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11 January 2002

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  • $40m international weekend for Lord Of The Rings

    New Line International hadanother rousing weekend at the international box office withThe Lord Of TheRings: The Fellowship Of The Ring,taking $40m from 34 territories to bring the film's total internationalgross to $236m.Latest major territory toopen is Korea where it took $5m since Jan 1, and $2.4m over the weekend. Thefilm has yet to open in Italy (Jan 18), Japan (the beginning of March), easternEurope, and much of the Far East and Latin America.Sta
  • A Beautiful Mind

    Dir: Ron Howard. US. 2001. 134mins.
  • Alliance Atlantis cuts 80 jobs, merges TV, film

    Alliance Atlantis will cut 80 staff positions ' approximately 9% of its work force -- as the Toronto-based entertainment company consolidates its television and motion picture production operations along with their attendant distribution and promotion departments. Among the high-profile employees affected are Mark Horowitz, Los Angeles-based president of Alliance Atlantis Pictures International, and John Morayniss, executive vice president of Alliance Atlantis Television Production, a 12-year
  • Another large-screen operator secures its future

    In the week that beleaguered large-format operator Imax Corp. put itself onto firmer financial ground by repurchasing $42m of its own debt, another large format operator in the tight North American exhibition market has secured its future.Iwerks Entertainment yesterday completed its previously announced strategic merger with SimEx, which sees Iwerks becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the simulation technology company . Iwerks' 3,554,301 shares were cancelled and automatically
  • ApolloProMedia fund to back Borderline

    Evelyn Purcell's psychological thriller Borderline, starring Gina Gershon (Driven) and Chris Noth (Sex And The City), is to be backed by the German ApolloProMedia private film fund.This is the second feature to be backed by the new fund after it committed to back Michael J. Bassett's Untitled Great War Project which wrapped on location near Prague shortly before Christmas for UK-based Film & Music Entertainment Ltd (F&ME).ApolloProMedia is intending to put u
  • Apted wins filmmaker prize at Palm Springs

    Michael Apted will receive the International Filmmaker Award at the Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival on Jan 12. The award, which is given to an actor or director who has "broken through the barrier of language and crossed over the borders of culture to become a film-maker of the world will be presented by Michael York. Past winners have included Liv Ullman, Ang Lee, Lasse Hallstrom, Pedro Almodovar, Catherine Deneuve and Zhang Yimou.Apted will attend the festiv
  • Argentina slashes cinema ticket prices again

    Reeling from its worst economic crisis ever, Argentina has moved to slash ticket prices to local films once again. Last November, admissions leapt 1,000 % compared with the previous week as a result of a two-day national campaign. Regular ticket prices of up to $8 were cut to $2 with the most popular films led by Argentine Foreign Oscar contender El Hijo De La Novia, Dejala Correr, La Fuga and Nueve Reinas. Disney followed suit in late November to promote th
  • Beauty & The Beast scores on the large screen

    Buena Vista International scored a sizable hit at the UK box office this week with its large screen format release of 1991's Beauty And The Beast.Taking position 15 in the chart despite playing at just three sites (BFI Imax South Bank, Warner Village Cheshire Oaks, Filmworks Manchester) the animated title grossed $44,806 (£31,140) over the three-day weekend for a massive site average of $14,935. Beauty And The Beast, which remains the only animated film to eve
  • Brenner appointed to UK's FilmFour Int'l sales

    The UK's FilmFour has appointed Natalie Brenner as deputy head of international film sales. Brenner was previously senior vice president of sales at IAC Film and vice president of sales and marketing at J & M Entertainment.Brenner will work with head of FilmFour International Janine Gold and film sales executive Libby Hughes on a slate of completed and upcoming projects including Marc Munden's Miranda, starring Christina Ricci, Kyle MacLachlan, John Hurt and John Simm; Gerry
  • Brosnan stays on board for Bond films 20 and 21

    Pierce Brosnan has revealed that he plans to play James Bond in another film, which will take the Irish actor's tally of Bond appearances to five.Speaking at a press conference at Pinewood Studios, where the still-untitled 20th Bond film is gearing up to start shooting on Monday (Jan 14) Brosnan put paid to rumours that the legendary spy role in the 21st instalment would be taken over by another actor. "Let's just say yes, I will do another one." Brosnan told the assembled ranks of pre
  • Burning In The Wind (Brucio Nel Vento)

    Dir: Silvio Soldini. It-Switz. 2001. 118 mins.An Italian director makes a film set in Switzerland with mainly Czech actors and dialogue, based on a novel by a Hungarian refugee who writes in French. Sounds like a recipe for an indigestible Europudding. In reality, however, Brucio Nel Vento is Silvio Soldini's best work to date, and one of the most powerful films to have come out of Italy in recent years. Two years ago, Soldini's sensitive feelgood comedy Pan
  • Capitol Films hires Wallace as US consultant

    London-based sales outfit Capitol Films has appointed veteran film executive Ronna Wallace as the company's consultant in the US, in a bid to strengthen the company's interests across the Atlantic.Based in New York, Wallace will acquire films and projects at script stage for Capitol, as well as representing a selection of the company's titles for US sale.Wallace will take up her role at the Sundance Film Festival where Capitol's films include competition entry Pumpkin, st
  • Catherine Buresi named chief exec of EAVE

    Catherine Buresi has been named the successor to Raymond Ravar as chief executive of the MEDIA Programme-supported, Brussels-based European producers training programme EAVE (Les Entrepreneurs De L'Audiovisuel Europeen).A graduate herself of EAVE's 1995 session, Buresi was in charge of the audiovisual policy of the City of Strasbourg and head of the local Media Antenna for the past ten years and intends to carry on Ravar's work, at the same time adapting the EAVE programmes constantly
  • Christa Saredi bows out of world sales sector

    Veteran film sales agent Christa Saredi is to shut up shop this Spring after more than two decades in the business.The decision means the closure of the highly successful Zurich-based outfit that bears her name - World Sales Christa Saredi - as well as Orfeo Films International, a Cologne-based joint venture headed by Helen Loveridge and co-owned with Germany's Pandora Filmproduktion.The move was announced by Saredi to clients over the Christmas-New Year break and will only beco
  • ContentFilm buys into Blow Up

    ContentFilm, the new production/distribution venture recently set up by Edward R Pressman and John Schmidt, and its international investors are acquiring a minority share in Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente's digital production outfit Blow Up Pictures.Blow Up, which since its launch in 1999 has been behind some of the most successful digital features yet seen such as Chuck And Buck, Series 7 - The Contenders and Nicole Holofcener's upcoming Lovely And Amazing, is at t
  • Cool & Crazy launch for new Norwegian distributor

    Aage Hoffart, until recently head of marketing at Scandinavia's most established independent film distributor, has launched his own company in competition with his former employer.After 14 years with Norway's leading independent distributor Europafilm, Hoffart has unveiled his own distribution entity, Oro Film, with financial backing from private investment company Diopter.Oro has already acquired a slate of theatrical documentaries ranging from local productions such as Even Be
  • Danish Film Institute appoints Geertsen

    The Danish Film Institute has appointed 45-year-old Anders Geertsen new area manager for distribution and marketing. Geertsen comes from a job as MD of publisher Munksgaards Forlag, and takes the long-vacant seat left by former DFI manager Peter Wolsgaard from April 1. "Anders Geertsen has a very interesting and diverse experience, spanning from humanities, economy to technology and management," said Henning Camre, head of the Danish Film Institute. "In the restructuring phase t
  • David Lynch to head Cannes jury

    David Lynch, whose Mulholland Drive is just starting a successful European release, is to head the jury of this year's Cannes film festival (15-26 May).Lynch a Cannes regular, said: "I am filled with excitement, fear and the full meaning of responsibility as I accept this honour to be named president of the fifty-fifth Festival de Cannes - the greatest film festival in the world. I will do my best to help continue the festival's great tradition of spotlighting and celebrating w
  • EIB not delivering Reding's Euro funding promises

    Unveiled amidst great fanfare this time last year, the European Union plan to help bankroll the European film industry with loans from the European Investment Bank appears to have hit a brick wall, according to a report in this week's Screen International. The Luxembourg-based EIB announced plans to include the film industry in a brand new Euros 500m credit line for the burgeoning audio-visual and information society sector.Disappointingly, little has happened since, save
  • Eight films shortlisted for Visual Effects Oscar

    Eight films have beenselected for achievement in visual effects for the 74th AcademyAwards for 2001. They are AI Artificial Intelligence, Black Hawk Down, CatsAnd Dogs, The Fast And The Furious, Harry Potter & The Sorcerer'sStone, Jurassic Park III, The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring andPearl Harbor.15 minute clips from each ofthe films will be screened for the visual effects nominating committee on Feb6; the members will then nominate three fo
  • Electronics manufacturer wins Chinese films deal

    Chinese state-owned film company, Century Hero Film Investment, has signed a worldwide distribution pact with Hong Kong's Mandarin Resources, an electronics manufacturer that has no track record in film.Under the terms of the deal, Mandarin's wholly-owned subsidiary, Eagle's Wing Limited, has been appointed sole distributor of Century Hero product in all territories outside the Peoples' Republic of China for five years. The deal raised eyebrows as Mandarin manufactures and sells
  • Enrique Posner joins Warner Sogefilms in Spain

    Well-known Spanish executiveEnrique Posner has been named deputy general manager at Warner Sogefilms AIE,the Spanish distribution joint venture between Warner Bros and Sogepaq. Based in Madrid, Posner willbe responsible for supervising Warner's distribution and marketingactivities in Spain. He will report directly to joint venture general managerLuis Hernandez and to Warner Bros Pictures' European Regional senior vicepresid
  • Euro is best thing to happen to European film

    Less than two weeks after its official launch, a top European film executive has described the Euro as "the best thing that ever happened to the European film industry".Juergen Schau, head of Columbia Pictures' German subsidiary, said the single currency would have a dramatic impact on the European film industry, leading to more cross-border productions that would make Europe more competitive. In an interview with Reuters, Shau said: ``We can now work with one currency across Eu
  • Euro MEDIA Programme supports 36 initiatives

    Three industry events at the forthcoming Berlinale (February 6-17) are among 36 initiatives which have been awarded over Euros 2.8m by the European Commission's MEDIA Programme as part of its support for promotional measures and film festivals.The Berlin-based events are: the European Film Promotion's (EFP) Shooting Stars showcase of rising acting talent; Linking Market Forces' co-financing platform CONTACT Berlin 2002; and Script House's European Pitch Point This latest round o
  • First Look buys US rights on A Song For Martin

    First Look Pictures hasacquired domestic rights to Bille August's latest film A Song ForMartin and will open the film inspring, after a one-week awards qualifying run in December last year.The Swedish-language film isa love story featuring the late Viveka Seldahl and her real-life husband SvenWollter. Seldahl plays a symphony violinist who falls in love with aworld-renowned composer. It was produced by Lars Kolvig, Michael Obel andAugust and adapted from the
  • Freccero, Iwanowski promoted at Sundance Channel

    Paola Freccero and KirkIwanowski have been promoted to senior vice presidents at The Sundance Channel.Freccero is now senior vice president, film programming, and Iwanowski issenior vice president, marketing.In her new position,Freccero, who was formerly vice president, international, will oversee theacquisition, programming and scheduling of all acquired films on SundanceChannel, as well as continuing to manage the international properties of thechannel.Iwan

    The 2001 IFP/West Independent Spirit Award nominations were announced on Tuesday night in Los Angeles, with winners to be unveiled at the Spirit Awards on March 23. Films nominated were selected based on criteria such as original, provocative subject matter, uniqueness of vision, economy of means and percentage of independent financing. Among this year's nominating committee were New York Times critic Elvis Mitchell, directors Vondie Curtis Hall and Miguel Arteta and actress Parker Po
  • Goldwyn, Fireworks team for Elysian Fields

    Samuel Goldwyn Films and Fireworks Pictures are teaming up again to acquire domestic rights to George Hickenlooper's The Man From Elysian Fields, the star-studded drama which world premiered at last year's Toronto Film Festival and is in the premiere section at the Sundance Film Festival this week.The film stars Andy Garcia as a failed novelist who is lured into the world of male escorts by the owner of an escort service (Mick Jagger). Julianna Margulies, Olivia Williams, James
  • Graz fest highlights three filmmakers

    Filmmakers Heddy Honigmann, Gustav Deutsch and Alexander Hammid are the subject of special sidebars being staged at this year's Diagonale showcase of Austrian cinema in Graz from March 18-24, 2002.Dutch filmmaker Honigmann will attend the festival's homage of her oeuvre, while a tribute is being dedicated to filmmaker and artist Gustav Deutsch on the premiere of his latest work Film Ist. 7-12 which will be complemented by lectures and live music acts by Deutsch.Meanwhile,
  • Harry Potter is number three int'l hit of all time

    Warner Bros' HarryPotter & The Philosopher's Stone has passed the $500m mark in international grosses, bringing its worldwidetotal to date to an estimated $811.1m. Its international gross tips it past IndependenceDay and Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace to becomethe third biggest international hit in history after Titanic and Jurassic Park.Over the weekend, HarryPotter took $30.15m -translating as 5.6m admissions
  • IMAX and IT Int'l add two more Euro complexes

    A cinema construction contract between giant-screen entertainment company Imax Corp. and Israel-based exhibitor IT International (I.T.) has been expanded from seven cinemas to nine. The additional theatres, scheduled to open in 2003, will be located in Athens, Greece and an undisclosed European location. I.T.'s first Eastern European location opened in Warsaw in September 2000 and has recorded 500,000 admissions to date. A second venue opened in Krakow on December 12, 2001.In a
  • Imax shares soar after $42m debt repurchase

    Giant screen purveyor Imax Corp. has repurchased $42m of its own debt for one-quarter the issue price, alleviating refinancing concerns and placing the big-screen movie maker and large-format exhibitor on firmer financial footing.By noon on Tuesday (Jan 8), Imax's share price had risen nearly 50% on the day - from $2.51 (C$4) to $3.76 (C$6) on the Toronto stock exchange. Last year, the company's share value hit a record low of $0.50 (80 Canadian cents).In a statement the compan
  • Impostor

    Dir: Gary Fleder. US. 2001. 95 mins. With a McCarthy-era literary pedigree and thinking man's hunk Gary Sinese producing as well as starring, it's no surprise that Impostor is a sci-fi thriller more concerned with the genre's intellectual than visceral possibilities. Yet while the story offers some interesting topical parallels in a post-Sept 11 world, the execution probably isn't strong enough to win over a mainstream audience more accustomed to sci-fi brawn than brai
  • Japan BO passes $1.5bn for first time in history

    According to figures compiled by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper, Japanese box office passed the $1.5bn (Y200 billion) mark in 2001 for the first time since records began in 1955.At the same time, Japan's cinemas recorded a total of 160 million admissions in 2001 - the highest figure in fifteen years, since 1986. Driving the record performance was the megahit Studio Ghibli animation Spirited Away, which surpassed Titanic's all-time record gross after opening in
  • Javier Bardem tipped for Scott's Pancho Villa role

    Oscar-nominated Spanish actor Javier Bardem is in the running to play Mexican revolutionary hero Pancho Villa in a forthcoming film for director Tony Scott.Scott told Mexican newspaper La Jornada that he is considering Bardem for the role of the turn-of-the-century icon in a project he hopes to begin shooting in Mexico in September.Bardem was nominated for an Oscar last year for his performance as persecuted Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas in Julian Schnabel's Before Night
  • Julian Levin's role expanded at Fox

    Julian Levin, executive vicepresident of digital exhibition and special projects at 20th CenturyFox, has expanded his role at the studio to encompass non-theatrical sales anddistribution and large screen (70mm) and IMAX presentations. His new title isexecutive vice president for digital exhibition and non-theatrical sales anddistribution.Levin, well-known in theinternational community as the former executive vice president of internationaldistribution, currently sup
  • Kinepolis abandons cinema box office

    Belgian cinema group Kinepolis, is planning to replace box office ticket desks in all of its multiplexes with public-access computers to allow patrons to buy tickets via the internet. The company also intends to install terminals in local bars and restaurants. In addition to on-line ticket sales, film-goers will also be able to order drinks and sweets via the computers, a strategy long-mooted by a number of international cinema operators to boost flagging concessions sales. The increa
  • Local film releases on the rise in Europe

    The number of locally-produced films released annually is on the increase across Europe, with homegrown films now accounting for an average 16% of new releases, according to new figures from Screen Digest. This compares to just 12% a decade ago.Unsurprisingly, France is Europe's strongest market for domestically produced films. In 2000, the country's local productions accounted for 38% of releases - at least three times as many as any other European territory.Other strong territ
  • Local industries boost world film production

    Global film production totalled some 3,540 films in 2000, an increase of 76 films from 1999, according to research by industry periodical Screen Digest.With some of the smaller territories still to release production data for 2000, the figures are not exhaustive, but the trend is unmistakable: world-wide film production is on the increase again after a slump in the mid- and late 90s.The two most significant trends to be identified in the research are that while some territories
  • Lord Of The Rings' $6m in six days in S Korea

    Worldwide smash The Lord Of The Rings has scored an impressive opening in South Korea, where it has drawn $6m and over a million viewers in its first six days. Distributed by local major Cinema Service, the film opened on January 1 on 184 screens nationwide, earning $1.44m on its opening day.Despite being limited to four screenings per day because of the film's running time, Lord Of The Rings joins local hits Friend, My Sassy Girl and My Wife Is A Gangs
  • Messier puts 'cultural exception' record straight

    Last month in New York, Vivendi Universal chairman Jean-Marie Messier (pictured) declared "The French cultural exception is dead", sparking a furore in the French media. Last week he sought to put the record straight with an article in Le Figaro newspaper - the complete text of which we reproduce below:"What an avalanche! "Messier versus French culture"!Apparently I have been given the honour of inciting political unanimity. Unanimity against what, though' No matter, it s
  • Miramax buys North American rights to Samsara

    Miramax Films has bought US rights to Samsara (pictured), the German-Tibetan romantic drama that premiered at Toronto last year. Orfeo Films, which is handling world rights, sold other North American rights to Odeon Films for Canada.Orfeo also added to the Asian release of Mira Nair's Golden Lion winner Monsoon Wedding, selling Japanese rights to Media Suits and Taiwanese rights to Sinomovie. The film, which also received a Golden Globe nomination, has clocked up a gross
  • Mr Bones breaks more South African records

    Local comedy sensation Mr Bones continues to break records in South Africa. Earning over $1.75m (Rand 20m) at the South African box office so far the film is already the highest grossing local film of all-time. On release less than five weeks Mr Bones can also claim the record as the fastest film in South African history to pass the R20m mark.The Videovision Entertainment production, released through UIP, stars Leon Schuster - the country's biggest box office star - and w
  • Norway's state production co becomes media fund

    Norwegian private investment company Diopter has acquired a majority stake in the state-owned production entity Norsk Film as part of its creation of a new media investment fund.The 77.6% stake in Norsk Film includes the name of the company, up to 20 films in various stages of development and two finished features: Thomas Robsahm's The Greatest Thing which premiered last August and Unni Straume's Music For Weddings And Funerals, currently in post-production.
  • Orange County is strong but Rings, Mind still top

    Paramount Pictures enjoyed a strong estimated $15.1m opening with teen comedy Orange County over the weekend in North America but it was not big enough to topple New Line's The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring and Universal's A Beautiful Mind from the top two slots.Fellowship, playing on 3,381 sites, took $16.2m to remain in the top position for the fourth consecutive weekend bringing its total gross to a spectacular $228.3m. A Beautiful Mind
  • Oslo Cinemas reject new film rental agreement

    Norway's largest exhibitor, Oslo Cinemas, cancelled the opening of Spy Game this week because of a disagreement with distributor Egmont Columbia TriStar on the film's rental terms. More Hollywood titles could follow.Norwegian distributors and exhibitors recently approved a renewal of the Film Rental Agreement after the old agreement expired on January 1 2002. However, in an unexpected and unprecedented move, Oslo Cinemas has opted out of the new agreement, choosing instea
  • Pathe gets Deathwatch for UK from Odyssey

    Pathe Distribution has picked up UK rights to the British supernatural horror Deathwatch (working title) from Ralph Kamp's newly-formed independent sales company Odyssey Entertainment.The debut production from Film And Music Entertainment (F&ME), the UK-based international production and acquisitions wing of Germany's FAME, stars Billy Elliot's Jamie Bell and was written and directed by feature first-timer Michael J Bassett. The film is co-produced by German fund Apollo P
  • Paul Speaker joins Madstone as president and COO

    Paul Speaker, formerpresident of Shooting Gallery Entertainment, has joined New York-based MadstoneFilms as president and COO. He will be involved in all the company'sactivities from production to distribution and exhibition.Madstone is a self-styled 'new-stylefilm studio' formed in New York in 1999 by financier Chip Seelig withformer PFE executive Tom Gruenberg. The company finances digitally producedfilms, then plans to exhibit them in its Madstone Theaters arm, a
  • PGA nominations throw Oscar race wide open

    All bets are off again in this year's Oscar race following the inclusion of both Shrek and Harry Potter And The Scorcerer's Stone among the five motion picture nominees for this year's Producers Guild of America Awards. They compete against A Beautiful Mind, Moulin Rouge and The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring.Regarded as one the of most reliable bellweathers for which films will be nominated for - and eventually win - the Academy Award
  • Pony Canyon launches sci-fi extravaganza Returner

    Production has started on Returner, a CGI extravaganza that promises to be one of the biggest Japanese releases of 2002. Directed by Takashi Yamazaki and starring Takeshi Kaneshiro, Returner is a sci-fi thriller about a killer for hire who boasts a matchless martial arts technique but has a soft spot for a young girl -- a visitor from the future. Featuring state-of-the-art wire work and 300 CGI cuts, the film aims, says a publicist, "to be a combination of Mission: Imp
  • Robert Wise to receive PGA Milestone Award

    Oscar-winning producer,director and editor Robert Wise will receive this year's Producers GuildOf America (PGA) Milestone Award at the 13th annual PGA Awards on March 3 inLos Angeles.Wise, who both produced anddirected classics such as West Side Story and The Sound Of Music,joins past Milestone winners who have included Alfred Hitchcock, Jack L Warner,Louis B Mayer, Bob Hope and Steven Spielberg. Wise's other creditsinclude The Hindenburg, Tw
  • Rotterdam fest unveils competition titles

    The 31st International Film Festival Rotterdam (Jan 23 - Feb 3) has selected sixteen features (all world, international or European premieres) for its VPRO Tiger Awards Competition. First- or second-time directors from around the world will compete for three equal prizes, the VPRO Tiger Awards, each worth Euro 10,000 plus firm commitments towards both Dutch theatrical distribution and broadcasting. The Award Ceremony takes place on February 1, 2002.VPRO Tiger Awards Competition
  • Shake It All About stirs up Danish awards list

    First-time director Hella Joof's crowd-pleasing romantic comedy Shake It All About (En Kort En Lang) heads the list of nominations for the Robert awards, a prize giving ceremony that will cap off a sparkling year for Danish film.The film garnered 13 nominations, including best film, best direction, best actor (Mads Mikkelsen), best actress (Charlotte Munch) and best supporting actor (Troels Lyby). As always almost all the local films that have been released have been nomi
  • Sherwin, Tuckman bolster the ranks at THINKFilm

    Amanda Sherwin has joinednewly formed North American distributor THINKFilm as vice president ofdistribution, while Michael Tuckman has been named director of theatricalsales. Both will work out of thecompany's New York City office and report to president Jeff Sackman andhead of distribution Mark Urman.Sherwin was previously vicepresident of marketing at Lions Gate Releasing and previously worked withSackman and Urman when they were at Lions Gate; Tuckman was
  • Stephens, Yorn, Pike join cast of Bond 20

    Toby Stephens, Rick Yune andRosamund Pike have joined the cast of the currently untitled Bond film, the 20thin the 007 series which starts shooting on Monday at Pinewood Studios in theUK.Pierce Brosnan returns tothe role of James Bond for the fourth time, with Halle Berry as the female leadJinx and New Zealand director Lee Tamahori behind the camera. Also returning toreprise their roles are Judi Dench as M, John Cleese as Q and Samantha Bond asMiss Moneypenny.
  • Strand close to US rights for Smokers Only

    Los Angeles-based StrandReleasing is in advanced talks to pick up US domestic rights to Argentineandrama Smokers Only (VagonFumador). The directorial debut offilm editor Veronica Chen narrates the story of a disillusioned young womanwho finds friendship with a male street hustler in Buenos Aires. SmokersOnly made its world debut at Venicelast September. Strand co president JonGerrans has been tracking the film ever since Smokers co pr
  • Sudden, major changes announced at Spain's Admira

    Spanish powerhouse Admira underwent a radical shake-up Friday (Jan 11) when parent company Telefonica announced the replacement of executive president Juan Jose Nieto by Luis Abril, who was appointed secretary general of Telefonica last year.Likewise, Juan Ruiz de Gauna, CEO of Admira's digital satellite TV platform Via Digital, was replaced by Admira financial director Carlos Lavilla.In a statement, Telefonica called the personnel upheaval a part of the 'strategic reorientation
  • Sundance line-up: 'much darker' than usual

    Sundance's reputation as a capricious marketplace has led several sales agents this year to downplay the commercial prospects of the films they will represent in Park City. Manufactured hype has a history here of being hurled back at producers' faces faster than they can say snow-ball.Every year the Sundance Film Festival confounds advance predictions about which films will be snapped up first, the inevitable result perhaps of a selection process that places a premium on non-formulaic,
  • The Shipping News

    Dir Lasse Hallstrom. US 2001. 111mins.What has happened to the singular vision of Lasse Hallstrom, so clearly evident in his Swedish (My Life As A Dog) and first American film (What's Eating Gilbert Grape')' The Shipping News, his third consecutive film for Miramax, propagates the same compassionate humanism that defined his previous two, The Cider House Rules and Chocolat (both Oscar-nominated), but it also suffers from some of thei
  • Three KirchGroup companies renamed

    The KirchGroup's three holding companies are to be renamed as a consequence of the planned merger of ProSiebenSat.1 and KirchMedia this June.Thus, KirchHolding will then be known as TaurusHolding, KirchPayTV as Premiere Medien, and KirchBeteiligung as TaurusBeteiligung, while the name KirchMedia will be retained for the new merged company.Commenting on the agreement by executive board representatives of the two merging companies and of KirchHolding, Dieter Hahn declared that "Ki
  • Till appoints his executive team at Signpost Films

    Stewart Till has announced that his ambitious new worldwide film production and distribution company will be called Signpost Films, and has confirmed a string of London-based executive appointments, including Nicole Mackey and Darryl Iwai.Till, formerly president of London-based Universal Pictures International and head of international activities at the defunct Euro major PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE), is president and CEO of the new company, which aims to produce films ranging
  • Top Oz TV executive in surprise departure

    David Leckie, widely considered to be the most powerful television executive in Australia, was replaced as chief executive of the Nine Network late yesterday (Jan 8). For many years the Nine Network has been the highest rating network but events in the past 12 months have lead to its supremacy being questioned, a highly uncomfortable situation within a corporate culture widely known for its aggression and arrogance.Leckie has been a company man for over 20 years and the move, wh
  • Toronto fest mourns programmer Ramiro Puerta

    Ramiro Puerta, a long-time programmer and staff member of the Toronto International Film Festival died on Friday, Jan. 4. A filmmaker, musician, actor and impresario, he was 48.A native of Colombia, Puerta studied acting at the Mountview Theatre School in London and then moved to Toronto in 1980 where he acted in theatre, radio, television and film. His love of music led him to form the popular salsa band, "Ramiro's Latin Orchestra," in 1988, which subsequently recorded two CDs.
  • Tricky Life (En La Puta Vida)

    Dir: Beatriz Flores Silva. Belg-Uru-Sp-Cuba. 97mins.This ambitious Uruguayan tragi-comedy took its home box office by storm last year, as well as gleaning the top prize at Spain's Iberoamerican Film Festival in November. Uruguay's first-ever nomination to the foreign language Oscar, Tricky Life may also serve to re-ignite the country's struggling film industry, where just a handful of films have been made in the last decade. Based loosely on the true story of a
  • UIP retains German box office crown

    UIP held onto pole position at the German box office in 2001 with a 20.5% market share, according to ACNielsen/EDI figures, but Warner Bros. was the year's big winner as it more than doubled its share of the market from 2000's 8.3% to 18.8.% thanks in particular to the end-of-year releases of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone and The Lord Of The Rings.The German outpost of Buena Vista also had a good year thanks to such releases as What Women Want and Pea
  • UK film production spend down in 2001

    UK production spending fell by nearly 10% in 2001, with much of the drop blamed on the shadow cast by the threat of a summer SAG strike, according to research compiled by Screen International.Screen International's 2001 figures - which include every feature shot in the UK or abroad produced by a UK company or involving a UK co-producer - show that 2001's total budget spend stood at $788m, a hefty drop from $863m in 2000.This is widely attributed to a fall in the number of runawa
  • Unifrance's Paris screenings in bullish mood

    Unifrance's fourth Paris screenings (Rendez-Vous Europeen du Film Francais) to be held January 11-15, will kick off in an upbeat mood as the French-language cinema foreign box-office has more than doubled up in 2001. According to Unifrance's latest report, French-language films attracted more than 18.9 million admissions abroad last year (compared to 6.7 million in 2001), passing non-French-language films with French co-production (12.2 million tickets sold, a 4% slide compared to 2000
  • US PR agency MPRM hires Libby, promotes four

    Bicoastal US publicrelations agency mPRm has promoted Paul Breton, Kristen Wareham, Chris Reichertand Jennifer Vogelmann to senior account executives, and hired Chris Libby as asenior account executive in the film division of the firm's west coastoffice.Libby joins the filmdivision after several years in independent film releasing at companies such asTrimark Pictures and Independent Pictures; he is currently handling the releasecampaigns for Lions Gate's Frailty
  • Vortex to sell Cage-directed Sonny, two more

    Vortex Pictures, the newlyformed financing and sales outfit run by Nicolas Chartier and Dean Shapiro, hasacquired three more films for international sales including NicolasCage's directorial debutSonny.The company is at Sundanceand Slamdance later this week with 13 Moons, the latest film from director Alexandre Rockwell,which opens the Slamdance Film Festival, and The Man From Elysian Fields directed by George Hickenlooper, which screens inthe P
  • Wim Wenders produces Berlin cinema

    Film director Wim Wenders has joined forces with distributor Christoph Ott of ottfilm and exhibitors Gerhard Gross and Burkhard Voiges of the Hackesche Hoefe cinemas to re-launch one of Berlin's oldest cinemas, the KANT Kino, which first opened its doors in 1912.Most recently, the cinema in Berlin's Charlottenburg district had been part of the troubled Kinowelt empire before being closed down at short notice at the beginning of last October. Voiges will co-ordinate the programmi
  • Winchester takes Scotland, PA international

    Winchester Films has acquired international sales rights to Billy Morrissette's Scotland, PA, a comedic retelling of Macbeth set in a fast-food restaurant in rural 1970s Pennsylvania. The deal was concluded between Winchester and New York-based production outfit Abandon Pictures.Domestic rights to the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year, were bought by Lot 47 Films, who will release it on Feb 8. The ensemble cast includes Maura Tierney, Ja
  • Yukisada's Go sweeps top Japanese awards

    In addition to being selected as Japan's nomination for best foreign-language Oscar, Isao Yukisada's Go has now been awarded a record seven prizes from a critics' panel for Kinema Jumpo, Japan's oldest film magazine. The Kinema Junpo awards, considered Japan's most prestigious, went to Go for Best Film, to Yukisada for Best Director and to star Yosuke Kubozuka for Best Actor and Best Newcomer. The film, about a Korean teenager's struggle to find identity and love in Japan