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20 August 2008

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  • Alcon acquires film rights to graphic novel Cryptozoo Crew

    Warner Bros-based Alcon Entertainment has acquired rights to Jerry Carr and Allan Gross' graphic novel Cryptozoo Crew and the script adaptation from Joe Gazzam.Cryptozoo centres on a member of a secret organisation charged with protecting the identity of rare animals classified as cryptids who teams up with a beautiful doctor to protect a unique species from falling into the wrong hands.Alco
  • Andrzej Wajda begins work on new film Tatarak

    Polish auteur Andrzej Wajda began filming this week on a new feature, Tatarak.Producers told that filming began on location in Grudziadz in northern Poland and will continue until the end of September.Wajda and Polish author Olga Tokarczuk have adapted the script from a novel by Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz and from a story by Hungarian author Sandor Marai. Iwaszkiewicz's stories were also the source of Wajda's The Birch Wood and The Mai
  • Animation draws Toho towards record-setting year

    Japan's Toho Studios is on track to reach its stated goal of Y60bn ($548.5m) in box office earnings this year, which would make it the most the successful year in the company's history. Toho announced that in the first seven months of 2008 its releases earned $333.9m (Y36.52bn), a 26% increase over the same period last year. Toho was the territory's top earner in 2007 with $544.1m (Y59.51bn) as the company's best year ever.Toho also released July figures of $111.2m (Y12.16bn), a 11
  • Back Soon

    Dir: Solveig Anspach. Iceland/France, 2008. 92mins.
  • Barbara Broccoli appointed to UK Film Council board

    James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has been appointed to the board of the UK Film Council by Culture Minister Margaret Hodge.Broccoli, also the chair of youth film-making initiative First Light Movies, will attend her first board meeting in September after the appointment effective Aug 4.At EON, Broccoli is currently producing Quantum of Solace. Other than Bond, she has also worked on TV's Crime Of The Century and the stage production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
  • Bona Group set toraise $30m in second funding round

    Beijing-based producer-distributor Bona International Film Group is set to raise $30m in its second funding round from venture capital groups Sequoia Capital China and SIG Asia Investments. The funding comes ahead of a planned overseas listing for Bona Group, which is the holding company of distributor Polybona, talent management company Bona Yinglong andexhibitor Bona Cineplex, as well as amajority shareholder in international sales outfit Distribution Workshop.Sequoia and SIG Asi
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - Out of the rubble

    Now the most important festival in the Balkans, the Sarajevo Film Festival was launched in 1995 during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It began by screening a selection of films from the Edinburgh and Locarno festivals in Sarajevo's Obala Arts Centre which, perhaps surprisingly given the circumstances, proved very popular."It was an ideal place to hide from war and to dream someone else's dream," says Elma Tataragic, who was 18 when she started working at the centre.Tataragic
  • Britfilms launches DVD label with Aussie hits, Black Sheep

    Website has launched a new DVD label.The first four titles for the label are Henri Safran's classic Australian family film Storm Boy, John Curran's Australian drama Praise, Chris Kennedy's Australian road movie/musical/romance Doing Time For Patsy Cline, and Oliver Rihs' Swiss/German dark comedy Black Sheep. The original website is devoted to showing short films by indepdendent film-makers.
  • Buzz Films - A strong year for Norwegian film is reflected in the world premieres at Haugesund

    99% HONESTDir: Rune Denstad Langlo99% Honest is a theatrical documentary based on a Norwegian TV series about four musicians from different ethnic backgrounds who form a hip-hop band. Director Rune Denstad Langlo and producer Sigve Endresen of Motlys produced both the TV series and the film, which will be released in Norway on September 12, following the group's first album.Int'l sales: Motlys, (47) 2280 8370; motlys@motlys.comTHE UNSEENDir: Erik Popp
  • Canadian author Bezmozgis begins directorial debut Victoria Day

    Award-winning Canadian author David Bezmozgis is set to begin principal photography on his directorial debut Victoria Day. Written by Bezmozgis, the film is produced by Bezmozgis and Judy Holm and Michael McNamara of Toronto-based production company Markham Street Films. Holm, Robin Cass and Anna Stratton of Toronto's Triptych Media serve as executive producers.Described as a 'wry coming-of-age story', the film follows Ben Spektor
  • Canadian festivals - Telefilm plays the Canada card

    In July, Telefilm Canada introduced a new regime for its festival funding. In essence, eligible Canadian film festivals will be required to increase the number of Canadian films they screen in order to qualify for funding.The issue came up at the opening press conference of Montreal's World Film Festival (Wff). Afterwards WFF vice-president Danielle Cauchard spoke to Screen International about the implications of the change.'Almost every country except the US has a policy
  • Celestialsigns distribution deals withUS trio

    Hong Kong's Celestial Pictures has signed distribution agreements with BCI, Media Blasters and Well Go USA to release Shaw Brothers martial arts titles on home video in the US and Canada. The three partners, which specialise in distributing Asian-language content, have licensed the rights to 45 martial arts titles from Celestial's Shaw Brothers library, including The 14 Amazons, Heroes Two and Two Champions Of Shaolin.They join Celestial's expanding list of dis
  • Celluloid Dreams picks up Birdwatchers, Plastic City

    Celluloid Dreams has added two Venice competition titles to its autumn slate - Yu Lik-wai's Plastic City and Marco Bechis' Birdwatchers - both of which are set in Brazil and are co-productions with Brazil's Gullane Filmes. Produced by Italy's Classic Film, Karta Film and Rai Cinema with Fabiano and Caio Gullane, Birdwatchers follows the confrontation between a group of wealthy farmers and the natives who are the legitimate inhabitants of their land.The
  • Chung exits Taewon to launch non-listed production outfit

    Korean producer Chung Tae-Won has sold his shares in KOSDAQ-listed production company, Taewon Entertainment, and is launching a new production outfit, Taewon Productions. In an $18.5m deal announced yesterday (Aug 19), Taewon sold his 17% share of the company, along with another 52% owned by Fireworks International and a foreign fund, to Korean executive Cho Jung-ho and HC Partners. Jung is leaving his position as CEO of Taewon Entertainment.Noting that managing a listed company di
  • Constantin's theatrical distribution up 92% in first half of 2008

    Constantin Film's theatrical distribution arm generated 92% more revenues year-on-year to June 30, according to the group's interim management report issued today for the first six months of 2008.Constantin garnered a 9.9% market share and held on to its position as Germany's leading independent distributor with box office takings of $24.2m (Euros 16.5m), up from 2007's $ 12.5m (Euros 8.5m).$17.3m (Euros 11.8m) of this total was thanks to the releases of such in-house production
  • Danny Huston, Novakovic, Roberts join Edge Of Darkness

    Danny Huston, newcomer Bojana Novakovic and Shawn Roberts have joined Mel Gibson and Robert De Niro in GK Films' thriller Edge Of Darkness, which is due to begin filming in Massachusetts later this month.Based on the BBC mini-series of the same name, Edge Of Darkness will be directed by Martin Campbell and produced by Graham King and mini-series producer Michael Wearing.William Monahan and A
  • Davis, Harris, Fox attached to star in The Cellar

    London and Los Angeles-based Cool Hand International has optioned the psychological horror script The Cellar from writer-director John Gary and has attached Lucy Davis, Jared Harris and Emilia Fox to star.Brian Cox is also confirmed for a cameo role in the tale of a group of wedding guests who get trapped in a cellar in a remote castle. Cool Hand will be among the film's producers.John Gary's manager Todd Sharp of the Mayhem Group
  • Disgrace adaptation takes Australian Writers Guild Award

    Anna-Maria Monticelli has won an Australian Writers Guild Award for the script of her feature film adaptation of JM Coetzee's novel Disgrace, which will have its world premiere next month in a special presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival.In the original feature category, The Black Balloon earned its two writers, director Elissa Down and Jimmy the Exploder*, the top accolade from their pee
  • Editorial - The lessons that count

    A striking feature of the international film industry that deserves more attention is the willingness of those at the top to share their experiences with those on the way up. Workshops, courses and mentoring schemes are everywhere and, while they vary in quality, they can nearly always draw on serious names.Watching how the industry explains the business to would-be film-makers and producers of tomorrow is telling. At the moment, the messages tend to be warts-and-all assessments of a c
  • Five animated shorts nominated for Cartoon d'Or

    Five animation shorts from Belgium, France and the UK have been nominated for this year's Cartoon d'Or prize which will be announced at an awards ceremony during the forthcoming Cartoon Forum (Sept 16-19) in Germany's Ludwigsburg.The finalists are:The Bridge (Le Pont) by Vincent Bierrewaerts (Belgium/France)Breakout (L'Evasion) by Arnaud Demuynck (Belgium)The White Wolf (Le Loup Blanc) by Pierre-Luc Granjon (France)
  • Flashback 2007

    The world premiere of Nic Balthazar's Belgium-Netherlands co-production Ben X, about teenage bullying, was the toast of last year's festival, picking up the main competition prize, known as the Grand Prize of the Americas, ex aequo with Claude Miller's A Secret. Ben X also won the audience award and the Ecumenical Prize. After the festival, France's Films Distribution picked up international sales rights, securing deals to Film Movement in the US and Kinepolis Film Distri
  • Focus Features takes on world sales for Lance Daly's Kisses

    Focus Features International has come on board to handle world sales on Lance Daly's festival crowdpleaser Kisses. The film, which won the Best Irish Film Award at the Galway Film Fleadh, screened earlier this month in competition in Locarno and will also show in Toronto.'The film had freshness and honesty. It's a film that can be discovered and can hopefully become one of the darlings of the film festival circuit,' Alison Thompson, Focus' president international sales & distr
  • Former THINKFilm executive launches Variance Films

    Former THINKFilm director of distribution and marketing Dylan Marchetti has launched Variance Films and will kick off with the domestic releases of Walking On Dead Fish and Smother.Variance will target small films that typically struggle to get into theatres in an increasingly overcrowded market place and Marchetti plans to be a regular face on the festival and market acquisitions circuit.Fr
  • Fox Japan ramps up local production with Gunjo

    20th Century Fox Japan has unveiled details of its latest foray into local feature film production with drama Gunjo (Ultramarine), starring Masami Nagasawa.Based on a popular serialised novel by Ayako Miyagi, the story depicts the spiritual recovery of a woman who returns to her father's home in Okinawa after her boyfriend's death.Also in the cast are Kuranosuke Sasaki as the father, Seiji Fukushi and Misato Tanaka. Nagasawa also starred in 2004 tearjerker megahit
  • Gasolina

    Dir: Julio Hernandez Cordon. Guatemala. 2008. 72mins.
  • Generator fires up with Freakdog, Cherrybomb

    The low-budget genre boom is not just for newbies: take veteran producers Mark Huffam and Simon Bosanquet, who have founded new UK-based production company Generator Entertainment.'We hatched this idea a few years ago,' explains Bosanquet, whose credits include Wuthering Heights and Ripley's Game (Huffam has worked on the likes of Mamma Mia! The Movie and Saving Private Ryan). 'I'd been working as an independent producer for a few years and all independent p
  • Gotham Award Tribute planned for Penelope Cruz

    Penelope Cruz will receive a Gotham Award Tribute at the 18th Annual Gotham Awards in New York on Dec 2.Cruz currently stars in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, released in North American through The Weinstein Company, and Isabel Coixet's Elegy, which is being handled by Samuel Goldwyn Films.The Spanish actress earned an Oscar nomination for Pedro Almodovar's Volver in 2007 and her credits include Almodovar's Live Flesh, A
  • Heddy Honigmann. Gregory King selected for Binger Script Lab

    The Binger Filmlab has named the participants for its September 2008 semester of the Script Development Programme.The Netherlands-based labs, workshops, seminars and master-classes will welcome:Alice Bell (Australia / Gin & Tonic) Jan Bonny ( Germany / A Politician's Wife) Carlos Contreras (Mexico / On Speaking Terms) Tamar van den Dop (Netherlands / Street) Azza El-Hassan (Jordan / Palestine / A Story of a Pal
  • Heineken to kick off Quantum Of Solace promotions in October

    Heineken International will launch a worldwide promotional campaign for the forthcoming James Bond film Quantum Of Solace.The MGM/Columbia release of an EON production will hit cinemas in November 2008.This marks Heineken's fifth consecutive partnership with the Bond franchise.The campaign, featuring new Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, was shot using actual film sets and scenes from the film. The campaign includes TV, radio and print ads, promotions, interactive and di
  • Honigmann's Oblivion to open Horizones Latino in San Sebastian

    San Sebastian has announced the films in its Horizones Latinos section, devoted to Latin American productions, films made by film-makers of Latin American origin, or films that address Latin America.Dutch director Heddy Honigmann's Oblivion (El olvido), set in Peru, will open the section and compete.Fourteen films, including works from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Uruguay, will compete for the Euros 35,000 Horizontes Award.Out of compet
  • Hwang leaves Shanghai-based Meridian Pictures

    Bill Hwang is leaving Shanghai-based Meridian Pictures Group after two-and-a-half years as the company's director of international distribution. A former executive of Korea's Tube Entertainment and Kang Jegyu Films, Hwang came on board the Shanghai-based company in March 2006. He will officially leave at the end of August. Meridian has not yet decided on a replacement for Hwang's post, according to a Meridian spokesperson.Meridian Pictures was founded in 2005 by Chinese textile tyc
  • ICA hosts premiere of Das' directorial debut Little Box Of Sweets

    The entirely independently produced Little Box Of Sweets has its premiere tonight at the ICA in London.
  • IM Internationalmedia filing for insolvency

    The beleaguered IM Internationalmedia filed for insolvency proceedings in Munich today since pending illiquidity was putting continued business operations at risk.According to an adhoc communique, the reason for the illiquidity could be traced back to an investment group around David Bergstein, Eluvium Holdings, not paying for exercised options.But Bergstein's R Media Acquisitions released a statement saying that Bergstein was not involved in Eluvium, only making introductions.
  • In Focus: Britta Knoller and Hans-Christian Schmid's Storm

    Hans-Christian Schmid could not have wished for better timing to start shooting his latest feature project, the English-language political thriller Storm, about the aftermath of the Balkan war.Just a week earlier, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic had been apprehended after 13 years on the run.Storm (working title), which began shooting on July 29 in Berlin, stars New Zealand-born actress Kerry Fox as a prosecutor at the war-crimes tribunal in The Hague w
  • In Focus: Norwegian film

    Cold Lunch, Eva Sorhaug's debut feature, will open Critics' Week at the Venice film festival later this month, the first Norwegian film to do so. It will then screen in the Discovery section at the Toronto International Film Festival.Starring Aksel Hennie, Pia Tjelta and Ane Dahl Torp, Cold Lunch juggles multiple narratives to paint a portrait of an Oslo neighbourhood. It is produced by Oslo-based 4 1/2 Productions and sold by TrustNordisk.The film's Venice coup is
  • International - Kinng reigns supreme

    India and China are the hotspots in this week's international box office, with the former's Singh Is Kinng becoming the biggest Bollywood opener of 2008 after debuting in 21 territories, and the latter witnessing Red Cliff break Chinese box-office records - even in a week when the Olympics overshadowed the movies.Studio 18's wide day-and-date release for Singh Is Kinng saw the film open in its home territory on more than 1,000 prints. On the back of a strong public
  • Irvine Welsh to shoot darts mockumentary feature

    Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh is gearing up for production of his directorial debut feature, Good Arrows.The mockumentary-style comedy was written by Welsh and his frequent collaborator Dean Cavanagh.The original screenplay is about a darts player who falls from grace in the in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. The old coal mining town is also home to characters including peddlars of the ultimate credit crunch drug, jenkem, made from fermented feces and urine.Wels
  • Is the slate deal going up in flames'

    In a year rife with bad financial news, the film-finance world has seen its share of worrying portents. Though some financiers suggest that conditions have in fact been deteriorating for considerably longer, in the 12 months since the start of the global credit crisis the outlook has grown steadily worse for the kind of Wall Street-backed slate financing deals that have helped fund much of Hollywood's recent output. Word has been spreading of slate deals that have failed to attract investors
  • Isabelle Huppert to be honoured at Montreal Film Festival

    French actress Isabelle Huppert will be presented with a career achievement award at the upcoming Montreal World Film Festival. The MWFF, which runs August 21 to September 1, will screen five of her performances, including her latest, Ursula Meier's Home. The other titles are Violette Noziere (1978), Madame Bovary (1990) and Come
  • Jackson, Walsh & Boyens to work with Del Toro on Hobbit scripts

    New Line has signed deals with Peter Jackson and his Lord Of The Rings screenwriting team Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens to collaborate with Guillermo del Toro on the screenplay adaptations of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and its sequel.Del Toro will shoot simultaneously. Principal photography has been tentatively set for a late 2009 start, with the aim of releasing The Hobbit
  • Judd Apatow & Seth Rogen on anew kind of comedy

    Judd Apatow has produced 10 movies in the Hollywood studio system in the last five years. The films have grossed nearly $1.1bn worldwide and that excludes most of the revenues for this summer's releases Step Brothers and Pineapple Express which opened in North America this month. It is a dizzying ascent to movie monarchy for a man who made his name on TV shows such as The Larry Sanders Show, The Critic and his own creations Freaks And Geeks and Undeclared
  • Lezione 21

    Dir: Alessandro Baricco. Italy, UK. 2008. 92 mins.As the title implies, this is at heart a lecture. In it, Alessandro Baricco, a former music critic and well-known novelist in Italy, gives his take on one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, through the device of a fictitious university professor played by John Hurt, whose Lecture 21 deals with the maestro's last complete symphony. Baricco's debut is a non-narrative, i
  • Locarno deals: Finecut goes Drinking, Autre Homme sells to India

    Finecut has acquired the world distribution rights to the South Korean film Daytime Drinking by Noh Young-seok which was screened as an international premiere in Locarno's International Competition at the weekend.According to Finecut's senior manager EJ Cho, the company had received a 'good response and strong interest from festivals and buyers' for Young-seok's low budget feature film debut.Described as 'a humorous road movie constructed around a series of increasingly
  • Mar Nero

    Dir: Federico Bondi. Italy-Romania-France. 2008. 95mins.Just as his characters don't quite make it all the way to the Black Sea, so Federico Bondi's debut doesn't quite succeed in getting all its good intentions up onto the screen. A simple, sentimental tale of the relationship between an elderly Italian woman and her young Romanian carer, the film pushes its characters to unnecessary extremes and overplays the cliches on its way to a confusing ending. Shot in HD, it cou
  • Max & Co producers declare bankruptcy after megaflop

    A dark cloud descended on Swiss cinema at this week's Locarno Film Festival with the news that Lausanne-based producers MAX-LeFilm and Cinemagination have been forced to declare bankruptcy after the flop of their $27.5m (CHF 30m) animation feature Max & Co. Billed as the most expensive Swiss film of all time, the ambitious project by the brothers Frederic and Samuel Guillaume had only managed to attract 16,000 cinema-goers into the cinemas in the first two weeks when it was re
  • MercuryMedia on board for Dominick Dunne: After The Party

    MercuryMedia has taken on worldwide distribution rights (excluding Australia) to Kirsty de Garis and Timothy Jolley's feature documentary Dominick Dunne: After The Party.The 84-minute feature recently premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival.Jolley and de Garis made the film through their own Australia-based company Road Trip. Executive producers are Sue Maslin and Daryl Dellora of Film Art Doco.The documentary includes previously unseen home video
  • Metrodome branches into IMAX with Steep documentary

    Metrodome Distribution is releasing its first title on IMAX screens: sports documentary Steep will run at the BFI IMAX from Sept 26.Steep is a feature documentary about big-mountain skiing, starring some of the sport's biggest names including Seph Morrison, Glen Plake and the late Doug Combes.Metrodome CEO Peter Urie said: 'We're very excited to be offering cinema-goers the opportunity of seeing Steep with the IMAX experience. Steep has dazzling cinema
  • Mirrors (2007)

    Dir: Alexandre Aja. US. 2008. 111mins.Mirrors tries to blend conventional horror with dark, allegorical thriller in this film about a washed-up policeman targeted by evil mirrors but pulls off neither very effectively. French film-maker Alexandre Aja, quickly becoming the go-to director for down-and-dirty horror remakes, hits all the keys hard but there's not the tune of a smooth, unified vision here, just the jangly, discordant tones of set-piece
  • NESTA helps Pact with tools for producers working across platforms

    UK producers group Pact is working with NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) to help film and TV producers work on convergent or 'multi-platform' projects.The tools the groups have worked on together include legal templates for multiplatform development, and a how-to guide for joint ventures.John McVay, chief executive of Pact, said: 'Producers from both the TV and new media sectors have told us that they need a simple framework to help them to develop
  • New Wave takes UK rights to Lawlor & Molloy's Helen

    New UK distribution outfit New Wave Films has acquired Helen, the debut feature from Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor.Screen International criticAllan Hunter called the film 'hypnotic' and said 'Molloy and Lawlor are talents to watch.'The film, which had its world premiere in Edinburgh, is about a student who is hired to play a missing girl in a police reconstruction and is drawn to aspects of the girl's life.The company previously brought another EIFF selection,
  • Noel Clarke teams with Lionsgate UK for sci-fi project 83

    Adulthood writer/director/star Noel Clarke is working with Lionsgate UK to develop his next project, 83.Lionsgate UK announced earlier this year that it planned to co-produce and co-finance two to three British features per year; there are three other previously announced films in development but 83 could be the first to shoot in early 2009.The project i
  • Nome Proprio, Cochochiwin atBrazil's Gramado festival

    Murilo Salles' Nome Proprio, the story of an intense young woman who dedicates her life to writing, won the award for best Brazilian film at the 36th Gramado film festival.Held in a small town in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, the festival highlights Brazilian, Latin American and Iberian Films, in addition to encouraging co-productions between Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking countries.The awards (called Kikitos) were handed out Aug 16 in two categories: Brazili
  • Northern Soul feature Souled Out starts five-week shoot

    Northern Soul-era coming-of-age story Souled Out starts shooting today for five weeks.The cast features Martin Compston, Alfie Allen, Craig Parkinson, Nichola Burley, Felicity Jones, Brian McCardie, Jo Hartley, Pat Shortt and Huey Morgan.Shimmy Marcus is directing for Ipso Facto Films and Dreamfinder. The project is shooting on location in Stoke-on-Trent, UK.Jeff Williams wrote the original screenplay.The story, set in 1974 during the Northern Soul heyday,
  • NZ's Ruth Harley appointed as head of Screen Australia

    Ruth Harley has stepped down after a decade as chief executive of the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) to take the same role at the new super agency in neighbouring Australia. She will be on deck at Screen Australia from November 15 but will attend a planning meeting of the two-month-old board on September 16.She said there was much debate in Australia around best development practices and ways of boosting audiences and New Zealand had been successful on both fronts.'I am
  • NZ's Ruth Harley appointed ashead of Screen Australia

    Ruth Harley has stepped down as chief executive of the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) to take the same role at the new super agency in the neighbouring and much bigger country of Australia. She will be on deck at Screen Australia from November 15, taking the reins from Lyn Maddock, who has been in an acting role since the doors opened on July 1.Screen Australia has responsibility for nearly all the Federal Government's direct support of feature films, adult and children's televisio
  • Oberli's The Murder Farm to star Jentsch, Bleibtreu

    German actress Julia Jentsch, the star of Malgoska Szumowska's Locarno competition film 33 Scenes From Life, is to appear with Monica Bleibtreu in Swiss director Bettina Oberli's next feature The Murder Farm (Tannöd), which begins shooting in the Sauerland and Eifel regions of Germany from September.The $5.6m (Euros 3.8m) co-production between Wüste Film West and Constantin Film with Zurich-based Hugofilm Productions is based on Andrea Maria Schenkel's novel
  • Parque Via

    Dir: Enrique Rivero. Mexico. 2008. 84mins.I
  • Paul Hogan keen to make Charlie & Boots for Instinct

    Two of Australia's leading film comics, Paul Hogan from the 1986 worldwide hit Crocodile Dundee fame, and Shane Jacobson from the 2006 local Kenny are the likely leads in Charlie & Boots, which secured a promise of investment today from Screen Australia.Although not signed, producer David Redman said they are very keen to play a father and son who travel from the bottom of the east coast of Australia to the northern tip to go fishing after a dramatic event changes
  • Paula Wagner steps down as CEO of United Artists

    Paula Wagner has stepped down as CEO of UA 21 months after she accepted the challenge of rebooting MGM's specialty label.Wagner, who took on the role of CEO and co-owner at the studio with her longtime business partner Tom Cruise, said she planned to return to a full-time producing role under her own production label.She will remain attached to UA's existing projects, which includes the WWII thriller Valkyrie that has been brought f
  • Polish Film Festival in Gdynia announces competition

    The 33rd Polish Film Festival (PFF) has announced its line-up, with Polish director Robert Glinski as president of the main competition jury.Sixteen films compete for the festival's main grand prize, including Jerzy Skolimowski's Quinzaine title Four Nights With Anna; A Warm Heart, from European Film Academy co-founder Krzysztof Zanussi; and Petr Zelenka's Polish-Czech co-production The Karamazovs, which one the FIPRESCI award this year at Karlovy Vary.Also
  • Popular LA journalist Yani Begakis dies at 81

    Yani Begakis, a veteran LA-based film journalist and longtime member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), has died in Los Angeles at the age of 81.An enormously popular and well-respected man, Begakis was a fixture in Hollywood with a deep love - and intensive knowledge - of movies as well as a legendary sense of humour. He was an active journalist right up to his final illness.Begakis was born to Greek parents in Istanbul (then Constantinople) in 1926. Whil
  • Preview: Haugesund Norwegian International Film Festival

    This year we have every reason to spell NORWAY with capital letters,' says Hakon Skogrand, programme director of the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund (August 16-23). 'Local films will open and close the festival, and in total there will be 15 premieres of Norwegian films, including all features, documentaries, shorts and graduation titles.'Public audiences from the small coastal town will crowd the Edda Cinemas for screenings throughout the week, and the festival's ho
  • Preview: Montreal World Film Festival

    Montreal's World Film Festival (WFF) enters its 32nd year in a state of suspended animation. Is it, as its mercurial president Serge Losique claims, a festival of discoveries' Or is it a repository for films that no-one else has selected'At the opening press conference on August 5, the line-up was announced with little fanfare. And for good reason: no-one had heard of most of the directors whose films were being announced. There was a palpable absence of star power. True, this bodes we
  • Pusan Promotion Plan reveals line-up of 30 projects

    The 11th Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) has announcedthe official line-up for this year's projects market - 30 projects from 17 countries selected from 200 submissions. The line-up includes work from China's Zhang Yuan, Japan's Sabu and Chinese-Korean filmmaker Zhang Lu. Of note, Lee Chang-dong (Secret Sunshine) will not only be presenting his fifth feature film project to direct, but will also be co-producing A Brand New Life (working title) by Ounie Lecomte with whom he partne
  • Rena Ronson wins WIF Business Leadership Award

    William Morris Independent co-head and William Morris Agency senior vice president Rena Ronson will receive Women In Film's (WIF) Business Leadership Award later this year.Ronson will receive the honour along with Lifetime Television Network consultant Susanne Daniels at the Business in Leadership Awards on November 1 in Century City.The second WIF Entertainment Forum will take place on November 1 and 2 at Century City's Intercontinental Hotel and highlights include panel
  • Rome's first selections include 8, The Duchess,Baader Meinhof

    The International Film Festival of Rome has unveiled the first titles for its upcoming third edition, which runs Oct 22-31 in the Italian capital.8 (Huit), a composition of eight shorts by Jane Campion, Gael Garcia Bernal, Jan Kounen, Mira Nair, Gaspar Noe, Abderrahmane Sissako, Gus Van Sant and Wim Wenders that address the malaise and challenges our planet faces today, will be unveiled as a world premiere in the Cinema 2008 competition section.8 is backed by the U
  • Screen Australia hands out funding to four projects

    Australian director Simon Wincer, who made the iconic US miniseries Lonesome Dove, is saddling up for a new feature that will carry his trademark: plenty of horses. The Cup, an against-all-odds true story featuring Australia's most famous horse race, was one of four films that won investment from Screen Australia yesterday.The others are Love And Mortar, a drama couched in comedy to be directed by Nadia Tass (Malcolm) and starring James Nesbitt; debut fi
  • SKy Movies launches six new genre high-def channels

    UK television company Sky Movies will launch six new genre-themed high definition channels on the Sky+ HD service in October 2008, bringing the total number of Sky Movies HD channels to nine.The new channels are: Sky Movies Action/Thriller HD; Sky Movies Sci-Fi/Horror HD; Sky Movies Drama HD; Sky Movies Modern Greats HD; Sky Movies Family HD; and Sky Movies Comedy HD.Also, Additionally, Sky Movies will launch a weekly UK premiere slot on Sky Movies Premiere HD every Friday, with
  • Soundtrack nominees include Golden Compass, Kite Runner

    Organisers at the World Soundtrack Awards announced the nominees in the three major categories of film composer of the year, best original score and best original song.Composer of the year nominees are: Alexandre Desplat for The Golden Compass; James Newton Howard (Charlie Wilson's War, Michael Clayton and I Am Legend); Alberto Iglesias for The Kite Runner; Dario Marianelli for Atonement; and John Powell for The Bourne Ultimatum.
  • Speculation heats up over Maire replacement in Locarno

    Locarno's Frederic Maire has pronounced himself 'very pleased' with how his third outing as the festival's artistic director panned out this year. Speaking exclusively to ahead of the announcement of the awards at the weekend, Maire pointed to such highlights as the reaction of the audience to the Amos Gitai film One Day You Will Understand on t
  • Star group to sell its 26% stake in India's Balaji Telefilms

    Regional broadcaster Star Group and India's Balaji Telefilms have agreed to terminate the deal signed in August 2004, in which Star bought a 26% stake in the Mumbai-based film and TV producer. Balaji Telefilms is now entitled to buy back the shareholding itself, or sell it to a third party, for an aggregate price of $4.35 (Rs190) per share.The two companies are also ending their agreement, signed in April 2007, relating to the launch of joint venture regional-language channels.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars launches in 22 international territories to chase Knight, Mummy

    The Dark Knight will soar past $300m this weekend as it bids to reclaim the overseas crown from The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor - however the force may be with an entirely new release. Warner Bros Pictures International's crime epic The Dark Knight stands at $285.9m and executives have high hopes as it ventures into France on August 13, followed by Russia
  • Studio Ghibli's Ponyo reaches Y10bn milestone

    Japanese distributor Toho has announced that Studio Ghibli's Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea has cracked the Y10bn ($91.02m) milestone within a month (31 days)of its release on July 19. As of August 18, Ponyo has grossed Y10.136b ($92.26m) on 8.44 million admissions.The last time the Y10bn milestone was reached in the territory was by Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End (Y10.9bn, $99.22m), released in May 2007. The last domestic film to make the achievement was Hay
  • Taiwan's NDF to back Hou Hsiao-hsien's Assassin

    Hou Hsiao-hsien's long-awaited martial arts fantasy The Assassin has become the first film to secure direct investment from Taiwan's National Development Fund. The script is based on a fantastical Tang dynasty (618-907 A.D.) short story about female assassin Nie Yinniang who can conjure horses out of folded paper and transform her hairpin into a flying spear. Hou has stated that the film will be more in the style of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki than recent Chinese blockbusters.
  • The critical view - Minority report

    Can I say The Dark Knight is, in my opinion, not a very good film' I am puzzled and perturbed by the overwhelmingly positive critical response the film has attracted from fellow critics, especially in the US.Let me list my main objections to Christopher Nolan's latest 'masterpiece'.First, it is a mistake to assume the script (which the director and his brother Jonathan worked up from a first draft by Batman Begins writer David Goyer) is particularly original.
  • The Dark Knight reconquers international with $42.4m weekend

    The Dark Knight wrestled the overseas crown from The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor as it soared past $300m thanks to an estimated $42.4m weekend haul that raised the tally to $328.6m.Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI) chiefs said the Batman epicwas active on more than 7,700 screens in 60 markets and drewapproximately 5.2m admissions in its fifth weekend of service.
  • Thomas Turgoose takes lead role in Tom Harper's Scouting Book

    Rising UK actor Thomas Turgoose has signed on for the lead role in Tom Harper's feature debut The Scouting Book For Boys.Turgoose, who has drawn rave reviews in This Is England, Somers Town and Eden Lake, will play a troubled teenager who helps a young girl run away from home.Jack Thorne (Skins) wrote the screenplay, also described as a 'tale of obsessive first love.' Celador's Christian Colson and Ivana McKinnon will produce.The Sc
  • TIFF adds 13 world premieres to Discovery, Vision and Vanguard

    The Toronto International Film Festival added a further 13 world premieres to an already impressive line-up, as it completed the slates for the Discovery, Visions and Vanguard programmes. Among the seven Discovery world premieres announced are Brian Goodman's What Doesn't Kill You, starring Ethan Hawke and Mark Ruffalo as Bostonian hardmen trying to keep one step ahead of the law, Tatia Rosenthal's Israel-Australia coproduction
  • Toronto unveils rest of line-up for a total of 249 features

    World premieres from Paul Schrader, Neil Burger, Rod Lurie and Anne Fontaine were among the titles unveiled as the Toronto International Film Festival released the balance of its 2008 line-up.Screening in the Masters programme, Schrader's Adam Resurrected stars Jeff Goldblum in an adaptation of Israeli writer Youram Kaniuk's story of a Jewish vaudeville performer who survived his concentration camp experience by providing entertainment for the commandant (Willem Defoe). (The f
  • Torresblanco to present film keynote speech at Strategic Partners

    Frida Torresblanco, the New York-based producing partner of Alfonso Cuaron's Esperanto Films, will present the opening keynote speech at Halifax's Strategic Partners International Co-Production Market (Sept 12-14).Torresblanco's credits include Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, Neils Mueller's The Assassination of Richard Nixon and Sebastian Cordero's Cronicas
  • Traitor

    Dir: Jeffrey Nachmanoff. US. 2008. 113 mins.Just as the war on terror has forced lumbering, outdated government agencies to adapt, sometimes awkwardly, to a new kind of enemy, so too does the old-fashioned Hollywood thriller Traitor strain to confront a newfangled action-suspense vehicle with conventional storytelling techniques. A solid lead performance from Don Cheadle, playing an undercover American operative trying to stop an Islamist terrorist cell from execu
  • Tropic Thunder to strike in San Sebastian

    San Sebastian has announced that Ben Stiller's film Tropic Thunder will be in official selection, out of competition, at this year's festival.Stiller and actor Robert Downey Jr. will be at the Basque festival to present the film, which is being released in Spain by Paramount Pictures Spain on Sept 26.Tropic Thunder is an action comedy about a group of self-absorbed actors who set out to make the most expensive war film ever but encounter real trouble in Southeast
  • Tropic Thunder wins at domestic box office with $26m weekend

    DreamWorks-Paramount's Tropic Thunder 'got some' at the weekend, to paraphrase the marketing slogan deployed on posters across the US, as the action comedy outgunned The Dark Knight to open top on an estimated $26m over three days.The story of a catastrophic film shoot in the South-East Asian jungle launched on Wednesday [Aug 13] and grossed $37 over five days. Ben Stiller directed and stars alongside Rob
  • United Kingdom - Supercharging

    You cannot really label B3 Media a film company - there is much more to it than that.Marc Boothe, one of the producers of Saul Dibb's Bullet Boy, founded Brixton-based B3 - which stands for 'Beats, Bytes and the Big Screen' - in 2000 based in a sprawling complex off lively Brixton Market in South London.B3 is something of an incubator for new works by digital, video and sound artists and film-makers - a one-stop-shop supported by the UK Film Council, Skillset, National Fi
  • Virtual studio Indiepix invests in first five documentaries

    IndiePix Studios, the virtual studio and IndiePix production arm that launched in June, has unveiled the five films on its inaugural slate.IndiePix has invested more than $700,000 in the projects and will serve as executive producers on every title. IndiePix Studios chief Ryan Harrington said he planned to release the films on the 2009 festival circuit.The roster is headed by award-winning documentarians Annie Sundberg and Ricki Sterns' T
  • Virtual studio Indiepix invests in first five productions

    IndiePix Studios, the virtual studio and IndiePix production arm that launched in June, has unveiled the five films on its inaugural slate.IndiePix has invested more than $700,000 in the projects and will serve as executive producers on every title. IndiePix Studios chief Ryan Harrington said he planned to release the films on the 2009 festival circuit.The roster is headed by award-winning documentarians Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern's Th
  • Vue readies $4m eight-screen multiplex in South Wales

    UK exhibitor Vue Entertainment will open its new $4m (£2m) Merthyr Tydfil multiplex on Sept 26.The eight-screen, stadium-seating cinema in South Wales will make use of Dolby Digital Surround Sound and digital projectors.The site is also digital 3D enabled and will show 3D animated Fly Me To The Moon from Oct 3.In addition to films, the Vue multiplex will offer 'Larger than Live' screenings of music, sport and comedy via satellite links.Vue CEO Tim Richards
  • Warner Bros pushes back Harry Potter 6 to July 2009

    In a move that highlights the crucial strategic role played by global day-and-date releases, Warner Bros has pushed back Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince from November 21 to July 17 2009.The sixth episode in the studio's highly successful children's fantasy franchise will now open day-and-date domestically and in the major international markets and gives the Warner Bros the summer global behemoth it had been looking for next year. Terminator Sal
  • Watchmen rights spur legal debate between Warner/PPI and Fox

    The fate of Warner Bros/Paramount Pictures International's scheduled spring 2009 release of Watchmen hangs in the balance after it emerged yesterday that Twentieth Century Fox may still hold distribution rights to the graphic novel adaptation.On Friday a US federal judge threw out a motion by Warner Bros to dismiss a claim by Fox in February that it had not relinquished feature rights initially acquired in the late 1980s, several years after Alan Moore's cel
  • Wide Management to handle Montreal and Venice premieres

    French sales company Wide Management will handle the international distribution for two films having world premieres at the forthcoming Montreal and Venice film festivals.Produced by Louis Dussault's K Films America, Stephane Gehami's romance drama Straight To The Heart (En Plein Coeur), starring Julie Deslauriers, Pierre Rivard, Benedicte Decary and Patrice Godin, will have its world premiere in Montreal World Film Festival's official competition.Meanwhile, the Sloveni
  • Widely tipped Parque Via from Mexico wins Locarno Golden Leopard

    Mexican director Enrique Rivero's feature debut Parque Via won the Golden Leopard at this year's Locarno International Film Festival which closed with the world premiere of Solveig Anspach's Back Soon.Based on the life of Nolberto Coria who plays himself (as Beto) in the story about the gap between rich and poor and white and Indios in Mexico, Parque Via also receiv
  • Wild Child (2007)

    Dir Nick Moore, UK, 2008, 98 mins.Hannah Montana meets St Trinians in Wild Child, Working Title's oddly-unconvincing stab at the Clueless end of the teen market - a project broad-based enough to make tween competitor Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging feel arthouse.Working Title's legendary professionalism seems to haveshifted down a gear here - Wild Child is slick, but not as tight as might be expected. Despite a
  • Yume to release Nic Roeg's Puffball on DVD in September

    UK-based distributor Yume Pictures will handle the DVD release of Nic Roeg's Puffball.The DVD, out from Sept 22, includes extras such as interviews with Roeg and the film stars, a making-of featurette, trailer, podcast, photogallery and more.The supernatural drama is about a young woman who moves to a remote area and becomes pregnant. Her neighbours turn against her and the unborn child.The cast features Kelly Reilly, Rita Tushingham, Miranda Richardson and Donal
  • Zurich to welcome Sly Stallone for first Golden Icon Award

    Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone is to receive the Golden Icon Award which is presented for the first time in recognition of an actor or actress's life's work at this year's Zurich Film Festival (Sept25 to October 5).The award ceremony on Sept 26 will be accompanied by a small retrospective of the Rocky films, First Blood and Copland and followed the next day by Stallone speaking to the participants of the Zurich Master Class about his experiences in the fie