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2 October 2003

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  • Affairs prequel storms Hong Kong box office

    Infernal Affairs II, the prequel to Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's hit crime thriller Infernal Affairs, shattered box office records on its opening night in Hong Kong grossing US$427,000 (HK$3.9m) and easily outpacing the opening figures for the original film. The Media Asia production received its world premiere at the Hong Kong FilMart last week and rolled out on 68 screens on October 1 - a public holiday in Hong Kong. Its opening figures make it the biggest opener of 2003 a
  • 1000 Indian cinemas stage protest closures against tax rates

    Almost 1,000 single-screen cinemas in the Indian state of Maharashtra will close from Oct 17 in protest against high entertainment taxes. Entertainment tax levels are set at 55% for Mumbai, 50% for major towns and cities and 45% for rural areas. The exhibitors want this to be brought down to 30% which would match the rates in New Delhi. They also want permission to demolish non performing cinemas to develop their sites for real estate purposes.The cinema strike in Maharas
  • 11:14

    Dir: Greg Marcks. US. 2003. 95 minsThe random acts of desperate individuals propel the frantic, fashionably dark-hued ensemble 11:14. The first feature from writer-director Greg Marcks is distinguished by the intricacy of its plotting and a fondness for bad taste humour. A calling card for Marcks abilities, it lacks the originality or eccentricity to distinguish it from what is starting to seem like an endless succession of Pulp Fiction and Amores Perros
  • Advanced set for merger with Fast TV Server

    After months of negotiations to find a partner, German licence trader Advanced Medien has announced the signing of a draft merger agreement with fellow Munich-based company Fast TV Server.The main purpose of the merged company will be to further develop and market Fast TV Server's products, which include hard disk recorders for real Personal TV, and Advanced's film assets will continue to be marketed in a licence trading division. Advanced's shareholders will be invited to att

    Local title Valentin climbed to the fifth slot from its seventh position last week after being officially selected to represent Argentina at the Oscars race next year. The film has received 84,224 admissions after 18 days on release.Robert Rodriguez's Once Upon A Time In Mexico opened to dominate the weekend, pushing down The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen to the third spot. Meanwhile the irrepressible Bruce Almighty has moved back up to the second slot.

    2 Fast 2 Furious shook The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen off the top slot this weekend. The Sean Connery-led ensemble drama dropped 44% after just one week. Spanish adventure comedy 800 Bullets by Alex de la Iglesia came in at number 10. Two local films remain among the top ten, Cleopatra and Valentin. The latter may see a spike in admissions after the recent announcement of its selection as Argentina's official entry to the Foreign Oscars next ye

    Japanese Story took A$411,629 from 40 screens for Palace in its opening four-day weekend despite the arrival of sunny weather in most cities, school holidays, Jewish New Year and the AFL grand final. The result put it in ninth position but everything above was on about 200 to 400 screens. It has apparently attracted suburban multiplex and regional audiences, as well as the arthouse crowd, which augurs well for the plan to slowly add more prints. The trio of award ceremonies is a
  • Avati pulls out of Italian Oscar race

    Italian director and Cinecitta president Pupi Avati has withdrawn his latest film, The Heart Elsewhere from consideration as Italy's Oscar candiate, as a sign of protest against a "lack of transparency" at the country's Donatello Academy.Avati's decision came after he learned that an extra 112 members had just been appointed to the 380-member Academy which votes for Italy's Oscar candidate as well as the country's prestigious Donatello awards. The problem, Avati said, is
  • Berri takes over as France's Cinematheque chief

    Following several months of upheaval, France's Cinematheque has elected renowned director/producer Claude Berri as its new president. The Cinematheque plays a similar role as the AFI in the US and holds France's national film archives.The Cinematheque has been on shaky ground this year thanks to administrative differences between culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon, the National Cinema Centre and the Cinematheque's board.Jean-Charles Tacchella resigned earlier this yea
  • Beyond prepares to sell A Good Woman

    Beyond Films is to handle international sales on director Mike Barker's upcoming feature A Good Woman starring Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson and Tom Wilkinson.The film is a co-production between Alan Greenspan of the US's International Arts Entertainment, Jonathan English of the UK's Meltemi Entertainment, Denise O'Dell and Mark Albela of Spain's KanZaman and Roberto Bessi of Italy's Buskin Films.Luxembourg's Thema Productions and London's Magic Hour Film Finance and Mat
  • Blanchett retuns to Oz for Little Fish

    Academy-Award nominee Cate Blanchett is set to return Australia early next year to work on one of the features in a new slate of films approved by the Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC). Blanchett will play the lead in Little Fish, a drama set in 'Little Saigon' in Sydney's western suburbs, which will be the second feature film from Australian director Rowan Woods (The Boys). Martin Henderson, who recently featured in box office hit The Ring, will play
  • Bolivia celebrates box office smash with Dependency

    A Bolivian /USco production is making box office waves in Bolivia. Already dubbed theBolivian Titanic,Rodrigo Bellott's Sexual Dependency beat US blockbusters Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle at the local box office over the weekend. With just twoprints, the teen drama attracted 360,000 admissions in contrast to a paltry15,000 for the Charlie's Angels sequel. For a country of seven million inhabitants and 26 scree
  • Calendar Girls back on top

    A host of new releases disappointed this week in the UK and Ireland leaving BVI's Calendar Girls unchallenged and able to sweep back to the top of the chart.The comedy drama is showing Billy Elliot-type box office legs and after improving 5% in its second week on wide release over its first, this week it dropped off just 5% to put it back on almost exactly the same figure on which it opened wide. Furthermore, this drop can be completely accounted for by the 5% drop
  • Colombian project wins Latin cash prize at San Sebastian

    Columbian title The Wandering Shadows won the Films In Progress cash and post-production services prize on Sept 25 at the Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 18-28).From director Ciro Guerra, The Wandering Shadows (La Sombra Del Caminante) was chosen from the seven, mostly-Argentinean titles participating in this year's initiative. The prize comes with Euros 9,000 from cultural organization Casa de America and a guarantee of complete post-produ
  • CP Medien fund falls victim to German fund ruling

    The recent amendments to Germany's Media Ruling on the running of private media funds (, August 2003) have claimed their first victim with the Ludwigsburg-based CP Medien fund undertaking a corporate restructuring. In a press statement, the fund, which has supported such projects as Jean-Jacques Annaud's Enemy At The Gates and Robert Altman's The Company in the past, explained that it would be concentrating in future on the management of the existin

    The release of Christoffer Boe's multiple-award winning feature debut Reconstruction couldn't have bought the publicity up to its premiere if it had wanted to. Just the day before it's release it became the Danish submission for the Oscars; before that it had picked up the Camera d'Or in Cannes and Boe was named best new director by FIPRESCI. Consequently, expectations were very high for the film, which despite its star cast (Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Maria Bonnevie) is very much of
  • Duplex

    Dir: Danny DeVito. US 2003. 90 minsThe Lady Killers it ain't, although this latest directorial effort from actor/writer/director/producer Danny DeVito does concern an attempt to bump off a dotty old lady who comes with the flat, as it were. DeVito actually may have been aiming for something closer to his own 1987 directorial debut Throw Mama From The Train, which revolved around efforts to eliminate a nasty and manipulative old woman. In either case, the
  • Dutch films set for record market share

    Dutch films look set to take a record share of their local market this year, according the country's cinema organisation NFC. Thanks to upcoming premieres for commercial titles such as Pietje Bell 2, Phileine Says Sorry, Polleke and Kees Jongen, the NFC expects local product to take a 14.5% of the total market.Dutch films have already taken a 13% share in the first 9 months of this year. The main contributors were the family-film Skippers Of The Kameleon, directed
  • Dutch industry rails as tax system faces closure

    The looming cancellation of the Dutch tax incentive scheme (CVs) has been labelled 'disastrous' by the Council For Culture, the Netherland's most important advisory committee on cultural issues. Last week, proposals for the new state budget were published in the Netherlands and made no allowance for the continuation of the scheme, which has been in place for five years. (, Sept 17)The Council said an 'inevitable consequence' of the move would be the 'margin
  • Elling set to become a trilogy

    A third film about Norway's favourite neurotic Elling - the main character from the Oscar nominated Norwegian box-office hit - is set for the big screen, producer Dag Alveberg of Maipo Film confirmed this week."This is not a case of boiling soup on a thin bone," he told "There are four books about Elling; the first film was based on the third book, the second on the two first and the third will be based on the fourth. I like the idea of it becoming a trilogy."
  • Evil (Ondskan)

    Dir: Mikael Hafstrom. 2003. Swe. 113 minsEvil (Ondskan), the third feature of Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom, plays well enough on the big screen but, aside from likely appearances at a few of the bigger festivals like Toronto, where it showed in the Contemporary World Cinema section, it's not sufficiently accomplished for wide international distribution. That said, its selection as Sweden's nomination for the Best Foreign Language Oscar may help attract i
  • Evil a smash at the box office and Sweden's Oscar submission

    Sweden namedMikael Haafstroem's highly anticipated Evil (Ondskan) its submission for this year's foreignlanguage Oscar yesterday, the weekend after it opened in Sweden with a dazzling108,000 admissions (SKR1.1m) on 95 prints.The gross wasdouble the take of the second film on the chart Pirates Of The Caribbean, reflecting the fact that the novel onwhich it is based is the most widely read Swedish novel in the last 20 years.MeanwhileFinland has entered Klaus H
  • FERA launches Eastern European branch

    The Federation of European Film Directors (FERA) has agreed to set up a regional office in Warsaw to serve the film industry in the new EU member countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The new office is to be headed by FERA Vice President, Janusz Kijowski who also heads the Association of Polish Filmmakers. The actress and film director, Liv Ullman, was also elected President of FERA, the first woman to occupy the post.The decision was taken at a meeting of FERA representative
  • FilMart wraps up with date change plan

    The Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FilMart) ended in high spirits on Friday night (Sept 26) with a screening of Media Asia's eagerly-awaited Infernal Affairs 2 and the welcome news that the market will take place in March from 2005. FilMart organiser, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), announced that the market will be held in June 23-25 in 2004 and March 22-24 the following year. The date change means that Hong Kong's major film events will take place at
  • Filmax funds boosted by Spanish investors

    In a long-anticipated move which gives national and regional government interests direct shares in a film business, Spanish producer-distributor-exhibitor Filmax has undergone a capital increase worth Euros 32m.The five bodies underwriting the increase are Catalan government-backed Finance Institute (ICF) with 3.9%, the Galician government's investment fund XesGalicia with 9.8%, the national State Society of Industrial Participations and Business Development (SEPIDES) with 9.8%, bank C

    Timo Koivusalo's Sibelius, which has been a hot item in the local media, has steadily climbed the chart since BVI released it three weeks ago and now sits comfortably on the top, dropping less than 1% from last week.The other local chart topper in its fifth week finally passed Pirates Of The Caribbean, which dropped 24% to third. Solely based on admissions, however, the two children's oriented animated films, Piglet's Big Movie and Sinbad, sneaked in front o
  • Foreign language Oscar race hots up

    With just days to go before the deadline for submissions to the foreign language Oscar category, four countries have named their heavyweight contenders. Argentina has selected Alejandro Agresti's bittersweet comedy Valentin, while Brazil has submitted Hector Babenco's prison drama blockbuster Carandiru. Korean has chosen Kim Ki-duk's Locarno favourite Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring. Denmark has named Christoffer Boe's Cannes prize winning Reco
  • Foreign Oscar deadline closes with heavyweight submissions

    Two heavyweight film nations submitted their candidates for the Academy Awards foreign language category yesterday (Oct 1) - the final deadline day for entries.Italy chose Gabriele Salvatores's acclaimed thriller I'm Not Scared, while Spain submitted David Trueba's Salamina Soldiers.Italians will be hoping that Salvatores can repeat his 1992 best foreign picture Oscar win for his World War II tale Mediterraneo, which also starred Diego Abantatuono.Sal
  • Four UK writers scoop funding for high concept pitches

    The UK Film Council has unveiled the winners of its latest '25 Words Or Less' film initiative - which called on writers to pitch their concept for a romantic comedy, science fiction or teen movie in not more than 25 words. The four winners will each be awarded £10,000 in development funding and fast-tracked into screenplays.The successful projects are:Romantic comedy: The Best Woman by Irena Brignull - On his stag a groom faces many temptations. The best
  • Fox faced with $100m LXG lawsuit from Poll, Cohen

    Martin Poll, the veteranproducer of The Lion In Winterand Love And Death, andscreenwriter Larry Cohen have filed a $100m lawsuit against Fox Entertainmentclaiming its summer release The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG)stole their idea.Papers lodged at the USDistrict Court in Los Angeles on Sept 25 cite infringement of copyright andclaim that LXG is "substantially similar" to Cohen's 1992 screenplay Cast OfCharacters in terms of plot,dialogue, t
  • Garlock joins WBPI in new promotions senior vp post

    Gene Garlock has been appointed to the new post of senior vicepresident of promotions at Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI).

    Solo Film's Jester Till (Till Eulenspiegel) comfortably exceeded the 100,000 admissions barrier to take $600,187 for 118,687 tickets from 507 prints. The large-scale release of the Euros 15m animation feature by Eberhard Junkersdorf's Munich Animation studio is seen by some observers as something of a turning point for Solo-Film who previously hadn't released any film on more than 200 prints. When he picked up Jester Till earlier this year, Solo's managing director
  • Germany dismisses calls for tax incentives

    The Gerhard Schroeder SPD-Green coalition administration has dashed any hopes for the introduction of tax incentives into Germany, similar to those in place in the UK and Canada. The move came in a response to a parliamentary question on the film industry tabled by the CDU and CSU opposition parties. In its series of questions, the CDU and CSU asked if the Federal Government was planning changes to the existing Media Decree "to enable an attractive participation by media funds
  • Gettin' Square

    Dir: Jonathan Teplitzky. Australia. 2003. 100minsThe well-planned heist that 'goes wrong' to a thumping rock soundtrack, the bunch of lovable desperadoes in hock to the real nasties, the reliably unexpected twist in the narrative tail-all are in place in this attractively virile Aussie gangster comedy. Arguably, Guy Ritchie's British Lock, Stock... started this good-crim/bad-crim caper genre in 1998, though he was clearly influenced by Tarantino. Australia's response w
  • Golden Harvest looks to acquire Taiwan's Warner Village

    Hong Kong entertainment giant Golden Harvest is understood to be in talks to acquire Taiwan's Warner Village - the joint exhibition venture between Warner Bros International Theatres (WBIT) and Australia's Village Roadshow. If the acquisition goes ahead, it would provide Golden Harvest with the missing piece in its exhibition network throughout Asia's Chinese-speaking markets. The powerhouse distributor and exhibitor already operates around 215 screens in Hong Kong, mainland China, Mal
  • Gordon moves to Columbia, brings in Toho-Towa

    Mark Gordon, the veteranproducer whose credits include Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot, is in final negotiations to sign a first-look deal with ColumbiaPictures, a deal which would involve Japanese major Toho-Towa which had backedGordon in his former venture Mutual Film Co.Gordon, whose output dealwith Fox ended earlier this year, is in discussing a three-year agreement,under which Toho-Towa will finance all overheads relating to the term deal andgain distribution rig
  • Greek multiplex expansion plans in jeopardy

    The future expansion of multiplexes in Greece is in jeopardy following a legal dispute between country's Exhibitors Federation and the builders of a 10-screen new multiplex in the central Athens residential district of Ambelokipi. The planned opening this month of the City Plaza multiplex - leased by veteran film distributor and exhibitor George Michaelides - has been halted following an appeal by the Exhibitors Federation appeal to the Constitutional Council.The Federation and
  • Green Planet dominates Pusan Critics Awards

    The Pusan Film Critics Association has unveiled the winners of the 4th Pusan Film Critics Awards, with the genre-bending Save The Green Planet by Jang Jun-hwan taking Best Picture, Best Actor (Shin Ha-kyun), and Best New Director. The acclaimed debut work has previously won Best Director at the Moscow International Film Festival and Best Picture at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan).Meanwhile, Bong Joon-ho's Memories Of Murder picked up the B
  • Gun-Shy shoots down opposition at San Sebastian

    Georgian director DitoTsintsadze's German film Gun-Shy wasthe controversial top winner on Saturday night of the Donostia-San SebastianInternational Film Festival's Golden Shell prize, while local favourite Take My Eyes was recognised with bestactor and best actress Silver Shells for stars Luis Tosar and Laia Marull. As has become customary in San Sebastian, the prizescountered local expectations and som
  • Gun-Shy shoots down opposition at San Sebastian

    Georgian director DitoTsintsadze's German film Gun-Shy wasthe controversial top winner on Saturday night of the Donostia-San SebastianInternational Film Festival's Golden Shell prize, while local favourite Take My Eyes was recognised with bestactor and best actress Silver Shells for stars Luis Tosar and Laia Marull. As has become customary in San Sebastian, the prizescountered local expectations and som
  • Han, Arclight to fly with $15m Silver Hawk

    Hong Kong's Han Entertainment has completed finance on its $15m martial arts action film Silver Hawk through a gap finance deal and the appointment of Arclight Films as sales agent.Han principal Thomas Chung and Jarred Underwood of specialist bank Comerica yesterday closed a loan of undisclosed size. The advance is securitised against existing pre-sales and sales estimates of currently unsold territories."We are very excited to bring another very experienced bank to Hong
  • Hausfater lands at Miramax in international role

    Industry veteran Jere Hausfater has landed at Miramax Films asexecutive vice president and co-head of Miramax International.
  • Hero scores number one opening in France

    Zhang Yimou's action epic Hero opened number one in France at the weekend, grossing$1.9m from 375 theatres. According to executives atUniversal, which distributed the film there after acquiring rights from Focus,the opening was well ahead of the 10 other new entries and comprised 60% of the2000 opening for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. American Pie: The Weddingadded $4.2m from 1,635 sites in 17markets to raise its international running total to $76.9m.
  • Hollywood independents in shock as MPAA screener ban rewrites Oscar game

    Studio-affiliated members of the independent film community claimtheir chances of success in the upcoming awards season could lie in ruins nowthat the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) proposal to abolishpreview screening tapes looks likely to be pushed through this week.The specialized divisions of the studios - Fine Line Features,Focus Features, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Miramax Films, Paramount Classics,Sony Pictures Classics, United Artists and Warner Independent Picture
  • Hollywood nine commit to MPAA screener ban

    The seven major studios,their subsidiaries and DreamWorks and New Line will not send out preview"screener" tapes this awards season after committing to a MotionPicture Association of America (MPAA) anti-piracy drive.The move was announced today(Sept 30) by MPAA president Jack Valenti, who cited a "determinedcommitment to combat digital piracy and to save movie jobs in thefuture."The controversial decisionis the latest plank in the organisation's copyright war that has spawnededu

    The third episode of the American Pie series took a strong, although not spectacular start at the Hungarian box office last weekend. With just over 62,000 admissions it is the year's fifth strongest opening and the 14th strongest of all time but fails to repeat the performance of the second installment. Although filmed in Hungary, director Menno Meyjes' Hitler story, Max starring John Cusack failed to lure the audiences into the cinema and took just over 4,000 admissions
  • Italian films hit by release bottleneck

    The Italian film industry is complaining that too many local pictures are being released in an extremely short period of time, effectively damaging each film's prospects at the box office.According to Agis, Italy's national entertainment organisation, around 30 local pictures are being released between September and end of November. These include such highly anticipated titles as Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers, Ermanno Olmi's Cantando Dietro I Paraventi, Paolo
  • Italy unveils major new film promotion outfit

    After weeks of rumour, Cinecitta Holding has officially announced that it is establishing a new company with Fiera Milano International (FMI) and the Venice Biennale, in the hope of boosting the sales of Italian films abroad, as well as the stature of Mifed and of the Venice Screenings. The new company's launch was announced on Sept 26 by Cinecitta Holding president Pupi Avati at a packed press conference in Villa Miani, a mansion located at the top of Rome's panoramic Monte Mario Hill

    Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life opened at number one in Japan's nine metro markets, taking an average of Y6,629,364 ($59,724) from 22 screens for a total of Y145,846,000 ($1,313,928). This compares with Y212,263,300 ($1,912,282) on 22 screens for an average of Y9,648,332 ($86,922) for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, following its October 6, 2001 release. This drop of 31% is not nearly as steep as the plunge in the series' US box office, from $131m for the first
  • JAPAN Production listings - September 29 2003

    JAPAN Production Listings - Sept 29PRE-PRODUCTIONBOKUNO CHIKYU WA AOKATTA(Rumble Fish) Int'l sales: Rumble Fish. Human drama. A boy, whose brother mysteriously disappeared, goes on a search for his sibling and his own identity. Prod: Takenori Sento. Dir: Hitoshi Yazaki. Shooting in Japan in 2004.Contact: Kumi Sato, Rumble Fish, (81) 3 5718 8760, ROOKIE(Rumble Fish) Int'l sales: Rumble Fish. Heart warming human
  • Jonsson comes out on top at Umea festival

    Jens Jonsson was the big winner at the 18th edition of the Umea International Film Festival, winning two out of the festival's three awards, including the youth jury prize for one of his competing films, Headway. Jonsson's The Spade also won the Jameson Short Film Award. The film was rewarded "for depicting the lifelong conflict between two women in the Swedish countryside in a universally convincing and skillful way". The festival's Filmblicken award for the best
  • Kieft & Kieft acts to fend off insolvency

    The shareholders of Germany's leading cinema chain Kieft & Kieft have undertaken a Euros 9m cash injection to keep the company afloat and continue its programme of restructuring measures.A cost cutting programme has seen 49 jobs go and six regional offices close, according to the German daily newspaper Die Welt. Management consultants KPMG have also drawn up a strategy for Kieft & Kieft that envisages the chain's key management taking a 20% pay cut, as well as the exhibitor ren
  • Kill Bill Vol 1

    Dir: Quentin Tarantino. US. 2003. 110 mins.Kill Bill, the fourth film by Quentin Tarantino (as it is announced in the opening credits), continues the director's tradition of raiding other films, film-makers' styles and his own soundtrack collection. And like his three previous films, the result of his looting is a delirious cinematic confection which bears a signature all his own. Anchored by a bravura action performance by Uma Thurman, the first part of the two-parter
  • Kitchen Stories cooks up Norway Oscar vote

    Bent Hamer's Cannes charmer Kitchen Stories has been selected as Norway's official entry to the Oscars in the foreign language film category. The original comedy had its premiere at the Tromsoe Film Festival in January where it picked up the FIPRESCI award, and has since been around the world from Cannes to Toronto, and has been sold to some 30 countries including the US. Norway has previously had three films nominated in this category, The Pathfinder (1987), Th
  • Knibbs quits UCI for Vue

    Steve Knibbs has been appointed as chief operating officer of UK exhibitor Vue Entertainment. Knibbs will report to Tim Richards, CEO of Vue.Knibbs joins from United Cinemas International (UCI) where he was senior vice president, Northern Europe. Former Warner Village UK managing director Melyvn Angell has been tipped by many industry sources to be in line for the top job at UCI.Knibbs' departure means that UCI becomes the second major UK circuit currently without a chief
  • Kuhn's Qwerty Film recruits former FilmFour executive

    Former FilmFour executive Andrew Hildebrand is to join Michael Kuhn's Qwerty Films as head of commercial and business affairs.Hildebrand joined FilmFour as director of business affairs at its inception, where he handled negotiations and contracts across all of FilmFour's co-financing, sales and distribution activities.Hidlebrand replaces Kathryn Craig, who is leaving to establish her own business affairs consultancy.Former PolyGram Filmed Entertainment chief Kuhn set up Q
  • Leigh embarks on untitled London shoot

    Iconic UK director Mike Leigh started shooting his latest feature today (Sept 30) at locations around London.The film, set to shoot for ten weeks, stars Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis, Daniel Mays, Alex Kelly, Adrian Scarborough and Heather Craney.Typically for a Mike Leigh project, details at the production stage are sketchy. The film is currently known only as Untitled 03, and no synopsis has yet been announced. The film is financed by Studio Canal, which handles internati
  • Malaysia looks to partner with China for co-productions

    Malaysia's film development body Perbadana Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia (FINAS) is in talks with China's Fujian Film Studio about establishing a joint co-production venture.According to Mahammad Nor Abu Shahid, FINAS' director of film development, FINAS is planning a 10-member delegation to visit the Chinese film studio in Fujian province in October after holding preliminary meetings in Hong Kong yesterday. 'It is an exciting development,' he said, as 'it will be the first t
  • Mexico targets UK, Pirates eyes $300m haul

    Sheer momentum should ensure another strong international box office haul for Pirates Of The Caribbean this upcoming weekend as it closes in on $300m.The swashbuckling blockbuster has no major bows but will look to more impressive holdovers to boost its $275m international running total for Buena Vista International (BVI).BVI opens Robert Rodriguez's Once Upon A Time In Mexico in the UK on Sept 26 and Germany, Austria and Argentina on Sept 25.Robert Rodriguez's
  • Mexico, Bolivia unveil Oscar contenders

    Mexico has selected Mexican-Spanish co production Aro Tolbukhin: In The Mind Of A Killer to vie for the best foreign language Oscar. Directed by Agustin Villaronga, Lydia Zimmerman and Isaac Pierre Racine, the docu fiction drama is based on a true story of a Hungarian in Guatemala who killed seven nurses. Meanwhile, Bolivia has chosen local blockbuster Sexual Dependency, the directorial debut of 25 year old Rodrigo Bellott. The story follows five couples in their s
  • Miravista becomes official Disney production label in Latin America

    Miravista has now become the official film production label of Disney in Latin America following the dissolution of its Spanish partner, Admira. The media division of Spanish telco giant Telefonica has been axed as part of the media divestment strategy spearheaded by Telefonica president Cesar Alierta. Telefonica still has media interests in Dutch TV giant Endemol, leading Spanish production company Lola Films and Argentinian TV broadcaster Telefe.To date, Miravista has
  • Movie mogul plans revenge with comeback feature

    Indian film producer Bharat Shah - one the biggest film financiers in the Mumbai film industry - has announced fresh plans to invest in Indian films. The move came on the day he was given a one year prison sentence for withholding information from police about the criminal underworld muscling in on one of his films. However, he is now a free man having already spent 14 months in jail awaiting his trial. Shah announced that he going to produce a Hindi film based on his trial to e

    Independent distributor Upstream saw a strong turn out for Aki Kaurismaki's The Man Without A Past when it opened on a mere 13 screens.The second part of the director's acclaimed 'Finland' trilogy, about a man with amnesia following an assault, trying to put his life back in order while living on the outskirts of Helsinki, claimed $30,901 (Euros 26,946) including previews for a $2,400 screen average.Although it landed behind Matchstick Men in the chart, James Mango
  • New York indies send written objections to MPAA over screeners

    Under the nominal leadership of IFP/New York executive directorMichelle Byrd, more than 30 prominent members of the independent community havesigned a joint statement condemning this week's ban on awards season previewtapes by the MPAA.

    In the North American limited release arena there was another strong weekend for Focus Feature's slow burner Lost In Translation, which stayed in 10th place adding $3.7m for a $8.6m running total. It expanded by 305 to 488 sites and should be in 700-800 venues next weekend. Newmarket's acclaimed and adored Whale Rider passed $20m in its 11th week, dropping 46% and five places to 29th. It is another big success for low-budget English-language films produced outside the US

    The record 100 print release of newcomer Alexander Eik's romantic comedy The Woman Of My Life paid off in the film's first weekend, where it pushed American Wedding down 43% and Pirates Of The Caribbean 30%. Well known for his sure hand at marketing, veteran producer John M. Jacobsen has made his first romantic comedy one of the most hyped local films at a time where more local films are released than ever before. Last week's local release ORO Film's Dest
  • November (Noviembre)

    Dir: Achero Manas. Spain. 2003. 104minsActor-turned-director Achero Manas marks his position as one of the most interesting young filmmakers in Spain with November, but it is unlikely that the film will get him recognition beyond what he gained from his impressive debut Pellet (El Bola). But this well-acted and great looking film about an experimental theatre group in Madrid is too fragmented and caught up in the process of acting, and its high ideas and ide
  • Optimum snares Van Sant's Elephant for UK

    UK distributor Optimum Releasing has acquired the UK rights to 2003 Palme D'Or winner Elephant.The Gus Van Sant film was sold by HBO Films London.Elephant also collected the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival.Other recent Optimum acquisitions include Julie Bertucelli's Since Otar Left and Faouzi Bensaidi's A Thousand Months. Upcoming releases include the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, American indies xx/xy and Americ
  • Oscar winning outfit lines up Nowhere In Africa sequel

    MTM Medien & Television Muenchen is planning a sequel to its Oscar-winning production of Caroline Link's Nowhere In Afrika (Nirgendwo In Afrika) and an international children's TV series based on the film.Speaking exclusively to, producer Andreas Bareiss revealed that MTM is developing a feature film based on Nowhere In Africa novelist Stefanie Zweig's second novel Somewhere In Germany (Irgendwo In Deutschland) which follows the experiences
  • Oscar-winning director Elia Kazan dead at 94

    Oscar-winningfilm director Elia Kazan, whose credits include Hollywood classics On TheWaterfront (1954) and AStreetcar Named Desire(1951), has died aged 94 in New York City.Thecontroversial Kazan, whose own immigrant experience from Contantinople he documentedin the 1963 film of his book America America, worked first as an actor at New York'sGroup Theater and later, as a director, founded the influential Actors Studio.He won his first direc
  • Pirates still controls international box office seas

    Buena Vista International(BVI)'s Pirates Of The Caribbeanremained the top international film at the weekend as it grossed $13m andraised its international running total to $292m.The highlights wereholdovers in the UK, where in its seventh week the film dropped 12% and added$1.2m for $41.4m, and Germany, where it dropped 24% in its fourth week andadded $2.8m for $30m.Elsewhere Calendar Girls added $3.6m for a $15.5m cumulative score, most ofwhich comes from the UK w
  • Pontecorvo classic gets US re-issue via Rialto, Classic Collection

    Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle Of Algiers, the legendary re-telling of thestruggle for Algerian independence from France, will be re-released in the USby Rialto Pictures in association with The Classic Collection, a joint ventureof Janus Films and Homevision Entertainment, in Janua
  • PriceWaterhouse delivers verdict on Irish tax incentive

    The Irish ministers of Arts and Finance have taken delivery of the PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PWC) report commissioned by the Department of Arts and the Irish Film Board to analyse the workings and effectiveness of the Section 481 tax incentive for the Irish film industry.Because of issues relating to taxation policy the report will not be publicly released until either early December when the Irish exchequer budget for 2004 is announced, or in January of next year when the Minister for
  • Revolutions to open day and date in 60 territories

    Hoping to hit the pirates where it hurts and capitalise on aninternet-savvy global fan base, Warner Bros will open its sci-fi trilogy finaleThe Matrix Revolutions simultaneouslyin 60 territories including the US on Nov 5.
  • S.W.A.T. dethrones Bayside Shakedown 2 in Japan

    S.W.A.T. scored two number one openings in Asia over theweekend as it went out in its first major markets.The police thriller grossedan estimated $3m in Japan and became the first film in nine weeks to dethrone BaysideShakedown 2.The Yen114.3m openingcompares to Yen92m for XXX andYen107.7m for The Bourne Identity,which were both released in 2002.Distributed by Columbia FilmDistributors International (CTFDI), the film opened number one in Korea
  • San Sebastian films prepare to roll out across Spain

    A swathe of films from last week's Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 18-28) will invade the Spanish box office over the next month, but to what extent they will benefit from buzz and media coverage coming out of the event remains to be seen.Certainly one of the most interesting cases to watch will be Julio Medem's controversial Basque documentary, La Pelota Vasca, La Piel Contra La Piedra, which opens in cinemas across Spain this Friday.Of the six S
  • Screen moves UK Film Finance Summit to larger venue

    Screen International has moved the venue of its forthcoming UK Film Finance Summit because of a surge in registration numbers for the event.Nearly 300 film professionals have already registered for the Summit which will take place on the same date - Oct 16 - but at a larger venue, the Millenium Hotel London Mayfair in Grosvenor Square. The Summit was previously scheduled to take place at the Royal Society Of Arts.The Summit comes at a crucial time for the UK film industry
  • Sharif to be feted at AFI FEST, Minghella to show 20 mins of Mountain

    Omar Sharif will be honouredat the upcoming AFI Festís annual tribute on Nov 11 in Los Angeles.'A Tribute To Omar'will feature clips, anecdotes, an on-stage discussion and a retrospective ofhis films including J Lee Thompson's Mackenna's Gold (1969), William Wyler's Funny Girl (1968), Youssef Chahine's The Blazing Sun (1954) and Hani Lachine's Puppeteer (1969).The tribute will also tie into the US premiere of Francois Dupeyron's drama Monsieur
  • Six new film-makers awarded prizes as IFP/New York Market closes

    Benno Schoberth headed up aroster of six emerging film-makers honoured at the 2003 IFP/New York MarketAwards on Sept 25, winning the work-in-progress completion award in theemerging narrative category for the inner-city drama Shelter.The Screenplay Award went toTanya Steele for The Parachute Factory, the story of two teenagers on the run after they commit a murder.Annemarie Jacir took shortfilm honours for Like Twenty Impossibles, about a group of Palestinia
  • Sony to stock up on Hindi movies

    Indian TV outfit Sony Entertainment Television is planning to buy TV rights to up to 50 Hindi movies in the next year.The company will invest up to$25 million for the rights to the films, which it aims to broadcast on Sony TV and SET Max in India and SET Asia TV across the globe. The films will be a mix of small, medium and blockbuster movies. The channel which already has about 1000 titles is reported to be in talks with the producers of recent Hindi films Chalte Chalte, Hun

    Spanish film Football Days (Dias De Futbol), heir in both behind- and in front of camera talent to last year's top local hit in Spain, The Other Side Of The Bed (El Otro Lado De La Cama), improved its performance over its second weekend. Through BVI on a steady 200 prints, the film took in just over Euros 1m, up from its first weekend gross of Euros 879,354.Football Days ranked second for the weekend behind UIP's The Italian Job, whose co-stars Charlize Ther
  • Spare Parts, Window dominate Slovenian fest

    Leading Slovenian producer Danijel Hocevar's Emotionfilm has walked away with 13 awards for two of its productions - Spare Parts (Rezervni Deli) and Beneath Her Window (Pod Njenim Oknom )- at this year's Festival of Slovenian Films in CeljeDamjan Kozole's Spare Parts, which has been submitted as Slovenia's entry for the Foreign Language Oscar and is one of the titles pre-selected for the 2003 European Film Awards, picked up four of the festival jury's Vesna Awards
  • Spun, Shottas get UK premieres through ICA, Amnesty

    Spun and Shottas have their first UK showings in October as part of DJ Saved MY Life - a series of nights from Amnesty International and the ICA to highlight their International Arms Campaign. The movie programme includes an exclusive preview screening of the speed-freak story Spun, the first feature film from video wunderkind Jonas Akerlund whose controversial contributions to the art form have included The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up, Madonna's Ray of

    Mikael Haafstroem's highly anticipated Evil (Ondskan) had a tremendous opening weekend with 108,000 admissions on its 95 prints, more than double the take of second-placed, Pirates Of The Caribbean. With more than two million copies sold of Jan Guillou's autobiographical novel from 1981, it wasn't surprising that expectations were high along with the media attention. But after a few meagre weeks at the Swedish box-office, Evil's massive SKR11,465 screen aver
  • Swedish films take top prizes at Hamburg festival

    Swedish films were the main winners at this year's Filmfest Hamburg, with Josef Fares' comedy Kops being awarded the Hamburger Abendblatt's Audience Prize and Ingela Magner's Emma And Daniel (Emma Och Daniel - Moetet) receiving the Fox Kids and Super RTL-sponsored Children's Audience Prize.Meanwhile, Kinderfilmfest's Euros 2,500 EMIL prize, sponsored by the TV listings magazine TV Spielfilm, went to the Canadian film La Mysterieuse Mademoiselle C. by Richard Ciupk

    Record-breaking Swiss comedy Ready, Steady, Charlie! proved unstoppable in the German region of the country in its second week. The film actually rose 14% from its launch weekend, when it became the biggest local opener of all time, after adding six more screens to its run. Charlie has taken $2m (SFR 2.6m) after just 11 days on release.New release Identity, from BVI, saw a strong reception receiving the best screen average of the week after Charlie. Good ope
  • Take My Eyes (Te Doy Mis Ojos)

    Dir: Iciar Bollain. 2003.Spain. 106mins.This realist take on domestic abuse was the local favourite at last week's Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival, where rumour had it the film would have picked up more than the deserved best actor and actress prizes if festival rules didn't preclude giving a single competition film more than two awards. Even without a star name like Javier Bardem, Take My Eyes (Te Doy Mis Ojos) should be able to follow in the
  • The Miracle (Il Miracolo)

    Dir: Edoardo Winspeare. Italy. 2003. 89mins.Released on a limited Milan and Rome run the day after its Venice festival competition screening, Edoardo Winspeare's The Miracle racked up an impressive screen average then second only to The Hulk. This is the third film from the talented young southern Italian director, whose surname betrays his family's distant British origins. It's a more commercial prospect than his previous two features, Pizzicata and L
  • The Rundown

    Dir: Peter Berg. US. 2003. 104 mins. Having successfully flexed his muscles in last year's Mummy spin-off The Scorpion King, wrestler-turned-actor The Rock proves in The Rundown that he can also carry a contemporary movie - with a little help from some more experienced co-workers at any rate. This entertaining and astutely constructed action comedy has proved a strong draw for young males and provided domestic distributor Universal, which opened the film
  • The Rundown another number one opening for Universal

    Universal'saction extravaganza The Rundownslammed its way to the top on $18m at the weekend, confirming The Rock's earlypromise as a charismatic star with box office brawn.
  • The Story Of The Weeping Camel

    Dir: Luigi Falorni & Byambasuren Davaa. Mongolia/Germany. 2003. 90mins.One of the few buyer talking points at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, The Story Of The Weeping Camel is an illuminating portrait of nomadic shepherds in the Gobi desert which recalls everything from Nanook Of The North to Nikita Mikhalkov's Urga but is from the outset refreshingly unique. Neither strictly a drama nor a documentary, the film goes beyond traditional eth
  • Tokyo FILMex focuses on young Asian directors

    The Tokyo FILMeX festival has announced its line-up for its fourth edition, to be held from November 22 to 30 at four Tokyo venues. The competition section, which focuses on films by young Asian directors, will include two films from Korea, four from Iran, one each from Hong Kong and China and two from host country Japan, for a total of nine. Among the competition directors making their feature debuts are Hana Makhmalbaf, the fifteen-year-old daughter of Iranian director Mohsen
  • Top Bollywood producer convicted for Mafia connections

    Leading Bollywood film financier Bharat Shah has been found guilty of failing to inform police that the criminal underworld had muscled in on a film he made three years ago. The same court also convicted Chori Chori Chupke Chupke producer, Nazim Rizvi, and assistant Abdul Rahim Allahbux Khan, who have been in custody since December, 2000, of being members of a criminal syndicate. Shah was acquitted of several other charges, including extortion, criminal conspiracy and lin
  • UIP targets booming Russian market

    UIP is considering opening its own distribution office in Russia, a country expected to become one of highest grossing cinema markets in Europe within five years.UIP currently distributes its films in Russia through East West, a local distributor which it has worked with for the past 13 years.A UIP source said that the company was taking a close look at the Russian market, although when and how it would open its own office had not been decided. Senior figures from UIP tra
  • UK distributors urge common policy on BAFTA screeners

    Senior industry figures have called for all UK distributors - including those operating independently of the Hollywood studios - to agree a common line on whether or not to send out screening tapes to BAFTA members this year.The call follows Tuesday's controversial announcement by the Motion Picture Assocation of America (MPAA) that all its member studios, their specialty subsidiaries plus DreamWorks and New Line Cinema would abide by a ban on sending Oscar screening tapes this year a
  • UK Production Update - September 29

    UK Update - September 29IN PRODUCTIONUNTITLED MIKE LEIGH 03 (Thin Man Films) Int'l sales: Studio Canal. Exec prods: Alain Sarde, Robert Jones, Gail Egan, Duncan Reid. Line prod: Georgina Lowe. Prod: Simon Channing Williams. Dir/scr: Mike Leigh. DoP: Dick Pope. Ed: Jim Clark. Prod des: Eve Stewart. Costume des: Jacqueline Durran. Hair/make-up des: Christine Blundell. Cast: Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis, Daniel Mays, Alex Kelly, Adrian Scarborough, Heather

    Warner Bros' release of British thriller Young Adam saw a good turnout last weekend when it claimed the eighth spot in the UK/Ireland chart from 133 locations. It was an ambitious gamble for the distributor, which financed David Mackenzie's adaptation of Alexander Trocchi's novel, which appears to have paid off.The film saw particular strength in London's West End and in the Republic Of Ireland. In the West End Young Adam grossed an impressive $122,765 (£74,027) off 18 sc
  • UK's Rabiger gets IDA Preservation & Scholarship Award

    Film-maker andeducator Michael Rabiger will receive the 2003 International DocumentaryAssociation (IDA) Preservation and Scholarship Award at the body's annual awardsin Los Angeles on Dec 12.The honour isawarded to an individual or organisation that, in the words of the IDA'spresident Michael Donaldson, has made "substantial and enduring contributionsto non-fiction film-making"."Michael Rabigerhas had an incomparable influence on an entire generation of documentarystudents, film
  • Warner Bros UK promotes Strafford, Cressey

    Warner Bros. Entertainment UK has named Patrick Strafford to the newly created position of group commercial development director and Alison Cressey to the newly created position of group marketing director.Both will report directly to Josh Berger, executive vice president & managing director, Warner Bros. Entertainment UK.Strafford will work with the managing directors of the UK businesses - theatrical, consumer products, television and home video - to facilitate greater collabo
  • Weinstein pays tribute to Alexander Walker

    A memorial service for Evening Standard film critic Alexander Walker was held last night at St Brides Church, Fleet Street in London. To mark the occasion, Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein sent the following tribute for Walker, who died suddenly in July aged 73:"At the start of Alex's magnificent overview of the British film industry in the 1960s, Hollywood England, he quotes an encounter with Lindsay Anderson, outside a cinema in Cannes. "Well, did you like it
  • Weir to receive Schlesinger BAFTA/LA award

    Peter Weir will receiveBAFTA/LA's John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence atthe 12th Annual Britannia Awards in Los Angeles on Nov 8.'We are delighted tobe honoring director Peter Weir, who has made some of the finest films of ourtime,' BAFTA/LA chairman Gary Dartnall said in a statement.'His films, including Witness,Dead Poets Society and The TrumanShow, have influenced film-makersall around the world for more than 25 years.'
  • Yuzna's Beyond Re-Animator takes Fantastisk prize

    Prolific producer-director Brian Yuzna's Beyond Re-Animator won him top honours, the Melies d'Argent Award, at this weekend's Fantastisk Film Festival in Lund, Sweden. The American filmmaker, who has made most of his recent films in Spain, made his feature debut as producer of the original Re-Animator, a cult classic from 1985. The jury praised his film as 'an entertaining film that re-animates the splatter genre'. The other titles in the main competition were Chri