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17 September 2004

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  • Australian Labor Party pledges industry funds

    The Australian Labor Party today pledged that if it wins theOctober 9 election it will provide one-off cash injections of $35m (A$50m) for theFilm Finance Corporation (FFC) and $14m for the Australian Film Commission(AFC), half of which will be for a low budget feature fund.The FFC got $43m in taxpayer funding for investing infeature, television drama and documentary production in 2004/05. It will decidehow it spends this additional $35m.This is a stop-gap measure only, aimed at
  • 4Way lines up Western Story

    4Way Pictures, the UK-based company co-run by Antonia Bird,Mark Cousins, Robert Carlyle and Irvine Welsh, has announced details of ahandful of new projects.The company has now boarded A Western Story, an epicUS coming-of-age love story scripted by Naomi Wallace (Lawn Dogs). Birdwill direct the film, which will be a UK/US co-production.Bird is also producing Faith, a joint venture betweenGeorge Faber's Company Pictures and 4Way Pictures, which is being financ
  • A Film adds to acquisition firepower

    On the eve of Toronto TheNetherlands' leading independent distributor A-Film has beefed up its firepowerwith a $12m (Euros10m) working capital facility. The cash will be used to expand the company's film acquisitionprogramme and to enable it to enlarge its p&a commitment to the films itreleases in the Benelux region. "The company is now four years old and hasgrown as far as it can without a credit line of this kind," said San Fu Maltha,A-Film co-chief. "This finance allows us to acquir
  • Almodovar to honour Allen at San Sebastian

    Pedro Almodovar is confirmed to present Woody Allen with theDonostia Award on Friday night at the inaugural ceremony of the San SebastianInternational Film Festival (Sept 17-25).Allen's new comedy Melinda& Melinda opens the festival, and the director will hold a pressconference earlier in the day.Also at the inaugural ceremony, UK film critic Derek Malcolmwill present the FIPRESCI prize for Jean-Luc Godard's Notre Musique to Ruth Waldburger, the filmmaker's long-ti
  • AUSTRALIA 13 September

    The only two openers in the chart were 20th Century Fox's Dodgeball and UIP's Terminal and both were among the top five films of the weekend. DodgeBall took A$2,343,763 from 255screens to lead the chart with an impressive screen average of A$9,191 and Terminaltook A$1,275,197 from 205 screens to come in fifth.It is unusual to see three films being previewed over oneweekend. They
  • Being Julia

    Dir: Istvan Szabo. Canada/UK/Hungary. 2004. 105mins.Older adults will find many pleasures in IstvanSzabo's cheerful period comedy Being Julia which plays like DangerousLiasions-light in the world of 1930s London theatre. Dominated by astupendously entertaining performance from Annette Bening, which cove
  • Beyond sells Cold & Dark to US

    British horror film Cold& Dark found itself a US distribution berth with First Look Features.The deal was brokered by Hilary Davis of the London-based sales arm ofAustralia's Beyond Films. Previous sales included those to Japan's GagaCommunications, Mexico's Cine, Video Y Television and Russia's BelivenEnterprises.Directed by Andrew Goth andstarring former boy band idol Luke Goss, the film follows a pair of cops downthe corridors of vice and supernatural myst
  • Beyond The Sea

    Dir: Kevin Spacey. UK-Ger.2004. 121minsAn old-fashioned,razzle-dazzle biopic, Beyond The Sea breezes through the life of 1960sshowbusiness all-rounder Bobby Darin with a song and a dance and a ton ofchutzpah. Kevin Spacey's second directorial effort (after Albino Alligator)is a true labour of love; beau
  • Cameras to roll again on River Queen

    Director Vincent Ward's River Queen is going backinto production in New Zealand after a two-month hiatus.Cameras roll again from October 4 and continue for eightweeks according to Silverscreen Films, which is producing alongside The FilmConsortium.Filmingwas delayed in late July due to the illness of lead actress Samantha Morton.She was hospitalised with severe influenza
  • Cellular

    Dir: David R.Ellis. US 2004. 90minsTotallyimplausible from start to finish, suspense thriller Cellular has a silly premise and zero chills, but offers plenty ofaction (without a single explosion) and an easy-to-follow storyline. Given thedearth of good popcorn movies during the past five or six weeks, it may evenmanage to hold on for a second weekend before silently falling to the nextmediocre Hollywood offering. Ancillary markets in the US l
  • Celluloid Dreams scares up sales on Marebito

    Celluloid Dreams has pickedup worldwide sales rights to Marebito, the latest horror picture fromTakashi Shimizu, and immediately closed a deal for the US and UK with HamishMcAlpine's Tartan Films.Shimizuis the director of cult Japanese horror film The Grudge and its sequelas well as the US remake starring Sarah Michelle Gellar which is set forrelease through Columbia Pictures in the US on Oct 22. World premiered in the dig
  • China moves to boost digital screen count

    In its latest digital upgrade,state-owned China Film Group has ordered ten new screen projectors due fordelivery to Beijing in October. The deal is part of the group's ongoing effortsin having 161 digital cinemas up and running by the end of 2004.The 10 new digital projectors are 2KDSR servers supplied by GDC Technology - the same Singaporean com
  • David Gordon Green to write lesbian project for Pollack

    Fast-risingUS indie filmmaker David Gordon Green has signed on to script ShockproofSydney Skate for Fox 2000.
  • Deal-making gets going at Toronto for Focus, Newmarket

    The deals kept on closing yesterday as Focus Features picked upmultiple territory rights to Pawel Pawlikowski's My Summer Of Love and Newmarket Films bought NorthAmerican rights to Lukas Moodysson's highly controversial A Hole In My Heart.
  • Deauville graces Marston's Maria with prizes

    The30th annual Deauville Festival of American film wrapped up last night with aslew of prizes for Joshua Marston's Maria Full Of Grace. The festival favourite already honored atSundance and Berlin among others - took home the Grand Prize, the AudienceAward and the International Critics' Priz
  • Deauville praises Maria Full Of Grace

    The 30th Deauville Festival of American film wrapped up Sunday night with a slew of prizes for Joshua Marston's Maria Full Of Grace. The festival favourite - already honoured at Sundance and Berlin among others - took home the Grand Prize, the Audience Award and the International Critics' Prize.The jury, presided over by Claude Lelouch and a bevy of women including Anouk Aimee, Mathilde Seigner, Diane Kurys and Jeanne Labrune - gave the Jury Prize to The Woodsman by Nicol
  • DENMARK 15 September

    Shrek remaineduntouchable on the top spot with its high 119 prints taking a strong DKK44.350screen average. This week's best average was, however, the new release of Resident Evil: Apocalypse's DKK51.962 onits 12 prints putting it on fourth, two slots higher than Around The World In 80 Days on seventh, which took DKK24.296 fromequal 12 copies. Angel/Scanbox's release of OpenWater took DKK21.560 from its four pri
  • Downfall (Der Untergang)

    Dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel.Ger. 2004. 150minsDoes the world really needanother film on Adolf Hitler' Downfall answers the question in theaffirmative. Recent years have seen the release of Max, Moloch,the documentary Blind Spot and the Robert Carlyle mini-series, but Downfallis distinctive and potentially
  • Element X take on international sales to Clara Law doc

    UK sales company Element Xhas picked up international rights to Letters To Ali, the first documentary by Australian-Chinese directorClara Law.The film is a personalisedexamination of Australia's uniquely brutal policy of mandatory prison-campdetention for political asylum seekers a policy which extends to children. Itfollows the letters sent between an Afghani boy who has been imprisoned.Law, who is better known forsensitive dramatic features, which include Float
  • Evil enters international chart

    Day-and-datelaunches in Japan and Denmark saw action-horror sequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse the highest new entry on theinternational chart this week at sixth.The 2002 originaloutperformed its domestic gross internationally with 61% ($62m) of its $102mworldwide total coming from international territories.Its weekend grossof $4.7m was not enough, however, to dethrone BVI's The Village from its third consecutive week at the top of thetable.Strong openings inF
  • F For Film picks up Angola's The Hero

    French seller F For Film haspicked up international rights to Toronto festival film The Hero (O Heroi),directed by Zeze Gamboa. The film is a multilayered drama about four characters inan impoverished and war-torn Angola and stars Oumar Makena Diop, Milton Coelho,Patricia Bull, Neusa Borges. TheAngola-Portugal-France co-production was produced by David & Golias /Gamboa & Gamboa/Les Films de l'Apres-midi.
  • Fall, Clark, Pereira join Fortissimo's sales canon

    Jim Fall, director of Trick and The LizzieMaguire Movie, has signed on to direct the English-language remake of1999 Thai comedy 6IXTYNIN9. International sales are handled by FortissimoFilm Sales, which has also boarded the next pictures by Larry Clark and Spain's Manuel Gomez Pereira.The $10m film is to be produced by Fran Rubel Kuzui for Bohemian Filmsand Tom Gorai for ShadowcatcherEntertainment. John Patrick Nelson is currently writing the scree
  • Filmax adds Deadly Cargo to sales slate

    Following its pick-up this week of Hypnos, FilmaxInternational has acquired worldwide distribution rights to another Spanishthriller, Deadly Cargo (Camara Oscura).Judging by Filmax's two new pick-ups in two days, theSpanish industry looks to have a dynamic new sales house to go to, particularlyfor genre product. Filmax is best known internationally for its FantasticFactory genre label.The new deal gives Filmax further links to major mediaplayers in Spain, including
  • Fine Line acquires Yao Ming doc in Toronto

    Fine Line Features kept the buying momentum going in the finaldays of Toronto yesterday, picking up worldwide rights to The Year Of Yao, the documentary about basketball starYao Ming which had its world premiere here.
  • First Look picks up When Will I Be Loved

    US sales and productionoutfit First Look Media has picked up international rights to James Toback's When Will I Be Loved, which worldpremieres at the festival today (Sept 9). Sister-company First LookInternational will begin sales in Toronto this week; IFC Films has domesticrights to the film and opens it in the US today.The film stars Neve Cambellas a woman who sets out to explore the outer edges of her sexuality and getsinv
  • First Look takes on Cold & Dark horror

    British horror film Cold& Dark has found itself a USdistribution berth with First Look.The deal was brokered byHilary Davis of the London-based sales arm of Australia's Beyond Films.Previous sales included those to Japan's Gaga Communications, Mexico'sCine, Video Y Television and Russia's Beliven Enterprises.Directed by Andrew Goth andstarring former boy band idol Luke Goss, the film follows a pair of cops downthe corridors of vice and supernatural mystery. Cold & Dark
  • Fortissimo sells Kidd's Love to Germany

    Fortissimo secured its first everlicence deal with leading German indie distributor Tobis Filmkunst with thesale of Dylan Kidd's romantic comedy PS ILove You.
  • Fortissimo's Overture sings to Toho Towa

    On the eve its Sept 11international premiere in Toronto, Thai drama The Overture put in placea key piece in its distribution jigsaw. Handled by Fortissimo Film Sales, thefilm was sold to Toho Towa of Japan. The Overture, directed and produced by Itthisoontorn Vichailak, is a period drama about a peasantxylophone player who rises to become a court musician and becomes involved in adesperate struggle to save his country. "Weare thrilled. This is a
  • French pin Oscar hopes on Les Choristes

    France'sfilm council (CNC) has announced that Christophe Barratier's Les Choristes will represent the country as this year's submissionfor best foreign language Oscar.Budgetedat Euros 5.5m, the film is something of a phenomenon in France having garnerednearly eight million admissions since it was released in March of 2004.StarringGerard Jugnot as a music teacher in a school in post-WWII Lyon, the film onlyfell out of the weekly top twenty-two weeks ago.LesChoris
  • Gaga, Momentum sign on for Rahtree

    Gaga of Japan leads an impressive list of buyers which have signedup for Rahtree: Flower Of The Night ahead of its North American premiere tomorrow (Sept 15).Handled by independent Hong Kong sales outfit GoldenNetwork, the Thai horror spoof also sold to Momentum for the UK, Panorama forHong Kong, Flash Forward for Taiwan, Golden Screen for Malaysia and newdistributor Glover Pictures for Singapore.Golden Network chief Carrie Wong also reports strong interest thatshe expect
  • GERMANY 14 September

    The first four days of M. Night Shyamalan's The Village was the strongest openingever for one of his films in Germany and the weekend's best screen average of$7,370. The Buena Vista release toppled the Vin Diesel vehicle The Chronicles Of Riddick which had onlyheld on to the top position for one week. Takings on this sci-fi fantasy filmslipped week-on-week by 60% to an overall gross of $ 3.8m
  • Ghost Rider heads for Australia

    The attractiveness of runaway production to local economieswas made clear in Australia today with the Victorian Government announcing thatColumbia Pictures Entertainment is to film $40m GhostRider in Melbourne.Premier Steve Bracks and the Minister for Innovation JohnBrumby said Ghost Rider, a Marvelcomic adaptation to be directed by Mark Steven Johnson and rumoured to starNicolas Cage in the title role, would shoot at the new Central City Studios.The $28m (A$40m) expecte
  • Gleeson, Rea join Jordan's Breakfast On Pluto

    Brendan Gleeson and StephenRea have joined the cast of Neil Jordan's Breakfast On Pluto, which started shooting last week for PathePictures.The two actors join LiamNeeson and star Cillian Murphy in the tale of a young transvestite from ruralIreland on the make in London. Shooting is taking place in the Republic ofIreland, Northern Ireland and London.Along with Pathe, thebackers on the adaptation of Patrick McCabe's novel include the Irish FilmBoard and the Northern Irelan
  • Honeymooners launch for Film Dublin

    The IrishFilm Board has backed the launch of a location shooting initiative, FilmDublin, modelled on the Office of Film in the New York Mayor's Office.The movecomes just as production begins in Dublin on The Honeymooners, a $30mNew York-set comedy for Paramount. The Honeymooners has already testedthe initiative by closing key street
  • HONG KONG 13 September

    M. NightShyamalan's The Village, distributedby Buena Vista's local partner Intercontinental Film Distributors, narrowlybeat local production Six Strong Guysto the top of the chart with US$506,626 from 27 screens.Filmko's Six Strong Guys grossed US$488,264 from30 screens. Directed by Barbara Wong Chun-chun, the film is a comedy about theproblems that confront modern, city-dwelling men. The ensemble cast includesE
  • Howl's Moving Castle (Hauru No Ugoku Shiro)

    Dir: Hayao Miyazaki.Japan. 2004. 117mins.Japanese animation geniusHayao Miyazaki's follow-up to the international critical and box-office hit SpiritedAway is as visually inventive and unremittingly charming as itspredecessor. By turns funny, exhilarating and touching, it lacks only onething: the spiritual and metaphysical depth that made Spirited Away sucha haunting experience.While this will not botherMiyazaki's legion of fans one
  • HUNGARY 14 September

    As expected I, Robotdebuted at the top of the Hungarian box office list with nearly 42,000admissions on its opening weekend, but Pedro Almodovar's latest Bad Education was the success story inHungarian cinemas. The film produced the second strongest opening ever for anAlmodovar film in Hungary after Talk ToHer.Meanwhile despite the decent performance of the firstepisode of the Infernal Affairstrilogy, the
  • Imax in Deep partnership with Warners

    Imax and Warner Bros are jointly producing Denizens Of The Deep (working title), to be directed and filmed by Howard Hall.A follow-up to 1991's Into The Deep, Imax's first 3D underwater film, the new film will provide a giant-sized view of exotic undersea creatures.Produced by Toni Myers, executive produced by Graeme Ferguson and Brad Ball, and co-produced by Michelle Hall,
  • INTERNATIONAL 16 September

    Day-and-date launches in Japan and Denmark saw action-horrorsequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse thehighest new entry on the international chart this week at sixth. The 2002original outperformed its domestic gross internationally with 61% ($62m) of its$102m worldwide total coming from international territories.It was not enough, however, to dethrone BVI's The Village from its third consecutiveweek at the top of the table.
  • Irvine Welsh adaptation joins Fast Forward shortlist

    An Irvine Welsh adaptationof a book by Morvern Callarauthor Alan Warner, a moon expedition comedy, and a Scottish Deliverance are amongst the projects shortlisted for the FastForward initiative run by Scottish Screen, the BBC and ContentFilm.The partners will developthe ten projects into treatment, when six will go forward to first draft. Trainspotting author Welsh has teamed with Dean Cavanagh to adaptWarner's The Man Who Walks,which follows a homeless drif
  • ITALY 16 September

    01 Distribution's TheHouse Keys (Le Chiavi di Casa) opened on a wide 239 screens in Italy andearned Euros 726,000 - an all-time record for an Italian film launched at theVenice Film Festival.Three other Venice titles also opened in Italy last weekend,albeit less impressively: 20th Century Fox's Man On Fire, which screened out-of-competition, opened at numberseven and earned Euros 646,538. Wim Wenders's competition title
  • Italy's Moviemax looks to tap cult Asian, US films

    One ofRome's newest distributors, one-year-old Moviemax, aims to tap into a lucrative nichereleasing American and Asian cult and genre films which usually have troublefinding distribution in Italy.Moviemaxhas picked up Italian rights to 2001 film Donnie Darko: The Director'sCut, which iscurrently screening at the Venice Film Festival, and has never been released inItaly.The companyrecently released 1998 film Tale of The Mummy, which grossed a huge Euros 700,
  • Jackson, Borde, Doban team up for US distribution venture

    Susan Jackson, Mark Borde and Mike Doban have teamed up to form anew LA-based theatrical distribution and marketing company Freestyle Releasing.The company will first release Stephen King's Riding The Bullet on Oct 8 followed by James Redford's Spin on Oct 15.
  • Kadokawa Pictures launches film fund for local product

    Japan's Kadokawa Pictures, together with its corporatepartners, has launched a film fund expected to raise as much as Y3.5 billion($32m) for the production of Kadokawa films.The total investment period is for seven years, thoughpartners may opt to withdraw after five. Including Kadokawa, the partners areKadokawa Shuppan Kikin, Konami, Imagica, Development Bank of Japan and MizuhoFinancial Group, with the last serving as the fund's main bank. "We hopeto turn the initial investment into
  • Kay Armatage to leave Toronto festival after 24 years

    Kay Armatage,the veteran Toronto International Film Festival programmer, is leaving theorganization after 24 years. "This is my last year," Armatage told ScreenInternational. Of her departure, she said, "This wasn't my choice." She saidshe learned at the beginning of this summer that her seasonal contract wouldnot be renewed. "At the time, it was a surprise. Now I feel fine about it."Armatage, afull-time professor of Cinema Studies and Women's Studies at the University ofToronto, said
  • Kinsey

    Dir/scr: Bill Condon US.2004. 124minsA deftly handled mixture ofpersonal drama and social history, Kinseysculpts a compelling film from the life of the pioneering scientist who devotedhimself to the study of human sexuality. Beautifully judged and paced, it isboth intellectually stimulating and emotionally sat
  • Land Of Plenty

    Dir:Wim Wenders. Ger-UK. 2004. 113mins.WimWenders' Land Of Plenty is a post 9/11 parable that is half politicalpamphlet, half yet another exploration of the director's favourite theme - thestranger in a strange land. But although it is a more controlled exercise thanthe mess that was The Million Dollar Hotel, it does nothing tocontradict those who believe that Wenders best work of the past decade has beenin the field of the music documentary,
  • Latido sells key territories on Cabrera thriller

    Massimo Saidel'sMadrid-based sales outfit Latido has sold sexy Columbian-Spanish thriller TheArt Of Losing (Perder Es Questo De Metodo) to a slew of territories as a result of its world premiere as a midnightscreening in Venice and an official competition entry at the Montreal festival.The film by Sergio Cabrera,which stars Martina Garcia and Bad Education's Daniel Gimenez Cacho, was soldto Quai Amerique for Canada, Les Films Sans Frontieres in France, CNC inBelgium and M
  • Layer Cake

    Dir:Matthew Vaughn. UK 2004. 100minsTrue,the directing debut of Matthew Vaughn - who made his name as producer of GuyRitchie's crime capers - is indeed a British gangland thriller. But it carriesfew traces of the saloon-bar jokiness that was Ritchie's trademark in Lock,Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Although slick and oftenbrash, Vaughan's morality tale, set in the underworld of London drugstrafficking, is a sober, controlled ventu
  • Leigh, Amenabar take top Venice honours

    Mike Leigh walked away with the Golden Lion at the Venice FilmFestival last night for his latest drama Vera Drake and his leading ladyImelda Staunton won the Volpi Cup for best female performance, a sweetvictory for Vera which was a surprise omission from the competition lineup at this year's Cannes Film Festival.Meanwhile, theother big winner was Alejandro Amenabar's The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro)which won the Grand Jury Prize and the Volpi Cup for male performance
  • London cherrypicks festival favourites for 2004 line-up

    "They don't openthe London Film Festival with films like Vera Drake...but they donow!" Mike Leigh, fresh from his Golden Lion triumph in Venice, quippedyesterday at the official launch of this year's Festival programme.Speaking on the stage ofthe Odeon West End in Leicester Square, Leigh said he had been coming to thefestival since 1961. His first film to screen at the LFF was the made-for-TVdrama Grown-Ups way back in 1980. The festival has long supported himand now he w
  • Luce picks up Italian rights to Venice first film winner

    Le Grand Voyage, which won its director Ismael Ferroukhi the prize for best firstfilm at Venice last week, also found itself a home in Italy. In a deal arrangedby sales house Flach Pyramide International (FPI), the Franco-Moroccan financedfilm Italian distribution rights were picked up by Istituto
  • Media Luna picks up four to launch at MIFED, AFM

    German sales house MediaLuna has picked up a quartet of new pictures which it will take to market atMifed and AFM later this autumn.Atlast week's Montreal festival it boarded Metallic Blues, a tragicomic road movie about a couple ofdim-witted Israeli car dealers. Directed by Danny Verete, it won best actor andbest script prizes at the Jerusalem festival.Itpicked up US indie drama Nine Lives
  • Melinda And Melinda

    Dir: Woody Allen, US2004. 99 mins After a run of lightweight comedies that caused evenhardcore supporters to lose patience, Woody Allen achieves a heartening returnto form with his most idiosyncratic and substantial film in some time. Agenuine tragi-comedy - in that it counterpoints two parallel stories, tragicand comic - Melinda And Melinda findsAllen stretching himself more, and clearly enjoying himself more, than in anyfilm since 1999's Sweet
  • Miike cooks up Soup as English debut

    Cult Japanese director Takashi Miike - who unveiled hislatest bloodcurdling epic Izo in Venice last week - is to make the jumpinto English-language film-making.Miike hassigned up to direct Dragon's Fin Soup, an adaptation of the novella byThai writer S.P. Somtow for Paris-based production and distribution outfit, DesFilms. The film is a fantasy comedy, telling of an encounter between anAmerican ex-pat, a young Chinese woman living in Chinatown and a dragon. Nosales
  • Millions

    Dir: Danny Boyle UK-US.2004. 97minsTen years after Shallow Grave, director DannyBoyle once again discovers that sudden wealth is not without its complications.In Millions it is innocent schoolboys rather than larcenous flatmateswho are faced with a cash windfall.
  • Moore's Sicko gathers buyer heat

    An outline of Michael Moore's next documentary has been sentout to international distributors by Moore's agency Endeavor - and isgenerating heat amongst major buyers at the Toronto Film Festival.Entitled Sicko, it is his much-discussed study of thehealthcare system in the United States and Moore recently explained his agenda in making the film."I just don't understand why one of the richest countries onthe earth allows 44 million of its people no help when they are sick.
  • New Friend for Mrs Palfrey

    RupertFriend, the hot British newcomer who can be seen later this week in romanticclinch with Johnny Depp in The Libertine, has landed the lead male roleopposite Joan Plowright in Dan Ireland's latest comedy Mrs Palfrey At TheClaremont.Scriptedby Ruth Sacks from the popular 1971 English novel by Elizabeth Taylor, the filmstarts shooting for five weeks in London on Monday. Producers are Lee Caplin,Zachary Matz and Carl Colpaert through Cineville and Pic
  • NEW ZEALAND 13 September

    The Villageconvincingly outsold Dodgeball whenthey both launched last weekend, but the 20th Century Fox comedy turned thetables on its BVI competitor second time around. Dodgeball took NZ$275,743 from 50 screens to top the charts and The Village took NZ$234,410 from 56screens.To add insult to injury, TheVillage could only claim fourth place due to the performance of twonewcomers, but at least one o
  • NORWAY 16 September

    Thehighly anticipated release of actor Aksel Hennie's directing debut UNO lived up to its expectations thisweekend, where it took the top spot with a impressive NOK77,07 average on its37 prints. The film had highly favorable reviews and screened at the filmfestival in Toronto this week. Hennie also plays the lead as a young mantrapped between his love for his fam
  • P.S.

    Dir: Dylan Kidd USA. 2004.103mins.It was never going to beeasy for New York independent director Dylan Kidd to sustain the motor-mouthedenergy of his sharp, sardonic, stylish debut, Roger Dodger, which netteda shoal of awards (including the Lion of the Future award in Venice two yearsago), before going on to b
  • Palm seizes To's Breaking News for US

    Renewing its relationship with Hong Kong director Johnnie To, PalmPictures has acquired North American and Caribbean rights to To's BreakingNews.Palm plans a theatrical release sometime in 2005 followed by a DVDrelease on the Palm Pictures label later in the year.Produced by Milkyway Image (HK) Ltd. and sold by Media Asia, theHong Kong action and crime drama made its world premiere at this year's CannesFilm Festival and also featured in this week's Toronto International F
  • Pathe takes rights trio on Black Book

    In a rare pre-sale of aDutch-language film, Pathe has picked up French, Swiss and Belgian rights toPaul Verhoeven's forthcoming wartime drama Black Book. The sales arranged by producer San Fu Maltha and salesagent Katapult Films, are understood to have been critical to the financing ofthe $15m (Euros12m). Structured as a Netherlands-Germany-UK co-production BlackBook is produced by Fu Works, Hector Films and Motel Film from Holland,Egoli Tossell for Germany and fro
  • Pinewood confirmed for Malick's New World

    In recent years, severalbig-name US auteurs have beaten a path to Britain. Robert Altman shot Gosford Park in the Home Counties. WoodyAllen has recently completed a film in London. Now, Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, Badlands, Days Of Heaven)is UK-bound.A spokesperson forPinewood Studios has confirmed that Malick has booked space for his New Linebacked production, The New World,which re-tells
  • Private is a public hit with buyers

    Private, the film by Saviero Costanza that shines anunusually humanist light on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been a hitwith buyers and a glittering start for Scalpel, the new sales company launchedat Toronto by Pierre Menahem. "After thefirst industry screening we had great feedback, especially from Latin America.In some territories we had bid battles with company offers exceeding the askingprice," said Menahem. He has now closed deals with Distribution Company inArgent
  • Radar Pictures buys stake in C.O.R.E.

    Ted Field's Radar Pictureshas acquired a minority stake in Toronto-based visual effects group C.O.R.E. ina move to boost his production company into the forefront of computer-generatedfeature animation. C.O.R.E, which is currently creating an animated film for amajor studio under tight security, is considered one of North America's leadersin visual effects. Its work appears in such films as Fox's Dr. Dolittle and Universal's TheNutty Professor as well as the Radar-produced Th
  • Ray

    Dir: Taylor Hackford. US.2004. 152minsA scene-stealing co-starin Collateral, Jamie Foxx becomes a star attraction in Ray. Hisaccomplished performance as music icon Ray Charles has Oscar contender writtenall over it and offers conclusive proof of his leading man potential.The film itself is a solid,diligent biopic in which director Taylor Hackford displays the samecrowd-pleasing touch he brought to the Richie Valens story in La B
  • Red Dust scores first Toronto sales

    South African film RedDust scored a clutch of international sales at the Toronto festival whereit had its world premiere.The courtroom drama which is set against the Truth AndReconciliation Commission was licensed by Svensk FilmIndustri for Scandinavia, DNCSpA for Italy and RSVS for Benelux. Sales agent Pierre Weisbein of new salesagent Greenroom also reported several offer from other territories likely tosign soon.Directed by Tom Hooper, from a script by Troy KennedyMart
  • Re-edited 2046 to open Pusan Festival

    The new re-edited version of Wong Kar-wai'slong-gestating 2046 has been selected as the opening film of the 9thPusan International Film Festival.2046 firstplayed at Cannes in May. A re-edited version was destined to screen atEdinburgh last month. But it was pulled at the last minute because Wong wasstill completing work on the film.This will be the first festival screeningof the completed version of the film after its September 31 commercial releasein China.
  • Resident Evil sequel roars to the top of the box office

    The shock of a new seasonfound two premiering thrillers scaring up business with Resident Evil:Apocalypse leading the way forScreen Gems with an estimated $24.2 million and New Line's Cellular trailing with about $10.5 million.However, overall businesswas soft and the weekend tally is unlikely to generate more than $78 million inticket sales for an 11% drop from the Friday-Sunday span of last week's LaborDay holiday frame. Revenues also declined from 2003 by roughly 10% w
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse

    Dir: Alexander Witt. US/Canada/UK. 2004. 94 mins.More zombies, more screen time for Milla Jovovich and the addition ofsome crucial characters from the games themselves are the draw in this sequelto 2002 video game adaptation ResidentEvil. The new elements may not add many non-gamers to the audience for whatis otherwise a routine follow-up to a lackluster sci-fi/horror original. Butthey might, given the enduring popularity of the Capcom game series, pull in
  • Rousselet cranks up French crime caper

    ProducerPhilippe Rousselet has begun production on his latest film, Les Parrains,in Paris. The film is directed by Frederic Forestier, who is best known for hiswork on hit film Dead Weight (Le Boulet)The Euros 12m comedy stars Jacques Villeret, Gerard Lanvinand Gerard Darmon as a trio of former mafioisi who come together for one last'project.' Shooting began on September6 and will ru
  • Ryder, Lehmann reteam on stoner comedy Weed

    Winona Ryder is reuniting with her Heathers director MichaelLehmann on a new comedy called Weed which Sideways producer Michael Londonwill produce. International sales agent Arclight Films is talking the film upto buyers at Sundance; Cinetic Media is handling domestic rights.The movie is a hip comedy with the same cult trappings as Heathers in which Ryder takesthe lead as a hopeless stoner. It follows her and a struggling actor throughthe course of one wacky
  • Senator saved as creditors agree restructuring plan

    The future of SenatorEntertainment has become much brighter after the producer-distributor's100-plus creditors agreed unanimously at a meeting in Berlin today (Wednesday)to accept the insolvency restructuring plan drawn up by the court-appointedreceiver Rolf Rattunde.Rattunde said that the plan meant that the filmconcern's existing range of services - encompassing production, distributiona
  • Senator unveils details of post insolvency plans

    Senator Entertainment plans to focus its futureoperations on the core business of its three 100% subsidiaries Senator FilmProduktion, Senator Film Verleih and Central Film Vertriebs once it has beendischarged from insolvency proceedings.However, it will selloff its interest in LA-based international sales outfit Senator Internationalas part of the insolvency plan drawn up by court-appointe
  • Seville joins Haut Et Court in Cantet's South

    Montreal-based SevillePictures has signed on as Canadian copoducer of Laurent Cantet's long-delayed HeadingSouth (Vers Le Sud), joining France's Haut et Court. Work on theproject, announced at Cannes 2003, has been held up by political upheaval in its key location of Haiti.International sales agent Hengameh Panahi of Celluloid Dreams told ScreenInternational the film is aiming to shoot in January 2005.Adapted by Cantet and RobinCampillo from the novel by Haitian Dany Lafe
  • Shark Tale

    Dirs:Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron, Rob Letterman. USA. 2004. 90mins.Afterbugs and monsters, the DreamWorks versus Disney/Pixar tit-for-tat animationgrudge match has moved on to fish. The latest blow to be struck by theDreamWorks camp, Shark Tale is a colourful, fast-paced, jive-talkingseabed caper that continues the scattershot, kids-and-adults targeting of muchmajor studio animation - though this one will play significantly younger than Shrek
  • Sideways

    Dir: Alexander Payne. US.2004. 124 mins.Alexander Payne entersthe very top rank of American auteurs with his fourth film Sideways, ablissfully enjoyable meditation on masculinity and loneliness which willdelight adult audiences and should be a significant contender in theend-of-year awards race. Fox Searchlight Pictures, which fully financed thefilm, is releasing it in North America on Oct 17 after its Toronto worldpremiere and closing night screeni
  • Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow

    Dir:Kerry Conran. US. 2004. 106mins.Thespirit and look of vintage science fiction meets the digital technology ofscience fact in Sky Captain And The World of Tomorrow, an eccentricallyretro-futuristic adventure whose live actors appear in a world almost entirelycreated on computers. The mix of old and new produces some mightily impressivevisuals and a few bursts of innocent, Saturday matinee fun.Eventually,though, Sky Captain comes
  • Sony Classics swings for 3-Iron

    Sony PicturesClassics picked up North American rights to Kim Ki-Duk's 3 Iron this weekend as the Korean film grabbed a total of fourprizes in Venice including the best director and the FIPRESCI prize for bestfilm.Cineclick, headed by Suh Young-joo,also closed deals in the UK with Optimum Releasing, Australia and New Zealandwith Hopscotch, Germany with Pandora, Italy with Mikado, France with PrettyPictures, Scandinavia with Triangel, Benelux with Bright Angel, Greece withProoptik
  • Sony ready to roar with MGM buyout

    87-year-old Kirk Kerkorianis poised to sell Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for the third time in his see-sawinghistory as a studio proprietor after agreeing "in principle" to a $4.84bntakeover bid from a consortium led by Sony. The MGM board will meet to sanctionthe deal tomorrow (Tuesday).By raising its bid overthe weekend to $12 per MGM share (plus the assumption of $1.9bn of debt), Sonyeffectively trumped a rival offer of $11 a share from Time Warner. In addition,Sony and it
  • Spain unveils Oscar contenders

    Alejandro Amenabar's TheSea Inside (Mar Adentro), Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education (La Mala Educacion) and multiple Oscar nominee JoseLuis Garci's Tiovivo De Madrid C. 1950have made Spain's short-list for the nomination to the foreign-language Oscar.The final nominee will be announced October 1.Almodovar scored his best ever opening in Spain with BadEducation which grossed $1.6m and245,000 admissions from 158 prints over its opening three days. The El Deseopr
  • Spain's Sogepaq closes sales on The Sea Inside

    Spain's Sogepaq has announced the first sales on AlejandroAmenabar's The Sea Inside (Mar Adentro)following its double prize coup in Venice over the weekend.The company closed seven territories including Switzerland(Frenetic), Netherlands (A Film), Portugal (Atalanta), Belgium (CineArt),Hungary (Budapest Film), Greece (Strada) and Israel (Shani Films).Fine Line already has English-speaking territories, whileFrance and Italy lie with co-producers UGC Images and Eyescreen. P
  • Stephen Chow denied entry visa into Canada for Toronto fest

    Toronto is today to be denied the pleasure of the company ofStephen Chow (aka Stephen Chiau), who was today (Tues Sept 14) to havepresented his hugely anticipated directorial effort Kung Fu Hustle as a world premiere. Chow was refused avisa by Canadian immigration authorities.
  • SWEDEN 16 September

    It was anunusually uneventful weekend at the Swedish box-office this weekend as all thefilms on the top six kept their position. That meant Kay Pollak's Saa Som IHimmelen stayed second after Shrek 2, but it actually improved its alreadysolid run taking a this weekend's best screen average of $5,496 from 88 prints.
  • Tao, Emery promoted at Hurd's Valhalla Motion Pictures

    Stephen Tao has beenpromoted to senior vice president, development, and Stephen Emery has beenpromoted to vice president of production/development at Gale Anne Hurd'sLA-based Valhalla Motion Pictures.Tao will oversee production,development and acquisitions of all projects including Valhalla's currentproject Aeon Flux starringCharlize Theron and Frances McDormand. Tao will work in collaboration withEmery and report directly to Hurd.Before joining Valhalla, hewas head of dr
  • The House Keys (Le Chiavi di Casa)

    Dir:Gianni Amelio. It-Ger-Fr. 2004. 115mins.Thoughit was well received by the home crowd and the local media, who were desperatefor at least one good Italian film in competition at Venice this year, GianniAmelio's eagerly awaited The House Keys was a major disappointment tothe rest of us.Atough and sombre director, whose Sicilian emigre tragedy The Way We Laughedwas a worthy Golden Lion winner at the 1998 festival, Amelio has deliv
  • Tierney's latest set up as Greece/Canada co-pro by Victorious

    Toronto-based VictoriousFilms is readying Jacob Tierney's Return Baggage aka The Lonely Planet, the Canadian actor's follow-up to his featuredirectorial debut Twist, whichscreened at last year's Venice Film Festival. Victorious president VictoriaHirst will co-produce the Canada-Greece coproduction with Fenia Cossavitsa (TheCat's Meow, Signs And Wonders). Thedrama is set to star Nick Stahl (Terminator 3, Carnivale), Aaron Ashmore (Prom Queen,
  • TLA Releasing honours Honore's Ma Mere

    TLA Releasing picked up USDVD and TV rights to Christophe Honore's erotic drama Ma Mere atToronto. Starring Isabelle Huppert, the film is adapted from the novel byGeorges Bataille about a woman leading her teenage son into a world of drugs,alcohol and sex-drenched debauchery. TLA director of acquisitions Richard Wolffnegotiated for the film with Laurent Baudens of Paris-based Gemini Films. TLAplans to release the controversial film on DVD and VHS in the first quarte
  • Tokyo unveils 17th edition line-up

    The Tokyo International Film Festival has announced itslineup for its 17th edition, which will be held from October 23 to 31 in theBunkamura and Roppongi Hills complexes.The two opening films are Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle and Yoji Yamada's The Hidden Blade -- the latter afollow-up to Yamada's Oscar-nominated TheTwilight Samurai.The closing film is TheTerminal, with directo
  • Toronto buying spree kicks off with Crash to Lions Gate

    In a deal closed late Saturday night, Lions Gate Films ponied upclose to $4m for North American rights to Paul Haggis' red-hot Toronto ensembledrama Crash. Easilythe biggest deal of both Venice and Toronto so far, the Crash negotiations took place after the Fridayafternoon public screening
  • Travolta, Berney, Braff, Mann among HFA honourees

    More honorees have beennamed at this year's Hollywood Film Awards on Oct 18. John Travolta willreceive the Hollywood Lifetime Achievement Award, distributor Bob Berney hasbeen named winner of the Hollywood Leadership Award and Zach Braff will receivethe award for Hollywood Breakthrough Director of the Year award.Michael Mann was namedHollywood director of the year earlier this week. Other winners on the nightinclude Robert Rosen for film preservation, John Logan for screenwriting, Cale
  • UK film investment company enters Australian market

    UK tax financing outfit Future Film Group (UK) has joinedforces with investment bankers Goldstream Capital Group (Australia) to launchFuture Film Australia Pty Ltd.The company aims to finance and produce Australian-sourcedfilm projects for the international market.Future Film Group's Tim Levy commented: "This marks aserious and carefully considered investment by Future Film Group in theAustralian film industry. We anticipate the raising of over $35m ($A50m) ofrisk money in suppo
  • UK government clamps down on producer fees

    The UK government has movedto clamp down on excessive producer fees on British films.Under revamped co-productionguidelines published this month, the Department for Culture, Media & Sporthas targeted producer fees over 10% of production expenditure.Although producer fees over10% are not necessarily barred, the DCMS will automatically ask for additionalproof that they are actual costs incurred and directly related to theproduction. The 10% figure applies to all producer fees on a
  • UK Production Listings - 16 September 2004

    UK LISTINGSPRE-PRODUCTIONBITTEN(Tartan Films) Dir: Meloni PooleContact: Camilla Summers, Tartan Films, (44) 20 7494 1400DOA (DEAD OR ALIVE)(Impact Pictures) Budget: $20m. Backers: Constantin Film(Ger). Action/adventure. Based on Tecmo's best-selling video game franchise.Exec prod: Robert Kulzer. Prods: Jeremy Bolt, Paul WS Anderson. Dir: CoreyYuen. Scr: JF Lawton.Cont
  • UK/IRELAND 14 September

    Redbus Film Distribution made a splash at the UK box officethis weekend with Open Water.The indie suspenser about a couple who find themselvesabandoned in the middle of shark-infested waters after their scuba-diving boatleaves without them opened top in the UK with a powerful $3.5m (£1.97m)including previews of $345,700.Playing at 378 sites the film drowned the competition withan average of $9,385 (£5,212) per location.The result is Redbus' best
  • Venice: from the sublime to the ridiculous

    The 61st edition of the Venice film festival proved to be anunmitigated fiasco from the organisational point of view, with films running upto two hours late and Al Pacino unable to get a seat at the official screeningof The Merchant of Venice (starring Al Pacino).The final straw came when theprojectionist swapped reels during the press screening of the Wong KarWai-Soderbergh- Antonioni collaboration Eros and subjected the audience to seven minutes of anentirely dif
  • Wild Bunch wraps up Howl load of deals

    Frenchsales house Wild Bunch has secured a couple of high profile Japanese and UKsales and a raft of Italian deals for its bulging Toronto slate.WildBunch closed a deal with Gaga Communications for Arnaud Desplechin's Rois Et Reine and with Comstock forMarziyeh Yeshkini's Afghanistan-set StrayDogs in Japan.Rois was also soldto Artificial Eye for the UK, while Italy's Bim Distribuzione was another buyeron Stray Dogs.
  • Williamson gets senior vp stripes at Warner International

    David Williamson has beennamed senior vice president, finance, at Warner Bros Pictures International.He will increase his currentfocus on the financial reporting for the division's expanding local productionactivities and will oversee its implementation of the SAP system worldwide inaddition to assuming responsibility for complying with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.He will continue to beresponsible for overseeing the finance department including financial reportingand budgets. He will
  • Wimbledon

    Richard Loncraine, UK/US 2004, 97 minsRichard Curtis maynot have written Wimbledon but hisinfluence is evident in almost every scene of the film. As in Notting Hill and Four Weddings, a charming but stuttering Brit (in this case, ajourneyman tennis player) falls in love with a tougher, more worldly wiseAmerican. We're treated to picture postcard snapshots of familiar Londonlocations - the Houses of Par
  • Zhang Yimou teams with Japan's Ken Takakura on next film

    Chinese movie legend ZhangYimou, in Toronto to promote his latest martial arts spectacle House OfFlying Daggers, is returning to morepersonal drama for his next film which will be a starring vehicle for Japanesefilm veteran Ken Takakura.Takakura, the 75 year-oldactor famous as the "Japanese Clint Eastwood", is well-known to westernaudiences from starring roles in English-language movies The Yakuza, MrBaseball and Black Rain. His recent credits include 47 Ronin,