By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

20 August 2004

View all stories from this issue.

  • Alien vs Predator

    Dir:Paul W S Anderson. US. 2004. 101mins.Withnew backgrounds but the same old bad attitudes, two of 20th Century Fox'ssci-fi icons go head to head in AVP (as the marketing folks havehelpfully abbreviated it), a franchise face-off that looks set to consolidateHollywood's latest genre trend. The match-up, enthusiastically brought to thescreen by British writer-director Paul W S Anderson, feels more like theaction-oriented Predator movies than t
  • Alien Vs Predator rules the roost with $38.3m debut

    Twentieth Century Fox'shorror thriller Alien Vs Predator opened top at the weekend on anestimated $38.3m, eclipsing opening records for both Fox-owned franchises andmarking the studio's sixth consecutive picture to open on more than $20m.Sanaa Lathan and Raoul Bovastar in Paul W S Anderson's $60m high-adrenaline tale, which pits the twomonster clans against each other in a remote site in Antarctica.Alien Vs Predator averaged a decent $11,266 fro
  • Alien Vs Predator rules the roost with $38.3m debut

    Twentieth Century Fox'shorror thriller Alien Vs Predator opened top at the weekend on anestimated $38.3m, eclipsing opening records for both Fox-owned franchises andmarking the studio's sixth consecutive picture to open on more than $20m.Sanaa Lathan and Raoul Bovastar in Paul W S Anderson's $60m high-adrenaline tale, which pits the twomonster clans against each other in a remote site in Antarctica.Alien Vs Predator averaged a decent $11,266 fro
  • Alien Vs Predator rules the roost with $38.3m debut

    Twentieth Century Fox'shorror thriller Alien Vs Predator opened top at the weekend on anestimated $38.3m, eclipsing opening records for both Fox-owned franchises andmarking the studio's sixth consecutive picture to open on more than $20m.Sanaa Lathan and Raoul Bovastar in Paul W S Anderson's $60m high-adrenaline tale, which pits the twomonster clans against each other in a remote site in Antarctica.Alien Vs Predator averaged a decent $11,266 fro
  • Alien Vs Predator rules the roost with $38.3m debut

    Twentieth Century Fox'shorror thriller Alien Vs Predator opened top at the weekend on anestimated $38.3m, eclipsing opening records for both Fox-owned franchises andmarking the studio's sixth consecutive picture to open on more than $20m.Sanaa Lathan and Raoul Bovastar in Paul W S Anderson's $60m high-adrenaline tale, which pits the twomonster clans against each other in a remote site in Antarctica.Alien Vs Predator averaged a decent $11,266 fro
  • Alien Vs Predator slays its rivals to open top on $38.3m

    Twentieth Century Fox'shorror thriller Alien Vs Predator opened top at the weekend on anestimated $38.3m, eclipsing opening records for both Fox-owned franchises andmarking the studio's sixth consecutive picture to open on more than $20m.Sanaa Lathan and Raoul Bovastar in Paul W S Anderson's $60m high-adrenaline tale, which pits the twomonster clans against each other in a remote site in Antarctica.Alien Vs Predator averaged a decent $11,266 from 3,395 screens butf
  • Argentina gets its own Motion Picture Academy

    More than 400 Argentine actors, actresses, directors,producers and technicians have joined to create an Academy of Motion PicturesArts and Sciences (Academia de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas - AACC).The AACC will decide which Argentine films will compete inother Academy awards, such as the Oscars and the Spanish Goyas. Until lastyear, Argentina's Film Institute (INCAA) was responsible for the selectionprocess.The Academy will also give its own award, though it's notconf
  • AUSTRALIA 16 August

    Man On Fire heldon to the top spot for its second weekend on release, taking A$1,112,405 for20th Century Fox from 262 screens. Snapping at its heels was newcomer Walking Tall, which grossed A$1,031,611from 192 screens for the same distributor, and in third place but not farbehind was Columbia TriStar's WhiteChicks, with A$1,030,764 from its second weekend on 168 screens.There were five other new faces in the top
  • Australia has mixed feelings about digital cinema

    Hoyts executive chair Paul Johnson believes all Australiancinemas will be delivering pictures digitally within five years but UIP'smanaging director in Australia, Mike Selwyn, will be surprised if more thanhalf have converted to digital within a decade."I can't help feeling this is a product seeking anapplication," said Selwyn, during a robust debate about digital cinema at theAustralian International Movie Convention. "Just because it is affordabledoesn't mean it is a good idea."
  • Azkaban conjures up $500m at international box office

    Harry Potter AndThe Prisoner Of Azkaban crossed $500m at the international box office at theweekend, becoming the 10th picture to reach the milestone and Warner Bros'third biggest picture of all time behind the two previous Potter instalments.Azkaban grossedan estimated $5.6m with 602,000 admissions on more than 2,000 screens in 47territories for an estimated $505.4m international running total. The familypicture has amassed more
  • Bermuda Film Festival named as Oscar qualifier for shorts

    The Bermuda InternationalFilm Festival (BIFF) has been selected as a qualifying festival for the ShortFilm Oscar category by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.The decision means thatshort films that win the Bermuda Shorts Award at BIFF 2005 and thereafter willautomatically qualify for Oscar consideration, provided they meet the Academy'sother qualifying criteria.Normally, in order toqualify for Oscar consideration, a picture must have a theatric
  • Bigfoot strikes global partnership with Filmmakers Alliance

    Fledgling Hong Kong-based production and distribution companyBigfoot Entertainment has signed a worldwide production and distribution dealwith Los Angeles-based collective Filmmakers Alliance.The deal, which was negotiated by Bigfoot president James Hoffmanand Filmmakers Alliance president Jacques Thelemaque and announced last night(18) in Los Angeles, paves the way for the joint creation of independentproduction company FA Productions.Underthe terms of the deal Bigfoot Entertai
  • Black Friday as 65 employees laid off at Miramax

    It was black Friday atMiramax Films today (Friday) after months of speculation ended and 13% of thestudio's workforce was laid off. The move, said a company spokesman, was part of a cost-cutting drive across the company in line withslimmed down production levels.Meanwhile, companyco-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein continued their ongoing negotiations withparent company Disney over the renewal of their contracts which will likely seeHarvey leave the Disney umbrella to form his own fil
  • Blackwell's Palm funds epic music documentary

    Ondi Timoner (pictured), director of Sundance Jury GrandPrix documentary winner Dig!, is todirect a "History Of Jamaican Music" for Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures. Theepic documentary, which will encompass dub, ska and reggae, will be given atheatrical release.As the founder of Island Records, Jamaican-based Blackwellowns the rights to Bob Marley's music and archives. As a film producer, he hasbeen behind such recent Jamaican features as Dance Hall Queen and ThirdWorl
  • Bourne Supremacy opens second in UK on $5m

    Universal'sthriller sequel The Bourne Supremacy began its international run with anexcellent $5m (£2.7m) debut in the UK on 425 screens through UIP at theweekend.The pictureranked second behind Fox International's I, Robot and took 25% marketshare. The opening gross included $665,000 from previews and was some 50%bigger than the $3.3m debut including previews of The Bourne Identity inSeptember 2002.UIP will open the picture in the rest of
  • Buena Vista UK promotes marketing, publicity staff

    Buena Vista International (BVI) has announced the promotionof Lee Jury to Marketing Director for BVI UK.In addition Phil Cairns has been promoted from SeniorPublicist to Publicity Manager and Amanda Telfer promoted from Publicist toPublicist and Awards Co-ordinator.
  • Cassel to head Oldenburg jury

    Veteran American indie actor Seymour Cassel will serve asthe president of the International Jury for the German Independence Award -Best German Film to be presented for the first time at the forthcoming FilmfestOldenburg (Sept 8-12).Cassel and the other jury members - German PR and marketingexpert Heike Melba-Fendel, Spanish author and critic Sergi Sanchez, US producerAmotz Zakai (Echo Lake Productions) and actor-director Tim Blake Nelson (Minority
  • Civilian Content secures $13m in tax funding

    In a welcome boost after itsNew Zealand period piece River Queen stalled mid-shoot, UK media concernCivilian Content aims to double its production levels this year after securinga $12.9m (£7m) tranche of funding.The publicly-listed companyhas accessed the production funding through its partnership with financierSureFire, which has raised the money through UK tax incentives. The twocompanies have already raised development cash through a separate fund for projects such as Rive
  • CMG takes international rights to Venezuelan drama Punto Y Raya

    Los Angeles-based CinemaManagement Group (CMG) has picked up exclusive international distributionrights to Elia Schneider's Venezuelan drama Punto Y Raya, which recently won best picture at the Los AngelesLatino International Film Festival.CMG will seek to licensethe picture immediately and plans market screenings in Los Angeles and in SantaMonica at the upcoming AFM in November.The story centres on
  • Columbia TriStar sets Oct 5 for Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD release

    Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment will release Fahrenheit 9/11on DVD and video in the US on Oct 5.The home entertainment release looks likely to keep the bandwagonrolling following a spectacular US theatrical run through Lion's Gate Films,IFC Films and The Fellowship Adventure Group.Michael Moore's picture opened on Jun 23 and went on to become thefirst documentary to cross $100m. As of Aug 15 it had taken more than $115.5min the US and more than $39m in internationally
  • Court orders Samaha, Franchise to pay $121.5m

    A federal judge in Santa Ana, California, entered judgmentyesterday (17 Aug) against Elie Samaha, Franchise Pictures, and 18 Franchiseone-off production companies for $121.5m.Thejudgment, pending post-trial motions and appeals, marks the conclusion of the four-yearlegal battle between Franchise and its former co-production partner,Intertainment Licensing GmbH.Judge Alicemarie Stotler ruled that Franchise, Samaha, andth
  • Creber to receive honorary Art Directors Guild award

    William J Creber will receive the ArtDirectors Guild's (ADG) honorary Lifetime Achievement Award at the 9thAnnual ADG Awards on Feb 12 2005 in Los Angeles.Creber earned three Academy Award nominations for TheGreatest Story Ever Told in 1966, The Poseidon Adventure in 1973,and The Towering Inferno in 1975.His other credits include Planet Of The Apes, IslandsIn The Stream, Flight Of The Navigator, Lost In Space a
  • Dead Man's Shoes

    Dir: Shane Meadows. UK.2004. 90mins
  • Deauville unveils 30th anniversary programme

    The Deauville Festival of American Film has announced itsprogramme for the upcoming 30th anniversary event.Set to run from September 3 - 12, the festival's jury willbe headed by Claude Lelouch. The director, whose relationship with the seasideNormandy town can be traced back to his seminal film A Man And A Woman, will be surrounded by only female jurors. Theyare: actresses Anouk Aimee, Marie-Josee Croze, Mathilde Seigner and Lio;photographer Bettina Rheims, producer Claudie Ossa
  • DENMARK 17 August

    Though admissions again were up (45,8%) from last year, itstill wasn't evident on the chart as no films did better than fair. The Chronicles Of Riddick only made itinto third with its 30 prints. Adding one more print, Fahrenheit 9/11 easily took the highest screen average again withDKK42,071. However, Nordisk Film's new release of Lotte Svendsen's socialsatire Time For A Change (Tid TilForandring) failed to register wi
  • Dinard unveils initial line-up of UK films

    The fifteenth edition of the DinardBritish Film Festival will see the founding president, Thierry de la Fourniere,hand over to the mayor of Dinard, Marius Mallet.For fifteen years the town of Dinardhas celebrated its own "Entente Cordiale" between the French and British filmindustries and this tradition will be continued between October 7 to 10 with acompetition of recent British feature films, pre-premieres and retrospectives,organised with the support of two of the festival's major s
  • Echelon picks up domestic rights to political doc Rabbit Hash

    EchelonEntertainment has acquired domestic rights to arguably the most bizarre of thecurrent crop of political documentaries, Jude Gerard Prest's Rabbit Hash:The Centre Of The Universe.Thesatirical picture focuses on an electoral race in the Kentucky town of RabbitHash that returned an actual dog named Goofy as town mayor.Thefilmmakers profile the town's human inhabitants and several localluminaries, including nearby resident and country and western star WynonnaJudd.Newma
  • Edinburgh Fringe to be subject of new UK feature

    The UK Film Council'sPremiere Fund and FilmFour have teamed on Festival,an ensemble comedy set during the Edinburgh Fringe which will shoot on locationat the famed theatre and comedy festival this month.The production marks thefeature debut of writer-director Annie Griffin, who won a BAFTA for Book Group, the Friday night comedy series on Channel 4. Griffinaims to lift the lid on the world's biggest fringe event through her behind thescenes story of promiscuity, insecure
  • Edinburgh replaces 2046 with Untold Scandal

    The forthcoming EdinburghInternational Film Festival (EIFF) is to change its closing night film, endingweeks of squabbling and speculation about Wong Kar-wai's2046.In a statement, the EIFF announced that it would replace the previouslyscheduled 2046 with Untold Scandal, a sumptuous 17thcentury retelling of the Liaisons Dangereuses story by hot Korean director E J-Yong.After some four years in the pipeline, 2046
  • Five filmmakers to benefit from IFP/New York doc grant

    IFP/New York isto allocate seed funding worth a total of $50,000 to five documentary projectsthrough the relaunched Anthony Radziwill Documentary Fund.Oriana Zill & Marco Williams' Banished: How Whites DroveBlacks Out of Town in America, Marlo Poras' Gambian Marriage, Judith Helfand'sHeat Wave: An Unnatural Disaster, Diane Bernard's The Lord Of Light, and AnnieSundberg and Ricki Stern's The Trials of Darryl Hunt will each benefit fro
  • Forgiveness

    Dir. Ian Gabriel. SouthAfrica, 2004. 112mins.There are two thingsgoing for Ian Gabriel's feature film debut Forgiveness. The first isthat it comes from South Africa, which promises to be the film festival flavourof the year (after a competition premiere at Locarno it plays in Toronto's South Africa: Ten YearsLater sidebar next month). Thesecond is its theme. As indicated by its title, Forgiveness re-opens thecontroversy surround
  • FRANCE 18 August

    King Arthur handily dethroned Will Smith vehicle I,Robot grabbing the top spot withnearly 635,000 admissions in its first week out. Spider Man 2 held steady in the number two slot to bring itscumulative take to $28,979,702 after 4 weeks on release. Jennifer Garnerstarrer 13 Going On 30 landed atnumber 6 in its debut week with a $5,619 per screen average, the secondstrongest on the chart. Two French films, Nos
  • FRANCE 20 August

    King Arthur held the number one spot at the box office forits second week out with Spider-Man 2jumping up to the second spot and knocking out I, Robot which fell tonumber five, 37% off the previous week's take.Hellboy debuted at number three with 337,501admissions followed by the Garfieldmovie which performed well taking in an average $4,513 per screen.Around The World In 80 Days which has under-performed elsewhereent
  • Freeman to be honoured in PGA's 3rd Celebration of Diversity

    MorganFreeman will be among recipients of honorary awards at the Producers Guild ofAmerica's (PGA) third Annual Celebration of Diversity in Los Angeles onOct 7.Freeman'sexecutive producing credits include Along Came A Spider, Levity, and the in-production drama Colours Straight Up.Previoushonorees include Salma Hayek, John Singleton, Phil Roman, Ang Lee, DannyGlover, and George Sunga.PGAexecutive dir
  • French producers decry planned tax credit change

    French producers are up in arms following news that fiscallegislators are proposing changes to the tax credit system which came intoeffect in January of this year.The tax credit, or credit d'impot, currently allowsproductions and co-productions, which qualify as French under French film board(CNC) guidelines, to write off between 10% and 20% of below the line costs suchas crew, art and set work, wardrobe, transportation and post-production. Theonly condition is that the work must be co
  • Gayner comes aboard Arenas as svp marketing

    LeAnne Gayner has joined the diversified Latino entertainment andmarketing outfit Arenas Entertainment as senior vice president of marketing.Gayner previously served at Artisan Entertainment and will setabout working on the company's slate of upcoming releases, which includesNicotina starring Diego Luna that is set to open in the US on Aug 20, AntonioNavarro's animated holiday picture The 3 Wise Men (Los Reyes Magos), andImagining Argentina, which stars Anto
  • German cinema admissions leap in 2004

    Germany's distributors and exhibitors have cause forcelebration as 1 million more cinema tickets were sold in the first half of2004 compared to the same period last year, according to official figuresunveiled by the Berlin-based German Federal Film Board (FFA).The FFA reported that 72.3m tickets were sold in the periodto June 30 and box office takings amounted to Euros 420m. This was Euros 6m upon last year - a real increase not influenced by inflation since the averageticket price rem
  • German DVD distributor moves into theatrical

    Leading German DVD distributor e-m-s new media is to take amajority 52.38% stake in theatrical distributor 3L Filmverleih which was set upat the beginning of this year by e-m-s new media's Chairman and CEO WernerWirsing and his wifeIn a statement, e-m-s new media, which will finance itsstake by a capital increase, said the"strategic investment" in 3L would support its core business in thearea of home entertainment.Andreas Thim, formerly managing director of the Austriansubsidiar
  • GERMANY 18 August

    Michael 'Bully' Herbig allowed Alex Proyas' I, Robot only one week at pole positionbefore returning to the top spot with his sci-fi spoof (T)Raumschiff Surprise - Periode 1 registering another $5.1m grossfrom 980 screens for a total gross of over $50m. With a total of over 7.2madmissions, (T)Raumschiff is now thetop release in 2004 and is propelling the German market share towards the 20%mark (it was 13.9% for the firs
  • HONG KONG 16 August

    Hong Kong revealedits weakness for cute animals this week as Japanese tear-jerker Quill topped the box office withUS$795,799 from 29 screens.Produced byShochiku and directed by Yoichi Sai, the film is about a Labrador pup who istrained to be a "seeing-eye" dog for a man who is initially reluctant to accepthelp but eventually regains his zest for life. The film, distributed in HongKong by Golden Scene, has been dubbed into Can
  • HONG KONG 20 August

    Emperor MotionPicture Group's The Twins Effect IIhas scored the highest opening of the year so far for a local film, grossingUS$1.4m from 65 screens.The film has notoutpaced the original, which grossed US$2m in its opening week last July, butis nonetheless a welcome boost for the local industry which has struggledagainst the tide of US blockbusters this summer.Again starring popduo Twins, the star-studded film features the acting debut of Jackie Chan's
  • HONG KONG Production Listings - August 19

    HONG KONG - August 19PRE-PRODUCTIONINVINCIBLE ARMOUR(I-Animation Ltd) Co-prods: Yuk LongMultimedia, Mandarin Films. Budget: US$2.3m. Backers: Yuk Long Multimedia,Mandarin Films, I-Animation. Int'l sales: Mandarin Films Distribution.Animation. Animated feature film (2D and 3D) based on the action-packed comicbook Magic Weapons. Exec prods: Tony Wong, Raymond Wong, Man Kung. Prod: TonyWong. Dir: Tony Ching Si
  • Hong Kong selects foreign-language Oscar entry

    Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai's Running On Karma has been selected as Hong Kong's official entryfor the best foreign-language film category of next year's Academy AwardsThe decision was announced by Crucindo Hung, chairman of theFederation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong, who praised the film forcombining elements of mainstream entertainment with an exploration of BuddhistthoughtThe film, which stars Andy Lau as a Buddhist monk turnedbodybuilder, was a big hit last year
  • Horas De Luz joins San Sebastian competition

    Spanish production HorasDe Luz has been added to the official competition of the San SebastianInternational Film Festival (Sept 17-25).The Sogecine title from director Manolo Matji stars EmmaSuarez (former Julio Medem muse) and Alberto San Juan (Football Days) in the true story-inspired tale of redemption andlove between a convicted murderer and his prison nurse. Sogepaq is handling international sales on the titleThe film joins other Spanish-language competitors a
  • I, Robot crosses $100m for Fox International

    Fired up by a raft of strong holds, Fox International's I, Robotwas once again the biggest international picture around as it crossed $100m atthe weekend.The sci-fithriller grossed an estimated $18.8m from 5,350 international screens toelevate its international running total to $108m.Key markets were the UK, where I, Robot fell 39% in its secondweekend on $4.5m on 448 screens for $19.9m, and Germany, which produced an 18%drop and added $3.9m on 91
  • IFP/Los Angeles bid to kick-start awards season

    Seeking to steal a march on its awards season rivals,IFP/Los Angeles said this week it will announce nominations for the 20thIndependent Spirit Awards on Nov 30.Theorganisation wants to manoeuvre itself into a more influential slot beforeother awards bodies unveil their contenders.The National Board of Review traditionally kicks off theseason and unveiled its winners on Dec 3 last year, the same day
  • India mulls production fund with tax incentives

    India's government is considering setting up a $45m seed fund to finance its national film sector.A government committee, headed by N. K. Singh, has proposed a venture capital fund that would be managed through an asset management company based in India, with all contributions made to the fund to be exempted from tax under Indian tax lawsOver the past four years the Indian government has taken a number of steps towards establishing alternative and private financing models for th
  • Irish production sector returns to form

    After a year in which production in Ireland had stalled to avirtual standstill the last days of August and early September will see adramatic return to form.First off the mark will be David T Friendly's Deep RiverProductions' The Honeymooners whichwill start shooting on August 27. The production for Paramount, co-producedwith Ireland's Hells Kitchen International, is based on the classic 1950sAmerican TV series of the same name.Honeymooners willbe directed by John
  • Kadokawa stages comeback with WWII epic

    Disgraced Japanese mega-producer Haruki Kadokawa is makinghis come-back in typical splashy fashion, with the announcement of a major newproduction commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.Titled Otokotachi NoYamato (Yamato), the film will be based on a non-fiction book by Jun Henmiabout the sinking of the Yamato, Japan's last large battleship, in the closingdays of the war. Of the 3,000 men on board, only 270 survived and the event isstill mourned as a natio
  • King Arthur raises international cume to $71m for BVI

    King Arthur wasspoiling for a fight at the weekend, grossing an estimated $12.2m through BuenaVista International (BVI) to raise its international running total to $70.8m.A couple of strong number one European debuts drove weekendbusiness as the epic took $2.6m on 403 screens in Spain and $1.8m on 210 inRussia.Elsewhere BVI's animated feature Home On The Range added $2.4m for$21.7m, while The Village grossed $1.3m for an early $2.1m running
  • Koenekamp to receive ASC lifetime achievement award

    Fred Koenekampwill receive the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) LifetimeAchievement Award at the annual Outstanding Achievement Awards on Feb 20 2005 in LosAngeles.Koenekamp began his career in 1964 with television's The Man FromU.N.C.L.E., and seven years later earned his first of three Academy Awardnominations for Patton.He shared the Oscar with Joseph Biroc in 1975 for The ToweringInferno and another nomination followed for in
  • Korean exhibitor to become producer and distributor

    Lotte Cinema, operator of one of Korea's largest exhibitionchains, has announced a new andambitious drive to become a major player in the fields of exhibition,distribution, and film finance.The company's plans foresee its current circuit of 10multiplexes -- mostly housed in upscale Lotte department stores - swelling to45 by the end of 2006.Although all four of Korea's top exhibition chains have beenknown to undershoot their growth targets in the past, expansion at Lotte couldpot
  • Local titles fend off Hollywood fare

    Despite a great performance from The Bourne Supremacy the highest screen average for the week wasagain reserved for a local film playing in South Korea. Fighter In The Wind (Paramui Paito) placed thirteenth. The film isbased on a comic book based on the life of legendary Korean martial artist ChoiBae-dal during the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1930s. Yang Dong-guenstars as Choi in director Yang Yun-ho's film.There was also a strong launch for The Huadu Chronicle
  • Locarno wrestles with growing pains

    The pains ofgrowing up were in abundant evidence this year in Locarno. And if this was notan intentional theme, it reflects the type of film the festival made itsselection from, according to at least two members of the selection committee.A boy is abandonedby his father in Catarina Ruivo's Portuguese Andre Valente, an almost autistic German girl is put in anorphanage by her estranged mother in Ayse Polat's En Garde from Germany; a kid falls victim to the violent separatio
  • Malaysian films aspire to international market

    Following the local commercial success of Pontianak HarumSundal Malam, Malaysian writer/director Shuhaimi Babas is preparing a($526,000) RM2m sequel with her own company Pesona Pictures producing.Pontianak, which tells the story of a female banshee fromlocal folklore, was the first local film to break the taboo of the horror genrewhich was banned in Malaysia for the past 30 years due to religioussensitivities. It grossed $842,000 (
  • McDull, Prince De La Bun (Makdau Boloyau Wongchi)

    Dir: Toe Yuen. Hong Kong.2004. 73minsMove over Babe, there's anew pig in town. If the Oscar-winning Chris Noonan film was still current, thatmight have been one way to market McDull, Prince De La Bun, a sequel tothe 2001 Hong Kong animation hit My Life As McDull, which sold all overAsia.The new film, which in HongKong has taken just under $0.65m after a 30-screen opening in late June,continues the story of a pig-faced boy and his t
  • McKellen joins Magic Roundabout cast

    Ian McKellen has joinedKylie Minogue and Robbie Williams in voicing Pathe's $20m CGI animated feature The Magic Roundabout.Having played the wizardGandalf in The Lord Of The Rings, theOscar-nominated actor will be playing a less stereotypical wizard in thefeature version of the kids' TV show.His character is Zebedee, a moustachioed jack-in-a-box wizard who is theself-appointed guardian of the magic garden inhabited by the other characters
  • Middle Eastern themes dominate Locarno awards

    Private, the raw, gritty and uncompromising debut of Italian director Saverio Costanzo, triumphed at the 57th Locarno Film Festival, which wrapped on Saturday night.The tense, intimate drama, confronting an Israeli patrol with a Palestinian family in whose home they have taken cover, may well be too controversial for some, but its powerful indictment of the situation in the Middle East does its best to keep a balance between the two warring sides.To underline its enthusia
  • Miracle works for audiences at Melbourne

    Cannes competitor Life Is A Miracle, set in Bosniaand directed, co-produced and co-written by Emir Kusturica, was the mostpopular feature at this month's Melbourne International Film Festival.Runner up in the vote by audiences was The Life And DeathOf Peter Sellers, directed by Stephen Hopkins and starring festival patronGeoffrey Rush in the title role. Both films were in the international panoramasection.A record number of sell-out sessions pro
  • Motorcycle kickstarts Edinburgh Film Festival

    The EdinburghInternational Film Festival kicked off last night with the gala premiere of The Motorcycle Diaries, with director Walter Salles in attendance.Before the the screening of the film, Salles said: "This is a film made with an open heart and passion and it's a privilege to be here at a festival with the same principles."
  • Napola

    Dir. Dennis Gansel.Germany, 2004. 110mins.Earnest, sincere and vociferously outspoken, DennisGansel's portrait of a 1942 Nazi boarding school breeding the future leaders ofthe Thousand Year Reich must be one of the more diligently produced andenergetically directed films to come out of Germany in recent years.At the same time it is alsoone of the least original. Working from an extensively researched,award-winning script he co-wrote with Maggie Pe
  • New chief for French Film Commission

    France's National FilmCommission (CNF), which promotes location filming in the country, will have anew president in mid-September.Unifrance's deputy generalmanager Patrick Lamassoure will take over from current CNF president BenoitCaron, according to Caron. Lamassoure could not be reached for comment.For his part, Caron, who hasheaded up the CNF since the late 1990s, will not divulge his future planssaying only "I'm heading for different horizons."The Commission has playe
  • NEW ZEALAND 16 August

    Walking Tallknocked Hellboy off the top of thebox office chart after only one weekend at the top, just as Hellboy did to The Chronicles Of Riddick the previous weekend, and The Chronicles Of Riddick did to I, Robot on the one before that.But it was a close call. WalkingTall grossed NZ$178,161 from 35 screens in its fi
  • Palm Springs unveils rich short film talent line-up

    Early work from Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Spike Jonze andshorts directed by or featuring well-known actors are among the biggest everline-up of titles in the upcoming 10th Palm Springs InternationalFestival Of Short Films.A total of 308 short films, up 15% from last year andselected from more than 2,000 entries, have been corralled into 43 themedprogrammes of roughly 100 minutes each, covering such diverse topics as crimeand punishment, aboriginal peoples, pets
  • Reding re-selected for EU media job

    Viviane Reding is to keep the audiovisual policyand MEDIA Programme portfolio in the new team of commissioners unveiled by JoseManuel Barroso, President-designate of the European Commission.Reding has been commissioner for Education,Culture, Youth, Media & Sport since 1999 and will now serve as theCommissioner for Information Society and Media. She will head the InformationSociety Direction Generale (DG) as well as the audiovisual policy and MediaProgramme units from the Education and
  • Romanian productions get state funding

    Romania'sstate film funding body CNC it to contribute to the production of elevenfeatures and eleven shorts.Sixof the features - funded with around Euros 200,000 each - are debuts andinclude Love Sick, byproducer-director Tudor Giurgiu. His previous works include the short film Popcorn Story, a former Berlinaleparticipant.Love Sick is a coming-of-age storyabout three characters passionately in love with each other. The Libra
  • Sabatini named svp physical production at MGM

    Veteranproduction executive Diane Sabatini has been named senior vice president ofphysical production at MGM.Sabatinihas worked for the past decade as production supervisor orproductioncoordinator on a dozen movies and her credits include Armageddon, Batman & Robin, The Rock, 21 Grams, and Anchorman: TheLegend Of Ron Burgundy.Executivevice president of production Andy Davis said paid tribute to Sabatini'sexperience, a
  • Samaha's personal liability to increase in Intertainment case

    On Friday in aSanta Ana, California federal courtroom, what may be the biggest bomb in amovie career filled with them was aimed squarely at Franchise Pictures CEO ElieSamaha.That's whenJudge Alicemarie Stotler issued tentative rulings pertaining to next week'sformal judgments in the matter of German rights broker Intertainment GmbH'slawsuit against Franchise.In June, itlooked like Samaha had dodged a bullet when the jury assigned the $77 millioncompensatory damage award entirely
  • San Sebastian unveils New Directors competition line-up

    A selection of eighteen films from seventeen differentcountries will compete for the New Directors award at next month's 52nd annualedition of Spain's San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 17-25).The selection furthers the geographic diversity of thefestival's official competition line-up, unveiled last week. The Altadis-NewDirectors prize comes with a purse of Euros 90,000.Three of the films selected also compete in the officialsection. They are: Xu Jinglei's A Let
  • Sogepaq adds Roma to autumn slate

    Spain's Sogepaq has picked up international rights to SanSebastian competition title Roma fromveteran Argentine director Adolfo Aristarain.The film joins Sogepaq's fall slate, headlined by AlejandroAmenabar's much-anticipated drama Out ToSea (Mar Adentro) starring Javier Bardem, and Alex de la Iglesia's newblack comedy Ferpect Crime (CrimenFerpecto).A tale spanning 50 years, Roma follows an aging writer's recollection of his youth
  • Spider-Man 2 swings towards $350m for CTFDI

    Columbia's Spider-Man 2 is expected to pass $350m byWednesday after adding an estimated $8.7m on 4,900 screens in 64 territories atthe weekend for a $348m international running total.Released through Columbia TriStar Film DistributorsInternational (CTFDI), the action sequel took full advantage of the Obonholidays in Japan, which is now the biggest market of the run, leaping 11% inits sixth week on $2.2m on 500 screens for $47.9m.Elsewhere Spidey added $1.7m in France and
  • SWEDEN 17 August

    Nothing changed at the top of the Swedish chart, where I, Robot and King Arthur's high number of prints kept them in front of DaneSimon Staho's Swedish-language drama DayAnd Night, but the latter increased its screen average to $3,991 - the bestthis weekend. Best newcomer was teenage comedy Mean Girls on sixth, which scored $2,814 from its 17 prints, whilethe mature romance of Laws Of Attractionfailed to
  • Switzerland's national film fund to be reviewed

    Pascal Couchepin, head of Switzerland's Federal Departmentof Home Affairs (EDI) has commissioned an independent report on the running ofSwitzerland's national film funding programme at the Federal Office for Culture(BAK).The report, to evaluate BAK's criteria for grantingsubsidies, comes after previous criticisms by Couchepin of "lack oftransparency" and "too large a bureaucracy" at the fund.In an interview during last week's Locarno Film Festival,Couchepin suggested that there
  • The Village gears up for first major launches through BVI

    M NightShyamalan's latestmystery The Village launches in its first major markets in the UK and France this weekendthrough Buena Vista International (BVI).While thepicture's domestic performance has been below par by Shyamalan'sstandards, international prospects should be promising. The picture opened in Franceon Aug 18 and goes out in the UK on Aug 20.Thedirector's previous release Signs opened top in bot
  • Tom White

    Dir: Alkinos Tsilimidos.Aust. 2004. 106minsWith a standout,hardly-off-the-screen central performance from Colin Friels, Tom Whitecharts the swift descent of its eponymous character from middle-class securityto a desperate life on the streets, utterly broke and hopeless. For his secondfeature, director Alkinos
  • Toronto rounds off programme line-ups

    World premieresfeature heavily in the latest programming volley from the Toronto InternationalFilm Festival, which includes 11 additions to the Visions programme, a28-strong Discovery section and 23 pictures in the Wavelengths strand.David Gordon Green's thriller Undertow starring Jamie Bell,Dermot Mulroney and Josh Lucas, and Michael Winterbottom's sexually explicitLondon-based love story Nine Songs receive their world premieres in a completedVisions pr
  • Toronto unveils Visions, Discovery, Wavelengths titles

    New films from DavidGordon Green and Michael Winterbottom are among the latest wave of worldpremieres announced by the Toronto International Film Festival as it unveiledthe complete line-ups in the Visions, Discovery and Wavelengths programmes.Visions, which wasintroduced in 2002 with a mandate to focus on "innovation" but is actually away of separating out programmers' favourites from the hurly burly of thelarger Contemporary World Cinema programme, features 21 films from 14countries.
  • Tsui Hark readies $12m martial arts epic

    Acclaimed Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark is gearing up tostart shooting his next feature as director - the US$12m wuxia epic Seven Swords which is scheduled to startproduction next month.Hong Kong stars Leon Lai and Charlie Young are headliningthe cast of the film which is also expected to feature talent from China andKorea. Veteran action director Lau Kar-leung, whose credits include suchkung-fu classics as 36th Chamber OfShaolin and E
  • UK's Screen East names Crown as production chief

    Oscar-nominated film and TV producer Sheryl Crown has joinedScreen East, the Screen Agency for the East of England, as its Head ofProduction.In 2000, Crown received an Oscar nomination for the Welshfeature film Solomon And Gaenor.She also produced Marc Evans first feature, House of America. Crown has worked at the BBC as a film and TVdrama producer and was head of drama at indie production outfit SeptemberFilms. She started her drama career as a theatr
  • UK's Screen East names Crown as production chief

    Oscar-nominated film and TV producer Sheryl Crown has joinedScreen East, the Screen Agency for the East of England, as its Head ofProduction.In 2000, Crown received an Oscar nomination for the Welshfeature film Solomon And Gaenor.She also produced Marc Evans first feature, House of America. Crown has worked at the BBC as a film and TVdrama producer and was head of drama at indie production outfit SeptemberFilms. She started her drama career as a theatr
  • Universal, Focus strike multi-year deals with Vertigo

    UniversalPictures and specialty division Focus Features have signed multi-yearagreements with Roy Lee and Doug Davison's dynamic production outfitVertigo Entertainment.Specifically, Universal Pictures has entered into afirst-look agreement with Vertigo, arguably Hollywood's leading Asiangenre remake specialists, for feature development and production, with Vertigoretaining the option to co-finance certain projects.Focuswill act as Vertigo's foreign sales agent
  • Upbeat Constantin raises targets for 2004

    German producer-distributor Constantin Film hasraised its sales forecast for 2004 to at least Euros 200m.The move came after Constantin posted a 175%year-on-year increase in sales for the first six months of this year. In the period up toJune 30, the Constantin Group achieved sales of Euros 99m, compared to Euros36m for the same period last year.Constantin Film's CEO Fred Kogel said thatmeasures such as expanding the TV and home entertainment operations, increasingproduction, di
  • Vampire hunter trio joins BloodRayne

    Michelle Rodriguez, Matt Davis and Michael Madsen have joined thecast of BloodRayne, Uwe Boll's video game adaptation set to begin principalphotography in Romania later this month.All three willplay vampire hunters alongside T3 star Kristanna Loken, who plays the titlerole of a half-human, half-vampire who roams the world eliminating evilsupernatural forces.Ben Kingsley was unveiled last week as BloodRayne's arch enemyKagan, king of the vampires.B
  • Vulcan wraps principal photography on Hard Candy

    Seattle-based Vulcan Productions has completed principalphotography on video director David Slade's psychological thriller HardCandy, starring Patrick Wilson and newcomer Ellen Page.Based on a screenplay by Brian Nelson, Hard Candy centreson a calamitous date between a 32-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl who meetover the internet.David W Higgins and Jody Patton produced the picture and MichaelCaldwell and Richard Hutton served as executive producers with Rosanne
  • Wild Bunch takes most of Low Life rights

    Frenchsales house Wild Bunch has picked up most international rights to Low Life(Haryu Insaeng) which appears in competition at next month's Venicefestival.The film,directed by Korea's "living legend" Im Kwan-taek, was previously handled byCinema Service and had been presented under the working title Raging Years
  • Zabaltegi unveils festivals' top titles

    Walter Salles' TheMotorcycle Diaries, Joshua Marston's MariaFull Of Grace, Mike Leigh's VeraDrake and three memorable documentaries are among the thirteen titlesselected by the San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 17-25) for itspopular "Festivals' Top" selection of hits from other festivals.Calling this year's selection "daring," San Sebastian haschosen three documentaries for inclusion, reflecting the recent popularity ofthe genre: Morgan Spurlock's Sun
  • Zhang, Yeoh, Watanabe, Gong sign up for Memoirs Of A Geisha

    Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, Ken Watanabe and Gong Li and are to star in the long-gestating Memoirs Of AGeisha adaptation, which RobMarshall will direct and Columbia Pictures is co-financing with DreamWorks andSpyglass Entertainment.Productionis set to begin in Los Angeles and Japan in September. Spyglass, which has afirst-look,non-exclusive deal with Columbia, holds all international rights and it isunderstood CTFDI will distribute in select markets. Columbia w