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Screen
14 November 2001

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  • ...while Spain takes Madness, Mexico picks Perfume

    Vicente Aranda's historical drama Madness Of Love (Juana La Loca) is Spain's official nomination to the foreign language category of the Oscars, while Mexico has chosen last spring's winner of five Ariel awards: Perfume De Violetas by Marisa Sistach as its foreign Oscar entry. Madness Of Love beat out the two other contenders shortlisted for the Spanish nomination: Julio Medem's erotic epic Sex And Lucia (Lucia Y El Sexo) and Agustin Diaz-Yanes' No News F
  • A Ma Soeur passed uncut for UK release

    A Ma Soeur, controversial French director Catherine Breillat's exploration of childhood sexuality, has been passed uncut by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) despite misgivings about some of the film's sexual content.According to a statement, the BBFC took legal advice about some of the film's sexual scenes, particularly those involving a 13-year-old actress in which "sexual activity was inferred".Under the 1978 Protection of Children Act it is illegal to sh
  • Andy Given appointed Intermedia production head

    Andy Given, formerly of Universal Pictures and The Shooting Gallery, has joined Intermedia in the newly created position of president, physical production.Reporting to president of worldwide production Basil Iwanyk, Given is responsible for all aspects of physical production for Intermedia's myriad projects from development through post -production. Current Intermedia productions include Director John McTiernan's Basic and Renny Harlin's Mindhunters. Immediately p
  • Bac sells Paris cinemas to French heiress

    French distributor/exhibitor Bac Majestic (which handles both Miramax and StudioCanal titles) has sold its five Paris cinemas to Sophie Dulac (a French heiress who is partnering with arthouse exhibitor Jean Henochsberg, of Cine Classic) for a reported $5m.Bac Majestic's theater circuit, Les Ecrans de Paris, which includes five high profile arthouse venues - the Majestic Passy, the Majestic Bastille, the Arlequin, the Escurial and Le Reflet - had been up for sale for some time. The most
  • Bertelsmann denies studio acquisition plans

    Speculations that German media concern Bertelsmann might be interested in acquiring a Hollywood studio have been dashed once more by CEO Thomas Middelhoff. Speaking in an interview with the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit about his company's plans for the proceeds from the sales of its shares in AOL and AOL Europe, Middelhoff declared: "we are thinking of acquisitions in the American magazine market. Moreover, we believe that we can soon start expanding our interests in TV stations in
  • Black Box BRD wins Euro documentary award

    Andres Veiel's Black Box BRD has been named as the winner of this year's European Documentary Award - Prix Arte which will be presented at the forthcoming European Film Awards in Berlin on December 1. The decision by the Documentary Jury of producer-filmmaker Jens Meurer, director Cinzia Torrini and Warsaw Film Festival director Stefan Laudyn was announced at this year's Forum of European Cinema in Strasbourg from a total of six nominations. The other films up for conside
  • Central Asian films attract increasing interest

    Abstracted from Screen InternationalFor years a largely forgotten part of the world, Central Asia has been put back put on the map by the war in Afghanistan. The war has also provoked a wave of interest in the largely forgotten film cultures of the republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan which are on the front line of the conflict. Scheduled far in advance of the September 11 attacks, the Vienna Film Festival screened a retrospe
  • Cuaron hires Torresblanco for El Delirio NY

    Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron is setting up a New York office to complement the existing LA and Mexican branches of his Good Machine-backed production company, newly dubbed El Delirio. Frida Torresblanco, line producer for Spanish heavyweight Lolafilms, has been hired to help set up the new operation alongside Cuaron. El Delirio is the new name for the New York and LA offices of Mexico-based Anhelo Producciones, the company founded in May 2000 by Cuaron and Mexican entrepreneur Jorge
  • Eurocinema TV channel proposed by EC minister

    The President of the European Council of Audiovisual Ministers, Richard Miller, announced at the Strasbourg Forum of European Cinema in the European Parliament that he had personally earmarked funds for a feasibility study on the creation of a 'Eurocinema' television channel. The pan-European channel would feature European films, film education programming and experimental work as well as generic 'Euromovie' magazine programmes.While the example of commercially-run Euronews was given a
  • Eurocinema TV channel proposed by EC minister

    The President of the European Council of Audiovisual Ministers, Richard Miller, announced at the Strasbourg Forum of European Cinema in the European Parliament that he had personally earmarked funds for a feasibility study on the creation of a 'Eurocinema' television channel. The pan-European channel would feature European films, film education programming and experimental work as well as generic 'Euromovie' magazine programmes.While the example of commercially-run Euronews was given a
  • Finalists selected for Sundance/NHK awards

    The Sundance Institute and Japanese broadcaster NHK have selected eleven finalists for the 2002 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Awards. The winners, one from each of four global regions (Latin America, Europe, USA and Japan) will take home a cash award of $10,000 and a guarantee from NHK to acquire the Japanese television broadcast rights upon completion of the project. Winners will be announced at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony at Park City, Utah next January. "
  • Firefly Dreams wins Hawaii's Golden Maile award

    John Williams' Firefly Dreams was the winner of the First Hawaiian Bank Golden Maile award for the main competition of the Hawaii International Film Festiva (Nov 2-11). Shot on location in Japan and starring Maho Ukai and Yoshi Minami, the film is the British-born Williams' first feature. Among other entries in the six-film feature section were the opening film, David Cunningham's WWII prisoner-of-war drama To End All Wars, as well as The Fast Runner, Bungee Jum
  • Fry, Winterbottom projects on Revolution's slate

    The UK's Revolution Films is developing a slate of new films including actor Stephen Fry's directing debut, Bright Young Things, which Fry is adapting from Evelyn Waugh's classic novel, Vile Bodies, as well as a Michael Winterbottom project about the conflict in Afghanistan.The Fry project is part of a concerted drive by Revolution, which is run by Winterbottom and producer Andrew Eaton, to produce films from third-party directors. The company is currently in produ
  • German cinema admissions reach 10-year high

    August's cinema admissions in Germany were the highest for 10 years, thanks to the combined success of Der Schuh Des Manitu Jurassic Park III and Bridget Jones, according to figures collated by the German Federal Film Board (FFA). August's tally of 17.6m admissions was 52% up on August 2000. Moreover, despite the terror attacks in New York and Washington, September saw attendances 41% higher than for the same month last year.Admissions in Germany are up 15%
  • German media sector sees further major changes

    Advanced Medien, VCL Film + Medien, and FAME are the latest publicly listed German media companies forced by the 'unfavourable market environment" in the German media sector to embark on a radical strategic reorientation of their operations. Beleaguered producer-distributor Advanced Medien, whose share price has hovered just above oblivion for several months, has announced a set of "aggressive measures (') to restructure and streamline the company". These include the decision b
  • Global warning: erosion of worldwide cinema market

    The comparative strength of the dollar exacerbated a 2.8% decline (185m) in worldwide cinema admissions last year to cause the first fall in the total dollar value of the global theatrical market for eight years in 2000.According to the latest data from monthly research publication, Screen Digest, there was an overall decline of 0.2% in worldwide spending on cinema to just under $17.5bn, with North American admissions falling for the second year in a row and some Far Eastern territorie
  • Gosford Park

    Dir Robert Altman. UK-US 2001. 138mins.Content and style converge smoothly and brilliantly in Robert Altman's Gosford Park, a luxuriant period drama that applies the Agatha Christie murder mystery format to a rigorous analysis of English society during the early 1930s. This terrifically accomplished film, easily Altman's best work since The Player and Short Cuts a decade ago, is a large ensemble piece that flaunts itself like a Who's Who of British and
  • Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone

    Dir: Chris Columbus. UK-US 2001. 152mins.JK Rowling's Harry Potter books have become such a global literary and cultural phenomena (over 100 million copies sold in more than 46 languages) that it's almost impossible to treat the franchise's first film without disregarding the juggernaut hype that has touted it as the biggest film event in UK history. Overall, Chris Columbus's rendition of the adventures of the world's most beloved wizard is a well-made, likeable pictur
  • Hotshot trio make pan-Asian history

    Billed as a step up in pan-Asian co-operation, Fortissimo Film Sales unveiled details of Three, an omnibus film featuring three of the region's most commercially successful directors.Nonzee Nimibutr, director of Thailand's Jan Dara and Nang Nak, Korea's Kim Jee Won, who previously directed The Foul King, and Hong Kong-based Peter Chan Ho-sun (The Love Letter) will each contribute a mystery tale featuring ghosts and spirits. It is believed to be the fi
  • IMAX sees diminishing returns, improving prospects

    Canadian large format operator IMAX Corporation has announced its third quarter results, which continue the company's downwards slide, exacerbated by economic downturn and the US exhibition sector's ill health.Third quarter revenues for the company, which has 220 large format theatres in 30 countries, hit $23.3m - down from $32.9m last year. Systems revenue was down $4.6m from 2000 to hit $13.6m, and film revenue was down $4.2m over the previous year to hit $6.4m, largely due to a redu
  • Iran, Spain and Mexico name their Oscar candidates

    Majid Majidi's Baran has been selected by Iran as its official candidate for the Academy Award for best foreign-language category. Vicente Aranda's historical drama Madness Of Love (Juana La Loca) is Spain's official nomination, while Mexico has chosen last spring's winner of five Ariel awards: Perfume De Violetas by Marisa Sistach as its foreign Oscar entry. Baran's nomination by the nine-member Iranian selection committee was said to have been unanimous. T
  • Italian industry denounces merger consultations

    In an unprecedented move, more than sixty of Italy's top film directors, writers and producers have addressed a fiery open letter to Giuseppe Tesauro, president of Italy's Antitrust Authority in leading Italian daily La Repubblica, denouncing the fact that none of Italy's film associations have been consulted over the planned merger of the country's beleaguered pay-TV platforms and premier film financiers, Stream and Telepiu.Instead, Enzo Porcelli, co-head of Italy's Association of Ind
  • Italy and Iceland submit their Oscar candidates

    As expected, Nanni Moretti's The Son's Room has won Italy's nomination to join the foreign language Oscar race. The Moretti picture, which won the Cannes Palme d'Or in May, beat competition from local heavyweights The Last Kiss and Ignorant Fairies. Meanwhile, Iceland has selected Agust Gudmundsson's new feature The Seagull's Laughter as its Academy Award entry.The Son's Room, which marks a significant departure from Moretti's previous autobiographica
  • Japanese rights sold on Chinese classic remake

    Japanese powerhouse Daiei has picked up local Japanese rights to the high-profile remake of Chinese classic Springtime In A Small Town.The film, is a story of lust unleashed on a respectable bourgeois family following the arrival of a mysterious visitor, is now being filmed by The Blue Kite director Tian Zhuangzhuang on location in Southern China.Daiei is understood to have secured the rights after a bid battle between a handful of top Japanese art-house distributo
  • Japan's Shinoda announces final project

    Masahiro Shinoda, a leading director of Japan's 1960s New Wave, has announced the production of what he says will be his last film: Spy: Sorge. A project Shinoda has been developing for the past fifteen years, Spy: Sorge will tell the story of Richard Sorge, a German journalist who served as a Soviet spy in Japan for nine years, until his arrest by the Japanese in 1941. During that period Sorge and his ring were able to penetrate the upper echelons of diplomatic and gover
  • Kalmbach to head BBC Films Los Angeles

    BBC Films has taken another step on the road towards making larger-scale pictures by setting up a Los Angeles office under Peter Kalmbach, formerly vice-president of acquisitions and production at USA Films.As senior vice-president of BBC Films Los Angeles, Kalmbach is to help find and develop material with international potential, reporting to BBC Films chief David Thompson. He will focus on pairing American writers, directors and producers with British talent, and on broadening relat
  • Kayser exits German Premiere World

    Less than two months after the rapid exit of Manfred Puffer from the management of the debt-ridden pay-TV service Premiere World and just a couple of weeks after Rupert Murdoch suggested that he might consider bailing out of the German platform (Screen Daily, Nov 2001), Ferdinand Kayser has announced that he will leave the company at the end of the year to become the president and chief executive officer of the satellite operator SES ASTRA. In addition, Kayser has been appointed a memb
  • Korea's CJ sells Musa to multiple territories

    Korean giant CJ Entertainment enjoyed a profitable MIFED with strong sales of its film Musa (aka Musa The Warrior) which premiered in September at an interrupted Toronto festival.The film earned CJ its highest price ever for a German deal when it was sold to E-M-S New Media. Musa, which was produced on a record-breaking budget for a Korean title, exceeding $5m, also sold to Discovery for the former Yugoslavia, Central Partnership for the former Soviet Union, Nontanund Ent
  • Krabbe and Kidman in box office Heaven

    After a staggered platform release director/actor Jeroen Krabbe's The Discovery Of Heaven has pulled its way to the top of The Netherlands box office chart in its third week on release. The English-language Dutch film, Krabbe's second directorial effort after 1998's Left Luggage, opened on Oct 18 to a resounding $37,654 (fl 91,764) from just four sites for a stunning screen average of $9,414. Heaven then widened to 41 screens in its second weekend and leapt 693% to land f
  • Lantana scores big at Australian IF awards

    Lantana confirmed its critical worth at Australia's annual IF Awards, taking home nearly every major award including best film for producer Jan Chapman, best director for Ray Lawrence, best script for Andrew Bovell and best actor for Anthony LaPaglia. The ensemble cast of Barbara Hershey, Kerry Armstrong, Leah Purcell, Rachael Blake and Daniela Farinacci also beat the internationally acclaimed Nicole Kidman, who was in the audience, to the best actress prize.But the film with th
  • Monsters, Inc. stays on top

    Monsters, Inc., the Walt Disney/Pixar animation, continued athwart the North American box office, with audiences lifting it past the $100m mark after nine days on release, a record cash-dash for an animated film. After two weekends, its estimated take stands at $122m. Perhaps its haste is quickened by the sound of the heavy foot-tread of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, which opens next weekend and is expected to vaporise all competition. One heavy foot-tread that f
  • Murdoch's Shine teams with Greenroom for horror

    Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine Entertainment and Greenroom Digital, the production company of The Hole director Nick Hamm and his brother Jon, are to co-produce a slate of horror films under the banner 'The Dark'. Shine and Greenroom aim to shoot the films back to back, starting late next year. The films will range from black comedies and spoofs to psychological thrillers and supernatural chillers. "The strength of any project is in the material, so we built this from the grou
  • National Amusements to open first Imax cinema

    US exhibitor National Amusements is opening its first-ever Imax cinema in the New Year. According to National Amusements president Shari Redstone, the cinema will be launched with the premiere of Walt Disney's Beauty And The Beast on Jan. 1, 2002. The new facility will be located at the circuit's 17-screen LA flagship entertainment complex, The Bridge.The announcement is a piece of good news for the beleaguered large format screen company, which has been buffeted by the protract
  • New Country, No Man's Land win top AFI Fest prizes

    Swedish road movie The New Country and Bosnian favourite No Man's Land won the top awards at this year's AFI International Film Festival in Los Angeles, which finished last night with the world premiere of Marc Forster's Monster's Ball.The New Country, directed by Geir Hansteen Jorgensen, won the jury's feature prize with a special mention going to Danis Tanovic's No Man's Land which also won the Los Angeles Times Audience Award for best feature.
  • New Eastern European fund aims to raise $40m

    A new production financing fund for Central and Eastern Europe has been established with the aim of raising $40m towards developing the region's film-making activities.Bianca Bezdek, an international media attorney with Linklaters in New York, and Andrew Stear, head of Bucharest-based Stray Dogs Productions, have teamed to raise capital from investors for the fund, called Silver Bullet. With Stear as the main investor, Silver Bullet claims to have already raised $10 million.Howe
  • New South Wales launches Aurora workshops

    The New South Wales Film and Television Office (FTO) is calling for "compelling and distinctive" feature film scripts to be the first beneficiaries of the inaugural Aurora feature film script development workshops. Applicants must intend making the film in the state of NSW and the scripts must have a writer, director and producer attached.The artistic director of Aurora will be Stephen Cleary, former head of development at British Screen and most recently artistic director of Arista, t
  • New Zealand film sales increase

    The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) grossed more than $1.7m (NZ$4m) in sales in the 12 months to June 30, 2001, according to its annual report, which was tabled in Parliament today. Sales in the previous year were $465,000 (NZ$1.1m). The biggest contributor was director Glenn Standring's $887,000 (NZ$2.1m) horror flick The Irrefutable Truth About Demons. The first film produced under First Sun, the feature division of the television producers The Gibson Group, recorded gross
  • New Zealand joint venture produces winners

    Snakeskin won six of the 16 feature film awards, including best film for producer Vanessa Sheldrick, at the New Zealand Film Awards on Saturday, while Stickmen won best director for Hamish Rothwell, best screenplay for Nick Ward, and best actor for Scott Wills. Both films are from the same stable, namely the ScreenVisioNZ joint venture between the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), NZ on Air, and UK sales agent Portman Entertainment, which is now supporting a similar ini
  • Ontario bans Breillat's controversial Fat Girl

    Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl (A Ma Soeur!) has been banned by Ontario Film Review Board (OFRB). According to Noah Cowan, co-president of Cowboy Booking which is co-releasing the film with Lions Gate in North America, the OFRB requested cuts that would have reduced the movie to a mere 40 minutes in length from its original 93 minute running time. The scenes under dispute include full-frontal nudity of adolescent females, particularly a central episode where a 13-year-old
  • Optimum acquires Officer's Ward & The Greatest

    Independent UK distributor Optimum Releasing has acquired all local rights to Francois Dupeyron's The Officer's Ward (La Chambre Des Officiers) and documentary Muhammed Ali The Greatest.Acquired from Mercure, Officer's Ward will be released theatrically in the spring, while The Greatest goes out in January.Set during the First World War, Officer's Ward charts an army officer's recuperation following a disfiguring bomb-blast injury to his face.
  • Oz election result assures film funding boost

    The re-election of a Coalition Government in Australia on Saturday, Nov 10 means that the $48m (A$92.7m) in new assistance for the film industry, promised in September and spread over four years starting from June 2002, is assured. The extra funding encompasses nearly all the federal government agencies and was partly prompted by controversy surrounding, and assistance to, offshore production.While the increase of $3.9m (A$7.5m) in 2002/3, rising to $5.2m (A$10m) per year, for the Film
  • Oz features take a dive in number and value

    Government sources provided 53% of the $42.7m (A$82m) spent on the 26 Australian films that went into production in the 12 months to June 30, 2001, according to the Australian Film Commission's (AFC) production survey released Nov 13. This is the lowest number of local features, the lowest amount spent, and the highest contribution from Government for the past five years.Foreign sources provided 27% of the rest of the total spend, while 20% came from Australian industry and private sou
  • Palm Springs Film Fest 2002 set for Jan 10-21

    The 13th annual Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival will take place in Palm Springs, California, from Jan 10 to 21, 2002, with the deadline for submissions set as Nov 15, 2001. The festival was co-founded by Sonny Bono and festival director Denis Pregnolato in 1989 and last year screened 150 films from 40 countries.Palm Springs also traditionally screens the majoritiy of films submitted for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Academy Aw
  • Piano Teacher plays up against Potter-mania

    The weekend grosses for most films in the UK chart were severely effected this week by the two-day preview screenings of Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone - which would easily have claimed top position, if previews were included in box office charts prior to the actual opening weekend. Showing its enduring appeal was BVI's The Others, which dropped off just 25% from its opening weekend. With a three-day figure of $2.5m (£1.7m) from 386 sites the chille
  • Potter is top 2001 UK opening - a week early

    Few people can have avoided the hype that has been building around Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, one of the most eagerly anticipated films of recent years. Now the children's adventure film is proving it can live up to the hype, at least in the UK. This weekend saw two-day previews, Saturday Nov 10-Sunday 11, of the film play to mostly sell-out houses at 490 UK sites.With some cinemas playing the film on as many as five screens Potter scored a mas
  • Pusan opens with atmosphere of regional growth

    The sixth edition of the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) got underway on Friday with an air of self-confidence and regional prosperity. Proceedings got underway on Friday with the world premiere of Bae Chang-ho's highly anticipated Korean War drama The Last Witness. This was followed by a mix of public, industry and press screenings that amount to one of the best showcases of Asian cinema anywhere in the world and arguably eclipse the in-decline Tokyo International Film
  • Pusan Promotion Plan rewards outstanding directors

    Chinese director Lin Cheng-sheng and Korea's Kim Ki-duk were the big winners at the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), Asian co-production workshop which wrapped on Wed, Nov 14 in Korea.At a ceremony involving much of the top brass from the Cannes festival including chief selector Thierry Fremaux, newly installed Critics' Week head Claire Clouzot and Directors' Fortnight representative Jacques Gerber, the directing pair shared the $20,000 Pusan Metropolitan City Award, for their projects T
  • Radar Pictures signs three international partners

    Ted Field's Radar Pictures has sealed three longterm strategic partnerships with foreign distributors - TMG/Concorde in Germany, Lauren Film in Spain and Sandrew Metronome International in Scandinavia - as part of its efforts to become a co-financier of its own productions.The deals were struck by Radar's exclusive sales agent Good Machine International (GMI) which will cooordinate sales of Radar product in remaining overseas territories.GMI has just concluded an impressive ne
  • Rush & Davis team for Swimming Upstream

    Two of Australia's most internationally acclaimed actors, Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis, will be acting alongside each other as husband and wife when shooting starts next week in Queensland on the family drama Swimming Upstream.Australian-born Russell Mulcahy is the director and Howard and Karen Baldwin, and Australia's Andrew Mason, are producing. Paul Pompian is the executive producer. The film will be released in the US through Crusader's classics division.Anthony Fingl
  • Second Global Motion Pictures fund launched

    The Frankfurt-based IN-motion Group is behind the launching of a second private media fund to follow its Euros 15m first Global Motion Pictures Fonds (GMPF) which was brought on to the market in July. The Second Global Motion Pictures Fonds (GMPF 2) will be inviting private individuals to put up a minimum each of Euros 25,000 by December 12, 2001 towards a total volume of Euro 40m for investment in international feature productions, with the option of increasing the fund's overall vo
  • Sex And Lucia seals international sales

    Julio Medem's erotic Spanish epic Sex And Lucia (Lucia Y El Sexo) has closed brisk sales worldwide, fulfilling expectations that the local hit from production powerhouse Sogecine would travel.A round-up of deals for Latin America and Europe closed after recent markets by sales house Sogepaq bodes well for the film, already Spain's third top grossing domestic hit this year. Further deals - including to the US - look promising if Lucia travels to international festivals in
  • Shallow Hal

    Dirs: Bobby and Peter Farrelly. US 2001. 113mins.Bobby and Peter Farrelly, masters of the outrageous and gross-out comedy (Dumb And Dumber, There's Something About Mary) take an artistic step backwards with Shallow Hal, a soft, disappointingly sentimental comedy about the true nature of beauty, or the gap between physical surfaces and inner essences. Small in scale, and extremely modest in style, the film benefits from an attractive performance by Gwyneth Paltr
  • Smell Of Camphor, Fragrance Of Jasmine

    Dir: Bahman Farmanara. Iran. 2001. 93mins. Bahman Farmanara's first film in 20 years is a semi-autobiographical meditation on death and art whose mordant comic tone is an acquired taste but still a rather elegant one. With the way already paved by international festival acclaim, the film's immediate appeal will be to the growing audience for Iranian cinema. Western viewers used to more familiar fare from this country, such as fables about small children or stories about its d
  • Spain's Admira creates content acquisition arm

    Spain's Admira (Telefonica Media) has created a content acquisitions division to be overseen by Ele Juarez, general manager of strategic alliances.By centralising rights management Admira aims "to take maximum advantage of synergies within the group." The company also points to a streamlined presence for all the group's holdings under one roof, giving the new acquisitions force "greater negotiating power to close global accords."The new policy of streamlining acquisitions w
  • Spain's Auna to get Euro720m injection

    Shareholders of Spanish telecoms operator Auna (Retevision) approved a capital injection of Euros720m (pts120bn) in a move apparently intended to stall the potential sale by Telecom Italia of its 27% stake. However, the boost might not be enough to save pay TV platform Quiero TV, 49% owned by Auna, from the chopping block. Local reports have it that shareholders are pushing for a sale of Auna's stake in Quiero, possibly even before year's end. The troubled DTT platform has strug
  • Spanish heavyweights sign multi-year accord

    Two Spanish heavyweights - distributor/exhibitor Lauren Films and film and TV producer Cartel - have signed a multi-year production and distribution accord. The new alliance, published in local newspaper La Gaceta de los Negocios, will see Lauren distribute all Cartel titles theatrically and on video, with an option to co-produce future Cartel projects through 2003. For Lauren, the Spanish distributor for Miramax and a partner in the country's largest exhibition chain, the deal
  • Spice Factory/Beyond to Cut Deeper

    The UK's Spice Factory and Australia's Beyond Films are co-developing writer/director Michael Hurst's science fiction horror film Cut Deeper, a sequel to the 1999 Australian film Cut (pictured). Shooting is scheduled to start early next year.Cut Deeper is to be produced by Michael Cowan and Jason Piette from the UK's Spice Factory, Fred Weintraub and Thomas Kuhn of Weintraub/Khun, and representatives of Australia's Mushroom Pictures, which developed the original an
  • Target launches Euros50m media fund

    Berlin-based Target Media Entertainment, who entered into a long-term, multi-picture deal with Warner Bros. Pictures Germany at the end of October (Screendaily, Oct 26 2001), has now launched a Euro 50m media fund to finance up to 15 live.action and animated German and English-language features.The production companies Comet Film (The Little Vampire), Cartoon Film (The Little Polar Bear) and the international sales outfit Cometstone International are
  • Taylor Nelson Sofres buys into cinema services

    US market research giant, Taylor Nelson Sofres, has announced the acquisition of two American cinema services companies: Theatrical Entertainment Services and sister firm RapidChek Reporting for an initial cash payment of $38m.The two businesses track cinema attendance and box office figures, as well as monitoring trailer and on-screen advertising. Last year, they generated turnover of $9.9m and earnings before interest and tax of $5.3m.
  • The new Hollywood style: co-dependents

    Abstracted from Screen International in three parts: Part IIt's an ongoing process, but the balance of power in Hollywood is shifting out of all recognition. With more films now co-financed between independents and the seven Hollywood majors (49 out of the 101 to be released this year), it seems any deal is possible.At the same time, the traditional idea of what constitutes a studio and what constitutes an independent is being eradicated. Producer deals shed by the
  • Tokyo court fines paper for pirated film images

    In a case that may set a legal precedent, Tokyo District Court ordered Kodansha Publishing to pay the producers of Isao Morimoto's Ichigensan, a film about a cross-cultural love affair set in Kyoto, $46,290 (Y5.6m) for copyright violations. Shukan Gendai, a weekly tabloid magazine published by Kodansha, ran nude shots of Ichigensan star Honami Suzuki in its October 9, 1999 issue that were apparently taken at a screening of the film at the Kyoto Film Festival, without the
  • Tom Cruise warms to Minghella's Cold Mountain

    Anthony Minghella will directTom Cruise in a screen adaptation of the US Civil War bestseller ColdMountain next summer, producerSydney Pollack reportedly confirmed from Australia this morning. The film is a co-production betweenMGM and Miramax Films.Cruise would take the lead roleof Inman, a wounded confederate soldier who embarks on a long and perilousjourney from the ravages of war back home to his pre-war sweetheart, Ada, inNorth Carolina. In author CharlesFrazier's 19
  • Toronto's Fireworks hires Pasternak

    Toronto-based Fireworks Entertainment has hired local attorney Steven Pasternak into the newly created position of general counsel. Previously a founding partner of the legal firm that advises Fireworks, Pasternak will be involved in furthering the business interests of Fireworks as well as special projects. His old firm, formerly Hall Pasternak is renamed Hall & Associates and will continue to serve as Fireworks' outside counsel.Also at the company, John Robinson is stepping down from
  • Turin film festival unveils competition line-up

    The 19th edition of the Turin Film Festival, Italy's pre-eminent cutting-edge event, has unveiled its competition line-up which includes Ake Sandgren's Dogme title Truly Human (Et Rigtigt Menneske) and Terry Zwigoff's Steve Buscemi starrer Ghost World, which is produced by John Malkovich.Titles in the festival's main competition also include Monica Stambrini's Italian picture Benzina, Korean director Kwak Kyung-taek's hit Chingu, and Valeska Griseback's Aust
  • UK's Metrodome seals string of acquisitions

    Metrodome Distribution, the UK distributor whose parent group this week sold a 29.9% stake to Germany's TV-Loonland, has completed a string of acquisitions including German Oscar nominee Das Experiment.The distribution arm has also acquired the first package of films from InDigEnt, New York Dogme-style venture. Amongst the titles is Richard Linklater's Tape, a digital video feature starring Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke. Other recent pick ups include Oscar nominated Divi
  • US DVD sales continue to break all records

    The fourth quarter of 2001 is fast proving to be a key turning point in the fortunes of DVD, with sales records smashed week in, week out. When Shrek was released in the US on DVD it sold 2.5 million copies in three days. With a retail value of more than $50m, the release demolished a record set only two weeks before by Star Wars: Episode 1. With numbers like these, DVD is on track to surpass VHS as the pre-eminent system in the continent's $20bn home video market. Accord
  • Vulcan hires Hutton for media development

    Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc. has hired Richard Hutton to serve as the company's vice president of media development. He will oversee the feature film and documentary teams at Vulcan's Clear Blue Sky Productions and manage content partnerships and business and distribution deals across the film, television and Internet platforms.Hutton, previously senior vice president of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering, was executive producer on a seven-part documentary series co-financed
  • Warner acquires Leconte's Love Streets for Italy

    Warner Bros Pictures hasacquired the Italian distribution rights to Rue Des Plaisirs (Love Streets), the new Patrice Leconte feature film that stars French former modelLaetitia Casta. The pick-up is part of a concerted push by Warner into Europeanproduction and distribution.Set in Paris in 1945, RueDes Plaisirs is described as thestory of a young woman (Casta) who is displaced when town locals close down thebrothel where she works. The brothel's handyman (Patrick T
  • Warner Bros. promotes Ball, Taubin

    Brad Ball has been named to the newly created position of executive vice president, domestic corporate marketing, Warner Bros. Ball, previously president, domestic marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures for the past three and a half years, will be responsible for oversight of the studio's brand marketing efforts across the breadth of AOL Time Warner. He will continue to report to Alan Horn, president & chief operating officer. "With Harry Potter, the Matrix sequels, Scooby-D
  • Yugoslavian New Millennium forced to wait

    A new Yugoslavian Republic distribution company is struggling to find an opening for its first release: Hanniba,l as all the theaters in the key city of Belgrade (which constitutes 60% of the market) have been reserved until Summer 2002.Millennium Film & Video was recently launched by two existing distributors: the Bulgarian Alexandra Group and the Croatian company, Blitz. Alexandra president Alexandar Minchev, with a virtual monopoly in Bulgarian theatrical and video distributi
  • Zeal TV announces two appointments

    New UK indie, Zeal Television has appointed Barbara Lee as head of development. Lee's role at will be to develop and produce entertainment and lifestyle formats for broadcast in the UK. Lee was previously a producer at Hat Trick Productions and Tiger Aspect Productions. Her credits include: 'Oblivious' for ITV, 'The Real Simpsons' for Sky 1, 'Something for the Weekend' for Channel 4 and 'Whatever You Want' for BBC One Zeal managing director, Mark Lin

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