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16 June 2000

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  • Alliance sews up world sales on Stardom

    Alliance Atlantis Pictures International has sold Denys Arcand's Stardom, which closed this year's Cannes Film Festival, to a slew of territories including Germany, where the picture went to Arthaus, and Rentrack in Japan.The film also went to Spring Cinema for Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, Cinemien for Benelux, Triangle Films for Scandinavia, Vision Africa for South Africa, Shaw Renters for Singapore, Forum Films for Israel, Worldvision for CIS, Associated Euromedia for Turkey,
  • Allouache secures backing from Hubert Bals Fund

    Salut Cousin! director Merzak Allouache is amongst a host of film-makers from developing counties to secure funding from the International Film Festival Rotterdam's Hubert Bals Fund.Allouache was awarded support for L'Autre Monde, which explores the social and political situation in Algeria through a young woman's search for her fiance.Other projects to secure development funding include: Pablo Perelman's Chilean project Cazador De Sombras (Shadow Hunter
  • Ambush wins Gold Dolphin at Festroia

    Finnish drama Ambush, set during the Second World War, won the 16th Festroia film festival's top honour, the Gold Dolphin, on Saturday night. The film also won the best director award for Olli Saarela. The international jury, presided over by Spanish director Juan Antonio Bardem, gave its Special Prize to Jewish family saga Glamour, directed by Frigyos Godros. The FIPRESCI international critics' prize went to Czech director Sasa Gedeon's Return Of The Idiot.
  • Australia's Niche Pictures picks up Mr Death

    Australian distributor Niche Pictures, which was recently acquired by Lyn McCarthy, has acquired local rights to Errol Morris's Mr Death: The Rise And Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter Jr. The 90-minute documentary was well received when it screened this week on the third day of the Sydney Film Festival. McCarthy has only recently been allowed to re-enter the distribution arena after being blocked following the sale of Dendy Cinemas and Dendy Distribution - which she co-owned with her hu
  • Balkans documentary scoops BANFF grand prize

    The grand prize at Canada's BANFF Television Festival went to documentary A Cry From The Grave, which investigates the massacre of 7,000 Muslim refugees in Srebrenica.The film, produced by the UK's Antelope and BBC, the US' Thirteen-WNET and the Netherlands' Ryninks Films, also picked up the top prize in its own category, best history and biography programme.HBO's A Lesson Before Dying won best made-for-TV movie, while best mini-series was awarded to Longitude
  • Blockbusters bunch up in Oz

    While the European box office fights soccer-mania and pre-summer seasonal box office lows, Australia's chart is riding high with help from the southern hemisphere winter and two hits carrying a high level of Australian content.Mission: Impossible 2 at number one has scooped $7.6m (A$13.3m) after just 12 days, a record score in this time period for distributor UIP. The film is 50% ahead of the gross for the original Mission film after 12 days and may reach the Australian b
  • Brune to replace Dassonville at Columbia France

    Eric Brune, currently sales director at French distributor UGC Fox Distribution (UFD), is to replace Richard Dassonville as CEO of Columbia TriStar's French outpost.Prior to UFD, where he has spent the last five years, the 38-year-old Brune has worked at Pathe, Disney and Warner.UFD - a joint venture between French major film group UGC and Fox, on the Gaumont Buena Vista International (GBVI) model, and headed by Steve Rubin - ranked first among distributors in France in 1998, se
  • Buena Vista makes record DVD shipment with Tarzan

    Buena Vista Home Entertainment has shipped 150,000 DVDs of Tarzan to Japanese stores - a company record for an initial DVD shipment in Japan and the second highest number industry-wide since Warner Home Entertainment released The Matrix on DVD in March.In co-operation with the Fuji TV network, Buena Vista is mounting a major Tarzan DVD promotional campaign and plans to ship a total of 500,000 units - a number that is expected give a significant boost to DVD player
  • Canal Plus-Pathe continue talks for UK pact

    France's StudioCanal appears to be forging ahead with talks to create a pan-European distribution network - a releasing apparatus that would effectively run alongside United International Pictures (UIP) should Canal Plus and its parent Vivendi succeed in their planned takeover of UIP partner Universal.According to well-placed sources, StudioCanal expects to conclude talks to establish a UK distribution outlet through Pathe Distribution by next month or August. StudioCanal also aims to
  • CASE STUDY - Bread And Roses

    A European co-production about struggling migrant workers sounds just like Ken Loach's cup of tea. The difference is this story is set in LA. Natacha Clarke reports.The Pitch:Ken Loach takes on America in this story of immigrant workers fighting for their rights.1994-1996Former human rights lawyer Paul Laverty goes to LA to study writing. While riding the city's late night buses he gets chatting to the Hispanic janitors travelling to and from work an
  • CineMedia grabs stake in Watch! Entertainment

    German film services group CineMedia has given itself a further leg-up into production and new media through the acquisition of a stake in Watch! Entertainment.CineMedia is buying 26% of Watch!, a television producer established by a group of senior managers from Grundy Ufa TV Productions. Terms of the purchase were not revealed, but CineMedia said it will be financed through a share issue. Together the two companies will also form an internet joint venture, 60% controlled by CineMedia
  • Crawford to quit Village Roadshow

    The future of Village Roadshow's international exhibition arm looks uncertain following the surprise decision of chairman and co-chief executive officer John Crawford to leave the company. Crawford is quitting Village's UK-based international arm in December after deciding not to renew his contract. The UK headquarters will relocate to Melbourne, despite the recent addition of two senior executives, both hired from Australia in March this year. Village is expected to keep its current i
  • Cuba Feliz

    Prod co: ADR Productions. Co-prod: Le Studio Canal Plus. Domestic dist: Pyramide. Int'l sales: Le Studio Canal Plus (+33 1 4443 9839). Prod: Alain Rozanes, Pascal Verroust, Jacques Debs. Scr: Pascal Letellier, Karim Dridi. DoP: Karim Dridi. Editor: Lise Beaulieu. Main cast/Music: Miguel del Morales, Candido Fabre, Mirta Gonzales, Alejandro Almenares, Pepin Vaillant, Anibal Avila.The careers of a group of elderly Cuban musicians are revived and relaunched by a playful documentary
  • DreamWorks, Polyvideo reportedly in on-line pact

    DreamWorks has signed an exclusive agreement with Milan-based Polyvideo to sell its home video and DVD titles on-line, according to Italian press reports.The deal is expected to be the first in a series of alliances that DreamWorks plans to establish in Europe to sell its product on-line. In the US, the studio already has an on-line sales agreement with "In order to manage a relationship with the major [operators] on a continental scale, DreamWorks has opened an offi
  • Dutch gov't to open cable networks to rivals

    The Dutch government has ruled that local cable networks must be open to rival internet suppliers, but partly allayed cable operators' fears by delaying the introduction of "open access" for at least two years.The cabinet also said that new legislation will be drawn up in line with wider European regulations and that it will take into account factual developments in the Dutch market. Fears that the government would throw open the cable networks that deliver the majority of the c
  • Edinburgh Festival to expose Cineworks shorts

    Cineworks, the short film scheme funded by support agency Scottish Screen, is showcasing its inaugural year's work at August's Edinburgh International Film Festival.Films screening include: Exidore, by Richard Weeks, whose credits include the shorts Running Man and The Arrangement; experimental documentary I Am Boy; Cat McKiernan's Sex And Death; The Important Parts Of A True Story, by Kevin Cameron, director of shorts such as Shoot The Refu
  • Edinburgh unveils gala screenings

    Franchise Pictures' Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her, which boasts a cast including Holly Hunter, Glenn Close, Cameron Diaz and Calista Flockhart, will screen in the gala section of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (August 13-27). The festival has also confirmed Simon Cellan Jones' Cannes Directors' Fortnight title Some Voices, which appears in the Focus on British Cinema section. Another gala screening will go to Brazilian comedy Eu Tu Eles (
  • Fine Line gets domestic rights to Human Nature

    Fine Line Features has acquired North American rights to Human Nature, the much anticipated movie scripted by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) and directed by Michel Gandry.The film, a Good Machine production which is being sold internationally by StudioCanal, is produced by Good Machine's Ted Hope, Anthony Bregman, Kaufman and Spike Jonze. The large ensemble cast includes Patricia Arquette, Rhys Ifans, Miranda Otto, Tim Robbins and Rosie Perez.The quirky mov
  • Football set to feature at British Short Film fest

    Football, starring Helena Bonham Carter, will be a timely highlight at the upcoming British Short Film Festival.The film is directed by Gaby Dellal, whose credits include a segment of Sky Pictures' Tube Tales and Granada Films' upcoming feature Single Girls Diary. Dellal's short film Toy Boys won the prize for Best British Production at the 1998 edition of the festival.Sponsored by the BBC, the event will screen films from as far afield as Georgia and
  • Fox, Cinram seal North American video pact

    Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Toronto-based videocassette and DVD manufacturer, Cinram International, have entered into a multi-year agreement under which Cinram will produce and distribute Fox's VHS tapes in the US and Canada. Previously the company distributed Fox product in Canada only. Given the ten-fold increase presented by the US market, Cinram stands to earn more than $508m (C$750m) in revenue over the term of the agreement. The company is fast-tracking plans for
  • French exhibitor Action launches discount cards

    French arthouse exhibitor Action plans to launch the "Action Gitanes" discount card in July. The card - which will cost $36 (FFr250) for entrance to 10 films and is valid for a year - is the first independent answer to major exhibitor UGC's highly controversial "UGC Illimite" card. Action operates six screens in Paris which mostly show reruns of classic movies. The scheme also allows Gitanes card holders to purchase a ticket for a guest at the same $3.60 (FFr25) discount price.U
  • Germany's IN-motion plans IPO

    Frankfurt-based music and film production company, IN-motion movie & TV productions, has become the latest German media company to seek a listing on the Neuer Markt stock exchange.IN-motion's founders Michael Muenzing and Luca Anzilotti have been key players in the international music scene for the last 15 years, masterminding the chart success of dance group SNAP! (Rhythm Is A Dancer). Last year the company expanded into the film and TV production sector by co-producing action
  • Gitai chooses Miller adaptation for next project

    Israeli film-maker Amos Gitai - whose latest film, Kippur, was in competition at Cannes this year - will next direct an adaptation of Arthur Miller's novel Plain Girl: A Life.The project marks a departure for Gitai who usually focuses on Israeli history and social issues. Kippur is set in the early 1970s during the war between Israel and Egypt and Syria. Gitai's previous feature, Kadosh, which was selected for Cannes in 1999, tells the story of two sisters who fall
  • Harrelson, Huston set to attend Karlovy Vary

    Woody Harrelson, Anjelica Huston and, subject to shooting schedules, Johnny Depp are amongst the stars expected to attend next month's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the festival has announced.Harrelson, a guest at the festival last year, is to present the Canadian documentary Grass, which he narrated and co-produced, while Huston has been invited as a guest of honour for the close of the festival. Depp, who will be filming in Prague during the festival, may attend fo
  • Hodgson appointed chief executive of ITC

    Patricia Hodgson, currently BBC director of public policy, has been appointed chief executive of UK commercial broadcasting body the Independent Television Commission (ITC).Hodgson takes up the post in September. She succeeds Peter Rogers, who is retiring.Hodgson’s move to the ITC comes just a few months after BBC director general Greg Dyke unveiled a major restructure of the organisation which saw her role trimmed back.She was previously in charge of both policy and plan
  • Intertainment to raise $163m for production push

    Fast-expanding German rights broker Intertainment plans to raise more than $163m (Euros170m) to fund its drive into film production.The Munich-based company today said that it will increase its share capital by some two million shares in a rights issue in mid-July. Intertainment's financial advisers will set the price for the new shares in a "book-building" operation that starts later this month. Were the sale to take place at Euros85 each, the company would bring in Euros170m.
  • Italian cinema loses local market share

    Italian films' share of the domestic theatrical market dropped from 27% to 14% in the 12 months from June 1999 to May 2000 according to local exhibitors association ANEC. Without local hits such as 1998's Life Is Beautiful or Cosi E' La Vita, US films dominated the Italian box office during the 1999-2000 season, with a market share that reached 64% compared to 57% the previous year. Attendance at Italian films halved according to ANEC figures, from 18 million in 19
  • Japan's ASMSE enters film finance arena

    Japan's Association of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (ASMSE) is planning to back further feature projects following completion of its debut film Home Sweet Home which is set for domestic release this August.ASMSE, a Tokyo-based business organisation with fifty member companies, has developed a financing scheme that bypasses banks and other financial institutions. Frustrated by the reluctance of recession-hit Japanese banks to lend to smaller companies for new busines
  • Japan's Gaga spins off publishing arm

    Japan's Gaga Communications has spun off its Publication Department, which publishes Video Insider Japan and Digital Media Navigator magazines, into a wholly owned subsidiary, Gaga Publishing. The new company is expected to begin operations in the first part of August. Gaga founder Tetsu Fujimura will be chairman with Hikaru Kobayashi as president.In addition to issuing and promoting its current publications, Gaga Publishing intends to seek out partners in strategi
  • Key adds Hallstrom, Nair to debut production slate

    One-year-old Italian distributor Key Films unveiled its debut production slate at last week's Professional Screening Days in Sorrento, which includes projects from Lasse Hallstrom, Mira Nair and Lisanne Skyler in addition to Thomas Vinterberg's previously announced US-set love story It's All About Love.Founded by former Lucky Red chief Kermit Smith, the fast-growing arthouse distributor is set to co-produce Nair's (Monsoon Wedding), with Germany's Pandora Films,
  • Kinowelt acquires stake in media[netCom]

    Kinowelt Medien has bought a 10% stake in emerging German video-on-demand (VoD) player media[netCom].The move comes after several months of co-operation between the two companies, which saw Kinowelt become a supplier of content during media[netCom]'s experimental phase."The present state of development of media[netCom]'s cinema-on-demand technology shows very clearly how quickly cable, internet and TV are growing together," said Kinowelt CEO Michael Koelmel.Marburg-based
  • Mondo inks co-production deal with Hahn Shin

    Mondo TV, Italy's number two animation company after Mediaset, has signed a co-production agreement with Korean animator Hahn Shin Corporation under which the partners will produce 200 half hours over the next three years.The deal takes in several series including adventure series Genghis Khan and Gladiators and religious series In the Name of Jesus and The Bible. Gladiators will be made in 3D with each episode budgeted at around $250,000. Mond
  • Moscow fest launches market; becomes annual event

    For the first time in its 43-year history, the Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF) is set to become an annual event from this year. The festival, which will run July 19-29, is also launching a market focusing on European and Russian product.The MIFF has previously been held every two years, despite continued efforts by various festival administrators to run it every year. This year's festival will feature a FIAF-sanctioned international competition, a Panorama section, a comprehe
  • Norway gains Vitofilm production, consultancy shop

    Former Danish Film Institute director Mona Jensen and Gunnar Svensrud, a former consultant for the Norwegian Film Institute, have launched an Oslo-based production and consultancy outfit Vitofilm."After spending many years in the industry we both have networks that we believe can be useful," Svensrud told Screendaily. "Many Norwegian directors don't have an international network and we hope to provide this through Vitofilm."The company aims to develop its own projects eve
  • Paramount worldwide acquisitions chief to quit

    John Ferraro, senior vice president, worldwide acquisitions and co-productions at Paramount Motion Picture Group, is to leave the studio after 20 years to pursue other interests. A well-known figure on the international festival and market circuit, Ferraro was most recently instrumental in acquiring British comedy Kevin & Perry Go Large and MTV comedy documentary The Original Kings Of Comedy directed by Spike Lee. Other films produced under his aegis at Paramount i
  • Pearson completes TalkBack acquisition

    Pearson Television, the TV production arm of the UK's Pearson Group, has finalised its acquisition of London-based TV production outfit TalkBack Productions for $94m (£62m), Pearson announced today (June 14).The Pearson group is to finance the widely-anticipated move through existing bank facilities. The debt incurred is transferring to Pearson Television on completion of its merger with Europe's CLT-Ufa, which is to be finalised this summer.TalkBack founding partners Mel Smith
  • Pinefilm taps Sorby to head up acquisitions

    Australian distributor Pinefilm Entertainment has appointed Nicole Sorby as head of acquisitions replacing Peter Downer who left the company last week following a breakdown in relations with owner and managing director Sean Rothsey.Rothsey was formerly a financial backer of The Globe Film Co, when Downer was one of three partners there, but withdrew his support 15 months ago taking Downer with him. Rothsey aims to run Pinefilm as a distributor unburdened by overheads and to this
  • Prisa appoints US, Internet chiefs on eve of float

    On the eve of its public offering, Spanish media empire Grupo Prisa has announced two key appointments.Jaime Polanco Soutullo has been appointed general director of Prisa for North America, a strategic post for further developing Prisa's activities in the US Spanish-speaking market. Polanco Soutullo will be headquartered in New York and will maintain his position simultaneously as CEO of Gran Via Musical, Prisa's music arm.Back in Spain, Mario Tascon has been recruited away from
  • Qualcomm, Technicolor form joint digital venture

    Digital media technology company Qualcomm and Carlton Communications-owned Technicolor Digital Cinema are teaming up to provide an open standard distribution system for digital cinema. The joint venture, to be called Technicolor Digital Cinema LLC, marks another major step forward to finding a useable method to deliver digital films worldwide - a key link in the advent of electronic cinema. Technicolor will retain a majority share of the entity while both companies will be involved in
  • Ramsay project secures Scottish lottery funding

    Company Pictures' Morvern Callar, the latest project from writer-director Lynne Ramsay, was the main beneficiary in the latest round of Scottish Lottery Panel awards. The first awards under the administration of Scottish Screen rather than the Scottish Arts Council, announced a £500,000 production grant to the film which already has backing from Alliance Atlantis, the English Lottery and BBC Scotland.Adapted from the novel by Alan Warner, Morvern Callar tells of a
  • Relative Values

    Dir: Eric Styles. UK. 2000. 89 mins.Prod Co: Overseas Filmroup/Midsummer Films. UK dist: Momentum Pictures. Int'l sales: Overseas Filmgroup. Prod: Chris Milburn. Assoc prods/scr: Paul Rattigan and Michael Walker from the play by Noel Coward. DoP: Jimmy Dibling. Prod des: Humphrey Jaeger. Eds: Caroline Limmer, Ian Seymour. Mus: John Derney. Main cast: Julie Andrews, Jeanne Tripplehorn, William Baldwin, Colin Firth, Stephen Fry, Sophie Thompson. A warm welcome for the big s
  • Russian media baron Gusinsky arrested

    Russian tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, head of the country's largest independent media conglomerate Media Most, has been arrested and is being held in a Moscow prison pending charges of defrauding the government of more than $10m. Media Most-owned television channel NTV and daily newspaper Segodnya have been sharply critical of the Russian government and a spokesperson for the group, Dmitry Ostalsky, called the arrest "intimidation." The arrest is the culmination of a year-lon
  • Shaft

    Dir: John Singleton. US. 2000.Prod cos: Scott Rudin Productions, New Deal Productions, Paramount Pictures. US dist: Paramount. Int'l dist: UIP. Exec prods: Adam Schroeder, Paul Hall, Steve Nicolaides. Prods: Scott Rudin, John Singleton. Scr: Richard Price, Singleton & Shane Salerno, story by Singleton & Salerno based on the novel by Ernest Tidyman. DoP: Donald E Thorin. Prod des: Patrizia Von Brandenstein. Ed: John Bloom, Antonia Van Drimmelen. Mus: David Arnold, Isaac Hayes. Main c
  • Shower takes top honours at Seattle

    Continuing its award-nabbing festival tour, Chinese director Zhang Yang's Shower walked away with audience awards for Best Film and Best Director at the 26th Seattle International Film Festival, which wrapped on Sunday. The film has also yielded prizes at Toronto, San Sebastian, Thessaloniki and Rotterdam. Dan Futterman, star of Urbania, took the Best Actor prize while French actress Nathalie Baye won jointly for French titles Venus Beauty Institute and An Affai
  • Spanish broadcasters team up for Fiction Factory

    Four heavyweight Spanish television platforms - pay outlets Via Digital and Quiero TV and free-to-air broadcasters Antena 3 and Telecinco - are joining forces to create thematic channel The Fiction Factory (FDF) dedicated to Spanish and US fiction series.FDF will launch on both Quiero and Via Digital beginning next month with product coming predominantly from Antena 3, Telecinco and independent producer GrupoArbol. Antena 3 and Telecinco will each own 40% of the channel with Grupo Arbo
  • Star pledges $64m for Chinese-language production

    News Corp-owned broadcaster Star TV is setting up a Chinese Programming Department through which $64m (HK$500m) will be invested in Chinese-language film and television productions, some of which will be aimed at the international market.Veteran Hong Kong TV producer Michael Mak will head the department which represents a significant expansion of Star's activities and coincides with the appointment of James Murdoch as chairman and CEO of the company.Star vice president Steve Ask
  • Star Wars, staff cuts boost Kinematografer profits

    Norwegian exhibitor Oslo Kinematografer, owned by Oslo City Council, has posted a pre-tax profit of $696,000 (NKr6m) on turnover of $21.5m (NKr185m) for the 12 months to December 1999.The result is significant improvement for the company which for the last two years has reported profits close to zero. Head of administration Atle Hillestad attributed the increased profit to staff cuts and a new practice of adjusting staffing levels to reflect low and high season. The re-opening of the C
  • Stardom

    Dir: Denys Arcand. Canada. 2000. 102 mins.Prod cos: Alliance Atlantis, Serendipity Point. Co-prods: Cinemaginaire, Cine-b. Int'l Sales: Alliance Atlantis (001 310 899 8000). Prods: Denise Robert, Robert Lantos. Scr: Arcand, J. Jacob Potashnik. DoP: Guy Dufaux. Prod des: Zoe Sakellaropoulo. Ed: Isabelle Dedieu. Main cast: Jessica Pare, Dan Aykroyd, Charles Berling, Robert Lepage, Thomas Gibson, Frank Langella.A long-time regular at Cannes, Arcand was relegated this year to
  • StudioCanal to fully finance Polanski's Pianist

    France's StudioCanal is close to finalising a deal to fully finance and handle worldwide sales on Roman Polanski's next project, The Pianist, a $35m adaptation of the novel by Polish writer Wladyslaw Szpilman.Polanski's own outfit, RP Productions, is producing the project which is scheduled start shooting either at the end of 2000 or beginning of 2001. StudioCanal France and Bac Films have co-acquired French rights. Polish partners are also likely to be involved as the film is t
  • Sweet And Lowdown rises above soccer

    Blame the start of the Euro 2000 soccer tournament or blame the warmer weather, but no amount of counter-programming could prevent last weekend's box office retreating to the traditional pre-summer holiday season low. The only film to open with any redeemable gross was Woody Allen's Sweet And Lowdown which took $152,624 from just 34 screens over its first three days and won a place at number ten in the chart.The top three films, Gladiator, Final Destination and
  • Telepiu expands into cable broadcasting

    Italian digital satellite platform Telepiu has reached an agreement with Telecom Italia to begin cable broadcasting in 500,000 homes in seven key cities beginning this September. Telecom Italia is understood to have been forced into the agreement by European Union anti-trust requirements.Measures have been underway for several years to break the cable and telephone monopoly held by Telecom Italia, which jointly owns Telepiu competitor Stream with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
  • The Prompter

    Dir: Hilde Heier. Norway. 1999. 97 mins. Prod cos: Wildhagen Produksjon AS, CO Film, Norwegian Film Institute & Swedish Film Institute. US sales c/o Menemsha Entertainment (+1 310 712 3720). Int'l sales: Norsk Filminstitute (+47 2247 4575). Prod: Christian Wildhagen. Scr: Hilde Heier. DoP: Harald Gunnar Paalgard. Prod des: Aida Kalnins. Ed: Sophie Hesselberg. Mus: Aid by Verdi. Main cast: Hege Schoyen, Sven Nordin, Philip Zanden, Anne-Lise Berntsen, Liv Gunhild Tandberg.N
  • Tiger Aspect adds Kemp, Blatt to Dog Eat Dog cast

    Pop stars Gary Kemp and Melanie Blatt have joined TV actor Alan Davies in UK comedy Dog Eat Dog.The FilmFour-backed production has just started shooting for Tiger Aspect Pictures and Shona Productions for six weeks in and around London. Kemp and Blatt have starred in The Krays and Honest respectively, while Davies is known in the UK for TV series Jonathan Creek.Feature newcomer Moody Shoaibi is directing the film about four aspiring DJs who come up ag
  • Time Warner strikes alliance with CETV

    Time Warner has broken into the potentially lucrative Chinese-language programming market through a ground-breaking strategic alliance with Hong Kong-based broadcaster China Entertainment Television (CETV).Time Warner-owned Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) Asia Pacific will provide the channel with selected programming and also work closely with CETV founder Robert Chua to produce original Chinese-language fare. In addition, TBS Asia Pacific, along with Warner Bros International Televi
  • Toei celebrates anniversary with Genji adaptation

    As part of its 50th birthday celebrations, Japanese major Toei is set to produce a Y1bn ($9.3m) adaptation of The Tale Of Genji, a classic of world literature written by Murasaki Shikibu.The script, by Akira Hayakawa, does not focus on the novel, but the writer, a courtier who began to write her most famous work following the death of her husband in 1003. Ageless superstar Sayuri Yoshinaga has signed to play Shikibu, while Yuki Amami will portray the writer's most famous charact
  • Tout Va Bien (On S'En Va) Everything's Fine

    Dir: Claude Mourieras. France. 2000. 94 mins.Prod co: Rezo Productions. Int'l sales: Flach Pyramide International (+33 1 4296 0220). Prods: Jean-Michel Rey, Philippe Liegeois. Scr: Mourieras. DoP: William Lubtchansky. Prod des: Wouter Zoon. Editor: Monique Dartonne. Main cast: Michel Piccoli, Miou Miou, Sandrine Kiberlain, Natach Regnier.No big build-up: in true French style, we're straight into the affectionate bickering of the three sisters around whom this assured feat
  • TV2 Danmark appoints Price to film, drama role

    Danish national broadcaster TV2 Danmark has appointed 33-year-old Adam Price as head of drama production starting 2001. The role has been expanded to encompass all fiction production including investments in features.Price has worked as a freelance writer in a wide range of genres and media for 14 years and has credits including the feature Babydoom and popular TV series Taxa. "Danish fiction on TV and in cinemas is experiencing its best time ever," said Price comm
  • Ullmann receives Norwegian Aamot Award

    Norwegian actress and director Liv Ullmann has received the coveted Norwegian Aamot Award in Bergen, Norway. The Award, given by Norway's theatre managers and distribution professionals, was bestowed on Ullmann for her "many sided artistic contribution to Norwegian, Nordic and international film over the past 40 years." Ullmann has been nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards several times and won the American Film Critic's Prize four years in a row. As an actress she h
  • UPC in talks to acquire major stake in Noos

    Dutch cable giant United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC) confirmed that it is in the running to buy a major stake in Noos, the French cable network operated by the Suez-Lyonnaise combine. UPC's bid was explained by chairman Mark Schneider at a press meeting in Amsterdam on Friday: "We are interested in taking a larger position than the 20% being offered."Suez is seeking to replace France Telecom, which currently holds a 49.9% stake in Noos. Bidders are being offered the chance t
  • UPC turns attention to video-on-demand

    Dutch cable giant United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC) is positioning itself to become a major supplier of content to third generation mobile phone operators and as a video-on-demand (VoD) wholesaler. Although the group is expanding from cable into telephony and wireless communications, UPC chairman Mark Schneider said that cost factors mean that the group is unlikely to bid for any of the new phone licences being auctioned off around Europe. "What we saw in England bordered on fooli
  • Uttar Pradesh takes on Mumbai with new film policy

    The government of North Indian state Uttar Pradesh is aiming to compete with India's principal film-making centre, Mumbai, with a new film policy that includes upgrading facilities at the NOIDA Film City in the New Delhi suburbs.The policy, which grants industry status to the local film sector, is intended to increase both film production and box office revenues in the region. Cinemas will be fitted with air conditioning and modern sound systems, and for the first time will be exempt f
  • Vivendi Universal merger deal only days away

    It looks as if Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier will be saying 'Bonjour Hollywood' within just a matter of days after both he and his prospective second-in-command Edgar Bronfman Jr separately confirmed that their hot-and-heavy negotiations to take over Seagram are all but wrapped up. The resulting Paris-based media and communications giant, Vivendi Universal, will focus on music, Europe and the internet and enjoy a stock market capitalisation of around $100bn."There is a Vivendi bo
  • Vivendi, Canal Plus confirm Seagram talks

    Universal Studios is set to change hands once again, passing from Canadian to French ownership within the next few weeks, now that Seagram is back at the negotiating table jointly with utilities and media combine Vivendi and its pay-TV subsidiary Canal Plus.Despite all previous denials, Seagram's boss Edgar Bronfman Jr is currently discussing the finer points in a $30bn-plus stock-swap that would result in a European-owned Hollywood studio conglomerate that would trade under the name V
  • When The Sky Falls

    Dir: John MacKenzie. UK-Ireland. 2000. 107 mins.Prod cos: Irish Screen, Sky Pictures, Irish Film Board, Redeemable Features. Int'l Sales: Icon Entertainment International. UK dist: 20th Century Fox. Prods: Nigel Warren-Green, Michael Wearing. Exec prods: Kevin Menton, Peter Newman, Mary Louise Queally. Scr: Michael Sheridan, Ronan Gallagher and Colum McCann. DoP: Seamus Deasy. Prod des: Mark Geraghty. Ed: Graham Walker. Mus: Pol Brennan. Main cast: Joan Allen, Patrick Bergin, Liam C
  • Yes strikes content deal with Warner Bros

    Yes Television, the UK video-on demand (VoD) supplier that was to have floated this month on the London stock market, has added a new content supply deal with Warner Bros.The new arrangement, which makes Yes the first VoD company in the UK to carry made-for-TV fare from Warner Bros International Television, includes long running series Friends, ER, comedies Veronica's Closet and Suddenly Susan and animated favourites Scooby Doo and Looney Toons
  • ZDF boards Barreda's Peruvian debut

    German broadcaster ZDF is backing Peruvian road movie Y Si Te Vi, No Me Acuerdo, the directorial debut of Miguel Barreda Delgado which started production June 5 in Lima. The film, about an ex-pat Peruvian who returns home after many years, is being shot in the digital format but there are plans to transfer it to 35mm for its theatrical release. Peruvian-born Barreda, who also wrote the screenplay, studied at the Berlin Academy of Film and Television. His credits include s