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14 April 2008

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  • 21, Leatherheads kick off overseas campaigns in Europe as Horton hurtles away

    Fox International's Horton Hears A Who! remains the leading Hollywood export and looks like the one to beat this weekend as executives expect it to cross $100m.The family film has amassed $93.9m and opens in 10 territories including Greece on April 10.The romantic comedy 27 Dresses is doing well on $62.7m through Fox and $65.6m through all distributors, while the video game adaptation
  • A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures

    Dir. Chris Waitt. UK. 2007. 89mins.A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures is funny. The more viewers are charmed by Chris Waitt, the funnier they will find this low-budget documentary. But he's not overwhelmingly charming, even to his long-suffering mother, and doubts linger at the end as to whether he's entirely real.In Sexual Failures, slacker Chris is chucked by his most recent girlfriend, realises he's been dumped by every woman he has
  • Adrien Brody replaces Liotta in Dario Argento's Giallo

    Oscar winner Adrien Brody will replace Ray Liotta as the detective character in cult horror-master Dario Argento's up-coming English language film Giallo, which starts shooting in Turin as of mid-May.The casting update was confirmed by Giallo producer Rafael Primorac of LA-based Arramis Films, who told the film had to be entirely re-cast.'The film became a bigger project with a bigger star in the lead and was re-cast to reflect that. It was a classi
  • Amos Gitai to receive this year's Locarno Leopard of Honour

    The Leopard of Honour at this year's Locarno International Film Festival (August 6-16) will be awarded to Amos Gitai whose latest film One Day, You Will Understand was shown at this year's Berlinale.Commenting on the choice of the Israeli filmmaker, artistic director Frederic Maire said in a statement: 'Amos Gitai occupies a very special place in the landscape of contemporary cinema. Deeply rooted in a geography and a history - that of Israel - his work constantly interrogates
  • Australian Writers Guild quits Australian Screen Council in protest

    The dream of the Australian film and television production industry talking to government with one powerful voice on key issues is in tatters tonight with one of the four member organisations of the Australian Screen Council (ASC) resigning over what it says is financial mismanagement.The executive director of the Australian Writers Guild (AWG), Jacqueline Woodman, today told all AWG members by email that the AWG had resigned from the ASC. The AWG has been the ASC's public officer si
  • BAFTA/LA launches inaugural Comedy Festival as part of BritWeek

    BAFTA/LA will launch the inaugural BAFTA/LA British Comedy Festival from April 28 to May 1, honouring the best in British cinema and television.The event will run as part of BritWeek, the series of UK-centric series of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the British Consul General in Los Angeles.Winners will be commemorated at the BAFTA/LA British Comedy Awards at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles on May 1.Under the guidance of board member Nigel Lythg
  • Bartha stars opposite Zeta-Jones in Freundlich's The Rebound

    Justin Bartha has joined Catherine Zeta-Jones in The Film Department's upcoming romantic comedy The Rebound, written and to be directed by Bart Freundlich.The Film Department is financing and producing the film, which is set to start production on April 21 in New York.Tim Perell, Freundlich, Mark Gill and Robert Katz are producing, with Neil Sacker and Michael Goguen serving as executive producers.The Process production
  • Battle In Seattle to open Seattle International Film Festival

    Stuart Townsend's directorial debut Battle In Seattle will kick off the 34th Seattle International Film Festival on May 22.The drama puts Seattle front and centre as an ensemble cast star as ordinary people affected by the World Trade Organisation riots that besieged the city in 1999.Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, Andre Benjamin, Michelle Rodriguez, Ray Liotta, Connie Nielsen, Martin Henderson and Channing Tatum star.The festival is scheduled to run from Ma
  • Belladonna, Matson team to bring Latin American films to US

    New York-based Belladonna Productions and NYC distributor Matson Films have partnered to acquire six new films from emerging South American directors to distribute theatrically in the United States using a unique brand sponsorship model.The Buenos Aires office of Streiffschuss Films AG will be identifying Latin American movies for the New World Cinema Series (NWCS) program, an event-style film series to bring the films to 20 US markets, targeting Latino and crossover audiences in the
  • BFI London IMAX sets record with U2 3D

    U2 3D's run at the British Film Institute's London IMAX has proven a triumph, as the venue has become the highest grossing cinema in the world for the concert movie.The film has generated $442,127 (£223,235) to date on the UK's biggest screen since its February 22 release and has reported 19,087 admissions.It is distributed in the UK through Revolver Entertainment and has made $1.3m in the territory and $9.6m worldwide.BFI IMAX general and technical manager Dennis
  • Britdoc lines up Larry Charles as keynote

    Borat and Seinfeld director Larry Charles has lined up as the keynote speaker for this year's third-annual Britdoc festival. He will also offer a sneak preview of his film Religulous starring Bill Maher.This year's Britdoc festival themes are comedy and music in documentary, with scheduled visitors including Nitin Sawhney, St Etienne and Jonathan Dove.The festival will this year host three pitching forums, the big pitch, short pitch and a new Good Pitc
  • Canadian producers seek Criminal Code reference in tax amendment

    Canada's film production representatives are calling for the federal government to amend controversial tax legislation by making reference to the nation's Criminal Code. In a presentation to the Canadian Senate today, the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) and the Association des producteurs de films et de television du Quebec (APFTQ) said the Criminal Code has been - and should continue to be - the litmus test by which producers guide the content of their wo
  • Canwest commits $4m to new documentary support programme

    Canwest Global Communications has committed $4m to a new documentary support programme, the Canwest-Hot Docs Funds. The new programme, which consists of a $3m completion fund and a $1m development fund, will be managed and dispersed through the Toronto-based Hot Docs International Documentary Festival over the next seven years. The fund is designed to help one-off documentaries through critical stages. The completion fund will provide financial support of up t
  • Celestial launches two movie channels on Now TV

    Hong Kong-based Celestial Pictures is launching two new movie channels - Celestial Movies Asia (CMA) and Celestial Classic Movies (CCM) - which will be carried by PCCW's now TV IPTV service in Hong Kong. CMA will screen blockbusters from across Asia such as Erika Sawajiri's Closed Note, Francis Ng's One Last Dance and Kwon Sang-woo's Running Wild. Meanwhile CCM features classics from the Shaw Brothers and other libraries. The two channels will launch on now TV on Apri
  • China's Jinyi acquires Guangdong Zhujiang cinema circuit

    Guangzhou-based Jinyi Film and TV Investment Co has acquired a majority stake in Guangdong Zhujiang Cinema Circuit, creating a combined chain of 40 cinemas and 170 screens, mostly situated in southern Chinese provinces. The new circuit has been named Guangzhou Jinyi Zhujiang Cinema Circuit.As part of the Guangzhou-based real estate group, the Jiayu Group, Jinyi Film and TV Investment stepped into the exhibition business in 2005 and built 15 cinemas in major cities across China. Its
  • Cinema City wants to invest millions in Czech Republic

    Cinema City International has announced plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the Czech Republic in the coming years. The Israel-based company recently opened its fifth multiplex in the Czech Republic and its first outside the capital city of Prague: a 10-screen, 1,721-seat facility at the new Plaza shopping centre in Plzen. By the end of the year the company plans to open another multiplex at a new shopping center in Pardubice. The move puts Cin
  • Colin Farrell, Paz Vega and Christopher Leejoin Tanovic'sTriage

    Colin Farrell, Paz Vega and Christopher Lee will star in Danis Tanovic's upcoming project Triage.The film is produced by ASAP Films and Parallel Films in co-production with Aramid Entertainment, Tornasol Films/Freeform and the Irish Film Board and Hanway Films.Hanway Films have world sales rights and will start selling the film at Cannes.Farrell plays Mark, a photo-journalist returning home from a dangerous assignment. W
  • Critical Mass: Lee Marshall looks at disappearing critics

    The trend is undeniable: US newspapers and weekly magazines have shed around 30 film critics over the last two years, either by sacking them outright or by forcing them into early retirement. Some - such as veteran David Ansen at Newsweek - are likely to be replaced; but many more, especially on regional papers, will not.A survey of the spate of articles, op-eds and blog entries sparked by this critical cull reveals two main lines of argument.One, which we might call the pro
  • Daily rejoins Fox to spearhead Blu-ray marketing in North America

    Mary Daily has been named executive vice president of marketing for North America at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.Daily previously worked for the studio for nine years in its European marketing unit in London, when she pioneered the concept of selling television programming to consumers via VHS and DVD.She will play a pivotal role in leading key Fox business initiatives, notably the consumer transition to Blu-ray Disc as well as the use and adoption of its Dig
  • Dangerous Parking

    Dir Peter Howitt. UK. 2007. 109mins.There's a limit to how far this film can go, even in a best-case scenario: it's an 18 cert in the UK and for at least half that restricted audience Dangerous Parking will be hate at first sight. For those who tenaciously cling on, however, there is some reward: though at times revolting, this Peter Howitt vehicle is more affecting than the booze- and vomit-fest it first appears.Carrying a definite whiff of Tr
  • Disney throws weight behind Hollywood's 3D conversion

    Walt Disney Studios has become the second studio after Jeffrey Katzenberg's DreamWorks Animation to throw its weight fully behind three-dimensional cinema, pledging that all its future animated releases will be in 3D - starting with Bolt in November.The announcement at a New York press conference this week came as chairman Dick Cook and creative supremo John Lasseter unveiled 10 new titles scheduled to open between now and 2012 (see full detai
  • EastWest acquires worldwide rights to A Hero's Welcome

    EastWest Film Distribution has acquired worldwide rights to Berlinale Forum title A Hero's Welcome (Nacht Vor Augen). The film tells the story of a young soldier returning from service with NATO troops in Afghanistan. He is welcomed as a hero by his family and given a medal by the army, but he is unable to leave his experiences in Afghanistan behind him.
  • Ed Clarke leaves Capitol to be development head at Kudos

    Kudos Pictures has hired Ed Clarke as head of development. Clarke spent the last three years at Capitol Films as head of development and acquisitions.Kudos Pictures, which was lead producer on David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises, is the film arm of Kudos Film and TV. Its forthcoming productions include wildlife documentary The Crimson Wing and Rowan Woods' If The Spirit Moves You written by Abi Morgan.At Capitol, Clarke worked on projects including Joh
  • EFEA launches arbitration service for settling export disputes

    Jacques-Eric Strauss, president of the European Film Export Association (EFEA), has officially launched the body's international arbitration procedure.The service - offered to all European international distribution companies, regardless of whether they are EFEA members - will help settle business disputes relating to film exports.The arbitrators are industry professionals selected for their experience and knowledge of the distribution business and recently participated in a tra
  • EFP selects 22 producers for Cannes Producers on the Move

    The Hamburg-based, pan-European promotional organisation European Film Promotion (EFP) has selected 22 aspiring European producers for its Producers On The Move networking initiative to take place during the Cannes Film Festival next month.Since being launched in 2000, Producers On The Move has enabled over 140 up-and-coming European producers to meet opposite numbers from all over Europe to discuss current projects and lay the foundation for future collaborations at roundtable meeting
  • Eros International unveils bumper slate for 2008

    India's Eros International seems to be on a roll. After a successful 2007 with hits such as Namastey London, Partner, Heyy Babyy and Om Shanti Om, Eros has announced that it plans to release 35 films in 2008. Some of them have already hit theatres, with varying response. Bombay To Bangkok, Sunday and Black & White failed to stir up the box office.However, going forward, the company's line-up includes Drona, a real world-meets-
  • Eros strikes co-production deal with Nadiadwala Grandson

    India's Eros International has entered into a four-picture co-productionagreement with local production house Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment. The deal will encompass two unidentified projects directed by Siddharth Anand (Salaam Namaste), along with Kambakht Ishq, directed by Saabir Khan and featuring Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor in the lead roles, which goes into production shortly. The fourth project will star Salman Khan.Last year, the two companies enjoyed su
  • Fiction Fest names Steve Della Casa artistic director

    Turin Piedmont Film commission president Steve Della Casa will take the reins as Rome Fiction Fest's artistic director while Raimon Astarita has been named general manager of the Fiction Fest in its second year, the Fest announced from Cannes today.The nominations were long awaited as the first year's artistic director (previous Taormina Film Festival director Felice Laudadido) had signed on just to set the festival up in its first edition.Della Casa says this year's fest
  • Film Italia to be folded into Cinecitta Holding

    Italian promotional body Film Italia will be fused with Cinecitta Holding, the parent company of Cinecitta Studios, after a unanimous vote by its board last night.But the impending change has sent a chill through the film community that has come to rely on the streamlined and efficient organisation of Film Italia that many worry could be smothered if absorbed into the bigger group.The fusion has prompted almost 50 of Italy's producers and directors with films normally traveling
  • Film Source takes on ancient evil tale, The Seer

    Florida-based The Film Source Company has picked up worldwide rights to Nuragic Films' Italian English-language horror film The Seer.Luigi Desole directed the tale of cult members who search for a missing element that will awaken an ancient evil.The Seer was shot in Sardinia and is based on a screenplay by Noelle Siri and Luca Pesaro. '[I]t won't take a seer to predict that this
  • Flashbacks Of A Fool (2007)

    Dir. Baillie Walsh. UK. 2008. 104mins.Flashbacks Of A Fool nails one of its main selling points early on: James Bond's naked bottom is viewed through a glass distortedly throughout the entire title sequence. Before a word has been uttered, and to the sounds of Scott Walker's Sons Of The Father, Daniel Craig, as fading Hollywood star Joe Scot, gleefully swigs booze, snorts cocaine, and indulges in an enthusiastic threesome in his glassy seaside mansion. Crai
  • France - Canal dreams

    In February, French pay-TV giant Canal Plus announced its long-time head of cinema, Evi Fullenbach, would step down, to be replaced by Manuel Alduy.Alduy is no stranger to Canal, having joined the group in 1994 and working with Fullenbach as head of French film acquisitions since 2005.Now, he oversees the purchase of films for Canal's three main outlets - the flagship channel, the themed film channels, and the TPS Star channel (the result of Canal's takeover of the TPS platform
  • French comedies dominate international weekend

    French cinema enjoyed yet another impressive weekend in the international arena as two comedies accounted for 12.7% of the international top 40 revenue. New entry Disco was the highest entry in the chart this weekend, coming in at number two with an $8.7m take from Belgium, France and Switzerland. The film, which stars Emmanuelle Beart and Gerard Depardieu, enjoyed an impressive $10,080 screen average from 861 screens. It is the ninth feature
  • Game on for Lakeshore's video game junkie project

    Lakeshore Entertainment has acquired the rights to Ernie Cline's original screenplay Thundercade, about a grown-up video game junkie who ditches his job to reclaim his world record at a gaming tournament.Lakeshore chairman Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi will develop and produce with Dan Farah of Farah Films. Lakeshore intends to fast-track the project once the producers have hired a director.'I'm a lifelong video game addict and th
  • Gavin Reardon heads IM Global's new TV division

    Sales company IM Global has expanded again by creating IM Global Television.Gavin Reardon has been named president of the new division. He was most recently president of action programming distributor And Action! Distribution.IM Global Television will acquire and license a wide range of television and digital broadcast material including made-for-TV movies, mini-series, episodic, reality, and animated programming. IM Global Television will also handle library sales for TV and i
  • goEast 2008 launches project market and DVD label

    An East-West project market is being held at Wiesbaden's goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film (April 9-15), which will open Wednesday evening with Nikita Mikhalkov's Oscar-nominated film 12.The one-day event this coming weekend is being hosted by goEast in cooperation with the Robert Bosch Foundation and will be an opportunity for young filmmakers from Germany, Eastern and South-eastern Europe to present their story ideas and
  • Haneke, Gorris backed by German incentive scheme

    New features by Michael Haneke, Marleen Gorris and Jaco van Dormael are among seven international co-productions awarded over $8.5m (Euros 5.4m) by the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) incentive scheme in the first quarter of 2008.Another $3.6m (Euros 2.3m) in incentives was paid out to nine German films, including Anno Saul's mystery thriller Die Tuer with Mads Mikkelsen and Jessica Schwarz, Christian Petzold's new drama
  • Hanhwa launches second fund as Korean IPTV market hots up

    Hanhwa's second Daisy Cultural Content Investment Fund, specialising in content such as films, animation and performances, will invest $10.2m (KW10bn) over five years. Hanaro Telecom is investing $2m in the fund, alongside Hanhwa Venture Capital Corp and film importer Daisy Entertainment, to buy up content for its IPTV service HanaTV.HanaTV currently has exclusive rights to films such as Open City, Mist and hit thriller The Chaser.Hanaro rival Korea Tele
  • Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

    Dirs: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg . US. 2008. 101 mins.2004's Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle was such a pleasant surprise - a witty stoner comedy with some depth and genuine laughs - that it was perhaps too much to hope that the sequel could retain the original's spark. Alas, while not without its funny moments, the laboured Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay ups the nudity and gross-out factor of the relatively tame original wh
  • HBO turns to Naegle to recapture creative mojo

    Looking outside the company in a bid to reinvigourate its creative juices, HBO has turned to former UTA partner and co-head of the television department, Sue Naegle, to become its new president of entertainment.Naegle, who will oversee all series programming and specials and will commence work later this month, replaces Carolyn Strauss, who stepped down recently with her own production deal at the pay-TV network. Naegle reports to president of the programming group and West Coast ope
  • Heymann starts shoot for third Digital Departures film, Starstruck

    Director Lindy Heymann and producer Andy Stebbing have started principal photography on Starstruck, shooting on location in Liverpool.Leigh Campbell wrote the script about two teenage girls obsessed by a celebrity footballer.The cast features newcomers Kerry Hayes, Nichola Burley and Jamie Doyle.The project is the third and final film to be comissioned through Northwest Vision & Media's Digital Departures scheme.Starstruck will wrap on May 6.
  • Horton leads international box office with $10.6m weekend

    Fox International ruled the roost yet again as Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who! swept past the $100m mark thanks to an estimated $10.6m weekend haul from 5,300 screens in 56 markets. The family film stands at $104.9m and has become the highest grossing international release from the Dr Seuss stable.Bearing in mind the $139.6m domestic tally, almost half of Horton's global tally has come from overseas. By comparison,
  • Hungary's Inforg to co-produce The Photograph, Womb

    Hungarian production house Inforg Studio is to co-produce Polish filmmaker Maciej Adamek's feature debut The Photograph and Benedek Fliegauf's next project Womb, which will be his first feature to be shot in the English language.Inforg's Andras Muhi confirmed to at this week's goEast Film Festival that he will be a partner along with Germany's Busse & Halberschmidt in Koncept Media's production of Adamek's project which had been presented by producer R
  • IFP Market recasts itself as Independent Film Week

    With its 30th anniversary coming up in September the IFP has renamed its annual IFP Market to Independent Film Week.The event is also on the move from from Soho's Angelika Film Center and Puck Building to new digs at Chelsea's Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) and nearby venues.Organisers have also scrapped fees for film-makers whose projects are accepted into the Project Forum, the centerpiece event that seeks to pair of film-makers with producers, financiers and
  • India's Pyramid Saimira makes production push

    Indian exhibitor Pyramid Saimira is set to produce 52 films this year, via its production label Pyramid Saimira Production International, including ten Tamil-language films with an investment of $10m (Rs400m). Ten Tamil film producers will create these films on behalf of the company. This follows the completion of six films in various Indian languages, with another seven currently under production. Besides filmmaking, the company is also producing content for television.Pyramid Sai
  • Industry opinion: Investors remain key to sustainable UK industry

    To comment email To see feedback, click hereEarlier this month, the UK government closed a tax loophole which had promised to finance a number of British films. It was the second year running the Treasury had cracked down on so-called sideways loss relief, through which investors wanted to offset expected losses on film investment against profits in their an
  • Inside Pictures gears up for sixth edition of training programme

    UK film business training programme Inside Pictures is planning its sixth programme. Applications will be open until May 9.The programme consists of three intenstive one-week modules, held in London and Los Angeles between July and November 2008.Up to 15 applicants will be taking part. Each has about five years experience in film or a related creative industry.Participants will learn from seminars, workshops, studio visits, networking opportunities and talks from the like
  • International film-makers relive Italian jobs

    WIM WENDERSName: Wim Wenders, producer director.Production: The Palermo Shooting. The Germany production shot on location in the German cities of Dusseldorf and Essen before moving to Palermo and Rome for a month in October-November last year.Why did you shoot in Italy'My story was written for the city of Palermo. I like to be specific when it comes to citi
  • Island In The Mainstream: bringing Nim's Island to the big screen

    Paula Mazur found the book Nim's Island, by Wendy Orr, in her local Santa Monica library and took it out to read to her seven-year-old son.'What was compelling to me was that the characters were so rich and that's the beginning of a great movie for me,' she says. 'There haven't been any empowered girl characters in movies since Pippi Longstocking. The only girls my daughter sees in movies care about boys and clothes.'Mazur has producing credits including Laurie Anderson c
  • Italy winning race for Hollywood shoots

    Inhabitants of the Tuscan city of Siena are being treated to the sight of Daniel Craig leaping over their Renaissance-era rooftops this spring.The actor is in Tuscany for six weeks with Marc Forster's $230m Quantum Of Solace to shoot the latest international location sequence in the new James Bond production.Top producers relive Italian jobs
  • acquires package of films from BBC Worldwide

    Online distributor has acquired a collection of films from BBC Worldwide America to add to its growing library.Titles include Abortion Ship, a profile of the Women On Waves activists who facilitate women from countries where abortion is illegal; Face To Face With Sir Ian McKellen; and Jon Jones' drama When I'm 64, about two friends and Beatles fans who
  • Jungle Cineclub launches season of Brazilian films

    Jungle Cineclub is to hold its first monthly screening of Brazilian films at the Rich Mix Cinema, Shoreditch on April 10. For its first season from April-November, the event will be themed around the social origins of violence in Brazilian cinema.Paulo Morelli's City Of Men will open the event, which regularly will feature Q&A sessions and screenings of short films following internationally renowned Brazilian features.
  • Kitano unveils new project Achilles And The Tortoise

    Award-winning Japanese writer-director-actor Takeshi Kitano has unveiled details of his latest feature film, entitled Achilles And The Tortoise. Details of the production were announced at the Nikkatsu Studios in Chofu City, with the press invited on the soundstages.Kitano, also known for his paintings, found inspiration in past canvas embarrassments for the bittersweet life story of a talentless artist and the family and friends that support him along the way.Kitano
  • L: Change The World to kick off Far East Film

    The international premiere of Hideo Nakata's fantasy thriller L: Change The World will kick off the Far East Film Festival April 18 in Udine. The 10th edition of the festival will close April 26 with Johnnie To's musical comedy Sparrow.This year's festival will host an industry event in collaboration with the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia Film commission's regional fund. Called Ties That Bind, the e
  • Latest UK film production listings

    To see other production listings click hereUK PRODUCTIONS IN DEVELOPMENTIvan and MariaGenre: Historical DramaSynopsis: Tormented by a cacophony of voices in his head, Tsar Ivan fights to build a Russian empire as court conspirators try to poison his wife and heirs in order to seize power for themselves.Origin: UKLanguage: E
  • Luis Chavez picks up Stargazer award

    The 13th Annual Gen Art Film Festival Acura Grand Jury Award for BestFeature went to Jennifer Phang's Half-Life and the Acura Grand JuryAward for Best Short went to Christina Voros' The Ladies.The Stargazer Award honouring breakout talent for excellence in actingwent to Luis Chavez from the short film A Day's Work.The Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature and Best Short wentto Doug Pray's Surfwise and Rajeev Das
  • mdc takes on world sales for Kozole'sSlovenian Girl

    Berlin-based sales agent mdc international will handle world sales for Damjan Kozole's latest feature film Slovenian Girl (Slovenka) which is currently shooting in Slovenia.The film is a co-production between Slovenia's Vertigo/Emotion Film, Croatia's 4 Film, Bosnia's, Serbia's Bas Celic and Germany's Neue Mediopolis Filmproduktion.mdc had also distributed two of the Slovenian director's previous films: the Berlinale 2003 competition film Spare Parts (Rezervn
  • Mediaplex to shut down Motion 101 production arm

    Major Korean entertainment company Mediaplex is set to close down its upstart production arm Motion 101, giving rise to speculation regarding its parent company Orion Group's future intentions for the film business. Mediaplex houses major investor/distributor Showbox and operates the Megabox theatre chain.It sold off the latter, which it built into the country's third largest multiplex chain, to Australian financial consortium Macquarie last July. The move was later widely reported
  • Mendoza's Slingshot dominates Singapore awards

    Philippine director Brillante 'Dante' Mendoza's Slingshot dominated Singapore's Silver Screen Awards, walking away with best film, best director and the NETPAC award.Actress Inessa Kislova won best performance for Abai Kulbai's coming-of-age tale Swift while Abdellatif Abdelhamid's Syrian comedy Out of Coverage received a special jury award at the ceremony organised by the Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF) on Sunday night.The 21st
  • Met Film School announces new advisory board

    The Met Film School has announced the formation of its new advisory board, comprising eleven accomplished industry professionals. The board will draw on its varied knowledge and expertise to advise on the future direction of the school and thereby help to enrich the student experience.The advisory board is headed by award-winning director and Met Film School patron Stephen Frears, whose work includes widely acclaimed titles The Queen,
  • Metrodome acquires full UK rights to Warlords

    Metrodome Distribution has acquired full UK rights to Peter Chan's action film The Warlords. The film has earned $40m at its domestic box office, making it one of China's most successful domestic theatrical releases ever. Metrodome is looking to release the film nationwide later this year. The Warlords has been nominated in 13 categories at the up-coming Hong Kong Film Awards, including a do
  • Metrodome picks up extreme-skiing story Steep

    Metrodome Distributions has acquired full UK rights to extreme-skiing documentary Steep, which it plans to release towards the end of 2008. Director Mark Obenhaus' feature documentary is the story of the dangerous sport of big-mountain skiing. It features many of the sport's greatest athletes, including the late Doug Coombs, considered by many to be the greatest big-mountain skier of them all. The film has grossed just over $250,00
  • MGM launches hi-def channel in Israel

    MGM Networks will launch a high definition version of Israel's The MGM Channel this spring that will be simulcast with the existing standard definition channel.Starting this month, the service will begin broadcasting as part of the HD basic tier of Israeli DTH platform, YES.Over the coming months, it will ramp up to a round-the-clock simulcast of The MGM Channel across Israel, subtitled in Hebrew.MGM launched MGM HD in the US last October. The first HD launch
  • MipTV market concludes on note of media and telecoms

    A chilly, rainy MipTV market wound down Thursday following keynote speeches focusing on media and the telecom companies and social networking. France Telecom Group's chairman and CEO, Didier Lombard, on Wednesday told attendees he never expected to be addressing a group of content makers. But, he said, 'I do truly believe that telcos and the media were made for each other. My network can add value to your content but your content is the oxygen for our network.' Earlier in the week, F
  • Miyazaki's Ponyo On A Cliff set for July 19 release

    Japan's Studio Ghibli has announced a release date and other details of director Hayao Miyazaki's latest film Ponyo On A Cliff By The Sea. At a press conference held at the screening facilities of Studio Ghibli's regular distribution partner Toho, Ponyo producer Toshio Suzukisaid the film will open on Saturday, July 19.Itwill be the major release of the summer, if not the year, in Japan. Miyazaki's previous film, late 2004 release Howl's Moving Castle,earne
  • Munyurangabo, Stranded takes top prizes at Sarasota Film Festival

    Lee Isaac Chung's feature Munyurangabo and Gonzalo Arijon's documentary Stranded: I Have Come From A Plane That Crashed On The Mountains won the key competition prizes at the 2008 Sarasota Film Festival as Joshua Safdie's The Pleasure Of Being Robbed took the Independent Visions Competition Award.All three winners receive a $5,000 cash prize.In the au
  • Natalie Portman lines up for Ecosse's Wuthering Heights

    Natalie Portman has signed up to play Cathy Earnshaw in John Maybury's new adaptation of Wuthering Heights.Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae's UK-based Ecosse Films is producing. HanWay Films is handling sales.Bernstein said: 'I'm delighted that we have attracted an actress of Natalie Portman's calibre to Wuthering Heights, she will bring an intensity and depth to one of literature most acclaimed heroines.''Natalie Portman is without a doubt one of the most
  • NBC Universal appoints Christopher Williams to new VP role

    Christopher Williams has been appointed to the newly-create role of vice president, commercial and network development Asia Pacific, Global Networks, an international division of NBC Universal. Williams will be based in Singapore and will play a leadership role in NBC Universal's strategy to develop new channel businesses in new territories across the Asia Pacific. Williams will work closely with Asia Pacific Global Networks managing director Raymund Miranda to build new businesses a
  • New European TV database should draw in film rights owners

    A new European TV database being launched tomorrow (Wednesday) at MIPTV will provide a significant tool for the film industry, offering benefits for distributors and rights owners, according to the European Audiovisual Observatory.MAVISE (Marche Audiovisuel Europe), as the database is known, was established by the Observatory at the request of the European Commission (EC) DG for Communication. The aim is to provide the audiovisual industry and institutional decision makers with up-to-d
  • Once, The Secret of Grain and [Rec] to open Linz's Crossing Europe

    John Carney's Oscar-winning Once and Abdellatif Kechiche's Cesar winner The Secret Of Grain will be the opening films at this year's fifth anniversary edition of the Crossing Europe Film Festival being held in Linz from April 22 - 27.The first evening will also see Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza's Spanish horror film [Rec] kicking off a new sidebar called Night S
  • Phang's Half-Life wins Gen Art jury prize

    The 13th Annual Gen Art Film Festival Acura Grand Jury Award for Best Feature went to Jennifer Phang's Half-Life and the Acura Grand Jury Award for Best Short went to Christina Voros' The Ladies.The Stargazer Award honouring breakout talent for excellence in acting went to Luis Chavez from the short film A Day's Work.The Film Festival Audience Award f
  • Poland's Tricks secures deals with UK, Germany, France

    The UK, Germany, France, Israel and Taiwan are among 12 territories who have picked up the rights to Polish filmmaker Andrzej Jakimowski's second feature Tricks which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia last year and a Special Award at the Sao Paulo Film Festival, among others honoursThe territories sold by the film's Berlin-based sales agent M-Appeal are Switzerland (Xenix Filmdistribution), France (kmbo), Spain (Sherlock Films), Germany (Kool Filmd
  • Pretty Pictures takes on French rights to Bacon's Arena

    Paris-based Pretty Pictures has acquired all French-language rights to Adam Low's Bacon's Arena, a BBC-backed documentary about artist Francis Bacon.The project was sold by London-based Wavelength Pictures. The package includes DVD bonuses for a special release during the centenary of Bacon's birth in 2009. There are major exhibitions planned in 2009 at museums including New York's MoMA and the Tate in London.Pretty Pictures head James Velaise said: 'Bacon is without do
  • Production - The Italian connection

    Italy's local production sector is booming, with a clutch of top directors busy on projects with international partners. Dario Argento has Giallo (literally 'thriller'), a $10m English-language film financed by Los Angeles-based Hannibal Pictures. 'It's fast-paced and creepy,' promises producer Rafael Primorac, of the plot which centres on the abduction of a supermodel (played by Elsa Pataky). The project will shoot in Turin this spring.Gabriele Salvatores is shooting the $9m
  • Profile: Zentropa co-founder Peter Aalbaek Jensen

    Last month, Scandinavian major Nordisk Film acquired 50% of the shares in Denmark's Zentropa - backing that will enable the company founded by Lars von Trier and Peter Aalbaek Jensen to expand internationally.After years of Dogme manifestos, irreverence and a rebellious nature, has age finally caught up with the maverick Danes' 'I'm 52 very soon and Lars is also in his 50s,' says Aalbaek Jensen of the alliance with Nordisk. 'It's a matter of how many years you can be the young rascals.
  • Prom Night

    Dir: Nelson McCormick. US. 2008. 88mins.One of the most memorable nights in a teenager's young life is grist for a pretty unmemorable movie in Prom Night, a tame horror entry that follows conventions to the letter. Though besting opening-weekend expectations, the film fails to offer many thrills as its attractive cast glumly plays hide-and-go-seek with a humdrum knife-wielding psycho.Opening in the US over the weekend without press screenings, this
  • Prom Night screams to top of domestic box office for Screen Gems

    Screen Gems' horror film Prom Night had too much in the tank as it launched at number one on approximately $22.7m, some $11m ahead of Fox Searchlight's new police thriller Street Kings in second place.However the box office slide continued as the top 12 releases combined for $82.6m, down 16% from the same weekend last year. All eyes inevitably turn to May 2, when Iron Man
  • Quentin Tarantino to give Cinema Masterclass at Cannes

    Quentin Tarantino, who once declared having 'devoted his life to cinema, his favourite obsession', is to give the Cinema Masterclass at the coming Festival de Cannes, May 14-25.The announcement adds to mounting excitement about this year's event. As previously reported Jim Jarmusch will receive the Carrosse d'Or statue from France's Societe des Realisateurs de Films. Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is expe
  • Revamped Baker Street partners with Darkside on Kitchen Games

    UK producer and film financier Baker Street Entertainment is partnering with London based animation studio Darkside Entertainment on ambitious new $8m (£4m)CGI animated feature, The Kitchen Games. The film comes billed as 'a tale of cutlery from opposite sides of the table, which compete once a year to decide who will rule the kitchen.'The long-term goal is to create a British CGI animation franchise 'that will create a series of extremely high quality yet cost effective movie
  • Revolver strikes DVD deal with Turner for Adult Swim, Nuts TV

    UK distributor Revolver Entertainment has taken the exclusive UK and Ireland home entertainment rights to Turner Broadcasting System's Adult Swim.Adult Swim is Turner's popular channel for non-conformist animation projects aimed at adults 18-34 years old.Revolver gets rights to more than 100 US hit titles including Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken, 12 Ounce Mouse, Harvey Birdman-Attorney At Law and Space Ghost Coast To Coast.Revolver plans
  • Row erupts in Australia over production offset

    Two Australian film agencies are trading insults over the financing arrangements behind comedy drama Subdivision, which Japanese Story director Sue Brooks starts filming April 14. Both are investors.Once completed, Subdivision will be applying for 40% of its costs back under the new producer offset. It has always been assumed that state government film agencies would cash-flow the offset at competitive
  • Saetre leaves Bonne Pioche for solo march

    Linda Saetre, who headed the New York-based sales arm of Bonne Pioche and led the company's 2006 Oscar campaign for March Of The Penguins, has launched her new company Saetre Film.Saetre will continue to co-produce with Bonne Pioche and serve as their salesperson for documentaries and TV programmes on a project-by-project basis through her new company.She will focus on US-driven projects and is currently serving as salesperson and
  • Salt Shakers: rebranding Luminafilms

    What's in a name' A lot if it is misleading. That is why Lumina Films has this week rebranded as The Salt Company.Lumina was originally founded in Spain to sell the Latin American films produced by Buena Onda Films. But since 2005, Lumina has been London-based with a more diverse slate and in 2006 the company split with Buena Onda producer Don Ranvaud. So the new name reflects a broader remit.Samantha Horley, Salt's managing director, explains: 'We wanted to do more than small L
  • Scottish Screen to invest $1.5m in specialist exhibition

    Scottish Screen has announced that it will invest $1.5m (£750,000) in the specialist exhibition sector in Scotland. The funds are part of along-term strategy to promote the development and provision ofcultural cinema programming throughout the country. Among the fundingrecipients are the Glasgow Film Theatre, Dundee Contemporary Arts andthe Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). Scottish Screen hasincreased funding to the EIFF to $495,000 (£250,000), which comes on
  • Screen opinion: The buff stops here

    There's a woman who sits defiantly at the end of the same row in an arthouse cinema in London until the very last frame of the film's credits. She clearly believes that walking out before you have paid due respect to the mechanic who changed the oil in the DoP's trailer is tantamount to blasphemy. Any attempt to edge past her for the exit is greeted with body language that clearly screams, 'They shall not pass.'Film buffs are a rarified species, so an attempt by the UK Film Council to
  • Sundance unveils New York premieres of festival hits at BAM

    New York premieres of Sundance 2008 hits American Teen, Anvil! The Story Of Anvil and Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr Hunter S Thompson are among the highlights of the third annual Sundance Institute at BAM series, set to run in New York from May 29 to June 8.All in all 22 features and 36 shorts will screen alongside Q&As, theatre and music performances, works-in-
  • The Edge Of Love to open Edinburgh festival on June 18

    John Maybury's The Edge Of Love will be the opening gala for the 2008 Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 18.The Dylan Thomas love triangle drama stars Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Matthew Rhys and Cillian Murphy.Maybury is expected to attend the gala with Knightley, Miller and Rhys.Knightley's mother Sharman Macdonald wrote the script. Producers are Rebekah Gilbertson and Sarah Radclyffe with co-producers
  • The Fixers: who are the indispensable figures for international shoots'

    ENZO SISTISisti's local know-how has been earned through stints as both co-producer and fiscal representative on some of the biggest international productions to hit Italy, where he has been active in the film business since 1970. Italian co-producer credits include the upcoming Walt Disney film When In Rome and Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Sisti executive-produced Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ and line-produced Paramount's Mission: Impos
  • The Forbidden Kingdom

    US/China. 2008. 113mins Anticipated both for its Jackie Chan-Jet Li star pairing and its East-meets-West production approach, The Forbidden Kingdom attempts to put top-flight Asian martial arts together with family friendly fantasy in an English-language action adventure package. The elements of this well crafted and good-looking US/China co-production should attract sizeable and demographically broad audiences around the world. But the formulaic story and slightly calcul
  • The Warlords rules the roost at Hong Kong Film Awards

    Peter Ho-sun Chan's epic war drama The Warlords dominated the Hong Kong Film Awards last night (April 13), scooping eight prizes including best film, best director and best actor for Jet Li. The film, which was a big hit in China last year grossing more than $29m, was also awarded best cinematography for the work of Arthur Wong, best art direction, best costume and make-up design, best sound design and best visual effects.Oscar-nominated Yee Chung Man (Curse Of The Golden
  • THINKFilm handcuffs The Escapist for North America

    THINKFilm has acquired North American rights to Rupert Wyatt's feature directorial debut The Escapist, which was well received at its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this year. The company will schedule an autumn release.Brian Cox plays as an ageing lifer who hatches a plot to break out to see his dying daughter. Joseph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper and Damian Lewis round out the key cast.THINK's theatrical division head Mar
  • Three Kingdoms has strong opening in China

    Daniel Lee's Three Kingdoms: Resurrection Of The Dragon had a strong first weekend gross in mainland China, grossing over $4.28m (RMB30m) in the first four days, according to distributor Polybona Film Distribution. The film is the biggest Chinese-language release so far in 2008.Opening on Thursday April 3, Three Kingdoms was jointly released by China Film Group and Polybona in mainland China, with 500 prints and 200 digital copies in theatres across the country. The
  • TrustNordisk to handle Schmid's Hague dramaStorm

    TrustNordisk will handle international sales for German filmmaker Hans-Christian Schmid's first major international project Storm (Sturm) which sees him reunited with Requiem screenwriter Bernd Lange, this time as co-writers.'The film is about a prosecutor at the war tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia in The Hague who is trying to persuade a witness to come to the court to give evidence,' Schmid told 'The woman has to risk a lot and confront her past
  • UK Film Council to invest $35.4m in film in regions

    The UK Film Council will be investing a total of $35.4m (£18m) over the next two years in the English regions to help them boost their local film industries and open up access for the public to British film heritage.This support comes from two sources of funding: $30.3m (£15.4m) from the Regional Investment Fund for England (RIFE), a mixture of National Lottery and grant-in-aid funding, and the $5.3m (£2.7m) Digital Archive Fund.The RIFE money will help the nine English
  • UK Film Council unveils $36m boost for regional films

    The UK Film Council has announced an £18m boost for English regional film funds over the next two years.$15.4m (£7.7m)will be shared between the nineRegional Screen Agencies (RSAs)in each of the next two years.It is aimed to boost the wide variety of work supporting and developinglocal film industries.Each RSA will also receive $0.6m (£0.3m) from a Digital Archive Fund, supporting access to film archives.The new money comes under the title (RIFE) and is a mix of Na
  • UK's City Screen takes overNewman software from AAM

    City Screen, which runs the UK's Picturehouse cinemas, has acquired the Newman software business from Arts Alliance Media.Newman is the box-office and cinema management web-based software platform that City Screen has helped develop since its inception.City Screen said: 'theacquisition guarantees the continued development of the software to meet its ambition to be the best ticketing system in Europe.'City Screen plans to bolster the team working on the so
  • United Kingdom - Wolf man

    In an age when short-form content can seem as disposable as a mobile-phone video, Peter & The Wolf is something of a lesson in longevity.The 30-minute stop-motion animated film, adapted from Prokofiev's classic and directed by Suzie Templeton, premiered at London's Royal Albert Hall in 2006 and continues to roll out around the world with theatrical screenings accompanied by live orchestras. In February it picked up the Academy Award for best animated short film."I was loo
  • United States - Selling Britain

    When she moved to Los Angeles two years ago to become executive director of the UK Film Council's US office, Claire Chapman quickly discovered she was in a new film-making world."I learnt overnight how different the industry is in terms of how it operates and how it's treated in Hollywood," says Chapman, previously a London-based producer who became head of production and development at Scottish Screen. "It really is a business."Now, she says, "I want to try and impart as much a
  • Universal snares international rights to Ricky Gervais' directorial debut

    Universal has picked up all international rights from Media Rights Capital to This Side Of The Truth, the comedy that marks Ricky Gervais' debut as a feature film director.As previously announced, Warner Bros holds North American rights to the story starring Gervais as a man in an alternate universe who tells the first lie. Starring alongside him are Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe and Louis C K, with supporting cast that includes Tina Fey, Christopher Guest, Jeffrey Tambor, Jo
  • Visit Films acquires international rights to Momma's Man

    Ryan Kampe and Sylvain Tron's fledgling sales company Visit Films has acquired international rights to Azazel Jacobs' comedy Momma's Man, which premiered at Sundance earlier in the year.Visit will commence sales in Cannes next month on the story of a businessman who moves back in to his parents' downtown New York loft.Jacobs wrote the screenplay and persuaded his real-life parents Flo and Ken Jacobs to star alongside Matt Boren, Richard Edson and Dana Varon. THINKFilm hol
  • WorldTV strikes partnership with streaming company Qik

    WorldTV has partnered with mobile video streaming company Qik Inc. to let both companies' users share real-time content streams via their customised WorldTV channels.Feeds, both live and archive, can be sent from Qik users mobile phones to broadcast on WorldTV URLs. Likewise WorldTV users can broadcast live video from their phones on and WorldTV.'We are thrilled to offer WorldTV users this new functionality that will incorporate Qik's live broadcast technology directly t
  • Writers Guild of America West fetes Tom Schulman

    Writers Guild Of America West (WGAW) board of directors member Tom Schulman will receive the WGAW's Valentine Davies Award in recognition of his career and service to the industry.Schulman has been a WGAW member since 1986 and served as president of the Writers Guild Foundation from 1998 to 2002. He currently serves as vice president of the foundation.He will receive the honour at the WGA's 2008 Honorary Awards Luncheon on April 23 in Los Angeles.Schulman was
  • 'YouTube killer' outlines global ambitions CEO Jason Kilar made a stop at MipTV on Tuesday to talk up his company's ambition to bring global content to America and the rest of the world.Hulu is a joint-venture between News Corp and NBC Universal which allows users to watch full-length episodes of TV series and full-length feature films as well as clips. The content is free with revenue coming from advertisements.After a Beta demo period, the site went live on March 12 and has also signed content deals with other