, best director, best actor (Troels Lyby)
  • AMPAS names scientific and technical Oscar honorees

    The creators of an industrystandard special effects tool and two leading camera developers are to receiveOscar statuettes when the Academy hands out its scientific and technical awardson March 1. Alias/Wavefront will receivean Oscar for The Maya, its 3-D animation software that has been almost universallyadopted by the industry's leading effects houses and featured in themaking of Spider-man, Ice Age andThe Perfect Storm. Arnold &Richter Cine Technik a
  • Antwone Fisher wins PGA Stanley Kramer Award

    The ProducersGuild of America (PGA) will present Antwone Fisher producers Todd Black and DenzelWashington with the second Stanley Kramer Award at the 14th Annual PGAwards onMar 2 in Los Angeles. The accolade was established to honour a producer whose work'illuminates provocative social issues in an accessible and elevatingfashion'. The picture, which opened in the US last year and markedWashington's directorial debut, is a true-life drama based on a youngsailor who overcomes his trauma
  • Bangkok festival gets off to spirited, but shaky start

    As the 2003 Bangkok International Film Festival (BKKIFF) gets underway this week (Jan 10-21), local hopes that it will become the premier southeast Asian platform for global filmmaking remain high. But a number of late-stage changes to the proceedings have given the festival a shaky start. Among the upsets are the cancellation of a film funding marketplace and the subsequent retraction of invitations to some international industry figures. High-profile films such as Zhang Yimou's He
  • Berlin confirms bulk of competition line-up

    The Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 6-16) has officially unveiled 19 films from Europe Asia, USA and Africa which will feature in its main competition program.In total 26 films - including the opening and closing films and special out of competition screenings - are expected to be selected.The list includes three world premieres from Germany in the competition as well as one from Slovenia and the world premiere of Alan Parker's The Life Of David Gale. France has
  • Berlin confirms bulk of competition programme

    The Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 6-16) has officially unveiled 19 films from Europe Asia, USA and Africa which will feature in its main competition programme.In total 26 films - including the opening and closing films and special out of competition screenings - are expected to be selected.The list includes three world premieres from Germany in the competition as well as one from Slovenia and the world premiere of Alan Parker's The Life Of David Gale. France ha
  • Berlin selections give clue to Cannes contenders

    While Dieter Kosslick and his fellow Berlin selectors have yet to finalise their various sections, there are a number of films by top art-house directors that look like hot contenders for a Cannes slot. The following should be read as no more than a list of titles that are likely to be available to the Cannes selectors, based on directors' previous track records and the readiness of their latest oeuvre. Nevertheless, it contains a formidable array of previous Palme d'Or laureates and o
  • Bollywood gears up for slate of high-profile productions

    After Kaante became one of the big Bollywood success stories of 2002, the Indian film Industry is gearing up to launch more Hollywood co-productions this year.Mumbai based film and TV production company UTV is launching four films in 2003. Among the films is a co-production with LA based Madira Films which stars Val Kilmer. The $10m feature is a period love story set in India. Also in the pipeline is a Shah Rukh Khan film being produced in association with SRK Films, expected to
  • Chairman Case steps down at AOL Time Warner

    Steve Case, the architect of the $106bn merger of AOL and Time Warner, is to stand down from the top job at the troubled media conglomerate.Succumbing to months of investor and media pressure to resign, Case said he would step down at the annual shareholders meeting in May. He will remain on the AOL Time Warner board.Case's departure completes the exodus of the men who conceived the biggest deal of all time. Gerald Levin, the Time Warner chief executive who agreed to sell the me
  • Chereau named as Cannes competition jury president

    Top French director Patrice Chereau has been named as president of the competition jury for the forthcoming Cannes Festival (May 14-25).Noted initially as a theatre director, Chereau first made the transition to film in 1974 with La Chair De L'Orchidee and became a Cannes regular with La Reine Margot and Ceux Qui M'Aiment Prendront Le Train. A quietly spoken, intelligent director with a reputation for getting the best out of actors, he seems a smart choice f
  • Cinesite announces new appointments

    Cinesite (Europe) has appointed Antony Hunt, former managing director of MillFilm, as managing director as part of a round of appointments.Also joining the effects house are head of digital imaging Mitch Mitchell and Jose Granell, who takes up the post of visual effects supervisor and director of models. Other appointments include CG artists Simon Stanley-Clamp, Andy Kind, Ivor Middleton and Royston Wilcocks, all formerly of Mill Film, which closed its feature operation late last year
  • Colin Callender to receive inaugural Ray-Ban award at Sundance

    Colin Callender,the award-winning producer and president of HBO Films, is to receive theinaugural 2003 Ray-Ban Visionary Award in Park City on Jan 21. The accolade,which is being presented by Ray-Ban, US film magazine Movieline and non-profitpublic advocacy body The Creative Coalition, was established to recognise 'thework and dedication of an individual who possesses extraordinary passion,creativity and leadership, and whose work contains vision, imagination andoriginalit
  • Comic books inspire French production frenzy

    It's not just in Hollywood - French producers are also working on a string of mega-budget, high-profile comic book adaptations.Back in 1999, the French language comic book adaptation Asterix And Obelix Take On Caesar stormed the local box office, and was swiftly followed up by chart-topping sequel Mission Cleopatra last year.Between them, the two films appear to have sparked off a new French love affair with big budget, special effects comic book adaptations - with
  • Coming soon in 2003: a sense of deja vu

    Anyone who thinks that a sequel heavy 2002 will pave the way for a year full of original film-making in 2003 is very much mistaken. The likelihood is that 2003 will see more of the same - plus a deluge of comic-book adaptations.Buoyed by the stellar performance of Spider-Man and Asterix And Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, producers around the world are preparing to launch a raft of comic-book adaptations.Marvel Entertainment will be busy as it launches Daredevil
  • Cooper quits Artisan, relaunches Landscape

    Robert Cooper isleaving his post as CEO of Artisan Pictures and vice chairman of parent companyArtisan Entertainment after just 15 months at the company. Cooper, who mergedhis Landscape Entertainment with Artisan in Sept 2001, is to relaunch LandscapePictures as an independent vehicle to produce films and TV programming.Cooper is acquiringthe Landscape brand name from Artisan along with the TV production division anda slate of projects that were in development at Landscape including 16
  • Curtain falls for last cinema in historic Venice

    Venice may be home to the world's oldest film festival, but the island is now officially without a single cinema after it drew the curtains on its last two privately-owned screens due to a lack of profit and spectators."It's the end of cinema in Venice, the death of cinema in the city of cinema and of the film festival," commented national daily La Repubblica, after the town's Rossini cinema closed down this week after a final screening of Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo's Italian co
  • Danish stars line up for Nielsen's Bouncer

    Denmark's two most internationally recognised actors, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Iben Hjejle, have signed up to star in Jesper W. Nielsen's drama The Bouncer (Loeftet), which starts shooting in Copenhagen Jan13.Writer-director Nielsen collaborated with Anker Li on the script, which is inspired by a true story and follows Svend (Waldau) who fights to save his ageing parents' marriage though it has made his life almost unbearable. The Bouncer also stars Swedish and Danish v
  • Direction of Battle Royale sequel passes from father to son

    Kinji Fukasaku, whose controversial dystopian thriller Battle Royale was one of the big local hits of 2001, died on Sunday Jan 12.Direction of the sequel has passed to his son Kenta .Fukasaku, 72, began principal photography of Battle Royale 2 in Tokyo on December 16, but soon after complained of severe pain and had to be hospitalised on December 21. He then fell ill with pneumonia and his plans to return to the set after the New Year's holiday were put on hold.
  • Edi

    Dir: Piotr Trzaskalski. Poland. 2002. 100minsPolish Oscar hopeful Edi presents a touching portrait of a man who has lost everything in life yet accepts his fate with a stoicism and respectful courage. The Polish feature debut from director Piotr Trzaskalski, who has spent the past 10 years in Polish television, the film is disarmingly simple in its plot and emotional appeal yet profound in its ability to convince audiences to re-assess the down-and-outs they pass every day on
  • Ex-Granada boss Morrison appointed chair of North West Vision

    Steve Morrison, the former chief executive of UK television broadcaster Granada, has been appointed as chair of North West Vision - the body responsible for developing film and television in the north west of England.With an annual budget of £1.3m, North West Vision is primarily funded by the Film Council. Its remit includes training as well as providing seed money for the development of film and television projects. Projects backed so far include Neil Marshall's Dog Soldiers as
  • Fogelson, Hampe join US indie MAC Releasing

    Andrew Fogelson and CarlHampe have joined the new US independent distributor MAC Releasing, it wasannounced today (Jan 9) by partners Craig Baumgarten, Andy Gruenberg and MikeMarcus. Fogelson, who arrives from PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, joins as apartner after serving as a consultant to MAC since its inception in May 2002.Hampe, who arrives from the acquisitions department at Miramax Films, becomeshead of acquisitions.'We are very pleasedto have these two highly
  • Fox's Just Married kickstarts the new year

    Fox's slapstick comedy Just Married opened number one over the weekendon $18m, according to studio estimates released today (Jan 12). The lowbrowpicture's debut means the studio has already recouped its low budget productioncosts - which were in the region of $18m - and cocked a snoot at the criti
  • France, Cuba sign co-operation deal

    Europe's most prolific film producer France and the Caribbean minnow Cuba have signed a co-operation deal intended to strengthen the links between their film industries.The deal was signed last month by David Kessler, head of France's Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC) and Omar Gonzalez, chairman of Institut Cubain d'Art et d'Industrie Cinematographique (ICAIC). It follows five years of increasing co-operation by bodies including France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Allia
  • French cinema admissions slide in 2002

    French admissions dipped last year but the country still recorded its second biggest box-office tally in 20 years, according to the latest figures from French exhibition body the National Cinema Federation (FNCF).The 183 million tickets sold last year marked a 1.5% fall on last year's 186 million, but still resulted in an estimated box office total of $915m.But it was a depressing year for local films, as French cinema failed to repeat its 2001 dominance. Only Asterix And Ob
  • French director Maurice Pialat dies, aged 77

    French filmmaker and actor Maurice Pialat, whose Under Satan's Sun won the Palme d'Or in 1987 (pictured), died on Saturday, aged 77.In a message of condolence, President Jacques Chirac called Pialat a "master of the cinematographic art" who "leaves a deep imprint on the history of French film." "Through his powerful, exacting and unique works, Maurice Pialat explored with intransigence and sensitivity the shadows and lights of the human soul," Chirac said. Pialat d
  • Geopolitics set to shape Berlin festival

    Against the background of a possible war in the Middle East in February, the forthcoming Berlin festival (Feb 6-16) looks to be shaping up as a selection of films about how individuals and humanity perform under pressure. While festival director Dieter Kosslick's official theme 'Towards Tolerance' may sound bland and indistinguishable from last year's 'Accept Diversity' mantra, it is designed to provide something for the Berlin public and the festival's dwindling number of cash sponsor
  • German cinema admissions slip back in 2002

    A combination of an ailing economy, inclement weather and the local industry's home-made crises resulted in German admissions slipping by 5% from 2001's record attendances of 163.1m to 154.5m. Box-office revenues fell by 3.3% from Euros954.2m to Euro 922.7m for 2002, according to figures compiled by Nielsen EDI.The downward trend had already been identified by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) in November when it released its figures for the first nine months showing that box
  • German culture minister mulls national film academy

    Germany's State Minister for Culture Christina Weiss has voiced her support for the creation of an AMPAS-style German Film Academy.In an interview with the Berlin daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, Weiss said there was a need for "a forum for the artistic interests of the industry", but stressed that she would not want to hand over the annual German Film Awards to a future Academy and only serve as the paymaster."I want to continue having an independent jury, and a state film awa
  • Gold Circle to establish UK presence, pre-buy US rights

    Gold CircleFilms - the LA-based production/financing outfit run by Paul Brooks whichscored the runaway hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding last year, is to establish a presence inthe UK with the imminent hiring of an acquisitions executive. The new executivewill likely be joined by one or two further Gold Circle hires in the nearfuture and they will be based in the London offices of The Mob, VadimJean's commercials outfit; the facilities housed at The Mob will also bemade
  • Goteborg international film festival unveils full line-up

    The 26th edition of the Goteborg International Film Festival, to be held January 14-24, has unveiled its full line-up. In total 388 films, of which 181 are features or documentaries, will be screened during the event. As reported earlier, Swedish hit director Josef Fares's new action comedy Kops will open the festival. The main award at the festival is the Nordic Film Award. With its prize purse of $23,000 (SEK200.000), it is the biggest film award in the Nordic region.
  • IN-motion parts from Myriad

    German media group IN-motion has sold its remaining 30% stake in Myriad Pictures to the existing shareholders and will in future concentrate its film/TV activities out of UK-based subsidiary IN-motion Pictures Ltd.In a statement, the Frankfurt-based group stated that it exited from Myriad as of January 1, but would continue to work with the US-based producer-distributor and other Stateside production outfits on projects in the future.The statement also said that all of IN-motion
  • Italians laugh all the way to box office over bumper Xmas

    Italian box office figures over the festive season - the single most lucrative period for the local industry - were up an impressive 14% to Euros78.83m on last year's Xmas results.Importantly, according to local data body Cinetel, homegrown films also beat out stiff competition from Hollwyood (including Harry Potter) to claim a huge 48.87% market share at the box office, against 47.46% for US movies.Last year, Italian films grossed Euros68.38m over the same period, obta
  • James Cardwell takes over top video job at Warner

    In the wake ofthe recent departure of outspoken DVD pioneer Warren Lieberfarb, James Cardwellwas today (Jan 8) named president of Warner Home Video by Barry Meyer, WarnerBros chairman and chief executive officer. Caldwell, a widely respected 20-yearveteran of the division, leaves his post as executive vice president for NorthAmerica and Australia and now assumes responsibility for worldwide sales,marketing, pay-per-view, video-on-demand, finance, general operations,administration and supply c
  • Jude Law resigns from Natural Nylon

    UK actor Jude law is resigning his directorship of Natural Nylon, the talent-led production company he set up with fellow actors such as Ewan McGregor.Law is said to be stepping down due to the amount of time he spends abroad now that his career has taken off with films such as The Road To Perdition and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. His move follows Ewan McGregor's decision to quit as a director last year for similar reasons. Fellow co-founder Damon Bryant left also last
  • Kahli Small joins Focus as vice president of production

    Kahli Small hasjoined Universal's specialty film unit Focus Features as vice presidentof production, co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus announced today (Jan8). Small, who most recently worked as an independent producer, will be basedat the company's West Coast offices and will report directly to Focuspresident of production Glenn Williamson.In a jointstatement issued today Linde and Schamus said: 'With Focus expanding itsglobal reach and worldwide distribut
  • Koelmels' Kinowelt takeover hits further delays

    The takeover saga of the insolvent Kinowelt Group has continued into 2003, with news that brothers Michael and Rainer Koelmel have still not paid over the Euros32m agreed to acquire Kinowelt's core assets.Insolvency administrator Dr. Wolfgang Ott said that payment by the Koelmels' Neue Spielfilm Vertriebs- und Marketing GmbH had been due on December 31, but was delayed by 'the complexity of the financing structures' according to the financing banks.Ott added that: 'a further ad
  • Korean cinema admissions break 100m for first time in 29 years

    Annual cinema admissions in South Korea have passed 100 million for the first time since 1973, according to a report issued by film company IM Pictures. Continued multiplex growth, a move to Friday openings and a strong lineup of imported and local titles are credited with boosting the total to 103 million admissions in 2002, a 16% rise on the previous year.Fuelling the rise in admissions has been the expansion of the exhibition sector, with an estimated 180 more screens added
  • Korea's A-Line to re-launch as independent

    A-Line, an informal distribution network formed last year between five South Korean companies, has announced it is parting ways with KangJeGyu Films and re-launching itself as a separate entity. Renamed Entertainment A-Line, the distributor expects to release a total of 18 local and imported titles per year.The move follows a highly successful first year for the distributor in which it captured a 5.9% share of the market, ranking seventh overall and third among Korean companies
  • Lebanon hostage drama gets big screen treatment

    UK production company Parallax Independent Production has started shooting Blind Flight, the story of the kidnapping and imprisonment in the Lebanon in the 1980s of Brian Keenan and John McCarthy.Based on the book An Evil Cradling, the production stars Ian Hart (Backbeat, Land and Freedom) as Keenan and Linus Roache (Priest, Wings of the Dove) as McCarthy. Shooting is to take place in Belfast, Glasgow and Tunisia.Newcomer John Furse will direct from a
  • Lilja 4-Ever leads Swedish Oscar race

    Academy Award-hopeful Lukas Moodysson dominated the nominations for Sweden's equivalent of the Oscars, the Guldbaggen.Moodysson's dark drama Lilja 4-Ever earned six nods, including best film and best director, when the Swedish Film Institute unveiled its nominations on Wednesday. The film's two young Russian actors, Oksana Akinsjina and Artiom Bogutjarskij, were nominated in the best actress and actor sections, where they will compete with far more established Swedish actors. Th
  • Livolsi takes over as Cinecitta boss

    Ubaldo Livolsi, financial partner of Rome-based producer Rita Rusic and head of Italian investment bank Livolsi and Partners, has been named managing director of Cinecitta Holding.Last month, veteran Italian director Pupi Avati was appointed president of the state-owned company. Cinecitta Holding is the parent of Rome's legendary studios as well as the owner of state distributor Istituto Luce and Italian film promotional body Italia Cinema.Livolsi, 57, is also the president of
  • Local Dutch market share hits all-time high

    Local Dutch films took their highest-ever market share in the Netherlands during 2002.A revived local interest in Dutch movies was one of the main reasons that national cinema admissions in the Netherlands increased by 5% last year. Local productions like Volle Maan, Minoes and Pietje Bell helped the national film industry take a 10.3% share of the total admissions. Ten years ago the local market share was just 4.2%, while in 2001 the share was up to 9.4%.The incre
  • Maid In Manhattan

    Dir: Wayne Wang. US. 2002. 105 mins. A bland but smartly packaged and deftly executed take on the familiar Cinderella fairy tale, Maid In Manhattan has already, with a gross of $76.7m after four weeks, given Jennifer Lopez her biggest US hit to date. Now it looks set to give the pop diva (whose previous screen outings have performed only modestly) a substantial international success as well. If Pretty Woman and other comparable romances are anything to go by, th
  • Marcus Ammon to head MGM Channel Germany, exits Universal

    MGM Worldwide TelevisionDistribution has appointed veteran television executive Marcus Ammon as generalmanager of the MGM Channel in Germany, the largest cable and satellite marketin Europe. Ammon will be based in Munich, where he will oversee day-to-dayaffairs including programming, marketing, sales and technical operations at thechannel, which is due to launch in the second quarter of 2003. Plans for theventure - which is to be the first German branded MGM channel - were
  • Matheson confirmed as vice chair of film at PACT

    Margaret Matheson, managing director of Bard Entertainments, has been confirmed to replace producer Andy Paterson as vice chair for film at UK producer's body PACT.The handover was announced by John McVay, chief executive of PACT, following the body's elections for this year's governing council. The appointment is effective immediately.Eileen Gallagher, managing director of Shed Productions, and Andrew Zein, managing director of Tiger Aspect, continue in their roles as PACT chai
  • Mega-merger set to rock South Korean film industry

    A radical shake-up of the South Korean film industry is in the offing, with major CJ Entertainment reportedly entering final negotiations to acquire 40% of Plenus Entertainment, owner of the industry's second major studio, Cinema Service.According to a report by local magazine Film 2.0 today, representatives from both sides have acknowledged that negotiations are taking place, and inside sources maintain that only fine-tuning remains before a final deal is signed. Should the dea
  • Mexican exhibitors and distributors protest at cinema levy

    Major distributors and exhibitors in Mexico plan to file an injunction before the Supreme Court to contest the new public service fee of one peso (10 cents) levied on cinema tickets. Introduced by the country's Congress in an effort to raise funding for local film production, the fee has riled both sectors who declare that it is unconstitutional to charge a tariff on a service provided by a private industry. Revenue collected from the new fee is meant to fill the coffers of loca
  • Minghella takes over as British Film Institute chief

    Anthony Minghella has been appointed chair of UK cinema cultural body the British Film Institute (BFI).The Academy Award-winning director replaces Joan Bakewell for a three-year term. Minghella, who has just finished shooting Cold Mountain, said he aimed to promote the BFI's accessibility to the public."The BFI exists to celebrate the art of film by preserving its past and by providing access to the treasure trove of world cinema," said the director of The English Pati
  • Morgan Freeman to play Nelson Mandela

    Morgan Freeman is to play Nelson Mandela in a film version of his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, according to the film's director Shekhar Kapur. Kapur, a British-Pakistani director who made the transition from "Bollywood" to Hollywood with films such as The Four Feathers and Elizabeth, made the announcement at the Capri-Hollywood film festival. "He is a spiritual hero like Gandhi," Kapur said of Mandela, comparing him to the legendary Indian leader who
  • Naked Weapon

    Dirs: Tony Ching, Siu Tung. Hong Kong. 2002. 92mins.It has been exactly 10 years since Naked Killer's man-killing vixens attained cult status, a decade in which Hong Kong cinema has seen more than its share of ups and downs, mostly downs. Producer-writer Wong Jing's much-awaited English-language follow-up demonstrates that the great advance in computer-generated special effects has not led to a corresponding leap in creativity. These ladies, naked or otherwise, can fig
  • Naked Weapon

  • Nineteen actors selected as Berlin's Shooting Stars

    Nineteen young European actors and actresses have been selected to participate in European Film Promotion's (EFP) "Shooting Stars" showcase of new acting talent at the forthcoming Berlinale from February 8-11.Among them are the UK's Jamie Sives, lead actor in Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself; German Film Prize-winner Daniel Bruehl (Good Bye, Lenin!); and Czech actress Tatiana Vilhelmova (Wild Bees).In a programme of events over the Berlinale's first weekend, the
  • O'Halloran joins UIP as director of int'l acquisitions

    UIP has confirmed that Nuala O'Halloran has joined as director of international acquisitions.Born and educated in Ireland, O'Halloran spent six years in Australia where she was director of acquisitions and investment at the Premium Movie Partnership.She replaces Marion Pilowsky, who left the company to head Myriad Pictures' new London arm. The appointment is effective immediately.
  • Online Film Critics opt for The Two Towers

    New Line's The LordOf The Rings: The Two Towers tookbest picture and director honours in the 2002 Online Film Critics SocietyAwards, voted on by 132 internet journalists from around the world. The secondpart of Peter Jackson's fantasy adaptation added best ensemble acting,editing, visual effects and sound to its haul but Focus Features' homageto 1950s melodrama, Far From Heaven,emerged as the most garlanded picture with seven awards, including best actressfor
  • Palm buys North America and UK rights to entire Cremaster Cycle

    Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures has acquired NorthAmerican and UK rights to Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle, five films, the last of which Cremaster 3 screens in the Frontier section of the Sundance FilmFestival next week.The films will be the first to be distributed by Palm'snew Arthouse Films label in North America and the UK. The deal was negotiatedby David Koh, Palm's head of acquisitions and production, and b
  • Palm Springs honours Zeffirelli, Redgrave, the late Conrad Hall

    Franco Zeffirelli, LynnRedgrave, composer Michel Legrand and producer Mace Neufeld will each receive aLife and Career Achievement Award at the Palm Springs International FilmFestival gala awards ceremony on Jan 11. Organisers will also stage a tribute tothe late cinematographer Conrad Hall, the double-Oscar winner who died over theweekend and was originally due to collect his career achievement award inperson. Director Stephen Daldry, whose acclaimed adaptation of MichaelC
  • Polish cinema admissions fall back in 2002

    The Polish box office declined slightly in 2002, falling back by half a million compared to 26 million admissions in 2001.Some pundits have blamed the lack of big budget Polish productions for the decline. In 2001 the box office was driven by Quo Vadis with more than 4m admissions and the top three slots in the top ten were all Polish films.Andrzej Wajda's Vengeance starring Roman Polanski and released in the autumn was the top Polish box office entry for 2002 with
  • Reese shines for BVI as Sweet Home Alabama passes $30m

    Reese Witherspoon continued to charm internationalaudiences over the weekend as Buena Vista International's comedy-romance SweetHome Alabama took $5.4m from 1,527 theatresfor a $30.8m cumulative total. The animated adventure Treasure Planet, which flopped in the US, added another $4.6m from2,575 venues and now has a $38.9m running total, while comedy The HotChick opened in Australia on $1m, which thedistributor's executives hailed as
  • Ryan Werner leaves Magnolia for Palm Pictures

    Ryan Werner hasjoined Palm Pictures as head of theatrical distribution, where he will reportto Karol Martesko-Fenster, head of film & RES Media Group, and David Koh,head of acquisitions and production, on all distribution matters. Werner willwork with Koh on acquiring titles for theatrical and DVD distribution and willoversee marketing, distribution and publicity for the audio-visualentertainment company's expanding slate. Overall he will be responsiblefor overseeing theat
  • Sarasota Film Festival kicks off Jan 24 with Kiss The Bride

    The fifthSarasota Film Festival (SFF), which runs from Jan 24-Feb 2 with a programme ofinternational and US independent features, shorts, documentaries, student filmsand educational events, will open with Vanessa Parise's romance-drama KissThe Bride, starringAmanda Detmer, Sean Patrick Flanery and Talia Shire. Announcing the line-uptoday (Jan 9), event organisers said they will be inaugurating a competitionaward for new US independents and a children's critics forum
  • Slamdance opens with Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

    Two world premieres bookendthis year's ninth annual Slamdance Film Festival, which opens on Jan 18with Ken Bowser's documentary Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, based on Peter Biskind's provocative accountof film-making in the 1960s and 70s, and closes on Jan 24 with AllanMindel's Milwaukee, Minnesota.Easy Riders, Raging Bulls chronicles one of the most tumultuous periods inmodern cinema and includes interviews with Peter Fonda, Peter Bogdanovich andDennis Hopper. Writer
  • Soft Money - The Netherlands

    The NetherlandsThere is still money to be had by canny international producers, but new government restrictions have taken the sheen off The Netherlands as a hub for tax-sheltered productions. Patrick Frater reportsThe Netherlands has been one of the world's hot locations for film producers. In the space of just a couple of years, the Dutch fiscal authorities watched as more than $100m (Euros 101.5m) of potential tax revenue passed them by and was instead invested into film.
  • Star Trek's 10th outing opens well but is no Nemesis for Rings

    The latest title in the Star Trek film franchise opened well in the UK over the first weekend of the new year, taking second place with $3.1m (£1.96m) - including $536,135 or previews.Despite recording a good site average of $7,365 from its 426 locations the sci-fi adventure, the tenth in the series, still seemed to be slightly harmed by the largely mediocre reviews. Whether it drops off as quickly as it has done in the US remains to be seen. However, the film may have more shel
  • Thailand anticipates increased foreign film shoot revenues

    Thailand is anticipating revenues of $30.4m from foreign films shot in the country during 2002, according to local film industry promotion body director ML Sithichai Chaiyan."Thai Film Board's regulation changes in foreign filming permits have brought an increasing number of foreign films to the country," he said in a statement, adding that 2002 revenues should exceed those of 2001.In 2001 Thailand received some $30m (baht 1.28bn) in gross revenues from foreign films shot in the
  • The Last Train (Poslednyi Poezd)

    Dir: Diego Arsuaga. Uruguay/Argentina/Spain. 2002. 93 mins.Faintly reminiscent of an Ealing Studio's comedy (The Titfield Thunderbolt springs particularly to mind), Uruguay's Oscar candidate is a gentle caper movie about a gang of old codgers who hijack a steam train. International critics are likely to turn their noses up at this cosily old-fashioned piece, which went home empty handed from the competition at the Havana Festival Of New Latin American Cinema (although
  • The rise, fall and rise again of UK tax production funds

    Even as the UK's tax production funds are failing to attract enough investors to match their lofty ambitions, a new breed of internationally-oriented schemes are starting to emerge.While funds such Monument, which set out to provide 50% of budgets, have failed to materialise, tax specialists predict the growth of a middle ground with funds such as Fusion and Microfusion, the latest vehicles from Future Filmgroup chief Tim Levy.Levy, a veteran of the UK tax financing sector, aims
  • Trumer takes over at UIP France

    UIP's French outpost has announced the arrival of Camille Trumer as managing director. Trumer replaces former Polygram executive Jean-Paul Rougier who held the top spot at UIP France since July 2000.The newly-installed Trumer has a varied background including a stint at UGC during which he passed from director of UGC Film Distribution to managing director of UGC's Belgian and Spanish subsidiaries. He also previously worked as head of Universal Pictures Video France and recently spent
  • Twilight Samurai scoops top Japanese film prize

    Yoji Yamada's The Twilight Samurai has been voted the best Japanese film of 2002 by the Kinema Junpo critics' poll, while scooping five other awards.Considered the most prestigious honor in the Japanese film industry, the Kinema Junpo poll is now celebrating its 76th year. The best foreign film, according the to magazine's panel of critics, was Road to Perdition.Meanwhile, the best director prize went to Yamada, a veteran best known abroad for his 48-episode T
  • Two Weeks Notice

    Dir: Marc Lawrence. US 2002. 102minsThe adorably klutzy Sandra Bullock and the self-deprecatingly charming Hugh Grant have always engendered enormous goodwill among movie-goers. That's lucky for writer and first-time director Marc Lawrence because without the couple's seemingly bullet-proof appeal, this predictable, utterly formulaic romantic comedy would be unbearable. The film has grossed more than $68.2m in three weeks in the US where it is now playing on 2,755 sites, a te
  • Tycoon (Oligarch)

    Dir. Pavel Lounguine. Russia/France. 128mins.Pavel Lounguine's latest chronicle of the new Russia must have had many of this country's high and mighty squirming on their seats - that is if they still care at all about their reputation. A major hit at home and a festival staple last year, Lounguine's adaptation of Yuli Dubov's novel deals with events in a way that is often uncomfortably close to the real facts as reported by the media. This sarcastic thriller ties together high finan
  • UK video/DVD sales surge in 2002

    Tim Dams IN LONDONVideo retail sales surged to an estimated 154 million units in 2002, helped by 111% increase in DVD sales, which contributed to overall video market growth of 26%.The figures were released by the British Video Association, which added that the figures do not include mail order, which will probably add another 12 million units to the figure.Once again, DVD proved itself to be a hugely popular Christmas present with software sales up 87% for December.
  • Universal scores powerful 8 Mile opening in Germany

    Universal began theinternational roll-out of rap drama 8 Mile in emphatic style over the weekend, grossing $7.3m from 597 theatres inGermany, Austria, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In Germany the Eminem starrer took amighty $6.1m from 455 venues. It was Universal's fifth biggest opening ever inthe territory behind American Pie 2, Jurassic Park, The Lost World and The Mummy. The picture opened in second place behind The Lord Of The Rings:The Two Towers,
  • Verhoeven, Mamet enter Franchise fold for AFM

    ElieSamaha's Franchise Pictures may be busying itself for its Aug 5 trialdate in its ongoing legal battle with Germany's Intertainment AG, but itcontinues to board new projects and has three new ones available for pre-saleat AFM -Paul Verhoeven's next picture Void Moon, the next from David Mamet entitled Spartan with Val Kilmer in the lead role and aRidley Scott-produced epic Tristan & Isolde to be directed by Kevin Reynolds andstar James Franco.
  • Zentropa pulls plug on internet outfit Tvropa

    The dotcom ambitions of the low-budget mavericks at Denmark's Zentropa have finally hit the rocks.Internet outfit Tvropa filed for insolvency over Christmas after Zentropa and other investors had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on the company, which launched in 2000 with plans to webcast 3-4 minute programmes about movies, entertainment and technology. Venture companies Vesterhavet A/S and Catpen injected some $850,000 into the company in April last year but, according to