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12 January 2007

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  • 111 and Envisionext partner for new download platform

    UK production and sales company 111 Pictures has partnered with US-based Envisionext to launch a new film download service. The sites company will offer feature films, TV programmes and other content worldwide. will launch Monday as a business-to-business service for content creators, sales companies and producers to share content. The company plans to launch its consumer platform, 111Pix SuperMall, in November 2007. Services offered will include including downloads to
  • 18 new titles selected for Hungarian Film Week

    Hungarian Film Week has announced the lineup for its 38th annual showcase of new Hungarian cinema which takes place from Jan 30 to Feb 6 in Budapest.For the first time in the history of the event, a selection committee whittled down the available films to 18 films in competition. Pal Sandor's newest film Noah's Ark opens Film Week on Jan 30, a natural choice bearing in mind that Sandor (Daniel Takes A Train
  • 37 projects selected for Berlinale Co-Production Market

    New feature film projects by Joe Dante, Reza Bagher, Wang Chao, Srdjan Koljevic, Sarah Polley and Luigi Falorni are among a total of 37 projects selected from 25 countries to be presented at the Berlinale Co-Production Market (Feb 11-13) which is now in its fourth year. This year's Official Projects cover a wide range of international feature film productions with budgets between $1.3m-$9m (Euros 1m - 7m). Project manager Sonja Heinen noted that 'in content and structure they vary greatl
  • Academy names seven films shortlisted for makeup Oscar

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its shortlist of contenders for the best make-up Oscar.The films in alphabetical order are: Apocalypto; Click; Pan's Labyrinth; Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest; The Prestige; The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; and X-Men: The Last Stand.The Academy's Makeup Award Nominating Committee will view 10-minute excerpts from e
  • Afghanistan bans Toronto-premiered Indian film

    The Government of Afganistan has banned the screening of Indian director Kabir Khan's debut feature film Kabul Express. 'The film has some sentences which were very offensive towards one of Afghanistan's ethnicities, namely the Hazara. For this reason it has been banned,' Najib Manalai, Afghanistan's minister of culture adviser, said in an official statement. The film starring Indian stars Arshad Warsi and John Abraham is a socio-p
  • Analysis: International box-office - Weekend Jan 5-7

    Museum exhibits its attractionsFantasy-comedy Night At The Museum holds on strong to the top spot after the holiday season, grossing more than $30m in the three-day weekend and bringing its total to nearly $119m. Mel Gibson's Mayan-language action-adventure Apocalypto shot up 11 places and took $7.7m at the weekend after opening strongly in the UK with $2.6m and in Italy with $3.1m. Family entertainment Charlotte's Web saw a 113% boost after taking $1m for its open
  • Andersons named ShoWesters of the Year for 2007 event

    R/C Theatres chairman J Wayne Anderson and his wife Mary Ann Anderson, vice president and executive director of The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), have been named ShoWest 2007's ShoWesters of the Year.The pair will collect their awards at the opening ceremony on Mar 13 at the Paris Las Vegas.Anderson operated the first military base theatre in Da Nang, Vietnam, in 1968. He started his career with Maryland-based R/C Theatres in 1970 by managing the circuit's Ston
  • Apple seals deal with Paramount for movies on iTunes

    Paramount has become the first Hollywood studio aside from Disney to sign a content deal with Apple. The new deal sees the studio and sister outfits Paramount Classics, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies supplying more than 100 titles to the iTunes Store including School Of Rock, Zoolander and Chinatown.The move follows an initial announcement last September whereby Apple started selling feature length ti
  • Arclight sets up Australian production office with US to follow

    Sales agent Arclight Films has appointed former Instinct Entertainment producer Nigel Odell to set up a Melbourne-based office to produce and co-finance Australian films. It will establish a US production office in the near future under Harrison Kordestani, who is already based there. Arclight wants to work with bankable Australian directors, says Arclight managing director Gary Hamilton, on films budgeted at between $3.9m-$7.8m (A$5-$10m). All types of projects will
  • ASC nominates Lubezki, Pope, Zsigmond, Semler, Richardson

    Emmanuel Lubezki (Children Of Men), Dick Pope (The Illusionist), Robert Richardson (The Good Shepherd), Dean Semler (Apocalypto), and Vilmos Zsigmond (The Black Dahlia) will contest the feature film category in the 21st Annual American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Outstanding Achievement
  • Australia 's 2006 box-office grosses second highest on record

    Australia's gross box office was $675.5m (A$866.609m) last year, a rise of 6% over 2005 and the second-highest year on record according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA). The best year to date for earnings was 2004 when $707.2m (A$907.2) was spent on cinema tickets. This figure plunged by about $90m in the following year. Because of ticket-price fluctuations, the best year on record for admissions is 2001, however, when 92,500m tickets were sold.
  • Australia's Worthington scores lead role in Cameron's Avatar

    Rising Australian star Sam Worthington has been cast in the lead role in the 3D action adventure Avatar, James Cameron's return to fiction film-making that begins shooting in April.Worthington, who won the Australian Film Institute's best lead actor award in 2004 for Somersault, will play an ex-marine who embarks on a deep space mission and ends up leading an alien race in a battle for survival.
  • BAFTA aims for new operatic heights

  • BAFTA leaders say British films are recognised on merit, not nationality

    With The Queen and Casino Royale leading the BAFTA nominees, the Academy's leaders say that UK films have held their own against international competitors for BAFTA voters. 'It's a very strong British year,' says BAFTA film committee chairman David Parfitt, who has produced films including BAFTA winner Shakespeare In Love. ' Britain is well represented, but there is also a very good international flavour.' The awards have in the past been criticised for courti
  • BAFTA reaches for operatic heights

    If you are looking for a Wagnerian spectacle, the next Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) may well provide it.
  • BAFTA/LA announces new board of directors for 2007

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts/LA has announced its board of directors for the new year.
  • Berlin announces International Forum films

    New features by Serbian filmmaker Srdan Golubovic, Malaysia's Amir Muhammad and Germany's Ann-Kristin Reyels will have their world premieres at this year's International Forum of Young Cinema in Berlin. Golubovic's thriller The Trap, his second feature after the outstanding 2001 debut Absolute Hundred, was produced by Belgrade-based Bas Celik with Germany's Mediopolis Film and Hungary's New Budapest Fil
  • Berlinale's Generation Kplus to open with The Last Mimzy

    Generation, the Berlinale's programme for children and young people's films, has set its line-up of 25 feature films, including three world premieres and 10 international premieres, from 22 countries. The competition for Generation Kplus (previously Kinderfilmfest) will open in the Zoo Palast cinema on Feb 9 with the international premiere of Robert Shaye's fantasy adventure The Last Mimzy, starring child actors Rhiannon Leigh Wryn and Chris O'Neil, and Timothy Hutton. Mean
  • Berman steps down at Paramount after 18 months

    Paramount Pictures chairman and chief executive officer Brad Grey is preparing a production department shake-up in the wake of Gail Berman's departure as president.The studio confirmed today [Jan 10] that Berman quit after 18 months in the job, during which time her suitability has been debated and scrutinized incessantly.Her television background and forthright management style reportedly ruffled a few feathers, although insiders said she had plenty of supporters at the
  • Beta Cinema picks up controversial Hitler comedy

    Beta Cinema has picked up the international sales rights to Dani Levy's hotly debated new comedy Mein Fuehrer - The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler which X Verleih is opening with 250 prints in German cinemas on Jan 11. The Y Filme production has already aroused considerable interest internationally in such countries as the US, France, Italy and the UK and will have its first screening for international buyers at the Berlinale's European Film Market next month. (An English-s
  • Bier and Oplev lead Bodil prize nominations

    Denmark 's two biggest box office successes of 2006 also proved to be the critical, darlings earning four nominations each for the Bodil prize to be handed out Feb 25. Susanne Bier's melodrama After The Wedding and Niels Ardens Oplev's traditional coming of age story We Shall Overcome tied at four nominations each. The former sold nearly 392,000 tickets locally and the latter more than 406,000. Bier's film is nominated for best film and in both leading acting categories. La
  • Big films shooting in 2007

    AvatarTwentiethCentury Fox is handling James Cameron's sci-fi feature about aparaplegic war veteran brought to another planet, Pandora, inhabited bya humanoid race with their own language and culture. It will shoot inCanada in February.Bond 22Pre-production work for this film began before Casino Royale started filming.The story for
  • Big films shooting in 2007

  • Big-spending Dubai and Rome festivals under fire from Berlinale

    New kids on the film festival block such as those in Rome and Dubai have been criticised by Berlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick for 'buying stars with big money' and 'running through Hollywood with a cheque book.' Speaking in an interview with the Berlin-based media journal Promedia, Kosslick observed: 'I know that everywhere like, for example, just in Rome and also recently in Dubai, stars are bought with big money to stage audience festivals. It's rumoured that Rome spent over
  • Black Book to open Miami Film Festival in March

    Paul Verhoeven's second world war thriller Black Book will open the Miami International Film Festival, which runs from Mar 2-11.Robert Cary's romantic comedy Ira & Abby has been chosen as the Awards Night film, while the world premiere of Antonio Cuadri's romance The Heart Of The Earth will close the festival.The festival will honour director Luc Bess
  • Breakfast On Pluto leads Irish Film & TV Award nominees

    The shortlist of nominees has been announced for the 2006 Irish Film & Television Awards, the first to take place under the auspices of the recently re-constituted Irish Film & Television Academy. Neil Jordan's Breakfast On Pluto leads with a total of ten nominations, followed closely by Brian Kirk's Middletown with nine. Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes the Barley and John Boorman's The Tiger's Tail have captured seven nominations each. Breakfast on Pluto,
  • Caetano set for $10m drug war epic Leopard

    Acclaimed Uruguayan-born film-maker Israel Adrian Caetano, whose Chronicle Of An Escape was a hit in Cannes competition last year, is to direct $10m Argentina/France/US co-production Leopard In The Sun. The film is based on Laura Restrepo's best-selling 1993 novel about a feud between two Colombian drug families which escalates into a bloody, high-stakes war.Fernando Sulichin's Paris-based Cen
  • Canadian actors on strike but not picketing

    Canadian film and television performers are in an official strike position this morning as last-ditch talks failed between the performers guild, the Alliance of Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), and producers represented by the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) and the Association de producteurs de films et de television du Quebec (APFTQ). However, ACTRA cancelled planned pickets set for this morning in Toronto because all productions in the city have indepe
  • Canadian films to tour India with TIFFG's Film Circuit

    Four Canadian films will be screened in Mumbai, India and Kathmandu, Nepal as part of the international touring programme of the Toronto International Film Festival Group's Film Circuit. The films are: Sarah Polley's Away From Her, Aubrey Nealon's A Simple Curve, Bernard Emond's La Neuvaine and Michael McGowan's Saint Ralph
  • Canadian producers call ACTRA strike 'illegal'

    The Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) says that today's strike action by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) is illegal. ACTRA set a deadline for 12 am January 8 and, while negotiations continued past that deadline, at a press conference this morning, ACTRA chief negotiator Steven Waddell confirmed his members are technically on strike but continuing to work for current productions where producers have signed individual inte
  • CanWest in 'exclusive' negotiation for Alliance Atlantis purchase

    Canadian media conglomerate CanWest Global Communications and New York-based investment bank Goldman Sachs are in exclusive negotiation toward a possible purchase of Alliance Atlantis Communications ( AAC ), AAC confirmed this morning. According to a report in today's Globe and Mail newspaper, a deal, estimated at $1.8 bn (C$2.1 bn), is imminent. AAC announced Dec 19 that its controlling shareholder, Southhill Strategy, owned by AAC executive chairman Michael MacMillan and former
  • CanWest, Goldman buy Alliance Atlantis for $1.95 bn

    CanWest Global Communications and New York-based investment bank Goldman Sachs completed their takeover of Alliance Atlantis Communications ( AAC ) yesterday. The final price for the Canadian broadcaster and film distributor was pegged at $1.95 bn (C$2.3 bn). The acquisition cements CanWest's position as the nation's largest media company. The prime asset, in CanWest's strategic vision, is 13 specialty channels worth an estimated $1.3 bn. No sooner was the deal announced than industry sp
  • Chaiken, Dungan team for LA-based production outfit

    Producers Jennifer Chaiken (My Flesh And Blood) and Sebastian Dungan (Transamerica) have launched Los Angeles-based 72 Productions.Backed by a private equity fund dedicated to the acquisition and development of feature film projects, 72 Productions arrives with four projects in the pipeline.The Perfect Hour is a period drama being produced with Ross Katz
  • Chambers heads to New South Wales

    Tania Chambers has been named chief executive of the New South Wales Film and Television Office, the government film agency in the Australian state that hosts the most production in the territory. She will relocate to the east coast from the opposite side of the country, once she has stepped down from ScreenWest at the end of January. ScreenWest is the equivalent agency in western Australia, where she had been chief executive for six years.
  • Chinese box office up by 30% in 2006

    China's box office continued to grow in 2006 with combined grosses reaching $335.5m (RMB2.62bn), an increase of 30% on takings of $256m (RMB2bn) in 2005, according to figures released by the Film Bureau under the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).The Film Bureau also announced that China's annual production volume rose to 330 films in 2006 compared to 260 the previous year, an increase of 26%. Chinese productions had a market share of 55.03%, accord
  • Chinese box office up by 30% in 2006

    China's box office continued to grow in 2006 with combined grosses reaching $335.5m (RMB2.62bn), an increase of 30% on takings of $256m (RMB2bn) in 2005, according to figures released by the Film Bureau under the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).The Film Bureau also announced that China's annual production volume rose to 330 films in 2006 compared to 260 the previous year, an increase of 26%. Chinese productions had a market share of 55.03%, accord
  • Condon, Dayton and Faris make DGA shortlist

    Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine), Stephen Frears (The Queen), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) and Martin Scorsese (The Departed) will vie for the Directors Guild of America's DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2
  • Coolidge, Leno join Igor voice cast for Exodus, TWC

    Jennifer Coolidge and US talk show host and stand-up comic Jay Leno have joined the voice cast of Exodus Film Group's upcoming CG-animated feature Igor.Coolidge, currently on screen in the ensemble comedy For Your Consideration, will play the village vixen Sybil, while Leno will voice Malaria's conniving ruler King Malbert.The Weinstein Company holds worldwide rights to Igor, which tells of a
  • Coolidge, Leno sign on to Igor voice cast for Exodus, TWC

    Jennifer Coolidge and US talk show host and stand-up comic Jay Leno have joined the voice cast of Exodus Film Group's upcoming CG-animated feature Igor.Coolidge, currently on screen in the ensemble comedy For Your Consideration, will play the village vixen Sybil, while Leno will voice Malaria's conniving ruler King Malbert.The Weinstein Company holds worldwide rights to Igor, which tells of a hunchbacke
  • Czech box office recovers in 2006, set to pass 11m admissions

    With statistics in for the first 11 months of the year, Czech box-office admissions look set to surpass 11m for 2006, reversing the poor performance of 2005, when admissions dropped 21% to less than 9.5m. From January 2006 to November 2006, Czech cinemas took in 10.38m admissions, an improvement of nearly 10% over 2005's 12-month total of 9.48m. Czech admissions in 2005 were the lowest since 2000. Sales in the first 11 months of 2006 were at just over $92m, with current average ti
  • Davis and Kelliher depart Beyond for new UK sales company

    London-based production company Head Gear Films has launched a new international sales company, Bankside Films. The company has been co-founded with Hilary Davis and Stephen Kelliher, who previously headed rival sales outfit Beyond Films. Davis will be co-managing director and Kelliher will serve as director of sales & marketing. Antonio Salas, also former of Beyond, has been appointed sales & acquisitions assistant. Phil Hunt, Greg Cruttwell and Compton Ross will continue as the
  • Domestic box office - Story behind the numbers

    Figures only tell so much. The domestic market generated slightly more than $9.23bn ticket sales during 2006. It represented an increase of 3.8% in box office but as is said of some horse races, admissions were too close to call.Representatives of both Regal and AMC Theaters - with a combined market share of roughly 44% of ticket sales - could not say definitively whether the number of individual tickets sold last year in their venues was slightly up or slightly down. Regardless, the d
  • Dutch box office recovers with 9% rise in admissions

    The Dutch box-office business has recovered in 2006 after a devastating 2005 with an increase 9% in admissions and an increase of 14% in box-office takings. Total box-office gross revenues amounted to $200.0m (Euros 154.5 m), compared to $176.2m (Euros 135.5m) in 2005. The total admissions climbed from 20.6m to 22.5m in the past twelve months. Buena Vista released the territory's top-grossing film, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, which took $13.8m (Euros 10.6m) and sold more th
  • Editorial - Tear up the calendar

    What is it about the switch of a year that brings out the pundit in us all' Endless column inches are expended on retrospective analysis of what is in fact an arbitrary period of time. It is a pain but the international market has not been evolving in the last few decades in nice tidy 365-day increments.It is more than possible to draw an entirely different set of conclusions by looking over five years rather than looking at just one. As we have previously argued, when 2005 is compared
  • EFP selects 25 actors for 10th Shooting Stars in Berlin

    European Film Promotion has announced the 25 young European actors who will be part of the 10th Shooting Stars programme. The programme, backed by the EU's MEDIA Programme, kicks off during next month's Berlinale. The selected actors will hold a press conference, meet with international media, interview with casting directors and be presented with an award at a gala reception. A touring programme of festivals follows. This year's actors are: Sabrina Reiter from Austria
  • Eva Green and Emily Blunt among Orange Rising Star nominees

    The BAFTAs have announced the nominees for the second-annual Orange Rising Star Award.
  • Falafel

    Michel Kammoun turns in a freshly confident feature debut with Falafel, which won second prize at the recent Dubai International Film Festival late last year. Set during one night in present-day Lebanon - imagine an Arabic-language After Hours - it's funny and energetic, dispensing insights without preaching them. Centred around a party which could almost be transposed to any big city, but turns out to be uniquely of the
  • Falkenberg, Kidz and Darkness vie for Swedish prizes

    Three Swedish features drew a tie with four nominations each for the Guldbagge (Golden Bug), the Swedish local film awards. The Swedish Film Institute announced that of the 11 films which will be considered for this year's awards, these three took the lead for nominations: Jesper Ganslandt's Falkenberg Farewell, Ylva Gustavsson-Catti Edfeldt's Kidz in da Hood and Anders Nilsson's When Darkness Falls. Falkenberg Farewell and Kidz in da Hood wer
  • Festivals feel the city heat

    The great city film festivals exist of course as important events in their own terms. Without the pressure of a major market and often of competitions, they often succeed in their core mission to public celebration of film and film-makers.'We can just invite what we think are the best films without worrying so much about
  • First Berlinale Panorama titles unveiled

    New films by Hal Hartley (Fay Grim), Eytan Fox (The Bubble), Korea's Hong Sangsoo (Woman On The Beach), actress Julie Delpy (Two Days in Paris) and actor Antonio Banderas (Summer Rain) are among the titles so far confirmed for more than half of the programme for this year's Panorama at the Berlinale next month. Among the documentaries lined up for screening are Lucy Walker's Blindsight following the gripping adventure of six blind Tibetan tee
  • Fortissimo on board for Annie Leibovitz documentary

    Fortissimo Films has taken all rights outside North America for Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens, directed by the photographer's sister Barbara Leibovitz. The documentary feature follows Annie Leibovitz's career for more than 30 years. Interviews in the film include Mikhail Baryshnikov, Tina Brown, Graydon Carter, Rosanne Cash, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Whoopi Goldberg, Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film is a co-production of American Masters/Thirte
  • Fox International takes Buffalo for Latin America

    Fox International has snapped up Latin American rights to Jorge Hernandez Aldana's drama The Night Buffalo, one of the most anticipated films set to receive its world premiere at Sundance later this month.The distributor plans an April release on the film, which Guillermo Arriaga adapted from his own novel about a love triangle between three young adults that has devastating consequences.Diego Luna, Liz Gallardo and Gabriel Gonzale
  • Fox, On Demand seal German PPV deal with Kabel Deutschland

    Twentieth Century Fox and On Demand Group have signed a multi-year pay-per-view deal to provide content to Germany's largest cable operator Kabel Deutschland. Titles include X-Men: The Last Stand, Walk The Line, and Ice Age: The Meltdown.The agreement was announced jointly by Jamie McCabe, executive vice president, PPV, VOD, and EST at Twentieth Century Fox, and On Demand Group chief executive officer T
  • Fox's Museum remains top international attraction

    Fox International's Night At The Museum stayed on top of the competition and crossed $100m with an estimated $29.8m from 5,000 screens in 38 markets that raised the overseas tally to $116.7m. The family title opened in Greece on $900,000 from 66 screens and opened top in Peru on $471,000 from 82 in the eighth biggest industry opening. The weekend result was powered by strong second weekend holds that saw a $5.9m number one gross from 486 screens in the UK for $27.5m, whil
  • French admissions jump 7.5% in 2006 after strong start

    France's 2006 box-office tally of 189m admissions represents a 7.5% jump on 2005 and marks the second-best score since 1992. 2004 was a record year with 196m tickets sold.France's exhibition watchdog, the FNCF, notes that the figures are estimates but that the first half of the year was clearly the engine behind the increased performance. With 103m tickets sold in the first half of 2006, the last six months only brought in 86m moviegoers, making it the worst second half in the past six y
  • Gaumont hires Cecile Gaget for international division

    French major Gaumont has announced the arrival of Cecile Gaget who will join the International division as executive vice-president international sales. Gaget was formerly head of international sales at Rezo Films and also spent 4 years at TF1 International. 'Gaumont is speeding up its international operations and Cecile, thanks to her skills and experience, is the perfect match for our ambitions.' said sales and acquisitions head Loic Trocme in a press release. Gaget takes
  • Gaumont unveils Warnier's Seeds Of Death at Rendez-Vous

    Gaumont will premiere Regis Warnier's latest film, Seeds Of Death, on Friday night at Paris' Unifrance Rendez-Vous of French film. The thriller stars Jose Garcia, Marie Gillain, Michel Serrault and Olivier Gourmet and is a sure to be a hot item amongst buyers at the weekend market. Also on Gaumont's line up is Prix Michel d'Ornano winner Blame It On Fidel produced by Gaumont and Sylvie Pialat and starring Stefano Accorsi and Julie Depardieu. The coming-of-age story, directe
  • German box-office revived in 2006, led by Fox

    Germany's box-office fortunes were revived in 2006 after a devastating 2005 with a year-on-year increase in takings of 9.6% and admissions rising by 7.9%, according to figures from Nielsen EDI. In data collected from Jan 2 to Dec 31 2006, box-office revenues amounted to $1.02bn (Euros 789.3m), compared to $936.6m (Euros 720.1m) in 2005, while the total admissions climbed from 121.3m to 130.9m in the past 12 months. After increasing its market share in the previous two years from 7
  • Glasgow Festival to open with UK premiere of Cashback

    The third Glasgow Film Festival will screen more than 90 films during its run Feb 15-25 at six local venues. The festival will open with the UK premiere of Sean Ellis' debut feature Cashback, a romantic comedy starring Sean Biggerstaff with Emilia Fox and Jared Harris. Closing the festival will be the UK premiere of Zhang Yimou's historical epic Curse Of The Golden Flower starring Gong Li and Chow Yun Fat. Other selections include Robert De Niro's The Good Shepher
  • Goya's Ghosts to get gala in Goteborg

    The Goya's Ghosts team - the Oscar-winning duo of director Milos Forman and producer Saul Zaentz, scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carriere and lead actor Stellan Skarsgard - will be on hand for the gala performance of the film, one of 450 titles on show at the 30th Goteborg (Gothenburg) International Film Festival, which runs Jan 26-Feb 5. The catalogue of Sweden 's largest film event, which was presented today by programme director Jannike Ahlund, includes about 700 screenings of films from 65
  • Groenewold to launch new media fund in Germany

    German fund specialist David Groenewold is set to launch the first media fund in Germany since the end of 2005 when changes to the Income Tax Law put an end to the old-style private film funds. German Film Productions Medienfonds Vierte Beteiligungs KG, or GFP IV for short, is being planned with a volume of $34.9m (Euros 27m) and will focus on the financing of German film and TV productions. The fund can draw on 'first look' relationships in place with such leading German producers as He
  • High Point's new Irish arm kicks off with Tom Collins feature

    Film and TV sales and production company High Point Films will expand with a new Irish division, High Point Ireland, and a new London headquarters. High Point Ireland will offer co-production services as well as consolidating existing trans-continental relationships. The recently formed production arm, High Point Productions, has brough Irish director, writer and producer Tom Collins on board. He will direct High Point Ireland 's first production, Reading In The Dark. The p
  • Homegrown, not Hollywood, talents impress BAFTA voters

    The rally cry 'The British are coming' has held true for this year's BAFTA nominees. BAFTA voters have backed British talent to an unprecedented degree this year, ignoring heavyweight American contenders like Bobby, Flags Of Our Fathers and Blood Diamond in favour of homegrown films. Helen Mirren had long been considered a Best Actress favourite for her performance in The Queen but the film's leading tally of ten nominations is a huge endorsement of a great British s
  • Hong Kong - Turtles can fly at Imagi

    Once regarded as a surefire bet at the box office, 3D CG animation has become a riskier business, as more studios enter the fray and the novelty of the genre declines with a flood of releases.But long-time media and entertainment executive Douglas Glen had enough confidence in the business model created by Hong Kong and Los Angeles-based Imagi International Holdings to move across the Pacific and take up the post of co-CEO of the company. Glen, who joined Imagi in September 2006, overs
  • Horror project Outpost starts shoot in Scotland

    Director Steve Barker has started principal photography on his debut feature, Outpost. The action horror film is set in war-torn Eastern Europe The film, written by Rae Brunton, is set in an unnamed Eastern European country, where battle-worn mercenaries are hired by a mysterious businessmen for his own special mission. Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Michael Smiley, Enoch Frost, Paul Blair, Julian Rivett, Brett Fancy and Johnny Meres star. The project
  • In focus - The view from 2007

    The raw figures for the 2006 box office point to a widespread recovery. In the context of the last few years, however, it is perhaps more a case of steady advance than a big leap forward. That in itself may be exactly the kind of stability needed in a period of change.As we argued last year, the downturn of 2005 needed to be judged in the context of more than a decade of growth and an unusually successful 2004, rather than leaping to immediate conclusions from 12 months in isolation.
  • Indian box office jumps 40% in 2006

    Indian box office revenues increased by 40% last year in what may prove to be a landmark year.Films like Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Krrish, Kabie Alvida Na Kehna, Phir Hera Pheri, Lage Raho Munnabhai and Dhoom 2 were the frontrunners. The cops-and-robbers action chase film, Dhoom 2, led the pack taking $37m (Rs 1.65bn). Its closest contender was
  • Italian admissions hold steady in 2006 despite weak December

    Italian admissions for 2006 demonstrated little difference in respect to 2005. Italy's national ticket compiler Cinetel cites a slight 1.65% increase in attendance last year for a total of 92.2m tickets sold. Cinetel's data covers 85% of the Italian market. Analysts here cite the first half of the year as better than the second half and are particularly disappointed by a 9.07% decrease in December, traditionally a busy month in Italian cinemas. Local product in 2006 represented a
  • Italian producer Carlo Ponti dies aged 94

    Prolific Italian producer Carlo Ponti, whose career influenced the rise of major European film movements such as neorealism and the French new wave died on Wednesday in Geneva of pulmonary complications. He was 94 years old. Born near Milan in 1912, Ponti studied law before becoming a film producer in the 1930's. He is responsible for film masterpieces such as Federico Fellini's La Strada, Vittorio De Sica's Bocaccio, Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up and David Lean's
  • Keene shifts at Premier

    Sara Keene has stepped down as one of the chief executives of Premier Public Relations to take on a role as non-executive director. Keene, who founded Corbett and Keene in 1987, will act as a consultant to the board and will continue to run Premier's personal publicity for individual celebrities including Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Sam Mendes and Kenneth Branagh. Joint chief executives Charles McDonald and Jonathan Rutter will continue in their positions, under John Reiss as chairm
  • Kim draws Breath with Ha, Chang Chen

    Maverick Korean director Kim Ki-duk started shooting his 14th film, Breath, over the weekend (Jan 5). The production is Kim's second with up-and-coming Korean actor Ha Jung-woo, on the heels of his Karlovy Vary opener Time. Ha starred in last year's Cannes Un Certain Regard title The Unforgiven, directed by Yoon Jong-bin, and also features in this year's Sundance competition entry Never, Forever, a US-Korea co-production directed b
  • Korea 's CJ CGV appoints Charles Kim as CEO

    Leading Korean exhibitor CJ CGV has appointed Charles Kim as CEO, replacing Park Dong-ho who has been moved up in position to sister company CJ Foodville, a family restaurant chain with global ambitions. Kim was previously chief operating officer of CJ Homeshopping, which has recently had a successful launch in China. A graduate of Pusan National University 's English department, Kim started working at CJ affiliate Samsung Corp in 1984. Parent company CJ Corp is carrying out a ser
  • Korean admissions up by 15% marking tenth year of growth

    Korean cinema admissions increased by 14.6% to 166 million in 2006, marking the tenth year of growth, according to figures released by leading Korean exhibitor CJ CGV. The admissions figure is the third highest in South Korean box office history and also marks the fifth consecutive year over the landmark 100 million admissions level. According to the exhibitor's report, local product accounted for a 64.7% market share nationwide and 60% in Seoul. Market share has been on the rise
  • Lebowitz named CFO at LA office of Liberation Entertainment

    Mark Lebowitz has joined sales and distribution company Liberation Entertainment as chief financial officer.Lebowitz will handle all financial operations and act as human resources executive for the Los Angeles office.He previously held senior executive posts at the television groups of Sony and Paramount, and also served at Stone Canyon Entertainment and HarperCollins Publishing.'To be able to hire a CFO of Mark's calibre is a testament to the growth of Liber
  • Leonard joins Initial to oversee marketing and publicity

    Former Myriad Pictures marketing and publicity executive Maxine Leonard has joined Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) as senior vice president of marketing and publicity, effective immediately.Leonard will oversee IEG's corporate communication strategy and reports directly to company president Graham King.She will also work closely with the worldwide marketing and publicity teams on projects produced by King under IEG's studio production deal with Warner Bros, which has sp
  • Liv Ullmann shelves plans for A Doll's House

    Norwegian actress-director Liv Ullmann has decided to shelve her $10.7m (Euros 8.3m) star-studded adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's classic play A Doll's House due to lack of support from the Norwegian Film Fund. 'My life will now go on without A Doll's House,' Ullmann said in a faxed statement (the France-based actor/director refused to be interviewed.) According to her Norwegian producer and CEO of SF Norge, Guttorm Petterson, he and she had agreed that if financing had no
  • Market focus: Digital cinema - Boost for digital drive

    Digital cinema has been the talk of the industry for the last few years but 2007 will see it making big leaps forward in many territories.The global spread will be uneven. Screen Digest figures below suggest the number of screens will rise from 2,918 to 5,564.Much of that growth will come in the US, where technology providers are working closely with cinema chains. In Europe, advances are fastest where state support is strong, most notably in the UK, where the UK governme
  • MediaPro, Grupo Arbol launch new sales company Imagina

    Spain boasts a new international sales outfit, Imagina International Sales, handling feature films and television content. Imagina is a holding created by producer and rights broker MediaPro and TV producer Grupo Arbol, and has stakes in other key film and TV producers in Spain including Globomedia, Mercuri, Ovideo and Media 3.14. Five other producers have already signed on to have the new sales outfit handle their content: Drive Entertainment, Zip Films, Rodar & Rodar, ISKRA and
  • Memento partners with ID and acquires Angosto

    France 's Memento Films has joined with ID Distribution to create a partnership which will see the two companies work together on acquisitions, international sales, production and French distribution. Memento principals Emilie Georges and Alexandre Mallet-Guy and ID Distribution's Isabelle Dubar have combined their teams and are planning to 'take bigger risks on bigger projects,' via the new structure, Georges says. While the company has 13 films on its distribution slate for the
  • Momentum MD Marchand suspended and replaced by Napper

    UK distributor Momentum Pictures has suspended managing director Xavier Marchand.Former Sony executive Richard Napper has been appointed in his place on an interim basis with immediate effect while the company searches for a permanent replacement. No specific reasons were given for Marchand's suspension, but a spokesperson from Momentum's parent company Alliance Atlantis Communications in Toronto, confirmed 'it was an appropriate and necessary form of action, while we revie
  • MPRM in overhaul

    Los Angeles-based MPRM Public Relations has reorganised its operational structure and named several key appointments. MPRM has hired Anthony Sprauve as senior vice-president for its digital media and technology (DMT) business. Shari Mesulam has been promoted to vice-president in film and events after two years as a director in the lifestyle practice, and Ema Ostarcevic, Sarah Carragher and Ariana Nash have joined as directors in DMT, general entertainment, and film and events, respectively.
  • New players at the table

    If the story of 2006 was realignment, reorganisation and box-office recovery, 2007 should be about attracting new investment. After a year of recovery at the box office, there is suddenly a feelgood factor about film again. Some of it may be exaggerated, of course, just as the 2005 slump was overstated. But it is a tide that everyone in the business quite rightly wants to ride.The feelgood factor is built on substance too - tangible results that look great on the ba
  • New US independent Outsider buys Apples, Klimt

    Los Angeles-based distributor Outsider Pictures has picked up North American rights to Anders Thomas Jensen's Danish black comedy Adam's Apples and Raul Ruiz's biopic Klimt.Adam's Apples charts the relationship between a neo-Nazi and a priest and stars Danish cinema stalwarts Mads Mikkelsen and Ulrich Thomsen.Adam's A
  • Nickens to receive posthumous award from WGA

    The late screen and television writer Daryl G Nickens will posthumouslyreceive the Morgan Cox Honorary Service Award at the 2007 Writers GuildAwards ceremony on Feb 11.Nickens co-wrote the 1991 number onerelease House Party 2 with Rusty Cundieff. His television creditsinclude The Parkers, Viper, Benson and The Fabulous Jeff Jackson.'Thisaward is the least we can do to show our gratitude for the tirelesswork Daryl did for our union and its members. He was loved, and he ism
  • Nigel Cole to direct Eloise for HandMade

    Calendar Girls director Nigel Cole has signed on to direct HandMade Films' planned feature Eloise In Paris. The Eloise In Paris feature is based on the book of the same name, adapted by Janet Brownell and Erin Joslyn. The live-action feature will shoot in 2007 on location in Paris, New York and London. A nationwide US casting search for the six-year-old heroine is underway. A spring 2008 release is planned. The UK-based relaunched production company HandMade h
  • Norma Heyman: fighting spirit

    Producer Norma Heyman recounts with a laugh how she first walked into Shepperton Studios as a producer in 1982, and was mistakenly asked to make tea.'I was greeted as if I carried bird flu or it was ET descending onto the set,' she remembers. The statistics about women in the industry might be getting better, Heyman says, but they're still not good enough - especially in production.'So many young women now coming through are writers and directors, it took quite a few years for w
  • North America - Natural selection

    National Geographic Films (NGF) burst into the spotlight in 2005 when it partnered Warner Independent Pictures on March Of The Penguins, which grossed more than $77m in North America and won last year's best documentary feature Oscar. But NGF, under the guidance of former Disney senior vice-president of production Adam Leipzig, was not about to rest on its laurels.Leipzig, who joined NGF and sister company National Geographic World Films as president in 2003, heads a small Los A
  • Norway's box-office admissions rise 5.3% in 2006

    Norwegian cinema attendance has recovered from a temporary decline, to total 1.9 admissions in 2006, up 5.3% from 2005, according to preliminary figures from Norwegian cinema association, Film & Kino. Domestic films sold 1.9m tickets, to take 16.5% of the market - up from 12.2% the previous year - the best result since 1975 with the exception for 2003.'It is good to see that local features do so well in competition with the international blockbusters,' said Film & Kino's managing direc
  • Novelist Connelly to co-write Equalizer script with Lankford

    Bestselling author Michael Connelly and Terrill Lee Lankford have signed on to co-write the screenplay for The Equalizer for The Weinstein Company (TWC).Paul McGuigan will direct the story based on the hit television series of the same name about Robert McCall, a highly trained former covert operative who becomes a vigilante.Mace Neufeld, Tony Eldridge and Michael Sloan will serve as producers on the film, while TWC's Michael Cole,
  • NSFC votes Pan's Labyrinth film of the year

    The National Society of Film Critics voted Guillermo del Toro'sfantasy drama Pan's Labyrinth the best picture of 2006.At its annual voting meeting in New York at the weekend (6), the 58-strong critics body re-elected David Sterritt as chairman.Pan's Labyrinth narrowly beat out Cristi Puiu's The Death Of Mr Lazurescu and Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima, taking 34 votes compared to 31 and 29 for the other two.B
  • Oster named evp of communications at MPAA

    Seth Oster has been hired as executive vice president for communications at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).Commencing Jan 15, Oster will oversee operations in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. He will serve as a member of the MPAA's senior management group, reporting directly to MPAA chairman and chief executive officer Dan Glickman.Oster most recently served as partner in consultancy firm Entertainment Strategies Group, and before that was
  • Paramount creates new creative structure as Berman steps down

    Paramount Pictures threw out the book on Hollywood corporate structure yesterday [Jan 10], choosing not to replace departing president Gail Berman and creating instead a creative triumvirate that will report directly to Brad Grey.Apart from the chairman, the three people now charged with setting the slate are Scott Aversano, the recently promoted president of MTV Films/Nickelodeon Movies, production chief Brad Weston, and John Lesher, the president of Paramount Vantage.We
  • Pathfinder, Smokin' Aces hit international markets ahead of US

    Fox International launches action adventure Pathfinder in four international territories this weekend in advance of its domestic opening on April 27; meanwhile Universal/UPI opens crime caper Smokin' Aces in the UK ahead of its US opening on Jan 26.The overseas-first opening policy is becoming more prevalent and was used last year notably by Universal on Children Of Men
  • Paul Schrader to serve as jury president for Berlinale Competition

    US writer-director Paul Schrader (American Gigolo, Mishima) will head up the seven-person International Jury deciding on the Golden Bear and Silver Bears at next month's Berlinale (Feb 8-18). The other members of the jury are: Palestinian actress-writer-director Hiam Abbass, whose recent acting credits include The Syrian Bride, Paradise Now and Munich veteran German actor Mario Adorf who has appeared in more than 120 film and TV production
  • Piaf biopic La Vie En Rose to open Berlinale

    The world premiere of Olivier Dahan's Edith Piaf biopic La Vie En Rose will open this year's Berlinale on Feb 8 as part of the Competition section of films vying for the Golden Bear and Silver Bears. Writer-director Olivier Dahan, whose last film was 2004's Crimson Rivers II, has assembled a star-studded cast around Marion Cotillard in the role of singer Piaf, with Gerard Depardieu, Sylvie Testud, Pascal Gregory, Jean-Paul Rouve and Emmanuelle Seigner. Dahan is
  • Poland - Home for the holidays

    Seven years after his directorial debut, New Line's horror Lost Souls, Janusz Kaminski has begun filming on Hania - a contemporary Polish-language drama the director is co-producing with Zebra Film Studio, Gremi Film Production and OTO Film Studio.Kaminski is best known for his cinematography on Steven Spielberg's films, having won Oscars for his work on Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. He is attached to three Spielberg projects in pre-production:
  • Rainmaker signs Clark Johnson for $25m Chinese Wall

    Producers Georgina Townsley and Paul Goldin of the UK 's Rainmaker Films have signed director Clark Johnson to their legal/political thriller Chinese Wall. The budget is about $25m and the project will shoot in the second half of 2007. The film is set in the US and Africa. Casting will start next month. Mark Wheaton wrote the script about a Washington lawyer out of his depth during a Nigerian oil corruption trial. Johnson, who is also an actor, previously directed
  • 'Retired' Besson plans two Arthur sequels

    Despite his recent comments to the contrary, Luc Besson will direct two sequels to his current hit Arthur And The Minimoys. Besson said he was overjoyed with the success of Arthur which has enjoyed more than 5 million admissions in France since its December release.'So, I am going to direct Arthur And The Vengeance of Maltazard for a 2009 release and Arthur And The War Of Two Worlds for
  • Rock solid

    In The Bedroom producer Graham Leader has just locked production on Childless, his first feature since the 2001 Todd Field hit. It launches a slate of feature projects Leader is developing for his new company, New York-based Granite Films.'There has never been a better time for independent films,' says the British-born producer, pointing out that four of last year's five best picture Oscar nominees were independent pictures. 'It's now more of a level playing field. There'
  • Rotterdam announces full Tiger competition, with 7 world premieres

    The Rotterdam International Film Festival (Jan 24-Feb 4) has announced the final 15 competitors for this year's Tiger Awards for first or second films, which include seven world premieres. A further 25 films will compete for the short film Tigers.The world premieres include Me, by Spain's Rafa Cortes; La Fine Del Mare, by Nora Hoppe; Does It Hurt - The First Balkan Dogma, by Aneta Lesnikovska; Koen Mortier's Ex Drummer; The Unpolished, from Germany's Pi
  • Screen enjoys multimedia upgrade

    Screen this week makes a number of improvements to both its ScreenDaily 24-hour global website and the weekly magazine Screen International.The website has been upgraded with a range of new services, complementing its already unrivalled news service.Editor Michael Gubbins said the changes were organic, reflecting the growth of the international market.'These changes build on a pr
  • Screen Yorkshire staff expands by four

    UK regional screen agency Screen Yorkshire has appointed new staffers. Neil Preston has joined as finance director, Tony Parker as head of industry development, Andrew Craske as head of communications and Joan Whale as project monitoring manager. This follows the news in May 2006 that the agency received a record $18.7m (£10m) in funding over the next four years from regional development agency Yorkshire Forward. 'These new appointments will help us respond to the changing nature
  • Serbian 2006 box office takings down by 36%, admissions drop 43%

    The first estimates of Serbian-Montenegrin box-office in 2006 show the biggest decline since the economic embargo imposed by the UN Security Council from 1992 to 1995. From January to November, Serbian theaters sold 1.52m admissions, falling 43% from 2005's 2.65m 2 and earning a total gross of about $4.5m (SD306m), which is 36% down from $7.7m (SD477m) last year. As the value of 1 US dollar went down from 71.39 Serbian dinars in January to 57.56 in December, and average ticket price jumped $.28
  • Shutt, Jones join Participant as marketing chiefs

    Participant Productions has pulled off a coup by signing Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones as executive vice presidents, marketing.The new arrivals, whose accomplished track records include top marketing positions at four major studios, will strategise and orchestrate marketing on all Participant ventures. They report to company president Ricky Strauss.Based in Beverly Hills, Shutt and Jones will immediately commence work on the Sundance opening night film and anti-war protest
  • Singapore bounces back with 6% box office increase

    After a flat 2005, Singapore box office regained growth momentum in 2006 with a 6% year-on-year increase in total box office takings which amounted to $85.18m (S$131.08m) from 341 releases. As with previous years, Hollywood mega blockbusters ruled the box office. The top grossing film was Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand with $3.14m (S$4.83m), which was followed closely by BVI's Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with $2.98m (S$4.59m). Although only one Singapore
  • Smith promoted to director of acquisitions at Roadside

    Dustin Smith has been promoted to director of acquisitions at Roadside Attractions and will work closely with co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d'Arbeloff in identifying new projects.Smith, who was previously involved in the acquisition of The Road To Guantanamo and The Puffy Chair, among others, will travel to Sundance later this month with the aim of bulking up Roadside's 2007 slate.'Dus
  • Smokin' Aces

    Dir: Joe Carnahan. US-UK-Fr. 2006. 109minsThe body count stacks up like gambling chips in a high-stakes poker game in Smokin' Aces, a gleefully bloody, wickedly outrageous crime thriller set mostly in a Lake Tahoe casino hotel. Directed with Vegas-like flash by Joe Carnahan, the film is a giddy triumph of style over substance whose running disregard for plausibility,
  • Soderbergh, Hackford to take part in MPAA symposium in Washington DC

    The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) s hosting an industry symposium entitled The Business Of Show Business on Feb 6 in Washington DC.The day-long event features three panels dealing and will cover such topics as the digital revolution, development and production, and intellectual property.Panelists include film-makers Steven Soderbergh and Taylor Hackford, National Association Of Theatre Owners president John Fithian, Netflix founder Reed Hastings, and Congre
  • Stephen Frears to lead Cannes jury in 60th year

    The Festival de Cannes has tapped director Stephen Frears as its jury president for the 60th edition, which runs May 16-27. Fears has directed films including The Queen, My Beautiful Laundrette, The Grifters, High Fidelity, Dirty Pretty Things and 1987 Cannes competitor Prick Up Your Ears. 'Of course, it's an honour but it's also a treat, to be able to watch terrific films from all over the world in such heady surroundings,' Frears said. 'God Save
  • Stuck at home

    There is a kind of gold-rush mentality attached to the holiday season in just about every part of the globe. The Hollywood majors unleash dozens of fun rides and the rest of the world follows suit.Italy literally has its annual holiday movie in the form of the Nataleseries and France can be expected to churn out several popular rib-ticklers. Comedies also abound in any number of countries in South America and Asia and several Scandinavian nations have a family movie at the year
  • StudioCanal sets slate for Unifrance Rendez Vous

    As French sales companies get ready for the annual Unifrance Rendez Vous this coming weekend, StudioCanal has announced its line up for the industry screenings event.From Pierre Jolivet comes the romantic comedy Je Crois Que Je L'Aime. Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Bonnaire star in a film about a man who hires a private detective to discover why the object of his affection is still single at 38. The film is completed and will be screened during the four-day Rendez Vous.Studio
  • Summit's Mr & Mrs Smith pilot gets greenlight from ABC

    US TV network ABC has greenlit production on Mr & Mrs Smith, based on Summit Entertainment's hit thriller starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie that grossed more than $470m worldwide.Regency TV will produce the pilot in association with Dave Bartis and Doug Liman's Dutch Oven Prods. Summit Entertainment's Patrick Wachsberger will serve as producer.The film's director Doug Liman will direct from a script by Simon Kinberg. Liman, Kinb
  • Sundance signs shorts deal with iTunes

    The Sundance Institute and the Sundance Channel have signed a content deal with iTunes whereby a broad selection of narrative, documentary and animation shorts from the upcoming 2007 Sundance Film Festival will be available for download.The shorts will become available from Jan 22 and downloads will be priced at $1.99 each. Free podcasts from the festival will also be on offer, including panel discussions and live music.'I have felt, from the earliest days, that if people
  • Swedish films' local market share slips 9% in 2006

    In spite of the release of 36 new Swedish features in 2006, local productions sold only 3m cinema tickets - down 300,000 (9%) from 2005 - to control 20% of the theatrical market, against 22.6% the previous year, according to preliminary statistics from the Swedish Film Institute. International blockbusters, led by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (selling 1.1m tickets), Casino Royale (653,000) and The Da Vinci Code (652,000), were credited for the 5% growth
  • Tartan Video taps Bradfield as head of marketing

    Tartan Video has appointed Mylene Bradfield as its new head of marketing. Bradfield has served as marketing manager for both Momentum Pictures and Channel 4 DVD. She joined Tartan in June 2006 working on launches of boxsets including the Vengeance Trilogy and the 30-disc Ingmar Bergman Collection. Tartan Video's forthcoming releases include Black Book, Sleeping Dogs, Asian horror Red Shoes, and works from Pasolini, Eistenstein and Jodorowsky. '
  • Ten nominees announced for WGA Awards

    The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have announced their nominees for top honours for 2006.The Original Screenplay nominees are:Babel (Guillermo Arriaga)Little Miss Sunshine (Michael Arndt)The Queen (Peter Morgan)Stranger Than Fiction (Zach H
  • TF1 to launch Female Agents and Shall We Kiss'

    TF1 International will bring two brand new films to the Unifrance Rendez-Vous which gets underway this weekend in Paris. After having worked successfully with his last film, Arsene Lupin, TF1 International is selling Jean-Paul Salome's latest, Female Agents. Starring Sophie Marceau, Laura Smet, Julie Depardieu, Maya Sansa, Moritz Bleibtreu and Melvil Poupaud, the film is set in 1944 and follows a five-woman commando unit which parachutes into occupied France on a dangerous
  • The Queen reigns over BAFTA nominees

    Stephen Frears’ The Queen leads the nominations for the The Orange British Academy Film Awards, or BAFTAs. The film was recognised in 10 categories.
  • The Rocket, Bon Cop lead Canada's Genie nominations

    Hockey drama The Rocket landed 13 nominations for Canada's Genie Awards, including picture, director Charles Biname, lead actor Roy Dupuis, screenwriter Ken Scott and a host of technical and craft categories. Announced today, the nominations tilted heavily to Quebec production with police comedy Bon Cop, Bad Cop - Canada's top-grossing film in 2006 - second in the nomination count with ten and Rwanda-set
  • Thykier to leave Freud's to produce with Matthew Vaughn

    Kris Thykier will leave Freud Communications at the end of February to john Matthew Vaughn as a partner in production company MARV. Thykier, who had been Freud's vice chairman, will now be a full-time producer. He will continue to serve as a non-executive director of Freud's and will oversee the transition of client responsibilities. His current clients include Sony Pictures, Warner Music, MySpace, Random House and Working Title. Thykier joined Freud in 1992, working closely chair
  • UK 2006 box office revenues almost identical to 2005

    The UK/Ireland box office recorded final year revenues of $1.63.5bn (£840.2m), less than a percentage point down on the previous year, according to figures from Nielsen EDI.
  • UK to launch regional cinema critics awards

    Regional journalists will vote on a new series of awards, The UK Regional Critics' Film Awards, which will launch at Cinema Days, a distributors preview trade event for regional media held Jan 25-28. Regional journalists including critics, writers and editors (staff or freelance) will be allowed to vote for their film of the year, film-maker of the year, performance of the year (actor and actress) and newcomer of the year. Voting will run online at
  • United Kingdom - The TV Set

    Publishers and film scouts were given a late Christmas present from Richard & Judy this week, as the TV chat show hosts Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan - the UK's answer to Oprah - unveiled their 2007 book club selections.Last year's picks dominated the bestseller lists, with Kate Mosse's Labyrinth becoming the overall number one book of 2006; this time around, the TV hosts have opted for eclectic, US-influenced titles.On January 31, the Channel 4 show will welco
  • Universal pictures sets up post-UIP Irish team

    Universal Pictures International (UPI) UK and Eire has appointed an Irish team responsible for the sales, marketing and publicity of the company's products in Ireland, following the closure of UIP in the territory. Eclipse Pictures veteran David Burke is leading the team as general manager. Maryse Fitzpatrick will serve as publicity manager and Jennifer Finegan as sales manager.
  • Universal's Children seizes $10.3m in first wide domestic weekend

    Fox's Night At The Museum held on to top spot for the thirdconsecutive weekend and raised its domestic running total to $164.1m following a $24m weekend, according to studio estimates.Sony's The Pursuit of Happyness consolidated its $100m-plus status in second place as $13m elevated the tally to $124.2m after four weekends.The story of the weekend however was Universal's s
  • US music star Abdul boards Bratz: The Movie for Arad, Crystal Sky

    Paula Abdul will star in and play a key creative role in Bratz: The Movie, Arad Productions and Crystal Sky's upcoming film based on the hit fashion doll line. Lionsgate holds US rights Shooting is set to begin in February in time for an August 2007 release.Abdul, a bestselling singer, Hollywood choreographer and most recently American Idol judge, will serve as executive producer and work on music, choreography and fashion on the pr
  • US stars of tomorrow

    Over the past two decades, the Sundance Film Festival has developed into two distinct events. The festival, as started by Robert Redford, has actually changed very little over the last 20 years. Despite the new programmes and categories, and the increasing number of submissions - 1,852 US features this year - the festival's focus on new documentary and feature film-makers stays true. As festival director Geoffrey Gilmore affirms: "From the start, the festival has been a platform for discovery
  • US studios enjoy 41% box office increase in China

    The US studios had a relatively good year in China in 2006, during which the 20 revenue-sharing films released in the country grossed $108.75m (RMB850m), an increase of 41% on the previous year. China 's total box office was $335.5m (RMB2.62bn) last year (see Screendaily, Jan 8) which gives the 20 titles a 32% market share. In comparison, the 20 revenue-sharing films released in 2005 grossed $76.76m (RMB600m) and accounted for 30% of the market. Two titles broke through the
  • Violin to be played as Korean-Chinese co-production

    Korean entertainment company Vision Link Global is developing a $50m co-production entitled Melanie's Violin, based on Chinese author He Ning's novel of the same name, dubbed the 'Asian Schindler's List'. The company, which is headed by former M&A consultant Lee In-hyung, aims to raise 60% of the film's budget through an entertainment fund. Beijing-based Great Wall International Communication Co, which is headed by Huang Yuguang and mostly produces TV series and commercials