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2 October 2005

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  • AFI FEST to close with Hallstrom's Casanova

    AFI FEST 2005will close in Los Angeles on Nov 13 with the North American premiere of LasseHallstrom's Casanovastarring Heath Ledger as the legendary lothario.'Casanova is a wild and whimsical cinematic tourde force,' director of programming Nancy Collet said. 'We're solooking forward to welcoming back Lasse Hallstrom, whose The Cider HouseRules made its USpremiere at AFI FEST in 1999.'Sienna Miller,Lena Olin, Oliver Platt and Jeremy Irons also star in the 18
  • American Gun

    Dir: Aric Avelino. US.2005. 95mins.A sombre portrait ofmodern American society, Aric Avelino's debut picture looks like anotherversion of Paul Haggis' Crash, realised in the shadow of Gus Van Sant's Elephant.Shot in episodic form, with each story only vaguely related to the others - ifat all - Avelino and Steven Bagatourian's screenplay concentrates on theintegration of firearms into the American ethos, with all the pain and miserythis inflic
  • Arista launches third Adept programme for UK screenwriters

    Training body AristaDevelopment has launched a new development programme for MA Screenwritinggraduates. The new Adept 3 scheme isfunded by Skillset's Film Skills Fund (partly funded by the UK Film Council),the European Union's MEDIA Programme, and Arista's own Writer Scholarship Fund.The nine-month Adept 3programme will concentrate on industry mentoring and project development. Eachof the seven selected participants will be assigned a mentor that will meet to
  • Australia's FFC announces funding for seven features

    Film Finance CorporationAustralia (FFC) has agreed to invest in seven features, two of which will behandled internationally by Celluloid Dreams and two by Arclight Films.The seven projects include actor/theatre director Richard Roxburgh'sdirectorial debut Romulus, My Father, to star Eric Bana; director CherieNowlan's long-awaited follow-up to Thank God He Met Lizzie, which willstar Brenda Blethyn, and writer/director Tony Ayres' (Walking On Water)second film, Ho
  • Austria, Poland, Sweden, Norway name Oscar films

    Austria, Poland and Swedenhave announced their contenders for the foreign language Oscar category.- Veteranfilmmaker Feliks Falk's The Collector (Komornik), which charts 48 hoursin the life of a ruthless debt collector, has been selected as the Polish entry.Falk's first film for ten years, The Collector was the bigwinner at the 30th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, picking up a string ofprizes including the Golden Lions Grand Prix for Best Film.- Michael Hane
  • Barney's Restraint draws buyers for Celluloid

    Paris-basedsales outfit Celluloid Dreams is stirring up buyers' interest in artist MatthewBarney's film Drawing Restraint 9, an experimental epic set aboard a Japanese whaling ship. Deals havealready been concluded with Spain (Bistel) and Australia (Accent), andCelluloid Dreams is in negotiations with France, Germany, Greece, Russia, Italyand Japan. Cinetic Media holds North American rights to the film. DrawingRestraint premieredat the 21st Century Museum of Contem
  • Beowulf And Grendel

    Dir: Sturla Gunnarsson.Can-UK-Ice. 2005. 103mins.Beowulf And Grendel is a handsomely mounted retelling of the ancientAnglo-Saxon classic from the early Middle Ages, the period in which a nascentChristianity was attempting to establish itself among the warring pagan tribesof northern Europe.It appears that littleexpense was spared, and the cast boasts the likes of Stellan Skarsgard, SarahPolley, and the dashing Gerard Butler as the
  • Black, Bow Wow head up Fast & Furious 3 cast

    Principal photography is setto begin in October in the US and Japan on Universal's The Fast And TheFurious: Tokyo Drift, with LucasBlack heading up an ensemble cast that includes rapper Bow Wow. Justin Lin, who directed the2002 Sundance hit Better Luck Tomorrow and the upcoming Naval Academy drama Annapolis, will direct the action story set against thebackdrop of Tokyo's illegal drift racing scene. Franchise producer Neal HMoritz returns to produce the third
  • BVI aims Goal! at UK in first worldwide opening

    Warner BrosPictures International (WBPI) has ruled the roost with Charlie And TheChocolate Factory overrecent weeks and executives will be looking to consolidate the picture's$206m-plus international running total with more strong holds this weekend.Meanwhile animated family title Tim Burton's The CorpseBride gets its first major internationaldebut this weekend when it launches in Taiwan on Oct 1. Sci-fi adventure TheIsland stands at more than $123.4m.WBPI w
  • Carnahan signs to adapt State for Universal

    Matthew MichaelCarnahan will adapt the BBC's BAFTA award winning political thriller StateOf Play for UniversalPictures, which acquired remake rights to the mini-series last year fromMission Pictures.Andrew Hauptmanwill produce the feature through Mission Pictures along with executive TracyFalco. State Of Playmini-series creator Paul Abbott will serve as executive producer.UniversalPictures president of production Donna Langley is overseeing the project forthe studi
  • Charlie continues to deliver the international goods

    Charlie And The Chocolate Factory produced another strong weekend as it added $11.4m from 3,900 screens in 54 countries to raise itsrunning total to $219.9m.Released through Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI), the family picturestayed top in its fourth consecutive weekend in Japan on $3.1m on 361 screensfor $28.1m.It stayedtop for the second weekend in a row in Italy on $2.7m from 428 prints for a$6.7m cumulative total.Little Polar Bear 2 (Der B
  • Charlie rules international weekend, passes $200m

    Charlie And The Chocolate Factory held on to its international crown and passed $200m as a $13.8m weekend haul from 52 markets raised the running total to $201.1m.The Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI) release was powered by a $2.7m number one Italian debut on 400 screens.The family picture openedtop in Denmark on an impressive $307,000 including previews on 64 screens.Charlie stayed top in Japan in its third weekend on $3.9m for $22m, added $1.6m for
  • Chicago unveils competition lineups for Oct festival

    Cristi Puiu's critically adored Romanian dramaThe Death Of Mr Lazarescu, Patrice Chereau's French chamber piece Gabrielle and Sarah Watt's Australian drama Look Both Ways feature in next month's international competitionline-up at the 41st Chicago International Film Festival.International competitioninclude features a slew of 2005 festival mainstays such as Heo Jin-ho's April Snow (Korea), Anne Fontaine's EntreSes Mains (France),St
  • CMG seals Toronto sales on Reeker, Conan

    Edward Noeltner's CinemaManagement Group (CMG) has reported a string of Toronto sales on David Payne'shorror title Reeker and animatedproduction Conan: Red Nails.Theatrical rights to Reeker, which played out of festival in a de facto marketscreening, went to Baditri in Spain, Dutch Film Works in Benelux, Cine Video yTV in Mexico, Swen Do Brazil in Brazil, Blanco & Travieso in Venezuela,Pasatiempo Pictures in Central America, Italia Film in the Middle East, and LNKi
  • Cohen, Faber to co-head Weinstein Co marketing dept

    One day before The WeinsteinCompany officially launches, the brothers have announced that longtime Miramaxexecutives Matthew Cohen and Gary Faber will jointly head up the new company'smarketing department.Cohen is named executivevice president of marketing and creative affairs and Faber becomes executivevice president of marketing.Both executives will reportdirectly to Bob and Harvey Weinstein and will be based in New York.In their new roles they willoversee the marketing
  • Corbijn takes Control with Joy Division biopic

    Rock photographer and musicvideo director Anton Corbijn is preparing for an early 2006 shoot for his firstfeature film, tentatively titled Control, about the life of the late JoyDivision singer Ian Curtis. Producers Orian Williams andTodd Eckert of US-based Claraflora first announced the project in January andCorbijn tells that they are currently nailing downfinancing and starting the casting process. Corbijn expects to shoot Controlfor up to
  • Czechs study ways to attract film-makers

    The CzechMinistry of Culture has contracted Olsberg-SPI, the London-based strategicadvisory firm, to conduct a study of the local film industry's effects on theCzech economy and to make recommendations as to how local conditions can bemade more attractive to film-makers.Radomir Docekalis managing director of the Czech Audiovisual Producers' Association (APA),which is helping coordinate the study. Until May of this year, he had been CEOof Barrandov Studios. "For many people in the publi
  • Dam Street (Hong yan)

    Dir: Li Yu. Chi-Fr. 1995.93mins.A persuasive, lyricalstudy of smalltown life in rural China in the 1980s and 1990s, Dam Street fullyconfirms the promise of director Li Yu's debut feature, Fish And Elephant.Like that first film, Dam Street deals with women's issues - but not ina narrow or dogmatic way. There is something of Douglas Sirk in the way Li Yumanages to combine women's melodrama with the close study of a time and place,and the way in
  • Disney's Flightplan soars over North American box office

    Touchstone's airbornethriller Flightplan opened top onan estimated $24.6m as a strong autumn revival saw box office climb for thethird consecutive weekend.The thriller stars JodieFoster a woman who becomes convinced that she has lost her daughter on atransatlantic flight. Peter Sarsgaard also stars in Robert Schwentke's picture,which drew mediocre reviews but still captured the public imagination with astrong average of $7,198 on 3,424 screens.Warner Bros' Tim Burton's
  • Dragon Tiger Gate starts production at Hengdian

    Hong Kong director Wilson Yip Wai-shunhas started shooting $10m kung-fu action movie, Dragon Tiger Gate, at China's Hengdian World Studios with acombination of talents from China and Hong Kong
  • Drawing Restraint 9

    Dir/scr: Matthew Barney.US-Jap. 2005. 143mins.Matthew Barney is one ofthe superstars of the American art world. He has held exhibitions everywherefrom the Guggenheim to the Venice Biennale, and has won numerous prizes. His CremasterCycle, made between 1994 and 2002, was shown - and rhapsodised over - inboth cinemas and museums. Drawing Restraint 9 is arguably his mostambitious project yet: a two-and-a-half hour feature set aboard a Japanesewh
  • Dreamer: Inspired By A True Story

    Dir/scr: John Gatins. US.2005. 104mins.Horseracing often has thereputation of being a sport ruled by, and mainly for, the wealthy - thoseunencumbered by the pesky constraints of regular, office-bred employment. Asthe recent critical and crossover screen success of Seabiscuit proved,though, the same general rules of other underdog movies apply to tales ofuplift set in the world of horseracing.The new family drama Dreameris a bit les
  • DreamWorks exits merger talks with NBC Universal

    DreamWorks has pulled out of$1bn merger talks with NBC Universal as two months of exclusive negotiationsended without a deal this week. Both parties were optimisticin July when talks got underway for Universal to acquire the studio founded bySteven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg. However any eventual dealbetween the parties seems unlikely now after it emerged that Universal chiefsbaulked at the $1bn pricetag and expressed concerns about offering Spielbergthe same
  • EastWest picks up sales rights to Totally Personal

    Sales agent EastWest Filmdistribution has picked upinternational rights to the Bosnian documentary Totally Personal, whichhas just been nominated as that country's entry for the Academy Awards in theforeign film category.TheLondon-based sales company has also nabbed international rights to Edinburghtitle The Wedding, a black comedy directed by Poland's WojtekSmarzowski. It also received a special mention by the jury at this summer'sKarlovy Vary festival and The Wedding
  • Endeavor, TW1 joint venture in Transend

    Seeking to expand a global platform for its clients,Hollywood talent agency Endeavor has teamed up with TW1, the television,broadcast and new media arm of IMG, to launch a new partnership calledTransend.Transend willpackage and distribute TV programming and formats in all media. It has alreadyset up its first two projects, Vegas Law, a reality series about a flamboyant defence attorney and Shaquille, a behind-the-scenes show aboutbasketball star Shaquille O'Neal.Fo
  • Experts say 'tipping point' has arrived for digital cinema

    After years of predictionsand speculation, digital cinema is finally becoming a reality, Thomas Hoegh,CEO of Arts Alliance Media, told a Screen International conference inLondon on Tuesday. During his keynote addressat the Embracing Digtial Cinema conference, Hoegh declared that digital cinema"has arrived" and that there is "a growing sense of momentum that has broughtgridlock to an end." Hoegh said that the signalsthat the digital revolution is finally here are the annou
  • Film, publishing industries to link up at Frankfurt Book Fair

    Relationsbetween the publishing and film industries are to be intensified with a yetcloser collaboration between the Berlin International Film Festival and theFrankfurt Book Fair with the staging of joint industry events during thisyear's event between October 19-23.Thecollaboration was initially launched at the begining of this year with a seriesof professional meetings at February's Berlinale and will now see the festivalbeing a guest at the Book Fair's "Forum Film & TV" on October 1
  • FIND sets first film-maker forum in LA on Oct 15

    Film Independent (formerlyIFP/Los Angeles) will host its first annual Filmmaker Forum, Sell Your FilmWithout Getting Screwed!, on Oct 15 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.Topics to becovered include negotiating techniques, sales contracts, and new distributionmodels.Panelistsinclude UTA's Richard Klubeck, director Catherine Hardwicke and her Thirteen producer Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Netflixchief content officer Ted Sarandos, Lions Gate Releasing presiden
  • Flightplan on cruise control after second weekend

    Touchstone's thriller Flightplan stayed topof the charts as it added an estimated $15m haul to raise the domestic runningtotal to $46.2m after two weekends.Opening in second place on $10.1m was Serenity, Universal's sci-fi thriller starring Nathan Fillionand Gina Torres. Joss Whedon's picture drew very strong reviews and averaged$4,634 on 2,188 screens.Overall box office fell after four "up" weekends in a row, as the top 12 titlesgrossed $75.3m, dow
  • Flightplan on cruise control after second weekend

    Touchstone's thriller Flightplan stayed topof the charts as it added an estimated $15m haul to raise the domestic runningtotal to $46.2m after two weekends.Opening in second place on $10.1m was Serenity, Universal's sci-fi thriller starring Nathan Fillionand Gina Torres. Joss Whedon's picture drew very strong reviews and averaged$4,634 on 2,188 screens.Overall box office fell after four "up" weekends in a row, as the top 12 titlesgrossed $75.3m, dow
  • Foreign language Oscar race hots up

    A slew of countries haveannounced their selections for the foreign language category of the AcademyAwards, just days before the final deadline on October 3.- Anders Thomas Jensen Adam's Apples has been selected as theDanish entry. The popular comedy has sofar sold more than 350,000 tickets in Denmark.Anders Thomas Jensen haspreviously been nominated three times for the Oscars in the short filmcategory, winning in 1999 with his
  • France's Xilam brings Lucky Luke to big screen

    LeadingFrench animation house Xilam has confirmed it will begin production on a Euros12m ($14.4m) big screen adaptation of hit TV cartoon series The New Adventures Of Lucky Luke.
  • Garpastum

    Dir: Alexei Guerman Jr.Russ. 2005. 118mins.With its stunnisngphotography, interminable takes, abstract narrative and metaphoric ambitions,Alexei Guerman Jr sophomore effort Garpastum cannot fail to become acritics' favourite and a must-book for any self-respecting film festival. Thatit left Venice - where it competed - without any distinction reflects more onthe juries than the film itself, which plays out like a visionary explorationof Russia's pas
  • Germany's TV-Loonland launches distribution arm

    Family programmingspecialist TV-Loonland has launched its own theatrical and home entertainmentdistribution arm Loonland Pictures to market in-house and third partyproductions in Germany.The first title - Alan Simpson's animationfeature Heidi - will be released in collaboration with 20th Century Foxand NFP Marketing as distribution and marketing partners.The co-production bet
  • Gerolami named md, Europe, of NBC Universal Global Networks

    Olivier Gerolamihas been named managing director, Europe, for NBC Universal Global Networks.Beginning Nov 1in London, Gerolami will oversee NBC Universal Global Networks' television assetsin Europe, where the company's established channels include 13th Street and SCIFI in France, Das Vierte, 13th Street, SCI FI and GIGA in Germany, StudioUniversal in Italy, 13th Street in Spain, and the SCI FI channel in the UK.Gerolami willalso work closely with management teams in each country
  • Happiness takes top honours at Athens festival

    Just days after winning theGolden Shell for Best Picture at the San Sebastian Film Festival, Czech-Germanco-production Something Like Hapiness (Sesti) directed by Bodhan Slamawas named best film at the 11th Athens International Film Festival-Opening Nights.The Golden Athena awardcarrying together a Euros 5,000 purse was received by the leading actress ofthe film, Anna Geisrelova.An 11 member jury made up of18 to 25 year-old cinephiles from EU member countries screened 16
  • Hardwicke joins Gang at Columbia

    Columbia Pictures hasacquired film rights to Edward Abbey's comic bestseller The Monkey WrenchGang which Catherine Hardwicke willdevelop and direct. The film has long been indevelopment with Ed Pressman's Edward R Pressman Film Corp and Pressman will serveas one of the producers on the project alongside Gary Burden and LloydPhillips. Alessandro Camon will serve as executive producer.The legendary WilliamGoldman is writing the screenplay for the project which is about envi
  • Harsh Times

    Dir: David Ayer. US.2005. 119mins.David Ayer's HarshTimes is a corrosive, frequently riveting social portrait on friendship,damaged masculinity and the dread of violence. The debut feature from thetalented screenwriter of Training Day, the movie is flawed and sometimesoverreaches though it is given a propulsive kick from Christian Bale's searingMethod performance.A genre movie infused withan unusual depth of feeling and candour abo
  • HDNet offer free War soundtrack download with ticket

    In a novel marketing twist,HDNet Films is offering cinema-goers who buy tickets to Joseph Castelo's TheWar Within via Moviefone the chance to download the score for free. 'Combining a great filmlike The War Within with a freedownload of an $18 soundtrack is just our first step toward creating additionalvalue for the film going public,' stated Mark Cuban, chairman of HDNet andco-chief of parent company 2929 Entertainment. The score to The WarWi
  • HK bets on Love, China has Promise in Oscar race

    Peter Chan's musical PerhapsLove has been selected as Hong Kong's candidate for thebest foreign-language film category at next year's Oscars, while China has submitted Chen Kaige's fantasy epic ThePromise. Both films are scheduled toopen in December and both are being released on a single screen in theirrespective territories this week to qualify. Both also have US productionpart
  • Hollywood presses charges in Star Wars piracy case

    Hollywood fired off significant anti-piracy broadsides thisweek as eight people faced charges for their roles in the illegal distributionof Star Wars: Episode III days before the picture's global release.In a separate case, RonaldRedding pleaded to illegally distributing a "screener" copy of MillionDollar Baby, the Warner Bros drama that won four Oscars earlier this yearincluding best picture and best actress
  • Holroyd joins UK's Casarotto Ramsay agency

    Rachel Holroyd will joinUK-based Casarotto Ramsay & Associates as an agent, effective November 1. Holroyd will serve on theboard and will work alongside Jenne Casarotto in the agency's film andtelevision department.Holroyd previously served ashead of business affairs at Working Title Films, managing director of TigerAspect Pictures, and most recently as co-owner and director of literary agencyEssential Element Management.Casarotto Ramsay and itssister company Casarotto Ma
  • Hong Kong's See Corp set to produce digital slate

    See Corporation, a Hong Kong-basedcontent company backed by local tycoon Lawrence Yu, plans to invest $3.8m-5.2m(HK$30-40m) in a slate of high definition (HD) films, in an attempt to boost Hong Kong's flagging production industry.The company has lined up severalhigh-profile filmmakers to work on the digital slate including Fruit Chan andGordon Chan who will each produce a project from a new director. Other films in developmentinclude a mini-series of actio
  • Hot Docs to spotlight Japanese docs at 2006 event

    Hot Docs, Canada's majordocumentary film festival, will spotlight contemporary Japanese documentaryfilmmaking as part of its "Made in..." programme at the festival's 2006 edition."Made in ...", which was on hiatus at this year's event, has previously explorednon-fiction production in Taiwan (2003) and South Africa (2004). In a statement, Hot Docsexecutive director Chris McDonald, who will co-programme the sidebar, said thedecision was prompted by flourishing documentary production in t
  • In His Hands (Entre Ses Mains)

    Dir: Anne Fontaine.Fr-Bel. 2005. 90mins.Frenchauteur and former actress Anne Fontaine has been turning out nuanced studies ofthe hidden depravities of respectable middle-class life for a decade. Thehighpoint was 2001's How I Killed My Father, which staged a riveting,deliciously ironic encounter between a son and a father, played respectively,and brilliantly, by Charles Berling and Michel Bouquet.U
  • India selects Paheli as Oscar entry

    Hindi feature Paheli,starring Shah Rukh Khan and directed by Amol Palekar, has been selected as India's entry in the best foreign-language film categoryof the Oscars.A ten-member jury, headed byIndian filmmaker Vinod Pandey, made the selection in Mumbai after week-longdeliberations. It beat fourteen other Indian films including The Rising: The Ballad Of Mangal Pandey, Swades, Veer-Zaara,Black
  • Indian filmmaker challenges onscreen smoking ban

    Hindi film director andproducer Mahesh Bhatt has taken the Indian government to court over newlegislation that bans the depiction of smoking in films and TV serials. The New Delhi High Court hasdirected the Indian government to make a submission by Sept 30 in response toBhatt's petition. Acting through his counsel, Bhattclaimed that the new legislation is without jurisdiction as the Indian governmentdid not have the statutory power to enforce it. The filmmake
  • Indian government postpones onscreen smoking ban

    The Indian government'sproposed ban on smoking scenes in films and television programmes has beendelayed from Oct 2 to Jan 1, 2006.Following strong protestsfrom the film and TV industry, the Indian Information and Broadcasting Ministryinformed the Indian Health Ministry about the practical difficulties involvedin implementing the ban. This is the secondpostponement of the ban, which was first announced by Ind
  • Into The Blue

    Dir: John Stockwell. US.2005. 110mins.Hot bods and cool underwater cinematography partially make up for a tiredplot and annoying tone in Into The Blue, a lightweight action/adventureabout sexy young things diving for shipwrecks off the Bahamas.Given that the two lead bodsbelong to Jessica Alba - especially hot after Fantastic Four and SinCity - and 2 Fast 2 Furious's Paul Walker, Into The Blueshould be capable of
  • Italy, Spain, Mongolia, Singapore unveil Oscar choices

    The Spanish Film Academy has named Montxo Armendariz's Obabaas its entry to the foreign language category of the Academy Awards.Obaba inaugurated the San Sebastian International FilmFestival earlier this month and is released in Spain by Alta Films. Thedrama,an adaptation of a prize-wining book set in the Basque Country,hasreceived solid praise from Spanish critics.Armendariz was nominated previously for the foreign-languageOscar in 1997 for his coming-of-age drama
  • Japan submits Blood And Bones as Oscar entry

    Yoichi Sai's Blood AndBones has been selected by the Japan Motion Pictures Association (Eiren) asJapan's nominee for the best foreign-language film AcademyAward.The drama stars TakeshiKitano as a violent but charismatic Korean man who becomes a family patriarchand community power in postwar Osaka, while spreading misery, resentment and fear. Sai, of Korean backgroun
  • Japanese industry ramps up production

    Asthe Japanese industry continues to ramp up production, releasing 310 films in2004, compared with only 251 a decade earlier, producers are making more filmsinspired by, based on or remade from earlier hits, domestic or foreign. A sign of flagging creativity' Perhaps, but the Japanesemovie industry has long ridden winning formulas to the point of exhaustion andbeyond. The Tora-san
  • Jobson reteams with Tartan for New Town Killers

    Writer-director Richard Jobson is re-teaming with HamishMcAlpine's Tartan Films on his next project, The New Town Killers, dueto shoot in Edinburgh early next year. This will be the third collaborationbetween Jobson and McAlpine following on from 16 Years Of Alcohol and A WomanIn Winter.The £1 million thriller is set against the backdrop of Edinburgh's prosperousNew Town. Two private bankers in their 20s, both ex-pupils at elite publicschool Fettes (Tony Blair's a
  • Lamping to head distribution at Nu Image/Millenium

    David Lamping has joined NuImage/Millennium Films as head of distribution and will be based in thecompany's new international distribution office in London.Lamping previously served aspresident of Signature Pictures where he handled the upcoming Brian De Palmaproject The Black Dahlia, whichSignature produced and co-financed with Nu Image/Millennium Films. He previously headed up hissales and acquisitions consultancy The David Lamping Company, and prior to thatco-founded S
  • Laxton takes over as Life 'n' Lyrics director

    Life 'n' Lyrics, the London-set rap drama from new British outfitFiesta Productions, has secured a new director. Richard Laxton, whose recentcredits include TV series Outlawsand Bodies, is to take over thereins following the departure of the original director, Lexi Alexander, daysbefore shooting was due to begin.Backed by the UK FilmCouncil, which has invested £1,142,500 in Lottery money, and BBC Films as wellas by Scion and the Media Programme of the Europe
  • Losique calls for inquiry into New FilmFest 'mess'

    Responding to the debaclethat was the inaugural Festival International de Film de Montreal, itslong-established rival, the Montreal World Film Festival, is calling for anindependent inquiry into the decision to fund the fledgling event, whichreceived C$2m in government support, most of it from Telefilm Canada and itsQuebec equivalent SODEC.While onlookers might accuseLosique of schadenfreude - he andFIFM programme director Moritz de Hadeln are not on speaking terms - there isno
  • Love embarks on London shoot for Carnaby

    CarnabyFilms has started a five-week shoot in London for its romantic comedy AreYou Ready For Love' DirectorHelen Grace, a former executive with ITN News who also directed several shortfilms, is making her feature debut. Grace co-wrote the script with Roberto Trippini and the film's producer, Trudy Sargent. AreYou Ready For Love' is about two Californian self-help writers who come toLondon to launch their book about how to find love in three days. For apubli
  • Lynch, Solondz, Kerrigan among highlights of Next Reel fest

    Biannual cinema showcase theNext Reel International Film Festival, formerly known as the NYU InternationalStudent Film Festival, winds down on Oct 1 following week-long programme of 111titles.The week-long event openedwith NYU alumnus Lodge Kerrigan's drama Keane. In other highlights, Todd Solondz hosted ascreening of Palindromes andDavid Lynch led a discussion on the relationship between creativity, brainfunction and meditation.For more details
  • Marco Muller heads up Brazil jury at Rio Film Festival

    Venice Film Festivaldirector Marco Muller is heading the Premiere Brazil jury at this year'sFestival do Rio which started last week and ends on Oct 6.Muller is joined on the juryby City Of God co-director KatiaLund, local actor Milton Goncalves, whose credits include Kiss Of TheSpiderwoman and Carandiru, and screenwriter Elena Soarez who scripted MeYou Them and The House Of Sand.The jury will present awardsin seven categories including best fic
  • Media Blasters takes gay samurai comedy to the US

    Media Blasters is to distribute KankuroKudo's hitJapanese gay samurai road comedy Yaji And Kita, The MidnightPilgrims in the US next summer, with plans to roll out to 40 screens in NewYork, Chicago, Los Angeles and other major cities. Starring pop star Tomoya Nagase and Kabukiactor Shichinosuke Nakamura in the title roles, the film depicts the adventuresof a feudal-era gay couple as they journey down the fabled Tokaido Road fromEdo (today's Tokyo) to the Ise Shrine, based on Ikk
  • Mrs Harris

    Dir: Phyllis Nagy. US.2005. 94mins.Written and directed bynoted playwright and first-time film-maker Phyllis Nagy, Mrs Harris, atleast in its first third, is a jangly, stylised onslaught on sensibilities thatwill alienate many and intrigue just as many others.However, once you becomeused to its anti-rhythms and purposeful edginess - and, truth to tell, it doestake a while - this film about a celebrated 1980 US murder case emerges a
  • Mukta Arts film school set to open in January

    Whistling Woods International,the film school established by Mumbai-based production company Mukta Arts, itset to open its doors to the first batch of students in January 2006. The film school, which cost$11m to set up, is the first private initiative of its kind in the Indian filmindustry. Located in Mumbai, it will offer two-year courses in cinematography,directing, editing, sound recording, screenplay writing, acting and the businessof film and television. The two-year course
  • New Montreal FilmFest apologises for poor audience turnout

    Quebec actor Luc Picard'sdirectorial debut L'Audition tookthe top competition prize, the Gold Iris of Montreal, as the inaugural FestivalInternational de Film de Montreal (FIFM) stumbled to a conclusion on Sundaynight. The awards announcementwas accompanied by a 1,000 word apologia from festival bras
  • Palm Springs ShortFest closes with awards announcements

    Benjamin Ross' TorteBluma won the best offestival Award and John Mitchell's Goodnight Bill won the audience award for live actionshort at the 2005 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films, whichended at the weekend.Dawn Khoo wonthe documentary prize for her Singaporean entry Search For Her, Josh Staub won the top animation prizeas well as the Future Filmmaker Award for The Mantis Parable, and Diego Postigo's Spanish title LaC
  • Raneri takes over as interim head of Media Programme

    Domenico Raneri, until now responsible foroverseeing the development action line of the European Union's MEDIA Programme,has taken over from Costas Daskalakis as the interim head of the MEDIA unit inBrussels.Although there hasn'tbeen an official unit head for MEDIA since Delmoly's exit last year, this postis now expected to be filled in the coming months.Meanwhile, the European Parl
  • Rialto picks up rights to Tsotsi, C.R.A.Z.Y.

    Rialto Distribution has picked up C.R.A.Z.Y. and Tsotsi,two of the major prize winners at the Toronto International Film Festival, fordistribution in Australia and New Zealand.Both films are also official entries in the best foreign film categoryof the 2006 Academy Awards: C.R.A.Z.Y. for Canada and Tsotsi forSouth Africa.C.R.A.Z.Y. won the Toronto City award for best Canadian film, akey jury award, and was acquired from Paris-based Films Distri
  • Rio festival expands market activities

    The Rio Film Festival (Sept 22 -Oct 6) is expanding itsmarket activities and has now declared itself the largest industry gathering inLatin America. Some 900 film and TV distributors, producers, exhibitors,trade groups, festival programmers and film commissioners from around the worldhave registered to attend the event. More than 200 projects will screen in the Rio Screenings& Seminars market event alongside the 300 films that will be showcased inthe festival
  • River Queen

    Dir: Vincent Ward. NZ-UK.2005. 114mins.Long before Peter Jacksonbecame the Lord of the Kiwis, Vincent Ward was the leading light of New Zealandcinema. After disappointing Hollywood ventures and aborted projects, Wardfinally returns home for River Queen, a labour of love period drama thatemerges virtually unscathed from a difficult, fractured production history.The story of an Irish womancaught in the crossfire of the conflicts between whi
  • Rosenberg voted in as president of US actors union SAG

    Alan Rosenberg has becomethe 24th president of the largest US actors' union Screen Actors Guild (SAG)following a ballot last week.Rosenberg succeeds MelissaGilbert, who served as president since 2001 and chose not to run for a thirdtwo-year term following her combative tenure.Rosenberg received 39.9%(10,748 total votes) of the nationwide vote of the Guild's general membership,defeating Morgan Fairchild and Robert Conrad.Fairchild received 34.7%(9,332 total votes) and Conr
  • Ryan elected to second term as IFTA chairman

    IAC Filmdirector Michael Ryan has been re-elected as chairman of the Independent Film& Television Alliance (IFTA).Ryan, who is thefirst IFTA chairman from outside the US, ran unopposed and now commences hissecond consecutive two-year term.IFTA's sevenperson executive committee, headed by Ryan, includes newly-elected vicechairman John Kochman of StudioCanal, and vice chairman, secretary, PaulHertzberg from Cinetel Films.Continuing inthe second year of their two-year terms
  • Screenwriting endowment established at LA's LMU

    LA-based Loyola MarymountUniversity School of Film and Television (SFTV) has received a major leadershipgift to establish The Cosgrove Family Distinguished Visiting Artist Endowmentand Endowed Scholarship Fund. The Cosgrove FamilyDistinguished Visiting Artist Endowment will support the work of a renownedscreenwriter attuned to an increasingly diverse and multi-cultural world.SFTV is launching aninternational search for candidates and expects to have someone i
  • Shadowboxer

    DirLee Daniels. US. 2005. 93mins.LeeDaniels made history as the first stand-alone black producer of anOscar-winning film, when Halle Berry lifted the Best Actress prize for Monster'sBall in 2002. It's a shame then that the talented Daniels chose Shadowboxerfor his directorial debut: it's doubtful whether even the most experiencedauteur could have made a decent film out of this contrived hitman yarn.NeitherHelen Mirren nor Cuba Good
  • Shankman to direct Hairspray at New Line

    Adam Shankman will directthe remake of John Waters' classic musical Hairspray for New Line.Based on Waters' 1988 filmand the Broadway musical it spawned, Hairspray is set in 1960s Baltimore where a local girl lands aspot on a television dance show. Neil Meron and Caig Zadanare producing with New Line production chief Toby Emmerich overseeing for thestudio along with Mark Kaufman, Michael Disco, and Daryl Friemark. Previous reports linked JohnTravolta with a
  • Shooting Dogs

    Dir: Michael Caton-Jones.UK-Ger. 2005. 114mins.Yes, it is poor timingfor Shooting Dogs, arriving in the wake of the international tour deforce that was Hotel Rwanda and HBO title Sometime In April. Butthere's room for more than one film to be made about the 1994 genocide - or atleast for as long as Darfur shows us that lessons haven't been learned by theinternational community.Before it went under, sales company Renaissance
  • Solondz heads to Russia for Palindromes bow

    Todd Solondz will attend theRussian premiere of Palindromes at the American Autumn In Moscowfestival of contemporary American culture, which runs from Oct 12-16.Solondz will also be on handfor a special screening of his 1995 feature Welcome To The Dollhouse,playing in the IndieVisual programme that focuses on American independentcinema.Gus Van Zant's Last Dayswill also receive its Russian premiere at the event, which is curated by WandaBe
  • Something Like Happiness (Stetsi)

    Dir/scr: Bodhan Slama.2005. Cz Rep. 100mins.A surprise winner of the top prize at San Sebastian, butno less deserving for that, Bodhan Slama's small-scale Czech drama surged aheadof more heavyweight rivals to take the Golden Shell for best film and bestactress (Ana Geislerova) - and that in a competition which allows a maximum oftwo prizes per film.A well-observed look at asmall Czech city and the working class people who live there, Something LikeHappiness - not t
  • SPE names Blake as Col TriStar worldwide marketing chairman

    Jeff Blake has been named Chairman of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution for theColumbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.His appointment wasannounced by Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Amy Pascal,Chairman of SPE's Motion Picture Group.Blake directsand oversees the global marketing and distributionof all films from SPE'S production entities - ColumbiaPictures, Revolution Studios, TriStar and ScreenGems. Blake becameVice Chairman of Sony
  • The Notorious Bettie Page

    Dir. Mary Harron. US.2005. 91mins.The detachment from hersubject that Mary Harron successfully kept with her screen adaptation of AmericanPsycho (2000) is in evidence again with The Notorious Bettie Page -although the end result is less compelling.With Bret Easton Ellis'novel, Harron and co-writer Guinevere Turner delivered a chilling and darklyfunny slice of cinema. But here her examination of the life of 1950s pin-upgirl Bettie Page, while enjoyable
  • The Regular Lovers (Les Amants Reguliers)

    Dir:Philippe Garrel. Fr. 2005. 183minsFrench director PhilippeGarrel makes unclassifiable movies that play to highly discerning tastes. Hisexquisite new feature, The Regular Lovers, a three-hour black-and-whitemeditation on love, passion and the personal and political ramifications of theevents of May 1968, is a strikingly original and challenging piece of work.Even with its Venice bestdirector pri
  • The White Masai (Die Weisse Massai)

    Dir: Hermine Huntgeburth.Ger. 2005. 132mins.Hermine Huntgeburth's TheWhite Masai (Die Weisse Massai) is much less good than it shouldhave been. True, it's handsomely and expensively mounted, beautifully andrigorously shot in an extremely photogenic Kenya, and has a political andcultural heart that is decidedly in the right place. But at two hours-plus itrarely ' and only mostly near the end - reaches the dramatic and emotionalheights it needs
  • Theron, Phoenix lead Hollywood Awards rollcall

    Charlize Theronand Joaquin Phoenix, who are expected to figure prominently in the upcomingawards season, will receive the actress and actor of the year honours for theirrespective roles in North Country and Walk The Line at the Hollywood Awards gala on Oct 24.MatthewBroderick and Susan Sarandon will collect supporting actor awards for theirperformances in The Producers and Elizabethtown.In NorthCountry Theron, who wonthe best actress Oscar for
  • THINKFilm donates some of Till proceeds to Katrina relief

    THINKFilm and TheUntold Story Of Emmett Louis Till director Keith Beauchamp will donate a portion of box officereceipts to Katrina relief efforts when the civil rights picture expands on Oct14.Baton Rouge native Beauchamp's picture opened on Aug 14 atNew York's Film Forum and expands into Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta,Memphis, and the boroughs of New York City.The UntoldStory Of Emmett Louis Tillinvestigates the killing of a teenage cotton pic
  • Till says 'too early' to predict post-UIP plans

    United International Pictures chairman and CEO Stewart Tilltold today that it's "much tooearly" to predict his career path after UIP's planned restructuring at the endof 2006. He didn't, however, rule out the possibility suggested in aninterview with the UK's The Guardiannewspaper on September 30 that he'd establish a new international film production anddistribution company when his UIP contract is finished.Till noted thathe thinks the internationa
  • Tokyo Project Gathering unveils full line-up

    The Tokyo Project Gathering,a new section of the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), has announcedthe full list of twenty projects to be presented at the TIFF's main venue fromOct 26 to 28.Six of the titles are"presentation projects", meaning that the producer will make thirty-minutepresentations to prospective partners, followed by meetings. These include ElleIs Burning, a big-budget action movie about a battle between illegals andthe Tokyo
  • Top German fund VIP hit by tax evasion probe

    BeleagueredGerman private film financier VIP Media Group has withdrawn its current fundsVIP 5 and 6 from the market after theoffice of Munich's public prosecutor began investigations this week intoalleged professional fraud and tax evasion.The authoritiesraided the Munich office and homesof VI
  • Top speakers set for Screen's Embracing Digital Cinema conference

    A number of top level newspeakers have joined the line up for ScreenInternational's Embracing Digital Cinema conference, which takes place on September28 at the Cafe Royal in London. Former ChiefExecutive Officer of the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) and 30-year veteran of the motion picture exhibitionindustry, Chuck Goldwater has joined the line up of digital experts for thiskey industry event. Goldwater will be sp
  • Trier turns to comedy with Manager

    Lars von Trier has said hisnext film, The Manager Of It All, will be a comedy that he will shoot inFebruary next year.Speakingat a seminar at the European Film College in Ebeltoft, Jutland, Trierrecently elaborated on the genre of the new dogme film."I hope to get the joy ofmaking films back and by choosing a comedy I hope to have fun at the sametime."At Cannes this year,Trier admitted tha
  • Twelve And Holding

    Dir: Michael Cuesta. US.2005. 90mins.A deft, nuanced drama which, while conventionally framed, still feels freshand new, Twelve And Holding is a delight. Its three child stars are allstrong, but this film will be remembered for young actress Zoe Weizenbaum'sperformance as a young girl caught between precocious childhood and the fullonslaught of femininity.L.I.E's Michael Cuesta, directing from Anthony Cipriano'smulti-layered script, s
  • Two Sons strikes a chord at Brazilian box office

    Two Sons Of Francisco, a biopic about Brazilian country music duo Zeze DiCamargo & Luciano, has become the highest-grossing Brazilian film of theyear in its home territory. The film has topped thecharts for six weeks straight, grossing just over $10m (R$22.7m) since itsdebut on August 19, according to local distributor Columbia TriStar. It's alsobeen chosen to represent Brazil in the best foreign-language film categ
  • US network AZN buys in Asian movies from Sony

    AZN Television,Comcast's wholly owned cable channel targeting Asian-Americans, has securedexclusive US broadcast rights to the next 10 Asian features released in the USby Sony Pictures Classics.The overalloutput deal with Sony Pictures Television includes rights to 16 recent Asianfeatures from Sony Pictures Classics and six from Sony Pictures HomeEntertainment, including Kung Fu Hustle, House Of Flying Daggers, and The Emperor And The Assassin. AZN will have rights
  • Violence, Line, Bride among Flanders selections

    12 Beneluxpremieres will take place during the 32nd Annual Flanders Film Festival, whichruns from Oct 11-22 in Ghent, Belgium.US titles set toscreen among more than 200 entries include A History of Violence, Walk TheLine, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, Elizabethtown and The Weather Man.As previouslyannounced, Mike Leigh and Alan Ladd Jr will receive the Joseph Plateau Award,which has previously gone to Robert Altman, Juliette Binoche and SydneyPolla
  • Warner, Universal seal China-Russia video deal

    Warner Home Video (WHV) andUniversal Pictures International (UPI) will release each other's titles in China and Russia respectively in a joint venture aimed at thwartingpiracy in both emerging markets.CAV Warner HomeEntertainment, a joint releasing operation between WHV and China Audio Video,will handle Universal's video titles, and UPI will release WHV titles
  • Wassup Rockers

    Dir/scr: Larry Clark. US.2005. 111mins.In Wassup Rockers,Larry Clark has produced the sweetest, most loving and lovable film he's evermade - and consequently the most boring. If kids (now 10-years-old) wasdeplorable, frightening, and, to some, even degrading, it was always excitingand its hateful, rapacious teenage male lead endlessly fascinating.In his latest film Clark hasdiscovered a band of adorable Latino teenagers from the ba
  • Wild Bunch strikes slew of sales on Viva Zapatero!

    French salesoutfit Wild Bunch has made a swathe of sales on hot Italian documentary VivaZapatero!The documentary, which has screened in Venice and at theSan Sebastian Film Festival, has sold to Spain (Golem), Belgium (Cineart),Holland (A-Film), France (Haut et Court) and Switzerland (Frenetic). Directed bycomedian Sabina Guzzanti, Viva Zapatero focuses on the sticky issue ofcensorship in the Italian media. The film features Nobel literary prizewinnerDario Fo, and a
  • Xingu wraps Guide starring Downey Jr

    Rosario Dawson,Dianne Wiest, Chazz Palminteri and Eric Roberts joined Robert Downey Jr in thecast of A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, which has completed principal photography for TrudieStyler's Xingu Films. Orlando (Dito)Montiel's directorial debut is a product of the Sundance Institute's Directorsand Screenwriters Labs and centres on Montiel's youth growing up in a tough NewYork neighbourhood in the 1980s. Styler haddeveloped the script for over three years and is pr
  • Zellweger to play Beatrix Potter for Phoenix, Kirschner

    Renee Zellweger has signedon to star as Beatrix Potter in the biopic Miss Potter, which Babe director Chris Noonan will direct forDavid Kirschner Productions and Phoenix Pictures.Thefilm, which at one point in its evolution had Cate Blanchett attached to starin the title role, is scheduled to begin shooting on March 6, 2006, on locationin the UK. Grosvenor Park is financing the project, while Summit Entertainmentwill handle internati