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2 March 2007

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  • A Soap surprise at the Bodil Awards

    The best film at this year's Danish Bodil prizes may have been Pernille Fischer Christensen's A Soap, but in many ways the star of the night was a film financing programme. New Danish Talent was launched by the Danish Film Institute two years ago to supportDanish debut directors or younger directors.Christensen was just one of those supported by the scheme forA Soap, having previouslyfailed to finance scripts. It was named best film at the Bodil awards withstar
  • Ad Lib Night (Aju Teukbyeolhan Sonnim)

    Dir: Lee Yoon-ki. S Kor. 2006. 99mins. Korean film-maker Lee Yoon-ki seems obsessed with female solitude and dysfunctional families. After This Charming Girl and Love Talk, he revisists the theme with Ad Lib Night, a film shot so much in close-ups that it could have been made anywhere, so little is seen of the background scenery. Following a city girl who inexplicably impersonates the daughter of a dying man, the film suffers from consi
  • Ane Dahl Torp receives inaugural Liv Ullmann prize

    Norwegian actress Ane Dahl Torp received the first $16,300 (Euros 12,400) Liv Ullmann Honorary Prize at the Norwegian Film Ball, the gala event organised by the Norwegian Film Institute with the industry at the Oslo Plaza. Ullmann had cancelled her participation due to sickness.Educated at the Norwegian National Drama School in 1999, Torp became a local household name after the television series, Black Money, WhiteLies, and she has since performed in such fearures as Tor
  • Anna M

    Dir/scr: Michel Spinosa. Fr. 2007. 106mins. Whether or not it's clinically accurate - and it certainly has a plausible ring - stalker study Anna M tightens the psychological screws to compelling effect. Michel Spinosa's drama about a young woman in the throes of a morbid passion may be a touch manipulative, but has an iron grip that doesn't let go any more easily than its heroine does. A striking shift of register for Spinosa after retro comedy La
  • Armin

    Dir/scr: Ognjen Svilicic. Cro-Ger-Bos. 2007. 82mins.A low-key Balkan film may seem like a contradiction in terms, given the ebullient energy of the cinema produced in that part of the world, but there is no better way to describe Ognjen Svilicic's second feature. Something of a surprise after his raucous
  • Ascot Elite picks up four horror titles for Germany

    The Ascot Elite Entertainment Group has announced the acquisition of all rights to four horror titles for German speaking territories. The four titles acquired are: the horror comedy Black Sheep written and directed by Jonathan King which was bought from New Zealand Film. Paddy Breathnach's gory horror film Shrooms, starring Lindsey Haun, Jack Huston, and Maya Hazen, from Capitol Films; Jeff McQueen's documentary Going To Pieces - The Rise And Fall O
  • Ascot Elite takes Swiss rights to Doerrie's How To Cook

    Zurich-based Ascot Elite has bought Swiss rights to Doris Doerrie's documentary How To Cook Your Life from Atrix Films.The film, which had its world premiere in the Berlinale Special section at the Berlin Film Festival last month, follows Doerrie as she engages Zen Master Edward Espe Brown to explain the guiding principles of Zen Buddhism as they apply to the preparation of food as well as to life itself.Ascot Elite also handled Ne
  • Asian locations: Taiwan

    Just a 90-minute flight from Hong Kong, Taiwan has world-class DoPs and sound designers. It is cheaper than Hong Kong, but is not as wellIn 2004, the government introduced tax credits to boost local production and attract international shoots, which offered a 20% tax deduction on capital investment in new production companies.
  • BAFTA winners in full

    BAFTA winners in fullBest FilmWINNER: The Queen Babel The Last King of Scotland The
  • Baron Cohen gets Israel Film Festival achievement award

    Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen has been chosen to be the inaugural recipient of the outstanding achievement award at the 22nd Annual Israel Film Festival.The British comedian will join fellow nominees Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal and Israeli actress Gila Almagor at the opening night gala award dinner on Mar 6 in Los Angeles.'We are excited to honour Sacha and his tremendous achievements in film with this inaugur
  • Beta Cinema handling world sales for Ironman

    Beta Cinema is to handle world sales for Adnan G. Koese's feature debut Ironman, which is currently shooting in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Dinslaken.Based on the true story of the world-class triathlete Andreas Niedrig, which appeared in book form in 2000 as Vom Junkie zum Ironman, Ironman is being produced by Munich-based enigma film in co-production with Odeon Pictures, Lunaris Film- und Fernsehproduktion and Neue Kinowelt Filmproduktion with backing from Filmsti
  • Binder, Blunt spice up SXSW attractions

    The 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference & Festival will host a special screening on March 14 ofMike Binder's Reign Over Me, starring Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler.Some cast and crew are expected to attend. In addition, British pop-star James Blunt is coming to the Austin festival to attend the March 10 world premiere ofSteven Cantor's documentary, James Blunt: Return To Kosovo, whichchronicles
  • BitTorrent goes legit, making deal with major movie houses

    BitTorrent Inc, the San Francisco based company that created the software used to download pirated blockbusters from the internet, has entered into a licensing agreement with some of America's top studios in an attempt to dramatically decrease blackmarket activity. Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros and Lionsgate are among those who have agreed to supply The BitTorrent Entertainment Network with films and television shows that will be available to down
  • Blindsight continues to see sales for Little Film Company

    Little Film Company has concluded major territory sales at the European Film Market to Robson Entertainment's documentary Blindsight.The film, which won the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, sold to TAO Cinemathek (Germany), Phantom Films (Japan), Conquest Films (Brazil), and Quality Films (Mexico).Rights also went to Svensk (Scandinavia), Spenzos (Greece), Cinemien (Benelux), and Pa-Dora (the forme
  • China Film Group takes over Warner Bros multiplexes

    China Film Group has confirmed that it's buying out three multiplexes that are jointly owned by Warner Bros International Cinemas (WBIC) and China 's SZITIC Commercial Property Co (SZITIC). Following the completion of the equity transfer agreement, China Film will become the sole owner of the three cinemas which are located in the cities of Changsha and Nanchang. The agreement is still pending the approval of the Chinese government and the process is expected to take 60 working days.
  • Confession Of Pain (Seung sing)

    Dirs: Andrew Lau, Alan Mak. HK. 2006. 116mins. The Infernal Affairs trilogy - and Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning remake, The Departed - turned Andrew Lau and Alan Mak into the golden boys of Hong Kong cinema. The directing duo followed up with the enjoyably lightweight teen racer yarn Initial D, which enjoyed acclaim especially in Asia and among street car aficionados. Their latest feature, the eagerly-awaited Confession Of Pain, represents Lau
  • 'Could you double-check the envelope please'' Scorsese jokes as crime thriller proves biggest winner of the night

    The Departed stole the show at the 79th Academy Awards in Hollywood last night, taking top prize for best picture and propelling Martin Scorsese to his long-awaited first directing Oscar.
  • Curse Of The Golden Flower closes Glasgow Film Fest

    The Glasgow Film Festival closed on Sunday Feb 25th with a coup - the sell-out UK premiere of Zhang Yimou's Curse of The Golden Flower. The festival, now in its third year, has reportedly seen an increase of 60 per cent in audience admissions, translating to approximately 14,000 ticket sales.The big audience pleasers included opening night romantic comedy Cashback, and the documentaries Primo Levi's Journey and Dixie Chicks: Shut Up And Sing which playe
  • Danny Boyle plans thriller set at South Africa's Ponte City

    UK director Danny Boyle's next project will be thriller Ponte Tower, a co-production between the UK and South Africa. Ponte Tower is loosely based on the book by German novelist Norman Ohler, which Michael Thomas is adpating. The film-makers plan to shoot the film entirely within the South Africa 's Ponte City. Johannesburg's infamous 54-story apartment building is known for its large Coca-Cola advertisement as well as its high suicide rate. Gina
  • Dark Matter

    Dir. Chen Shi-Zheng. 2007. US. 88mins Dark Matter follows a promising Chinese science student as he falls short of his expectations while studying in the United States and spirals into depression as he fears disappointing the parents who sacrificed everything to send their son to an American university. The talented young man strikes out at America with a violent act befitting the lurid popular culture stereotypes of the land that he sought to adopt
  • Data - Market focus - Turning tide in HK affairs

    When William Monahan accepted his best adapted screenplay Oscar for The Departed, he thanked Felix Chong and Alan Mak, the writers of its source material, Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs. But he could have also paid homage to Media Asia's chairman Peter Lam who greenlit the high-concept thriller.Infernal Affairs single-handedly revitalised local cinema in 2002, raising audience expectations and making the territory's films cool once again. It grossed $7m in Hong K
  • Daughters Of The Dust opens Images Of Black Women Film Festival

    The third annual Images of Black Women Festival, a celebration of the achievements of black women in cinema, will open on Friday (March 2) at the Tricycle Theatre in London.The event opens with a screening of the Daughters Of Dust, followed by a Q&A session with the director Julie Dash. The US film maker will be presented with a Life Time Achievement Award. The festival runs to March 4th with screenings, events and workshops, inclu
  • Departed players reteam for Confession remake

    It looks like Warner Bros is keen to replicate the success of Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning The Departed. The remake of Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs picked up four Oscars, including best picture, director and adapted screenplay, on Sunday night and has grossed more than $250m. As reported by Screen at the European Film Market, Warner Bros has now acquired remake rights to Lau and Mak's crime thriller Confession Of Pain
  • Dogwoof strikes UK deal for Dv8's Bunny Chow

    UK distributor Dogwoof Pictures has taken UK rights to Dv8's South African comedy Bunny Chow. John Barker's comedy world premiered in Toronto and recently had its European premiere in Rotterdam 's Tiger Competition. The film is on release in South Africa from March 9, after already taking best actor and best new director awards at Sithengi in November 2006. Bunny Chow follows three comedians as they travel to a rock concert. It stars Kagiso Lediga, David Kibuuka, Sal
  • Dubai announces dates, beefed-up roles for Amralla and Field

    The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), which will run from Dec 9 to 16, 2007, has announced that CEO and festival director Neil Stephenson has stepped down. Co-artistic directors Simon Field and Masoud Amralla Al Ali have increased responsibility for the programme direction, according to a statement, and report directly to Abdulhamid Juma, deputy director general of the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority and chairman of DIFF. Juma will again oversee the 2007 edition of
  • Dukakis, MacLaine reteam for Ash's Poor Things

    Olympia Dukakis is in talks to join Shirley MacLaine on the dark comedy Poor Things, in what would be their first on-screen reunion in nearly 20 years.The pair last starred together in 1989's box office smash Steel Magnolias. This time around the tone is very different: Poor Things is inspired by the recent spate of 'grandma gangs' involving geriatric women who p
  • Editorial - Eyes of the world

    US commentators on the 79th Academy Awards spent many column inches noting the international flavour of this year's event. And indeed there were a remarkable number of nominations in the main sections for Mexican film and film-makers.The strong presence again of the British - particularly Helen Mirren's regal procession to her shoo-in best actress honour - may also have given the impression of a foreign invasion.The sense of the Oscars under siege was followed by a sense of reli
  • EFP supports eight European features at Mar Del Plata

    European Film Promotion's Film Sales Support progamme is supporting eight European films at the Mar Del Plata Film Festival. The festival, which runs March 8-18, is one of seven festivals supported by FSS. Sales agents are given grants for promotional costs of up to $6,609 (Euros 5,000) per film. As part of Mar Del Plata 's focus on Italy, FSS is supporting four Italian films: As the Shadow by Maria Spada, Quijote by Mimmo Paladino, Roses from the Dese
  • Eurimages gives $5.1m to 10 European co-productions

    At its 104th meeting that ended Feb 27 in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe Eurimages Fund Board of Management has given support to 10 features in its latest funding round, for a total of $5.1m (Euros 3.86m). The backed features are: Clara by Helma Sanders-Brahms (Germany, France, Hungary)Dorothy Mills by Agnes Merlet (France, Ireland) Il y a longtemps que je t'aime by Philippe Claudel (France, Germany) Pandoranin Kutusu by Yesim Ust
  • European - Aardman animations - 'We feel liberated in a delightful way'

    Peter Lord, a founder of Aardman Animations, is in optimistic mood following the company's recent divorce from DreamWorks."We just feel liberated in an incredibly delightful way," says Lord. "Many other people are interested in doing business with us, both within Europe and in the US. What it means creatively is that there is more chance for us making feature films now than ever before."Despite glowing reviews and a huge international gross, Aardman's Wallace & Gromit: The Cu
  • European - Case study: Max & Co - Puppet masters pull the strings

    On paper, Max & Co looks like a big risk. Budgeted at $25m (EUR19m), the animated first-time feature from director brothers Fred and Sam Guillaume started out as a short. But as it evolved, and with input from producer Robert Boner, it became clear it would be better served as a full-length production.Financing for the film, which uses puppets and new motion-capture techniques, came together using regional funds and tax breaks via a co-production between Switzerland, UK, France
  • European - Event: Cartoon movie - Forum for European animations

    Cartoon Movie's annual Forum for European Animation Films is billed as "neither a fair nor a festival, but rather a co-production forum where European producers can negotiate the financing of their feature-length projects and provide support to international co-operation". It combines trailer presentations, business meetings and screenings with the chance to socialise.Around 500 producers, financiers, sales agents and buyers will converge on Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany, for this year's
  • European - Selling European animation - Drawing the battle lines

    Television looms large over European animation. "The biggest problem in selling animation in Europe is that the market is primarily for (TV) series - 30-minute episodes," says Czech-based producer and sales agent John Riley, who has sold the work of Czech master Jan Svankmajer.With bigger-budget Euro-animated features, sales agents need to bring buyers on board at an early stage. "The whole process takes much longer (than live-action)," says Odyssey Entertainment's Ralph Kamp, whose cr
  • European - Territory Overview: France - Highly visible success

    French animation is enjoying a revival, with Luc Besson's Arthur And The Invisibles raking it in at the local and foreign box office and many other high-profile projects underway. But, just as in the US where an overstretched market is starting to buckle, France may not be able to sustain the pace forever.Up until 1998, France was producing only one animated film every five years but was strong in TV. However, after Michel Ocelot's hit feature Kirikou And The Sorceress in
  • European animation - Case Study: Arthur and the Invisibles - 'We had no clue how tough it was going to be'

    In making Arthur And The Invisibles, Luc Besson (pictured) refused to accept the conventional wisdom that European animation was a cottage industry. It looks as if his gamble has paid off, with the film already scoring more than 6.2 million admissions in France. The aim now is to shoot the two sequels, Arthur And The Vengeance Of Maltazard and Arthur And The War Of Two Worlds back to back, taking advantage of economies of scale.Speaking at the European Film
  • European animation - Drawn to Europe

    It may boast an abundance of talent, but European animation has always been little more than a cottage industry. And in a global market dominated by the likes of Disney and DreamWorks Animation, Europe's lack of marketing clout, branding and distribution is painfully obvious.But there are signs that European feature animation is in a robust state. Luc Besson's $80m Arthur And The Invisibles - an attempt to make a full-length animated CGI feature that could go toe to toe with Dis
  • European animation - Territory Overview: Germany - It's a family affair

    German animations were traditionally targeted at children, but all that changed in the early 1990s when producers hit on 'adult' animation features with successful comic-book adaptations Werner - Volles Rooaaa! (2.7 million admissions) and The Little Bastard (three million). However, animation studios now tend to focus on fare for the whole family.Unlike France where the industry is largely based in Paris, Germany's lack of a main production centre is a problem. But the f
  • European animation - Territory Overview: Spain - 'Animation is in hot demand'

    The 2001 animated feature The Living Forest marked a before and after in Spanish animation. Europe's first 3D computer animation, it was seen by more than a million viewers across the continent. Its success helped producer Dygra Films finance its $8m (EUR6.1m) Midsummer Dream, and grow its company with an eye to opening associated studios abroad. Dygra is in production on the 3D follow-up, The Spirit Of The Forest, for a 2007 release.Since The Living Forest,
  • European Film Market: The Deals

    EFM Deals2 Days In Paris dir: Julie Delpy (Rezo International)The Works (UK)Alexandra dir: Alexander Sokurov(Rezo International)Arthouse Movies (Latin America) Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens (Fortissimo Films)Haut et Court (France), Lucky Red (Italy)
  • Fallen Angels still ready to fly

    Despite losing a director and $1.1m(Eu0.9) state fundingfor Fallen Angels - the second instalment of the Varg Veum project, a $12.9m (Euros 9.8m) package of two theatrical features andfour TV movies - Norway's SF Norge producer Guttorm Pettersonis certain production will proceed as planned.'We expect to name a new director of Fallen Angels in three or four weeks, and to start principal photography in late August, as originallys
  • FDA reports UK film industry is thriving

    According to figures released today by the Film Distributor's Association, an average of ten films a week were released in the UK last year (505 up from 467) with a print-and-advertising spend of $588.6 million (£300m) in 2006. The UK 's 2006 box-office return was equivalent to that of 2005 at $1505 million (£767m) - $1649m (£840m) including the Republic of Ireland. Of the tickets sold, one in six were for animated features while one in eight were for the two top blockbusters Casino R
  • Final line-up announced for Malaga Film Festival

    UK director Francesca Joseph's Stanley Tucci-starrer Four Last Songs will close the upcoming 10th annual edition of the Spanish Film Festival of Malaga (March 9-17). The film, a Spanish co-production which was shot in Mallorca, co-stars Rhys Ifans, Hugh Bonneville and Marisa Paredes in the story of an American pianist of mediocre talents whose efforts to organise a concert on the Mediterranean island where he resides are met with interference by the locals. Joseph's follow-up to 2
  • Finnish producer MR Matila Rohr on board for Georg

    Finnish production outfit, MR Matila Rohr Productions, will co-produce Georg, a $2.76m (Euros 2.1m) biopic of Estonian singer Georg Ots, who in the 1960s was as popular as The Beatles behind the Iron Curtain - 'and in Finland, too,' added Finnish producer Ilkka Matila. Starring Marko Matvere and Anastasia Makejeva, the film is staged by Estonia 's Lege Artis Film, Allfilm and Russia 's Central National Film. Scripted by Mati Poldre and Aleksander Borodjanski, it is directed
  • First Light hands out awards to UK's young film-makers

    The UK's First Light scheme handed out this year's awards for young film-makers. The ceremony in Leicester Square, London yesterday awarded prizes in nine categories for short digital films made with National Lottery funding by young film-makers aged 5 to 18. Industry attendees at the awards included Imelda Staunton, Sean Bean and Alex Zane. Daneil Craig sent a message of support via videolink from Los Angeles. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown MP hosted a reception for the
  • Full list of Academy Award winners

    THE WINNERSClick on film name for reviewBest PictureBabel
  • Germany - Rebel Yella

    Christian Petzold's feature Yella is his sixth collaboration with the Berlin-based production outfit Schramm Film Koerner + Weber, after successes including the German Film Award-winning The State I Am In (Die Innere Sicherheit), which premiered in Venice in 2000, and the Berlinale 2005 Competition film Ghosts (Gespenster)."For the first time, Christian has tried his hand at a genre film with a mystery story," says producer Florian Koerner Von Gustorf
  • Germany breaks 100m barrier for DVD sales

    Annual DVD unit sales in Germanypassed the 100 million mark for the first time last year, according to statistics prepared by the GfK market research institute for the home entertainment industry body BVV.A total of 100.7m units were sold in 2006, up from 98.7m in 2005, with record sales in the fourth quarter - especially December, when 18.6m DVDs passed over the counter compared to 16.8m in 2005.At the same time, the aggressive marketing of new releases at special cut-down prices
  • Ghost Rider holds fire at the top

    Ghost Rider holds on to the top spot this weekend, generating $16.9m after opening in an additional 17 territories across a further 1,291 screens. Fox's Night At The Museum was not far behind, raking in an impressive $14.2m in its tenth week, despite dropping from seven territories. French cinemas favoured local films as La Vie En Rose and Taxi 4 made a dent in the international market, grossing $9.6m and $8.3m respectively. UK audiences continue to shoot for cop c
  • Golden Globe winners in full

    64th GOLDEN GLOBES Best Motion Picture - DramaWINNER: BabelBobbyThe DepartedLittle ChildrenThe QueenBest Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture - DramaPenelope Cruz VolverJudi Dench Notes On A
  • Goodbye, Southern City (Proschai, Yuzhnyi Gorod)

    Dir: Oleg Safaraliyev. Azer-Russ. 2007. 90mins. Enjoying plenty of local colour but little else, Goodbye, Southern City, a modest Azeri film noir shot entirely in Baku, will be limited to those interested in the region or expatriates. For others it will look like a sincere, heartfelt but misguided elegy of urban innocence lost. Lacking a solid storyline to fall back on, it may ultimately prove to be sadly insufficient, making it a hard sell under the best circumstan
  • Government closes UK tax schemes

    The UK Treasury has pulled the plug on tax schemes expected to raise hundreds of millions of pounds of film finance this year.One expert believes as much as $3.8bn (£2bn) could have been lost before the end of this tax year, which ends early next month.The UK revenue department announced changes to the law (see link right) which will scupper what many call GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) schemes.In essence, such projects act as tax havens for rich individu
  • GreeneStreet, Katz reteam for third time on Strange But True

    New York and Los Angeles-based GreeneStreet Films (GSF) has purchased the screenplay and the rights to John Searles' novel Strange But True.Ross Katz brought the project to GSF and will produce with the company, which will finance and produce. Katz and GSF previously collaborated on In The Bedroom and are working on the romance Adverbs based on
  • Handmade pact with Ilion for $50m CGI film Planet One

    The UK's revived Handmade Films is partnering on financing, production and sales with Spain's Ilion Animation Studios for the $50m CGI animated feature Planet One. Shrek and Shrek 2 writer Joe Stillman wrote the original screenplay for the project, which will be directed by Jorge Blanco, who created the game series Commandos. The story is set on an alien planet, where a young astronomer encounters an American astronaut. Producers are Ilion's Ignacio Perez Dolset,
  • HK government earmarks $38m for local film industry

    The Hong Kong government has earmarked $38.4m (HK$300m) for the creation of a fund to support local film production and foster new talent. The measures were announced on Wednesday (Feb 28) by Hong Kong financial secretary Henry Tang in his budget address to the Legislative Council. Tang said he was acting on the recommendations of the Film Development Committee, established in 2005 to advise the government on all matters relating to the development of the local film industry.
  • Hong Kong Filmart adds TV, locations showcases

    This year's Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (Filmart) will host two new thematic pavilions - TV World and Locations World - as part of its drive to become the leading cross-media trading platform in the region. Almost 40 companies, from the US, Europe, Asia Pacific and other regions, are expected to attend Locations World. Co-organised by the Hong Kong government's Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, the showcase will also promote Hong Kong as an international shoo
  • Industry moves

    Wilkinson to leave UK exhibitors groupJohn Wilkinson, who has served as chief executive of the UK-based Cinema Exhibitors' Association since 1990, plans to step down. He will remain in place until a replacement is appointed.Locarno loses communications staffTwo communications department staffers have left the Locarno International Film Festival: Riccardo Franciolli, who joined last year from the film section of the Federal Office for Culture (BAK), and press-office co-ord
  • Italy - The good, the bad and the awarded

    Fresh from picking up his lifetime achievement Academy Award in Hollywood at the weekend, 78-year-old Italian maestro Ennio Morricone is still one of the busiest men in the business.In the weeks before the Oscars, Morricone's schedule was typically packed: flights to New York and London for concerts; performances in Italy; mixing TV scores; and reportedly at work on Giuseppe Tornatore's long-awaited Leningrad, though he does not like to talk about projects in advance.In s
  • Italy's box-office renaissance

    Italy's reputation as a box-office problem territory has been firmly cemented over the last couple of years - but a stellar start to 2007 suggests it is time for reassessment. It has blasted into the first two months of the year with a record eight consecutive weekends topping the $13m (EUR10m) mark. By February 25, ticket revenues were up 24% year on year.A little history puts that performance in to perspective. In the stellar year of 2004, the territory's box office hit that mark for
  • Itty Bitty Titty Committee

    Dir: Jamie Babbit. US. 2007. 85mins. Naive and over-didactic, but still brimming with infectious energy and a sense of mission that's hard to hate, Jamie Babbit's third feature serves up radical lesbian feminism in teen-movie sauce. Actually, teens are generally more mature than this; Itty Bitty Titty Committee is like one of those kiddie adventure stories where a ragtag gang of chums foils the baddies and win the day. Only here the baddie is America
  • Jeremy Thomas to work with Jon Amiel on Charles Darwin film

    Prolific UK producer Jeremy Thomas of Recorded Picture Company is in pre-production on a drama based on the life of Charles Darwin.The film will be directed by Jon Amiel (The Core, Entrapment, Sommersby) and John Collee (Happy Feet, Master And Commander) will adapt from Randal Keynes' 2001 book Annie's Box.The story will focus on Darwin's relationship with his eldest daughter Annie and her early death, which acts as a catalyst for his work on The Origin Of
  • JJ Abrams Star Trek movie set for Dec 25 2008 release

    Paramount Pictures has confirmed that JJ Abrams' upcoming 11th Star Trek instalment will begin shooting this autumn in time for a Dec 25 2008 release.Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, Abram's co-writers on Mission Impossible III, wrote the screenplay and will serve as executive producers alongside Bryan Burk. Abrams and his Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof will produce.'If there's something I'm
  • Korea 's b.o.m. Film Production promotes Cho to CEO

    Leading Korean producer b.o.m. Film Production has promoted entertainment lawyer Cho Kwang-hee, who is currently chief financial officer in charge of productions, to the position of chief executive officer. Founding head and former CEO Oh Jung-wan is now taking a less visible position as executive head of production to concentrate more on filmmaking and less on representing the company. In addition to working on the horror film co-production series Three, b.o.m. Film Produc
  • Lady Chatterley

    Dir: Pascale Ferran.Fr-Bel. 2006. 168mins. Lady Chatterley sees Pascale Ferran deliver a coolly elegant new screen take on DH Lawrence's once notorious novel about a high-born woman's adulterous affair with a commoner. It forgoes the book's obscene language and graphic sexual realism for a more contemplative drama of sex, love, and moral regeneration. Elevated by a gracious breakthrough performance by Marina Hands, the film returns F
  • Language barriers

    It is a longstanding tradition that the day prior to the Academy Awards, the directors of the films nominated in the foreign-language category take to the stage of the Samuel Goldwyn Theater and talk about their work and the state of international cinema.This year, the film-makers in question, Denmark's Susanne Bier (After The Wedding), Mexico's Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), Germany's Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives Of Others) and Canada's Deepa
  • Lives Of Others gets English-language remake from Mirage, TWC

    Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack will produce an English-language remake of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's foreign-language Oscar winner The Lives Of Others for The Weinstein Company (TWC).The film-makers will serve as producers under their Mirage Productions label, which has renewed its exclusive first-look deal with TWC. It remained unclear last night who will direct the remake of the German drama about Stasi-era espionage.
  • London's Rendez-vous to open with Dahan's La Vie En Rose

    London's Rendez-vous With French Cinema, which runs March 29-April 1 at the Curzon Mayfair, will open with Olivier Dahan's Berlinale competitor La Vie En Rose (La Mome). The Edith Piaf biopic stars Marion Cotillard and has already been a box-office hit in France.The festival closes with a gala screening of Patrice Leconte's My Best Friend (Mon meilleur ami), a comedy starring Daneil Auteuil, Dany Boon and Julie Gayet. Other selections include Alante Kavait
  • Lucky Miles

    Dir: Michael James Rowland. Aus. 2007. 105mins. The debut feature from Michael James Rowland, Lucky Miles follows a boatload of asylum seekers cynically dumped on the vast, barely inhabited West Australian coast. Scenically, it's terrific, with gorgeous sunsets and a rich gallery of inhospitable terrains; dramatically, it's less satisfying, for Rowland bypasses the brute politics and despair of people smuggling to focus on the essential niceness of an international
  • Martin Koechendoerfer to succeed Anatol Nitschke at X Verleih

    Concorde Filmverleih's Martin Kochendoerfer is to succeed Anatol Nitschke as board member of the Berlin-based distributor X Verleih from April 1.Kochendoerfer has worked in various functions at Concorde in Munich since the end of 1989, including sales manager since 1995. He will be responsible for sales, PR and marketing and run X Verleih together with the other board members, Manuela Stehr and Stefan Arndt.Nitschke had been head of distribution at X Verleih since 2000 and is now
  • Marvel's new Hulk movie set for Toronto shoot in summer

    Marvel Studios has confirmed it will shoot The Incredible Hulk in Toronto this summer. The $100m+ comic book adaptation is the second feature of the newly-refinanced studio folllowing Iron Man. The announcement came as welcome news for the city following last week's tentative settlement of a strike by Canadian performers. Hulk will be directed by Louis Leterrier
  • Mary McGuckian plans UK and US shoot for Art In Las Vegas

    The UK's Pembridge Pictures is in pre-production for Mary McGuckian's Art In Las Vegas, the third film in her 'amorality' trilogy which will start shooting this summer in London and Las Vegas. London-based Scion Films and Toronto-based Prospero Pictures are also on board. The ensemble cast will draw from some of the same actors seen in McGuckian's 2005 Rag Tale and her forthcoming Intervention, including Andie MacDowell, Rupert Graves, John Sessions, Jennifer Tilly,
  • Music Within, Away From Her bookend first AFI Dallas festival

    Steven Sawalich's Vietnam veteran saga Music Within and Sarah Polley's Alzheimer's tale Away From Her bookend the inaugural AFI Dallas International Film Festival, scheduled to run from Mar 22-Apr 1.Overall 191 features and shorts will screen, with sponsor Target lining up two $25,000 prizes to the winners of the narrative and international documentary competitions.The major festival categorie
  • Off The Fence signs output deal with Principal Large Format

    IMAX producer Phil Streather of Principal Large Format (PLF) has signed an exclusive agreement to provide Off The Fence with current and in-production theatrical releases of giant-screen content as well as generating new projects for the company.PLF generated the award-winning IMAX film Bugs!, Britain's most successful theatrical documentary, which grossed $32m worldwide. The company will now be based at Off The Fence's Bristol office, where Streather will provide exclusive media
  • Opium: Diary Of A Madwoman (Opium: Egy Elmebeteg No Naploja)

    Dir. Janos Szasz. Hung-Ger. 2007. 108mins. A decade after the adaptation of The Wittman Boys (1997) which delved with a vengeance into the evil lurking behind childhood innocence, Janos Szasz goes back to the diaries of same writer, Geza Csath, and comes up with the cinematic equivalent of an Edgar Allan Poe horror poem. Taking place in 1913, inside a psychiatric hospital, Opium: Diary Of A Madwoman follows Dr Jozsef Brenner (Csath's real-life
  • Oscar shorts nominees available on iTunes

    Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures joined forces with iTunes to make Oscar-nominated short films available for the public to stream just days prior to the Academy Awards ceremony.The seven independently produced nominated shorts included five live action and two animated shorts. Available to view for free via iTunes were the following live action films: Javier Fesser's Binta And The Great Idea; Eramos Pocos (One Too Many); Soren Pilmark's Helmer & Son;
  • Oscar winner Caroline Link to shoot new feature in Munich

    Germany Oscar-winning director Caroline Link, who received the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003 for Nowhere In Africa (Nirgendwo In Afrika), is to begin shooting her next feature Im Winter Ein Jahr (working title) this summer at locations in Munich and surroundings.The co-production between Bavaria Filmverleih- und Produktions GmbH and Constantin Filmproduktion and will be produced by Uschi Reich and Martin Moszkowicz. Constantin Filmverleih will distribute thea
  • Oscars winners in full

    THE WINNERSClick on film name for reviewBEST PICTUREBabel
  • Paramount veteran Ciccone to head 42West's west coast division

    Susan Ciccone has joined 42West to head its West Coast film marketing division. Ciccone will leave her current position as vice president of publicity at Paramount Pictures, where she has served for nearly eight years, and assumes her new role in mid-April.She will work out of the company's Century City offices and oversee all LA-based film staff.'This is a thrilling move for me as, since their inception, I have always thought of 42West as setting the gold standard for PR
  • Sakuran

    Dir: Mika Ninagawa. Jap. 2007. 111mins. Call it lush, sumptuous, a symphony of colours, a cinematographer's cherry blossom dream: Mika Ninagawa's directorial debut Sakuran leaves no doubt about her background. An enormously successful photographer, her first film looks exactly like something she would have concocted in the privacy of her own studio, in which every light, piece of fabric and make-up detail are attended to with enormous love and care.
  • Screen Index up 8% with continued boom in Italy

    Local films helped push collective global box office takings of nine territories up 8% last weekend compared to the same weekend last year, according to Screen International's Screen Index. Italy continues to surge and was up 51.8% year-on-year thanks to the success of Fausto Brizzi's sequel Notte Prima Degli Esami - Oggi which generated a solid $3.1m in its second week. While this was a 61% increase on last year's number one, Brizzi's first instalment, Notte Prima Degli
  • Shindo to have world premiere at Hong Kong Filmart

    The Tokyo International Film Festival has arranged to hold the world premiere of Koji Hagiuda's Shindo (translation: Prodigy) at this year's Hong Kong Filmart on March 21. The Tokyo fest and its attendant TIFFCOM market, which are held in October, have been using Filmart as a launch pad in recent years, choosing one Japanese film to world premiere at the event. Last year, Yoshichi Shimada's autobiographical comedy Granny Gabai premiered at the event and went on to se
  • Shotgun Stories

    Dir/scr: Jeff Nichols. US. 2007. 93mins. A measured and sobering meditation on violence and discontent, distilled through a blood feud that ruptures two clans of
  • Singapore festto open with Sri Lankan drama Sankara

    The Singapore International Film Festival (April 18-30), which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, will showcase more than 300 films from 40 countries. For the first time, a Sri Lankan film will open the festival - Prasanna Jayakody's feature debut Sankara - a Buddhist fable about desire and non-attachment. Indonesian veteran director Garin Nugroho's Opera Jawa, a fusion of Indonesian music, court dances and avant-garde art installations, will be the closi
  • Sony, SND/M6, Tele Muenchen among buyers of Marvel films

    Marvel Studios has announced a series of international deals on Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, the first two films which it is self-financing through its recent $525m credit facility from Merrill Lynch.Sony Pictures has acquired distribution rights to both films in Japan and Spain, SND/M6 has taken them for France and Concorde/Tele Muenchen has taken them for Germany. Paramount Pictures has picked up r
  • Spanish exhibitors argue new law caters to producers

    Controversy surrounding the Spanish government's draft for a new film law heated up Wednesday following strong criticism by the the local exhibitors' federation FECE. FECE accused the current bill of catering to the interests of producers 'who live off public subsidies and indirect subidies (at exhibitors' expense) destined for a cinema that holds no interest for the public.' 'The exhibition sector will not accept a new imposition of the screen quota' of one European film for ever
  • Spider Lilies (Ci-Qing)

    Dir/scr: Zero Chou. Tai. 2007. 97mins. Tempering the transgressive spirit of Almodovar with the innocent fantasies of Taiwanese teen melodrama, the girl-on-girl romance Spider Lilies is a watchable but rather lightweight follow-up to Zero Chou's well-received 2004 debut Splendid Float.With its casting of Taiwanese pop icon and TV personality Rainie Yang as co- star, opposite major Hong Kong talent Isabella Leong, the film is making a determine
  • SPRI's Ghost Rider blazes into UK, Japan, Brazil

    Ghost Rider is expected to dominate the international arena for a third consecutive weekend as it prepares to launch in three major markets.Sony Pictures Releasing International's (SPRI) comic book adaptation has amassed $41.3m so far and this weekend rides into the UK and Brazil on Mar 2 on 350 and 278 prints respectively, followed by Japan on Mar 3 on 262.SPRI's drama The Pursuit Of Happyness
  • Tanya Seghatchian to head UK Film Council Development Fund

    UK producer Tanya Seghatchian, who has worked on the Harry Potter films with Heyday Films and set up Apocalypso Pictures with Pawel Pawlikowski, is set to take up the post as the new head of the UK Film Council's Development Fund as of April 1. She replaces Jenny Borgars, who is departing her role after heading the Fund since it was established in 2000. The fund's annual budget is $7.8m (£4m). Projects currently being backed by the Development Fund include Danny Boyle's Ponte T
  • Taormina plans Tornatore and Egyptian programmes

    The 53rd edition of Sicily's Taormina Film Festival will host the first retrospective on Sicilian director Giuseppe Tornatore as well as a focus on Egyptian films in a newly formatted festival that focuses on Mediterranean films, new festival director Deborah Young announced Wednesday. Young told the Tornatore retrospective includes eight features, ten documentaries the director made for RAI and television ads like his famous Dolce & Gabbana spot featuring Monica B
  • Tarantino to present Grindhouse festival at LA cinema

    Heralding the Apr 6 release of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's double feature Grindhouse, a Los Angeles repertory cinema will host Quentin Tarantino Presents the Los Angeles Grindhouse Festival 2007 from Mar 4-Apr 30.The event at the New Beverly Cinema will screen more than 50 exploitation films from the 1970s that Tarantino has loaned out from his private collection, many of which are unavailable on DVD and have not played in theatre
  • The Leo Media & Entertainment Group hook up with Fuglers LLP

    London law firm Fuglers LLP has entered into a unique arrangement with film, TV and literary representation organisation The Leo Media & Entertainment Group, whereby Fuglers will provide legal advice and services to the agency's clients. As well as being an agency, The Leo Media & Entertainment Group provides executive production work, negotiating and securing movie, television and publishing deals for its clients. Most recently, it was producer on Chilean director Raoul Ruiz's Love A
  • The Match Factoryannounces deals on Berlin competitor Yella

    Christian Petzold's Berlin Competition film Yella, which won a Silver Bear for lead actress Nina Hoss, has been sold by The Match Factory to six territories, with further deals in the offing with distributors in the US and Scandinavia, among others.Sales on the Schramm Film production were completed in Berlin with Artificial Eye (UK), Independenta Film (Romania), cinemax (Greece), Frenetic Films (Switzerland), Stadtkino (Austria) and Atalanta Filmes (Portugal).
  • Toho-Towa to handle Universal films in Japan

    Universal Pictures will dissolve its distribution venture UIP Japan and will launch a partnership with Toho-Towa this summer.The first films to open through the new partnership will bePaul Greengrass' The Bourne Ultimatum starring Matt Damon.'We are extremely pleased to be in business with Toho-Towa, who will be invested in the success of our slate of films in Japan,' Universal Pictures Int
  • UK Film Council, Sledgeto launch Myfilms 'social networking' site

    The UK Film Council is backing a new site that aims to boost cinema attendances of independent European films. will be launchedin mid Marchby marketing agency Sledge, under the watchful eye of the UK Film Council, as a forum for people to voice their opinions about a wide variety of movies. 'The idea is to get more cinema goers to go and see more non mainstream filmsas well asthe big blockbustersthat currently dominatethe theatres,' Sledge's Tom Beaumont-Griff
  • UK's Darklight scheme selects 10 women for horror projects

    The UK has launched a new training and production initiative to encourage women film-makers working in the horror genre. Darklight: Women Direct Horror has been established by Warp X with Threshold Studios, and support from Skillset. There were 76 applications for the scheme, and 10 women have been selected: Smita Bhide, Miranda Bowen, Nichola Bruce, Corinna Faith, Finola Geraghty, Faye Gilbert, Toni Harman, Olivia Lory Kay, Juliet McKoen and Amy Neil. The ten attended Darklight h
  • UK's Rainmaker to make Russian orphan documentary with Jon Blair

    UK-based finanacing and production company Rainmaker Films is working with award-winning director Jon Blair (Anne Frank Remembered) for documentary Ochberg's Orphans. Tsotsi cinematographer Lance Gewer is on board, as is film archivist Adrian Wood. Rainmaker's Paul Goldin and Georgina Townsley are producing. The documentary is about a South African tycoon who helped rescue children orphaned during the brutal aftermath of the Russian Revolution and took them to
  • United Kingdom - Hot spring

    This spring will bring a bountiful crop of rising writers in the UK literary fiction landscape, many of whom have novels ripe for film treatment.Several have already been harvested by producers - Scott Rudin and Columbia Pictures have taken rights to Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns, the eagerly awaited follow-up to sleeper hit The Kite Runner (already being adapted by David Benioff and Marc Foster for DreamWorks), while Steven Hall's breathtaking The Raw Sha
  • United Kingdom - Shared vision

    Three of the UK's top independent production companies - Ecosse Films, Recorded Picture Company (RPC) and Samuelson Productions - are working together to establish Visible Films, which will work as an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) taking advantage of the UK government's new film tax credit.Peter Watson, CEO of RPC, says producers banding together is a sign of strength, not weakness, in the UK industry. "The driver is this new film tax credit, which gives producers equity," he expl
  • United States - New road for Mandalay

    This time last year, Cathy Schulman was basking in glory as one of the two Oscar-winning producers of surprise best picture choice Crash. Currently, her time is taken up with something perhaps less glamorous but still, she says, exciting: the "entrepreneurial re-building" of Mandalay Pictures.After more than a decade working for independent Hollywood production companies and as a producer in her own right, Schulman was named president of Mandalay Pictures - part of Batman
  • United States - Southern man

    Jeff Nichols was two years behind writer-director David Gordon Green at the North Carolina School of the Arts. After Green made his auspicious feature debut in 2000 with the poetic George Washington, Nichols took particular notice of his professional advice."He told me, 'Go make a movie. The only way (the industry will) care is if you make something,'" Nichols says. The Austin, Texas-based 28-year-old delivered by writing, directing and producing Shotgun Stories, an accom
  • Video-on-demand prompts Swedish major to merge

    To prepare for the breakthrough of video-on-demand in the Scandinavian market, Swedish media giant Bonnier Entertainment - the owner of Swedish major Svensk Filmindustri - has merged its VOD service, SF Anytime, with sister company SF Bio, Scandinavia's largest exhibitor. 'It is a crucial time for video-on-demand, and SF Anytime has huge potential,' said SF Bio president Jan Bernhardsson. Instigated in 2000 as a development project, the service is now operating in four countries and la
  • World Circuit Records launches a film division

    The four-time Grammy Award-winning independent record label today announced the launch of World Circuit Films, an in-house production company dedicated to the creation of music-related films for theatrical, television, DVD and digital release.The company will be headed by Rosa Bosch, who was previously deputy director of the London Film Festival before moving into international sales and distribution. She was a founding member of international sales company the Tequila Gang with Guillerm
  • Zodiak swoops on Yellow Bird

    Sweden's Zodiak Television, which already controls such outfits as Jarowskij, MTV Mastiff, Mastiff, Social Club and Diverse Production, has purchased film and television production outfit Yellow Bird. During the last two years Yellow Bird has produced 13 films totalling $28.4 million based on Swedish author Henning Mankell's books about Ystad police inspector Kurt Wallander. The three owners - Mankell, Ole Sondberg, who will continue as CEO and creative director, and Lars Bjö