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10 June 2003

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  • 2 Fast 2 Furious

    Dir: John Singleton. US. 2003. 108 mins.With R&B star Tyrese ably substituting for Vin Diesel and John Singleton taking over the directorial steering wheel, the big-budget sequel to surprise summer 2001 hit The Fast And The Furious is more conventional than its neo-B movie predecessor - but also more broadly entertaining. A young male-dominated multi-ethnic crowd will again form the core audience, but 2 Fast 2 Furious might be able to surpass the original's $145
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious smashes in at number one

    Universal Pictures scoredits second number one bow in three weeks as 2 Fast 2 Furious roared to the top of the table on an estimated$52.1m.The street racing sequel wasthe only new entry to break into a top 10 that contains four $100m-plus films,two of which have grossed more than $200m.Overall the top 12 filmsgrossed an estimated $157m, representing a 52% rise against the same periodlast year and the third consecutive weekly rise against 2002 counterparts.In 2 F
  • Admissions flatten in Canada at start of new millennium

    After a growthspurt in the late 1990s, film attendance in Canada has flattened in 2000-2001,according to a survey from Statistics Canada. The nation'scinemas, including drive-ins, saw 119.6 million admissions, a 41-year-high butan increase of only 3% from the previous year. In 1998, attendance soared by14%, part of a nine-year trend of increasing ticket sales which would seem tohave peaked. Canadianexhibition revenues overall reached just over C$1bn billion in 2000, a loss ofC$2
  • Advertisers exploit Czech box-office bonanza

    Czech hit Pupendo, combined with the local success of The Matrix Reloaded, have given a welcome boost to the Czech box office, with advertisers investing in local campaigns and sponsorship to an unprecedented degree, according to the Prague Business Journal. "Blockbusters and especially Czech movies have been motivating advertisers amazingly lately," said Michal Janecek, managing director with the leading Czech cinema advertising agency RMB Czech Arcona. In
  • Anant Singh invites public participation in film project

    Anant Singh, South Africa's leading producer, is launching a unique contest for the production of his Durban-based company Videovision's new film. The movie is based on the book Echoes Of Love From Heavens Above, by New York's Mickey Nivelli and Singh is offering a prize of $12,000 (R100,000) for public participation in the script, to adapt the best-selling book. Echoes Of Love From Heavens Above, is the true-life love story of Lotte Joseph who triumphed over the h
  • Anger burns up the box office with $8.4m for CTFDI

    Anger Management scored a couple of record openings for stars AdamSandler and Jack Nicholson as the comedy grossed $8.4m on 3,000 internationalscreens over the weekend, raising its total to $29.1m.Opening in 18 territoriesthe highlights included a number two bow in the UK behind The MatrixReloaded, where Anger Management took $2.8m in 529 sites for the biggest opening forboth stars in the territory.Columbia TriStar FilmDistributors International (CTFDI) also
  • BAFTA/LA ups its fellowship funds at UCLA

    BAFTA/LA hasincreased its fellowship at the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television tohelp the school reach its $1m funding target for next academic year.Each yearBAFTA/LA sponsors a UK student studying film and television at UCLA and thepledge was announced at a special breakfast yesterday (Jun 3).In a statementBAFTA/LA chairman Gary Dartnall said, "Our efforts to provide scholarships forstudents studying film and television is a reflection of our mission tocelebrate and pr
  • Banks move in on Kirch after Saban bid collapses

    US investor Haim Saban's planned Euros 2bn takeover of bankrupt KirchMedia is off.In a joint declaration, KirchMedia's insolvency administrator and the Saban Capital Group "agreed to amicably annul the concluded contracts on the sale of the majority of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG and the sale of the film rights trade."At the same time, KirchMedia's creditor banks - HypoVereinsbank, Commerzbank, BayernLB have approved a so-called "plan B" under which KirchMedia will manage the two bu
  • Beckham scores with $60m worldwide gross

    British hit BendIt Like Beckham has surpassed$60m in worldwide revenues with plenty more theatre time before the finalwhistle. Last weekend its North American gross surpassed its UK gross after 12weeks on release and it is still playing in the top ten.Gurinder Chadha'ssoccer comedy, which is distributed in the US by Fox Searchlight, grossed $1.1mfrom 491 sites last weekend to bring its cumulative total to $19.2m. This tookit past the film's homegrown UK/Ireland total of $18.9m (
  • Blanchett, Beckinsale ready to board The Aviator

    Cate Blanchett is innegotiations to play Katharine Hepburn and Kate Beckinsale is in talks to playAva Gardner in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator which is set to start shooting next month. Theywould join Leonardo DiCaprio who will play Howard Hughes in the film which is budgeted at a reported$100m.Other actors who are close to joining the cast are No Doubt pop queen Gwen Stefani to play Jean Harlow and John C Reilly, who starred in Scorsese's Gangs Of New York.Initial
  • Bruce Almighty strikes down records in Brazil

    BruceAlmighty sentinternational records tumbling over the weekend with a string of number oneopenings for Buena Vista International (BVI), grossing $6m to raise its non-UScumulative score to $13.7m.In Brazil thecomedy took a mighty $1.5m from 241 screens, scoring the eighth biggestindustry bow ever, the biggest comedy opening and the second biggest openingfor BVIBruceAlmighty also recordedthe biggest opening for its star Jim Carrey and the biggest June opening of a
  • Budapest Film closes Almodovar, Ozon deals

    Budapest Film, Hungary's largest independent film distributor closed several deals during and after this year's Cannes. Following its success with earlier Pedro Almodovar films, especially All About My Mother and Talk to Her, Budapest Film will also distribute the Spanish director's La Mala Educacion. The film is expected to be released in Hungary in December 2004.Budapest Film also closed a deal on Michael Winterbottom's Berlinale Golden Bear winner In T
  • Cabbages & Queens set to roll in London

    Recently-launched tax financier UKFS and sales agent AV Pictures have boarded Cabbages & Queens, a comedy drama set in the London theatre world starring Keri Russell (pictured), Nathan Lane, Darren Boyd, Emilia Fox, Greg Wise, Simon Callow, Joss Ackland and Brian Blessed.Principal photography is scheduled to start June 30th in and around London with producing duties shared between Gordon Anderson, David Kraftman and Adrian Rigelsford of London production outfit Banana Skin Produ
  • Cannes artistic director reflects on 'year of thorns'

    Thierry Fremaux, the man chiefly responsible for this year'sprogramming selections at the Cannes Film Festival, has hit back at the barrageof barbed criticism and hopes that a more level-headed assessment of the 2003 Official Selection will emerge over time.Fremaux, who has been Cannes' artistic director for the past threeyears, suggests that critics' expectations may have been artificially highfollowing the exceptional artistic achievement of the two previous editions."It is no
  • Cardiff's Cartoon Masters features int'l animators

    Jean-Paul Commin of France Television Distribution, Chris Grace, director of Animation S4C, and Paco Rodriguez, director of Filmax Animation are among the international animators taking part in this month's Cartoon Masters in Cardiff.Organised by Skillset Cymru, the event aims to give Welsh animators an opportunity to make contacts in new markets, develop ideas and get advice from experts. The sessions will be held on June 21 and 22.
  • Cinecitta lines up workshops for US film students

    The Cinecitta Studios inRome will host three film-making workshops this summer in association with LosAngeles' USC school of Cinema-Television, to run from Jul 7-Aug 15.The credited courses willcover aspects of production, the links between Italian and American cinema andscreenwriting. This is the second consecutive year that Cinecitta is stagingthe course.Students will also learnfilm-making practices like camera rental, time scheduling and post productionand
  • Columbia's Anger manages Sandler's biggest UK opening

    Teaming with Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson proved as beneficial in the UK as it did in the US for Adam Sandler as Anger Management scored the comedian's biggest UK release.Columbia TriStar's film took $2.9m (£1.8m) from 431 sites - a strong average of $6,827 - giving Sandler his biggest ever UK opening ahead of the $2.3m (£1.4m) taken from 379 sites by Columbia's Big Daddy in October 1999 and the $1.7m (£1m) earned by Entertainment Film Distributors' The Wedding Sin
  • Digital advertising far outstrips digital screenings

    According to a new report from Screen Digest the use of digital technology for pre-film advertising far outstrips full-on electronic cinema.Eight different exhibition chains, operating in five continents have digitised more than 2,750 cinema screens with low-cost networked projector solutions. This number is set to double by year-end 2003, says the report.That compares with 160 cinema screens worldwide converted to high-end digital cinema presentation capability. This rep
  • Documentary film-maker gets Norway's Aamot award

    Norway's coveted Aamot Award, given by local film distribution professionals and cinema managers, has been bestowed on Margreth Olin, one of the country's most respected documentary filmmakers. The prize was handed out by jury president Linn Ullmann at the annual FILM&KINO meeting in capital Oslo. 'Margreth Olin has had an important voice in the social debate in Norway through her films,' said Ullmann. 'Margreth Olin's basis is herself as a human being, whether she chooses to tell abou
  • Dutch director prepares 'Royal Scandal' project

    Dutch director Frans Weisz (Charlotte, Polonaise) is planning a feature about one of the most controversial episodes in the history of the Royal Dutch family: the Greet Hofmans-incident. Greet Hofmans, a faith-healer (1894-1968) had a profound influence on Queen Juliana during the fifties . The relationship was condemned by the Dutch government and nearly lead to the downfall of the royal family in the Netherlands.Weisz's film will be based on the novel Mevrouw Majeste
  • Echelon ties up with Newmark for domestic theatrical push

    LA-based EchelonEntertainment has formed a domestic theatrical alliance with NewmarkEntertainment to support independent films with aggressive print andadvertising packages.The partners will start withthe offbeat comedy Nobody Knows Anything, which stars an ensemble castincluding Mike Myers, Janeane Garafalo and Virginia Madsen.Newmark/Echelon willguarantee producers full theatrical distribution along with cash for prints and advertising.Producers will have theoppo
  • Edinburgh film festival to hold Clouzot retrospective

    French master of suspense Henri-Georges Clouzot is the subject of a comprehensive retrospective at the 57th Edinburgh International Film Festival (August 13-24). Running in conjunction with the National Film Theatre in London, the retrospective salutes a director whose body of work is among the most influential in European cinema. Dogged by ill-health, Clouzot only completed ten features but his films include such classics as Le Corbeau (1943), The Wages Of Fear (La Sa
  • Emden film festival focuses on new British cinema

    The International Film Festival Emden - Aurich - Nordeney (June 11-18) is remaining true to its traditional focus on new British cinema with screenings of new films by Don Coutts (American Cousins), Ken Loach (Sweet Sixteen), Duncan Roy (AKA) as well as Lone Scherfig's UK-Danish co-production Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself and a Director's Portrait devoted to Peter Greenaway.In addition, three world premieres will be screened in the New German Films sidebar -S
  • Film by the Sea festival adds extra days, location

    Dutch film festival, Film by the Sea (5 -14 September) is adding three days to its programme and introducing a new location.This year's fifth edition will last three days longer and, in addition to the Cine City-cinema in Vlissingen in Zeeland, part of the program will be shown in the Pathe Theatre in the coastal town of Scheveningen (8-13 September). Film by the Sea was established to act as the opening of the Dutch film season. Besides a number of avant-premieres, the festiv
  • Film students dupe Czech public for documentary

    A group of students at Prague's FAMU film academy have pulled off one of the most audacious stunts in the country's short history. The hundreds of people who made the journey to the Prague suburb of Letnany for the grand opening of giant new superstore were outraged when they discovered the much-advertised Cesky Sen ('Czech Dream') hypermarket was nothing but an a student film school project. A film crew was on hand to record their reactions.With security guards standing by to p
  • France's Euripide rescued by Vision

    Ailing French production house Euripide has been given a new lease on life as part of Vision Group's expansion plans. The company, which had been on the brink of bankruptcy, has been taken over by the Vision group run by Dominique Macline of Mediavision and director Stephane Loison, according to French daily Les Echos. The idea behind the takeover is to construct an audiovisual group with major interests in cinema.Having started as record label Erato under the stewardship
  • Gabriele Roethemeyer named artistic director at Stuttgart

    Gabriele Roethemeyer, chief executive of Baden-Wuerttemberg's regional fund Medien- und Filmgesellschaft (MFG ), has been appointed artistic director for the Film- und Medienfestival GmbH (FMF) which organises the Stuttgart Ludwigsburg European Filmfest (July 10-15), European Short Film (September 10-15), the Stuttgart Internatonal Festival of Animated Film, and the fmx conference for digital media production.Roethemeyer has been serving as an interim successor to the previous artistic
  • Game, set and match to Becker at German Lolas

    Wolfgang Becker's Good Bye, Lenin! swept the board at the German Film Awards by picking up a record nine Lolas - seven Golden Lolas with prize-money totalling Euros 560,000 and the two Audience Awards - to add to the Lola that Becker and co-author Bernd Lichtenberg won for Best Filmed Screenplay during the Berlinale last year.Lenin's tally is five more than last year's Nowhere In Africa, which received five Lolas and then went on win the Academy Award for Best Fore
  • Geoff Stier joins Valhalla as head of production

    Veteran producerGeoff Stier has joined Gale Anne Hurd's Valhalla Motion Pictures asproducer and the company's head of production.Stier willoversee development and production of a slate of film and television projectsincluding comic book adaptation The Punisher for Artisan and super heroine project Flux for Paramount.He will reportdirectly to Valhalla chairman Hurd.'Geoff isa remarkable executive and a talented producer who has the best in
  • German animators demand their own Lola award

    On the eve of the German Film Awards ceremony in Berlin on Friday evening, a group of German animation producers including Warner Bros. Willi Geike, Motion Works' Tony Loeser, Dreamin' Dolphin Film's Lilian Klages and Cartoon Film's Thilo Graf Rothkirch have called on State Minister for Culture Christina Weiss to introduce a nomination category for best animation feature.The producers pointed out that animation now has its own category at the US Academy Awards and showed how the German
  • Giovanni Galoppi named new president of Italia Cinema

    Italian lawyer Giovanni Galoppi has been named the new president of film promotional body Italia Cinema.Galoppi replaces Marina Cicogna, the former film producer who had been appointed last year. Cicogna will remain in charge of artistic and promotional activities at Italia Cinema.Galoppi is already actively involved with several state film bodies: he is a member of the Credito Cinematografico - the government committee that awards loans to Italian films - and is a board member
  • Global film industry losing up to $3.5bn from piracy

    The global film industry is currently losing $3bn-$3.5bn per year to illegal piracy operations, according to a new report The Impact Of Piracy On The Film Industry, by UK based management consultancy firm Deloitte & Touche.The new report attributes most of the current loss to "hard copy" video piracy, ie replication and distribution of physical video copies, either on VHS tape or VCD and DVD. Deloitte estimates this is worth about $3bn a year, but is "unlikely to grow significan
  • Global Film Initiative acquires first films for US distribution

    The Global FilmInitiative, the US-based charitable foundation dedicated to the promotion ofcross-cultural understanding through cinema, has acquired five films for itsdistribution and education programmes.The filmsinclude Rashid Masharawi's drama Ticket to Jerusalem, about a Palestinian filmprojectionist's struggle to screen a film in Jerusalem's Old City,and Adoor Gopalakrishnan's drama Shadow Kill, which centres on a remorseful Indianpublic executioner.The three
  • Goteborg fund backs Angolan, Sri Lankan film-makers

    Sweden's Goteborg Film Festival Film Fund, which supports filmmakers living and working in developing countries, has out of this year's 40 applicants selected Angolan In The Empty City (Na Cidade Vazia) by Maria G. Joao and Sri Lankan Colours Of The Colourless (Sudu Kalu Saha Alu) by Sudath Mahaadivulwewa. The films will be rewarded with $26,000 (SEK200,000) and $39,000 (SEK300,000) respectively. Joao's feature film debut In The Empty City tells the story of
  • Granada, Redbus settle Gathering dispute

    UK broadcaster Granada has settled with distributor Redbus Film Distribution over UK horror-suspense film The Gathering.The distributor (formerly Helkon SK) launched a legal action in September over the involvement of the producers credited on the film. The picture, which stars Christina Ricci, was produced through Samuelson Productions, whose London and LA-based co-chiefs Marc and Peter Samuelson were both credited, and former Granada film chief Pippa Cross. As part of the sett
  • Gutch to launch UK Blast! film division

    Former head of the Film Four Lab Robin Gutch has joined UK TV production company Blast! Films to launch a film arm.Gutch, who will sit on the company's board, will develop features and drama projects for the company. Blast! Is known for edgy documentary and docudrama fare such as Penny Woolcock's films about residents of a Leeds housing estate, Tina Goes Shopping and Tina Takes A Break, and Saul Dibb and Marc Isaacs' series about shoplifting, Lifters.
  • Hello America for Good Bye, Lenin!

    Bavaria Film International closed a US deal with Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) for Wolfgang Becker's Good Bye, Lenin! ahead of its winning nine Lolas at this year's German Film Awards on Friday evening in Berlin.Commenting on the deal with SPC, which also took US distribution for Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run in 1999, Stefan Arndt, co-founder and co-owner of Lenin!'s producer X Filme Creative Pool said SPC "have proven time and again that no other studio can match their
  • Higgins joins Intermedia as senior vp of corporate communications & publicity

    Dennis Higginshas joined Intermedia as senior vice president of corporate communications andpublicity, where he will oversee all the company's corporate branding andsupervise film publicity.Higgins willalso liaise with distributors of Intermedia's films and work with Intermedia'sMunich-based parent company Internationalmedia on its international marketpositioning. "Intermedia is a growing company and getting someone likeDennis Higgins to direct our varied commu
  • Hong Kong's eSun ups Media Asia stake, eyes Golden Harvest

    Hong Kong's eSun Holdings is increasing its stake in local film producer and distributor Media Asia Holdings and is also reportedly in informal talks to acquire an interest in rival film studio, Golden Harvest Entertainment.eSun is spending $6.4m (HK$50m) to raise its stake in Media Asia from 35.13% to 49.77% because of the film company's "positive business prospects". Media Asia scored a huge hit last year with crime thriller Infernal Affairs - which out-grossed Harry Potter
  • Hopscotch jumps on Fahrenheit 911

    Hopscotch has acquired all Australian and New Zealand rights for Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911, making it one of the first English language distributors to officially board the new documentary. Moore has already begun to examine the history of anti-American terrorism, trace the business dealings between the Bush and bin Laden families, and question the way the Bush administration is profiting politically from the events of September 11, 2001."I'm sure th
  • Hurricanes (Entre Ciclones)

    Dir. Enrique Colina. Cuba-Sp-Fre. 2003. 122minsA strangely populist choice for the normally rarefied atmosphere of Cannes' Critics' Week, Colina's debut, a comic take on life in contemporary Cuba, has already notched up over half a million admissions in its first five weeks of release at home, according to its director, and should work similar wonders in other Latin American markets, despite critical opinions that will in most cases be less than flattering. Suggestions that t
  • Italy's Pesaro festival unveils line-up for 39th edition

    Italy's Pesaro Film Festival, dedicated to international independent filmmaking, has unveiled the line-up for its upcoming 39th edition, which includes such titles as Kamchatka, the critically acclaimed Argentinian film directed by Marcelo Pineyro. Starring Cecilia Roth and Ricardo Darin, Kamchatka is about a couple who are hiding out from the authorities with their two children after the military coup of 1976. Territories already sold on the picture by Menemsha Entertain
  • Jan van Dommelen named new president of UNIC

    The Union International des Cinemas (UNIC) has announced the election of a new president made official at an annual meeting held during the Cannes Film Festival. Jan van Dommelen of the Dutch Federation will step in to replace the Belgian Federation's Guy Morlion who becomes senior vice president.UNIC is the international body that unites the national cinema federations of fifteen countries, mostly in Europe. The organisation represents more than 25,000 screens in Europe focusin
  • Japan's King Records signs deal for Shaw titles

    Hong Kong's Celestial Pictures has signed a licensing agreement with Japan's King Records for distribution of more than 20 titles from its world-famous Shaw Brothers library. Among the titles included in the deal are Hong Kong Nocturne, from Japanese director Inoeu Umetsugu who joined the Shaw Brothers studios in 1967; King Hu's Come Drink With Me; Taylor Wong's Behind The Yellow Line and The Mighty Peking Man, directed by Ho Meng-Hua. King will release the
  • Joao Botelho's satirical stab at US 'imperialism'

    Dir: Joao Botelho. Portugal, 2003. 90minsThis was not a very good year for Cannes openers. After the debacle of Fanfan La Tulipe in the Official Section, the Directors' Fortnight, evidently thinking a light intellectual entertainment with a political theme would be the best choice to launch the programme of the revamped event, made what is probably its most questionable choice in years. The political farce of the veteran Portuguese helmer Joao Botelho would have fared
  • John Dahl to receive alumnus medal from AFI

    Film-maker JohnDahl will receive the 13th Franklin J Schaffner Alumni Medal on Jun 12honouring the 'extraordinary creative talents' of a graduate of theAmerican Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory.Dahl, whosecredits include The Last Seduction, Rounders and Red Rock West, graduated from the Conservatory in1982.He will collect the award at a ceremony atHollywood's Kodak Theatre during the AFI Life Achievement Award tributeto Robert
  • Kanin wins Kieser Award

    Fay Kanin, the EmmyAward-winning American screenwriter who shared an Oscar nomination for thecomedy Teacher's Pet with herlate husband Michael Kanin in 1958, has received the second Kieser Award.Kanin will collect her honour,which is bestowed on writers whose work promotes greater human understandingand appreciation, at the annual Humanitas luncheon. The first Kieser Award wentto Bill Moyers.The Kieser Award is namedafter Ellwood "Bud" Kieser, a priest and producer who fo
  • Koch Lorber signs multi-picture video/DVD deal with Empire

    DVD label Koch Lorber Filmshas signed an exclusive multi-film deal with Manhattan-based Empire Picturesthat includes the license of US home video rights to eight films.Titles include PatriceChereau's erotic drama Intimacy and Diane Kurys' romantic period drama Children Of The Century starring Juliette Binoche.The parties also agreed onan output deal for upcoming Empire releases.In a statement releasedtoday (Jun 6) Richard Lorber, presiden
  • Lorenzo Soria elected new president of HFPA

    Lorenzo Soriahas been elected president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA)for 2003-04.Soria has been amember for 14 years and writes for Italian daily newspaper La Stampa and weeklynews magazine L'Espresso.He will presideover the HFPA's 61st Golden Globe Awards, which will take place in Los Angeleson Jan 25 2004.The new datecomes two days before the Oscar nominations are announced on Jan 27 and is regardedas an influential slot.Following theorganisat
  • McDull excites Annecy animation festival

    France's Annecy animation festival wrapped on Saturday night with highest honours going to Tony Yeun's Chinese/Hong Kong co-production My Life As McDull.The film, which will be released theatrically in France on July 2, tells the story of a pig, McDull, who lives with his mother in Hong Kong but dreams of going to the Maldive Islands.The top award for a short film also went to an Asian director, Japan's Koji Yamamura for Atama Yama. Australian Adam Benjamin
  • Munich unveils new regional focus strand

    New films from Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia will be shown in a new regional focus at this year's Munich Film Festival (June 28-July 5) alongside the event's traditional platforms for French cinema - Nouveau Cinema Francais - and Latin American cinematography - Visiones Latinamericanas. In addition, three Tributes will be dedicated to the Russian actor Oleg Jankovsky, Munich-based filmmaker-writer-journalist Eckhart Schmidt and to German filmmaker/photo-artist Ulrike Ottinger.a
  • Natasha Little is back in Vanity Fair

    Natasha Little,the English actress who made her name playing Becky Sharp in the BBC's 1998 hitminiseries of Thackeray's Vanity Fair, has joined the cast of Mira Nair's new feature film of VanityFair in which ReeseWitherspoon is playing Becky. The film started shooting last month in the UK.Little, whosefilm credits include Greenfingers, Kevin & Perry Go Large and The Criminal, is playing Lady Jane Sheepshanks who ismarried to Sir Pitt Cawley (played in the ne
  • New selection process for int'l festival of film schools

    Munich's International Festival of Film Schools (IFFS) will return this year to its traditional place in November with a new structure intended to make the event more attractive.After consultation between the festival organiser Internationale Muenchner Filmwochen, Munich's Academy for Television & Film (HFF) and the international association of film schools CILECT, the selection process will be decided by an expert jury instead of the participating film schools themselves. In a
  • New-look Oscar season takes shape

    With the new-look,compressed awards season looming on the horizon the last two industry bodieshave set dates for their 2004 ceremonies.The Producers Guild OfAmerica (PGA) will stage its event on Jan 17 at the Century Plaza Hotel in LosAngeles.The new timeframe is aprestigious one for the PGA, falling as it does in the middle of the AcademyAwards nominations window that stretches from Jan 2-17.Meanwhile, the 56th annualWriters Guild Of America (WGA) ceremony will take plac
  • Nowhere In Africa gets somewhere in America

    German Oscar winner Nowhere In Africa (Nirgendwo In Afrika) has become the highest grossing subtitled film in North America this year, overtaking City Of God (Cidade De Deus).Caroline Link's drama, which won the best foreign language picture award at this year's Oscars in March, took $219,608 last weekend from 75 sites to bring its total gross to $4.25m in its 13th week.Distributed in North America by Zeitgeist Films, Nowhere In Africa was released on March
  • Octane, Shade premiere at CineVegas

    Marcus Hunter's Octane starring Madeline Stowe and Damian Nieman's Shade starring Sylvester Stallone and Thandie Newton willhave their world premieres at the fifth annual CineVegas International FilmFestival which kicks off on Friday (June 13) and continues to the followingSaturday (June 21).The festival, whose directorof programming for the second year is Sundance programmer Trevor Groth, hasalready announced the world premiere screening of the documentary BreakfastWi
  • Polish film-maker wins PLANET award

    Poland's Bartek Konopka has been selected from among 100 young filmmakers from all over the world as this year's winner of the treatment contest for the PLANET Documentary Film Prize 2004.In Konopka's project Goat Walker, the audience learns from the perspective of female goat about a recent measure to combat poverty and unemployment in Poland: instead of the usual social welfare assistance, the inhabitants of a small Polish community are given goats as suppliers of basic food l
  • Prague film-makers look to international cheques

    With local sources of funding drying up, Czech producers are increasingly looking abroad for cash and international co-productions are becoming the new financing model.Czech cinema has traditionally been an insular world, with local sources of funding contributing to projects with local themes, a local style and a local sense of humour. That however may be changing as the number of co-productions rise, a new generation of directors brought up after the fall of communism establishes its
  • Reloaded breaks all-time Japanese opening record

    The Matrix Reloaded scored an industry record opening of $18.5m in Japanover the weekend, including previews, as the Warner Bros sci-fi sequel raisedits international total to an estimated $300m.The remarkable Japanese bow(Yen 2.2bn) from 632 screens included the territory's biggest ever previewgross of $7.5m (Yen 892m) from advanced screenings on May 24 and 31.In fact May 31 yielded thebiggest single-day preview gross of $4m (Yen 465m), beating Harry Potter AndThe Cha
  • Revolution, Sony set Hellboy for prime summer 2004 slot

    Revolution Studios announced today (Jun 6) that its comic bookadaptation Hellboywill be released through Columbia Pictures on Memorial Day 2004, a prime summer release slot in late May which has seen launchdates in the past for blockbusters from ET to the new Star Wars trilogy.
  • South Africa to make film industry a priority growth focus

    Following a visit to Cannes, South Africa's deputy minister of arts and culture has pledged comprehensive support and priority focus for the local film industry.Minister Sonjica said: "Seeing and feeling the vibrant energy at the South African pavilion at Cannes crystallised much of what I have been reading and hearing about. We are poised to take advantage of the interest foreign countries are taking in our industry. I was impressed by what I saw and heard and am committed to spearhea
  • South African film studio edges closer to reality

    The establishment of a film studio in Cape Town moved closer to reality following the submission of six business plans, Ebrahim Rasool, the Western Cape's finance Minister, said yesterday.The preferred bidders would be named in August and building of the studio could start as soon as December, he said, adding that the critical factors in the bids were black economic empowerment along with equity, proven viability and the long-term sustainability of the studio. In January 11 prop
  • Spain's Dygra starts work on major 3D animated feature

    Spanish animation studio Dygra Films is preparing an ambitious 3D digital animated feature, A Midsummer Night's Dream (El Sueno De Una Noche De San Juan).The project marks the company's follow-up to hit The Living Forest (El Bosque Animado), Spain's tenth top-grossing local film in 2001 and second highest-selling video of all time. Forest was also pre-selected for the best animated film Oscar this year.Midsummer Night (working title in English), a Sha
  • Spain's Filmax closes Cannes deals

    Spain's Filmax has announced a series of deals closed at the recent Cannes market including two promising European sales on Laura Mana's new psychological thriller Killing Words (Palabras Encadenadas) to Kinowelt for Germany and Instituto Luce for Italy.Under senior vice president of international sales and co-productions Antonia Nava, the company also closed the final three remaining territories on Brian Yuzna's Beyond Reanimator to the UK (Home Entertainment), Australia
  • Streep, Quaid, Latifah win gay and lesbian honours at Outfest

    Meryl Streep,Dennis Quaid and Queen Latifah are among those receiving the third annualScreen Idol awards for their portrayal of gay, lesbian, bisexual ortransgendered roles in feature films at this year's Outfest, the LA gay andlesbian film festival which is this year in its 21st year.Organisers hopeto present the accolades at an closing night ceremony on Jul 21. The festivalruns from Jul 10-21 in Los Angeles.Streep wins bestactress for her role as Clarissa Vaughan in The Hou
  • Swedish film institute greenlights two new comedies

    Two new comedies have been greenlighted by the Swedish Film Institute, one by newcomer Ragnar Di Marzo (pictured) and one by established comedian/director Peter Dalle.Ragnar Di Marzo's family comedy Karringen Dar Nere tells the story of 74-year-old Magda, whose life changes when she is persuaded to help a 23-year-old female refugee to hide from the authorities. The film, which will be produced by Lukas Wojarski of Projektbyran Orkano, is currently being shot outside Stockholm, w
  • Sydney fights to screen banned Ken Park

    The Sydney Film Festival has approached both the State and Federal Government in the hope that Ken Park can be shown twice next week as scheduled, despite the Classification Review Board upholding the Office of Film and Literature Classification's refusal to classify the film.Australian film festivals do not ordinarily have to seek classification for their programmes, although the Classification Office has the right to ban a film. It was the little-known Queensland-based video d
  • Sydney's 50th Int'l film festival starts on an uninspiring note

    On June 6, Sydney joined the nine other international film festivals to have reached their 50th year.It was hardly a sparkling evening, however. And even though Larry Clark's controversial festival entrant Ken Park had been banned by the national censors only days before, no mention was made in the bland opening speeches. Projection difficulties resulted in the occasional loss of sound or vision in the under rehearsed warm-up presentation. And the opening film - introduce
  • Taiwan welcomes Phone Booth for Fox, X2 hits Egypt

    Fox International's thriller Phone Booth opened in Taiwan over the weekend on$241,000 from 70 screens.
  • The Italian Job

    Dir: F Gary Gray. US. 2003. 111 mins.A stylish, well-paced caper film always find a home, and The Italian Job fits the billing. Certainly in the US it has proved itself at the box office, opening to a strong $19.3m from 2,633 sites for a robust average of $7,330. Given that film lovers still have fond memories of the original 1969 feature, which starred Michael Caine, director F Gary Gray (A Man Apart) had his job cut out. But Donna and Wayne Powers' updated scr
  • The Southern Cross (La Cruz Del Sur)

    Dir: Pablo Reyero. Argentina/France. 2003. 86minsA long time in gestation - and picked for the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes at the last minute - Pablo Reyero's first fiction feature is sure to attract further festival fixtures, but will struggle to make it onto the commercial circuit beyond its Arte slot. A loser's tale through and through, its desolate image of today's Argentina offers no redeeming features whatsoever, with crime and politics interwoven, and police co
  • The Tulse Luper Suitcases, Part 1: The Moab Story

    Dir: Peter Greenaway. UK-Neth-Sp-Lux-Hung-It-Ger-Russ. 2003. 126mins.Peter Greenaway's new trilogy The Tulse Luper Suitcases is merely the central element in a sprawling archipelago of a multi-media body of work. The project will take in film, TV, books, the internet and no less than 92 DVDs, each devoted to one of the suitcases that adventurer-hero Luper fills on his travels. Greenaway's encyclopedic urge has often threatened to swallow the world: The Tulse
  • Time Of The Wolf (Le Temps Du Loup)

    Dir: Michael Haneke. France-Austria. 2003. 113mins
  • Today And Tomorrow (Hoy Y Manana)

    Dir: Alejandro Chomski. Argentina-Spain. 2003. 86minsOne of the most talked-up films at Cannes, the Un Certain Regard entry Today And Tomorrow turns out to be a watchable, non-judgmental, low-budget portrayal of a young woman's descent into prostitution in post-slump Argentina. Given the hype surrounding the director - who is the subject of an ongoing documentary, Who Is Alejandro Chomski', featuring people the globetrotting 35-year-old film and video clip profe
  • Turner Classic Movies launches shorts competition

    Turner Classic Movies has launched the TCM Classic Shorts competition, with the awards ceremony to be part of The Times bfi London Film Festival (22 October - 6 November). Jude Law, Ralph Fiennes and Bernardo Bertolucci are just three of the fifteen judges to sit on the competition's panel to find the best short film of 2003. TCM Classic Shorts which offers £10,000 in prizes, was responsible for discovering 2001 winner Brian Percival, director of About A Girl, which went
  • UK film report reveals continuing industry polarity

    Stark polarities are revealed in the UK Film Council's first yearbook, which aims to present the most comprehensive analysis ever of film in the UK.The report highlights the polarity in box-office winners and losers, with the top 20 releases hoovering up 60% of the box-office despite accounting for only 5.4% of the number of films released. While the market became more crowded as the number of films released in the UK and Ireland rose 5% to 369, 73% of releases accounted for onl
  • Unifrance unveils line-up for twin Asian events

    After electing a new president this week, Unifrance has announced the line-ups for its next two big summer events. The 3rd Festival du Film Francais in Seoul, South Korea will run from June 13-22 concurrently with the 11th edition of the Festival du Film Francais in Yokohama, Japan which runs June 18-22.Twelve features, 11 from the Yokohama selection will be shown to the Korean public and to industry professionals, with two films being accompanied by their artistic teams: Cannes
  • Where Is Madame Catherine' (Les Mains Buides)

    Dir: Marc Recha. Spain-France. 2003. 126mins.Les Mains Buides (literally "empty hands" in Catalan but evocatively translated as Where Is Madame Catherine') does not represent a major departure from Marc Recha's previous effort, the mixed-reviewed 2001 Cannes competition contender Pau And His Brother. However, this Un Certain Regard entry should appease some of Pau's detractors with its more well-rounded storyline and better fleshed-out characters. Some co
  • Wrong Turn

    Dir: Rob Schmidt. US-Ger. 2003. 83 mins.Even in the hands of a studio distributor, retro horror flick Wrong Turn, produced by creature effects maestro Stan Winston, had a lukewarm reception at the US box office, taking $5m from 1,615 sites for an average of $3,102. Now co-producers Summit Entertainment and Constantin Film (which sold US rights to Fox-based Regency Enterprises) will have to hope that this efficient, although not particularly imaginative, $15m fright-fes
  • Zarpas joins Evolution Management to build production slate

    Former Scott Free co-president Chris Zarpas was today (Jun 4)named manager of management and independent production company EvolutionManagement.