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18 September 2005

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  • 'American' Venice wraps on a high

    MostLido regulars agreed that it was the strongest Venice in years, if one lookedbeyond the merely average competition to consider the festival as a whole. But it was also one of the most front-loaded festivalsanyone could remember. In the first four days, Ang Lee, George Clooney and ParkChan-wook led the competition assault troops, Tsui Hark, Steven Soderbergh,Lasse Halstrom and Andr
  • Kaye's Paranoia relocates from Brazil

    Tony Kaye's upcomingthriller Paranoia is relocating from Brazil to Louisiana, producer Michel Shane told delegates at a Louisiana production brunch yesterday (Sep 12).Shane said production on the$20m project will begin in early 2006 at unspecified state-wide locations.Currently out to casting, Paranoiacharts the
  • Andalucian outfit launches film investment fund

    Agroup of film professionals and investors from the Spanish region of Andalusiahave launched new investment fund Surinvest Capital Andalucia to offerfinancing for film and TV works.The godfather of the project is director Antonio Caudri,whose Euros 11m, English-language UK co-production The Heart Of The Earthwill be the fund's tent-pole project for 2006 with a 50% investment, t
  • Arclight grabs Bana-starrer Romulus

    Arclight Films has picked upinternational rights to the Romulus, My Father,an adaptation of Raimond Gaita's award-winning memoir that will star Eric Bana.Australian theatre directorand actor Richard Roxburgh will direct the story of a young family's bid tostart a new life in a hostile country. The story focuses on the relationshipbetween the boy and his father in the wake of his mother's death.Principal photography issche
  • Arclight hits the spot with The Oh

    Arclight Filmshas picked up worldwide rights to Ambush Entertainment's comedy The Oh InOhio, which boasts acast including Parker Posey, Paul Rudd, Danny DeVito, and Liza Minelli.Posey stars as awoman whose seemingly ideal life masks the fact that she has never had anorgasm, which prompts her to embark upon a quest for fulfillment in order tosave her marriage.'We're lookingat this film as a 40-Year-Old Virgin for females,'Arclight Films managing director Gary Hamilt
  • Arclight picks up Hindi Carmen

    Arclight Films todayannounced that it has picked up world sales rights to Chamki, ShyamBenegal's Hindi film adaptation of Carmen."We have been activelylooking at projects out of India and believe that this film has the potential ofbeing a truly global film," said Gary Hamilton, managing director of Arclight."Shyam Benegal is a doyen of the Indian Film industry and this film issomething that should place India
  • Athens festival kicks off with Costa Gavras' Axe

    The 11th Athens International Film Festival-Opening Nightskicks off today (Sept 15) with the gala presentation of Costa Gavras' TheAxe (Le Couperet).Gavras will be on hand tointroduce the film, to offer a master class and to receive a Golden Athena, thefestival's trophy, for his career.He will be joined during the festival by the likes of Korean directorKim Ki- Duk, Daniel Day Lewis and English director Sally Potter who are alsoset to receive similar c
  • Battsek's Miramax makes first acquisition as Toronto deals accumulate

    The Toronto trickle turned into a torrent of deals yesterday,headed up by new-look Miramax's first acquisition as Daniel Battsek's teambought all North American rights to Ward Serrill's girls basketball documentaryThe Heart Of The Game.
  • Bauer Martinez to herd Lau's Flock into Louisiana

    Andrew Lau's The Flock, which had been due to go intoproduction in New Orleans later this autumn, may still shoot in Louisiana inspite of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Philippe Martinez, CEOof Bauer Martinez Studios (BMS), told that the plan nowis to see if it will be feasible to re-locate the production from New Orleansto nearby Baton Rouge."We have been talking to the film commissioners in Baton Rouge. On the onehand, the more logical mo
  • Bee Season

    Dirs: Scott McGehee,David Siegel US. 2005. 104mins.Makers of hand-craftedindividual items rather than mass-produced merchandise, directing partnersScott McGehee and David Siegel have built a career on the unpredictable. Theirmuch admired, low-budget indie drama Suture (1993) was eventuallyfollowed by The Deep End (2001), an icily elegant re-imagining of theMax Ophuls film noir The Reckless Moment.Four years on they haveturne
  • Breakfast On Pluto

    Dir: Neil Jordan. Ire-UK. 2005. 135mins.Neil Jordan comes over all Almodovar in BreakfastOn Pluto, a sprawling, picaresque account of a young transvestite's epicodyssey in search of his mother. Jordan has a patchy record with broad comicmaterial (High Spirits, We're No Angels etc) and this reunio
  • Canada's Frieberg gets ready to Throw

    Canadian producer CameliaFrieberg is set to become a triple threat, co-writing and directing her firstfeature film, A Stone's Throw. Production of the $1m filmwill be through her Halifax-based Palpable Pictures. Garfield Lindsay Miller, aVictoria-based writer and producer of documentaries, collaborated on thescreenplay. The film will shoot on location in February 2006 for three weeks.The story follows the returnto Nova Scotia
  • Cannes names Demier as general manager

    The Cannes Film Festival hasannounced the appointment of Catherine Demier to the post of general manager.Demier replaces VeroniqueCayla who left the Cannes festival organization in June to take up thepresidency of French support body, the CNC. Formerly a manager at theCNC, Demier was also counsellor to the minister of culture for cinema andtelevision and most recently worked as secretary general for the court ofaccounts. She will take up herfunctions, which centre on the
  • Capote

    Dir. Bennett Miller. US. 2005. 110mins.Philip Seymour Hoffman delivers agalvanising and awards-worthy performance in Capote, the superbdramatisation of US novelist Truman Capote at the zenith of his career: the sixyears from 1959 to 1965 that he devoted to his ground-breaking 'non-fiction'novel In Cold Blood.But the real star of the show is BennettMiller in his feature film directori
  • Cast lines up for Lion's Gate werewolf movie Skinwalkers

    Jason Behr,Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Natassia Malthe and Lyriq Bent have been cast inLions Gate's upcoming werewolf picture Skinwalkers, which is set to begin shooting inSeptember in Canada.Lions Gate isproducing with Germany's Constantin Film, which is financing the project with DonCarmody and Dennis Beradi of Red Moon Films and effects house Mr X.Jim Isaac isdirecting the 19th century tale about a 12-year-old boy who finds himself atthe centre of a battle between two w
  • Celador readies Marshall, Webber projects

    Celador Films, the UK production outfit behind StephenFrears' Dirty Pretty Things and Neil Marshall's The Descent hasunveiled its new development slate. The slate includes a string of projects in the £3-5mbudget range from acclaimed directors such as Neil Marshall and Peter Webber (GirlWith A Pearl Earring) that Celador plans to develop and finance itself,plus bigger budget projects on which it will seek third-party funding.Following on from The Descent
  • Corraface named president of Thessaloniki festival

    Greek-French actor George Corraface(Giorgos Chorafas) has been named president of the Thessaloniki InternationalFilm Festival.The post has been vacant forfive months following film-maker Pandelis Vougaris' resignation as president inMay, just one month after he was appointed to takeover from fellow film makerTheo Angelopoulos.Corraface will work closelywith artistic director De
  • Cronenberg Maps future with Wagner, Fields

    David Cronenberg is plottinga film of Bruce Wagner's original screenplay Maps To TheStars, to be produced by Robert Lantos and his Serendipity Point Films.But whether he will get to Mapsas his next film is uncertain, since there has been movement on hislong-gestating film of Martin Amis' London Fields. Cronenberg told Screenthat France's UGC has come on board London Fields as aco-producer
  • CrossDay strikes raft of sales on Shooting Dogs

    Demonstrating that anappetite still exists for cinematic insight into the 1994 Rwandan genocide,producer CrossDay Productions has sold Michael Caton-Jones's drama ShootingDogs to a raft of international territories, including Japan and the UK.Starring John Hurt and HughDancy, the film tells the harrowing tale of 2,500 Tutsis who took refuge in atechnica
  • Disney eyes China as Hong Kong park opens to public

    Hong Kong Disneyland opensits door to the paying public today after a weekend of celebrations attended byDisney president Robert Iger, outgoing CEO Michael Eisner, China's vice president Zeng Qinghong and a host a localcelebrities.Hong Kong stars such as KarenMok, Coco Lee, Charlie Young and HK Disneyland spokesman Jacky Cheung turned upfor the park's three-day launch party,although rumours that international stars such as
  • Dongmakgol chosen as South Korea's Oscar entry

    South Korea has selected blockbuster hit Welcome ToDongmakgol as its submission to the best foreign-language film category ofthe 78th Academy Awards.Set in a remote mountainousvillage during the Korean War, the film tells the story of two South Korean soldiers,three North Korean soldiers and a downed American pilot who end up livingtogether among villagers who are unaware that a war is taking place.Financed a
  • Don't Tell

    Dir:Cristina Comencini. It-UK-Sp-Fr. 2005. 120mins.Thestrongest of the three Italian films in competition at Venice this year, Don'tTell will nevertheless struggle to extend worthy local director CristinaComenicini's limited international appeal.GiovannaMezzogiorno's gritty performance as a soon-to-be-mother forced to deal for thefirst time with the ghosts of child abuse in her childhood netted her the BestActress award on the Lido; but M
  • Dubai recruits Field, Scarlet

    Heading into its second year,the Dubai International Film Festival is beefing up its presence by appointingfive high-profile new programmers, including former Rotterdam chief Simon Fieldand Tribeca's executive director Peter Scarlet.South Africa's Nashen Moodley,Arab cineaste Raouf Tewfik and Iraq's Ziad Khuzai join a team
  • Edmond

    Dir: Stuart Gordon. US.2005. 81mins.You never know how aDavid Mamet adaptation is going to turn out. The best of the last 10 years, Oleanna,was the one that stayed closest to its stage original in the college settingand the claustrophobic one-to-one stand-off of the two main characters.William H Macy starred thereand stars again here in this reworking of Mamet's 1982 one-act play Edmond,as an insignificant corporate middle-manager who goes on an all-n
  • European Film Academy unveils awards shortlist

    The European Film Academyhas announced 46 films in its shortlist for this year's European Film Awardsnominations. Each year, the Academyselects about 40 films that will be sent to its members for final nominations -this year's number of films is up from last year's selection list of 42. The choices include DavidMackenzie's Asylum, Jacques Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped,the Dardenne Brothers' The Child (L'Enfant), Pjer Zalica's Days andHours,
  • Everlasting Regret (Changhen ge)

    Dir: Stanley Kwan.Chi-HK. 2005. 115mins.With EverlastingRegret, Stanley Kwan delivers a women's film par excellence; the kind thatfilm-makers such as Douglas Sirk loved to spin out and that Kwan himself hassuccessfully proved adept at in the past.A sprawling, melancholystory about unrequited love adapted from one of modern China's most successfulnovels, it follows Shanghai beauty Qiyao from the mid 1940s to the early 1980swhile turbulent political events pla
  • Exhibitors team up for Australia's biggest arthouse cinema

    Australia is to get its biggest purpose-built arthouse cinemain late 2006, a nine-screen complex in the national capital of Canberra that will link the Dendy and Electric Shadowsbrands. It will also be the firstspecialist complex to feature small, intimate auditoriums - two 35-seaters -with food and beverage delivered directly to customers. "Capital class" is oneof the names bein
  • Ferrara lines up prequel to King Of New York

    Cult American indie filmmaker Abel Ferrara, whose picture Maryis screening in competition at the Venice Film Festival, has announced that hisnext project will either be a prequel to the King Of New York orlong-gestating screwball comedy Go Go Tales.Speaking in Venice, Ferrara said that he is currentlylooking for financing for both films in Italy. Mary itself is anItalian-French-US co-production.Producer Frank De Curtis said Christopher Walken iscurren
  • FIFM to dole out bounty of prizes

    The Festival Internationalde Film de Montreal is preparing to hand out an embarrassment oftrophies when its inaugural edition closes on September 25.The FIFM, topped by Moritzde Hadeln, announced it will present seven audience awards, including four forshort films, and three extra prizes on top of its already announced Iris Awardsfor films in competition. Indeed, audience voters will be eligible for prizes.The new p
  • Fiji makes Oscar bid with The Land Has Eyes

    Fiji has made its first ever attempt to win an Academy Award by submitting TheLand Has Eyes for the best foreign-language film category. In order to qualify,Australian-based distributor Ronin Films opened the film at the only multiplexin the Fijian capital of Suva on September 8, where it took a respectable $13,600(Fiji$23,000) from one 200-seat cinema in its first week. It was officiallysubmitted by the Fiji Audio
  • Fleishman gets top communications job at Warner Bros

    WarnerBros Entertainment has named Susan Fleishman to its top communicationsposition. She will become Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications,effective from September 26.
  • Fragile (Fragiles)

    Dir: Jaume Balaguero.Sp-UK. 2005. 98mins.Fragile's the word.Spanish horror specialist Jaume Balaguero fails to impress with his follow-upto the psycho-thriller Darkness, which grossed over $22m at the US boxoffice, despite downbeat reviews. A stale spooky-hospital yarn, Fragilesuffers from poor suspense management and the gelid obnoxiousness of thecentral nurse character, played by US loan Calista Flockhart.There's nothing worse th
  • Freundlich's Trust The Man flies to Fox

    Fox Searchlight Picturescontinued its eventful Torontoyesterday with the acquisition of North American and a raft of internationalrights to Bart Freundlich's Trust The Man.At time of writing advancednegotiations were underway on Michael Gondry's Block Party, and domesticdeals were close on Larry Clark's Wassup Rockers, Josh Gilbert's AKATommy Chong, Lee Daniel's
  • Germany, Japan tap heels to Saura's Iberia

    Carlos Saura's latest dance extravaganza, Iberia, hassold to 14 territories following its world premiere in Toronto, led by deals inGermany, France and Japan.The film, being sold internationally by Wild Bunch, isinspired by Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz and is about the top stars offlamenco music and dance, much like Saura's 1995 feature Flamenco, whilehis 1998 Tango title was also a worldwide hit. Iberia featuresperformances by top Spanish dance artists Sa
  • Guns drawn over Smoking deal in Toronto

    A high drama erupted Saturday night over the sale of hot festivaltitle Thank You For Smoking, with both Fox Searchlight Pictures and Paramount Classicsclaiming they have bought all available worldwide rights for the film includingNorth America.Paramount Classics co-chiefs Ruth Vitale and Da
  • Guns out over Smoking deal

    A high drama eruptedSaturday night over the sale of hot festival title Thank You For Smoking,with both Fox Searchlight Pictures and Paramount Classics claiming they havebought all available worldwide rights for the film including North America.Paramount Classics co-chiefsRuth Vitale and David Dinerstein claim they had reached a deal with CassianElwes of WMA Independent and attorney David J Bloomfield on behalf of Room 9Entertainment lat
  • HDNet lines up Hartley, Soderbergh

    HDNet Films, the 2929Entertainment digital production arm headed up by Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente,has greenlit seven low-budget projects to add to its already packed slate.With three pictures playingat Toronto led by Bubble, the first of six Steven Soderberghprojects announced earlier this year, HDNet is wasting little time ramping upbarely one year after it launched.The new titles include FayGrim, HalHartley's spy spo
  • Hong Kong producers look West and East

    After a strong showing atthis year's Venice and Toronto film festivals, not to mention a few big hitsover the summer, Hong Kong producers currently have several reasons to feelconfident. But the trend towards declining production numbers is unlikely to bereversed before the end of the year.Although Media Asia's mangaadaptation Initial D and Tsui Hark's Seven Swords - both of whichscreened at Venice - outperformed US blockbusters in Chinese-speakingterritories this summer,
  • Hot Venice doc Zapatero goes Wild

    French sales and financingoutfit Wild Bunch has taken world rights to Viva Zapatero!Thedocumentary, which tackles Italian censorship in relation to prime minister andmedia magnate Silvio Berlusconi, generated serious buzz following its surpriseunveiling at Venice.Directed by Sabina Guzzanti,the film will be distributed by Lucky Red in Italy which negotiated the deal
  • iHQ launches new Korean sales agency

    iHQ, an up-and-coming Korean companythat has diversified from talent management to film production and investment,has launched a new international sales division under Catherine Park, formerlyof CJ Entertainment.The company will make its market debut at Pusan, withan initial slate including Daisy, an action romance shot in theNetherlands featuring top star Jeon Ji-hyun (My Sassy Girl) and directedby Hong Kong filmmaker An
  • Imagine Me And You

    Dir/scr: Ol Parker.UK-Ger. 2005. 93minsOl Parker ventures intoRichard Curtis territory for his directorial debut Imagine You And Me, apleasant romantic comedy that often appears torn between its more soulful, reflectiveinstincts and the lure of following the crowd-pleasing Curtis formula. Theformula generally wins even if the mismatched lovers on this occasion are anewlywed bride and a lesbian florist.
  • Industry execs sign up for Skillset mentoring scheme

    A who's who of British filmindustry insiders have volunteered to serve as mentors for people startingcareers in the film business, as part of a new mentoring programme announced bySkillset. Guiding Lights is a year-long programme of mentoring, advice, andsupport that will boast mentors including Michael Kuhn, Paul Greengrass, FrankCottrell-Boyce, Lynne Ramsay, Graham Broadbent, Alison Thompson, and dozens ofother film veterans. Lighthouse, the non-pr
  • Initial D (Taumanchi D)

    Dirs: Andrew Lau, AlanMak. HK. 2005. 107mins.After the InfernalAffairs trilogy, directing duo Andrew Lau and Alan Mak seem to have theMidas touch. This year's summer blockbuster in Hong Kong, Initial D nudged a$5m gross at home - more than War Of The Worlds and Batman Beginsput together.Loosely working from ShiuchiShigeno's popular Japanese manga comic book series about a teen downhill racer,the film combines stirring, techn
  • Intermedia, Kadokawa extend co-production pact

    Intermedia Film EquitiesUSA and Kadokawa Pictures USA have extended their agreement and signed amulti-picture deal to develop, finance and produce up to six Intermedia picturesto be made in 2006 and 2007.The new deal is a significant step in Intermedia Film Equities USAparent company International
  • Just Like Heaven

    Dir: Mark Waters. US.2005. 95mins.Despite another winningstar turn from Reese Witherspoon in the lead role, Just Like Heaven feelslike a convoluted blend of other movies from Ghost to While You WereSleeping to Sleepless In Seattle to What Dreams May Come.Set to be released byDreamWorks in North America on Sept 16 to fill the Sweet Home Alabamaautumn romantic comedy slot, the film has a pleasingly gentle
  • Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang to open Hollywood Film Festival

    Shane Black's KissKiss, Bang Bang will bethe opening night gala screening at the Hollywood Film Festival on Oct 18.Robert DowneyJr, Michelle Monaghan and Val Kilmer star in the story of a petty thief withaspirations to act who finds himself at the centre of a murder investigation.Warner Bros plans to release the picture in North America on Oct 21.The 2005 AnnualHollywood Film Festival will run from Oct 18-24. The Hollywood Awards Gala willtake place at the Beverly Hilton
  • Krrish rolls in Singapore under incentive scheme

    Production has started in Singapore on Indian director Rakesh Roshan's Krrish,which is the first film to take advantage of the $6m (S$10m) 'Film InSingapore' incentive scheme.Set up by the SingaporeTourism Board (STB), the scheme aims to encourage foreign productions to chooseSingapore as a shooting location. Up to 50% of productionexpenses incurred whi
  • KWA takes on international sales for Galan's Editor

    Spanish sales outfit KevinWilliams Associates (KWA) has picked up international rights on a handful ofnew Spanish and Latin American films including San Sebastian special screener Pablo G.del Amo: Editor Of Illusions. The documentary from DiegoGalan, the former director of the Donostia- San Sebastian International FilmFestival, tracks the career of one of Spain's best-known editors throughinterviews with film personalities covering the last half
  • L'Enfer

    Dir: DanisTanovic. Fr-It-Bel-Jap. 2005. 98mins.Forget everythingyou thought you knew about Danis Tanovic, whose debut feature No Man's Land(2001) won the best foreign language Oscar. L'Enfer, his sophomoreeffort, leaves behind his native Balkan territory and its stalemate politics totackle a far more subtle, complex and less evident theme.The script he
  • Leonard's Jailbait finds Kindred spirit

    Kindred Media Group haspicked up worldwide distribution rights to Brett C. Leonard's directorial debutJailbait, starring Michael Pitt.The New York andPennsylvania-based boutique distributor plans a North American release in April2006, with home video set to follow shortly afterwards.Pitt plays a young mansentenced to a California maximum-security prison under the three-strikeslaw, who becomes cellmates with a man convicted of
  • Lions Gate offers $90m for DVD specialist

    Lions Gate Entertainmenthas launched a $90m bid to buy Image Entertainment, the North American producerand distributor of home entertainment programming whose operations include a UKsubsidiary.The unsolicited bid sentImage Entertainment's shares soaring by as much as 57% this Wednesday afternoon on NewYork's Nasdaq exchange upon speculation that Lions Gate would increase itsoffer.In response, Image CEOMartin Greenwald decl
  • Little Fish hooks Oz audiences

    Little Fish has had the biggest opening for an Australian filmthis year in its home territory.Director Rowan Woods' secondfilm grossed $502,000 (A$655,672) in the week to September 14, coming seventhin the film chart. Distributor Icon says thisresult is comparable to Lantanaand Japanese Story, which went onto gross $9.4m and $3.5m respectively for Palace.Icon plans to push printnumbers up from its opening tally of 45 to some 60 prints.The film'
  • London Film Festival unveils full line-up

    The Times bfi London Film Festival (Oct 19-Nov 3) unveiled its fullline-up today and pledged to follow on last year's long-term strategy to expandindustry services. The festival announced a programme of 180 feature films, opening withFerndando Meirelles' The Constant Gardener and closing withGeorge Clooney's Venice hit Good Night, and Good Luck.Whether through specialisedindustry events or regular screenings and talks, artistic director SandraHebron hopes th
  • Mary

    Dir: Abel Ferrara.It-Fr-US. 2005. 83mins.Watching Abel Ferrara's Maryis like watching an odd religious ritual taking place in a language we onlyhalf understand. We recognise the power of the ceremony, and the commitment ofthose involved - but as for what the hell is going on, and what it all means,and whether there's someone up there - these are mysteries that areinaccessible to us.Themaverick US director's most overtly spiritual film to
  • Mayhem lands at Fortissimo

    Fortissimo Films has pickedup worldwide rights outside Australia/NZ to black comedy Suburban Mayhem,directed by Australia's Paul Goldman (Australian Rules), andproduced by Lea Churchill Brown with The Piano's Jan Chapman executiveproducing. Icon will distribute in Australia/NZ.The film, about a murderousteenager, starts shooting in Sydney and
  • Meadows cranks up This Is England

    Shane Meadows will startshooting his fifth feature, tentatively titled This is England, onlocation in Nottingham and Grimsby starting on Wednesday. The dark comedy is a coming-of-age story set in northern England duringsummer 1983, when an 11-year-old boy, Shaun, mourns the loss of his father andfalls in with a group of skinheads. Theensemble cast features Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley, Joe Gilgun,Andrew Shim, and Vicky McClure.Meadows, who previouslydirecte
  • Mehlitz joins Potok in Berlin-Brandenburg incentive scheme

    Former Cinerentapartner and current Lago Film managing director Marco Mehlitz has partneredwith former Vivendi Germany and Studio Babelsberg chief Thierry Potok on hisstate-backed incentive scheme for projects shooting in the Berlin-Brandenburgarea.Producers who team up with German production partners willbe eligible for a guarantee through Potok's International Production FinancingServices (IPFS).Under thescheme, Studio Babelsberg shoots may receive a state guarantee covering u
  • Mehta plots Exclusion as Water follow-up

    Still riding the strong reaction to her Toronto festivalopener Water, hot Canadian director Deepa Mehta is already preparing hernext project, Exclusion, with Water star John Abraham in thelead. Mehta is looking to shoot in Calcutta and Vancouver next summer.The screenplay, written by Mehta, concerns the little-known Komagata Maruincident of 1914, when 376 Indian dissidents traveling on a chartered Japaneseship sought to emigrate to Canada-- a nation of supposedly fell
  • Mistress Of Spices

    Dir: Paul Mayeda Berges.UK. 2005. 92mins.A featherweight, feelgoodromance, The Mistress Of Spices is heavily reliant on the radiant beautyof Aishwarya Rai for any modest charm that it may possess. The directorialdebut of Paul Mayeda Berges promises to add a taste of India to a Chocolat-stylescenario but falls considerably short of the mark.The film is attractiveenough but is so contrived and insubstantial that it become the cinemat
  • Mrs Henderson Presents

    Dir: Stephen Frears. UK.2005. 103mins.A jaunty combination ofsocial history, screwball comedy and theatrical kitsch, Mrs HendersonPresents offers a sparkling, emotion-charged stroll down memory lane. Adeliciously witty script by Martin Sherman is seized upon with relish by JudiDench who gives a spellbinding, tour de force as the merry widow behindLondon's Windmill Theatre: filled with mischief and mystery, it is aperformance that should put her in the front line of con
  • Nayar's The Thread unspools in India, UK

    Supernatural thriller The Thread has started shooting inIndia this week, where it will continue through the rest of September beforemoving to the UK. Mahesh Mathai (Bhopal Express) is directingfrom a script by Randall Fontana, based on a story by Harris W. Freedman.Deepak Nayar, who previously produced Bride and Prejudice and Bend itLike Beckham, is producing.The film is about a half-Indian Englishman who is haunted by amyst
  • Nearly 200 projects to screen at annual IFP Market next week

    Close to 200projects from more than 1,400 submissions will screen at the 27th Annual IFPMarket when it runs in New York from Sept 18-22.Under theauspices of the IFP's Independent Film Week, the market and accompanyingFilmmaker Conference offer first-run screenings and provide extensivenetworking opportunities for filmmakers.Included in the199-title line-up are Bad Boys Of Summer, Loren Mendell and Tiller Russell's documentary about animperilled prison baseball programme s
  • North Country

    Dir: Niki Caro. US. 2005.123mins.After scoring a worldwidehit with the Oscar-nominated Whale Rider, New Zealand director Niki Caromakes a strong follow-up with her first Hollywood movie North Country.Loosely based on the truestory of a Minnesota woman crusading against sexual harassment in theworkplace, the film is compelling social issues storytelling in the classictradition of Silkwood, Norma Rae and Erin Brockov
  • Obaba

    Dir: Montxo Armendariz.Sp-Ger. 2005. 109mins.There are strange thingsgoing on down in Obaba, a tale of isolated village life set in thePyrenean hinterland of San Sebastian - which is why, presumably, it was chosento open the 53rd edition of Spain's A-list film festival.But although it got a warmreaction from the gala guests, this literary adaptation tries to coast toolazily on the rural feelgood factor of warm autumnal colours and kooky villagecharacters. Dr
  • Oliver Twist

    Dir: Roman Polanski.Fr-UK-Czech Rep. 2005. 128mins.Roman Polanski made thisnew version of Oliver Twist for his children, but it's hard to imaginekids anywhere warming to his austere, colourless treatment of the story.Oliver Twist here evokes both Polanski's traumatic childhood andthe Wladyslaw Szpilman character in The Pianist - a blameless humandesperate to survive in the bleakest of conditions and knocked around from oneaw
  • On The Outs is in with Polychrome

    US-based Polychrome Pictureshas acquired North American rights to Lori Silverbush and Michael Skolnik'sDeauville grand jury prize-winner On The Outs.The picture will get adomestic release on Jan 13 2006 through Polychrome's distribution agreement with New York and Pennsylvania-based boutique distributor KindredMedia Group.On TheOuts received its world premiere atToront
  • Penguins march into US record books

    The MarchOf The Penguins has officially become the most successful Frenchfilm ever at the US box office with sales of $66.8m since its June release.Luc Jacquet's film has beat out Luc Besson's The FifthElement which took $66m in 1997 and previously outdistanced Jean-PierreJeunet's Amelie which now moves to third place with $34m.The US version of the film, distributed by WarnerIndependent Pictures, was reworked from the original French wi
  • Perhaps Love (Ruguo Ai)

    Dir: Peter Ho-sun Chan.HK-Ch-Malay. 2005. 108mins.The seeming Chineseanswer to Moulin Rouge, Perhaps Love is a lavish butinsubstantial musical love story with pan-Asian cinema and music stars Zhou Xun(Suzhou River, The Little Chinese Seamstress) and TakeshiKaneshiro (Chungking Express, House Of Flying Daggers) in theNicole and Ewan roles.It's an odd mix: arthouse inits three-strand film-within-a-film plo
  • Pizzo joins Washington Square Films to head up film sales arm

    FormerCarmichael Films partner Christopher Pizzo has joined Washington Square Films(WSF) to head up the bi-coastal US production and management company's newfilm sales division.PIzzo hasalready picked up North American sales rights to Pietro Reggiani's Italianfamily drama My Brother's Summer (L'Estate Di Mio Fratello) as well as Flannel Pajamas, the directorial debut of October Filmsand Lot 47 Films co-founder Jeff Lipsky.My Brother'sSummer charts the
  • Pride & Prejudice

    Dir Joe Wright. 2005UK-US-Fr. 127mins.There'sno question that 19th-century English novelist Jane Austen still has shapelylegs. Ang Lee's Sense & Sensibility (1995) enjoyed seven Oscarnominations (including best picture) and $134m box-office worldwide, $43m fromthe US alone, while Colin Firth owes his career to a 1995 BBC version of Pride & Prejudice that dr
  • RESFEST kicks of global tour in New York this week

    The 9th RESFEST touring festival willkick off its global tour of 35 plus cities with a launch at New York City'sTribeca Performing Arts Center from September 15-18. This year's RESFEST willoffer the world premiere of Doug Pray's graffiti documentary Infamy aswell as retrospectives devoted to musician Beck, the label XL Recordings, andwork of the Swedish collective Traktor. The festival continuesto cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, L
  • Revolver

    Dir/scr: Guy Ritchie. Fr-UK. 2005. 110mins.After the fiasco of Swept Away there wasnowhere to go but up for writer/director Guy Ritchie. Retreating to the safeterritory of gangland squabbles, dirty deeds, diamond geezers and hardcoreviolence must have seemed like a good idea but Revolver is such aconvoluted, risibly overwr
  • Roadshow loses appeal against Wolf Creek rating

    Distributor Roadshow haslost its appeal against the R18+ rating handed down three weeks ago to localhorror picture Wolf Creek, which it releases in cinemas on November 3.It was a unanimous decision madeby the three-member panel of the Classification Review Board and the deputyconvenor of the board. Former memberof parliament Trevor Griffin said: "Unlike typical horror movies, Wolf Creek
  • Roban joins Stone Village as COO, head of business affairs

    Michael Roban (pictured) has joined Los Angeles-based StoneVillage Pictures as head of business affairs and chief operating officer.
  • Rogue picks up Gondry's Block Party at Toronto

    Dave Chappelle's Block Party, a standup comedy movie directed by Michel Gondry,was the latest film to sell at Toronto today (Wed) with Rogue Picturesacquiring worldwide rights.The deal marked the first acquisition for Rogue since it was expanded into the genre division of Universal Pictures run by David Linde. When it was formed as the sister company of Focus Features, Rog
  • Rumley's Home Of The Dead cranks up in UK

    Volcano Entertainment andVita Pictures have started principal photography on psychological drama TheLiving in the Home of the Dead in Wiltshire, southern England. Simon Rumley, whopreviously directed Club Le Monde, The Truth Game, and StrongLanguage, is writing and directing with Nick O'Hagan producing. O'
  • San Sebastian kicks off with emotional tribute to Robert Wise

    Spain'sDonostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival kicked off its 53rd annualedition Thursday night.The inaugurationat the coastal city's glass-box Kursaal auditorium commenced with news thatdirector Robert Wise, the subject of one of the festival's two retrospectives,had passed away just one day earlier.The festivalplayed a short video of Wise thanking San Sebastian forthe honor. AbelFerrara, the other retrospective subject this year, was on hand and lamentedWise's passi
  • Schrader commits to Adam Resurrected

    Paul Schrader has signed onto direct the Holocaust epic Adam Resurrected for Ehud Bleiberg'sfledgling Los Angeles-based Bleiberg Entertainment.Bleiberg will commencecasting immediately and is eyeing a summer 2006 start date in Germany, Romania and Israel.Noah Stollman adapted thescre
  • Searchlight smokes, Paramount fumes in rights duel

    Thank You For Smoking producer and the head of Room 9 Entertainment DavidO Sacks has declared that Fox Searchlight Pictures is the sole owner of thefilm and that, while negotiations had taken place with Paramount Classics, nodeal had been closed with that studio.Paramount Classics co-headDavid Dinerstein said that he stood by his assertion that Paramount is the rightful owner of the movie.An ownership spat eruptedover the weeken
  • Separate Lies

    Dir: Julian Fellowes. UK2005. 85mins.Actor-turned-screenwriter-turned-novelistJulian Fellowes adds another string to his bow with Separate Lies, anauspicious directorial debut that produces a staunchly old-fashioned butnonetheless taut and adult marital drama.Based on a 1951 novel byNigel Balchin, the film applies insightful psychological realism to tensionsbetween well-heeled middle-class adults. As such it is the sort of story thataudie
  • Shopgirl

    Dir: Anand Tucker. US.2005. 106mins.Shopgirl is a love letter to Clare Danes. The camera caressesher features, gazes adoringly into her tear-filled eyes and celebrates hertalent in a way that has rarely been seen since the MGM heyday of George Cukor.If you weren't besotted byher before then you should be after seeing this. Steve Martin's elegant novellaon life's painful lessons has been transformed into an exquisite romantic dramaa
  • Shopgirl

    Dir: Anand Tucker. US.2005. 106mins.Shopgirl is a love letter to Clare Danes. The camera caressesher features, gazes adoringly into her tear-filled eyes and celebrates hertalent in a way that has rarely been seen since the MGM heyday of George Cukor.If you weren't besotted byher before then you should be after seeing this. Steve Martin's elegant novellaon life's painful lessons has been transformed into an exquisite romantic dramaa
  • Shoreline acquires worldwide rights to Brooklyn Lobster

    ShorelineEntertainment has acquired worldwide sales rights to Kevin Jordan's BrooklynLobster which had itsworld premiere in the Toronto Film Festival this week.Presented byMartin Scorsese, the film stars Danny Aiello and Jane Curtin and centres on aBrooklyn workingman struggling against the foreclosure of his lobster farm.Jordan also wrote the film and produced it with his brother Darren Jordan andChris Valentino.Jordan'sprevious film Smiling Fish And Goat On Fire
  • Sklan moves from AFC to SBS Independent

    The Australian Film Commission (AFC) has lost its head of development CaroleSklan to SBS Independent.Sklan will be the new commissioning editor of drama for the productionarm of the multicultural broadcaster, replacing Miranda Dear, who recentlymoved to fellow public broadcaster ABC. Sklan, who remains based in Melbourne, will commissionAustralian drama series and features. SBS often kick-starts culturallyimportant
  • Soda takes C.R.A.Z.Y. for UK

    UK distributor Soda has picked up on Jean-Marc Vallee's Canadian smash C.R.A.Z.Y.Soda co-president EveGabereau signed the all-rights deal on Tuesday in negotiation with Francois Yonof Paris-based Films Distribution on behalf of producer Pierre Even of Montreal's Cirrus Productions. It's the latest majorEuropean territory to fall for the Quebecois
  • Sony Classics buys Waddington's House

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquiredNorth American rights to Andrucha Waddington's House Of Sand fromBrazil's Conspiracao Filmes after its premiere at the Toronto film festival.House Of Sand stars leading Brazilian actressesFernanda Montenegro (Central Station) and Palme D'Or winner andMontenegro's daughter, Fernanda Torres (Parle-Moi D'Amour). It tells thestory of three generations of women, played by Montenegro and Torres, whoselives are destined to
  • Spain names trio of films to fight for Oscar contention

    The Spanish Film Academy hasselected three finalists for its nomination to the foreign-language Oscar,including Montxo Armendariz's Obaba, which inaugurated the 53rd Donosita-San Sebastian International FilmFestival on Thursday night.The other two finalists areJose Luis Garci's theatre adaptation Ninette and Fernando Leon's prostitute drama Princesas.The Academy, which createdthe two-tiered selection four years ago to give additional films a marketingboost,
  • Spence takes the reins at Seattle

    Carl Spence has been namedartistic director of the Seattle International Film Festival Group (SIFF) aspart of an organisational restructure that replaces the role of executivedirector with the equal roles of artistic director and managing director.The restructure follows thedeparture of Helen Loveridge who resigned from her post as executive directorin July to return to her native England. Loveridge had been executive dire
  • Starter For Ten cranks up in London

    Principalphotography started on September 5 on feature Starter for Ten, producedby Tom Hanks' Playtone in association with Sam Mendes' Neal Street Productionsfor HBO Films. The film is produced in association with the BBC. Shooti
  • Sweeney's American Venus set for November shoot

    Vancouver-basedBrightlight Pictures is set for a November shoot on writer-director BruceSweeney's American Venus. The$3.8m production will be produced by Brightlight co-presidents Shawn Williamsonand Steve Hegyes.Telefilm Canada, Corus' Movie Central
  • Sympathy For Lady Vengeance

    Dir: Park Chan-wook. SKor. 2005. 113mins.Few contemporarydirectors are able to mix genres and moods as confidently as Park Chan-wook -and get away with it. The third and final part of the Korean director'sJacobean revenge trilogy, after Sympathy For Mr Vengeance and Oldboy,is the most daring of the lot in the way it ricochets between comedy andtragedy, realism and caricature.Action fans turned on toPark by Oldboy may be disa
  • Thank You For Smoking

    Dir. Jason Reitman. US.2005. 92mins.First-time director JasonReitman pulls off the miraculous feat of creating a single-issue comedy thatretains its freshness and drive throughout with his satire Thank You ForSmoking.It's a bristling, wickedlysmart portrait of a lobbyist named Nick Naylor (Eckhart), who makes his living orrather, in the running motif that excuses all, "pays the mortgage" - by nimblydefending the tobacco industry on TV and before the US Congr
  • Tideland

    Dir: Terry Gilliam. UK-Can.2005. 121mins.Terry Gilliam has spent hisentire career celebrating the power of the imagination to transcend the awfulrealities of life and death. He has described Mitch Cullin's Tideland as"Alice In Wonderland meets Psycho" and it sounds like idealmaterial for him.
  • Toronto's mega-studio won't be so mega

    It will be bigbut not as big is was supposed to be: the size and cost of the much-anticipatedToronto mega-studio has been scaled back. As reportedSept. 10 in Screendaily, Toronto Film Studios (TFS) has signed a land leasewith the City of Toronto, a crucial step toward breaking ground on thestate-of-the-art production facility. However, the revised plans, unveiled at apress conference today in Toronto, call for significantly less studio space forsignificantly less money than was origina
  • Transmedia takes UK rights to Daly's Aryan Couple

    NewUK distributor Transmedia has acquired the rights to its first feature film,WWII drama The Aryan Couple. JohnDaly, a veteran producer whose past credits include The Terminator, The LastEmperor and Platoon, co-wrote, directed, and produced the film. Setin Occupied Hungary 1944, The Aryan Couple follows the wealthy Jewish Krauzenberg family who try to make a deal withHimmler to save themselves; and their young servant couple who m
  • Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story

    Dir: Michael Winterbottom. UK. 2005. 91mins.Michael Winterbottom's deliriously funny film-about-a-filmof 18th century novel Tristram Shandy is the prolific director's mostenjoyable feature to date. Based around the gigantic comic talents of SteveCoogan, A Cock And Bull Story is both Winterbottom's affectionate homageto film-making itself and a snapshot of UK talent and humour in 2005.While A Cock And Bull Story is too highbrow to scoremainstrea
  • Tsotsi, Look Both Ways win top prizes at Toronto

    The Toronto InternationalFilm Festival ended on Saturday, with Gavin Hood's UK/South Africaco-production Tsotsi winning thecoveted People's Choice Award voted on by festival audiences. The award has, inthe past, signaled enormous popular successes such as Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon (2000), Amelie (2001), Whale Rider (2002) Zatoichi (2003), and last year Hotel Rwanda.Sarah Watt's Australianhit Look Both Ways won theDiscovery Award for
  • Van Gogh gets US remakes treatment

    Steve Buscemi, Stanley Tucciand Bob Balaban have signed on to remake three features by the late Dutchfilmmaker Theo van Gogh, who is honoured in Toronto with a selection of screenings and a paneldiscussion.An early 2006 start-date isexpected on the projects, which will shoot back-to-back on digital video in New York and are being produced by Holland's Co
  • Video Island acquires Scandinavia's Brafilm

    UK online DVD rental serviceVideo Island is to acquire Brafilm, a company Video Island says is the largestplayer in Scandinavia. The deal follows on from theUK acquisitions of DVDs365 in June 2005 and in August 2004.It forms part of VideoIsland's plans to become the number one online rental operator across Europe.Simon Calver, CEO of Video Island commented, "We are delighted to be addingBrafilm, the leading player in Sweden and Norway, to our business at t
  • Walk The Line

    Dir: James Mangold. US. 2005. 135mins.More the story of the romance between Johnny Cash and JuneCarter than a straight biopic of Cash, the eagerly awaited Walk The Line isa winning Hollywood entertainment dominated by two bright star performancesfrom Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.Wide audiences will lap up the drama, especially since it sowarmly humanises the two singing stars and gives us far more to relate to thanis usual in sto
  • Wallace & Grommit debuts in Australia, Pride in UK

    Strong holdover business from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory may be enough to keep the WarnerBros title ahead of the international pack for a second consecutive weekend.
  • Warners takes US rights to heavy metal documentary

    Seville International has sold all U.S. rights to thedocumentary film Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, directed by Sam Dunn,Scot McFadyen and Jessica Joy Wise to Warner.Thedocumentary, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International FilmFestival on September 14, follows Sam Dunn, a professional anthropologist andlong-time heavy metal fan, as he searches for the source o
  • Webber's Young Hannibal lines up for Prague shoot

    PeterWebber's Behind The Mask: Young Hannibal is to start shooting on October10th in Prague. Dinoand Martha De Laurentiis, Tarak Ben Ammar of Quinta Communications and Britishco-producers Chris Curling and Phil Robertson of Zephyr Films will produce thefilm with Petr Moravec of Czech production company, Etic Films.Bestselling novelist Thomas Harris has written the screenplay, based on hisupcoming novel, Behind The Mask.Theprequel follows the young Hannibal L
  • Woodrow, Kotchek launch Offshore Entertainment in NYC

    New York-basedOffshore Entertainment has launched with a slate of feature, television andmusic projects including Morgan J Freeman's road movie Just Like The Son.Financed through a New York investment bank, the umbrellacompany is headed up by former investment fund manager Christopher Woodrow aschief executive officer and Darren Kotchek as chief financial officer.OffshorePictures and Offshore Television will be overseen by director of developmentShawn Parsons, and the pla
  • Wrenn lights up Firesign but keeps Celluloid gig

    Michael Wrenn, who heads Celluloid Dreams' Pacific office, has launcheda production outfit, Firesign, and won New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC)development money for the feature Electric.Wrenn is working with debut director Brendan Donovan and writer ChadTaylor, who is adapting the script from his own novel. The story, set in thechaos of the Auckland power blackoutsof 1998, charts one man's journey to recovery and the recapture of his