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20 August 2007

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  • 16 films feature at Nordic Co-Production Forum

    16 new Scandinavian and German feature film projects, with budgetsbetween $1.2 and $9m (Euros 0.9m-7m), will be presented at the second NordicCo-Production Forum, which takes place between Aug 22-23 as part of theNew Nordic Films market during the Norwegian International FilmFestival in Haugesund. Total production volume exceeds $68m (Euros 50m.)Last year focusing on the UK, the second edition of the forum dealswith German-Scandinavian co-productions, and has been organis
  • 3:10 To Yuma

    Dir: James Mangold US . 2007. 117minsThe western has become the most unfashionable of genres, with a reputation for box-office poison that persists despite the relatively recent success of Open Range (2003). The fiftieth anniversary remake of 3:10 To Yuma is sturdy enough to withstand the jinx. Handsomely crafted, it represents a largely successful fusion of old-style storytelling virtues with a modern Hollywood ethos in wh
  • Ai No Yokan (The Rebirth)

    . Dir. Masahiro Kobayashi. Japan , 2007. 102mins.A test of endurance that will defeat most audiences, MasahiroKobayashi's new film is an exercise in repetitious movement bound to earn plaudits with both festival juries and the more refined art cinema patron. The closest parallel to this kind of cinema is the music of Philip Glass and Steven Reich. A conceptual experiment focusing on one man and one woman thrown together by a tragic
  • Andy Lau's Focus plans Brothers and new Fight series

    Following on the successful launch of Focus First Cuts in 2005, Andy Lau's Hong Kong-based production company Focus Films is gearing up for a new Focus Fight series and is in production on a new gangster drama, Brothers, to star Lau.Focus Fight aims to produce a new wave of action dramas, from Chinese kung fu, Thai kick-boxing and other types of martial arts. Young directors, scriptwriters and actors in and outside Hong Kong are invited to take
  • Be Wild takes Japanese rights to Royston Tan's musical drama 881

    Be Wild has taken on all Japanese rights to Royston Tan's new musical drama 881, making it the first pre-sale ever of a Singapore film to Japan. The deal also marks the first international acquisition for Be Wild, a producer of Japanese films such as Kaza-hana, What the Snow Brings, Blood and Bones and more recently, box office hit Maiko Haaaan. Tan has established a reputation in Japan, partly thanks to his last film 4.30 which was the first Sin
  • Beneath The Rooftops of Paris (Sous Les Toits De Paris)

    Dir: Hiner Saleem. France, 2007. 100minsThis study of old age and solitude finds exiled Kurdish director Hiner Saleem divesting himself of the mischievous drive and wicked sense of humour which permeated such earlier efforts as Vodka Lemon and Kilometre Zero. Launched in a light, warm and humanistic vein which keeps up for the entire first act before then descending intoabject misery, Beneath the Rooftops of Paris ul
  • Bettany, Kretschmann join cast of The Young Victoria

    Paul Bettany and Thomas Kretschmann have boarded Graham King and Martin Scorsese's The Young Victoria, which commenced principal photography in England on Aug 13.The new additions complete the powerhouse European cast of Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent, and Mark Strong.French Canadian Jean-Marc Vallee is directing the drama about the early years of Queen Victoria, Britain's longest serving monarch, and
  • Biggs joins cast of Lionsgate's Bachelor #2

    Jason Biggs has joined Kate Hudson and Dane Cook on the cast ofLionsgate's romantic comedy Bachelor #2. Lizzy Caplan has also comeaboard.Cook stars as Tank, an inveterate Casanova who falls for his bestfriend's girlfriend, played by Hudson. Biggs plays the best friend andCaplan, a TV actor who appeared in Mean Girls, is Hudson's room-mate.Howard Deutch will begin shooting in Boston on Aug 20 from a script byJordan Cahan
  • Boone elected to AMPAS education and culture arm

    Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Public Relations Branch governor Cheryl Boone Isaacs has been elected president of the Academy's educational and cultural arm the Academy Foundation. Executives Branch governor Robert Rehme was elected vice president, Film Editors Branch governor Donn Cambern was re-elected vice president, Music Branch governor Charles Bernstein was elected treasurer, and Public Relations Branch governor and current Academy
  • Bruce Dickinson-penned Chemical Weddingstarts shooting

    London-based Focus Films has started production on supernatural horror film Chemical Wedding. Julian Doyle, who edited Terry Gilliam's Brazil and Time Bandits, will direct. The story is based on an original screenplay by Bruce Dickinson, frontman of Iron Maiden. Dickinson will provide the soundtrack to the film. Warner Music has already taken on all UK and Ireland rights and plans a theatrical release in 2008. Edward Noeltner's Cinema Management Group is handling world
  • Canada's Entertainment One buys Seville Entertainment

    Entertainment One, the newest player on the Canadian film distribution scene, is acquiring Montreal-based distributor Seville Pictures, the company announced today. The move is the first Canadian foray in an ambitious global releasing strategy of Entertainment One Film Entertainment president Patrice Theroux, who launched the division last month. Speaking to Screendaily, Theroux said Seville fits his shopping list precisely: an established, well-managed distribution busin
  • Challenge sees Roeg in his element

    Rather unusually for my movies, it does have a beginning and an end,' Nicolas Roeg says as an introduction of his new feature Puffball at the Galway Film Fleadh in July.That is not to say the 79-year-old director, who made his mark with challenging films including Don't Look Now, Bad Timing and The Man Who Fell To Earth, has gone mainstream. Puffball is an unusual story about supernatural forces unleashed when a young woman falls pregnant in a mysteri
  • Chasing The Long Tail: Mike Binder

    For Mike Binder, the 2001 comedy The Search For John Gissing remains something of a bittersweet experience. The film-maker, who scored critical success with The Upside Of Anger (2005) and this year's Reign Over Me, financed the film independently 'with a lot of my own money and that of family and friends' to the tune of $2.5m. He shot it on multiple floors of a disused building in London and played the lead charact
  • Creating the legend

    In the next month or so, film festivals in Montreal, Venice and Toronto will debut hundreds of new films. Some will be world premieres; others will be the first screenings outside the country of origin; and still others will be a picture's North American or European premiere.Many of these films will arrive with hefty promotional budgets either supplied by the producers or some cultural or industrial incentive or both.The irony of sorts is that the majority of movies with a lot o
  • Credit slump hits $1bn studio slate plan, says report

    Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank have pulled out of a commitment to underwrite a $1bn MGM slate deal in the wake of a credit crunch in global markets, according to The Financial Times.The planned deal aims to attract private equity, hedge fund and institutional investors to back MGM productions and co-productions.But the recent credit slump in global markets has led the financiers to reconsider the deal,
  • Danna, Desplat, Glass among World Soundtrack Award nominees

    Gustavo Santaolalla, Alberto Iglesias, Harry Gregson-Williams and Mychael Danna will participate in a three-day series of concerts at the 34th edition of the Flanders International Film Festival, which runs from Oct 9-20.The annual Benelux event will close with the 7th annual World Soundtrack Awards on Oct 20 honouring Film Composer Of The Year, Best Original Score Of The Year, Best Original Song For Film, Discovery Of The Year (emerging film composing talent), and the Public Choice
  • Der Baader Meinhof Komplexawarded $3.6m from German fund

    Producer-distributor Constantin Film has been allocated $3.6m(Euros 2.7m) - the fourth largest amount so far this year - from the German (Federal Film Fund (DFFF) for its production of Uli Edel's Der Baader Meinhof Komplex which began shooting in Berlin last week. The support, which is only exceeded by the amounts awarded to the three international productions Speed Racer, Valkyrie and The International, is also the highest sum paid out so far to a Germ
  • Evans and Fanning join Push cast

    Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle and Djimon Hounsou have joined the cast of Paul McGuigan's thriller Push, which Summit Entertainment will finance and distribute in North America. Summit holds the majority of international rights to the project, which is being co-financed by Icon who will release in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and sell in Asia and South Africa. Production is set to begin in
  • Fantastic Four postponed as China cools down foreign film market

    The opening of Fox's Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer in mainland China release date has been postponed to an indefinite date, Beijing's cinema owners confirmed today. The film, originally scheduled for August 29, will be replaced by a few smaller foreign titles imported on a flat-fee basis.Twentieth Century Fox's China representative said yesterday that the company was still waiting for confirmation from China Film Impor
  • Film Movement acquires domestic rights to Arranged

    Film Movement has acquired North American rights to Diane Crespo and Stefan C Schaefer's cross-cultural drama Arranged.The story charts the friendship between two Brooklyn teachers - one an Orthodox Jew, the other a Muslim of Syrian origin - who support each other as they each face an arranged marriage.Film Movement president Adley Gartenstein negotiated the deal with Mark Litwak of Mark Litwak & Associates on behalf of the film-ma
  • Film Sales Company takes on NYC Serenade

    Andrew Herwitz' Film Sales Company has acquired worldwide rights to Frank Whaley's NYC Serenade, which will premiere in Toronto next month. Whaley's third feature stars Freddie Prinze Jr, Chris Klein and Jamie Lynn Sigler in a coming-of-age tale about two boyhood friends who try to work out their place in the world. The story is based on Whaley's experiences of growing up in New York in the late 1980s with friends Ethan Hawke and Robert Sea
  • Film4 partners with Edinburgh theatre for new talents

    Film4 and Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre are starting a new $59,800 (£30,000) partnership to explore the crossover between theatre and film.The initiative will let Channel 4, Film4 and Traverse select promising new theatre talents to build long-term relationships working in film and television. The programme includes a first-look deal for plays developed through Traverse that have the potential to work for film and TV. Also, as part of the partnership, Channel 4 Drama and F
  • Finland - The war zone

    Marko Makilaakso is a tenacious film-maker. When film school turned him down, he started making his own short films and music videos, eventually establishing an award-winning career.A few years later, when the Finnish Film Foundation refused to fund his debut feature on the grounds it was a horror film, Makilaakso took the project to neighbouring Lithuania where he proceeded to set it up as a $5m English-language zombie thriller.Set during the Second World War, Stone's War
  • Fortissimo takes worldwide sales on Love Comes Lately

    Fortissimo has taken worldwide rights outside Germany to Jan Schuette's Love Comes Lately from zero fiction film / zero west filmproduktion.The English-language drama, which will screenas anofficial selection inToronto, is based on short stories by Nobel prizewinner Isaac Bashevis Singer. The film stars Otto Tausig, Rhea Perlman, Barbara Hershey and Elizabeth Pena.The deal was brokered between Fortissimo's co-chairman Wouter Barendrecht and zero fiction's Martin
  • French box office celebrates summer bonanza

    The French box office in July saw a staggering 57.8% increase in ticket sales over the same month last year. The total box office for 2007 thus far, however, is down 2.5% compared to the same period in 2006. While July was not the best month of this year, the increase over last year is the best overall. The weather is sure to have played a part in the boost as July 2006 was plagued by a mini heat wave and this July saw inclement weather nearly every day. Films that led th
  • Ganis re-elected as AMPAS president

    Sid Ganis was re-elected for a third consecutive term as president ofthe Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences this week [14]following a meeting of the board of governors.Robert Rehme, an executives branch governor and previous Academypresident, was re-elected first vice president, while actors branchgovernor Tom Hanks and music branch governor Charles Bernstein wereelected to the posts of vice president.Producers branch governor Hawk Koch was elected treasurer and shortfilms and feature a
  • Gavron, Morgenthaler projects selected for San Sebastian's Zabaltegi

    The San Sebastian International Film Festival has selected 16 films for its Zabaltegi-New Directors section this year. As first or second films, these projects will compete for the Euros 90,000 Altadis-New Directors Award, and first and second films in the official selection can also compete.Highlights include Mania Akbari's 10+4 from Iran, a sequel to Abbas Kiarostami's Ten; Sarah Gavron's Brick Lane from the UK, an adaptation of Monica Ali's bestsell
  • Goa to host new script development workshop with NFDC

    India's National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), in collaboration with the Directorate of Film Festivals, will conduct a script development workshop from Nov 18-24 in Goa during the International Film Festival of India. The Indian Script Development Workshop (ISDW) 2007 is designed for Indian scriptwriters who have finalized their scripts for a theatrical feature film. The aim of this workshop is to develop seven commercially viable scripts aimed for the international market. A se
  • Hackford to deliver keynote at AFCI Cineposium Conference

    Taylor Hackford will deliver the keynote speech at the Association of Film Commissioners International's (AFCI) Cineposium International Conference 2007 in New Mexico on Aug 28.'Taylor Hackford appreciates the partnership that exists between film commissioners and film-makers,' AFCI's board president Robin James said. 'We are quite honoured to have the opportunity to gain insights from one of the best in the business.'Hackford earned an best director Oscar nomination for
  • Harry Potter has a $6m Chinese opening despite local pressure

    Despite some restrictions on the release print numbers, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had a strong opening in mainland China, grossing $5.94m (RMB 45m), according to Beijing and Shanghai-based cinema owners. The figure is the best first-week gross of all Harry Potter movies in China. State-owned China Film Group Corporation, the only company allowed to import foreign films and the distributor of the Harry Potter film, declined to reveal the sales figure a
  • Hollywood Film Festival names craft awards

    Organisers of the upcoming 11th Annual Hollywood Film Festival have announced the roster of crafts award recipients for the Hollywood Awards Gala on October 22. Stephen Goldblatt will receive the Hollywood Cinematographer Of The Year Award, while Joe Hutshing will be honoured for editing, Mark Isham for composing, and Dante Ferretti for production design. Goldblatt worked on the upcoming Mike Nichols' release wartime drama
  • IFC takes North American rights to The Last Mistress

    IFC Entertainment has acquired all North American rights to Catherine Breillat's drama The Last Mistress (Une Vieille Maitresse) and will be release theatrically and on its On Demand platform. The Last Mistress was announced today in the line-up of the 45th New York Film Festival that runs from Sept 28-Oct 14 and is based on Jules-Amedee Barbey d'Aurevilly's novel about a societ
  • In Focus - The Latest Strike News

    Contract talks between Hollywood writers and their studio employers got off to a testy start last month: Writers Guild of America (WGA) reps dismissed a proposal by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (Amptp) for a study of the residuals paid in new media markets - perhaps the key issue to be covered in the negotiations - and the Amptp team shot back that the rejection was "short-sighted and self-destructive".Talks were suspended after two days and are not expected
  • Indian Film Company works with new Imtiaz Ali project

    The Indian Film Company has acquired worldwide rights to Imtiaz Ali's new film, produced by Shree Ashatavinayak Cine Vision. The film - as yet untiltled until the results are tallied from a consumer poll - is a musical romantic comedy set in North India. Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor star and Pritam composed the score. IFC 's deal includes domestic and international rights for theatre and home entertainment together with the music, satellite and all other ancillary rights inc
  • Industry moves

    PPI FILLS KEY POSTSParamount Pictures International has hired new executives in two key territories. Ichiro Okazaki, who comes from BVI, will take up the role of president of Paramount Pictures Japan from September 1. Pierre Auger will become general manager, Paramount Pictures Spain, from December 2007.ODD LOT BOOSTS TOP LINEOdd Lot Entertainment has bulked up its executive suite, hiring Keith Kauffman as senior vice-president of business and legal affairs; Andrew Boyd a
  • International box office - That rising feeling

    Japan's overall box-office earnings for the first half of 2007 totalled $778.2m (Yen92.5bn), a tiny 0.7% increase from the same period last year, according to data from Japan's top 13 largest distributors.Toho, Japan's largest distributor, topped the list with earnings of $194.1m (Yen23.8bn), but managed only 75% of last year's take in the first six months.So far Toho has released 12 films that have grossed more than Yen1bn ($8.4m) - the industry's standard indicator of a hit -
  • Johnson promoted to evp of physical production at Universal

    Bret Johnson has been promoted to Universal's executive vice president of physical production.Johnson will continue his collaboration with film-makers on all aspects of physical production including budgeting, scheduling, hiring crews, and managing the productions day-to-day.'Bret has supervised many of our biggest and most complicated films and always goes the extra mile to address film-maker needs and find creative solutions despite some very challenging situations,' pr
  • Kadokawa, Miike join forces to solve God's Puzzle

    Japanese producer Haruki Kadokawa has announced that his next production will be an adaptation of Shinji Kimoto's award-winning science fiction novel Kamisama No Puzzle (God's Puzzle), to be directed by Takashi Miike. The film will star Hayato Ichihara (All About Lily Chou-Chou) playing the dual role of identical twin university students. The film co-stars Mitsuki Tanimura (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) as a genius class-cutter who joins the twins in conduc
  • Kino International seals US rights to Beaufort, Times And Winds

    Kino International has picked up US rights to Israeli film-maker Joseph Cedar's Beaufort and Times And Winds from Turkey's Reda Erdem.Beaufort won the 2007 Berlin Film Festival's best director award and chronicles the final days of an Israeli army unit's withdrawal in 2000 from a strategic fortress near the Lebanese border.Kino president Donald Krim n
  • LaCour joins Californian bank's entertainment finance arm

    Bryan J LaCour has joined Union Bank of California'sentertainment-finance group as vice president and manager.LaCour brings more than seven years of experience in banking andfinance and arrives from Comerica Bank, where he served as vicepresident with the entertainment industries group.Union Bank of California's entertainment-finance business has providedcapital to the film industry for more than 25 years, financing suchfilms as The
  • Liberation plans Oct theatrical release for Manufacturing Dissent

    Los Angeles and London-based Liberation Entertainment is planning a UK theatrical run for the documentary Manufacturing Dissent: Uncovering Michael Moore. The film will open Oct 5 at London's Prince Charles Cinema.Director/producers Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine made the film that chronicles Michael Moore's transition from film-maker to liberal icon and explores the skeletons in his closet.The film is having its UK premiere at the E
  • Locations - 'I've always tried to enjoy wherever I go'

    When it comes to hardened veterans of international film production, they don't come much more experienced than Anthony Waye.Executive producer of Casino Royale, he has worked on no fewer than 10 Bond films, and his remarkable record includes working as assistant director on the original Star Wars, The Elephant Man, Carry On films, Doctor films, horror movies and war films such as Where Eagles Dare.Waye's main lesson is that no one site is ever ideal for making a film. "If you h
  • Montreal World Film Festival - Second life

    Serge Losique is on the phone and he is laughing. The president of the Montreal World Film Festival (Mwff) is not unlike the captain of a storm-tossed ship now entering safe harbour. The distributors who refused to give him films are now providing top titles (see sidebar). The agencies that refused to finance him are now giving him money. And all that is left of the New Montreal FilmFest - the rival that threatened to usurp him - is an $850,000 crater of debt."All great festivals had i
  • Murphy PR promotes Edwards and hires Myers

    New York independent publicity firm Murphy PR has promoted Jessica Edwards to vice president and hired Heter Myers. Edwards joined Murphy PR in 2004 shortly after the company launched. Prior to that she served as programming producer for Resfest Canada and held a number of production positions on Canadian film and television projects. Myers previously worked at communications firm Sloane & Company handling Fortune 500 accounts. 'Jessica is a true a
  • MWFF 2007: World competition

    WORLD PREMIERES1 Day (Une Journee) (Switz-Fr)Dir Jacob BergerSales Vega Film, (41) 44 384 80 90The Other Side (A Outra Margem) (Port-Br)Dir Luis Filipe RochaSales Madfilmes, (351) 21 325 58 00Ben X (Bel-Neth)Dir Nic BalthazarSales MMG NV, (32) 2 453 03 04The Other Boy (Der Andere Junge) (Ger)Dir Volker EinrauchSales Josefine Filmproduktion, (49) 40 43 29 68 0 josefine@josefine-film.deBlack Belt (Kuro-Ob
  • New Thai production outfit Extra Virgin kicks off with media documentary

    Thai film-maker Pimpaka Towira has set up a new Bangkok-based production outfit Extra Virgin with former Bangkok International Film Festival programmer Mai Meksawan and former Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) executive Ruengsang Sripaoraya.'The company aims to start with independent and low-budget productions and branch out to a more diverse range of projects in the future,' says co-founder Mai.The debut slate includes Truth Be Told,
  • New York Film Festival reveals line-up

    Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis will close the 45th New York Film Festival, which runs from Sept 28-Oct 14. As previously announced, Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited is the opening night screening and the Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men is the Centerpiece selection. Predictably American film-makers are writ l
  • NPA to offer producer training at BFI Southbank

    The UK's New Producers Alliance has partnered with the British Film Institute to offer the NPA's 9-Point Producer Training Sessions at the new BFI Southbank's Delegates Centre starting from September 2007.The 9-point programme includes the following sessions: role of the producer, company set-up, developing a project, market and audience, finance, formats and technologies, in production, post for producers, and sales, distribution and exhibition.More information is availa
  • Odyssey takes on sales for $65m Nutcracker: The True Story

    UK-based sales company Odyssey Entertainment has struck a deal to handle international sales and distribution of Anderi Konchalovksy's Nutcracker: The True Story (working title).The $65m film is set in 1920s Vienna and adapts the classic story that inspired Tchaikovsky's ballet. Konchalovsky and Chris Solimine wrote the screenplay, and the film features lyrics by Oscar winner Tim Rice. The cast features John Turturro, Nathan Lane, Richard E Grant, Frances de l
  • Opinion: Format war is futile

    A barely noted landmark was passed this week when next-generation DVDs overtook VHS in worldwide sales. Although it is not much of a breakthrough, the unsung but remarkable resilience of tape is a reminder that new media does not simply kill its predecessors.Still, the arrival of the rival Blu-ray and HD DVD as the world's second-biggest home-entertainment formats is a reminder they are moving in the right direction. It hasn't always felt like that. For all the comparisons with the Bet
  • Private investment firm buys Sunset Gower Studios

    California-based private equity fund GI Partners has sold Sunset Gower Studios to Hudson Capital. GI Partners purchased the studio, formerly home to Columbia Pictures for 50 years, in 2004 and transformed the lot into a modern full-service independent studio. Studio facilities include fibre-optic communications, CGI-ready Cyclorama stages, 130-space parking structure, and remodeled restaurant. 'We are still very bullish on Holl
  • Pusan Promotion Plan selects 35 projects for 10th edition

    The Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) has announced the line-up for its tenth anniversary edition. 35 projects from 18 countries have made the final cut, out of more than 200 submissions. Once again the PPP mixes masters and newcomers, including Cannes Camera D'Or winner Bahman Ghobadi, Berlinale Silver Bear winner Wang Xiaoshuai, and up-and-coming Vietnamese filmmaker Phan Dang Di. The line-up also includes works from producers like Terence Chang, Peter Fudakowski - who produced the A
  • Raindance announces international feature programme

    The 15th Raindance Film Festival, which runs Sept 25-Oct 7 in London, has announced this year's programme of features and feature documentaries. Highlights include Kim Ki-Duk's Breath, John Barker's Bunny Chow, Japanese blockbuster The Amazing Lives Of The Fast Food Grifters by Mamoru Osuii, US paparazzo-related project Being Michael Madsen by Michael Mongillo, Brazilian psycho sexual story Bog Of Beasts, Dan Klores and Fisher Stevens' Crazy Love
  • Reprise enjoys triple win at Norwegian film awards

    Norwegian director Joachim Trier's feature debut, Reprise, became a triple winner of the Amanda awards, the Norwegian national film prizes.The honours were handed out at a TV2-televised ceremony from Haugesund's Festiviteten Concert Hall, preceding the opening of the 35th Norwegian International Film Festival. Reprise cashed in on four nominations, receiving the trophies f
  • Sayles' Honeydripper at heart of Clark Atlanta markering course

    Independent distributor Ira Deutchman and film-maker Will Packer will launch an educational and marketing partnership with Clark Atlanta University during this autumn. The partnership has developed a marketing course centred on the upcoming theatrical release of John Sayles' Honeydripper starring Danny Glover. The course will be taught through the School of Business Administration at Clark Atlanta an
  • Slingshot and Screen WM to co-produce seven features

    UK regional screen agency Screen WM and new digital studio Slingshot Studios have struck a slate co-financing deal that will cover seven features during the next two years. Screen WM's production funds will finance 25% of film budgets, with the rest covered by Slingshot and its financing partners. Screen WM will serve as executive producer on the films and the partners will greenlight films based on commercial potential, but will give an emphasis to projects shooting in the West
  • Songbird, Downwinders win top prizes at HollyShorts

    John Thompson's Songbird won the 3rd Annual HollyShorts Film Festival's award for best short while Jake White earned top honours in the documentary section for Downwinders: The People Of Parowan.Illegal Artists' 5:55 won best film in the international category, the Dreamhouse Ensemble Best Drama Award went to Timothy Cahill's The
  • Sony Pictures Classics to finance Demme drama

    Sony Pictures Classics will fully finance Jonathan Demme's upcoming family drama Dancing With Shiva, which as previously announced will star Anne Hathaway. The company holds worldwide rights to the story, which takes place over the course of a wedding as an estranged daughter returns home to her family and stirs up old emotions. Debra Winger, Bill Irwin, Rosemarie DeWitt, Anna Deavere Smith and Tunde
  • Strand, SPWAG team to acquire Hopkins' Slipstream

    Strand Releasing has picked up domestic theatrical and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG) has taken domestic home entertainment rights to Anthony Hopkins' psychological thriller Slipstream.Hopkins recently received a special directing and acting prize at the Locarno International Film Festival for Slipstream, in which he plays a screenwriter who can no longer differentiate between fantas
  • Strike jitters ripple out worldwide

    The possibility of an industry-wide stoppage in the summer of 2008 by the US industry's writers', actors' and directors' guilds is already having an impact in North America - an impact that could soon be felt in the international marketplace.As they did in 2000-01, the last time there was a threat of widespread labour action in Hollywood, the studios are preparing for a possible stoppage by putting as many projects as they can into production before next March. That is considered the l
  • Studios clear decks as summer season reaches end

    Hollywood's international distribution divisions are clearing out thedecks before the autumn season arrives and for many this will be aweekend of consolidation.Fox International can expect healthy sustained play on The SimpsonsMovie with five new releases including Russia and Holland on Aug 16and Brazil a day later. The film stands at $244.3m and shoul
  • Superbad proves domestic superstar for Sony

    Sony's teen comedy Superbad dominated the weekend session as it opened top of the charts on an estimated $31.2m. The film, which is headlined by the unfamiliar Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, demonstrates the growing critical and commercial power of its producer Judd Apatow. Apatow is the hottest comedy film-maker working in the US today and also served as producer and director on the sleeper hit of the summe
  • The Darjeeling Limited will close London Film Festival

    The London Film Festival will close Nov 1 with the UK premiere of Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited. The director will be in London to also give an interview as part of the festival's TCM Screen Talks.Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman star as three American brothers who try to find themselves and bond with each other during a train trip across India.Anderson wrote the project with Roman Coppola and Schwartzman. Producers are Anderson, Scott Rudi
  • The Drummer

    Dir. Kenneth Bi. Hong Kong / Taiwan , 2007. 115 mins.Conceived as a vehicle for Jaycee Chan (Jackie Chan's son) but more likely to serve as a showcase for the talents of the U Theatre drummers, this gangster-movie-meets-rites-of-initiation picture has a hard time deciding which way to go among the variety of options it attempts to explore.Not quite a genre movie, nor a philosophical one about the glory and mystery of an anc
  • The Invasion

    Dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel. US. 2007. 100mins The latest remake of Jack Finney's 1955 novel The Body Snatchers is a success if viewed as a slick thriller from mainstream producer Joel Silver but a disappointment as the US debut of Germany's Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall, The Experiment) starring Nicole Kidman. Completed, reportedly, with considerable input from the Wachowski Brothers and V For Vendetta director James McTiegue, the
  • The little black book

    When deciding where to locate a shoot, the crucial factors might seem cut and dried. What are the tax breaks' Are there decent production facilities' Is there a skilled local workforce' What locations are needed'But such hard-headed considerations overlook an aspect of film-making that has a major impact on the progress of the project and could have a significant effect on the final on-screen product: what is it actually like living in these places for the duration of a shoot'Fi
  • The Match Factory picks up German tragicomedy

    The Match Factory has picked up international distribution for Neele Leana Vollmar's second feature Friedliche Zeiten (literal translation: Peaceful Times) which has begun shooting in Munich and surroundings. The tragicomedy, based on Birgit Vanderbeke's 1996 novel of the same name, is being produced by Vollmar and Caroline Daube's joint production company Royal Pony Film with broadcasters BR/Arte and Odeon Pictures, Lunaris Film- und Fernsehproduktion and Berlin-bas
  • The Simpsons Movie regains international lead

    Homer's remarkable box office odyssey saw The Simpsons Movie reclaim the number one overseas spot by a nose at the weekend as preliminary results put it ahead of Universal/UPI's The Bourne Ultimatum by an estimated $23.4m versus $22m. Last weekend Fox International's animated hit appeared to have vanquished the fifth Harry Potter episode
  • TIFF unveils 2007 Industry Initiatives

    The Toronto International Film Festival has unveiled a plethora of industry initiatives today [Aug 20] for next month's festival designed to develop and support the Canadian film industry and its partners.The Ontario Media Development Corporation's day-long International Financing Forum (IFF) runs on Sept 10. The event brings together sales agents, producers, agents and executive producers and is designed to encourage international co-productions with Canadian film-makers.
  • Tooley takes leading creative role at Relativity

    Producer Tucker Tooley has joined Los Angeles-based Relativity Mediaas head of creative and will lead development and production forRelativity's single film business and oversee growth of the productionteam.Tooley and Relativity principal Ryan Kavanaugh will work closely onsuch upcoming releases as David Twohy's thriller A Perfect Getaway,James Mangold's Western 3:10 To Yuma
  • Toronto unveils 73 international titles

    World premieres of new work from UK film-makers Nick Broomfield andSarah Gavron, Argentina's Hector Babenco and India's Rituparno Ghoshare among 73 international films unveiled for next month's TorontoInternational Film Festival.The line-up includes the North American premiere of Ang Lee'sShanghai-set wartime thriller Lust, Caution, as well as Ken Loach'ssocial drama It's A Free Wor
  • Tribeca organisers set 2008 dates starting Apr 23

    The 2008 Tribeca Film Festival will run in New York City from Apr 23-May 4, organisers have announced. The early deadline for entries is Nov 16 and the official deadline is Dec 14. The late deadline for 2008 feature work in progress is Jan 11, 2008. The line-up for Tribeca's new Tropfest@Tribeca based on the Australian hit festival Tropfest will be unveiled next week. For more details visit the official website at
  • Tykwer action thriller gets $5.3m from German fund

    Tom Tykwer's action thriller The International has been awarded Euros 4m by the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF).It isthe third largest amount allocated by the incentive programme after the Wachowski brothers' Speed Racer (£12m) and Bryan Singer's Valkyrie ($6.4m). The 'German spend' incentive scheme has now paid out almost two-thirds of its annual $80m (Euros 60m) budget to 61 national and international projects shooting in Germany.A
  • UFO partners for digital releases of RK Films library

    UFO Moviez, the Indian digital cinema company, has partnered with the legendary Indian studio RK Films to release their popular classics like Bobby, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Prem Rog and Heena among others in digital wide screen format.RK, founded by the late Raj Kapoor, is a 60-year-old production house and the first Indian company to release its classics on the digital platform. Randhir Kapoor, son of Raj Kapoor said, 'We
  • United Arab Emirates - Gulf of opportunity

    Jon Fitzgerald's career has taken him from Park City to Santa Barbara via the Bahamas and Florida - and now to the Gulf, where he has been appointed director of Abu Dhabi's inaugural Middle East International Film Festival (Meiff).Invited by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission's Abed Awad, Fitzgerald was initially attracted by the government's strong level of support (festival insiders say the budget is around $8m). "They're ramping up the arts in a way never seen before - look at the museum
  • United Artists secures $500m slate deal

    Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner's United Artists have secured the awaited $500m slate financing deal through Merrill Lynch.The financing from investors in Europe, Asia, Africa and the US was expected but it comes against the background of financial turmoil in global markets which has threatened some deals.Yesterday Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank reportedly withdrew their commitment to underwrite UA parent company MGM's $1bn slate deal in the wake of the global credit slump.
  • United Kingdom - East meets west

    A chance meeting on holiday set Donal Fernandes on the previously untrodden Estonian route to Cannes.The first-time producer was on a trip to the Eastern European country when he bumped into local film-maker Kadri Kousaar, who was struggling to produce her first feature, Magnus.He had previously met her in 2006 when she showed him her short film. "I was immediately impressed by the camerawork," he recalls."I advised her, based on my own experience, and within 36 ho
  • United States - Freedom of the pen

    When series regular Steve Kloves ducked out of writing the fifth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, producer David Heyman turned to Michael Goldenberg. Goldenberg is no stranger to challenging adaptations, with Contact and Peter Pan among his credits. He immediately felt he had a strong vision for JK Rowling's fifth Potter."By the time I'd finished reading the book the first time, I knew what I thought the film should be about," he expla
  • Venice adds selections including Gitai's Disengagement

    Marco Mueller has added several new titles to the line up of the 64th edition of the Venice Film Festival completing his official selection, theBiennale announced Friday.The new films include Israeli director Amos Gitai's Disengagement,which stars French actress Juliette Binoche.Tipped as a story of family sentiments set amidst Israel's pull out ofthe Gaza strip in 2005, Disengagement is an Israeli-French-Italian-German co production and marks
  • Yellow fever still contagious

    Springfield's favourite family held on to the top spot as The Simpsons Movie generated $24.1m in its third week, pushing it well past the $200m mark. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix trailed behind, taking $23.8m over the three-day period for $548.4m to date. And Disney's Ratatouille continued to prove a popular dish - the animated adventure passed $100m after taking $18.6m in its seventh week despite dropping from five territories. Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer re-entere
  • Zentropa plans feature about Danish terrorist group

    Zentropa is planning a feature film to tell the story of the Blekinge Street Gang, the Danish terrorist group which will also be the subject of two TV projects.Since last year Zentropa has been preparing Blekinge Street, anoriginal story based on the real-life events 20 years ago scripted byLars Kjeldgaard (The Spider), and to be directed by Jacob Thuesen,whose feature debut, Accused, was selected for the Berlinale.Thuesen has recentl