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13 August 2007

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  • A Girl Cut In Two (La Fille Coupee En Deux)

    Dir: Claude Chabrol France 2007. 115 mins tbcIt's cynical business as usual for Claude Chabrol, who offers plentiful style and psychological finesse, if few surprises, in his latest jaundiced and sophisticated entertainment. The story of a young woman caught between two rivalrous and highly unsuitable admirers, A Girl Cut In Two has the typical trappings of a Chabrol thriller, although it would be more accurate to call this a melodrama of manners with a dark
  • Academy encourages studios to cut down on mailouts

    New regulations that govern marketing campaigns for the upcoming 80th Academy Awards have blocked companies from sending out 'For Your Consideration' CDs of soundtracks to members.Following a meeting of the board of governors of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, companies will no longer be allowed to send out recordings, sheet music and music videos.They are also being encouraged to reduce surface mail and consolidate multiple mail-outs, and allow members t
  • Alternative view - Which local films have withstood the blockbusters'

    In North America, the vast majority of non-blockbuster product has not lasted more than two weeks on screen this summer. There have been exceptions, including Universal's Knocked Up and MGM's horror 1408. And there was good news for a few niche movies including Waitress, La Vie En Rose, Sicko, Once and in Quebec, the action-thriller Nitro.Internationally, it is a similar story. The US heavy-hitters are hoovering up as much as 80% of admissions in some markets. Most territories have dec
  • Amralla named artistic director at Dubai festival

    Dubai International Film Festival has promoted Masoud Amralla Al Ali, previously head of Arab programming, to the position of artistic director. He will work alongside festival chairman Abdulhamid Juma and managing director Shivani Pandya, and be supported by Simon Field, who oversees international programming. Other members of the programming team include Sheila Whitaker, the former head of the London Film Festival, who returns to the Gulf emirate for the fourth year. Amralla has
  • Aniston, Howard films screen in Palm Springs short film festival

    Jennifer Aniston's directorial effort Room 10 is among the expected highlights at the the 13th Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films & Short Film Market (ShortFest), which runs from Aug 23-29.All in all the festival will showcase 332 films, including 54 world premieres, 12 North American premieres and 20 US premieres.The line-up includes new work with James Gandolfini, Louis Gossett Jr and Joe Mantegna in
  • Archer named interim director general for UK's Industry Trust

    The UK's Industry Trust for IP Awareness has today announced the appointment of Paul Archer as interim director general. Archer will take the position from Aug 13 when current director general, Liz Bales, departs for maternity leave. Bales will return in spring 2008. Archer previously served as video sales director at Granada Ventures and also worked at Momentum Pictures, Hanna-Barbera and Polygram.
  • Argentinian film-makers supported by Fonds Sud, Ibermedia

    Lucrecia Martel, Daniel Burman, Pablo Trapero, Lisandro Alonso and other 13 Argentinian directors have received support in the latest round of funding by France's Fonds Sud and Iberoamerican film fund Ibermedia Program.At its latest meeting in Buenos Aires, Ibermedia announced the winners of its first annual round for a total amount of $2m. The program, funded by 17 Iberoamerican countries, selected 62 out of 114 evaluated projects from Spain, Portugal and Latin America.D
  • Ascot Elite takes German-speaking rights to This Is England

    Swiss independent distributor Ascot Elite has taken all German-speaking European rights to Shane Meadows' This Is England from sales company The Works International. Meadows' somewhat autobiographical story of a young boy influenced by skinheads in 1980s England won the best film and best newcomer (Thomas Turgoose) awards at the British Independent Film Awards. The film also won the special jury award at the Rome Film Festival. The deal was negotiated by Stephan Giger,
  • BBC's Alexei Boltho takes Paramount acquisitions post

    Alexei Boltho, who is currently business development manager for BBC Films, will take on a newly created acquisitions post at Paramount Pictures International (PPI). As of Aug 20, Boltho will be PPI's Director Co-production and Acquisitions, working out of Paramount 's London headquarters, which will in September move from Hammersmith to Chiswick. Boltho will report to Los Angeles-based executive Ellen Pittleman, who leads PPI's new push for local acqusitions and productions. PPI
  • Belgium - Sacrifices made for the gods

    The news their debut feature Small Gods has been selected for Venice's Critics' Week will have come as a huge boost to the Karakatsanis brothers. Dimitri and Nicolas, who come from a Greek-Belgian background, have not had an easy ride with their movie, which took three years to complete. Like their co-producer Koen Mortier (director of the controversial but wide-selling Ex-Drummer), they do not fit into the conventional model of Flemish film-makers that churn out local comedies and tasteful c
  • Ben Kingsley to head cast of Levine's The Wackness for Occupant

    Los Angeles-based Occupant Films has cast Ben Kingsley, Josh Peck, Famke Janssen, Mary Kate Olsen, Olivia Thirlby and Method Man in its upcoming comedy The Wackness.Jonathan Levine, whose debut feature All The Boys Love Mandy Lane was Occupant Films' hit maiden launch at Toronto 2006 and will now be released through Senator US in early 2008, recently began principal photography in New York.O
  • Best of British: the Michael Powell Award

    Named in honour of one of Britain's most original film-makers and judged this year by an international jury, including Sundance Film Festival director Geoff Gilmore and author Jonathan Coe, the Michael Powell Award carries a cash prize of £5,000. Since its inception in 1993, it has singled out some of the UK's finest films in recent years including The Last Resort, Gas Attack and Jude.Rewarding imagination and creativity in British film-making, the nominations recognise British films b
  • Beyond Dreams works with foundation for $20m Buddha feature

    Beyond Dreams Entertainment of India has partnered with Sri Lanka 's The Light of Asia Foundation, Sri Lanka for a $20m film project on the life of Gautam Buddha, the historical founder of Buddhism. Leading Indian director Shyam Benegal will direct the project. The Memorandum of Understanding for the production of the feature film was signed between the Foundation's Honorary Chairman, Navin Gooneratne and the CEO of Beyond Dreams Entertainment, Yash Patnaik, in the presence of Hon
  • Birds Eye View encourages opening-weekend attendance

    The UK's female-centric film festival Birds Eye View is starting a new initiative, the First Weekenders Club, to support features directed by women. During the crucial first weekend at the box office, Birds Eye View will contact its subscribers about selected films to raise both awareness and audience numbers. 'We believe that the Birds Eye View First Weekend Club will become a valuable tool and resource for distributors and filmmakers in generating powerful word of mouth campaign
  • Bladerunner: making the cut

    Why do audiences have to wait for a DVD to see the movie the director really wanted to make' Leonard Klady argues the case.Later this year, Warner Bros Home Video will release a five-disc set of the seminal science-fiction thriller Blade Runner that will include what's been dubbed 'the definite cut' of the movie (Blade Runner: The Final Cut is also the surprise Midnight film at the Venice film festival next month).Based on the Philip K Dick nov
  • Bourne starts international Ultimatum

    Universal/UPI's domestic smash The Bourne Ultimatumopens in 11 territories as it starts its overseas campaign. The keyterritories are Hong Kong on Aug 8, South Africa on Aug 10, and Taiwanon Aug 11.UPI's comedy Evan Almighty, currently on $15.6m, opens in eight territories including Germany on Aug 9.Both The Simpsons Movie and Die Hard 4.0 will cross
  • Breaking the language barrier

    Sony Pictures Entertainment's local-language activities have been consolidated under the newly minted International Motion Picture Production Department, with a new president in Deborah Schindler. Mike Goodridge spoke to Schindler and the group's godfather Gareth Wigan about new moves into Russia and India. Gareth Wigan and Deborah Schindler have just concluded a four-month period of extensive travel, taking in Paris, Madrid, London, Cannes, Mumbai and Moscow, assessin
  • Brett Morgen works with Courtney Love for new Cobain documentary

    US director Brett Morgen, whose new feature Chicago 10 screens on Locarno 's Piazza Grande on Friday, has revealed further details of his new 'official' feature documentary about Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of rock band Nirvana who died in 1994. The film, made with Courtney Love's backing, will take a different approach to that of Nick Broomfield's 1998 film Kurt And Courtney, which was made without Love's support. Cobain is also the subject of another recent documentary, AJ Sc
  • Bright promoted to vice president and partner at LA's Insignia Inc

    Eddie Michaels, chief executive officer and president of Beverly Hills-based publicity and marketing firm Insignia Inc, has promoted the company's six-year senior associate Erik Bright (pictured) to vice president and partner.Bright will continue to head the company's film and television production publicity division as well as manage and oversee media strategies for many of the company's production company, corporate, special events, and consumer brand clients.During his
  • Canada - A catalogue of innovation

    An Oscar, two prizes at Cannes, two top feature awards at the Hot Docs documentary film festival in Toronto, the GSM Award for original mobile content and a nomination for an International Interactive Emmy Award: Tom Perlmutter reels off the successes of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the agency he has just been appointed to lead."And that's just for the first six months of 2007," says Perlmutter. "That's a phenomenal record by any standard."Perlmutter, who replaces Ja
  • Captain Achab

    Dir. Philippe Ramos. Fr-Swe, 2007. 100mins. This five episodes piece, only the last section of which actually deals with Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick, is a Freudian attempt to explain why Captain Achab became the driven man he was. It's the kind of picture that should please certain film theorists and tickle the fancy of certain festivals - but leave all the rest of its audience rather cold. A fictional lecture on the fictional background of
  • Central European admissions could rise 25% by 2011

    Box-office admissions in central Europe could rise by 25% over the next five years with Czech Republic seeing the strongest growth, according to Dodona Research. In the new report Cinemagoing Central Europe, the industry analyst firm reveals that increasing investments in new cinemas throughout the region coupled with strong local film industries will help boost cinema attendance. Forecasts predict that the number of cinema screens across central Europe is set to cross 3,000 by 20
  • Chris Carlisle takes over from Schwartz at New Line

    Former head of marketing for FOX Broadcasting and the FX Network Chris Carlisle has been named as Russell Schwartz' replacement as head of domestic marketing at New Line.Carlisle will report directly to Rolf Mittweg, New Line's President and chief operating officer of worldwide marketing and distribution, and will co-report to production president Toby Emmerich on creative materials.Carlisle will assume direct oversight of all marketing initiatives for the studio includin
  • Cinecitta copes with fire on back lot

    A fire broke out on Rome's Cinecitta studios back lot Thursday night at 22:00 local time.'Last night, a fire developed around Cinecitta Studios, exclusively affecting a peripheral part of the back lot where sets are constructed in open air,' the famed studio's Friday statement read.'The fire originated inside a tent of about 250 square meters and was most likely due to a short circuit. It immediately extended to a part of the sets of Ancient Rome,' the statement refers to
  • Cinema Epoch picks up US rights to Limousin's Young Yakuza

    US distributor Cinema Epoch has picked up Jean-Pierre Limosin's Young Yakuza, which played in official selection at Cannes this summer, and plans a January 2008 release.Filmed over an 18-month period, Young Yakuza explores the Japanese criminal underworld by contrasting the lives of a 20-year-old initiate and his boss.Celluloid Dreams' Hengameh Panahi and Christian Baute produced the film, w
  • Credit crunch may squeeze slate funders, says Fazio

    The rising cost of credit in the US sparked by the recent collapse of the mortgage sector has made film financing a more precarious business, according to Deutsche Bank's new global head of media and entertainment structured finance Laura Fazio.'People are concerned that the debt costs around these transactions have risen,' Fazio said in an interview with the Financial Times. 'The pricing on them looks tough. I don't think anyone is jumping in right now [as a new investor].'
  • Critical opinion: oeuvre and out

    The financial backing that allowed Antonioni and Bergman to create such distinctive bodies of work is absent for today's young, says Lee MarshallMuch has already been written about the same-day demise of Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni - not least that it's probably the most prominent Grim Reaper double whammy since US presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson popped off within a few hours of each other. As such, it's a gift to op-ed writers in the middle of
  • Cronenberg's Eastern Promises to open San Sebastian

    David Cronenberg's new film, Eastern Promises, is to open the 55th San Sebastian Film Festival, which runs Sept 20-29. The Spanish festival will close with Michael Radford's Flawless, a heist film starring Demi Moore and Michael Caine, playing out of competition. Paul Auster - who is to chair the official jury - will be showing his new directorial effort The Inner Life Of Martin Frost, out of competition. Eastern Promises, which will compete in
  • de Heer, Makhmalbaf films among TIFF Visions world premieres

    New films from Rolf de Heer and Hana Makhmalbaf will make their world premieres as part of the Visions programme at the Toronto International Film Festival, the festival announced today. The 13 titles join the seven titles already announced, including Roy Andersson's You, The Living and Ulrich Seidl's Import Export, in competing for the Artistic Innovation Award. Last year's winner Ozer Kiziltan's
  • Death Note spin-off L to get same-day release across Asia

    L, the spin-off of the successful Death Note series, is slated to open simultaneously in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan on Feb 9, 2008.The pan-Asian release strategy is the widest of its kind for a Japanese film, with more countries possibly signing on. Previous sequel Death Note 2: The Last Name, received its world premiere in Hong Kong, later opening on the
  • Ecce Homer

    The Simpsons Movie held the top spot for a second week as it continues to lay siege to the international box office, driven by a robust $6.9m top slot in Mexico. Transformers, closing fast on $300m overseas, added $30m from 6,118 venues in 53 territories to move into second. Ratatouille took third after it opened top in nine new territories: in France it opened to $11.4m and after five days had already amassed 85% of Cars' final tally there. Elsewhere, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoeni
  • Edinburgh Film Festival: by populist demand

    With a new director, the Edinburgh Film Festival (Aug 15-26) is hoping to enhance its reputation as the home of British film. Allan Hunter reports. Everything is different and everything is the same at the Edinburgh International Film Festival (Eiff) this year. The first festival under artistic director Hannah McGill is a canny mixture of the traditional and the innovative that plays to Edinburgh's strengths for documentary, discovery and retrospectives.It also
  • Edinburgh works with Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation

    The Edinburgh International Film Festival will present two films from Martin Scorsese's new non-profit World Cinema Foundation.EIFF artistic director Hannah McGill said the festival will screen Moroccan documentary Transes and Brazilian feature Limite, both restored by the foundation (Limite will be presented partially restored).The screenings are the
  • Edinburgh's Powell jury includes Geoff Gilmore and Kate Dickie

    The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), which kicks off Wednesday with Hallam Foe, has named the members for its members of the Michael Powell Award jury. The jury includes Sundance Film Festival director Geoff Gilmore, UK writer Jonathan Coe, actresses Natalie Press and Kate Dickie, and critic Jay Weissberg. The Michael Powell Award, started in 1993 and sponsored by the UK Film Council, is given to the best new UK feature film in the festival. For the first tim
  • Editorial opinion: rise of the machines

    The increasing use of CG and green screen shows it ain't what you've got, but how you use it, says Lee Marshall.In one of this autumn's most hotly anticipated releases - Robert Zemeckis' adaptation of the Old English epic poem Beowulf - Angelina Jolie plays a sexy seductress who attempts to distract our hero from his mission and win him over to the dark side. To emphasise her 'bad girl' credentials, she wears her hair in a long plait that swings around like a scorpion'
  • Eichinger's Baader-Meinhof Komplex begins shooting in Berlin

    Bernd Eichinger's ambitious production of Uli Edel's Der Baader Meinhof Komplex has begun principal photography in Berlin and will continue shooting later at locations in Munich and Morocco before wrapping at the end of November.This weekend, the adaptation of Stefan Aust's standard work on the Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorism group in Germany from 1967 to 1977 will be shooting a re-enactment of the student demonstration against the visit of t
  • Empties and King Of England lead Czech box-office recovery

    First-half box-office admissions in the Czech Republic grew 13% year-on-year, with local cinemas earning total revenues of nearly $31.3m (CZK 637m). If the trend continues in the second half, 2007 will outpace last year's 11.5m admissions, continuing a recovery from 2005's 9.5m admissions. The Czech Republic, which has a population of 10.2m, saw just over 6.6m admissions between Jan 1 and June 30, the best first-half performance in recent years, according to the Czech Union of Fil
  • Extraordinary Rendition

    Dir: Jim Threapleton. UK . 2007. 77mins. Extraordinary Rendition is a direct and powerful treatment of a subject that has caused huge indignation in the west - namely the kidnapping of a suspected terrorist and his transfer to a country that allows torture. Clearly made quickly and shot on a small budget, the film has an impact that belies its modest origins. The film is generally inventively shot and packs real punch.
  • Film Movement takes US rights to Dreams Of Dust

    Film Movement has picked up US rights to Laurent Salgues' France-Canada-Burkina Faso drama Dreams Of Dust.The film centres on a Nigerian peasant who travels to the nearby African country of Burkina Faso, where he discovers the gold rush ended years ago and a brave woman and her child are among many struggling to survive.Dreams Of Dust screened at this year's European Film Market in Berlin an
  • Genius secures credit facility from Societe Generale

    US home entertainment distributor Genius Products has signed a three-year revolving credit facility arranged by Societe Generale for an initial commitment of $30m rising to a total of $70m based on expected incremental commitments.The debt will be used to provide working capital and to finance acquisitions, production and co-productions, distribution and marketing.The amount available under the facility is based on accounts receivable, excluding those associated with prod
  • German Minister calls for DFFF to be extended beyond 2009

    German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck has called for the term of the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) to be extended beyond its initial three-year period of 2007-2009 after seeing its effectiveness in creating employment and income. The incentive scheme was launched on January 1 with an annual budget of $81.9m (Euros 60m) for the next three years to reimburse 20 cents of every Euro of 'German spend' up to a maximum of 80% of a film's total production costs. During a visit to t
  • Global Film Initiative announced films for 2008 Global Lens series

    Award-winning films from Argentina, China, Croatia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Philippines and South Africa will headline the Global Film Initiative's Global Lens 2008 film series.'The films selected for Global Lens 2008 are beautiful, powerful stories that represent the best of cinema from around the world,' Global Film Initiative chair of the board Susan Weeks Coulter said. 'They must be seen and experienced.'The Global Lens 2008 films will tour major cities in th
  • Hairspray honoured with ensemble acting nod from Hollywood Awards

    Hairspray will be honoured with the 11th Annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards' Hollywood Ensemble Acting Of The Year Award - Musical/Comedy.The awards will be handed out at the Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony on Oct 22 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.'We are very proud that we will be recognising the great talent in Hairspray. The cast is a fantastic ensemble of multi-talented esta
  • Harrison, Perkins join LA-based Fifteen Minutes PR

    Former Paradigm corporate communications chief Bill Harrison has resurfaced at Howard Bragman's LA-based consultancy Fifteen Minutes PR. Lisa Perkins has also joined the Los Angeles-based company from Creative Public Relations, where she served as senior publicist since 2002. Bragman has also promoted Gabriel Serrato to partner.'Bill Harrison is one of the future leaders of our business,' Bragman said. 'His intelligence, creativity and talent will be assets to the firm's
  • HFPA gives grants totalling $1.2m to film schools and non-profits

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association today (Thursday) today held its annual installation luncheon in Beverly Hills and presented $1.2m in financial grants to 28 film schools and non-profit organizations.
  • IFC acquires domestic theatrical and TV to Joe Strummer doc

    IFC Entertainment has acquired North American theatrical and television rights from Sony BMG Music Entertainment to Julien Temple's documentary Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten.The film launched at Sundance and chronicles Strummer's life from diplomatic corps brat to influential band leader of The Clash and The Mescaleros, before his death from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect in 2002 at the age of 50.The film will roll
  • Imax at 40: the bigger picture

    IMAX started out as a niche in the exhibition business. Forty years on, the company has created its own distribution window. Now it just needs more screens. Denis Seguin reports.When the Imax Corporation was founded 40 years ago at the Universal and International Exhibition (Expo 67) in Montreal, its creators were experimenting with multiple-projection systems to create a giant screen that would encompass the whole picture.But while the screen was huge, its retu
  • Is the summer market flooded'

    The summer box office is an unforgiving battlefield. This year, the pre-season war cry was more aggressive than ever: 2007 would be the summer to beat all summers. Major worldwide releases such as Spider-Man 3, Shrek The Third, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End and Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix ensured the international calendar was brimming with blockbuster product on a virtually weekly basis. But are too many blockbusters being released to take advantage of the market' Ju
  • Kim leaves Lionsgate to head sales at The Film Department

    Former Lionsgate senior vice president of international film sales Elizabeth Kim has joined Mark Gill and Neil Sacker's The Film Department to head its film sales division.The new executive vice president of international will be based in the company's West Hollywood offices from where she will oversee the fledgling company's slate.The Film Department has a $200m capitalisation and plans to produce six films a year budgeted in the $10-35m range.Total productio
  • Kinowelt International picks up Venice Days film Head Under Water

    Kinowelt International has taken on international sales for Andreas Kleinert's thriller Head Under Water (Freischwimmer) which has been selected for its world premiere at this year's Venice Days sidebar at the end of the month. This is Kleinert's first feature film for almost ten years since his Paths In The Night (Wege In Die Nacht) which opened Cannes Directors' Fortnight in 1999. In the intervening period Kleinert had worked on several TV movies for German television.
  • Kinowelt takes over Cine-International catalogue

    Kinowelt International has taken over the film catalogue of the Munich-based sales agent Cine-International which declared insolvency last month.The transaction was concluded by the Kinowelt subsidiary Futura Film Weltvertrieb im Filmverlag der Autoren with the insolvency administrator Oliver Schartl.Cine-International's library includes such films as Joseph Vilsmaier's Autumn Milk (Herbstmilch), Helma Sanders-Brahms'
  • Kuffman, Boyd, Pereira, Kim join Odd Lot executive ranks

    Odd Lot Entertainment has bulked up its executive suite, hiring Keith Kauffman as senior vice president of business and legal affairs, Andrew Boyd as director of marketing and publicity, Yvette Pereira as manager of accounting, and Shirley Kim as manager of international business affairs.Natalya Petrosova, formerly vice president of finance, has been promoted to senior vice president of finance, while vice president of development and acquisitions Eryl Woodlief will work on projects
  • Locarno's Maire sees attendance at main venue up 10%

    Attendances at Locarno's main screening venue for the International Competition and Filmmakers of the Present Competition are up 9%-10% on last year, according to artistic director Frederic Maire in a review of his second edition heading up the festival.Speaking exclusively to, Maire observed that the 2007 lineup for the international competition 'is stronger than last year and I think that this is a result of how the 2006 edit
  • Louis Belanger starts shooting The Timekeeper

    Quebecois filmmaker Louis Belanger has commenced principal photography on his first English-language feature, The Timekeeper, for Real Chabot of the Coop Video de Montreal. Adapted by Belanger and Lorraine Dufour from the novel by Trevor Ferguson, the film stars Roy Dupuis, Craig Olejnik, Julian Richings, Gary Farmer, Wayne Robson, Gaston Lepage and Stephen McHattie. Dufour is also the editor and executive producer.Set in 1964 agai
  • Mar del Plata plans date shift from March to Dec as of 2008

    Jorge Alvarez, president of the National Film Institute (INCAA), whichruns the Mar del Plata Film Festival in Argentina, has announced that the INCAA is planning to movethe festival dates from March to Nov or Dec as of next year.INCAA has approached the International Federation of Film ProducersAssociations (FIAPF), the regulator of A-level international filmfestivals, to endorse the date change. 'Our next edition will probably run in December 2008', Alvarezsaid.Argentina
  • Maryam Keshavarz gets inaugural Adrienne Shelly grant

    The Sundance Institute in collaboration with The Adrienne Shelly Foundation has awarded the inaugural Adrienne Shelly Foundation Women Filmmakers Grant to Maryam Keshavarz.The Adrienne Shelly Foundation will provide a $5,000 grant to be awarded by Sundance Institute each July to a film-maker coming out of the Feature Film Progamme's June Director's Lab.Keshavarz participated in both the 2007 January Screenwriting Lab and the 2007 June Directing and Screenwriting Labs with
  • Meyers promoted to evp, business affairs, at Focus Features

    Focus Features has promoted Howard Meyers to executive vice president of business affairs.Meyers will serve as co-head of the department alongside executive vice president of strategic planning, business affairs and acquisitions Avy Eschenasy. Based in the company's West Coast offices, he reports directly to Focus ' chief executive officer James Schamus.The company's business affairs departments in Manhattan and the West Coast will report to Meyers and Eschenasy.
  • Montreal boasts 53 world premieres in competition sections

    The Montreal World Film Festival today announced the films in Official Competition, First Films Competition and World Greats (Out of Competition) for the 31st event.Of 230 features, 53 are world premieres, 56 are international premieres (premieres outside the country of origin), 59 are North American premieres, and 42 are Canadian premieres.Among the world premieres in Official Competition are Mark Brokaw's Spinning Into Butter, st
  • New Abu Dhabi festival to offer film financing with top awards

    The Black Pearl - the grand prix of the new Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF), unspooling for the first time in Abu Dhabi Oct 14-19 - will come with production grants for the winners' next films. 'The festival is determined to plant its flag right away,' said festival director Jon Fitzgerald, a veteran of Slamdance, the American Film Institute, and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The new festival will programme two competitions - one for features and docume
  • Norwegian festival's New Nordic Films market to offer 30 features

    Unspoling between Aug 17-24 in Haugesund, the 35th Norwegian International Film Festival will be opened by Norwegian culture minister Trond Giske and the world premiere of Norwegian director Petter Naess' Gone by the Woman.It will show a programme focusing on Nordic and European cinema, with two-thirds of the selection having European ties, and the New Nordic Films market boasting more 30 recent Scandinavian features. Still the the line-up announced today has entries from 2
  • Open Doors awards go to projects from Syria, Israel and Egypt

    Projects from Israel, Syria and Egypt received development and production awards today at the Locarno Film Festival's Open Doors co-production forum, which was dedicated to the Near and Middle Eastern cinema. The two grants of $41,890 (CHF 50,000) for development and production, provided by Switzerland's Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and jointly allocated by the film festival and the Visions Sud Est production fund, were awarded to: Palestinian director Tawfik Abu-Wael's
  • Oscar-nominated writer, director Shavelson dies at 90

    Film-maker and former Writers Guild Of America, West president Melville Shavelson has died at his Studio City, Los Angeles, home. He was 90.Shavelson passed away from natural causes on Aug 8 and made a name for himself as a skilled Jack Of All Trades.He shared two Best Screenplay Oscar nominations in the 1950s with collaborator Jack Rose for Houseboat and The Seven Little Foys, which he also
  • Palador gets Olive Collection and catalogue after UTV split

    The dispute between Indian companies UTV Motion Pictures and Palador, reported in May, has been amicably settled. After releasing two films (City of God and 13 Tzameti) under the UTV-Palador brand, the Indian motion picture company terminated all business relations with Palador for its world cinema business citing 'material breach of terms of agreement by Palador'. However as part of the legal decree passed by the sole arbitrator allegations of 'material breach' and 'non-pe
  • Paramount International taps key managers in Japan and Spain

    Paramount Pictures International has hired new executives in two key territories. Ichiro Okazaki will start his post as president of Paramount Pictures Japan as of Sept 1. Pierre Auger will take on the role of general manager, Paramount Pictures Spain, from December 2007. PPI was launched in January after the restructuing of United International Pictures (UIP) and is continuing to expand its own operations in key territories. Okazaki has worked at BVI in Japan since
  • Park Circus takes on world rights to Icon back catalogue

    UK distributor Park Circus has struck a deal with Icon Entertainment International to handle Icon's back catalogue worldwide, both theatrically and non-theatrically. The library includes more than 350 titles such as The Passion Of The Christ and The Big Easy. The deal represents Icon productions and also other properties including the Hammer and King's Roads libraries. The distributor is known for its releases of classic films, including last week's record-sett
  • Pathe and BBC Films team for live-action Jungle Book

    Pathe and BBC Films are working together on a $50m live-action version of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Books. The comedy adventure will start preparations in September 2007 with director John Downer, who has previoulsy worked on nature-oriented films including Pride. Richard Kurti & Bev Doyle (Robin Hood) are writing the script. Michelle Fox, who previously worked on 102 Dalmations and Bride & Prejudice, will produce for John Downe
  • Peter Paige to star in Brazilian drama Copacabana

    Peter Paige from the Showtime series Queer As Folk has joined the cast of Roberto Jabor's Brazilian drama Copacabana, Of Love And Shadows.The $5m English-language production will commence principal photography in Rio De Janeiro in March 2008 and weaves together the stories of a treacherous drag queen, a nightclub diva and a gay Englishman on the prowl for sex.Negotiations to sign the English
  • PorchLight launches non-family unit Condor Releasing

    US-based PorchLight Entertainment has launched worldwide distribution and home entertainment division Condor Releasing.The new venture will handle projects that fall outside PorchLight's family entertainment constituency and launches with its first acquisition, the thriller Towards Darkness with America Ferrera.The Golden Globe winner served as executive producer on Antonio Negret's film, a Spanish and English-language account of a
  • Posne to leave post as CEO of Sonet Film

    After 23 years as CEO of Sonet Film, the leading Swedish producer-distributor owned by Modern Times Group, Peter Posne is leaving the company. As of Jan 1, 2008, he will be replaced by head of legal affairs and deputy manager Mathias Berggren.Originally Posne set up Sonet to import and distribute European films, releasing such titles as Baghdad Cafe, Delicatessen, The Big Blue and Nikita. During the las
  • Quinn, Reichert promoted to share releasing duties at Magnolia

    Magnolia Pictures department heads Tom Quinn (pictured right) and Jeff Reichert (left) have been promoted to the roles of senior vice president and will share all major responsibilities surrounding releases.Quinn previously focused primarily on acquisitions, while Reichert oversaw theatrical publicity and marketing on all distribution efforts.'Tom and Jeff have been instrumental in Magnolia's success in recent years,' president Eamonn Bowles said. 'These promotions recogn
  • Rush Hour 3 takes domestic crown with $50.2m opening

    New Line scored a late summer hit as the Rush Hour partnership of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker returned to theatres following a six-year absence and opened top on an estimated $50.2m.Studio executives will appreciate the fillip, coming as it does just days after the departure of long-serving marketing guru Russell Schwartz, who obviously played a key role in getting the word out on Brett Ratner's latest caper.Chan and Tucker reunit
  • Russell Schwartz leaves New Line after six years

    Russell Schwartz is leaving his position as New Line's president of domestic theatrical marketing after more than six years in the role.Schwartz will remain in place until the end of August, by which time studio's leadership will expect to have found a replacement. Beyond that he will be available as a consultant.'I feel I've accomplished everything I could at New Line and reached my capacity to grow in the organisation,' Schwartz, who will announce his own plans shortly,
  • San Sebastian plans New Nordic Cinema programme

    The San Sebastian Film Festival is planning a New Nordic Cinema retrospective of 38 films.Cold Fever will look at post-Dogme cinema in the five Nordic countries since 1995. Danish critic Christian Monggaard will write an accompanying book.Selections include Lars Von Trier's Breaking The Waves, Nicolas Winding Refn's Pusher, Susanne Bier's Open Hearts,
  • Shabana Azmi to head jury of new Asia Pacific awards

    The Indian actress and humanitarian Shabana Azmi has been named president of the international jury at the inaugural Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), to be held on Australia's Gold Coast on Nov 13. 'The Asia Pacific Screen Awards is strongly committed to cinematic excellence and the promotion of the regions' respective cultures through film,' said APSA chair Des Power. 'There is no better person to head up the jury than Ms Azmi. Her integrity and commitment to the APSA ideals is consid
  • Shaevitz, Schaefer join Summit's production team

    Summit Entertainment has hired production executives Geoff Shaevitz and Michael Schaefer as the company continues to expand its in-house film-making activities under production chief Erik Feig.Shaevitz will serve as senior vice president of production and Schaefer will serve as vice president of acquisitions and co-productions. Both report to Feig.'It's been a period of rapid and exciting growth at the company and as we grow our department, and the studio, it's critical t
  • Shyam Benegal to get India's top film honours

    Indian Film Company chairman Shyam Benegal has received this year's Dada Saheb Phalke Award, India's highest honour for cinema.Indian President Pratibha Patil will present the award, along with a cash prize, to Benegal later this year. Benegal is the director of classics including Ankur, Nishant, Kalyug and Bhumika. He currently is the chairman of the Film & Television Institute of India, Pu
  • Sigur Ros film to get UK theatrical release after Reykjavik premiere

    Shooting People Films is working with EMI for a planned UK theatrical release of band Sigur Ros' first film, Heima. Lilo & Stitch director Dean DeBlois led the project, using an Icelandic crew. The documentary-style project was filmed at 15 locations last summer during the band's tour of Iceland. The title is Icelandic for 'at home' or 'homeland'.The film includes performances from all four Sigur Ros albums, two new songs, personal reflections from band me
  • Simpsons make it into Indian multiplexes after boycott is resolved

    After losing out on opening weekend collections for the The Simpsons Movie in India , local distributor Warner Bros reached an amicable settlement with the Multiplex Owners Association leading to the film being back on regular shows from today (Aug 7). The multiplex owners cited unreasonable demands for an increased number of screenings of the movie as the reason for the boycott. Reports in the local media suggest that intervention from 20th Century Fox (Australia) has led
  • Simpsons narrowly beats Potter for international lead

    Fox International clinched the weekend crown in a hotly contested overseas market that saw The Simpsons Movie and Die Hard 4.0 both cross $200m, Disney's Ratatouille pass $100m, and Warner Bros' fifth Harry Potter reach $550m.Final results on Monday will determine the true winner, however for now The Simpsons Movie appears to have pipped
  • Sony Classics takes North and South America on Brick Lane

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North and South American rights from The Works International to Sarah Gavron's London-set immigrant romance Brick Lane.Tannishtha Chatterjee, Satish Kaushik, Christopher Simpson, Harvey Virdi and Zafreen star in the tale of a Bangladeshi woman who struggles after she comes to London to be in an arranged marriage.The film is based on Monica Ali's novel that was shortlisted for the 2003 Man Booker
  • Sparkle

    Dir/Scr: Tom Hunsinger & Neil Hunter UK
  • Steve Coogan to play Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards on screen

    Steve Coogan will star in Eddie The Eagle as the eponymous British ski-jumper whose last place ranking in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary endeared him to tens of thousands of fans and came to epitomise British eccentricity and spirit.Producers John Heyman and Rupert Maconick are lining up a January 2008 shoot in time to release next year to mark the 20th anniversary of Eagle's - real name Michael Edwards - Gold medal bid. Heyman and World F
  • Svenska Bio strikes deal to acquire Astoria Cinemas

    Swedish insolvent cinema circuit, Astoria Cinemas - once the country's second-largest theatre chain - has been sold to Svenska Bio, which is 49% controlled by Svensk Filmindustri (SF), a sister company of market leader SF Bio. After the deal, with Svenska Bio, Bonnier-owned SF and SF Bio account for almost 80% of Swedish exhibition. In 2005 local competition authorities banned an SF Bio take-over of the 22 theatres (88 screens) belonging to Sandrew Metronome, claiming it would give SF Bio a m
  • Svenska Bio strikes deal to acquire Astoria Cinemas

    Swedish insolvent cinema circuit, Astoria Cinemas - once the country's second-largest theatre chain - has been sold to Svenska Bio, which is 49% controlled by Svensk Filmindustri (SF), a sister company of market leader SF Bio. After the deal, with Svenska Bio, Bonnier-owned SF and SF Bio account for almost 80% of Swedish exhibition. In 2005 local competition authorities banned an SF Bio take-over of the 22 theatres (88 screens) belonging to Sandrew Metronome, claiming it would give SF Bio a m
  • Terence Davies among 6 finalists for Digital Departures funding

    Northwest Vision and Media has selected six finalists in its Digital Departures micro-budget scheme. The six teams now working on scripts and three will be greenlight by an industry panel for funding of $502,000 (£250,000) each. The projects are: documentary Time And The City written and directed by Terence Davies and produced by Solon Papadopoulos and Roy Boulter; drama The Don written by Jeff Young and Pete Wylie and produced by Tishna Molla; drama Starstru
  • The Price of Sugar

    Dir: Bill Haney. US. 2007. 90min One the stand-out documentaries at Austin's SXSW festival this past spring was Bill Haney's The Price of Sugar, a sobering and well-done examination of the unpleasant realities behind the sugar tens of millions of Americans innocently sprinkle over their cereal in the morning. A theatrical release for this often dramatic and riveting film, which sports exceptionally high production values, seems a stretch. But telev
  • The Rebirth becomes Locarno's first Japanese winner since 1970

    Masahiro Kobayashi's The Rebirth (Ai No Yokan) became the first Japanese film to receive the Golden Leopard since Akio Jissoji's The Transient Life (Mujo) was an ex aequo winner at the festival in 1970.Described by artistic director Frederic Maire as 'a very strong and edgy film', The Rebirth also received special mentions fro
  • Toronto names 13 new titles in Discovery programme

    The Toronto International Film Festival has unveiled 13 films in the Discovery programme to accompany the previously announced Those Three.The new titles are: David Ross' US drama The Babysitters, about a teenager that turns a babysitting service into a call girl ring; Tamar van den Dop's Netherlands/Belgium/Bulgaria romance Blind; Israel Cardenas and Laura Ameli
  • Truly Indie takes US rights to Heather Graham thriller Broken

    Truly Indie has picked up US rights to Alan White's thriller thriller Broken starring Heather Graham, Jeremy Sisto and Linda Hamilton.Jerry Wayne of Walk on the Beach Productions and producer Brian R Etting are producing and financing the story of a young women haunted by her violent ex-boyfriend. Drew Pillsbury wrote the screenplay.The film premiered at the AFI FEST 2006 and will open in New York on Oct 5 and expand to select citi
  • United Kingdom - Capture the zeitgeist

    Film4 is grabbing headlines as its biggest film yet, Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Lovely Bones, gears up to shoot this autumn. It is just one of 12-14 films that Channel 4's film division is making this year - even more that the usual six to eight per year.Peter Carlton used to run the now-defunct Film4 Lab but has since taken that lower-budget ethos to a variety of projects at Film4. That means a particularly busy year, says Carlton, who is now Film4's senior commissioning execut
  • United Kingdom - Straight to Market

    In contrast to major film studios, book publishers have been reluctant to use consumer research to trial content or marketing approaches. But that is changing and the new properties emerging through such research could be fertile ground for TV and film producers seeking proven formulas.Children's publishers, with their closely defined readerships, can be at the forefront of such consumer-influenced moves. Leading the way is Egmont Books, the third-largest group in the UK children's boo
  • Universal, LoveFilm, News International work on Bourne USB promo

    In an unusual marketing initiative, UK newspaper News Of The World will give away exclusive Bourne UltimatumUSB sticks with the Aug 12 edition of the newspaper at select WHSmith stores. The promotion from Universal Pictures, LoveFilm and News International will let users plug the sticks into PCs or MACs to visit an exclusive website for promotional film materials as well as a free trial of The Bourne Ultimatum will be released in the UK Aug 16.
  • US Women In Film teams with GM for Emerging Filmmakers Award

    Women In Film (WIF) and the General Motors Corporation (GM) have announced the second annual WIF/GM Acceleration Grant for Emerging Filmmakers.The 2007 WIF/GM Acceleration Grant for Emerging Filmmakers will again be presented to five up-and-coming female film-makers, chosen through an application process overseen by a WIF selection committee comprised of professional film-makers and entertainment industry executives.The grant will provide recipients with a broad-based und
  • UTV partners with Virgin for new superhero books and films

    India-based UTV Motion Pictures and its SpotBoy production arm are working with Virgin Comics, a division of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, to collaborate on four new superhero franchises. The brands will be leveraged across publishing, film, animation and gaming. The stories will initially be released as graphic novels published worldwide by Virgin. The first books are due out by the end of the year.The characters will be 'rooted in an Indian ideology and borne from the
  • Weinstein Company launches $285m Asian film fund

    Harvey and Bob Weinstein have announced their long-planned $285m Asian film fund to finance the development, production, acquisition, marketing and distribution of Asian-themed films over the next six years.The Weinstein Company (TWC) will handle worldwide distribution for all films under the deal and domestic DVD distribution will go through Genius Products under the recently formed Dragon Dynasty label.TWC, which already has an office in Hong Kong, plans to expand up it
  • Why buy British'

    UNITED STATES'I'm a huge fan of British film' - Tom Quinn, head of acquisitions, Magnolia Pictures"Acquiring films is about what's available on the circuit and giving ample priority to our native tongue. I've always been a huge fan of British film. There's traditionally been a typical type of British film, but in recent years I'd say everything coming out of the UK - not just films like The Queen and Pride & Prejudice - has been worth putting on your docket to chase at festivals