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22 October 2004

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  • ...while African American specialist Lee signs with Focus

    DeaconEntertainment producer Damon Lee, whose credits include the comedy UndercoverBrother, has signed afirst-look deal with Focus Features.Focus presidentof production John Lyons and vice president of production Kahli Small will workclosely with Lee to develop such Deacon projects as the comedy Holidaze, written by Richard Murphy. Focus willhold worldwide rights to the Deacon titles.Separately,Deacon is developing Lost Boys Of Sudan with Outlaw Productions
  • 10-strong delegation from Europe to attend AFI FEST under EFP auspices

    Hungarian director NimrodAntal, Germany's Mennan Yappo and Denmark's Paprika Steen and are among adelegation of emerging European talent whose work will be showcased at theupcoming AFI FEST 2004 presented by Audi.
  • 49 entries to vie for foreign language film Oscar

    49 countrieshave submitted films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences forconsideration in the foreign language category, the Academy announced yesterday(21).That's down fromthe record number of 55 last year and 54 in 2002. It's also a bad year for theAcademy in that some of the year's most acclaimed foreign-language films areineligible for the award - from Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education which was beaten to the Spanishsubmission by The Sea Inside to Agnes Ja
  • 9 Songs clears UK and Irish censors uncut

    UK censorthe BBFC has passed Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs uncut and has awardedit an '18' certificate for cinema release.Meanwhile, sources in the Irish distribution trade havetold that the Irish Film Censor, John Kelleher, has alsopassed 9 Songs uncut and given it an '18' certificate.
  • A Very Long Engagement (Un Long Dimanche De Fiancailles)

    Dir: Jean-Pierre Jeunet.France. 2004. 134mins.A flamboyant mixture ofbattlefront spectacle, home front romance, revenge drama, and detective story 'Jean-Pierre Jeunet's first film since Amelie is all this and more.Cinematically bigger and dramatically richer than that phenomenally successful2001 monument of whimsy, A Very Long Engagement confirms Jeunet as amaster showman who has no need to work in English to make visual strikingentertainment of international ap
  • AFM announces conference & seminar schedule

    Conferences and seminars covering US productionincentives, digital filmmaking, and how to exploit ancillary markets are amongthe line-up of events scheduled for next month's AFM in Santa Monica.Other subjectsat the market, which runs from Nov 3-10, include the marketing of women'spictures, cinematography and budget constraints, and writer-producercollaborations.The conferencespresented by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP are:- The Magic Behind The Deal (N
  • Africa added to German coproduction market

    Feature film projects from South Africa looking forfinancing will be presented for the first time at this year's MannheimCoproduction Meetings during the Mannheim-Heidelberg International FilmFestival (November 18-27).Among the African projects selected for pitching topotential co-producers are Robyn Aronstam's TheJoyous, which will be executive produced by John Boorman; Akin Omotoso's The Weight Of Whispers, based on theCaine Prize-winni
  • Alfie

    Dir: Charles Shyer. US.2004. 103mins.Charles Shyer, whosecredits include the bland remake of Father Of The Bride and the periodmisfire The Affair Of The Necklace, takes another bath with his insipidremake of 1966 classic Alfie. Systematically eliminating any of thecruelty which made Alfie such an iconic figure of his day, he has recrafted himas a womaniser with a heart of gold - a move which renders the story pointlessand banal.
  • Archbishop wins Eurimages funding

    Zoltan Kamondi's TheArchbishop's Visit has received Euros 430,000 in funding from support bodyEurimages.The film is a Hungarian, Italian andRomanian co-production between Honeymood Films/Focus Film, Gam Film and MediaPro Pictures. Its full budget runs to $4.4m.
  • Around The Bend

    Dir/scr: Jordan Roberts.US. 2004. 85mins.For his directorialdebut, screenwriter Jordan Roberts (who was uncredited for his work on RoadTo Perdition) delivers a small, heartfelt family drama in which four malegenerations make a reluctant road trip through America's Southwest and scalethe rocky emotional terrain of their shared past.Around The Bend may fail to quite shake the sentimentality of itspremise, but does benefit from strong
  • Artificial sales estimates under spotlight

    One of the UK filmindustry's nastiest open secrets - inflated sales estimates - was highlightedin Screen International's UK Film Finance Summit yesterday.The murky area was a keydiscussion point on a panel about financing middlemen headed by IAC Film'sMichael Ryan, who said that "disreputable agents are paid fees by producers toprovide figures". UK tax funds typically require sales coverage on films theyinvest in to help reassure their investors.Mark Vennis, co-founder ofsale ho
  • AUSTRALIA 18 October

    It is highly unusual to see the first three spots in the top20 chart occupied by openers but that is exactly what happened on the four-dayweekend to October 17. And there were no other new faces in the chart.Leading the charge was the Collateral, starring Australia's one-time adopted son Tom Cruise bydint of his now dissolved marriage to Nicole Kidman. It took A$2,461,144 from299 screens for UIP. Collateral alsoscored the highest screen average in the
  • Australia, New Zealand generate star power

    Films of all shapesand sizes are now underway in New Zealand and, after a considerable productiondrought, in Australia - and both countries are awash with internationallyrenowned acting talent.In Australia, HeathLedger and Geoffrey Rush are to star in Candy,and Cate Blanchett is the focus of LittleFish, which also stars Sam Neill and Hugo Weaving. Both films are accessingfunds from Film Finance Corporation Australia, as well as other financiers.Meanwhile, Guy Pearce, Ray
  • AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND - Prod Lists Oct 21

    AUSTRALIA - October 20PRE-PRODUCTIONTHE BOOK OF REVELATION(Wildheart Zizani)Budget: n/a. Backers: Film Finance Corporation Australia, New South Wales Filmand Television Office, Film Victoria, ContentFilm. Int'l sales: ContentInternational. Distrib: Palace Films (Aust/NZ). Drama. A dancer disappearswithout a trace for 12 days, then returns just as mysteriously. Prod: Al Clark.Dir: Ana Kokkinos. Scr: Andrew Bovell, Kokkinos, from
  • AV Pictures takes on The Other Half sales

    Angad Paul and Vic Bateman'sAV Pictures has picked up international sales rights on British romantic comedyThe Other Half.The film is centred aroundthe Euro 2004 football tournament and the attempts of a newly-married man tospend his honeymoon watching the matches without his wife finding out. DannyDyer, Gillian Kearney and Vinnie Jones star.Tiffany Whittome of PiperFilms produced the micro budget film on the hoof during the football tournamentthis sum
  • AVP, Alfie released in UK against Shark Tale

    Fox International's AlienVs Predator and Paramount's remakeof comedy-drama Alfie face theunenviable task of trying to dethrone DreamWorks' box office champion SharkTale when they open in the UK on Oct22.The animated hit opened toplast weekend on $13.6m and will take some beating. AVP goes out wide on 470 prints and Fox executives willlook for decent weekend business to boost its $24.8m international runningtotal.Alfie opens through UIP on an un
  • BBC considers increasing film production investment

    BBC director general MarkThompson has said the broadcaster needs to look at raising its investment inthe UK film industry.Thompson told an all-partyselect committee on Tuesday that the BBC would be willing to screen more UKfilms and less US fare. He added that the broadcaster should also look atboosting the $18m (£10m) a year it invests through production arm BBC Films."One of the questions weneed to look at inside the BBC is whether £10m is enough a year or whether weshould pro
  • Becker takes on Love Reigns sales

    Becker Films International is to handle worldwide sales on WhereLove Reigns, which is being set up as an official tri-partite productionbetween the UK, Canada and South Africa and has Martin Scorsese on board asexecutive producer.Thefilm is based on the true story of the torrid love affair in the early 1900sbetween one of the founding fathers of modern psychology, Carl Jung, an
  • Benelux exhibitors set standard for industry growth

    Led by the Netherlands, one of the few European cinemamarkets to show growth in 2003, leading exhibitors in the Benelux regionreported improved financial results in the most recent period according to anew report from industry analysts, Dodona Research.Pan-Europeanexhibitor, Kinepolis Group, with 124 screens in Belgium, recorded a profit forthe first time since 1999 due to a strategy of reducing costs and streamliningforeign expansion plans.TheLuxembourg-based
  • Besson commits to $78m Arthur

    Luc Besson will mark a return to directing with the 3-D animatedfilm, Arthur, which is now in production. Representing the biggestinvestment yet for Besson and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam's four year-old EuropaCorp, Arthurhas a budget similar in scale to Shrek and is currently pegged at $78m(Euros65m). It will be ready for a 2006 release, Le Pogam confirmed yesterday.Based on the best-selling children's books created by Besson, Arthurwould be the first film directe
  • Bone, Dare are top winners at Woodstock

    Debra Granik'smarriage drama Down To The Bone won the Maverick Award for Best Feature Narrative at the 5thWoodstock Film Festival, while Amanda Micheli's Double Dare won corresponding honours in the bestfeature documentary category for its portrayal of Hollywood stuntwomen.JessicaSharzer's high school drama Speak took the Audience Award for Feature Narrative, Nina Davenport's ParallelLines won the AudienceAward for Feature Documentary, and Mira Nair won the
  • Bourne adds another $2.3m to cross $80m for Universal/UIP

    Universal's spy sequel The Bourne Supremacy added an estimated $2.3m on 1,200screens in 31 territories through UIP at the weekend to raise its internationalrunning total to $80.4m.
  • Bugs! wins Large Format prize at Wildscreen

    UKIMAX picture Bugs! has won the Panda Award for Best Large Format Film at theUK's Wildscreen Festival, the Oscars of the wildlife film world.Theaward comes as Bugs! heads towards the $20m worldwide box office grossmark, having completed its run in only 34 of the 104 IMAX theatres that have sofar booked the film. Bugs! is currently playing in 53IMA
  • Cafe Lumiere (Kohi Jikou)

    Dir:Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Japan. 2004. 92mins.One of the most consistently interesting of Far Easternarthouse directors, Hou Hsiao-Hsien has a dedicated following on the festivalcircuit and a tiny film-buff fanbase in the real world. It's telling that not asingle Region 2 DVD of any of the Taiwanese director's films is currentlyavailable on Amazon UK, though the French branch of the online retailer offersseveral - proof of the high regard in which Hsiao-Hsien is
  • Capitol Films names Crowe as head of sales

    SimonCrowe, formerly head of sales at Icon Entertainment, is joining Capitol Filmsas head of sales.Aspart of the move, Eve Schoukroun has been promoted to senior sales manager.Crowe replaces Nicole Mackey, who joined Fortissimo Film Sales to spearhead itsLondon arm.Crowesaid that UK-based Capitol has established itself "as one of, if not the,leading independent producer-sales company in Europe, having found critical andcommercial success on so many of its recent films."He
  • Charming Girl wins top Pusan prize

    Korean feature This Charming Girl took home the top prize in the PusanInternational Film Festival's New Currents section for first and second-timeAsian directors.The film by LeeYun-ki is a restrained portrait of a socially isolated woman who works in asmall post office. Probably the most well-received among a small handful ofKorean premieres, the LJ Film production has reportedly elicited interest fromseveral t
  • Cheadle, Eternal Sunshine get Gotham honours

    Don Cheadle will collect theGotham Actor Award and Michael Gondry's Eternal Sunshine Of The SpotlessMind will receive the inauguralCelebrate New York tribute at IFP/New York's upcoming 14th Annual IFP GothamAwards.Cheadle's credits includethe upcoming Hotel Rwanda, Crash, The Assassination Of Richard Nixon and Ocean's Twelve, and he enters a pantheon of winners that includesSigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi and John Turturro.IFP/New York execut
  • City Lights, Intrinsic Values team for desert thriller Four Women

    New York City-basedCity Lights Pictures will produce the thriller Four Women with Intrinsic Value Films, based on thecomic book by writer-illustrator Sam Kieth, who will direct from his ownscreenplay.Described by thefilmmakers as Open Water in the desert, Four Women involves a life-changing road trip thatturns sour for a group of women when their car breaks down at night."After reading FourWomen, I was shaken tothe core," City Lights Pict
  • Cork celebrates sell-out festival

    Launched with a packed house for the Irish premiere ofDamien O'Donnell's Inside I'm Dancing,the 49th Cork Film Festival closed its doors after a week marked by manysimilarly packed houses, with audiences frequently surpassing the organisers'expectations.No one would have forecast, for instance, that StacyPeralta's surfing documentary RidingGiants would have filled the 1,000-seat Cork Opera House on a bright, dryFriday afternoon at 4.00pm. Or that the same venue would be p
  • Curtis, Morgernstern set for Holocaust tale

    Hollywood legendTony Curtis and Maia Morgenstern are to star in Atlantic Alliance Pictures andHeritage Pictures' Holocaust story Love Is A Survivor.Directed by byPhilip Saville, production is set to begin February 15, 2005 in Budapest,Hungary.Love Is ASurvivor is billed as amajor holocaust film with a love story as its central theme. Curtis will playholocaust survivor Herman Rosenblat, alongside The Passion Of The Christ starMaia Morgenst
  • DENMARK 19 October

    The massive 90 print roll-out of My Sister's Kids In Egypt at the start of the children's week-longfall holiday made the local film even more successful than the two previousinstalments, as it scooped up a impressive DKK19.5m and 351.454 admissions injust 10 days.However, Danish audiences also found time for Kings' Game, which remained secondreaching DKK12.3m in its third weekend from 60 prints. As expected the holiday
  • Diaries, Sea win Screen-sponsored Hollywood Awards

    Walter Salles' TheMotorcycle Diaries won the HollywoodWorld Award and Alejandro Amenabar's The Sea Inside won the Hollywood European Award, both sponsored byScreen International, at a gala ceremony last night (18).The gala awards ceremony atthe Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles marked the culmination of the Hollywood FilmFestival, which opened on Oct 12 with the world premiere of Wendy Apple's filmediting documentary The Cutting Edge and closed on Oct 17 with the US pr
  • Ealing Studios names new head of development

    Ealing Studios has appointedSophie Meyer as head of development, head of studio Barnaby Thompson announcedtoday.Meyer will oversee thedevelopment slate for Ealing Studios and production company Fragile Films, andgenerate new material. Working with Thompson, she will push forward projectssuch as the studio's remake of StTrinians."I am delighted that Sophiehas joined the team at Ealing Studios and confident that her experience andrigour will quickly enhance the movies we ma
  • Eaton named UK Film Council deputy chairman

    Producer Andrew Eaton hasbeen appointed deputy chairman of the UK Film Council, the most senior positiona member of the independent film business has held at the Government-backedsupport body.Eaton, director MichaelWinterbottom's regular producer, last made headlines this Cannes, when hissexually-explicit film Nine Songs outraged the UK's
  • Echo Bridge buys worldwide rights to Zachary Beaver

    LosAngeles-based independent Echo Bridge has acquired worldwide rights in allmedia from Revere Pictures to the family picture When Zachary Beaver Came ToTown.Adapted from Kimberly Willis Holt's National BookAward-winning young adult novel by John Schultz, who also directed, the picturecentres on the fateful arrival of a sideshow attraction in a sleepy Texas town.Eric Stoltz,Jonathan Lipnicki, Jane Krakowski and Sasha Neulinger star and Amy Robinson,Jay J
  • Fahrenheit to hit TV screens in Germany, Spain

    Michael Moore's Fahrenheit9/11 is to play on television in Germany and Spain in the next ten days,just before the US presidential elections.The move comes asMoore struggles to find a US broadcaster to play his film ahead of theelection.Cable broadcaster In Demand had planned to carry TheMichael Moore Pre-Election Special on pay-per-view on Nov. 1, but hasabandoned the projectbecause of "legitimate business and legal concerns," according to theAssociated Press.
  • Fandango buys Italian rights to Weeping Camel

    Italianspecialized distributor Fandango acquired Italian rights to The Story Of TheWeeping Camel at MIFEDlast week from Menemsha Films.The film, whichwas handled by THINKFilm in the US and grossed $0.88m, will be released throughFandangoC;s documentary division which will launch in 2005 with other titles onthe slate including Super Size Me and The Corporation.The Story OfThe Weeping Camel, whichworld premiered in late 2003, was
  • FINLAND 22 October

    Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx gave Collateral a strong opening at the top of the Finnish chartdismissing Home On The Range tosecond but damaging The Bourne Supremacyand Resident Evil: Apocalypse, asthey dropped 37% and 58% to the 6th and 10th spot.However, there was little interest for the new local film,Janne Kuusi's Flowers And Binding,which attracted a low Euros 1,338 screen average on its 21 prints. Produced andco-written by Aleksi
  • Focus brings three new third-party films to AFM...

    Focus Featuresis bringing three new high-profile acquisitions to AFM in Santa Monica nextmonth, namely Danis Tanovic's Hell, Isabel Coixet's The Secret Life Of Words, and Ol Parker's Click.Focus will handle all international sales on the features,which are currently in production, and will commence sales at the market, whichruns from Nov 3-10.Written byKrysztof Piesiewicz as part of his trilogy on Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory f
  • Focus teams with Hadida on Silent Hill

    Focus Features has acquiredinternational sales rights to Davis Film Productions' adaptation of Konami'ssmash videogame series Silent Hill,with Christophe Gans set to direct and Davis Film's Samuel Hadida producing fora March 2005 start.Sales will commence at nextmonth's AFM. Hadida's distribution company Metropolitan Filmexport will releasein France and a North American distributor is expected to be announced shortly.Davis Film is financing thesupernatural thriller and wi
  • Fox International passes $1bn for fourth time

    Powered by mightyperformances from The Day After Tomorrow, I, Robot and Garfield, Fox International passed $1bn in 2004 ticket sales this week.As of Oct 21, thedistributor reported a $1.07bn overseas gross, marking the fourth time it haspassed the milestone following 1998, 1999 and 2002.The road to $1bn began inearnest with the $85.4m international opening weekend in late May of disasterpicture The Day After Tomorrow,which went on to gross $355.7m.Com
  • Fox's I, Robot top in Japan for fifth weekend

    Fox International's sci-fi thriller I, Robot continued its mighty rampage through Japan at theweekend, remaining number one for the fifth weekend in a row and adding anestimated $1.3m on 359 screens for a $29m running total.Overall thepicture added $1.6m on 616 international screens to raise the internationalcumulative score to $187.3m.2046, Wong Kar Wai's drama that FoxInternational has for most of Asia, grossed $594,000 on 16
  • FRANCE 18 October

    Seven newfilms broke into the top twenty this week led by Gaumont's L'Enquete Corse, starring Gerard Depardieu and Christian Claver.The film took 679,754 admissions for an average of $9,477 per screen.Resident Evil: Apocalypse landed in the number 2 spot with atake of just over $3m. Michael Mann's Collateralfought off other new-comers but dropped to number three followed by French filmVipere Au Poing at number 4.Canneswinner Loo
  • FRANCE 21 October

    US boxoffice leader Shark Tale opened atnumber one in France this week with 630,561 admissions. The film shouldcontinue to hold well given the arrival of school vacations next week althoughit will face fierce competition from the October 27 release of Jean-PierreJeunet's A Very Long Engagement.Last week'snumber one, L'Enquete Corse, droppedto the number two spot but handily added 487,318 admissions to its take.Jean-Paul Salome's Arsene Lupin
  • Fuse lights up Athens Panorama

    Bosniandirector Pjer Zalica's Fuse was awarded the main prize in thecompetition section at the 17th Panorama of European Cinema (Oct 1-14) inAthens which wrapped with a gala presentation of Ken Loach's Ae FondKiss.The award, offered by the organiser of the event,Athens daily newspaper Elefterotypia, includes apurse worth Euros 6,000 to back the local release of the picture.A special mention went to theU.K.-Irish co-production Freeze Fram
  • GERMANY 19 October

    After four weeks at the top, The Downfall had to make way for the new Dreamworks animationfeature Shark Tale which dived in atNo. 1 with a $3.5m opening weekend and a $5,139 screen average from its 684prints.However, this was only the third best screen average for theweekend behind Oskar Roehler's Agnes AndHis Brothers ($ 5,060), which premiered at last month's Venice FilmFestival, and Steven Spielberg's TheTerminal ($ 5,535) which held o
  • Germany mulls sale and leaseback scheme

    Germany's State Minister for Culture and MediaChristina Weiss has called for the introduction of a tax incentive system onthe lines of the British sale and leaseback model.Speaking to the German weekly magazine DerSpiegel, Weiss criticised the current situation where the US film industryhad been the prime beneficiary of the country's private media funds."People have financed films which didn'tinterest them - and our Ministry of Finance granted them tax advantages forthis.
  • Glickman in France for first international outing

    Piracy and otherkey issues will be on the agenda when new MPAA chief Dan Glickman travels toFrance today (22) to hold talks with government ministers.In his firstofficial trip as MPAA president and chief executive officer, Glickman isheading for the annual Encounters of Beaune and will take part on a panel onpiracy with French Deputy Minister for Industry Patrick Devedjian.He is alsoscheduled to meet with French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres tofurther discuss the i
  • Gong Li stars with Kidman in Wong Kar-wai's next film

    NicoleKidman confirmed this weekend that she is teaming with Hong Kong auteurdirector Wong Kar-wai on his next project The Lady From Shanghai and that she will be joined in the film by Chinesestar Gong Li.Indeed,said Kidman, Gong has already shot her part in the film, and Wong took justfive weeks - in contrast to the five years it took to shoot his last film 2046 which also starred Gong Li. "He
  • Gyllenhaal confirmed as Mendes' lead in Jarhead

    Jake Gyllenhaal has beenconfirmed as the lead in Universal's Gulf War drama Jarhead, which Sam Mendes will direct based on US MarineAnthony Swofford's memoirs.William Broyles Jr adaptedthe screenplay and Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher will produce under their Red Wagonbanner. Ivan Fenyo, Laz Alonso, Evan Jones, Jacob Vargas, Brian Geraghty and Lucas Black are attached to play fellow marines.Production is scheduled tobegin later this year on Jarhead,a provocative coming-
  • Harmony Gold signs three-year sales deal with Slamdance

    Production and distributioncompany Harmony Gold has signed a three-year deal to become the exclusiveinternational distributor for Slamdance Media Group.Harmony Gold will hold alltheatrical, broadcast and DVD distribution rights and will have access to aminimum of 12 new titles each year. Slamdance retains North American rights.The first two pictures willbe offered at next month's AFM under the banner Slamdance On The Road. They aresupernatural drama Ghosts
  • Haunting shoot starts in Romania with territories sold

    Filming has begun in Romaniaon the gothic ghost story An American Haunting starring Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, JamesD'Arcy and Rachel Hurd-Wood.The UK-Canadian-Romanianco-production is being made by Midsummer Films, Remstar, Media Pro Pictures andMighty Panda and bonded by Film Finances with banking facilities by the Bank ofIreland.Courtney Solomon directs theproject based on his adaptation of Brent Monahan's book about what is allegedto be the only documented case
  • Hof Film Days unveils festival line-up

    New features by Anno Saul (Kebab Connection),Cyril Tuschi (Sommer Hunde Soehne), Andrew Hood (Das Apfelbaumhaus)and Gil Mehmert (Aus der Tiefe Des Raumes) are among a raft of worldpremieres of German films at this year's Hof International Film Days (Oct27-31) which will be opening with Dennis Gansel's Karlovy Vary prize-winner Napola.Internationally recognised as a mecca foraficionados of German cinema and home for independent cine
  • Hopkins in the saddle for World's Fastest Indian

    Anthony Hopkins plays a motorcycling legend in TheWorld's Fastest Indian, whichwriter/director Roger Donaldson has been shooting for three weeks on the Utahsalt flats and moves shortly to New Zealand for a further 11 weeks.The New Zealand Film Commission and New Zealand FilmProduction Fund are the financing partners on what is the first film backed by18-month-old OLC/Rights Entertainment, which will handle sales to Korea, Taiwanand its home territory of Japan. Producers Donaldso
  • Infection/Premonition (Kansen/Yogen)

    Infection Dir: MasayukiOchiai. Jap. 2004. 98mins.PremonitionDir: Norio Tsuruta. Jap. 2004. 95 mins.In January 1998 twohorror films, both based on novels by Koji Suzuki, were released as a doublebill in Japan. The Ring (in Japanese: Ringu) and The Spiral (Rasen)became hits: the former especially launched the worldwide "J Horror" boom and was later madeinto a high-grossing Hollywood film.
  • INTERNATIONAL 21 October

    The top two international titles eased passed $50m thisweekend as Shark Tale held the leadand Collateral climbed back to fourthfollowing a host of number one launches for both films.DreamWorks Animation's latest hit opened in multipleEuropean territories spearheaded by number one positions in the UK ($13.6mincluding previews, $9.1m without), France ($4.2m) and Germany ($3.5m).Number ones were also seen in Belgium, Poland and Austriawith the Czec
  • Kirk Douglas to receive lifetime honour at Palm Springs

    Kirk Douglaswill receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 16th Annual Palm SpringsInternational Film Festival on Jan 8 2005."Mr Douglas'unparalleled body of work has entertained audiences throughout the ages, andthat will continue to stand the test of time on every level," festival chairmanEarl Greenburg said over the weekend at a street naming ceremony in honour ofthe star in Palm Springs.Douglas earnedthree Academy Award nominations for Champion, Th
  • Kontroll, Turtles take top honours at Chicago Film Festival

    Nimrod Antal's Hungarian thriller Kontroll won the Gold Hugo award in internationalcompetition at the 40th Chicago International Film Festival over the weekend,while Bahman Ghobadi's wartime drama Turtles Can Fly took the Silver Hugo.Further Silver Hugos were awarded to:Day and N
  • Leigh launches London Film Festival with Vera Drake

    TheTimes BFI London Film Festival kickedoff on Wednesday night (Oct 20) with the UK premiere of Mike Leigh'saward winning Vera Drake at agala screening at the Odeon Leicester Square.Leightook to the stage before the film along with producer Simon Channing-Williamsand 30 of its cast and crew - including lead actress Imelda Staunton.L
  • Lucas to receive 33rd AFI Life Achievement Award

    George Lucas will receivethe 33rd AFI Life Achievement Award at a ceremony in Los Angeles in June 2005,one month after the global release of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge OfThe Sith."George Lucas is a masterstoryteller, but he is first and foremost a moving image pioneer," AFI board oftrustees chair Howard Stringer said."He has advanced the art ofthe moving image like few others, and in the process has inspired a newgeneration of filmmakers around t
  • Miramax springs for Roundabout rights

    Miramax Films has acquiredNorth and South American rights to Pathe's animated feature Sprung!The Magic Roundabout.The announcement was made byFrancois Ivernel, managing director of Pathe UK, and Harvey Weinstein,co-chairman of Miramax Films. Weinstein met with the animators and workedclosely with Agnes Mentre, executive vice presidentof acquisitions and co-productions, and Maeva Gatineau, UK-based seniorvice president of acquisitions, in bringing Sprung! into Miramax.
  • Netflix postpones foreign expansion plans

    Online DVD rental pioneerNetflix has postponed plans to launch in the UK and Canada to concentrateinstead on its US business.The move comes as Netflixfaces increasing competition on its home turf from Blockbuster's new onlinerental service and from the expected entry of into renting DVDs bymail.It is understood thatNetflix had earmarked some $3.6m (£2m) for marketing and launch costs in theUK.Observers said thatNetflix's decision not to launch in the UK proves
  • NEW ZEALAND 18 October

    Homegrown film In MyFather's Den sold less tickets than the previous weekend but still managedto jump up from third to second spot in the chart. It took NZ$152,273 from 22screens, or 17.6% less than the previous NZ$184,793, but this was the lowestdrop shown by any film in the chart.At the other end of the spectrum, the weekend gross for Alien vs Predator, which lead the chartlast weekend when it launched, dropped over
  • New Zealand lobbies for second film sound stage

    New Zealand film agency Film Auckland is bidding forUS$1.8m (NZ$1.7m) from the New Zealand Government to help construct a secondpurpose-built film sound stage in the country.New Zealand's only other purpose-built film stage is downsouth in Wellington and is now being used for Peter Jackson's King Kong.It was built earlier this year, also with assistance from government.The application was submitted last week through
  • Nobody wins Grand Prize at Ghent

    During the 31st edition of the Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent, the film Nobody Knows (Daremo Shiranai) by Japanese filmmaker Kore-EdaHirozaku, who has already achieved international recognition with After Life, was awarded the Grand Prizefor Best Film, which carries an award of Euros 25,000 towards distribution.The international jury announced its decision on Saturday,October 16 during a ceremony which took place at the Capi
  • NORWAY 21 October

    While Shrek 2stayed at the top of the Norwegian chart for the fifth week running, itsNOK17,220 screen average was matched and even bested by a number of newreleases which had fewer prints.Among these the new local surfer-romantic-drama Monsterthursday, which made it intofourth with NOK20.755 average from its 37 prints. Though it moved in front UNO it couldn't match
  • O'Donnell readies Noir as Dancing follow-up

    Damien O'Donnell is readyingthe tentatively-titled Noir as his next project after Working TitleFilms' Inside I'm Dancing, which opened this week through MomentumPictures.O'Donnell is to startshooting next year on the quirky, dark romantic comedy for producer DavidParfitt, whose credits include Shakespeare In Love, and his TrademarkFilms.Inside I'm Dancing opened with a disappointing £218,000 from 133screens this weekend, despite good reviews. O'Donnel
  • Odyssey takes Lassie for a walk

    London-basedOdyssey Entertainment has signed a deal with Classic Media and Firstsight Filmsto handle worldwide distribution on Charles Sturridge's live action Lassie project.Odyssey's RalphKamp and Louise Goodsill will represent the title at next month's AFM. UK andJapanese rights were recently sold to Entertainment and Shochiku respectively.Sturridge willdirect from his screenplay based on Eric Knight's best-selling 1938 novel LassieCome Home, and hisFirstsight Fi
  • Reel World opens LA management outfit for international talent

    Reel World Management has opened offices in Beverly Hillsto offer LA production companies direct access to international film andtelevision writers, directors, and co-producing partners.Reel WorldManagement is owned by managing partner and president, Roma Roth and Reel OneEntertainment, headed by Tom Berry (Screamers, The Assignment).Reel OneEntertainment executive produces eight-10 pictures each year and is a partnerin the foreign sales company Imaginat
  • ROMANIA 22 October

    Anacondas proved to be real favorites in Romania when released last weekend alongwith four further new titles but Romanian comedy Italian Chicks (Italiencele) was the talk of the town.Napoleon Helmis'film about the adventures in Italy of two Romanian girls played by MaraNicolescu and Ana Ularu debuted in fifth place for distributor CineTV withnearly 3,500 admissions on its five print. No doubt good word of mouth andpositive media coverage will help the
  • Romania's MediaPro takes on London

    Romanian film studioMediaPro Pictures has opened a representative office in London. The new branchis expected to increase the flow of footloose productions that make use ofRomania's low cost base and fast improving skills base.The branch will be housed atthe London office of UK independent producer Box TV. "Working with Box TV inLondon we look forward to encouraging more British film-makers to Romania wherewe can offer an excellent standard of personnel and facilities for anoutstanding
  • R-rated Team America fails to sink family favourite Shark Tale

    DreamWorks' Shark Tale remained the one to beat as it extended its rule to a thirdconsecutive weekend and passed $100m with ease, drowning the aspirations ofParamount's marionette satire Team America and Miramax's romantic comedy remake Shall We Dance'

    LjubisaSamardzic's Goose Feather helped themarket rise 23% when it opened this weekend at the pole position for FirstProduction. Having sold 16,755 admissions for the weekend, theSerbian-Montenegrin Oscar hopeful earned $50,164 or $3,344 per screen andpushed Kusturica's Life Is A Miracleto number two.Miracle has earned another $34,376 (or $688 per screen, as it is running on 50prints) and has been seen by 135,251 spectators after three weekends.

    LjubisaSamardzic's Goose Feather helped themarket rise 23% when it opened this weekend at the pole position for FirstProduction. Having sold 16,755 admissions for the weekend, theSerbian-Montenegrin Oscar hopeful earned $50,164 or $3,344 per screen andpushed Kusturica's Life Is A Miracleto number two.Miracle has earned another $34,376 (or $688 per screen, as it is running on 50prints) and has been seen by 135,251 spectators after three weekends.
  • Shark Tale maintains international lead

    Thetop two international titles eased passed $50m this weekend as Shark Taleheld the lead and Collateral climbed back to fourth following a host ofnumber one launches for both films.DreamWorks Animation's latest hit opened in multipleEuropean territories spearheaded by number one positions in the UK ($13.6mincluding previews, $9.1m without), France ($4.2m) and Germany ($3.5m).
  • Sheffield Documentary fest to open with Tiger King

    TheSheffield International Documentary Festival (Nov 8 -14) is to open with DavidFlamholc's House Of The Tiger King.Thedocumentary follows explorer Tahir Shah and a group of mismatched companions asthey search for Paititi, the Inca's lost city of gold.
  • Shochiku launches animation division

    Shochiku, a major Japanesefilm company with interests in production, distribution and exhibition, hasannounced the launch of a new division to produce animated features and TVshows.Headed by General Manager ofFilmed Entertainment Ichiro Seki, the division plans to release its firstfeature in 2005. Director, budget and story have yet to be announced. Workingwith leading animation houses, the division intends to develop five feature andTV projects annually. First year revenue is expected
  • Smarinsky gets evp stripes at MGM

    Michael Smarinsky has beenpromoted to executive vice president of corporate and governmental affairs atMGM.Reporting to MGM seniorexecutive vice president Bill Jones, Smarinsky will continue to rungovernmental affairs and supervise content-protection activities, as he did inhis previous role as MGMC;s principal governmental affairs officer.Prior to MGM, Smarinskyworked at a private law practice in the Los Angeles area.Since 2002 he has served asa m
  • Spanish, Swiss partners go to Boarding School

    Spain's Morena Films and Switzerland's ZodiacPictures have agreed to develop two new feature films together, starting withEnglish-language comedy Swiss Boarding School.School (workingtitle) is set in an uppity institute in the Swiss Alps which is turned upsidedown by the arrival of an outrageous Spanish student. Morena regular writerJuan Carlos Rubio (Slam) will script the film for a planned 2005 shoot."The concept is to combine elements from differentcountries to
  • SWEDEN 18 October

    Though catering to younger audiences and offering completelydifferent thrills, the new release of teenage horror flic Drowning Ghost from hitmaker Mikael Haafstroem (Evil) failed to usurp As In Heaven from the top of the Swedishchart.Instead it was last week's other local release, family film Max & Josef - Double Trouble, whichwas hit the
  • Swedish journalists question state funding choices

    The Swedish Film Institute (SFI) has attracted localcriticism for its selection of seven new features to receive state funding.Among the seven films that received $3.1M (SEK 23M) in totalfrom the SFI, not one will be directed by a woman. Furthermore, five of thefilms are adaptations of books written by internationally best-selling Swedishcrime writers Henning Mankell and Hakan Nesser.The sixth film to received backing from the SFI is anothercrime story, while the last one is a s
  • Tanovic embarks on shoot of Hell

    Oscarwinner Danis Tanovic will start shooting next week his latest film, Hell,which was written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz for the late Krzysztof Kieslowski aspart of his Heaven-Hell-Purgatory trilogy.The No Man's Land director begins the film'seight-week shoot in Paris on October 25. Hell focuses on three sisters whosechildhoods were marked by a family tragedy but eventua
  • Team America disappoints for Paramount while Shark Tale floats at the top

    DreamWorks' Shark Tale remained the one to beat as it extended its rule to a thirdconsecutive weekend and passed $100m with ease, drowning the aspirations ofParamount's marionette satire Team America and Miramax's romantic comedy remake Shall We Dance'
  • THINKFilm, MGM sign Canadian home video pact

    MGM Home Entertainment Group has agreed todistribute eight THINKFilm theatrical titles in Canada. The home-video and DVDdistribution pact kicks off this December with rockumentary Festival Express, a two-disc specialedition featuring unreleased concert footage not contained in the theatricalrelease. The deal includes three other documentaries: Jonathan Demme's The Agronomist, Mongolia-Germany sleeperThe Story
  • UK Film Council chief takes on 'merchants of gloom'

    UKFilm Council CEO John Woodward yesterday launched an outspoken attack on the'merchants of gloom' who continually snipe and spread bad news aboutthe British film industry.Woodward, giving a keynote speech at ScreenInternational's UK Film Finance Summit, insisted that the UK industry isperceived throughout the world as 'dynamic, entrepreneurial, internationalin outlook, clever
  • UK tax credit scheme is 'moveable feast'

    The amount of moneyavailable to producers from the new tax credit scheme announced by the UKgovernment is a 'moveable feast', delegates heard at Screen International's UKFilm Finance Summit.Panellists sitting on adebate about the 'Son of Section 48' said that the benefits could be anythingfrom 10% to 20% of a film's budget. Theexact percentage, however, would depend on how the financing of a film wasstructured and on the final nature of the tax scheme, the details of which arecurrently
  • Valenti presented with honour by Italian government

    Former MPAA president andchief executive officer Jack Valenti has been made Knight of the Grand Cross ofthe Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy, or Cavalier Di Gran Croce.Prime Minister SilvioBerlusconi personally presented the honour during a ceremony at his officialresidence at Rome's Palazzo Chigi.The Order of Merit of theRepublic of Italy was established in 1951 and is the government's highestcivilian award in recognition of eminent service to the Rep
  • Valenti presented with honour by Italian government

    Former MPAA president andchief executive officer Jack Valenti has been made Knight of the Grand Cross ofthe Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy, or Cavalier Di Gran Croce.Prime Minister SilvioBerlusconi personally presented the honour during a ceremony at his officialresidence at Rome's Palazzo Chigi (pictured above).The Order of Merit of theRepublic of Italy was established in 1951 and is the government's highestcivilian award in recognition of eminent service to the Republ
  • Von Trier turns to Antichrist

    Danish maverick Lars von Trier might be in the middle of editing his Dogville follow-up, Manderlay, but he has promised producer and Zentropa co-founder Peter Aalbaek Jensen that he will make a more commercial film before turning to the final instalment in the USA trilogy, Wasington.While a finished script has yet to be delivered, Aalbaek Jensen assures that it will be commercial enough to satisfy both Zentropa as well as the distributors who have taken chances wit
  • Warner Bros wraps first solo Spanish shoot

    Warner Bros Pictures has wrapped shooting on its first soloSpanish production, Manuel Gomez Pereira's Reinas.The Euros 4.5m filmheadlines a star-studded ensemble cast in a comedy turning on the first gaywedding in Spain.Reinas is the first100% Warner production since the company opened its local production arm inSpain with plans to produce, co-produce or acquire some 20-plus films in fiveyears.It has also participated in actor-turned-direct
  • Warner gets its Superman in Brandon Routh

    Brandon Routh (pictured) hasbeen confirmed as Superman in Warner Bros Pictures' new as yet untitled theatricalversion of the comic strip superhero to be directed by Bryan Singer.Routh is a 25 year-oldnative of Iowa whose TV credits include soap opera One Life To Live, serials Gilmore Girls and Cold Case and sitcom Will & Grace.He recently wrapped his first feature film role in the upcoming Deadly with Laura Prepon.The movie is expected tobegin
  • Warsaw fetes Iranian City

    20th Warsaw International Film Festival closed on Monday,October 18, with the premiere of the French film Comme Une Image by Agnes Jaoui.Featuring 110 films from 38 countries, the 2004 editionrecorded an audience total of more than 73,000.Fourteen films screened in competition, evaluated by a Jurycomprising Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (chair), Mirjam Kubescha, Emily Young,Radivoje Andric and Lukasz Barczyk.Grand Prix NESCAFE: BeautifulCity (Shahre Ziba), by Asg
  • White Chicks adds $4.5m for CTFDI, second in UK, fifth in Spain

    Revolution Studios' comedy White Chicks added an estimated $4.5m throughColumbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) at the weekend on1,685 screens in 21 markets for a $16.3m running total through all distributorsand $15.9m through CTFDI.
  • William Greaves gets career award from IDA

    William Greaves, thechronicler of African-American history whose credits include Ralph Bunche:An American Odyssey and FromThese Roots, will receive theInternational Documentary Association's (IDA) 2004 Career Achievement Award ata ceremony in Los Angeles on Dec 10."William Greaves has madeunique and important contributions to advancing our understanding andappreciation of humanity and the African-American experience," IDA presidentRichard Propper said in a statement.