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Screen
11 February 2003

View all stories from this issue.

  • About Schmidt scores top screen averages in Italy, Australia

    New LineInternational's About Schmidt opened in third place in Italy over the weekend, grossing $1.3mfrom 188 screens. Although it finished behind Catch Me If You Can and The Lord Of The Rings: The TwoTowers, the black comedyaveraged $6,860 - the best performance in the top 50. The picture opened seventhin Australia on $566,092 from 46 screens. The $12,306 average was the highestin the top 20. About Schmidt opened top of the table in Argentina, where it took $98,52
  • Alex Lora documentary to get wide theatrical release in Mexico

    Columbia Tri Star/BVIMexico has picked up local distribution rights to documentary Alex Lora, directed by Luis Kelly. The joint distributioncompany headed by Philip Alexanderplans a nationwide release on some 200 prints, unprecedented for a documentary. The 50+ year old Lora, described as a mix between MickJagger and Bob Dylan, is reveredas one of Mexico's icons. Lora and his band El Tri, have sold millions ofalbums and performed to sell out audiences in Mexic
  • Almodovar pair comes into Focus

    Pedro Almodovar's next film as director, Bad Education (La Mala Educacion), has locked in its production financing structure two months before shooting is due to start in Spain, with Pathe taking a large swathe of European rights and Focus International handling sales in all other territories. The budget is estimated at $8m.At the same time, Focus has also been engaged by El Deseo - the Spanish production company that Pedro Almodovar spearheads with his brother Agustin -
  • Altman gets lifetime achievement award in San Francisco

    Robert Altman will receivethe Film Society Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing at the 46thSan Francisco International Film Festival this year (April 17-May 1). The awardwill be presented to Altman in person on April 23 at Film Society Awards night.Altman will be interviewedon stage and three of his films - Nashville (1975), Come Back To The Five And Dime, JimmyDean, Jimmy Dean (1982) and Tanner'88 (1988) will be screenedduring the festiv
  • Another major film studio proposed for Scotland

    The ongoing story of constructing a major film studio in Scotland added a further chapter on Wednesday with the announcement of a new $411.5m (£250m) development near Gleneagles, which includes provision for a $49.4m (£30m), 100-acre film studio. A private consortium of unnamed financiers would operate The Gleneagles Film Studio Partnership with the aim of constructing a facility with up to 14 sound stages, the largest silent stage in the world and the largest external water tank in th
  • Apollo to launch four English-language productions

    German media fund ApolloMedia has unveiled a raft of four titles to go into production in the first half of 2003.The first pictures to roll are Mick Garris' thriller Riding The Bullet based on an e-book by Stephen King (who is serving as one of the film's executive producers) and Slipstream. Both will be co-produced by Apollo with Brad Krevoy's Motion Picture Corporation of Europe (MPCE) at locations in South Africa between February and April, and sales are being handled
  • Arte reassures film-makers of continued investment

    Jerome Clement, (pictured) head of Arte, the Franco-German cultural channel, has plenty to crow about as he makes an annual good-will mission to the Berlinale. Arte was an investor in no less than twenty festival films, including four in main competition. These are Wolfgang Becker's already hot Good Bye Lenin!, Moussa Sene Absa's Madame Brouette, Hans Christian Schmid's Lichter and Patrice Chereau's Son Frere. With Michel Reilhac, his head of cinema f
  • Babelsberg gets Around The World

    Babelsberg Studios has been given a major boost with news that Jackie Chan's Around The World In 80 Days will be shot at the studios from this spring.Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer) directs the big-budget production for US-based Walden Media at Babelsberg and on location including Berlin and Central Germany. Chan, who plays Passe-partout in the fantasy adventure, will be coming to Berlin this week for the screening of Mabel Cheung and Alex Law's documentary T
  • Beauty wins Hungarian Film Week main prize

    The Main Prize of the 34th Hungarian Film Week was awarded to Peter Gothar's feature Hungarian Beauty. The story that probes the problems of two neighbouring families in present day Budapest beat the 21 other films in competition, judged by the five-member jury chaired by Sandor Radnoti. Three films received directorial awards, Ferenc Grunwalsky's Dancing Figure, Benedek Fliegauf's Berlinale participant Forest and Csaba Fazekas' Happy Birthday!, the l
  • Bergman's TV drama heads for the big screen

    Svensk Filmindustri (SF) has notched up a raft of sales for Saraband, a TV drama from legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman that has now become a hot theatrical property.The film was sold to Metro-Tartan for the UK, where the distributor recently re-released and has done good business with the previously unseen director's cut of Persona. Other territories sold during Berlin include Art Films for Brazil, Rosebud for Greece and Cine 3 for Argentina. There is also
  • Berlinale jury member wins Goldene Kamera

    Berlinale international jury member and Mostly Martha star Martina Gedeck was named best German actress at this year's Goldene Kamera Awards which were presented in Berlin yesterday evening.Winner in the best German actor category was Juergen Vogel, who last year starred in Doris Doerrie's Naked (Nackt) and makes a cameo appearance in Wolfgang Becker's Berlinale competition film Good Bye, Lenin! , while veteran German satirist Vicco von Buelow (aka Loriot) received
  • Berlinale jury member wins Goldene Kamera

    Berlinale international jury member and Mostly Martha star Martina Gedeck was named best German actress at this year's Goldene Kamera Awards which were presented in Berlin yesterday evening.Winner in the best German actor category was Juergen Vogel, who last year starred in Doris Doerrie's Naked (Nackt) and makes a cameo appearance in Wolfgang Becker's Berlinale competition film Good Bye, Lenin! , while veteran German satirist Vicco von Buelow (aka Loriot) received
  • Berlinale jury member wins Goldene Kamera

    Berlinale international jury member and Mostly Martha star Martina Gedeck was named best German actress at this year's Goldene Kamera Awards which were presented in Berlin yesterday evening.Winner in the best German actor category was Juergen Vogel, who last year starred in Doris Doerrie's Naked (Nackt) and makes a cameo appearance in Wolfgang Becker's Berlinale competition film Good Bye, Lenin! , while veteran German satirist Vicco von Buelow (aka Loriot) received
  • Berlinale promotes Freedom2Speak

    Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick has given a group of young local filmmakers the greenlight to transform the festival into an ongoing discussion forum about the threat of war with Iraq.Under the banner 'Freedom2Speak', the filmmakers have already produced a 20-second spot which will be shown before each film at the festival to draw attention to the venture.So-called 'Speakers corners' will be dotted around the Berlinale to give festival guests the opportunity to voice their ow
  • Camp

    Dir: Todd Graff. US. 2002. 115mins.Of all the films in dramatic competition at this year's Sundance Film Festival, none was as full of undiluted pleasures as Todd Graff's directorial debut Camp. A deliriously good-natured romp through the lives of a bunch of precocious kids attending a summer camp for actors, Camp is also a cracking musical and a sweet paean to being an outsider in life and the insecurity of growing up 'creative.' While the film is little more t
  • Cape Town studio project attracts massive interest

    South Africa's Western Cape government's plans to establish a $27m film studio in Cape Town has received a staggering 13 expressions of interest in the project. The public/private partnership project is seen as vital for the future of the local film industry, which has been constrained by the lack of facilities to produce full-length feature films. A new studio would see industry growth of an estimated 20% over the next two years. Currently the film industry in the province is w
  • Capturing The Friedmans

    Dir: Andrew Jarecki. US. 2003. 107minsCapturing The Friedmans walked away with this year's Sundance grand jury prize for best documentary and deservedly so. An engrossing, troubling and, in the end, profoundly ambiguous re-examination of a child molestation case that tore one upper-middle class family apart on New York's Long Island during the late 1980s, this will surely linger longer in the audience memory than the entire roster of dramatic films showcased at the fes
  • Catch Me If You Can runs up European revenues

    Catch Me If You Can swept through a host of new territories over the weekend notching up more than $15.5m from the nine territories that received it. These openings included UIP's launches in three major European territories: Germany, Italy and the UK.The unquestionable box office draw of megastar triumvirate Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and director Steven Spielberg produced a $5.3m (Euros 4.95m) four-day weekend in Germany from 705 screens. The comedic drama placed firs
  • Catriona Booth gets London-based communications job at Warner Bros

    Catriona Boothwas today (Feb 5) named director of international corporate communications atWarner Bros, a new London-based post that bestows a panoply of duties as thecompany's official spokesperson in Europe. Booth will assume responsibilityfor corporate and business press at the various divisions and properties,including strategic communications for Warner Bros UK. She will also manageday-to-day press related to legislation, regulation, litigation and policysurrounding t
  • Changes at Myriad: Roberts signs three-year production deal

    Moving tobolster the production and development divisions at Myriad Pictures, companypresident Kirk D'Amico today (Feb 4) announced that former vice presidentof acquisitions and development Karen Roberts has signed a three-pictureproducing deal with the company. In addition, Neil Butler has been promoted todirector of development and JC Rappaport becomes manager of acquisitions. Underthe in-house producing pact Roberts, who has worked with Myriad since Jul 2000,will produce the romantic comed
  • Chicago, Harvey and Pedro score big in Oscar nominations

    It was a bonanza for"independent" film as the 75th annual Academy Awardnominations were unveiled this morning at the Academy headquarters in BeverlyHills, California. Paramount Pictures was the only old-style Hollywood studiowith a Best Picture Oscar nomination this year, and that - for The Hours- was shared with Miramax Films. Indeed, Miramax - the WeinsteinBrothers' Disney-owned specialized outfit - had a field day, scoringan incredible 40 nominations.Miramax's hit musical
  • Ciment named guest programmer at San Francisco Film Fest

    Michel Ciment, the long-running editor of French filmmagazine Positif, has been named as guest programmer at the 46th San FranciscoInternational Film Festival. Making the announcement today (Feb 10), SanFrancisco Film Society executive director Roxanne Messina Captor said Cimentknew the festival well after covering it for many years as a reporter. Sheadded in a statement: 'I know that our audiences will be caught up by hispassion for film and appreciate h
  • Confidence

    Dir: James Foley. 2002. US. 98minsJames Foley's con-thriller, Confidence, tries to be as clever as the word play in its title, but this attempt at a clever-clever heist story fails due to a slack script and so-so performances. Despite some snappy dialogue, twists and turns and toying with the linear narrative, the screenplay, by newcomer Doug Jung, never really works and leaves the audience caring neither for the story nor the characters. Foley (who has yet to bett
  • Consolidation boosts UK independent cinema sector

    City Screen, the UK's leading specialist exhibitor, is expanding its business and launching a cinema programming and management division.The new arm will be headed up by Clare Binns, previously managing director of Zoo, the cinema programming and management outfit. In a significant move towards consolidation in the UK's specialised and arthouse exhibition sector, Binns will bring Zoo's 12 sites to City Screen, subject to negotiation with the individual theatres. These include s
  • Daldry throws weight behind FAME UK slate

    Stephen Daldry, in town to present today's competition screening of The Hours, is to executive produce two forthcoming films produced by the UK's Film & Music Entertainment (F&ME). The company, which recently bought itself out from the now depleted German company F.A.M.E., is putting together an impressive slate of pictures, with a combined production budget of $40m. Daldry is chairman of F&ME, which is run by Mike Downey and Sam Taylor.First off is Nobody Thinks Of Greenland
  • Danish duo create five-for-one animation plan

    Danish producer-distributor Angel Films has joined with Anders Morgenthaler's TV-Animation in a new production outfit Five For One, which plans to produce five digital animated children's features. Using a new specially designed computer software and Dogme-like production principals they intend to make the five films for the price of one. Director Anders Morgenthaler, whose Araki - The Killing Of A Japanese Photographer competes in Berlin, will act as creative producer al
  • Dutch Oscar-winners lobby government for continued support

    Four Dutch Oscar-winners - Fons Rademakers (The Assault, 1986), Marleen Gorris (Antonia's Line, 1995), Mike van Diem (Character) and Michael Dudok de Wit (Father And Daughter, 2000) - have published an open letter to the next Dutch government urging for continuation of the present level of film funding.The letter, pleading for the continuation of tax-benefits to investors in Dutch films, is addressed to CDA politician Piet Hein Donner, who is trying to form
  • EUROPEAN FILM FINANCE SUMMIT

    SCREEN INTERNATIONAL EUROPEAN FILM FINANCE SUMMITFebruary 5th 2003 - BerlinTHE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN CINEMAStewart TillChairman & CEO, UIPI am sure I have primarily been chosen to deliver the keynote speech today because, over the last three years, I have had the luxury of four different perspectives of the European film industry. Once as President of International at PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, the company that probably came clos
  • Exception takes on Alexandra's Project

    Exception, formerly Wild Bunch, has been appointed the international sales agent for Berlin Competition entry Alexandra's Project, written and directed by Rolf de Heer.Helen Buday and Gary Sweet star in the film, which explores psycho-sexual politics in marriage. "The movie represents a challenging title with a touch of provocation which totally fits with the Exception identity all over the world and we are delighted to associate our name with Rolf de Heer's," said head o
  • Extension sought for MEDIA Plus & Training

    The MEDIA Programme is seeking a year extension to funding support mechanism MEDIA Plus, which is due to end in 2005. 'We will be proposing a technical extension of MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training for one more year until the end of 2006 so that the programme can be aligned with the rest of the European Commission's financial programmes", MEDIA Programme head Jacques Delmoly explained."This is to avoid an interruption between the MEDIA programmes", adds Jean-Michel Baer, EC direc
  • Extension sought for MEDIA Plus & Training

    The MEDIA Programme is seeking a year extension to funding support mechanism MEDIA Plus, which is due to end in 2005. 'We will be proposing a technical extension of MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training for one more year until the end of 2006 so that the programme can be aligned with the rest of the European Commission's financial programmes", MEDIA Programme head Jacques Delmoly explained."This is to avoid an interruption between the MEDIA programmes", adds Jean-Michel Baer, EC direc
  • Fiji opens LA office in advance of location tax breaks

    In a drive to boost itsprofile as a location for international productions and promote proposed taxbreaks, the Fijian government has opened the Los Angeles offices of the FijiAudiovisual Commission (FAVC). Headed up by CEO Dan Bolea, the commission willact as a 'one-stop shop' for Los Angeles film industryprofessionals, promoting Fiji's audiovisual industry, offering a freelocations service and promoting the tax breaks that will be presented to theFiji Parliament in the fi
  • Final Destination 2

    Dir: David R Ellis. US. 2003. 97mins. Teen horror franchises usually take a while to get around to jokey self-parody. New Line's sequel to its mid-level 2000 hit Final Destination speeds up the process by adding a string of comically over-the-top death scenes to a plot shamelessly recycled from the original film. With only one of the original featured cast members returning, the sequel had to rely mainly on title recognition for it is to make an initial killing when it
  • Fine Line wins battle to release HBO Films' Splendor

    For the second time in six months, HBO Films has sealed adeal to release one of its productions theatrically in North America before itsHBO TV premiere, this time teaming with AOL Time Warner sister company FineLine Features to release American Splendorwhich last month won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.The film was one of the best-received at Sundance andseveral distributors were after theatrical including Newmarket Film
  • Flanders revamps support agencies

    The Belgian region of Flanders is using the Berlin festival to announce the rebirth and expansion of many of its support agencies.Just before the festival, Flanders Image, the promotional agency for the northern Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, was absorbed into the Flemish Audiovisual Fund (Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds) which started operations last autumn. The Flanders Image label will continue to be used in overseas promotions and will from March be headed by Christian De Schutter who
  • Foley's Confidence opens Santa Barbara Film Festival

    James Foley's acclaimed thriller Confidence, starring Dustin Hoffman, Ed Burns andRachel Weisz, will receive its West Coast premiere at the opening night gala ofthe 2003 Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) on Feb 28. Foley andBurns will attend the screening. In ad
  • Former agent, producer Peter Shaw dies in LA, aged 84

    Peter Shaw, the formerHollywood agent who married Angela Lansbury and produced her in thelong-running TV series Murder, She Wrote, has died of heart failure after a long illness. He was 84. Shaw was born in Reading,England, in 1918 and served in the Army in the Second World War beforerelocating to America, where he met Lansbury while working at MGM. The pairwere married in 1949 and Shaw became an agent at William Morris, representingstars including Robert Mit
  • France's Rezo expands into international sales arena

    Celebrating its tenth year in existence, French producer and distributor Rezo films will now move into international sales. The process will begin with the 23rd film from Eric Rohmer, Triple Agent. The film, which begins shooting in March in Paris is budgeted at Euros 4m and will be sold and distributed locally by Rezo. Rezo's Laurent Danielou will head up international sales for the company.Rezo, which produced Pascal Bonitzer's Berlin entry Petites Coupures
  • French film critics vote documentary Etre Et Avoir as best film

    Cesar nominees Etre Et Avoir and Talk To Her took the major French film critics' awards on Monday evening at a ceremony in Paris. Etre Et Avoir is a documentary by Nicolas Philibert centering on a small provincial school with only one class. The film's star, professor Georges Lopez, has become something of a celebrity in France - although he has since retired from teaching. Etre Et Avoir picked up the Prix Melies for best French film and has already won the
  • FULL LINEUP OF AFM SEMINARS

    Influential film-makersincluding Michael Apted, Kathryn Bigelow and Neil LaBute are scheduled to speakin a series of eight seminars to run during the 23rd American Film Market(AFM), which takes place from Feb 19-26. The seminars have traditionally been apopular draw among industry professionals and topics this year include actingin the digital age, the writer/film-maker as entrepreneur and an exploration ofnew exotic sources of co-production. In addition the AFM will stage a half-dayconferenc
  • German box office in decline, recovery predicted

    Box office takings in Germany last year were the second best since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, according to figures released by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) yesterday.The FFA's statistics showed that box office turnover was down 2.8% year-on-year from 2001's Euros 987.2m to Euros 960.1 m while admissions slipped 7.8% from 177.9m to 163.9m.'Among the reasons for the year-on-year differences was that Manitou's Shoe alone attracted 9m admissions; there was a
  • Giannini, Roth to star in Taviani brothers' Dumas project

    Italian heartthrob Adriano Giannini (Swept Away) and Argentina's Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother) are set to star for the Taviani brothers in Luisa Sanfelice, an ambitious Italian feature film and miniseries, Rome-based producer Cattleya announced in Berlin.Originally planned only as a miniseries, Cattleya, which is producing for Germany's Victory Media, says the feature film will now be extracted first for theatrical release. The story is based on the Alexandre
  • Gold Circle to establish UK presence, pre-buy US rights to UK films

  • Gold Circle to establish UK presence, pre-buy US rights to UK films

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

    Dir: Wolfgang Becker. Germany. 2003. 123mins.Leading a strong home team at this year's Berlinale, competition entry Goodbye Lenin! is a high-concept fall-of-the-Wall comedy drama that has much going for it: a strong script, an extremely watchable lead in Daniel Bruhl, photography with a sharp, clean, cinematic gloss and a Nyman-like soundtrack by Amelie composer Yann Tiersen. It is over-indulgently long at just over two hours, but this will not prevent it from b
  • Good Bye, Lenin! heads Bavaria's sales

    German sales outfit Bavaria Film International has done strong business on Berlin competition film Good Bye, Lenin!. Deals were closed on the spot with France's Ocean Films and Japan's Gaga Communications. It is in negotiations with distributors from the US, UK, Spain and Italy. Ahead of today's Oscar nominations, Germany's entry for best foreign-language film, Caroline Link's Nowhere In Africa was sold to A-Film for the Benelux region.Among Bavaria's other Berli
  • Grosvenor Park launches new tax scheme

    Aiming to create a rival to Inside Track, the groundbreaking fund bankrolling such titles as Girl With A Pearl Earring, Canadian-UK financier Grosvenor Park has launched First Choice, a similar tax write-off scheme offering 30% of budgets.Grosvenor Park chief Don Starr aims to raise $41m-$82m (£25m-£50m) from investors for the fund, which like Ingenious Media's Inside Track operates on accountancy write-off principles rather than the UK's Section 48 tax deferral. Starr said that
  • Hopper, Stone & Parker get awards at Santa Monica Fest

    Dennis Hopper will receive alifetime achievement award for persistence of vision at the upcoming SantaMonica Film Festival. In a statement released today (Feb 5) festival directorMichael Cain said: 'The opportunity to give Mr Hopper an award is anoverwhelming experience for me. With hundreds of critically acclaimed moviesunder his belt since the 1950s, he truly deserves this award. His filmographyis thought-provoking, diverse and has left an indelible mark on moviegoers an
  • How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days tops the chart with $24.1m

    Paramount's romantic comedy How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days showed how to win the audience's heartsin three with a terrific table-topping $24.1m bow over the weekend, accordingto studio estimates. Matthew McConaughey plays a commitment-phobe who bets hisfriends he can date a woman for 10 days or lose
  • How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days tops the chart with $24.1m

  • Hungarian film industry gets major cash boost

    The chronically under-funded Hungarian film industry has received a major boost with Cultural minister Gabor Gorgey (pictured) approving funding of $20m for local filmmakers in 2003.Previously, a mere $1.5m state fund was available to the industry as seed finance - usually for non-commercial projects.Yesterday, Gorgey signed a declaration confirming the new investment with president of the Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary, Ferenc Grunwalsky. The Foundation will receiv
  • Iceland's youngest film-maker readies gay football feature

    Iceland's youngest, yet most prolific, filmmaker Robert Douglas is preparing his third feature film, Off Side, which has been put on the fast track after Ingvar Thordarson (101 Reykjavík) stepped in as co-producer along with director-producer Julius Kemp. The latter also produced Douglas' two previous low-budget digital features, The Icelandic Dream and A Man Like Me, which were both local box-office hits. Off Side is being described as
  • Idiom Entertainment formed with Bardem, Wright Penn picture

    Robert C Hawk, the former CEO of cable operator US WestMultimedia, and Quay Hays, a veteran executive most recently senior consultantat RKO Pictures, have formed Idiom Films, an independent production and financecompany that has two projects in pre-production, The Last Face and Hating Her.
  • I'm Not Scared (Io Non Ho Paura)

    Dir: Gabriele Salvatores. Italy. 2003. 107mins.An atmospheric, good-looking child's-view thriller set around a kidnapping in southern Italy during the 1970s, I'm Not Scared is Gabriele Salvatores 11th film. It is also his best: at last the Milanese director, whose previous films have been dragged down by a taste for grotesque, pseudo-Freudian posturings (Denti), uncritical Little Italy stereotypes (Mediterraneo) or sprawling, unresolved sci-fi scenarios (
  • IMAX to add three new sites in China

    Toronto-based large format operator IMAX is to open three new theatres in China, expanding the country's number of IMAX theatres to eight by 2005.The new developments - in Beijing and South Chinese city Dongguan - come just six months after IMAX officially launched in the territory with a Chinese and Asian office in Shanghai. The company has already opened two theatres in the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum, with three more cinemas planned this year.One of the newly-announc
  • In This World to get UK release by ICA Projects

    Michael Winterbottom's Berlin competition title In This World has secured a UK release though ICA Projects, the distribution-exhibition offshoot of UK cultural institute the ICA.ICA's acquisition of UK theatrical and video rights to the film continues its aggressive acquisition policy on specialist titles such as Aki Kaurismaki's The Man Without A Past and Abbas Kiarostami's Ten. ICA has scheduled the film for release on March 28."Michael's film is a revelat
  • Iraq, Rouen go to US through Wellspring

    Wellspring Mediahas acquired US rights to two new foreign-language pictures: BahmanGhobadi's award-wining Marooned In Iraq and Ma Vraie Vie A Rouen directed by Olivier Ducastel and JacquesMartineau. The company will release both films theatrically prior to a homevideo roll-out on the Wellspring label, with Marooned In Iraq set for release on Apr 4 and Ma VraieVie A Rouen slated forthe summer.Marooned In Iraq, Ghobadi's follow-up to the critically accl
  • Jack Valenti brings anti-piracy campaign to Berlin

    MPAA president Jack Valenti reiterated his anti-piracy campaign in Berlin, when he addressed the opening of the European Film Finance Forum and also met German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to discuss the issue."There is a menace in this world that threatens not only the Americans but every creative community ...and that's digital piracy", said Valenti. He added that: "we lose about Euros 3.5bn in the USA each year from piracy. In fact, today, in the USA, 400,000-600,000 movies are down
  • Japan's Fair Trade Commission investigates Fox

    Officials of Japan's Fair Trade Commission have launched an investigation into Twentieth Century Fox (Far East) on suspicion of violating Japan's Antitrust Act. On January 6 FTC officials visited Fox offices in Tokyo and other locations to gather evidence regarding charges that Fox forced exhibitors to drop discounts on tickets to Stars Wars: Episode 2 and other Fox releases. A Fox spokesman refused to comment on the charges to reporters, saying only that the company is "investi
  • John Daly's back, now heading up Miracle Entertainment

    Producer JohnDaly, the former Hemdale Films chief who recently joined Miracle Entertainment aschairman, has launched Miracle Film Distribution (MFD), a wholly owned film distributioncompany that plans to release 10-12 picture a year in the US domestic market. Daly said MFDhas arranged a print and advertising fund for its first release, which will beannounced in a few days. Distribution and marketing executive William Slaughterhas been hired as a consultant. Slaughter heads the independ
  • Just Married gives Fox its sixth biggest opening in Mexico

    Fox International's DieAnother Day added another $3m from1,109 screens in 19 markets over the weekend for a $232.1m internationalrunning total. The James Bond picture is scheduled to open in Japan and Italyin March.Following on from itsrecord-breaking opening day in Mexico last week, the number one comedy JustMarried scored a terrific $1.5m on250 screens from its five-day weekend. This was Fox's sixth biggest openingweekend of all time. Opening number
  • Just Married opens at number one in Mexico for Fox

    Just Married, the Fox comedy that opened number one in January in the US, hasscored the biggest ever opening day for a comedy in Mexico. The picture, whichstars Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher as newlyweds who embark on adisastrous honeymoon, opened on Feb 5 and grossed $465
  • Kevin Williams Associates adds to Berlin line-up

    Madrid-based sales house Kevin Williams Associates (KWA) has added Chiqui Carabante's debut feature film Carlos Against The World (Carlos Contra El Mundo) and Palm Springs Film Festival entry The Impatient Alchemist (El Alquimista Impaciente) to its line-up for Berlin.The story of a working class twenty-something who leads a double life rather than take over his dead father's role as head of the household, earned good reviews at the San Sebastian International Film Festiv
  • Kevin Williams Associates adds to Berlin line-up

    Madrid-based sales house Kevin Williams Associates (KWA) has added Chiqui Carabante's debut feature film Carlos Against The World (Carlos Contra El Mundo) and Palm Springs Film Festival entry The Impatient Alchemist (El Alquimista Impaciente) to its line-up for Berlin.The story of a working class twenty-something who leads a double life rather than take over his dead father's role as head of the household, earned good reviews at the San Sebastian International Film Festiv
  • Kino teams with Viz & Tidepoint for Chaos, Japanese titles in US

    Kino International has struck a co-distribution deal with Tidepoint Pictures of San Francisco, in collaboration with Viz, to launch the Viz/Tidepoint library of cutting-edge, independent Japanese films in the North-American home video market. Tetsuki Ijichi and Elizabeth S Wilkerson's Tidepoint Pictures was set up in San Francisco in 1996 to distribute the latest in Asian cinema. Viz was founded in 1986 and releases more than 20 titles each month including the animated Pokemon. and
  • Koelmels spell out Neue Kinowelt ambitions

    Rainer and Michael Koelmel have unveiled theplanned strategy of Neue Kinowelt, just ahead of their first market presence since regaining control oftheir insolvent Kinowelt empire.`We will no longer be in theleague of the majors as we were for a while in 1999`, explained Rainer Koelmel,`but we will certainly see ourselves in the upper middle field`.The emphasis of the newcompany will be on home entertainment and Koelmel said that `in certain circumstances we would only acquireth
  • Koelmels spell out Neue Kinowelt ambitions

    Rainer and Michael Koelmel have unveiled theplanned strategy of Neue Kinowelt,just ahead of their first market presence since regaining control oftheir insolvent Kinowelt empire.`We will no longer be in theleague of the majors as we were for a while in 1999`, explained Rainer Koelmel,`but we will certainly see ourselves in the upper middle field`.The emphasis of the newcompany will be on home entertainmentand Koelmel said that `in certain circumstances we would only acquirethe v
  • Lightning takes international rights on The Event

    LightningEntertainment has acquired international sales rights to ThomFitzgerald's The Event, which will screen in the Panorama section of the Berlin FilmFestival on Feb 8, 9 and 10. Set in Manhattan, The Event explores the effect of one man'sdeath on his loved ones and boasts a strong ensemble cast that includes ParkerPosey, Olympia Dukakis, Sarah Polley and Don McKellar. The picture will bereleased in North America in the second half of the year through THINKFilm,which finance
  • Lightning takes international rights on The Event

  • Likely buyer named for Odeon Cinemas

    A likely buyer appears to have emerged for Odeon Cinemas, after reports earlier this month that the UK's largest cinema chain was being put on the auction block by owner Cinven.According to a report in the UK's Sunday Telegraph, investment bank WestLB is in advanced negotiations to acquire the circuit for close to $733m, with an announcement confirming the deal expected later this month.Odeon, which was bought by private investment group Cinven from the Rank Group in February 20
  • Local film rocks Spanish box office

    Effects-laden, cartoon-inspired Spanish feature film Mortadelo & Filemon - The Big Adventure achieved the top grossing opening weekend ever for a local title this weekend in Spain, earning Euros 5.1m from 325 prints through distributor Warner Sogefilms.Sogecine-Sogepaq, co-producer and sales agent on the Euros 8m film, also closed a deal for all rights in German-speaking territories to Falcom Media Group. The deal was negotiated by Sogepaq head of distribution Jacques Roldan an
  • Lovenheim appointed head of production at BVIP

    Robert Lovenheim has been appointed head of production to oversee a massive slate being ramped up by diversifying sales agent BV International Pictures (BVIP).Lovenheim, a US TV executive and European co-producer whose credits include The OJ Simpson Story and The Last Of His Tribe, has previously been consulting for the Norway-based BVIP and now steps up to a full time post. 'I'm seeking a different philosophy of co-production based on low-budgets, low risk-exposure and u
  • Malkovich to board Drunkboat

    John Malkovich is set to star in Drunkboat, the first feature to be made by Daniel Walker, a Paris-based lawyer who has now moved into production. The film, which is written and directed by polymath theatre director-artist-actor Bob Meyer, is a coming of age story and a journey of self-discovery for a man emerging from alcoholic wilderness. An adaptation of Meyer's stage play of the same name, it tells the story of a 12-year old boy who will stop at nothing to buy the sail-boat
  • Mar del Plata re-invents itself

    The new artistic head of South American's leading film festival, Mar del Plata (March 6-15), unveiled his competition line-up in Berlin with a promise to redefine its identity as a festival created "by film-makers for film-makers". The line-up features a number of films that deal with globalisation, xenophobia and a search for identity. The festival will also showcase the explosion of talent in Argentina itself and neighbouring Brazil.Artistic co-ordinator Mig
  • Marshall, Swedlin among four new BAFTA/LA board members

    The British Academy of Filmand Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA) has elected producers Alan PMarshall and Rosalie Swedlin, Universal Studios Home Video vice president ofpublicity Vivian Mayer Sr, and Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, partner at Glassman, Browning& Saltsman, to its board of directors. The four new board members joinreturning directors Ian Abercrombie, David T Campling, Duncan Clark, GaryDartnall, Melanie Greene, Paul Heller, Nicolas Hippisley Coxe, John Houlton,
  • Menemsha sells TV rights to Local Angel

    Menemsha Entertainment has sold the German and French TV rights for Udi Aloni's documentary Local Angel - Theological Political Fragments to public broadcasters WDR and ARTE respectively.The US-Israeli production, which is an attempt to address the causes and contradictions in the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict, will be shown in Berlinale's Panorama's Dokumente programme on Feb 7. Menemsha took on distribution of the world rights to Local Angel during last y
  • Metro Tartan takes UK rights on Black And White

    Metro Tartan, the UK distributor, has picked up Black And White, an Australian period drama by director Craig Lahiff. The film focuses on a real life 1958 trial of an Aboriginal man, framed by the police for the rape of a young girl. Made by Duo Art and Nik Powell's Scala Productions, Black And White stars Robert Carlyle, Charles Dance, Kerry Fox and David Ngoombujarra. It is sold by Sweden's Svensk Filmindustri.The acquisition is the fourth made by Metro Tartan so
  • MGM 'in excellent financial condition', says Yemenidjian

    MGM announcedfourth quarter 2002 net income of $58.7m or $0.24 a share today (Feb 5),compared to net income of $39.1m or $0.16 a share for the same period in 2001.Revenues in the quarter rose approximately 65% to $620.9m from $375.5m in thefourth quarter of 2001. Alex Yemenidjian, chairman and CEO said in a statement:'MGM begins 2003 in excellent financial condition. As a result of severalrecent initiatives, 2003 will be the start of significant cash flow generationfor the
  • Michael Moore wins ground-breaking WGA nomination

    Bowling For Columbine continued to blaze a trail through the industry today (Feb 6)when it became the first documentary to receive an original screenplaynomination by the Writers Guild of America (WGA). The picture, which exploresUS attitudes toward gun ownership in the wake of the Columbine High
  • Miramax thrilled by Salvatores in Berlin

    Miramax has grabbed multi-territory rights to Gabriele Salvatores' I'm Not Scared (Io Non Ho Paura) which plays in competition in Berlin.Handled by UK sales house Capitol Films, the film was licensed to Miramax for North America, the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand, territories in which Miramax has its own distribution capacity or a relationship with Buena Vista International. The film will be released in Italy on March 14 by Medusa and in Spain by 20th Century Fox.
  • Modern steps up to take on three new films at AFM

    ModernEntertainment announced today (Feb 10) that it is expanding its distribution operationsto include international sales of new feature films, with the first threetitles named as The Pact, Liquid Bridge and Fear Of Speed. The company will be offering all three for worldwidetheatrical and television distribution at AFM next week. Until nowModern's core business has centred on distributing titles from its500-plus library to distributors and broadcasters. How
  • Momentum joins in Fortissimo's Camp

    Camp, the musical romp set in a summer camp star school, has been snapped up for the UK by Momentum Films. Momentum scored after beating off competition from numerous rival bidders and is believed to have paid a "near mid-six figure sum." Momentum, senior vice president of acquisitions Sally Caplan said: "I was so impressed by the energy fun and heart of Camp that when I saw the audience reaction in Sundance, I just knew we had to have it."Michael J Werner, co-chie
  • Mosaic enters marketing arena with two corporate alliances

    LA production anddistribution group Mosaic Media Group has moved into the marketing arena withthe formation of Elevation Entertainment, a joint venture with Denny Young andSteve Lindecke's Elevation Group of companies. In addition, Mosaicpresident Allen Shapiro announced today (Feb 5) that the company is to acquirehalf of The Steven Rifkind Company's (SRC) marketing division.The 20-person ElevationEntertainment will focus on entertainment and sports marketing, sponsorship andcorporate
  • My Life Without Me

    Dir: Isabel Coixet. Spain-Canada. 2003. 106 mins.My Life Without Me is Love Story with attitude. Sarah Polley - who turns in one of those performances that shift an acting career into a higher gear - even looks a little bit like Ali McGraw. But while audiences should go armed with a supply of handkerchiefs, this Spanish-Canadian co-production by Things I Never Told You director Isabel Coixet, which tells the story of a 24-year-old woman who is dying of canc
  • Nine Israeli titles make it to the Berlinale

    An unprecedented seven Israeli feature length titles and two shorts screen in various sections of the Berlinale this year - an impressive feat considering the present dire conditions of film making in Israel.The tally suggests that there must be something right about the much maligned Israeli Cinema Law, a government film funding initiative which has seen its budgets frequently cut back.Through the combined efforts of two main Isreali funds, one dedicated to full length feature
  • Noi The Albino enjoys raft of sales

    On the eve of the Berlin Market, Noi Albinoi, a film about an Icelandic boy who desperately needs to break out of his icy prison, is already the toast of critics and buyers. So too is its first time director, Dagur Kari.It has been sold to France's Haut Et Court, Lucky Red for Italy, Film Museum for The Netherlands, Cinelibre for Belgium, Polyfilm for Austria and Xenix for Switzerland. The film is sold and co-produced by Philippe Bober and Lene Ingemann's Franco-German pr
  • Nordisk Film forges alliance with Finland's MRP

    Nordic major Nordisk Film has signed an output deal with the prolific Finnish production outfit MRP Matila Röhr Productions. The three year deal will see the production company, which is Finland's largest, produce six new features. The deal is the first of its kind in the Finnish film industry, which has seen increased competition for local product between the distributors in recent years. Nordisk Film and their partner Columbia TriStar will handle distribution of MRP's fil
  • Ottfilm picks up Things You Can Tell for Germany

    Germany's ottfilm has picked up theatrical rights to Rodrigo Garcia's directorial debut Things You Can Tell from license trader and cofinancier Intertainment. In addition, Intertainment has agreed to a comprehensive video distribution package with Planet Media covering the video and DVD release of Things You Can Tell as well as such Intertainment back catalogue titles as Camouflage, The Whole Shebang, The Third Miracle and The Big Kahuna.
  • Paramount Classics concludes Singing Detective deal

    ParamountClassics has finalized its deal with Icon Entertainment to buy rights in NorthAmerica, Latin America and Japan to The Singing Detective, Keith Gordon's film version of DennisPotter's landmark 1986 TV series which world premiered at the Sundance FilmFestival last month,Negotiations for the film which stars Robert Downey Jr,Mel Gibson and Robin Wright Penn began at the festival, with Paramount Classicsplanning a release in the second half of 2003.
  • Paris Je T'Aime woos Cruise and Cruz

    Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz are expected to board an unusual project where the city of Paris is the star.The picture, Paris Je T'Aime, is being put together by Novem, a Franco-US production company headed by Emmanuel Benbihy and Mel Gee Henderson. Structured as a portmanteau, the film-makers have invited a number of different directors to make five minute shorts in each of the French capital's 20 'arrondissements.' The unifying theme is the vague notion of 'falling in love.'
  • Paris Je T'Aime woos Cruise and Cruz

    Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz are expected to board an unusual project where the city of Paris is the star.The picture, Paris Je T'Aime, is being put together by Novem, a Franco-US production company headed by Emmanuel Benbihy and Mel Gee Henderson. Structured as a portmanteau, the film-makers have invited a number of different directors to make five minute shorts in each of the French capital's 20 'arrondissements.' The unifying theme is the vague notion of 'falling in love.'
  • Pelzer named studio manager at Ealing

    Ealing Studios has appointed Jeremy Pelzer as studio manager.Pelzer, who previously acted a consultant to the historic studio, will be responsible for increasing the profile and awareness of Ealing within the film, television and media industries. He will oversee the studio's current $82m (£50m) revamp on a day-to-day basis.Pelzer managed the renewal of 3 Mills Studios in 2001.
  • Ranvaud proposes new sales paradigm

    The producer of City Of God and Central Station is teaming up with a group of Latin American and European producers to launch a sales company. Talking at the Screen International European film finance summit in Berlin, Donald K Ranvaud said he wanted to reduce costs and improve the management of money in the film financing process. He explained that the producers would either team up with an existing sales company or attend four or five markets a year between them,
  • Ranvaud proposes new sales paradigm

    The producer of City Of God and Central Station is teaming up with a group of Latin American and European producers to launch a sales company. Talking at the Screen International European film finance summit in Berlin, Donald K Ranvaud said he wanted to reduce costs and improve the management of money in the film financing process. He explained that the producers would either team up with an existing sales company or attend four or five markets a year between them,
  • Regal moves in on Hoyts America cinemas

    No-one in Australia is publicly commenting on Regal Entertainment Group's widely publicised to buy 554 Hoyts America screens.But then Australia's richest man, Kerry Packer, whose family company Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH) is apparently getting $200m split evenly between cash and stock from the sale, is not known for encouraging a culture of openness. And neither is the deal signed.It is understood that Regal is buying about 60% of the circuit, and particularly the most pro
  • Remember Me (Ricordati Di Me)

    Dir: Gabriele Muccino. It-Fr-UK. 2003. 100mins.Remember Me, Italian golden boy Gabriele Muccino's fourth film, exposes the terrifying moral and intellectual void at the heart of modern Italy. Unfortunately, it's not trying to - at least not very hard. Rather than channelling the emptiness to make a point about today's TV-fed, mobile-phone-driven Italian society, the script, and the characters, participate in it. This will not stop Remember Me from being as big a
  • Robert Carlyle to take on Hitler role

    Robert Carlyle is to play Adolf Hitler in a Canadian-backed miniseries that will explore his rise to power during the years prior to World War II.Currently filming in Prague under director Christian Duguay, the four-hour drama will 'focus closely on how the embittered, increasingly xenophobic and militaristic German society after World War I made that ascent possible,' explained its production company and worldwide distributor Alliance Atlantis. The production teams initially wo
  • Robert Carlyle to take on Hitler role

    Robert Carlyle is to play Adolf Hitler in a Canadian-backed miniseries that will explore his rise to power during the years prior to World War II.Currently filming in Prague under director Christian Duguay, the four-hour drama will 'focus closely on how the embittered, increasingly xenophobic and militaristic German society after World War I made that ascent possible,' explained its production company and worldwide distributor Alliance Atlantis. The production teams initially wo
  • Rosario Tijeras rights snapped up for adaptation

    Mexican producer Matthias Ehrenberg of Titan Prods. (Sex, Shame And Tears) beat stiff competition for the rights to best-selling novel Rosario Tijeras by hot new Colombian writer, Jorge Franco Ramos, hailed as the precursor of a new generation of writers in Colombia. Up to 15 million copies of Rosario Tijeras have been sold in Colombia. With this film adaptation, Ehrenberg will launch a new production company specialising in high profile Iberoamerican projects, Man
  • Runaway production down in Canada in 2001/2

    Canada is lessattractive to so-called runaway production, with 10% fewer feature filmproduction dollars spent in the country in 2001-2002. According to the annualreport of the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA),foreign theatrical location production dropped 10% to C$737m (US$484m). Overallforeign location production, including TV fare, was off only slightly, withaggregate spending down by C$2m to C$1.8bn (US$1.18bn). Production was down inBritish Columbia, the region
  • Screen International Summit assesses European issues

    The need for smarter thinking, savvier marketing and greater professionalism across the European film industry were recurrent themes at the Screen International European Film Finance Summit.Starting with the keynote guest Stewart Till, speaker after speaker highlighted a need for greater understanding of the film industry on the part of film-makers in Europe and for better training. "Additional resources will be allocated to better and more focused film education and training. I
  • Screen International Summit assesses European issues

    Smarter thinking, savvier marketing and greater professionalism across the European film industry were recurrent themes at the Screen International European Film Finance Summit.Starting with the keynote guest Stewart Till, speaker after speaker highlighted a need for greater understanding of the film industry on the part of film-makers in Europe and for better training. 'Additional resources will be allocated to better and more focused film education and training. Individuals wi
  • Sharp rise in Argentine cinema admissions

    The Lord Of The Rings : The Two Towers propelled Argentine admissions to a record high in January. Admissions rose 60% compared to the same period last year. Another franchise, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, which opened in December 2002, also helped bring back cash -strapped Argentineans to the big screen. Admissions in January increased 30% over December 2001.The Two Towers , which debuted in Argentina on January 1st, lured 1.1m admissions its first m
  • Soderbergh returns to remake trail

    Steven Soderbergh is behind a planned remake of Argentinian heist picture Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas). Section Eight, the company he owns with George Clooney, will produce an English-language version of the picture with Gregory Jacobs making his directing debut and co-writing the screenplay with Soderbergh. The rights to Nine Queens were acquired by Warner Bros from Patagonik Film Group. Patagonic was represented by UK-Mexican sales outfit Tequila Gang.Jacob
  • Sony Classics flies with Israel's Broken Wings

    In a deal signed yesterday, Sony Pictures Classics grabbed North American rights to Israeli first film Broken Wings, which plays in Berlin's Panorama section.The film, directed by Nir Bergman, is darkly comic but uplifting story of a family coping with the turmoil that follows the accidental death of their patriarch.Since premiering at the Jerusalem Film Festival last year Broken Wings has collected a hat-full of awards including prizes for best first film at Jerus
  • Sony Classics flies with Israel's Broken Wings

    In a deal signed yesterday, Sony Pictures Classics grabbed North American rights to Israeli first film Broken Wings, which plays in Berlin's Panorama section.The film, directed by Nir Bergman, is darkly comic but uplifting story of a family coping with the turmoil that follows the accidental death of their patriarch.Since premiering at the Jerusalem Film Festival last year Broken Wings has collected a hat-full of awards including prizes for best first film at Jerus
  • Spain's Tesela readies three new films

    Spanish production company Tesela is preparing three new feature films including the next project from Argentinean veteran Adolfo Aristarain (Common Places).The films are the first new projects following Achero Manas' Noviembre (now in post-production with an eye to a Cannes release) since Grupo Prisa-backed Plural Entertainment bought out 80% of Tesela last June.'We are continuing in exactly the same line, with three films per year from mostly new directors with w
  • Spain's Zebra Films lines up three features

    Madrid-based production company Zebra Films is preparing three new feature films including the as-yet-untitled next project from recent best original script Goya Award winner Antonio Hernandez (The City Of No Limits).The project is a surreal mystery with a twist about a woman haunted by her dead lover. Zebra chief Antonio Saura says the film may shoot in English. He is currently in talks with potential co-producers outside Spain. Zebra is also prepping the second solo fil
  • SPC, Tobis focus on Life

    Focus International has closed two key distribution deals on My Life Without Me, the Berlin Competition entry produced by the Almodovar brothers' El Deseo outfit and premiering here today. Sony Pictures Classics has just acquired the film for release in the US and Tobis will distribute in Germany.The English-language drama is directed by Barcelona-based Isabel Coixet and stars Sarah Polley, Mark Ruffalo, Amanda Plummer, Deborah Harry and Leonor Watling, the Spanish actress who p
  • SPC, Tobis focus on Life

    Focus International has closed two key distribution deals on My Life Without Me, the Berlin Competition entry produced by the Almodovar brothers' El Deseo outfit and premiering here today. Sony Pictures Classics has just acquired the film for release in the US and Tobis will distribute in Germany.The English-language drama is directed by Barcelona-based Isabel Coixet and stars Sarah Polley, Mark Ruffalo, Amanda Plummer, Deborah Harry and Leonor Watling, the Spanish actress who p
  • Spencer promoted to vice president at Focus

    Tim Spencer hasbeen promoted to vice president of international sales at UniversalStudios' specialty film unit Focus Features, the company'sco-president David Linde announced today (Feb 5). Spencer will continue to bebased in the New York offices and will report to Focus executive vice presidentof international sales and distribution Glen Basner. Spencer has worked ininternational sales with Linde and Basner for a year at Focus and for threeyears before that at Good Machin
  • Spirited outing for new Irish film festival

    The inaugural Dublin International Film Festival (March 6-13) has clinched a major sponsorship deal with Jameson Irish Whiskey worth Euros 100,000. The partnership is one of the largest business sponsorships of the arts in Ireland in recent years. Backing of Euros 25,000 has also come from the Arts Council, while a season of Irish Feature Film Premieres will be sponsored by Xtra-Vision and HB ice-cream will support a unique strand "linked to the sinful pleasures associated with
  • Summit/IS takes on Jewison's The Statement

    Summit Entertainment hasacquired international distribution rights to Norman Jewison's nextpicture The Statement starringMichael Caine, Jeremy Northam and Tilda Swinton. Sony Pictures Classics (SPC)has domestic rights to the film.Set to start shooting in Europeon March 17, The Statement isbased on Brian Moore's novel and was scripted by Ronald Harwood, who hasbeen winning awards for his recent adaptation of Wladyslaw Szpilman'smemoirs The Pianist. Caine playsa man
  • Susannah Ludwig wins Silverman prize from Sundance

    The Sundance Institute andthe Mark Silverman Fellowship for New Producers have announced that SusannahLudwig is to receive the 2003 Mark Silverman Fellowship. Set up in tribute toSilverman, who died in 1989 and worked on titles including Blood Simple and Raising Arizona, the award includes $5,000 for pre-production costs.Sundance will form an advisory committee of five working professionals who willmeet with and advise Ludwig throughout the Fellowship year. L
  • Taormina festival plots date change to attract Hollywood

    The Taormina film festival is to move one month forward, in a bid to establish the event as a European launch-pad for summer blockbusters. This year's edition will run from June 7 - 14.Ever since he took over the festival's reins in 2000, former Venice director Felice Laudadio (pictured) has tried to lure big Hollywood movies and stars to the picturesque Sicilian town with the aim of spearheading summer programming in Italy and in Europe.In 2000 he ach
  • Taxi 3 gets off to flying start

    The third instalment in French action-comedy franchise Taxi got off to a racing start in three European territories this weekend. Taxi 3 sped into top positions in France and Belgium and saw an impressive launch in French-speaking Switzerland to take a total weekend haul of $11.6m.Launching in France last Wednesday (Jan 29), the film claimed an impressive 65% of the market over its five-day launch with 2,036,368 admissions ($10.6m) taken from 969 screens. Wh
  • Tele-Muenchen ups German feature production

    Herbert Kloiber's Tele-Muenchen will step up its German-language feature production as a way of filling the gap left by the bursting of the Neuer Markt bubble."We are currently speaking with all independent producers and talents we didn`t have a chance of working with in the past because they were bound to certain companies through housekeeping deals and other arrangements", explained Tele-Muenchen/Concorde Film's Markus Zimmer."We made a start last year with Gregor Schnitzler
  • The Academy Award nominations in full

    Performance by an actor in a leading roleAdrien Brody in The Pianist (Focus Features)Nicolas Cage in Adaptation (Sony Pictures Releasing)Michael Caine in The Quiet American (Miramax and Intermedia)Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs Of New York (Miramax)Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt (New Line)Performance by an actor in a supporting roleChris Cooper in Adaptation (Sony Pictures Releasing)Ed Harris in The Hours (Paramou
  • The Life Of David Gale

    Dir: Alan Parker. US. 2002. 128mins.The prosecution's case prevails in passing judgement on The Life of David Gale, a polemical thriller which has all the conviction and brio one expects of an Alan Parker film, but is let down by the two central performances and a spectacularly feeble script. Well-positioned in the US as one of the only new adult-targeted pictures in the months of February and March (it opens Feb 21), it should have some mileage in its theatrical relea
  • The Recruit

    Dir: Roger Donaldson. US. 2003. 115mins. Ireland's Colin Farrell proves that he has warranted Hollywood's grooming in The Recruit, a slick, improbable thriller driven by his charismatic movie star presence which even puts Al Pacino in the shade. Farrell has already demonstrated his considerable talent in Tigerland, Hart's War and Minority Report, but The Recruit, in which he plays a computer whizzkid recruited to train as a CIA operative, is his co
  • Till maps out European cinema future

    In one of his first public speeches since becoming chairman and CEO of United International Pictures (UIP), Stewart Till has said that he does not expect to see a European multi-territory distributor emerging in the near future - due to a lack of both money and expertise. "With some honourable exceptions, such as Pathe, few [distributors] have managed to set up distribution outside their home market," said Till, who gave the keynote address at the first Screen International European fi
  • Till maps out European cinema future

    In one of his first public speeches since becoming chairman and CEO of United International Pictures (UIP), Stewart Till has said that he does not expect to see a European multi-territory distributor emerging in the near future - due to a lack of both money and expertise. "With some honourable exceptions, such as Pathe, few [distributors] have managed to set up distribution outside their home market," said Till, who gave the keynote address at the first Screen International European fi
  • TLA Releasing acquires North American rights to The Trip

    TLA Releasing has acquired North American distribution rights toMiles Swain's award-winning gay romantic comedy The Trip, it was announced today (Feb 6). Thetwo-year-old distribution label, a division of TLA Entertainment Group, willrelease the film initially in New York on May
  • Trust takes on international sales for Details

    Denmark's Trust Film Sales will be handling international sales of the Swedish film Details, the highly anticipated new film from writer-director Kristian Petri. The film has been tipped for a slot in Cannes - if it is finished in time - and is based on a play by Sweden's provocative playwright Lars Noren. It follows the lives of two men and two women crossed by love and betrayal, and is the first ever adaptation of a Noren play. The stage version of Details won th
  • TV5 to broadcast Cesars live on US network

    TV5, in agreement with CanalPlus, will broadcast the 28th Cesar Awards live on Feb 22 on its US network,TV5 tats-Unis. The annual French film awards will be hosted by GeraldinePailhas, who won the Cesar in 1992 for best newcomer and recently starred inNicole Garcia's L'Adversaire. This year's leadingcontenders are 8 Femmes with 12nominations, The Pianist with 10nominations, and Amen with six.Spike Lee and the actress Bernaddette Lafont w
  • Two Weeks Notice charms UK audiences

    Three major new openers stormed the UK box office this week, led by Warner Bros' romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice. The strong combination of the three debutantes, a host of other new titles and continued strength of holdovers, such as Catch Me If You Can, led the box office for the top 15 titles to a 10% jump on last week.Despite this, the weekend was still 26% down on the same period last year when BVI's Monsters, Inc. launched ahead of the schools half-term with
  • Two Weeks Notice takes $5.7m from nine territories

    WarnerBros' romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice grossed an estimated $5.7m from 914screens in nine countries over the weekend, generating 837,000 admissions. Inthe highlight performance, the picture opened at number one in the UK on $4.3m(£2.64m) - including previews - from 414 venues. It was female leadSandra Bullock's best ever UK bow, beating Miss Congeniality by 41% and Speed by 29%, although its success can also beattributed to local hero Hugh Grant
  • UIP's Rougier takes top job at TFM

    Jean-PaulRougier has been named managing director of TFM, the stand-alone joint Frenchdistribution outfit launched by TF1 and Miramax Films in May 2002. Miramax COORick Sands and TF1 chairman and CEO Patrick Le Lay made the announcement today(Feb 10). Rougier most recently served as CEO at UIP, where he was also memberof the board and handled the release of titles like Shrek, Tomb Raider and Red Dragon. He replaces Perrine Teze at TFM, who isreturning to TF1 for personal
  • UK's First Light film awards to be held this month

    The UK's inaugural First Light Film Awards are to be held in London on February 26.The awards are part of a $1.6m initiative launched in May 2001 between UK funding body The Film Council and Birmingham-based Hi8us Projects to give young people aged between 7 and 18 the opportunity to make short films on digital video. There are eight award categories including: Live Action Drama/ Fiction, Documentary, Animation, Comedy, Horror, Film made by under 11's, Film made by over 11's and
  • UK's Momentum restructures home entertainment arm

    UK distributor Momentum Pictures is to restructure its home entertainment division, with director of retail video Conrad Withey leaving the company this month to set up his own production company and rights business.Peter Dutton, head of Momentum's rental video division for the past three years, is promoted to the newly created position of director of home entertainment with overall responsibility for both the rental and retail divisions.Withey, who joined Momentum in 2000 from
  • UK's Optimum makes Discoveries with BBC Four

    UK independent distributor Optimum Releasing is teaming with BBC Four to release an annual package of six world cinema titles, designed to increase the number of foreign titles distributed in the UK.Dubbed Discoveries, the programme will focus on new films from first time directors, as well as more established film-makers who are underexposed in the UK. The films will be released theatrically during the summer period, released on DVD and video and subsequently broadcast on BBC Four, th
  • UK's Winchester gets Last Orders settlement

    The UK's troubled Winchester Entertainment has reached a $2.5m (£1.53m) settlement with German fund MBP after a dispute over payments on Last Orders.The agreement sees $1.6m (£980,000) paid to Winchester in cash. The AIM-listed UK company will receive the balance of $906,500 (£550,000) in instalments over the next six months.The cash brings a welcome injection of funds to Winchester, which effectively put itself up for sale last year saying it is considering "strategic op
  • US buyers flock to Berlin

    American acquisition teams have turned up in Berlin in good number and it seems are now poised to buy festival and market films. The biggest hit to date with US buyers is Gabriele Salvatores' competition film I'm Not Afraid (Io No Ha Paura), which is on the radar of many of the specialist arms of the studios. Market gossip has suggested that Miramax had clinched the deal - a suggestion boosted by company boss Harvey Weinstein's having seen it in Berlin and by the company
  • US buyers flock to Berlin

    American acquisition teams have turned up in Berlin in good number and it seems are now poised to buy festival and market films. The biggest hit to date with US buyers is Gabriele Salvatores' competition film I'm Not Afraid (Io No Ha Paura), which is on the radar of many of the specialist arms of the studios. Market gossip has suggested that Miramax had clinched the deal - a suggestion boosted by company boss Harvey Weinstein's having seen it in Berlin and by the company
  • Valenti's Mexican stand-off

    MPAA president Jack Valenti has addressed a letter to the president of Mexico Vicente Fox, warning that the US may take retaliatory measures against the Mexican film industry for applying a one peso levy to all cinema admissions. The levy is part of an initiative from the Mexican Parliament to boost local film production; the cash raised will be channeled directly into production and will be administered by the state backed Mexican Film Institute (Imcine). Introduced in January
  • Verhoeven, Mamet enter Franchise fold for AFM

  • Verhoeven, Mamet enter Franchise fold for AFM

    ElieSamaha's Franchise Pictures may be busying itself for its Aug 5 trialdate in its ongoing legal battle with Germany's Intertainment AG, but itcontinues to board new projects and has three new ones available for pre-saleat AFM -Paul Verhoeven's next picture Void Moon, the next from David Mamet entitled Spartan with Val Kilmer in the lead role and aRidley Scott-produced epic Tristan & Isolde to be directed by Kevin Reynolds andstar James Franco.Franchise, 49%of wh
  • Vivendi assures Canal Plus of support

    In a move to quell rumours, the heads of Vivendi Universal and Canal Plus have sent letters of support and explanation to Canal staff.Following a week of speculation and rumour, Vivendi Universal chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou has assured employees that the channel is "not for sale." He also confirmed the appointment of Bertrand Meheut as president of the Canal Plus Group and informed staff that Canal Plus will not be floated on the Paris stock exchange as had previously been planned.
  • What Alice Found

    Dir: A. Dean Bell. US. 2003. 96mins.A well-matched combination of intelligent drama and understated performances, What Alice Found is a gem. Much more than the sum of its parts, it explores the emotional dynamics of a young woman who thinks she's found the ideal mother and then discovers she's not the ideal daughter. Strong critical and audience reaction on the festival circuit - at Sundance it received a Special Jury Prize for "emotional truth" -- should lead to speci
  • Wild Bunch enjoys early Berlin sales

    French sales agent Wild Bunch has kicked off the Berlin market in lively fashion with an early sale of Andre Techine's Strayed to Gaga Communications for Japan. The film, a WWII story of impossible love, is one of many on Wild Bunch's slate that the firm strongly fancies for a prominent position at Cannes.Other opening day sales include licensing Rolf De Heer's competition film Alexandra's Project to Shapira for Israel, Audiovisual for Greece and Film Plus.
  • Wild Bunch enjoys early Berlin sales

    French sales agent Wild Bunch has kicked off the Berlin market in lively fashion with an early sale of Andre Techine's Strayed to Gaga Communications for Japan. The film, a WWII story of impossible love, is one of many on Wild Bunch's slate that the firm strongly fancies for a prominent position at Cannes.Other opening day sales include licensing Rolf De Heer's competition film Alexandra's Project to Shapira for Israel, Audiovisual for Greece and Film Plus.
  • Wong Kar-Wai set for 2046 wrap

    WongKar-Wai's long-gestating 2046 is finally back in production in China and Hong Kong andis set to wrap at the end of March for delivery in time for this year's Cannes.The $15m film has been in and out of production since Wong shot In The MoodFor Love three yearsago, although the Hong Kong auteur is understood to have discarded much of the earlier footage.The stellar cast includes TonyLeung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung,who played In The Mood For Love's ill-fated lo

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