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Screen
16 March 2007

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  • 300 boosts US's box office, Mexico notes 118% year-on-year increase

    Collective box office revenue of nine territories was up 29% last weekend compared to the same weekend in 2006, according to Screen International's Screen Index. North America led the increase - the territory saw a 41.1% year-on-year increase and took $149.6m at the weekend. Top film 300 - an adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel - took a whopping $70.8m at the weekend, 25% more than the combined total of last year's top three films Failure To Launch, The S
  • 300 exceeds expectations for Warner with $70m opening

    300 delivered the first memorable result of the year as it destroyed the competition to open top on an estimated $70m, setting a new record for March. The tale of a band of Spartan warriors that repels the initial attacks by a massive invading Persian army generated the third biggest opening for an R-rated film behind The Matrix Reloaded ($91m) and The Passion Of The Ch
  • AFCI launches Global Initiatives to assist producers

    The Association Of Film Commmissioners International (AFCI), which is staging its annual Locations Trade Show in Los Angeles April 12 to 14, is launching a series of AFCI Global Initiatives.The initiatives include a worldwide educational programme covering the breadth of the film commission profession, easy access to the most current information available on worldwide incentives and an efficient way to make confidential location inquiries to one or multiple AFCI members commissions t
  • Aja to put Piranha back into the water

    Alexandre Aja will write and direct Dimension Film's upcoming Piranha remake, almost 30 years after the original opened in 1978. Atmosphere Entertainment founder Mark Canton, currently enjoying success with 300, is producing along with Marc Toberoff from IPW, Aja himself, and Gregory Levasseur. Alix Taylor, J Todd Harris from IPW, and Chako VanLeeuwen from Chako Fil
  • Ambitious Hong Kong ready to scale new heights

    This year's multi-faceted Hong Kong film season stretches to nearly a month of world-class events under the Entertainment Expo banner.Each distinct event is looking to stretch its brand to new limits. Three events - Filmart, co-production market HAF and the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) - all kick off on March 20 while the Expo runs until the Hong Kong Film Awards gala on April 15. Screen will be offering the best coverage of the event with
  • Apted, Dahl, Gibney, Burns films among Tribeca world premieres

    The 2007 Tribeca Film Festival has announced this year's world narrative and world documentary features and Spotlight selections.Eighteen narrative features and 16 documentaries from 25 countries - including 10 world premieres - will vie for combined unrestricted cash prizes during the festival, set to run in New York City from Apr 25-May 6. Overall the festival will screen 159 features and 85 shorts including 75 world premieres.World narrative selections include world pr
  • Argentina - Father figure

    Talented young Argentinian director Ariel Rotter premiered his first feature, Just For Today (Solo Por Hoy), at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2001.The Wong Kar-wai-influenced film quickly became a festival hit, won a string of local awards, and Rotter prepared to shoot his next feature, The Other.Financing problems set in, however, and The Other was held up, finally surfacing in competition at Berlin this year, with German and French co-pr
  • Argentina to sign co-production deals with China, France others

    Argentina's film institute INCAA announced at the Mar del Plata Film Festival yesterday that new co-production agreements were due to be signed with China, Israel, France, Germany and Switzerland in the coming weeks.'We are very hopeful about the future. We signed a similar agreement with Spain four years ago, and now more than 50% of Argentinian films are co-financed by Spanish companies,' INCAA's president Jorge Alvarez told Screendaily.com.Alvarez also praised local pr
  • Argentinian co-productions go global, new deals announced

    Argentina's film institute (INCAA) announced at Mar del Plata Film Festival new co-production agreements with China, Israel, France, Germany and Switzerland to be signed in the next weeks. 'We are very hopeful about the future. We have signed a similar agreement with Spain four years ago, and now more than 50 percent of the Argentinian films are co-financed by Spanish companies,' INCAA's president Jorge Alvarez told ScreenDaily. Alvarez also praised local producers who reac
  • Asian Film Awards to honour Josephine Siao, David Bordwell

    The inaugural Asian Film Awards will give its first Asian Film Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian Cinema to Josephine Siao. Siao has starred in more films than any other Hong Kong actor, including Stephen Chow's Fists of Fury 1991 II, Corey Yuen's Fong Sai Yuk and Ann Hui's Summer Snow.Her production company has worked on projects including Lung Kong's Hiroshima-28. She also founded Hong Kong's End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation and supports the Hong K
  • Ask the audience

    Last year at the ShoWest exhibition convention, Motion Picture Association of America (Mpaa) chairman Dan Glickman announced a study to try to pin down the truth about that mysterious animal, the movie-goer.While there was a sense of who comprises the cinema-going audience, there has been no hard and fast survey with statistical data to support the industry's collective gut instincts.The survey of more than 600 film-goers, conducted by Nielsen, was unveiled just prior to this ye
  • Bavaria Film International takes on Doris Doerrie's new film

    Bavaria Film International will handle international sales for Doris Doerrie's new feature film Kirschblueten (literally Cherry Blossoms) which began shooting on location in Tokyo today (March 13).The project (previously known as Hanami) reunites Doerrie with Munich-based Olga-Film, who produced her international breakthrough hit Men (Maenner) more than 20 years ago. It has been backed by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, the Germ
  • Blackbird

    Dir/scr: Adam Rapp. US. 2007. 108 minutes. Screening in the Narrative Features Competition at Austin's SXSW Festival, this depressing film treads a well-worn path. Its familiar story features a 32-year-old heroin-addicted Marine veteran named Bayliss (Sparks) who meets another addict, a 16-year-old runaway from Detroit named 'Froggy' (Jacobs) at the strip club where
  • Book will open, Eagle to close 10th Bermuda festival

    Paul Verhoeven's Black Book and Taika Waititi's Eagle Vs Shark bookend the 10th Bermuda International Film Festival, which runs from Mar 16-24.Bermuda-born actor Earl Cameron will return to the island to be honored with a film retrospective and take part in an on-stage interview on Mar 17. Cameron's credits include Pool Of London, Flame In The Streets, and
  • Capri taps Mongrel for Canadian co-release pact

    Toronto-based distributors Mongrel Media and Capri Releasing have entered into a national co-distribution agreement that will see Mongrel handling Capri's theatrical releases going forward as well as DVD. The deal follows the departure earlier this year of Capri Releasing vice-president Robin Smith.Mongrel president Hussain Amarshi told Screen International that the deal was not contractual but an agreement in principal. Capri, he said, would continue to acquire films and
  • China Film Group forms partnership with Taiwan's Era

    Chinese state-owned conglomerate China Film Group and Hong Kong-based Era Information and Entertainment unveiled a long-term strategic partnership at a press conference today in Beijing. The two companies plan to co-produce 10 Chinese-language feature films over the next three years. It is understood that the two companies will set up a joint venture for the co-production projects, although its name and the date of its establishment have yet to be announced. Representing the two s
  • Chris Auty leaves CEO post at The Works

    Chris Auty is stepping down as CEO and from the board of The Works Media Group. He will remain as a consultant for the London-based company, which runs the Works UK Distribution and sales company The Works International. Norman Humphrey, group finance director, has been appointed CEO effectively immediately. Humphrey has been a member of the board of The Works since 2000. 'The Board would like to express its thanks to Chris for his outstanding contribution over the years and wish
  • Closing release windows could boost film profits, says research

    A new piece of academic researchaims to bring some facts to the sensitive issue of DVD release windows.Over recent months, there have been strong protests by exhibitors in Italy, Germany and the UK against erosion of the gap between theatrical and home entertainment launches - and it remains an issue in many parts of the world.Research from Bauhaus-University of Weimar (Germany), Cass Business School (London), and the Universities of Hamburg (Germany) and Missouri-Columbia
  • Contender takes on Daddy's Girl starring Jaime Winstone

    UK distribution company Contender Entertainment Group has taken all UK rights from Carnaby International to horror film Daddy's Girl. The UK psychological thriller was directed by Welsh first-time feature director DJ Evans. Nerys Lloyd of Boda Cyf produced. The project is a Boda/Carnaby co-production in association with the Arts Council of Wales. Daddy's Girl stars Richard Harrington and Jaime Winstone in the story of a widowed psychiatrist who meets a tee
  • De Bokay takes reins of Miami Film Festival from Guillemet

    Patrick De Bokay is to succeed Nicole Guillemet as director of the Miami International Film Festival. Guillemet had announced last year that she would be leaving the festival after this year's event which finished yesterday (Sunday).French-born De Bokay's career has principally been in film marketing and advertising and has held jobs such as director of marketing for Twentieth Century Fox Theatrical in Paris and as vice president of international marketing for Turner Pictures Worldwi
  • Denmark - Overthrowing the old guard

    Based on the memoirs of James Gregory, Goodbye Bafana tells the story of the white South African who guarded Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. But while it is a South African story, the $20m project is directed by a Dane, Bille August, and has an international flavour in terms of financing and casting.Mandela is played by Dennis Haysbert (best known for television series 24), while English actor Joseph Fiennes takes the role of Gregory and Diane Kruger his wife.Sale
  • Diagonale continues strong documentary tradition

    Documentaries are once again out in force at this year's Diagonale - Festival of Austrian Film which will open in Graz on March 19 with Sabine Derflinger's 42 plus.The documentaries selected to screen over the six days of the festival - one day longer than last year - include Susanne Freund's portrait of Alma Mahler-Werfel in Big Alma, Sudabeh Mortezai's Children Of The Prophet tracing her Iranian roots, Gerald Igor Hauzenberger's Beyond The Forest (Einst S
  • Dimension to produce biker gang pic Hell Ride

    Dimension Films will produce the biker gang revenge story Hell Ride starring Larry Bishop, who will direct from his own screenplay.Michael Steinberg and Shana Stein of Steinberg & Stein Production will produce the Quentin Tarantino presentation alongside Bishop, with production set to begin in spring 2007.Hell Ride centres on The Victors, a hard-living gang of bikers out to avenge the death
  • Director Kwietniowski joins jury for the Central European Pitch Forum

    UK writer-director Richard Kwietniowski, the Polish Film Institute's deputy director Maciej Karpinski, Italian writer-director Giovanni Robbiano and Christina Kallas, president of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE), have been named as members of an international jury for the first Central European Pitch Forum (CEPF).This four-person jury will select 12 screenplays after the May 15 deadline to be presented by their authors at the Pitch Forum during the Pecs International Film
  • D-Street, Volkswagen team on US release of Summer

    Fledgeling US distributor D-Street Releasing has partnered with Volkswagen AG to support the marketing of the upcoming domestic release of Andreas Dresen's Summer In Berlin.The deal is part of an ongoing collaboration between D-Street and Volkswagen to promote and celebrate international film in the US market. The German film opens in New York on March 30 and will hit other cities around the US in April and throughout the summer.'T
  • Entertainment Expo Hong Kong - Power surge

    HONG KONGIt has been a year of ironic contradictions for the Hong Kong film industry. Undeniably, local producers are still struggling with falling production levels, as investors put resources into fewer but larger films, and local box office for home-grown productions continues to shrink.Yet despite the gloom, Hong Kong talent has probably not had such a high profile internationally since John Woo first blazed a trail in Hollywood. Over the past year, leading directors Wong Ka
  • Entertainment Expo Hong Kong 2007

    This year's edition sees many changes as Expo raises its profile in the international calendar. Filmart, HAF and Hkiff will start on the same day and work more closely to provide a platform to support the production and distribution of Asian and other international films.In addition, the opening night of Expo will feature the first pan-Asian film awards designed to celebrate excellence across the wide spectrum of Asian cinema.In the following pages we take an in-depth look at recent de
  • Eurimages to support digitisation of its funded films

    The Council of Europe's Eurimages fund is planning to provide support for the digitisation of its funded films from the middle of this year to boost their circulation throughout Europe.Speaking at this year's Sofia Meetings, Eurimages' executive secretary Jan Vandierendonck revealed that he is currently drafting the guidelines for an initiative that will be submitted for approval to the Board of Management at its next meeting in Warsaw at the beginning of May.Producers of Eurimage
  • Exhibitors: windows on the world

    John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, told this week's ShoWest that release windows are the industry's top priority. He speaks for the majority of exhibitors in his alarm that the average window between theatrical and home release slipped last year by 10 days, to four months and eight days.The consolation that windows are eroded most for under-performing theatrical releases, while bigger grossing films have much longer theatrical lives, is not taken as
  • FDA and The Script Factory to offer free script seminars

    Film Distributors' Association (FDA) and The Script Factory will join forces to provide a script-reading training programme and a series of seminars exclusively for UK film distributors. Three one-day script-reading training courses, which are free to those working in film distribution, aim to help distributors enhance feature film script analysis. They will take place on April 3, May 2 and June 19. Seminars - which have yet to be scheduled - will address the film development process,
  • Feeney moves to Hong Kong as vp, production, for Imagi

    Computer graphics expert Brett Feeney has joined Imagi International Holdings as vice president of production based in Hong Kong.Feeney will be responsible for managing the company's animation production line and its 400+ artists, animators, and technical staff. His arrival coincides with the release of Imagi's first major theatrical film, TMNT: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which Warner Brothers and The Weinstein Company will release on Mar 23
  • Filmart - HK market stakes global claim

    This year, many Asian sellers decided to skip Berlin's European Film Market in February and focus on the Hong Kong event (March 20-23) instead - a telling sign that the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (Filmart) is raising its international profile.Indeed it looks like not one but two markets are filling the gap that opened up two years ago between the AFM and Cannes - one with a higher concentration of Asian buyers and sellers and the other more skewed towards Europe. Where yo
  • First all-digital cinema for Empire

    UK's Empire Cinemas today announced the launch of its first totally digital cinema, situated at High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. The theatre chain, which has 16 sites across the UK, has partnered with Kodak, Barco and Bell Theatre Services to install the latest in digital cinema projection technology for all six screens at its 1697-seat multiplex in High Wycombe. Justin Ribbons, CEO, Empire Cinemas said: 'Empire Cinemas is the largest private cinema operator in the UK and the swit
  • First look dealer

    These are challenging times for First Look International (FLI) president Stuart Ford, one of the participants at Screen International's US financing summit in London. Several months after Ford launched FLI's London office to handle sales and source acquisitions and co-productions, the UK Treasury announced it was effectively closing the door on Gaap funding. Then First Look Studios CEO Henry Winterstern caught Hollywood unawares when he abruptly left his post at the beginning of March.
  • Flakes

    Dir: Michael Lehmann. US. 2007. 83 mins. Flakes starts well and full of pep, but is one of those 'high concept' indie films that fatally loses steam after the first 20 minutes, once the basic premise - dueling cereal restaurants, one a laid-back, funky hippie operation and the other an aspiring corporate franchisee - stops being cute. Production values are high, the acting for the most part is solid, and Zooey Deschanel is, as usual, a dream
  • Fortissimo picks up Yau Nai Hoi's Eye In The Sky

    Fortissimo Films has acquired worldwide rights, excluding Asia but including Japan and Korea, to action thriller Eye In The Sky from Hong Kong 's Sundream Motion Pictures. The directorial debut of Johnnie To's regular screenwriter Yau Nai Hoi, the film recently premiered at Berlin and is one of the opening films of the upcoming Hong Kong International Film Festival (March 20 - April 11). To's Milkyway Image produced the film for Sundream. Tony Leung Ka-fai, Simon Yam and ne
  • Future expands US office with appointment of Charlotte Koh

    Future Films USA has hired former Fox Searchlight executive Charlotte Koh as its business development executive. Koh will report to Future USA's CEO Simon Horsman. Future said it would expand further in the coming months with the appointment of a production and development executive.At Fox Searchlight, Koh was a Creative Executive working in production, development and acquisitions under Claudia Lewis and Peter Rice. London-based financing and production company Futu
  • Future Films creates joint venture with post company Pepper

    UK- and US-based financier and production company Future Films is creating a new partnership with London-based post-production company Pepper. Pepper has worked mostly on TV drama (Life On Mars, Prime Suspect) and independent features such as Michael Winterbottom's The Road To Guantanamo but will now expand its film services to a wider, more international customer ba
  • Gooding tostar in heist thriller Hero Wanted for Millenium

    Cuba Gooding Jr has signed to star in Millennium Films' Hero Wanted, which is scheduled to begin shooting in April in Bulgaria.Brian Smrz makes his directorial debut on the story of a garbage collector who stages a heist so he can play the hero and impress his girlfriend. When the man is double-crossed by his associates, he seeks revenge.Richard Salvatore, Johnny Martin and David Ornston are producing, with Millennium's Trevor Short
  • Grant scheme to strengthen Romania's audiovisual sector

    Former Eurimages executive secretary Renate Roginas is heading up a $1.2 million (Euros 900,000) PHARE Grant Scheme to strengthen the Romanian audiovisual sector 'with the aim to promote European cultural diversity and to develop a viable national audiovisual industry'.Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily.com, Roginas explained that 'the programme runs parallel to Romania's membership of the MEDIA Programme [since Jan 1], although it wasn't originally planned this way because the grants w
  • Guadalajara Film Festival to boast over $600,000 in cash awards

    Guillermo del Toro, Costa Gavras, Antonio Banderas, Viggo Mortensen and Nelson Perreira dos Santos are some of the celebrities who will attend the Guadalajara Film Festival (March 22-30), which boasts a strong Iberoamerican selection of no less than 140 full length and 106 shorts in its various strands. Del Toro, fresh from the Academy Awards where Pan's Labyrinth obtained three statuettes, will offer a master class accompanied by art director Eugenio Cabalero, Academy Award
  • HAF 2007 - Invested interest

    Co-production markets have become a must-have accessory at film festivals from New York to Tokyo. The Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) is slightly different, however, in that it is a financing platform that was conceived independently and only later became attached to a film festival.Organised for the past two years by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and local industry body the Mpia, HAF was taken over by the Hong Kong International Film Festival (Hkiff) after last year
  • Hayley Atwell joins Jarrold's Brideshead Revisited cast

    HanWay Films has announced that UK actress Hayley Atwell has been cast as Julia Flyte in the new adaptation of Brideshead Revisited.She joins previously announced castmembers Ben Whishaw and Matthew Goode in Julian Jarrold's forthcoming adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh classic, adapted by Andrew Davies and Jeremy Brock. The project will shoot from late May 2007 on location in Oxford, Venice and Morocco.Ecosse Films' Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae are producing alongside Kev
  • He Was A Quiet Man

    Dir: Frank Cappello. US. 2007. 100 minutes. Screening in the Spotlight Premiere section of SXSW, He Was A Quiet Man is an excellent, unpredictable and often extremely witty film that is, alas, going to have a difficult time finding an audience. A dark comedy that is really quite comic but also really, really dark, one simply can't imagine it doing well across the shopping malls of America, or, for that matter, even being picked up for distribution
  • Heather Graham romantic comedy starts shooting in Belfast

    Principal photography has begun in Belfast on the Heather Graham-starring romantic comedy Buy Borrow Steal, which is being directed by UK director Eric Styles (Relative Values) for Doris Kirch's Blue Angel Films Ltd. Based on a script by Camilla Leslie, which won the Best Screenplay Prize at the Hamptons Film Festival in 2004, Buy Borrow Steal centres on an ambitious young London professional (played by Graham) who learns that she has only one month left in which to
  • Hong Kong International Film Festival - Match makers

    This year marks a radical shift in the ambitions of the 31-year-old Hong Kong International Film Festival (Hkiff). Although respected for the quality of its programming, the festival has traditionally focused on local audiences and has not had a high profile on the global film-festival circuit or been regarded as a key industry event.As a result, better-funded festivals in the region, such as Pusan and Bangkok, have been making more noise, though the latter is going through a period of
  • In Focus - UK TAX - Feeling the squeeze

    I think it's going to get worse before it gets better," admits John Woodward, chief executive of the UK Film Council of the current state of UK film finance.For the world's third-biggest producer of films, the idea that the situation will get worse will not surprise many people. But local and international producers, studios and investors will need convincing that the UK is back on a clear and sustainable track.There is no doubting that the last fortnight has been traumatic. To
  • International distributors, exhibitors call for cheaper digital options

    After an upbeat presentation by Paramount Pictures International Andrew Cripps on the opening day of ShoWest, the tone darkened somewhat as attendees heard a somber warning about the cost of digital conversion.Speaking on a panel entitled Digital Cinema - The Way Forward, Warner Bros International Cinemas Millard Ochs called for greater competition among the creators of digital equipment to drive down prices.'I hope that we, as a cooperative group of distributors and exhi
  • Italian exhibitors pull controversial Death Of A President

    Gabriel Range's Death Of A President has already hit a nerve in Italy, where ahead of its March 16th opening 30% of planned exhibitors have backed out of showing the film and 600 out of 2,000 promotional posters have disappeared in Rome. Andrea Occhipinti, president of the film's Italian distributor Lucky Red, says the film was originally set for a 100-print run is now at about 70 copies nationwide. The UK-produced hypothetical drama imagines the assasination of George W Bush.
  • Jan Sverak's Empties fills coffers at Czech box office

    Empties (Vratne Lahve), the new film from father-and-son team Jan and Zdenek Sverak (Kolya) drew more than 110,000 viewers its opening weekend. The Sveraks' film just broke the record set earlier this year by Jiri Menzel's I Served The King Of England.'Young people are going to see it and they are bringing their parents, who haven't been to the cinema in ages,' d
  • Japan's VAP ships Death Note DVDs in record numbers

    Japanese video distributor Video Audio Project (VAP) has made an initial shipment of 500,000 box sets of Death Note and its sequel Death Note 2: The Last Name for a total of one million discs. The shipment sets a record for any domestic film released in 2006. The set also includes a third disc with 150 minutes of extras, a booklet and a CD soundtrack. A rental edition of the first film hit shops on Feb 14 while the sequel is released on the same day as the box set. The firs
  • Kadokawa Group Holdings launches licensing company

    Japanese conglomerate Kadokawa Group Holdings (KGH) has established a licensing company, Kadokawa Production, to handle rights management and licensing for the group's various media subsidiaries. The move will consolidate and strengthen Kadokawa's ability to license its vast library of books, animation and films with its main focus on the domestic licensing business. Kadokawa Production, which begins operations on April 2, will also engage in new business including products aimed
  • Kaneshiro to replace Leung in Woo's Red Cliff

    Taiwanese-Japanese star Takeshi Kaneshiro has replaced Tony Leung Chiu-wai in the cast of John Woo's upcoming military epic Red Cliff, after the Hong Kong actor had to quit the project due to scheduling conflicts. In addition, Japanese star Shidou Nakamura, who recently appeared in Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima, has joined the cast of the $75m production which is scheduled to start shooting on March 29 in and around Beijing. Other previously announced cast,
  • Knocked Up

    Dir/scr: Judd Apatow. US, 2007. 126 mins. In 2005, Judd Apatow scored big with the surprise hit, The 40-Year Old Virgin, which, with its novel combination of gross-out elements and old-fashioned, recognisably human emotion, earned critical plaudits and went on to do some $177m box-office world-wide. With his new film, Knocked Up, Apatow, who is listed as director, writer, and producer, stands to do even better. The jokes, which are in the
  • Korea's T-Entertainment buys stake in Sio Film

    KOSDAQ-listed T-Entertainment has announced it is buying into production company Sio Film. The entertainment conglomerate has acquired a 29.3% stake in the company that produced Park Chan-wook's Old Boy among other hits. T-Entertainment was formed last year when the publicly listed online games firm Nako Entertainment merged with music specialist T-Entertainment and talent management firm GTB Entertainment, which has stars such as Yoo Ji-tae and Cha Seung-won in its stable.
  • Lola nominees announced

    Tom Tykwer's lavish adaptation of Patrick Suskind's Perfume - The Story Of A Murderer and Chris Kraus's prison drama Four Minutes are running neck and neck with eight nominations apiece for the German Film Awards - the Golden and Silver Lolas - which will be presented in a gala ceremony in Berlin on May 4.German Film Academy president Senta Berger and State Minister for Culture and Media Bernd Neumann announced this year's nominations during ZDF's breakfast news programme
  • LoveFilm to offer sponsored and burnable feature downloads

    European online DVD rental and movie download company LoveFilm.com has today announced two new digital downloading initiatives. The company is starting the world's first advertiser-sponsored free downloads of feature films and is also launching the UK's first download-to-burn service for feature films. The first advertiser on board for the sponsored downloads is Volkswagen, with other partners in talks now. The new offerings will launch later this month, with Volkswagen on board for 100,
  • Magnolia picks up Great World Of Sound

    Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to Craig Zobel'sGreat World Of Sound at the South By Southwest Film Festival.Patrick Healy and Kene Holliday star as two ordinary men who getcaught up in a record industry talent search and learn the finer - andnot so fine - points of being record producers. Magnolia plans anearly autumn release.'Magnolia is one of the most progressive, exciting companies
  • Malaysia, MPA unleash sniffer dogs on DVD pirates

    Malaysia 's Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (MDTCA) and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) have jointly launched Operation Double Trouble, the latest anti-piracy effort which engages a pair of the world's first dogs trained with DVD-sniffing abilities. A demonstration was held today at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport where the two black Labrador retrievers, Lucky and Flo, successfully identified packages containing optical discs in front of the Royal Malaysian Po
  • Market Focus - Commercial decisions

    Distributors have long known that advertising in cinemas is an effective way to access audiences before the release of a film. But new UK research suggests audiences are more receptive to commercials shown there than to any other form of advertising.Research by TNS on behalf of the Cinema Advertising Association's Film Audience Measurement and Evaluation (Fame) found consumers generally perceive adverts and trailers for upcoming films to be part and parcel of the cinema-going experienc
  • Metrodome takes on The Serpent

    Metrodome have acquired full UK rights to Eric Barbier's stylish French revenge thriller The Serpent. The film is an adaptation of the classic crime novel Plender by Ted Lewis (Get Carter), directed by Eric Barbier and starring Yvan Attal (Munich, The Interpreter) and Clovis Cornillac (Brice De Nice, A Very Long Engagement). The deal was negotiated between Carole Baraton from Wild Bunch and Metrodome's General Manager Sara Frain and Acquisitions
  • Mittur moves to Paramount for interactive and mobile job in Asia

    Pradeep Mittur has been appointed Paramount Pictures' vice president of interactive and mobile entertainment for the Asia Pacific region.Based in Singapore, Mittur will drive Paramount Digital Entertainment's interactive and mobile businesses across the region, and explore new revenue streams and technologies.Mittur, who will report to senior vice president of interactive and mobile Sandi Isaacs, arrives from The Walt Disney Company, where he was responsible for games and
  • Music and Lyrics hits the right note

    Warner Bros is singing a sweet song as Music And Lyrics climbs up to the top spot internationally, after five weeks in the chart. The romantic comedy took $9.6m at the weekend after opening in an additional eight territories, including Germany, Mexico and Netherlands. Eddie Murphy comedy Norbit also saw a boost as it expanded in 11 territories across an additional 1,330 screens, generating $9.2m at the weekend - up 378% from last weekend. Italian audiences continued to favour lo
  • New Chinese buyers - Slice of the action

    Until recently, international sales companies were showing little interest in China. The market's rampant piracy and censorship were major turn-offs, as was the fact that unless a film is selected as one of China's 20 annual revenue-sharing imports, it can technically only be sold for a flat fee to state-owned China Film Group.This indifference started to change last year when China's market recorded growth of 30% for the second year running, and the box office of imported films increa
  • New multiplex causes box office boom in Sweden

    Three months after Sweden's Queen Silvia inaugurated Filmstaden Bergakungen - SF Bio's new $35.3 million (Euros 26.9m) multiplex with 2,260 seats in Goteborg, the country's second-largest city - Sweden's number-one exhibitor has registered a 42% increase in local cinema attendance. Already operating Filmstaden DownTown (eight auditoria) and Palladium (one), adding Bergakungen's 14 on Nov 18, 2006, SF Bio has since reached 250,000 admissions in Goteborg, with the newcomer accounting for a
  • Palm gets domestic on Mitsuru's Glamorous Life

    Palm Pictures has picked up North American rights to Meike Mitsuru's political satire The Glamorous Life Of Sachiko Hanai.The distributor plans an April 2007 release on the story of a call girl who develops psychic powers after she is shot in the head.The woman soon finds herself being pursued after she obtains a cylinder containing George W Bush's finger, whose fingerprint is enough to launch a nuclear strike. Emi Kuroda, Kyoko Ha
  • Picturehouse marches with Jacquet on Fox & The Child

    Picturehouse has acquired US rights from Wild Bunch to Luc Jacquet's March Of The Penguins follow-up The Fox & The Child.The Bonne Pioche production was first announced at Sundance 2006 and is being produced by Jacquet's team of Yves Darondeau, Christophe Lioud and Emmanuel Priou.The Fox & Child is based on Jacquet's childhood experiences and tells of
  • Piedmont announces new $33.1m (Euros 25m) film fund

    Italy 's Piedmont region announced the inception of the Piedmont Film Company and the details of its new $33.1 million (Euros 25m) film fund to a packed press conference that was attended by industry insiders, cultural politicians and directors including Gabriele Salvatores and Mario Martone. Piedmont region President Mercedes Bresso made the region's cinematic ambition clear: the fund is the final piece in the puzzle that the region has been building over the past years with an eye to
  • Pirate DVD eBay trader busted in London

    The Federation Against Copyright Theft Internet Investigations Team led police to a 22-year-old man in Canning Town, East London, who was taken in for questioning regarding the sale of counterfeit DVDs on eBay.It is believed that the illegal trader was making thousands of pounds a month selling blackmarket TV and film titles including 24, The Sopranos and Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. A joint raid between Newham Borough Metropolitan Police and Newham Council T
  • Playtone and Walden to shoot City Of Ember in Northern Ireland

    The Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission (NIFTC) has announced that Hollywood production City Of Ember will shoot in the region this summer. Playtone Productions and Walden Media are producing the children's fantasy sci-fi adventure adapted from American writer Jeanne DuPrau's book. Monster House director Gil Kenan will direct from a screenply by Caroline Thompson (Corpse Bride). City Of Ember will shoot entirely in Northern Ireland, starting
  • Premonition

    Dir: Mennan Yapo. US. 2007. 97mins. Unconvincingly folding together domestic drama with time-bending suspense and personal-stakes analytical thrills, Premonition represents Sandra Bullock's worst starring vehicle in a decade. Spare in design, detail and cogent thought, the film is a mock investigative thriller which unfolds over the course of one jumbled week and ultimately collapses under its own accumualted weight. Passingly reminiscent of Gothi
  • Princess Of The Sun to become first film screening at Pyramids

    French animated feature Princess Of The Sun is to receive its world premiere tomorrow at a special outdoor screening in Egypt, at the bottom of the pyramids of Giza. This is the first time the Egyptian Government has sanctioned such a screening. The Egyptian premiere is the brainchild of French producer Rezo Film and ambitious Egyptian media group, Good News Group. The event will start with a giant outdoor screening of the film for 1,000 guests. This will also be a live performanc
  • Reign Over Me

    Dir/scr: Mike Binder. US. 2007. 125 minutes. Using the events of September 11 as a prism through which to refract one widower's swallowed anguish, writer-director Mike Binder's Reign Over Me is an astute, adult drama that grapples with issues of intervention and familial communication, and asks what is the socially acceptable shelf life of grief. A smart, thoughtful and gracefully pitched film, it's anchored by moving work from Adam Sandler, who delivers a poten
  • Serbian triumph at Sofia festival

    Serbian filmmaker Srdan Golubovic's family drama-thriller The Trap (Klopka) won the Grand Prix at this year's Sofia International Film Festival.The Serbian-German-Hungarian co-production received its world premiere at last month's Berlinale Forum before opening the Belgrade International Film Festival FEST. It subsequently topped Serbia's box office ahead of the current US releases. Another co-production with Germany, recognised by the International Jury headed by T
  • Shadow Of The Dog wins best film at Mumbai fest

    Girish Kasaravalli's Kanada-language film In The Shadow Of The Dog (Nayi Neralu) won the best film award at the International Film Festival of Mumbai (IFFM) which concluded on Thursday. A trophy and a cash prize of $2,300 (Rs100,000) were presented to the director and a trophy and cash prize of $1,700 (Rs75,000) to the producer of the film by the international jury led by Indian filmmaker Girish Karnad. The international jury also presented Ahsan Muzid's The Fortu
  • Showest keynotes offer upbeat message

    Showest's state-of-the-industry addresses by Motion Picture Association of America chairman Dan Glickman and National Association of Theater Owners president John Fithian had an upbeat message.Both men characterised the record of 2006 movie attendance as an upswing and predicted even better performance in 2007. The MPAA last week announced 2006 US box office of $9.49bn up 5.5% year-on-year, claiming 63 films grossed in more than $50m in the US alone in 2006.But underlying
  • Sisters

    Dir: Douglas Buck. US. 2007. 92 mins.When will filmmakers ever learn how risky it is to re-make a classic, especially when it's in the same language' Does it take a special form of hubristic death-wish to deliberately invite comparisons between your film and that of an acknowledged master of horror like Brian DePalma, who first filmed the same material, with the same title, in 1973' Gus Van Sant's remake of Psycho is the definitive example of the
  • Sony signs TV distribution deal with Korea's CJE

    Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has signed a long-term distribution agreement with leading Korean film distributor CJ Entertainment (CJE). The deal gives SPTI the right to distribute a limited number of films from CJE's current and future slates to broadcasters across Asia excluding Japan, mainland China and Korea. Yu Ha's gangster drama A Dirty Carnival, starring Zo In-sung, will be the first film to be distributed through SPTI under the contract. The
  • SPC takes US rights to Buscemi's Van Gogh remake Interview

    Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) has picked up US rights to Interview, Steve Buscemi's drama based on the late Theo Van Gogh's 2003 Dutch film of the same name which played at Sundance and Berlin this year.Buscemi directed from his own screenplay and stars opposite Sienna Miller as a jaded political journalist who is assigned to interview a celebrity.'It was always Theo's dream to make films in America and to have his work seen here,' p
  • Spike Lee to receive directing award at 50th San Francisco festival

    Spike Lee will receive the Film Society Directing Award at the upcoming 50th San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) that runs from Apr 26-May 10.Lee will collect the honour at the Film Society Awards Night on May 3, when attendees will see a reel of Lee's film-making highlights followed by an on-stage interview.Festival organisers have also scheduled a screening on May 2 of Lee's documentary When the Levees Broke; A Requiem In F
  • Suffering Man's Charity

    Dir: Alan Cumming. USA. 2007. 92 mins Suffering Man's Charity is one of those films that attempts to hide humourless and cruelty behind the generic label 'black comedy'. Instead of being funny, it is rather a relentless harangue, an assault of over-the-top acting that attempts to disguise or make up for a script that is seriously lacking in either depth or delight. Director Cumming has an extensive background in the theatre, and this might excuse the highly
  • Tartan drops title after teen accused of double murder

    Cutting-edge UK distributor Tartan Video announced today (Mar 15) that it will cease supplying retailers with DVD copies of The Last Horror Movie. The award-winning 2003 film has become involved in the trial of a teen in the UK, who, itis claimed, murdered his two friends. The trial has heard that the accused allegedly watched the film repeatedly in the four days leading up to the deaths. The teen has admitted the killings but denied the charge of murder.A spokesman for Tar
  • Teen cult film beats Pinocchio

    Italian teen cult film I Want You (Ho Voglia Di Te) has beaten Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio for best opening day for a local film, a record the Oscar winner's film has held since 2002. The Cattleya-produced I Want You, which is a sequel, scored $2 million (Euros 1.5 m) off 575 screens on its opening day, according to Cinetel, Italy's ticket compiler. Cinetel covers 90% of the Italian market. Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio, in comparison, opened on
  • The Lookout

    Dir/Scr: Scott Frank. US. 2007. 99 mins. Opening Night Film at the SXSW Film Festival, The Lookout is the directorial debut of Oscar-nominated screenwriter Scott Frank (Out Of Sight, Get Shorty, Minority Report, The Interpreter and Little Man Tate). A somewhat uneven, but always engaging film, The Lookout is set to be released in the US in late March by Miramax. While always solidly workmanlike (if not al
  • The Prisoner Or: How I Planned To Kill Tony Blair

    Dir: Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein. US, 2007. 72 minutes. Shown in the Spotlight Premieres section of SXSW Festival, The Prisoner Or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair is a powerfully moving documentary about one Iraqi man's mistreatment at the hands of the US military in that infamous hellhole borrowed from Saddam called Abu Ghraib. But anyone likely to watch a film like this already knows that the US occupation of that tragic country has been a ghastly mis
  • Tribeca adds star-studded world premieres in Encounters section

    The Tribeca Film Festival unveiled the Encounters, Restored/Rediscovered and Midnight sections yesterday [March 13], as well as two special events.The new Encounters section is designed to offer provocative film-making from new and established talents. Screenings include the world premieres of The Air I Breathe starring Forest Whitaker, Brendan Fraser, Andy Garcia and Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Franco's latest film as a director
  • Tribeca and RES founders team for Tomorrow Unlimited

    Tribeca Enterprises, parent company of the Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Cinemas, is partnering with some of the former heads of RES MEDIA group for a new venture, Tomorrow Unlimited LLC. Tomorrow will be led by CEO Karol Martesko-Fenster and COO John Turk, who co-founded and ran digital film and lifestyle company RES Media Group for 10 years. RES was responsible for RESFEST, print magazine RES and a DVD label among other ventures. Other RES principals joining the new venture
  • Tribeca announces final films for key sections

    2007 Tribeca Film Festival organisers have announced the third and final group of feature selections for the Discovery, Showcase and Family Film Festival sections. Discovery includes 39 narrative and documentary features from up-and-coming directors from 12 countries. The line-up encompasses Matthew Barbato's sex reassignment documentary Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother; Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst's coming-of-age drama
  • Udine Far East Film Fest will open with Japanese blockbuster Dororo

    Director Akihito Shiota's Dororo will open the 9th edition of Italy 's Udine Far East Film Festival (April 20-28). Shiota will be present at the Dororo's European premiere. The film - which has grossed $26 million to date, is a massive success in his native Japan and already spawned plans for a sequel. Based on a famous manga by Osamu Tezuka, (the 'father' of Japanese comics) the film recounts the legend of a samurai forced to fight against 48 devils to regain 48 parts of his ow
  • UK Film Council chief warns producers of tougher times ahead after tax clampdown

    UK Film Council chief executive of the John Woodward has warned the UK film industry it will have to face up to a tough period of contraction following this month's tax clampdown.'Things will get worse before they get better,' he said.Earlier this month, the Treasury announced it was effectively ending so-called GAAP finance schemes through which wealthy individuals would offset tax against the paper losses of partnership schemes.The impact of that move was so
  • UK Film Council lotteryunaffected by Olympics budget blowout

    Today's announcement by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell that the 2012 London Olympics budget has risen to $18.11bn (£9.35bn) will not impact the next round of UK Film Council funding, a spokesperson has assured ScreenDaily.While a further $1,307m (£675m) is expected to be taken from lottery funds, the Film Council spokesperson said: 'Today's announcement by the Secretary of State did not come as a big surprise to us and indeed all Lottery distributors have been expecting to contribute tow
  • UK Film Council P&A Fund backs films including The Lives Of Others

    The UK Film Council's Prints & Advertising Fund has supported a number of new features in its latest round of Lottery funding. The specialised, foreign and arthouse films backed in this round are: $ 482,769 (£250,000) to Lionsgate UK for The Lives Of Others $197,458 (£102,231) to Metrodome for Days Of Glory $289,724 (£150,000) to Tartan for Black Book $9,657 (£5,000) to Tartan for Ghosts $57,657 (£29,850) to Park Circus for
  • UK tax: feeling the squeeze

    'I think it's going to get worse before it gets better,' admits John Woodward, chief executive of the UK Film Council of the current state of UK film finance.'For the world's third-biggest producer of films, the idea that the situation will get worse will not surprise many people. But local and international producers, studios and investors will need convincing that the UK is back on a clear and sustainable track.There is no doubting that the last fortnight has been traumatic. To recap
  • United Kingdom - History moves with the times

    As the industry increasingly looks to take advantage of back catalogues, the world's largest and most valuable film archive is now being made available at the click of a button - for free.The Mediatheque room of the new BFI Southbank beneath London's Waterloo Bridge already has available 300 film and TV titles from the national archives, ranging from Brief Encounter to Monty Python. "We want people to come in and rifle through the archives to view films they might not hav
  • United Kingdom - Mutual Benefit

    With UK arthouse distributors bemoaning the tough market, it seems an odd time for a new player to enter the game.But Nick Crossley and Jono Stevens are keeping an open mind as they launch Diffusion Pictures. As Stevens says: "More people are watching films than ever. (The theatrical market) is a little tough but it's not impenetrable." But Crossley adds: "You have to love film if you're doing what we do."Crossley is a veteran of film finance outfit Ingenious Media and distribut
  • United States - Feeding the distribution machine

    In the third-party acquisition business, Sony has long been one of the most active and innovative of the Hollywood studios. Its commitment goes back to the 1980s, when, among other projects, it co-financed Steven Soderbergh's groundbreaking indie film sex, lies and videotape.Now the studio has revamped its acquisition team with a new name - Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (Spwa) - and the appointments of international video veteran Adrian Alperovich as senior executive vice
  • Universal Pictures Germany to distribute Egoli Tossell quartet

    Universal Pictures International (UPI) Germany is to handle distribution in all German-speaking territories for another three Egoli Tossell Film projects in addition to Michael Hoffman's $17m Tolstoy drama The Last Station, starring Anthony Hopkins and Meryl Streep.The three new acquisitions by UPI are:* Mostly Martha director Sandra Nettelbeck's next feature, the English-language hard-hitting drama Helen, which has Gillian Anderson attached and will be shot a
  • US exhibitor announces first all-digital multiplex in Chicago

    Muvico Entertainment announced at ShoWest this week that it will build the world's first theatre complex equipped with Sony's 4K SXRD projectors in each theatre. The projectors will be installed in Muvico's new Chicago area entertainment complex as the initial step in converting the chain's 12 US theatres - comprising 228 screens - to digital technology. Muvico plans to install SXRD projectors in three more of its sites by 2008. The 18-screen Chicago facility, scheduled t
  • UTV to co-produce Shyamalan's Happening with Fox

    Indian entertainment conglomerate UTV Motion Pictures has announced that it will co-produce M Night Shyamalan's next film The Happening with Twentieth Century Fox. UTV and Fox will share global revenues from the $57m film in all media, in perpetuity, equally. The deal is part of UTV's ongoing
  • Viacom files $1bn lawsuit against Google, YouTube

    Viacom has filed a lawsuit suing Google and its hugely popular online video subsidiary YouTube for $1bn yesterday [March 13] for making available close to 160,000 unauthorised clips of Viacom material.In papers filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, the plaintiff claimed that the clips had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.Viacom is claiming damages and seeks an injunction blocking Google and YouTube from further copyright infringement
  • Violin, Banished, Red Road take top honours at Miami

    Francisco Vargas Quevedo's El Violin from Mexico and Marco Williams' Banished from the USA won the respective Ibero-American drama and documentary competition sections at the 24th annual Miami International Film Festival during the awards evening on Saturday night (March 10).Meanwhile, Andrea Arnold's much acclaimed Red Road won the World Cinema competition secti
  • Vitale to step down as First Look president

    Ruth Vitale will step down as president of First Look Pictures on April 30 following the board's decision to scale down its theatrical operations in the wake of Henry Winterstern's departure two weeks ago as CEO and co-chairman. Vitale will continue to oversee First Look Pictures' first wide release on Apr 13 of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For
  • Warp X takes off with Donkey Punch

    Shooting has begun for the first film on the slate of new production company Warp X. British thriller Donkey Punch will also be the debut feature for co-writers Olly Blackburn and David Bloom, with Blackburn making his feature directorial debut. Warp X is the new digital low-budget feature film scheme backed by the UK Film Council, Film4, Screen Yorkshire, EM Media and Optimum Releasing. The film is to be produced by Angus Lamont (Late Night Shopping), Mark
  • WBPI enjoys powerhouse weekend at international box office

    Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore ruled the overseas arena as Music And Lyrics grossed an estimated $10.1m in what turned out to be a sensational weekend for Warner Bros.Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI) also reported record-breaking initial results for the Spartan battle epic 300 - which dominated the North American charts on an astonishing $70m - and scored the second biggest release of all time i
  • Williams, McGregor and Macfadyen on board for Maguire's Incendiary

    Bridget Jones's Diary director Sharon Maguire will start shooting her new project Incendiary later this month in London with a cast featuring Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor and Matthew Macfadyen. Archer Street 's Andy Paterson and Anand Tucker are producing, with Aramid Entertainment Fund financing. Capitol Films is handling international sales. The UK Film Council and Film4 have been active in development and will also back the production. Independent producer Bil
  • Women directors dominate SXSW awards

    Films by women directors dominated the prizes at this year's South by Southwest (SXSW), the hip indie film festival and conference held in the Texan capital city of Austin.Jamie Babbit's narrative feature Itty Bitty Titty Committee won the top dramatic jury prize taking Best Narrative Feature. Jennifer Venditti's Billy The Kid was named Best Documentary Feature.

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