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Screen
14 June 2002

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  • 8 Femmes, 8 1/2 open Bangkok film festival

    The Bangkok International Film Festival (Nov 15 - 26) will open with a double bill of Federico Fellini's classic 8 1/2, followed by Francois Ozon's 8 Femmes - to introduce this year's theme of 'From Masters To Present'.The 11-day event expects to present 50 international features, including movies from South America and the Middle East. It is the 5th film festival in the Thai capital with screenings taking place at the United Artists cinema at the Emporium and the Grand E
  • Artisan buys South African music doc Amandla!

    Artisan Pictures has acquired North American distribution rights to the award-winning documentary Amandla! A Revolution In Four Part Harmony which was produced in association with HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films. The theatrical sale marks a departure for HBO which traditionally premieres its documentaries on its own channel."We're excited about the opportunity to explore theatrical exposure for the documentary form and look forward to cultivating new audiences for non-fiction film
  • Bac Majestic to seek $12.2m cash lifeline

    Bac Majestic, arguably France's most admired distribution group, is to raise $12.3m (Euros13m) in a bid for survival.In a statement to the Paris stock-market yesterday, Bac revealed that it has teamed up with an unnamed "European investor" with a view to "rebuilding its equity capital". The company, which put out a profit warning in mid-May, was last month believed to be close to signing a deal with a Russian investor which would have delivered a major cash injection. It is not
  • Bergman donates archives to new Foundation

    The Swedish filmmaking legend Ingmar Bergman has donated his manuscripts, notebooks, plot summaries, sketches, photographs and behind-the-scenes films to the Swedish Film Institute (SFI) and the newly-established Ingmar Bergman Foundation. 'With his vast knowledge and commitment, nobody has made a greater contribution to the preservation of Sweden's film heritage than Ingmar Bergman,' said Ase Kleveland, director general of the SFI. 'Now, with the Bergman Foundation, we will be able to
  • Blue Magic Pictures unveils five including new films from Rebecca Miller, Alejandro Springall,

    New New York-based production outfit Blue Magic Pictures, which was formed at the beginning of the year by Lemore Syvan, has unveiled five new films including the next project from director Rebecca Miller and a co-production with Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson's Cosmic Entertainment.Syvan is partnered with senior vice president of production Melissa Marr and chief financial officer Gus Samios in the company which had previously announced its involvement in John Sayles' new f
  • Canada's Remstar signs output deal with Transfilm

    Canada's Remstar Distribution has signed a four-year output deal with Quebec producer Claude Leger's Transfilm that will see the Montreal company distribute all Transfilm's film and television productions in Canada. Included in the deal are the Canada-France mini-series Napoleon, starring Isabella Rossellini, Gerard Depardieu, John Malkovich, Anouk Aimee and Christian Clavier, and the feature films Aime Ton Pere, a Canada-France coproduction starring Depardieu and son Guillaume,
  • Canal Plus, Telenor settle long-running dispute

    Canal Plus Group and Telenor have finally settled their dispute and will now proceed with the deal that sees Nordic pay-TV platform Canal Digital sold to the Norwegian telecoms group.The definitive agreement signed last week (June 14) sees Canal Plus sell its 50% stake to its partner Telenor for a one-off cash consideration of $275m (Euros 290m.) That compares with an original agreement, signed in July 2001, for Telenor to pay $243m (Euros 257m) with a deferred amount of $62m (Euros 66
  • Cannes prizes boost international box office performance

    Several of last month's Cannes Film Festival prize-winners are reaping the box-office benefits of the prestige and, more importantly, the free publicity generated by the high-profile event.In 2000 Palme d'Or winner Dancer In The Dark gained massive pre-release publicity that saw it take $14m from international markets and another $4m in the US. This year's, as yet unreleased, Palme d'Or recipient, Roman Polanski's The Pianist, will hope to gain the same results fro
  • Celador Films appoints head of production and development

    Leading UK independent TV producer Celador Films, best known for hit quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire', is stepping up its film activities.The company has appointed Christian Colson, head of development at Miramax Films' UK arm, to oversee production and development. Colson and Celador have just collaborated on Dirty Pretty Things, Stephen Frears' highly anticipated drama-thriller with Amelie star Audrey Tautou.Celador produced the edgy story of a nig
  • City Of God (Cidade De Deus)

    Dir: Fernando Meirelles. Brazil. 2002. 130mins.
  • Collapse of Germany's Kirch empire now complete

    The collapse of German media mogul Leo Kirch's empire was sealed on Wednesday with the filing for insolvency of two more divisions of the KirchGroup Management holding TaurusHolding and the KirchBeteiligung unit which holds shareholdings in other companies such as Axel Springer Verlag and Formula 1, both sought protection from creditors in a Munich court. (TaurusHolding holds a 73% interest in KirchMedia , 70% in KirchPayTV and 100% in KirchBeteiligung).The move came aft
  • Czech arthouse flourishes during mainstream boom

    With a boom in multiplex building and cinema admissions rising over the 10 million mark for the first time in half a decade, mainstream film is more popular than ever in the Czech Republic. And yet it is experimental film making that is grabbing most of the attention.Of all the films that came out last year in the Czech Republic, it was Jan Svankmajer's Otesánek, a neo-surrealist art-house film, that walked away with the Best Picture award at the Czech Lions, the local eq
  • Dibildos mourned by Spain's film industry

    Spain Thursday mourned the sudden death of veteran scriptwriter and producer Jose Luis Dibildos, a key figure in Spanish cinema of the last half century.Last year Dibildos (pictured) was the recipient of an Honorary Goya Award from the Spanish Cinema Academy for his illustrious career, which spanned more than 40 films between the 1950's and the 1980's, including 1982 international hit The Beehive (La Colmena).Dibildos died unexpectedly of a heart attack Wednesday afternoo
  • Disney, Admira team up on Mexican-set chick flick

    Miravista, thefledgling co production venture created by Walt Disney's Latin Americanoperation and Telefonica Spain's Admira, have signed up Argentine-born LosAngeles resident Gabriela Tagliavini to direct its debut feature, Ladies'Night. A co production with Mexico's Televisa and ArgosComunicacion, the $1.5m - $2m romantic comedy is scheduled to start principalphotography this fall. Casting auditions are currently underway in Mexico. Based on an ideaand
  • Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood

    Dir: Callie Khouri. US. 2002. 116 mins. With millions of loyal readers waiting eagerly to see their fictional heroines made real on screen, Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood, based on Rebecca Wells' 1996 international best-seller, is primed to become the must-see chick flick of the 2002 summer. Fans will be happy to find that, under the first-time direction of Thelma And Louise writer Callie Khouri, the film captures much of the novel's sassy Southern charm
  • Edinburgh's new director reveals first festival titles

    Gary Winick's Sundance prize-winner Tadpole, Roger Michell's Summer box-office hit Changing Lanes with Ben Affleck and Samuel L Jackson and Mike Leigh's much admired Cannes contender All Or Nothing are among the first titles confirmed for this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival. Leigh is expected to attend what will be the film's UK premiere. The first Festival under new Artistic Director Shane Danielsen, the event runs from August 14-25 and has recently
  • Entertainment is UK distribution champion

    Entertainment Film Distributors has had the largest share of the UK box office for the first five months of 2002, a sustained domination never before achieved by a UK independent.With strong performances from Blade II ($13.3m) and Gosford Park ($17.9m) and the continuing success of The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring ($49m in 2002, $91.6m in total), Entertainment is riding high with an 18.6% market share for the first five months of the year.
  • Film distribution arm launched by Germany's BMG/Universum

    European broadcaster RTL Group's video subsidiary BMG Video/Universum Film has launched a theatrical arm Universum Film to act as a link in the distribution cooperation deal announced last year between RTL and Constantin Film (Screendaily, 10 September 2001).Universum Film, which will be headed by the video distribution company's chief executive Tanja Reichert-Facilides, will handle the marketing of films acquired by RTL in German "all rights deals" such as Intermedia's K-PAX, K-19
  • FilmFour, Pathe alliance bags Jeepers Creepers 2 for UK

    UK distributors FilmFour and Pathe Distribution have snapped up Like Hell: Jeepers Creepers 2 from US sales agent Myriad Pictures through their busy buying alliance.The original Jeepers Creepers took almost $50m in the US and $10m in the UK, where it was released by Helkon SK. United Artists and Zoetrope Pictures have teamed with the original filmmakers, writer-director Victor Salva and producer Tom Luse, on the sequel.Pathe and FilmFour have just announced the joi
  • Fox takes double top at UK box office

    20th Century Fox scored double top at the UK box office this weekend with two films counter-programmed to draw in different audiences.Holding the top spot for the fourth week in succession, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones dropped off a mere 16% from the previous weekend, grossing $3m (£2.1m). The latest instalment of George Lucas's saga has claimed $46.5m (£31.9m) so far but is still a long way off the $74.5m (£51.1m) taken in the UK by Episode I -
  • France's TF1 considers KirchMedia buy

    French broadcasting group TF1 is currently 'taking a look at' KirchMedia, the rights trading division of the collapsing Kirch empire, a TF1 representative told the French news service AFP.KirchMedia filed for insolvency in April (TaurusHolding, which holds a 73% stake in KirchMedia also recently sought protection from creditors in a Munich court). Under a new management - Wolfgang van Betteray, Hans Joachim Ziems and insolvency administrator Michael Jaffe - the debt-ridden division is
  • German Film Awards go to Nowhere In Africa

    Caroline Link's Nowhere In Africa (Nirgendwo In Afrika), swept the board at the German Film Awards this weekend, winning in all of its nominated categories, including Lolas for best film and director.Nowhere In Africa, the most successful German film so far this year with over 1.1m admissions, recently secured US theatrical distribution through Zeitgeist Films.Nowhere's producer MTM Medien & Television Muenchen also hit the Lola jackpot with a Golden Lola for edito
  • Gilles Jacob decides against Canal Plus appointment

    Cannes Festival head, Gilles Jacob has decided not to join Canal Plus' supervisory board as had been announced earlier this week (Screendaily, June 10). The decision was taken by Jacob after a specially-called meeting of the Cannes Festival's administrative board. The board did not rule out his joining Canal Plus, where he had been nominated vice president of the supervisory (non-executive) board, with special responsibility for ensuring the correct representation of French film. He w
  • Heidi delayed by KirchGroup fallout

    German media giant KirchGroup's bankruptcy has brought work on animated feature film Heidi to a standstill and may threaten the future of animation specialist TV Loonlands' Budapest facility after payments from group subsidiary TaurusProduktion, the film's co-producer failed to materialise.Animation specialist TV-Loonland, the film's other co-producer was forced to lay off 100 freelancers at its Budapest-based studio Loonland Animation following the missed payments. TV-Lo
  • Helkon to quit Germany's Neuer Markt

    Helkon Media is seeking to leave the Neuer Markt by the end of the month as part of a programme of cost reduction and reorganisation. If the Deutsche Boerse approves its shares will be traded on the third tier Geregelter Markt from July 1. 'This section change will lead to considerable cost savings due to the substantially lower costs charged on the Geregelter Markt compared with those charged on the Neuer Markt,', said the Munich-based rights trader in a statement.This move com
  • India scraps $2m limit on bank financing for films

    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has withdrawn the $2m ceiling on banks for film financing, opening the way for much-needed boost to industry investment.The RBI stated that banks should fix an overall exposure limit to the film industry and ensure that advances are distributed over a number of films to spread the risk.Indian Producers are expected to provide 25% of the budget and the RBI specified that banks should disburse funds only after this contribution has been received. In
  • Italian directors team for Israeli-Palestinian conflict documentary

    Eleven Italian filmmakers, including celebrated veterans Ettore Scola, Mario Monicelli and Francesco Maselli are currently on location in Palestine shooting a documentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.The group of directors, from Italy's Cinema del Presente Foundation have visited parts of Israel including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and are currently examining the tough day-to-day existence of Palestinian youths. Scola has taken upon himself to cover the Israeli peace movement, but
  • Italian producers told to get professional - or die

    Italian producers should seek private financial partners - or risk extinction. That was the thunderous message delivered this weekend by Giampaolo Sodano, head of UNIDIM, Italy's national distributors' union at a conference near Rome. He revealed that more than 70% of Italian film companies have equity capital of less than Euros25,000, and only 2% have a capital of more than Euros500,000 and said that Italian producers need to adopt a more industrial - and less craft-driven - approach
  • Korean comedy scores during World Cup fever

    Despite huge competition from the World Cup, South Korean comedy Bet On My Disco has scored triumphantly for new distributor A-Line, drawing over half a million admissions ($2.8m) in its first four days.Released on 160 prints nationwide, the film drew a robust screen average of $10,670 and looks set to become the latest in a string of highly profitable Korean comedies.Disco marks the first potential box-office smash for three-month old distributor A-Line, which enj
  • Lions Gate, TVA pact for Canadian distribution

    Canadian entertainment companies Lions Gate Films and TVA Films have formed a joint venture to share distribution operations in English Canada. The new entity, JV Media, will handle theatrical, video/DVD and television product with a staff from both companies.Headquartered in Toronto, JV Media will be headed by Lions Gate's Brad Pelman with oversight by LA-based Lions Gate execs Wayne Levin and Laurie May and TVA Films's Montreal-based president Pierre Lampron and executive vice-presid
  • Local film wins Romania's debut Transylvania festival

    Cristian Mungiu's Occident, which screened in Director's Fortnight in Cannes, won the top prize at the inaugural Transylvania Film Festival in Romania. Danis Tanovic's No Man's Land was voted the viewer's choice award winner.Occident is the story of young and old Romanians who all dream about going abroad and realising their dreams, but never seem to be able to get any further than the local graveyard.The festival featured a total of forty-three films, inclu
  • Local titles dominate Spain's Huesca festival awards

    Spanish films dominated the prizes in both the international and Iberoamerican short film competitions of Spain's 30th annual Huesca Film Festival (June 6 to 15). Spanish-Andorran co-production Upside Down by Guillen Morales took home the top Danzante de Oro award in the official international short film competition, while the parallel Iberoamerican short film competition was won by Spain's Borja Cobeaga for The First Time (La Primera Vez). Other international pri
  • MediaPro continues Spanish expansion activity

    Recent Spanish entrant into feature film production, media conglomerate MediaPro looks set to continue its expansion with the $57m (Euros 60m) buy-out of rival Avanzit Media, the media subsidiary of Spanish technology giant Avanzit.MediaPro declined to comment on press reports that it is considering a $57m (Euros 60m) offer for Avanzit Media, formerly Telson, which has interests in Video Report, Ostra Delta, Daiquiri, Spainbox, Animagic and Classic & New Madrid. Last year Telson
  • Metro Tartan adds to Cannes acquisitions

    Independent UK distributor Metro Tartan Distribution has acquired Un Certain Regard title Angel On The Right and Respiro, which won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Critics Week.Other recent additions to Metro Tartan's line-up include Full Time-Killer, a Hong Kong film directed by Johnny To and starring Andy Lau, and Gaspar Noe's controversial Cannes title Irreversible, starring Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel. All of the titles will be released later this y
  • Mixed results for UK international TV sales

    Providing a pertinent barometer on the state of the international television sales market, the British Television Distributors' Association has announced its export statistics for 2001. Sales of British television programmes to the US and Canada rose by 19.2% and 31.5% respectively, compared to 2000, accounting for $199m and $22m. Sales to Germany were static, rising just 0.1% to $59m. However, exports to France and Spain plummeted by 25.7% to $37m and 21.8% to $22m respectively.
  • Monica Bellucci to star in Muccino's Remember Me

    Hot on the heels of Gaspar Noe's Irreversible, Monica Bellucci is set to star in Italian filmmaker Gabriele Muccino's (The Last Kiss) upcoming movie, Remember Me (Ricordati Di Me).Local production outfit Fandango confirmed that Bellucci will star alongside popular Italian actors Fabrizio Bentivoglio (Hotel, Holy Tongue) and Laura Morante, who played Nanni Moretti's wife in The Son's Room.Muccino's younger brother, Silvio (Come Te Nessuno Mai
  • Moscow Festival welcomes back Russian films

    Three Russian titles feature in this year's Moscow International Film Festival competition line-up, after last year's total lack of any local films in competition at all. The Festival, which runs June 21-30, this week unveiled its competition programme of sixteen feature films including, Alexander Rogozhkin's Cuckoo, Roman Pregunov's Solitude Of Blood and the Russian/Ukrainian co-production Chekhov's Motives by Kira Muratova. The selection committee seemed d
  • Music For Weddings And Funerals to open Haugesund

    The highly anticipated new drama from Unni Straume, Music For Weddings And Funerals (Musikk For Bryllup Og Begravelser), will be the opening film of this year's Norwegian film festival in Haugesund (Aug 18-25).Norwegian-born writer-director, Straume has lived in Italy since the early 1990s and is best known for her 1994 Un Certain Regard film Dreamplay, which also secured her the Norwegian Film Critics award. Music is her fourth feature.Goran Bregovic, the Y
  • New manager to oversee BAC Majestic restructure

    Alain Mamou-Mani has been named general manager of BAC Majestic and will oversee the financial restructuring of the beleaguered French distribution outfit. Bac Majestic, which issued a profit warning for 2002, lost Euros 13m in 2001 and is seeking an equivalent cash injection, announced on June 7 a draft agreement between its Chairman and CEO Jean Labadie and a (as yet undisclosed) European investor for the restructuring of the Group's shareholder equity (see Screendaily June 12).
  • New Marseilles studio to supply booming location demand

    In response to the soaring number of locations shoots in the region, the city of Marseilles is building a brand new film and television studio, thirty years after the closure of its last complex. The southern city has seen a 146% leap in the production shoots over the last five years, more than twice the national average. The arrival of productions such as Luc Besson's Taxi, Taxi 2 and Taxi 3 have helped make it one of the trendiest locations in France. The
  • Norwegian Film Fund banks on The Beautiful Country

    The Norwegian Film Fund, which is shortly to celebrate its first birthday, is spreading its money widely in its latest funding round, backing two international projects as well as four local productions.The $6.3m English language drama The Beautiful Country, starring Nick Nolte and Harvey Keitel and directed by Hans Petter Moland, has been has been granted $892,000. The film is a co-production between the newly established Norwegian production outfit Dinamo Story - co-owned by e
  • Norwegian hit Elling to get prequel and sequel

    Following its latest triumph at Spain's Peniscola international comedy film festival, Norway's Maipo Film is preparing two further films based on the Elling franchise, now that the comedy has become one of the most successful Norwegian films ever.Theatre director Peter Naess' second big screen effort Elling became the biggest local film success in recent history with over 700,000 admissions in Norway last year, beating all US competition. An Academy Award nominatio
  • Nowhere goes somewhere with Zeitgeist

    Following The Tunnel and Sun Alley (Screen Daily, May 29), Caroline Link's Nowhere In Africa (Nirgendwo In Afrika) has become the latest German film picked up for US theatrical distribution.Zeitgeist Films, who also handled Max Faerberboeck's Aimee & Jaguar starring Nowhere's lead actress Juliane Koehler, plans to release Link's adaptation of Stefanie Zweig's best-selling novel in the USA next March.Nowhere In Africa, which is the most s
  • O'Donoghue replaces De Valera at Ireland's Arts ministry

    John O'Donoghue, a former minister for justice, has become Ireland's Minister for Arts and Heritage following a cabinet reshuffle in which Sile de Valera lost her cabinet seat.O'Donoghue will have responsibility for the arts, including film, together (for the first time) with sport and tourism, but not for broadcasting which will now come under the aegis of the newly created Department of Communications and Natural Resources and its minister, Dermot Ahern.Local press comment at
  • Phantom Four, StudioCanal team on Goyer's Mucho Mojo

    StudioCanal is to co-finance and handle international sales on Mucho Mojo, a comic thriller to be directed by David S Goyer, who made his directorial debut with ZigZag and has script credits including Blade, Blade 2, Crow: City Of Angels, Ghost Rider and Dark City. The film is a co-production between Goyer's Phantom Four Films and Rat Entertainment and is scheduled to begin pre-production later in the summer, with a subsequent shoot in east Texas. Oscar-winn
  • Phoenix TV boss buys major stake in Hong Kong's ATV

    Mainland China-based entrepreneur and Phoenix Satellite TV chairman, Liu Changle, has grabbed a controlling stake in Hong Kong free-to-air broadcaster Asia Television (ATV).A company controlled by Liu, Vital Media Holdings (VMH), has acquired a 46% stake in ATV from Dragon Viceroy Ltd - a joint venture between Liu and ATV CEO Feng Xiaoping.The deal, which effectively means that Liu has bought out his former partner in ATV, makes him the controlling shareholder in the company. Hi
  • PiFan festival unveils fantastic line-up

    Gurinder Chadha's hit movie Bend It Like Beckham has been chosen as the opening film of the 6th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan), which runs from July 11-20 in South Korea. One Korea's top film events, PiFan will feature 170 films from 38 countries under the theme "Romance, Fantasy, and Adventure." Eight features will screen in the festival's competitive Puchon Choice section, including Ring director Nakata Hideo's Dark Water, Danny and Oxide
  • Polish composer scores English-language Danish tale

    Multiple award-winning Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner is to compose the score for Thomas Vinterberg's highly anticipated science-fiction fable It's All About Love, which is in the final stages of post-production in Copenhagen. The composer won international acclaim for his work on countryman Krzysztof Kieslowski's Dekalog and Trois Couleurs trilogy, which also won him a number of awards. Preisner has scored only a few US films, preferring to work on Polish film
  • Re-vamped Taormina announces line-up and special awards

    Mike Leigh, Hugh Grant, Ennio Morricone and Isabelle Huppert will be among the recipients of the "Diamond Awards for Cinematic Excellence" at this year's Taormina Film Festival, which runs July 6th - July 13th. Titles screening at the non-competitive event, which include non-English-language films for the first time in three years, include Philip Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence, Paul McGuigan's The Reckoning, Joel Schumacher's Bad Company and Rashid Masharawi's Ticke
  • RTL Group launches new distribution arm

  • Russian films return to Moscow film festival

    Three Russian titles feature in this year's Moscow International Film Festival competition line-up, after last year's total lack of any local films in competition at all. The Festival, which runs June 21-30, this week unveiled its competition programme of sixteen feature films including, Alexander Rogozhkin's Cuckoo, Roman Pregunov's Solitude Of Blood and the Russian/Ukrainian co-production Chekhov's Motives by Kira Muratova. The selection committee seemed d
  • Samuel Goldwyn confirms US acquisition of I Capture The Castle

    Samuel Goldwyn Films has confirmed its acquisition of Distant Horizon's I Capture The Castle, Tim Fywell's film of Dodie Smith's classic novel which premiered in the market at Cannes recently. There Samuel Goldwyn beat out other interested buyers such as Paramount Classics and THINKFilm to take North American rights.Executive produced by Anant Singh of Distant Horizon and David Thompson of BBC Films, the film was produced by David Parfitt (Shakespeare In Love, The Madness Of
  • Satin Rouge, Mon-rak Transistor win top prizes at Seattle Film Festival

    Raja Amari's Satin Rouge (Tunisia/France) won the New Director's Showcase Award, Penek Ratanaruang's Mon-rak Transistor (Thailand) won the Asian Tradewinds Award and John Feldman's Who The Hell Is Bobby Roos' won the New American Cinema Award at the 28th Seattle International Film Festival which ended its 25 day-run yesterday. The event, one of the world's longest film festivals, screened over 200 feature films from 50 countries including world premieres of high-pr
  • Scooby-Doo attracts more than just the pesky kids

    The live action adventures of a dog and his chums bit a large chunk out of this weekend's box office as Scooby-Doo opened top of the charts for Warner Brothers on $56.4m, according to industry estimates. Adapted from the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series of the Seventies, the movie version features the combined talents of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr, Matthew Lillard and a computer-animated Great Dane. Despite some appalling reviews, the canine averaged a terrific
  • Scooby-Doo does big business for Warner Bros

  • Showtime gets US premiere of Miramax production Daddy And Them

    Miramax Films' long-awaited comedy Daddy And Them will not have a theatrical release in the US following a deal with Showtime to premiere the film on pay-TV. The movie is the third to be directed by Billy Bob Thornton after Sling Blade and All The Pretty Horses and features a stellar cast including Thornton himself, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Kelly Preston, Andy Griffith, Jim Varney Brenda Blethyn, Ben Affleck and Jamie Lee Curtis.The deal, which will see the film pla
  • Signpost teams with Matthew Lillard for romantic comedy

    Stewart Till's Signpost Films has teamed with Scooby-Doo star Matthew Lillard and Mosaic Media Group to develop a romantic comedy with writer Shana Leslie Stern, the former assistant to director Gary Fleder who makes her first screenwriting sale with the project.As yet untitled, the script revolves around two people, one a romantic and one a cynic, on Valentine's Day. Charles Roven, the producer of Scooby-Doo and a partner in Mosaic, will produce alongside Mosaic's Dougla
  • Sony Pictures Classics snares Spider for US

    Sony PicturesClassics has picked up US rights to David Cronenberg's Cannes competitionentry Spider, payingbetween $1.5m and $2m. The deal was finalized with Spider's sales agent Capitol Films onlyyesterday, according to SPC co-president Tom Bernard.Bernard told ScreenDaily he plans on releasing the $12m Canada/UKcoproduction for an Oscar-nomination run at Christmas. "It's acontender," said Bernard. "It's an important film from animportant director."
  • South African broadcaster makes first film investment

    For years, the major South African broadcasters, like M-Net, the SABC and free to air Channel e-TV have resolutely avoided investing in feature films - a move many local producers claim has prevented the rise of a viable local film industry.In an unprecedented move, however, South African cable station M-Net announced last week that it is wants to air eight local feature films as part of a Movie of the Month initiative. The films will have an allocated cost of $130,000 (R1.35m)
  • Spanish government issues 'Cinema Law'

    The Spanish government has issued its 'Cinema Law' which, among other measures, requires broadcaster-affiliated producers to finance a minimum 75% of their feature films as co-productions. It also set up a national watchdog to oversee fair practice in all sectors of the film industry.The measure will affect top producers in Spain like Sogecine, affiliated to Canal Plus through parent company Sogecable, and Lolafilms, connected to Antena 3 and Via Digital, through backer Admira (Telefon
  • Spider-Man sets yet more international records

    The release of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man set yet more records following a host of new openings.In Paris, the June 12 opening saw a massive 10,645 admissions from 27 prints for its first screening. This beat French film Asterix and Obelix : Mission Cleopatra (8,818 tickets sold from 28 screens earlier this year) and is on a par with Harry Potter.Switzerland saw the film become the highest grossing opener of all time with $1.4m (Sfr2.2m) at the weekend.
  • Sun Cybernetworks in Chinese distribution move

    Rapidly expanding Hong Kong media group, Sun Television Cybernetworks Holdings, plans to acquire a 50% stake in mainland Chinese film producer and distributor Beida Huayi.Owned by Chinese producer Dong Ping, Beida Huayi was one of the minority investors in Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and held Chinese rights to the film. The company also invested in Jiang Wen's Devils On The Doorstep which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2000.
  • TV audience determines German blockbuster director's next movie

    Michael "Bully" Herbig, director-producer of German box-office phenomenon Manitou's Shoe, is planning a spoof of cult TV series Star Trek as his next film after asking viewers of his TV show Bullyparade to vote among four alternatives "Basically, the whole thing was an act of desperation", Herbig explained. "I asked myself: 'Is there a life after Manitou's Shoe'' So I asked the people who made the film so successful".Over 900,000 viewers registered votes on
  • UK's Civilian Content posts $7.6m pre-tax loss

    Civilian Content, the UK media concern which owns National Lottery franchise The Film Consortium, on Thursday posted a group loss before tax of $7.6m (£5.2m) for last year.The AIM-listed company, which has $20m (£13.6m) left of the Consortium's original lottery grant of some $44.1m (£30m), recorded a total operating loss of $2.5m (£1.7m) and a exceptional loss on discontinued operations of $5.3m (£3.6m).Civilian estimated that its cost base was reduced b
  • Village Roadshow stock continues to tumble

    Shares in Village Roadshow continued to dive following an announcement last Friday that it would suspend payment of its stock dividend.At the close of trading on Tuesday (June 11) the shares stood at A$1.17, down 32% compared with their A$1.72 prior to the announcement. In a statement the company said that it has a strong balance sheet but also referred to "substantial commitments" on long-term leases for its cinema properties. The move which will save some $25m (A$44m) a year w
  • Warner lines up Vanzina remake as second Italian pic

    Warner Bros Pictures' has started production on its second Italian-language film, a sequel to 1970s cult movie La Febbre Del Cavallo starring Italy's Gigi Proietti, who also played the lead in the original comedy.The new picture, entitled La Febbre Del Cavallo - La Mandrakata is directed by popular filmmaker Carlo Vanzina, whose father Steno directed the original version. The script is written by Vanzina and his brother Enrico, who also co-scripted the 1976 movie.T
  • Windtalkers

    Dir: John Woo. US. 2002. 134mins. Finally the war may be over. The surge of expensive World War II movies which was kicked off by Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line four years ago now looks like it's coming to an end with John Woo's often admirable but ultimately redundant Windtalkers. Taking a slim wartime fact as its central conceit - hundreds of Navajo Americans were enlisted to transmit a secret military code based on their native language - th
  • Winter (L'Inverno)

    Dir: Nina di Majo. Italy. 2002. 100 mins.A great performance by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi is not enough to save this self-indulgent ensemble piece by young Neapolitan director Nina di Majo. It's a sad truth that most films are lost or saved in the first few minutes, and the opening of Winter is a fairly representative sample of what is to come: flat, TV-style camerawork, mannered acting, stilted dialogue with metaphysical ambitions. After its Berlin festival showin

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