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21 April 2008

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  • Academy announces calendar for Oscars 2009

    The 81st Annual Academy Awards will take place on February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences president Sid Ganis announced the date along with the rest of the timetable on Monday [April 14].Official Screen Credits forms are due on December 1, nominations ballots must be mailed by December 26, nominations polls close on January 12, 2009, and the nominations will be announced on January 22, 2009.Nominations ar
  • Antonia's Line team back with My Father's Notebook

    Marleen Gorris and Hans de Weers, the director/producer team behind Oscar winner Antonia's Line, are reuniting on a new feature, My Father's Notebook. The film, based on the bestseller by Kader Abdolah, is set at the time of the revolution in Iran and then in Holland a generation later. It comes billed as 'a timeless tale of the bond between a father and a son set at the time of Iran's troubled voyag
  • AWP picks up The Lena Baker Story for Cannes

    LA-based American World Pictures (AWP) has acquired worldwide rights to The Lena Baker Story, about the first woman in the state of Georgia to die in the electric chair.AWP will screen the film to buyers in Cannes. Tichina Arnold stars as the victim of racial injustice who was executed in 1944 after she claimed to have shot and killed her sexually abusive employer in self-defence. Peter Coyote will portray the employer.Ralph Wilcox
  • Baby Mama

    Dir: Michael McCullers . US. 2008. 98 mins.A smart comedy for adults, Baby Mama is a consistently funny pleasure, filled with charismatic performances and a nicely understated emotional element. Though superficially an Odd Couple-style look at two mismatched women - one hired to carry the other's child to term - this female-centred laugher mostly eschews caricature for warm, silly observations about grownup relationships.After its premie
  • BAFTA sets 2009 date for February 8, two weeks ahead of Oscars

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has set the Orange British Academy Film Awards for Feb 8, 2009 at London’s Royal Opera House.
  • Beijing Avrio Films to enter production with new backer

    Beijing-based film distributor Avrio Films has been acquired by Harbin-based real estate and commerce group, Songlei Group Corporation, and renamed Songlei Avrio Films. Avrio founder and president Johnny Liu remains the president of the new company. Apart from its existing film distribution business, Songlei Avrio Films also plans to enter film and TV production, according to Liu.Established in 1989 in Harbin City, Songlei Group owns shopping malls, real estate companies, a high sc
  • Bernards, Robbins among senior promotions at MPAA

    Kori Bernards has been promoted to senior vice president of communications at the Motion Picture Association Of America (MPAA).Dan Robbins has been named senior vice president and associate general counsel, Mike Robinson becomes senior vice president and director of North American anti-piracy operations.Ted Shapiro has become senior vice president, general counsel and deputy managing director of the Motion Picture Association's Europe, the Middle East And African office (
  • Bornedal's The Substitute wins audience award at Sprockets

    Danish filmmaker Ole Bornedal's The Substitute won the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the 11th Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children. The story follows a group of school children who suspect their substitute teacher may be an alien. Best animated film honours went to US filmmaker Devin Bell's Crank Balls.Three awards were decided upon by children's juries
  • Bortone's Rosso Come Il Cielo wins top prizes at Palm Beach

    Cristiano Bortone won best director and best feature for Rosso Come Il Cielo (Red Like The Sky) at the 13th Palm Beach International Film Festival.Lauzanne Xavier's D'Une Seule Voix (With One Voice) took the documentary prize while the panel awarded a special jury prize to dancer-choreographer Lachen Zinoun for his directorial debut Oud Al Ward (The Lost Beauty).
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina gets second international festival

    The first Banja Luka International Film Festival (BLIFF), only the second international film festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina after Sarajevo and the first in Republika Srpska (the Serbian entity within the country), will take place from May 2-9.The inaugural event will present over a hundred films in seven programmes, including three competitions- feature, documentary and student films. Other sections are Peace and Tolerance, Film and Laughter, Women Directors, Festival Favourites
  • Brad Bird to receive WGAW animation writing award

    Brad Bird has been selected to receive the Writers Guild of America West's tenth annual Animation Writing Award for lifetime achievement.Bird, who won animated picture Oscars for Ratatouille and The Incredibles and previously directed The Iron Giant, will collect the honour at the WGA West's 2008 Honorary Awards Luncheon on April 23.The film-maker is
  • CAVU buys Sean Baker's Take Out for US distribution

    New York-based producer and distributor CAVU Pictures has acquired the drama Take Out and will stage a platform release in New York on June 6 before rolling out to other arthouse markets.Take Out was directed by Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou and written and produced by Baker. It premiered at the 2004 Slamdance Film Festival before going on to play at more than 30 festivals.The story follows
  • China Film, XFMedia join forces for Sino-US co-productions

    Beijing-based XFMedia Group has announced a strategic alliance with China Film Group to collaborate on the production, distribution and international sales of Chinese films, including Sino-US co-productions. XFMedia has partnered with David Lee, former vice president of The Weinstein Company's Asian Operations, to establish a new subsidiary Xinhua Media Entertainment as a full-service film production and investment company based in Beijing, with a satellite office in Los Angeles.XF
  • Citizen Havel, Everything Is Relativein firstDoc Alliance showcase

    Pavel Koutecky and Miroslav Janek's Citizen Havel and Danish filmmaker Mikala Krogh's Everything Is Relative are among five creative theatrical documentaries to be showcased by a new venture called Doc Alliance created by five leading European documentary film festivals.Doc Alliance's first lineup is: Citizen Havel by Pavel Koutecky and Miroslav Janek (Czech Republic) Comeback by Maximilian Plettau (Germany)Everything Is Rela
  • Comment

    Comments on investment in UK storyIf Ingenious and Martin Smith encouraged people to invest hundreds of millions in Girl With A Pear Earring, Vera Drake, Hotel Rwanda, Bride & Prejudice, Notes On A Scandal, Hot Fuzz and Golden Compass, it's hard totake their opinions on the state of the industry too seriously.'Jamie Brown, Studio Eight Productions, London
  • Daniel Frigo gets evp stripes at Disney Europe

    Daniel Frigo has been promoted to executive vice president and general manager of Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.Frigo previously served in the senior vice president role for those territories and will continue to plan the expansion of the Disney brand throughout the European, Middle Eastern and African markets.He began his Disney career in sales and distribution in Burbank in 1992 and relocated to London in 1995.
  • Delanic signs three-year home entertainment deal with Anchor Bay

    UK distributor Delanic Films has struck a DVD deal with Starz Media's Anchor Bay Entertainment UK to release a slate of feature films in the UK and Ireland.Delanic Films managing director Joe Simpson and Anchor Bay Entertainment UK Managing Director Colin Lomax announced the deal.Delanic will manage theatrical and TV releasing while Anchor Bay Entertainment UK handles home entertainment releases through its existing London-based operation.The three-year pact w
  • Distribution - In search of a crossover hit

    Hindi-language films account for around 10% of all UK releases and all the major cinema circuits play Bollywood product.A mid-range Bollywood release in the UK will go out on 25-30 prints. "On the biggest ones you'd go 40-plus - it depends if there's crossover potential," says Cineworld's film buyer Andreas Vass. According to figures from Nielsen EDI and the UK Film Council, the average number of sites for a Hindi film at the widest point of release in 2007 was 28.Screen average
  • DreamWorks options comic book Atlantis Rising from Platinum Studios

    DreamWorks has optioned the rights to Platinum Studios' comic book Atlantis Rising created by Platinum chairman and CEO Scott Michael Rosenberg.Atlantis Rising concerns an underground civilisation that reveals itself after a wave of heavy seismic activity and emerges as an enemy of man.The property is a five-part miniseries that Platinum Studios Comics first published in November. The fifth
  • Edinburgh programmes 22 docs, with gala for Man On Wire

    The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has announced that its programme will include 22 documentary features this year.There will be three galas for Chris Waitt's A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures, James Marsh's Man On Wire and Errol Morris' Standard Operating Procedure.In addition, festival's Document section will show 19 films. All 22 docs will be eligible for the best documentary feature award.The Document line-up includes We
  • Egg wins international competition at Istanbul festival

    The top honors in the international competition of this year's Istanbul Film Festival have gone to Egg (Yumurta) by local film-maker Semih Kaplanoglu, the story of a poet returning to his mother's home in the country after her death.Kaplanoglu's picture, which opened last year in Cannes' DirectorsFortnight, is the third part of a planned trilogy to be shot backwards.The second installment, Milk, already
  • Fallen Angels box-office success spur follow-up package

    The theatrical success of Norwegian director Morten Tyldum's Fallen Angels (Falne engler) - the fourth film in the Varg Veum series based on Gunnar Staalesen's best-selling novels - has whetted the appetite for another package of thrillers starring Trond Espen Seim as the Bergen-based private investigator.After 10 days Fallen Angels has clocked in 65,000 admissions domestically, to take the No 1 position on the local charts for leading distributor, SF Norge, which wil
  • Film hub - Has the big apple started to bruise'

    "I came to New York because of the films of Martin Scorsese and the Velvet Underground," says New York producer Ted Hope, whose credits include the debut features of Ang Lee, Todd Field and Michel Gondry. "But New York City has now become the island of the super-rich. It's hard to get a creative career going. That has changed the population."Hope recalls when he first started out, he worked on "very low-budget indie films", costing no more than $3m. Today, that would no longer be possi
  • Film in an'anytime, any place anywhere' Martini culture

    They call it the Martini culture. Harking back to an iconic advertisement of the 1970s, the idea is that today's consumer wants to be entertained 'any time, any place, anywhere'.It is the sexier big sister of the more prosaic term ICE (information, communication and entertainment), coined in India during the dotcom boom to denote a marriage of information technology and entertainment.And to an extent, both dreams have come true. It is barely possible to walk 100m in a city in an
  • Films du Losange takes on Schneider's Es Kommt Der Tag

    Les Films du Losange will handle international sales on screenwriter Susanne Schneider's directorial debut Es Kommt Der Tag which began shooting at locations in Baden-Wuerttemberg and the Alsace region this week. The German-French co-production between Wueste Film Ost, Strasbourg-based Unlimited, Stuttgart's Filmtank, Wueste Film West, and broadcasters SWR, WDR and ARTE, received backing from MFG Baden-Wurttemberg, Filmstiftung NRW, the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), the Alsace Reg
  • Fox sues former Russian partner Gemini

    20th Century Fox has filed suit against its former Russian partner Gemini Film International, according to Russian press reports.The suit alleges that Gemini, which was exclusive distributor Fox titles in Russian and CIS between 2000 and 2006, did not pay royalties for the rental of Fox titles including the Star Wars and X-Men installments. Estimates put the supposed debt at $65m.Fox is seeking at least $3m from Gemini.A Los Angeles court will begin hearing
  • Germany - Rom-com lights up Q1

    Box-office takings and cinema admissions in Germany are up 30% year-on-year for the first quarter of 2008, according to figures collated by Nielsen EDI.In the period January 3-March 23, German cinemas have been experiencing an unexpected, but welcome, revival in popularity after the disappointing results of last year. They posted takings of $345.5m (EUR218.7m) and admissions of 35.4 million - a vast improvement on 2007's weak first three months which saw only 27.4 million admissions an
  • Grain, Ch'tis win critics, audience awards at COLCOA in LA

    Abdellatif Kechiche's Cesar-winning The Secret Of The Grain won the first ever critics award at the 12th annual City Of Lights, City Of Angels (COLCOA) in Los Angeles over the weekend.COLCOA, a week of French film premieres in Hollywood, ended on Sunday and also announced that Dany Boon's smash hit Welcome To The Sticks (Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis) was voted winner of the audience award, followed by Eric
  • Horton leads international box office by a whisper over 21

    Horton Hears A Who is making hay while the sun shines. Two weeks before Iron Man launches across the globe the Fox International children's tale continued to dominate overseas as an estimated $9.7m from approximately 5,300 screens in 52 markets raised the tally to $117.7m.The film is easily the biggest grossing Dr Seuss property ever to be released internationally and should have enough left in the tank t
  • Icarus buys North American rights to Bitomsky's Dust

    Boutique North American distributor Icarus Films has acquired German film-makerHartmut Bitomsky's documentary Dust.Bitomsky's film explores the omniscient particles in a manner that attempts to offer new insight into our bodies, the environment and the cosmos.The film premiered in Venice and screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Philadelphia Film Festival. It is scheduled to play at the San Francisco I
  • Icon takes UK rights to James Marsh's Man On Wire

    Icon Film Distribution (IFD) has acquired UK theatrical and home entertainment rights to James Marsh's documentary Man On Wire.The deal was done with UK production company Wall To Wall.Man On Wire won the jury prize and audience award in the World Cinema Documentary competition at Sundance.The film is about Philippe Petit's daring plan to walk a high wire between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York in 1974.Hugo Grumbar, president of I
  • IM Global takes on Bunraku with Josh Hartnett, Demi Moore

    IM Global will commence worldwide pre-sales in Cannes on the martial arts action film Bunraku starring Josh Hartnett and Demi Moore.Production got underway on April 17 in Bucharest, Romania, on the Snoot Entertainment feature. The cast includes Japanese stars Gackt Camui and Shun Sugata as well as Woody Harrelson, Kevin McKidd and Jordi Molla.Guy Moshe wrote and is directing the tale of a young drifter whose quest for revenge leads
  • Indian effects house EyeQube opens its doors in Mumbai

    Eros International's previously announced visual effects joint venture, EyeQube Studios, has officially commenced operations in Mumbai with two Hindi-language productions, Aladdin and Drona. A joint venture with visual effects talent Charles Darby, EyeQube occupies 20,000 square feet and uses Auto Desk's Maya for 3D work and The Foundry's Nuke as its primary digital compositing programme.Darby, who holds a minority stake in the studio with Eros as the majority sha
  • India's IIFA awards to be held in Bangkok

    Now heading into their ninth year, the Indian International Film Awards (IIFA) are heading east to Bangkok. IIFA brand ambassador, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, made the announcement of the destination city along with the list of nominations for the awards. IIFA is always held in a country outside of India. Previous venues include Johannesburg, Dubai, Amsterdam and London.The IIFA weekend is scheduled from June 6-8, 2008 culminating in the awards ceremony to be held at Siam
  • International - Krazzy for Bollywood

    Eros International had an impressive weekend as two new Indian films became the highest non-US entrants in the international top 40, with a combined total of $4.6m.Krazzy 4, the highest entry from the distributor, came in at number 14 with a $2.6m take across 16 territories. The romantic comedy played on 742 screens for a $3,483 screen average. It is the debut feature from Jaideep Sen and stars Shahrukh Khan and Dolly Bindra.Eros' second offering, U, Me Aur Hum, fe
  • Isabelle Dubar takes distribution post at France's CTV

    France's CTV International has appointed Isabelle Dubar to the post of head of distribution.Dubar will handle acquisitions for the company as well as supervising theatrical releases. She will also create a new label specifically aimed at promoting independent film. The label will handle 6-8 films per year. In 1997, Dubar set up ID Distribution which released sich titles as Todd Solondz's Happiness and Joan Chen's Xiu Xi. The outfit has now closed.Jean-Mar
  • Italy - Faith in home-grown talent

    Italy's first-quarter box-office results show that while overall box office is lagging compared to the same period last year, local product has remained strong. The data is important to the industry as 2007 saw local films boom, making a significant contribution to raising last year's overall box office to levels not seen for 20 years.Over January 1-March 25, 2008, admissions declined from 32.7 million in 2007 to 29.4 million in 2008, representing a 10.3% drop. The decrease accounts fo
  • Jackie, Jet Li and Sarah Marshall storm domestic box office

    The long awaited on-screen union of Jackie Chan and Jet Li reaped rewards for Liosgate and The Weinsten Company as The Forbidden Kingdom leapt to number one thanks to an estimated $20.9m three-day gross.The martial arts adventure takes place in modern-day America and a mythical past in China where a youngster learns how to defend himself and rescues a god in the process.Chan and Li helped overall box office climb for the first time
  • Japan's Usen pulls out of film production and acquisition

    Japanese media and communications giant Usen Inc has announced its withdrawal from feature film production and acquisitions, which is currently handled by its wholly-owned subsidiary Gaga Communications. The announcement was made by Usen CEO Yasuhide Uno at the semi-annual shareholders meeting yesterday (April 16).Gaga Communications will cease acquisition of foreign films, while subsidiary Gaga Films will cease in-house production by this August.However, Gaga is likely to r
  • Jeff Blake signs longterm contract with Sony to 2012

    Jeff Blake has signed a long-term contract with Sony Pictures that will see him continue as chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group through 2012.Blake's current contract is due to expire at the end of 2008. He was named chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution at Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group in September 2005 and became president of Sony Pictures Releasing in August 1994. Prior to that he served as president of d
  • Karlovy Vary announces first titles including Deti Noci

    The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has offered a first glimpse at its official selection and sidebars.The official selection competition will include Deti Noci, an urban youth story from Czech director Michaela Pavlatova. Pavlatova's short film Words, Words, Words was nominated for an Oscar in 1991. Her short Repete won a Golden Bear in 1995. She received a special mention for Best New Director at San Sebastian in 2003 with her feature debut, Faithless
  • Katie Melua writes original song for Faintheart

    SingerKatie Melua will be the lead artist on the soundtrack to Faintheart, the MySpace community-driven feature film.Her new song Toy Collection was written especially for the film. Mike Batt (Watership Down) will serve as composer for the movie.MySpace users will be able to vote for a track by an unsigned musician to also be on the soundtrack. Voting is now open for the five original shortlisted tracks (selected by director Vito Rocco and Vertigo Film
  • Korean admissions drop by 10% in first quarter

    The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has announced first quarter figures that show an estimated 10% drop in admissions year-on-year. South Korea saw 35.58 million admissions to the tune of $233.13m (KW231.2bn) from Jan 1- March 31, 2008. KOFIC's report notes that, considering the fact that the number of releases for this same period each year has been rising of late - 75 films in 2006, 98 in 2007, and 114 in 2008 - on top of the fact that the number of screens has gone up 10% since last year,
  • Kore-eda's latest to walk to Japanese theatres in June

    Acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's latest film Even If You Walk And Walk (Aruitemo Aruitemo) will be released on June 28, distributor Cine Qua Non announced today. The announcement comes ahead of the film's potential competition slot at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Other strong Japanese Cannes contenders include Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata and Ryosuke Hashiguchi's Gururi No Koto.Based on an original novella written by Kore-eda, the
  • Kousaar's Magnus takes two top prizes at goEast

    Estonian director Kadri Kousaar's feature film debut Magnus picked up the Golden Lily for Best Film and the FIPRESCI Prize at this year's goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film which closed with an awards ceremony in Wiesbaden tonight.The international jury, headed by veteran German producer Eberhard Junkersdorf, praised the film for 'its depiction of a youngster's quest for stability in a society unable to provide him with firm ground to stand on.'The E
  • Leomax starts shooting Grace next week in Canada

    Los Angeles and Berlin-based Leomax Entertainment will begin principal photography on the thriller Grace starring Jordan Ladd on April 21 in and around Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.The story follows a grieving woman who learns that her unborn child has been brought back to life with horrifying consequences.Paul Solet adapted the screenplay from his award-winning short film of the same name and makes his feature film directorial deb
  • Lifesize picks up LARPing documentary Monster Camp

    New Jersey-based distributor and worldwide sales agent Lifesize Entertainment has picked up Cullen Hoback's documentary Monster Camp.The film offers a glimpse into the world of live-action role playing - known as LARPing - in which players immerse themselves in the video game phenomenon World Of Warcraft. Aaron Kirk Douglas produced.'Monster Camp is a
  • London's Salt signs first-look deal with Alcove Entertainment

    London-based sales and finance company Salt (formerly Lumina Films) has signed a reciprocal first-look with Alcove Entertainment.Salt will be given first look to take on sales for productions by the London-Los Angeles-Dubai production and finance company. Also, Salt will bring new films into Alcove for production financing.Alcove is finalising the terms of its new film fund, which aims to provide up to 50% financing for at least five films budgeted up to $10m. Financing will com
  • LoveFilm-Amazon Europe deal cleared by regulators

    LoveFilm International's previously announced acquisition of Amazon Europe's DVD rental business in the UK and Germany was cleared for completion by regulators yesterday. The companies plan to complete the acquisition shortly.'We are looking forward to officially welcoming customers from Amazon in the United Kingdom and Germany to LoveFilm,' said Simon Calver, CEO LoveFilm. 'LoveFilm offers one of the largest selections of films in Europe, and we can't wait to provide these custom
  • Matt Dentler leaves SXSW to join Cinetic in New York

    Matt Dentler is leaving his job as producer of the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) to head the programming and marketing division of Cinetic Rights Management (CRM).Janet Pierson, a former producers rep who was involved on films like She's Gotta Have It, Clerks and Slacker, will replace Dentler, who held the role of producer since 2003.Dentler is expected to begin work with CRM on May 1 and caught the eye of Cinetic Media founder John Sloss and CRM partner Robert
  • Mexico's Olaizola wins best film at BAFICI for Intimacies

    Mexican Yulene Olaizola's first feature Intimacies of Shakespeare And Victor Hugo won the prize for best film in the international competition at the tenth Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema (BAFICI).China's Night Train, directed by Diao Yinan, took the Special Jury Prize and the one for Best Actress (Liu Dan), while Taiwan's Lee Kang-sheng received the best actor award for
  • Miramax ends Alliance alliance in Canada

    Miramax Films has ended its 14-year Canadian distribution relationship with Toronto-based Alliance Films. On April 11, the US distributor released Smart People in Canada through its status as a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios. It marks the end of a second long-term relationship for Alliance, following the February decision by Time-Warner to downsize New Line Cinema and bring its international releasing into the Warner Bros. International fold
  • Momentum signs first-look deal with producers See-Saw

    UK distributor Momentum Pictures has signed a first-look deal with the new London- and Sydney-based production company See-Saw Films.Momentum previously worked with one of See-Saw's founders, Iain Canning, with Anton Corbijn's hit Control.See-Saw, formed by Canning and producer Emile Sherman, is concentrating on producing and executive producing UK and Australian films. Momentum will be investing equity into See-Saw productions.The first collaboration between the
  • Momentum signs first-look deal with producers See-Saw

    UK distributor Momentum Pictures has signed a first-look deal with the new London- and Sydney-based production company See-Saw Films.Momentum previously worked with one of See-Saw's founders, Iain Canning, with Anton Corbijn's hit Control.See-Saw, formed by Canning and producer Emile Sherman, is concentrating on producing and executive producing UK and Australian films. Momentum will be investing equity into See-Saw productions.The first collaboration between the
  • MPA signs agreement with seven Chinese web-sites

    The Motion Picture Association (MPA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with seven Chinese web-sites to establish a co-ordination mechanism for online copyright protection. The seven websites are popular video-sharing web-sites, or user-generated content sites, including,,,,, and MoU was signed Friday (April 18) in Beijing at the Third Conference on Online Movie Copyright Protection, which was jointly held by MPA
  • Nayar, Grushow team up for digital studio Filmaka

    LA-based producer Deepak Nayar and former Fox TV chief Sandy Grushow have officially launched Filmaka, an ambitious 'digital studio' and online creative community which plans to create a new model for identifying talent and developing entertainment properties.Nayar founded the company, which is based at, in late 2006 as a series of monthly competitions in which budding film-makers produce and submit short films on a designated theme. They are then judged by both the o
  • Odd Lot signs two-film deal with Freestyle led by Bottle Shock

    Odd Lot International has signed a two-picture deal with US distributor Freestyle Releasing after the parties acquired the California wine industry drama Bottle Shock.Freestyle will release in North America and Odd Lot International will commence foreign sales at Cannes next month. The parties will collaborate on another, yet to be announced project.Bottle Shock, which premiered at Sundance
  • Palm, Vivendi team for US release of New York shorts portmanteau

    Vivendi Entertainment and Palm Pictures will team up on the US release of the portmanteau piece New York, I Love You, which will feature directing debuts by Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.New York, I Love You is produced by Emmanuel Benbihy and Marina Grasic and is currently in its fourth week of shooting in New York.Confirmed cast include Kevin Bacon, Orlando Bloom, Julie Christie,
  • Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate team for premium TV, VOD service

    Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate will jointly launch a premium TV channel and Video On Demand (VOD) service in autumn 2009 featuring new and library film titles and original programming from the studios.The new venture will have access to Paramount and Paramount Vantage titles released theatrically on or after January 1 2008 and MGM, United Artists and Lionsgate titles released theatrically on or after January 1 2009.The venture will offer exclusive access during the pay tele
  • Pathology

    Dir. Marc Schoelermann, US, 2008, 93 minutesPathology is a cut-em-up thriller that follows a young physician into a snarl of medical residents who make sure that they always have a steady supply of freshly-killed bodies to examine, no matter what it takes. If your taste runs to sawed-open chests and freshly-extracted organs, this film that tries hard to shock may be just for you. Call it Gross Anatomy. Television hospital
  • Polybona sets up international sales outfit

    Beijing-based distributor Polybona is entering the international sales arena by taking a 51% stake in start-up sales outfit Distribution Workshop, established by Hong Kong film industry veterans Nansun Shi and Jeffrey Chan. Distribution Workshop will handle projects that Polybona has invested in - the company has been quietly moving from acquisitions to investment over the past few years - and will also handle third-party productions. An announcement on the outfit's initial slate is expec
  • Princess Ka'iulani wraps in Hawaii and moves to UK shoot

    Princess Ka'iulani, formerly titled Barbarian Princess, has ended the four-week Hawaiian leg of its shoot. The production will now move to shoot for 10 days in Norfolk, England by the end of April.Matador Pictures and Island Film Group's project is based on the true story of a Hawaiian princess who left Victorian England to return to her homeland on the verge of a civil war.Q'Orianka Kilcher, star of The New World, plays the title role. The cast also features Barry Pepp
  • Redpath steps up to become director of Berlinale's Generation

    Maryanne Redpath has been appointed the new director of the Berlinale's children's and youth film section Generation.Dieter Kosslick announced the appointment, which takes effect May 1.Redpath is currently co-director of Generation and has worked for the festival since 1993.Florian Weghorn, who has been with Generation since 2002, will now be co-director.Thomas Hailer, who is the current director of Generation, will become the Berlinale's programme manager. In that
  • Redwood Palms, Truly Indie, Magnolia form threeway on Graduation

    Redwood Palms Pictures has teamed up with Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban's Truly Indie and Magnolia Pictures on the release of Mike Mayer's teen heist film Graduation.Redwood Palms Pictures and Truly Indie will handle the theatrical release in select markets on May 2 and Magnolia Home Entertainment will handle DVD.Riley Smith, Shannon Lucio, Chris Marquette, Chris Lowell, Adam Arkin and Huey Lewis star in the tale of four high school s
  • Reelscape kicks off with development of Wise's Small Inclusions

    New UK production company Reelscape Films will make its debut with Herbert Wise's Small Inclusions, now in development. Wise has previously directed TV projects include Inspector Morse, Rumpole of the Bailey and I Claudius. Michael Gambon, Bob Hoskins and Greta Scacchi are in talks to star.Peter Sushitzky, who has worked on several David Cronenberg films including Eastern Promises, will serve as DoP.Becky Adams, formerly the unit manage
  • Rinko Kikuchi, Ryo Kase to voice Sky Crawlers

    Oscar-nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) and Letters From Iwo Jima star Ryo Kase will voice the two main characters in Mamoru Oshii's The Sky Crawlers, distributor Warner Brothers Japan announced today. Actress Chiaki Kuriyama (Kill Bill) and Shosuke Tanimura will provide voices for supporting characters.The announcement was made ahead of the film's official trailer and poster artwork, which hit cinemas this weekend. It is the first time Oshii (G
  • Roissy sells Caramel to Japan's Cetera

    Roissy Films has confirmed the sale of Nadine Labaki's Caramel to Japan's Cetera International.The romantic comedy, centered around a group of women in a Beirut beauty shop, has been a sleeper hit with 500,000 admissions in France since Bac Films released it in August.The film has sold well worldwide with Japan the last major territory to strike a deal.Caramel will be released in Japan in late 2008/early 2009 and is also set to debut in Taiwan in May (Joint Enter
  • Ruby Blue, Kill Kill win top prizes at London International fest

    At the London Independent Film Festival, Jan Dunn's Ruby Blue won best UK feature and Gareth Roberts' Kill Kill Faster Faster won best international feature.For the UK award, sponsored by Prime Focus London, writer/director Dunn and her producer Elaine Wickham won post-production finance worth about $100,000.Julian Richards was named best director for Summer Scars and Tania Meneguzzi won best screenplay for Brink.Best UK documentary wen
  • Sarajevo's CineLink adds Austria to regional co-production market

    The 14th Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 15-23) has announced the selections for CineLink, its regional co-production market created in co-operation with Rotterdam's CineMart. The market will take place from Aug 20-23 and the 15 projects will be divided in two groups: CineLink and CineLink+.CineLink includes 12 projects that will participate in a project development workshop, and then be presented at the Co-production market during the Sarajevo Film Festival. The projects will compete for
  • Screen opinion: unravelling thebox officenumbers

    It's always worrying when you spot what looks like a clear trend in the market. Given the number of false dawns and indeed phantom disasters of the last few years, circumspection is wise.One is reminded of Chinese premier Zhou Enlai's claim in the 1960s that it was still too early to assess the impact of the French Revolution. Getting a fix on audience trends is neither an art nor a science; it is more a matter of guesswork with an MBA. Normally, by the time you think you've got a hand
  • Shane Abbess to direct Source Code for Universal

    Universal Pictures has hired Shane Abbess to direct Source Code, a sci-fi thriller centered on the notion of the time continuum.Mark Gordon will produce and Ben Ripley wrote the screenplay. Plot details are being kept under wraps.Abbess' previously directed the horror title Gabriel, which Sony picked up for international distribution; he is represented by Endeavor and Underground Management.
  • Sofia Neves moves from Capitol to HanWay Films

    UK-based sales company HanWay Films has hired Sofia Neves as director of worldwide salesand distribution.Neves starts at HanWay this week after departing her position as sales director at Capitol Films. Before her three years at Capitol, she worked at Renaissance Films and for producer Paulo Branco.She reports to Thorsten Schumacher, HanWay's director of worldwide salesand distribution and general manager.She replaces Charlotte Van Weede, who is leaving HanWay to join new
  • Special People wins Germany's Britspotting prize

    Justin Edgar's Special People won the best feature audience award at Britspotting, the British & Irish Film Festival in Germany. The film wins a post-production/editing prize worth $22,200 (Euros 14,000).Dominic Coleman, Sasha Hardway, Robyn Frampton, David Proud and Jason Maza star in the story of four kids in wheelchairs who are invited to make a film. The feature premiered at the 2007 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Guerilla Films plans a summer 2008 UK theatrical re
  • Sticks stays strong for Pathe; Son Of Rambow nears $5m in UK for Optimum

    Eros International had an impressive weekend as two new Indian films made represented the highest non-US entrants in the international top 40, with a combined total of $4.6m. The top 40 international films generated $111.3m across 39,818 screens for the period of April 11-13. For the full chart, compiled by Len Klady, click here.Krazzy 4, the highest entry from Eros, came in
  • Street Kings hope to rule with 27 openings for Fox

    Fox International gives the police thriller Street Kings a big push this weekend with 27 scheduled releases.The film launched in second place in North America last weekend and lands in Australia, Germany, Russia and South Korea on April 17 followed by the UK, Brail and Mexico on April 18.Meanwhile Horton Hears A Who has amassed $107.2m and opens in Italy and India on April 18. The horror film
  • Swiss Film Prize to move in 2009

    Nextyear'sSwiss Film Prize is to move from January's Solothurn Film Days to a new venue at Lucerne's Culture and Conference Centre (KKL) on March 7 in a gala ceremony.The eventwill beorganised by national broadcaster SRG SSR with the partners Swiss Films, the Federal Office of Culture (BAK) and the Swiss Film Academy.Speaking to Screendaily at the opening evening of this week's Visions du Reel international documentary film festival in Nyon, Sven Waelti, managing direct
  • TF1's Patrick Binet in police custody, French press reports

    According to press reports, TF1 International chief Patrick Binet has been taken into custody by police following the discovery of a dead body in Binet's Parisian residence.For the moment, details are sketchy but some French media report that the victim was a man in his 40s and may have succumbed to a heart attack. A police source told The Associated Press that criminal activity is not highly suspected.A third man was also reportedly present and has been taken into custody.
  • Thailand's GTH has phobia for Cannes market

    Leading Thai producer-distributor GMM Tai Hub (GTH) will debut a new portmanteau film 4bia (pronounced as 'phobia') at the Cannes Film Market. The new picture is directed by four horror gurus: Parkpoom Wongpoom and Banjong Pisanthanakun (the duo directors behind Shutter and Alone), Paween Purijitpanya (Body) and veteran filmmaker Yongyoot Thongkongtoon in his first horror directorial debut after producing a string of successful horror hits.Yongyoot is al
  • The Chicken, The Fish And The King Crab ((El Pollo, El Pez Y El Cangrejo Real))

    Dir: Jose Luis Lopez-Linares. Spain. 2008. 87mins.Jose Luis Lopez-Linares'nuanced documentary is at once an enjoyable satire on the modern cult of the top-flight chef and a telling human story about shattered illusions and personal growth. Following its late slot at the Berlinale - where the film managed to lift and delight the screened-out audience - and its home debut at the Festival de Malaga, the film plays in the Encounters section at Trib
  • The Children Of Huang Shi

    Dir. Roger Spottiswoode, 2008, China/Australia/Germany, 125 minutes.The Children of Huang Shi is the epic tale of a journalist seeking adventure who leads an orphanage of Chinese boys to safety from Japanese invaders in the late 1930’s. Yet the real test of endurance is on the shoulders of an audience challenged to sit through more than two hours of predictable plot turns and recycled sentimentality.The Roger Spottiswoode-directed saga is a story o
  • The Collective acquires I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell

    LA-based agency The Collective has acquired worldwide rights to Tucker Max's bestseller I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell.Max's book evolved from his cult blog and online diary and centres on a young man who is so badly behaved at the time of his friend's bachelor party that he gets removed from the wedding list.The Collective's Shaun Redick and Ray Mansfield said the film will be similar in tone to T

    The debate about the digital future has been deeply frustrating and dominated by Luddites at one side and over-enthusiastic advocates on the other. It can be otherworldy and academic and often misses the main legitimate concern of film-makers: finding and makingmoney in a digital world.The debate has also been shaped by vested interests with powerful f
  • The Fairytale of New York: Big Apple wins back movie productions

    Frank Sinatra sung that he wanted to be a part of it, and it is certainly true for the footloose producers who stream into the city that never sleeps.Since New York's tax incentives were first introduced back in 2004, the city has played host to Sony's Spider-Man 3, Warner Bros' thriller The Brave One starring Jodie Foster, and Twentieth Century Fox's action adventure Jumper starring Hayden Christensen.The city has also recently hosted Working Title and Focu
  • The Girl By The Lake dominates Donatellos

    First-time director Andrea Molaioli's The Girl By The Lake was the surprise winner of Italy's David of Donatello awards taking home 10 statuettes in principal categories including best film, director, first film and screenplay.The thriller - adapted by screenwriter Sandro Petraglia (Best Of Youth)and backed by local film giant Medusa - was originally presented at Venice's Critics week last year.Nicola Giuliano and Francesca Cima of Indigo Film also took
  • The Match Factory to handle Petzold's new feature Jerichow

    The Match Factory will handle international sales on Christian Petzold's new feature Jerichow which begins shooting in the east German town of Wittenberge, the Prignitz region and along the Elbe from today. It is the sales agent's second Petzold film after his 2007 competition film Yella and marks the director's seventh collaboration with the Berlin-based production outfit Schramm Film. Piffl Medien again handles German theatrical distribution.Jerichow st
  • Toronto's Stardust Pictures preps $10m comedy Wing Man

    Toronto-based Stardust Pictures has completed financing on its first feature, the $10m comedy Wing Man that will shoot in Toronto in the late summer.Harland Williams will direct and Stardust's Justin L Levine and Howard Kerbel will produceStardust recently acquired Canadian rights to Jamie Kennedy's documentary Heckler and will release on July 29 along with a supporting tour across the country
  • Tribeca 2007 - Where are they now'

    With more than 150 features screening last year, many criticised the sixth Tribeca Film Festival for offering a line-up that was too eclectic and of mixed quality, as well as for sky-rocketing ticket prices.Nonetheless, by the end of the 12-day event, a number of films had caught the attention of both industry and critics. Taxi To The Dark Side, Alex Gibney and Eva Orner's documentary about an Afghan taxi driver beaten to death in 2002 while in US military custody, had its world
  • Tribeca Film Festival

    JAMES MOTTERN - TRUCKER WORLD NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITIONA chance encounter at a truck-stop cafe inspired James Mottern's debut feature Trucker, the story of a California woman (Michelle Monaghan) whose freewheeling career screeches to a halt when she has to care for her 11-year-old son.Living in Riverside, California, in 2001, Mottern was having a meal when he saw a woman "about 40 with bleachy blond hair, who might have been strung out at one point. She was that faded
  • Tribeca film festival - 'There's so much business to be done'

    The Tribeca Film Festival (April 23-May 4) began life six years ago in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, with the aim of contributing to the revival of Lower Manhattan.Tribeca: Where are they nowSet up by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, the five-day event attracted 150,000 visitors in 2002. Today, Tribeca has blossomed into a leading event on the festival calendar, spanning 12 days and attracting
  • TWC's Shanghai to shoot in UK, Thailand from May

    The Weinstein Company has confirmed that Mikael Hafstrom's Shanghai, starring John Cusack, Gong Li and Ken Watanabe, will start shooting on May 5 in London. The film will also shoot in Thailand, and possibly China, for a North American release on Christmas day. It was previously refused shooting permission by the Chinese authorities after spending $3m on pre-production costs in China. However The Weinstein Company still hopes to reach an agreement to shoot some scenes in the terr
  • Twelve titles to compete for Plzen's Golden Kingfisher

    The 21st Finale festival of Czech films begins April 21 in Plzen, Czech Republic. The annual event is a competitive and comprehensive overview of Czech feature-length films released in the past year.Twelve titles will compete for the Golden Kingfisher for Best Feature Film, including the French-UK-Czech co-production La Vie En Rose, which won five Cesars, three BAFTAs and two Oscars. Olivier Dahan's film also collected three trophies earlier this year at the Czech Lion awards in
  • Ufa Cinema debuts with Mein Kampf

    New producer-distributor Ufa Cinema, launched at the end of last year by the RTL Group and Freemantle Media through its German subsidiary UFA, has boarded its first project: Urs Odermatt's Mein Kampf.The film begins shooting in Vienna next Tuesday (April 22).Ufa Cinema will co-produce the film - based on the 1987 play of the same name by George Tabori -with Berlin-based Schiwago Film, Switzerland's Hugofilm, and Austria's Dor Film in cooperation with broadcasters ZDFthe
  • UK cinemas hum toBollywood tune

    The Indian film business may be striking high-profile global partnerships and attracting an unprecedented influx of investment, but at the UK box office in 2007 the news was less upbeat for Bollywood.In search of the crossover hitThe UK - the biggest market for Bollywood product outside India - usually sees around two to four Hindi-language films passing the $2m (£1m) mark annually. But onl
  • UKFC P&A Fund backs Happy-Go-Lucky with $412,000

    The UK Film Council's Prints & Advertising (P&A) Fund has announced the latest films to get support for distribution.The fund is set up to support distributors releasing films that UK audiences might not otherwise be able to see, to increase viewing choices for UK audiences.The latest funding round went to:Happy-Go-Lucky $412,112 (£210,000) to Momentum Pictures Persepolis $353,269 (£180,000) to Optimum Releasing Shine A Light
  • UK's FDA launches one-minute summer cinema trailer

    Summer admissions in the UK have increased steadily in the past five years, with 2007 up 27% from 2003, and are expected to continue to increase according to the Film Distributors Association (FDA). According to a survey from the trade body, more than two-thirds of UK adults citied summer movie releases as one of the most exciting things to look forward to in the summer season, trailing behind holidays and barbeques. 81% of the survey participants agreed that summer is the time when
  • United Kingdom - Myspace Invader

    "Faintheart is about men standing up for themselves," says Vito Rocco. "I'm very fond of losers and I love stories about people trying to better themselves."Tagged as the 'first user-generated feature film', Faintheart is a romantic comedy set in the world of Viking battle re-enactments that follows weekend warrior Richard (Eddie Marsan) and his efforts to win back his wife (Jessica Hynes). It is also about bullying, with Richard tormented at work by his odious boss and h
  • United Kingdom - Three Of A Kind

    Bill Stephens, Daniel Baur and Oliver Simon of K5 International offer the film industry version of a selective boutique rather than a mass retailer.The three set up K5 International in January 2007 but did not announce their first title - Tom McCarthy's The Visitor - until November 2007 at the AFM. With their first real market office in Berlin in February, they added a second title: Joshua Goldin's Wonderful World starring Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan.Clearly
  • Universal and BT launch Picturebox service on BT Vision

    Universal Pictures and British Telecommunications will launch the PictureBox subscription-on-demand service on BT Vision in the UK.The PictureBox service will launch on May 5 and provide a broad selection of current and library features from NBC Universal and other suppliers such as The Bourne Ultimatum, Knocked Up and Atonement.The agreement continues the expansion of the PictureBox service
  • Universal International unveils first Blu-Ray slate of 29 titles

    Universal Pictures International Entertainment (UPIE) plans to release 29 titles on the Blu-Ray format for the first time.The first release will be TV series Heroes Season 2 on Aug 26. Heroes Season 1 will also be available on the same day on Blu-Ray.Further Blu-Ray releases later in 2008 will be The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Mamm
  • Woman wins top award at Beverly Hills Film Festival

    The 8th Annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival (BHFF)'s Golden Palm Award for best film in all categories went to Ziad Hamzeh's Woman while Heitor Dhalia's Brazilian feature Drained won the foreign film category.Andrea Melton was named best actress for Time and Justin Lerner won best director for The Replacement Child