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16 October 2003

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  • ...and Nemo soars past $100m

    A massive UK opening for FindingNemo propelled the animated hit past$100m at the international box office at the weekend.The film - which proved itsdomestic chops over a record-breaking summer run - took $12.2m from 453 screensin the UK for the 10th biggest industry opening of all time.Overall Finding Nemo grossed $13.4m in all territories to raise itsrunning total to $108.3m. Having become the biggest animated film of all timein North America, the Pixar film is no
  • Kill Bill smashes house record in London...

    Kill Bill, Volume 1 launched on a single print platform at UCI's Empire Leicester Square at the weekend for a staggering $218,402 (£131,041) three-day weekend.The three-day result was the largest ever recorded for any film on the main screen at the flagship UK cinema, and confirms director Quentin Tarantino's popularity with UK audiences.The film actually debuted on Thursday Oct 9 with a screening at 00:01 (12:01am), marketed as the first place in the world where it was p
  • AFI Fest unveils 24 world premieres

    Worldpremieres of Mark Sobel's Kennedy era drama The Commission and Lisa GayHamilton's profile of activist Beah Richards in Beah: A Black Woman Speaksare among an eclectic line-up unveiled by organisers of the AFI Fest 2003,which runs from Nov 6-16.Theroster of 134 international titles includes 72 world, North American and USpremieres and plays out across nine programmes focusing on internationalcinema, documentaries, shorts, special screenings and the
  • Agencies launch Writers and Artists Group International

    Talent boutique Writersand Artists Agency (WAA) and music agency Artist Group International (AGI) havejoined forces under the banner of Writers and Artists Group International.Both companies, whichhave offices in New York and Los Angeles, will continue to operate as their ownbrands while also offering clients an enhanced and confluent service throughthe new entity.The initiative is thebrainchild of WAA partners Norman Aladjem, Marti Blumenthal and William Cra
  • Ahrne takes key post at Swedish Film Institute

    Marianne Ahrne has been appointed as the new film commissioner at the Swedish Film Institute, in charge of supporting feature films for the state's film funding body. The 63 year-old veteran of the Swedish film industry has worked as both director, writer and editor since the 1970s after graduating from the national film school (Svenska Filminstitutets Filmskola) in 1969. 'After a life where I have had almost all my dreams come true, I look forward to helping others realise thei

    Buoyed by favourable reviews and a strong following of the teen slasher franchise, Freddy Vs Jason opened strong to dominate the ranks this weekend. Alejandro Agresti's Valentin held its ground at number two, with an 11% rise in admissions since last weekend. Bad Boys II slipped to third after opening on top last week. The Italian Job came in on the 18th spot but word of mouth may see its ratings climb. The same may go for local thriller El Polaquito,

    Argentina's official entry to the Oscars, Valentin, climbed to the second spot this weekend. Alejandro Agresti's bitter sweet comedy about a young boy and his search for a family opened fifth on 19 prints a month ago. BVI has increased its print count to 34 since the announcement.Meanwhile, Columbia TriStar's Bad Boys II opened on top with 51 prints. Once Upon A Time In Mexico slipped to fourth after opening in pole position last weekend. Fox's The League Of

    The slick local gangster pic Gettin' Square has not lived up to the high hopes some had for it in its first weekend. It opened in eleventh position, taking A$359,197 from 132 screens for Hoyts. But it is still early days. The two other new faces in the chart are the UK production Calendar Girls, which turned in an excellent A$937,658 from two less screens than Gettin' Square to score the fourth spot for BVI.Meanwhile New Zealand thriller Perfect Strangers
  • Australia seeks support in free trade negotiations

    With support from international writers' guilds, the Australian industry is now hoping to get actors to back their quest to get a cultural exemption in the free trade agreement currently being negotiated between Australia and the US.There remains extreme nervousness that the right to have subsidies, tax advantages and content regulations for local film and television will be traded away in favour of benefits for agriculture. The general consensus is that the US is being tough because o
  • Australian critics single out four films

    The same four films - Alexandra's Project, Gettin' Square, Japanese Story and Swimming Upstream - have been nominated in the best film, best director and best editing categories of the annual awards of the Film Critics Circle of Australia. All four films were also nominated for their screenplays, alongside Black & White, in the original category, and Ned Kelly and The Rage In Placid Lake, in the adapted category. All but Alexandra's Project wer
  • Bad Boys lord over international box office

    A string of number oneopenings including a mighty $5.9m estimated bow in Germany secured Bad Boys2 as the number internationalperformer of the weekend, according to Columbia TriStar Film DistributorsInternational (CTFDI).The action sequel grossed$15.3m from 3,625 screens in 59 territories to raise its running total to$63.3m. The film looks good to finish around $95m.It grossed $800,000 inHolland, $815,000 and 50% market share in Austria, $700,000 in Switzerland,$630,000 i
  • Baldwin to fight runaways at New Jersey's CSC/Cargo Films

    William Baldwin has been named president of production at the New Jersey-based production company CSC/Cargo Films, one of the key players in the state’s high-profile drive to prevent runaway productions by offering incentives to film-makers.Since 2001 Baldwin has been a prominent supporter of the Garden State’s campaign, which took a significant step forward last month when Governor James E McGreevey passed the Film Production Assistance Act.The law provides financial incentives
  • Becker looks to profit from Three Dollars

    Reiko Bradley has signed on for all sales rights outside of Italy and Australasia to director Robert Connolly's Three Dollars - her first wholly Australian film since relocating there to head the joint venture company Becker Films International. Connolly's second film, produced by business partner John Maynard, stars David Wenham, who is currently getting rave reviews locally for his role in Gettin' Square. He plays a man who finds himself, aged 38, with a wife, a child a
  • Belgian Oscar hopeful gets new ending

    In a remarkable move, Belgian director Stijn Coninx has decided to change the ending of his new film Verder Dan De Maan (Sea Of Silence), the Belgian submission for the foreign-language Oscar - even though the submission deadline has already passed. The film was screened at the recent Dutch Filmfestival in Utrecht, where after some mixed reactions Coninx opted for a new ending, that will be, according to the director, more fitting for the story.Stijn Coninx told Screen

    French romantic comedy Je Reste! cycled to success on a small eight screen release in Belgium last weekend. The film claimed $37,042 (Euros 31,856) for a strong $4,630 average for Alternative Films - which was the best screen average for any opener this week and the third best of the weekend behind chart leaders American Pie: The Wedding and The Italian Job.Je Reste! tells the story of a woman (Sophie Marceau), who after several years seeing to the upbringin
  • Berlinale's Kinderfilmfest unveils youth prize

    The Berlinale's Kinderfilmfest (Feb. 6-15, 2004) has unveiled a new award for next year's event - the Crystal Bear for the Best Youth Film The new youth film competition will showcase films aimed at audiences of 14 years of age and older. In its first year up to six films will be screened. The new series is designed to close the gap between films screened for children and those running in the other Berlinale sections
  • Blood drinking countess pic takes shape in Hungary

    Four films about a famous Hungarian blood drinking countess are thought to be in development worldwide - but one is taking shape in Hungary itself. Atlantic Film is currently developing The Loves Of Elisabeth Bathory about the life of the 16th century Hungarian 'Blood Countess' who was rumoured to drink the blood of maidens to keep herself young. Unlike many other scripts about this controversial figure, the screenplay by Pal Bokor and Eva Pataki concentrates on the love
  • BVI enjoys bumper UK weekend...

    BVI enjoyed a stellar weekend in the UK this week with seven films in the top 15, Kill Bill, Volume 1 setting records at the UCI Empire Leicester Square (see separate story) and animated hit Finding Nemo crushing all competition to lead the box office with a $12.3m (£7.4m) opening.Nemo was BVI's biggest opening weekend this year, nearly $4m more than June's Jim Carrey comedy Bruce Almighty, and is the second highest of the year behind The Matrix Reloaded ($1
  • BVITV to handle Miramax rights in Spain

    Buena Vista International Television (BVITV) has signed adeal to represent the TV rights in Spain to MiramaxFilms' feature slate. Theexclusive multi-year deal, signed on Friday (Oct 10), replaces an earlier dealthat saw local all-rights distributor Lauren Films handle Miramax's titles inall sectors of the Spanish market. But Miramax's relationship with Lauren wasterminated acrimoniously in August. This is avery sign
  • Carmen

    Dir: Vicente Aranda. Sp-UK-It. 125 minsAs in any of the dozens of previous film versions of Carmen, the revelation in Vicente Aranda's latest take on the classic Merimee novel (rather than the Bizet opera) is Carmen herself, played here by actress Paz Vega. After provocative turns in Julio Medem's Sex And Lucia (Lucia Y El Sexo) and the silent film-within-a-film of Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her (Hable Con Ella), Vega gives a career-making performance as the sham
  • Castle Hill, Dream acquire What Alice Found

    CastleHill Productions and Dream LLC have acquired US and English-speaking Canadianrights to A Dean Bell's award-winning crime drama What Alice Found.Thecompanies will jointly release the film in US theatres, starting with New Yorkon Dec 5 and Los Angeles and San Francisco on Dec 19.Thedeal was brokered by Dream LLC's chief executive officer Mark Balsam, CastleHill's president of marketing and distribution Mel Maron and Peter Newman andGreg Johnson of
  • Celluloid takes on sales for European trio

    Paris based sales house Celluloid Dreams has picked up three new films, including Belgian Oscar entry Sea Of Silence. Silence is directed by Stijn Coninx and will have its market premiere at November's Mifed film market in Milan.The Warner Bros. release goes out on October 30 in Benelux and tells the story of a young girl's spiritual coming of age in a strongly Catholic family in the Holland of the late-60s. Celluloid Dreams has also taken worldwide rights o
  • CNC figures paint mixed picture for French box office

    France's National Cinema Centre (CNC) this week released box office figures for September - as well as unveiling an accord with the UK Film Council and announcing the winner of its screenwriting prize.While overall figures for 2003 continue to spell depressing news - down 5.6% compared to 2002 - the month of September showed a strong increase over last year up 13.2% to 10.76m tickets sold. French films are holding strong however with only a slight variation in sales from the same perio
  • Comfortable premiere anticipated at Bergen

    Norway's Bergen International Film Festival (Oct16-21) will see the world premiere of highly anticipated local documentary, Gunnar Hall Jensen's Gunnar Goes Comfortable.The Bergen-based filmmaker's highly autobiographical documentary has been much talked about since an incomplete version won the Swedish Film Institute's Documentary Award back in 2002. It follows Jensen who travels the world to find out why his own personality seems to make life to uncomfortable. The direc
  • Coppola's Translation to open Vienna

    A gala screening of Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation with the director in attendance will open this year's Vienna International Film Festival (Viennale) on October 17. The main programme of 100 new feature films and documentaries will be rounded off on October 29 by Julie Bertucelli's Depuis Qu'Otar Est Parti at a closing ceremony when the winners of the FIPRESCI Prize, Vienna Film Prize and Standard Viennale Readers' Prize will be announced.The Main Programme
  • Cork kicks off with Irish features, Hurt tribute

    British actor and long time Irish resident John Hurt will be the recipient of Cork Film Festival's inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. The festival will host a public interview with the actor and screen a retrospective selection of Hurt's film and television work, including Ridley Scott's recut Alien.Now in its 48th year Ireland's senior festival kicks off on October 12 with the Irish premiere of Aisling Walsh's acclaimed Song For A Raggy Boy which was filmed just outsi
  • Crimson Gold, Distant take top prizes at Chicago

    Jafar Panahi's CrimsonGold from Iran won the Gold Hugo atthe Chicago International Film Festival on Saturday, while Nuri Bilge Ceylan'sTurkish film Distant took theSilver Hugo and Special Jury Prize.CrimsonGold was cited for "its compellingportrait of a man inexorably destroyed by social pressures" while Distant was cited for "its intense and elegant depiction ofoverwhelming loneliness."
  • Cuba selects Suite Havana for Oscars

    Fernando Perez's Suite Havana, a poetic meditation on everyday life in Havana which opened the Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival last month, has been nominated to represent Cuba in the foreign-language Oscar race.The dialogue-free film, a majority Spanish co-production between Spain's Wanda Vision and Cuban film institute ICAIC, was also among the most popular in public screenings at the recent Marrakech International Film Festival.Suite Havana pre
  • Evil director returns to school for ghost story

    While Mikael Haafstroem's adaptation of Jan Guillou's autobiographical bestseller, Evil (Ondskan), is still dominating the local box-office, he has started shooting his new film Strandvaskeren (literally 'the body washed ashore') outside Stockholm. A co-production between Hans Lonnerheden's Greta Film and Nordisk Film's H.P. Lundh, the SKR16.8m psychological thriller takes place at a community school, where a young girl writes about a local legend about the body of a murd
  • Ewan McGregor gets on his bike with best friend Charley Boorman

    Elixir Films and Image Wizard TV are to produce a travelogueseries featuring Ewan McGregor and his best friend, actor Charley Boorman,crossing the globe on motorcycles.
  • Extraordinary weekend for Fox as BVI goes in for Kill

    Fox International's The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG) will be the one to watch this upcoming weekend with openings in Italy and Japan.Last weekend's mighty European roll-out propelled the action title's running total to $54.3m and a second consecutive number one performance at the international box office looks likely.LXG opens on 335 prints in Italy on Oct 10 and 376 in Japan a day later and should prosper based on recent performances.When X2
  • Film20 assesses EU-expansion in the film industry

    In advance of the second part of its Euro Expansion Conference, to be held in Berlin on October 20 - 21, Germany's Film20 producer lobby group held a press conference in Berlin to set the agenda. Titled 'Pro Extension in the film business' the event set out the strategy of getting the dynamics of change going. According to Film20 general secretary Georgia Tornow, "the dynamics of change must be started now across Europe' only with a strategy that includes the strengths and specialitie
  • Five Italian films win Brazilian distribution

    Five Italian films have found distribution in Brazil at the International Rio De Janeiro Film Festival (Sep 25 - Oct 9) after Italy became the first country to join an experimental international scheme aimed at encouraging the distribution of independent films across the world. The scheme, which operates under the banner of the International Institute for Cinema and Audiovisual (IICA), sees countries provide matching subsidy and incentives to each other to support distribution of thei
  • Fox enjoys $13.1m weekend with LXG, top in Italy, Japan, Taiwan

    Number one openings inItaly, Japan and Taiwan were the chief drivers in a $13.1m weekend haul for TheLeague Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG) that raised its international running total to $68.7m.Fox International'sfantasy/adventure grossed $2.4m from 337 screens in Italy, $2.2m from 362 inJapan and $1.2m from 91 in Taiwan.There were a couple ofdecent holdovers as France stayed top on $1.7m from 553 for $4.6m and Germanyadded $1.4m from 704 for $8.1m, both in their second
  • Francois Da Silva appointed at Europa Corp.

    Former Cannes Directors' Fortnight artistic director Francois Da Silva has joined Europa Corp. as Artistic Advisor. Luc Besson and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam's successful Paris-based studio announced Da Silva's appointment on Tuesday in a press release and said he had been effectively working with the company since October 1.Da Silva surprised the industry when he resigned abruptly last July from the Directors' Fortnight post. Citing artistic differences and a lack of autonomy Da Silv
  • French teacher sues documentary makers

    In an extraordinary about-face retired French schoolteacher Georges Lopez has begun legal proceedings against the makers of the documentary film Etre Et Avoir, which he dominated with his strict-but-fair handling of a junior school class in the Auvergne.In the Paris high courts, Lopez is suing director Nicolas Philibert, the film's producers distributors and music supervisor for Euros 25,000. With the commercial arbitration service in Perpignan he is claiming a similar sum for a

    Bad Boys II blew away all competition in Germany over the weekend selling over 765,000 tickets between Oct 9 and 12, more than 500,000 tickets more than second placed The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen.Local children's comedy 4 Freunde & 4 Pfoten (literally 4 Friends and 4 Paws) failed to make much impact opening in 10th place with 43,321 admissions for distributot X-Verleih.The film, directed by Gabriele Heberling, follows four children aged 10 to
  • GERMANY, AUSTRIA, SWITZ Prod Lists - Oct 14

    AUSTRIA - Oct 14IN PRODUCTIONDER TRAUM VOM SCHWEBEN(Bonus Film) Co-prod: Troika Entertainment (Ger), BBR Productions (Can). Backer: BKA, Cine Tirol, Filmstiftung NRW, ARTE. Documentary. The only male synchronised swimming trio in Europe has found the sport of its life. Prods: Robert Winkler, Christian Vizi, Susanne Girard. Dir/scr: Barbara Graftner. DoP: Robert Winkler. Ed: Oliver Naumann. Shooting in Karlsruhe, Frankfurt, Innsbruck, Montreal from beginning of
  • Goldenthal wins World Soundtrack Awards for Frida

    Elliot Goldenthal has won the Soundtrack Composer of the Year for the score of Frida at the World Soundtrack Awards, presented by the International Film Festival Flanders-Ghent.Frida also won the Best Original Soundtrack of the YearGuest of honour Maurice Jarre received a World Soundtrack Lifetime Achievement Award. The song The Hands that Built America by U2 for the film Gangs of New York won the awa
  • H2V Entertainment prepares inaugural animated slate

    H2VEntertainment, a Montreal-based production and distribution house that softlaunched in 2000, is approaching completion on its inaugural slate of threefully financed animation features.Manga Latina: Killer On The Loose, Monica Made In Americaand Pinatas are all aimed at the teen and young adult market and are dueto wrap in spring 2004.Fivemore animated titles are in development and the company, which has studioconnections in Spain (Exca
  • Hamptons festival boasts five foreign Oscar submissions

    Five films submitted for thebest foreign language film Academy Award will screen at the 2003 HamptonsInternational Film Festival which takes place Oct 22 to 26.Making their US premieresare Bent Hamer's Kitchen Storiesfrom Norway and Mikael Hafstrom's Evil from Sweden, while making their east coast premieres are Siddiq Barmak'sOsama from Afghanistan, DagurKari's Noi Albinoi from Icelandand Rodrigo Bellott's Sexual Dependency from Bolivia.The fes
  • HBO Films, Maya Pictures team for Latino-themed projects

    HBO Films has agreed to acquire the first six Latino-themed projects developed by MayaPictures, the new film and television production company launched by producerMoctesuma Esparza and Robert Katz. Maya is currently in the process of identifying emerging Latino filmmakersfor these projects which will touch on the contemporary US Latino experience. Moctesuma Esparza will executive produce the series of films. Kimberly Myers heads development at Maya Pictures. The development staff inclu

    Media Asia Films' local prequel Infernal Affairs II is riding high in Hong Kong. At the end of its first full week on release (it opened on Oct 1 to play one day the previous week) it had taken $1.5m and $2.2m over the eight days since its debut.Infernal Affairs II is a prequel to last year's hit crime thriller Infernal Affairs about a triad's mole in the police force vying with an undercover cop in the triadsThe only new release in the top ten was a

    The macho S.W.A.T. muscled its way into the top of the Icelandic chart this week, though Spy Kids 3D retained a higher screen average on its 4 prints, 1,269 admissions compared to the actioner's 934 on 5 prints. Andrew Davis' Holes dug into fourth ahead of Bad Boys II, which is racing down the chart falling off another 62%. A number of films actually climbed the chart this week, Seabiscuit went from 12 to 7, Hero from 21 to 19 and The
  • IDA Awards names documentary nominees

    Andrew Jarecki's child abuse expose Capturing The Friedmans, Lauren Lazin's rap icon profile Tupac: Resurrection and Sam Green and Bill Siegel's account of 1960s radicals in The Weather Underground are among 13 feature nominees for the International Documentary Association's (IDA) 19th Annual Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards.Overall 28 titles will contest for honours in the four categories of feature, short, limited series and continuing series at the I
  • IDA names 13 documentaries shortlisted for Dec 12 awards

    Andrew Jarecki's controversialCapturing The Friedmans, LaurenLazin's rap icon profile Tupac: Resurrection and Sam Green and Bill Siegel's account of 1960sradicals in The Weather Undergroundare among 13 feature nominees for the International Documentary Association's(IDA) 19th Annual Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards.Overall 28 titles willcontest for honours in the four categories of feature, short, limited seriesand continuing series at the IDA Awards Be
  • Indie Circle acquires first European title

    Celebrated Spanish film Take My Eyes (Te Doy Mis Ojos) has become the first European picture to be bought collectively by multi-national buying consortium Indie Circle.The deal was struck with seller Sogepaq following its screening in San Sebastian and means the film will be assured of distribution in France (through Haut Et Court), The Netherlands (A-Film), Belgium (Cineart/Cinelibre), Italy (Lucky Red/EyeScreen) and Switzerland (Frenetic)The film, directed by Iciar Boll
  • Intermission dominates Irish Film&TV Awards

    Intermission, which passed the Euos 2m mark at the Irish box office last week, has been shortlisted in 11 award categories in the Irish Film & Television Awards which will be announced in Dublin on November 1. Debut director John Crowley, and writer Mark O'Rowe have both been nominated for their work on Intermission in their respective award categories and the film has itself been nominated as Best Irish Film.Intermission's other nominations are Deirdre O'Ka
  • Iran, Taiwan take top Pusan prizes

    South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival wrapped up its 8th edition on October 10, with prizes in the New Currents section for first and second-time Asian directors going to Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng's directorial debut The Missing and Iranian director Alireza Amini's Tiny Snow Flakes. A special mention was also presented to Sedigh Barmak's Osama from Afghanistan. The New Currents Jury, headed by Swedish director Jan Troell, praised all of the awarded f
  • Irish UIP Awards announced

    Screen Producers Ireland (SPI) has announced the winners of the UIP Irish Directors Awards which will be presented at the Cork Film Festival this coming weekend. Inaugurated in 2000 by SPI in conjunction with UIP and the Irish Film Board and open only to Irish directors they remain, with a prize fund of Euros 30,000, the largest awards of their kind in Ireland.The categories and awards are Best Director Feature Film - Euros 20,000; Best Director Live Action Short - Euros 5,000;

    Bernardo Bertolucci's sizzling 1968-set drama, The Dreamers, opened at number two at the Italian box office, earning an impressive $1,560,404 from 307 screens for a strong screen average of $5,041.Distributed by local Fininvest-owned powerhouse Medusa, The Dreamers stars Eva Green and Louis Garrel as twin brother and sister who strike up a friendship with an innocent American student, played by Michael Pitt, against the backdrop of the 1968 Paris riots.Despite its

    Yin-Yang Master II opened at number two, ahead of all the foreign competition, including Johnny English, Matchstick Men and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. The sequel to the 2001 hit about a magician battling goblins and other supernatural foes in ancient Kyoto did not match the original in either screen average ($83,163 versus $48,791 for II) or total box office ($1,101,142 versus $634,290 for II, both on 13 major city screens). An indication, perh
  • Japanese Story, Gettin' Square lead Australian awards race

    The stand-out films from yesterday's announcement of the nominations for the annual IF Awards are Japanese Story and Gettin' Square, each of which have eight chances to take home an award from the November 12 presentation. Both have been nominated for best feature and direction.The third nominee for best feature was Swimming Upstream, which received five nominations. The third nominee for best director alongside Japanese Story helmer Sue Brooks and Gettin
  • Jonjo Mickybo cranks up in Northern Ireland

    Filming began in Northern Ireland yesterday (Oct 15) on Jonjo Mickybo, designer Terry Loane's feature film debut as writer and director.Loane previously worked as a designer in theatre and on many short films, including the Oscar-nominated short Dance Lexie Dance, before turning to film writing and direction with the short film Cluck in 1998. His adaptation of the award-winning play Mojo-Mickybo by local playwright Owen McCafferty is to wrap in Decemb
  • Lescure returns to his roots

    Pierre Lescure is returning to his roots. The former Canal Plus chairman, who started as a radio and television journalist, will present a cinema news program on French terrestrial network France 5 beginning this season.Although no start date is slated for the show, entitled 24 1/2, France 5 today announced that the programme would be part of its upcoming line-up. The hour-long magazine show is produced by MK2TV and will welcome invited guests each week.Lescure was abruptly oust
  • Luna lined up to star in romantic road movie Solo Dios Sabe

    Diego Luna, who seizedglobal attention after his star turn opposite Gael Garcia Bernal in Y TuMama Tambien, has been lined up tostar in Mexican-Brazilian co-production Solo Dios Sabe.Theromantic drama/ road movie, co-written and to be directed by Luna's long-timefriend Carlos Bolado (Bajo California: El Limite Del Tiempo) of Mexico, will also feature Alice Braga (CityOf God).Sonia Braga (Kiss Of TheSpider Woma
  • MDP Worldwide changes name to Media 8 Entertainment

    Reflectinga shift in business strategy towards production and financing, MDP Worldwidehas changed its name to Media 8 Entertainment.Media8 will continue to actively operate its in-house distribution division tolicense both international and domestic rights to its films."Media8 Entertainment is now one of the few independents in the marketplace that hasthe financial resources to 'greenlight' feature films without pre-sales,"chairman and chief executive officer Mark Damon said in
  • Mifed unveils 2003 market premieres

    Milan's Mifed market has announced its market premieres for its 70th edition (Nov 9-13), as well as unveiling a new strand designed to showcase young European filmmakers to buyers.Mifed's new titles include Wild Bunch's Janis And John, Samuel Benchetrit's film about Janis Joplin which stars Marie Trintignant in one of her last roles before her death in August, and Chilean director Raoul Ruiz' new film, Taste For Murder, sold by Roissy Films. New Line will be scree
  • Mifed unveils market premieres

    Milan's Mifed market has announced its market premieres for its 70th edition (Nov 9-13), as well as unveiling a new strand designed to showcase young European filmmakers to buyers.Mifed's new titles include Wild Bunch's Janis And John, Samuel Benchetrit's film about Janis Joplin which stars Marie Trintignant in one of her last roles before her death in August, and Chilean director Raoul Ruiz' new film, Taste For Murder, sold by Roissy Films. New Line will be scree
  • Milestone takes domestic on Poland's The Big Animal

    US independent distributorMilestone Films has acquired all North American rights to Polish film TheBig Animal (Duze Zwierze) directed by Jerzy Stuhr. The film was based on ascreenplay by the late Krzysztof Kieslowski and shot in black-and-white byPoland's Pawel Edelman (The Pianist).Stuhr, aprotégé of Kieslowski, also stars in the film as a bank clerk ina small town who wakes up one morning to find a camel in his front yard. Theanimal
  • MIP TV lines up BBC chief, China focus for 2004

    Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC will be the keynote speaker at next year's MIP TV market 2004, which will be held from March 29 to April 2.The event will also host the first ever China day on March 31 with two discussions about how to partner with Chinese companies. The MIP China Club will also debut at MIP TV where delegates can meet Chinese and international consultants who will be on hand to advise about Chinese media related subjects.Interactive content market MILIA w
  • MIPCOM bounces towards lively conclusion

    The MIPCOM internationaltelevision programmes market in Cannes has been a relatively lively affair. It saw theunveiling of few mega-deals, but it was distinctly more buoyant than recentevents. Corridor traffic was widely felt to have been busier andboth buyers and sellers reported that the time for transactions had replacedinterminable talks. "This is more vibrant and more business is actuallybeing done than anything we have seen in the last
  • MIPCOM closes with host of deals

    The studios were particularly active in using MIPCOM to announce film and made-for-TV film deals:Buena Vista International Television (BVITV) struck a multi-year agreement with Lusomundo for the pay-TV broadcast of its entire Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures slates in Portugal. The first-time deal covers features and TV movies which will air on the Lusomundo Gallery channel. Contemporary features includes Signs, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Princess Diaries.
  • Myriad is hot for Porn

    Myriad Pictures has picked up international sales rights to Porn 'n Chicken, the first feature film to be made by the Comedy Central group.The film was directed by Lawrence Trilling and is a story based on urban legends about a group of five students who form a club to watch porno films and eat fried chicken. They take things further when they decide to make their own x-rated film.The deal, which was announced by Myriad's senior vice president of worldwide television, Mar

    The Netherlands saw a dramatically different reception for two local releases last weekend. A-Film Distribution scored a hit with second placed Phileine Says Sorry which grossed $547,334 (Euros 463,592), including previews of $120,472 (Euros 102,040), over the four-day weekend.The romantic comedy, based on the best-selling Dutch novel by Ronald Giphart, played at 77 screens for a strong $5,544 average over the weekend. It tells the story of a woman living in New York that only l
  • New Brazilian cinema initiative aims to double country's screen count

    Plans are afoot to doublethe current screen count of Brazil, currently estimated at 1,700. An outreachproject dubbed Cinema For All (Cine Para Todos), spearheaded by leadingnational exhibitor Cinemas Severiano Ribeiro and top veteran producer LuizCarlos Barreto (Dona Flor And Her Two Husbands, Middle Of The World), has unveiled plans to build new screens in theimpoverished outskirts of key cities."We need to grow themarket; only a core group of 10 million middle and upper middle
  • New Jersey film outfit CSC/Cargo names Baldwin production chief

    William Baldwin has beennamed president of production at the New Jersey-based production companyCSC/Cargo Films, one of the key players in the state's high-profile drive toprevent runaway productions by offering incentives to film-makers.Since 2001 Baldwin has beena prominent supporter of the Garden State's campaign, which took a significantstep forward last month when Governor James E McGreevey passed the FilmProduction Assistance Act.The law provides financialincentives to ind

    Older women definitely got their own back against the starlets in New Zealand when Calendar Girls opened in top position in its first official weekend in the charts. The film took NZ$332,452 from 38 screens for BVI, which was double the gross of the other major opener, 20th Century Fox's 28 Days Later, which was on nearly as many screens. Calendar Girls' screen average was NZ$8,749, which was also more than double every other film in the top 20 except second placed
  • Noi Albinoi sweeps Iceland's EDDA awards

    Dagur Kari's Noi Albinoi continued its winning streak scooping most of the major awards at the annual EDDAs - the Icelandic Film & TV-Awards.The ceremony, which is considered one of the most important events of the social calendar in Iceland, was broadcast on RUV, the national Icelandic station, and achieved a 60% audience rating. Noi Albinoi won Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Kari, as well as best lead actor for Tomas Lemarquis, best supporting a

    As expected the release of Mother's Elling, the prequel to 2001's box-office sensation and Oscar nominated comedy-drama, thundered into number one with more than four times the take of number two The Woman Of My Life. Both Alexander Eik's romantic comedy and S.W.A.T. dropped considerably - 40% and 50% from last week, but otherwise little changed at the top of the chart, as no distributor dared to open a new film the same week as UIP's new Elling film.
  • October turns to seasoned players for debut slate

    Billy Elliot producer Jon Finn is to executive produce Johnny Mullagh, the true nineteenth century story of a group of young Aborigines transported overseas to play England's cricket elite.The project, written by Mark Brickman, is part of the debut feature slate of October Films, the documentary production outfit known for factual programming from award-winning directors. Also in the works is The Impressionist, a thriller by Paul Herzberg to be executive pro
  • O'Neil joins Warner Independent in marketing department

    Erin O'Neil has joinedWarner Independent Pictures as vice president of creative advertising and willstart at the company on Oct 20.Reporting directly toexecutive vice president, marketing and publicity, Laura Kim, O'Neil willassist Kim in developing and implementing marketing and creative advertisingstrategies for WIP's films.She arrives at Warner fromUnited Artists where she was director of marketing, working on campaigns suchas Pieces Of April, Bowling For Columbine and
  • Palm picks up Legend Of Leigh Bowery

    PalmPictures and Arthouse Films have acquired worldwide distribution rights toCharles Atlas's The Legend Of Leigh Bowery and plan a New York releaseon Nov 21 with DVD and video to follow in 2004.Thedeal was negotiated for Palm Pictures and Arthouse Films by David Koh, head ofacquisitions and production, and Jose Martinez Jr' general manager of Arthouse.LucySexton represented Charles Atlas and Atlas Films and Lori Seid of One CanvasProductions on behalf
  • Panahi dedicates Chicago Gold Hugo to Shirin Ebadi

    Jafar Panahi, whose drama CrimsonGold won top honours at the ChicagoFilm Festival last week, has dedicated his award to the Iranian Nobel PeacePrize winner Shirin Ebadi.In an open letter publishedin Iranian newspapers, Panahi, whose previous credits include The Circle,The White Balloon and Mirror, wrote: "The news of your winning the Noble PeacePrize put an end to the frustration and despair we have all felt in our road todemocracy and freedom in Iran."We wi
  • Pita steps down from Media Business School

    Juan Pita has announced he will step down from his position as director of the pan-European training initiative Media Business School (MBS) at the end of the month.Pita leaves to set up his own production company, the Madrid-based Decontrabando. Although his official end date is October 31, he will continue to oversee the current Master in Audiovisual Management (MEGA) program through December.Hugo Lasarte, current deputy director of the MBS, will become interim acting director
  • Premiere completes studio line-up with Sony deal

    Germany's digital pay TV service Premiere can now boast output deals with every one of the major Hollywood studios, having agreed a multi-year licensing agreement with Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) on Monday (Oct 13).Premiere already has deals in place with Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, MGM, 20th Century Fox, Buena Vista, Lucasfilm and Dreamworks.Premiere's CEO Georg Kofler said that his platform would now be "able to offer our subscribers a unique blockbus
  • Pullman boards Vinterberg's Dear Wendy

    Bill Pullman has joined the cast of Thomas Vinterberg's Dear Wendy, which is based on a script by Lars Von Trier.The thriller, which started shooting on Sept 26 in Copenhagen, stars Jamie Bell, Chris Owen, Mark Webber and Michael Angarano, Danso Gordon and Alison Pill.The film is being shot on the biggest outdoor set ever built in Denmark as well as in mines in Nordrehein Westphalen in Germany.Set in a small mining town in the US mid-west, Dear Wendy is the
  • Quentin & Uma slay the competition with Kill Bill Vol I

    Quentin Tarantino stormed back into North American theatres for thefirst time in almost six years with his best ever bow as Kill Bill Vol 1 opened top on an estimated $22.1m.
  • Rialto buys Bresson, Godard classics for US theatrical re-release

    New York-based RialtoPictures has acquired theatrical rights to four classic titles from Paris-basedArgos Films and will kick off with the release of Robert Bresson's acclaimed1966 drama Au Hasard Balthazar atNew York's Film Forum on Oct 17.Au Hasard Balthazar, an allegorical musing on saintliness, willsubsequently go out on national release and is accompanied in the acquisitionpackage by its 1967 sister piece Mouchette, Jean-Luc Godard's 1966 social isolation dram
  • Rio gets serious, launches film commission, new studio

    Rio de Janiero has launcheda film commission as part of a nationwide move to introduce film commissions in key cities of Brazil. Atpresent, only Manaus, the gateway to the Amazon jungle, has boasted a filmcommission. In addition, Rio plansto build a studio facility, dubbed the City of Cinema by early 2004. Veteran actor Jose Wilker (DonaFlor And Her Two Husbands, Man Of The Year), who has presided over Rio City-backed distributor Riofilmes sinceearly this year, has been appointe
  • Rio loves a good Story

    Festival favourite The Story Tellers (Narradores De Jave) by Elianne Caffe nabbed four major prizes at the Rio International Film Festival which wrapped Thursday, October 9. The comedy revolves around a Brazilian village which invents a local history in order to gain national heritage status and avoid being demolished by a pending hydroelectric dam project. Aside from winning the Premiere Brazil best feature award, Story Tellers won the audience award as well as a
  • Rosenstrasse

    Dir. Margarethe von Trotta. Germany, 2003. 136mins.A classical, straightforward, honest and deeply felt reconstruction of a little known Second World War incident, which provided a little ray of light in a sea of darkness, Margarethe von Trotta's first feature in nine years is a worthy addition to a mass of information attempting to make sense of the most terrible period in the history of mankind. This story of a group of German women who dared demand - and ultimately obtaine
  • Rotterdam focuses on US politics

    The Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR), to be held from Jan 21 - Feb 1, 2004, has lined up an edgy thematic sidebar focusing on the current US political climate.Called Homefront USA, it presents works by American filmmakers and other artists reflecting on the climate of neo-conservatism and the global role of the US.It will also include films that explore the place of violence in today's American society (Golden Palm winner Elephant by Gus Van Sant), the tobacco
  • Runaway Jury

    Dir: Gary Fleder. US. 2003. 127 mins.John Grisham adaptations were big box office performers in the mid-nineties but it's been almost six years since Hollywood last put one of the author's brisk legal thrillers onto the big screen. This Regency Enterprises version of Grisham's 1996 bestseller about a hijacked corporate liability trial has the well-crafted feel and juicy casting that helped turn The Firm and A Time To Kill (another Regency project) into major hit
  • Scotland to don Maybury's Jacket

    Scotland is to host the shoot of John Maybury's $32m The Jacket, starring Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley.The Jacket will be produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh's Section Eight, with Peter Gruber's Mandalay Pictures in association with German fund VIP Medienfonds. Warner Bros has US rights and it is sold internationally by Summit Entertainment.The film is the latest in a handful of big budget pictures to shoot in Scotland this year, including the $15m

    Three week in a row champion LXG remains at the top of the chart despite competition last weekend from Bad Boys II and Matchstick Men, from the same distributor Tuck.Bad Boys sold 4,208 tickets to and Matchstick Men's 2,712 over the weekend, garnering $9,385 and $7,960 respectively, not enough to unseat LXG which added another $10,553 to total $86,487 in three weeks. However, the new pretenders, with some help from Vans' Lara Croft
  • Solo Film, EuroVideo sign license deal

    German theatrical distributor Solo Flim Verleih has concluded a wide-reaching deal with EuroVideo Bildprogramm for the rental and sell-through video/DVD rights to sixteen of its titles.The package includes such films as The Good Thief, The United States Of Leland and 11:4 as well as the current release Jester Till (Till Eulenspiegel) which has already attracted over 400,000 admissions since opening on September 25.Commenting on the deal with EuroVideo, Solo
  • SpaaMART names its hottest scripts

    Nadia Tass, director of the popular comedies Malcolm and The Big Steal, John Curran of cult hit Praise fame, and Tony Ayres, whose recent debut feature Walking On Water drew wide critical acclaim, are at the helm of three of the 23 films to be presented at this year's inaugural SpaaMART, the film financing market to be held in Melbourne next month.SpaaMART takes its name from the Screen Producers Association of Australia and is being held from November 18 -
  • Spain's FAPAE names Perez as new president

    The Spanish Producers' Federation FAPAE has elected former Via Digital president Pedro Perez as its new president, replacing Eduardo Campoy.Perez previously held the FAPAE post from 1993 to 1997. His new candidacy, which went uncontested and was voted in by a majority, will last for a minimum of two years.Campoy announced his premature resignation at last month's Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival, citing professional reasons, fatigue in the unpaid post and a nee
  • Spanish Film Academy chiefs quit

    The president and two vice presidents of the Spanish Film Academy have stepped down in a surprise move just four months after their reelection to a second three-year term.They were replaced by unanimous vote at an extraordinary board meeting last week by the actress Mercedes Sampietro, who will take over from Marisa Paredes as president, and producer Agustin Almodovar and director Isabel Coixet as vice presidents.However, new elections will take place after the next Goya Awards
  • Stander's South African debut disappoints

    Bronwen Hughes's Stander had a disappointing world premiere in South Africa over the weekend for distributor Nu Metro. The $15m film, starring Thomas Jane and Deborah Unger, is one of the first South African-content films that is neither driven by politics nor candid-camera type farce. It is based on the true story of Andre Stander, an apartheid era cop who became the country's most notorious bank robber. The film was released on 50 screens - a large roll-out for the coun
  • Sundance Channel acquires US TV rights to War doc

    Sundance Channel hasacquired the US television rights to Brian Knappenberger's documentary LifeAfter War.The deal was negotiated byChristian Vesper on behalf of Sundance Channel and Marc Halperin of Magic LampReleasing on behalf of the film.The film focuses on SarahChayes, a former National Public Radio war correspondent, and her involvementin Afghans for Civil Society, the non-governmental organisation committed tofostering democracy in Afghanistan.Life After W
  • Sundance Documentary Fund names 14 films to receive grants

    Stories of post-TalibanAfghanistan, Mexican immigrants and a Shakespearean prison troupe are among 14recipients of the latest round of bi-annual grants from the SundanceDocumentary Fund (SDF)."The recipients of thisfall's grant cycle show an uncanny ability to get to the heart of crucialissues and events, which are not being covered by the mainstream media,"Diane Weyermann, director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, said in astatement."These documentaryfilm-makers are
  • Tavernier adopts Cambodian project

    Following 2002's World War II drama Laissez-Passer, veteran French director Bertrand Tavernier is turning his sights on Cambodia. Holly Lola starts shooting this week and is about a couple seeking to adopt a child in the former French territory. The film stars Jacques Gamblin who also appeared in Laissez-Passer. He is joined by Isabelle Carre and Bruno Putzulu. The script was written by Tavernier's daughter Tiffany, Dominique Sampiero and Tavernier hi
  • Thompson joins Prisoner Of Azkaban

    Emma Thompson has swelled the ranks of Warner Bros' ensemblecast on Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban after signing on to playthe eccentric professor of divination Sybll Trelawney.Thompson joins Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint,Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis andMichael Gambon - who stepped into the role of Hogwarts headmaster ProfessorDumbledore following the death of Richard Harris."I am very excited to work with
  • UK boost for children's development

    Family audiences, seen as being under-served by UK films, are being targeted in a new funding initiative launched by National Lottery administrator UK Film Council, the BBC and the Children's Film & Television Foundation.Aimed at children and families, the £900,000 fund offers £300,000 per year over the next 3 years to support development on live action and animated films. Development executive Grainne Marmion will spearhead the initiative.Estelle Morris, films minister, said: "
  • UK Spellbound by new releases

    The UK saw a quartet of hugely successful openings this week from an eclectic mix of titles. A low budget horror; a documentary about a highly competitive US spelling competition; a computer animated fish tale; and a rip-roaring rampage of revenge sought out audiences in different sectors of the market and helped the UK/Ireland box office to a 37% rise over the same weekend last year (when UIP opened Red Dragon).Showing strength on the arthouse circuit was Spellbound, a U

    Redbus Film Distribution scored its biggest opening since April 2002's Bend It Like Beckham last weekend when it launched Eli Roth's Cabin Fever.The horror title grossed a massive $1.8m (£1.1m), including previews of $196,137 (£117,682), over its launch weekend. Playing at 277 sites Cabin Fever played to a very strong $6,355 location average.Despite not having the same brand awarness Cabin Fever's opening far outstripped that of Entertainment's Fre
  • Universal takes additional $4.6m with Wedding

    Universal's AmericanPie: The Wedding stayed on course topass $100m at the international box office after an estimated $4.6m weekendhaul from 1,500 venues in 29 territories raised its total to $91.5m.With 19 more markets to openthrough UIP, including France next weekend, passing the milestone is merely aquestion of time.American Pie: The Weddingopened third in Singapore on anexcellent $125,000 from 11 sites, all the more impressive considering it
  • Valenti bangs anti-piracy drum in Ireland

    Jack Valenti, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), spoke to over 150 Irish business leaders on Monday (Oct 13) at an Institute of Directors (IOD) lunch in Dublin. In Ireland as a guest of Screen Producers Ireland (SPI), Valenti emphasised the need for legislation, education, and technological solutions to fight piracy in Europe.In his address Valenti stated that Ireland, in its EU Presidency in 2004, could provide the type of leadership needed to
  • Valenti takes piracy fight to Europe

    Inthe latest bid to stamp out piracy and the causes of piracy, MPAA chief JackValenti is heading for Dublin on Oct 11 to hold talks with Irish Prime MinisterBertie Ahern.Thefive-day trip is seen as an opportunity to urge Ahern and his top brass to takea lead on the anti-piracy fight in Europe ahead of Ireland's presidency of theEuropean Union (EU).Itis understood Valenti will place special emphasis on the EU's proposedenforcement directive that is currently p
  • Veteran film buyer Groves joins IMAX distribution team

    As IMAX Corporation steps upits positioning as a distributor of Hollywood event films the company hasappointed veteran buyer Phil Groves to the new post of vice president ofdistribution and development.Groves will serve as chiefliaison with the studios' distribution executives and will devise easier waysof distributing original and IMAX DMR films - those that have been prepared forIMAX projection using the company's proprietary technology - to IMAX Corp'snetwork of theatres.He w
  • Video-on-demand gathers speed

    The way forward for video-on-demand (VoD) seems suddenly to be gaining momentum around the world - although pure VoD in which all content is always available at the click of a button still looks a very remote possibility.The technology to deliver VoD has existed for several years, but until recently a combination of factors have held back its roll-out. These have included security issues, problems of bandwidth and telco non-co-operation, studio hesitancy in the face of growing piracy,
  • Wellspring to sell Name Of Allah doc

    US distributor Wellspringhas signed on as worldwide sales agent for the non-English-speaking world for Inthe Name Of Allah, a documentaryabout Islam and homosexuality by first-time film-maker Parvez Sharma.The film, which is currentlyin production with shooting scheduled to finish at the end of the year anddelivery set for Sept 2004, is set in five continents and follows characterswho approach the intersection of their religion and sexuality in a variety ofways. It is being pres