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23 March 2006

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  • A dialogue with Marc Shmuger and David Linde

    Marc Shmuger and DavidLinde (pictured), the new co-chiefs at Universal Studios, spoke to Screen yesterday abouttheir new roles at the company, the future of Focus Features and theinternational distribution arm which begins operating in Jan 2007.Screen: First, what will happen at Focus, David' Will JamesSchamus be sole president'Linde: I'm not leaving today so I am still going to maintainmy involvement for a while. In answer to your question, this is wher
  • Action star Sammo Hung to direct gangster saga

    Sundream MotionPictures, the film production arm of Hong Kongcable operator i-Cable, has lined up veteran actionstar Sammo Hung to direct big-budget period epic Howling Arrow.Scheduled to shoot from September, the film follows acommunity of gangsters at the end of the Qing dynastyin North-East China, at the turnof the 20th Century.According to Sundream president Tsui Siu-ming, the film will bebudgeted at the same level as Sund
  • Adrift finds safe harbour with Korean distributor

    Summit Entertainment hasclosed a deal with Korean major distributor Showbox Mediaplex forEnglish-language thriller Adrift. About a groupof holiday-makers who get stranded in the water without a ladder to get back upinto their yacht - with a baby alone on board, the film was all but sold out inBerlin. Korean acquisitionsexecutives had nevertheless found it a problematic film to buy for theirmarket, citing similarities to Open Water
  • American Dreamz opens ninth Bermuda festival

    The ninth Bermuda International Film Festival willkick off tonight with a screening of Paul Weitz's American Dreamz,a satire of American politics and show business starring Dennis Quaid, Willem Dafoe, Hugh Grant and Mandy Moore. The festival has expanded to a nine-day event thisyear, and will close March 25 with Julian Jarrold'sBritish com
  • Animus acquires international rights to Celestine

    Miami-based Animus Entertainment Group has picked up worldwiderights excluding the US, Canada and Puerto Rico to the upcoming adaptation ofJames Redfield's international new age bestseller The Celestine Prophecy.
  • Antony Szeto's Wushu gets golden touch

    Golden Network has picked up international rights to Hong Kong-based director Antony Szeto's Wushu, which is currently in pre-production.Produced by Hong Kong's Hippopotamus Films, the $1.5m drama is a coming-of-age story set in a martial arts school in a remote corner of China.Szeto is an award-winning action choreographer who recently worked on Naresuan ,directed by Thailand's Prince Chatrichalerm Yuko. He's also attached to direct drama Jessica Caught On Tape, se
  • Ayres' family saga unites Oz and Singapore

    The firstAustralia-Singapore co-production, Tony Ayres' The Home Song Stories starring China-born American actress Joan Chen, isto start filming next month in Melbourne and later in Macau for a 2007delivery. Christopher Doyle is the cinematographerBig and Little Films'Michael McMahon and Liz Watts of Porchlight Films are producing the epic dramain collaboration with the Film Finance Corporation Australia and Singapore's MediaCorpRaintree Pictures.Fortissimo Films has take
  • Ayres' family saga unites Oz, Singapore

    The firstAustralia-Singapore co-production, Tony Ayres' The Home Song Stories starring China-born American actress Joan Chen, isto start filming next month in Melbourne and later in Macau for a 2007delivery. Christopher Doyle is the cinematographerBig and Little Films'Michael McMahon and Liz Watts of Porchlight Films are producing the epic dramain collaboration with the Film Finance Corporation Australia and Singapore's MediaCorpRaintree Pictures.Fortissimo Films has take
  • Biopic spies North Korean location shoot

    A biopic about a Korean composer who was found guilty of spying for the North while in Germany is about to become the firstSouth Korean film to shoot on location in North Korea's capital city. LJ Film, with the backing ofparent company Innotz/Prime Entertainment, looks set to film Yun Isang, TheWounded Dragon (working title) in Pyongyang. Lee Seung-jae, CEO of LJFilm and head of production at Prime Entertainment, arrived back in Seoul thisweekend after a week of talks wit
  • Bobby goes to North America through Weinsteins

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) has acquired domestic rights from LosAngeles-based Bold Films to Emilio Estevez' keenly anticipated Bobby Kennedyassassination drama Bobby.
  • Brisk business for close of Thessaloniki doc fest

    TheThessaloniki Documentary Festival-Images of the 21stCentury and its concurrent Doc FilmMarket wrapped over the weekend.VictorKossakovsky's Svyato (Russia), Dani Menkin's 39 Pounds ofLove (USA), the Kimon Tsakiris'Greek production Sugar Town-TheBridegrooms as well as Angelos Kovotsos' Kleon Krantonellis and Yorgos Papakonstantinou's Takis Zenetos (from thePortraits of Greek Architectsseries) received the Audience Awards, sponsor
  • BVI hires production and acquisitions head in India

    Shyam PS has been named head of film production and acquisitionsat Buena Vista International (India) as The Walt Disney Company moves toexplore synergies with Bollywood.
  • C.R.A.Z.Y. takes 13 prizes out of 13 nominations at Quebec's Jutra Awards

    Jean-Marc Vallee's C.R.A.Z.Y. literally swept the 2006 Jutra Awards, thecelebration of cinema in Quebec, to continue its domination of Canada's cinemaprizes. One week after winning ten prizes at Canada's Genie Awards, includingBest Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor, the Quebecois filmwon in each of the thirteen categories for which it was nominated, includingall the above categories as well as prizes for Best Supporting Actor (for whichthe film had two actors nominate
  • Carlos Saura's Iberia to open Guadalajara Film Festival

    The 21st edition of the Guadalajara Film Festival starts FridayMarch 24 with the gala presentation of Carlos Saura'sIberia.Mexico's most establishedfestival and a major one within Latin America finds itself at aturning point as it needs to redefine its image and scope after it turned intoa fully-fledged international event
  • China-led crossover epics 'draining' Asia dry

    Mid-budget producersin Asia are facing a crisis as investmentdollars are drained into mega co-productions, leading to a "drought" of talent,according to Applause co-founder Peter Chan Ho-sun.Speaking at Filmart'sSeminar On Film Financing yesterday, the director said the commercial realitiesof mounting large-scale China epics means the films "must be big,spend $10-$30m, must be period, martial arts. S
  • China's Lotus remakes Japanese smash

    Hong Kong and Beijing-basedproduction house Lotus Entertainment has acquired the Chinese-languageadaptation rights to 1980s Japanese blockbuster Kamata Koshin Kyoku (TheFall Guy). Based on the successfulJapanese play by Tsuka Kohei, who also wrote the screenplay, the originalJapanese film was produced by Haruki Kadokawa for Shochiku in 1982 and went onto gross more than $25m. The $5m Chinese adaptationwill be produced by Thomas Leong for Lotus, with Leong's long-time Kore
  • Chinese outlets hunger for Golden titles

    Hong Kong sales outfit Golden Sun has racked up three major deals at Filmart, selling a record high of 148 Chinese titles from its library to a Guangzhou-based video-on-demand company. Another package of about 100 films has gone to South TV Station from China while Thailand's home video distributor WPM has picked up about 60 titles.According to Golden Sun managing director Ketsarinh Lan, some of the titles sold include Dragon Fight, High Risk and The New Legend Of Shaolin, al
  • Chinese studio start-up hires sales veteran

    Korean sales executive Bill Hwang has moved to Meridian Pictures Group(MPG) as Director of International Distribution. Formerly of Tube Entertainment and KangJeKyu Film, Korean-AustralianHwang has relocated to Shanghai to join the newly formed Chineseinvestor/distributor.MPG is currently in the process of completing output deals for mainlandChina and international distribution from leading directors and productioncompanies in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Hwang says they a
  • Chinese TV's biggest film channel grabs MK trio

    Korean producer/distributor MK Pictures has announced a deal with China's government-run film channel CCTV-6 for broadcast rights to three films. The pact, signed in Beijing, is for MK Pictures library titles YMCA Baseball Team, a historical melodrama, Jung Ji-woo's critically acclaimed Happy End and melodrama If The Sun Rises In The West.With 700 million viewers, CCTV-6 is China's biggest film channel, and recently started broadcasting 24 hours a day in 2006.MK Pictur
  • Company 9 wins best film at 19th Nika Awards in Russia

    The 19th annual Nika Awards ceremony took place in Moscow on Friday, March17. This year's awards yielded no realsurprises. Alexei Uchitel's character study Dreaming Of Space,Alexei Guerman, Jr.'shistorical drama Garpastumand Fyodor Bondarchuk's Afghan war epic and Company 9 managed to win multipleawards. Company 9, which was the box-office sensation of last year in Russia, took BestFilm, Best Music and some technical credits. Oddly, while Bondarchukwas nomin
  • Croatian Wonderful Night In Split wins at RiverRun festival

    Arsen Anton Ostojic's Croatian drama A Wonderful Night In Split dominated the closing night ceremony atthe 8th RiverRun International Film Festival, winning four jury awardsincluding best narrative feature.
  • Cruz reveals passion for India

    PenelopeCruz and Spanish producers Colomo Producciones and Sogecine have optioned therights to popular novel Pasion India.
  • Dot-com murder tale to be shot twice

    US and Asia-based production company Bigfoot Entertainment plans to start shooting thriller Irreversi in Hong Kong next Monday. But the project has an unusual twist in that the two versions will have distinct casts and crews will be filmed simultaneously in Mandarin and English. Bigfoot founder Michael Gleissner plans to direct both versions with a Hong Kong co-director Ken Siu on the Chinese version. Cast for the English version includes Meiling Melancon (X-Men 3)
  • Dragon Tiger Gate sells to major Asia territories

    Mandarin Films' $10m DragonTiger Gate has been sold to a string of Asian territories including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan, in addition to
  • Dreamland

    Dir. Jason Matzner. US. 2006. 88mins.The debut feature from video director and fine artistJason Matzner, Dreamlandlimns the emotional frustrations and personal consequence of emerging femalesexuality, tracking love, heartbreak and self-discovery among a trinity ofdamaged souls in the New Mexico desert.The movie is tender andvisually confident, although the script by Tom Willett, a survey of pop c
  • Drummer marches to a German-Asian beat

    Germany's Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion has boarded Hong Kong director Kenneth Bi's upcoming drama The Drummer as co-producer alongside Hong Kong's Kenbiroli Films and Taiwan's Arc Light Films.The $1.8m film, scheduled to start shooting in mid-May, tells the story of a young Hong Kong man who runs away to Taiwan and becomes inspired by a group of Zen drummers. The project, which has secured funding from Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg, will be produced by Twenty Twenty's Thanas
  • Eden

    Dir: Michael Hoffman. Ger-Switz. 2005. 98mins.Voted the audience award winner at Rotterdam, MichaelHoffman's Eden is a natural crowdpleaser that successfully combines food and sex for aromantic romp in the best tradition of hits like Mostly Martha.More demure and lessenergetic than Sandra Nettlebeck's feature, thiscomedy about the encounter between an overweight, gifted chef and a perkymarried wa
  • Fat Englishmen among winners at HAF

    Lawrence Gray's Fat Englishmen, about a group ofbeer-swilling Brits who get cast as Sumo wrestlers in a Japanese beercommercial, was presented with the HAF Award for a Hong Kong project at the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) today. The cash award of $13,000(HK$100,000) was based on the creativity of the synopsis of the project, whichwas written and is set to be directed by Hong Kong-based British writer Gray. Meanwhile, the HAF Award fora
  • Film Finance Corporation Australia to fund two new features

    Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC) today gavefinal approval on its investments in the animated feature $9.99 and a feature-length documentary investigating discreditedauthor Norma Khouri.The stop-motion animation for adults, $9.99, is the first officialbig-screen co-production between Australian and Israel.Israeli director Tatia Rosenthal wrote the scriptwith Etgar Keret and hasbeen working with produce
  • Filmart focuses on European and Asian co-operation

    Now is a great time forEuropean and Asian producers to start talking to one other about potentialcollaborations, if only because they are at least nine months away from doingbusiness together under any one of the official co-production treatiescurrently being negotiated.The need for internationalpartners to work organically together, rather than be forced into shotgunmarriages for pure financial reasons, was one of the commonly agreedconclusions to be drawn from yesterday's Filmartsemi
  • Filmart wraps with record attendance

    The tenth edition of Filmartwrapped today with the organisers reporting record attendance and delegatesagreeing that this year was the biggest and busiest yet. More than 400 companies tookbooths at the market while the number of buyers increased to almost 4,000.Meanwhile projects market, the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), whichruns concurrently with Filmart, attracted 616 investors, up 25% from last year,and participants said they were impressed with the range and quality o
  • Filmko, Fortissimo come up for Air

    Fortissimo Film Sales andHong Kong production company FilmkoEntertainment have boarded Zhang Yang's Air(working title), one of 25 projects participating at this year's Hong Kong AsiaFilm Financing Forum (HAF).Filmko announced today thatit is fully financing the $2.5m film while Fortissimo will handle world sales.Production is scheduled to start in southern China in May for delivery by the end of the year. Pro
  • Former President of UIP dies of a stroke

    Industryveteran, Pano Alafouzo,died of a stroke in London on March 10. Pano Alafouzowas born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1918. He
  • Fortissimo banks on SCB

    Dutch/HK-based sales agent Fortissimo Films has entered into a new banking relationship with Standard Chartered Bank.The arrangement is "unique" according to co-chairman Michael Werner, and involves the "construction of a revolving line of credit based on their discounting our contracts portfolio, resulting in a reasonable line of credit which we can then invest in producing and acquiring smaller projects."The arrangement, which is a "great start" for SCB and Fortissimo, is designed to gro
  • Fortissimo game for Tian's Go Master

    Fortissimo Films has boardedTian Zhuangzhuang's highly-anticipated The Go Master, taking international rights outside China.Fortissimo co-chairmenMichael Werner and Wouter Barendrecht are executive producers on the $6mCannes-tipped epic, which is currently in post-production in Beijing.The Go Master stars Chang Chen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Sylvia Chang (Eat Drink Man Woman) and Xin Baiqing (Springtime In A Small Town) and tells the st
  • Garpastum picks up best film at Sofia Film Festival

    AlekseiGerman Jr.'s story of four friends on the eve of theFirst World War Garpastumwon the Stella Artois Grand Prix for Best Film at theSofia International Film Festival 10th anniversary edition which ended on March18.In itsmotivation, the International Jury headed by Russian critic Andrei Plakhov said that the film "deals in real depth withthe problems and possibilities of youth, and is remarkable for its director'sextraordinary control of his medium".Acceptingthe prize
  • German producers look to the Balkans for success

    Champagnecorks may have popped in Sarajevo after Jasmila Zbanic's debut feature Grbavicawon the Golden Bear at last month's Berlinale - but celebrationswere not confined to Bosnia and Herzegovina.Therewas also cause for jubilation in Germany: Didi Danquart's Karlsruhe-based noirfilm was one of the co-producers, along with Austria'scoop99, Zbanic's own company Deblokadaand Croatia's Jadran Film.
  • Government announces details of UK film tax regime

    With the UK's new film tax credit set to go into effect in just11 days, the government has finally provided details about its new tax regime.The most significant point for producers is a change to the qualifying threshold for tax relief - at least 25% of a film's budget must be spent in the UK, not the 40% proposed in last year's consultation document."The lowering of the minimumUK
  • Haneke slams Austrian producer's body funding plans

    Austria's leadinginternational filmmaker Michael Haneke (Hidden)has spoken out against proposals by the Austrian Producers Association toconcentrate public film funding on the makers of commercially successful films.Speaking at the first offour roundtables on the state of Austrian film production at
  • HK's Focus cultivates ties with emerging filmmakers

    Affirming its commitment togrooming new talents, Hong Kong's Focus Film is producing new feature films bythree directors that emerged through its First Cuts low-budget filmmakinginitiative that was unveiled last year.Robin Lee, who shot theTaiwanese episode The Shoe Fairy,will now direct My DNA Says I Love You, a new quirky romantic comedy that has already won a grant fromTaiwan's Government Information Office (GIO). Filming is due to start inOctober.Malaysian dire
  • Iconic Singapore picturehouse re-opens for business

    Singapore's signature Cathaybuilding will welcome back movie-goers again this week following a $100mredevelopment effort by resurgent exhibitor-distributor Cathay.The old 16-storey building,when opened its doors to the public in 1939, was Singapore's first high-riseand housed the city's first air-conditioned cinema, the Cathay Cinema with1,300 seats.The new 17-storey building,which retains the original historical fa'ade, features an eight-screenmultiplex including the Picturehou
  • Innotz/Prime Entertainment buys Korea Entertainment

    Koreanfilm conglomerate Innotz/Prime Entertainment has taken over more established productioncompany Korea Entertainment, producer of commercial hits My Tutor Friend, Mapado, and The Art ofFighting. PrimeEntertainment acquired 100% of Korea Entertainment's stocks for $15m today. Asa subsidiary of Prime Industrial group and formerly a company focusing onsoftware, Innotz had recently announced itself to be starting in production,distribution, investment, talen
  • Inside Man

    Dir: Spike Lee. US. 2006.129mins.In Inside Man,Spike Lee applies his jazzy and provocative directing style to the bank heistgenre and turns out an ambitious, often intriguing, but extremely uneven crimethriller. The genre and a strong cast headed by DenzelWashington suggest that this Imagine Entertainment production has the potentialto end Lee's recent run of commercial flops and perhaps even give the directorhis
  • Kenny moves to US to head up Warner digital arm

    Simon Kenny has been appointed president of the newly formedWarner Bros Digital Distribution, part of the sprawling Warner Bros Home EntertainmentGroup (WBHEG) division announced last October.
  • Korea primed for novel entertainment

    Korea's Prime Entertainment is poised to sign with Japanese novelist group Osawa Office to adapt an Arimasa Osawa novel for the screen, potentially leading to a partnership between the two companies for adaptation, production, and distribution.Head of production at Prime Entertainment, Lee Seung-jae tells Screen International: "With success, the deal will be the first in a series of projects between Prime and Osawa. The Osawa Office has bestselling novels, many of which have already
  • Korea's Tube Entertainment merges with media companies to form Mediacorp

    Koreaninvestor/distributor Tube Entertainment has merged with stock exchange-listed publisherYoungjin Dotcom and entertainment-related firms Media 2.0 and Oi Music tocreate a "total media" enterprise called Mediacorp, which will be listed on thestock market.Mediacorpwill focus on entertainment, publishing, and digital content as its mainbusinesses this year. As the entertainment affiliate, Tube Entertainment takeson the new name of Studio 2.0, with Kim Seung-bum continuing as Chief Exe
  • LA's Fortitude creates new studio in Croatia with Jadran Film

    Burbank-based Fortitude Entertainment Group and Croatia's JadranFilm (Croatia) have teamed up to create a new studio in Croatia.
  • Lin named senior vice president of production at Warner Bros

    Five years after he joinedWarner Bros as creative executive Dan Lin (pictured) has been appointed senior vicepresident of production at the studio.Lin is currently inpost-production on Martin Scorsese's crime drama The Departed starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and JackNicholson, and Oliver Hirschbiegel's The Visiting, which stars Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.He is in production on PaulFeig's Unaccompanied Minors andRoland Emmerich's 10,000 BC.
  • Lion Rock roars into China

    Producer Terence Chang is moving full-steam into Chinawith three mid-budget films to be shot on the mainland - all of them on top ofJohn Woo's 2007 production of Battle Of Red Cliff, set to be China'smost expensive film ever.Chang is ready to roll on the first, an as-yet-untitled1930s-era gangster film, in September in Shanghai
  • Lotte makes first move into international sales

    LOTTE EMBARKS ON INTERNATIONAL SALESBy Jean NohLeading Korean exhibitor Lotte Entertainment is getting its feet wet in international sales with A Millionaire's First Love, selling the teen romance to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand at this Filmart, and is currently looking at deals for Hong Kong/China and Vietnam.The teen romance starring Hyun Bin and Lee Yeon-hee had already been sold by its production company Boram Pictures to Japan a few months ago.Awarded at the recently wrappe
  • Mackenzie to start shooting fourth film Hallam Foe

    David Mackenzie is to direct Hallam Foe on location in Scotland from March 27. Mackenzie1s fourth feature after The Last Great Wilderness (2002), Young Adam (2003) and Asylum (2005) is a $5.4m ( £3.1m) adaptation of the Peter Jinks novel in which JamieBell stars as a misfit teenager who becomes convinced that hisstepmother is the on
  • Making it as a scriptwriter in Hollywood: speech

    It would be true to say that I havepuzzled about screenwriting a lot. What I puzzle about is why we screenwritershave such a shitty life. Even though things have gonemoderately well for me - I think I have a success rate of something like 30%,which is not bad - that's still 70% failure. And by failure I mean total, abjectfailure. I mean scripts in draw
  • Mar Del Plata attracts record numbers

    The 21st Mar del Plata Film Festival has attracted morethan 100.000 spectators in its first seven days, confirming its place as LatinAmerica's leading film event.The Argentinian festival, running until next Sunday, hasalso seen an unprecedentedly large number of international guests; Tim Robbins,Susan Saran
  • Mashariki named production vp at Fox Searchlight

    Zola Mashariki has been promoted to vice president of productionat Fox Searchlight and will report to production chief Claudia Lewis.
  • Media Asia unveils brace from Infernal Affairs duo

    Hong Kong's Media Asia isplanning to produce two films this year from Infernal Affairs directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak as part of anambitious slate of between eight and ten productions.First up is HK$60m ($7.7m)thriller Behind The Sin which isset to star Tony Leung Chiu-wai and scheduled to start shooting in May. The film tells the story oftwo friends - one a cop and the other a private detective - who investigate themurder of the cop's father-in-law. Media Asia
  • Miss Potter scores North American deal with TWC

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) has picked up North American rights toMiss Potter fromPhoenix Pictures and David Kirschner Productions.Chris Noonan's Beatrix Potter biopic is currently inproduction in the UK and stars Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson,Barbara Flynn,
  • MPA to host film production workshops in Beijing

    The Motion PictureAssociation (MPA) is holding a series of workshops on film production andscreenwriting in Beijing starting this weekend. Organised with the supportof the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), the five-daycourse offers 20 Chinese producers and 20 screenwriters the chance to developtheir projects with help from established Hollywood professionals. The film production workshop
  • Naseerruddin Shah to be honoured at Indian Film Festival of LA

    Indian star Naseerruddin Shah will be honoured at the 4th IndianFilm festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA), which runs from Apr 19-23.
  • News From Afar takes best film prize at Mar del Plata

    Latin American filmsdominated the awards at the 21st Mar del Plata Film Festival, which closedyesterday with a record attendance of 150,000 spectators.Noticias Lejanas (News From Afar), Mexican Ricardo Benet's first feature film about a 17-year-old boy whohas grown up in a rural village and un
  • Nominations announced for German Film Awards

    Florian Henckelvon Donnersmarck's feature debut Das Leben Der Anderenand Hans-Christian Schmid's Berlinalecompetition film Requiem dominatedthe nominations for this year's"Lola" German Film Awards which will be presented in Berlinon May 12.Von Donnersmarck's thriller, whichBuena Vista International opened in German cinemas March 23, picked up eleven nominationsincluding Best Film, Best Direction and Best Screenplay, whi
  • Noonan lands promotions and communications role at WBHEG

    Jim Noonan has been promoted to the newly created post of seniorvice president of worldwide strategic promotions and communications at WarnerBros Home Entertainment Group (WBHEG).
  • Ossana, Moresco, Olson line up for Scriptwriters Showcase in LA

    Oscar winners Diana Ossana (Brokeback Mountain) and Bobby Moresco (Crash) along with Academy Award nominee Josh Olson, who wrote A History OfViolence, are keynotespeakers at the upcoming Scriptwriters Showcase that runs in Los Angeles fromApr 7-9.
  • Ozon, TLA to get tributes, Reinas to open Miami gay and lesbian fest

    Manuel Gomez Pereira's ensemble comedy Reinas (Queens) and Todd Stephens' comedy AnotherGay Movie bookend theeighth Annual Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which runs from Apr 21-30.
  • Panther beats Vendetta in international markets

    Fox International's The Pink Panther ruled the international marketplace overthe weekend with an estimated $12.3m weekend haul from 3,900 screens thatraised the film's cumulative total to $47.3m.
  • Paper Dolls

    Dir/scr: Tomer Heymann. Is-Swiss.2005. 80mins.A surefire winner on specialistcircuits, Paper Dolls, Tomer Heymann's documentary abouta group of Filipino transsexuals in Israel has everything a successful pictureneeds: endearing characters, tears, laughter, heartbreak and an explosiveclimax at the most unexpected moment.Originally commissioned as asix-part TV series, it has now been cut to feature length
  • Pioneering launch of DVD quality human rights film on the Internet

    DerekWyatt MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Internet Committee, launched the firstever DVD quality human rights film on theInternet. The documentary film, Russia/Chechnya:Voices of Dissent, produced by Vanessa Redgraveand directed by Carlo Nero, was made in honour of Amnesty International.OpusMedia is using video-streaming technology with no buffering and no downloading,delivering a DVD quality experienc
  • Pretty Pictures acquires three new features

    Paris-based distributorPretty Pictures has announced the acquisition of three new films following theBerlin EFM.The company will releaseMaria Maggenti's Sundance competitor Puccini ForBeginners in fall 2006. The screwball sex farce stars Gretchen Mol, Elizabeth Reaser, Julianne Nicholsonand Justin Kirk and was acquired from Katapult Films.Spanish language title Rosario Tijeras, directed by Paris-basedEmilio Maille, was al
  • Puiu, Weerasethakul among film-makers in Cannes Atelier

    The Cannes Film Festivalhas selected 18 filmmakers to participate in the second annual Atelier duFestival.Under the aegis of theCannes Cinefondation, the workshop began last year in an effort to aide youngfilmmakers with their projects. During the festival, May 17 28, the selectgroup will meet with producer
  • Roadside Attractions to bring Guantanamo to US

    Roadside Attractions has picked up domestic rights to MichaelWinterbottom and Mat Whitecross' docudrama The Road To Guantanamo, which recently won the Silver Bear atBerlin.
  • Sammo Hung to direct Sundream Motion Pictures latest film

    Sundream MotionPictures, the film production arm of Hong Kongcable operator i-Cable, has lined up veteran actionstar Sammo Hung to direct big-budget period epic Howling Arrow. Scheduled to shoot from September, the film follows acommunity of gangsters at the end of the Qing dynastyin North-East China, at the turnof the 20th Century. According to Sundream president Tsui Siu-ming, the film wil
  • Scanbox buys video distributor DVS from Nordisk

    Denmark's Scanbox Entertainment, which was recently acquired byIcelandic-born producer Joni Sighvatsson, has signed a deal to buy leading homeentertainment distributor DVS Entertainment from Nordisk Film and SE 2001.
  • Screenwriters Festival launches in UK town

    The first international Screenwtiters Festival officiallylaunches tomorrow night (Tuesday) in Cheltenham, the location for the June event.The town in the English Cotswolds is already home to amajor literary festival and has strong writing and film links.The launch takes place in the town's own film st
  • Script Factory, Skillset start programme for crossover film writers

    UK training organizations The Script Factory and Skillset have announced a new initiative, Writers' Circle,to find new screenwriters from the worlds of theatre, literature, TV, radio,and stand-up comedy.
  • Showbox sounds out dub-only release

    In a bold marketing stratagem,leading Korean investor/distributor Showbox Mediaplex is considering releasing the animation Hoodwinked! inits locally dubbed version only. The irreverent whodunit comedy basedon the Little Red Riding Hood talewas picked up by Showbox in the pre-buy stages fromCinema Management Group.Known for its smart-bombingdistribution strategies for films like last year's top hit Welcome to Dongmakgol, Showbox has been aggressive in its sup
  • Showcase, Midnight, Restored sections unveiled at Tribeca 06

    Louis Pepe and Keith Fulton'smockumentary Brothers Of The Head,Ward Serrill's female basketball documentary The Heart Of The Game, and Richard E Grant's directorial debut Wah-Wah were named today in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival'sShowcase line-up.Several world premieres areincluded in the Midnight section, among them Todd Stephens' gay teen spoof AnotherGay Movie, Billy Corben's Miami-setColombian drug documentary Cocaine Cowboys, and Mike Mendez's h
  • Slither

    Dir: James Gunn. US. 2006. 94mins.A loving homage to B-movie horror films, James Gunn'sSlither supplies gross-out scares aswell as some self-mocking humour. But while the filmwill please genre fans, others may find the presentation over-familiar.Slither opens on March 31 in the US - following its appearance at the SXSW FilmFestival in Austin - before work
  • Sogepaq picks up international on Spanish hit

    Spain'sSogepaq has picked up international rights on local box office hit The2 Sides Of The Bed.Thefilm (Los 2 Lados De La Cama) from director Emilio MartinezLazaro wasreleased in Spain by Buena Vista on December 20, 2005 andhasearned more than $8.5m (Euros 7m) to take top ranking of
  • Sommers promoted in German anti-piracy operations at Warner Bros

    Christian Sommer has been promoted to Warner Bros' director ofanti-piracy operations for German-speaking territories.
  • Spain's Sogepaq pre-sells Bollain feature to Indie Circle

    Spain's Sogepaq has closed a pre-sale on director Iciar Bollain's new film, Mataharis, topan-European distribution pool Indie Circle.The deal, which Sogepaq negotiated withMataharis producers La Iguana and Sogecine, includes rights in France (Haut et Court
  • Strong documentary presence at Diagonale

    The documentary genre willbe particularly strong at this year's Diagonale - Festival of Austrian Cinemawhich is being opened in Graz on March 21 with FlorianFlicker's No Name City about a WildWest town theme park south of Vienna.Among the 22 newdocumentaries selected to screen are Elisabeth Scharang'
  • Tartan starts DVD label for exploitation films

    UK theatrical and home videodistributor Tartan has launched a new DVD label devoted to cult exploitationfilms, Tartan Grindhouse. The labelwill release double-DVD sets priced at $34.95 (£19.99). The label'sfirst release will be 1977's Last Houseon Dead-End Street, a horror film inspired by the Manson Family murders.That film was released with an anonymous cast and crew until Roger Watkins cameforward as the d
  • Tartan takes UK and Irish rights to Driving Lessons

    Distributor Tartan Filmshas acquired all UK and Ireland rights to Driving Lessons, starring Julie Walters, Rupert Grint,and Laura Linney. The film is the directorialdebut from Mrs Brown screenwriterJeremy Brock, who also wrote t
  • Telefilm Canada closes Paris office

    Telefilm Canada is closingits Paris office, effective March 31, 2006. The Canadian film and televisionfunding agency said the closure made sense because few clients were using theoffice and that what limited function is achieved there can be obtained throughother Canadian operations in the French capital and throughout Europe, such asembassies and trade offices or indeed via the Internet. The savings will be directedto other Telefilm-backed operations at the Cannes
  • Ten Canoes

    Dir: Rolf de Heer. Aus.2006. 91mins.The Adelaide Film Festival has aninvestment fund which, with its first feature flutter last year, shrewdlybacked the critically acclaimed Look BothWays. Sarah Watt's drama about fractured lives in a big city suburb went onto play well at international festivals - it won Toronto's Discovery award - aswell as scooping four AFI awards at home, including best film and bestdirector.The fund's se
  • Thailand's M Pictures gets Restless

    Korea's CJ Entertainment has pre-sold swordplay fantasy Restless to Thailand's M Pictures. The film, starring Daisy's Jung Woo-sung, is about theexperiences of a slain warrior who remains in a 49-day purgatory beforeascending to heaven. Director Jo Dong-oh was formerly an assistant to Kim Sung-suon the swordplay epic Musa.Budgeted a
  • The Caiman (Il Caimano)

    Dir: Nanni Moretti. It-Fr. 2006. 112mins.Part impassioned political expose, part maritaldrama, part meta-cinematic comedy, Nanni Moretti's new film TheCaiman is a curious hybrid that, in most other hands, would feel forced. It'sthe director's intuitive command of tonal shifts - from slapstick to serious,from Allen-esque one-liners to barbed Moore-ish satire - that pulls t
  • The government link with creative industries for biggest ever UK crackdown on counterfeiting and benefit fraud

    The government and creative industries announced onMarch 16 the completion of the biggest crackdown on counterfeiters and benefitfraudsters ever seen in the UK.The operation was conducted by the Department forWork and Pensions (DWP) in conjunction with British record industry associationthe BPI, film industry anti-piracy body the Federation Again
  • The Works signs DVD deal with Universal Pictures UK

    The Works UK distribution has just signed an exclusive home entertainment output deal with Universal Pictures UK. Universal will release The Works Distribution titles on video and DVD and the UK, while The Works will continue to handle theatrical distribution. One of the first titles under the new deal will be Stewart Raffill's thriller Three, starring Billy Zane and Kelly Brook. The Works will release in UK cinemas on May 5 with the DVD release to follow. The Work
  • Tribeca shorts lineup includes new work from Kiarostami, Sylvia Kristel

    Short films from musician Laurie Anderson, Dutch actress SylviaKristel and young US actors Adrian Grenier and Melissa Joan Hart are amonginternational narrative shorts from 15 countries in Tribeca's short filmline-up
  • Tribeca Spotlight, Discovery sections announced

    High profile independenttitles including Mini's First Timestarring Alec Baldwin and Nikki Reed, Five Fingers with Ryan Phillippe and Laurence Fishburne, ComebackSeason with Ray Liotta and EdwardBurns' latest film The Groomsmenstarring Burns and Britanny Murphy will all have their world premieres in theSpotlight or Discovery sections of this year's Tribeca Film Festival in April.Along with films screeningout of competition in the NY Specials section, the late
  • UK hoping for tax break details in Budget

    UK Chancellor Gordon Brown may announce tax break details in his Budget speech at 12.30pm (GMT) this afternoon.The UK film industry was cheered in December by an announcement about new film tax laws and they are hoping to have a clearer picture today.There is, however, no guarantee it will even be on the agenda in a vital strategic Budget for Brown, who hopes to replace Prime Minister Tony Blair before the next election.The benefits announced last year were higher than expected (net 20%
  • UK industry gives cautious welcome to tax changes

    With the UK's new film tax credit set to go into effect April 1, the government has finally provided details about its new tax regime.Producers say there's good news and bad news in the details. Unlike its predecessors, the Section42 and Section 48 regimes, the new relief will only apply to a film's UKexpenditure. But there has been a strong welcome that the qualifying threshold has been reduced to decision to 25% mi
  • Universal offers downloaded Kong for keeps

    Universal ispartnering with DVD rental service LoveFilm tooffer UK customers a movie download-to-own service. The first release will be King Kong, which will be available for permanentdownload on April 10, to coincide with the UK street date for the DVD release. "Universal is very proud tobe the first to launch this download-to-own model in partnership with LoveFilm, particularly debuti
  • Universe hot to trot with Tony Au's 21 Feet

    Hong Kongproducer-distributor Universe Entertainment has added 21 Feet, veteran filmmaker Tony Au's first project asdirector in more than a decade, to the sales slate it is offering buyers at this week's Filmart convention. The $2.5m drama isabout a boy from Hong Kong who moves to China's Hainan island with his fatherto start a new life. The project, which is currently being cast, is scheduledto start shooting in June.Au was a contemporary ofHong Kong Ne
  • V For Vendetta is the box office victor in North America

    Warner Bros' dystopian thriller V For Vendetta vanquished the opposition at the weekenddebuting at the top of the charts on an estimated $26.1m.
  • Wilderness

    Dir: Michael J Bassett. UK 2006. 91mins"Get them out of here. Get them to the island andteach them a bloody lesson!" the governor at a young offenders institutionroars at the inmates early on in Wilderness,Michael Bassett's lurid but enjoyably cheesy horror picture.This is not subtlefilm-making. Dario Poloni's screenplay is influencedby a huge array of sources, with nods to everything from Alan Clark's