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2 February 2007

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  • AAM signs digital download deal with Artificial Eye

    Digital film distribution service Arts Alliance Media has signed an exclusive three-year deal to release distributor Artificial Eye's product in the UK and Ireland as download-to-rent and download-to-own content. AAM will digitise, encrypt, and offer piracy protection for Artificial Eye's films, which will be available in the coming months from web-based subscription service and AAM partner Lovefilm and powered by AOL. Artificial Eye content will also be available directly from AOL, as w
  • Aardman and Dreamworks finally part ways

    DreamWorks andAardman have formally announced the premature ending of their five-film exclusive partnership that dates back to 1999.They worked together on award winning animanations including Chicken Run, Oscar winner Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and, most recently, Flushed Away.But the split was widely expected. 'Both compani
  • Adlabs, MTV Networks ink three-picture deal

    India 's Adlabs Films and MTV Networks India have signed a deal to co-produce three youth-oriented films to be released in specific Indian markets. The three films will be produced over the next 12-18 months under the 'MTV Fully Faltoo Films' banner. Budgets for each film have been pegged at around $900,000 (Rs40m). 'We believe the youth of the country is a segment that can appreciate new and unique genres of films and will set the trends for years to come,' said Adlabs Films dire
  • AFC selects eight projects for low-budget development lab

    Chopper producer Michele Bennett and Robyn Kershaw, whose credits include Looking For Alibrandi, are among the eight teams that have projects selected by the Australian Film Commission's (AFC) development laboratory for low-budget films. The series of workshops aim to simultaneously develop a film's script, the director's vision and the production strategy. This year's two international advisers are Paul Mezey, who produced Maria Full Of Grace and was executiv
  • A-List Nutcracker musical marches into Budapest

    Pre-production on The Nutcracker is scheduled to begin Mar 5 at Stern Film Studios in Budapest. Russia's Andrei Konchalovsky, who previously made Siberiada, Romance For Lovers, and House Of Fools, will direct the musical, based on the story made famous by Tchaikovsky's ballet, which will feature lyrics by Tim Rice. Details of the UK-US-Hungarian co-production are still being worked out, but the budget is expected to be between $60m and $80m. Hung
  • Analysis: International box-office - Weekend January 26-28

    International box office continues to favour Night At The Museum despite new entries from local films making significant dents in the chart.Fox's comedy adventure spends its sixth-week running at the top spot, grossing $15.2m at the weekend, taking it up 2% despite dropping from two territories. Bollywood romance Salaam E Ishq: A Tribute To Love entered with a bang at number five, taking $9.3m in its opening weekend, while Japanese action film Dororo generated $3.7
  • Andrew Meehan appointed development head of Irish Film Board

    Andrew Meehan has been appointed Development Executive at the Irish Film Board (IFB). Working directly with chief executive Simon Perry, Meehan will participate in evaluating development funding applications for feature film projects, and in the management of projects selected for support. As a member of the IFB's core creative team, Andrew will also play a close consultative role with regard to feature film, documentary, animation and short film projects submitted for production funding.
  • Australian drama West strikes Lightning

    Los Angeles-based sales and distribution company Lightning Entertainment has boarded the edgy Australian drama West and will introduce the project to buyers in Berlin next week.The film will receive its world premiere in the Generation 14plus section of the festival and explores what happens when two slacker cousins find their friendship threatened when they fall for the same girl.Daniel Krige directed
  • Barab named international chief at American World Pictures

    Martin Barab has joined Los Angeles-based distributor American World Pictures as president of international production and distribution.Barab, who recently exited his post as president of beleaguered Bauer Martinez Studio's production division Lucky 50 Productions, will work closely with American World Pictures chairman Mark Lester and production president Dana Dubovsky.Aside from his day-to-day duties Barab will be charged with building the company's financial ability to
  • Bavaria Film International to handle Israel's Beaufort

    Bavaria Film International has taken on international sales for Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar's powerful anti-war statement Beaufort which will have its world premiere in the forthcoming Berlinale's Competition.Produced by Metro Communications in cooperation with United King Films and Movie Plus, Beaufort was adapted by Cedar from the novel of the same name by award-winning journalist Ron Leshem. The story is based on true events that occurred at the iconic Beaufort Cast
  • Belgrade's Beograd re-opens seven cinemas today

    After two and a half months of employee strikes over unpaid salaries, poor conditions of work, terrible state of the cinemas and frozen status at the National Agency for Privatization, leading Serbian exhibitor, state-owned Beograd Film has decided to re-open seven of its 14 theaters in the key city Belgrade today. The decision was made after the Agency for Privatization announced the tender for sale of the company for Feb 16. 'The theaters are ready and screenings will start without par
  • Bell hired as Paramount's technology chief

    Paramount Pictures has hired former Warner Bros executive vice president of advanced technology Alan Bell as executive vice president and chief technology officer.In the newly created position, Bell will oversee worldwide technology strategy and advise on all related technical, business, legal and regulatory matters.In addition he will explore, evaluate and set requirements for the development of digital media creation and distribution technologies. He reports to presiden
  • Berlin buzz - Significant others

    PANORAMAAlice's House (Bra)Dir: Chico TeixeiraA winner at last year's Films in Progress at San Sebastian, the film tells of a woman who tries to overcome the hardships of working in a poor neighbourhood of Sao Paulo.Contact: Cinematografica Superfilmes, (55) 11 3031 5522Good Bye, Souther
  • Berlin buzz - updated with reviews

    Reviewed films appear in blue - click to go to review.WORLD PREMIERESIN COMPETITIONAngel (Fr-Belg-UK) (CLOSING FILM)Dir: Francois OzonBerlinale regular and arthouse favourite Ozon makes his English-language debut with Angel, st
  • Berlinale boasts 10% more German titles in programme

    This year's Berlinale will again serve as platform for films 'made in Germany', with the number of German films (including German majority co-productions) screening in the festival's various sections increasing by 10% over 2005 to 60 films. Unlike last year when there were four German films in the Competition section, the 2007 lineup has only two German-language titles - Christian Petzold's Yella and Stefan Ruzowitzky's The Counterfeiter - and the German majority co-product
  • Berlinale Cameras to be awarded to Mina, Meszaros and KINO publishers

    The Berlinale Camera awards will be presented at this year's festival as part of the Berlinale Special section to Hungary's Marta Meszaros, the Italian documentary filmmaker Gianni Mina, and Dorothea Moritz and Ron Holloway, publishers of KINO German Film. Announcing this year's programme at a press conference on Tuesday morning in Berlin, festival director Dieter Kosslick said that the presentation to Meszaros would be followed by a screening of her 1975 film Adoption, which was
  • Berlinale needs further expansion, says director

    On the eve of this year's Berlinale, festival director Dieter Kosslick has suggested that the festival expand further to meet the growing demand for tickets from the general public in addition to the professional visitors.Speaking to Deutschlandradio Kultur at the weekend, Kosslick said: 'The Berlinale must become bigger because the run is enormous (...) We must give the people more possibilities to get tickets. These possibilities are becoming ever fewer because the film market has
  • Black Snake Moan

    Craig Brewer: US: 2007Craig Brewer's third feature Black Snake Moan is about the redemption of sleaze, though it plays closer to a shotgun marriage of Baby Doll and Boxing Helena. Even more than Hustle & Flow, Brewer's new work is designed as a deliber
  • Blood And Chocolate

    Dir: Katja Von Garnier. UK-Ger-Rom-US. 2007. 98mins. Blood And Chocolate is a werewolf love story with no bite and not much romance. Based on the popular American teen novel by British-born author Annette Curtis Klause, the Lakeshore Entertainment production may find an initial audience in the younger female demographic that has kept the book in demand for almost a decade. But with little to offer in the way of star power, special effects, sex or gore,
  • Bogeydom acquires Kitamura's LoveDeath for EFM launch

    Toronto-based Bogeydom Licensing has acquired world rights to Japanese cult director Ryuhei Kitamura's LoveDeath, a production of Tokyo-based companies Napalm Films and Suplex Inc. The film, which premieres at Berlin's European Film Market, follows two lovers whose passion for each other incites the wrath of everyone around them, from the police, assassins and the yakuza. Best-known for his films V
  • Burton joins Bradley's Indievest launch

    Wade H Bradley, CEO and founder of film financing outfit IndieVest, has launched production and distribution house IndieVest Pictures and hired Mark Burton as head of production.
  • Chapter 27

    Dir/Writer: Jarrett Schaefer. 100 minutes. US.Pointless and confusingly acted by a purposely hefty Jared Leto, this self-indulgent portrait of an insane Mark David Chapman in the three days before he assassinated John Lennon lacks insight or drama. Lindsay Lohan's supporting role as an excitable Lennon fan who befriends Chapman is fine for what it is but is no reason to see the otherwise-dreary undertaking.
  • Chinese box office to double by 2010, says report

    Chinese box office revenues will almost double over the next three years, according to analyst Screen Digest and Nielsen NRG, from last year's $336m to $720m by 2010.The rapid box office growth that has been driven by the opening up of the Chinese market and the fast development of modern multiplexes looks set to continue.The report predicts an increase in modern, or silver screen cinemas from 2,940 in 2005 to 5,000 by 2010.But there
  • Cineclick Asia picks up Berlin competitor Tuya's Marriage

    Korean sales agent Cineclick Asia has announced Berlinale competition film Tuya's Marriage as the latest addition to its EFM slate. The company picked up international rights to the Chinese film excluding French-speaking territories, BeNeLux, and Indonesia - which Pretty Pictures acquired at last year's Asian Film Market. Mainland China distribution rights remain with Max Yee Culture Industry Co. Ltd. and Xian Motion Picture Co., the distributor/producers. Directed b
  • CineMart awards go to projects from Sweden, France and Philippines

    As Rotterdam CineMart closed yesterday, the two Arte France Cinema Awards went to CineMart projects A Rational Solution, which Jorgen Bergmark is developing with Sweden 's Hepp Film, and Les Pieds Nus Sur Les Limaces, which Fabienne Berthaud is developing with France 's Agat Films & Cie. Each producer got a development grant of $13,016 (Euros 10,000). The Prince Claus Fund Film Grant was given to Independencia by Raya Martin, developed with Cinematografica Independ
  • CineMart closes with final awards

    CineMart in Rotterdam closed last night with its final awards.The two Arte France Cinema Awards went to A Rational Solution by Jörgen Bergmark (Hepp Film, Sweden) and Fabienne Berthaud's Les Pieds Nus Sur Les Limaces (Agat Films & Cie, France). The awards are worth $13,000 (Euros 10,000).The $20,000 (Euros 15,000) Prince Claus Fund Film Grant was awarded to CineMart 2007 Pro
  • Cinemavault adds three European premieres to Berlin slate

    Toronto-based Cinemavault Releasing International has boarded a number of new projects for the European Film Market in Berlin, among them the schizophrenia drama Canvas starring Marcia Gay Harden.Joe Pantoliano and newcomer Devon Gearhart also star in Joseph Greco's film, which will receive its European premiere in Berlin and centres on a family's desperate struggle to come to terms with the illness.Pantoliano produced with Sharon
  • Cineplex expands live opera screenings to 34 cinemas

    Canadian exhibitor Cineplex Entertainment is increasing the number of screens devoted to video presentations of the Metropolitan Opera live from New York 's Lincoln Centre. The high-definition transmissions will be delivered via satellite to 34 cinemas across Canada, up from 28. 'The first three transmissions, Mozart's Magic Flute, Bellini's I Puritani and Tan Dun's The First Emperor, have been a resounding success with many theatres having sold out in advance of the
  • Clubland

    Directed by Cherie Nowlan. Australia. 2007. 108 mins.Clubland, Cherie Nowlan's first
  • Coach 14 takes Heros and Shotgun to Berlin

    New French sales house Coach 14 has acquired two films heading into Berlin. The first, Heros, is a $2.6m (Euros 2m) psycho drama in the styleof Fabrice du Welz's Calvairesays Coach 14 co-founder Pape Boye.Directedby first-timer Bruno Merle, the film stars
  • Colin Farrell heads to Belgium for In Bruges shoot

    UK playwright Martin McDonagh, who won an Oscar for is short Six Shooter, will start shooting his feature debut In Bruges on Feb 5 in the Belgian city. The cast for the project -- Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Clemence Poesy, Jeremie Renier, Jordan Prentice and Thekla Reuten -- is gathering today for a press launch. The suspense thriller is a dark comedy about two London-based hit men, played by Farrell and Gleeson, who are ordered by their boss (Ralph Fiennes) t
  • Court lets ACTRA's strike strategy stand

    Canadian performers representative ACTRA won a preliminary battle in its labour dispute with Canadian and US producers when the Superior Court of Ontario today dismissed an injunction application from the Canadian Film & Television Production Association (CFTPA). The CFTPA was asking the court to deem illegal the letters of continuation producers had signed individually with ACTRA in order to keep productions shooting despite ACTRA's January 8 strike action. In her decisi
  • Crazy Love

    Dir: Dan Klores, US, 2007, 91 minutes, color, SONY HD-cam. Love is blind, or so it turned out in the romance of ambulance-chasing lawyer Burton Pugach, who hired thugs to throw a caustic chemical into the face of his girlfriend Linda Riss when she refused to marry him in 1959. The disfigured Bronx Beauty finally did marry him when
  • Czech Republic/Poland - Ay Karamazov!

    Numerous directors have filmed Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, most notably Richard Brooks in 1958 and Russians Kirill Lavrov, Ivan Pyryev and Mikhail Ulyanov in a 1969 joint effort. Now Czech director Petr Zelenka (Wrong Side Up, Year Of The Devil) thinks the novel's time has come again."It's quite a thrilling story," Zelenka says. "It's sort of a detective story because you're looking for a killer, so this is like the outside layer. Then you have the love story, an
  • DCL agrees deal with DTS for Irish D-Cinema upgrade

    Digital Cinema Ltd (DCL) plans to upgrade the first phase of its Irish D-Cinema installation in an exclusive agreement with US digital technology company DTS.The agreement provides for both parties to work together to facilitate the wider rollout of digital cinema in Ireland. So far 15 cinema sites are operational.DCL is an Irish subsidiary of Avica which set up its European HQ in Thurles, Co Tipperary nearly two years ago with plans to provide the world's first countrywi
  • De La Iglesia starts UK shoot for The Oxford Murders

    The second English-language project by Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia, The Oxford Murders, has started shooting on location in London and Oxford for nine weeks. The serial killer thriller is produced by Tornasol Films, Estudios Picasso, Oxford Crimes, and La Fabrique de Films. The UK producer is Kevin Loader, who recently made Venus and The History Boys. The companies Telecinco, Canal+France and Canal+Spain, and Eurimages will be financing the proj
  • Dublin to open with Jindabyne and close with Sparkle

    John Carney, fresh from Sundance where his film Once won the coveted audience award, was on hand to launch the programme the fifth Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in Dublin last night. Once is among the new Irish films slated for the event. The festival opens Feb 19 with Australian feature Jindabyne, starring Gabriel Byrne who will be present for the screening and will take part in a public interview with the festival's outgoing director, Michael Dwyer. Th
  • Dutch Film Fund explains details for $16.8m Matching Fund

    As the Rotterdam film festival continues, local film-makers are seeing several signs of encouragement from the Dutch Film Fund. The fund has announced $1.26m (Euros 975,000) backing in three art-house features as well as unveiling details for its groundbreaking $16.8m (Euros 13m) Matching Fund. Dutch Film Fund director Toine Berbers said the Matching Fund will launch later this year. Producers with two-thirds of their budget in place will be able to apply for the final third of their fil
  • DV8 plans multi-platform release for cell-phone feature

    Jeremy Nathan and Joel Phiri's Johannesburg-based DV8 is planning a global, Bubble-style, multi-platform release for its new feature, SMS Sugar Man. 'We are busy putting in place all the distribution pipelines,' Nathan said of the plans to make Sugar Man available worldwide simultaneously on internet, mobile phones and DVD. 'We've got the technology partners to do it.'
  • Eastwood wins MPAA's inaugural Valenti Award

    Clint Eastwood will receive the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) inaugural Jack Valenti Humanitarian Award on Feb 6 in Washington DC.The award, to be presented annually to an individual in the industry whose work has reached out positively and respectfully to all countries, creeds and cultures, will be presented at a private dinner at the end of the MPAA's The Business of Show Business industry symposium.'The MPAA is thrilled to recognise as its inaugural re
  • Editorial - Screen says Looping the loop this week reported that Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media is teaming up with Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking to co-finance approximately 45 films from an as-yet-unnamed Hollywood studio over the next five years. Following the parameters of recent co-financing equity structures with Hollywood, as much as $1.1bn could be invested in a slate via a revolving credit line from Citigroup.It's confirmation that, for now, private equity money from around the world sti
  • EFM buzz - the ones to watch

    USFocus Features International will commence sales on playwright Martin McDonagh's in-production black comedy In Bruges about hitmen, starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes.Lionsgate brings David Moreau and Xavier Palud's adaptation of the Pang Brothers' cult horror hit The Eye, starring Jessica Alba, to market.Voltage Pictures will begin selling Eric Red's thriller 100 Feet, starring Famke Janssen in what
  • Epic Movie

    Dir: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer. US. 2007. 86mins. A painful regurgitation of memorable moments from recent Hollywood blockbusters, the spoof film Epic Movie is almost entirely devoid of laughs. No matter your opinion of hits such as Pirates Of The Caribbean or The Chronicles Of Narnia, most will agree that even uninspired mega-money-makers have more cinematic style and creativity than writer-directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer's lazy satire pos
  • Epic Movie has epic $19.2m opening for Fox in North America

    Fox's incredible run of form continued as the comedy spoof Epic Movie opened atop the charts on an estimated $19.2m, beating out Universal's crime caper Smokin' Aces in second place on $14.3m. Epic Movie, which stars Kal Penn and Carmen Electra and pokes fun at movies from Superman Returns to
  • Eros scores again while Pokemon trumps studio Ghibli latest in Japan

    As Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II smashed a number of international records, Screen looks at the non-US international movers and shakers.
  • Ex Drummer

    Dir: Koen Mortier. Bel. 2007. 101mins. The most controversial film to have emerged from Belgium since Man Bites Dog, Koen Mortier's Ex Drummer is an exercise in Flemish shock tactics. Adapted from a novel by Herman Brusselmans, the film strives hard to be as provocative as possible. Its tone varies wildly. At times, it is gratuitously offensive. At times, it is crude and clumsy. There are even moments of Spinal Tap-style humour. Underlining its director's r
  • Feiffer receives lifetime achievement award from WGAW

    Screenwriter, playwright and cartoonist Jules Feiffer will receive the Writers Guild of America, West's (WGAW) ninth annual Animation Writing Award for lifetime achievement.Feiffer's credits include Little Murders (1970) and Carnal Knowledge (1971), both of which earned WGA nominations, as well as 1980's Popeye, directed by the late Robert Altman.He r
  • Film finance - A question of duty

    Pierre Drouot is a worried and angry man. The director of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund fears that the work of 20 years' hard lobbying for a Belgian tax shelter to support film finance may soon be killed off. And he believes he has identified the culprits responsible."The analysis is very simple. The system that has been chosen in Belgium is a system that has been deregulated. You have middlemen who want not only to be paid for their services but to make a profit. That is their busines
  • Film Movement promotes Gartenstein

    Adley Gartenstein has been promoted to president at distributor Film Movement. Stuart Litman, who previously held the role, will continue as CEO of the business.
  • Filmstiftung NRW backs international co-productions with $14.6m

    International co-productions by Israel's Amos Gitai, New Zealand's Armagan Ballantyne and Germany's Max Faerberboeck are among 25 projects supported with a total of $14.6m (Euros 11.2m) by Filmstiftung NRW this week.The Dusseldorf-based regional fund awarded $521,000 (Euros 400,000) to Gitai's Disengagement, which will be produced by Pandora Filmproduktion with France's AGAV Films and AGAT Films/Ex Nihilo, Italy's R&C, and Israel's AGAV Hafakot. Studio Canal will handle worldwide
  • Foreign Language Films - And then there were five

    In 2006, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for the first time unveiled a shortlist of nine films for the foreign-language film category, a week before the nominations were announced. Some 61 films were submitted in October 2006, nine were shortlisted and the final five were announced on January 23. It was a sad day for the four films that made the shortlist but failed to reach the final five - namely Daniele Thompson's Avenue Montaigne (aka Orchestra Seats) from Fran
  • Fortissimo takes on non-Asian sales for Blood Brothers

    Fortissimo Films has picked up worldwide sales rights excluding Asia for Blood Brothers from CMC Entertainment and John Woo and Terrence Chang's Lions Rock Productions. Fortissimo will commence sales at the upcoming European Film Market. The London and New York University-educated Alexi Tan, discovered by Woo and Chang, is making his feature debut with the $10m Chinese-language project, shot all on location in Shanghai. The Hong Kong/Taiwan/China co-production stars Liu Ye
  • Four Sheets To The Wind

    Dir/scr: Sterlin Harjo. US. 2007. 85mins.In Sterlin Harjo's debut feature, Four Sheets To The Wind, detailing the emotional and interior journey of a young, somewhat confused Native coming to terms with the death of his father, the young film-maker has carved out a limited though intoxicating piece of American regional film-making. In examining issues such as representation and honor, the film invokes the classic indepe
  • Fox continues Irish dominance with strong Rocky opening

    Twentieth Century Fox's Rocky Balboa beat the competition hands down in Ireland (North and South) on its opening weekend with a massive $1.2m (Euros 925,390). A major comeback for a franchise after 16 years in retirement, Sylvester Stallone's biggest Irish opening of all time took more than 40% of all ticket sales, bringing in original Rocky fans along with a second generation of young recruits. This latest success follows Twentieth Century Fox's bumper year as 2006's top distribu
  • Fox promotes key production and animation executives

    Fox Filmed Entertainment has announced a number of promotions of key production executives, with Hutch Parker appointed vice chairman, to also oversee Fox Animation in addition to Twentieth Century Fox (TCF) Film Group. He had been president of Twentieth Century Fox since 2005 and joined Fox in 1995. Emma Watts and Alex Young have been named co-presidents of production for TCF. They had worked in 2006 on Night At The Museum and X-Men: The Last Stand, respectively.
  • France to be focus of Halifax co-production market

    The Strategic Partners international coproduction market in Canada will focus on France at its 10th anniversary event this September. The market takes place during Halifax's Atlantic Film Festival. According to Strategic Partners director Jan Miller, exit surveys from the 2006 edition showed 'Canadian interest in working with France is no longer limited to just Quebec.'The UK and France are Canada's top coproduction partners. France's feature coproduction volume increased
  • Fukuda tapped by NBC Universal in Tokyo

    NBC Universal International has named Taichi Fukuda as managing director, Japan Representative, to be based in Tokyo. He will work with divisions including the home-entertainment arm Universal Pictures Japan, TV and New Media Distribution, Mobile Entertainment and Cnbc.Fox promotes Echeverria Eduardo Echeverria has been promoted to executive vice-president of Latin America for Fox International.
  • Furst and Kessel move to Starz's Overture

    Sean Furst and Robert Kessel have been appointed executive vice-presidents of productions and acquisitions at Starz's new theatrical division Overture Films. Furst's brother Bryan arrives as senior vice-president of productions and acquisitions.
  • Gabriele Muccino's brother Silvio set to direct first feature

    Silvio Muccino, brother of Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele, will direct his first feature film entitled Talk to Me About Love (Parlami d'Amore) based on a book of the same name that he co-wrote with Carla Vangelista. Talk to Me About Love is a romance focusing on four intersecting stories and the transformative power of love. Published by Rizzoli, the book has sold 250,000 copies since was published a year ago. Muccino will also star in the film, which
  • Global box office down slightly this week, as Germany and Japan slip

    Global box office takings took a slight dip of 2.9% this week in comparison to the same week last year and fell by less than 1% from last week, according to the Screen International Screen Index.The marginal decrease was led by year-on-year falls in major territories such as Germany, Japan, South Korea and North America. The market was saved from any significant plummet due to substantial increases in Italy, UK, Mexico, France and Spain.German cinemas fell by 13.3% this wee
  • Golden Flower leads Hong Kong Film Awards nominations

    Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower is the clear frontrunner in the 26th edition of the Hong Kong Film Awards after earning 14 nominations, including best film, best director, best actor for Chow Yun Fat and best actress for Gong Li. The lavish historical drama also garnered nods for two best supporting actors for Jay Chou and Liu Ye as well as cinematography, action choreography, art direction, costume and make-up design, sound design, visual effects, original score and song
  • Grohne to spearhead new London office for First Look

    First Look International (FLI) is opening a London office and has hired sales executive Tim Grohne from Celsius Entertainment to front the UK operation as vice president, international sales.FLi is also relocating LA-based international sales manager John Vista Neis to London. Joining them will be vice president, European TV/DVD sales Susan Hewitt, who works for sister company First Look Television.'This is a logical development for our rapidly growing international sales
  • Hand Picked duo tune into Vivaldi life-story

    Hand Picked Films' Michel Shane and Anthony Romano and financier Carlos Melcer have boarded the musical biopic Vivaldi, which is set to star Joseph Fiennes.Shane and Romano, whose executive producer credits include I, Robot and Catch Me If You Can, will produce alongside Boris Damast and Andrea Kikot of Mechaniks, and will also finance. Melcer will se
  • HandMade recruits Walters to write story of SAS man David Stirling

    HandMade Films has signed on UK writer Rupert Walters to write a screenplay based on the life of Special Air Service (SAS) creator David Stirling. HandMade has optioned Alan Hoe's biography David Stirling - the Authorised Biography. The books gives a detailed account of the history of the multi-national SAS during the North African campaign of 1941-1942. Sitrling at age 26 led the first successful Special Operations raid behind German lines in December 1941. Walters previou
  • HanWay, Ecosse working with Jarrold for new Brideshead Revisited

    HanWay Films has announced plans for a big-screen adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, to start shooting this spring. Kinky Boots and Becoming Jane director Julian Jarrold will direct from Andrew Davies and Jeremy Brock's screenplay adapted from the Evelyn Waugh classic novel. Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae of Ecosse Films, who worked with HanWay on Becoming Jane, have developed the project and are producing. The project is set to shoot on location in
  • Heaven scent or just a bad smell'

    German producer Bernd Eichinger has been involved in some pretty sizeable hits, including The NeverEnding Story, The Name Of The Rose, Fantastic Four, Downfall and Oscar-winner Nowhere In Africa.He has made dumb German comedies (Werner) and smart German comedies (Der Bewegte Mann) and some outright stinkers (Prince Valiant, Body Of Evidence).And Eichinger produced and co-wrote Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer, which recently grossed more
  • Hoblit's Untraceable rounds out cyber thriller cast

    Colin Hanks, Billy Burke, Joseph Cross and Mary Beth Hurt have joined Diane Lane in the cast of Lakeshore Entertainment's upcoming cyber thriller Untraceable.Screen Gems will release the film in North America and Sony Pictures Releasing International is distributing in Latin America.Untraceable is set to begin production in February and centres on a police officer's game of cat-and-mouse wit
  • Hong Kong to host region-wide Asian Film Awards

    Hong Kong is set to host the first ever Asian Film Awards (AFA), recognising talent from across the region, on the first night of the 31st Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) on March 20. Organised by the HKIFF and held in conjunction with Entertainment Expo, the awards will feature ten categories including best film, best director, best actor, best actress, best screenwriter, best cinematographer, best production designer, best composer, best editor and best
  • Hoskins joins Mitra in Doomsday cast

    Bob Hoskins has joined Rhona Mitra on the cast of Rogue Pictures' action thriller Doomsday, Neil Marshall's follow-up to his horror hit
  • Hot Docs inaugurates Tracey tribute prize

    The Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Film Festival will present a new prize in memory of the late Canadian documentary filmmaker Lindalee Tracey. Endowed by Tracey's colleagues, friends and family, the prize will be awarded annually to an emerging Canadian filmmaker who exemplifies Tracey's approach to the documentary form: 'with passion, humour, a strong sense of social justice and a personal point of view.'The award-winning director, writer and narrator of 14 documentary f
  • HotDocs welcome German, Italian, Brazilian delegations

    Hots Doc Canadian Documentary Film Festival has announced it will play host to official delegations from Germany, Italy and Brazil at its 14th annual event, April 19-29. Each of the three nations will be represented by 20 to 30 established producers and broadcasters working in the format. The key events are the inaugural International Coproduction Day, set for April 23, followed by the Toronto Documentary Forum, April 25-26.The German delegation is organised b
  • Hungarian Film Week kicks off with competition title Noah's Ark

    Ulrich Gregor will chair the feature film jury of the 38th Hungarian Film Week (HFW), which begins today. Gregor is a film critic and the co-founder and chairman of Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek. The jury also includes Ellis Driessen, head of Holland Film Meeting and the Netherlands Production Platform; Screen International's US editor Mike Goodridge; Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi; and Inforg Studio producer Andras Muhi. The international jury will give award the best
  • IFC pounces on Wild Tigers for North America

    IFC Entertainment has acquired North American rights from Genius Products to Cam Archer's coming-of-age drama Wild Tigers I Have Known.IFC will release the film on Feb 28 through its theatrical and On Demand cable day-and-date distribution division IFC First Take.The deal is the latest example of IFC's strong alignment with Genius and its 70% owners, The Weinstein Company (TWC). The Weinsteins have often partnered up with IFC on fi
  • In focus - Screen conference - Sunshine states

    Screen International is hosting a conference covering all aspects of film financing, from private equity to state tax breaks.Among the speakers will be Ryan Kavanaugh whose Relativity Media this week announced a monster deal, co-financing 45 films from an unnamed studio.There are also speakers on the tax breaks that have become a fact of life in the US.Around three dozen states now have a tasty incentive for film-makers and what was once a defence mechanism to prot
  • Interview

    Dir: Steve Buscemi. US. 2007. 86 mins.Interview, Steve Buscemi's American adaptation of the 2003 Theo van Gogh film of the same name, offers a polished but tamer version of the original, coming at its subject without van Gogh's rough raunchy edges. Yet the performances, especially Sienna Miller's, are an asset to this picture. So is marketability that com
  • Int'l Box Office Preview: the march rolls on for big US trio

    Ben Stiller, Will Smith and Beyonce are all in action this weekend as the race to dominate the international arena heats up.Fox International's Night At The Museum starring Stiller has swept all before it in the overseas arena for several weeks and must still be the one to beat.The family film is poised to cross $200m and opens in Italy and South Africa on Feb 2. The new releases combined with solid holdover business are expected t
  • Irish industry questions impact of $188m funding announcement

    There remains some confusion in Ireland concerning the Government announcement last week of a $188m (Euros 145m) contribution to the film industry under National Development Plan (NDP) spending for 2007-2013. In an election year, sceptics might conclude that the sum only amounts to what the Irish Film Board is likely to receive anyway over the seven years in question and would not therefore be 'new' money for the industry. The Film Board's budget allocation this year is $25.4m (Eu
  • Japanese films take 53% share of local box office

    As predicted, Japanese films had their most successful year ever at the local box office in 2006, grossing $884.48m (Y107.75bn) for a 53.2% market share, according to the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren). The strong results mark an increase of 31.8% over 2005 when the local industry had a 41.3% share. It also marks the first time since 1985 that local product has gained a majority share and arrives after year-on-year increases since 2002's all-time low of 27.1%. A to
  • Joshua

    Dir: George Ratliff. 105 minutes. U.S. A tense, stylish and satisfyingly adult psychological thriller about the bad side of having children, George Ratliff's
  • Kadokawa to sell library online through BitTorrent

    Kadokawa Group Holdings has announced plans to set up an online pay service in the US offering 200 films from its library beginning this February. The service will use BitTorrent's peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing software to distribute the titles. Kadokawa's stateside subsidiary, Kadokawa Pictures USA, will handle digitisation of the library titles. The first 30 titles will become available in mid-February, followed by a further 170 throughout 2007. Titles will include films from
  • Kasell leaves Hamptons

    Hamptons International Film Festival executive director Denise Kasell is leaving her post after nine years. Artistic director Rajendra Roy remains in place.
  • KISS rock duo glam up Platinum Studios

    Los Angeles-based Platinum Studios has added glam rock starts to its independent library of comic book characters following a deal with KISS Catalog Ltd.The partners will create a new comic book entertainment company called the KISS Comics Group, which gives former glam rock band members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley artistic licence to create their own comic book characters.For Platinum the deals opens a world of creative possibilities through theatrical spin-off project
  • Klimt finally gets UK release

    Raoul Ruiz's film Klimt, about the fin de siecle Austrian painter, is to be released in the UK in the summer by Soda Pictures. Two versions of the film are in circulation - a 129 minute director's cut and a shorter producer's version. After consulting with exhibitors, Soda has decided that Ruiz's vision for Klimt will be seen by British cinemagoers. Both versions will subsequently be available on the DVD release. Klimt stars John Malkovich as the Vienna-based paint
  • Korean Film Commission plans US office led by Sun-young Moon

    The Korean Film Commission (KOFIC) has announced plans to open an LA office within the first half of the year, as part of an initiative to step up support for Korean films and filmmakers in the US. 'The initiative works on two planes - the industry side and the academic,' says Dong-mi Hwang, a manager in KOFIC's International Promotion Dept. Sun-young Moon, KOFIC's LA representative and Assistant Director of KOFIC's Filmmakers' Development Lab (FDL) will be in charge of the office
  • Lapointe and Kwan share Claude Jutra Award

    First-time filmmakers Julia Kwan (Eve And The Fire Horse) and Stephane Lapointe (La Vie Secrete Des Gens Heureux /The Secret Life of Happy People) were announced as the recipients of the 2007 Claude Jutra Award. It will be the first time the prize, presented annually during the Genie Awards for outstanding debut director, has been shared between two persons.
  • Lionsgate Australia makes a takeover bid for Magna Pacific

    The newly launched Lionsgate Australia has finally confirmed that it is hoping to get a quick leg-up into the Australian market by taking over Magna Pacific, the biggest independent DVD distributor in the country. Macquarie Private Portfolio Management Limited, the largest institutional shareholder in Magna Pacific, yesterday indicated that it would accept Lionsgate's takeover offer for its 12.1m shares, which represents 11.23% of the ordinary shares. Lionsgate has also acquired some add
  • Lolafilms plans $7.7m biopic of Spanish poet Gil de Biedma

    Andres Vicente Gomez's Lolafilms will produce a new Spanish-language biopic about prominent 20th-century poet Jaime Gil de Biedma. Guillermo Toledo (Crimen Ferpecto) is set to star in the estimated $7.7m (Euros 6m) El Consul De Sodoma for director Agusti Villaronga. Gomez says he hopes to co-produce with France and shoot from May. Gil de Biedma, who died in 1990, was one of Spain's most influential poets of the last century and an outspoken homosexual. His
  • London Film Festival sets 2007 dates

    The Times BFI London Film Festival has announced the dates for its 51st event, Oct 17- Nov 1, 2007. 'Whilst the Festival will present quality films which otherwise would not be seen in the UK, our autumn dates make us ideally positioned to premiere high profile quality titles due for winter and spring release, as well as to showcase some of the most hotly anticipated awards contenders,' said artistic director Sandra Hebron. 'After the success of the 50th anniversary and the confidence sh
  • Market focus - Is China really set to roar'

    Chinese box-office revenues will almost double over the next three years, from $336m to $720m by 2010, according to analyst Screen Digest and Nielsen NRG.The rapid box-office growth has been driven by the opening up of the Chinese market, and the swift development of modern multiplexes looks set to continue.The report predicts an increase in modern or silver-screen cinemas from 2,940 in 2005 to 5,000 by 2010.But there are a series of potential brakes that could slow the c
  • McLaurin hired to lead MPAA's education outreach

    The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has named Stewart McLaurin as executive vice president of education affairs.In this newly created position McLaurin will lead the association's education and outreach programmes. Specifically he will target university and K-12 administrators, educators and students and lawmakers and other government officials to promote awareness about intellectual property protection.He most recently served as chief of staff to the preside
  • Medienboard backs 11 projects for over $5m

    The next feature film by actor-producer-director Til Schweiger and a German version of the Emmy-winning BBC film The Girl In The Cafe are among eleven projects awarded over $5m (Euros 4.6m) production funding by the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg at its first sitting for 2007.The largest amount awarded at this session - $1.3m (Euros 1m) - was received by ProSieben's two-part modern adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, which will be directed by Hansjoerg T
  • Messengers, Because I Said So lead domestic box office

    Sony releases have dominated Superbowl weekend for the last six years and Screen Gems' The Messengers extended that quirky distinction at the weekend.As the nation prepared to sit down to watch Sunday's [Feb 4] clash between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts, the Pang Brothers' latest horror film opened top on an estimated $14.5m.The film stars Kristen Stewart and Dylan McDermott and takes place on a North Dakota sunflow
  • Mexican documentary festival Ambulante to open with Jesus Camp

    Documentary film festival Ambulante, set up last year by Canana, the production company founded by Mexican actors Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal and producer Pablo Cruz, will open today with Oscar-nominated Jesus Camp. The second edition of this travelling film festival will tour 15 cities in Mexico until March 29. 'Our goal is to give the people the chance to see documentary films from all over the world on commercials screens, to bring them to places where they are rarely seen,'
  • Mirren, Whitaker win SAG awards in final stages of Oscar race

    Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren confirmed their status as favourites to claim the Oscar after they won top honours at the 13 Annual Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles last night.Confirming that it is a best picture Oscar frontrunner, Little Miss Sunshine won the ensemble cast award, beating heavyweight films such as Babel and The Departed.Whitaker was r
  • Mister Lonely - Set report - Only the lonely

    It has been a decade since Gummo and a good eight years since Julien Donkey-Boy, and Harmony Korine is finally back behind the camera with Mister Lonely. He co-scripted the story about celebrity impersonators - the key characters being "Michael Jackson" and "Marilyn Monroe" - with his younger brother Avi, the first time the writer of Kids has collaborated on a screenplay. That, however, is possibly the least unusual part of Mister Lonely.Shot in the j
  • Museum remains top for Fox, followed by Happyness, Diamond

    Fox International's Night At The Museum remained the overseas champion yet again as it added an estimated $14.6m from 2,500 screens in 48 markets for $193.7m.The family film opened top in Spain on $5.6m from 483 and top in the Philippines on $800,000 from 96. It ranked fourth in its fifth weekend in the UK after grossing $2,4m from 453 for $39.4m.Night At The Museum added $977,000 from 461 i
  • Negativ lines up shoots for Country Teacher and Protektor

    Reflecting the recent upswing in Czech producers' fortunes, Prague-based independent production outfit Negativ has revealed further details of a bulging development slate. Negativ representatives have been in Rotterdam this week attending CineMart with new project Country Teacher by Bohdan Slama. The $1.7m feature, already supported by Pallas Film in German, is being backed by Why Not Productions in France. Why Not will also handle its French release. The film, which has re
  • New TIFF headquarters to break ground in Spring

    The Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG) expects to break ground in the spring on its much-anticipated Festival Centre, according to TIFFG. The site consists of TIFFG's Festival Centre, a five-storey podium building housing the Group's operations, a gallery, five cinemas, educational suites and a film reference library, and Festival Tower, a 37-story residential condominium.The measure of the anticipation was apparent in today's announcement that a fence was
  • New Turin fund provides $648,125 for doc productions in 2007

    The Turin Film Commission and the Northern Italian Turin-Piedmont Region have joined forces to set up the Piemonte Doc Film Fund by earmarking $648,125 (Euros 500,000) for documentary projects that are shot in the area or that employ local professionals for post-production work. The fund aims to promote about 20 small and mid-size doc projects each year, Turin Film Commission president Steve Della Casa told The funds are a 'local and strategic investment aimed at
  • Once

    Dir/scr: John Carney. Ireland. 2007. 88mins. The revelation of Sundance, John Carney's poetic third feature Once is a sublime and beautiful work that mediates feeling and desire. It's lyrical though substantial, beholden to the spirit and manner of the French New Wave, achieving a loose, spontaneous style that impressively binds the immediacy of film with the rapturous first person expression of the musical. Set in Dublin, the story details the emoti
  • P.O.V. to broadcast Israeli Sundance doc Hot House

    P.O.V., the long-running strand for non-fiction films on US public television (PBS), has picked up broadcast rights to Shimon Dotan's Israeli documentary Hot House following its recent world premiere at Sundance.The film played in the World Cinema Competition: Documentary programme and examines the lives of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.P.O.V. executive director Simon Kilmurry negotiated the deal with Dotan and producer
  • Padre Nuestro

    Dir. Christopher Zalla. US. 2007. 105mins.The issue of illegal immigration from Mexico goes beyond the epithets in Padre Nuestro, the tale of a son crossing a border from one squalid place to another to find the father whom he's never met. The twist in this grippingly realistic drama is that en route, the son's property and identity are stolen by a young impostor who sets out after the unsuspecting immigrant father. It's identity theft, the old-fashioned way.
  • Padre Nuestro, Manda Bala take top Sundance prizes, as dealmaking slows

    The Sundance deals avalanche slowed down as the festival ended over the weekend, with THINKFilm picking up North American rights to David Wain's comedy The Ten in association with City Lights Pictures' joint venture with Warner Music Group division WEA.THINKFilm plans a summer release for the film, which deploys 10 vignettes to illustrate the lessons of the Ten Commandments. Paul Rudd, Winona Ryder, Liev Schreiber, Gretchen Mol, and Oliver Pla
  • Participant social action role for Schreiber

    Participant Productions has hired event producer John Schreiber in the newly created position of executive vice-president of social action and advocacy.
  • Paul Trijbits joins Alison Owen's production company Ruby Films

    Paul Trijbits, whose six-year stint as head of the UK Film Council's New Cinema Fund ended last autumn, has joined Alison Owen's London-based Ruby Films. Full details of Tribijts' role at Ruby are yet to be confirmed, but it is expected that he will be active in acquiring and executive producing projects. Ruby Films was established in 1999. Its credits include Is Harry on the Boat, Sylvia and Love + Hate. Among its forthcoming titles are Brick Lane ,
  • Paul Trijbits joins Alison Owen's production company Ruby Films

    Paul Trijbits, whose six-year stint as head of the UK Film Council's New Cinema Fund ended last autumn, has joined Alison Owen's London-based Ruby Films. Full details of Tribijts' role at Ruby are yet to be confirmed, but it is expected that he will be active in acquiring and executive producing projects. Ruby Films was established in 1999. Its credits include Is Harry on the Boat, Sylvia and Love + Hate. Among its forthcoming titles are Brick Lane ,
  • Penny Wolf quits Peace Arch Films

    Penny Wolf is leaving her post as managing director of Peace Arch Films in London, effective Mar 16.Wolf will attend the European Film Market in Berlin to meet buyers as a company employee, before going on to pursue new opportunities.Further details including an announcement of Wolf's replacement will follow in due course. The departure is said to be amicable.'The company is grateful for Penny's contribution in raising the profile of Peace Arch Films in the in
  • Pirate DVD sellers arrested in East London

    The UK's Federation Against Copyright Theft has announced that seven people have been arrested in Hackney, East London by police working with FACT, Hackney Council and the Immigration Service. The raid was conducted at a Tesco carpark, where five men and two women, all of Chinese origin, were arrested. More than 1000 pirate DVDs were seized. Kieron Sharp, director general of the Federation Against Copyright Theft said: 'Pirate DVD selling in Hackney has been a persistent problem f
  • Principal photography to begin on Maria Larsson's Everlasting Moment

    Oscar-nominated Swedish director Jan Troell will start principal photography for his new feature, Maria Larsson's Everlasting Moment, in three weeks - and although he usually takes his time, the $6.2m (Euros 4.8m) is scheduled for a world premiere at next year's Goteborg International Film Festival. Finnish-Swedish actress Maria Heiskanan, who played the lead in Troell's Silver Bear winner, Il Capitano (1991), will star in the film with Sweden's Mikael Persbrandt (Beck
  • Producing nominees named for Best Picture Oscar

    The producers branch executive committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the final roster of producers nominated in the best picture category for the 79th Annual Academy Awards.Graham King was named sole producing nominee on The Departed, while Brad Grey, Brad Pitt and Martin Scorsese, also listed as producers on the film, were deemed ineligible. Likewise Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger, who produced
  • RBS signs $350m financing pact with New Line

    The Royal Bank of Scotland has closed a $350m film financing deal with New Line Cinema. The pact will provide co-financing for an estimated 20 New Line films during an approximately two-year period. The deal will include 2007 releases such as Hairspray, Rush Hour 3, and The Golden Compass as well as planned 2008 releases Inkheart starring Helen Mirren, Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past starring Matthew McConaughey and Semi-Pro starring Will Ferrell.
  • Relativity strikes massive studio co-financing pact with Citigroup

    Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity Media is teaming up with Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking to co-finance approximately 45 films from an as-yet-unnamed Hollywood studio over the next five years. Exact details of the this massive deal were not disclosed at time of writing. However, if it follows the parameters of recent co-financing equity structures with Hollywood, then more than $1bn in fresh money could end up being invested in studio productions via a revolving credit line fro
  • Rezo takes on Berlin competitor Desert Dream

    Rezo Films International has acquired worldwide rights to Berlin competition film Desert Dream. The South Korean-Mongol co-production is from Chinese director Zhang Lu and is set in a small village on the border of China and Mongolia. As the village becomes more and more desolate, the film tells the story of a remaining trio who become unlikely friends. The $1.5m film is produced by Korea's G21M, France's Arizona Films and Mongolia's Jiij Production. Zhang Lu's last film, Grain In E
  • Rochelle Sharpe heads up new Sandra Marsh music arm

    Los Angeles-based international entertainment agency Sandra Marsh Management has launched a music division.The new venture will be headed by Rochelle Sharpe and will be devoted to representing composers, music supervisors and music editors in film, television and commercials.The current client roster includes: Bruno Coulais, a 2005 Oscar nominee for his music to Les Choristes; Michael Nyman, whose credits include
  • Rome aims to lure 300 buyers to second Business Street event

    The Rome Festival's industry event Business Street is looking to target buyers and sellers yet more aggressively. Speaking in Rotterdam, Sylvain Auzou, who runs Business Street with Diamara Parodi, has explained just how the market will be expanded further. The second festival is to run from October 18-27 (just a few days later than last year) with Business Street October 18-21, adding one extra day. 'I want to invite more people but maybe not for as long as I did last year,' Auzo
  • Rotterdam awards include first tied Tiger

    Four films won VPRO Tiger Awards at this year's International Film Festival Rotterdam, including for the first time a tie.The clear winners were Love Conquers All, by Malaysian director Tan Chui Mui and The Unpolished (Die Unerzogenen) by Germany's Pia Marais.The jury, under chairman Piers Handling, Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, praised
  • Rotterdam sees strong rise in industry and public attendance

    Rotterdam closed on a high with good news on visitor numbers - up to 367,000 visits to screenings, talks and events.The festival also saw a rise in international attention. More film industryrepresentatives visited Rotterdam, including, 390 film-makers and morethan 800 CineMart guests.The closing weekend included the presentation of the KPN Audience Award to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives
  • Scorsese's Oscar hopes rise after DGA honour

    Martin Scorsese bolstered his chances of that elusive Oscar following his first Directors Guild of America (DGA) award in Los Angeles at the weekend. Scorsese won the DGA's outstanding directorial achievement in feature film for 2006 for his gritty crime drama The Departed. The honour is a very reliable barometer of Academy Awards success in the director category and followed Scorsese's sevent
  • Shine Global launches contest to fund socially aware documentaries

    Non-profit US production company Shine Global has launched a contest to promote and fund the development of documentary films.From now until Mar 19 the company will solicit treatments and budgets from both established and first-time documentary film-makers whose films aim to end the exploitation and abuse of children by raising social awareness and effecting political change.Shine Global was founded by the husband-and-wife team of Albie Hecht and Susan MacLaury and recent
  • SilverDocs pays tribute to Jonathan Demme

    SilverDocs will honour Jonathan Demme at the Charles Guggenheim Symposium, the six-day documentary festival's centerpiece event set to take place in June just outside Washington DC.Demme's documentary work includes: last year's Neil Young: Heart Of Gold; The Agronomist (2003), an account of the life of Haitian journalist and human rights activist Jean Dominique; and his acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads conc
  • Sky To Sponsor BAFTA party after Burberry pulls out

    Sky has come on board as the sponsor of the first BAFTA Film Nominees Party, replacing Burberry which has withdrawn its sponsorship. Burberry pulled out to 'avoid embroiling BAFTA and its guests in threatened disruptive behaviour as part of campaigning against Burberry following its closure of its polo shirt factory in Wales on business efficiency grounds.' The company has been stirring protests in the UK. The Feb 10 party, at London's Natural History Museum, is a first for BAFTA.
  • Smith brings Happyness to SPRI at international box office

    The Pursuit Of Happyness ended the weekend as the number one overseas attraction in a highly successful week for Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI).The rags-to-riches drama stars Academy Award nominee Will Smith and grossed an estimated $16m to raise the tally to $71m.The result was buoyed by impressive debuts in four major territories. Spain generated second place on $2.4m, France a possible number one on $2.2m, Mexico pr
  • Snow Angels

    Dir. David Gordon Green. US. 2007. 106mins. Snow Angels takes director David Gordon Green out of the American South, and it takes his film-making away from atmospheric meditation and into dense storytelling. His wintry small-town tale, adapted by Green from Stewart O'Nan's 1994 novel, examines a warm teenage relationship that flourishes amid collapsing marriages and a child's death. The tender teen couple, trombonist Arthur and shy photographer Lila (Michae
  • Sony fills key posts

    Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has named Adrian Alperovich as senior executive vice-president and general manager, and hired former Momentum VP of acquisitions Lara Thompson as senior vice-president of acquisitions. Scott Shooman has been promoted to executive director of acquisitions, and Lia Buman has joined as director of acquisitions.
  • Soren Kragh-Jacobsen plans political thriller for Nimbus

    Danish director Soren Kragh-Jacobsen will start shooting political thriller Det som ingen ved (literal translation: What No One Knows) on Feb 19. The eight-week shoot will take place in Denmark and Sweden. The project will star Anders W. Berthelsen, who starred in the director's Mifune as well as in another Danish political thriller, King's Game. Danish actress Ghita Norby also stars with Norway's Maria Bonnevie. The script, written by King's Game
  • Spain - Saints above

    Like The Da Vinci Code before it, Ray Loriga's Teresa (Teresa, El Cuerpo De Cristo) has drawn the ire of the Catholic Church from Madrid to London before the film - which stars Spanish siren Paz Vega as the 16th century saint - has even premiered.Controversy, says writer-director Loriga, "is always going to happen with religion in this country"."Most people who are talking about the film have never read (the writings of) Teresa of Avila. Most Catholics have
  • StudioCanal picks up three new projects, including new Klapisch film

    StudioCanal has announced three new films set to debut on its Berlin slate. The first is from director Cedric Klapisch who will re-team with his Auberge Espagnole star Romain Duris. Few details are currently available apart from cast with Juliette Binoche, Fabrice Luchini, Francois Cluzet, Karin Viard and Albert Dupontel joining Duris. The film, entitled Paris , is in production and is budgeted at $17.6m (Euros 13.5m). Also new is Game Of Four from directors B
  • Summer Rain (El Camino De Los Ingleses)

    Dir: Antonio Banderas. Spain. 2007. 118 mins.A dreamlike and seductive second feature from Antonio Banderas, Summer Rain follows a group of young men and women in Malaga in the 1970s as they struggle to transition into adulthood. A nostalgic exercise of sorts for Banderas, himself born an
  • Swiss launch fund to boost film exports

    Switzerland's Federal Office of Culture (BAK) has launched a $200,000 (Swiss Francs 250,000) fund to boost the distribution of Swiss films abroad. Speaking at the Solothurn Film Days at the weekend, BAK director Jean-Frederic Jauslin and his film division chief Nicolas Bideau announced that foreign distributors of Swiss films would be able to receive distribution aid of up to Euros 25,000 per film towards the release costs from the new fund.The Swiss initiat
  • Tartan plans Jobson tour and classes for A Woman In Winter

    Richard Jobson, screenwriter and director of 16 Years of Alcohol and The Purifiers, is to launch his latest film A Woman In Winter, through Tartan Films, with a UK tour stretching from the film's setting, Edinburgh, to London. As well as screenings of the film, the former frontman of the punk band The Skids will be hosting Q&A sessions, and in-depth masterclasses. Bookings confirmed so far are events at the Edinburgh Cameo from February 6-11, the Glasgow Film Theatre
  • Teeth

    Dir/Writer: Mitchell Lichtenstein. 87 minutes. USWriter/director Mitchell Lichtenstein's, Teeth could have been just another bloody gross-out horror comedy with a gimmick - a teen virgin discovers she has a toothed vagina. But the sexuality angle, as well as the luminous presence and naturalistic performance of Jess Weixler as that girl, raises the film into something poten
  • Thai director turns on Chinese-language Pleasure Factory

    Thai writer-director Ekachai Uekrongtham has wrapped principal photography of his first Chinese-language feature, Pleasure Factory, financed by his new Singapore-based production company Spicy Apple Films. The HD feature, set in Singapore 's red-light district Geylang, stars Taiwanese Golden Horse best actress Yang Kuei Mei and up-and-coming Thai actor Ananda Everingham. Singapore 's distributor-producer InnoForm Media has come onboard as co-investor and holds the Singapore
  • Thailand 's box office up by 2.5% in 2006

    Thailand 's box office scored a hat trick in 2006 by breaking the $87m (BHT3bn) milestone for three years running. Total box office in the major cities of Bangkok and Chiangmai reached $91.69m (BHT3.15bn) in 2006, up by 2.5% from the previous year. The results were better than the Thai industry had predicted as there was a lack of local and Hollywood blockbusters earlier in the year While 2005 saw five films break the $2.9m (BHT100m) barrier, three of which were Thai pictures, onl
  • The Mark of Cain

    Dir: Marc Munden. UK. 2007. 90mins Moral dilemmas both public and personal form the core of The Mark of Cain, a gripping and very timely drama about British forces in Iraq. Written by playwright and TV screenwriter Tony Marchant (Kid in the Corner,
  • The Pool

    Dir: Chris Smith. US. 2007. 106mins.In his second narrative feature The Pool, documentary film-maker Chris Smith (American Movie) considerably expands his range and thematic concerns. Working in Hindi, telling a low key, resonant story about an 18-year-old Indian boy's quest to
  • The Signal (La Senal)

    Dirs/Writers: David Bruckner, Jacob Gentry, Dan Bush. 99 minutes. U.S. 2006.A low-budget horror picture filmed in high-definition video to look ultra-realistic, The Signal has mind-numbingly brutal gore and violence that could catch on with extremist horror buffs because of its unusual structure and fast-moving nature. The picture appeared at Sundance Film Festival's edgy Park City at Midnight programme because the
  • The Ten

    Dir: David Wain. USDavid Wain's The Ten, a mildly heretical iteration of Mel Brooks or Monty Python style satire, strains very hard to find shock value though it is less renegade than nasty and somewhat repugnant. Aside from two standout contributions, this scattershot effort to illustrat
  • Tijuana, Unsettled are top Slamdance winners

    The 13th Slamdance Film Festival announced its 16 film and screenplay prize-winners as the event wound down at the weekend.The festival received a record 3,600-plus submissions from 20 countries for less than 100 slots, and registered approximately 20,000 attendees.There was one high-profile sale, as Picturehouse bought domestic rights to Seth Gordon's documentary The King Of Kong and New Line took worldwide remake and life rights
  • UK exhibitors pull Museum in row over DVD release window

    Some of the UK's biggest exhibitors are pulling Fox's Night At The Museum this weekend in a row over a shortened 13-week window between theatrical and DVD release. Odeon and Vue cinemas are amongst those taking action - though none of the chains involved was making a statement tonight.It follows a similar row in Germany last week where the leading cinema chains forced Fox into concessions over the DVD release for
  • UK Film Council to handle Cultural Test applications as of April 1

    As expected, the UK government has announced that the administration of the new cultural test to qualify for the new UK film fax relief will move from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to the UK Film Council. As of April 1, all Cultural Test applications will be assessed by the UK Film Council. The UKFC will also assess applications under the Council of Europe Convention on cinematic co-production and the UK's other co-productions agreements. 'This will enable the unit to
  • UK investigations lead to arrest of 16 pirate DVD suspects

    The UK 's Federation Against Copyright Theft announced that its anti-piracy investigators have worked with law enforcement officials to target pirate DVD sellers at markets in Durham and Nottingham, England. There were 16 suspects arrested: nine at Tanfield Lea, Durham and seven at Hucknall, Nottingham. More than 18,000 pirate DVDs were seized. The Durham raid was a joint operation with Durham Constabulary; the eight men and one woman were arested and have been bailed to return in eight
  • Under The Same Moon (La Misma Luna)

    Dir: Patricia Riggen. US. 2007. 109 mins.Patricia Riggen's first feature film La Misma Luna (The Same Moon) is a road movie which starts off as one of those earnest movies which 'wears its heart on its sleeve' and ultimately, irretrievably, descends into cliche and sentimentality. Centred around a Mexican boy who is cuter and more adorable than all the kids in
  • United Kingdom - Banking on sales

    Like many producers, Phil Hunt of Head Gear Films had ambitions to expand into other areas of the business. "I knew in-house sales was a good idea, it was just a question of finding the right people to partner with," Hunt says. "There aren't that many good sales agents out there."Enter Hilary Davis and Stephen Kelliher, who had known Hunt for years and officially started working with Head Gear in early 2006 when they headed the London-based film sales team for Australia's Beyond Films.
  • United Kingdom - Who's the daddy'

    Eight months ago, Anand Tucker had every reason to be disillusioned with the movie business. He had been preparing New Line's fantasy epic The Golden Compass for 18 months and then left the project abruptly due to "creative differences".Producer Stephen Woolley immediately called to entice him on board And When Did You Last See Your Father', which Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen were developing at Number 9 Films."It was a miracle when Stephen sent me the script - the day after my
  • United States/Denmark - Lit Fuse

    In the 10 years since he moved from his native Denmark to Los Angeles, Mikkel Bondesen has established himself in the competitive world of management and expanded into film and TV production.Fuse Entertainment, the literary management company he launched in 2004, has a list of writer clients including Josh Schwartz (creator of TV hit The OC), James Vanderbilt (the upcoming Zodiac) and Heather Hach (Freaky Friday).Through Fuse's production arm, meanwhile, the
  • United states/Europe - Water works

    For Mark Horowitz and Andras Hamori, the recently launched international sales and co-production arm of H2O Motion Pictures is part new venture, part professional reunion.The two executives previously worked together in the late 1990s, when Hamori was president of the Alliance Pictures production operation and Horowitz served as president of the Alliance Atlantis Pictures International sales division.Hamori struck out on his own in 2000 to produce films including The 51st Sta
  • Universal promotes Bario to EVP of production

    Holly Bario, who has spent more than a decade as a production executive at Universal Pictures, has been named executive vice president of production at the studio.Bario has shepherded some of Universal's biggest comedies in recent years, including Bruce Almighty, Meet The Parents, Meet The Fockers, and The 40 Year-Old Virgin
  • Universal unveils regional film-buying network across its labels

    Universal Pictures and Focus Features are consolidating their worldwide acquisitions operations to support NBC Universal's global theatrical distribution network.Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger, co-chairman David Linde, and Focus Features and Rogue Pictures chairman James Schamus will oversee the restructured division along with Universal executive vice president Michael Joe and Focus president and Rogue co-president Andrew Karpen.Day-to-day supervision will lie
  • Volver takes best film, director, actress at Goyas in Madrid

    Pedro Almodovar's Volver and Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth split the top prizes Sunday night at Spain's 21st annual Goya Awards. Almodovar was absent from the ceremony, but his film won five prizes including best film, director, original music, actress for Penelope Cruz and supporting actress for Carmen Maura. Labyrinth (
  • Von Trier makes devil's pact with Anders Thomas Jensen on Antichrist

    Lars von Trier recently took an unusual step to finish the script for his new horror film Antichrist. He phoned archrival and prolific writer/director Anders Thomas Jensen for help. Jensen has worked as a co-writer with Susanne Bier and Lone Scherfig and directed three projects himself: Flickering Lights, The Green Butchers and Adam's Apples. But he had never collaborated with Trier before. In fact, two years ago, Trier criticised Jensen for making Danish scri
  • Walak promoted to head Momentum's acquisitions team

    Following the sudden suspension of Xavier Marchand in January, Momentum Pictures has also announced changes to its acquisitions team ahead of Berlin. Richard Napper, the company's acting managing director, has promoted Robert Walak as the new head of acquisitions, with Louis Tisne serving as acquisitions manager and Nadia Ward named acquisitions co-ordinator. The posts are effective immediately. The acquisitions team buys films for Momentum's UK business as well as for sister Spanish dis
  • Walter Salles and John Waters lined up for Berlinale Talent Campus

    Last year's Golden Bear winner Jasmila Zbanic, directors Walter Salles and John Waters, producer Kees Kasander, and actors Sarah Polley and Gael Garcia Bernal are among 120 international experts speaking at the Berlinale Talent Campus which celebrates its fifth anniversary between Feb 10-15. The programme of discussions, lectures, and workshops will also feature human rights activist Bianca Jagger, Finding Neverland composer Jan Kaczmarek, veteran documentary filmmaker Frederick W
  • Wheldon to administer NewFest

    Kerry Weldon has been hired as administrative director at NewFest, where she will serve as co-director of the organisation, and oversee finances, development, and administration in partnership with artistic director Basil Tsiokos.Weldon begins in her new post on Feb 1, working on fundraising and corporate relations leading up to NewFest 2007, the 19th annual New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Film Festival that runs from May 31-Jun 10.Weldon worked at IFP for
  • Wide gets on board for controversial Belgian feature Ex Drummer

    In one of the first pick-ups of this year's Rotterdam Tiger competition, French outfit Wide Management is to handle international sales on Koen Mortier's Ex Drummer. The news was confirmed on Sunday in Rotterdam, just prior to the film's world premiere. All territories are open, except for Benelux, which is being handled by A-Film. Ex Drummer is already building up a reputation as one of the most contentious Belgian films in recent years. Critical opinion is sharply split o
  • Wide Management picks up five projects at European Film Market

    With five new acquisitions, Wide Management is gearing up for a busy EFM. First up was Panorama selection Shelter from director Marco Simon Puccioni, starring Maria De Medeiros, Antonia Liskova and Mounir Ouadi. The film traces the story of an Italian couple who return from vacation to find that a Moroccan stowaway has hidden in their car. Also in Panorama is A Casa De Alice from Brazil 's Chico Teixeiro about a 40-year-old woman who begins to question her unfulfilling life