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17 June 2004

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  • Annaud's Two Brothers kicks off Maui Film Festival

    Jean-Jacques Annaud's animal adventure tale Two Brothers will kick off the fifth annual Maui FilmFestival at Wailea on Jun 16, a five-day jamboree that runs until Jun 20 andincludes a heady brew of outdoor screenings, world-class culinary events andfilm-maker panels.
  • AusFilm names new Los Angeles-based commissioner

    Marketeer Tracey Montgomeryhas been named as the new AusFILMcommissioner based in LA - the executive charged with leadingAustralia's efforts to attract international production to its shores.Mongomery, who is currently executive manager of locations andinternational production for the Pacific Film and Television Commission, basedin Queensland, is replacing David Pratt, who finishes at the end of July afterover six years in the job."International production deli
  • AUSTRALIA 16 June

    Harry Potter And ThePrison Of Azkaban grossed nearly A$14.8m from 452 screens on the weekendfor Roadshow. Even taking into account that it was a holiday weekend, afive-day period instead of the usual four, it was an extraordinary result forthe third film of the trilogy. Nothing else came close.There were three other newcomers in the chart with UIP's Dawn Of The Dead doing best. After aweek of previews, it's A$1,259,945
  • Azkaban conjures up $65.5m weekend and crosses $200m

    Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban dominated the international box officewith a mighty weekend, grossing an estimated $65.5m to raise its running totalthrough Warner Bros Pictures International to $204m.
  • Azkaban, Tomorrow set to dominate world screens this weekend

    Twentieth Century Fox's The Day After Tomorrow will comfortably pass the $200mmilestone this weekend, with Warner Bros' third Harry Potter instalment rapidly gaining ground closebehind.The eco-disaster picturehas amassed $199.9m since its day-and-date release two we
  • Baeres celebrates stunning court victory over Samaha

    In the end, it was personal.Wednesday's jury verdict infavor of Intertainment Licensing versus Franchise Pictures was a stunningvictory for Intertainment CEO Rudiger "Barry" Baeres in his nearly four yearbattle with one-time close friend turned courtroom adversary, Franchise CEOElie Samaha.The front page stats willshow that the seven week federal civil trial in Santa Ana, California resultedin Intertainment getting a jury award for compensatory damages of $77.1 millionin its fra
  • Berlin launches film fund for developing countries

    The Berlinale has been awarded Euro 1.5m initially for the next three years to set up a World Cinema Fund for the support of filmmakers from developing countries and to increase the profile of their films in German cinemas.The funding from the Federal Cultural Foundation(Kulturstiftung des Bundes) is the result of over two years of lobbying byBerlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick for the creation of a body similarto those linked to such festivals as Rotterdam (Hubert Bals Fund),
  • Berlinale mourns passing of Werner Gondolf

    The Berlinale is mourning the passing of Werner Gondolf, thefestival's chief programmer for over 30 years, at the age of 61 after a longillness.In a tribute, festival director Dieter Kosslick said Gondolfwas "an institution at the Berlinale and nobody knew its ins and outs aswell as he did. Respected by his colleagues for his vast knowledge, his wisedecisions and his constant readiness to help, he never lost his head or hisinimitable sense of humour, even in the most chaotic of times.
  • Bitter Dream (Khab E Talkh)

    Dir/scr/ed:Mohsen Amiryoussefi. Iran. 2004. 87minsThelow-budget Iranian film Bitter Dream is a study of the meaning of lifeand death that is infinitely more far-reaching than it initially appears.Writtenand directed by first-time film-maker Mohsen Amiryoussefi, a self-confessedBrechtian, the film unfolds as a series of loosely connected, intenselyself-reflective vignettes, which centre on Abbas Esfandiar, a man, who in reallife as in the
  • Boe on fast track to shoot Allegro

    Christoffer Boe, theacclaimed young Danish writer-director whose feature debut Reconstruction haswon a number of international awards, has been put on the fast track to shoothis new film Allegro this autumn with $1.2m (DKK7.3m) from the Danish Film Institute.It follows a world famouspianist who returns home for a concert in Copenhagen, only to be confrontedwith his past and the choices in life which cut him off from love."We still have to decide onthe cast, and tha
  • BREAKING NEWS: Verdict returned in Intertainment v Franchise case

    The jury returned a verdicttoday in the matter of Intertainment vs Franchise Pictures and Elie Samaha in aSanta Ana courtroom today.The jury found in favour ofIntertainment on fraud and breach-of-contract claims. They ruled againstIntertainment on the charges of conspiracy and found Elie Samaha not guilty ofRICO.They dismissed Franchise'sbreach-of-contract claims against Intertainment.Intertainment was awarded$77.1m in compensatory damages; the party liable for that is Fr
  • Civilian teams with SureFire for $46m tax fund

    Civilian Content, thepublicly-listed UK media concern, has teamed with tax-based financier SureFireon a $46m (£25m) fund that could offer producers up to 50% of their budget.Civilian and SureFirestarted raising the cash last week for the fund, which will provide equity andsale and leaseback funding through UK tax mechanism Section 48. The twocompanies have previously partnered on development financing for projects suchas River Queen, Vincent Ward's New Zealand period piece starr
  • Counihan takes top film role at Skillset

    Oscar winning producer JudyCounihan has been appointed director of film at UK training body Skillset,responsible for driving forward A Bigger Future - the UK Film SkillsStrategy.A Bigger Future, a joint initiative between Skillset and the UK FilmCouncil, is a five year, £50m strategy designed to revolutionise trainingand skills in the UK industry.Launched in September 2003,the strategy covers everyone working in film in all grades from developmentthrough to exhibit
  • Crudo focuses on digital issues in second year of ASC presidency

    Richard P Crudohas pledged to make the standardisation of digital technology his priorityafter he was elected president of the American Society of Cinematographers(ASC) for the second consecutive year.The subject hasbeen the matter of intense speculation - but little else - in recent years asthe industry moves haltingly towards the implementation of digital cinema."We recentlycollaborated with the Digital Cinema Initiative, which was organised by theseven maj
  • David Picker elected chair of PGA, East

    David Picker hasbeen elected chair of Producers Guild of America East and succeeds Nancy Goldman, who willcontinue to serve the guild on the board of governors.Lydia DeanPilcher and Harvey Wilson become the new vice chairs, while Robin Berla andSteven Rosenbaum will represent the "members at large".Under Goldman'sleadership, PGA East's membership has risen nearly threefold to close to 300active members and its expanding range of programmes includes seminars,
  • Day After Tomorrow adds $33.4m for Fox International

    The Day AfterTomorrow grossed $33.4mat the weekend to raise its international running total to $238.9m, accordingto updated figures released by Fox International.The picture remained number one in its second weekend inJapan, where it fell 20% and added $5m on 607 screens for $19.4m.It added $2.3mon 319 in its second weekend in Korea after a slight 7% tumble, staying topthere and raising the cumulative score to $8.1m for the distributo
  • Day After Tomorrow adds $33.7m for Fox International

    Fox International's The Day After Tomorrow added $33.7m at he weekend to raise itsinternational running total to $239.2m.
  • Dirty Pretty Things, The Woodsman up for Humanitas prize

    Dirty Pretty Things screenwriter Steven Knight, Seabiscuit writer Gary Ross and Mean Creek writer Jacob Aaron Estes are among 33contenders from film and television vying for this year's Humanitas Prize.
  • Distributor welcomes McDonald's attack

    McDonald's Australia has launched a two-week cinema andtelevision campaign labelling Super SizeMe filmmaker Morgan Spurlock as 'irresponsible' but which will, accordingto the film's distributor, merely boost the film's takings."This is publicity we could never have dreamed ofgetting without them," said Dendy Films general manager Andrew Mackie."What makes it so effective is that it brings the film to the attention ofan audience that would never have heard of it otherwise."
  • Dream options rights to Sampson story Masquerade

    Los Angeles-based productionand international sales company Dream Entertainment has optioned the rights tohistorian Alfred F Young's wartime tale Masquerade.The story centres on theexploits of Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man and fought theBritish during the American Revolution and went on to win her battle for aveteran's pension.Dream is looking to hire ascreenwriter for the project and plans to take it into development straightaway.
  • Ealing Studios eyes Eastern European expansion

    The UK's Ealing Studios is preparing to expand into EasternEurope.The legendary film studio is part of a consortium planningto bid for Bulgaria's Boyana Film Studios, the Eastern European country'sleading film production complex.The state-owned studio has been for sale for a number ofyears and is now expected to be privatised by the end of this year. It issituated close to the capital city Sofia, has three sound stages and recentlyhosted the shoot of Spartacus for USA Cab
  • Early audience demand for Fahrenheit has echoes of Passion fever

    In a move reminiscent of the demand that engulfed Mel Gibson's ThePassion Of The Christearlier this year, the US distributors of Fahrenheit 9/11 have set up a freephone number andwebsite to handle group and advance ticket sales.
  • East European production swings into high gear

    Therecent economic boom in Russia has made it easier to finance films - bothprivately and from government funds. Dozens of young new directors are expectedto complete new films by the end of the year with the Russian Ministry ofCulture giving priority to funding debut projects.Butveteran directors in Russia and Poland are also hard at work. In St Petersburg Alexander Sokurov beganshooting the third and final film in his series about men of power this month. The production of Hirohit
  • EASTERN EUROPE Production Listings - June 16 2004

    EASTEUROPEAN PRODUCTION LISTINGS - 16 June 2004RUSSIAPRE-PRODUCTIONBUMER-2 (BIMMER-2)(STV Film Company, Pygmalion Production) Action movie. ProdS: Sergei Selyanov, Sergei Chlyants. Dir: Pyotr Buslov. Scr:Denis Rodimin, Pyotr Buslov.Contact
  • Egoyan heads to 1970s Los Angeles in Somebody Loves You

    Canadian auteur Atom Egoyanis preparing his tenth feature, entitled Somebody Loves You, with long-time collaborator Robert Lantos ofSerendipity Point Films producing.The Academy Award-nominated Egoyanwrote the screenplay based on the novel Where The Truth Lies by Broadwaywunderkind Rupert Holmes. Sandra Cunningham, a co-producer on Egoyan's Ararat, will perform a similar role. Principal photographyis slated to commence in August in Toronto. Serendipity would not co
  • Facing Windows, Born Into Brothels are Seattle favourites

    The 30th Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)closed on Sunday with its annual Golden Space Needle Awards for audiencefavourites at the event.
  • Filmax consolidates market position as revenues rise

    After a capital expansion of Euros 50m in September 2003from public sector sources, Filmax Entertainment consolidated its position inthe market last year according to its annual results, announcing revenues ofEuros 91.8m, a 11.4 percent hike from 2002 revenues.A mini-studio involved in production, exhibition anddistribution, Filmax's pre-tax profits for 2003 stood at Euros 6.7m, with12.3 percent of turnover coming from international sales. The studio isincreasingly becoming involved in
  • FINLAND 15 June

    As Finland wasn'ttreated to the magic of Harry Potter this weekend, The Day After Tomorrow had no problem staying on top of the chartin front of Troy and the new releaseof Guiliermo De Toro's Hellboy.With just 10 printsthe comic book adaptation performed well if unimpressively with this week'ssecond best screen average ($2,742) after the strong return of The Girl With The Pearl Earring($3,449), which move
  • Football fever fails to ruin Harry's game

    Harry Potter AndThe Prisoner Of Azkabancontinued its unstoppable domination of the international box office, adding afurther 2,070 screens in 16 more territories to gross $66.4m in 40 countriesover the weekend - a slight 24% drop on its opening take.The performance,given the competing appeal of the fine weather across Europe and the Euro 2004football matches, indicates that the third instalment in the Potter franchisecould easily achieve $500m-plus internationally - given that t
  • French cinema admissions recover

    Theatrical admissions inFrance are running at levels 11% higher than last year according to latestfigures.According to the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC) some 83.5 millionstickets were sold in the five months to the end of May 2004. And over a runningyear the figures are 183 million, a 3% improvement on the previous 12 monthperiod.The figures represent a reversal of the decline in audience numbers whichaffected most territories in western Europe last year.The CNC says
  • Garfield The Movie

    Dir: Peter Hewitt. US 2004.80minsHe is one of the mostrecognisable comic strip characters in the world today - a fat, slovenly,self-satisfied but lovable orange furball named Garfield - and he is the latesttwo-dimensional creature to star in his own live action/computer generatedfilm. But this fat cat won't generate half the box office revenues of a certaingreen ogre who has been dominating movie screens for the past few weeks -partially because Garfield The M
  • GERMANY 16 June

    Its takings may have slipped week-on-week by 35%, but Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban easilyheld on to the top spot with over 1.2m admissions - more than the rest of theTop 15 put together - .and a screen average of $8,018 from its 1,214 screens.The weekend's best screen average - except for Harry Potter 3 - was posted, though, byPepe Danquart's documentary on the Tour de Fran
  • Hafstrom's Derailed lined up for London, NY shoot

    Derailed, the English-language debut from the Oscar-nominatedSwede Mikael Hafstrom, is being lined up to shoot in London and New York City,the director told Screendaily.Dimension Films is backingthe film which is scheduled to start shooting in September with Clive Owen inthe lead role."We will be shootinginteriors at a London studio, we just haven't decided which one, and then we'lldo the exteriors on location in New York," Hafstrom said. "We will beable to announce more
  • Hamburg film fund rocked by budget cut plans

    Hamburg's film scene has been rocked by plans unveiled bynewly appointed Culture Senator Karin von Welck to slash the city's support ofFilmFoerderung Hamburg (FFH) from Euros 7m to Euros 3.5m for 2005/6.FFH currently has an annual budget of around Euros 9m madeup of contributions from Hamburg itself and public broadcasters NDR and ZDF.The money has helped attract a string of German and international productionsto the city.
  • HONG KONG 15 June

    Fox's disaster juggernaut, The Day After Tomorrow, continued its assault at the top of theHong Kong box office, taking US$1.3m from 59 screens in its second week for acumulative gross of more than US$4m.But Korean melodrama Windstruckstill managed to open strongly grossing US$618,131 from 33 screens in its firstseven days. The film is directed by Kwak Jae-yong, whose comedy My Sassy Girl was a big hit in Hong Ko
  • Horizon sells Miike's One Missed Call to North America

    Rob Straight'sVancouver-based international sales outfit Horizon Entertainment has sold allUS and English speaking Canadian rights on Japanese horror master TakashiMiike's One Missed Call to MediaBlasters.The New York-baseddistributor plans platform releases in New York and Los Angeles with a nationalroll-out to follow in major cities throughout North America.Horizon Entertainmentpresident Straight negotiated the deal with Media Blasters' Takashi Sakuda.Media Blast
  • IFC, FilmFour team for July's Me And You

    IFC Productions will finance and serve as executive producer on MeAnd You And Everyone We Know with Film Four, based on a screenplay by artist and film-makerMiranda July who will also direct.
  • In My Father's Den

    Dir: Brad McGann. NZ-UK.2004. 125minsLast year's Sydney FilmFestival opened to an embarrassing effort, the feeble Australian comedy TheHonourable Wally Norman. This year, in contrast, a packed house was grippedby New Zealand director-writer Brad McGann's assured debut feature In MyFather's Den, a hard-to-categorise mix of family conflict, coming of agedrama and whodunit.International criticalreaction is likely to be in the same art
  • Iranian Tradition wins top Shanghai prize

    The Seventh Shanghai International Film Festival awarded itsBest Film Award to Iranian film Tradition Of Lover Killing at its closing ceremony held on Sunday night.Meryl Streep and Chinese actor Chen Daoming were on hand topresent the award to director Khosro Masum. The film is about an impoverishedIranian family caught up in the world of illegal logging.Sixteen films, nine from Europe and seven from Asia competedfor the Jin Jue Award at the nine-day festival, which opene
  • Israel's Bonjour wins at Portugal's Festroia

    Bonjour M. Shlomi, an Israeli film written anddirected by Shemi Zarkhin, has won the two top prizes - best picture and bestscript - at the International Festroia film festival which wrapped on June 13,at Setubal, Portugal.The coming-of-age story of an adolescent with an uncannygift for cooking who turns out to be a mathematical wizard to boot was alsocrowned as best film by the jury of the International Federation of FilmCritics (FIRPESCI).Produced by Eitan Evan in Israel
  • Italian producers await frozen state funds

    GianniProfita, the head of the Italian government's Film Department, has declaredthat the country's new film law will be implemented 'within weeks',thereby freeing funds for Italian production which has stagnated in recentmonths.Italianproducers have recently complained that the state film commission has not metfor months to greenlight local film
  • ITALY 16 June

    While the Italian box office suffered from the start of thebeach-going season, veteran Italian director Fabio Carpi's new film, Le Intermittenze Del Cuore, opened atnumber 11, scoring the third-highest screen average of any film at the weekend.Starring Argentinian actor Hector Alterio, the film, whichis set in Italy, France and Switzerland, focuses on a film director who relivescertain moments of his life while writing a movi
  • Jury begins deliberations in Franchise/Intertainment lawsuit

    The jury retired yesterdayin the Intertainment vs Franchise lawsuit which has become one of the longestand most high-profile spats in the history of the international film business.The nine largely retiredand/or unemployed jurors from Orange County, California will now attempt tofind the truth among the arcane intricacies of loan documents and letters ofcredit from international banks, an output agreement thrown together in theCarlton Hotel five years ago during the insanity of the Can
  • Karlovy Vary unveils European focused competition

    The 39th edition of theCzech Republic's Karlovy Vary Film Festival (July2-10) has lined up animpressive number of new European titles for its competition programme with astrong presence from Eastern Europe plus titles from India, Japan and Iran.A few films had already beenannounced, such as Marek Najbrt's black comedy Champions (Mistri) (Czech Republic), Paprika Steen's maritalcrisis drama Aftermath (Denmark) and Konrad Niewolsk's prison set Symetria (
  • Kaufman to bring Sunshine to Karlovy Vary

    The39th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (July2-10) hasattracted a number of celebrity guests to this year's event.Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is expected to present MichelGondry's Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, which screens in theHorizons sidebar, while screen veterans Ben Gazzara and Seymour Cassel willintroduce the films in the festival's ext
  • Kudos teams with Webster for film company

    Paul Webster, formerly headof FilmFour, has formed Kudos Film as a joint venture with leading TV dramaproducers Stephen Garrett and Jane Featherstone, joint managing directors ofKudos Film and Television.The new stand-alone companyaims to exploit synergies between TV and film in terms of talent on both sidesof the camera."There is a logicalconnection between what we are doing in TV drama and what Paul has been doingso impressively on the big screen - and Kudos Film will consolid
  • Kusturica's Miracle to open Jerusalem Film Festival

    Emir Kusturica's LifeIs A Miracle has been selected for the opening night of this year'sJerusalem Film Festival.The screening will take place on July8, at the open airSultan Pool theatre located in the valley separating the new city from the oldone.Kusturica himself has been announced for the Thursday nightevent, in for a brief visit before he goes back to Paris for a Saturday nightconcert of his own band.Life Is A Miracleis distributed locally by Oded Horow
  • Leading Thai exhibitors to merge

    Thailand's two leading exhibitors - Major Cineplex Group andEGV Entertainment - are merging to create one of the largest cinema circuits inSouth-East Asia.Althoughboth companies are headed by members of the Poolvaraluck family, they've beenbattling for market supremacy for the past decade. According to Major Cineplexpresident, Vicha Poolvaraluck, the merger will allow them to cut oper
  • Morrison, Salom promoted to vps at Miramax International

    Martha Morrison and JavierSalom have been promoted to vice presidents of international marketing atMiramax FilmsBoth Morrison and Salom willcontinue to work out of Miramax's New York offices and will report to JereHausfater, executive vice president of Miramax International."Martha and Javier both havewhat it takes in the complex arena of International motion picture marketing -they are smart, talented and confident," Miramax International presidentMichael Williams-Jones and Hau
  • MPAA launches new phase of anti-piracy public education campaign

    The MPAA is stepping up itsanti-piracy battle in the living rooms and college dormitories of America as itannounced a new phase in its public education campaign this week.The latest move sees aseries of advertisements in daily newspapers, consumer magazines and more than100 college newspapers warning of the perils of illegal downloading."We hope this ramped-upinformation/educational campaign will cause those who are taking films withoutpermission to stop their illegal activity,"
  • NEW ZEALAND 15 June

    Harry Potter And ThePrison Of Azkaban's NZ$1.79m gross for its opening weekend is nearly doublethe combined result of the rest of the films in the top 20 chart, and about 75%up on the result for The Day AfterTomorrow two weeks earlier. Roadshow released Harry Potter on a whopping (for New Zealand) 82 screens andregistered a screen average of NZ$21,836.There were two other openers in the top 20 including UIP's
  • Online activists organise for Fahrenheit 9/11

    US onlineactivism group has launched a campaign urging the public to see Fahrenheit9/11 on its Jun 25opening day.Failing that, the group wants audiences to pledge to turnout anytime that weekend."Given howdevastating the movie is to President Bush's carefully crafted facade, it'shardly surprising that right-wing groups who call Moore a 'domestic enemy' areusing censorship and intimidation tactics to try to get it pulled fromtheatres," MoveOn'
  • Oz arts minister slow clapped off stage at Sydney fest

    Australia's Federal Minister for the Arts and Sport Rod Kempwas slow clapped off the stage prior to this week's Sydney Film Festival worldpremiere screening of the reconstructed version of the 1919 romantic comedy TheSentimental Bloke.Theoutbreak of bad manners appeared to be either cineastes annoyed at thespeeches, invited VIPs and delayed start time, or ob
  • Palm Springs short festival & market institutes ten film-making prizes

    The Palm SpringsInternational Festival of Short Films & Film Market will hand out 10student film-making awards at its upcoming event, which runs from Aug 31-Sept6.The winner of the KodakAward for Best Student Cinematography will receive an invitation to attendCannes next year and present their work in Kodak's Emerging FilmmakerProgramme.Consideration criteriainclude unique use of the camera, use of lighting or creative lightingtechniques and frame composition.Winners of t
  • Riddick, Stepford can't touch Harry Potter

    Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban stayed top of the US charts in its second week at theweekend as it added $35.1m for $158.1m according to studio estimates, beatingoff spirited openings by three new releases.
  • Riddick, Stepford can't touch Harry Potter

    Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban stayed top of the US charts in its second week at theweekend as it added $35.1m for $158.1m according to studio estimates, beatingoff spirited openings by three new releases.
  • Riddick, Stepford can't touch Harry Potter

    Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban stayed top of the US charts in its second week at theweekend as it added $35.1m for $158.1m according to studio estimates, beatingoff spirited openings by three new releases.
  • Rome on hiatus after sets flooded in Bulgaria

    Production on HBO'sambitious epic miniseries Romehas ground to a halt following the flooding of newly-built sets in Bulgaria.An HBO spokespersonconfirmed yesterday that the production, which is based at Cinecitta Studios inRome, has been on hiatus for three-to four weeks."They were meant to go toBulgaria, but weather precluded that, because the sets were under water there,"she said. "Everyone has decided to take that opportunity to decide where to gonext."She denie
  • School killing halts Battle Royale 2 DVD release

    Toei Video will delay the DVD and video release of BattleRoyale 2, which was scheduled for September, company officials haveannounced. The reason: a highly publicised recent incident in which an11-year-old girl stabbed and killed a friend and classmate, reportedly fortexting disparaging remarks about her.The suspect, who has not been named by the media because sheis underage, mentioned the novel on which the two Battle Royale filmsare based on her Web site. "Given the cur
  • Screen launches new world prizes with Hollywood Film Awards

    ScreenInternational has teamed up with the Hollywood Film Festival and its HollywoodAwards as well as to launch the festival's World and Europeancinema awards.A blue ribbonselection committee comprising 20 international judges will select 10 picturesfrom a list of 40 as nominees for the Hollywood World Awards and will nominatea further 10 for the Hollywood European Awards.The new awardswill be presented as part of the Hollywood Awards gala show on Oct 18

    In the overall41% decline of the Serbian-Montenegrin market last weekend, mostly due topresidential elections that took place on Sunday, Kill Bill Vol. 2 failed to beat the two frontrunners of the pastthree weeks.Selling 2,576admissions for the weekend and another 885 at previews, the latest offeringfrom Quentin Tarantino earned a total of $11,811 for Pro Vision.Troy has kept the pole position even after five weeks, attracting 8,755spectators to
  • Serkis reteams with Jackson for role in King Kong

    Andy Serkis, who earnedplaudits and a cult following for his portrayal as Gollum in Peter Jackson's LordOf The Rings trilogy, is reunitingwith the Oscar winning director on King Kong for Universal.Serkis will play two rolesin the production, which is due to begin in New Zealand in August. He will playa crew member on steam ship The Venture and lend his talents as a stop motioncapture reference for the character of King Kong himself, which will becompletely rendered in CGI
  • SF Film moves toward Danish production

    The Danish arm of Nordic major Svensk Filmindustri, SF Film,has taken the first step towards its long-held ambition of developing its ownprojects by acquiring the film rights to two novels, newcomer Sara Blaedel'scrime story Green Dust and Per HelgeSoerensen's satirical Spin."Our aim is obviously to make a difference in Danish film,to become a fully fledged film company, in on all the phases of filmproduction," said SF Film's Danish MD Michael Fleischer."We are cur
  • Shrek 2 sidesteps Euro 2004

    Dreamworks' animated sequel Shrek 2 continues itsgentle international roll out this weekend with a handful of major bows throughUIP - but is sidestepping Europe, which is engulfed by football fever thanks tothe Euro 2004 competition.Shrek 2 firstreceived an international release in five Asian territories at the same time asits US launch at the end of May.This week, the picture opened in Mexico on Jun 16, Australiaand Argentina on Jun 17 and launches in Brazil on Ju
  • Singapore Bet pays off with record haul

    Singapore's satiricalcomedy The Best Bet scored$66,000 (S$113,530) on 38 prints on its June 9 opening, making it the biggestever opening day gross for a local film. It also raked in $99,000 from itssneak preview over the weekend.The $584,000 The Best Bet, made by homegrown TV comedian-turned-director JackNeo and starring a local cast, was competing against big budget Hollywoodsummer movies such as Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Day After Tomorrow
  • Somersault to open Melbourne festival

    Executive director James Hewison announced that newAustralian film Somersault will open the 53rd Melbourne InternationalFilm Festival (MIFF) on July 21 and Thai film Ong Bak from director PrachyaPinkaew will close it 18 days later.Other Thai directors will also have their recent workshowcased in a country spotlight. Australia's longest-running film festivalalso features a significant spotlight on Middle East cinema featuring aprogramme of Iranian films curated by m
  • South Korean film-makers stunned by quota reversal

    In a reversal of position that hasstunned the local film industry, South Korea's Ministry of Culture and Tourismhas announced that it will now support the reduction of the nation's embattledScreen Quota System. TheMinistry's acquiescence makes it almost certain that the Screen Quota will beweakened in the near to mid-future.In a meeting onJune 11 with film industry representatives, Minister of Culture and Tourism LeeChang-dong - himself a filmmaker and a formerly arde
  • Spain's Lauren files for credit protection

    Beleaguered Spanish distributor-exhibitor Lauren AudiovisualHoldings, parent company of Lauren Films and Lauren Distribution, is operatingas normal, despite filing for credit protection late last week.According to sources, the company is now operating strictlyon a cashflow basis as a Barcelona judge attempts to reconcile its debt.But its cinemas remained open at the weekend and willcontinue to do business and Lauren will carry on distributing films, said thesource.However
  • Spain's Telespan 2000 wins bank cash injection

    Telespan 2000, leading Spanish producer of box office hits TheOther Side Of The Bed, Torremolinos 73 and FootballDays, has completed a restructuring whichincludes a cash injection from local savings bank Banco Gallego in return for20% of the company. Bed and Football Days director David Serrano also becomes a shareholder. The othertwo partners remain as before - producer Tomas Cimadevilla and businessman JoseHerrero de Engana. This follows Telespan's move to invest
  • Spanish film-makers look to boost ties with Germany

    Spanish producers have met with their German counterparts aspart of the Madrid's fourth German Film Festival to propose changes to aco-production deal signed in 2002.Measures agreed include lowering the minimum co-productionparticipation to 10 percent of the budget; loosening up the rules governingco-productions; setting up a fund for bi-lateral co-productions comparable tothat which already exists between Germany and France; and arranging a slate ofsimilar summits between the two side
  • Starz, RealNetworks team for internet PPV service

    UScable programming giant Starz Encore and software house RealNetworks havelaunched an internet-based pay-per-view (PPV) service.The service, dubbed Starz Ticket on Real Movies, willbe a subscription service allowing web users to legally download an unlimitednumber of films for a $12.95 monthly fee.Movielink, the download site launched by five of theHollywood studios, off
  • Sundance Institute unveils details of inaugural documentary labs

    The Sundance Institute hasunveiled details and participants in its first Documentary Film Editing andStory Laboratory, which is scheduled to take place from Jun 20-25.Seven fellows have been selected to participate in the five-dayprogramme, including directors, editors and produc
  • Tales From The Orphanage gets theatrical with 15

    LosAngeles-based Tales From The Orphanage is planning its first theatrical releasefollowing the acquisition of all North American rights to Royston Tan'sSingaporean debut 15.The story causeda stir on the festival circuit for its uncompromising portrayal of Singaporecounterculture and stars bona fide street children.Tales From TheOrphanage plans a January 2005 theatrical release for the picture, which wasproduced by Eric Khoo's Singapore-based Zhao Wei Films, whose credits
  • Tarantino arrives for opening of Moscow festival

    Director QuentinTarantino has arrived in Moscow for the Russian premiere of his Kill BillVol 2, which opens the Moscow International Film Festival (June 18-27) today.His arrivalyesterday put an end to speculation on whether or not Tarantino would show up.He has been expected at the event several times in previous years, but has notturned up.Meanwhilefestival jury president Alan Parker arrived in Moscow yesterday in time to getready for the opening and gala in Gorky Park.
  • The Chronicles Of Riddick

    Dir:David Twohy. US. 2004. 119mins.It'snot just the budget that is bigger on this sequel to Pitch Black, themodestly scaled sci-fi hit from writer/director David Twohy that four years agoset Vin Diesel on the road to stardom. In the $120m Chronicles Of Riddick,cult favourite Twohy fulfils the requirements of a summer sequel by supplying abigger dose of action and some attention grabbing CG effects; but he also givesfull rein to his imaginatio
  • The Terminal

    Dir: Steven Spielberg.US. 2004. 128minsWhen Steven Spielberg sets out to make a feelgood heartwarmer, as he openlystates was his intention in The Terminal, cynics better watch out. Thefilm-maker whose command of the craft is so fluent that he can eke tears fromthe hardest of hearts goes all out for sentiment in his latest picturestarring, well who else, Tom Hanks. The results are not for the faint-hearted.Like the opening sequence in Saving Private Ryan, The Te
  • THINKFilm gets in on Virgo's sex act

    THINKFilm has taken worldrights on Lie With Me, the thirdfeature from Toronto filmmaker Clement Virgo.The film, adapted for thescreen by Virgo and Tamara Faith Berger from her debut novel, began principalphotography yesterday in Toronto. Virgo and his Damon D'Oliveira are producing throughtheir Conquering Lions Pictures. THINKFilm will release the film in NorthAmerican next year and is selling the rest of the world.Described as brazenlypornographic, the story follows two
  • TLA picks up Calson's fist fight drama Shiner for North America

    TLA Releasing has picked upChristian Calson's directorial debut thriller Shiner and plans to release it on video in October.The distributor acquiredhome entertainment rights in the US and Canada for the picture, which will makeits world premiere at the upcoming 28th San Francisco International Gay &Lesbian Film Festival.TLA Releasing's director ofacquisitions Richard A Wolff and writer-director Calson signed the deal on Jun8.The story centres on adisturbing friends
  • Toronto launches Talent Lab for local film-makers

    The Toronto InternationalFilm Festival has expanded its professional development offerings with TalentLab Toronto, a series of creative and technical workshops aimed at emerginglocal filmmakers.20 selected filmmakers willparticipate in a curriculum ranging from issues of creative collaboration tomarketing and distribution, all of it conducted by local and internationalindustry professionals.The inaugural three-dayprogramme will be open to Canadian filmmakers; however, future lab
  • UIP returns to Serbia and Montenegro

    After a year'sabsence, UIP releases are to be handled by a new distributor in Serbia andMontenegro.UIPs new localdistributor, Taramount Film was launched in Belgrade last week, following thecollapse of Vans, its former principal distributor in the territory.Taramount Film isa sister company of Slovenian Karantanija Cinemas and Croatian VTI, who havebeen distributing UIP's releases in their respective territories for the past15 years.Taramount planson releasing some 35 fil
  • UK Film Focus unveils inaugural programme

    180 international buyers from 30 countries are expected inLondon at the end of the month for the inaugural UK Film Focus.24 films will be screening at the event, held atLondon's National Film Theatre, it was confirmed late last week.There are eight world premieres, among them ShaneMeadows' Dead Man's Shoes(controversially overlooked by Cannes), Istvan Szabo's BeingJulia and Danny Boyle's Millions. The event will be launched on June 29th with a galascreening
  • UK post-production trade body names first chief

    Gaynor Davenport has been appointed the first ever chiefexecutive officer (CEO) of UK Post - the new association representing the filmand broadcast post production and effects industry.Gaynor was formerly chief operating officer of The ListeningCompany (TLC). TLC is a contact centre with a division specialising in media.Her clients included Sky, Channel 4 and Disney.She will be charged with helping the UK to continue toattract post-production and effects works on blockbusters su
  • UK's Magic Light strikes Isle of Man deal

    Martin Pope and MichaelRose's UK production company Magic Light Pictures has struck a developmentpartnership with the Isle of Man.The three-year deal providesMagic Light with overhead and an annual development fund for projects whichwill be co-financed by the Isle of Man.Magic Light was formed lastyear by producers with a focus on family, comedy and animation films. The firstproject in development under the deal is MrsGonzalez, a romantic comedy writte
  • Uncovered: The War On Iraq

    Dir/prod: Robert Greenwald. US. 90mins.Lessflamboyant than Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 - and, therefore,perhaps less superficially entertaining - Uncovered: The War On Iraq isa must-see for every American who cares about their country, regardless oftheir political persuasion.While the twofilms reach a similar conclusion - that the Bush administrations statedrationale for war was bogus - Greenwald's documentary takes a morestrai
  • Van Helsing passes $140m for Universal/UIP

    Universal's Dawn Of The Dead raised its international running total through UIP to $17.2m,rising to $32m through all distributors.
  • Warner Bros swoops on RRRrrrr!!! remake rights

    Asterix And Obelix: Mission Cleopatra director Alain Chabat has sold remake rights to hislatest film RRRrrrr!!! to WarnerBros. in the US. The film, released in January 2004, wracked up 1.7 million inadmissions.Although the film was co-produced and sold internationallyby StudioCanal, Chabat's production company Chez Wam handled the saledirectly according to a StudioCanal insider. Via his US structure Wamerica,designed to foster crossover projects, Chabat will work closely
  • Warner confirms Harry as fourth biggest opening in Australia

    Warner Bros confirmed that HarryPotter And The Prisoner of Azkabanrecorded the fourth biggest opening of all time in Australia at the weekend asthe family picture raised its overall international total by an estimated$66.4m from more than 9,900 screens in 40 countries to $204.8m.The third Harry Potter instalment took $8.6m on 452 screens in Australia,making it the fourth biggest bow behind Lord Of The Rings 2 and 3and Star Wars: Episod
  • Warner International crosses $1bn gross mark in record time

    Fuelled by hits like TheLast Samurai, Troy, Something's Gotta Give and the latest Harry Potterinstalment, among others, Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI) claims tohave passed $1bn at the box office in record time.The distributor announced internationalbox office receipts of more than $1.2bn on Jun 7, making it the first to reachthe mark so early in the year and the seventh time it has achieved themilestone.However the record mark is disputed by Fox Internat
  • Winslet heads up Allen's London cast

    Kate Winslet, Emily Mortimerand Jonathan Rhys Meyers are confirmed for Woody Allen's thirty-sixth feature.Allen is to start shootingin and around London this month on what will be a rare shoot outside of NewYork."I'm very excited about theprospect of making a film in London," he said. "I have a great admiration forEnglish actors and actresses and have used them at every opportunity over theyears, but now I won't have to import them to New York. My family and I lovethe idea of sp
  • Working Title finds its Darcy

    Working Title Films hasfinally found its Darcy. The UK powerhouse has cast rising British actorMatthew Macfadyen as the arrogant but eligible male lead in its upcoming JaneAusten adaptation Pride And Prejudice.Macfadyen will star oppositeKeira Knightley, who plays the central Bennet daughter, Elizabeth. The other Bennet sisters will include TheLibertine and Die Another Day's Rosamund Pike as Jane, the oldest,and Jena Malone, the US actress from Cold Mountain, Th