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13 January 2004

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  • A-film takes Dutch rights to 11 Rotterdam titles

    A-film Distribution has acquired local Dutch rights to eleven titles screening at this year's International Filmfestival Rotterdam (IFFR) 2004.Its line-up includes documentary Johan Cruyff: En El Momento Dado by Ramon Gieling which world premieres at the festival, and Festival Express by Bob Smeaton and Rick by Curtiss Clayton which are both European premieres.It also holds local distribution rights to VPRO Tiger Award competitor The Wooden Camera by Ntshave
  • Along Came Polly

    Dir: John Hamburg. US. 2003. 90 mins.John Hamburg, the co-writer of Zoolander and Meet The Parents, delivers a forgettable romantic comedy in Along Came Polly, his second feature as a director after the 1998 caper Safe Men. Although there are belly laughs along the way and a highly appealing cast, the film, which opens in the US on Jan 16, is the kind of mediocre programming item characteristically released by Hollywood's studios in the immediate p
  • American Splendor voted best picture by LA critics

    Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's American Splendor has been voted best picture of the year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), with Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation named as the runner up.Peter Jackson was voted best director for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, with Clint Eastwood the runner up for Mystic River.LAFCA's 29th annual achievement awards ceremony will be held on Jan 26 at the St. Regis Hotel in
  • Asian flavour for Gerardmer Fantastic line-up

    This year's edition of the Gerardmer Fantastic Film Festival will have a decidedly Asian flavour. The horror film gathering will run from Jan 28 to Feb 1 in the frosty Vosges region of France with Paul Verhoeven overseeing the competition jury.Joining Verhoeven are actresses Cecile De France and Corinne Touzet, actors Jean Benguigui, Claude Brasseur and Anthony Delon, writer-director Philippe De Broca, singer Michel Delpech and Albert Dupontel. The short films jury will be headed up by

    The Return Of The King retained top spot in its third week, though its screen average -- A$8,429 -- dropped 50% and is now only the eighth highest. It's those 450 screens nationwide that have pushed the King's total box office takings to A$33,725,980.The three newcomers scored well: Something's Gotta Give (No. 2) averaged A$10,819 from 235 screens, Cheaper By The Dozen (No. 4) averaged A$9,358 from 174 screens, and black urban teen drama Honey (No. 6)
  • BBC Four unveils inagural World Cinema Award shortlist

    Robert Carlyle, Bjork, Mike Figgis and Alex Cox are join Jonathan Ross as the judges for the first BBC FOUR World Cinema Award - a new prize dedicated to foreign-language film.UK television channel BBC FOUR focuses primarily on arts programmes, dramas and documentaries, and also boasts a major foreign language film strand.The shortlisted films for the prize are Belleville Rendez-Vous, City Of God, Etre Et Avoir, Good Bye Lenin!, Spirited Away and The Man Without a Past
  • Belgian tax shelter ready to go live

    The new Belgian tax shelter for film investment is finally set to become operational, putting Belgium into the front-ranks of "hot" territories for film production.The scheme, which has been working its way through a maze of administrative and legal hurdles, yesterday passed the last major legislative hurdle on its way to becoming law.A group of delegates from the four political parties that make up the governing coalition announced that the government will approve four recent a
  • Berlinale names Shooting Stars participants

    Iceland's Tomas Lemarquis (Noi Albinoi), Maria Simon (Good Bye, Lenin!) , Spain's Elena Ananya (Van Helsing) and the UK's Eva Birthistle (Bloody Sunday) are among 21 young European actors and actresses who will participate in this year's Shooting Stars initiative during the forthcoming Berlinale.They were nominated by the members of the pan-European promotional agency European Film Promotion (EFP).A series of special events will be held during the fe
  • Bernstein moves from Promark to Lightning/Mainline

    Former Promark vicepresident of international sales Eric M Bernstein has joined Santa Monica-baseddistributor-licensors Mainline Releasing and Lightning Entertainment in thesame capacity.Bernstein will work withMainline's vice president of international sales Tannaz Anisi and Richard SGuardian, the distribution and sales executive who partnered with Mainlineprincipals Rich Goldberg and Marc Greenberg in spring 2002 to launch LightningEntertainment."I am delig
  • Bertolucci's Dreamers to get NC-17 US release

    Fox Searchlight is to release the uncut version of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers in February, reviving the dormant NC-17 rating due to its graphic and explicit sexual content.The move marks the first time in its history that Fox Searchlight has released an NC-17-rated film, and the first time a studio belonging to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has done so in more than six years - when MGM released Bent.The Dreamers will be unveiled in
  • Besson voices fears for French cinema

    In a rare interview, Luc Besson went on the record in French daily Le Figaro last week to voice his fears about the current state of French cinema."I can't help but be worried about French film," he said, "It's evident that American film attacks from every end intending to annihilate our pocket of resistance by any means...via co-productions, distribution or buying up movie theatres in Europe but I don't intend on being pushed around and I'll do everything I can to continue to p
  • Besson's Paris studio complex gets greenlight

    Luc Besson's proposed "cinema city" was given its first public green light today by the deputy mayor of Parisian suburb St Denis.The long-gestating project has been rumoured for some time - although Besson has rarely addressed the subject. However, deputy mayor Patrick Braouezec announced the launch of the project on Thursday (Jan 8) for sometime in 2004."We expect building permits to be delivered in the first trimester followed by construction and an opening planned for late-20
  • Big Fish snatches disputed top spot from Return Of The King

    Columbia's Big Fishclaimed top spot on an estimated $14.5m following wide expansion at theweekend, although the amount raised eyebrows among executives at rival studioswho have disputed the gross.Final figures will berevealed on Monday (12) and it remains to be seen whether New Line's ReturnOf The King was indeed shunted into second place on $14.1m or still rulesthem all in the number one spot.Either way, the concludingepisode in Peter Jackson's Tolkien adap
  • Boll fund raises $47m towards two films of video games

    German producer-director UweBoll said his 2003 investment fund Boll KG4 raised $47m (Euros38m) last yeartowards financing a two-film deal centering on video game adaptations.Majesco's BloodRayne and Gas Powered Games' Dungeon Siege were both acquired last year and were previouslylisted as Boll fund acquisitions for production, however other projects arealso being considered."This successful raisingprovides the company with the financial resources to continue produc
  • Brownlow to receive special honour from ASC

    Film historian and conservationist Kevin Brownlow will receive aspecial award in honour of his work at the 18th Annual American Society ofCinematographers (ASC) Outstanding Achievement Awards on Feb 8 in Los Angeles.
  • Canary Islands offers tax incentives to lure media outfits

    Beginning this month, Spain's Canary Islands will offer fiscal incentives for international media companies which set up headquarters or subsidiaries on the islands.Companies which register within the Canary Islands Special Zone (ZEC) will benefit from significant tax reductions, such as a 5% VAT versus 16% in the rest of Spain, including an exemption when importing goods.Other tax reductions include a 1-5% corporate income tax versus an average of 33% in the rest of the EU; exe
  • Cheaper By The Dozen scores solid Australian bow

    Driven by a $1.2m bow on 177screens in Australia, family comedy Cheaper By The Dozen grossed $2.2m from 607 in five territories at theweekend to raise its international running total to $5.1m.Elsewhere, Fox Internationalreported a fourth consecutive number one weekend for The Lord Of The Rings:The Return Of The King in Taiwan,adding $402,000 from 130 for $10.5m.The naval drama MasterAnd Commander added $1.8m from 1,273screens for a $65.3m
  • Cold Mountain to open Berlinale

    Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain is to be the opening night film of this year's Berlinale (5-15 Feb).The decision allows Miramax to give the film a high profile position in the Oscar race - nominations are announced on Jan 27 and ballot papers mailed on Feb 4 - and to kick off its continental European release campaign in style. The film opens in Italy and Poland on Feb 13, Belgium and France on Feb 18, Austria and Germany on Feb 19 and Spain on Feb 20. Miramax similarly used th
  • Crawley to move from London to LA and senior BVI job

    Nic Crawley hasbeen promoted from vice president of marketing at Buena Vista International,Europe, to senior vice president of international marketing.Crawley willrelocate from London to Burbank in late January and will report to Mark Zoradi,president of Buena Vista International (BVI) and Buena Vista Home EntertainmentInternational.He will beresponsible for all international marketing campaigns, including overallmarketing strategy, creative implementation, production, budget an
  • Danielsen named as Leipzig festival chief

    Claas Danielsen, head of studies at the Munich-based Discovery Campus training initiative for the international co-production of high quality documentaries, has been named as successor to Fred Gehler as the artistic director of the Leipzig Film Festival for Documentary and Animation.The month-long search for a successor to Gehler, who retired at the end of last year, had had its share of controversy. During the festival in October it turned out that Jean Perret, director of the docume
  • Daybreak leads Sweden's Guldbagge race

    Daybreak (Om Jag Vänder Mig Om) by Björn Runge scooped eight Guldbagge nominations, Sweden's equivalent of the Oscars, yesterdayThe drama was nominated for: best film, best director, best actor (Jacob Eklund) and best actress (Ann Petren). Daybreak also got received two supporting actress nominations, as well as for supporting actor and best screenplay.Meanwhile, Mikael Hafstrom's foreign-language Oscar hopeful Evil (Ondskan) bagged six nomination
  • Deneuve, Depardieu reteam for Techine's Temps

    Paolo Branco and his company Gemini Films are preparing two new high-profile projects, one from veteran Andre Techine and the other a third film from Rodolphe Marconi.Techine's project is titled Le Temps Qui Passe and reunites legendary actors Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu. This marks their fifth dramatic collaboration and the first since 1988's Drole d'Endroit Pour Une Rencontre. Set in Tangiers, the film tells the story of a married woman whose former lover app

    While The Return Of The King remained untouchable at the top of the Danish box-office chart, new releases S.W.A.T. and Calender Girls hit the local youth film Scratch the hardest, pushing it to sixth, while Scary Movie 3 dropped 49.5% but remained in third.Not much else changed in the chart, but Mystic River proved its staying power serving up a better admissions screen average than even Return Of The King on its 12 prints and with 73,0
  • Depp set for Libertine UK shoot

    The Johnny Depp starring The Libertine is to start shooting in the UK in late February.Co-starring John Malkovich and Samantha Morton, The Libertine is the real life story of the Earl of Rochester, the notoriously debauched 17th century poet who died at 33 a physical wreck.The $16m project was unveiled in Cannes last year by Ralph Kamp and Louise Goodsill's UK-based sales company Odyssey Entertainment (, May 8, 2003.) Kamp confirmed the start
  • DGA pits Coppola against four male heavyweights

    Lost In Translation director Sofia Coppola will go up against ClintEastwood (Mystic River), PeterJackson (The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King), Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) and Peter Weir (Master And Commander: The FarSide Of The World) for the Director'sGuild of America's (DGA) Outstanding Directorial Achievement accolade.Yesterday's announcement byDGA president Michael Apted was notable for the absence of Anthony Minghellafor Cold Mountain
  • Dutch Mussels producer declares bankruptcy

    Amsterdam-based production company Argus Film has been declared bankrupt, while the future of its distributor partner, Upstream Pictures, seems unclear.Owner Peter van Vogelpoel told the Dutch press that he expects that Upstream - which released Dancer in the Dark in the Netherlands - might survive, but Argus is finished.The problems with Argus, launched in 1993, date back to 2000, when the company produced Wilde Mossels (Wild Mussels), a Dutch feature by director Erik de
  • DVD helps UK video market power ahead in 2003

    The UK video retail market grew by 29.7% during 2003, with high street sales up to 199 million units, according to new figures from the British Video Association.The market growth - which excludes mail order - was helped by blockbusters such as the best-selling title of the year, Lord Of The Rings - The Two Towers, which sold 3.8m units, closely followed by Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets, which sold 3.3m.The VHS retail market fell by 19% to 60m units, but
  • Eisenberg returns to WHV as vp of worldwide acquisitions

    Former WarnerHome Video (WHV) vice president of worldwide video acquisitions Elyse Eisenberghas returned to the company as vice president of worldwide acquisitions,effective immediately.Eisenberg will be responsible for the division's worldwideacquisitions programme, which includes theatrical features, video and otheraudio-visual product."Sourcing new product and acquiring additional quality libraryproduct is key to our continued growth," said Marsha King, exec
  • Ethnic GLBT festival launched in Los Angeles by Outfest

    The Los Angeles lesbian and gay film festival Outfest is launchingFusion, an inaugural LA-based festival catering to the lesbian, gay, bisexualand transgender ethnic communities.
  • Femme named as Warner's second French feature

    2003 Productions has announced its second project, the upcoming L'Ex Femme De Ma Vie, to be directed by Josiane Balasko.2003, founded by Warner Bros. France president Francis Boespflug will co-produce the Euros 8.2m film with Ice3 - the production venture jointly run by Louis Becker and actor Thierry Lhermitte - and Balasko's production outfit Josy Films, the company confirmed Monday.The film is the second outing from 2003 Productions, owned in part by Warner Bros. The co
  • Finding Nemo closes in on $500m international

    Finding Nemo is approaching $500m following a $16m-plus weekendhaul that raised its international running total to $480m, according toestimates from Buena Vista International (BVI).The animated hit is now theninth biggest worldwide grossing film of all time on $820m and may well reachthe number eight spot when figures are confirmed this week.Key drivers were Japan,where BVI executives estimated $7.5m for the weekend for a superb $77.5mcumulative score.
  • Focus Features rings changes for global production role

    Acorporate reshuffle is underway at Focus Features as the production andacquisitions departments move closer together to prepare for the company'sexpansion into worldwide production.Underthe company's new president of production John Lyons, several executives willassume extra responsibilities, including Amy Kaufman, the executive vicepresident of acquisitions and co-productions, who becomes executive vicepresident of production.
  • Focus rings changes for global production role

    Acorporate reshuffle is underway at Focus Features as the production andacquisitions departments move closer together to prepare for the company'sexpansion into worldwide production.Underthe company's new president of production John Lyons, several executives willassume extra responsibilities, including Amy Kaufman, the executive vicepresident of acquisitions and co-productions, who becomes executive vicepresident of production.
  • Four British films make it on to BAFTA best film shortlist

    Fifteen pictures have been selected to go through to BAFTA's second round of voting for the best film category - including British pictures Calendar Girls, Love Actually, Girl With A Pearl Earring and Cold Mountain.It takes three rounds of voting for BAFTA members to make their final choice of winning films. The first round, which closed on Tuesday night (Jan 6), has whittled down all the possible contenders to shortlists of fifteen in each category. The second round

    The French box office in the early stages of the year shows little change from the last few weeks of 2003. Although grosses dropped off from the previous week - in many cases by at least 50% - thanks to the New Year's holiday, Lord Of The Rings remained at number 1 after three weeks followed by Finding Nemo which ranks as the most successful release of 2003 even though it was only released in November.Russell Crowe's seafaring epic Master And Commander entered th
  • French blame first half for poor 2003 result

    France's exhibition watchdog, the FNCF, has announced a 5% fall in admissions for 2003 - most of which was concentrated in the first half of the year.With 175.5m tickets sold, first half numbers were down by 9.1% compared to 2002 while the second half of the year showed only a 0.04% decrease.The FNCF noted that that Paris and its suburbs were the least affected by poor admissions with only a 2% drop off from 2002.The FNCF estimates the reasons for the shift in attendance
  • French film production hits record high in 2003

    Film production hit a record high in France in 2003, up by more than 5% compared to 2002.According to end of year figures confirmed by the National Cinema Centre (CNC) a record 212 features were given the green light with 183 of those majority French productions.The numbers surpass 2001's record figure of 204 films produced and are remarkable for the inclusion of so many big budget pictures.A reported nineteen majority French films came in with a price tag of over Euros 1
  • German arthouse exhibitors attack cinema levy

    Germany's arthouse and repertoire exhibitors have criticised the introduction of increases to the cinema levy in the new Film Funding Law (FFG) which came into effect on 1 January.The new cinema levy envisages an average 2.6% of a cinema's annual gross turnover of tickets flowing to the German Federal Film Board (FFA), 0.3% more than under the previous FFG, with cinemas whose turnover did not exceed Euros 75,000 being exempt from paying any levy. Cinemas with turnover up to Euros 125,

    Warner Bros. was top dog at the German box office last year and has started well in 2004 with the final episode of The Lord Of The Rings continuing to reign supreme for the fourth week running and the Tom Cruise vehicle The Last Samurai entering at No. 2 with $ 4.9m gross from 829 prints.However, the impressive $5,955 screen average for Zwick's martial epic was trounced by the week's only other new entry to the Top 15 - Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation at No. 5
  • Gothika opens strongly in France

    The psychological thriller Gothikabegan its international run in France at the weekend, where it opened on astrong $2.5m and was a close contender for top spot against Return Of The King.Executive at ColumbiaTriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) said the film scored roughlythe same as Panic Room and I Know What You Did Last Summer andwere looking ahead to its Asian and remaining European openings.The distributor chose Franceas t

    Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King continued its domination of the Hong Kong box office in its third week, grossing $734,789 from 47 screens for a cumulative total of $4.06m. Distributed by Deltamac, the film has overtaken local blockbuster Infernal Affairs III, now in its fourth week, as the top-grossing film over the Christmas period.US openers, including CJ Entertainment's The Cat In The Hat, struggled to make much headway against the Christmas releases, whic

    Jackie Chan probably deserved better than the January 1 release date given to his latest film The Medallion. The film didn't stand much chance of competing with some well-known titles that have been around for the entire holiday season.The Medallion produced one of the weakest Jackie Chan openings ever in Hungary and last week's other new release, the French horror Haute Tension flopped without much interest even from the genre's fans.The Hungarian subway th

    The release of Hilmar Oddsson's Icelandic drama Cold Light (Kaldaljós) on Jan 2 has been highly anticipated following the disappointing year at the box-office for local films in 2003.So far it seems that Icelanders have been eager for home made product, as the film served up a better screen average than the number one The Return Of The King - 1,743 on just three prints compared to the King's 1,480 on 10 prints. The film is produced by veteran Fridrik Thor Frid
  • IFP/New York to administer, expand Radziwill documentary fund

    For the first time in its25-year history, IFP/New York will begin funding documentaries through theAnthony Radziwill Documentary Fund.Beginning in June 2004, thefund will award six-to-10 development grants of $10,000 on an annual basis,splitting the allocation between two cycles in June and January.The new structure could wellserve as a timely leg-up for US film-makers, whose efforts have typically beenstymied by notoriously elusive and stringent funding criteria."All ind
  • In America gets 2004 Stanley Kramer Award from PGA

    In America producers Jim Sheridan and Arthur Lappin willreceive the 2004 Stanley Kramer Award at the 15th Producers Guild Of America(PGA) Awards on Jan 17 in Los Angeles.The PGA established theaward in 2002 to honour any film, television programme, studio, network,producer, executive or other individual or entity whose achievement highlightsprovocative social issues. Previous recipients include Antwone Fisher and I Am Sam."In honouring Ji
  • Inheritance leads Danish Oscar nominations

    Last year's most popular film with Danish audiences and most critics - Per Fly's drama The Inheritance -has bagged nine nominations for the Danish Film Academy's ROBERT awards, which will be handed out in Copenhagen on Feb 1.They include best film, best director, best script and best actor as well as most technical categories.Lars von Trier's Dogville and Anders Thomas Jensen's The Green Butchers both secured eight nominations.Surprisingly Jensen's da
  • Investors sue Village Roadshow for Matrix profits

    A group of unhappy Australian investors are suing Village Roadshow Limited over their US$17.9m (A$23m) worth of tax leveraged investments in the first of the high-earning Matrix trilogy.The group, hardly beginners, are current and former partners of KPMG in Australia, the leading business and taxation advisory firm. They including the current CEO Lindsay Maxsted and a former Chairman David Crawford.They had formed the partnership Groucho II: Matrix (Production) with two Village
  • Israeli director wraps up Syrian Bride

    Israeli director Eran Riklis has just wrapped The Syrian Bride, the story of a young bride who will never be able to visit her family in the Golan Heights after her marriage to a Syrian man.The story is set during the wedding day when all the family members and other interested parties gather at the border for the wedding.Like A Wedding In Galilee and Rana's Wedding - both recent pictures made by Palestinian filmmakers - it puts Israeli-Arab

    Leonardo Pieraccioni's Italian comedy, Il Paradiso All'Improvviso confirmed its position as the festive season's top blockbuster last weekend, as it grossed a further $2,578,778 bringing its total earnings to a massive $28,934,933.The Medusa comedy, about a bachelor searching for his soul-mate, recorded an impressive screen average of $6,399 on its fourth weekend on release. It has now overtaken even BVI's Finding Nemo, which has earned a total of $26,683,573 six weeks in

    Christmas blockbuster Natale In India (literally, Christmas In India) has once again demonstrated the money-spinning value of Aurelio De Laurentiis's 20-year-old franchise of low-brow comedies, as it posted total earnings of $23,021,125 three weeks after its release.Distributed by Filmauro and starring Christian De Sica and Massimo Boldi, Natale In India grossed a further $1,759,397 on the first weekend of 2004, and consolidated its position as the Christmas seaso
  • ITALY Production Listings - January 12 2004

    Italy - January 12 2004PRE-PRODUCTIONADIUS, LA FESTA E' FINITA(Verdecchi Film) Backing: Fondo di Garanzia) Word gets out in high-flying Roman society that a well-known Italian singer-songwriter is to make his comeback - despite the fact that his death was officially 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) Prod: Rean Mazzone.
  • Kirishima 1945 wins prestigious Japanese prize

    Kazuo Kuroki's Kirishima 1945 has been named the best Japanese film of 2003 by the Kinema Jumpo magazine's critics poll.The film, an autobiographical drama set in rural Japan in the closing days of World War II, is currently on domestic release.Compiled annually by leading critics and scholars, the Kinema Jumpo Best Ten list has long been considered the most prestigious of its kind in the Japanese film industry.This year the list includes, in order after Kirishi
  • Lane, Theron to receive special awards at Santa Barbara

    Golden Globe nominees DianeLane and Charlize Theron will collect special honours at the 19thSanta Barbara International Film Festival, which runs from Jan 30-Feb 8.Lane will be in town for thecareer tribute Salute to Dane Lane and is nominated for a lead actress in amusical or comedy Golden Globe for Under A Tuscan Sun.Theron will receive theOutstanding Performance of the Year award for her widely acclaimed turn asserial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster.She
  • Last Samurai looks to cut international swathe

    Buoyed by a superb $60m-plus ongoing run in Japan, Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI) will have high hopes when it unleashes The Last Samurai in a raft of major markets this upcoming weekend.Japan is an idiosyncratic market and a strong performance there does not necessarily guarantee impressive results elsewhere. However the global popularity of star Tom Cruise suggests decent openings in the UK on Jan 10, as well as Germany, Italy and Spain.Cruise's last action f
  • Lions Gate takes on horror title Saw

    Lions Gate Filmshas acquired worldwide rights to James Wan's horror thriller Saw fromEvolution Management and will premiere the film in the Midnight Lineup sectionat Sundance.Release is planned sometime this year and the film centreson a serial killer's cat-and-mouse game with two captives. It stars Cary Elwes,Danny Glover, Monica Potter and newcomer Leigh Whannell.President of Lions Gate Home Entertainment, acquisitions and newmedia Peter Block, vice pr
  • Local hits fuel Dutch box-office in 2003

    Cinema-attendance in the Netherlands rose again in 2003, despite fears of a fall because of the state of the economy.Admissions rose 2.5% to a total of 24.7m, while box office rose 3.5% to Euros 162.5m according to national cinema body NFC.NFC-chairman Wilco Wolfers told that the good results were largely due to the increasing number of new cinemas and the updated quality in sound and vision in the theatres.He added that more people in their thirtie
  • Lorenzo steps down as Canal Plus Spain manager

    Jose Manuel Lorenzo has stepped down from his position as general manager of Canal Plus and Contents at Spanish powerhouse Sogecable.Lorenzo has headed Canal Plus for the last five years, seeing it through the recent merger of Sogecable and Telefonica's pay TV interests. For the last three years he has overseen all contents and programming for Sogecable. Prior to that he held top positions at broadcasters Television Espanola, Telecinco and Antena 3.No replacement has yet been na
  • Lost In Translation riding high in Europe after trio of spectacular bows

    FocusFeatures' Lost In Translation scored a trio of sensational European openings at theweekend that far exceeded expectations and sets it up for large expansions thisupcoming weekend.Sofia Coppola'sacclaimed account of a brief-ish encounter in Tokyo opened through MomentumPictures in the UK and Ireland on 96 prints and grossed $1.47m, reportedly thebiggest ever UK bow for a film on 150 prints or less.It averaged $15,213 perscreen in
  • Lost In Translation scores trio of spectacular Euro bows

    Focus Features' Lost In Translation scored a trio of sensational European openings atthe weekend that far exceeded expectations and sets it up for large expansionsthis upcoming weekend.Sofia Coppola's acclaimed account of a brief-ishencounter in Tokyo opened through Momentum Pictures in the UK and Ireland on 96prints and grossed $1.47m, reportedly the biggest ever UK bow for a film on 150prints or less.It averaged $15,
  • Love Actually passes $200m at global box office

    Universal'sromantic comedy Love Actually took $4.7m from 1,819 sites in 25 countries at the weekend,raising the cumulative score in the territories where it is distributed by UIPto $139.2m.Including France ($6m), Russia ($2m) and the US ($58m), it hasgrossed $205m worldwide and has eight countries to open including Japan on Feb7.Weekend highlights were $1.4m from 355 prints in its eighthweek in the UK, dropping 28% for a mighty $56.6m running total, an
  • Love Actually passes $200m worldwide

    Universal's romantic comedy Love Actually took $4.7m from 1,819 sites in 25 countries at theweekend, raising the cumulative score in the territories where it isdistributed by UIP to $139.2m.Including France ($6m), Russia ($2m) and the US ($58m), ithas grossed $205m worldwide and has eight countries to open including Japan onFeb 7.Weekend highlights were $1.4m from 355 prints in its eighth weekin the UK, dropping 28% for a mighty $56.6m running total, a
  • Malaysian box office surges upwards in 2003

    Malaysia recorded an upward surge in 2003 in both the number of local film productions and their box office takings, according to statistics from Finas, the national film development body.A total of 16 Malay-language films were released in 2003, up from 10 in 2003, while total box office takings for local productions reached $5.6m (RM21.36m), an increase of 16.3% from the year earlier.Metrowealth's romantic comedy Cinta Kolestrol came out as the top film, grossing $1m ove
  • MGM targets Dutch and Belgian markets

    Hollywood studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer is to open offices in both Holland and Belgium in 2004.The launch of the two new operations on June 1 will be led by the MGM's Home Entertainment division and is in line with the company's strategy to exploit its library of films in the booming DVD market.This role is currently performed by the operations of MGM's international distribution partner 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.Corne Dekkers has been recruited as General Manager
  • Minghella, Murch named as Berlinale Talent Campus guests

    Writer-producer-director Eleanor Bergstein, sound designer/film editor Walter Murch and director-producer-screenwriter Anthony Minghella, whose latest film Cold Mountain will open this year's Berlinale, have been announced as the celebrity hosts for the second edition of the Berlinale Talent Campus (7-12 February).Bergstein was responsible for the production and screenplay of the box office smash Dirty Dancing, while Murch's credits include Apocalpyse Now, The Godfath
  • Minnelli, Ustinov, Lee to host Berlinale Peace event

    Liza Minnelli, Sir Peter Ustinov and Christopher Lee are to be the hosts for the third edition of the "Cinema for Peace" gala event which will be held in Berlin's Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt during the Berlinale on Feb 9.Around 600 guests from the world of entertainment and high society are expected to attend the evening which will include a charity auction and the presentation of the "Diamond Cinema for Peace Award" to a filmmaker whose life's work has promoted the principles of pe
  • My Architect

    Dir: Nathaniel Kahn. US. 2003. 116mins.One of the 12 films shortlisted for the best documentary feature Academy Award and a healthy box office performer to the tune of $0.4m in its first two months of domestic release through New Yorker Films, My Architect is yet another theatrically marketable documentary to emerge from the US. Nathaniel Kahn's personal exploration of the life, work and death of his father, legendary architect Louis I Kahn, stands in the front ranks o
  • New films from high-profile Italian directors

    For full Italian production listings click HEREMarking the first concrete steps in Vittorio Cecchi Gori's long-awaited comeback, the troubled film mogul currently has two films lined up for 2004.Currently in post-production is a new project by popular Roman actor-director Carlo Verdone entitled Love Is Eternal - For As Long As It Lasts (L'Amore E' Eterno - Finche' Dura), which focuse
  • New LA production outfit Prospect Pictures launched with Wall Street backing

    Director Marcos Siega, producer Matthew Weaver and financier CarlLevin have announced the launch LA-based film and television company ProspectPictures.

    It was a steady January holiday weekend, with total box office takings up 17%. Still number one, The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King pressed on towards the NZ$9m mark, though its NZ$7,007 screen average (from 113 screens) was beaten for the first time by teen newcomers Spy Kids 3D - Game Over, at number two with a handy NZ$10,823 average from 48 screens, and Warner Bros' adult romance Something's Gotta Give, which took NZ$7,240 from 41 screens. Master And Co
  • Nichols & Brokaw win Visionary Award from PGA for Angels

    Mike Nichols and Cary Brokaw will receive the 2004 Visionary Awardfor the acclaimed HBO mini-series Angels In America at the 15th annual Producers Guild OfAmerica (PGA) Awards on Jan 17 in Los Angeles.
  • Polanski's Twist wins European support

    Roman Polanski's upcoming Oliver Twist is gaining steam in Europe with partners in place and casting underway.The film, an adaptation of the Dickens novel, will be produced by Polanski, Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde - the same team behind Oscar winner The Pianist - for Polanski's company RP Productions, the UK's Runteam and Italy's Medusa.Pathe will distribute both in the UK and in France with Medusa handling Italy and a pre-sale already in place to Tobis for Ger
  • Ramblers

    Dir. Nobuhiro Yamashita. Japan 2003. 83mins.Looking like a manga version of Waiting For Godot, this deadpan adaptation of a Yoshiharu Tsuge comic strip about two forlorn characters stranded in the frozen Japanese countryside offers the kind of minimalist, understated satire normally expected from Jim Jarmusch. A series of successive live portraits, which put together do not add to a real plot but rather brief separate observations, this low key comedy of manners will
  • Ray parts company with United Artists

    Bingham Ray has left his job as president of United Artists, MGM's speciality division.A key supporter of many European film-makers, Ray has headed UA since August 2001. His contract was due to expire in May, but both he and the studio recently agreed to go separate ways."We discussed this last year and mutually decided that Bingham would step down and that it was best to hold off on an announcement until now to allow for better continuity at United Artists. We appreciate Bingh
  • Return Of The King raises int'l box office to $454.9m

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King added $35.2mfrom 8,813 screens in 51 territories at the weekend to raise its internationalrunning total to $454.9m.It remained top in its fourth weekend in the UK and added $6.7m from1,299 screens for a staggering $83.4m running total.It also stayed top in Australia, where it took $2.2m from 450 for$24.6m in its third weekend.Fourth weekends in Spain and France produced $2.1m from 512 andsecond place for $33.8m and $2.5
  • Return Of The King raises int'l box office to $454.9m

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King added $35.2mfrom 8,813 screens in 51 territories at the weekend to raise its internationalrunning total to $454.9m.It remained top in its fourth weekend in the UK and added $6.7m from1,299 screens for a staggering $83.4m running total.It also stayed top in Australia, where it took $2.2m from 450 for$24.6m in its third weekend.Fourth weekends in Spain and France produced $2.1m from 512 andsecond place for $33.8m and $2.5
  • Seducing Dr Lewis (La Grande Seduction)

    Dir. Jean-Francois Pouliot. Canada. 2003. 108mins.Making its US premiere in Sundance's World Cinema programme, Seducing Dr Lewis (La Grande Seduction), which premiered in Director's Fortnight at Cannes last year, has been described as a Quebecois version of The Full Monty. But it's closer in spirit to films such as Waking Ned Devine or the Ealing classic Whisky Galore, where an isolated village engages in communal subterfuge towards a common
  • Seven battle for Oscar make-up nod

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences has namedseven films for consideration in the best make-up category at the upcoming 76thAcademy Awards.The films are Cold Mountain, The Last Samurai, The Lord OfThe Rings: The Return Of The King, Master And Commander: The Far Side Of TheWorld, Monster, Peter Pan and Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse of The BlackPearl.Ten-minute clip reels from each contender will be screenedfor the
  • Smile takes The Return for Scandinavia

    Copenhagen based Smile Entertainment has acquired the Scandinavian rights to Andrei Zvyagintsev's multiple-award winning debut feature, The Return.The film, which began its successful festival run in Venice by securing the Golden Lion, will screen at both Sweden's biggest festival in Gothenburg as well as at the Norwegian Tromsoe International Film Festival.The Return recently won the European Discovery of the Year Award at the European Film Awards, is nominated fo
  • Something's Gotta Give opens second in Australia on $1.9m

    The romanticcomedy Something's Gotta Give opened in Australia in second place at the weekend on anestimated $1.9m from 235 screens through Warner Bros Pictures International(WBPI).By way ofcomparison, box office tracked 34% ahead of Cold Mountain, 25% ahead of As Good As It Gets, 25% ahead of First Wives Club and 13% ahead of Maid InManhattan.Meanwhile themurder drama Mystic River added $2.2m with 284,788 admissions f
  • South Korean blockbuster smashes local records

    South Korean blockbuster Silmido has set a new box-office record by passing four million admissions only 15 days after its December 24 release.The speed past that mark beats by a day the performance of The Return Of The King - which itself has passed five million admissions - and significantly exceeds the previous record for a Korean film of 23 days, shared by My Wife Is A Gangster (2001) and all-time box-office champion Friend (2001).Directed by Kang

    The only new release this week was Miguel Ángel Lamata's Una De Zombis (A Film About Zombies) which entered the chart at number seven with a screen average of $5,486 - the weekend's best after Return Of The King.The Spanish horror comedy is about two twenty-something losers in need of a job, who decide to make their own movie, albeit with no script, no actors, no experience and minimal ideas.Combining apocalyptic themes with fart jokes, guns and heavy m
  • Spanish exhibitor strikes Imax deal to convert screens

    Spanish exhibitor Yelmo Cineplex is set to become the first commercial exhibitor in Spain to operate IMAX theatres out of its multiplexes, thanks to a new deal signed with the IMAX Corporation.The first two of three 35mm multiplex auditoriums to be retrofitted into IMAX theatres will be installed in 2004. All three theatres will be based in shopping mall-based multiplexes in Spain."This is an important step forward in our strategy of retrofitting existing multiplex auditoriums i
  • Strong Euro launch brings Samurai close to $100m

    The Last Samurai is expected to pass $100m at the international boxoffice on Monday (12) after an estimated $30.6m weekend haul raised the AmericaCivil War era drama's running total to $98.6m.In its sixth weekend inJapan the film continued its exceptional run, adding $4.9m (Yen 529.9) for a$73.4m (Yen 8bn) running total there. It is contesting the number one spot withFinding Nemo and official rankings will be confirmed this week.In Europe Samuraigrossed $23.
  • Summer In The Golden Valley

    Dir. Srdjan Vuletic. Bosnia and Herzegovina-France-UK, 2003. 104 mins.This is another case of the message coming across much clearer than the ramshackle vehicle put together to carry it through. A inexpert crime comedy caper about an adolescent who has to produce 50,000 marks to clear up the memory of his father and who thinks he is willing to go to any lengths to obtain the money, the story is replete with all kinds of remarks about life in Sarajevo today, none of them new o
  • Sundance Online Film Festival launches with new jury award

    The SundanceInstitute launched its fourth annual Sundance Online Film Festival (SOFF)yesterday (6), featuring 30 short films and interactive projects and newfootage highlighting the history of the Sundance Film festival and theInstitute.The online eventruns until Feb 15 and includes three categories of animation, short subject andnew forms gallery.An inauguraljury award will be presented to the winners from each category and onlineviewers will also be invited to rate entries for

    The Return Of The King stayed on top, but the fight for the second spot this weekend at the Swedish box-office was fierce with Hollywood's action flick S.W.A.T. opening alongside Peter Lindmark's Swedish actioner Ranarna (The Robbers).However, it was clear that local audiences preferred home made thrills as the latter served up an impressive $6,370 screen average on its 58 prints compared to S.W.A.T.'s $3,968.Ranarna stars popular actors like Mikael P
  • Sweden's Daybreak lines up for Berlin competition

    Bjorn Runge's Daybreak (Om Jag Vänder Mig Om) is to play in the main competition at this year's Berlin Film Festival (Feb 5-15), the first Swedish film selected since Bo Widerberg's swansong All Things Fair in 1996.Daybreak was last week nominated in record eight categories for the Guldbagga Award's, Sweden's Oscar equivalent.The film takes place over one night, which changes the lives of a family and their best friends. It stars Jakob Eklund, Pernilla
  • Sweden's Daybreak set for Berlin competition

    Writer-producer-director Eleanor Bergstein, sound designer/film editor Walter Murch and director-producer-screenwriter Anthony Minghella, whose latest film Cold Mountain will open this year's Berlinale, have been announced as the celebrity hosts for the second edition of the Berlinale Talent Campus (7-12 February).Bergstein was responsible for the production and screenplay of the box office smash Dirty Dancing, while Murch's credits include Apocalpyse Now, The Godfath
  • Teichmann named Austrian Film Institute chief

    Roland Teichmann, managing director of the Association of the Audiovisual and Film Industry, has been named the successor to Gerhard Schedl as the director of the Austrian Film Institute (OFI) from May 2004.Teichmann, who organised a two-part international conference with the German lobby group film20 on the challenges of the EU enlargement for the film industry last autumn, was recommended to State Secretary of State Franz Morak by the OFI committee from a final shortlist of five can
  • Terzian takes over as French Academy president

    Producer Alain Terzian has been appointed president of France's Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema - the local equivalent of AMPAS.Terzian, also president of the Union of Film Producers, replaces the late Daniel Toscan du Plantier as head of the Academy.His producing credits include films by Pierre Granier-Deferre, Andre Techine and Jean-Marie Poire including the hit Les Visiteurs and its sequel. Terzian most recently produced Diane Kurys' Je Reste starring
  • The Corporation

    Dirs: Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott. Canada. 2003. 145mins.This compelling, hugely ambitious documentary will be required viewing for every left-of-centre intellectual and a bore for the other 95% of the movie-going world. Although its marketing attempts to draw parallels with such populist fare as Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine, this film is unlikely to reach beyond the converted to whom it is preaching (despite the presence of Moore as one of its commentators).
  • The First Letter (Abjad)

    Dir. Abolfazl Jalili. Iran-France-Italy, 2003. 110mins.Far too long, excessively self-indulgent and often repetitive, this autobiographical reconstruction of director Jalili's own adolescence in pre-revolutionary Iran should be a surefire hit on the festival circuit and in specialised arthouses, for its blunt, in-your-face indictment of Islamic fundamentalism, which ruled over his young years. Whether Jalili, who for obvious reasons was not allowed to attend the film's premie
  • THINKFilm climbs aboard Festival Express

    THINKFilm has acquired NorthAmerican rights to Bob Smeaton's rock 'n' roll documentary Festival Express,with plans for a 2004 release.Set in 1970, the filmcomprises rare and unseen footage from the eponymous Canadian concert andself-styled answer to Woodstock that featured such luminaries as Janis Joplin,The Band and The Grateful Dead.Smeaton's camera follows theantics of the stars as they spend five days aboard a customised train that tookthem from To
  • Tykwer sniffs out Perfume possibilities

    Tom Tykwer (Heaven, Run Lola Run) may direct the long-anticipated screen adaptation of Patrick Sueskind's internationally bestselling novel Perfume (Das Parfuem) for Germany's Constantin Film.Constantin's board member Thomas Peter Friedl confirmed to that the director has been working with screenwriter Andrew Birkin (The Concrete Garden) and producer Bernd Eichinger on a screenplay.However, Friedl stressed that - contrary to German pr
  • Tykwer's True to support Love

    Tom Tykwer's 10-minute short True is to be released in Germany by X Verleih as a supporting film for Achim von Borries' Love In Thoughts which has its world premiere at this month's Sundance Film Festival.True was directed by Tykwer in Paris over four days in August 2002 as a segment of the Paris, Je T'Aime international anthology of films dedicated to the 20 districts of Paris and stars Natalie Portman and Melchior Beslon. It was produced by X Filme creati
  • UGC offloads main Belfast multiplex

    UGC Cinemas UK has sold its ten-screen Belfast site for a reported £5.5m to Michael McAdam's Movie House Cinemas. Movie House already operate three sites in Northern Ireland - in Belfast (Yorkgate), Glengormley and Maghera.The cinema will be rebranded Movie House, Dublin Road and an improvement scheme is being implemented. "This is an ideal move for us," said Movie House MD McAdam. "Dublin Road is a great location and we would hope that we can offer movie-goers even better value for mo
  • UK production spend hits record level

    Film production spend hit record levels in the UK last year, rising 113% on 2002 totals, according to new figures published by the UK Film Council.Production spend on films starting principal photography during 2003 stood at £1.17bn by year end - more than double the £550.45m spent in 2002.The Film Council figures cover 177 features, including indigenous UK projects, inward investment productions and UK co-productions filmed both in the UK and abroad. The figures do not include
  • Uncertainty prolonged over Venice directorship

    It may be the start of 2004 but in aserious case of deja vu, a question mark is still hanging in the air over whowill direct the next Venice Film Festival in seven months' time.Yesterday (Jan 7), in what can only beinterpreted as a half-hearted compromise, the Venice Biennale's outgoing boardof directors decided at a meeting to extend artistic director Moritz deHadeln's contract by a further three months - keeping him on board until Marchas a consultant to the festival.The Bienn
  • US Women In Film launch completion fund

    The US Women InFilm Foundation has launched a completion fund for documentary, dramatic,educational, animated and experimental works by film and video makers.The organisationis offering unrestricted grants of up to $5,000 for qualifying projects as wellas in-kind awards in the form of on-line editing, sound editing and otherpost-production services in select cities including New York, Los Angeles andWashington DC.Candidates needto demonstrate advanced and innovative skills and t
  • Verhoeven links with Constantin for One Step Behind

    Dutch director Paul Verhoeven is planning to make a film adaptation of Swedish thriller One Step Behind by author Henning Mankel - his first film since Hollow Man in 2000.German production house Constantin Film approached Verhoeven to direct the film which deals with the murder of three teenagers investigated by inspector Kurt Wallander, a regular of Mankel's books.One Step Behind's screenplay is being written by Gerard Soeteman, who worked closely on the Du
  • Vibrator

    Dir: Ryuichi Hiroki. Japan. 2003. 95 mins.Ryuichi Hiroki’s Vibrator sounds, from its plot summary, like a throwback to the feminist dramas of a generation ago - troubled thirtysomething woman rediscovers love and life on the road. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore - she went to Japan. Based on an award-winning novel by Mari Akasaka, Vibrator resists such easy categorisation, however. Instead of following a formulaic arc to a fadeout clinch with
  • Vivendi reduces stake in UGC

    As expected, Vivendi Universal has reduced its stake inFrench major UGC.Following an agreement signed on December 31, 2003, Vivendiwill reduce its holdings in UGC from 58% to 40% resulting in a 56.2% ownershipfor UGC president Guy Verrechia and his family.According to a statement released by Vivendi on Tuesday (Jan13) evening, the company will now hold 5 seats out of 14 on the UGC board andhas been freed from a previous agreement which stipulated that Vivendi must buyall UGC sha
  • Warner Bros strikes package deal with ProSiebenSat.1

    The ProSiebenSat.1 Group has concluded its first direct programming deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution (WBITV) for a package of free-TV rights to over 30 theatrical films and six TV series.Film highlights in the package include Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, the Jet Lee actioner Cradle 2 The Grave, the teen-horror hit Final Destination 2, Matchstick Men, Freddy vs. Jason, the Tom Cruise-starring The Last S
  • Warner emerges as German 2003 distributor champ

    Warner Bros. reigned supreme at the German box office in 2003 with a 20.4% market share, according to figures from EDI Nielsen.Warner also had the year's top film, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, which was seen by 6.6m cinemagoers and took Euros 45.1m by Dec 31.Although Warner managed to hold onto pole position, its market share was 5.8 percentage points down on its performance in 2002.UIP improved its standing at No. 2 by 5.4 points to 19.1% thanks
  • Warner Theatres plans Chinese expansion

    Following its groundbreaking deal last July to build a circuit of up to 10 cinemas in China in a joint venture with Shanghai Film Group, Warner Bros. International Theatres (WBIT) has agreed a new deal 'in principle' with Guangzhou Performance Co to invest an estimated $30m to build 8 - 10 state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas in southern China over the next few years.The latest deal is still awaiting government approval, but if it goes ahead, it will see China become a new growth market
  • Wolfe snaps up Goldfish Memory

    Leading US gayand lesbian film and video distributor Wolfe Video has acquired all NorthAmerican rights to Liz Gill's Irish romantic comedy Goldfish Memory.The film will beWolfe Video's second theatrical release of the year after MarcoFiliberti's Italian drama Adored: Diary Of A Male Porn Star (formerly A Little More Than A YearAgo), which opens inMarch.GoldfishMemory centres on aseries of sexual liaisons that cross sexual and gende
  • World premiere of If Only to open Sarasota Film Festival

    Nine world premieres and eight US premieres are among a line-up of80 films at the sixth annual Sarasota Film Festival, which runs in Florida fromJan 23-Feb 1 and opens with the world premiere of Gil Junger's romantic comedy IfOnly, starring JenniferLove Hewitt and Paul Nicholls.