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13 August 2001

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  • Aardman's Tortoise vs Hare back on track

    Aardman Animations is to appoint Rob Sprackling and John Smith, two of the UK's hottest script talents, to write the next draft of its DreamWorks SKG-backed Tortoise Vs Hare. Aardman last month halted production of the $40m Richard Goleszowski-directed claymation picture citing story issues (Screen Daily, July 9). At the same time, the Bristol-based UK animation studio laid off 90 of the 170-strong crew and said it hoped to re-hire them when production resumed.Spra
  • Amelie gets push from Momentum for UK record

    Having already established a cult profile by opening the Edinburgh Film Festival, UK distributor Momentum Pictures is hoping to propel Amelie From Montmartre into the UK record books by supporting its 78-print October release with a p&a budget in the region of $853,000 (£600,000)."We believe Amelie is going to be the biggest French film ever in the UK," said Momentum's managing director David Kosse. "I think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon proved that there is a hug
  • American Pie 2

    Dir: JB Rogers. US. 2001. 105 mins.The fine balance between sweetness and grossness achieved in American Pie is tipped entirely in favour of the latter in this disappointing sequel - the ultimate exercise in oversexed frat boy preening which will disgust as many as it delights. Universal Pictures, already on a summer high after The Mummy and Jurassic Park sequels, should continue to rake in the dough with this feature squarely hitting the teenage m
  • Apes break four opening records in Latin America

    20th Century Fox International has scored all-time industry opening records in Brasil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela as Planet Of The Apes opened throughout Latin America over the weekend.The Tim Burton-directed actioner also expanded its grasp over Asia and made its first European foray into Sweden. The film has now amassed a powerful $26m in 16 territories over just ten days. In North America, the film has taken an estimated $124m in the same period.Internation
  • Argentine cinemas hit by national economy slump

    Argentina's deepening economic crisis is cutting heavily into the national box office, with earnings for the territory's biggest cinema operator, Village Cinemas South America, expected to be down 10% on last year, according to company president Eduardo Novilla Astrada.In its third year of economic gloom, Argentina's cinema business - long held to be recession resistant - has been hit by people staying at home to watch the TV news for the feared devaluation of the peso. In addition, a
  • Bac Majestic sees first half revenues jump 21.2%

    Bac Majestic has seen its 2001 first-half revenues jump 21.2% to Euros 39.7m. This is good news for the French distributor and exhibitor which was floated on the French equivalent to the Nasdaq a year ago and has seen its shares dip 80% since then.Distribution and sales, which represent 85% of Bac's revenues, grew by 15% in the first half of 2001 (to Euros33,6 m), mostly due to television sales, which swelled four-fold (from Euros 1,7m to Euros 7,4m). Revenues from exhibition jumped 60
  • Bingham Ray, new UA head

    In 1999, when Bingham Ray sold his stake in October Films - the company he co-founded with Jeff Lipsky - he came to several conclusions. One was that he was keen to produce. Another that he would think twice about getting into any more partnerships. The other was that maybe it wasn't such a smart idea to "throw the rulebook out," as he considers he did then.Appointed last week as president of MGM specialty label United Artists(UA), Ray says he has learnt from past experience. This time
  • Brazil and Germany revive co-production accord

    It has been nearly two years since Brazil and Germany forged a co production agreement but nothing much has emerged from it. To revive the dormant accord, the Goethe Institute of Sao Paolo and production and sales company for Brazilian films, Levine Film have organized a co production workshop slated to run from October 29 to 31. The agreement signed during the Rio International Film Festival on September 23, 1999 replaced an old treaty signed in 1975. According to Hank Levine of Levin
  • Canadian provinces offer film shooting incentives

    With confusion still surrounding the status of Australia's tax laws for film investors, Canada could profit from international productions seeking an alternative tax-friendly location - especially now that its provinces are offering special incentives.The weakness of the Canadian dollar, skilled crews and good locations have long drawn foreign and local productions to the cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and the central provinces of Ontario and Quebec. However, some producers,
  • Canal Plus gets 75% of Polish sat-TV platform

    Canal Plus is to end up owning three quarters of a new Polish satellite-TV platform, according to the terms of an agreement signed today (Aug 10) with Dutch cable empire UPC.The widely anticipated deal (Screendaily, Aug 6) sees UPC's Wizja TV platform merged with Canal Plus' Cyrfa+ platform and the Canal Plus Polska premium pay-TV channel. On completion, UPC will own 25% of the new company TKP and receive a Euros125m payment. TKP starts life with some 700,000 subscribers and a c
  • Carlton America recruits NBC's Jody Brockway

    Jody Brockway has been appointed vice president, development and production for Carlton America, the U.S.-based television development and production arm of Carlton International Media Group, it was announced by Stephen J. Davis, president and CEO of Carlton America, and Gary Goldberger, executive vice president of Carlton America. Brockway will join Marc Lorber, also Carlton America's vice president, development and production, on expanding the company's slate of telefilms and series
  • Chan to return to Ireland for Shanghai Knights

    Jackie Chan had only just arrived in Dublin to begin shooting on The Highbinders when he revealed that he is already planning a return visit to film the sequel to Shanghai Noon.His presence in Ireland was a curious story to begin with; he is making the biggest Hong Kong movie of all time in the country. But Chan topped that at a Dublin press conference on Friday (Aug 10) by saying he will be back in Ireland next year to shoot Shanghai Knights. And all that despite
  • Cinemark embarks on alternative programming

    In an exploratory move which will test the viability of alternative programming in cinemas, US circuit Cinemark Theatres has announced plans to screen a live concert by US rock band Sugar Ray in a handful of its US theatres. The band's August 15 concert in Georgia will be broadcast live via satellite to 14 of Cinemark's US theatres. Tickets are for sale at $15 at theatres or online.US company Cinema Presents is handling the digital broadcast, and is setting up special projection
  • Cronenberg's Spider starts to roll

    After financing through the UK's Cobalt Media Group fell apart at the last-minute, David Cronenberg's Spider finally started shooting last week with Capitol Films on board as sales agent and key pre-sells to buyers including Helkon SK for the UK.The psychological thriller is also being backed by Metropolitan Films in France and tax-based financier Grosvenor Park. The cast of Ralph Fiennes and Miranda Richardson has been rounded out by Gabriel Byrne, Lynn Redgrave and John Nevill
  • Danish Feltwave goes into receivership

    Feltwave, the Danish-based sister operation of Increasingly prolific London-based post operation WAVEpictures, has gone into receivership, citing a downturn in the TV sector.Torsten Leschly,(pictured) who owns the two companies, may look to ease financial problems by selling a stake in the UK company, which invests equity in films and has co-produced or post-produced features including 24 Hour Party People, Wild About Harry and Saving Grace. The company is understood to have sev
  • Film Council and FilmFour's UK shorts schemes

    The UK Film Council's New Cinema Fund for low-budget films has partnered with FilmFour's FilmFour Lab to launch four short film schemes.The two operations are each investing £250,000 a year into the schemes - Cinema Extreme, Comedy Shorts, Internet/Viral Shorts and the Completion Fund. The schemes, which may change in aims from year to year, will work with production company partners, industry organisations and executiveconsultants. Robin Gutch, head of FilmFour Lab, comm
  • FilmFour signs first-look deal with Pipedream

    FilmFour has signed a first-look deal with Pipedream Pictures, the production company of Lee Thomas and John McKay, the hot film-making team behind its sell-out Cannes title, Crush.The duo, seen as two of the strongest, commercially-oriented new film-makers in the UK, are also moving forward on the £10-£15m comedy Knickers. McKay, who writes and directs while Thomas produces, told Screendaily that the project should shoot early next year with an international cast.
  • FilmFour teams with Elmore Leonard

    The UK's FilmFour Ltd has bought film rights to Tishomingo Blues, the 37th novel by Elmore Leonard which will be published by Harper Collins in Feb 2002. Leonard will serve as a producer on the film and a full creative partner on the project with FilmFour.The project, which was brought in to FilmFour by the company's LA-based senior vice president of production Rebecca Yeldham, follows a long tradition of Leonard novels brought to the big and small screen including Get Shorty
  • First Run & TLA buy US rights to The Fluffer

    First Run Features and TLA Releasing have acquired North American rights to Richard Glatzer and Wash West's controversial film The Fluffer which will have its nationwide premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September before opening in US theatres in Nov 2001. The film had its world premiere in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival this year.Set against the backdrop of the sex industry, The Fluffer follows three characters in Los Angeles - a g
  • Four more join Meera Syal's Anita & Me

    Max Beesley, Kathy Burke, Ayesha Dharker and Lynn Redgrave have joined the cast of Anita & Me, an East Is East-style comedy adapted from the book of the same name by UK writer, actress and comedian Meera Syal.Icon Film Distribution has UK rights for the film, budgeted at under $4.3m (£3m,) while Portman Film is handling international sales. Producing are the UK's Starfield Productions, along with Take 3 and Syal's Chest Wig & Flares Productions.Anita, which
  • Fox and Nokia take Apes mobile

    20th Century Fox International has agreed a deal with Nokia, the mobile communications company, to promote the international release of Tim Burton's Planet Of The Apes. The deal will offer owners of Nokia mobile phones in Germany, the UK and Italy unique screensavers and film logos on their phones via the Club Nokia website.Customers will be able to download more than 20 different characters and images from the sci-fi movie as well as picture messages and animated screensavers.
  • French audiences smitten by Kiss Of The Dragon

    The latest Jet Li martial arts thriller Kiss Of The Dragon high-kicked its way into the French charts this week. Released by Europa Distribution, the film, which also stars Bridget Fonda and Tcheky Karyo, achieved 506,000 admissions in its first seven days from 612 screens. Dethroning last week's top spot winner Scary Movie 2, Dragon faces hot competition over the next week from monster hit Jurassic Park III. Boasting Luc Besson as both a writer and producer, Franc
  • Germans dominate Montreal line-up...

    Four German titles, including new films from Joseph Vilsmaier and Roland Suso Richter, will make their world premiere in Official Competition at the Montreal World Film Festival, from Aug. 23 to Sept. 3. Competing against the four is two-time Montreal Grand Prize winner Majid Majidi. The Iranian filmmaker returns with Baran, a story of the Afghani underclass in modern Iran. In all 24 films will compete at the festival, the only FIAPF-recognized A Category competitive festival in North
  • Hoyts Cinemas returns to Oz distribution

    Major Australian exhibitor Hoyts has acknowledged that it will be re-entering the distribution business and announced that the head of the new division will be Robert Slaviero, who recently stepped down from his role of managing director at 20th Century Fox Film Distributors in Australia. It will acquire both international and local film product.What part Hoyts would play in the release of the film product of the Nine Network has been much discussed since Australia's highest-rating bro
  • Icon boards Assumption Of The Virgin for UK

    Icon Film Distribution has boarded Intermedia and BBC Films' highly-anticipated period drama Assumption Of The Virgin for the UK.The UK distribution arm of Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey's Icon Entertainment beat two rivals to the tentatively-titled adaptation of Katie Campbell's novel, which is expected to shoot in Italy in the autumn. Icon took theatrical and video rights to the project from BBC Films, which retained UK rights when Intermedia boarded as international sales agent.
  • India relaxes exhibition entertainment tax

    India is set to become the next major growth opportunity for the international exhibition industry, following a ruling by the chief minister of the state of Maharashtra exempting multiplexes from the punitive entertainment tax for the next three years, with a 75% discount for the following two years.The announcement was made at the Enter Media 2001 Conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on the entertainment industry. Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said that it w
  • Irreversible re-teams Bellucci and Cassel

    Real-life couple Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel, lately seen in French film-maker Christophe Gans' hit title Brotherhood Of The Wolf, are joined again in Gaspard Noe's Irreversible, which started shooting at the end of July.In Irreversible, which is Noe's second film after the award-winning horror Seul Contre Tous (I Stand Alone), Bellucci plays a woman who has been raped and whose boyfriend and ex-husband seek revenge. The $4m (Ffr30m) f
  • Italian road movie wins Locarno's Golden Leopard

    Italian director Maurizio Sciarra's Alla Rivoluzione Sulla Due Cavalli (pictured) - a road movie about three friends who travel to witness Portugal's 1970s revolution - won both the Golden Leopard and Best Actor Bronze Leopard at this year's Locarno International Film Festival.Headed by US writer and film critic Janet Maslin, the festival's international competition jury gave its Special Jury Prize to Abolfazl Jalali's Delbaran "for a film that best conveys the spirit of
  • James Cameron is going back to Titanic

    James Cameron is going back to Titanic. Teaming up with Cary Granat's recently launched Walden Media, his EarthShip Productions is producing Ghosts Of The Abyss, an underwater exploration project which will examine the respective sinkings of the Titanic and Bismarck. The six-week expedition to look at the wreckages which will form the subject of the film will set sail on Aug 13 with Cameron and his two brothers on board. The large-screen 3-D format film will use new digital came
  • Kinowelt's Arthaus could lose its boss Fabritus

    The unravelling of German media group Kinowelt Medien has taken a further twist this week with reports spreading through the German distribution sector that Juergen Fabritius, managing director of Kinowelt's arthouse distribution arm, Arthaus Filmverleih, has left the company ahead of plans to fold Arthaus into the mainstream Kinowelt Filmverleih. This latest departure of a key Kinowelt executive comes after the recent exit of the group's CFO Eduard Unzeitig and Kinowelt International'
  • Life As A House to premiere at Toronto Festival

    Irwin Winkler's Life as a House will make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival it was announced August 7. One of the festival's gala presentations, the film stars Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas. Life as a House is billed as a poignant, multi-layered and often humourous portrait of one fractured family's rediscovery of what they once shared together. The film also stars Mary Steenburgen, Jena Malone, Sam Robards, Scott Bakula and Jamey Sherid
  • Local comedy takes Danish box office record

    Anja & Viktor, the feature debut of Danish actor/scriptwriter/director Charlotte Sachs Bostrup has smashed local box office records over its opening weekend taking just short of $1m in its home territory.The romantic comedy, produced by 'midas-touch' Regner Grasten, opened on Friday August 3, achieving 157,305 admissions from 101 prints and a three-day gross of $990,809 (DKR8.4m). Anja & Victor thus beat previous opening weekend records held by Disney's T
  • London sales exec Horley leaves Summit for Myriad

    Samantha Horley, former vice president of international sales at Summit Entertainment, has joined Myriad Pictures as London-based senior vice president of international distribution.She will report to Eric Christenson, executive vice president of sales & distribution based in Los Angeles, and manage the distribution operations in London. She will be responsible for international theatrical and all-rights sales and distribution in territories including the UK, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia,
  • Lot 47 buys North American rights to Some Body

    Lot 47 Films has acquired all North American rights to Henry Barrial's Some Body which premiered in dramatic competition at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The independent distributor will release the film in spring 2002.Produced by IFC-backed Next Wave Films with Rhythm Films and Cubano Films Production, it features a breakthrough performance by Stephanie Bennett as a sexually-charged elementary schoolteacher struggling to balance her personal and professional life in cont
  • Lucas announces new Star Wars title on the net

    George Lucas has used the internet to announce the title of his hotly-anticipated next Star Wars film. The official site, revealed that the title, "harking back to the sense of pure fun, imagination and excitement that characterized the classic movie serials and pulp space fantasy adventures that inspired the Star Wars saga", will be Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack Of The Clones .The fan reaction has been immediate, if mixed, with message boards on internet sites suc
  • Malaysia to ban street sale of video discs

    Following a recent rise in sex-related crimes, the Malaysian government is considering a ban on the street sale of video discs in an attempt to eradicate the easy availability of pornography, according to a report from Reuters."It is a blanket ban which will include genuine CDs and VCDs," consumer affairs minister Muhyiddin Yassin told reporters after a meeting of the special task force set up to investigate the sale of pornography.Reuters reports that the Malaysian authorities
  • Mexico heats up as location choice for gringos

    Mexico's film commission has revealed that it expects up to 40 foreign films to be shot in the country during 2001 - a gigantic leap from the mere six features shot there just five years ago.Leading the production frenzy is Miramax Films' Frida, a pet project of Mexican actress Salma Hayek, who stars as the controversial painter Frida Kahlo. Antonio Banderas is currently shooting Once Upon A Time In Mexico, the final installment of Roberto Rodriguez' El Mariachi tr
  • Miramax acquires Bridget-style diary of its own

    Has MiramaxFilms found the next Bridget Jones' The New York film studio appears to have the recent Working Title transatlantic smash firmly in mind when it acquired the film rights yesterday to Allison Pearson's upcoming novel, I Don't Know How She Does It, based on her popular weekly newspapercolumns in the British broadsheet newspaper The Daily Telegraph.To be published in 2002 by Alfred A. Knopf in the US and in the UK by Chatto & Windus, the novel provides a fi
  • Nordisk and TV2 launch 'Director's Cut'

    Danish major Nordisk Film and national broadcaster TV2 have formed a pact to produce feature films with an average budget of $1m (DKR8.5m). Titled 'Director's Cut' the project has four directors already attached - veterans Morten Arnfred and Birger Larsen, and newcomers Tomas Villum Jensen and Christoffer Boe, the latter fresh from the Danish Film School. So far no scripts have been written, but director Ake Sandgren and scriptwriter Lars Kjeldgaard, who devised the project, claim that
  • Online cinema ticketing takes off

    US online ticketing service has announced that it has sold over 2 million online movie tickets since the service launched in spring 2000. The company, which sells tickets for leading theater chains throughout the US and Canada, represents approximately 80% of North America's online movie screens. It is also the leading provider of at-home movie ticketing, with over 50% of's affiliated theaters currently offering print-at-home ticketing and the market growing
  • Oz movie convention boasts stellar line-up

    Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush will accept the international star of the year award during Australia On Show, the first night of the 56th Australian International Movie Convention, being held at Queensland's Gold Coast from Aug 14 to 18. Eric Bana will be named the Australian star of the year for his lead role in last year's hit film Chopper, while director Phillip Noyce will receive an award for excellence in filmmaking. Robert Luketic, another Australian has moved to Hollyw
  • Perugorria and Flores sign up to Resentment

    Cuban actor Jorge Perugorria (Strawberry And Chocolate) and Spanish pop star Lolita Flores have signed on to star in director Miguel Albaladejo's next film Rencor (Resentment) for co-producers Iconica, Zebra, Alta Producciones and Trivision.Shooting gets underway in Spain on August 20 with co-star Elena Anaya (Sex And Lucia, Fading Memories). Flores and sister Rosario Flores, also a musician and actress who is currently starring in Pedro Almodovar's forthcom
  • RAI launches on-demand channels in Italy

    RAI Click, the Italian joint venture TV on-demand service set up by RAI and multimedia publisher e.BisMedia has launched over broadband cable, according to a report in Cable Europe.RAI Click, which is 60%/40% owned by the two companies respectively, will see RAI programming transmitted over a fibre-optic IP network which is being installed throughout Italy by e.Biscom subsidiary FastWeb. RAI Click's bouquet currently consists of some 800 titles but is expected to grow to a servi
  • Rat Race

    Dir: Jerry Zucker. US.2001. 101 mins.A van carrying a human heart destined for transplant; a bus full of Lucille Ball impersonators; a cow that goes up in the air as if it were a balloon. These are justthree of the elements that make Rat Race, Jerry Zucker's road comedy, one of the year's most chaotic and riotously funny movies. Manic, messy, and quite silly for the most part, Rat Race marks Jerry Zucker's return to comedy after directing a number of popular dra
  • Reigning Cats & Dogs at UK box office

    Warner Bros' latest family release Cats & Dogs has proved a big hit at the UK box office opening last Friday (August 3) to take an excellent three-day gross of $5.3m (£3.7m) from 452 sites, including previews of $793,401 (£555,381) from 303 sites. With a site average of $11,717, the film becomes Warner Bros.' third best opener after Batman & Robin and Batman Forever. Cats & Dogs, which features animatronic and real animals alongside Jeff Goldblum and Elizabe
  • Renny Harlin to shoot Finnish WWII movie

    Finnish expatriate and Hollywood director Renny Harlin is set to return to his homeland, to direct a World War II drama, for the first time since making his US debut as director of A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 in 1988. Harlin, seen here directing Sylvester Stallone in his last film Driven, told local Finnish media of his plans to film the dramatic story of Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, a man still revered 50 years after his death for resisting the invasion of Stalin's Red Army a
  • Russia's Vyborg Film Festival kicks off

    The director's chair of the 9th Vyborg Film Festival (11-18 August) has been left vacant this year in homage to former festival director and highly respected Russian film director Savva Kulish who passed away in June of this year. Kulish whose career spanned more than 30 years had lately turned his talents to documentaries. He was best known internationally for his Cold War era features like the spy drama The Dead Season.Vyborg annually offers the most comprehensive selec
  • Sarajevo festival boasts broad film selection

    Films by Julian Schnabel (Before Night Falls), Joel Coen (The Man Who Wasn't There) and Jafar Panahi (The Circle) are among the films screening in the Panorama sidebar of this year's Sarajevo Film Festival which opens on August 17 with an open-air screening of Cannes prize-winner No Man's Land.Other Panorama films include Arturo Ripstein's Such Is Life, Wen Jiang' Devils On The Doorstep and Michael Cuesta's L.I.E., while the New C
  • Sequel weekend: Pie 2 takes $45m, Rush Hour 2 $31m

    The domestic box office continued to roar over the weekend. Not only did Universal's third sequel of the summer American Pie 2 open to a massive $45.1m but New Line Cinema's Rush Hour 2 took $31.5m in its second weekend bringing its ten day total to a spectacular $131.9m.Meanwhile Miramax arm Dimension Films opened the Nicole Kidman chiller The Others to strong numbers - $14.1m on 1,678 screens - and re-opened its spring hit Spy Kids in a special edition for
  • Sixth Sense producers reteam with Shyamalan

    Producers Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy and Sam Mercer have re-teamed with writer-director M Night Shyamalan for his next project Signs which is being backed by Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group. Marshall, Mercer and Shyamalan will be producers, with Kennedy executive producer.The film, which follows Unbreakable (2000) and The Sixth Sense (1999), as Shyamalan's third consecutive supernatural thriller, stars Mel Gibson and Mark Ruffalo. It is the story of the sud
  • Slamdance unveils films for Cologne Showcase

    Slamdance Entertainment has unveiled its lineup of two German features and ten shorts for its first ever Cologne Showcase to take place on Aug 18 during music industry trade show Popkomm (Aug 16-18).The feature films are:Anam Dir: Buket AlakusMein Langsames Leben (Passing Summer) Dir: Angela SchanelecThe short films are:BundesAlltag (Lower Parliament) Dir: Susanne BoeingHandstand Dir: Ruth OlshanHessi Jam
  • Spain's Quiero TV begins staff reshuffle

    At least four top executives have departed from Spanish pay DTT platform Quiero TV, casualties of a top-down restructuring by majority shareholder Auna (Retevision).Director of contents Gino Nattaliccio, director of institutional relations Angel Martin Vizcaino, communications director Eva Tormo and marketing director Mishka Harnden left their positions at Quiero last week. The changes have not yet been officially announced by the platform.Sources at Quiero say that Auna has "ta
  • STAR Movies acquires Canal Plus output

    News Corp's STAR Movies channel is to acquire output from Canal Plus group under a three-year deal whereby it will get exclusive pay-TV rights to new films from StudioCanal France and the UK's Working Title. French group StudioCanal is majority owned by Canal Plus, which is the pay-TV unit of media giant Vivendi Universal. In 1999, Canal Plus agreed with Universal Pitures to form a 50-50 joint venture with London-based production company Working Title Films. As part of the new d
  • StudioCanal sees film boost half-year revenues

    Vivendi Universal's European film and television production and distribution subsidiary StudioCanal has posted a 20.3% hike in revenues for the first half of 2001, mostly due to revenues from new films, which grew by 51% compared to the same period last year.StudioCanal's consolidated revenues reached Euros 179.9m, (including Euros 165.2m from film-related activities, which represent 95% of the outfit's operations and were up 37.8%) in the first half.Successful first-half releas
  • The Bank

    Dir: Robert Connolly. Australia. 2001. 106 mins.This quality thriller's super-villain doesn't threaten the world from the usual fortified island - but although he's merely CEO of a profits-obsessed Melbourne bank, global domination is still his evil aim. Former successful producer (The Boys, The Monkey's Mask) Connolly's first feature as writer/director gets this modern hate figure to perfection, aided by an unrestrained performance from a sleek Anthony LaPaglia
  • The Cat's Meow

    Dir: Peter Bogdanovich. Germany-UK. 2001. 111 mins.Despite some moments of nasty, old-fashioned fun and a shining performance by Kirsten Dunst (pictured), The Cat's Meow, Peter Bogdanovich's eagerly awaited comebackafter close to a decade without a theatrical feature to his name, is a disappointment. Assuming the shape of a trashy Sunday Night television movie, it offers a weightless, gossipy account of a fateful weekend in 1924 aboardWilliam Randolph Hearst's private yacht,
  • The Others

    Dir Alejandro Amenabar. US-Spain. 2001. 103 minsSumptuously crafted, with moody eeriness and almost surreal visual imagery, Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar's The Others is a terrific supernatural thriller that builds and sustains its considerable suspense, without ever relying on violence or special effects. Cast in a role she was born to play, Nicole Kidman stars as a neurotic single mother, raising two seemingly problematic children while her husband is fighting
  • Tube and Talisman announce co-production deal

    Tube Studios of Montreal and Talisman, a U.K.-based entertainment company, announced Aug. 8 that they are about to finalise an international co-production agreement to co-develop, finance and produce a slate of film and television properties valued at an estimated US$200 million."Both Tube and Talisman share a common vision and commitment to developing and producing high-quality digital-based content for the international market," says Dominique St-Louis, VP and COO of Tube Studios, wh
  • UK Film Council unveils training initiatives

    UK support body The Film Council has unveiled training initiatives targeted at script writing, script reading and development.Roughly half the total investment of $783,000 (£549,000) goes to project development workshops to provide training for writers with active projects. The National Lottery-supported schemes also include short courses for script readers and development personnel."These schemes will allow a considerable increase in opportunity for those industry professionals
  • UK studios suffer decline in Hollywood production

    The investment by Hollywood productions shooting in the UK has plummeted by more than 65%, according to figures from the British Film Commission. The total value of overseas productions to start shooting in the UK in the first six months of 2001 crashed to $109m as UK studio facilities were hit by the threatened US actors' strike and, it seems, rising international competition. In the same period last year, big-spending productions such as the $100m The Mummy Returns and the $12
  • UK's Optimum acquires two titles

    UK independent distributor, Optimum Releasing has acquired Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone and Julien Temple's Pandaemonium.The distributor, headed by Will Clarke, is taking over Pandaemonium from the ailing Downtown Pictures, which was to release the picture in May but was forced to secure a Creditors Voluntary Agreement to pay back creditors over a period of time.Pandaemonium was acquired from BBC commercial arm BBC Worldwide, while The
  • Warner releases Osmosis Jones in dual formats

    Osmosis Jones will become the first Warner Bros release to premiere in both an all-digital and conventional 35mm format this weekend.A handful of the theatres in the US and Canada that are projecting the Farrelly brothers' latest comic invention, a PG-rated blend of live action and animation, will do so digitally when it opens on Friday.Those theatres are: the AMC Media Plaza in Burbank, California; Loews E-Walk in New York City; the AMC Studio 27 in Olathe, nearKansas Ci
  • Warner Village Cinemas' millionth online ticket

    Warner Village Cinemas UK, a division of Warner Bros. International Theatres, has sold its millionth online ticket, through its website (, just two years after launch.Since going live in July 1999, the system, which was conceived and created in-house, has posted a 20% year-on-year rise in online bookings, and there are now plans to revamp the site later this year to include a host of additional features. The millionth ticket was sold for a screening at the compa