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21 March 2003

View all stories from this issue.

  • Academy plans modified awards ceremony and coverage

    Producers of the 75th Academy Awards said yesterday (Mar 18) they would go ahead with a modified Oscars telecast on Mar 23, but were prepared to defer to breaking news from the Gulf.The announcement was made at a press conference in Hollywood by Gil Cates, the veteran producer of the Oscars telecast, barely 24 hours after President Bush ordered Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq within 48 hours or face certain war.Acknowledging the bizarre mood as the motion picture industry's elite g
  • Advanced Medien calls AGM to report new losses

    Beleaguered German rights trader Advanced Medien is to call an annual general meeting after preparations for its 2002 financial report showed that the company incurred a loss amounting to at least half of its capital stock.According to Advanced, the loss is "primarily due to the valuation allowance for loans to its subsidiary Advanced Licencing North America, Inc., write-offs on the participation value of TSC Technische Systeme Consult GmbH and an impairment loss on film assets."
  • Agent Cody Banks

    Dir: Harald Zwart. US. 2003. 102mins.Teen heartthrob Frankie Muniz becomes a teen 007 in Agent Cody Banks, an energetic but overly cute and calculated junior spy adventure from Bond studio MGM and German-owned independent Splendid Pictures. Interest from teen and pre-teen audiences - in Muniz and in his co-star Hilary Duff - has been strong enough in the US to produce decent theatrical results: the film took $15m in its first weekend from 3,369 screens for a site avera
  • Alfonso Cuaron's production company unveils new titles

    Anhelo, the film production company forged by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron and partner Jorge Vergara, has unveiled three international projects in the pipeline. Cuaron and Vergara initially launched Anhelo to produce the Cuaron-directed international hit Y Tu Mama Tambien which is currently in the running for a best screenplay Oscar. They have since announced their objective to produce three to four films a year. Slated to shoot in May is Cronicas, a $3.5m suspe
  • Alliance Atlantis cuts 33 jobs, relocates Sussman

    Alliance Atlantis is cutting 33 jobs from its production arm and relocating its main Los Angeles-based executive to Toronto. Peter Sussman, CEO of the company's Entertainment Group, who has been in Los Angeles since 1991, will continue to oversee the Los Angeles operation and, according to a release, "manage key relationships there". The cuts, which represent 4% of Alliance Atlantis' overall workforce, affect positions in Toronto, Los Angeles and Halifax, home of the company's p
  • Amigo heads up Warner's Spanish local production

    Ana Amigo has been namedWarner Bros' director of local production in Spain in a newly createdrole that demonstrates the studio's production ambitions in theterritory.The appointment wasannounced today (Mar 20) by Simona Benzakein, vice president of Europeanproductions at Warner Bros. Based in Madrid, Amigo will report directly toBenzakein, who operates out of Paris.Amigo will work with Spanishwriters, producers and directors to bring Spanish-language films into theWarner Bros fo
  • Argentina unveils multiple audio-visual initiatives

    Argentina has signed a series of agreements with its Latin American neighbours and Spain's autonomous regional governments as part of a drive to boost the production and distribution of Spanish and Portuguese-language films. As part of the first protocol, signed at last week's Mar del Plata International Film Festival, countries belonging to Latin America's nascent economic community Mercosur, which comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, joined with Bolivia and Chile to set
  • Barrandov to build new stage - even without investor

    Barrandov Studios plans to go ahead with a new 4,000 square meter stage for its Prague film complex, despite the news that owner Moravia Steel is no longer seeking an investor.The announcement of the cancelled sale sparked concern in the local film industry, but it's business as usual at Barrandov, said marketing director Matous Forbelsky. The new stage will be financed with a bank loan and "doesn't have anything to do with the sale of Barrandov," Forbelsky told Screendaily.
  • Bille August gets Hans Christian Andersen Award, prepares biopic

    Danish expatriate filmmaker Bille August will receive The Hans Christian Andersen Award 2003 from the city Odense, where the world famous author was born 198 years ago, on April 2. August has just returned from Hollywood after financing collapsed on his Without Apparent Motive with Oscar-darlings Richard Gere and Julianne Moore. He now intends to focus on writing a film about Hans Christian Andersen, which is why he gets the prize, which comes with a purse of $53,000. At
  • Blind Shaft sweeps awards at Deauville's Asian fest

    The 5th annual Deauville Festival of Asian Film wrapped last week with a slew of prizes going to German/Chinese/Hong Kong co-production Blind ShaftThe film, directed by Li Yang, took home five awards: Best Film, Best Director, the audience award, the critics' prize and Best Actor for Wang Baoqiang. Currently banned in China, Blind Shaft is based on an award winning book that tells the story of two murderous miners in rural China. The film won a Silver Bear from the
  • Boyle to make Millions for Pathe, Mission

    Danny Boyle is to begin shooting Mission Pictures' Millions, his first film since zombie horror hit 28 Days Later, for Pathe UK starting May 5.The high-profile project will shoot for 10 weeks in Liverpool in the UK. Pathe Distribution will distribute the quirky comic tale in the UK and France, while Pathe International will sell the film worldwide. "There is great excitement at the combination of this wonderfully fresh script with the visual flair of Danny Boyle,"
  • Breaking Up (Separacoes)

    Dir: Domingos De Oliveira. Brazil. 2002. 110mins.A sophisticated, wordy, extremely fast-moving comedy about the loves and lusts of a group of Rio artists and intellectuals (think Woody Allen, with Manhattan angst replaced by an irrepressible Latino hedonism), Breaking Up was a great popular favourite with audiences in Mar Del Plata last week, where it won the Golden Ombu. However its themes are universally familiar, and it could well strike a chord with upscale adult audience
  • Cannes Marche points to online registration for advanced numbers

    Registration for theupcoming 44th Marche Du Film (May 14-24) is up 55% compared to the same periodlast year, following the installation of a new online registration service.Set up at the behest ofexecutive director Jerome Paillard, the facility is, claims Paillard, the firstof its kind in the entertainment industry. It appeared on the market'swebsite at the beginning of the month.'I am very pleased tooffer online registration as yet another tool to make this
  • Carlton International sells film package to Showtime

    Steven Soderbergh's sex lies and videotape, The Tamarind Seed and The Big Easy will screen on US pay-TV service Showtime, following a major deal with Carlton International, the sales arm of UK broadcast group Carlton Communications.Other library titles included in the package include Jacknife, Jon Voight and Kevin Costner in Table For Five; Keanu Reeves in The Night Before; Tom Selleck, Jane Seymour, Lauren Hutton and Bob Hoskins in Lassiter
  • Cast lines up for Miramax's Battle Of Shaker Heights

    Shia LaBeouf (Holes), Elden Henson (The Butterfly Effect), Amy Smart (Roadtrip), Kathleen Quinlan (Breakdown), William Sadler (Shawshank Redemption), Shiri Appleby (Swimfan), and Anson Mount (City By The Sea) have joined Miramax's second Project Greenlight competition winner, The Battle Of Shaker Heights. Screenwriter Erica Beeney and directors Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle are the latest film-makers to triumph in the online scree
  • CME wins damages from Czech government over TV Nova

    The Czech government was this week ordered to pay $353m of damages and interest to Central European Media Enterprises (CME) in a case concerning control of commercial broadcaster TV Nova. The ruling by an international arbitration court is less than the $527m that CME had sought, but is big enough to give the financially troubled Czech government a real headache. The fine will rise if it is not paid quickly. CME intends to use the money to pay down some of its own debts. The dis
  • Culture Minister increases German Film Award prize money

    Germany's State Minister of Culture Christina Weiss will increase the total prize-money allocated to the German Film Awards (Lolas) by Euros 310,000 to Euros 3.125m this year.An additional Euros 250,000 is being made available for a seventh title to be nominated in the "Best Feature Film" category, and a total Euros 60,000 will go to the winners of the "Best Screenplay" Lola.In recent years, the Screenplay German Film Award had been presented during the Berlinale in February. Th
  • Delayed Medusa-Cecchi Gori films finally get Italian release

    My Name Is Tanino and L'Anima Gemella, two Italian films which screened at Venice last year before being caught up in the financial storm currently gripping local mogul Vittorio Cecchi Gori, are finally set to be released in Italy, after Medusa sealed a joint distribution deal with the Cecchi Gori Group. The deal hatched between the two production-distribution groups marks the end of a year-long ordeal for the two movies, directed by Paolo Virzi and Sergio Rubini.
  • Diller resigns from VUE post as Vivendi moves to sell

    Barry Diller has resignedfrom his interim role as co-chief executive officer of Vivendi UniversalEntertainment (VUE) as Vivendi Universal steps up efforts to sell theentertainment division and slash debts of more than $13bn.Under the leadership ofchairman Jean-Rene Fourtou, who takes over as full chief executive officer,Vivendi Universal is considering an offer for its studios, theme parks andmusic division by former oilman Marvin Davis.While MGM and Viacom arealso said to be in
  • Distributors jockey for position as Korean majors merge

    Faced with the merger of South Korea's two biggest film companies, mid-sized distributors are jockeying for position in a rapidly changing market.With market prospects undermined by the recent bursting of an investment bubble, four mid-sized players - Showbox, Korea Pictures, Aura Entertainment and Big Blue Film - have the best potential of emerging as counterweights to the merged operations of CJ Entertainment and Cinema Service.Big Blue Film, formed in late 2001 with capital f
  • Endgame Entertainment launches production and financing outfit

    James Stern, the Tony Award-winning producer of stage hits The Producers and Stomp, has announced the formation of production and financing house Endgame Entertainment.The company comprises development and production division Endgame Productions and The Endgame Fund, a financing source for third party producers and distributors covering a range of options from P&A to gap and equity funding. The fund will enable Endgame to self-finance development, production and distribu
  • Entertainers launch Oz film outfit

    Ned Kelly producer Nelson Woss has joined forces with live entertainment specialists Sports & Entertainment Limited (SEL) to form a new Sydney based film outfit.Called Woss Group Films/SEL, the company is looking to produce Australian projects with international ambitions as well as other international projects.Woss is one of the producers of Gregor Jordan's Ned Kelly, which stars Heath Ledger and Geoffrey Rush, and that has its world premiere in Melbourne this wee
  • EU regulators suspend Canal Plus investigation

    The European Union's competition watchdog has suspended its investigation into French pay-TV group Canal Plus' deals with the Hollywood studios. Mario Monti, the Commissioner whose responsibilities include competition, internal markets and the information society, has put on "indefinite hold" its long-standing probe into the pay-TV company, following changes in the market.Monti's spokesperson Amelia Torres, told Screendaily, "we are re-examining our analysis in the light
  • European film councils make joint declaration on funding

    The criteria for European public film support could shift to a more commercial footing after the continent's leading funding bodies unveiled an EU-wide accord yesterday.Public funding bodies, including the UK's Film Council, Germany's Filmforderungsanstalt and France's Centre National de la Cinematographie, are aiming to set the agenda in the run-up to the European Commission's review of state support for film after 2005. The bodies are calling for a clearer definition of the ra
  • Facing Windows leads Italian Oscar race

    Italian-Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek's drama Facing Windows (La Finestra di Fronte) has scored the biggest number of nominations at the Donatellos, Italy's Oscars, winning 11 nods in all the main categories. But competition for the awards on April 9 is set to be the strongest it has been in recent years, with a host of contenders earning a lengthy list of nominations on the shoulders of exceptionally strong box office success over the past year.Reflecting the recent s
  • Facing Windows leads Italian Oscar race

  • Focus closes North American deal on Love

    Focus Featureshas acquired North American rights to Thomas Vinterberg's It's All AboutLove from Denmark'sNimbus Film. As reported earlier in Screen International negotiations have beenongoing since the film's world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. "Ever sinceThe Celebration,we've been seeking to work with Thomas," commented Focus co-presidentsDavid Linde and James Schamus in a statement. "The wait has been worth it;with It's All About Love, he's craft
  • Forest (Rengeteg)

    Dir. Benedek Flieghauf. Hungary. 2003. 95mins.With a First Film award and the Gene Moskovitz prize at the Hungarian Film Week and a slot in the Berlin Forum, Benedek Flieghauf's debut feature looks set to be a regular on this year's festival circuit. Rough, gritty, quite plotless and using non-professional actors throughout, Flieghauf still draws a consistency in style from his Euros 8,000 budget, a redefinition of the term shoestring budget if there ever was one. Certainly t
  • Fox takes $5.9m over weekend with Daredevil

    20th CenturyFox's Marvel Comics adaptation Daredevil grossed $5.9m on 2,035 screens in international markets over the weekend,raising its cumulative score to $22.9m.Opening number one inMexico, it grossed $2m on 689 screens, which represented FoxInternational's fifth biggest opening of all time in the territory. A number one opening inBrazil produced $703,000 on 340 screens, which was the biggest March bow of alltime.In other debuts, Daredevil
  • France receives two Cartoon Movie tributes

    France's domination of the European animation sector was recognised at the end of this year's Cartoon Movie market when two of its Cartoon Movie Tributes went to animation producers from France.Didier Brunner, whose company Les Armateurs has produced such films as Kirikou Et La Sorciere, Belleville Rendez-vous and The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Bear, received a Tribute 'for producing the greatest number of auteur films over the last five years.'A second Tribute went to
  • French cinema admissions take a dive in 2003

    French admissions for the first two months of 2003 have taken a serious dive, according to the national film body CNC. Most seriously, February - which is traditionally one of the strongest months for film-going in France - saw a decline of 18.1% compared with 2002, to 19 million tickets sold.January saw a drop of 13.1% from 2002 and overall, estimates are that box-office has been down for the past 12 months by 4.1%. Total box-office since January 1 stands at 33 million tickets
  • German publisher to up stake in ProSiebenSat.1

    German publishing empire Axel Springer has confirmed that it will increase its interest in ProSiebenSat.1 Media by 2% to 13.5% and receive another seat in the broadcasting group's supervisory board. These moves were made after talks with US billionaire Haim Saban who secured a controlling interest in the ProSiebenSAT.1 Media Group by acquiring 36% of the ordinary shares (72% of the voting rights) at the beginning of the week At the same time, Springer stressed that the deal with
  • Golden Screen Cinemas to open 16th Malaysian multiplex

    Exhibitor-distributor Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) is to open its 16th multiplex in Malaysia later this year.The new complex, located on the island of Penang in the north of the country, will be a 12-screener with a total seating capacity of 1,850. GSC's investment in the new complex is some $3.95m (RM15m).Like the company's flagship site in capital Kuala Lumpur, with 18 screens, the Penang multiplex will include specialist screens for award-winning festival films and foreign-lan
  • Gololed

    Dir. Mikhail Barshinsky. Russia. 2003. 70mins.A former film critic, who also moonlighted as a Siberian train conductor, a Turkish restaurant waiter and a DJ on Bourbon Street New Orleans, Mikhail Barshinsky's directorial debut promises that he intends to be as eccentric in his new career as he has been in his choice of the previous ones. A high-octane bombardment of digitally shot, over-treated, relentless images, purporting to deliver an impressionistic portrait of modern li
  • Intended is late addition to Denmark's NatFilm

    Danish expatriate Kristian Levring's new film The Intended, which screened in Toronto last year, will have its first screening in his home country as a late addition to the already packed NatFilm Festival programme. Levring's film to is a companion piece his Dogme-film The King Is Alive. Set in 1924 it follows a couple arriving at a jungle trading post on the Menkuang River, where they become pawns in the power struggles of a small community. Levring wrote the scr
  • Italian cinemas fear summer drought

    Walter Vacchino, head of Italy's association of exhibitors, has voiced concern about the upcoming summer film season in Italy."We are pleased that distributors are planning to release several Italian films during the summer - but we're very worried about the overall situation after examining distributors' upcoming slates, particularly for the month of July," Vacchino said."Anec is closely monitoring the releases of films in July and August in other European countries, because we
  • Italy close to signing major production/distribution deal with India

    Italy is close to signing a landmark co-production and co-distribution agreement with India, which is also expected to encourage Indian crews to shoot movies in Italy. The deal is one of the latest initiatives spearheaded by new Italian state Film Department chief, Gianni Profita."We are collaborating with Indian Film Commissions to ensure that Indian productions can have easier access to Italian locations and technical facilities," Profita told "At the same tim
  • Italy pushes 8 Mile towards $100m int'l box office

    Universal's 8 Mile continued to swagger toward $100m at the international box office over the weekend, driven chiefly by a record opening in Italy.Opening on Friday (Mar 14), the drama grossed $516,000 at 235 sites for the biggest March opening day of all time in the territory. By the end of the weekend it had taken $2.8m, Universal's sixth biggest opening weekend ever in Italy.Overall the picture grossed $5.3m from 1,202 venues in 16 markets, raising its international ru
  • Japan takes film sequel route

    The sequel to splatterfest Battle Royale is set to wrap shooting next month, one of a string of high profile sequels in production in Japan at the moment. In fact, so many sequels are shooting or preparing to film in Japan, that some are asking whether the country is set to rekindle its love of film series.Ten or more episodes of a film were not uncommon in the industry's Golden Age, four or more decades ago. Yoji Yamada's Tora-san films ran for an incredible 48 instalmen
  • Lilo takes another $2.3m in Japan for BVI

    Buena Vista International(BVI)'s animated romp Lilo & Stitch grossed $2.3m in Japan over the weekend, dropping17% but raising its cumulative score in the market to $7.1m. Its internationalrunning total now stands at $107.3m.Spy thriller The Recruit grossed $1.3m over the weekend to raise itinternational running total to $2.9m. The highlight was a number one nationwideopening in Korea on $625,000 on 73 screens.Opening number two in Taiwanthe pict
  • Lions Gate takes The Grudge for North America

    Lions Gate Entertainment has acquired all North American rights to Takashi Shimizu's Japanese horror hit The Grudge (Ju-On).The announcement was made yesterday (Mar 17) by Peter Block, president of home entertainment, acquisitions and new media. A theatrical release date will be set later.Lions Gate has also picked up Ju-On and Ju-On 2, Shimizu's two straight-to-video projects that inspired the feature film. Block said a video release of both titles would mo
  • Location Prague attracts two new US productions

    Two US studio films, Brothers Grimm and First Daughter are close to confirming a shoot in the Czech Republic, joining a spate of other planned location shoots, according to sources in Prague. MGM and Miramax are expected to give the go-ahead to Terry Gilliam's Brothers Grimm for a Prague shoot, according to local production firm Etic, which will be handling production services on the shoot together with another Czech firm, Reforma.Although the project has y
  • MAC, Samy Boy take North American rights on Prey For Rock And Roll

    Independent distributor MAC Releasing in association with Samy Boy Films has acquired all North American rights to Prey For Rock And Roll, which received its world premiere at Sundance.The picture stars Gina Gershon as the singer of an all-girl punk band and is based on rock star Cheri Lovedog's autobiographical rock musical.Lovedog wrote the screenplay with Robin Whitehouse and the picture marks the feature directorial debut of acclaimed music supervisor Alex Steyermark,
  • Maid cleans up again, Gale blows into second place

    Columbia TriStar's hit romantic comedy Maid In Manhattan held strong in the UK this weekend to take the top spot for the second week running. The film kept a host of new releases at bay, including UIP's death row drama The Life Of David Gale which claimed second place.Maid In Manhattan dropped off 39% from its opening weekend to take $2m (£1.3m) putting it well in the lead. Playing at 422 sites the Jennifer Lopez vehicle scored an average of $4,821 and now has a 10
  • Maid In Manhattan sweeps up $8.7m in second weekend

    Maid In Manhattan continued to clean up at the international boxoffice, grossing $8.7m over the weekend for Columbia TriStar Film DistributorsInternational (CTFDI).The romantic comedy fromRevolution Studios was the number one international picture for the second weekin a row and has amassed just under $25m after two major weekends. No romanticcomedy held the international number one spot for one weekend in 2002.Opening number one inFrance, Maid In Manhattan grossed
  • Mar del Plata risks losing its 'A' grade festival status

    Domingos De Oliveira's Breaking Up (Separacoes) from Brazil won the Golden Ombu for best film at the 18th Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Argentina on Saturday (15 March) amid heated controversy over the inclusion of local film Valentin in competition. The festival is now in danger of losing its 'A' grade status. FIAPF, the body responsible for overseeing the world's leading festivals, had ruled that the Argentine drama should be thrown out of the competition
  • Nakata's Don't Look Up in remake deal

    South Africa-based Distant Horizon has picked up remake rights to Don't Look Up (Joyuu-Rei), a Japanese horror story originally made by Ringu-director Hideo Nakata. Distant Horizon CEO, Anant Singh told Screendaily that a number of Hollywood studios have indicated an interest in the remake and that a top horror screenwriter will be brought on board to complete an English adaptation of the screenplay. "If everything goes well we could be in a position to anno
  • Nansun Shi to advise new Chinese video distribution joint venture

    Despite her recent resignation from Media Asia Group, Hong Kong's film industry veteran Nansun Shi is to stay on as senior advisor to the group.Shi took up the top post 18 months ago after Peter Lam has become the largest single shareholder of the group. One of her main roles was to structure the group into a sound and professionally-run film company.Now that this has been achieved, Shi told Screen that her mission at Media Asia has been completed, which was the reason fo
  • New Italian-Spanish co-production market planned

    The Italian Institute for Foreign Commerce (ICE) is organising a new Italian-Spanish co-production market to take place in Madrid.The first Professional Meetings for Italian Media in Spain (May 6-8) aims to promote co-productions and consolidate relationships between companies from the two countries, as well as to boost the profile of Italian films in Spain.Activities will be divided into two sections: commercial meetings for companies seeking co-production partners; and a video
  • New Wim Wenders film gets German regional film fund cash

    Wim Wenders' next feature Don't Come Knockin' has received the highest amount - Euros 500,000 - from Hamburg's regional film fund FilmFoerderung Hamburg (FFH) in its latest round of a total Euros 2m in funding.With a screenplay by Sam Shepard and starring Shephard and Jessica Lange, Don't Come Knockin' will be the first production of Wenders' new company Hamburg-based Reverse Angle Production which he founded last autumn with Peter Schwarzkopff. The project has als
  • Nominated Kaurismaki boycotts Oscars in protest at war

    Oscar-nominated Finnishdirector Aki Kaurismaki is boycotting Sunday's Academy Awards in protest overthe imminent war with Iraq.In a strongly worded letterto Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Frank Pierson,Kaurismaki said he and his production company Sputnik Ltd refused to attendwhile "the United States is preparing for a crime against humanity for thepurpose of shameless economical interests."Kaurismaki, whoseaward-winning The Man Without a Past is no
  • Norway greenlights Olsen Gang Jr sequel

    With the first film still on theatrical release, The Norwegian Film Fund has already greenlighted the Nordisk sequel to family film The Olsen Gang Jr, which has attracted over 300,000 admissions since it opened on February 7th. The season's most successful local film is the children's version of Norway's best known film franchise. Nordisk made as many as 13 films based on the original Olsen's Gang franchise. When the actors became too old, the producers chose to make a junior version,
  • Palm gets Bunny doc in North America, UK, Caribbean

    Palm Pictures has acquiredall North American, UK and Caribbean rights to How To Draw A Bunny, John W Walter's award-winning documentaryprofile of artist and Andy Warhol contemporary Ray Johnson which is executiveproduced by John Malkovich's production company Mr Mudd.The picture is the secondafter Matthew Barney's The Cremaster Cycle to be released through the company's new fine arts label, ArthouseFilms in North America and the UK.How To Dra
  • Pathe UK starts shooting Scorpio's Natural History

    Pathe UK this week started shooting on Natural History, the debut picture from ex-Renaissance Films chief Stephen Evans' Scorpio Films.The feature debut of commercials director Shona Auerbach, which is shooting in Glasgow and Greenock, stars Emily Mortimer and Gerard Butler. The film revolves around a single mother's choice of whether to tell her nine year-old deaf son that they have run away from his father, or find the perfect stranger to pretend to be him. Jack McElhon
  • Pleasant Days wins Sofia Festival's first international competition

    Hungary's Pleasant Days has been awarded the Grand Prix at The Sofia International Film Festival's first ever competitive event.The seventh edition of the Bulgarian Film Festival had a total of 12 films were competing for the prizes awarded by a five member jury including Bulgarian actress Ani Valchanova, Croation director Dalibor Matanic, Czech director Petr Zelenka, Serbian director Radivoje Andric and founder and director of the Umea International Film Festival Thom Palmen.
  • Restored Hired Hand to Sundance Channel for US home video, DVD and pay-TV

    Sundance Channelhas acquired US home video/DVD and pay television rights to the restoredversion of Peter Fonda's The Hired Hand, the channel's senior vicepresident of film programming Paola Freccero announced today (Mar 20).Following alimited theatrical run, the film will be released on home video and DVD underthe Sundance Channel Home Entertainment label in the fourth quarter of 2003.Showtime Entertainment will distribute.The 1971 pictureis regarded a
  • Rising Danish star takes on Norwegian thriller

    Hot Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is to star in Erich Hortnagl's Norwegian psychological thriller A Cry In The Woods (Den som frykter ulven). Mikkelsen will play a Danish police detective investigating a horrific murder in a small Norwegian town, which turns out to have a personal significance to him. Mikkelsen is not only one of Denmark's most popular actors, he also has a growing fan base in Norway thanks to the Emmy-winning police TV series Unit One. His b
  • RTL unveils new management as revenues rise

    Europe's leading broadcaster and content provider RTL Group has unveiled a new management structure as audited preliminary figures for 2002 show that group revenues performed strongly despite a difficult market.Just a week after he was appointed RTL Group's new CEO, Gerhard Zeiler has announced a new executive committee which will consist of himself; Thomas Rabe, chief financial officer (CFO); Thomas Hesse, the new chief strategy officer as successor to Bruno Chauvat; and Tony Cohen, C
  • Saban buys broadcasting group from insolvent KirchMedia

    Hollywood mogul Haim Saban (pictured) has taken the first step in buying the assets of KirchMedia by acquiring German TV broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media.US billionaire media mogul Haim Saban has founded a new subsidiary of his Saban Group to acquire 36% of the ordinary shares (72% of the voting rights) in ProSiebenSat.1 Media. At this stage of the proceedings, partner TF1 has yet to become involved in the deal.The terms of the second step, involving the purchase of KirchMedia'
  • Sellers welcome future Berlin-AFM breathing space

    When the Berlin Film Festival announced its 2004 dates - Feb 5-15 - last week, the early scheduling was primarily motivated by the fact that next year's Academy Awards ceremony will be held almost a month earlier, on Feb 29.For many industry executives used to jetting between the Berlin's European Film Market (EFM) and the American Film Market (AFM) - which will be held Feb 25 -Mar 3 - the move could be good news. Berlin's decision to start earlier than usual in February means a gap of
  • Seville South Side (Poligono Sur)

    Dir: Dominique Abel. Spain/France. 2003. 106mins.Flamenco is fertile territory for a DV documentary crew with a mission to go beyond the tourist cliches. And this is what French actress-turned-documentarist Dominique Abel and a fast-moving group of technicians headed up by cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier (Good Will Hunting, Nurse Betty) have done in Seville South Side. Though it lacks the narrative structure and some of the cinematic panache of Wim We
  • Sogepaq seals int'l sales on Mortadelo, Mondays

    Spain's Sogepaq has announced a slew of sales on two local hits Mortadelo & Filemon - The Big Adventure and Mondays In The Sun.Co-produced by Sogepaq sister company Sogecine, Mortadelo & Filemon passed the Euros 20m mark at the box office this weekend, bringing it a step closer to overtaking Torrente 2: Mission In Marbella's Euros 22.1m as the second all-time biggest grossing local hit behind Sogecine's The Others. Joining a previous sale on al
  • Soren Fischer dies, aged 62

    Highly-regarded film publicist and festival rep Soren Fischer died last week in London aged 62.Fischer, who had a history of heart problems, was the British representative for the Berlin International Film Festival for 20 years, until he decided to step down last year.Born and educated in Denmark, Fischer joined the UK's BFI Distribution in 1967 before stints at the National Film Theatre and PR firm DDA. Founding his own company, Soren Fischer Associates, he worked on suc
  • Spain's DeA Planeta announces string of pick-ups

    Spain's DeA Planeta has announced a string of high-profile pick-ups including Ingmar Bergman's Saraband and Tod Williams' Door In The Floor.The company - the joint media venture of Spanish and Italian publishing giants Grupo Planeta and De Agostini - has taken all rights in Spain from Svensk Filmindustri to Bergman's much-anticipated return behind the camera, providing further confirmation - if needed - of the film's international theatrical prospects despite its TV movie
  • Sweden's Sundvall begins The Threat

    One of Sweden's most successful directors, Kjell Sundvall, starts shooting his new film The Threat (Hotet) on March 19. Principal photography is to take place in and around Alvsbyn in the north of Sweden until April 15, when filming will continue in Stockholm.Following last year's biggest Swedish box office hit, romantic drama The Guy In The Grave Nextdoor (Grabben i graven bredvid), Sundvall's new project is an action thriller about a computer programmer at an airbase -
  • Telefonica to divest Antena 3 stake as part of merger with Sogecable

    Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica has announced plans to unload its 59% majority stake in local free-to-air broadcaster Antena 3. The company said it would distribute as much as 30% of its shares in Antena 3 - the equivalent of 50 million shares with a company book value of Euros 420m - to Telefonica shareholders as dividends in kind. However, the company also said it would launch an Initial Public Offer (IPO) later this year for Antena 3 and, if necessary to better IPO conditio
  • Ten films line up to compete at the Festival of European Cinema

    Moonlight, the new English-language film from current Oscar nominee Paula van der Oest, will be among the titles screening in the official competition of the 4th Festival of European Cinema in Lecce, which runs from April 7th-12th. Sold by Gary Hamilton's Arclight Films, Moonlight is a romantic thriller about 13 year-old girl who falls in love with an Afghan drug dealer. The film is produced by Emjay Rechsteiner of Staccato Films, the UK's Spice Factory, Delux Studios and
  • The Blessing Bell (Koufuku No Kane)

    Dir: Sabu. Japan. 2002. 87mins.Even those who have learned to appreciate Japanese director Sabu, his deadpan ironical portrayal of his fellow countrymen and the laconic, elliptical delivery of his films, will find that with The Blessing Bell he has gone to lengths even he has not attempted before. An almost inevitable choice for the Forum sidebar at this year's Berlin (it has presented his earlier efforts and appreciates this type of demanding film language), Sabu's ex
  • The Hunted

    Dir: William Friedkin. US. 2003. 94minsWhen a government orders a man to kill, it is considered acceptable. When that same man, tormented by the violence he has perpetrated loses his grip and starts killing on his own, who is to blame' That is the question that should be central to The Hunted, the new action-thriller from William Friedkin. But Friedkin has something different in mind - and the result is not half as engrossing. The appeal of stars Jones and Del Toro, th
  • The United States Of Leland

    Dir: Matthew Ryan Hoge. US. 2003. 108mins.First-time director Matthew Ryan Hoge delivers a highly questionable first feature in Sundance dramatic competition entry The United States Of Leland, a star-studded independent ensemble about upset affluent people which comes close to being offhand in its treatment of the murder of an autistic child. Stylistically it imitates American Beauty, whose Oscar-winning star Kevin Spacey produced and stars in it, but in its que
  • The United States Of Leland

  • Tobis, Blue Star sign on for Duigan's Head In The Clouds

    Tobis in Germany and Blue Star in Italy are the newest territorialbuyers of John Duigan's Head In The Clouds, which began principal photography yesterday in Montreal.The film, which is being sold internationally by Arclight Films, was previouslysold to Gaga Communications in Ja
  • TPS to increase local production investment

    French satellite platform TPS is to increase its investment in local low- to medium-budget films.As stipulated by French broadcast authority, the CSA, TPS will continue to invest Euros 2.01 per subscriber per month in buying and pre-buying French films.TPS also contributes to 'cinematic diversity' by spending 15% of its investments on French films with a budget below Euros 5.5m. From 2004 this will increase to 20%. This 'diversity clause' is similar to a commitment undert
  • Triple whammy as Gangs, Ring and 8 Mile pass the $100m mark

    Three films crossed the much sought after $100m international box office mark this week, led by Oscar contender Gangs Of New York.Martin Scorsese's historical epic tipped over the mark to record a total international cumulative gross of $103.5m. Continued strong runs in Spain and Germany scored the bulk of the film's weekend take. In Spain, where it is distributed by Manga, Gangs added $936,626 (Euro 870,126) over the weekend, a fall of just 27% on the previous weekend. A
  • TV-Loonland sells stake in Korea's SRE Corp.

    German integrated media company TV-Loonland has sold its 72.6% stake in the loss-making South Korean media house SRE Corporation to Seoul-based Moohandae Media LtdIn a statement, TV-Loonland pointed out that SRE had already posted losses of Euros 1.1m in the 2001 financial year on revenues of Euros 14.7m and these losses had been "significantly increased" by declining revenues in 2002.SRE is the leading independent video and DVD distributor and operator of the main VoD portal in
  • Two Towers running 6% higher than Fellowship in Japan

    New Line's The LordOf The Rings: The Two Towersremained number one in its fourth weekend in key cities in Japan, dropping amere 19% and adding $3.4m from 349 screens for a $37.7m cumulative score.The picture averaged $9,729and has grossed 6% more than Peter Jackson's first instalment, TheFellowship Of The Ring, through thesame period.To date The Two Towers has out-grossed The Fellowship Of The Ring in more than 35 territories, incl
  • Two Weeks Notice continues int'l roll-out

    Warner Bros' romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice grossed $4m in international markets over the weekend for an estimated $87.7m cumulative score including Village Roadshow territories.Opening in Argentina, the picture took $93,200 with more than 93,000 admissions from 35 screens. The performance surpassed openings by About A Boy by 109%, Bridget Jones's Diary by 66% and Miss Congeniality by 5%.In its second weekend in Belgium, Two Weeks Notice held
  • UIP appeals against Ned Kelly classification

    UIP has lodged an appeal against the MA 15+ rating given to Ned Kelly by Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification.UIP is hoping the Classification Review Board will decide on Friday to grant it a less restrictive rating. MA 15+ means that people who are less than 15 years of age are legally restricted from being admitted to screenings unless accompanied by an adult. The original decision was made on the basis of the film's violence and its adult themes, i
  • UIP to release Spanish feature The Weakness Of The Bolshevik

    UIP has confirmed local distribution plans for Spanish feature film, The Weakness Of The Bolshevik (La Flaqueza Del Bolchevique) (working title), currently in post-production.UIP will release the film in Spain next September 26 on around 100 prints and is expected to invest approximately Euros 300,000 for p&a. Producer Jose Antonio Romero of Rioja Films says he is fielding interest from foreign, including US, distributors on the $2m film which wrapped shooting in December
  • UK p&a spend climbs to record levels

    UK film distributors spent more than $403.2m (£255m) on prints and advertising in 2002, around one-third of the total value of UK cinema ticket sales during the year.According to the Film Distributors' Association (FDA) yearbook, published this month, print and advertising spend passed the quarter of a billion pound threshold for the first time.The record-breaking spend was a contributing factor in the UK's end of year admissions for 2002, which hit 176 million, to make the UK t
  • US studio costs far outstripping revenues

    Jack Valenti's annual 'state of the union' speech at ShoWest earlier this month was notable for what it did not quite say, as much as what was explicitly uttered by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) president.Valenti pointed to the high and rising production costs (negative cost) incurred by the seven studio members of the MPA. And he showed that the awesome costs of US marketing had been kept in check. What he didn't do was to show that total production spend leaped a coloss
  • Vagabond

    Dir. Gyorgy Szomjas. Hungary. 2002. 97mins.Exploring the growing worldwide phenomenon of dance houses - places where people can gather and celebrate their traditional music - the latest effort by Hungarian director Gyorgy Szomjas lavishes most of its attention on what would normally be considered background material, using a schematic plot to sustain audience interest. Naturally, Szomjas deals with Hungarian dance houses, which first began in small Transylvanian villages and
  • Wellspring acquires international rights to two US docs

    US independentWellspring has acquired international rights to two hard-hitting documentaries,Billy Corben's Raw Deal and Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley's Horns And Halos.Raw Deal, which was produced by Spellman/CorbenProductions, screened at Sundance 2002 and focuses on the alleged rape byFlorida university students of a 27-year-old exotic dancer. Wellspring hassecured international rights outside North America.In Horns AndHalos,
  • Willard

    Dir: Glen Morgan. US. 2003. 100minsEverybody has heard of Cinderella. She befriended the mice that lived in her attic bedroom and made them cute little outfits to wear. In return, they sang and danced and kept her company. Now comes Willard, who pals around with the rats that live in his basement hideaway, frightening the daylights out of his enemies and, New Line hopes, the audience. A strong trailer for Willard in the US has tried to sell audiences the notion