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17 June 2008

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  • The Sarajevo Film Festival has announced that along with the Heart of Sarajevo Awards, itsCompetition Programme will for the first time compete for a FIPRESCI (Federation Internationale de la Presse Cinematographique) award.The FIPRESCI Jury at the 14th SFF will include international film critics Atilla Dorsay from Turkey, Screen International's US editor Mike Goodridge and Laszlo Kriston from Hungary.The jury for the main Competition will consist of Turkish writer-director Nuri
  • 2929 will self-distribute What Just Happened' through Magnolia

    Nearly five months after What Just Happened' premiered at Sundance, Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban have announced they will self-distribute the Hollywood satire through Magnolia Pictures on October 3.Magnolia would appear to be a logical and convenient outlet given that the film was co-produced by 2929 Productions, its sister company in the Wagner/Cuban Companies fold, and had struggled to find a buyer since January.Former New Line mark
  • A Company buys out Prorom and Cinemania in EEAP

    A Company Consulting & Licensing AG has acquired all of the shares in EEAP Eastern European Acquisition Pool which were held until now by Munich-based Prorom Media-Trade und the Ljubljana-based Cinemania Group. With this step, A Company now owns 100% of EEAP.In order to streamline the corporate structure, the license acquisition of the two companies has now been brought under one roof. Prorom and Cinemania will continue to be trusted and exclusive partners in the EEAP network for the t
  • A Good Old Fashioned Orgy starts shooting for Endgame

    Principal photography has begun in North Carolina on Endgame Entertainment's comedy A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory make their directorial debuts and co-wrote the screenplay about a rich kid who plans one final party in his parents' home in the Hamptons before they sell the place.Things begin to get complicated when our antagonist meets the girl of his dreams.Jason Sudeikis stars alongside Will For
  • Akin, Tykwer and Weingartner backed by Hamburg fund

    The Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein Film Fund has allocated over$4.8m (Euros 3.15m) to new feature projects by Fatih Akin, Tom Tykwer and Hans Weingartner as well as international co-productions by such filmmakers as Les Brodeuses directorEleonore Faucher, Norway's Sara Johnsen and Poland's Radek Wegrzyn.The largest sum - $1.24m (Euros 800,000) - went to Akin for his latest project, the comedy Soul Kittchen, which his company Corazon International is set to shoot in Hambur
  • Amado's granddaughter makes directorial debut with Captains

    Cecilia Amado, the granddaughter of the late Brazilian author Jorge Amado, will direct the big-screen adaptation of his Captains Of The Sands.Since its publication in 1937, the book has been published in 16 languages and has sold more than 5 million copies. 'The novel has as a new relevance today,'' Cecilia Amado says. 'The violence is not so explicit but the story reveals a masked violence generated by s ocial inequality.''The $4m production will start shooting in Octobe
  • Bangkok International Film Festival announces new dates

    The Bangkok International Film Festival (BKIFF) has announced that this year's edition will take place September 23-30. The festival announced in May that it was being pushed back from July to September, but hadn't decided the exact dates. The new timing overlaps with the Thailand Entertainment Expo, which kicks off on September 24 and combines film, TV, music and animation-related events.The Federation of National Film Association of Thailand and Thai Directors' Association are th
  • Beresford on board for Grahame biopic Banking On Mr Toad

    Bruce Beresford is attached to direct Banking On Mr Toad, which is set to shoot in Dublin and nearby Irish locales in early 2009. The biopic of Kenneth Grahame is being readied as his classic The Wind In The Willows celebrates its 100th anniversary.The film's budget is $22m. Casting is ongoing.Timothy W. Haas of Haas Silver Levene will produce. He said: 'We have the inside story, of Kenneth and his wife Elspeth. She was as much a cause and effect on Kenneth's c
  • Bize, Gomes projects selected for Locarno's Open Doors

    New feature films by Chilean director Matias Bize and Brazilian filmmaker Marcelo Gomes are among 12 projects from 10 Latin American countries selected out of a total of 332 submissions to participate in the Open Doors Factory co-production meeting from August 10-12 during this year's Locarno Film Festival.Bize's low-budget HD production Despues de Fiesta set within the confines of one party in a house on a single night will see the director working again with the screenwriter Julio Ro
  • Chiao's Arc Light, Polybona to co-produce Dream

    Peggy Chiao's Taiwan-based Arc Light Films and Beijing-based Polybona Films International will co-produce romantic drama Like A Dream, to be directed by Australia-based filmmaker Clara Law. Daniel Wu and Chinese actress Yuan Quan head the cast of the $2.3m (RMB16m) film, which is scripted by Eddie Fong. Polybona will also serve as the mainland China distributor.'We hope this film can change people's pre-conception that Chinese co-production films are only limited to action f
  • China Film Pitch and Catch: The second edition of Shanghai's annual projects market

    Running alongside Shanghai's regular market, called SIFF Mart, the second edition of the Shanghai International Film Festival's (SIFF) China Film Catch and Pitch (CFPC) hopes to marry talent and funds between China and international territories.Organisers say the CFPC skews firmly towards China, differing from other Asian co-production markets such as the Pusan Promotion Plan and Hong Kong's HAF which focus on pan-Asian projects.'We see the market as a platform to help bridge th
  • Choke wins narrative feature prize at Maui Film Festival

    Clark Gregg's Choke starring Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston won the narrative feature prize at the 2008 Annual Maui Film Festival while Charles Kinnane's The Human Experience took the documentary award.In the world cinema programme, Amin Matalqa's Captain Abu Raed was named best narrative feature and Christian Karim Chrobog's W
  • Christian Gaines leaves AFI for

    Christian Gaines has joined IMDb's festival and networking community as film festival director.Gaines previously served as director of festivals at the American Film Institute (AFI) where he oversaw festival and film programming projects including AFI FEST.He was heavily involved with the inception of Silverdocs and AFI Dallas International Film Festival played an integral role in developing AFI FEST's strategic alliance with the American Film Market.
  • Co-production:How to solve a Chinese puzzle

    In the 1970s there was 'ping-pong diplomacy', but these days Sino-US relations are more likely to be developed over a movie project than a table-tennis match. And with each new project, US producers are learning more - sometimes the hard way - about how to play ball with Chinese film authorities.Over the past year, several major US-China co-productions have been completed with relatively little trouble.Family adventure The Forbidden Kingdom, for example, shot all around C
  • Dan Kolsrud named evp of theatrical physical production at MGM

    Dan Kolsrud has been appointed executive vice president of worldwide theatrical physical production at MGM and Mary Parent continues to assemble her team to return the studio to its production roots.Kolsrud joins executive vice president of development Cale Boyter and vice president of production Becky Sloviter.Kolsrud most recently served as executive producer on the adaptation of Cirque Du Freak starring John C Reilly for Univers
  • Danish Film Institute offers production funding for mobile films

    In a new industry innovation, the Danish Film Institute has allocated about $125,000 (600,000 Danish Kroner) for production of mini features for mobile phones. This marks the first large scale public funding for the mobile format, with these shorts earmarked to run 90 seconds to three minutes. Oscar winner Martin Strange-Hansen has made a series of super-short films about the sometimes embarrassing daily lives of teenagers.Miriam Nørgaard, film consultant in the youth departme
  • Daryn Okada elected president of ASC

    Daryn Okada has been elected to serve a third one-year term as president of the American Society Of Cinematographers.The other officers are: vice presidents Michael Goi, Owen Roizman and Richard Crudo; treasurer Victor J Kemper; secretary Isidore Mankofsky; and sergeant-at-arms John Hora.The board members include Curtis Clark, Caleb Deschanel, John C Flinn III, William A Fraker, Stephen Lighthill, Robert Primes, Nancy Schreiber, Dante Spinotti, and Kees Van Oostrum.
  • David Shaye joins Content Partners in business development

    Los Angeles-based financial company Content Partners has hired David Shaye to be its new director of business development.Shaye will report directly to senior vice president Krista Parkinson and Content Partners founders Steve Kram and Steve Blume.The new arrival previously served as a TV development executive and producer and started his career at Brett Ratner's Rat Entertainment.Parkison highlighted Shaye's relationships with young talent and 'others in the
  • Disney teams with Castle Hero, Ying Dong on second Chinese film

    Walt Disney Studios is teaming up with China’s Castle Hero Pictures and Ying Dong Media on its second Disney branded Chinese collaboration, the tentatively titled nature drama Touch Of The Panda.The parties announced the project on Monday [June 16] at the Shanghai International Film Festival and said the film has completed principal photography in the Chinese province of Sichuan with official cooperation and supervision from the Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve.Walt Disney Stud
  • Edinburgh: This summer's new destination

    At the grand old age of 62, the Edinburgh International Film Festival (Eiff), the world's longest continually running film festival, is having a makeover. Edinburgh has shifted its dates from its traditional August slot to June (18-29). The event has also received an injection of $3.7m (£1.88m) in public funding from the UK Film Council (Ukfc) over the next three years.'The date change will allow Edinburgh to stand alone and not get lost in the other festivals, which is enormously to i
  • Emily Weiss named marketing chief at Autonomous/After Dark

    Emily Weiss has joined Autonomous Films/After Dark Films as executive vice president of marketing, media and promotions.Weiss will take the lead on the studio's marketing efforts with executive vice president of creative affairs and acquisitions Stephanie Caleb.She started her career at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising and became corporate media director before moving on to senior positions at Dailey & Associates, among others.'Emily has a proven track record of
  • Festival report: Shanghai International Film Festival

    Shanghai-born Wong Kar-wai heads up the international competition jury for this year's Shanghai International Film Festival(SIFF), replacing the late Anthony Minghella.Sixteen films compete for the festival's main Jin Jue Award, which is heavy on European entries. Local films are represented by Hasichaolu's Urtin Duu and Gao Qunshu's Old Fish (a.k.a. Nick Of Time) young directors whose careers have been nurtured by the festival.Wong'sfellow jury members are
  • Film Agency For Wales offers development funds for Mr Manchester

    The Film Agency For Wales is backing Cardiff-born writer Phil Charles' feature comedy Mr Manchester, now in development.Lee Ruette and Britt Harrison's Snowball Pictures will produce.The Manchester-set comedy is about a macho cash-strapped builder who enters a gay beauty competition.Charles has been working as a TV writer and previously made the short Punch.'Britt & Lee's feedback and direction has been invaluable, and being Cardiff born and bred
  • Fortissimo picks up Baksy; Rezo sells Everybody to France

    Fortissimo Films will handle international distribution on Guka Omarova's second feature Baksy (Native Dancer) which had its world premiere in competition at the Kinotavr Open Russian Film Festival in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday night.The Russian-Kazakh-French-German co-production between the CTB Film Company, Kazakhfilm, Les Petites Lumieres, Kinofabrika, Cinetools Film and Caspian Beverage Holding was presented as a project at such past co-production
  • Gen Art Chicago Film Festival opens with Bart Got A Room

    The Second Annual Gen Art Chicago Film Festival will open in Chicago on June 23 with Plum Pictures' comedy Bart Got A Room starring William H Macy and Cheryl Hines.Brian Hecker's film was one of the more popular entries at Tribeca, where it received its world premiere in April, and charts the comical course of events as a high school student tries to find a date for Prom Night. Steven Kaplan plays the lead.Other entries include Sol
  • German fund backs new Wayne Wang feature

    Germany's regional fund Filmstiftung NRW is backing Wayne Wang's next feature project 920 Sacramento with $1.86m (Euros 1.2m).Based on a true story from the 19th century about a woman who finds her calling in the brutal reality of San Francisco's Chinatown, the production by Cologne-based Pandora Film is set to have 35 shooting days in North Rhine-Westphalia and already has Sienna Miller attached to star.Pandora's distribution arm Pandora Filmverleih is lined up to hand
  • Get Smart

    Dir: Peter Segal . US. 2008. 110 mins. Offering a little bit of everything but not quite enough of any one thing, Get Smart is a likable jumble of genres that could have greatly benefited from being less ambitious. Despite a strong central performance from Steve Carell, this adaptation of the hyper-silly '60s television sitcom crams physical comedy, political satire, big-budget action, romantic drama and thriller elements into a big cinematic bun
  • Hirschbiegel starts Belfast shoot for Five Minutes Of Heaven

    Oliver Hirschbiegel has started shooting his new feature, Five Minutes Of Heaven, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt star as two men who are struggling to come to terms with their experiences of past conflict in Northern Ireland.Eoin O'Callaghan is producing for Big Fish Films and executive producer is Paul Trijbits at Ruby Films.Backers include Pathe (which is handling international sales), BBC Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen, the I
  • Hunger wins Sydney Film Festival's inaugural competition

    Hunger, UK artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen's portrait of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands in his dying days, has won the inaugural A$60,000 Sydney Film Prize. The film won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and wowed audiences when it screened twice as part of the Sydney Film Festival just over a week ago, so there was little surprise when the Australian filmmaker and jury president Gillian Armstrong made the announcement just before 8pm tonight at a black tie function
  • Icewhole adds to industry panel judging online shorts, the new social networking site for aspiring film-makers and actors, have added new experts to its Independent Panel of Judges.The panel includes more than 170 producers, directors, writers, casting directors, talent agents, and actors including Morgan Freeman, Richard Attenborough, Derek Jacobi, Marjane Satrapi and David Yates.Each month, gives away $3,000+ to film-makers with the judge's pick of best short films uploaded that month.Awards are g
  • Icon takes UK, Australiarights to Transporter 3 from Europa

    Icon Film Distribution (IFD) has acquired all UK and Australian rights to Transporter 3 from EuropaCorp.This third instalment of the franchise again stars Jason Statham in the lead, with Francois Berleand and Robert Knepper. Transporter 3 is directed by Olivier Megaton from a script written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. Besson is producing for EuropaCorp.EuropaCorp, TF1 Films Productions, Grive Productions and Apipoulai Production are producing in associ
  • Inside Pictures selects 15 UK producers and execs

    The Film Business Academy at Cass Business School, Qwerty Films and Skillset have selected the next 15 participants for its pretigious Inside Pictures initiative, a scheme to support rising producers andexecutives across the UK film industry.lWhile Inside Pictures has never been for newcomers, this year's group appears more advanced than in past years - for instance David Shear is already a veteran of The Works and ContentFilmand now serves as head of sales at Revolver
  • International - Raj against the machine

    Indian film Sarkar Raj was this weekend's highest non-US entry in the international arena, taking $5.4m from 1,433 screens in 17 territories.The film is one of 17 that crossed the $1m mark over the June 6-8 weekend, as the top four films - all Hollywood offerings - saturated the market.Sex And The City, Kung Fu Panda and the latest instalments of Indiana Jones and The Chronicles Of Narnia accounted for 67.3% of the top 40 revenue. Sex And Th
  • Interview: Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson

    It has been a long-term ambition for John Stevenson to direct his first animated feature and Kung Fu Panda is a pretty good start - bearing in mind it recently screened in official selection at Cannes.Co-directed by Stevenson and Mark Osborne for DreamWorks Animation, the film is expected to be one of the biggest hits of the summer (taking an estimated $81.7m worldwide in its opening weekend), and received an enthusiastic response from exhibitors at ShoWest in Las Vegas in March
  • Investors assess risks, rewards in China film market

    China's booming film industry could provide huge returns to venture capitalists, funds and other investors, but the market is still in its infancy and it'sstill not clearin which areas to invest. These were some ofthe messages to emerge at a seminar at the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) on Monday about the influx of capital into the Chinese movie business.Panelists including filmmakers Bill Kong and Peter Ho-sun Chan - along with representatives from venture capital fi
  • Iron Man and Indy push Paramount past $1bn

    Paramount Pictures International (PPI) hit the $1bn mark at the international box office on June 14, making it the first studio to reach the figure internationally this year.PPI hit the mark six weeks faster than it did in 2007, thanks to blockbuster summer films, chiefly Iron Man and Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.Iron Man, Paramount's first release with Marvel Studios, kick-started the summer season on May 2 and has gone on to gen
  • James Gunn to deliver keynote speech at IFTA Production Conference

    Film-maker James Gunn will deliver the keynote speech at the Independent Film & Television Alliance's (IFTA) 10th Annual Production Conference in Los Angeles on June 27.Gunn started out with Troma Entertainment where he wrote Tromeo And Juliet. His writing credits include Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Slither and the 2004 remake of Dawn Of The Dead.
  • Jersey to host new film festival in September

    The island of Jersey, a British Crown dependency between England and France, will host the first Branchage Jersey International Film Festival from Sept 25-28.The festival describes itself as 'boutique,' to show the 'best new independent British and international films.' Branchage plans to reflect the local communities by showing Eastern European and Latin American films as well.Local landmarks including Gorey Castle, Jersey War Tunnels, Town Hall Chambers, and the Old Magistrate
  • Ji appointed as head of Korea Media Ratings Board

    The Korea Media Ratings Board has named Ji Myung-hyok as its new chairman for the next three years. A professor at Kookmin University's school of performing arts, Ji was elected from among the nine new members of the presidentially-appointed ratings board.The other eight members include a writer from the major conservative newspaper Chosun Ilbo, academics, a representative of a parent's watchdog group, and directors Kwon Chil-in and retired 73-year-old filmmaker Kim Ki-duk.
  • John Hadity named chair of PGA East's executive board

    John Hadity has succeeded David Picker as chair of the Producers Guild Of America East's executive board following a recent election.Meanwhile Dana Kuznetzkoff and Mark Marabella will serve as the board's vice chairs and succeed Lydia Dean Pilcher and Harvey Wilson.Wilson was one of five members elected to the board's member at large role alongside Robert E Frye, Jeff Gomez, Rachel Klein and Peter Saraf.Lisa Diamond was re-elected as the financial officer.
  • Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

    Dir: Patricia Rozema . US. 2008. 100 mins.Emotionally affecting but dramatically wobbly, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl was made with young girls in mind, but would have been far more effective had it shown enough courage not to play down to its audience. With that said, this adaptation of the popular American Girl book series starring Abigail Breslin touchingly illustrates the sting of poverty during the Dep
  • Magnolia buys US rights to SXSW hit Humboldt County

    Magnolia Pictures has acquired US rights to Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs's SXSW favourite Humboldt County.The story centres on a man whose one-night stand with a free spirit leaves him stranded in a community of marijuana farmers in Northern California.Jeremy Strong and Fairuza Balk star alongside Peter Bogdanovich, Frances Conroy, Brad Dourif and Chris Messina. Jason Weiss produced.Magnolia plans a September theatri
  • Malaysia's KRU Studio backs US thriller Deadline

    Malaysia's KRU Studio is co-producing US psychological thriller Deadline, starring Brittany Murphy, marking its first foray into financing Hollywood films. Directed by newcomer Sean McConville, the film is currently shooting in Louisiana and also stars Thora Birch, Tammy Blanchard and Marc Blucas.KRU, which is co-producing with US indie outfit Enso Entertainment headed by Roger Betterton, has made an equity investment in the film, budgeted at below $10m, and is also contribu
  • Mammoth challenge: Lars Jonsson on producing Lukas Moodysson

    When 20 minutes or so of footage from Lukas Moodysson's English-language debut Mammoth was screened in Cannes recently, there was a mini stampede among buyers. Sales agent TrustNordisk reported huge interest in the project, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams.International distributors, it was clear, still have faith in Swedish director Moodysson, who was called 'a young master' by Ingmar Bergman a decade ago following his debut feature, Show Me Love. Sin
  • Marvel's Hulk goes out in 38 territories, Fox's Happening in 61

    Click on film title to see reviewAn intriguing battle is shaping up ahead of this weekend's wide launchess of Marvel's The Incredible Hulk - mostly through Universal/UPI - and M Night Shyamalan's paranoia thriller The Happening through Fox International.While both films boast recognisable talent - Ed Norton and Liv Tyler in the case of
  • Marvel's Hulk is incredible with $54.4m three-day US opening

    Almost five years to the day after Ang Lee's ill-fated Hulk opened in North America, Marvel Studios took a big stride towards exorcising that painful memory as The Incredible Hulk stormed to the top through Universal and led a bumper box office weekend with a muscular $54.4m estimated launch.Marvel Studios is reaping the early rewards of autonomy following Iron Man'
  • Mei Ah, Guangdong Film Corp set up distribution joint venture

    Hong Kong's Mei Ah Entertainment and Guangdong Province Film Corporation have set up a joint venture, Hua Tian Xia Film Distribution, which aims to distribute 20 Chinese-language films a year in the mainland market. The Guangzhou-based distribution company has been established with capital of $2.9m (RMB20m). It will mainly focus on small-to-mid-budget Chinese-language films, made in Chinese-speaking regions such as mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.The new company mar
  • Melbourne film festival to open with Not Quite Hollywood

    The 57th Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) will open on July 25 with the world premiere of Not Quite Hollywood, writer-director Mark Hartley's long-awaited tribute to the Australian films of the 1970s and 80s that were high on horror, nudity and car chases. This year's festival is a historic one as Not Quite Hollywood and five other films are the first offspring of MIFF's relatively new Premiere Fund. By coincidence they are all documentaries, including Celebri
  • Moviemobz takes Brazilian rights to The Sandman

    Moviemobz, the first distribution operation which programmes its titles in theatres equipped with digital projection technology supplied by Rain Network, has acquired theatrical rights in Brazil to Jose Manuel Gonzalez's Spanish romantic drama The Sandman (El Hombre De Arena).Moviemobz plans to release the film in theatres in the next six months; it is also scheduled for a premium pay TV window through Cine Canal by June 2009.The d
  • Ng calls for changes to China's co-production policy

    The chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, Ng See-yuen, called for a rethink of co-production policy at a seminar on Sino-foreign co-production at the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) on Tuesday. While highlighting positive developments in the China market, Ng said that Hong Kong filmmakers are 'worried that they're gaining the China market at the expense of losing the Hong Kong [filmmaking] style'.The issue has long been a problem for Hong Kong, which depen
  • Ning launches production, management outfit Stoneman

    Hot up-and-coming Chinese director Ning Hao has established a film production and artist management company, Stoneman Films. Daniel Yu, former COO of Andy Lau's Focus Films and producer of Ning's sleeper hit Crazy Stone, will serve as Ning's producer, overseeing his filmmaking projects. The young director is currently preparing a contemporary road movie Western Sunshine, set in the west of China, which combines action and black comedy elements.In addition to Wester
  • Nordisk plans two features based on Welfare State

    Scandinavian major, Nordisk Film, has acquired Swedish writer Leif GW Persson's The Fall of the Welfare State (Välfärdsstatens fall) - a trilogy he wrote between 2002-2003) - which it will develop, finance and produce as one or two features for theatrical and a six-part television series.Swedish veteran producer Hans Lönnerheden, whose credits include 30 features - among them Mikael Håfström's Oscar nominatedEvil (Ondskan) is on board for the
  • Passchendaele to open Toronto Film Festival on Sept 4

    Paul Gross' WWI epic Passchendaele will open the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, September 4. Written, directed and produced by Gross, who also takes the lead role, the film is coproduced by Niv Fichman, Frank Siracusa and Francis Damberge. The film also features Caroline Dhavernas, Gil Bellows and Joe Dinicol.Set during the height of WWI, the film focuses on a wounded Canadian sergeant (Gross) who returns to t
  • Pope's Toilet rides into US with Film Movement

    Film Movement has acquired Cesar Charlone and Enrique Fernandez' Uruguayan comedy The Pope's Toilet and plans a limited release in October followed by DVD roll-out in 2009.The story centres on the people of a small town who prepare to capitalise on an upcoming visit from the Pontiff.The Pope's Visit played in official selection at Cannes in 2007 and has won several awards including the Sao Paolo International Film Festival's Interna
  • Power strikes DVD distribution deal with Lionsgate UK

    After working together on the successful release of Flood, Lionsgate UK and production company Power have formed a long-term, exclusive home entertainment distribution partnership.Power, a TV production company that recently branched out into feature films, will release all its productions including mini-series, features and TV series, through Lionsgate UK.Power's current slate includes XIII: The Conspiracy starring Val Kilmer, Pinocchio starring Bob H
  • Preview: Edinburgh International Film Festival

  • Production - Eastern Europe - Hungary shoots put to the test

    The tap-tap of numbers being punched into calculators greeted the news that Hungary is expected to introduce a cultural test for productions hoping to access its 20% tax rebate: international film-makers are rapidly re-examining their production plans to see if Hungary will still work for them.Proposed changes to the Hungarian Motion Picture Act, expected to be approved by the European Commission (EC) by mid-July at the earliest, will mean a project will no longer be able to simply cla
  • Production - Shanghai International Film Festival - Gateway to the east

    Shanghai-born Wong Kar Wai heads up the international competition jury of the 11th Shanghai International Film Festival (Siff), replacing the late Anthony Minghella. Sixteen films will compete for the festival's main Jin Jue Award, which is heavy on European entries. Local films are represented by Hasichaolu's Urtin Duu and Gao Qunshu's Old Fish (aka Nick Of Time) - young directors whose careers have been nurtured by the festival.Wong's fellow jury members are Germ
  • Roberts, Mortimer take new posts at UK's Contender

    Growing UK distributor Contender Films has appointed Theresa Roberts as head of publicity and Rebecca Mortimer as head of marketing.Roberts, who takes the post July 1, had been head of publicity for Momentum Pictures.Mortimer, who takes her post as of Aug 5, comes from Universal Pictures (UK), where she was senior marketing manager.Both Roberts and Mortimer will report directly to Alex Hamilton, director of Contender Films.Hamilton said: 'This feels like a coup. Bo
  • Rondi becomes president of Rome Film Fest

    Gian Luigi Rondi has become the new President of the Rome Film Fest after his candidature was voted unanimously by the fest's board of directors yesterday.Rondi is stepping in to lead the Fest after Goffredo Bettini, the Rome Fest's former president opted to cede the role as a means to diffuse political pressure on the Fest coming from Rome's newly elected Mayor.Rondi, who is 86 years old, has held several pivotal roles in Italy's cinema industry. He served both as the artistic
  • Sarkar Raj, Magic Hour start strong at international box-office

    Indian film Sarkar Raj was this weekend's highest non-US entry in the international arena, taking $5.4m from 1,433 screens in 17 territories.The top 40 international films generated $171.2m from 42,947 screens for the period of June 6-8. For the full chart, compiled by Len Klady, click here.The Indian thriller is one of 17 films that managed to cross the $1m mark this weekend, a
  • Screen Australia appoints Fitchett, Brady to interim roles

    Chris Fitchett has been put in charge of production support and investment on an interim basis at the new super agency Screen Australia, while Tait Brady is temporarily in charge of marketing. Fitchett, whose responsibilities also include development, is the existing chief executive of the Australian Film Commission (AFC). This new role within Screen Australia means he won't be out of a job after June 30 as will Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC) head Brian Rosen and Film Australia
  • Screen opinion: Fairy-tale boom ending

    Disney's Bob Iger wins this week's Emperor's New Clothes award for pointing out there are too many films out there competing for too little space. The flip side of the institutional investment boom was that the amount spent exceeded reasonable investments. What Iger alludes to is a simple fact: that cinema has physical restraints on what money could potentially be recouped in the limited number of screens available worldwide.The inevitable situation is that more well-financed films hav
  • Seattle Film Festival launches Northwest Production Summit

    The First Annual Northwest Production Summit will take place during the 34th Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) from June 12-15.The summit takes place under the aegis of the festival in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Film + Music, WashingtonFilmWorks and the Washington State Film Office.Headline events include an invite-only three-day symposium, an IFP/Seattle mentorship programme and three specialised panels.The mentorship programme will grant
  • Serbia gets two competitive festivals in Novi Sad and Sopot

    After last year's first National Film Festival of Serbia which was held in Novi Sad, organized by Film Center Serbia under the concept of Cinema City, in co-operation with lauded music festival Exit, a complete confusion started when Film Center Serbia left the concept of Cinema City to Exit and decided to organize its own National Film Festival in Sopot, 30 kilometers south of Belgrade.Cinema City - The International Festival of Film and New Media, organized by Exit will be held in No
  • Shane Meadows among experts for Skillset's EIFF talks

    Training body Skillset will be hosting a series of Masterclasses as part of its Trailblazers initiative at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.Trailblazers, now in its second year, will host classes, breakfast sessions and panels with the likes of directors Shane Meadows, Paul Andrew Williams and Don Boyd andcinematographer Brian Tufano. Former Screen International Stars of Tomorrow Anna Higgs, Gavin Humphries and Hope Dickson Leach will also discuss their careers.
  • Shanghai fest has muted opening in wake of earthquake

    The 11th Shanghai International Film Festival (June 14-22) held its opening ceremony at the Shanghai Grand Theatre on Saturday night, with a much quieter tone than at previous editions. As China is still engaged in relief and reconstruction work following the Sichuan earthquake, the atmosphere of the opening day was low-key without the usual presence of international stars.Zhang Ziyi, Jackie Chan and Zhou Xun were among the major Chinese stars attending the opening ceremony.
  • Shultes takes top prize atSochi

    Georgian-born Bakur Bakuradze's Shultes won the Grand Prix for Best Film at this year's Kinotavr Open Russian Film Festival in Sochi.Bakuradze's feature debut about an ordinary man living with his old mother in a big city had its world premiere in Cannes ' Directors Fortnight last month and is distributed internationally by Raissa Fomina's Intercinema.It is being released theatrically in Russia by Nashe Kino.Theawards were presented at a ceremony before the Russi
  • Skip City to open with world premiere of Yamada's Bunshichi

    Japan's Skip City International Digital Cinema Festival has announced the line-up for its fifth edition, which includes the world premiere of Yoji Yamada's The Tale Of Bunshichi as the opening gala ahead of its local autumn release. As covered on Screendaily last September, the film was produced as part of Shochiku studios' Cinema Kabuki series of filmed stage performances, but marks the first example with a film director at the helm.The 12-film competition lin
  • Soderbergh to present Corrente's The Prince Of Providence

    Steven Soderbergh will present Michael Corrente's upcoming political drama The Prince Of Providence starring Oliver Platt as Buddy Cianci, the colourful former mayor from Rhode Island who became one of the longest serving 'big city' mayors in US history.Adam Goldberg, Ed Burns, Dermot Mulroney and Bradley Cooper are also attached to star and the producers are in talks with Robin Williams.David Mamet co-wrote the screenplay with How
  • Sony's German arm lines up local comedy

    Deutsche Columbia Pictures Film Produktion, Sony Pictures Entertainment's (SPE) local German production arm, has begun pre-production on the comedy Friendship (Freundschaft) with the Oscar-winning Munich-based production company Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion and actor Til Schweiger and Tom Zickler's Barefoot Films. Written by Oliver Ziegenbalg and to be directed by commercials director Markus Goller, Friendship is a buddy and culture-clash comedy set in 1989 in Ea
  • Striking debut: Steve McQueen's Hunger

    'By coincidence, things are aligning themselves where the topic of this film is on everyone's mind,' says artist-turned-film-maker Steve McQueen about his debut feature Hunger. 'In the current climate, I hope the film has some resonance with anyone who sees it.'Hunger certainly struck a chord in Cannes - after screening in Un Certain Regard it won the Camera d'Or, recognising the best first feature across the festival. Hunger follows events in Northern Ireland's Ma
  • Stuntman killed on theset of John Woo's Red Cliff

    A stuntman was killed and six others injured in an accidental fire during the filming of John Woo's $75m war epic Red Cliff on Monday (June 9). Red Cliff film crew confirmed the accident and casualty later that day. The fire took place in Xiaotangshan of Changping district in Northwest Beijing, according to a statement released by the filming crew.In early morning of June 9, the film's second unit was shooting a classic 'fire boat battle' of the Battle of Red Cliff, w
  • Summit takes on worldwide rights to Imagi's Astro Boy

    Summit Entertainment has swooped on worldwide rights excluding Japan, Hong Kong and China to Imagi Entertainment's manga project Astro Boy.Summit is expected to plan a 2009 release on the animated tale of a young robot who embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Warner Bros and The Weinstein Company previously held domestic rights.Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy and Eugene Levy provide the voice talent and F
  • Sundance Institute names fellows for Documentary Lab in June

    Sundance Institute has selected the Documentary Film Fellows representing four projects that will take part in the Documentary Film Edit and Story Laboratory set to run in Utah from June 21-28.The Laboratory offers one intensive week of creative feedback and the chance to work closely with a pool of creative advisors comprising two directors and four editors.The 2008 Documentary Fellows are: NC Heikin (director) for Kimjongilia; Na
  • Swedish government pumps $16.5m into commercial films

    From an initiative by the Swedish Film Institute and the Swedish Association of Film Producers, the Swedish government decided yesterday to allocate $16.5m (Euros 10.7m) for a new one-time subsidy scheme, to benefit features with a strong commercial potential.The money comes from the budget for audience-related support, which has since 2000 rewarded local best-selling films according to their performance in the local market. After regulations were tightened in 2003, fewer qualified, so
  • Tabb hired to adapt Lukyanenko novel Knights Of 40 Islands

    Producers Rubi Zack of Run Entertainment, Maxim Bakhamatov of Ledokol Bakhmatov Group and Evgen Kuch have hired Michael Tabb to adapt Sergey Lukyanenko's Russian sci-fi fantasy novel The Knights Of 40 Islands.Lukyanenko previously wrote the Night Watch fantasy novels that spawned Timor Bekmambetov's Russian box office smashes.
  • The Critical View - True Class

    Films can be innovative in different ways. Sometimes they invent a new way of staging and shooting traditional dramas (see Dogme), and sometimes it's the story that is original while the film's visual style remains relatively mainstream (see most films with which Charlie Kaufman has been involved).But occasionally a film comes along that forces its viewers to think about narrative cinema itself, about what it does, what effects are achieved and how these are generated. A good example i
  • The Happening

    Dir: M Night Shyamalan. US. 2008. 90 mins. The phenomenon that was M Night Shyamalan is further diminished by The Happening, a paranoia-fuelled disaster movie which will leave audiences scratching their heads. Less dramatically convincing than his previous efforts and lacking the heart-thumping momentum or stunning revelations you'd expect, it will disappoint even his most ardent fans, although Fox's clever marketing campaign which shrouds the nature of the film i
  • The Happening leads international with $32.1m, but Hulk is stronger

    M Night Shyamalan's mystery The Happening took the international box office crown at the weekend thanks to an estimated $32.1m through Fox International from 5,714 screens in 88 markets.However the clear pound-for-pound champion was Marvel Studios' The Incredible Hulk, which grossed $31m through UPI in 3,165 venues in 38 territories - a terrific start for the rebooted franchise that will open in its remai
  • The Incredible Hulk

    Dir. Louis Leterrier. 2008. US. 112mins.Two big-budget, high-profile attempts later and it's perfectly clear that Marvel sincerely believes The Incredible Hulk is a viable film franchise. What's not so clear is why.Producer Gale Anne Hurd's second stab at The Incredible Hulk throws all the tricks in the blockbuster book at the angry green Marvel man: this is an effects-laden spectacular with a respected, Oscar-nominated actor which culminate
  • The Rocker

    Dir. Peter Cattaneo US . 2008. 102 mins.Sitcom star Rainn Wilson (the US version of The Office) makes a disappointing transition to big-screen headlining with The Rocker, a mostly flat School Of Rock rehash directed by The Full Monty's Peter Cattaneo. The broad Fox Atomic comedy certainly won't do for its star what The 40 Year Old Virgin did for Wilson 's Office
  • Tim Sommerfeld named svp of creative advertising at Summit

    Tim Sommerfeld has been appointed senior vice president of creative advertising at Summit Entertainment.Sommerfeld gets to work straight away on upcoming releases Fly Me To The Moon, Twilight, Sex Drive, The Brothers Bloom, Push and Knowing.He most recently served as creative director and producer at The Ant Farm, where he worked on such releases as Finding
  • Tony Barbieri's Em, Issac Julien's Derek win at Seattle

    Tony Barbieri's Em won the 34th Seattle International Film Festival's grand jury prize and Isaac Julien's Derek Jarman essay Derek took top documentary honours at the closing awards ceremony on Sunday [June 15].Everything Is Fine from Canada's Yves-Christian Fournier took the New Directors Showcase Prize for a director of a first or second feature and Anna Meliky
  • Toronto to kick off with premiere of Paul Gross's Passchendaele

    The 2008 Toronto International Film Festival will open with the gala world premiere of Paul Gross's Passchendaele on Sept 4.Canadian film-maker Gross wrote, directed and produced and also stars. The prolific actor previously directed 2002's Men With Brooms.Niv Fichman (Blindness), Frank Siracusa and Francis Damberger co-produced. Passchendaele is a Rhombus Media, Whizbang Films and Damberger Film and Cattle Company production. Alliance Films w
  • UK directors launch lobby group

    Some of the most successful names in the British film industry are leadinga 4,000 strong body representing the interests of UK directors.Directors UK brings together film, television and new media directors to offer one voice on a wide range of issues.The immediate priorities are concentrated on improving the position of directors in television, which has been the launchpad in the UK for work in feature films.In recent years, there has been considerable concern about redu
  • UK directorslaunch lobby group

    Some of the most successful names in the British film industry are helping lead a 4,000 strong body representing the interests of UK directors.Directors UK brings together film, television and new media directors for the first timeto offer one voice on a wide range of issues.The immediate priorities are concentrated on improving the position of directors in television, which has been the launchpad in the UK for work in feature films.In recent years, there has been conside
  • UKFC funds national festivals including Birds Eye View, Doc/Fest

    The UK Film Council has announced the latest recipients backed by Lottery funding as part of the national strand of its Film Festivals Fund. The funding will total $1.4m (£740,000) over the next three years.Backed festivals are:$341,000 (£175,000) to Birds Eye View, the women-centric festival in London, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle which is set to expand nationally.$341,000 (£175,000) to the Sheffield International Documentary Festival (Doc/Fest), the Sheffield-b
  • United Kingdom - C'est La Vie

    It has been more than eight months since Hugo Grumbar was promoted to president of distribution for Icon Film Distribution (IFD), and it is no secret he is enjoying the ride. Previously head of group marketing at IFD in London and a veteran of Capitol Films and Intermedia, Grumbar - who now reports to Los Angeles-based Icon Group CEO Mark Gooder - took the driver's seat as Icon was celebrating one of its best years.In 2007, the distributor generated more than $44m (£22m) in the UK, put
  • United States - Maverick man

    The word 'maverick' is bandied about a lot when Michael Cerenzie's name is mentioned, and it is not hard to see why. The heavily tattooed former New York stage actor and theatre impresario is determined to do things his way in the film industry.Cerenzie brought G-String Divas - regarded by some as the first reality TV series - to Chris Albrecht at HBO before moving to the West Coast in 2001 to set up Unity Productions. Unity's first project was Deuces Wild with United Art
  • Universal acquires graphic novel series The Last Call from Oni

    Universal has acquired the graphic novel series The Last Call from Oni Press and has hired Evan Spiliotopoulos to adapt the screenplay.The Last Call was first published in 2007 and centres on two joyriders who have the misfortune to get hit by a train that happens to be an inter-dimensional soul carrier.Barry Josephson will produce through his Barry Josephson Productions alongside Eric Gitter
  • What Just Happened' to open Karlovy Vary

    Barry Levinson's What Just Happened' will open the 43rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on July 4.The film's producer and star Robert De Niro will introduce the film and receive a Crystal Globe in recognition of his Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema at the opening-night gala.Nick Nolte will also attend the festival to introduce director Tom Thurman's portrait of the actor, Nick Nolte: No Exit, screening in world premiere at the festival,