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18 February 2001

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  • 13 French films screen at March Rendezvous in NYC

    The annual New York festival of new French films Rendez-vous with French Cinema will take place March 9-18 with 13 new films in the lineup. Screening at the Walter Reade Theatre, the festival will be attended by among others Daniel Auteuil, Isabelle Huppert, Chantal Akerman, Xavier Beauvois, Jean Becker and Benoit Jacquot.Films screening are:' Les Blessures Assassines (Murderous Maids) Dir: Jean-Pierre Denis.' Selon Matthieu (According To Matthieu
  • Alliance buys into Canada's indie film network

    Less than two months after losing out to Novia Scotia's Salter Street Films in a bid to launch Canada's first English-language movie network dedicated solely to independent filmmaking, Alliance Atlantis has offered some C$80m ($53m) to buy out Salter Street under an agreed takeover. Since Alliance Atlantis already enjoys long-term output deals with numerous US suppliers of art-house product including Miramax Films, New Line Cinema, Fine Line Features, Artisan Entertainment, USA Films a
  • Ang Lee wins third best foreign-language Oscar nod

    It was an extraordinary morning for Ang Lee, the Taiwanese director overlooked by the Academy for Sense And Sensibility in 1995 and The Ice Storm in 1997. Not only did he win picture and director nominations for his box office sensation Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but he won his third Best Foreign Language Film nod after The Wedding Banquet in 1993 and Eat Drink Man Woman in 1994. Indeed the nomination is also Taiwan's third, for Lee has singularly
  • Arenaplex launches digital cinema production

    Arenaplex,LLC, a new company established to provide non-feature film programming fordigital cinemas, revealed plans on 16 February, to produce and distributeoriginal content for the future generation of digitally-equipped multiplexes. The company, comprising founder and CEO Ivan Chea, who lefthis position as SVP, Europe, Middle East and Africa at Warner Bros.International last November; Ross Entwistle, who
  • Babelsberg beefs up production division

    Germany's Studio Babelsberg has expanded its in-house production division in a bid to attract more big-budget international productions to the legendary production facility. The studio's CEO Rainer Schaper announced during the Berlin Film Festival that production manager Udo Happel, who has most recently supervised Jean-Jacques Annaud's Berlin opener Enemy At The Gates and Istvan Szabo's Taking Sides, has been appointed to look after European productions shooting at Babel
  • Bavaria sells In July, Fandango to Japan

    Germany's Bavaria Film International has sold Fatih Akin's In July (Im Juli) to Japan's Tokyo Theatres, and Matthias Glasner's Fandango to Japan's Gaga Communications.In July, a Bulgarian-German-Turkish co-production, is a romantic comedy and road movie which follows a journey from Hamburg to Istanbul. Director Akin is serving on this year's competition jury. Fandango, a German production, screened in Berlin's Panorama section last year.Meanwhile, Col
  • Beacon, UPI reteam to sell The Palace Thief

    Beacon Pictures is reteaming with Universal Pictures International (UPI) to sell one of its newest projects in international territories - The Palace Thief, a drama to star Kevin Kline and be directed by Michael Hoffman (One Fine Day, Soapdish). Per its long term domestic distribution deal, Universal Pictures will handle the film domestically.Beacon and UPI had first worked together selling Tony Scott's epic thriller The Spy Game to international markets at
  • Buyers get first taste of Von Trier's Dogville

    Poland's Gutek Film and Switzerland's Monopol Pathe have already signed up for Lars von Trier's next project, Dogville, following the screening in Berlin of a five-minute film, shot last month to test the project's innovative concept.Only the international backers of von Trier's last film, Dancer In The Dark, were invited to the screening held by Zentropa's Vibeke Windeloev and Peter Aalbaek Jensen. Most of Dancer's partners are expected to join Gutek and Monopol P
  • Canal Plus Polska signs output deal with Kinowelt

    Germany's Kinowelt International and Canal Plus Polska have signed a three-year agreement which gives Canal Plus' Polish pay-TV offshoot exclusive broadcast rights to all New Line Cinema titles.The agreement covers all titles distributed by Kinowelt International - a subsidiary of Kinowelt Medien which handles the German group's international development through joint ventures - and its Polish offshoot, Kino Swiat International, launched at the beginning of last year.Kino Swiat'
  • Cappon replaces Celli as RAI director general

    Italian state broadcaster RAI has promoted deputy director Claudio Cappon to the position of director general, replacing former chief Pier Luigi Celli who quit on Friday.RAI's unprecedented speed in appointing Cappon served to quash a political storm which arose when the newly-departed director said that the broadcaster was "ungovernable"."We have reconstructed our top management within just one day. It's a kind of world record," said RAI president Roberto Zaccaria.Celli,
  • Chereau's explicit Intimacy wins Berlin top prize

    The Berlin Film Festival has awarded its top prize, theGolden Bear, to Patrice Chereau's sexually explicit Intimacy based on one of Hanif Kureishi'ssemi-autobiographical short stories. One of the film's courageous leads,Kerry Fox, also took home the Silver Bear for best actress.Living up to the pre-festival promise from jury president(and ousted Fox studio chief) Bill Mechanic to honour international films whosedaring stand in contrast to Hollywood safety-first mentality, Berlin
  • CiineMedia quits rights trading after one year

    German media group CineMedia Film is set to quit rights trading and licensing just one year after its launch into the market.The Munich-based company made its surprise withdrawal after admitting that figures for the last financial year revealed that sales forecasts for it rights trading and licensing activities would fall far short of original expectations. Delayed sales revenues from a package of films f
  • Constantin results exceed expectations

    German producer-distributor Constantin Film has exceeded its sales forecasts according to provisional results, with group turnover increasing by 80% to Euros116m.Theatrical distribution accounted for the bulk of Constantin's 2000 sales - Euros53m - thanks to the successful releases of films such as American Pie, The Sixth Sense, Harte Jungs and Erkan Und Stefan. TV licensing accounted for Euros27.5m, video/DVD for Euros9.3m and commissioned productions for E
  • Danny Boyle to speak at UK's Production Show

    Danny Boyle, whose credits include Trainspotting and The Beach and who is now editing two digital films for BBC2, will be discussing his career at the Production Show Movie Day on March 14 at London's Olympia.The Q&A session, which will be chaired by Screen's editor-in-chief Colin Brown, will kick off a day of events featuring a number of leading film industry players discussing key issues of the day.The Film Council's Robert Jones, Scala Productions' Nik Po
  • Disco Pigs

    Screened at Berlin(Panorama). Dir: Kirsten Sheridan. Ireland-UK. 2001. 94mins.First films invested with passion are not rare, but those supported by the skill to go with it are few and far between. Disco Pigs, Kirsten Sheridan's debut feature from Ireland, has moments which herald the emergence of a real film-maker of both passion and skill. The film also has weaknesses, usually due to ambition not fully achieved, and could struggle outside its home territory to become a viable
  • Edwards accepts Anschutz, Oaktree recapitalisation

    Edwards Theatres Circuit has agreed to a recapitalisation plan that will see Phillip Anschutz's Anschutz Corp and distressed debt investor Oaktree Capital Management assume a significant percentage of its equity, so that the ailing circuit can emerge from bankruptcy protection. Terms of the proposed transaction were not disclosed.In past months, Anschutz, a Denver-based billionaire, has emerged as the pre-eminent stakeholder in North American exhibition. Anschutz acquired a large porti
  • El Deseo to shoot Coixet drama in the US

    The Almodovar brothers' Madrid-based production outfit, El Deseo, has boarded English-language drama My Life Without Me, which is set to shoot in the US later this year with Isabel Coixet directing.The film, which tells the story of a young mother's confrontation with her own death, will mark writer-director Coixet's second English-language outing in the US after 1996's Things I Never Told You starring Andrew McCarthy and indie favourite Lily Taylor.Life joi
  • EM.TV agrees to KirchGroup rescue deal

    After months of speculation about the future of the beleaguered EM.TV media group, the German rights trader and merchandising empire announced on Wednesday that it would sign a rescue deal with the KirchGroup on the basis of their negotiations dating from December 4, 2000.The deal was finalised just hours before an exclusivity agreement between the two companies was due to expire, which would have allowed other bidders, notably, German media mogul and Kirch rival Herbert Kloiber, to su
  • EMTV chairman quits

    Troubled German media group, EM.TV lost its second high-ranking executive on Friday after its supervisory board chairman Nikolaus Becker tendered his resignation following the deal between EM.TV and the KirchGroup on February14.Rumours had been circulating for weeks about the possibility of Becker resigning from the beleaguered company and the allegedly deteriorating relations between him and CEO Thomas Haffa. His name had also been linked with media mogul Herbert Kloiber (whose Tele-M
  • Ferch to star in Iceland's Seagull's Laughter

    German actor Heino Ferch, who recently headlined SAT1's East-West drama The Tunnel, is to play one of the leads alongside Margaret Vilhjalmsdottir and Ugla Egilsdottir in Icelandic director Agust Gudmundsson's next project The Seagull's Laughter (Mavahlatur). The film, which starts shooting in Iceland from February 26, is being executive produced by Raphael Socha of Berlin-based Hope & Glory Film, Kristin Atladottir of Isfilm, Andy Paterson of UK production outfit Archer
  • Founders quit as AlloCine expands online ticketing

    Jean-David Blanc and Patrick Holzman, the two founders of film ticketing business AlloCine, quit Vivendi Universal subsidiary CanalNumedia on Thursday.CanalNumedia also increased its stake in AlloCine from 75% to 100%, but did not disclose the value of the deal.Blanc and Holzmann will serve out their notice periods with CanalNumedia, but remain linked to the group as exclusive consultants for the next year.The departures come at a time when AlloCine, which operates teleph
  • France's Films de L'astre buys Honolulu Baby

    France's Films de L'astre has acquired local distribution rights to Honolulu Baby, the latest feature from cult Italian actor-director Maurizio Nichetti. RAI Trade, which is handling worldwide rights, has also sold the film to Greece and all other French-speaking territories.Honolulu Baby is a Mr Bean-style comedy about an engineer who escapes from his monotonous life to undertake a mission in a remote, exotic location where he is surrounded by beautiful women. On his ret
  • France's La Verite 2 continues record-breaking run

    French comedy La Verite 2 is on its way to becoming Warner Bros France's biggest ever hit after selling 2.83 million tickets in seven days (Feb 7-13), second only to historical record holder Taxi 2, which clocked up 3.48 million admissions in its first week.La Verite 2, the sequel to the 1997 hit which is also directed by Thomas Gilou and produced by Vertigo Films, has already provided Warner's French outpost with its biggest opener in history, with 503,582 admissi

    The American Film Market has announced the lineup for its AFM Seminars at the Le Merigot Hotel as well as the participants in the AFM Finance Conference which will take place on Feb 23 from 9.00 to 12.30 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel.FEB 23:The two panels at the Finance Conference are:The Future Of Feature Film Financing: The Financiers will be moderated by Lewis Horwitz (president and CEO, The Lewis Horwitz Organization) and include panelists John Miller (mana
  • German DVD sales up by 350%

    German DVD sales leapt by 350% to nine million units in 2000, compared to 2.6 million the previous year, and accounted for 30% of the sell-through video market, according to figures from market research company gfk.Gladiator was the most successful of the 1,400 DVD titles released in 2000, shifting more than 300,000 units within a month of its December 7 release, 100% more than previous bestseller The Matrix.While the action and thriller genre dominate - no less th
  • Germany launches new distributor cash awards

    Up to $28,000 (DM600,000) is being made available by Germany's new state minister for culture, Julian Nida-Ruemelin, to support "culturally outstanding achievements in the sphere of film distribution" in the form of three annual distributor awards starting this coming autumn. Each award will include up to $94,000 (DM200,000) to be invested in the distribution of German and other European films "with artistic quality". In announcing the new awards, the ministry explained that the
  • Gladiator to re-enter the arena in Italy

    In an attempt to cash in on Gladiator's multiple Oscar nominations, distributor UIP has decided to re-release the sword-and-sandal epic in Italy two weeks before the Academy Awards ceremony takes place.A spokesperson for UIP said the distributor had officially taken the decision after the Oscar nominations were announced on Wednesday. Gladiator is now set to be released on 50-100 screens nationwide on March 16.In its first Italian run in 2000, Gladiator gros
  • Gladiator, Crouching Tiger lead Oscars race

    Gladiator and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon led the field in the 2000 Academy Award nominations announced this morning in Los Angeles, which generated a few surprises and set some unusual records.Crouching Tiger became only the third foreign-language film in history to win a Best Picture nomination as well as a Best Foreign Language Film nod, while Steven Soderbergh became the first director since Michael Curtiz in 1938 to win two Best Director nominations - for
  • Greenberg omitted from Oscar documentary shortlist

    The moment that this year's Academy Award nominees are revealed to the entire world at a pre-dawn ceremony broadcast live from Los Angeles tomorrow morning, there will be the usual gasps at some of the omissions and more questions raised about why some of the year's best-known documentary features have failed yet again to make the cut.Although no one knows for sure which five documentary features will compete for the coveted Oscar in March, it is already known within industry circles w
  • Gusinsky moves to block takeover of NTV

    Vladimir Gusinsky is reportedly attempting to stop Russian state gas giant Gazprom from taking over his NTV television station at an extraordinary general meeting next month, by switching the location of the meeting to Gibraltar.Gusinsky, who is currently in southern Spain pending an extradition request from Russia, said that the Gibraltar courts are less likely to accept Gazprom's authority. Gazprom has claimed an additional 19% stake in NTV, which was held as collateral against a loa
  • Hannibal

    (The following is an extract from a review that ran in the weekly edition of Screen International. For the full review see Screen International, Feb 9-16)Dir: Ridley Scott. US. 2001. 141mins.The dark shadow of The Silence Of The Lambs looms large over Hannibal, the eagerly-anticipated sequel to the 1991 Oscar-winning thriller which became a pop culture icon due to Anthony Hopkins' mesmerising turn as Hannibal the Cannibal. It's doubtful that even
  • Hannibal chews up Italian box office

    In a record-breaking opening of a US film at the Italian box office, Hannibal has grossed a chilling $3,678,089 (l7,705,597,000) in three days from 322 theatres, taking an average $11,423 per screen. Previous all-time highs were registered by The Blair Witch Project ($3,593,327) and Titanic ($3,094,541).Distributor FilmAuro's impressive takings were apparently boosted by the Italian censors' decision to give the thriller an unrestricted release, unlike the U
  • Hungarian 'plex saturation slows admissions

    According to industry insiders, there are signs that the multiplex boom which revitalised the Hungarian exhibition industry over the past five years is grinding to a halt.There are now 12 multiplexes in the country, which has a population of 10 million, but the rapid growth that saw admissions in Budapest rise from 5.6 million, when the first multiplex opened there in 1996, to 7.6 million in 1999 and 8 million in 2000, has now reached a plateau."The market in Budapest is saturat
  • In The Bedroom

    Dir: Todd Field. US. 2001. 135mins.Indie actor Todd Field makes an impressive feature directorial debut with In The Bedroom, a sharply-observed portrait of how one upper-middle-class family comes to terms with sudden tragedy. Set in New England, this meditative, multilayered drama is as much noteworthy for its accomplishments, providing a detailed chronicle of a whole community, as for the pitfalls it avoids, specifically its determination to steer clear of sentimentality and
  • Italian For Beginners

    Screened at Berlin (Competition). Dir: Lone Scherfig. Denmark. 2000. 118mins.Judging by the applause and peels of laughter that greeted the press screenings this week for Lone Scherfig's Italian For Beginners at Berlin, a festival where such spontaneous outbursts are rare, it is clear that there is plenty of life yet in Denmark's Dogme95 school of low-budget digital video filmmaking. Indeed, any lingering suspicions that this back-to-basics movement fathered more t
  • Japan awaits 350 screen release for Korean film

    Tokyo-based distributor Cine Quanon, in co-operation with Korean film producer CJ Entertainment, plans to release the hit Korean thriller Joint Security Area on as many as 350 screens, a new high for an Asian film in Japan. Set to open nationwide on May 19, Joint Security Area is expected to overtake the previous record holder: Shuri, the 1999 Korean thriller that grossed $2m from a total of 140 screens, the biggest box office result for any Korean film in the Japa
  • Judi Dench rejoins Hallstrom, Miramax in News

    Judi Dench has joined the cast of The Shipping News, Lasse Hallstrom's movie version of the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by E Annie Proulx, which is currently in pre-production and is set to start shooting in March. Produced and financed by Miramax Films, it marks the fourth Miramax picture in which Dench has starred after Mrs Brown (a BBC Films production acquired by Miramax in 1997), Shakespeare In Love for which she won an Oscar and Chocolat, which
  • Kieslowski Awards to be rolled out across Europe

    Young European talent is to get a new chance to break into the movies thanks to an extension of the Kieslowski Awards.The prizes, which have operated in France for the last three years, are now being rolled out throughout the 15 European Union countries. The scheme, which gives writers and directors a chance to turn a short film script into a finished film, is backed by French mini-major MK2 and NADA, a technical support company."There is a need to reinforce the European film-ma
  • Lenormand confirmed as new StudioCanal chief

    As expected, Richard Lenormand has been appointed chairman and CEO of StudioCanal to replace Vincent Grimond who has resigned following his appointment as senior executive vice president, operations and finance, at Universal Studios Group. The board of directors at StudioCanal unanimously appointed Lenormand. The 38 year-old was most recently senior vice president, finance, at Canal Plus Group. He joined Canal in 1990 in the finance department and was named vice president, finance in
  • Loews goes to Schwartz, US partners in $850m deal

    Ending weeks of uncertainty, Canadian billionaire Gerald Schwartz and two US partners have struck an $850m (C$1.3bn) deal to acquire distressed exhibitor Loews Cineplex, the second-largest chain in North America. One of the partners, LA-based Oaktree Capital Management, holds a large chunk of debt of another distressed circuit, Regal Cinemas, the continent's largest.Details of the deal, which were released Thursday, indicate that Schwartz's Toronto-based Onex Corp has joined for
  • London critics fete John Malkovich, Billy Elliot

    Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich was named film of the year at the 21st London Film Critics' Circle awards last night, held at London's Savoy Hotel. The film also bagged prizes in the director and screenwriter of the year categories, for Jonze and Charlie Kaufman respectively. Christopher Nolan, meanwhile, picked up the British screenwriter of the year award for Memento, while Stephen Daldry was named British director of the year for breakout hit Billy Elliot.An
  • Mark Litwak resigns as chairman of

    Entertainment attorney and producers rep Mark Litwak has resigned as chairman of, an internet virtual marketplace for buying and selling film rights.The resignation comes after a series of lay-offs last week at Reelplay which was launched in Oct 1999 as a showcase of film trailers, promotion reels, synopses, stills, credits and key art."I have enjoyed my time with Reelplay and wish the company the best of luck in all its endeavours," said Litwak in a statement. "I
  • Mark Litwak resigns as chairman of

    Entertainment attorney and producers rep Mark Litwak has resigned as chairman of, an internet virtual marketplace for buying and selling film rights.The resignation comes after a series of lay-offs last week at Reelplay which was launched in Oct 1999 as a showcase for film trailers, promotion reels, synopses, stills, credits and key art "I have enjoyed my time with Reelplay and wish the company the best of luck in all its endeavours," said Litwak in a statement. "I
  • Medusa hit comedy moves from screen to console

    Italian mini-major Medusa is seeking a US co-production partner to develop a line of video games spun off from its film properties. It is already preparing its first title, set to feature the money-spinning comic trio Aldo, Giovanni & Giacomo. Medusa plans to release the game, which is being developed for the Sony Playstation console, in Italy in April. The trio's latest feature, Ask Me If I'm Happy, has already raked in a whopping $38m at the Italian box office since its Decem
  • Miramax signs development deal with The Onion

    Miramax Films has signed a first look agreement to develop scripts and features with The Onion, an online-offline publisher of satirical news which was formed in 1988 in Madison, Wisconsion, and has quickly become a cult source of satire amongst college audiences with a weekly readership of 1 million viewers. Projects which result from the agreement will be produced by The Onion and 3 Arts Entertainment.The deal comes as The Onion has just relocated its editorial staff from Madison to
  • MME acquires majority stake in Neue Impuls

    Hamburg-based TV production house MME: Me, Myself and Eye Entertainment has acquired a majority stake in Neue Impuls Film Produktionsgesellschaft (NIF) in a move to expand its portfolio to include film and television fiction production.NIF, whose credits include the Danish-German-Italian co-production of Lars Hesselholdt's family film Katja's Adventure and, most recently, Vanessa Jopp's Engel & Joe, with star Robert Stadtlober in the lead, will in turn be able to benefit
  • Original cast returns for Stuart Little 2 in March

    Columbia Pictures has set the cast for Stuart Little 2, the sequel to its monster smash from 1999 which grossed $140m in North America and $160m in international territories.The film will start production in March under director Rob Minkoff with original cast members Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie and Jonathan Lipnicki as the Little family and Michael J Fox, Nathan Lane and Steve Zahn in the voices of the animals.Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing for their Red Wagon
  • Ozon rounds up femmes for next project

    Acclaimed French auteur Francois Ozon has unveiled a stellar cast for his next film Huit Femmes. Pitched as a femme whodunnit involving a murder committed on Christmas Eve, the film is set to star Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Beart, Virginie Ledoyen, Isabelle Huppert, Fanny Ardant, Danielle Darrieux, Vahina Goicante and Firmine Richard.The film has a provisional budget of $10m and will start shooting in April. The producer is Paris-based Fidelite Productions.As with his
  • Palace, Istituto Luce strike two-pronged pact

    Italian state distributor Istituto Luce and Australia's Palace Films have signed a two-pronged deal under which they will co-produce features and jointly distribute Italian titles in the Australian market.The deal, which is expected to lead to the creation of a jointly owned company in the next few months, marks a return to production for Istituto Luce after a hiatus of over a year, when the company, in compliance with a government directive, focused on distribution and exhibition.
  • Pathe, TF1 end merger talks

    French broadcaster TF1 has ended its talks with film major Pathe, aimed at merging the two groups' interests in the areas of movie management, acquisition and sales, reportedly because of conflict between TF1 chairman Patrick Le Lay and Pathe's Jerome Seydoux.The merger would have created a French competitor to StudioCanal, with a catalogue of about 1,200 titles.TF1 had already attempted to buy a 29% chunk of Pathe in early 1999, but was blocked by Canal Plus and its main shareh
  • Peppermint acquires Italy's Domenica

    German rights trader Peppermint has picked up German rights to Italian director Wilma Labate's Domenica which is showing in the Panorama section of this year's Berlin Film Festival. Starring Claudio Amendola, Domenica Giuliano and Annabella Sciorra, the film centres on a police inspector, who doesn't have a daughter, and an orphan girl, who has lost her father, wandering through the streets of Naples. Sales on the film are being handled by Rai Trade.
  • Picture This! picks up Confusion Of Genders for US

    Picture This! Entertainment, Doug Witkins' boutique distribution outfit that specialises in stories presenting non-stereotypical gay, lesbian and bisexual characters, has acquired all US rights to the raunchy French sex comedy The Confusion of Genders (La Confusion Des Genres). Written and directed by Ilan Duran Cohen, a 37-year-old graduate of New York University's film school, the film was shown last month in the World Cinema section of the Sundance Film Festival and ha
  • Pinewood-Shepperton eyes European expansion

    Pinewood-Shepperton Holdings, owner of the $145m (£100m)-plus super studio formed this week from Pinewood Studios' effective takeover of Shepperton Studios, has set its sights on a link-up with a production facility on the European Continent.Michael Grade, the former Pinewood chief who becomes executive chairman of the new group, confirmed that a European partnership was high on the company's agenda. He said that several leading operations were being considered."We are looking f
  • Portugal's SIC Filmes reveals second-year slate

    Portuguese private broadcaster SIC (Sociedad Independente de Comunicao) has unveiled the next five titles on its second-year slate of made-for-TV movies from production division SIC Filmes.The titles include: The Secret, a melodrama from director Leandro Ferreira; Dear Mother, a comedy about three sons dodging responsibility for their elderly mother, from director Jose Sacramento; Later On, a drama from Fatima Ribeiro ; The Pythagorean Theorem, a romantic co
  • Solomon steps in at stricken TEAM Entertainment

    TV industry veteran Michael Jay Solomon has joined struggling production and sales group TEAM Communications as its new chairman and chief executive. He replaces Drew Levin who has resigned with immediate effect. The company, which is quoted on the NASDAQ and Neuer Markt stock exchanges, last month warned that profits would be below previous expectations but Levin declined to quantify the problem. The company now says that the charge against operations for the year 2000 a
  • Spain's Grupo Correo restructures ahead of float

    Spanish publishing and multimedia giant Grupo Correo has appointed a new CEO and restructured its organisation into five main business areas with an eye toward expansion and in preparation for a planned spring stock flotation. Jose Maria Bergareche, current general manager of Correo and right-hand man to chief Alejandro Echevarria, will take over as CEO. Echevarria leaves the CEO position in order to focus on his concurrent post as president of broadcaster Telecinco, a Grupo Correo int
  • Summit lines up Insomnia, Servicing Sara for AFM

    Summit Entertainment has picked up two major studio projects for international distribution at AFM - Insomnia, a remake of the Norwegian thriller which Al Pacino is circling for director Christopher Nolan, is to be distributed domestically by Warner Bros, while Servicing Sara, a comedy starring Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley, is a Mandalay Pictures production to be distributed domestically by Paramount Pictures.Insomnia came to Summit through Alcon Entertainme
  • Telepool, Nighthawk team for distribution

    German rights trader Telepool and start-up distributor Nighthawk Pictures have joined forces to release Michael Anderson's The New Adventures Of Pinocchio in German cinemas on April 5. According to Nighthawk's managing director Christoph Heckenbuecker, depending on the release's success, this distribution partnership could be continued in the future for other titles where Telepool has also acquired theatrical rights.The young distribution outfit was launched last year wit
  • Thoeren quits Ufa to focus on producing

    Veteran producer Konstantin Thoeren is exiting his post as managing director of Ufa International Film & TV Produktion at the end of this week. Thoeren told ScreenDaily that he will now concentrate on producing through his own outfit Patrola Films Inc, based in Munich and Los Angeles, although he will serve as an adviser for projects which have been developed at Ufa International. Last year Thoeren brought Ufa International together with Promark subsidiary The Enemy Films
  • Threshold to produce customised CG animated movie

    Larry Kassanoff's Threshold Entertainment has started production on a $50m CGI animated movie set in a supermarket called Foodfight! through its subsidiary Threshold Digital Research Labs (TDRL). The difference with this film, however, is that it will be produced by animators - and feature consumer brands - from around the world.Threshold has raised equity financing for the picture from investment capital from Korean animation company Natural Image. TDRL will head up the 3D dig
  • To See A Boat wins Prix UIP Berlin

    Anja Breien's short To See A Boat At Sail (A Se En Bat Med Seil) has been awarded the Prix UIP Berlin, an initiative of distributor UIP and the European Film Academy in co-operation with the Berlin International Film Festival.The Euros2,000 prize, awarded for the first time this year, ensures nomination to the short film section of the 2001 European Film Awards in Berlin in December. Breien's film was selected from among the shorts participating in the Official Competitio
  • Trust turns up sales heat at Berlin

    Armed with hot competition title Italian For Beginners plus the next projects from Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, Scandinavia's Trust Film Sales closed a host of deals in smaller markets this week to emerge as the most prolific sales agent at Berlin.Closing multi-title packages to Israel's Shani Films, Greece's ArtHouse and Canada's Filmtonic after its sale of Italian to Miramax, Trust's flurry of activity was seen as a bright spot in an otherwise quiet European Fi
  • UK prepares to devour Hannibal

    UIP is looking forward to this weekend's UK opening of Hannibal after seeing record takings from its Valentine Day's preview on Wednesday night. The sequel to 1991's The Silence Of The Lambs took an massive $1,129,313 (£708,355) from the 358 sites participating in the preview screening. The figure is the highest single night preview recorded by UIP and only serves to increase expectations for its three-day opening weekend. The film is released in the UK on Friday at 425 sites wi
  • UK's Nicola Usburne wins Silverman Fellowship

    Nicola Usborne, the UK producer of FilmFour's Sundance hit Jump Tomorrow, has been selected as the recipient of the 2001 Mark Silverman Fellowship which supports "visionary independent producers who have committed to a film project and still face the challenge of moving forward into production."The award is bestowed by The Sundance Institute in partnership with The Mark Silverman Fellowship For New Producers.Usborne's project is $9.99, co-written by Tatia Rosenthal and
  • Universal unspools webcast deals

    Universal Studios has signed a deal with broadband network Intertainer to deliver its films in pay-per-view (PPV) and video-on-demand (VoD) format. It is believed to be close to a similar deal with Blockbuster and Enron.The long-term deal will see Universal provide Intertainer with all its new releases and some film library titles starting later this month. Some library TV product will also be included."We believe that video-on-demand is going to become a huge force in home ente
  • Warner Bros launches Harry Potter website today

    Warner Bros will launch the official Harry Potter website ( in the UK) today (Feb 16) in anticipation of the release of the film Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone in December.The site is planned as a community forum for Harry Potter fans across the world and is inviting other fan-managed Potter sites to link themselves to it. It will feature an animated short of the Hogwarts Express train as well as message boards, games and informat
  • Werckmeister wins top prize at Hungarian Film Week

    Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies was awarded the grand prix and the Gene Moskowtiz critics prize at the 32nd Hungarian Film Week (February 1-6).Best director went to Arpad Sopsits for Abandoned and best photography to Gergely Poharnok for I Love Budapest and Sorted Letters. Best first film was split between I Love Budapest, directed by Agnes Incze, and Ferenc Torok's Moscow Square, while Szabolcs Hajdu won best director of a first film for
  • Wit

    Screened at Berlin (Competition) Dir. Mike Nichols. US. 2000. 99mins.Made in England by Mike Nichols and adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Margaret Edson into a cable TV original for HBO in the US, Wit is in no sense a film that will travel far in the cinema. It is, however, an extraordinary effort by all concerned and, in particular, by Emma Thompson, who takes the leading part of an well-known but hardly well-loved academic who finds herself stricken wi
  • Women stays on top; Rocky opens well

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