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12 December 2003

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  • A Touch Of Spice (Politiki Konzina)

    Dir. Tassos Boulmetis. Greece. 2003. 108 mins.A natural crowd pleaser and by far the most successful Greek picture of the year (where it has outgunned the likes of Pirates Of The Carribean with 1m admissions since it opened in late October), this ode to traditional Balkan cuisine and its Ottoman roots is the kind of product that begs to be exported to sympathetic markets. The first foray of Village Roadshow's production arm in Europe, it has already bagged all the sign
  • Adjani to receive special tribute at Montreal Film Festival 2004

    Next year'sMontreal World Film Festival will pay tribute to French actress IsabelleAdjani. Making the announcement, MWFF president Serge Losique deemed Ms. Adjani"an extraordinary artist, an actress who is equally at home in transformingherself into her films' profound and exceptional characters or playingseemingly light roles with an expert touch." Despite thisyear's brouhaha, when changes in the festival's dates resulted in schedulingconflicts with festivals in Venice and Toronto, th
  • Alliance Atlantis makes sweeping cuts in production

    Toronto-based entertainmentcompany Alliance Atlantis plans massive cuts to its production arm, cutting upto 60 positions nearly half the division's workforce - and axing the twomost senior production executives, EntertainmentGroup CEO Peter Sussman and Seaton McLean, the group's president for productionand one of the founders of the original company, Atlantis Communications.Citing what he termed a"permanent down-turn" in demand for prime time television series, movies of theweek
  • AMC quits Swedish exhibition sector

    Less than four years after its arrival in Sweden, American exhibitor AMC is quitting the territory. Scandinavian major SF Bio will now be taking over its multiplex in Heron City in the southern region of Stockholm. The name of the multiplex, which has 18 screens and a total of 4,166 seats, will change to Filmstaden Heron City."This is a great opportunity to increase our range of movie theatres," says Jan Bernhardsson, CEO of SF Bio. "The arrangement fits right in with our plans to esta

    Disney's Brother Bear opened to top the charts this week. However, Clint Eastwood's drama Mystic River achieved the best screen average of 1,975 admissions. Columbia TriStar's SWAT opened in third followed by teen gross out comedy American Pie: The Wedding which came in fourth and benefited from an earlier opening on a Wednesday. Argentina's Foreign Oscar contender Valentin is still hanging on to a top ten position, with a 12% increase over last week.
  • Asian film industry mourns Duangkamol Limcharoen

    Thai producer Duangkamol Limcharoen, a leading figure in the pan-Asian filmmaking movement, has died following a brief fight against cancer. She was 39 years old.A former TV producer, Limcharoen founded Thai film company Cinemasia in 2000 with the aim of producing pan-Asian co-productions and expanding the market for Asian films. Her recent credits include award-winning collaborations such as Last Life In The Universe - involving talent from Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan - and s
  • Astala quits Finnish Film body for broadcaster YLE

    After eight years as head of production at the Finnish Film Foundation, Erkki Astala, has been wooed by public broadcaster YLE to become its new head of co-productions. Astala replaces veteran Eila Werning, who retires after holding the position since 1990. The shuffle is part of a bigger restructuring at YLE, and Astala will be in charge of Finnish language co-productions for all YLE TV-channels. Astala started out as a film journalist, before becoming a festival organiser at the even

    Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World grossed A$3,078,560 from 324 screens on its opening four-day weekend. This result meant the 20th Century Fox drama easily claimed the top spot. Contributing factors included extremely strong reviews, a big print and advertising budget, a wide release, thus ensuring it was easily accessible, and the presence of a much admired adopted Australian actor, namely Russell Crowe. Film-aware types would also have been keen to see the next f
  • BAFTA Scotland to launch annual awards event

    BAFTA Scotland is to establish an annual awards ceremony recognising excellence in the Scottish screen industries. The organisation hosted a major ceremony every two years throughout the 1990s until the Scottish Media Group (SMG) withdrew their support for the event in 1999. SMG owns Scottish Television and Grampian Television. BAFTA Scotland Director Alison Forsyth believes that any issues SMG may have had are now past history and the time is right to re-establish the awards which wil
  • Balsan takes over from Powell as EFA chairman

    After eight years in the post, the UK's Nik Powell is handing over the reins of the chairmanship of the European Film Academy (EFA) to French producer Humbert Balsan.Speaking at the European Film Awards ceremony, Powell quipped that he expected Balsan - who has been one of the EFA deputy chairmen until now - would bring "a real Gallic flavour" to the Academy's operations following a period of German/Anglo-Saxon dominance.EFA director Marion Doering told
  • Belgian exhibitor goes digital

    Belgian exhibitor Kinepolis is planning to equip another ten of its cinema screens with the Barco DLP digital projector in addition to the existing four screens already converted to digital projection. According to Kinepolis, the decision was taken because of the exceptional demand for these screenings in Belgium: the children's animation film Plop Et La Baguette Magique, which had been produced in high definition and originally been destined for release only on DVD, sold more t
  • Belvaux, Lvovsky share France's 61st Louis Delluc prize

    PARIS - In a split decision, the 61st Louis Delluc prize has been awarded to Lucas Belvaux's trilogy of films Un Couple Epatant, Apres La Vie and Cavale and to Noemie Lvovsky's Sentiments. While that prize goes to the best French film of the year, the prize for best first film went to Valerie Bruni-Tedeschi's Il Est Plus Facile Pour Un Chameau.The awards were handed out in Paris on Tuesday (Dec 9) and presided over by Cannes president Gilles Jacob. Th
  • Berlusconi defends controversial media law

    Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has publicly defended the controversial new media law which is set to consolidate his sprawling media empire in an inflammatory press conference, where he pointed out that it will prevent 1,000 people from losing their jobs at one of his Mediaset TV channels.The Gasparri Law, which must now receive the seal of approval of Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi before it becomes law, allows Berlusconi's Rete 4 channel - one of this three private network
  • Bon Voyage, Dogville bookend Miami Film Festival

    The 21st Annual Miami International Film Festival will open on Jan30 with the East Coast premiere of Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Nazi-era comedy ofmanners Bon Voyageand closes on Feb 8 with Lars von Trier's Colorado-set thriller Dogville.
  • Brazilian bank BNDES ups investment in local films to $5m

    Brazilian bank BNDES has raised its level of commitment to thefilm industry, announcing an increased budget of $5m in support of 41 projects.The investment more than doubles last year's commitment and brings it back inline with the 2001 budget.
  • Breillat's Hell to world premiere at Rotterdam

    Catherine Breillat's new film, Anatomy of Hell (Anatomie De L'Enfer), will receive its world premiere at the upcoming 33rd edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (Jan 21-Feb1, 2004). .According to Rotterdam co-director Simon Field the film could be her most controversial piece of work yet. Based on her novel Pornocrati, the production continues the themes of her earlier title Romance. Breillat's next film project An Old Mistress i
  • BVI promotes four to vice president in marketing/publicity dept

    Buena VistaInternational (BVI) has promoted four marketing and publicity executives to therank of vice president.Executivedirector of international publicity Maggie Todd (left) has been promoted to vicepresident of international publicity while executive director of promotionsDonald Evans (right) becomes vice president of marketing and promotions.Executivedirector of creative services - marketing Mari Gastineau becomes vice presidentof marketing/creative print s
  • Canton unveils new production/finance outfit Atmosphere

    Former studio chief MarkCanton and investment manager Mark J Kimsey have launched AtmosphereEntertainment, a fully funded production and finance company that already hasseveral theatrical projects in development.The partners plan to producethree to five features a year as well as a television slate and say they haveacquired "substantial" film assets from Artists Production Group (APG), whichthey will merge with those already controlled by The Canton Company.Canton is the co-foun
  • Cape Town hosts Long Supper

    The streets of London's South Kensington are being recreated in South Africa's Cape Town, which is hosting the shoot of the $2m The Long Supper. The dark comedy stars South African born Henry Goodman, the acclaimed British stage star who has just completed a run of Richard III for the RSC.Goodman plays a celebrity chef whose show is plummeting in the ratings. His career crisis is saved, however, when armed strangers hijack one of his private influential dinner part
  • Cheaper By The Dozen

    Dir: Shawn Levy. US. 2003. 98 mins. Holiday movies don't come much more undemanding than this. Sugary one moment and slapstick the next, Steve Martin's return to family comedy is ideally suited to its Christmas Day US release slot and could - thanks also the presence of tween star Hilary Duff - draw a sizeable and demographically broad audience of over-stuffed and sentimental moviegoers when it opens in the US on Dec 25. The appeal probably won't last long into the New Year,
  • CineLink to widen net and introduce awards

    Sarajevo Film Festival's CineMart-style co-production market CineLink is to widen its catchment area to include the entire South-East European region and will award Euros 25,000 each to two of the CineLink projects.The first edition of CineLink last August was open for projects from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia & Montenegro, but the 2004 event will also be open to filmmakers from Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania and Slovenia.A 15 February deadline has been set f
  • Cold Mountain

    Dir: Anthony Minghella. US. 2003. 157 mins. There are a number of coups which writer/director Anthony Minghella has scored with his long-awaited film of the best-selling novel Cold Mountain, not least of which is to soften the focus on the American Civil War - a period in history which has consistently turned off international audiences. Instead, his expertly-paced, profoundly affecting romantic epic highlights human bonds of love and friendship amid the carnage and la
  • Columbia bears The Grudge from Senator International

    Columbia Pictures has picked updomestic distribution rights from Senator International to The Grudge, Ghost House Pictures' English-language remake ofthe Japanese horror thriller Ju-On.
  • Committee appointed for alternative Diagonale

    The alternative Diagonale (3-7 March, 2004) has taken another major step forward towards realisation with the appointment of a seven-person committee to select the films and programme the festival.The programme committee's members are: film journalist Frank Arnold, film academic Robert Buchschwenter, film academic Birgit Flos, curator and writer Marcy Goldberg, curator Stella Rollig, film journalist Alexandra Seibel, and film historian and curator Sylvia Szely.In its first offic
  • Cowan's in at Toronto, to run festival alone by 2007

    The Toronto InternationalFilm Festival has appointed Noah Cowan to the new position of co-director. Theappointment, which was widely anticipated, will see Cowan sharing programmingduties with Piers Handling during a three-year transition period before takingover the festival's reins. Handling will assumefull-time duties as the CEO of the Toronto International Festival Group as theorganization aims to unveil its proposed new headquarters in 2006. Cowanassumes his new title January 1, 20
  • Cruise slices his way to the top with The Last Samurai

    Riding high on strong reviews TheLast Samurai vanquished the opposition atthe weekend as it opened on a table-topping $24.4m, according to studioestimates.
  • CTFDI crossed the $1bn mark in 2003

    Powered by the internationalsuccess of T3, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and Bad Boys II, Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) has passed$1bn in ticket sales for 2003.This marks the second timeboth of Sony Pictures Entertainment's international and domestic distributiondivisions have passed the mark after domestic declared $1bn in sales lastmonth.It is the third time CTFDIhas passed $1bn in the past four years and the fourth time it has done s

    Like elsewhere in the region the top three spots at the Danish box-office chart remained unchanged this weekend where Finding Nemo, Master And Commander and Love Actually sat firmly, and the latter only fell back 17%. However, the best screen average by far was achieved by the new release of the critically acclaimed new film by Clint Eastwood, Mystic River, its 617 admission screen average was twice that of Finding Nemo. At fifth Underworld made a sol
  • Deschanel, Gyllenhaal to present at Sundance Awards

    Zooey Deschanel and JakeGyllenhaal will co-host the 2004 Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony on Jan24 2004, which will be broadcast live in the US by Sundance Channel.Both actors are festivalalumni. Deschanel and Gyllenhaal appeared together in The Good Girl (Sundance 2002), Gyllenhaal starred in DonnieDarko (2001) and Deschanel starredin All The Real Girls (2003).Deschanel stars in MichaelClancy's crime comedy Eulogy,which receives its world premi
  • Diagonale rebels win Euro festival support

    The organisers of the "original Diagonale" have been boosted in their resolve to stage an alternative event from March 3-7 by a wave of messages of solidarity from leading European film festivals, including Oberhausen, Karlovy Vary, and Leipzig. Lars Henrik Gass, director of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen wrote that his festival "opposes the completely incomprehensible removal of the successful directors of the Diagonale and the obvious political misuse of cultural p
  • Dutch FilmWorks acquires diverse dozen

    Distributor Dutch FilmWorks has acquired 12 new titles, including David Mamet's Spartan and Kevin Reynolds' Tristan & Isolde, both sold by Franchise Pictures.Also on Dutch FilmWorks slate is Stacey Title's Dolan's Cadillac, a thriller based on a Stephen King short story sold by Film Bridge International, and Heart Of Summer, starring Hilary Duff, sold by Kathy Morgan Intl.Dutch FilmWorks's main line of business in the Nethe
  • Dutch producer Egmond boards Alexander

    Dutch production company Egmond Film and Television (responsible for Oscar-winner Antonia's Line) has become one of the major backers of Oliver Stone's Alexander, currently shooting in the UK. Egmond, which is investing Euros 15m - some 10% of the budget, will in return participate in the film's profits - which is due to be released at the end of 2004.Warner Bros has North and Latin American rights to the film and recently picked up UK, Australia and New Zealand. S
  • Empire picks up US rights to Japanese Oscar entry Samurai

    Empire Pictureshas acquired all US rights to Yoji Yamada's Japanese Academy Award foreignlanguage submission The Twilight Samurai and plans a spring release. Satoko Ishidaand Masaki Koga of Shochiku and Empire partner Edward Arentz concluded the dealat Mifed last month. The TwilightSamurai stars HiroyukiSanada as a low-ranking samurai widower who works by day to support hischildren and is hired to kill a fierce warrior from a rival clan. Rie Miyazawaplays Sanada's
  • European Film Promotion launches sales support scheme

    European Film Promotion has launched a new scheme to help exports of European films. It will underwrite travel and print costs for sales companies attending Latin American, Asian and East European festivals.The pilot scheme, Film Sales Support (FSS) will provide up to 50% of promotional and marketing costs for films attending the Buenos Aires, Pusan, Moscow and Rio De Janeiro festivals in 2004 with a cap of Euros 5,000 per film and Euros 40,000 per festival. EFP, which is backed
  • FACT launches UK anti-piracy campaign

    The UK's Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) will this week launch a new campaign to raise public awareness of the dangers associated with film and video piracy.The thirty second-long cinema trailer, sponsored by DHL and produced by Hunkydory Productions, highlights recent evidence that organised crime and international terrorist groups have taken up piracy as a means of generating funds for their activities and for the purposes of money laundering.Piracy in the UK film, v

    Not much changed at the top of the Finnish chart this week, though the two maritime adventures Finding Nemo and Master And Commander dropped 30% and 41% respectively, the new release S.W.A.T. only managed to sneak into the third position. The real winner this week was instead Once Upon A Time In Mexico, which might not have made it higher than sixth due to its just 12 prints, but had the second highest screen average on the chart almost twice that of Mast
  • Fox adds $11.2m on second weekend for Master And Commander

    Master AndCommander pulled inanother $11.2m from international forays at the weekend, raising its internationalcumulative total to $32.8m.Fox International's naval adventure opened top inAustralia on $2.3m from 324 screens.There wereseveral good second weekend holds, with Spain adding $2m and dropping 24% for$5.1m and the UK adding $1.9m in its second wide weekend and dropping 34% for$6.8m.Germany added$1m in its second weekend

    Lots of new entries this week as Finding Nemo retains the top spot with a slight drop off from last week down 22%. Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 1 stays in second spot but with a serious drop down 43%. Richard Curtis Christmas cracker Love Actually entered the top ten in third slightly off projections, followed by SWAT and Alain Resnais' Pas Sur La Bouche, the director's first film since 1997 smash On Connaît La Chanson. The
  • FX expert Anderson to receive ASC Presidents Award

    Howard AAnderson Jr, who created visual effects for hundreds of films including SomeLike It Hot, Heaven Can Wait and Blazing Saddles, will receive the American Society of Cinematographers PresidentsAward.The honour ispresented each year to an individual who has made extraordinary contributionsto advancing the art of film-making.Anderson willcollect his award at the 18th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on Feb8 2004 in Los Angeles."Howard Andersonis

    Columbia TriStar's release of the Colin Farrell/Samuel L. Jackson police actioner S.W.A.T. stormed the German box office at No. 2 with an impressive $ 4,125 screen average from its 609 prints to take $2.5m on its first weekend (without previews), but was still eclipsed by Buena Vista's Finding Nemo at pole position with almost three times as many admissions and box office takings.Now into its third week of release, the Pixar production's box office tally of $34.3m is com
  • Good Bye, Lenin! sweeps European Film Awards

    Christmas came early this year for the Good Bye, Lenin! team when they picked up six of 16 awards at the European Film Awards (EFA) held in Berlin's Arena on Saturday evening (6 Dec).The tragicomedy, which already won nine Lolas at the German Film Awards last June and is Germany's entry for the Foreign Language Oscar, started the evening by bagging all three of the Jameson People's Choice Awards for Best European Director, Best European Actor and Best European Actress. Le
  • Gregersen Family epic gets Danish greenlight

    Denmark's most prolific independent producer Regner Grasten has got the green light for his long cherished four-hour feature, The Gregersen Family, based on the bestselling books by Christian Kampmann (1939-88).The Danish Film Institute awarded the film a substantial $1.37m for its $4.2m budget. Additional funding comes from broadcaster TV2, Buena Vista Scandinavia and Grasten himself. The film will shoot for 12 weeks from Mar 29 next year, with Charlotte Sachs Bostrup di
  • Honorary Oscar to go to Blake Edwards on Feb 29

    Blake Edwards will receive an honorary Oscar at the 76th AcademyAwards on Feb 29, 2004.

    The year's most awaited romantic comedy, Love Actually had a decent start at the Hungarian box office, debuting in second place. With nearly thirty thousand admissions the film was no real competition for Finding Nemo and also failed to fare better than previous Richard Curtis films, Notting Hill or Bridget Jones's Diary. Failing to make any kind of impact on the Hungarian audiences were last week's other releases, Lars von Trier's long-awaited Dogville

    The romance and Christmas spirit of Love Actually took Icelanders by storm this weekend, and the new release steered clear of both Finding Nemo and Master And Commander and landed on the top spot with a 887 admission screen average, twice that of Pixar's animated hit.The rest of the top ten was otherwise all but unchanged but for this week's other new release, the Val Kilmer drama Wonderland, which failed to greatly impress with its 285 admission and $2,553
  • India's distribution, box office system to be upgraded

    India's chronically out-dated film distribution and box-office infrastructure is set to enter the 21st century with the announcement of a major distribution tie-up between Zee Telefilms and Rajshri Pictures.The companies will jointly distribute films produced, co-produced and acquired through the 20 distribution offices of Rajshri in India. Zee is one the biggest Television networks in India while Rajshri is one of the oldest and most respected film production and distribution c
  • India's Zee Telefilms unveils expansion plans

    Zee Telefilms, India's largest listed media company, plans to invest $30m over the next two years in the production and distribution of Indian films. The company will also set up a distribution network for Indian films overseas. Zee has appointed film producer Nittin Keni - formerly with National Film Development Corporation - as head of its film division. Keni was earlier associated with Zee when the company produced the 2001 box office blockbuster Gadar, Ek Prem Katha.
  • Israeli satellite channel launched for local films

    Israeli satellite broadcaster Yes has launched a new channel dedicated to locally produced feature films. Israeli filmmakers have long been aware that while their films are often shunned theatrically, they score high ratings when they are broadcast.They will also benefit from one more, much needed, source of income, though pretty modest for the time being. The Israeli Movie Channel is offering an average of $10,000 per title for a period of 2 years, allowing them 10 to 30 runs,
  • Italian, Kosovan films share top prize at Tirana

    The first edition of the Tirana International Film Festival ended with the best short film prize being awarded ex aequo to Italian director Alessandro Dominici's The Last Gunman and Kosovan filmmaker Burbuqe Berisha's Kosovo 9/11. The festival, which ran from Dec 1 to Dec 7 featured 82 short films from 30 countries. The five-member jury made up by Cork Film Festival director Mick Hannigan, Genova Film Commission founder Andrea Rocco, Czech filmmaker Andrea Prenghyová

    Sofia Coppola's Oscar hopeful Lost In Translation opened on a high at the Italian box office, scoring the weekend's second highest screen average after BVI's Finding Nemo with a superb $6,250 per screen.On its first release in a major international territory, the Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanssen picture, which screened to rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival, grossed a strong $196,445 for local distributor Mikado from just 31 screens. Meanwhile, Finding Ne
  • Japan moves to boost film industry

    An advisory body to the Japanese government has drafted a report calling for wide-ranging government support of content businesses, including films. Headed by Ushio Electric chairman Jiro Ushio, the Contents Special Survey Committee will formally issue the report in March of next year and expects its recommendations to become law by the 2004 fiscal year. Among the main ones are:*Promote the development of a completion bond system on the US model, through changes in current regul
  • JAPAN Production Listings - December 8 2003

    Japan - December 8PRE-PRODUCTION BOKUNO CHIKYU WA AOKATTA(Rumble Fish) Int'l sales: Rumble Fish. Human drama. A boy, whose brother mysteriously disappears, goes on a search for his sibling and his own identity. Prod: Takenori Sento. Dir: Hitoshi Yazaki. Shooting in Japan in 2004.Contact: Kumi Sato, Rumble Fish, (81) 3 5718 8760KANREKI ROOKIE(Rumble Fish) Int'l sales: Rumble Fish. Heart-Warming human drama. A middle-aged man, devastated aft
  • Japan swept up by Last Samurai

    The Last Samurai took an impressive $8.6m (Y920,354,300) on its opening weekend in Japan, playing on 550 screens for a screen average of $15,639.This compares with its $24.4m take on 2,908 screens for its US opening. In other words, the Japanese gross is more than one-third the US total, on one-fifth the number of screens after just two days on release compared to the US's three days. Director Edward Zwick and distributor Warners paid close attention to the Japanes
  • Johnny To signs to CAA for US representation

    Hotshot Hong Kong director Johnny To, whose creditsinclude Heroic Trio and FulltimeKiller, has signed to Hollywood talentagency Creative Artists Agency for representation in the US.To began hisfilm career 25 years ago in Hong Kong and used the commercial success of titleslike Good-bye Ah Longand Heroic Trio tolaunch his Milkyway Image production company.Recent titlesinclude PTU, a sequelto the 1999 crime-drama The Mission
  • Koltai, Golan ready WWII dramas

    Oscar-nominated cinematographer Lajos Koltai (Taking Sides, Malena) and veteran Israeli producer-director Menahem Golan have both announced feature projects about the devastating impact of the Nazis on Jews in Europe.Koltai will be making his directorial debut with adaptation of Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertesz's novel Fateless which will begin an 11-week shoot on location in Hungary and Germany from December 15. The Euros 10m project - the most expensive Hungarian
  • Last call for 2004 festival calendar

    Last call for 2004 festival calendar On January 9 Screen International publishes its 2004 festival calendar. This will include more film and TV events than any other film and TV industry calendar. If you have not already sent us details of your event, then you have less than a week to do so. The deadline for entries is December 15. There is no charge for inclusion. Simply fill in the following form and email it to: festivals@screendaily.comEvent or Festival Title:
  • Lucky Red picks up Tavernier's Lola

    Roman arthouse distributor Lucky Red has acquired all Italian distribution rights to two new films, including veteran French director Bertrand Tavernier's upcoming movie, Holly Lola.Sold by TF1 International, Holly Lola is about a French couple who are trying to adopt a child in Cambodia, a former French territory. The film, which started shooting in Cambodia in October, stars Jacques Gamblin, Isabelle Carre and Bruno Putzulu.The Euros 5m picture is produced by Tav
  • Lynton steps in for Calley at SPE

    Michael Lyntonhas been named chairman and chief executive officer of Sony PicturesEntertainment (SPE), stepping into the void left by John Calley's retirement inOctober.SPE vicechairman Amy Pascal is promoted to chairman of the motion picture group andwill assume responsibility for all films produced and distributed by SPE. Bothappointments become effective in January 2004.Lynton willrelocate to Los Angeles from New York, where for the past three years he hasserved as president
  • Malaysia's Metrowealth to almost double film production

    Malaysia's Metrowealth Movies Production has an ambitious target for 2004 - aiming to produce 10 Malay-language films, almost doubling this year's output of six films made at a total cost of $22.1m (RM84m).With six films under its belt, Metrowealth is already the most active producer of 2003. Of these, Cinta Kolestrol was released in September while Jutawan Fakir will open on December 18. Another three have been lined up for release in early 2004, including romant
  • Manderlay wins lion's share of Eurimages funding

    Lars von Trier's Manderlay, Philippe Haim's La Vraie Vie Des Dalton, Lajos Koltai's Fateless and Lieven Debrauwer's Confituur are among 11 European co-productions to share Euros 4.1m production support from Strasbourg-based Eurimages in its latest round of funding.Manderlay received the largest amount - Euros 725,000 - as one of four projects backed in Eurimages' first funding category for larger projects with commercial promise, followed by Fateless
  • Miramax plunges into Deep Blue

    Miramax Films has acquired North American rights to Alastair Fothergill and Andy Byatt's feature-length documentary Deep Blue, produced by the UK's BBC Worldwide and Germany's Greenlight Media. Inspired by David Attenborough's international hit TV series The Blue Planet, Deep Blue explores life above, below and far beneath the ocean's surface with a score by Oscar-nominated composer George Fenton. The documentary had its world premiere at the San Sebastian Interna
  • Miravista's Ladies Night is a Mexican smash

    Like a much-awaited Christmas present, Mexican cinema finally hasreceived its much needed box office hit. Romantic comedy Ladies Night debuted Wednesday December 10 to becomethe third largest local opening ever in Mexico.
  • Mona Lisa Smile

    Dir: Mike Newell. 2003. US. 117mins.Mona Lisa Smile is a not-bad movie that is, alas, fatally at war with itself. On the one hand, it's a well-acted, convincingly-mounted period piece set in smug, elitist Wellesley College in 1953 that takes up, far more seriously than anyone had a right to expect, important issues like the proper role for women in a socially discombobulated postwar America and issues of female empowerment that continue to resonate today. (Here we can
  • Montreal film fest to fete Adjani

    Next year's Montreal World Film Festival will pay tribute to French actress Isabelle Adjani. Making the announcement, MWFF president Serge Losique deemed Ms. Adjani 'an extraordinary artist, an actress who is equally at home in transforming herself into her films' profound and exceptional characters or playing seemingly light roles with an expert touch.' Despite this year's brouhaha, when changes in the festival's dates resulted in scheduling conflicts with festivals in Venice and Toro
  • Movienet takes Russian Return for Germany

    Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev's debut feature The Return (Vozvraschenie), which won the European Discovery 2003 Fassbinder Award in Berlin at the weekend, has been picked up by German theatrical distributor Movienet for release early next year.The story of two brothers whose lives are turned upside down by the sudden reappearance of their father won the Golden Lion for Best Film at this year's Venice Film Festival.
  • Muccino unveils coming of age project

    Hot Italian director Gabriele Muccino, whose latest film Remember Me will screen at the upcoming Sundance festival, has announced that his next project will focus on an 18-year-old Italian girl's coming-of-age experience.Named Il Viaggio di Sofia (literally, Sofia's Voyage), Muccino said his new film will be about "an 18-year-old girl's discovery of spirituality and sexuality, with all the questions that she asks herself."Like all of Muccino's previous pictu
  • Nemo eyes $300m international haul

    Buena Vista International's (BVI) worldwide hit Finding Nemo is expected to pass $300m any day now and should use the upcoming weekend to consolidate its ballooning box office gross.By Dec 10 it had grossed $291.2m at the international box office and executives believe it will finish on more than $400m.BVI opens Scary Movie 3 in Australia on Dec 11. The spoof horror sequel should do well considering Scary Movie 2 opened top there in October 2001 on $767,021
  • Nemo finds $45.9m in stunning weekend for BVI

  • Nemo finds $45.9m in stunning weekend for BVI

    Powered byrecord industry openings in Japan and Italy at the weekend, Buena VistaInternational's (BVI) Finding Nemo surged through international waters and raised its internationalrunning total by $45.9m to $283.4m.The animated hitalso became Disney's third film to pass $600m in worldwide ticket sales behind TheLion King and PiratesOf The Caribbean and isnow the third biggest grossing international animated film ever, behind TheLion King and Aladdin.

    Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam's Grimm may have proved slightly too dark a comedy for local audiences this weekend but its 16 print release was enough to see it lay a trail of breadcrumbs to tenth place on the Netherlands' chart.Distributed by A-Film Distribution the film, a nightmarish fairytale full of dark humour that could be vaguely defined as a modern take on The Brothers Grimm's Hansel And Gretel, claimed $36,275 for a so-so $2,267 screen average. It took $43,16
  • New shorts by Jarecki, actor Azaria in Sundance shorts programme

    Sundance Film Festivalorganisers have announced a line-up of 86 short films for January's event andwill also introduce a jury prize for international short film-makers.Titles include Just AClown by Capturing The Friedmans director Andrew Jarecki, Nobody's Perfect by the actor Hank Azaria, and Destino, Dominique Monfery's completed animated short thatwas begun more than 60 years ago by Walt Disney and Salvador Dali.A strong internationalcontingent incl

    Columbia TriStar's Underworld just managed to push UIP's Love Actually off the top spot in the weekend popularity stakes. It sold NZ$331,282 worth of tickets from 40 screens, admittedly a dozen less than the 52 screens from which Love Actually earned it's NZ$310,788. It was Underworld's first weekend, just as it was for BVI's Freaky Friday, which was third in the charts with a gross of NZ$138,278 from 50 screens.To capitalise on the country's obsessio
  • Nippon Herald to slash Hollywood acquisitions

    Leading Japanese independent distributor Nippon Herald plans to reduce its acquisition of major Hollywood titles to improve revenues in its film distribution business.This year, the company recorded an $11.8m loss in operating profit in the half year from April to September. The main cause of the decline was the disappointing performance of The Italian Job, which took only $5m at the box office.Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, which Herald co-distributed with S
  • Nordic football duo lined up for Berlin sidebars

    Another two Nordic features have been confirmed for the upcoming Berlin Film festival. Magnus Martens' Norwegian romantic football comedy United has been selected for the new 14 plus sidebar of youth films, while Aage Rais-Nordentoft's Danish coming of age drama Kick 'n' Rush has been singled out for the Panorama. Only six films will be selected for 14 plus section, where Martens' debut United joins the Danish feature debut from Swedish-born Anders Gustafsso

    The of the top of the Norwegian chart remained unchanged this weekend, as two of the new releases Looney Tunes Back In Action and Underworld only managed to sneak into fourth and fifth position. By far the strongest screen average was mastered by Russell Crowe in Master And Commander, but it couldn't sail past Finding Nemo's 86 prints.Thirteen made it into ninth with the best screen average amongst the new openers and the third best of any film this w
  • Ogilvie moves to vp Europe position at WBITD from MTV

    Alex Ogilvie has been namedvice president of business development, Europe, at Warner Bros InternationalTelevision Distribution (WBITD).Ogilvie will focus on allnew business opportunities for WBITD, develop the division's pay televisiondeals and oversee development of video-on-demand and other television modelsacross Europe.In addition, he will workwith all of WBITD's European sales executives on various special projects.Based in London, he willreport to Simon Kenny, WBITD
  • Peckos, Myerson unveil new distribution venture Dada Films

    Former FirstLook executives MJ Peckos and Bob Myerson have launched Dada Films, a domestictheatrical distribution and worldwide marketing company that will be based inLos Angeles."We canstrategically position a film for sale at a film festival, oversee domestic andinternational sales, or - if appropriate - can release the film itselfdomestically and handle all ancillary sales," Peckos said in a statement."Therefore, DadaFilms is qualified to handle the distribution of films in t
  • Pirates sells 11 million DVD and VHS units in first seven days in US

    Pirates Of The Caribbean has scored the biggest home entertainmentlive-action opening week in history after selling 11million DVD and VHS unitsin its first seven days of sales."We couldn't bemore thrilled with the success our home entertainment titles have had thisyear," Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE) president Bob Chapek said ina statement."This has been aphenomenal year for the studio and a testament to our strength of turning thesegreat movie
  • Production schedules aim for holidays

    For full Japanese production listings click hereJapanese production, particularly at the top end of the market, is geared toward the four peak periods of New Year's, spring break, Golden Week, and summer vacation. Spring break in March is nearly a month-long holiday for most college students, while Golden Week, a cluster of holidays starting at the end of April and continuing through the first week of May, is f
  • Redbus named fastest growing UK company

    UK distributor Redbus Film Distribution was named the fastest growing company in the UK according to the Sunday Times newspaper Fast Track 100.The company founded by Simon Franks and Zygi Kamasa has in the last two years scored with titles including Bend It Like Beckham, Jeepers Creepers and Cabin Fever. Franks pointed out that last year the company had the same market share as rivals despite only releasing five titles."We are delighted by this recognition and prou
  • Redford picture added to Sundance lineup

    Dutch producer Pieter JanBrugge's debut The Clearing,starring festival founder Robert Redford, Helen Mirren and Willem Dafoe, hasbeen added to the list of Sundance Film Festival premieres and is among adocumentary-heavy slate of 16 additional titles that will screen from Jan15-25, 2004.Brugge's producingcredits include The Insider and ThePelican Brief and his directorialdebut, which is classed as a work in progress, sees Redford play a businessman kidnappedby a for
  • Report reveals Irish gov't thinking over Section 481

    The thinking behind the Irish government's decision to grant a reprieve to Section 481 in last week's Budget is revealed today in a major PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report.The report was commissioned jointly by the Irish Film Board and the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and was sent to the Department of Finance in mid-September. It is published today on the websites of the Film Board and the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism.The terms of reference posed two question
  • Revolutions worldwide total passes $400m

    The Matrix Revolutions' worldwide total inched past $400m at the weekend asthe film added just over $6m with 996,503 admissions from 4,682 screens in 59territories.According to Warner BrosInternational, the film has now grossed an estimated $265.1m after five weeksin the international arena and $400.1m worldwide.Looney Tunes: Back InAction took $3.5m with 856,652admissions from 1,777 screens in 18 territories for $5.9m. The highlight wasMexico, where the family fil
  • Rialto plans 2004 re-release of original Godzilla

    New York-based RialtoPictures will re-release Ishiro Honda's original 1954 Japanese version of Godzilla in the US in spring 2004 in all its uncut glory tocoincide with the 50th anniversary of the film and character.The release will feature 40minutes of unseen footage - a far cry from the pared-down 1956 US release thatwas retitled Godzilla: King Of The Monsters and featured inserts of the American actor RaymondBurr in crucial scenes. Burr does not appear in the uncut vers
  • Rising producer hits back amid backer dispute

    Bobby Bedi, the producer of big budget Indian feature The Rising, has spoken out following reports that Indian conglomerate Sahara India has pulled out of the film.Sahara issued a statement last month saying that the company was withdrawing its association with The Rising because Aishwarya Rai - who is a director on the board of Sahara India - was no longer starring in it. Rai quit the project last month following a disagreement over pay. "We should have been intim
  • S.W.A.T. opens in 17 territories, takes weekend total of $13.5m

    The police action thriller S.W.A.T. opened in 17 territories on 3,575 screensat the weekend and grossed $13.5m to raise its international running total to$53.4m.
  • Sandrew Metronome finds Finnish Blind Spot

    Major Nordic distributor Sandrew Metronome continues to strike output deals with local production outfits, and this week its Finnish arm Sandrew Metronome Distribution Finland (SMDF) signed a three-year agreement with local production company Blind Spot Pictures. The deal sees Sandrew Metronome take Nordic distribution rights to all films currently being developed by Petri Jokiranta and Tero Kaukomaa's Blind Spot Pictures. Sandrew Metronome earlier this year secured rights for the firs
  • Screeners flood out as judge overturns MPAA ban

    The screenerfloodgates were flung wide open on Friday (Dec 5) as distributors reacted to aNew York district judge's decision overturning the MPAA screener ban.Judge MichaelMukasey issued a preliminary injunction against the MPAA after he sided withargument by the plaintiffs that the ban constituted a clear restraint of tradeand was anti-competitive.MPAA presidentand chief executive officer Jack Valenti immediately issued a statement sayingthere would be an appeal, expected withi
  • Sellers sells well for HBO London

    IconEntertainment and Warner have teamed up to jointly buy The Life And Death Of PeterSellers, the big-budget drama about the quirky British entertainer. Theybought rights in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The two companies haveworked in tandem before with Warner handling the video rights to Iconacquisitions. But the deal with sales agent HBO Films London is believed to bethe first where the two operate as a joint venture and share risks. The $26m drama, adapted from

    There seems to be nothing new at Serbian-Montenegrin film market. After last week's opening of Tuck's Master And Commander: Far Side Of The World in first position, the season's favourite Small World is back on top with 194,170 admissions and total gross of $458,857. Peter Weir's latest sold 5,675 admissions last weekend (34% decline), while Milos Radovic's road comedy jumped 29% with 7,787 tickets. Underworld opened in third position with 3,246 admissions and tota
  • Sheridan, Elfman join honorees at Palm Springs Film Festival

    Jim Sheridan will receive the International Film-maker Award forProducing and Directing and Danny Elfman will collect the Frederick Loewe Awardfor Career Achievement in Film Composing at the 15th Annual Palm SpringsInternational Film Festival, which runs from Jan 8-19 2004.
  • Slamdance unveils 18-film lineup for tenth festival

    Twelve world andtwo US premieres are among the biggest ever line-up of 18 features at theupcoming 10th annual Slamdance Film Festival, which runs in Park City, Utahfrom Jan 17-24 2004.The rosterincludes 11 narrative features and seven documentaries, which for the firsttime will be judged by two separate sections of the Slamdance jury. 21 shortswill also screen in competition.Narrative worldpremieres include Nightingale In A Music Box, Hurt McDermott's sci-fi drama aboutme
  • Something's Gotta Give

    Dir: Nancy Meyers.US. 2003. 123mins.In this terrific new romantic comedy, writer-director Nancy Meyers (The Parent Trap, What Women Want) has given Jack Nicholson the Christmas present of a lifetime. Turning to her (and his) advantage the actor's off- and on-screen persona as skirt-chaser who specialises in younger women, Meyers has constructed a heady and hilarious, at times even wittily Brechtian, delight that remains utterly charming throughout.Th

    BVI's Finding Nemo continued to dominate the Spanish box office over the weekend, raking in Euros 3.9m off 383 copies after its record opening for BVI and as an animated film in Spain of Euros 4.68m last weekend.Columbia TriStar's SWAT placed second with Euros 1.75m off 403 copies, followed closely by Fox's Master And Commander with Euros 1.65m off 373 copies. On 285 screens, UIP's Love Actually held the fourth ranking with Euros 829,087.New releases
  • Spain's Goya Award nominations announced

    Domestic abuse drama Take My Eyes and Civil War feature Soldiers Of Salamina led the nominees with nine and eight nods, respectively, for Spain's annual Goya Awards, to be held January 31.Antonio Mercero's surprise nominee 4th Floor (Planta Cuarta) will compete for best film against Iciar Bollain's Eyes (Te Doy Mis Ojos), David Trueba's Soldiers (Soldados De Salamina) and Isabel Coixet's English-language My Life Without Me.Bollain, Trueb
  • SPI Int'l aquires Alexander rights

    Multi-national East European distributor SPI International has picked up all rights to Oliver Stone's forthcoming opus Alexander for the Czech Republic and for Slovakia. The film, which is budgeted at over $150m, is financed and sold by Intermedia. The company previously licensed it to Warner Bros for North and South America, The UK, Australia and New Zealand, Pathe for France and Benelux, Nippon Herald and Shochiku for Japan, Constantin for Germany, Tri Pictures for Spain, Woo
  • Start-up UK production outfit to shoot William Blake biopic

    Acclaimed British artist Sam Taylor-Wood is to make her feature directorial debut with Jerusalem, a film based on the life of William Blake starring Ray Winstone as the celebrated artist, poet and religious visionary.Jerusalem will be the first film from Flicks Productions, a new production company formed by agent and founder of CAM Michael Wiggs and Winstone. The screenplay for the film, which is slated to start shooting next summer, is by Philippa Goslett. Direct

    The star-studded Christmas love stories in Love Actually this weekend sailed past Peter Weir's Master And Commander, but was unable to touch Finding Nemo at the top of the Swedish chart. Released on less prints, but boasting the best screen average this weekend, Quentin Tarantino's first installment of Kill Bill made it into fourth after being the most successful film at the recent Stockholm International Film Festival. While Evil remained on fifth, t
  • Tallinn takes off with 300-strong programme

    The 7th annual Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (22 Nov-7 Dec) screened 300 films from 50 countries this year, making it the largest edition since its inception despite the ongoing struggle to finance the event. This year the festival also joined up with the second annual Baltic Film market, a three day event which presented new feature film projects to buyers and festival programmers from neighbouring countries. The announcement during the festival that the Estonian gover
  • The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

    Dir: Peter Jackson. US / New Zealand. 2003. 201 mins.
  • The Return, Since Otar Left share top prize at Belgrade

    Russian director Andrej Zvjagintsev's The Return and Julie Bertucelli's Since Otar Left have shared the top prize at the 10th Belgrade International Festival of Auteur Films (Nov 23-30).The Russian film also won the award for best cinematography for Michail Kritchman. Since Otar Left also took the YU-FIPRESCI award. The jury awarded a special prize to Relationships (Veze), the film debut of local director Jelena Markovic.The competition of thi
  • Touch Of Spice eyes landmark box office haul

    Greek hit Touch Of Spice looks set to pass the landmark one million admissions mark at the local box office.After seven weeks on release, the Tasos Boulmetis directed film has already scored 800,000 admissions, way ahead of the top performing foreign film Pirates Of The Caribbean with 440,000 admissions.Hitting the one million mark would be an impressive achievement for Touch Of Spice - most Greek films rarely exceed 150,000 admissions.Touch Of Spi
  • Tribeca Film Institute launches ethnic minority programme

    The Tribeca FilmInstitute has launched Tribeca All Access, a programme to support ethnicminority film-makers that will make its debut at the 2004 Tribeca FilmFestival.The programmeaims to facilitate networking and funding opportunities through project meetingswith industry players including producers, sales agents and equity financiers.Directors ofapproximately 20 fiction projects in development and documentary projects inthe work-in-progress stage will be se
  • Trust ratchets up sales on Manderlay and Dear Wendy

    Denmark's Trust Film Saleshas filled out its list of recent licensing deals with strings of sales on LarsVon Trier's Manderlay and the Von Trier-scripted Dear Wendy,which is to be directed by Thomas Vinterberg.Manderlay, the second element of Von Trier's U,S and A trilogywhich kicked off with Dogville, has been sold to Gaga Communications for Japan,Gussi for Mexico, Golem for Spain, Gutek for Poland, Artcam for the Czech Republic, CentralPartnership for the
  • UK Film Council launch diversity proposals

    The UK Film Council and its cultural diversity working group under Working Title Films co-chief Tim Bevan have launched a series of proposals aimed at increasing diversity within the UK film industry workforce.Proposals in a paper called Success Through Diversity And Inclusion include a new code of practice and schemes to open up access such as bursaries and summer schools. The group has also targeted future fiscal policy and new co-production treaties as ways of making the workforce m
  • UK film industry welcomes pre-budget report

    The UK industry has welcomed a surprise signal from Chancellor Gordon Brown that he intends to renew tax-based support when the influential Section 48 expires in 2005.The government's pre-budget report stated that it would unveil the results of talks with the industry about a so-called son of Section 48 in the full budget in April. The new support is expected to take the form of transferable tax credits modelled on Luxembourg's system of support but available both to production and dis
  • UK producers flock to new tax fund model

    With the UK's film tax funding in flux, financiers, producers and even two US studios are flocking to a new breed of fund that is not reliant on the current regulations under Section 48.The latest fund devised under general accountancy principles rather than any film-specific tax break sees UK financier Invicta partnering with Sony, according to sources. Invicta, which did not return calls by press time, and the US studio are apparently launching a tax-driven p&a fund titled Gala.
  • Universal scores $13.8m weekend with Love Actually

    Universal's Love Actually added an estimated $13.8m from 2,725 venues in 26 countriesat the weekend, raising its international cumulative score to $69.5m with 14markets still to open.
  • Vangelisti joins First Look as senior vp, TV sales

    Dina Vangelistihas joined First Look Media as senior vice president of television sales andwill oversee the company's activities in the US and Canada for its threedivisions, First Look Pictures, First Look Home Entertainment and OverseasFilmgroup.Vangelisti willreport directly to First Look Media president Bill Lischak and chief executiveofficer and co-chairman Chris Cooney."Dina'sexperience in programming, acquisitions and sales will enable First Look toexpand our television de
  • Von Trotta, Rothemund get Bavarian cash funding

    New films by Margarethe von Trotta and Marc Rothemund are among the projects awarded a total of Euros 3m by the Bavarian regional film fund FFF Bayern.Von Trotta received the highest sum of Euros 700,000 for her new project Ich Bin Die Andere (I Am The Other Woman) about the tragic consequences triggered by a young woman's schizophrenia. The melodrama will be produced by Herbert Kloiber's Clasart Film from a screenplay by Peter Maerthesheimer and Pea Froehlich who were behind su
  • Whale Rider makes splash at NZ awards

    As expected, Whale Rider won nearly all the relevant categories at the New Zealand Film Awards tonight (Dec 8) in Auckland, including best film for producers Tim Sanders and John Barnett, best director and best writer for Niki Caro, and best actress for Keisha Castle-Hughes.With Caro currently in the US, Witi Ihimaera, author of the book on which the film is based, accepted the script award on her behalf, and Hone Taumaunu, a significant person in
  • When The Right One Comes Along (Wenn Der Richtige Kommt)

    Dirs. Stefan Hillebrand and Oliver Paulus. Switzerland/Germany, 2003. 78mins.If this largely improvised, shoestring budget production finds its place on the festival and art house circuit, as it rightly should, it will not be because of its glamour or production values, of which it has none, but its immediate spontaneity and its unadorned, gawky charm. Following a naive, solitary 30-year-old German cleaning woman who believes she has found the right man for her and is willing