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Screen
21 January 2003

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  • 8 Mile dethrones The Lord Of The Rings

    The UK box office chart saw a new champion this weekend as UIP's 8 Mile knocked The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers from its four-week reign. Launching with a superb $7.2m (£4.4m) from 423 sites the Curtis Hanson film, which marks the feature debut of US rap star Eminem, scored a location average of $16,986 and easily claimed the top spot.The Two Towers still took another $3.9m (£2.4m) over its firth weekend, a drop of just 36% from the previous week. Its cumulat
  • American Splendor wins top dramatic prize at Sundance

    Films populated by socialoutcasts and misfits, both real and imagined, claimed the top honours at thisyear's Sundance Film Festival that ended over the weekend in Park City.The Grand Jury Prize forbest dramatic feature went to American Splendor, a docu-drama hybrid that used actors, real-lifevideo footage and animation sequences to tell the true life-story of churlishcomic-book writer Harvey Pekar and his sad-sack coterie of nerds and manic depressivesin Cleveland.
  • Arclight takes international on Dentists

    Gary Hamilton's Arclight Films has picked up international rights to Alan Rudolph's The Secret Lives Of Dentists which screens this week in the premiere section of the Sundance Film Festival after its world premiere at Toronto last September.Manhattan Pictures has domestic rights to the film which was produced by Holedigger Films' president George Van Buskirk and Campbell Scott. It also stars Scott as a dentist who shares a dental practice and quiet suburban life with his wife (
  • Assisted Living wins top prize at Slamdance

    Elliot Greenebaum's dark comedy Assisted Living about a janitor in a nursing home for the elderly who spends his time getting high with the residents won the Grand Jury Award at the Slamdance Film Festival on Friday night in Park City. Slamdance runs concurrent with the Sundance Film Festival and focuses exclusively on discovering new film-makers.Other winners of the Slamdance awards (or "Sparkies") were Andrew Black's eight-minute The Snell Show which won best short;
  • Australia's Palace lines up bumper year of releases

    Australian distributor Palace Films has acquired three new foreign titles to add to its 2003 schedule and says the year is shaping up to be its biggest yet with as many as 16 theatrical releases planned, including a raft of local films.US black comedy Igby Goes Dow, starring Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum and Claire Danes, will be the first of the new titles released. Directed by Burr Steers, Culkin is in the lead role of 17-year-old Igby Slocumb, at war
  • Barrandov Studios to be re-nationalised'

    Czech Barrandov Studios owner Moravia Steel has brushed off government suggestions that the Prague film complex might be re-nationalised, with Moravia Steel supervisory board chairman Tomas Chrenek saying he had only read about the suggestion in the press and had heard no official word from the government about the proposal. Czech Culture Minister Pavel Dostal told local daily Mlada Fronta Dnes earlier this month that a plan was in the works that would involve the return of Barr
  • Berlin completes competition line-up

    The remaining five films in competition add significantly to the Asian content of this year's Berlin festival and put increased emphasis on the Holocaust.The new additions, which complete the line-up, are headed by Chinese-German co-production Blind Shaft (Mang Jing), a first feature by documentary director Li Yang. The film about daily life in an open-cast mine is understood to have been strongly sought by Cannes. Another big Asian production is Zhou Yu's Train
  • Berlin unveils full Panorama line-up

    Over thirty feature films have been selected for the final Panorama section (Main Programme & Specials) of the Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 6-14), which will open with Emir Kusturica's production Jagoda In The Supermarket (Jagoda u Supermarketu) (pictured) by Dusan Milic.Some 26 of the full-length films are world premieres, while nine are from first time directors. 12 documentaries and 23 short films also feature in the Panorama line-upStars who have confirmed
  • Berlinale Talent Campus reveals programme of events

    500 filmmakers from 61 countries will join the Berlinale Talent Campus, a winter academy of filmmaking, from February 10 to 14, 2003. 150 of them are from Germany, others come from the UK (76), Spain (21), the US (32) and France (16) as well as Argentina (6), Israel (5), Poland (7), India (2), Australia (5) and many other countries. Most of the up-and-coming filmmakers are directors but producers, writers, cinematographers as well as actors are also participating. The Berlinale
  • Buffalo Soldiers provokes fury at Sundance

    The Sundance Film Festival reached a half way mark yesterday (Tuesday) with a startling incident at the screening of Buffalo Soldiers. The controversial film bought for North American distribution by Miramax Films in Sept 2001 - but only set to be released this spring - had just finished screening at the Eccles Theatre in Park City when an angry female audience member started screaming complaints at director Gregor Jordan who was on stage to take questions from the audience.The
  • BV International Pictures takes One Last Ride

    Bjoerg Veland's BV International Pictures is to handle international sales on Tony Vitale's urban thriller One Last Ride which begins shooting in Los Angeles on January 25.Produced by director Ang Lee, Germany's Christian Arnold-Beutel of MagicWorx, US producer John Kelly, and Patrick Cupo who adapted his own stage play for the screenplay, One Last Ride is billed as 'Kiss Of Death meets Rounders - an emotionally gripping, yet humorous story about a man fight
  • Chris Aronson joins MGM Distribution as evp and general sales manager

    MGM Distribution has appointed industry veteran Chris Aronson as executive vice president and general sales manager, it was announced today (Jan 23) by Erik Lomis, president of MGM Distribution. Aronson will be responsible for the sales and distribution of both MGM Pictures and United Artists theatrical releases within the US and Canada and will oversee all strategy development and implementation across the company's four division branches in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Montreal. He wi
  • City Of God to open Mar Del Plata festival

    Fernando Mereilles' City Of God will open the upcoming Mar del Plata International Film Festival (March 6-15), the oldest film festival in the Americas.Artistic Co-ordinator Miguel Pereira announced that Meirelles' critically acclaimed film will screen out of competition, as will the selection for the closing night - Spanish director Carlos Saura's Salome.Spanish actress Assumpta Serna will be president of the official jury. Further confirmed jury members are: Arge
  • Comerica Bank files lawsuit against Advanced Licencing

    German license trader Advanced Medien's troubles seem to have no end with the news that US-based Comerica Bank has filed a lawsuit against subsidiary Advanced Licencing.The lawsuit is over payment of over $2m in loans granted by the bank to Unified Film Organization (UFO), a 51% subsidiary of Advanced Medien, to finance its feature film production.In an official statement, Advanced Medien's management board said that 'four of the six film productions in question, which account f
  • Confidence to open Philadelphia Film Fest, Laurel Canyon to close

    The Philadelphia Film Festival will open on April 3 with James Foley's Confidence and close on April 17 with Lisa Cholodenko's Laurel Canyon. The festival this year changes its name from Philadelphia Festival Of World Cinema to Philadelphia Film Festival.Philadelphia Film Society board chairman and artistic director Raymond Murray announced both films at Sundance last week where both Confidence and Laurel Canyon were screening.Confidence is a c
  • Conrad Hall among ASC nominees for Road To Perdition

    The late Conrad Hall is among five nominations announced today (Jan 23) by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) for its Outstanding Achievement Award. Hall is posthumously nominated for his work on Road To Perdition, while the rest of the line-up is Michael Ballhaus for Gangs of New York, Pawel Edelman for The Pianist, Ed Lachman for Far From Heaven and Rodrigo Prieto for Frida. The honour will be handed out at the 17th Annual ASC Outstanding Achie
  • Danish Film Institute backs four films

    The Danish Film Institute has backed three new Danish films as well as a Danish co-production. Shooting from late April is Anders Ronnow Klarlund's puppet tale Strings. It tells the story of royal heir Hal Tara, who goes in search of his father's murderer, but end up discovering the truth about his archenemies. Set in a mythical fantasy world, the film shoots in Copenhagen until late June. Niels Bald produces for Bald Film, Revival ApS, Northern Lights (NOR) and major Nor
  • Darkness Falls a surprise hit for Columbia/Revolution

    Columbia scored its first numberone of the year as Revolution Studios' $11m horror picture Darkness Falls opened at the top on $12.5m, according to studio estimatesreleased today (Jan 26). The story centres on a young man who is stalked by theTooth Fairy and stars Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield and Joshua Anderson and wasdirected by debutant Jonathan Liebesman. The PG-13 film averaged $4,406 from2,837 theatres and marked the only new release to break into the top 10 - mostdistributors pre
  • Egoyan heads main competition jury

    Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick has appointed seven members to the International Jury of the 53rd Berlin International Film Festival 2003. Headed by Canadian director Atom Egoyan, this international group of film experts will select the winners for the Golden and Silver Bears in the competition.Atom Egoyan - director (Canada), President of the International JuryAtom Egoyan's international breakthrough came in the 1987 Forum where he presented his feature film Family Vi
  • Everest crosses $120m after five years

    MacGillivray Freeman Films (MFF) has declared that Everest is now the highest grossing documentary of all time, amassing more than $120.6m in worldwide box office since it went on continual release on Mar 6 1998. Throughout its run Everest, a harrowing account of an ascent by three climbers in 1996, only played in 243 theatres worldwide in a total of 236 cities on six continents. It passed the previous mark set by MFF's To Fly!, which took $115.7m since its release in 197
  • Fortissimo picks up Jackie Chan And His Lost Family

    Fortissimo Film Sales, the Hong Kong and Amsterdam based sales outfit, has picked up Traces Of A Dragon: Jackie Chan And His Lost Family (pictured), which opens the "Dokumente" documentary section of the Berlin festival's Panorama sidebar.The film directed by Mabel Cheung and Alex Law is described as "moving portrayal of 20th century China, set against the backdrop of a nation swept by continuous political and social turbulence." Chan, arguably the most recognisable Asian
  • Forum of New Cinema line-up finally unveiled

    Fifty two films from 24 countries have been selected for the Forum of New Cinema at next month's Berlin International Film Festival. Directorial debuts by young filmmakers from Argentina, China, Japan, Mozambique, Hungary, the United States and Thailand together make up almost a third of the entire programme. Twenty-six of the films - half of the programme - are world premieres. For the first time, the medium of video has not been placed in a separate category. Instead, d
  • Gaga strikes Sundance deal for drag comedy

    Gaga Communications has acquired Japanese rights to comedy Girls Will Be Girls from Cinetic Media for a mid-six figure sum. The deal confirms Sundance's growing importance as a foreign rights-trading arena and precedes any domestic or worldwide-rights deal closed by Cinetic on the film.Directed by Richard Day, the film, which screens in the Park City At Midnight section, is about three actresses trying to make it in Hollywood. The novelty of the film is that all of the actresses
  • Goats, Goddesses and AC/DC feature in Lolafilms slate

    Spanish production company Lolafilms is readying several new films for production in 2003."I foresee making four or five films this year," says Lolafilms CEO Andres Vicente Gomez, co-producer on Aisling Walsh's Sundance title Song For A Raggy Boy and this season's biggest domestic hit in Italy, Christmas On The Nile (Natale Sul Nilo).Among the projects in development, the most ambitious is Luis Llosa's English-language The Feast Of The Goat, based on the Mar
  • Hallyday, Sagnier receive French awards

    In a novel combination of veteran and debutante, Johnny Hallyday (left)and Ludivine Sagnier (right)will receive the Jean Gabin and Romy Schneider awards for 2003. The prize, which has been awarded for over 20 years, often goes to a new face but with the 60 year old rocker Hallyday being singled out for his work, the tide has changed. After a long and lucrative musical career, Hallyday - who has also been making films since appearing in Les
  • Huge selection as full Panorama line-up is unveiled

    Over thirty feature films have been selected for the final Panorama section (Main Programme & Specials) of the Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 6-14), which will open with Emir Kusturica's production Jagoda In The Supermarket (Jagoda u Supermarketu) (pictured) by Dusan Milic.Some 26 of the full-length films are world premieres, while nine are from first time directors. 12 documentaries and 23 short films also feature in the Panorama line-upStars who have confirmed
  • Hungarian Film Week unveils competition line-up

    The annual Hungarian Film Week in Budapest (Jan 28- Feb 4) will open with Miklos Jancso's latest film, Wake Up Mate, Don't You Sleep.The Film Week will close with a film from another Hungarian filmmaking legend, Karoly Makk's A Long Weekend in Pest and Buda. The feature film competition will see the screening of twenty-two productions, including Peter Gothar's latest Hungarian Beauty, Gyorgy Szomjas' Vagabond, Andor Szilagyi's Holocaust drama Rose'
  • IFM picks up The Turner Affair for AFM

    Anthony I Ginnane and Ann Lyons' film and TV sales outfit IFM has picked up worldwide rights to the mystery thriller The Turner Affair, which is set to receive its world premiere at AFM next month. Filmed in Queensland, Australia, the picture centres on the aftermath of a scheming couple's fateful scam at the jazz academy they run. Rachel Blakely, David Patterson and David Orth star and the picture was directed by newcomer Geoff Fox from a screenplay by Fox and Sonia L Armstrong.
  • It's All About Love

    Dir: Thomas Vinterberg. Denmark. 2003. 104 min.Hugely imaginative, conceptually compelling, arresting in its visual panache, It's All About Love can be seen as a millennial fairy tale and Thomas Vinterberg as its latter-day Grimm. He peers into the near-future and sees a wintry dystopia, where the absence of love - between man and his fellow man and man and his planet - brings about the end of the world. How many of Vinterberg's fellow men are willing to buy into this
  • Jeremy Thomas returns to UK distribution

    Leading UK producer Jeremy Thomas is returning to UK distribution some 15 years after launching Recorded Releasing with Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.Thomas is close to taking a stake of around 20% in Optimum Releasing, the independent UK distributor which has been steadily building a reputation with canny specialist releases such as Mexican hit Amores Perros and Terry Gilliam documentary Lost In La Mancha.Optimum managing director Will Clarke, who launche
  • Just Married

    Dir: Shawn Levy. US. 2002. 94 mins.Broad comedy, flimsy romance and some decorative European settings are the key ingredients in Just Married, a young-skewing romantic comedy from producer Robert Simonds. Grossing a surprising $34m after 10 days on US release, the $18m project has also become the film to knock Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers off the top spot in the US. But adding significantly to the tally overseas may not be easy: internationally, the film wi
  • Kaurismaki sweeps local Finnish awards

    Aki Kaurismaki swept all but a few of the local Finnish film Jussi awards on Sunday night in Helsinki. The Man Without A Past picked up Best Film, Best Direction and Best Script all for Kaurismaki himself, as well as Best Actress for Kati Outinen, Best Cinematography for Timo Salminen and Best Editing for Timo Linnasalo. Kaurismaki, who has had his commercial breakthrough with his new film which has become his most successful ever at the local box-office, has won a number
  • Kaurismaki wins Palm Springs FIPRESCI prize

    The 14th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival ended yesterday (Jan 20) with Finland's The Man With A Past by Aki Kaurismaki winning the FIPRESCI prize for Best Official Foreign Language Film of the Year. In other awards, Nir Bergman won the new John Schlesinger Award for debut feature film for Broken Wings and the audience favourite went to OT: Our Town, a documentary by Scott Hamilton Kennedy.The Man With A Past, which cleaned up at the Finnish f
  • Kinderfilmfest international jury announced

    The Berlinale's Kinderfilmfest has announced its International Jury which will award the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk Grand Prix.The five jury members are:German director Christina Schindler (Rinnsteinpiraten); Norway's Lars Berg (winner of the Grand Prix and the Crystal Bear for Glasskar last year); Ricardo Casas, director of Uruguay's Festival Internacionale de Cine para Ninos y Jovenes; Ireland's Martin Duffy (Special Mention by the Children's Jury in 1
  • Kinowelt takeover saga resolved

    The seemingly never-ending saga of the Koelmel brothers' (Michael, pictured left and Rainer, right) planned takeover of their Kinowelt empire has finally come to an end.Insolvency administrator Dr. Wolfgang Ott announced on Tuesday (Jan 21) that the rescue company Neue Spielfilm Vertriebs- und Marketing GmbH (to be known in future as Kinowelt GmbH) had made the payment of Euros 32m for the core activities of the insolvent Kinowelt Medien AG and would take over running operations from J
  • Kirk Douglas signs to The Illusion for Entitled

    Kirk Douglas has joined the cast of The Illusion for production house Entitled Entertainment, it was announced today (Jan 22) by partners James Burke and Scott Disharoon. Burke and Disharoon, along with Kevin Weisman and Anahid Nazarian, will serve as producers on the film, which marks actor Michael Goorjian's directorial debut. Production is scheduled to begin this month on the bittersweet romance adapted from Pierre Corneille's 17th century play L'Illusion Comique, which paral
  • Kosslick names international jury of 53rd Berlinale

    Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick has appointed seven members to the International Jury of the 53rd Berlin International Film Festival 2003. Headed by Canadian director Atom Egoyan, this international group of film experts will select the winners for the Golden and Silver Bears in the competition.Atom Egoyan - director (Canada), President of the International JuryAtom Egoyan's international breakthrough came in the 1987 Forum where he presented his feature film Family Vi
  • LaZona launches into Spanish production sector

    Three producers are braving the choppy waters of the Spanish film sector to launch new Madrid-based production outfit LaZona Films.Merging their combined experience in some of Spain's top media companies, LaZona partners Douglas Wilson and brothers Ignacio and Gonzalo Salazar-Simpson (pictured, left and right) say they aim to produce two to three, average Euros 2m-3m Spanish-language features per year out of LaZona.Possible forays into co-
  • Masked And Anonymous

    Dir: Larry Charles. USA. 2003. 120 min.Masked And Anonymous screened at Sundance as a work-in-progress and director Larry Charles has his work cut out for him. A mish-mash of styles, genres and cameo appearances, as it stands it will annoy every constituency it aims to entertain. As a showcase for Bob Dylan it may yield enough clips to service a music video or two but there's no danger of his quitting his day job. Whatever the Seinfeld-directing alumnus was hoping to a
  • Miramax tracks down Station Agent at Sundance

    Marking its first Sundance Film Festival acquisition this year, Miramax Films beat out several other rivals to pick up all English speaking territories and Italian rights to The Station Agent, a small, intimate character study from first-time director and screenwriter Tom McCarthy that appears in dramatic competition here.Although no price was mentioned in the announcement, those not directly connected with the film said that a $1.1m tag had been originally quoted for domestic a
  • New Line has record $1bn domestic home entertainment year

    New Line Home Entertainment announced today (Jan 23) its highest level of annual shipments since it formed 10 years ago, with more than $1bn in gross sales in North America, 74% of which was attributable to DVD. The achievement was driven chiefly by The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, the studioís best selling title of all time that sold an astounding 22million units in combined shipments. This includes sales of the special extended edition of more than three millio
  • Noah Cowan launches Global Film Initiative

    Former distribution executive and festival programmer Noah Cowan has formed a new US-based non-profit foundation called The Global Film Initiative to promote cross-cultural understanding through film. Cowan, a well-known face on the festival circuit, is executive director of the foundation which he unveiled at the Rotterdam Film Festival over the weekend.Cowan is in Rotterdam attending the festival's funding workshop Cinemart in order to identify initial projects to support.At t
  • Oil rig drama Blasts off in Cape Town

    Principal photography is currently underway on Blast, one of the biggest action features to be shot in South Africa's Cape Town to date. The film - described as Die Hard on an oil rig - also marks the first time, anywhere in the world, that an oil company has granted permission for filmmakers to shoot aboard a working oil rig.The IWP (International West Pictures) and Gemini Film feature stars Eddie Griffin, Breckin Meyer and Vinnie Jones and is directed by Anthony
  • Optimum brings Japanese mega-hit Spirited Away to UK

    UK distributor Optimum Releasing has picked up Japanese animation hit Spirited Away and Igby Goes Down, the US black comedy starring Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes and Jeff Goldblum.Optimum acquired UK rights to Spirited Away from Wild Bunch Exception. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, the co-winner of last year's Golden Bear was the biggest film ever in Japan, racking up more than $230m. Igby Goes Down, which marks Optimum's ninth collaboration with MGM, follows a r
  • Oscar favourites dominate UK's BAFTA nominations

    Academy Award favourites Chicago, Gangs Of New York and The Hours dominated the nominations for the British Academy Film Awards.Chicago and Gangs secured 12 nods each, while The Hours came in with 11. The following pack was led by The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers with nine nominations, with The Pianist on seven and Frida and Catch Me If You Can on four each.The three frontrunners were all nominated in the category for
  • Ozon's 8 Women leads French Cesar nominations

    Francois Ozon's 8 Women leads the nominations for France's Cesar Awards, which were announced on Friday in Paris. Ozon's all star ensemble piece received 12 nominations, while Roman Polanski's The Pianist received 10 nods, Constantin Costa-Gavras' Amen got seven and Cedric Klapisch's Europudding (L'Auberge Espagnol) sixWhile it's no shock to see 8 Women heavily represented, surprises came in the shape of four acting and tech nods for Asterix
  • Palm pacts with Lions Gate for US home video release

    Palm Pictures and Lions Gate Home Entertainment have struck a new distribution deal under which all Palm Pictures' new and select catalogue live action home video releases will be distributed and sold by Lions Gate Entertainment in the US. The announcement was made jointly by Paul DeGooyer, general manager of Palm Pictures, and Peter Block, president of home entertainment, acquisitions and new media at Lions Gate. The venture will launch with two previous Sundance successes: Julio Medem's ero
  • Planning group proposes Studio City Tokyo

    A planning group that includes David Fincher and John Woo has compiled a report calling for the construction of a studio complex in the Tokyo Bay area by 2008.Called Studio City Tokyo, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the complex in the Harumi District will include 32 studios for TV and film production and post-production, equipped with the latest digital editing and CG hardware. The estimated construction cost of $1bn (Y120bn) will be shared by a consortium of as-yet-unnamed par
  • Question mark hangs over Irish film industry

    The near-demise of the Irish Film Board last year has placed a question mark over the future direction of the Irish industry.It was the nightmare before Christmas, really. During the seasonal party time it emerged that the Irish Film Board had come within a hair's breadth of abolition in a pre-budget row between the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Arts. According to the Arts Department the proposal that the Film Board be scrapped was "reversed following discussion between the
  • Records fall as Australia celebrates bumper box office

    Box office revenues in Australia rose 4% in 2002 to hit US$495.4m (A$844.8 million) and achieve another record-breaking year. Given that annual falls have only been registered once in the past 15 years, the positive result was not a surprise.While the country's nearly 19m people are visiting cinemas more than ever, there is nothing particularly Australian about what films they most want to see. In fact, it was a poor year for Australian films with not one exceeding US$5.9m.
  • Rotterdam festival incites 'Parliamentary' dissent

    The decision by the Rotterdam Film Festival (IFFR) to revive its Film Parliament format - first used 15 years ago - produced two of the sparkiest festival debates on film seen in recent years. By ditching the classical panel debates and opting instead for a confrontational set-up concluding in a vote the sessions on production of visionary cinema and the need for subsidy to the distribution sector provoked impassioned speeches and heart-felt points-of-view from the floor.Speakers, perh
  • Rotterdam provokes 'parlaimentary' outcry

    The decision by the Rotterdam Film Festival (IFFR) to revive its Film Parliament format - first used 15 years ago - produced two of the sparkiest festival debates on film seen in recent years. By ditching the classical panel debates and opting instead for a confrontational set-up concluding in a vote the sessions on production of visionary cinema and the need for subsidy to the distribution sector provoked impassioned speeches and heart-felt points-of-view from the floor.Speakers, perh
  • Rotterdam provokes 'parliamentary' outcry

    The decision by the Rotterdam Film Festival (IFFR) to revive its Film Parliament format - first used 15 years ago - produced two of the sparkiest festival debates on film seen in recent years. By ditching the classical panel debates and opting instead for a confrontational set-up concluding in a vote the sessions on production of visionary cinema and the need for subsidy to the distribution sector provoked impassioned speeches and heart-felt points-of-view from the floor.Speakers, perh
  • Rotterdam provokes 'parliamentary' outcry

  • Scorsese, Polanski make shortlist for the DGA Award

    Golden Globe winner Martin Scorsese received the second boost in two days to his Oscar campaign when he was today (Jan 21) named among five nominees for the top Directors Guild of America (DGA) award, a near iron-clad barometer of Academy Award success. Fresh from winning his first Golden Globe for Gangs Of New York (Screen Daily Jan 20), Scorsese will go against Stephen Daldry for The Hours, Peter Jackson for The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, Rob Marshall for Chi
  • Skyy Vodka launches short film competition

    Skyy Vodka has inaugurated a short film competition in which finalists have three days to make a five-minute film based on the same script. Entrants to the Skyy Vodka Short Film Project need to submit a videotaped pitch outlining why they want to direct and citing their favourite director. Three finalists will then be chosen to make five-minute shorts that will be judged by a panel of industry professionals. The winner will receive an ad in a film trade magazine, a DV film package, a s
  • Slamdunk honours Zero Day, Seven Songs

    The Slamdunk Film Festival which ran from Jan 19 to 22 awarded Ben Coccio's Zero Day the best film and best actor prizes. Zero Day is a digital film which follows the video diary of two high school students who are planning a Columbine-style shooting of their classmates. Andre Keuck and Cal Gabriel shared the best actor trophy.Noah Stern won the best director award for Seven Songs starring Chris Eigeman as a disgruntled rock star who abandons his obligations to his
  • Soft Money - The newcomers

    Like a Japanese ronin, independent film-producers are rarely able to settle down with a cosy financier for very long. Samurai warriors without a master, they are forced to roam the lonely planet in search of the ever-shifting treasure chests that will bankroll their good deeds. The reason is simple: private finance is a gypsy, seeking new homes as risk changes, investment returns fluctuate or some clever whiz-kid gives new life to a creaking old investment vehicle.National fundi
  • Sokurov to receive Berlin Freedom Prize

    Russian director Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) is to receive this year's Andrzej Wajda/Philip Morris Freedom Prize at a special gala ceremony in the Berlin Rathaus on February 9. The Prize, which is presented by the Foundation with a purse of $ 10,000 donated by Philip Morris Kunstfoerderung, is awarded annually to a promising filmmaker from Central or Eastern Europe, whose works reflect the themes of freedom and democracy. Last year's recipient was local filmmaker Andreas Dre
  • Sokurov to receive Berlin Freedom Prize

    Russian director Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark) is to receive this year's Andrzej Wajda/Philip Morris Freedom Prize at a special gala ceremony in the Berlin Rathaus on February 9. The Prize, which is presented by the Foundation with a purse of $ 10,000 donated by Philip Morris Kunstfoerderung, is awarded annually to a promising filmmaker from Central or Eastern Europe, whose works reflect the themes of freedom and democracy. Last year's recipient was local filmmaker Andreas Dre
  • Specialist Hispanic distributor launches into US

    Cinemateca, a new distribution company for Spanish-language arthouse and classic films, kicks off next month in a bid to tap the exploding DVD market in the U.S. where DVD player penetration currently stands at 46% of TV households. The move also comes just as census figures show that Hispanics have overtaken African-Americans as the US's largest minority group. The US Latino population now stands at 37m, comprising 13% of the total population.The new label pushes off with the m
  • Spice Factory options Ondaatje's Forgotten Games

    UK production outfit Spice Factory has optioned the rights to The Forgotten Games, an original screenplay by David Ondaatje based on the true story of the British Olympic ice hockey team's controversial participation in the 1936 Winter Olympics in Nazi Germany. Ondaatje also plans to direct the film which is set to start shooting in Canada, UK and Germany in the fourth quarter 2003. Andrew Herwitz of The Film Sales Company brokered the deal for the project; Ondaatje is represent
  • Ster Century puts Euro cinemas on the block

    Ster Century Europe, the South African-owned cinema operator, has announced it is to sell its nine sites in the UK, Ireland and Spain in a move that will leave the company with only one site in Slovakia.According to a statement, the decision to put the sites on the auction block comes on the back of a number of approaches from interested third parties. ING Investment Banking has been appointed to conduct the sale of the cinemas.Ster, which has seven sites in the UK and Ireland a
  • Summit, Intermedia team for international sales super-company

  • Summit, Intermedia team for international sales super-company

    The international businesswas transformed on Friday as two of its market leaders Intermedia and SummitEntertainment formed a sales, marketing and distribution joint venture calledIS Film Distribution which instantly becomes the biggest seller in the marketplace.As a result, Intermedia andSummit will transfer all their distribution and marketing staff into IS.Intermedia's distribution chief Jere Hausfater is exiting the company andSummit will handle all future sales on behalf of the joi
  • Takeshi Kitano eyes blind swordsman project

    Takeshi Kitano will direct and star in a feature film version of the Japanese Zatoichi film series, playing the title role of the blind masseur and master swordsman. The original series of films, starring Shintaro Katsu, began in 1962 and ran for 26 episodes, until 1989. It has long been one of the most successful Japanese film franchises abroad, primarily on video and now DVD. Kitano (pictured) will begin shooting the film this spring for
  • Talent Campus unveils programme of events

    500 filmmakers from 61 countries will join the Berlinale Talent Campus, a winter academy of filmmaking, from February 10 to 14, 2003. 150 of them are from Germany, others come from the UK (76), Spain (21), the US (32) and France (16) as well as Argentina (6), Israel (5), Poland (7), India (2), Australia (5) and many other countries. Most of the up-and-coming filmmakers are directors but producers, writers, cinematographers as well as actors are also participating. The Berlinale
  • Talk To Her triumphs at Bangkok

    Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her took both best film and best director prizes at the first competitive edition of the Bangkok international film festival.The fifth edition of the festival ended last night, with other Golden Kinnarees awarded to Michael Cain for best actor for The Quiet American, Kati Outen received the best actress award for The Man Without A Past, with the film's director Aki Kaurismaki taking the award for best script.The festival, which over
  • The Singing Detective

    Dir: Keith Gordon. US. 2003. 107 mins. There is a point where reverence for one's source material can prove damaging. That point is reached in Keith Gordon's film of The Singing Detective which follows the late Dennis Potter's script of his own landmark TV series to the letter, resulting in a flat and muddled feature film with few of the delirious highs or devastating lows that marked out the 1986 series. Gordon, whose flawed but fascinating credits include
  • The Thirteen Steps (13 Kaidan)

    Dir: Masahiko Nagasawa. Jap. 2002. 122mins.In the past, Japanese audiences have flocked to Hollywood Death Row films like Dead Man Walking and The Green Mile - and local producers have taken note. Now Masahiko Nagasawa has directed The Thirteen Steps (13 Kaidan), which tells the story of two men who try to exonerate a Death Row prisoner while wrestling with their own demons. Like its Western models, the film, which opens in Japan on Feb 8, has mass
  • Theatrical distributor Cinemac launches in Colombia

    Despite a 40% dip in admissions over the last two years, a new distributor has launched in Colombia in a bid to introduce more independent cinema to the country. Under the banner Cinemac, the new indie plans to release three to four titles a month, starting with Victor Salva's Jeepers Creepers which opened on January 17th. Founded by Ivan Dario Macallister, former vice president of major distributor Cine Colombia and partner at independent Centauro, Cinemac aims to bring
  • Thirteen

    Dir: Catherine Hardwicke. US. 2002. 100minsAn impressive directorial debut by established production designer Catherine Hardwicke (Vanilla Sky), Thirteen offers a glimpse into the sex-and-drug realities of life as a teenage girl in LA. The film is particularly disquieting as it is based on both the screenplay and experiences of a 13-year-old who then took one of the starring roles. Yet authentic as the result is, the scenario was made many US buyers at Sundance pause -
  • Trainspotting sequel has problems with E

    Other than the original cast's lack of ageing, the sequel to 1996 runaway hit Trainspotting is taking shape, said director Danny Boyle at the Sundance Film Festival.In Park City for the North American debut of UK box-office sensation 28 Days Later, the director said the sequel, based on the novel, Porno, by Trainspotting novelist Irvine Welsh, reunites the characters ten years later. He added that it was therefore essential that the film reunite the original
  • Two Towers breaks Italian opening record

    New Line International's The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers scored the biggest bow of all time in Italy over the weekend as it opened on a staggering $9.4m. The second instalment of Peter Jackson's J R R Tolkien adaptation averaged $11,773 from 800 screens after opening on Jan 17, a Friday. The amount is roughly 19% higher than the opening weekend for The Fellowship Of The Ring.Opening in the Czech Republic on Jan 16 the picture grossed $545,478 from 35 screens for a $
  • United Artists clinches Pieces Of April for $3.5m

    United Artists (UA) closed the biggest deal of the Sundance Film Festival yesterday, beating competitors including Fox Searchlight and Focus Features to worldwide rights to fest favourite Pieces Of April. The price paid was $3.5m.The film once again comes from the digital video production powerhouse InDigEnt and backer IFC Productions, which last year delivered Tadpole and Personal Velocity at Sundance, the former of which sold for $5m to Miramax Films. UA picked u
  • Vivendi Universal closer to selling US entertainment assets

    Vivendi Universal, the European media conglomerate which owns Universal Studios and StudioCanal, has moved up a gear in its attempt to dispose of its US entertainment assets. According to reports, Vivendi Universal has appointed lawyers to help it unwind its relationship with Barry Diller, the former Fox chief who oversees the US operations holding company Vivendi Universal Entertainment (VUE) and controls 6.9% of VUE's shares. Vivendi Universal said it was looking for a means o
  • Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself

    Dir: Lone Scherfig. Den-UK. 2002. 111minsA bittersweet reflection on love and death, Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself should beguile the same sophisticated audience who warmed to Italian For Beginners and also win writer-director Lone Scherfig a fresh wave of admirers. Displaying the same quirky charm and bone dry humour of her international breakthrough, Wilbur allies these qualities to a deeply felt exploration of the fragility of life and the complexities
  • Zentropa to cut staff by 25%

    Danish production company Zentropa is to cut a quarter of its staff; while local authorities investigate a number of its subsidiary companies.Peter Aalbæk Jensen and Lars von Trier's Zentropa is set to lose 20 out of a total of 80 of its staff in the weeks to come.At the same time, the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency, an agency under The Danish Ministry of Trade and Industry responsible for the administration of the law on companies, accounts and business law, has laun

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