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14 April 2003

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  • 21 young European producers selected for Cannes showcase

    Germany's Jakob Claussen (Distant Lights, Anatomie), the Czech Republic's Pavel Strnad (Year Of The Devil) and Antonio Saura (Semana Santa) are among 21 young European producers selected by the member organisations of the pan-European promotion body European Film Promotion (EFP) to take part in the "Producers On The Move" showcase at the forthcoming Cannes Film Festival.In order to qualify for selection, the producers must have produced at least one film which was
  • 218 films in competition at Annecy animation festival

    Organisers of the International Animation Film Festival and market in Annecy (June 2-7) have announced their line up for 2003, including 218 titles in competition.Of the record-breaking 1,309 films submitted to the festival this year, some 265 are in the official selection from 36 countries. In the official competition 218 films will vie for prizes in three major categories - shorts and features, films for television and student films. The features in the line-up are: My Life
  • A Big Girl Like You (Une Grande Fille Comme Toi)

    Dir: Christophe Blanc. France. 2003. 91mins.This insider study of a mixed-up adolescent girl identifies so utterly with its main character that it risks appearing as stroppy and directionless as she is. But in the end there is something mesmeric about the camera's obsession with the face of first-time, pulled-off-the-street actress Mercedes Cecchetto, who appears in pretty much every frame, and who has the extraordinary knack of being able to sulk with her upper as well as he
  • A Man Apart

    Dir: F Gary Gray. US. 2003. 109mins.Filmed two years ago, before the release of its star's 2001 breakthrough The Fast And The Furious, Vin Diesel vehicle A Man Apart delivers some stylishly violent drug cop action but never quite makes it as the more weighty crime drama it clearly wants to be. Youngish action fans waiting for Diesel's forthcoming sequels to Pitch Black and XXX will probably ensure the New Line production a solid domestic gross and
  • Adrian Wootton named CEO of Film London

    Adrian Wootton, acting director of the British Film Institute, has been appointed chief executive of Film London, the new body charged with representing and developing the film and media industry in the UK capital.Film London takes over responsibilities of the London Film and Video Development Agency and the London Film Commission.Film London's Chairman Sandy Lieberson, appointed to the position in February, announced the first board directors of Film London:Claire Binns
  • Anger Management

    Dir: Peter Segal. US. 2003. There are some films in which the teaming of two stars is so enticing that critical appraisal of the film which goes on around them is almost moot. Anger Management - which brings Adam Sandler together with Jack Nicholson - is one such film. Critical disdain is inevitable, but US audiences at least will not care a bit; international audiences who are less partial to the Sandler side of the equation might be more discerning.Sandler
  • Anger Management is career best opening for Sandler

    The first quarter of 2003 has seen several strong comedy openingsand the baton passed to Columbia/Revolution's Anger Management over the weekend, which opened numberone on $44.5m - the highest bow of the year so far.
  • Anger Management is career best opening for Sandler

    The first quarter of 2003 has seen several strong comedy openingsand the baton passed to Columbia/Revolution's Anger Management over the weekend, which opened numberone on $44.5m - the highest bow of the year so far.
  • Austria mulls Luxembourg-style tax scheme

    Austria's federal government has been urged to adopt Luxembourg's Audiovisual Investment Certificate Programme in a reform of national film policy to introduce tax incentives for private investment in film production.Luxembourg's tax scheme has been held up as an example to emulate by Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, Vienna's city councillor for arts, as a part of all-industry initiative 'to raise the cultural importance and economic effectiveness of Austrian filmmaking at home and abroad.'
  • Babenco's prison drama gets high-profile release in Brazil

    Hector Babenco's much anticipated prison drama, Carandiru, opens wide in Brazil on up to 250 prints today, according to Columbia TriStar, Brazil. Co-producer Globo Filmes, the film arm of leading broadcaster Globo TV, has invested nearly $1m in a massive advertising and marketing campaign which will include plugs on some top Globo TV programmes. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the US distribution rights. Other recent high profile films, City Of God a
  • Baltic Films becomes member of European Film Promotion

    Baltic Films, the joint organisation of the Estonian Film Foundation, the Latvian National Film Center and the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, has become the 22nd organisation to become a member of the pan-European promotional body European Film Promotion (EFP).Commenting on joining EFP's network, Karlo Funk, a board member of Baltic Films and the head of international relations at the Estonian Film Foundation, noted that while production and box office revenue of the three Baltic stat
  • Bollywood star tipped for Cannes jury, Schwarzenegger for Cannes party

    Although the official Cannes jury list will not be announced until April 23rd, the Times of India today reported that actress Aishwarya Rai has accepted an offer from Gilles Jacob to sit on this year's panel. Quoting sources close to the Bollywood star, the Times notes that Rai would be the first Indian actress to be a member of the Cannes jury. Press officers at Cannes' Paris offices would not confirm her appointment and said all official announcements regarding Cannes' line-up
  • Britspotting festival to honour Winterbottom

    Golden Bear-winning UK director Michael Winterbottom will be the subject of this year's retrospective at the British independent film festival "britspotting" in Berlin from April 24-30.The six-title homage will include Butterfly Kiss, Jude, Welcome To Sarajevo and Wonderland, while his 24 Hour Party People will be shown in the festival's competition section of 21 new UK features and six short film programmes.The 2003 competition lineup of "britspotting", whi
  • Buenos Aires indie fest to feature up to 210 films

    The fifth annual Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival (April 16 to 26) will feature up to 210 films, up from 150 last year. At least 16 films - limited to first and second-time directors - are in the official competitive section. These include three titles from Argentina: Celina Murga's Ana Y Los Otros, Ezequiel Acuna's Nadar Solo and Albertina Carri's Los Rubios. The lone Mexican entry is Carlos Reygadas' Japon. Competing Asian titles include Jealousy
  • Cannes Market adds shorts programme, video library, digital facilities

    The CannesMarket has introduced three new initiatives for this year's event being heldconcurrent with the film festival May 14 to 24.- A videolibrary will be launched for buyers to view recent films on VHS and DVD to beopen from 9am to 10pm. Located in the Palais des Festivals, level 01, thelibrary will be equipped with television sets together with headphones.-A new short film package is being offered to enableproducers to book slots for the length of each sho
  • Casa Nova Films launched to develop US Hispanic market

    Two new players have launched LA- and Barcelona-based theatrical distributor and consultant Casa Nova Films, specialising in the US Hispanic market.Partners Joshua Gabel and Walter Cuculic, both experienced marketing and business management/development consultants, aim to build up to as many as eight Spanish-language releases per year for the Hispanic market, concentrating first on the Los Angeles area and eventually expanding out to other regions."This is a fascinating moment f
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones ready for Getting And Spending

    Catherine Zeta-Jones' Milkwood Films has teamed with UK National Lottery franchise Pathe Pictures and Starboard Entertainment to develop and produce a feature based on the stage play Getting And Spending.The romantic comedy, written for the stage by Michael J Chepiga, will be developed and produced as a starring vehicle for Zeta-Jones. Milkwood's David A Jones is producing with Starboard partners Barry Quart and Peter "Gaga" Antonijevic. Broadway producer Marty Markinson
  • Chick flicks rule: Warner opens Girl, while Notice powers on

    WarnerBros' romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice edged closer to the $100m mark as itadded $1.2m over the weekend on 1,124 screens in 41 markets for a $97.3mcumulative score.The picture drew300,400 international admissions. It is scheduled to open in Venezuela onWednesday (Apr 9) and Japan on May 24.Meanwhileanother 'chick flick', What A Girl Wants, grossed a solid $598,700 on 170 screensin Australia, roughly 76% of the opening gross for 2001's The PrincessDiaries
  • Chouchou

    Dir: Merzak Allouache. France. 105minsAfter nearly a decade of supporting roles in mostly indifferent French commercial pictures, Casablanca-born stand-up comic Gad Elmaleh at last makes his screen breakthrough in this serviceable self-devised screen vehicle. He plays a young Algerian trying to cope with life in Paris as an illegal immigrant and drag queen. Released by Warner Bros in 400 theatres last month, this Christian Fechner production is a runaway success that has reco
  • Chouchou, Lenin continue to prosper in France, Germany

    Warner Brosenjoyed another successful weekend as distributor of two local language hits inEurope.In Germany, thecomedy-drama Good Bye, Lenin! added $1.8m (Euros 1.7m) to became the second highest grossingGerman picture released in the last three years (behind Der Shuh Des Manitu), with an estimated $30.5m (Euros 28.4m)running total.After five weeksat the top, the X-Verleih presentation of an X-Film Creative Pool Production,which is being distributed by Warner Bros,
  • Constantin prepares big-budget Hitler feature

    Constantin Film's Bernd Eichinger (pictured) is producing a film on the last days of Adolf Hitler with director Oliver Hirschbiegl in his first feature outing since the award-winning Das Experiment.The screenplay for Der Untergang - Hitler Und Das Ende Des 3. Reichs (The Downfall - Hitler And The End Of The 3rd Reich) has been written by Eichinger himself based on two sources: Joachim Fest's best-seller of the same name and Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge's memoirs Bi
  • CS Leigh's Process hopeful for a Cannes slot

    Recently having completed shooting in Paris, CS Leigh's Process is currently being prepped for a possible Cannes slot. The film is a somewhat existential look at a woman's trajectory towards suicide. Starring Guillaume Depardieu and Beatrice Dalle, Process is an almost entirely silent film.Mark Westaway and Humbert Balsan are producing the Franco-British collaboration for Copperfield Communications and Paris Classics. Process is Leigh's third film - previous
  • Danish broadcasters sign production funding deal

    Denmark's two major broadcasters DR-TV and TV2/Danmark have reached an agreement with the Association of Danish Film Producers on how to spend the $8.7m (DKR60m) they are obliged to invest annually in local film production. It was last year's media agreement which dictated the amount, but it is the first time that the TV stations have signed a contract, and only after months of negotiations and after the intervention of the Danish Film Institute. The deal outlines a set of rules
  • Daredevil has powerful $7.7m weekend for Fox

    Strong openingsin the major markets of Italy and Japan were the chief drivers in a $7.7mweekend for Fox International's Daredevil, which played on 4,337 screens in 43territories and raised its international running total to $55.8m.In Italy thesuperhero adaptation went straight in at number one, taking $1.3m on 249screens. In Japan it opened in second place on $1.6m on 354 screens.There were also number one openings in Colombia, NewZea
  • Devdas delights audiences at Denmark's NatFilm fest

    Bollywood was yet again the big winner at Denmark's NatFilm Festival, which ended its first year as a two nation event on Sunday by handing out the audience award to Sajay Leela Bhansali's Devdas. With Lagaan winning last year, it is clear that Copenhagen has a taste for Indian cinema which isn't satisfied by the annual dose supplied at the festival. "We could see it coming from the start," said Kim Foss, "a lot more people have voted for this film on the internet
  • Don Hahn gets honour at International Family Film Fest

    Don Hahn, the renownedanimation producer whose credits include The Lion King and Beauty And The Beast, will receive the Friz Award at the 9th AnnualInternational Family Film Festival Awards in Valencia, California, on May 1.Since its inception in 1994,the award - named after Warner Bros animator and 1994 honouree Friz Freleng -has gone to such luminaries as Chuck Jones, Charles Schultz and lastyearís winner, Roy E Disney.In a statement, IFF
  • European Cinema Exhibition conference to expand

    The Danish Cinema Exhibitors' Association (Danske Biografer) is to host its third European Cinema Exhibition at the European Film College in Ebeltoft (Demark) from June 4-8 - and for the first time follow it up with another in Rome from Sep 24-28. The conference, European Cinema Exhibition - A New Approach, is organised in collaboration with Media Salles, but it was the backing from Media Plus which made it possible to expand the activities to other European countries - this year Rome,
  • Facing Windows shines at Italy's Oscar awards

    Facing Windows by Ferzan Ozpetek was the big winner at this year's Donatello Awards, Italy's Oscars, scooping five awards including Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress.The film, sold by Celluloid Dreams and produced by Tilde Corsi and Gianni Romoli's R&C Produzioni, is currently a major hit at the Italian box office where it has earned almost Euros 8m in seven weeks, outperforming stiff competition from the likes of Chicago, Die Another Day and 8 Mile. Le
  • Fantasporto launches 16-title 'marathon'

    Portugal's leading international film festival, Fantasporto, will launch a marathon showing of 16 hit festival titles in Lisbon next week.The initiative - dubbed 'Fantasporto Marathon' and supported by distributor-exhibitor LNK Filmes, the Cinema Quarteto four-screen cinema and various private sponsors - will mark the nationwide theatrical release of all but one of the 16 titles on the roster.The marathon has the dual objective of sparking interest in the forthcoming releases an
  • Fat Pizza

    Dir: Paul Fenech. Australia. 2003. 97mins.If there was an international festival for the grossest, most politically incorrect films of 2003, Fat Pizza would definitely be Australia's submission, and short-priced favourite for top honours. A spin-off from two seasons of a cult sitcom on SBS, Australia's multi-cultural television channel, and a national stageshow tour, this ultra-low-brow, ultra-low-budget feature will no doubt delight hardcore fans as much as it will di
  • Father Amaro triumphs at Mexico's Academy Awards

    Best Foreign Oscar nominee El Crimen Del Padre Amaro swept Mexico's 45th Academy Awards, the Premios Ariel, winning in nine categories. Carlos Carrera's priest scandal drama took home nine out of its 13 nominations on April 8th, including Best Picture, Director, adapted screenplay, editing, sound and wardrobe design. Actors Damian Alcazar, Angelica Aragon and Ernesto Gomez Cruz also won awards for their performances in Crimen. Loud applause greeted Diana Bracho, pr
  • Film Source acquires dark comedy Santa Smokes

    Alex Massis' NewYork-based marketing and licensing company The Film Source has acquiredworldwide rights, excluding the US, to Til Terror and Chris Valentien'sdark comedy Santa Smokes.Featuring Terror, KristyJean Hulslander and Richard Glover and written, produced and directed by Terrorand Valentien, Santa Smokescentres on a disillusioned actor who tries to make a living as Santa during theNew York Christmas season.His prospects change when ayoun
  • Fox mounts 'global online chat' in advance of X2 mega-release

    X-Men 2 director Bryan Singer and stars from the picture aredue to take part in a global online chat on Apr 15, two weeks before the Foxsequel goes out in what the studio is calling the largest day-and-date releasein industry.The picture is scheduled toopen in 93 international territories, including North America and all keyinternational markets, over a four-day period from Apr 30-May 3.To commemorate the launch,Singer and several key cast members will
  • France resists TV advertising for films

    Convinced that television commercials for films in France would create a schism in the local marketplace, France's culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon met with EU commissioner Frits Bolkestein last week to make his case. Based on rules laid out in 1992, France retains an exception regarding television advertising for films, publishing, the press and large retail outlets. In May 2002, the European Commission asked that France modify its position on the issue. Aillagon travelle
  • France's national cinema centre distributes financial aid

    France's national cinema centre the CNC has issued a list of films which will benefit from financial aid in the areas of distribution and the advance on receipts scheme for 2003. Both types of aid are based on selection by committees within the CNC and are approved by CNC head David Kessler.The recipients of the first type of aid will benefit from a boost towards their theatrical distribution. The aid can take two forms, either a reimbursable advance for costs relating to prin
  • German arthouse sector outperforms multiplexes

    Germany's arthouse sector reported a slight increase in admissions for 2002, according to an internal survey conducted by AG Kino, the trade association for specialist cinemas.The survey reported that admissions grew between 5%-8% in the cities, while admissions in smaller towns either remained stable or fell slightly. In comparison, German multiplexes posted an 8% drop in admissions in 2002 over 2001, and overall cinema admissions fell by 7.9% from 2001's 177.9m to 163.9m last year.
  • Good Bye, Lenin! - Hello Lolas!

    Wolfgang Becker's box-office triumph Good Bye, Lenin!, which is now approaching 5 million admissions (Euros 28.4m), received six nominations for Germany's Oscars, the Lolas - for Best Film, Best Direction and in four acting categories.Meanwhile, Zueli Aladag's Elefantenherz and Eoin Moore's Pigs Will Fly both received nominations in three categories each. A total Euros 1.95m worth of nomination premiums were paid out by State Minister of Culture Christina We
  • Gurinder Chadha finds her leading man

    Pathe UK's white-hot Bollywood musical version of Pride And Prejudice has finally found its Darcy.Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha has cast rising New Zealand star Martin Henderson (pictured), who played opposite Naomi Watts in The Ring, to appear alongside Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai.Pathe is likely to fly Henderson into Cannes next month to start the publicity machine rolling on the all-singing, all-dancing take on Jane Austen's novel, w
  • Haffa brothers fined for misrepresenting EM.TV finances

    Former German stockmarket high flyers, brothers Thomas and Florian Haffa were found guilty yesterday (Tuesday) of misrepresenting their previous company, EM.TV's financial figures in 2000 in order to influence the share price.The Munich division for criminal matters imposed a fine of Euros 1.2m on Thomas Haffa and one of Euros 240,000 on his brother Florian - a judgement greeted by shareholder interest groups as giving a clear statement that "one should be liable for what one says and
  • Harmony Gold picks up Going Down

    International sales agent HarmonyGold has acquired global distribution rights - excluding North Americantheatrical - to fledgling production company Paia Pictures' teen comedy GoingDown.The picture, which centreson a seemingly unstoppable house party, is due to open theatrically in LosAngeles on Friday (Apr 11), followed by a 54-city domestic platform roll-out.The 20-year-old Harmony Goldhas bought international theatrical rights and worldwide rights to broadcast,pay-per-
  • HBO plan US theatrical release for Elaine Stritch pic

    Thefeature-length HBO documentary Elaine Stritch At Liberty will be released in theatres later thisyear, HBO original programming executive vice president Sheila Nevins announcedtoday (Apr 9).The documentaryis named after Broadway legend Stritch's Tony Award winning one-womanshow and features live footage and testimonies from friends and colleaguesincluding documentary film-maker D A Pennebaker.ElaineStritch At Liberty wasproduced in association
  • Hong Kong box office suffers from SARS

    The Hong Kong box office has been so badly hit by the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that exhibitors are starting to cut shows and distributors are pulling films from Easter release schedules.Hong Kong's leading exhibitors reported that box office receipts plummeted between 30% and 55% in the last week of March when the number of SARS cases began to escalate and panic-stricken Hong Kong residents started to avoid public places. According to industry body, t
  • Hong Kong gets film financing and production guide

    The Hong Kong film industry has taken another step towards building a professional film financing infrastructure with the release of a legal documentation guide, sponsored by the Hong Kong government's Film Development Fund.The "Legal Documentation Guide on Film Financing and Production" was drawn up a Hong Kong law firm, Fong & Ng Solicitors, in association with Canadian firm Goodmans and the mainland's King & Wood. It contains 28 boilerplate contracts - based on those commonly
  • Hong Kong's Universe sets sights on mainland market

    So far the killer virus that has recently hit Hong Kong doesn't appear to be affecting production. Several studios, encouraged by the growing potential of the mainland market, are continuing to line up busy production slates for the coming months. Universe International Holdings plans to put into production at least four films over the next three months, in addition to the two it already has shooting. Heading the slate is action drama The Eyes Can Tell (working title) to
  • Hope & Glory Pictures opens UK base

    Berlin production house Hope & Glory Pictures International (HGPI) has opened a London-based outpost."We have set up the office in London since 95% of our projects are in the English language. The move is also a reflection of the company's development over the last three years through our work with UK companies and insight into British film financing instruments", HGPI's managing director Raphael Socha told Screendaily."My Hope & Glory partner, creative producer Anja Pade
  • Impressive opening for gross-out Australian comedy

    The politically incorrect Australian comedy Fat Pizza grossed $702,000 from 101 screens over its opening weekend, putting it in second place in the national chart and giving it the best screen average of the top 20.A highly impressive result for distributor Roadshow, Fat Pizza is the micro-budget big screen version of the TV comedy series Pizza, which is made in-house by SBS Television, Australia's Government-funded multicultural multilingual broadcaster. Ma
  • International festival selectors could undermine new German Film Law

    Festival selectors for Cannes, Venice and Berlin could exert an unacceptable influence on future German film funding decisions under the proposed new German Film Law (FFG), according to Klaus Schaefer, managing director of the Bavarian Film & Television Fund FFF Bayern.The new Film Law proposes that producers could gather "reference points" by participating at the three main "A" festivals to qualify for "retroactive" production support (Screendaily, April 3 2003).Schaefer
  • Italian Oscars organiser to get new name and awards location change

    Following an agreement with the EU Commission in Brussels, the Ente David di Donatello, the organisation that manages Italy's Donatello awards will be renamed 'Academy of Italian Cinema,' bringing it in line with the Cesars, the Goyas, the BAFTAS and the Academy Awards.It is hoped that the new name will serve to further boost the international prestige of the awards, which will be handed out this year on April 9th in Rome."While the traditional structure of the Donatellos will r
  • Jackie Chan to join Mandarin's $10m Sword Searchers

    Hong Kong's Mandarin Entertainment has lined up Jackie Chan and hot local singer-actor Nicholas Tse to star in The Sword Searchers, a $10m action adventure film to be directed by Tony Ching Siu-Tung.The film, which will be set up as a co-production with a Chinese studio, is based on the popular Hong Kong weekly comic book, 'Magic Weapons', created by Tony Wong Yuk-Long. The comics, which merge historical accounts of China's warlords with legendary tales, have been publish
  • Jarecki to host European Parliament screening today of controversial doc

    Eugene Jareckiis to host a closed screening at the European Parliament in Strasbourg today(Apr 8) of his award wining BBC documentary The Trials Of Henry Kissinger.Jarecki producedand directed the picture, which asks whether the former US diplomat should facecrimes against humanity charges for his role in US covert operations in Chile,Cambodia and East Timor.After thepresentation Jarecki will address European politicians on the state of globaljustice a
  • Johnny English

    Dir: Peter Howitt. UK. 2003. 89mins.More Carry On Spying than Austin Powers, Johnny English is a surprisingly tentative spy spoof that should still prove a licence to print money for production company Working Title. A family-friendly version of Mike Myers' racier, more inventive espionage antics, the combination of local comedy king Rowan Atkinson, pop sensation Natalie Imbruglia and the James Bond-style japery should make it a strong Easter holiday draw in the
  • JR Int'l Media brings Caiman's Dream to the US

    Chicago-based talent management and distribution company JR International Media has acquired domestic distribution rights to Mexican dark comedy, Caiman's Dream (El Sueno Del Caiman). Jesse Rodriguez, President & CEO of JR International Media, negotiated the deal with the film's worldwide distributor, Carlos Sanchez Sosa of Latina Films, at the Guadalajara Film Festival in late March. Caiman's Dream will premiere in Chicago in the summer where its director /co-writ
  • Lisa Gregorian promoted to senior vp, TV, at Warner Bros

    Lisa Gregorian has beenappointed to the new position of senior vice president of television at WarnerBros marketing services, it was announced today (Apr 11) by Bruce Rosenblum,executive vice president of Warner Bros Television Group.Gregorian, who since 1998has served as senior vice president of marketing and research at Warner BrosInternational Television Distribution (WBITD), will continue to oversee allmarketing for Warner Bros International Television Distribut
  • Local films help buck doward admissions trend

    With cinema attendance down in the three leading European territories for the first quarter of 2003 ( April 7) and figures showing that Belgium and Switzerland have followed suit, some of the smaller European territories are defiantly bucking the trend.Where local product like Chouchou and Good Bye, Lenin! has been unable to keep France and Germany's 2003 admissions ahead of 2002 it is the performance of local productions, along with some Hollywood help, th
  • Lorie, Vasquez get promotions in international publicity at New Line

    New Line Cinemahas promoted Tracy Lorie to senior vice president, international publicity, andTrish Vasquez to director, international publicity, at the company. Inaddition, Kristi Foreman has joined the international publicity team asmanager, international publicity.The promotions come in thewake of New Line's biggest ever year in international markets with a gross ofover $900m fueled by the first two films in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy: The Fellowship Of The Ring and
  • Madrid Film Commission launched

    Spain's capital city will finally boast a film commission thanks to the creation this week of the Madrid Film Commission.Backers include the Audiovisual Producers' Rights' Management Entity (EGEDA), the Spanish Producers' Federation (FAPAE) and the national umbrella org Spain Film Commission. The new commission also has the support of the local and regional governments.The non-profit organisation's objectives include attracting national and international productions to the city
  • Malaga fest unveils 16 new Spanish films

    Pedro Olea's Tiempo De Tormenta is set to inaugurate the sixth annual Spanish Film Festival of Malaga (April 25-May 3).Starring Maribel Verdu (Y Tu Mama Tambien) and Dario Grandinetti (Talk To Her), Tiempo will open the official competition section, which also includes the following 15 new Spanish films:Dionisio Perez Galindo's El Regalo De Silvia (Lorelei Producciones/El Medano)Pablo Berger's Torremolinos 73 (Telespan 2000)Ramon
  • Maynard, Kelly team for Australian/UK co-production

    Film producer John Maynard, who has just been presented with an honorary degree from the Australian Film, Television & Radio School, is working with UK producer David Kelly on the financing of an adaptation of Randolph Stow's novel The Merry-Go-Round In The Sea. The co-production has been scripted by Peter Kuch and Cal Durrant and will be directed by Ray Argall (Return Home, Eight Ball). Maynard says the book has sold 200,000 copies and never been out of print. May
  • Media Financial, Cascante team for Man Of The Year

    Ari Newman'sdistribution and foreign sales outfit Media Financial International and salesveteran Gregory Cascante today (Apr 10) announced the acquisition of worldwiderights to Straw Weisman's Man Of The Year, with a platform theatrical US release scheduledfor this summer in Los Angeles.The improvisedensemble picture was shot in 12 hours with 25 actors and 20 cameras and centreson a debauched party in the Hollywood Hills. Featured performers include JohnRitte
  • MGM posts $142.2m loss in 2002, extends Yemenidjian contract

    MGM posted a net loss of $142.2m or 57 cents per share in 2002,compared with a net loss of $438.1m or $1.89 per share in 2001, according tothe studio's annual shareholder report.
  • Miami Lesbian & Gay Fest showcases best of queer international cinema

    Mark Rucker'sSundance competition entry Die Mommie Die has been named the opening night film of the fifth annualMiami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival which takes place from April 25 to May 4.Richard Day's GirlsWill Be Girls, whichalso played in the Sundance Film Festival, will the centerpiece gala screening,while Brad Fraser's Leaving Metropolis will be closing night gala screening.80 films will bescreened at the festival which focuses on the best of queer inter
  • Neal Block leaves IDP for theatrical distribution at Palm

    Neal Block hasjoined Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures as manager of theatrical distribution toserve the company's newly busy domestic theatrical department.Block will beresponsible for all theatrical sales and exhibitor relations for upcoming Palmreleases. Reporting directly to Ryan Werner, head of theatrical distribution,he will also work with the film team on an array of initiatives to help buildthe Palm film brand.Block waspreviously a distribution coordinator for Independent
  • News Corp seals DirecTV in $6.6bn deal

    Two years after an unsuccessful bid by News Corp for US satelliteleader DirecTV, Rupert Murdoch awoke today (Apr 10) secure in the knowledgethat at last the cat appears to be in the bag.Yesterday the media mogul announced News Corp had signed a dealworth approximately $6.6bn to take control of DirecTV through a 34% acquisitionof DirecTV's parent company Hughes Electronics, itself a subsidiary of GeneralMotors (GM).Pending approval of the deal by financial regulators, Murdoch wil
  • Nordic films fight off Hollywood releases

    Denmark's most prolific producer Regner Grasten returned to form with his latest film Anja After Viktor, which drew 81,700 admissions ($622,500) this weekend, dethroning local hit: Anders Thomas Jensen's The Green Butchers from the number one spot.The third instalment in a series, Anja After Viktor (following 1999's Love At First Hiccough and 2001's Anja & Viktor) didn't, however, beat the opening record set by the second film, which took 151,000 admi
  • Nowhere In Africa scores somewhere in the UK

    Buena Vista International's The Recruit held strong at the top of the UK chart for a second week, seeing off three new challengers over the weekend. However, in another slow weekend for films on wide release, two foreign-language limited releases showed that audiences are still willing to turn out despite the improving weather.The Recruit dropped off just 16% from its previous weekend this week and saw off challenges from stablemate Shanghai Knights, Enterta
  • Palm takes US rights to La Fleur Du Mal

    Palm Pictureshas acquired all US rights to Claude Chabrol's Flower Of Evil (La FleurDu Mal), the acclaimeddirector's latest film that premiered at this year's Berlin FilmFestival.Palm plans a theatrical release in the autumn followed bya DVD and video roll-out next year.The Flower OfEvil is set in theBordeaux region of France and stars Nathalie Baye (Catch Me If You Can,Venus Beauty Institute)and Benoit Magimel (The Piano Teacher) in
  • Pflug joins, Hiltzik promoted at Miramax

    In two big changesin the publicity department at Miramax Films, Paul Pflug has joined the companyas executive vice president of media relations and corporate communications,while Matthew Hiltzik has been promoted to senior vice president of corporatecommunications and government relations.Effective today,Pflug is based in Miramax's Los Angeles office, where his responsibilitiesinclude managing Miramax's corporate profile and communications strategieswithin the entertainment, consumer a
  • Polish producer hopes for new blockbuster with Old Tale

    While the Polish film industry is still waiting for promised funding from new minister of culture Waldemar Dabrowski to revive the stalled industry, some producers are still managing to make films. Director Jerzy Hoffman who ushered in the era of the Polish blockbuster in 1999 with With Fire And Sword which grossed a record $25m at the Polish box office is in post-production on Old Tale, another period drama that he hopes will make the same kind of splash at the Polish b
  • Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region to issue production cash

    France's Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur (PACA) region announced on Monday that it would set aside Euros 1.5m to aid productions shooting in the region. The funding will be open to French companies but also to Europeans in the case of a French co-production.Based on the National Cinema Centre's (CNC) advance on receipts scheme, the funds are being earmarked for features at the production level as well as at the script and development stages.PACA is the most highly sought location in
  • Schepisi lined up for Australian project after 15-year absence

    Two expatriate Australian directors, Fred Schepisi (Last Orders) and John Polson (Swimfan), may be among those to benefit from the second fundraising by Australian partners the Nine Network and Macquarie bank, it was revealed last night. Schepisi was presented with the highest honour at the Australian Screen Directors Association awards in February. Schepisi's $6.6m (A$11m) comedy drama Hitches about two brothers hitch-hiking to Queensland's Gold Coast for t
  • Scorsese among new board members for Short Shorts Fest

    Organisers atthe 2003 Short Shorts Film Festival today (Apr 10) announced the board ofdirectors for the second annual event, which runs in Los Angeles from Apr 29 toMay 1.The boardcomprises Martin Scorsese, Roger Donaldson, Edward Burns, Colin Farrell andLions Gate CEO Tom Ortenberg, as well as Toni Howard, Naomi Foner, TetsuyaBessho, Keiko Takahashi, Michael Wolf and Masaharu Kohno, the consul-general ofJapan in Los Angeles.The festivalwill present award-win
  • Sony's Spanish production arm confirms first projects

    Just a month after the company closed its German production division, Sony Pictures Entertainment's new Spanish production operation, Columbia Films Producciones Espanolas has confirmed two of its first projects in development.Iona de Macedo, head of the Madrid-based unit since its September 2001 launch, confirmed that writer-director Juan Calvo's Tam Tam, a romantic action-comedy about an unlikely couple who meets on the set of a game show, is the most advanced project in devel
  • Sundance Doc Fund names 14 annual grant-winners

    Documentariesexploring the trial of the former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, maleprostitution in Tel Aviv and immigrant tensions in a Texan farming communityare among 14 grant recipients from the Sundance Documentary Fund (SDF).Originally established in 1996as the Soros Documentary Fund, the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund was created in 2002 and offers development, work-in-progress and supplemental awards to USand international pictures that tackle human rights-related themes
  • Sweden's NonStop Entertainment takes on Comandante

    Swedish distribution company NonStop Entertainment has acquired all rights for Scandinavia and the Baltic countries to Oliver Stone's Comandante. For his first documentary, Stone has chosen a controversial subject: an intimate conversation between the director and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.From three days of shooting in Cuba, Stone has edited down more than 30 hours of interviews and conversations to provide a direct portrait of Castro, where the leader discusses the st
  • Swedish Film Institute director general awarded Legion d'Honneur

    Ase Kleveland, Director General of the Swedish Film Institute, has been awarded France's Legion d'Honneur in acknowledgement of her efforts to promote cooperation in cinema related issues throughout Europe. The award was presented by the Grand Chancellor of the Legion d'Honneur, Jean-Philippe Douin.Since Ase Kleveland became director general of the Swedish Film Institute in 2001 there have been numerous co-operative projects between Sweden and France. When Sweden took over the p
  • The Son wins three Belgian Oscars

    Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne's The Son (Le Fils) was the big winner at this year's Belgian Oscars, the Joseph Plateau Awards, taking the honours in three categories - Best Belgian Film, Best Belgian Director and Best Belgian Actor - after being nominated for five.The awards, which are organised by Ghent's Flanders International Film Festival (FIFF), also saw a first this year with ex-aequos in two categories: the Best Belgian Actress award was shared by Els Dottermans for Gir
  • UK Film Council considers major digital cinema circuit

    In a potentially groundbreaking move, UK Government support body the Film Council is hatching plans to pour close to $21.8m (£14m) into a nation-wide circuit of up to 250 digital screens.The move, which would leapfrog the UK to the forefront of the digital era, is aimed at fulfilling the council's brief of expanding the range and accessibility of films on offer to the public. In return for its investment, the Council aims to ring-fence screens for approved specialist titles. Exh
  • UK tax fund First Choice backs 30% of Myriad duo, Purifiers

    First Choice, the innovative UK tax fund launched by financier Grosvenor Park, is pumping approximately 30% of the budgets into two high-profile titles on MyriadPictures' international sales slate - Istvan Szabo's Being Julia and Trauma,director Marc Evan's next picture after UK horror hit My Little Eye.BeingJuliais being produced through Robert Lantos' Serendipity Point Films as aCanada-UK-Hungary co-production. Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons will star inth
  • UK's Film & TV School CEO returns to film-making

    Stephen Bayly, chief executive of the UK's National Film and Television School (NFTS), is stepping down to return to film-making. Bayly, a producer-director whose producing credits include Marleen Gorris' Mrs Dalloway and Richard III, directed by Richard Loncraine, has been at the NFTS since 1998 and is a graduate of the school himself. "I've been itching to get back to film-making," said Bayly. "It is typical at the school for practitioners to come do their stint,
  • Universal's Ned Kelly holds at one in Australia

    Universal Pictures/EndymionFilms' Ned Kelly held off openersBringing Down The House, Dreamcatcher and What A Girl Wants toremain number one in Australia for the second weekend in a row, adding $889,000from 252 theatres for a $2.9m running total after 11 days.The biopic, which starsHeath Ledger, Naomi Watts and Geoffrey Rush, fell 43% from last weekend, whenit scored $460,000 - the third highest opening day ever for an Australian film(Screendaily, Mar 28).
  • Venice to 'encourage' Italian producers with festival retrospective

    The upcoming 60th Venice Film Festival (Aug 27-Sep 6) will screen a retrospective on the 20th century's greatest Italian producers - which artistic director Moritz de Hadeln hopes will be an 'encouragement' for today's Italian producers.Entitled "The Industry of Prototypes," the retrospective will focus on the golden era of Italian cinema, from 1945 to 1975. Producers represented are: Dino De Laurentiis (Barbarella), Franco Cristaldi (Cinema Paradiso), Luigi De Lau