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18 February 2008

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  • Academy Awards preview

    Foreign-language OscarDocumentary and shorts
  • Andrzej Wajda lines up Tatarak with Krystyna Janda

    Further details have emerged this week about Tatarak, the next project from revered octogenarian Polish auteur Andrzej Wajda whose Oscar-nominated Katyn screens out of competition in Berlin on Friday.Production will begin later this year on the film which is an adaptation of the book by Polish novelist and poet Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz. The film will again be produced by Wajda's regular collaborator Michae
  • Another Love Story (Mare, Nossa Historia de Amor)

    Dir: Lucia Murat. Brazil/France/Uruguay. 2008. 105 mins.'It's the West Side Story of the Brazilian favelas'. Indeed - but for all the energy, goodwill and rhythmic drive of this colourful teen musical, what sounds great on the poster is less convincing on the screen. Though some of the dance sequences are terrific, the familiar Romeo-and-Juliet gang-warfare story that glues them together would have benefited from a good script editor, and the film drags too often when it sho
  • Arsenal Pictures picks up Locarno, CineVegas film Loren Cass

    Arsenal Pictures has picked up international sales rights on Chris Fuller's adolescent drama Loren Cass.Fuller and Kayla Tabish produced and star alongside Travis Maynard and Jacob Reynolds in the story of intersecting lives at the time of the 1996 riots in St Petersberg, Florida.The film played at CineVegas and Locarno, among other festivals.
  • As Berlin winds down, attention turns to potential Cannes selections

    A clearer picture is emerging of what films will be ready for this year's Cannes Film Festival in May and the lineup looks like it will be filled with its usual blend of veteran auteur films, new discoveries and US studio fare.Official selection berths already seem set for Ari Folman's animated documentary Waltz With Bashir from Israel, Wong Kar-wai's revisioning of his 1994 martial arts classic Ashes Of Time -
  • Asterix tops Screen international chart

    Asterix At The Olympic Games won the gold medal again this weekend, generating a dynamite $24.5m after expanding in six territories. The top-40 films generated $192.4m across 43,382 screens from the period of February 8-10.For the full international chart, compiled by Len Klady, click here.Pathe's latest instalment of the Asterix franchise opened number one in Spain, where it took $2.7m, beating out rival openers No Country
  • Austria's Revanche takes Europa Cinemas Label in Berlin

    The Europa Cinemas Label at Berlin has gone to Gotz Spielmann's Revanche from Austria.The prize is awarded to the best European film in Berlinale Panorama, as judged by a jury of four Europa Ciemas exhibitors.The honour comes with the support of the Europa Cinemas network of exhibitors, which will give the film extended theatrical exposure and promotion.Revanche is a story of gui
  • Awards Countdown - People - Awards People

    UK director Paul Greengrass is renowned for his dynamic and visceral style that puts the audience in the centre of the action. Editor Christopher Rouse, who worked with Greengrass on United 93 and also cut The Bourne Supremacy, shares the director's aesthetic sensibilities."We are both relentless in exploring the potential of a piece," he says. "As we move through our process, we challenge each other constantly with new concepts."The Bourne Ultimatum, the th
  • Bavaria closes further deals on Cherry Blossoms and Black Ice

    BavariaFilm International (BFI) has reported a raft of sales on two of itstitles in Berlinale Competition. DorisDoerrie's Cherry Blossoms - Hanami has now been sold to South Korea(JinJin Pictures), Taiwan (Swallow Wings), Colombia (Cine Colombia),Mexico (Cine Video y TV) and Greece (PCV) in additi
  • Beautiful

    Dir: Juhn Jaihong Korea, 2007. 88minsBeautiful, whose original title in Korean is the mellifluous 'Arumbdabda', is often confused and sometimes, especially near the end, even downright silly, but it's never wholly without interest. Its first-time 30-year-old director, Juhn Jaihong, is a protege of Kim Ki-duk, the prodigiously productive and internationally-known Korean director. In fact, Kim Ki-duk is variously listed in press materials as being the screenwriter of the fi
  • Beeson, Engel launch new UK distributor New Wave Films

    Robert Beeson and Pam Engel have launched a new UK distribution company called New Wave Films. The London-based outfit is planning to release films theatrically while also setting up a label for 'classic' DVDs.Here at the EFM, New Wave has already made its first acquisition, picking up UK rights to The Silence Of Lorna, the new feature from double Palme D'Or winners, The Dardenne brothers. The film, sold internationally by Celluloid Dreams, wil
  • Berlin 2008 film reviews

    Click on a film title to see reviewCompetition Black Ice (Musta Jää) (Petri Kotwica, Finland)Cherry Blossoms (Doris Dorrie, Germany) Elegy (Isabel Coixet. US)Elite Squad (Jose Padilha. Brazil)
  • Berlin Generation 14plus youth jury prize goes to The Black Balloon

    The Berlinale's youth jury in the Generation 14plus section have given their Crystal Bear for best feature to Elissa Down's The Black Balloon from Australia.The jury said: 'We were very moved by the close to life story portraying the everyday life of an extraordinary family in this film. We were especially impressed by the way in which joyous and serious moments were expertly interwoven, and also by the actors' excellent performances.'
  • Berlin Talent Campus score prize goes to Conrad Oleak

    The Berlinale Talent Campus has come to a close, with Conrad Oleak from Germany taking the top prize in the Volkswagen Score Competition.He did a new score for an excerpt of Platz im Schatten by Sophie Narr.He now gets a one-week trip via Dolby to Los Angeles to visit top sound studios. Mentor Gustavo Santaolalla and jurors Klaus-Peter Beyer, Martin Steyer and Martin Todsharow said: 'Conrad Oleak succeeded in creating h
  • Berlinale and EFM review

    This year's Berlinale kicked off in fine style with Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones documentary Shine A Light.Butthe story of this year's event has been that - at least for buyers - the festival line-up was in danger of being upstaged by the market.Focus inevitably turned to the EFM following a perceived lack of mainstream appeal in festival entries and the fact that a number of competition titles had been viewed in advance or pre-so
  • Berlin's Teddys go to Queen Raquela, Football Under Cover

    The Teddy Awards have been handed out to the best films with a queer context across all programmes of the Berlinale.The best feature award went to Olaf de Fleur's The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela (an Icelandic production). That film was the story of a transsexual from the Philippines who looks for love with Western men on the Internet. The jury praised the film's 'ability to address race, gender and poverty in an entertaining w
  • Best documentary and shorts

    DOCUMENTARIESNO END IN SIGHT In his first film, Charles Ferguson examines the decisions behind the invasion of Iraq. Ferguson, nominated with associate producer Audrey Marrs, describes the Representational Pictures production as 'a comprehensive portrait of occupation policies, their errors, and their consequences'.The film won the special documentary jury prize at Sundance last year and has been named best documentary of 2007 by both the
  • Beta Cinema takes on Norwegian Film Fund-backed Orange Girl

    Norwegian director Eva Dahr's The Orange Girl (Appelsinpiken), from Jostein Gaarder's novel, is one of six new Norwegian features the Norwegian Film Fund gave the go-ahead by channelling $9.1m (NOK 50.3 million) production funding into the projects, closing almost half of the $20.4m (NOK 112 million) budgets.At the European Film Market in Berlin, Norwegian producer and co-scriptwriter Axel Helgeland has signed Germany's Beta Cinema to handle i
  • Big titles at EFM overshadow festival selection in Berlin

    The Berlinale kicked off in fine style with Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones documentary Shine A Light but after several days the general consensus was that - at least for buyers - the festival line-up was in danger of being upstaged by the market.Focus inevitably turned to the EFM following a perceived lack of mainstream appeal in festival entries and the fact that a number of competition titles had been viewed in advance or pre-sold.
  • Braude, Muskala named co-directors of Sprockets at TIFFG

    The Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG) has appointed Allen Braude and Elizabeth Muskala as co-directors of learning. The appointments follow recent changes at TIFFG anticipating the opening of the Bell Lightbox, the new film centre under construction in Toronto. In December, then TIFF co-director Noah Cowan stepped into the newly created position of artistic director of Lightbox while programmer Cameron Bailey assumed the TIFF co-director position alongside TIFFG CEO P
  • Buyers gobble up Showeast's Le Grand Chef

    South Korean sales company Showeast has announced a raft of deals on Le Grand Chef post-EFM. The cuisine competition drama sold to ABC for the Benelux, Films sans Frontiers for France, Ayapro Production for Japan and Chungeorahm China for China.Based on a popular Korean manga series by Huh Young-man, the $5.3m film grossed over $20m at the local box office with about three million admissions by the end of 2007.'Our buyers expressed interest in that the film dealt not
  • Canadian Film Centre receive C$1m donation from Cineplex

    Canadian exhibitor Cineplex Entertainment is providing the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) with a five-year C$1m donation as well as a C$100,000 endowment towards an annual scholarship to aid one film resident. In return, the CFC Film program will be named the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program. The scholarship will be similarly branded.In a statement, CFC executive director Slawko Klymkiw praised the long-standing support of the exhibition chain, Canada's largest by far. Cineplex president a
  • Ceylan's Daydreams are happy for Pyramide

    Pyramide has been enjoying a strong response at EFM to Daydreams, the latest film from Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan which, like his last two features, is expected to be in competition at Cannes.BIM bought the film for Italy, Imagine for Benelux, Rosebud for Greece, Filmcoopi for Switzerland, Maywin for CIS and the Baltic States and Alliance for India.Imagine has also taken Benelux rights for Karin Albou's
  • Chellomedia takes 25% stake in UK-based Shorts International

    Liberty Global's European content division Chellomedia has acquired a 25% stake in London-based Shorts International.The deal is done by subsidiary LGI Ventures BV, which specialized in minority investments. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Chellomedia will have a non-executive director on the board of Shorts International.Shorts International's projects include channel ShortsTV, mobile phone platforms and short films available on Joost and iTunes. Shor
  • Cherry Blossoms (Kirschblüten - Hanami)

    Dir: Doris Dorrie, Germany, 2008, 127minsDoris Dorrie's bittersweet film is a story of mourning and the futility of trying to recover something lost. A Bavarian husband who is nearing retirement loses his wife suddenly, and flies to Japan to visit sites that she never had a chance to see while abiding by his strict routine. Distanced from his own children, Rudi (Wepper) is led to Mount Fuji by an oddly angelic Japanese girl.Cherry Blossoms shou
  • Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page flock to Mandate's Peacock

    Mandate Pictures has cast Cillian Murphy and Ellen Page in the psychological thriller Peacock. The story takes place in a small Nebraskan town where Murphy's schizophrenic character fools inhabitants into thinking he is man and wife. Page will play a struggling mother who holds the key to his past and sparks a battle between the personalities. Michael Lander will direct from a script he co-wrote with Ryan Roy. Barry
  • Cine Qua Non, Creek & River partner for Korean push

    The Korean subsidiaries of Japanese film producer-distributor-exhibitor Cine Qua Non (CQN) and contents rights management company Creek & River have partnered to promote Japanese films in the Korean market. Through a tie-up with Cine Qua Non Korea, Creek & River Korea will handle licensing of theatrical distribution, broadcast and remake rights to CQN's entire library of films.Official announcement of the collaboration came yesterday following the Feb 9 broadcast of CQN-distributed
  • Cinema Libre acquires worldwide rights to Bloodline

    Cinema Libre Studio has acquired worldwide rights to Bruce Burgess' hot-button Holy Grail documentary Bloodline and has set the US premiere for May.The film-makers interviewed archaeologists and members of secret societies and investigated a tomb that some say could prove the existence of a Jesus Christ-Mary Magdalene bloodline.The subject of the bloodline was famously fictionalised in Sony's 2006 adaptation of the Dan Brown bestse
  • Cinemavault polishes thriller Artefacts

    Toronto-based Cinemavault Releasing International has picked up international rights excluding Benelux to English-language thriller Artefacts.Mary Stockley and Felix Scott star in the Title Films and Bad Fourteen Pictures production as former lovers who try to survive a wave of murders by doppelgangers.Brussels-based film-makers Giles Daoust and Emmanuel Jespers directed. Grindstone Entertainment Group holds North American rights.
  • CJ Entertainment sells four-pack to Germany's Splendid

    Korea's CJ Entertainment had a busy weekend selling to both Europe and Asia - sealing a four-picture deal with Germany's Splendid and selling three Asian territories on A Man Who Was Superman, starring Jun Ji-hyun.Splendid has pre-bought all German rights to The Divine Weapon, which wrapped two weeks ago, on the basis of three minutes footage that CJ is showing here at the EFM.Directed by Kim
  • CJ7 has record-breaking opening in Singapore, Malaysia

    Stephen Chow's CJ7 had huge opening weekends in Malaysia and Singapore during Chinese New Year after scoring a mega opening across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan the previous week. In Malaysia, Chow's boy-meets-alien comedy set a new record with $1.91m (RM6.2m) on a massive 90 prints over four days. It was the biggest opening weekend in the country's history.In Singapore, it grossed $1.41m (S$2.00m) on 50 prints, making it the biggest opening weekend for a Chinese film ever - w
  • Coach 14 sells Shiver to MPI for US/Canada

    French sales outfit Coach 14 celebrated its first birthday at the European Film Market with healthy sales on Panorama selection Shiver. Directed by Isidro Ortiz, the horror was sold to MPI for the US and Canada, Legend in German-speaking territories, Cinetel for Eastern Europe, Cinevideo y TV for Mexico and Central America and Delta Films in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.Coach 14 says that advanced negotiations are underway for the UK, Scandinavia, Japan, Korea and Russia.Jef
  • Consumer attitudes turn against piracy

    An NOP survey commissioned by The Industry Trust suggests changing attitudes among consumers to piracy.The trusthas been carrying out a social stigma campaign which hopes to convince people that copyright theft is not a harmless vice.And it claims the survey shows signs of success.The study suggests67% ofconsumers now regard copyright theft as 'nothing to be proud of', compared to just 22% prior to the new campaign.Some 57% believe pirate DVD buyers are 'cheapskate
  • Consumer attitudes turn against piracy

    Just seven months in to the new approach, the research shows marked improvements in public attitudes to copyright theft which directly reflect the campaign's key goal - to attach a social stigma to copyright theft so that people choose to not take part in it:Two thirds of consumers (67%) now regard copyright theft as 'nothing to be proud of', compared to just 22% prior to the new campaign; Those that regard illegal DVD buyers as 'cheapskate' or 'downmarket' has more than doubled
  • Copyright issues revisited as European Comission opens consultation

    The debate on content copyright in the digital age has taken another twist as the European Commission announces a new public consultation on copying levies on electronic and digital equipment.The EC aims to simplify the way levies are dealt with across all 27 Member States and address the latest issues raised by advances in digital and electronic equipment.Announcing the consultation, Commissioner Charles McCreevy of the DG for Internal Market and Services underlined the
  • Corcoran takes new Paramount consumer role

    Michael Corcoran has been hired to the newly created position ofpresident of Paramount's consumer products and recreation group.Corcoran will report to the studio's vice chairman Rob Moore andoversee worldwide licensing, consumer products and themedentertainment activities.The new arrival will spearhead a broad range of licensing andmerchandising initiatives to extend the studio brand across platformslike theme parks, toys, apparel, themed restauran
  • Critical Mass- Best of the fests

    Halfway through what is likely to be viewed as a non-vintage, drink-as-soon-as-possible Berlinale, I've been pondering the question of how to rate a film festival in critical terms.After all, anyone's view is influenced by the films they happened to catch there, whether they satisfied their cravings (cutting-edge Asian, Euro auteurs, tasty genre titbits), plus some less professional factors such as the contacts they made, the flirtations they indulged in and the quality of the food and
  • David Alcade to direct The Seeing For Leomax

    Los Angeles and Berlin-based Leomax Entertainment has optioned the screenplay The Seeing (formerly 27 Times) and set Spanish effects supervisor and commercials director David Alcade to direct.Principal photography is scheduled to begin in Regina, Canada, in the early summer on the story of a 14-year-old boy haunted by visions of violent deaths who learns about the truth behind his parents' murder.
  • David Lee steps down as EVP at Weinstein Company in Asia

    DavidLee has stepped down as executive vice president of Asian Operations atThe Weinstein Company, where he was responsible for overseeing creativeaspects of the company's Asian Film Fund. He will be partially replaced by Steve Squillante who has come on board as a consultant for the fund. Squillantewill work alongside TWC's internal team - including co-presid
  • Delphis strikes Japanese deal for Berlin selection Dunya & Desie

    Berlinale Generation 14plus selection Dunya & Desie has been sold to Japan's Wako. The Dutch teen movie, starring EFP Shooting Star Maryam Hassouni, had its world premiere in Berlin.Montreal-based Delphis Films is handling sales. Producers are Netherlands-based Lemming Film with co-producers A Private View (Belgium) and Motion Investment Group (Belgium).The film, inspired by a TV series, is about a Dutch motormouth, Desi
  • Disney more than doubles its stake in India's UTV

    The Walt Disney Company has invested around $203m (Rs8.05bn) to more than double its stake in India 's UTV Software Communications from 13.7% to 32.1%. At the same time, Disney has also acquired a 15% stake in UTV Global Broadcasting Limited (UGBL) worth $30m (Rs1.19bn). UTV will also invest $60m (Rs2.4bn) for a 75% stake in UGBL. The remaining 10% will continue to be held by UTV founder Ronnie Screwvala's Promoter Group.UGBL is the parent company for two wholly-owned subsidiaries
  • Dublin opens tonight with In Bruges with Farrell and Gleeson present

    The opening of the Jameson Dublin International Film FestivalInternational tonight and the annual Irish Film & Television Awardson Sunday launch a hectic week of international guests, awards andscreenings in Ireland's capital.The festival launches this evening with the European premiere of Sundance opener In Bruges with writer/director Martin McDonagh and leading actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in attendance. Gleeson and recent BAFT
  • European Commission welcomes UK first in broadband deregulation

    The European Commission has approved a bold proposal by Ofcom to deregulate broadband provision in some areas of the UK. Ofcom has identified four distinct UK broadband markets, which will allow it to remove regulation in areas where competition is regarded as sufficiently strong.The move is a first for an EU regulator and is in line with the European Commission's goal to create a single European market for digital services.Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Soc
  • European film market - Signed, sealed and delivered

    Jeremy Kay reports on the key deals at this week's Berlin International Film Festival.lUniversal bought North American, German, Spanish and Latin American rights from Mandate International to Sam Raimi's upcoming horror film Drag Me To Hell starring Oscar nominee Ellen Page.l Miramax paid mid-six figures for North American rights from Summit International to Mike Leigh's competition entry Happy-Go-Lucky starring Sal
  • European Film Market deals

    European Film Market Sales (Sales company in brackets)US deals in red. Click on film to see moreAntichrist(Nordisk/Trust)Apres Lui (Films Distribution)The Argentine/ Guerrilla (Wild Bunch)The Baker (Bankside)
  • Europe's distribution revolution

    The international film industry has now seen a year in which high expectations of a buoyant film market have fallen flat. Not enough to be a bona fide crisis, but enough to create the flap of butterfly wings that might yet cause a hurricane in the future.The 2008 European Film Market in Berlin has been better than most with some strong deals done. But that unequivocal sense of forward momentum for the independent industry is still missing. However, beyond the walls of the Martin Gropiu
  • Everything is Fine (Tout est parfait)

    Dir: Yves Christian Fournier. Canada. 2008. 118mins.Quebec director Yves Christian Fournier's first feature, Everything is Fine, is a sombre, frequently moving portrait limning the emotional and social aftermath of a tragedy. Fournier's reach sometimes exceeds his grasp, but his complicated and nuanced study of sorrow and loss is sharpened by an impressive visual expression and some very fine performances.Adapted from a first script by well-reg
  • Falcon swoops on Elephant Eye's Turkey for Middle East

    New York-based Elephant Eye Films has closed its first pre-sale on Craig Zobel's Turkey In The Straw. All rights for the Middle East have been taken by Falcon Films.The project is Zobel's follow-up to 2007 Sundance hit Great World Of Sound, which has been also screening at the EFM market for Elephant Eye.The under-$5m project will start shooting in April in South Carolina.'There has been
  • Fandango Portobello heats up Gomorra sales

    Fandango Portobello has followed its successful sales of Competition title Quiet Chaos (Caos Calmo) with a round of deals on Matteo Garrone's Gomorra, which is now in post-production for Fandango and Rai Cinema (Fandango's Domenico Procacci is producing).Gomorra has gone to France (Le Pacte), Switzerland (Filmcoopi), Canada (Seville) and Benelux (ABC). In Italy, 01 wi
  • Fandango Portobello stirs up deals for Quiet Chaos

    Fandango Portobello has seen chaotic interest in Competition title Quiet Chaos (Caos Calmo). The Italian drama, directed by Antonello Grimaldi and sarring Nanni Moretti and Valeria Golino, has sold to nine territories ahead of official Competition screening tomorrow. Deals have been struck with France (BAC), Spain (Alta), Benelux (Cineart), Switzerland (Filmcoopi), Canada (Seville), Portugal (Midas), South Korea (Jin Jin), Brazil (Imovision) and Isr
  • Film London sets second PFM for October 20-21

    Film London has set dates for its second Production Finance Market (PFM) for October 20-21, 2008, during the Times BFI London Film Festival. The inaugural event in 2007 attracted 70 producers, 35 distributors/sales agents and 36 major financiers. Film London head of international Helena Mackenzie said she expected attendance figures to rise 10-15% in 2008. 'The format last year really worked, but we might be reshaping it slightly. We've gotten a lot of constructive feedba
  • Filth and Wisdom

    Dir: Madonna. UK. 2008. 81 minsContrary to billing, there's not much filth and precious little wisdom in Madonna's directing debut. Even so, you have to applaud her for daring to get behind a camera, given that her career in front of it has been strewn with clunkers. While Filth And Wisdom may not quite inhabit the same Hall of Shame as Shanghai Surprise, Body of Evidence and (God save us) Swept Aw
  • Five European festivals form 'Doc Alliance'

    Five documentary festivals have hatched their very own pan-European programming initiative. 'Doc Alliance,' as the scheme is called, involves Switzerland (Visions Du Reel), the Czech Republic (Jihlava International Doc Festival), The Poles (Doc Review Warsaw), The Germans (Dok Leipzig) and the Danes (Copenhagen Documentary Festival). The idea is for each partner to select an 'outstanding' documentary which will then screen at all five festivals.Here in Berlin, Visions Du
  • Flashback: BAFTA 2008

    Everyone thought they knew who would win this year’s Bafta film awards. Atonement was supposed to sweep the board. Julie Christie was the best actress favourite for Away From Her and Control was considered a certainty to nab the Alexander Korda award for best British film.
  • Former BBC boss Greg Dyke named as chair of British Film Institute

    The former Director-General of the BBC Greg Dyke has been names as the new chairman of the British Film Institute (BFI).He replaces Anthony Minghella, beginning his four-year term in March.The chair of the BFI is a high-profile role, Dyke has 30-years experience in television and took the top job of BBC Director-General in 2000.There he started four new digital television channels, five new digital radio stations, opened two new BBC regions, launched the BBC's interactive
  • Fortissimo seals raft of deals on Marley, CSNY docs

    Fortissimo Films has closed a raft of deals on its recently-announced Bob Marley documentary, which Martin Scorsese is directing for delivery in 2010. The as-yet-untitled film, produced by Shangri-La Entertainment and unveiled at the beginning of the EFM, has already been snapped up by the UK's Contender, South Africa's Nu Metro, Portugal's Lusomundo, Iceland's Samfilms and RCV for the Benelux. Fortissimo is also fielding offers from 11 other territories, including Japan, France, Italy, G
  • Fortissimo sings with Majidi's Song Of Sparrows

    Fortissimo Films has picked up worldwide rights outside of Iran to Majid Majidi's The Song Of Sparrows, winner of the Silver Bear for best actor at this year's Berlin Film Festival. Prior to its win at the Berlinale, the film also picked up the best director, editing, original score and make-up prizes at the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran.Majidi's credits also include Children Of Heaven, which is the only Iranian film ever to be nominated for the best foreign-language f
  • Fox's Jumper leaps to top of international chart with $28.2m in 30 markets

    The sci-fi adventure Jumper leapt to the top of the overseas charts over the weekend thanks to an estimated $28.2m haul from 2,800 screens in 30 markets through Fox International.The result was all the more impressive given that Jumper launched at number one almost everywhere and only seven of the debuts were major markets.Key scores included $6.3m from 410 in the UK, $4.8m from 343 in South K
  • Francois Martin named senior vp of marketing at Dimension

    Francois Martin has been appointed senior vice president of marketing at Dimension Films.Martin will continue to work closely with Gary Faber, executive vice president of marketing for TWC, on media planning and media promotions for all TWC titles as well as remain involved in media buying for home video distributor Genius Products. He reports directly to Bob Weinstein.'Francois' proven track record and his savvy understanding of how to promote and position a film within
  • French Film Festival UK to welcome Lola Doillon, Jean Becker

    The French Film Festival UK (7 - 20 March 2008) has revealed details of itsprogramme and guests. The event, likely to have added prominence as a showcase for French cinema in the UK this year following the cancellation of the Unifrance London 'Rendez-Vous,' takes place in Edinburgh, Glasgow,Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Cardiff, Warwick, Birmingham, Manchester and London.'The festival has expanded this year in response to demand,' commented festival director Richard
  • Full Battle Rattle

    Dir: Tony Gerber, Jesse Ross. US. 2008. 92 minsAmerican tanks roll under the desert sun, the minaret of a mosque stands out on the horizon, a wounded soldier spurts blood... a scene from the Iraq war, surely' Not quite - the tanks are real, but the mosque isn't, and even the soldier is a dummy. US documentary Full Battle Rattle is without a doubt the most bizarre film to em
  • Garage and Kings split film honours at Irish Film & Television awards

    From a fairly open field of nominees Element Films' Garage and Newgrange Films' Kings collected four awards each at the 5th Irish Film & Television Awards ceremony in Dublin last night.Garage was voted best film and picked up three other main awards. Best director and best writer awards went to Lenny Abrahamson and Mark O'Halloran for their work on the film, while its leading man, Pat Shortt, took the award for best film actor.Newgrange Films' Irish-la
  • Golden Harvest sells off stakes in Malaysia's TGV

    Continuing its strategic focus on expanding in the Greater China region, Hong Kong-listed Golden Harvest Entertainment will divest all its interests in Malaysia 's second largest exhibitor TGV. Tanjong Entertainment, which currently owns 50% of the joint venture with Golden Harvest, will pay $12.42 m (RM40.2 m) for the entire remaining stakes held by two wholly-owned subsidiaries of Golden Harvest, Golden Harvest Cinemas and Global Entertainment and Management Systems.The transacti
  • Happy-Go-Lucky

    Dir: Mike Leigh. US/UK. 2007 118mins.
  • Hayes, Coolidge join cast of Dimension's Soul Men

    Sean Hayes and Jennifer Coolidge have joined Samuel L Jackson and Bernie Mac on Dimension Films' road movie Soul Men.The story centres on two estranged soul legends who reunite for a tribute concert and are forced to bury their differences on the long drive to the gig from Los Angeles to New YorkAffion Crockett, Isaac Hayes, John Legend, Adam Herschman, Fatso Fasano and Jackie Long and Sharon Leal round out the key cast.
  • Heart Of Fire (Feuerherz)

    Dir: Luigi Falorni. Germany/Austria. 2008. 94 mins.Inspired by the memoir of the same name by Senait G Mehari, Luigi Falorni's Heart Of Fire is valuable as a document illustrating the absurdity of using child soldiers in any conflict as well as a glimpse into the specific struggle for liberation in Eritrea. If Falorni, making his solo feature debut here after co-directing docudrama The Story Of The Weeping Camel in 2003, falls into traps
  • Heart of Fire producers stack up new projects

    Producers Sven Burgemeister of TV-60Film and Goldkind Film and Andreas Bareiss of BurkertBareiss Development have unveiled their slate of new projects ahead of the world premiere of Luigi Falorni's Heart Of Fire in competition at Berlin today.Bareiss and partner Gloria Burkert are producing newcomer Su Turhan's feature debut Ayla about honour killings and has a new project with Alain Gsponer (Life Actually
  • here! picks up North American rights to Holding Trevor

    here! Films has picked up North American rights from Stray Films to Rosser Goodman's relationship drama Holding! plans a May release on the story of a gay man whose life is turned upside-down by his drug addict boyfriend, a new lover and jealous friends.Brent Gorski wrote and produced and stars alongside Jay Brannan, Melissa Searing and Eli Kranski.Executive vice president of acquisitions and distribution Ma
  • Hollywood writers return to work

    Hollywood writers have agreed to return to work after voting to end their 100-day strike.The move finally ends speculation about disruption to this year's Academy Awards, which will go ahead on February 24.More than 90% of the ballot of 3,755 Writers Guild of America members agreed to end the dispute.The Writers Guild Of America (WGA)leadership reached a tentative deal with the studios to end its 14-week strike on Saturday.The a
  • Hong Sang-soo's Woman goes to France with Umedia

    Korea's Mirovision has sealed a French deal on Hong Sang-soo's previous film, Woman On The Beach, which has been sold to Umedia. Hong's current film, Night And Day, is screening in competition here at Berlin and is being sold directly by the producers, Bom Film Productions.Woman On The Beach, which screened at the Toronto and Pusan film festivals last year, is currently being released in the US through New Yorker Films.Mirovision, which is also a distrib
  • Host co-producer Jang prepares Pepper in London

    Korean female producer Junyoung Jang, who was one of the producers on The Host, has relocated to London where she is setting up a $10m time travel adventure film, entitled Charlie Pepper. The film is being set up as a co-production between Jang's London-based February Films and Hungarian producer Ildiko Kemeny's Pioneer Pictures.Jang is also in discussions with Future Film for financing tied in with post-production through Pepper Post.Written and to be directed
  • Hungaricom has sales success with Egon & Donci, CATcher

    Ambitious Hungarian distribution and sales outfit HungariCom has announced a raft of deals on its EFM slate.Its cartoon features are selling especially briskly. Here in Berlin the companyhas closed deals on Egon & Dönci and CATcher - Cat City 2 to HGC Entertainment for China and Media International Pictures for the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Hungary plans three new studio facilities

    Despite industry jitters over the future security of Hungary's 20% tax rebate for film production, developers have announced plans for three new facilities. The Hungarian press reports that construction should begin this spring on a studio complex located on a 15,000-hectare site in Rakospalota in northeast Budapest. Luxembourg-based Orco Group is developing the Rakospalota project with contractor Origo Filmstúdio Motion Picture Production Zrt. The developers assume
  • IFC takes North America on Kinney's Diminished Capacity

    IFC has picked up all North American rights to Terry Kinney's comedy Diminished Capacity following its premiere at Sundance last month.Matthew Broderick plays a former newspaper editor with short-term memory loss who bonds with his aging uncle. Alan Alda and Virginia Madsen also star.Sherwood Kiraly adapted her own novel. Plum Pictures' Celine Rattray, Galt Niederhoffer and Daniela Tapling Lundberg produced with Tim Evans.
  • IFC takes US, Lionsgate takes UK on Maximum's Waiting Room

    IFC Films has taken US rights and Lionsgate has acquired the UK from Maximum Films International to Roger Goldby's drama The Waiting Room.Maximum Films Distribution is handling the Canadian release on the interwoven tale of the lives and loves of a group of young Londoners. Anne-Marie Duff and Ralf Little star and the cast includes Rupert Graves, Frank Finlay, Zoe Telford and Phyllida Law.The film got its market premiere on Feb 10 a
  • In Berlin, Madonna says directorial debut was 'learning curve'

    Madonna, in Berlin with her directorial debut Filth And Wisdom, says the 81-minute feature was her version of 'film school.' 'I wanted to do it under the radar because I had to learn how to make a film,' the star told Screen International. 'I paid for it myself and begged, borrowed and stole my way through the whole process.'The singer/actress said she had long thought about directing. 'I've been thin
  • Intercinema picks up two French titles from Films Distribution

    Russian sales agent and distributor Intercinema, which is screening a promo reel of Fedor Bondarchuk's two-feature $36.5 million sci-fi opus The Inhabited Island here at the EFM on Thursday, has picked up a package of two of films from French seller Films Distribution.Intercinema's Raisa Fomina confirmed that she has bought Gael Morel's Apres
  • International - The winning Gaul

    Asterix At The Olympic Games won the gold medal again this weekend, generating $24.5m after expanding in six territories. Pathe's family film opened at number one in Spain, where it took $2.7m, beating rival openers No Country For Old Men (starring local favourite Javier Bardem) and 30 Days Of Night. It opened at number two in Italy, where it garnered $1.8m, falling just behind local romantic drama Quiet Chaos which grossed $2.2m in the territory.Overall,
  • I've Loved You So Long... (Il Ya Longtemps Que Je T'aime...)

    Dir: Philippe Claudel. France/Germany. 2008. 110 mins.
  • Japanese director Kon Ichikawa dies aged 92

    Famed Japanese director Kon Ichikawa has died of pneumonia at a Tokyo hospital, according to family members. He was 92-years-old.Born in 1915 in Mie Prefecture, Ichikawa began his career as an animator in the 30s, moving into feature directing with puppet play A Girl At Dojo Temple in 1946 at Toho Studios.Ichikawa met writer Natto Wada at Toho and they married in 1948. Wada would become Ichikawa's main collaborator, writing the scripts for most of his key works from the l
  • Jerusalema

    Dir/scr: Ralph Ziman. South Africa. 2008. 118mins.The third feature of Ralph Ziman, the new South African action movie Jerusalema is reportedly drawn from actual events. More accurately it is inspired from the watching of a lot of movies, combining and cannily poaching parts of the original Scarface, Superfly, GoodFellas, New Jack City and American Gangster. It's well made and engagingly played, but it is finally much too derivative and cartoonish to gai
  • Jetset Studios - Online high flyers

    Last month, Russell Scott and Patrick Young were the matchmakers who put male movie-goers together with Carmen Electra, star of 20th Century Fox's genre spoof Meet The Spartans. And last year, they took audience members out for a spin on the ice with Will Ferrell and Jon Heder, stars of the hit DreamWorks/Paramount comedy Blades Of Glory.Granted, all these interactions took place in cyberspace rather than in the real world. But for Scott and Young, co-founders of online m
  • Jewison to receive ACE Filmmaker Of The Year Award

    Norman Jewison will receive the American Cinema Editors' (ACE) Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award at the 58th Annual ACE Eddie Awards in Los Angeles on Feb 17.'Norman Jewison is an industry treasure,' a statement from the ACE board of directors read. 'Over the course of his 50-year career, he has left an indelible mark on cinema by not only entertaining audiences but also by successfully breaking ground to tell stories of social significance.'As a film-maker, he has
  • Jumper

    Dir: Doug Liman. US. 2008. 88mins.A cool, high concept science-fiction premise is executed with breezy, facile insouciance in Jumper. Director Doug Liman's first feature project since Mr And Mrs Smith (2005), is a globe-trotting, action packed thriller where the spectacle and special-effects easily overwhelm the broad brushstrokes storytelling.Comparisons with
  • Kao promoted at Paramount Digital Entertainment.

    Shane Kao has been promoted to vice president of business affairs atParamount Digital Entertainment.Kao will negotiate domestic and international deals to exploitParamount's features across digital distribution platforms. He reportsto executive vice president of business and legal affairs Ron Sufrin.Kao joined Paramount in 2005 as senior attorney, business and legalaffairs for Paramount Home Entertainment. Prior to joining the studiohe served
  • Key US sellers stir up debate over EFM

    The heads of two of the biggest US sales companies have challenged the business viability of EFM and called for a return to the two-market calendar.The fact that the Berlin market follows hot on the heels of Santa Monica's AFM in November, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Sundance festival in the US has squeezed the time sellers have to prepare new product.Rising accommodation and market costs have also fuelled gripes and to cap it off there is the small matter of the weak
  • L: Change The World has biggest opening of the year in Japan

    Death Note series sequel L: Change The World opened at the top of the Japanese box office, achieving the biggest single weekend earnings of the year so far. Released by Warner Brothers on 398 screens on February 9, the film grossed $5.29m (Y567.5m) on 444,076 admissions for a strong per screen average of $13,294.Earnings for the three-day holiday weekend totaled $7.89m (Y846m) on 670,754 admissions. The totals easily surpass other successful releases this year includi
  • Later (Plus Tard Tu Comprenderas)

    Dir: Amos Gitai. France / Germany, 2008. 89mins.The first Gitai film in a long time not to deal with Israeli politics, Later (Plus Tard Tu Comprenderas) is also one of his most emotional outings to date. This Franco-German co-production based on Jerome Clement’s autobiographical book (Clement is also president of ARTE) could be the director’s first crossover effort since Kadosh with a strong chance at moving beyond the art house and into commercial release.
  • Liberation-Halcyon pact for DVD launches of Wristcutters, Deepwater

    UK and North American distributor Liberation Entertainment and UK-based producer/distributor Halcyon Releasing have joined forces for the DVD releases of Wristcutters - A Love Story and Deepwater.Liberation will handle sales and distribution for the features, which were both produced by Halcyon's managing director Chris Coen. Both will be released May 5.Coen also co-produced the US remake of
  • Magic Light Pictures teams with Skillset for producer scheme

    UK-based training body Skillset and production company Magic Light Pictures have launched the Producer Placement Programme for eight up-and-coming film producers to work in the UK industry.Placements are augmented with masterclasses, workshops and presentations from industry experts.Martin Pope of Magic Light said: 'We're delighted to be bringing together talented emerging producers, then working with key film companies to give these young producers a real sense of the market fo
  • Magnolia's world sales bloom for Timecrimes, Gonzo

    Magnolia Pictures' international sales department under Laird Adamson has had a successful EFM with its Spanish time travel thriller Timecrimes as well as the quirky romance Quid Pro Quo and Alex Gibney's documentary Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr Hunter S Thompson. All three films, which will be handled by Magnolia Pictures in the US, played at the Sundance Film Fe
  • May start for Chinese-Australian co-prod The Last Dragon

    The Chinese-Australian co-production The Last Dragon is to be the first feature for AMPCO Films, the company set up last year by Adelaide producer/director Mario Andreacchio with the aim of making quality family films for the international marketplace.Working with independent production company Beijing Rosat Film & TV Production, the 4K Red digital cameras will roll from May 5 in film studios in and around Beijing.Post-production will be undertaken in Adelaide; Andreacchi
  • Melissa George to set sail with Icon's thriller Triangle

    Melissa George is in final negotiations to star in Triangle, a new supernatural thriller from Creep and Severance director Christsopher Smith.Icon will distribute in Australia and the UK and will handle international sales in other territories. Jason Newmark is producing for Dan Films, with Australia's Chris Brown at Pictures in Paradiase. Triangle is about a yachting trip hit by
  • Memento strikes US, UK deals for Wonderful Town

    Memento Films International has announced strong sales on Aditya Assarat's award-winning Wonderful Town including a US and a UK deal. Kino picked up the film for the US with Soda Pictures in for the UK and Aztek taking Australian rights. Additional territories sold include Switzerland (Trigon), Austria (Stadtkino), Greece (Rosebud) and India (Alliance). Deals in Benelux, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Norway are also forthcoming. The film, which has previously earned prizes in Rott
  • Middle East festival to add four more days to Abu Dhabi event

    The Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF), now planning its second festival in Abu Dhabi. The festival, running October 10-19, has grown by four days to accommodate a larger programme of films.The inaugural run in 2007 screened more than 80 films, a number set to increase this year. Also new will be competition sections devoted to student films (with $75,000 in prizes) and promos (trailers, TV, radio, online and print advertising) with a $50,000 top prize. Out of competitio
  • Miromar lays out slate of films in English and German

    Michel Morales's German company Miromar Entertainment, co-producer on the Heather Graham romantic comedy Buy Borrow Steal and the Viggo Mortensen drama Good, has unveiled a slate of English and German-language feature projects in development.The English language genre projects - with budgets up to Euros 7m - include the action film Car Pirates, based on a screenp
  • Mischa Barton thriller Homecoming sells to Russia, Latin America

    Principal photography has wrapped on the Mischa Barton thriller Homecoming, which Voltage Pictures is pre-selling here at EFM.Deals have closed in Russia and Eastern Europe (EEAP), Latin America (IDC), the Middle East (Gulf), Turkey (Grandview), Israel (Forum), Indonesia (Blitz) and the Philippines (Pioneer).Morgan J Freeman directed the tale of a young woman who develops an unhealthy obsession with her former high school sweethear
  • Montage, Quality, MGN among buyers for IM Global's Shelter

    IM Global has reporting a storming business on the upcoming $25m supernatural thriller Shelter set to star Julianne Moore. Jonathan Rhys Myers is a recent addition to the cast.Deals have closed in South Korea (Montage), Latin America (Quality), Russia (MGN), Benelux (RCV), the Middle East (Gulf), Greece (Village Roadshow), Turkey (TMC/Hunter), Israel (Forum), Eastern Europe (Kino Swiat/Prorom), Switzerland (Noble) and the Philippines, Malaysia
  • Murphy, Page to star in Mandate Pictures' Peacock

    Cillian Murphy and Ellen Page are to star in the psychological thriller Peacock for Mandate Pictures. Michael Lander is directing, from a script he co-wrote with Ryan Roy.Barry Mendel will produce the film with Roy; Mandate Pictures' head of production Nicole Brown will executive produce with Nathan Kahane.Murphy will play a split personality fooling the town into believing his two 'alters' are man and wife. Page plays a struggling
  • New Line's John Sinayi joins Overture Films as SVP

    Overture Films has hired John Sinayi as senior vice president theatrical distribution. Sinayi previously served as vice president/district manager of Western and Central Divisions for New Line Cinema where he worked in both the Los Angeles and Dallas offices. During his 14-year tenure at New Line he oversaw distribution functions for films including The Mask, Wedding Crashers, Hairspray, and The
  • New Wave takes Ceylan's Cannes-bound Daydreams for UK

    New Wave Films, the new UK distribution company set up by former Artificial Eye bosses Robert Beeson and Pam Engel, has made its second acquisition of the Berlin market, taking Daydreams, the latest feature from Turkish maestro Nuri Bilge Ceylan from Pyramide International.Like New Wave's first pick-up - the Dardennes' The Silence Of Lorna - Daydreams is in post-production and is a strong candidate for
  • Niels Arden Oplev preps Scandinavian detective opus

    Danish director Niels Arden Oplev, whose Worlds Apart screened in official selection in Berlin, has revealed further details of his big budget new project Men Who Hate Women, an adaptation of the first part of Stieg Larsson's 'detective trilogy.' Oplev is directing the first part as both a feature film and as 2 x 90 minute TV episodes. The second and third books will be made solely for TV as two 2 x 90
  • Night and Day (Bam gua Nat)

    Dir: Hong Sangsoo, S. Korea, 2008. 147mins.Light, charming but not terribly engaging, and as French as any Korean film is ever going to get, Hong Sangsoo's full-on tribute to the New Wave follows Korean expatriates around the City Of Lights. While brevity has never been one of Hong's particular talents, he raises the bar even higher here with a running time of 147 minutes.These expatriates in Paris are lonely, meet, fall in love, visit exhibiti
  • Niki Caro starts New Zealand portion of Vintner's Luck shoot

    Director Niki Caro starts shooting tomorrow on her new project, The Vintner's Luck.Keisha Castle-Hughes, who also starred in Caro's Whale Rider, will star alongside Jeremie Renier, Gaspard Ulliel and Vera Farmiga.The film is adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name by New Zealand author Elizabeth Knox. The story follows a 19th century peasant winemaker who has a relationship with an angel.Caro wrote the screenplay with Joan Scheckel.'It
  • NonStop takes on five new titles including Donkey Punch

    Sweden's NonStop Entertainment has acquired several more new films as a distributor.The pick-ups include Sundance titles Donkey Punch, Red and previously announced Sundance Grand Jury prize winner Frozen River; as well as Seven Days and Honeydripper.Olly Blackburn's Donkey Punch was sold by Lumina Films, Trygve Allister Diesen's Red by Bleiberg Entertainment, Courtney Hunt's Frozen River was sold by Rezo Films, S
  • Nordisk, Trust rack up EFM sales, with US deal on Bornedal thriller

    Nordisk Film has sold Ole Bornedal's Just Another Love Story to Netflix's Red Envelope Entertainment and Koch Lorber Films in the US following on from its screening in world dramatic competition at Sundance last month.The deal was negotiated by Thom Zadra of Red Envelope Entertainment, Richard Lorber of Koch Lorber Films, Mark Ankner of Endeavor and Tine Klint for Nordisk Film. The film has already sold to Canada (Seville Pictures)
  • Nordisk/Trust rack up sales on Lordi horror, Von Trier, Moodysson

    As the EFM draws to a close, Nordisk and Trust are continuing to rack up sales on their Berlin slate. One heavy seller is their English-language horror film Dark Floors, starring Finnish rock band and Eurovision Song Contest winners, Lordi. Deals announced yesterday (Wednesday) included Turkey (Umut Sanat/Ozen FilmTAS), Benelux (Indies Film Rights), Poland (Maamund II Productions), Brazil/Argentina (Five Stars Distributora),
  • Norwegian Film Institute bids farewell to Vigdis Lian

    As she steps down today from her position as managing director of the Norwegian Film Institute, Vigdis Lian is being honoured tonight (Tuesday Feb 12) with a farewell reception in Berlin on her last working day.Her departure from the Institute follows from the decision to merge The Norwegian Film Fund, The Norwegian Film Institute and the Norwegian Film Development Agency into one institution as of April 1.'What I have enjoyed is to see a growing self-confidence in the No
  • Our Mother (Kabei)

    Dir: Yoji Yamada. Japan 2007. 132 minsIn Kabei - Our Mother, Yamada's 80th film to date, the veteran Japanese director offers a sweet, gentle, weepy recollection of Japan on the eve of the Second World War (1940-41), based on the autobiographical story by Teruyo Nogami.An out-and-out melodrama, the picture tells the story of a Japanese scholar of German literature who is sent to prison for committing 'thought crimes'. His wife and
  • Padilha's The Elite Squad takes Golden Bear in Berlin

    Click on film title to see reviewBrazilian film The Elite Squad by Jose Padilha was the surprise winner of this year's Golden Bear at the Berlinale, beating off critics favourites such as There Will be Blood and Happy-Go-Lucky. It is t
  • Patrice Leconte prepares for La Guerre

    Patrice Leconte is preparing to shoot his latest comedy, La Guerre Des Miss , which begins production on March 25, Gaumont announced today.Starring Benoit Poelvoorde, Olivia Bonamy, Christian Charmetant, Laurent Gamelon and Jacques Mathou, the film is to be produced by Franck Chorot.The story of a decades-old rivalry between two towns which finally comes to a head, the film will shoot for three weeks in the Franche-Comte region before moving to just outside Paris and has
  • Petzold's Yella named best feature film by German critics

    Christian Petzold's Berlinale 2007 competition film Yella picked up two prizes for Best Feature Film and Best Cinematography at the German Film Critics Awards presented in Berlin on Monday evening. Other prizewinners included Pia Marais' The Unpolished (Best Feature Debut), Ulrich Noethen (Bst Actor for Mein Fuehrer), Maren Kroymann (Best Actress for
  • Picture Entertainment, Plum take on Faulkner's Intruder In The Dust

    Picture Entertainment and Plum Pictures are partnering on an adaptation of William Faulkner's 1948 classic Intruder In The Dust.Intruder tells the story of black farmer Lucas Beauchamp who is falsely accused of murdering a white man in Depression-era Mississippi. Locked in jail and facing the imminent arrival of a lynch mob, Beauchamp's only hope lies with an unlikely band of defenders who help him dig up a grave that will prove hi
  • Pitch In Time means business

    The International Screenwriters' Festival includes a pitching event in association with 4Talent at Channel 4.Pitch In Time will give hopeful writers a chance to appeal to an industry panel in front of a live audience at the event in Cheltenham (July 1-3).Previous panels have included Oscar winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) and Michael Goldenberg (Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix).Part of the prize for shortlisted writers is a pitching master
  • Pretty Pictures strikes German deal for Joy Division

    Pretty Pictures has added German rights on Grant Gee's Toronto hit documentary Joy Division. Pretty also holds the French and Benelux rights. 'We're considering our options,' said Paris-based Pretty Pictures head James Velaise. 'We think it makes sense with a documentary of this kind to acquire several territories. For example, ARTE goes into France and Germany and usually those territories are held by different distributors.'
  • Production - Jumping to the next level

    The high-profile collapse in 2006 of Peter Jackson's Halo adaptation could well have dampened the ardour with which millions of dollars are spent transforming video games into blockbusters each year. Yet it seems Hollywood has not only returned to embracing video-game adaptations but is pitching them as upscale tentpoles on a scale that has not been seen since Tomb Raider and its sequel - not to mention distancing them from the critically battered adaptations with which the genr
  • Purple heart

    Hadeel Reda got more publicity than she had bargained for during the making of The Hottie And The Nottie, the first project from her Los Angeles-based production company Purple Pictures.With Paris Hilton starring and executive producing, the project - also starring Joel David Moore and Christine Lakin, with Tom Putnam directing - has been hounded by Hollywood paparazzi and tracked by the celebrity websites that follow the socialite-actress's every move.And inevitably, the
  • Rain to return to Berlin for Wachowski Brothers

    Pan-Asian mega star Rain (aka Jung Ji-hoon) is set to star in the Wachowski Brothers' next film Ninja Assassin which is set to shoot in Berlin this year. Joel Silver is attached as producer on the Warner Brothers film. CEO Cho Dong-won of Rain's Korean agency J.Tune Entertainment announced the news with William Morris Agency (WMA) executive vice president John Mass as part of a strategic alliance between Rain and WMA in Seoul yesterday (Feb 13).Rain recently worked with the
  • Renee Zellweger is Essential's One And Only

    Renee Zellweger is in final negotiations to star in Richard Loncrane's 1950s-set comedy My One And Only, which is set to begin filming in the US in mid-April.Jere Hausfater's Essential Entertainment is handing worldwide sales at EFM.The project is based on a true story told by George Hamilton to Merv Griffin about his early life on the road with his flamboyant mother and brother.Zellweger will play the glamorous Anne De
  • Restless

    Dir: Amos Kollek. Israel/ Canada/ Germany/ France/ Belgium, 2007. 100 mins.Back home in Israel after many years of self-imposed exile in Manhattan, Amos Kollek presents Restless as his most personal film to date. With a reputation as an American independent specializing in portraits of anti-social dropouts, he has apparently decided to turn the camera on himself this time.His protagonist, Moshe Amar (played by Israel's best known film actor, Moshe I
  • Rezo takes on sales for Mikhail Khodorovsky documentary

    Rezo Films is handling international sales on Cyril Tuschi's feature documentary Rise And Fall of Mikhail B Khodorovsky which begins shooting in Moscow today (Feb 11).The film will feature interviews being conducted with members of the former oil magnate's family and schoolfriends. The co-production between Tuschi's LaLa Films and Leipzig-based L.E. Vision received backing from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and the German Federal
  • Sam Dunn joins Jane Giles at British Film Institute

    Sam Dunn will join the British Film Institute as head of DVD as of Feb 18.He joins Jane Giles, who as recently reported has come to the BFI as head of content.Dunn had been in the home entertainment division at Tartan Films for seven years. He most recently served as Deputy Managing Director.Giles had been head of acquisitions at Tartan UK and US and she is also a veteran of ICA Cinemas, Channel 4 and the London Film Festival. She previously worked at the BFI
  • Schmid explores industry options in break from legal woes

    Andreas Schmid, former CEO of VIP Medienfonds, who was sentenced by a Munich court to six years in prison for tax evasion last November, was in characteristically fighting mood on a visit to Berlin this week.At the festival to refresh old and forge new contacts, Schmid said that he had several enquiries from people interested in using his knowhow in the field of financing and packaging. 'Up to now the reaction has been very positive,' he observed. 'I hope everything will
  • Screen East backs The Reeds, Barbarian Princess

    Ildi Toth Davy's Altadena Films has taken on The Reeds, a UK production casting now. The Funnyman Films/Red Eye Pictures project is produced by Simon Sprackling, Neil Peplow and Charlie Gauvain. The director will be announced later. The story follows a boating party that gets lost in the Norfolk broads and discovers a terrifying secret. The Reeds is one of two projects, along with Marc Forby's
  • Seven Days director Won to tackle Robot Taekwon V

    Fresh off the success of kidnap thriller Seven Days - to which Summit Entertainment recently acquired remake rights - Korean director Won Shin-yeon is gearing up to work on a live-action version of iconic Korean animation Robot Taekwon V. ShinCine Communications, which produced watershed pan-Asian hit My Sassy Girl and earlier CGI hit Gingko Tree Bed, is producing the $20m film which is currently in development.Notably, seven of Korea's top computer grap
  • Seven Days director Won to tackle Robot Taekwon V

    Fresh off the success of kidnap thriller Seven Days - to which Summit Entertainment recently acquired remake rights - Korean director Won Shin-yeon is gearing up to work on a live-action version of iconic Korean animation Robot Taekwon V. ShinCine Communications, which produced watershed pan-Asian hit My Sassy Girl and earlier CGI hit Gingko Tree Bed, is producing the $20m film which is currently in development.Notably, seven of Korea's top computer grap
  • Sheffield to rock with music, film festival

    The UK's will get a new music and film festival in April as Sensoria launches in Sheffield.The highlights will include a programme of Jarvis Cocker's films (including one new work); a full audiovisual performance of The Fading Room: Memories and Remixes from Future Loop Foundation; and live music accompanying The Passion Of Joan of Arc in Sheffield Cathedral.Music-related films will include
  • Shorts Golden Bear splashed out for A Good Day For a Swim

    The Berlinale's shorts jury has given its Golden Bear to A Good Day For a Swim (O zi buna de plaja) by Romania's Bogdan Mustata, about three juvenile delinquents who break out of prison and go to the beach.Of the winner, the jury said: 'The film raises questions about its issues rather than bring resolution to them. It does so in a very precise and unpredictable way. We feel that it is one of the most precious things when a film stays with you and
  • Slingshot Hip Hop finds sales home in Celluloid Dreams

    Celluloid Dreams has picked up international sales rights to Sundance documentary competition entry Slingshot Hip Hop.The film was directed by Jackie Reem Salloum and produced by Rumzi Araj, Jackie Reem Salloum and Waleed Zaiter. Featuring the Palestinian Artists: DAM, Abeer, PR, Mahmoud Shalabi and Arapeyat. The deal was brokered between Celluloid president Hengameh Panahi and Steven Beer of Greenberg Traurig. In
  • Sonetaula (2007)

    Dir: Dir. Salvatore Mereu. Italy/France/Belgium.2008. mins Sonetaula, Sicilian director Salvatore Mereu's remarkable second feature, follows, in measured scenes of great formal beauty, a young Sardinian man's tragic arc from his adolescence in the late 1930s as a mountain shepherd to his life on the run as a ban
  • Sony takes Australia, Latin America on Frozen River

    Sony Pictures has acquired Australia/New Zealand and Latin American rights fromWilliam Morris Independent (WMI) to Courtney Hunt's drama Frozen River. Sony Pictures Classics had already acquired the film for North America in Sundance where it won the grand jury prize in dramatic competition.Melissa Leo stars in the film as a mother who out of desperation gets involved in smuggling people across the Canadian border.William Mor
  • Sparrow (Man Jeuk)

    Dir: Johnnie To. Hong Kong. 2008. 87 mins.The spirit of Jacques Demy lives on in Hong Kong in prolific genre auteur Johnnie To's latest offering. Some of the scenes in this gentle romantic pickpocketing yarn are pure cinematic pleasure, but in the end the plot and the characters are too thin to turn a series of delightfully stylised setpieces into a fully satisfying film.On one level, Sparrow is a paean to Hong Kong, whose colourful urban maze
  • SPE buys North America on Leiner's Balls Out

    Sony Pictures Entertainment picked up North American rights to Danny Leiner's comedy Balls Out: The Gary Houseman Story (aka Gary The Tennis Coach) in an eight-figure deal that closed late on Sunday night [Feb 11].Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group's (SPWAG) Scott Shooman brokered the agreement with UTA acting on behalf of the producers. It is understood Sony is planning a summer 2008 release.
  • Standard Operating Procedure

    Dir. Errol Morris, USA, 2008, 117minsWhatever the future brings in Iraq, the US role there will always be remembered for the abuse of prisoners documented in the photographs taken by American guards in 2003 at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. Errol Morris's cold Standard Operating Procedure scrutinizes the pictures and what really happened in interviews with those former guards.Morris's distillation of long talks with young ex-soldiers and the f
  • Step Up 2 The Streets

    Dir: Jon Chu. US. 2008. 98minsA fresh slate of young performers, combined with energetically staged and photographed sequences that convey the cathartic joy of dance, easily outweigh some of the more predictable rhythms of formulaic storytelling in Step Up 2 the Streets, a fun, flirty and engaging teen drama and stand-alone sequel that serves as the latest entry in a line of pan-ethnic dance films pitched chiefly at teens and big-city twentysomethings.
  • Strong casts line up for new Italian films from Tognazzzi, Corsicato

    Two new Italian films set to shoot this spring -- The Man Who Loves and Seeds Of Discontent - have both pulled together strong casts. Principal photography of The Man who Loves (L'uomo che ama), directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi, will begin February 25 in and around Turin.The film features Pierfrancesco Favino in a role that highlights a man's reaction
  • Studios Get Into The Game

    Game versions of popular films are nothing new, although the games can often be poorly received if they are hastily cobbled together to meet the cinematic counterpart's release date. Activision's Spider-Man 3 in 2006 was an exception. The game surpassed expectations, and the US studios are recognising it is worth putting in the extra time and effort rather than going for the quick cash-in.From the early days of video games, when it spun off a Jaws title for Nintendo, Univ
  • Sutherland sets up Fluorescent Productions slate

    UK producer Mairi Sutherland, who has worked with director Robbie Moffat through their Palm Tree Entertainment, has set up new company Fluorescent Productions to work with directors in addition to Moffat.Her development slate includes WWII project Devils Harbour written by Jack MacLaughlan to be directed by Barry Campbell; Afghanistan-set love story Alliyah written by Chris Dollan to be directed by Kaus
  • Thailand's Aditya Assarat on Wonderful Town

    'There's nothing special about this little town,' says Thai writer-director Aditya Assarat of Takua Pa, the southern Thailand town that is the setting of his debut feature film. 'Except it got hit by a tsunami.'That post-tsunami calm is what Assarat explores in the somewhat ironically titled Wonderful Town, which recently won one of the Tiger Awards in Rotterdam. (The film also played in the Berlinale's Forum section; Memento is handling international sales.)The film take
  • The Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite)

    Dir: Jose Padilha. 2007, Brazil, Argentina. 118 mins.
  • The Other Boleyn Girl

    Dir: Justin Chadwick. US/UK. 2008. 118 mins.
  • The Path (El Camino)

    Dir: Ishtar Yasin Gutierrez. Costa Rica/Nicaragua/France. 2008. 91 mins. The road trip of two desperately poor Nicaraguan kids in search of their absent mother becomes an other-worldly journey with echoes of The Night Of The Hunter in Costa Rican director Ishtar Yasin's impressive debut, which screened in the Forum. Two astonishingly believable and watchable child actors, a
  • Tiscali, Guerilla plan free downloads of Matt Winn's January 2nd

    Broadband/phone company Tiscali is working with UK/Irish distributor Guerilla Films for the first free, on-demand premiere of a UK feature film. The UK romantic comedy January 2nd will be launched simultaneously online and via Tiscali TV.The film will be out February 29 on or to subscribers on Tiscali's digital TV service on the Movies Now channel.Matt Winn directed the film about a birthday bash for thirtysomething c
  • Tokyo Tower scoops top prizes at Japan Academy Awards

    Joji (George) Matsuoka's Tokyo Tower: Mom & Me, And Sometimes Dad has been named Best Picture of 2007 at the 31st Japan Academy Awards, held Friday evening (Feb 15) in Tokyo. The film picked up a total of five major prizes from 14 nominations, including best director for Matsuoka, best actress for Kirin Kiki, best supporting actor for Kaoru Kobayashi, and best screenplay for Matsuo Suzuki. Kiki plays a terminal cancer-afflicted woman who comes to spend her final days
  • Top speakers line up for screenwriters festival

    The annual International Screenwriters' Festival has an exciting line-up of major writing talent and industry figures from film and television.This year's speakers include:Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky, Secrets And Lies)Ronald Harwood (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly)Guillermo Del Toro (The Orphanage, Pan's Labyrinth)Deborah Moggach (Pride & Prejudice)
  • Transylvanian Film Festival to launch development fund for local writers

    Cluj's Transylvanian International Film Festival (TIFF) is to launch a development fund dedicated to local screenwriters at this year's edition from May 30 to June 8. 'We are looking for new stories and new people in Romania in the first year', TIFF's honorary director Tudor Giurgiu told 'Euros 20,000 will be shared among five projects and we may extend the fund to projects from other East European countries in the future.'Giurgiu revealed that TIFF wil
  • UGC buys Canadian Berlin selection Tout Est Parfait

    UGC has picked up Canadian Panorama selection Tout Est Parfait for France, Benelux and Switzerland from Anick Poirier of Montreal-based sales outfit Seville International.The feature debut of Quebecois documentary and commercials director Yves-Christian Fournier, the film is the story of a young man (Maxime Dumontier) bereft by the suicide pact of four friends and by his own struggle against seeking a similar fate. The film is produced by Nicole Robert of Montreal-based G
  • UK companies back new CTBF short film award

    The UK's film and TV industry charity CTBF has launched the new John Brabourne Big 5 Award.The backers are Arri Rental Group, Technicolor, Kaos, Pinewood Group and Kodak. Working Title Films will help select the final script and help with funding.The award will provide a platform for a rising director to make their first professional short film.The prize package is valued at over $275,000 and will include 35mm film stock donated by Kodak, camera hire and light
  • UK Film Council highlights 3D potential

    The UK Film Council is to look at the success of 3D in cinemas with a London masterclass with the makers of U2 3D.3D cinema has been making serious critical and box-office advances this year, not only with the U2 concert film but also the extraordinary success in the US of Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour. The Film Council believes that 3D is becoming serious business and have invited U2 3D producers Jon Shapiro and John Mod
  • UK producers Initialize co-production meetings

    The UK's Skillset, UK Film Council and legal firm Olswang are hosting a new producers lab, Initialize Films, for 17 UK producers seeking European co-producers. The producers have been in Berlin attending the Co-Production Market and will have a day of pre-selected meetings today at the Marriott.Projects include Young from director Sean Conway and producer Samm Haillay, a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story set in the underbelly of Northern Engl
  • UK's Sky Movies Indie gets broadcast rights to Spirit Awards

    UK channel Sky Movies Indie has struck a deal for the exclusive UK broadcast of Film Independent's Spirit Awards. The winners are announced in Santa Monica February 23 and highlights will be shown at 9 pm GMT March 1 on Sky Movies Indie.The channel will also run a week's worth of Spirit-winning films including Blood Simple and last year's winner Little Miss Sunshine. Rainn Wilson hosts the event, whose 2008 nominees inc
  • United Kingdom - Aria on song

    From the office of his Aria Films in London, the Italian-born producer Carlo Dusi is keen to expand his realm. "Historically, a lot of the films I have been involved in have been firmly in the arthouse sector," Dusi says. "That is a dirty word here, but not for me, being continental. I think we respect that area of the market a little bit more. I think that does still represent my personal interest... although tempered with an understanding of how the market is working at the moment."D
  • US box-office bounces with Jumper; Hannah Montana nears $60m

    Fox's sci-fi adventure Jumper starring Hayden Christensen as a globe trotting teleporter stormed to the top of the domestic charts at the weekend on an estimated $27.2m.The film has grossed $33.9m since it opened on Thursday and also stars Samuel L Jackson, Diane Lane and Jamie Bell. Doug Liman directed.Opening in second place was the dance drama Step Up 2 The Streets on $19.7m and $26.3m si
  • UTV plans epic release for Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar

    UTV Motion Pictures is planning to release Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar in 26 countries and 1,500 screens on Feb 15, which it claims is the biggest ever release for an Indian film. A co-production between UTV and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions, the film stars Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan and depicts the romance between Mughal Emperor Akbar and the Rajput princess Jodhaa.It will be dubbed into three Indian languages (Hindi, Telegu and Tamil) and subtitled in
  • Visual Factory eyes slew of deals for Hideout, Concrete Romance

    UK-based sales outfit Visual Factory has closed a number of deals here at the EFM. Marco Martani's gangster story Concrete Romance has gone to CanalPlus for France; Pupi Avati's The Hideout, a US-shot thriller starring Laura Morante, Burt Young and Treat Williams, has gone to Film Depot for Russia and Phoenicia for the Middle East. Wes Craven's Summer of Fear starring
  • Voltage closes key sales on Kutcher/Pfeiffer drama Effects

    Nicolas Chartier's Voltage Pictures has closed key sales on the upcoming Ashton Kutcher and Michelle Pfeiffer drama Personal Effects.Rights have gone to Germany (ARD), Mexico (Gussi), Minerva (Italy), CIS (EEAP), Brazil (Imagem), South Korea (Cinema Valley), Portugal (Lusomundo), Greece (Hollywood) and the Middle East (Gulf).Deals also closed in the Philippines (Pioneer), Latin America (Polarstar), India and Malaysia (PT Parkit), Iceland (Samfilm), Israel (Forum), Argenti
  • War Child

    Dir: Christian Karim Chrobog. USA . 2007. 94 mins.Most hip-hop artists sell themselves on their school-of-hard-knocks credentials, but few rappers can have known the kind of hell that Sudanese artist Emmanuel Jal has endured - and lived to tell the tale. A universe apart from the usual rags-to-riches music biographies, Christian Karim Chrobog's documentary War Child
  • What No One Knows (Det Som Ingen Wed)

    Dir. Soren Kragh-Jacobsen. Denmark/Sweden, 2008. 95minsNow 61, Danish director Soren Kragh-Jacobsen has only made a handful of films in the last thirty years, and while they have done well in Denmark , they haven't left much of a mark elsewhere. The well-known exception was Mifune (1999) which enjoyed the distinction of US distribution. In any case, widely successful or not, all of his films, even
  • Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell

    Dir: Matt Wolf. US. 2008. 70mins.A long-neglected cult musician gets his well-deserved moment in the limelight in Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, a moving, celebratory documentary that will turn many viewers on to its subject's strange, compelling sounds. Expect neither myth-making nor music-biz scandal from this level-headed, informative piece, but do expect to be moved by the story of an under-rated visionary who died tragically young in 1992.
  • With Berlinale 2008 closed, Kosslick eyes later start for EFM

    Now in his seventh year as festival director, the Berlinale's Dieter Kosslick is considering a later start for the European Film Market (EFM) during the festival.Speaking exclusively to, Kosslick stated: 'all markets are too long. I think we should have the market not beginning until Friday or Saturday. Then the stress is gone and people can be there over the weekend and into the next week. The time is then better synchronised with the festival. We have had a d
  • Yvonne Catterfeld named to play Romy Schneider in German biopic

    Yvonne Catterfeld is to play the legendary Austrian-born icon Romy Schneider in Josef Rusnak's biopic Eine Frau Wie Romy (literally A Woman Like Romy) which will begin shooting at locations in France and Germany from July 23.According to German press reports, actresses such as Jodie Foster and Eva Green had been interested in the role. However, director Rusnak pointed out that the project's French partner