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20 April 2000

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  • 28 Days comes in second to Rules at US Box Office

    Paramount's high testosterone military drama Rules Of Engagement (pictured) topped the US box office for the second week in a row over the weekend with a $10.9m take on 3,190 screens, bringing its 10-day total to $30.6m. The film, sold in foreign territories by Seven Arts International, echoes the success of other solid Paramount thrillers from last year, The General's Daughter and Double Jeopardy, although it looks unlikely that it will top $100m as those films did.
  • Amritraj & Hoberman unveil Hyde Park's debut slate

    Ashok Amritraj and David Hoberman's Hyde Park Entertainment has unveiled its debut slate of pictures set up at its two alternate partner studios MGM and The Walt Disney Co, with one film placed with Sony Pictures' mid-budget range division Screen Gems. Among the stars already set for the pictures are Bruce Willis, Wesley Snipes, Cate Blanchett, Tim Robbins and Billy Bob Thornton.Hyde Park was launched last year teaming up Amritraj, a co-founder of Franchise Pictures, and Hober
  • Aussie distribution vet Geoff Jackson retires

    Australian film industry veteran Geoff Jackson, whose career has spanned 52 years, will retire on July 1, 2000.The announcement came from 20th Century Fox International yesterday that Jackson, who is currently regional print manager at Fox Asia/Pacific, would call it a day.He started his career in 1948 as an office junior and dispatch clerk at British Empire Films, the former distribution arm of Greater Union Organization. In 1953 he was promoted to customs manager responsible
  • Bac picks up Coens' Cannes competitor from UPI

    Universal Pictures International (UPI)'s newly-reconfigured UK-based sales operation has sold the Coen brothers' Cannes competitor O Brother Where Art Thou' To Bac for France.The division is also forging ahead with deals on studio pictures such as Hannibal and The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle. UPI, which is working closely with producer Dino De Laurentiis on selling Hannibal, is finalising deals with Germany's Tobis and Japan's Gaga Communications on t
  • BBC leads race for BAFTA television awards

    The BBC dominated the drama categories in the nominations for this year's British Academy Television Awards, garnering 11 out of 20 nods.BBC1's Wives & Daughters was the most heavily nominated BBC drama production, picking up nods for best actress (Francesca Annis), best actor (Michael Gambon) and best drama serial.ITV's Lost For Words was also nominated in three categories, receiving nods for best actress (Thora Hird), best actor (Pete Postlethwaite) and best sing
  • Berlusconi's son replaces Carlotti at Mediaset

    Pier Silvio Berlusconi, son of Italian mogul Silvio Berlusconi, has been named chairman of Mediaset's RTI television production unit, replacing Maurizio Carlotti who is resigning after battling with the company's top executives. Pier, 31, has been at Mediaset since 1992 and is the former vice-chairman of RTI. His appointment had been expected and was announced the day after Italy's right-wing opposition party Forza Italia, headed by Silvio Berlusconi, swept regional elections in Italy.
  • Bread And Tulips (Pane E Tulipani)

    Dir: Silvio Soldini. Italy-Switzerland. 2000. 115 mins.Prod cos: Monogatari, Istituto Luce, RAI. Co-prods: Amka Films, TSI. Int'l sales: Adriana Chiesa (+39 06 807 0400). Prods: Daniele Maggioni, Tiziana Soudani. Scr: Doriana Leondeff, Silvio Soldini. DoP: Luca Bigazzi. Prod des: Paola Bizzarri. Ed: Carlotta Cristiani. Music: Giovanni Venosta. Main cast: Licia Maglietta, Bruno Ganz, Giuseppe Battiston, Antonio Catania, Marina Massironi, Felice Andreasi.An Italian Thelma a
  • Bread And Tulips sweeps Italy's Davids

    Silvio Soldini's Bread And Tulips (Pane E Tulipani) scooped nine prizes at Italy's leading awards ceremony - the David di Donatellos - last night, including best film, best director and best screenplay for Soldini and Doriana Leondeff.The film also bagged awards for best actress (Licia Maglietta), best actor (Bruno Ganz), best supporting actress (Marina Massironi) and best sound (Maurizio Argentieri). Ricky Tognazzi's romantic drama Making Love (Canone Inverso) wal
  • Canal Plus strikes pact with Horwits ahead of sale

    Canal Plus Image unveiled details of its flotation today (April 19) and announced it is doubling its investment in film this year and has struck a production deal with Mitch Horwits, the former president of Spelling Films.Canal Plus Image, which has renamed itself StudioCanal, is launching a share offering that will raise around euro200m and leave the division with a market capitalisation approaching euro1.4bn. The offering price for the new shares, which will represent 14.29% of the f
  • Cannes competition tilts towards Asia

    Opening with Roland Joffe's French period drama Vatel and closing with Canadian Denys Arcand's highly-touted Stardom, this year's Cannes Film Festival line-up promises a cinematic showcase of truly international dimensions including an astonishing seven Palme D'Or contenders from the Far East.Indeed, with the US studios ever more reticent about seeing their films on the Croisette, this year's Cannes competition will primarily boil down to a contest between European and As
  • Cannes Critics' Week mirrors main competition

    Confirming the European and Asian-heavy weighting of the Cannes main competition, the Critics' week boasts two Far Eastern films - one from Korea, one from Taiwan - and two from France.Francophone film-makers are also heavily represented among the short films in the section. Two are from France, one more each from French-speaking Canada and from Belgium. Astonishingly, the renowned feature director Neil Jordan has a film competing for the critics' short prize. Opening film -
  • Carlton Cinema bags Columbia premieres

    UK digital channel Carlton Cinema has secured first-run rights for the UK to 35 titles from Columbia TriStar International Television (CTIT).In addition, Carlton Cinema has acquired rights to broadcast My Best Friend's Wedding and As Good As It Gets immediately after their terrestrial premieres. The deal is the third between Carlton Cinema and CTIT. The channel is distributed by cable and UK digital terrestrial platform ONdigital.Christine Mason, director of
  • China Star adds talent to Hundred Years venture

    China Star Entertainment has fleshed out its ambitious One Hundred Years Of Film production project, through which it plans to invest $150m a year in Asian production in a bid to woo local audiences back to Hong Kong films.The company - which announced at the AFM that it would produce 100 films over three years - remains committed to production expansion despite the collapse of its web-casting joint venture with Hong Kong's Lai Sun Hotels International. A slew of leading Hong Ko
  • Cruz, Abril attached to Diaz Yanes' second feature

    Penelope Cruz and Victoria Abril are reportedly attached to star as a bad angel and a good angel in the highly anticipated second feature from Spanish director Agustin Diaz Yanes, No News From God (Sin Noticias De Dios).The film is a co-production between Edmundo Gil of Flamenco Films, Eduardo Campoy of Cartel and Gerardo Herrero of Tornasol Films. No budget is set on the film which is likely to roll at the end of the year.Diaz Yanes' debut feature, 1995's Nobody Will
  • DNA lines up two with Coogan, O'Toole

    Duncan Kenworthy and Andrew Macdonald's National Lottery franchise DNA Films is moving ahead on two projects - The Parole Officer, marking the feature debut of UK comedian Steve Coogan, and The Final Curtain, in which Peter O'Toole and Aidan Gillen play warring media celebrities.In its final round of lottery funding before the UK government's the Film Council takes over, the Arts Council of England (ACE) has awarded £2m to The Parole Officer. The £5.9m project is c
  • Ed Russell retires from Columbia

    Ed Russell has announced that he will retire as executive vice president of worldwide publicity, promotions and field publicity at Columbia Pictures when his contract expires this year. He joined the studio in 1986 as vice president of publicity and his career in studio publicity spans nearly 30 years."After nearly 30 years of working many six- and seven-day weeks, including hundreds of premieres, junkets and film festivals, I want to spend more time with my family and pursue all thos
  • Endemol reports 36% increase in interim profits

    Dutch production giant Endemol Entertainment has reported an impressive 36.4% rise in profit, before extraordinary gains and losses, to $20.9m (NLG48.3m) in the first half of the 1999-2000 financial year, compared to $15.3m (NLG35.4m) in the corresponding period in 1998-1999.The company 's operating result also increased substantially by 42% to $29m (NLG67.2m) from $20.4m (NLG47.2m) the previous year. Turnover during the period rose 13% to $225.6m (NLG521.8m). Endemol, which is
  • Fortissimo picks up Wen's Foreign Devils

    Fortissimo Film Sales has picked up world rights to highly anticipated Chinese title Foreign Devils At The Door (provisional title), the second picture from actor-turned-director Wen Jiang.The film, which is expected to be included in today's Cannes competition list, is a story about the last days of Japanese occupation of mainland China. Wen's directorial debut In The Heat Of The Sun (Yangguang Canlan De Rizi) was a hit at the 1994 Venice festival. Foreign Devi
  • Gladiator

    Dir: Ridley Scott. US. 2000. 150min.
  • Golden Harvest unveils digital, exhibition push

    Hong Kong's Golden Harvest Entertainment (GHE) is making an aggressive push into the Internet, following Taiwanese hardware giant Acer's investment in the company, and has also unveiled plans to step up exhibition activities in mainland China.In a deal mirroring AOL's merger with Time Warner, Acer Digital Services Group (ADSG) recently bought a 22% stake in GHE. Taiwan-based investment company South-East Asia Investment Holding acquired a further 8% (Screendaily, April 12).
  • Golden Network makes first foray into production

    Hong Kong-based international sales agent Golden Network is making its first move into production with a three-picture slate which it will co-finance with Korea's NeGa Corporation.The slate includes Japanese picture Fatal End (working title), to be directed by Hibeo Nakata, while local star Fruit Chan is set to direct Public Toilet. Fatal is being co-produced with Japan's Taka Ichise and Matthew Jacobs.The third picture, Crying High School (working ti
  • Granada set to buy Border television assets

    The UK's ITV television network faces further consolidation following news that UK radio broadcaster Capital Radio will sell Border Group's television assets to Granada Group if its proposed takeover of the company is successful.Granada has agreed to pay $80.2m (£50.5m) for Border's TV assets. Capital will retain Border's radio stations. Although it has one of the smallest ITV television franchises, Border owns four major radio stations in the UK.Capital said in a statement that
  • Hungary's Meszaros lines up Marie Curie biopic

    Marta Meszaros, one of Hungary's best known female directors, is developing a biopic of Polish-born French scientist Marie Curie, to be produced by Polish production outfit Akson Studio. The project follows Curie's final years when, made ill by her own discovery, radium, she returns to her homeland to say goodbye to family and her first love. Akson's Michal Kwiecinski is producing the film. The script is being written by Meszaros and writer Slawomir Zagorski from his book based
  • Ice T, Slater, Arquette in all-star Graceland cast

    A strong supporting cast has been enlisted to star in Franchise Pictures' 3000 Miles To Graceland which is currently shooting in Vancouver. Arguably the most high profile film of the many put into production so far by Franchise, the action thriller toplines Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell and Courtney Cox Arquette.Joining them are Christian Slater, Kevin Pollak, David Arquette (Courtney Cox's husband), Jon Lovitz, Howie Long, Bokeem Woodbine and Ice T.The movie is the story
  • Jon Anderson to leave Col TriStar after 20 years

    Although Spain has long considered Latin America a key secondary market, Latin American films do not generally do major business in Spain. Two recent Argentine films, both handled locally by Alta Films, have changed that: The Son Of The Bride (El Hijo De La Novia) and Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas), both starring Ricardo Darin. Still on screens after 16 weeks, Queens has grossed more than $1.23m (Ptas230m) in Spain, while Bride has been seen by more than 150,000 Spaniards in
  • Keil calls for revamp of German funding system

    Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg chief Klaus Keil has called for a rethink of the German public film funding system in the light of German media companies' successful IPOs.Writing a guest column for the German daily newspaper Die Welt, Keil asked whether films that that can now be "freely financed at any time", and which promise box office success, should be allowed to claim state funds. "I am of the opinion that they mustn't," Keil said.Keil suggested that a film funding sys
  • Kevin & Perry Go Large

    Dir: Ed Bye. UK. 2000. 83 mins.Prod Co: Tiger Aspect Productions. Int'l sales: Icon Entertainment International. Prods: Peter Bennett-Jones, Jolyon Symonds, Harry Enfield. Exec prods: Bruce Davey, Ralph Kamp, Barnaby Thompson. Scr: Harry Enfield, David Cummings. DoP: Alan Almond. Prod des: Tom Brown. Ed: Mark Wybourn. Mus: Various. Main cast: Harry Enfield, Kathy Burke, Rhys Ifans, Laura Fraser, James Fleet, Louisa Rix. Stretched from a TV show sketch to a feature-length
  • Kinowelt buys digital, Trebitsch stakes

    Germany's aggressively-expanding Kinowelt group has acquired a clutch of old and new media companies to add to its production and technical stables and underlined the strength of this strategy by reporting better than forecast profits.The company is acquiring a 26% stake in Trebitsch Produktion Holding, a group with close links to CLT-Ufa with controlling stakes in a further eight film and TV production houses. The stake sale will cut CLT-Ufa's holding to 54% and reduce founder Kathari
  • LaCapaGira

    Dir: Alessandro Piva. Italy. 2000. 85 mins.Prod co: Kubla Khan. Co-prod: Munbut. Domestic dist (It): Lucky Red. Int'l sales: Adriana Chiesa Enterprises, (+39 06 8070 400). Prods: Umberto Massa, Valerio Bariletti, Alessandro Piva. Dir: Alessando Piva. Scr: Andrea Piva. DoP: Gianenrico Bianchi. Prod des: Maria Teresa Padula. Eds: Thomas Woschitz, Alessandro Piva. Music: Ivan Iusco. Main cast: Dino Abbrescia (Minuicchio), Mino Barbarese (Pinuccio), Mimmo Mancini (Carrarmato), Dante Mar
  • Lakeboat

    Dir: Joe Mantegna. US. 2000. 98 mins.Prod cos: Oregon Trail Films, One Vibe Entertainment. Int'l sales: contact Oregon Trail Films (+ 1 503 250 5858). Prods: Joe Mantegna, Eric R Epperson, Tony Mamet, Morris Ruskin. Exec prod: Alan James. Scr: David Mamet. DoP: Paul Sarossy. Prod des: Thomas Carnegie. Ed: Christopher Cibelli. Mus: Bob Mamet. Main cast: Charles Durning, Peter Falk, Robert Forster, JJ Johnson, Denis Leary, Jack Wallace, George Wendt, Tony Mamet, Saul Rubinek, Andy Gar
  • Lolafilms UK pacts with Endeavor for four films

    Lolafilms UK, the UK production and international sales arm of Spanish production powerhouse Lolafilms, has enlisted LA talent agency Endeavor to represent North American sales on four of its upcoming pictures.The deal, which was reached between Lolafilms president of sales Nicole Mackey and Endeavor's independent financing and international specialist Sergio Aguero, is a first for the Spanish company which recently sold a 70% stake to Telefonica Media, a subsidiary of telecommunicatio
  • Miramax to download 12 films via has secured a deal with Miramax Films for 12 films to be made available for non-exclusive pay-per-view distribution on the internet. will encode and encrypt the selected, as yet undetermined films, although Miramax will operate the sites from which the films can be downloaded. SightSound will also process e-commerce transactions on Miramax's behalf.Sightsound, which was founded in 1995 by Scott Sander and Arthur Hair, clinched a wider ranging deal in Marc
  • Ordinary Heroes triumphs at Hong Kong Film Awards

    Ann Hui's Ordinary Heroes, a drama about a love triangle and political activism, was the surprise winner of the best film prize at the annual Hong Kong Film Awards.The biggest tally of prizes, however, went to Media Asia's action movie Purple Storm, which in a repeat of its performance at the Taipei Golden Horse awards, cleaned up in most of the technical categories. Storm collected awards for best cinematography, action choreography, score, editing, sound design a
  • Oz talent lobbies Howard for film funding boost

    A high-powered group of signatories has sent a letter to Australian Prime Minister John Howard urging him to increase film industry funding when he hands down the 2000-2001 budget in early May. The group includes producers Jan Chapman and Lynda House, directors Gillian Armstrong, Scott Hicks and Chris Noonan and writers Laura Jones and Jan Sardi. The letter was sent by the Australian Federation of Film & Television Associations which encompasses producers, directors, writers, actors an
  • Pokemon grabs pole position at UK box office

    Pokemon: The First Movie jumped into the UK box office chart at number one with an opening three day gross of $3.5m (£2.2m). Playing at 481 sites, this gave the Japanese animation a considerable site average of $7,257 (£4,574) and the film wiped the floor with fellow opening animation The Tigger Movie despite being panned by critics. Buena Vista International's AA Milne adaptation - also released in time for the start of the Easter school holidays following a platform ope
  • Pyramide, Arc Light team up for Chinese collection

    France's Pyramide group plans to co-produce a collection of six films by some of the hottest young directors in the greater China market, with Peggy Chiao's Taiwan-based Arc Light Films.The six films - two each by directors from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong - are all contemporary tales but with themes that range from a story of generational conflict and immigrant tales to one about the flirty tactics employed by Taiwan's street hawkers.The six include: Chinese director W
  • San Francisco Film Fest unveils 190-film lineup

    The San Francisco International Film Festival, which opens next Thursday (April 20) with Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides, has unveiled its lineup of 190 feature and short films that will be showcased over a two week period. The closing night film on May 4 is Michael Almerayda's Hamlet.Among the highlights in the programme is the North American premiere of One Day In The Life Of Andrei Arsenevich directed by Chris Marker (La Jetee), a screening of Philip
  • appoints Wells, Kean, Hernandez, the online industry database service, has made three new staff appointments. John T Wells has been named senior vice president, acquisitions and strategic partnerships, Jan Kean has been named senior vice president, publicity and media relations and Marc Hernandez has been named director of development.Wells comes to ShowBIZData having launched over 18 online stores for companies such as Viacom and NBC. He also founded Entertainment Media Inc, an on-screen advertising
  • Sogecable joins private broadcasters' union

    Grupo Prisa subsidiary Sogecable, which houses pay-TV outlet Canal Plus and digital satellite platform Canal Satelite Digital, has announced that it will join free TV stations Antena 3 and TeleCinco in the Union of Associated Commercial Broadcasters (UTECA).The move comes at a time when the Spanish television market is set to grow with new digital TV licences. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of private television in Spain, in the form of Antena 3, TeleCinco and Cana
  • Spain's Filmax acquires post-production lab

    Barcelona mini-studio Filmax has added another feather to its cap with the 60% buy-out of post-production laboratory Filmtel. The move follows Filmax's entrance last month into the post-production sector with the launch of animation effects house Bren Entertainment. Filmtel was a founding partner in Bren and will maintain its 30% interest.One of Spain's leading post-production facilities, Filmtel had reportedly been experiencing financial difficulties before Filmax's entrance. A
  • Spain's Garci gears up to shoot You're The One

    Spanish director Jose Luis Garci begins production on April 24 on You're The One, his follow-up film to 1998 Oscar nominee The Grandfather (El Abuelo).Lydia Bosch (Al Limite), Juan Diego (Between Your Legs), Fernando Fernan Gomez (All About My Mother) and Ana Fernandez (Solas) are set to star in the film, about a woman's search for peace after suffering an emotional crisis.You're The One, a Spanish-language project despite its Eng
  • Telefilm advised to quit television

    Telefilm Canada, the country's principal source of production subsidy, has been advised to pull out of television and concentrate on film in two separate reports, by the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) and consultancy KPMG.The reports suggest that the federal agency should no longer administer the $200m CTF, citing bureaucratic inefficiency and duplication that arose when Telefilm was given responsibility for directing funds provided by Canadian cable companies through the CTF. T
  • TF1 acquires controlling stake in Telema

    In an unexpected switch of allegiance, leading French production house Telema has broken its alliance with Le Studio Canal Plus in favour of free TV broadcaster TF1, which has acquired a controlling 49% stake in the company.Telema has produced a string of French hit comedies such as La Vie Est Un Long Fleuve Tranquille, Le Bonheur Est Dans Le Pre, Un Air De Famille and most recently Le Gout Des Autres, which has sold 3 million tickets on its sixth week of re
  • Tobis, Gaga to take Hannibal from UPI

    Universal Pictures International (UPI)'s newly-reconfigured overseas sales operation is close to finalising sales on Ridley Scott's Hannibal to Germany's Tobis and Japan's Gaga Communications.UPI, which is working closely with producer Dino De Laurentiis on selling certain territories, is also floating the Silence Of The Lambs sequel in several other markets. Tobis is close to taking theatrical and video rights, while Gaga is expected to take all rights. Hanniba
  • Tully, Bounce win top awards at LA Indie Festival

    What Happened To Tully, a Nebsraska-set family drama directed by Hilary Birmingham, walked away with the Critics Prize and Bounce: Behind The Velvet Rope won the Audience Award at this year's Los Angeles Independent Film Festival (LAIFF) which finished yesterday.Some key domestic buyers were circling some of the films in the festival at close of play, especially the documentaries. Freestyle, for example, a documentary about hip-hop had evoked interest from United
  • UK box office jumps 21% in first quarter

    Fuelled by Toy Story 2, box office revenue for the UK and Eire during the first three months of this year has risen by an impressive 21% compared to the same period last year. The $258m (£163m) taken from January to March also exceeds the blockbusting period in 1998 when Titanic drove box office levels to an all-time high of $253m (£160m).Disney/Pixar's animated picture Toy Story 2 - which broke the record for the highest three-day gross in February with $12m (£7.6
  • VCL issues shares for buying spree

    Germany's VCL Film+Medien is raising an estimated euros54m ($51.4m) through a placing with institutional investors today, which it intends to spend on purchasing "extensive film packages" and restarting its TV licensing business.The company is selling some 1.56 million new shares and increasing its capital by 10%. The new shares are being offered close to yesterday's euros104 closing price, but will be adjusted for a proposed share split. If the price holds, VCL will bring in euros54m
  • Warner Int'l scores $14.6m weekend with Pokemon

    Warner Bros International's Pokemon: The First Movie had a record-breaking opening weekend in 11 international markets last weekend, grossing $14.6m and landing at number one in five markets - Germany, the UK, Spain, Israel and Finland. It also moved up to the number one position in Belgium, rising 59% from its first weekend and dropped 28% in its second weekend in France.Pokemon, a Japanese animated movie based on characters created by Satoshi Tajiri, opened domestically
  • Yes commits to stockmarket flotation by end of May

    UK video-on-demand (VoD) concern Yes Television has committed to float by May 22, a spokesperson confirmed today (April 19).The move comes after Yes put plans to float on hold after New York's high-tech stock exchange, the NASDAQ, plunged 9.7% last Friday. The flotation puts a post-IPO value on the company of $1.27bn (£800m).The spokesperson said that despite yesterday's market recovery Yes had been advised to wait for a period of market stability.Other VoD ventures set t