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21 November 2003

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  • 11 animated films make the shortlist for Oscar

    Eleven films have been namedeligible for the 2003 Best Animated Feature Film Academy Award by the AcademyOf Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Per the rules of the category, thatmeans that a maximum of three films can be nominated.They are The Jungle Book2, Piglet's Big Movie and BrotherBear from Walt Disney FeatureAnimation, Finding Nemo fromPixar and Disney, Pokemon Heroesfrom Dimension/Miramax, Rugrats Go Wild! from Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount,
  • 4th Floor (Planta Cuarta)

    Dir: Antonio Mercero. 100 mins. Spain (2003).4th Floor (Planta Cuarta) didn't create much of a buzz in Spain while it was in production, nor even after winning a special mention for its young cast at the Spanish Film Festival of Malaga last May. So it was all the more surprising when Antonio Mercero won best director for it at the recent Montreal Film Festival. The movie also took home the Air Canada public prize in Montreal, and a public prize at Spain's Mostra de Va
  • 7 Brothers wins Luenen's Kinofest

    The documentary 7 Brothers (7 Brueder) by first-time filmmaker Sebastian Winkels picked up this year's Luedia at Luenen's Kinofest for German films (November 13-16).In addition to the Euros 7,500 cash prize, Winkels will have his film subtitled in English by the German Federal Film Board and receive a prominent Saturday evening screening slot at the Kinofest's partner festival "Berlin And Beyond" in San Francisco in January. Meanwhile, San Sebastian winner Gun Shy (S
  • Academy Award fog finally lifts for Errol Morris

    After years of beingperpetually snubbed by the Academy Awards, documentary-maker Errol Morris isfinally on the verge of securing his first ever Oscar nomination now that TheFog Of War has made the preliminaryselection cut.As in previous years, adozen documentary features have been shortlisted following a screening processinvolving documentary judging panels in Los Angeles, New York and SanFrancisco.Although this unofficialOscar shortlist is not intended for public consump
  • Alex de la Iglesia unveils his new film, Ferpect Crime

    Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia has unveiled details of his new film, Ferpect Crime (Crimen Ferpecto), prior to a ten-week shoot to roll in Madrid and Seville next Monday, November 17.The director of such cult hits as Day Of The Beast and Common Wealth called the new film, about a slick department store salesman whose ambitiousness spawns one crime after another, "pure black comedy" structured "as a thriller."Starting with his last film, 800 Bullets
  • April strikes major Oz film financing deal

    Sydney outfit April Films has struck an deal with investment bank Babcock & Brown to finance around two films a year for the next five to seven years. The films are likely to be in the US$5.7m-21.4m (A$8m-30m) budget range. The deal is highly significant for the cash strapped Australian market, which has seen film investment levels plunge over the past year. April has poured US$2.1m million into film development since late 1999 when the company was formed. The company has not, h

    Three films that could not be more different from each other, Roadshow's star performer The Matrix Revolutions on 453 screens, Columbia TriStar's In The Cut on 56 screens, and Hopscotch's Spellbound on just 13 screens, were the stand-outs in terms of their screen average on the weekend. Each notched up more than A$6,000 per screen. But the 66% drop off in patronage experienced by The Matrix Revolutions was also rather sobering after the sensational bu
  • Bac battered as French rumour mill swirls

    French distributor Bac Majestic is once again the subject of bankruptcy and buyout rumours swirling around the French capital. An article in French daily Le Figaro on Tuesday claimed that the company is on its last legs following a serious drop in revenues ( Nov 18) and a delisting from the Paris stock exchange last week.Bac has been down this road before. At the end of 2002 the company's debt stood at about $30m following an unsuccessful move into e
  • Bac sees revenues fall as fewer films released

    French group Bac Majestic released third quarter results this week reporting revenues of Euros 49.2m - a 28.6% drop from the same period last year.In a statement the company noted that the decrease in earnings was down to the "new strategic orientation" of the group with fewer films being released. Bac's boutique distributor Mars Films was taken over by StudioCanal last year.Indeed, easily the hardest hit area for Bac was theatrical distribution which recorded a 69.4% drop.
  • Barenholtz et al buy movie rights to comic strip AstroCity

    Ben Barenholtz,Kurt Busiek and Jonathan Alpers have teamed up to form the partnership PanamaLeo LLC and acquired all film rights to the comic book series AstroCity.AstroCity, whichdebuted in 1955 at Image Comics, is the brainchild of Busiek and tells storiesof humans living in a wildly superhuman world. Busiek will be involved in allcreative decisions related to the development of the feature film.Veteran producerand exhibitor Barenholtz (Georgia, Requiem For A Dream
  • Bellocchio's Goodmorning wins EFA critics prize

    The European Film Awards have unveiled its first two prize winning films: Marco Bellocchio's Italian film Goodmorning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) and S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine by Rithy Panh, from France. Bellochio's film won the European Film Academy Critics Award 2003 - Prix Fipresci, while S21 was awarded The European Film Academy Documentary 2003 - Prix Arte.The critics' award is presented in co-operation with the international federation of fil
  • Binger to announce Dutch doc training course

    The Maurits Binger Film Institute will next Friday (Nov 28) unveil details of its new training course for documentary film-makers.The charitable foundation, which finances film development and partners with leading festivals in The Netherlands, is adding to its script development and director coaching courses by launching a 'long-running international training and development programme for the long-form narrative documentary.'Drawing on the Binger Institute's experience in n
  • Box office Love-fest, Actually

    Universal's Love Actually overtook The Matrix Revolutions at the top of the Italian charts in itsfirst international opening, grossing $2.3m from 322 sites and tracking 11%ahead of Bridget Jones's Diary.In Portugal, Richard Curtis' romantic comedy took $330,000from 60 theatres for second place. There it is tracking 43% ahead of NottingHill.In all, Love Actually grossed $2.6m internationally over the weekend. It opens in 15coun
  • Cactus Three snags top documentary talent

    A pioneering New York partnership that specialises in high-end international documentaries has hit the ground running with a debut slate brimming with Oscar-winning theatrical talent and the prospect also of the first-ever continuing non-fiction series for HBO.Julie Goldman, Caroline Stevens and Krysanne Katsoolis, all previously associated with Wellspring Media, have teamed up to create Cactus Three, based in the downtown Manhattan district of Tribeca.Drawing on their years of
  • Canada boosts tax credits for local producers

    The Canadian government is planning to increase the labour-based tax credit available to local film and television producers.The long awaited move follows up an increase to the tax credit available to off-shore producers in February 2003.The changes are designed to boost Canadian production and to increase Canada's attractiveness as an international coproduction partner. The announcement was made on Friday following a leak to the media.Under the new regime, the Canadian
  • Canada to increase labour-based tax credit for local production

    The Canadian government ismoving to increase the labour-based tax credit available to local film andtelevision producers, a long awaited balancing move following the February 2003increase to the tax credit available to off-shore producers. The changes are expected toaffect Canadian content production and thereby increase Canada's attractivenessas an international co-production partner. The announcement was made Fridayfollowing a leak to the media.Under the new regime, theCanadia
  • Celador chief steps back, hands over reigns to Lux

    Celador founder Paul Smith, who recently steered the TV production company behind Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' into features, is stepping back from the day to day running of the company.Smith will continue to head the company as executive chairman but is handing over hands-on management to former Channel 4 head of entertainment Danielle Lux, who takes the post of managing director. As executive chairman, Smith is expected to focus on ongoing strategy for the company, including
  • CineAsia wraps on positive note for local language pics

    The resurgence of local-language product across the Asia Pacific region was a recurring theme at this year's CineAsia convention for distributors and exhibitors which wrapped on Thursday (Nov 20) in Bangkok.At a seminar on the last day of the market, the increasing volume and quality of local-language films was credited with boosting box office revenues in several Asian territories, including Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea. However, executives noted that the picture varies h
  • Cold&Dark start for Cornwall studio

    Shooting started this week on Cold&Dark, a supernatural horror film about police vigilantism starring Luke Goss and directed by Andrew Goth (Everybody Loves Sunshine).The film, which is the first to use the newly opened South West Film Studios in Cornwall, tells the story of Detective Sergeant John Dark, a good cop whose loyalty and ethics are challenged after a series of bizarre underworld killings.Beyond Films is handling international sales on the project, writt
  • Constantin sees theatrical revenues dive

    Theatrical revenues at Germany's Constantin Film were halved in the third quarter of 2003, from Euros 14.2m to Euros 7.99m, a drop far in excess of the 5.8% decline at the overall German box office. For the nine months to end of September Constantin recorded a drop in theatrical receipts from Euros 35.1m to Euros 16.8m, a decline again worse than the 14% for the industry as a whole. The company said that it had cut back its release schedule and that its best performer has been Swimm
  • Cosmic Africa scoops top South African award

    Feature length documentary Cosmic Africa won the best film prize at South Africa's National Television and Video Association (NTVA) annual Stone Awards this week.Aland Pictures' documentary - which is currently on theatrical release - also won seven other awards at the ceremony, including best direction, cinematography and art direction.The film by brothers Craig and Damon Foster follows African astronomer Thebe Medupe on a quest through the continent to find out the secr
  • Cosmic Africa wins top South African award

    Feature length documentary Cosmic Africa won the best film prize at South Africa's National Television and Video Association (NTVA) annual Stone Awards this week.Aland Pictures' documentary - which is currently on theatrical release - also won seven other awards at the ceremony, including best direction, cinematography and art direction.The film by brothers Craig and Damon Foster follows African astronomer Thebe Medupe on a quest through the continent to find out the secr
  • Danish comedy wins top jury prize at LA's AFI FEST

    Natasha Arthy's Danishcomedy Old, New, Borrowed And Bluewon the grand jury prize in the international feature competition section atthis year's AFI FEST in Los Angeles. The festival closedwith the world premiere screening of Patty Jenkins' Monster last night, although the jury awards wereannounced on Friday night.Old,New, Borrowed And Blue, whichreceived its US premiere in AFI FEST, stars Sidse Babett Knudsen as a woman
  • Dans Grozny Dans wins inaugural cph:dox

    Copenhagen's first international documentary film festival cph:dox, which wrapped this weekend, saw its major awards go to Jos de Putter's Dutch film Dans, Grozny, Dans and Jose Padilha's Brazilian Bus 174. "Dans, Grozny, Dans is a deeply humanistic tale of a dance group and their dedicated teacher in a tale of culture as a form of resistance. Jos de Putter's universal and gripping film goes against the stereotypes of hate and propaganda in a war infested se
  • Dans, Grozny, Dans and Bus 174 win at cph:dox

    Copenhagen's first international documentary film festival cph:dox, which wrapped this weekend, saw its major awards go to Jos de Putter's Dutch film Dans, Grozny, Dans and Jose Padilha's Brazilian Bus 174. 'Dans, Grozny, Dans is a deeply humanistic tale of a dance group and their dedicated teacher in a tale of culture as a form of resistance. Jos de Putter's universal and gripping film goes against the stereotypes of hate and propaganda in a war infested se
  • David Attenborough gets career award from IDA

    DavidAttenborough will receive the International Documentary Association (IDA)'s2003 Career Achievement Award during the 19th annual IDAdistinguished documentary achievement awards gala in Los Angeles on Dec 12.'Sir DavidAttenborough has made incomparable contributions to advancing our understandingand appreciation of natural history," said IDA President Michael Donaldson in astatement. "His 13-part series Life on Earth has already been seen by nearly a halfbillion people around

    The Matrix Revolutions was flushed from the top spot by Finding Nemo - dropping a massive 56%, as Pixar's animated hit scooped 73,744 admissions in its first weekend. The steady Intolerable Cruelty and the local comedy Rule Nr. 1 kept their close run on three and four, while the new release of The Human Stain on just 13 prints accounted for the second best screen average this week. The third new release, the acclaimed teenage drama Thirteen, opened a
  • Dennis Rice returns to Disney, Trotta promoted to senior vp

    Marketing veteran DennisRice has re-joined Buena Vista Pictures Marketing (BVPM) as senior vicepresident, publicity, while Heidi Trotta has been promoted to senior vicepresident, communications, for Walt Disney Studios.Rice, who will reportdirectly to Oren Aviv, president of BVPM Marketing, will oversee all areas ofpublicity on a national and field level for both live action and animatedfilms.Trotta reports directly tostudio chairman Dick Cook and works closely with Zenis Mucha,
  • Elf outguns Master And Commander as Revolutions tumbles

    Exhibiting dramatically contrasting fortunes in their second weeks, New Line's comedy Elfclimbed one place to pole position on an estimated $27.2m at the weekend, whileWarner Bros' The Matrix Revolutions dropped two to third and appears to be in early terminal decline.Jon Favreau's feel-good film cost around $30m and has amassed$71.3m after 10 days. It was just enough to stay ahead of 20th Century Fox'sadventure release Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World
  • European box office flatlines in 2003

    After a period of sustained growth, the European box office is heading for its second consecutive year of stagnation. With Germany last week recording a slump of 13.3% for the first nine months, this year's box office in all five of the big European markets is expected to be more or less flat (see country by country list below for full figures).After nine months, box office is actually down in most cases, but a potentially strong final quarter means analysts still predict

    Though Matrix Revolutions fell back 46% it managed to hang on to the top of the Finnish chart with a screen average only bested by the new release of the Swedish box-office sensation Evil which opened on just six prints and took sixth position. It scooped 3,741 admissions - just enough to keep it ahead of The Human Stain, which had 3,116 from nine prints.Meanwhile the solid local performer Sibelius re-entered the top of the chart at number two after 10 weeks
  • First ever Brazilian Film Market to start on November 19

    The 36th Brasilia Film Festival is to host to the first ever Brazilian Film Market from November 19th to 24th this year. Organised by Brazilian sales and promotion company Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV, the market has already confirmed the attendance of buyers from Europe, North America, Latin America and Australia. Among these buyers are representatives from RAI, Italy, ARTE and One Plus One from France, Samuel Goldwyn Co from the US and Artkino from Argentina. Representatives from
  • Focus Features appoints Karpen its new COO

    Andrew Karpen has joinedFocus Features as chief operating officer. Reporting to co-presidents DavidLinde and James Schamus, Karpen will be responsible for the company's worldwidefinance, daily operations and strategic planning.Based in Manhattan, Karpenwill join the company's executive committee, which he will co-chair with Focusexecutive vice president, business affairs, Avy Eschenasy. In addition, he willwork closely with executives from Focus parent company Universal Pictures.
  • Former IDFA winner takes brutal look at war

    Today (Saturday)'s industry discussion 'Shooting In Warzones' will no doubt draw heavily on the recent war in Iraq. So too does Reporters At War, a new documentary mini-series by film-maker Jon Blair, who won an Oscar and IDFA's Wisselzak Prize for Anne Frank Remembered in 1995.The series paints an un-sanitised view of war, mixing images that are a lot tougher than anything normally screened in prime-time news bulletins - even though the Iraq War was the most televised in
  • Fox takes Thai rights to local drama Beautiful Boxer

    Twentieth Century Fox has picked up Thai distribution rights to local action drama Beautiful Boxer produced by GMM Pictures - the film arm of Thai entertainment giant GMM Grammy.Directed by Singapore's Ekachai Uekrongtham, the film tells the real-life story of Parinya Charoenphol, affectionately nicknamed Nong Toom in Thailand, a kickboxer who fought to earn money for a sex change operation. According to Fox senior vice president, Asia Pacific, Bob Girard, the studio is a

    Although it remains in the number one spot, the final Matrix instalment is certainly not The One. The shine fell off the film in its second week out with the largest fall-off seen in any major market of 69%. With last week's release schedule virtually barren, distributors who tried to duck The Matrix are likely to be kicking themselves now. The only new film to break the top ten was GBVI's Ricordati Di Me while only three other new films broke into the top 20, one
  • France approves new tax credit scheme for film

    The French government has approved a film tax credit scheme which was presented by prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin last week.The total amount of credit available will be equal to 20% of all expenditure for work done in France. It will have a ceiling of Euros 500,000 for fiction and documentary films and Euros 750,000 for an animation.In ratifying the proposal, France's budget minister Alain Lambert said the system would benefit, "tax-paying production companies on the condit
  • Franchise, RPC settle over Scheherazade; Franchise gets rights

    The dispute between RecordedPicture Company and Franchise Pictures which erupted at MIFED over MichaelApted's Scheherazade project hasbeen settled, and the film is now in Franchise's domain. Recorded issued a statementtoday saying that "Recorded Picture Company and Hanway Films are pleased toconfirm that they have reached a mutually acceptable understanding with Fern ValleyLimited resolving our differences. As a result, RPC and Hanway's rights in theproject have been assigned to
  • Fresh blow for Graz's Diagonale festival

    The future of Graz's Diagonale festival under the new management of Miroljub Vuckovic and Tillmann Fuchs has been dealt another blow with the news that Graz's city council has decided to also provide funding for the rival event being planned by the filmmaking community (, 29 Oct).According to the Austrian daily newspaper Kleine Zeitung, an alliance of the Social Democrats, Communists and the Greens, who have a majority in Graz's city council, have succeede
  • German exhibitors rage at funding proposals

    German exhibitors are considering taking legal action against the new Film Funding Law (FFG) which is set come into effect on January 1, 2004.The law means that cinemas will be obliged to contribute an average of 2.7% of their gross turnover to the financing of the Federal Film Board (FFA), the German film funding body.In the runup to last week's final reading of the FFG in the Bundestag, exhibitors were lobbying hard for reductions to the levy. Exhibitors' association H

    Matrix Revolutions may have held on to the top spot for a second weekend, but the Warner Bros release saw admissions slide by 60% compared to the opening four days and the chances of matching the performances of the first two Matrix films fading into the distance. The German-US co-production Luther, on the other hand, has won over more converts to the biopic of the religious reformer, posting an 18% increase in admissions over the previous weekend and the Top 15's
  • Germany funds new projects from award winning directors

    New projects by Christian Petzold and Iain Dilthey are the among new features awarded a total of Euros 1.48m by State Minister for Culture and Media Christina Weiss in her ministry's latest round of film funding.Petzold, who received the top German Film Award for The State I Am In two years ago, received Euros 200,000 production backing for his next project Gespenster which will also be produced by Schramm Film.Cologne-based Tag/Traum Produktion has been granted E
  • Germany rides DVD boom

    Germany's home entertainment market has posted record results for the first nine months of 2003 thanks to the ever increasing popularity of the DVD.New figures published by the trade association BVV (Bundesverbandes audiovisuelle Medien) show overall turnover for the sector grew year-to-year by 10.4% from Euros 888.5m to Euros 981m.This was 70% more than the German cinemas' box office turnover of Euros 584.1m between January and September of this year (, No
  • Gothika

    Dir: Mathieu Kassovitz. US. 2003. 99 mins.Featuring Halle Berry in her first solo-starring role, this latest offering from Joel Silver's mid-budget Dark Castle label is a creepy if rather one-note chiller blending the old-fashioned scare tactics suggested by its title with elements from the new wave of Asian horror. Warner releases in the US this week and should, by tapping the increasingly significant female-led horror audience, be able to do at least as well as it did with
  • Grupo PI picks up BocaBoca's 4th Floor

    Spanish sales consortium Grupo PI has picked up international rights from producer BocaBoca on Montreal best director prize-winner and local box office performer 4th Floor (Planta 4a).The transfer of BocaBoca product to Grupo PI was anticipated following BocaBoca's internal restructuring and the departure of international sales and co-productions chief Mercedes Borruel (see, Oct 31).Other BocaBoca films to be handled by Grupo PI include ghost tale
  • HBO's Sellers strikes key Euro deals

    HBO Films London has sold all rights on The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers to Ocean Films in France and Lucky Red in Italy, adding to a raft of sales announced at Mifed earlier this week.Scanbox has picked up all rights in Scandinavia, Cineart and A-Film in the Benelux countries, Frenetic in Switzerland and Prime in the Middle East.The $26m drama stars Geoffrey Rush, Charlize Theron and Emily Watson and is currently in post production and expected to be ready in February
  • Highlight figures paint mixed picture of Constantin takeover

    Highlight Communications' takeover of Germany's Constantin Film has had mixed results, according to the Swiss media concern's nine-month figures.On the one hand, profits dropped. Highlight reported a 41% contraction in operating profit to $11.3m (CHF 14.7m) due to the net loss contributed by Constantin. Revenues, however grew. Following the takeover of Constantin, the group's revenues increased 52% to $135m (CHF 175.7m)Highlight currently holds a 57.98% stake in the Germ

    Despite a strong start strong start, The Matrix Revolutions is fading in Hungary just as quickly as it is elsewhere. Although last week's strongest new release, Crime Spree was no competition for the final Matrix episode, it is clear that the success of the first two parts won't be repeated.It was a solid opening for Crime Spree, a Canadian-UK co-production that features an international cast including Harvey Keitel, Gerard Depardieu, Johnny Hallyday and Sai
  • In America audience favourite at AFI FEST in LA

    Los Angeles AFI FEST endedon Sunday night with Jim Sheridan's In America the winner of the audience award for best featurefilm.Amanda Micheli's DoubleDare (US) was the audience winnerfor best documentary, while Sikander Goldau's Fragile (Germany) won best short film.Among the celebrities whoattended the festival were Robert Redford, Quentin Tarantino, Denys Arcand,Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Charlize Theron, Ben Kingsley, TildaSwinton, Omar Sharif and
  • Italian distributor swoops for Yeoh's Silver Hawk

    Fulvio Lucisano's Italian International Film (IIF) has snapped up Italian distribution rights to Michelle Yeoh's upcoming martial arts vehicle, Silver Hawk.Sold by Hong Kong's Han Entertainment through Arclight Films, the $15m action movie tells the story of an elegant lady who becomes a skilful fighter when disguised as Silver Hawk. The film, directed by Jingle Ma, stars Michelle Yeoh, who also produced the picture through her company, Mythical Films. Silver Hawk

    UIP's Love Actually stormed to number one at the Italian box office, grossing $2,221,520 from 357 screens on its first international opening as it posted an impressive screen average of $6,223.The Hugh Grant vehicle took the crown from Warner Bros's The Matrix Revolutions, whose earnings tumbled a depressing 51% on its second weekend - although the Keanu Reeves picture can still boast a huge Italian gross of $9,336,184 to date. Meanwhile, Medusa's Dogville

    The Matrix Revolutions may have defied standard industry practice with its Wednesday November 5 opening - in Japan nearly all new films are released on Saturday - but it still managed to get to the top of the box office. It's strong Japanese pop culture connections helped made it - and the entire Matrix trilogy - a hit. But a film with an even stronger Japanese flavour, Kill Bill, held off three new domestic challengers, including Tokyo International Film Fest opening fil
  • Japanese Story sweeps AFI awards

    Japanese Story walked away with practically all the honours at the 45th AFI (Australian Film Institute) Awards tonight (Nov 21), including best film. It is the third major Australian prize for Japanese Story in less than a month: on Nov 12 it won at the IF Awards and on Oct 31 it was named best film at the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards.Accepting the biggest award of the night were producers Sue Maslin, Sue Brooks and Alison Tilson. Brooks also won the cat
  • Killing Machine named as first EFA 2003 winner

    Rithy Panh's powerful Frenchdocumentary S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine was this week named asone of the first films to win a prize at the forthcoming European Film Awards.The film, about thedirector's return to one of Pol Pot's most notorious concentration camps,appears as part of IDFA's reflecting images section. It was awarded TheEuropean Film Academy Documentary 2003 - Prix Arte. The prize is awarded inco-operation with the European cultural
  • Lanzarote gears up for 5th annual screenings

    The Spanish Film Screenings of Lanzarote are gearing up for their upcoming fifth annual edition November 27-29.The three features to be premiered in the now traditional evening gala ceremonies are Santi Amodeo's Astronautas (pictured), Ramon Barea's El Coche De Pedales and Ramon de Espana's Haz Conmigo Lo Que Quieras.Others of the 35 new titles to be screened include Oliver Stone's Comandante, Iciar Bollain's Take My Eyes, box office hit Foo
  • Lee's Red Eagle to soar for Film Hanza

    Hong Kong director Daniel Lee is attached to direct action movie Red Eagle for Thailand's Film Hanza - a new production company set up by Cinemasia co-founders Duangkamol Limcharoen and Nonzee Nimibutr. Limcharoen was awarded "Producer of the Year" on Thursday night at the CineAsia conference in Bangkok. The award was handed to her by Wong Kar Wai who described her "one of Asia's brightest lights". Thai studio Sahamongkol is financing Red Eagle, which is based on a
  • Manulis-produced LA riots satire starts shooting

    John Manulis'Visionbox Pictures has started production in Los Angeles on The LA RiotSpectacular, a satire onthe 1992 Los Angeles riots written and being directed by Marc Klasfield.The movie stars Charles Dutton, TK Carter, Emilio Estevez,Charles Durning, William Forsythe, Christopher McDonald, Jonathan Lipnicki, TedLevine and cameos from Snoop Dogg, George Hamilton and others.The film isproduced by Manulis and Klasfeld and is a co-production between Visi
  • McGuckian presses ahead with tabloid tale

    Irish writer-director Mary McGuckian, currently in post on historical drama The Bridge Of San Luis Rey, will next direct Rag Tale, an $8.5m black comedy about Britain's tabloid newspaper culture.Following a week in the life of a tabloid newspaper as the editor tries to save his job, the film will be shot in black and white and colour on high definition digital. It will rely largely on actor improvisation, although McGuckian says that her finished script is very structured
  • Michael Douglas to receive HFPA's Cecil B DeMille award during Globes show

    Michael Douglas has beennamed recipient of the 2003 Cecil B DeMille Award from The Hollywood ForeignPress Association, to be presented at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards ceremony onJan 25 next year.Announced at a pressconference yesterday morning by actress Brittany Murphy, the honour was givento Douglas for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field."Douglas has won two GoldenGlobes, for best actor (drama) in Wall Street in 1987 and one as producer of One F
  • MIFED 2003: market deals round-up

    The Agronomist (Wild Bunch)UK (Optimum), Italy (Bim)Arahan (Cinema Service)Thailand (Nontanund)Black Dahlia (Signature)Japan (Toho-Towa)Blizzard (First Look)US (Private Planet Releasing)Bright Young Things (Icon)Netherlands (RCV)Capturing The Friedmans (Fortissimo)Spain (Karma)The Card Player (Adriana Chiesa)Japan (Gaga) UK (Arrow)Coffee And Cigarettes (F
  • Mifed was good news for documentary sales

    Last week's Mifed film market will have brought financial cheer to a number of documentary producers who saw their works licensed for theatrical release. The annual market in Milan is normally focused of feature films and forthcoming projects, but this year also saw a growing emphasis on documentaries.Although the market organisers did not quantify the number of films being sold by genre, many more sales companies were clearly sporting documentaries than at previous editions of Mifed.
  • Mission promotes Meyer to development chief

    Mission Pictures has promoted Sophie Meyer to head of development in the UK.Previously development executive at the company, Meyer oversaw the development of Danny Boyle's Millions and comedy spoof Gladiatress. She is responsible for the development of a number of projects on Mission's slate, including a film written and to be directed by rising UK talent Dominic Savage.Mission also recently appointed Tracy Falco as vice president of production in its newly opened
  • My Architect breaks theatrical record

    Growing evidence of the theatrical viability of documentary films came this week with the US performance of My Architect. The film by Nathaniel Kahn was released last Friday and broke the house record at the Film Forum cinema in New York, where it was the first documentary to be simultaneously screened in two theatres.My Architect, which is tipped to join the shortlist of Oscar nominees, is a personal look by the director at the life and work of his archit

    It is unusual to see as many as three openers among the top five films but that was the case on the weekend. The Matrix Revolutions was convincingly ahead of everything, grossing NZ$553,478 despite the 56% drop on the previous week. BVI's Seabiscuit, with NZ$109,682 from 52 screens, and 20th Century Fox's Jeepers Creepers II, with only about NZ$500 less on only 35 screens, pushed Calendar Girls down to the fourth spot. But there wasn't much between any of th
  • Nippon Herald, Shochiku team up for Alexander

    Shochiku and Nippon Heraldhave once again teamed up to buy Japanese rights to a US epic, this timebuying Oliver Stone's Untitled Alexander The Great Project from Intermedia and Summit Entertainment.The deal was sealed at MIFEDby Patrick Wachsberger and Bob Hayward of Summit.The two Japanese companies,which have teamed up before to buy Gangs Of New York and The Lord Of The Rings films, have been tracking the Stone film for months.Executives from Nippon Herald
  • NonStop, Bright Angel pick up Mifed package deals

    NonStop Entertainment, partof Sweden's Millennium Media Group, swooped on packages of rights at Mifedincluding Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs and Oliver Stone's Looking ForFidel.NonStop bought Scandinavianand Baltic rights to Infernal Affairs II and III, the second andthird instalments of a police thriller trilogy directed by Andrew Lau and AlanMak. The rights were sold by Media Asia.From France's Wild Bunch itbought a similar spread of rights to Lookin

    It was a so-so weekend at the box office in North America, down 23% from last year despite the opening of 20th Century Fox's tentpole picture Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World and a powerhouse second weekend performance from New Line Cinema's Elf. Playing on 44 more screens than in its opening weekend, Elf dropped just 15% to score the biggest gross of the weekend $26.3m and a total after ten days of $70.3m. Master And Commander, meanwhile, cam

    The Matrix could do nothing to prevent Pixar's Finding Nemo from racing past it to the top of the Norwegian chart, where it was released on the highest ever number of prints (110) and drummed up an impressive admission screen average of 1004. With a total of 110,488 it was this year's best opening - beating the one set by Pirates Of The Caribbean's 82,898. Finding Nemo had a sneak premiere at the annual Great Cinema Day two weeks earlier, where it had
  • Oscar fog finally lifts for Errol Morris

    After years of beingperpetually snubbed by the Academy Awards, documentary-maker Errol Morris isfinally on the verge of securing his first ever Oscar nomination now that TheFog Of War has made the preliminaryselection cut.As in previous years, adozen documentary features have been shortlisted following a screening processinvolving documentary judging panels in Los Angeles, New York and SanFrancisco.Although this unofficialOscar shortlist is not intended for public consump
  • Oz financing forum aims to usher in a new era

    An Australian Film Financing Forum is to be held in Sydney on November 27. The forum is designed to arm potential film financiers with the knowledge they need to make more informed decisions - and to hook them up with key film industry players. Actor, producer and forum patron Bryan Brown will give the keynote address and participants will also hear from Film Finance Corporation Australia chief executive Brian Rosen. "We want private funding to come back into the industry and we
  • Oz producer of the year unveils The Wish

    Steve Luby and Mark Ruse of Melbourne's Ruby Entertainment and UK producer Deb Balderstone from Haystack have started casting and financing the romantic comedy The Wish.News of the project came as the Screen Producers Association of Australia, at their annual conference, today declared Luby, along with Mick Molloy, as independent feature film producer of the year thanks to the success of their film Crackerjack. Crackerjack predated the creation of Ruby Entertainmen
  • Oz production levels fall dramatically

    Kim Dalton, chief executive of the Australian Film Commission (AFC), has expressed 'great concern' at new figures released today that indicate a dramatic fall in Australian production levels.The total number of features of all types made in the 12 months to June 30 fell to 26 from 39 in the previous year. Not since 1994/95, when 20 films were produced, have numbers been this low. Australian features showed the largest decline, falling from 30 in the previous year to 19. The high
  • Paramount Classics falls for Michell's Love

    Paramount Classics, thespecialty arm of Paramount Pictures, is in final negotiations to buy NorthAmerican and select other territorial rights to Roger Michell's next film EnduringLove from Pathe International.Starring Daniel Craig,Samantha Morton and Rhys Ifans, the film is an adaptation of the Ian McEwanbestseller about the obsession that develops by one man for another after atragic ballooning accident.The film is produced byKevin Loader and Michell through their Free R
  • PeaceJam to open Global Peace Fest in Florida

    The inauguralGlobal Peace Film Festival, which will take place in Orlando, Florida, from Dec10 to 14 has unveiled its lineup.The openingnight film is PeaceJam,the US documentary directed by Dennis Flippin which follows five teens over asix-year period as they face the realities of growing up in the USA today whileworking alongside Nobel Peace Prize Laureates such as the Dalai Lama,Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Oscar Arias.The festivalcloses with Paul Feig's I A
  • Pirates still beating the system

    Piracy is increasing in Asia despite the efforts of the Motion Picture Association and strategies such as day-and-date releasing according to delegates at this year's CineAsia conference in Bangkok. "Piracy has actually got worse in the past year," said MPA senior vice president, Asia Pacific, Mike Connors at a seminar on the first day of the trade show (Nov 18). "We've seen results in Thailand and Malaysia, but it's not so impressive in other countries and there's backsliding in some.
  • Raggy Boy producer leaps into Wide Blue Yonder

    Formal pre-production will start in a week's time on Titian Red Pictures' Wide Blue Yonder according to producer Kevin Byron Murphy. The company's second film after Song for a Raggy Boy, Wide Blue Yonder is written by UK playwright Hugh Janes and will be directed by Robert W. Young. Filming will take place from February 2 to March 13 on location in County Galway in the west of Ireland.A caper movie set in a retirement home, Byron Murphy says the film is budg
  • RCV binges on high profile Mifed titles

    Dutch distributor RCV Entertainment has bought local rights to Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain from Miramax and will release the film in the first half of 2004. During last week's Mifed, RCV also acquired John Madden's Proof from Miramax; Zhang Yimou's House Of The Flying Daggers and horror film Seed Of Chucky from Focus Films; and Dirty Dancing sequel Havana Nights from Summit Entertainment.Other Mifed acquisitions include Modigliani
  • Rebic's Donau to open Mannheim-Heidelberg

    Goran Rebic's 'river movie' Donau, Dunaj, Duna, Dunav, Dunarea will open this year's Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival (Nov 20-29).The festival's 23-title International Competition includes the Oscar entries from Uruguay (El Viaje Hacia El Mar by Guillermo Casanova) and Luxembourg (J'ai Toujours Voulu Etre Une Sanite by Genevieve Mersch). Over a third of the competition films come from Latin America or Scandinavia with such titles as Matias Bi
  • Revolutions dips to $42m in second weekend for Warner

    Warner Bros PicturesInternational's The Matrix Revolutions took an estimated $42m in its second weekend of release to bring itstotal to $195m. The international gross was not such a steep decline from thedomestic, where the $16.3m take represented a 66% drop.The worldwide gross to dateafter 12 days is about $310m.In Japan, the film grossed$5.6m, down 39% in its second weekend; in the UK, it took $4.49m, down 53%; inFrance, it took $4.41m, down $59%; in Germany, it took $2
  • Rising star quits after pay dispute

    Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai has walked out of Capitol Films' Indian epic The Rising after a dispute with producer Bobby Bedi over pay.The former Miss World, who recently wrapped Pathe's Bride And Prejudice, reportedly exited after Bedi rejected a revised set of terms from her US agent. She will apparently be replaced by actress Amisha Patel.Along with Bride And Prejudice, The Rising was part of Rai's bid to break into Western filmmaking, as well as o
  • San Francisco Film Fest takes delegation to Cuba

    A selection offilms from this year's San Francisco International Film Festival will screen atthe 25th International Film Festival of New Latin American Cinema inHavana, Cuba which takes place Dec 2-12.The filmsselected are Lost Boys Of Sudan and The Weather Underground which are both shortlisted for this year's Academy Award, HeartOf The Sea: Kapolioka'Ehukai, Whale Rider and The Man Of The Year.In 2001, SanFrancisco executive director Roxanne
  • Scanbox, Paradox strike co-production deal

    Nordic distributor Scanbox Entertainment, which has emerged in a strong position after a major restructure in 2001, has through its Norwegian arm signed a co-production agreement on six feature films with the prolific production outfit Paradox Spillefilm AS. The deal will see the companies select, develop, produce and market the Euros1.5-4m projects together. Two as yet untitled projects - a romantic comedy and a comedy drama - are currently being considered. The deal was negoti
  • Seydoux brothers team for new archive venture

    The Seydoux brothers have once again joined forces to create a new company. Nicolas and Jerome Seydoux, who respectively head up French studios Gaumont and Pathe, merged their cinema circuits a few years back to create Europalaces and are now following suite with their companies' archives.The new entity, which is set to be called Gaumont-Pathe Archives, will be run by Martine Offroy, president of the Cinematheque de Toulouse as well as vice-president of the Cinematheque Francaise. The
  • Shoreline swims with Bay Of Love

    LA-based Shoreline Entertainment has acquired worldwide rights to the Canadian feature, The Bay Of Love And Sorrows. Starring Peter Outerbridge, Jonathan Scarfe, and Elaine Cassidy, directed by Tim Southam and produced by Toronto-based Triptych Media, the film is an adaptation of leading native novelist David Adams Richards, who co-wrote the screenplay with Southam. It tells the story of an idealistic young man who returns to his rural hometown hoping to change things for
  • Singapore strides ahead with digital cinema roll-out

    Singapore exhibitor Eng Wah Organization is collaborating with Barco and two government agencies to install 20 2K digital projectors - a move that pushes the tiny city-state of Singapore to the forefront of digital cinema technology.The roll-out is backed by Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) - a government body which aims to establish the territory as a global IT hub - and the Media Development Authority (MDA) which is concerned with content. Eng Wah has set Disne
  • South Africa unveils US, European alliances at Sithengi

    A string of international alliances between Southern Africa, Europe and Hollywood were unveiled at this year's Sithengi in Cape Town (13-16 Nov).The major event of the TV and film market was the signing of a co-production treaty between Italy and South Africa. It is the country's second treaty with a G8 nation -one is already in place with Canada. The treaty means that official South African-Italian co-productions will be able to access soft money in both countries. South Africa

    Spanish title 4th Floor (Planta Cuarta) and Clint Eastwood's Mystic River were the only two repeat releases in the local top 10 to improve their performance this weekend. A drama with strokes of comedy about a group of teenage boys getting by as best they can in a hospital cancer ward, BVI release 4th Floor took in Euros 677,206 off 131 copies for a cumulative Euros 2.16m.Also through BVI, Spanish comedy Football Days (Dias De Futbol) held its position at four. Now
  • SPAIN Production Listings - November 17 2003

    Spain November 17PRE PRODUCTIONOxygen (Oxigeno)(Morena Films, Mikado [It], Tubedale [UK]) Budget: E 6.6m. Thriller. Based on real events reconstructing what may have happened aboard a submarine that sunk off the coast of Spain at midnight on New Year's Eve, 1936. Prods: Juan Gordon, Roberto Cicutto, Carl Clifton. Dir: Alvaro Fernandez Armero. Scr: Marcelo Figueras, Alberto Porlan. DoP: Xavi Gimenez. Ed: Ivan Aledo. Main cast: Jordi Molla, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Un
  • Spanish directors join forces for oil spill disaster film

    Following in the tradition of recent festival favorites like 11'09'01 or Ten Minutes Older, Spain is about to embark on its own collaborative feature film about the massive oil spill last year off the northwest coast of Galicia.Tentatively titled Nunca Mais (Never Again), the activist slogan which arose in response to the ecological disaster a year ago this November, the feature-length film is set to include around ten short films of eight to twelve minutes each.
  • Spanish films get increased TV funding

    For full current Spanish production listings see the International Production Listings section, or click here.In what would appear a reversal of fortune for both Hollywood studios and local feature films, Spanish broadcasters are cutting spending on foreign film acquisitions in favour of more local product. The projects they are backing represent some of the most anticipated and ambitious films in developmen
  • Spirit Horse plans new studio facility south of LA

    LA-based Spirit HorseEntertainment, run by Michelle Hartly and Shari Hamrick, has announced plans tobuild a new film, TV and commercial production studio facility south of LosAngeles in San Marcos.The studio, designed to havea fully operational backlot and six sound stages, is being developed byAlliance Holdings, a group consisting Spirit Horse, New Cathay Pacific and realestate firm TransPacific Development. Alliance is currently under contract withJim Ambroso of Allied Waste/AWIN for

    Though Finding Nemo swam safely into the top spot on its massive 181 prints and a strong screen average of $9.879 Matrix Revolutions clung to second place despite falling off 51%. The local box-office hits Evil and The Third Wave continued their successful runs, but for the first time in weeks another new local release, Bjorn Runge's If I Turn Around, actually displayed a better screen average ($3,001), although its 22 prints only made it into eighth
  • The Statement

    Dir: Norman Jewison. Canada/France/UK. 2003. 120 mins. As enticingly cast and classically executed as it is, there's something naggingly unsatisfying about The Statement, a religio-political thriller directed by Norman Jewison and adapted by Ronald Harwood from the acclaimed 1996 novel by Canadian author Brian Moore. Co-produced by a string of international partners (but shot in English), the film might still attract older international audiences, who will be drawn by
  • Toronto's Handling steps aside from programming duties

    Piers Handling, thelong-time director of the Toronto International Film Festival, is steppingaside from his main programming duties to concentrate on his other job title,that of CEO of the umbrella Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG).Meanwhile, the organization is entertaining a dozen applications for the job ofco-director of the festival proper; the successful applicant will hit theground running, with a start day of January 1, 2004. The move is seen as part ofa long-ter
  • Trio of films dominate Huelva prizes

    Guillermo Casanova's El Viaje Hacia El Mar, Marcelo Ferrari's Subterra and Boris Quercia's Sexo Con Amor split the lion's share of the top awards at the 29th edition of the Iberoamerican Film Festival of Huelva (Nov 8-15), a premiere event solidifying the ever more important links between the Spanish and Latin American film industries.Huelva also played host to a three-day Co-Production Forum (Nov 9-11) bringing together mostly Latin American projects with potentia
  • Trust strikes Third Wave deals at MIFED

    Trust Film Sales sold Anders Nilsson's Swedish box-office hit The Third Wave (Den Tredje Vagen) to a number of territories at last week's MIFED. Among the buyers were Summerstorm Entertainment (Hong Kong, China, Taiwan), ATLAS Film + Medien (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) and Intersonic Inc. (Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republic). Mikado Film took both The Third Wave and Executive Protection for Italy.The partly English-language action-thriller is the thir

    Roger Michell's British drama The Mother saw a good start in the UK this week, which saw few openers in the wake of last weekend's Matrix release.With a screen average of $4,744 (£2,813) the film, about an older woman's belated revolt against a life of quiet desperation achieved through a relationship with her daughter's lover, landed 14th place in the chart but boasted the second best average in the top 25 behind The Matrix Revolutions.Momentum Pictures rel
  • UK's Soda Pictures gulps down arthouse pair

    UK distributor Soda Pictures has picked up UK rights to Guy Maddin's The Saddest Music In The World and Damian Kozole's Spare Parts.Maddin's film, which made its North American premiere at Toronto earlier this year, stars Isabella Rossellini as a legless beer baroness who holds a worldwide contest to perform the saddest music in the world. It had a strong reception at the Times bfi London Film Festival, which wrapped earlier this month.Eve Gabereau, joint-managing
  • Universal looks to spread Love around Europe

    Universal will be looking to spread Love Actually around major European territories this weekend, in a bid to repeat the film's excellent $2.2m number one launch in Italy last weekend. Germany (505 prints) and The Netherlands (108 prints) received the ensemble film yesterday (Nov 20). It rolls out in the UK (775 prints) and Spain (295 prints) today (Nov 21). The UK opening weekend will be a major focus for the film; by way of comparison 2001's Bridget Jones's Diary
  • Venice Film Festival to be run by foundation

    The Italian government is pressing ahead with plans to overhaulthe statute of the Venice Biennale, the state body that runs the Venice FilmFestival, and has now approved a draft law to turn it into a foundation thatwill be partly financed by private individuals.The government's greenlight comes on the shoulders of a hugepolemic which erupted in Italy after the media got wind of plans for the VeniceFilm Festival to be run by the state-owned Cinecitta Holding and National FilmSchool, as
  • Warriors to open Mumbai festival

    Mumbai's International Film Festival will open on Nov 20 with He Ping's Warriors Of Heaven And Earth, the Chinese language film co-produced by Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia.In all, 80 films from 28 countries including Shekhar Kapur's Four Feathers will be screened during the seven-day international event. A highlight this year is the competition for Indian films judged by an international jury. Thirteen Indian films, both in national and regional la
  • Williams named vp, media, at Warner International

    Vanessa Williamshas been named vice president, media, Warner Bros Pictures International. Inher new position, Williams will report to Fiona Watts, senior vice president,marketing.Williams willdevelop and oversee the implementation of media planning for approximately 30annual theatrical releases in 65 international territories. Among heradditional duties are supervising and approving media budgets, evaluating mediavalue attained from third-party promotional activity, monitoringadvertisi
  • Years joins marketing & publicity team at WBITV

    Chandra Years has been nameddirector, publicity and marketing services, at Warner Bros InternationalTelevision Distribution (WBITV). She will work closely withWBITV's marketing, publicity and servicing operations on campaigns, frominitial concept to delivery. She will also be part of the team responsible for organizingWBITV's activities at MIP, MIPCOM and NATPE as well as the company's annualInternational Press Junket.She will report to Lisa Gregorian, senior vice president, Warner