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17 June 2005

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  • ...while the power couple dominate international with estimated $35m take

    It was all about Hollywood's hottest pairing this weekend as MrAnd Mrs Smith starringBrad Pitt and Angelina Jolie launched on an estimated $31.2m on 3,635 screensin more than 35 territories through Fox International.
  • Adam's Apples (Adams Aebler)

    Dir/scr:Anders Thomas Jensen. Den. 2005. 92mins.How do you persuade a neo-Nazi to bake an apple pie' Thisis the droll challenge that powers the third feature to be directed byubiquitous Danish screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen.Adam'sApples isa curious genre mix, part black comedy, part serious good-and-evil moralitytale. Though it does not always get the blend right, the central stand-offbetween an eccentric rural priest and the fresh-out-off-ja
  • Ade's Forest For The Trees a big winner at Newport

    Maren Ade's German drama TheForest For The Trees won BestDramatic Feature at the 8th Annual Newport International Film Festival, withHeidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's The Boys Of Baraka taking top documentary honours.Nicolas Cazale won the bestactor award for Le Grand Voyage,Eva Lobau took best actress honours for The Forest For The Trees, and Miranda July was named best director for MeAnd You And Everyone We Know.July's pictur
  • Asian piracy cuts into Japanese film profits

    Asian authorities have seized 707,709 items of piratedJapanese entertainment software in the first four months of 2005, incooperation with the Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA), anorganization representing the Japanese entertainment contents industry.CODA chairman Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, who also heads theKadokawa media group,toldreportersthat the organisationinvestigated 994 stores suspected of selling pirated films, TV dramas, musicCDs, comics and games in China, Taiwan an
  • Batman Begins swoops in for $15.2m on first day

    The caped crusader wastedlittle time getting down to business this week as Batman Begins grossed a lofty $15.2m on its first day of release.Warner Bros opened Christopher Nolan's comic book adaptation in 3,858 theatresscreens at midnight on Weds Jun 15 and studio executives were thrilled with theresult.That first day gross, combined with snowballing world of mouth and positiveexit polls, suggests Batman Beginswill dethrone 20th Century Fox's action thriller Mr
  • Batman set to land on 8,000 screens and over 70 territories

    Batman Begins takes off through Warner Bros Pictures International thisweekend on a massive day-and-datelaunch that sees the picture open onapproximately 8,000 screens in more than 70 markets.
  • Berman's Borderland starts for Lions Gate

    Principal photography hasbegun in Tijuana, Mexico, on the new crime thriller Borderland, which is being produced by the team behind CabinFever.Lions Gate Films isco-producing with Lauren Moews' Tonic Films, Randall Emmett and George Furla'sEmmett/Furla Films, Freedom Films and Elisa Salinas of Tau Productions. LionsGate holds worldwide rights.Brian Presley stars in thestory, supposedly based on true events, about three young college revellers whostumble across a te
  • Bewitched

    Dir: Nora Ephron. US.2005. 98 mins.Sony's eagerly awaited movie of the beloved 60s TV series Bewitched has to be one of the most featherweight summerblockbuster prospects in recent memory. Although it's stuffed with A-listtalent from stars Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell down, co-writer and directorNora Ephron has delivered a romantic comedy so overloaded with self-consciouscleverness and high concepts that she seems to have forgo
  • Bignardi to step down as Locarno artistic director

    This year's edition of the Locarno International FilmFestival (August 3-13) will be the last one under the mantle of artisticdirector Irene Bignardi.Bignardi, 62, said that she had made it clear from thebeginning that she hadn't wanted to head the festival for any longer than fiveyears. She described her time at Locarno as "five very lovely andfascinating years" and said she wanted to give herself over to"intelligent idleness".Bignardi became the first woman to run Switzerland's
  • Blanchett's Little Fish to open Melbourne festival

    The Melbourne International Film Festival will announcetomorrow (June 15) that the eagerly anticipated Australian film Little Fishwill open the event on July 20 as a world premiere. Somersault opened the festival in 2004 and, of allthe homegrown fare that premiered last year, went on to become a major hit withAustralian audiences.Little Fish, handled internationally by MyriadPictures and locally by Icon, is director Rowan Woods' follow-up to The Boys.
  • British Film Institute to carry out archive access review

    The British Film Institute(bfi) has asked CCS, the consultancy service of the Charted Institute ofLibrary and Information Professionals (CILIP), to carry out a review with theaim of increasing access to its archive of film and television materials.The first stage of thereview will identify options for future development including the possibilityof partnerships with other institutions.This will be completed by mid-September.
  • Canadian theatrical documentaries get funding boost

    The National Film Board ofCanada and local broadcaster The Documentary Channel have partnered to boostproduction of theatrical documentaries, the former increasing by $323,000(C$400,000) its annual production allocation and the latter increasing byC$400,000 its feature documentary licensing fees.The new money comes in thewake of an announced $1.62m (C$2m) pilot program from Telefilm Canada andpublic broadcaster CBC for the development and production and completion oftheatrical-oriented
  • Chinese film-makers eye global distribution at Shanghai

    'Be realistic about your film'sinternational potential' and 'don't ignore your home market' were the twostrongest messages delivered at a seminar on the global distribution of Chinesefilms at the Shanghai International Film Festival this week. Speakers includingOcean Films' head of acquisitions Thierry Decourcelle reminded Chinesefilmmakers that the space for foreign-language cinema r
  • Clear Day to kick off Galway Film Fleadh

    The 17thGalway Film Fleadh will open on July 5 with On A Clear Day, the story ofa man who decides to swim the English Channel, with stars Peter Mullan, BrendaBlethyn and Billy Boyd in attendance.Noted as alaunching pad for new Irish films the Fleadh programme will have a strong localrepresentation this year, including premieres of Pavee
  • Creep team crank up comedy-horror Severence

    Filminghas started on Severance, a comedy-horror film from Chris Smith andJason Newmark, the director and producer team behind hit horror film Creep.The castincludes Danny Dyer, star of The Football Factory and the upcoming film TheBusiness; Laura Harris (The Faculty); Tim Mcinnerny (Blackadder)and Toby Stephens (Die Another Day). The film, which was written by James Moran, is set around a team-buildingweekend for an arms manufact
  • Crying Fist (Jumeoki Unda)

    Dir: RyooSeung-wan. South Korea. 2005. 132mins.One of noless than six South Korean features to be invited to Cannes this year, FIPRESCIprize-winner Crying Fist is a better film than its generally downbeatreviews at home might suggest. The latest addition to the boxing genre, CryingFist is more conventional in one way than two other recent slugfest movies,Million Dollar Baby and Beautiful Boxer, in that its two heroesare both mal
  • De Laurentiis' call to abandon windows sparks reaction

    Italian distributors andexhibitors have reacted strongly against a suggestion by Aurelio De Laurentiisthat Italy should counter the crisis that is currently hitting its box officeby simultaneously releasing films in cinemas, on Pay-TV and on DVD at differentprices. Laura Fumagalli, marketingdirector of Arcadia, an avant-garde digitally equipped multiplex near Milansays that Italian exhibitors have recently invested an enormous amount of moneyto ensure that the cinematic experience is a
  • Digital cinema dominates Oz indie exhibitor conference

    Digital cinema dominated this week's IndependentCinemas Association of Australia (ICCA) conference and, with digital advocateDenis Parkes as new president, the topic will stay on the table.Like many members, Parkes exhibits in regional Australia, inhis case in picturesque Merimbula south of Sydney. He recently invested in twodigital projectors and has been screening arthouse title Ladies In Lavender and the homegrown Three Dollars from a hard drive, thus jumping the queue
  • DVD piracy in UK rises by 40% in first quarter of 2005

    DVD piracy in the UK hasincreased by over 40 per cent during the first quarter of 2005, according tothe second annual report by the UK's Industry Trust for IP Awareness.The report reveals that thenumber of pirate discs confiscated by the Federation Against Copyright Theft(FACT) between January and March this year totalled 680,000, a 41 per centincrease on last year's total for the same period. Last year's seizures ofpirate DVDs totalled almost 3 million. The report also indicate
  • Echo Bridge acquires worldwide on street basketball title

    LA-based sales anddistribution company Echo Bridge Entertainment has acquired worldwidedistribution rights to the street basketball title Black Top Confidential'sStreetball Confidential: Volume 1.Scott Miller's picture starsNBA All-Star Baron Davis, urban streetball legend Headache (Tim Gittens) andhip-hop artist The Game (Jayceon Taylor).Styled as a streetballinstructional, the picture features exclusive moves by Headache, a former teammember with the
  • Eichinger extends contract at Constantin

    Bernd Eichinger has extended his existingproducer contract with leading independent German production house ConstantinFilm until March 31, 2009.The agreement ensures that Eichinger will continue to produceexclusively for Constantin and also make him available to the company as aconsultant for productions which he is not responsible for as producer.Since taking ov
  • Epides steps down from Thessaloniki festival

    The turmoil surrounding theThessaloniki Film Festival is far from over. After terminating the contract ofveteran chief Michel Demopoulos and of president Theo Angelopoulos, thefestival is now facing the departure of yet another key programming figure, DimitriEipides - who heads the festival's New Horizons section.
  • Feehery named external affairs chief at MPAA

    John Feehery hasbeen named executive vice president for external affairs at the Motion PictureAssociation of America (MPAA) following the departure of Stacy Carlson topursue other interests.MPAA presidentDan Glickman paid tribute to Carlson and said she had been of "tremendousassistance" during the first few months of his tenure.Turning toFeehery, Glickman said: "John had extensive experience in both communicationsand policy position in his 15 years on Capito
  • File-sharing debate needs balance, says OECD

    The promise of file-sharing technology should not be lost inthe raging debate about piracy, according to a report from delivered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment(OECD).Instead governments need to considerlegislation that strikes a balance between the protection of suppliers and theability to exploit the technologies, the study suggests.The report concentrated on the music business but the filesharing is rapidly becoming an issue for film - this summer
  • Harvey moves up, Sakurada moves in at Myriad

    LosAngeles-based Myriad Pictures has announced two appointments as in its film andtelevision sales department.Jim Harvey(pictured) has been promoted to executive director of sales and distributionand Jennifer Sakurada has been appointed to director of distribution.Moving up fromdirector of sales and distribution, Harvey assumes a leading role within thetheatrical sales department with immediate effect.Reporting topresident and CEO Kirk D'Amico, he will
  • Huayi Brothers unveils $15m Feng project The Banquet

    Beijing-based production anddistribution outfit Huayi Brothers Film Investment has announced the nextproject from hot Chinese director Feng Xiaogang - a US$15m period film with theworking title The Banquet. The film, which is looselybased on William Shakespeare's Hamlet but set in Tang Dynasty China, reteams three crew members who worked togetheron Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon- action director Yuen Wo-ping, who will also serve as executive producer, artdirector T
  • Hungarian District triumphs at Annecy

    TheDistrict,directed by Hungarian Aron Gauder, has taken the highest honours for afeature-length film at this year's festival of animation at Annecy in France(June 6-11). The film looks at rivalHungarian and Gypsy clans against the backdrop of the ghetto in Budapest. Thetop award for a short film went to The Mysterious Explorations of JasperMorello by Australian director Anthony Lucas. City Paradise byFrench director Gaelle Denis won the special
  • Industry veterans crank up Italian productions

    After anear 18-month freeze in public funds, a new round of financing from the state'sFondo di Garanzia has allowed several films to finally get off the ground. Amongthese is Michele Soavi's long-gestating Arrivederci Amore Ciao, which isproduced by StudioCanal Urania. Adapted from Massimo Carlotto's eponymousnovel, the film tells the story of Giorgio Pellegrini, a subversiveex-politician on the run, who discovers the pleasure of killing people toachieve his political goal.The p
  • Italy's Eagle swoops for commercial horror pics

    Italian distributor Eagle Pictures has added a host of commercialtitles to its upcoming slate, including several new horror movies. The Rome and Milan-based company's slate includes: horror flick FinalDestination 3, which is directed by James Wong and takes place six yearsafter the events in the previous instalment; Jan de Bont's Meg, anadaptation of Steve Alten's bestseller about the hunt for an eighty foot longMegalodon shark; and Liz Friedlander's musical drama Take
  • Joseph's Four Last Songs tunes up in Mallorca

    Principal photography beginstoday (June 13), on the Spanish island of Mallorca, on Francesca Joseph's new feature Four Last Songs .Written and directed byFrancesca Joseph (Tomorrow la Scala!), Four Last Songs isproduced by Christopher Collins, Ruth Caleb and Mate Cantero, with David M.Thompson, Duncan Reid and Paula Jalfon as executive producers.Four Last Songs is a BBC Films and Ingenious Film Partnerspresentation of a Home Movies/Mate co-production
  • Karlovy Vary unveils full competition line-up

    The40th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (July 1-9) has unveiled its fullcompetition line-up, which will include four world premieres. Director Igor Sterk's Tuning from Slovenia, Sion Sono's Noriko's Dinner Table from Japan,German-Austrian co-production Unveiledfrom director Angelina Maccarone and Israeli production What aWonderful Placefromdirector Eyal Halfon will all world premiere at the festival. Festival artistic director Eva Zaoralova p
  • Kinowelt snares Drum, Prokino gets Hidden

    Kinowelt has acquired all rights for German speakingterritories (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) to Zola Maseko's SouthAfrica-set drama Drum which will be theopening film at this year's Munich Film Festival on June 24.The co-production between VIP 2 Medienfonds, ArmadaPictures, Nova Films, and Black Roots Productions is set to open in Germancinemas in the late autumn.Meanwhile, Michael Haneke's Cannes competition entry Hidden(Cache), which won the Golden Palm for
  • Last Mitterand to open Cambridge Film Festival

    The Cambridge Film Festival (July 7-17) is to open withRobert Geudiguian's Berlinale title The Last Mitterand.Tomark its 25th anniversary, the festival has lined up a sting of UK premieresincluding Kim Ki Duk's 3 Iron, Mike Figgis' Coma, HayaoMiyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle, Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers,Ingmar Bergman's Saraband and DreamWork
  • Lau revs up debut First Cuts project in Taiwan

    Hong Kong star Andy Lau flewinto Taiwan yesterday with three directors to promote the first production inhis Focus: First Cuts project, six features shot on HD in collaborationwith Star Chinese Movies Network.Lau's company Focus Films will oversee the series' production andinternational sa
  • London UK Film Focus lines up 12 world premieres

    The second London UKFilm Focus (LUFF) (June 27-30) has unveiled its programme for this year'sevent, which includes 12 world premieres - up from 8 last year.Among the worldpremieres (see full list below) are such sought-after titles as Neil Jordan's BreakfastOn Pluto, Stephen Frears' Mrs Henderson Presents and Nick Love's TheBusiness. In total, 43 titles will be screened at the LUFF.Several leading US buyers are expected in town for the second edition of ane
  • Marshall, Pathe eye autumn shoot for Outpost

    Writer-director Neil Marshall, one of the leading figuresbehind the new wave of British horror films, is at work on another horror filmfor Pathe Pictures. Outpost is a sci-fihorror film about a genetic experiment which goes horribly wrong. Marshall is currentlyat third draft script stage and may be ready to shoot as early as the autumn. The writer-director also has World War Two picture Eagle'sNest, pitched as "Die Hard meets Remains Of The Day," in a
  • Mr And Mrs Smith soundly win domestic box office shootout

    The allure of Brad Pitt andAngelina Jolie proved irresistible to North American audiences over the weekendas the comedy thriller Mr And Mrs Smith opened top on an estimated $51.1m.Doug Liman's spy romp abouttwo married assassins who rekindle their romance when they discover each other's identities opened togenerally good reviews and averaged a strong $14,909 in 3,424 theatres.However it still wasn'tenough to prevent overall box office falling against last year for the 16t
  • Mr And Mrs Smith tear up domestic box office with $51.1m

    The allure of Brad Pitt andAngelina Jolie proved irresistible to North American audiences over the weekendas the comedy thriller Mr And Mrs Smith opened top on an estimated $51.1m.Doug Liman's spy romp abouttwo married assassins who rekindle their romance when they discover each other's identities opened togenerally good reviews and averaged a strong $14,909 in 3,424 theatres.However it still wasn'tenough to prevent overall box office falling against last year for the 16t
  • Mr. Lazarescu triumphs at inaugural Hungarian fest

    The First Alba Regia International Film Festival (ARIFF),claiming to be the first competitive event of its kind in Hungary, wrapped overthe weekend in the city of Szekesfehervar, an hour's ride away from Budapest.The Best Film award went to The Death of Mr. Lazarescu by Cristi Puiu, still fresh from its victory inCannes (Best Film in Un Certain Regard section) and the multiple prizes in Clujlast week. Isolde Fischer was picked as Best Actress for herperformance in the Swi
  • NewFest honours go to Good Boys, Strange Fruit

    The 17th AnnualNewFest, the New York lesbian and gay film festival, finished over the weekendwith the presentation of its annual film-maker awards.The ShowtimeVanguard Award went to Yair Hochner's drama Good Boys, while the Best US Narrative Feature went to KyleSchickner's story of race and sexuality in the Deep South, Strange Fruit.The Best USScreenplay Award went to Jenni Olson's The Joy Of Life, and Best Foreign Narrative Feature waswon by Anahi Berneri's
  • Oldboy director joins CJ's digital slate

    Korean major CJ Entertainment is teaming withmerchandising and licensing company Barunson to finance eight upcoming projectsby star directors, including Oldboy's Park Chan-wook. In a significant development for the local industry,all eight projects will be shot in high-definition (HD) digital format.In addition to Park, the directors include RyooSeung-wan (Arahan), Hur Jin-ho (April Snow), Yu Ha (Once UponA Time In High School), Choi Dong-hoon (The
  • Peekaboo! (Cache Cache)

    Dir:Yves Caumon. Fr. 2005. 91mins.Amodern rural fable teetering halfway between country-house ghost story andslapstick silent comedy, Peekaboo is a lightweight but originaldivertissement that will amuse Gallic audiences without knocking them sideways.Playing entertainingly with the back-to-nature impulses, and phobias, of theurban bourgeoisie, the film is carried by the wordless central performance ofBernard Blancan as a dispossessed peasant who takes refuge in the bot
  • Potter's Radcliffe signs for Becker's Boys

    Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is to playa lead role in Australian film December Boys, a signing which shouldhelp drive Australian investors into the long-standing Becker Group's firstfilm fund before the fund's June 30 cut off.Radcliffe is playing the oldest of four close-knit orphansin Becker Entertainment's 1960s coming-of-age drama, to be directed by RodHardy from Marc Rosenberg's adaptation of Michael Noonan's novel. It is theBritish teenager's first major role o
  • Rai to play royalty in Dutta's Indian biopic

    Aishwarya Rai is play royalty in a biopic on the lifeof Gayatri Devi, the former Maharani of Jaipur. A film based on her autobiography A PrincessRemembers is being directed by Indian filmmaker J. P. Dutta (Border).Rajmata Gayatri Devi (as she is now known) has given
  • Recording star Larson joins cast of Walden/New Line's Hoot

    Brie Larson hasjoined the cast of Walden Media and New Line Cinema's children's tale Hoot.Based on CarlHiaasen's award-winning book, Hoot centres on a Montana boy who moves to Florida and unearths asinister threat to the local population of endangered owls.Logan Lermanplays Roy Eberhardt, the young boy who uncovers the mystery. Larson, a15-year-old recording artist whose film credits include 13 Going On 30, will play Roy's friend Beatrice
  • Roeg to chair Copenhagen festival jury

    Director Nicolas Roeg is to preside over the jury atthe third Copenhagen International Film Festival (CIFF). The festival, which will focus on European films thisyear, is scheduled to run from August 18-28.Roeg (Don't Look Now, Performance) is preparing aphilosophical thriller to be shot next year with Neve Campbell in a leadingrole.
  • Russian Dolls (Les Poupees Russes)

    Dir/scr: Cedric Klapisch,Fr-UK. 2005. 125mins.We last saw Xavier(Romain Duris) five years ago at the end of L'Auberge Espagnole,literally running away from his new life as a civil servant. After the youthfulexuberance of his time in Barcelona chronicled in that film, who'd want tomeasure out their life with coffee spoons' Not Xavier, who is still unable tofind his niche.Picking up half a decadeafter the events of L'Auberge Espagnole
  • Screen conference to examine changing DVD market

    The changing dynamics of thehome entertainment sector will be the subject of a major Screen Internationalconference to be held at the Langham Hotel in Central London next Thursday(June 23).Topics to be addressed atthe event include what the current trends in DVD retail and pricing mean forthe film industry, the impact of interactive and next generation technologies,opportunities for producers in the DVD market, new and emerging trends andfresh approaches to the issue of piracy.N
  • Smiths end Star Wars' international reign

    Action comedy Mr And MrsSmith ended Star Wars reign at the top of the international chartlast weekend. Released in 36 territoriesthe Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie film is the first major day-and-date launch since EpisodeIII and was expected to take the crown. However, Mr And Mrs Smithwill immediately face stiff competition for the top spot next weekend fromWarner Bros' day-and-dater Batman Begins.Apart from Mr And MrsSmith all the new entries
  • Sorrentino readies Consequences follow-up

    The Consequences Of Love director Paolo Sorrentinois lining up a new film about a loan shark, entitled L'amico Di Famiglia(literally, A Friend of the Family).It will be Sorrentino's third feature, and is set to shootin October in Latina, near Rome. Thepicture will be produced by Sorrentino's regular partner, Nicola Giuliano ofIndigo Film, and Fandango's Domenico Procacci. Medusa is producing."L'amico Di Famiglia will tell the story of a loanshark who uses hi
  • Sumitomo snaps up Japan's AMC Theatres

    Japanese film conglomerate SumitomoCorporation has paid a reported $48m for AMC Theatres Japan, which hascurrently five multiplexes nationwide. Sumitomo already owns 11multiplexes across Japan through the United Cinemas exhibitor brand.Sumitomo has numerous filminterests. It owns leading indie distributor and production company Asmik AceEntertainment togethe
  • Taiwan's CMC unveils big-budget Silk

    Taiwan's CMC Entertainment Group has unveiled Silk (Guisi),Taiwan's biggest film since Chen Kuo-fu's Double Vision in 2002. Unlike Vision, whose $7m budget came from Columbia Pictures FilmProduction Asia, Silk is fully financed with local money to the tune of$4.8m. Silk is the second feature of Su Chao-pin, who also scripted Vision,and shares its high-concept horror-thriller genre. It started shooting at the end of May.S
  • The cultural exception for film may become international law

    The cultural exception for trade in cultural productsincluding film could be enshrined in international law for the first time.The European Commission, acting on behalf of all of theEuropean Union states has negotiated the inclusion of a paragraph in a Unescoconvention recognising the unique importance of cultural diversity.
  • Top Russian festival digs Lungin's Roots

    PavelLungin's latest feature film Roots swept the board at the"Kinotavr" Open Russian Film Festival in the Black Sea resort ofSochi, winning four awards and one special mention.Thetragicomedy, which was produced as a Russian-French co-production, received theKrasnodar Territory Government's Prize, the Jury's Grand Prix and the BestScreenpl
  • Top Seattle Film Festival prizes go to 4, Swimmers

    The Seattle InternationalFilm Festival closed its 31st annual edition last night with theNorth American premiere of Gus Van Sant's Last Days, a film of local relevance since it was inspired bythe 1994 suicide of rock star Kurt Cobain.The 25-day festival, thelongest in North America, also announced its award-winners yesterday morning. The grand jury prize forbest new director went to Ilya Khrzhanovsky from Russia for his film 4, with a special jury prize going to Br
  • UK government calls for film policy review

    The UKgovernment has asked the UK Film Council to carry out a review of policytowards British film.CreativeIndustries Minister James Purnell announced the 'stocktake of film policy' in aspeech at an Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) event in London today.Purnell, who was appointed to the post last month, also suggested that the BBCshould boost its funding of British film."TessaJowell [Culture Secretary] and I have commissioned the UK Film Council to lookat film policy
  • Vaines to run European production for Weinsteins

    Bob and Harvey Weinsteincontinued to ramp up activities at The Weinstein Company yesterday [June 15],naming three key executives ahead of the October launch.Colin Vaines will serve asexecutive vice president of European production and development, Tim Clawsonhas been named executive vice president of physical and post-production, andIrwin Reiter has been named executive vice president of accounting andfinancial reporting.All three will work at bothMiramax and The Weinstein Compa
  • Veer Zaara wins at Indian film industry Oscars

    Veer Zaara, a Romeoand Juliet story about a romance between an Indian pilot and his Pakistanisweetheart, triumphed on Sunday at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA)awards ceremony held in Amsterdam. Veer Zaara, which wonthe best film prize and earned Yash Chopra a best director's award, is a timelytale of cross-cultural love as India and Pakistan engage in a littlerelationship-warming themselves. The awards ceremony attracted about 150 leading actors andact
  • Viacom moves closer to separating CBS from Paramount

    TheViacom split took a step closer to reality yesterday [June 14] when the boardagreed to separate Paramount Pictures and the cable operations from thetelevision networks and radio divisions.Viacom co-chief operatingofficer Tom Freston will take overall charge of the studio and cable networksMTV, Nickelodeon and VH1.This entity will keep theViacom name and is regarded as the strongest growth package at theconglomerate.Co-chief operat
  • Video Island raises extra£5m in backing

    Online DVD rental outfit Video Island has raised a further£5m in backing from EVP, Europe's leading venture debt provider.The funding takes the total amount raised by Video Island toover £15m.EVP joins current equity investors BenchmarkCapital, Cazenove Private Equity and Index Ventures.The funding will be used to expand Video Island's DVD library, to invest incurrent operations and will be earmarked for potential acquisitionopportunities. Video Island CEO Saul Kle
  • Winding Refn lines up Viking tale Valhalla Rising

    Pusher and FearX director Nicolas Winding Refn is lining up a new film about a mute Vikingcalled Valhalla Rising. Mads Mikkelsen will play theViking who escapes from imprisonment in Scotland who accidentally discoversAmerica on his journey home.The film is expected to be shotwith handheld camera and a relatively small film crew in Norway, Scotland andCanada.Winding Refn has written the storywith Norwegian writer Roy Jacobsen and the financing process
  • Woo to direct Beijing-set thriller for Bristol Bay, StudioCanal

    John Woo has signed on todirect a noir thriller in Beijing to be produced by Bristol Bay Productions,Studio Canal and Woo and Terence Chang's Lion Rock Productions.Set in modern-day Chinaagainst the background of emerging capitalism, the story centres on a visitingAmerican family that becomes embroiled in a clash between government officialsand the criminal underworld. Don MacPherson wrote the screenplay.Woo and Chang will produceand Lion Rock's Caroline Macaulay is serving as e
  • Working Title duo honoured in Queen's birthday list

    Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner,co-chairmen of Working Title Films, were both made Commanders ofthe Order of the British Empire, or CBEs, inthe Queen's birthday honours list on June 11.The leading UK producers,whose credits include a string of hits including Four Weddings And AFuneral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary and Fargo, were presented with theprestigious awards for their services to the British Film Industry.BAFTA LA chairman GaryDartnall was also awarded an