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14 July 2001

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  • Alex Massis to represent

    CineSales Inc, the worldwide sales representative for the "Something Weird" library of films, has retained Alex Massis and his New York-based Film Source Co as consultants on the sales of the films. The collection includes 13 pictures from cult director Herschell Gordon Lewis including Blood Feast (1963), Two Thousand Maniacs (1964) and Color Me Blood Red (1965).The other Lewis films in the catalogue include The Scum Of The Earth (1963), Blast-Off Girls
  • Almodovar's Tarantula may weave in Cruz, Banderas

    Pedro and Agustin Almodovar's El Deseo production company has optioned film rights to French novel Tarantula, marking it as a potential next project for the director and igniting local speculation that this may well be the project that will re-unite Almodovar with Spanish acting superstars Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz.The potential teaming of Banderas and Cruz was something Almodovar hinted at last year when he received the Academy Award for All About My Mother (
  • Amelie resists the US blockbuster onslaught

    It comes as no surprise that it's the studio blockbusters that are dominating the international box office during the summer season with Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Shrek and Pearl Harbor fairly evenly carving up the international territories. All three claimed number one spots in new countries at the weekend, looking to maximise their box office potential before imminent roll-outs of heavyweights Jurassic Park 3 and Planet Of The Apes. Lara Croft's late
  • Anschutz-backed Crusader hires Immerman, Morton

    Crusader Entertainment, the recently formed LA-based production outfit backed by Philip Anschutz's Anschutz Corporation and run by Howard Baldwin, has made two key appointments. Entertainment attorney William J Immerman has been named executive vice president, while former Phoenix Pictures executive Nick Morton has been named vice president of development.Immerman joins two other executive vice presidents at Crusader - Karen Baldwin, who is evp of creative affairs, and Nick Ruta is ev
  • BerlinBeta launches digital fiction award

    BerlinBeta's film festival - from August 29 - to September 5 - is to become the first event of its kind in Europe to offer a Digital Fiction Award, in conjunction with Das Werk, for the best digitally produced feature. The event will also feature a sidebar with the latest examples of digital production, ranging from Nicolette Krebitz's Jeans and Hans Weingartner's Das Weisse Rauschen to Mike Figgis' Timecode and Wayne Wang's The Center Of The World, as well as othe
  • Betting on box office could affect your wealth

    Every cinemagoer has an opinion about how a film will perform at the box office. We've seen the trailers, read the reviews, been lambasted by immense marketing campaigns and bought a burger chain tie-in meal. Now Joe-cinemagoing-public has a chance to put his money where his mouth is and try to profit from the big blockbusters by placing a bet on a film's US opening and first four weeks grosses.Cantor Index ( has launched an online betting service that allows
  • Branson's entertainment locations to show content

    Richard Branson's Virgin Group is investing $4.2m in a joint venture with Toronto-based leisure centre operator MagiCorp to create two location-based entertainment facilities - one in Manchester, one in Toronto - featuring digital content delivered over cinema-sized screens and personal table-top monitors. Dubbed Lucid, the joint venture's concept seeks to create a community of consumers in a large dedicated indoor space -- typically 40,000 square feet -- with a variety of inexpensive
  • Bully

    Dir: Larry Clark. US. 2001. 110 mins.In his third feature, Bully, legendary photographer-turned-director LarryClark continues to explore the same issues he had tackled in his controversialdebut, Kids, a cause celebre that led Miramax to briefly create a new divisionjust for its release. As written by Zachary Long and Roger Pullis, Bully's script, based on Jim Schultze's disturbing novel, is a reworking of an actual 1993 murder in a South Florida su
  • Cecchi Gori president steps down amid allegations

    Italy's fallenmedia mogul Vittorio Cecchi Gori (pictured left) announced on Monday night that he is temporarily "abstaining" himself from all his duties as president of the Cecchi Gori Group.Cecchi Gori's self-suspension announcement comes only days after police said they found nine grams of cocaine during an early morning search at his homes and offices in Rome and Florence. Cecchi Gori, who is now being questioned by Rome magistrates for possession of cocaine, is also being in
  • Chen Kaige to direct big-budget Korean epic

    Chinese director Chen Kaige has signed on to direct a $6.2m Korean film as his next project.The film, a period piece set on the Korean Peninsula during the era of the three kingdoms (200-660 AD), was reportedly conceived by Chen together with Lee Joo-ik, president of Korean production company Big Bang Creative. Yet to receive an english title, the film is to be shot in Korea with a fully Korean cast and will boast a budget of $6.2m (Won 8bn), before p&a costs, potentially making
  • China takes major steps in consolidation march

    China this weekconfirmed a major step in its programme of building media conglomerates andalso unveiled the country's first approved video-on-demand (VoD) service.Xu Guangchun, minister at the State Administration of RadioFilm & Television (SARFT), unveiled the details of a three-way merger thatwould combine the giant China Central TV (CCTV) with both China National Radio(CNR) and China Radio International (CRI). "The blueprint for regroupingand integrating resources
  • Chinese facility animates Singapore stock exchange

    Chinese company Colorland Animation has raised $1.4m from a share listing on the Singapore stock exchange. The company, which is based in Shenzhen and has production facilities in Hong Kong and Singapore, has focused on sub-contracted 2D and 3D production for European, US and Australian animation companies. Clients include Germany's BKN International, the UK's Animation Productions (Toonimals), France's France Animation (Wheel Squad), Australia's Yoram Gross (Bl
  • Christoph Ott to release VCL's Scorpion in Germany

    Ahead of VCL Film + Medien's shareholders meeting on July 11 in Munich, Screendaily has learnt that the German media concern will have the local theatrical release of its films handled by the new distribution company being launched by former Senator Entertainment executive Christoph Ott.VCL's Manfred Wenzel confirmed to Screendaily that Ott's as-yet-unnamed outfit is set to release The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion, the first of the Woody Allen films being co-financed by VCL, and
  • Constantin sales drop for first half 2001

    Sales for Germany's Constantin Film in the first half of 2001 are down by around a third on the performance for the same period last year, according to provisional figures released ahead of the company's annual shareholders meeting in Munich.Constantin reported that sales amounted to Euro 44.1m - compared to Euro 64m in 2000 - with gross profit totalling Euro 3.9m (2000: Euro 10.9m) and the EBIT coming out at Euro -1.7m (2000: Euro 5.3m).An official announcement explained that 1
  • Deauville's Avant-Premieres have French flavour

    In a departure from its usual cluster of major US studio films, a record half of the titles in Deauville's prestigious 'Avant-Premieres' selection are handled by French independent distributors, giving the American film festival a more auteurish twist.Along with Steven Spielberg's AI and another Warner Bros movie, Swordfish, the titles announced so far in the main non-competitive section include Rob Cohen's summer hit The Fast And The Furious, Joe Roth's America
  • Denmark media giant Egmont names surprise chief

    Nordic media major Egmont has appointed Steffen Kragh (pictured) from within its own ranks to take over from president and CEO Jan O. Froshaug who quit earlier this year after 14 years in the position.The 37 year-old Kragh has an eight-year track record with the company, working primarily on its publishing interests. Previous chief, Froshaug resigned from Egmont before the company posted the worst annual results for five years. Egmont Foundation chairman, Ivar Samren has denied
  • Eastern Europe warned of runaway production

    Central Europe's newfound prominence as a production location may come to a swift end as Hollywood turns to locations with better subsidies, tax support schemes and incentives, said producers gathered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic.'The real competition for the former Soviet Bloc countries is going to be from those countries that give substantial subsidies to their local film industries,' says producer Peter Hoffman at a panel gathering. Ho
  • Edinburgh announces 2001 festival line-up

    The 55thEdinburgh International Film Festival, the last under the tenure of departingfestival director Lizzie Francke, will once again have a strong British showingwith world premieres for Udayan Prasad's Gabriel And Me written by Billy Elliot's Lee Hall, as well as for Film Four's TheWarrior and twodigitally-shot BBC features directed by Danny Boyle.The event, whichruns August 12-26, will be book-ended by Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie as the opening night fil
  • Eurimages supports 14 European co-productions

    At its 73rd meeting, the Council of Europe Eurimages Fund Board of Management agreed to support 14 feature films for a total amount of Euros 4,665,000.The feature films are :Scheme 1 - Assistance awarded mainly on the basis of the project'scirculation potentialAfrodita, el sabor del amor - Fernando Pino Solanas (French-Argentinian) (Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Argentina)Callas forever - Franco Zeffirelli (Italian) (Italy, Romania, Spai
  • European sales outfits protest MIFED price hikes

    A number of European sales companies have protested to the organisers of the MIFED film market about price hikes being forced on exhibitors for this year's Milan event (Oct 28-Nov 1).Outfits known to have written letters of complaint include France's Wild Bunch, Germany's Atlas International and ADEF, the French association of film exporters headed by Jacques-Eric Strauss. They claim that MIFED has raised prices for office space by 11.5% compared with last year and the cost of r
  • Film Council hands development sums to UK six-pack

    The Film Council's development fund has announced slate development deals with six UK production companies, worth $1.767m (£1.262m) from its annual coffers of $7m (£5m).Long term deals have been struck with Fragile Films, Archer Street Tiger Lily, Kuhn & Co, Autonomous, Dragon Pictures and The Jim Henson Company.A separate slate deal worth $16,798 (£12,000) has also been struck with The National Film And Television School, to support students in acquiring and adapting properties
  • Final Fantasy

    Dir: Hironobu Sakaguchi. US. 2001. 105 mins.If Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within were a live action film, it would probably suffer the same box office fate as Soldier, Event Horizon, Supernova, Alien: Resurrection, Escape From LA and other gloomy futuristic sci-fi epics of late. It even bears striking tonal similarities to last summer's animated sci-fi movie Titan AE which was one of the year's more ignominious flops. As a genuinely ground-breaking
  • Food Of Love fills out cast

    UK actors Kevin Bishop, Juliet Stevenson, Paul Rhys and Allan Corduner have signed on to star in Spanish director Ventura Pons' English-language debut, Food Of Love, for start-up company 42nd Street Productions. Other actors had been attached initially, but finally it will be Bishop (Treasure Island) who takes the lead role of Paul, a musical student who embarks on a gay love affair with a concert pianist (Rhys) despite the latter's long-term relationship with his
  • For Sale: Balkan Hollywood

    The Bulgarian government has approved a privatisation strategy for local production outfit, Boyana Film. The film-maker, as one of the country's top six companies, is being used to spearhead moves by the Centre for Mass Privatisation (CMP), to float businesses on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BBE).According to the strategy, the company will retain its status as the national film-maker for the next ten years. The permanency of this arrangement, though, depends on the next Bulgarian parl
  • Four films break Australian drought

    Australian government agency: the Film Finance Corporation (FFC) has approved investment in features for the first time since March, when funds for the 2000/2001 year ran dry.First is Craig Lahiff's Black And White starring Robert Carlyle, based on the true story of injustice done to an Aboriginal man. A rare English-language pre-production pick-up by Swedish agent Svensk Filmindustri, the film is being produced by Helen Leake of Duo Art Productions and Nik Powell of Scala Produ
  • France's TF1 sees revenues rise

    Leading French terrestrial broadcaster TF1 has announced a nine per-cent increase in its revenues for the first half of 2001, largely due to the consolidation of cable and satellite channels Eurosport International, TV Sport and Series Club and production company Telema.TF1 revenues rose to Euros 1.3bn (against Euros 1.2bn for the same period in 2000). Non-terrestrial broadcast and ancillary activities jumped 33.2% to Euros 379.8m (compared to Euros 285.2m for 2000). Digital sat
  • Galfin joins Alquimia on Callas Forever

    Olivier Granier from France's Galfin has joined Spain's Alquimia as a co-producer of Franco Zeffirelli's upcoming drama Callas Forever. Fanny Ardant stars in the film which focuses on the last few months of the opera diva's life. Other cast members include Spanish actors Angela Molina, Manuel de Blas and the UK's Jeremy Irons. Riccardo Tozzi, Marco Chimenz and Giovanni Stabilini are producing for Rome-based Cattleya, with Medusa Film co-producing and handling internationa
  • German media funds set to raise $4.3bn this year

    German media funds, which have raised a total of $4.3bn in the last five years, could achieve a similar volume for the year 2001 alone according to analysts, with some 20 such schemes already underway and more appearing every week.Tax analysts are predicting a surge in German media fund investment thanks to changes in domestic tax laws, which make investing in local and foreign TV and film projects an increasingly attractive prospect. However, at the same time, there are serious indust
  • Germany's oldest distributor folds into Kinowelt

    Kinowelt's process of restructuring continues apace with news that Germany's oldest film distributor Jugendfilm will be finally wound up and its new releases and 200-plus title library administered centrally by Kinowelt's theatrical arm Kinowelt Filmverleih.Founded in 1934 by Willy Wohlrabe, the family concern of Jugendfilm had been a key player in the German distribution scene through its releases of the Asterix animation features and an output deal with James Cameron's Lightst
  • Ghent festival new dates don't reach summit

    The Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent has been re-scheduled to run from 8-18 October, owing to fears that a clash of dates with an EU summit in the city may cause access problems. An informal EU summit of government leaders is to be held on 19 October in the ancient St Peter's Abbey conference hall which neighbours the festival village.To guard against a repeat of previous trouble at the summits, especially recently in Gothenburg, a massive security plan is to be impl
  • Giffoni festival reveals impressive line-up

    Italy's Giffoni Film Festival, one of the premier festivals dedicated to youth-oriented cinema and the only one whose jury is composed of international school children, has unveiled its full line-up which includes Nick Castle's Delivering Milo, John Hay's There's Only One Jimmy Grimble and Iranian filmmaker Ali Shah-Hatami's Shrapnels In Peace.Other films in the three competitive sections include Yolngu Boy, English-born director Stephen Johnson's feature de
  • High Heels And Low Lifes

    Dir: Mel Smith. UK. 2001. 86 mins. The film's title implies a commercially canny mix of grrrl power and gangsters, but Mel Smith's first directorial outing since Bean (1997) is unlikely to replicate its success, or that of writer Kim Fuller's last film, SpiceWorld (1996). Here, males will be turned off by the silliness of the crime strand (although Minnie Driver in a nurse's uniform should prove an attraction for some, while co-star Mary McCormack is also easy o
  • Highlight Communications seeks Neuer Markt exit

    Swiss media concern Highlight Communications is considering withdrawing from the Neuer Markt following measures by the German Stock Exchange (Deutsche Boerse) to tighten up procedures and flush out so-called "pennystocks", i.e. shares trading under Euro 1.According to a survey by Financial Times Deutschland (FTD), seven companies, including Highlight - whose share price has fallen 91.34% since last year - are exploring the option of withdrawing from the Neue Markt unless reforms are in
  • Injustice goes ahead, despite threats

    Audience members last night (11 July) took over a London screening of the feature length documentary Injustice after legal threats prompted staff at the venue, the Conway Hall, to try and abort the screening.London-based documentary production company Migrant Media had hired London's Conway Hall and installed a video projector and sound equipment to screen the film, which depicts the effects of deaths in police custody on families, and implicates several police officers."
  • Joerg Agin retires from Kodak after 34 years

    Joerg D Agin will retire as senior vice president of Kodak and president of the company's entertainment imaging division on Sept 1. He will be replaced by Eric G Rodli, who will be promoted from his current position as chief operating officer and vice president of entertainment imaging.Agin joined Kodak in 1967 and pioneered the entertainment imaging side of the business. He left in 1992 to join MCA/Universal as senior vice president, new technology and business development, only to r
  • Kinowelt ditches interest in East German distrib

    Beleaguered German media concern Kinowelt Medien has sold its 40% stake in Progress Film Verleih to Tellux Beteiligungsgesellschaft, making Tellux the sole shareholder of the former East German state distributor.In an official statement, Tellux stated that it plans "in future, to further expand the initiated Progress activities in distribution, world sales and film clippings service and intensify the company's cultural and economic direction".Juergen Haase, who will now serve as
  • Korean films leap 14% at local box office

    During the first six months of 2001, Korean films have carved out a 39% share of their domestic market a spectacular leap of 14% compared with the same period last year.According to figures published by the Korean Film Commission (KOFIC) and film data company IPictures, a total of 13.6 million tickets were sold between Jan 1 and June 17 in Seoul. Of the 154 overall releases, 27 Korean films accounted for 5.32 million admissions. Leading the local boom was the record-breaking
  • Ladies Day: Lara & Bridget rule UK

    Who says there are no good roles for women' Films with female leads dominated the box office in the UK at the weekend. Computer-game icon Lara Croft demonstrated her pulling power taking $5.4m (£3.8m) in her first big screen venture: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Played by Hollywood hot-property Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft achieved a stunning $12,184 site average from 444 sites. The figures included one-day previews of $547,433 (£389,225). Meanwhile in fifth position and
  • Legally Blonde

    Dir: Robert Luketic. US. 2001. 97 mins.Slick, sexy andwinsome, Legally Blonde isa lot of fun and a rare sight this summer: A feel-good movie that's notentirely frivolous. A logical follow-up to Election, in which Reese Witherspoon played an obnoxiouslyambitious high-schooler, the new comedy casts her as a ditzy but smart LAblonde, who goes to Harvard Law School to regain her snobbish boyfriend, and inthe process regains a new ide
  • Local films boost Euro box office bumper year

    Screen Daily's analysis of international box office results for the first half of 2001 reveals that all major European territories are enjoying an unexpectedly robust year so far. Even more encouraging is the revelation that, in almost all markets surveyed, it has been local films that have fuelled the upward trend. For the past 18 months, both international distributors and exhibitors have been bemoaning the lack of quality indigenous product across Europe. Without a solid dome
  • Miramax buys int'l territories on Apocalypse Redux

    Miramax Films has acquired rights in the UK, Latin America and Italy to Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now Redux, the 197-minute director's reworking of the 1979 classic. Miramax had already acquired North American theatrical rights to the film which opens at showcase screens in New York City and Los Angeles on Aug 3.Miramax struck the deal for additional territories with StudioCanal which has international rights on the film produced by Coppola's American Zoetrope.
  • Moulin Rouge outdances Strictly Ballroom in Oz

    Baz Luhrmann's compatriots have voted Moulin Rouge the best of his films - with their wallets. In its seventh week on release in Australia it has overtaken his debut Strictly Ballroom to become the fourth biggest local film ever, with a domestic gross of $11.3m (A$22.4m). Strictly Ballroom grossed $8.11m (A$21.76m) in 1992 for local distributor Ronin Films. As at end of Sunday July 8, Moulin Rouge had taken $11.4m (A$22,388,694). It opened on May 24 and rema
  • Nicoll quits top Sogepaq post

    Veteran Spanish film executive Margaret Nicoll announced that she is quitting her position as general manager of Sogecable rights arm Sogepaq, but not necessarily step away from the conglom where she has spent the last 12 years of her professional career.Nicoll says a "future relationship" is a possibility that she and Sogecable general manager Carlos Abad are considering, though neither she nor Abad would confirm anything yet. "The big choice is whether to take the independent route o
  • Russia blocks foreign ownership of state TV

    The lower house of the Russian Parliament has passed a bill preventing foreigners from owning a controlling interest in its national television service.The State Duma approved the bill by a 343-37 vote. To become law it requires further approval by the upper house, the Federation Council as well as President Vladimir Putin's signature.An earlier draft of the bill also banned foreign control of radio stations and the press but these provisions were pulled before its final passage
  • Seven Network partners with magazine group

    Australia's Seven Network has announced it is to spend $33m (A$65m) to take a 50% interest in PMP Limited's many magazine businesses, which include the titles New Idea, TV Week, That's Life and Home Beautiful. The deal also includes the magazine distribution company Gordon and Gotch and an option for PMP to sell its interest in the joint venture to Seven for $38m (A$75m) within 12 months.The broadcaster has also committed a further $10.3m (A$20.35m) for 37 million new shares in the par
  • Shooting Gallery parent under siege

    Following the closure of it New York production and distribution house The Shooting Gallery, parent company itemus is now facing several law suitsOn July 2, several former Shooting Gallery executives filed suit in New York against both parent and subsidiary alleging a string of financial irregularities including fraud and misuse of funds, regarding investments in several productions including the Oscar-nominated You Can Count On Me. Separate court claims have been filed by the S
  • SightSound cuts staff by two-thirds

    US internet movie distributor SightSound has laid off 18 of its 30 employees - the victim, it claims, of the go-slow attitude toward web-based commerce amongst its prospective content suppliers in the film and music business. SightSound offers downloads of film, television and music content via the web and has distribution deals with Miramax Pictures and US cable network Comedy Central.In a statement, the company said "For the last ten years, the major motion picture studios and
  • Slamdance Film Festival to launch in Germany

    Slamdance Entertainment, a joint venture between the Slamdance Film Festival and Marco Weber's production company Atlantic Streamline, is to launch a Slamdance Film Festival event in Cologne, Germany, on Aug 18.Taking place in association with music convention Popkomm, the new event is aimed to create and develop a European counterpart to the annual US festival which takes place in Park City, Utah, at the same time as Sundance.Slamdance was launched in 1995 by a group of write
  • Sony buys Alliance Atlantis' State for Screen Gems

    Sony Pictures' mid-level releasing division Screen Gems has acquired US rights to Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Production's action comedy The 51st State starring Samuel L Jackson and Robert Carlyle. Screen Gems plans to release the film in 2002.Directed by Ronny Yu, The 51st State was financed by Alliance Atlantis with the UK's Film Consortium. Other distributors which have already bought the film include Gaga in Japan, New World in Spain, Metropolitan in France and
  • South Africa's film industry looks forward

    The South African film industry seems to produce more conferences than films; several have been held over the past few years, including a symposium with the EU on plans to boost the local film industry. But filmmakers themselves are still suffering from the 'begging bowl' syndrome when it comes to financing their projects, and are now beginning to demand some action. In an effort to energise the languishing industry, the National Film and Video Foundation has announced a major conferen
  • Spain's Alquimia tunes up for Zeffirelli's Callas

    Fledgling Spanish producer-distributor Alquimia Cinema has boarded Franco Zeffirelli's widely anticipated forthcoming film Callas Forever about the famed opera diva.Veteran Spanish actors Angela Molina (Live Flesh) and Manuel de Blas (Goya In Bordeaux) have also joined the cast, which is set to star Fanny Ardant in the title role alongside Jeremy Irons as Callas' American impresario. Rome-based Cattleya produces, with Medusa Film co-producing and handling internati
  • Spain's biggest animation rolls as Aardman stalls

    In the week when UK-based Aardman Animations announced it was postponing production on its $40m Tortoise vs. Hare, Barcelona-based Filmax has unveiled details of an ambitious animation project: El Cid, The Legend (El Cid, La Leyenda) The film, one of the biggest animated features ever produced in Spain, is to be made out of the company's start-up division Filmax Animation.El Cid will take more than a year to put together using state-of-the-art 2D and 3D anim
  • TEAM teams with France's TII and GTV

    TEAM Entertainment, the US-German production and sales group, is to partner with France's Tele Images International and GTV to produce English-language TV movies and mini-series.The deal sees TEAM share development and co-production costs with its French partners. Sales will then be shared out by the three companies according to territory. All projects are expected to have a US deal in place - either with a network or a cable outlet - before going into production.The first proje
  • Telenor buys Canal Plus nordic pay-TV interests

    Norwegian telecommunications giant Telenor has taken outright control of loss-making Nordic pay-TV operator Canal Digital.It did so by buying out the 50 % stake in the joint venture held by Vivendi Universal's TV and film division Canal Plus. It is paying Euros 300m, of which Euros63m is deferred.The two companies, however, have signed a long-term exclusive distribution agreement for Canal Plus' premium pay-TV channels and the Kiosk pay-per-view service on Canal Digital's platfo
  • The Last Days Of Pompeii - for the ninth time

    More than forty years after it was last seen on the big screen, Italian producer Leo Pescarolo is developing a big-budget English-language remake of the legendary movie The Last Days of Pompei, making it the ninth time the sword-and-sandal spectacular returns to the silver screen."The model for this kind of film has changed since [Ridley Scott's] Gladiator. We want this to be a different kind of film, although Gladiator will be a point of reference," Pescarolo expl
  • The Score

    Dir: Frank Oz. US. 2001.122 mins.Despite a high-calibre cast, headed by three of the most accomplished actors working in American film - Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton - not many sparks fly in The Score, an extremely old-fashioned heist thriller that looks and sounds as if it were made in the 1960s or 1970s, during the heyday of this sub-genre of crime pictures. Usually associated with comedies and satires (most recently Bowfinger), Frank Oz prov
  • Toho announces production of Seoul

    Toho has announced the production of Seoul, a Japan-Korea co-production with all-Korean locations and a budget of one billion yen ($8.1 million) -- nearly double the budgets of the Korean mega-hits Shiri and JSA. The film, which starts production on July 20, stars Japanese TV heartthrob Tomoya Nagase and Korean star Choi Min-shik (Shiri, Happy End, The Quiet Family) as two detectives whose personalities initially clash, but end up uniting to fight a major cr
  • Trust snaps up record-breaking Elling

    Zentropa's sales outfit Trust Film Sales has picked up international sales rights to the most popular Norwegian film in recent history, Peter Naess' comedy Elling. Produced by new outfit Maipo TV & Film and producer Dag Alveberg, the $1.6m (NKR15m) film has been distributed by United International Pictures' local branch, and will be handled by Universal in the Nordic region. The film set new box-office records in Norway with 700,000 admissions, and managed to stay in the top spots of t
  • Two Canadian distributors up for sale

    Canada's independent film distribution business is in a state of flux as two companies -- TVA International (TVAI) and Blackwatch Communications -- seek buyers for their distribution operations.Montreal-based TVAI has confirmed it is looking for a buyer for its film and television distribution arm. TVAI has output deals with Fox Entertainment in television and a theatrical deal with France's Studio Canal. The Fox deal is understood to net the company a one per cent commission from Fox
  • Venice dedicates tributes to Munk and Debord

    The Venice International Film Festival (August 29th - September 8th) has announced that it will dedicate a retrospective to the late Polish film director Andrzej Munk and to the little known cinema oeuvre of French critic Guy Debord.The festival's tribute to Andrzej Munk, who first gained international recognition at Venice in 1955 with his documentary Blakitny Krzyz (The Blue Cross), will be the first full retrospective of the work of the director, best known for Eroica