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14 April 2005

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  • Arts Alliance names Kiedaisch as chief financial officer

    Arts Alliance Media, which was recently appointed to runthe UK Film Council's digital cinema network, has appointed Howard Kiedaisch aschief financial officer. Kiedaisch joins Arts Alliance Media from UniversalPictures International (UPI) where he was senior vice president of businessoperations and chief financial officer.In addition to his six years at UPI, Kiedaisch has workedfor Polygram Film, EMI Music and Orion Pictures in the USA. 'I was attracte
  • Atlantic Film Festival reacts with fury to Montreal move

    Canada's Atlantic FilmFestival (AFF) has reacted with fury to news that the newly-minted FestivalInternational de Films de Montreal (FIFM) has shifted its launch dates to Sept18-25, overlapping the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based event's run of Sept 15-24. The change in FIFM dates isa black eye for Telefilm Canada, the federal film finance agency, whichprecipitated the creation of the new Montreal event but which also providescore funding to the AFF. The FIFM changed its originally announce
  • Borman steps down as Intermedia chief

    Moritz Borman is to resignfrom his post as chief executive officer of Intermedia on April 30 and exitfrom the management board of parent company IM Internationalmedia.He will be replaced by MartinSchuermann who will become the new chief executive
  • Brehm, Chamberlain, Weingroff get new roles at CBS Paramount Int'l

    Jim Brehm and BarryChamberlain have been named executive vice president of pay television andsenior vice president of sales respectively at CBS Paramount InternationalTelevision, while Jennifer Weingroff becomes vice president of communications.Brehm will be in charge ofsales and licensing of all products for pay television including PPV and VOD.He joined the company in 1989 and most recently served as senior vice presidentof worldwide pay television.Chamberl
  • Cannes drafts in Yang, Iosseliani for sidebar duty

    The Cannes FilmFestival has made two announcements regarding sidebars at the upcoming eventwhich runs from May 11-22.Taiwanesedirector Edward Yang has been named to preside over the Cinefondation jury andthe short film jury while Georgian filmmaker Otar Iosseliani will act as patronof the 44th Critics' Week.Yang won the bestdirector prize at Cannes in 2000 for Yi Yi. Previous jury presidents have included Martin Scorsese and ThomasVinterberg.In
  • Cognac toasts Iglesia's El Crimen Ferpecto

    Alex de la Iglesia's blackcomedy El Crimen Ferpecto was the big winner at the 23rdannual Cognac Thriller Festival which wrapped on Sunday night. The film was a crowd favoritetaking the Premiere magazine audience award as well as the Grand Prize from thejury headed up by American director Joel Schumacher.The Jury Prize went to Soundlessfrom Germany's Mennen Yapo. Produced by Tom Tykwer and written by Lars OlafBeier, film traces the unraveling and eventual redemption
  • Dan Murrell to run LaserPacific in LA

    Dan Murrell has joineddigital LA post-production facility LaserPacific as chairman and chiefexecutive officer, effective immediately.Murrell served as chiefexecutive officer of Home Box Office Asia, a joint venture of Warner Bros,Sony, Universal, Paramount and HBO, since 1997, and will focus on long-termgrowth, strategic planning and business opportunities.Reporting to general managerof Kodak Entertainment Imaging Services Bertrand Decoux, Murrell will helpgu
  • De Laurentiis's Decameron begins Italian shoot

    Shooting starts today (April 13) on the Dino De Laurentiisproduced $38m period comedy, Decameron.Writtenand directed by David Leland (Band of Brothers), theItalian-British-French movie stars Hayden Christensen, Mischa Barton (TheO.C) and Tim Roth. Decameron is inspired by Italian author Boccaccio's 14thcentury collection of stories about a group of unmarried nobles who sit out the1348 plague in the countryside near Florence.The movie, which wea
  • Dying Gaul, Adam & Steve bookend Miami Gay Film Fest

    Craig Lucas’ Hollywood drama The Dying Gaul starring Peter Sarsgaard, Campbell Scottand Patricia Clarkson will open the 7th annual Miami Gay & Lesbian FilmFestival, which runs from Apr 22-May 1.
  • El Dorado takes on sales for Malaga pair

    Newly-formed El Dorado International has picked upinternational rights on two films competing in next week's Spanish FilmFestival of Malaga (April 22-30), Jose Antonio Vitoria's Vorvik andXavier Berraondo's Working Class.TheMadrid-based sales outfit, newly created by former Aurum international salesdirector Mocha Aguilar, will screen both films to international buyers at
  • European box office on the slide in 2005

    The UKmarket appears to be the only major European territory showing box office oradmissions growth this year, according to the latest first quarter figures.Frenchadmissions figures are down nearly 13%, German figures have slipped 11% whilethe Spanish box office has leveled off compared to the first three months of2004. Figures for The Netherlands, Denmark and Poland are also significantlydown. By comparison, the 13
  • Fiennes, Mortimer sign for Who Killed Norma Barnes'

    RalphFiennes and Emily Mortimer are to star in Who Killed Norma Barnes', acontemporary tale of sexual obsession based on Dostoyevsky's The Idiot. MalcolmMcKay, whose credits include big-budget BBC TV adaptation Gormenghast,is directing from his own script, with Eliza Mellor producing for the UK'sCompany Pictures. Shootingis scheduled for the autumn in the UK and Europe. My Summer Of Love
  • Film Sales Co to handle Tribeca premiere Aurora Borealis

    Andrew Herwitz's New York-based Film Sales Company has picked upworldwide rights to James Burke's directorial debut and drama AuroraBorealis, which starsDonald Sutherland and Juliette Lewis and will premiere at this month's TribecaFilm Festival.
  • Fox veteran Grace gets key publicity job at Sony's TriStar

    Florence Grace, a ten yearveteran of 20th Century Fox, where she most recently served assenior vice president of corporate publicity, has been named senior vicepresident of publicity at TriStar Pictures, the recently revived label of SonyPictures.TriStar, which is headed byValerie Van Galder, is a marketing, production and acquisitions unit devoted todirector-driven films with crossover appeal. The company is currently in productionon its first film Running With Scissors starrin
  • French admissions fall back in first quarter of 2005

    France'sNational Cinema Federation (FNCF) has announced a drop in first quarter figuresfor 2005 against last year. In thefirst three months of the year, the box-office racked up 44.6 millionadmissions versus 50.1 million over the same period in 2004.The FNCF
  • Frugone named as new Valladolid fest director

    Spain's Valladolid International Film Festival hasnamed Juan Carlos Frugone as the new director of the event, which this yearcelebrates its 50th anniversary edition (Oct 21-29). A native of Argentina and an experienced film critic,Frugone was deputy director of Valladolid from 1984 to 1992. He has worked forother festivals including Mar del Plata and Huelva, and has consulted onSpanish and Latin American cinema for Venice, Chicago and Taormina. Former Valladolid director Fernand
  • Ghobadi's Turtles flies off with NatFilm prize

    Bahman Ghobadi's Turtles Can Fly won theaudience prize at the 16th NATfilm festival in Denmark.The film, which is set in an Iraqi refugee camp priorto the US led invasion, is a follow up to Ghobadi's arthouse hit A Time ForDrunken Horses.The Critics Award went to the only documentary runningin competition, The Devil and Daniel Johns
  • Gorris smelling of Rosa for Bold Films

    Marleen Gorris has signed to direct the sexually-charged drama Rosa for Bold Films as part of the fledgling Los Angeles-based production company's growing slate.Principal photography is scheduled to begin on Rosa on June 7 in Florence, Italy. Bold Films principal Edward Bass and debut screenwriter Athena Stensland are producing, and Michel Litvak and Bold's two other principals Gary Michael Walters and Dan Grodnik are serving as executive producers."The majo
  • HanWay beefs up back catalogue

    UK-based sales agency HanWayFilms has beefed up its back catalogue by acquiring rights to two libraries.The director-driven companyhas taken on the Wim Wenders films in the Reverse Angle Library and selectedpictures from HanWay's sister production company, Recorded Picture Company.The Wenders films include Paris,Texas, Wings Of Desire and Buena Vista Social Club, plus rare shortfilms and documentaries. The films from Recorded Picture Company range fromBernardo Bert
  • Heart, Amore share 12 Donatello nods

    Ferzan Ozpetek'sdrama Sacred Heart and Giovanni Veronesi's romantic comedy Manualed'Amore have earned the lion's share of nominations for the Donatellos,Italy's top film awards.Sacred Heart, about a successful ruthlessbusinesswoman who comes face-to-face with poverty on the streets of Naples, andManuale d'Amore both scored 12 nominations. It is the secondyear running that Veronesi has won multiple nominations, following last year'srunaway hit What
  • Hot newcomers, veterans share Filmstiftung NRW cash

    Award winning Britishshort film director Steve Hudson has received Euros 850,000 in funding for hisdebut feature Dragnet from Dusseldorf-based subsidy body FilmstiftungNRW.Hudson won the Prix UIP in Venice last year forhis short Goodbye. Dragnet is about a group of Scottish fishermen whoget involved in the human trafficking of Chinese refugees to pay off the debtson their boa
  • House Of D

    Dir/scr: David Duchovny.US. 2004. 97mins.Cloying when it means tobe heartfelt, simplistic when it aims to be nostalgic, House Of Dconcerns a troubled artist who must come to terms with his past if he everhopes to get a handle on his life. In his feature writing and directorial debut,actor David Duchovny shows that he knows where to place a camera but also,alas, that his sense of story and character lean toward the sentimental.Commercial prospects lo
  • Hutton signs on for Filmax's The Kovak Box

    Timothy Hutton has signed on for the lead in Spanishproduction The Kovak Box, the latest English-language thriller fromFilmax.Hutton plays a best-selling science fictionauthor invited to an apparently idyllic island for a conference only to findhimself wrapped up in a nightmarish plot where people are mysteriously drivento commit suicide.Daniel Monzon
  • Icon drafts in Hamilton as UK president

    Alex Hamilton has joined Icon Film Distribution in the UK as president,reporting to newly-appointed CEO Martin Bigham. Hamilton, who most recently served as director of sales and businessdevelopment at fellow UK distributor Momentum Pictures, will start with thecompany next week. "I'm delighted to be joining Icon and very much look forward to workingwith the talented and experienced team there," he said.Hamilton effectively replaces Sally Caplan, who recently left to head
  • Imagi recruits Cumming, Astin, Tucci for Cat Tale

    Alan Cumming, Sean Astin,Elisha Cuthbert, and Stanley Tucci have joined the voice cast of ImagiServices' upcoming CGI animated feature Cat Tale, which is scheduled for release in 2006.Cat Tale centres on the exploits of Rover, a feline whomistakenly grows up in Dogtown and must rediscover his roots by journeying toCatopolis.Astin will voice Rover,Cumming will play the kindly inventor Newton, Cuthbert plays Rover's loveinterest Cleo, and Tucci will voice Rover's lov
  • Indian International awards set locale for 2006 event in Amsterdam

    The sixth InternationalIndian Film Academy (IIFA) awards weekend will take place in Amsterdam,Holland, from Jun 9-11.Since the annual ceremonylaunched five years ago at the Millennium Dome in London, a number ofinternational locations including London, Malaysia and Singapore have hostedthe event.The IIFA will feature a newglobal business forum at Expo XXI, a celebrity cricket match, world premierescreening, and the IIFA awards ceremony itself, which takes pla
  • Infernal Affairs' Lau to direct major pan-Asian feature

    South Koreanproduction company iFilm, which scored a hit with the Korean-HK co-production Windstrucklast year, has unveiled a major new pan-Asian feature that brings together HongKong director Andrew Lau of Infernal Affairs and Jeon Ji-hyun, the lead actressfrom Windstruck and My Sassy Girl.Titled Daisy, thefilm is billed as a "romantic noir" set in the Netherlands about apolice detective and an assassin who both fall in love with an artist. It will be co-scripted by Kwak Jae-yong, the
  • Int'l buyers stock up on Pope documentaries

    In the wake of Pope JohnPaul II's death, Rai Trade, the sales arm of Italianpublic broadcaster RAI, has witnessed a flurry of demand for its latestdocumentaries on the pontiff and extensive stock footage.Vatican expert FabioZavattaro's A Quarter of a Century With Pope John Paul II, which focuses on the Pope's humanity, has been soldto RTL in Germany and France 2. Home video rights have been sold to Portugaland Poland.Stefano Rizzelli's TheStubborness of God, which
  • Italian arthouse distributor Teodora picks up Contronatura

    Rome-based arthouse distributor Teodora Film is to release itsfirst-ever local picture, a film entitled Contronatura starring MayaSansa.Produced by Tilde Corsi and writer-producer Gianni Romoli, the duobehind Ferzan Ozpetek's Facing Windows and Sacred Heart, Contronaturais a thriller set in Tuscany and directed by Alessandro Tofanelli.'It's a story of passion between a hunter, a pharmacist andthe hunter's sister,' said Teodora's Cesare Pe
  • Kuhn to deliver Pact's inaugural film lecture

    MichaelKuhn, chairman of UK production company Qwerty Films and former head ofPolyGram Filmed Entertainment, will deliver the inaugural film lectureorganised by producer's body PACT.Kuhnwill talk about the state of the British film industry in the lecture, whichtakes place in London on May 9. The Bank of Ireland are sponsoring the event."Weare delighted Michael Kuhn has accepted our invitation to give this inauguralPact Film Lecture at such an important time for the industry," s
  • LA PR co MPRM rehires Carpenter, Lopez

    Former mPRm staff membersAriel Carpenter and Jennifer Lopez have returned to the Los Angeles-basedpublic relations company as vice president of the emerging media and technology(EMT) practice and senior account executive of the film practice respectively. Carpenter will beresponsible for new business development for the EMT practice as well asdeveloping and supervising campaigns for the firm's consumer-oriented EMTclients. She previously worked atmPRm from 19
  • Limited releases chalk up success at UK box office

    Adventurestory Sahara might have claimed the lead at the UK box officeover the weekend, but a string of titles on limited release chalked up notablesuccesses. MomentumPictures had a second powerful weekend for Downfall (Der Untergang). TheGerman film slipped a mere 1% week-on-week ahead of an aggressive expansionfrom Friday (
  • Lions Gate spins off Canadian distribution, production

    Lions Gate Entertainment hasspun off its Canadian distribution operation into a new venture called MaplePictures, headed up by former Lions Gate executives Brad Pelman and Laurie May.The move sees the once-all-Canadian Lions Gate strip away its Canadian assetsand now focus firmly on its US operation.Lions Gate will neverthelesshold a minority stake in Maple, which it claims becomes the second largestindependent distributor in Canada after Alliance Atlantis MPD. Maple willhandle Lions G
  • Loach plants Barley in Ireland

    Director Ken Loach is to start shooting his next film, thetentatively titled The Wind That Shakes The Barley, in Cork, Ireland,next month.The Irish Civil War drama is written by Loach's regularcollaborator, Paul Laverty. Named after a 19th century politicalsong, the film revolves around a family and one of the so-called flyingcolumns, the Irish guerrilla units that lived rough as they fought the Britishon the run, between 1919 and the early 1920s. Through their eyes, we see thee
  • Loverboy

    Dir: Kevin Bacon. US.2005. 87minsAn old psychiatric joke declares that 'neurotics build castles in thesky; psychotics live in them.' Loverboy focuses on a smart,creative, unusually intense woman whose natural, if somewhat alarminglypossessive, love for her young son careers into total obsession.But while Loverboyboasts some stellar performances,
  • Malaga festival unveils Spanish competition line-up

    The Spanish Film Festival of Malaga has finalised itsline-up for this year's eighth annual edition (April 22-30), unveilingthe final titles competing in its official selection.New films joining the six previously announced competitorsinclude: Ramon Salazar's transvestite musical 20 Centimetres (20Centimetros); Cuban comedian AlexisValdes' directorial debut A King In Havana (Un Rey En LaHabana); Ines Paris' and DanielaFejerman's romantic comedy Semen, A Love Story (Seme
  • Melancholia spreads around the world

    Three Rooms Of Melancholia, the latest documentary byveteran Finnish filmmaker Pirjo Honkasalo (Flame, Cannes 1980, TheFire-Eater, AFI Grand Prix 1998) emerged as the hottest title at theThessaloniki Documentary Festival and the Doc Film Market that wrapped hereyesterday.The film looks set to join the growing number of full-lengthdocumentaries that secure extensive theatrical distribution around the world.The film, which looks at the vulnerability of childre
  • Mitchell wins Buena Vista International promotion

    Robert Mitchell has beenpromoted to senior vice president, marketing/sales and deputy managing directorat Buena Vista International (UK).Mitchell, previously vicepresident, marketing/sales and deputy managing director, has worked alongsideBVI UK chief Daniel Battsek almost since the division's birth in 1992. 'I not only respect andadmire Robert's expertise in the field of marketing, but also rely on himwholeheartedly to support everything I do,' Battsek said.
  • Myriad to handle worldwide sales on Liotta-starrer Comeback Season

    Myriad Pictures has come on board family comedy Comeback Season starring Ray Liotta, Shaun Sipos, RachelBlanchard and Glenne Headly and is handling worldwide rights excluding Canada.
  • Nice opening for French hit comedy

    Director James Huth's BriceDe Nice has proved a breakout hit in French cinemas in its first week. Released on Wednesday April6, the film had already wracked up 1.1m admissions by the end of the weekend,breaking records as the biggest opening day and openingweekend in France in 2005. Brice knocked French comedy Iznogoud from the topspot and beat recent US releases this year such as Hitch, The Aviatorand Meet The Fockers.Brice
  • Nickelodeon launched as 24-hour service in Germany

    MTV NetworksEurope (MTVNE) will launch Nickelodeon as a 24-hour children's channel and website in Germany on Sept 12.Viacom chiefsalso announced that they have set up Viacom Brand Solutions, a cross-brandingadvertising sales house to market the portfolio of channels.The locallymanaged and programmed channel and site will feature such properties as TheSpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Jimmy Neutron, Avatarand Danny Phantom.In the
  • Oscar winning short film director cranks up debut feature

    Danishdirector Martin Strange-Hansen, who won the 2002 Oscar best short film award,has started shooting his feature debut, True Spirit.TrueSpirit isbilled as a comedy about a disaster prone magician (Ken Vedsegaard) who teamsup with an insurance agent Arne (Jesper Asholt) to become ghost busters. Accordingto producer Mie Andreasen, Strange-Hansen has a special talent for broadcomedies targeting family audiences: "We already saw it in his early workand the new film
  • Paramount tops box office with action adventure Sahara

    Paramount'saction-adventure Saharaopened top of the North American charts at the weekend, drawing mixed reviewsbut an estimated $18.5m in ticket sales.The picture,which stars Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz as environmental adventurers,averaged $5,865 on 3,154 screens. It was directed by Breck Eisner, the son ofdeparting Disney chief Michael Eisner, and financed by Phillip Anschutz'sBristol Bay Productions. Summit Entertainment sold international rights.Dimension's
  • Parent, Stuber move into producing roles at Universal

    Universal Pictures vicechairmen of worldwide productionMary Parent and Scott Stuber will segue into producer roles at the end of 2005as part of their seven-year deal with the studio.Under the terms of their contracts Parent and Stuber agreed to serve the firsttwo years as vice chairmen of worldwide production and the balance as producerson the lot.Effective immediately, executive vice president of production Donna Langleybecomes president of production, reporting to Uni
  • Parent, Stuber move into producing roles at Universal

    Universal Pictures vicechairmen of worldwide productionMary Parent and Scott Stuber will segue into producer roles at the end of 2005as part of their seven-year deal with the studio.Under the terms of their contracts Parent and Stuber agreed to serve the firsttwo years as vice chairmen of worldwide production and the balance as producerson the lot.Effective immediately, executive vice president of production Donna Langleybecomes president of production, reporting to Uni
  • Parent, Stuber move into producing roles at Universal

    Universal Pictures vicechairmen of worldwide productionMary Parent and Scott Stuber will segue into producer roles at the end of 2005as part of their seven-year deal with the studio.Under the terms of their contracts Parent and Stuber agreed to serve the firsttwo years as vice chairmen of worldwide production and the balance as producerson the lot.Effective immediately, executive vice president of production Donna Langleybecomes president of producti
  • Phantom scares up $100m international gross

    The filmversion of Andrew Lloyd Webber's long-running musical hit The Phantom Of TheOpera has passed the $100m mark at the international box office.The success has been led by a triumphant turn in Japanwhere a collosal $36.5m has been taken to date, 35.6% of the internationaltotal and 23.8% of the worldwide cumulative. The film sat upon the top of thecountry's chart for five consecutive weeks for Gaga Humax.Thestage version was a big hit in the territory where stories wit
  • Ring 2 leads international pack with $14.8m weekend

    DreamWorks International'shorror sequel The Ring 2 added anestimated $14.8m through UIP in 4,245 sites in 46 territories at the weekend,raising the international running total to $55m.The picture opened top inItaly on $1.9m and approximately 30% market share, a remarkable result giventhat theatres were closed on Friday for the Pope's funeral. In another keyopening Russia produced $1.4m.Holdovers saw The Ring 2 add $2m in 422 theatres in the UK for second placeand $
  • Ring Two continues to roll in Russia, Italy

    Fox International's capersequel Be Cool has a raft ofmajor market releases this weekend, with debuts scheduled for Russia on Apr 7on 85 prints, followed a day later by Spain, Mexico and South Korea on 300, 220and 50 respectively.The picture is in the earlystages of its release and has grossed $13.4m to date, however will struggle toovercome the enduring might of DreamWorks International's The Ring 2, which was the clear international box officechampion last weekend.
  • Ring Two holds onto international chart lead

    Horrorsequel The Ring Two hung on to the lead on the international table atthe weekend. A number one $3m launch in Italy led the way among the eight newterritories which received it, which also included Russia with $1.8m.Frenchcomedy Brice De Nice was the best new opener taking the fourth place.Leading the French table, the film sol
  • RiverRun Fest to honour Cliff Robertson

    CliffRobertson, who won the Oscar in 1969 for his portrayal of a mentally challengedman in Charley, will receive the 2005Master of Cinema Award at the 7th annual RiverRun International Film Festival, which runs from Apr21-24 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.Among theline-up of 52 features and more than 80 shorts are world premieres for EricaMcCarthy's documentary about a college mascot Damn Good Dog, Ted Newsom's comedy sci-fi NakedMonster, WillClegg's drama The Rest O
  • Russian, Polish directors take top Wiesbaden prizes

    Women filmmakers were the main winners at this year'sgoEast Festival of Central and East European Film in Wiesbaden when the awardswere presented on Tuesday evening (April 12).The International Jury, headed by Polish director Robert Glinski,its best film prize to veteran Russian director Kira Muratova's modern farce TheTuner (Nastrojscik), while the best director prize went to Poland'sMalgorzata Szumowska for her second feature Stranger (Ono).Boris Mitic's
  • Sahara

    Dir: Breck Eisner. US. 2005. 124 mins.Sahara is a brave attempt by an independent company - Phillip Anschutz’s Anschutz Film Group - to launch a new action hero franchise, this one modeled on Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt character. The film is a lavishly mounted, old-fashioned adventure picture which pitches Pitt somewhere betweenIndiana Jones, James Bond and Jack Ryan. Disappointingly, he comes in fourth asa result of decidedly flavourless characterization and
  • Sahara tops US box office for Anschutz, Paramount

    Paramount'saction-adventure Saharaopened top of the North American charts at the weekend, drawing mixed reviewsbut an estimated $18.5m in ticket sales.The picture,which stars Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz as environmental adventurers,averaged $5,865 on 3,154 screens. It was directed by Breck Eisner, the son ofdeparting Disney chief Michael Eisner, and financed by Phillip Anschutz'sBristol Bay Productions. Summit Entertainment sold international rights.Dimension's
  • Snow Cake cranks up in Canada

    Snow Cake, the long-gestating drama starring Alan Rickman,Sigourney Weaver and Carrie-Anne Moss, has finally started shooting in Canada.The UK-Canada co-productionbegan shooting in Ontario this week and relocates to Toronto at the end of themonth, wrapping on May 19th. Marc Evans, whose creditsinclude Trauma and My Little Eye, is directing, with Niv Fichmanand Jessica Daniel from Rhombus Media and Gina Carter and Andrew Eaton fromRevolution Films producing.
  • Sony-led acquisition of MGM closed on Friday

    On the day MGM's acquisitionby the Sony and Comcast-led consortium officially closed and most of theexisting MGM staff prepared to be let go, the company announced severaloperating practices and a slew of new appointments.The company will releaseonly one more film - The Amityville Horror on Apr 15. Its remaining titles Into The Blue, Romance AndCigarettes, The Woods, The Pink Panther and Art School Confidentialwill go out through Sony labels this autumn.Oper
  • Spain's Avalon partners with Fnac on DVD label

    Spanishproducer-distributor Avalon Pictures has launched a new DVD sell-through labelin Spain with entertainment megastore Fnac handling classic internationalauteur titles.The label, Filmoteca Fnac, will handle an initial 20 to 25films per year from auteur directors like Fellini, Cassavetes, Jarmusch andKitano.Titles will be released on anywhere from 1500-4000 copies.Avalon founder Stefan Schmitz says he is looking to pick up rights to multipletitles from dir
  • The Amityville Horror

    Dir: Andrew Douglas. US.2005. 89 mins.Michael Bay's low budget operation Platinum Dunes had asmash hit two years ago with its remake of seminal 1974 horror movie TheTexas Chainsaw Massacre and it should scorehit #2 with its remake of 1979 horror classic The Amityville Horror. Seasoned UK commercials director Andrew Douglasturns in a
  • UK exhibitors call for cinema rentals rethink

    Thevexed issue of UK cinema rentals - the sums paid to distributors by exhibitors- has come into sharp focus following remarks by John Wilkinson, chiefexecutive of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association.UKrentals are reputed to be among the lowest in Europe, but Wilkinson has told Scr
  • Universal's production chiefs ready for in-house producer role

    Universal Pictures vicechairmen of worldwide productionMary Parent and Scott Stuber will segue into producer roles at the end of 2005as part of their seven-year deal with the studio.Under the terms of their contracts Parent and Stuber agreed to serve the firsttwo years as vice chairmen of worldwide production and the balance as producerson the lot.Effective immediately, executive vice president of production Donna Langleybecomes president of producti
  • Veteran Hollywood talent agent Dontanville leaves William Morris

    Steve Dontanville, one ofHollywood's leading talent agents whose clients include Reese Witherspoon andAnne Hathaway, is leaving William Morris Agency (WMA) to take six months offand then change direction after 27 years as an agent. Dontanville came to WMA in2000 from ICM where he worked for 17 years. His current client roster alsoincludes Josh Brolin and Benjamin Bratt, and it's not yet clear where Dontanville's clients willland.WMA chief Jim Wiatt said ina statement: "We want t
  • Voltage acquires two comedies from Insomnia

    Nicolas Chartier and DeanDevlin's fledgling international sales and financing house Voltage Pictures hasacquired two comedies from Insomnia Entertainment, Eric Bernt's Vegas Baby and Matthew Cole Weiss' Standing Still.Voltage will handleinternational rights and show footage to buyers at Cannes on both pictures,which are currently in post production.Vegas Baby centres on five friends who head for Sin City tocelebrate their friend's final few days of bachelorh
  • Von Trier, Scherfig team for Erik Nietzsche

    LoneScherfig is set to direct Erik Nietzsche - the Early Years, based on asemi-autobiographical script written by Lars von Trier.Scherfig(Italian For Beginners) is expected to start filming the project inDenmark in 2006. She is currently preparing to shoot internationalco-production Good, which stars Hugh Jackman and Romola Garai, in Berlinthis summer.Billed as witty andironic and containing strong echoes of von Trier's early life, Erik Nietzsche - the Ea
  • Woods quits as Irish Film Board chief

    MarkWoods has resigned as chief executive of the Irish Film Board after 18 monthsin the job. Woodsis moving back to Sydney, Australia, to head a significantly smallerorganisation, the national locations office Ausfilm. Woods lived in Sydney for 12 years before returning toIrel
  • Words In Blue

    Dir. Alain Corneau. Fr.2004. 114mins.Alain Corneau's WordsIn Blue, the veteran film-maker's first romance, promises much in its firsthalf, overcoming the initial obstacles of weak motivation to develop anintimate, sensitive relationship drama between a young girl who refuses tospeak and her single, emotionally stunted mum.But then the theme switchesfrom lack of communication to a love story and gradually degenerates into asentimental melo