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19 August 2005

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  • Garcia enjoys acclaim with festival hit

    Rodrigo Garcia'sNine Lives proved thehit of the 58th Locarno International Film Festival, with the jury awarding itboth the Golden Leopard grand prize and the best actress award, which wasshared between the film's nine leading actresses.2005 jurypresident, Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, revealed the jury's finaldiscussions went on until 3am. He told assembled press: "We have all decided wewon't play the role of judges. Rather, we will stress the emotions we have beenf
  • A Perfect Couple (Un Couple Parfait)

    Dir/scr. SobuhiroSuwa. Fr-Jap. 2005. 104mins.Tailor-made for film festivals and those with apenchant for obscure material, Sobuhiro Suwa's A Perfect Couple is the sort offeature that will deter audiences whose patience is tried by films that delaydelivering their message.Shot in Paris with aFrench cast, this chiaroscuro (more scuro than chiaro) portrait of a marriedcouple
  • Austrian box office plunges in first half of 2005

    Mirroring the general internationaltrend, Austrian exhibitors have reported year-on-year falls in box-officerevenues and admissions for the first half of 2005, but are bullish aboutprospects for the next six months.According to figures collated by theAustrian exhibitors' association FLA, 7.35m tickets were
  • Butler spearheads sword-and-sandal war epic for Warner

    Gerard Butler (pictured) will star in Warner Bros'adaptation of 300, a graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City) that recounts one ofancient Greece's best-known military battles. Warner, returning to the sword-and-sandal action-adventure genre thatyielded blockbuster results at the global box office with Troy but more mixed fortunes with Alexander, plans to begin principal photography in Montrealon Oct 17. The studio will distribute 300worldwide.
  • California ponders $50m annual incentive scheme

    California legislators are preparing to debate a billdesigned to stem the tide of runaway productions and help restore the notional"Hollywood" to its rightful home.The move follows years of vocal agitation by Californian industryworkers troubled by the exodus of productions to more cost-effective
  • Charlie set to pass $100m in golden ticket sales

    Warner Bros PicturesInternational's slice of family confection, Charlie And The ChocolateFactory, is poised to pass $100mthis weekend.The picture has no majoropenings but should continue to prove irresistible to filmgoers in theterritories where it has opened, and stood at $91.5m as of Aug 15.Meanwhile action sci-fi TheIsland was set to launch in Franceon Aug 17 and stood at more than $63.2m. By Aug 15 House Of Wax stood at $35.8mand Batman Begins had reache
  • Circle Work scores at Oz pitching contest

    Afeature called Circle Work by Edwina Exton, a Melbourne-basedactor-turned-screenwriter, has won the high-profile pitching competition heldas part of the annual Australian producers conference.Shedescribed the film as a highly commercial romantic comedy set amid the chaos ofa B&S (bachelor and spinster's) ball, an iconic event in rural Australia. Thetitle refers to the driving stunts that young farmers perform in their "utes"(utility vehicles) during these alcohol-fuelled
  • CMG plans Toronto 'market' screening for Reeker

    Cinema Management Group has picked up international rights to DavePayne's Reeker andplans to screen the horror picture in Toronto on Sept 10 outside the festival asa de facto "international market premiere."
  • Deauville unveils American film line-up

    The Deauville Festival of American Film has announced itscomplete line up for the 31st edition which will run from September2-11 in the Normandy town.AlainCorneau will head up the jury surrounded by directors Dominik Moll, BrigitteRouan and actors Dominique Blanc and Melvil Poupaud among others.Ten films make up the main competition, six of them firstfeatures. The films
  • Euro films set for Industry Screenings in New York

    European Film Promotion (EFP) is tolaunch a series of Industry Screenings in New York in November 2005 with theaim of introducing new European films to North American buyers. Thisinitiative, supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union, will featureone screening each of four new European films. The screenings will take placeon November
  • Familia

    Dir. LouiseArchambault. Can. 2005. 102mins.Louise Archambault's cheerful debut may bebookended by some ambitious statements about the inevitability of geneticinheritance, but by the end has proved to be a light romp that is more than happyto settle for crowd-pleasing solutions.If audience responseat Locarno, where Familia played last week, is any indication, then itshould go down well
  • Festival director becomes new Czech culture minister

    The Czech prime minister hasproposed Vitezslav Jandak, an actor and the president of the Zlin InternationalFilm Festival, as culture minister. Jandak will replace Pavel Dostal, who diedrecently of cancer.Pavel Strnad, president ofthe Czech Audiovisual Producers Association, was optimistic about the primeminister's selection. "It's good news that he's an actor and the directorof the film festival in Zlin, and I think he's aware of the problems in the filmindustry and the new film law in
  • FFC Australia revamps board

    The Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC) has revamped its board,appointing investment banker Alastair Walton and the high-profile entertainmententrepreneur Paul Dainty.The terms of four of the eight-member board have expired in the past sixweeks and a further two people are likely to be appointed soon by theAustralian Government, although it may choose only one other person.
  • First Hand takes on sales for Oliveira's Magic Mirror

    First Hand FilmsWorld Sales will handle international sales on venerable Portuguese directorManoel de Oliveira's Venice competitor Magic Mirror.The Zurich-basedcompany picked up the film prior to the announcement that it would compete inVenice, one of the cities where the film also partially shot.Mirror (Espelho Magico)is about an innocent ex-con who goes to work for a wealthy woman whose greatestgoal in life is to experience a siting of the Virgin in order to ask
  • First Run, Asia Society bring Chinese films to US

    Seeking to build greater international understandingthrough film, US-based organisations First Run Features and Asia Society haveteamed up to bring Chinese features to North American theatres, DVD andtelevision markets.The two bodies will create joint marketing and promotionalcampaigns for
  • Former Screen colleague Krueger dies, aged 75

    Ronald L Krueger, a former Screen International contributor and member of the HollywoodForeign Press Association (HFPA), has died of a heart attack in Los Angeles. Hewas 75.Born in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, Krueger worked in television production and sales, and served asa
  • Four Brothers opens top in North America with $20.7m

    Another successful result for the newly-installed Brad Grey regimeat Paramount saw its revenge drama Four Brothers open top in North America on anestimated $20.7m as overall domestic tickets sales plunged again.Opening in second place on $15.8m was Universal's Gothic thriller SkeletonKey
  • Four Brothers opens top in North America with $20.7m

    Another successful result for the newly-installed Brad Grey regimeat Paramount saw its revenge drama Four Brothers open top in North America on anestimated $20.7m as overall domestic tickets sales plunged again.Opening in second place on $15.8m was Universal's Gothic thriller SkeletonKey
  • Garcia's Nine Lives takes top Locarno prize

    RodrigoGarcia's Nine Lives has becomethe first US film to win Locarno's top award, the Golden Leopard for Best Film,for 14 years.The last US film to win thetop honour was Tom DiCillo's feature debut Johnny Suede at the festival in 1991.Nine Lives, which was the only US title selected for thisyear's International Competition, also picked up the Best Actress Leopard forthe film's ensemble of nine actresses including Glenn Close, Holly Hunter,Sissy Spacek, Kath
  • Greeks act to revitalise embattled box office

    Greekdistributors have agreed to move back film release dates to Thursdays in anattempt to revitalise the country's embattled local box office. Until now,Fridays have been the traditional opening day for films. The move takes effectfrom today (August 18). Admissionsin G
  • IFC accompanies Weinsteins on trans-sexual odyssey

    IFCFilms will partner with The Weinstein Company to distribute Duncan Tucker's hot-buttonroad movie Transamerica.
  • Irish producers line up 'likely' local shoots

    Aftera slow seven months it looks increasingly likely that Irish producers will pushupwards of six locally developed features into production before the year-end.That they are "likely" to start means, as many producers are carefulto say, that the films are probable rather than definite and that financingdeals in many cases are in the process of being closed.That the two most substanti
  • Japanese film takeover deal collapses

    Cable and broadband broadcaster Usen Corp. has revealed itwill not acquire film producer and distributor Nikkatsu from its parentcompany, game maker Namco.The deciding factor was reportedly strong opposition fromthe Nikkatsu labor union. In an interview with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a Usenofficial said that the company no longer "expects to derive any synergiesfrom the transaction," even if were towin out overunionopposition. Last April Usen announced that it intended to acquir
  • McGregor, Okonedo, examine their Sexual Nature

    Scenes Of A Sexual Nature, made for less than £500,000 andstarring 17 of Britain's top actors including Ewan McGregor, Sophie Okonedo,Gina McKee, Eileen Atkins and Hugh Bonneville, is set to wrap next week onLondon's Hampstead Heath.Director Edward Blum's feature debut, Scenes Of A Sexual Naturelinks seven stories and 14 principal actors and explores love during oneafternoon on the Heath. Privately financed through Blum's Tin Pan Films outfit,it started shooting less than
  • Meadows get mobile with 15 second short

    Award-winning Britishdirector Shane Meadows has made a short film shot entirely on a mobilephone. The Stairwell, a 15-second short film, premiered on on August 15 aspart if this year's Nokia Shorts competition. Meadows, who has directedsuch films as Dead Man's Shoesand TwentyFourSeven, shot thefilm in a few hours on a Nokia N90 phone at VHS resolution.This is the first year theNokia Sho
  • Montreal's Nouveau fest adds Vinterberg, Quebecois shocker

    Montreal's Festival du Nouveau Cinema added eight titles toits October line-up, including screenings of Thomas Vinterberg's Sundance titleDear Wendy, Pierre Jolivet's Cannestitle Zim & Co. and the worldpremiere of Quebecois director Robert Morin's shock film Petit Pow!Pow! Noel. The festival will also present Amos Gitai's Free Zone, which won Israeli actress Hanna Laslo the bestactress prize at Cannes and Belgian title Nuit Noire b
  • Muren, Miyazaki named among Hollywood Film Awards winners

    The Hollywood Film Festival's board of advisors hasunveiled a roster of film recipients for the upcoming 9th annual Hollywood FilmAwards, which is set to take place in Beverly Hills in October.Warner Bros' Batman Begins will receive the Hollywood Sound of the Year Award,
  • Muren, Miyazaki score at Hollywood Film Awards

    The Hollywood Film Festival's board of advisors hasunveiled a roster of film recipients for the upcoming 9th annual Hollywood FilmAwards, which is set to take place in Beverly Hills in October.Warner Bros' Batman Begins will receive the Hollywood Sound of the Year Award, Disney'sHowl's M
  • New Locarno chief outlines festival strategy

    Locarno Film Festival's incoming artisticdirector Frederic Maire has set himself of the goal of making the event"the festival of the future."Speaking to a day afterthe unanimous decision by the festival's board to appoint him as successor toIrene Bignardi, Maire said that "the spirit of Locarno must be preserved:Locarno is not the fourth festival behind Cannes, Venice and Berlin - it isdifferent. For me, we need to have continuity - through the Piazza Grande andt
  • New York Film Festival unveils full line-up

    The prestigious New York Film Festival (NYFF) has unveileda typically diverse and high-wattage line-up for its 43rd edition, with numerous potential US and North American premieres.The exact status of the premieres remains uncertain until both theToronto International Film Festival announces its c
  • Nine Lives takes top Locarno prize

  • Oz censor sparks spat with exhibitors, distributors

    About 20 senior exhibitorsand distributors held an impromptu meeting on the final night (Aug 18) of theAustralian International Movie Convention, to express their anger over thepublic way they were criticised on the first day of the event.Des Clark, directorof the Office of Film & Literature Classification, pulled no punches earlyin the week when he issued a media release that said that most cinemas werefailing to display important details about the way trailers and
  • Pair of film channels to launch in Germany

    Germany's free-TV channels Tele 5 and NBC Giga are beingrelaunched as film channels from this autumn.Tele 5, which is a 100% subsidiary of Herbert Kloiber's TeleMuenchen Group (TMG), will be relaunched on September 22 and has acquired a70-title package from license trader Intertainment including Grey Owl, TheBig Kahuna and The Patriot as well as eight films from Kineosranging from Robocop and The Bonfire Of The Vanities to PhantomCommando and Throw
  • Penguins march ahead at US box office

    Adding an extra $6.8 million thispast weekend, Luc Jacquet's documentary March Of The Penguins has becomethe second highest grossing French film in the history of the North Americanbox office. The film, whose run beganin June, has now taken in over $37m and is being handled in the US by boutiquedistributor Warner Independent Pictures.Penguins has surpassed Jean-PierreJeunet's
  • Producers urged to focus on older cinemagoers

    Prompted by new research,Nielsen EDI has suggested putting more of a focus on cinemagoers aged 55 yearsand over as a way of addressing Australia's current box office demise. General manager Simon Burton toldthe Australian International Movie Convention today that a key finding from thesurvey of 1,428 moviegoers was that the drop off in attendance was particularlyobvious among the most
  • Pusan project market shortlists 27 Asian features

    Asia's highest-profile project market, the PusanPromotion Plan (PPP), has unveiled a record 27 projects that will be introducedto potential co-producers and financiers at the upcoming Pusan InternationalFilm Festival.Held from October 10-12, this year's PPP will includevarious projects in development or pre-production including The War MovieProject, a big-budget WWII film set in the Philippines by Japanese cultdirector Shinya Tsukamoto; Opium War, a film about two US sold
  • Queensland unveils post-production incentive

    TheQueensland Government has added a post-production incentive scheme to the raftof temptations it already offers local and overseas film and televisionproducers who decide to shoot in the North-East corner of Australia.Themove makes Queensland a one-stop production shop, said the Minister for ArtsRod Welford, who announced the scheme when he officially opened the annua
  • Rag Tale

    Dir. Mary McGuckian.UK-Lux. 2005. 123mins.Bashing newspapers hasalways been popular sport for film-makers. But Mary McGuckian's Rag Taleadds nothing to the genre, despite its radically different technical approach,and ultimately only results in a muddle.Shot mostly in hugeclose-ups by three madly swinging HD cameras and using every type of distortinglens to twist the images around, this is the kind of experience that can easilyprovoke mot
  • Red Eye (S Korea)

    Dir: Wes Craven. US.2005. 81mins.Screen elitists arealways decrying the feckless over-complications of modern action movies, butWes Craven's air-bound Red Eye strikes a blow for old-fashionedentertainment, even as it unfolds against a decidedly contemporary setting. Athriller cast as a breathless nouveau labyrinth dash, the movie delivers solidgenre jolts in a tight, streamlined fashion.Box office prospects for thefilm should be strong both domestically (whe
  • Roadshow takes on Oz distribution for Wolf Creek

    Roadshow has acquireddirector Greg McLean's horror film Wolf Creek for an October 27 localrelease. Australia's biggestindependent distributor acquired the film from Miramax sister companyDimension, which bought a raft of territories from Arclight early this year. Producer David Lightfoot said the UKrelease through Optimum on September 16 will be the biggest yet for anAus
  • San Sebastian names New Directors contenders

    Twenty-fourfilms from almost as many countries will compete for the Altadis New Directorsprize at the upcoming 53rd edition of the Donostia-San Sebastian InternationalFilm Festival (Sept 15-24).Social themes -from Tibetan exiles and Mongolian nomads to unemployed and illegal workers inSpain - reign across genres and from around the world in the selection, whosecontenders vie for the prize's hefty Euros 90,000 purse.Telmo Esnal andAsier Altuna's black comedy about a bankrupted lo
  • Sarajevo festival kicks off in confident mood

    The 11th Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 19-27)kicks off today with a film line-up and guest list that suggests it has becomethe most important festival in South East Europe. With 162 films, four world premieres and five regionalpremieres and 100 foreign press representatives, Sarajevo in now an essentialplace to be for film makers, audiences and journalists from the region (seelink to story below for full competition line-up.)It has certainly come a long way since the civil
  • Sizer joins Icon as head of development

    Chloe Sizer has joined Icon Entertainment Internationalas head of development, reporting to CEO Martin Bigham. Sizer, who most recently served as Magic Light Pictures'head of development, will start with the company at the beginning of September2005. Bighamcommented: "Icon's London based operations have gone through many key changesthis past year. Chloe's appointment is another major step forward in thecompanies' restructure. It has taken longer than first anticipated tofind the
  • Sogepaq to handle five more from Tesela

    Spanishsales house Sogepaq has inked a deal with local producer Tesela to handle internationalsales and domestic video on five new and in-development features Includedin that five are two films that will be unveiled in the upcoming festivalseason. Among them is Venice Days screener The Wind
  • Thai martial arts pic smashes box office records

    SahamongkolfilmInternational's martial arts flick TomYum Goong has smashed box office records in both Thailand and Hong Kong onits opening weekend.The US$8mpicture, a follow up to Ong Bak thatreunites director Prachya Pinkaew and action star Tony Jaa, has grossed amassive $2.4m (THB98m) after four days of release on a record 243 screens inBangkok alone, according to Sahamongkofilm.It also tookthe
  • The 40 Year-Old Virgin

    Dir: Judd Apatow. US.2005. 116mins.Marking the featuredirecting debut of acclaimed TV comedy writer Judd Apatow and the featurestarring debut of in-demand comic actor Steve Carell, The 40 Year-Old Virginis a sex comedy that's sweet-natured one minute, enthusiastically raunchy thenext and sporadically very funny. Relatively subtle and character-driven by sexcomedy standards, it's likely to appeal more to youngish, been-there-done-thatadults than to t
  • The Constant Gardener

    Dir: Fernando Meirelles.2005. UK-Ger. 125mins.Proving that City OfGod was no one-hit-wonder, Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles delivers avivid tapestry of international intrigue set against the backdrop of Africa anda pharmaceutical industry in The Constant Gardener, based on spyspecialist John le Carre's novel of the same name.Part retrospective lovestory, part political mystery, part strident drama, it's a well-articulated,gorgeously lensed and
  • The Smiths cross $200m overseas benchmark

    New Regency/Summit Entertainment/Weed Road Pictures' Mr And MrsSmith has passed $200min international ticket sales.The action picture stayed top in France through SND for the third weekend in a row and stands at more than $13.9m.
  • Toronto adds 11 foreign-language world premieres

    The Toronto International Film Festival has added 11 worldpremieres to its September line up, including The Duelist from Korea's Lee Myung-se, Iberia from Spanish auteur Carlos Saura and a Galapresentation of German filmmaker Hermine Huntgeburth's White Masai.Deflecting criticism that it's a Hollywood-centred event,TIFF packaged its latest 21- title announcement as a foreign-language extravaganza- although the White Masai is in Germanand English. TIFF
  • Toronto set for Rossellini celebration, Aardman's Were-Rabbit

    Guy Maddin and Isabella Rossellini willpresent the world premiere of the short film My Dad Is 100 Years Old, a celebration of the centenary of Italian filmmaker RobertRossellini, at the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 8-17). It was oneof a number of personal appearances announced for this year's event including aDialogue evening with diva Liza Minnelli presenting a restored print of BobFosse's 1972 concert film Liza With A 'Z'. As well, the f
  • Turtles takes Melbourne audience prize

    Iranian drama Turtles CanFly was the most popular featurefilm at the 54th Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), organisersannounced today. Its director Bahman Ghobadiwas a guest at Australia's most prestigious film festival, which wrapped lastweek.The homegrown drama LookBoth Ways, which was directed bySarah Watts and opens theatrically on Thursday, was voted the second mostpopular film by audiences, and third was Kung Fu Hustle from Stephen Chow.
  • UIP readies global Were-Rabbit campaign

    The long-awaited Wallace & Gromit - The Curse Of TheWere-Rabbit will bow in Australia on September 15, as internationaldistributor UIP mirrors the pattern successfully swum byShark Talelast year.With a North American premiere at the Toronto InternationalFilm Festival following within days, Wallace will open in the US throughDreamWorks on October 7 on a similar amount of screens as A Shark Talewith final numbers yet to be determined.Were-Rabbit's Austr
  • UIP, Fox take Oz Movie Convention prizes

    UIP and Fox were the most high profile distributors at last night'sAustralian International Movie Convention's box achievement awards.UIP won six of the 18 awards which are given to films that grossed morethan $7.5m (A$10m) in the previous 12 months.Top of the list for UIP was Meet The Fockers but it just missedout on being declared the highe
  • Wah-Wah

    Dir/scr: Richard E Grant.UK-Fr-S Afr. 2005. 97minsAdd the name of Richard EGrant to the roster of actors who have made a successful transition to thedirector's chair. His feature debut Wah-Wah is an affectionate, keenly-observedportrait of a family's life set against the dying days of the British Empire.Working from autobiographical material, Grant deftly avoids the pitfalls ofeasy nostalgia or maudlinity to create a film rich in incident and charac
  • Warner duo claim $13m apiece at overseas theatres

    The Warner Bros Pictures International duo of The Island and Charlie And The Chocolate Factoryruled the roost over theweekend, grossing an estimated $13.9m and $13.6m for $63m and $90.9m respectiveinternational running totals.
  • Weber quits Bavaria to launch own sales outfit

    Michael Weber, managingdirector of Bavaria Media and Bavaria Film International (BFI), is leaving thecompany to set up his own as-yet-unnamed world sales outfit. Munich based sales companyBFI will now be run by two of its experienced executives: head of salesThorsten Schaumann and head of marketing Thorsten Ritter who have been with BFI since 1997 and 1999,respectively. As from August 19, the twowill jointly take over responsibility for the management of BFI whilstcontinuing to
  • Weinsteins press Panic button

    Harvey and Bob Weinstein have added another title to their bulgingWeinstein Company slate, optioning film rights to Jeff Abbott's paranoiathriller novel Panic,which goes out in US bookshops today [18].Abbott's story centres on Evan Casher, a documentaryfilmmaker who returns home to discover his mother's murdered body and quicklylearns that everything he has ever believed in is based on a lie. Casherembarks upon a frenzied search for the truth about his family while attemptingto
  • Wine guru to advise Australian film industry

    IanSutton, founding chief executive of The Winemakers Federation of Australia, hasbeen hired as a consultant to the working party advising on the creation of anAustralian Screen Council (ASC).Suttonis credited as the architect of the evolution of the modern Australian wineindustry.Usingthe first day of the annual conference of the Screen Producers Association ofAustralia (SPAA) as his platform, he outlined the steps taken to turn anindustry in crisis into one held up as a model