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23 June 2000

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  • A La Verticale D'Ete

    Dir: Tran Anh Hung. France. 2000. 112 mins.Prod co: Les Productions Lazennec. Co-prod: Le Studio Canal Plus, Arte France Cinema. US dist: Sony Picture Classics. Int'l sales: Le Studio Canal, (+33 1 4429 2598). Prod: Christophe Rossignon. Scr: Tran Anh Hung. DoP: Mark Lee. Prod des: Benoit Barouh. Ed: Mario Battistel. Music: Ton That Thiet. Main cast: Tran Nu Yen Khe, Nguyen Nhu Quyn, Le Khan, Ngo Quong Hai, Chu Hung, Le Juan Anh.Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung's third f
  • Aardman to make Wallace And Gromit movie

    Aardman, the celebrated UK animation company which this weekend sees the US release of its first film Chicken Run, is planning a feature based around its popular characters Wallace and Gromit for release in 2004.The Wallace and Gromit film will be produced after the next Aardman film The Tortoise And The Hare which is already in production under director Richard Goleszowski at the Aardman studios in Bristol.Under a deal struck with DreamWorks SKG last October, th
  • Advanced Medien sells DVD package to EMS

    Advanced Medien has sold a package of DVD rights to E-M-S new media for Austria and Switzerland.The package was headed by Oskar Roehler's Die Unberuehrbare, which appeared at Cannes this year and was named best film at the German Film Awards this weekend. It also includes Running Game and Stranger Than Fiction. The deal was conducted through the Advanced Kinoverleih subsidiary. Advanced has recently expanded into co-production and film financing, signing pro
  • Alliance strikes output deal with Telecinco

    Alliance Atlantis Pictures International has signed an output deal with Spanish TV network Telecinco for genre titles from its Le Monde Entertainment division. The agreement will begin with Second Skin, a thriller starring Natasha Henstridge, Angus MacFadyen and Peter Fonda, which was shot on location in South Africa. The deal was negotiated by Mark Horowitz, president of Alliance Atlantis Pictures International, and Ghislain Barrois, managing director of acquisitions and co-pro
  • Asmik Ace to release Kadokawa film library on DVD

    Asmik Ace Entertainment, the film production and distribution arm of Japan's Kadokawa Publishing media group, will release of total of 63 Kadokawa films on DVD starting this August. Titles will range from the 1976 hit The Inugami Family to the 1997 box office smash Lost Paradise. With Kadokawa's belated entry into the DVD market, all the major Japanese domestic film producers have now announced plans to release films in the format. Asmik Ace's first DVD release, on August
  • BAFTA set for pre-Oscars awards move

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) has confirmed it aims to move its film awards to a pre-Academy Awards slot in a bid to focus worldwide attention on the ceremony as a pointer for the Oscars.Bafta said that a planned move from April 9 to February 25 is still dependent on support from distributors, but a pre-Oscar slot is expected to win wide support from the industry and press as a way of dramatically raising the event's significance. Bafta met with about 75 membe
  • Baker quits COO post at USA Networks

    Barry Baker has resigned from his post as president and COO of USA Networks. Baker joined the company in January 1999 to pull together its diverse assets, but said the time had come for him to run a company of his own.USA chairman and CEO Barry Diller stressed that the departure was amicable: "We asked Barry Baker to join USA to help up operate a company whose growth was moving faster than our ability to organise it coherently," Diller said in a statement. "During this past year he ha
  • Bridging the Gap

    After transforming a stodgy French water company into a sparkling communications concern, Jean-Marie Messier now faces the task of smoothing the union between his creation and a Hollywood studio. Patrick Frater examines his credentials. Jean-Marie Messier is the ideal person to put together a trans-Atlantic conglomerate. A Frenchman who has attracted praise from American business partners, he may be able to bridge that sometimes unfathomable cultural divide which exists i
  • BT on the look-out for content companies

    UK telco British Telecommunications (BT) is mulling the possibility of acquiring media companies to supply its proposed broadband services, according to a report on Reuters.According to Marc Deschamps, COO for BT's broadband internet outfit Openworld, the company is open to deals on the same scale as this year's high-profile content-carrier mergers - AOL-Time Warner and Vivendi-Seagram. BT was recently tipped as a suitor for Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica which has content
  • Business as usual for Canal Plus, Universal

    Canal Plus boss Pierre Lescure played down the idea of major strategic changes to his company's role in the European and US film industries following the trans-Atlantic merger that today created Vivendi Universal and returned PolyGram to European ownership."If anything we will be producing more films over there," said Lescure, who becomes co-COO of the newly hatched Vivendi Universal. "We will be maintaining all our relationships with people such as Bel Air and [Mike] Medavoy [Phoenix
  • Canadian province strikes $60m production jackpot

    Manitoba-based start-up production company Blye Brothers Entertainment has unveiled a $60m feature film slate that will see three to four features shot per year over the next three to four years. A minimum of 12 films, all of them targeted for theatrical release, will be produced with an average production budget of $5m. Financing parties include Crocus Investment Fund, a Manitoban labour-sponsored venture capital fund which has investments in several local film and television service
  • CASE STUDY - Bread And Tulips

    Italian comedy Bread And Tulips marks a change in direction for co-writer and director Silvio Soldini, known for his weighty dramas, yet the project quickly secured Swiss and Italian backing. It went on to be a local box office hit, sweep the board at local film awards the Davide di Donatello, and screen in Directors' Fortnight at Cannes. Natasha Senjanovic reports on the history of its making.Summer-Autumn 1998Independent director Silvio Soldini and co-screenw
  • Champagne flows in Paris as European giant is born

    The Paris media elite broke open the champagne on Monday night and partied away within sight of the Eiffel Tower after the boards of Canal Plus, Vivendi and eventually Seagram all agreed to a three-way merger between their companies in a $40.2bn deal including debt that creates Europe's first truly global entertainment conglomerate.More precise details of this new company, to be known as Vivendi Universal, will be unveiled on Tuesday morning, first at an analysts briefing, and then at
  • Chance joins Granada Media board

    Former BSkyB deputy managing director David Chance has joined UK media operation Granada Media as a non-executive director.The appointment comes as parent Granada Group is preparing to float its media division by mid-July. Granada is expected to stress Chance's experience in pay-TV and new media in the run-up to the float. Nigel Rich, chair of property concern the Hamptons Group, will also join as a non-executive director. The float is expected to raise cash for Granada t
  • Channel Nine to invest $12m in Indian programming

    Kerry Packer's Channel Nine is commissioning Indian producers after being awarded the daily 19.00-21.00 slot on Indian state broadcaster Doordarshan's Metro channel for a block of branded programming.The Australian company, which has set up offices in New Delhi and Mumbai, is investing $12m in Indian programming and plans to launch 28 new shows including game shows, cinema-related shows and serials.The block will be beamed across India from August 1. All programmes will be Hindi
  • Checkpoint, Cinemedia, Senator team for B-movies

    German production and financing outfits Checkpoint Berlin Filmproductions and Cinemedia Film have teamed with local distributor Senator Films to produce a slate of unashamed B-movies under the label Planet B.Checkpoint and Cinemedia aim to produce four low-budget films under the strand, with Senator taking German rights. All will four be love-stories with a twist: Thomas Frick's Inspector Lovelorn, for example, is a film-noirish project about a private detective who turns into a
  • China Star launches web-site for Chinese film

    Hong Kong-based production house China Star Entertainment made its entry into the growing numbers of entertainment dotcoms today (June 19) with the launch of its web-site Star claims the site has one of the most extensive databases of Chinese movie information, with more than a thousand film-related documents from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Future plans include the webcast of 100 movies produced under an agreement with Yahoo! Asia which co-brands the site (Scre
  • Cosy Dens wins audience vote at Sydney fest

    Czech director Jan Hrebejk's black comedy Cosy Dens won the popularity vote among audiences at the Sydney Film Festival's traditional home, The State Theatre, while patrons of the new Dendy Opera Quays cinema voted for Dutch family film Little Crumb, directed by Maria Peters.The other favourites at The State were, in order of popularity, Zhang Yang's Shower from China, Majid Majidi's The Colour Of Paradise from Iran, Belgium director Frederic Fonteyne's A
  • Crazy

    Dir: Hans-Christian Schmid. Germany. 2000. 97mins.Prod co: Claussen + Woebke. Int'l sales: c/o Claussen + Woebke (+49 89 23 11 010). Prods: Jakob Claussen, Thomas Woebke. Scr: Hans-Christian Schmid, Michael Gutmann, based on the novel by Benjamin Lebert. DoP: Sonja Rom. Ed: Hansjoerg Weissbrich. Mus: Christoph Kaiser. Main cast: Robert Stadlober, Tom Schilling, Oona Devi Liebich, Julia Hummer, Dagmar Manzel, Burghart Klausner, Joerg Gudzuhn.Just five months after 16-year-
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon opens Jerusalem

    Next month's Jerusalem Film Festival has finally opted for Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as the opening night film after long deliberations.Lee is to attend the festival's 17th edition, which runs July 13-23, for the film's first screening after Cannes. The guest list also includes Kirk Douglas, German directors Volker Schloendorff and Wim Wenders, producer James Shamus, Hungarian director Istvan Szabo, and Polish actor-director Jerzy Stuhr.Amongst the titles
  • CSA to probe Vivendi Seagram merger

    French broadcast regulator, the Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), announced today that it plans to investigate the proposed merger of Vivendi, Canal Plus and Seagram.The CSA said it "plans to examine all the consequences of this operation on the audiovisual and programme-making industries." It will take into account shareholding structures and the separation of broadcast and production functions as required by French law. It will also look at whether Canal Plus will main
  • Die Unberuehrbare wins big at German Film Awards

    Oskar Roehler's drama No Place To Go (Die Unberuehrbare), which had its premiere in Cannes last month as part of Directors Fortnight, was the evening's big winner at the 50th German Film Awards in Berlin on June 16, winning the Best Film award, the DM1m ($494,000) Film Strip in Gold, and Best Actress, worth DM20,000 ($9,900) for lead actress Hannelore Elsner.In addition, the Film Award jury made amends for Wim Wenders' disappointment at this year's Academy Awards by prese
  • Factor 8 secures $167m through tax vehicle

    UK financing outfit Factor 8 Films raised $167m (£111m) for investing in features through its tax vehicle, the Voyager Film Partners, over the 12 months to April 5.The funding, raised through a combination of equity (22%) and debt (78%), returned $19.5m (£13m) in net cash benefit to producers. Factor 8 has re-launched the scheme for the current financial year and expects to complete up to $300m (£200m) in investmentsAmongst the 34 films that Factor 8 has been involved in are Cap
  • FilmFour bags UK rights to Small Time Crooks

    FilmFour has acquired all UK rights to Woody Allen's Small Time Crooks from Sweetland Films, marking the distributor's first theatrical release of an Allen film.The picture opened through DreamWorks in the US last month and has grossed $15m to date. The first weekend gross was the biggest ever for an Allen film.The caper comedy stars Allen as small time loser Ray Winkler and Tracey Ullman as his aspirational wife and former exotic dancer, Frenchy. Also starring are Michae
  • Germany's H5B5 acquires stake in Unapix

    Boutique German TV producer H5B5, has bought a 25% stake in fast-moving US mini-conglomerate Unapix Entertainment.The German outfit said: "this strategic shareholding is a very important step. It sustains [our] goal in selling high quality products on the US TV market and allows H5B5 Media to exploit all distribution channels."The company said that it will buy two million shares at $2.00 each and top up its stake with further purchases through the stockmarket. H5B5 will take thr
  • Good Housekeeping

    Dir: Frank Novak. US. 2000. 90 mins.Prod co: Modernica Pictures. Domestic dist (US): Shooting Gallery. Prod: Mark Mathis. Scr: Frank Novak. DoP: Alex Vendler. Prod des: Elizabeth Burhop. Editor: Fritz Feick. Main cast: Bob Mills (Don), Petra Westen (Donatella), Tacey Adams (Marion), Zia (Chuck), Al Schuermann (Joe), Andrew Eichner (Don Junior).Good Housekeeping occupies a squalid patch of Middle America that will be familiar to fans of Harmony Korine. However, Nova
  • Good Machine Int'l unveils Cannes sales deals

    Three year-old Good Machine International has unveiled a string of sales closed during and after the Cannes Film Festival, extending its relationships with key foreign independents such as Entertainment Film Distributors in the UK, Bac Film in France and Constantin Film in Germany, while striking first-time deals with Medusa Film in Italy, Sogepaq in Spain and Asmik Ace in Japan.'Entertainment took three titles - USA Films' The Barber Movie from film-makers Joel & Ethan Coen, T
  • Greek film gets exhibition boost from GFC

    Responding to the recent spectacular growth of local film, The Greek Film Centre (GFC) is launching a scheme - Film Centre 2000 - designed to secure more exhibition slots for domestic productions. Greek films racked up 2.3 million admissions this year (September 1999 - June 2000) - an almost five-fold increase over the previous year - a result which translates into an unprecedented 18% market share for local pictures. Yet despite the impressive results, a number of Greek titles have re
  • Iceland's 101 stands tall against Gladiator

    The North American summer box office got a reprieve over the five day holiday weekend, as Warner Bros' The Perfect Storm led the pack to an all-time record Independence Day weekend. At Tuesday, total box office for the weekend was estimated at $193m with predictions for the seven days ending Thursday of around $235m - up from last year's record of $222.5m.The Perfect Storm grossed a massive estimated $64m over the five day weekend - a particularly ripe period this year because many bu
  • J&M secures multiple sales to Japan

    UK-based sales and financing operation J&M Entertainment has sold a host of titles to Japanese distributors including Nippon Herald, Marubeni and Only Hearts.Marubeni acquired a package including UK thriller Complicity, starring Jonny Lee Miller; Fever, which marks Alex Winter's directing debut; History Is Made At Night, starring Bill Pullman; and Bodywork, directed by newcomer Gareth Rhys Jones.Nippon Herald picked up Paul Schrader's Forever Mine
  • Jonescompany pacts with FilmFour

    UK producer Robert Jones, whose credits include The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill, But Came Down A Mountain and The Usual Suspects, is striking a first-look deal with FilmFour, the company announced on Friday.The first three projects under the deal with Jones' London-based production outfit Jonescompany Productions include The New City. The adaptation of Stephen Amidon's US novel is about a feud between two mayoral candidates in a Utopian city. Jones is currently a
  • Lescure to head Vivendi Universal film activities

    Vivendi staff are to get the top jobs in the new Vivendi Universal combine, but Canal Plus' boss Pierre Lescure will oversee all film and TV activities.Jean-Marie Messier, Vivendi chairman and architect of the deal (see profile), will as expected, become chairman and CEO at the head of a 20-member board of directors. Lescure and Vivendi COO Eric Licoys will share power as co-COOs of the combined company.Edgar Bronfman Jr, the 45 year-old scion of the Bronfman clan who shook up d
  • Lusomundo, Forum sign on for Joe Roth films

    Joe Roth's Revolution Studios has closed the final international deals on its debut slate of 36 films to be made over the next six years. Lusomundo in Portugal and Forum Film in Israel have taken the films for their territories joining Senator Films (Germany), Toho-Towa and Pony Canyon (Japan) and Svensk Filmindustri (Scandinavia) as the only foreign independents with access to the pictures.Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has rights to the films in the rest of the world. SPE is a ke
  • Me, Myself And Irene

    Dirs: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly. US. 2000. 117 mins.Prod co: Conundrum Entertainment, 20th Century Fox. Worldwide dist: 20th Century Fox. Exec prods: Charles B Wessler, Tom Schulman. Prods: Bradley Thomas, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly. Scr: Farrelly, Farrelly & Mike Cerrone. DoP: Mark Irwin. Prod des: Sidney J Bartholomew. Ed: Christopher Greenbury. Mus: Peter Yorn, Lee Scott. Main cast: Jim Carrey, Renee Zellweger, Chris Cooper, Robert Forster.The Farrelly Brother
  • Mechanic quits Fox

    Bill Mechanic, the veteran chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment who backed Titanic, has quit.Mechanic resigned late on Thursday to form his own movie production company."The studio is in excellent shape with a strong summer line-up and terrific product into next summer, and so I feel now is the time to pursue other personal ambitions," Mechanic said.Mechanic, who had been at Fox for seven years, has yet to name his new, independent production outfit and declined to
  • Media Park mulls float in second half of year

    Barcelona-based content packager Media Park is studying the possibility of launching an initial public offer on at least a part of its shares.In a press statement, the group said that details and timing of the possible flotation are yet to be decided, dependent on Spain's market performance and the "global behaviour of the new economy in this second semester of the year."Earlier this month, Telefonica bought a 25% share in Media Park in what was widely seen as a politically-moti
  • Multichoice, Telefonica team for African launch

    African broadcaster Multichoice Africa, satellite operator Eutelsat and Telefonica de Espana have penned an agreement to launch a new digital satellite television platform to serve Sub-Saharan Africa.Called the first of its kind for the region, the new platform will have capacity for some 40 channels which can be received on even small TV receptors. Multichoice Africa - which boasts platforms in Europe, Asia and Africa - will provide the content for the new platform, while Eutelsat and
  • Murdoch's Sky Global Networks files for IPO

    Apparently unmoved by the prospect of links with Vivendi Universal, Rupert Murdoch yesterday filed details of Sky Global Networks with the US Securities & Exchange Commission ahead of a float in the US.Murdoch is creating the world's largest pay-TV operation by rolling into a single company all his satellite broadcast assets, including BSkyB in the UK, SkyPerfecTV in Japan, Stream in Italy and other broadcast operations in Latin America. Also included are TV Guide and technology compan
  • News Corp, PBL reportedly to quit Foxtel

    Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and Kerry Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL), which together own 50% of Australian pay-TV platform Foxtel, reportedly plan to switch allegiances and sign a significant programming deal with competitor Cable & Wireless Optus (C&W Optus). News Corp-owned newspaper The Australian reported today (June 20) that the two companies would pull out of Foxtel due to their frustration in dealing with its third shareholder, the half-privatised telecommu
  • Obituary: Tony Franklin

    Anthony (Tony) J.B. Franklin. Died Friday 16th June 2000, age 56, following a brief illness.Tony Franklin was my partner in DDA for 25 years. We met in Nassau in 1975, where he was the boss of one of my closest friends from Chester. Tony immediately made an impression. An accountant turned merchant banker with a taste for fast motorbikes, long hair and leather. He also had a taste for the unknown and quickly agreed to invest in DDA, both by buying 25% of the equity and by provid
  • ONrequest signs supply deal with Universal

    UK pay-per-view service ONrequest has signed a film supply deal with Universal Studios International. The non-exclusive deal allows ONrequest to screen Universal feature titles some six months ahead of premium pay-TV channels and at the same time as other pay-per-view channels such as Front Row or Sky Box Office. Titles covered by the deal are chiefly expected to be first run pictures such as Shakespeare In Love and Patch Adams but may also span library titles including
  • Oz giants get greenlight for joint Sydney cinema

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has greenlit a proposal from Australia's three largest exhibitors - Village Roadshow, Hoyts and Greater Union - to replace their separate cinemas on George Street, Sydney with a site in which they will share the same building, staff, box office and candy bar. The decision is based on assurances that competition between the businesses is maintained, but the ACCC has reserved the right to reconsider the arrangement. It is believed
  • Phoenix schedules float to fund expansion drive

    Chinese-language broadcaster Phoenix Satellite Television aims to raise up to $120m (HK$938m) from an initial public offering to fund ambitious expansion plans including the launch of three new channels, a new production base and an internet portal.The company has set a June 30 date to float on Hong Kong's Growth Enterprise Market (GEM). The flotation of 15% of the company's shares implies a market cap of HK$6.25bn, making it the third largest GEM stock, behind and SUNeVision H
  • Production report: Greek comedy wins local hearts

    Greek films have been performing strongly at the local box office this year, pulling in more than 2.5 million admissions - a five-fold increase over last year - and are poised to reach three million during the summer season, when open-air cinemas rerun recent films plus a few new releases. Admissions for the 1999-2000 season are expected to total 14 million.The rekindled love affair between the public and the local industry is due partly to increased screen availability for Greek films
  • Shaft - Top guy at the US Box Office with $21.1m

    Paramount Pictures, hot on the heels of Mission: Impossible 2, has scored another summer smash with its updated remake of 1971 blaxploitation classic Shaft. Featuring Samuel L Jackson as New York cop Shaft with original star Richard Roundtree as his uncle John, the movie grossed $21.1m over the three-day weekend beating off mixed reviews to lead the North American box office. Its screen average of $9,029 was by far the highest in the top ten.John Singleton directed the ne
  • Shareholders back AOL, Time Warner merger

    America Online's merger with Time Warner took a step towards completion this autumn after shareholders at both companies voted on Friday in favour of the mega-deal.AOL shareholders voted 97% in favour of the $123 billion merger, according to a preliminary count. Earlier in the day, Time Warner's shareholders approved the merger at a separate meeting in New York, with more than 99% voting in favour, according to Time Warner chairman Gerald Levin.Despite current scrutiny from
  • Sony, Fuji end stakeholding talks

    Electronics giant Sony Corporation is no longer considering taking a significant equity stake in leading Japanese commercial network Fuji Television Network, the companies announced on Friday.Hisashi Hieda, the president of Fuji Television Network, added that Sony is not the only investment partner Fuji is considering, but declined to name names. Local reports said last month that Sony was in final negotiations with Fuji TV to take a 10% stake in the network.According to the rep
  • Summer, or 27 Missing Kisses

    Dir: Nana Djordjadze. Germany-Georgia, 2000. 96 mins.Prod co: Egoli Films. Int'l sales: Wild Bunch (+33 1 4443 4384). Prods: Jens Meurier, Oliver Damian. Scr: Irakli Kvirikadze. DoP: Phedon Papamichael. Prod des: Vasha Dialagania. Editor: Vessela Martschewski. Music: Goran Bregovic. Main cast: Nuza Kuchianidze, Shaco Iashvilli, Evgeni Sidichin, Amalia Mordvinova, Pierre Richard, Levani.Underground, Underground, so much to answer for. When, around halfway int
  • Sweden's Tosh gets animated with Happy Life, EM.TV

    Swedish animation outfit Happy Life is teaming up with Germany's EM.TV and Irish production company Magma to produce a full-length animated feature based on popular Swedish children's character Tosh. The feature, titled The World Of Tosh, will be supported by a 26-episode animated TV series. Pre-production on the project has already started, although as yet there is no director signed up. The first episodes of the TV series will be finished in September 2001 and the series compl
  • Telefonica's Nieto likely to quit Antena 3 role

    Juan Jose Nieto, CEO of Spanish broadcaster Antena 3, admitted last Thursday during a shareholders' meeting that he might resign from his post in order to focus on his dual position as CEO of Telefonica Media and new member of Telefonica's powerful Executive Committee.Sources at the broadcaster suggested that Nieto's confirmation last Wednesday to the Executive Committee was a decisive move which draws the young executive further into the Telefonica fold and away from Antena 3, in whic
  • Telefonica's Villalonga under investigation

    Telefonica president Juan Villalonga has found himself at the centre of yet another media storm after a report in Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo that he benefited from insider information in the purchase of Telefonica stock options in 1998.According to El Mundo, Villalonga bought 264,224 stock options in the company with a $1.2m (PTS200m) loan in January of 1998, during negotiations between the Spanish telco and WorldCom-MCI.Spain's National Market Value Commissi
  • Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her

    Despite the twin stigmas of a first-time director and a difficult narrative - women's lives - producer Jon Avnet attracted an impressive ensemble cast to Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her. John Hazelton looks at the making of the film, directed by Rodrigo Marquez, a cinematographer and screenwriter, who is also the son of Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.January 1998Cinematographer Rodrigo Garcia is invited to the Sundance Film Institute's Write
  • UK distributors rally round Bafta pre-Oscars move

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) appears to be winning the all-important support of UK distributors for its plan to move its film awards to a profile-raising pre-Academy Awards slot.While there are still concerns amongst some key distributors, those contacted by Screendaily which backed a move from April 9 to February 25 ranged from US majors such as DreamWorks to leading independents including Pathe Distribution and FilmFour. Bafta intends to move the upc
  • UK film execs feature high in Queen's Honours list

    Stewart Till, deputy chair of UK film superbody the Film Council, Intermedia co-chairman Nigel Sinclair, and film finance specialist Premila Hoon are among the film industry executives to be honoured in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours list.Till, formerly president of Universal Pictures International and president of international for PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, was made a CBE for services to the film industry. Hoon, based at Societe General in London, was honoured with an OBE f
  • Universal takes territories on FilmFour's Gray

    Universal Pictures has clinched a major multi-territory deal with FilmFour on Gillian Armstrong's Charlotte Gray starring Cate Blanchett which will start shooting early next year. Universal has taken rights to the film in France, Benelux, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.The deal was negotiated by Carl Clifton, acting director of worldwide sales for FilmFour, with Graeme Mason and Sally Caplan for Universal.Warner Bros has North American right
  • VCL snaps up Woody Allen trio outside US

    Rapidly establishing itself as a "must know" rights owner, Germany's VCL has bought international rights to the next three comedies by Woody Allen.VCL is to co-produce and co-finance the trio and will take world rights for 40 years. A deal for North America was signed with DreamWorks SKG in April (Screendaily, April 12).The package has been shopped around for some months by Allen's agents John Burnham and Cassian Elwes of The William Morris Agency. They attempted to piece
  • Warner Village Italy launches summer special

    Due to a marked lack of summer blockbusters, Warner Bros and Village Roadshow's Italian outpost, Warner Village Cinemas Italia, is launching a discount ticket scheme to run for the next two months.The summer special, which starts now and runs until August 24, offers tickets priced at $5 (L10,000) at multiplexes in Verona, Vicenza and Rome. An environment friendly scheme is being run at the Adriatic resort town of Pescara, where tickets will be sold for only $4 (L8,000) if customers can
  • Wood moves from Redbus to Films2

    UK internet operation Films2, a division of video-on-demand company Filmgroup, has appointed Jason Wood as films specialist.Wood will be replaced as head of sales at filmgroup's distribution arm Redbus Film Distribution by Mervyn Andrews, previously sales manager at PolyGram Filmed Entertainment in the UK. Wood will be responsible for liasing with theatrical distributors and exhibitors and will write reviews for Films2's recently-launched website, was one of the
  • Zee, Reliance join race to wire India

    India's communications infrastructure is set for two massive tranches of investment as corporate giant Reliance Industries and media conglomerate Zee Telefilms have unveiled separate plans to build major cable networks across the country.Zee, owned by Indian mogul Subhash Chandra, is investing about $2.5bn in building a hybrid fibre optic-coaxial cable network along with production studios and its previously announced E Cities network of multiplexes in India. The network is intended to