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23 March 2005

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  • Hong Kong producers focus on big budget films

    While the inaugural Entertainment Expo looks set toreinforce the local film industry's international status, it takes placeduring a difficult chapter in the evolution of Hong Kong cinema. Production levels haverecently shrunk to record lows as producers opt for fewer but bigger-budgetproductions and the industry faces a fresh onslaught from new forms of piracy. Alarming statistics suggestthat illegal downloading is already rampant in Hong Kong and its major exportmarket, mainlan
  • Animated Triplets wins top prize at Canada's Genie Awards

    French animated feature TheTriplets Of Belleville won the BestMotion Picture Genie at the 25th annual Genie Awards in Toronto lastnight. As anticipated Quebecoispictures dominated the evening, particularly Memoires Affectives (Looking For Alexander) which won prizes for Direction for Francis Leclerc,Best Actor for Roy Dupuis and Best Original Screenplay for Leclerc and MarcelBeaulieu. The film won four prizes at Quebec's Jutra Awards last month.Pascale Bussi
  • Aniston joins Universal comedy The Break-Up

    Jennifer Aniston has joined Vince Vaughn inUniversal's comedy The Break-Up,which is set to begin production in early June and is scheduled for release onFeb 17 2006.Jay Lavender and Jeremy Garelick are writing the screenplay, which is based onan original idea by Vaughn, who brought the project to the studio and willserve as producer.Peyton Reed, whose credits include Down With Love and Brin
  • April Snow set to engulf Asia

    South Korean distributor Show East is enjoying anunprecedented media blitz from across Asia for its upcoming title April Snow- which is being marketed as Korea's first Asia-wide blockbuster ahead of itsSeptember release.On March 17, a visit to the film's setattracted over 350 local and international press members, including 100reporters who flew in at their own expense from Japan. Also present at the event were journalistsfrom Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore.The p
  • Atmosphere, Relativity team up for new Chiller

    Mark Canton's production companyAtmosphere Entertainment and financing outfit Relativity Media have formedChiller Films, a joint venture to produce several films a year budgeted at upto $20m each. Canton andRelativity principal Ryan Kavanaugh will produce with Atmosphere's SteveBarnett and Relativity's Lynwood Spinks serving as executive producers. The partners arein talks with distributors on the first project and expect to have a first-lookco-financing deal in place shortly.
  • Atrix, Sola take on Toronto, Sundance hit Forest

    Beatrix Wesle'sAtrix Films and Solveig Langeland's Sola Media, which has a sales partnershipthat has handled Austria's Antares and German thriller Silentium, has taken onworldwide sales rights excluding Germany and France to Sundance award-winner ForestFor The TreesDirected by Maren Ade, Forest For The Trees played at the Toronto International FilmFestival last year and won a special jury prize in the inaugural world cinemacompetition section at Sundance this year. It is
  • Au cranks up Nana in Hong Kong

    Hong Kong's Daniel Wu and Chinese actress Zhou Xun are set tostar in Nana, the feature debut of acclaimed music video director SusieAu which starts shooting tomorrow (March 24) in Hong Kong. Producedby Philip Lee's October Pictures and Au's Handmade Films, the film will be shotin Hong Kong, Shanghai and Harbin with release tentatively scheduled for theend of the year.
  • AUSTRALIA 22 March

    The Australian teen picture Hating Alison Ashleygrossed A$531,144 from 180 screens in its first four days in cinemas, enablingit to claim the fourth spot in the chart. The Hoyts film, which is adapted fromthe well-known book of the same name, attracted additional publicity because ofthe first-time film presence of pop star Delta Goodrem, although the biggerrole belongs to young actor Saskia Burme
  • Australia's FFC gets involved in Hell

    Australia's Film Finance Corporation (FFC) isto invest in Richard Frankland's To Hell And Bourke, only the thirdfeature ever to be made by an indigenous Australian writer/director.Following a board meeting yesterday, the FFC said itintended to finance the film if producer Ross Hutchens can raise the rest ofthe finance and meet various conditions. Frankland's two shorts, No Way toForget and Harry's War, are highly acclaimed.Only two other indige
  • Blue Eyelids wins Guadalajara project market

    Mexican project Blue Eyelids (Parpados Azules) byErnesto Contreras, a former Berlinale Talent Campus participant, was named thewinner of the first Ibero-American Co-production Meeting at last week'sGuadalajara International Film Festival.Blue Eyelids beat nineteen other projects to takethe prize. All of the projects were presented by their respective directors toa jury during two days of pitching sessions.Contreras has twice won prizes at Guadalajara for hisshort f
  • Candy cranks up in Sydney

    Principal photography has begun in Sydney on Candy,the big screen debut of theatre director Neil Armfield which stars HeathLedger, Abbie Cornish and Geoffrey Rush.Based on Luke Davies' best seller of the same name, Candyis described by director and co-writerArmfield as "a convention-defying romantic tragedy that is at once inspiringand heartbreaking."Candy is produced by Margaret Fink and Emile Sherman. It is executiveproduced by Richard Payten and Andrew Ma
  • Cannes launches world cinema showcase

    The Cannes Festival has launched anew initiative designed to showcase world cinema called Tous Les Cinemas DuMonde. Open to Cannes Festival goersand the accredited public, the non-competitive programme will spotlight thecinematic talent of a different country for each day of the festival. In 2005, its inaugural year,six countries will be selected to screen films or even use the
  • Cannes names de France as mistress of ceremonies

    Belgian actress Cecile deFrance has been named mistress of ceremonies for this year's Cannes FilmFestival (May 11-22), reports Agence France Presse. De France will oversee theopening and closing ceremonies.The actress, who is in her late twenties, has been very busyin the past few years notably making a splash in Cedric Klapisch's PotLuck for which she won a Cesar award asbest female newcomer. She will also be seen in the upcoming sequel to thatfilm, Russian Dolls.
  • Celestial beefs up international sales activities

    Hong Kong's CelestialPictures is expanding its international distribution activities beyond the ShawBrothers library to include third-party pick-ups and films it has co-financed,such as Peter Chan's upcoming musical Perhaps Love.At this week's FilMart,Celestial will be selling two films produced by Hong Kong's Abba Movies -Wilson Yip's kung-fu action title SPL and A Gan's romantic drama LoveMessage. The company is handlingAsian territories on SPL, whi
  • Cinema ticket price war erupts in South Africa

    A full blown cinema ticket price warhas broken out in South Africa.Nu Metro, one of the country'sleading exhibitors, has slashed its tickets to just $2 (R12) from $5.75 (R35).Themove follows last week's decision by South Africa's biggestexhibitor, Ster Kinekor, to cut its prices to $2.3(R14) at the majority of its cinemas nationwide - also down from $5.75.
  • Darclight Films picks up kung-fu drama SPL

    Darclight Films, the genre division of Australian-US saleshouse Arclight, has picked up international sales rights outside Asia to WilsonYip's forthcoming SPL.The$3.8m police kung-fu action drama is recently completed and was picked up byDarclight's Gary Hamilton on the eve of Hong Kong Entertainment Expo, the newevent which encompasses FilMart and the Hong Kong Asia Fil
  • DENMARK 22 March

    While it took leadposition in several major territories over the weekend CGI-animated film Robotswas unable to take the lead in Denmark despite a superior screen count to everyother film on release in the country.However, the filmthat kept Robots off the top spot was not last weekend's leader Hitchenjoying
  • Dygra racks up further Midsummer pre-sales

    Spanish animation producer Dygra Films has pre-sold itsanticipated new feature film Midsummer Dream to Scanbox Entertainmentfor rights in five Scandinavian countries.Scanbox took rights in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland andDenmark, meaning the film has now racked up pre-sales to 61 internationalterritories through sales handler Lumina Films.The deal was closed at the recent Cartoon Movie market inBerlin, where Dygra's new executive producer Tania Pinto Da Cunha, formerl
  • Exorcist: The Prequel

    Dir:Paul Schrader. US. 2005. 111mins.Shroudedin controversy, almost buried at birth by its producers Morgan Creek (whocommissioned an alternative version by Renny Harlin), Paul Schrader's Exorcistprequel is a far richer affair than its troubled production history mightsuggest. A notable improvement on Harlin's rushed job (released to mediocrebusiness and largely damning reviews last year), this is a grown-up horrormovie in which performance and character development ma
  • First timer Bousman gets Saw 2 directing gig

    First-time writer-director Darren Lynn Bousman will directSaw 2, the sequel to Twisted Pictures'2004 horror hit that grossed close to $100m worldwide through Lions Gate.Principalphotography is set to begin on May 2 in Toronto in time for a Halloween releasein North America.TwistedPictures' Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules and Mark Burg are producing, as they didon the original.Saw director James Wan and Leigh Whannel,that picture's writer and co-star, are serving
  • FRANCE 22 March

    The star of 2004's highestgrossing film Les Choristes, Gerard Jugnot, opened strongly with hislatest director/star turn Boudu. Boudu ranked number one and generated just over half amillion admissions in its first week. Ray fell to number two with a cumulative$7,281,905 in its third week. Jennifer Garner vehicle Elektrawas number three in its debut week with 241,007 tickets sold on 496 screens.Wes Andersen's The Lif
  • French, Chinese film-makers eye closer co-operation

    Searching for a new sort of entente cordiale betweenfilmmakers from France and China was at the heart of "French Day" at HongKong's Entertainment Expo.The day kicked off with a seminar on the common groundbetween the two industries. Interestingly, the lingua franca was English, withall six panellists from France, Hong Kong and mainland China using theAnglo-Saxon tongue. Patrick Lamassoure, who heads France Film, said"French-Chinese co-productions are currently being hindered by
  • German distributor Solo files for insolvency

    Munichbased distributor Solo-Film has become the latest casualty in the Germandistribution scene's seemingly never ending round of insolvencies.Solo's managing director Peter Heinzemann confirmed that his company had been forced to file for insolvency onWednesday (March 16) after a key licensing company called for payment due on afilm license.
  • Hating Alison Ashley

    Dir: Geoff Bennett. Aus.2004. 102mins.Australiansinger, soap star and media darling Delta Goodrem makes her feature debut in HatingAlison Ashley, an uneven teens-at-school feature in which she looks like anundernourished member of staff rather than one of the gang.Thebuild-up buzz to the 250-screen Hoyts rollout in Australia on Ma
  • HDNet Films readies drama One last Thing

    HDNet Films has greenlightedthe drama One Last Thing, whichrecounts the struggle of a terminally ill young boy and his mother and willstar Cynthia Nixon and Michael Angarano.Barry Stringfellow wrote the screenplay and Alex Steyermark will direct, withHDNet Films co-presidents Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente serving as producersalong with Susan Stover.Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban, whose 2929 Entertainment owns HDNet Films, are onboard as executive producers.Shooting
  • Hitch, Constantine close in on $100m

    Hitch remained the top international picture for the thirdweekend in a row and should pass $100m on Monday after adding an estimated $23mon 5,160 prints in 48 markets for a $98m running total through Sony PicturesReleasing International (SPRI).Highlights were a number one $4.4m debut in France on 569 prints despite theexcellent European weather and strong number one holds in the UK, Germany andAustralia.Ticket sales are expected to continue strongly this week going into
  • Hong Kong's inaugural Expo lures international players

    HongKong's first ever Entertainment Expo (March 22 - April 6) gets underwaytonight with a splashy opening ceremony attended by local stars including HongKong's "Entertainment Ambassador" Tony Leung Chiu-wai andsinger Coco Lee. Starting from tomorrow, three of the film events within Expo- FilMart, the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) and the Hong KongInternational Film Festival (HKIFF) - will take place side by side. The HongKong Film Awards will be held this Sunday and the fes
  • Hooligans dominates SXSW narrative prizes

    Lexi Alexander'sadrenaline-charged drama Hooligans starringElijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani and Marc Warren won both thenarrative jury prize and narrative feature audience award at the 2005 SXSW FilmFestival at the weekend.US distributors are circling the picture, which stars Wood as a Harvarddrop-out who visits his sister in London and endears himself to a gang offootball hooligans. A UK release is set for August through UIP.Michele Ohayon's Cowboy del Am
  • Hotel checks out with Diagonale top prize

    Jessica Hausner's psychological thriller Hotelwas the big winner at this year's Diagonale - Festival of Austrian Cinemapicking up the Euros 25,000 Diagonale Grand Prix and the Euros 11,000 ThomasPluch Screenplay Prize. Hotel was shown at theDiagonale as an Austrian premiere and has been re-edited since it wasoriginally presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes FilmFestival last year. The film will now be released by Filmladen in Austria onApril 1.Oth
  • Indian Festival of Los Angeles unveils galas

    The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) (April20-24) has announced its line up of special gala presentations.The Festival will kick off with the Hollywood Premiere of SanjayLeela Bhansali's drama Black.The Centerpiece Gala is the Los Angeles Premiere of AnuragKashyap's thriller based on true events, Black Friday.The Closing Night Gala is the Los Angeles Premiere of Bharatbala'sromantic adventure comedy Hari Om.The announcement was made
  • Indian film industry on course for rapid growth

    The Indian film industry is projected to be worth $3.3bn(R143bn by 2010, up from R$1.35bn according to a new industry report.India is the world's largest producer of films by volume,producing almost 1,000 movies a year but accounts for only 1% of global filmindustry revenues, the report by consultant KPMG India and the Confederation ofIndian Industry said. Producer Subhash Ghai, who heads CII's entertainmentpanel, said the government needed to play an active role in helping thei
  • Israel opens up film funds to international producers

    Internationalfilm producers can now apply to Israeli film funds for financing thanks torecent changes in the Israeli Film Law.A new clause recently added to the Film Law allows localfilm funds to invest in international film productions whose themes promoteIsrael's national interests - whether there is Israeli participation in thefilm's production or not. The first film to bene
  • Italian Amore powers into international chart

    GiovanniVeronesi's comedy-drama Manuale d'Amore powered its way onto theinternational chart last weekend thanks to a strong opening in Italy.Thefilm, which tells four stories about different stages in relationships from afirst kiss to abandonment, took the country's lead spot with a superb $3.8m off482 screens - both a high figure and a high screen count. The launch propelledit into ninth place on the international chart. ItItaly, Manuale d'Amore knocked Hitch
  • ITALY 17 March

    During another busy weekendat the Italian box office, Medusa had a hit on its hands with La Terza Stella,which opened at number five and earned $813,985 from 204 screens. The localcomedy, from popular TV comic duo Ale & Franz, registered a strong average of$3,990 per screen.However, the weekend's otherItalian new release, The Clan, opened disappointingly. Directed byChristian De Sica, the musical comedy opened on 180 screens but earned only$290,320 for
  • Katapult takes on Fessenden's Winter

    LA-basedKatapult Film Sales has taken on international rights to Larry Fessenden's $7msupernatural thriller The Last Winter, which stars Ron Perlman and is currently shooting inIceland.The story is setin Northern Alaska, where an oil crew succumbs to a mysterious fear after oneof their team is found dead. James LeGros, Connie Britton and Kevin Corriganalso star.Antidote Films'Jeff Levy-Hinte, whose credits include Thirteen, Laurel Canyon and High Art, is pro
  • Lau turns Focus onto Asian film-making talent

    Hong Kong starAndy Lau's Focus Films plans to finance a series of six high definition (HD)features from up-and-coming Asian filmmakers, as part of a drive to bring newtalent into the Chinese-language film industry. The regionalproject, "Focus: First Cuts", was unveiled today at Hong Kong's FilMart. Focuswill oversee production and international sales of all six features which areintended for HD projection in cinemas and home video release. Star ChineseMovies Network has exclusive pay-T
  • Lions Gate Family Entertainment joins Foodfight!

    The fledgling Lions GateFamily Entertainment has announced its first feature project Foodfight!, a 3D animated story about the after-hours antics ofa supermarket that features the voices of Hilary and Haylie Duff.Lions Gate is co-producing with Larry Kasanoff's Threshold Animation Studiosand has acquired North American rights for an autumn 2006 release.Kasanoff is directing the project based on a story he co-wrote with JoshuaWexler. Brent Friedman, Rebecca Swanson and S
  • Live-In Maid (Cama Adentro)

    Dir/scr:Jorge Gaggero. Arg-Sp. 2004. 87mins.Jorge Gaggero'sprize-winning Live-In Maid (Cama Adentro) is a wonderfully touching,understated two-hander from Argentina which has been an audience-pleaser at theSan Sebastian, Brussels and Sundance film festivals. Indeed, it won a specialjury prize in the inaugural world drama competition section of Sundance. Its release in Argentina has been pencilled in for May.Boasting
  • Lorelei: The Witch Of The Pacific Ocean (Rorerai)

    Dir: Shinji Higuchi Jap.2004. 128minsLorelei may have the typical elements of a submarine movie(exploding depth charges, steely-jawed captain), but is nonetheless a genrestandout. Produced by Fuji TV's Chihiro Kameyama - the Japanese JerryBruckheimer, who was also responsible for the megahit Bayside Shakedownfilms - Lorelei is the first Japanese film of its kind in nearly fivedecades. It is also another Kameyama hit, debuting at number one at theJa
  • Magician conjures up top prize at Guadalajara

    The 20th Guadalajara International Film Festival wrapped onFriday night (March 18) with The Magician( El Mago), by first time director Jaime Aparicio, named bestfilm in the Mexican competition section.The jury, which comprised Mexican screenwriter Paz AliciaGarciadiego and Spanish directors Gerardo Herrero and Fernando Trueba, handedthe best director prize to another newcomer, Ricardo Benet, for Distant News(Noticias Lejanas).Full length documentary No One (De N
  • Malaga festival unveils first films in competition line-up

    The 8th annual editionof the Spanish Film Festival of Malaga (April 22-30) has unveiled the first five featuresset to compete in its official line-up, which kicks off with opening film AntsIn The Mouth by Mariano Barroso.The five competitors, representing some of the most anticipated new filmsout of Spain this season, include Filmax's To Die In San Hilario (Morir EnSan Hilario),
  • Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous

    Dir: John Pasquin. US.2005. 112mins.Released four years ago,the first Miss Congeniality proved to be an amiable comedy, filled withamusing, if predictable, pratfalls and a few out-loud laughs. The real draw wasSandra Bullock, whose gift for comedy makes almost any movie she is inwatchable - apart from, possibly, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous.Poor reviews will not keepBullock fans away for the first couple of weekends (the sequel opens on Mar
  • New Line announces Final Destination 3 leads

    RyanMerriman and Mary Winstead have been cast in the leads for New Line's upcomingthriller franchise instalment Cheating Death: Final Destination 3.An Apr 1 production start has been slated for the story, which takes place sixyears after the events of Final Destination 2 and centres
  • NEW ZEALAND 22 March

    The Ring Two scaredits UIP stablemate, Meet The Fockers, off the top of the chart on theweekend. In its opening weekend The Ring Two grossed NZ$298,535 from 43screens. This equated to a screen average of NZ$6,943, the biggest in thechart. The other strongopener on the weekend was Be Cool, the third
  • Nippon Herald woes lead to stock market delist

    Leading Japanese distributor Nippon Herald is to be delistedfrom the Japanese stock-market after recently posting an annual loss of $43.4m.Kadokawa Holdings, the core company of the expandingKadokawa media group, is instead to make Nippon Herald a wholly ownedsubsidiary through a share swap. Kadokawa has purchased 43 percent of outstanding NipponHerald shares from production subsidiary Kadokawa Pictures. On July 27 Nippon Herald will be delisted and on August 2,Kadokawa w
  • North by Northwest script scheme unveils line-up

    Internationalscript development training programme North By Northwest has selected 70 youngwriters from across Europe to participate at this year's event. Themain programmes - Classics and Wizard of Oz (formerly titled Kids Stories) -consist of three script development and training workshops held over a 5month-period. Two thirds of the participants are writers attending with theirown projects and a third are trainee script editors. The writers and project
  • NORWAY 22 March

    Amongstthe smaller European territories to receive The Ring Two day-and-datewith the US, Norway saw the horror sequel gain the lead position ahead of Robotsat the box office.Admissions favoured Robots but the lower ticketprices for children saw The Ring Two the champion in grosses. This wasalso reflected in screen averages as The Ring Two played at 63 fewerscree
  • Official figures confirm Italian film investment slump

    In a further sign of thecrisis that has gripped the Italian film industry, new figures released bynational film body Anica show that Italian investment in local productiondropped 5.7% in 2004 while average budgets slumped 17.7%. On the upside, the data alsoshowed that while battling an economic crisis at home, Italians have beenlooking for opportunities overseas and are getting increasingly involved ininternational co-productions. Italians invested Euros284.4m last year on local
  • Paramount confirms talks with Berman

    Brad Grey'santicipated revolution at Paramount Pictures appeared to be underway yesterday[22] as it emerged that the studio was holding talks with Fox Entertainmentpresident Gail Berman.While a NewsCorp spokesman declined to comment on the development, Paramount confirmed thattalks had begun, throwing into uncertainty the current status of the leadingtelevision executive, who according to reports is either about to or hasalready resigned her post at the network."ParamountPicture
  • Perrin issues statement about Chorus controversy

    Producer JacquesPerrin has responded to threats of legal action by the father of one of thesingers in Christophe Barratier's Oscar nominated The Chorus by saying he will only answer to thecourts.FrancisHartmann, whose daughter sang on the award winning soundtrack, has alleged thather participation has not been properly remunerated. It was reported earlierthis month that he is considering bringing suit against Perrin's Galatee Filmswhich produced the movie.
  • Pinewood Shepperton hit by weak dollar, tax uncertainty

    The UK's Pinewood SheppertonStudios warned on Monday that its first half results for this year would bedown year on year, citing a weak dollar and an unstable tax landscape in theUK.The studio combine warnedthat the two factors had caused delays in the timing of some key productionsprovisionally booked at Pinewood Shepperton. However, Pinewood Sheppertonwas boosted by last week's budget, when the Chancellor promised a replacementfor Section 42, which some had feared would be scr
  • Quinta names Alatan as head of development

    Tarak Ben Ammar's rapidlyexpanding group Quinta Communications has appointed Faruk Alatan as its head ofdevelopment. Industry veteran Alatan, who isbased in Rome, will continue in his present roles as head of film acquisitionfor Medusa and senior advisor to Mediaset's Film trade arm.The move underlines thebusiness development and film distribution ambitions being hatched by the
  • Robert Lazarus (1961-2005)

    Robert Lazarus, a veteran ofthe film industry who worked at companies including Turner Pictures and MutualFilm Co, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 43 after a long pulmonaryillness.Lazarus, a popular figure inthe entertainment industry both in the US and in international markets, leavesbehind his life partner John E Ferraro of Los Angeles, California, his parentsHerb and Shelley Lazarus of Woodland Hills, California, his brother Sid ofTulsa, Oklahoma, and his brother Michael, of V
  • Robots set to storm across major markets

    Fox International gives itsanimated picture Robots a massivepush this weekend, with major debuts scheduled for a number of leading marketsahead of the Easter break.Blue Sky/Fox's follow-up to 2002's Ice Age was due to open in Germany on a huge 900 prints and Russia on 279 onMar 17, followed a day later in the UK on 764, Spain on 427, Brazil on 378, andSweden on 120.Strong debuts seem assured given the strength of Hollywood animation and theimpressive debuts by
  • S. Africa admissions to surge as exhibitor slashes prices

    South Africa's largest exhibitor Ster-Kinekorhas slashed the price of its cinema tickets in a move that is expected to leadto a surge in admissions in the country.Ster Kinekor said that movie tickets will cost just$2.3 (R14) at the majority of its cinemas nationwide from this Friday - downfrom $5.75m (R35). Theexhibitor owns 37 cinemas and five drive-ins and has a total of 348 screensand over 50 000 seats. CEOFerdi Gazendam expects cinema attendance to increase from 16.5
  • Schrader defiant as Exorcist prequel unveiled

    Paul Schrader was indefiant mood as his Exorcist The Prequel was finally unveiled this weekend at the Brussels InternationalFestival of Fantastic Film. Flanked at Friday's pressconference by nine of his cast and crew, who had flown in to Belgium at theirown expense to support him, Schrader expressed his happiness that audiences arebeing allowed to make up their own minds about his film. He also attackedproducers Morgan Creek - who had originally binned Schrader's footage andshot
  • Sepet

    Dir/scr: Yasmin Ahmad.Malay. 2004.104minsWhile it may be foolhardyto doubt the power of love to sell cinema tickets around the world, it isunlikely that star-crossed Malaysian tearjerker Sepet will enjoy muchgood fortune beyond home.
  • SPC finally completes deal to buy 2046

    Sony PicturesClassics (SPC) has finally completed its acquisition of US and English Canadianrights to Wong Kar-wai's epic romance 2046, which first played in competition at Cannes last year.The film, whichhas already opened in the UK, France, Japan, Germany and most otherinternational markets, was recut after its Cannes screening by the fastidiousdirector and relaunched for its Chinese release on Sept 31, 2004. The newversion also opened the Pusan Film Festival on Oct 7.T
  • Sundream launches with $38.5m production war chest

    Sundream Motion Pictures, the new film venture of Hong Kong's pay TVoperator i-CABLE Communication, officially launched today at Filmart.Sundream plans to finance 15-20 feature films with a total investment of$38.5m (HK$300m) over two years.Tsui Siu Ming, executive director, programming services ofi-CABLE subsidiary Hong Kong Cable TV, will head the new company as president. Its debut slateincludes a mega budget US$20m about Cao Cao, the ruler of Northern Chinaaround 200.
  • The Liberace Of Baghdad

    Dir. Sean McAllister. UK-Den. 2004.75mins.A documentary that goes behind the dailyheadlines out of Iraq, The Liberace OfBaghdad focuses on a pianist whose professional career came to an abruptend with the toppling of Saddam. Shot over eight months in Baghdad in 2004 attremendous peril to its director Sean McAllister, not to mention his subject,the film provides a vital insight into the impact on civilian life of th
  • The Ring Two

    Dir: Hideo Nakata. US.2005. 111mins.Hideo Nakata, famedJapanese horror director of Dark Water and Chaos, makes his USfilm debut with The Ring Two, the sequel to Gore Verbinski's 2002 remakeof Nakata's own Ringu (1998), although it is not modelled on Nakata'sown Japanese sequel Ringu 2 (1999). Ironically lacking in the creepinessthat Verbinski managed to infuse into the first American film, Nakatanevertheless fills the pic
  • The Ring Two dominates the field

    DreamWorks' horror sequel TheRing Two dominated the NorthAmerican box office over the weekend, opening top on an estimated $36m.Fox's animated champion of last weekend, Robots, fell to second place on $21.8m for a $66.9m runningtotal, while Buena Vista's family hit The Pacifier fell one to third on $12.5m and has grossed $72.3mafter three weekends.The steady performance of The Pacifiers and Robots' early successdampened Buena Vista's debutant
  • The Ring Two scares off the competition

    DreamWorks' horror sequel TheRing Two dominated the NorthAmerican box office over the weekend, opening top on an estimated $36m.Fox's animated champion of last weekend, Robots, fell to second place on $21.8m for a $66.9m runningtotal, while Buena Vista's family hit The Pacifier fell one to third on $12.5m and has grossed $72.3mafter three weekends.The steady performance of The Pacifiers and Robots' early successdampened Buena Vista's debutant
  • ThinkFilm prepares launch of international division

    ThinkFilm has announced itwill launch its new international sales division at Cannes headed up by veteraninternational executive Mark Horowitz.Horowitz and his team will arrive on the Croisette with a slate that includesthe Sundance documentaries Murderball, about quadriplegic rugby players, The Aristocrats, which focuses on stand-up comedians, and LieWith Me, an erotic drama fromClement Virgo that was acquired at Sundance.Also on offer will be The Last
  • ThinkFilm snaps up Protocols Of Zion

    ThinkFilm has picked up US rights to Marc Levin's stirringSundance documentary Protocols Of Zionand plans an autumn release.The picture premiered in the Special Screenings programme in Park City back inJanuary and screened in Berlin last month, and explores anti-semitic claimsthat the Jews were responsible for the 9/11 attacks.In particular Levin exposes the apocryphal Protocols, a sham document createdby the Russian secret police around the turn of the 20th centurypurp
  • Towards Mathilde (Vers Mathilde)

    Dir: Claire Denis. Fr.2005. 86mins.Claire Denis' career asdirector has seen her bounce back and forth between challenging butwell-crafted feature films (Beau Travail, Vendredi Soir) andother, less accessible stories that seem wilfully abstruse (Trouble EveryDay, L'Intrus).Vers Mathilde suggests that the more experimental, conceptual sideof the director's character may eventually find its true metier in thedocum
  • Triad thriller Ah Sou unveiled at Hong Kong's Filmart

    Hong Kongproduction outfit Filmko Films announced its first 2005 project at this week'sFilmart: Ah Sou, a US$3m Hong Kong-China co-production by risingdirector Wong Ching Po.Ah Sou, which literally means the big gangster'swife, centres around a 16-year-old girl who gets involved in gang wars andpower struggles. Taiwanese newcomer Annie Liu is set to play the title roletogether with a string of award winning actors: Simon Yam, Eric Tsang, AnthonyWong, mainland actor Liu Ye
  • Triplets wins Canada's Genie for top film

    As anticipated Quebecois picturesdominated the 25th Annual Genie Awards in Toronto [20],particularly Memoires Affectives (LookingFor Alexander) which won prizes forDirection for Francis Leclerc, Best Actor for Roy Dupuis and Best Original Screenplayfor Leclerc and Marcel Beaulieu. The picture won four prizes at Quebec's JutraAwards last month.Pascale Bussieres won the Best Actress prize for Ma VieEn Cinemascope, repeating her achievementat the Jutras, while Best Ad
  • Turkish Gambit (Turetskii Gambit)

    Dir: Dzhanik Faiziyev.Russ. 2005. 132mins.The new epic-scaleRussian detective yarn set during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, TurkishGambit grossed $6.1m in its opening weekend, eclisping the success offantasy feature Night Watch. But despite such hallmarks of world-classshowmanship as Indiana Jones-style action, creative Amelie-like visualeffects and unique subject matter, Dzhanik Faiziyev's , $3.5m feature isultimately an uneven mix of genres with poorly-d
  • UK sees launch of Screen Financiers Association

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