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Screen
20 January 2008

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  • Alan Amman promoted at LA PR firm mPRm

    Alan Amman has been promoted to executive vice president and COO at Los Angeles-based publicity firm mPRm Public Relations.The move recognises Amman's growing managerial role and expands his remit to encompass the events/lifestyle practice and the recently formed viral marketing and PR service mPRm sPRead Solutions alongside his ongoing commitment in overseeing home entertainment, television and corporate entertainment.As COO Amman will be responsible for day-to-day opera
  • Alliance Films loses one owner, expects a new one

    Alliance Films has lost one co-owner but a new one is expected to be announced shortly. According to a report in the Globe and Mail newspaper, Toronto-based private equity firm EdgeStone Capital Partners has sold its 49 per cent stake in the Canadian distribution company, formerly Motion Picture Distribution (MPD). Alliance Films came into being following the $2.3bn purchase and break-up of Alliance Atlantis Communications by CanWest Communications and US investment bank
  • Amanda Blue joins Myriad as vp, development and acquisitions

    Former Inferno Distribution vice president of production and development Amanda Blue has been named vice president of development and acquisitions at Myriad Pictures.Blue will travel to Sundance in her first outing for the company.She previously worked as Capital Films and as an assistant to writers Dana Stevens and Ed Solomon. At Inferno she worked on Smother, produced by Jay Roach and starring Diane Keaton, and the upcoming Japan
  • American Teen generates early sales buzz at Sundance

    While Sundance buyers circled hyped early picks like Sunshine Cleaning and The Wackness, the Saturday nightfocus was on Nanette Burstein's high school documentary American Teen.Fox Searchlight were believed to be among interested parties following the world premiere earlier in the day.Carlos Moreno's Colombian crime saga Perro Como Perro was also drawing heat as many reported a generally unremarkable start to Sundance 2008 in which no single f
  • Antonellis promoted to president of technical operations at Warner

    Darcy Antonellis has been promoted to president of Warner Bros Technical Operations and will lead the studio's efforts to establish new delivery platforms and technical, business and legal standards for digital distribution and copyright protection.Antonellis moves up from her dual role of executive vice president of distribution and technology operations at Warner Bros Technical Operations and senior vice president of worldwide anti-piracy operations at Warner Bros Entertainment.
  • Apple launches digital film rental service on iTunes

    Putting pressure on Netflix, Apple today [Jan 15] said it has signed deals with every US major and will launch a digital film rental service in the US in February.Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the move at the annual Macworld conference in San Francisco and said consumers will be able to rent titles directly through iTunes.Users can then watch titles on their computers, iPods or iPhones, or download films through an upgraded version of Apple TV independent of a computer a
  • Arthouse picks up de Antonio's classic doc Painters Painting

    Arthouse Films has picked up worldwide rights excluding Canada to the late Emile de Antonio's documentary Painters Painting - The New York School: 1940-1970.The film has never aired before on TV in the US and Arthouse will release a restored and remastered version for the first time on DVD through its various global output deals.The film will go out in the US through Arts Alliance America, the UK and Ireland through Revolver and Au
  • Atonement leads BAFTA race with 14 nominations

    Joe Wright’s Atonementleads the BAFTA nominations with 14 nods, in categories Best Film, Best British Film, Director (Joe Wright), Adapted Screenplay, Leading Actress (Keira Knightley), Leading Actor (James McAvoy), Supporting Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Music, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Sound, Costume Design and Make Up & Hair.
  • Atonement, Sweeney Todd win best picture Golden Globes

    No film dominated the 65th Golden Globes last night [Jan 13] as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association spread its largesse across a wide field in a drastically truncated news announcement due to the ongoing writers strike.
  • Awards Countdown - People - Awards People

    MICHAEL FINKThe senior visual-effects supervisor tells Jeremy Kay about the painstaking CGI work behind the creatures who populate The Golden Compass.One of the highlights of The Golden Compass is the extraordinary realism of the creatures that populate New Line's fantasy adaptation, a key focus for senior visual-effects supervisor Michael Fink."The movie was to have an unprecedented level of interaction between humans and furry CGI creatures, which presented major
  • BAFTA Analysis: Atonement's glory expected, but where's Sweeney Todd'

    Atonement has always seemed destined for BAFTA glory (it leads with 14 nominations). It has the kind of literary pedigree that BAFTA voters have responded to in Best Picture winners like The English Patient, ThePianist and The Lord Of The Rings.
  • Bavaria picks up Kollek's Berlinale competitorRestless

    Bavaria Film International has take on the world sales for Israeli independent filmmaker Amos Kollek's latest feature Restless which has been selected by the Berlinale for one of the places in the 2008 Competition lineup.The co-production between Israel, Germany, Canada, France and Belgium tells the story of the writer Moshe who has been living in New York for more than 20 years and is forced to take stock of his life and address past sins when his whereabouts are traced b
  • BBC's Tranter and ITV's Mackie join screenwriters' festival

    More top names have joined the line-up of this year's Screenwriters Festival, including some of the UK's most senior television execs.Jane Tranter, controller of BBC Fiction, including BBC Films and ITV director of drama Laura Mackie will both be high-profile speakers at the event in Cheltenham (July 1-3)Their presence is a further boost to the growing industry credentials of the festival.Another returning speaker will also be Julian Fellowes, whose latest writing work in
  • Bening to receive ASC Outstanding Achievement Award

    Annette Bening will receive the American Society Of Cinematographers' (ASC) Board Of Governors Award at the 22nd Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on Jan 26 in Hollywood.The honour is presented to individuals 'who have made significant contributions to advancing the global art of film-making', such as previous recipients like Bening's husband Warren Beatty, Gregory Peck, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Jodie Foster and Sydney Pollack.'Annette Bening is a notabl
  • Benso named to senior financial position at Paramount Home Entertainment

    Gaspare Benso has been appointed senior vice president of international finance and planning at Paramount Home Entertainment (PHE).Benso is responsible for all international financial functions, including planning and forecasting, financial reporting and business support and will report to PHE president Dennis Maguire and executive vice president of finance and planning Kathy Wilk.Prior to Paramount Benso worked in the NBC Universal/General Electric fold for more than nin
  • Berlin selects 29 shorts, including 11 in competition

    The Berlinale has selected 29 films for its Shorts section, including a special presentation of Serbian director Zelimir Zilnik's 1975 nine-minute film Inventory about housing speculation and foreigners living in Munich.A jury composed of Romanian producer Ada Solomon, French-actor director Marc Barbe and German actress Laura Tonke will have the task of choosing the winners of the Golden and Silver Bears, the DAAD Award and the Prix UIP.The winners of the Bears will be
  • Berlinale Panorama adds titles from Arsenijevic, Kragh-Jacobsen

    The Berlinale's Panorama programme has confirmed world premieres of new features by Denmark's Soren Kragh-Jacobsen (What No One Knows), Austria's Goetz Spielmann (Revanche), South Africa's Ralph Ziman (Jerusalema), and Serbia's Stefan Arsenijevic (Love And Other Crimes) among its latest raft of announced titles.Expectations are running high for Arsenijevic's feature debut after numerous shorts including his 2003 Golden Bear-winning and Oscar-nominate
  • Berlinale Special adds films by Gitai, Staho and Grube

    New films by Amos Gitai, Simon Staho and Thomas Grube are among the 12 projects seelcted for the Berlinale Special sidebar, which is part of the festival's official programme alongside the Competition.Staho's Heaven's Heart, starring Mikael Persbrandt, Lena Endre, Jakob Eklund and Maria Lundquist, is an intimate psychological drama between two couples discussing adultery over a dinner party, while Gitai's Plus tard tu comprendras, with Jeanne Moreau, Dominique Blanc,
  • Berlinaleadds world premieres including The Other Boleyn Girl

    World premieres of Justin Chadwick's The Other Boleyn Girl, starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, Dennis Lee's Fireflies In The Garden, with Julia Roberts and Willem Dafoe, and Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi's The Song Of Sparrows are among the last eight Competition titles to be confirmed.The latest additions also include debutant Petri Kowicka's psychological thriller Black Ice which is the first feature-length film from Finland
  • Berlinale's Generation to open with Winky, Black Balloon

    The Berlinale's Generation section for children and young people has finalised its 2008 lineup with 24 feature and 31 short films from 20 countries, including eight world and seven international feature film premieres.The Generation Kplus competition will open on February 8 at the Zoo Palast with the Dutch film Where is Winky's Horse' by Mischa Kamp, while Generation 14plus competition section will kick off with the world premiere of Elissa Down's The Black Balloon, sta
  • Berlin's Perspektive Deutsches Kino to include Randl's debut

    The Berlinale's Perspektive Deutsches Kino sidebar has now finalised its 2008 programme with five feature films, four documentaries and four short films.The remaining six films to be confirmed include Lola Randl's feature debut In Between Days which was produced by Herbert Schwering's Coin Film as part of public broadcaster WDR and the Filmstiftung NRW's 'Sixpack' initiative.According to Schwering, Randl's story of a successful woman scientist who begins a parallel life
  • Blitz Megaplex opens thirdcinema in Indonesia

    Start-up Indonesian exhibitor Blitz Megaplex today (Jan 16) officially opened an eight-screen multiplex at Pacific Place in Jakarta. The 1,800-seat cinema is the third that Blitz has opened since late 2006 when it broke into the exhibition market long monopolised by the 21 Group.'Our first two cinemas with a combined 20 screens have captured an estimated 10% of the country's total box office,' said Blitz CEO Ananda Siregar.He added that the company would continue to expand i
  • Brazilian mini-festival kicks off in New York next week

    Latin American cinema promoter Cinema Tropical kicks off the mini-festival Janeiro In New York next week.The event will screen Cao Hamburger's Oscar shortlisted The Year My Parents Went On Vacation, City Of Men produced by Fernando Meirelles and directed by Paulo Morelli and Alice's House by Chico Teixeira.'In recent years, we have been very encourage
  • China Broadband takes 23% stake in Asian Union

    Private equity fund China Broadband Capital Partners has taken a 23% stake in Beijing-based film and TV producer Asian Union New Media. Asian Union founder Dong Ping has stepped down from the company, while former China Netcom CEO Tian Suning has taken up the role of chairman. Wang Hong, president of Asian Union's Travel Channel, has been appointed CEO. Also joining the board is Shanghai Media Group president Li Ruigang.The $54m (HK$420m) deal is China Broadband's fifth media inves
  • China to release three foreign titles in February

    In an attempt to squash rumours of an alleged ban on US movies before March, China Film Group Corporation (CFGC) has announced that Golden Globe winner Atonement, plus two other foreign titles, will be released in China in February.State-owned CFGC is the only film company allowed to import foreign films into China. According CFGC spokesperson Weng Li, Sony's 2007 film The Water Horse will be released on Feb 16 (made by partners including the UK's Ecosse and US-based Walden)
  • China's box office up by 26% with localfilms holding steady

    China's total box office gross reached $458.63m (RMB3.33bn) in 2007, a 26% increase on the previous year, marking the fifth year in a row that box office has risen by more by then 20%. The figures were announced on Friday (Jan 11) by the Film Bureau under China 's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). Local productions grossed $248.27m (RMB1.8bn) in 2007, according to Film Bureau statistics, an increase of 24% on the previous year. The market share of local films was
  • Chinese movie web-sites join forces against piracy

    Fifty Chinese movie web-sites have jointly established the 'China Alliance of Legitimate Movie Web-sites' as a disciplinary alliance which aims to provide legal movies online and stop offering pirated movies. Initiated by Copyright Protection Center of China (CPCC), Movie Copyright Protection Association of China (MCPAC) and online movie provider www.quacor.com, the alliance will provide copyright protection and registration for its members, as well as marketing and regulatory services fo
  • Cloverfield

    Dir: Matt Reeves. US. 2008. 84 mins.An exercise in guerrilla-style genre filmmaking that reframes a classic monster movie conceit as a post-September 11 allegory of big city trepidation, new Internet sensation Cloverfield emerges from the cocoon of its pre-release hype as thrilling piece of terror tailor-made for our times. Skilfully evoking more dread than lasting cathartic release, the sensibly-budgeted film should make its mark as the first hit of 2008, connecting
  • Cloverfield hopes for monster opening

    Click on film for reviewWarner Bros Pictures International executives will expect their horrorsci-fi release I Am Legend to maintain its excellent form and dominatethe competition for the fourth consecutive weekend and the fifth outof its six-week run.The global hit has amassed more than $221m to date and should cause astir when it arrives in Mexico and Brazil on Jan 18. Beowulf stands at
  • Critical mass- Foreign affairs

    The US film industry desperately needs the rest of the world. International takings now account for around half of the theatrical revenue of the US majors, and substantially more for most US indie producers or studio specialty divisions. As United Artists CEO Paula Wagner told Mipcom delegates last October, the once all-important North American market 'has become just a territory' in Hollywood's new business plan.One would expect this economic paradigm shift to have had a major effect
  • Dark Matter finally gets domestic deal with First Independent

    First Independent Pictures has picked up Dark Matter and will release it in North American in April.The drama premiered at Sundance 2007 and won the Alfred P Sloan Award for its portrayal of a brilliant Chinese cosmology student who is marginalized when he goes to the US to study for his PhD.Chen Shi-Zheng directed and Meryl Streep, Liu Ye and Aidan Quinn star. Janet Yang, Mary Salter and Andrea Miller produced. Myriad Pictures chi
  • Deals surge in Asia for Power's thriller Flood

    Production company Power has announced further sales of its first feature film, $30m thriller Flood.Deals have been struck for Japan (CK Entertainment), China (New View, China Film and CCTV6), Korea (CJ Media), India (V Films), Hong Kong (TVB),Thailand (J-Bics), Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore (Ram).Tony Mitchell's Flood stars Robert Carlyle in the story of a flood surge threatening England.'Having Flood in our portfolio is an exciting and imp
  • DGA strikes tentative deal with AMPTP in just two weeks

    The Directors Guild Of America (DGA) has struck a tentative deal for its contract renegotiation with studio representative the Alliance Of Motion Picture And Television Producers (AMPTP), putting pressure on the writers to resolve their ongoing dispute.In a typically early settlement for the directors thrashed out months before their contracts are due to expire on Jun 30, the three-year agreement increases wages and residual bases for each year of the contract, grants the DGA jurisdi
  • Ealing takes on sales for Eyre's new drama The Other Man

    Richard Eyre is set to start principal photography on his new dramaThe Other Man starting Feb 14.Ealing Studios International will handle international sales.The drama will star Liam Neeson, Antonio Banderas, Laura Linney and Romola Garai.Eyre will also produce with Tracey Scoffield, Frank Doelger and Michael Dreyer for Rainmark Films. David Richenthal and Mary Beth O'Connor are producing for New York-based Gotham Films.The Other Man will shoot on
  • Earth topples Legend from top spot at Japanese box office

    BBC Wordwide/Greenlight Media's nature documentary Earth has knocked I Am Legend from the top spot at the Japanese box office after the apocalyptic drama spent four weeks in the pole position. Earth grossed $5.12m (Y550m) over the three-day holiday weekend period (Jan 12-14) on 275 screens. It's per screen average over the standard two-day period ($3.3m) was a strong $12,000.The figures represent the widest and best opening ever for a documentary in the territo
  • Film4 and B3 Media's FeatureLab to nurture minority scripts

    UK production company B3 Media is launching the B3 FeatureLab with backing from Film4, Binger Film Lab and Skillset.The initiative will nurture four feature film scripts from black and minority film-makers who have a track record in film, TV, radio, visual arts or new media.The programme, which runs throughout 2008, will kick off with a training week in London (including master-classes). Initially, 16 participants will be selected to develop a feature film project 'capable of at
  • Films by Doillon and Emigholz now confirmed for Berlinale Forum

    New films by Jacques Doillon, Heinz Emigholz, and Benjamin Gilmour are among the Berlinale's Forum main programme of 36 films.Reflecting a trend seen elsewhere in this year's Berlinale programme, the Forum selectors have identified 'a conspicuous number' of films adopting the perspective of children and young people - 'in a world where often there is no more childhoood.'Such films include the Mexican film The Infinite Border by Juan Manuel Sepulveda abut the stream of m
  • First Run takes US theatrical and DVD on Jihad For Love

    First Run Features has acquired US theatrical and DVD rights from The Film Sales Company to Parvez Sharma's documentary A Jihad For Love, which has been lined up for a Panorama screening in Berlin next month.The film premiered at Toronto last year and explores the plight of gay and lesbian muslims and features testimony from men and women who have suffered at the hands of the authorities in Iran, Egypt and Pakistan, among other countries.
  • Flashback: Golden Globes 2008

    No single film dominated the 65th Golden Globes on January 13 as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (Hfpa) spread its largesse across a wide field in a drastically truncated announcement due to the ongoing writers’ strike.
  • Former CinemaVault executive Arroyave launches new sales outfit

    Former Cinemavault Releasing executive Steve Arroyave has launched a new world sales outfit, Arrow Entertainment. Based in Toronto, Arrow will make its debut at the European Film Market with writer-director Stewart Raffil's Mysterious, a supernatural thriller starring James Brolin, Antonio Sabato and Annalynne McCord and produced by Diane Kirman of Kenilworth Films.Arrow will also handle sales on Kirman's next production
  • Fortissimo picks up Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young documentary

    Fortissimo Films has acquired worldwide rights outside North America to documentary feature CSNY: Dejà Vu on the eve of its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in the closing night slot. Directed by Bernard Shakey, aka Neil Young, one quarter of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the film documents the band's 2007 Freedom Of Speech tour across the US.Fortissimo co-chairman Michael Werner negotiated the deal with Shangri-La Entertainment, which also produced Beowulf
  • Fuelling Flemish Film

    Pierre Drouot, the avuncular figure who took over as managing-director of the Flanders Audio-Visual Fund (VAF) in 2005, admits his vision for film in Flanders owes a lot to the example set by the Danish film industry.How does a small country devise a meaningful film policy' As head of the VAF, Drouot has long been pondering this question. He kept coming back to Denmark."We are six million with a small language. Our audience does not accept dubbed movies. American films are in En
  • Gareth Mullaney joins Ascent Media Creative Services

    Ascent Media Creative Services has hired Gareth Mullaney for its Business Development team, specalising in broadcast post production.Mullaney has worked at Oasis, Windmill Lane Pictures, M2 Television and Editworks and most recently as a consultnat for Resolution.David Barrett, SVP business development at Ascent, said: 'We are delighted to have Gareth on board. I have known of Gareth for many years and have always been impressed by his motivation, enthusiasm and passion for the bus
  • Gay drama Misconceptions starts shooting in Florida

    Principal photography began on Jan 14 in St Petersburg, Florida, on the independent feature Misconceptions.Ron Satlof is directing from the script he co-wrote with Ira Pearlstein that examines the ongoing culture war between same-sex parents and Christian conservatives.Steven J Brown is producing and Ted Perkins and J A Bremont act as executive producers.Orlando Jones, A J Cook, Sarah Carter, Sam Ball, David Sutcliffe a
  • Greek box office up 5% thanks to local hits including El Greco

    The Greek box office registered a 5% rise during 2007 - up to 13.3m admissions from 12.9m in 2006, according to local experts. US blockbusters continued to perform well, as expected, but the boost was helped by strong performance by local productions.Zack Snyder's 300, although a US production, was a story from Greece's past, driving it to 1.2m admissions and the top slot at the yearly box-office. In second place with 850,000 admissions was local hit El Greco, Yiannis Smar
  • Greg Mason named vp of marketing for Disney Canada

    Greg Mason has been named vice president of marketing for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada.Mason will handle marketing duties for all films released under the Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures labels in Canada and reports directly to Brett Dicker, executive vice president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.Mason started his career at Buena Vista Pictures Distribution in 1993. From February 2007 to the present he served as president and CEO of Maso
  • HBO Documentary Films buys Sundance doc The Black List

    HBO Documentary Films has acquired domestic broadcast rights to portrait photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders documentary The Black List: Volume One, which gets its world premiere here on Jan 22.Film critic Elvis Mitchell interviews 20 high-profile African-Americans about their views on personal identity. Talking heads include Chris Rock, Toni Morrison, Colin Powell, Richard Parsons, Sean Combs, Al Sharpton and Slash.Mitchell, G
  • Hot Docs honouring Leacock, Baichwall, Fraser

    The Hot Docs documentary film festival will honour three notables of the form at its upcoming 15th edition: UK filmmaker Richard Leacock, Canadian filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal and the BBC's Nick Fraser, long-time commissioning editor of the UK broadcaster's Storyville documentary strand.Leacock, who will be presented with the Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award, shot his first documentary at age 14 and is noted for his cinematography as well
  • Hot Rendez-Vous projects include Female Agents, Fear(s)

    The Unifrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, which wrapped in Paris earlier this week, was roundly lauded by participants for the opportunity it provides to sales companies and distributors to meet in a relaxed atmosphere.While there were some deals concluded, many sales companies were either as-yet-unable to announce details or waiting to make a splash entering Berlin.Striking a high note, however, was Films Distribution's announcement that it had begun financing on the Audrey
  • Iain Smith plans $20m rugby drama The Originals

    UK-based producer Iain Smith (Cold Mountain, Children Of Men) is in advanced development on The Originals, a Chariots Of Fire-style drama about the exploits of the famous 1905 New Zealand All Black rugby team during their tour of Great Britain. The team was known as 'The Originals.'Mark Joffe is to direct the $20m project, being set up as a UK/Australia/New Zealand co-production. Sam Neill is attached to the project and will also be producing. Working Title i
  • IFC launches new VOD initiative for international films

    IFC Entertainment has launched the video-on-demand package Festival Direct that will showcase for a limited time a selection of IFC films that premiered at international festivals.The initiative will launch on Feb 29 on local cable carriers' On Demand platforms across the US for $5.99 each. Titles include Ken Loach's It's A Free World , Baltasar Kormakur's Jar City, Nic Roeg's
  • IMDb buys Withoutabox

    Amazon-owned The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has bought global film-maker and film festival resource Withoutabox.Withoutabox was founded in 2000 by David Straus and Joe Neulight and enables film-makers to submit their work online to festivals and provides festival organisers with tools to manage and promote their events online.'For eight years, Withoutabox has enabled film-makers and festivals to reach the widest audience possible,' Withoutabox CEO Straus said. 'Now, t
  • In Bruges

    Dir. Martin McDonagh, UK/Belgium, 107mins
  • In focus - Bafta nominations - Big year for UK talent

    The organisers of the Orange British Academy Film Awards, Bafta, are confident the February 10 event will not be caught up in the WGA strike turmoil."Neither Bafta nor our broadcaster (the BBC) is in dispute with the Writers Guild of America; while we hope for the sake of the whole international industry that the dispute is resolved, we look forward to recognising and rewarding great film-making talent from around the world at our ceremony," said Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry rece
  • Intandem, Radical pitch slate including John Woo's Caliber

    Intandem Films and its graphic novel publishing company partner Radical Publishing will be meeting with investors in the UK starting Jan 21 to present their shared business model and preview future projects. UK-based financing and sales company Intandem took an equity stake in 2007 in Los Angeles-based Radical, which is aligned with Singapore's production company Imaginary Friends Studio. Intandem has been appointed as Radical's exclusive sales company and executive producer.Radica
  • International - Independents' Day

    The back end of the Hollywood winter blockbuster season is an opportunity for independents to make a significant dent in Screen's international box-office chart. And, following a hugely successful Christmas, it is the Italians leading the way with new entry L'Allenatore Nel Pallone 2, distributed by Medusa Films.Sergio Martino's football comedy is a belated follow-up to his 1984 original but has scored at the box office with help from some of the country's biggest sportin
  • Japan's IMJ, Dub Incset up production label Smoke

    IMJ Group subsidiary, IMJ Entertainment (IMJE), has established a feature film and visual contents company as a 50:50 joint venture with film and TV producer Dub Inc. The new company, Smoke, will be headed by Dub CEO Yasushi Utagawa, who will serve as producer on feature films developed under the company.The deal was made through Dub subsidiary Alex, which was incorporated before the investment. In addition to production, Dub is involved in casting, marketing and rights acquisition
  • Japan's Toho Studios achieves best year in history

    Following Screen International's forecast in mid-December, Toho Studios has achieved the highest box offices revenues in the company's history. In 2007, Toho releases earned $556.06m (Y59.51bn), a 1.25% increase over 2006's record-setting take of $548.52m (Y58.78bn). Toho operates the largest number of screens (528) of the country's more than 3,060 screens, giving it a strong advantage.Sony Pictures Entertainment was the second most sucessful major with earnings of $151.77m
  • Keeping Rotterdam on the festival map

    The International Film Festival Rotterdam (Iffr) in the Netherlands has long held a reputation as a cinephile's delight. 'Rotterdam is one my favourite festivals for movies,' says James Schamus, head of Focus Features and one of its many illustrious supporters.The buzz filmsCinemart celebratesCinemart buzz films
  • Kite Runner banned from release in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan has banned the import and exhibition of DreamWorks-produced drama The Kite Runner on the grounds that it could incite violence. Based on the best-selling novel by US-based Afghan writer Khaled Hosseini, the film depicts a young boy's rape and scenes of conflict between members of the Pashtun and Hazara tribes. Director Marc Foster shot the film in western China, close to the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, at the end of 2005.Paramount Vantage, which released
  • Korea Fair Trade Commission clamps down on local majors

    The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) today announced it is clamping down on major multiplexes and distribution companies that are using their industry positions to end film releases early, and for altering profit-sharing rates. KFTC named Korea's four major multiplex chains - CJ CGV, Lotte Cinema, Megabox and Primus Cinema - as having violated fair trade practices by taking films off screens before their usual minimum of a one-week run, thus leaving distributors with the bulk of the ris
  • Lakeshore pacts with Maximum for Canadian distribution

    Maximum Films Distribution has signed a sub-distribution deal with Lakeshore Entertainment that will see the Toronto-based distributor release Lakeshore product across Canada. The all-rights deal was negotiated by Mark Musselman for Maximum and by David Dinerstein and Eric Reid for Lakeshore. Maximum has sub-distribution deals with Cinetic Media, IFC, Magnolia Pictures/HDNet Films and Fortissimo Films.Lakeshore titles included in the deal include upcoming Sundance world p
  • Legend produces legendary international grosses in fifth weekend

    Just as Will Smith's character repels hordes of infected assailants in I Am Legend, so the Warner Bros release has fended off wave after wave of competitors to maintain its status as the number one international film.Despite solid performances by National Treasure: Book Of Secrets, Alvin And The Chipmunks, Bee Movie and American Gangster, this was the third weekend
  • Leigh, Szabo, and Daldry lined up for Berlinale Talent Campus

    Directors Mike Leigh, Istvan Szabo, and Stephen Daldry, actress Martina Gedeck and producer Bernd Eichinger are among 120 international experts speaking at the sixth Berlinale Talent Campus which be held between Feb 9-14. This year, the Talent Campus will be cooperating with the Federal Foreign Office and the World Cinema Fund to launch a new initiative Focus Africa to take an in-depth look at contemporary filmmaking in Africa with such guests as Nigerian actress Kate Hensh
  • Lionsgate UK acquires Conan, Mad Money and Righteous Kill

    Distributor Lionsgate UK has struck a three-picture acquisition deal with Nu Image/Millennium Films. Lionsgate UK has taken UK and Ireland rights to Jon Avnet's crime thriller Righteous Kill; Callie Khouri's comedy Mad Money; and the Conan The Barbarian revived franchise set for a new film release in 2009.Righteous Kill stars Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino as two cops pursuing a poetic serial killer. It will be released in autumn 2008.Mad Mon
  • Live action and animation divideis blurring, says Sony digital boss

    As audience demand for effects-driven blockbusters grows, the lines between animation and live-action, already blurred, will come close to disappearing.That's the prediction of Yair Landau, vice-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and president of its Sony Pictures Digital (SPD) division.'Visual effects and animation dominate the moviegoing experience like at no time in history,' Landau said.Speaking yesterday (Wednesday) during The
  • Local market share for German and Swiss films drops in 2007

    The German and Swiss cinemas saw their local market shares shrink dramatically in 2007, according to provisional year-end figures. After the euphoria of 2006 when German films had posted a market share of 23% thanks to such films as Perfume - Story Of A Murderer and football documentary Deutschland. Ein Sommermaerchen, the local industry was now brought down to the ground by the news that the market sh
  • Luc Besson partners on $17m environmental Boomerang project

    Luc Besson has partnered with photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and luxury brands group PPR for a $17m (Euros 11.5m) film project provisionally entitled Boomerang. The film is set to be released on June 5, 2009 to coincide with World Environment Day.EuropaCorp will distribute the film on a worldwide day-and-date release and produce with France's Elzevir Films.Arthus-Bertrand, whose best-selling book The Earth Seen From The Sky is filled with beautiful images taken
  • Mad Money

    Dir: Callie Khouri. US. 2007. 104 mins.A relentlessly upbeat all-women heist comedy along the lines of How To Beat The High Cost Of Living and Fun With Dick And Jane, Mad Money is inoffensive star-driven entertainment which might capture the imagination of female audiences in theatres, before heading for a much richer life as a TV programming item down the line.Marking its first ever theatrical release, Overture Films is opening the film in the U
  • Maike Haas rejoins Sony in international production unit

    Maike Haas has returned to Sony following an eight-year stint at Buena Vista International Germany and has been named vice president of international production, Europe, for Sony Pictures Entertainment's International Motion Picture Production division.Haas will oversee European operations from Berlin and identify and develop projects with a focus on German-language and pan-European features.'We're thrilled that Maike has rejoined Sony,' president of International Motion
  • Marco Mueller confirmed for another four years in Venice

    Marco Mueller has been confirmed as the artistic director for the Venice Film Festival for four more years.The new board of directors of the Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia (the Venice Biennale arts festival foundation), chaired now by Paolo Baratta, confirmed the appointment at the board's first meeting today.Marco Mueller joined Venice in 2004 after heading the Locarno Film Festival. His new term was widely anticipated after Italy's culture minister Francesco Rutelli sai
  • Media Rights Capital strikes interim deal with WGA

    Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu's film, television and digital financing and production firm Media Rights Capital (MRC) has struck an interim deal with the Writers Guild Of America (WGA).The agreement is similar to the one signed by the WGA and The Weinstein Company late last week and earlier deals closed with Worldwide Pants and United Artists.MRC can now proceed with its feature and television development slate and go ahead with production secure in the knowledge that re-wr
  • Mercury Media takes on sales for 9/11 docZero

    Mercury Media has taken on worldwide sales (excluding Italy, Belgium and Russia) for Zero.Zero is a $1.5m (Euros 1m) documentary directed by Guilietto Chiesa and Franco Fracassi. Interviewees include Dario Fo and Gore Vidal.Mercury also has world sales (excluding US) for another 9/11 conspiracy documentary, Loose Change Final Cut. As previously reported, Revolver has UK DVD rights to that title. Mercury itself is handling the UK theatrical release of
  • Met Film School writers scheme promises business edge

    London's Met Film School is promising a serious business edge to a scheme helping screenwriters develop theirprojects.The school will take first drafts from 10 writers with some experienceand take them through the reality of high-level film development.That process starts by paying candidates a competitive rateand allowing them to retain the rights to their work.Every candidate will be taken through an intensive six months including placements with leading film companies
  • Metrodome takes UK rights to The Assembly and The Banquet

    Metrodome Distribution has acquired all UK rights for two new Chinese films, The Assembly and The Banquet. Both are directed by Feng Xiaogang.The Assembly has already taken more than $30m at the Chinese box office. It is based on the true story of one man's journey during the 1948 Chinese Civil War.The Banquet stars Zhang Ziyi in a drama loosely adapted from Shakespeare's Hamlet, set in 10th century China.Tom Stewart, Metrodome's genera
  • Moviehouse takes on sales for Liz Mermin's Shot In Bombay

    UK-based international sales company Moviehouse Entertainment has taken on sales for Liz Mermin's latest documentary, Shot In Bombay.Little Bird produced the feature documentary, which goes behind the scenes of Bollywood film Shootout At Lokhandwala and follows the controversial trial of Indian screen legend Sanjay Dutt. The film includes the last interview with Dutt before his prison sentencing in 2007 for illegal arms possession.Moviehouse will introduce the
  • Myriad's first-look deal with Studio 407 yeilds Hybrid

    Myriad Pictures has announced that the live-action feature Hybrid will be the first project to go under its first-look deal with comic book creators Studio 407.Hybrid is based on the comic book and original screenplay by Peter Kwong about vacationing college students who discover a seemingly abandoned trawler that houses a monster.Filming is set to begin in South-East Asia off the coast of T
  • Odyssey's slate includes Hornby and Scherfig's An Education

    Odyssey Entertainment has announced details on a number of high-profile titles on its sales slate ahead of Berlin's European Film Market.The titles are: Lone Scherfig's An Education; John Crowley's Is There Anybody There'; Stephan Elliot's Easy Virtue;and Andy Cadiff's A Bunch of Amateurs.An Education, in pre-production, will star Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Emma Thompson and Jim Broadbent. Nick Hornby wrote the script about a 17
  • Osian's Cinefan to award $250,000 in prize money

    Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab cinema has announced that it will offer prize money of around $250,000 (approx Rs10m) for the competition sections and lifetime achievement awards at its upcoming edition (July 10-20). The festival, held annually in New Delhi with a preview in Mumbai, celebrates its tenth edition this year.While the Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Cinema was introduced at the 6th Osian's Cinefan in 2004, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Contrib
  • Park Circus strikes UK theatrical deal with Arrow Films

    UK distributor Park Circus Films has signed a deal to represent the Arrow Films catalogue theatrically in the UK and Ireland.Arrow's 160-plus title catalogue includes films such as Cinema Paradiso, The Millionairess and Rififi.Park Circus is the UK 's leading theatrical distributor of classic films. IT has similar deals in place with Granada, Icon, MGM /UA and Walt Disney.
  • Persepolis, 4 Months fail to make Oscar shortlist

    Cristian Mungiu's Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days and Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis both failed to make the cut as the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced its nine-film shortlist for the foreign language category.The films listed in alphabetical order by country are:Austria - The Counterfeiters (Stefan Ruzowitz
  • PGA's five finalists include Diving Bell, Juno, Michael Clayton

    The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood will contest the Darryl F Zanuck Producer Of The Year Award In Theatrical Motion Pictures at this year's 19th Annual Producers Guild Of America (PGA) awards ceremony.The PGA's animated nominees are Bee Movie, Ratatouille and T
  • Phillip Noyce honoured as Australia charmsHollywood

    Director Phillip Noyce was honoured on Saturday night in Hollywood for his significant contribution to the Australian film industry and for excellence in promoting Australia in the US.Noyce was presented with his award by Harrison Ford, the star of two of his US films, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, in front of 1,200 people at a G'Day USA ball at the Renaissance Hotel.Noyce shifted his film-making focus back to Australia in 2002 when he made Ra
  • Piracy undermining opportunities for exhibition, says Vue boss

    Piracy remains the 'biggest threat' to cinema exhibition. That was the message yesterday from Tim Richards, Chief Executive Officer Of Vue Entertainment.Speaking at The Media Summit 2008, backed by Screen International, Richards expressed his dismay at the powerlessness of exhibitors to confront the pirates.Under current legislation, Richards said, it was not possible for exhibitors to confiscate equipment or even to take film out of the cameras when they caught pirates
  • Production - Mumbai Calling

    One of the world's most crowded and at times dysfunctional cities, shooting in Mumbai is not for the faint-hearted. But it is also the centre of one of the world's largest film industries, with production costs around one-fifth of those in the West. For projects with a story set in Mumbai, filming in the Indian mega-city is not an insurmountable task.Celador and Film4's $15m Slumdog Millionaire, which Danny Boyle is shooting until February 10 in and around Mumbai, is loosely ada
  • Promotional Feature - Flanders finds its x factor

    Flanders film was not quite in the doldrums when Pierre Drouot took over as managing director of the Flanders Audio-Visual Fund (VAF) in November 2005.Nonetheless, to outsiders, it was clear Flemish cinema was not prospering either. Few films from the Belgium region of Flanders achieved any visibility at all on the international festival circuit. Despite one or two notable successes, such as Eric Van Looy's The Alzheimer Case (aka The Memory Of A Killer) in late 2003, loc
  • Red Envelope, B-Side team for unusual US release of football doc

    Netflix' theatrical distributor Red Envelope Entertainment and independent distributor B-Side Entertainment are to stage the day-and-date theatrical, DVD and internet streaming release of American football documentary Two Days In April.The film will launch as a DVD rental and 'instant view' through Netflix's web-based service and open the same day in select theatres nationwide through B-Side.'This exhibition programme will put the f
  • Relativity, MGM team on Olyphant-starrer A Perfect Getaway

    Relativity Media is to produce and MGM will distribute the thriller A Perfect Getaway starring Timothy Olyphant.Production is set to begin in Puerto Rico on Mar 17 on the story of a honeymooning couple in Hawaii who run into a pair of vicious killers while hiking.David Twohy will direct from his original screenplay and further casting will be announced shortly. Producing are Relativity's Ryan Kavanaugh and Tucker Tooley and Robbie
  • Roman Polanski doc gets international deal at Sundance with TWC

    When Harvey Weinstein flies in to Sundance things usually happen and so it proved to be as The Weinstein Comapny (TWC) made the first play of the festival, paying low six figures for all international rights to Marina Zenovich's documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired.The deal excludes North American rights and UK television and was sealed before the end of the world premiere screening at 6.15 on Friday evening [Jan 18]. A number of dis
  • Rotterdam - CineMart Buzz

    22nd Of May dir: Koen Mortier (Belgium, Ger-Neth)Mortier caused a stir with his debut Ex Drummer, in Rotterdam's Tiger competition last year. The film, dubbed by some as a Flemish Trainspotting, was distributed in Benelux by A-Film and was sold internationally by Loic Magneron's Wide Management. Now, Mortier is back with 22nd Of May, about a security guard struggling to cope in the aftermath of a bomb at his shopping mall workplace. The film (again being made throu
  • Rotterdam - CineMart Celebrates

    Rotterdam is not the kind of festival to be big on celebrating numbers," says CineMart head Marit van den Elshout of the co-production market's 25th anniversary this week. "We'll do something but we won't be making a huge celebration."Still, this is an opportune moment to take stock, "to look back at what CineMart has done in the past and how it has developed into what it is today," says producer Jeremy Nathan.And there will still be a party. Former CineMart managers Ido Abram (
  • Rotterdam - History of a Project

    A look at two recent projects to have been showcased at CineMart.COUNTRY TEACHERDirector: Bohdan SlamaProducer: Pavel Strnad, Negativ Film ProductionsCountry: Czech RepublicThis was the second time a project by Czech director Slama had been selected for CineMart. His second feature, Something Like Happiness, was presented in 2003 and had a successful festival run on completion, winning major prizes (notably in San Sebastian) and selling widely.
  • Rotterdam's Buzz films

    FESTIVAL BUZZEat, For This Is My Body (Mange, Ceci Est Mon Corps) (Fr-Haiti)Dir: Michelange QuayWorking with Sylvie Testud and an amateur cast, Quay explores the dramatic colonial heritage of Haiti.Sales: Memento Films, sales@memento-films.comFlower In The Pocket (Mal)Dir:
  • Samuel Goldywn picks up Pieces for US distribution

    Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired US rights to Jeremy Podeswa's Holocaust drama Fugitive Pieces, which opened the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival.The company plans a May theatrical release following the film's US premiere at the Santa Barbara Film Festival on Feb 2.Fugitive Pieces stars Stephen Dillane, Rade Sherbedgia and Rosamund Pike and recounts a man's struggle to find peace following his traumatic childhood in the se
  • Sci-Fi-London programmes Paragraph 78 and Wolfhound

    Independent genre festival Sci-Fi-London has announced that it is to return on April 30 for five days of screenings and events. Now in its seventh year, Sci-Fi-London, or The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film, will take place at the Apollo West End cinema until May 4.Films already confirmed for this year's programme include two Russian features, Mihkail Khelborodov's Paragraph 78, which sees a band of ex-commandos sent on a secret mission, and N
  • Scorsese's Stones documentary to open Berlin on Feb 7

    Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones concert film Shine A Light will open the 58th Berlin International Film Festival on Feb 7 with the director and band in attendance.Scorsese used more than 16 cameras to capture more than half a million feet of footage when his crew filmed the veteran rockers over the course of two concerts at the Beacon Theater in New York on Oct 29 and Nov 1 2006.The film includes guest appearance from Jack White of
  • Screen Opinion - festival change is sign of success

    Oh, for the certainties of yesteryear. There was a time when it was clear where you stood in the film festival world. Everyone knew their place and God was in his heaven, or at least in an arthouse cinema.The year was more or less happily divided between well-known events with the established auteurs at one end, and the wannabe auteurs and experimental types at the other. Then the brash international market gatecrashed the garden party and now all the talk is of market 'positioning'.
  • Shanghai fest to hold second edition of projects market

    The organisers of the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) have announced that they plan to hold the second edition of projects market China Film Pitch and Catch (CFPC) atits11th edition (June 14-22). The two-day event plans to select around 30 projects from around the world and recommend eight Chinese projects to potential film investors. It will also present two awards - to the most creative project and the project with the most market potential.Last year's award winners a
  • Shochiku picks up Sori martial arts action title Ichi

    Japanese major Shochiku will handle international sales of martial arts action film Ichi, directed by Fumihiko Sori and starring Haruka Ayase (Hero) as a female incarnation of the legendary blind swordsman Zatoichi. Shochiku will begin sales of the film at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival's European Film Market (EFM) from Feb 7-17.The film also stars Takao Osawa (Midnight Eagle), Yosuke Kubozuka (Ping Pong) and Shido Nakamura (Letters F
  • Shot In Bombay

    Dir: Liz Mermin, UK/US 2007. 99mins.Fact proves racier than fiction in Shot In Bombay, Liz Mermin's documentary on the filming of a Bollywood action movie based on true events. The film in question is Shootout At Lokhandwala, director Apoorva Lakhia's 2007 thriller inspired by a real-life Mumbai gun battle between police and criminals in 1991. Mermin also sketches in the complex facts behind the case, as well as the legal troubles of L
  • Spain's Imagina launches film sales division under Setuain

    Spain's leading television distributor Imagina has moved into film sales, handling international rights on films produced by its associated companies, as well as pick ups from other independent production companies.Beatriz Setuain has taken the role as head of the new film distribution division, effective yesterday. She previously worked as an international sales executive at film and TV major Sogepaq, which recently announced that it is freezing its film activities after handling inte
  • Stambler promoted to vice president at THINKFilm

    Ben Stambler has been promoted to the position of vice president of acquisitions and development at THINKFilm.Stambler will continue to work out of the company's headquarters in New York where he started last March as director of acquisitions.During his relatively short time with the company Stambler has been instrumental in the acquisition of titles like Alex Gibney's documentary Taxi To The Dark Side, Helen Hunt's directorial deb
  • Staying on the map: Screen previews Rotterdam

    The International Film Festival Rotterdam (Iffr) in the Netherlands has long held a reputation as a cinephile's delight.Still, on the eve of the 37th edition of the festival (January 23-February 3), questions are being asked about what Rotterdam can do to stay relevant to the international industry.Some say its status as one of the world's biggest public festivals is unchallenged. Indeed, using the futuristic Pathe multiplex as its showcase cinema, the festival racks up 350,000
  • Stephanie Azam joins Telefilm's marketing and distribution team

    Former Zeitgeist Films director of theatrical marketing Stephanie Azam has joined Telefilm Canada as marketing and distribution specialist for English-language feature film. Based principally in Toronto, Azam will work with Telefilm executive director Wayne Clarkson to ensure that the films in which the agency invests receive a higher standard of theatrical release. Reporting directly to agency COO Elizabeth Friesen, Azam will oversee investments from the English-language marketing c
  • StudioCanal completes acquisition of Germany's Kinowelt

    StudioCanal has announced the completion of its 100% acquisition of German distributor Kinowelt. Speculation on the move had reached fever pitch last week when a Leipzig-based daily reported that the long-rumoured deal was imminent.StudioCanal signed the acquisition contract on Wednesday with Michael and Rainer Kolmel, owners of Kinowelt. In a press release, StudioCanal said the deal 'marks another significant step in the growth of StudioCanal's European distribution network.' The comp
  • Sue Kroll named worldwide marketing chief at Warner Bros

    Sue Kroll has assumed the new role of president of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros Pictures following the departure last week of domestic marketing chief Dawn Taubin.Kroll's broad purview involves creating a seamless interaction between the domestic and international marketing divisions as she oversees strategic creation and implementation of worldwide campaigns. She will direct all aspects of marketing, advertising, media planning, promotion, publicity and research.Th
  • Sundance Institute launches Creative Producing Initiative

    Sundance Institute today [Jan 20] announced the Sundance Creative Producing Initiative fellowship programme to nurture the next generation of film-makers.The Initiative, unveiled during the Producers Lunch, will be a year-long fellowship that includes a five-day Creative Producing Lab, attendance and industry meetings at the festival and the Sundance Institute 's Independent Producers Conference, year-round mentorship and ongoing support from Institute staff.
  • Sundance preview: a sunshine outlook'

    Each year thousands come to the mountain town of Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival.Some are here to see films, some to get rejected from overcrowded parties, and others to score goody bags.Many come to divine the future of independent film from the parade of new talent and films. Perhaps more than other festivals, Sundance prides itself on fresh talent. Of the 121 feature-length films presented this year, 55 come from first-time film-makers.So what is new th
  • Supporting cast lined up for Kevin Smith's latest at TWC

    Craig Robinson, Traci Lords, Katie Morgan, Ricky Mabe, Jeff Anderson and Jason Mewes have joined Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks on The Weinstein Company's (TWC) Zack & Miri Make A Porno, which begins principal production in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Jan 16.Smith wrote and is directing the film, which stars Rogen and Banks as cash-strapped lifelong friends who fall in love during a get-rich-quick scheme to make a porn film.Scott
  • The Bucket List tops domestic box office with $19.5m weekend

    Warner Bros' The Bucket List, which stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as terminally ill men who take the road trip of a lifetime,expanded wide and climbed 22 places to the top on an estimated $19.5m.The weekend haul raised the tearjerker's running total after three weekends to $20.9m and demonstrated the power of older demographics as a ticket buying force.Screen Gems' crime caper First Sunday wit
  • The Warlords, Lust, Caution lead race for Asian Film Awards

    Ang Lee's highly-acclaimed Lust, Caution and Peter Ho-sun Chan's war epic The Warlords picked up the most nominations for this year's Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong, with six nods apiece including best film and best director. Both films also picked up best actor nods; action star Jet Li tackled a strong dramatic role in The Warlords,while Tony Leung Chiu-waiplayeda war-time official embroiled in a passionate affair in Lust, Caution.Rounding out the best
  • Then She Found Me, Autism take audience honours at Palm Springs

    Helen Hunt's first outing as director Then She Found Me won the Palm Springs International Film Festival's (PSIFF) Audience Award for best narrative feature as the event came to a close on Jan 13.Tricia Regan's Autism: The Musical earned the Audience Award for best documentary feature. The FIPRESCI award For best foreign language film of the year went to Ognjen Svilicic's Croatian foreign language Oscar
  • Truly Indie buys US theatrical rights to Backseat

    Truly Indie has acquired US theatrical rights to Bruce Van Dusen's coming of age story Backseat and will release in New York on Mar 28 before expanding into further markets.Josh Alexander wrote and stars in the comedy about three friends who take a road trip from New York to Montreal as the demands of adulthood loom on the horizon.Rob Bogue, Will Janowitz and Aubrey Dollar also star. Alexander produced with Terry Leonard and Henry
  • Trust and Nordisk to launch new joint sales operation in Berlin

    Leading Scandinavian sales outfits, Trust Film Sales and Nordisk Film International Sales, will set up a joint sales operation, to be launched at the upcoming European Film Market during the Berlinale.Both companies have reserved stands at the market, but since they are next to each other, they will simply knock down the wall and combine their artwork to market Trust and Nordisk product. 'The idea is to have a common line-up, but still maintain the two brands, with Trust selling up-m
  • TWC claim $210m in international grosses in 2007

    The Weinstein Company's (TWC) slate of films grossed more than $210m overseas, according to figures release by the company today [Jan 15].The amount represents a rise of 170% over TWC's launch year in 2006 and was powered by a $49m take for the horror tile 1408, $41m for the animated action film TMNT and more than $28m for Quentin Tarantino's exploitation homage Death P
  • UK film industry remains upbeat despite US strike worries

    Leading figures in theUK film industryare remaining upbeat about the prospects for the territory despite theimpact oftheHollywood writers' strike on shoots.Ron Howard's Angels & Demons, Ridley Scott's Nottingham and the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Prince Of Persia have either withdrawn from the UK or been postponed.The WGA strike is having an impact, concedes UK film British Film Commissioner Colin Brown.'The British industry, because it is so al
  • UK production spend drops 15% whileco-productions crash 43%

    Feature film production spend dropped 15% in 2007, to $1.4bn (£723m) from 2006's $1.6bn (£855m), according to new research from the UK Film Council.The UKFC tracked 112 features, down from 135 in 2006 (the UKFC only tracks projects with budgets starting at $1m). The UKFC blamed the decline on the weak dollar, the US writers' strike, and the new UK tax-credit which is less friendly to co-productions. Indeed, the number of UK co-productions dropped to 28 in 2007 from 53 in
  • Union Square changes its name to Berk-Lane Entertainment

    Union Square Entertainment principals Jason Berk and Matt Lane, whose company produced the William H Macy and Meg Ryan comedy The Deal headed for Sundance, have changed the company name to Berk-Lane Entertainment.Berk-Lane will continue to finance and produce and aims to increase its involvement in feature development and expand into alternative and online programming and television.The Deal
  • United Kingdom - Making film history

    He has been awake since 5.30am and is now, six hours later, roaring his lines for the 11th time in the marble-columned ballroom of Kedleston Hall in rural Derbyshire. Yet the delivery of his political monologue is flawless. UK actor Simon McBurney is the kind of supporting actor that big-budget productions, such as The Duchess, love.McBurney plays Charles James Fox, leader of the Whig party and protege of Georgiana Devonshire nee Lady Spencer, played by Keira Knightley. The scen
  • United Kingdom - Next top model

    It is looking like a good year ahead for the Bristol-based animation powerhouse Aardman. The company, formed back in 1976, had a notable 2007 after ending its relationship with DreamWorks and signing a first-look deal with Sony Pictures. Now the company behind Wallace and Gromit, Flushed Away and Chicken Run is likely to have at least two feature projects greenlit this year.In October 2007, Aardman pitched its current development slate to Sony. "They (Sony) responded very
  • United Kingdom - The third word

    Breaking into today's crowded industry calendar with a new event is a challenge. But when that event is aimed at screenwriters, it is a real achievement.The UK town of Cheltenham is preparing to host the third International Screenwriters' Festival (July 1-3), following two very strong opening years.To an extent, the event's success has been due to timing; over the last two or three years, writers have been re-evaluating their positions in the industry, and not liking what they s
  • United States - Niche operator

    Perhaps the biggest challenge Lisa Nishimura-Seese has faced, since relocating from New York to Los Angeles last October on joining Netflix, is that there are not enough hours in the day.In her newly created role of vice-president of independent content acquisition in a new department, she is charged with acquiring domestic video rights to independent and small studio films for Netflix, the world's largest online DVD rental service.Since she started, Nishimura-Seese has been tal
  • United States - Original intent

    This week, Original Media, the New York-headquartered independent film and TV production company headed by former internet entrepreneur Charlie Corwin, is attending Sundance with what it hopes will be another buzz-generating festival film.In 2005, the then two-year-old company went to Park City as the primary backer of The Squid And The Whale. In 2006, it returned with both A Guide To Recognising Your Saints and Half Nelson. This year, the project is August,
  • Vandierendonck steps down from Eurimages post

    In a surprising move, Jan Vandierendonck has announced that he will be quitting his position as Executive Secretary of Eurimages. He is expected to step down in April or May. His replacement is likely to be confirmed by autumn 2008.Vandierendonck was appointed to the post of Eurimages Executive Secretary in January 2006.In an interview with Screen International today, Vandierendonck confirmed his decision and insisted that he was leaving voluntarily. 'Now I want to go back to fi
  • Video platform blinkx adds content from Future Shorts, YoungCuts

    US-based video search engine blinkx has struck deals with 13 new content partners. The new independent content providers are Calon TV, ChannelFlip.com, Channel X, Foothill Entertainment, Future Shorts, jeko.tv, Journeyman Pictures, Looking Glass International, MoMedia, Monster Distributes, Reelport, Wysiwyg Films and YoungCuts.Content will be searchable and playable at blinkx.com using its AdHoc platform (which offers revenue sharing with partners.)
  • Village, Golden Harvest settle Singapore dispute

    Kenneth Tan will step down as head of Singapore exhibitor Golden Village (GV) as the company's co-owners, Australia's Village Roadshow and Hong Kong 's Golden Harvest, settle their dispute over their Singapore business partnership. The partners were at odds with each other when Golden Harvest petitioned to end their Singapore venture in 2005 and Tan was singled out for much criticism. The lawsuit was settled out-of-court in Hong Kong only last Friday.Today the two partners announce
  • Village, Golden Harvest settle Singapore dispute

    Kenneth Tan will step down as head of Singapore exhibitor Golden Village (GV) as the company's co-owners, Australia's Village Roadshow and Hong Kong 's Golden Harvest, settle their dispute over their Singapore business partnership. The partners were at odds with each other when Golden Harvest petitioned to end their Singapore venture in 2005 and Tan was singled out for much criticism. The lawsuit was settled out-of-court in Hong Kong only last Friday.Today the two partners announce
  • Writers' strike: are the Oscars threatened'

    Last Friday, US TV network ABC Studios terminated more than 20 writer or producer deals, invoking the force majeure provision allowing termination of such deals six weeks into a strike.LastMonday, four other TV studios followed suit, saving tens of millions of dollars in the process.On February 24, ABC stands to make some $80m from advertising revenues from the 80th Academy Awards broadcast. It is the second biggest advertising night of the year after the Superbowl in the US TV
  • Zeitgeist buys US rights to Sundance doc Up The Yangstze

    US distributor Zeitgeist Films has acquired Yung Chang's feature debut documentary Up The Yangstze in advance of its US premiere at Sundance. The film, which had its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2007, travels up the famed Chinese river to explore the end of a way of life as the nation prepares for the massive Three Gorges Dam. The film was produced by Mila Aung-Thwin, John Christou and Germaine Ying Gee Wong.

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