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14 November 2002

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  • 12 finalists named for Sundance/NHK Award

    The Sundance Institute and public Japanese broadcaster NHK today announced the 12 finalists for the 2003 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Awards. The annual award goes to an emerging international film-maker and is designed to help them with their next project. Each finalist is eligible to win a cash award of $10,000 and a guarantee from NHK to purchase the Japanese television broadcast rights upon completion of the project.In addition to the cash award and the broadcast guarantee
  • Asian Film Industry Network to be launched at Pusan film festival

    The Korean Film Commission has unveiled a long-term initiative to promote Asian film industries, to be launched at the upcoming Pusan International Film Festival.The Asian Film Industry Network (AFIN) which will launch in association with the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) which runs November 19-20, will initially function as an annual series of meetings and seminars to examine ways to promote increased co-operation and exchange among Asian film industries.Delegates from South Korea
  • Australian production numbers move Upstream

    Some US$74m (A$131m) was spent on Australian feature film production in the 12 months up to June 30 - a sixty percent year on year increase. 30 films were produced in the same period - four more than in the previous year.However, the latest figures are much the same as 1999/2000. The fluctuations evident from year to year in the Australian Film Commission's annual production survey, released today, are largely due to how many high budget films financed entirely from abroad are in the m
  • Bavaria Film Int'l celebrates successful MIFED

    Leading German sales agent, Bavaria Film International had a successful MIFED selling all rights for Japan on its local hit Bibi Blocksberg to Gaga Communications. The film, an adaptation of a popular children's novel directed by Hermine Huntgeburth, has grossed Euros8m in Germany and was also sold to Thai distributor Right Beyond and Greek distributor Camelot.Camelot also took the rights for controversial Venice competition film Fuehrer Ex and for Fridrik Thor Fri
  • Beyond takes world rights on Conspiracy Of Silence

    Australian-owned Beyond Films has picked up world rights on UK drama Conspiracy Of Silence.Written and directed by John Deery, the Ireland-set film explores celibacy in the Catholic church and was produced by Flick Features, with backing from Little Wing Films and Mogirl Films.Hugh Bonneville, John Lynch, Jonathan Forbes and Brenda Fricker star. Davina Stanley produces.The rights were negotiated by London-based Hilary Davis, recently appointed Beyond's head of sale
  • Box-office records fall to Potter a week before launch

    The second instalment in Warner Bros Harry Potter franchise, The Chamber Of Secrets, got off to a magical start at the UK box office this weekend, despite not officially opening until Nov 15.Figures for the weekend reveal the film grossed a mighty $12.5m (£7.86m) over its three-day preview weekend - with further previews on Thursday Nov 14 the film is receiving the longest preview period ever in the UK - and has recorded the highest preview period figures recorded in the co
  • Brit horror enjoys impressive international debut

    British horror title Deathwatch received a stunning international box office debut last weekend in Hong Kong. Launching on just 19 screens on Nov 7 the film grossed a massive $192,564 (HK$1.5m) to take the top spot from Warner Bros' Ghost Ship.Starring Jamie Bell, in his first role since his BAFTA-winning turn in Billy Elliot, Deathwatch scored a mighty four-day weekend average of $10,135 per screen. As of Tuesday Nov 12 it had grossed $272,308, inclu
  • Broken Wings (Knafayim Shevuroth)

    Dir. Nir Bergman, Israel, 2002. 87mins.Having already secured top awards first in Jerusalem and then in Tokyo, this coming-of-age story in a dysfunctional family mourning the accidental death of the father, is bound to become Israel's film of the year for 2002. The auspicious debut of Nir Bergman, a graduate of the Sam Spiegel Cinema School in Jerusalem, this painful, intimately personal tale will draw not only younger audiences who will identify with the young generation on
  • Bulgaria adds Yesterday's Lunch to Oscar hopefuls

    As one of the last country's to submit its Oscar entry Bulgaria's submission for next year's Academy Awards is a Bulgarian-Macedonian co-production, Warming Yesterday's Lunch ('Podgryavane Na Vcherashniya Obed). Based on a script written by Mile Nedelkovski from the book of the same name, the film was directed by Bulgarian documentary film maker Kostadin Bonev with Konstantin Zankov acting as cinematographer. The film was produced by Sofia-based Gala Film and Skopje-based Digit
  • Bus 174 (Onibus 174)

    Dir: Jose Padilha. Brazil. 2002. 150mins.Jose Padillha's excellent documentary about a gunman holding up a bus in Rio de Janeiro boasts extraordinary footage and tells a remarkable story. While it covers some of the same ground as Fernado Mereilles much acclaimed slum drama City Of God, it also stands on its own merits as a grizzly picture of Brazilian urban life. Both films portray the cycle of violence that has come to typify contemporary urban Brazil, but whereas City O
  • BVI scores with exclusive Treasure Planet run in France

    Buena Vista International (BVI) opened Treasure Planet in an exclusive presentation in France, grossing a worthy $280,000. The animated feature is based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel Treasure Island and is scheduled to open in the US on Nov 29. Signs took $3.6m over the weekend for a $166m international cumulative score. Opening at number one in South Africa, the supernatural thriller grossed $160,000 from 73 screens. This was bigger than the territory opening for di
  • Danes win multi-million film support package

    The Danish government has won political backing to pass a new $237m support plan for the film industry, spread over four years and provided by both public broadcasters and the state.The package, put together by the new right-wing cultural minister of Denmark, Brian Mikkelsen, was passed by all political parties except one. It has received a cautious welcome from the Danish film industry."We are generally OK with the new settlement, not least because it found such a broad range o
  • Danish veteran Holst goes solo

    Danish veteran producer Per Holst, who won the Palme d'Or, Golden Globe and Academy Award for Pelle The Conqueror, has once again set up his own production company after working under major Nordisk Film for some 10 years. The 63 year-old Holst (pictured) has established Asta Film with two newcomers, producers Emilie Brandt Luke and Thomas Radoor, who have yet to graduate from the National Film School of Denmark. The new outfit which has Radoor as managing
  • Double Vision nears $2m after three weeks in Taiwan

    Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI)'s Double Vision followed its chart-topping $1m record opening for a thriller in Taiwan with an impressive third weekend $67,968 haul that brings its cumulative score to $1.91m nationwide including previews. The picture, which is billed as Seven with a Taoist twist, took $1m including previews from 60 screens when it opened on Oct 26. It was the best ever bow for a thriller in the territory, beating the recent releases of H
  • Dubbed Shoe gets world premiere

    The most successful German film of all time Der Schuh Des Manitou (Manitou's Shoe) got its English-language version world premiere at AFI FEST in Los Angeles last night.Following its box-office record in Germany, where it attracted nearly 12 million viewers and some $60m, Michael Herbig's irreverent comedy has been sold to 13 territories, including Austria (Constantin) Brazil (GF Filmes) Czech Republic/Slovakia (AQS), Hong Kong (First Distributors), Hungary (Best Hollywood), Ire
  • Eastwood to get SAG lifetime achievement award

    The veteran actor-director-producer Clint Eastwood is to receive the 39th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Life Achievement Award in recognition of his career and humanitarian accomplishments. The accolade goes each year to an actor who is deemed to foster the highest ideals of the profession and will be presented at the 9th Annual SAG Awards on March 9, 2003."Clint Eastwood is truly a film icon, a celebrated star of international magnitude," SAG president Melissa Gilbert said in a statement
  • Euro animation enjoys production surge

    Production of animated feature films in Europe is at an all-time high, according to a study of the industry published by Cartoon, the European animation association. Some 34 films are currently in production or about to be released in cinemas, according to the report. This compares with 56 animated films being released between 1997 and 2001 and 182 full-length animated films produced and released in Europe between 1926 and 2001. New or imminent releases of European animated feat
  • Europe wakes up to Insomnia

    Insomnia, British director Christopher Nolan's follow-up to his acclaimed Memento, was launched into three of its final European territories last weekend, racing straight up the charts.Opening in France on Nov 6 for Warner Bros, Insomnia shot into the top spot, displacing UIP's Red Dragon after just one week. The thriller took 401,107 admissions in the territory for a first week gross of $2.1m. Playing on 417 screens, some 157 fewer than the Hannibal Lecter
  • Film Momentum takes US rights to Last Party 2000

    Film Momentum, Larry Meistrich's subscription-based distribution company, has acquired all US rights to Last Party 2000, the election campaign documentary narrated by Philip Seymour Hoffman. In the full-length picture Hoffman takes a behind-the-scenes look at electioneering and the American political process as he interviews politicians, activists and celebrities at Democratic and Republican conventions.Last Party 2000 was directed by Donovan Leitch and Rebecca Chaiklin a
  • Flying Scotsman grounded until next year

    Scottish Screen and Bronco Films' Peter Broughan have confirmed that the filming of The Flying Scotsman has now been postponed until the Spring. The£3.3 million biography of champion Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, pitched as "Shine meets Chariots Of Fire", was originally set to start filming on November 11 with a cast led by Jonny Lee Miller and Bob Hoskins. However, the sudden death of one of the partners in funder Americana Films led to the loss of approxi
  • Fortissimo lines up double Dutch treat

    Netherlands-Hong Kong-based sales outfit, Fortissimo Film Sales has struck an output deal with Benelux distributor A-Films and picked up a new Dutch picture which it expects to sell worldwide.The first Fortissimo titles acquired by San Fu Maltha and Pim Hermeling's A-Film Distribution/Fu Works under the new output deal are Wong Kar-Wai's Cannes tipped 2046, the Venice Film Festival's San Marco prize-winner Springtime In A Small Town, Oxide and Danny Pang's The Eye,
  • French/Czech Simply Sirena launched in Prague

    Prague-based production houses Sirena and Simply Cinema have announced a merger, with the new firm looking to capitalise on a French-Czech ownership, pursuing Czech-made co-productions for a pan-European audience.Simply Cinema, founded in 1993 by Czech producer Jaroslav Boucek, who produces films from acclaimed director Vladimir Michalek (Autumn Spring, Angel Exit), and French-owned Sirena, led by French producer and director Artemio Benki (Harrison's Flowers, Praha Ocima
  • German funds less attractive to investors in 2002

    German media funds are expected to raise Euros1.5bn in 2002 from private investors to finance feature film and TV production - 25% less than last year.This will be the second year in a row that fund investment levels will have fallen. In his newly published survey of the performance of private investment funds, leading fund analyst Stefan Loipfinger reported that in 2001, the volume of capital raised from investors fell by 3% to Euro 2.05bn. One of the reasons for the dec
  • German investors cheered by erotic media floatation

    Amidst all of the insolvency doom and gloom, German investors had reasons to be cheerful with the successful flotation of the adult films trader erotic media ag on the Frankfurt stock exchange with a threefold over-subscription of its 100,000 shares. Trading began on Friday at Euros 34.50, up 15% from its launch price.erotic media, which has Europe's largest library of around 3,000 films built up through output deals and 'first look' arrangements, licenses films to on-demand services b
  • German media fund adds two more titles, re-affirms local production

    German private media fund CP Medien has added the Pathe production The Night Of The Medicis and the Joseph Vilsmaier-produced "bizarre horror comedy" Diamond Dead to its production slate which already includes Robert Altman's The Company which began shooting in Chicago last month.The new Pathe project, which will be shot in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria, marks a new stage in the working collaboration between CP Medien and the French company, which has already seen
  • German star to headline English-language Ghetto

    Hot German star Moritz Bleibtreu (The Experiment, Luna Papa, Taking Sides) is to play the lead role of the Nazi officer Kittel in Audrius Juzenas' adaptation of Joshua Sobol's Ghetto based on real events in the Jewish ghetto of Vilnius during the Second World War."Normally, the Nazi is played by a blond, blue-eyed figure, but Moritz's darker colouring is nearer to the original Kittel," says executive producer Thees Klahn whose Dragon Cine will be co-producing the Euros 2
  • German TV still suffering from advertising crisis

    The recession in the TV advertising market has continued to affect the revenues of German broadcasting giant, the ProSiebenSAT.1 Media Group which reported a 10% decline in revenues - down Euros 40m to Euros 351.1m - for the third quarter of 2002.Over the first nine months of this year, revenues for the Group were reduced by Euros 82.3m to Euros 1.336bn, equivalent to a 6% year-on-year fall even though the company had extended its advertising market share by 0.4% to 45.9%.Announ
  • German, Israeli film funds sign joint project agreement

    German regional film fund Filmstiftung NRW and the Israel Film Fund have signed a deal to develop relations between the two film industries.The "Joint Project" agreement, which initially is to run for two years, was signed during this week's REEL IL 02 showcase of new Israeli student work at the Bonn Cinematheque by Filmstiftung NRW CEO Michael Schmid-Ospach and Israel Film Fund head Katriel Schory.The agreement covers two areas - distribution and script development - to encoura
  • Gil Junger starts shooting If Only

    If Only, the first UK collaboration between Box Film and Intermedia, has started shooting in London with a cast headed by Jennifer Love Hewitt and Paul NichollsDirected by Gil Junger, whose credits include 10 Things I Hate About You, the American girl in London romance is being produced by Junger and Hewitt, Robert Newmyer, Jeffrey Silver and Jill Gilbert as a Love Spell Entertainment/Outlaw Productions film. Gub Neal, the former Channel 4 drama chief who launched Box Fil
  • Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets

    Dir: Chris Columbus. US/UK. 2002. 161 minsIf it ain't broke, don't fix it. That seems to be the guiding philosophy behind the second instalment of the gilt-edged boy wizard franchise. Scrupulously faithful to the J K Rowling book, director Chris Columbus does nothing that will disappoint fans or alarm exhibitors anticipating a pre-Christmas bonanza. There are plenty of new ingredients to keep the franchise fresh, from an obsequious elf to an enchanted flying car, and if anyth
  • House Of Fools (Dom Durakov)

    Dir. Andrei Konchalovsky. Russia-France. 2002. 104mins.Released from the strict disciplines of Hollywood film making, to which he adhered during his Western exile, veteran Andrei Konchalovsky, now firmly re-established back in Moscow, lets his hair down and plunges into a very personal exploration of the Russian experience with House Of Fools. Awarded the Grand Jury Prize in Venice, this metaphor, which condenses the image of the entire country in an understaffed, under-equi
  • Hubert Bals Fund distributes Euros 330,000 to 23 projects

    Twenty-three projects from non-Western filmmakers are to receive a total of Euros 330,000 in grants from the International Film Festival Rotterdam's (IFFR) Hubert Bals Fund (HBF), as was decided during the fund's autumn selection round. The selection includes six projects from Argentina, two from Brazil, as well as works by filmmakers in Afghanistan, Belarus, Benin, Chile, China, Congo, Egypt, Estonia, Morocco, Peru, Russia, Thailand and Tunisia. On the occasion of the Fund's 15
  • Internationalmedia losses force board shake-up

    Production and finance group Internationalmedia announced pre-tax losses of Euros35.7m for the first nine months and as part of a cost cutting programme halved its management board from four members to two. Graham King will step down from the board although will continue to serve as managing director of Initial Entertainment Group and deputy chairman Caspar von Blomberg will leave the company. Moritz Bormann will continue to serve as chairman and CEO, while chief financial officer Andr
  • Internet video-on-demand system launched

    Movielink, the first internet video-on-demand (VoD) system backed by the Hollywood studios, got off to a "soft launch" yesterday.The service, which is available to US-based broadband homes, starts life with 170 films provided by its five studio backers, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal and Warner Bros. It will be modified in response to customer feedback and eventually expanded."With more than 25 million broadband residences, we believe the market
  • Ireland appoints veteran producer as censor

    The Irish Minister for Justice has appointed film and television producer John Kelleher (pictured) as the new Irish Film Censor. Kelleher takes up his post in April 2003, succeeding Sheamus Smith who has held the position since 1986.John Kelleher is a film and television producer and a former RTE television programme controller. He has produced five feature films, seven television drama series and numerous documentaries. His production company, Fastnet Films, produces Iri
  • Italy, Iceland bring list of foreign language Oscar hopefuls to 40

    Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio from Italy and Baltasar Kormakur's The Sea (Hafid) from Iceland have brought the current number of national submissions for the best foreign language Oscar to 40.Pinocchio, which has grossed a phenomenal $24.3m in just five weeks on release in Italy, is the most expensive film ever to come out of the country, with a budget of Euros 40m.Meanwhile, The Sea was chosen as Iceland's offi
  • KWA sells three Latin American titles to the UK

    Spain-based sales agent Kevin Williams Associates (KWA) has sold three Latin American titles to the UK.Arthouse exhibitor and start-up distributor City Screen picked up theatrical rights to hot Mexican titles Violet Perfume (Perfume De Violetas) and Streeters (De La Calle), while the Feature Film Company took theatrical rights on Argentine film A Lucky Day (Un Dia De Suerte). The BBC has television rights to both Perfume and Lucky for the UK.Williams
  • Local films in Estonia, Serbia/Montenegro smash opening records

    Local films in both Estonia and Serbia/Montenegro have this week smashed local box-office records, each taking more in their home territories on their opening weekend than blockbuster Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone. Estonian film, The Names In Marble, became the first local picture in its country's history to break box-office records in its opening weekend with the highest admission numbers in eight years. Surpassing Harry Potter, Lor
  • Lucas, Valenti, Evans among PGA award honorees

    George Lucas, Jack Valenti, Rita Wilson and Robert Evans will receive special honours at the 14th Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards on Jan 16, 2003. Lucas will receive the second annual Vanguard Award in recognition of outstanding achievement in new media and technology. The film-maker said in a statement that he was honoured "for what has always been an exciting and challenging journey for me". Valenti's Milestone Award is the PGA's most prestigious accolade and is in recognition of an
  • Mannheim meetings to expand in 2003

    The "Mannheim Meetings" co-production market plans to expand next year to include projects from Asia in addition to the present line-up from Europe, Latin America and North America. The Meetings co-ordinator Olaf Aichinger told that he has a scout based in Korea who would recommend Asian projects for participation in Mannheim. Aichinger anticipates that the total number of projects at the Meetings would remain at around 60 despite the addition of a new region. Th
  • Messier diary hits French bookstores

    Jean-Marie Messier delivers his version of events during his tumultous reign at Vivendi Universal, with the publication in France today of "Mon Vrai Journal" (My True Diary). Excerpts of the book already published in Le Monde reveal the work to be not quite a tell-all nor a memoir, but more of a cautionary tale detailing what Messier feels he did wrong and pointing a finger at those he feels betrayed him.Notable is Messier's ire towards Claude Bebear, the former president of ins
  • Metro Tartan drops Ken Park after restaurant punch-up

    Distributor Metro Tartan has cancelled its UK release of Larry Clark's film Ken Park following a restaurant brawl at the weekend between Clark and Metro Tartan CEO Hamish McAlpine.McAlpine and Clark were dining together at the weekend, just ahead of the release of Ken Park at the London Film Festival. During dinner, the conversation apparently heated up over the subject of violence in the Middle East - which led to Clark kicking over a table, jumping on McAlpine and putti
  • New production outfit: light club launched by Day

    Elinor Day, the former deputy head of production at FilmFour who was responsible for such films as East Is East and Oscar hopeful The Warrior, has launched her own production company, the light club.The venture has an umbrella deal with Box Film, the TV and film company founded by former Channel 4 drama chief Gub Neal. Box, which has an exclusive first look deal with Intermedia, will cover Day's overheads and have first option on upcoming light club projects.Day ai
  • Nobody's Life (La Vida De Nadie)

    Dir: Eduard Cortes. Spain. 2002. 103 mins.The only Spanish film in competition at last week's Valladolid International Film Week, Nobody's Life (La Vida De Nadie) marks the impressive feature film debut of Catalan TV director Eduard Cortes. A suspenseful adult drama anchored by strong performances from lead actors Jose Coronado and Adriana Ozores, who walked away with the award for best actress at the festival. Sogepaq's international sales could be complicated by two
  • Pathe, Momentum strike joint venture UK aquisition deal

    UK distributors Momentum Pictures and Pathe Distribution have struck a joint venture deal which will see the companies sharing acquisition and distribution costs on larger budget titles. Under the deal, the companies will take turns handling theatrical and home entertainment releases.The first film acquired under the joint venture is Robert Altman's The Company from UK-based sales agent Capitol Films, in a deal closed at this week's Mifed market. Pathe will distribute
  • Potter-proof Rabbit leads art house success

    The spectre of Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets previews loomed large over the UK box office holdovers this weekend, however several of the previous week's openers, led by 28 Days Later, held up valiantly. Meanwhile Buena Vista International's Rabbit-Proof Fence led this week's openers in a strong week for the art house and limited release circuit.Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, released through 20th Century Fox, impressed again this week, retaining the
  • Pusan film critics announce annual awards

    Park Chan-wook's hard-hitting Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance has been named Korea's top film of the year in the annual Pusan Film Critics Awards. The film, also honoured with a Best Director prize, will be presented with its awards on November 15 at the upcoming Pusan International Film Festival.Other top honourees include actor Sol Kyung-gu for his role in Oscar contender Oasis and actress Bae Doona for her turn in festival favourite Take Care Of My Cat. Lee
  • Sandrew Metronome picks up Finnish kung-fu comedy

    Sandrew Metronome has picked up all Scandinavian rights (except for Finnish TV rights) for first-time Finnish director Aj Annila's kung fu-fantasy-comedy Jade Warrior which was presented to international producers at this week's Mannheim Meetings co-production market.Blind Spot Pictures, the Finnish co-producer of Lars von Trier's Dancer In The Dark, plans to shoot the Euros 1.5m production in Chinese and Finnish from autumn 2003 in Lapland and Tampere (, M
  • Scottish film production enjoys mini-boom

    Swimming against the tide of downbeat news from the UK sector, Scotland is currently experiencing a mini-boom in film and television production.Basking in the continuing festival acclaim and awards buzz for The Magdalene Sisters, Morvern Callar and Sweet Sixteen, Scotland was hailed as 'the new hotbed for British filmmaking' by Elliot Grove at last month's BIFA awards.Now, it seems that quality will be matched by quantity as the industry is poised to achieve a rec
  • Senator Entertainment issues profit warning

    Senator Entertainment today became the latest German film player to admit financial difficulties.The distribution and sales outfit said that revenues for the current year will be half those it previously forecast. While it says it will still achieve a positive EBITDA, it added that it will "not be able to achieve a balanced result." This is taken to mean a net loss after tax, depreciation and finance costs.In a statement, the company blamed the ongoing media crisis, delayed inco
  • Senator's Boogeyman chased by int'l buyers

    Last week's MIFED saw Senator International strike its first deals on films from the genre-film label recently launched with Sam Raimi and Rob Tappert.On Boogeyman, it licensed French rights to Hachette Filipacchi Films (formerly known as Film Office) for France, Manga for Spain, Village Roadshow for Australia, Singapore and Greece, Belga for Benelux, LNK Films for Portugal, Nordisk for Scandinavia, Ivision for South Korea, Nontanund for Thailand, Gulf Film for the Middle East,
  • Sherfig's Wilbur opens to strong Danish results

    Lone Scherfig's highly anticipated English-language debut Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself, (pictured) which last week attracted buyers from around the world to it's national premiere, attracted a strong 16,993 admissions and a $101,957 gross on just 40 prints over its opening weekend. The film which received highly favourable reviews couldn't, however, get past local family-film My Sister's Kids In The Snow (pictured), which again took th
  • Six LA managers team for new management outfit

    Influential LA managers Suzan Bymel, Guymon Casady, Eric Kranzler, Evelyn O'Neill, Daniel Rappaport and David Seltzer have joined forces to create an as yet unnamed powerhouse management outfit. A brief group statement issued today read: "The six of us were drawn together by our shared philosophy, values and sensibilities." Before the six came together their roster of acting talent included, among others, Reese Witherspoon, Kirsten Dunst, Salma Hayek, Holly Hunter, Ray Liotta, Julianne
  • Spain, Israel name foreign language Oscar hopefuls

    Fernando Leon's Mondays In The Sun was named Spain's submission for the foreign language Oscar today, beating the other shortlisted films, Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her and Jose Luis Garci's Story Of A Kiss .Mondays In The Sun, which stars Javier Bardem as an out-of-work dock labourer, took home the top Golden Shell award at September's San Sebastian International Film Festival.The film, and Bardem's performance, earned rave reviews at the festival a
  • Spain's Alquimia signs co-production deal with France's Mandarin

    Spain's Alquimia Cinema and France's Mandarin have signed a two-picture co-production agreement.According to Alquimia founder and chief Francisco Ramos, the reciprocal agreement will encompass Alquimia's Swindled (Incautos), director Miguel Bardem's con-man tale starring Victoria Abril and Federico Luppi, and Mandarin's The Elementary Particles (Les Particules Elementaires), directed by Philippe Harel, based on the novel by Michel Houellebecq and also starring Abril along
  • Spanish film on course for bumper box office share

    Spanish producers have been predicting since September that the market share for local films would rise this year - up from 10.7% to 12% in anticipation of high-profile autumn releases.The prediction, from the Spanish Producers' Federation (FAPAE), looks on course: as of October 15, Spanish films had an 11.8% market share.There are currently eight Spanish films and co-productions in the local top 20. Of those, Fernando Leon's San Sebastian winner Mondays In The Sun (Los Lunes
  • Spice Factory, Bigel Mailer team for The Great Turrell

    UK production company The Spice Factory has optioned the rights to The Great Turrell, a script by Michael Mailer which it will co-produce with New York-based Bigel Mailer Films. The script is based on the 19th Century French novel Le Grand Meaulnes by Henri Fournier and is a coming-of-age story about a charismatic hero who sets out to find his lost love. "Very few stories contain the magical realism and archetypal significance of Le Grand Meaulnes," said Mai
  • Spread betting begins on winter blockbusters

    With high profile franchise instalments Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, James Bond's 20th official outing Die Another Day and The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers all released in the next five weeks much speculation surrounds their box office potential and how they might effect each other.Cantor Index (, the online spread betting forum which launched film-based spread betting in summer 2001, h
  • Sweet Sixteen, Shopping dominate BAFTA Scotland talent awards

    Sweet Sixteen and Late Night Shopping dominate the nominations for the 2002 BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards. Held every two years to reward emerging talent on both sides of the camera, the awards have previously provided early recognition for director Lynne Ramsay and digital pioneer May Miles Thomas. This year, newcomer Martin Compston competes with his Sweet Sixteen co-star William Ruane for Best Film Actor whilst Sweet Sixteen's Anne Marie Fulton
  • Talk To Her prospers for Fox in Latin America

    Fox's Ice Age is expected to pass $200m by the end of November after a $142,800 weekend haul raised its international cumulative total to $198.8m. The animated picture will get a boost once it resumes its run in China following a nationwide blackout on foreign pictures declared by the government on Oct 21. The picture is yet to open in Beijing. Further assistance is likely to come in the form of re-evaluated figures from France, where actual revenue from ticket sales was slightly under
  • Telefilm Canada backs pair of French-language projects

    Telefilm Canada is to finance two Quebec features, both in French. The investments constitute the third round of the selective component of the Canada Feature Film Fund (CFFF). Littoral, by playwright/director Wajdi Mouawad, is a majority Canada-France (70%-30%) coproduction, produced by Montreal-based Les Productions E.G.M and Paris-based Films de Cinema. The film is described as a dreamlike story of a young man who discovers his father and his identity on a journey back to hi
  • Till confirmed as head of UIP

    In a move that ends weeks of speculation and will have confirmed the suspicions of many in the industry, Stewart Till has been appointed chairman and chief executive officer of United International Pictures (UIP). The announcement was made today by Rob Friedman, chief operating officer at Paramount Pictures and vice chairman of the Motion Picture Group, and Marc Shmuger, vice chairman of Universal Pictures. Till will replace UIP's outgoing head Paul Oneile, who leaves next month.
  • Tracker adds to Aussie awards haul

    The Tracker, produced by Julie Ryan and the film's writer/director Rolf de Heer, has again taken top honours on its home soil. A week after winning the best film prize at the Film Critics Circle Awards, it won best film at the annual IF Awards, which were broadcast live on SBS Television.The film's lead, David Gulpilil, who lives in an isolated Aboriginal community for most of the year, also won best actor and the living legend award.The best director award went to
  • UK cinema launches distribution venture to pick up Kurdish titles

    UK arthouse venue The Rio Cinema has launched a new distribution venture, acquiring UK rights to two films showing in the London Kurdish Film Festival - Handan Ipekci's Hejar and Jano Rosebiani's Jiyan.The Rio Cinema bought Hejar from Menemsha Films and, jointly with the Kurdish Film Festival Organising Committee, Jiyan from Media Luna. Both films will be released in the UK in early 2003.The Rio Cinema, in Dalston, East London, is also hosting the sec
  • UK industry reacts to Parker's plea for change

    The British film industry is waiting on more detail from Alan Parker, the UK director and chairman of strategy body the Film Council, after he unveiled a blueprint for curing Britain of its 'little England' syndrome, partly by providing tax breaks for local and foreign distributors which invest in British film. In a far reaching speech this week to the industry, Parker called for the existing production-focused tax breaks for British films - which expire in 2005 - to be replaced with a
  • UK's Prism Leisure acquires Odyssey

    UK video and DVD distributor Prism Leisure has acquired the Odyssey group of companies, distributor of titles including Merchant Ivory's Howards End and Scum.The acquisition comes hard on the heels of Prism's take-over of home entertainment merchandising operation Music & Video International. The budget trade distributor now boasts a catalogue of more than 1,000 DVD titles, which it sells to outlets such as supermarkets.'Following the recent purchase of Music & Vid
  • UK's Winchester signs seven-year deal with Universal

    Winchester Entertainment said Tuesday it has struck a seven-year video distribution deal with Universal Pictures' UK arm.Winchester, which launched its UK theatrical distribution operation this year with Lantana, receives an advance from Universal as well as ongoing royalties.The studio is expected to start releasing Winchester titles on video and DVD in the first quarter next year.Winchester has also struck a theatrical distribution agreement with Universal Studio
  • Universal, Network Ten extend free TV deal in Australia

    Universal and Australia's free-to-air Network Ten television broadcaster have extended their agreement for exclusive free terrestrial television rights to the studio's content in Australia. Pictures such as American Pie 2, The Bourne Identity, new releases like 8 Mile and select series from Universal's television slate will go out to Australia's five mainland capital cities through Network Ten's affiliates and programme supply agreements."We have enjoyed a successf
  • Vivendi Universal reports 2002 third quarter results

    Vivendi Universal today released provisional third quarter results for 2002. The company said its revenues had increased 9% to Euros 44.5bn across all businesses for the first nine months of 2002. However, revenues for its media assets in the third quarter were down to Euros 7.4bn, a 4% drop, year-on-year from 2001. The decrease was attributed to a shrunken film release slate as sell as reduced music sales.On a positive note, Vivendi Universal's telephony division Cegetel
  • Warner Bros sails past billion dollar mark overseas

    Driven by the global success of Scooby-Doo, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone and Ocean's Eleven, Warner Bros Pictures announced that it has passed the $1bn mark in international markets.In the year to date, the division has taken $1.006bn at the international box office. It is the fifth time it has passed the $1bn milestone and the third time in the last four years. The billion dollar years are 1993, 1995, 1999, 2001 and 2002.Warner Bros. Pictur
  • XXX crosses $100m barrier for CTFDI

    Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International's XXX passed $100m toward the end of last week and now has an international running total of $110m after a $7.1m haul on 3,100 screens over the weekend. The action thriller opened number one in Argentina where enduring economic instability meant that $110,000 from 61 screens was enough to top the charts there. The picture experienced drops of around 40% in most European territories after the lucrative All Saints holiday in many parts las