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16 October 2002

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  • 3DD, Lorber Media to sell classic AFT films package

    British programmes sales company 3DD Entertainment has picked up a package of classic films that have been out of circulation for nearly a decade.The package consists of critically acclaimed films made under the American Film Theatre (AFT) banner between 1973-1976. Directed by cinema greats including Joseph Losey, Lindsay Anderson and Tony Richardson, the collection consists of stage plays that were filmed and screened for audiences which originally paid a subscription fee. Titles incl
  • Agnes Varda named as IDA Pioneer Award winner

    French directing legend Agnes Varda will receive the International Documentary Association (IDA) Pioneer Award for distinguished lifetime achievement at the annual IDA Awards gala benefit in Hollywood on Dec 13. 'The Pioneer Award is presented to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to advancing the non-fiction form,' says IDA President Michael Donaldson. 'Agnès Varda has earned the admiration of peers. Her documentaries are brave, personal interactions that revea
  • Albert Page hired as development director at Hoberman's Mandeville

    Albert Page has been hired as director of development for Mandeville Films, David Hoberman's Disney-based production outfit which has been rekindled after Hoberman exited Hyde Park Entertainment earlier this year.Page comes to Mandeville from DreamWorks-based Jinks-Cohen Company where he spent two and a half years developing project such as Family Firm, Moist and Road Signs. He began his career at Universal-based Mike Lobell Productions.Page will report to H
  • All-star cast lines up for Olesen's Crimes

    An impressive cast of Danish talent is lining up to star in award-winning local filmmaker Annette K. Olesen's Crimes, the 10th Dogme-style production to come out of the territory.The story is set in a women's prison, where a minister, played by Ann Eleonora Jorgensen (Italian For Beginners), finds her faith and confidence shaken by her surroundings.The cast (pictured) also includes Trine Dyrholm (POV, Festen), Nikolaj Kopernikus (Okay
  • Almodovar tips 'anti-clerical' movie as his next

    Spanish auteur PedroAlmodovar hinted yesterday that his next film will likely be BadEducation (LaMala Educacion) a "profoundly anti-clerical movie" abouttwo boys in a Catholic school forced to contend with sexual abuse by thepriesthood.The highly chargedsubject-matter is liable to present yet another public relations headache forthe Catholic hierarchy which has spent the past year condemning films such asMexico's box office sensation The Crime OfFather Amaro and Ve
  • Anglo-French film investment alliance takes shape

    In a bid to stimulate co-production activity between the two countries, UK and French film support agencies The Film Council and the CNC are exploring ways of working together more closely.The two bodies have met several times this year to discuss increased co-operation. At the Dinard Festival of British film last week, the two hosted an industry round table for French and British filmmakers and producers. Further meetings are planned to take place in London in January.One of th
  • Artificial Eye takes Dolls, Springtime for UK

    Artificial Eye has picked UK rights to Takeshi Kitano's Dolls and Tian Zhuangzhuang's Springtime In A Small Town.The veteran UK independent distributor will open both titles in May next year. Dolls, which played at Venice and Toronto, will screen at November's London Film Festival.Artificial Eye's release schedule includes Bertrand Tavernier's Laissez-Passer in November, followed by Otar Iosseliani's Monday Morning and Bela Tarr's Werckmeist
  • Benigni's Pinocchio smashes Italian box office record

    Roberto Benigni has smashed all previous box office records in Italy with his fairytale Pinocchio which earned a massive $6.9m (Euros 7,021,422) on its opening weekend, according to Cinetel which monitors 70% of the country's screens. With Cinetel monitoring only 627 of the 940 screens on which Pinocchio was released, total box office figures are still unavailable - the final tally is expected to be close to $8.9m (Euros 9m).Pinocchio's ground-breaking openi
  • Berlinale appoints new Kinderfilmfest director

    Thomas Hailer has been appointed director of the Kinderfilmfest (children's film festival) of the Berlin International Film Festival. Long-time Kinderfilmfest collaborator Maryanne Redpath is deputy director.Together with the director of the section, an advisory selection committee will be responsible for the programme. Alongside Redpath, Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick will appoint two further members for this committee.The Berlinale is taking the change at the head of the
  • Berlinale unveils first Talent Campus

    The first Berlinale Talent Campus will take place from February 10 to 14 during the 53rd Berlin International Film Festival at the House of World Cultures Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick, in co-operation with Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg's Prof. Klaus Keil and U.K. Film Council's Paul Trijbits, is inviting up-and-coming filmmakers from all around the world to take part in the event. The campus offers up to 500 young authors, producers, directors, cameramen and actors the opp
  • Blue Star Movie, Spice Factory sign co-production deal

    Italy's Blue Star Movie has signed a joint venture agreement with the UK's Spice Factory to co-produce three to five pictures a year that will be shot in Italy in English with budgets ranging from $3m - $20m.The first project to be made under the agreement which was signed by Blue Star's Pete Maggi and Spice's Michael Cowan and Jason Piette, is Five Moons Square (Piazza Delle Cinque Lune), a $10m feature which Italian director Renzo Martinelli (Vajont) is currently shooti
  • Bollywood / Hollywood

    Dir: Deepa Mehta. Canada. 2002. 103mins.Canada-based Indian emigre Deepa Mehta lets her exuberant affection for her home country's film conventions run wild in Bollywood/Hollywood. A bloated comedy which awkwardly attempts a blend of the two cultures against a dreary Toronto setting, the film suffers in comparison to Mira Nair's 2001 Bollywood homage Monsoon Wedding, which resonated with Indian joie de vivre while retaining disciplined storytelling technique and
  • Box office gets red hot as Dragon flies to the top

    Proving that UK audiences have not lost their appetites for Hannibal Lecter, UIP's Red Dragon stormed to the top of the chart at the weekend with a mighty $4.96m (£3.2m) haul from 428 sites, including $1.05m (£674,621) of previews from 385 sites.The film, a prequel to 1991's Oscar-winning The Silence Of The Lambs and star Anthony Hopkins' third helping of the role, scored a powerful $11,593 site average. Directed by Brett Ratner and also featuring a slew of past
  • Buckingham takes charge of UK arthouse 'virtual circuit'

    Former FilmFour deputy chief executive Peter Buckingham has been appointed as head of the Film Council's new distribution and exhibition fund.Designed to boost the exhibition of arthouse films in the UK, the fund will have a budget of $22m (£14m) over the next four years to create a virtual circuit of screens showing arthouse films. Films playing on the circuit will be centrally booked from London, while the screens will be leased from existing exhibitors.The move is part o
  • Buena Vista Int'l TV signs deal with Portugal's SIC

    Buena Vista International (BVI-TV) has signed a new agreement with Portuguese free-TV broadcaster SIC. The multi-year, multi-genre agreement will provide SIC with features including Toy Story, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Disney's The Kid, Remember The Titans and The Royal Tenenbaums. Live action series include Alias and the channel will continue its branded Disney Kids timeslot. This deal was announced by Tom Toumazis, senior vice president and managing dir
  • City Of Ghosts

    Dir: Matt Dillon. US. 2002. 116 minsA redundant throwback to the foreign climes, B-move thriller cliches of the 1950s, City Of Ghosts marks a competent but entirely conventional directorial debut from actor Matt Dillon. Fifty years ago, this might have served as a Robert Mitchum second feature with a sultry Jane Russell propping up the local bar. Now, the undeniably picturesque Cambodian locations and stellar cast are its strongest selling points and those will not be
  • Craven, Williamson reteam for werewolf horror at Dimension

    WesCraven is reuniting with his Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson on the horrormovie Cursed for Dimension Films.The story will be a Los Angeles-based modern twist on the werewolf genre andhas already been set for release on August 8 2003.
  • Cronenberg nets two awards at Sitges Int'l film festival

    Guy Maddin's Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary (pictured) took home the best film award and David Cronenberg best director for Spider from the Fantastic Section of Spain's 35th annual Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia (Oct 3-13).Cronenberg was also the recipient of one of this year's two Time Machine (Maquina del Temps) career achievement awards at Sitges; Mexican director Guillermo del Toro was the other. Dino de Laurentiis received t
  • CTFDI's XXX is second in France, but top in six territories

    XXX opened in second place in France for Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) over the weekend with a $2.4m haul from 626 screens. The high-octane action thriller trailed Minority Report but the studio declared it a good opening, comparable to actioners Vertical Limit and Spy Game. There were number one bows in the Czech Republic, where the picture took $100,000 from 29 screens and fared slightly better than Mission: Impossible II, and Hu
  • Darkness descends on Spain

    Darkness, second-time director Jaume Balaguero's English-language chiller, burst onto Spanish screens this weekend, taking in an impressive three-day box office gross of Euros 1.16m. The Miramax-backed $12m horror film from Barcelona-based Filmax's genre label Fantastic Factory opened Friday on 276 copies. Darkness made its world premiere October 3 as the inaugural film for the Sitges International Film Festival of Catalonia, Spain. Darkness' opening weekend
  • Films In Progress seeks entries for third round of screenings

    The Films In Progress (Cine En Construccion) joint initiative of the San Sebastian International Film Festival and the Latin American Screenings of Toulouse have sent out a call for entries for the third round of screenings to be held in Toulouse (March 21-30, 2003).The first and second rounds of the initiative - which seeks financiers to help finish Spanish and Latin American films stuck in post-production - were a success.Of the ten films presented at the second round in San S
  • Financial reprieve imminent for peppermint

    Peppermint, the Munich and Kuala Lumpur-based film and programme sales company, is set for an financial reprieve having been sideswiped by the collapse of rights trader and producer Helkon.Prior to last week's announcement that Helkon would not emerge from insolvency protection, peppermint boss Michael Knobloch bought back the 51% stake in the company owned by Helkon. He is now in advanced negotiations with a third party investor to re-sell the majority holding. "I hope to be ab
  • Focus sells Moonlight Mile rights for Hyde Park

    Focus Features has confirmed that it will handle sales of continental European rights to Brad Silberling's Moonlight Mile starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon on behalf of Hyde Park Entertainment. Focus' international sales team under David Linde will screen the film at MIFED.Moonlight Mile is the first picture for Hyde Park under its co-financing deal at Walt Disney Studios; Hyde Park, which is run by international veteran Ashok Amritraj, has recen
  • France submits 8 Femmes for foreign-language Oscar

    Francois Ozon's 8 Femmes has been selected as France's submission for the best foreign-language film award at the Oscars.The nomination seems well-deserved as the critically-acclaimed film has not only performed strongly in France, where it sold 3.8 million tickets, but has also proved a hot-seller on the international market.Ozon has a growing following outside of France. His first film, the highly subversive Sitcom, did not go un-noticed, and his previous title,
  • Germany's Premiere provides proof that there is life after Kirch

    Germany's pay TV platform Premiere has shown that it is very much still in business by sealing a long-term output deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and acquiring a film package from Warner Bros. International Television Distribution.In addition to providing Premiere with German TV premieres of such MGM titles as Legally Blonde, Barbershop and the new James Bond film Die Another Day, the Premiere/MGM deal also prepares the launch in the second quarter of 2003 for the first Ger
  • Gill leaves Miramax, joins Gordon, Yari in new venture

    Mark Gill,president of Miramax LA and one of the lynchpins at the studio since 1994, isleaving the company to join veteran producer Mark Gordon and financier Bob Yariin Stratus Film Company, a new production vehicle with a mission to make amininum of three to four "high quality" productions a year in the$10m to $40m range. The films emerging from Stratus will be separate fromGordon's production deal at Fox where he has become the lot'spremier event film producer.Yari, who isproviding t
  • Golden Harvest returns to production after nine-month gap

    Hong Kong's Golden Harvest Entertainment plans to return to production next month following a nine-month hiatus with a romantic comedy, My Lucky Year, to star Tony Leung Chiu Wai and hot up-and-coming actress Miriam Yeung.Vincent Kok is attached to direct the film which is scheduled to start shooting at the beginning of November. It will be released during the lucrative Chinese New Year holiday period which in 2003 falls at the beginning of February.Leung, one of Hong Kon
  • Granada, Carlton announce details of merger plan

    Granada and Carlton, the UK's two largest commercial broadcasters, today announced details of the long awaited merger that will put most of Britain's free-TV under one management. But the impact for the film industry has yet to become clear.As their finances have become increasingly strained, both groups have pulled away from film-making. And while the merger is expected to lead to annual savings of $54.4m (£35m), no suggestion has been made that any of this would be invested in f
  • Heather Rose dies, aged 36

    Heather Rose, who got a standing ovation at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for her performance as Julia in director Rolf de Heer's competition title Dance Me To My Song, died suddenly last week in South Australia a day after her 36th birthday.She was born with severe cerebral palsy, confined to a wheelchair and had to use a voice machine in order to speak. Nevertheless de Heer's earlier film Bad Boy Bubby inspired her to co-write the film with Frederick Stahl then de Heer.
  • Home-grown films find growing success in Argentina

    In the past month, local films accounted for 20% of total admissions in Argentina - a phenomenon few countries can boast against the assault of Hollywood titles. Argentineans have always displayed a healthy interest in their national output. However, the release of various strong local titles emerging at around the same period has contributed to the significant turnout. Unorthodox marketing methods with tie-ins to supermarkets, banks and other products and services have also hel
  • Hoyts has a go at Swimming Upstream

    Hoyts Distribution has acquired Australian rights to Swimming Upstream from Summit Entertainment. Although principally produced out of the US, the film was shot in Queensland last year and directed by expatriate Russell Mulcahy, and stars two of the country's most internationally acclaimed actors, Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis. Hoyts acquisition head Richard Sheffield expects the film, which is still in post-production, to get a wide release in February or March 2003. S
  • Hungary's major international film festival kicks off

    Following the success of The International Film Festival of Fine Arts in Szolnok, Hungary saw another event kick off yesterday: the Titanic Film Festival in Budapest. The tenth edition of Hungary's biggest international film festival will screen over fifty productions from twenty countries. The festival opened with a screening of Hayao Miyazaki's Berlinale winner Spirited Away and will close on October 20th with Atom Egoyan's Ararat with producer Robert Lantos present a
  • Imax makes giant screen leap into South America

    Giant screen entertainment company Imax Corp has made its first foray into South America, signing agreements to build four theatres, two each in Chile and Ecuador. The first Ecuadorian facility will be located in Guayaquil and operated by the Malecon 2000 Foundation; the second will be operated by the Universidad San Francisco in Quito. Both Chilean facilities will be operated by Megascreen SA; the first, a 3D theatre, will be in Santiago; the location of the second is yet to be determ
  • Italian singer-songwriter starts shooting debut feature

    Franco Battiato, one of Italy's most celebrated singer-songwriters, has moved behind the camera to direct his first feature, Perduto Amor, which started shooting this week in Italy.Produced and co-written by the cult Sicilian singer with his long-term collaborator, philosopher Manlio Sgalambro, the picture tells the coming-of-age story of a Sicilian boy from the mid-1950s to the end of the 1960s. Shooting is taking place in Milan and Ragusa, Sicily.Battiato's company L'Ot
  • Italy's RAI Trade readies major DVD push

    RAI Trade, the sales arm of Italian public broadcaster RAI is to release a string of opera and ballet titles - including Franco Zeffirelli's staging of La Traviata - on DVD from November, to be distributed worldwide by TDK.RAI has so far released six classical music titles through a distribution partnership with TDK struck last year. The company reports that DVD sales account for 35% of turnover from its music and performing arts catalgue, and plans to release 20 more classical
  • John Maybury to take on Super-Cannes

    John Maybury, who previously directed experimental Francis Bacon biopic Love Is The Devil, is set to direct an adaptation of JG Ballard's futuristic thriller Super-Cannes. The project marks the revival of a relationship between veteran British producer Jeremy Thomas' Recorded Pictures Company (RPC) and the controversial Ballard. Ballard, who wrote Empire Of The Sun, the Japanese prison camp drama adapted by Stephen Spielberg, is probably best known to the fi
  • Last Life wraps as Bohemian's first film

    Last Life In The Universe, the latest pan-Asian co-production and first feature from start-up production outfit Bohemian Films, is set to wrap this week following a six-week shoot in Bangkok.Directed by Thailand's Pen-ek Ratanaruang, the film is a dark comedy about a suicidal Japanese librarian, living in Bangkok, who is forced to hide out after accidentally killing a Yakuza gang member. Japanese star Asano Tadanobu plays the lead character while cult director Miike Takashi make
  • Lilo passes $80m, Signs $120m for BVI

    Buena Vista International's Lilo & Stitch took $4.1m over the weekend to elevate its cumulative international total so far to $80.1m. In its second week in the UK the animated feature grossed $2.9m for a cumulative score of $5.8m. In Australia it took $702,000 in its fourth week for a $6.5m cumulative score. M Night Shyamalan's supernatural thriller Signs grossed $5.8m in all international territories over the weekend for a $121m running total. In its fifth week in the UK
  • Local films steer Danish box office to 19-year high

    Local Danish product is continuing to fend off Hollywood competition, as Tomas Villum Jensen's family film My Sister's Kids In The Snow easily outperformed competitive release The Sum Of All Fears.At this rate, the boost given to local ticket sales from home-grown films looks set to achieve an end-of-year admissions total in excess of 13 million - the highest figure since 1983.After just nine months it is already clear that an excellent year at the box office is on
  • Local successes defy Polish production crisis

    Despite the ongoing crisis in the Polish film industry that has seen the collapse of both production levels and budgets, local films continue to dominate the country's box office Polish productions or co-productions currently account for five of the top ten films on release. Topping the box office is Andrzej Wajda's Vengeance (Zemsta) (pictured) produced by ARKA Film and starring Roman Polanski in his first film role in a local production since leaving Poland
  • Local title wins Warsaw festival's first international competition

    Despite having lost its state backing, the 18th Warsaw International Film Festival this year introduced a new competition section, awarding the Grand Prix Nescafe, worth Euros 5,000 to a local Polish film Edi by director Piotr Trzaskalski.The 'New Directors, New Films' international competition section was a novelty at this year's festival with fourteen productions in competition. Besides awarding the main trophy, the seven-member jury, led by chairman Wojciech Marczewski, gave
  • Madame Sata wins Gold Hugo at Chicago

    Karim Ainouzi's Madame Sata, a Brazilian/French co-production about real-life street fighter and transvestite Joao Francisco dos Santos in 1930s Rio, won the Gold Hugo at the 38th Chicago International Film Festival on Saturday night. Cited for its "multi-faceted image of an extraordinary era, an extraordinary milieu and an extraordinary character, dazzlingly embodied by actor Lazaro Ramos," the film continues a victory march for Brazilian films around the world this year.Mad
  • Made In Germany lineup unveiled for AFI FEST

    AFI FEST, the Los Angeles International Film Festival which is organised by the American Film Institute (AFI), has announced the line-up of Made In Germany, a featured section of contemporary German film which has been put together for the first time in partnership with the Export-Union Of German Cinema. Made In Germany has been programmed in the past as a separate festival but is joining forces with AFI FEST this year to combine the programming and marketing resources of the two organ
  • Manoel de Oliveira starts shoting A Spoken Film

    Veteran Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira began shooting Monday on his latest movie, A Spoken Film (Um Filme Falado), which will feature appearances by Catherine Deneuve, John Malkovich and Irene Papas.The film tells the story of a history professor (Leonor Silveira) and her daughter (Stefania Sandrelli) who embark on a Mediterranean cruise which becomes a journey through history.A co-production between Paulo Branco's Madragoa Filmes and Gemini Films with Italy's Mik
  • Mexico's Diego Luna takes lead role in Dirty Dancing sequel

    Diego Luna, who grabbed worldwide attention opposite Gael Garcia Bernal in Y Tu Mama Tambien, has landed the lead role in Havana Nights, the second instalment in a planned Dirty Dancing franchise which is being co-produced by Miramax Films and Artisan Pictures.Guy Ferland, whose credits include recent made-for-Showtime feature Bang Bang You're Dead, is directing the film, while Lawrence Bender is to produce. Production is scheduled to begin in Feb 2003 with
  • Minority Report has $13m weekend in Europe for Fox

    Fox's sci-fi thriller Minority Report continued its storming run over the weekend with a $13m haul from 19 European markets to give it a $145m international cumulative score. The picture opened number one in Greece with a $380,000 gross from 51 screens - yet another all time best territory opening for star Tom Cruise and the third best ever Greek opening for Fox behind Independence Day and Titanic.Minority Report held on to the number one spot in Spain, wher
  • MIPCOM buyers go in search of value for money deals

    MIPCOM, the television programmes market in Cannes, is turning out to be more memorable for its publicity stunts than its high-profile deals. But behind the hoopla is a new-found emphasis on getting value for money.The opening night party was topped by a performance by dance troupe La Cirque Du Soleil, which was turned into a product promo by sponsor Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. UK broadcaster Granada has built an ice rink on the beach to promote its wares, while beauty queen Agb
  • MIPCOM TV market ends on a cautiously positive note

    Attendance was solid at this year's MIPCOM programmes market in Cannes, despite the current depression in the TV market which has put the squeeze on many players in the sector. Michael Weatherseed, director of the television division at MIPCOM and MIP-TV organiser Reed Midem, was upbeat at a market press conference on Thursday, announcing that delegate numbers were up on last year and pointing to the fact that the number of deals being announced at the market were a sign of a gradual u
  • My Kingdom

    Dir: Don Boyd. UK. 2001. 117mins.The British gangland genre gets a handsome if flawed addition with Don Boyd's freewheeling, ambitious spin on King Lear set among a corrupt modern dynasty in which Richard Harris's world-weary patriarch dominates - though is not allowed to overshadow - a fresco of elaborately drawn characters. However Boyd's script - written with crime journalist Nick Davies - does not build the many strong individual scenes into an overall dramatic mom
  • Pinocchio's Italian screen count noses ahead

    Massive demand from Italian exhibitors has led Italian distributor Medusa to widen its nationwide release of Pinocchio this Friday to an unprecedented 940 screens, up from the previously announced - and already record-breaking - 860 screens.Through a careful Euros2m marketing campaign, Medusa and the film's star and director, Roberto Benigni, have managed to work the country into a frenzy over the release of Pinocchio, which at Euros40m is the highest budget ever for an I
  • Red Dragon stays put at number one in North America

    Red Dragon scared off the combined might of five top ten new releases and the irrepressible charms of Sweet Home Alabama to hold on to top spot in its second week with a $17.6m bite that brings its cumulative score after ten days to $63.2m, according to studio estimates released on Sunday. Universal's Hannibal Lecter thriller averaged $5,234 from 3,363 theatres, while holding on to second place was Buena Vista's Alabama with $14.1m for $85m after 17 days. The Reese
  • Reports of the death of the German film industry are premature

    One of Germany's most prominent film industry figures has countered talk of a national cinema crisis with a prediction of rapid and dramatic growth and a call for the centralisation of the country's film studios.Writing in the German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Germany's general manager for Columbia Tristar, Juergen Schau (pictured), hit out at gloom-merchants speaking of a German cinema crisis after last week's insolvency of major exhibition chain UFA cinema and proposed
  • Scooby hits for Warner Bros in Latin America

    Scooby-Doo was a hit in Latin America for Warner Bros over theweekend, scoring the studio's second best opening of all time in Argentinawhere it opened at number one, grossing $113,000 from 82,000 admissions at 51screens. It was the second biggest opening for Warners behind
  • Scorsese, DiCaprio gang up for Japanese campaign

    Director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio are preparing to launch a major push in Japan for the forthcoming release of Gangs Of New York.Both are scheduled to arrive in Japan on November 18, spending five days on a concerted PR tour - as part of a bid to boost the film's fortunes in the world's second largest film market.Emphasising the importance of the Japanese market, Gangs Of New York is being released in the territory on December 21, four days ahead
  • Scotland loses a studio but gains a film fund

    After years of feasibility studies and grand designs, Scottish Enterprise has concluded that there is insufficient demand within the Scottish film industry to justify the construction of a large-scale film studio. Instead, the organisation intends to commit $1.6m (£1m) of public funding to a more modest $4.7m (£3m) studio facility proposal aimed primarily at the needs of television and commercials production. Demand for a Scottish studio grew in the wake of Bravehe
  • Shooting starts on Helen Of Peckham

    Shooting has started on Helen Of Peckham, the feature debut of writer-director Emily Young, starring Peter Mullan and Ingeborga Dapkunaite.Helen Of Peckham - a working title - tells the story of an aid worker in war-torn Eastern Europe who travels back to his family in London, unaware of a tragedy that has occurred. It shoots for four weeks on location in London, and for two weeks on location in Croatia.The film is produced by Gayle Griffiths, associate produced by
  • Spain's Tesela secures Alta outlet

    Spanish producer Tesela has signed a theatrical distribution deal with local arthouse distributor Alta Films for the release of all of its feature films over the next three years.First up will be The Suit (El Traje) Pictured), Alberto Rodriguez's Sevilla-set dramatic comedy which screened last month at San Sebastian and has been invited to Mexico's Guadalajara Film Festival, and November (Noviembre), director Achero Manas' follow-up to his multiple-award
  • Stockholm Int'l film festival to launch sales office

    For the first time the Stockholm International Film Festival (November 14-24) will include a sales office for buyers and sellers. The aim of the Stockholm Sales Office is to provide a network to broaden Nordic cinema distribution of films screening at the Stockholm International Film Festival.Over 120 films have gained distribution in connection to the Stockholm International Film Festival since it started in 1990. The films include titles like Léa Pool's Lost And Delirious
  • Sweden's Bonnier sees record earnings from entertainment arm

    Swedish media giant Bonnier has reported record earnings from film, video and DVD distribution in Scandinavia over the last eight months. While earnings for the media group in total fell by $49.25m (SEK457m) due to a steep decline in the advertising market, Bonnier Entertainment posted an increase of $18.2m (SEK169m) compared with the same eight month period last year. Sales for Bonnier Entertainment rose by 26% while last year's loss was reversed to a profit of $5.17m (SEK48m)
  • Swept Away

    Dir: Guy Ritchie. UK-US. 2002. 89mins.Even with husband Guy Ritchie writing and directing, Swept Away turns out to be another bewilderingly off-key movie vehicle for Madonna, a misconceived and unappealing romantic comedy - based on Lina Wertmuller's 1974 Italian film Travolti da un Insolito Destino nell'Azzurro Mare d'Agosto - that lives down to its advance word of mouth. Perhaps aiming for a relatively mature, upmarket audience, Sony's Screen Gems opened the f
  • TFM launches Full Frontal into French market

    Launching into France's already crowded distribution market, the newly formed TFM - a joint venture between US mini-major Miramax and broadcaster TF1 - has cut its teeth with its first French release. Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal was sent out on 24 screens in the capital on October 2 to lukewarm response. Earning $18,000, the film was 6th for the day - albeit in a week that also saw the release of the Spielberg/Cruise collaboration Minority Report.CEO Perrine T
  • The Magic Box (Sandouk Ajab)

    Dir: Ridha Behi. Tunisia-France. 2002. 89mins.One of the few really pleasant surprises at this year's Venice Film Festival, The Magic Box is a small but likeable Tunisian drama that recycles the Nuovo Cinema Paradiso theme without appearing derivative. It was snapped up by Norway's BV International after its out-of-competition world premiere on the Lido, and is expected to attract interest at MIFED next month. Although the film's lack of dramatic development wil
  • The Ring

    Dir: Gore Verbinski. US. 2002. 109 mins.DreamWorks looks set for a hefty hit with The Ring, a slick, dread-laden horror movie adapted from the 1998 Japanese smash of the same name which just about delivers the chills necessary to keep people talking about it and keep it in theatres for more than a week or two. A creepy marketing campaign which began months ago with teaser posters taglined "Before you die, you see The Ring" has built high consumer awarenes
  • Two Nordic majors gear up for market growth

    Sweden's Svensk Filmindustri and Denmark's Nordisk Film have both announced new appointments as part of their ambitions to increase their activities in the Scandinavian market.Scandinavian major Svensk Filmindustri is expanding into international production and will further strengthen its Nordic presence within film and television. The company is presently involved in over 20 local Nordic film-productions and intends to increase this number in the near future.As part of its exp
  • US regulator blocks EchoStar, DirecTV satellite merger

    EchoStar Communications $16.2bn bid to acquire rival satellite television outfit DirecTV was dealt a potentially fatal blow yesterday when the US communications regulator moved to block the deal.The Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted to refer the deal to an administrative law judge for review - a process that could take months and that could mark the end of the merger plan."The combination of EchoStar and DirecTV would have us replace a vibrant competitive marke
  • Vancouver festival audience bowled over by Columbine

    Michael Moore's anti-gun documentary Bowling For Columbine has won the audience award at the 21st annual Vancouver International Film Festival. Another documentary, Nettie Wild's Fix: The Story Of An Addicted City, shared the festival's prize for most popular Canadian feature; the film, a searing expose of Vancouver's drug culture, was co-winner with dramatic feature Expecting, directed by Deborah Day. Keith Behrman, director of Flower & Garnet, recei
  • Vivendi Universal to lay off half of Paris HQ staff

    Vivendi Universal is to slash staff at its Paris headquarters and other international offices in a bid to achieve savings of Euros140m in the coming year.In a statement, Vivendi said it planned to cut 152 positions out of 327 staff in its Paris headquarters. Management tasks will be concentrated in Paris, while the New York office will also be downsized, becoming a representative office responsible for North American activities.As yet, it is unclear who exactly will be affected
  • White Oleander

    Dir: Peter Kosminsky. US. 2002. 109 minsThe term 'chick-flick' has been rightfully criticised for denigrating women-orientated pictures since it implies an off-putting touchy-feeliness and some sugar-coated sentiment. But in the case of White Oleander, a florid melodrama about a teenage girl's journey of painful self-discovery as she is bounced from one Los Angeles foster home to another, there is no better way to describe such a treacle treatment of a seriously sad su