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18 February 2000

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  • Almodovar adds Oscar nomination to glory list

    Pedro Almodovar's route to the Oscar podium came one step closer this morning as his All About My Mother ended a year of awards glory and won an Academy Award nomination for foreign language film of the year.The film marks Spain's 18th foreign language film Oscar nomination and could be the country's third winner (after To Begin Again in 1982 and Belle Epoque in 1993). It is Almodovar's second nomination after Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown in 198
  • American Beauty leads Oscars race

    As expected, Sam Mendes' American Beauty led the pack in the nominations for the 72nd annual Academy Awards with eight nominations including those for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay.But the Academy came up with some major surprises including six nominations for box office behemoth The Sixth Sense including Best Picture and Best Director, and seven for Miramax Films' The Cider House Rules including Best Picture and
  • Andalusia signs up for EC Mediterranean programme

    The cultural council of Spain's Andalusian regional government has signed an agreement with the European Commission's General Direction of Exterior Relations to join the Euro-Mediterranean Audiovisual Development Program, dubbed the MEDEA program.With a budget of $4.9m (euro5m) to be spread out over three years, MEDEA aims to support the development and co-production of films and documentaries across Europe and the Mediterranean.The 27 countries encompassed in the programme incl
  • AtomFilms swoops on Primedia's Short And Curlies

    South Africa's Primedia Pictures has signed a distribution deal with US-based AtomFilms for distribution of its 'Short And Curlies' series of short films following their acclaim at international film festivals such as Venice, Edinburgh and Cannes.The agreement encompasses on-line and air-line distribution in all languages for five years. Seattle-based AtomFilms is a web operation that specialises in distribution of short films over the internet.AtomFilms backers include both War
  • Australia's Pennell moves into big-budget arena

    Australian production outfit Pennell Motion Pictures is set to produce A$15-20m ($9.5-12.6m) romantic comedy Amorous Intrigue, displaying further evidence that the Australian production community is intent on moving into bigger-budget projects.The film is based on the true story of Aphra Bhenn, who was a writer in the UK over 300 years ago. The project is being packaged by Creative Artists Agency in the US and Hugh Jackman is already attached to play the role of the swashbucklin
  • Becker lines up comedy for Miramax

    X-Filme Creative Pool's Wolfgang Becker is developing comedy Hamstrung (Schinken), which could be the first project to go through the company's first-look deal with Miramax.The film, which Becker will direct, is about a butcher from Aberystwyth, Wales who travels to Phoenix, Arizona, to take part in a world ham championship. X-Filme signed the first-look deal with Miramax in 1998.Becker said that he is also developing two other directing projects - the long-gestating S
  • Bengal offers security to Mehta's troubled Water

    The Indian state of Bengal has offered Deepa Mehta's troubled production, Water, safe passage if the film relocates to Calcutta or elsewhere in Bengal.Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu said: 'If anyone tries to be disruptive after we grant the film permission to shoot, my government will ensure that such disrupters are immediately put in place.'' However Basu made the statement after opposition parties announced they would try to prevent Water filming in Bengal as it is 'a

    Below is a list of titles confirmed for the various sections of the 50th International Film Festival Berlin (February 9-20). OPENING NIGHT FILM (also in competition):The Million Dollar Hotel - Wim Wenders (Germany-US)COMPETITION:Any Given Sunday - Oliver Stone (US)The Beach - Danny Boyle (US)Boys' Choir (Dokuritsu Shonen Gasshoudan) - Akira Ogata (Japan)The Captain's Daughter (Russkij Bunt) - Alexander Proschkin (Russia)Clo
  • BFC appoints Jones as first director

    The British Film Commission (BFC) has made a raft of appointments headed by the recruitment of Terri Jones as the body's first director.Jones, formerly director of production at UK TV station LWT, will oversee the day-to-day running of the BFC. She will also assist commissioner Steve Norris in setting and implementing policy.Other appointments see Alison Sawkill taking up the post of head of information and Julia Kenny joining as research co-ordinator. Additionally, Heather Brow
  • BFI to unveil plans for new London film centre

    UK Government-backed film and TV body the British Film Institute (BFI) will this week unveil plans for a film centre at London's South Bank complex.The new development will replace the institute's often-criticised National Film Theatre, a venue for some screenings during November's London Film Festival (LFF). The new complex will also house much of the BFI's other work, along with the non-film activities of other cultural bodies. No cost has been given for the new site and an architect
  • Blockbuster adds overseas rights to shopping list

    Blockbuster Entertainment, which has just added The Opportunists to its haul of Sundance festival pick-ups, now wants to extend its aggressive acquisition policy to include all English-language rights to independent films that can be branded internationally as video store exclusives.The world's most extensive home entertainment rental chain, with approximately 6,900 outlets spanning the US and 26 other countries, Blockbuster caused a stir at this year's Sundance by agreeing to a
  • Bronson named international chief at Universal

    Nadia Bronson, for years the lifeforce behind Universal Pictures' international marketing department, has been promoted to president, international theatrical marketing, distribution and operations at the studio.Bronson who since 1997 has been president, international marketing, will now be responsible for international distribution and operations related to all feature film releases overseas. She will continue to report to Stacey Snider, chairman, Universal Pictures.Bronson's
  • CAA strikes first-look deal with Bloomsbury

    US talent and literary agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has struck an innovative first-look deal with Bloomsbury Publishing, a leading UK independent publisher with a portfolio that has yielded The English Patient, The Piano and Shine.Under the terms of the deal, Bloomsbury will filter the manuscripts it believes have most publishing and film potential to CAA, which will represent the properties to US studios and its roster of talent and film-makers. Bloomsbury
  • Canada's Behaviour sells studio to Tube

    Montreal-based producer-distributor Behaviour Communications is selling its new media subsidiary, which operates its Digital Studio, to Tube Studios for about $586,000 (C$850,000). The deal, to close March 6, will transform Tube into Montreal's largest studio specialising in 3D animation and visual effects."The acquisition of the studio allows Tube's growth to accelerate," said Tube's interim chief Dominique St-Louis. "Now we will be able to better respond to the growing demands
  • Cecchi Gori steps down from running family empire

    In a surprise move, Vittorio Cecchi Gori has stepped down from day-to-day running of the Italian film and television company his father set up in the 1940s. The move marks the end of family management of the company, which Vittorio Cecchi Gori took over when his father Mario died in the 1990s.In an interview with Milan daily Corriere della Sera, the maverick producer said that he will remain the president and owner of the company which is due to be floated on the Milan stock exc
  • Channel 5 shareholders buy out Warburg stake

    Luxembourg-based CLT-Ufa and the UK's United News and Media and Pearson have increased their stakes in UK broadcaster Channel 5, as financial investor Warburg Pincus sold out of the channel.The three shareholders paid $277m (£172m) for Warburg's 18% stake in a move that is regarded as an endorsement of the loss-making channel. The sale values Channel 5 at $1.74bn (£1.09bn).However United's move to increase its Channel 5 stake could have regulatory repercussions. The company's pr
  • CineMedia strikes co-prod deal with UK's Own2Feet

    Following its entry into licence trading last month (Screendaily, Jan 26), expansionist German post-production entity CineMedia Film is becoming involved in international co-production through a strategic partnership with UK producer Own2Feet Productions.Under the terms of the deal, struck between Own2Feet and CineMedia production subsidiary TaunusFilm-Produktion, the two partners will each put up 50% of the budget for three projects - a classical thriller, a psychological thril
  • Disney pulls plug on Canadian animation studios

    So much for Canada stealing all that production work from Hollywood: The Walt Disney Co has now confirmed that it is closing its animation facilities in Vancouver and Toronto four years after opening them, laying off more than 200 staff and dealing a significant blow to Canadian animation.Canadian sources on the West Coast say that the Vancouver facility has already been effectively shut in the past few weeks after equipment was shipped out from the plant. The Toronto studio has been l
  • DreamWorks sponsors Bristol animation fest

    DreamWorks SKG, the US studio which recently struck a long-term deal with Bristol-based animation production house Aardman Animations, is sponsoring a new animation festival in the city. The event, titled Animated Encounters (May 19-21), will include preview scenes from Aardman's highly-anticipated June release, Chicken Run, which Pathe Distribution is handling in the UK. Also in the line-up are a focus on 1970's TV classics; a round-up of new international and British films; an
  • Estudio's debut release powers Mexican box office

    The first feature produced by start-up Mexican film company Estudio Mexico, Gimme Power (Todo El Poder), has burst into Mexico's box office chart. After a successful debut on 320 screens on January 20 the film continues to dominate in cinemas falling just 11% in the last two weeks. To date, it has grossed $4.3m (pesos42m) nationwide, according to distributor Videocine. In Mexico City, the film opened at number one with a seven-day gross of $0.7m, before being ousted by the release of
  • EU challenges assumptions behind box office growth

    Media Salles, the European Union-financed exhibition research and support operation, has called into question the widespread assumption that multiplex growth in Europe is responsible for the growth in admissions seen over the last ten years.'There appears to be a rather weak relationship between the two,' said Joachim Wolff, president of the Union International des Cinemas (UNIC), at a conference organised by Media Salles in Berlin.Discussing one of the first concrete attempts t
  • Famous Players, Alliance invest in Canadian chain

    Viacom's Famous Players Theatres and Alliance Atlantis Communications have taken a combined 21% stake in Galaxy Cinemas, the newest player in the Canadian exhibition market.The joint venture, announced Thursday, calls for the construction of 21 state-of-the-art multiplexes over the next 30 months, all of them in smaller markets with population bases of between 50,000 and 150,000 people.Galaxy, which has yet to screen a film, was formed in 1998 by Ellis Jacob, former chief operat
  • Film Company takes off with Palm's Spaceman

    UK-based sales outfit The Film Company (TFC) has secured worldwide rights to Spaceman, winner of the audience award for best competition feature at the Austin Film FestivalTFC acquired the film from Palm Pictures, which picked up the title following positive US reviews from its festival run. Directed by Internet humorist Scott Dikkers, the film tells the story of a four-year-old abducted by aliens and raised on a distant planet to be an unstoppable killing machine. He returns to
  • FilmFour to bankroll Pasolini's Emperor

    The UK's FilmFour is fully-financing The Emperor's New Clothes, a historical fantasy being produced by The Full Monty's Uberto Pasolini and directed by Palookaville's Alan Taylor.Adapted by Kevin Molony from Simon Leys' novel The Death Of Napoleon, the script tells the story of how Napoleon did not die in exile but returned to France in disguise to reclaim his throne. He finds that the battleground of Waterloo has become a theme park and that Paris asylums are full
  • Former Danish festival chief hooks up with Trust

    Berlin jury member Lissy Bellaiche, who headed up the Danish Film Institute's festival department for 19 years until last autumn, is moving to Trust Films Sales, the international sales outfit controlled by Danish production company Zentropa.In her new role, Bellaiche will aim to ensure that Trust's growing slate of Danish and foreign films are present at film festivals around the world. The move again puts Zentropa ahead of domestic competitors, as it is the first Danish company to hi
  • France's GMT gears up for Napoleon four-parter

    Leading French drama producer GMT Productions is developing a four-part mini-series, Napoleon, which is set to Christian Clavier (Asterix & Obelix, The Visitors) in the title role. The big-budget historical drama will be co-produced by French public broadcaster France 2 and will be filmed in both French and English. The script is being written by Didier Decoin.Napoleon is also likely to involve GMT's regular partners, Germany's KirchGroup/Taurus Film
  • German admissions break records as revenues fall

    Cinema admissions in Germany reached a new record last year, climbing from 148.9m to 149m, according to statistics from Berlin-based German Federal Film Board (FFA). However, at the same time, box office revenues fell by 1.2% from $807m (DM1.6bn) to $797m (DM1.58bn) because of a drop in the average ticket price to $5.35 (DM10.61).The FFA argued that the decrease in revenues was partly due to increasingly cut-throat competition between cinemas and the emerging 'one-dollar screens
  • Grosvenor steps up sale and leaseback activity

    Canadian-UK financier Grosvenor Park has started providing funding for films through the UK's tax-based sale and leaseback system at financing or production stage rather than after the film is completed.Grosvenor aims to provide about 6% of the budget on projects its finances at this stage. The company is finalising deals for Dave Stewart's Honest for an enhanced soundtrack and The Body, starring Antonio Banderas, for further post-production costs and an extra day shootin
  • Hotel Splendide

    Dir: Terence Gross. UK. 2000. 99mins.Prod co: Renegade Films. UK dist: FilmFour. Int'l sales: FilmFour International. Prod: Ildiko Kemeny. Exec prod: Robert Buckler. Scr: Gross. DoP: Gyula Pados. Prod des: Alison Dominitz. Ed: Michael Ellis. Mus: Mark Tschanz. Main cast: Toni Collette, Daniel Craig, Katrin Cartlidge, Stephen Tomkinson, Hugh O'Connor, Peter Vaughan. A highly-anticipated entry in the non-competitive Panorama section at Berlin, Terence Gross' Hotel Splend
  • House to produce Armstrong comedy, Broken Hill

    Australian producer Lynda House has unveiled a slate of new projects including a comedy-drama to be directed by Gillian Armstrong and a $7.5m (A$12m) futuristic fairy-tale The Broken Hill, which has a pack of wild dogs as one of the cast members.Gillian Armstrong, who credits include Little Women and Oscar And Lucinda, is attached to direct scriptwriter Helen Hodgman's adaptation of Emily Ballon's novel Waiting For Matindi. The novel is set in the Sydney seaside su
  • Inaugural Mexican fest mines for Pan-American gems

    Pan-American films are to be at the heart of a new festival in Zacatecas, only Mexico's second festival of international standing.In what is seen as a development year, the first Zacatecas International Film Festival will be held in October (20-25) in a former silver mining town in the centre of the country, north of Mexico City. In following years the organisers hope to switch to the event to the more comfortable month of June.The event is being started "in an effort to promote
  • Japanese partners join forces for movie channel

    News Corp, Sony, Fuji TV and Softbank are forming a joint venture company - Nihon Eiga Eisei Hoso (Japanese Movie Satellite Broadcasting) - to create a cable and satellite movie channel specialising in Japanese films. The partners aim to build the country's leading Japanese film channel with the co-operation of Japan's top film companies. To set it on its way, the new company will take over management of two Japanese film channels currently offered by Sky Entertainment. Set to b
  • Jersey woos Franchise with Caveman's Valentine

    The increasingly prolific Franchise Pictures has teamed up with Jersey Films to co-produce and co-finance Caveman's Valentine, a psychological thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson which started shooting in Los Angeles this week.Universal Pictures has all rights to the film in North America, and Franchise will be selling it at next week's American Film Market (AFM).The movie marks the first picture from director Kasi Lemmons since her acclaimed Southern Gothic melodrama
  • Korea lures co-producers with incentive funding

    Korea's newly-galvanised film commission, KOFIC, is courting international partners to rebuild the country's recovering film industry with $3m in government cash.KOFIC's international business chief Paul Yi has been in Berlin alerting potential production and distribution partners to the government's new pro-film structures. These include $15m of incentive funding, at least $3m of which is earmarked for international assistance.'We have borrowed models from around the world and
  • Lagardere, Deutsche Telekom form internet alliance

    Europe's internet-oriented merger frenzy is showing no signs of slowing down. In the latest deal, French defence and media conglomerate Lagardere is merging its internet service provider (ISP), Club Internet - which has 380,000 subscribers - with Deutsche Telekom's T-Online, which with 4.3 million subscribers is Europe's largest ISP.Following a share swap, which values Lagardere at $376m (FFR2.5bn), the German telco will own 99.9% of Club Internet, while Lagardere will hold 6.5% of T-O
  • Le Studio unveils Schroeder's shrouded Virgen

    A Cannes competition hopeful by Barbet Schroeder and two European pictures with $20m-$30m budgets are among half a dozen new additions to the Berlin and AFM sales slate of French production powerhouse Le Studio Canal Plus.Set in Medellin, Colombia, Schroeder's picture La Virgen De Los Sicarios has been cloaked in secrecy since its origins, but is now in post-production and seems a virtual certainty for official selection at this year's Cannes Film Festival.Filmed in Spani
  • Love's Labour's Lost

    Dir: Kenneth Branagh. UK. 1999. 93 mins.Prod cos: Pathe Pictures, Miramax, Intermedia, Arts Council of England, Le Studio Canal Plus. Int'l sales: Intermedia. Prods: Branagh, David Barron. Exec prods: Guy East, Nigel Sinclair, Alexis Lloyd, Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein. Scr: Branagh, adapting from Shakespeare. DoP: Alex Thomson. Prod design: Tim Harvey. Eds: Daniel Farrell, Neil Farrell. Mus: Patrick Doyle. Main cast: Branagh, Alicia Silverstone, Alessandro Nivola, Natascha McElh
  • Milan to launch feature film festival in September

    Milan's four-year-old short film festival, Cortometraggio, is to be expanded into an international feature film festival from this September.The MilanoFilmFestival (Sept 11-17) is to run two competitions, one dedicated to full-length films and one to shorts. The event aims to showcase overseas films that have not found distribution in Italy.The festival will be run by the Cortometraggio organisers Associazione Aprile. Backing comes from sources including local and regional gover
  • Moreau to be patron for Berlin's Shooting Stars

    Dir: Carlos Diegues. Brazil. 1999. 110 mins.Prod co: Rio Vermelho. Co-prod: Globo. Int'l Sales: TFI International (33) 1 41 41 35 32. Prods: Renata de Almeida Magalhaes, Paula Lavigne. Scr: Diegues, with the collaboration of Hermano Vianna, Hamilton Vaz Pereira, Paulo Lins and Joao Emanuel Carneiro, based on the play by Vinicius de Moraes. Dop: Affonso Beato. Prod des: Clovis Bueno. Ed: Sergio Mekler. Music: Caetano Veloso. Main cast: Toni Garrido, Patricia Franca, Murilo Benicio, Z
  • Natural Nylon's NYC sibling builds digital studio

    Natural Nylon Films, the New York production company that describes itself as the sister company to London's star-laden Natural Nylon Entertainment, has reinvented itself as a digital entertainment studio with its own 5,000 sq.ft. production facility in the heart of Manhattan's Silicon Alley.The New York branch of Natural Nylon is run by president Richard Burns, a producer-director who first teamed up with rising British superstar Jude Law (currently up for a Best Supporting Actor Osca
  • Newmarket, BVFS hold hands along Burns' Sidewalks

    Newmarket Capital Group and Buena Vista Film Sales (BVFS) have teamed up to back Sidewalks Of New York, the latest film from Ed Burns, who will write, direct, produce and star in the film alongside his girlfriend Heather Graham and Stanley Tucci.It is the fourth picture on which Burns has fulfilled all four functions following his Sundance Film Festival-winner The Brothers McMullen (1995), She's The One (1996) and No Looking Back (1998). His acting roles sin
  • No-One Sleeps

    Dir: Jochen Hick. Germany. 2000. 108 mins.Prod co: Galeria Alaska. Int'l sales: Media Luna. Prod: Hick. Scr: Hick. DoP: Thomas M Harting, Michael Maley. Ed: Helga Scharf. Mus: James Hardway. Main cast: Tom Wlaschiha, Irit Levi, Jim Thalman, Richard Conti.A cross between William Friedkin's 1980 Cruising and Michael Crichton's 1978 Coma, No-One Sleeps marks a big advance for German-born US-based director Jochen Hick. This noir thriller was a resounding
  • Notting Hill, East Is East win at Empire awards

    Notting Hill was voted Best British film at the Empire Film Awards, which took place today in London, while East Is East deservedly scooped best debut for director Damien O'Donnell. The Best Film award went to US blockbuster The Matrix, and best actor to Irishman Pierce Brosnan.Stars including Oscar-nominee Michael Caine, Alicia Silverstone, Minnie Driver, Pierce Brosnan, Helena Bonham Carter and Kenneth Branagh turned out for awards which were a celebration
  • Oederkerk hits AFM with high-concept comedies

    Steve Oedekerk, the writer of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Nutty Professor and the writer/director of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Patch Adams, is entering the international marketplace with his company O Entertainment.O is offering a trio of high-concept comedies to buyers at AFM led by The Thumb Double Feature, featuring Oedekerk's celebrated Thumb characters sitting in the theatre watching two movies - Thumbtanic and Thumb War
  • OFDC report calls for Ontario studio

    Ontario's film industry needs a state-of-the-art studio facility, according to a study commissioned by the Ontario Film Development Corp and the Toronto Film and Television Office. The report, undertaken by real estate consultancy Drivers Jonas North America and LA-based analyst ERA, suggests that Ontario's industry should stop competing on price point alone and bring about qualitative changes that only a top-flight studio can deliver. This would entice the high-budget, effects-driven
  • Orfeu

    Dir: Carlos Diegues. Brazil. 1999. 110 mins.Prod co: Rio Vermelho. Co-prod: Globo. Int'l Sales: TFI International (33) 1 41 41 35 32. Prods: Renata de Almeida Magalhaes, Paula Lavigne. Scr: Diegues, with the collaboration of Hermano Vianna, Hamilton Vaz Pereira, Paulo Lins and Joao Emanuel Carneiro, based on the play by Vinicius de Moraes. Dop: Affonso Beato. Prod des: Clovis Bueno. Ed: Sergio Mekler. Music: Caetano Veloso. Main cast: Toni Garrido, Patricia Franca, Murilo Benicio, Z
  • Orfeu clinches top prize at Brazilian awards

    Carlos Diegues' Orfeu scooped the best film award at the Grand Prize Cinema Brazil (Feb12) in the city of Petropolis.Diegues' film beat off competition from Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas' The First Day (O Primeiro Dia), Helvecio Ratton's Love & Co (Amor & Cia), Aluizio Abranches' A Glass Of Rage (Um Copo De Colera) and Luiz Villaca's Behind The Curtain (Por Tras Do Pano).However Salles and Thomas won in the best director and best screenplay
  • Redbus boosts slate with Buena Vista, UK titles

    UK distributor Redbus Film Distribution has acquired a slate of high-profile titles including Buena Vista International's Play It To The Bone, starring Antonio Banderas and Woody Harrelson, and Gun Shy, with Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock.The titles are to be joined by a third as-yet-undisclosed Buena Vista film, which is currently in pre-production.The ambitious UK distributor, which recently revealed that it is planning an IPO, has also taken rights to several ot
  • Rudge to head Universal Video, continental Europe

    Universal Pictures International Video (UPIV) has appointed Phil Rudge to the post of vice president of Continental Europe.Rudge, formerly managing director of Universal Pictures Video UK (Rental Division), will report to UPIV president Peter Smith. Based in London, he will manage all local sales and marketing operations across Spain, France, Germany, Benelux, Scandinavia and Italy.Rudge was sales director at the UK's Virgin Vision and 20th Century Fox before joining PolyGram Fi
  • Sales companies in line for MEDIA boost

    Europe's film sales companies are to get a cash boost under a new scheme to include them in the distribution section of the European Union's next MEDIA Programme. Under MEDIA Plus, the new five-year support system which replaces MEDIA II from January 2001, distribution will be allocated $98.2m (euro100m) and film sellers a further $4.9m (euro5m).MEDIA boss Jacques Delmoly said that the sellers system will be based on the pilot programme launched last year under MEDIA II: 'It is
  • Scream 3 keeps The Beach off top spot

    Miramax/Dimension Films' Scream 3 remained at the top of the US box office with a $16.4m gross over the three-day weekend at a phenomenal 3,467 theatres. That represents a steep drop of 58% from its first weekend opening, although Scream 2 suffered a similar drop-off in its second weekend and went on to gross over $100m. Scream 3's ten day total is $57m and it looks set to become the year's first $100m movie.20th Century Fox's The Beach opened with $15m at 2
  • Spain's Filmax rolls out fantasy Factory blueprint

    Spain's aggressively expanding Filmax Group has announced a new slate of films for its fledgling Fantastic Film Factory and is now moving ahead on plans to construct a studio in Barcelona with the aim of transforming the city into the sci-fi and fantasy film capital of Europe.At the same time, Filmax confirmed this week that it has acquired worldwide sales rights for the first time on a non-Filmax Spanish film, The Warrior's Heart (El Corazon Del Guerrero), produced by To
  • Splendid/IEG direct Searchlight's Traffic overseas

    Aggressive German player Splendid Medien and its subsidiary Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) are putting up between $35m-$45m of the $60m-$65m budget for Fox Searchlight's Traffic, set to star Harrison Ford and Catherine Zeta-Jones.IEG will take international rights to the film, while 20th Century Fox will handle domestic distribution. The project is set to start shooting in April with Steven Soderbergh directing. Ford will play a judge battling against the drug trade in the US
  • The Legends Of Rita

    Dir: Volker Schloendorff. Germany. 1999. 101 mins.Prod cos: Babelsberg Film Production, Mitteldeautsches Filmkontor, MDR. Int'l sales: Bavaria Film International. Prods: Arthur Hofer, Emmo Lempert. Scr: Wolfgang Kohlhasse, Volker Schlondorff. DoP: Andreas Hofer. Ed: Peter Przygodda. Main cast: Bibiana Beglau, Martin Wuttke, Nadja Uhl, Harald Schrott.Volker Schloendorff, veteran of the New German Cinema of the seventies, goes back to that period in The Legends of Rita
  • The Road Home

    Dir: Zhang Yimou. China. 1999. 100 mins.Prod co: Guangxi Film Studios, Beijing New Picture Distribution Co. Int'l sales: Columbia. Prod: Zhao Yu. Scr: Bao Shi. DoP: Hou Yong. Ed: Zhai Ru. Mus: San Bao. Main cast: Zhang Ziyi, Sun Honglei, Zheng Hao, Zhao Yuelin, Li Bin.Of Zhang Yimou's two films either pulled from or rejected by Cannes last year, Not One Less won the Venice Festival's Golden Lion and The Road Home was presented in competition at Berlin. Th
  • Time Warner grabs key foothold in Spanish pay-TV

    Warner Bros. International Television (WBIT) has paid around $32m for a ten per cent stake in Spain's leading pay-TV operator, Canal Satellite Digital (CSD), exercising an option first offered in 1997. Sogecable remains the majority shareholder of CSD with 83% of the digital platform that had more than 800,000 subscribers at the start of this year and now looks positioned to capitalise on demand for high-speed internet access. Sogecable, which is controlled by Spanish media empire Pris
  • Tokuma to enter exhibition with Warner Mycal stake

    Japan's Tokuma Group plans to invest in the country's largest multiplex operator Warner Mycal, as well as make films exclusively for the chain, according to group president Yasuyoshi Tokuma. The moves form part of Tokuma's strategy to create a vertically integrated film company. The group already includes the Tokuma Shoten publishing company, Daiei film studio and Studio Ghibli animation house.Tokuma plans to invest in Warner Mycal when it increases capitalisation in May or June
  • Toy Story 2 propels UK to all-time high

    Toy Story 2 not only shattered UK box office records over the weekend but also broke the boundary of the animation genre. The Walt Disney/Pixar computer-generated animation scooped an unprecedented £7.8m ($12.4m) in the UK over three days (Fri 11-Sun 13), becoming the country's all-time highest weekend gross. This surpasses Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace's Friday to Sunday gross of £7.5m ($12m) and truly proves the crossover age and gender appeal of the film, creati
  • Tsatsiki racks up sales in Berlin

    Nordisk Film has sold Swedish film Tsatsiki, Mum And The Policeman to Cinemien Film & Video Distribution for Benelux and Best Film Distribution for Poland.The film, which dominated the recent Swedish Film Awards, winning prizes for best film, director, script and cinematography, has been a hot item on the Berlin market since opening the Kinderfilmfest last Thursday.Meanwhile, Nordisk said German rights to the film are still available despite earlier reports that it had be
  • Tsatsiki sweeps the board at Swedish film awards

    Swedish children's film Tsatsiki, Mum And The Policeman dominated the Swedish Film Awards - the Guldbagga 1999 - which took place in Stockholm yesterday, winning prizes for best film, best direction, best cinematography and best script.The film, which also took the top prize at the Goteborg Film Festival over the weekend, is directed by Ella Lemhagen and written by Ulf Stark with Anders Bohman as DoP.Other Guldbagga prizewinners include best actress Katarina Ewerlöf
  • Tsatsiki, Mum And The Policeman

    Dir: Ella Lemhagen. Sweden. 1999. 91 mins.Prod Co: Felicia Film with Film I Vast, Norsk Film AS. Int'l Sales: Nordisk Film. Prod: Anne Ingvar. Scr: Ulf Stark. DoP: Anders Bohman. Ed: Bernhard Winkler. Music: Popsicle. Main cast: Samuel Haus, Alexandra Rapaport, Jacob Ericksson, George Nakas.Already creating substantial buzz in Berlin, Tsatsiki, Mum And The Policeman proved a fine choice to open Berlin's children's film section, Kinderfilmfest, at the Zoo-Palast cin
  • Wachs set to exit Babelsberg post

    Studio Babelsberg chairman Friedrich-Carl Wachs has shocked the German film industry by announcing that he plans to quit his position at the end of the month.Speaking at a hastily-convened press conference at the Berlin Film Festival, Thierry Potok, managing director of Babelsberg owner Vivendi's German property and services division, said that despite a good working relationship, there had been differences of opinion between Wachs and Vivendi about the future development of the studio
  • Wenders rockumentary to roll in March

    A March 11 start has been scheduled for Wim Wenders' next film, Vill Passiert, a feature-length documentary about veteran German rockers BAP (Screendaily, Feb 11).Produced by Cologne-based production outfit Screen:Works and public broadcaster WDR with backing from Filmstiftung NRW, the film is described by Wenders as "a small road movie" which will combine concert footage with fictional elements.Wenders, who is considering directing a music video for Duesseldorf-ba
  • Where A Good Man Goes

    Dir: Johnnie To. Hong Kong-China. 1999. 86 mins.Prod co: Milky Way Image. Int'l sales: Milky Way Image. Prods: Johnnie To, Wai Ka-fai. Scr: Yau Nai-Hoi. DoP: Cheng Sui Keung. Ed: Chan Chi Wai. Main cast: Lau Ching-wan, Ruby Wong.A delightfully off-beat crime comedy, unusually set in Macao, Where A Good Man Goes benefits from excellent performances in both main and supporting roles, some gentle but genuine humour and sharp direction from Johnnie To, a veteran of som
  • X-Filme launches German distribution label

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