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15 February 2002

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  • 42nd Street lit up by Food Of Love

    42nd Street Productions, a sales and production offshoot of German mini-conglomerate Das Werk, may have hit paydirt with Berlinale Panorama film Food Of Love. The relationship movie is the first English-language picture by Spanish director Ventura Pons, whose previous credits include Anita Takes A Chance (Anita No Perd El Tren).42nd Street has closed deals for the film with Denmark's Ost For Paradies, Taiwan's Crown Films and buyers in Hong Kong and Sweden.
  • A Map Of The Heart (Der Felsen)

    Dir: Dominik Graf. Germany, 2002. 117mins.The second of three German films in competition at Berlin, A Map Of The Heart is a story of mixed-up emotions and crossed destinies set on the island of Corsica. Shot in mini-DV, the film is also unusual in its narrative structure - based on a series of either/or choices with echoes of Sliding Doors. But somewhere along the way, the map of the heroine's heart becomes impossible to read - a problem that might have been av
  • AFM may be just a brief encounter warn indies

    Buyers attending rights-trading bazaars since last year's AFM could have had their theoretical pick of the following multiple Oscar-nominees: Capitol Films' Gosford Park, Good Machine International's In The Bedroom, UGC's Amelie, Intermedia's Iris and, of course, New Line's The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, the biggest grossing film ever to be handled by independent distributors. But that doesn't mean that those lucky buyers who did g
  • Amen

    Dir: Costa-Gavras. France. 2001. 132mins.Costa-Gavras is no stranger to controversy; in fact, the hard-hitting political expose has become something of his stock-in-trade. But in the 20 years since Missing, the Greek-born director has struggled to find a distinctive voice. Betrayed and Music Box, his two collaborations with screenplay king Joe Eszterhas, were not generally well received, and critical reaction to the Travolta-Hoffman two-hander Mad City
  • Avrio acquires Red Green comedy Duct Tape Forever

    Vancouver-based independentproducer/distributor Avrio Filmworks which was founded by producer MichaelDerbas has acquired worldwide sales rights to Duct Tape Forever, a $4m comedy produced by Toronto's S&SProductions, and starring TV comic Red Green.The film is the first basedon the hit Canadian TV series The Red Green Show and follows the adventures of Red Green and hisnephew Harold as they travel to enter a duct tape contest so that they can usethe prize money to save th
  • BAFTA/LA elects seven new board members

    The British Academy of Filmand Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA) has elected seven new officers toits board of directors, bringing its total of members to 18. Those new members serving atwo-year term are actor Ian Abercrombie, distribution executive Duncan Clark,talent manager Melanie Greene, producer Paul Heller, former British Film Officeofficer John Houlton, president of Granada Entertainment USA Antony Root andproducer Julia Verdin.Those seven join returningboard member
  • Berlin to support foreign film production

    The Berlinale is set to join other European film festivals in finding ways of supporting filmmakers from developing countries in the production of their films.Inspired by the examples of Rotterdam's Hubert Bals Fund, Locarno's Montecinemaverita, and Bruges' Cinemanovo Film Festival Fund, Berlinale chief Dieter Kosslick would like to see provision for supporting filmmakers outside of Germany being put on the agenda for the debate about the new German Film Law (FFG).Kosslick yeste
  • Berlinale's diversity favours documentaries

    The theme of diversity has been one of the most defining elements of this year's Berlinale, but it is the documentaries, rather than feature films, that seem to have made the biggest impression. Apart from Monster's Ball and 8 Femmes, the busiest sales agents are likely to be those handling documentaries such as Uncle Frank, Lost In La Mancha, animal doc Travelling Birds and Mika Kaurismaki's Moro No Brazil.The 52nd edition of the Berlin film f
  • Big Fat Liar

    Dir: Shawn Levy. US. 2002. 87 mins.The appeal of rising teen stars Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes, coupled with some broad comedy and a parent-friendly moral message, have already been enough to give Big Fat Liar a good start at the US box office, taking $13.5m from 2,531 sites in its first week. Younger teens and pre-teens might end up being the only audience groups to truly embrace this noisy, yet resolutely cute PG-rated romp from youth specialists Tollin/Robbins Productio
  • Bollore takes 7% stake in France's Gaumont

    French investment group Bollore has acquired a 7% stake in French film group Gaumont, the value of which has not been disclosed.Gaumont - which saw a massive Euros 66.7m loss in 2000 and merged its exhibition operations with Pathe's in early 2001 to form EuroPalaces, (66% Pathe/ 34% Gaumont) - has since concentrated on production and distribution activities. The company, which suffered as a result of UGC's loyalty passes, was dealt a further blow last year, when StudioCanal boug
  • Buskin ties up sales on Mother Viper

    Italy's Buskin Film has closed a host of sales on Vipera, veteran Italian director Sergio Citti's movie starring Harvey Keitel and Giancarlo Giannini.The movie, which is set in post-World War II Sicily and tells the tragic story of a woman's betrayal of her young daughter and her husband, played by Harvey Keitel, has been sold to Spain's Manga Film and Greece's Hellas. Sales on the $5m film, which was written and composed by the award-winning Life Is Beautiful team, have
  • Byrne and Colosimo go for Take Away

    In front of the cameras, when they start to roll this week on the new Australian comedy Take Away, will be a very strong cast including Rose Byrne, who won best actress at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 for her role in The Goddess Of '67. She will be working alongside Vince Colosimo, who won best supporting actor for Lantana in the local film awards in November and was much loved for his role in box office hit The Wog Boy, and Nathan Phillips the le
  • Cannes to subsidise festival attendees

    The Cannes film festival is to subsidise the attendance of more than fifty young French film-makers at this year's festival, with the initiative expanding to include European film-makers next year.With the support of the Cannes hotel and restaurant owners' unions, the film-makers only have to pay Euros 115 towards travel and accommodation expenses (including the two-way train tickets, five nights in a 2 or 3 stars hotel as well as a meal per day in one of the restaurants participating
  • Catch 23 buys comic book Blackjack for urban label

    Catch 23 Entertainment hasacquired film rights to Alex Simmon's graphic novel series Blackjack from LA-based Platinum Studios and has entered intoa co-production agreement with Platinum for the development of a feature filmbased on the material. The project is the firstacquisition for C23's new urban entertainment division Alter EgoEntertainment headed by senior vice president Darryl Taja. Michael Jay White (ExitWounds, Spawn) is in preliminarynegotiations to star in the
  • Columbia TriStar boards Mexican co-production

    Columbia Tri Star Mexico has boarded its first Mexican co production, the comedy thriller Sin Ton Ni Sonia, currently shooting in Mexico City. In addition to from covering 20% of the estimated $1m budget, Columbia TriStar has picked up the local and international distribution rights to the project. Mexican producers Salvador de la Fuente and Erwin Newmaeir formed new company Harikiri Prods to produce the film. "We hope to churn out other projects under this new banner," said d
  • Conrad Hall wins ASC honours for Road To Perdition

    Conrad Hall, who died on Jan4 this year, took top honours at the American Society Of Cinematographers (ASC)annual Outsanding Achievement Awards in Los Angeles over the weekend for hiswork on Road To Perdition. Theaward was accepted by his son Conrad W Hall.Hall beat out MichaelBallhaus for Gangs Of New York,Pawel Edelman for The Pianist, EdLachman for Far From Heaven andRodrigo Prieto for Frida. Hall isnow the frontrunner for the O
  • Costa Gavras defends Amen against Vatican critics

    At a Berlinale press conference for his controversial film Amen, the film's director, Constantin Costa-Gavras, was tackled by a priest from the Vatican who accused him of digging up the past without adequate research. Having responded, he left Rolf Hochhuth, the playwright who wrote the book on which the film was based, to field journalists' questions.In a subsequent interview with Screen International, Costa-Gavras countered the charge of lack of research. Screen I
  • Crossroads

    Dir Tamra Davis. US 2002. 95 min.Naive and amateurish in both the positive and negative sense of these terms, Crossroads, Britney Spears' feature screen debut, provides a decent showcase for the pop icon and youth symbol, who seems to be everywhere this month. As a coming of age yarn, this road melodrama recycles all the cliches and "characters" of youth movies of the past half a century, serving as a kind of an updated version of Where The Boys Are (which showcased s
  • Degeto buys six-pack from Prokino

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet's multi-Oscar nominee Amelie heads a six-title package acquired from theatrical distributor Prokino by the ARD's central purchasing agency DEGETO Film for screening on the public TV network.The package's other titles are Wong Kar-wai's In The Mood Of Love, Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, Matthias Lehmann's comedy DoppelPack, Philippa Cousins' Happy Now' and Georges Lautner's Der Puppenspieler This latest acquisition by D
  • Denzel's John Q triumphs with $20.6m

    Denzel Washington confirmedhimself as a major box office star over the weekend as his latest drama JohnQ opened at the top of the boxoffice over Presidents Day weekend with a powerful estimated $20.6m gross at2,466 sites. The film, released by New Line Cinema, received lukewarm reviews(at best) but its emotional storyline about a man who holds an emergency roomhostage in order to secure a heart transplant for his son pushed all the rightbuttons as did Washington whose latest Oscar nomi
  • Dick Cook named chairman of Walt Disney Studios

    Hollywood has a new studiochief in Richard W Cook, the veteran of Walt Disney Studios who was namedchairman of the company on Friday. Cook, who has spent 31 years at Disney,steps into the position vacated eight months ago by Peter Schneider whoresigned in June 2001 after only 18 months on the job. Prior to Schneider, thepost was filled by Joe Roth for six years. Roth left to starts his own companyRevolution Studios which has to date produced hits such as The Animal,Amer
  • European players dominate EFM activity

    Berlin's European Film Market is picking up speed for European buyers and sellers, although many US buyers are now expected to wait until next week's American Film Market (AFM).Senator Film yesterday (Feb 12) secured German rights to Denmark's Minor Mishaps. The Danish competition film, handled by Trust Film Sales, has proved one of the busier sales pitches at the market this week. Trust also sold it Artificial Eye for the UK, Upstream for Luxembourg, Austria's Filmladen
  • Every Stewardess goes to multiple territories

    Co-producers Wanda Vision, Patagonik Film Group and BD Cine have closed a string of sales on Berlin Panorama entry Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven (Todas Las Azafatas Van Al Cielo) from director Daniel Burman. The well-received Argentine-Spanish co-production has sold to Austria and Switzerland (Trigon), Italy (Amedeo Pagani) and Asia (NDF). Talks are also understood to be underway for France, Germany, the Netherlands and the US. The film was already pre-sold in La
  • FIAPF re-categorises Locarno film festival

    Previously specialised in young cinema, the Locarno festival is to become a generalist event from this year."FIAPF moved us to the general festival category which will give us freedom to choose what we want, although our focus will still be on new cinema", said artistic director Irene Bignardi during the Berlinale. "This will also mean that we change the structure of the awards as we will not need to have two separate ones for new and young cinema." This year's retrospect
  • Full list of 74th Academy Awards nominees

    The full list of nominees for the 74th Academy AwardsBest PictureA Beautiful MindGosford ParkIn The BedroomThe Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The RingMoulin RougeDirectingA Beautiful Mind - Ron HowardBlack Hawk Down - Ridley ScottGosford Park - Robert AltmanThe Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring - Peter JacksonMulholland Drive - David LynchActor In A
  • Germany's Allmedia moves into feature production

    Munich-based production outfit Allmedia is to expand into feature film production with the arrival of Uwe Schott as a joint managing director alongside Heike Richter-Karst."We have built up a reputation for quality TV productions and now the next step is to establish a feature film strand which can benefit from this know-how", Richter-Karst explained.Schott, whose previous company Modern Media served as producer on behalf of the two Mediastream private film funds for such films
  • Germany's Helkon raises Euros 20m loan

    Ahead of its AGM on Feb 19, German license trader-producer Helkon Media has announced that its credit lines with the Hamburg-based Vereins- und Westbank AG and Cologne's Stadtsparkasse Koeln has been transferred into a syndicated loan giving the company additional funds of Euros 20m.The new arrangement is part of a package of restructuring measures instigated by the Helkon management last autumn - its financial debt at the end of the last financial year amounted to Euros 177.9m - and
  • Gilliam to revive The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

    'If I play it right,' says Terry Gilliam, 'I can continue making this film for the rest of my life.' In Berlin to support Lost In La Mancha, the so-called 'un-making of' documentary about his aborted Don Quixote production, Gilliam still aims to make the film in question. Titled The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, the project is in the hands of the insurers after the director was forced to stop shooting when star Jean Rochefort fell ill. Gilliam put the resulting insurance pa
  • Go

    Dir: Isao Yukisada. Japan. 123mins.The winner of a slew of home awards, as well as taking the FIPRESCI prize at last year's Palm Spring Film Festival, Go was Japan's candidate for a best foreign film Oscar - a rare smart choice for an industry that usually gives its nod to seniority, not quality and buzz. A drama about a Korean teenager's quest for identity and love in a society that has relegated his people to second-class status, Go has both in abundance, as w
  • Grill Point (Halbe Treppe)

    Dir: Andreas Dresen. Germany. 2001. 105mins.Andreas Dresen's last film, Night Shapes (Nachtgestalten), acclaimed in Berlin three years ago, had a large cast of characters and a sprawling, Short Cuts-style story. Grill Point is a very different animal: an intimate, tightly focussed piece about two couples confronting mid-life crisis. Improvised by the actors, it's a warm, sad and funny portrait of ordinary people with a touch of Mike Leigh to it and
  • Grill Point's international sales heat up

    Even before the audience's rapturous applause at the announcement of Grill Point (Halbe Treppe) being awarded the Jury Grand Prix, Silver Bear at the Berlinale on Sunday (Feb 17), Andreas Dresen's bittersweet comedy had already impressed a host of international film buyers.Bavaria Film International (BFI) closed a number of sales for the film, including to Denmark (Camera Film), Greece (Rosebud), Israel (Gilad) and the Czech Republic (Cinemart). This was in addition to the Germa
  • Hart's War

    Dir: Gregory Hoblit. US. 2002. 127mins.Nationality, politics and race clash in an intriguing and unexpected manner in Hart's War, Gregory Hoblit's old-fashioned but extremely deftly directed and acted prison drama set toward the end of the Second World War. Although Bruce Willis gets star billing, and his name and face feature prominently in the trailer and poster, the film, as its title, belongs to Colin Farrell, the handsome and gifted Irish actor who three ye
  • Hong Kong to get new three-day film market

    Under the wing of the Hong Kong Festival and the HK Arts Development Council, the territory is to get a new film market, the Hong Kong Asia Screenings (HAS). The three-day event (April 2-4) will invite many of the top Asian films due to be completed in the first half of the year. "The timing and the fact that they are private screenings, will give buyers a chance to preview the best of the region before Cannes," said Jacob Wong programmer for the HK Festival.
  • Horowitz returns to AAC to sell Double Down

    One month after laying him off, Alliance Atlantis has contracted former international sales head Mark Horowitz to finish the job of selling Double Down, the Neil Jordan-directed remake of Bob Le Flambeur, starring Nick Nolte. Ted Riley, President, Distribution for Alliance Atlantis' newly formed Entertainment Group told ScreenDaily, "The contract negotiation is in the process of being done now. Mark was working on [Double Down] very closely and he has the contacts
  • Independent cinema to double size in Tokyo

    Tokyo Theatres Co., a leading independent exhibitor specialising in Japanese and European arthouse films, has announced plans to double the number of theatres it operates in Tokyo from eight to sixteen, over the next five years. During Japan's long recession and consequent deflation, urban land prices have plunged, bringing residents back into central city areas that were once unaffordable. As a result, downtown theatres, including Tokyo Theatres', that once struggled to fill seats are
  • Indian love story attracts multiple suitors

    The Taj Mahal, the Mughal monument of love and India's premiere tourist attraction has become the favourite subject of a handful of Indian filmmakers. There are at least four films in pre-production and one already complete on the story of the Taj. Indian Writer-director-producer Akbar Khan last week began filming Taj Mahal - An Eternal Love Story at the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, where former Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur officially opened a specially erected white marble set with a
  • Italian minister condemns American Beauty

    Italian government minister Umberto Bossi has condemned Oscar-winning picture American Beauty for corrupting Italian family values.Bossi, the controversial leader of Italy's Northern League movement who is currently pushing for a seat on Rai's new board of directors, charged that the movie, about a middle-aged man's obsession with his daughter's friend, is "anti-educational.""It corrupts our nation's image of the family," he told Italian daily La Stampa, adding that he h
  • Jennifer Lopez named ShoWest female star of 2002

    Jennifer Lopez has beennamed 2002 female star of the year by exhibition convention ShoWest and shewill be on stage to accept the award at the Gala Awards banquet on March 7 inLas Vegas.She will next be seen inMichael Apted's Enough forColumbia Pictures as an abused woman who sets out to beat her husband at hisown game. She will next appear in Columbia/Revolution's Chambermaid and in Martin Brest's Gigli opposite Ben Affleck also for Columbia.Her other film c
  • John Q

    Dir: Nick Cassavetes. US 2002. 116mins.Socially relevant messages, simplistic action elements and teary melodramatic threads are manipulatively and unsuccessfully mixed in Nick Cassavetes' John Q, a film that tries to provide a "hard" look at an honest, working-class man, who loses control in his valiant effort to save his child's life. Severely flawed as the film is, it contains a solid performance from Denzel Washington, who continues the path begun in Training Da
  • Korea's Volcano High to Amuse for $1.5m

    In a deal started at the Rotterdam film festival and completed in Berlin, Korea's Cinema Service has sold its futuristic Volcano High (pictured)to Japan's Amuse Pictures for whopping $1.5m (Y200m). In Thailand, the film was bought by Nontanund, which also grabbed Cinema Service's My Sassy Girl. For Jeong Jae-Eun's Take Care Of My Cat, which appeared in competition in Rotterdam and is showing at the Berlinale as part of the Forum, Cinema Service struck a Jap
  • Lagaan sweeps Indian Filmfare Awards

    Aamir Khan's performance as Bhuvan in his debut film as a producer, Lagaan won him the Best Actor Award at the Filmfare Awards 2001, held at Mumbai's bandra-Kurla's MMRDA grounds. Lagaan also won the best picture and best director award for Ashutosh Gowarikar. Indian Actress Kajol was the popular choice for Best Actress for Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Film star Amitabh Bachchan won the Critics' Award for his role in Aks, Karisma Kapoor won the Critics' Award for her performa
  • Lions Gate acquires North America on Secretary

    Lions Gate Films hasacquired North American rights to Sundance Film Festival favourite Secretary, about the S&M relationship between a lawyer andhis secretary. The film was in dramatic competition at Sundance and won aspecial jury prize for originality. Directed by Steven Shainberg, the filmstars James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhall.Peter Block, president ofhome entertainment and acquisitions, and Jason Constantine, director ofacquisitions, negotiated for the film on behalf of Lio
  • Lions Gate's gross profits turn to net loss

    Vancouver-based Lions Gate Entertainment recorded a third quarter loss of $3.1m for 2001-2002 as increasing distribution and marketing costs ate into revenue. It was the second consecutive losing quarter. Although gross profits were up 59% from the same period a year ago, distribution and marketing costs more than tripled.Motion picture revenues increased 12.5% to $29.3m, one of the best single quarters ever, up from $26.1m in last year's third quarter. The company pointed to improving
  • Lisa Wilson leaves Franchise for Splendid

    Veteran sales executive LisaWilson has joined newly formed Splendid Pictures as its president ofdistribution, heading up sales at the company which was created on the mergerof Splendid Medien and Cutting Edge Entertainment. Wilson comes from FranchisePictures where she was president of international distribution.Wilson has spent over 30years in the international distribution business working at companies includingWorld Film Services, ITC Entertainment, her own buyers' representativeout
  • London Film Critics applaud Moulin Rouge

    Moulin Rouge claimed three of the main awards bestowed by the London Film Critics Circle on Feb 13 at London's Dorchester Hotel.The film's stars, Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman won British actor of the year and International actress of the year respectively, while the movie itself was awarded international film of the year. Robert Altman's Gosford Park, also had a good showing at the 22nd annual awards ceremony. It was named best British film of the year and actre
  • Lost In La Mancha

    Dirs: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe. UK. 2001. 89mins.Lost In La Mancha is an enormously entertaining and poignant antidote to the bland "making of" films usually found as DVD add-ons and television plugumentaries. Instead of the traditional gushing interviews with cast and crew, this is the chronicle of an unmitigated disaster: the spectacular collapse of Terry Gilliam's ambitious decade-long dream of making the story of Don Quixote. It's a film equivalent to Final Cut, St
  • Magicworx adds three English lang titles to slate

    Munich-based production outfit Magicworx, a division of the international production and distribution 2K Group, is lining up three English-language projects to co-produce this year. Locations in Mexico or the South Pacific will serve as the setting for UK director Simon Hunter's thriller Savage Surf which will be produced by Magicworx with the Los Angeles-based sales company R.G.H. Lion's Share, who put up a substantial minimum guarantee against world rights.Meanwhile, fo
  • Monster's Ball

    Dir: Marc Forster. Us 2001. 110 mins.Monster's Ball, Marc Forster's follow-up to his digitally shot and experimental Everything Put Together, which made a splash at Sundance Festival two years ago, is a decent, well-intentioned interracial drama, substantially elevated by the performances of Billy Bob Thornton and particularly Halle Berry. Although marred by a schematic screenplay that bluntly telegraphs its social and humanist messages, the film still manages to tell
  • Monsters, Inc. scares up UK box office record

    Nothing could stand up to the might of Buena Vista International's Monsters, Inc. at the UK box office over the weekend with the animated hit claiming first place with a massive $13.0m (£9.2m), including previews of $3.8m (£2.7m). BVI's biggest opening to date, Monsters, Inc. played at 503 sites including three digital presentations at the Odeon Leicester Square, Warner Village Star City Birmingham and FilmWorks Manchester.The weekend's other openers failed eve
  • Murdoch sells Stream to Vivendi Universal

    Rupert Murdoch has pulled out of Italy by closing a deal with Vivendi Universal that sees News Corp selling its ailing pay-TV arm, Stream to the rival media giant. The deal, which must now be approved by Italy's Antitrust Authority, paves the way for Vivendi's Telepiu' to become the only pay-TV outfit operating in Italy.The two media giants reached an agreement after News Corp bought Telecom Italia's 50% share of Stream for Euros 48m, just over half the value of Telecom's initial inves
  • New opportunities for Central and Eastern Europe

    Enlargement of the European Union's Media Plus programme to include Central and Eastern Europe was high on the agenda at meetings held at the Berlinale this week."At least six of the 12 candidate countries could join this year" said the EU's Giorgio Ficcarelli. Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Bulgaria and Cyprus are in the first batch waiting to board. Ficarelli said that professionals from these countries have already been encouraged to apply to the various M
  • New Zealand mourns actor Kevin Smith

    New Zealand is mourning the untimely death of local actor Kevin Smith, who died in a Beijing Hospital as the result of a fall. At the time of the accident he had been preparing to return home and begin preparation for Man Of War with Bruce Willis, a role many believed would be his entree into Hollywood.Smith was best known for his role of Ares in the television series Xena: Warrior Princess but he appeared in many New Zealand features including Desperate
  • Nigel Clark promoted again at Sony to senior evp

    Nigel Clark hasbeen promoted to senior executive vice president of international marketing atColumbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI), continuing a careerat Sony Pictures Entertainment that has lasted 11 years. Clark, who is thesenior executive in the international division, reports to Jeff Blake,president of worldwide marketing and distribution at the studio."Nigel understands therole of strategic marketing in the global arena and each of our internationalcampaigns ref
  • Ocean's Eleven tries to bag some French box office

    Ocean's Eleven, released Feb 6 in France, did not manage to topple local blockbuster Asterix Et Obelix: Mission Cleopatre from the top of the charts, although it attracted a strong 1.5 million admissions in its first week.Asterix, which already claimed the all-time best opening week record in France (previously held by Taxi 2,), with over 3.67 million tickets, has set yet another record for its second week, with 3.2 million admissions. Notably, the se
  • Off-the-peg fest programming & sponsorship by IMR

    Sandy Mandelberger's marketing and promotion firm, International Media Resources (IMR), has launched an 'off the shelf' film festival sidebar service.Festivals will be offered a series of new films, with a pre-printed, English-language catalogue, promotional materials and logistical support. Mandelberger is currently putting together a seven-film bouquet of new films from Latin America and will be promoting this package to US film festivals by the Spring. "Of the over 500
  • Oliver Stone to interview Castro for Cuba project

    Spanish producers MediaPro, Morena Films and Argentina's Esperanza Films have joined Madrid-based Pentagrama Films to produce a documentary about Cuba for director Oliver Stone.Provisionally titled Looking For Fidel, the documentary is based on an original idea by Pentagrama producer Jose Ibanez exploring the history and future of the island. Production is already underway in Cuba, where Stone is scheduled to interview Fidel Castro this week."We've been moving this projec
  • Oscar list

    The full list of nominees for the 74th Academy AwardsBest PictureA Beautiful Mind (Universal and Dreamworks), Brian Grazer, Ron HowardGosford Park (USA Films), Robert Altman, Bob Balaban, David LevyIn The Bedroom (Miramax), Graham Leader, Ross Katz, Todd FieldThe Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (New Line)Moulin Rouge (20th Century Fox), Martin Brown, Baz Luhrmann, Fred BaronDirecting
  • Oscar nods, Berlin Bears icing on cake for France

    The five Academy Award nominations for France's Amelie were the icing on the cake for a glorious year of French cinema - a year that has seen French films score highly at the box office and now receive Oscar kudos - in addition to the four Silver Berlin Bears awarded to French films over the weekend.Behind the scenes, many credit France's unique system of aid and quotas as an important reason for the current boom, which has seen films like Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatre
  • Oz govt set to restore confidence in tax scheme

    Australia's competitive appeal as a location for offshore productions, threatened last year when tax breaks were denied to investors in Red Planet and Moulin Rouge, is set to be restored following the Government's establishment of a new scheme regulating the "refundable tax offset".Australia's Government has held its ground on some points but yielded to intense lobbying on others in setting up its new scheme for attracting runaway production. The legislation regulating th
  • PGA names nominees for PGA Awards

    The Producers Guild OfAmerica (PGA) has announced the eligible producers for its Producer Of The Yearawards, putting into practice a new accreditation process whereby only the"real" producers of a movie are nominated. On a specific project, if a particular credited producerthought he/she was excluded after the accreditation process, the producer wasable to file a formal appeal for inclusion, which was decided upon by a PGAAccreditation Committee.
  • Queen Of The Damned

    Dir Michael Rymer. US 2002. 100 min.A new star is born in Queen Of The Damned, the horror picture based on Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles and a follow-up to Neil Jordan's Interview With The Vampire, which was also produced by Warner Bros. Assuming the role of Lestat (which Tom Cruise essayed with dubious results in the 1994 film) with gusto and a certain degree of camp, Irish newcomer Stuart Townsend creates the kind of powerhouse impression that ma
  • Return To Never Land

    Dirs: Robin Budd, Donovan Cook. US. 2001. After turning out a string of video sequels to recent Disney hits like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, Walt Disney Television Animation does a more than respectable job on this animated theatrical sequel to the studio's beloved 1953 classic Peter Pan. It still has something of a small-screen feel and certainly won't join the original in the pantheon of Disney's all-time greats. Even so, Return To Never La
  • Rings lords over the Oscars with 13 nominations

    The Academy Awardnominations, announced this morning in Los Angeles, produced a few surprisesbut as expected were dominated by The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship OfThe Ring which scored 13 nominationsand A Beautiful Mind which scoredeight. Other big winners were Robert Altman's Gosford Park which was nominated in seven categories includingbest picture and director, and Todd Field's In The Bedroom which was nominated in five major categories,including best pictur
  • Rollerball

    Dir: John McTiernan. US. 2002. 100mins.Delayed from last summer and re-edited to better appeal to the youth market, John McTiernan's remake of 1970s cult favourite Rollerball finally arrives on screen as a confused and none too thrilling blur of tenuously linked action sequences. The videogame-style violence, flashy cars, semi-naked chicks and pop star cameos may produce an initial response from male teens (originally designed as an R, the film has been recut for a PG-
  • Russian film industry comes in from the cold

    The Russian film industry is gearing up to return to the international film-making community, but this time with government backing, as opposed to the fluctuating private investment that has market previous production activityThe days when Russian film producers were treated like Third World countries may now be over, attendees were told at a Berlinale seminar, "The New Russian Film Market" on Feb 13. "Government subsidies have stabilised and at last we have the funds we planned
  • Senior Rai appointments delayed

    As tensions over conflict of interest in Italy continue to escalate, parliament leader Pierferdinando Casini has announced that state broadcaster Rai's new management will not be appointed until next week. The contracts of the current management, headed by Roberto Zaccaria, expire on Friday.The leading contender for the top position at Rai appears to be Carlo Rossella, a respected journalist and editor of weekly magazine Panorama, which is published by Berlusconi's Mondadori group. How
  • Shorts films attracting renewed interest

    Short films, long neglected for their perceived lack of commercial potential, are rapidly re-gaining popularity with film-makers and sponsors alike, with the format having recently received several boosts in funding and profile.Festival sponsors Jameson Irish Whiskey, last week announced the first of several independent initiatives to boost short film production in Europe. Through the expansion of its Short Film Awards in Europe, Jameson is offering prizes of Euros 6,000 at 10 short fi
  • Simon Hewlett named head of Fox theatrical UK

    Simon Hewlett will replace Peter Dignan as managingdirector of 20th Century Fox's UK theatrical operation, comingfrom his previous role as vice president of marketing, Europe, at Fox HomeEntertainment. From 1998 to 2000, Hewlett worked as marketing director forFox's UK theatrical division.Having spent ten years at Fox, Dignan is relocating toSouth Africa to pursue his own personal and professional interests. Dignan willwork closely with Hewlett in the transitional per
  • Sound Of Brazil (Moro No Brasil)

    Dir: Mika Kaurismaki. Ger/Fin/Fra/Brazil, 2002. 105 mins.A well-known European arthouse director goes on a musical pilgrimage in a Latin American country. Sounds familiar, no' Echoes of Wim Wenders' Buena Vista Social Club come thick and fast in this roots-of-Samba documentary by cuddly Finnish director Mika Kaurismaki. But in the end, Moro No Brasil carves out its own identity, one which is looser but also less manipulative than Wenders' fairy-tale 'documentary
  • South Africa's AME reports $18.3m fall in revenue

    South African listed media company African Media Entertainment (AME) has reported disappointing end of year results, with the group's revenue falling by about a third to $18.3m (R209m).This fall in revenue was attributed largely to the disposal of struggling units and unprofitable operations. The group was a major co-financier of feature films from 1998-2000 and invested over $1.75m (R20m) in films such as Gavin Hood's A Reasonable Man with Nigel Hawthorne, Neal Sundstrom
  • Splendid backs new Bille August noir thriller

    Splendid Pictures, the newproduction and sales outfit formed from the merger of Germany's SplendidMedien and LA-based Cutting Edge Entertainment, is to produce BilleAugust's next English language feature the noir thriller WithoutApparent Motive.Set to begin production inLos Angeles this spring, the film is being produced by Bob Yari, Faye Schwaband Mary Apick, the principals of YSA Productions, and Amedeo Ursini of JazzPictures. Splendid toppers Andreas Klein and David Glasser w
  • Sweden's Film I Vast lines up topnotch local slate

    Film I Vast, Sweden's successful regional film fund, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in January, has lined up another busy schedule, including highly anticipated new films from Jalla! Jalla! director Josef Fares, Executive Protection's Anders Nilson and Dan Ying (Home Sour Home).Fares will shoot his as yet untitled action comedy for Memfis Film; Nilson will shoot another installment of his action-thriller trilogy The Third Wave (Den Tredje Vaagen) for
  • Temptations

    Dir: Zoltan Kamondi. Hungary. 2002. 88mins.Hungary is back after a long absence in the Berlinale competition with an entry that attempts to cover as many of the burning Magyar issues of the hour as its 88 minutes running time will allow. So many, in fact - from generation gap to future options for the youth, from gypsy magic to hi-tech witchcraft, from the wonders of the new economy to its victims - that it sometimes browses through rather than deals with them. That said, there is n
  • The Three Marias

    Dir Aluizio Abranches. It-Brazil. 2002. 103mins.Part Brazilian Western, part Jacobean tragedy in Tarantino sauce, Aluizio Abranches’ The Three Marias is a stylish follow up to the London-trained director’s 1999 debut, the festival-pleasing A Glass Of Rage (Un Copo De Colera). This was a surprise indie hit in Italy - which explains why Italian producers Vieri Razzini and Cesare Petrillo have stepped in to finance Abranches’ second. A tale of t
  • The Trespasser (O Invasor)

    Dir: Beto Brant. Brazil, 2001. 98mins.Ten years ago, Brazilian cinema was almost dead and buried. But Beto Brant's third full-length feature is further proof that the revival that hit paydirt with Walter Salles' Central Station is far from over. The Trespasser, which screened in Berlin after an outing at Sundance, is a stylish noir set in Brant's hometown of Sao Paulo in the crime-ridden netherworld that connects the corrupt rich with the desperate poor. A soun
  • Two major Nordic industry events join forces

    The Nordic region's two major festival and market events have joined forces to increase their international profile. The two festivals, in Gothenburg (Sweden) and Haugesund (Norway), have long been the favourite meeting places for the Nordic industry, but in recent years have also succeeded in attracting buyers and festival programmers from around the world. "We are not trying to compete with Berlin or Cannes, but what we hope to do is make everyone aware that Gothenburg's Nordi
  • UK cinema admissions continue to rise

    Having recorded the highest admissions last year (156 million) since 1972, the upward trend in UK cinema attendance and box office takings looks set to continue in 2002.Figures for January 2002 show that the month's box office figure of£59.6m is a year-on-year rise of 25% over the same period in 2001 (£47.6m). Admissions have seen an even bigger rise of 29% to 15 million tickets sold in January 2002.January's increase was fuelled largely by the continuing success of the fir
  • Uncle Frank

    Dir: Matthew Ginsburg. US, 2002. 84 mins.The first documentary to be produced by Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street Productions, Uncle Frank is an affectionate, touching and often hilariously funny portrait of the director's octagenarian uncle, who plays the electric piano in old people's homes. Although it deals frankly (so to speak) with problems of ageing and the approach of death, the film is in no way depressing. At its out-of-competition Berlin screening, Uncle Frank
  • Vivendi Universal reports 10% revenues rise

    Vivendi Universal has announced a better-than-expected 10% rise in revenues for 2001, to Euros 57.4bn, and is expecting a further 10% increase in 2002.News of the results, some Euros 1bn better than expected, boosted the company's share price by 2.9% to Euros 48.2 on Feb 11.Revenues from film and broadcasting activities, which reached Euros 9.5bn, provided for a 8% growth, mostly due to a 14% rise in Canal Plus' French digital satellite platform CanalSatellite's subscriber base.
  • Wild Bunch seals raft of deals at EFM

    French sales agent Wild Bunch has completed a swathe of sales on its huge European Film Market slate. Competition film Spirited Away was confirmed as going to Pathe for UK and Switzerland, RAI Cinema for Italy and Central Partnership Russia. After buying City Of God at Sundance for the US & Latin America (except Brazil) Miramax is now in discussions to take more territories. Kinowelt appears to back on the acquisitions trails having taken German rights to Avalon
  • Winchester, Columbia team on Little Homies

    Winchester Films has signed a deal with Columbia Picturesto co-develop and co-finance Little Homies,a family adventure movie about a group of five Brooklyn kids who find atreasure map and set about searching for the treasure underneath New York City.Described by Winchester president Hadeel Reda as in thevein of Spy Kids, the film is beingproduced by Warren Zide of Zide/Perry Entertainment (American Pie,Final Destination). It is being written byFre
  • World's largest film studio to be built in Quebec

    Two weeks after the announcement of plans to build a massive studio in Toronto, another facility is going forward in the province of Quebec. The backers of Studio Bromont plan to convert a 1.2 million sq. ft automobile plant north of Montreal into the largest film production studio in the world. The project's backers include the provincial agency Investissement Quebec. The former Hyundai assembly plant, purchased in December 2001 for $13.2m (C$21m), will be refitted at a cost of $15.1m