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18 July 2003

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  • A Love Movie (Filme De Amor)

    Dir: Julio Bressane. Brazil. 2003. 90minsThere is precious little love, even less sensuality and no passion at all in this experimental picture which marks Julio Bressane's return to the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes after more than 30 years. A little film on a vast subject, to quote the director himself, this modest attempt to discuss eroticism and other matters between one man and two women, sharing a dreary flat in Rio de Janeiro for a weekend, may find eventual interest
  • AOL TW sells DVD business for $1.05bn

    Toronto-based Cinram International will pay $1.05bn to acquire the DVD and CD manufacturing and distribution businesses of AOL Time Warner in the US and Europe. The deal, which should close in Autumn 2003, includes exclusive long-term agreements with Warner Home Video, Warner Music Group and New Line Cinema to manufacture, print, package and physically distribute their software in North America and Europe. Cinram, one of the largest players in its field, has supplied these servi
  • APTN produces movie show for UK's ITV2

    News agency APTN Entertainment and distribution partner MercuryMedia have been commissioned by the UK's ITV2 to produce a new 10-minute weekly movie preview and news programme for a 20-week run beginning on July 28.Movies Now! will give British audiences bite-sized previews of the big movies set for U.K. release in the up-coming week. The programme will combine APTN behind-the-scenes footage with clips from the movies themselves. The programme will also draw on material f
  • Artisan renews with Alliance Atlantis in Canada till 2007

    Alliance Atlantis andArtisan Entertainment have agreed to renew their all-rights Canadiansub-distribution agreement through March 31, 2007. Upcoming on the Artisanslate are Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, a re-imagination of the 1987 hit and The Punisher, based on the Marvel comic, starring John Travoltaand Thomas Jane.The deal, first signed in1998, has covered all of the US company's titles, including The Buena VistaSocial Club, The Limey, The Blair Witch Project, a
  • Bad Boys II does wicked business for Columbia

    Columbia's Bad Boys II swaggered its way to the top of the table over theweekend on an estimated $46.7m, some three times bigger than the original's$15.5m bow in 1995.The sequel reunites directorMichael Bay with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as fast-talking narcotics cops,this time on the trail of a Miami kingpin.Bad Boys II drew mostly poor reviews but nobody at the studiowill care too much about that.It averaged a strong $14,657from 3,186 sites and is exp
  • Boxer leaves Artisan for sales job at IFC Films

    Mark Boxer has been nameddirector of national film sales at IFC Films as part of the ongoing expansionof the company, the distribution division of IFC Entertainment.Boxer will be responsiblefor negotiating and settling distribution deals for all IFC films releasedwithin the US and will direct new sales opportunities for IFC'sdistribution unit, while maintaining existing accounts.He will report to GregForston, IFC's vice president of sales and distribution.
  • Brazilian exhibitors facing bankruptcy

    Brazilian exhibitors may face bankruptcy as a result of a 14-year battle they have waged with local authors rights society ECAD (Escritorio Central de Arrecadacao e Distribuicao). When ECAD raised its royalty charges from the original 0.5% to 2.5% over gross box office receipts more than a decade ago, both foreign and local exhibitors filed individual injunctions against the new charge. Early this year, Texas-based Cinemark International won its suit based on the argument that E
  • Britney Baby, One More Time to open Tokyo Gay fest

    Britney Baby, One More Time is to open the 12th Tokyo International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, which starts today.Running until July 21, the festival will also feature titles including Nine Dead Gay Guys from the UK, Mango Souffle from India and Girl King from Canada. The closing film will be A Mi Madre Le Gustan Las Mujeres from Spain
  • Brown named head of marketing at UGC cinemas UK

    Julia Brown has been appointed head of marketing at UGC Cinemas in the UK and Ireland. She will head up a team of eight and will report to Mike Thomson, the commercial director.Brown will map out the marketing strategy and look at all existing marketing tools for the next stages of UGC's development. She will also be responsible for sales.Her first major project will be the re-launch of the Dublin cinema, which will be expanding from nine screens to 17. It will open at the end o
  • Bruce takes another $10.4m for BVI, Nemo, Pirates start to roll

    Bruce Almighty continued its solid international run over theweekend, grossing $10.4m to raise its running total to $128.2m.Buena VistaInternationalís (BVI) opened the comedy at number one in Mexico, whereit took $2.9m from 490 screens and recorded the biggest ever bow for star JimCarrey.The film also opened numberone in Venezuela on $175,000 from 46.In its fourth week in the UKBruce Almighty ranked second,falling a mere 17% and addi
  • Bruce takes another $10.4m for BVI, Nemo, Pirates start to roll

    Bruce Almighty continued its solid international run over theweekend, grossing $10.4m to raise its running total to $128.2m.Buena VistaInternational (BVI) opened the comedy at number one in Mexico, whereit took $2.9m from 490 screens and recorded the biggest ever bow for star JimCarrey.The film also opened numberone in Venezuela on $175,000 from 46.In its fourth week in the UKBruce Almighty ranked second,falling a mere 17% and adding $2.1m for a superb $31m
  • Cannes pays tribute to Alexander Walker

    Cannes president Gilles Jacob has paid tribute to film critic Alexander Walker, who died suddenly yesterday."It is with great sadness that I heard about Alex's passing. Alex was a close friend, a great critic and historian," Jacob told Screen. "I believe that he didn't miss a single Cannes Film Festival for as long as I have been working there myself and his advice and encouragement always brought me luck. "Walker had attended the Cannes Film Festival for the past 49 year
  • Chabrol thriller backed by Bavarian fund

    Feature projects by veteran French director Claude Chabrol, newcomer director Marco Kreuzpaintner and Mostly Martha's Sandra Nettelbeck are among those receiving a total Euros 1.35m backing from Bavaria's regional public fund FFF Bayern.Over Euros 600,000 were awarded to Kreuzpaintner's coming of age tale Sommersturm, which will be produced by the successful Munich production house Claussen + Woebke Filmproduktion, while Euros 400,000 went to MTM Medien & Television Muenc
  • Chapman, Greenroom launch PR agency EC2PR

    London-based publicist Emma Chapman is setting up a new film PR agency EC2PR, in collaboration with entertainment on-line marketing and PR company Greenroom Digital.Chapman, who was previously at Shine Communications, has recently headed publicity and distribution campaigns for films including Walter Salles' highly anticipated The Motorcycle Diaries, and events including the re-launch of London's Curzon Mayfair Cinema.Creative agency Greenroom Digital has clients includin
  • Columbia Asia takes world rights to Sylvia Chang's 20:30:40

    Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia (CPFPA) has acquired worldwide rights to Taiwanese feature 20:30:40 directed by and starring Sylvia Chang.The romantic drama, which is currently in post-production, also stars Lee Sin-Je and Rene Liu who won best actress and best supporting actress respectively at this year's Hong Kong Film Awards for their roles in horror film The Eye (Lee) and thriller Double Vision (Liu). Hong Kong stars Tony Leung Ka-Fai and Anthony
  • For She's A Jolly Good Fellow (Elle Est Des Notres)

    Dir: Siegrid Alnoy. France. 2003. 100minsA portrait of a woman ' indeed, a society ' on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Siegrid Alnoy's debut feature is ostensibly a variation on a familiar topic, but quickly establishes its vision with steely confidence. Coolly inventive and rigorous, Alnoy's debut is likely to make a modest stir on the specialised home market, but should enjoy considerable festival life; internationally, distributors looking for revelations at the more e
  • Fox's 28 Days Later crossed $50m worldwide gross mark

    Fox International'shorror film 28 Days Later raisedits international running total to $21.1m over the weekend. With its domesticgross rising to $33.4m, the film comfortably crossed $50m in worldwide grosses.The chief highlight was a$1.4m number one opening on 242 screens in Spain.Danny Boyle's latestrelease has been released in 31 territories and will open in Brazil thisweekend.The film took $2.6m in NorthAmerica, where it is Fox Searchlight's b
  • Franchise vs Intertainment court battle delayed

    The lawsuit between German license trader Intertainment and US producer Franchise Pictures may be delayed for another year, after the planned August 5 court case between the two companies was unexpectedly postponed by a Los Angeles judge.Federal District Court judge Alicemarie H. Stotler did not give any reasons for the postponement, apart from saying that the decision was "based on the court's own motion". She also asked the parties involved to agree within a week to a new trial date
  • French strike action causes la Villette fest cancellation

    Following nearly two weeks of peace since striking French artists and technicians caused the cancellation of the Avignon theatre festival, the protesters are at it again. On Monday, it was announced that the 14th Festival du Cinema de Plein Air de la Villette in Paris would be cancelled as well.The festival, which organises outdoor screenings in Paris' 19th district at the Parc de la Vilette, has been a welcome opportunity to Parisians on hot summer nights. Films ranging from bl
  • Full Throttle tops $100m for CTFDI, while T3 races past $50m

    Charlie's Angels: FullThrottle passed $100m at theinternational box office on Saturday (19), its 24th day of release, continuingits strong momentum from last weekend.Overall the action sequeltook $17m for Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) from amassive 6,140 screens in 56 territories for a $109.4m running total.The only new major territoryof the weekend was France, where it opened number one on $4m from 706 screens,some 3% bigger than the 2001 origi
  • Gaga veterans jump start Japanese indie

    Former Gaga Communications acquisitions chief Kaz Tadashiki has joined Movie-Eye Entertainment as president and CEO. Together with COO Taku Ushiyama, another Gaga veteran, Tadashiki plans to reposition Movie-Eye, whose core business since its April 2000 start has been film promotion, as a production, distribution and talent management company.To support its relaunch, the company has raised Y235 million ($2 million) in new capital. In addition to Tadashiki and Ushiyama, its share
  • German indies win distribution funding

    Theatrical distributors X Verleih, Salzgeber & Co Medien and Alamode Film have been awarded prizes worth Euros 100,000 each to invest in distribution campaigns for German and other European films.Each of the companies was awarded the special distributor prize by German culture minister Christina Weiss in recognition of "their special achievement in the distribution of artistically outstanding films." The winners were decided on the basis of the cultural quality of the distribut
  • Germany's Splendid to divest its 80% holding in US subsidiary

    Germany's Splendid Medien plans to divest itself of its 80% interest in the US subsidiary Splendid Pictures Holdings, Inc. (SPH), subject to approval at the annual general meeting.In statement, the group explained that the step was being taken "due to the currently difficult market environment surrounding the financing of US-American film projects and the high demand for liquidity as well as the difficulty in assessing the projects and implementation of international sales."Issu
  • Ghost House scares up New Zealand business

    Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi, producers of the New Zealand shot Xena: Warrior Princess, have returned to the country to shoot the horror pic Boogeyman. Tapert and Raimi say they have produced over 300 hours of action drama in New Zealand from 1993-2001 under the Pacific Renaissance Pictures banner and have injected more than US$400 million into the New Zealand economy They have also signed Lucy Lawless, who plays Xena, for one of the main roles in Boogeyman.
  • Giffoni jury turned over to 1000 children

    Juliette Lewis, Jon Voight and Ian Mckellen are among the guests who will attend next week's Giffoni Film Festival (July 19-26), one of the premier competitive events in the world dedicated to kids and youth-oriented cinema.The festival will also welcome Italian directors Pupi Avati (The Heart Elsewhere), Paolo Virzi (My Name is Tanino) and multiple Karlovy Vary winner Ferzan Ozpetek (Facing Windows) as well as popular Roman actor Claudio Amendola.However, w
  • GREECE Production Listings - July 18 2003

    Copyright: Screen InternationalGREECE - July 18PRE-PRODUCTIONDON'T ASK, EVERYTHING IS THERE (min rotas, ola einai ekei)(The Greek Film Centre, P Karamanos Ltd) Budget: e590,000. Int'l sales: The Greek Film Centre. Dist: New Star. Psychological drama. A young woman is unable to form steady relationships as she is still under the spell of her father. Exec prod/co-prod/dir/scr/ed: George Konstantinopoulos. Prod: Panos Karamanos. Main cast: Marina Bou
  • Greek film-makers face Olympic hurdle

    With the Athens 2004 Olympic Games fast approaching, a palpable sense of excitement is growing around the event in Greece - as well as a scramble to get the country's athletics and transport infrastructure ready in time.Greek film-makers, however, could be forgiven for being less than happy at the prospect of the Games. Many attribute a recent drying up of government film funding to the ever-growing demands of the Olympic organising committee - which is supervised and funded thr
  • How To Deal

    Dir: Clare Kilner. US. 2003. 101mins.The first of three films due this year from 19-year-old US singer-actress Mandy Moore, How To Deal touches on some of the thornier issues of adolescence and family life but eventually resolves itself into a disappointingly insipid teen romance. To match the $41m grossed in the US last year by the fledgling star's A Walk To Remember, domestic distributor New Line will need to make the most of Moore's female teen fan base when
  • Italian film promotion body faces closure

    Italian film promotion body Italia Cinema could be forced to close by the end of the year because of drastic cuts in government funding.Created five years ago by Italy's culture ministry, Italia Cinema is present at all major international film events, where it organises press conferences, provides promotional material for Italian films and promotes film business between Italy and international buyers.The agency also organises retrospectives internationally as well as the Italia
  • Italian Job gets to work in Italy

    With 2003's sequel-saturated summer showing that, in some cases, sequels are not proving as successful as hoped, another staple of production schedules, the remake, is witnessing a Hollywood-style makeover.Increasingly branded as re-imaginings rather than remakes - a phrase used extensively in the marketing of Tim Burton's 2001 Planet Of The Apes - such concepts are back again with Paramount and Herald in Japan currently enjoying success with The Italian Job.UIP, w
  • Jeong to take over as COO at Showbox

    Jeong Taesung, known as the international face of thePusan Promotion Plan (PPP) projects market is to become chief operating officerof the major Korean film conglomerate Showbox. Thehigh profile move means that the forthcoming PPP (5-7 October), held inparallel to the Pusan International Film Festival, will be Jeong's last in therole of deputy director. Showbox,which is part of the Orion group, is best established as an exhibition group.But it has expanded into distribution, pr
  • Jerusalem festival line-up sparks debate

    Despite a political situation that has kept international celebrities away, the 20th Jerusalem Film Festival has seen most of its screenings sold out - as well programming a record eight new Israeli feature films in its main line-up.The standout Israeli film as the festival approaches its final day is Ra'anan Alexandrowicz's satire James' Journey To Jerusalem - which premiered earlier this year in Directors' Fortnight at Cannes where it was picked up by several international dis
  • Jeunet completes Long Engagement casting

    Amelie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet has rounded out the casting on his next film, A Very Long Engagement (Un Long Dimanche De Fiancailles), which he plans to start shooting in early August outside Paris.Teaming up again with his Amelie muse Audrey Tautou, Jeunet has put together a list of actors that reads like a who's who of current and past French cinema. The film is budgeted at roughly $50 million making it one of the biggest local productions ever.
  • Kiss Of Life

    Dir: Emily Young. UK-Fr. 2003. 86minsA slender but soulful feature debut from award-winning shorts director Emily Young, Kiss Of Life attempts to grapple with the big issues of life, death, love and family. An overly cerebral approach to what could have been quite emotionally-charged material means that the film feels distant and chilly which will undoubtedly limit its commercial appeal. The presence of prize-winning performers Peter Mullan and Ingeborga Dapkunaite sho
  • Korea's Mirovision takes world rights to Doppelganger

    Korean independent group Mirovision has picked up world sales rights to Doppelganger, the next film by cult Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa.The film, which is being targeted for a world premiere at one of the major autumn festivals, is a sophisticated thriller with elements of comedy and black humour about a Yakuza who tangles with the forces of death. Made on a modest budget, Doppelganger was produced by Towani, the joint venture company set up by Toshiba, Warn
  • Korea's Save The Green Planet wins PiFan festival

    Local Koreanpicture, Save TheGreen Planet took multiple honours at the closing ceremony of the 7thPuchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) this weekend.The film, a first- feature directedby Jang Jun-Hwan, won the Best of Puchon award for bestfeature and also the Citizen's Choice public prize. Save The Green Planet is a dark fantasyabout a simple man who kidnaps a businessman believing him to
  • Krishna Shah launches three Indian features

    Hollywood-based Indian filmmaker and former Double Helix head Krishna Shah has announced a slate of three films in Mumbai. Shah and his brother Himanshu Shah have launched a Mumbai-based production company, Movie Moghuls and have announced the production of Aasman Ke Heere (Diamonds In The Sky) an English and Hindi love story set during an Indo-Pakistan nuclear confrontation. The film will be shot mainly on location in Chandigarh later this year for a May 2004 release. Sh
  • Kurt Rieder joins UIP Asia

    UIP has appointed Kurt Rieder as vice president, sales and marketing of its Asian operations, replacing Roger Pollock who relocated from Singapore to London earlier this year.Rieder will oversee the release of all UIP product in the region, excluding Japan, from early September. He is currently managing director of Singapore-based distributor-exhibitor Golden Village and has also held senior posts at Thai exhibitor EGV, Village Cinemas in Argentina and Warner Bros Singapore.The
  • Limited releases and holdovers make The Hulk somewhat green

    Ang Lee's The Hulk topped the UK/Ireland chart this week but had a less spectacular opening than might have been hoped.The UIP-distributed comic-book film's $5.6m (£3.5m) from 500 venues opening weekend gross included three days of previews at some 450 sites. Without the inclusion of the $2.1m (£1.3m) generated from these previews the opening weekend take of $3.5m (£2.2m) looks a little green beside comparable figures for the summer's other blockbuster openers this year.I
  • Linde and Pressman among 2003 Gotham honorees

    Glenn Close, Steve Buscemi, Focus Features co-president DavidLinde and producer Ed Pressman are to receive the IFP Gotham Awards at the 13thannual IFP annual Gotham Awards Gala on Sept 22.
  • Lithuania looks to exploit EU accession

    Lithuania, which has lagged behind its Baltic neighbours in terms of film production, is poised to see major changes in advance of EU accession next year. Increased state funding, a new film law and the impending privatization of its state owned film studios all signal better times ahead for Lithuanian filmmakers who have struggled to produce an average of one feature film a year over the past decade. Both Latvia and Estonia produce two or three features a year mostly backed by
  • Little Polar Bear sequel among films to get German funding

    The sequel to the 2001 hit animation feature Der Kleine Eisbaer (The Little Polar Bear) and new films by Grill Point's Andreas Dresen, Mostly Martha's Sandra Nettelbeck and Sonnenallee's Leander Hausmann are among the projects receiving a total of Euros 3.2m from the German Federal Film Board (FFA) in its latest round of funding.The largest sum - Euros 800,000 - went to Thilo Graf Rothkirch's Berlin-based animation studio Cartoon Film for the production of
  • Maurice Jarre to receive award at Flanders film festival

    Veteran French composer Maurice Jarre will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's World Soundtrack Awards during the Flanders International Film Festival (FIFF) in Ghent (October 7-18 2003).The composer of scores for such films as Doctor Zhivago, Dead Poets Society and Ghost will be presented the award "for his enormous career and dedication."FIFF, whose programme always focuses on the impact of film on music, will also feature live performances by Wor
  • Metrodome takes UK rights to Northfork

    Buoyed by Donnie Darko, which last week helped slash its annual losses by two thirds, UK media concern the Metrodome Group has acquired another surreal US Sundance film, Northfork, from Paramount Classics. Metrodome picked up UK theatrical and home video rights to the film, which stars Nick Nolte, Daryl Hannah, James Woods, Anthony Edwards, Claire Forlani, Peter Coyote and Kyle MacLachlan. Paramount released the film in the US last week, with Metrodome planning to
  • MGM closes sale of Rainbow channels stake back to Cablevision

    MGM has completed the sale of its 20% equity stake in RainbowCable Networks, which includes American Movie Classics, Independent FilmChannel and Women's Entertainment, back to Cablevision Systems Corporation.
  • MGM Home Entertainment takes control of Australian operation

    MGM Home Entertainment hastaken another step in its worldwide expansion plans by assuming control ofoperations in Australia.MGM executive Don Huntonwill head up a full-scale sales, marketing and distribution apparatus that isbeing planned for the territory, one of the fastest growing DVD markets in theworld.As managing director,Australia, Hunter will oversee new offices in Sydney - where he will be based -and Melbourne.He will report directly toRobert Wittenberg, executiv
  • Multiple Taj Mahal films line up for release

    Warner Bros is currently looking at making a Hollywood version of the story of the Taj Mahal. The project is already in pre-production, based on a script by screenwriter Kamran Pasha. Warner Bros executive Aditya Sood is working on the project and Trilogy Entertainment is to produce the film.The story of Taj Mahal has long fascinated Indian filmmakers and several Indian films have been produced on the subject - the most famous being the Mubarak starrer Taj Mahal in 1941
  • New head appointed at Czech Television

    Czech authorities named a well-known news anchor, Jiri Janecek, to head state-owned Czech Television, the primary backer of local-language films in the Czech Republic. The appointment of Janecek is intended to bring stability to the public broadcaster, which has suffered in recent years from financial troubles and a high turnover in directors. Film producers have lamented the ongoing problems, seeing a tightening of funds earmarked for Czech film production as long as they continue. Al
  • No Borders market selects projects from Quays, Buscemi, Holland

    Narrative projects from Steve Buscemi, Sexy Beast screenwriters Louis Mellis and David Scinto, and animation gurus the Brothers Quay are among 21 works in progress that will be presented at the 25th annual IFP market's No Borders International Co-Production Market this autumn.The IFP Market, which runs in New York City from Sep 21-26, is the only selective event in the US to present in-development projects exclusively to industry professionals.No Borders, one of several p
  • No Rest For The Brave (Pas De Repos Pour Les Braves)

    Dir: Alain Guiraudie. France-Austria. 2003. 105mins.Self-taught director Alain Guiraudie's first film to break the 60-minute barrier is the live-action, rural French answer to Waking Life, Richard Linklater's animated, urban American dream spiel. In both films we are plunged straight into the metaphysical dilemmas of a group of predominantly male alter egos; in both films it is difficult to work out at any given time which level of the dream within a dream we have touc
  • Nolot's Porn Theatre, Mudge Boy win top prizes at LA Outfest

    Michael Burke's TheMudge Boy won the OUTstandingAmerican Narrative Feature Grand Jury Award and Jacques Nolot's PornTheatre (La Chatte A Deux Tetes) took top honours for international feature at LAgay and lesbian film festival Outfest 2003, which closed last night with ascreening of Mambo Italiano.In other Grand Jury Awardwinners at Sunday's (20) awards ceremony, Josh Aronson's TheOpposite Sex, Rene's Story claimed the documentary
  • Old, New, Borrowed And Blue (Se Til Venstre, Der Er En Svensker)

    Dir. Natasha Arthy. Denmark. 2003. 90mins.This new romantic comedy is the best proof that a Dogme tag does not necessarily indicate a film is a meaningful or even a challenging experience. Old, New, Borrowed And Blue's sitcom-type humour and occasional melodramatic touches will probably provide a safe niche on international matinee slots, where its sunny disposition and the lively performance of lead actress Sidse Babett Knudsen pull it through some awkward patches. Bu
  • Red And Blue (Rot Und Blau)

    Dir. Rudolf Thome. Germany. 2003. 112mins.Veteran German director Rudolf Thome is back with another one of his meticulously over-scripted, exceedingly polite and talkative dramas. Like much of his previous work, such as Venus Talking and Paradiso: Seven Days With Seven Women (which won the Silver Bear at Berlin in 2000), it will find a niche on the international circuit, but its best bet, beyond that, is the television screen for which its seems made. The encoun
  • Ribera wraps his third feature in Barcelona

    Xavier Ribera has finished shooting his third feature, A + (or Amas) in Barcelona. Boasting a cast of up-and-coming young Spanish stars (Eloy Azorin, Elvira Herreria, Fernando Ramallo, Eloi Yebra, Carlos Fuentes and Ricardo Moya), and an ultra-cool sound-track, A+ tells the individual tales of three youths, whose paths eventually cross at the film's conclusion; an international music festival. A 'making of' picture is also thought to be in the pipeline.
  • Saban resurfaces in KirchMedia bidding

    It could be the comeback of the year. Six weeks after making an eleventh hour exit from the bidding for the insolvent KirchMedia, US media tycoon Haim Saban could be back in the picture.According to German press reports this weekend, Saban has rallied the support of a group of financial investment companies to approach the KirchMedia creditor banks with a new offer for a majority stake in the core business of ProSiebenSat.1 Media.At the same time, Financial Times Deutschland sug
  • Samy Boy signs A Different Loyalty producer Peristent to first look

    Samy Boy Pictures, adivision of Los Angeles-based financing and production company Samy BoyEntertainment, has finalised a first-look deal with Matthew Rhodes and JuddPayne's production outfit Persistent Entertainment.Samy Boy will provide equityfinancing for selected projects of varying budgets from Persistent, which isrelocating to share office space with Samy Boy.Linda Lichter of LichterGrossman Nichols Adler negotiated the deal on behalf of PersistentEntertainment.The
  • Seabiscuit

    Dir: Gary Ross. US 2003. 140 minutesA good film that could have been a great one, Seabiscuit offers a welcome alternative to this summer's bloated action sequels. Based on the best-selling non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand, the film recounts the true, Depression-era story of an unprepossessing, knobby-kneed horse who not only became a racing legend but also a symbol of hope and inspiration in a nation badly needing both. While the film may lack the dazzle and excit
  • Seres Queridos gears up for Madrid shoot

    New talents Teresa de Pelegri and Dominic Harari are due to begin shooting their new feature project, in Madrid this month. The film is co-produced by Tornasol Films (Spain), Greenpoint Productions and the Film Council (UK), Madragoa Productions (Portugal) and the Patagonik Film Group (Argentina). Although essentially a comedy, the film deals with some heavy subject-matter, namely the Middle Eastern conflict through the eyes of a Jewish family living in Madrid. Pelegri and Harari (who
  • Six directors selected for Cannes' Residence

    The Cannes Film Festival's annual young filmmakers' workshop announced its participants on Wednesday for the upcoming session. The Festival Residence is a four-month programme aimed at helping filmmakers prepare a first or second film project.The list of directors heading to this year's programme which begins on October 1 is: Karin Ainouz from Brazil, Veronica Chen from Argentina, the UK's Stephen Ellis, Finland's Kiris Liimatainen, Hungary's Kornel Mundrunczo and Marta Parlator
  • Sony strikes 'three digit million' German TV deal

    Sony Pictures Entertainment's (SPE) latest blockbusters Terminator 3, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and Spider-Man are among 80 feature film titles acquired by Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 Group in an exclusive free-TV deal for all of SPE's output from 2001-2003.The package, which was concluded with Sony Pictures Television International for a reported three digit million Euro sum, also includes several TV movies and series such as The Shield, The Guardian, Joan Of Arca
  • Spain's Ministry of Culture awards funds to 15 new films

    Spain's Ministry of Culture has announced that 15 films from new directors have been selected to receive subsidies totalling Euros 2.5m in 2003. The 15 projects, which have each been granted between Euros 60,000 and Euros 210,000, are unique in that they are all in the hands of new directors with experimental or documentary-style feature films. Seven of the 15 will receive the maximum amount of Euros 210,000, including Pedro Perez Rosado's Esperare Por Ti (Que Llueva Cafe
  • Spirited Away wins Cambridge audience prize

    Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-winning Spirited Away picked up the audience award at the 23rd Cambridge Film Festival, which wrapped on July 20.The Japanese animated feature polled over 700 of the 4000 votes cast by festival goers to win the Q103 People's Choice Award. Spirited Away goes on general release in the UK on September 12.The Shortfusion audience prize for best short film was awarded to Raj Yagnik's Puppet Access TV, a satire of celebrity-driven television
  • Struggle

    Dir: Ruth Mader. Austria. 2003. 74minsThis is one of those strange films that leaves you scratching your head and wondering 'now what the heck was that all about'' What initially seems like a glum exercise in sub-Dardennes brothers-style neo-realism eventually becomes closer in spirit to Ulrich Seidl's Dog Days (Hundstage, 2001). It is still hard to see who would part with money for the pleasure of its company. The film's only future might lie with masochistic a
  • Summer film drought threatens Italian industry

    Despite new data showing that ticket sales have remained virtually the same in the first half of 2003 compared to the same period last year, Walter Vacchino, head of national exhibitors union ANEC warned that there are "serious problems threatening the vitality of a large number of cinemas in Italy" - notably the industry's continued failure in the summer to meet spectators' demand.According to data released by Cinetel, which covers 75% of the market, 43.18m tickets were sold between
  • Tarantino's Bill makes multiple killing

    Fans of Quentin Tarantino - and the many international distributors who pre-bought the rights to his long-awaited fourth film, Kill Bill - are about to get rather more than they originally bargained for. But all will have dig into their pockets twice for the unexpected treat. Instead of the three-hour kung fu bloodbath that was once promised them, they will now get two ninety-minute films that will be released theatrically within a couple of months of one another, around the wor
  • Triumph for Nina's Tragedies at Jerusalem film fest

    Nina's Tragedies a bittersweet comedy by Savi Gabizon and produced by Gabizon and Anath Assouline, won the Wolgin Award for Best Israeli feature film at the Jerusalem Film Festival. The award was accompanied by a $40,000 prize, to be divided equally between the director and producers. The film collected two other awards, for Gabizon's script and for David Gurfinkel's cinematography, as well as a special mention for Ayelet Zorer, who plays Nina in the film. Two othe
  • UK Film Council launches digital cinema initiative

    The UK Film Council's distribution and exhibition fund has launched its much-anticipated initiative to co-fund a nationwide network of digital screens.The National Lottery-fund scheme will invest £13m in setting up 250 digital screens. The screens will be located in approximately 150 existing cinema sites around the country, over a quarter of UK cinema sites.The council is setting up a central independent consortium later this year to operate the circuit. In return for providing
  • UK lottery franchises get extensions

    The UK Film Council has granted extensions to two of the three National Lottery franchises - The Film Consortium and Pathe Pictures - to spend their remaining lottery grants.The third franchise, DNA Films, is still negotiating with the council but the talks are part of a more complicated deal between DNA and Fox Searchlight.Both The Film Consortium and Pathe have six month extensions to spend their original lottery grants. The Film Consortium now has until March to spend its fin
  • UK prepares for Hulk onslaught

    UK eyes will be on UIP's The Hulk this weekend after previews for the Ang Lee film were hit by soaring temperatures in the territory last weekend. That The Hulk will claim a number one UK/Ireland bow is not in doubt but how much it can muster is a bigger question.The Hulk played two days of UK/Ireland previews last weekend to take $1.6m (£987,000) from 420 sites. The film will open at approximately 500 sites and is likely to go out on over 900 prints
  • UK's Artificial Eye picks up Kiss Of Life

    The UK's Artificial Eye has picked up Emily Young's Kiss Of Life, which played in the Un Certain Regard section of this year's Cannes film festival.Artificial Eye have set a December 27 release date for the film, which stars Peter Mullan and Ingeborga Dapkunaite. Kiss Of Life was co-funded by the Film Council and BBC Films.
  • Universal's Hulk brings in a further $9.3m

    Universal's TheHulk did some smashing business asthe number three film at the international box office over the weekend,grossing $9.3m from 3,182 theatres in 29 countries to raise its total to$69.9m.In the distributor's10th biggest opening ever in the UK, the film placed first on $5.8m from 500sites, including paid previews. Universal said The Hulk enjoyed 31% market share.In three fair openings, thefilm went straight to number one in Finland wi
  • Valentin to open LA Latino fest

    The seventh Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) will kick off on July 18 with a Miramax pick-up, Alejandro Agresti's award-winning Valentin, the tender story of a young boy and his attempts to find surrogate parents. Competing titles at the festival include Radio Favela by Helvecio Ratton (Brazil), Carlos Sorin's Historias Minimas (Argentina), El Destino No Tiene Favoritos by Alvaro Velarde (Peru), Luis Mendez' Mas De Mil Camaras Velan
  • VCL Film + Medien reduces 2003 forecast

    German home entertainment specialist/license trader VCL Film + Medien has reduced its sales forecast for the present fiscal year from the previously announced Euros 25m-30m to Euros 18m.In a statement, the company explained that this has been "due to the stagnating market development within the German home entertainment segment since the beginning of the year, the drop in sales due to the recent heatwave, and the delayed closing of the agreements with the US major."At the end of
  • Vivendi offloads French animation business

    Vivendi Universal is to sell animation studio Ellipse Animation, a division of television producer and distributor Studio Expand, to French comic-book publisher and cartoon producer Dargaud Marina. The deal will create the largest French animation company as well as one of the biggest European animation catalogues.Along with existing series like Monsieur Bonhomme and Bambou et Compagnie, Dargaud will add Les Mysterieuse Aventures de Fantomette, Tintin, Babar
  • Warner opens Reloaded to strong figures in China

    The Matrix Reloaded raised its international running total to $431m overthe weekend thanks in part to a decent opening in China that is expected toyield around $1.5m (RMB 12m).Preliminary figures fromWarner Bros Pictures International included an estimated $230,000 (RMB 1.9m) inChinese previews.The distributor said theopening was on a par with the RMB 12.1m bow of Harry Potter And The ChamberOf Secrets, no mean feat bearing inmind the recent SAR
  • Warner picks up Coninx's latest for Belgium and Netherlands

    Warner Bros PicturesInternational has acquired Belgian director Stijn Coninx's family drama VerderDan De Maan (Sea Of Silence) for distribution in the Netherlands and Belgium.Set against the backdrop ofthe 1960s Space Race, Verder Dan De Maan follows the spiritual and emotionaljourney of a nine-year-old girl and her father.Coninx, whose creditsinclude Hector, Koko Flanel and Daens, rose to international prominence on the back of theaward-winning histo
  • Woody Allen's Anything Else to open Venice

    Woody Allen's Anything Else will open the 60th Venice International Film Festival which runs from Aug 27th to September 6th, organisers announced.The festival-shy director has also confirmed that he will attend the movie's world premiere on the Lido - the first time he will have attended the festival."I'm looking forward to going to the festival. I've never been to Venice at festival time and the city has been so generous and supportive to me and I love it so much that it