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21 October 2003

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  • Council diverts Funds cash to training, BFI

    The UK Film Council plans to reduce the amount of money allocated to two of its three main production funds, and instead invest the cash on training and extra money for the British Film Institute.The Premiere Fund, which has backed commercially orientated films such as Gosford Park and Sylvia, will receive £8m a year for the next three years - down from £10m a year.The Development Fund, whose key aim is to raise the quality of screenplays through targeted developme
  • 9-hour Chinese documentary wins Japanese festival

    West Of Tracks, (pictured) an acclaimed 9-hour documentary about the decay of an industrial city in Northeast China, emerged a triumphant winner at the 2003 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in Japan. Well-received US documentary Stevie by Steve James, director of the Oscar-nominated Hoop Dreams (1994), took home the festival's second-ranked award, the Prize of Excellence.Held once every two years, the YIDFF has gained a reputation as one of
  • Alan Parker issues statement on European cinema

    Next week's promotional launch of his new novel has forced the UK Film Council's chairman Sir Alan Parker to decline the invitation to participate in the European Film Summit at the Munich Media Days on October 22, but he has nevertheless taken the time to issue a personal view on the present situation of the European film industry .While one of the Film Council's main roles is to attract production to the UK, Parker suggested in his statement that "producers will come to the UK and wo
  • Amenebar, Piccioni, Ruiz win Eurimages backing

    New features by Alejandro Amenabar, Giuseppe Piccioni and Raoul Ruiz are among the 12 European co-productions supported with over Euros 4.6m by the Council of Europe's pan-European co-production fund Eurimages in its latest round of funding.Three projects - Amenabar's Spanish-French-Italian co-production Mar Adentro, Piccioni's Italian-German co-production La Vita Che Vorrei and Bob Decout's Franco-Belgian-Spanish co-production Les Gens Honnetes Vivent En France -
  • And the 11 most influential cinematographers of all time are...

    The names of the 11 mostinfluential cinematographers of all time as voted by members of theInternational Cinematographers Guild (ICG) will be unveiled on a 'wall offame' at the opening of the ICG's new national headquarters inHollywood on Nov 8.Billy Bitzer, JordanCronenweth, Conrad L Hall, James Wong Howe, Sven Nykvist, Vittorio Storaro,Gregg Toland, Haskell Wexler, Gordon Willis, Freddie Young and Vilmos Zsigmondwon the most votes during a recent survey.ICG
  • April, Architect win audience awards at Chicago

    Peter Hedges'comedy-drama Pieces Of April tookhome the Audience Choice Award gold plaque and Nathaniel Kahn's MyArchitect claimed silver at the 39thChicago International Film Festival, which ran from Oct 2-16.Hedges' acclaimed filmstars Katie Holmes as an independent young woman who reconnects with herdysfunctional family over the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner.Patricia Clarkson, Derek Luke and Oliver Platt also star.The film also earn
  • Arclight takes international on Jackie Chan backed films

    Australia's Arclight Films has picked up international rights to another two Asian productions Kenneth Bi's Hainan Chicken Rice and Stephen Fung's Enter The Phoenix (working title) both of which are backed by Jackie Chan's new company JCE Movies. Hainan Chicken Rice, a co-production between Hong Kong's Kenbiroli Films and Singapore's Ground Glass Images, is a dramatic comedy about a single mother who fears her youngest son is gay. Sylvia Chang and TV chef Martin Y
  • Asian films take top prizes at Norway's Bergen fest

    The fourth edition of Norway's Bergen International Film Festival, which wrapped on Wednesday (Oct 22), saw Asian cinema secure the top honours.Yang Li's Chinese Blind Shaft took the main prize, while Sangsoo Im's South Korean A Good Lawyer's Wife won the critics' award. Sixteen films screened in competition.The main prize comes with $10,700 (NOK75,000) from the Norwegian Film Institute to the distributor who offers to pick the film up for local release. Spe

    Kill Bill: Volume 1 grossed A$2.26m from 272 screens to go straight to the top of the chart - and to give BVI the top three chart places. Adding 55 screens helped Calendar Girls secure runner-up status and in third position is Pirates Of The Caribbean in its sixth week. BVI is on a roll right now: both Pirates Of Caribbean and Finding Nemo in its eighth week, are both in the top ten when measured against all releases of the last 52 weeks. In fa
  • Bad Boys II looking good abroad

    Following a triumphant session last week, Bad Boys II will be aiming to elevate its $67.4m international running total even further with a raft of major European openings this weekend.Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) opened the action sequel in France on 627 prints on Oct 15, with Russia going out on 197 on Oct 16, Italy on 332 and Portugal on 90, both on Oct 17.Star Will Smith should prove a major draw in most territories, bearing in mind that
  • Bad Boys II tops international box office

    Bad Boys II was the number one international film at the weekendas it grossed $16.2m from 4,640 screens in 55 markets and raised itsinternational running total to $85.2m.Columbia TriStar FilmDistributors International (CTFDI) confirmed its action sequel opened top inFrance on $3.9m from 700 screens, effectively overruling Universal'sclaim yesterday based on estimated figures that American Pie: The Wedding had secured the top spot.Bad Boys II is expected to p
  • Baltic Storm stirs up Swedish press

    Reuben Leder's controversial film Baltic Storm had its world premiere in Berlin last week - and, according to Swedish reports, Swedish journalists were banned from the screening. The film - which stars Donald Sutherland, Greta Scacchi and Jurgen Prochnow - tells the story of a young German journalist who discovers the truth of the sinking of the Estonia in 1994, when 852 people - mostly Swedes - drowned.Produced by German filmmaker/journalist Jutta Rabe and based o

    Local title The Alzheimer Case (De Zaak Alzheimer) saw a massive response in Belgium over its five-day opening for Kinepolis Film Distribution/RCV.Selling nearly 60,000 tickets from its 34 screens the psychological thriller took $348,074 (Euros 299,344) over the five-day weekend (Oct 15-19) and $387,286 (Euros 333,066) including previews.By the close of its first week The Alzheimer Case is expected to have sold more tickets than any other local film released in the
  • Berlinale reveals co-production market details

    Further details of the first Berlinale Co-Production Market (BCM), which will be held during next year's festival from Feb 8-9, emerged this week.Producers have until Dec 12 to submit feature film projects for consideration for the market, which will be held at the Talent Campus venue Haus der Kulturen der Welt.BCM project manager Sonja Moerkens told that between 30-40 projects with budgets ranging from Euros 2m to Euros 8m and at least 30% financing in p
  • Berlinale Talent Campus film wins German Shorts nomination

    UK filmmaker Philip Traill, one of the participants of this year's Berlinale Talent Campus, has seen his short film Dangle selected as one of ten finalists for this year's German Short Film Awards (Nov 10).Traill made his 5 minute 54 second short in Berlin in February after his script was one of four selected by Wim Wenders from 100 entered by Campus participants to be made during the Talent Campus. Dangle then went on to be chosen by the Campus talents as the "Talent Mov
  • Beyond Borders

    Dir: Martin Campbell. US. 2003. 127 mins. If the sweeping war-torn romance Beyond Borders had been made in the 1940s or 1950s with Ingrid Bergman or Ava Gardner in the lead role, it might have been a beloved classic. But times and tastes have changed. The Angelina Jolie version of 2003 is a barmy saga with a big heart but zero credibility and numerous unintentionally funny moments. In an era where the gut-wrenching realism of Black Hawk Down or Platoon is
  • Box office massacre for Texas Chainsaw Redux

    Platinum Dunes' horror remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre slaughtered the opposition as it openednumber one on an estimated $29.1m over the weekend. Platinum Dunes is the lowbudget film outfit of mega-budget director Michael Bay which has a productiondeal at Ted Field's Radar and therefore Focus F
  • BSkyB revamps Sky Movies service

    BSkyB has unveiled plans to revamp its Sky Movies service, which include the addition of a World Cinema strand to showcase films such as Y Tu Mama Tambien and Good Bye, Lenin!The weekly World Cinema strand will play on the Sky Cinema channel where it will present films from around the world every Wednesday night at 8pm and 11pm. Sky director of films and acquisitions Sophie Turner Laing said there would be 'a new depth of programming to Sky Cinema', which had previ
  • Chrysler Film Festival winner starts shooting in US

    Filming began in Virginiathis week on Jeff Wadlow's directorial debut Living The Lie, the winner of the first Chrysler Million DollarFilm Festival in 2002.Doug Liman'sentertainment company Hypnotic is producing in association with Chrysler, withUniversal set to release in spring 2004.The thriller centres on agroup of older boarding school children caught up in a mysterious game of liesand is due to wrap on Nov 22.Actors already on-setinclude Jul
  • Copenhagen doc fest unveils first line-up

    Copenhagen's first international documentary film festival cph:dox (Nov 7-17), has announced its programme of 83 films including such international hits as Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's American Splendor, Errol Morris' Fog Of War and Werner Herzog's Wheel Of Time.Four new Danish documentaries are also in the line-up: Lars von Trier and Joergen Leth's Venice-entry The Five Obstructions, Kasper Torsting's Rocket Brothers, Max Kestner's D
  • Cork names short film prize winners

    The Cork Film Festival saw the The Jameson Award for best Irish short film go to director Simon Fitzmaurice for Full Circle. The debut director's film was cited by the jury for 'its ability to tell a story with tenderness and humour, managing to create an entire world through very simple detail.'The film beat off a 40 strong shortlist of entries for a prize worth Euros 6,000 in cash and Euros 8,000 in facilities.The jury gave special mention to director Roisin Loug
  • Creep cranks up in London

    Shooting began yesterday (Oct 20) on Creep, a horror film set in subterranean London starring Franka Potente (Run Lola Run, The Bourne Identity).The debut feature of Chris Smith, Creep is produced by Julie Baines and Jason Newmark of Dan Films (The Cat's Meow, Summer Things, Butterfly Kiss) and will shoot on location in London and Cologne.The film will be distributed in the UK by Pathe, in Germany by X-Filme, and will be sold worldwide by Capitol Films.
  • Crowe, Bullock, Hoffman to present at BAFTA/LA's big night

    Alan Cummingwill host BAFTA/LA's 12th Annual Britannia Awards in Los Angeles on Nov8.Presenters atthe upcoming awards show include Billy Connolly, Dustin Hoffman, Russell Crowe,Robin Williams, Jane Seymour, Robert Wagner and Sandra Bullock.As previouslyreported here, Hugh Grant will receive the annual Stanley Kubrick BritanniaAward for excellence in film and director Peter Weir will collect the new JohnSchlesinger Britannia Award for artistic excellence.
  • Cucinotta wraps two Italian features

    Italian star Maria Grazia Cucinotta, who shot to fame in Il Postino, has just finished shooting two Italian features.The Sicilian actress stars alongside Brooke Shields and Chevy Chase in Mariti In Affitto (Husbands For Rent), a comedy about a man who leaves his his wife and children and home on a small island near Naples to try and make it as a sculptor in New York.He comes back home once a year, but when his family visit him in the US they discover that he leads
  • Danish-Swedish film promotion collaboration takes off

    In a move to attract film production to the Oresund region - the land around the strait dividing Denmark and Sweden - the Oresund Film Commission has appointed Swede Natasha Banke and Danish producer Ulrik Bolt Joergensen to head a joint initiative between Copenhagen Capacity and Position Skaane. The regional institutions in the Danish capital and Sweden's southern province Skaane have worked to establish the organisation since 2002, and this summer it received EU funding for its estim

    School holidays boosted SF Film's massive 105 print rollout of the new Danish children's film Moegunger (Brats), which didn't quite perform to expectations last weekend. During the week and over this weekend the film saw an impressive 221.5% increase to reach 232,154 admissions in its first 10 days. This pushed down both Bad Boys II and American Pie 3, while Pirates Of The Caribbean maintained its 4th place ahead of Sinbad, which moved four places up
  • DPS teams with Germany's BAF on 3-D animated Happily

    Digital Production Studios (DPS), the New Jersey-based 3Danimation subsidiary of IDT Media, has signed a services agreement with Germanproduction company BAF Berlin Animation Film.
  • Europe's film sector to grow at 7%

    Growth of the market forfilmed entertainment in Europe is set to more than double the average for thewider entertainment and media sectors over the next five years. According to management consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers in its annual Entertainment and Media Outlook:Europe report, compound annual growth for the entertainment sector willaverage 3.4% to reach Euros243bn by 2007. It will overcome the obstacles of ageing technology, therecent advertising slum and even online pirac
  • Film industry 'little to fear from internet piracy'

    According to a new report from the Informa Media Group titled ‘Film on the Internet’, peer-to-peer piracy and CD/DVD burning will result in relatively limited losses for the film industry - and in fact, Hollywood will thrive from the internet.As global internet access spreads, the value of relatively underused ‘soft’ formats - such as downloading, streaming and online subscriptions - will increase substantially, with total revenues growing at least fourfold.Informa estimates tha
  • Financial backing flows into Spain's Manga Films

    Spanish media veteran Enrique Cerezo has taken a 16% stake in Barcelona-based distributor and producer Manga Films, underwriting a Euros 6m capital increase through his Video Mercury Films.Separately, Manga has also signed a Euros 10m loan with the Catalan Finance Institute (ICF), boosting the company's current financial resources to Euros 12m, a figure anticipated to grow after year-end profits to Euros 17m.The inflow of capital will go towards expanding both the distribution a

    The sex-hungry teenagers in American Pie 3 kept the local hit Sibelius from re-claiming the top spot on the chart, and had a strong opening with as many admissions on its 25 prints as last week's topper Bad Boys II had on 45. Cinema Mondo's release of the Hong Kong action film Infernal Affairs scored the week's second best screen average on its just five prints, but it was only enough for tenth place. Timo Koivusalo's drama again only dropped 11% rea

    As The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen moved in on the top spot, the other positions on the chart remained all but unchanged with Sibelius now settling on 3rd place behind American Pie 3. Bad Boys II had the weekend's biggest drop of 48% from 3rd to 7th, while Piglet's Big Movie continued its steady performance clinging on to 4th. Distributor Cinema Mondo also saw their pre-release screening of Whale Rider securing it a 9th position on
  • First of many Marlowe films to start shooting

    Fast rising British actor Tom Hardy is to star as Elizabethan playwright - and spy, occultist and sexually-ambiguous free thinker - Christopher Marlowe.Hardy, a graduate of the young ensemble casts of Band Of Brothers and Black Hawk Down, is donning the doublet for UK producer Andy Paterson, who is currently riding high after another period piece set amongst the arts, Vermeer drama Girl With A Pearl Earring.Director Julien Temple is to start production next
  • Five to sponsor UK Women In Film and Television Awards

    UK broadcaster Five is to be the title sponsor of the 2003 Women in Film and Television (WFTV) Awards. The annual awards ceremony, which celebrates the achievements of women in all aspects of the British film and television industry, will take place this year on Dec 5 at the Hilton Hotel in London.Now in its 13th year, these awards pay tribute to women working at all levels within film and television and are a key event in the industry. Last year's winners included Capito
  • Foreign Oscar submissions 2003

    The complete list of Foreign Oscar submissions is as follows: (click on the title to read the Screen International review, where available)Afghanistan Osama(Siddiq Barmak, director)Argentina Valentin(Alejandro Agresti)Austria Free Radicals(Barbara Albert)
  • Framestore CFC opens New York office

    London based visual effects, animation and post production house Framestore CFC is to open a New York office devoted to its advertising clients. The new venture will be led by Framestore CFC Board member and advertising head, Jon Collins as its managing director. Framestore CFC are currently in production on three major feature films: Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban, Helen Of Troy starring Brad Pitt, and Thunderbirds. William Sargent, CEO of

    It's a rare, thing when there are relatively no changes in the French box-office from one week to the next. Especially considering the fact that the number one film had a pretty un-extraordinary showing in the US. The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen continues at number one followed by the same three films as last week. Although there weren't many new entries this week, the films that did open would have been expected to fare better. Following a premiere at Deauville and

    It took a pair of boys, some oversexed twenty-somethings, a group of film legends and the last film of a recently deceased actress to do it, but The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen has ended its reign at number one after a surprising two week run in the top spot. Columbia Tri Star's Bad Boys II broke out in first place on a huge 671 copies followed closely by American Wedding on nearly as many. Clint Eastwood's Cannes entry Mystic River landed at number t
  • France increases film, television funding

    Elaborating on culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon's presentation of France's 2004 cultural budget in late September, France's National Cinema Center (CNC) has issued its funding details for the coming year.As previously noted on the overall budget for film and television jumps to Euros 504.3m for 2004. That figure represents a 5.87% rise in funds coming from France's Compte de Soutien (a revolving fund made up of taxes on cinema tickets, video and broadcasters) to E
  • Gary Smith resigns from Winchester

    Gary Smith, who foundedWinchester Entertainment in 1996, has resigned from the company to pursue otherinterests following the purchase earlier this year of Cobalt Media Capital fromAlton Irby and John Muse.Smith told Screendailyyesterday that he was glad to have the flexibility to pursue interests in andout of the film business and that, after the restructuring of the companyfollowing the Cobalt acquisition, he was "delighted" that Muse andIrby were on board to run Winchester.
  • German private TV offers to double film funding

    Germany's private broadcasters have offered to more than double their annual voluntary contributions to the German Federal Film Board (FFA) to Euros 12m over the next five years until 2008.Juergen Doetz, president of the commercial television interest group VPRT, indicated during a public hearing on the revised German Film Law (FFG) last week that his members would be prepared to offer Euros 7m worth of free advertising time to promote German films in addition to Euros 5m which would b
  • Germany mulls plans to boost film exports

    Germany's State Minister for Culture Christina Weiss has proposed increasing the German Export Union's budget from Euros 3.5m to Euros 5.8m and revamping it as central service agency to promote German films abroad.The new agency would be called German Films - Service and Marketing and would be part of a drive to improve German cinema and television's international profile and export chances.Weiss said that German films were currently promoted abroad by various bodies such as th
  • Haifa names No Longer 17 as best film

    Itzhak 'Tzeppel' Yeshurun's No Longer 17 won the best Israeli film prize at the 19th Haifa Film Festival (Oct 11-18), with Yoav Kosh taking top honours for the cinematography of Life Is Life by Michal Bar Adam. Hallelujah, a satire on the 1979 Eurovision song contest, was elected best TV drama. The festival opened as scheduled on Oct.11 in an atmosphere of tight security following the terrorist attack which took place in Haifa a few days before the opening n

    While Edko Films' Korean title The Classic continues to hold a top ten position in Hong Kong after 10 weeks on release and a cumulative gross of $686,689 (HK$5.4m), a new Korean title performed less well upon opening last week.Distributed by Golden Scene The Uninvited opened fourth during the week (Oct 9-15) taking $75,143. However the Korean title played at 17 screens resulting in a so-so $4,420 screen average in the territory.In comparison, US drama Seabiscuit
  • Hong Kong industry embarks on mainland China visit

    A delegation of the Hong Kong film industry today (Oct 23) begins a three-day visit to Beijing to explore possibilities for closer co-operation with mainland China. Led by Ma Fung-Kwok, vice chairman of Hong Kong's Motion Picture Industry Association and deputy to the National People's Congress, the group consists of more than 80 delegates. They include Peter Lam, Alvin Lam, John Chong, Anita Mui, Stephan Chow as well as directors Johnny To, Wai Ka-Fai and Joe Ma.'The delegation

    Although released on an impressing 32 copies Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 1 failed to make a huge impact at the Hungarian box office. Although opening in the top spot, it took less in admissions than Bad Boys II on its second weekend, although it out-grossed the cop comedy in terms of box office revenues. The Titanic Film Festival probably kept many cinemagoers away from the Kill Bill opening weekend, so Tarantino's film can expect to fare pretty well next
  • Indian cinemas call off protest strike

    Cinemas in India's Maharastra state - which encompasses Bollywood capital Mumbai - have re-opened after a strike over entertainment taxes was called off after three days.Cinema owners called off the strike after the state government reduced its entertainment tax from 55 per cent to 45 per cent in Mumbai. In addition, the state has also agreed to the cinema owners' increasing their service charges levied upon moviegoers. Nestor D'Souza, president, Cinematographers and Exhi
  • Indian Film Development Corp targets Asia

    India's National Film Development Corporation has invited buyers from the former USSR, China and Japan to attend the Film Bazaar at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) being held in Delhi. Akhmadjon Kasimov of TV and Broadcasting Company of Uzbekistan and an exhibitor at the Film Bazaar told that 'in Tashkent Hindi films play to packed houses.' Among recent films to have been released in Tashkent are Aamir Khan's Lagaan and Shah Rukh Kha
  • Infernal Affairs II

    Dirs: Andrew Lau, Alan Mak. Hong Kong. 2003. 114 mins.With this kind of film, comparisons are inevitable. Infernal Affairs II (IA2) is both a companion piece to surprise hit thriller Infernal Affairs and, in style and substance, close to The Godfather series. Fortunately, it has the right looks and a meaty enough story to resiliently stand up to both tests. The first episode of Infernal Affairswas sold to Warner Bros in one of the highest priced re
  • Infernal Affairs II review

    Dirs: Andrew Lau, Alan Mak. Hong Kong. 2003. 114 mins.With this kind of film, comparisons are inevitable. Infernal Affairs II (IA2) is both a companion piece to surprise hit thriller Infernal Affairs and, in style and substance, close to The Godfather series. Fortunately, it has the right looks and a meaty enough story to resiliently stand up to both tests. The first episode of Infernal Affairswas sold to Warner Bros in one of the highest priced re
  • Italian industry rages at Sky's film tactics

    Italian producers are up in arms after discovering that Rupert Murdoch's Sky Italia will invest far less on Italian film than the Euros 50m previously thought. It has emerged that Italy's only pay-tv platform aims to spend a total of Euros 50m on all acquisitions from Italian distributors - including Hollywood titles - and will therefore only invest a fraction on local titles. Sky's budget will be used to buy films from small independent distributors but also from leading Italia

    UIP's Intolerable Cruelty has charmed the Italian box office, where it opened at number one on 330 screens grossing a massive screen average of $9,233. While the film's star George Clooney graced the covers of weekly Italian magazines, Intolerable Cruelty earned a huge $3,059,641, squeezing The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen down into second place with total earnings of $4,778,828. The weekend's only other Hollywood new entry, Columbia Tristar's Bad Boys II
  • Jeunet's Engagement set for French approval

    Following months of uncertainty, Jean Pierre Jeunet's latest effort, A Very Long Engagement, looks set to receive its stamp of approval from France's national cinema centre (CNC).In an interview with French daily Les Echos published Tuesday, CNC director David Kessler said he was prepared to sign off on the film this week. The CNC said it stood by the Les Echos article but chose not to comment further.The film, which stars Jeunet muse Audrey Tautou, has been
  • KWA takes over Comandante sales

    Spain's Kevin Williams Associates (KWA) has picked up international rights on Oliver Stone's Fidel Castro documentary Comandante.Sales were previously handled by MediaPro, one of the film's co-producers alongside Spain's Pentagrama Films and Morena Films. The controversial title, which paints an amicable, grandfatherly portrait of the Cuban leader, premiered at last year's Sundance and screened in Berlin."The fact that this is Oliver Stone and a contentious subject matter
  • LA critics cancel annual awards following screener ban

    Bringing pressure to bear onthe screener ban issue to boiling point, The Los Angeles Film CriticsAssociation has announced that it will cancel its annual awards this year"unless there is a timely rescinding of the ban on screeners."The group of critics met onSaturday and approved a motion which put forward the decision. The ban,yesterday's announcement said, "seriously inhibits our ability to work asprofessionals and compromises the integrity and fairness of the evaluationprocess."
  • Latest screener meeting proves inconclusive

    A telephone conference callbetween MPPA chief Jack Valenti and top brass from the US majors and other MPAAsignatories to discuss the screener ban ended inconclusively yesterday (16) asall parties agreed to resume talks at a later date.Sources said the partiesagreed to disagree following a lengthy discussion in which the ramifications ofthe ban and possible alternatives featured high on the agenda."We are continuing todeliberate on the matter," an MPAA spokesperson told Screendai
  • Lions Gate tipped to complete Artisan takeover deal

    Lions Gate Entertainment is expected to close a deal to acquire Artisan Entertainment this week, according to Canadian and US press reports.The deal is reported to be worth $165m in cash, with Lions Gate also taking on more than $50m in debt from Artisan.According to the New York Post, The Lions Gate bid was reported to have beaten off a rival, lower offer by a team led by former USA Films Chairman Scott Greenstein and Boston-based buyout firm Thomas H. Lee Co.Lion
  • London kicks off with In The Cut gala

    The Times BFI London Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday night (Oct 22) with the Gala Premiere of In The Cut, with director Jane Campion and stars Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo in attendance.The film opened a 16-day long festival which, under artistic director Sandra Hebron, looks to have become an important staging post in the awards calendar - benefiting strongly from the decision to bring the Oscars and Baftas forward next year and from the ban on screener tapes. Many fi
  • LXG scores another $10.6m for Fox

    Fox International's TheLeague Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG)continued to chase down the magical $100m mark as a $10.6m weekend haul from3,860 screens in 35 territories raised the film's running total to$85.1m.The fantasy-adventure openedthird in the UK on $3.3m from 365 screens and scored number one openings inGreece and Finland, grossing $370,000 from 40 and $169,000 from 35respectively.28 Days Later opened top in Argentina on $57,000 from 30, raisingthe horror
  • Makhmalbaf's Afternoon wins India fest prize

    Samira Makhmalbaf's At Five In The Afternoon has won The Golden Peacock for the Best Film in the Asian competition section of the International Film Festival of India.The film has previously won the Special Jury Award at Cannes. Makhmalbaf, who was not present to receive her prize, donated her cash prize of US$ 10,000 to Indian charities working for human rights, women and children.The Silver Peacock for the Most Promising Asian Director, was awarded to 34-year-old Israel
  • Mayor boosts London Film Festival funding

    Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has announced an increase of funding for the London Film Festival (LFF), held this year between Oct 22 and Nov 6. Working with the London Development Agency, the mayor's funding will begin next year, and will be channelled through Film London, which provides dedicated support, promotion and development for the film industry in the city.The amount has yet to be finalised, but initial funding is understood to be in the region of £100,000."Fil
  • Moneo to spearhead Euro co-productions for Fox

    Inspired by the resurgenceof local-language films in Europe, Fox International has hired former Miramaxexecutive Teresa Moneo to head up European co-productions.In the new post Moneo, whowas previously senior vice president of European co-productions at Miramax,will be expected to source and evaluate material and oversee production on twoto three local-language titles each year.Particular emphasis will beplaced on product from the growth markets of Italy and Spain, with projects
  • Moses, King get added responsibilities at Nielsen EDI

    Box officetracking company Nielsen EDI is expanding the roles of two key executives as itcontinues to develop its data support services.Senn Moses willexpand his responsibilities, as president of Nielsen cinema and homeentertainment to oversee domestic business and operations, while Nick King,president of Nielsen Entertainment International, will now also overseeday-to-day international activities.The LosAngeles-based Moses and London-based King will play a s
  • MPAA launches second anti-piracy trailer

    The embattledMPAA will launch the second theatrical trailer of its anti-piracy campaigntomorrow (24), buoyed by claims that July's opening spot raised awarenessamong one in five 13 to 24-year-olds.Three monthsafter launching the Respect Copyrights campaign, a new trailer called'Movies. They're Worth It.' is going out in approximately5,000 theatres nationwide.The trailer isproduced by 20th Century Fox and features a stuntman's sombre warningabout the effects o
  • Nemo dazzles with $9.6m weekend in UK for BVI

    Finding Nemo raised its international running total to $123.7m thanks to a $10.1mweekend haul that was driven by a stunning second weekend in the UK.
  • New European Market being created for January 2005

    As if there weren't already enough international film and television markets, yet another new event has been created to entice programme acquisition executives away from their offices with news of the European Programmes Market (EPM) in France's Deauville from January 28-30, 2005.Although the event will be running simultaneously with the last two days of Rotterdam's CineMart co-production market (January 25-29) and be less than a week before Berlin's European Film Market (EFM) cranks u

    Calendar Girls held on to the top spot in its second week with a gross of NZ$274,119 from 38 screens against two challengers that couldn't be more different. But beware of taking the results on face value because it is very messy at the top of the chart this week. Second placed S.W.A.T took NZ$188,506 from 45 screens but was only on previews. Snapping at its heels was the high profile BVI/Miramax Kill Bill: Volume 1 on 30 screens but it opened on a Friday, instead
  • New Zealand to host Women In Film International summit

    About 350 delegates will converge on Auckland from April 21-24 next year for the biennial conference of Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI), immediately following a two-day board meeting that will set the agenda for the next 12 months."It will be an exciting blend of networking opportunities and professional development workshops with some of the screen industries' finest and most influential from around the world," said summit patron Lucy Lawless, alias Xena in t
  • NORDIC Production Listings - October 20 2003

    DENMARK - October 20PRE-PRODUCTIONBOELLE BOB OG SMUKKE SALLY(Grasten Film) Family musical based on popular characters from the 1980s. Prod: Regner Grasten. Dir: Martin Schmidt. Scr: Gunnar Geertsen. Shoots in 2004.Contact: Regner Grasten, Grasten Film, (45) 39 63 44 24EUROTRH(Wise Guy Productions) Co-prod: Zentropa Productions. Budget: Euro1.1m. Dist: Sandrew Metronome (Den). Youth drama about two friends' attempt to get out of their miser

    Focus Features opened Sylvia, a biopic about the troubled poet and suicide Sylvia Plath, in 45th place last weekend on $57,819. Christine Jeffs' film stars Gwyneth Paltrow and averaged $19,647 from three venues - by far the biggest of the top 60.Focus' current triumph Lost In Translation dropped 33% and one place to 11th in its sixth week, adding $1.9m for an excellent $20.9m total. Sophia Coppola's beguiling slice of life has benefited from a high-profile theatrical run
  • Osama

    Dir: Siddiq Barmak. Afghanistan, Japan, Ireland. 2003. 82 mins.The striking title is not the only virtue of this harrowing slice of cinema, which is the first feature film shot in Afghanistan by an Afghan director since the fall of the Taliban. In a hundred years of cinema-producing history, Afghanistan has managed an average of one film every two-and-a-half years, compared to India's current rate of three films per day. So the fact that Osama was produced at all is al
  • Paramount plans Japanese theme park

    Paramount Pictures is planing to build a theme park in Hisayama - a town on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu. Hisayama mayor Katsushige Saeki announced the plan at a special town assembly session on October 16. According to the mayor, Paramount intends to build on a 50 hectare site - nearly as large as that of the Universal Studios Japan park in Osaka. Tokyo Disney Resort, which includes Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, encompasses nearly 200 hectares. The
  • Pathe UK to send out screeners to BAFTA members

    Pathe UK has become the first major UK independent to say that it will send out screener tapes to BAFTA members this year.Pathe UK is distributing two highly fancied awards contenders: The Girl With A Pearl Earring and In The Cut. The company will send out screener tapes for both films.Meanwhile, Momentum Pictures - which handles Sofia Coppola's acclaimed Lost In Translation - said that it would make a decision on whether to send out tapes to BAFTA members n
  • Pie sequel makes it five $100m grossers for Universal International

    Universal became the first studio to release five $100m-plusinternational grossing films in a single year as American Pie: The Wedding reached the mark over the weekend.
  • Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic join EU Film Festival lineup in US

    Pupi Avati will introduce his Italian romance Incantanto (The Heart Is Elsewhere) as the opening film of the upcomingannual EU Showcase festival, which runs in Washington DC from Oct 29-Nov 9.
  • Record number of foreign Oscar submissions

    The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hasunveiled the final list of submissions for the foreign language film awardcategory, claiming a record-breaking country count of 55, one more than lastyear.Notable absentee is India which made no submission this year, but for the first time Palestine has met submission criteria and Elia Suleiman's critically acclaimed Divine Intervention, which was turned away last year, has now been accepted as
  • Redbus develops horror film Fever

    Redbus Pictures has stepped up its commitment to horror films, following the huge success it has had distributing Cabin Fever in the UK.Redbus has greenlit new horror production The 9th Passenger and has taken a co-producer credit on Madhouse with Lakeshore Entertainment.Budgeted at $10m, The 9th Passenger is set for a March 1st 2004 start date and is to be directed by Ellory Elkayam (Eight Legged Freaks). Written by Paul Staheli, it tells the
  • River runs strong for Warner Bros in France, UK

    Warner BrosPictures International released Mystic River in its first international markets atthe weekend, grossing $2.7m and 366,313 admissions from 504 screens in sixterritories.The murder mystery opened third in France on an estimated$1.7m and 254,000 admissions from 320 prints nationwide. In Paris it grossed$640,000 and 88,500 admissions from 40.It was director Clint Eastwood's third biggest bowever in the territory behind A Perfe
  • Rothman tells HFPA that the MPAA has made no decisions

    Tom Rothman, the co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, yesterday denied that the MPAA has reached any conclusion on the screener ban which has divided Hollywood.Addressing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) before a screening of his studio’s big Oscar hope Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World, Rothman said that yesterday’s reports that the MPAA has decided to single out the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as the only body to receive screener tape
  • Ruiz honoured by Mannheim-Heidelberg festival

    Chilean-born screenwriter, film and theatre director Raoul Ruiz is to receive the Master of Cinema Award at this year's Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival (Nov 20-29).The honour comes days after Ruiz was selected as Filmmaker in Focus at next year's Rotterdam International Film Festival (Jan 21 - Feb 1, 2004).The award will be presented to the 62 year-old director at a gala ceremony in Mannheim on November 22.
  • Runners gets greenlight again

    On-again, off-again British heist film Red Light Runners got another greenlight yesterday when sales and financing operation IAC Film stepped in to rescue the troubled production.Shooting had ground to halt four weeks into principle photography when an investor pulled out, but IAC's Mike Ryan said production would resume this weekend in London. The production has been repackaged with two equity sources, a bank and a sale and leaseback deal.David Carradine has also joined
  • Runners hits Red Light again

    Going full throttle to become the most calamitous British production of the last 12 months, Red Light Runners is battling to patch together its financing so shooting can resume this week.The UK-based car chase heist film, starring Michael Madsen and Harvey Keitel, was about a month into its shoot when it was forced to close down two weeks ago. That disaster was merely the latest calamity to beset the production, which fell apart late last year when financing operation Fie
  • Saban 'bullish' about German market

    The expectations were high when it was revealed that Haim Saban was to give the keynote speech at the opening of this year's Munich Media Days on Oct 22. Would he spill the beans on the future strategy for ProSiebenSat.1 Media'As it was, he neatly manoeuvred himself out of revealing specific strategy details by claiming that his "ongoing tender offer for the German broadcasting group meant he was "bound by legal limitations on what we can and cannot discuss publicly".However, he
  • Sandra Bullock sets Fortis, Miss Congeniality 2 at Warner

    Sandra Bullockwill produce and reprise her lead role as an undercover special agent in thefollow-up to Miss Congeniality, which will be produced by Castle Rock, Village Roadshow Picturesand Bullock's Fortis Films and released through Warner Bros.In addition Fortis Films has extended its deal with WarnerBros by two years and expanded the scope of its television projects.Fortis, headedup by president Gesine Bullock-Prado, signed its fir
  • Saucers flies onto Sogepaq's MIFED 2003 slate

    Spanish sales house Sogepaq has added forthcoming title Flying Saucers (Platillos Volantes) to its Mifed line-up.The film, a tragedy with elements of black humour, is based on the true story of two men in a bleak industrial town in 1972 who commit suicide in the hope of being united with extraterrestrials.The Pedro Costa/Enrique Cerezo co-production is written and directed by Oscar Aibar (Atolladero) and stars Jordi Vilches (Two Tough Guys) and Angel de Andr
  • Saucers flies onto Sogepaq's MIFED slate

    Spanish sales house Sogepaq has added forthcoming title Flying Saucers (Platillos Volantes) to its Mifed line-up.The film, a tragedy with elements of black humour, is based on the true story of two men in a bleak industrial town in 1972 who commit suicide in the hope of being united with extraterrestrials.The Pedro Costa/Enrique Cerezo co-production is written and directed by Oscar Aibar (Atolladero) and stars Jordi Vilches (Two Tough Guys) and Angel de Andr

    Milos Radovic's Small World (Mali Svet) opened this prolonged weekend with 15,757 admissions, grossing $48,547 from Thursday to Sunday for distributor Delta Video, thanks to a high average admission price. The local road comedy, featuring some of the most popular Serbian actors, and winner of several awards at the Sarajevo Film Festival beat Pirates Of The Caribbean - which sold 9,386 tickets and grossed $23,706 for Bandur in the same period. The two newcomers are

    In their second weekend at the chart, the latest local release Small World and Pirates Of The Caribbean held onto the two top positions in spite of SWAT opening. The Farrell/Jackson vehicle sold 4,991 tickets for the three-day weekend, making $12,706 for distributor Tuck. Small World proved to be an enduring local crowd-pleaser, rising 17% over its opening weekend and adding 13,736 tickets to total $117,076. Pirates Of The Caribbean has held
  • Sheridan's In America wins top Flanders prize

    Jim Sheridan's In America won best film at the Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent, which focuses on the impact of music on film-making, while Im Sangsoo was named best director for A Good Lawyer's Wife.Other prizes at the Fiapf recognised event, which wrapped on Saturday, included best music for composer Zygmunt Konieczny for his work on Jan Jakub Kolski's La Pornographie, and best script for Bent Hamer and Joergen Bergmark for Hamer's Kitchen Stories
  • Singing Behind The Screens (Cantando Dietro I Paraventi)

    Dir: Ermanno Olmi. Italy. 2003. 100 mins.Years ago, David Thomson wrote "A question mark hangs over Ermanno Olmi, as if he needed some gust of passion or surrealism to free him from the aspirations of realism". This gust began to blow in Olmi's last film, The Profession Of Arms, and it has whipped itself up into a full-scale gale in his latest, Singing Behind The Screens, which is released in Italy on 24 October in an unusual co-distribution arrangement between

    Spanish films continued performing well at the local box office. Comedy Football Days (Dias De Futbol) held steady in third position on its fifth weekend out through Buena Vista International, earning a cumulative Euros 6.55m. The total makes it the second highest grossing Spanish film of the year to date.Paz Vega-starrer Carmen dropped to fifth ranking, but with its cumulative Euros 3.7m it is now the year's fourth top grossing local film of the year. BVI saw a strong p
  • Spain's merged pay-TV platform reveals first figures

    In the first figures released from Spain's new digital satellite pay TV platform Digital Plus since its July 21 merger, the platform boasted 50,000 new subscribers in September alone.Digital Plus's current total of 1.8m subscribers includes the dissolution of 30,000 overlapped subscriptions from merged platforms Canal Satelite Digital (CSD) and Via Digital, but still falls short of the 2.5m anticipated by the partners for the launch.Although subscribers can access all Digital Pl
  • Stockholm unveils festival line-up

    With three weeks to go until the 14th edition of the Stockholm International Film Festival, festival director Git Scheynius and her team have unveiled the full line-up for this year's event (Nov 13-23).The festival will present around 140 films divided into ten different categories.Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill will open the event, while the 2003 Palme d'Or winner Elephant by Gus van Sant will close the festival. Both films will screen in the category American Inde
  • Streep to receive AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

    Meryl Streep will receive the American Film Institute's (AFI) 32ndLife Achievement Award at a tribute gala in Hollywood on Jun 10, 2004.

    The resilience of Mikael Haafstroem's Evil was proved this weekend when the massive 109 print release of Anders Nilsson's action-thriller The Third Wave was unable to unseat it from the top spot. The Third Wave is the third instalment in the writer-director's trilogy following the box-office hits Zero Tolerance (1999) and Executive Protection (2001), and again sees a former policeman dealing with international crime. The film did manage a healthy $4,
  • Sweden's TV3 strikes BVITV deal

    Entertainment channel TV3, part of Sweden's Modern Times Group, has struck a licensing deal with Buena Vista International Television (BVITV) for series, animated programming and a package of feature films. The deal, which covers Sweden, Norway and Denmark, includes Armageddon and Pretty Woman, Die Hard With A Vengeance and While You Were Sleeping.Series include According To Jim, starring Jim Belushi as a man coping with the demands of his youn
  • Sylvia

    Dir: Christine Jeffs. UK. 2003. 110 mins. We've had Jacqueline du Pre and Iris Murdoch, so perhaps it was inevitable that a biopic of Sylvia Plath, also shot in dingy British interiors and drenched in despair, would follow. After all, Hilary And Jackie (1998) and Iris (2001) both scored multiple Academy Award nominees in acting categories, a feat which served to draw free publicity, if not audiences, to those otherwise turgid pieces. Indeed, assumed awards recog
  • The Good Cop attracts great cast

    Danish stuntman-turned-filmmaker Lasse Spang Olsen and actor Kim Bodnia have joined forces to set up their own production outfit, Endaxi Film, to make the action comedy The Good Cop. This is a continuation of the working relationship they have had on three films, the two successful action-comedies In China They Eat Dogs (1999) and Old Men In New Cars (2002) as well as the pirate family adventure Jolly Roger (2001). Written by the duo, the low-budget $
  • The Missing

    Dir. Lee Kang-Sheng. Taiwan. 2003. 84 min.Sharing the top award in Pusan's New Currents competition, the debut of actor Lee Kang-Sheng as writer and director indicates beyond doubt that he shares the visual and spiritual world of his mentor and friend, Tsai Ming-Liang, in whose films he has regularly appeared for the last 12 years. A slow, moody, intimate, highly stylised picture about a woman looking for her grandson and an adolescent searching for his grandfather, this is p
  • The Story Of Marie And Julien

    Dir. Jacques Rivette. France 2003. 150 min.For dyed-in-the-wool cinephiles it is not up for debate every new Rivette film has to be seen, at least once, preferably more - and The Story Of Marie And Julien is no exception. But less committed audiences will find the French master's latest offering, the revival of a 27-year-old project, a heavy going affair at least for the first hour or so, before he settles down to reveal some of his cards and allow glimpses of his real
  • UGC Cinemas expands UK circuit

    As part of its expansion strategy, European cinema operator UGC Cinemas has announced a number of initiatives including the acquisition of the Warner Village Cinema in Nottingham as well as plans to invest £20m in its existing UGC Cinema in Ealing, West London.UGC plans to add an additional two screens to the existing 12-screen Nottingham multiplex and the company says it will retain all the current management and staff.The deal was negotiated on behalf of Village Theatres by Jo
  • UIP picks up Hof opening film

    Michael Schorr's Schultze Gets The Blues, the opening film at this year's Hof International Film Days (Oct 23-26), has been picked up for theatrical distribution by the German arm of UIP. The debut feature, which was produced by filmkombinat Nordost in co-operation with ZDF's Das kleine Fernsehspiel unit, won the prize for best direction in the Controcorrente competition section at Venice this year. As has been Hof's tradition over the past 36 years under director Heinz B
  • UK box office edges close to record year in 2003

    Despite a slow start to the year, the UK could once again see its annual box office record broken in 2003.With a host of high profile titles including the final instalments of The Matrix and The Lord Of The Rings franchises still to debut this year, 2003 could become the fifth consecutive year that admissions have risen in the territory and the third consecutive year that box office revenues have exceeded those of the previous year. Box office to date this year sta
  • UK Film Council outlines 'son of Section 48' proposals

    UK Film Council chief executive officer John Woodward yesterday outlined the proposals for a replacement to the Section 48 tax break that the support body has presented to the government.Woodward was speaking at the Screen International UK Film Finance Summit, where he gave the keynote address. It came on the same day as the Council published a consultation document on its funding and policy priorities for the next three years.The existing Section 48 is due to expire in July 200
  • UK Film Council supports int'l co-productions

    The UK Film Council is investing a total of £1.7m from its New Cinema Fund in five international co-productions.In My Father's Den starring Spooks lead actor Matthew Macfadyen, currently shooting in New Zealand received £405,000, while French language films L'Ecole and Lila Dit Ça (Lila Says) received £397,330 and £400,000 respectively.Paul Trijbits, head of the New Cinema Fund said in a statement: "We are delighted to be able to broaden the r
  • UK Production Update - October 20

    UK Production Update - October 20IN PRODUCTION:CREEP (Dan Films, Zero West [Ger]) Backers: UK Film Council's Premiere Fund, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalia (NRW). Int'l sales: Capitol Films. Dist: Pathe (UK), X-Filme (Ger). Horror film set in subterranean London. London, midnight, on a cold evening. Unable to find a taxi, Kate (Franka Potente) heads for the Underground. She takes a seat away from the crowd of late-night revelers and waits for the last t

    Irish co-production Song For A Raggy Boy got off to an excellent start in Ireland at the weekend. The $147,000 (Euros 126,512/ £88,324) opening weekend was enough to get the drama 11th place in the UK/Ireland chart despite playing on just 36 prints in the Republic Of Ireland.With a screen average of $4,100 director Aisling Walsh's film is the latest success at home for an Irish film following high profile releases through BVI for Veronica Guerin and Intermission.
  • US non-profit Global outlines international film series

    The Global FilmInitiative, the US-based charitable foundation dedicated to the promotion ofcross-cultural understanding through cinema, is less than one month away fromlaunching its inaugural annual film showcase.Entitled GlobalLens: New Cinema from the Developing World, the programme will run at New York's GramercyTheatre from Nov 13-30 before embarking on a nationwide tour of venues.Curators will be located in each city on the tour
  • Valladolid lines up 21 Spanish premieres of international titles

    Spain's Valladolid International Film Week (Oct 24-Nov 1), kicks off this weekend with an official selection featuring the Spanish premieres of 21 top-notch international titles, including opening film Dogville from Lars von Trier and closing film Anything Else from Woody Allen, both screening out of competition.The line-up boasts several foreign-language Oscar contenders, including Wolfgang Becker's Good Bye, Lenin! (Ger) and Siddiq Barmak's Osama (Afgh/Jap
  • Vanco winds down US indie Cowboy

    Six years afterJohn Vanco and Noah Cowan launched the New York-based independent distributorCowboy Pictures, Vanco is to close the company down. The closure comes despitethe arrival of Lot 47 CEO Greg Williams to join Vanco as partner in Cowboy inMay this year. Cowan had already left to pursue other interests in 2002.Companypresident Vanco said he would announce new plans in the coming weeks. In astatement he added: "We've had a great run and I'm extremely proud of thewonderful films w
  • Warner Independent teams with Cherry Road

    WarnerIndependent Pictures, the specialty arm of Warner Bros which launched in August2003, has secured a development and co-production fund with Cherry Road Films.Under the dealthe two companies will jointly develop projects - mostly from books, plays orpre-existing screenplays - with writers, directors and other producers.Cherry Road willalso have the opportunity to co-finance production on certain films and thecompany's principals - Bo Hyde, Kendall Morgan and Kathleen Haase -
  • Weeping Camel trots into THINKFilm fold

    North American independentdistributor THINKFilm has acquired all North American rights to ByambasurenDavaa and Luigi Falorni's The Story Of The Weeping Camel, Mongolia's first official foreign languageAcademy Award entry that was one of the surprise hits of Toronto.THINKFilm plans a spring2004 release for the film, which has just been nominated for best documentaryin the 2003 European Film Awards.Set amid the vast expansesof South Mongolia's Gobi Desert, The Story Of T