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19 December 2007

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  • Alvin And The Chipmunks

    Dir: Tim Hill. US. 2007. 91minsFor nearly 50 years, in various incarnations on the small screen and in other forms of media, lively chipmunks Alvin, Simon and Theodore have been delighting young audiences around the world, wreaking havoc and crooning in distinctively high-pitched, three-part harmonies which have become a pop cultural mainstay. Now, a colourful but uninspired CGI /live-action hybrid film seeks to capitali
  • Atonement leads Golden Globe nominations

    Joe Wright’s Atonement leads the nominations for the 65th annual Golden Globes, voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Atonement has seven nominations, for best film, director (Joe Wright), screenplay (Christopher Hampton), actress (Keira Knightley), actor (James McAvoy), supporting actress (Saoirse Ronan), and score (Dario Marianelli).
  • Australia's Abacus Fund backs Geena Davis project Accidents Happen

    A film fund aimed at raising $26.4m (A$30m) for the production of Australian films has been formed, with the first beneficiary being Andrew Lancaster's debut film Accidents Happen, starring American actress Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise). Accidents Happen was one of five films which yesterday won investment from the Film Finance Corporation (FFC) board. A further eight features received letters of intent (see below). The Abacus Film Fund, which will act like a unit trust, is a joint
  • Autumn Ball takes top prize at 7th Marrakech festival

    In the presence of Morocco's crown prince, HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, and an international jury headed up by Milos Forman and including John Hurt, Shekar Kapur and Claude Miller, the seventh Marrakech International Film Festival signed off by giving its Golden Star for Best Film to Estonian director Veiko Ounpuu's tower-block tapestry Autumn Ball.The Jury Prize was a tie between Alexey Mizgirev's The Hard-Hearted
  • Awards Countdown - Screenwriting - Keeping To The Script

    ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY1. Tony GilroyMichael ClaytonGilroy, who wrote all three Bourne films, came up with one of the year's smartest original scripts in Michael Clayton, which also marked his directorial debut. If he is pushed out of the director category by heavyweight veterans, he will likely be the front runner for screenplay recognition.2. Diablo CodyJunoCody has had a triumphant 2007: her witty Juno script was fina
  • BBC World Cinema nominees include Climates, Lives Of Others

    BBC Four World Cinema Award has announced the nominees for its 2008 prize, sponsored by Pioneer.The nominees are Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives Of Others, Michel Gondry's The Science Of Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Climates, Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes And A Century.
  • Bee Movie, I Am Legend offer competition to Compass

    DreamWorks' animated hit Bee Movie gets a big push through PPI this weekend and launches in 24 territories including France on December 12, Germany on December 13 and the UK on December 14.The film has amassed $39m to date and will pose a major threat to New Line International's The Golden Compass, which launches in 16 territories as executives look to bulk up that film's overseas profile.Foll
  • Berlin Reverse Angle to include films by Fassbinder, Herzog, Wenders

    Films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog andWim Wenders are to be featured in a special Berlinale programmeentitled 'Rebellion of the Filmmakers', organised to accompany theworld premiere of the documentary Reverse Angle - Rebellion of theFilmmakers about the history of the legendary Germanproducer-distributor Filmverlag der Autoren. Founded in 1971 on a co-operative basis by 13 partners includingRainer Werner Fassbinder
  • Berlin Talent Campus expands short film competition

    The Berlin Today Award (BTA), the Berlinale Talent Campus's short film competition, is being expanded for its next edition which will see the films focusing on the theme of 'My Wall' to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009. Participants of previous Talent Campuses and those now selected for the 2008 edition will have until January 17 to apply to take part in the shooting of one of the short film projects with a running time not exceeding 10 minutes. A
  • Berlinale's Generation unveils titles including Buddha Collapsed

    The first 15 titles unveiled by the Berlinale's Generation section include 19-year-old Hana Makhmalbaf's debut feature shot in Afghanistan Buddha Collapsed Out Of Shame, Danish masters Jannik Hastrup and Flemming Quist Moeller's action-packed animated love story A Tale Of Two Mozzies and Elissa Downs' The Black Balloon, a sensitive portrayal of a mother's relationship with her autistic son.The Generation programme for children (Kplus) includes: A Tal
  • Berlin's EFM to welcome 25 new exhibitors including IM Global

    Companies from the US, the UK, Spain, Ukraine, and Brazil are among 25 first-timers confirmed so far as exhibitors at the Berlinale's forthcoming European Film Market (EFM). Participants with stands for the first time in the EFM's central venue of the Martin Gropius Bau include such sales agents as ContentFilm International, Porchlight Entertainment and IM Global, as well as promotion agencies like Romanian Film Promotion and Turkish Films. Meanwhile, the EFM Exhibitor
  • Boll takes over world sales for 15+ titles from Allied Entertainment

    Boll AG has taken over he world sales for 15+ titles from the LA-based genre specialist Allied Entertainment.The lineup includes Rafael Zielinski's classic teen sex comedy Screwballs and brings the total number of films handled internationally by Boll AG to 60. Other films in the deal include Fallen Angels starring Michael Ironside; Pups, with Burt Re
  • Canadian province Ontario to boost production tax credit to 25%

    The province of Ontario is proposing to increase the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit, available to foreign-financed productions shooting in the province, from 18 per cent to 25 per cent. The province also says it will increase its locally-oriented Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit, for which official Canadian coproductions are eligible, from 30 per cent to 35 per cent. The new rates on the labour-based tax credits will be effective from December 31, 2007 to January 1, 201
  • Capitol Films signs three-film distribution deal with 3-D outfit StereoVision

    Capitol Films has signed a three-film distribution deal with 3-D production company StereoVision and will announce further details in due course.'We believe the timing is perfect to exploit StereoVision's theatrical 3-D movie model,' Capitol Films chairman David Bergstein said.'There is going to be an exponentially growing demand for theatrical 3-D movie content and we're happy to work with StereoVision towards their becoming a leading supplier of that content.'
  • Captain Abu Raed

    Dir/Scr: Amin Matalqa. Jordan/USA 2007. 109mins.Only a handful of full-length films have come out of Jordan in the fifty years since the country's first feature, Struggle in Jarash. This makes Captain Abu Raed's commercial poise and polish all the more remarkable: a moving dramatic fable about an elderly airport janitor's relationship with a bunch of Amman street kids, Amin Matalqa's film has the potential to be the Middle East breakout title of 2008, foll
  • Chan's epicWarlords conquers Chinain sneak previews

    Peter Ho-sun Chan's highly-anticipated period epic The Warlords stormed into China, conquering RMB10m ($1.36m) within six hours during its sneak previews in selected cities on Wednesday night (Dec 12). Polybona's Yu Dong expressed confidence that the picture would cross $13.6m (RMB100m) in its first weekend and break new box-office records for Chinese films, following yesterday's opening on a massive 1,027 prints nationwide. The company along with China Film Group handl
  • Charlie Wilson's War, Sweeney Todd fail to make AFI's Ten Best list

    The American Film Institute (AFI) announced its 10 movies of the year yesterday [Dec 16], an annual roster that in the eyes of the jury advances the art of the moving image, enhances America's cultural heritage, inspires audiences and artists and/or makes a mark on American society.The titles are, in alphabetical order: Before The Devil Knows You're Dead; The Diving Bell And The Butterfly; Into The Wild; Juno; Knocked Up; Michael Clayton; No Country
  • China Film raises capital for digital production centre

    Continuing its capital-raising streak, Chinese state-owned conglomerate, China Film Group Corporation, has issued $67.7m (RMB500m) in corporate bonds to finance digital film production and cinemas. The seven-year bonds have a fixed annual coupon rate of 6.1% and are available to domestic institutional investors. China Merchants Securities is the lead underwriter. The fund financed through the bonds will be spent on China Film's National Digital Film Production Base, which is curre
  • Classic Jarman, Araki films to screen in Sundance Collection programme

    Derek Jarman's Edward II and Gregg Araki's The Living End will be shown at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival to mark the 10th anniversary of the festival's From the Collection category.Jarman's 1991 drama Edward II updates Christopher Marlowe's 16th century Elizabethan tragedy about the newly crowned king of England's gay affair that ultimately costs him the throne
  • Compass stays top in international with $29m second weekend

    The Golden Compass held on to its number one international status and hauled itself to within touching distance of $100m in its second weekend.The fantasy adventure grossed an estimated $29m through New Line International (NLI) to raise the overseas tally to $90m. The Golden Compass has grossed $131m worldwide to date.The film stayed number one in the UK on $6.3m and has taken $25.2m. A $3.3m
  • Contentfilm/Fireworks take on CBC library

    ContentFilm's division Fireworks International has struck a deal to acquire international distribution rights for CBC's international sales assets. The library includes a programme catalogue of about 135 titles, representing 700 hours of TV programming. Canada-based CBC still retains broadcasting rights and archives. The transaction is subject to due diligence and is expected to be final in early 2008. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 'Fireworks, and its parent, Content
  • Control, Atonement lead London Critics' Circle nominations

    Anton Corbijn's Control and Joe Wright's Atonement lead the nominations for the London Critics' Circle Film Awards. Each has eight nominations. Other films with multiple nominations include There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men and The Lives Of Others, with four nominations each.The awards will be handed
  • Czech box office climbs but 2008 might not continue trend

    The Czech box office is trending toward another healthy year, but questions remain whether the upward trend will continue in 2008. Czech admissions passed the 11m mark in October, well ahead of last year's numbers, which were at 10.4m at the end of November. Box office sales were at $57.3m (CZK 1.05bn) at the end of October 2007, already more than year-end sales of $56.8m (CZK 1.04bn) last year, according to the Czech Union of Film Distributors. The current figures do not i
  • Dubai's top Muhr award goes to Lebanese drama Under the Bombs

    Lebanese cine-verite drama Under the Bombs, and Soneaa Fi Masr (Made in Egypt), French director Karim Goury's first-person story of his search for his Egyptian biological father, picked up the Muhr Gold awards for best narrative feature and best documentary at this year's Dubai International Film Festival, which ran from 9 to 16 December. The festival is in its fourth edition, but the Muhr Awards for Excellence in Arab Cinema were introduced for the first time last ye
  • Entertainment One, Image expand Canadian distribution pact

    Image Entertainment and Entertainment One have renewed and expanded their Canadian distribution agreement. The deal, which now runs through 2012, covers Image product in theatrical, home entertainment, television and digital as well as giving EOne subsidiary Seville Canadian rights to Image's 3000-title film and TV library. Seville will handle theatrical, television and digital rights while EOne's Paradox Entertainment will handle home video distribution.Theatrical titles
  • European Commission approves UK Lottery funding

    The European Commission has given the greenlight to 12 Lottery funded film support schemes in the UK. This allays any concerns that the funding could fall foul of EU state aid rules and the schemes have now been approved until the end of 2012.The go-ahead covers more than $45m (£22m) in grants each year, which are aimed at supporting 'culturally British films'. The definition of a 'culturally British film' was originally approved by the Commission when it allowed the UK film tax ince
  • Even guided by Compass, UKbox office down 8.3% from 2006

    Entertainment Film Distributors' The Golden Compass led the running in the UK for the second weekend in a row with a $6m (£3m) take across 509 sites.The top 20 films in the UK/Ireland generated $20.9m across 3,779 screens from the period of December 14-16. This was collectively down 8.3% compared to the same period last year. For the full UK/Ireland chart, click here.The fantasy a
  • Film Department sets Brothers In Arms for March 2008

    Mark Gill and Neil Sacker's financing, production and international sales company The Film Department has acquired Noah Lukeman's script Brothers In Arms and hired Marcel Langenegger to direct.The company is targeting a March 31 2008 start date in the Czech Republic and is out to casting on the true story set at the end of the second world war about a top secret mission order by General George S Patton to rescue his son-in-law from behind enem
  • Focus Features launches online film portal Film InFocus

    Focus Features has launched the film portal FilmInFocus featuring editorial content that the company said highlighted 'the most original stories from the world's most innovative filmmakers'.The site will feature original content from Refresh Content's crew of Filmmaker Magazine writers and editors Peter Bowen, Scott Macaulay and Nick Dawson, as well as links covering film history, business and personalities.A strategic partnership
  • FremantleMedia and RTL launch German producer-distributor Ufa

    Together with the RTL Group, FremantleMedia has launched a new producer-distributor Ufa Cinema through its German subsidiary UFA to deliver feature films for the local market and possibly be the first step towards the creation of a European major studio. The new initiative already has 40 projects in the pipeline that will result in an annual slate of eight films per year from 2010 with its first projects being made known early next year. Plans are also afoot to eventuall
  • Gerald Green arrested over Bangkok film festival bribes

    Los Angeles-based film executive Gerald Green and his wife Patricia of Film Festival Management (FFM) were arrested yesterday (Dec 18) in a Los Angeles federal court for paying bribes to obtain lucrative contracts for the Bangkok International Film Festival (BKKIFF). The US Justice Department announced that a criminal complaint alleges that from 2003 to 2007, the Greens conspired to make more than $1.7m in corrupt payments to the president of BKKIFF and governor of the Tourism Authority
  • Gewecke named president of Warner Bros Digital Distribution

    Thomas Gewecke has been appointed president of Warner Bros Digital Distribution (WBDD) and will focus on developing Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group's global partnerships and digital distribution strategies.Gewecke most recently served as executive vice president of global digital business for Sony BMG Music Entertainment and will report to president of Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group Kevin Tsujihara.Gewecke will spearhead expanded activities in the wireless, onl
  • Glickman responds to unconfirmed Chinese block on Hollywood films

    Reacting to growing concerns over an apparent blockade of Hollywood films in China, MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said any such move would represent 'an enormous step backwards' in that country's efforts to establish a legitimate film market.Glickman's comments followed reports that China has told the US majors they cannot release their films in the territory. Eye witnesses said few if any cinemas in Shanghai were screening current Hollywood releases.Last week Will S
  • Golden Globe nominee reactions in full

    We’re so overjoyed with the Golden Globe nominations and it’s gratifying that at the end of the year you get an opportunity to acknowledge the company you have been keeping,’ Focus Features CEO James Schamus said in response to the company’s 11 nominations, which included seven for Atonement. ‘It’s so satisfying to see it pay off for not only our stars and magnificent directors but our valued producer friends like Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner at Working Title, Paul Webster, Robert
  • Hammer's first new film to air episodes on MySpace

    Hammer Films is set to produce its first horror film in 30 years, and has created a joint venture with MySpace to broadcast episodes of the feature, entitled Beyond The Rave. MySpaceTV will co-produce the project, which will initially air as 20 'webisodes' on MySpace before being released as a feature DVD and download.Internet content pioneers Ben Grass and Tom Grass from Pure Grass Films (When Evil Calls) will produce. Matthias Hoene directs. The cast will
  • Humphreys includes Katyn, Waveriders in first Dublin programme

    Grainne Humphreys, new Director of the Jameson Dublin InternationalFilm Festival (JDIFF), has announced the first titles included in her first programme for the sixth JDIFF, running Feb 15-24, 2008. There will be a Special Presentation of GW Pabst's classic Pandora's Box (1929) in the 900-seater Savoy Cinema with live accompaniment from 3epkano. New films include Katyn, Andrzej Wajda's unc
  • Indian director Vidhu Vinod Chopra signs with ICM

    Indianfilmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who directed the short documentary Oscar nomineeAn Encounter With Faces, has signed with ICM.Choprais preparing his English language debut, the thriller 64 Squares, and isdeveloping the Indian fantasy epic Talisman and a satire on India's educationalsystem.
  • Indigenous film-makers line up To Hell And Back, Samson and Delilah

    Australia 's indigenous film-makers are telling their own stories with two features being prepared. Richard Frankland's road movie To Hell and Back finished its six-week shoot in Western Australia last week. Financed by Film Finance Corporation Australia and the local state agency ScreenWest, it has been dubbed the Australian version of a Cheech and Chong movie. Ross Hutchens is producing the film for Media World Pictures and it will be distributed by Palace Films. S
  • International - Compass points up

    While The Golden Compass was largely responsible for the 14.5% week-on-week increase in the international top 40, two new entries from France made their presence known taking a collective $4.3m.Roissy Films' comedy L'Auberge Rouge was the second highest new entry, coming in at number nine with a $3.1m take. The film, directed by Gerard Krawczyk (Taxi 2, 3 and 4) played across 904 screens for a $3,398 screen average. The film opened in four terr
  • International Box Office review 2007

    By December 9, the six US majors - Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros, Sony and Walt Disney Studios - had recorded a total box office of more than $8.6bn in the international marketplace, surpassing their combined international gross for the whole of 2006 ($8.5bn). Last year saw record revenues for the majors and with the closing weeks of this year still to see the international openings of Universal's Charlie Wilson's War and Disney's
  • International box office up 17% on last week boosted by Warlords

    Chinese heavy-hitter The Warlords was this weekend's highest non-US entry to the international chart, helping boost the top 40 revenue by 17.3% week-on-week.The top 40 international films generated $169.7m from 43,384 screens for the period of December 14-16.For the full international chart, compiled by Len Klady, click here.The period epic, directed by Peter Ho-sun Chan
  • Israeli Producers Association to host international networking session

    Feeling they did not get the credit they deserve for the recent forward leap of the Israeli films and their resounding worldwide success, the Israeli Producers Association is organizing a networking session to be attended by international experts, including producer-director Claude Lelouch, producers Cedomir Kolar, Paul Trijbits, and the BBC's international development director David Morgenstern. Among the Israeli participants, industry veterans
  • Jakarta honours 3 Days To Forever, Nagabonar

    Riri Riza's road movie 3 Days To Forever was named best Indonesian film as the 9th Jakarta International Film Festival (Jiffest) came to a close. Deddy Mizwar bagged best Indonesian director for his comedy hit Nagabonar (Becomes) 2. Each was awarded a cash prize of US$5,000.To nurture young filmmakers, Jiffest ran a script development competition workshop from Dec 8-12 for shorts, documenta
  • Lucas, Hamm to star in A2/Code's The Boy In The Box

    Josh Lucas and Golden Globe TV nominee Jon Hamm will star in A2 Entertainment Group and Code Entertainment's thriller The Boy In The Box.Lucas will play the father of a boy that went missing years ago and whose case bears striking parallels to a current investigation.James Van Der Beek, Rhona Mitra, Marcus Thomas, Jimmy Bennett and Jessica Chastain round out the cast. Glenn Taranto wrote the screenplay.A2's Anders Ander
  • Marketing - How to win friends

    The rise of MySpace has propelled social-networking communities into the web stratosphere. Launched in 2003 and sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation for $580m two years later, MySpace's early symbiosis between indie-rock bands and their fans - and the ability for users to personalise their pages - earned it a huge following among teens and post-college urbanites. But essentially, it was an organic phenomenon about people's desire to connect."After 50 years of passively watching te
  • Marketing - The Social Revolution

    Last December, Bettina Sherick, executive vice-president of international digital marketing at Twentieth Century Fox, sat down with her team and said: 'This is the year we figure out how to make all our content portable.' Aware that web browsers are no longer drawn automatically to a film's official website and that the online community is increasingly setting up camp on social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and Orkut, Sherick knew she should follow the migration.
  • Maximum takes international rights to Rossellini's Green Porno shorts

    Maximum International has picked up international rights on Isabella Rossellini's short film series Green Porno. Commissioned by The Sundance Channel, the eight mobile-oriented short films feature the actress re-enacting the mating ritual of various insects and other creatures. The first three pieces -- Firefly, Dragon Fly, Spider -- will premiere at Sundance while a selection from the next five -- Bee, Praying Mantis, Worm, Snail and Fly -- will premiere at t
  • MMG takes Flemish, French remake rights to Dutch hit Love Is All

    Dutch production company Motel Films has sold the remake rights to its hit romantic comedy Love Is All to Belgian film producer MMG.MMG, which previously worked on Ben X and Winky's Horse, plans two different remake versions, one each for the Flemish and French markets. COO Peter Bouckaert found the project for MMG and praised the film's 'quality and intelligence
  • New German funding model generates spend of almost $588m

    The German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) has generated a 'German spend' of almost $588m (Euros 400m) in its first year of operations after backing 99 feature film and documentary projects with over $87.3m (Euros 59.4m). Speaking exclusively to, DFFF project manager Christine Berg explained that the 99 films with an overall production volume of $823.3m (Euros 560m) had German production costs of over $570.4m (Euros 388m).
  • New Line, MGM team for two Hobbit movies with Peter Jackson

    Peter Jackson and New Line have buried the hatchet and will return to Middle Earth together in a two-film deal with MGM to bring JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and an original sequel to the big screen.MGM and New Line will co-finance and co-distribute the projects, which New Line will release in North America and MGM will handle overseas.Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as executive directors. A director will be announced shortly and the
  • No Country For Old Men gets top votes from Toronto Critics

    No Country For Old Men was named Best Picture and directors and screenwriters Joel and Ethan Coen took Best Direction and Best Screenwriting honours as the Toronto Film Critics Association announced its 2007 selection Wednesday.Javier Bardem was also named Best Supporting Actor for his role as the methodical killer in the film. Runners-up for Best Picture kudos were Eastern Promises and Zodiac, while the directorial runners-up were those films' respective directors
  • Nordisk launches new production arm Neo Film under Aaberge

    Danish major Nordisk Film's Norwegian subsidiary, which has become a market leader in local film and television production during Stein-Roger Bull's reign, will launch a new production outfit, Neo Film, to be headed by current head of production Aage Aaberge. At Nordisk he will be succeeded by producer Cornelia Boysen.Aaberge will move out of Nordisk's Nydalen headquarters outside Oslo in favour of Filmparken at Jar, aka Jollywood, where he once ran his own Yellow Cottage. He will ow
  • P.S. I Love You

    Dir: Richard LaGravenese. US. 2007. 126minsThe lightweight Ghost-meets-Bridget Jones dramedy of Irish novelist Cecelia Ahern's PS, I Love You turns into forced romantic comedy in this miscast and largely Americanized screen version starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. Interest in the film's theatrical release will come mostly from avid chick lit readers and fans of rising hunk Butler, though a wider audience should be accessible when the Alcon/Gro
  • Palm Springs unveils 'streamlined' festival line-up

    The Palm Springs International Film festival (PSIFF) will screen 222 films culled from more than 66 countries featuring four world, 40 US and 25 North American premieres.Pierre Salvadori's French romantic comedy Priceless starring Audrey Tautou and Gad Elmaleh will close the festival on January 14 2008 and as previously announced Helen Hunt's feature directorial debut Then She Found Me will open the eve
  • Production - Joined up writing

    In the beginning was the word. Then there was the motion picture. And now it is increasingly difficult to tell the difference.The film industry is going through a book adaptation frenzy. While this has been an important part of the inspiration for films since the industry began, today books are by far the largest source of material for producers. Promising books or upcoming titles by bankable authors can trigger an optioning scramble before a word is even written, and a reasonable esti
  • Profile:Adulthooddirector Noel Clarke

    It is mid-November and almost four weeks into the five-week shoot of his debut feature, actor-writer-director Noel Clarke is a man in his element. He is shooting on the west London streets where he grew up and today's council flat location is 250m from the gym where he was working when a television director recruited him into the acting world.Although Clarke describes directing Adulthood as having come about partly by accident, he has a strong desire to tell this personal
  • Revolver takes on UK distribution of U2 3D

    UK distributor Revolver Entertainment will handle the UK distribution of U2 3D.Revolver will distribute the film in Real D, IMAX 3-D and other digital 3-D formats across the UK on Feb 22, 2008.The film, which was shown as a work in progress in Cannes, is directed by Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington. Owens was the band's visual content director for more than 15 years and Pellington previously directed their
  • Rezo works on new Cebula and Laine projects

    At the upcoming Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris, Rezo Films will unveil two new films, one from director Idit Cebula and the other from Marion Laine. The former, Two Lives Plus One, is produced by Les Films du Kiosque and stars Emmanuelle Devos and Gerard Darmon in the story of a woman who tries to change her life. Starring Sandrine Bonnaire and Pascal Elbe, Laine's film is an adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's novel Felicite. Titled A Simple Heart, the film is about a
  • Santa Barbara Festival to present inaugural Virtuosos Award

    Casey Affleck, Marion Cotillard, James McAvoy, Ellen Page, and Amy Ryan will receive the inaugural 2007 Virtuosos Award at the 23rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF).The 2007 Virtuosos Award was created this year to recognise 'a select group of young actors who have distinguished themselves through performances in film this past year.'Affleck stars in The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford and
  • Screen opinion - Wave building

    There's no technical definition of a 'wave' in cinema. Mostly it's just a convenient and somewhat patronising way of lumping together three or more films that happen to come from a small territory. It matters little whether there's anything other than coincidence to these films' success.The wide variations in style among the recent run of Romanian films, or indeed this year's festival hits from Israel, surely defy such easy categorisation. Most of the film-makers are adamant that no wa
  • Screenwriters vying fortop awards

    The Coen brothers tell Geoffrey Macnab about the process of adapting Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For OldMen.
  • Sony pacts with Tiscali UK for on-demand TV offerings

    Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) and Tiscali TV have launched a new video on demand service, called Screen Gems, as part of Tiscali's on-demand TV platform in the UK.The service initially includes catalogue TV series such as Bewitched, Starsky & Hutch and Charlie's Angels, with new Sony shows to be introduced to Tiscali TV subscribers soon.Jonathan Sykes, managing director conte
  • Sundance adds Coogan comedy Hamlet 2 to premieres

    Sundance festival organisers have added Andrew Fleming's comedy Hamlet 2 starring Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Shue and Amy Poehler to the line-up.The film, the first to be produced and financed by fledgling Los Angeles-based L+E Productions, will receive its world premiere on January 21.Fleming and Pam Brady co-wrote the story, which stars Coogan as a high school drama teacher who creates a musical sequel to Shakespea
  • Sundance Institute names 13 projects in annual Screenwriters Lab

    Sundance Institute has announced the 13 projects for the annual January Screenwriters Lab scheduled to take place from January 11-16, 2008.Film projects supported this year explore a wide range of topics including an exploration of class and race in Brazil, a story about a mother reintegrating into society after serving a tour of duty in Iraq and a comedic look at growing up as a contemporary Native American.The projects selected for the 2008 January Screenwriters Lab are
  • Sweden's Svensk buys Sonet Film from Modern Times Group

    Swedish major, Svensk Filmindustri (SF), has acquired local producer-distributor Sonet Film, including the brand name, from Sweden's Modern Times Group (MTG), it was announced today.Co-founder and ceo Peter Possne, who earlier this year (Aug 10) scheduled Jan 1, 2008, as the date of his resignation, will be head of the new Sonet Film, a production entity within SF with an annual outlet of 'two to three high-quality feature films with a big box-office potential.'The transa
  • Tarak Ben Ammar acquires French post house Eclair

    Continuing his acquisition spree, Tarak Ben Ammar has acquired the entirety of French post-production company Eclair. The entrepreneur, who in November acquired control of Italian distributor Eagle Pictures, announced Wednesday that he has bought the 57% stake in Eclair which he did not already own. Ben Ammar had taken a 43% share in Eclair last February from the Dormoy family which founded the company. The remaining 57% stake was purchased from investment fund ETMF2 for $18.7m (Euros
  • The critical eye - Tolly good show

    I have a suspicion we're on the verge of a sub-prime crash in commercial film style. It's a crash that has been postponed by Hollywood's traditional strengths in the script and acting departments, not to mention the studios' marketing muscle and distribution leverage. But it seems to me that in our attention-deficit age, audiences are becoming increasingly bored with the look of many commercial films.Let me pitch this in a roundabout way. In transit to the Dubai film festival, I flicke
  • The Great Debaters

    Dir: Denzel Washington. US. 2007. 125 minutes.A strong and similarly emotionally resonant follow-up to his 2002 debut behind the camera, Antwone Fisher, Denzel Washington's second directorial effort is a familiarly structured but extremely effective drama. Lacking pretense and guile, The Great Debaters tells the true story of an African-American college debate team who overcomes racial prejudice to string together an unprecedented number of victories and eve
  • The Water Horse: Legend Of The Deep

    Dir: Jay Russell. US. 2007. 113mins.Part gentle coming-of-age story, part whimsical animal flick, The Water Horse: The Legend Of The Deep tells the story of a young Scottish boy who serves as both friend and parent to a mysterious newborn creature that he eventually has to return to nearby Loch Ness. Mixing live action and CGI and anchored by solid performances, the film seems poised for decent holiday returns from core family audienc
  • Toho set for record annual box office, announces 2008 lineup

    Japan's largest distributor, Toho Studios, has surpassed box office earnings of $442m (Y50b) for the fourth year in a row, the company announced. The company's releases during the lucrative Christmas/New Year's period are set to break Toho's record-setting year in 2006.Earnings up until the end of November totaled $476.4m (Y53.63b). December earnings of the year's biggest domestic hit, Fuji TV's Hero, November releases
  • Toronto film critic John Harkness dies at 53

    Toronto-based film critic John Harkness died at his home on Tuesday. A one-time Canadian correspondent for Screen International and the lead film writer for Toronto weekly NOW Magazine since its 1981 inception, Harkness was a constant figure at Cannes and widely-respected by Toronto cinephiles -- and feared by Canadian filmmakers. NOW editor Michael Hollett told reporters that Harkness had never missed a deadline in 26 years. When the critic missed his latest
  • UK police arrest four people and seize 10,000 pirate DVDS

    UK police have arrested four people and seized 10,000 counterfeit DVDs in raids based on information gathered by the Federation Against Copyright Theft. The raids were on three stalls at Western International Market in Hounslow, Middlesex and at two addresses in Slough, Berkshire. Officers from Hounslow Borough of the Metropolitan Police, Thames Valley Police and Hounslow Trading Standards, conducted the raids assisted by officers from FACT.The suspects were t
  • UK regional critics name awards after Richard Attenborough

    The UK Regional Critics' Annual Film Awards have been renamed The Richard Attenborough Film Awards. The awards were founded a year ago and will be known as the Attenborough Awards from 2008. The awards are given in six categories: film of the year, filmmaker of the year, actor and actress of the year, the UK regional critics' rising star of the year and, for the first time, screenwriter(s) of the year. Films of any genre and country of origin are eligible if they are released pu
  • UKFC backs Universal's Lust, Caution release with $400,000 in support

    The UK Film Council's Prints & Advertising Fund has announced the its funding of specialised releases in UK cinemas. The latest supported films are:$403,170 (£200,000) to Universal Pictures for Ang Lee's Lust, Caution $201,587 (£100,000) to The Works UK Distribution for Richard Attenborough's Closing the Ring $50,072 (£24,839) to Park Circus for Frank Capra's
  • United Kingdom - Off The Record

    EMI has a long history as a record label - everyone from the Beatles to Coldplay - but its burgeoning film business owes much to two men and their motorcycles."Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman came to meet with us about a soundtrack, and we ended up doing the DVD release of Long Way Round," remembers Stefan Demetriou, a 10-year veteran of EMI who now oversees the company's film work as director of audiovisual. "That showed us we could have success with non-music projects."
  • United States - Quarterlife change

    I don't watch TV, I make TV," says Marshall Herskovitz. "I don't do what other people do. I do what I do and I do it the same way, whether it's film or TV or the internet."Herskovitz and partner Ed Zwick - who between them have writing, producing and directing credits including seminal TV series thirtysomething and My So-Called Life and features Blood Diamond, Traffic and The Last Samurai - have one of the most talked-about shows on the web.
  • United States - Slings and arrows

    Writer-director Alex Holdridge has been on Hollywood's radar for several years, yet circumstances led him to shoot his third feature, In Search Of A Midnight Kiss, for just $12,000.Holdridge, who attended the University of Texas, was living in Austin when he was inspired to move into film by the early 1990s indie boom. First he wrote (with Sam Merrick) and directed low-budget comedy Wrong Numbers, which won the audience prize at the 2001 Austin Film Festival, became a hit
  • UPI celebrates $1bn gross in year one of operations

    Universal Pictures International (UPI) crossed $1bn on December 16, marking a successful launch year for the company and Universal's biggest annual overseas gross since 2001.The top four titles for the year were The Bourne Ultimatum on $213m, Mr Bean's Holiday on $192m with Japan still to go in January 2008, Evan Almighty on $72.8m and
  • Vivian Mayer-Siskind moves from Universal to Summit Entertainment

    Communicationsexecutive Vivian Mayer-Siskind has been named senior vice president ofworldwide publicity at Summit Entertainment.Mayer-Siskindwill report to Summit's soon to be named president of marketing and mostrecently served as senior vice president of publicity for Universal StudiosHome Entertainment (USHE) brand marketing division.'Vivianis the kind of seasoned executive that we have been bringing into
  • Warlords rampages across Asia with $15m opening

    Peter Ho-sun Chan's The Warlords has set a record as the biggest simultaneous Chinese release of the year, grossing $15m across five Asian territories on its opening weekend. The bulk of the box office came from China where the film became the biggest domestic opener of the year, clinching $12.2 m (RMB90m) from 1,027 prints, including RMB10m from sneak previews on Dec 12. China Film Group and Polybona handled mainland distribution. The period epic, starring Jet Li, Andy Lau
  • Warner Bros signs longterm TV deal with Saran Media in Turkey

    Warner Bros International Television Distribution (WBITD) has signed a multi-year television distribution agreement with Saran Media in Turkey.The new output deal expands upon WBITD's current deal with Saran, its partner of the last 10 years.Under the terms Saran has acquired premium, basic, free and subscription VOD rights to a wide range of WBITD programming and will license these properties to various broadcasters in Turkey.Titles include
  • Warner Bros, Prasad strike strategic alliance for digital post production

    Post production services Warner Bros Motion Picture Imaging and India's Prasad Corporation have formed a strategic alliance to offer digital post production and restoration services to global clients.The two companies will transfer content between one another on a dedicated line. Prasad has already begun working with Motion Picture Imaging to restore How The West Was Won, which was originally shot in Cinerama.'We have an extensive
  • Whatever Lola Wants

    Dir: Nabil Ayouch, France/Canada. 2007. 110 mins.French-produced, set between New York and Cairo, scored by an Indian-born French composer and directed by a Moroccan, Whatever Lola Wants practices the same enlightened multiculturalism that it so passionately preaches. But although Nabil Ayouch's mid-budget third feature has its heart in the right place, and builds some emotional heft, this yarn about a US postwoman's quest to become a top Egyptian belly-dancer is too swee
  • Whitton launches Belfast production outfit with Attenborough, Gilbert

    Robert Whitton, commercially property investment expert and CEO of aAIM Group, has launched a new production company with director Richard Attenborough and producer Jo Gilbert.The company is named Real Holywood Productions, after its Belfast neighborhood. Real Holywood intends to focus on Northern Ireland-based productions.Attenborough and Gilbert recently shot the partially Belfast-set epic drama Closing The Ring (which The Works
  • Wild Bunch, Senator form joint German distribution venture

    Wild Bunch and Senator Entertainment are to form a joint distribution venture in Germany as part of a broader agreement that will see the partners collaborate on co-productions and financing.The German distribution deal comes after Wild Bunch acquired 50% of Senator's shares of distribution subsidiary Central Film Verleih GmbH, which will release Wild Bunch films in theatres and on video and TV through Senator.Wild Bunch CEO Vincent Grimond said the deal marked the latest
  • Will Smith, Chipmunks give shot in the arm to North American box office

    I Am Legend shot some much needed seasonal sparkle into the box office with a sensational $76.5m launch that set a new mark for December and gave star Will Smith the biggest opening weekend of his career.Combined with a strong $45m support act courtesy of Fox's Alvin And The Chipmunks, overall box office for the top 12 titles outstripped the same period last year by 39% and accounted for $153.6m. The numb
  • Wright to get Visionary Award from Palm Springs Film Festival

    The 19th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) willhonour Atonement director Joe Wright with the Sonny Bono VisionaryAward at the annual awards gala on January 5, 2008. Festival chairman Earl Greenburg said the talent Wright displayed inAtonement, which leads the field in the Golden Globes race with sevennominations, and Pride & Prejudice 'truly
  • YouTube founders to receive PGA Vanguard Award

    The Producers Guild of America's (PGA) 2008 Vanguard Award will go to YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen.The award, which recognises outstanding achievement in new media and technology, will be presented at the 2008 Producers Guild Awards on February 2 2007 in Los Angeles.'YouTube has connected its global audience to the production and viewing of some of the most innovative content available,' PGA co-chairs Hawk Koch and Mark Gordon said. 'Chad and Steve had an i