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2 October 2002

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  • Alain Chabat launches US company, signs with Endeavor

    French actor, writer,producer and director Alain Chabat has signed with Los Angeles talent agencyEndeavor for all areas of representation in the US. Chabat, along with partnersAlex Berger of Content Participations and Amandine Billot who works with Chabatin his French company Chez Wam, has recently launched a US company Wamericaheaded by producer Stephanie Danan. Endeavor will also represent Wamericaalongside attorney John Laviolette of Bloom, Hergott, Diemer & Cook.Chabat is one ofFra
  • Asterix on a Mission at international box office

    Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra continued its triumphant international run this week, opening in Italy for a three-day gross of $1.18m (Eu1.2m). Playing on 280 screens the film, which features Italian-born actress Monica Bellucci as Cleopatra, scored a good average of $4,221 for distributor BVI. However the film did have to settle for second position in the chart behind Men In Black II, which claimed $1.6m in its second weekend from 341 screens.Mission Cleopatra
  • Baltic film shines at Arsenals Film Festival

    The 16th edition of the quirky Arsenals International Forum (Sept 21-29) highlighted the achievements of filmmakers in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia at the second Baltic screenings, which has become an important part of this festival held in Riga each two years. While the combined feature film production of the three countries is only eight to ten features a year, the festival also screened animation, shorts and documentaries from the region making an impressive b
  • Benigni to record English-language version of Pinocchio

    Roberto Benigni will use his own voice to dub the English soundtrack for the international version of his new film, Pinocchio, which is released this Friday in Italy and on Christmas day in the US.The comic's wife, Nicoletta Braschi, who plays the fairy godmother in Benigni's adaptation of the Carlo Collodi classic will also be dubbing her own role in English, Pinocchio producer Elda Ferri told But Ferri underlined that besides the language, there
  • Beyond, MBP relationship sours

    The partnership between German investor MBP (Medienbeteiligungs-und-Produktions Gesellschaft MBH & Co KG of Munich) and Australia's Beyond International, parent company of sales agent Beyond Films, seems to have soured. Beyond has asked the Supreme Court of New South Wales to make a judgement on whether MBP Medien AG is obliged to purchase about $1.6m (A$3m) worth of new ordinary shares in Beyond and whether Beyond has the right to withhold about $245,500 (A$450,000) due as security.
  • Bodrov Jr and film crew still missing after Russian avalanche

    Sergei Bodrov Junior (pictured) and 49 members of his film crew are still missing, one week after a major avalanche hit a valley in Southern Russia where he was directing his latest film.Rescue workers are continuing to search for survivors from the avalanche which may have claimed as many as 150 lives. However, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu admitted that there was little chance that anyone was left alive. Bodrov Jr and his crew were shooting in the area w
  • Brett Ratner moves from Hannibal Lecter to Superman

    Brett Ratner has signed on to direct the new live action feature film version of Superman for Warner Bros Pictures, the studio announced yesterday. The new version, long in gestation with McG, Tim Burton attached to direct at various times, comes 25 years after Richard Donner's blockbuster version Superman - The Movie which spawned three sequels, also at Warner. Superman will be made before the other superhero film in development at Warner Bros Batman Vs Superma
  • Britain delivers six of the best to Dinard festival

    Actresses Patsy Kensit and Emilia Fox and director Brian Gilbert will form the British contingent on the jury of this year's Festival du Film Britannique de Dinard (Oct 3-6).French actor Gerard Darmon will act as jury president, overseeing a total jury of thirteen. His fellow French jury also includes actresses Christine Boisson, Lou Doillon, Charlotte Valandrey and Elsa Zylberstein, director Claire Devers, journalist/ director Alain Beverini, actor/ directors Xavier Beauvois and Pasc
  • BVI scores $14m international weekend with Signs

    Buena Vista International's Signs dominated the international markets over the weekend with a $14m haul that should see it cross $100m by the middle of the week and sets it on course for a projected $200m international total. The sci-fi drama directed by M Night Shyamalan and starring Mel Gibson has amassed $94.6m internationally thus far. It held on to number one in its second week in Japan, Germany, Spain and Brazil and in its third week in the UK and Mexico.In Japan the pictu
  • Cabin Fever

    Dir: Eli Roth. US. 2002 94 min.This is not the next Blair Witch Project, nor does it aim to be. Cabin Fever is a throwback to the minimalism and stasis of a George Romero zombie movie. Indeed, the film says more about first-time filmmaker Eli Roth's attentive viewing of horror classics than his own ability to sustain a narrative over 90 minutes. Not to be confused with Norway's first Dogme film, also entitled Cabin Fever, this is a marginally entertainin
  • Caine gets AFI FEST tribute, Quiet American gets US premiere

    AFI FEST 2002, the AmericanFilm Institute's Los Angeles film festival, will honour Michael Cainewith a special tribute at this year's event which takes place Nov 7 to 17this year. The tribute includes an on-stage interview with the double Oscar-winningactor (Nov 16) as well as a short retrospective of his films including Alfie (1966), The Ipcress File (1965), Get Carter (1971), The Italian Job (1969), Educating Rita (1983) and The Cider House Rules (1
  • China becomes new base for runaway productions

    As Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill wraps the Chinese portion of its shoot at Beijing Film Studio, another Chinese production powerhouse, Shanghai Film Studio, is gearing up to house another Miramax movie - John Dahl's The Great Raid, starring Benjamin Bratt and Joseph Fiennes.Set builders at the studios are constructing Manila street scenes and a fort for the war movie which is set in the Philippines at the end of World War II. The film is currently shooting in Queensland,
  • China's film industry reforms stalled in run-up to Party Congress

    With all policy decisions and initiatives on hold until after the Communist Party's 16th National Congress next month, it looks as if China's long-awaited second distributor won't be launched until the beginning of next year at the earliest.The new entity, which is set to break China Film Corp's monopoly in the distribution of imported movies, was originally scheduled to be up and running this summer. However, in-fighting between China Film and the provincial studios has already delaye
  • Creative Financing For European Films

    Lobby group, the European Film Companies Alliance (EFCA) this week published Creative Financing For European Films, a booklet containing papers and conclusions from its high-level conference on European cinema funding which took place in Cannes this year. The conference was partially-funded by the European Commission. Screen International was among the sponsors, which also included the Media Business School and SAS Radisson Hotels.Rasmus Ramstad, president of Sv
  • Danish Film Institute greenlights first-time directors

    Four new Danish films have been green-lighted after receiving funding from the Danish Film Institute (DFI). Among them are the highly anticipated new film from Annette K. Olesen (Minor Mishaps) as well as new films from three feature debutantes Malene Vilstrup, Jannik Johansen and Christoffer Boe. Olesen (pictured), who received the Blue Angel Award in Berlin for her popular Minor Mishaps this year, will be trying her hand at the Dogme-rules styl
  • Dutch cable giant files for bankruptcy protection

    United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC), the Dutch cable giant, today (Mon, Sept 30) filed for bankruptcy protection allowing it to push through a Euros2bn recapitalisation programme.Under a revised version of a recapitalisation plan originally put together in July, parent company UnitedGlobalCom will take a 65.5% stake in the new company in return for assuming its debts. Other lenders will get 32.5% of the equity, while existing shareholders will see their ownership shrink to just 2%.
  • Festival of India to showcase local wares at market Bazaar

    The 33rd International Film Festival of India (1-10 October) is to launch an expanded 'Film Bazaar' market section to showcase Indian film and to promote the country as a destination for shooting and post-production facilities.Film Bazaar will have 17 booths with leading Indian film companies exhibiting including Eros Entertainment, Yashraj Films and Ramoji Rao Film City. Trade delegations from China, South Africa, Australia and Singapore have been invited to visit the 'Film Baz
  • Film Council, IFC Films board Intermission

    JohnCrowley's ensemble drama Intermission, which started shooting in Dublin on Aug31, has sealed a£550,000 ($863,000) investment from The Film Council's NewCinema Fund and a US distribution deal with IFC Films.Crowley, anaward-winning theatre director whose latest play On An Average Day starring Woody Harrelson and KyleMacLachlan, is currently running in London's West End, makes his filmdebut on Intermission, a hard-hitting story of interweaving lives in Dublin.It
  • First Look takes North America to Czech favourite Autumn Spring

    First Look Pictures hasacquired North American rights to Vladimir Michalek's Czech drama AutumnSpring, which recently screened atthe 2002 Toronto and Montreal film festivals. The deal was negotiated betweenMJ Peckos, president of First Look, with Neil Friedman of MenemshaEntertainment with a price tag in the mid-six figure range.First Look plans to releasethe film in summer 2003, following a similar pattern to its 2001 smash BreadAnd Tulips, the romantic drama fromItaly w
  • French loyalty cards plateau at 6% market share

    The market for France's various cinema loyalty card schemes has reached a plateau just two and a half years after their introduction.Loyalty passes have seen little growth in the French exhibition market last year, accounting for 11 million admissions (5.9%) out of a total 186 million tickets sold, according to a report by the French film industry support body, the CNC. Indeed, the end-of-year figures show a slight decrease on the first half of 2001, when they reached 6% of the market,
  • Future of Babelsberg studios secured

    The future of Studio Babelsberg is secure after Vivendi Universal's announcement on Wednesday (Sept 25) to focus its activities in future as a conglomerate for the film, TV and entertainment industry.Commenting on the decisions taken at Vivendi Universal's administrative council sitting in Paris, Vivendi Deutschland chief Thierry Potok declared that 'now we again have planning security for the studio, its employees and our clients. We will continue the course of consolidation'.
  • Germany's arthouse sector mourns Nina Becker

    The German film industry is mourning the death last week of the much-loved arthouse cinema-owner Nina Becker who died after along battle with cancer at the age of 41.Becker was the founder and manager of Munich's Neues Arena cinema and had joined forces with distributor/exhibitor Christoph Ott and film director Peter Sehr (Love The Hard Way) to take over the running of the ARRI Cinema in Munich's Schwabing district a year ago.In the 1990s, Becker had also worked in the pr
  • Germany's Neuer Markt to close

    Once home to a dozen upstart media companies which brazenly thought they could challenge the might of Hollywood, Germany's Neuer Markt is to close next year. The closure decision is part of a wider re-organisation of Germany's stockmarkets and comes too late to make much difference to anyone. The stockmarket authorities (Deutsche Boerse) acknowledged that the average drop in value of the companies traded on the second tier Neuer Markt was a colossal 96%. Most of the media high fliers w
  • Hamburg festival cheers on Beckham

    Josef Wutz's final outing as director of the Filmfest Hamburg (Sept 23-29) was kicked off in fine form on Monday (Sept 23) with the world premiere of local filmmaker Fatih Akin's Italian immigrant family drama Solino, plus a gala screening of Mike Leigh's All Or Nothing.The real highlight of the festival so far, though, has been the German premiere of Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham - which has been re-christened Kick It Like Beckham by distributor H
  • Japan's film industry to get boost from cultural affairs agency

    Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs is to raise $20m (Y2.5bn) for a range of activities to support the local film industry and promote Japanese films abroad.In its proposal for the fiscal 2003 budget, the agency detailed a number of new schemes with which to boost national film production and export Japanese product to the international market.In addition to backing the submission of 25 films to Cannes, Berlin and other prominent international film festivals, the agency will pro
  • Japan's Toei to produce Battle Royale sequel

    Japan's leading distributor/exhibitor Toei, is to produce a sequel to the smash-hit feature Battle Royale. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, Battle Royale earned $25.8m (Y3.1bn) in Japan from 2,150,000 admissions and went on to sell more than 29,000 video and DVD copies. The film's violence became an issue at the Japanese national assembly when politicians attempted to get the film banned. The film was released in December 2000 with an R-15 rating from the Eirin industr
  • Jo Hyland joins Denmead Marketing as account manager

    Jo Hyland has been appointed account manager at Los Angeles- andLondon-based publicity company Denmead Marketing. Reporting to Denmeadpresident Nikki Parker and senior vice president Maxine Leonard, Hyland willmanage worldwide client accounts for the film and television divisions whichservice both indepe
  • Kaurismaki boycotts New York festival in anti-American protest

    The New YorkFilm Festival suffered the loss of yet another top-flight internationaldirector from its 40th anniversary edition as world politicsintruded on the prestigious event.After learning that Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami hadbeen prevented from attending the festival last week because of US visaproblems, Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki decided against flying in to New Yorkfrom Helsinki in a show of cinematic solidarity. "Under the ci
  • Korean box office hit may be the last of the blockbusters

    New Korean gangster comedy, For The Glory Of Our Family (pictured) looks like it could be a contender for the new local all-time box-office crown. But the relative success of its performance pales in comparison with the recent disastrous failure of local mega-budget title: Resurrection Of The Little Match Girl.One major beneficiary of Korea's recent national holiday: Chusok, was Cinema Service's For The Glory Of Our Family, about a young law graduate who wakes up t
  • Kormakur's The Sea lands at Palm for North America and UK

    ChrisBlackwell's Palm Pictures has closed its second film acquisition of theToronto Film Festival, acquiring North American and UK rights to BaltasarKormakur's The Sea (Hafid)which broke box office records in its home country of Iceland last month. Palmplans to release the film theatrically in the US followed by a DVD rollout onthe Palm label.Palm, whichenjoyed a specialized hit this year with Sex Y Lucia, also picked up Danny and OxidePang's The Eyeat Toron
  • London's Imperial War Museum wins IDA preservation award

    The Imperial War Museum(IWM) in London will receive the 2002 International Documentary Association(IDA) Preservation and Scholarship Award at the 18th annual IDADistinguished Documentary Achievement Awards on Dec 13 in Los Angeles. Themuseum's keeper of the film and video archives Roger Smither will acceptthe award.Founded in 1917, the IWM wasmandated by Parliament to collect and preserve footage documenting World War Iand has since collected some 120 million feet o
  • Magdalene Sisters to open Cork festival

    In a year when Dublin, the country's capital, appears to have lost its film festival, the Cork Film Festival is consolidating its position with its 47th annual appearance from October 6 to 13.A total of 1,300 Irish and International shorts films were submitted to Cork's competitive shorts competition this year. The festival will once again host the Jameson Award and offer other cash and facilities prizes to shorts from home and abroad. There is also a selection of Iranian shorts compi
  • Minimal Stories (Historias Minimas)

    Dir: Carlos Sorin. Arg. 2002. 93 mins.The title says it all: set in the remote Patagonian steppes of Southern Argentina, Minimal Stories is a comedy of great warmth and sweetness whose charm lies above all in its unpretentious ambitions. Careful marketing and critical support will be essential to nurture this beguiling little road movie about three people with pressing and very personal reasons for taking the long empty road from their tiny village to the nearest (alth
  • Minority Report is Cruise's best ever opener in Italy

    Fox'sMinority Report enjoyed a strongItalian bow over the weekend, debuting at number one with a $2.78m gross from397 screens in what was a personal best in the territory for Tom Cruise. Thestar did the pre-launch publicity rounds in Rome last week with director StevenSpielberg, helping him pass h
  • Mira Nair to launch film training lab in Uganda

    Internationally acclaimed director Mira Nair is planning to create a 'film lab' in Uganda, inspired by the Sundance Institute's training initiative, to offer four East African and four Indian students six weeks of tuition.Speaking during her Cinema Militans Lecture at this year's Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht, Mair explained that the venture was intended 'to democratise cinematic expression and to open that door. In the West, there are so many opportunities, but not where I come
  • Miramax's Weinsteins to receive BFI fellowships

    Miramax Films co-chairmen Harvey and Bob Weinstein are to be awarded British Film Institute fellowships for outstanding contribution to cinema, the UK cultural institution's top honour.The body is also honouring cinematographer and director Jack Cardiff, whose work includes The African Queen, A Matter Of Life And Death, And Black Narcissus, with a fellowship. The fellowships will be presented on October 20 at the National Film Theatre's 50th anniversary gala. Including th
  • Murdoch finally agrees Telepiu takeover terms

    Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has agreed to buy the financially crippled Italian pay-TV operation Telepiu from Vivendi Universal through a cash-and-debt agreement worth Euros893 million.News Corp said it would pay Euros470 million in cash for Telepiu and will assume Euros423 million worth of the outfit's debt.The deal, which is expected to be sealed in December, would put an end to an arduous two-year battle by both News Corp's own Italian pay-TV operation Stream and Telepiu to cut
  • New Yorker gets US rights to Unknown Pleasures

    New York-basedspecialized distributor New Yorker Films has acquired US distribution rights toJia Zhang-Ke's Chinese teen drama Unknown Pleasures which world premiered in competition atthis year's Cannes Film Festival. It also screened in Toronto and playedat the New York Film Festival last night.The story ofjobless teenagers in rural China cost $0.5m to produce and was co-produced byJapan's T-Mark and Hong Kong's Hu Tong Communications withfinancial backing from Office Kitano (J
  • Norwegian animated feature gets blockbuster treatment

    Distributor Svensk Filmindustri is giving Vibeke Idsoe's $7.7m feature animation Karlsson On The Roof a blockbuster opening this weekend. It will be released on 173 screens across Norway and Sweden.It marks the biggest ever simultaneous opening in the two countries for a local production. Even most studio titles are released on fewer than 50 screens - notable exceptions being top US animation films such as Shrek and Toy Story 2. Ingmar Bergman-favorites su
  • Norwegian film fund banks on Elling prequel

    The Norwegian Film Fund is to back Maipo Film's follow-up to last year's local box office phenomenon Elling. The new film, Mother's Elling is a prequel, dealing with the title character's adventures at a Spanish holiday resort with his elderly mother. As with the first film, the script is by Axel Hellestenius, based on one of Ingvar Ambjornsen's best-selling novels.The fund will put up half of the film's $1.9m budget. Mother's Elling will reunite the same pr
  • Norwegian sales agent backs two southern hemisphere projects

    Norwegian sales agent BV International Pictures has penetrated yet another corner of the globe by signing for a film in Australia and another in New Zealand. The UK/New Zealand co-production Castle Of Lies starring James Caan and the Australian road movie/comedy Thunderstruck are both grounded in reality but there the similarity ends.Castle Of Lies, set in the 19th century and directed by Yvonne Mackay, is about a young woman who marries a m
  • Oldest living Japanese director shoots The Owl

    Veteran Japanese director Shindo Kaneto is currently producing his latest feature, The Owl (Fukuro). The 90 year-old Shindo (pictured) is best known in the west for his The Island / Naked Island (1960) which was awarded to the Grand Prix at Moscow international film festival in 1961. Written and directed by Shindo, The Owl is a comedy thriller about a group of travellers who move to a barren village in the northern Japan from China (Manchuria) after World Wa
  • Paramount shifts The Core from Nov to March

    Paramount Pictures has movedthe US release date of its sci-fi action thriller The Core from Nov 1 this year to March 2003, taking it out ofthe end-of-year holiday season which would have seen it up against I Spy, The Santa Clause 2 and 8 Mile as well as Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets a fortnight later (Nov 15) and the 20thJames Bond movie Die Another Dayon Nov 22.'The Core is a huge film with exciting innovativ
  • Perdition goes wide but doesn't make it to the top

    All eyes were on 20th Century Fox's Road To Perdition this weekend as it expanded nationwide following a strong 32 site London platform release a week ago. But while Sam Mendes' drama took a strong $2.05m (£1.3m) from its 369 sites, showing a good average of $5,548, it had to settle for third place in the chart, unable to displace either BVI's Signs or Entertainment's My Big Fat Greek Wedding.While Signs held the top spot for the third consecutive week,
  • Porchlight takes on sales of Random Harvest's War Bride

    UK production outfit RandomHarvest has closed a deal with Los Angeles-based PorchLight Entertainment to handleworldwide sales in all remaining territories for the drama War Bride, which is due for release in the UK on Nov 29through Miracle Communications. The 2001 Anglo-Canadian co-production hasalready secured distribution deals in Japan, South Korea, Israel, Poland andCanada, where it won two Genie Awards. The picture will be introduced to buyersat the upcoming MIPCOM and MIFED film
  • Pure

    Dir: Gillies MacKinnon. UK. 2002. 96 minsAn exceptional performance from child actor Harry Eden provides the heart and soul of Pure, an unflinching portrait of the unbreakable bond between a drug-addicted mother and her loving son. Returning to territory familiar from his work on award-winning television projects like Needle and The Grass Arena, director Gillies MacKinnon has crafted a sincere, well-acted human interest drama that studiously avoids sentimentalit
  • Reese Is The Word: Sweet Home Alabama at the top

    Reese Witherspoon proved that she was one of the brightest stars in the movie world, scoring the biggest September opening in US box office history this weekend with an estimated $37.5m bow for her romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama. Playing at 3,293 sites, the Buena Vista film scored a powerful screen average of $11,378 and guarantees Disney another $100m smash this year after its summer winners Lilo & Stitch and Signs.The film's opening turned the downward box of
  • Rialto and Arclight team for Roger Dodger

    Rialto Entertainment, the only New Zealand company that distributes films in Australia, and Australia's newest sales agent, Arclight Films, have co-acquired what they describe as one of the few buzz films from the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, namely the New York comedy Roger Dodger.The story of a schoolboy's attempt to lose his virginity in the Big Apple, with the help of a fast-talking but emotionally stunted bachelor uncle, has a cast that includes Campb
  • Rio festival sambas on despite election fever

    Competing forattention in Rio seems impossible in presidential election week. Streets aredraped with banners for leftist favourite Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva -known as simply as Lula - and if that wasn't distraction enough, druglords ordered an unofficial curfew on Monday, possibly as a sabre-rattlingexercise ahead of Sunday's voting.And yet, in themidst of all this election fever, Brazil's biggest film festival isticking along surprisingly successful
  • Rotterdam film fund's first development prize awarded

    The Rotterdam Film Fund's first development prize has been awarded to Eugenie Jansen (director of last year's Tussenland) and producer Stienette Bosklopper for their feature film project Calimucho which was presented at this year's Netherlands Production Platform in Utrecht at the weekend.Calimucho, which is a Romeo and Juliet-type story set against the background of travelling circuses, will use real people as opposed to professional actors to play the characters
  • Russian film breaks local opening box office record

    According to local reports Russian film The Oligarch (Oligarkh) has recorded the most successful opening for a local title ever in Russia.Based loosely on the violent rise to the top of self-exiled tycoon and Kremlin-fixer Boris Berezovsky, the film, directed by Pavel Lounguine and starring local star Vladimir Mashkov (pictured together on set), grossed $353,000 (R 11.2m) on its opening weekend for distributor Karo Premier.Opening on Thursday Sept 19 the heavily-hyped fil
  • Russia's Three T announces plans for new national cinema chain

    Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov has announced plans for a new $40m chain of cinemas backed by Russian metals and banking mogul Vladimir Potanin. Potanin, one of Russia's richest men, heads the financial conglomerate Interros group, and already has interests in cinema via his company Profmedia. The new national chain which will be called Cinema Park will be controlled by Mikhalkov's Three T Company and Profmedia. The new venture has announced that it is also interested in
  • San Sebastian celebrates Mondays In The Sun

    Spanish film Mondays In The Sun took the top prize at the 50th anniversary of the San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 19-28), which ended Saturday night with a series of applauded, if not anticipated, prizes. Mondays In The Sun (Los Lunes Al Sol)was a favourite even before the festival began, as one of the few world premieres at an event which serves as a showcase for Spanish and Latin American product and talent. However, Sun lead Javi
  • Seattle absorbs Women In Cinema fest, expands focus on women

    The Seattle International FilmFestival (SIFF), which next year runs from May 22 to June 15, has announcedthat it will embrace a focus on films by women film-makers into its ownprogramming following the decision not to run a separate Women in Cinemafestival next year. The Women in Cinema event has run for seven years, but SIFFparent group Cinema Seattle decided to axe the festival in 2003.'This move reflects ourrecognition of women directors as mainstream film artist
  • Singapore admires Chan's Tuxedo

    Jackie Chan's latest film, The Tuxedo opened with a record $586,665 (S$1.05m) in Singapore last weekend, the territory's biggest-ever September opening. The Tuxedo, directed by Kevin Donovan, scored a stellar average of $22,564 from 26 screens. It tells the story of a millionaire's chauffeur (Chan) who tries on his boss' prized tuxedo and is thrown into a dangerous world of espionage. Also starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, The Tuxedo beat all Chan's previous US film
  • Spanish actors call for international treaty to defend performers

    Spanish actors' rights association AISGE made public its demands for an international treaty on intellectual property rights in a lengthy press conference at the San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 19-28), which was attended by dozens of local actors.Actress Assumpta Serna, current president of AISGE, called on the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) - which is currently meeting in Geneva - to create an international treaty to defend performers from the impact o
  • Speculation mounts about successor to German culture minister

    SPD politicians Thomas Krueger, president of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, who has served on several film funding committees, and Monika Griefahn, who chairs the Bundestag's cultural committee have been tipped as a possible successor to Julian Nida-Ruemelin as Germany's Federal Commissioner for Affairs of Culture and the Media (BKM).This latest chapter of musical chairs comes after Nida-Ruemelin, (pictured) who had headed the BKM since January 2001, informed
  • StudioCanal grabs Mars Films, gives Bac new hope

    StudioCanal is to throw Jean Labadie's Bac Majestic group a desperately-needed financial lifeline. But it will kill off the Bac Distribution joint venture and instead take theatrical releasing of its films in-house."StudioCanal and Bac Majestic are seeking, in the framework of the ongoing discussions, the means to assure the release of all the movies scheduled by their subsidiaries in the coming months," a joint statement said.Bac Distribution was set up three years ago as a ven
  • Sun shines at San Sebastian

    Monday night's applause-filled screening of Spanish director Fernando Leon de Aranoa's competition entry Mondays In The Sun (Los Lunes Al Sol) marked the halfway point of Spain's San Sebastian International Film Festival, which runs September 19 to 28.But in some ways the screening represented a climax for the festival, even if it was to turn out to be premature. The Javier Bardem-starring Mondays was one of the hottest competition buzz titles so far, unanimously expected
  • Sundance to champion European cinema

    The Sundance Film Festival is set to become a platform for European filmmakers, according to festival director Geoffrey Gilmore, speaking at the Holland Film Meeting in Utrecht.While admitting that he only had "a modest goal" and was not intending to create "a European-focused festival per se", Gilmore declared that he hoped that "this will open some new avenues for people, not as a solution for all of the problems of European cinema in the United States, but certainly as a measure tow
  • Sweet Home Alabama

    Dir: Andy Tennant. US. 2002. 108mins. The $37.5m opening of Sweet Home Alabama over the weekend in North America confirms the superstar status of its lead actress, the 26-year-old Reese Witherspoon, whose soaring popularity now ranks her as one of Hollywood's most bankable opening acts. Indeed, there's no question that the success of Sweet Home Alabama, despite its rich supporting cast and warm southern US setting, is down to Witherspoon, whose effortless charm
  • THINKFilm is Spellbound by spelling bee doc

    One year-old domesticdistributor THINKFilm has acquired North American rights to the documentary Spellbound which recently played in the Toronto InternationalFilm Festival. The film, directed by Jeff Blitz and produced by Sean Welch,follows the real-life experience of the National Spelling Bee as seen throughthe eyes of eight, driven young spellers competing for the top prize.The film world premiered at South By SouthWest in Marchthis year, winning the Best Doc
  • Tokyo festival sails with Russian Ark

    Tokyo FILMeX (Dec 1-8), the three year old festival that is mounting a challenge to the longer established Tokyo International Film Festival, will open with a screening of Alexander Sokurov's experimental digital film The Russian Ark. Otar Iosseliani's Berlin prize winner Monday Morning will close the festival.The festival, which is run by Takeshi Kitano's Office Kitano, screens some highly-regarded films from European international festivals this year including Lee Chan
  • Two from Takashi Miike get US exposure through Vitagraph

    Vitagraph Films, a USmicro-distributor affiliated with the LA-based American Cinematheque, hasacquired US rights to prolific Japanese bad-boy film-maker TakashiMiike's splatter musical The Happiness Of The Katakuris (2001) as well as his hyper-kinetic action picture TheCity Of Lost Souls (2000).Under president DavidShultz, Vitagraph has been buying movies for the last two years, firstacquiring rights to seven Japanese genre films from the last 30 years
  • UK's Civilian Content 'cautiously positive' about half-year results

    Civilian Content, the UK media concern currently bidding to extend its National Lottery franchise: The Film Consortium, is inching towards profitability after posting a pre-tax loss of $390,000 (£250,000) for the first half of the year.The loss marks an improvement of 68% on the first half of last year, when the AIM-listed company was $1.3m (£800,000) in the red. Civilian Content posted a group loss before tax of $8.1m (£5.2) for the whole of last year, although that inc
  • Vivendi sale of Italian pay-TV network in jeopardy

    The shares of Vivendi Universal dipped 10% today after new bumps emerged in the road towards sale of its troubled Italian pay-TV operation Telepiu. At 1230GMT the shares traded at Euros11.64 compared with Friday's Euros12.20 close.Over the weekend, the EU's competition commissioner Mario Monti said that he would expect his office to examine the deal to sell Telepiu to News Corp, which already controls rival pay-platform Stream. Monti's office confirmed on Monday that the deal would ha
  • Vivendi Universal outlines debt reduction strategy

    Vivendi Universal aims to reduce its debt by at least Euros12bn within 18 months through a drastic asset disposal plan which includes Canal Plus group's activities outside of France as well the sale of several non-core businesses. "The Board has noted with satisfaction the decisive progress made during the past three months." VU's chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou stated following a board meeting on September 25. "We are leaving the crisis behind us. The main sources of loss have been reduced
  • Vivendi's Telepiu sale delayed again

    Vivendi Universal was forced into retreat again today when chairman and chief executive Jean-Rene Fourtou had to admit that the sale of Italian pay-TV operation Telepiu to News Corp had been delayed.Only yesterday, as part of a major strategy announcement, Fourtou had proclaimed the sale for Euros1bn, a price already well below the Euros1.5bn the two groups had provisionally agreed earlier this year.Late on Wednesday, News Corp issued a statement to the Australian Stock Exchan
  • Walden strikes two-year alliance with Disney

    Walden Media, the NewYork-based production outfit run by Cary Granat and backed by PhilipAnschutz's The Anschutz Company, has signed a two-year first-look NorthAmerican distribution deal with The Walt Disney Studios (TWDS). The dealfollows from two separate project deals between the two companies: Disney hadpreviously acquired North American and UK distribution rights to JamesCameron's Ghosts Of The Abyssand has just taken North America and most of the rest of the world on Holes
  • Wales paves way for new international film studio

    Plans for a film studio complex in Wales received a boost yesterday, when the Welsh parliament scrapped its main objection to the project. Based in the south Wales valleys, the 350-acre development - called Dragon International Studios - is hoping to be built on a former opencast coal site near Bridgend. The scheme would include a film studio, movie-based leisure attractions and a film academy. The Welsh studio is one of many currently at planning or construction stage throughou
  • Wayne Borg promoted at Universal Pictures

    Wayne Borg has been appointed vice president, Universal Pictures, Latin America & Asia Pacific, effective 7th January 2003. Borg is currently serving as managing director of Universal Pictures Australia/New Zealand. Previously a member of the senior management team of Warner Bros in the UK and Australia, Borg was appointed as MD of Universal Pictures Australia/New Zealand in May 2000. During Borg's two-year tenure, Universal Pictures Australia/NZ has seen a 200% increase in re
  • Whale Rider

    Dir: Niki Caro New Zealand-Germany 2002 105min.Whale Rider deftly melds in a spirited package a portrait of contemporary rural Maori life with a tale from its rich mythology. Avoiding the overt sentimentality that often mars coming-of-age tales, this New Zealand-Germany co-production offers something for every age group without pandering to the youngest. At the film's core is sensational newcomer Keisha Castle-Hughes, as the spiritual keeper of her tribe's founding myt

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