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19 December 2000

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  • Adelaide festival commissions series of features

    The Adelaide Festival Corporation has commissioned three features and a 50-minute film which will start shooting in Australia early next year, in time to premiere at the Adelaide Festival of Arts in March 2002. It is believed to be the first time that a festival has specifically commissioned films to be exhibited alongside other art forms. The Adelaide Festival Corp received funding from the South Australian government for the venture, which is also backed by Australian broadcaster SBS
  • Advanced Medien chairman open to friendly takeover

    Further ownership changes could be on the cards for Germany's Advanced Medien according to executive board chairman Christophe Montague, who has said that he is not excluding the possibility of a friendly takeover of the company.In an online chat with Financial Times Deutschland this week, Montague added that a takeover would only make sense "if the management had the feeling that it would lead to synergies and thus to higher corporate value". At the same time, he clearly dismis
  • AFC launches Oz overseas film fest initiative

    The Australian Film Commission (AFC) has developed a do-it-yourself film festival package for the use of diplomatic missions spread across the world. Australia's department of foreign affairs and trade has been heavily involved in the initiative, which is part of a strategy to promote the country abroad through its cultural achievements.The pack includes a manual that gives guidance to embassy and high commission staff on tailoring a festival to the host country, finding a cinem
  • All systems go for AOL Time Warner after FTC nod

    The most arduous legal obstacle facing the biggest corporate merger in US history was swept away on Thursday after Washington's five-member Federal Trade Commission gave its unanimous approval to America Online's $111bn takeover of Time Warner - but with stringent conditions attached in the form of a consent decree.With only approval from the Federal Communications Commission now standing in its way, the new AOL Time Warner combine told staff that it would begin operating as one compan
  • All The Pretty Horses

    Dir: Billy Bob Thornton. US. 2000. 117 mins.Prod co: Miramax Films, Columbia Pictures. US dist: Miramax Films. Int'l dist: Columbia TriStar. Exec prods: Sally Menke, Jonathan Gordon. Prods: Billy Bob Thornton, Robert Salerno. Scr: Ted Tally, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. DoP: Barry Markowitz. Prod des: Clark Hunter. Ed: Sally Menke. Mus: Marty Stuart. Main cast: Matt Damon, Henry Thomas, Lucas Black, Penelope Cruz, Ruben Blades, Miriam Colon, Bruce Dern, Robert Patrick, Sa
  • Alliance Atlantis, H20 to produce Kwietniowski pic

    Alliance Atlantis Communications is backing Richard Kwietniowski's second film Owning Maloney which is being produced by Alliance Atlantis-based H20 Motion Pictures. H20's Andras Hamori and Seaton McLean, president of Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Production, will produce the film which is set to start shooting in mid-March on location in Toronto and Atlantic City.Philip Seymour Hoffman will star in the film, a true life story, as Brian Maloney, an unassuming bank manager who
  •, England! among Max Ophuels nods

    Esther Gronenborn's, Achim von Boerries' England! and Philip Groening's L'Amour, L'Argent, L'Amour are among 19 features from German-speaking territories which have been nominated for the $27,500 (DM60,000) Max Ophuels Prize. The award will be given out during the Max Ophuels Prize Film Festival, which take place in Saarbruecken, Germany, from January 16-21, 2001. This year's line-up includes two films from Austria - Florian Flicker's Der Ueberf
  • Artisan renews Canada deal with Alliance Atlantis

    Artisan Entertainment and Alliance Atlantis Communications have renewed their 1998 output deal giving Alliance Atlantis the Canadian theatrical, home entertainment and TV rights to upcoming Artisan films for an additional three years.The agreement also gives Alliance Atlantis Canadian rights for another five years to Artisan's 6,700-title film and TV library. Alliance Atlantis' recent launch of a special edition DVD of Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the company's largest DVD rel
  • Australia introduces moral rights legislation

    Legislation giving moral rights to the principal director, producer and screenwriter of Australian features, television programmes, documentaries and commercials has now passed through both houses of parliament. The new legislation also gives the creators of works reproduced or recorded in these productions, such as music, moral rights over that aspect of the production. Legal action can now be taken if one of the holders of moral rights considers that they have not been fairly credite
  • Battle Royale joins Rotterdam line-up

    Japanese gore fest Battle Royale, which is currently whipping up both public outrage and box office receipts in its home territory, is to make its international premiere at January's International Film Festival Rotterdam.Kinji Fukasaku's futuristic tale of teens on a desert island who are forced to kill each other until only one survives grossed $5.5m on its opening weekend - despite, or perhaps because of, politicians' calls for it to be banned. Renowned for platforming Asian c
  • Blockbuster to double number of Argentine stores

    Blockbuster has unveiled an aggressive expansion plan for Argentina. Starting next year, the Viacom-owned home video retailer will begin to offer franchises in regional Argentine cities, in a bid to double the number of outlets it has in the country. Blockbuster currently enjoys a 37% share of the Argentine market, with 80 stores, 85% of which are situated in the capital of Buenos Aires and surrounding towns. The new Argentine franchises will cost between $200,000 and $300,000.
  • Bouffard appointed Unifrance general manager

    The French free-tv broadcasters will have to increase their compulsory investment in French film production (through pre-buys, co-productions and theatrical distribution) to 3.2% of their revenues (against 3% previously) according to new broadcasting legislation.The French broadcasting sector is a major backer of the French film indsutry. Last year, the involvement of the main free-tv channels (TF1, France 2, France 3, M6 and Arte) amounted to Ffr560m (Ffr377m in pre-buys and Ffr183m i
  • Bronco's Flying Scotsman secures lottery backing

    Bronco Films' $5m The Flying Scotsman was the main beneficiary of the latest Scottish Screen Lottery Panel Awards, receiving a production grant of $738,000 (£500,000). Described by producer Peter Broughan as "Chariots Of Fire meets The Full Monty", the film tells the inspirational true story of world champion cyclist Graham Obree. Part of an ambitious Bronco slate, the project is scheduled to shoot in the Spring of 2001. A director and cast will be announced shortl
  • CanalNumedia makes English-lang ticketing debut

    CanalNumedia, the internet subsidiary of France's Canal Plus, has made its first move into Ireland, with the acquisition of a new-technology ticketing group Filmline. The company, which will be renamed CanalNumedia Ireland, operates an interactive telephone booking service on behalf of exhibitors. It will go live with an internet booking service in the first quarter of 2001. The outfit, founded in 1998 by former CiBy 2000 executive Johanna Ryder, will continue to operate under t
  • Collette options Isabelle to produce, perhaps star

    Actress Toni Collette has optioned rights to Isabelle The Navigator, the latest novel from fellow Australian Luke Davies, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. She is expected to produce the film with a friend, short film-maker Sally Chesher. It is not yet known whether she will take the role of the title character.Davies will not be engaged as the scriptwriter, according to the newspaper. He is already working on several projects including the adaptation of his previou
  • Compassionate Sex (Sexo Por Compasion)

    Dir: Laura Mana. Spain-Mexico. 100mins.Prod cos: Sogedasa (The Filmax Group), Visual Grup SL. Co-producers: Resonancia Productora. Backers: Via Digital, Media, Tabasco Films, ICAA, IMCINE, L'Institut Catala de Finances. Spain distrib: Filmax. Int'l sales: Filmax International (34-93-336-8555). Prods: Julio Fernandez, Miguel Torrente. Exec prods: Carlos Fernandez, Fina Torrente. Co-prods: Fernando Camara, Salvador de la Fuente. Scr: Laura Mana. DoP: Henner Hoffman. Prod des: Marisa P
  • CTFDI glides past the $1 billion mark for 2000

    Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) has passed $1 billion in international box office grosses, the company announced on Wednesday, marking the second time in its history after 1997 when Men In Black, My Best Friend's Wedding and Jerry Maguire pushed the studio past the billion mark.The announcement came Wednesday, just over two weeks before the end of the year, from Jeff Blake, president of worldwide marketing and distribution for Columbia TriS
  • Dailey, Epstein promoted in marketing at Artisan

    Brian Dailey been promoted to vice president of media and research at Artisan Entertainment from his position as director of theatrical administration. He will report to Amorette Jones, executive vice president, worldwide marketing, Artisan Pictures. In this new capacity, he will oversee the newspaper and broadcast media buys for Artisan's theatrical releases as well as marketing research for these films.Prior to joining Artisan, Dailey worked in marketing finance at DreamWorks SKG an
  • Das Werk buys into France's Mikros Images

    German post-production house Das Werk has added to its international network by acquiring a 15% stake in French digital post and effects house Mikros Images, with plans to extend this to a majority interest in future.The two companies are founding members of the Max European Post-Production Alliance, along with Belgium's Ace, Spain's En Efecto and Italy's Blue Gold.Das Werk acquired En Efecto earlier this year, and has announced plans to secure a majority stake in UK post-produc
  • Denmark's Italian selected for Berlin competition

    Italian For Beginners, the first of a new string of Danish films made according to Dogme rules, has been selected for the main competition section at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival (February 7-18, 2001). The film is written and directed by Lone Scherfig and produced by Ib Tardini for Denmark's progressive Zentropa production outfit. Sherfig won the Berlinale Kinderfilmfest with her children's film On Our Own in 1999, and made her debut with the humorous The Birthday
  • EIB unwraps Euros500m audiovisual fund

    Upwards of Euros500m of new loans will be made available to Europe's audiovisual industries under a new scheme launched Tuesday (Dec 19) by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB)."This financial package is intended to improve the competitivity of the industry and to favour the development of European audiovisual content," said Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for culture and education, at a press conference in Luxembourg.The scheme, baptised "i2i audiovisu
  • Fox ups Yankowitz to top int'l marketing position

    Mitch Yankowitz has been promoted to the position of executive vice president of marketing at 20th Century Fox International, filling the position held until recently by Scott Neeson, who was promoted to president of international theatrical in October.Yankowitz will develop and supervise the strategic marketing plans of all Fox releases internationally and supervise the Los Angeles, regional and field marketing operations.Among upcoming films on which Yankowitz will work a
  • Gaga, So-net team up for Sweet And Low release

    Sony Communication Network Corp (So-net) has joined Gaga Communications in the acquisition of Japanese rights to Woody Allen's Sweet And Low, marking the first time a Japanese internet service provider (ISP) has made such an investment.The deal is part of So-net's strategy to acquire content for its subscribers, which numbered 1,520,000 at the end of November. In addition to providing subscribers with information about the film itself, So-net intends to promote it by running an
  • Gaumont, Pathe merge exhibition interests

    French film groups Gaumont and Pathe - headed respectively by brothers Nicolas and Jerome Seydoux - are forming a joint venture to house their exhibition interests, EuroPalaces, which will be 66% owned by Pathe and 34% by Gaumont.The new combine, which will be chaired by Pathe/Chargeurs' Eduardo Malone, will operate 700 venues in Europe and forecasts sales of $267.4m (FFr2bn) for 2000.Both companies have suffered from the launch of UGC's loyalty pass, although Gaumont, which com
  • German internet provider joins Kinowelt in B.TV

    Leading German internet service provider has joined mini-major Kinowelt as a shareholder in regional broadcaster B.TV Television, by acquiring a 9.94% stake in the Baden-Wuerttemberg-based channel.The move makes, which reaches 5.4 million users, the first German internet player to become directly involved in television.B.TV can be received by around 10 million people in Land of Baden-Wuerttemberg via an analogue ASTRA satellite, cable and aerial, as well as 35 mill
  • Germany's F.A.M.E. to open London outpost

    German film and music production house, F.A.M.E. Film & Music Entertainment, is launching a 100% owned London-based subsidiary, F.A.M.E. UK, on Jan 1, 2001, to develop and produce English-language features.The Munich-based company is expected to appoint a UK film professional to head the operation, which is currently the responsibility of F.A.M.E executive board members Thomas Haeberle and Michael Bischoff.F.A.M.E., which made its Neuer Markt debut in August, has already produce
  • Helkon planning to buy Eagle, Tri Pictures stakes

    Germany's Helkon Media, which earlier this year acquired 51% of the UK's Redbus Films Distribution, is eyeing stakes in its two other European partners, Italy's Eagle Pictures and Spain's Tri Pictures, as part of its on-going strategy to create an international distribution network.The company also plans to fill the network out with strategic partnerships in France, Benelux and Scandinavia, territories that board member Mark Ramakers describes as "gaps in the map". Speaking at H
  • Helkon subsidiary wins Heimatfilm contract

    Germany's home-grown genre, the Heimatfilm, which was popular in the 1950s with stirring tales of love and adventure set against the backdrop of Alpine landscapes, is to be dusted down and updated by Helkon Media's majority-owned TV production house, Sonne, Mond und Sterne.The Munich-based outfit has won a $13.7m (DM30m) contract from broadcasters Bavarian Broadcasting (BR), Austrian public television ORF and KirchMedia to produce an initial eight 90-minute Heimatfilm TV movies over th
  • Imax sells digital projector to Japan's T-Joy

    Canada's Imax Corp has sold its first commercial digital cinema projector to Japan's T-Joy, an exhibition joint venture backed by a total of 22 companies, including the Toei group. The deal gives Imax a much-needed boost. The beleaguered wide-screen entertainment company has seen its market valuation drop dramatically in recent months because of its dependence on cash-strapped North American exhibitors. However, the sale announcement had no immediate effect on the company's share price

    Following a flurry of deals, including multi-picture financing pacts with Mandalay, Pathe and Lions Gate, KC Medien CEO Roland Pellegrino has risen to become a leading light on the international film financing scene. Martin Blaney surveys the rise of the former bank clerk from Ludwigsburg.The road to Mandalay, and indeed the rest of Hollywood, from Ludwigsburg in south-west Germany is a long one, but Roland Pellegrino has sped along it in the past few years. Since he join
  • Intertainment, Franchise talk terms

    Munich-based licence trader Intertainment is renegotiating its pan-European output deal with Elie Samaha's LA-based Franchise Pictures, which is thought to have soured after resulting in a string of flops.In a statement released Tuesday (December 19), Intertainment said that its subsidiary Intertainment Licensing had entered into negotiations with Franchise: "to clarify differences between the companies in their business relationship, which are also straining Intertainment Licensing Gm
  • Iranian culture minister Mohajerani resigns

    Iran's culture minister, Ataollah Mohajerani, has resigned in a move which observers claim will have serious consequences for the country's freedom of expression.Mohajerani, who had held the post since Iran's pro-reform president Mohammad Khatami came to power in 1997, was credited with encouraging creative and political freedom in Iran's cinema, media and arts. However his bold stance angered the president's conservative opponents as well as Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene
  • Ireland reports static production spend

    Ireland's film and TV drama production spend grew by 12% to $129m (IR£114m) in 1999, according to industry figures just released, although figures for the audiovisual sector as a whole remained static at $165m (IR£145m).Speaking at the publication of the figures, John Cummins, chairman of the Audiovisual Federation of the Irish Business and Employers' Confederation (IBEC), described the Irish audiovisual sector as being "in the doldrums". "We have had total inertia in government policy
  • Japan dishes out CS licences to 18 companies

    Hollywood Movies, a movie channel backed by Sony, Itochu, Tohokushinsha and News Corp, is among the 18 broadcasters that have been awarded licences to broadcast from Japan's new communications satellite (CS), which is scheduled to start operating next autumn.Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) finalised the list of successful licensees from a total of 41 applicants, on December 18, when the Radio Regulatory Council, an MPT advisory body, met to accept the Ministry's
  • Japan's Battle Royale boosted by censorship row

    Proving that there's no such thing as bad publicity, Japanese splatter-fest Battle Royale is piling up ticket sales as quickly as its on-screen body count, grossing $5.45m (Y613m) on its opening weekend, despite, or perhaps because of, politicians' attempts to get the film banned.Lambasted by politicians and bureaucrats for its hyper-violence, Kinji Fukasaku's dark futuristic tale about teens on a desert island forced to kill each other to the last survivor, has racked up 140,00
  • Japan's Warner Mycal planning float for 2002

    Japanese supermarket group Mycal is planning to float Warner Mycal, its joint exhibition venture with Warner Bros International Theatres, on the Tokyo stock exchange in autumn 2002, sources have revealed.Mycal aims to raise from $545m (Y60bn) to $636m (Y70bn) from the IPO, as part of a company restructuring plan to reduce its debt load. Although the float is still in the early planning stages, the company is considering a private offering of corporate bonds prior to the float, to put a
  • Joskowicz appointed as Imcine chief

    Director Alfredo Joskowicz has been appointed to head up Mexico's state-run film institute, Imcine, replacing Alejandro Pelayo who stepped in when Eduardo Amerena abruptly resigned last year. Amerena quit over the fracas which ensued after Imcine allegedly blocked the distribution of La Ley De Herodes, an Imcine-backed film which was highly critical of the ruling party of the time, PRI.Joskowicz' appointment was a blow to local pundits who expected Mexican president Vicen
  • LA Critics declare Crouching Tiger Best Picture

    Ang Lee's Chinese-language epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon increased its chances for consideration in major Oscar categories when it was named Best Picture of 2000 last night (Saturday) by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys was runner-up for best picture.However, not even Ang Lee could beat Steven Soderbergh who was named best director for both Traffic and Erin Brockovich. The win completes a clean sweep for Soderbergh
  • Lot 47 to hold New Zealand film fest

    US distributor Lot 47 Films, in association with the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), is staging New York's first ever festival of NZ films for seven days from February 7. The festival promises to include "new, rediscovered and undiscovered" films, eight of which will be US premieres.The opening night will double as the US premiere of Harry Sinclair's The Price Of Milk, which does not open at home in New Zealand until March 1. Lot 47 starts its US season of the film on
  • Media Most faces bankruptcy threat

    While Russian media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky awaits the outcome of extradition hearings in Spain, Moscow tax authorities have moved to liquidate several companies within his Media Most group, using an obscure piece of legislation that has never been used before.Moscow tax inspectors launched a case in the city arbitrage court on Friday, which is aimed at winding up businesses under the Media Most umbrella, including leading Russian broadcaster NTV. At the same time, the Russian governm
  • Meet The Parents charms German box office

    UIP's Meet The Parents began its international roll-out by shooting straight to the top of the German box office chart, with a four-day gross of $2.51m (DM5.54m) from 356 screens. The film's healthy opening screen average of $7,064 is the third highest of the year in Germany behind Mission: Impossible 2 ($8,804) and American Pie ($8,655), although both films opened on more screens (893 and 615 respectively).Meet The Parents, which stars Ben Stiller as a male
  • Meet The Parents steals top spot from The Grinch

    UIP's final release of the year Meet The Parents had a warm welcome in the UK opening with a healthy $3.3m (£2.3m), clinching the top spot from fellow UIP title The Grinch. Playing at 402 cinemas, the Jay Roach-directed comedy pulled in a robust site average of $8,298 over the weekend (Dec 15-17). Starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro, the film - which has clocked up $160m in North America - received generally positive reviews across the country and will help stabilise box off
  • Memfis, Slot Machine board Vinterberg's Love

    The final pieces of financing have fallen into place on Thomas Vinterberg's eagerly-awaited new project It's All About Love, his first since acclaimed Dogme title The Celebration, with Japan's Shochiku pre-buying Japanese rights and Marianne Slot's Slot Machine and Lars Jonsson's Memfis Film boarding as French and Swedish partners.The $10m English-language science-fiction love fable, originated by Denmark's Nimbus Film, will shoot from April 1, 2001 on location and in stu
  • Metrodome acquires Together, 101 Reykjavik

    Metrodome Distribution has acquired UK rights to Scandinavian hits 101 Reykjavik and Together from Trust Film Sales.Metrodome distribution chief Rupert Preston expects to release the two films in the spring next year. The UK release will follow screenings for both films in the World Cinema section at the upcoming edition of the Sundance Film Festival.Reykjavik, a black comedy about a 20-something slacker, has a cast including Victoria Abril and a score by Da
  • Miss Congeniality

    Dir: Donald Petrie. US. 2000. 104min. Prod co: Castle Rock Entertainment in association with Village Roadshow Pictures and NPV Entertainment. Dist: Warner Bros/Village Roadshow (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Cyprus and Greece). Exec prods: Marc Lawrence, Ginger Sledge, Bruce Berman. Prod: Sandra Bullock. Co-prod: Katie Ford. Scr: Lawrence, Ford, Caryn Lucas. DoP: Laszlo Kovacs. Prod des: Peter Larkin. Ed: Billy Weber. Music: Edward Shearmur. Main cast: Bullock, Michael Caine, B
  • Mumbai police hunt for mafia money in film

    The police in the Indian city of Mumbai have reportedly launched a crackdown on the involvement of criminal organisations in Hindi film financing.Mumbai joint police commissioner D. Sivanandan spoke to journalists about "the deep involvement" of "a majority of the members of the film industry" with local mafia. "We are not saying that everyone has links. But any one of those people whose noses are clean need not worry," Sivanandan said.The commissioner's comments follow the arr
  • Munich prosecutor launches probe into EM.TV

    Brothers Thomas and Florian Haffa and other executives at troubled German media concern EM.TV & Merchandising are being investigated by Munich state prosecutor Manfred Wick for alleged breaches of securities law.EM.TV spokesman Michael Birnbaum declared that the books of the licence trader would be open to the investigating authority as part of a "complete co-operation". Seven lawsuits have been filed by investor groups alleging that the management concealed the true extent of the conc
  • New York critics get high on Soderbergh's Traffic

    Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, the $50m theatrical re-working of the Channel 4 mini-series on the international drug trade, was named best picture on Wednesday by the New York Film Critics Circle after nearly five hours of deliberation at Manhattan's Sardi's Restaurant.Soderbergh himself was named the year's best director for both Traffic and Erin Brockovich, while Benicio Del Toro won the best supporting actor award for Traffic, which was jo
  • Norway's Cinema Commission proposes levy increase

    Norway's Cinema Policy Commission has recommended an increase in the country's film and video levy, by 1% to 3.5%, in order to help smaller theatres make the conversion to digital projection.The Commission, appointed by Norway's Ministry of Culture one year ago to review the government's exhibition policy, also suggested the creation of a public fund to support smaller exhibitors operating outside the main towns and cities.Among other recommendations in its final report, the Com
  • Pakistan suspends Star TV licence

    The Pakistan government has suspended the licence it recently granted to Rupert Murdoch's Asian satellite platform Star TV, claiming that the company had fixed tariffs without its approval.The licence enabled Star to distribute decoders and market its network to cable operators across Pakistan. "They have been directed to get their tariff approved as per licence conditions," said the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Star has been ordered to stop selling decoders until
  • Palm Springs to honour Nicolas Cage, Ridley Scott

    Nicolas Cage, Ridley Scott and Randy Newman are among the honorees at next year's Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival. Cage will be presented with the Charles A Crain Desert Palm Award, Scott with the Director's Achievement Award and Newman with the Frederick Loewe Award at an awards gala on Jan 13, 2001, at the Palm Springs Convention Centre.Cage joins other recent recipients including Annette Bening, John Travolta, Sylvester Stallone, Susan Sarandon, James Stewa
  • Pearce signs on for Blood And Guts

    Guy Pearce has signed to star in Australian production Blood And Guts, the directing debut of Scott Roberts, which is set to start shooting in Melbourne on July 30, 2001. The film will mark the second time that Pearce has worked with producer Al Clark, following The Adventures Of Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert in 1993. Clark bills Blood And Guts as a jet-black comedy about how sex and greed come between bad cops and three brothers in jail, with fatal consequences.
  • Planeta seeks partners for debut production

    Planeta 2010 - the start-up media division of publishing giant Planeta - is seeking international co-production partners for the feature film which will mark it's entry into the production market, Avatar.An English-language futuristic action story from up-and-coming director Elio Quiroga, Avatar is planned for an autumn 2001 shoot on a budget upwards of a whopping $15m. European and American actors are also being considered for the film, which will require complicated spe
  • Ratcatcher reels in top prize at Bratislava

    Lynne Ramsay's UK drama Ratcatcher won the grand prize at the second edition of the Bratislava International Film Festival.The award for best director went to Lee Chang-dong for Korean title Peppermint Candy. Mandy Matthews won the best actress prize for her part in Ratcatcher, while Peppermint Candy's Sol Kyung-gu took the best actor award.Held from December 1-9 in the capitol of the Slovak Republic, the event established itself as a regular fixture
  • Shmuger, Finkelstein promoted at Universal

    Universal Pictures has promoted two senior executives - Marc Shmuger and Rick Finkelstein. Shmuger, formerly president of marketing, has been named vice chairman and Finkelstein, formerly president, has been given the additional title of chief operating officer (COO). They will both report to Stacey Snider, chairman of the studio.The promotions, due largely to the banner year which Universal has enjoyed due to the success of Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Gladiato
  • to acquire AtomFilms

    Marking the end of a roller-coaster year for the troubled online entertainment business, has announced its stock swap acquisition of short films specialist AtomFilms, in a deal which is expected to lead to 100 redundancies.Under the terms of the deal, will acquire AtomFilms in a stock for stock deal which will see Shockwave shareholders owning 70% of the consolidated company and AtomFilms holding the remaining 30%. Rob Burgess, chairman and CEO of Sho
  • Singapore's Cinemancer lines up sci-fi debut

    Start-up Singapore production company Cinemancer has unveiled its first production, Avatar Exile, which it claims is Singapore's first foray into the sci-fi genre.Cinemancer's Kuo Jian Hong is directing the $3.6m project will also produce alongside Anthony Fu. Local multimedia outfit Cruxible is backing the film. Australia's Leeanna Walsman (Star Wars: Episode II, Searching For Alibrandi) is in final talks to play the female lead, while local actor Lim Kay Siu (
  • Slovenia becomes 26th country to join Eurimages

    Eurimages, the Council of Europe-backed organisation which finances European co-productions, has accepted Slovenia as a member, effective January 1, 2001.Slovenia will become the 26th country to join Eurimages. The decision was taken by the Eurimages funding board at a meeting in Strasbourg, held November 27-29. As a result, all projects involving a Slovenian co-producer can be presented for the forthcoming deadline for applications on January 12, 2001. Slovenia will also be able to be
  • Spain's Grupo Correo buys 30% of Grupo Boca

    Spanish multimedia house Grupo Correo has acquired a 30% stake in Madrid-based production outfit Grupo Boca, home to the BocaBoca and Cristal labels.The deal leaves the door open for Correo to take an additional 30% interest before January 2002, a move which would convert Boca owner Cesar Benitez into a minority shareholder. Correo - which also owns 25% of Spanish broadcaster TeleCinco, 17% of Madrid film production house Esicma and 17% of TV producer Grupo Arbol (home of Globom
  • StudioCanal shares leap by 20%

    The shares of StudioCanal have become the latest part of the Vivendi Universal galaxy to suddenly shine. In heavy trading on Wednesday the shares surged 20% from Euros9.39 to Euros11.20.Stockmarket rumours suggest that Vivendi Universal is considering a bid for the 18% of the company that it does not already own. Vivendi Universal boss Jean-Marie Messier apparently remarked on Tuesday that such a move would make sense, but only in the medium term. Vivendi Universal offered no comment w
  • The Claim

    Dir: Michael Winterbottom. US. 2000. 120mins.Prod cos: United Artists Films in association with Pathe Pictures, The Arts Council Of England, StudioCanal, BBC and Alliance Atlantis. US dist: United Artists. Int'l sales: Pathe International, tel: (33) 1 40 76 91 65. Exec prods: Martin Katz, Alexis Lloyd, Andrea Calderwood. Prod: Andrew Eaton. Co-prod: Douglas Berquist. Scr: Frank Cottrell Boyce, inspired by the novel The Mayor Of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. DoP: Alwin Kuchler. Prod
  • Traffic

    Dir: Steven Soderbergh. US. 2000. 147 mins. Prod cos: Bedford Falls. US dist: USA Films. Int'l sales: Initial Entertainment Group (+ 1 310 315 1722). Exec prods: Richard Solomon, Mike Newell & Cameron Jones, Graham King & Andreas Klein. Prods: Edward Zwick, Marshall Hersovitz, Laura Bickford. Scr: Stephen Gaghan, based on the TV series Traffik created by Simon Moore, originally produced by Carnival Films for Channel Four Television. DoP: Peter Andrews (aka Steven Soderbergh). Prod d
  • TV Azteca launches film and TV production arm

    Mexico's second largest broadcaster, TV Azteca, has launched a film and television production division, Azteca Cine, which has forged co-production deals with both Columbia TriStar International Television (CTIT) and the UK's Pearson Television. Apart from supplying programming to TV Azteca, the new unit aims to feed upcoming US Hispanic television network Azteca America (ScreenDaily, September 11) and ride the new wave of interest in Mexican cinema, according to Azteca Cine dir
  • Walton signed to script The Pornographer's Poem

    Canadian screenwriter Karen Walton has been signed by Alliance Atlantis to adapt Michael Turner's novel The Pornographer's Poem for the screen. Walton wrote the acclaimed horror film Ginger Snaps which premiered at this year's Toronto International Film Festival and received an honourable mention "for its wicked, insightful and intelligent script."A bestseller in Canada, The Pornographer's Poem is the story of a teenager in 1970s Vancouver who sets out on a journe
  • What Lies Beneath crosses $100m internationally

    What Lies Beneath, the DreamWorks/20th Century Fox co-production starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, has crossed the $100m barrier internationally, making it the 18th film to do so this year. Fox has international rights to the film which is directed by Robert Zemeckis; DreamWorks has taken $155m on it domestically.Last weekend, What Lies Beneath opened with $1.4m on 260 screens in Japan, pushing its total to $100.1m in 25 markets (1,349 screens).In Spa
  • What Women Want

    Dir: Nancy Meyers. US. 2000. 126 mins.Prod cos: Icon Productions, Wind Dancer. US dist: Paramount Pictures. Int'l sales: Icon Entertainment International (+ 44 20 7494 8100). Exec prods: Stephen McEveety, David McFadzean, Carmen Finestra. Prods: Nancy Meyers, Bruce Davey, Matt Williams. Scr: Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa from a story by Goldsmith, Yuspa & Diane Drake. DoP: Dean Cundey. Prod des: Jon Hutman. Eds: Stephen A Rotter, Thomas J Nordberg. Mus: Alan Silvestri. Main cast: Mel
  • What Women Want breaks all-time December record

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