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18 February 2003

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  • AFI, AFMA team for internships at AFM

    The American Film Institute(AFI) and AFMA are teaming up to establish an internship programme focusing onpackaging and selling feature films; the programme, which is exclusivelyavailable to AFI Conservatory Producing fellows, will run during the AmericanFilm Market which starts this week.The interns will be placedwith production and distribution companies with offices at AFM includingAlliance Atlantis, Cinema Vault Releasing, Crystal Sky, Curb Entertainment, ECGWorl
  • Amen shines at France's Lumieres

    Costa Gavras' heavily Cesar-nominated Amen picked up France's Lumiere award this weekend for best film of 2002. The Lumieres, which are the French equivalent to the Golden Globes in the US, are voted on by foreign journalists working in France.Jean Rochefort won the best actor prize for his role in Patrice Leconte's The Man On The Train while Isabelle Carre took top honours for Zabou Breitman's Se Souvenir De Belle Choses. Although Carre is nominated for a
  • Ararat wins five out of nine at Canada's Genies

    Canada's Genie Awards wereevenly distributed across the nominees, with no film dominating the majorprizes which were handed out last night. Atom Egoyan's Ararat, nominated for nine awards, was the leader in thefinal tally, with five statuettes including Best Picture and Best Actress forArsinee Khanjian. Director Atom Egoyan was not nominated although as one of thefilm's producers he does receive a statuette. Egoyan was not there to accept itas he is presiding over the international jur
  • Argentine Patagonik kicks off 2003 with strong slate

    Argentina's leading production company Patagonik Film Group, in Berlin with Panorama entry Kamchatka, has a strong start to 2003, with a six-title slate of feature films.The three-way joint venture - between Buena Vista International, Spain's Admira and Argentina's Clarin Group - is in the process of selecting a director to shoot the winning screenplay from its second annual scriptwriting contest. Written by Pablo Lago and Susana Cardozo and titled Pulenta, the sto
  • Aurora provides a ray of hope in Australia

    Every cinema-producing country is always abuzz about which up-and-coming writers and filmmakers are worth watching. Cate Shortland is one of Australia's. Her script, More Than Scarlet, was one of four chosen from a field of 40 for last year's inaugural Aurora intensive scriptwriting workshop."I suddenly found myself in a room being asked really difficult questions and I had to acknowledge that I didn't have the answers," she says of the one-week residential workshop that kicked-
  • Australian directors to honour Fred Schepisi

    Fred Schepisi is to receive the major honour at the second annual awards ceremony of the Australian Screen Directors Association (ASDA). The outstanding achievement award recognises excellence for a body of work and will be presented by the president of the European Film Academy, German director Wim Wenders, at a ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday February 26. "Australia is fortunate in being able to claim Fred Schepisi as one of our own," said ASDA president Donald Crombie. "The f
  • Bahman Naraghi joins Intermedia as COO

    Bahman Naraghihas been named chief operating officer (COO) of Intermedia Film Equities USAand in his new role will oversee all Intermedia's business operations andfinance activities. He will report directly to Moritz Borman, chairman and CEOof the company.Naraghi joinsIntermedia after a stint as executive vice president of Miramax Films where hewas in charge of the company's finance, accounting, operations and humanresources. He was instrumental in developing new financial arrangements
  • Bankruptcy workshop draws Talent attention

    One of the hotest draws at this week's Berlinale Talent Campus was the work shop on Bankruptcy and Resurrection, with an insiders view of the experience provided by Kinowelt's Rainer Koelmel and producers Cedomir Kolar (No Man's Land) and Nik Powell (The Crying Game).Bankruptcy is something that often hovers over film companies like Damocles sword, Koelmel argued: 'There is always a danger [of going bankrupt] as you always have debt, but you hope you can avoid it.'
  • Bavaria embraces A Torn Hug

    Recent Rotterdam CineMart project, A Torn Hug, (Un Abrazo Partido) by Argentinian director Daniel Burmann has been picked up for world sales by Bavaria Film International. The deal completes the financing of the $650,000 tale about piecing together one's identity in multicultural Argentina. Other backers include Burman's own Burman Dubcovsky Cine, Wanda Vision and Canal Plus from Spain and Italy's Storie SRL. Bavaria is currently handling selected territories on Burman's
  • Belgrade festival announces line-up

    The 31st Belgrade International Film Festival will be held from Feb 28 until Mar 9 featuring films that have participated at major world festivals in the past year.The selection is divided into six programmes and will feature some 90 movies, including Chicago, The Man Without A Past, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Catch Me If You Can, 24 Hour Party People, Lilja 4 Ever, The Magdalene Sisters, 28 Days Later, Adaptation, 25th Hour, Far from Heaven, The Hours, Ten Minutes Older (both Trum
  • Berlin market climate offers guarded encouragement

    If Berlin's European Film Market was anything to go by, one thing is clear: the overall climate for buying and selling films is probably getting no worse.Indeed, the two recurring adjectives used to describe the state of the film sales business were "firmer" and "livelier" - particularly in comparison with a ravaged independent sector in 2002, that was reputedly near impossible for pre-sales. All in all, Berlin should provide modest encouragement as buyers and sellers prepare t
  • Bigelow set for VIP treatment

    A new film by Berlinale competion jury member Kathryn Bigelow is one of ten features being produced by the second tranche of the private German media fund operator, Film & Entertainment VIP Medienfonds .Bigelow's 1930s-set drama Scottsboro Boys is being co-produced with Mark Damon's MDP Worldwide, as is the thriller Monster, based on the true story of the serial murderer Aileen Wuornos, which is currently in production; and Barbara Kopple's youth drama Havoc penned
  • Blind Shaft (Mang Jing)

    Dir: Li Yang. China-Ger. 2003. 92 mins.For most festival-goers at Berlin, the two first-time directors in competition were George Clooney and an unknown Chinese director. In the end, however, it was the latter who won the recognition, for Li Yang 's Blind Shaft is a solid, impressive debut. A watchable, character-driven thriller set in the as-yet unexplored cinematic territory of the Chinese coalmining industry, it makes up in panache and performance what it lacks in t
  • Blind Shaft director readies debut follow-up

    With the applause still ringing in his ears from the screening of his first feature, Blind Shaft, Chinese director Li Yang (pictured) has already put together most of the pieces for his follow-up, set during the Cultural Revolution.As yet untitled, the new film will, said Li, be "much closer to my own heart and to the events of my adolescence". A large part of the movie is set in the jail into which the central character is thrown. "It will be an expose of prison conditions," sa
  • Buskin branches out into co-productions

    Italy's Buskin Film will expand its new production activities to include minority co-productions with other European partners, Buskin president Roberto Bessi and CEO Antonio Guadalupi said in Berlin.Bessi and Guadalupi said they are currently considering projects in the UK, Germany and Spain, with an eye to adding three minority co-productions to their current annual four picture production slate. "This is a natural next step," Bessi said, adding that the current "worldwide cris
  • Buyers catch The Last Train

    Max Saidel's new sales outfit Slav International has enjoyed good business with The Last Train (El Ultimo Tren, aka Corazon De Fuego). The social comedy, directed by Federico Luppi, which was Uruguay's foreign-language Oscar hopeful, was bought by Pandora/Pegasos for Germany and Austria and by Fama for Switzerland. A deal with TVA for French-speaking Canada is pending and Slav is in advanced talks for deals covering Scandinavia, Italy and Benelux. Saidel, who rece
  • Cast takes shape for Joffe's epic Invaders

    Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi is to play the lead Indian role in Roland Joffe's upcoming The Invaders, which is due to shoot in India later this year. Oberoi is one of India's fastest-rising stars, having been catapulted to stardom by his debut film, Company, which was released in India last April and recently screened in the Berlin Forum. He is known to Hindi fans as 'the Road boy', for his role in last year's hit thriller of the same name.And, according to local In
  • Celluloid strikes Belleville deals

    PatrickFraterFrenchsales agent Celluloid Dreams has struck a host of deals on Cannes hopeful BellevilleRendez-vous (aka Les Triplettes De Belleville) and has also agreed a five-picture package deal with UKdistributor Metro Tartan.Belleville, an animated thriller for adultsdirected by Sylvain Chomet, is part of the Metro-Tartan package, which alsoincludes Jean-Pierre Limousin's recent Novo, Marina De Van's InMy Skin,Bertrand Bonello's Tiresia
  • Columbia TriStar mulls German distribution move

    Columbia TriStar is considering distributing third-party German films, on top of in-house productions by Deutsche Columbia Pictures. If Columbia does take on German films, it will be welcomed by many in the local industry who have seen the number of heavy-weight distributors shrink over the last two years.Juergen Schau, Columbia TriStar Film's managing director in Germany, said that this opening up to more German films is "under consideration and I think that would be the right
  • ContentFilm teams with DMX for Dickerson-directed thriller

    Ed Pressman and JohnSchmidt's New York-based production and distribution outfit ContentFilmhas teamed up with rapper-actor DMX's Bloodline Films for the thriller NeverDie Alone. Based on a novel by thecult 1970s writer Donald Goines, the story centres on an aspiring journalistwho witnesses the murder of a rapper and learns why he was killed when he readsthe gangster's journal. DMX will play the gangster, while David Arquette,whose credits include the Screamse
  • Cyprus becomes MEDIA Programme's 25th member

    Cyprus has become the 25th member of the European Union's MEDIA Programme following the Slovak Republic which signed its association agreement on January 10. Both agreements have been back-dated to January 1, 2003.While the Slovak Republic has committed to pay Euross 160,000 annually as its financial contribution towards the MEDIA budget, Cyprus will be paying Euros 240,000 each year towards the financing of the audiovisual programme's activities.Slovenia is expected to join lat
  • Daredevil

    Dir: Mark Steven Johnson. US. 2003. 102mins.Take that, Batman! Finally comes a comic book adaptation which really does dare to go where Tim Burton and co merely flirted - into the dark realm. Daredevil, as brought to the screen by writer - director Mark Steven Johnson, brings real violence and death into the comic book mix, and the result is a fascinating blend of the fantastic and the tragic which will be relished by teenage boys everywhere and frowned upon by shocked
  • Daredevil is the year's first blockbuster

    Ben Affleck in a tight oxblood suit completely outclassed thecompetition as Fox's Daredevil opened top of the charts on an estimated $43.5m. Based on the1960s Marvel comic book, Affleck stars as blind lawyer Matt Murdock who slipsinto the costume at night to become a feared vigilante. Jennifer Gar
  • Davis/Mondrian slate led by actioner Mule

    Veteran salesagent Chris Davis' new sales and financing outfit Chris Davis International(CDI) has unveiled the first titles to emerge from its financing and productionpartnership with Lars Sylvest's Mondrian, a Europe-based financing groupwith access to a network of European banks and equity funds.Leading the packis Mule, a $17mactioner based in the Los Angeles and Amsterdam drug scene. Tony Ludwig andAlan Riche (The Family Man, Deep Blue Sea and Starsky And Hutch)
  • ECG Worldwide brings new thriller The Invitation to AFM

    ECG Worldwide has acquired writer-director Pat Bermel's thrillerThe Invitation and will offer it for worldwide licensing at next week's AFM,company president Barbara Mudge announced today (Feb 11). The picture will makeits premiere sales marketing screening at AFM. Lance Henriksen, whose creditsin
  • Europe gets Dogme Blues

    Natascha Arthy's Dogme film Old New Borrowed And Blue has notched up brisk sales for Trust Film Sales, which sold German and Austrian rights to Senator. The romantic comedy-drama also went to Artcam and AG Market for the Czech Republic and the former Yugoslavian respectively. Both companies also bought Swedish box-office hit Kops, while Independenta took Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself and Its All About Love for Rumania.Nordisk Film International Sales a
  • European broadcasters called on to increase film funding

    German broadcasters have been called on to double their financial contribution to the German Federal Film Board to bring them into line with the cinema owners' annual payments of Euros 21m.In a declaration on the revision to the German Film Funding Law (FFG), the four German exhibitor trade associations AG Kino, Cineropa, Gilde Deutscher Filmkunsttheater and Hauptverband Deutscher Filmtheater argued that the contributions of the public and private channels "must at least be on the sa
  • European Film Market closes with flurry of deals

    The European Film Market came to a close with a flurry of last-minute deals.One of the most notable deals was MK2's sale of Claude Chabrol's competition film The Flower Of Evil to Wanda Films for Spain and Portugal - two territories which because of the pay-TV crisis have been almost no-go areas for sellers in recent months. The film was also sold Providence for Brazil. MK2 also sold Rain Children to Mont Blanc for Switzerland and Mikado for Italy, while Cineart-C
  • Films Distribution beefs up slate

    French sales outfit Films Distribution, which is handling the Lucas Belvaux trilogy, one of the hottest properties at the EFM, has added four films to its Berlin-AFM slate. These are headed by Central Station-writer Marcos Bernstein's directorial debut The Other Side Of The Street. The film, which stars Fernanda Montenegro and Raul Cortez, has been picked up for Latin America by Sony Pictures Classics. The studio offshoot has also has taken an option on US and UK rights
  • Flower Of Evil (La Fleur Du Mal)

    Dir. Claude Chabrol. France. 2003. 104mins.Opinion is likely to differ on Flower Of Evil (La Fleur Du Mal), the new opus from Claude Chabrol, one of the soundest names in Gallic cinema. His numerous admirers will once again appreciate this insidious ironic study of the provincial bourgeoisie, while detractors will complain its plot is mostly derivative, static and too deeply buried beneath the demure respectability of its characters. Superb photography, elegant
  • Fox Lorber's Lorber creates new specialised US DVD label with Koch

    Michael Koch and Richard Lorber have announced they willlaunch Koch Lorber Films, a new US DVD label catering to world cinema,independent documentaries, music and the performing arts. The company isscheduled to kick off in the second quarter of the year. Koch, whose KochEntertainment music distribution outfit will also handle distribution of thevideo line, will serve as chairman of the new venture with Lorber, who heads upLorber Media and Fox Lorber Video, serving as preside
  • German media fund takes 'hands on' approach

    Private German media fund Cinerenta is to become more "hands on" in the development and production of the features it finances - moving away from the previous strategy of coming onboard projects developed by other producers."We are to become more involved in development and are expanding our production department in Munich", said newly-installed CEO Marco Mehlitz (pictured). "In addition, we will be opening a production office in Babelsberg soon".Referring to t
  • Ghost House hires Norowzian for Boogeyman

    Senator International presidentJoe Drake announced today (Feb 14) that the genre production label created inApril 2002 between Sam Raimi, Rob Tappert and Senator is to be called GhostHouse Pictures. The company's first feature, the classic horror story, Boogeyman, will be directed by Mehdi Norowzian, who receivedan Oscar nomination in 2000 for his short film, Killing Joe, and is due to begin principal photography in May inNew Zealand.Raimi and Tappert will produce the pic
  • Gordon Green teams with ContentFilm for Undertow

    Hot on the heels of hiscritically acclaimed Sundance Film Festival prize-winner All The Real Girls, hot US director David Gordon Green has set his nextfilm Undertow at Edward Pressman and John Schmidt's ContentFilm with DermotMulroney, Josh Lucas and Jamie Bell in the lead roles.The project has been indevelopment for over four years at Sunflower Productions, the company Pressmanformed with Terrence Malick. The film will be produced by Gordon Green'scollaborator Lisa Muskat with
  • Guadalajara to launch Iberoamerican market strand

    A new Iberoamerican market is set to debut during Mexico's Guadalajara film festival in March.Managed by independent producer/distributor Laura Ruiz of Canela Films, the market has already attracted up to 100 buyers and distributors from Latin America, Europe and the US.While the festival runs from March 21st - 27th, the market will take place between March 21st - 25th. Confirmed US companies include: HBO, In Focus Entertainment, Kino House, Samuel Goldwyn Co, Pandora USA
  • Head of FilmFour Lab steps down

    Robin Gutch is stepping down as head of FilmFour Lab, FilmFour's low-budget and experimental division.Gutch's position and the Lab were though to be safe despite FilmFour being folded back into parent broadcaster Channel 4 last year, but Gutch was one of the candidates to head Channel 4's entire film operation, a position which went to head of drama Tessa Ross.'Both Mark Thompson and Tessa Ross have been extremely robust in their commitment to continuing the Lab in the new FilmF
  • Hours, Adaptation lead Golden Bear sweepstakes

    Stephen Daldry's The Hours and Spike Jonze's Adaptation are leading the Golden Bear sweepstakes, followed closely by Zhang Yimou's stirring martial arts epic Hero, which was lauded to the skies by some critics but trashed by others. China was also in the running for a prize of some sort with Li Yang's Blind Shaft, a Ripley-esque moral thriller shot with Dogme austerity, set in the grimy, unregulated world of China's coal mining industry.Other strongly
  • Indian delegation heads for AFM

    Led by Mrs. Anjuli Duggal, joint secretary of India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, a 25-strong delegation of Indian film directors, producers and financiers is heading for the AFM. The delegation, the first ever to visit the AFM, plans to promote the Indian film industry in an international context amongst producers, distributors and exhibitors of films both in Hollywood and other parts of the world. Biren Ghose, COO, United TV and a member of the AFM-bound party to
  • Industry mourns Daniel Toscan Du Plantier

    Daniel Toscan Du Plantier Daniel Toscan Du Plantier, president of Unifrance Film International, died suddenly yesterday in Berlin. Toscan Du Plantier was an always colourful, sometimes controversial, character who was ideally suited to the role of promoter in chief of French cinema. The festival immediately moved into a phase of mourning with flags flown at half mast and celebrations toned down. The Panorama section party was brought to a halt after a minute of silence and a spe
  • Infernal Affairs

    Dir. Andrew Lau, Alan Mak. Hong Kong. 2002. 98mins.A smart Hong Kong action thriller, Infernal Affairs stands to prove as much of a hit on the international market as it has done at the box office at home. With both a prequel and sequel already in the works, Warner Bros, along with Brad Grey and Brad Pitt, have paid $1.75m for English-language remake rights. Cleverly written, energetically directed and superbly shot and edited, it has proved a surefire winner in Hong K
  • Infernal Affairs leads Hong Kong Film Award nominations

    Hit crime thriller Infernal Affairs leads the race for the 22nd Hong Kong Film Awards with 16 nominations including best film, best director, for Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, and an impressive five nods in the best actor and supporting actor categories. The Media Asia production, which topped the Hong Kong box office in 2002 with a haul of $7.1m (HK$55m), also picked up nods for best screenplay, cinematography, editing and action choreography amongst others. The film's two st
  • Joint venture to distribute Hispanic films in the US

    Spanish production company Plural Entertainment, Mexican producer-distributor Televisa Cine and Miami-based talent management and marketing firm Latin World Entertainment have formed a joint venture to distribute Hispanic films in the United States.The new venture aims to capitalise on the growing Latino market in the US and release at least five feature films in 2003. The agreement was unveiled last week during the Latino Film Festival of New York by Plural's GM Luis Fernandez and pre
  • Kosslick reflects on his second Berlinale

    As the Berlinale drew to a close with the out of competition screening of Gangs Of New York, festival director Dieter Kosslick for one was happy.With the threat of war being declared on Iraq at the back of people's minds during the festival, Kosslick observed that the festival's motto of 'Towards Tolerance' "was like an umbrella for everyone to gather under". "Having someone like Edward Norton speaking out and Dustin Hoffmann with his wonderful speech at 'Cinema for Peac
  • Magnolia buys Amazing trilogy

    PatrickFraterBelgiandirector Lucas Belvaux's trilogy An Amazing Couple, On The Run and After Life has clinched a US dealwith boutique distributor Magnolia Pictures, taking rights to North America,excluding French-speaking Canada. In a separate deal, Telepool bought Germanrights.French sales outfit Films Distributionsaid that the Magnolia deal was completed after a dinner with US distributorson Monday night. "This is a great deal for everyone," sai
  • Mandelberger launches International Film Weeks

    Sandy Mandelberger, head of the marketing and promotion outlet International Media Resources, has launched a new distribution arm International Film Weeks, focused on international films for specialty theatrical, television and video/dvd release in the United States. Among the first all-rights deals for the US market are Chop Chop from Trust Film Sales, the award-winning Danish drama A Place Nearby from Nordisk Film International and the Finnish black comedy The Classi
  • Mar del Plata completes competition line-up

    Miguel Pereira, the new artistic co-ordinator of Mar del Plata, South America's leading film festival, has completed the competition line-up for his debut event, which runs March 6-15. The latest additions are Hugo Santiago's Le Loup De La Cote Ouest (France/Portugal), Matti Ijas' Blue Corner (Finland), David G Green's All The Real Girls (US), Horst Krassa's Uber Nacht (Germany) and Fernando Sarina's Amarte Duele (Mexico).These round out the pr
  • Metacinema snaps up Berlinale titles

    Metacinema, the Italian production, distribution and communications outfit launched last year at Venice, has bought a three-picture package of Berlin festival films from Fortissimo Film Sales.The company, formed by industry veteran Giovanni Tamberi, formerly with Key Films and most recently with Istituto Luce, bought Yes Nurse, No Nurse, the Berlin competition musical, Forum film Chinese Odyssey by Jeff Lau, and Panorama's Yossi And Jagger, by Israel's Eytan Fox.
  • Miami launches co-production market

    The 20th Miami International Film Festival is to introduce its own co-production market, called Encuentros.The event, which runs Feb 27 - March 1, is to follow a growing and successful new trend in festivals called whereby film projects in their early stages are presented to potential co-producers, financiers and distributors. The first edition of Miami Encuentros will present seven Spanish-language projects from Spain and Latin America. Among them are La Nina Santa, the
  • Minghella promotes location Romania

    Ever since director Anthony Minghella finished his shoot of Cold Mountain, he's been asked one question repeatedly by fellow directors: what's it like to shoot in Romania.The $80m Civil War epic starring Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Jude Law shot late last year in the Carpathian mountains of Romania's Transylvania. Speaking to Screen Internationalin Berlin, Minghella said that from an artisitic standpoint, it was an extremely good place to shoot. "It's a truly unspoile
  • Nancy Silverstone promoted to acquisitions vp at Starz Encore

    NancySilverstone has been promoted to vice president, program acquisitions, at StarzEncore Group where she will be responsible for negotiating licensing deals withindependents and studios for first-run and library titles, library buyouts,documentary co-productions, STARZ! Pictures premieres, restoration deals andoverseeing the acquisitions budget and managing the multi-cultural acquisitionsand film evaluation departments. She was formerly executive director, programacquisi
  • Neue Kinowelt strikes first deal

    Neue Kinowelt's German language sales arm, Futura/Filmverlag der Autoren has made its first pickup - Christoph Schaub's melodrama Secret Love (Stille Liebe) - following the reorganisation of Kinowelt's acquisition and distribution division From now on, Futura will be in charge of the international sales for the Filmverlag der Autoren library and other films produced in the German language, while Kinowelt International will be responsible for the acquisition and international di
  • New box office high for New Zealand

    New Zealand exhibitors had their best ever year at the box office in 2002 with 17.8 million ticket sales generating $142.7mAccording to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of New Zealand revenues were up 14% on 2001, in part attributable to the number of wet weekends during last year. A $1 increase in ticket prices, and improved facilities were also cited as contributing to the bumper year, which, unsurprisingly saw Peter Jackson's The Fellowship Of The Ring lead the ann
  • New kind of tax-based German production fund proposed

    German feature film producers could receive an injection of Euros 70m-80m worth of fresh cash from an unexpected source - the pay-TV platform Premiere.The offer came after Premiere CEO Georg Kofler criticised the different VAT rates which apply in Germany for those subscribing to pay television (16%) and taking out a magazine subscription (7%): "Give us a value-added tax advantage of seven per cent, and we will commit ourselves to investing in German feature film production", Kofler sa
  • Odeon closes animation production division

    Odeon Film has closed its animation production arm in the wake of a decision to concentrate in future on live action production for film and television.In a statement, the Munich-based company stated that "animation rights already acquired are to be exploited by way of licensing or through the passive participation in co-productions.""In numerous discussions with leading national and international potential production partners as well as broadcasters, various options were examin
  • Oscar nomination leads to instant business

    The Academy Award nomination for the German entry Nowhere In Africa led to immediate business at the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin for Bavaria Film International."A couple minutes after the announcement, we closed a deal with the Greek distributor Rosebud," says Bavaria head of sales Thorsten Schaumann, Producer Andreas Bareisz also hopes the film's US opening in New York on March 7 will profit from the nomination. It is being distributed by Zeitgeist in the US.
  • Palm gets Rotterdam hit Noi Albinoi, Housekeeper

    ChrisBlackwell's Palm Pictures has acquired all North American rights to DagurKari's festival hit Noi The Albino (Noi Albinoi) at the European Film Market in Berlin and, in a separate deal, allNorth American rights (excluding French-speaking Canada) to ClaudeBerriis bittersweet comedy The Housekeeper (Une Femme De Menage). Palm plans atheatrical release for Noi The Albino in the autumn followed by a DVD roll-out on the PalmPictures label. Set in North
  • Producers launch European lobby group

    120 producers from all over Europe have launched the European Motion Picture Producers Association (EMPPA) to act as a networking platform and a lobbying group to represent producer interests vis-a-vis Eurimages and MEDIA Plus as well as push for changes in Germany's Media Decree regulations on international co-productions.According to EMPPA president Torsten Poeck, the association - which is a successor to a previous network of graduates from the EAVE producer training programme -
  • Promark signs two-picture co-production deal with Sci-Fi Channel

    Jonathan Kramer's US and UK-based production and sales companyPromark Entertainment announced today (Feb 11) it has signed a co-productiondeal with US cable network The Sci-Fi Channel to make the action pictures Graveland and Ghost Monkey. Promark will be offering allinternational rights to
  • Red Dragon passes $100m international gross

    The third instalment in the Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal Lecter franchise, Red Dragon, has passed the $100m international box office mark after a strong debut last weekend in Japan.The film, which is a prequel to the 1991 Best Picture Oscar winner The Silence Of The Lambs, grossed $3.6m (Y435.7m) in two days in Japan at the weekend. Playing on 323 screens it scored a strong screen average of $11,147.The thriller also stars Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson and
  • Regent's here! takes international rights to The Trip

    Regent Entertainment's gayand lesbian sales label here! Films has acquired foreign rights to the multiaward-winning gay romantic comedy The Trip. The story centres on a pair of seemingly ill-matched lovers who have abitter falling-out, only to meet years later on a road trip in Mexico. The picture is set in 1970sAmerica at a time when the gay rights campaign was emerging as a highlypoliticised issue. Steve Braun and Larry Sullivan play the two leads, withsupp
  • Rom-com holds off Daredevil in the UK

    Romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice proved the big winner in the UK over Valentine's Day weekend despite the launch of 20th Century Fox's potential blockbuster, Daredevil.The top placed Warner Bros comedy showed an impressive second week performance, dropping off just 11% from its opening weekend to take a weekend score of $3.5m (£2.2m). Playing at 416 sites Two Weeks Notice scored a strong average of $8,488.A clever piece of scheduling by Warners saw the film
  • Sandler named ShoWest male star of the year

    Adam Sandler has been namedShoWest 2003's Male Star of the Year. The actor-comedian will collect thehonour at the annual Gala Awards Banquet to be held at Bally's and ParisHotel in Las Vegas on Mar 6. Sandler, who recently appeared in Punch-DrunkLove and Adam Sander's 8Crazy Nights, will next be seenopposite Jack Nicholson in the black comedy Anger Management which will be screenedto attendees at ShoWest..'This is Adam Sandler'syear,' Robert Sunshine,
  • Sandy Lieberson named head of Film London

    Veteran film producer Sandy Lieberson has been appointed chair of Film London, the new body charged with representing and developing the film industry in the UK capital.From April this year, Film London takes on the responsibilities of the London Film and Video Development Agency and the London Film Commission. As chair, Lieberson will be responsible for Film London's activities, which include encouraging and supporting filming in London; promoting cinema access and film educati
  • Scandinavian films get off to good start in 2003

    New local release Kopps in Sweden and four-week local holdover Bad Boys (Pahat Pojat) in Finland are already leading the way for Scandinavian films in 2003.Kopps, the second outing for Jalla! Jalla! director Josef Fares, took the top spot in Sweden with ease at the weekend with $1m (SKR 8.5m) in three days. The comedy, released in Sweden by Sonet Film, played at 106 screens for a $9,451 average per screen. Jalla! Jalla!, also from Sonet, grosse
  • Schumacher to direct Phantom

    Joel Schumacher is to direct The Phantom Of The Opera, a feature version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit stage musical which UK-based sales outfit Odyssey Entertainment will launch at next week's AFM market.Warner Bros. Pictures, which owned the film rights until Lloyd Webber recently bought them back, retains the option to distribute the film in North America. Principal photography will begin in the autumn in the UK. Casting is to be announced, although Antonio Banderas has long
  • Shooting Stars head for NatFilm festival

    Six of Berlin's Shooting Stars will travel to Danish NatFilm Festival, for its opening gala on March 27 in Copenhagen. Among the European talent attending are Denmark own Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Iceland's Nina Dögg Filippusdóttir, Norway's Kristoffer Joner, Finland's Minna Haapkulä and Germany's Daniel Brühl. Apart from the busy Danish film industry the young talents will have a chance to meet the festival's star, Harriet Andersson. The icon of Swedish cinema, her
  • South African films to be feted at FESPACO

    Thirteen South African films will be screened at FESPACO, Africa's longest-running festival. Held in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, the 18th edition of the festival runs Feb 22 - March 1.Six of the 13 films have been selected for official competition at FESPACO. These include: Amandla (Lee Hirsch), Waiting For Valdez (Dumisani Phakathi), God Is African (Akin Omotoso), A Drink In The Passage (Zola Maseko), Down Under (Neil Sonnekus) and
  • South Korean cinema risks becoming a victim of its own success

    If the signals emerging from the South Korean film world these days seem a bit contradictory, it may be because the industry is on the brink of a transformation. Despite producing numerous award-winning films and an amazing 47% local market share in 2002, Korean cinema finds itself facing a host of challenges, many of which may have been triggered by its own success. The coming year is likely to see major changes, if not a complete re-modelling of the industry.The major source
  • South Korean comedy attracts record admissions

    Romantic comedy My Tutor Friend has opened to blockbuster business in South Korea, having drawn over a million admissions in its first five days. This matches the record five-day openings of local smashes Friend and My Wife Is A Gangster, which went on to earn $44m and $31m respectively in 2001.Distributed by CJ Entertainment, the film charts the power struggles and developing romance between a female university student and a rich, troublesome high-school b
  • Spain's 42nd Street boards Kill, God Will Forgive

    Spain's 42nd Street Productions has boarded new Cuban-Spanish co-production Kill, God Will Forgive (Mata, Que Dios Perdona). The film, produced by Paco Millan and Eduardo Benitez of Seville-based Omnibus Pictures, is a dark tale of impossible love between cousins from director Ismael Perdomo. Shooting starts in September with co-production from Cuba's Santiago Alvarez. 42nd Street also begins shooting in Barcelona next week on a pilot episode for The WB Network of new US
  • Splendid lines up 2003 production slate

    Germany's Splendid Medien, which co-produced Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York through its then subsidiary IEG by stumping up $65m for the worldwide rights except for domestic, is lining up a number of new productions for shoot later this year.Splendid's CEO Andreas Klein told Screen International that the outfit's production arm - Splendid Pictures - is readying Bille August's modern thriller Without Apparent Motive, starring Richard Gere and Julianne Moore and hopes t
  • Steve Coogan to play Phileas Fogg in Walden's 80 Days

    UK TV comedian Steve Cooganhas landed the plum role of Phileas Fogg opposite Jackie Chan as Passepartoutin Walden Media's mega- budget movie adaptation of Jules Verne's AroundThe World In Eighty Days.The move, which wasconfirmed by Coogan's UK agent ICM yesterday, marks Coogan's first lead role ina Hollywood movie, although the TV star made his feature debut in DNA Films' TheParole Officer and played legendaryFactory Records founder Tony Wilson in Michael Winterbottom's a
  • Swimmers wins Sundance Producers Club Of Maryland prize

    SundanceInstitute and the Producers Club of Maryland have announced that Doug Sadler'sdrama Swimmers is toreceive the 2003 Producers Club of Maryland Fellowship. The fellowship was setup to help film-makers who participate in the Sundance Lab meet pre-productionexpenses and offers a $10,000 towards casting, budgetary and location costs,among others. Previous recipients include Michael Burke for The Mudge Boy, which premiered at this year'sfestival, and Rodrigo Garcia, who
  • Tokyo international film festival gets new head

    Tsuguhiko Kadokawa (pictured), president of Kadokawa-Daiei Pictures, has been appointed general producer of the Tokyo International Film Festival. Kadokawa succeeds Michiyasu Kawauchi, who produced the 2001 and 2002 editions of the festival, and whose brief reign was marked by controversy, particularly when three films were disqualified from the competition section of the festival's 15th edition last year.Kadokawa heads Kadokawa Shoten Publishing, whose wide-ranging media inter
  • Traces Of The Dragon: Jackie Chan And His Lost Family

    Dir: Mabel Cheung. China-HK. 2003. 94mins.This homage to Hong Kong action hero Jackie Chan, which opened the Panorama Documentary section at Berlin, was commissioned by Chan himself as a "family souvenir". But in the hands of director Mabel Cheung (known until now for features such as The Soong Sisters or City Of Glass) it has become a full length, 35mm documentary which, in telling the story of Jackie Chan's four "lost" half-brothers and half-sisters, takes the
  • Two Weeks Notice an international smash for Warner

    Warner Bros enjoyed hugesuccess over the weekend with Castle Rock comedy Two Weeks Notice, grossing $15m in 23 territories. The film whichstars Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant remained at number one in the UK in itssecond weekend with $3.6m (£2.19m) at 417 sites beating Fox's opener Daredevil and bringing its total to $9.9m (£6m).The film opened at numberone in Germany, with $3.65m on 623 screens, representing 535,057 admissions andnew record openings for both Bullock and G
  • UK animation grows up

    A clutch of major UK animation features are cranking up, most with US Studio backing. Aardman aims to start shooting a new spoof-horror Wallace And Gromit movie with backing from DreamWorks SKG by September. Pathe is already in production on The Magic Roundabout, while Walt Disney Co has North America and worldwide merchandising rights on Ealing Studios' Valiant. Disney has also fast-tracked Rocket Pictures' CGI and live-action garden gnome love story Gnomeo And
  • Uncertain climate weighs on AFM

    Retrenchment is still the name of the game at the upcoming American Film Market (Feb 19-26), as both buyers and sellers cautiously weigh up the pros and cons of spending money in such a dour economic climate. Yes, they both need new films, but they are both being selective, with Cannes looking more likely as this year's market of new pictures and industry renewal. "It's impossible to put movies together without equity," said Patrick Wachsberger, the CEO of Summit Entertainment and the
  • Verhoeven, Hauer classic to be remade by van de Velde

    Classic Dutch cult TV series Floris, that first united director Paul Verhoeven and Rutger Hauer in 1969, is to be remade for the cinema. Jean van de Velde (Leak, All Stars) is set to direct the adventurous epic, about the heroic knight Floris and his sidekick Sindela. The original series was a cult hit in the Netherlands and launched the careers of Verhoeven and Hauer, who worked together on productions like Turkish Delight, Soldier Of Orange, Spetters
  • Village Roadshow ups funding capacity in Warner co-financing deal

    Bidding to play a part in more "tentpole" pictures and increaseits range of options, Village Roadshow Pictures (VRP), the five-year-oldproduction arm of Australian-based Village Roadshow Limited (VRL), announcedtoday (Feb 11) that it had boosted its co-financing deal with Warner Bros bycommitting a revol
  • VIP aims to raise Euros 500m for 20 projects

    German private media fund VIP is aiming to raise up to Euros 500m this year to fully finance or co-produce up to 20 features.Initially, the Munich-based outfit set a target volume of between Euros 105m-150m to finance or co-produce up to ten projects, but VIP managing director Andreas Schmid told that the number of projects backed could be increased to 15-20 if more private equity was attracted from investors. VIP 3 was launched last year and raised Euros 8m by t
  • Waiting For The Clouds gets ready to shoot

    Behrooz Hashemian, co-producer of Michael Winterbottom's Berlin competition film In This World, is preparing a new film that looks tailor-made for Berlin director Dieter Kosslick's favoured themes of tolerance, diversity and multi-cultural understanding.Waiting For The Clouds, by Turkish director Yesim Ustaoglu (director of Journey To The Sun) centres around a Turkish family which takes in a Greek orphan threatened with deportation. Ustaoglu will shoot the pictur
  • Winterbottom's World wins Berlinale

    Michael Winterbottom's In This World was the surprise winner of the Berlinale Golden Bear, beating off competition from favourites The Hours and The 25th Hour.Winterbottom's digitally-shot semi-documentary tale of an asylum seeker's journey from Afghanisatan to London also received the Peace Film Prize and the Prize of the Churches of the Ecumenical Jury.Other popular choices were Spike Jonze (Adaptation) for the Jury Grand Prix, the ensemble female l
  • Yugoslavia, Slovenia co-produce Red Coloured Grey Truck

    Hot Slovenian production house E-motion Films, producer of Damjan Kozole's Spare Parts which premieres in Official Competition in Berlin, is to co-produce feature debutant Srdan Koljevic's Red Coloured Grey Truck as the first collaboration between Yugoslavia and Slovenia since the Balkan War. Koljevic's Euros 1.2m roadmovie - "in the tradition of Kusturica with a fresh twist" and combining the elements of comedy with an offbeat love story - will be headlined by Aleksandra
  • Zenpix launches international arm with Promark at AFM

    Zenpix, the domesticdistribution joint venture between Susan Jackson and Jon Kramer's PromarkEntertainment Group, has launched an international sales arm which will seek toacquire, invest finishing funds in and distribute films in both the domesticand international markets.Jackson will work withPromark's vice presidents of international sales Eric Bernstein andAnnouchka Lesoeur to sell Zenpix's current and future film library tointernational buyers. At AFM, rights w
  • Zeta-Jones named supporting actress of the year at ShoWest

    Catherine Zeta-Jones, currently riding high on a best supportingactress Oscar nomination for Chicago, has been named ShoWest 2003's supporting actress of theyear, it was announced today (Feb 14). Zeta-Jones will collect her award at theannual Gala Awards Banquet at Bally's and Paris Hotel in Las V