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13 December 2002

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  • 007 breaks industry opening record in Russia, bows big in Australia

    Die Another Day kept up the sterling work for Fox International over the weekend and broke a few more records for Fox International with a superb Australian bow that yielded $2.7m from 323 theatres. It was the biggest opening of all time for a James Bond picture in the territory, the fourth best opening ever for the distributor and the biggest December non-holiday opening in the market. These figures were no doubt inspired in part by last week's promotional tour in Sydney and Melbourne
  • 14 Irish companies get MEDIA development funds

    The Media Programme has confirmed Euros 1.07m in development funding for 14 Irish film and television companies. Ten of the companies have received slate funding support which will take the form of a rolling credit line over the next three years. They are Element Films, Fastnet Films, Octagon Film Productions, Tyrone Productions, Banjax Ltd, Crossing the Line, Frontier Films, Paradox Pictures, Telegael Teo, and Brown Bag Films. Eight Irish companies have also benefited from the
  • 25th Hour

    Dir: Spike Lee. US 2002. 135minsA cautionary tale about the consequences of knowingly breaking the law, 25th Hour contains a commanding performance by the supremely-talented Edward Norton that is likely to generate an Oscar nomination for the actor but not greatly increase the box office. Spike Lee's films are always a tough sell overseas, and while this one departs from the writer/director's usual formula in several significant ways - perhaps most obviously in that it
  • 70s cinema doc gets multi-platform release by IFC

    The Independent Film Channel(IFC) announced today (Dec 16) a multi-platform distribution plan for ADecade Under The Influence, theextensive account of cinema in the 1970s that was film-maker Ted Demme'slast project before he died. The picture, which was co-directed by RichardLaGravenese who made Living Out Loud, is set to premiere in the Documentary Competition category at the 2003Sundance Film Festival in January.An IFC Original produced bythe network, A Decade Under
  • About Schmidt wins best picture vote from LA critics

    The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) voted the drama About Schmidt best picture of the year today (Dec 14), while top directing honours went to Pedro Almodovar for the acclaimed comedy-drama, Talk To Her (Hable Con Ella). Best actor was a tie between Jack Nicholson, for his performance in the best picture as troubled retiree Warren Schmidt, and Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays a ruthless gang leader in Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York. Announcing a broad
  • Academy re-draw documentary eligibility rules from 2004

    In a bid to place a greater emphasis on the theatrical appeal of Oscar-nominated documentaries - and distance them further from their television funders - the Academy of Motion Picture Arts& Sciences has tightened eligibility rules for non-fiction films. The new rules will kick in for 2004 Academy Awards. Current rules stipulatingthat Documentary Features and Short Subjects entries must satisfy a seven-daytheatrical run in Los Angeles County or the Borough of Manhattan have beenamende
  • AFI names ten best for 2002, includes Gangs, Hours, Chicago

  • AFI names ten best for 2002, omitting Far From Heaven

    The American Film Institute(AFI) announced its 10 outstanding motion pictures for 2002 today (Dec 16) andits almanac recording the year's most significant achievements in theworld of the moving image. The selections were made over two days by two juries- one for feature films and one for TV -comprising one chair, three scholars,three artists, three critics and three AFI trustees. Now in their third year,the AFI Awards recognises the ensemble contribution of a picture's castand crew. Honourees
  • AFM launches indie producer screenings in 2003

    Twenty films from differentproducers will screen on the last day of the 2003 AFM in an inaugural programmedesigned to showcase independent features to distributors and sales agents. TheAFM Producer Screenings are scheduled to take place on Feb 26, the last day ofthe 23rd American Film Market in Santa Monica. The American Film MarketingAssociation (AFMA) said feature-length narratives and documentaries with theleast amount of exposure would be selected for private market sc
  • Andrew Mason appointed to FTO board

    Producer Andrew Mason has been appointed to the board of the New South Wales Film and Television Office (FTO) for three years. Although best known as someone who shepherds offshore films such as The Matrix through Australia, he has also been building a local production business. Mason replaces Laurie Patton, who has fulfilled the permissible two terms. Lawyer Shane Simpson, the FTO chair, and Sarah Dowland, a producer at highly acclaimed visual effects houses Animal Logic, have
  • Anouk Aimee to get Berlinale lifetime achievement award

    French actress Anouk Aimee will be honoured with the Berlinale's Homage and receive a Lifetime Achievement Golden Bear at a screening of Lola on February 13.Announcing the tribute, festival director Dieter Kosslick stated that "Anouk Aimee is one of the great European stars to whom we owe so many unforgettable moments on the screen. With a distinctive combination of melancholy and passion, she has demonstrated her splendid acting skills in countless films."The homage, wh
  • Arthur Hiller goes to Greece for comedy festival

    Arthur Hiller, theOscar-nominated director of Love Story and former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts &Sciences, will be the guest of honour at the American Comedy Festival inAthens, Greece, this weekend. The week-long festival runs from Dec 13-19 andhas been organised by the US Embassy in association with the Greek FilmArchives.The festival will kick offwith an invitation-only event at the Apollon Theatre, when Hiller will discuss SilverStre
  • Australian Competition Commission protects indie exhibitors

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has stepped in to protect cinema owners not part of the country's exhibition troika, The issue in question is the future of cinema advertising or, more specifically, of the only national provider of these services, Val Morgan. Village, Hoyts and Greater Union, which control over 60% of screens and 75% of all cinema revenues, were ordered back to the drawing board by the ACCC after they presented a proposal to jointly acqu
  • Avati takes over Cinecitta reins

    Veteran Italian director Pupi Avati has been namedpresident of Cinecitta Holding, the parent company of the famed Rome-basedCinecitta Studios where Martin Scorsese shot his Gangs Of New York epic. Avati - whose own credits as a filmmaker include 2001's ICavalieri Che Fecero L'Impresa and upcomingperiod drama Il Cuore Altrove - replaces Taormina festival chiefFelice Laudadio, whose contract with Cinecitta expires at the end of thi
  • Baltic producers target Euro co-productions

    Film producers in the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are reaching out to their neighbours in western Europe, ahead of formally joining the European Union in 2004. Latvia, along with Poland, became the first country in eastern Europe to join the Media Plus programme in July, as well as the first in the Baltics to join Eurimages at the beginning of January. Both Estonia and Lithuania are set to join Eurimages early next year, raising the hopes of film producers whose co
  • Beacon's back: Bernstein signs five-year deal at Disney

    Beacon Communicationsfounder and producer Armyan Bernstein has signed a five-year overall deal withWalt Disney Studios. Along with partner Charlie Lyons and private investors,Bernstein has capitalised the new venture, Beacon Pictures, and plans to createand distribute titles under the Beacon label. Lyons, the founder and formerchairman of sport and leisure outfit Ascent Entertainment, has been named chiefexecutive officer of the new company. The deal was structured by Alan Levine oflaw firm Z
  • Boy band impresario sets up US family film company

    N SYNC and Backstreet Boysimpresario Louis J Pearlman has teamed up with Steve Austin's TagEntertainment to form Tag Studios, a theatrical film and television productioncompany that will focus on family oriented output with a strong musicalinfluence. Pearlman and Austin each have an equal equity share in theenterprise and plan an annual slate of six family films. Tag Studios currentlyhas four features in development with a further two in pre-production and hassigned deals
  • BVI tops $1bn in grosses for the eighth year in a row

    Buena VistaInternational (BVI) has passed $1bn in international ticket sales for thisyear, making it the only distributor to achieve the distinction eight years ina row. In addition three of the 50 titles BVI handled in 2002 - Monsters Inc,Signs and Lilo & Stitch - grossed more than $100m each. Disney/Pixar'sMonsters Inc was the highest grossing picture on BVI's slate this yearwith $239.6m for 2002 and a total of $268.4m since its release last Christmas.BVI said the picture is n
  • Catch Me If You Can

  • Catch Me If You Can

    Dir: Steven Spielberg. US. 2002. 140mins (TBC) Steven Spielberg's customary polish graces the Christmas Day domestic release of Catch Me If You Can, another accomplished, somewhat soulless offering from the world's most famous director which is set to steal a large chunk of box office change from the world's multiplex screens in the next few months. Based on the autobiography of Frank W Abagnale, Catch Me If You Can chronicles Abagnale's teenage years in the 1960s when
  • Chamber Of Secrets soars on, passes $350m gross

    Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets maintained the magic with an estimated $42.4m in international ticket sales for Warner Bros over the weekend, bringing its cumulative total so far to a mighty $350m. There were 7.6m million admissions from more than 9,000 screens in 45 territories. In South Korea, the picture set a new industry record for the biggest opening weekend of all time, taking $1.5m (Won 1.9bn) in the capital Seoul and surpassing the previous best set by Harry
  • Chicago

    Dir: Rob Marshall. US. 2002. 113minsMoulin Rouge last year proved that there was box-office life in the movie musical. The eagerly anticipated Chicago should confirm that, at least in North America, where it opens on Dec 27, and other English-language territories. Buzz is furious on both coasts for the film of the Broadway musical which enjoyed a global revival in 1997, and awards talk is heating up for the film and its stars Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jone
  • Chicago

    Dir: Rob Marshall. US. 2002. 113mins
  • Chicago heads Golden Globe nominees

    Miramax musical Chicago has emerged as front-runner in nominations for the 60th annual Golden Globes, with a total of eight nods - just ahead of Stephen Daldry's The Hours which is nominated in seven categories.Other multi-nominated films include Spike Jonze's Adaptation with six nods and Alexander Payne's About Schmidt and Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York with five nominations each.Miramax also led the field in terms of studio
  • Chicago set as Berlinale opening night spectacular

    Chicago, the star-studded musical based on the celebrated Broadway show of the same title, will open next year's Berlin festival on Feb 6 in an out-of-competition slot."I am delighted that we will be able to start the coming Berlinale with this splendid cinematic experience and these international stars. Chicago will get audiences in the right mood for the festival", said festival director Dieter Kosslick. Boasting stars Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richa
  • Columbine voted best documentary of all time

    Michael Moore'sfeted documentary Bowling for Columbine has been named the all-time favourite non-fiction film bymembers of the International Documentary Association (IDA). Announcing "Top20 at 20" today (Dec 12), an eclectic top 20 list to coincide with its20th anniversary, the IDA became the latest body to honour Moore'sstrident examination of America's gun culture. The film has picked upnumerous awards this year, including Best Documentary 2002 from the NationalBoard of Review and th
  • Copenhagen Film Festival sets launch date

    After juggling with different launch dates for months the new Copenhagen International Film Festival (CIFF) has set the date for its first edition, Aug13-20 2003. Festival director Janne Giese sees the event as the next obvious step after the success of Danish film in recent years. "It is a patchwork to set a date for a new festival, because there's literally one every day of the year," says Giese. "However, we do believe that Copenhagen deserves a film festival, not just for the audie
  • Cuban Film Institute unveils 2003 slate

    The Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC) unveiled its slate of films for 2003 at the 24th annual edition of the Havana Film Festival of New Latin American Cinema (Dec 3-13).ICAIC director Camilo Vives presented seven feature films in development, at least four of which are anticipated to begin shooting in Cuba next year with co-financing from Spain.Of the four, three are musicals or music documentaries, including: Manuel Herrera's "classic musical" Bailando Cha Cha Cha; Jorge Lui
  • Dirty Pretty Things continues strong run of product for Buena Vista

    Buena Vista International scored with another strong limited release performer this week as Dirty Pretty Things grossed an impressive $225,541 (£141,865) from just 50 sites. The drama, from British director Stephen Frears, showed a strong per site average of $4,511, laying claim to seventh position in the chart.Dirty Pretty Things also played well in London's West End where it grossed $100,260 (£63,290) from 13 locations for a powerful average of $7,712. Starrin
  • Eichinger joins Constantin Film supervisory board

    Bernd Eichinger is being lined up to succeed Commerzbank's Franz Jung as a member of Constantin Film's supervisory board from January 1, 2003.Eichinger, who built Constantin Film up into Germany's most successful independent production and distribution house over the two decades since joining the company in 1979, had served as the chairman of Constantin's management board when it floated on the Neuer Markt in 1999. A 25% shareholder in Constantin, Eichinger stepped down from h
  • El Alamein: The Line Of Fire

    Dir: Enzo Monteleone. Italy. 2002. 123mins.At last, Italy too has its Saving Private Ryan (minus some of Spielberg's special effects) or it's The Thin Red Line (minus some of Malick's cosmic vision) . El Alamein: The Line Of Fire is the first Italian film to respect the new American war-movie orthodoxy: carefully documented realism (the director interviewed dozens of veterans, enough to make The Children Of El Alamein, a spin-off documentary that was pres
  • 'Extraordinary' Kinderfilmfest expected

    Films from South Korea, Finland, Israel, Germany and Japan are among the first seven titles confirmed by the Berlinale Kinderfilmfest's new director Thomas Hailer for a programme which, in his words, "promises to be both diversified and extraordinary."Two films have been invited from Finland: Arto Koskinen's The Handcuff King (Kahlekuningas) about a friendship between two boys during the 1970s which defies all barriers; and Klaus Haro's debut feature Elina (Elina - Som Jag In
  • Extreme Ops

    Dir: Christian Duguay. Ger-UK. 2002. 93mins.Some effectively shot extreme skiing and snowboarding footage is the primary excuse for Extreme Ops, an otherwise pretty cheesy, virtually plot-free Euro-American action romp with a mid-level cast of youngsters and older hands from the British, German and US film and TV worlds. The long-completed MDP Worldwide production (previously known as The Extremists) has taken an uninspiring $4.7m since it opened on 1,800 screen
  • Far From Heaven dominates New York critics awards...

    Todd Haynes' homage to1950s melodramas Far From Heavenpicked up five awards including Best Picture of 2002 today (Dec 16) from the NewYork Film Critics Circle, one of the key pre-Oscar indicators of the awardsseason. The 34-member group named the picture's director Todd Haynes asbest director and gave other awards to Dennis Quaid and Patricia Clarkson fortheir supporting roles in the film as well as to Ed Lachman for hiscinematography.Ironically Julianne Moore,the actress who ha
  • Film comedy gets own gong show

    As the North American awards season gathers pace the USComedy Arts Festival (USCAF) and HBO have got in on the gong-giving act byannouncing that next year's ninth annual event will feature the inauguralComedy Film Honours. The awards will recognise Studio Comedy Film, Independent ComedyFilm, First-Time Director and the Entertainment Weekly Audience Award and are to be presidedover by an executive committee of comedy filmmakers that includes Steve Martin,Jay Roach, Billy Crystal,
  • First Hand Films takes int'l rights on Truth & Lies

    First Hand Films has picked up international rights on Seville-based Maestranza Films' forthcoming English-language "false documentary" Truth & Lies, a co-production with Germany's and France's Dune. Billed as a "journalistic thriller" mixing real events and news clips with fiction, Truth & Lies tells the story of two journalists investigating the mysterious death of fictionalised global media magnate Martin Zeman. Emmy-nominated veteran TV director Ja
  • Francois Ozon returns to Focus Features

    Focus Featureshas acquired US distribution rights to the thriller Swimming Pool, the latest picture by 8 Women director Francois Ozon, from sales agentCelluloid Dreams. Announcing the move today (Dec 17), Focus co-presidents DavidLinde and James Schamus said Swimming Pool will be released in 2003.Swimming Pool is the first English-language picture byOzon and stars Charlotte Rampling, who starred for the director in Under TheSand, and LudivineSagnier, whose c
  • Gerardmer festival reveals first details of 2003 edition

    The Gerardmer festival has announced the first details surrounding its 2003 vintage which will run from January 29 to February 2, 2003. On the jury of the horror film fest are Jean-Pierre Jeunet and his former filmmaking partner Marc Caro along with Brotherhood of the Wolf star Samuel Le Bihan, French TV star Veronique Genest, former Cesar nominee Pascal Legitimus and French star Mathilde Seigner. A jury president has yet to be named.Celebrating its tenth anniversary, t
  • German insolvency blow softened by Peppermint takeover

    Helkon Media's production subsidiary Kinofilm Muenchen Filmproduktion and the Vienna-based associated company Helkon Media GesmbH have become the latest divisions of the bankrupt German media group to file proceedings for insolvency. Kinofilm Muenchen Filmproduktion, which produced such films as Hans-Guenther Buecking's Die Haeupter Meiner Lieben and Peter Gersina's Vienna, submitted its application to the local court in Munich on December 16. Meanwhile, Helkon Media Gesm
  • Globes circle round Chicago, The Hours

    The dark and sometimes twisted streak running through so many of this year's Golden Globe nominations confirms what the pundits have been declaring for weeks now: that the awards pendulum has swung firmly back towards more rarefied audience tastes and away from the popcorn entertainment most often identified with Hollywood. With a full eight Globe nominations for Chicago, another seven for The Hours, six for Adaptation and five apiece for About Schmidt and
  • Great American Songbook to close Palm Springs fest

    Performer-composer MichaelFeinstein's The Great American Songbook, a homage to American musicals and song, will closethe 14th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on Jan 19, 2003.Feinstein will perform after the screening while the evening will be hosted bywriter-comedian Bruce Vilanch. Carol Channing and Jerry Herman will also appearon stage as special guests, along with other Hollywood musical stars. Theclosing night will also mark the award of the inaugural John Schlesing
  • Had To Be Made year-round film festival launched in US

    The inauguralHad To Be Made Film Festival (HTBMFF), which seeks to raise public awareness ofAmerican independent pictures by making its entire programme available forrental at participating video stores, has announced its first call for entries.Festival director Michael Kyle said yesterday (Dec 16) that the event willlaunch on Feb 1, 2003 and take the form of a nationwide, year-round roster forfeatures and shorts comprising two six-month programmes. The first deadline forfeatures and shorts &
  • Havana fest honours City Of God, Suddenly

    Over 500 films were screened at Havana's 24th Festival of New Latin American Cinema, confirming the pre-eminence of Brazil and Argentina in the region.Fernardo Meireilles' magnificent epic City of God shared the top prize, the Premio Coral, with Diego Lerman's sparkling debut, Suddenly. These two films, along with A Red Bear, Minimal Stories and Common Places, all from Argentina, also mopped up most of the other awards. Other countries fared less we
  • Hughes departure from Australia's FFC confirmed as Dec 31

    Two senior investment managers at the Film Finance Corporation (FFC), Terry Jennings and Chris Oliver, will be the "caretaker" chief executives once Catriona Hughes departs on December 31 as planned. The government financier is the most influential force in Australia's film industry. Hughes stayed on after her contract expired in July 2002 until a permanent replacement could be found but this has still not occurred. FFC chair Geoff Levy said it would have been an imposition for the boa
  • Indian megastar cast in Bollywood Pride And Prejudice

    Indian megastar Aishwarya Rai is to star in Pride And Prejudice - The Bollywood Musical, the all-singing, all-dancing take on Jane Austen's novel from Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder ChadhaChadha confirmed that Rai, best known outside India for Cannes title Devdas and winning Miss World, has agreed in principle to star in the production, which is to shoot next summer for UK-based National Lottery franchise Pathe Pictures. Pathe will handle internation
  • Infernal Affairs has record-breaking Hong Kong opening

    Hong Kong action thriller Infernal Affairs grossed an astounding $330,000 (HK$2.57m) when it opened in its home territory on Thursday night (December 12) - the biggest opening of the year in Hong Kong and the biggest opener of all time outside a public holiday.By the end of the weekend (Dec 15) the film had reached $1.7m at the Hong Kong box office.The star-studded Media Asia production opened on 76 screens - Hong Kong's widest release ever - and racked up a record-breaki
  • International skew to 2003 Sundance writers lab

    The Sundance Institute has announced the 12'signature' projects, a third of them originated from outside theUS, which will participate in the upcoming Screenwriters Lab, which takes placein Utah next month. The Lab gives participating writers the opportunity to developtheir screenplays through workshop sessions with a stellar cast of leadinginternational screenwriters that involve them in creative brainstorming andindividual dialogue. 'This year's selection has grown to become m
  • Italian comedy brings festive local box office cheer

    Defying global patterns, Italian comic sensation Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo's new film, The Legend Of Al, John And Jack has knocked Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets off the number one spot at the local box office just one week after its release.The Legend of Al, John And Jack scored a three-day gross of Euros 5m on its opening weekend from 435 screens, with a massive screen average of Euros 11,509. Meanwhile, on its second weekend Harry Potter
  • Italy's Mediaset takes control of Spain's Telecinco

    Italy's Mediaset has agreed to pay Euros276m to Spanish media conglomerate Grupo Correo Prensa Espanola for an additional 12% stake in Spanish broadcaster Telecinco.Mediaset - controlled by the family of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi - thereby ups its interest in the broadcaster to a majority 52% while Grupo Correo Prensa Espanola's share drops from 25% to 13%. The deal will go through once changes to Spain's Private TV Law allowing a single company to own more than 49% of a
  • J Lo scores romantic comedy hit with Maid In Manhattan

    Columbia's Maid In Manhattan went straight to the top over the weekend with a career-high $19m opening for star Jennifer Lopez, according to studio estimates released today (Dec 15). The comedy-romance averaged a decent $6,694 from 2,838 theatres and beat off Paramount's Star Trek: Nemesis by a whisker as the latest serving of intergalactic intrigue for Captain Picard and his doughty crew opened in second place on $18.8m, averaging a solid $6,916 from 2,711 sites. Unsurprisingly
  • Jacob re-appointed as Cannes president

    Gilles Jacob was yesterday re-appointed as president of the Cannes Festival.Jacob has been at the festival for nearly 25 years and was its head selector for over 20 years. He relinquished the head selector job two years ago, handing over to Thierry Fremaux (artistic director) and Veronique Cayla (managing director), but still retains a very active role in overseeing the festival's main sections. He was re-elected by a unanimous vote of the festival's 28-member board and g
  • Jay Sands promoted to senior vice president at CTFDI

    Jay Sands has been promoted to senior vice president,international operations, for Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International(CTFDI).Sands, who wasmost recently vice president, international operations, for CTFDI, isresponsible for sales administration of Sony Pictures' internationaltheatrical business. His functions include building worldwide data sharingsystems, creating artificial intelligence to support release planning andmonitoring dati
  • Kenworthy pulls back from DNA

    Love, Actually, which wrapped this month, marks the end of an era for producer Duncan Kenworthy, who is stepping back from running UK National Lottery franchise DNA Films to focus on producing."Until now I have been co-chairman with Andrew [Macdonald]," said Kenworthy, best known as producer on Four Weddings And A Funeral and Notting Hill. "We have taken all the same meetings, we have been joined at the hip. It's not an efficient way to do things and it doesn't pl
  • Kino launches Kedma at New York Jewish festival

    Kino International hasannounced that Israeli director Amos Gitai's drama Kedma will receive its US premiere on Jan 23, 2003, as theclosing film of the 12th Annual New York Jewish Film Festival. This will befollowed by a two-week run at Makor from Jan 27-Feb 6, where the picture willplay twice a day from Monday to Thursday only.Set days before the creationof the state of Israel in 1948 and before the end of the British mandate, Kedma tells the story of
  • KirchMedia strikes film deals with Paramount, German distributors

    Bankrupt KirchMedia has reinforced its future position in the German market by acquiring a $500m film package from Paramount Pictures, giving it the rights to around 100 feature films and series through to 2011. It has also unveiled a raft of long-term film deals with key German distributors.The Paramount deal includes the free-TV rights to films such as the Tom Cruise drama Vanilla Sky and the teen movie Save The Last Dance For Me as well as the new Star Trek
  • Koelmels in the home straight

    The seemingly never-ending saga of the Koelmel brothers' bid to take over their insolvent Kinowelt empire looks like having been resolved.After a meeting on December 13 between the Koelmels' Neue Spielfilm Vertriebs- und Marketing GmbH, the insolvency administrator Wolfgang Ott, representatives of Sparkasse Leipzig and members of the creditors committee, agreement was reached on accepting the Koelmel's bid of October 2.This agreement was made possible after the Sparkasse's credi
  • Major Cineplex to launch Thailand's biggest cinema

    Thailand's leading exhibitor, Major Cineplex, has been awarded a contract to operate the country's largest entertainment complex - housing 16 screens and more than 4,000 seats - which will form part of a mammoth shopping and leisure development to be built in the heart of downtown Bangkok.The ambitious $139m (baht 6bn) development - the Siam Paragon - is a joint venture between two of Thailand's biggest shopping centre operators - The Mall Group and the Bangkok Intercontinental Hotel C
  • MGM TV reorganises US sales operations

    In light of agrowing global production and distribution role, MGM Worldwide TelevisionDistribution Group has reorganised its US sales operations, with Paul Danylikarriving as senior vice-president of national sales and Joe Patrick relocatingto Los Angeles from MGM's UK office to serve as vice president of basicand pay cable sales. The announcement was made today (Dec 17) by Jim Packer,executive vice-president of television sales in North America, to whom bothexecutives will report. In additio
  • New chief appointed at UK's FilmFour

    Channel 4 drama chief Tessa Ross is to head its new film division FilmFour, the broadcaster confirmed on Wednesday.Ross will step down as head of drama to focus on film, a move seen as crucial in proving that the channel is committed to film after closing down its stand-alone operation under Paul Webster and moving in-house. Many had feared that the massively scaled-down film operation and its annual budget of $16m (£10m) would be swallowed up by the drama department if Ross were
  • New Hayao Miyazaki film heads Toho line-up

    Three new works by Japanese animation powerhouses head Toho's line-up for 2003-2004. Leading the line-up is Howl's Moving Castle, the latest film by Hayao Miyazaki, whose Spirited Away set an all-time Japanese box office record last year and is being tipped for an Academy Award nomination. Based on a 1986 children's novel by Diana Wynne Jones about a girl who is transformed into an old woman by a wizard's spell, the film was originally set to be directed by Mamoru
  • Regions to become the bankers of French cinema'

    With film financing facing a crunch, France's regions ("provinces") are expected to take a greater role in bank-rolling film-making. But local producers would prefer the regions' role to be cultural rather than economic.The hotly contested subject was at the centre of a debate last week organised by l'Atelier Production du Centre Val-de-Loire (APCVL) in Vendome that was attended by an unusual mixture of film-makers and local council officials. Financing for French film-makers ha
  • Rotterdam sidebars underline event's artistic integrity

    New sidebars featuring Indian film-makers and a back to its roots examination of digital film-making, underline the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR)'s commitment to cinema at the artistic end of the scale. The festival (Jan 22- Feb 2) has picked Indian director Girish Kasaravalli for retrospective treatment in its regular "Film-maker In Focus" section. He joins previously announced tributes to France's Jean-Claude Brisseau and Canada's Guy Maddin. Kasaravalli has directed
  • Schmidt, Adaptation lead US broadcast critics noms

    AlexanderPayne's About Schmidt and Spike Jonze's Adaptation each received four nominations includingbest picture today (Dec 17) from the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA),which announced its 10 Best Films of 2002 as well as a host of nominees inother categories.In addition toits best picture nod About Schmidt yielded a best actor nomination for Jack Nicholson, bestsupporting actress for Kathy Bates and best writer for Alexander Payne and JimTaylor. Adapt
  • Screen International votes for its top 10 movies of 2002

    Screen International has voted Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her as its favourite film of 2002 in a global poll of its staff and correspondents. It was a poll that by and large favoured small, personal stories that were toast of festivals this past year over the big budget spectacles that dominated the worldwide box office.The choice of Almodovar lends further credence to his rising claims for some kind of Oscar consideration outside the foreign-language category, where he wa
  • Sig Libowitz joins Paramount Classics in acquisitions and co-production role

    Former GoodMachine production executive Sig Libowitz has joined Paramount Classics as vicepresident of acquisitions and co-productions, the specialty distributor'sco-presidents Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein announced today (Dec 12). Underimmediate appointment, Libowitz will handle day-to-day responsibilities foracquisitions and co-productions and reports directly to Vitale and Dinerstein.Libowitz workedfor five years at Good Machine in New York, where he served a
  • Singapore's MediaCorp forms joint venture with Hong Kong's CosMedia

    Singapore's MediaCorp and Hong Kong-based ad sales company CosMedia Group have formed a joint venture - CosMediaCorp Ltd - to distribute television programming produced by Chinese state-owned enterprise, China Great Wall Art and & Culture Centre. China Great Wall - a member of the China Radio, Film and Television Group - plans to produce between 200 and 300 hours of drama next year for both domestic and international markets. Antony Chan, CEO of Cosmedia in Beijing, said: There
  • Soft Money - The United Kingdom

    The UKAn extraordinarily generous public purse is making the UK one of the best options for producers - British and foreign - looking to raise budgets through tax breaks and public subsidy. Adam Minns, Tim Dams and Nick Hunt reportIn the UK, the money raised for film financing through both sale-and-leaseback and tax-based production equity schemes has rocketed over the past five years. For film producers, the government's closure earlier this year of a loophole that had allowed
  • Spain's Prodigius Audiovisual unveils first three projects

    Prodigius Audiovisual, the new TV movie joint production venture of Spanish media groups DeAPlaneta and MEDIApro, has unveiled its first three projects in a push to produce and back ten made-for-TV movies per year.Jaume Santacana, the newly-appointed director of the venture, says as many as half those ten projects could be international co-productions, possibly with other European partners. Average budgets are anticipated at around Euros 800,000.The first film begins shooting in
  • Sperry signs with Focus in production and advisory deal

    Focus Featureshas entered into a multi-year first-look production deal with veteran filmexecutive Stephane Sperry, Focus co-presidents David Linde and James Schamusconfirmed today (Dec 16). Sperry arrives from his post as co-president ofStudioCanal USA and the Focus deal comprises an exclusive advisory arrangementthat will also involve continued communication with Canal Plus, Studio Canaland parent company Universal Pictures. Sperry will be based in Los Angeles andParis, with the latter doubl
  • Spitfire starts in on The Great War

    Intermedia announced today (Dec 16) that Spitfire Pictures, Guy East and Nigel Sinclair's new production company with which it has an overall, non-exclusive deal, is to develop the First World War script The Great War (working title). Larry Ramin, who won an Emmy Award earlier this year for HBO's Winston Churchill drama The Gathering Storm, will write the screenplay with Sinclair and East handling producing duties alongside Emmy and Golden Globe winner Tony To, the co-executive
  • Sundance 2003: the complete programme

    PREMIERESLEVITYDir: Ed SolomonAfter serving 19 years for killing a teenager in an attempted robbery, a man (Billy Bob Thornton) encounters a mysterious minister (Morgan Freeman) and two needy women (Dunst and Hunter) in his search for redemption. Sony Pictures Classics will release this Sundance Opening Night film stateside, with StudioCanal handling international sales.GARAGE DAYSDir: Alex ProyasA young garage band in Sydney, Australia, trie
  • Sundance I: Festival announces Native Forum lineup 2003

    The SundanceInstitute announced details of the 9th Native Forum programme for the 2003Sundance Film Festival today (Dec 17). The Native Forum highlights films madeby Native Americans and indigenous peoples and opens on Jan 17 with the USpremiere of Alanis Obomsawin's new documentary Is The Crown At WarWith Us' The rest of theprogramme features four world premieres and three more US premieres from RandyRedroad, Shirley Cheechoo, Ivan Sen, Darlene Naponse and Shane Hannigan, PukaMoeau, a
  • Sundance II: 3rd annual online film festival launched

    The SundanceInstitute today (Dec 17) launched the Third Annual Sundance Online FilmFestival at This year's event runs until Feb 5, 2003,and features 31 projects in four categories: Animation, Short Subject, Galleryand New Forms. Participating films will be highlighted during the mainfestival, which runs from Jan 16-26, in the Zenith Theatre at the SundanceDigital Centre on the lower level of Main Street Mall.Computers willbe located at various fest
  • Telefilm Canada tightens funding screws

    The number ofCanadian film production companies that can qualify for public box officesubsidies is being dramatically reduced under new guidelines just issued byTelefilm Canada.Canada'sprincipal film funding agency announced yesterday that as many as 15 productioncompanies will be eliminated from next year's roster of those receiving"performance envelope funding" for their English-language films. As a result,only five companies will end up receiving performance envelopes, which
  • The Hours

    Dir: Stephen Daldry. US. 2002. 114mins. What must have appeared a risky proposition going into production, The Hours is one of those rare book-to-film projects which flourishes in its cinematic realisation. Making it look like as if it were effortless, writer David Hare and director Stephen Daldry have turned Michael Cunningham's uniquely moving, uniquely complicated novel into an elegant, intense and perhaps profound drama which will be a major player in the upcoming
  • The Touch (Tian Mai Chuanqi)

    Dir: Peter Pau. HK-Taiwan-China. 2002. 103minsAn 'Indiana Jones' with Chinese characteristics, The Touch is a sumptuous adventure whose hi-tech visuals are undercut by that most low-tech aspect of filmmaking: the script. Michelle Yeoh's initial venture as both producer and star possesses a glossy sheen but, due to scenario deficiencies, ultimately leaves the viewer uninvolved. Despite a huge publicity campaign for its summer 2002 release in Hong Kong, the picture failed to cr
  • Toronto critics hail Adaptation

    SpikeJonze's Adaptation has beennamed the best film of 2002 by the Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA), with Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love and Alfonos Cuaron's Y Tu Mama Tambien as runners-up.Adaptation received three other prizes: Nicolas Cage was namedbest actor for his two roles as twin brother screenwriters, Chris Cooper wasnamed best supporting actor and Charlie Kaufman and his imaginary brotherDonald Kaufman were cited for best screenplay fo
  • UK's PACT appoints Planalp as director of film

    UK producers body PACT has appointed Ronnie Planalp as director of film following Bertrand Moullier's exit earlier this year.Planalp was formerly EMI's senior vice president of new media/business development, Europe. She will have overall responsibility for PACT's film strategy, working with the PACT executive team, the PACT film policy group and Margaret Matheson, vice chair of film for PACT and managing director of Bard Entertainments.'Ronnie's extensive experience in the ente
  • Warner Bros makes first foray into Chinese-language film production

    Warner Bros is making its first foray into Chinese-language film production with an adaptation of best-selling illustrated love story, Turn Left, Turn Right, to be written and directed by one of Hong Kong's most successful filmmaking teams - Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai. Japanese heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro will star in the film along with Hong Kong actress Gigi Leung. The pair previously starred together in Sylvia Chang's romantic drama Tempting Heart while Kaneshiro has c
  • Warner sues second Israeli cable outfit over content deals

    AOL Time Warner has launched a second multi-million legal action against an Israeli cable outfit, one week after announcing that it was suing Israeli cable operator Tevel for $17m for allegedly breaking the terms of their output deal.AOL Time Warner is now suing cable operator Golden Channels in a California court for $22m, after Golden Channels decided unilaterally to cut the price it pays for television series broadcast on Channel 3 and television movies. The suit agains
  • Winchester mulls sale option as shares slump

    UK-based Winchester Entertainment has effectively put itself up for sale, saying it is considering "strategic options".UK distributor Helkon SK is seen as a possible buyer after earlier this year buying a 3.67% stake in the AIM-listed company, which this week declared half-way losses on continuing operations of $10m (£6.3m). Winchester shares fell 43% to 12.4cents (7 3/4p) following the announcement. Leslie Hill, Winchester's non-executive chairman, said he was steeping dow
  • Yash Chopra wins India's highest film award

    Veteran Hindi film-maker Yash Chopra has been chosen for the highest national award for a filmmaker - the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2001. "His films are about love, romance and drama and the stars of his films become icons for film buffs. Chopra has been instrumental in tapping the potential of Indian films in the international market," Anjali Chib Duggal, joint secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting told The Phalke award carries a cash prize of $4,000
  • Zidi prepares to shoot Super Ripoux

    French director Claude Zidi will next month start work on the second sequel to 1984 hit Le Cop (Les Ripoux), his comedy about two corrupt policemen. The new episode, titled Super Ripoux, begins shooting on Jan 21 in and around Paris and will see the re-teaming of Philippe Noiret and Thierry Lhermitte, veterans of both Le Cop and Ripoux Contre Ripoux (Le Cop 2). They are joined by a new-comer, Lorant Deutsch , previously seen in Jet Set and Le Raid