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18 May 2001

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  • Alta, Celluloid team for Noriega starrer Nova

    Spain's Alta Films is prepping feature film Novo with France's Celluloid Dreams, set to star heartthrob Eduardo Noriega in his first non Spanish-language role.The $4-5m film, which will shoot in Paris beginning in August, is about a man whose memory problems get him in trouble with women. Jean-Pierre Limosin directs.The move signals a step forward in Alta's long-gestating plans to grow its production efforts, particularly through European co-productions.Alta is Spa
  • Apocalypse Now Redux

    Dir: Francis Ford Coppola. US 2001. 197 min (without credits). Apocalypse Now Redux, Francis Ford Coppola's expanded and definitive version of his dazzling 1979 war epic, reaffirms its status as one of the highlights of the new American cinema and one of Coppola's undisputed masterpieces, along with The Godfather movies. This surreal philosophical meditation on the madness and folly of war, which won the Cannes' Palme d'Or as a work-in-progress, also sug
  • Bauer strikes deals on Good War

    Bauer Martinez Studios has made a raft of sales on Giorgio Serafini's English-language picture, The Good War, and has also unveiled a 4-picture slate of international English-language co-productions. Buena Vista International has acquired rights to The Good War for Benelux and Scandinavia. Negro Y Azul has bought rights for Spain and Portugal. Sales have also been wrapped up for Poland and Turkey, and Bauer Martinez head Philippe Martinez is in advanced negotiations with
  • BVI finalising first-look with Harbour

    Buena Vista International (BVI)'s UK comedy label is finalising a first-look pact with Harbour Pictures, the production outfit behind Women's Institute naked calendar picture, Calendar Girls.Along with Calendar Girls, BVI is backing Harbour's Kinky Boots, a story written by Lizzie Mickery about a 100-year-old traditional shoe factory whose owner diversifies into the erotic shoe business. Saving Grace's Nigel Cole is to direct Calendar Girls from a scr
  • Camela Galano named president of New Line Int'l

    Camela Galano, who has been living in London as executive vice president and European supervisor of New Line International (NLI), has been named president of New Line International. She takes over international duties from Rolf Mittweg whose job at New Line Cinema was recently expanded when he was named president and COO of worldwide distribution and marketing.Galano is a 15 year veteran of the company who joined New Line in 1986 and helped create the international division with
  • Cannes flooded by low-budget Brits

    New UK features may be absent from the festival, but the Croisette is flooded with low-budget films financed by British tax incentives. While grateful for the influx of money, local industry figures are wondering whether such projects are coming together far too hastily - and sacrificing quality as a result.The deluge of product at Cannes comes after financiers raced into production early this year to meet the end of the tax year in April and qualify for the UK's 100% tax breaks - whic
  • Cannes sales deals

    Skouras Films has picked up US rights to two pictures - Pavel Lounguine's The Wedding (La Noce) from Flach Pyramide International and Clara Law's The Goddess Of 1967 from Fortissimo Film Sales.La Noce, which was produced by Catherine Dussart and played in competition at Cannes last year, is the story of a marriage in contemporary rural Russia. The deal was negotiated by Eric Lagesse, managing director of Flach Pyramide, with Tom Skouras, president of Skouras Films, and Paul Gard
  • Cannes: Marche death reports greatly exaggerated

    Predictions of a Cannes with no sales have not lived down to the pessimists' gloomiest predictions. But buyers and sellers alike describe a market that has been at best patchy.Despite Cannes Market's official figures claiming to demonstrate more screenings, more companies in attendance and more executives, there can scarcely be a seller who could claim to have had a record breaking market. Anecdotal evidence suggests that delegations, particularly from the US, are smaller than i

    TF1 International has boarded The One And Only, a romantic comedy produced by the UK's Assassin Films and to be directed by Simon Cellar Jones.The world-wide acquisition and sales arm of TF1 Group, which is co-producing the title along with Pathe UK, will be handling worldwide sales with the exception of English-speaking territories which will be handled by Pathe, and Scandinavia which will be handled by Sandrew Metronome.The One and Only -- an adaptation from Danish award-winni
  • Cecchi Gori back in buying ring with Ali

    Cecchi Gori film has acquired Italian rights to Michael Mann's Ali from Initial Entertainment Group (IEG), marking a return to major rights buying for the company after a couple of years of retrenchment.The deal was finalised here between Cecchi Gori USA president Gianni Nunnari and IEG CEO Graham King. Cecchi Gori had also handled two previous Mann pictures - Last Of The Mohicans through an output deal with Morgan Creek and Heat through a deal with New Regency.
  • Chan, Hung replace Hudlin on EMG's Highbinders

    Hong Kong star directors Gordon Chan and Sammo Hung are to jointly replace Reggie Hudlin behind the camera on The Highbinders, a $35m sci-fi action adventure that breaks the international financing mould by being structured as a Hong Kong-Irish co-production. Jackie Chan is attached to star in this English-language project, which may even bring in a UK partner as well in order to qualify for sale-and-leaseback tax-sheltered financing. Shooting is set to start July in British and
  • Cinema Service takes on trio of big budget pics

    Expanding the tide of Korean sci-fi and gangster pictures, Korean major Cinema Service has added a trio of big-budget pictures to its forthcoming slate. It is finishing Volcano High School a futuristic action comedy due for delivery in December 'It is a stylish picture with excellent production values situated between Crouching Tiger and The Matrix,' said Jenny Chung, international business manager at Cinema Service. 'The budget is $7m which gives up lots of post-p
  • Colifilms buys Assassination In February

    Spanish producer Elias Querejeta has sold French rights on Cannes Critic's Week entry Assassination In February (Asesinato En Febrero) to specialist French distributor Colifilms. Querejeta says negotiations are also underway for sales to the US, UK and Italy. The feature film documentary, written by Querejeta and directed by newcomer Eterio Ortega Santillana, looks at the after-effects of assassinations by Basque terrorist group ETA. Spain's MediaPro associate produced and Laure
  • Colifilms buys Assassination In February

    Spanish producer Elias Querejeta has sold French rights on Cannes Critic's Week entry Assassination In February (Asesinato En Febrero) to specialist French distributor Colifilms. Querejeta says negotiations are also underway for sales to the US, UK and Italy. The feature film documentary, written by Querejeta and directed by newcomer Eterio Ortega Santillana, looks at the after-effects of assassinations by Basque terrorist group ETA. Spain's MediaPro associate produced and Laure
  • Concorde, StudioCanal, USA back Zentropa Zhillers

    Germany's Concorde has joined Studiocanal and USA Films in backing the 3-6 picture Zentropa Zhillers slate from Denmark's Zentropa. Produced by the company's international arm, Zentropa Internationale, the films are budgeted around $5m. The first, Saying Goodbye To Mr Welcome, is set to shoot in Oct on location in Scotland and Denmark. Based on an original script by Scottish recluse Brendan Somers, it tells the story of the disappearance of a small girl in a run down seaside tow
  • FilmFour boards Van Sant film starring Matt Damon

    UK film powerhouse FilmFour has boarded Gus Van Sant's latest project Jerry in which Matt Damon - Oscar-winning co-writer and star of Van Sant's Good Will Hunting - and Casey Affleck, who also played in Good Will Hunting, are attached to star, according to sources on the Croisette.The William Morris Agency (WMA) brokered the deal on behalf of Van Sant who retains North American and key European rights. FilmFour will distribute the film in the UK and Film Four Inter
  • Fortissimo picks up two more titles

    Already one of the busiest sellers this Cannes, Fortissimo Film Sales has added two more films to its slate, including its first US investment.Party Monster, to be written and directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato of The Eyes Of Tammy Faye fame, is produced by Christine Vachon's Killer Films and Bailey and Barbato's World Of Wonder Productions. Fortissimo co-chiefs Wouter Barendrecht and Michael J Werner will invest in the picture and take executive producer credits
  • Gaga buys Jeepers Creepers from Capitol Films

    Japan's Gaga has picked up Jeepers Creepers from UK-based Capitol Films.Capitol has sold a host of overseas territories on the American Zoetrope title, with Spain's Tri-Pictures taking the film as part of a three-picture package including City Of Ghosts and CQ.Jeepers also went to Scandinavia's Scanbox, along with Robert Altman's Gosford Park and City Of Ghosts. Redbus already has Jeepers for the UK.On Gosford Park, Capitol has closed de
  • Gilliam, Thomas trip out together on fantasy film

    Terry Gilliam, in Cannes on the main jury, has teamed with producer Jeremy Thomas on Tideland, an adaptation of US author Mitch Cullin's dark twist on child fantasies such as The Wizard Of Oz and Alice In Wonderland.The often surreal story of a girl who flees from Los Angeles to a farm in Texas is shaping up as either the maverick director's next project or his first after Renaissance Films' Good Omens. Screenwriter Tony Grisoni is currently putting together
  • Hammer teams with Sturridge to scare up six films

    Resurrected UK horror brand Hammer Entertainment has partnered with FirstSight Films, the production outfit of Charles Sturridge, Francesca Barra and Selwyn Roberts, to make a slate of six films over the next three years.The deal is the first step back into feature film production for Hammer after it was bought last year by an investment consortium headed by leading lights in the UK film, music, publishing and advertising sectors.Hammer and FirstSight will be equal partners in t
  • Hundred Steps producer lines up Palestinian movie

    Fabrizio Mosca, producer of the Italian Oscar candidate The Hundred Steps, is lining up three English-language pictures, including Return to Haifa - a breakthrough Israeli-Palestinian-Italian film about Middle East tensions. Return to Haifa is based on a book by a leading Palestinian author, Ghassan Kanafani, who was killed by Mossad twenty years ago. Mosca bought the rights from Kanafani's widow, who insisted on an Israeli-Palestinian collaboration on the project.
  • Iceland's Kormakur readies trio of new projects

    Hot Icelandic actor-writer-director Baltasar Kormakur is going to follow his festival and crowd pleasing feature directing debut, 101 Reykjavik, with two new films from his own hand as well as one as producer. Kormakur, who is in Cannes acting in Hal Hartley's No Such Thing, has set up his own outfit, Blue Eyes, with his wife. Both of them also hold two thirds of 101 Ltd., which produced his debut.Kormakur will co-produce Stormy Weather with Patrick Soberman
  • Iceland's Kormakur readies trio of new projects

    Hot Icelandic actor-writer-director Baltasar Kormakur is going to follow his festival and crowd pleasing feature directing debut, 101 Reykjavik, with two new films from his own hand as well as one as producer. Kormakur, who is in Cannes acting in Hal Hartley's No Such Thing, has set up his own outfit, Blue Eyes, with his wife. Both of them also hold two thirds of 101 Ltd., which produced his debut.Kormakur will co-produce Stormy Weather with Patrick Soberman
  • ICM UK partners with Catch 23

    Catch 23 Entertainment, the LA production company funded by Denver-based financier Bob Sturm and run by president Jeremy Barber, is to launch a UK production arm with a £1.5m development fund and an advisory committee composed of ICM (UK) chairman Duncan Heath and European head of international operations Lyndsey Posner.Barber said he is looking to hire a creative executive to work from ICM's London offices and develop and package three pictures a year originated in the UK with ICM tal
  • Jim Sheridan readies East Of Harlem for June

    Jim Sheridan, director of The Boxer, In The Name Of The Father and My Left Foot, is readying to shoot tentatively titled drama East Of Harlem as soon as next month - strike or no strike.Sheridan and regular producing partner Arthur Lappin are setting up the $10m-$11m production with an international cast and independent financing, probably out of the UK, along with Irish tax breaks. The project is already on the verge of pre-production, with the film-makers aiming
  • Jour De Fete buys Big Eden for US

    LA-based microdistributor Jour de Fete Films has acquired US theatrical distribution rights to Chaiken Films' Big Eden, a gay romantic comedy which is the directorial debut of Thomas Bezucha. Arye Gross, Louise Fletcher, Eric Schweig and Nan Martin star in the film which will open in Los Angeles and San Francisco on June 1, 2001.Big Eden, which tells the story of an unlikely romance in America's heartland, was named best picture at the Miami Gay And Lesbian Film Festival
  • Lacklustre Cannes festival leaves d'Or still ajar

    At its exact midway point, with only five more days to go, the 54th edition of the Cannes Film Festival registers as a solid but not particularly exciting programme. No major discoveries, no artistic breakouts, not many commercial hits -- not even real controversies or scandals to stir festival watchers into heated debates and galvanise what has been a low-key event so far.With half of the competition movies screened, the only prevailing consensus is over which are the weakest entries
  • Latest Cannes Sales Deals

    Mercure Distribution has sold Cedric Kahn's French competition title Roberto Succo to Japan's Long Ride, Spain's Vertigo, Italy's Fandango and Korea's Apex. FilmFour International has sold Crush to Scanbox for Scandinavia and Vision Africa for South Africa. FilmFour expects to close deals in the US, Australia and Korea by the end of the market, leaving Japan and the Far East excluding Korea as the only markets available.Arthur Kananack's AKA Movies has sold Noma
  • Lolafilms boards Serrano's Cannibal's Daughter

    Spanish heavyweight Lolafilms has boarded Mexican production The Cannibal's Daughter (La Hija Del Canibal), which reteams the director and producers of box office smash Sex, Shame And Tears (Sexo, Pudor Y Lagrimas).Lola, which handled distribution in Spain on Tears, will co-produce and take all Spanish rights to the $2-2.5m comedy-thriller from director-writer Antonio Serrano and co-producers Titan Producciones and Argos Cine. The film, based on a novel by R
  • Lothian & Metzstein to make Soul with Ideal World

    Late Night Shopping writer-director team Jack Lothian and Saul Metzstein are to make romantic comedy Northern Soul for Ideal World Films, the Glasgow-based production operation behind their highly regarded Berlin festival debut.The music-fuelled story of a group of young people partying in Blackpool in the north of England will also re-unite the up-and-coming filmmakers with Ideal World film head Angus Lamont, whose producing credits include early shorts and TV wor
  • M6 to buy French distributor SND from RTL Group

    M6, the French broadcaster which has been quietly been acquiring all French rights to films such as Martin Scorsese's mega budget Gangs of News York, is in the process of taking control of its theatrical distribution operation with the purchase of RTL Group's SND.RTL is also a main shareholder in M6 along with Suez Lyonnaise. M6 has often co-acquired titles with SND, through its right-trading oufit M6 Interactions. SND, for example, set to release a recent M6 pick-up, Mic
  • Maya sparks Indian controversy at Cannes

    Cannes market title Maya - which deals with the sensitive subject of young girls raped by village priests as a coming-of-age ritual in certain regions of India - sparked a lot of interest from buyers when it screened on May 12. Unfortunately, it has attracted a much less enthusiastic attention from the Indian delegation, as well as outcry from the Indian press. The Times Of India has accused the film of 'showing a deprecating image of India' and is calling for its ban from the I
  • Mifed pulls the plug on Milan Selected Screenings

    Mifed has cancelled the Milan Selected Screenings in response to industry pressure."We took the decision following AFM, where buyers told us that this was not useful," said Giuseppe Zola, president of Mifed organiser, Rassegne. "Buyers want to minimise the time on the road and preferred to be in Mifed proper." For the last two years, Mifed organisers had laid on two days of additional screenings in commercial theatres in central Milan, ahead of the main film market in the Fiera.
  • Miramax buys Korean martial arts film Bi Chun Moo

    Miramax Films has acquired rights in North America, Mexico, Argentina and South Africa to Korean ancient martial arts movie Bi Chun Moo from Taewon Entertainment. The sixth highest grossing film ever in Korea, Bi Chun Moo was directed by Young Jun Kim, and as part of the deal, Miramax has acquired a first look on Young Jun Kim's next directorial effort which will also be produced by Taewon.Bi Chun Moo is an epic story of a warrior who attempts to defy a kingdom so he can
  • Miramax buys Rabbit Proof Fence, Fox grabs Jessica

    Buying heated up in the weekend sun at Cannes as an acquisitive Miramax Films put down $4m for North and South American, UK and Italian rights to Phillip Noyce's aboriginal period drama Rabbit Proof Fence.Fox Searchlight Pictures also used the festival to unveil its acquistion of worldwide rights to Charles Herman-Wurmfeld 's comedy Kissing Jessica Stein, which won a special jury award and audience award at the recent Los Angeles Film Festival. US acquisitions exec
  • Myriad, Tapestry team for co-production alliance

    LA/London financing, production and sales outfit Myriad Pictures has teamed with LA production outfit Tapestry Films for a multi-year co-production alliance under which Myriad will provide Tapestry with a development fund and the two will co-produce two films a year. Myriad will retain international distribution rights to all the titles. Tapestry's credits include The Wedding Planner, She's All That and Pay It Forward.The first film under the new agreement is the teen com
  • Oscar nominee Bardem gets spot in the Sun

    Fresh from an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls, Spanish actor Javier Bardem has signed on to star in Fernando Leon's Mondays In The Sun (Los Lunes Al Sol) for producer Elias Querejeta.The film is Bardem's first new project announced since the role as gay Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas brought him international acclaim and made him Spain's first-ever Oscar-nomina
  • Premiere Kino signs with Capitol, Franchise

    Russian group Premiere Kino Holding has secured a clutch of A-grade all rights deals which bolster the company's position as a powerhouse distributor and underline the country's recovering potential as a film market.Through its sister company Era Media, which has all Eastern European rights, Premiere Kino is finalising the acquisition of the Franchise Pictures slate which includes titles such as Sean Penn's Cannes competition film The Pledge and Renny Harlin's Driven. Pre
  • Producer Martin Brown parts ways with Baz Luhrmann

    Moulin Rouge producer Martin Brown has parted ways with longtime directing partner Baz Lurhmann, and is readying a slate of ten films to produce through his own production company, Martin Brown Films.Brown, who worked with Luhrmann as art director on Strictly Ballroom and as a co-producer on Romeo + Juliet, said that Luhrmann was planning to produce a theatre version of Moulin Rouge. He added: "It's been an amazing ride, but after 10-12 years working together I'm g
  • Shrek

    Dirs: Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson. US. 2001. 90 mins.Shrek, DreamWorks' new enchanting animated feature, provides constant delights for the eye, while never neglecting the mind. The first American animation to receive its premiere as a competition entry at the Cannes Festival in half-a-century (since Peter Pan), Shrek represents a unique brand of entertainment: simple and straightforward in its textual surface, but sophisticated and even campy in its subtext
  • Slate, FilmFour set for Laurel and Hardy comedy

    The Full Monty writer Simon Beaufoy is scripting an original comedy about Laurel and Hardy as one of the debut projects on Andrea Calderwood's FilmFour-bankrolled production outfit, Slate Films.The untitled project, set up with Footprint Films, will be set behind the scenes in the world of 1930s comedy talkies. Also on Slate's development roster is Once Upon A Time In The Midlands, a provisionally-titled romantic comedy written by Shane Meadows and Paul Fraser.Addi
  • Sony Classics, USA turn up Cannes buying heat

    Asserting itself after what has been a largely quiet Cannes on the domestic buying front, Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) has closed deals on two international festival films - taking rights in North America, Australia and New Zealand to Zhang Yang's Quitting from Fortissimo Film Sales and North American rights to French Quinzaine entry Pauline Et Paulette from TF1 International.SPC also had domestic rights to Zhang Yang's last film Shower which screened at the 1999 V
  • Steve Golin files suit against Kinowelt

    A war of words has erupted between US producer Steve Golin and German powerhouse Kinowelt USA and Kinowelt Productions.Chris Sievernich, head of Kinowelt USA, reacted with surprise yesterday after Golin and his production company Overt Productions Inc filed a breach of contract suit in Los Angeles Superior Court saying that he had struck a three-year development, production and distribution agreement.Golin is seeking unspecified damages and an acknowledgement from Kinowelt that
  • The Man Who Wasn't There

    Dir: Joel Coen. US. 2001. 117 mins.With their latest foray into film noir, Joel and Ethan Coen continue to explore a recurrent motif of their work: The destructive force of unbridled individualism, or more specifically, greed as the dark side of the American Dream. Arguably their most ambitious film since Barton Fink, which exactly 10 years ago won the Cannes' Palme d'Or, The Man Who Wasn't There is a sumptuously mounted, visually striking, black-and-white period p
  • The Mummy 2 smashes competition; Knight opens OK

    The Mummy Returns, Universal Pictures' blockbusting sequel, dominated the North American box office for a second weekend with a powerful $32.2m for a ten-day total of $116.5m. Although the film lost 53% of its audience, it is still on track to become the first film of the year to gross over $200m.Columbia's teen adventure A Knight's Tale grossed a mediocre $17m at number two. A starring vehicle for 22 year-old Aussie actor Heath Ledger (The Patriot), the film is se
  • Tokuma mounts new project from Kiyoshi Kurosawa

    Tokuma International has moved quickly to capitalise on the intense heat surrounding Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, following the acclaimed Un Certain regard screening of his Pulse (aka Kairo).Tokuma is to handle world sales on his next directorial effort, an untitled drama about the uneasy relationship between two men. The film will be produced by Uplink on a $2m budget wity Tokuma sister company Studio Ghibli at the end of this year or in early 2002. Tokuma expec
  • UA walks walks into The Sales Co's No Man's Land

    Lightning struck the set of No Man's Land in late summer. It struck again in Cannes, where Danis Tanovic's $1m debut became the underdog hit of the competition and capped its standing ovation by securing North American distribution through UA after a fierce bidding war. The Sales Co also sold the Bosnian war film to Japan (Bitters End); Spain (Golem); Israel (Shani); Switzerland (FilmCoopi); Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile (Alfa); Hungary (Budapest Film); Greece (Ama Film
  • UK's FilmFour takes on Borgias, Che Guevara

    Joining a pack of film-makers taking on the same ambitious material, the UK's FilmFour is tackling two historical subjects of world-wide renown - Che Guevara and the Borgias.FilmFour's Che will focus on the relationship between Guevara and Fidel Castro, ranging from the Cuban revolutionary's rise to power to his death in Bolivia as took the revolution to Latin America. Ronan Bennett, the UK writer behind FilmFour's highly-anticipated Peter Cattaneo film Lucky Break, is wr
  • US buyers go to war at Cannes

    North American buyers continued an aggressive streak yesterday as new deals were unveiled on at least four films and a bidding war erupted over well-liked Bosnian competition contender No Man's Land.Sony Pictures Classics acquired North American rights to Fabian Bielinsky's Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens), a box office sensation in its native Argentina last year with a double-twisting story about con artists that invites comparisons with David Mamet's House Of Games
  • USA greenlights Who Goes There'

    USA Films has greenlit Who Goes There', the first production it is bankrolling from its three-year deal with Charles Finch and Luc Roeg's London-based company Artists Independent Network (AIN).The film is to be directed by AIN client Ben Ross (RKO 281, The Young Poisoner's Handbook) and to star Jamie Bell in the youngster's first feature since low-budget UK hit Billy Elliot.A World War II drama, Who Goes There' is the story of a German U-boat c
  • Vine teams with Samaha brother on Spheeris comedy

    Samaha Productions, the LA production outfit run by Elie's brother Demetri Samaha, has teamed with Marie Vine's London-based Vine International Pictures to co-finance Penelope Spheeris' Spam On Rye which will be distributed domestically by Warner Bros. Vine will handle international sales.A dark comedy about an unambitious young man who unwittingly borrows a car filled with stolen cash, the $22m Spam On Rye is currently being cast by Samaha in Los Angeles dependent on an
  • Weinstein teases Bac's Labadie, then regrets it

    Miramax Films co-chairman Harvey Weinstein became the unwitting talking point of this year's Cannes Film Festival after poking fun at Jean Labadie, the head of French distribution house Bac Films and also Miramax's regular theatrical partner in the territory.Taking the microphone at this year's annual luncheon held by Miramax International for its overseas distributors, Weinstein made a point of singling out Daniel Battsek, head of Buena Vista International (UK), on the successful open
  • Wild Bunch unveils brand new slate for 2001-2002

    Wild Bunch - which is handling a record ten titles in selection in Cannes this year - has boarded a raft of new French and foreign projects.The 2001-2002 slate of StudioCanal's speciality division includes US title Spun, a first feature by Jonas Ackerlund, Peter Mullan's Irish drama Magdalena, Cedric Klapisch's L'Auberge Espagnole, Olivier Assayas' Demonlover, Philippe Garrel's Sauvage Innocence and Philippe Grandrieux's first English-language picture