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Screen
19 May 2003

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  • ABS traffics again with Luper partners

    The Spanish co-producer behind The Tulse Luper Suitcases series, ABS Production-Barcelona, has boarded another project involving several of the same co-production partners: a thriller set against the world of art trafficking and forgeries.ABS is teaming up with Tulse Luper partners Kasander Film Company and Delux Productions on Paul Tickell's The Tempest, together with Net Entertainment. As with Tulse Luper, ABS says it will be a 20% co-producer on th
  • Aishwarya Rai to star in period epic The Rising

    Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai - who paraded here yesterday alongside her fellow Cannes jury members - is to star in Capitol Films' The Rising, a period epic set against the 1857 Indian mutiny that fuses western and Indian filmmaking styles.The story of the friendship between an Indian soldier and British commander William Gordon will feature Bollywood megastars including Rai and Lagaan's Aamir Khan alongside UK actors, who are to be confirmed. Produced by Ba
  • Aishwarya Rai to star in period epic The Rising

    Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai - who paraded here yesterday alongside her fellow Cannes jury members - is to star in Capitol Films' The Rising, a period epic set against the 1857 Indian mutiny that fuses western and Indian filmmaking styles.The story of the friendship between an Indian soldier and British commander William Gordon will feature Bollywood megastars including Rai and Lagaan's Aamir Khan alongside UK actors, who are to be confirmed. Produced by Ba
  • Alliance Atlantis picks up international to Milwaukee

    Alliance Atlantis has acquired international rights to Cannes Critics Week entry Milwaukee, Minnesota which was the closing night film of the Slamdance Film Festival. The film, which stars Troy Garity, Alison Folland, Bruce Dern, Hank Harris, Debra Monk and Randy Quaid, is about a man who can hear fish talking under the ice and is a champion ice-fisherman because of it. But everyone is after his vast fortune.Produced by Framework Entertainment and Empire State Entertainme
  • Anglo-Korean co-production backs art thieves

    Expanding its production operations, Korean sales house E Pictures has put together one of the first British-Korean co-productions and acquired two key properties for adaptation. The $15m action title Four For The Kings is a project by Korea's Zenith Entertainment and the UK's Spice Factory. The film sees a gang of multi-talented Asian thieves attempt to steal three giant statues from a Paris museum. A third co-producer is likely to be added depending on the final locatio
  • Anglo-Korean co-production backs art thieves

    Expanding its production operations, Korean sales house E Pictures has put together one of the first British-Korean co-productions and acquired two key properties for adaptation. The $15m action title Four For The Kings is a project by Korea's Zenith Entertainment and the UK's Spice Factory. The film sees a gang of multi-talented Asian thieves attempt to steal three giant statues from a Paris museum. A third co-producer is likely to be added depending on the final locatio
  • Anglo-Korean co-production backs art thieves

    Expanding its production operations, Korean sales house E Pictures has put together one of the first British-Korean co-productions and acquired two key properties for adaptation. The $15m action title Four For The Kings is a project by Korea's Zenith Entertainment and the UK's Spice Factory. The film sees a gang of multi-talented Asian thieves attempt to steal three giant statues from a Paris museum. A third co-producer is likely to be added depending on the final locatio
  • Ardant, Placido team up

    Fanny Ardant and popular Italian actor Michele Placido are to star in a new picture from acclaimed theatre-film director Mario Martone (Nasty Love).Named L'Odore del Sangue (The Smell Of Blood), the picture tells the parallel story of two 50-year-olds who are both in relationships with much younger people. The film is produced by Donatello Botti's Rome company Bianca Film and Martone himself adapted the script from a book by Goffredo Parise.It is Martone's first fe
  • Ardant, Placido team up

    Fanny Ardant and popular Italian actor Michele Placido are to star in a new picture from acclaimed theatre-film director Mario Martone (Nasty Love).Named L'Odore del Sangue (The Smell Of Blood), the picture tells the parallel story of two 50-year-olds who are both in relationships with much younger people. The film is produced by Donatello Botti's Rome company Bianca Film and Martone himself adapted the script from a book by Goffredo Parise.It is Martone's first fe
  • Artist House launches new fund

    Artist House, the US-Japanese group behind the adaptation of The Tesseract is to launch a new film fund in conjunction with Peter Anshin's Asia Entertainment Finance Associates (AEFA).Tokyo-based Anshin, who also represents Comerica, said: "Artist House group will manage the fund, which will be used to support the group's rights acquisition, production and distribution business. In the long term, it may also provide funds to third parties. The fund will aim to raise investment f
  • Australia's development agency and archives to merge

    The film industry is generally perplexed by last night's surprise news that the Australian Government has decided to merge the Australian FilmCommission (AFC), which has the principal role of developing Australian films and film-makers, and Screensound, the organisation which collects and preserves the country's audiovisual heritage.Legislation will have to be passed in Parliament to give effect to the proposal, which will give Screensound more independence. The combined organisation s
  • Australia's Rialto swoops on Broken Wings

    On the eve of the Cannes Film Festival, Rialto Entertainment has bought Australian and New Zealand rights for Broken Wings from Pathe. The film was Israel's best foreign film contender at this year's Academy Awards. Rialto principal Kelly Rogers describes the film, which he saw for the first time at Berlin, as an emotionally satisfying and heartfelt drama with superb performances. He is planning a September launch after screenings at the Sydney and Melbourne Film Festival
  • Back to school: new releases can't touch X2

    Despite four new entries hitting the UK top ten this week none were able to come close to 20th Century Fox's X-Men sequel, X2. With a vast lead the comic-book title took $4.9m (£3.1m) in its second weekend, a 48% drop from its opening.X2 has already grossed $21.7m (£13.5m) in 11 days in the UK and Ireland and should hold the top spot with ease for a third week next weekend. Its first real competition comes the following week when Warner Bros' launches The Matrix
  • Basinger tops Oscar Wilde scandal

    Kim Basinger is heading to the Riviera to shoot A Good Woman, based on Oscar Wilde's celebrated play Lady Windermere's Fan, for worldwide sales agent Beyond Films.Director Mike Barker is to start shooting the scandalous drama in August with a cast including Joseph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson and Tom Wilkinson. Basinger will star in the film, which is set in 1930s New York and the French Riviera - although the producers are weighing up whether to shoot on the French or Ita
  • Basinger tops Oscar Wilde scandal

    Kim Basinger is heading to the Riviera to shoot A Good Woman, based on Oscar Wilde's celebrated play Lady Windermere's Fan, for worldwide sales agent Beyond Films.Director Mike Barker is to start shooting the scandalous drama in August with a cast including Joseph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson and Tom Wilkinson. Basinger will star in the film, which is set in 1930s New York and the French Riviera - although the producers are weighing up whether to shoot on the French or Ita
  • Beacon duo ascend Summit

    Summit Entertainment is in final negotiations to seal yet another international distribution deal - with Armyan Bernstein's Beacon Pictures. Summit is not selling any Beacon films at Cannes but is expected to be selling key territories on Beacon's first two films Ladder 49 and Raising Helen by MIFED.Beacon signed a five-year production and distribution deal with Walt Disney Studios in Dec 2002 under which Disney handles worldwide distribution on all films excluding
  • Beacon duo ascend Summit

    Summit Entertainment is in final negotiations to seal yet another international distribution deal - with Armyan Bernstein's Beacon Pictures. Summit is not selling any Beacon films at Cannes but is expected to be selling key territories on Beacon's first two films Ladder 49 and Raising Helen by MIFED.Beacon signed a five-year production and distribution deal with Walt Disney Studios in Dec 2002 under which Disney handles worldwide distribution on all films excluding
  • Bedi returns to Sandokan cult

    Destiny Pictures' Aditya Basu Bhattacharya is lining up a $4m Indian-Italian drama titled Sandokan In Sicily, which will feature Indian star Kabir Bedi.Bedi was the 6ft5' star of the 1976 Sandokan TV series, about a heroic anti-colonialist figure based in Malaysia. The series, which also spawned a feature film in the '70s, turned Sandokan into a cult figure in Italy. The series was also broadcast in France, Germany, Spain and Benelux.The new Sandokan tale, to be di
  • Biblical passion on the rise

    While Mel Gibson's Passion is in the cutting room, another biblical movie has just finished shooting in Toronto.Directed by Philip Saville, Word By Word from the Gospel of St John is a $20m picture produced by LA-and Toronto-based Cidif Communications, a subsidiary of Silvio Sardi's Milanese production outfit Cidif Entertainment Group.Production on the film, which stars Henry Ian Cusick, Scott Handy and Tristan Gemmill, began last year in Spain and Toronto. Two tho
  • Bim backs Resnais musical

    Bim, Valerio De Paolis's Rome distribution outfit, has added Alain Resnais's upcoming musical Pas Sur La Bouche to its impressive international production slate, and has also decided to start producing Italian pictures for the first time.Pas Sur La Bouche is Resnais's first directorial effort in five years. The farcical love triangle's script is an adaptation of an operetta originally written by Andre Barde and Maurice Yvain and first produced in 1925. The script was adap
  • Bim backs Resnais musical

    Bim, Valerio De Paolis's Rome distribution outfit, has added Alain Resnais's upcoming musical Pas Sur La Bouche to its impressive international production slate, and has also decided to start producing Italian pictures for the first time.Pas Sur La Bouche is Resnais's first directorial effort in five years. The farcical love triangle's script is an adaptation of an operetta originally written by Andre Barde and Maurice Yvain and first produced in 1925. The script was adap
  • Blanchett to star as Beatrix Potter for Phoenix

    Cate Blanchett has taken the lead role in Phoenix Pictures' Miss Potter, the biopic of Beatrix Potter, which will be directed by Bruce Beresford. Blanchett, who is also attached to star in Alias Grace for Working Title Films, will play the young spinster who became a bestselling author with her timeless children's books based around characters such as Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggywinkle and Jemima Puddleduck.The film has been written by Richard Maltby Jr and will be produced by
  • Blanchett to star as Beatrix Potter for Phoenix

    Cate Blanchett has taken the lead role in Phoenix Pictures' Miss Potter, the biopic of Beatrix Potter, which will be directed by Bruce Beresford. Blanchett, who is also attached to star in Alias Grace for Working Title Films, will play the young spinster who became a bestselling author with her timeless children's books based around characters such as Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggywinkle and Jemima Puddleduck.The film has been written by Richard Maltby Jr and will be produced by
  • Brideshead Revisited to be revisited

    Warner Bros has finalised a deal to develop and produce Ecosse Films' feature adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, the celebrated Evelyn Waugh novel which the hit TV series turned into the quintessential British heritage production.Writer Andrew Davies said he has a "darker", "more heterosexual" take on Waugh's novel than Granada's series, whose dreaming spires of Oxford University and effete upper-class Englishmen helped set the white flannel tone for Chariots Of Fire and
  • Bright Angel buys Asian pair

    Bright Angel, the new Dutch distributor formed only at the beginning of the month, has picked up a further two films. From Cineclick Asia it bought Lee Chang-dong's drama Oasis and from Toei it grabbed Battle Royale II. Distribution head Patrizia Raeli describe the purchases as "old friends". In her previous incarnation at the UK's Metro Tartan Films she bought splatterfest Battle Royale and its sequel and had sought Oasis. On the eve of the festival, Bright
  • Buena Onda: by filmmakers, for filmmakers

    Over the last year or so, many events have deeply affected the way we live and the way we (have to) think about the world. Wars have been waged, diseases have struck, ecological disasters are becoming so common we are immune to their being reported and people have been moved to drastic actions in the name of "justice" and an alternative life in the hereafter. An awful lot of innocent people seem to have got in the way and have been disposed of without so much as a by your leave. And we seem t
  • Buskin sets up Euro fund

    Italy's Buskin Film has set up a private fund to finance, co-produce and distribute at least four European projects each year.Named European Community Gap Financing, the fund is financed by a group of private investors. They will guarantee a minimum of Euros 4m each year to finance and co-produce up to 20% of four productions shot in the European Community.International distribution on the productions, which will have a minimum budget of Euros 5m each, will be handled by Buskin
  • Buyers on the road to Von Trier's Manderlay

    Israel's Shani Films, Switzerland's Monopole Pathe and Taiwan's Crown Films have been the first to sign on for Manderlay, Lars von Trier's next project as director after Cannes competition contender Dogville. It will most likely also star Nicole Kidman. Manderlay is the second instalment in the Danish maverick's new trilogy U, S and A, and is said to be set in the American South and deal with slavery. The film will most likely be shot in the same style as
  • Buyers on the road to Von Trier's Manderlay

    Israel's Shani Films, Switzerland's Monopole Pathe and Taiwan's Crown Films have been the first to sign on for Manderlay, Lars von Trier's next project as director after Cannes competition contender Dogville. It will most likely also star Nicole Kidman. Manderlay is the second instalment in the Danish maverick's new trilogy U, S and A, and is said to be set in the American South and deal with slavery. The film will most likely be shot in the same style as
  • Canada's Max Films launches film sales arm

    Quebec-based film and television production outfit Max Film is returning to films sales through a new division, Max Films International.The first project to be handled, says Max co-founder and president Roger Frappier, is the company's La Grande Seduction, Jean-Francois Pouliot's comedy about the residents of a modest fishing village which will premiere as this year's closing night film of Directors' Fortnight.Working with Frappier to launch the new division is director o
  • Cannes claims higher attendance

    The Cannes market says that attendance is up 10% and registrations at new record levels.'Although the increase is slight, we are very pleased to see that companies have made the journey to the Cannes Market despite the threat of war, SARS and the transport strikes. We are still expecting further registration, as we are aware of some people who have been delayed,' said Jerome Paillard, the market's executive director.Hit by SARS fears, Chinese and Thai participant numbers are dow
  • Cannes' 'Europe Day' flies diversity flag

    Cannes jury chief Patrice Chereau, Luc Besson and Wim Wenders are among the European talents who today join Gilles Jacob, EU culture commissioner Viviane Reding and a dozen ministers of culture to celebrate Cannes' first "Europe Day".The event kicks off with a ministerial meeting focused on the changing shape of EU film policy sparked by the accession of ten east European countries. That is followed by a press call, inauguration of the International Village and a conference on Europe a
  • Cannes' 'Europe Day' flies diversity flag

    Cannes jury chief Patrice Chereau, Luc Besson and Wim Wenders are among the European talents who today join Gilles Jacob, EU culture commissioner Viviane Reding and a dozen ministers of culture to celebrate Cannes' first "Europe Day".The event kicks off with a ministerial meeting focused on the changing shape of EU film policy sparked by the accession of ten east European countries. That is followed by a press call, inauguration of the International Village and a conference on Europe a
  • Cecchi Gori returns to production

    Beleaguered Italian media mogul Vittorio Cecchi Gori, whose production, distribution and exhibition empire recently fell apart in a morass of bad debts and corruption charges, is back. At a Cannes press conference, the carefully-coiffed helmsman of the Cecchi Gori Group, created by his father Mario, claimed that he has been "a victim of persecution"Without naming Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi - whose Medusa group has been the principal beneficiary of the implosion - Cecchi G
  • Celestial gets drunk on Kung Fu masters

    Hong Kong's Celestial Pictures has picked up international rights to action title Drunken Monkey directed by and starring veteran kung-fu master Lau Kar-Leung. Lau, who directed classics such as 36th Chamber Of Shaolin and Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, came out of retirement to make the film which was produced by Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers. The cast also includes another kung-fu master, Gordon Liu, who will appear in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming Kill Bill
  • Celestial goes wild in France

    Hong Kong's Celestial Pictures has signed a multi-year video distribution deal with France's Wild Side Films for numerous titles from its classic Shaw Brothers library. Wild Side will release more than 40 Shaw Brothers titles - including The One-Armed Swordsman and The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin - in French-speaking territories over the next five years. "Being able to work on the Shaw Brothers library is a dream come true for us. We've dreamt about seeing these movies
  • China hot for Infernal Affairs

    Media Asia's Infernal Affairs franchise is such a hot property on the Chinese mainland that a local distributor has snapped up the first two films before either has been cleared by the mainland authorities for theatrical release.China's Stellar Megamedia Corp (SMC) has acquired mainland theatrical rights to both Infernal Affairs - which was a huge hit at the Hong Kong box office over Christmas - and its prequel Infernal Affairs 2 which is currently in production.
  • China hot for Infernal Affairs

    Media Asia's Infernal Affairs franchise is such a hot property on the Chinese mainland that a local distributor has snapped up the first two films before either has been cleared by the mainland authorities for theatrical release.China's Stellar Megamedia Corp (SMC) has acquired mainland theatrical rights to both Infernal Affairs - which was a huge hit at the Hong Kong box office over Christmas - and its prequel Infernal Affairs 2 which is currently in production.
  • Chow joins Yeoh in $30m costume epic

    Chow Yun-Fat has joined Michelle Yeoh in the cast of $30m costume drama Hua Mulan which is being produced by Yeoh's Mythical Films and Han Entertainment.Described by Han managing director Thomas Chung as "Braveheart meets Ran", the film is scheduled to shoot in China from mid-August. Peter Pau, who directed Mythical's debut The Touch, is directing and the crew also includes renowned action choreographer Corey Yuen and Oscar-winning art director Tim Yip. The
  • Chow joins Yeoh in $30m costume epic

    Chow Yun-Fat has joined Michelle Yeoh in the cast of $30m costume drama Hua Mulan which is being produced by Yeoh's Mythical Films and Han Entertainment.Described by Han managing director Thomas Chung as "Braveheart meets Ran", the film is scheduled to shoot in China from mid-August. Peter Pau, who directed Mythical's debut The Touch, is directing and the crew also includes renowned action choreographer Corey Yuen and Oscar-winning art director Tim Yip. The
  • CJ shoots first fully financed film

    After years as a co-investor or distributor, Korean major, CJ Entertainment has begun production on its first fully financed picture. Filming started this week on comedy The Greatest Expectation, by first time director Oh Sang-hoon. Production is handled through CJ's new production division, which is headed by Seok Dong-jun, senior vice president of film production and finance. Producer credit on the picture goes to Song Chang-Yong.Edison Jeon, CJ's senior vice president
  • Cold War drama defects to Lions Gate

    Lions Gate Films has bought US rights to Marek Kanievska's A Different Loyalty starring Sharon Stone and Rupert Everett which began shooting last month in Montreal. The film which is sold here by Arclight Films will move to locations in London, Malta and Moscow during its shoot.The film is set in 1963 and follows a woman who is faced with the prospect that her journalist husband has defected to communist Russia. Arclight has also sold the film to Manga Films for Spain, Splendid
  • Constantin to explore alternatives to Highlight takeover bid

    Constantin Film's supervisory board has given its management board headed by Fred Kogel the green light to explore 'alternative measures' to counter a takeover bid by Swiss media concern Highlight Communications.At a specially convened meeting of the supervisory board at the weekend, the management board was also "authorised to exercise its buyback right of company shares", according to a statement.At the same time, the door was left open for the possibility of an amicable sett
  • Copenhagen to host int'l documentary fest

    Copenhagen's first international documentary film festival, cph:dox, will take place from Nov 7-16 2003. The new independent festival is organised by the NatFilm Festival in cooperation with the Copenhagen Cinémathèque and the European Documentary Network. cph:dox plans to present some 60 new international documentaries. Like its popular sister event NatFilm, cph:dox is an audience festival, but will feature an international competition-programme and a number of themat
  • Corman earmarks $10m for Irish co-prods

    Roger Corman of Concorde Films has teamed with Kieran Corrigan of Ireland's Merlin Films to launch a $10m drive into financing low-to-medium budget productions primarily from Europe, the partners announced on Thursday.The duo have secured a $10m line of credit targeted at European co-productions with an element of principal photography or post production in Ireland. Preference will go to projects that are well advanced and use the Irish International Film Studios. The maximum in
  • Costa-Gavras, Ozores to get Valladolid tributes

    Greek director Costa-Gavras and Spanish actor Jose Luis Ozores will receive tributes at this year's 28th annual Valladolid International Film Week (aka Seminci) (Oct 24-Nov 1).Other sections will be dedicated to Belgian cinema and films shot in Tehran. The festival's traditional Film Schools section, which highlights works from film schools around the world, will this year focus on the Madrid Film School (ECAM).The festival calls Costa-Gavras' filmography "one of the most cohere
  • Cowan's grant scheme names recipients

    US charitable foundation The Global Film Initiative has named the line-up of award recipients for its inaugural granting programme. Six grant recipients were selected from 37 submissions representing 12 countries and will receive completion funds of between $20,000 and $40,000 for their features from the Initiative. The Initiative, founded by Noah Cowan, also ensures that the granted films will be distributed in the US in a travelling film series which premieres in Nov this year beginn
  • Cruz eyes more Euro projects

    Just as Spanish talents are making greater-than-ever strides into Hollywood, Spain's leading lady Penelope Cruz looks set to rev up her European activity.Cruz has signed on with French agent Bertrand de Labbey of Art Media to seek future projects in France following her Fanfan La Tulipe experience. "She's very interested in doing more French films," says Cruz's longtime Madrid-based agent Katrina Bayonas. "The more countries and languages she can work in the wider the range of m
  • CTFDI's Anger Management raises international total to $14.8m

    Anger Management grossed $2.8m-$2.9m over the weekend as a series ofexcellent second week holds raised the comedy's international running total to$14.8m.In its second week inGermany the film, which is being released by Columbia TriStar Film DistributorsInternational (CTFDI), remained number one and dropped a mere 8% on $2m for a$4.9m cumulative score.Austria also stayed numberone, dropping 6% on $260,000 for a $680,000 total. In the German-speakingregions of Switzerland t
  • Curb involved in Merchant Ivory threesome

    Curb Entertainment has taken on international sales excluding France, Italy and the UK to Merci Docteur Rey, a completed production from Merchant Ivory Productions in association with Eat Your Soup Productions. The film, which screened recently at the Festival du Film de Paris, was written and directed by Andrew Litvack.Dianne Wiest, Jane Birkin, Jerry Hall, Simon Callow, Vanessa Redgrave and Stanislas Merhar star in the Paris-set picture which is the story of a young man
  • Curb stalks Sundance chiller

    Curb Entertainment has acquired international sales rights to Smooth Pictures' Nightstalker, the serial killer chiller which world premiered as a midnight movie at the Sundance Film Festival this year.The film, to which Columbia TriStar holds US rights, was produced by Ash Shah and Chris Fisher and written and directed by Fisher. It is based on the true story of Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as The Nightstalker, who spent his nights randomly butchering men and
  • Daddy Day Care

    Dir: Steve Carr. US. 2003. 93 mins Working with animals in his two Dr Dolittle movies, Eddie Murphy produced some decent laughs and some good box office numbers (approaching $500m in total). Working with children in Daddy Day Care, Murphy and Dolittle 2 director Steve Carr come up with a bland-as-baby-food comedy that might keep tots pacified for a while but will do very little to engage their parents.In the US, Sony has given the film a quick theatrical
  • Disney buys French animation Renaissance

    Emerging French production house Onyx Films has scored a notable coup with the sale of its first animated project Renaissance to Buena Vista for US distribution.The deal was brokered by leading independent producer Jake Eberts. Theatrical and video release in France is to be handled by Pathe Distribution, with which Eberts has a long connection. The $15m action and suspense-themed film is aimed at an audience of adolescents and young adults and mixes digitally generated e
  • Distant Horizon buys remake rights to two Asian pictures

    South African studio group Distant Horizon has picked up remake rights to two Asian pictures, adding to its stable of international properties in development.From Hong Kong's China Star Entertainment it has picked up rights to My Father Is A Hero, a political-action picture directed in 1995 by Corey Yuen and starring Jet Li. Distant Horizon chief executive, Anant Singh said that he had leveraged his ongoing relationship with China Star, to beat a number of other bidders.
  • Distant Horizon buys remake rights to two Asian pictures

    South African studio group Distant Horizon has picked up remake rights to two Asian pictures, adding to its stable of international properties in development.From Hong Kong's China Star Entertainment it has picked up rights to My Father Is A Hero, a political-action picture directed in 1995 by Corey Yuen and starring Jet Li. Distant Horizon chief executive, Anant Singh said that he had leveraged his ongoing relationship with China Star, to beat a number of other bidders.
  • Dogville

    Dir: Lars von Trier. Denmark. 2003. 177minsThe 900lb gorilla of this year's Cannes Competition, Lars von Trier's Dogville is a typically uncompromising experiment in stripped down narrative. Excessive in its running-time and highly theatrical in its execution, it ultimately emerges as a vivid and thoughtful exploration of a world condemned to suffer from the constant, grinding disappointments of human nature. A three-hour provocation to Von Trier's detractors, it is a
  • Down With Love

    Dir: Peyton Reed. US. 2003. 96minsDesigned as an affectionate send-up of the Doris Day-Rock Hudson romantic comedies of the early 1960s, the campy and colorful Down With Love a cinematic souffle that never fully rises. Fox is boldly opening the film in the US on May 16, as counter-programming to The Matrix Reloaded, and it will probably take all of Renee Zellweger's post-Chicago star power to draw a younger, predominantly female audience from that surefir
  • Endgame commits to Compleat, Harold

    Endgame Entertainment - the financing and production outfit formed by entrepreneur and Broadway producer James D Stern - has committed to co-finance two films through its entertainment fund The Endgame Fund.Endgame will co-finance Compleat Female Stage Beauty with Artisan Pictures and Michael Kuhn's Qwerty Films. Artisan has domestic rights to the film which was developed by Tribeca Productions partners Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro and stars Billy Crudup and Claire Danes.
  • Euro funding for Bartolome's Sirens

    Spanish sales and production house Bulbeck & Mas, co-producer of Un Certain Regard entry Today And Tomorrow (Hoy Y Manana), is now prepping The Silence Of The Sirens (El Silencio De Las Sirenas) from director Cecilia Bartolome.The magical love story set between two centuries is a Euro 2.4m co-production with Spanish outfits Freedonia Producciones and Verite de Cinematografia. Bulbeck & Mas co-principal Gillian Bulbeck says negotiations are underway to bring a French and I
  • Euro sellers body founded

    The European Film Export Association (EFEA), a new federation of film sellers, launched on Thursday with a dozen founder members. Headed by Jacques Le Glou of Mercure international, the committee members include Jacques Eric Strauss (Plaza Production), Adriana Chiesa (ACE), Wolfram Skowronnek (Telepool), Marina Fuentes (Lolafilms). Their deputies include Alain Vannier (Orly Films), Kevin Williams (KWA), Thorsten Schaumann (Bavaria Film International), Simon De Santiago (Sogecine
  • European indie sales agents fight their corner

    Under pressure from all sides, Europe's independent film sellers are to fight back through a new organisation, which launches today in Cannes as part of 'Europe Day.'The initiative, which sees national federations of film sellers' bodies pact together, is launched as the initiative of Jacques Le Glou, former boss of Mercure Distribution and head of French exporters' body Association Des Exportateurs de Films (ADEF)."This organisation is necessary in order highlight the value of
  • FAME strikes deal with Handprint

    Film and Music Entertainment Ltd (FAME) has signed an exclusive US representation deal with management company Handprint Entertainment. In pacting with Handprint, FAME's Mike Downey and Sam Taylor believe that not only their access to US talent will be smoother and less time consuming, They also expect to benefit from Handprint's in house management facilities and stable of artists, which includes J-LoFAME, which is chaired by Stephen Daldry and recently delivered Deathwatch
  • FAME strikes deal with Handprint

    Film and Music Entertainment Ltd (FAME) has signed an exclusive US representation deal with management company Handprint Entertainment. In pacting with Handprint, FAME's Mike Downey and Sam Taylor believe that not only their access to US talent will be smoother and less time consuming, They also expect to benefit from Handprint's in house management facilities and stable of artists, which includes J-LoFAME, which is chaired by Stephen Daldry and recently delivered Deathwatch
  • FAME targets third party pictures

    Film And Music Entertainment (F&ME), the UK independent production outfit, has launched a new division to service third party pictures, including the eight co-productions that have already been lined up alongside its own in-house pictures.The new division will be headed by FAME's Sam Taylor with Sam Lavender and newly-appointed head of co-productions Zorana Piggott. It aims to help US and continental European films shoot in the UK. Its first full service production will be Orange Pictu
  • Fandango finds Australian Tom, picks up Kusturica

    Dynamic Italian producer Domenico Procacci, whose Fandango outfit produced Critics Week closing film B&B and The Cormoran, is continuing to ramp up his international production and distribution labels. Procacci has boarded upcoming Australian picture Missing Tom, through the Australian company he runs with directors Rolf de Heer and Richard Lowenstein.At the same time, Procacci has also picked up all Italian distribution rights to Life Is A Miracle (a
  • Fandango finds Australian Tom, picks up Kusturica

    Dynamic Italian producer Domenico Procacci, whose Fandango outfit produced Critics Week closing film B&B and The Cormoran, is continuing to ramp up his international production and distribution labels. Procacci has boarded upcoming Australian picture Missing Tom, through the Australian company he runs with directors Rolf de Heer and Richard Lowenstein.At the same time, Procacci has also picked up all Italian distribution rights to Life Is A Miracle (a
  • Fandango finds Australian Tom, picks up Kusturica

    Dynamic Italian producer Domenico Procacci, whose Fandango outfit produced Critics Week closing film B&B and The Cormoran, is continuing to ramp up his international production and distribution labels. Procacci has boarded upcoming Australian picture Missing Tom, through the Australian company he runs with directors Rolf de Heer and Richard Lowenstein.At the same time, Procacci has also picked up all Italian distribution rights to Life Is A Miracle (a
  • Fandango finds Tom, picks up Kusturica

    Dynamic Italian producer Domenico Procacci, whose Fandango outfit produced Critics Week closing film B&B and The Cormoran, is continuing to ramp up his international production and distribution labels. Procacci has boarded upcoming Australian picture Missing Tom, through the Australian company he runs with directors Rolf de Heer and Richard Lowenstein.At the same time, Procacci has also picked up all Italian distribution rights to Life Is A Miracle (a
  • Fanfan La Tulipe

    Dir. Gerard Krawczyk. France. 2003. 100mins.Supposedly a fluffy piece of entertainment to kick off Cannes' 56th festival in style, Gerard Krawczyk's remake of the swashbuckler classic - which won Christian-Jaque the best director award in 1952 - is a pretty plodding and charmless experience that works too hard but not successfully enough to court audience favours. Carried as it is by the appeal of its two leading stars, Vincent Perez and Penelope Cruz, it might generate initial inte
  • Film archivists convene in Sweden

    The Swedish Film Institute and the Finnish Film Archive will host this year's congress of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF). The event kicks off at Stockholm's Filmhuset on June1 and closes in Helsinki on June7. Attracting delegates from more than 60 countries, speakers will include UCLA film restorer Robert Gitt, Sony/Columbia Pictures film restorers Grover Crisp and Michael Friend as well as Noël Desmet of Cinematheque Royale in Brussels and the UK's Paul Read
  • Film Council, British Film Commission renamed

    The UK's public agency for film, the Film Council and its inward investment arm, the British Film Commission (BFC) are undergoing a name change to provide a single, identifiable entity able to raise the industry profile, both at home and overseas.From 13 May the Film Council is being renamed the UK Film Council and the former BFC will operate with a wider brief as the UK organisation's international arm, UK Film Council International.The BFC, which co-ordinates the UK film indus
  • Film Library offers Dragon Blade, Green Tea

    Hong Kong and Los Angeles-based sales agent The Film Library has picked up international rights to US$10m Hong Kong animation Dragon Blade and Green Tea directed by mainland Chinese director Zhang Yuan. Dragon Blade, directed by Australian stunt co-ordinator Antony Szeto, is the first feature-length 3D computer-animated film to be developed and produced in Hong Kong. Billed as 'Shrek meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' the film is produced by Hong K
  • Filmmakers unite to form sales agency

    A band of festival-calibre filmmakers and producers are seeking a radical overhaul of the film sales business through a new agency that has secured financing for the initial year from the International Filmmakers Collective based in the UK and Monaco. Buena Onda Films was formally established last month as a London-registered production and sales collective with the blessing of numerous like-minded filmmakers. They are seeking nothing less than a new paradigm for financing and selling
  • Filmmakers unite to form sales agency

    A band of festival-calibre filmmakers and producers are seeking a radical overhaul of the film sales business through a new agency that has secured financing for the initial year from the International Filmmakers Collective based in the UK and Monaco. Buena Onda Films was formally established last month as a London-registered production and sales collective with the blessing of numerous like-minded filmmakers. They are seeking nothing less than a new paradigm for financing and selling
  • First Indo-French co-production unveiled

    Indian TV network Zee has signed a deal with France TV and Silhouette Films to co-produce One Dollar Curry, the first time France and India have allied on a film. The Euros 2m film will star Smriti Mishra and be directed by Paris based Indian filmmaker Vijay Singh (Jaya Ganga). The shooting for One Dollar Curry, which is a cross-over film revolving around an Indian immigrant who makes it big in France by opening the first Indian mobile kitchen, will begin in July 2
  • First Look Thais up Tesseract

    First Look Media has acquired worldwide rights excluding Japan and Thailand to Oxide Pang's The Tesseract, an English-language thriller based on Alex (The Beach) Garland's bestselling novel starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Saskia Reeves and Thai child actor Alexander Rendel.First Look has also acquired worldwide rights to Simon De Selva's Lethal Dose (LD50) starring Katharine Towne and Melanie Brown (aka Mel B of The Spice Girls fame). First Look's sales arm Overseas
  • Flach Pyramide on a roll with Arcand's Invasions

    Denys Arcand's competition film The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barbares) has opened strongly in its native Quebec, notching C$1m in its first six days of release on a 120 print release handled by Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm, and giving a further boost to sales agent Flach Pyramide International (FPI).Indeed, Arcand's latest, which focuses on a dying man's reconciliation with his son and his acceptance of impending death, has already been snapped up here by Bim's Va
  • Flanders Image selects producer for Cannes showcase

    Flanders Image has picked Bart Van Langendonck of the young Brussels-based production house CCCP as its very first 'Producer in the Picture' to be showcased during the Cannes Film Festival.Only eight months after its launch in September 2002, CCCP has some 15 projects at different stages of production or development, including award-winning stage director Wayn Traub's feature Maria-Dolores and Frederic Brival's Hot Dogs which will be screening as a 'work in progress'. Vam
  • Focus extends Mira Nair ties

    Focus Features is in final talks to close a one-year, first-look deal with Mira Nair's production outfit Mirabai Films encompassing films she will both direct and produce. The agreement comes as Focus starts selling Nair's Vanity Fair in Cannes; yesterday a deal was closed for Australia with Icon Entertainment.Focus has just started shooting Vanity Fair in the UK with Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharp and a glittering supporting cast of Bob Hoskins, Gabriel Byrne, E
  • Focus extends Mira Nair ties

    Focus Features is in final talks to close a one-year, first-look deal with Mira Nair's production outfit Mirabai Films encompassing films she will both direct and produce. The agreement comes as Focus starts selling Nair's Vanity Fair in Cannes; yesterday a deal was closed for Australia with Icon Entertainment.Focus has just started shooting Vanity Fair in the UK with Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharp and a glittering supporting cast of Bob Hoskins, Gabriel Byrne, E
  • Fortissimo on song with Camp, Eye sequel

    Fortissimo Film Sales has announced a raft of sales on musical comedy Camp and the Pang Brothers' highly-anticipated sequel to horror hit The Eye.Camp, directed by Todd Graff, has been sold to Highlight for Germany, Hopscotch for Australia and New Zealand, Asmik Ace for Japan, Cathay for Singapore, AQS for the Czech Republic, Audiovisual for Greece, Elite for Switzerland and A-Film for Benelux. A-Film and Audiovisual have also taken The Eye 2 which is schedu
  • Fortissimo on song with Camp, Eye sequel

    Fortissimo Film Sales has announced a raft of sales on musical comedy Camp and the Pang Brothers' highly-anticipated sequel to horror hit The Eye.Camp, directed by Todd Graff, has been sold to Highlight for Germany, Hopscotch for Australia and New Zealand, Asmik Ace for Japan, Cathay for Singapore, AQS for the Czech Republic, Audiovisual for Greece, Elite for Switzerland and A-Film for Benelux. A-Film and Audiovisual have also taken The Eye 2 which is schedu
  • Fortissimo strikes financing deal with Bank of Scotland

    Fortissimo Film Sales has struck a new relationship with the film finance arm of Royal Bank Of Scotland (RBOS), allowing it to expand at a time when the sales market is getting tighter.The new facility is described as a "multi-faceted financial structure," which could evolve into a fully-fledged revolving credit facility. "Traditionally Fortissimo has been self financed with all investments and minimum guarantees coming from internal funds or cash flow. But we reached a point wh
  • Fortissimo strikes financing deal with Bank of Scotland

    Fortissimo Film Sales has struck a new relationship with the film finance arm of Royal Bank Of Scotland (RBOS), allowing it to expand at a time when the sales market is getting tighter.The new facility is described as a 'multi-faceted financial structure,' which could evolve into a fully-fledged revolving credit facility. 'Traditionally Fortissimo has been self financed with all investments and minimum guarantees coming from internal funds or cash flow. But we reached a point wh
  • Franchise Pictures targets the UK

    Franchise Pictures is going to London. Elie Samaha's LA-based production and financing outfit is launching a UK distribution outfit, hiring London-based production executives and teaming with tax and finance specialist Invicta Capital for co-production and tax finance structuring on the new venture.Samaha and partner David Bergstein are ten days away from closing a deal to buy a London post-production facility out of which they plan to base their production and distribution operations.
  • Franchise Pictures targets the UK

    Franchise Pictures is going to London. Elie Samaha's LA-based production and financing outfit is launching a UK distribution outfit, hiring London-based production executives and teaming with tax and finance specialist Invicta Capital for co-production and tax finance structuring on the new venture.Samaha and partner David Bergstein are ten days away from closing a deal to buy a London post-production facility out of which they plan to base their production and distribution operations.
  • French Asterix revival in Danish hands

    The first feature to be produced by French network M6 - the Euros 22m animated Asterix And The Vikings directed Denmark's Stefan Fjeldmark and Jesper Moller - should be delivered by 2006. M6 is collaborating with the experienced Danes at A-Film, whose credits includes Fjeldmark's Help, I'm A Fish (2000). Though A-Fiolm is a subsidiary of Nordic major Nordisk Film, Svensk Filmindustri beat them in the run for Scandinavian rights. Other presales include RTL for Germany, an
  • French Toast: Gallic hits show international strength

    Cedric Klapisch's comedy L'Auberge Espagnole managed a rare feat this week when it knocked Hollywood blockbuster X2: X-Men United off the top of a chart after just one week - in Poland.An opening of $79,872 (ZLO 299,026) for local distributor Spinka from 20,096 admissions gave L'Auberge Espagnole the lead position. It played at 29 screens in Poland, compared to X2's 55. It also launched on limited release in The UK last weekend, taking $15,178 (£9,471) from eight s
  • George Lucas launches digital animation unit

    Seventeen years after selling Pixar to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs for $10m, George Lucas has launched his own digital animation unit called Lucasfilm Animation.These days Pixar is riding high on a market capitalisation of $3.3bn, fuelled by the wolrdwide success of titles like Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. Its films are released for the time being by Disney.That, allied to a growing number of lucrative industry partnerships and stalled progress on his own studio co
  • German-UK development venture formed

    Germany's MagicWorx has formed a development joint venture with What's The Story, the production outfit of UK casting directors Ros and John Hubbard (Lord Of The Rings) to join forces on developing high-profile feature projects budgeted at between $2m-$20m, with the majority being between $5m-10m.This move comes after the two companies became production partners - along with US-based Burzee Inc. - on the live-action family entertainment feature The Life And Adventures Of Sant
  • Germany shows off Next Generation

    Germany may not have had a film in competition at Cannes for ten years, but the Next Generation event has now become a regular - and popular - fixture.Organised by the Export Union, Cannes screenings showcased ten short films by students from six German film schools. In addition to the ten, last year's Oscar nominated short Rocks returned to the Croisette.The session was attended by Christina Weiss, state minister for culture and the media, who was in town for a discussion on fi
  • Gillies MacKinnon reaches for Dizzy Heights

    The UK's Gillies MacKinnon is to direct Dizzy Heights, a romantic comedy produced by Theta Films and sold by Vine International Pictures at Cannes. The story of a love triangle set in London, the film is billed as a dark blend of romantic comedy, music and magical imagery. The script is by Clive King, who previously worked in theatre and television. Producers are Joy Mellins and David Shanks from Theta Films, a production-development outfit set up in May 2002.Currently in
  • Gold Circle UK plans unveiled

    Gold Circle Films, the Los Angeles-based company which scored with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, has become the latest US company to set up shop in the UK.The operation last week unveiled its partnership with ICE Productions, the production company recently launched under Erica Motley, former head of film at Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine Entertainment.Motley and her team, which includes Claire Bennett and Irene Ilias, will spearhead UK activities for Gold Circle, which is run by
  • Gold Circle UK plans unveiled

    Gold Circle Films, the Los Angeles-based company which scored with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, has become the latest US company to set up shop in the UK.The operation last week unveiled its partnership with ICE Productions, the production company recently launched under Erica Motley, former head of film at Elisabeth Murdoch's Shine Entertainment.Motley and her team, which includes Claire Bennett and Irene Ilias, will spearhead UK activities for Gold Circle, which is run by
  • Golden Scene scares up Lau's Park

    Hong Kong buyer Golden Scene is also attending Cannes as a seller for the first time this year with horror title The Park, directed by Andrew Lau, whose credits include hit crime thriller Infernal Affairs.The film, which stars Bobo Chan, Tiffany Lee and Edwin Siu, wrapped in Thailand at the end of March. Golden Scene is also selling Teddy Chen's Dark October about the founder of modern China, Sun Yat-Sen, although the project which was scheduled to shoot in souther
  • Golino, Gassmanon, Verdecchi slate

    Valeria Golino (Respiro, Frida) has just finished shooting a new Italian film, entitled Prendimi E Portami Via.Written and directed by Tonino Zangardi, the film focuses on a young Roman boy who falls in love with a gypsy girl. Rodolfo Lagana' stars alongside Golino in the film, which is produced by Verdecchi Film and will be distributed in Italy by Istituto Luce.The Rome-based company is also lining up Ora E Per Sempre, a film about the history of the Turin
  • Goodman, Hoskins to croon with Spacey

    John Goodman and Bob Hoskins are in final talks to join the cast of Kevin Spacey's Beyond The Sea being sold in Cannes by MDP Worldwide. Spacey is directing the film, a biopic of legendary crooner Bobby Darin, and also playing Darin, with Kate Bosworth starring as his wife actress Sandra Dee. Goodman is playing Darin's manager Steve Blauner and Bob Hoskins is playing his brother-in-law Charlie Maffia in the movie.
  • Greenaway's Suitcases open for business

    Peter Greenaway's opus The Tulse Luper Suitcases, has secured a clutch of key sales ahead of the world premiere on the last day of competition (Sat 24) of the first instalment: The Moab Story. Handled by Fortissimo Film Sales, the picture has been sold to Triangel Films for Scandinavia, Atalanta for Portugal and A-Films and Cineart/Cinelibre for Benelux. Earlier pre-buys had included Istituto Luce for Italy and Lauren Films for Spain, while the film has distributors on pl
  • Groundhog remake completes cast

    Amores Perros star Goya Toledo has joined the cast of Il Giorno della Civetta, the Italian-Spanish remake of Groundhog Day, which starts shooting in the Canary Islands on Wednesday. Toledo will feature alongside popular local comedian Antonio Albanese, who will star in the lead role played by Bill Murray in the 1993 original. The cast is rounded out by Fabio de Luigi, and Spanish actors, Beatriz Rico, Ester Ortega and Pepon Nieto.Rome powerhouse Cattleya is co-pro
  • Grupo Novo boast hot Brazilian slate

    Quinzaine entry Filme De Amor tops the slate of leading Brazilian sales company Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV which comes to Cannes with some of its strongest titles to date. "I think we'll see happy times for Brazilian cinema at the Cannes Marche this year. We'll be taking a highly diverse and very hot slate - probably the best in years," said Grupo Novo head Tarcisio Vidigal.Aside from Grupo Novo production, Filme De Amor, the company brings such high-profile titles
  • Grupo Novo boast hot Brazilian slate

    Quinzaine entry Filme De Amor tops the slate of leading Brazilian sales company Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV which comes to Cannes with some of its strongest titles to date. "I think we'll see happy times for Brazilian cinema at the Cannes Marche this year. We'll be taking a highly diverse and very hot slate - probably the best in years," said Grupo Novo head Tarcisio Vidigal.Aside from Grupo Novo production, Filme De Amor, the company brings such high-profile titles
  • Hadidas lord it up in production

    The Hadida brothers Samuel and Victor are the latest indie distributors to underline the notion that cash is king. Flush with the proceeds of handling Lord Of The Rings in France through their Metropolitan Filmexport label, they are now stepping up production activities through their other company Davis Films. 'This has enabled us to take a bigger step in production finance,' said Victor Hadida. 'Equally banks and investors have seen fit to advance us greater credits for our own
  • Hadidas lord it up in production

    The Hadida brothers Samuel and Victor are the latest indie distributors to underline the notion that cash is king. Flush with the proceeds of handling Lord Of The Rings in France through their Metropolitan Filmexport label, they are now stepping up production activities through their other company Davis Films. "This has enabled us to take a bigger step in production finance," said Victor Hadida. "Equally banks and investors have seen fit to advance us greater credits for our own
  • HanWay adds Binoche, Fishburne thriller to Cannes slate

    UK-based sales company HanWay has added thriller Scheherazade, starring Juliette Binoche and Laurence Fishburne, to its busy Cannes slate.Director Michael Apted, whose credits include Enigma and The World Is Not Enough, is to start shooting the thriller in the autumn, according to buyers. The film, named after the king's wife in The Arabian Nights, is a contemporary thriller set in Los Angeles.HanWay has also been generating buyer interest with anothe
  • HanWay adds Binoche, Fishburne thriller to Cannes slate

    UK-based sales company HanWay has added thriller Scheherazade, starring Juliette Binoche and Laurence Fishburne, to its busy Cannes slate.Director Michael Apted, whose credits include Enigma and The World Is Not Enough, is to start shooting the thriller in the autumn, according to buyers. The film, named after the king's wife in The Arabian Nights, is a contemporary thriller set in Los Angeles.HanWay has also been generating buyer interest with anothe
  • HBO Films picks up El Deseo title

    HBO Films London has made its first pick-up, acquiring international rights to Lucrecia Martel's The Holy Girl from Pedro and Agustin Almodovar's El Deseo. The film is Martel's first film since La Cienega, the 2001 festival hit about two women and their families in a small town in Argentina.The Holy Girl is the story of a young girl trying to find her place in her religion. It stars Mia Maestro, Carlos Belloso and Maria Alche. It is produced by Lita Stantic,
  • HBO Films picks up El Deseo title

    HBO Films London has made its first pick-up, acquiring international rights to Lucrecia Martel's The Holy Girl from Pedro and Agustin Almodovar's El Deseo. The film is Martel's first film since La Cienega, the 2001 festival hit about two women and their families in a small town in Argentina.The Holy Girl is the story of a young girl trying to find her place in her religion. It stars Mia Maestro, Carlos Belloso and Maria Alche. It is produced by Lita Stantic,
  • Hong Kong sellers journey to Cannes

    Media Asia has chosen to stay at home but several other Hong Kong sellers and buyers have made the trip to Cannes as the SARS crisis in the territory appears to be diminishing. Among the Hong Kong sellers who can be found either on the Croisette or in the Riviera are Celestial Pictures, Fortissimo Film Sales, Golden Network Asia, Han Entertainment and Golden Sun. In addition, China Star Entertainment, Universe Films Distribution and Mandarin Films have taken booths as usual in the Hong
  • Hot Britstar goes to war for Calderwood

    Rising British male star Chewitel Ejiofor, who shot to prominence opposite Audrey Tautou in Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things, has joined the cast of African love story Girls At War, which is based at Andrea Calderwood's UK production outfit Slate Films.The love story set in post-independence Nigeria aims to bring a dynamic new style to African cinema, with a kinetic mix of street humour, audacious fashions and "hi-life" music. Ejiofor will play a school teacher whose l
  • Hunter S Thompson doc gets world premiere at CineVegas

    The CineVegas International Film Festival in Las Vegas (June 13 to 21) will host the world premiere of Breakfast With Hunter, a feature length documentary starring the outlaw journalist Dr Hunter S Thompson. Directing by Wayne Ewing, the documentary chronicles Thompson's attempt to avoid being placed in the system by rogue Aspen City cops that conspire to bust him for drunken driving on the eve of an important local election. This political story interweaves with his struggle to
  • Icelandic films back on track

    After almost a year without funding for local films, a restructured Icelandic Film Centre has been put back into business by the new managing director Laufey Gudjonsdottir. The first projects should be getting backing from mid-June. 'We have just appointed the new film commissioners and the first projects arrived just before Cannes,' says Gudjonsdottir. 'We have been working hard to get the rules set, but these things take time. Among the undecided issues are what our funding policy on
  • Icon signs with Turturro's comic musical

    Icon Entertainment International has boarded Romance & Cigarettes, a darkly comic musical starring Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini and Susan Sarandon, directed by John Turturro and executive produced by the Coen brothers.MGM/UA will release the film - the latest musical offered on the Croisette after Phantom Of The Opera and Pride & Prejudice: The Bollywood Musical - in North American, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Latin America. Filming is to start late
  • Icon signs with Turturro's comic musical

    Icon Entertainment International has boarded Romance & Cigarettes, a darkly comic musical starring Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini and Susan Sarandon, directed by John Turturro and executive produced by the Coen brothers.MGM/UA will release the film - the latest musical offered on the Croisette after Phantom Of The Opera and Pride & Prejudice: The Bollywood Musical - in North American, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Latin America. Filming is to start late
  • Idle spoofs Merchant Ivory with Remains Of The Piano

    The prolific Stratus Film Co is to fully finance Remains Of The Piano, a spoof of Merchant Ivory costume dramas which has been written and will be directed by Eric Idle, his first film as director since The Ruttles in 1978. Capitol Films is selling the film in Cannes, with no US distribution yet attached.The film starts principal photography on Aug 18 in Canada and the UK with a large ensemble cast assembled led by Geoffrey Rush as Hopkins, a middle-aged British ar
  • Idle spoofs Merchant Ivory with Remains Of The Piano

    The prolific Stratus Film Co is to fully finance Remains Of The Piano, a spoof of Merchant Ivory costume dramas which has been written and will be directed by Eric Idle, his first film as director since The Ruttles in 1978. Capitol Films is selling the film in Cannes, with no US distribution yet attached.The film starts principal photography on Aug 18 in Canada and the UK with a large ensemble cast assembled led by Geoffrey Rush as Hopkins, a middle-aged British ar
  • IEG wed to Thurman comedy

    Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) has agreed to fully finance The Accidental Husband which IEG's Graham King will produce with the film's star Uma Thurman and Jason Blum. Thurman is joined by Brendan Fraser in the romantic comedy which will be directed by Hugh Wilson (The First Wives Club).IEG is handling worldwide sales on the film, written by Mimi Hare and Clare Naylor, which tells the story of a self-help guru (Thurman) planning her wedding who discovers that sh
  • Inside Pictures announces final 14 participants

    Inside Pictures, the UK Film Council's film business training programme run by Qwerty Films (previously Kuhn & Co) has announced its 14 successful participants for its second annual intensive training programme. Fourteen participants were chosen from over 250 applications through a committee selection process and a shortlist of interviews. John Woodward, UK Film Council Chief Executive said, "The first year of Inside Pictures worked extremely well. We are confident that it has
  • Intermedia benefits from cost-cutting, eyes T4

    IM Internationalmedia AG, the corporate parent of Intermedia, has announced its second consecutive positive quarterly result - scoring EBITA of Euros 4.3m for the first quarter 2003 as compared to a negative Euros 5.4m in the first quarter of 2002. The results come just as Intermedia prepares to launch its biggest ever picture Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines here this weekend.Sales revenues increased 21% over the same period in the previous year to Euros 80.6m. The company's
  • Intermedia benefits from cost-cutting, eyes T4

    IM Internationalmedia AG, the corporate parent of Intermedia, has announced its second consecutive positive quarterly result - scoring EBITA of Euros 4.3m for the first quarter 2003 as compared to a negative Euros 5.4m in the first quarter of 2002. The results come just as Intermedia prepares to launch its biggest ever picture Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines here this weekend.Sales revenues increased 21% over the same period in the previous year to Euros 80.6m. The company's
  • Israeli film fest to screen thirty-three titles

    Thirty-three films representing some of the most recent offerings from Israeli cinema will screen in Los Angeles at the 19th Israeli Film Festival, including Erez Laufer's documentary Mike Brant: Laisse Moi T'Aimer, a profile of the celebrated Paris-based pop singer that receives its world premiere at Cannes.The event, which runs from May 28-Jun 8, will open with Keren Margalit's romantic drama All I've Got, about a woman who marries after her first love is killed in a ca
  • Italiano mambos to Icon for UK/Oz

    Montreal-based Equinoxe Films has closed some key deals on its hot comedy Mambo Italiano starring Paul Sorvino, Ginette Reno and Mary Walsh. Icon Entertainment has taken the film for the UK and Australia/New Zealand, Fu Works has bought it for Benelux, Lolafilms has bought Spain and Italy and Shani Film has taken Israel.Samuel Goldwyn Films took US rights to the film before the market and plans to release it day-and-date with Equinoxe in Canada later in the year, although
  • Italy's Mondo strikes cartoon gold in North Korea

    One of Europe's top animation houses, Rome-based Mondo TV, has sealed a series of deals worth at least $20m with North Korean outfit Sek - who will now replace South Korean mini-major Hahn Shin Corporation as a co-producer on several major upcoming theatrical animation features.As part of the new relationship, Sek has paid Euros 17.6m to acquire 30% of all Asian distribution rights to four Mondo animated biopics that are in production: an epic about Genghis Khan, one of Mother Teresa,
  • Italy's Mondo strikes cartoon gold in North Korea

    One of Europe's top animation houses, Rome-based Mondo TV, has sealed a series of deals worth at least $20m with North Korean outfit Sek - who will now replace South Korean mini-major Hahn Shin Corporation as a co-producer on several major upcoming theatrical animation features.As part of the new relationship, Sek has paid Euros 17.6m to acquire 30% of all Asian distribution rights to four Mondo animated biopics that are in production: an epic about Genghis Khan, one of Mother Teresa,
  • Johnny English closes on $100m in international BO

    Universal's smash spy spoof Johnny English grossed $3.9m from 2,679 sites in 29 countries over the weekend, raising its international running total to $98.6m.Holding firm in second place in the UK behind X2, Johnny English took $1.1m from 418 sites in its fifth week, dropping 41% from last weekend.The film has grossed $26.9m in the UK, passing American Pie 2 to become Universal's 11th biggest release of all time there.Johnny finished third in G
  • Kidron takes on Reluctant Matador

    Beeban Kidron is to direct romantic comedy The Reluctant Matador for Myriad Pictures.Myriad is financing and co-producing the film with Charles Finch and Luc Roeg's Artists Independent Network. Momentum Pictures retains UK rights after helping develop the project. The picture, which is expected to star Ryan Reynolds and Paz Vega, is the story of an American in London who wins a trip to Spain, where he meets the girt of his dreams.
  • Kinowelt back in distribution business

    The reincarnated Kinowelt will be back in business as a theatrical distributor from July 1 under the management of Michael Koelmel and Bertil le Claire.Kinowelt's distribution activities will concentrate in future on 10-12 select titles each year and the distribution arm is set to begin in August with the animation feature Asterix In Amerika in a newly re-dubbed version by alternative German comics Erkan and Stefan.This will be followed around Halloween by the horror thri
  • Korean war drama sold to Universal in Japan

    Korean powerhouse Kang Je Gyu has inked its long-anticipated first deal on war drama Tae Guk Gi, aftter. Japanese rights to the $12m picture was sold to Universal Pictures Japan (UPJ), for an undisclosed sum. The deal enables Kang Je Gyu, Korean distributor Showbox and UPJ to begin immediate work on the marketing campaign. The film is shooting now under the direction of founder Kang (who previously made hit Shiri) and will be released in Japan In mid 2004. The deal also
  • Korea's CJ expands Cannes slate

    CJ Entertainment, the Korean major which yesterday received an official visit from French culture minister Jean-Pierre Aillagon, expanded its Cannes slate with the addition of supernatural thriller, The Uninvited.The film, which goes on release in Korea at the end of June, pairs two of the country's top stars Park Shin-yang, (star of Hi Dharma) and Jun Ji-hyun (the lead from popular comedy My Sassy Girl).It is written and directed by first-timer Lee Soo-ye
  • Love Hurts (Amarte Duele)

    Dir: Fernando Sarinana. Mexico. 2002. 110mins.Having proved his box-office mettle in his native Mexico, producer-turned director Fernando Sarinana has been building an international profile with such offerings as Hasta Morir (Til Death, 1994), Todo El Poder (Give Me Power, 1999) and his pitch-black fresco of Mexico City grotesques, Ciudades Oscuras (Dark Cities, 2002). But, while his new film, Love Hurts, played in competition
  • Low budget films ride Shotgun

    Low budget, low overhead and low risk are the watchwords of a new Stuttgart-based production outfit, Shotgun Pictures, which yesterday unveiled a plans for a ten-picture slate.The company was formed by Kinowelt founder Peter Haeberle, German producer Peter Rommel, the UK's Mike Downey and Sam Taylor and Keith Rothman. Financial backing comes from German outfit Clou Partners.Shotgun starts life with $5m of available capital and committed services. It intends to make films with an
  • Lucas Foster leaves Myriad

    Lucas Foster, president of production at Myriad Pictures, is leaving the company 'to pursue his personal projects.' Company president Kirk D'Amico issued a statement yesterday to the effect that Foster's contract would not be renewed and that he is leaving the company immediately.Foster is currently on location in Mexico producing Man On Fire for New Regency. He joined the company in 2001 and had developed several films for the company; he will be credited as an executive
  • Matrix Reloaded scores in strong international bow

    Opening in 13 territoriesover the weekend The Matrix Reloaded dominated the charts with animpressive $31.9m international bow on 2,629 screens In a string of number oneopenings, the sci-fi sequel took $12m in France (Euros 10.3m) from 894 screensin what was the sixth biggest US opening weekend ever.Figures represent three-daygrosses and not the more common five as the studio embargoed its non-US releases until after Thursday's international premiere at Cannes.In Au
  • Matrix Reloaded takes $31.9m in first international releases

    Opening in 13 territories over the weekend The MatrixReloaded dominated the charts with an impressive $31.9m internationalbow.on 2,629 screens In a string of number one openings, the sci-fi sequel took$12m in France (Euros 10.3m) from 894 screens in what was the sixth biggest USopening weekend ever.Figures represent three-day grosses and not the usual fiveas all international releases cut their lead-in times in deference toThursday's international prem
  • Matrix Reloaded unleashes $93.3m three-day opening weekend

    Opening in 13 territoriesover the weekend The Matrix Reloaded dominated the charts with animpressive $31.9m international bow. In a string of number oneopenings, the sci-fi sequel took $12m in France (Euros 10.3m) from 894 screensin what was the sixth biggest US opening weekend ever.Figures represent three-daygrosses and not the usual five as all international releases cut their lead-intimes in deference to Thursday's international premiere at Cannes.
  • Matrix Reloaded unleashes $93.3m three-day opening weekend

    The Matrix Reloaded scored the biggest domestic opening ever for anR-rated film and the second biggest domestic bow of all time at the weekend,delivering a mighty $93.3m according to Warner Bros estimates.Factoring in Thursday's$42.5m opening day and $5m from Wednesday previews, The Matrix Reloadedgrossed $135.8m over four days. The sci-fi sequel overtook Hannibal ($58m,2001) as the biggest R-rated bow and trails only Spider-Man's $114.8mall-time biggest bow
  • Matrix Reloaded unleashes second biggest opening ever

    Opening in 13 territoriesover the weekend The Matrix Reloaded dominated the charts with animpressive $31.9m international bow. In a string of number oneopenings, the sci-fi sequel took $12m in France (Euros 10.3m) from 894 screensin what was the sixth biggest US opening weekend ever.Figures represent three-daygrosses and not the usual five as all international releases cut their lead-intimes in deference to Thursday's international premiere at Cannes.
  • Matrix Reloaded unleashes second biggest opening weekend ever

    The Matrix Reloaded scored the biggest domestic opening ever for anR-rated film and the second biggest domestic bow of all time at the weekend,delivering a mighty $93.3m according to Warner Bros estimates.Factoring in Thursday's$42.5m opening day and $5m from Wednesday previews, The Matrix Reloadedgrossed $135.8m over four days. The sci-fi sequel overtook Hannibal ($58m,2001) as the biggest R-rated bow and trails only Spider-Man's $114.8mall-time biggest bow
  • Matrix Revolutions aims for global day, date - and hour - release

    Producer Joel Silver is aiming for a global day, date and hour release for the third Matrix installment, Revolutions, on November 5. "We're still working it out logistically, but the audience is ready," he said - no matter what way it is structured, a simultaneous global release would see one territory holding its premiere at around 4am. Added Silver: "The story will end in the next movie."At a packed press conference in the Palais attended by 15 Matrix Reloade
  • Matrix Revolutions aims for global day, date - and hour - release

    Producer Joel Silver is aiming for a global day, date and hour release for the third Matrix installment, Revolutions, on November 5. "We're still working it out logistically, but the audience is ready," he said - no matter what way it is structured, a simultaneous global release would see one territory holding its premiere at around 4am. Added Silver: "The story will end in the next movie."At a packed press conference in the Palais attended by 15 Matrix Reloade
  • Menemsha flies to Argentinian Moon

    Neil Friedman's Menemsha Entertainment has boarded Avellaneda's Moon, the next film from Son Of The Bride team of Juan Jose Campanella and star Ricardo Darin. Menemsha is pre-selling the Argentinian film in Cannes, the first time that it has done so, based on the film-maker's pedigree.Son Of The Bride has so far grossed over $40m in worldwide box office revenues and still has major territories to open such as the UK next week through Pathe and Italy on June 13 thro
  • Menemsha flies to Argentinian Moon

    Neil Friedman's Menemsha Entertainment has boarded Avellaneda's Moon, the next film from Son Of The Bride team of Juan Jose Campanella and star Ricardo Darin. Menemsha is pre-selling the Argentinian film in Cannes, the first time that it has done so, based on the film-maker's pedigree.Son Of The Bride has so far grossed over $40m in worldwide box office revenues and still has major territories to open such as the UK next week through Pathe and Italy on June 13 thro
  • Metro Tartan hires Asian buyer

    UK distributor Metro Tartan Distribution has appointed Christine Iso as its head of acquisitions with specific responsibility for Asia.Effective immediately, Iso replaces Patrizia Raeli Shibata, who recently co-founded Bright Angel, an Amsterdam-based distribution company covering the Benelux region.Tartan's Hamish McAlpine and Laura De Casto will now primarily deal with all other acquisitions outside Asia.Iso was instrumental as co-producer in the sale of remake rights t
  • Mifed tries to remove doubts

    Fiera Milano International (FMI) has signed a contract to run Mifed for the next 15 years and is committing to investing in improved services 'We want to make the market more modern and functional,' said Massimo Viviani, Managing Director of FMI, the market's new owners. 'We have been meeting our clients in Cannes and next week we will be travelling to meet international distributors and discuss their needs.'Improvements at the 2003 market, which runs from November 9th-13th, inc
  • Miner tapped by Davis for $15m horror

    Steve Miner has been set as the director for Black Sky, the $15m horror movie available here from Chris Davis International. Miner's many credits include Halloween H20, Lake Placid and two Friday The 13th movies. The effects-heavy picture, which starts production in California and Canada in late summer, tells the story of a group of delinquents sent to a summer camp where they are attacked by a large flock of vengeful and intelligent crows led by a mysterious white
  • Miramax full of Eastern promises

    Miramax Films has acquired worldwide distribution rights excluding UK free TV to BBC Films' Eastern Promises, a contemporary thriller set in an immigrant community. The film is written by Steven Knight, who also wrote Dirty Pretty Things, another BBC Film which Miramax handled worldwide.BBC Films chief David Thompson is executive producing Eastern Promises which is scheduled to begin production before the end of the year. Miramax International head Stuart Fo
  • MK2 acquires festival duo

    MK2, the French mini-major which controls the largest circuit of art-house cinemas in Paris, has added to its distribution slate with the acquisition of Un Certain Regard film Mille Mois by Faouzi Ben Saidi from Fortissimo Film Sales. Release is scheduled for October. On the sales side it also grabbed world rights to S21 La Machine De La Mort Khmer Rouge, the out-of -competition documentary France-based Vietnamese director Rithy Panh. MK2 also confirmed deals annou
  • Mother seduces key Euro sales

    Roger Michell's The Mother, the Director's Fortnight title which world premieres tonight has closed UK, French and Spanish deals. Momentum Pictures acquired UK theatrical and video rights from BBC Films, which financed the Hanif Kureishi screenplay about an older woman's affair with her daughter's boyfriend. Renaissance Films, which is handling international sales, closed deals with UGC for France and Vertigo Films for Spain this week.Sony Pictures Classics is dist
  • Mother Theresa joins cannibal tale on Blue Spice slate

    Anglo-Italian production outfit Blue Spice has closed a $80m deal with Italy's Lux Vide to co-produce five major feature films. It is also lining up a new thriller with Malcolm MacDowell about real-life Russian cannibal, The Monster of Rostov.The Blue Spice-Lux deal will extend over 2 years. The first production under the deal is Mother Theresa , a $15m biopic which focuses on her vision when she arrived in Calcutta and the trouble she ran into with the Church. The film w
  • Mother Theresa joins cannibal tale on Blue Spice slate

    Anglo-Italian production outfit Blue Spice has closed a $80m deal with Italy's Lux Vide to co-produce five major feature films. It is also lining up a new thriller with Malcolm MacDowell about real-life Russian cannibal, The Monster of Rostov.The Blue Spice-Lux deal will extend over 2 years. The first production under the deal is Mother Theresa , a $15m biopic which focuses on her vision when she arrived in Calcutta and the trouble she ran into with the Church. The film w
  • Moviehouse reunites with Broomfield

    Gary Phillips and Mark Vennis' UK-based sales house Moviehouse Entertainment has acquired Nick Broomfield's new Aileen Wuornos documentary Aileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer. Moviehouse, which sold Broomfield's Biggie & Tupac, has taken international sales rights to seven of Broomfield's earlier films, including Fetishes, Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam and his 1992 film about Wuornos, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling Of A Serial Killer (which MDP has turned
  • Muccino, Ozpetek lead Nastri D'Argento nominations

    In what is shaping up to be a landmark year for Italian cinema, red hot local directors Gabriele Muccino and Ferzan Ozpetek have earned nine nominations each at the Nastri D'Argento, Italy's second highest film accolade. Hot on the heels of Muccino's ensemble bittersweet drama, Remember Me, and Ozpetek's Facing Windows was Gabriele Salvatores's Berlin hit I'm Not Scared, which earned seven nods in the main categories.Also in the running with six nominations
  • Myriad nets Little Fish

    Myriad Pictures has acquired worldwide rights outside Australia and New Zealand to Little Fish, the second film from Rowan Woods whose debut The Boys was one of the biggest Australian hits of 1998.The film is produced by Porchlight Films' Vincent Sheehan (Mullet) and will be executive produced by Myriad president Kirk D'Amico and head of international production Marion Pilowsky.Set in Sydney's Little Saigon, the film is the story of an ex-heroin addict strug
  • Myriad sells out on Jeepers Creepers 2

    Myriad Pictures has sold out major territories on Jeepers Creepers 2, the sequel to the United Artists (UA)/American Zoetrope box office hit which was financed by Myriad and UA, which is planning to release the film in August and has also acquired four further territories - Japan, Italy, France and Australia.Filmax has acquired the film for Spain, Pathe Distribution for the UK, RCV Entertainment for Benelux, Warner/Nu Metro for South Africa, Egmont for Scandinavia, Zodiac for Po
  • Netherlands production platform expanded

    The Netherlands Production Platform, which is held during the Netherlands Film Festival's (NFF) Holland Meeting (September 26-29) in Utrecht, is to be extended this year to include European feature projects seeking Dutch financing or co-production partners and involving major Dutch elements.Last year, producers of two German and two Belgian feature films pitched projects at the Platform in addition to those from Dutch production companies. Now, in association with other European
  • New Benelux buyer grabs Shara

    Newly formed Dutch distributor Bright Angel Distribution has inked its first acquisition. It has bought all-Benelux rights to Cannes competition film Shara (Sharasoyju), which screens on the last Saturday of the festival. The deal was struck through French sales house Flach Pyramide International.The film, directed by Japanese director Kawase Naomi, is a family story built around the disappearance of one of a pair of twins. Five years later the family starts to uncover th
  • New sales company, AV Pictures, launches debut slate

    Angad Paul, co-financier of Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and ex-Victor Film Company chief Vic Bateman are launching sales on fashion world comedy Hatter through their new sales company AV Pictures.X-Men star Alan Cumming will star in the film, which newcomer James Killough will direct. Also on AV Pictures' debut slate are black comedy Dog, thriller The Filmmaker and romantic comedy School For Seduction.
  • New-look FilmFour boasts tantalizing slate

    A best-selling novel generating interest from a host of US companies, a comedy about a rock legend and a thriller about a brutal killing are amongst the avowedly 'catholic' debut slate of the UK's restructured FilmFour under Tessa Ross.Highlights include The Lovely Bones, UK auteur Lynne Ramsay's highly anticipated adaptation of Alice Sebold's novel. The project, commissioned under the old regime but embraced by Ross, is being closely tracked by American companies and produced b
  • New-look FilmFour boasts tantalizing slate

    A best-selling novel generating interest from a host of US companies, a comedy about a rock legend and a thriller about a brutal killing are amongst the avowedly 'catholic' debut slate of the UK's restructured FilmFour under Tessa Ross.Highlights include The Lovely Bones, UK auteur Lynne Ramsay's highly anticipated adaptation of Alice Sebold's novel. The project, commissioned under the old regime but embraced by Ross, is being closely tracked by American companies and produced b
  • NonStop dives with Cousteau

    Sweden's NonStop Entertainment has signed a deal with Europe Images International SA to handle Jacques Cousteau's extensive catalogue of more than 100 titles for TV and video in Scandinavia and Iceland. The deal includes films like Silent World, Odyssey, Mississippi, Amazon and The Undersea World. The Cousteau film collection includes more than 115 hours of wildlife, travel and underwater adventures from the 60's to the late 90's. Cousteau (1910-1997) was a
  • Once Upon A Time In The Midlands to open Newport

    The East Coast premiere of Shane Meadows' drama Once Upon A Time In The Midlands will open the sixth annual Newport International Film Festival (NIFF), which runs from Jun 10-15.The line-up includes more than 60 American and international films, including Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner American Splendor, Alejandro Agresti's Argentine-Dutch family drama Valentin and Tom Peosay's Tibet: Cry Of The Snow Lion.N
  • Optimum bags Comandante, Animal Factory for UK

    UK distributor Optimum Releasing has acquired four films including Steve Buscemi's gritty prison drama Animal Factory, starring Edward Furlong and Willem Dafoe, and Oliver Stone's Fidel Castro documentary Comandante.The distributor also picked up Brazil's Man Of The Year and Chinese festival favourite Blind Shaft from Grupo Novo de Cinema and The Film Library respectively. Both films will premiere at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival as part
  • Optimum/Rialto buy first joint acquisition

    The UK's Optimum Releasing and Australian/New Zealand distributor Rialto have bought HBO Films' Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner American Splendor as the first title in a joint buying relationship.Optimum has taken UK rights to the docu-drama, while Rialto has all rights in Australia and New Zealand. Optimum managing director Will Clarke, whose pick ups include Spirited Away and Amores Perros, said that the informal but ongoing relationship with Rialto 'is about st
  • Outlook remains stagnant for German market

    The German advertising market will remain stagnant until next year, according to a survey by accountancy firm KPMG of 129 managers from the fields of film, broadcasting and publishing. The study found that almost half (48%) of the managers were not expecting an upturn in the advertising sector until 2004 and just over half (52%) forecast growth of a maximum 3% for both 2003 and next year.53% of the managers from film and broadcasting expected the competition in their fields to b
  • Pavlikovsky re-teams with BBC on new slate

    Paul Pavlikovsky, the acclaimed director of 2000's Last Resort, is re-teaming with BBC Films on coming-of-age-tale This Summer Of Love.Pavlikovsky is working on the script, which tells the story of two adolescent girls from different classes and what happens when a dangerous man enters their lives.The BBC, which has The Mother in Directors Fortnight, is lining up Sarah Gavron's The Chosen Ones, which deals with the fertile ground of asylum seekers in
  • Pippi's father heads for international seas

    Everyone knows Pippi Longstocking, but few know that her father was a real person. But with Pippi's Father - Captain Charlie And The Cannibal Princess (working title) he should be at least as well known as Harry Potter by family audiences across the world. At least that is the ambition of Swedish producers Daniel Fridell and Jan Erik Levmo, who this week signed a deal with Michael Werner of NonStop Sales. The latter will handle international sales outside Scandinavia, where the
  • Poirier, Rashid boost Alliance Atlantis slate

    Alliance Atlantis has acquired international rights to two new films - That Touch Of Pink, which is the feature directorial debut of Ian Iqbal Rashid, and Chemins de Traverse which is the latest from acclaimed French director Manuel Poirier (Western).Both films were picked up by Charlotte Mickie, Alliance Atlantis' international film sales chief; prior to her involvement deals were concluded on That Touch Of Mink with Mongrel Media in Canada and with Redbus
  • Poirier, Rashid boost Alliance Atlantis slate

    Alliance Atlantis has acquired international rights to two new films - That Touch Of Pink, which is the feature directorial debut of Ian Iqbal Rashid, and Chemins de Traverse which is the latest from acclaimed French director Manuel Poirier (Western).Both films were picked up by Charlotte Mickie, Alliance Atlantis' international film sales chief; prior to her involvement deals were concluded on That Touch Of Mink with Mongrel Media in Canada and with Redbus
  • Present Perfect (Passato Prossimo)

    Dir: Maria Sole Tognazzi. Italy. 2003. 89minsFive friends meet up in a country house somewhere outside Rome over a long winter weekend. Each has unresolved relationship problems, some have problems with each other, and memories of other weekends in the same house hang in the air like distorting mirrors. More The Slight Draft than The Big Chill, Maria Sole Tognazzi's ensemble comedy cannot hope to emulate the Lawrence Kasdan classic, but it is an enjoyable, local
  • Publicity stunt boosts box office

    A publicity stunt has reaped solid box office results for Spanish/Mexican co production Asesino En Serio in Mexico. In a bid to replicate the controversy-driven box office success of El Crimen Del Padre Amaro, Altavista organised a street protest against the dark comedy at its premiere. Only when the local press started asking the picketers representing The Women For Good Behaviour League who they worked for did they reveal that they were hired by Altavista."With
  • Quantum secures completion funding

    Quantum Entertainment has signed an exclusive joint venture agreement with private investment Moviebank to raise $10m to $12m to provide completion financing for the films that the company will produce over the next three years.Under the venture, Quantum has teamed with Tony Shawkat's Basra Entertainment to produce gothic thriller Vlad with Billy Zane and Brad Dourif. The second film will be currently-casting Spirit Of Paradise to be written and directed by Quantum presid
  • Rai, Europa sign two-way pact

    Luc Besson's French powerhouse EuropaCorp has sealed a major reciprocal co-production and distribution deal with Italy's Rai Cinema.The deal, valued at around Euros 7m-10m, involves six Europa pictures produced between 2003 and 2005: These are Cannes opener Fanfan La Tulipe, Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Bon Voyage, comic book adaptation Michel Vaillant, Bernie Bonvoisin's Blanche, and Moi Cesar. Also on Europa and Rai Cinema's new joint slate is Da
  • Rai, Europa sign two-way pact

    Luc Besson's French powerhouse EuropaCorp has sealed a major reciprocal co-production and distribution deal with Italy's Rai Cinema.The deal, valued at around Euros 7m-10m, involves six Europa pictures produced between 2003 and 2005: These are Cannes opener Fanfan La Tulipe, Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Bon Voyage, comic book adaptation Michel Vaillant, Bernie Bonvoisin's Blanche, and Moi Cesar. Also on Europa and Rai Cinema's new joint slate is Da
  • Rampling heads South with Cantet

    Haut Et Court, the French production company behind competition film Tiresia and anticipated Un Certain Regard picture Who Killed Bambi, has cast Swimming Pool-star Charlotte Rampling in the new psychological drama by hot shot Laurent Cantet. The film, Heading South (Vers Le Sud) is an adaptation of the novel of the same title by Haitian writer Dany Laferriere and sees three middle-aged women travel abroad in order to forget their amorous disappointme
  • Refn continues dark American vein with St John

    After the successful collaboration with cult favourite author Hubert Selby Jr. on Fear X, Danish writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn is now turning to another scribe specialising in the seamier side of the American underbelly: Abel Ferrara's longtime screenwriting collaborator, Nicholas St. John.Billy's People follows a idealistic and ambitious female undercover cop going to a small Midwestern town to investigate the mysterious disappearance of several people. She brings
  • Regis Wargnier finds his missing link

    Kristin Scott-Thomas will star in an epic 19th century adventure about the origin of the human species to be directed by Regis Wargnier, the French filmmaker perhaps best known for Indochine and East-West. The film is one of two big-star vehicles being prepared by French sales house Wild Bunch.The Euros 25m Man To Man is scripted jointly by celebrated novelist William Boyd and Wargnier. It follows a group of scientists who travel to South Africa in search of
  • Regis Wargnier finds his missing link

    Kristin Scott-Thomas will star in an epic 19th century adventure about the origin of the human species to be directed by Regis Wargnier, the French filmmaker perhaps best known for Indochine and East-West. The film is one of two big-star vehicles being prepared by French sales house Wild Bunch.The Euros 25m Man To Man is scripted jointly by celebrated novelist William Boyd and Wargnier. It follows a group of scientists who travel to South Africa in search of
  • Roeg, Shivas return to witchcraft

    UK auteur Nicolas Roeg and producer Mark Shivas are to return to the sorcery and children brew of their 1990 Roald Dahl adaptation, The Witches.Shivas is in Cannes this week to meet with potential partners for Rock Concert, a tentatively titled contemporary take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth in which a ten year-old violinist meets a witch in his local sweet shop.Shivas aims to shoot the fantastical drama in Iceland from a script by Harriet Harper. Leading compos
  • Sales life for After Death

    Bauer Martinez Studios has finalised international sales deals in nearly 30 territories for After Death, the new Jean Claude Van Damme actioner, which starts production in July.Deals have been closed with Gaga in Japan, American Film & Video in Spain and Portugal, VCK in Italy, Nordisk in Scandinavia, Prooptiki in Greece, Polar Star in Latin America excluding Mexico and DFW in Benelux among others.Produced by Bauer Martinez through its UK production subsidiary Lucky 7 Pro
  • Sandstone kickboxes with Anglo-German partners

    LA-based production company Sandstorm Films is to partner with equity investors Media Cooperation One GmbH (MCOne) in Germany and Matador Pictures in the UK to produce a slate of films led by the kickboxing action film The Square Circle directed by France's Olivier Megaton (La Sirene Roge). Lightning Entertainment is handling international sales here.The agreement calls for Sandstorm to develop and produce the films that will be co-financed by MCOne and Matador in return
  • Scottish-Scandinavian love affair spreads

    The love affair which has sprung between Scotland and the Scandinavian countries, and which has accelerated in recent years with films like Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself, The Bum's Rush and Skagerrak, is set to continue with a new collaboration between Sweden's Sonet Film and Brocken Spectre. Together they secured the much sought after rights to adapt Ruaridh Nicoll's White Male Heart, and they will be presenting the first draft in Cannes at the Moonstone sem
  • Senator closes Grudge sales

    Senator International has closed a slew of deals leading into Cannes on The Grudge, the English-language remake of the hit Japanese film Ju-on. The film has been sold to Nippon Herald for Japan, Planeta for Spain, I Vision for South Korea and A Film for Benelux.Takashi Shimizu, who directed the original, is making his English-language debut on the remake which is being produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert's Ghost House Pictures with Taka Ichise, the Japanese produc
  • Senator closes Grudge sales

    Senator International has closed a slew of deals leading into Cannes on The Grudge, the English-language remake of the hit Japanese film Ju-on. The film has been sold to Nippon Herald for Japan, Planeta for Spain, I Vision for South Korea and A Film for Benelux.Takashi Shimizu, who directed the original, is making his English-language debut on the remake which is being produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert's Ghost House Pictures with Taka Ichise, the Japanese produc
  • Sequels awarded Bavarian fund backing

    Sequels of Dennis Gansel's 2001 teen-comedy hit Girls On Top (Maedchen Maedchen) and 2002's most successful German film Bibi Blocksberg are among nine projects awarded Euros 6.6m by Bavaria's regional fund, FFF Bayern.Maedchen Maeedchen II, which will reunite screenwriter Maggie Peren and producer Olga Film's Viola Jaeger with lead actresses Diana Amft and Karoline Herfurth, will be directed by Peter Gersina.Meanwhile, Bavaria Film's new adventures of Bi
  • Shochiku flies with Scorsese's Aviator

    Japan's Shochiku has stepped in as the first distributor to buy Martin Scorsese's The Aviator from Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group (IEG). IEG is producing as well as handling international sales on the film which is set to star Leonardo DiCaprio and Barry Pepper. Nicole Kidman, who was attached to star in the film at one time, has had to drop out due to scheduling difficulties.Shochiku co-acquired Gangs Of New York from IEG with Nippon Herald and also dis
  • Shochiku flies with Scorsese's Aviator

    Japan's Shockiku has stepped in as the first distributor to buy Martin Scorsese's The Aviator from Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group (IEG). IEG is producing as well as handling international sales on the film which is set to star Leonardo DiCaprio and Barry Pepper. Nicole Kidman, who was attached to star in the film at one time, has had to drop out due to scheduling difficulties.Shochiku co-acquired Gangs Of New York from IEG with Nippon Herald and also dis
  • Shochiku flies with Scorsese's Aviator

    Japan's Shochiku has stepped in as the first distributor to buy Martin Scorsese's The Aviator from Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group (IEG). IEG is producing as well as handling international sales on the film which is set to star Leonardo DiCaprio and Barry Pepper. Nicole Kidman, who was attached to star in the film at one time, has had to drop out due to scheduling difficulties.Shochiku co-acquired Gangs Of New York from IEG with Nippon Herald and also dis
  • Shoreline launches Riptide horror division

    Shoreline Entertainment CEO Morris Ruskin has teamed up with former advertising executive Steve Chicorel to form Riptide Entertainment, a new division of horror and action films for worldwide sales.The first two films from Riptide are based on the Judge Dredd comic book series about law enforcement in an apocalyptic future metropolis. The films will be produced in association with Jason and Chris Kingsley, owners of the comic book 2000AD. Production is set to begin on the films in July
  • Shoreline picks up six

    Shoreline Entertainment has acquired six completed films for international sales including UK thriller Butterfly Man starring Stuart Laing and Mamee Nakprasitte, Marley Shelton-starrer Moving Alan, and the Hungarian smash hit A Kind Of America directed by Gabor Herendi. Shoreline has also sold German home video rights to Moving August directed by Christopher Fink and starring Sarah Wynter and Eddie McClintock to Media Cooperation One (MCOne) in Germany.
  • Solo grabs MDP pair for Germany

    Solo Film has bought German rights to two films from MDP Worldwide - 11:14 starring Hilary Swank and The United States Of Leland produced by and starring Kevin Spacey. The deals were negotiated by Mark Damon of MDP with Peter Heinzemann and Marcus Shofer of Solo Film.Cannes is the third market for Solo which is run by former Kinowelt distribution chief Heinzemann and has so far bought 12 films including Femme Fatale and Moonlight Mile. Later this year Solo w
  • Sophie Marceau flies on Indo-Italian ticket

    India has signed a new agreement with Italy that will see the two countries co-produce three major pictures this year, including a new movie with Sophie Marceau.Named Lezioni di Volo (Flying Lessons), the film is due to start shooting this autumn in Italy and India with Sophie Marceau in the lead. It will mark the English-language debut of Italy's Francesca Archibugi and is being produced by Rome's Cattleya.The Indo-Italian deal will also help long-stalled project Chro
  • Sophie Marceau flies on Indo-Italian ticket

    India has signed a new agreement with Italy that will see the two countries co-produce three major pictures this year, including a new movie with Sophie Marceau.Named Lezioni di Volo (Flying Lessons), the film is due to start shooting this autumn in Italy and India with Sophie Marceau in the lead. It will mark the English-language debut of Italy's Francesca Archibugi and is being produced by Rome's Cattleya.The Indo-Italian deal will also help long-stalled project Chro
  • Spain's Alquimia boards Euro pair

    Spain's Alquimia Cinema has boarded two European projects as minority co-producer: French sequel Jet Set 2 from Mandarin Films and Italian thriller Eyes Of Crystal from Cattleya Films.The Euros4.5m comedy Jet Set 2 will shoot in Ibiza in September with the prequel's director, Fabien Onteniente, and some of the same actors, including Jose Garcia and Ornella Muti.Eros Puglielli will direct serial killer thriller Eyes of Crystal with Luigi Lo Cascio (
  • Spain's Wanda Vision takes local rights on two Cannes titles

    Spanish distributor Wanda Vision has picked up local theatrical distribution rights on two Cannes titles: Un Certain Regard entry Where Is Madame Catherine' (Les Mans Buides) and Directors' Fortnight screener The Hours Of The Day (Las Horas Del Dia).Wanda head of distribution Miguel Morales said the deals were closed just prior to the festival's start. "These two magnificent auteur films are not big commercial titles. They are more difficult films but have a public and wi
  • Spanish network to dramatically reduce acquisition of US films

    Spanish broadcaster Telecinco plans to cut its spending on US films by 20% by the end of 2005, according to CEO Paolo Vasile. In statements made to local financial newspaper Expansion and confirmed independently to Screen Daily by the private free-to-air network, Vasile said the cut-backs aim to reduce overall programming costs by 4%-5%. Telecinco has already declined to renew its five-year output deal with Buena Vista/Disney, signed in 1998 and up for renewal thi
  • Spanish producer eyes gross-out teen market

    Spanish producer Morena Films has opened feature film production label 'Happy Hour Films' dedicated to raucous teen flicks as part of a brimming slate of new projects for 2003-2004.Happy Hour Films is an intentionally low-brow label conceived as the Spanish equivalent for Hollywood fare like American Pie. 'There's no we reason we can't make the same racy, commercial product with our own local elements," says Happy Hour producer Pedro Uriol. "We'll capitalise on promotiona
  • Spanish producer eyes gross-out teen market

    Spanish producer Morena Films has opened feature film production label 'Happy Hour Films' dedicated to raucous teen flicks as part of a brimming slate of new projects for 2003-2004.Happy Hour Films is an intentionally low-brow label conceived as the Spanish equivalent for Hollywood fare like American Pie. "There's no we reason we can't make the same racy, commercial product with our own local elements," says Happy Hour producer Pedro Uriol. "We'll capitalise on promotiona
  • Stealing Rembrandt to open first Copenhagen festival

    The first edition of the Copenhagen International Film Festival, which unspools in Denmark's capital from August 13-20, will have the highly anticipated feature debut from Jannik Johansen, Stealing Rembrandt, as its opening gala screening. The full festival programme and the competition films will be announced in late July, but head of programming Michael Soeby has already secured some 100 of the expected 150 films. Among these are Martin Scorsese's My Voyage To Italy
  • Summit severs Artisan ties

    Summit Entertainment has reclaimed the 5% stake it sold to Artisan Entertainment in 1998 as part of the two companies' initial international distribution agreement. The companies last month renewed their five year agreement from 2003 to 2005 kicking off with Marvel Studios' actioner The Punisher starring Thomas Jane and John Travolta, and as part of the agreement Summit negotiated back the Artisan stake.Summit created a joint sales and distribution venture I/S Film Distri
  • Summit/Regency trio big in Japan

    Summit Entertainment has concluded the biggest deal of Cannes so far, selling Japanese distribution rights to Toho Towa to three high-profile films - Mr And Mrs Smith with Brad Pitt and Nicole Kidman, The Runaway Jury with John Cusack and Gene Hackman and horror movie Wrong Turn. All three films are produced or co-produced by Arnon Milchan's Regency Enterprises which will be distributed domestically by 20th Century Fox.The deal is the first concluded by Hisa
  • Sundance in Bed with Lions Gate comedy

    Lions Gate Films International has sold US rights to Spanish comedy The Other Side Of The Bed to The Sundance Channel for theatrical release as part of its Sundance Film Series. The film, which marks the first ever US deal for Lions Gate International outside its domestic sister operation, rounds out the first year slate of the first Sundance Film Series after Michael Winterbottom's In This World, Mark Decena's Dopamine and Mark Rucker's Die Mommie Die.
  • Swimming Pool

    Dir: Francois Ozon. France. 2003. 102minsNobody is better qualified than Francois Ozon to speculate on the sources of an artist's creativity. Six features in as many years have made him one of the most prolific and admired of European young guns. Swimming Pool is an entertaining and initially intriguing exploration of the way an artist cannibalises and embellishes life but it seems an anti-climax after the formal rigour of Under The Sand (Sous Le Sable) (2001) o
  • Taiwan overhauls film funding policy

    Taiwan's Government Information Office (GIO) has overhauled its film funding policy in an attempt to reinvigorate local production and encourage co-productions with international partners. The Taiwanese film industry is renowned for its arthouse films - from auteurs such as Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Tsai Ming-Liang - that win awards at festivals around the world. But the Taiwanese government is concerned that domestic films don't perform at the local box office. Taiwanese films had an
  • The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barbares)

    Dir. Denys Arcand. Canada-France. 2003. 111mins.On paper, The Barbarian Invasions is a conventional drama about a dying man's reconciliation with his son and his acceptance of impending non-existence. In the hands of writer-director Denys Arcand, the result is an intensely personal exploration of life as a fifty-something Quebecois intellectual.. Ostensibly a sequel to Arcand's 1986 Academy Award-nominated The Decline Of The American Empire, the film is so much
  • The Eye opens wide in Italy

    Italian distributor Eagle Pictures scored a superb release over the weekend (May 16-18) for its Hong Kong-Thailand co-produced pick up The Eye.The Pang Brothers' (Bangkok Dangerous) horror title took a resounding $1.15m (Euro1m) over the three-day weekend in Italy to land the number one spot and knock 20th Century Fox's X2: X-Men United into second ($670,170).Playing on 221 screens in the territory - compared to X2's 270 - The Eye recorded an impressi
  • Travolta joins The Punisher

    John Travolta has joined Thomas Jane in the cast of The Punisher, the latest actioner from a Marvel Comics character which is being produced by Artisan Pictures and Marvel Studios and sold here by Summit Entertainment.Travolta will play the lead villain in the film Howard Saint, a man involved in the criminal underworld who has managed to conceal his violent beginnings and become a paragon of society until a darker, vengeful side emerges after his son is brutally slain. Director
  • Travolta joins The Punisher

    John Travolta has joined Thomas Jane in the cast of The Punisher, the latest actioner from a Marvel Comics character which is being produced by Artisan Pictures and Marvel Studios and sold here by Summit Entertainment.Travolta will play the lead villain in the film Howard Saint, a man involved in the criminal underworld who has managed to conceal his violent beginnings and become a paragon of society until a darker, vengeful side emerges after his son is brutally slain. Director
  • Trish Lake getting busy in Australia

    With buzz building back home on her first credit, the unfinished Gettin' Square, Queensland-based producer Trish Lake is at Cannes with three projects. The most advanced is The Digger, which is being written by the mother/son/stepfather team of Jan Bradnam, Ashley Bradnam and Terry McCann.Babe director and co-writer Chris Noonan is script editing the drama, which is set in the world of rugby league and centres on the tension between a father and son who are
  • Turin offers new road to Kiarostami

    Former Venice chief Alberto Barbera, currently head of the National Film Museum in Turin, is lining up a complete retrospective of the works of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, entitled On The Roads of Kiarostami.The event will run between September 10 and October 12th in Turin. All of Kiarostami's 30 films, both feature-length and shorts will be screened, including films that have never before been seen outside Iran.Kiarostami will also host a 10-day workshop for 25 young fi
  • Two Spanish festivals announce retrospectives

    Two Spanish film festivals, the Huesca Film Festival (June 5-14) and the Cinema Jove International Film Festival (June 14-21), have both announced retrospectives for their upcoming editions.Huesca, now in its 31st year, hosts two short film competitions and a showcase of feature films from Europe. A cycle of Spanish coming-of-age films, titled Adolescentes, runs parallel to an informative section of feature films called Cinema and the Press and featuring titles such as Citizen Kane
  • UA pulled in by Green's Undertow

    United Artists has acquired rights in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and South Africa to David Gordon Green's next film The Undertow which is being sold here by Content International. Gordon Green is the acclaimed young film-maker behind George Washington and All The Real Girls.UA president Bingham Ray has been talking to Gordon Green for some time about working together, and said Ray, 'this one finally clicked.'Written by Joe Co
  • UA pulled in by Green's Undertow

    United Artists has acquired rights in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America and South Africa to David Gordon Green's next film The Undertow which is being sold here by Content International. Gordon Green is the acclaimed young film-maker behind George Washington and All The Real Girls.UA president Bingham Ray has been talking to Gordon Green for some time about working together, and said Ray, 'this one finally clicked.'Written by Joe Co
  • UK outfit plans Imax studio

    Aiming to tap into an anticipated rise in large-format releases such as The Matrix: Reloaded, UK production company North Star Entertainment is planning to create a 3D Imax studio. The Bradford-based company is setting up offices in London and Toronto and developing a 3D Imax science fiction feature.
  • UK outfit plans Imax studio

    Aiming to tap into an anticipated rise in large-format releases such as The Matrix: Reloaded, UK production company North Star Entertainment is planning to create a 3D Imax studio. The Bradford-based company is setting up offices in London and Toronto and developing a 3D Imax science fiction feature.
  • UK's Warner Village Cinemas sold to SBC for $402m

    Independent UK exhibitor SBC International Cinemas has acquired Warner Village Cinemas, the UK exhibition joint venture between Warner Bros International Theatres and Village Roadshow, for $402m (£250m).At the same time, SBC is rumoured to be eyeing another local circuit, Cine-UK, which, with a current estate of 30 sites and 329 screens, has plans to build six further cinemas throughout the UK. The current acquisition already creates the second largest cinema circuit in the UK b
  • United Artists strikes Korean pact

    Korean mini-major Mirovision has taken an important step towards expansion of its distribution division thanks to an output deal sealed with United Artists. The unusual deal is expected to see four to five pictures per year handled by Mirovision and start with Nicholas Nickleby, Assassination Tango, Pictures Of April and Saved. Although in most international territories United Artists titles are usually distributed alongside those of its corporate parent, MGM, in K
  • Universe handles Hui's Goddess

    Universe Films Distribution has picked up international rights to the next film from Hong Kong director Ann Hui, Jade Goddess (working title), which is currently shooting in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan. The cast is headed by rising mainland actress Vicky Zhao, Hong Kong star Nicholas Tse and mainland actor Liu Ye who also stars in competition title Purple Butterfly. The story revolves a widowed policewoman who has an affair with a drug dealer while grievi
  • Valentino biopic gets Italian funding

    Indie Italian producer-director Nico Cirasola looks set to be the first to get a new project about legendary gigolo Rudolf Valentino off the ground, after being awarded funding from the Italian government's Fondo di Garanzia.Named Rudi Valentino, The Return of the Sheik, the Euros 4m film is set to shoot in Rome, Florence and the southern Italian region of Puglia later this year. The movie will focus on the time Valentino spent in Europe. It will be directed by Cirasola a
  • Vapor rises with Bullock, Feinnes

    Buyers are abuzz at the casting attachments of Sandra Bullock and Ralph Fiennes to Renaissance Films' romantic fable Vapor which has been written and will be directed by Neil LaBute. Set to start production in the second half of the year, the film is the story of a struggling actress who saves the life of a complete stranger - an eccentric scientist who makes her dreams come true. Renaissance developed the project with LaBute and Gail Mutrux and is handling worldwide sale
  • Vapor rises with Bullock, Fiennes

    Buyers are abuzz at the casting attachments of Sandra Bullock and Ralph Fiennes to Renaissance Films' romantic fable Vapor which has been written and will be directed by Neil LaBute. Set to start production in the second half of the year, the film is the story of a struggling actress who saves the life of a complete stranger - an eccentric scientist who makes her dreams come true. Renaissance developed the project with LaBute and Gail Mutrux and is handling worldwide sale
  • Wild Bunch cleans up with new Assayas

    Separation from StudioCanal has not dented the ability of Wild Bunch to pack a punch on the Croisette: not only does Vincent Maraval's French sales house boast a trio of films in competition, it also part-financing Olivier Assayas' reunion with his ex-wife Maggie Chung. Assayas, who last year had Demonlover in competition in Cannes, is to make Clean, a 1980s set story about a fight for custody. "A simple and moving story," according to Maraval, it follows a junkie whose p
  • Wong's 2046 still in Venice contention

    Despite having to shift his final shooting location - either to Macao or Australia - because of SARS fears in Shanghai, Wong Kar-Wai's 2046 is still on course for a October 1 platform release in China, confirmed Fortissimo Film Sales yesterday The prospect of completion raises the possibility that Wong's eagerly-awaited fim may even be ready for this year's Venice Film Festival in September. However, bigger doubts surround the Venice inclusion of Eros, the trilogy whose o
  • X2 powers to $120.3m in international box office

    Fox's X2: X-Men United was still the top international film in its second weekend, grossing $30.9m on 7,462 screens in 94 territories for a superb $120.3m international running total.Russia was the only new market following last week's sprawling day-and-date global release. The sci-fi sequel grossed just under $2.1m on 175 screens there for Fox's second biggest ever opening and the third highest industry opening of all time.Elsewhere it was a successful second weekend as
  • Yari funds William Morris indie financing arm

    Real estate tycoon Bob Yari has teamed with WMA Independent, the independent finance and packaging arm of The William Morris Agency, to form El Camino Pictures, a dedicated film financing fund for WMA packages which will be run by WMA Independent co-chiefs Cassian Elwes and Rena Ronson.The first film under the El Camino banner will be A Love Song For Bobby Long starring John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson which is close to a domestic distribution deal with Screen Gems and inter
  • Young Adam

    Dir: David Mackenzie. UK, 2003. 93mins.Scottish director David Mackenzie recently divided British critics with the release of his first feature, the rough-and-ready digital drama The Last Great Wilderness. His follow-up, Young Adam, is a more rigorous proposition that amply confirms Mackenzie's promise. A powerful, disturbing adaptation of the novel by Scottish beat-generation figure Alexander Trocchi, Young Adam is visually distinctive and narratively un
  • Young Hannibal Lecter joins Dino-sized slate

    The grandfather of international sales Dino De Laurentiis arrives in Cannes next Tuesday (May 19) with seven major territories to sell on his $150m Alexander The Great epic as well as a brand new Hannibal Lecter project currently being plotted by Lecter's creator Thomas Harris.The Lecter Variation, which is being subtitled The Story Of Young Hannibal Lecter, follows the serial killer from his childhood in Lithuania through a period in Paris in his teens to his arri
  • Young Hannibal Lecter joins Dino-sized slate

    The grandfather of international sales Dino De Laurentiis arrives in Cannes next Tuesday (May 19) with seven major territories to sell on his $150m Alexander The Great epic as well as a brand new Hannibal Lecter project currently being plotted by Lecter's creator Thomas Harris.The Lecter Variation, which is being subtitled The Story Of Young Hannibal Lecter, follows the serial killer from his childhood in Lithuania through a period in Paris in his teens to his arri
  • Zelezny sacked from Czech broadcaster TV Nova

    Czech broadcaster TV Nova sacked it director Vladimir Zelezny on Wednesday. Zelezny is charged with causing the Czech government $355m in damages by breaking Nova's contract with cosmetics heir Ron Lauder's Central European Media Enterprises (CME) in 1999. Hours later, a Swedish court of appeal issued the final verdict in CME's case against the Czech Republic, in which the Bermuda-based investor argued that the country failed to protect its investment in Nova, the country's firs
  • Zenpix initiates Affair in US

    Zenpix, the domestic and international distribution company founded by Susan Jackson and Jon Kramer, has acquired all US distributIon rights to A Foreign Affair starring David Arquette, Tim Blake Nelson and Emily Mortimer. Myriad Pictures is handling foreign.Zenpix plans to release the film through Mark Borde's Innovation Film Group in late 2003; Borde set up Innovation last September after his two year tenure as president of Keystone Releasing and has a one-year theatrical part
  • Zentropa pushes into TV

    Denmark's prolific production outfit, Zentropa, has plans to expand their activities in TV series and drama both domestically and internationally. To head their new department they have hired the experienced Bo Mortensen from national broadcaster TV2, who's credits include the long running Hotellet (The Hotel) and the upcoming The Defence (Forsvar). 'Zentropa is already collaborating with a number of creative talents in Denmark, and with the experience from their i

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