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Screen
15 July 2002

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  • $9m large-format Bugs! goes into production

    Bugs!, a $9m 3-D giant-screen documentary film, has started principal photography in the jungles of Malaysia.A live-action film about the hidden world of insects, Bugs! will use macro-photography and 3D imagery to convey the tiny dramas of bug life on a grand scale - and will be hoping to repeat the international success of Jacques Perrin's Microcosmos which took more than $25m worldwideThe 40-minute Bugs! is produced Phil Streather of London-based Pr
  • Alternative offerings lead to dampened Spirit

    As 20th Century Fox's Minority Report stormed to the top of the UK box office with an impressive opening weekend take of $5.9m (£3.9m) - see separate story - the week's other major opener, UIP's Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron, saw a disappointing performance.The animated film claimed third place in the chart, however its three-day take stood at just $1.1m (£719,861) from 384 sites, with $309,393 (£203,271) of that accounted for by previews the previous we
  • Austrian Film Institute gets 30% budget boost

    The Austrian Film Institute is to get a substantial increase in its 2002 budget from Euros 7.4m to Euros 9.8m, in order to give its national film industry a better profile in the European arena.Austria's Secretary of State for Arts Franz Morak, announced the increase at a parliamentary hearing on the future prospects for Austrian cinema.Morak explained that he was taking the step "so that more funds can be channelled into production support, and that, above all, young filmmakers
  • Belt-tightening squeezes pre-Mifed screenings

    The pre-Mifed screenings in London this October look set to be a smaller affair than in previous years. Many film sellers, including some based in London, have decided to set up stall only once this autumn - in Milan.The various London organisers are faced with what comes close to a boycott on the part of many of the biggest US sales companies. American outfits including Miramax International, Summit Entertainment, Intermedia, Focus, New Line, MDP, Lakeshore and Pandora have decided jo
  • Benelux's Paradiso expands into video via Laurus acquisition

    Growing Benelux distributor Paradiso is to move into video releasing following the take-over of well-established outfit Laurus Entertainment.Laurus, headed by Hans Goosens, has been in business for ten years covering the rental and retail sectors in The Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium.The acquisition means that within the dominant part of the Benelux region Paradiso will be able to handle its own titles in-house, benefiting from economies of scale and linked marketing.
  • Box-office still going up Down Under

    Australian cinemas have sold $240m (A$423m) worth of cinema tickets in the six months to June 30, a 6.7% rise on the same period last year and an indication that a growth pattern spanning more than a decade is not yet over.Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia chair Mike Selwyn described it as a "very good" result, considering the "tremendous bounce back" experienced in 2001 after the Olympics Games held in Sydney at the end of the previous year.He added that the
  • Brandon Fowler sets up Transdermal Entertainment

  • Brandon Fowler sets up Transdermal Entertainment

    Independent Los Angeles producer Brandon Fowler has set up Transdermal Entertainment, a financing and production company focused on films with "mid-range" budgets.The company is has two projects in development: Reverie, a drama about two young men making a documentary about the homeless and how it changes their lives forever, and Deterium, which is written and will be directed by Fowler, which follows two young adults struggling to overcome childhood traumas.Rev
  • Can this summer's blockbusters break the pattern of 2001's one-week wonders'

    Two more blockbusters passed the US domestic $100m mark this week. However, this summer is in danger of following last year's pattern of providing a couple of early pace setters followed by a series of 'one-week wonders'.Steven Spielberg's Minority Report passed the $100m mark on Tuesday, becoming the director's 11th film to do so. The film is star Tom Cruise's 10th $100m hit, equalling Harrison Ford's record. This was followed on Wednesday by Men In Black II which
  • Champion

    Dir: Kwak Kyung-taek. Korea. 2002. 117minsLike its hero, Kim Deuk-gu, who tried to become Korea's first boxing world supremo, Champion gives a very worthy account of itself, but ultimately fails to deliver a knock-out punch. With sumptuous looks and a determinedly physical central performance by Friend star Yoo Oh-sun, the feature has a fighting chance of scoring in the worldwide sales ring - but its international appeal is likely to be confined to fight fans an
  • Channel 4 confirms FilmFour closure

    The UK's Channel 4 yesterday confirmed that it is to close FilmFour. It is planning to replace the $46.1m (£30m) a year vertically-integrated film division with an in-house development and production operation with an annual budget of around $15.4m (£10m). FilmFour was the UK's larfgest single film financier and was arguably the UK's most significant film company.The dramatically scaled back venture is expected to operate similarly to the film arm of UK public broadcaster the
  • Copestake joins Buena Vista International Television

    Buena Vista International Television has appointed Steve Copestake as vice president of marketing, reporting to Tom Toumazis, senior vice president and managing director, BVI - TV.Copesake joins BVI - TV from the UK's BSkyB, where he was head of marketing communications.
  • CTFDI scores $17.4m with MIIB, breaks all-time record with Spider-man

    Men In Black II (MIIB) took an estimated $17.4m at the international box office over the weekend as Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International rolled out its sci-fi romp to 12 territories bringing its running total to $34.7m. With an unconfirmed best-ever opening in South Korea for a non-Korean language picture and several top five all-time openings in other regions, MIIB continued to enjoy the success spawned by its initial forays into the international arena last weekend
  • Deepa Mehta plans $10m English-language historical drama

    Toronto-based Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta (pictured) is planning to make a $10m English-language feature about the 1914 epic journey by Punjabi immigrants from India to Canada and back on a ship named the Komagata Maru. The film is based on the historical incident of the steamship Komagata Maru that sailed to Vancouver in July 1914, where immigration officials refused to allow the 376 passengers - mostly Punjabi Sikh immigrants - to disembark and forced the ship to return to India. Wh
  • Devdas

    Dir: Sanjay Leela Bhansali. India. 2002. 181minsDevdas is a bloated banquet with minimal nutrition for the grey cells, but a few spicy morsels to tease the taste buds along the way. Expectations are riding high for the $10 million production, which opens worldwide with around 1,000 prints today (July 12) in the Indian subcontinent and around 74 prints in the UK. In India prospects look solid for this, the ninth remake of the 1917 novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. B
  • di Bonaventura promoted at Warner, production restructured

    Lorenzo di Bonaventura, the head of worldwide production at Warner Bros Pictures, has got a promotion to a new corporate position within Warner Bros itself, prompting a restructure of the film production arm at Burbank.Di Bonaventura is now executive vice president, worldwide motion pictures, at Warner Bros, reporting to president and chief operating officer Alan Horn. Meanwhile Jeff Robinov has been named president, domestic production, at Warner Bros Pictures, and Steve Papazian has
  • Edinburgh unveils full festival line-up

    The 56th Edinburgh International Film Festival (August 14 - 25) will open with the UK premiere of Lynne Ramsay's acclaimed Morvern Callar and close with Christopher Nolan's hit thriller Insomnia.Gala screenings joining previously the announced titles: Tadpole, The Guru, Rabbit Proof Fence, 8 Femmes and Changing Lanes include Mark Romanek's One Hour Photo, Bill Paxton's Frailty and Oliver Parker's The Importance Of Being Earnest.
  • Edinburgh unveils impressive festival line-up

    The 56th Edinburgh International Film Festival (August 14 - 25) will open with the UK premiere of Lynne Ramsey's acclaimed Morvern Callar and close with Christopher Nolan's hit thriller Insomnia.Gala screenings joining previously the announced titles: Tadpole, The Guru, Rabbit Proof Fence, 8 Femmes and Changing Lanes include Mark Romanek's One Hour Photo, Bill Paxton's Frailty and Oliver Parker's The Importance Of Being Earnest.
  • Eileen Atkins, Lucas Black join Cold Mountain

    Two new cast members, Eileen Atkins and Lucas Black, have been added to the mammoth ensemble of Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain which stars shooting on Monday on location in Romania. Minghella has adapted the novel by Charles Frazier for the screen himself.Black's credits include Crazy In Alabama and All The Pretty Horses, while veteran British actress Atkins has recent credits including The Hours, Gosford Park and Wit.The remaining ca
  • Ethan Hawke & Fisher Stevens among new director Gotham nominees

    Six film-makers have been nominated for the Open Palm Award for outstanding directorial debut at this year's Gotham Awards which will be presented in New York City on Sept 29. The awards, presented by IFP/New York, celebrate outstanding achievement in New York's film-making community.Nominees for the $10,000 award are Bertha Bay-Sa Pan (Face), Eric Eason (Manito), Ethan Hawke (Chelsea Walls), Moises Kaufman (The Laramie Project), Peter Mattei (Love In The
  • Focus

    Dir. Neal Slavin. US 2001 104 minutes.Based on Pulitzer Prize-wining playwright Arthur Miller's 1945 novel, Focus offers a timely, yet heavy-handed look at the paranoia, fear, and ignorance that fuels religious and racial intolerance. In light of the tragic events of September 11th and the subsequent attacks against Muslim-Americans, Miller's fable of an ordinary Joe who becomes the target of discrimination and violence when he's mistaken for being Jewish, plays lik
  • Former Canal Plus boss Lescure to head Deauville jury

    Pierre Lescure former head of Vivendi Universal's pay-TV group Canal Plus, is to head the jury at the 2002 Deauville American film festival, to be held August 30-September 8.Premiere screenings so far announced for the event include:Doug Limon's Matt Damon-starrer The Bourne Identity, Roger Mitchell's Changing Lanes, featuring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson as well as Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood directed by Callie Khouri and featuring Sandra Bullock,
  • Fortune Star joins with DreamWorks for Hong Kong Cafe

    Fortune Star, the new production division of News Corp's Star TV group, is teaming up with DreamWorks to distribute Hong Kong Cafe, a one-hour TV series celebrating Hong Kong action movies and martial arts. The series will feature clips from Star's 600-title library which includes films starring Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh. DreamWorks will distribute in the US and Fortune Star in Asia. Production starts this month in Los Angeles with the US' Triage Ent
  • France's Bac Majestic reveals the identity of its 'white knight'

    French distribution group Bac Majestic has revealed the name of its 'white knight': Belgian entrepreneur Michel Litwak and his company Fragum III, who will help turn around the beleaguered company. Bac, which issued a profit warning in May, was seeking a $12.3m (Euros13m) lifeline in order to survive. The lifeline will take the form of a new holding company, Messine, 75% controlled by Litwak, through Fragum III, with the rest held by Bac Majestic's chairman Jean Labadie. Messine
  • France's TF1, M6 team up for Canal Plus bid

    French private broadcasting groups TF1 and M6 are considering joining forces with Pathe in order to acquire Vivendi Universal's Canal Plus Group, a source 'close to the deal' told French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur.TF1's chairman Patrick Le Lay and M6's president Nicolas de Tavernost have already both voiced their interest in acquiring Vivendi Universal's European pay-TV group, in the event that it would be put up for sale. The Canal Plus group, which holds a 49% stake in French pay-T
  • Further claims emerge from collapse of Australia's HIH

    The extent of the damage caused by its involvement in the film financing business is emerging as further evidence is given to the on-going Royal Commission into the 2001 collapse of Australia's HIH Insurance Group. This week documents were tendered that show outstanding claims could be as high as $225.5m, comprising $40m in potential exposure from business signed off from the Adelaide office in South Australia - known claims already amount to nearly $20m - as well as $185.5m from HIH L
  • German film funds face new threat

    The future of Germany's film funds has come under further threat with news of proposed tighter regulations by the Federal Ministry of Finance German business daily the Handelsblatt reported that the Ministry of Finance (BMF) intends to consider investors in film funds merely as acquirers of film rights rather than as producers. This would mean investors would only have a 2% annual write-off over 50 years rather than an immediate 100% tax deductible write-off - thereby depriving
  • Halcyon hooks Weisz, Denneen for thriller projects

    Los Angeles-based independent production outfit Halcyon Entertainment has attached two hot music video and commercials directors to two films in active development. Halcyon was created in Los Angeles by British producer Chris Coen in 1999.Martin Weisz will direct The Sett, a thriller based on the novel by Ranulph Fiennes and scripted by Danny Taylor (The Score) and Scott Roberts (K2, The Hard Way), while David Denneen will direct Breakback, an original scrip
  • Hong Kong's Filmko sells Inner Senses to Horizon for Europe

    Hong Kong production outfit Filmko Pictures has sold European rights to supernatural thriller Inner Senses to Vancouver-based sales company Horizon Entertainment.Horizon has several years experience handling Asian films in the European and North American markets. Its slate includes the celebrated Ring series, produced by Japan's Asmik Ace, one of its regular suppliers."European buyers have traditionally acquired Hong Kong films in packages, but the market is changi
  • IM Internationalmedia releases second quarter results ahead of schedule

    IM Internationalmedia generated Euros 75m - 85m in the first half of 2002 thanks to The Dangerous Lives Of Altar Boys and overages from such films as Traffic and The Wedding Planner, according to preliminary figures for the second quarter which will be officially released on August 29.IM reported that its (EBITA) would be between minus Euros 12m - 15m, while the EBITA for the overall financial year would pan out at between Euros 21/25m "due to reduced costs and pla
  • Intermedia's London operation moves inside Box

    Leading independent Intermedia, which faces a tough test when its biggest film to date K19: The Widowmaker opens in North America on July 19, is strengthening its ties in the UK with Box TV in which it has a 24.9% ownership stake. Intermedia will relocate its key creative team to offices it will share with Box and will give a first-look exclusive deal to Box Film, the newly created film production operation of Box TV.Gavin James has been appointed president UK operations of Inte
  • Ireland gets multiple low-budget production schemes

    In advance of the anticipated announcement of a new Irish-American low-budget production partnership - between Ireland's Rapid Film and Ed Pressman and John Schmidt's New York-based ContentFilm, the Irish Film Board has launched two new low-budget feature film initiatives.The first, called the Low Budget Feature Initiative seeks to create production opportunities for Irish directors and producers who have been struggling to fund mid-range budgeted films of Euros 3m to Euros 5m which, i
  • Italian government moves to overhaul entertainment laws

    The Italian government has presented a draft law to Parliament proposing a number of dramatic changes to the country's entertainment laws, including the introduction of a tax shelter.The draft law proposes that public funding for Italian movies should be capped at 50% of the budget. The current state funding system, the Fondo di Garanzia, has frequently come under fire for providing the majority of the budget of individual pictures, meaning producers are not motivated to recoup produc
  • Japan's Takeshi Kitano wraps Dolls

    Dolls, the latest feature from Japanese powerhouse Takeshi Kitano has wrapped principal photography and is set for local release in October by Office Kitano and Shochiku.Made for $2.5m (Y300m), Dolls is the director's 10th feature produced by Office Kitano and financed by a consortium of backers including Office Kitano, Bandai Visual, Tokyo FM and TV Tokyo. The film has already been sold to 12 European territories, including Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Greece, Cypr
  • Koelmels step down as MBO secures Kinowelt's future

    Kinowelt co-founders brothers Rainer and Michael Koelmel have stepped down from the company as an investor group led by Kinowelt executives Marcus Schoefer and Jerry Payne moved to take over the company's core businesses of theatrical distribution, home entertainment and license dealing in a management buy out. Schoefer and Payne are to launch a new independent company from the beginning of August under the name of Neue Kinowelt Medien GmbH. An official communique stated that su
  • Korean films take 46% local market share in first half of 2002

    Korean films leapt 7.8% to take a 46.1% share of the Seoul market with 44 films released during the first half of 2002, according to figures published by the Korean Film Commission. The hefty 7.8% increase over the same period in 2001, bodes well for the full-year tally ending up higher than last year's 49.7% share. Hollywood films recorded a 50.4% market share, down 1.4% from the same six-month period last year.Even including a drop in cinemagoing during the hosting of the Worl
  • Korea's Shinabro gets $50m for acquisition and production drive

    Korean distribution company Shinabro Entertainment has secured a $50m cash pool for acquisition of rights to Hollywood movies and a drive into Korean production.The funding comes from Isoo Venture Capital, part of the giant Isoo Chemical group. The five-year, non-exclusive deal sees Isoo put up financing for the acquisition of Korean rights to "tent-pole" Hollywood films, which already have a US distributor in place. Pictures will be sourced via Ken Nakamura's Toronto-based Midori Mult
  • Latvia joins Poland in EU's MEDIA Plus programme

    Following hot on the heels of Poland, Latvia is now the second of the East European countries to become a member of the European Union's (EU) MEDIA Plus Programme.Latvia's Ambassador to the EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable Latvian professionals to participate in the audiovisual programme.Preparations had already been underway ahead of the Memorandum's signing with a MEDIA Desk being set up at the National Film Centre of Latvia (NFC) headed by former NFC Internat
  • Li Ka Shing makes play for HK TV group

    Tom.com, a Hong Kong multimedia company owned by the territory's richest tycoon, Li Ka-shing, is buying a 32.75% stake in local free-to-air broadcaster Asia Television (ATV).The move marks Li's first foray into TV broadcasting and forms part of Tom.com's diversification strategy. The company was listed as an internet portal in March 2000 but has since expanded into book and magazine publishing and outdoor advertising.Tom.com has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kon
  • Mandalay lands at Universal, launches new international sales offensive

    Days after announcing that it was leaving Paramount Pictures on the expiration of its current deal, Peter Guber's independent film production company Mandalay Pictures has entered into a new multi-year financing and distribution agreement with Universal Pictures. The deal, which was closed yesterday lunchtime, sees Guber find a studio home prepared to be flexible in its international distribution demands on Mandalay. "Paramount are great," said Guber to Screendaily yesterday, "but they
  • Men In Black II takes $11.7m in first five international territories

    In its first international roll-out weekend Columbia's Men in Black II scored a combined gross of $11.7m from Australia, Japan, Russia, New Zealand and Columbia, averaging $10,400 from 1,129 screens. In Japan MIBII took $5.3m - coincidentally the same amount Men in Black grossed when the original came out in December 1997. The studio is capitalising on the imminent school holidays in the territory and the film will play out until schools return on August 31.In Aust
  • Menemsha gets The Power Of Good at Karlovy Vary

    LA-based sales and distribution outfit Menemsha Entertainment has picked up North American rights to the Czech-Slovak co-production The Power Of Good - Nicholas Winton at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival this week. Matej Minac's The Power Of Good is a documentary about an Englishman who saved 669 Jewish children from a death transport in 1939. Nicholas Winton himself, now 93, flew into Karlovy Vary from England last night (July 10) for the film's screening. The acqui
  • New Line taps UK's Stevenson for Double Au Pair duties

    British writer/actress Jessica Stevenson, who co-created, co-wrote and co-starred in hit TV series Spaced, has landed a deal with New Line Cinema to write and star in Double Au Pair, a family adventure comedy about a nanny spy. Stevenson, who also starred in comedy Tomorrow La Scala! which played in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival in May, will play the black sheep of a spy family who uses her new job as a British ambassador's au pair as a gateway to a
  • New minister of culture heralds turning point for Polish film industry crisis

    Last week's appointment of Waldemar Dabroski as the new Polish Minister of Culture may signal an end to the political divisions that have been crippling the Polish film industry. Dabroski, who as minister for cinematography in the early 1990's was responsible for establishing the government-backed agency for film production, is recognised as a force that can unite the government and the film industry.'His appointment signals a turning point in the current film production crisis,
  • New regional Spanish film commission launched

    A new regional film commission has been added to Spain's growing network of local organisations with the launch of an office in Castilla-LeonThe commission will oversee the Castilla-Leon Producers' Association's (ACALPA) already-functioning 'virtual commission,' an extensive on-line database of information to facilitate shoots in the region.The website (www.filmcommission-castillayleon.es) offers information about permits, contacts for local crews and production services, accom
  • Nowhere In Africa (Nirgendwo In Afrika)

    Dir. Caroline Link. Germany. 2001. 134mins.A sprawling epic about a Jewish family sheltering in Africa just before World War Two, Nowhere In Africa is a natural crowd pleaser that has already stormed to success in Germany. Adapted from Stefanie Zweig's best-selling autobiography, the film, which is now playing on 224 screens, has taken $7.3m since it opened at the start of the year. It also picked up five Lolas, including best film, director and cinematography, at the
  • Perdition hits big, but can't gun down Men In Black

    Men In Black II (MIIB) clung on to top spot at the North American box officeover the weekend with an estimated $25m gross, although a spectacular opening for Road To Perdition on half the number of screens came close to dethroning it. The Columbia Pictures sci-fi sequel averaged $6,923 from 3,611 theatres and has a cumulative box office of $133.3m after ten days, passing the $100m mark after eight days on Wednesday. Despite a storming run, the movie still trails its 1997 predec
  • Sales chief Diederix quits Sogecine-Sogepaq for new post

    Eva Diederix, director of international sales at production-distribution house Sogecine-Sogepaq, resigned from her post on Thursday July 11 to accept a new position in international sales outside of Spain. Diederix has worked for Sogepaq since 1998. She was promoted to her current position last year during the consolidation of producer Sogecine and rights house Sogepaq. Diederix reports to Fernando Bovaira, head of Sogecine-Sogepaq, and Jacques Roldan, director of distribution.
  • Sci-fi action-thriller boosts Cruise & Spielberg's report card

  • Sci-fi action-thriller boosts Cruise & Spielberg's report card

    Sci-fi action-thriller Minority Report received a host of strong international openings this weekend - including the UK and Hong Kong - to gross $12.7m over the weekend, its third on international release. 20th Century Fox's film has taken $22.3m internationally so far and has yet to open in eight of the top ten international territories. In the US, the film has grossed $97.1m after three weeks.Report grossed $5.9m (£3.9m) over the three-day weekend (July 5-7) from 4
  • Scooby is Warner's second biggest all-time UK opening

    Scooby-Doo continued to snap up the international competition for Warner Bros over the weekend, opening in the UK with $8.1m (£5.2m) from 474 screens, according to studio estimates released today (Sunday). If the figure is confirmed tomorrow it will be Warner's second highest UK opening behind Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, which came out last Nov.In France the picture took an estimated $2.8m (Euro 2.86m) from 584 screens; in Portugal it grossed $173,800 (Eur
  • Scooby is Warner's second biggest all-time UK opening

  • Spain's Admira offloads Argentinian Azul TV

    Spanish media house Admira and JP Morgan have finalised the long-mooted sale of Argentina's Azul TV to Argentine consortium HFS Media SA.The sale was prompted by an Argentine regulation which prohibits a single company from owning more than one television channel locally. Admira, the media arm of Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, also owns Argentine broadcaster Telefe.HFS Media is a consortium formed by local media magnates Daniel Hadad, Fernando Sokolowicz and Benjamin Vijnovs
  • Ster Century divests Polish and Greek cinema circuits

    Ster Century Europe has sold its Polish and Greek cinema operations for a combined Euros 30.6m.The company's four-multiplex Polish circuit, which includes three sites and 37 screens in Warsaw and one site in Wroclaw with 9 screens, has been sold to IT International Cinemas for Euros19.8m.A major multiplex operator in Central Europe, the Israeli-owned IT entered the Polish market in 1999, and prior to the sale had over 40 screens in Poland with additional plans for expansion.
  • Sweden's box-office revenue growth outstrips admissions by 7 to 1

    Reflecting a global pattern of box-office growth outstripping that of an increase in cinema admissions, Sweden has seen 2002's first quarter revenues outperform admissions by a factor of 7 to 1.Yet, despite allowances for inflation and increases in ticket price, Sweden's cinema industry is continuing its upward curve, with 2001 being a record year for local theatres. And according to latest figures from the Swedish Film Institute, 2002 looks like continuing the trend with first quarter
  • The Bourne Identity

    Dir: Doug Liman. US. 2002. 118 mins.One of Robert Ludlum's best-selling Cold War spy novels gets a refreshingly edgy cinema update in The Bourne Identity, an international thriller that, under the guidance of indie director Doug Liman, spins out its Hollywood genre conventions with continental flair. The film opened strongly in the US last month ($39.3m from 2,638 sites in its opening week) on the strength of Matt Damon's relatively limited star power and enthusiastic
  • The Eye is eyed up for remake treatment

    Danny and Oxide Pang's chiller The Eye could be the next Asian picture lined up for Hollywood remake treatment.Under a deal brokered by Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment, remake rights are to be acquired by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner's Cruise/Wagner company with a view to the film being made at a studio. Cruise/Wagner has an ongoing relationship with Paramount Pictures, but no deal has yet been signed with Paramount or any other studio. The film co-produced by Hong Kong'
  • The Seagull's Laughter (Mavahlatur)

    Dir. Agust Gudmunsson. Iceland 2001. 104 mins.The new offering from veteran Icelandic director Agust Gudmunsson initially posits itself as a post-war coming-of-age social satire. Yet this acerbic comedy soon offers up several lively portraits of women looking to assert themselves in a world very much controlled by men. Based on the novel by Kristin Marja Baldursdottir - indeed, only a woman could have written this story - it will easily find its own niche in special distribut
  • UK's Channel 4 rejected FilmFour rescue offer

    Channel 4 rejected a last-minute rescue deal with Germany's Senator Film and UK tax financiers Matrix that was geared at allowing the broadcaster to slash its investment to $15m (£10m) but still save FilmFour as a going concern with an annual war-chest of $45m (£30m).This decision to reject the partnership has fuelled criticism that the channel never gave the ambitious stand-alone film operation a fair chance. Newly-installed chief executive Mark Thompson axed the vertically-
  • Vivendi subject to accounting probe as it secures Euros 1bn loan

    Vivendi Universal confirmed today (July 10) that it has obtained a Euros 1bn unsecured credit line from a group of international banks. But there are more problems for the group as the stockmarket opened a preliminary investigation into its accounting practices.The widely expected credit move is likely to be followed by a further loan exceeding Euros 2bn from another banking consortium. Both loans will help tide the company over while it "works with its banks on putting in place a refi
  • Vivendi Universal chief financial officer resigns

    Guillaume Hannezo, Vivendi's Universal's chief financial officer has resigned, French newspaper Le Monde reported on Friday July 12.The unconfirmed report said that Hannezo had tendered his resignation on Tuesday (July 9) and was expected to leave within the next few weeks.Hannezo's departure had been widely anticipated as he was a close associate with Jean-Marie Messier, who stepped down earlier this month.
  • Year Of The Devil wins Karlovy Vary's Crystal Globe

    The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival wrapped in the Czech Republic on Saturday, with the Crystal Globe, the festival's main prize, going to a Czech film, Petr Zelenka's Year of the Devil. It was a weekend of surprises and disappointments in the Bohemian spa town. Zelenka's film, a part fiction, part documentary black comedy about a group of Czech musicians battling alcoholism and spontaneous combustion, was not considered a favorite to win.Among the 18 films in co

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