By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

16 October 2001

View all stories from this issue.

  • AFI Fest unveils lineup including new Jaglom pic

    AFI Fest 2001, the Los Angeles International Film Festival, announced its full lineup at a reception on Wednesday night. Joining the already announced opening night film (Dark Blue World), centrepiece gala (Lantana) and closing night film (Monster's Ball) are 57 feature films including eight world premieres. 49% of the entire festival programme is composed of foreign and foreign-language films.In addition, AFI Fest will pay tribute on Nov 9 to director Ang Lee wit
  • All About Lily Chou Chou

    Dir: Shunji Iwai. Japan. 2001. 146 mins.If you thought Tim Blake Nelson's O was an edgy high school movie, take a look at Shunji Iwai's latest film All About Lily Chou Chou - a harrowing portrait of contemporary teenagers in a Japanese school where casual violence, pimping, rape and murder are the expressions of a bottomless despair with existence. Running close to two-and-a-half hours, the film represents a challenging sell for distributors. But it's a risk whi
  • Alliance Atlantis buys int'l rights on Baran

    Alliance Atlantis Pictures International has acquired international rights excluding Italy to Majid Majidi's Iranian drama Baran which played in the New York Film Festival this week.Miramax Films has rights in North America and Italy, and Alliance Atlantis will release the film through its ongoing distribution agreement in Canada.Baran, which won the Grand Prize at the 2001 Montreal Film Festival (Majidi's third film to do so), is the story of a cocky Iranian tee
  • Bandits underwhelms with $13.4m

    Warner Bros' Training Day remained at the top of the box office over the weekend with an estimated $13.55m gross, some $90,000 more than MGM's Bandits which opened in second position with $13.46m. It was a disappointing performance for the action comedy starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett which had been expected to open in the $20m range and MGM attributed its so-so showing to anthrax scares and warnings of terrorist attacks which kept target adult audie
  • BBC, Film Council launch UK director-driven slate

    The UK's Film Council, BBC Films and BBC 2 are to co-produce and co-finance a slate of four features in a package worth around $3.6m (£2.5m), aimed at breaking new UK directors and guaranteeing at least some exposure through broadcast on BBC 2.The scheme, which is expected to run for an initial two years, is geared towards contemporary UK projects from innovative first time directors who have previously worked on shorts, documentaries or commercials, although it is not intended to be a
  • Bridget Jones's Diary is the talk of Paris

    Bridget Jones's Diary has attracted a massive 872,000 admissions in France in its first five days and should reach the one million admissions mark in its first week. The Working Title film, distributed in France by StudioCanal's affiliate Mars Films (which scored a hit last year with another British title, Billy Elliott), was among the ten best openers this year. With over 185,000 tickets sold on its first day (Oct 10), the Renee Zellweger-starrer ranks ninth, right behin
  • Cannes names new German correspondent

    Cannes Film Festival has taken another step in its rapprochement with the German film industry by the naming of Berlin film journalist Christiane Peitz as the festival's new national correspondent to succeed Hans-Dieter Seidel.Peitz, who works for the arts pages of Berlin-based daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, will work closely with Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux and serve as the contact person for all German producers and directors wanting to submit films to the official co
  • Catalan govt. doubles film & TV funding to $110m

    Artur Mas, chief minister of Spain's Catalan regional government, the Generalitat, revealed plans to nearly double annual funding of the local audiovisual industry to Euros 120m (pts20bn) for 2002, at the Catalonia Film Festival of SitgesMas and culture minister Jordi Vilajoana also announced a new project to back the production of 100 TV movies over the next three years with regional public broadcaster TV3 through the Catalan Corporation of Radio and Television (CCRTV). The Eur
  • China sets rules for foreign imports & investment

    Heading a major delegation of Chinese officials and programme makers at the MIP-COM television market, Zhao Shi, deputy minister of the State Administration of Radio, Film & TV (SARFT) said China welcomes outside input into the development of its broadcast industry. But she said that China is not about to accelerate openness for the sake of foreign companies.Zhao said there had been large strides made over the last 20 years. ''China's industry has benefited from the input of foreign cu
  • Constantin postpones nine theatrical releases

    German producer-distributor Constantin Film has "considerably" reduced its planned earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for 2001 after deciding to postpone nine theatrical releases from the second half of this year until the beginning of 2002.Due to current developments in the German and US distribution markets, the EBIT for the current financial year will now hover between Euros 2m-Euros 5m instead of the originally projected Euros 9m.Constantin had originally planned to dis
  • Corky Romano

    Dir: Rob Pritts. US 2001. 104 minutes Children are taught never to call anyone or anything "stupid," a word which all parents for some reason find objectionable. With that in mind, let it be said that the film Corky Romano has one of the lowest IQs in recent memory --probably since the last movie which was built around a star from the long-running TV show Saturday Night Live. In this case, the SNL alumnus is perky Chris Kattan, playing the black sheep of a dysfu
  • Cowboy shoots for Iwai's All About Lily Chou Chou

    Fortissimo Film Sales has secured a US release for its All About Lily Chou Chou through Cowboy Films. The film, a futuristic romance by Japanese director Iwai Shunji, premiered at Toronto and was the closing film at last week's New York Film Festival. Cowboy also announced that it had bought Iwai's April Story.Cowboy, formerly known as Cowboy Booking International, recently picked up another Japanese picture, Shohei Imamura's Cannes competition film Warm Water U
  • Disney/Pixar titles sold to European free-TV

    Buena Vista International Television (BVI-TV) has licensed its Classic Treasure package, a bundle of Disney and Pixar animation features to free-TV broadcasters in Europe. Following a similar deal last week with the BBC (Screendaily Oct 1), Danmarks Radio of Denmark, SIC of Portugal, Cinenova in Benlux and RTE in Ireland became the latest buyers for the collection which was released into the free-TV sector for the first time at April's MIP-TV market.The broadcasters have each licensed
  • EM.TV signs co-production deal with First Asia

    Germany's EM.TV & Merchandising has signed a three-year co-production pact with First Asia Entertainment Productions Ltd (FAE) to collaborate on at least eight animation series with a programme volume of at least 208 half-hours of programming from EM.TV's portfolio until November 2004.The deal grants FAE free-TV, pay TV and home video rights and satellite licence for the territories of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. In addition, FAE will have the marketing rights
  • Escape To Paradise

    Dir: Nino Jacusso. Switzerland. 2001. 90 mins. The outstanding feature of this well-meaning but utterly predictable melodrama about a Kurdish family seeking political asylum is the zesty, touching and thoroughly convincing performances from a cast of mainly non-professionals playing heightened versions of themselves (a strategy which the film's credits pretentiously describe as "real acting"). Duzgun Ayhan, a real-life Kurdish refugee, was named Best Actor in San Sebastian f
  • European Short Film 2001 - Prix UIP nominations

    A host of European short films have been nominated for next month's European Film Awards, the European Film Academy (EFA) and sponsors UIP announced during the Flanders International Film Festival in Ghent.Amongst the contenders are The Heist, by Dennis Petersen and Frederik Meldal Norgaard of Denmark, Lo Basico, by Spain's Jose Garcia Hernandez, and Je T'Aime John Wayne, by the UK's Toby MacDonald.The shorts, nominations by the EFA board members after scree
  • Film Export UK assesses autumn markets

    MIFED has secured support from 73% of companies asked to choose between the Italian market and the preceeding London screenings in a worldwide survey by promotional body Film Export UK. With the economic downturn adding urgency to buyers and sellers' longstanding complaints about attending two consecutive markets in different countries, only 2% were in favour of keeping the two markets as they are. The UK event was favoured by only 20% of companies, with 5% saying they wanted one marke
  • First buzz films tipped for next year's Berlinale

    New films by Wim Wenders, Tom Tykwer, Constantin Costa-Gavras and Rosa von Praunheim are among the first titles being tipped for an invitation to Dieter Kosslick's first Berlin festival as director.While Wim Wenders' music documentary Vill Passiert about the German rock dinosaurs BAP - to be distributed in Germany by the new outfit Ottfilm - might get a "special out of competition" screening similar to the one afforded Wenders' previous music film Buena Vista Social Club
  • Ford, Delaney, Martinez promoted at Fireworks

    LA-based Fireworks Pictures, a subsidiary of Jay Firestone's Canwest Entertainment, has promoted three key staff in its business affairs and sales departments.Maura Ford (nee Hoy) has been promoted to vice president of operations from her previous position as director of international sales. She joined Fireworks in 1999 in a primary sales position and now, in addition, oversees all aspects of worldwide operations including the supervision of collections, producer reports and distribut
  • Former PolyGram boss Levy called on to head EMI

    Former PolyGram chief executive, Alain Levy has been tapped to head the world's number three music group EMI. He replaces Ken Berry, who leaves the company today, three weeks after issuing a surprise profits warning.Levy, who headed PolyGram until it was sold by it parent the Dutch electronics giant Philips in 1998, is expected to cut costs, stabilise the management team and bring in new acts.During his time at PolyGram he acquired A&M and Island Records. Since leaving, Levy has
  • France's Vidocq takes five awards at Sitges

    French box office sensation Vidocq was the big winner at this year's 34th annual edition of the Catalan International Film Festival of Sitges, walking away with best film, new director, effects, make-up and original soundtrack nods.Directed by FX wizard Pitof, Vidocq stars Gerard Depardieu in a hi-tech suspense period tale which was entirely digitally produced.Other top awards in the festival's main Fantastic competitive section went to Brad Anderson for best direc
  • Francke launches Ministry Of Fear at Little Bird

    Former Edinburgh International Film Festival artistic director Lizzie Francke (pictured) has joined Little Bird, the Irish-based production company whose principals boast credits ranging from UK hit Bridget Jones's Diary to Werner Herzog's Invincible, to launch a horror label titled The Ministry Of Fear.Francke is to bring in projects for a slate of horror films ranging from psychological gothic suspense stories to teen horror pictures. Most are envisaged as director-driv
  • Friedman sees AOLTV as interactive brand leader

    AOLTV will succeed because of the strength of the AOL brand and because its lead in the on-line market makes it able to federate many of its competitors. That at least was the message from Rob Friedman, newly installed president, worldwide interactive marketing TV at AOL, in his keynote address to MIP-COM delegates. Friedman positioned AOLTV as an upgrade to the existing AOL package in much the same way that AOL's access software has evolved from 4.0 to 5.0. "Just because we can do man
  • German producers decry

    The future of the German film and television sector is under serious threat from the Gerhard Schroeder administration's plans to introduce a new copyright bill to improve the situation of authors and performing artists, according to producer associations and the six major regional public funds.On the eve of Monday's public hearing by the Bundestag assembly's legal and cultural affairs committees on the draft bill, the German film industry's "umbrella" organisation SPIO, producer lobby
  • Give Up Yer Aul Sins gets two Cork shorts awards

    Cathal Gaffney' s Give Up Yer Aul Sins (pictured) from Brown Bag Films, took two of the major awards for short films at the close of the 46th Cork Film Festival last night (14 Oct).The animated short won both the award for Best International Short Film, and the Jameson Short Film Award for Best Irish Short Film.The international Jury cited the film's "perfect marriage between archive sound and animated footage. It's immensely strong Dublin identity, through one little gi
  • GMI acquires sales rights to Zhou Yu's Train

    Good Machine International (GMI) has acquired worldwide sales rights outside Chinese-language Asia, Latin America and the English-language territories to Zhou Yu's Train starring Gong Li and Tony Leung.Directed by Sun Zhou and written by Sun, Bai Chun and Zhang Mei, Zhou Yu's Train is currently in production in the province of Sichuan in Southwest China.The deal was negotiated by GMI president David Linde and senior vice president of acquisitions and co-productio
  • Graham King steps down from Splendid board

    Graham King, the chief executive of Initial Entertainment Group (IEG), has stepped down from the board of Splendid Medien, the public German distributor which owns a 49% stake in IEG.The move comes as no surprise since the two operations have been somewhat estranged in the last few months, especially since the slumping prices of many companies on the Neuer Markt which fuelled Splendid and so many other entertainment companies. IEG did not sell German rights on Michael Mann's Ali
  • Helkon issues downgrade, Kinowelt issued ultimatum

    Echoing the experience of several other publicly listed German media companies this year, producer/rights trader Helkon Media has downgraded its sales and earnings expectations for the 2000/2001 financial yearSales are now expected to total $111.9m (DM 240m) rather than the planned $148.2m (DM 318m), although this would still translate into an increase of 61.3% over the previous financial year's $69.4m (DM 148.8m). Similarly, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) will amount to $11
  • Helkon signs $9.1m package deal with RTL 2

    The Mexican, The Contender and Brotherhood Of Wolf are among the titles in a Euros 10m film package deal of first and second run licences concluded by Helkon Media with private German broadcaster RTL 2 as part of new, comprehensive long-term programme between the two companies.Commenting on the programme of co-operation with Helkon, RTL 2's managing director Josef Andorfer declared that the "access to the Helkon film library enables us to complement our programmes by high
  • High Point sells Murder Rooms at MIP-COM

    High Point Films & Television used last week's MIP-COM TV market to secure further deals on its feature package Murder Rooms - The Real Mysteries Of Sherlock Holmes. The pictures were sold to Ceska TV for the Czech Republic, TV2 for Norway, Hungarian TV, VRT for Belgium, SVT for Sweden, RUV for Iceland and Irib for Iran. It also sold UK video rights to IMC Vision. The films were previously pre-sold to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, TVNZ for New Zealand, YLE for Finland
  • Invincible

    Dir: Werner Herzog. UK/Germany. 2001. 130mins.After many years dedicated to stage, documentaries and guest performances in films directed by others, Werner Herzog, one of the original pillars of New German cinema, makes a return to feature-length fiction. However, as with his previous films (such as The Enigma Of Kaspar Hauser and Fitzcarraldo), this is not quite fiction, since his new effort is based on a true story that ties together a legendary Jewish strongm
  • Iron Monkey

    Dir: Yuen Wo Ping. Hong Kong. 1993. 87 mins. Made in 1993 by Hong Kong action masters Tsui Hark and Yuen Wo Ping, Iron Monkey is considered a modern classic by many martial arts movie aficionados. Miramax's release in North and South America of a spruced up version of the film is clearly intended to reach a broader audience, the kind of audience that has recently embraced Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (whose fight scenes Yuen Wo Ping designed) and other martial
  • Japan to get Kurosawa museum

    The Akira Kurosawa Foundation, headed by Kurosawa's son Hisao, plans to build a museum in Imari, Saga Prefecture to honour Kurosawa, with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese agreeing to serve as honorary directors. The directorial trio are lending their names to help the foundation raise $12.5 m (Y1.5b) in construction costs. Local businesses have already contributed $2.5m (Y3b), but the foundation intends to recruit the rest from both Japanese and foreign contributors.
  • KirchMedia reports strong first half performance

    Releasing interim results for the first time, Geermany's KirchMedia has reported significant increases in sales and earnings for the six months to June 30 2001.While revenues climbed by 15% to $1.51bn (DM 3.247bn) and its EBITDA rose by 42% to $238.9m (DM 514m), the new corporate transparency showed that the company's consolidated net debt amounted to $2.05bn (DM 4.412 bn) due to the acquisition of a 48% stake in Euvia for $162.5m (DM 350m) and a $297.2m (DM 640m) interim financing for
  • Klein & Messick take up senior roles at Mutual

    Producers Jennifer Klein and Kevin Messick are to join Mutual Film Co as senior production executives. Reporting to Mutual chief executives Gary Levinsohn and Don Granger, the two will be responsible for identifying and securing projects for the company to produce and finance as well as overseeing their development and production.Klein joins Mutual from Bay Films where she was vice president since 1996. She was associate producer on Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor, a production asso
  • LA German Festival starts with The Tunnel on Nov 9

    The second annual Festival Of German Cinema Los Angeles has been set for Nov 9-15, kicking off with Roland Suso Richter's The Tunnel and closing on Nov 15 with Oliver Hirschbiegel's The Experiment.Organised by the Export-Union Of German Cinema, the festival has confirmed the attendance of Richter and Hirschbiegl along with Hardy Martins, Xavier Koller, Otto Alexander Jahrreiis, actress Nicolette Krebitz (The Tunnel) and producer Michael Schwarz. Festival director
  • Lantana lights up Australian audiences

    The enthusiasm shown by local audiences for new Australian film Lantana has buoyed the already high expectations by Palace Films, which is distributing the psychological drama in association with Beyond Films. The film opened on October 4 and took $215,348 (A$430,696) in four days from 15 screens, giving it an extraordinary $14,357 (A$28,713) screen average. Not since the release of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon back in January has a film on limited release opened so well. C
  • Local films eroding US marketshare in France

    French films, which have been performing consistently well in their home territory since the beginning of the year, have wrestled US titles' normally dominant marketshare down to 49% (compared with 62% last year) in the first nine months of 2001, According with the latest estimations by the CNC (Centre National de la Cinematographie), French films have secured a 43% share of the market for the first nine months of 2001 (compared to 30.3% for the same period last year and 28.5% for the
  • Lolafilms UK continues without Mackey

    Lolafilms UK, the troubled London-based production and sales arm of Spanish powerhouse Lolafilms, is claiming 'business as usual' after it emerged that president of international sales Nicole Mackey had resigned.In a statement, Lolafilms asserted: "Regardless of a cost cutting plan, London activities will continue since they are considered an essential part of Lolafilms' strategy to become a global player."Mackey's relationship with Lolafilms chief Andres Vicente Gomez appeard t
  • MIP-COM 2001: attendance low, business high

    The MIP-COM television programme market which closed yesterday, exactly one month after the terrorist attacks in the US "were clearly affected" by the climate of political uncertainty. That was the conclusion of Michael Weatherseed, director of television for the market organisers Reed-Midem, as he reported a drop in attendance, but good levels of business. According to Weatherseed's figures the total number of companies exhibiting at MIP-COM was up 5% from 1,189 to 1,244. But the numb
  • Moulin Rouge regains UK box office crown

    Audacious Australian musical Moulin Rouge reclaimed the top of the UK chart this week from two-week champ A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Now in its fifth week on release Baz Luhrmann's film dropped off just 20% from its previous weekend, its largest fall so far, taking a three-day gross of $1.6m (£1.1m) from 397 sites. The film has already amassed $18.4m (£12.5m) at the UK box office and looks to keep going strong for some time although its ability to retain the top spot will no
  • Myriad tests German market with teen comedy sale

    Myriad Pictures got the autumn film market season off to a bright start with the sale of its teen comedy Van Wilder: Party Liaison to Germany. The Walt Becker-directed film, which screens at next week's London and Milan markets, was sold in all German-speaking territories to Telepool. "We are delighted to have achieved this sale given the current conditions of the German market," said Kirk d'Amico, Myriad co-president. The film has been sold to Momentum Pictures for The U
  • NBC pays $2bn for US hispanic TV network

    Just as analysts werepredicting a marked slowdown in media mergers and acquisitions, NBC announcedyesterday it was paying $1.98bn for complete ownership of the number two Spanish-language broadcasting network in the US, Telemundo. The deal reportedly trumped a rival bid from Viacom.NBC is paying ahuge premium to buy out the interests in Telemundo currently held by SonyPictures Entertainment and Liberty Media, who between them paid just $539m fortheir combined 75% stake in four years ag
  • New German digital film prize is postponed

    A new German film prize, the E-Motion Bytes Award, which was launched in January by the Hof Film Days and the Berlin-based production company Road Movies, for digitally-produced shorts of up to 10 minutes in length, has had its first awards event postponed from this year's festival (October 24-28) until 2002.In a press communique, Road Movies explained that it had "detected great differences in the quality of the short films" and found that "only an insufficient number of the submitted
  • New MD for Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures GmbH

    Producer Gabriela Bacher has been appointed as the managing director of the soon-to-be founded Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures GmbH with responsibility for all media activities in Potsdam/Babelsberg and Los Angeles.Reporting directly to Vivendi Germany boss Thierry Potok, she will also take over the running of the studios from Gerhard Bergfried who had stepped into the breach following the tragic death of Rainer Schaper last March (Screen Daily, March 2001). Bergfried will now concen
  • Odeon plans digital screening of Broadway musical

    UK cinema circuit Odeon is to digitally screen a Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's musical Putting It Together at its flagship 2000-seat Odeon Leicester Square cinema in London's West End.Four screenings of the pre-recorded musical will take place over two days in November, with a standard evening ticket price of $21.80.The content, produced by Broadway musical content production and distribution outfit The Broadway Television Network, was brokered by UK digital c
  • Optimum takes UK rights to French hit The Closet

    UK independent distributor Optimum Releasing has acquired all UK rights from Gaumont to Francis Veber's French hit The Closet (Le Placard).The comedy, starring Daniel Auteil and Gerard Depardieu, tells the story of a forty-something man who pretends that he's gay in order to save himself from redundancy.The Closet achieved more than 5.3m admissions on its French release last January, (compared with Amelie's 7.7m admissions) and grossed $6.5m for US distributor Mira
  • Palm Tree announces period drama slate

    Palm Tree Productions has secured independent backing from Monaco-based media investment company IPH (IP Hedge) for a slate of four period dramas set in Scotland. Budgeted in the $5-$10 million range, the projects are Red Rose, Chopin's Widow, Voyage Of Dreams and The White Duchess. It is understood that IPH will cash flow the productions over a period of five years whilst Palm Tree seeks distribution deals and pre-sales on the titles.The most advanced of the four project
  • Pauline & Paulette scoops 5 Ghent Plateau awards

    Belgium's entry for the Foreign Language Oscar: Pauline & Paulette by Lieven Debrauwer was the big winner at this year's "Joseph Plateau Awards" which were presented during the International Flanders Film Festival in Ghent.Five of the seven awards celebrating local Belgian filmmaking went to Debrauwer's film in the categories of Best Belgian Film, Best Belgian Director, Best Belgian Screenplay (Debrauwer and Jacques Boon), Best Belgian Actress (Dora Van Der Groen) and the Public
  • POV: Point Of View

    Dir: Tomas Gislason. Denmark. 2001. 110 mins. One of the most striking and unusual films in San Sebastian's Zabaltegi New Directors section, POV: Point Of View is a visually brilliant, thematically skimpy homage to the classic American road movie that will provoke love-or-loathe reactions. Its most likely appeal is to adventurous, hipper younger audiences (it was, along with Elling, the highest scoring film with the San Sebastian youth jury) and the Californian
  • Rai Trade shows first fruit of production branch

    Rai Trade, the sales arm of Italian public broadcaster RAI, has added a new strategic dimension to its sales and distribution activities and become a co-financier of European and international co-productions. The first fruits of this new branch were on display this week at MIP-COM.Rai Trade gets its first production credit on Dracula, a $10m two-part mini-series which heads its MIP-COM slate. The picture, which is now in post-production, is a modernisation of the classic vampire
  • Ramirez boosts its Mexican cinema domination

    Mexico's largest exhibitor Organizacion Ramirez is fast moving towards its 1000-screen objective by the end of 2002. This week alone the company is to launch a 20-screen multiplex in Mexico City and another 18-screen site in Monterrey. "We're targeting a growth ratio of at least 100 screens per year," said Miguel Mier, Ramirez' Chief Operating Officer. It currently operates 808 screens in this territory of nearly 100 million inhabitants. This year, the family-owned circuit has opened 6
  • Recession watch - Part III

    In the third part of Screen International's analysis on the effect on the industry of the Sept 11 attacks on the US, the threat of recession on the production and post-production sectors is assessed.Abstracted from Screen InternationalProductionThe production sector could be the part of the film life-cycle that is most impacted by any slowdown as production companies are highly geared to the volume of films made. If a studio were to cut the number of pic
  • Recession watch - Part IV

    In the fourth part of Screen International's analysis on the effect on the industry of the Sept 11 attacks on the US, the threat of recession on film and television markets is assessed.Abstracted from Screen InternationalFilm and TV marketsNervous flyers and recession threats have already taken their toll on the markets. Although none of the autumn's big trade events have actually been called off, MIP-COM and Mifed are expecting smaller numbers of delegates. MI
  • Recession watch - Part V: distribution, marketing

    In the fifth part of Screen International's analysis on the effect on the industry of the Sept 11 attacks on the US, the threat of recession on distribution and marketing is assessed.Abstracted from Screen InternationalDistribution and marketing"The indie distribution business will be good long term, but the next year will be brutal. The banks are simply not lending against estimates," says Miramax's Rick Sands. "This is a product-driven business. Films with ap
  • Riding In Cars With Boys

    Dir Penny Marshall. US 2001. 132 min.What begins as fun, nostalgic highschool comedy quickly escalates into a relentlessly dreary melodrama in Penny Marshall's Riding in Cars With Boys, a two-decade chronicle of a woman who got pregnant at adolescence and found herself stuck with an undesirable marriage and unwanted motherhood. Don't be fooled by Columbia's ad campaign, which emphasizes the film's commercial title and humour (of which there's little), as well as exp
  • Senator International hires Goldsmith & Call

    LA-based Senator International, the US production and distribution arm of Germany's Senator Entertainment, has made two key appointments, hiring Brian Goldsmith as chief financial officer and executive vice president of operations and Paula Call as senior vice president of business and legal affairs.Goldsmith first consulted for Senator International on Luis Mandoki's 24 Hours; he will now be responsible for the overall operational and financial aspects of the company including
  • Senator International to back Nothing from Natali

    Vincenzo Natali, the Canadian film-maker behind Cube and Pandora's upcoming Company Man, has signed to direct the movie Nothing for Senator International.Senator is executive producing, providing principal financing for and will handle worldwide distribution on the film; The Klockworx Co holds all rights in Japan. It is the first Natali film to be handled by Klockworx; Gaga has rights to Company Man, and also handled Cube.Based on a screenpla
  • Sony's SCE invests $124m in struggling Square

    Sony Computer Entertainment has purchased an 18.6% stake in Square Co., a leading game maker in recovery after the box office disaster of its first film, Final Fantasy. The unit of Sony Corp. in charge of the bestselling PlayStation 2 console, SCE will become Square's second-largest shareholder. Square founder Masafumi Miyamoto will retain a leading 50.3% share.SCE's 11.2 million shares in Square are a new issue, which add $124 million (Y14.9 billion) to the game maker's coffers
  • South Korea's Pusan fest's 6th edition line-up

    The Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) has unveiled the complete lineup for its 6th edition, to be held Nov. 9-17 in Busan, South Korea. Opening with the world premiere of Korean director Bae Chang-ho's The Last Witness, the festival will screen a total of 202 films from a record 60 countries.Renowned for its coverage of Asian film, this year's festival features a special section devoted to Thai cinema. Ten recent titles will screen in addition to the festival's closing
  • South West 9 (SW9)

    Dir: Richard Parry. UK. 2001. 90 mins.South West 9 is aimed squarely at the kids from the British clubbing scene who made a huge hit out of 1999's Human Traffic, also produced by Fruit Salad Films (which, hoping to reproduce that success, has also taken over the distribution of the new picture). Although superficially similar in plot and structure, this is a more ambitious and mature piece which may, for these very reasons, find it harder to reach such a broad a
  • Spain's Goya awards adds documentary prize

    Spain's Oscar-equivalent Goya Awards will introduce a new best documentary prize alongside its usual line-up of awards for this year's 16th annual edition, to be held February 2.A film's classification as documentary will be decided by its producer(s), though competitors will still be eligible to opt for awards in the remaining categories.Goya nominations will be unveiled December 19, more than a month after the November 12 nomination by the Spanish Film Academy for the best for
  • Sur Mes Levres (Read My Lips)

    Dir: Jacques Audiard. France. 2001. 115minsAn adventurous mixture of unconventional romance and crime melodrama, Sur Mes Levres underlines writer-director Jacques Audiard's reputation for originality and flair. Initially quite unpredictable, the film, which is released in France this week, remains intriguing even as it becomes increasingly bogged down in the elaborate contortions of the narrative. Engaging performances from Emmanuelle Devos and Vincent Cassel are a lar
  • The latest MIP-COM deals round-up

    Beyond signs five picture deal with WeintraubAustralia's Beyond Films has signed a major five picture deal with US producer Fred Weintraub of Weintraub Kume Productions. The slate of genre features will be co-produced by German film fund MBP, with Beyond Films handling international sales.Beyond is also reported to have signed an all-rights package deal with Miramax for five Australian-produced features including Love In Limbo starring Russell Crowe, Emerald City star
  • The Others poised to reign in Spain

    Spanish-US co-production The Others is poised to overtake raunchy local comedy Torrente 2: Mission In Marbella (Torrente 2: Mision En Marbella) at the Spanish box office this week as the highest grossing domestic film in history. As of last weekend, the Warner Sogefilms release The Others - director Alejandro Amenabar's horror title starring Nicole Kidman - had grossed $20.05m (pts3.671bn) in its sixth week on release. Still showing on more than 300 prints a
  • The Sales Co changes its name to The Works

    London-based The Sales Company, one of the oldest sales operations in the business, has changed its name to The Works, a new brand which will be launched during the run up to London and MIFED.The new name coincides with a new modus operandi at the company under chief executive Aline Perry, the former president of PolyGram Film International, who joined in June with a remit to expand the company's sales and film financing operations."We intend to expand our business at a time w
  • Total, Titan in Brazil/Mexico coproduction pact

    Two fledgling companies from Brazil and Mexico have signed a co-development and production accord. Brazil's Total Filmes and Mexico's Titan Prods will co-produce a series of feature films, starting with a comedy. Details of the first project are still sketchy but according to Titan producer/founder Matthias Ehrenberg and Total's co founder Iafa Britz, principal photography will begin late 2002. "There are great similarities between our companies, we're young, enterprising and have the
  • UIP hands over Hong Kong to Golden Harvest

    United International Pictures (UIP) has closed its Hong Kong office in a downsizing move after more than 10 years of operation.For the last five years, Louisa Chan has been the general manager and sole representative of the Hong Kong office.Golden Harvest will assume UIP's operations, with head of film distribution Teerachai Triwongwaranat stepping into the role vacated by Chan.UIP had an exclusive relationship with Golden Harvest and its distribution arm, Panasia, and w
  • UK actors union proposes revenue percentage deal

    Having won additional payment concessions from Warner Bros so that the next Harry Potter movie can shoot, UK performers union Equity has proposed that independent producers pay its members a slice of all revenues after initial investment has been recouped in order to side-step December's strike.Equity sent out guidelines late last week after 17 productions approached them saying that they faced collapse because of Equity's call for a member strike after December 1. Films underst
  • UK welcomes second helping of Pie

    American Pie 2, the sequel to 1999's hit gross-out comedy, took the UK box office by storm at the weekend taking a massive $8m (£5.5m) from 420 sites, including previews of $1,111,103 (£765,550) from 376 sites, for an impressive site average of $19,036. Accounting for well over 50% of the weekend's total box office the film scored the fourth biggest opening of the year after Hannibal ($9.3m), The Mummy Returns ($8.6m) and Bridget Jones's Diary ($8.3m), and ahead of
  • UK's FilmFour International goes for Gold

    Janine Gold has been promoted to head of FilmFour's sales arm, FilmFour International (FFI).Gold, previously head of sales, replaces Sue Bruce-Smith, who left earlier this year to join Irish-based production outfit Little Bird. The former Celluloid Dreams executive is recruiting a film sales manager. FFI has also boosted sales co-ordinator Libby Hughes, promoted to film sales executive. Amanda Street steps down as film sales executive to become creative manager at music publishi
  • UPI launches operations in Japan, Korea & Brazil

    Universal Pictures International (UPI), the London-based international video distribution arm of Universal Pictures, has launched new video distribution operations covering Japan, Korea and Brazil, following the expiration of a CIC distribution agreement.The local offices will focus on expanding the rental and home video sell-through markets, driven by DVD growth, as well as local acquisitions.Bill Rahn heads up the Japanese operation as president of UPI Japan. Rahn retains his
  • UPI shrinks video & DVD rental-to-retail windows

    Universal Pictures International (UPI) has announced long-term plans to narrow its international rental-to-retail release windows for video and DVD to between four to eight weeks. The normal international standard window between rental and retail markets stands at around four to six months.UPI, the London-based international video distribution arm of Universal Pictures, has announced the plans in response to the changing nature of the home entertainment market as DVD penetration increa
  • Warner Bros takes over Kinowelt's New Line deals

    New Line International's output arrangement with the financially troubled German distributor Kinowelt has finally unravelled. In a deal hammered out last week, Warner Bros has assumed the distribution of New Line Cinema features in all German-speaking territories, eastern Europe and Russia effective immediately and through 2003.The announcement was made in Los Angeles yesterday by Richard Fox, executive vice president, international, at Warner Bros and Rolf Mittweg, president and COO
  • Warner Home Video-Japan taps DVD, games specialist

    Warner Home Video hasappointed Takeshi (Tim) Harada as managing director of its Japanese subsidiary,with direct control over all its local home entertainment operations includingsales, marketing, finance and DVD production.Reporting directly to WarnerHome Video president Warren Lieberfarb, Harada replaces Toshio Yajima who hasresigned from Warner Home Video-Japan to pursue other business opportunities.Harada arrives from PCCWJwhere he has been president of the gaming division. B
  • Yoshimitsu Kaji joins SPE Japan as mktg manager

    Yoshimitsu Kaji has joined Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (SPEJ) as theatrical marketing manager, having been marketing director at Warner Bros International Distribution for the last two years.Reporting jointly to Nigel Clark, executive vice president of international marketing for Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) and to Keiko Aoki, general manager for SPEJ, Kaji will be responsible for creating and overseeing marketing campaigns for all Columbia TriStar fi