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19 December 2004

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  • 12 projects selected for Sundance Screenwriters Lab in Jan

    Projects from the UK, South Africa and Brazil are among 12represented in the Sundance Institute's annual January screenwriters labs,which run from Jan 14-19 2005.
  • AFI names top ten pictures of the year

    The AmericanFilm Institute (AFI) announced its top pictures of the year yesterday (12) inwhat the group called the only form of national recognition that honours a project'sentire cast and crew.The 10 picturesin alphabetical order are: The Aviator, Collateral, Eternal Sunshine Of TheSpotless Mind, Friday Night Lights, The Incredibles, Kinsey, Maria Full OfGrace, Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, and Spider-Man 2.The pictureswill be honoured at a luncheon on Jan 14 in
  • Another $4.7m gross for Alexander from 21 smaller territories

    Intermedia/Warner Bros' Alexander grossed an estimated $4.7m from 21territories at the weekend to raise its international running total to $24.7m.
  • AUSTRALIA 13 December

    Ocean's Twelve was the most popular film at the box office on theweekend, grossing A$4,580,657 from 378 screens for Roadshow, which equated to avery strong screen average of A$12,118. By way of comparison, only four filmshave exceeded this result in the last six months - Spider-Man 2 (A$7.13m), Bridget Jones: The Edge OfReason (A$5.59m), The Bourne Supremacy (A$4.88m) and I, Robot(A$4.64m).With so many cinemagoerskeen to see Oce
  • Australia's FFC bankrolls Elephant, Power

    Elephant Tales, a French/Australian co-productionwritten and directed by Mario Andreacchio, and the psychological thriller PowerSurge, the first feature from high-profile commercials director DavidDenneen, will go into production after receiving backing from Australia's Film Finance Corporation (FFC).The FFC has also announced it is willing to invest in fourother features providing certain conditions are met. The films are:- Macbeth from director Geoffrey Wr
  • BBC should invest more in UK films, say MPs

    The BBC should invest more inBritish film production and in showcasing UK films on its television channels,says an influential report drafted by Members of Parliament.The House of Commons CultureCommittee investigation into the BBC is published today as part of the processleading up to the corporation's Charter renewal at the end of 2006. The Committeewas chaired by Sir Gerald Kaufman.One of its many key findings isthat the BBC should do more to support British film."We r
  • Berjon named as Cannes Critics' Week director

    Jean-Christophe Berjon has beennamed as the new director for International Critics' Week at Cannes.Elected by the French Unionof Film Critics, he succeeds Claire Clouzot.The 40-year-old Berjon is atheatre director and drama professor for the Florent School in Paris. Since1998 he headed the Annuel du cinema publication and also serves as thedirector for the bi-monthly
  • Bridget continues to prosper, with $8m French opening

    Universal/WorkingTitle's Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason added an estimated $13.5m through UIP at the weekend andgrossed roughly $8m in France through Mars, raising the international runningtotal to $139.7m.The romanticcomedy sequel scored Working Title's biggest ever and Universal's fourthbiggest ever opening day in South Korea (9), opening top on $2m from 156screens over the entire weekend for Working Title's biggest opening weekend andUniversal's third biggest ever behind o
  • Charlie to open on IMAX the same day as 35mm

    Warner Bros continued tonurture its growing relationship with IMAX Corp with news yesterday (16) thatTim Burton's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory will open on IMAX and 35mm simultaneously on Jul 152005.The announcement follows onthe heels of the successful release of The Polar Express on IMAX 3D. As with that title, Charlie And TheChocolate Factory will be digitallyre-mastered using proprietary IMAX DMR technology.Warner Bros Pictures w
  • China to allow more foreign films in cinemas

    China will raise the quotas on imported films from othercountries, according to a report on Chinese news agency Xinhua.In recent years, China has imported about 50 films annually,with about a half coming from the United States.Since many Chinese are unable to watch many films from othercountries, the country's Film Bureau will make more efforts to diversifythe source countries next year, said Tong Gang, director of the film bureau ofthe State Administration of Radio, Film and Te
  • Chris Cooper joins powerhouse cast of Universal's Jarhead

    Chris Cooper hasjoined the cast of Universal's dark coming-of-age story Jarhead, which began shooting earlier this monthand is being directed by Sam Mendes.Based on Marine AnthonySwofford's memoirs of the first Gulf War, Jarhead follows a group of fightersas they sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy in acountry they don't understand against an enemy they cannot see.Cooper will playLt Col Kazinski, the officer in charge of an elite sniper unit, and j
  • Chris Weitz steps away from His Dark Materials

    Chris Weitz hasquit as director on New Line Cinema's upcoming Philip Pullman adaptation HisDark Materials due tothe "technical challenges of making such an epic".In a statementWeitz, whose credits include About A Boy, stressed that his departure was not tied to any creativedifferences regarding the fantasy project, and expressed satisfaction that NewLine is planning to move forward with the script he wrote for the film."Working on TheGolden Compass has beena
  • Clark confirmed as UIP international marketing chief

    Internationaldistributor UIP has confirmed the appointment of Nigel Clark as executive vicepresident international marketing, effective from Jan 4.Hereplaces Tomas Jegeus, who left to join 20th Century Fox in Los Angeles as headof international marketing.Clark is currently based in Los Angeles were he was mostrecently senior executive vice president of international marketing
  • Closer opens third in Italy for SPRI in first international bow

    In its firstinternational release, the Sony drama Closer opened well in Italy through SonyPictures Releasing International (SPRI) on $1.3m for an unconfirmed thirdplace. The picture is expected to build going into the holidays.Revolution/Sony'scomedy Christmas With The Kranks raised its international running total through SPRI by anestimated $3.3m on 1,817 screens in 23 markets to $10.2m.The pictureopened in fourth place in Mexico on $400,000 on 300 and executives
  • CME acquires Czech broadcaster TV Nova

    CentralEuropean Media Enterprises (CME), the multinational media conglomerate, hasagreed to buy leading Czech private sector television station TV Nova.Thedeal is rich in irony as TV Nova previously broke away from CME, sparking along-running series of court and arbitration battles.Under theterms of the new deal CME will pay Euros 485m in a mixture of cash a
  • CNC calls for debate on French subsidy system

    Heeding a request madeearlier this month by new culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, theFrench film board (CNC) has called a meeting of professionals for thisWednesday to discuss the possible opening of the local subsidy system tonon-European companies.The minister's request cameon the heels of a Paris court's decision to reject the French status ofJean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement.The court ruled thatalthough the company is domiciled in France, it was c
  • Coach, Ladies bookend Palm Springs festival

    The 16th Annual Palm SpringsInternational Film Festival (PSIFF) will open on Jan 6 2005 with ThomasCarter's high school basketball drama Coach Carter starring Samuel L Jackson, and closes with the USpremiere of Charles Dance's feature directorial debut Ladies In Lavender, which stars Judie Dench and Maggie Smith.Jackson will receive theCareer Achievement Award for Acting at the awards night gala on Jan 8. All inall 190 pictures from more than 65 countries comprising 14 wo
  • CORRECTION: MGM and Mediafonds International

    CORRECTION It was incorrectly stated in a story on Oct 15 that MGM was financingfilms with German media fund Mediafonds International. The studio has in factnever reached any partnership with Mediafonds.
  • DiCaprio, Winslet, Bacon to receive honours at Santa Barbara

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Bacon and Kate Winslet will be honouredfor their artistic achievements at the 20th Annual Santa Barbara InternationalFilm Festival (SBIFF), which runs from Jan 28-Feb 6.
  • Evans joins Focus as senior vp of physical production

    Jane Evans has joined FocusFeatures as senior vice president of physical production, taking charge ofphysical production on all in-house projects for Focus and its genre bannerRogue Pictures as well as overseeing post production on those titles andacquisitions.Based at the company'sManhattan offices, Evans will report to Focus chief operating officer AndrewKarpen and president of production John Lyons.Prior to joining Focus sheserved from 1999 as senior vice president of physica
  • Film Commissions to launch European network in Berlin

    Plans for a new"European Film Commissions Network" (EFCN) are to be unveiled at aone-day symposium of film commissions from all over Europe on the eve of theforthcoming Berlinale on February 9.Hosted by the German FilmCommissions, the "2nd European Encounter of Film Commissions"symposium will be opened by Berlin's Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit andBerlinale festival director Dieter Kosslick and is expected to have VivianeReding, EU commissioner for Education and Culture, attending as a
  • Films from Iran, France take top prizes at first Bahamas film festival

    Mania Akbari's 20 Fingers (20 Angosht) from Iran was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for the Spirit ofFreedom International Film Competition at the close of the inaugural BahamasInternational Film Festival (BIFF).
  • Flight Of The Phoenix (Flight Of The Phoenix)

    Dir:John Moore. US. 2004. 112mins.Featuringmore special effects and fewer white males, the pumped-up re-make of RobertAldrich's 1965 ensemble drama Flight Of The Phoenix is a lightweightaction adventure apparently designed to grab as broad a range of moviegoers ascinematically possible. The push to please everyone leads to some pretty daftepisodes, but those aside the re-make is a reasonably efficient piece of hokumthat will probably serve its purpo
  • Focus acquires Alzheimer Case remake rights

    Belgium's foreign-languageOscar contender The Alzheimer Case (De Zak Alzheimer) has beenbought for English-language remake by Focus Features of the US.The Flemish-language thriller,directed and co-written by Erik Van Looy, sees an assassin with a failingmemory become caught in a web of governm
  • Former HSN chief sets up film outfit with Sellevision

    Mark Bozek, theformer chief executive officer of Barry Diller's Home Shopping Network (HSN),will kick off his new production company Halo Entertainment with the blackcomedy Sellevision.Bozek is playing to his strengths here as the projectcentres on the home shopping business and is based on the novel by AugustenBurroughs. Bozek adapted the screenplay and makes his feature directorialdebut.Sony-based DavidGreathouse and former Miramax executive Stephen Hu
  • Fragil deal for new Spanish distributor

    On Pictures, the new distributor-producer launched bySpanish media conglom the Zeta Group, has picked up distribution rights inSpain to director Juanma Bajo Ulloa's Fragil.The film marks the return of Bajo Ulloa, whose award-winningdebuts Butterfly Wings and TheDead Mother were followed by commercial boxoffice hit Airbag (1997).Screening this week in both the International Film Festivalof El Cairo and the International Film Festival of Catalunya (Sitg
  • French parliament improves film tax credit scheme

    The French parliament has amended the country's taxcredit scheme for cinema, boosting the maximum credit available to Euros 1m perfilm.The tax credit system was put into place in January thisyear and allows productions and co-productions, which qualify as French underFrench film board (CNC) guidelines, to write off between 10% and 20% of belowthe line costs such as crew, art and set work, wardrobe, transportation andpost-production.The only condition on the scheme is that the wo
  • Gay comedy scoops Indonesia's Citra awards

    Arisan, controversial for featuring Indonesia's firston-screen gay kiss, swept several major Citra awards including best picture atthe Indonesian Film Festival. This year, the Indonesian equivalent to theOscars was held for the first time since 1992.Arisan's Tora Sudiro was named best actor for his role as agay man coming out of the closet, while Surya Saputra and Rachel Maryam wonbest supporting actor and best supporting actress respectively.The satirical comedy,d
  • GERMANY 14 December

    Bridget Jones only lasted one week at the top before Disney's TheIncredibles stormed the German box office with over $5.7m from 1,003prints. The film's opening performance of 750,000-plus admissions made it thefourth most successful for a CGI animation film after Finding Nemo (2m),Ice Age (1.5m) and Shrek 2 (1.3m).The only other new entry inthe Top 15 was Sony Pictures Releasing International's Anacondas: The HuntFor The Blue Or
  • Ghobadi to consult on the rebuilding of cinema in Iraq

    Bahman Ghobadi's Iranianforeign language Academy Award entry Turtles Can Fly yesterday (15) became the first picture to open inan Iraqi theatre since the end of the war.Ghobadi was due to attendthe screening at the Crystal Theatre in Arbil City and has also been invited bythe interim Iraqi government to conduct seminars on cinematography and consulton the construction of theatres and cinema educational centers.The filmmaker is alsoscheduled to meet Nachirvan Barzani, the
  • Global appetite wanes for French film

    Some 330 French films werereleased in at least one territory around the world in the first eleven monthsof 2004, according to French film export body Unifrance. The films achieved 33 million admissionsaround the world, down 11% on the same period in 2003.Several factors explain thedownturn, including the fact that local box office hits The Choir and AVery Long Engagement have yet to be released in dozens of territories. Anestimated 40 million tickets will be sold by year'
  • Golden Globes: full list of nominations

    Best Motion Picture -DramaThe AviatorCloserFinding NeverlandHotel RwandaKinseyMillion Dollar BabyBest Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture - DramaScarlett Johansson A Love Song For Bobby LongNicole Kidman BirthImelda Staunton Vera DrakeHilary Swank Million Dollar BabyUma Thurman Kill Bill Vol 2Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture - DramaJavier Bar
  • Harper promoted to vice chairman at Fox

    Robert Harperhas been promoted to vice chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment (FFE), where hewill assume new global strategic, creative and managerial responsibilities withparticular focus on interdivisional synergy.Harper joinedthe Fox marketing department in 1985, rising to president four years later. Hewent on to become an independent producer based on the lot and made RookieOf The Year in 1993.Two year later he rejoined the Fox marketing division aspre
  • Head-On star boards Holocaust Train drama

    Head-On star Sibel Kekilli is to play the female lead of ayoung Jewish woman in veteran producer Artur "Atze" Brauner'sHolocaust drama The Last Train (Der Letzte Zug) about Jews being sent tothe concentration camp in Auschwitz in early 1943.The film will be directed by actor Armin Mueller-Stahl. Speakingto, 86-year-old Brauner said that he had conceived"the story of this transport of six days and nights, people packedtogether in a container without
  • HONG KONG Production listings - December 17

    HONG KONG - December 16PRE-PRODUCTIONINVINCIBLEARMOUR(I-AnimationLtd) Co-prods: Yuk Long Multimedia, Mandarin Films. Budget: US$2.3m. Backers:Yuk Long Multimedia, Mandarin Films, I-An
  • Hong Kong sets up task force as production levels fall

    Although hopes were high atthe beginning of the year, the number of films produced in Hong Kong has fallento an all-time low of around 65 this year and many films performed belowexpectations over the summer. As a result, 20 film professionals have set up anemergency task force to find solutions to the industry's continuing decline.The group includes suchhigh-profile filmmakers as Infernal Affairs producer Nansun Shi - who isacting as convenor - Hero producer Bill Kong, di
  • Immerman joins Yari Film Group to oversee business and legal affairs

    Veteran entertainmentproducer, executive, and attorney Bill Immerman has joined the Yari Film Groupas senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer overseeinglegal and business affairs.Immerman will also serve onthe company's executive committee charged with setting key company policies andstrategies.Immerman began his career asdeputy district attorney for Los Angeles County, and his entertainment industrycareer highlights include senior vice president of 20th
  • In Good Company

    Dir/scr: Paul Weitz. US.2004. 106mins.A warm, timelycontemporary comedy set against a backdrop of corporate mergers and staffdownsizing, In Good Company (formerly titled Synergy), is ripewith value for its distributors both as a medium-sized theatrical performer anda robust TV and DVD title.Both a bittersweet romanticcomedy and a moral fable of keeping human in big business, In Good Companymarks the solo writing and directin
  • Incredibles crosses $150m at international box office

    Buena Vista International's (BVI) The Incredibles was the number one international picturefor the third weekend in a row as it added a mighty $32.1m to raise its runningtotal to $152.1m.
  • Incredibles rules international box office chart

    TheIncredibles is looking unstoppable at the top of theinternational chart with its latest weekend gross nearly double that of thesecond placed title.Lastweekend saw a number one debut in Germany gross $5.7m (Euro 4.3m) from 751,000admissions adding to holdover territories and taking the animated film past$150m internationally.
  • INTERNATIONAL 16 December

    The Incredibles currently seems unstoppable at the top of theinternational chart with its latest weekend gross nearly double that of thesecond placed title. Last weekend saw a number one debut in Germany gross $5.7m(Euro 4.3m) from 751,000 admissions adding to holdover territories and takingthe animated film passed $150m internationally.In German-speakingSwitzerland the film also led with a $680,643 (SFR 790,160) opening weekend.Added to the rest of the terri
  • Italian admissions soar in 2004

    Admissionsin Italy are up 8.5% to 98 million according to new figures from research bodyCinetel.The admissions relate to the period Dec 1 2003 and Nov 302004 and led to an Italian box office take of Euros 577m.Cinetel data only measures admissions and takings from 75% ofItalian screens, but is the most accurate available out of Italy.US films, including Finding Nemo, scored a 60.15% marketshare in the same period, while Italian
  • Italian industry commits to 12-month box-office season

    Italy has finally fullycommitted to a 12-month box office season, and next summer's releases will beon a par with other European territories, an industry conference heard onTuesday (Dec 14).As a sign of theircommitment, national exhibitors' association ANEC and distributors union UNIDIMhave published a catalogue detailing the names and approximate release dates ofa hefty list of titles that will be distributed next summer.These include Ridley Scott'sKingdom Of Heaven, Wimbled
  • Jackpot for Ocean's Twelve, so-so opening for Blade sequel

    Warner Bros' Ocean'sTwelve swaggered to thetop of the charts at the weekend with an estimated $40.9m opening that pulledoff the fourth biggest December debut of all time.The$110m crime caper follows on from the 2001 picture Ocean's Eleven by Steven Soderbergh and reunites George Clooney,Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts, am
  • Japan's Fukuda to make US film-making debut

    Veteran Japanese commercialsdirector and cinematographer Ted Fukuda will make his American featurefilmmaking debut with Dog Lovers' Symphony, based on his own original screenplay.The $2.5m contemporary lovestory explores altruism, redemption and the relationship between wealth andhappiness and centres on a troubled young man who finds self-worth in trainingcanines into service dogs.The picture will beginshooting in mid-December in Southern California, with Fukuda serving
  • Jones leaves UK Film Council to run New Line/Entertainment venture

    Robert Jones is leaving as chief of the UK Film Council'sPremiere Fund to head up Material Entertainment, a new London-based productioncompany jointly owned by Nigel and Trevor Green's Entertainment FilmDistributors and New Line Cinema.The company willlaunch in the first quarter of 2005 and aims to produce up to four pictures ayear. As Material president Jones will be based in London and will report to aboard of directors that includes New Line and Entertainment execu
  • Kloiber buys back control of Tele Muenchen Group

    Tele Muenchen Group's (TMG) Herbert Kloiber has taken fullcontrol of the German media conglomerate after buying back the 45% shareholdingwhich he sold to EM.TV in 1999.Kloiber founded the group in 1970 and created a portfolio ofcompanies covering license trading, theatrical and home entertainmentdistribution (Concorde Filmverleih, Concorde Home Entertainment), production(Clasart and Prisma), broadcasting (Tele 5, RTL II and ATV) as well as stakesin Cinemedia and SBS
  • Leading French producer Rene Cleitman dies

    Leading French producer ReneCleitman, who founded the Hachette Premiere empire, died yesterday aged 64.Specialising in large-budgetand event pictures, Cleitman produced over 20 features including the five-timesOscar nominee Cyrano De Bergerac, Tenue De Soiree, The Horseman On The Roof,Tango, Monsieur Hir
  • Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events

    Dir: Brad Silberling. US.2004. 113mins.A vast and colourfulmovie based on the sinister kids' books by Lemony Snicket aka 34 year-oldDaniel Handler, A Series Of Unfortunate Events is set to take over theworld's movie screens over Christmas and beyond. Paramount and DreamWorksco-financed this extravagantly lavish affair and returns will be considerablein every territory, even though the books haven't achieved the same level ofsuccess around the world
  • Lumet to receive honorary Oscar

    Sidney Lumetwill receive an Honorary Oscar at the 77th Academy Awards on Feb 27 inrecognition of his "brilliant services to screenwriters, performers and the artof the motion picture.""Lumet is one ofthe most important film directors in the history of American cinema and hiswork has left an indelible mark on both audiences and the history of filmitself," Academy president frank Pierson said in a statement."It was great personal pleasure and professional honour
  • Major budget hike for Irish Film Board

    Arts, Sport and Tourism Minister John O'Donoghue hasannounced an 18% increase to Euros 14m in the Irish Film Board's budget for2005.The move, funded out of a budget reallocation withinminister's departments, means that the Board's resources for production,development, and training will rise from Euros 10m to Euros 12m.O'Donoghue said, "The very substantial increase infunding for 2005 demonstrates again the Government's commitment to the Irishfilm industry, which is a critical pa
  • Marrakech mulls film market launch

    The Marrakech International Film Festival is likely to setup its own market, artistic-director Bruno Barde has told"We will organise a small market for theArabic countries," Barde said, but declined to give further details ofwhat form such a market might take.
  • Marrakech names Sideways as best film

    The fourth annual MarrakechFilm Festival drew to a close on Sunday with Alexander Payne's Sidewayswinning the top prize.The jury prize went to China'sMenying Tong Nian by Xiao Jiang and Senegal's Moolaade by OusmaneSembene in a tie.The jurywas presided over by British director Alan Parker and included RosannaArquette, Guillaume Canet and Chantal Akerman.
  • Matheson re-elected to key Pact film post

    Bard Entertainment managing director Margaret Matheson is to serve athird year on the governing council of producers' alliance Pact as vice chair,film. Matheson stood unopposed for the top film industry role at Pact.Andrew Zein, managing director, Tiger Aspect Productions, will continuefor a second year as chair of Pact, while David Frank, chief executive of RDFMedia will continue as vice chair, telev
  • Mayer named 2004 recipient of Jean Hersholt Award

    Turner Entertainmentpresident Roger Mayer is to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award fromthe Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences.Mayer will collect thehonour at the 77th Academy Awards on Feb 27."Throughout a more thanhalf-century-long career in the motion picture industry Roger has been afixture on the boards of a wide variety of charitable organisations," Academypresident Frank Pierson said in a statement, adding: "He has always given histime to support the nee
  • Miami unveils 118 film-heavy lineup in Feb

    The MiamiInternational Film Festival (MIFF) presented by Miami Dade College will open onFeb 4 with Modiglianistarring Andy Garcia and closes on Feb 13 with Joaquin Oristrell's Spanishfarce Unconscious (Inconscientes).All in all 118 pictures, including seven world and 15international, North American and US premieres, will screen at the festival,which will run competitions for World and Ibero-American first and second-timefeatures filmmakers and doc
  • Milestone to distribute 1994 Ophuls doc in North America

    Milestone Film and Video hasacquired all North American rights to Marcel Ophuls' 1994 documentary TheTroubles We've Seen: A History Of Journalism In Wartime (Veillees d'Armes)Milestone co-founders DennisDoros and Amy Heller said they planned to release the film theatrically in40-50 cities with DVD to follow, and are in talks with the filmmaker toco-produce a third section to the feature that he was unable to complete.Shot primarily in Sarajevoin 1993 during the sie
  • Mobius acquires script about games tournaments

    Production andinternational sales house Mobius Entertainment has acquired the comedy project Rockit, which centres on the competitive worldof rock, paper, and scissors tournaments.The pitch wasbrought in by Mobius executive Amanda Blue, who will oversee the development ofthe project.Styled as being in the vein of Dodgeball, the picture exposes the burgeoning sport from theperspective of a small-town toy factory worker who works his way to the fina
  • MPAA takes legal action against file-trading networks

    The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) istaking legal action to shut down file-trading networks it says distributemillions of unauthorised copies of Hollywood films and TV programmes.The MPAA said it was filing civil suits and pressing forcriminal actions against networks with the names BitTorrent, eDonkey andDirectConnect.The association said the three networks are examples ofnewer kinds of '
  • New York critics honour Sideways

    Sideways won four awards and was named best picture of 2004 bythe New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) today (13), with best director goingto Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby, best actor going to Paul Giamatti for Sideways and best actress going to Imelda Staunton for VeraDrake.The 33-strong NYFCC selectedMichael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 asthe year's best non-fiction film, while Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education was named best foreign langua
  • NEW ZEALAND 13 December

    Bridget Jones -- The EdgeOf Reason continues to show greatresilience in New Zealand. For the fourth consecutive weekend it has lead thechart, helped by being on more screens then any other film. It grossedNZ$270,540 from 65 screens for UIP.Using the measure of screenaverage, however, it was beaten by both the second and third titles. TheGrudge, in its second weekend for Roadshow, grossed NZ$197,126 from 32screens, and Team America - World Police
  • Noel

    Dir:Chazz Palminteri. US. 2004. 96mins.Animmensely talented cast is mostly wasted in Noel,actor Chazz Palminteri's inauspicious directorial debut. Sadly, this feel-goodfilm, set at Christmas in New York (that old movie stand-by), never rises muchabove made-for-TV fare, despite the high-voltage actors who populate it.Stalwarts like Susan Sarandon, PenelopeCruz, and an uncredited Robin Williams act their hearts out, but th
  • NORDIC REGION Production listings - December 17

    DENMARK - December 17IN PRE-PRODUCTIONDE 3 DUSKETERER(Wise Guy Productions Inc) Co-prod:SCanbox Entertainment. Budget: DKK 7.5m. Dist: SCanbox Entertaiment (Den).Youth comedy. Exec prods: Jorgen Kristiansen, Mads Peter Ole Olsen. Prod(s):Thomas Stegler, Marcella Lindstad. Dir: Martin Schmidt. Scr: Dennis Jurgensen.Shooting from May 15 until July 7, 2005.Contact: Marcella Lindstad, Wise Guy Produc
  • Ocean's 12 targets Europe, Snicket hits UK, Australia

    Ocean's Twelve gets its first big international push this weekend when WarnerBros Pictures International launches the star-clad caper sequel in a quartet ofmajor European markets.
  • Ocean's Twelve hits the jackpot for Warner Bros

    Warner Bros' Ocean'sTwelve swaggered to thetop of the charts at the weekend with an estimated $40.9m opening that pulledoff the fourth biggest December debut of all time.The$110m crime caper follows on from the 2001 picture Ocean's Eleven by Steven Soderbergh and reunites George Clooney,Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts, am
  • Ocean's Twelve makes a killing in five international openings

    Ocean's Twelve grossed an estimated $4.5m in its firstinternational outing in five territories on 563 screens through Warner BrosPictures International at the weekendThe highlightwas Australia, where the crime caper opened top on an excellent $3.5m and 46%market share.It grossed$388,000 on 79 in Thailand, $220,700 on 24 in India, and $132,000 on 30 inMalaysia, where the 2001 original did not open.Next weekend Ocean'sTwelve goes out inFrance, Germany, Italy a
  • Ocean's Twelve makes off with $29m international swag

    Powered by severalprestigious number one launches at the weekend Ocean's Twelve tookapproximately $29m in 27 countries through Warner Bros Pictures Internationalto raise its international running total to more than $35m.The crime caper sequel opened top in France on an estimated $7.5m on 719screens, top in Germany on $5.3m on 810 for 40% market share, and top in Spainon $3.3m on an impressive $3.3m on 426.The picture opened in Italy on $2.4m on 382 for an unconfirmed ra
  • Ocean's Twelve steals the top spot with $40.9m opening

    Warner Bros' Ocean'sTwelve swaggered to thetop of the charts at the weekend with an estimated $40.9m opening that pulledoff the fourth biggest December debut of all time.The$110m crime caper follows on from the 2001 picture Ocean's Eleven by Steven Soderbergh and reunites George Clooney,Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts, am
  • Ocelot readies Kirikou animation sequel

    Spain's Intuition Films andnewly-created S2 International are set to co-produce director Michel Ocelot'sfollow-up to animated hit Kirikou And The Sorcerer, Azur And Asmar.The Euros 10mFrench-language animated film will also involve talents such as 3D director MacGuff, animation director Kyle Badla, art director Daniel Cacoault and composerYoussou N'Dour.Production will get underwayin 2005 with co-producers Nord-Ouest (France) and Lucky Red (Italy). PatrickJuarez and Steph
  • Once more with Passion

    Christ will rise again inthe UK at Easter next year. UK distributor Icon Film Distribution has announcedthat Mel Gibson's 18-certificate blockbuster film, The Passion Of The Christ,will receive a theatrical re-release in the UK on March 25 (Good Friday), 2005.Exhibitor response to theidea will dictate the scope of the release which is likely to be a limitedre-release in both length of run and number of sites played.Sally Caplan, president ofUK distribution, suggests if th
  • Packer sells - and jointly buys - Hoyts

    Australian media mogul Kerry Packer's private company Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH) is selling Hoyts, but the Australian and New Zealand cinema chain is staying in the family.Two publicly-listed companies, West Australian Newspapers Holdings and Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL) - nearly 40% of which is owned by CPH - are each paying A$173.5m to buy Hoyts.PBL owns the highest-rating TV platform Nine Network, 25% of dominant pay-TV player Foxtel, a substantial stable of
  • Paramount 's Lemony Snicket tops US charts on $30.2m

    Lemony Snicket's A Series OfUnfortunate Events gave Paramount a much-needed number one opening at theweekend as it swooped to the top on an estimated $30.2m.Brad Silberling's adaptation of Daniel Handler's bestselling children's bookscentres on a pair of orphans and heirs to a fortune who are sent to live with abizarre and scheming relative.Jim Carrey stars along with Meryl Streep and the well-received picture averaged$8,342 on 3
  • Phil The Alien

    Dir/scr:Rod Stefaniuk. Can. 2004. 85mins.Canadiancomedy by nature veers toward the deadpan with a twist of wit dryer than theperfect martini. These elements are out in full force in Phil The Alien,written, directed and starring actor/musician Rob Stefaniuk.However,the whimsical yarn of an extra-terrestrial who touches down in remote NorthernOntario and changes the lives of a backwoods community is also rife withlowbrow humour that tips th
  • POW! teams up with films and other products with CIA

    Stan Lee andGill Champion's Los Angeles-based POW! Entertainment will co-produce andco-develop an animated series of titles and products with Celebrities In Action(CIA).The projectincludes direct-to-DVD titles, features, video games, clothing, publishing andother consumer products."After havinginvented countless fictional characters over the years, what a kick it is to betackling a project as original and unique as creating new personas andstorylines for actu
  • Refn's Pusher II dominates Danish Oscar nods

    Nicolas Winding Refn's drama PusherII (With Blood on my Hands - Pusher II) bagged the most nominations forthe Danish Film Academy's ROBERT awards with 12 nods including best film,director, script and actor Mads Mikkelsen.However, Pusher II, which doesn't open locally until Dec 25, faces competition from other films including PaprikaSteen's directing debut Aftermath and Nikolaj Arcel's box office hit Kings'Game, which both secured 10 nominations.Anothe
  • Relativity, Platinum team up on Dylan Dog

    Hollywood talentmanagement agency Relativity Management has teamed up with Platinum Studios,which controls one of the world's biggest libraries of comic book characters,on the computer animated thriller Dylan Dog: The Fourth Kingdom.The partners have selected computer animation productionhouse Vancouver-based The Shop Animation Studios to develop and co-produce theproject, based on Tiziano Sclavi's bestselling Italian comic book series about
  • Revolution/Rhombus co-production wins Telefilm Canada funds

    Marc Evans' Snowcake, a coproduction between Canada's Rhombus Media andthe UK's Revolution Films, is one of four films approved for funding over C$1min the latest subsidy round of Telefilm Canada. Other tittles include newfeatures from Clement Virgo (Lie With Me, Rude) and Vic Sarin (Cold Comfort). The total potential financial commitment is worthUS$8.3m.Described as a quirkysmall-town drama, Snowcake tellsof the odd friendship between an autistic woman and
  • ROK Player launches to bring film to mobile phones

    A new system that allowsmobile phone users to watch films on their phone, even without networkcoverage, launches this week.ROK Player, which launchedin the UK on Monday, is predicting a mobile content platform market worth £100min three years for film distributors, TV companies and record labels.ROK Player is a specialdigital video chip that slots into a mobile phone's multi-media card holder,allowing the phone to play a particular film or TV series. One chip has enoughmemory to
  • ROMANIA 17 December

    Despite a much laterrelease than in most international territories, Shark Tale proved anearly Christmas success in Romania when it opened with 12,500 admissions lastweek on just five prints.Shark Tale opened a line of animation releases at theRomanian cinemas and will be followed by Pinocchio 3000 on December 17and Polar Express a week later.Last week's othernew release, director Jeff Nathanson's crime-comedy The Last Shot w
  • Rothkrans to step down as AusFilm chief

    Trisha Rothkrans has today announced her intention to stepdown as chief executive of AusFILM, the organisation that promotesAustralia's locations and its film-making skills and facilities abroad.Rothkrans has been in the job since 1999 and is intending topursue new interests once her contract expires in June next year. The positionwill be advertised in February.AusFILM exists through contributions from Federal and StateGovernments and its 70 or so corporate members, which includ
  • Scott Neeson to leave Sony after a year

    Scott Neeson will leave Sony Pictures Releasing International assenior executive vice president of marketing to pursue other opportunitiesincluding his commitment to a Cambodian charity, company chiefs said yesterday(12).
  • Sea Inside is top Goya contender

    Alejandro Amenabar's The Sea Inside dominated the nominations at Spains Goya Awards, the local Oscar equivalent, with 15 nods including best film and director.No other title came close to as many nods as Sea, which last weekend picked up best director and actor prizes at the European Film Awards in Barcelona.Jose Luis Garcis Tiovivo C. 1950 and Alex de la Iglesias black comedy Ferpect Crime followed with six nominations each, while Pedro Almodovars
  • Seven films shortlisted for visual effects Oscar

    The Academy of MotionPicture Arts And Sciences has named the seven pictures that will be consideredfor the best visual effects Oscar at the 77th Academy Awards in February.The titles are: TheAviator; The Day After Tomorrow; Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban; I,Robot; Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events; Sky Captain And TheWorld Of Tomorrow; and Spider-Man2.Fifteen-minute clips of eachwill screen for the visual effects award nominating committee o
  • Sideways dominates Golden Globe nominations

    Sideways maintained its early awards season momentum as it received seven nominations for the 62ndannual Golden Globe nominations today (13), including best motion picture musical or comedy, best director for Alexander Payne, best actor for a comedyor musical for Paul Giamatti and a pair of supporting actor nods for ThomasHaden Church and Virginia Madsen. Jamie Foxx earned three individualnominations including best musical or comedy actor for Ray, best supporting act
  • Sideways dominates Golden Globes nominations

    Sideways maintained its early awards season momentum as it received seven nominations for the 62ndannual Golden Globe nominations today (13), including best motion picture musical or comedy, best director for Alexander Payne, best actor for a comedyor musical for Paul Giamatti and a pair of supporting actor nods for ThomasHaden Church and Virginia Madsen. Jamie Foxx earned three individualnominations including best musical or comedy actor for Ray, best supporting act
  • Sideways dominates Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards

    Sideways stamped its name over the early awardsseason race when it was named Best Picture of the Year by the Los Angeles FilmCritics Association (LAFCA) on Saturday, with Million Dollar Baby coming in as runner-up.Sideways tookfive honours in total, including best director for Alexander Payne, bestscreenplay for Payne and Jim Taylor, and supporting actor honours for VirginiaMadsen and Thomas Haden Church.
  • Six film-makers selected for Cannes 'Residence'

    The Cannes festival hasselected six young film-makers to join the next round of its "Residence"intensive training course.The interns, who will spendfour months from the end of February to July developing their next features,include Hernan Belon of Argentina, Noam Kaplan of Israel, Jeffrey St Julesfrom Canada and Jukka-Pekka Valkeapaa from Finland. It also selected twostudents - Romania's Corneliu Porumbiou and Brazil's Eduardo Valente - who hadpreviously won prizes in Cannes' Cinefonda
  • Slamdance will open and close with documentaries in Jan

    Documentaries booked the upcoming Slamdance Film Festival, whichruns from Jan 21-28 in Park City. Opening night film is Marilyn Agrelo's childballroom dancing saga Mad Hot Ballroom and closing night film is Michael Franti's war documentary I KnowI Am Not Alone.
  • Snicket rules the roost with $30.2m debut for Paramount

    Lemony Snicket's A Series OfUnfortunate Events gave Paramount a much-needed number one opening at theweekend as it swooped to the top on an estimated $30.2m.Brad Silberling's adaptation ofDaniel Handler's bestselling children's books centres on a pair of orphans andheirs to a fortune who are sent to live with a bizarre and scheming relative.Jim Carrey stars along with Meryl Streep and the well-
  • Snicket rules the roost with $30.2m debut for Paramount

    Lemony Snicket's A Series OfUnfortunate Events gave Paramount a much-needed number one opening at theweekend as it swooped to the top on an estimated $30.2m.Brad Silberling's adaptation of Daniel Handler's bestselling children's bookscentres on a pair of orphans and heirs to a fortune who are sent to live with abizarre and scheming relative.Jim Carrey stars along with Meryl Streep and the well-received picture averaged$8,342 on 3
  • Spanglish

    Dir/scr: James L Brooks.US. 2004. 131mins.Seven years after hislast movie As Good As It Gets, James L Brooks returns with asophisticated adult comedy which also looks at a bunch of misfits - only thistime they are the members of an ostensibly successful Beverly Hills family.Their world is thrown intodisarray at the arrival of a beautiful Mexican woman who is hired as their maidwithout speaking a word of English. The conflict and contrast between her andthem
  • SWEDEN 13 December

    The new release of ThePolar Express only managed to swap places with Alexander on thirdplace at the Swedish box-office.While the epic dropped tofifth, the animated Express couldn't even match the box-office averageof chart topper Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason, local hit As It IsIn Heaven (aka As In Heaven) or Alexander. Bad Santa and GardenState again got the most out of their few prints, averaging an impre
  • Three Dots unveils horror Heirloom

    Three Dots Entertainment,the Taiwanese production company behind hit gay comedy Formula 17, hasunveiled a slate of three new productions for 2005.The up-and-coming companyhas secured private equity investment of around US$1m for the three-pictureslate.First off is horror film TheHeirloom to be directed by 23-year-old Leste Chen whose last film, Uninhibited,screened in Critics' Week at this year's Venice. Production is scheduled tostart in March with Terri Kw
  • TIFFG names ten best Canadian films of the year

    The Toronto International FilmFestival Group has unveiled its annual listing of the best in Canadian cinema.Titles making the fourth annual list include acclaimed short title Ryan, by Chris Landreth, Michael Dowse's TIFF prize winner It's All GonePete Tong, Daniel Roby's Peau Blanche, which won the first film prize at TIFF and PeterRaymont's Rwanda genocide documentary Shake Hands With The Devil: TheJourney Of Romeo Dallaire, whichcompetes in the inaugural W
  • TLA picks up domestic rights to gay festival hit Dorian Blues

    TLA Releasinghas picked up US theatrical and home entertainment rights to TennysonBardwell's award-winning gay coming-of-age tale Dorian Blues.TLA partner and director of acquisitions Richard A Wolffnegotiated the deal with attorney Steven C Beer on behalf of Day Dreamer Films.The distributorplans a September 2005 release for Dorian Blues, which stars Michael McMillian as a gayteen who experiences a seemingly never-ending serie
  • Toronto critics vote for Sideways

    AlexanderPayne's Sideways addedToronto to its growing quiver of awards season kudos. The Toronto Film CriticsAssociation named Payne's bittersweet comedy Best Picture of 2004 andperformers Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen Best Actor and Best SupportingActress.The othermultiple award winners were Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, with Michel Gondry named Best Directorand Charlie Kaufman awarded Best Screenplay, and The Triplets of Belleville,which won Best Ani
  • UIP promotes Spielberg's War around the world

    Few films come with as big names or expectations as nextsummer's The War Of The Worlds.Directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Cruise and based on H.G. Wellsscience fiction classic, which already spawned a popular cult film version in1953, getting early teaser images and trailers right for the 2005 version wasvital.American audiences had a chance to judge the result intheatres on Friday (Dec 10), the day the English-language trailer also appearedonline at
  • UIP promotes Spielberg's War around the world

    Few films come with as big names or expectations as nextsummer's The War Of The Worlds.Directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Cruise and basedon H.G. Wells' science fiction classic, getting early teaser images and trailersright was vital.American audiences had a chance to judge the result intheatres on Friday (Dec 10), the day the English-language trailer also appearedonline at Paramount's official website for the film ( film launches
  • UK indie exhibitor wins first Europa Cinemas award

    UK independent exhibitioncompany City Screen and its directors Tony Jones and Lyn Goleby have beenhonoured with the first ever 'Entrepreneur of the Year' award by EuropaCinemas.The award celebrates theirachievements in developing a platform for European film in the UK and waspresented to Jones at a ceremony in Paris by Claude Miller, President of EuropaCinemas as part of the 9th Annual Europa Cinemas conference.Having developed a networkof 18 cinemas since start-up in 1989, the
  • UK piracy market worth £1bn within three years

    The value of the blackmarket in pirate DVDs in the UK is expected to be worth more than £1 billionwithin three years, according to a new report on film piracy launched today.
  • UK/IRELAND 14 December

    It proved a great weekendfor Entertainment at the UK box office this weekend. Entertainment FilmDistributors released both Blade: Trinity and The Phantom Of TheOpera across the country.The third instalment in the Bladefranchise landed second place over the three-day weekend with $3.6m (£1.9m) at329 sites, a stunning $10,810 location average. The three-day figures surpassedthose for the original Blade in November 1998 which took $3.1m (£1.
  • Vajna, Eszterhas team for Olympic bloodbath

    Prolific producerAndy Vajna and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas are developing an as-yet untitleddrama about the historic encounter between the Hungarian and Soviet water poloteams at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.The olympicsemifinal is considered to have been one of the bloodiest ever sport eventswhere the players' blood coloured the water red. The Hungarian team later wenton to win the event.The film which willalso include the violent events surrounding the 1956 Hungarian revolution
  • Van Gogh's last film debuts on the Internet

    0605, the last film of murdered Dutchfilmmaker Theo van Gogh, was released on the Internet on Sunday. The thriller,which reconstructs a fictional conspiracy around the murder of Dutch politicianPim Fortuyn, is the first European feature film to be legally broadcast theInternet before its theatrical release.0605, which refers to the date Fortuynwas killed, will be released on the big screen during the International FilmFestival Rotterdam in January.
  • VIP backs three more Hollywood projects

    Leading German private mediafund VIP Medienfonds is to invest in new features by Steven Zaillian, BruceBeresford and Paul McGuigan - in addition to its joint venture with RolandEmmerich.The VIP 3 and VIP 4 fundswill be partnering Columbia Pictures for Zaillian's $74m All The King's Menwhich is being produced by Mike Medavoy at locations in Louisiana. The cast forthe WWII drama includes Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Anthony Hopkins.Meanwhile, VIP 4 is boardingPaul