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13 July 2007

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  • 4 Months stirs education controversy in France

    Cannes Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days has been at the heart of some controversy lately in France.The drama, which deals with clandestine abortion in Communist-era Romania, was also awarded the National Education Prize which is given to a Cannes official selection that has relevant artistic, esthetic and educational values. The winning film is then shown in high schools around the country. But, last week, education minister Xavier Darcos said that the
  • Aberly joins Participant as VP of publicity

    Rachel Aberly has joined Participant Productions as vice-president ofpublicity and will report to the company's executive vice presidentsof marketing Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones.Aberly previously served as a publicity consultant for Participant,shepherding such films as Good Night And Good Luck, North Country, andSyriana at Warner Brothers and Warner Independent. Prior to that shewas a unit publicist.'Rachel has worked in all aspects of publi
  • Anywhere Road takes US rights to Brad Gann's Black Irish

    Anywhere Road has picked up all US rights to writer-director BradGann's family drama Black Irish starring Michael Angarano and BrendanGleeson.The fledgling San Francisco-based distributor plans an autumn releasefor the story of a Boston youngster who tries to win the affection ofhis emotionally remote father and maintian intimacy with other membersof his dysfunctional clan.Tom Guiry, Melissa Leo and Em
  • Babelgum offers content from Giffoni Film Festival

    New Internet TV service Babelgum has started festival broadcasts with Italy's Giffoni Film Festival.An entire Babelgum channel will be devoted to the Giffoni event, which is now in its 37th year. The festival concentrates on films for children.The channel is currently offering a selection of shorts from the 2006 festival and as well as shorts and trailers from the current festival, which runs through July 21.Babelgum viewers will vote on the clips and the short with the h
  • Bafta calls for submissions for UK entry for foreign Oscar

    Again this year, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) will select the UK 's submission for the foreign-langauge Oscar in 2008. Eligible films must have a UK release for at least seven consecutive days for a public paying audience between Oct 1 2006 and Sept 30 2007, with no TV or online broadcast before the theatrical run. The films must have creative talent from the UK but the film doesn't have to be set in the UK. Dialogue must be predominently in a language o
  • Belle Epoque leads prizes at first Film Festival of Serbia

    At the first national Film Festival of Serbia in Novi Sad (July 3-8), Nikola Stojanovic's Belle Epoque picked up the Grand Prix for the best film, as well as awards for best actress, music, make-up and art direction. The film about the period from 1910-1914 in Sarajevo had been shot in the wake of the war in former Yugoslavia in 1990 and was in post-production until this year. The second big winner was Aleksandar Rajkovic's Hamlet which took best cinematography, editing and
  • Box-office opinion: rise of the machines

    Multiplexes were originally envisaged as a way of expanding choice, but are now being dominated by a handful of titles, argues Len Klady.When Garth Drabinsky opened the first Cineplex in Toronto back in 1979, the idea of having 14 viewing options under one roof was looked on with a combination of excitement and scepticism. There were obviously kinks to work out - the size of the auditorium, rear projection - but it's clear his template took less than a generation to be
  • Britdoc announces international and UK competition titles

    The second Britdoc festival (July 25-27) has announced its programme of international and UK documentaries, which will all receive their first UK screenings at the Oxford-based event. Among the highlights are Tribeca award winners We Are Together and Taxi To The Dark Side, Morgan Spurlock-produced What Would Jesus Buy', and Kim Longinotto's latest Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go. The British feature competition, sponsored by Screen International,
  • BSkyB promotes Macdonald to deputy director of Sky Movies

    British Sky Broadcasting has promoted Lisa Macdonald to Deputy Director, Sky Movies and SBO. In her new role, Lisa will continue to oversee all Sky's film acquisition and rights negotiations. Additionally, she will take on responsibilities including overseeing the development of Sky's VOD and PPV movie services. Macdonald has been with Sky since 1998, most recently as Controller of Acquisitions, Pay and PPV.Ian Lewis, Director of Sky Movies and SBO said: 'Lisa's formidabl
  • Colligan, Endore-Kaiser named co-heads of marketing at Vantage

    Megan Colligan and Guy Endore-Kaiser have been promoted to co-heads of marketing at Paramount Vantage.Colligan and Endore-Kaiser, who both joined the studio in early 2006, will work together on release strategy, marketing campaigns and new marketing initiatives for all Paramount Vantage and Paramount Classics domestic releases.Colligan will continue to oversee publicity and Endore-Kaiser will continue to oversee creative. Upcoming Vantage releases include
  • Czechs prepare to submit new film law calling for 20% rebate

    Czech filmmakers and politicians are again preparing a new proposal for a comprehensive film law which would help lure runaway productions to Prague and provide sustainable support for local filmmakers. Among the proposal's reported features is a 20% tax rebate for film productions, foreign or domestic, shooting in the Czech Republic. An Olsberg SPI study conducted in 2005 suggested a 12.5% rebate would be sufficient to let the Czech Republic compete with Hungary's 20% rebate. As
  • Dutch 2007 box office up 8.3% in first half of 2007

    Recovery of Dutch box office continues after the satisfying 2006 numbers. Total gross increased with 8.3% to $96.5m (Euros 70.7m) in this year's first six months, compared to $89.1m (Euros 65.3m) in 2006. Dutch admissions climbed with 6.6% to 10.4m sold tickets in the first six months. In 2006, only 9.75m were sold during that period. The territory's top-grossing titles in the first half of 2007 are Buena Vista 's Pirates of the Caribbean 3 , Universal's Mr
  • Editorial opinion: talent to burn

    In an unquantifiable business, backing talent is the best bet - provided you know where to look, says Colin BrownThere is a belief that all this new equity and debt financing that has gushed into the film industry over the past couple of years is somehow 'smart money'.Because the newly minted billions are being funneled by sophisticated hedge-fund managers, enterprising tycoons and innovative bankers, using all the latest risk-assessment tools at their disposal,
  • Empties (Vratne Lahve)

    Dir. Jan Sverak. Czech Rep-UK. 104mins.A smash hit in the Czech Republic, drawing more than 1m admissions since its March release, the latest collaboration between director Jan Sverak, his actor-director father Zdenek Sverak and British producer Eric Abraham looks poised for a career similar to previous venture Dark Blue World: strong business at home but modest international interest. The third part of a trilogy - after Elementary School (19
  • Eros International acquires 51% of Ayngaran

    Eros International has made a foray into Tamil films, the second largest segment in India, by acquiring a 51% interest in Ayngaran International, a dominant force in the Tamil content and distribution industry.
  • FIAPF defends film festival accreditation system

    International producers' association FIAPF has issued a statement in response to criticisms of its film festival accreditation system that were made in a public forum at the recent Shanghai International Film Festival. During a summit of film festival chiefs, Sundance director Geoffrey Gilmore accused FIAPF of perpetuating mediocrity with its film festival policy, which is widely seen as a ranking system for international film festivals. 'We wish to express our surprise and disapp
  • Film4 FrightFest lines up seven world premieres

    UK horror film event FrightFest, now backed by Film4, has selected 26 films for its forthcoming run at London 's Odeon West End Aug 23-27. The selections represent seven world premieres, six European premieres and six UK premieres. The Film4 FrightFest opens with Jonathan King's hit New Zealand zombie sheep film Black Sheep. That screening is followed by Australian crocodile thriller Black Water. Other features include Shrooms, Joshua, The Orphanage, All Th
  • Four North American fantasy festivals form alliance

    Fantasy film festivals in Montreal, Austin and San Francisco have joined forces to create the North American Fantastic Festival Alliance (NAFFA). Montreal's FanTasia, Alamo Drafthouse's Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas and Dead Channels: the San Francisco Festival of Fantastic Film will henceforth be a network to support the exhibition and distribution of fantasy films. Fantasy is an umbrella term which includes science fiction, horror, exploitation, experimental and cult films.
  • France sees 9m fewer tickets sold in first half of 2007

    After a record first half in 2006, the first six months of 2007 have seen a 12% drop in film attendance in France. However, the 90.5m admissions racked up are an increase over 2005. That figure comes from France's Film Federation (FNCF), which represents the nation's exhibitors, while the National Film Center (CNC) has a slightly different total with 93.1m tickets sold. The top ten films of the year through the end of June brought in 9m fewer moviegoers than the top ten i
  • France: sales drop is still cause for cheer

    After a record first half in 2006, the first six months of 2007 have seen a 12% drop in film attendance in France. However, the 90.5 million admissions racked up are an increase on the same period in 2005.That figure comes from France's Film Federation (Fncf), which represents the nation's exhibitors, while the National Film Centre (CNC) has a slightly different total with 93.1 million tickets sold.The top 10 films of the year through to the end of June brought in 9 million fewe
  • German Films Previews offers 17 projects to international buyers

    The European representatives of such US distributors as The Weinstein Company, Paramount Vantage, and Miramax are among over 50 international film buyers attending the German Films Previews showcase which are being held for the first time in Cologne from July 12 until the weekend. Other companies confirmed as coming to Cologne include eight UK distributors such as ICA Films, Momentum Pictures, Optimum Releasing, as well as Norway's Fidalgo, Belgium's Lumiere Distribution, Mexico's
  • Hairspray

    Dir. Adam Shankman. US. 107mins.As an adaptation of an adaptation, Hairspray beats the odds against turning a musical based on a film into a credible movie, with a punchy cast that delivers the musical numbers without sacrificing the comedy. The score also ups the ante with new numbers added to the songs in the stage version. The comedy, set around a dance party TV show in 1963 Baltimore, will cross demographic boundaries, when it opens in the US an
  • Halo-8 takes rights to documentary Your Mommy Kills Animals

    Halo-8 Entertainment, the label distributed by Ryko Filmworks and Warner-Elektra-Atlantic, and taken worldwide theatrical and home video rights to animal rights documentary Your Mommy Kills Animals from Indie Genius Productions. Curt Johnson, who previously worked on Thoth, directs the project about young animal rights activists and their detractors. 'Curt Johnson has crafted a riveting document of the animal rights movement in the age of the Patriot Act,' s
  • Harris, Willis join the cast of Papamichael's horror film From Within

    Principal photography has started in Havre De Grace, Maryland, on Phedon Papamichael's psychological horror film From Within.Jared Harris, Amanda and Michelle Babin and Rumer Willis join the previously announced cast of Thomas Dekker, Elizabeth Rice, and Adam Goldberg.The story centres on a small ultra-religious community where residents start to die mysteriously and a young girl dreams of seeing the outside world.Brad
  • Harry Potter 5 conjures up $25.7m in initial day one openings

    Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix has amassed an estimated $25.7m worldwide since going on release at midnight on Tuesday [July 10] in North America and launching in eight territories yesterday [July 11].The Warner Bros sequel grossed $12m in domestic theatres and set a new record for a midnight launch, overtaking The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King's $8m in 2003.Harry and friends opened number one in each of the i
  • Homeless documentary finds shelter at Baruc's Screen Media

    Screen Media Films has acquired North American rights to Skid Row, a documentary about homelessness that was made by Niva Dorell, Marshall Tyler and Ross Clarke.The company negotiated the deal with ICM and has set an Aug 14 release date. ICM is also handling international rights.The film follows Pras Michel, a member of the renowned hip-hop group The Fugees, as he goes undercover to live on the streets for nine days in the notoriou
  • India's Vagabond secures release in Pakistan

    Hindi-language romantic thriller The Vagabond (Awarapan) opened in Pakistan last weekend (July 6) on 15 prints, marking the first time an Indian film has been released in the territory at the same time as its global roll-out. Indian films were banned in Pakistan in 1965, although pirated versions are widely available, and since then only four Bollywood titles have screened in the territory - usually months or even years after their domestic release. However, The Vagabond
  • Industry moves

    Yari veteran Katz joins Gill and Sacker ventureRobert Katz has joined Mark Gill and Neil Sacker in their new independent venture The Film Department as president of production. He had been vice-president of production for The Yari Film Group.Purnell takes UK Culture Secretary roleAs new UK prime minister Gordon Brown unveiled his cabinet, James Purnell replaced Tessa Jowell as culture secretary. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport now has Margaret Hodge - who was
  • International box office - Local Figures on the slide

    Leading South Korean exhibitor CJ CGV has released statistics for the first half of the year, which place the market share of local films at 47.3%, the lowest since 2001 and down from 59.5% for the same period last year.Local film market share in Seoul - traditionally lower than nationwide - was also at a low of 41.2%.Cinemas saw 72 million admissions, 10.8% down on the same period last year, but higher than in other recent years.Last year's first-half spike was due to hu
  • Italian exhibitors buoyant at Harry Potter 5's first day

    Italian exhibitors are buoyant with the results of Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix's opening day, as ANEC, Italy's exhibitor association's president Paolo Protti declares it 'a happy story of a deserved success.' Potter 5 ranked as the best Wednesday opener ever in Italy - scooping up $2.75m (Eu2m) according to Cinetel, Italy's national ticket compiler. First day figures are expected to reach $3.025m (Eu2.2m) when Cinetel recounts last ticket data later t
  • Italy planning new film ratings legislation package

    Italy is planning a new film ratings legislation package aimed at protecting the youngest cinemagoer. The bill will be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers tomorrow and outlines new criteria for ratings with an updated age-tiered system. The law aims to replace Italy's last board that was charged with overseeing age limits. That body was set up in 1962 - and only issued restrictions to under 18-year-old audiences. The current law proposal's objective would render defunct the pr
  • Japan's BS-i, Tsutaya form joint production label

    Japanese digital satellite channel BS-i, owned by broadcaster TBS, and Tsutaya video chain parent company Culture Convenience Club (CCC) have jointly formed a label to produce feature films based on TV programmes. Dubbed Cinema Drive, the label will initially produce one to two features per year, with a stated goal of increasing two-way viewership of related TV programming and films. The first feature production will be based on BS-i spy comedy show 0093 Joouheika Kusakari Masa
  • Jeremy Irons to lead 13th Sarajevo festival jury

    Jeremy Irons will be the president of the jury of the 13th Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 17-25). The festival has also revealed its Documentary Panorama programme selected by Howard Feinstein, who said: 'The popular Panorama Documentaries, programme launched in 2001, strand covers the whole world except for regional works, with all filmmakers present to discuss their films. Provocation, access, aesthetics, and the success of their synthesis are the chief selection criteria.'
  • Julie Delpy: a woman to be reckoned with

    Julie Delpy is set to start shooting The Countess, her second feature as director, in Eastern Europe in October. Geoffrey Macnab reports.Julie Delpy is set to start shooting The Countess, her second feature as director, in Eastern Europe in October.She will co-star alongside Ethan Hawke, Radha Mitchell, Daniel Bruhl and Vincent Gallo, in a story based on the life of the notorious Countess Bathory, a historical figure alleged to have bathed in virgins' b
  • Korean cable company takes control of MK Pictures

    South Korean producer-investor-distributor MK Pictures has sold a controlling stake to regional cabler Kangwon Networks. In deals totalling $16.3m, major stockholder Lee Eun sold his 11.76% stake, while his wife and partner Shim Jae-myung sold her 6.54%, both to Kangwon head Kim Young-kyun. Another founder of the company, filmmaker Kang Je-gyu, also sold his 10.8% stake to a consortium headed by Kim. Kangwon Networks, owner of Kangwon Broadcasting, has plans to become a multi-medi
  • Lionsgate invests in online video site

    Lionsgate has secured a strategic investment in, an online video entertainment site targeted at 18-to-34-year-old males.The partnership offers Lionsgate the chance to distribute current and upcoming films, television programming, home entertainment and other new content through Break's online channel.It also gives the studio access to Break's young talent pool, and offers the latter potential development and distribution opportunities.'Break is one o
  • Loyola Marymount to host second summer workshop

    Loyola Marymount University School Of Film And Television Dean Teri Schwartz has announced the second annual Summer Creative Filmmaking Workshop. The event will take place the LMU campus from Jul 9-20 and offers 12 promising high school students from Crenshaw High School's Media Academy the chance to taste the film-making process. Six students have been chosen for the film production and six for animation module. The students will receive hands-on, intensive training from key facu
  • Maire promises diversity and premieres at Locarno 2007

    A 'diversity in the range of possibilities of filmmaking' is how Locarno Film Festival's Frederic Maire describes the line-up for his second festival as artistic director. The Swiss festival kicks off Aug 1 with a screening of the Japanese film Vexille by Fumihiko Sori on the Piazza Grande. 'The two films from Spain [in the International Competition] - Jaime Marques' Ladrones from Madrid and the Catalan film Lo Mejor de Mi by Rosee Aguilar - are quite contrast
  • McGill's first Edinburgh programme to close with Two Days In Paris

    The 2007 Edinburgh International Film Festival (Aug 15-26) will have a special focus on Cinema and the Written Word. The first Festival under new artistic director Hannah McGill will celebrate the art of screenwriting with a series of events that run across the major Edinburgh arts festivals. There will be on-stage talks with screenwriters William Nicholson, Paul Laverty, Irvine Welsh and Christopher Hampton. The Festival's retrospective is devoted to Gentlemen Prefer Bl
  • Melbourne festival unveils participants for financing forum

    John Maynard (Romulus , My Father), Liz Watts (Little Fish) and Bridget Ikin (Look Both Ways) are among the 41 Australian producers pitching feature film projects at the Melbourne International Film Festival's (MIFF) inaugural film financing forum. The new sidebar, called '37 South: Bridging the Gap', has attracted about a dozen international guests including Ellen Pittleman (Paramount Pictures), Gail Gendler (Sundance Channels), Beatrice Neumann (ContentFilm)
  • Muriel Sauzay joins Pathe to head international sales

    Muriel Sauzay has been named deputy managing director of Pathe Distribution (France) in charge of international sales. She will be based in Paris, while head of international sales Mike Runagall will continue to be based in London. The two offices will work together under Sauzay's supervision. She had been director of international sales at StudioCanal, and worked at TF1 before joining Canal+ in 1997.Meanwhile, Christine Hayet becomes deputy managing director in charge of T
  • Murrell named president of UK industry charity CTBF

    The UK-based Cinema & Television Benevolent Fund (CTBF) has elected David Murrell as its president. Murrell joined the CTBF council in 2000 and had been vice president since last year. He was the founder and chairman/chief executive of KPMG's global media and entertainment practice from 1984-1999. He is on the board of Chrysalis Group. The CTBF is the trade charity of the UK film and TV industries. 'The CTBF has developed significantly in recent years with the prov
  • New York Film Academy plans European hub in Florence

    New York Film Academy has announced the opening of a new Europeanheadquarters in Florence, Italy.The school will be operative as of January 2008.NYFA has been operative with summer seminars in Florence for threeyears, is opening its official site in conjunction with and at theheadquarters of the Mediateca Regional Toscana (The Tuscan FilmCommission), in the heart of Florence.NYFA's director of education John Sammon told th
  • Newbie quartet joins AMPAS as Governors

    Eight new governors, four of them serving for the first time, have been elected to represent their branches on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).Newcomers to the board are: Henry Winkler, actors branch; Vilmos Zsigmond, cinematographers; Richard Pearce, documentary; and Charles Fox, music. Returning to the Board after a hiatus are Dede Allen, film editors; Curt Behlmer, sound; Richard Edlund, visual effects; and Frank Pierso
  • Nick Moran starts UK shoot for big-screen version of Telstar

    First-time feature director Nick Moran started principal photography today for Telstar, which will shoot for six weeks at Twickenham Film Studios in the UK. The tragi-comedy is based on the true story of Joe Meek, the first independent record producer whose rise to fame led to a tragic downfall.Moran, an actor who appeared in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, wrote the original screenplay with James Hicks. Simon Jordan, the chairman of Crystal Palace Football Clu
  • One2One producers: Nira Park, Anna Higgs and Gavin Humphries

    Nira Park, the producer of Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, talks to Stars Of Tomorrow Anna Higgs and Gavin Humphries about the importance of talent relationships, finding a good line producer and how to get more money from a financier
  • One2One writers: Neal Purvis and Robert Wade with Peter Harness

    Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are one of the UK's most successful writing partnerships. They talk to Star of Tomorrow Peter Harness about scripting Bond, working with Robert Rodriguez and knowing when a script is finished
  • One2One: directors Anand Tucker and Hope Dickson Leach

    Anand Tucker has just returned to low-budget UK film-making after leaving The Golden Compass last year due to creative differences. He tells Star of Tomorrow Hope Dickson Leach about meeting Steve Martin, having a good time and why directing is overrated
  • Order Of The Phoenix set for magical international weekend

    Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix is set to out-muscle Paramount/PPI's current overseas champion Transformers this weekend as the fifth instalment in the hugely popular children's series rolls out in 44 territories.The film, released through Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI), has already amassed $29.2m from its first day [July 11] in a number of markets.Harry worked his magic o
  • Paramount Classics establishes conservation fund for Arctic Tale

    Paramount Classics has established the Arctic Fund for wildlife conservation and will donate proceeds from the upcoming Jul 25 release of documentary Arctic Tale to four charities.The National Geographic Polar Fund, World Wildlife Fund, National Wildlife Federation, and Wildlife Conservation Society will each receive equal shares from a percentage of the film's lifetime domestic gross.Arctic Tale tells the story of a walrus pup and
  • Paramount hits domestic $1bn mark in record time

    Paramount Pictures has crossed the $1bn at the domestic box office in record time, propelled by Transformers' record-breaking $155.4m launch last week.The studio reached the milestone after 189 days on Jul 8 and executives project 2007 will be Paramount's highest grossing year since 1998, when it reached $1.046bn. That tally is expected to be overtaken by the end of the coming weekend.Transformers
  • Paramount takes UK and otherrights to How To Lose Friends

    Paramount Pictures International has licensed UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa distribution rights for How To Lose Friends And Alienate People from Intandem Films. Intandem has also struck deals for Portugal, Benelux, CIS, Greece, Cyprus, Scandinavia and the Middle East. The total value of pre-sales so far is $4.8m. Andrew Cripps, President of Paramount Pictures International, said 'this should be a major release in the UK next year.' Intandem also announc
  • Peter Greenaway to be special guest at Halifax's Strategic Partners

    The Atlantic Film Festival has invited director Peter Greenaway to be its special guest during its annual Academy Luncheon.The luncheon, presented during the Festival's co-production market Strategic Partners, is presented by PricewaterhouseCoopers in partnership with the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. This year's event will be held Sept 16. 'With Peter's extensive experience in international co-production, including his most recent film Nightwatching, a Canada/
  • Pretty Pictures strikes deal for Kenyan comedy Malooned in Zanzibar

    At the 10th annual event which ended July 8, the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) can report its first deal. France's Pretty Pictures acquired world rights (outside Africa) to Kenyan comedy Malooned directed by Bob Nyanja. Pretty Pictures also acquired the remake rights to the story, which is about a man and a woman stuck for three days in the lavatory of a Nairobi high rise office building. Mark Mutahi wrote the screenplay. Malooned won the Sil
  • Relativity acquires rights to UK children's book franchise Tunnels

    Relativity Media has acquired film rights to Tunnels, the first in a proposed children's franchise by first-time British authors Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams.Company chief Ryan Kavanaugh will produce with Mark Canton, currently riding high on the global success of 300. Danny Davids and Neil Canton will serve as executive producers.Tunnels will a
  • Robbins, Landau join cast of Walden's City Of Ember

    Tim Robbins and Martin Landau have joined Bill Murray, Toby Jones and hot child actor Saoirse Ronan on the cast of Walden Media's upcoming children's adventure City Of Ember.Gil Kenan is directing the film in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The story pits two teenagers in a dramatic race to save their fellow inhabitants before the city's lights go out forever.Robbins will play the mysterious inventor Lorris Harrow, who harbors a secret
  • Robert Young starts Norwegian shoot for Wide Blue Yonder

    This week the Norwegian city of Haugesund - home of the Norwegian International Film Festival - was invaded by stars outside the festival season, as UK director Robert Young started principal photography for his new feature, Wide Blue Yonder, with British actors Brian Cox and and James Fox in the leads.Cox and Fox will shortly be joined by US screen legend Lauren Bacall on locations at Haugesund, Karmoy and Sveio for the $8.7 million (Eu6.3 mi
  • Rose Kuo named as AFI Fest's artistic director

    Rose Kuo has been hired as AFI FEST's artistic director and ShazBennett has been promoted to associate director of programming.Kuo has been a fixture at Telluride for many years as well as the SanFrancisco, Santa Barbara and Mill Valley Festivals, and is also wellknown on the circuit as an Asian cinema programming consultant.'Rose has a gift for spotting emerging talent, as well as a deepknowledge and appreciation of world cinema,' AFI FEST directo
  • Salon Films' Charles Wang dies aged 74

    Charles Wang, managing director of Hong Kong-based production services group Salon Films, died from cancer last week (July 6) in a New York City hospital at the age of 74. One of Asia 's leading suppliers of production logistics and equipment, Salon Films was founded in 1958 when Wang's father - TC Wang - helped Paramount 's The World Of Suzie Wong to shoot in Hong Kong. Under Charles and his brother Fred, the company has since expanded to mainland China, the Philippines, Malaysia
  • Screen International unveils its UK Stars Of Tomorrow

    Screen International has unveiled its 2007 UK Stars Of Tomorrow, a comprehensive round-up of the brightest new talent in the British film industry.Published both in this week's Screen International and online (click here), the annual talent survey - now it fourth year - highlights th
  • Screenwriting group eQuinoxe expands into Middle East

    eQuinoxe, the international mentoring association that runs workshops for screenwriters, has set up in the Middle East. EQuinoxe Arabiya is styling itself as an 'incubator' focused on mentoring Arab filmmakers and their projects. A not-for-profit offshoot of Haroun Multimedia, an animation and post-production house based in Dubai Media City, the association aims to reverse the 'brain drain' prevalent in the region that sees successful Arab filmmakers take their talents abroad. 'We
  • Screenwriting: cracking the code

    Complaints from writers about their status in the film industry are perennial. So what can drive change, given the priority is to make films that find an audience - not keep writers happy' Danny Plunkett reports on a possible breakthrough at the International Screenwriters' Festival. This month's International Screenwriters' Festival in Cheltenham, south-west England, hosted a vigorous debate about a code of practice to govern working relationships between producers an
  • Shekhar Kapur's The Golden Age to open Rome's Premiere section

    Shekhar Kapur's The Golden Age, starring Cate Blanchett, will inaugurate the Premiere section of the second edition of the Rome Film Festival, organisers said today. The Golden Age will see its world premiere
  • Sky opens environmental issues short film competition

    UK-based broadcaster Sky has launched a short film competition related to climate change, Green Shoots. Sky, The World Wildlife Fund and the Energy Saving Trust, are calling for public submissions of shorts about environmental issues. The winning short will be aired on Sky. The competition is also tied to Universal's release of Evan Almighty. Entries can be uploaded at Skycast through December 2007.
  • Sweden's Astoria Cinemas files for bankruptcy

    Last curtain fell for Swedish cinema circuit, Astoria Cinemas - once the country's second-largest theatre chain - as part-owner and managing director (since June 8) Jonny Jergander filed for bankruptcy less than two months after distributor-exhibitor Triangelfilm, the main force behind the set-up, also went bust. 'We are all losers. With only one majer player in the theatrical market, Sweden's has become a poorer cinema country,' said managing director Cissi Elwin, of the Swedish Film Institu
  • Teddy Bear (Medvidek)

    Dir. Jan Hrebejk. Czech Rep. 2007. 98mins.Unquestionably the leading exponent of modern Czech comedy of manners, Jan Hrebejk returns with Teddy Bear, dabbling again with the morals of his contemporaries in a picture that has a good chance of being dubbed by many as The Czech Chill. Comparisons to Lawrence Kasdan's The Big Chill are inevitable, since Hrebejk's look at the friendship between three couples evolves over a
  • Telepool picks up Ruzowitzky's new feature Lilly The Witch

    Telepool will handle the international sales for Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky's new feature Lilly The Witch (Hexe Lilli) which is shooting for six weeks at the Babelsberg Studios before moving on to locations in Austria. Speaking exclusively to, producer Corinna Mehner of blue eyes fiction said that the German-Austrian-Spanish co-production with Munich animation studio Trixter, Buena Vista International Production, Babelsberg Film, DOR Film and
  • The Band's Visit sweeps the board at Jerusalem Film Festival

    Eran Kolirin's Cannes favourite takes best film, actor and actress; Moshon Salmona's Wassermil wins the inaugural Most Promising Debut Returning home after its triumphant debut at Cannes, Eran Kolirin The Band's Visit took all the major prizes at the 24th Jerusalem Film Festival on Saturday. The comedy-drama, about an Egyptian police band touring Israel, walked away with the Wolgin award for best Israeli feature film, as well as plaudits for Sasson Gabbai (be
  • The day after Tomorrow

    A new multi-platform international outfit is looking to unearth cutting-edge talent. Wendy Mitchell reports.When a company is named Tomorrow Unlimited, it hints at the ambition involved.Six of the principles of the Res Media Group had grown frustrated by the limitations imposed on the company through various corporate deals, and wanted to return to their original focus: unearthing cutting-edge talent.So in February, the team partnered with Tribeca Enterpr
  • Tokyo multiplex to screen hit TV show Winter Sonata

    A special version of Korean hit television drama Winter Sonata will be screened at Toho's flagship Roppongi Hills cinema in Tokyo. All 20 episodes of the series will be shown on Tuesday mornings from July 10 to September 11, featuring extra footage only shown once previously on NHK's BS satellite channel and unavailable on DVD. BM Inc is handling the theatrical distribution of the series. As Roppongi Hills is one of Tokyo's key multiplexes, Winter Sonata is fighting
  • Toronto adds eight titles including Gilroy's Michael Clayton

    The Toronto International Film Festival has added eight titles to its line-up of Gala and Special Presentations for the September event. TIFF has declined to claim premiere status on the titles, although Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell And The Butterfly competed in Cannes.The new Gala titles are:Michael Clayton, the debut of screenwriter Tony Gilroy (The Bour
  • Transformers has record-breaking opening in China

    Transformers has set a new opening day record for an imported film in China, taking in $2.95m (RMB22.4m) on July 11. Previously, the record was set by Spiderman 3 which took $2.34m on its opening day. Beijing 's multiplexes were packed from early morning on Wednesday for the 12am premiere of the film. Cinemas in two major circuits - New Film Association and Stellar Megamedia - have been adding extra screening sessions to meet the constant demand. In addition, the newly established
  • Transformers take over the world

    Robots ruled the international box office this weekend as Transformers took the number one spot with $47.1m, for a total of $97.2m to date. Michael Bay's blockbuster was up 30% after expanding in an additional 19 territories. A second weekend also proved helpful for Die Hard 4.0, which was up 37% after expanding into a further 14 territories, taking $42.3m for an $86.1m total. Animated adventure Ratatouille also saw a boost - the film was up 57%, raking in $9.1m over the
  • Transformers tops estimate with first-week gross of $155.8m

    Paramount Pictures executives confirmed today that Transformersdid indeed set an industry record for a new release's first-week grossand took more than initially thought.Final studio figures confirm the number one North American filmgrossed $155.8m, considerably more than the $152.5m estimate issued onSunday. The previous mark was Spider-Man's $151.6m set in May 2002.
  • Tsai Ming-liang takes top prize at Taipei Film Festival

    The Taipei Film Festival has awarded its $30,000 grand prize to Tsai Ming-liang's I Don't Want To Sleep Alone. Tsai, a regular competitor at the Taipei Film Festival, had withdrawn the film from last year's Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards. 31 recent Taiwan films competed for the grand prize in four categories: narrative film, documentary, experimental film and animation. Individual prizes are given in each section with Tsai's feature chosen as the overall winner (see
  • TWC homes in on Chan's Invisible Target

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) has picked up all rights for North America, Australia and South Africa to Benny Chan's upcoming action drama Invisible Target from Hong Kong 's Universe Films Distribution. The $8m martial arts actioner is set to open in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Malaysia on July 19. In mainland China, local distributor Polybona is planning one of the biggest releases ever for a film from a Hong Kong director on around 500 prints. Innoform will release the
  • UK admissions fell 5% in 2006 to 156.6m

    UK admissions fell for the second consecutive year in 2006 to 156.6m despite an increase in the number of films released, new research reveals. According to the UK Film Council's Statistical Yearbook for 2006/07, cinema attendance in the UK fell 5% last year, compared to 2005. Monthly admissions throughout the year fell below 10m on three separate occasions - which has not happened since 2000 - with March, June and August seeing sharp dips. The year opened positively as
  • UK admissions fell 5% in 2006 to 156.6m

    UK admissions fell for the second consecutive year in 2006 to 156.6m despite an increase in the number of films released, new research reveals. According to the UK Film Council's Statistical Yearbook for 2006/07, cinema attendance in the UK fell 5% last year, compared to 2005. Monthly admissions throughout the year fell below 10m on three separate occasions - which has not happened since 2000 - with March, June and August seeing sharp dips. The year opened positively as t
  • UK admissions fell 5% in 2006 to 156.6m

    UK admissions fell for the second consecutive year in 2006 to 156.6m despite an increase in the number of films released, new research reveals. According to the UK Film Council's Statistical Yearbook for 2006/07, cinema attendance in the UK fell 5% last year, compared to 2005. Monthly admissions throughout the year fell below 10m on three separate occasions - which has not happened since 2000 - with March, June and August seeing sharp dips. The year opened positively as
  • UK Stars Of Tomorrow 2004-2005: burning bright

    In the four years since we launched our UK Stars series, our alumni have become major forces in the international industry. Patricia Dobson reports.FILM-MAKERS- Andrea Arnold won an Oscar for her short Wasp and the Cannes jury prize for her feature debut Red Road- Mia Bays produced Oscar-winning best short Six S
  • UK Stars Of Tomorrow 2006: where are they now'

    From winning international awards to being cast by Woody Allen, Patricia Dobson catches up with the Screen class of 2006. (Bolded names link to IMDB profiles)THE ACTORS- Riz Ahmed filmed Peter Kosminsky's Britz, due for transmission in October, and is playing the lead in Eran Creevy's Shifty.- Joe Anderson recently
  • UK Stars Of Tomorrow 2007

     From actors to directors, producers to writers, Screen International introduces the brightest new hopes of the British film industry.The ActorsBritish performers are renowned around the world. Patricia Dobson profiles the hottest new names emergin
  • UK Stars Of Tomorrow 2007

    From actors to directors, producers to writers, Screen International profiles the brightest new hopes of the British film industry.
  • UK Stars Of Tomorrow 2007: The Actors (1)

    Confidence, charisma and charm characterise the hottest young actors in the UK. Patricia Dobson profiles the emerging talent. (Click on contact names for links) KHALID ABDALLAFollowing his performance as the lead terrorist in Paul Greengrass’ riveting United 93, the Anglo-Egypt
  • UK Stars Of Tomorrow 2007: The Actors (2)

    Confidence, charisma and charm characterise the hottest young actors in the UK. Patricia Dobson profiles the emerging talent.(Click on contact names for links)ANDREW GARFIELDIt is his performance in three plays - Beautiful Thing, Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship and The Overwhelming
  • UK Stars Of Tomorrow 2007: The Film-makers (2)

    Patricia Dobson shines the spotlight on the UK’s best new writers, directors and producers. (Click on contact names for links)DEBORAH HAYWOODWriter-director For a first-timer, Deborah Haywood has made an impressive short. Lady Margaret begins with a teenage girl innocently hitching a ride with two teen
  • UK Stars Of Tomorrow 2007:The Actors (3)

    Confidence, charisma and charm characterise the hottest young actors in the UK. Patricia Dobson profiles the emerging talent. (Click on contact names for links)TOM PAYNEHaving made his mark on the small screen, Tom Payne has taken his first steps into feature
  • UK Stars Of Tomorrow 2007:The Film-makers (3)

    Patricia Dobson shines the spotlight on the UK’s best new writers, directors and producers. (Click on contact names for links)
  • Venice jury to include Campion, Verhoeven and Innaritu

    The Venice Film Festival has named a distinguished list of directors to make up the international competition jury for its 64th edition.The jurists are all 'important figures' in Venice's recent history, the Biennale said.The jurors will are:French director Catherine Breillat, who presented Brief Crossing at Venice in 2001 and whose Une Vieille maitresse was presented in competit
  • Virgin Media to offer downloads of First Light project

    First Light Movies, the UK's young people's film-making scheme, has become a content partner for Virgin Media and FilmFlex Movies, to offer the First Light shorts on demand to Virgin Media customers.The films are made by 5 to 18-year-olds and will now be offered for 50p on the service. Films available include Bubbletown, Fast Break, Spying, The Princess and the Pendant, The Book and The Rush.
  • Vito Rocco wins $2m feature funding from MySpace's MyMovieMashUp

    Vito Rocco has won the MyMovieMashUp competition from MySpace, Film4 and Vertigo Films. Rocco, a 35-year-old Londoner wins $2m (£1m) to direct his debut feature Faintheart, written by David Lemon. The comedy is about hobbyists who re-enact Viking battles. A panel of experts selected the competition's 12 shortlisted directors and three finalists from more than 1,000 entries. After that, MySpace users could watch shorts - including Rocco's Goodbye Cruel World - and vot
  • Walden to develop feature of children's novel Savvy

    Walden Media will develop Ingrid Law's debut children's novel Savvy following a joint acquisition with Penguin Young Readers Group to North American rights to the unpublished book and a pre-emptive multi-book deal with agent Daniel Lazar at Writers House.Savvy centres on 12-year-old Mississippi 'Mibs' Beaumont, who must use the magical powers that family members inherit on their 13th birthdays to mitiga
  • Warner Bros International TV promotes Robertson in Asia Pacific

    Greg Robertson has been promoted to senior vice president and managingdirector of Asia Pacific at Warner Bros International TelevisionDistribution (WBITD).The 21-year company veteran will supervise all WBITD's programmelicensing operations in more than 24 territories in the region,including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, thePhilippines, and Singapore.Based in Sydney, he reports to WBITD executive vice president ofin
  • Warner Bros promotes PaoloFerrari in Italy

    Warner Bros. International has named Paolo Ferrari as president and managing director, Warner Bros Entertainment Italy.The promotion was announced today by Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO, Alan Horn, president and COO and Richard Fox, executive vice president, International, Warner Bros.Ferrari's advancement comes after a 17 year stint with Warner Bros - in the new role his responsibilities will expand to include general oversight of all Warner Bros' business in Italy including th
  • William Schopf and Ed Arentz: boxing clever

    Starting life as an arthouse theatre, a specialty film distribution enterprise is thinking outside the Box. Patrick Z McGavin reports. The first time William Schopf (pictured) met film distribution consultant Ed Arentz to discuss opening a new specialty film distribution venture, Arentz did everything he could to dissuade Schopf from the idea. He even joked that playing the horses was a safer guarantee of income. But Schopf is a skilled lawyer, and proved highly persua
  • Witi Ihimaera to work on Matriarch adaptation with Binger Lab

    The Netherlands-based Binger Filmlab will welcome Maori novelist Witi Ihimaera as a writer in residence for six months, and Ihimaera will also follow Binger's Script Development Programme. The author, who previously wrote The Whale Rider, will be working on the screen adaptation of his 1986 novel The Matriarch, about the Maori struggle against their loss of sovereignty. Ihimaera wrote the 1987 novel The Whale Rider, made into an award winning film. His other n
  • Women In Film and GM pact for second Opening Doors scheme

    Women In Film (WIF) and the General Motors Corporation (GM) haveannounced the second annual WIF/GM 2007 Opening Doors/AbriendoPuertas: The Acceleration Grant For Emerging Latina Filmmakers.The WIF/GM grant will be presented to five up-and-coming Latinafilm-makers, chosen by a WIF selection committee composed ofprofessional film-makers and entertainment industry executives fromthe New York-based chapter of WIF, New York Women in Film & Television(NY