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Screen
13 January 2006

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  • Aardman names Stephen Moore COO and features head

    Stephen Moore has joined UK-based animation company Aardmanas head of features and chief operating officer, starting immediately.Moore comes onboard the Aardman team after relocating back to the UKafter eight years in Los Angeles aspresident of international for Twentieth Century Fox. He oversaw both thetheatrical and home entert
  • Argentina experiencing film production boom

    In a country ravaged byeconomic and political disarray just over four years ago, Argentina iscurrently enjoying a film production boom.More than 70 feature anddocumentaries films were produced in 2005, up from 2004 (54) and 2003 (67).
  • Australia's box office takings down by 10%

    Preliminary figures indicate that Australia'sgross box office for 2005 was 10% less than the previous year.A spokesperson for the Motion Picture DistributorsAssociation of Australia (MPDAA) says official results will not be announceduntil mid to late January but a source told Screendaily.comthat the 2005 result will be around $610.6m (A$815m). This is $68.9m (A$92m)less than the record $679.5m (A$907m) spent on movi
  • BAFTA voters can't play Munich DVDs due to blunder

    The saga of the Munich DVD screeners sentto BAFTA members continues. BAFTA voters finally received the DVDs on Saturday,but found that they were Region 1 DVDs encrypted in the Cineaanti-piracy format, so not able to play on any UK Cineaplayers. As ScreenDaily.com reported last week, screeners of Steven Spielberg'slatest were sent late from
  • Bender named sales chief at Harmony Gold USA

    Susan Bender has beenappointed to the new post of president of sales at Harmony Gold USA as thecompany makes a concerted bid to expand its worldwide sales activities.Effective Jan 23, Bender will oversee all domestic and international sales andspearhead strategic development with the existing sales team, which includesvice president of sales Melissa Wohl and executive vice president of businessd
  • Beyond Films gets on board for Dragnet and Almost Adult

    Sales company Beyond Filmshas acquired the rights to two films currently shooting, Steve Hudson's Dragnet and YousefAli Khan's Almost Adult.Dragnet stars Robert Carlyle, Gary Lewis, and Martin Compston in the story of a young fisherman who decides tosave the family business by trafficking in illegal immigrants. Dragnetstarted shooting Monday in
  • Biddle leaves Summit for senior vp production role at Rogue

    Adrienne Biddle has left Summit Entertainment and joined RoguePictures in the newly created position of senior vice president of production.
  • Big success for three openers at the UK box office

    The first week of 2006 atthe UK box office spelled good news, while the battle for the lead continuedunabated three openers impressed in a deluge of records. Momentum Pictures saw itsbiggest opening of all time with comedy JustFriends. The Ryan Reynolds title grossed $3.1m (£1.75m) including previews- $2.7m (£1.55m) without. This beat last February's family opener Racing Stripes, which opened on $2m(£1.15m) for the distributor. Entertainment FilmDistributors also s
  • BloodRayne

    Dir: Uwe Boll. US. 2006. 94mins.If there is an Ed Wood working in Hollywood todaythen surely it is film-maker Uwe Boll, who over thepast few years has made several critically panned videogame film adaptationsthat have floundered at the box office but done little to dent his career.His latestfeature, the avenging vampire flick BloodRayne, features a high-profile cast (including Oscarwinner Ben Kingsley) and ranks as possibl
  • Boberg buys Liberty, launches Liberation Entertainment

    Mediaentrepreneur Jay Boberg, with the financial backing of media and communicationsprivate-equity firm Clarity Partners, has acquired Liberty InternationalEntertainment and is relaunching it as Liberation Entertainment.The acquisitionincludes a sizeable library of more than 250 features, as well as episodictelevision and music concert programming.Boberg willserve as chairman and chief executive officer of the new company, which hasstuck a deal with Genius Products to handle DVD
  • Brazil's box-office takings drop by 17.5%

    Brazil's box office dropped an estimated 17.5 % in 2005,according to figures released by the local film distributors' union. Thecountry's sales amounted approximately $278.9m (R$ 633m), signaling the end of six years of market growth, pushed partially by the expansion of the exhibitionsector that today totals about 2,000 screens as opposed to 1,400 in 1999.The territory's totalattendance fell in the past 12 months from 114
  • Canadian luminaries call for quotas to be returned to local television

    ProminentCanadian actors and other representatives of the Canadian performers guildACTRA are calling on their fellow citizens to demand action on the culturalfront as the nation heads into a federal election on January 23. Wendy Crewson,Fiona Reid, RH Thompson were among the speakers at a press conference today. 'It is ourculture that defines us as a nation - it is what makes us who we are," saidCrewson, a familiar face on Canadian television screens whose US films include TheSanta
  • Cripps to head Paramount's international distribution arm

    UIP president and chiefoperating officer Andrew Cripps is to head up Paramount's internationaltheatrical distribution operation.The first major appointmentto the division is a coup for Paramount chairman Brad Grey and his team in thewake of the studio's agreement with Universal in splitting off from their jointinternational distribution venture UIP.Sources confirmed the movewas taking place, however it remains unclear when the London-based Cripps willbegin work in his new post.
  • Dalton leaves Australian Film Commission for ABC

    The Australian governmentagency with responsibility for developing features has to go in search of a newchief executive now that Kim Dalton has been made director of television atpublic broadcaster the ABC. The Australian FilmCommission (AFC) has only just appointed Chris Fitchett to head filmdevelopment, a division that spends about $12.8m (A$17m) of the $40.6m (A$54m)annual budget, and the news of Dalton's departure means a lot more change is onthe way.Unlike many countries,
  • Daniel Burman's Family Law to open Berlin's Panorama

    TheBerlin Film Festival's Panorama section is set to open with the world premiereof Daniel Burman's Family Law (Derechode Familia), in an initial swathe of filmsannounced by the section yesterday.FamilyLaw, from Argentina, is Burman'slong-awaited follow-up to The TornEmbrace (El Abrazo Partido),which won two Silver Bears at Berlin in 2004.Pano
  • Danish box-office takings down just 1.85%

    Danish box office takings for 2005 were $125m(103,230,809 Euros), a drop of 1.85% on 2004's record year. This slight declinebucks the trend for the box office across Europe which saw all territories substantiallydown such as Germany with an 18.1% drop and Spain down by 12.7%.
  • Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor)

    Dir: Timur Bekmambetov. Russ. 2006. 135mins.A solid piece of escapist entertainment, Day Watch, the sequel to Night Watch, again demonstrates howRussia is capable of making special effects-laden fare on a par with Hollywoodproductions.While its main audienceis likely to be fans of the first film, returns at home especially will behelped by broader romantic and family elements which should draw a widerdemographic.
  • Debut director is feted at the Bavarian Film Awards

    Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's feature debut Das Leben Der Anderen was the big winner at the weekend's BavarianFilm Awards taking home prizes in four categories.Thethriller, set in East Germany of the mid-1980s picked up the prizes forBest Screenplay and Newcomer Director as well as for Best Actor (toUlrich Muehe for his portrayal of Stasiofficer). In addition, the film's producers Max Wiedemannand QuirinBerg were awarded the NewcomerProducer Prize by the VGF collecti
  • Dimension snaps up remake of Piranha

    Dimension Films has snapped up US and all English-speaking rightsto Intellectual Properties Worldwide (IPW), Atmosphere EntertainmentMM/Relativity Media and Wild Bunch's horror project Piranha.
  • Director Joe Wright collaborating on Hangover Square

    Sought-after young Britishdirector Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice)and writer David Nicholls (Starter forTen) are collaborating on a new version of Patrick Hamilton's classic 1941novel, Hangover Square, for Fox/DNA. Dixie Linder is to producethe feature, currently in development at DNA
  • Dubinet joins Myriad as president of distribution

    Myriad Pictures hasappointed sales veteran Ann Dubinet to the post of president of distribution.Dubinet (pictured) willoversee all theatrical distribution departments including contracts,collections, servicing and marketing as the company plans a period of growth onthe production and distribution fronts in 2006.Reporting to Myriadpresident and CEO Kirk D'Amico, she will oversee day-to-day operations of thedepartments and help evolve the company's strategic growth and development
  • EFP names 21 actors in Berlin's Shooting Stars

    European Film Promotion hasannounced the actors for the 2006 Shooting Stars programme. The 21 Europeanactors will be part of a series of promotional events (February 11-13) at theBerlin International Film Festival and at later film festivals in Europe.Previous actors involved inthe programme include Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, andFranke Potente. ShootingStars received funding from the EU's MEDIA Programmeand sponsors include Volkswagen and Studio
  • Emerging Pictures forms digital alliance with Brazil's RAIN

    IraDeutchman, Giovanni Cozzi and Barry Rebo's Emerging Pictures has formed a NorthAmerican digital distribution alliance with Brazilian technology company RAINNetwork.Called RAIN US, the New York-based exhibition and distribution venture aims tofulfil Emerging Picture's longtime goal of offering a platform to internationaland independent filmmakers.The fledgling venture will provide programming for 400 North American theatresoperated b
  • Escandell gets vp publicity stripes at Sony International

    Cathy Escandell has been promoted to vice president of publicity,acquisitions and local productions at Sony Pictures Releasing International(SPRI).
  • Esclavissat, Gornell get executive vp promotions at WBPI

    In two key promotions forWarner Bros Pictures International (WBPI), Monique Esclavissat has been namedexecutive vice president of European distribution and Con Gornell has beennamed executive vice president of European marketing.Both senior executives moveup from their previous posts as senior vice presidents in their respectivedivisions.Esclavissat is responsible for regional supervision of the company's distributionactivities in Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Afri
  • Exhibitor Kinepolis Group's ticket sales fell 8% in 2005

    Pan-Europeanexhibitor Kinepolis Group's ticket sales fell 8% in2005 according to latest figures released by the company. Kinepolisticket sales finished at 22.6 million compared to 24.5 million in 2004. Astrong end of year run came as a great boost but was not enough to counter the12% dip recorded at the end of the third quarter. Thecompany, which operates sites in Belgium, France
  • France produced a record 240 films in 2005

    France's CNC has announced a record 240 filmsproduced in 2005. All of the films received the cinema body's approval with 187films initiated by the French. The figures represent a jump from 203 films in2003 and 212 in 2004. Investments in cinema were also up by 22.6% to $1.54bn (1.28bnEuros).The mostdramatic rise was for French minority co-productions at 53. The CNC explained the increase was thanksto regulations whic
  • French box-office admissions down by 10%

    French boxoffice admissions plummeted 10% in 2005 as compared with the previous year. Atotal 176 million tickets were sold in 2005 down from 196 million in 2004.Top for theyear was the fourth Harry Potter installment with 7.284 million tickets soldfollowed by Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of TheSith with 7.245 million. Coming in at third, James Huth'scult French comedy Brice De Nice scored 4.377 million admissions.
  • German box office dropped 16% in 2005

    The final 2005 box-office figures for Germany reveal a 16% year-on-year drop.A report released by Nielsen EDI shows box-office figures for the official 2005 period (January 6, 2005 to January 4, 2006) finished at $845.1m (Euro 716.4m).The territory's decline was in line with much of Europe with year-on-year shortfalls seen in every month of the year in Germany except March and November.March, which saw gains of 4% over the same month in 2004, was fuelledlargely by a spectacular run for
  • German box office takings fall by 18.1%

    Germancinemas saw takings fall year-on-year by 18.1% and admissions by 20.4% in 2005,according to figures collated by Nielsen EDI for January 3 2005 to January 1 2006.Box-officerevenues amounted to $869.5 (72
  • Glory Road

    Dir: James Gartner. US. 2006. 115mins.Playing out like Remember The Titans for basketball fans,Glory Road is yet another would-beinspirational true story which follows Hollywood sports-movie conventions somechanically that it feels more generic than stirring.Opening on January13 in the US, the same weekend that th
  • Goblet Of Fire breaks IMAX box office record

    Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire: The IMAX Experience has grossed more than $16mworldwide on 89 screens, breaking the previous $15.9m giant-format record for adigitally-remastered (DMR) 2D release set by Batman Begins: The IMAX Experience last year.The titles are two of three IMAX releases that grossed more than $200m onconventional release in North America. The third was Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. All three were released through Warner Bros.
  • Green named vp of distribution at NYC-based Emerging Pictures

    Josh Green has been namedvice president of distribution for New York-based Emerging Pictures, where hewill act as a sales agent and producer's representative.On pictures where EmergingPictures acts as a distributor-for-hire for theatrical release, he will planand manage the distribution campaigns.Green previously served asEmerging's director of marketing and business development after joining thecompany in 2002."Josh has been atEmerging Pictures from the start and has bee
  • Guillou's bestselling Arn novels take to the screen

    Two screen adaptations and a television seriesof Evil author Jan Guillou'sbest-selling historical Arnadventures are currently in development by Svensk Filmindustri. The project hasa $26.7m (22m Euro) budget, a considerable amount of money by Swedish industrystandards. Financing is currently in its final stages with Svensk awaitingconfirmation from several European film and television companies.'In mid February we are expecting all financingto be settled up. We are curr
  • Hamilton joins Paramount specialised label as vp, production

    John Lesher's new hires atParamount's reconfigured specialized arm continued yesterday with theannouncement that Chad Hamilton had been named vice president, production.Hamilton (pictured) will be involved inthe acquisition and development of material, reporting to Amy Israel, executivevice president of production and acquisitions.He was formerly vicepresident, production, at Anonymous Content, the LA-based management and productionoutfit behind Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotle
  • Harry Potter tops flat 2005 Singapore box office

    Amid double-digit declineacross most key international markets, Singapore witnessed a marginal rise in 2005 box office takingsby 0.88% to $74.7m (S$121.4m) despite a drop of 6.9% in cinema admissions to14.8 million.Prior to 2005, thecity-state had been enjoying an average of 7.7% per annum growth in box officetakings and a 4.3% per annum increase in admissions over four years. But theyear-on-year rise in revenues for the p
  • Heartlift opens Miami Film Festival on Mar 3

    The world premiere of Eliseo Subiela's Heartlift (Lifting De Corazon) will open the 23rd Annual MiamiInternational Film Festival, which closes with the East Coast premiere ofNicole Holofcener's Sundance opener Friends With Money.
  • Hegeman leaves Lionsgate to join Rice at Fox

    Former Lionsgate worldwidemarketing president John Hegeman has been named chief operating officer of FoxFilmed Entertainment's new teen and young adult-focused creative contentdivision headed up by Peter Rice.Effective immediately,Hegeman will work alongside Rice managing all aspects of the company includingproduction, acquisitions, marketing and distribution.The as-yet-unnamed division- announced by Fox chiefs three weeks ago - will aim to produce and acquire upto eight films t
  • Hi-def DVD rivals reveal US product slates

    Backers of the two rivalformats for high definition DVDs have announced their initial US productrelease plans and further details of player availability.In a publicity blitz at the ConsumerElectronics Show in Las Vegas, the five Hollywood studios backing Sony'sBlu-ray disc format revealed their initial slates for the next-generation DVDplayer.Sony Pictures HomeEntertainment announced 20 titles, including The Fifth Element, Hitch, KungFu Hustle and Sense a
  • Hostel checks in top of the charts on $20.1m

    The newly renamed and everambitious Lionsgate kicked off the New Year with the right kind of scare as it launched itslatest horror title Hostel atnumber one on an estimated $20.1m.The result will have delighted studio executives who were expecting a debut inthe mid teens. Hostel isLionsgate's second table-topping launch in the past three months following SawII, which opened on $31.2m overHalloween weekend and took more than $87m in theatres.Eli Roth's crit
  • IFC, Tartan conclude deals on Brothers Of The Head

    IFC Films and Tartan Films have picked up North American and UK rightsrespectively to Film Four's mockumentary Brothers Of The Head.The picture premiered at Toronto last autumn and IFC plans to release it inNorth American theatres in July.Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe's picture follows the fate of exploited conjoinedtwins who are marketed as a
  • Investment in UK films down a third in 2005

    Investment in UK-linked filmswas $1.1 billion (£699.1 million) into 78 films in 2005, down 27% from 2004'sinvestment of $1.7 billion (£960 million) in 68 projects, according to figuresfrom ScreenFinance.ScreenFinance also noted that inward investment from Hollywood into the UK fell from $889.5 million (£503.4 million) with eightproductions in 2004 to o
  • Italy's box office takings down by 8.1%

    End of year figures fromItalian film data trackers Cinetel - which tracks 75%of the market - show Italy with an 8%-9% year-on-year deficit. Total admissionsresults from Cinetel come in at 88.1 million, 8.7%down from 2004's 96.5 million. Box office was slightly better 8.1% down from2004's $671.7m (569.4m Euros) with $617.2m (523.2m Euros). The results are less drasticthan many international territories for the year. Admissi
  • Italy's box-office takings tumble by 7.1%

    Italy'sbox office tumbled 7.1% in 2005 to $648.5m (536.9m Euros), with the industrysorely missing the previous year's juggernauts The Passion of The Christ and Lordof the Rings: The Return Of The King. Still, November's record-breakingrelease of Harry Potter And The Goblet OfFire and a Christmas season marked by Italian blockbuster comedies, meantthat overall 2005 results in Italy were less drastic than many internationalterritories. Accordingto Cinetel, which trac
  • Japan's box-office takings down 8%

    Box office takings in Japan weredown 8% in 2005 with initial estimates pegging the box office for the last 12months at close to $1.82 billion. Technically there was not a single $100mgrosser though Howl's Moving Castlecontinued to perform well, following its first place ranking in 2004 of morethan $180m with an additional $50m that ranked ahead of all local releases lastyear. And the fourth installment of the HarryPotte
  • Kearey to lead Searchlight international marketing and sales

    Rebecca Kearey (pictured) has been named senior vice president ofinternational marketing and sales at Fox Searchlight Pictures.
  • LDM Productions to commence shooting project 8

    Paris-based production house LDMProductions has announced the commencement of shooting on a new projectentitled 8.A series of short films by renowneddirectors, the project will highlight the fight against poverty and otherhumanitarian issues facing the world today.On a total budget of $4.2m (3.5m Euros)directors such as Robe
  • Lionsgate spreads the word with Don't Tell

    Lionsgate has picked up USrights to Cristina Comencini's Italian Oscar submission and local hit Don'tTell (La Bestia Nel Cuore). The Cattleya and Rai Cinema production premiered at Venice last autumn andearned Giovanna Mezzogiorno the Coppa Volpi for Best actress. It has grossedmore than $7m since opening in Italian theatres last September.The Rome-set tale traces the despe
  • Lionsgate strikes nationwide US hookup with Starbucks

    Starbucks Entertainment hasstruck deal with Lionsgate under which the coffee giant will participate in themarketing and distribution of Lionsgate and 2929 Entertainment's upcoming dramaAkeelah And The Bee.Leveraging its retail baseacross North America, Starbucks will screen the picture to Starbucks servers(aka "baristas") to create word of mouth and run a series of in-storepromotions including tickets to sneak previews of the film as well as musictie-ins on radio stations.
  • Little Fish swims to US via First Look

    First Look Studios haspicked up North American rights to Rowan Woods' Australian drama Little Fish from Myriad Pictures and plans a release in thefirst quarter of the year.The acclaimed film starringCate Blanchett, Sam Neill and Hugo Weaving won four Australian Film Institute(AFI) Awards late last year. It charts the escapades of a drug addict trying togo straight who is lured into one last criminal venture by her brother.Porchlight Films' VincentSheehan and Liz Watts pro
  • Louisiana movie studio to be established in Baton Rouge

    In a move that will bringNew Year cheer to Louisiana officials in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, realestate developer The Celtic Group is planning to revive an abandoned BatonRouge facility and turn it into a film studio.The new Celtic Media Centreis being developed by Celtic, Baton Rouge and Los Angeles-based productioncompany Nova Pictures and Hollywood-based Raleigh Studios, which is acting asdesign consultant.The parties expect thefacility to be complete in the third quarter
  • LoveFilm to offer VOD service to Intel Viiv platform

    UK online DVD rental companyLoveFilm.com is building on its recently announced video on demand service bystriking a new deal with Intel.LoveFilm will offer moviesfor download through the new Intel Viiv platform,which is used for networking of digital entertainment.
  • Marvel promotes three as company moves into new phase

    Marvel Studios has promoted three executives to key positions asthe company moves into self-financed production following last year's financingdeal with Merrill Lynch.
  • Media Asia appoints Chong as CEO

    Media Asia has appointedJohn Chong as chief executive officer of the company following the retirementof previous CEO Jerry Liu. Chong co-founded Media Asiain 1995 and previously held the position of executive deputy chairman and wasan executive director with responsibility for film production, marketing anddistribution. Media Asia said in astatement that it was "entering a new phase where greater emphasis is beingplaced on film production" making Chong's expe
  • Metallica director Sinofsky to make a documentary about Tommy Lee

    Documentary maker BruceSinofsky is following up Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster, which he made with Joe Berliner, with a film aboutthe infamous heavy metal musician Tommy Lee.The as-yet-untitled projectis scheduled to begin shooting this spring. Lee's manager and Sanctuary MusicArtists Management chief executive officer Carl Stubner is serving as executiveproducer alongside The Karacter Group chief executive officer Jenna Barnes, JonKamen and Frank Scherma of Radical Media.
  • Moonstone names directors for filmmakers' lab

    Moonstone International has announced the participants forits ninth Filmmakers' Lab, to be held in Wexford, Ireland, from January26-February 10. The participatingdirectors are selected from applicants across Europe who areworking on feature films for an international audience. This year's directorsand films are: Terry McMahon's D
  • Moviemax acquires distribution rights to US films

    Italiandistributor Moviemax, fresh from a hefty cash boost by new majority shareholderMondo Home Entertainment, has acquired Italian distribution rights to five USfilms, including Sundance premieres LuckyNumber Slevin and Alpha Dog.Lucky Number Slevin, which is directed by Paul McGuigan, is a dramaabout a man who finds himself in the middle of a plot to kill one of New York'sbiggest crime bosses. The film stars Josh Hartnett and Morgan Freeman.Sundanceclosin
  • Narnia breaks all records in Argentina

    TheChronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe scored the best opening ever in Argentina with 460.489 admissions from173 screens in its first four-day weekend (Jan 5-8). The fantasy epic beat previous record set by The Matrix Reloaded with 450.839spectators from 115 theatres in May 2003, while Shrek 2 holds the record for a five-day weekend with 528.617tickets on 123 venues."The first weekend figures are impressiveand has far exceeded our expe
  • Narnia remains international champ and nears $300m

    The Chronicles OfNarnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe maintained its early 2006 supremacy with an estimated $30.6m weekendhaul that raises the cumulative total to a mighty $277m.The picture has amassed $525m worldwide incorporating the $247.6m domestictally and Buena Vista International (BVI) top brass must be rubbing their handswith glee.This amalgam
  • Netherlands' box-office takings fall by 12.7%

    The Netherlands may haveseen year-on-year box office fall in line with much of Europe but local titlessaw an admissions gain. The territory as a wholewitnessed box office fall 12.7% from $187.1m (Euro 154.1m) in 20004 to $163.4m(Euro 134.5m) in 2005. Admissions slipped 11.2% from 23 million to 20.5million. The year was a good one forlocal films, however. Four local titles made the top 20 of the year, lead byIndependent Films' Het Schnitzelparadijs.The 39 local titl
  • Noeltner's CMG signs on to represent Moriah Films

    Cinema Management Group (CMG) has signed up as the exclusiveinternational sales agent for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's documentary filmproduction unit Moriah Films.
  • NSFC hands Capote best picture, actor honours

    Capote was named best picture of 2005 at the weekend by theNational Society of Film Critics (NSFC), who also voted the picture's star PhilipSeymour Hoffman best actor.Reese Witherspoon won the best actress stakes for Walk The Line, David Cronenberg was named best director for AHistory Of Violence, while thatpicture's Ed Harris won best supporting actor and Amy Adams took correspondingactress honours for Junebug.Noah Baumbach won the screenplay award
  • Orange and BAFTA nominees for rising star acting award

    Mobile communications company Orangehas announced the five nominees for its new Orange Rising Star Award, to bepresented at the 2006 BAFTAs. The five actorsnominated are Gael Garcia Bernal, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, James McAvoy,and Michelle Williams. BAFTA announced that the new award will be dedicated to thework of Mary Selway, the BAFTA-winning castingdirector who died in 2004. "Mary left a legacy that's impossible to beat," saidDa
  • Peter Morris voted in as new chairman of BAFTA/LA

    Peter Morris has been voted in as BAFTA/LA's new chairman alongwith a new officer and five new members to the board of directors.
  • Picture This! acquires Whole New Thing

    Picture This!has picked up US rights to Amnon Buchbinder's Canadian coming-of-age story WholeNew Thing and plans anautumn 2006 release.Whole New Thingplayed at Toronto and will screen in the New Voices/New Visions strand at thePalm Springs International Film Festival.The story centres on a precocious teenager raised by hippies in rural NovaScotia who develops a crush on his
  • Quebec critics name Violence best international film of 2005

    Quebec's film criticsassociation, L'Association quebecoise des critiques de cinema (AQCC), has named David Cronenberg's A History OfViolence as the best international filmof 2005.The other finalists wereJean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's L'enfant, Michael Haneke's Cache,Lodge Kerrigan's Keane and AngLee's Brokeback Mountain. It'sthe second major Canadian critical accolade for the film; In December, theToronto Film Critics Association declared the N
  • Robert Altman to receive honorary Oscar

    Robert Altman will receive an honorary Oscar at the 78th AcademyAwards on Mar 5.Altman, currently in post
  • Searchlight names joint COOs in pursuit of happiness

    Former Fox Searchlightdistribution chief Stephen Gilula and marketing chief Nancy Utley have beenpromoted to joint chief operating officers as the studio prepares for itsbiggest year.The company veterans are regarded alongside president Peter Rice as key playersas Searchlight bids to erase the memory of a lacklustre 2005 and emulate thecritical and commercial success of the previous year, which spawned such hitsas Napoleon Dynamite, Sideways, and Garden State.
  • Seven Guldbagge nominations for Runge's film

    The nominationsfor this year's Guldbagge awards, the annual SwedishFilm Awards were announced Monday. Björn Runge, whose previous film Daybreak won four Guldbagge awards and a Silver Bear in Berlin 2004,dominated the list with seven nominations for his new film Mouth to Mouth.It has been nominated for "Best Film", "Best Director" and"Best Screenplay", among other awards, the winners will be announcedat the Guldbagge award gala in Gothenburg on January30th. Director/s
  • Shochiku adds four dramas to busy Berlin slate

    In addition to its upcomingsamurai films, Japan's Shochiku has added four new dramas to its international sales slate,which it will be launching at the upcoming European Film Market in Berlin.Heading the slate is thelatest film from prolific cult director Takashi Miike, Big Bang Love, Juvenile A, which will receive its premierescreening at the EFM. Starring Ryuhei
  • Sky starts movie download service with 200 titles

    On the heels of LoveFilm's launch of a 500-title library of film downloads in the UK, satellite TV company Sky is also offering digital downloads of films to customers' computers. The Sky by broadband service is now being offered to Sky's digital TV subscribers in the UK and Ireland. More than 200 films are offered for download to a Sky subscribers' PC at no extra cost (if customers subscribe to two or more premium channels). The downloads are only compatible with the Windows XP platfo
  • Southern Gothic ready to roll for Kindred Media Group

    Los Angeles andPennsylvania-based Kindred Media Group, North Carolina-based Tasty Pixels, andDewey Beach Films are about to begin production on the thriller SouthernGothic.Dewey Beach will provide completion funds for the $1m project, and Kindredplans a North American theatrical release in autumn 2006.Mark Young will direct the follow-up to his feature debut and techno-thrillerPhreaker, which Kindred will also release this year.Southern Gothic char
  • Spanish box-office admissions down by 12.7%

    Admissions at Spanish cinemas took a 12.7% dive in 2005,hitting a seven-year low.According to figures from Nielsen EDI, box-office grosses inSpaindiminished 9.5% to $745.9m (617.5m Euros) from $823.8m (682m Euros) theprevious year. Admissions dropped 12.7% from 140 to 122.2 million, thelowest level recorded locally since 1998.The downward turn reverses the recovery Spanish cinemaswelcomed in 2004, when admissions we
  • Stiffs begins shooting with backing from Massachusetts tax incentive

    Filming is underway on Boston-based Mavex Productions' comedy Stiffs, the first feature to take advantage ofthe Massachusetts Production Tax Incentive legislation that came into effect onJan 1.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia is hit for Argentina

    TheChronicles of Narnia: TheLion, the Witch and the Wardrobe scored the best opening ever in Argentina with 460.489 admissions from 173 screensin its first four-day weekend (Jan 5-8).
  • The Match Factory picks up films from Wanda Vision

    New international sales outfit The Match Factory has picked up international rights to two new titles from Spain's Wanda Vision. The Match Factory, set up by former Bavaria Films International managing director MichaelWeber has picked up Claudia Llosa's Sundance and Rotterdam entry Madeinusa and Gerardo Olivares' The Great Match.Peruvian-set Madeinusa is in the running for a Tiger award at Rotterdam and will also compete in the World Cinema Dramatic Competit
  • The programme for Berlin's Kinderfilmfest and 14plus is finalised

    A diverse programme offilms has been finalised for Berlinale's Kinderfilmfest and 14plus. Of the twenty-one films chosen, fourwill have their world premieres. These include two German films Hänsel und Gretel (Hansel and Gretel) by director Anne Wild and GernotRoll's Der Räuber Hotzenplotz (The Robber Hotzenplotz) a film from India, Doodh a
  • Thema plans to build new studio in St Petersburg

    Thema, the Luxembourg-based productioncompany, is rapidly ramping up its activities - opening a new,5,000-square-metre state-of-the-art studio in St Petersburg, Russia bySeptember and starting a UK operation headed up by formerentertainment lawyer Kami Nagdhi.Thema, an offshoot of Russian financial servicesgiant AFK Sistema, has also expanded its investmentactivities in the last month, coming in as part-financier on two productions -Peace Arch's $5m Delirious, withSteve Buscemi
  • THINKFilm tucks in to When Do We Eat'

    THINKFilm has swooped onall North American rights to Salvador Litvak's Jewish Passover comedy WhenDo We Eat'The distributor is lining up an Apr7 release for the picture, which has become a mainstay on the festival circuitin recent months, in time for the Passover celebrations.Ben Feldman, Michael Lerner, Jack Klugman and Lesley Ann Warren star in thestory of a dreaded family gathe
  • TLA buys domestic rights to Paige's gay comedy Say Uncle

    TLA Releasing has acquired North American theatrical and homeentertainment rights to Peter Paige's feature directorial debut Say Uncle and plans a June release followed by DVDroll-out in the autumn.
  • Tristan & Isolde

    Dir: Kevin Reynolds. UK-Ger-CzRep. 2005. 125mins.It's not the Wagner opera but the original Tristan& Isolde legend that gets the Hollywood treatmentin this period romance from 20th Century Fox and Scott Free Entertainment. Inthe hands of Kevin Reynolds (director of RobinHood: Prince Of Thieves) the Dark Ages legendbecomes a tragic love story that's picturesque and moody but emotionallyunder-powered.Shor
  • UK Film Council offers P&A support to new releases

    The UK Film Council has announced some ofthe latest recipients of funding from its Print and Advertising Fund. Among January's theatrical releases in theUK, the P&A fund is providing Redbus with $351,920(£200,000) for its release of Michael Winterbottom's A Cock and Bull Story, Icon $93,258 (£53,000)for Woody Allen's Match Point, Guerilla Films $36,953 (
  • US film-makers join race for Rotterdam's Tigers

    Americanfilm-makers are making a return to Rotterdam (Jan 26-Feb 5), with two USfeatures in the running for the VPRO Tiger Awards, announced today.A total of14 films will compete to become one of the three equal Tiger Award winners,including nine world premieres and two international premieres. Four of the 14were supported by Rotterdam's Hubert BalsFund, while one is a former CineMart project.
  • US majors' international take drops 6% in '05

    The US majors' aggregate international box office revenuedeclined 6% in 2005 to $7.93bn. The international drop was slightly bigger thanthe 4% fall-off in the majors' domestic take -- but it came after a 2004 thatsaw the studios' international theatrical revenues reach an all-time high of$8.5bn. Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, president of internationaldistribution at Warner Bros, suggests the 2005 total reflects the pulling powerof the year's biggest films - only three of which passed $300mint
  • Venice Film Festival to get new Palazzo

    After years of debate,Venice's engine finally started churning as the city's mayor Massimo Cacciarisigned a deal to build a new festivalstructure in the Lido's former hospital.Cacciari sealed a deal onThursday allowing Venice to sell off the Ospedaledel Mare hospital to real estate developers, provided
  • Weinstock takes marketing reins at Screen Gems

    Marc Weinstock has beennamed executive vice president of marketing for Screen Gems, overseeing upcomingreleases like the imminent Underworld: Evolution, When A Stranger Calls and The Covenant.Weinstock, who moves over from Tristar Pictures to replace Valerie Van Galder followingher appointment as Sony's domestic marketing chief, will continue to work onTriStar titles such as
  • Wild Bunch signs financing, distribution deal with Fidelite

    French sales and financingoutfit Wild Bunch has added another feather to its cap in signing a financingand distribution deal with France's Fidelite Productions.Wild Bunch, which tookover Pan Europeenne Distribution in 2004 and which recently signed a $145mjoint-venture dedicated to acquiring and co-producin

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