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20 April 2007

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  • 65th annual Golden Globes set for Jan 13, 2008

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced the timetable for the 65th Golden Globe Awards.The presentation of the awards will take place on Sunday Jan 13, moving back to Sunday after two years in a new Monday slot.The timetable is as follows:Oct 18, 2007 Final screening date for television entriesOct 19, 2007 Final date for press conferences for TV entriesNov 9, 2007 Deadline for submission of Golden Globe entry forms
  • 'A rich year' for Cannes 60th anniversary. promise organisers

    The Cannes Film Festival announced this year's line-up at a press conference in Par with, as expected, Wong Kar-wai's My Blueberry Nights set to open the 60th edition. The film will screen in competition alongside 21 other films from confirmed talents, as well as some new faces and one debut feature (see full line-up).Artistic director Thierry Fremaux told reporters: 'The choice is always hard
  • AFCNet takes on Bowling, Lake as advisors

    Warner Brothers' Bill Bowling and Warner Roadshow Studios' Michael Lake have joined the Asian Film Commissions Network (AFCNet) as advisors. Worldwide Location Executive at Warner Bros Pictures, Bowling has been locations manager for 50 Hollywood films, including Independence Day, Saving Private Ryan and Enemy Of The State. President of Warner Roadshow Studios in Queensland, Australia, Lake previously produced The Matrix, Oceans Eleven and Oce
  • After This Our Exile scores at Hong Kong Film Awards

    After a 17-year directing hiatus, Hong Kong veteran filmmaker Patrick Tam was named best director for After This Our Exile which also won best film at the 26th Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday night. The Malaysia-set drama was the biggest winner with a total of five major prizes, including best screenplay for Tam and Tian Koi Leong and best supporting actor for nine-year-old Gouw Ian Iskandar who also walked away with best new performer. The biggest surprise of the evening w
  • amFar sets Cannes event for May 23 with Stone, Weinstein

    Sharon Stone, Harvey Weinstein, and M·A·C AIDS Fund chairman John Demsey are among chairs of amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS event that will run during the Cannes International Film festival on May 23.Elizabeth Taylor, AIDS research and advocacy organisation amfAR's founding international chairman, and founding chairman Dr Mathilde Krim will serve as the evening's honorary chairs.The benefit will feature a formal dinner and live auction to be conducted by Stone and
  • And the winner is..

    Running alongside this column is the industry's most comprehensive and, one likes to think, accurate chart of the top-grossing films during the past weekend in the international marketplace.It should be pointed out that even such an established chart faces problems that are intrinsic in putting together a compilation of the hit movies playing on screens from Ankara to Zagreb. The most obvious hiccup is monetary conversion rates.Leaving aside territories where information might b
  • Applause Taiwan changes name, unveils release slate

    Following the launch of Hong Kong-based Arm Distribution by producer-director Peter Chan and Andre Morgan of Ruddy Morgan Organization, Applause Entertainment, the Taiwan subsidiary of Chan's Hong Kong-based Applause Pictures, will be renamed Arm Distribution Taiwan. Applause Entertainment was launched in 2004 to handle distribution of Chinese-language films with the aim of strengthening their weak box office performance in Taiwan. Despite its short history, the company became Taiwan 's
  • Archive value: keeping mobile

    Movie distribution on the mobile phone presents different challenges, not all of them an issue of size per se. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's (SPHE) giant electronics parent, Sony Corp, is a pioneer in producing mobile phone memory chips with pre-recorded feature-length motion pictures. Potential releases include Casino Royale as well as older features like The Natural.But, says Sean Carey, SPHE's president of digital distribution, the mobile platform opens up pos
  • Australians In Film to honour Fisher, McLean, De Ravin

    Australians In Film, the LA expat group, will hold its third annual Breakthrough Awards on May 3 in Beverly Hills honouring Isla Fisher, Greg McLean and Emilie De Ravin.Fisher stars opposite Jason Biggs in the upcoming romantic comedy Wedding Daze that MGM plans to release on Aug 17, and she previously stole the show in the hit 2005 comedy Wedding Crashers.McLean directed the Australia-set 2005 horror film
  • Bangkok film fest outlines new Asia-centric strategy

    The Bangkok International Film Festival has revealed further details of its upcoming fifth edition which will be held July 19-29 following a postponement from January. According to a statement issued today, Asian cinema will take centre stage at the festival this year. More than 100 films from about 30 countries will be screened, of which about 50% are dedicated to Asia. 'Asian films are in vogue now,' said programme director Kriengsak 'Victor' Silakong. The Asian cinema section w
  • Bean back at top of international box office with $18m weekend

    Mr Bean's Holiday took back the international box office crown from 300 courtesy of an estimated $18m haul from 4,100 sites in 46 territories that raised the international running total to $127m.Figures dipped in Europe due to exceptional weather, however Universal/UPI's comedy sequel had enough clout to rank top in many territories as it mustered a string of impressive results.Bean stayed t
  • Bender signs two year deal with Overture Films

    Overture Films has signed Lawrence Bender Productions to a two-year, first look deal, continuing the new company's efforts to source product for its fledgling distribution operation.Bender will work closely on productions with Overture CEO Chris McGurk and COO Danny Rosett as well as head of worldwide marketing, distribution and new media Peter Adee.'Lawrence brings an invaluable pedigree, strong relationships with talent, directors, and writers, and a keen eye for making
  • Berger & Yerxa sign two-year first-look deal with WIP

    Warner Independent Pictures (WiP) has signed a two-year first look deal with Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa's Bona Fide Productions.Berger and Yerxa are preparing an adaptation of The Abstinence Teacher for the studio, with Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris set to direct in their follow-up to Little Miss Sunshine.Tom Perrotta, whose previous novels include Elec
  • Bruno Merle film to open Cannes Critics Week

    Bruno Merle's Heros will be the opening film for this year's Critics Week.The French film stars Michael Youn, Patrick Chesnais, Elodie Bouchez and Jackie Berroyer.The film sees Youn, best known for his comedic work, as the warm-up guy for a TV show who loses the plot and kidnaps the show's singer. Heros is produced by Les Films du Requin with France's Coach 14 handling international sales. Rezo is distributing the film in France.Critics Week open
  • Canada - This time it's personal

    In 2005, Risa Morimoto learned her late uncle was a kamikaze, one of the suicide pilots of Imperial Japan during the Second World War. For an outside observer, the more startling aspect of her discovery is that her uncle only died 20 years ago - he survived the war.If there is a theme among the world premieres at the Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Film Festival (April 19-29) it is of film-makers' personal journeys into dark places, of the contrast of one person's hate with another's lov
  • Canada's ACTRA members ratify production agreement

    Members of Canadian performers guild ACTRA voted on Friday overwhelmingly in favour of the new independent production agreement negotiated between ACTRA and the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) and the Association des producteurs de films et de television du Quebec. The CFTPA also represented the interests of US production companies shooting in Canada, including the major studios. The vote follows ACTRA's first-ever strike, a six-week affair tha
  • Canadian film-maker plans June shoot for Welsh's Ecstasy

    Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy will be brought to the big screen by Toronto-based director Rob Heydon, making his feature directorial debut after work in commercials and music videos. The budget will be $8.4m (£4.2m). The cast assembled includes Erica Durance, Billy Boyd and Richard E Grant. Heydon adapted the script with the Scottish author's input. Heydon will also produce with Allan Levine and Joni Cuquet. The production companies are Canada-based Ecstasy Film and UK-base
  • Cannes to open with Wong Kar-wai's My Blueberry Nights

    The 60th Cannes Film Festival will open May 16 with Wong Kar-wai's first English-language project, My Blueberry Nights, which will play in competition. Singer Norah Jones makes her big-screen debut as a lovelorn woman on a soul-searching journey across America.The other films selected for competition areCatherine Breillat's An Old Mistress (Une Vieille Maitresse) Christophe Honore's The Love Songs (Les Chansons d'amour)Julian Schnabel's T
  • Cannes: midnight, special screenings, tributes, classics, cinefondation

    Cannes 2007 line-ups Midnight Screenings, out of competition Go Go Tales by Abel Ferrara U2 3D by Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington Boarding Gate by Olivier Assayas Special Screenings, out of competition 11th Hour by Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners The War by Lynn Novick and Ken Burns He Fengming by Wang Bing Retour
  • Cannes: Un Certain Regard programme

    Films selected for Un Certain Regard:Calle Santa Fe by Carmen CastilloMunyurangabo by Lee Isaac Chung Night Train by Diao Yinan El Bano Del Papa by Enrique Fernandez and Cesar CharloneBikur Hatizmoret by Eran KolirinMister Lonely by Harmony Korine Magnus by Kadri Kousaar Mang Shan by Li YangMio Fratello E Figlio Unico by Daniele Luchetti California
  • Chinese officials deny that quotas encourage piracy

    Chinese trade officials have rejected a complaint by the US to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that import restrictions on foreign movies, music and books are an obstacle to the country's crackdown on rampant piracy. Wang Ziqiang, spokesperson for National Copyright Administration, said yesterday that the accusation that market access restrictions on films and audiovisual products have led to rampant piracy was groundless. He noted that despite China 's annual quota on imported
  • Chinese officials deny that quotas encourage piracy

    Chinese trade officials have rejected a complaint by the US to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that import restrictions on foreign movies, music and books are an obstacle to the country's crackdown on rampant piracy. Wang Ziqiang, spokesperson for National Copyright Administration, said yesterday that the accusation that market access restrictions on films and audiovisual products have led to rampant piracy was groundless. He noted that despite China 's annual quota on imported
  • Chow Yun-fat climbs down from Woo's Red Cliff

    Three days after shooting started, Chinese star Chow Yun-fat has dropped out of John Woo's $70m epic drama Red Cliff. According to producer Terence Chang, the reason for the sudden withdrawal was that completion bond company CineFinance would not approve the terms raised by Chow. It is the second time that the highly-anticipated production has changed leading cast members. In March, Tony Leung Chiu-wai resigned from playing the role of Zhuge Liang due to scheduling conflict
  • Colleen Woodcock to replace Celine Haddad at Pathe UK

    Pathe UK has appointed Colleen Woodcock as head of creative affairs. Woodcock worked in development in production in Los Angeles for a decade, involved in projects including The Usual Suspects and Con Air, and she returned to the UK in 2001 to join Michael Kuhn's Qwerty Films as head of development. At Qwerty, she worked on films including Severance and Stage Beauty. At Pathe, she replaces Celine Haddad who is leaving the company to develop
  • ContentFilm takes on world sales of August starring Josh Hartnett

    ContentFilm International has taken on worldwide rights to Austin Chick's August, which start shooting today in New York City. Josh Hartnett, Naomie Harris, Adam Scott and Rip Torn will star. Charlie Corwin, David Guy Levy and Clara Markowicz of Original Media are producing alongside Hartnett and Elisa Pugliese of 57th and Irving Productions. Howard A. Rodman's original script follows a young dotcom entrepreneur in New York who tries to stay afloat as the market starts to f
  • Cotter teams with Citi for new production, finance, sales outfit

    Initial Entertainment Group partner Colin Cotter and financial conglomerate Citi have formed the full-service film production and finance company Continental Entertainment Group (CEG).Cotter will remain a partner in IEG and will serve as president and chief executive officer of CEG and its subsidiary Continental Pictures, a global sales company backed by a revolving credit line from Citi that plans to acquire 10-12 films in its first year of operaiton.Former Stark Investm
  • Danish WWII thriller Flame & Citron wrapping Prague shoot

    Production on Danish WWII thriller Flame & Citron is scheduled to wrap Saturday in Prague before moving on to Germany and Denmark, producer Lars Bredo Rahbek told Director Ole Christian Madsen (En Kærlighedshistorie) started filming March 19 in Prague, using a retro-fitted warehouse as a studio. Other studio spaces in the Czech capital are occupied by crews working on Disney/Walden's The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Universal'
  • Directors Fortnight to include Morel's Apres Lui

    Although the official selection will not be unveiled for a few days, Cannes Directors Fortnight has announced that Gael Morel's Apres Lui has secured a berth. The film will be a world premiere on May 21 and stars Catherine Deneuve, Thomas Dumerchez, Guy Marchand, Elodie Bouchez, Elli Medeiros and Luis Rego in the story of a woman grieving for her dead son. In her pain, she grows dangerously close to her son's friend who is also responsible for the auto accident that caused his dea
  • Disturbia is domestic number one for Paramount with $23m

    Paramount Pictures scored a double whammy at the top of the charts as DreamWorks' psychological thriller Disturbia opened top on an estimated $23m and the Will Ferrell comedy Blades Of Glory fell one place to number two on $14.1m for $90.2m after three weekends.Disturbia which echoes Rear Window with its tale of a grounded
  • Doc on Israeli-Palestinian conflict wins Beverly Hills festival

    Sufyan Omeish and Abdallah Omeish's Occupation 101 won the Golden Palm Award for best film in all categories at the 7th Annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival (BHFF), which wrapped at the weekend.The documentary charts the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the US Administration's role and also won the best editing prize.Molly Parker claimed the best actress prize for her role in
  • Dutch-German filmmaker Laurens Straub dies aged 62

    Acclaimed Dutch-German writer and producer Laurens Straub died April 19 of cancer in Berlin. He was 62.Straub was born in the Netherlands in 1944 and moved to Germany in 1963, where he enrolled in the actor's school in Munich. After a couple of film roles, he focussed on writing and producing.During the 1970s he regularly worked together with legends of German cinema, such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Volker Vogeler and Werner Herzog.In 1970, Straub co-founded
  • Editorial - Screen says The future calls

    There's an otherwise rather ordinary individual working at Screen's London offices whose telephone ringtone is a snippet from Captain Beefheart's relatively obscure 1967 debut album Safe As Milk. That's the long tail in action. It's a fair guess the person concerned is one of a statistically small group who serendipitously came across a remastered digital version of the album on iTunes.It may not be the case with his specific ringtone, but a great deal of music has now be
  • Films Distribution takes on Lamorisse's Crin Blanc and Ballon Rouge

    France 's Films Distribution has acquired world rights to Albert Lamorisse's Crin Blanc and its heralded companion piece Ballon Rouge. The first film won the short film grand prize in 1952 at Cannes and was followed by Ballon Rouge which won the short film Palme d'Or in 1956 and the screenwriting Oscar the following year. The world-renowned Ballon Rouge is a 35-minute work with no dialogue which takes place in Paris and follows the adventures of a young boy wh
  • First LA Greek Film Festival set for June

    The first ever Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, a new initiative to promote Greek cinema and celebrate Greek film-makers, will take place in Beverly Hills from June 14-17.The event, which plans to screen over 20 films from Greek film-makers, will also present the first Orpheus Awards named after the musician and poet of Greek myth. The awards will be given to films for best dramatic feature, best documentary, best short film, best direction, best cinematography and audience choice.
  • Fischer Christensen follows A Soap With Everyone's Dancing

    Producer Meta Louise Foldager has raised $3.26m (Euros 2.4m) in financing for Pernille Fischer Christensen's Everybody's Dancing (Drenge og piger danser). The film is Fischer Christensen's follow-up to debut A Soap (En Soap), which won the 2006 Berlinale's Silver Bear and Best Debut awards as well as best film at Denmark's Bodil Awards. The budget for the new feature marks quite a step up from the shoestring budget for A Soap, which was backed by the New Danis
  • Focus starts UK shoot for Miss Pettigrew starring McDormand

    Production starts this week on location in the UK for the Focus Features comedy Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, starring Frances McDormand. The seven-week shoot will be held in and around London for five weeks with two weeks at Ealing Studios. Bharat Nalluri, whose most recent credit is the miniseries Tsunami: The Aftermath, is directing. David Magee and Simon Beaufoy adapted the script from the novel by Winifred Watson. The 1939-set story follows a middle
  • Former Polybona exec launches Life Pictures

    Former Polybona Film Distribution executive Guan Yadi and commercials director Li Weiran have launched a new production company, Life Pictures, which aims to produce three features over the next year. The three projects in development include In Your Face - 3.05 meters, a coming-of-age story about basketball and Beijing's young adults; a period drama inspired by a Kurosawa epic, and an adventure tale with sci-fi elements. Li Weiran, who is best known for directing a series
  • Fortissimo's Eye In The Sky turns to Constantin

    German distributor Constantin Film has acquired all rights to Hong Kong action thriller Eye In The Sky from Fortissimo Films. Fortissimo, which picked the film up on the eve of Hong Kong Filmart at the end of March, also recently sold it to French distributor ARP Selection. The Sundream Motion Pictures production is the directorial debut of award-winning scriptwriter Yau Nai Hoi. The story follows a crack squad from the Hong Kong police force's most secretive and elite bran
  • Fox signs letter of intent to invest in Showbox films

    Leading Korean investor and distributor Showbox Mediaplex announced on the KOSDAQ today (April 17) that major US studio 20th Century Fox has signed a letter of intent (LOI) regarding co-financing and international distribution of Korean films. According to the LOI, Fox would invest in Showbox films, which would then be distributed through Fox's network outside of Korea, including the US. Fox would not be responsible for distribution of Showbox films it did not invest in. 'This is
  • Fox signs on for downloads through AAM's Vizumi platform

    UK-based digital distribution services company Arts Alliance Media (AAM) has struck a deal with 20th Century Fox for Fox content to be offered for download on AAM's Vizumi Network. The deal covers new and catalogue titles for download-to-rent and download-to-own through and AAM's distribution partners including LoveFilm, AOL UK and Empire. Films include Little Miss Sunshine, The Devil Wears Prada, Borat, Die Hard, Speed and X-Men. Jamie McCabe, executive v
  • French Film and literature forum gives adaptation award to Duypeyron

    The sixth-annual Monaco Film & Literary Forum gave its prize for the book best suited to a cinematic adaptation going to Francois Dupeyron for Le Grand Soir. The prize for the best completed adaptation was given to Claude Berri's recent release Ensemble C'est Tout, from the book of the same name by Anna Galvada. Top honours for the ensemble of his work in adapting books to film as screenwriter went to Guillaume Laurant who has been involved in such proje
  • Gaumont backs Natali's genetic horror Splice

    Vincenzo Natali has begun casting on horror movie Splice, a Canada-France co-production set in the mutable world of genetic engineering. A production of Toronto-based Copperheart Entertainment and France's Gaumont, the film is wrtten by Natali, produced by Copperheart's Steven Hoban and executive produced by Gaumont's Franck Chorot. Guillermo del Toro, Don Murphy and Susan Montford's Angry Bulls shingle is on board as an executive producing en
  • Genius Products takes on digital rights for TWC

    LA-based US DVD distributor Genius Products has expanded its relationship with The Weinstein Company (TWC), whereby Genius will now handle digital rights distribution for TWC's film library and direct-to-video content.Under the terms of the new multi-year digital rights agreement, Genius will distribute TWC feature films and direct-to-video content, maintaining both physical and digital distribution rights for the term of the agreement. The transaction grows Genius Products library t
  • German archives: know your rights

    The positive experiences of such institutions as France's INA in providing access to their archives via the internet has prompted German film archives in turn to consider the creation of their own virtual mediatheques.The German Film Institute and the Defa Foundation, for example, have teamed up with international public organisations, including the British Film Institute and Italy's Cineteca Di Bologna, to provide access to some of their archived films online.Initiated by the M
  • Gold in the vaults

    With the growth of digital delivery, film archives are a potential goldmine for US studios and other rights-holders. Denis Seguin looks at the promise of digital, while Screen correspondents (see links, right) explore the distribution opportunities for major public rights-holders...In 1955, RKO Pictures licensed the television rights to its 740-film library for $15.2m. For the first time, television viewers saw the likes of Citizen Kane and King Ko
  • GreeneStreet ties up MIP deals with LAPTV, Star TV

    GreeneStreet Films International (GSFI) has tied up a slew of deals at MIPTV with Latin American Pay Television (LAPTV) for Pan Latin America, Star TV for Pan Asia and Entertainment In Motion for airline rights.LAPTV picked up rights to the crime thriller Slow Burn starring Ray Liotta and L L Cool J, comedy Bill with Aaron Eckhart and Jessica Alba, comedy Gary The Tenni
  • Hong Kong government unveils Film Development Council

    The Hong Kong government has announced the establishment of the long-awaited Hong Kong Film Development Council (HKFDC) to be chaired by Jack So who is currently chairman of the existing Film Development Committee. The new body will advise the government on policy for the promotion and development of the Hong Kong film industry; the use of public funds to support the industry, and related areas such as training and promotion of film literacy. It wi
  • Iceland admissions up 27% in first-quarter of 2007

    Three international releases - Borat, Night at the Museum and 300, assisted by Icelandic director Bjorn Br Bjornsson's thriller, Cold Trail - contributed to a 27% increase of admissions in Iceland during the first quarter of 2007, according to figures from SMAIS Iceland, the local MPA partner. Ticket sales rose from 515,000 to 656,000. Last year Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur's Jar City - produced by his own Blueeyes shingle - made the whole diffe
  • IFC First Take, Red Envelope buy domestic on This Is England

    IFC First Take has partnered with Red Envelope Entertainment to take North American rights to Shane Meadows' This Is England from The Works International.The acquisition was negotiated by IFC's Arianna Bocco and Liesl Copland at Red Envelope with Joy Wong, Head of The Works International.The film, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and recently won the best film award at the British In
  • IMAX version of Order Of The Phoenix will have 3D finale

    The IMAX version of Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix will feature a 3D finale, according to the giant-screen company. The two most recent installments of the franchise - Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban and Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire - were released in the digitally-remastered IMAX format; O
  • In Between Days wins top prize at BAFICI in Argentina

    Korean So Yong-kim's first feature In Between Days won the prices for best film and best actress in the international competition at the ninth Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema (BAFICI).Argentinian film-makers Federico Leon and Marcos Martinez took the Special Jury Award for Estrellas (Stars), while Portugal's Hugo Vieira da Silva received the best director award for
  • In The Land Of Women

    Dir/scr: Jonathan Kasdan. US. 2007. 99mins. A first feature about a romantically failed young writer whose ideas and attitudes about women are dramatically shaken by a beautiful older woman and her daughter, Jonathan Kasdan's In the Land Of Women shows promise and ambition, abetted by strong acting and colourful writing. At the say time it suffers from the limitations and problems of many autobiographically shaped first works, its naturalness and grace undercut by an
  • India's iDreamlines upCannes market premieres

    The international sales arm of India's iDream Production- iDream Independent Pictures (IIP)-is lining upfourmarket premieres for Cannes 2007: Americanising Shelley, Bombil And Beatrice, Telling Lies and Karma Confessions And Holi. In addition the company's sales slate also includes My Own Sky (Apna Aasman), Cape Karma and On Life & Enlightment-Principles of Buddhism. The company, previously owned byShripal Morakhia, is attending Cannes f
  • Industry moves

    Ray joins Kimmel armBingham Ray has joined Los Angeles-based financing and production company Sidney Kimmel Entertainment as president of the newly formed Kimmel Distribution. Industry veteran Ray has headed United Artists and October Films.Rice departs Disney for United ArtistsDennis Rice has left The Walt Disney Studios to join United Artists as president of worldwide marketing and publicity. Rice, who oversaw campaigns for The Incredibles, Pirates Of The Cari
  • Industry Trust tries new approach with anti-piracy campaign

    The UK-based Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness has announced plans to start a new campaign to change its approach for fighting film and TV piracy. The current 'piracyisacrime' campaign is thought to be too lecturing, and is being replaced with a more behavioural change approach to encourage the public to respect creativity and attach a social stigma to counterfeit content. The new 13-month integrated marketing campaign is spearheaded by the group's new director ge
  • Intermedia plans new international sales company with Ford at helm

    Intermedia Films unveiled a new international sales and distribution venture yesterday with former First Look International (FLI) president Stuart Ford installed as president and managing director. Ford arrives at the unnamed Los Angeles- and London-based company with the bulk of the core team he assembled over the past year at FLI. The British-born executive, who has departed First Look Studios in the wake of its recent acquisition by Nu Image/Millennium, will manage the new enti
  • Johnny Slade leads winners at 10th Sonoma Valley Festival

    Larry Blamire's crime caper Johnny Slade's Greatest Hits took top honours for best feature at the 10th Annual Sonoma Valley Film Festival, which came to a close at the weekend after five days of film, wine, panels and galas.Cristina Khuly's Shoot Down, which chronicles a little known political firestorm surrounding Cuban fraft refugees, and Anne Makepeace's Rain In A Dr
  • Karlovy Vary includes Sverak's Empties in early competition titles

    The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has announced the first competition films for its 42nd edition this summer, including titles from three recent Crystal Globe winners. From the Czech Republic comes Empties, the latest film from Jan Sverak. The director won the Crystal Globe in 1995 for The Ride and brought home an Oscar for Kolya in 1997.Sverak has said Empties is the last movie he will make with his screenwriter father Zdenek Sverak, who als
  • Korean drama In Between Days wins top prize at Buenos Aires

    Korean So Yong-kim's first feature shot in Canada, In Between Days, won the best film and best actress prizes in the international competition at the ninth Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema (BAFICI).Argentinian film-makers Federico Leon and Marcos Martinez took the Special Jury Award for Estrellas (Stars), while Portugal's Hugo Vieira da Silva received the best director award for
  • Korea's Showboxshuffles international teams

    Leading Korean investor and distributor Showbox Mediaplex has re-organised its international teams by creating a new 'International Business and Development Division' to focus on co-productions and co-financing. The company's international sales will now be handled separately under existing international sales chief Judy Ahn. Steve Lee, formerly of the Beijing office for Megabox Mediaplex, will head up the new division. Megabox, the exhibitor affiliate of Showbox, is set to open i
  • Koreasigns first film industry labour agreement

    The Korean Motion Picture Producers' Association and the Federation of Korean Movie Workers' Union have announced they will sign Korea's first film industry labour agreement tomorrow (April 18) in a ceremony at the Korean Film Council's headquarters. According to the deal, workers will be paid on a bi-weekly basis instead of per project - a practice which in the past was problematic for many workers, especially when films ran over schedule, closed down, or ran out of budget. The n
  • Lee Byung-hun joins cast of Fuji TV's Hero

    Korean star Lee Byung Hun (A Bittersweet Life) will make his Japanese film debut in a feature adaptation of hit Fuji TV drama Hero, co-starring Takuya Kimura (Love And Honour). Hero follows an unconventional public prosecutor (Kimura) as he works to uncover the sinister conspiracy behind what starts as a routine manslaughter case. With part of the story set in Pusan, Lee has been cast as an elite detective with the South Korean Public Prosecutor's Offic
  • Madrid plans to launch new film festival in March 2008

    The Spanish capital is planning a 2008 launch for its first international film festival, Filma Madrid, backed by a private foundation of Spanish actors, directors and other industry professionals. The $1.76m (Euros 1.3m) event, which will run from March 28 to April 5, 2008, will limit its programme to 20 films from around the world - premieres only - in an effort differentiate itself from the many other festivals around Spain, from Malaga and Valladolid to San Sebastian. Organiser
  • Mandate seals Helm, Garavente for first-look deal

    Mandate Pictures has signed a first-look deal with Zach Helm and producing partner Jim Garavente following the parties' collaboration on Stranger Than Fiction and the upcoming Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium.Mandate will fully finance the new venture - called gang of two - and will look to produce films written by Helm as well as shepherd projects by other writers and directors.The first proje
  • Marco Tullio Giordana starts shooting Crazy Blood

    Principal shooting has started for Marco Tullio Giordana's current project entitled Crazy Blood (Sangue Pazzo), a co-production between Angelo Barbagallo's Bibi Films and the French company Paradis Films with the collaboration of Rai Cinema and Rai Fiction. With Crazy Blood, Tullio Giordana revisits the political/social genre for which he is best known. His past films One Hundred Steps (Cento Passi) and The Best of Youth (La Meglio Gioventu)
  • Market focus - Two heads good'

    Plans for the international distribution of Grindhouse are being re-evaluated in English-speaking territories following the film's performance in its first few weeks in the US.Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's double-bill, composed of a feature from each director - Tarantino's Death Proof segment and Rodriguez's horror flick Planet Terror - opened April 6 in the US and took $11.5m from 2,624 screens. This was down 54% on the domestic opening of Tarantino's l
  • MGM unveils straight-to-DVD slate

    MGM will further leverage its extensive library by developing a slate of home entertainment product that will focus primarily on youth markets.The new division, MGM Home Entertainment Productions, plans to release 12 or more projects a year and has earmarked a new instalment in the 2002 police thriller Dark Blue to be written by John Herzfeld, and a remake of the 1977 supernatural thriller Audrey Rose t
  • MK2 gets deep with Jacques Cousteau catalogue

    France's MK2 has acquired the rights to the Jacques Cousteau catalogue for a period of ten years, the company has announced. Comprised of 111 documentaries and three narrative features, including Oscar and Cannes Palme d'Or winner, The Silent World, the library of titles was acquired from Europe Images International. MK2 is planning to highlight the films within the context of today's environmentally-aware times. Already, 2008 will see a retrospective of Cousteau's features
  • Mr Bean feasts as 300 holds firm

    Universal's hit comedy Mr Bean's Holiday kept the international top spot this weekend, grossing $17m from 45 territories and bringing its total to $125.9m after four weeks. 300 continues to battle in second place and generated $13.5m from 55 territories in its sixth week. A handful of new thrillers dot the chart: Perfect Stranger opened in 39 territories this weekend and took $8.6m while Korea's Paradise Murdered took $3.7m in its home territory over the three-day
  • Music supervisor Liz Gallacher joins Cutting Edge

    Music supervisor Liz Gallacher is joining Cutting Edge as director of music supervision. Liz Gallacher has more than 45 feature credits including The Full Monty, Notting Hill, Bend It Like Beckham, and One Day In September. Her current projects are Matthew Vaughn's Stardust and Harmone Korine's Mister Lonely. Cutting Edge is a music supervision and music publishing company with offices in London and Los Angeles. Cutting Edge managing director Phi
  • My Brother Is An Only Child (Mio Fratello E' Figlio Unico)

    Dir: Daniele Luchetti. It-Fr. 2007. 108mins. The signature of screenwriting duo Rulli and Petraglia has become a sort of appelation controllee quality mark for recent Italian cinema products. They've even invented a sub-genre of films, which we might define 'retro-modern': period studies that repackage the tribes and the traumas of Italy's 1960s and 1970s for contemporary audiences. They did it in rambling, epic style with Best of Youth, and in bittersweet noir mode in the c
  • New Asia Pacific Screen Awards land backing from CNN, UNESCO

    The Queensland Government today launched the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, which will get global coverage from CNN, giving filmmakers from 70 countries an opportunity to showcase their work. The first awards presentation ceremony will be held Nov 13, the first night of the annual conference of Screen Producers Association of Australia. The awards will eventually travel from city to city in a huge footprint including Iran, Afghanistan, Tokyo and Fiji. Queensland Events Corporation ha
  • New Summit studio launches with over $1bn in funding

    Rob Friedman, the former vice chairman and COO of Paramount Pictures, and Patrick Wachsberger, the head of Summit Entertainment LP, have unveiled their long-in-the-works production and distribution company which has immediate access to $1bn in funds from a financing deal led by Merrill Lynch and a consortium of investors.The company, which will be called Summit Entertainment LLC, has acquired Wachsberger's Summit Entertainment LP and will now handle its own domestic distribution as w
  • O'Brien, McDowell, Singh get honoured at Palm Beach

    Margaret O'Brien, Malcolm McDowell, South African producer Anant Singh and actress Q'Orianka Kilcher will receive honorary awards at the 12th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF), which runs from Apr 19-26.Former child star O'Brien will collect the Legend In Film Award and will appear at a screening of Meet Me In St Louis, for which she won the Academy's Juvenile Award as the outstanding child actress of 1944.McDow
  • Optimum strikes UK deal for Waititi's Eagle Vs Shark

    Distributor Optimum Releasing has acquired the UK rights to Taika Waititi's debut feature Eagle Vs Shark. Separately, Capelight Films has taken the German rights. The New Zealand feature, a comedy about two misfits starring Loren Horsley and Jemaine Clement, premiered at Sundance before playing in Rotterdam and Berlin. Ainsley Gardiner and Cliff Curtis of Whenua Films produced the film, which was backed by the NZ Film Commission and Unison Films. The UK deal
  • Owen takes the lead in Tykwer-directed thriller for Sony

    Clive Owen has signed on to star in Columbia Pictures' action thriller The International which will be directed by Tom Tykwer.Eric Singer wrote the screenplay for the film which is being produced by Mosaic Media Group's Charles Roven and Richard Suckle alongside Lloyd Phillips.Owen will star as an obsessive Intepol agent who spearheads an investigation into one of the world's most high profile banking institutions in an attempt to
  • Paul Chesney leaves Deluxe Media for Arts Alliance Media

    London-based Arts Alliance Media (AAM) has appointed Paul Chesney as director of business development, as of April 23. Chesney had been worldwide SVP, sales and marketing, for Deluxe Media Services. He had been there for six years, negotiating deals throughout Europe with Warner Bros, Paramount and Universal. At AAM, he will work on strengthening distributor relationships and the company's ability to service and support digital cinema operations. Arts Alliance Media CEO, Ho
  • Pinewood makes new plans for studio facility in Toronto

    Two years after a failed bid to build a film studio in Toronto, UK-based Pinewood Studios Group and Toronto development company Castlepoint Group are teaming on another production studio project in the city.According to a report in the Toronto Star newspaper, the proposal calls for five studios with a combined area of 100,000 square feet to be built in lands not far from the city's downtown core with a target opening date toward the end of 2008. Neither Pinewood nor Castlepoint would
  • Pirates 3 gets greenlight for Chinese release

    Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End has been approved by Chinese censors and can be released mid-June at the earliest, according to state-owned distributor Huaxia Film Distribution and cinema owners from Beijing and Shanghai. The exact release date of the third film in the Pirates franchise is yet to be confirmed but it will be after Spider-Man 3 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which will be released on May 1 and May 22 respectively, according to a sour
  • Polley, Bellocchio, Sissako recruited for main Cannes jury

    Cannes 2007 Main jury Stephen Frears (president) Maggie Cheung Toni Collette Maria De Medeiros Sarah Polley Marco Bellocchio Orhan Pamuk Michel Piccoli Abderrahmane Sissako Cannes 2007 Cinefondation and Shorts jury Jia Zhang-ke (president) Niki Karimi Deborah Nadoolman Landis J.M.G. Le Clezio Dominik Moll Un Certain Regard juryPascale Ferra
  • Promotional feature: Quinta essential

    Promotional feature: Back in 2002, Tarak Ben Ammar, the Paris-based media mogul and founder of Quinta Communications, watched in surprise as an increasing number of French post-production houses struggled financially. How could this be in a country rich in production and subsidies, he thought.Ben Ammar, whose assets span an Italian pay-TV company, a Tunisian film studio and a stake in The Weinstein Company (TWC), took a closer look and saw an opportunity. He began asking questions.
  • Reprise scores another win at Istanbul Film Festival

    Young Norwegian director Joachim Trier adds to the prizes for his debut picture Reprise, which won the Golden Tulip for best feature film in the international competition at the 26th Istanbul Film Festival. The jury also added a special prize for Tom Di Cillo's colourful foray into the fringes of New York's bohemian life, Delirious. UK director Michael Radford headed the jury, which also included Iceland's Dagur Kari, LA-based German actor Udo Kier, the head of the Israeli
  • Restructured Central takes on MGM, Weinstein releases

    Films from MGM and The Weinstein Company will be released in Germany by the new Senator Entertainment distribution subsidiary Central Film Verleih GmbH. The new distribution outfit will be managed by Peter Sundarp and Peter Heinzemann and originates from the Berlin-based 'booking & billing' service agency Central Film Vertriebs GmbH, which had previously been 51% owned by Senator Entertainment. Managed by Sundarp, Central Film Vertriebs had handled the physical distrbution of all
  • Sarajevo CineLink includes new projects from Kocsis and Zalica

    The 13th Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 17-25) has announced new plans for this year's regional co-production market CineLink, created in co-operation with Rotterdam's CineMart. For 2007, 15 out of 60 submitted new projects will participate and will be divided in two groups, CineLink and CineLink+. CineLink includes 10 projects that will participate in a project development workshop, and then be presented at the Co-production market during the Sarajevo Film Festival. The first session start
  • Set Report - The War Makers

    It is a cold, bright morning in a tiny village two hours outside Beijing, and Hong Kong star Andy Lau, dressed in floor-sweeping Qing Dynasty robes, is ordering around a group of extras.A veteran of more than 130 films, Lau knows a thing or two about placing extras on their marks. And director Peter Ho-sun Chan, who is standing to one side of the scene in silent contemplation, is only too happy to let him get on with it.Although there are a few hundred cast and crew milling arou
  • Shanghai film festival unveils anti-piracy project

    The Shanghai International Film Festival has launched an anti-piracy short film project for its upcoming tenth edition (June 16-24). The first in a series of ten anti-piracy-themed short films will be directed by Feng Xiaogang and will premiere at SIFF's opening ceremony on June 16. At a press conference held yesterday, the SIFF committee unveiled 10 scripts chosen from thousands of submissions and a best script out of the ten. The best script, entitled 10 Months In Pregnancy
  • Sharkwater wins Gen Art Film Festival in New York

    Rob Stewart's Sharkwater won the 12th Annual Gen Art Film Festival's Acura Grand Jury Feature Film Award and a $10,000 prize, while Phillip Van's High Maintenance took home $5,000 and the Acura Grand Jury Short Film Award.Both film-makers also claimed the audience Gen Art Film Festival Audience Awards as the event came to a close in New York.The Stargazer Award honouring break-out talent for
  • Silverdocs conference to explore 'filmanthropy' docs

    AOL vice chairman Ted Leonisis will give the keynote address at the Silverdocs International Documentary Conference that runs in Maryland from Jun 13-16.The conference will explore the 'filmanthropy' wave of documentaries that attempt to effect social change and raise awareness of important issues. Examples include Participant Productions' eco-warning An Inconvenient Truth, and Nanking, which Leonisis p
  • Singapore censors allow jury-only screening of Solos

    In an unexpected gesture of goodwill, Singapore 's Board of Film Censors has allowed an uncut, jury-only screening of Solos at the 20th Singapore International Film Festival. Festival organisers had pulled the film from the line-up after the censors demanded three cuts of 'explicit sexual acts', in line with the festival's policy of not screening films that have been cut. 'We are grateful of this gesture as it keeps open the dialogue for a free space for cinema in Singapore
  • Sony Classics to finance, distribute Mamet's Redbelt

    Sony Pictures Classics will fully finance and handle worldwide distribution on longtime collaborator David Mamet's American Samurai tale Redbelt.Chiwetel Ejiofor will star in the story of a martial arts master who enters prize fights for the first time in his life to pay off debts and regain his honour after he is hoodwinked by a cabal of promoters.Mamet will direct from his original screenplay; production is scheduled to get under
  • Speed Dating wins best feature at Malibu

    Tony Herbert's Speed Dating was named best feature film at the 2007 Malibu International Film Festival which finished at the weekend.Gideon Raff's The Killing Floor won the prize for best thriller, Reynier Molenaar's Replay was named best action film, while Mick Rossi and Sean Stanek won the best screenplay prize for Played
  • Strand picks up US rights to Techine's The Witnesses

    Strand Releasing has picked up all US rights to Andre Techine's AIDS drama The Witnesses (Les Temoins) from UGC International and has set a late autumn nationwide release.Strand co-president Jon Gerrans and UGC's Eva Diederix negotiated the deal on the film, which centres on a group of friends and lovers in Paris in 1984 as they confront the outbreak of AIDS.Michel Blanc, Emmanuelle Beart an
  • Studio archives: to have and to hold

    The DVD did more than create a new means of exploiting old product. It created an industry devoted to transferring analogue celluloid motion pictures into the digital domain, of converting image and sound into data.It seems a straightforward concept: point a film projector into the lens of an electronic camera. But the electronic reality is anything but simple. According to Paul Hearty, director of the Rogers Communications Centre at Ryerson University in Toronto, there are two princip
  • The Unknown and The Caiman lead Silver Ribbons nominees

    Giuseppe Tornatore's The Unknown (La Sconosciuta) and Nanni Moretti's The Caiman (Il Caimano) have tied as top contenders with seven nominations each for the Nastri D'Argento (Silver Ribbons), Italy's oldest film awards, voted by the national film journalist's union SNGCI. The Wedding Director (Il Regista dei Matrimoni) directed by Marco Bellocchio and Italo-Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek's Saturn In Opposition (Saturno Contro) follow with six nominations eac
  • The Works takes on sales for Oudney's romantic comedy French Film

    Ahead of the Cannes Film Festival, London-based The Works International has come on board for romantic comedy French Film.Shorts and commercials director Jackie Oudney makes her feature directorial debut with the bittersweet story starring Hugh Bonneville, Anne-Marie Duff, Douglas Henshall, Victoria Hamilton and Eric Cantona. Producers are Arvind Ethan David and Rachel Connors of new digital studio slingshot and Jonny Persey and Stuart Le Marechal for APT Films. Judy Coun
  • Tony Leung Chiu-wai to replace Chow in Red Cliff

    Tony Leung Chiu-wai will replace Chow Yun-fat in the role of Zhou Yu in John Woo's Red Cliff, producer Terence Chang and the film's investor Chengtian Entertainment confirmed this evening. Leung was previously attached to the project in the role of Zhuge Liang, but quit in March due to scheduling conflicts. His was then replaced by Japanese-Taiwanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro. After talking to Woo and Chang for the past three days, Leung promised he would take up the role of
  • Toshiba sells off entertainment division to Hakuhodo

    Japanese electronics giant Toshiba has announced the sale of its feature film and home entertainment subsidiary Toshiba Entertainment to advertising giant Hakuhodo. The acquisition is set for May 1 through Hakuhodo DY Holdings for an undisclosed amount. Hakuhodo group company Hakuhodo DY Media Partners will manage the entity. Media Partners was a member of the production consortium for 2004 megahit Crying Out Love, In The Center Of The World . Toshiba s
  • Tribeca Film Festival: growing gains

    Five years ago, Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff launched the first Tribeca Film Festival to contribute to the revival of Lower Manhattan after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The five-day festival attracted 150,000 visitors to the downtown neighbourhood.By 2006, Tribeca had grown into an almost two-week Manhattan-wide affair gracing the pages of The New York Times and attracting 465,000 festival-goers.It has also become an increasingly powerf
  • Tribeca Talent: Kevin Connolly

    Film-maker Kevin Connolly, best known for playing the sane friend, Eric, in HBO's hit series Entourage, found time from his acting career to direct Gardener Of Eden, a small indie comedy about a New Jersey ne'er-do-well who is pushed to become a local hero after he accidentally captures a serial rapist.While Connolly's busy Los Angeles-based career is distant from the Long Island village in which he grew up, he recalls that small-town claustrophobia portrayed in the film,
  • UKFC P&A Fund gives $600,000 to Curse Of The Golden Flower

    The UK Film Council's Prints & Advertising Fund has announced its latest funding round to support distribution of specialised films: The Curse of the Golden Flower, $601,6695 (£300,000) to Universal Pictures International My Best Friend, $300,738 (£150,000) to Optimum Releasing This Is England, $180,433 (£90,000) to Optimum Releasing Guys and Dolls, $10,024 (£5,000) to Park Circus Prick Up Your Ears, $10,024 (£5,000) to Park
  • United Kingdom - Warrior Spirit

    At a recent ceremony at the Kenyan Embassy in London, producer Simon Channing Williams was awarded the Order of the Grand Warrior. The honour came his way primarily for his efforts in Kenya on behalf of The Constant Gardener Trust, the charity he helped set up after shooting that John Le Carre adaptation in Kenya in 2004."I was very proud and honoured," Channing Williams says of his award. He has always been something of a warrior in the UK film business, showing an unusual tenacity in
  • Vacancy

    Dir: Nimrod Antal. US. 2007. 97mins. Hungary's Nimrod Antal, who made an international impression with his stylish Kontroll in 2003, makes a satisfying Hollywood debut with this tight, intense genre thriller that should be a tidy earner for Sony Pictures. The pitch - a couple finds themselves imprisoned in a motel room where their captors intend to make them stars of a snuff movie - is a tasty one and the script by hot Hollywood newcomer Mark L Smith
  • Valderrama, Fishburne head cast of Days Of Wrath

    Production started in Los Angeles this week on the crime drama Days Of Wrath starring Wilmer Valderrama, Amber Valletta, and Laurence Fishburne.Celia Fox is directing the Foxy Films production from a screenplay she co-wrote with Michael Markee and Mitchell Kapner based on a true story.Valderrama plays a Latino mobster who ignites a gang war that draws significant media attention and has far-reaching ramifications for all involved.
  • Villa Muse studio concept announced in Austin, Texas

    Texas state and industry leaders have unveiled the $1.5bn Villa Muse mixed-use development that will break ground in East Austin, at the heart of which will be a $125m, 200-acre studio.The Villa Muse Studios will serve the film, television and video game industries, and will be surrounded by architecturally diverse housing units that will accommodate approximately 8,500 residents and serve as a backlot for productions.Phase One of the development is scheduled to open by t
  • Wild Hogs bikes into 22 territories for BVI

    Mr Bean's Holiday, 300, Perfect Stranger, Wild Hogs and Shooter are all in wide release in what should be a tight weekend at the overseas box office.Universal/UPI's reigning champion Mr Bean's Holiday has no major releases on the schedule in the immediate days ahead, but the $128.6m perch should bring it within striking range of $150m before long.The cri
  • William Baldwin joins Jentsch and Jacob for in Bob's Not Gay

    William Baldwin has joined German star Julia Jentsch (Sophie Scholl) and French actress Irene Jacob to headline Jane Spencer's low budget romantic comedy Bob's Not Gay which will begin shooting in the Romanian capital of Bucharest from the second half of May. Speaking exclusively to during this week's Bucharest International Film Festival, Ada Solomon of Hi Filmproductions, the film's Romanian minority co-producer and service company, explained that Buchares