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10 June 2007

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  • 24 Frames buys remake rights to Thai horror Alone

    Thai producer-distributor GMM Tai Hub (GTH) has struck an English-language remake deal for Alone with US start-up 24 Frames. GTH's Phailin Amnuaiporn and 24 Frames' Ludo Cremers concluded the deal in Cannes following the film's market premiere. The deal also covers US distribution rights to the original film. Cremers was a former senior executive at Buena Vista. This marks the second remake deal in a row for Thai directors Parkpoom Wongpoom and Banjong Pisanthanakun whose d
  • Abel Ferrara: go go dancer

    The new film from energetic film-maker Abel Ferrara is a sexy, glossy comedy - or so he promises, says Sheri JenningsWhat does a director like Abel Ferrara, who has already had four films invited to Cannes, do for his next act' Something completely different, it seems.Ferrara's Go Go Tales screened at Cannes in the Midnight section last month. 'It's my first intentional comedy,' he says wryly. 'They had better laugh.'Reaction to the film was mixe
  • Amour Fou partners split to form two production outfits

    Six years after founding Vienna-based Amour Fou Filmproduktion, partners Gabriele Kranzelbinder and Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu have decided amicably to part and set up two separate production companies. As part of the restructuring, Kranzelbinder has launched Kranzelbinder Gabriele Production (KGP), which will acquire Amour Fou's shares in the sales company Autlook Film Sales, while Dumreicher-Ivanceanu and partner Bady Minck will head up a new Amour Fou Filmproduktion which is takin
  • Analysis: International box-office - Weekend June 1-3

    Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End continues to hold on to the top spot despite a 52% drop - it raked in $103.2m from 103 territories bringing its total to a whopping $406.4m in its second weekend. Spider-Man 3 remains firmly in second place, generating $12.6m in its fifth weekend, for a running total of $526.8m. Korean romantic comedy Secret Sunshine was up 63% after expanding into an additional 55 screens in its home territory. And Mark Wahlberg thriller Shooter shot up 147% after ope
  • Artificial Eye acquires three more films on the back of Cannes

    UK distributor Artificial Eye has announced three more acquisitions from Cannes, bringing its festival tally to 11 buys. The new acquisitions are Terror's Advocate (L'Avocat De La Terreur), You, The Living (Du Levande), and The Island (Ostrov).Terror's Advocate played in Un Certain Regard. Barbet Schroeder's documentary is
  • Australia distributor to kick off theatrical runs with You Kill Me

    Australia 's newest theatrical distributor, All Interactive Distribution, has picked up five titles and will make its first theatrical release, John Dahl's You Kill Me, in September. The US independent film, which is sold by Capitol Films, goes out in US cinemas later this month. It stars Ben Kingsley and Tea Leoni in the story of a hit man who goes to work in a mortuary. Other upcoming theatrical titles include director Tom DiCillo's comedy/drama Delirious (sold b
  • BBC Fiction boss Tranter spells out her plans for BBC Films

    Controller of BBC Fiction Jane Tranter has defended the recent decision to move BBC Films out of its West End offices and back into BBC Television Centre. She told that the move, likely to happen 'by around the end of the year,' is intended both to 'underpin the enormous importance of BBC Films for the BBC (ie it is part of the main flesh and blood of the BBC and not out on a limb), and remind everyone of the ' BBC-ness' needed for a BBC Film.' BBC Films wil
  • BBC Films: a drama or a crisis'

    The planned relocation of BBC Films back to BBC headquarters has provoked a panic in the UK, where producers fear the future of one of the territory's most important financiers is under threat. Geoffrey Macnab reports. At Cannes last month, BBC Films arrived with what its boss, David Thompson, has called 'the boldest and most exciting slate of projects we have ever had'.However, the talk on the Croisette was not of high-profile titles, such as Revolutionary R
  • Beta Cinema takes on world sales for three new German productions

    Beta Cinema has taken on world sales for new films featuring the award-winning German actresses Hannah Herzsprung, Nina Hoss and Julia Jentsch.Herzsprung, who came to wider recognition through her performance in another Beta title Four Minutes and received a Silver Lola for her role in Alain Gsponer's Life Actually last month, is currently appearing opposite Marie Baumer, Sebastian Blomberg, Anna Loos a
  • Black Gold: storm in a coffee cup

    Coffee expose Black Gold riled multinationals in the US and is now raising awareness in the UK. Chris Evans speaks to film-makers Marc and Nick Francis about taking on the world's second-largest export industry. Following Super Size Me, An Inconvenient Truth and most recently Michael Moore's Sicko, brothers Marc and Nick Francis hope their documentary Black Gold, about exploitation in the coffee industry, will sway governmen
  • Bollywood invades Yorkshire for IIFA weekend

    The Indian film industry has invaded the UK's Yorkshire region for the Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) awards, known as the Bollywood Oscars. The awards themselves will be given out Saturday night in Sheffield, but related events started Thursday and run during the four-day event in Leeds, Hull, Bradford and York.Yesterday's Global Business Forum, organized with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, included the signing of a memorandum of un
  • Camara voted in as president of Hollywood Foreign Press

    Jorge Camara was voted in as president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for the 2007-2008 session as members met for the annual election meeting on Tuesday (June 5).Camara, an HFPA member for 42 years, is serving his fifth term as HFPA president and covers entertainment (print and television) for Mexico and Latin America.Screen International's US editor Mike Goodridge was elected vice president, while Serge Rakhlin and Meher Tatna were elected executive s
  • Canadian author sues Universal over Knocked Up

    A Canadian writer is suing Universal Studios, alleging that its hit film, Knocked Up, borrows from her work. The film, writer-director Judd Apatow's follow-up to The 40 Year Old Virgin, follows the post-coital relationship of a young professional and the slacker who impregnates her during a drunken encounter. Rebecca Eckler, a columnist for the Globe and Mail newspaper and other publications, claims the film takes many of its key plot points from her 2004 memoir Knocked
  • Case study: The Meerkats

    Billed as a coming-of-age tale, BBC Films' The Meerkats is an attempt to mount a resolutely big-screen experience. Melanie Rodier reports. Now in post-production, James Honeyborne's The Meerkats is the first theatrical nature documentary from the UK's BBC Films.Co-financed by The Weinstein Company (TWC), the film is a collaboration with the BBC's Natural History Unit, the broadcaster's acclaimed department which has had plenty of experience in
  • Cast grows as Brideshead Revisited starts 11-week shoot

    As principal photography starts on Brideshead Revisited, Ed Stoppard, Felicity Jones, Jonathan Cake and Greta Scacchi have joined the cast. The project is shooting for 11 weeks including five weeks at Yorkshire's Castle Howard as well as location shooting in Oxford, London, Venice and Morocco. Ecosse Films are producing for BBC Films, 2 entertain, the UK Film Council and Miramax Films. Kevin Loader is producing with Ecosse's Robert
  • Chaotic Ana, Summer Rain sell well for Sogepaq

    Spanish distribution house Sogepaq has announced a round of sales at Cannes for Julio Medem's Chaotic Ana and Antonio Banderas' Summer Rain, the actor's second directorial effort.Chaotic Ana, the follow-up to Medem's successful Sex & Lucia, pre-sold at the festival in Korea (Sponge); Brazil (Visual Films); Israel (Shapira)
  • Chiara Arroyo: asilent witness

    The Mexican director of the Cannes prize-winner Silent Light tells Chiara Arroyo why he chose to make a film about an isolated German-speaking sect. Just a decade ago, Mexico's Carlos Reygadas was a high-profile human-rights lawyer for the European Commission, specialising in armed conflicts. Now he is one of the world's most exciting film-making talents.As aesthetically stunning and thematically challenging as any Reygadas film to date, his third film,
  • China: cheaper thrills

    Faced with a rapidly expanding cinema sector, Chinese producers are looking to end their reliance on martial-arts epics. Sen-lun Yu looks at the new funds aiming to generate an upturn in cheaper commercial homegrown product. Chinese film-making may be best-known internationally for its eye-popping martial-arts films and its lavishly mounted epic dramas. But now the territory is pushing to diversify its output away from mega-budget productions. This year alone, at least
  • Cineclick Asia announces slew of Cannes deals

    Seoul-based seller Cineclick Asia has announced a raft of Cannes sales including a UK deal on Kim Jee-woon's The Good, The Bad And The Weird which went to Tartan Films. The film was previously sold to France's ARP during the market. Academy Award-winning Afghan director Siddiq Barmak's Opium War has also found a new investor in Haut et Court, which took rights for France. Kim Ki-duk's Cannes competition title Breath sold to Tartan for US and UK rights, after c
  • Cinema Expo to honour 4 Months actress Anamaria Marinca

    Cinema Expo International, held in Amsterdam later this month, will honour Romanian-born British actress Anamaria Marinca with its Excellence in Acting award. Marinca is one of the stars of Cannes Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days and will next been seen in Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth. 'Cinema Expo is thrilled to honour Anamaria Marinca who recently gave an eye-catching performance in Cristian Mungiu's
  • Contender takes UK rights to Air Guitar Nation and Very British Gangster

    Increasingly active UK distributor Contender Films has taken on two new projects: Air Guitar Nation and A Very British Gangster. Alexandra Lipsitz's Air Guitar Nation, a documentary about the Air Guitar World Championships, was acquired from Media 8 Entertainment. Contender's head of marketing Matt Brightwell called the film ' a brilliantly made, engaging and hil
  • Creature features

    Screen staff reporters identify forthcoming nature documentary projects.Animals In Love (Fr)Dir: Laurent CharbonnierFrench director Charbonnier, who was the DoP on the Oscar-nominated documentary Winged Migration, makes his directorial feature debut on the $10m Animals In Love, which explores courtship and love in the animal kingdom. Produced by Jean-Pierre Bailly for MC4 Productions, Animals In Lo
  • Critical view: breaking the rules

    Romania's cash-poor but ideas-rich film industry is proving that necessity is the mother of invention with a string of influential titles. What's the secret formula, asks Lee MarshallWhat is it about those Romanians' The Eastern European country's cash-strapped film industry manages to squeeze out no more than 10 full-length features annually, yet among these are some of the most influential indie titles of the past three years.It all began in 2005 with Cristi P
  • Dai Nipponjin beats 'Beat' Takeshi at Japan's box office

    Comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto's debut film Dai Nipponjin has beaten veteran helmer Takeshi Kitano's Kantoku Banzai! at the Japanese box office. Dai Nipponjin earned $1.86m (Y226.9m) to grab the number two position behind Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End while Kantoku Banzai! (Glory To The Filmmaker!) grossed $333,501 (Y40.6m), just managing to secure the bottom spot in the weekend's top ten. Office Kitano-Tokyo Theatre opened Kitano's
  • Distribution: studio's home movies

    US studios see opportunity in local-language film. Sheri Jennings reports. The importance of the US studios to local-language film has been growing steadily for some years now. But it now seems clear that tentative steps are becoming big strides.Italy provides a good illustration with two films from the Rome-based Cattleya production outfit shooting with Hollywood players on board.Comedy Lezioni Di Cioccolato will be Universal Italy's first foray i
  • Dreamachine sells all territories on Persepolis

    New sales company Dreamachine reported a successful Cannes, including worldwide sales on all territories for Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parronaud's animated coming of age story Persepolis, which shared the jury prize. Another hot seller was Naomi Kawase's competition drama The Mourning Forest, which won the Grand Prix. Deals for Persepolis include the UK (Optimum), Australia (The Weinstein Company), Germany (Prokino) and Japan (Longride). Territories al
  • EastWest sells Fashion Victims to Austria and Germany

    EastWest Filmdistribution finalised deals in Cannes for its comedy Fashion Victims with Germany (Filmlichter) and Austria (Poool Filmverleih). EastWest managing director Alexander Wieser negotiated both deals. German director Ingo Rasper makes his feature debut with the story of a man whose life falls apart when his son comes ouf of the closet and starts an affair with a the father's business rival. The film is due for release in August in Germany and Austria.
  • Editorial opinion: dangers of diversity

    There are two words that should be worrying the international film business: cultural diversity. That's not in any way to disagree with the principle: globalised trade does have an innate drive towards homogenisation, with the big overpowering the small. So United Nations body Unesco was fully justified in raising the issue in a convention that came into force earlier this year, supported by almost all nations of the world but pointedly opposed by the US.Film was at the heart of the po
  • Family Ties, The Host triumph at Korea's Grand Bell awards

    Kim Tae-yong's Family Ties won Best Film at South Korea 's Grand Bell Awards on Friday night (June 8). The dramatic comedy about a totally unconventional but non-dysfunctional family also garnered the award for Best Script for Kim and co-writer Sung Ki-young. Bong Joon-ho's sci-fi monster hit The Host, which was nominated in eleven categories, took Best Director and Best Editing. 200 Pounds Beauty , nominated in the most categories this year - twelve in
  • Foresight sells key territories on Machine, Ledge, Alive

    Mark Damon's production, financing and sales company Foresight Unlimited has reported a strong Cannes on a diverse slate, headed by sales on the $15m Jean-Claude Van Damme mixed martial arts film Smashing Machine.Sony picked up the UK, Australia, France, Japan, and Italy to Smashing Machine, which also sold to Germany (Square One), Spain (Negro Y Azul), Latin America (Polarstar), Benelux (Paradiso), Eas
  • Fortissimo Cannes deals led by Live! and Pleasure Factory

    Fortissimo Film Sales had a strong Cannes, with hot sellers including Tim Hamilton's comedy Mama's Boy, reality TV satire Live!, the Martin Scorsese Rolling Stones project Shine A Light, Singapore red-light story The Pleasure Factory and Bela Tarr's Competition Title The Man From London. Fortissimo co-chairman Wouter Barendrecht said: 'We had a very good Cannes , really one of our best ever, with sales over a wide range of titles - both comp
  • Global Film Initiative buys US rights to Bet Collector

    Global Film Initiative has taken all US rights to award-winning Filipino drama The Bet Collector (Kubrador). The deal was negotiated by French sales outfit Wide Management's Matteo Lovadina. After making its world premiere in Moscow last year, the picture has travelled to about 40 film festivals worldwide, winning numerous awards. These include two FIPRESCI awards (at Moscow and New Delhi) as well as three best actress awards (at New Delhi, Brussels and Amiens) for v
  • Guillermo Del Toro begins shoot for Hellboy 2 in Budapest

    Guillermo del Toro begins principal photography today on Universal's Hellboy 2 in Hungary.With an estimated budget of $72m, the film is biggest ever to shoot in Hungary. The production also benefits from the country's 20% tax rebate, which helped Budapest woo the shoot away from Prague, where del Toro filmed Hellboy in 2003. Sixty percent of the film will shoot at the new Korda Studios in Et
  • Hoffman, Thompson set for Overture's Last Chance Harvey

    Overture Films is lining up a September shoot in London on the romance Last Chance Harvey starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.Joel Hopkins, who directed the 2001 UK film Jump Tomorrow, wrote the screenplay and will direct the story of a down-at-heel man who finds a new companion while attending his daughter's wedding in London.Tim Perell of Process and Nicola Usborne will produce and O
  • Holland to direct National Lampoon's Ratko: The Dictator's Son

    National Lampoon has signed Savage Steve Holland to direct the fish-out-of-water story Ratko, the company's second in-house production after Bagboy.National Lampoon's Ratko: The Dictator's Son follows the adventures of a despot's son who heads to the US to attend college. Robert Mittenthal and Michael Rubiner wrote the screenplay.The National Lampoon, Intermedia and Cinetel Films co-producti
  • Hostel: Part II

    Dir: Eli Roth. US. 2007. 94mins. Two significant story changes notwithstanding, Hostel: Part II stays close to the first film's successful strategy of mixing unsuspecting American tourists with sadistic Eastern Europeans. Writer-director Eli Roth tries to enliven the formula by switching the genders of his victims and by offering an in-depth look at two of the torturers - but this second installment loses the grim surprise of the original without adding much new in
  • International buyers up 25%for second Madrid Screenings

    The second edition of the Spanish Film Screenings of Madrid expects to attract 131 international film buyers this weekend - about 25 percent more than last year. And the growing interest is reflected not only in the number but also the stature of the buyers, according to the Spanish Producers' Federation, FAPAE, which organizes the event. 'Before some people had trouble fitting the date into their calendar,' said FAPAE president Pedro Perez, at Monday's presentation of the event. 'At thi
  • James Gray: good cop, bard cop

    Shakespeare and Italian melodrama provided the creative inspirations for James Gray's We Own The Night, set in New York in the 1980s. Peter Bowen reports. The inspiration for James Gray's We Own The Night, a character-driven drama about a man who has hidden his past only to confront an inevitable future, came from three seemingly incongruous sources. The plot, which follows a nightclub manager who has concealed the fact he comes from a long line of co
  • Japan's Bandai Visual lines up Tamagotchi feature

    Japanese video producer-distributor Bandai Visual has announced an animated feature film starring the popular tamagotchi virtual pets. The first feature foray for the franchise, entitled Eiga De Tojo! Tamagotchi Dokidoki! Uchu No Maigotchi!', is set for a December release through Toho. The production consortium includes Bandai Visual, WiZ, Toho, Asatsu-DK and OLM. It will be directed Jouji Shimura, who helmed recent New Year's box office hit Doubutsu No Mori (Anim
  • Japan's Skip City digital fest unveils lineup

    Japan's Skip City International Digital Cinema Festival has announced the lineup for its fourth edition. Competition features include Heartlines, directed by Angus Gibson (Mandela), Children Of The Moon, Climates, Without You, Steen Rasmussen's Skymaster - A Flying Family Fairytale, Maria's Navel, Skies Above The Landscape, Tangier,
  • Jon Kilik: for whom the Bell tolls

    The US producer of The Diving Bell And The Butterfly tells Peter Bowen how he got the film made when both Johnny Depp and Universal dropped out. The French-language memoir The Diving Bell And The Butterfly (Le Scaphandre Et Le Papillon) marks the third collaboration between US producer Jon Kilik and painter-turned-filmmaker Julian Schnabel following Basquiat and When Night Falls. For Kilik, who has produced films by Spike Lee, Jim J
  • Joost to host Bollywood content from New York's Saavn

    Internet television service Joost has signed a deal with New York-based film, music and TV show packager Saavn for the Internet distribution of Bollywood music videos from the Saavn library. Initially, Joost users worldwide will be able to choose from around 150 clips from Bollywood movies featuring songs such as Dil Na Diya, Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyan and Jhalak Dikhla Ja. Saavn has more than 10,000 clips in its library and more will be added to the Joost collection each week.
  • Kimmel has strong Cannes with Synecdoche, Unthinkable

    Kimmel International chief Mark Lindsay has reported a successful Cannes in which he and his team closed key territories on Charlie Kaufman's feature directorial debut Synecdoche, New York, and Tarsem Singh's upcoming thriller Unthinkable.Rights to Synecdoche, New York, which is being produced by Spike Jonze and stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton and C
  • Knocked Up spawns knockout domestic opening, but Pirates clings on

    Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End took a big tumble in its second weekend but still had enough puff to sail past $200m and see off the challenge of Universal's much lauded comedy Knocked Up.Buena Vista's juggernaut fell 62.4% to an estimated $43.2m as it raised its domestic tally to $216.5m. Including the $105.4m overseas haul, Pirates grossed $148.6m worl
  • La Caja and Choking Man take top prizes at first Ibiza festival

    The Spanish island of Ibiza played host last week to its first international film festival with nightly disco parties and appearances by its all-star patrons: John Hurt, Terry Gilliam and Alan Parker.Last night, the Spanish production La Caja, directed by Juan Carlos Falcon, took the award for Best Film and co-stars Angela Molina y Elvira Miguez shared the prize for Best Actress. A US production, Choking Man
  • Locarno juries to include Diego Lerman and Jia Zhangke

    The Locarno International Film Festival will be celebrating its 60th anniversary this year by dedicating its Retrospective, entitled Back In Locarno, to those filmmakers whose careers were significantly advanced by the initial exposure at the Swiss festival. Among those directors expected to attend screenings in the Retrospective are Marco Bellocchio, Istvan Szabo, Raul Ruiz, Marco Tullio Giordana and Catherine Breillat who will be invited to present the original film that led to
  • Lorber targets niche interest groups with digital distribution outfit

    Specialist distribution veteran Richard Lorber is spearheading a new company that will acquire and market programming for targeted interest groups via digital delivery, DVD's direct-to-consumer, and traditional retail video distribution.The new venture, Lorber HT Digital, merges the operations of his Lorber Media and that of Hidden Treasures Productions, an outfit that has produced such documentaries as Secrets Of Angels, Demons, And Masons, a
  • Metrodome strikes UK deal for Ruzowitzky's The Counterfeiters

    UK distributor Metrodome has taken all UK rights to Stefan Ruzowitzky's Berlinale hit The Counterfeiters.Sales agent Andreas Rothbauer of Beta Cinema negotiated the deal with Metrodome CEO Peter Urie, general manager - theatrical and broadcast Sara Frain and acquisitions & business affairs manager Kate Falconer. Metrodome will release in the 'latter part' of 2007.The film is based on the true story of the Nazis' plan to weaken the US and UK economies with forged cu
  • Metrodome takes UK rights to Sarkies' Out Of The Blue

    Metrodome Distribution has acquired all UK rights to Robert Sarkies' drama Out Of The Blue and will release the film later this summer.NZ Film has worldwide sales rights, and NZ Film's Kathleen Drumm and James Thompson negotiated the deal with Metrodome's Tom Stewart and Kate Falconer.NZ Film's Drumm also struck a German deal with Steffan Gerlach of Capelight.Sarkies wrote the film with Graeme Tetley, based on the true
  • Mischa Barton joins casts of Joffe's Russian drama

    Mischa Barton has joined the cast of Roland Joffe's coming-of-age drama Finding t.A.T.u, which will start shooting in Moscow later this month. The musical drama is based on Russian writer A. Mitrofanov's novel t.A.T.u come back. The story follows a friendless American teenager who escapes her lonely life in Moscow through music and meets a fellow fan of pop group t.A.T.u through the internet.
  • Naomi Kawase: force of nature

    Naomi Kawase, director of Cannes award-winner The Mourning Forest, tells Jason Gray why the elements are on her side. A dense forest. A young woman follows a wild-haired old man as they struggle upwards through thick underbrush. They are covered in mud and sweat. The young woman helps the man with his hulking rucksack, its contents a mystery. Where will this battle against the elements take them'It is a sequence that typifies the work of Japan's Naomi K
  • New Dutch scheme to offer $17m annually in matching funds

    New Dutch regulations for film investment offer matching funds for films with two-thirds funding in place.Producers with 65% of their financing in place will be able to apply for the other 35% of their film's budget under the new incentive. To access the cash, 25% of total financing must be from private investors. This year, the Matching Fund's budget is $15.7m (Euros 11.8m). From 2008, the amount will be increased to a yearly $17.4m (Euros 13m). Support will
  • New Holland Pictures and IdtV team for Separation City

    Australian production company New Holland Pictures and Netherlands-based IdtV Film are joining forces to co-produce the $4.2m (NZ $5.6m) romantic comedy Separation City.New Zealand's Paul Middleditch (Terra Nova) will direct. The story, written by New Zealand writer Tom Scott, is about a New Zealand woman about to find out her partner is having an affair with
  • New Internet TV company Babelgum launches to public

    New Internet TV service Babelgum is now available for public use. The Babelgum network is now offering a capped number of free application downloads daily, and pre-registered and beta tester users are also using the service. Babelgum uses peer-to-peer technology for its service, which is free and will be advertising-supported.Initial on-demand content offerings, from a variety of content providers, are organized by nine channels: Babel Picks, News, Trends, Mus
  • Participant boards environmental comedy Taildraggers.

    Participant Productions is partnering with producers Jay Chandrasekhar and Julia Dray of Broken Lizard to develop the comedy Taildraggers.Participant's director of production Nate Moore will oversee the project about five slackers in Alaska who stumble upon a plot to syphon oil while working as pilots for a low-budget airline. Will Gluck is attached to write the script.'The concept behind Taildragg
  • Pathe picks up buzz titles from Cannes

    Pathe has acquired rights to a quartet of buzz features from Cannes. Deals have been sealed for UK and French rights to Focus Features International's Blindness; UK rights to 2929 International's What Just Happened' and Fortissimo's Mama's Boy; and
  • Pathe, BBC slate includes big-screen version of Upstairs Downstairs

    Pathe and BBC Films, with support from the UK Film Council's Development Fund, have announced a development slate of five new projects, after announcing a year ago that they parties would join forces to develop bigger films with commercial potential. The four new projects announced are: an adaptation of Edwardian London-set TV classic Upstairs Downstairs, which Mike Mansfield and Hilary McLaren Tipping will produce for Mike Mansfield Films. Fay Weldon, who write the first episod
  • Pirates 3 crosses international $400m mark in record time

    As expected Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End ruled the waves in its second weekend as an estimated $105.4m propelled the international running total past $400m in record time.The weekend haul from 17,500 theatres in 103 countries boosted the tally to $408.8m, making this latest high seas episodic the fifth Buena Vista International (BVI) release to cross $400m and the 24th industry title to do so.Combined with the muted $43
  • Pirates faces international challenge from Shrek

    Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End should stay at the top of the international box office in its third weekend, although Shrek The Third will pose a challenge.Buena Vista International's high seas adventure stands at a staggering $438m following its $216m launch weekend two weeks ago last weekend's biggest ever second weekend of $103m.Paramount PPI opens
  • Pusan film festival to launch financing, distribution arms

    The Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) is set to start its own production venture capital firm and a distribution arm. At a provisional council meeting at the Busan City Hall yesterday, the PIFF organising committee approved the establishment of a venture capital firm tentatively called the Korean equivalent of 'Asia Culture Technology Investment'. It also approved the launch of a film distribution company tentatively dubbed BALCON (Busan Alternative Content Network).
  • Quiet Man a big seller for Bleiberg at Cannes

    Bleiberg Entertainment, riding high following the sale in Cannes of North American rights on Un Certain Regard entry The Band's Visit to Sony Pictures Classics, has closed major territories on He Was A Quiet Man starring Christian Slater and Elisha Cuthbert.Deals closed with Spain (Manga), the UK (High Fliers), Germany (EMS), Italy (One Movie), Brazil (Flashstar), South Korea (AK Entertainment), Latin A
  • Radio Canada invests $11m in French-language features

    Radio-Canada, the French-language arm of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has announced it will invest $11.3m (C$12m) in French-language feature film production through 2010. It will mark the third multi-year cycle of production financing via Radio-Canada's 'cinema d'ici' initiative begun in 1999.Francine Allaire, director of dramatic programming for the public broadcaster, told Screendaily that the financing will be directed into development and production, includi
  • Radio-Canada to pump $11m into features

    Radio-Canada, the French-language arm of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has announced it will invest $11.3m (C$12m) in French-language feature film production through 2010. It will mark the third multi-year cycle of production financing via Radio-Canada's 'cinema d'ici' initiative begun in 1999. Said Allaire, ''We get involved at the script stage but we're an integrated group - with radio, TV and internet - so once a film enters Radio Canada it becomes nurtured by us. Our talk
  • Rang De Basanti wins best film at IIFA Awards

    Rakeysh Omprakesh Mehra's political youth culture tale Paint It Yellow (Rang De Basanti) claimed the top awards, including best film, at the Idea International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards last night in Sheffield. The best actor prize went to Hrithik Roshan for Krrish, while Rani Mukherji won best actress for Never Say Goodbye (Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna).
  • Scarlet, Schafer promoted at Tribeca, Freccero joins full-time

    Peter Scarlet has been promoted to artistic director and Nancy Schafer has been promoted to co-executive director of the Tribeca Film Festival.Jennifer Maguire Isham, who served six years as festival president, becomes executive vice president of Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff's Tribeca Enterprises and will seek out global business opportunities. The position of festival president has been retired until further notice.Scarlet will continue to act as chie
  • Shanghai International Film Festival: going for growth

    Shanghai is expanding market activities in 2007. Sen-lun Yu reports.Celebrating its 10th edition this year, the Shanghai International Film Festival (Siff), held June 16-24, is gradually expanding its film market and intends to demonstrate China's business potential.Aside from the Jin Jue Competition, the festival's main competitive section, and the Asian New Talents Award, the 2007 edition will see the launch of a new competition taking place in the Siff film m
  • Showbox and Freestyle unveil plans for D-War's US release

    South Korea 's Showbox Mediaplex has announced plans to release the effects-laden creature feature D-War on 1,500 screens in the US, through Freestyle Releasing. Showbox says the film is likely to open in August and see Labour Day weekend box office as well. Freestyle previously released The Illusionist in the US. Starring Jason Behr and Amanda Brooks, the English-language film is an ambitious essay into the North American market for Showbox and the film's director S
  • Shrek The Third to get digital-only release in China

    As Shrek The Third stays in the top three at the US box office, Chinese state-owned film agencies have confirmed that it won't be released in China until late August, and will then only be given a digital release. According to China Film Digital Cinema Corp, the film will be screened exclusively on around 150 digital screens across the country. The news contradicts earlier rumours that the film would not be imported into China at all because the first two Shrek movie
  • Singer's Valkyrie set for Babelsberg shoot

    Bryan Singer's Second World War drama Valkyrie is on track to becomethe second large-scale US production this year after the Wachowskibrothers' Speed Racer to shoot at Germany's Babelsberg Studios.Principal photographyon the United Artists production about the 1944 plot to assassinateHitler is expected to commence at the studios outside Berlin on July19. Tom Cruise is being lined up to play
  • South Australian Film Corp appoints Richard Harris as head

    Richard Harris, who is currently executive director of the Australian Directors Guild (ADG), has been appointed head of the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC). He will leave what was formerly called the Australian Screen Directors Association in mid-July, after nine years at the helm, and relocate from Sydney to Adelaide to take up his new post. ADG president Ray Argall said Harris had given the organisation a strong industry, political and international profile, and had ach
  • Spanish industry bemoans quotas continued in new film law

    Spanish producers, exhibitors and TV networks are giving mixed reviews toSpain's controversial new film law, recently approved by the Council ofMinisters.The legislation, expected to receive fast-track treatment in Parliament, has been mired for months by bitter opposition from exhibitors, TV networks and some actors - and the controversy hasn't died down yet.Perhaps the only part of the law that enjoys broad backing is the significant increase in tax write-of
  • Spider-Man 3 snags $20m worldwide on IMAX

    Spider-Man 3: The IMAX Experience has grossed more than $20m worldwide since its May 3 premiere, according to Sony Picture Entertainment and IMAX. It is the fastest-grossing digitally-remastered giant-screen release of a conventional film, earning its take in 31 days. Not surprisingly, the film marked the widest release in IMAX's history: 84 screens in North America and a further 34 internationally. The film's overall worldwide gro
  • Spike Lee decamps to Italy for Miracle Of St Anna

    Spike Lee will shoot a film in Tuscany based on James McBride's 2003 book Miracle at St. Anna, the story of an Italian orphan who befriends a black American soldier in Italy during World War II.The project - which is in scripting stage - is the first film produced by art house distributor Mikado founders Luigi Musini and Roberto Cicutto.Their distributorship was taken over by Italian publisher De Agostini in January of this year and
  • Stan Lee and POW! sets up home at Disney

    Walt Disney Studios has signed an exclusive multi-year first-look deal with Spider-Man creator Stan Lee and his POW! Entertainment.Lee and his production company will develop and produce entertainment acoss various platforms for the studio.'As the father of such renowned comic book heroes as Spider-Man, The Hulk, X-Men among others, Stan is considered one of the most creative and inventive forces in the industry today,' Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook said.
  • Sulzer leaves Universal for job as svp, media at Overture

    Former Universal Pictures marketing executive Elana Sulzer has joined Overture Films as senior vice president of media.Sulzer will report directly to Overture's president of worldwide marketing, distribution and new media Peter Adee.Sulzer started her career at Universal nearly 10 years ago and rose through the marketing ranks to the position of vice president of media.She developed and executed advertising strategies for an average of 16 films per year includ
  • Sundance Institute Documentary Fund gives grants to 25 projects

    The Sundance Institute Documentary Film programme has announced the 25 feature projects to receive what the Institute says is a record number of grants from the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund.The recipient projects were chosen from more than 300 applications from 20 countries. The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund was established in 2002, and in that time has distributed more than $5.2m in support to 183 projects and documentary film-makers.Selected projects covere
  • Surf's Up

    Dirs: Ash Brannon & Chris Buck. US. 2006. 85mins.
  • Taormina plans new Mediterranean focus under Deborah Young

    Egyptian cinema and a new competitive section focusing on Mediterranean films are all on the agenda for the reinvigorated 53rd Taormina Film Festival.Other features brought in for the new Mediterranean-heavy format, introduced by artistic director Deborah Young, include the first Giuseppe Tornatore retrospective and the revival of the Sicilian short film competition.The festival, which runs June 16-22, will also host a non-competitive Beyond The Mediterranean section as wel
  • Tartan buys eight in Cannes including Summit thriller P2

    Tartan Films went on a buying spree in Cannes, picking up UK and Ireland rights on eight titles. The titles acquired are: P2, Mala Noche, Breath, Time, The Good, The Bad and The Weird, I Am a Cyborg But That's Okay, and - as previously reported - Silent Light and Paranoid Park.P2 was won in a UK bidding war with Summit Entertainment, in a deal negotia
  • Teeth Of Love sweeps inaugural Xian film festival

    Zhuang Yuxin's Teeth Of Love picked up awards in three categories at the inaugural Xian Qujiang Film Festival for New Talents which wrapped in the Chinese city of Xian last night. The film, which follows the love stories of a Beijing woman through three stages of her life - as a teenage gang leader, a career woman and a housewife - was awarded the titles 'Recommended Film', 'Recommended Director' for Zhuang and 'Recommended Actor' for lead actress Yan Bingyan. Also winning
  • Telepool sells A Crude Awakening to UK's Dogwoof

    Telepool has closed an all-rights deal for the UK with Dogwoof Pictures for the feature documentary A Crude Awakening by Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack of Swiss-based Lava Productions. The film about how humans are sucking dry our most valuable, non-renewable resource - oil - was released by Columbus Film in Switzerland as the country's first digital feature release, at around 25 cinemas in the German-speaking part from April and is playing at least 10 screens in the French
  • The Weinstein Company takes on WAZ from Pathe

    In Cannes, Pathe Pictures International sold thriller WAZ to The Weinstein Company for North America. Other territories sold were Germany (Square One), Portugal (Lusomundo), Thailand (J-Bics), Latin America (Quality Films), CIS (Lizard), Spain (Vertigo), Benelux (Dutch Filmworks), Scandinavia (AB Svensk), Australia/New Zealand (All Interactive), Greece, Cyrpus, Former Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria (Audiovisuals), South Africa (Ster-kinekor), Czech Republic (AQS), India (WEG), and
  • The Works dives into UK deal for Mee Shee: The Water Giant

    The Works UK Distribution has taken all UK rights to Mee Shee: The Water Giant from ContentFilm. The $27m family film is directed by John Henderson for the Jim Henson Creature Shop.The story follows a young boy's relationship with a sea monster. It will be released this summer.As previously reported, The Works has also taken rights to Steve Buscemi's Interview and crocodile thriller Black Water.In other news, The Works Media Group has appointed Costa Theo to its
  • Toho-Towa unveils Universal release slate

    Japanese distributor Toho-Towa has announced its upcoming slate of Universal Pictures releases. As previously announced, the third film in the Bourne trilogy, The Bourne Ultimatum, will be the first Universal release through Toho-Towa, the foreign film distribution arm of Toho Studios. Bourne will be released in November 2007, three months after its US bow. The remaining titles are scheduled for 2008 releases and include Mr. Bean's Holiday, Atonement
  • Trinidad & Tobago starts new film tax incentive with rebate up to 30%

    Trinidad & Tobago, the twin island nation in the Carribean, has today unveiled its first tax incentives for film, TV and advertising shoots. The new rebates system ranges from 12.5% for productions of expenditures up to $500,000, 15% for productions from $500,000 to $1m, or 30% rebates for productions spending over $1m. Qualifying expenditure includes local equipment, supplies and services, local municipal payments, location fees, local crew employment, accomodation, food and loca
  • Turner to serve as president of jury at Flanders

    Kathleen Turner will serve as president of the jury at the 34th Annual Flanders International Film Festival, set to run in Ghent, Belgium, from Oct 9-20.Turner, who served as a juror at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, is best known for film roles in Body Heat, Romancing The Stone and Peggy Sue Got Married, for which she earned an Oscar nomination.She has also starred on Broadway in
  • UKFC P&A Fund backs Tell No One and Black Gold

    The UK Film Council's Prints & Advertising Fund has announced its latest awards to help with wider distribution of niche films. The latest funding recipients are:$217,553 (£110,774) to Revolver Entertainment for Tell No One (Ne Le Dis A Personne) by Guillaume Canet $123,728 (£63,000) to the BFI for A Throw of Dice (Prapancha Pash) by Franz Osten $80,442 (£40,960) to M
  • Velvet Octopus strikes major deals for The Moon Princess

    UK sales outfit Velvet Octopus, which will be unveiling Peter Howitt's Dangerous Parking to buyers at the London UK Film Focus (June 25-28), has done brisk business on its Cannes slate. ' Cannes was a fantastic market for us,' Simon Crowe, managing director of Velvet Octopus, said. Following on from its deal with Sony for world rights excluding the US on supernatural action drama Legion, the London-based company has also closed major territories on several other titl
  • Walden, Phoenix hire Kwapis to direct teen mayor project

    Walden Media has hired Ken Kwapis to direct its untitled teen mayor project that Phoenix Pictures' Mike Medavoy and Arnold Messner will produce.Surf's Up co-writers Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse have come aboard as screenwriters on the story of a high school slacker who runs for mayor to bolster his college application and ends up getting elected.Fox will release in North America through the Fox Walden joint venture. An internation
  • Wild Bunch enjoys a strong Cannes Market

    Wild Bunch had a hearty Cannes Market with notable sales across its slate. Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days sold in 31 territories including to IFC in the US, France's Bac Films/Why Not, Germany's Concorde, Spain's Golem, Canada's Metropole, the UK's Artificial Eye, Brazil's Lumiere and China's Seasonal. Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi's second feature, Actresses, which ran in Un Certain Regard, closed seven territories including Argentina, Turkey and Israel. Hana Makhm
  • Wildlife documentaries: nature calls

    Following the global success of March Of The Penguins, animal films are the hot new genre. But is there a market for theatrical wildlife documentaries' Melanie Rodier reports. From meerkats to elephants, turtles to polar bears: in the post March Of The Penguins marketplace, a host of animal-based nature documentaries are trying to recreate the magic of a film that grossed $77m in the US and picked up the best documentary Oscar in 2006.And the theatrical w