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14 November 2000

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  • Advanced, Petersen unveil Red Cliff slate

    Red Cliff Productions, the joint venture production company between public German outfit Advanced Medien AG and Hollywood-based director Wolfgang Petersen, has named Gail Katz president and CEO and unveiled its first production psychological thriller Fear Itself, which is set to go into production in March 2001.Petersen formed Red Cliff with Advanced specifically to produce films from other directors while he will maintain Radiant Productions as the banner for films that he will
  • Angelopoulos to shoot historical trilogy

    Despite announcing that 1998 Palme d'Or winner An Eternity And A Day would be his last feature, Greek director Theo Angelopoulos has revealed that he is developing a trilogy of films exploring the subject of Greek exiles throughout the 20th Century.The first film in the trilogy, The Weeping Field, is taken from a short story by Angelopoulos' long-time collaborator, the Italian script writer Tonino Guerra. It is to be shot in Greece and cover the period from 1919, when the
  • Ardant to star in Chavarri's Year Of The Flood

    French actress Fanny Ardant has joined the cast of The Year Of The Flood (El Ano Del Diluvio), a new feature film in development from Spanish director Jaime Chavarri (Tangos Are For Two).Ardant will play Sister Consuelo, a nun in 1950's Catalonia who falls in love with a wealthy landowner. The love affair is set against a period of torrential rainstorms which wash a group of remnant Spanish Civil War rebels out of the Pyrenees.The story is based on Eduardo Mendoza'
  • AtomFilms, Schibsted sign wireless pact

    AtomFilms has partnered with Scandinavian media company Schibsted to distribute almost 100 short films and animation titles on mobile and wireless devices.The content syndicated to Schibsted will be available for download to pocket PC's and Palm devices, as well as viewable on the internet. Distribution will take place over the next 18 months via Schibsted's media portal."Schibsted clearly understands the value of entertainment in the wireless space," said Adam Flick, vice presi
  • Basil Iwanyk set as Intermedia production chief

    After months of speculation, Warner Bros executive Basil Iwanyk has joined Intermedia as president of production. He will oversee the company's producer alliances and focus on developing and producing big budget studio films.Iwanyk started his career as a trainee agent at UTA, moving to Warner Bros as a creative executive in 1993 before being named vice president of production in 1998."With Basil we have been able to secure one of the rare talents in Los Angeles which combines
  • Bedazzled lights up UK box office

    20th Century Fox's Bedazzled found room to shine in the UK over the weekend, snagging the number one spot with $1.6m (£1.1m) including previews. Starring Brendan Fraser and local starlet Elizabeth Hurley, the comedy took a site average of $4,862 (£3,380). The result meant a one-two for Fox, with number two title What Lies Beneath dropping off only 21% four weeks into its run.Beneath took $1.44m (£1m) in three days for a site average of $4,028 (£2,800). The Harrison
  • Bertelsmann, EMI confirm merger talks

    Germany's Bertelsmann and UK music company EMI have confirmed that they are in talks about merging their music assets. Privately-owned Bertelsmann has reportedly proposed folding its music arm into EMI in return for a majority stake in the company, which is listed on London's Stock Exchange.The talks follow a series of dramatic events at Bertelsmann over the past few weeks, during which the German media group broke ranks with the rest of the music industry to form an alliance with file
  • BVI to handle own, UIP product in Venezuela

    Buena Vista International (BVI) plans to set up its own theatrical distribution outfit in Venezuela from January 31, 2001, ending an eight-year sub-distribution deal with leading local distributor, Cines Unidos.In addition, the new outfit will handle titles from Universal, Paramount and DreamWorks following an agreement between The Walt Disney Company, Venezuela and UIP.However, Venezuelan distributor Rodven will continue to handle the home video release of BVI product in the te
  • Charlie's Angels beat out Little Nicky

    Columbia's Charlie's Angels remained atop the North American box office over the weekend with a huge $25m haul, bringing its total to $75.4m after ten days. The camp adventure spinoff from the TV series of the same name roundly defeated its competition which included Adam Sandler's latest film Little Nicky from New Line, Fox's acclaimed biopic Men Of Honor and Warner Bros' sci-fi epic Red Planet.Even though it opened at two with $18.1m, Little Nicky w
  • Contact 2000 co-production market unveils line-up

    Contact Europe 2000, a co-production market aiming to connect North American and European projects with potential financiers from both regions, has announced a line-up of 22 projects for its second edition, set to roll November 24-26 in Berlin. Titles seeking funding include Peter Greenaway's The Tulse Luper Suitcase and Robert Lepage's Vampires. The market, which promises to place the aspirants before 30 industry "decision-makers", is a joint venture of Linking Ma
  • Crouching Tiger gets the Oscar nod from Taiwan

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the Chinese-language audience and critics' favourite which has been wowing the festival circuit since an out of competition world premiere at Cannes this year has been named the official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award by Taiwan.The nod from Taiwan gives Crouching Tiger a firm start on the road to Oscar glory and, like Life Is Beautiful in 1998, speculation is already being voiced that it could be nominated in both t
  • Danish features bookend Norway's BUFF fest

    The third edition of the BUFF festival for children's and youth films in Sandnes, Norway (November 13-18) will open with the international premiere of Danish production Diver, the latest film from Swedish director Ake Sandgren. The festival will end with another Danish entry, Miracle, directed by Natasha Arty.In total, 80 international children's features and shorts will be screened at the event. Directors Ake Sandgren from Sweden, Peter van Wijjk from the Netherlands, Mi
  • Desperado leads race for Israeli film awards

    Benny Torati's Desperado Square has garnered the most nominations for this year's Israeli Film and TV Academy Awards, with 13 nods, one in each category. The winner of Best Film is automatically selected as Israel's candidate for best foreign-language Oscar.Desperado Square, which marks the debut of both director Torati and producer Amir Harel, is a modest Cinema Paradiso-style melodrama. Close behind it, Josef Cedar's drama Time Of Favour and Oded Davidof's
  • Deveeri

    Dir: Kavitha Lankesh. India. 1999. 100 mins.Prod co/Int'l sales: Navajeevana Films (tel: 0091 80 560004). Prod: Kavitha Lankesh, Bharathi Gowda, Arathi Gadasali, Hanumanth Reddy. Scr: Kavitha Lankesh. DoP: S. Ramachandra. Editor: MN Swamy. Prod des: Shashidar Adapa. Main cast: Manja, Kandita Das, Bhavana, Kashi, B. Jaishree, Asif Faroodi. Language: Kannada.Deveeri is a feature debut of some confidence. That much must be said of this Salaam Bombay-like tale of an im
  • Dimension unveils Kevin Smith's new Jay & Bob pic

    Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith will reprise their roles as Silent Bob and Jay for the fifth time in Smith's next feature Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back which will start production in January for Dimension Films. Dimension has already set Aug 10, 2001, as the US release date and say it will be the largest release yet for a Smith-directed film.Mewes and Smith have played the same characters in all four of Smith's films to date - Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and
  • Diplomat, Chunhyang triumph in Hawaii

    The 20th edition of the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) awarded the top prizes in its competition section to Im Kwon Taek's Chunhyang, which took the best feature award, and Tom Zubrycki's The Diplomat, which won best documentary.Chunghyang, based on a popular Korean folk song, premiered at Cannes this year and has just been chosen as South Korea's entry for the Foreign-language Academy Award. Australian film The Diplomat tells the s
  • Don Quixote tilts towards insurance nightmare

    Terry Gilliam's $32m The Man Who Killed Don Quixote looks set to become one of European cinema's most costly insurance cases, now that some insurers have decided to no longer cover the troubled production.Quixote, which started shooting September 26 in Navarra and Aragon in the North of Spain, has been on hold for several weeks after its star, Jean Rochefort, suffered a double disk hernia. According to its French producer Hachette Premiere, at least one insurance c
  • Downtown buys Pandaemonium, Circle

    UK indie distributor Downtown Pictures has finalised its acquisition of Julien Temple's Pandaemonium.Downtown struck the deal with BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the UK broadcaster which funded the film alongside features department BBC Films. Pandaemonium is scheduled for release spring next year.The film, which stars John Hannah, Linus Roache, Samantha Morton and Emily Woof, made its UK premiere at this month's London Film Festival. Produced by Nick O'Hagan
  • Fabrica to relaunch as commercial venture

    Italian production outfit Fabrica Cinema, currently funded by clothing retailer Benetton, plans to relaunch next spring as a financially autonomous, market-oriented company under the banner Fabrica Cinema e Televisione.Fabrica head Marco Mueller said he is currently seeking investors that will include a banking partner, as well as Italian and European television partners."We have also decided to associate ourselves with a distributor, and to be present on the local and internati
  • Filmstudio launches Hungarian festival season

    Hungary's Budapest Filmstudio, headed by Laszlo Kantor, is launching a series of film festivals in neighbouring countries with the aim of increasing exposure of Hungarian films.The festivals, which will be targeted at general audiences as well as local industry and critics, will showcase the 10-12 movies that proved most popular at the Hungarian Film Festival each year.A prototype festival recently wrapped in the Romanian town of Sepsiszentgyorgy (October 12-16). The event was s

    The following is a list of films that have been submitted as their country's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. The full list will be announced by the Academy on November 20.(Pictured - Italy's The Hundred Steps (I Cento Passi), directed by Marco Tullio Giordana)ARGENTINA:FelicidadesDir: Lucho BenderBELGIUM:Everybody FamousDir: Dominique DeruddereBRAZIL:Me You Them (Eu Tu Eles)Dir
  • Fox teams with Svensk for distribution in Denmark

    20th Century Fox International is teaming up with Svensk Filmindustri to form a joint venture for theatrical distribution in Denmark. Under the name Filmcompagniet, the new partnership takes effect from Jan 1, 2001 and will release films from both Fox and Svensk in the territory as well as exploring new opportunities in the Danish market.Fox previously sub-distributed its product in Denmark through Constantin, a subsidiary of Egmont-owned Nordisk.The deal with Svensk in Denmar
  • Fox, Sony Classics snap up Zhang Yimou's new film

    20th Century Fox has acquired international distribution rights outside China, France and North America to Zhang Yimou's latest film, Happy Times which is the first production from Edward R Pressman and Terrence Malick's Sunflower Productions. Sony Pictures Classics, which handled the last two films from Yimou (Not One Less, The Road Home) has rights in North America.Fox had worldwide rights on Malick's last film as director The Thin Red Line but has never
  • Frank Beddor sells Full Catastrophe to Bel-Air

    Frank Beddor, one of the producers of There's Something About Mary, has sold the comic novel The Full Catastrophe by David Carkeet to Steve Reuther's Bel-Air Entertainment.Bel-Air, which is co-financed by Warner Bros and StudioCanal, will co-produce with Beddor's Automatic Pictures. Bel-Air senior vice president Keri Selig who brought the project to the company will oversee its development alongside Heather Courtney.The book, which will be adapted by Harris Goldb
  • FTC delays decision on AOL-Time Warner

    US anti-monopoly regulator, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has taken the rare action of "stopping the clock" on its review of AOL's takeover of Time Warner. Having waited so long for the deal to be given the green light, another delay may not hurt anyone. But the latest hold-up seems to have got investors and stock market analysts in a tizzy. The FTC's decision knocked about 4% off the share values of both firms at the end of last week. The regulator says it will now wait up to th
  • Gabriel, Bronco secure Scottish Screen loans

    Gabriel Films and a revitalised Bronco Films are among the beneficiaries of Development Loan Awards funded by the Scottish Screen National Lottery in partnership with the Scottish Enterprise Creative Industries Team.The two companies will each receive $107,000 (£75,000) of working capital to finance a slate of new film and television productions. Bronco has also recently received development funding of Euros125,000 a year for two years from MEDIA 2 and has a number of projects in devel
  • Helkon co-founder Werner Koenig dies in accident

    Werner Koenig, co-founder of Germany's Helkon Media, died on Sunday after being caught in an avalanche near Verbier, Switzerland, whilst scouting locations for upcoming feature The Extremists.The film's director, Christian Duguay, and another crew member were also present when the accident happened but remained unharmed. Helkon said in a statement that Koenig was taken from the scene of the accident to a hospital in Lausanne, where he was pronounced dead at 7:45pm. The
  • Herod's Law wins top prize at Ajijic fest

    Herod's Law (La Ley de Herodes), Luis Estrada's controversial political satire, added to its growing collection of prizes when it took home Best Feature at the Ajijic Festival Internacional de Cine 2000 in Mexico (November 8-12). The film won several Ariel awards, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor, from the Mexican Academy of Film Sciences and Arts earlier this year. It also took home Best Screenplay and Best Director at the 4th Los Angeles Latino International F
  • IFC Films buys The King Is Alive for North America

    IFC Films, the fast-growing theatrical distribution arm of US cable channel The Independent Film Channel (IFC), has acquired all North American rights to Kristian Levring's The King Is Alive from Newmarket Capital Group and Good Machine International.Premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes this year, the film is the fourth official film from Denmark's Dogme movement after The Idiots, The Celebration and Mifune. Levring founded the movement with the respect
  • Imax drops 3-D adaptation of DreamWorks' Shrek

    Imax Corporation has abandoned plans to produce a 3-D version of DreamWorks' animated feature Shrek. Co-CEO Brad Wechler made the revelation during an analysts briefing following the release of its third quarter financials, saying increasing production costs of the conventional film has rendered "diseconomic" Imax's proposal to adapt the film for its 3-D projection system. The 3-D Shrek was touted as the one bright spot on Imax's near future; however Wechler suggested the
  • India's Doordarshan, Hinduja reveal DTH plans

    India's Hinduja group and state broadcaster Doordarshan have unveiled separate plans to follow rival Zee Telefilms into India's fledgling direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting sector.The Hinduja group is planning to launch a 100-channel bouquet of DTH services by December 2001. This will include at least 25 specialist channels, along with a host of international and regional fare. The group has reportedly earmarked around $75m over the next two years for the project which will include putt
  • Insanally joins FilmFour-Whitaker joint venture

    Forest Whitaker's recently-launched producing partnership with the UK's FilmFour has appointed Johann Insanally to spearhead development and production activities.Insanally, who has produced or executive produced shorts including 1997 Palme d'Or winner Is It The Design On The Wrapper', has a brief to focus on black and Asian film talent. Insanally and Whitaker have access to discretionary development funding for features at any budget level plus backing for shorts. FilmFour has
  • Intermedia expands deal with Outlaw Productions

    Indie giant Intermedia has reteamed with Bobby Newmyer and Jeff Silver's Outlaw Productions in a new multi-year output agreement calling for Outlaw to produce two to three major studio films a year. Intermedia will provide production financing and distribute the films internationally while brokering domestic deals on a picture-by-picture basis.The deal is an extension of the first agreement struck in March 1998 in which Intermedia and the film division of the Fuji TV Network in Japan
  • Italian competition body to investigate Seat-TMC

    Italy's Antitrust Authority has launched an official probe into publishing giant Seat Pagine Gialle's take-over of broadcaster Telemontecarlo.Seat, which is currently swallowing Telecom Italia's internet division, agreed in August to purchase 75% of TMC from the Cecchi Gori Group, for L750bn ($335m), with an option to up its stake to 100%."The operation must be evaluated by taking into account the activities of the Telecom Italia group which Seat has joined," the authorit
  • Italy picks Hundred Steps as Oscar contender

    Italy has chosen Marco Tullio Giordana's The Hundred Steps (I Cento Passi) as its official entry for the foreign-language Oscar, over both Silvio Soldini's Bread And Tulips and Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena, which had both been widely tipped.The Hundred Steps is based on the true story of Peppino Impastato, a student during the left-wing political terrorism of the 1970s who defied his family's ties with the Sicilian Mafia. The critically-acclaimed film premier
  • Italy's Lantia strikes alliance with Elle U

    Rome-based producer-distributor Lantia has formed a financial and strategic alliance with Italian multimedia group Elle U Multimedia (EUM) that will enable it to beef up theatrical acquisitions and secure a domestic video outlet for its eclectic fare.The two companies will use their combined buying power to purchase films, which they will jointly release, sharing out distribution and p&a costs. Joint acquisitions will then be handled by EUM's video label.The first two films to b
  • Jupiter to float before Christmas

    Japanese cable operator Jupiter Telecommunications, which is part-owned by both Microsoft and John Malone's Liberty Media, has announced plans for a $2.5bn-$4bn initial public offering.The company, which is Japan's leading cable operator, plans to float before Christmas on both the Nasdaq in New York and the fledgling Mothers high-tech stock market in Tokyo. However the float comes at a turbulent time for media stocks and follows the disappointing IPO of satellite platform Sky P
  • Kinowelt takes control of Village's German circuit

    Proving that its taste for acquisitions has not yet been satiated, Kinowelt has taken control of Village Roadshow's German theatrical circuit.The widely-anticipated deal (ScreenDaily, Sept 27, Oct 31) sees Kinowelt purchase a 25.2% stake in Village Roadshow Exhibition, but obtain management control. Day-to-day operations will be handled by the management of the Kinopolis chain that Kinowelt bought into in May.The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Kinowelt co-chief
  • Lanzarote's Spanish Screenings unveils line-up

    The Spanish Film Screenings for Europe, held on the Canary Island of Lanzarote, has unveiled the line-up of films set to premiere and screen at this year's second annual edition (Nov 29-Dec 1).Most of Spain's leading production outfits are represented in the 33 films confirmed for screening. This year, buyers from the US and Asia have been added to the invitation list.Among the films set to premiere at Lanzarote are Ventura Pons' Anita No Pierde El Tren (formerly Anita
  • Lions Gate buys US rights to The Whole Shebang

    Easily the most acquisitive of domestic distribuors at present, Lions Gate Releasing has bought US rights to romantic comedy The Whole Shebang from David Kirkpatrick's Original Voices Inc. The film, directed by George Zaloom and starring Stanley Tucci and Bridget Fonda, is the first from Kirkpatrick's new venture which is part-financed by Germany's Intertainment AG. International sales are handled by 2K Media.Tucci plays an Italian summoned to work in his family's fireworks fac
  • Little Nicky

    Dir: Steven Brill. US. 2000. 90 mins. Prod cos: New Line Cinema in association with RSC Media. Dist (US): New Line. Intl sales: New Line International. Prods: Jack Giarraputo, Robert Simonds. Exec prod: Robert Engelman. Scr: Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler, Steve Brill. DoP: Theo Van de Sande. Prod des: Perry Andelin Blake. Ed: Jeff Gourson. Music: Teddy Castellucci. Main cast: Adam Sandler, Patricia Arquette, Harvey Keitel, Rhys Ifans, Allen Covert, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister Jr.Adam
  • MacLachlan, Styler join Me Without You cast

    Kyle MacLachlan, Trudie Styler, Oliver Milburn and Allan Corduner have joined Anna Friel and Michelle Williams in the cast of Sandra Goldbacher's Me Without You.The story of two women's relationship is being bankrolled by Alliance Atlantis and Kinowelt's UK joint venture Momentum Pictures, erstwhile funding body British Screen and the Isle of Man Film Commission. The eight-week shoot is currently taking place in London, Brighton and the Isle of Man.The project is produced
  • Mexico reports $839m production windfall

    The Mexican Film Commission has reported that 2,586 productions have shot in Mexico since its inception in September 1995, boosting the local economy by an estimated $839m. In total, the Commission has received 5,438 requests for information, 2,959 from domestic productions, 2,440 from the US, Canada, Europe and Asia and 39 from co-productions with Mexico. Projects include feature films, documentaries, shorts, photo-shoots and television programmes.The Commission also estimated
  • Meyer's Spoils wins funding from NRW

    German regional funding body Filmstiftung NRW has awarded $1.1m (DM2.5m) to Spoils, a co-production between Germany's Dazu Film and Belgium's Corsan, which is set to star Alec Baldwin and Linda Fiorentino.The film, to be directed by Nicholas Meyer, is about two US soldiers who make off with a haul of jewels from a castle in Germany at the end of WWII. Meyer plans to film large portions of the movie in a castle near Munster. Production is scheduled to start in spring next year.
  • Oslo Film Festival to open with Almost Famous

    Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous opens the 10th anniversary edition of the Oslo International Film Festival, which runs November 16-26.Highlights at this year's event include festival favourites such as Edward Yang's A One And A Two, Karyn Kusama's Girlfight, Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count On Me, Jerzy Stuhr's The Big Animal and Kristian Levring's The King Is Alive.Japanese films take centre stage in a section including The Ring ho
  • Pandaemonium

    Dir: Julien Temple. UK. 2000. 124mins.Prod co: Mariner Films. Co-prods: BBC, Arts Council of England, Moonstone Entertainment. Int'l sales: Moonstone Entertainment, tel: (1) 310 247 6060. Exec prods: Mike Phillips, Tracey Scoffield, David M Thompson. Prod: Nick O'Hagen. Scr: Frank Cottrell Boyce. DoP: John Lynch. Prod des: Laurence Dorman. Ed: Nivien Howie. Music: Dario Mariancelli. Main cast: Linus Roache, John Hannah, Samantha Morton, Emily Woof, Emma Fielding.Evidently
  • Pathe ups George to post of deputy MD

    Ian George has been promoted from marketing and publicity director at UK distribution operation Pathe Distribution to deputy managing director.The move comes as Pathe's UK sales director Alastair Craig is leaving the company to join EVA Entertainment, Pearson Television's animated unit, as director of sales. Craig is being replaced by Neil Marshall, formerly director of exhibitor relations at film magazine In2Film.Marshall, who will join Pathe on December 4, was also at C
  • Red Planet

    Dir: Antony Hoffman. US. 2000. 106 mins.Prod cos: Warner Bros in association with Village Roadshow Pictures and NPV Entertainment. Dist: Warner (US and rest of world)/Village Roadshow (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Cyprus). Prods: Mark Canton, Bruce Berman, Jorge Saralegui. Exec prods: Charles J D Schlissel, Andrew Mason. Scr: Chuck Pfarrer, Jonathan Lemkin. DoP: Peter Suschitzky. Prod des: Owen Paterson. Ed: Robert K Lambert, Dallas S Puett. Music: Graeme Revell. Visual effect
  • Rick Senat to leave Warner Bros after 24 years

    Rick Senat, head of European business affairs for Warner Bros and a 24 year-old veteran of the studio, is to retire from the company at the end of the year to pursue independent entrepreneurial opportunities in the entertainment business. He will remain with Warner in an advisory capacity.Senat's departure was announced by John Schulman, executive vice president and general counsel for Warner, in Los Angeles on Friday.Senat joined Warner in 1977 and eventually ran the studio's
  • Rothwell wins New Zealand film-makers' vote

    Director Hamish Rothwell was made young film-maker of the year by the Screen Producers and Directors Association of New Zealand (SPADA), on the first evening of their annual conference (November 9). The title is a vote of confidence for the commercials director's stylish debut feature Stickmen, which will be released in local cinemas in late January. It is the first NZ film in a decade to earn a UK presale - Universal Pictures International picked it up for Australia and
  • Senator extends deal with FilmFour

    Germany's Senator Entertainment has extended its co-production and distribution pact with the UK's FilmFour.The restructured arrangement covers an additional seven titles. Senator originally came on board for 14 FilmFour projects including Lucky Break, which marks director Peter Cattaneo's follow-up to The Full Monty, and Charlotte Gray, starring Cate Blanchett.A statement from Senator cited "outstanding" world sales results on FilmFour titles it had partner
  • Serbian distributors square up to TV pirates

    Following the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia's distributors plan to take legal action against local broadcasters for airing films such as The Matrix and American Beauty only weeks after their theatrical release.Companies such as Belgrade-based Tuck, which handles Warner and Columbia TriStar product in Serbia, and Vans, which handles films from UIP, had previously threatened to take action against broadcasters but were discouraged by Milosevic's close ties to the S
  • Sony to step up Indian operations

    Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is eyeing a grand entry into Bollywood after executives made a fact-finding mission to India last week.Sony executives led by Michael Grindon, chairman of Sony Television International, are now evaluating an entry into movie production as part of an expansion in exhibition and TV channels across the sub-continent. Sony is reported to have begun initial negotiations with leading local production houses."[We are] looking to produce more programm
  • SPH, Star East form joint TV production venture

    Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has acquired a 50% stake in Hong Kong-based Star East Holding's new TV production subsidiary, Star East Works, for $19m (HK$150m).Two of Star East Holding's existing television subsidiaries, Star East Productions and Discover China, will fall under the umbrella of the new company which plans to produce 400-600 hours of primarily Mandarin-language programming each year."Star East has been looking to identify regional platform partners for its televi
  • Staff set to take over Norway's KF

    Oslo City Council agreed this week to sell its 50.7% stake in Norway's oldest distribution outfit, Kommunenes Filmcentral (KF), to the company's staff for $51,300.The distributor is now waiting to hear if its other shareholders, which include about 40 other Norwegian municipalities, will follow suit. Two other companies - Oslo-based film publicity and consultancy firm Kulturmeglerne and production outfit Merkur Film - have also expressed interest in buying KF.The municipalities
  • Star wins pay-TV licence for Pakistan

    News Corp's Star TV has bagged the first pay-TV licence to be granted by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority. At the same time, Star chairman James Murdoch has confirmed that the company still plans to go ahead with launching pay-TV services in Hong Kong.The Pakistani licence enables local cable operators to redistribute Star TV content legally. "We are extremely delighted with the grant of the licence, which provides us with a unique opportunity to meet the burgeoning demand for
  • StudioCanal cinema revenues up 91%

    StudioCanal has reported that turnover from cinema-related activities increased by 90.5% in the nine months to September 31 to Euros236.6m, compared to Euros124.2m during the same period last year. The growth was mainly due to German distribution arm Tobis which contributed Euros24.1m and French distribution subsidiary Bac Distribution, which contributed Euro35.4m.Sales of current titles jumped 65%, while library sales grew by 11.5%, 42% of total sales deriving from foreign mar
  • TelstraSaturn partners with TVNZ on digital TV

    New Zealand telco and pay-TV operator TelstraSaturn is to partner with public broadcaster Television New Zealand (TVNZ) on the delivery of satellite-based digital television to local audiences. Few details are available on the nature of the venture's programming although it will probably include acquired and commissioned material and be on offer from mid-2001.The free and subscription services will present serious competition for the existing Sky service, owned by News Corp and
  • TVA International wins StudioCanal deal for Canada

    Montreal-based TVA International (TVAI) has signed a three year agreement with France's StudioCanal to handle its product across Canada. The exclusive, all-rights deal dramatically expands the Quebec company's position in Canadian feature distribution.The agreement covers more than 40 new features, including such English-language titles as Kathryn Bigelow's The Weight of Water starring Sean Penn, Elizabeth Hurley and Sarah Polley; John McNaughton's Speaking of Sex starri
  • UTV in talks for broadband, DTH partnerships

    Leading Indian content and animation producer United Television (UTV) is in talks with a raft of local broadband players as it readies to scale up its broadband streaming service and launch four niche channels for DTH telecast.UTV is discussing plans for the move, which is expected to cost $11m, with Indian broadband operations including Reliance, Spectranet, Ortel in Orissa and Satyam. UTV chairman Ronnie Screwvala said that the investment would be pumped into areas such as studio pos
  • Winstar Cinema buys four French films for US

    Independent US distributor Winstar Cinema has closed a raft of European film acquisitions since Toronto including a three picture deal with Paris-based Celluloid Dreams and Olivier Assayas' Cannes competition entry Les Destinees Sentimentales.From Celluloid Dreams, Winstar acquired Jafar Panahi's Venice Golden Lion award winner The Circle in addition to Francois Ozon's latest film Under The Sand (Sous Le Sable) featuring Charlotte Rampling which will be rel