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11 February 2000

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  • AFC revamp takes shape with Warner

    French production and distribution giant Le Studio Canal Plus has picked up international sales rights to The Princess And The Warrior (Der Krieger Und Die Kaiserin), the latest proejct from Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer. Princess, produced by Stefan Arndt's X-Filme Creative Pool, is completed and due for delivery to buyers this spring. The film, about a couple who must save each other before being allowed to fall in love, features Lola star Franke Poten
  • Alliance, Canal Plus confirm UK distribution pact

    Alliance Atlantis and France's Le Studio Canal Plus have confirmed a deal for Alliance to handle UK distribution on a slate of Le Studio's high-profile English-language titles (Screendaily, Feb 3).The deal covers all UK rights to Simpatico, starring Sharon Stone and Jeff Bridges; Kathryn Bigelow's Weight Of Water, with Sean Penn and Catherine McCormack; John Waters' Cecil B Demented, starring Melanie Griffith and Stephen Dorff; Nagisa Oshima's Gohatto
  • Animal Factory

    Dir: Steve Buscemi. US. 1999. 90 mins.Prod Co: Phoenician Entertainment, Industry Entertainment, Arts Production Corp. Int'l Sales: Franchise Pictures. Prods: Julie Yorn, Elie Samaha, Steve Buscemi, Andrew Stevens. Exec prods: Alan Cohen, Barry Cohen, Edward Bunker, Danny Trejo. Scr: Edward Bunker form his novel. DoP: Phil Parmet. Prod des: Steven Rosenzweig. Ed: Kate Williams. Mus: John Lurie. Main cast: Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong, Seymour Cassel, Mickey Rourke, Steve Buscemi, To
  • Apollo Media lines up Beresford, Cookson projects

    German film fund Apollo Media, launched last November (Screen International, Nov 19, 1999), has unveiled its debut slate which includes new projects from Bruce Beresford, Stephen Cookson, Christine Lahti and Tomy Wigand. An April start is being slated for Bruce Beresford's long-gestating project, the $12m melodrama Alma - Bride Of The Wind, about composer Gustav Mahler's wife Alma, which Apollo will co-produce with Margit Bimler's Munich-based production outfit Firelight
  • Artisan bets big on black entertainment

    Shrewd US distributor Artisan Entertainment is boosting its product supply once again, this time sealing an agreement this week to distribute 6-8 black-themed films across North America.The films will be made by BET Pictures II, a subsidiary of BET Holdings II, the first and only black-owned and operated entertainment company in the US producing programming and films that are designed to appeal to African American interests. It also operates four TV networks led by Black Entertainment
  • Artisan invests in education with Baby Einstein

    Artisan Entertainment has acquired North American distribution rights to a collection of developmental video products for children ages 0-4 from The Baby Einstein Company. Simultaneously, Artisan took a minority interest in the company and has signalled its intention to grow the brand into a household name a la Barney or Sesame Street.The agreement includes Baby Einstein's library of four 30-minute Video Board Books and its Concert For Little Ears series of audio titles which wi
  • Beau Travail

    Dir: Claire Denis. France. 1998. 90 mins.Prod cos: Pathe Television, La Sept-Arte, SM Films. Int'l sales: Mercure Distribution. Prod: Jerome Minet. Scr: Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau. DoP: Agnes Godard. Ed: Nelly Quettier. Mus: Eran Tzur. Main cast: Denis Lavant, Michel Subor, Gregoire Colin, Marta Tafesse Kassa. A strangely impressionistic portrait of life in the Foreign Legion, Beau Travail will enhance the art-house and festival circuit but in spite of its stro
  • Bening named ShoWest Female Star Of The Year

    Annette Bening has been named ShoWest Female Star Of The Year, rounding out the roster of awards at this year's ShoWest 2000 Awards Night on March 9 in Las Vegas.Bening, one of this year's Best Actress Oscar front-runners for American Beauty, has already won the award for funniest actress in a motion picture (leading role) at the American Comedy Awards and a Golden Globe nomination for best performance by an actress in a motion picture, drama.Bening will next be seen in M
  • Beyond to sing with Other Voices

    Beyond Films has acquired worldwide rights, excluding North America, to Dan McCormack's debut feature Other Voices, which featured in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Beyond quietly signed for the film after getting a sneak preview prior to Sundance. Other Voices stars Campbell Scott, Peter Gallagher and Stockard Channing and was filmed by McCormack in New York from his own script. Production companies involved on the film include Unapix Entertainment, Ch
  • Bombo acquires Panorama title Shadow Boxers

    Bombo Sports & Entertainment has picked up world sales rights to feature-length documentary Shadow Boxers, which is screening in the Panorama section of the Berlin film festival.The picture takes an insider's approach to the murky world of women's boxing, following world champion Lucia Rijker. It was voted best first feature at the Florida Film Festival and was runner-up in the Seattle Festival's documentary section. Bombo co-chief Doug Schwalbe believes the picture will
  • Brussels loses FIAPF status

    The recently-wrapped Brussels International Film Festival has been stripped of its approved status, by the Paris-based International Federation of Film Producers' Associations (FIAPF). FIAPF said that the Brussels IFF, which specialises in films from the European Union, had lost its accredited status as a result of its use of cassette screenings. FIAPF suggested that this may require additional clearance from film producers. 'And we would also prefer to see our members' films given the
  • BSkyB reports $99m loss; ups digital subscriptions

    Investment in joint ventures and heavy subscriber acquisition costs have had a negative impact on UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB's bottom line, resulting in a pre-tax loss of £61.5m ($99.2m) for the six months to the end of 1999 compared to a profit of £53.2m ($85.8m) for the same period the previous year.However the satellite broadcaster said it has notched up 2.3 million digital subscribers to date and is confident it will reach the 5 million mark by the end of the year. At the end o
  • Canada to get uncut American Psycho

    Canadian audiences will be able to see the original 'NC-17' version of American Psycho when Vancouver-based distributor Lions Gate Films releases it across the country on April 14.After the US' Motion Picture Association issued an 'NC-17' rating, director Mary Harron re-edited the controversial film in order to receive a more box-office friendly "R" rating for the film's US opening, also April 14."We believe that American Psycho is an important film that deserves to be se
  • Canadian exports break C$100m barrier

    Canadian film and video exports surpassed the C$100 million mark for the first time in 1997-1998, according to a report from Statistics Canada.Sales agents' foreign sales of Canadian film and video productions reached a record C$101.2m ($70m). The figures excluded productions distributed directly by film and video producers.Meanwhile, the strong performance of foreign film and video productions domestically, led to overall record revenues of C$1.8bn ($1.25bn) for the Canadian di
  • Canal Plus reports 16% turnover increase

    Canal Plus, the European pay-TV giant which has seen its shares more than double since November, reported 1999 turnover up by 16%.Driven by its international businesses and film division Le Studio Canal Plus, the group saw revenues for its majority owned operations hit $3.33bn (euro3.29bn), up from $2.78 in the year to December. While revenues from the domestic French pay-TV operations were up less than 5% at $1.46bn, TelePiu showed that there is still growth in the Italian mark
  • Canal Plus snaps up six from Japan's Suncent

    France's Canal Plus is acquiring worldwide rights, excluding Japan, to six pictures from Suncent CinemaWorks, the film production arm of Japanese satellite broadcaster WOWOW.The first film in the deal is Sogo Ishii's Gojo Reisenki, a lavishly produced period action film set for an autumn release in Japan. The film is the fifth in the J*Cine*X series of films by younger directors produced by Suncent president Takenori Sento for WOWOW. Also included in the deal is Naomi Sento's
  • Canal Plus, Pathe embark on Mission To Mars

    C+P - the joint acquisition and distribution venture between French majors Canal Plus and Pathe - has acquired French rights to mammoth Disney sci-fi picture Mission To Mars from Spyglass Entertainment.Brian De Palma's epic, which is budgeted around $75m, will open in North America on March 10 through Buena Vista. Late last year, Spyglass acquired continental European rights to the picture for distribution through its overseas partners Eureka (Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and t
  • Carlton, United merger hits competition snag

    The proposed merger between UK media congloms Carlton Communications and United News & Media has hit a setback after being referred to the Competition Commission.The widely-expected decision by trade and industry secretary Stephen Byers comes after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) raised concerns regarding both TV programming and advertising. The Commission is to deliver its findings in May. The would-be partners had hoped to avoid a referral, but Granada Media Group, a rival IT
  • Dudley-Smith expands WBITD role

    Malcolm Dudley-Smith has been promoted to senior vice president, sales and business development, at Warner Bros International Television Distribution where he will now oversee all sales activities in Latin America, Asia and Canada including pay, cable and free TV.Dudley-Smith will also continue to be responsible for identifying equity investments, strategic alliances and channel development for WBITD in these territories. In expanding his role, he is assuming some of the responsibiliti
  • East Is East wins best film at British Film Awards

    FilmFour's hit comedy East Is East won Best Film at the Evening Standard British Film Awards last night. Working Title Films' romantic comedy, Notting Hill, the most successful UK film worldwide, took the Peter Sellers Award for Comedy. Best actor went to Jeremy Northam for An Ideal Husband and The Winslow Boy, while Samantha Morton picked up the prize for Best actress for her part in Dreaming Of Joseph Lees. Actor Peter Mullan took the Most Pr
  • Ellipse, Expand set to tie the knot

    France's two leading television production outfits - Canal Plus subsidiary Ellipse Programme and the Expand group - plan to merge their production labels and libraries to create a new entity with annual revenues of $212m (FFR1.4bn). The new group, which will operate under the Expand banner, will control a library of more than 5,000 hours of television programming, including more than 1,500 hours of drama programming, 625 hours of documentaries and 510 hours of animated programmes.
  • Entertainment gurus resurrect Hammer horror label

    An investment consortium headed by leading lights in the UK film, music, publishing and advertising sectors has acquired classic British horror and genre franchise Hammer Film Productions.The group aims to boost sales on Hammer's library - which encompasses 179 feature films including The Curse Of Frankenstein and Dracula - plus exploit its potential for merchandising, TV spin-offs and feature remakes.The investors include specialists across areas that the company
  • European Commission seeks tax on internet movies

    The European Commission (EC) is specifically targeting media products as it seeks to extend its tax net to goods sold on the Internet. The proposals, which will be detailed in the next two months, focus on virtual goods such as music, software and, by implication, streamed or downloadable film content. "We have in the pipeline a proposal on Internet commerce, but it is not commerce in the sense of distance selling of physical goods," said EC tax official Stephen Bill.The new pro
  • Eyes Wide Shut is French critics' best foreign pic

    Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut has been singled out by the French critics as best foreign film of 1999 for their prize, the Prix Leon Moussinac, which was awarded yesterday (Feb 7).The runner-ups for the prize, created in 1967, included Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother, Jean-Louis and Luc Dardenne's Cannes Golden Palm-winner Rosetta, David Lynch's The Straight Story and Terence Malick's The Thin Red Line, among others. The French critic
  • Fantasporto fetes Bowie, Bunuel at 40th bash

    Retrospectives dedicated to David Bowie and Luis Bunuel are among the highlights of the Oporto International Film Festival - better known as 'Fantasporto' - which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year (Feb 25-March 4). Although the festival is best known for fantasy and sci-fi, it boasts a wide-ranging international Official Selection. Films in this non-competitive section this year include Wayne Wang's Anywhere But Here, Robert Sarkies' Scarfies, Guillermo del Toro's
  • FFC grants producers better terms of trade

    The Australian Film Finance Corporation (FFC) has unveiled plans to guarantee producers overhead payments and give them greater access to the revenue streams generated by their projects. A group of 24 producers calling itself the Independent Producers' Initiative (IDI) emerged in November to force some action on terms of trade and has been negotiating with the FFC since. The FFC has proposed mandatory overheads, capped at A$200,000 ($131,000), to be included in all budgets. It a
  • Finland's Restless knocks down Beauty, Joan

    Finnish production Restless (Levottomat) has attracted 54,125 admissions in its first week on release, beating American Beauty to the number one slot with a box office gross of $372,337. The impressive opening is the biggest in Finland for a local film since the 1989 release of The Winter War which remains the country's most successful domestic production with total admissions of 628,767. Directed by Aku Louhimies, Restless is produced by Markus Selin for SolarFilm
  • Fortissimo expands slate with Wong's Mood For Love

    Fortissimo Film Sales has picked up sales duties on seven new pictures including Cannes competition hopeful In The Mood For Love, directed by Wong Kar Wai.The Dutch-Hong Kong sales house opened its new slate for business at the European Film Market in Berlin this week, and plans to take the pictures to the American Film Market later this month. In The Mood For Love boasts top Hong Kong stars Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung (Leung Chiu Wai) and is produced by Eric Heumann's F
  • Fox to release Prokino slate in Germany

    German independent distributor Prokino and 20th Century Fox have entered into an exclusive strategic cooperative alliance which will see all of Prokino's future releases being distributed by the US major, starting with Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labours Lost. Branagh's Shakespeare adaptation, which is showing at this year's Berlin Film Festival in the official section "out of competition", will be released through Fox in Germany on May 25. It will be followed by Matthias Lehmann's
  • French director Vadim dies

    French director Roger Vadim died today after a long struggle with cancer. He was 72.Vadim is perhaps best known for launching Brigitte Bardot's career in the 1956 And God Created Woman. His credits also include the 1968 sci-fi picture Barbarella - starring his wife at the time, Jane Fonda - Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1959), Et Mourir De Plaisir (1960), Dom Juan (1973) and The Hot Touch (1981).Vadim also earned fame as a producer, writer a
  • Fresh talent picks up Tigers at Rotterdam

    Three fledgling directors from three different international territories walked away with a VPRO Tiger Award at the close of this year's International Film Festival Rotterdam on Saturday night. The winning directors were: China's Lou Ye for his Suzhou River; Argentinean Pablo Trapero's Mundo Grua (Crane World) and Katrin Ottarsdottir from Denmark for Bye Bye Blue Bird. Each of the three awards - which beat off competition from a field of fourteen titles in all - ma
  • Genies grant Sunshine box office boost

    Genie awards publicity translated into a box office boom for Istvan Szabo's Sunshine last weekend, as the film notched up its strongest sales to date since its release in Canada on December 16.Earning an impressive C$85,000 ($59,000) on 42 screens across Canada for the weekend Feb 4-6, the film now has a cumulative box office of C$700,000 ($484,000)."There is no question that the recognition and exposure generated by the Genie awards has contributed to Sunshine's o
  • Germany, Spain to renew co-production treaty

    Spain's culture secretary, Miguel Angel Cortes, and German culture minister, Michael Naumann, have announced that they will sign a German-Spanish co-production agreement tomorrow (Feb 11) at the Berlin Film Festival.The accord replaces and expands on an existing agreement which the two countries signed in 1956. It aims to encourage German-Spanish co-productions by making cast and crew participation requirements more flexible. Spain produced 82 feature films in 1999, 38 of which
  • Granada ties TV production knot with Seven Network

    The UK's Granada Media Group has become one of the top five shareholders in Australia's Seven Network, as part of a deal which sees the two entities form an as-yet-unnamed Australian-based production company.Granada will combine its Australian production company Artist Services, which has several feature credits, with Seven's in-house production.The new outfit is likely to produce more than 350 hours of programming a year, 200 of which will be for Seven's free-to-air, pay-TV and multim
  • Harris, Madigan sign up for Elton John project

    Elton John's London-based film production company Rocket Pictures has partnered with Ed Harris and Amy Madigan for an adaptation of A L Kennedy's novel So I Am Glad.The husband and wife acting team will star in and, with Rocket co-founder David Furnish, produce the project through their US production outfits Zeke Productions and Amer Productions. Set in Glasgow and Paris, the novel is the story of two unconventional people romantically intertwined. Stella Theodoulou and
  • Hi-Def crime mockumentary plans Berlin heist

    Robbers, one of the first feature films to be shot completely on high-definition video, will be unveiled at Berlin this week by its producers Dan Lupovitz, Timm Oberwelland and Leon Melas.A mock documentary about a film crew following a gang of robbers at work and play, Robbers is the first produced screenplay by Michael Couto and Grant Holly. Couto, a graduate of the American Film Institute, also directed. "Because it's about a video crew following a series of rob
  • Horror scores in German market

    As Scream 3 breaks records in the US, the horror genre is making its mark in Germany - and this time for a locally produced film. Anatomie, written and directed by hot young Austrian Stefan Ruzowitzky, attracted 320,000 cinema-goers over its opening four-day weekend. Making almost $2m (DM4m) from 386 screens, this beats previous opening highs for the original Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Ruzowitzky wrote and directed the 1998 international festival f
  • iCraveTV close to settlement with studios

    Canada's iCraveTV, the web-site that has raised the ire of the US and local entertainment industries, is understood to be close to reaching a settlement with its powerhouse adversaries. The site had been web-casting feeds from US and Canadian channels without permission; but was forced to cease web-casts last Friday following a restraining order handed down by a US court. Although iCraveTV's activities are technically legal in Canada, the company acceded to the judgement rather
  • Italian directors face blasphemy charges

    The directors of Italian production Toto, Who Lived Twice are standing trial in Italy this week on charges of fraud and blasphemy which were brought against them by the state. The Palermo filmmakers, Daniele Cipri and Franceso Maresco, became local celebrities last year when their publicly-funded movie was banned by a Rome court for mixing religious, especially Roman Catholic, imagery with sex. In the meantime, several cinemas said they will screen the movie in protest to
  • Kaurismaki seeks finance to complete Lenin biopic

    Producer Igor Maiboroda and Finnish film-maker Aki Kaurismaki are seeking co-producers to complete Lenin biopic, Belief, Hope And Blood, which started shooting 18 months ago in Finland.Several scenes from the film were shot at Kaurismaki's Sputnik Studios in Finland during summer 1998 using actor Igor Muzhzhukhin as the young Lenin. However the project has since failed to progress, although the producers hope to attract finance now that Klaus Maria Brandauer has expressed intere
  • KCMedien, CineArtists board Stone's Beyond Borders

    German film fund KC Medien and Munich-based film finance packager CineArtists are backing Oliver Stone's next feature Beyond Borders, which will be partly shot on location in Europe. The film, about medical organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres, is the third project to receive backing from KC Medien following its change of strategy away from mainly US-based co-productions towards large-scale European films. Other European projects receiving backing from the fund are Jean-
  • Kinowelt picks up two from Checkpoint Berlin

    Kinowelt International, the foreign sales arm of German media concern Kinowelt Medien, has acquired international rights to Hansjoerg Thurn's Love Never Fails (Marmor,) and Peter Keglevic's Falling Rocks (Stein Und Eisen).The films are the first two projects from young Berlin-based production outfit TTD Checkpoint Berlin. The company was founded a year ago by Til Schweiger's former partner in Mr Brown Entertainment, Tom Zickler, together with Daniel C. Witte
  • La Sept-Arte, Sundance partner for movie channel

    Robert Redford's Sundance Channel and French public broadcaster La Sept-Arte are linking up to create a cable and satellite movie channel in France.La Sept-Arte, the French end of French-German cultural channel Arte, was already developing a channel, dedicated to independent film from all over the world, before approaching the Sundance group for creative and financial help. Helen Mochiri, who is heading La Sept-Arte's project tentatively entitled Cinemas Du Monde, said she soon found t
  • Le Studio set to fully finance Mike Leigh trio

    Le Studio Canal Plus has signed a three-picture deal with UK film-maker Mike Leigh and his producing partner Simon Channing-Williams. The acclaimed director had also been in financing discussions recently with United Artists Films.Le Studio is now expected to fully finance the Leigh trio with Les Films Alain Sarde, in which Canal Plus owns a 49% stake. Pierre Edelman, who was instrumental in bringing David Lynch's The Straight Story to Le Studio, brokered the link-up. Ede
  • Le Studio to run with Tykwer's Princess

    French production and distribution giant Le Studio Canal Plus has picked up international sales rights to The Princess And The Warrior (Der Krieger Und Die Kaiserin), the latest project from Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer. Princess, produced by Stefan Arndt's X-Filme Creative Pool, is completed and due for delivery to buyers this spring. The film, about a couple who must save each other before being allowed to fall in love, features Lola star Franke Poten
  • Levinsohn promoted to head Fox pay-TV

    Peter Levinsohn has been promoted to executive vice president, worldwide pay-TV and pay-per-view, for 20th Century Fox. Levinsohn has been senior vice president, international pay television and pay-per-view, since Sept 1997 and will now be responsible for the distribution of Fox's feature film and television programming to all worldwide pay-TV and pay-per-view markets.Levinsohn has been instrumental in securing long-term pay-television and pay-per-view licensing arrangements in
  • Lisowsky jumps from DreamWorks to Universal

    Dirk Lisowsky has been appointed managing director of Universal Pictures Video Germany, replacing Haig Balian who headed up both theatrical and video operations for Universal in Germany before the decision to channel theatrical product through UIP.Lisowsky previously managed DreamWorks' operations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Prior to that he held the position of sales director at Buena Vista Home Entertainment Germany where he built the sell-through business for titles such as
  • Livingstone to steer specialist fare for UIP

    Universal has finalised the appointment of David Livingstone, formerly president of marketing at Universal Pictures International, to oversee the release of specialist films through the studio's international outlet, United International Pictures. Livingstone's brief will include titles from the UK's Working Title Films and DNA Films as well as projects from Universal's London-based acquisitions team. The move comes after many international film-makers' fears that smaller films will be
  • Mason and Coote join Macquarie board

    Producers Andrew Mason and Greg Coote have been appointed to the board of the Macquarie Film Corporation as the company gears up to release its second prospectus in March. Macquarie is one of two Australian companies awarded licences to raise A$20m ($12.6m) in concessional capital to help grow the film and television industry. Another addition to the board is long-time television executive Greg Kinging.Mason and Coote have both spent much time recently working on offshore produc
  • Mehta's Water off again following suicide attempt

    Production on Deepa Mehta's Water has been halted again in the Indian city of Varanasi following a suicide attempt and further protests by local government. The controversial film, the third instalment in Mehta's Fire, Earth and Water trilogy, resumed filming last Thursday after India's federal government over-ruled protests by local authorities that it portrayed Varanasi as corrupt. However Mehta was forced to stop work again on Sunday (Feb 6) following fur
  • Mehta's Water to relocate

    Director Deepa Mehta has revealed that after weeks battling with protestors on the set of her film Water, she has decided to shift location from the Indian city of Varanasi."There is a good chance that the sets of Water will now float into the state of Madhya Pradesh, where chief minister Digvijay Singh has guaranteed us security," Deepa Mehta said.Mehta last week agreed to tone down the script of her film and remove five lines said to be offensive to the groups le
  • Miramax stages Broadway version of Stoppard play

    First it was magazine publishing, now Miramax Films has extended its tentacles onto The Great White Way. The New York-based Disney-offshoot has signed a deal to co-finance the Broadway run of the hit London stage revival of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing.The London cast which is currently in the middle of a three month run at the Albery Theatre in London (after a summer at the Donmar Warehouse) will move to Broadway for a limited 20-week engagement opening on April 17 at the Barr
  • Mother shows legs at Spanish box office

    Domestic productions have been maintaining a healthy presence at the Spanish box office in recent weeks, spurred on by both Spain's Oscars equivalent, the Goya Awards which took place on January 29, and the growing popularity among cinema-goers of a new generation of young actors.Director Pedro Almodovar's international hit All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) has now featured in the Spanish charts for an astonishing 42 weeks. The film, which remains on an impressive 73 scr
  • MTM to shoot biopic of student leader Dutschke

    Munich-based production outfit MTM cineteve has successfully bid for the film rights to the biography of legendary student movement leader Rudi Dutschke.The biography - entitled Dutschke: We Had A Barbarically Lovely Life - was published by his widow Gretchen Dutschke in 1996. Urs Egger, whose credits include Opera Ball, will direct the biopic in 2001 from a screenplay by Leni Ohngemach.MTM is also developing a contemporary adaptation of 19th Century Russian author Ivan T
  • Muratova to receive Wajda Freedom Prize in Berlin

    Russian director Kira Muratova, whose credits include the 1990 Berlin Special Jury prize winner The Asthenic Syndrome, will receive the first Andrzej Wajda/Philip Morris Freedom Prize at the Berlin Film Festival on February 13.Wajda, whose film Pan Tadeusz will receive a special screening at Berlin, will present the prize to Muratova in person. The award ceremony will also mark the launch of the American Cinema Foundation's Freedom Film Showcase of films from Central and
  • Naumann opens new bag of funding measures

    German culture minister Michael Naumann has unveiled a package of measures to strengthen the federal government's culturally-oriented film funding programme.Naumann, whose film funding budget was raised this year from $7.75m (DM15.5m) to $9m (DM18m), is directing more money at script development with sums of up to $50,800 to be paid out for the support of screenplays in place of the present $10,000. Naumann has also created two annual Script Awards, each with a purse of $25,000, instea
  • New Year's Day

    Dir: Suri Krishnamma. UK. 1999. 101mins.Prod co: Alchymie. Int'l sales: The Sales Co. Prods: Steven Cleary, Simon Channing-Williams. Co-prods: Charles Steel, Marianne Slot, Vibeke Windelov. Exec prods: Beau Rogers, David Forrest. Scr: Ralph Brown. DoP: John De Borman. Prod des: Eve Stewart. Ed: Adam Ross. Mus: Julian Nott. Main cast: Andrew Lee Potts, Bobby Barry, Anastasia Hille, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jacqueline Bisset, Michael Kitchen.An unsettling journey through the
  • Newcomers split prize at Hungarian Film Week

    Two films from relative newcomers - Frigyes Godros's Glamour and Gergely Fonyo's Johnny Famous - shared the best film prize at this year's Hungarian Film Week (Feb 3-8).The 31st edition of the Budapest event presented a programme of 24 features and 31 non-fiction films made in Hungary over the past year, including long-awaited works by veteran Hungarian directors Miklos Jancso, Istvan Szabo and Marta Meszaros. Jancso was awarded the best director's prize for Damn You!
  • Oscar frontrunner Swank logs onto Porchlight slate

    Porchlight Entertainment, the LA-based sales and production outfit specialising in family programming, has acquired international theatrical, TV and video rights to Heartwood, a coming of age story starring Hilary Swank and Jason Robards.Swank, who is frontrunner to win this year's Best Actress Academy Award for Boys Don't Cry, plays the daughter of a mill manager who gets caught up with a small sawmill owner (Robards) and his battle to save the Redwood Forests from large
  • Other Voices

    Dir: Dan McCormack. US. 1999. 104 mins.Prod Co: Charny/Strong. Int'l sales: Beyond Films. Prods: Ruth Charny, Shelly Strong. Co-prods: Alicia Reilly-Larson, Deborah Cappogrosso. Exec prods: Robert Baruc, Alicia Reilly-Larson. Scr: Dan McOrmack. DoP: Dan Gillham. Prod des: Michael Krantz. Ed: Fred Wardell, Martin Hunter. Mus: William T Stromberg. Main cast: David Aaron Baker, Stockard Channing, Peter Gallagher, Mary McCormack, Rob Morrow, Campbell Scott. A brooding, Kafkae
  • Oz studio plans fail to attract cash

    The ambitious plan to build a third major film studio in Australia - with the backing of US giant Viacom - is floundering because of a complete lack of interest from institutional investors.The public float has now been abandoned and the retail precinct shaved off the development to bring the cost down from the original $316m (A$500m) estimate. The partners in the Studio City consortium are believed to be tipping in $63.2m (A$100m), including $22.1m (A$35m) from Viacom, but have
  • Parallax, Road Movies' Princesa cranks up in Milan

    Production has started in Milan on Henrique Goldman's Princesa, a three-way co-production between the UK's Parallax Pictures, Germany's Road Movies Filmproduktion and Italian distributor BIM.The film, which is Road Movies' fifth collaboration with London-based Parallax after films such as Ken Loach's Land And Freedom and Carla's Song, centres on the story of a Brazilian boy who dreams of becoming a woman. The boy travels to Italy to become a transvestite prostitute
  • ProSieben, Sat1 mull collaboration options

    German commercial broadcasters Sat1 and the ProSieben Media Group are considering forming a joint family of channels according to ProSieben's new chief Urs Rohner.The two groups are understood to be examining three scenarios. One involves Sat1 being brought into ProSieben with Sat1's shareholders becoming shareholders in ProSieben; while another sees the Kirch Group setting up a new holding company to administer the joint broadcasting interests as it is majority shareholder in both Sat
  • Relph takes BAFTA chair as membership surges

    UK producer Simon Relph is replacing Tim Angel as chairman of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).Relph will take up the position on July 1. Angel has been chairman for three years after the traditional two-year post was renewed for an additional year.Relph assumes chairmanship as BAFTA reports a surge in membership over the last 12 months, with more than 1,000 people signing up to bring the total membership to nearly 4,000. BAFTA's Los Angeles arm now boasts
  • Rotterdam's CineMart sows seeds for Berlin

    The Berlin International Film Festival and market may only have unfolded this week, but the mating game for development and production finance partners is already in full swing.It kicked off in earnest earlier this month at the International Film Festival, Rotterdam which staged the 17th CineMart gathering for financiers, talent and producers to meet, greet and do deals.A number of hot titles emerged during the four-day market from a strong field of 41 projects from territories
  • Schroeder unveils plans for Franco-German academy

    German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced the creation of a German-French film academy today at the Berlin film festival.While the chancellor disclosed neither the budget nor the location of the proposed institution, he said it would address the cultural and economic needs of the industry.At a conference attended by French culture minister Catherine Trautmann and German culture minister Michael Naumann, Schroeder said: 'the objective is to overcome the obstacles that Europea
  • Scream 3

    Dir: Wes Craven. US. 2000. 116 mins.Prod co: Konrad Pictures, Craven/Maddalena Films. US dist: Dimension Films. Int'l sales: Miramax International. Prods: Cathy Konrad, Kevin Williamson, Marianne Maddalena. Exec prods: Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Cary Granat, Andrew Rona. Scr: Ethen Kruger, based on characters created by Kevin Williamson. DoP: Peter Deming. Prod des: Bruce Alan Miller. Ed: Patrick Lussier. Mus: Marco Beltrami. Main cast: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney
  • Scream 3 makes a killing at US box office

    Scream 3, the long awaited finale in Wes Craven's Scream franchise, was an instant, not entirely unexpected, box office blockbuster over the weekend in North America. Grossing a whopping $35.2m, the film became in the process the biggest ever February opener, the biggest ever opener for its distributor Miramax Films and the biggest ever horror film opener. Its gross was higher than the rest of the top ten combined.Scream 3 was originally scheduled to open in Decemb
  • Signs And Wonders

    Dir: Jonathan Nossiter. Germany. 1999. 108 mins.Prod co: MK2 in association with Arthaus Filmverleih. Int'l sales: MK2. Prod: Marin Karmitz. Scr: Jonathan Nossiter, James Lasdun. DoP: Yorgos Arvanitis. Mus: Adrian Utley. Main cast: Stellan Karsgard, Charlotte Rampling, Deborah Kara Unger, Dimitri Katalifos.Films about marital infidelity are plentiful enough to render it imperative to attempt some sort of originality. And Jonathan Nossiter has certainly done that with S
  • SKA gears up for period drama, soccer film

    Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn's SKA Films, the UK production company behind Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and the upcoming Snatch, is readying at least two other projects to shoot this year.Newcomer Simon Cooke is to direct a $12m-15m period film in the UK this autumn. SKA expects to finance the project, tentatively titled Black Earth, through the consortium of private investors assembled for Lock, Stock plus several other new private backers.Vau
  • Sony Pictures Classics converts to Tao Of Steve

    Sealing yet another Sundance acquisition, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the North American distribution rights to Jenniphr Goodman's The Tao Of Steve from New York's Good Machine.The crowd-pleasing romantic comedy, about a group of friends living in Santa Fe, New Mexico who use the philosophies of Lao-Tzu, Kierkegaard and Marx to create a supposedly fool-proof theory of dating, won a special prize from the Sundance jury for the lead performance of actor Donal Logue. He pla
  • Sweden's Mother, Knockout share Goteborg prize

    Lars Lennart Forsberg's My Mother Had 14 Children and Agneta Fagerstrom-Olsson's Knockout shared the Goteborg-Posten Nordic Competition Award at this year's Goteborg Film Festival (Jan 28-Feb 6).The directors of the two Swedish films were awarded SEK50,000 each. Knockout also won the Kodak NordicVision award - also worth SEK50,000 - for cinematography, which was received by John O. Olsson.The Canal Plus Nordic Script Prize went to Iceland's Einar Mar Gudmund
  • Telefonica gets approval for LatAm buy-outs

    Shareholders of Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica Friday approved a euro922m increase in capital to allow the conglomerate to follow through on plans to buy out 100% of four of its Latin American interests: Telesp and Tele Sudeste Celular of Brazil, Telefonica of Argentina and Telefonica of Peru. Telefonica will offer a little more than 922 million new shares at a value of 1 euro each in exchange for shares in the four Latin American firms.Shareholder approval for the move wa
  • The Broken Hearts Club

    Dir: Greg Berlanti. US. 2000. 91 mins.Prod co: Meanwhile Films. US dist: Screen Gems. Int'l dist: Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International. Prods: Mickey Liddell, Joseph Middleton. Co-prods: Julie Plec, Sam Irvin. Scr: Berlanti. DoP: Paul Elliott. Prod des: Charlie Daboub. Ed: Todd Busch. Mus: Julianne Kelley, Joe Guthrie. Main cast: Timothy Olyphant, Dean Cain, Andrew Keegan, John Mahoney, Matt McGrath, Billy Porter, Nia Long, Mary McCormack.Gay-themed movies may
  • Toy Story 2 opens on digital high

    The exclusive digital screening of Toy Story 2 at the Odeon Leicester Square, London raked in an impressive £150,000 ($240,000) in its opening three days. The highly-anticipated Walt Disney/Pixar animation, billed as one of the few sequels that is better than the original, is being projected using Texas Instruments' latest prototype DLP Cinema technology for a one week platform release. The computer-generated production widens across the country this Friday, Feb 11, in over 400
  • Toy Story 2 receives top honours at Imagina

    Toy Story 2 has won the grand prize at this year's Imagina (Jan 31-Feb 4), the Monte Carlo and Paris-based festival dedicated to 3D animation and special effects. The first Toy Story film - also directed by John Lasseter and produced by Disney-Pixar - picked up the same prize in 1996.Village Roadshow and Warner Bros' The Matrix won the Pixel-INA prize for best special effects. Meanwhile the short film Protest - produced by US Pitch Inc and dire
  • Valenti enlists moguls to improve trade with China

    Jack Valenti, chairman and CEO of The Motion Picture Association, has enlisted a who's who of Hollywood's most influential power-brokers to pressure the US Congress into bolster trade relations with China.Valenti, who will head up a new committee comprised of leading media tycoons and studio bosses, said the lobby group believes "it is in the long-term interests of our country that we put in place a sensible, enduring relationship with the largest nation on earth," said Valenti. "This
  • Videotron, Rogers confirm $4.1bn merger

    North America's seventh largest cable TV operator was forged on Monday when Canada's biggest cable company, Rogers Communications, announced a merger with Groupe Videotron, the country's third largest.The C$6bn ($4.1bn) friendly takeover creates a company that boasts not only 3.7m subscribers, representing nearly half of Canadian households, but also the most sophisticated broadband network in the world.The union, which is expected to be consummated in April subject to approval
  • Village beefs up London office in exec reshuffle

    Following Village Cinemas International's revelation that it is launching a chain of own brand cinemas in the UK, the company has announced several management changes, including the relocation of two Australian executives to its London office.George Livery has been promoted from managing director of Village Cinemas Australia to general manager of Village Cinemas International (VCI), where his main focus will be European cinema investments. Ross Entwistle will remain director of film bu
  • Vodafone, Mannesmann deal rewrites media rules

    With the Vodafone Airtouch merger with Mannesmann overtaking AOL's previous record-breaking takeover of Time Warner, investment bankers are rubbing their hands with glee. Media moguls and sector analysts, however, are looking for synergies between the two monster communications combines.While yesterday's $179bn (Euro181bn) Vodafone takeover of Mannesmann, is on the surface a purely telecoms deal, there are bound to be knock-on effects for more conventional media companies. Indee
  • Wenders changes tune with German rockumentary

    Wim Wenders, whose latest film The Million Dollar Hotel opened this year's Berlin Film Festival on Wednesday night (Feb 9), has acquired a taste for music documentaries after his success with Buena Vista Social Club. Wenders has confirmed that his next project will be a feature-length documentary about German 'rock dinosaurs' BAP. The German director said he also plans to make a 'small road movie' about the veteran rockers, beginning with a scene in the famous Lichtburg c