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11 February 2008

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  • 3D animated adventure Fly Me To The Moon sells to four

    Ben Stassen, the film-maker behind 3D animated adventure Fly Me To The Moon, has closed four more deals on the film which will be released in late summer in the US by Summit.PlayArte has bought Brazil, Intersonic has taken Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary, R Films has taken Turkey and SamFilm has come in for Iceland. Stassen says is fielding offers from the UK, Russia and Canada to the film which has its second market screening today at 2p
  • 6 Sales launches sales of 20% Fiction to star Val Kilmer

    Madrid-based 6 Sales Entertainment Group has announced that Val Kilmer will star in 20% Fiction, the Barry Primus film to be executive produced by Robert De Niro along with Deco Entertainment. The film tells the story of an acting coach to the stars (Kilmer) who learns a few tricks about truthfulness from amateurs. Primus wrote and directs. Now in pre-production, the film is due to shoot in the spring.Also in pre-production is
  • Adriana Chiesa adds three including Sorry If I Love You

    Rome-based sales outfit Adriana Chiesa has picked up three new titles. The films, all added to Chiesa's slate in the last week, include Italian box-office hit Sorry If I Love You (Scusa Me Ti Chiamo Amore), which racked up $15m within the first fortnight of its Italian release. A romantic comedy about a teenage girl who starts an affair with an older man, the film was directed by well-known novelist Federico Moccia and was produced by Rita Rus
  • A-Film pulls out from Indie Circle buying alliance

    It has emerged during the EFM that Dutch distributor A-Film has withdrawnfrom pan-European buying collective, Indie Circle. Henceforth, blue-chip Belgian distributor Cineart will handle Indie Circle projects across all of Benelux.This move follows on from A-Film's hook-up with French powerhouse Wild Bunch.Indie Circle's latest acquisition The Escapist, will be represented by Cineart in both Belgium and HollandIndie
  • After Dark takes North America on horror film Frontier(s)

    After Dark Films has taken North American rights to Xavier Gens' horror film Frontier(s) starring Karina Testa and Samuel Le Bihan.The story follows four thieves who flee student riots in Paris and take refuge in a motel run by a family of Neo-Nazis. star. Gens directed from his own screenplay and Maud Forget, Estelle Lefebure, Patrick Ligardes, David Saracino and Aurelien Wiik also star.After Dark has set an ultra-limited May 9 th
  • Albert named vp worldwide ops& business affairs at New Films

    New Films International (NFI) has appointed Richard Albert vice president of worldwide operations and business affairs and charged him with overseeing a company restructure.Los Angeles-based Albert has brought on Julie Nong as general counsel and will continue to run his own entertainment law practice. 'We believe that it is essential to keep up with the rapidly changing scene in the entertainment industry both in the United States and elsewhere, so we are formalising the way we work
  • Alberto San Juan to star in David Planell's adoption drama La Verguenza

    Spanish screenwriter David Planell, a nominee at last week's Goya Awards for Siete Mesas De Billar Frances, will start shooting his first feature as director, La Verguenza, from next week in Madrid.Spain's Avalon Productions is producing the drama. The cast features Alberto San Juan, fresh off the back of his best actor Goyas win for Bajo Las Estrellas, and Natal
  • Anywhere USA

    Dir. Chusy Haney-Jardine, USA, 2008, 124minsThe portentously titled Anywhere USA is a triptych of Americana by debut writer/director Chusy Haney-Jardine - a trailer-trash farce, an uncle/niece meditation on the death of parents, and a clumsy satire on racial anxiety among the rich and White.Haney-Jardine, who says the film draws on his autobiography, is experimenting with acting, storytelling and structure in his hometown of Asheville, North Carol
  • Arclight Cashes In On Roger Donaldson's Bank Job

    Gary Hamilton's Arclight Films has closed a raft of sales ahead of theEFM screening of Roger Donaldson's heist movie The Bank Job starringJason Statham.Deals have closed in Japan (Movie-Eye Entertainment); Germany,Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland (Atlas); Spain (New World Films); Scandinavia (Nordisk); Portugal (Castello Lopes); Canada (Maple Pictures); Greece and Cyprus (Spentzos
  • Argentina - Out of the past

    "I am 100% French...and I am 100% Argentinian," says the Buenos Aires-born writer-director Lucia Cedron. Her family story played an important part in her debut feature Lamb Of God, the opening film at this year's Rotterdam International Film Festival. Cedron is the daughter of film-maker and political activist Jorge 'The Tiger' Cedron. In 1976, during the Argentinian dictatorship, her family went into exile in France. Jorge Cedron died in shadowy circumstances in Paris in 1980.I
  • Arthouse enters Haring's Universe

    Arthouse Films has acquired North America and the majority of international rights to Christina Clausen's documentary The Universe Of Keith Haring.Clausen made the film with the cooperation of the Haring Estate and presents an intimate portrait of the celebrated artist that includes testimony from Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol, David LaChapelle and Jean-Michel Basquiat.Arthouse plans a fourth quarter 2008 release and will distribute intern
  • Artificial Eye kicks off Berlin with buys of Let It Rain, Julia

    UK distributor Artificial Eye has struck a two-film deal with Studio Canal for all UK rights to Let It Rain and Julia.Agnes Jaoui's Let It Rain (Parlez - Moi De La Pluie) stars Jaoui, Jamel Debbouze and Jean-Pierre Bacri. The story follows a rising politician who visits the countryside with her partner and is approached by two acquaintances to star in a documentary ab
  • Asterix, CJ7 among hot debuts in Screen's International Chart

    France's Asterix At The Olympic Games was king of the international arena by a long run this weekend as the family film enjoyed a mammoth $38.3m take and accounted for 20.8% of the top 40 revenue. The top 40 films generated $184.2m across 42,853 screens for the period of February 1-3. For the full international chart, compiled by Len Klady, click here
  • Atonement takes best film BAFTA but Cotillard steals show

    BAFTA spread its awards widely this year with French film La Vie En Rose the surprise show-stealer with four wins.
  • Australia-UK - See-saw on the rise

    When London-based acquisitions executive Iain Canning and Sydney producer Emile Sherman vie for the best projects under their new See-Saw production banner, the ace up their sleeve will be a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures International (PPI) to invest equity.They also hope their pooled skills and experience will be a draw. Canning has sales, distribution and acquisitions skills gained at Becker International and the now defunct Renaissance Films, while Sherman's expertise is i
  • Awards Countdown - Johnny Depp

    Nominated for his third best actor Oscar in five years, Johnny Depp tells Mike Goodridge why he worried he wouldn’t be up to playing Sweeney Todd
  • Bankside puckers up for Midnight Kiss, cooks up UK deal for The Baker

    UK-based sales company Bankside Films has picked up Alex Holdridge's acclaimed US comedy/drama In Search Of A Midnight Kiss.In Search Of A Midnight Kiss film has already played at festivals including Tribeca, Edinburgh, AFI, Chicago, Sarajevo and Thessaloniki. The film had its market premiere here at the EFM with another screening on Tuesday.The fiilm is already taken in North America (IFC Films) a
  • Be Like Others

    Dir: Tamaz Eshaghian. USA, Canada, Iran, 2008. 74minsBe Like Others , a documentary on a topic that seems almost like the start of a joke -- did you know that in Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death, but sex-change operations are not only sanctioned by the governing clerics but almost actively encouraged' -- turns out to be a thoughtful, touching, and at times even wrenching study of sexual and religious hypocrisy in that troubled land.
  • Beastie Boy pioneer launches film distribution outfit

    Beastie Boys founder and film-maker Adam Yauch has launched the full service distributor Oscilloscope Pictures and installed former THINKFilm International vice president David Fenkel to oversee acquisitions, domestic distribution and international sales.Oscilloscope Pictures, an extension of Yauch's music and film production company Oscilloscpoe Laboratories, will handle independent English and foreign language narrative and documentary titles and provide finishing funds where appro
  • Belgrade Industry Meetings unveils lineup of 12 projects for 2008 event

    New feature projects by Albania's Gjergi Xhuvani, Croatia's Rajko Grlic and Israel's Yaky Yosha are among 12 projects selected for this year's B2B Belgrade Industry Meetings which will be held for the third time between February 29 and March 2.The complete lineup of projects are:Euro-Asian section:Frenzy, Emin AlperBulut Film, TurkeyInfiltration, Dover Kosashvil
  • Berlin Today short prize goes to Pakistan's Maheen Zia

    At a Sunday night dinner at the Berlinale Talent Campus, the Berlin Today Award 2008 went to Maheen Zia from Pakistan for her short Match Factor.Wim Wenders presented the prize, now in its fifth year. Zia's short is about an Iraqi man who finds himself the subject of a manhunt by German police.The other nominees were documentary Berlin Hair Today by Denmark's Ole Bendtzen and drama
  • Bier, Bonnaire drop out of Berlinale competition jury

    As the Berlinale kicks off today, its competition jury has been cut from eight to six people as Susanne Bier and Sandrine Bonnaire have dropped out of jury duty.Danish director Bier has had to go to the US unexpectedly to work on her next film. 'The bags were already packed, however an unforeseen occurrence demanded my immediate professional presence elsewhere,' she said. 'For that reason I was unfortunately not able to perform the task of a jury member. I am very sad about this.'
  • Big deals heat up EFM in Berlin

    Universal Pictures has bought North America and select territories on Sam Raimi's upcoming low budget horror film Drag Me To Hell as a flurry of deal-making set EFM alight.Meanwhile Momentum sealed UK rights to Sundance hit Hamlet 2 from Focus Features International in a deal estimated to be worth over $2m.And Paramount Vantage International was stirring up bidding wars in both Germany and S
  • Black Ice (Musta Jaa)

    Dir: Petri Kotwica. Finland/Germany. 2008. 100 mins.Petri Kotwica’s darkly inventive second film,Black Ice, tries to be at one and the same time a Hitchcockian thriller, a horror version of a Feydeau farce, and an intense marriage drama of love, betrayal and jealousy in the tradition of Ingmar Bergman.Although this does sound like an indigestible cocktail, th
  • Blayze Collins-Perucchetti replaces Giles in acquisitions at Tartan

    Tartan Films has appointed Blayze Collins-Perucchetti as its new head of acquisitions. She replaces Jane Giles, who recently departed Tartan after four years to become head of content at the British Film Institute. Acquisitions were also previously under the eye of Laura De Casto, who left as managing director of Tartan US and UK in November 2007.Collins-Perucchetti is here in Berlin on Tartan's behalf.She had worked for the past two years for John Daly, produ
  • Bleiberg Entertainment takes on Red starring Brian Cox

    Bleiberg Entertainment has taken international rights to the Sundance thriller Red starring Brian Cox, as well as spaghetti Western The Legend Of God's Gun and the Jamie Kennedy film Heckler.Red received its world premiere last month and stars Cox as a recluse who seeks justice after his dog is killed by a group of teenage
  • Blood, Country, Control take London critics awards

    Ahead of Sunday's BAFTA awards, Joel & Ethan Coen's No Country For Old Men was named film of the year by the London Critics Circle on Friday night.Paul Thomas Anderson was named best director for There Will Be Blood, which is playing here in competition.Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood and Marion Cotillard for La Vie En
  • Brake and Bergin to star in Welsh thriller Nocturne

    The Film Agency For Wales has come on board for financial backing of Nocturne, to be shot later this year in South Wales by writer/director Christopher Nurse. Optimum Releasing has already taken UK rights.The horror film will star Richard Brake (Hannibal Rising) and Patrick Bergin (Sleeping With The Enemy) as a man who stumbles into a secret lost war and must try
  • Burt Reynolds starts shoot for A Bunch Of Amateurs

    Shooting started February 2 on A Bunch Of Amateurs, starring Burt Reynolds, Imelda Staunton and Derek Jacobi.The UK comedy is being sold by Odyssey internationally, with Cinetic handling US rights.Director Andy Cadiff is shooting for six weeks in London and on The Isle Of Man. David Parfitt (Shakespeare In Love) is producing.Reynolds plays a has-been Hollywood star who finds himself involved wi
  • Cafe De Los Maestros

    Dir: Miguel Kohan. Argentina/USA/Brazil. 2008. 92 mins.You can imagine the pitch: 'It's the Buena Vista Social Club of tango'. (Old-school tango, that is - before Nuevo Tango genius Astor Piazzola began to take the music in a more radical direction). And it really is: there's the gathering of the old maestros, the reminiscences, the archive footage of how things used to be, the rehearsal, and the final concert in a prestigious venue - which is, naturally, a triumph.
  • Cecchi Gori forms New Capitol Films

    Oscar-winning Italian producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori has set up a new production company, New Capitol Films, that aims to produce films, TV commercials and a series MF. The sighting of New Capitol Films was reported by a Rome newspaper, which reported the registration of the new business at the Chamber of Commerce. A Cecchi Gori spokesperson confirmed the news but stressed the company is only just setting out.The new com
  • Celluloid Dreams takes on Sundance audience favourite The Wackness

    As the Berlin EFM gets under way, Celluloid Dreams has announced it is to handle international sales of the Sundance Dramatic Audience Award Winner The Wackness. Click here to see review.Written and directed by Jonathan Levine, The Wackness stars Ben Kingsley,Josh Peck, Famke Janssen, Mary Kate Olsen, Olivia Thirlby and Method Man. The film was produced by
  • Celluloid Dreams takes on von Trotta's mediaeval story Vision

    Celluloid Dreams has announced its acquisition and co-production partnership on German auteur Margarethe von Trotta's new feature, Vision.Barbara Sukowa will take the leading role in the film, based on the life ofmediaeval mystic Hildegard von Bingen.A mystic, healer and composer, von Bingen was one of the most famous womenof mediaeval times. In the 12th century, she founded her own monastery against all odds and became
  • Celsius to sell Freakonomics all-star documentary

    UK-based Celsius Entertainment has come on board for international sales of the film adaptation of bestseller Freakonomics.The film will be comprised of six segments, each directed by documentary hotshots Morgan Spurlock, Alex Gibney, Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing, Eugene Jarecki & Jehane Noujaim, and Laura Poitras. Another director will be confirmed soon.Each filmmaker will tackle one of the questions posed in the book, in which Stev
  • Chesuto! to have world premiere at Hong Kong Filmart

    The Tokyo International Film Festival and TIFFCOM market will hold the world premiere of Toshiro Saiga's Chesuto! at this year's Hong Kong Filmart on March 18. Set in the south-western prefecture of Kagoshima, Chesuto! is a coming-of-age story about a female swimming instructor coaching a team of elementary school children for an ocean swimming contest.The instructor is played by musician-actress Nao Matsushita (X-Cross) who also performs the film's theme song.
  • Chiko

    Dir. Ozgur Yildirim. Germany, 2008, 92 minutes.
  • Cinema Libre welcomes Zombie to the US

    Grace Lee's American Zombie, the first English-language film from Korean producer-distributor iHQ, has been acquired for US distribution by Cinema Libre Studio. The horror comedy will be released theatrically in select US cities starting with a platform release in Los Angeles on March 28.Shot entirely in the US, American Zombie follows a small community of the living dead who have made their home in LA. It made its festival debut at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival an
  • Cinemavault picks up Pencil, Superhero docs

    Cinemavault Releasing International has picked up two documentaries for EFM and will begin sales here on Michele Ohayon's Berlinale Special selection Steal A Pencil For Me and Matt Ogens' Confessions Of A Superhero.Steal A Pencil For Me screens in the festival on Feb 14 and charts the secret love affair between a married concentration camp intern and a woman in a
  • Cinemavault takes sales to Skills Like This

    Toronto-based Cinemavault Releasing International has acquired sales rights to Monty Miranda's comedy Skills Like This.The story of a failed writer who turns his talents to thievery was named Best of the Fest at the 2007 Edinburgh International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at last year's SXSW Film Festival.Spencer Berger and Gabriel Tigerman wrote the screenplay and also star. Paul Aaron, Donna Dewey, Timothy Gray, Rock
  • CJ Entertainment to sell The Good, The Bad And The Weird

    Korea's CJ Entertainment has confirmed that it has picked up worldwide rights, excluding Japan, to Kim Jee-woon's The Good, The Bad And The Weird, while producer Barunson is handling Japanese rights. The film was previously sold internationally by Cineclick Asia whose founder Suh Youngjoo recently quit to found international sales outfit Fine Cut. Suh was able to transfer some titles from Cineclick to Fine Cut, but not Kim's film as rights remained with the producer.Barunson
  • CJ7 has mighty opening weekend despite snowstorms

    Stephen Chow's Chinese New Year offering CJ7 raked in $13.5m over its opening weekend in the Greater China region, topping the box office in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In China, the biggest challenge for the picture was the unpredictable weather as an on-going snowstorm, the worst to hit China in decades, brought transport and energy systems in affected areas to a halt.From Jan 30-Feb 3 the picture collected $8.73m (RM62.76m) in China. This was slightly lower than Peter Ch
  • Claudia Bonn to oversee Bronx cultural centre

    Executive director of the Film Society Of Lincoln Center Claudia Bonn has been named executive director of the Wave Hill 28-acre public garden and cultural centre in the Bronx. She succeeds Kate French, who led the initiative for the past 17 years.Wave Hill marked its 40th anniversary in 2005 by developing a blueprint for capital improvements up to 2012.'I have known and loved Wave Hill for many years, and I am thrilled to join its talented staff and dedicated board of di
  • Cloverfield continues to lead international market

    Paramount's monster movie Cloverfield dominated the international market, adding an estimated $14.3m from 3,849 locations in 46 territories through PPI. Its running total has now climbed to $58m.The film opened in 13 territories where the best result came from France as a number two debut produced $3.3m from 443 screens.Elsewhere it opened in second place in Brazil on $563,000 from 146 sites, second in Belgium on $537,000 from 43 a
  • Cody, Coens, Gibney take WGA Awards on Saturday

    Diablo Cody and Joel and Ethan Coen were the big feature film winners at the 60th annual Writers Guild Of America awards on Saturday night.Cody won best original screenplay for her comedy Juno while the Coen brothers' big screen version of Cormac McCarthy's crime novel No Country For Old Men took the adapted prize.Alex Gibney's Taxi To The Dark Side w
  • Compston to star in Ipso Facto's Souled Out

    Martin Compston, the rising star of Sweet Sixteen and Red Road, will star in Souled Out for Ipso Facto Films' low-budget slate Moxie Makers and Dreamfinder Productions.The cast also features Gerard Kearns (The Mark Of Cain, Shameless) and Jennifer Ellison (The Phantom Of The Opera).
  • Content closes Daisy Chain with sales to France, Greece and beyond

    ContentFilm has announced a number of sales on supernatural thriller The Daisy Chain, which stars Samantha Morton and Steven Mackintosh.The Daisy Chain has gone to France (Wildside), Greece (Spentzos), Poland (Monolith), Portugal (Lusomundo), Brazil (Playarte), The West Indies (Caribbean Film Services), and Romania (Media Pro).Aisling Walsh directs, and the film is now in post-production.ContentFilm's Jamie Carmichael s
  • Content closes slew of Splinter deals, including Icon for US/Australia

    ContentFilm International has closed a slew of deals on Toby Wilkins' Splinter here at EFM.The film has gone to UK & Australia/New Zealand (Icon), Italy (DNC), The Middle East (Gulf Film), Mexico (Gussi), Czech and Slovak Republics (AQS), Poland (Best Film), The West Indies (Caribbean Film Services), Singapore (Cathay), Venezuela (Cinematografica Blancica), Russia & CIS (Civic Impex), Thailand (J-Bics), Portugal (Lusomundo), Brazil (Paris Film
  • ContentFilm rides along with Diego Luna's Horse

    ContentFilm International has acquired international rights to action thriller Horse, which is being represented in the US by CAA.Diego Luna, Luis Guzman, Adriana Barraza, and Benito Martinez star, with Annie McCarthy handling casting and more actors to be announced soon.Deals have been done for Germany & Austria (Telepool), Latin America (Sun), the West Indies (Caribbean Film Services), Croatia, Serbia & Slovenia (Continental), the
  • ContentFilm strikes UK, German deals for The Killing Room

    ContentFilm International has pre-sold Jonathan Liebesman's The Killing Room to the UK (Momentum), Germany (Square One), Portugal (Lusomundo), Greece (Spentzos), The Middle East (Gulf), Brazil (Paris Filmes), Romania (Media Pro), The West Indies (Caribbean Film Services) and Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia (Continental).The high-concept suspense thriller is Liebesman's follow-up to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beg
  • ContentFilm takes international sales on Moverman's The Messenger

    Oren Moverman, writer of Jesus' Son and I'm Not There, is set to make his directorial debut with The Messenger.Mark Gordon and Lawrence Inglee will produce for the Mark Gordon Company, with Zach Miller and Ben Goldhirsh of Reason Pictures.ContentFilm International will handle international sales. Shaun Redick and Nate Bolotin of The Collective helped
  • ContentFilm takes on Stephen Leslie's comedy-horror Release

    ContentFilm International has taken on international rights (excluding the UK and Germany) to comedy-horror Release, to be directed by 2007 Screen International Star Of Tomorrow Stephen Leslie.Cinetic will represent North American rights and has also arranged financing.Damian Jones (The History Boys) will produce and casting will be confirmed soon.
  • ContentFilm to sell Hawaii story Barbarian Princess from Marc Forby

    ContentFilm International is handling worldwide sales on the forthcoming drama Barbarian Princess to star Q'orianka Kilcher (The New World), Shaun Evans, Barry Pepper and Will Patton.Marc Forby will direct. The shoot starts March 14 on location in Hawaii and in the UK.The crew includes Oscar-winning composer Stephen Warbeck, production designer Steven Lawrence, DOP Gabriel Beristain and edit
  • CSNY: Deja Vu

    Dir: Bernard Shakey. US. 2008. 97 mins.'The huddled sixtysomethings look like they're comparing prescriptions on stage' wrote one uncharitable US music critic of Crosby , Stills, Nash and Young's 2006 'Freedom of Speech' tour, which stirred controversy with its outspoken anti-Iraq-war stance. Unless you're a diehard fan it's difficult not to see the reviewer's point - in comparison with the sagging su
  • Cutting edge

    Director John Maybury is on a high having just locked The Edge Of Love, his Wales-shot drama about Dylan Thomas and the women who loved him. 'It's the best thing I've done,' the director says. The BBC Films project, sold and financed by Capitol with backing from the Wales Creative IP Fund and Prescience, looks likely for a Cannes launch and Lionsgate has already nabbed UK and Australian rights.'I'm very proud of all four of the actors,' Maybury says of Sienna Miller, Keira Knigh
  • Danish box office hits 3.2m admissions in 2007

    Danish cinemagoers came out in support of local cinema in 2007, with the local market holding steady as it has roughly the past decade. About 3.2m tickets were bought for Danish films, representing 27% of the total admissions tally of 12.1m. For the year, overall ticket sales were down 3.5%, which is relatively healthy compared to other European territories. The Danish Film Institute noted that a rainy summer led to unusually good ticket sales.The domestic mar
  • Dark Sky moves into West's House Of The Devil

    Dark Sky Films is working with Roger Kass of Studio Bang and Josh Braun and Larry Fessenden's Glass Eye Pix to produce new horror/thriller The House Of The Devil.Ti West wrote and will direct, with the shoot set to start in mid-March in Connecticut. It is casting now.Braun, Kass, Fessenden and Peter Phok are producing.Dark Sky is a division of MPI Media Group. MPI's Malik Ali and Greg Newman were introduced to the project by Marie-The
  • David Mackenzie's Spread seduces Kutcher, Leigh

    Ashton Kutcher will play a serial LA womanizer in Spread, the first US movie from Scottish auteur David Mackenzie who was in competition at Berlin last year with Hallam Foe. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a lawyer who is ditched by Kutcher's character in the film which is set to start shooting in Los Angeles on Feb 25.Voltage Pictures is handling international sales here, while Graham Taylor of En
  • David Slade signs to direct political thriller Unthinkable

    Kimmel International has boarded David Slade's political thriller Unthinkable, which is set to go before cameras this summer.Michael Mendelsohn and Caldecot Chubb are producing through their Patriot Pictures and ChubbCo Film Co ventures.The story centres on a race by interrogators to force a man to reveal the location of three nuclear devices hidden somewhere in the US. Peter Woodward and Oren Moverman wrote the screenplay and cast
  • Deckert picks up sales on Vaclav Havel documentary

    Citizen Havel, the groundbreaking feature-length documentary about Vaclav Havel, has been picked up for world sales by German sales outfit Deckert Distribution. Deckert has taken all rights on the film excluding Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. North American rights will be handled by the film's US co-producer Michael Wolkowitz.'This film will have a long festival life,' said Hans Deckert, who will be selling rights to
  • Definitely, Maybe

    Director/Scr: Adam Brooks US/UK. 2008. 111 minsAn unusually soulful and appealing romantic comedy, Definitely, Maybe is the perfect antidote to the raucous lowbrow vulgarity that has come to define the genre in the 21st century. There is none of the wild profanity or bad taste humour of the Farrelly brothers or Judd Apatow. Instead, the film offers a charming New York love story filled with believable situations and a
  • Delphis lands first big deal for Fighter, to R Films for Turkey

    Montreal-based Delphis Films has closed a deal with R Films for Turkish rights to Fighter (screening in Berlinale's Generation14Plus programme.)This is the first major international deal on Natasha Arthy's film, which was made through Danish production outfit Nimbus Films.'It is a film that Turkish audiences can relate to - it is about a young girl who tries to find a place between her passion for action and her Islamic background,
  • Delphis seals slew of international deal for Winky's Horse sequel

    Buyers are galloping after Where Is Winky's Horse', the sequel to Dutch box-office hit, Winky's Horse. The film, on Montreal-based Delphis Films' EFM slate, has gone to Norway (Arthouse), Sweden (Folkets Bio), Denmark (Ost For Paradis), Luxembourg (PT Coms), Germany (Telepool) , Italy (Imago) and Spain (Films Y Piniculas.)Where Is Winky's Horse' is di
  • Devillers to bring western film-makers to China for genre slate

    Natacha Devillers' Les Petites Lumieres is launching a project to bring Western filmmakers to China to make genre movies. Devillers is developing a slate of low-budget genre films - entitled China Syndromes - in partnership with Taiwanese producer Wendy Kuan and UK filmmaker Simon Rumley. Among the directors who are developing projects for the slate are Thomas Clay (The Great Ecstasy Of Robert Carmichael), Karim Hussain (
  • Disney becomes fifth studio on board for AAM digital deployment

    Walt Disney Studios is the latest studio to come on board with a digital cinema deployment agreement with Europe's Arts Alliance Media.The non-exclusive, long-term deal is for digital cinema rollout across Europe.Under the terms, Disney will supply European exhibitors with its features in digital formats and will contribute towards the funding of AAM's digital deployment of hardware.AAM has already signed similar pacts with 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures International,
  • Downey and Taylor's F&ME launches new $1m development fund

    UK-based Film And Music Entertainment (F&ME) has created a new $1m development fund, backed by private equity, EU MEDIA support and in-house financing, and is initially backing a slate of five projects for 2008. F&ME's Mike Downey is in early development with F&ME chairman Stephen Daldry on a Charles Darwin biopic and epic adventure based on the Voyage of the Beagle. The pair are scouting for writers now on F&ME's largest film to date.Films closer to production are led by $3.9m urb
  • Downloading Nancy

    Dir: Johan Renck. 2008. US. 96 mins.A woman’s journey of self-hatred, self-degradation, self-mutilation and ultimately self-destruction courtesy of a murderous kindred spirit makes for grim viewing in Downloading Nancy, the feature debut of Swedish commercials and music video director Johan Renck. Although acted with conviction and directed with not a little style, the film is a misanthropic affair, its characters almost entirely beyond redemption; audiences everyw
  • Dutch Oscar entry Duska being sold by Cinemavault

    Cinemavault will introduce buyers here to the Dutch foreign language Oscar submission Duska as well as a trio of new documentaries.Sylvia Hoeks won the best supporting actress award at the Netherlands Film Festival for her performance as a cinema cashier in Jos Stelling's dark comedy.Cinemavault vice president of acquisition Michael Paszt negotiated the deal with Eyeworks Egmond's Danielle Guirguis.The Toronto-based sale
  • Edinburgh to host retrospectives for Jeanne Moreau, Shirley Clarke

    The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) will host retrospectives this year on French actress Jeanne Moreau and late American actress and director Shirley Clarke. The Moreau programme is a joint initiative with the British Film Institute. The Clarke programme will include The Cool World, Portrait of Jason, The Connection and several shorts. This year's EIFF moves to June 18-29 instead of its usual August slot.EIFF artistic
  • Elegy

    Dir: Isabel Coixet. US. 2008. 108 mins.After a couple of near misses, Isabel Coixet finally learns that less is more with Elegy. Her latest feature is an impressively-controlled melodrama that strips back Philip Roth's unsentimental 2001 novel of ageing male desire, The Dying Animal, and repackages it as a straight cross-generational love story.Virtuoso performances from leads Penelope Cruz and Ben Kingsley - who is at the top of his game ri
  • Elephant cooks up Turkey with Rudd, Sedaris, Theroux

    Paul Rudd, John Goodman, Amy Sedaris, Justin Theroux and Danny McBride have come on board to star in Turkey In The Straw, Craig Zobel's follow-up to his 2007 Sundance hit Great World Of Sound. The project, with a budget under $5m, will start shooting in April in South Carolina, about a debt collector who gets involved in a local political race. New York-based Plum Pictures and Elephant Eye Films are producin
  • EM Media recruits Anna Seifert-Stock as development executive

    UK regional screen agency EM Media has made several appointments to its team. Anna Seifert-Stock has joined as development executive, film. Also, Mike Kelly and his associate Laura Hypponen from boutique chartered accountancy firm Northern Aliance have been contracted as for consultant business affairs services.Seifert-Stock fills an opening left by the departure of Lizzie Francke, who left EM Media as executive producer for film in late November to join the UK Film Counc
  • Endeavor to represent Russia's Central Partnership

    Central Partnership Group has signed an agreement with the Endeavor talent agency to represent the Group's interests in North America. Under the agreement, Endeavor will act as sales agent for rights to Central Partnership movies and will organize joint production projects with major US studios.Should Endeavor clients film in Russia, Central Partnership has right of first refusal to become a partner in these projects. The agreement also states that Endeavor will act as representative
  • Eros takes international rights to Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar Raaj

    Indian powerhouse Eros International has acquired international rights to Ram Gopal Varma's upcoming Sarkar Raaj. Starring the hot family trio of Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, the film is a sequel to Varma's award-winning Sarkar, which delves into the links between politicians and the underworld in modern-day Mumbai. While Sarkar
  • Essential acquires worldwide rights to Stan Helsing

    Jere Hausfater's Essential Entertainment has acquired worldwide sales rights from Scott Steindorff's Stone Village Pictures to the upcoming horror spoof Stan Helsing.The story is set on Halloween night when the eponymous reluctant hero and video shop clerk must save his town from the six most feared monsters in cinematic history.Writer-director Bo Zenga is familiar with the territory having previously served as executive producer o
  • EuropaCorp transforms Sagan miniseries into theatrical feature

    French powerhouse EuropaCorp has made a late decision to transform DianeKurys' TV mini-series Hello Sagan - about legendary French writer François Sagan - into a theatrical feature.The aim now is to turn the biopic, starring Sylvie Testud, Pierre Palmade and Jeanne Balibar, into this year's answer to last year's runaway box-office hit La Vie En Rose.The film version of
  • European admissions fall 2.2% in 2007

    Total box-office admissions in European Union countries fell 2.2% in 2007 compared to 2006.The Europe's European Audiovisual Observatory says that 910m tickets were sold, which means 2007 was still well above the low of 898.8m in 2005.Bucking the trend was the UK up 3.7% and Italy up 8.4%.Eastern Europe saw large gains for the Czech Republic (11.4%), Lithuania (34%), Bulgaria (4.6%). However, Hungary fell 13.8%.In Western Europe, Germany, Spain and France dropped
  • European dreams: review of Rotterdam 2008

    The International Film Festival Rotterdam ended last weekend on a more upbeat note than many would have predicted when the festival began a fortnight ago. There had been mutterings among staff about cutbacks to its budget. Some outsiders had questioned the coherence of the programming and what appeared to be a lack of direction at the top. Rotterdam, already squeezed between Sundance and Berlin, was now facing competition from a trio of Middle Eastern festivals (Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Marrakech
  • European Film Academy plans to promote new talents, develop audiences

    After a board meeting at the Goteborg Film Festival, the European Film Academy has decided to 'focus on the promotion and training of young filmmakers and future audiences.'The board met to discuss the 21st edition of the European Film Awards (to be held in Copenhagen) and the challenges the Academy will face in the next decade.EFA said that to better support new film-makers it will develop a system to promote new discoveries at European film festivals. EFA will also crea
  • European lawyers launch film network in Berlin

    Four leading continental European media and entertainment law firms - German law firm Unverzagt von Have, Spain's ECIJA, France's DDG Deprex Dian Guignot and Italy's ASSUMMA Studio Legale - are launching of the European Lawyers Audovisual Network (ELAN) here on Monday.According to Harro von Have, a partner at Unverzagt von Have, the goal of the network is 'to refer possibilities for co-production and financing of motion picture projects to interested clients.'
  • Ewald's Epic Pictures takes on Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer

    Patrick Ewald's Epic Pictures has picked up international rights to Jon Knautz' Slamdance hit Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer starring Robert Englund and Trevor Matthews.Ewald said he was already in advanced talks with a UK distributor on the tale of a young man whose professor unwittingly causes him to confront an ancient curse. Anchor Bay picked up North American rights in Utah last month.Epic is also meeting with buyers to talk up R
  • Filmax picks up world sales on Gutierrez's Before The Fall

    Berlinale buzz Panorama title Before The Fall (3 Dias) from rising young Spanish auteur Francisco Javier Gutierrez has been picked up for world sales by Filmax Entertainment. The thriller, which was 'godfathered' by Spanish star Antonio Banderas, is coproduced by Maestranza Films, Green Moon Spain and Pentagramma Films.The deal was concluded by Carlos Fernández (CEO), Carles Rojano (Int
  • Films Distribution closes EFM deals on Lemon Tree

    Buyers are swarming round Panorama entry, Lemon Tree. The film, being soldat the EFM by Paris-based Films Distribution, has been picked up for a number of territories following its first official screening earlier in the week. Deals confirmed include Benelux (Cineart), Switzerland (Agora), Seville Pictures (Canada), Teodora (Italy), Film Trade (Greece) and Golem (Spain). Other territories are pending with strong interest from US comapani
  • Films Distribution expands lineup with four genre movies

    France's Films Distribution has unveiled a new slate of four genre movies heading into the EFM.In what the company calls a diversification of its line up, the new films are: Ruiflec: The Village Of Shadows directed by Fouad Benhammou and starring Sara Forestier about a group of young people trapped in a hostile and isolated village; Claus Drexl's 3 Monkeys, starring Andre Dussoll
  • Fireflies In The Garden

    Dir. Dennis Lee. US. 2008. 98 minutes.Some fine performances are compromised by a confusing script in first-time director/screenwriter Dennis Lee's often-involving family melodrama, Fireflies In The Garden. So much of the film is so delicately accomplished, and sports such evident star power as Julia Roberts and Willem Dafoe, that it's a shame that a huge amount of audience energy has to be expended simply trying to keep the characters straight.Occ
  • First Hand shakes on Corridor #8, Brides Of Allah

    Zurich/Berlin-based sales agent First Hand Films has picked up international rights for two documentaries which will be having their world premieres in the International Forum of this year's Berlinale.Esther van Messel's company will be handling sales for Bulgarian filmmaker Boris Despodov's directorial debut Corridor #8 about the European Union-backed project to construct a highway between Sofia and the Albanian capital Tirana. Despodov was a
  • First Look takes domestic rights to Buy Borrow Steal

    First Look Studios has acquired domestic rights to Eric Styles' comedy Buy Borrow Steal starring Heather Graham as a woman hell-bent on becoming pregnant.The company has set a spring release in Los Angeles following the world premiere at the 25th Miami International Film Festival. Beatrix Wesle and Solveig Langeland's Atrix FIlms is selling international rights here at EFM.Graham plays a 33-year-old who embarks on a frantic race to
  • Fool's Gold takes top domestic spot

    Warner Bros' adventure romance Fool's Gold with Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey opened top at the weekend for Warner Bros on an estimated $22m.Universal's comedy Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins starring Martin Lawrence came in second with a $17.1m launch, one place ahead of last week's champion Hannah Montana, which added $10.5m for $53.4m for Buena Vista in its
  • Foreign language Oscar contenders

    BEAUFORT (Israel)(Metro Communications, Movie Plus)A last-minute replacement for the popular The Band's Visit, which had too much English dialogue for Academy regulations, Beaufort has proved as worthy a contender and is the first Israeli film since 1984's Beyond The Walls to score a
  • Former Cinemavault executive Alvarez launches Forward Motion

    Former Cinemavault Releasing executive Paco Alvarez has launched a new world sales outfit, Forward Motion Entertainment, and will unveil two new projects, Six Reasons Why and The Cold Flame, at Berlin's European Film Market. Picked up for North America by ThinkFilm, Six Reasons Why is the debut feature of The Campagna Brothers and is described as a Sergio Leone-s
  • Fortissimo makes donation to Scorsese's WCF

    Fortissimo Films will be presenting Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation (WCF) with a $50,000 cheque at a special reception at the Berlin International Film Festival tonight (Feb 8). Both Scorsese and executive director of the WCF, Alberto Luna, will be in attendance, along with other distinguished guests.Scorsese's WCF is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation and restoration of neglected films from around the world.'Fortissimo greatly admires the init
  • Fortissimo picks up Sundance winner Sleep Dealer

    Fortissimo Films has acquired worldwide rights, excluding North America, to Alex Rivera's Sleep Dealer, which recently scooped several awards at the Sundance Film Festival where it played in competition. The sci-fi drama won both the Alfred P. Sloan and Waldo Salt Screenwriting Awards at Sundance and will also screen here at Berlin in the Panorama Special section and the European Film Market.The producers of the film have already sold it to Roadshow for Australia/NZ, Svensk
  • Francois Ozon's ambitious Ricky lands at Le Pacte

    Jean Labadie's newly formed distribution, sales and co-production company, Le Pacte, has acquired worldwide rights to Francois Ozon's next project, Ricky. Claudie Ossard and Chris Bolzi's Eurowide Film Production is producing in association with effects specialist Buf Compagnie.Alexandra Lamy and Sergi Lopez star in the film about an ordinary woman and an ordinary man who have an extraordinary child. Shooting is set to begin next month on what
  • Gardens Of The Night

    Dir. Damian Harris, US/UK, 2007, 110 minutes.Gardens Of The Night begins as 17-year-old Leslie (Gillian Jacobs) enters a homeless shelter in San Diego, and then flashes back to her kidnapping a decade earlier by two men who force her into prostitution.Damian Harris's grim tale dramatises a case history from a growing industry. The audience for a film on this subject is potentially as large as the public that reads tabloid stories of abduction and
  • Gaumont scores key sales on Auteuil thriller MR73

    As the EFM opens, Gaumont has confirmed a host of deals on Marseilles-setthriller MR73 directed by Olivier Marchal and starring Daniel Auteil.The film, being shown privately to buyers in Berlin, has gone to Italy (Medusa), Eastern Europe (Monolith/Best Hollywood), Central Partmnership (CIS), Brazil (California Filmes), South Korea (Sponge) Canada (Chrystal) Hong Kong (Golden Scene) Taiwan (Flash Forward Ent) Portugal (Lusomundo), Greece
  • Generator kicks off five-film genre slate with Red Mist

    Generator Entertainment is kicking off with a new slate of five genre films - with budgets of about $3m each - starting with Paddy Breathnach's new supernatural thriller Red Mist, which started shooting for 24 days in Belfast on Monday. The project marks Breathnach's follow-up to Shrooms.Arielle Kebbel (The Grudge 2), Sarah Carter and Stephen Dillane (
  • German production outfit SKF lays out English-language slate

    German production outfit Schmidtz Katze Filmkollektiv (SKF), which co-produced Berlin competition title Black Ice, has unveiled a new slate of English language projects budgeted between Euros 5m-10m, including a historical drama based on the life of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of printing.'We are wanting to have more in-house development of projects working with writers from the outset and moving away from a minority to majority producer
  • Good Man Dog

    Dir: Singing Chen. Taiwan, 2007. 118 mins.Singing Chen's bleak but richly-detailed portrait of contemporary Taiwan has elicited praise for its artistic ambitions but will do well to move past the festival world and into art-house release.Her second feature boast four separate stories, each playing out separately with occasional overlap until all are brought together by a traffic accident in the last act.One features a kindly one-legged man
  • Guilty (Coupable)

    Dir: Laetitia Masson. France , 2007. 107 mins.There is no better way to kill off a thriller than to leave the audience completely indifferent to its characters. In Guilty (Coupable), Laetitia Masson has written herself all the elements of a classic noir: a murder, two suspects, a plain-clothes policeman and a lawyer, alongside a few red herrings for some fun, but she has unfortunately decided against any kind of narrative that might generate viewer e
  • Hayden Panettierre to star in Goldbach's Daydream Nation

    Hayden Panettiere, star of the smash US series Heroes, will play the lead in the teen comedy Daydream Nation by first-timer Michael Goldbach.Kieran Culkin is in final negotiations to star as Panettiere's gormless boyfriend in the project, which is styled as a coming-of-age tale in the vein of Election and Juno. Production
  • Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger (2007)

    Dir: Cathy Randall. Australia, 2008. 103minsThis charming, highly-accomplished first feature will gladden the hearts of parents everywhere looking for a film to watch with their pre-teens, especially girls. Directed by 35-year-old South-African-born newcomer Cathy Randall, who has been working in Australia for some years, this coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old nerdy Jewish girl with braces is funny and honest, if inevitably a little bit cliched around the edges.
  • High Point sets sail with Sea Change starring Anne-Marie Duff

    The High Point Media Group has taken on world rights for new UK feature The Sea Change, to star Anne-Marie Duff and Tom Burke.The project, based on Jane Rogers' 1999 novel Island, will be co-directed by Elizabeth Mitchell (Argentina, Miscommunication) and Brek Taylor (The Man Who, The Kindness Of Strangers). Mitchell also wrote
  • Icon takes two from IM Global, four from Ghost House

    Icon has swooped on UK and Australian rights from IM Global to the upcoming supernatural thriller Shelter and Slamdance smash Paranormal Activity.Jonathan Rhys Myers is in advanced talks to board the $25m Shelter and will play a demonic preacher who threatens the daughter of a skeptical psychiatrist played by Julianne Moore.Mans Marlin and Bjorn Stein are set to begin filming in Pennsylvania i
  • iDream looks into The Voyeurs by Dasgupta

    London and Mumbai-based iDream Independent Pictures has picked up worldwide rights, excluding India, to The Voyeurs directed by veteran Bengali filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta.The film follows a young man who falls in love with the girl next door, and looks at whether our obsession with surveillance has really made the world a safer place. It premiered in the masters section of last year's Toronto International Film Festival and also played at th
  • Image gets Emotional with three-film Celluloid Dreams deal

    Image Entertainment has struck a three-film deal with sales company Celluloid Dreams. Image has taken North American rights for Far North and US rights for Emotional Arithmetic and The Color of Freedom (formerly titled Goodbye Bafana).The deal was brokered by Celluloid president Hengameh Panahi and Image Entertainment UK's
  • Image pulls out of merger with Bergstein's BTP

    US video distributor Image Entertainment has pulled out of its merger with David Bergstein affiliate BTP Acquisition Company and demanded prompt payment of a $4.2m business interruption fee.Image made its move after reportedly growing tired of waiting for BTP to complete the necessary financing on the deal, initially announced early last year 2007.At that time both parties spoke effusively about the mutually beneficial effects of a transaction. For Image a merger offered
  • In Love We Trust (Zuo You)

    Dir: Wang Xiaoshuai. China, 2008. 115 mins.With In Love We Trust, Sixth Generation director Wang Xiaoshuai presents what can only be described as natural tearjerker material - leukaemia, divorce, infidelity - in the milieu of the Chinese middle class and delivers an uneven picture which attempts the impossible and fails to deliver it long before the final stretch.
  • Independent sings with Bernard Rose's The Kreutzer Sonata

    London-based sales and production company Independent has taken on international rights to Bernard Rose's The Kreutzer Sonata. Jeff Berg at ICM is handling the US rights.Danny Huston, Elisabeth Rohm, Matthew Yang King and Anjelica Huston star. Producers are Naomi Despres and Lisa Enos.The Kreutzer Sonata is about a husband who becomes paranoid about his wife's fidelity. It is a modern re-tellin
  • International - Asterix the champion

    France's Asterix At The Olympic Games won first place in the international arena by a long run this weekend as the family film enjoyed a mammoth $38.3m take and accounted for 20.8% of the top 40 revenue.The latest instalment of the comic book adaptation played across 3,002 screens in 19 territories for a whopping $12,757 screen average - the second highest of the weekend - and generated nearly $4m in its opening day in France (January 30). It is closing fast on the $40m mark aft
  • Ireland - The Irish Revival

    Irish producers have their work cut out right now. With an 18% budget increase to $34.3m (EUR23.2m) for the Irish Film Board (IFB) there is more money available for low-budget, locally developed projects than ever before. Yet there are also fewer international film projects shooting in Ireland. Previously, projects such as King Arthur and The Count Of Monte Cristo could harness tax benefits from both the UK and Ireland. But changes to the UK's tax relief have made that impossibl
  • Italy-Iraq co-production Flowers Of Kirkuk set to shoot for April

    The Flowers Of Kirkuk, the first-ever co-production between Italy and Iraq,is to shoot in April, it was confirmed at the EFM yesterday. The film, to be directed by Fariborz Kamkari, has now received support from Regione Lazio. It is being produced by Fabrizia Falzetti's Far Out Films. Istituto Luce has confirmed it will handle Italian distribution of the film. The French coproducer is Vincent Macheras of Lorival. Meanwhile, F
  • Jaime Rosales' Solitary Fragments to get Spanish re-release

    Spanish director Jaime Rosales' powerful family drama Solitary Fragments will be re-released in cinemas across Spain today following its best picture and best director awards at last week's Goyas. The film's first theatrical release was in June 2007 when it achieved only 41,000 admissions, but Wanda Films is confident the film can perform much better this time around tha
  • Japan's Iseki Satoru to produce Korean epic Sharaku

    Japanese producer Iseki Satoru (Battle Of Wits) has boarded epic mystery fantasy Sharaku (working title), which Park Tae-choon is directing for Korea's Studio2.0. Studio 2.0 is co-financing and handling international sales on the $8m Korean-Japanese co-production, which will be shot in Japan with a mostly Japanese cast and crew. Behind-the-scenes talent confirmed so far includes DoP Sakamoto Yoshitaka (
  • Japan's Toei lands in Berlin with Orochi: Blood

    Japanese studio Toei has made a last-minute decision to attend the European Film Market, and will be selling the new horror title from Norio Tsuruta, who previously directed the J-Horror Theatre title Premonition. Tsuruta's new film, Orochi: Blood, stars Yoshino Kimura (Sukiyaki Western Django) in a story about two sisters, one of whom is jealous and exacts revenge on the other. Currently in post-production, the film is based on the comic by Kazuo Umezu.Also on
  • Jinga adds Exodus, Hush Your Mouth and Blue Star slate

    UK-based sales company Jinga Films has added two new titles to its slate for the EFM. Jinga is now handling international sales on Penny Woolcock's Exodus and Tom Tyrwhitt's Hush Your Mouth.Jinga is also handling films previously sold by Blue Star Movies, including Evilenko starring Malcolm McDowell, Hermano starring Emir Kustu
  • Johar's Dharma Productions unveils expansion plans

    Hot Indian filmmaker Karan Johar has announced expansion plans for his production outfit, Dharma Productions. After producing five films over the past decade, Johar plans to release three films a year from 2009, focusing on contemporary stories, debut directors, CG animation and new talent both in front of and behind the camera.New titles include Johar's fourth and as-yet-untitled film, set to star Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, which is scheduled to start shooting from October 2008.
  • Julia

    Dir: Erick Zonca. France , 2008. 138 mins.Overlong, overblown and underscripted, Erick Zonca's first theatrical feature in 10 years hangs together by a single thread: Tilda Swinton's breathless performance as an in-denial alcoholic who finds herself implicated, out of sheer drunken gullibility, in the kidnapping of a child for ransom.But as formidable an actress as Swinton is - and no one can deny her talent - she has been saddled with far t
  • Just Anybody (Le Premier Venu)

    Dir/Scr: Jacques Doillon. Fr/Belg 2008. 122mins.French director Jacques Doillon's first feature in five years, Just Anybody (Le Premier Venu), is a supple and intelligent work that exerts a strange and fascinating pull. The movie consistently darts and moves toward the unexpected and unveils depths of characterisation and subtlety of action that are both exacting and dramatically satisfying.Set during an incident-packed four days, Just Anybody
  • K5 sells The Visitor to UK and Scandinavia

    German and UK sales company K5 International has added more key sales on Tom McCarthy's The Visitor to the UK (Halcyon Pictures) and Scandinavia (CCV). The film, from Groundswell and Participant, is McCarthy's follow-up to The Station Agent. The film won raves after its premiere in Toronto and also recently played in Sundance.Overture will handle the film's US release starting April 11.The stor
  • Keanu Reeves joins cast for Rebecca Miller's Private Lives Of Pippa Lee

    Alan Arkin, Monica Bellucci, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Keanu Reeves have joined the cast of Rebecca Miller's drama The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee.Robin Wright Penn stars as the title character, a serene New York-based mother and wife whose former wild life rears its head after her elderly husband embarks on an affair with a younger woman.London-based Lumina Films is handling worldwide sales here and serves as executive producer. CAA is
  • Killer Pad, Young Rebels score EFM sales for Epic

    Epic Pictures has concluded a raft of deals on Robert Englund's comedy horror Killer Pad and drama Young Rebels.Daro took pay TV for Killer Pad in Asia as well as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Film Depot bought rights for CIS, Jiant for Thailand and Ster Kinekor for South Africa.Lionsgate holds US home video rights and negotiations are ongoing for th
  • KOFIC launches fund to support Korean films overseas

    The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) is launching a $420,000 fund to support the overseas theatrical release of Korean films. Distributors in select foreign countries who have acquired the theatrical rights to a Korean film can apply to the fund to cover up to 50% of release expenses, in accordance with the number of opening theatres and the scale of the marketing campaign.The maximum amount of support per film has been capped at $105,000 (100m won). Films eligible for support include f
  • Korea's Sponge enters sales with Beautiful, Chungking

    Major South Korean arthouse distributor Sponge Entertainment is launching international sales at the European Film Market (EFM) with Panorama title Beautiful - directed by Kim Ki-duk protege Juhn Jaihong - and Cannes and Berlin director Zhang Lu's upcoming Chungking. 'We're leaving the bigger films like Lee Yoon-ki's My Dear Enemy or Zhang Lu's Iri with Cineclick, but we have decided to sell our smaller titles ourselves,' says Sponge CEO David Cho.'Korea
  • Kragh-Jacobsen readies costume drama about Chopin

    Fresh from his political thriller What No One Knows, which is screening in Berlin'sPanorama, Danish auteur of Soren Kragh-Jacobsen is looking to make a costume drama about the composer Chopin. The film, which has the working title Incognito C, will be produced by Lars Bredo Rahbek at Nimbus Film. It is likely to be put together as a Danish-Polish-French co-production.The project is at
  • Kross, Herzsprung to star in Habermann's Mill for Juraj Herz

    The Reader star David Kross and Germany's 'Shooting Star' Hannah Herzsprung are being lined up to appear in Juraj Herz's Habermann's Mill which is set to go into production later this year for Art Oko and KN Filmcompany. The Second World War drama set in the Sudetenland, which will be handled internationally by Atlas International Film, also has Ben Becker and Karl Roden pencilled in for lead roles.
  • Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata sold to Japan, France

    Japan's Entertainment Farm - Fortissimo Films' producing partner on Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata - has secured Japanese distribution for the film via PiX Inc, a subsidiary of Avex Entertainment founded in December last year. In addition, Hakuhodo DY Media Partners has come on board as a Japanese partner and Fortissimo has sold French rights to the film to ARP Selection.Entertainment Farm and Fortissimo are co-producing the film about a modern-day Japanese family who appea
  • La Graine Et Le Mulet takes top prize from French Critics Union

    The French Critics Union has awarded Abdellatif Kechiche's La Graine Et Le Mulet with its top prize for best French film. The film took several prizes in Venice last year and was also honored with the prestigious Louis Delluc Prize in France in late 2007. It is nominated for three Cesar Awards including Best Film and Best Director.The prize for best foreign film went to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's Oscar-winning The Lives Of Others while the trophy for best first Fr
  • Lake Tahoe

    Dir: Fernando Eimbcke. Mexico. 2008. 81 mins .At first, Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke's second film appears to be another droll, quirky movie about teenagers which remind us that sometimes, when nothing happens, everything happens. Rather like his debut, Duck Season, which garnered festival action, critical plaudits and theatrical release in 30 territories - including the US - following its Cannes debut. It even uses one of the same young actor
  • Lake Tahoe

    Dir: Fernando Eimbcke. Mexico. 2008. 81 mins .At first, Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke's second film appears to be another droll, quirky movie about teenagers which remind us that sometimes, when nothing happens, everything happens. Rather like his debut, Duck Season, which garnered festival action, critical plaudits and theatrical release in 30 territories - including the US - following its Cannes debut. It even uses one of the same young actor
  • Lemon Tree

    Dir: Eran Riklis. Israel/Germany/France, 2008. 106 minsIn Lemon Tree, director Eran Riklis once again looks at the Arab-Israeli conflict from a human perspective, showing how, in a climate of suspicion and mistrust, politics can crush all who get in the way. Penned by his Syrian Bride collaborator Suha Arraf, this politically correct effort is somehow less touching and the structure is weaker, but it should follow the same commercial trajectory.
  • Lionsgate picks up North American rights to Bangkok Dangerous

    Lionsgate has picked up North American rights from IEG Virtual Studios to Danny and Oxide Pang's action title Bangkok Dangerous starring Nicolas Cage.Lionsgate has scheduled a summer release for the US and Canada and Initial will sell international rights here at EFM.Shot entirely on location in Thailand, the Pang Brothers' remake of their 1999 film of the same name stars Cage as a hitman who develops a conscience when he encounter
  • Lives Of Others producers board Leven's Lovers, Liars & Thieves

    Munich-based Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion, which produced Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's Oscar-winning The Lives Of Others, will serve as German co-producer on Jeremy Leven's $ 30m romantic comedy Lovers, Liars & Thieves which is currently being prepared by Ilann Girard's Arsam International.The true story behind the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911 is set to star Dustin Hoffman, An
  • Local exposure

    Czech cinemas enjoyed their highest-grossing year ever in 2007, with box office receipts reaching a total of $66.9m (ckr1.2bn). This represents a 20% increase on 2006, although ticket prices also increased 3% in 2007. Admissions were 12.8 million, up 11% from 2006.Much of the success has been down to strong local titles. Of the top 10 highest grossing films, five were Czech. Two Czech films from Oscar veterans topped the charts - Jan Sverak's Empties earned $6.9m (ckr124.3m) on
  • London starts green initiative for film and TV producers

    Regional screen agency Film London is backing Green Screen London, a new environmentally friendly initiative for film and TV producers. London Mayor Ken Livingstone announced the initiative today with CEO Adrian Wootton, and actors Emma Thompson and Alistair McGowan.The programme will help producers to cut climate emissions in London, as part of the Mayor's London Climate Change Action Plan to cut emissions by 60% by 2025. Actions will include researching the current carb
  • London UK Film Focus sets 2008 dates June 30-July 3

    The London UK Film Focus has announced its 2008 dates as June 30-July 3. The 2007 dates ran June 25-28.The market event for international buyers now comes on the heels of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, which will run June 18-29 after moving from a later August slot. Presumably, international industry visitors may be doubly enticed to visit EIFF before stopping through LUFF.LUFF, organised by Film London and backed by the UK Film Council, Film Export UK, the Lo
  • Lorianne Hall takes development post at UK's Ipso Facto

    Lorianne Hall been appointed head of development and creative producer at UK-based Ipso Facto Films, one of the producers of last year's Berlin hit Irina Palm.Hall, a veteran of the US and Europe, previously served as head of development and creative producer for Ireland's Samson Films, literary agent at The Paul Kohner Agency and creative executive at US-based Beacon Pictures.She will manage the existing slate of films for both Ip
  • Love And Other Crimes (Liebe und andere Verbrechen)

    Dir. Stefan Arsenijevic, Ger/Serb/Aust/Slovenia 2008, 105minsIn Love and Other Crimes, Anica (Dobra) is a woman approaching middle age who decides to leave her dreary high-rise Belgrade suburb with the money that she plans to steal from a solarium run by an older mobster (Stojanovic) who is her boss and lover. The film takes place in the course of a single day, during which the mass of faceless housing blocks reveals its ugliness and quirks, as well as its humanity
  • Magnolia's Magnet takes a swing at Donkey Punch

    London-based sales company Lumina has sold its Sundance hit thriller Donkey Punch to Magnolia Pictures' Magnet Releasing genre label for North America.Optimum has the UK rights and will release this summer.The deal was negotiated by Magnolia SVP Tom Quinn and director of acquisitions Dori Begley with Lumina's Samantha Horley and Miles Ketley of law firm Wiggin.Donkey Punch was launched through
  • Magnolia's Magnet takes on Cocaine Cowboys 2

    Magnolia Pictures' genre arm Magnet has acquired worldwide rights to Billy Corben's drug trade documentary Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin' With The Godmother.Corben's follow-up to his 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys profiles the rise of a street dealer from California who gets in way over his head when he partners with the notorious 'Cocaine Godmother' Griselda Blanco.Magnolia's Laird Adamson i
  • Malaysian box office hits all-time high of $100m

    Continuing on an upward trend, Malaysia's 2007 box office crossed RM300m for the first time with its revenues hitting an all-time high of $100.64m (RM325m), up a whopping 22.55% from the previous year. In addition to the three record-breaking Hollywood blockbusters - Transformers, Spider-Man 3 and Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End - which broke the RM10m barrier as reported earlier, Indian Tamil films also contributed significantly to the
  • Match Factory strikes two pictures with Nimbus Film

    The Match Factory (TMF) has picked up international rights for Danish filmmaker Soren Kragh-Jacobsen's political thriller What No One Knows which will have its world premiere in the Panorama Special section on February 11.The Nimbus Film production, which stars Anders W. Berthelsen, Maria Bonnevie and Ghita Norby, is the first collaboration with the Cologne/Munich sales agent. 'I must say, we are more than happy about this,' Nimbus
  • Maximum takes on international rights to Trouble The Water

    Toronto's Maximum Films International has acquired international rights to last month's Sundance Grand Jury Prize documentary winner Trouble The Water.Tia Lessin and Carl Deal's film follows aspiring rapper Kim and her husband as they try to navigate a path to survival in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Danny Glover produced with his Louverture Films partner Joslyn Barnes.'Maximum is fortunate to have a
  • Maximum takes on international to Barrett's South Solitary

    Maximum Films International has taken on international rights to upcoming period romantic comedy South Solitary with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Paul Bettany and Sundance entry The Guitar.Shirley Barrett, who won the Camera D'or for Love Serenade in 1996, will begin filming South Solitary from her original screenplay in the second half of the year.Gyllenhaa
  • McAvoy, Duff eye Perrier's Bounty for HanWay, Parallel, Number 9

    James McAvoy and Anne-Marie Duff are in discussions to star in Perrier's Bounty, which HanWay Films is selling.Alan Moloney of Parallel Films and Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen of Number 9 are producing the thriller set in contemporary Dublin.Mark O'Rowe, who adapted Berlin title Boy A and Intermission, is writing the script for Ian Fitzgibbon to direct.
  • MEDIA plans to set up new programme for third countries

    Closer cooperation between the audiovisual industries of the European Union and third countries could become part of a new and separate programme set up by the European Commission.At the MEDIA Day event in Berlin on Monday, Aviva Silver, head of the MEDIA Programme in Brussels, will be unveiling details of the preparatory action for third countries, which was awarded Euros 2m by the European Parliament.'It is something we have been trying to do under MEDIA 2007 to encoura
  • Memento's EFM slate includes Laurent Cantet's The Class

    France's Memento Films has taken on international sales on Laurent Cantet's The Class. The film is currently in post-production and is scheduled for delivery in May.The Class is Cantet's adaptation of best-selling novel Entre Les Murs about a young high-school teacher in a rough Parisian neighborhood who doesn't hesitate to push his students in order to motivate them. The novel's author, Francois Begaudeau, plays his own role in the film. Haut et Court produced and
  • Mermaid

    Dir: Anna Melikyan. Russia, 2007. 118 mins.Azerbaijani director Anna Melkian's second feature opens Berlin' Panorama section with a World Cinema Director's award from Sundance and solid box office at home in Russia under its belt (her first, Mars, was also shown in Panorama at Berlin).A coming-of-age fairytale with dark undertones,
  • Messing joins Overture's family drama Humboldt Park

    Debra Messing has joined producer Freddy Rodriguez, John Leguizamo, Alfred Molina, Jay Hernandez, Mercedes Ruehl and Luis Guzman in the cast of Overture Film's family drama Humboldt Park.Production is set to begin in Chicago on Feb 13 on the State Street Pictures and 2DS Productions project. The story revolves around three siblings who undergo an emotional reunion when they return home for the holidays. Melonie Diaz and Vanessa Ferlito also st
  • Metcalfe, Douglas, and Tamblyn line up for Reasonable Doubt

    Michael Douglas, Amber Tamblyn and Jesse Metcalfe have lined up to star in Peter Hyams' Beyond A Reasonable Doubt.Los Angeles-based Foresight Unlimited is producing and handling international sales for the update of the RKO classic directed by Fritz Lang in 1956.Entertainment Film Distributors have already taken UK rights.Ted Hartley, Moshe Diamant and Foresight CEO Mark Damon will produce. The story follows
  • Metrodome takes all UK rights to Before The Rains

    Metrodome Distribution has taken all UK rights to Santosh Sivan's Before The Rains from Maximum Films and Echo Lake Entertainment. The deal was brokered by Charlotte Mickie of Maximum, Doug Mankoff of Echo Lake, and Metrodome's Peter Urie, Sara Frain and Kate Edwards.Metrodome is planning a summer 2008 release. The English-language film, presented by Merchant Ivory, is set in 1930s southern India when a young idealistic Indian man learns of an affair between his British b
  • Minghella to head Shanghai film festival jury

    Anthony Minghella will serve as president of the international jury at this year's Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), which takes place June 14-22. This year's festival will also feature the second edition of contents market SIFF Mart and projects market China Film Pitch & Catch (CFPC). The latter two-day event plans to present around 30 projects from Chinese and international filmmakers to potential investors.'We have two goals for SIFF in the next three years - to enhan
  • Momentum takes on Hamlet 2 for UK

    Building on its buzz from Sundance, Hamlet 2's EFM sales are starting to heat up with Momentum taking UK rights.Focus Features acquired the worldwide rights to the film in Sundance and handled the UK deal, which was said to be worth well above $2m.Andrew Fleming directed the comedy starring Steve Coogan as a failed actor who recruits his high-school drama students to act in a controversial sequel to Hamlet.Catherine Keener, Melonie Diaz, Amy Poehler, David Arq
  • Mortensen, Damon, Penn among players in activism doc

    Ed Noeltner's Cinema Management Group is commencing sales here on the social activism documentary The People Speak featuring Viggo Mortensen, Matt Damon and Sean Penn.Based on Howard Zinn's book A People's History Of The United States, the two-hour film chronicles key developments in the US told from the perspective of famous figures and lesser known people like abolitionist Sojourner Truth and anti-war
  • Mr Nobody among films supported by German Federal Film Fund

    Germany's German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) incentive scheme has awarded over $3.97m (Euros 2.7m) in funding in the first four weeks of 2008.Jaco van Dormael's $51.4m (Euros 35m) Mr Nobody, which was shooting at the Babelsberg Studios for 45 days last autumn, is one of three international co-productions supported with a total of $2.9m (Euro 1.98m) by the DFFF.The scifi drama starring Jared Leto and Berlinale competition jury member D
  • Mundruczo's Delta takes Golden Reel at Hungarian Film Week

    Kornel Mundruczo's highly anticipated new film, Delta, received top honours at the 39th Hungarian Film Week. The powerful story of a young man's fateful attempt to return to his home and family received the Golden Reel for best picture as well as the Gene Moskowitz prize, awarded by foreign film critics attending the festival.'This film is about survival,' Mundruczo told the audience of the awards ceremony yesterday, alluding to his five-year
  • Munich's EVA to co-produce family adventure Raising Phoenix

    Munich-based film and TV group Entertainment Value Associates (EVA) is to co-produce Marc Weigert's $15m family adventure project Raising Phoenix which is being produced by Weigert and Volker Engel's LA-based independent outfit Uncharted Territory.Raising Phoenix is due to go into production from April 2008, with location shooting likely to also be done in Berlin and Bavaria
  • Nanni Moretti to be the subject of Locarno retrospective

    Italian director-actor-producer Nanni Moretti will be the subject of this year's retrospective at the Locarno Interational Film Festival (August 6-16).'I am total fan of his work and am very happy that he will be in Locarno,' says the festival's artistic director Frederic Maire exclusively to Screen 'We will be showing the feature-length films, shorts and documentaries he directed as well as all of the works from his production company Sacher Film.''In addition
  • Napola's Schilling plays young Hitler in Mein Kampf

    Young German actor Tom Schilling, who appeared opposite Max Riemelt in Dennis Gansel's Napola and turns 26 on Sunday (Feb 10), has been cast as the young Hitler in Urs Odermatt's Mein Kampf, based on the 1987 stage play farce of the same name by the late George Tabori.The story of Mein Kampf sees Hitler down on his luck after being turned down for a place by the
  • New Talent - European Stars of Tomorrow

    Ambra Angiolini, ItalyAngiolini had already made her name in the 1990s as a TV starlet and presenter before returning to performing in theatre some years later, reinventing herself as a serious actress. She made her film debut last year in Ferzan Ozpetek's Saturno Contro, gaining overnight credibility and winning a best supporting actress prize at last year's Davide di Donatello awards. She has since made Cristina Comencini's Black And White, presently on release in Italy
  • New Toronto-based Arrow takes on Jolliet's Harvest

    Newly-launched Toronto sales outfit Arrow Entertainment has acquired worldwide rights to Nicolas Jolliet's docu-drama Harvest following its screenings at the Rotterdam Film Festival. Arrow is repping both film and soundtrack rights at the EFM.Described as the musical journey of a ganja planter, the film follows a marijuana farmer named Jaweve on his journey out of the mountains of Caribbean St. Lucia into a greater world of spiritual wisdom. T
  • New York Rendez-Vous includes films by Bonnaire, Honore

    Organisers at the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema event in New York have unveiled the full line-up of 15 films, which as previously announced will kick off with Claude Lelouch's Roman De Gare on Feb 29.The roster features: Audrey Estrougo's debut drama Ain't Scared (Regarde-Moi) set on a tough Paris housing project; Mia Hansen-Love's father-daughter drama All Is Forgiven
  • NonStop Film Sales hook into No Network - A Modern Adventure

    Stockholm-based NonStop Film Sales has confirmed that it will be handling world sales on Icelandic director Ari Kristinsson's adventure drama No Network - A Modern Adventure. The film was made through Kristinsson's production company Taka Film Production. Kristinsson, a veteran of the Icelandic film industry, has scripted and directed two previous features, The Adventures Of Paper Peter and
  • NonStop slides on Frozen River for Sweden

    Voracious Swedish distributor NonStop Entertainment has snapped up SundanceGrand Jury winner Frozen River.NonStop will be releasing the film in in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway,Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.Filmed in sub-zero weather in upstate New York, Frozen River is CourtneyHunt's directorial debut. The film is set in a real-life smuggling zone on a Native A
  • NonStop's Gnomes & Trolls sell to Intersonic, Five Stars

    NonStop's two animated films Gnomes And Trolls 1 & 2 have been sold to Intersonic for Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary and to Five Stars Distribution for Israel. The films are both being presented here at 72 mins and 75 mins respectively. These follow on from deals already done prior to the market with Turkey, China and CIS for Gnomes 1. Here at t
  • Nordic giant Nordisk buys 50% stake in Zentropa

    At 9.45am today [Feb 7], in a deal likely to have far-reaching implications for Scandinavian cinema, Nordisk Film bought a 50% share in Danish outfit Zentropa. The alliance is expected to provide extra resources for Zentropa, which was founded in 1992 by Peter Aalbaek Jensen (pictured above) and Lars Von Trier, as the company embarks on an ambitious production drive.The deal comes weeks after the announcement that Zentropa's sales arm Trust Film Sales had established an informal rela
  • Odd Lot International sets out on Road with Bridges, Timberlake

    Odd Lot International has boarded Michael Meredith's drama The Open Road starring Jeff Bridges, Justin Timberlake, Kate Mara and Mary Steenburgen.Odd Lot Entertainment is producing the story of a young man must reconnect with his estranged father and get him home to his ailing mother's bedside. Production is set to begin in February in Louisiana and other parts of the Deep South.Odd Lot principals Deborah Del-Prete and Gigi Pritzke
  • Odd Lot on board for Yann Samuell's The Great Ghost Rescue

    Odd Lot International (OLI) is meeting with buyers to discuss YannSamuell's upcoming children's sci-fi romp The Great Ghost Rescue.Samuell will direct from David Solomons' adapted screenplay of EvaIbboston's best seller about an uprooted ghost family who go in searchof a new home.Miriam Segal and Martin Katz will produce the live-action project,which is styled as The Addams
  • Open Graves international rights go to Voltage

    Voltage Pictures has taken international rights on the upcoming horror film Open Graves to star Mike Vogel from the US hit Cloverfield and Eliza Dushku.Alvaro De Arminan will direct from a screenplay by father-and-son team Bruce A Taylor and Roderick Taylor about a group of surfers who awaken a centuries-old curse contained in a board game.Billy Dietrich brokered the deal on behalf of the pr
  • Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience

    Dir: Richard Robbins, USA, 2007, 81mins
  • Palador Pictures acquires Indian rights to Shine A Light

    Mumbai-based Palador Pictures has acquired Indian rights to Berlin opening film Shine A Light from Fortissimo Films. Although the Indian market has traditionally been dominated by local product, Indian buyers are becoming more active as local multiplexes and audiences open up to foreign films.In addition, three Indian companies - Palador, UTV Software Communications and broadcaster NDTV - are launching world cinema labels, encompassing TV channels and theatrical and home vid
  • Paramount Home Entertainment switches to SPI in New Zealand

    Paramount Home Entertainment (PHE) has assigned its New Zealand license for Paramount and DreamWorks titles to SPI Entertainment NZ with effect from Feb 1.PHE previously distributed its titles in New Zealand through Roadshow.Paramount's 2008 international releases include No Country For Old Men, Iron Man, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Drillbit Taylor, Kung Fu Panda and The Heart
  • Pathe goes deep for The Descent 2 with Celador

    Pathe International is starting pre-sales here at the EFM for The Descent 2. Shauna MacDonald and Natalie Mendoza will reprise their roles.The Descent's director Neil Marshall and producer Christian Colson will produce the sequel for UK-based production outfit Celador.Jon Harris, who edited The Descent as well as Stardust
  • Patrick Stewart lines up for Damian Harris' Pop

    Patrick Stewart is attached to star in Pop, Damian Harris' follow-up to his Berlinale competition entry Gardens Of The Night.Based on Kitty Aldridge's debut novel, Harris wrote the adaptation with the author. Their script has been optioned by Andrew Karsch, who will produce the project with Simon Bosanquet of Generator Pictures.Pop is the tale of a 13
  • Persepolis to open Human Rights Watch festival in London

    The 12th Human Rights Watch International Film Festival will run March 12-21 across six cinemas in London.Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud will attend screenings of their film Persepolis as a benefit gala on March 12 and at the festival opening on March 13.The festival will screen 25 films from 19 countries including Lioness, A Promise To The Dead, Strange Culture, White Light/Black Rain, Milo
  • PHEI switches to SPI in New Zealand

    Paramount Home Entertainment International (PHEI) has assigned its New Zealand license for Paramount and DreamWorks titles to SPI Entertainment NZ with effect from Feb 1.PHE previously distributed its titles in New Zealand through Roadshow.Paramount's 2008 international releases include No Country For Old Men, Iron Man, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Drillbit Taylor, Kung Fu Panda and The Heartbreak Kid.
  • Poon quits Fortune Star, produces digital series

    Peter Poon has quit as general manager of regional broadcaster Star TV's Hong Kong-based content arm, Fortune Star Entertainment, to pursue his own projects. His first venture since quitting the company - a digital series made for wireless and broadband platforms and featuring pro-wrestler Paul Heyman as a motor-mouthed video-blogger - has already been announced. News Corp-owned UK newspaper The Sun will air the series on its web-site starting Feb 18.The Heyman Hustle
  • Pretty Bird

    Dir: Paul Schneider, US, 2008, 97mins.The perennial story of Americans trying to get rich quick on a new invention meets the perennial story of Americans betraying each other over property in Pretty Bird. The look, and feel, of the film sing an ode to American kitsch.Pretty Bird's success in the US box office will depend on the draw of its two stars - slick handsome Billy Crudup, as a confidence man determined to peddle a new product, an
  • Primer Piano buys Wood's La Buena Vida for Argentina

    Madrid-based sales outfit Latido has confirmed a number of new pre-sales on La Buena Vida, the new film from fast-rising Latin-American auteur AndresWood (Machuca.) Just prior to Berlin, deals were concluded for the film with Argentina (Primer Piano), ex-Yugoslavia (MCF) and Greece (AMA). A number of other territories are pending - evidence of the interest that Wood now generates among inter
  • Pusanfestival co-directors to oversee Asian Film Market

    The Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) has announced that festival co-directors Kim Dong-ho and Lee Yong-kwan will now head up the Asian Film Market. Former co-director Park Kwang-su bowed out of the market position last December to focus on his filmmaking work as previously planned.PIFF deputy director and World Cinema programmer, Jay Jeon, will also be taking care of administrative matters at the market.Founding festival director Kim has been at PIFF for 13 years, an
  • Quiet Chaos (Caos Calmo)

    Dir: Antonello Grimaldi. Italy. 2008. 110 mins.'Write about what you know' goes the old dictum - so contemporary Italian scripters mostly write about city-dwelling, media-savvy middle-class people like themselves. But at least in Quiet Chaos our hero, TV executive Pietro Paladini, is doing something more original than having a mid-life relationship crisis (Saturno Contro) or exorcising a childhood trauma (The Beast In The Heart). After his wife's sudden death,
  • Rainer Grupe named VP of film at Canada's Entertainment One

    Rainer Grupe has been named vice president of filmed entertainment at Canadian distributor Entertainment One. The executive reports directly to president Patrice Theroux and will play a key role in the company's international expansion plans while overseeing content strategy in the UK, North America and Benelux. Grupe most recently worked as an independent producer in London on Buffalo Soldiers with Joaqui
  • Rezo Films takes Sundance grand jury prize winner River

    France's Rezo Films has acquired international rights to Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Frozen River. Sony Pictures Classics is handling US distribution on Courtney Hunt's first feature.Set in a real-life smuggling zone on a Native American reservation between NY State and Quebec, the film is the story of two women who smuggle illegal immigrants across the St Lawrence River from Canada to the US. Although both women swear each trip will be t
  • Rialto takes Australian rights for Young@Heart

    Rialto has taken Australia/New Zealand rights to Stephen Walker's Young@Heart, the documentary about a New England senior citizens' chorus.Mirjam Wertheim of Orange Entertainment brokered the deal on behalf of Rialto CEO Kelly Rogers with Rena Ronson at William Morris Independent.Sally George produced for Walker George Films; the UK's Channel 4 backed the project.The film won the audience award for best international feature at the 20
  • Roissy continues Caramel sales with Taiwan deal with Joint

    Nadine Labaki's Caramel is continuing to entice buyers. The Lebanesedirector-star's crowd pleaser, which premiered in the Cannes Quinzaine last year, has sold steadily throughout the year.Here at the EFM, French company Roissy Films has announced another deal on the title. Joint Entertainment has now taken the film for Taiwan.Caramel is a romantic comedy-drama set in a women's hairdres
  • Roissy sells Seraphine to Joint Entertainment in Taiwan

    Mid-way through the market, Roissy is reporting strong buyer interest inSeraphine. Martin Provost's drama has now gone to Joint Entertainment for Taiwan, Roissy's Yohann Comte confirmed over the weekend.A French-Belgian co-production, Seraphine is the story of French artist Seraphine De Senlis. Born in the mid-19th Century, she worked as a shepherd and housewife before going mad. The cast is headlined by Yolande Moreau and Ulrich Tukur.
  • Roissy takes on new films from Amos Gitai, Agnes Varda

    On the eve of the European Film Market, Paris-based sales outfit Roissy Films has announced two new acquisitions, both of features from long-established auteurs.Roissy is to represent Amos Gitai's One Day You'll Understand (Plus tard tucomprendras), based on the book by Jerôme Clement. The film, starring French acting legend Jeanne Moreau, receives its world premie
  • Sarajevo festival to pay tribute to Todd Haynes

    The 14th Sarajevo Film Festival will present its 2008 tribute to US film-maker Todd Haynes.Haynes will be in Sarajevo to present a selection of his films as well as to meet during regular post-film Q&A sessions and at a larger public interview session.Haynes is famed for his shorts including Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, features including Safe, Far From Heaven and the recent Venice
  • Scorsese, Shangri-La to shine a light on Bob Marley

    Following his Bob Dylan and Berlin-opening Rolling Stones documentaries, Martin Scorsese is planning to make a film on the life of Reggae star Bob Marley. Shangri-La Entertainment and Tuff Gong Pictures are producing the as-yet-untitled film which will be released globally on Feb 6, 2010, the 65th anniversary of Marley's birth. Fortissimo Films will handle international sales.Scorsese is collaborating with Marley's family on the documentary about the life, legacy and glo
  • Screen opinion - Rightsize Matters

    When the inventors of business jargon find themselves in hell (or post-mortem heating and rehabilitation solutions), the devil will have put aside a particularly ghastly punishment for the deviser of the term 'rightsizing'.In tougher economic times, it was the euphemism of choice for laying off staff. You're not getting the boot, merely being rightsized. A look at the stock markets recently suggests we may see the term used in that way again in the not-too-distant future.But rig
  • Senator buys 25.1% stake in Berlin rights trader A Company

    Senator Entertainment has taken a 25.1% stake in the Berlin-based rights trading company A Company Consulting & Licensing as part of a strategy to expand its own position in the international licensing business and invest in the burgeoning Central and East European market.Over the past five years, A Company has acquired over 200 films through its subsidiary EEAP Eastern European Acquisition Pool and exploited them in Central and Eastern Europe itself or through partners such as Kino
  • Senator hands back 56.2% stake in X Filme

    Senator Entertainment and X Filme Creative Pool have decided to go their separate ways.An agreement was reached between X Filme managing director Manuela Stehr and Senator board member Christopher Borgmann for X Filme to take over the 56.2% stake Senator had been holding in X Filme since 2002.As Senator Entertainment board member Helge Sasse ponted out, 'it is time for both companies to go their own ways in production again as previously because Senator has been striving
  • Shine A Light

    Dir: Martin Scorsese. US. 2008. 123 mins.Raunchy and affectionate, Scorsese's Rolling Stones film, which opened this year's Berlinale, is as much homage as concert film. In bringing the miracle of the Stones' survival to a wider audience, it's the cinematic equivalent of an all-singing, all-dancing Tutankhamun exhibition. And for all its delight this is one of the limitations of what is nevertheless a lively, likeable,
  • Shiver (Eskalofrio)

    Dir: Isidro Ortiz. Spain. 2008. 94 mins.There's clearly a dark place in the Spanish psyche that looks a lot like a remote mountain village: films like Obaba, The Night of the Sunflowers and - of course - Pan's Labyrinth have all exploited the fright quotient of the closed rural community. Shiver (Eskalofrio) uses the same setting as the basis for a reasonably-entertaining but rarely pyrotechnic blend of horror movie and comedy-tinged coming-of-age fi
  • Sidetrack takes on world rights to Corman doc King Of The B's

    Sidetrack Films has acquired worldwide rights to Alex Stapleton's documentary King Of The B's: The Independent Life Of Roger Corman.The New York-based company's Jared Moshe and Richard Lim will serve as executive producers along with Josh Levin of Gallant Films.Stapleton will chronicle Corman's prolific film-making career, a legendary run that has resulted in more than 50 directorial credits and more than 300 films as producer.
  • Soloplan takes Polish rights to Sayles' Honeydripper

    Solopan has taken Polish rights to Honeydripper, the latest film from acclaimed indie film director John Sayles. The deal was concluded with sales agent Rezo early during the EFM."'It is an audience pleaser - the kind of film that has a long life. We keep doing sales (on Honeydripper) at market after market,"' Rezo's Head Of International Sales, Sebastien Chesneau, commented of the deal.
  • Somers Town

    Dir: Shane Meadows. UK. 2008. 75 mins.
  • Son of a Lion

    Dir: Benjamin Gilmour. Australia/Pakistan. 2007. 92mins.Childrens' exposure to gun culture is fast becoming one of the fail-safe themes of world cinema, but we haven't yet seen it in quite the context presented by the inventive Pakistan-set drama Son Of A Lion.Benjamin Gilmour's no-frills DV feature, co-written with collaborators from the towns of Kohat and Darra Adem Khel in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan,
  • Soros acquires 3% stake in India's Reliance Entertainment

    Billionaire venture capitalist George Soros has bought a 3% stake in India's Reliance Entertainment for $100m. The move values the company, owned by the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, at $3bn and highlights increasing investor interest in Indian entertainment firms. In 2006, Walt Disney took a minority stake in Mumbai-based UTV Communications, while Viacom established a joint venture with India's Network18 last year.Reliance Entertainment already owns a controlling stake in India's A
  • Spurlock, Jarecki back new NYC short film publisher Cinelan

    Morgan Spurlock, Steve James and Eugene Jarecki are among a group of film-makers that have leant their support to the new New York-based short film publisher Cinelan.They have joined the advisory board and will make films for the venture, which aims to build a library of three-minute documentaries and arrange online and alternative distribution for film-makers.Films will be syndicated through internet media partners, digital cinemas, TV and mobile devices and syndication
  • SPWAG buys multiple territories on Tortured

    Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisition Group (SPWAG) has picked up North American and multiple territory rights to the upcoming thriller Tortured starring Laurence Fishburne and Cole Hauser.The deal encompasses the UK, Benelux, French-speaking Europe, Portugal, Spain, Scandinavia, Russia, Hungary and Bulgaria.Nolan Lebovitz directs from his screenplay about an undercover FBI agent who questions his own identity and motives on an under
  • Stassen, nWave launch sales of 3-D movie Fly Me To The Moon

    Ben Stassen's Fly Me To The Moon will be making history as the first 3D Imax film to screen in EFM and is hoping to ride a wave with buyers after the sensational US opening of Disney's 3D concert film Hannah Montana.Fly Me To The Moon, which is being released in the US by Summit in August, is being sold here by its producers, nWave Pictures, founded in 1994 by St
  • Studio Babelsberg announces intentions to back US studio slate

    Studio Babelsberg has revealed plans to invest '$500m or more' in a slate of features by an as-yet-unnamed US major studio to secure more Hollywood productions coming to shoot at the studios.Last year the production centre had hosted such big budget productions as Speed Racer, Valkyrie and The International and is currently serving as a co-producer on Stephen Daldry's T
  • Suh slices through international market with Fine Cut

    Cineclick Asia founder Youngjoo Suh is leaving the company to establish a new international sales outfit, Fine Cut, to handle a more diverse slate of international projects. Suh explained that the move would give her the freedom to invest in and co-produce projects from overseas filmmakers. Cineclick merged last year with KOSDAQ-listed Fantom Entertainment Group, which is more focused on the domestic Korean market.'Although the merger was made in good faith, the current situation o
  • Sundance hit The Escapist breaks out to Australia, Europe

    Rupert Wyatt's Sundance selection The Escapist has been sold to several key territories.Deals have been done for Australia (Rialto), Scandinavia (Sandrew Metrodome) and Europe's IndieCircle (Lucky Red in Italy, Haut et Court in France, Cineart in Benelux, and Frenetic in Switzerland.)Mirjam Wertheim negotiated the deal for Orange Entertainment (on behalf of the distributors) with Tristan Whalley and Nicki Parfitt of UK-based sales company Goa
  • Tarak Ben Ammar spells out vision for European distribution network

    Quinta Communications boss Tarak Ben Ammar has spelled out his bold newvision for a pan-European distribution network supported by his partners at bankers Goldman Sachs. Speaking by videolink at yesterday's Screen International's European Film Financing summit in Berlin, the Franco-Tunisian mogul outlined ambitious plans which inevitably reminded many in the audience of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment's empire building in the 1990sAmmar is on the board of directors of
  • Taskovski Films launches Banja Luka International Film Festival

    The UK-Czech production/sales company Taskovski Films is behind the launch of the Banja Luka International Film Festival (BLIFF) from May 2-9 in the city in northwest Bosnia and Herzegovina.Apart from a competitive programme for latest international features, documentaries and student films, this first edition will include sidebars dedicated to 100 Years of Russian Film, Peace and Tolerance, Film & Laughter, and Women Directors. Festival director Irene Taskovski is also p
  • Terence Davies gets greenlight through Liverpool digital scheme

    Northwest Vision and Media, the Liverpool Culture Company, the UK Film Council and the BBC have announced the three winners of the Digital Departures film-making scheme: Terence Davies' Of Time And The City; Colin O'Donnell's Salvage; and Leigh Campbell's Starstruck.Each team gets $494,130 (£250,000) to make a micro-budget feature. The films are now greenlit and will be shot and premiered in Liverpool this year as part of the Capital of Culture celebrations.
  • TF1 International comes on board for Veber's L'Emmerdeur

    TF1 International has acquired the latest film from director Francis Veber, L'Emmerdeur, and will also serve as a co-producer.Shooting is to begin in March on the film which stars Richard Berry and Patrick Timsit. Patrice Ledoux's Pulsar Productions is producing with TFM Distribution set to release in France in December 2008.The film is based on Veber's own stage play which previously inspired Edouard Molinaro's 1973 film of the same name starring Lino Ventura and Jacqu
  • Thailand's Major Cineplex expands into film production

    Thailand's largest exhibitor Major Cineplex is set to expand into film production following the completion of a share swap between its subsidiary M Pictures and media and content provider Traffic Corner Holdings. Through a new subsidiary, Traffic Corner now holds 99.99% in M Pictures, the distribution arm of Major Cineplex. Traffic Corner issued 240 million new shares and raised its capital to $11.3m (360m baht) from $3.8m (120m baht).Major Cineplex, which now owns a 40.81% stake,
  • The Aquarium (Genenet Al Asmak)

    Dir. Yousry Nasrallah. Egypt/ France/ Germany, 2007. 111 mins.As undoubtedly the best-known protege of t legendary Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, Yousry Nasrallah has been working as a film critic or film-maker for nearly 30 years. Since 1988, hhee has directed a series of distinctive films that frequently show up in festivals, but that have had, internationally at least, less commercial luck. This state of affairs is not going to be much altered by his
  • The Black Balloon (2007)

    Dir: Elissa Down Aust. 2007, 97 minsThe Black Balloon is notable for its graphic, not-for-the-squeamish depiction of adult autism. But, more importantly for its box office potential, the youth-oriented movie introduces a glowing young Australian actress with true star potential - the international model Gemma Ward. Plus there's a showy performance from Luke Ford, soon to be seen as Brendan Fraser's son in Mummy 3. Well marketed afte
  • The Eye

    Dir: David Moreau and Xavier Palud . US. 2008. 97 mins.Jessica Alba may be easy on the eyes, but a lack of dramatic heft makes her hard on The Eye - yet another American remake of a successful Asian horror film which never rises above the level of mediocre dread. Though assisted by a couple of distinguished indie actors in supporting roles, this forgettable spookfest about a blind woman whose corneal operation goes very wrong
  • The Feelings Factory (La Fabrique Des Sentiments)

    Dir. Jean-Marc Moutout. France/ Belgium.2008, 104 minutes. Jean-Marc Moutout's The Feelings Factory (La Fabrique des sentiments) wants to be about life and love and all manner of profound things, but ends up as little more than a jumble of endless close-up reaction shots of French actress Elsa Zylberstein. Unfortunately, this lovely but usually supporting player doesn't have the screen presence or nuanced acting ability that the role demands, and she's not helpe
  • The Hottie And The Nottie

    Dir: Tom Putnam. US. 2008. 98 mins.A crude twist on the old maxim about inner beauty trumping outward appearance, The Hottie And The Nottie sluggishly tries to copy the Farrelly brothers' winning mixture of sweetness and occasionally revolting humour, but the results couldn't be more unsightly. Socialite and tabloid curiosity Paris Hilton may be Hottie's main draw, but it's d
  • The Last Word

    Dir: Geoffrey Haley. US. 2008. 94 mins.Geoffrey Haley, a DP and editor perhaps best known for shooting the floating plastic bag sequence in American Beauty, makes his feature debut with The Last Word, a dark comedy about a man who makes a living writing other people's suicide notes. In dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival
  • The Match Factory takes a spin with Waltz With Bashir

    The Match Factory (TMF) has taken on international sales for Israeli director Ari Folman's first-ever animated documentary feature Waltz With Bashir, which is currently in postproduction and hotly tipped to premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival.The co-production between Israel's Bridgit Folman Films Gang Ltd., France's Les Films d'Ici and Germany's Razor Film Produktion charts the filmmaker's personal journey toward discovering the trut
  • The Song Of Sparrows

    Dir: Majid Majidi. Iran. 2008. 98 mins.The perennial workingman's blues get a cheerful philosophical spin in The Song Of Sparrows, a briskly likeable comedy from Iranian director Majid Majidi. But while the film will raise plenty of charmed smiles on the festival circuit as enjoyable light relief, its crowd-pleasing style is unlikely to score seriously with international buyers, unless - which could well be the case - the bottom has finally fallen out of the artho
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles

    Dir: Mark Waters, 2008, USIn The Spiderwick Chronicles the Grace family find trouble when they move into their creaky New England home - and it isn't trouble with the mortgage. The house smells strange and creatures are heard moving behind the walls.Mark Waters's film is the adaptation of the popular book series by written by Holly Black and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. The Spiderwick books are not a Harry Potter franchise, and this m
  • The Sun Street Boys

    Dir: Gyorgy Szomjas. Hungary , 2008. 89minsFar superior to last year's Hungarian box-office champion Children of Glory, Gyorgy Szomjas' new film tells a very similar story, namely the 1956 uprising against the prevailing communist regime. But it has a different narrative accent and is less adroit at tugging the heartstrings - qualities, or flaws, depending on your perspective, that will almost certainly affect its commercial future.
  • The Weinstein Company, Showbox hot for Chocolate

    Thai actioner Chocolate - which opened at the top of the Thai box office this week - has been gobbled up by several international distributors including The Weinstein Company which has taken North American rights. Produced and sold by Sahamongkolfilm International, the picture has also been sold to Showbox Media for the UK, Taewon Entertainment for South Korea, Intercontinental Films for Hong Kong, Innoform for Singapore, Medyavizyon for Turke
  • T-Joy acquires Japanese rights to Bodrov's Mongol

    Japan's T-Joy has pounced on Oscar-nominated epic drama Mongol, acquiring all Japanese rights through its recently-established Laterna label. Beta Cinema is selling the Sergei Bodrov-directed film, which is one of the final nominees for this year's best foreign-language film Oscar and features Japanese star Asano Tadanobu in the lead role of Genghis Khan.Laterna plans to release the German-Russian-Kazakh co-production on April 5 on around 150 screens, a sizeable release for
  • Trust closes first deal on Rotterdam hit Jamil for Greece

    Fresh from picking up a Tiger award in Rotterdam last week, Trust FilmSales' Go With Peace Jamil has clinched its first international sale. The bloody thriller, set in Copenhagen's close-knit Arab community, has gone to Seven Films for Greece.The deal comes as Trust arrives in Berlin for its first market since the company announced its alliance with fellow Scandinavian sales outfit, Nordisk Film Sales.Speaking this week, Trus
  • TWC, Genius launch Third Rail Releasing for 'edgy' films

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) and Genius Products have launched Third Rail Releasing to distribute 'inventive and edgy films' and will kick off with George A Romero's Diary Of The Dead on Feb 15.The new venture stems from the recent hire of chief executive officer Lee Solomon, who was brought on board with a mandate to find new revenue streams.The Weinsteins aim to release six to 10 titles each year from new film-makers and 'establish
  • TWC's Shanghai and other foreign shoots face China crisis

    The Chinese authorities have refused to grant shooting permission to Mikael Hafstrom's period drama Shanghai, set to star John Cusack and Gong Li, forcing the producers to scramble to find another Asian location.The Weinstein Company is backing the production, which has been in pre-production in China since last September and was scheduled to start shooting next month. It's the biggest project so far to be backed by TWC's Asian Film Fund.
  • UGC International loads up with Lucky Luke, Schroeder

    Along with competition feature Il y a Longtemps Que Je T'Aime directed by Philippe Claudel, UGC International is hitting Berlin with a strong line up including the latest from Andre Techine, Barbet Schroeder and James Huth.Huth, whose recent hits include Hell Phone and Brice De Nice, will re-team with his Brice star Jean Dujardin for a Euros 25m take on
  • UK, Turkey rock to Lumina's Heavy Metal In Baghdad

    London-based sales company Lumina Films has sold feature documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad to the UK (Slingshot Studios) and Turkey (Medyavizion). The Vice Films and VBS.TV project has its European premiere in Berlin's Panorama on Sunday. Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi directed the film, with Monica Hampton producing and Shane E Smith and Spike Jonze executive producing.Arts Alliance previously struck a deal for US rights with Josh Braun's S
  • UK's Delanic ramps up with four buys including Hachiko, Swing Vote

    UK and Irish independent distributor Delanic Films has acquired four new films for 2008 release: Peter Howitt's Dangerous Parking, Rodrigo Garcia's Passengers, Lasse Hallstrom's Hachiko: A Dog's Story; and Joshua Michael Stern's Swing Vote. Dangerous Parking, sold by Velvet Octopus, is H
  • UK's Formosa Films to follow Clubbed with Twenty8k

    Formosa Films, the UK production company behind Clubbed, is planning its second feature film, Twenty8k, to shoot in autumn 2008.Formosa, founded by producer Martin Carr and director Neil Thompson, has raised half the funding for Twenty8k, which is written by Geoff Thompson.The thriller will follow a young Asian journalist who tries to cut through the media circus
  • UK's Protagonist unveils slate, plans Cannes official sales launch

    Protagonist Pictures, the new sales company formed by UK heavyweights Ingenious, Film 4 and Vertigo, has announced the first titles on its sales slate. The mix of films includes new projects from directors Nicolas Winding Refn, Rupert Wyatt, Alexis Dos Santos, Vito Rocco and Tom Shankland.Ex-Metrodome and Universal executive Ben Roberts, CEO of Protagonist, is here in Berlin meeting with the industry but Protagonist will launch its first real sales office in Cannes.The compa
  • United Kingdom - Scaling new heights

    If gamblers are ready to start handicapping next year's Bafta race, Julian Jarrold's Brideshead Revisited would be a safe bet.The producers at Ecosse Films, of course, would cringe at such early awards talk - Ecosse is one of those production companies that likes to let its work speak for itself. Ecosse, founded in 1988 to work on both film and TV, has already had awards glory with 1997's Oscar-nominated and Bafta-winning Mrs Brown.At the moment, Ecosse has The
  • United States - Building an icon

    Diversity and synergy are two themes that get a lot of airplay in Hollywood - and more often than not the words are bandied about in an off-hand way that robs them of their currency. Yet they are at the core of what Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey's Icon group of companies stands for these days, and it would take a brave or foolish person to bet against the independent powerhouse.Since the promotion of Mark Gooder to CEO of Icon Productions and the appointment of Ariel Veneziano as head of
  • United States - Star man

    For Rigel Entertainment, getting into the feature film business was a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" proposition, says founder, president and CEO John Laing.After 15 years as a backer, producer and worldwide distributor of TV programming, including the Robocop and Pacific Blue series, Laing felt Rigel could gain an edge by expanding into the theatrical arena. But actually making the move took work, investment and a bit of self-promotion."The harder thing i
  • Valhalla finally rises for Nicolas Winding Refn

    Valhalla is finally rising. Nicolas Winding Refn's long-in-the-works Viking yarn Valhalla Rising, starring Mads Mikkelsen as One-Eye, is now fully financed and will begin shooting in Glasgow and on the Isle Of Skye in the summer.'We closed the gap this week and we're headed to start shooting in June,'producer Johnny Anderson of Nimbus Film commented of the bloodcurdling $6.8 million epic which Refn and Norwegian writer Roy Jacobsen origi
  • Vuoerensola prepares Finnish Nazi sci-fi comedy Iron Sky

    In 1945 the Nazis went to the Moon in 2018 they are coming back! That isthe pitch for macabre Finnish sci-fi comedy Iron Sky, the new feature being plotted by Timo Vuorensola.The film, which will be made by many of the same team behind Star Trek parody, Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning (2005) is being produced by Energia Productions, Blind Spot Pictures and Pe
  • War of words escalates between Brass Hat and VIP

    A war of words is escalating between the British financier Brass Hat Media Avice (BHMA) and the beleaguered German media fund VIP Medienfonds 4 following the refusal of VIP's managing director Peter Riedel to honour a strategic co-investment partnership negotiated with BHMA by his predecessor Dirk Specht last September to manage VIP's funds. This has led BHMA to sue VIP for a court declaration in Munich's Regional Court and VIP in turn applying to have the action dismissed.
  • Warner Bros boosts post-production with Prime Focus alliance

    Warner Bros has broadened the reach of its Motion Picture Imaging post-production division in a strategic alliance with India-based Prime Focus.The agreement allows the companies to work seamlessly across time zones on projects and offers film-makers access to services throughout locations on the sub-continent and London as well as New York, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Los Angeles.'Working with Prime Focus not only gives Motion Picture Imaging a global footprint, it allows bo
  • Warner Music UK buys UK rights to occult thriller Chemical Wedding

    Warner Music UK has acquired UK rights to the supernatural occult thriller Chemical Wedding and has scheduled a theatrical in May.Former Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson wrote the screenplay and Simon Callow stars as a Cambridge professor who wreaks havoc after he is possessed by the spirit of the Edwardian British occultist Aleister Crowley.Ed Noeltner's Cinema Management group is handling worldwide sales.Julian D
  • We Are Together joins with (RED); EMI to release March 3 in UK

    EMI, the (RED) campaign and Channel 4 are kicking off a 12-month activity plan tied to the release of award-winning documentary We Are Together by Paul Taylor.The documentary, which won prizes at festivals including IDFA andTribeca, is about a choir at the Agape orphanage in South Africa, wheremost of the children have lost parents to AIDS.A song from the film's soundtrack has been released as an exclusive MP3 download at wearetoge
  • Wide Management picks up Victoire Terminus, Summer Book

    Loic Magneron's Paris-based Wide Management has picked up world sales rights on Berlinale Forum title, Victoire Terminus, directed by Renaud Barrett and Florent De La Tullaye. All territories are available on the African boxing drama.Also new on Wide's EFM slate is another Forum title, Summer Book from Turkish director Seyfi Teoman.Both titles were acquired by Wide on the eve of the Berlin m
  • Wild Bunch fields offers for Che films after footage screens at Berlin

    Three US buyers, including The Weinstein Company, are vying to acquire US rights to Steven Soderbergh's two-picture Spanish-language Che Guevara biopic which is currently in post-production.Wild Bunch screened ten minutes of footage on Friday to buyers here and sent DVD copies of the Soderbergh's promo to US buyers who haven't made it to Berlin.'They understand it is going to be an event film. Their reference was Apocalypse Now, Godfafthe
  • Wolfgang Petersen, Senator team up for English-language TV series

    Internationally renowned German director Wolfgang Petersen is returning to his TV roots by forging a joint venture with Germany's Senator Entertaiment to produce English-language TV series.The partnership, which will operate out of Senator's Cologne-based subsidiary Pro Programme und Produktionen fuer Buehne und Fernsehen, is to concentrate on the production of quality programming for the international market. This includes a documentary series about the Cold War, which is currently
  • Writer's Guild reaches deal with AMPTP

    The Writers Guild Of America (WGA) announced last night that it had finally reached a tentative deal with the studios to end its 14-week strike.WGA West and East presidents Patric Verrone and Michael Winship contacted members in the small hours of Saturday morning to alert them.The agreement with the AMPTP (Alliance Of Motion Picture And Television Producers) is set to run until May 1 2011 and was expected to be ratified at a meeting of members in New York and Los Angeles
  • X Filme International boards films from Meyjes, Fox

    New features by Menno Meyjes and Eytan Fox are being lined up by X Filme International in addition to its production of Julie Delpy's The Countess which begins shooting from Feb 18 in Berlin, Saxony, and Saxony-Anhalt.The X Filme Creative Pool subsidiary will serve as German co-producer for the UK's Future Films on Menno Meyjes' Last Battle Dreamer, starring Ryan Philippe and Abbie Cornish. The Viking h