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22 July 2005

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  • Argentinean admissions plunge in first half of 2005

    Cinemaattendance figures in Argentina dropped by an estimated 24.5% in the first halfof 2005, according to provisional figures from Nielsen EDI and Dis-Service.The period saw some 16.8m admissions as opposed to 22.26mover the same period in 2004, the biggest year for Argentine cinema in almosttwo decades. However, audiences are still up from 2003 by 1.5m admissions.Hollywood bl
  • Armendariz's Obaba to open San Sebastian

    San Sebastian filmfestival will open with the premiere of Spanish director MontxoArmendariz's Obaba, which willalso compete for the Golden Shell award.Armendariz's highly-anticipated feature marks a move back towardslocal directors after last year's high profile San Sebastian opener, Woody Allen's Melinda And MelindaObaba
  • Armstrong's Houdini feature wins crucial FFC backing

    A UK/Australian co-production from director GillianArmstrong (Little Women, Charlotte Gray), a new film by the team behind2002 local comedy hit Crackerjack, and two documentary features, will gointo production as a result of decisions made today by Film Finance CorporationAustralia (FFC).Myriad Pictures is handling international sales onArmstrong's Death Defying Acts, based on a 1926 UK tour by magicianHarry Houdini. The producers are Marian Macgowan and Chr
  • Arnold takes Red Road with UK Film Council

    The UK Film Council'sDevelopment Fund has invested in six new feature projects, including RedRoad from Oscar winning director Andrea Arnold.Arnold, who won this year'sOscar for Best Short Film with Wasp, has been awarded £10,962 for herfirst feature length project. The film is the latestcollaboration between Glasgow-based Sigma Films and Lars von Trier's ZentropaFilms in Denmark. Red Rose was originallydeveloped by the Glasgow Film Office and is also funded
  • Arts Alliance, Lovefilm expand into Europe

    Arts Alliance Media (AAM),majority shareholder in leading UK online DVD rental service Lovefilm, hasexpanded its business into Europe.AAM has taken a controlling stakein Swedish on-line DVD rental company, Boxman.Boxman is the second largestonline rental DVD rental company in Swed
  • Auteuil joins Bellucci for Napoleon comedy

    Daniel Auteuil has joined Monica Bellucci in the cast ofPaolo Virzi's new comedy, which is entitled "N."The Euros 8.5m film, adapted from Ernesto Ferrero'sprize-winning novel, tells the story of Napoleon's exile on the island ofElba, where he lived for 300 days, and a librarian who closely observes histurmoil and his foibles. Auteuil will play the title role."It's the story of an all-powerful man whosuddenly loses all his power. It's the story of a hero who is suddenlynor
  • Bad News Bears

    Dir. Richard Linklater.US. 2005. 114mins.To a generation ofAmericans, Michael Ritchie's 1976 comedy Bad News Bears was a culturaltouchstone, a rough-around-the-edges feature that celebrated an underdogbaseball team as it battled against adversity.The problem with RichardLinklater's remake is that the style of films made by Hollywood in the 30 yearssince. Bad News Bears 2005 does not compare favourably against itssource mater
  • Charlie is golden for Warner Bros

    Charlie And The Chocolate Factory dominated the weekend with anestimated $55.4m opening as the positive box office reversal continued for thesecond weekend in a row.
  • Charlie sells $55.4m in golden tickets for Warner Bros

    Charlie And The Chocolate Factory dominated the weekend with anestimated $55.4m opening as the positive box office reversal continued for thesecond weekend in a row.
  • Child opens Poland's Era New Horizons festival

    The 5thedition of Era New Horizons Film Festival opens today (July 21) withJean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Child in Cieszyn, southern Polandwith the directors in attendance.Thefestival will close on July 31 with a gala screening of Lars von Trier's Manderlay.
  • China blocks summer release of foreign films

    No Hollywood films will bereleased in China for the next five weeks in what seems to be turning into aregular blackout on foreign films over the summer holiday box office season. It's understood that thefive-week ban officially begins today (July 20) and runs until the release ofUIP's War Of The Worlds on August 25. The Steven Spielberg blockbusterwas initially scheduled for release on August 11 but has reportedly been pushedback for two weeks.The resc
  • Chow Yun-fat hops on board Ann Hui project

    Chow Yun-fat is reteamingwith Hong Kong director Ann Hui on the US$5m drama, The Aunt's PostmodernLife, produced by start-up Beijing-based production outfit Cheerland Films.Chow said he would forgo hisusual fee to work with Hui, who directed him in his first critical success,The Story Of Woo Viet, in 1981. Their new project together is written by LiQiang, scriptwriter of Berlin Silver Bear winner Peacock, and isscheduled to start shooting in Shanghai and northern C
  • Cinema Service founder Kang steps down as CEO

    South Korean distributorCinema Service has announced thatVice President Kim In-soo will take over as thecompany'snew CEO/President.The move will allow founder Kang Woo-suk, a film director(Silmido) recognisedas one of the most powerful figures in the South Korean film industry, to focuson directing and producing full time.Former CEO Michael Kim, who has overseen Cinema Servicet
  • Civilian Content expands into UK distribution

    Civilian Content, parent company of film financier TheFilm Consortium and sales agent The Works, has launched a new UK distributioncompany called The Works UK Distribution.Industryveteran Mick Southworth and three of his key colleagues from the UK distributionarm of Anglo-US outfit ContentFilm have left to form The Works Distribution. Joining Southworth are LaurenceGornall, who
  • Construction begins on film studio complex in Wales

    Work has begun on the construction on DragonInternational Studios - dubbed Valleywood - in Wales.The project, championed by Lord Attenborough, has been inthe pipeline for the last five years. According to a report on the BBC, the finished projectwill boast 12 studios, ready to make the biggest blockbuster movies, a newmotorway junction and around 1,700 jobs. The BBC quoted Lord Attenborough as saying: 'We havebeen talking to the local authorities, the Welsh Assembly Gover
  • De Hadeln unveils four films in New Montreal FilmFest

    Moritz De Hadeln hasunveiled the first four titles of the New Montreal Filmfest, which opens onSept 18 with the North American premiere of Cedric Klapish's Les PoupeesRusses.The picture follows up onthe 2002 romantic comedy L'Auberge Espagnole and reunites Audrey Tautou, Cecile de France, RomainDuris, and Kelly Reilly.Meanwhile there are worldpremieres for Claude Lelouch's comedy-drama Le Courage D'Aimer starring Mathilde Seigner and Michel Leeb, and LucPica
  • Edinburgh festival to confiscate mobiles in piracy move

    Mobile phones are to be temporarily confiscated duringcertain screenings at this year's Edinburgh Film Festival as part of acrackdown on piracy. Festival-goers and industry executives attendingscreenings of films such as BVI's Kinky Boots - which world premieres atEdinburgh - will be asked to hand over their phones for the duration of thefilm. The security move is being facilitated by the festivalbut paid for by distributors.The concerns have been raised because of
  • Elizabeth Taylor to receive BAFTA/LA's Britannia Award

    Elizabeth Taylor willreceive BAFTA/LA's Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in InternationalEntertainment at the 2005 Britannia Awards on Nov 10 at The Beverly HiltonHotel.Over the course of a careerspanning seven decades Taylor earned five best actress Oscar nominations,winning twice for Butterfield 8and Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf'She has won a BAFTA awardfor Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf'and received the Academy Fellowship in 1
  • Esparza launches Latino-targeted film ouftit in US

    In a two-prongedcampaign catering to the fastest growing demographic in the US, producerMoctesuma Esparza is launching a theatre chain and production/distributioncompany aimed at the continent's 41million-plus English-speaking Latinocommunity.Esparza's MayaCinemas chain will open state-of-the-art multiplexes in minority communityareas, chiefly in what a statement called "Latino-centric, family-orientedcommunities in underserved urban and rural areas."As part of aconstruction pla
  • Focus unveils debut animated feature - 9

    Focus Features has unveiledfirst animated picture - 9, whichis being directed by Shane Acker and produced by Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov,Jim Lemley and Dana Ginsburg.Focus will finance thefeature and holds worldwide rights to the story, which is set in a postapocalyptic parallel universe where humanity faces extinction.The project is an expandedversion of Acker's short film of the same name, which won a Gold Medal at the2005 Student Academy Awards and has just won Best
  • Fox looks for fantastic business from Four's UK, France debuts

    Fox International's Fantastic Four takes on UIP's heavy-hitting duo of WarOf The Worlds and Madagascarthis weekend with hotlyanticipated debuts in the UK and France.
  • Grasic out, Tauber, Horberg in at Sidney Kimmel Ent

    Marina Grasic has left herpost as chief operating officer of Sidney Kimmel Entertainment (SKE) in a busyweek for the company following the hiring of William Horberg and Jim Tauber.Grasic had been with thecompany ever since Kimmel launched operations with the opening of the LosAngeles office last October.While it remained unclearwhat Grasic planned to do next, the departure of the attorney and executiveproducer of Paul Haggis' recent hit Crash are clearly related to the ar
  • Helen Loveridge resigns from Seattle Film Festival

    Helen Loveridge, who has served as executive director of theSeattle International Film Festival Group (SIFF) since 2003, has resigned her postto return home to England.
  • HFPA donates over $1m to charities, non-profits

    Brad Pitt, KevinBacon, Sally Field and Ziyi Zhang were among the celebrities acceptingcharitable donations on behalf of various non-profit organisations from theLA-based Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) yesterday at the group'sannual installation luncheon.Over $1m wasdonated to charitable causes. Pittaccepted a $250,000 cheque for the Film Foundation's film preservation andrestoration projects, Bacon collected $93,000 for FIND's training and mentoringprogramme, Field accepted
  • Hill named corporate communications chief at Paramount

    Janet Hill (pictured) is leaving herjob as MTV Networks' senior vice president of West Coast CorporateCommunications for the new post of executive vice president of corporatecommunications at Paramount Pictures.Based in Los Angeles andreporting to Paramount chairman Brad Grey, Hill will oversee internal andexternal business and media communications and public relations for thecompany.In addition to working withGrey, Paramount president Gail Berman and the studio's executive team
  • Holocaust love story revived and set to shoot in 2006

    Atlantic Alliance Pictureshas changed its name to Atlantic Overseas Pictures (AOP) and has revived itslong gestating holocaust drama The Fence (formerly Love Is A Survivor), which is back on track with a European shoot scheduled for early2006.The $10m picture will shootin Hungary, Germany and the UK and is being co-produced by AOP, formerBabelsberg Studios chief Thierry Potok, and Potok's Berlin-based production andfinancing company DALKA.Philip Saville is directin
  • Hudson joins Wilson in Universal comedy You, Me And Dupree

    Kate Hudson has signed on to star opposite Owen Wilson inUniversal Pictures' comedy You, Me And Dupree.
  • Hytner's History Boys starts shooting

    Shooting has begun on the film adaptation of AlanBennett's The History Boys. Like the award winning play, the film version will bedirected by Nicholas Hytner from a script by Bennett. The project is financed by DNA and BBC Films anddistributed by Fox Searchlight. The film will shoot for six weeks onlocation in Watford and Yorkshire.The History Boys is the first film collaborationbetween Hytner and Bennett since their Oscar nominated, BAFTA winning featurefil
  • IMAX and Warner Bros team up for 2006's Ant Bully

    IMAX Corporation, Warner Bros, Playtone Productions and DNAProductions are teaming up on the simultaneous conventional 2D and IMAX 3Drelease of the animated picture The Ant Bully on Aug 4 2006.
  • Kinowelt picks up Palme d'Or winning Child

    This year's CannesGolden Palm winner, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Child, has beenpicked up by Kinowelt for theatrical release in Germany.Kinowelt has also acquired the homeentertainment and television rights to the drama for Germany and Austria.Meanwhile, German rights for U-CarmeneKhayelitsha, the Golden Bear winner at the Berlinale in February, havebeen bagged
  • LA documentary showcase points to Oscar contenders

    The International Documentary Association (IDA) has named 12features in its upcoming 9th Annual Theatrical Documentary Showcase, DocuWeek(formerly InFact).
  • LA's Gersh promotes ten agents to partner

    As part of an ambitiousexpansion mandate, LA-based talent agency The Gersh Agency has promoted tenexecutives to partner and announced that longtime senior executive LeslieSiebert has become senior managing partner.The move precedes a periodof planned growth over the next two years that will see construction of a40,000 sq ft headquarters in Beverly Hills and ongoing development of New Yorkoperations.Gersh's core managementcommittee will continue to be led by David Gersh, Bob Gers
  • Little Fish

  • Little Fish

    Dir: Rowan Woods. Aus.2005. 114mins.Cate Blanchett laststarred in an Australian film with Gillian Armstrong's Oscar And Lucinda(1997), in which her 19th-century heiress harboured dreams of building a glasschurch in the Outback.She returns to Australianfilm-making eight years later - and with a Best Supporting Actress Oscar - toplay another dreamer in Rowan Woods' Little Fish. But Tracy Heart, arestless, brittle recovered heroin add
  • Loggerheads, Year win top OUTFEST prizes

    Los Angeles Gay and LesbianFilm Festival OUTFEST ended its 23rd festival on Sunday night withan awards night which saw 15 winners headed up by Tim Kirkman's relationshipdrama Loggerheads which won the juriedprize for OUTstanding American narrative.Anahi Berneri'sArgentinian AIDS drama A Year Without Love (Un Ano Sin Amor) won OUTstanding International Narrative Feature and SusanKaplan's Three Of Hearts: A Postmodern Family took corresponding documentary hono
  • Losique wins back FIAPF accreditation for Montreal

    The MontrealWorld Film Festival (MWFF) has won back its Category 1 status ahead of nextmonth's 2005 edition, following re-accreditation by the FIAPF (InternationalFederation of Film Producers Associations).The move meansMWFF is currently the only A-list competitive event in North America with FIAPFaccreditation, rejoining the likes of Cannes, Berlin, Venice and San Sebastian.FIAPF presidentAndres Vicente Gomez and MWFF director Serge Losique are believed to besatisfied with the
  • Madagascar leads int'l weekend, beating War by a whisker

    DreamWorks' animated family title Madagascar was the number one international titleover the weekend as it grossed an estimated $31m through UIP, beatingParamount's War Of The Worlds by a whisker.
  • Malaysia defies global box office slump

    Malaysia's box office has soared 24% in the first sixmonths of the year, bucking the worldwide trend of a double-digit slumpsuffered by most key international markets. 2005 is set to be the biggest year ever for Malaysiawith the box office expected to reach an all-time high of $61m (RM232m). In the first six months, its box office was worth $30m,compared to $24m from the same period last year. Last year's total gross was $52.6m.Malaysia has been enjoying a box office boom
  • MPA strikes anti-piracy deal with Chinese government

    The Motion Picture Association (MPA) has signed an agreementwith two Chinese government agencies to co-operate in the fight against China'srampant piracy.China'sMinistry of Culture (MoC) and the State Administration of Radio, Film andTelevision (SARFT) both co-signed a memorandum which aims to help Chineseenforcement agencies to identify pirated movie products.
  • NBC Universal launches local TV programming venture

    NBC UniversalTelevision Distribution (NBC UTD) has launched an original content unit thatwill partner with local media companies to develop and create local programmingin international markets.Under thedirection of Leslie Jones, NBC UTD's New York-based vice president ofinternational sales and format production, the unit will exploit NBCUniversal's existing library and will create local content for all forms ofelectronic media outside the US.Jones'international partners will inc
  • Nevins, Yari to co-chair Gotham Awards in NYC

    HBO Documentary and Familypresident Sheila Nevins and producer Bob Yari will co-chair IFP's upcoming 15thAnnual Gotham Awards.The awards are scheduled totake place in New York on Nov 30, when three new competitive categories of BestEnsemble Cast, Best Use of the Arts in Film, and Best Film Not Playing at aTheatre Near You will be introduced.The other existingcategories are Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Actor andBreakthrough Director.
  • New Montreal festival applies for FIAPF accreditation

    Hot on the heels of the Montreal World Film Festival's(MWFF) reaccreditation by the Federation of Film Producers' Associations(FIAPF), Moritz de Hadeln and Alain Simard's New Montreal Filmfest has appliedfor accreditation for 2006.Followingmeetings between de Hadeln and Simard with FIAPF directors, the Federationagreed to send a delegate to this year's event, which runs from Sept 18-25, toprepare official accreditation for 2006.The rivalfestival is ineligible for accreditation t
  • Oz financing market SPAAmart unveils 12 projects

    A mix of experienced directors and producers and unknownsare attached to the 12 projects selected for next month's financing marketSPAAmart.Actor Richard Roxburgh (Van Helsing, Moulin Rouge)is hoping to make his big screen directorial debut with Romulus, My Father.UK scriptwriter Nick Drake has adapted the memoir by academic Raymond Gaita,Robert Connolly is producing, and Eric Bana is understood to be attached. (seeseparate FFC story on today).
  • Pan-Euro exhibitor Kinepolis sees admissions fall

    Pan-Europeanexhibitor The Kinepolis Group has announced its first half of 2005 figures with10.7m admissions recorded, a fall of12% year-on-year.Between January and June the company, which operatessites in France, Spain, Belgium, Poland and Switzerland, sold 10.7m tickets.This is comparable with 12.1m in 2004. However,excluding figures for
  • Prominent Canadian film-makers ready string of projects

    Prominent Canadianfilm-makers were the key recipients of the production funds doled out byTelefilm Canada through its Canadian Feature Film Fund earlier in July.The agency received 90applications at its April deadline, 47 English and 43 French-language; ofthose, eight English-language and four French-language projects were selected.Of the twelve lucky titles, only a few are not from well knowCanadianfilm-makers. And two of the English-language features are directed by prominentFrancoph
  • Ricci to star in Witherspoon-produced drama Penelope

    Christina Ricci will star in the drama Penelope, which Reese Witherspoon's Type-A Filmsand Scott Steindorff's Stone Village Pictures will produce. The film is due tobegin shooting in January 2006 in Canada.
  • Searchlight acquires rights to life story of Notorious BIG

    Fox Searchlight has acquired rights to the story about the lifeand death of Christopher Wallace, better known to millions of fans as theinfamous rapper Notorious B.I.G.
  • Sepet dominates at Malaysian Film Festival

    Sepet, an inter-racial lovestory by commercials director Yasmin Ahmad, won six awards including best filmat the 18th Malaysian Film Festival, which presents the country'stop film awards.Theother awards included best promising actor (Ng Choo Seong), best promisingactress (Sharifah Amani), best supporting actress (Ida Nerina) and bestoriginal storyline (Ahmad). ButAhmad was beaten by Puteri GunungLedan
  • Serkis, Fry join Stormbreaker cast

    Andy Serkis and Stephen Fryare the latest stars to join the cast of Samuelson Productions' Stormbreaker,which has just started shooting on the Isle of Man.The $40m-plus teen superspy adventure is based on the first book in the best-selling AlexRider series by Anthony Horowitz.Serkis will play Mr Grin, theunfortunately disfigured henchman of megalomaniac villain Darrius Sayle (MickeyRourke), while Fry appears as Smithers, outwardly an assistant at London'sleading toy store
  • Skillset's Inside Pictures film business course invites applicants

    Skillset's InsidePictures, the film business trainingprogramme now funded by the Skillset Film Skills Fund, is acceptingapplications from 18 July.Comprising three intensiveone-week modules, Skillset's Inside Pictures takes place in London and Los Angeles betweenNovember 2005 and May 2006. Seminars, workshops andstudio visits are hosted by some of the US and UK's most senior industryprofessionals. The programme covers allaspects of interna
  • Swedish-US comedy Darlings kicks off in LA

    Production hasbegun in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the Mojave Desert on Bjorne Larson'sSwedish-American comedy Kill Your Darlings.Hot Scandinavianactors Andreas Wilson, Alexander Skarsgard and Fares Fares head up aninternational cast that includes Lolita Davidovich, John Larroquette, RonnieYeskel, Greg Germann, John Savage, Benito Martinez, Julie Benz and Terry Moore.Wilson playedthe lead role in Mikael Hafstrom's Oscar-nominated Evil and is a model for Dior in the
  • The City Of The Sun (Slunecni Stat Aneb Hrdinove Delnicke Tridy)

    Dir. Martin Sulik. CzRep-Slovak. 2005. 99mins.At the start Martin Sulik's feature about four unemployedCzech men promises some sort of a social comment on the collapse of EastEuropean industry, with its images of violent clashes between management and redundantworkers.But before long The CityOf The Sun settles into the predictable patterns of a stereotypical FullMonty-style blue-collar comedy: good-humoured and lively, but careful notto p
  • The Devil's Rejects

    Dir/scr: Rob Zombie. US.2005. 108mins.A lot of horror movies self-profess to be brutal andout-there, but most modern genre pictures actually reveal themselves to belittle more than communal vehicles of squeamish discomfort. In the finalanalysis, their pursuit of as many pan-demographic dollars as possible ensuresthat they don't really want to cross the line into flat-out perversion andwantonness.Writer-director Rob Zombie'swide-eyed, merrily depraved The Devil's Reject
  • Toronto has four world prems in black cinema focus

    Wayne Beach's hot USthriller Slow Burn is among fourworld premieres announced in a batch of five pictures celebrating black cinemaadded to the line-up of the 30th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).The picture plays in thespecial presentations programme and stars Ray Liotta as a district attorney whohas one night to exculpate himself from the murder of an assistant districtattorney.Jolene Blalock, LL Cool J,Taye Diggs, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Mekhi Phifer also star.
  • Venice unveils Critics Week line-up

    US director RianJohnson's film noir Brick is among seven debut features screening in Critics Week at thisyear's Venice Film Festival (Aug 31-Sept 10).The 20th CriticsWeek sidebar will also feature two French titles: Le Passager, a drama about a Parisian father-of-onewho heads back to Marseille when his brother, who he had not seen in 20 years,dies.The picture,which marks the directorial debut of actor Eric Caravaca, also stars JulieDepardieu and Maurice Garrel.
  • Weinsteins, IFC Films partner on Unknown

    The WeinsteinCompany and IFC Films have jointly picked up North American rights to thethriller Unknownwhich features an ensemble cast headed up by Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear andBarry Pepper.Joe Pantoliano,Bridget Moynahan, and Jeremy Sisto also star in the story of five men involvedin a kidnapping who wake up in a warehouse with no idea who they are or theirroles in the crime.Simon Brandmakes his directorial debut on the project, which was written by Matthew Wayneeand pro
  • Wonderful Place takes top Jerusalem prizes

    Eyal Halfon's corrosive view of foreign labor in Israel, Whata Wonderful Place, won two of the top Wolgin awards at the 22ndJerusalem Film Festival.What a Wonderful Place won the best film prizeand the best male performance prize for Uri Gavriel. Earlier this month Eyal Halfon's film won a grand jury prizeand best actor prize at Karlovy Vary.The Wolgin competition, restricted to Israeli films, hadonly four full length features contenders to choose from this
  • World premiere of Pray's graffiti doc set for RESFEST

    The world premiere of DougPray's graffiti documentary Infamywill take place at RESFEST, which runs in New York City from Sept 15-18.Pray's picture chroniclesthe lives of seven people who are obsessed with graffiti in all its forms, fromvandalism and "tagging" to larger murals sanctioned by local communities."These are intenselypassionate individuals," Pray, whose credits include Scratch and Hype!, said. "They are incredibly talented at destroying surfaces wi
  • Zhang Ziyi boards Feng's $15m Banquet

    Zhang Ziyi is attached to star in Feng Xiaogang's $15mperiod drama The Banquet which has been set up as a co-productionbetween Beijing-based Huayi Brothers and Hong Kong's Media Asia. Thefilm's stellar cast also includes Feng regular Ge You, hot up-and-comingactress Zhou Xun and Hong Kong star Daniel Wu. Production is scheduled to startin September or October with a crew includ