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Screen
18 August 2000

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  • A Brief History Of Errol Morris

    Dir: Kevin McDonald. 1999. UK-US. 48 mins.Prod Co: Minerva Pictures. Int'l sales: Film Transit International (+1 514 844 3358). Prods: Paula Jalfon, Colin MacCabe. DoP: Neve Cunningham. Ed: Stephen Devlin. Mus: Alex Heffes. Main cast: Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Tom Luddy, Philip Glass.An Oscar-winner earlier this year for the controversial One Day In September, director Kevin McDonald is also noted for perceptive documentaries on such diverse film figures as Howa
  • Advanced signs on for MGM's Heartbreakers

    Munich-based Advanced Medien is co-financing MGM's Heartbreakers, starring Sigourney Weaver, Gene Hackman and Jennifer Love Hewitt, in return for German-speaking theatrical rights and a percentage of worldwide box office receipts. UK-based Winchester Films is handling international sales on the film which is currently in production in Los Angeles. German-speaking free TV rights have already gone to Telepool, owned by Germany's public broadcasters, while video and DVD rights have
  • Antonine Films unveils scheme for Scottish shorts

    UK production outfit Antonine Films has launched a short film initiative, "8 1/2", designed to nurture new talent based in Scotland. Named after the Federico Fellini classic, the title also represents the running time of each short to be produced under the scheme. Supported by a wide range of Scottish industry sources, including the National Lottery, Scottish Screen and the Glasgow Film Office, the initiative will operate on a budget of about $375,000 (£250,000) in its first year and i
  • Autumn In New York

    Dir: Joan Chen. US. 2000. 105 mins.Prod co: Lakeshore Entertainment. US dist: MGM. Int'l sales: Lakeshore International (+1 323 956 4222). Exec prods: Ted Tannenbaum, Ron Bozman. Prods: Amy Robinson, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg. Scr: Allison Burnett. DoP: Changwei Gu. Prod des: Mark Friedberg. Ed: Ruby Yang. Mus: Gabriel Yared. Main cast: Richard Gere, Winona Ryder, Anthony LaPaglia, Elaine Stritch, Vera Farmiga, Sherry Stringfield.Resurrecting unpleasant memories of 70s
  • Canada's Nelvana eyes Cinar acquisition

    Canadian animation company Nelvana is considering buying the assets of troubled family entertainment producer Cinar Corp, estimated to be worth anywhere between $235m and $765m.Toronto-based Nelvana, known for such animated hits as Bob & Margaret and Dumb Bunnies, said it has been holding discussions with Montreal-based Cinar's investment banker, Merrill Lynch & Co. Cinar has been dealing with allegations of fraud and inaccurate financial records for the past year.
  • Cartel, Creaccion set to shoot Ungria's El Deseo

    Spanish producers Creaccion and Cartel plan to shoot Alfonso Ungria's El Deseo De Ser Piel Roja from September in Spain and Morrocco.The $1.1m film tells the story of two men, their fight to close a nuclear power centre and their battle for the love of one woman. Up-and-coming actors Patxi Freytez and Silke will star alongside veteran Jose Sancho.Cartel - headed by Eduardo Campoy, currently acting president of the Spanish Producers' Federation (FAPAE) - is also backing ve
  • Cinar fires founders Charest and Weinberg

    Cinar Corp has fired its co-founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg as employees of the company and asked them to step down as directors.The move is seen as a way for the embattled company to distance itself from the tarnished image of its founders, who have been on leave since March when the Cinar was hit with allegations of tax fraud.Cinar has also reported it is still unable to provide accurate financial statements for the past three years and that it will vigorously d
  • Deauville competition line-up echoes Sundance

    Several Sundance titles feature in the competition line-up at this year's Deauville Festival of American Cinema (September 1-10), including Ben Younger's Boiler Room, Miguel Arteta's Chuck And Buck and Karyn Kusama's Girlfight.Other Sundance titles in the nine-strong line-up include Rob Schmidt's Crime And Punishment In Suburbia, Brad Anderson's Happy Accidents, Raymond de Fellita's Two Family House and Maggie Greenwald's Songcatcher.
  • Declaration calls for revamp of Swiss funding

    The Swiss Association of Film Producers (SFP) and French-speaking Switzerland's film trade association ARC have called for sweeping changes to the country's public film funding structure in their "Locarno Declaration", published at last week's Locarno Film Festival.Switzerland's production community was recently hit by the news that the Swiss culture ministry (BAK) has already committed its entire $4.7m (SFr7.6m) annual budget for film production and development funding only halfway th
  • Dutch director offers reward for return of negs

    Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh has promised a $40,000 (NLG100,000) reward to the person who can return film negatives from his latest project Baby Blue (Bloedlink) which went missing somewhere between Curacao in the Dutch Antilles and Amsterdam. Instead of finding key scenes from the film, staff at Cineco laboratories in Amsterdam were surprised when they opened a box containing a towel, a torn pair of jeans and a plastic bag containing close to 1.5 kilos of cocaine."I've
  • Dutch industry launches appeal to save Ketelhuis

    A group of prominent Dutch film professionals have launched a campaign to rescue the Ketelhuis, the permanent showcase cinema for Dutch film in Amsterdam. Both the Dutch Council for Culture and the Amsterdam Arts Council are opposed to giving the cinema any further support as they have serious doubts about its viability.In a letter to Dutch culture secretary Rik Van der Ploeg, film professionals including actor-director Jeroen Krabbe, actress Monique van de Ven, producer Matthij
  • European Film Institute launches exchange scheme

    The European Film Institute (EIKK), based in Karlsruhe, Germany, is launching a new initiative, entitled EUR*USA, aimed at improving collaboration between film-makers from Europe and the US.The initiative, which will be added to EIKK's existing student placement programme for European film school graduates, is divided into three strands: EUR*USA 1 will concentrate on inviting US film-makers to visit Europe and participate in film festivals and other industry meetings as guests
  • Film Council appoints Jones as Premiere fund chief

    Producer Robert Jones will head the main National Lottery fund for commercial films at UK film body the Film Council.Jones, whose credits include Simon Magus, Dad Savage and The Usual Suspects, will oversee the Premiere Production Fund, which has $16m a year in National Lottery cash to finance popular, mainstream pictures. Joining him at the Council is producer Paul Trijbits, who will head the $8m a year lottery fund for supporting new film-makers and low-budget, i
  • German exhibs team for on-line ticketing venture

    German exhibitors CinemaxX, UFA Theater and Kieft & Kieft Filmtheater are joining forces to launch what they claim will be Germany's first nationwide on-line ticketing service.The service will allow customers to use the internet to make reservations and pay for tickets at the three circuits' combined 1,000 theatres across Germany. The partners also said they are seeking technology, finance and media companies to join the venture. Many German distributors and exhibitors have show
  • Gladiator keeps Serbian box office rolling

    Gladiator racked up 12,094 admissions from eight prints during its opening weekend (August 4-6) in Serbia. The result, while not astounding, marks an attempt by UIP and local distributor Vans to extend the territory's box office season into the summer. It makes Gladiator the seventh largest opener in Serbia so far this year. UIP was the third US studio - following Buena Vista and Columbia TriStar - to return to Serbia after Hollywood ceased distribution activity in the re
  • Gone In Sixty Seconds holds onto top spot

    Gone In Sixty Seconds held on to the number one spot at the UK box office last weekend, grossing $1.5m (£1m) from 393 situations. It fell an average 35% from its opening weekend and reported the highest site average over what was a lacklustre box office weekend with $3,850 (£2,599).The total aggregate weekend takings of $8m are among the lowest this summer, with the release of William Friedkin's Rules Of Engagement failing to ignite the box office. Opening at 294 sites, t
  • Grade pitches Pinewood, Shepperton merger

    Michael Grade and Ridley and Tony Scott are to join forces in running a UK super studio facility combining Pinewood Studios and Shepperton Studios, if current proposals from Grade get the go-ahead.Grade, who became chairman of Pinewood in February after buying the operation from Rank for $93m (£62m), confirmed he is close to merging the two studios to create a single company. The combined operation would be worth about $180m (£120m).A deal could be finalised this month, dependin
  • Harvey buys first film for theatrical distribution

    The Harvey Entertainment Company has acquired US distribution rights to UK/French animated family film A Monkey's Tale from Pearson Television International and plans to release it through a distribution partner on a limited 150-screen release at the end of January 2001. Universal Home Video will then release it on video in April.The theatrical release would be a first for Harvey, an LA-based entertainment group which owns a library of over 150 films and 165 television episodes
  • HBO to launch South Asia movie service on Sept 1

    HBO is to launch an English language movie channel HBO South Asia service in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives on Sept 1, 2000. Programming will consist exclusively of films sourced through exclusive licensing agreements with Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.HBO will manage the new markets through a joint venture known as HBO South Asia, comprised of Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Time Warner Entertainment
  • Igel Media launches London-based sales arm

    German family entertainment rights trader Igel Media has opened a London-based international sales arm to be headed by current international sales chief Edward Galton.The new division will be responsible for worldwide distribution of Igel product working closely with the company's Hamburg headquarters.Earlier this year Igel and French production studio Xilam joined forces to acquire more than 200 animation episodes from the Gaumont Multimedia library (Screendaily, January
  • IN THE HOT SEAT - ROBERT JONES

    The Film Council's new head of commercial production, Robert Jones, has a heavy burden to bear. If he fails to generate a flow of hit mainstream films the whole of the UK government's recently revamped film support strategy could be in jeopardy. Adam Minns asks if he has what it takes.Bryan Singer was nobody at Sundance 1993. His debut Public Access was impressive enough to win, but flawed and had to share the prize with Ruby In Paradise. Public Access
  • Italy's Mikado bags Venice closing film Vengo

    Italian distributor Mikado has acquired Venice closing night film Vengo, directed by Tony Gatlif, a French-Spanish co-production that is being sold worldwide by France's Flach Pyramide International.Following the international arthouse success of Gatlif's award-winning titles Latcho Drom and Gadjo Dilo, Vengo - in which Gatlif once again explores his gypsy roots, this time in Andalucia - has already been pre-sold to Senator for Germany and Austria, Nikkatsu
  • Jazztel founder launches rival cable operator

    Jordi Compte Batista, co-founder of Spanish cable company Jazztel, has launched his own competing cable outfit dubbed Flash10.com, according to Spanish news reports. Flash10 plans to offer telephone, data, internet and multimedia services in 32 cities in the Catalan region of Spain. Compte is said to be seeking international backers for the new company, which reportedly plans to invest some $500m over the next ten years to build a wideband fibre optic infrastructure.Cable
  • Kinowelt first-half turnover soars by 63%

    German mini-studio Kinowelt reported a 63% increase in turnover for the first six months of 2000 to $115.5m (DM247.3m) compared to $70.7m (DM151.5m) in the first half of last year.Interim net profit rose to $9.5m (DM20.3m) compared to $10.3m (DM22.1m) for the whole of 1999.Kinowelt's home entertainment division achieved the highest turnover increase up 154% to $20.4m (DM43.7m). Licence dealing contributed $42.6m (DM91.3m) to sales, theatrical distribution and exhibition $28.2m (
  • Leipzig documentary fest to open with Happiness

    A gala screening of a restored print of Alexander Medvedkin's silent classic Happiness (Stschastje) from 1934 will open this year's International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animation Films (October 17-22). The festival will also feature a retrospective dedicated to the East German film-maker Juergen Boettcher and a special programme of animation from Australia. A spotlight will also be cast on documentaries from the legendary film studio in Sverdlovsk, and the D
  • Macleod quits Channel 4 International

    Bernard Macleod is stepping down as managing director of UK programming distributor Channel 4 International (C4I).Macleod is leaving to pursue interests in further education and will act as a media consultant. He joined C4I in 1998 from his own TV production outfit Cahoots."We will be sad to see Bernard depart, and wish him well for the future," said Janet Walker, director of business affairs at C4I's parent broadcaster, Channel 4. "Bernard leaves behind him a much stronger comp
  • Milk & Honey opens studio facility in Prague

    LA-based production and production services outfit Milk & Honey Films has opened a studio facility in Prague to service the international film and commercial production industries as well as its own productions. The facility, called Milk & Honey Studios Letnany, consists of two large stages with a third close to being acquired."We plan to develop Milk & Honey Letnany into a world class facility that rivals the best studios in London and Los Angeles," said partner/executive producer Ho
  • My Mother Frank wins Melbourne vote

    Audiences favoured home-grown films at this year's Melbourne Film Festival (July 19-August 6). My Mother Frank, directed by Sydney-based Mark Lamprell, scooped the Stella Artois Award for most popular film, while Melbourne director Paul Cox scored second and third spot with Innocence and Molokai: The Story Of Father Damien. A week earlier it was announced that My Mother Frank, which opened in Australia yesterday (August 17), was also voted best film by Brisb
  • Oz producers, directors claim copyright victory

    Australia's parliament has passed the Copyright Digital Agenda Bill prompting both directors and producers to issue media statements claiming they have won the long-running battle over directors' copyright. The Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) claimed victory on the basis that the new legislation was passed without the controversial amendment that would have given directors some ownership in films and TV programming. But this was hardly mentioned by the Australia
  • Oz ratings chief speaks out on screen violence

    Des Clark, director of Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), has claimed that Australians are concerned about rising levels of screen violence, and plans to take this into account in a review of the film classification system to take place next year.The most serious concerns are about violence against women and children according to regular panel discussions held by the OFLC to ensure that classifications are in line with community standards."The major
  • Parallax unveils partnership with Scotland's Makar

    The UK's Parallax Pictures has established a Scottish production base through a partnership with Edinburgh-based Makar Productions. The two companies are already collaborating on Makar's first National Lottery-financed feature, the $3.9m Child Of Air.Parallax's Sally Hibbins will executive produce the feature with Makar's Eddie Dick producing. Pat Harkins, who recently wrapped DNA Films' The Final Curtain, is attached to direct.The on-going partnership will see Par
  • Polish producers battle over Sienkiewicz' Knights

    Two Polish production companies - MT Art and Studio A - are going head-to-head with separate adaptations of Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz' 1905 novel Teutonic Knights. The historical novel is based on Poland's 14th century struggle with invading Teutonic knights. It covers events between the death of the Polish Queen Jadwiga in 1399 and the battle of Grunwald in 1410, both of which are important landmarks in Polish history books.MT Art, headed by Marian Terlecki, plans a $10m
  • Radcliffe revealed as the real Harry Potter

    UK actor Daniel Radcliffe has been cast as Harry Potter in Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, scotching rumours over the weekend that fellow Brit Gabriel Thomson had clinched the role.11-year-old Radcliffe recently played young David in the BBC's David Copperfield and also features in John Boorman's The Tailor Of Panama. Joining him in the cast as Harry's best friends are newcomers Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. The film is scheduled to start
  • Rogers goes to court over Videotron merger

    Canada's largest cable operator Rogers Communications has gone to court in an effort to lift an injunction, handed down in April, that effectively prevents its merger with the country's third-largest cabler Groupe Videotron.Rogers tendered a bid for the company in April, only to have it blocked by Videotron shareholder Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, a large pension fund. At that time, the Caisse produced a shareholder agreement between itself and Videotron's controlling shareh
  • Scout Man

    Dir: Masato Ishioka. Japan. 2000. 125 mins.Prod co: Gold View. Int'l sales: Gold View (+81 3 5342 726). Prod: Kiyo Jo. Scr: Masato Ishioka. DoP: Atsuhiro Nabeshima. Ed: Toshihide Fukano. Music: Koji Endo. Sound: Hiroshi Yamagata. Main cast: Miku Matsumoto, Hideo Nakizumi, Yuka Fujimoto, Akihito Yoshie. Scout Man is Japanese English for the men with slicked hair, deep tans and dark suits who prowl the streets of Japan's urban entertainment districts recruiting women for th
  • ScriptNet picks out Ghanaian shorts

    ScriptNet 2000, a charitable British skill-sharing project between the UK and Ghana, is currently preparing five Ghanaian short films for production in the country from December.ScriptNet 2000 launched a nationwide scriptwriting competition in Ghana last October and initially received 150 story treatments, which were then developed through a series of workshops held in the country by UK professionals. Ghanaian film executives and project tutors selected five of the projects for product
  • Space Cowboys, Hollow Man tie at the top

    Buoyed by good reviews and strong word-of-mouth, Warner Bros' Space Cowboys tied for the top spot at the North American box office over the weekend with Columbia Pictures' sci-fi thriller Hollow Man, each film taking an estimated $13.1m. Hollow Man fell 50% from its blockbusting opening last weekend, while Space Cowboys, which opened at number three last week, fell just 28%.But it was the number three movie which was the weekend's biggest surprise. MGM scor
  • Specialist to get outing at London Jewish fest

    The Specialist, a US documentary that follows the 1961 Jerusalem trial of Nazi henchman Adolf Eichmann, will get a UK theatrical screening at next month's London Jewish Film Festival.The film uses a montage of original footing from the trial to contrast the apparently ordinary Eichmann with his horrific crimes. It was directed by Eyal Sivan.The festival, which runs September 3-7, will open with Buena Vista International's Keeping The Faith, directed by and starring
  • Sydney Film Festival plans to get competitive

    The Sydney Film Festival will become a competitive event for new directors, probably starting with its 50th edition in 2003, if it raises enough funding. The International Federation of Film Producers' Associations (FIAPF), which accredits international film festivals, has already given its formal approval for the plan.Sydney director Gayle Lake told Screen International that the event's current A$1.2m budget would have to increase by as much as A$600,000 - not including
  • Taxi 2 Drives Admissions In Japan

    Even though its villains are Japanese, Taxi 2 is burning rubber at the Japanese box office. Opening on August 12, it recorded 110,000 admissions on 165 screens its first weekend, for a gross of $1,587,156 (Y173m), enough for third place in the rankings after MI:2 and The Perfect Storm.To rev the box office engines, distributors Nippon Herald and JVC sponsored the building of a "drive-in theatre" at the base of city landmark Tokyo Tower and filled it with nearly 100
  • The Cell

    Dir: Tarsem Singh. US. 2000. 108 mins.Prod cos: Caro-McLeod Productions, Radical Media. US dist: New Line. Int'l sales: New Line International (+1 310 967 6700). Exec prods: Donna Langley, Carolyn Manetti. Prods: Julio Caro, Eric McLeod. Scr: Mark Protosevich. DoP: Paul Laufer. Prod des: Tom Foden. Ed: Paul Rubell, Robert Duffy. Mus: Howard Shore. Main cast: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughan, Vincent D'Onofrio, Dylan Baker, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jake Weber, Pruitt Taylor Vince.
  • The Low Down

    Dir: Jamie Thraves. UK. 2000. 96 mins.Prod cos: Oil Factory, Sleeper Films, FilmFour, British Screen. International Sales: FilmFour International, tel: (44) 207 868 7700. Prods: John Stewart, Sally Llewellyn. Assoc prod: Nicole Keddy. Scr: Jamie Thraves. DoP: Igor Jadue-Lillo. Ed: Lucia Zucchetti. Mus: Nick Currie, Fred Thomas. Main cast: Aidan Gillen, Kate Ashfield, Dean Lennox Kelly, Tobias Menzies, Rupert Proctor. Successful video director Jamie Thraves said he made Ch
  • There's Only One Jimmy Grimble

    Dir: John Hay. UK. 2000. 105 mins.Prod co: Sarah Radclyffe Productions, Impact Films. Co-prods: Arts Council, Le Studio Canal Plus. Domestic dist: Pathe. Int'l Sales: Pathe (001 310 247 4747). Exec prods: Alexis Lloyd, Andrea Calderwood, Bill Godfrey. Prods: Sarah Radclyffe, Jeremy Bolt, Alison Jackson. Scr: Simon Mayle, Hay, Rik Carmichael. DoP: John de Borman. Prod des: Michael Carlin. Ed: Oral Norrie Ottey. Music: Simon Boswell, Alex James. Main cast: Robert Carlyle, Gina McKee,
  • Toronto adds Bigelow, Fields titles to line-up

    The Toronto International Film Festival has added four premieres to its line-up: Kathryn Bigelow's The Weight Of Water, Joel Hershman's Greenfingers, Michael Corrente's A Shot At Glory and US actress Sally Field's directorial debut Beautiful.Suspense saga The Weight Of Water stars Sean Penn, Catherine McCormack and Elizabeth Hurley. Greenfingers, also written by Hershman, is based on the horticultural pursuits of prison inmates. A Shot At Gl
  • TV1000 divestment boosts Kinnevik profit

    Swedish conglomerate Kinnevik, which has interests ranging from forestry to telecoms, has reported a slim first-half profit of $7.8m (SEK72m), compared to a loss of $58.8m (SEK541m) the previous year, which was mainly due to its divestment of Sweden's TV1000 channels. Kinnevik sold its two TV1000 movie channels to local media entity Modern Times Group for $126m (SEK1.16bn) earlier this year (Screendaily, March 27). MTG was given an option to acquire the channels when Kinnevik di
  • Under Hellgate Bridge wins at Narrowsburg Fest

    Michael Sergio's Under Hellgate Bridge was named Best Feature Film at the second annual The Narrowsburg Independent Film Festival in Narrowsburg, upstate New York, last week. The film also won the Best Director prize for Sergio, the Best Actor prize for Michael Rodrick and the Rising Star Award for Brian Vincent.The festival, which took place Aug 2-6, paid tribute to actors William Forsythe, Madhur Jaffrey and Leo Rossi. Other award winners included Rita Moreno for Best Actress
  • UPC reports lower than expected losses

    Dutch cabler UPC's shares surged 11% today when it reported lower than expected second-quarter net losses of Euros368.2m against analysts' estimates of Euros440m. However the result was more than five times its losses of Euros72.9m in the same quarter last year.Revenues rose 19% to Euros238m compared with Euros199.6m the previous year. The company also reported that it had 6.99 million basic cable subscribers at the end of the second quarter along with 230,000 internet subscribers and
  • Verhoeven mulls shoot in native Holland

    Director Paul Verhoeven, currently in Europe to promote his latest feature Hollow Man, has said he is considering two projects that would take him back to his native Holland: a Dutch-language thriller and an English-language adaptation of French author Guy de Maupassant's short story Mont Oriol.Former Endemol chief Joop van den Ende, who produced Verhoeven's 1980 Dutch-language feature Spetters, is producing both projects through his new Amsterdam-based outfit Solo. Gerar
  • Verhoeven to replace Jones as head of AFI

    Australian broadcaster and critic Deb Verhoeven will replace Ruth Jones as chief executive of the Australian Film Institute (AFI) which is currently under-going a period of uncertainty following a reduction in funding.Jones will have been with the AFI for five years when she departs on August 30. AFI chair Denny Lawrence described her as an exemplary leader who has been instrumental in building profile and support for the institute. "She has created a lot of goodwill towards the AFI, a
  • Village Ten Online rebrands as SCAPE

    Australia's Network Ten and Village Roadshow have rebranded their joint internet portal, previously known as Village Ten Online, as SCAPE. Exhibitor-distributor Village and broadcaster Ten signed the joint venture late last year and plan to launch the leisure-oriented portal later this year. Among the services on offer will be on-line radio stations, a matchmaking service and movie information.

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