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21 April 2002

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  • 2002 UK cinema admissions predicted to reach 164m

    Cinemagoing is continuing to rise in the UK, prompting the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) to predict that ticket sales will reach 164 million in 2002 - a 5% increase on last year's hefty total of 156 million.Admissions reached over 48.3 million in the first quarter - a year on year increase of 37%. March alone saw 14.3 million ticket sales.Major earners in the first quarter included Monsters Inc. $52.7m (£36.6m), Ocean's Eleven $33.4m (£23.2m
  • Almodovar's Talk reaches international audiences

    The latest film from Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, Talk To Her (Hable Con Ella), has seen a strong launch in international territories outside its homeland. Opening in France this week for Pathe Distribution, the film, which was produced by El Deseo, sold an impressive 355,412 tickets, equivalent to $1.7m, in five days from 268 screens. Taking third position in the French chart and boasting a screen average of 1,326 admissions, the film rivalled first placed Le Boulet's aver
  • Amitabh Bachchan's Aankhen packs South African cinemas

    Aankhen, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's latest film, opened last weekend to packed houses in South Africa achieving a screen average that outperformed both Britney Spears and Bruce.Released on just five screens, Aankhen grossed $14,600 (R163,259) over the weekend and earned a massive screen average of $2, 900 (R32,651).Aankhen also stars Bollywood heavyweights Akshay Kumar, Sushmita Sen, Arjun Rampal, Paresh Rawal and newcomer Bipasha Basu. The fi
  • Australia to get its first competitive film festival

    Sydney Film Festival director Gayle Lake has confirmed that the festival will become a competitive event from 2003, the year it celebrates its 50th birthday, with filmmakers' first or second feature films being eligible. Australia does not currently have a competitive festival.A new directors program was introduced in 1999 and in the following year it was announced that organisers were working towards gaining competitive status. Ascertaining whether the extra costs could be met was one
  • Beautiful Mind puts Crowe at top of Oz actors' earnings list

    Actor Russell Crowe's estimated 2001 earnings of $15.4m (A$29m), including from A Beautiful Mind, were not enough to put him at the head of the annual top 50 entertainers list published in the current issue of Australia's Business Review Weekly. Coming third, Crowe, however, easily led the fifteen actors on the list, most of whose earnings came from working abroad.Top position on the list went to a group of theatrical producers, while second-placed was 30-year-old rock ba
  • Beautiful Mind puts Crowe at top of Oz actors' earnings list

    Actor Russell Crowe's estimated 2001 earnings of $15.4m (A$29m), including his take from A Beautiful Mind, were not enough to put him at the head of the annual top 50 entertainers list published in the current issue of Australia's Business Review Weekly. Coming third, Crowe, however, easily led the fifteen actors on the list, most of whose earnings came from working abroad.Top position on the list went to a group of theatrical producers, while second-placed was 30-year-ol
  • Bend It Like Beckham scores home goal

    He may, or may not, have been rendered unfit for the first of the World Cup qualifying matches, but David Beckham has scored a winning goal at home - at least in the form of a British movie named after him.Scoring $2.9m (£2.0m) over its opening weekend from 384 sites, British comedy Bend It Like Beckham has proved that the UK can produce successful local films as well as any other European territory. The film's opening bodes well for its future at th
  • Bend It Like Beckham scores home goal

    He may have been rendered unfit for the first of the World Cup qualifying matches, but David Beckham has scored a winning goal at home - at least in the form of a British movie named after him.Scoring $2.9m (£2.0m) over its opening weekend from 384 sites, British comedy Bend It Like Beckham has proved that the UK can produce successful local films as well as any other European territory. The film's opening bodes well for its future at the box office,
  • Beyond, Chaos team for Australian home entertainment

    A range of Australian cinema classics will be among at least 30 titles released on DVD and video in the next 12 months under a new deal between Beyond International and information technology group and home entertainment distributor Chaos. Upcoming titles licensed by Beyond will also be manufactured, marketed and distributed by Chaos, which has its own specialist outlets.The two companies plan to develop new content for PC users and consumer products, and explore opportunities to devel
  • Brown steps into vacated SPAA exec director job

    Geoff Brown has been appointed executive director of the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) following the sudden resignation of Joanne Yates who joined only six months ago. Brown, already involved with the organisation as policy manager in an acting capacity while the incumbent was on maternity leave, is a former SPAA employee who oversaw commercial and industrial affairs. It appears that divergent expectations and a lack of money, which has forced recent staff reductions
  • Canada's Decode to shoot The Church Mice

    Canadian Production company Decode Entertainment has announced plans to make its first children's feature. The film: The Church Mice is to be shot like the Hollywood feature film Babe, combining computer graphics and live-action. Funded by the Canadian government, the feature is expected to go into production in around 18 months. The Church Mice is based on a series of books by Graham Oakley, which tell of the adventures of a church cat and a group of mice. Decode
  • Canadian animation series funded by Scottish bank

    Ottawa-based animation studio Amberwood Entertainment will produce two animated series with gap financing provided by the Royal Bank of Scotland.It's the first time the RBS has arranged the financing for a Canadian company. The productions covered by the arrangement include 13 half-hour episodes of preschool series Katie And Orbie narrated by Canadian comic actor Leslie Nielsen and 26 half-hour episodes of Hoze Houndz. Both projects, with a combined budget of appro
  • Cannes' Camera d'Or jury announced

    The jury of Cannes' Camera d'Or, which was created 25 years ago by Gilles Jacob and is awarded to a first film selected either in the official competition or in the Un Certain Regard, Director's Fortnight and International Critics' Week sidebars, has been announced.Selected from among previous Camera d'Or jury presidents and winners, this year's jury comprises Geraldine Chaplin and Marthe Keller, presidents of the 1991 and 1994 Camera d'Or and of award-winning film-makers Bahman Ghobad
  • Cannes competition jury line-up announced

    A week ahead of the announcement of the Cannes film festival's official competition line-up, Gilles Jacob has announced the full jury, which this year is chaired by David Lynch. Actresses Sharon Stone, Michele Yeoh and Christine Hakim will be joined by no less than five film-makers, including three Cannes veterans - Bille August, Cannes Palme d'Or-winner in 1992 for Pelle The Conqueror, Claude Miller (1998 Cannes Jury Prize-winner for La Classe De Neige), Raoul Ruiz (thr
  • Changing Lanes

    Dir: Roger Michell. US. 2002. 98 mins. Part psychological thriller, part urban morality play, Changing Lanes is that rare Hollywood offering that works both as genre entertainment and as something more complex and thought-provoking. Deftly directed - in a significant change of mood from his 1999 romantic-comedy Notting Hill - by Roger Michell, the film has made a strong start in the US, riding the appeal of stars Ben Affleck (below) and Samuel L Jackson to an es
  • Cinemas face cost of Disability Discrimination Act

    While the international exhibition industry has always aspired to keep ahead of government regulations, especially those regarding access and facilities for the disabled, the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 has given rise to a new and challenging set of issues that could prove costly to resolve.In what many will hope does not set a precedent, an Australian multiplex cinema is about to be re-launched, despite the fact that it is less than five years old. The refurbishment was unde
  • Columbia develops European dramas

    Columbia Tristar International Television (CTIT) has announced that it is developing local European dramas and plans to launch them internationally at Mipcom in October. CTIT has Spanish, French, German and Italian-language connections in the region. The model of As If - a European youth drama format that first aired on Channel 4 in the UK - is expected to be followed. Also in the pipeline are around four contemporary action and youth-oriented dramas.
  • Consolidation stabilises UK exhibition market

    The UK exhibition sector is moving towards more of an even keel after the uncertainty of the last couple of years, with industry consolidation beginning to stabilise a rapidly saturating market, according to a new report.Fears that the UK cinema industry could face a US-style meltdown because of over-expansion were partially headed off during 2001, which saw both an increase in attendance figures - up from 2000's 143m to 156m admissions - as well the beginnings of a slowdown in expan
  • Constantin takes majority stake in Rat Pack

    Germany's Constantin Film has added to its portfolio of 'satellite' production houses by taking a 51% majority stake in Christian Becker and Anita Schneider's new outfit Rat Pack Filmproduktion The new film and TV production company, in which director Sebastian Niemann and writers Juergen Egger and Alexander Ruemelin hold minority interests, was launched after Becker left the media company F.A.M.E. last year.Other directors who will take equity holdings in the company are Dennis
  • Danish fest audience awards Lagaan distribution cash

    At the closing ceremony of Denmark's 13th NatFilm Festival in Copenhagen (April 14), the event's audience voted the Indian cricket-musical Lagaan yet another prize, but this time one which means it will get a theatrical release in Denmark. The prize, which is awarded in collaboration with the Danish Film Institute, carries a purse of $12,000 (DKR100,000) earmarked for the local distributor who is willing to release the film. Bollywood films attracted great attention at th
  • David Lynch joins condemnations of Lescure's removal

    Condemnations of Jean-Marie Messier's decision to sack Pierre Lescure were coming from as far away as Hollywood yesterday, with Cannes jury president David Lynch calling the move scandalous.It is the second time in as many months that Messier has sparked a political furore (the first being when he publicly stated that the French prized 'exception culturelle', was soon to be obsolete). Indeed, the political impact of Lescure's forced ousting by Messier has been such that French P
  • Dutch film festival director kills two Golden Calves

    The Dutch Film Festival (25 September - 4 October in Utrecht) will have fewer awards - the traditional Golden Calves - for this year's edition. The new director, Doreen Boonekamp, has cut the two prizes for best actor and actress in the television-drama-section.The number of films in competition will also be much less, compared to last year. A new special jury will make a pre-selection of the features, documentaries, shorts and TV titles that will be judged for the awards.Last y
  • Dutch film festival kills two Golden Calves

    The Dutch Film Festival (25 September - 4 October in Utrecht) will have fewer awards - the traditional Golden Calves - for this year's edition. The new director, Doreen Boonekamp, has cut the two prizes for best actor and actress in the television-drama-section.The number of films in competition will also be much less, compared to last year. A new special jury will make a pre-selection of the features, documentaries, shorts and TV titles that will be judged for the awards.Last y
  • Everyman cinema to open in Maida Vale, London

    New cinema will be Everyman Media Group’s ninth venue
  • Finance chief of KirchGroup holding company steps down

    Brian Cook, chief financial officer of KirchGroup holding company, TaurusHolding has left the company after just nine months.In a press communique, the holding stated that the resignation had "occurred now in light of the fact that the restructuring of the KirchGroup of companies is increasingly being managed by the insolvency advisors". Cook, who had only taken up the CFO post at the KirchGroup last July, commented "it has been a very challenging nine months. A
  • First programmes for Cologne Conference selected

    The German premieres of the World War II series Band Of Brothers, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, American Beauty author Akan Ball's black comedy Six Feet Under and Swiss documentary filmmaker Christian Frei's Oscar-nominated War Photographer are among the international productions being lined up for the 12th International Television Festival in Cologne during this year's Cologne Conference (June 15-21, 2002).Commenting on this year's festival selection
  • First titles in Cannes Directors' Fortnight announced

    The selection committee of the 34th Directors' Fortnight (Quinzaine des Realisateurs ) section of the Cannes film festival has announced a partial line-up of titles.Abouna - Mahamat-Saleh Haroum - Chad / France (world premiere)Angela - Roberta Torre - ItalyBibo Breviarium (Istvan Bibo, fragments) - Peter Forgacs - Hungary (international premiere)Blue Gate Crossing - Yee Chih-Yen -Taiwan/France (world premiere)
  • Geisler/Roberdeau option McCain POW memoir

    Bobby Geisler and JohnRoberdeau, the New York producing duo who were last involved in TerrenceMalick's The Thin Red Line, haveoptioned the movie rights to Faith Of My Fathers, the best-selling Vietnam prisoner of war memoirwritten by John McCain, the high-profile US Senator for Arizona.Written with Mark Salter,McCain's book is the story of what he learned from his grandfather andfather - both four-star admirals in the US Navy - and ho
  • German animation studio to close after just two years

    After just two years in the German market, animation production outfit Ellipse Deutschland Film und Fernsehproduktion has shut up shop following the decision by its French parent Expand to pursue a course of consolidation after group losses last year. Despite Ellipse Deutschland's success with the setting up of the international co-productions of animation series Kleiner Koenig Macius (with Kinderkanal, Hessischer Rundfunk, Saxonia Media and Studio 88), Frog (with Super R
  • German banks provide KirchMedia with Euros 100m

    German banks Commerzbank, HypoVereinsbank, Bayerische Landesbank, and DZ Bank have reportedly agreed to provide the crisis-ridden KirchGroup's KirchMedia with Euros 100m working capital to enable the company, which filed for Chapter 11 at the beginning of last week, to continue operations as a going concern. This cash boost will also give KirchMedia's new management of Wolfgang van Betteray and Hans Joachim Ziems and insolvency administrator Michael Jaffe the chance to further negotiat
  • Grammer heads de Angelis big budget slate

    Frazier star Kelsey Grammer and Aidan Quinn have signed to star in Benedict Arnold, which at $18m, is one of the most expensive TV movies of the year. It is produced by ambitious Italian venture DeAngelis Group in association with America's A&E Network. The picture, which is to be directed by Mikael Salomon is the story of the US general who infamously switched sides during the American War of Independence, having fallen in love with a British woman. Production will take
  • Harmony Gold re-focuses on film sales

    Harmony Gold, the US independent best known for its children's and animation properties, is stepping back into feature film sales and is in the market for pick-ups."We have lots of TV buyers looking for features right now," said Melissa Wohl, Harmony Gold vice president of sales and acquisitions. Speaking on the first morning of MIP-TV programmes market, Wohl said: "We've already had more feature interest from European and Asian buyers today than during the AFM." Wohl is represe
  • Hollywood Ending gets its international fest premiere before Cannes at San Francisco

    Woody Allen's latest comedy Hollywood Ending will close the San Francisco International Film Festival on May 2, two weeks before it opens the Cannes Film Festival. It's unusual for Cannes organizers to allow a film to play at another international film festival before it is unveiled on the Croisette but since the San Francisco festival is a domestic event and the film itself opens in the US on May 3, an exception appears to have been made.In the last decade, the US films which h
  • Icon adds Bend It Like Beckham to Oz release line-up

    Icon Film Distribution Australia has acquired the rights to UK soccer hit Bend It Like Beckham, directed by Gurinder Chadha. The tentative release date is July in Australia and August in New Zealand. It is generally acknowledged that British films can work as well in the Australian marketplace as US films and Icon's Australian chief executive Mark Gooder has a broader range of UK titles to choose from than his UK colleagues because the issue of who holds UK rights is irre
  • Imax set for widest ever release with Space Station 3D

    Imax Corp. is set for the widest release yet of one of its giant-screen films. The company said Space Station 3D, with narration by Tom Cruise, has commitments from more than 100 IMAX theatres. The film, its first space-related 3D picture, opens in North America April 19 in 24 theatres. It will roll out to 15 territories thereafter, including Germany, France, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Denmark, Poland, Kuwait, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands.T
  • Japanese distributor launches international film production arm

    Japanese film distributor Klockworx is entering the international film production business with the unveiling of its first project, Meher Grougian's Citizen Zero, due to start shooting in Los Angeles in December. Budgeted at $1m, the SciFi thriller about a man who has lost his identity, will be the director's first feature, shot in a combination of animation and live action. Klockworx spotted Grougian's short film Plug, also a SciFi thriller, about a man who falls
  • Jordi Molla's directorial debut to open Malaga fest

    We're Nobody (No Somos Nadie), the directorial debut of actor Jordi Molla (Blow, Second Skin), will open the fifth annual Film Festival of Malaga (April 26-May 4), Spain's leading competitive event dedicated to national productions and co-productions.Other titles competing in the official section alongside Molla's Lolafilms production, (pictured) include: Julio Wallovist and Roger Gual's Smoking Room;Emilio Martinez La
  • Joseph Hobel named COO at Infinity

    Jospeh Hobel has been named chief operating officer of Infinity International Entertainment, Michael Ovohen's LA-based production and financing outfit which has a non-exclusive deal with German production fund Cinerenta to supervise its funds for US production.Hobel will be based in the LA headquarters of the company and report to president William B Vince. He will be responsible for general management and business affairs as well as overseeing the physical production operations of the
  • Joseph Woolf joins entertainment group at GKM

    Joseph S Woolf has joined New York-based investment banking firm Gerard Klauer Mattison (GKM) as a prinicipal in its entertainment media advisory group in Los Angeles. Woolf joins GKM from Trowbridge Capital, a financial consulting firm he founded in 2001. Prior to Trowbridge, Woolf helped create the entertainment lending division of Union Bank Of California.The GKM Entertainment Advisory Group (EMA) serves the strategic needs of leading companies in the film, TV, music, broadcasting a
  • Le Boulet is a smash for Warner France with $5.6m

    Le Boulet (Dead Weight), the eagerly awaited action comedy starring Gerard Lanvin and Benoit Poelvoorde, stormed to the top of the French box office charts at the weekend with nationwide grosses of Euro 6.4m ($5.6m). Jointly produced by Warner Bros France and La Petite Reine, the $21m feature screened at 834 sites and registered more than 1.1m admissions.The film beat off competition from the local language Parle Avec Elle and the Japanese animated hit Spiri
  • Messier forces Lescure's resignation from Canal Plus

    Amid French press reports that his own future is at risk, Vivendi Universal chairman Jean-Marie Messier has announced that Pierre Lescure, head of the company's pay-TV group Canal Plus, is stepping down from his post.Lescure is to be replaced by the fifty year-old Xavier Couture, who until now has been a top executive at private, free-TV broadcaster TF1. Speaking at a press conference today (April 16), Messier said that he had decided to replace Lescure, who having refused a pro
  • MGM deals Bond with RTL in Germany, Viacom in US

    MGM Worldwide Television Distribution has concluded two major deals on its James Bond franchise. Germany's RTL Television has signed an exclusive licensing agreement for German free-TV rights to the next Bond movie Die Another Day which teams Pierce Brosnan with Halle Berry, as well as broadcast rights to four classic 007 films Dr No, From Russia With Love, Thunderball and Goldfinger.Meanwhile three Viacom US networks The New TNN: The National Network, CBS and UPN
  • MIP-TV receives general approval from mixed market

    The MIP-TV market (Apr 14-18) drew to an effective close yesterday as buyers scurried out of town and deal announcements dwindled from a trickle to something closer to a drip feed. But most participants gave the impression of having had a more useful market than they had envisaged.Statistics from MIP-TV organiser Midem showed fewer sellers than last time, more buyers and a greater number of participating countries. Exhibitors dropped from 481 last year to 450; exhibiting compani
  • Morocco to get two new film production studios

    The Moroccan film industry is set to for a major boost with the announcement of ambitious plans for two studio complexes at Ouarzazate, a town 200 kilometres south of Marrakesh, at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. Dagham Film, owned by Moroccan-born businessman Mohamed El Asli, who spent 25 years working in the Italian film industry, is behind the building of the Kanzaman Studio on a 60 hectare lot. In the first stage of the project, a 5,300 square metre facility has been develo
  • New controversy erupts over Italian TV appointments

    New controversy has erupted over the control of Italian state broadcaster RAI after the parties in media mogul and prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's coalition were awarded the coveted top managerial jobs at RAI1 and RAI2 as well as their influential news programmes.Coming almost two months after the Italian Parliament appointed a board to run RAI, the appointments raised fears that current affairs programming would be slanted in favour of the government.The appointments have al
  • Nirgendwo In Afrika leads German Film Award nominations

    Caroline Link's Nirgendwo In Afrika has picked up four nominations for this year's German Film Awards (Lolas) which will be presented in Berlin's Tempodrom on June 14. At the announcement of this year's nominees during a gala event in Berlin on April 19, Link's adaptation of Stefanie Zweig's bestseller was nominated in the Best Film, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Direction categories, while three nominations were each picked up by Hans Weingartn
  • Panic Room tops box office in seven territories

    Columbia Pictures' Panic Room kicked off its international release over the weekend, and took an impressive $5.3m in eight territories, nabbing top spot in seven.The David Fincher-directed film starring Jodie Foster topped the box office in Spain, taking $2m on 275 screens and recording the biggest April opening of all time in that territory.In Australia the picture enjoyed a $1.7m haul on 200 screens, making it the fourth biggest April opener of all time behind The Ma
  • Queensland launches Gold Coast film festival

    The Gold Coast City Council is one of the main drivers behind the launch this year of a film festival that it hopes will draw attention to the filmmaking capabilities of the region, and boost economic development. Over $54,000 (A$100,000) has already been raised from government sources.Queensland's Gold Coast, south of Brisbane, already hosts the Warner Roadshow MovieWorld Studios and the annual Australian International Movie Convention but does not have the depth of crew or services o
  • Regent prefers TV movies, exhibition to feature production

    Regent Entertainment, best known for multi-award winner Gods & Monsters, is to shift the emphasis of its production division away from features in order to concentrate more on made-for-TV output. A sale to TF1 within an hour of the Cannes MIP-TV event opening yesterday morning (April 15) was justification enough in the eyes of Gene George president, international at Regent. TF1 picked up Cupid's Prey, a $3m drama produced by Regent and Film Knights, expandin
  • Shaolin Soccer scores at Hong Kong Film Awards

    Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer was the big winner at the 21st Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday night (April 21), scoring seven of the 19 prizes, including best film and best director.Chow also scooped the best actor and best new director awards, while his co-star Wong Yat Fei won best supporting actor. The film, which was nominated in 13 categories, also won prizes for sound design and visual effects. Shaolin Soccer was last year's undisputed loca
  • Spanish film industry holds breath as pay-TV sector wavers

    The Spanish film industry is up in arms over what is seen as a halt in acquisitions at pay TV platforms Via Digital and Canal Plus/Canal Satelite Digital, two of the most important financing sources for Spanish producers and distributors.While the rumours about a stall have been circulating since early this year, the situation seems to have escalated this month and is suddenly making the national headline news.The platforms "are delaying the signing of newer films as much as the
  • Thailand begins approving more filming requests

    As competition heats up in the bid to be the 'shooting capital of Asia', and despite expected protests from environmentalists, Thai authorities have gone ahead and approved the filming of CBS' high profile reality TV program Survivor on Tarutao, a pristine southern island.According to the Thai Film Office (TFO), some 150 foreign feature films, commercials and documentaries have been shot in Thailand so far this year, 41 of which took place in protected areas.The shooting
  • The Garden Of The Finzi Contini to be remade

    A new version of Oscar-winning classic The Garden Of The Finzi Contini is to be produced by top Italian producer Carlo Degli Esposti under his Palomar label.The new film is not intended as a remake of Vittorio De Sica's 1970 masterpiece, but is rather a new adaptation of Giorgio Bassani's novel with a screenplay written by Bassani himself. The film will be shot later this year or early 2003 and will be made for television. But as with other of Degli Esposti's pictures it has a c
  • The Hour Of Religion (L'Ora di Religione)

    Dir: Marco Bellocchio. Italy. 2002. 103mins.The term "auteur" is not much used these days outside of ironic quotation marks. But it is difficult to think of a better description for Italian director Marco Bellocchio, now well into his fourth creative decade. The story of an atheist painter who suddenly discovers that his mother is about to be canonised, The Hour Of Religion has touches of Fellini in its anti-Vatican satire and dollops of the later Pasolini in its savag
  • The Scorpion King

    Dir: Chuck Russell. US. 2002. 92mins.The Mummy franchise lives on in this rumbustious, two-fisted prequel that serves up breathless, B-movie action with A-level production values. Promoted to centre stage, Dwayne Johnson, aka wrestler The Rock, lays down a persuasive marker as a 21st-century action hero and the heady mixture of bulging biceps, buxom maidens, flashing blades and fisticuffs should find favour with an undemanding blockbuster audiences. Even a PG-13 rating in the
  • The Shanghai Spell (El Embrujo De Shanghai)

    Dir: Fernando Trueba. Spain. 2002. 122mins.Lush, even exotic, set designs and costumes are the biggest draws for The Shanghai Spell (El Embrujo De Shanghai), Oscar-award winning director Fernando Trueba's (Belle Epoque) 1940s drama. Trueba's reputation, and strong international interest in his recent hits such as jazz documentary 54th Street (Calle 54) and the Penelope Cruz feature The Girl Of Your Dreams (La Nina De Tus Ojos),
  • The Warrior

    Dir: Asif Kapadia. UK/India. 2001. 86minsA poised and confident first feature, The Warrior is an ambitious mixture of morality tale and sweeping adventure set against the spectacular scenery and burning light of Rajasthan and the Himalayas. The absorbing story of one man's renunciation of violence and his quest for peace has echoes of the lean, flinty Westerns that Hollywood made in the post-war years. It also has affinities with the more thoughtful Westerns in which C
  • Tribeca Fest unveils 24 international titles, adds Insomnia, Ya-Ya

    The inaugural Tribeca Film Festival has announced the 24 films to screen in its International Film Showcase and added two high profile Warner Bros films to its world premiere list - Callie Khouri's Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Christopher Nolan's Insomnia.The festival, which takes place from May 8-12, was founded by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, to celebrate New York City as a film-making capital and contribute to the economic redevelopment effort in lo
  • Turkish website protests against Egoyan's Ararat

    A Turkish website is protesting against Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan's new film Ararat claiming it distorts history and misrepresents Turkish actions. Tipped to premiere in competition at Cannes, the film tells the story of a present-day ethnic Armenian director filming an historical drama about the 1915 uprising of Armenians and their repression at the hands of Turkish militias. Armenians claim that more than one million Armenians died during the uprising. The Turkish
  • TVA saves distribution arm through Christal alliance

    Montreal-based TVA Group will merge the administration of its distribution arm, TVA International, with that of fellow Montreal distributor, Christal Films, breathing new life into an organisation TVA Group had considered abandoning. Under the terms of the service agreement, the new entity will operate under the name Topaze Communications. Both companies will continue to direct the marketing of their respective catalogues while dividing administration expenses and increasing their boo
  • UK Government closes film tax relief loophole

    Loopholes allowing TV productions to access UK tax relief for films are to be closed, the Government announced in its budget on Wednesday (April 17).The move is expected to stem a rash of TV projects that have accessed the UK's influential 100% tax write-offs under Section 48, leading to calls of widespread abuse. The definition of a British film is expected to be overhauled in order to rule out TV projects."This will refocus the reliefs on the original intention of stimulating
  • Universal completes three-territory deal on Gosford Park

    Universal Pictures has completed its acquisition of rights in Germany, Japan and South Africa to Robert Altman's Academy Award-winning Gosford Park from Capitol Films. USA Films, now ironically again a part of the Vivendi Universal media empire, had domestic rights to Gosford Park and grossed over $40m from it.Other distributors to which Gosford Park was sold include Entertainment in the UK and Icon in Australia. The film earned seven Oscar nominations inclu
  • Universal strikes film supply deal with Greece's Star

    Universal has struck a long-term film supply deal with Greek commercial broadcaster Star. The exclusive contract spans films and made for television programming.Among the films is a mixture of current films and library material. Titles include Gladiator, The Mummy, Bridget Jones's Diary, Hannibal, and The Fast And The Furious.TV content includes Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, Xena: Warrior Princess miniseries Attila The Hun and Firestarter: R
  • Venice film festival selects Buschmann for German liaison

    Venice Film Festival's new director Moritz de Hadeln has named filmmaker/producer Christel Buschmann as the festival's correspondent for Germany to liaise with German producers wanting to place their films in Venice.Buschmann - who Gibbi-Westgermany (1980), Comeback (1982) and Ballhaus Barmbek - Let's Kiss And Say Goodbye (1988) - is no stranger to Hadeln as she served on his competition selection committee in Berlin from 1997-2001. As German films have foun
  • Vivendi and Kirch troubles impact int'l film sales business

    Industry executives around the world were this week weighing up the impact of the unfolding crisis at Vivendi Universal. The ousting of Canal Plus boss Pierre Lescure and the management turmoil at parent company Vivendi Universal has thrown into doubt the ability of Europe's most diverse pay-TV group and the continent's largest film financier to operate normally.The sacking of Lescure and the resignation of Denis Olivennes last Friday both appear to have been sparked by question