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13 August 2004

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  • A new Blair Witch': Open Water hits Europe this week

    Is Open Water another Blair Witch Project'After an impressive openingweekend gross of $1m on just 47 domestic screens this weekend, Lions Gate Filmsis banking on word-of-mouth for the micro-budgeted sea-bound chiller to capture the nation'simagination and bring in some big grosses.And Lions Gate FilmsInternational isn't far behind, hoping to capitalize on the domestic excitementwith a swift global rollout unprecedented in the division's history.The first wav
  • Australian producers mull alternative distribution models

    Amending traditional distribution deals so that producersget more control and a greater share of returns was the dominant theme at Australia's annual conference ofproducers. Splitting rights was proposed, for example, as was adoptingwebsite-based sales systems, forfeiting high sales prices in exchange for boxoffice bonuses and under-reporting sales figures to avoid raising expectationstoo high for a film to live up to.Lifting production levels was another key preoccupation,although no
  • Beyond The Sea secures post-production investment

    Kevin Spacey's Trigger Productions has secured $500,000 for post-production on his Bobby Darin biopic Beyond The Sea as the first move into film from a new UK investment company.The investment comes through Orientrose, a recently-listed cash shell company formed by UK business advisory company Griffin Group. Orientrose also said it is reviewing how to develop its interests in US film production.The investment will be repaid with a premium of £50,000 from the North America
  • Biondo joins Infinity from First Look Media

    John Biondo has joined LosAngeles-based production and financing company Infinity Media as vice presidentof business and legal affairs.Biondo will beresponsible for structuring and negotiating production and distribution dealswith domestic and international parties for all company productions and willservice all productions by German production fund Cinerenta, to which Infinityis allied.His other dutiesinclude negotiating contracts with talent and other gener
  • Brown, Lake named producers of the year

    Chris Brown was named independent producer of the year,while Trish Lake was named feature film producer of the year at the annualconference of the Screen Producers Association of Australia.Lake was producer on Gettin'Square alongside Martin Fabinyi and Tim White, and only moved recently intofilm from book publishing, although her early career was as a televisionjournalist.The Maura Fay Award for services to the industry went toAdrianne Pecotic, a former Grundy executive w
  • Catwoman takes $2.3m over weekend in nine territories

    Catwoman grossed an estimated $2.3m on 728 screens in nineterritories at the weekend, driven by a $1.3m debut in its first majorinternational market of Spain.The action picture, which isreleased through Warner Bros Pictures International, ranked second in Spainbehind Fox International's sci-fi thriller I, Robot.Harry Potter The AndPrisoner Of Azkaban is marchingtowards a $500m international running total after adding $5.5m on 3,453 screen
  • Cinemark opens two new multiplexes in Colombia, Brazil

    Leading LatinAmerican exhibitor Cinemark International is preparing to open two newmultiplexes in Colombia and Brazil this month.The company willunveil its eight-screen San Rafael Theatre in the Paseo San Rafael Mall in thesoutheastern part of Bogota, Colombia, on Aug 13. The 1,645 seater will beCinemark's fifth property in the country.Two weeks lateron Aug 27 a 2,000-seat, seven-screen site is scheduled to open in Brazil in thePlaza Shopping Niteroi shopping
  • Collateral cruises to the top with $24.4m

    A $24.4m estimated openingfor DreamWorks-Paramount's thriller Collateral produced the second lowest number one debut of thesummer, as overall box office for the top 12 titles fell to $97.7m - the lowestamount since the first weekend of May.Despite a high profile starin Tom Cruise - playing a redoubtable villain, to boot - the cerebral tone ofdirector Michael Mann informed the result as much as anything else.It was a career-best openingfor the director though, whose previo
  • Collateral tops box office as North American summer starts to fade

    A $24.4m estimated openingfor DreamWorks-Paramount's thriller Collateral produced the second lowest number one debut of thesummer, as overall box office for the top 12 titles fell to $97.7m - the lowestamount since the first weekend of May.Despite a high profile starin Tom Cruise - playing a redoubtable villain, to boot - the cerebral tone ofdirector Michael Mann informed the result as much as anything else.It was a career-best openingfor the director though, whose previo
  • Coppola gets lost in a French translation: Marie-Antoinette

    Sofia Coppola is set todirect Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman in her first major studio productionMarie-Antoinette for ColumbiaPictures.Filming is scheduled tobegin in February 2005 in France, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion PictureGroup chairman Amy Pascal said yesterday (11)Dunst is attached to playthe title role and Schwartzman will portray Louis XVI in the stylised accountof the 18th century French queen's life.Coppola, who won the bestoriginal screenpla
  • Dembo begins shoot on Maison De Nina

    Richard Dembo,director of L'Instinct De l'Ange and La Carpe Dans La Baignoire among others,has begun shooting his next feature film, LaMaison De Nina.The story takesplace just after the liberation of France at the end of World War II, a time atwhich children were placed in homes whose goal was to reconstruct the lives ofits inhabitants. The director will attempt to bring to the screen thisdifficult period in his
  • Denmark's Fly prepares for Manslaughter

    Danish filmmaker Per Fly, who swept the national filmawards with his first two films The Benchand The Inheritance, is getting readyto shoot Manslaughter, the thirdinstallment in his trilogy about the social classes in Denmark.The DKK19.3m drama will star Danish veteran JesperChristensen (The Interpreter)opposite Swede Pernilla August (TheConstant Gardener) and newcomer Beate Bille in a story about a married highschool teacher, who has an affair with a
  • Discoveries finds Duck Season

    Discoveries - the annualfilm programme established by BBC Four, Optimum Releasing and the EdinburghInternational Film Festival to showcase up-and-coming international filmmakersand actors for UK audiences - has acquired Mexican coming-of-age comedy Duck Season.Directed by first timewriter-director Fernando Eimbcke, the former Critics' Week title will premiereat the Edinburgh festival this month.Duck Seasonadds t
  • Echelon takes US rights to dog mayor doc

    Echelon Entertainment hasacquired US domestic rights to arguably the most bizarre of the current crop ofpolitical documentaries, Jude Gerard Prest's Rabbit Hash: The Centre Of TheUniverse.The picture focuses on anelectoral race in the Kentucky town of Rabbit Hash that returned an actual dog named Goofy as townmayor.The filmmakers profile thetown's human inhabitants and several local luminaries, including nearbyresident and country and western star Wynonna Judd.
  • Euro cinema foundation suspends operations

    The MonteCinemaVeritaFoundation, which was one of the backers of this year's Locarno competitionfilm The Hunter (Okhotnik) byKazakhstan's Serik Aprymov, has suspended operations and laid off coordinatorLaurence Hoffmann in order to restructure its organisation.Over the last ten years, theSwiss Foundation has supported the production and post-production of film projectsfrom the South and Eastern Europe with contributions to such films as AlexanderSokurov's Father And Son a
  • Everything Is Illuminated wraps in Prague

    Principal photography haswrapped on Everything Is Illuminatedin Prague this week. Directed by Liev Schreiber and starring Elijah Wood, thefilm is produced by Warner Independent Pictures in association withproducer/financier Marc Turtletaub and producer Peter Saraf.Turtletaub told the film was made for amodest $7m, although “it looks like a $40m movie” he said.Turtletaub and Schreiberpraised the talent of their almost exclusively Czech crew: Executive pro
  • First Independent Pictures acquires Mail Order Wife

    Gary Rubin's fledgling distribution outfit First IndependentPictures has picked up domestic rights to Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland'scomedy Mail Order Wife (formerly Mail Order Bride) and plansto release it in theatres on Feb 11 2005.The picture stars Eugenia Yuan, Adrian Martinez, and Gurland, whoco-wrote with Botko, and follows the misadventures of a lonely man from Queens,New York, who gets more than he bargains for when he orders an Asian bride.
  • First Locarno deals concluded

    After only two days, Locarno had already seen its firstdeals concluded by Friday (August 6) before the festival's first weekend.Celluloid Dreams picked up international distribution rightsfor German director-cinematographer Thomas Riedelsheimer's (Rivers And Tides) new documentary Touch The Sound which had its worldpremiere in Locarno's Critics' Week on Sunday evening (Aug 8).Skyline Productions' L
  • First Sweet HD film festival to open in Edinburgh

    The UK Sweet HighDefinition Festival opens its first edition in Edinburgh on August 25. Thefestival, which will screen 23 films in competition, including shorts, featuresand documentaries, runs August 26-30 at two venues: the Radisson hotel and theRoyal Museums of Scotland.The event, founded topromote and demystify the new technology of high definition, will also screenHD feature films including Deep Blue,Dogville and 16 Years Of Alcohol.As part of its aim ofeducat
  • FRANCE 9 August

    As in theprevious week, four newcomers broke into the top 20 this time around. I, Robot came in at number one thisweek, bringing in nearly $5.3m during its first six days, more than one and ahalf million dollars less than Spider-Man2 earned the week before in that movie's second week.The latest HarryPotter film jumped three places from sixth to ninth from its eighth to ninthweek in theaters, while Franco-German-British
  • German home entertainment market hits new high

    Turnover in the German homeentertainment market continues to boom with revenues from sell-through andrental videos and DVDs increasing by 14% to Euros 720m in the first half of2004, according to the German Federal Film Board (FFA).The results for videosell-through were particularly impressive with overall turnover rising by 19%from 2003's Euros 493.1m to Euros 586.9m. The revenues from sell-through DVDsalone increased by a staggering 32.7% from Euros 397.3m to Euros 527m. Indeed,the DV
  • GERMANY 10 August

    Constantin Film's release of the camp sci-fi spoof (T)Raumschiff Surprise - Periode 1 waspushed off the top spot by the Will Smith futuristic thriller I, Robot with just 4,000 more ticketsbeing sold (698,696 compared to 694,567): the Fox release grossed $ 5.2m on itsopening weekend compared to (T)Raumschiff's$5m which was 43% down on the previous weekend.According to Constantin,
  • Goldwyn joins ensemble of IFC Films' American Gun

    Tony Goldwyn has joined thecast of Aric Avelino's ensemble drama American Gun, which began filming in Los Angeles last month andwill be released domestically through IFC Films.Goldwyn recently appeared inThe Last Samurai and will next beseen in the drama Ghosts Never Sleep with Faye Dunaway, and John Turturro's musical Romance &Cigarettes.Melissa Leo and ChristopherMarquette have also joined the cast, which includes Donald Sutherla
  • Greece faces up to Olympic competition

    Greece's distribution sector has already decided on onewinner of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games - the event itself.Having witnessed a slump in cinema admissions due to theunexpected success of the national soccer team In the European Football Cup,distributors and exhibitors have collectively decided not to open any new filmsduring the games (August 13-28).Local productions, which rarely open during the summerseason, will be largely unaffected. However, Hollywood releases, which a
  • Hong Kong, Chinese Locarno titles picked up

    Hong Kong's Golden Network has picked up world sales rightsfor Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap's second feature Black Friday which screens in Locarno's International Competitionsection this year.Based on a book of the same name by S. Hussain Zaidi, the filmcentres on the terror blasts of 1993 inMumbai, the business capital of India.Meanwhile, MDC International has picked up internationaldistribution rights for Chinese filmmaker Zhang Lu's feature debut
  • Horror rocks Korean box office

    The top eight positions may have remained unchanged fromlast week but there was still plenty going on in the international market. I, Robot cemented its lead with a hostof massive openings led by the UK, Germany and Russia that saw its weekendearnings nearly three times its nearest rival.South Korean horror Bunshinsaba: Ouija Board - directed byAn Byeonggi and starring three Korean actresses (Kim Gyuri, Lee Seeun and LeeYoori) took the best scre
  • Hot Canadian actor Noble dies at 25 in poisoning accident

    The promising young Canadianactor Andre Noble, who starred in John Palmer's gay and lesbian festival hit Sugar, died on Jul 30 from inadvertent poisoning. He was25.Born in the Canadian fishingvillage of Centreville, Newfoundland, in 1979, Noble studied at the Sir WilfredGrenfell School of Fine Arts in Newfoundland before moving to Toronto to launchhis acting career.After numerous stage andtelevision appearances, Noble made his film debut in Jacob Tiern
  • HUNGARY 10 August

    Even though Shrek 2. is still the top of the listfor the sixth week running, SPI's Twistedhas proved a real favorite with Hungarian audiences opening in second placewith over 10,000 admissions on 15 prints.The Prince And Me was a disappointment after failing to reach 6,000admissions on sixteen prints and is fast becoming one of the worst teenagecomedy flops in Hungary.Budapest Film's newrelease last week,
  • I, Robot seizes the world with $30.9m weekend

    Fox International's sci-fithriller I, Robot extended itsbox office dominance at the weekend with an estimated $30.9m haul from 6,034screens in 29 territories for a $70.8m international running total.The picture scored a stringof number one openings, led by $8.4m on 710 screens in the UK and $5.1m on 910in Germany.Other key drivers included$2.4m on 292 Russian screens for an unconfirmed first place there, $979,000 on396 in Brazil, $757,000 on 102 in Austria, and $675,000 o
  • IMAX ties up six-screen deal with National Amusements

    IMAX Corporation has signeda deal to install six IMAX theatre systems in US sites owned by internationalexhibitor National Amusements Inc, with the possibility of a further 12 systemsover the next several years, predominantly in the UK.Four theatre systems arescheduled to be installed by the end of the year in National Amusement sites atCity Centre 15: Cinema de Lux in White Plains, New York; Showcase CinemasBuckland Hills, near Hartford, Connecticut; Showcase Cinemas Stonybrook, inLou
  • Impact of DVD boom on Cinema measured

    The DVD boom is having a major impact on cinema-going -but it is a positive one and probably more pronounced in Australia than in anyother territory."As DVD sales continue to grow, and as rental behaviourstays strong, more people - not less -are attending the cinema," Video Ezy chief executive Stephen Johnston tolddelegates at the Australian International Movie Convention. "DVD is encouragingpeople to get more involved in all things film. More dedicated DVD owners arevisiting cinemas n

    The top eight positions may have remained unchanged fromlast week but there was still plenty going on in the international market. I, Robot cemented its lead with a hostof massive openings led by the UK, Germany and Russia that saw its weekendearnings nearly three times its nearest rival.South Korean horror Bunshinsaba: Ouija Board - directed byAn Byeonggi and starring three Korean actresses (Kim Gyuri, Lee Seeun and LeeYoori
  • Ireland gets free test-screening programme

    The Irish Film Board (IFB) has launched a freetest-screening programme in Ireland for the feature films it has co-financed.Normally testing is organised by individual producers ordistributors on an ad hoc basis. The films being tested will be shown duringthe latest possible phase of post-production, currently at 100-seater screensat the UGC and Irish Film Institute cinemas in Dublin. At any one time thereare approximately four features supported by the Board in post-production.W
  • Italian producers engage with market forces

    Italy's production sector is facing one of its worst everproduction crises:State funding for local films has halted for over six monthsand the government is now threatening to cut over 20% out of its entertainmentfund, leaving the cinema industry with a paltry $19m per year.A number of local, auteur-driven productions which had beengreenlit for state funding have been put on hold for months. Producers such asTilde Corsi, whose credits include Ferzan Ozpetek's
  • Italian producers engage with market forces

    Italy's production sector is facing one of its worst everproduction crises:State funding for local films has halted for over six monthsand the government is now threatening to cut over 20% out of its entertainmentfund, leaving the cinema industry with a paltry $19m per year.A number of local, auteur-driven productions which had beengreenlit for state funding have been put on hold for months. Producers such asTilde Corsi, whose credits include Ferzan Ozpetek's Facing Windows
  • ITALY Production Listings - August 12 2004

    ITALY - August 12PRE-PRODUCTIONADIUS, LA FESTA E' FINITA(Verdecchi Film) Backer: Fondo diGaranzia. Word gets out in high-flying Roman society that a well-known Italiansinger-songwriter is to make his comeback - despite the fact that his death wasofficially announced in 1980. Prod: Alessandro Verdecchi. Dir: Ezio Alovisi.Scr: Ezio Alovisi.Contact: Verdecchi Film, (39) 06 39 388 751ALL'OMBRA DEL PADRE(Tea Nova) Drama abo
  • Katz promoted to vice president, acquisitions, at THINKFilm

    Daniel Katz has beenpromoted to vice president of acquisitions at THINKFilm. He will remain in thecompany's New York offices and report directly to head of theatricaldistribution Mark Urman and senior vice president of acquisitions and businessaffairs Randy Manis.Katz began his distributioncareer in 1999 when he moved to New York, eventually breaking into the industryat Merchant Ivory Productions and later Lions Gate Films, where he reported toUrman.He joined
  • Kit Parker Films buys 500-title Weiss library

    Phoenix-basedclassics distributor Kit Parker Films has purchased all worldwide rights to theWeiss Global Enterprises' (WGE) 500-plus-title library, which includes theSamuel Fuller classics I Shot Jesse James and The Steel Helmet, among others.The Parker acquisition marks the first time Weissproperties have left the family's control since the Weiss Brothers producersestablished the library in the early 20th century.Included in t
  • Korean majors finalise separation

    After a well-publicised and contentious struggle, SouthKorean major Cinema Service has reached an agreement to secure its formalseparation from the rival CJ Group.Nevertheless, it paid a much higher price than originallyhoped for, as CJ is poised to take over 70% of Cinema Service's exhibition armPrimus.Although Cinema Service will be guaranteed management rightsuntil the end of 2006, many observers predict that CJ will press for fullcontrol of the cinema circuit thereafter.
  • Lindon takes on The Moustache

    French actorVincent Lindon (Chaos, My Little Business)will begin shooting in Paris on August 23 for The Moustache, the first feature-length fiction film by the authorEmmanuel Carrere.Lindon will staralongside Emmanuelle Devos (Read My Lips,Petites Coupures), who will play his wife. The actress worked previouslywith Carrère during the shooting of the film L'Adversaire by Nicola Garcia.Based on a novelwritten in 1987, the film t
  • Local title is hot in Chile

    In a summer marked by local box office successes across ahost of international territories, Latin American country Chile has not beenleft out.Local drama Machucalaunched last Thursday (Aug 5) in the country and has quickly become the mostsuccessful Chilean film ever, selling over 100,000 tickets in less than a week.The film's opening weekend saw 59,525 admissions and rankednumber one in the territory above all competing Hollywood titles on release.The home success
  • Locarno director responds to criticism

    Locarno Film Festivalartistic director Irene Bignardi has declared herself "very happy" with herfourth event and has defended herself against criticism from former Locarnodirector Moritz de Hadeln."The final result of thisyear's programme saw us able to paint a picture consistent through all thesections showing that we had chosen the right moment and the right voices for afestival which wants to speak a certain artistic and social language," she saidin an exclusive interview with Sc
  • Logan, Newman, Rosen named in Hollywood Film Awards honour list

    Composer Thomas Newman andscreenwriter John Logan will both be honoured at the upcoming Hollywood FilmAwards ceremony on Oct 18 at the Beverly Hilton.Hollywood Composer of theYear Award recipient Newman has earned six Oscar nominations in his career todate for the recent phenomenon Finding Nemo, American Beauty and Road To Perdition, among others.He composed the score to ThePlayer, White Oleander and In TheBedroom, and worked on upcomingrelease
  • McDull embarks on martial arts extravaganza

    McDull,the clumsy but lovable piglet first seen in hit Hong Kong animated feature, My Life As McDull, is to take up kungfu.Pre-productionhas already begun on martial arts extravaganza, McDull - Wudang, the third animated feature showcasing the pink-snoutedhero.Thenew project sees McDull travelling to China with his mother, Mrs McBing, awould-be restaurateur who hopes to win the Hong Kong franchise for "MrsPeaceful Diet Hotpot Recip
  • Montreal claims Clouds world premiere

    A day afterToronto claimed that it would present the world premiere of John Duigan'swartime romance Head In The Clouds, The Montreal World Film Festival has declared that the film willpremiere ahead of Toronto in Montreal.The film stars Stuart Townsend, Charlize Theron andPenelope Cruz.The picture isone of six new additions announced by organisers at Montreal,which runs from Aug 26-Sept 6.The others are GiuseppePiccioni's Italian romance The Li
  • Montreal unveils competition line-up

    The Montreal WorldFilm Festival has unveiled its 2004 competition line-up, including the worldpremieres of Paul McGuigan's MGM/Lakeshore Entertainment-backed Wicker Park and new films from Chile'sRaoul Ruiz, Greece's Nikos Panayotopoulos and Australia's Craig Monahan.The 28thMWFF, which runs August 26 to September 6, also features several worldpremieres out of competition such as the Chile-Mexico-Spain co-production
  • Multicultural films go Dutch

    An English-language feature adaptation of Kurban Said'sbestseller Ali And Nino is beingprepared by Dutch producer Egmond Film and Television. London-based productionoutfit Silkway Entertainment and French Claudie Ossard (Amelie) areco-producers.The Euros 10m project, to be directed by Dutch directorPieter Verhoeff will be shot with an international cast in spring 2005 inAzerbaijan, where the love story about a Christian girl and a young Muslimnobleman was originally set.
  • My Stepbrother Frankenstein

    Dir. ValeryTodorovsky. Russia. 2004. 120mins.Mary Shelley'sgothic tale is back, this time comfortably adjusted to fit into modern life inMoscow. But no scientific mumbo-jumbo, expressionistic lighting nor extensivemake-up were needed to create this man-made monster; instead he comes not froma lab but from a dark past. If he has been created by a scientist, then it waswith no special purpose in mind.
  • Nelly (A Ce Soir)

    Dir: Laure Duthilleul.Fr. 2004. 94mins.The complaint isfrequently made that the French production system too often allows film-makersto please themselves rather than justify their intentions to an audience. Thisis a charge unfortunately born out by Nelly, a small, eccentric dramathat was clearly a labour of love for director Laure Duthilleul, but that neverbegins to make its wider raison d'être apparent.Ostensibly a study ofbereaveme
  • New Swiss arthouse distributor launches

    A new player has appeared on the Swiss distribution scene with thelaunch of Lucerne-based Cinepix Distribution in collaboration with the KiwiGroup arthouse cinema chain.Speaking to in Locarno this week,Cinepix's managing director Patrick Riesen said that he plans to release 3-5films per year with a particular - although not exclusive - focus on EastEuropean cinema. "There have been relatively few East European films shownin Switz
  • Niceland

    Dir. Fridrik ThorFridriksson. Ice-Ger-Den-UK. 2004. 87mins.A modern fairytale for disenchanted adults, thelatest Fridrik Thor Fridriksson opus looks pretty and cute but lacks the edgeand authenticity that distinguish most of his previous contributions.Wrapped up inToyland colours for the first half, their tonality soiled later when the storyshifts to a junkyard, Fridriksson's attempt at a phi
  • Nordisk goes digital

    When Ole Olsen opened Biografteatret in Copenhagen in 1905,he laid the foundation for the oldest film company in the world, Nordisk Film,which now, 100 years later, is moving into the digital age.As the first in the country, the Nordic distribution andexhibition major will be equipping its three main sites with digitalprojectors. "It is crucial for us to be able to offer our guests the best movieexperiences," says John Toennes, CEO of Nordisk Film Biografer. "We havefollowed the develo
  • NORWAY 13 August

    WillSmith easily snatched the Norwegian box-office crown from King Arthur this weekend as I,Robot raced into the top with a solid NOK 38,389 screen average on 63prints.New localrelease Clorox, Ammonia And Coffeefrom Mona J. Hoel (Cabin Fever) hadmixed reviews calling it both unusual and highly watch
  • Republicans urged to see gay marriage doc by distributor

    US distributorRoadside Attractions is urging delegates at the upcoming Republican NationalConvention in New York to attend a screening of Jim de Seve's gay marriagedocumentary Tying The Knot.The timely release - gay marriage is a major campaignissue in the Presidential Election and has sparked a flurry of legislation atfederal and state level - mixes two personal stories with a broader, nationwideanalysis of the attitude to marriage and a br
  • Revolver aims at international market

    Revolver, the two-year-old Italian arthouse production anddistribution outfit, is ramping up its international activities. The companyhas boarded Chilean director Raoul Ruiz's upcoming film, Le Livre A Rendre as a co-producer and has also acquired Italianrights to Shinya Tsukamoto's Venice title, Vital.Le Livre A Rendreis a Euros 3m picture which focuses on the friendship between a Chilean pilotand a boy, which begins during World War II. The film stars Marisa Pare
  • San Sebastian selects seven Films In Progress

    The San Sebastian and Toulouse film festivals' joint fundinginitiative, Films in Progress, has announced the seven Latin American titlesinvited to participate in this year's sixth edition, including first-timeentries from Brazil and Uruguay.The projects seek assistance to complete post-production.Various privately sponsored awards provide additional incentive to chosenfilms. The screenings will take place September 21-22 during the Donostia-SanSebastian International Film Festival (Sep
  • Schwarzenegger doc selling well at Locarno

    Sales company MGI International has concluded a raft ofdeals on Alex Cooke's documentary HowArnold Won The West which was screened in Locarno's Filmmakers of thePresent Video sidebar.MGI's Claude Nouchi reported that the film about ArnoldSchwarzenegger's election campaign to become Governor of California had been'very well received by the public and press' and already sold toAustria's Polyfilm, Italy's Mikado Film, Spain's Silnezio Films andSwitzerland's Ecra
  • Serbia and Montenegro faces film piracy challenge

    The weekends ofAug 16-18 and 23-25 were the worst in terms of admissions and revenues inSerbia and Montenegro since 1997. The first saw ticket sales of 11,872($31,249) for the whole territory, while the latter had even less: only 11,120spectators who spent $29,145. Spider-Man2 sold only 4,744 tickets in its second weekend,Part of thereason for this huge decline is the relentless increase in film piracy, whichcurrently accounts for around 92% of the market, with copies of the lat
  • Seven Arts aims for London stock market listing

    PeterHoffman's Seven Arts Filmed Entertainment is to secure a listing on London'sAIM stock market for smaller stocks through a reverse takeover of costumejewellery business Cabouchon.Cabouchonwill purchase Seven Arts for £4.8m in new shares, changing its name to SevenArts Pictures and selling its current business and assets to Julie Ann Wing,its managing director. Wing wi
  • Six linked Swedish films to shoot simultaneously

    Six new Swedish features based on author Hakan Nesser'sbest-selling detective stories will all begin shooting on the same day - August14Two of the films will be made for theatrical distribution in2005, while all of the films in theseries will be broadcast on television all over the Nordic region in 2006 and 2007.Three directors will make two films each. Eric Leijonborg,director of acclaimed TV productionTusenbroder, is first on the list, while the other two are still unnamed. Le
  • Soccer trilogy bends it like Beckham

    Echoing the off-pitch sagaof real-life England captain David Beckham, the second instalment of footballtrilogy Goal! will tell the story ofa star player's fall from grace against the backdrop of Spain's Real Madridclub.While the first film willdetail the footballer's rags-to-riches rise at English club Newcastle United,producer and co-writer Mike Jefferies said the second will chart his "fall fromgrace as he is exposed to the temptations that today's professional footballersare
  • SPAA plans private development fund

    Australia is to utilise its existing framework for pooleddevelopment funds (PDFs) to get more development money into the film industryand help provide producers with earnings between projects.The scheme is being put together by the Screen ProducersAssociation of Australia and Content Capital, one of two companies given theright to raise private capital for the industry under the Film LicenseInvestment Companies pilot scheme of a couple of years ago.Superannuation funds will be e
  • SPC closes multi-territory deal on Heroes

    Sony PicturesClassics has acquired North American, UK, Italian and German rights to DanHarris' coming-of-age story Imaginary Heroes, which makes its world premiere atToronto next month.Harris'directorial debut stars Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Daniels, Emile Hirsch andMichelle Williams in a tale about a dysfunctional American family on a shakycourse of self-discovery.Illana Diamantand Art Linson produced the picture and Harris, whose screenwriting creditsinclude X2 and
  • Spider-Man 2 swings past $325m for CTFDI

    Sony's Spider-Man 2 grossed an estimated $12.1m on6,430 screens in 55 territories through Columbia TriStar Film DistributorsInternational (CTFDI) at the weekend, raising the international cumulativetotal to $328.2m.The chief highlight was the $2.6m debut on 300 screens inChina, which included previews and set a new record for an MPAA release in theAsian territory.The local currency total of 20.4m units far exceeded theprevious 18.6m record held by P
  • Spider-Man 2 swings past $325m for CTFDI

    Sony's Spider-Man 2grossed an estimated $12.1m on 6,430 screens in 55 territories through ColumbiaTriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) at the weekend, raising theinternational cumulative total to $328.2m.The chief highlight was the$2.6m debut on 300 screens in China, which included previews and set a newrecord for an MPAA release in the Asian territory.The local currency total of20.4m units far exceeded the previous 18.6m record held by Pearl Harbor.
  • Splendid Film ordered to pay $2.1m to Gold Circle

    The future liquidity ofSplendid Film is in jeopardy following a decision ordering it to pay $2.1m toLos Angeles-based Gold Circle Films.This turn of events cameafter the 100% subsidiary of Cologne-based Splendid Medien was ordered to paythe amount by an arbitration board of the Independent Film & Televisionalliance as an additional charge for the TV distribution of the feature film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.An statement by SplendidMedien i
  • SWEDEN 9 August

    The past had to bow to the future at the Swedishbox-office this weekend as the new release of Will Smith's science-fictionouting I, Robot's 82 prints downed King Arthur's 95 prints by61%. While Smith secured a strong $3,943 screen average, the presence of mostof the top local acting talent in Dane Simon Staho's Swedish-language drama Day And Night almost gave it an equalaverage of $3,262.The film, which screens
  • Swedish cinema sale sees one exhibitor control 75% of the sector

    Sweden's second biggest exhibitor, Sandrew Metronome, has sold its cinema chain to rival SF Bio. The deal means that SF Bio, owned by Swedish media major Bonnier Group, will control 75% of the Swedish exhibition sector.Sandrew Metronome currently manages 22 cinemas with 90 in 15 cities throughout Sweden. Last year, its annual turnover in Sweden was more than $26m (SEK 200m), while consolidated losses amounted to $3.1m (SEK 24m).The management of the Shibstedt Group, owner of San
  • Swiss locations receive promotion boost

    Switzerland's profile as alocation for international film productions is set to receive a major boostafter the decision by Film Location Switzerland (FLS) to become a member of thepromotion agency Swiss Films.Commenting on the move, SwissFilms' managing director Micha Schiwow explained in Locarno at the weekend thatthis would "complement the activity of promoting Swiss cinemaabroad." This year, representatives of FLS attended the Cannes FilmFestival and the Locations World trade fair i
  • Talent Campus heads to Far East, Latin America

    Following the successful staging of Talent Campuses in Kievand New Dehli, the Berlinale Talent Campus plans to further export its conceptto the film festivals in Pusan and Buenos Aires in 2005.This announcement comes after the first Talent Campus India washeld during last month's Osian's Cinefan Film Festival - from July 19-23 - togive 50 young film talents from all over India and Sri Lanka the chance toattend seminars, screenings and discussion groups as well as network with oneanothe
  • Tiffany Bair joins Samuel Goldwyn & Roadside Attractions

    Tiffany Bair has joinedSamuel Goldwyn Films and Roadside Attractions as director of publicity.In the new position, Bairwill develop stories and oversee publicity efforts on the West Coast, workingalongside vice president of publicity and marketing RJ Millard.Bair began her career atFirst Look Pictures as a theatrical and home entertainment publicist working onnational and regional campaigns.She moved to Bumble Ward& Associates in 2003, representing Sof
  • Toronto announces more high wattage world premieres

    Jiminy Glick In Lalawood, Vadim Jean's big screen treatment of Martin Short'soutrageous alter ego talk show host, will close the 29th Toronto InternationalFilm Festival (TIFF) on Sept 18.The world premiere, some ofwhich was shot at TIFF two years ago, is one of several announced by festivalorganisers today (August 10) in a list of gala screenings that includes David ORussell's eagerly awaited follow-up to Three Kings, the existential comedy IHeart Huckabee's starri
  • UK government reveals anti-piracy strategy

    The rising trade in pirateDVDs and other fake goods is to be tackled by an initiative launched by the UKgovernment today which brings together brand owners, the police, TradingStandards and customs in a new unified approach.Industry Minister Jacqui Smithunveiled the "intellectual property crime strategy" - developed by the PatentOffice - as the various enforcement agencies were "competing for politicalspace" and undermining each other's efforts."Counterfeiting is a globalbusines
  • UK sports docs get US distribution through Hart Sharp

    Domestic DVD distributorHart Sharp Video has partnered with Bombo Sports & Entertainment todistribute a new line of specialised sports documentaries.Upcoming releases willinclude Liverpool FC - No Heart As Big, Manchester United: Beyond The Promised Land, Roy Keane, As I See It, and the rugby picture Sweet Chariot. Each of these pictures has already opened in theUK."I am thrilled to partnerwith one of the leading sports production
  • UK supermarket giant re-negotiates entertainment supply deal

    Woolworths yesterday signeda new three-year contract to supply UK supermarket giant Tesco with CDs, DVDsand computer games in a deal that could be worth up to £40m in gross profitover the period to Woolworths.Previous concerns thatTesco, whose former deal with Woolworths' wholesale subsidiary Entertainment UKexpired in February, was seeking a cheaper supplier were allayed as Woolworthsconfirmed the new deal would deliver it lower profit margins."There has bee
  • UK/IRELAND 10 August

    A well placed pieceof counter-programming proved effective for Columbia TriStar in the UK thisweek as the company launched 13 Going On30 against Fox's I, Robot.While it wasinevitable that the Will Smith sci-fi vehicle would triumph, the Jennifer Garnercomedy held its own to take second place. Aimed largely at the female markettraditionally less interested in science fiction titles 13 Going On 30 grossed a strong $2.2m (£1.2m), including $0.7m(£0
  • Universal & Toshiba claim number one slot in Japan with Riddick

    Universal executives claimedtheir action sequel The Chronicles Of Riddick opened top in Japan through Toshiba at the weekendon an estimated $1.9m on an unconfirmed number of screens.Overall the picture grossed$2.8m on 835 screens in 18 territories and raised its international runningtotal to $10m from all distributors, $7.3m of which comes from UIP releases.Riddick added $465,000 on 186 in its second weekend inAustralia and dropped 60% to fifth
  • Venice pre-screenings cancelled

    AIP (Audiovisual Industry Promotion) has cancelled theVenice pre-Screenings it was due to host on the Lido from August 30 toSeptember 1.Giovanni Galoppi, president of AIP, the new organisationformed by Cinecitta and Fiera di Milano, MIFED's parent company, had originallyannounced that around 30-40 international buyers would be invited to thescreenings of Italian films just ahead of the festival. (see Screendaily, July28)However, yesterday, AIP told the Venice Film Festival thati
  • Vietnam appreciates Long Legged Girls

    Nhung Co Gai Chan Dai (Long Legged Girls), Vietnam's first privately funded feature filmsince the government ended its state monopoly on film making in 2002, hasbecome a huge local hit, earning an estimated$320,000 (VND5 bn) since its opening on June 17.The Vietnamese tale aboutfashion models was made by first-time director Vo Ngoc Dang on a $127,000 (VND2bn) budget, funded by public relationscompany Galaxy.Spurred by the success,production manager Dinh Thanh Huong of Gal
  • Vitagraph takes on US distribution of Content's Rick

    US micro-distributorVitagraph Films will release veteran editor Curtiss Clayton's directorial debutRick, starring Bill Pullman andAgnes Bruckner, in New York on Oct 1 and Los Angeles on Oct 8.Based on the operaRigoletto, the satirical story centres on a middle-aged corporate careerist wholoses sight of his humanity.Aaron Stanford, Sandra Oh,Dylan Baker, Paz de la Huerta and Emmanuelle Chriqui also star and LemonySnicket alter ego Daniel Handler wrote t
  • Wall (Mur)

    Dir/scr: SimoneBitton. France. 2004. 99minsA poetic reflectionof the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Simone Bitton's documentary focuses itsattention on the massive wall put up by the Sharon government to separate theJewish community from the Arab and, arguably, defuse the terrorist threat.Born a Jew into the Arabian culture ofMorocco but brought up in Israel, and living for a while in Paris,Bitton claims the right to represent both sides of the co
  • Yasmin

    Dir: Kenny Glenaan. UK-Ger.2004. 87minsThree years ago, GasAttack won the Michael Powell Award at Edinburgh and marked out KennyGlennan as a promising new directorial talent. Yasmin confirms hisstatus as a social realist with an ability to focus on the human element in anyheadline-grabbing dramatic situation.
  • Yet another political doc gets US theatrical exposure

    THINKFilm hasacquired US domestic rights to George Butler and White Mountain's Toronto worldpremiere documentary Going Upriver: The Long War Of John Kerry and plans to open it on limited releasebefore the Presidential Election on Oct 1.The latest addition to the left-leaning politicaldocumentary canon focuses on key influences in Kerry's life, namely his toursof duty as a Vietnam War hero, his prominence as an outspoken anti-waractivist, and his political caree