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16 October 2008

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  • Abu Dhabi launches media zone for Arab film content

    A media zone has been launched in Abu Dhabi as part of the city's bid to establish itself as a major player in the global film industry. The multimedia park - called twofour54 - aims to create Arab content in film, broadcasting, publishing and digital. It will supply production and post-production facilities for film making as well as a vocational training academy for young Arabs hoping to break into the industry. 'Twofour54' aims to be operational from mid J
  • Alki David's 111 Pictures options Jeffrey Archer novel

    A Prisoner Of Birth, the latest novel from flamboyant and controversial ex-politician Jeffrey Archer, is to be brought to the screen. The book has been optioned by 111 Pictures, the London-based production, distribution and sales company run by Alki David.The aim is to turn the novel into a four-hour mini-series. However, David has not discounted the possibility of making a theatrical feature version as well.Danish director Mikael Salomon
  • AMPCO, Salon and Hengdian unite for Sino-Ozco-productions

    Australia's Adelaide Motion Picture Company (AMPCO), Hong Kong's Salon Films and Hengdian Film Productions from China's Zhejiang Province are forming a China-Australia co-production alliance. The three companies signed a Memorandum Of Understanding in Hengdian in Zhejiang province to shoot three movies starting from December. The first film will be family adventure The Last Dragon.AMPCO principal Mario Andreacchio will direct the
  • Belmonte and Nauchtergaele share top awards at Rio

    Jose Eduardo Belmonte's Se Nada Mais der Certo and Matheus Nauchtergaele's directorial debut A Festa da Menina Morta shared the major spoils at the 10th Rio de Janeiro Film Festival. Belmonte's thriller Se Nada Mais de Certo took best feature award and best actress prize for Caroline Abras. A Festa da Menina Morta picked up best director and best actor for leading man Daniel de Oliveira. The best documentary award went to Pedro Urano's road mov
  • Ben Hopkins' The Market wins best film honour at Ghent

    Ben Hopkins' The Market won the $27,000 Grand Prize of the Flemish Community for BestFilm at the 35th Ghent International Film Festival. The Germany-Turkey-UK-Kazakhstan co-production is the Turkey-set story of a market trader who sees achance to make his fortune when he ventures across the Balkan border tobuy medicine. The award was made at Ghent City Hall by the internationaljury presided over by Danish producer Vibeke Windeløv.
  • Celluloid picks up international rights to Sex My Life

    Celluloid Dreams has acquired international rights to Bahman Motamedian's feature Sex My Life. The film, which debuted in Venice last month, is a mix of documentary and fiction that follows seven transsexuals living in modern-day Tehran.The subjects' journey to finding their true identity is demonstrated as they seek acceptance from their families and the religious authorities to have a sex change operation.In a statement, Celluloid's Alessandro Raja said, 'The film is fa
  • Chihuahua bites $17.5m for number one spot at domestic box office

    Historically American audiences have been happy to anoint talking animals as their champions and so it was little surprise that Buena Vista's Beverly Hills Chihuahua was the top dog in its second week of release.The family film added an estimated $17.5m to raise the running total to $52.5m and had enough bite to fend off a strong challenge by Screen Gems' horror remake Quarantine. That film, an English-
  • City Of Ember

    Dir: Gil Kenan. US. 2008. 94mins.
  • Colin Callender leaves HBO Films after 21 years at the company

    Colin Callender is stepping down as president of HBO Films after 21 years at HBO and plans to launch his own company.The move had been expected since last year when Callender lost out in the race to lead HBO following Chris Albrecht's departure. The decision to take HBO Films out of the feature film business and the closure of Picturehouse may have also influenced his decision. He will announce plans for his new company in 2009.Upon Callender's departure Len Amato will be
  • Colin Stanfield takes over as executive director of Nantucket festival

    Independent producer and festival veteran Colin Stanfield is taking the reins at the Nantucket Film Festival after founder and current executive director Jill Burkhart announced she was relinquishing oversight of day-to-day operations to chair the festival's board of directors.Stanfield will commence work immediately in advance of the 14th edition that is set to run from June 18-22 2009.'Running the Nantucket Film Festival the last number of years has been extremely grati
  • Conservatives to outline UK film policy at Screen finance summit

    Jeremy Hunt, UK shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport, will outline the Conservatives alternative film policies in a keynote speech at Screen International's annual UK Film Finance Summit.Hunt's speech at London's Waldorf Hotel on Thursday will focus on an 'alternative blueprint for a sustainable UK film industry.'Click here to see full programme'The UK film industry
  • Content remains king, Michael Eisner tells MIPCOM

    'What we all have in common is that we worship at the altar of creativity,' said Michael Eisner as he began his keynote speech on day two of the MIPCOM TV market.The former Disney CEO and founder of new media company Tornante, whose 40-year career has spanned pretty much every aspect of the entertainment business, told attendees that he continues to 'have faith in all media. If you have a great story to tell, it will work on any delivery system.' Eisner is currently at the head
  • Dakota Fanning gets the year's Rising Star award at Palm Springs

    Dakota Fanning will receive the 20th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival's (PSIFF) Rising Star Award at the festival's annual awards gala on January 6, 2009.Festival chairman Harold Matzner made the announcement in Beverly Hills last night [October 14] at a reception hosted by festival board member Stephen Breimer.'Dakota Fanning is a talented young actress who as we watch her grow up over the years, continues to show her depth and range as a performer,' Matzn
  • Danish film Dancers opens competition for 50th edition of Nordic Film Days

    The Nordic Film Days main competition programme will open with Danish director Pernille Fischer Christensen's Dancers.The event is the world's largest showcase of Nordic and Baltic cinema and will celebrate its 50th anniversary when it runs in Lübeck, Germany between Oct 29-Nov 2.Other films in competition include: Finnish director Aku Louhimies' Tears of April; Icelandic director Gudny Halldorsdottir's The Quiet Storm; Norwegian director Stian Kristian
  • Danny Glover joins voice cast of UK animatronics feature Agent Crush

    Danny Glover has joined the voice cast of animatronics adventure Agent Crush which is being sold worldwide by Fantastic Films International.He joins a cast already including Ioan Gruffudd, Neve Campbell, Brian Blessed, Brian Cox, Alice Evans and Roger Moore.The film has already completed principal photography in the UK using state-of-the-art microtonic characters and miniatures. The story, set in the future, follows a defective cyb
  • DreamWorks and Universal sign distribution deal

    Universal and DreamWorks have signed a seven-year worldwide distribution deal in a much anticipated move that is understood to cover up to six films a year commencing sometime in 2009.Speculation had been rife in recent weeks as to which studio would distribute the DreamWorks slate following the recent departure from the Paramount fold by DreamWorks co-founder Steven Spielberg and studio chief Stacey Snider.Paramount had distributed the DreamWorks slate after it acquired
  • Eagle and Bunny chase Mamma in international marketplace

    Expansion by studio releases including Eagle Eye and The House Bunny could finally end the reign of international box office queen Mamma Mia! this weekend. Having hunted down $17.5m to date from the first stage of its international roll-out, DreamWorks-Paramount thriller Eagle Eye swoops into its first major European and A
  • Erin Stam joins Participant as svp of production

    Erin Stam has been named senior vice president of production at Participant Media, and will be responsible for supervising the development and overseeing the production of narrative features for the company.She reports to Jonathan King, executive vice president of production at Participant.Stam joins Participant from Spyglass Entertainment where she was involved in the production of films such as 27 Dresses, Underdog and
  • Eurocinema's Namer to give keynote at China conference

    VOD service Eurocinema's head of North American operations Larry Namer will give the keynote speech along with News Corp Europe chairman I Martin Pompadur at China's first International Media And Technology Conference, which runs from October 22-25.The symposium is co-sponsored by the China Radio And Television Association (CRTA) and the State Association Of Radio, Film And Television and will take place in Hangzhou.'The selection of these two individuals was based on the
  • European promotion network expands to 30 countries

    The European-wide network European Film Promotion (EFP) is expanding to 30 countries, with the arrival of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and the Film Centre Serbia (FCS) as the latest members.The Hamburg-based network of film promotion and export organisations now consists of 29 members from 30 countries across Europe.Welcoming the latest members, EFP's managing director Renate Rose said: 'The filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe give a lot of input for the Wester
  • Evans, Jurjens launch sales outfit Tavix Pictures at AFM

    Producer Casey Evans and director Brad Jurjens have announced they will launch the distribution company Tavix Pictures at AFM, which runs from November 5-12 in Santa Monica.The inaugural slate includes Jurjens' action thriller Hired Gun starring Michael Madsen, John W Kim's Hitchcockian thriller Blur and Michael O'Brien's baby boomer documentary Going To Whatstock'
  • Fatih Akin's Soul Kitchen, begins shooting in Germany

    Shooting began today (October 15) in Hamburg on Soul Kitchen, Fatih Akin's first feature film since his European Film Award 2007 winning The Edge Of Heaven. The Match Factory will be handling international sales.The film tells the story of beleaguered bar owner Zinos' attempts to keep his restaurant in business. Those appearing in Soul Kitchen are familiar from his previous films. Moritz Bleibtreu appeared In July
  • Festival talk - Tokyo at the cutting edge

    Which festivals do you particularly rate and enjoy'This year I've been to Berlin, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Toronto and will go to Pusan and AFM. I enjoy just about any festival. Berlin is very chilly but always has lots of new interesting things. Beki Probst (head of the European Film Market) has done a great job. It's even more organised, and very convenient. Cannes of course is always a huge event, and I feel very familiar and at home with it. Hong Kong seems to be pushing hard, and i
  • Festival talk: Sandra Hebron - 'As the name implies, a degree of festivity is important'

    Which festivals do you rate and enjoy'I rate New York, Telluride and Vienna from a programming point of view. In terms of all-round usefulness, Cannes continues to reign supreme, for the sheer volume and range of what it is possible to see there, combined with the benefits of having so many key industry folk and film-makers gathered together. In general, some of the best times I've had have been at smaller festivals like Bafici in Buenos Aires, which has combined interesting film selec
  • Fire shuts EuropaCorp's From Paris With Love

    A fire on the set of From Paris With Love, a new EuropaCorp production starring John Travolta, has caused the film to shut down. On Sunday night, in the Montfermeil suburb of Paris, several stunt cars were set ablaze and burned through the night in what is being investigated as an arson attack. The affair has been handed over to the authorities who are looking into reports that security guards on duty on Sunday night saw someone carrying a can of gasoline in the area where
  • First Cuts relaunches in Beijing and signs four directors

    Hong Kong producer Daniel Yu and Chinese filmmaker Tang Xiru have established a Beijing-based production company, First Cuts Features, todevelop and produce sixprojects from up-and-coming Asian filmmakers. The company, which is an extension of the 2005 Focus: First Cuts project, has already signed four mainland Chinese directors to start shooting in 2009.The 2005 Focus: First Cuts project, under Andy Lau's Hong Kong-based Focus Films, produced films such as Ning Hao's sleeper hit
  • Forward Motion acquires worldwide rights to For My Father

    Toronto-based Forward Motion has acquired worldwide rights to the Israeli thriller For My Father from Israel's Praxis Films and Spring Hill Entertainment and Germany's Relevant Film. The film screens in competition at the Hamptons International Film Festival this week.Dror Zahavi's film has toured the European festival circuit and earned seven Israeli Film Academy nominations and won the audience award at the Moscow International Film Festival
  • Fox looks to lead international as Max Payne shoots into 32 territories

    Fox International ruled the roost last weekend with Andrei Kravchuk's The Admiral and will look to hold on to its winning ways with the wide day-and-date launch of the video game adaptation Max Payne starring Mark Wahlberg.The action film breaks into 32 territories this weekend, among them Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand on October 16, followed by Spain and Sweden on October 17 and Taiwan
  • Frost/Nixon

    Dir. Ron Howard. US/UK 2008. 122 mins.
  • German domestic market share at record 21.3%

    German films have secured a market share of 21.3% in the first nine months of 2008, according to figures collated by Nielsen EDI. This is almost 50% higher than 2007's 14.4% share and higher than 2006's record 20.3%.That market share would be even higher - up to 25% - if statistics included the German-UK co-production Our Earth which has been seen by 3.7m cinema-goers with box-office takings of $ 30m (Euros 22m).Between January and the end of September 19.9 m tickets
  • Guillaume Depardieu dies tragically at 37 from pneumonia

    Guillaume Depardieu, the actor son of Gerard Depardieu, died on Monday [October 13] in a French hospital from pneumonia. He was 37.Depardieu died at the Raymond-Poincare hospital west of Paris after he was flown back from Romania, where he contracted a pulmonary illness during filming.Despite winning the Cesar for the most promising actor in 1996 for Les Apprentis (The Apprentices), Depardieu led a troubled life and was plagued in h
  • Hoffman, Brolin, Scott Thomas to be honoured at Hollywood Awards

    In the latest round of honourees announced by the 12th Annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards, Dustin Hoffman will receive the career achievement award while Josh Brolin is named actor of the year and Kristin Scott Thomas is feted as actress of the year.Hoffman won two Oscars for Kramer Vs Kramer and Rain Man and has been nominated seven times in total for a body of work that includes
  • Hunger gets lottery-funded UK distribution boost

    Twelve new films have benefited from the latest round of awards from the UK Film Council's prints and advertising fund.Pathe Distribution received the largest award of $437,000 (£250,000) for Turner Prize winning artist Steve McQueen's award-winning directorial debut Hunger. The film follows the story of imprisoned IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbender).The fund enables distributors to increase the exposure of art-house, foreign and classic films which might
  • Icon buys UK rights to Fraser's Dean Spanley

    Icon Films has signed for the highly imaginative and whimsical period film after seeing it last month at the world premiere in Toronto. Kathleen Drumm, head of sales agent New Zealand Film, says an offer for US rights is on the table but won't elaborate.Drumm negotiated the deal with head of legal and business affairs, Phil Rymer, and Icon Films president Mark Gooder has already decided on a December release, which will make it eligible for the 2009 BAFTA Awards in February. The UK
  • Imagenation Abu Dhabi teams with National Geographic for slate of films

    Imagenation Abu Dhabi, the film financing arm of Abu Dhabi Media Company launched last month, is teaming up with National Geographic Entertainment on a $100m slate of films over the next five years. The fund was announced in Abu Dhabi on Saturday by Tim Kelly, president of National Geographic Global Media, and Edward Borgerding, CEO of Imagenation.The slate - 10 to 15 films according to the principals budgeted up to $60m - will focus on people's relationship to their worl
  • In Focus: Andrei Kravchuk's Admiral

    Russia 's Channel One/Solyaris production and 20th Fox CIS distributor topped the Russian box office with Admiral following its world premiere last Monday.Having taken $11.3m in Russia alone, Andrei Kravchuk's biopic is now the biggest Russian opener of all time, beating the $9.6m first weekend record set by The Irony Of Fate: The Sequel in 2007.The Irony Of Fate, also produced by Channel One and distributed by Fox, went on to become the most successfu
  • In Focus: Groundbreaking indie film My Suicide

    Independent movie My Suicide is unlike anything you have ever seen. Ostensibly the story of a 17-year-old boy who announces he will commit suicide on camera for his school project, the story is told from the point of view of the boy (newcomer Gabriel Sunday) as a visual stream of consciousness - blending animation, archive footage, YouTube clips, doodles and other effects that will leave older viewers dizzy from the visual overload.But the film is not targeted at grown-ups. 'It'
  • In Focus: Lance Daly's Kisses

    Lance Daly's crowdpleaser Kisses began its festival journey in Galway this summer, where it won the best Irish film award. Click here for review.Its international premiere followed in competition at Locarno, and by the time the film screened in Telluride and Toronto, Focus Features International had come on board to handle international sales. 'Kisses has a freshness and honesty. It's a film that can be discove
  • In Focus: Summer festival review

    Here are three thoughts about film festivals. Some of us spend too much time at them. Like junkies trying to recapture that first blissful high, we return time and again in search of a lost sense of excitement and discovery. Second, some take themselves terribly seriously. Not just the big ones, but the medium and small ones too. I have yet to meet a director of a smaller festival who doesn't believe their event 'may not be in the top 10 worldwide, but is certainly in the top 20'. That
  • India's NDTV Lumiere launches world cinema channel

    After announcing its intention to launch a 24-hour world cinema channel earlier this year, NDTV Lumiere has given the channel a soft launch on October 10 and is gearing up for the official launch in late November or early December 2008. Established as a joint venture between broadcaster NDTV, Sunil Doshi and Manmohan Shetty, NDTV Lumière is a platform for contemporary world cinema in India.Over the last six months, NDTV Lumiere has been building its brand by releasing world mo
  • Inglourious Basterds starts shooting for TWC, Universal

    Principal photography commenced last week on location in Germany on Quentin Tarantino's world war two adventure Inglourious Basterds - spelt that way as per the producers.The ensemble cast includes Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, B J Novak, Julie Dreyfus and Cloris Leachman.Lawrence Bender is producing alongside executive producers Erica Steinberg, Lloyd Phillips and
  • International - Canine and able

    Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International's Beverly Hills Chihuahua was the highest new entry at number seven in Screen's international chart for the October 3-5 weekend, debuting just one place ahead of new Japanese crime thriller Suspect X.The talking-dog family comedy, follows the titular Chihuahua, Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore), and her journey back to Hollywood after getting lost on a holiday in Mexico. It opened in five territories day-and-date alo
  • Interview: Ridley Scott

    'Ridley Scott is the most efficient director I've ever worked with,' says Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars in Scott's latest epic Body Of Lies.'There are not many people able to focus simultaneously on six or seven different cameras at various angles and be a human editing machine. He's got seven monitors up there and he's able to flip from camera to camera and snap his fingers and say he wants to use that segment or that one or that one. He's able to accomplish huge seq
  • Isidore Mankofksy to receive ASC Presidents Award

    Isidore Mankofsky will receive the American Society Of Cinematographers Presidents Award at the 23rd Annual American Society Of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards on February 15 2009 in Los Angeles.Mankofsky began his career making documentaries and shooting newsfilm at a television station in Reno, Nevada. He made more than 100 educational films at Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Films before segueing into narrative film-making. His cinematography credits include
  • Julia to be released in UK cinemas and via Sky Box Office on same day

    Chelsea Films (part of The Curzon Artificial Eye Group) andSky Television have signed a deal to release Julia, starring Tilda Swinton, in cinemas and on Sky Box on Dec 5. This is the first time an English language title will be released in this way. Julia, which was directed by Erick Zonkaand CamilleNatta,will be released theatrically in up to five Curzon Cinema sites and eight City Screen sites as well as o
  • Kenny Glenaan's Summer tops BAFTA Scotland film nominations

    The Kenny Glenaan drama Summer leads the film nominations for this year's BAFTA Scotland awards. Click to see Screen review.Summer is one of three contenders for Best Film and has also secured nominations for Robert Carlyle's central performance and for Best Director. Carlyle stars a a middle-aged man facing up to the death of a friend and confront
  • Kimmel takes on sales for Paper Man with Daniels, Reynolds

    Kimmel International will commence sales at AFM on the coming-of-age tale Paper Man starring Jeff Daniels, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone and Lisa Kudrow.Michele and Kieran Mulroney make their directorial debut on the film; they recently co-wrote the DC Comics' adaptation Justice League for Warner Bros.Paper Man chronicles the unlikely friendship between
  • Korea's Fine Cut sells ET, Beastie Boys to Japan

    South Korea's Fine Cut has closed a slew of deals in the aftermath of Pusan's Asian Film Market, led by recently-released comedy Our School's E.T., directed by K.C. Park (She's On Duty), which sold to Fine Films for Japan. The company also closed on the few remaining territories for serial murder thriller The Chaser, directed by Na Hong-jin: Hwa Yea Multimedia bought the film for Malaysia and Sky Digi Entertainment took it for Taiwan.Aside from screening in Can
  • Last Chance Harvey gets world premiere at AFI FEST

    Joel Hopkins's romance Last Chance Harvey will receive its world premiere on November 8 after joining the AFI FEST 2008 line-up as a late entry.Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson star in the London-set tale of an unhappy man whose fortunes change when he discovers an unlikely companion at his daughter's wedding.Kathy Baker, James Brolin, Eileen Atkins, Liane Balaban and Richard Schiff also star in the Overture Films release, due to o
  • Lingusitics expert to give keynote address at AFCI Cineposium

    Linguistics expert Richard D Lewis will give the keynote address 'When Cultures Collide' to kick off the 33rd annual AFCI Cineposium in November in Wellington, New Zealand.The Association Of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) Cineposium International Conference is held annually in a leading film production centre and the event is expected to draw members from more than 20 countries. This year's even is scheduled to run from November 19-23.'Given the financing challen
  • London Film Festival opens today with Frost/Nixon premiere.

    The Times BFI London Film Festival (15-30 October) begins today with the world premiere of Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon. Click here for full previewHoward, cast-members Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, Toby Jones, Matthew Macfadyen and subject of the film Sir David Frost were all expected at the premiere.Other red carpet titles screening over the festi
  • LongTale International picks up international on Strathairn drama

    LongTale International has acquired international rights to Eithor/Or Films' off-beat drama The Sensation of Sight starring David Strathairn.Aaron J Wiederspahn directed the story about a middle-aged English teacher's search for meaning amid the ache of despair.Jane Adams, Ann Cusak, Elisabeth Waterston, Joe Mazzello, and Scott Wilson round out the key cast.'This is a new American classic starring a great American actor
  • Met Film School launches four new industry degrees

    Ealing Studios-based Met Film School has launched four new two-year degrees in film-industry specialist subject areas.The move follows last year's success with an intensive two-year BA in film-making.The new degrees are: BA Film & Television; BA Film & Digital Media; BA Film, Visual Effects & Animation; and BA Film & Digital Cinematography.In all cases, the courses are highly practical and have been drawn up with industry professionals.The Met
  • Michael Winterbottom presents Short Circuit prize at Raindance

    25 yer old Robert Reed was declared the winner of the Short Circuit competition with his short The Driving Test. He was presented with his prizeby Michael Winterbottom at the Raindance Film Festival.The Short Circuit competition was the initiative of Dailymotion, a provider of user generated and licensed online video entertainment and, a website featuring independently-produced feature and short films. Theorganisers received 120 submissions of one-minute shorts fr
  • Mikhalkov andChen receive Kurosawa award

    Russian actor-director Nikita Mikhalkov and Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige have received this year's Akira Kurosawa Award. The announcement was made by the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF).Awarded annually for lifetime achievements in film directing, the trophy carries with it a cash prize of $50,000. The award will be presented at the TIFF closing ceremony.Nikita Mikhalkov began his career as a child actor in the late 50s and began directing in the late 1960s. His directi
  • MIPCOM focus: Is TV tuning back into film'

    The relationship between Europe's film distributors and their local TV broadcasters is peculiarly vexed and complicated. It mingles dependency and resentment. Tensions were exacerbated around a decade ago, as the market for TV pre-sales for film contracted in an alarming fashion. The collapse of the Kirch media group in Germany, Vivendi's problems in France and changing market conditions all combined to drive down prices.For years, European producers had used
  • MIPCOM: YouTube boss reaches out to content owners

    YouTube founder and CEO Chad Hurley reached out to content owners at MIPCOM claiming the difference between old media and new media is 'semantics; we are all confronting the same challenges.' The comments echoed those of many at the annual conference at Cannes where the refrain has been one variation or another of the idea that with so much convergence today, the lines between online and physical media have blurred. Hurley talked up YouTube's desire to continue fostering partnersh
  • Movie Plus, Xinhua Media team for live-action Mulan

    Canada's Movie Plus, China Film Group and Beijing and LA-based Xinhua Media Entertainment (XME) are joining forces to co-produce a $30m live-action version of the Chinese classic folk take Mulan. The film is expected to start shooting in China in the first half of next year. XME head David Lee is producing along with Movie Plus' Christopher Brough and Stephen Waterman.Arclight Films' Easternlight label is handling international sales on the film and will announce further det
  • New York Critics to announce annual awards on Dec 10

    The New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) will hold its annual vote on the year's best in film on December 10 and the awards ceremony will take place at Spotlight in New York City on January 5 2009.The group's outgoing chair and Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum also announced that New York Press critic Armond White was elected vice-chair of the 30-member group for 2008 and will take over from her as chair in 2009.In addition the NYFCC will host a series of pane
  • Nicolas Traube re-elected as president of Film France

    Nicolas Traube has been re-elected to the post of president of Film France, the organisation responsible for promoting the country as a shooting location. The board also renewed the posts of David Kodsi as treasurer and Olivier Meneux as secretary. Three vice-presidents will be nominated to represent the regional film commissions, the technical industries and producers. Further, five new members have joined the board: Anne-Dominique Toussaint (Les Films des Tournelles),Ra
  • Norway has record local opening with Cold Prey II

    Mats Stenberg's Cold Prey II (Fritt vilt II) has set an all-time Norwegian record for a local film with 101,564 admissions during its opening weekend.Previously the record for Norwegian opening admissions was Eva Isaksen's Mother's Elling (Mors Elling) which sold 70,952 tickets.'We couldn't even have dreamt of such a figure,' said
  • Number One With A Bullet to open Hollywood Film Festival

    The West Coast premiere of Jim Dziura's gun violence and hip-hop documentary Number One With A Bullet and the world premiere of Jeremy Benson's horror film Live Animals bookend the 12th Annual Hollywood Film Festival, scheduled for October 22-26.Among the line-up of 70 films are the centerpiece screenings of Fashion In Film from festival sponsor Starz and Dilip M
  • Oliver Stone's W to open 26th Turin Film Festival

    Oliver Stone's George W. Bush inspired drama W will open the 26th edition of the Turin Film Festival.Turin's organisers also announced today that the film-maker would attend the festival to present the film in its Italian premiere.W is Stone's third examination of an American Presidency after JFK and Nixon.The film stars Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men
  • Oscilloscope takes worldwide on Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie

    Oscilloscope Laboratories has taken worldwide rights to Jay Delaney's documentary Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie and will release it today [October 17] at the Pioneer Theater in New York and on DVD in winter 2009.The film is styled as a buddy movie about Bigfoot researchers Wayne Burton and Dallas Gilbert and their quest to prove the mythical creature's existence in small-town Appalachian Ohio.'Before seeing the film I had no idea
  • Oshii, Production I.G develop animated samurai film

    Japanese filmmaker Mamoru Oshii and his regular backer Production I.G are developing an animated feature film based on the life of samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Entitled Miyamoto Musashi: Soken Ni Haseru Yume (Musashi Miyamoto: The Dream Of Riding With Double Swords), the film will be directed by regular Oshii production collaborator Mizuho Nishikubo. Oshii will write the story and screenplay and oversee production.Samurai Champloo animation director Kazuto Nakazaw
  • Padilha documentary Garapa gets world premiere in Sao Paulo

    Jose Padilha's new film Garapa will have its world premiere at the 32nd Sao Paulo International Film Festival (Oct 16 - 30). After winning the Golden Bear at Berlin for Elite Squad, the Brazilian director returns to the documentary form by shooting with hand-held cameras in black and white. Padilha, who shot Bus 174 (2002) based on a real-life hijacking of a bus
  • Participants and speakers announced for LFF's Think-Shoot-Distribute

    Think-Shoot-Distribute, a talent development initiative for emerging film-makers, will run for five days at The Times BFI 52nd London Film Festival.The event, which is being held in association with Skillset and Film London, will bring together 28 emerging producers, screenwriters, and directors as well as leading international film professionals. They will take part in a series of workshops and master classes exploring the creative, technical and business aspects of the fil
  • Penelope Cruz to receive Santa Barbara's top award in Jan 2009

    Penelope Cruz will receive the 24th Santa Barbara International Film Festival's (SBIFF) Outstanding Performer Of The Year Award on January 31, 2009.Cruz is currently filming Nine for the Weinsteins and starred this year in Woody Allen's comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona and the Philip Roth adaptation Elegy.She was nominated f
  • Pretty Pictures acquires Richard Eyre's The Other Man for France

    Richard Eyre's The Other Man has been acquired for France by Pretty Pictures.The deal was concluded between James Velaise of French distribution company Pretty Pictures and Natalie Brenner of Ealing Studios.The Other Man has created good festival buzz, having premiered at Toronto and opened the San Sebastian Film Festival. It will have its UK premiere as a gala screening at the London Film Festival tomorrow (October 17).
  • Preview: The Times BFI London Film Festival

    There is a fierce debate about the future and the identity of The Times BFI London Film Festival (LFF). Stewart Till, chairman of the UK Film Council (UKFC) has made no secret of his desire to see the LFF transformed into a 'bigger, louder festival' with 'more impact on the worldwide film stage'. Meanwhile other influential voices are lobbying for the event to remain much the way it is: a festival that cherry-picks the best in world cinema. This year, the festival is
  • Preview: Tokyo International Film Festival

    Despite its size and status as Japan's only International Federation of Film Producers Associations (Fiapf) accredited event, the Tokyo International Film Festival (Tiff) has sometimes been overlooked outside Japan.But as Tiff enters its 21st edition (October 18-26), a new mission statement together with Asia's growing interconnection is bringing the centrepiece of the Japan International Contents Festival (CoFesta) into sharper focus. And with a new chairman, Gaga Communications chair
  • Profile: Meneka and Sheenu Das' Little Box Of Sweets

    Meneka and Sheenu Das were so determined to make their first feature, Little Box Of Sweets, they took out a bank loan, used their savings and sold Sheenu's house to fund it.But the ambitious sisters, who moved from India to the UK in the early 1990s, have no regrets. 'You have to lose something to gain something else. And taking everything into account, I would do it all again,' says Sheenu Das, who produced and acted in the film.Little Box Of Sweets is a coming-of
  • Protagonist Pictures adds five new titles to AFM slate

    International sales and finance company Protagonist Pictures has beefed up its slate with five new titles - The Firm, The Unloved, Shifty, Nativity and Dogging: A Love Story - in time for American Film Market (AFM).'I feel that we are exactly where we want to be as a company; working with both exciting new talent and established but invigorating filmmakers,' said Protagonist CEO Ben Roberts.Directors Nick Love (The Football Factory, Outlaw
  • Protagonist Pictures adds five new titles to AFM slate

    Protagonist Pictures has added five titles to its slate of films in time for AFM. The titles are The Firm, The Unloved, Shifty, Nativity and Dogging: A Love Story.International sales and finance company Protagonist Pictures has beefed up its slate with five new titles - The Firm, The Unloved, Shifty, Nativity and Dogging: A Love Story - in time for American Film Market (AFM).'I feel that we are exactly where we w
  • Quarantine

    Dir: John Eric Dowdle. US. 2008. 89 mins.A remake of the 2007 Spanish cult hit [Rec], Quarantine is a passably-engaging claustrophobic horror told entirely via hand-held footage shot by one of its characters (a la Cloverfield or Blair Witch). The story - about a television reporter who accompanies a group of firefighters into a Los Angeles tenement building, only to be sealed in after encountering a mutant strain of rabies - works for a while
  • Regent takes US rights from Fortissimo to The Song Of Sparrows

    Regent Releasing has acquired US rights from Fortissimo Films to Iranian foreign-language Oscar submission The Song Of Sparrows from Majid Majidi.Regent plans a limited release in spring 2009 on the contemporary drama, which premiered at Berlinale last winter and tells of a poor man whose personality changes when he acquires material possessions. Reza Maryam, Maryam Akbari, Kamran Dehghan, Hamed Aghaz
  • Ricci, Neeson to star in After.Life for Lleju Productions, Plum Pictures

    Christina Ricci and Liam Neeson will star in the psychological thriller After.Life for venture capitalist Bill Perkins' new LLeju Productions and Plum Pictures.ICM packaged and arranged financing for the project through Perkins and represents Ricci and writer and first time director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo. ICM holds North American rights and IM Global handles international sales.Filming is set to begin in the New York region in
  • Rio winners led by Should Nothing Else Work Out, Dead Girl's Feast

    The winners of the 2008 Rio International Film Festival were announced tonight at the closing award ceremony at Odeon theatre. The Premiere Brasil's best film prize, known as the Redentor award, was given to Se Nada Mais Der Certo (Should Nothing Else Work Out), directed by Jose Eduardo Belmonte. One of the world premieres of the festival, the film follows the struggle of an unemployed and broke journalist who lives with a depressive single mo
  • Rossellini gets greenlight for Green Porno Part 2

    Isabella Rossellini has been commissioned by The Sundance Channel to shoot a second batch of Green Porno, the short film series she conceived, wrote and co-directed. Originally commissioned by Sundance Channel, the Green Porno series premiered at the Sundance and Berlin festivals earlier this year.In the first series, Rossellini explored and, more memorably, enacted the sex life of a variety of insects
  • Russian cinema struggles to overcome arthouse stereotype

    The international development of new Russian cinema is struggling to overcome the shadow of the great tradition of Soviet arthouse, according to leading Russian critic and FIPRESCI president Andrei Plakhov.Speaking at an Academia-Rossica roundtable at BAFTA in London, Plakhov warned there was a tendency to stereotype Russian film-making based on a giant arthouse past including Eisenstein and Tarkovsky.'We need to break that image,' he said, 'so little new talent gets thro
  • Russia's Admiral has huge local bow for Fox International

    A local Russian hit and a Hollywood paranoia thriller knocked Mamma Mia off its perch after a grand five-week reign as international champion.The Russian market has yielded mighty returns this year for local titles in particular and the trend continued as Fox International opened Channel 1/Solyaris' Admiral (Kolchak) in Russia on an estimated $11.35m and the Ukraine on $1.47m for a combined haul of $
  • Russia's Central Partnership Group to boost its theatrical distribution

    In a move designed to improve domestic release standards, Russian Central Partnership Sales House has created a new position of vice president theatrical distribution, and appointed Andrey Radko to the role. Radko's previous role of theatrical distribution general manager is taken by Vadim Vereshchagin.Radko will be responsible for theatrical distribution, advertising and PR for all CP Sales House domestic releases. Vadim Vereshchagin joins from Buena Vista Sony Pictures CP Sales House
  • Salon to co-produce sequel to Eat Drink Man Woman

    Hong Kong's Salon Films is co-producing a slate of films with pan-Asian partners including a sequel to Ang Lee's 1994 Eat Drink Man Woman with producer Hsu Li-kong's Taipei-based Zoom Hunt International.The $2.9m contemporary drama will be co-written by Hsu, who was a producer on the original. The planned cast includes Barbie Hsu and Eat Drink Man Woman star Gua Ah-lei.Hsuwas also a producer on Ang Lee's 1993The Wedding B
  • Scarecrows, Naked Of Defenses pick up Pusan awards

    The 13th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) wraps tonight (Oct 10) with the top New Currents Award going ex aequo to Roh Gyeong-tae's Land Of Scarecrows and Masahide Ichii's Naked Of Defenses. Headed by actress/filmmaker Anna Karina, the New Currents Jury for first and second feature films from Asia lauded Land Of Scarecrows as a 'very powerful and touching film' about a collection of isolated people, including a transgendered woman.The jury praised Na
  • Screen Media Films takes domestic rights to Lymelife

    Screen Media Films has picked up US rights to Derick Martini's drama Lymelife following its world premiere at Toronto last month, where it won the FIPRESCI Discovery AwardLymelife takes place in the 1970s in a Long Island community afflicted by an outbreak of Lime Disease. The ensemble cast features Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon, Timothy Hutton, Jill Hennessey, Rory Culkin, Kieran Culkin and Emma Roberts.
  • Screen opinion: Advantage of surprise

    You have to ask what we come to these film festivals for,' asked a producer, his mouth full of pintxos as the sun set over La Concha in San Sebastian a couple of weeks ago.Leaving aside the obvious merits of location, the grand 'What are we for'' questions are sounded more frequently at industry gatherings. In the last month, you may easily have had similar conversations about release windows, markets, sales agents, single-territory distributors, independent theatres...It's heal
  • Senator's head of acquisitions leaves for Atlas Film + Medien

    Milada Rybarova has exited her position as Head of Acquisitions at the beleaguered German producer-distributor Senator Entertainment to take up the newly created post of VP Sales and Acquisitions at Atlas Film + Medien from this week. Rybarova began working at Senator in 2000 as an acquisitions executive and was made Head of Acquisitions in 2003. Commenting on Rybarova's appointment, Atlas Film + Medien's majority shareholder and board chairman Paul Liwa explained that
  • Sex Drive

    Dir Sean Anders. US. 2008. 108 mins A raunchy title and some gross-out gags have earned Sex Drive an R rating in the US, but deep down this teen comedy from Summit Entertainment is a sweet-natured and likeable coming-of-age tale that recalls the feel of the American Pie movies. Though an American Pie-size gross is not on the cards, Summit and its indie distributor partners outside the US could, with the right timing and marketing, do solid theatrical
  • Shaw Brothers calls off saledue to financial crisis

    Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers has announced to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that is has ended all talks to sell a majority stake in the company, citing the current global financial crisis. The announcement marks the end of a bid by Chinese property developer Yeung Kwok-keung to buy a 75% stake in the company from Sir Run Run Shaw, the centenarian founder of the once-mighty Shaw Brothers studios.Shaw Brothers is no longer active in film production but is the largest shareholder in Hong
  • Skin

    Dir: Anthony Fabian. 2008. UK/South Africa. 107 mins .Telling the extraordinary true story of Sandra Laing, a woman born black to white parents in 1955 South Africa, Skin is a moving film which illustrates the impact of apartheid on a single family unit.Boasting a measured and harrowing central performance from Sophie Okonedo, it bypasses the thunderous rage and violent struggle of apartheid stories like Catch A Fire or Cry Freedom, i
  • Snow, Rumba and Synecdoche, New York, in Zagreb competition

    The Zagreb Film Festival has announced the films in competition for its sixth edition.Entries featured in competition are first or second films by their directors, and fall into three sections: features, documentaries and shorts. The festival runs from October 19-25.Films already receiving attention from the feature competition programme include Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York
  • Steve Luther appointed Finance Director of UK based Evolutions

    Evolutions appoints Steve Luther as finance director. He takes overall responsibility for the $19.2m post-production company's finances. Steve Luther has been appointed to the role of finance director at Evolutions. He has been working at Smoke & Mirrors since its merger with Red Post Production in 2005 where he was managing/finance director. In his new role he will have overall responsibility for the $19.2m (£11m) company's finances and manage the accounts team. Luther will join the Evol
  • Sundance Institute, Time Warner name 2008 storytelling fellows

    The Sundance Institute and Time Warner have named the recipient of the 2008 Time Warner Storytelling Fellows as playwright Kristen Greenidge and film-makers John Magary and Dees Rees.Greenidge participated in the 2008 Sundance Theatre Lab with her project Bossa Nova while Magary with Blood Abundance, Or The Half-Life Of Antoinette and Rees with her project Pariah
  • Taiwan's Cape No. 7 scoops Golden Orchid in Hawaii

    The 28th Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) has awarded its Halekulani Golden Orchid Award for best narrative feature to Taiwanese comedy Cape No. 7, directed by Wei Te-Sheng. The film has been a smash hit in its home territory, grossing more than $4m in Taipei alone, and has been submitted as Taiwan's official entry to the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards.The Golden Orchid for best documentary went to Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation
  • Taraji Henson takes lead in No More Bloodshed

    Taraji Henson, who recently starred in Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys, will star in the quirky thriller No More Bloodshed that is set to begin shooting in Los Angeles in March 2009.The film centres on a paroled hit man determined to change his life and reclaim the son he's never known. Henson who will next appear in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, plays
  • The Blue Tower takes top UK prize at Raindance

    Writer-director Smita Bhide's feature debut The Blue Tower has been named top UK feature at indie festival Raindance. The Southall-set film stars Abhin Galeya, Alice O'Connell, Indira Joshi in an intriguing cross-cultural thriller.Marcos Jorge's Estomago Rio award-winning melange of food, sex and power took the top international prize.
  • Theresa Peters leaves WMA to become partner at UTA

    United Talent Agency (UTA) has scored a coup and lured Theresa Peters following a 14-year stint at the William Morris Agency.Peters becomes the 18th partner and an agent in the UTA talent department and brings a client list that includes James McAvoy, Kirsten Dunst, Mads Mikkelsen, Mandy Moore and Hugh Dancy.The UTA talent department recently signed Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus and Seth Green, among others. Last week UTA announced the addition of manager D
  • Thessaloniki selects 15 projects for festival's co-production forum

    Fifteen projects from 11 countries have been chosen for the 3rd Crossroads Co-Production Forum at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF) from Nov 14-23.Crossroads caters to projects from countries in the Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean regions, introducing them to a network of financiers, producers and leading industry specialists from across the world.The projects are selected based on the quality of the script, the creative team and the likelihood of it being pro
  • Tiffcom - Autumn window for Japanese productions

    Although it falls in a crowded autumn calendar between Toronto, Pusan, Mipcom and AFM, Tiffcom is still a good place to source increasingly strong Japanese content such as manga and animations, as well as films for remakes, TV dramas and music properties.The mostly local market is also striving to be more international. Tiff chairman Tatsumi Yoda says this year it will have "a mixture of 50:50 foreign and local participation"."Tiffcom is only in its fifth year," he explains. "It
  • Toho reaches $600m milestone in nine months

    Japan's Toho Studios, the territory's largest distributor, has reached combined box office earnings of Y60.01bn ($599.4m) in the first nine months of 2008. The figure sees Toho have its best year in history for the third year in a row, topping its previous earnings of Y59.51bn ($594.3m) last year. Toho stated the Y60bn goal in December, backed by a slate of 29 films, its largest to date.September earnings of Y7.8bn ($77.9m), its highest ever for the month, pushed it over the line w
  • Troell's Everlasting Moments opens Bergen International Film Festival

    Swedish Oscar submission opens 9th edition of Bergen festival with 14 films in competition and 130 films screened over seven days. The 9th Bergen International Film Festival opens today (October 15) with Swedish director Jan Troell's Everlasting Moments (Maria Larssons Eviga Ögonblick).The festival is Norway's largest showcase and runs till October 22. Troell, his lead Maria Heiskanen, actress Callin Öhrvall De
  • Twilight's Rathbone joins cast of Clive Barker adaptation Dread

    Twilight cast member Jackson Rathbone has joined the cast of UK-based Matador Pictures and LA-based Midnight Picture Show's Clive Barker adaptation Dread, which has begun five-week principal photography in the UK.Jere Hausfater's Essential Entertainment holds worldwide rights and will commence sales at AFM in Santa Monica next month on the story about a group of college students who conduct a fear study
  • UK producer Mark Shivas dies age 70

    British producer Mark Shivas has died aged 70 from cancer, it was confirmed today.Shivas was an immensely popular producer who was Head of Drama and then Head of Films at the BBC. He worked with many of the best British directors of his era as well as with several international names. At the time of his death, Shivas was one of the principals in production company Headline Pictures.Shivas' engagement with cinema began in his student days when he wrote film criticism for universi
  • UK producer Mark Shivas has died aged 70

    Film-makers have paid tribute to British producer Mark Shivas, who has died of cancer aged 70.Shivas, who died peacefully amongst family on Saturday October 11, was one of the principals in production company Headline Pictures. An immensely popular producer and one time Head of Films at the BBC, he worked with many of the best British directors of his era as well as with several international names.His friend and colleague Stewart Mackinnon, chief executive of Headline said of S
  • UK's Odeon Cinemas buys two digital cinemas from IMAX

    UK exhibitor Odeon Cinemas will acquire two digital projection systems from IMAX Corp. The systems will be installed at multiplexes at Greenwich and Wimbledon and are expected to be operational by December. The deal is the second European cinema announcement in two weeks for the giant-screen company; the other being a three-screen joint venture with Austrian exhibitor Cineplexx Kinobetriebe.Odeon already operates an IMAX digital system at its facility in Manchester; it is
  • Viacom's CEO Philippe Dauman urges content growth as MIPCOM opens

    Despite the worldwide economic freefall, the annual MIPCOM TV market got underway on Monday expecting record attendance.Viacom president and CEO, Philippe Dauman, opened the event with a keynote speech on Monday evening during which he noted, 'We are the creators of escape; this may be the best time to be in the content entertainment business.'Dauman addressed Viacom's current strategy within the economic framework saying, 'We have to continue to manage and grow our content and
  • WBITV strikes licensing deal with On Demand Deutschland

    Warner Bros International Television Distribution (WBITV) continued its expansion into subscription VOD today [October 13] with a licensing deal for On Demand Deutschland (ODD) to carry between Warner TV in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland.ODD, a joint venture between On Demand Group (ODG) and Tele Munchen Gruppe (TMG), will carry the service via its partners in the German-speaking territories. Programming will include films from the B
  • You, The Livingtakes $70,000Nordic Council Film Prize

    Swedish director Roy Andersson's was today (October 15) awarded the $70,000 Nordic Council Film Prize 2008 - - for You, The Living (Du Levande).The prize is Scandinavia's largest award and is given to an artistically original film distinguished by national characteristics.As director and writer of the film, Andersson receives two thirds of the prize, leaving a third for his producer at Studio 24, Pernilla Sandstr&#