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23 October 2001

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  • Baltic states embark on exhibition growth

    Cinema admissions in Scandinavia and the Baltic region are set to top 60 million by 2005, as cinema development begins to take hold in the relatively under-established Baltic markets of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, according to a report by industry analysts Dodona Research. Lithuania, the largest of the Baltic States, has only 88 screens and was one of the last territories in the region to attract interest in cinema development. However admissions for 2000 stood at an impressive 2.1
  • Beatrix Wesle joins Menemsha Entertainment

    Beatrix Wesle, well-known on the European market circuit from stints at Advanced Medien and Tobis Filmkunst, has joined Neil Friedman's Menemsha Entertainment as senior vice president of international sales.Based in Munich, Wesle will co-ordinate European financing and sales for Menemsha, which has built a reputation as a leading seller of non-English language films such as Color Of Paradise, Train Of Life and Divided We Fall, as well as US indies like L.I.E. and
  • Berlinale films may be influenced by Sept 11deaths

    The film selection for next year's Berlin Film Festival will almost certainly be influenced by the terror attacks of September 11, according to festival chief Dieter Kosslick.In an interview with the German film magazine Film-Echo, Kosslick declared: "when I view films at the moment, I am particularly sensitised. My reception of films with scenes of violence has changed. At present, I wouldn't have the strength to say: that is something for the Berlinale".Kosslick, who was trave
  • Berlusconi finally acquitted of bribery

    Ending a bitter legal battle that has lasted seven years, Italy's highest Appeals Court has acquitted premier Silvio Berlusconi of bribery charges relating to his media empire, Fininvest. However, the Court did confirm sentences for several of the multi-million dollar group's executives.Berlusconi and other Fininvest executives had been accused in 1994 of paying bribes to Italian tax inspectors. In 1998, a court found Berlusconi guilty and sentenced him to 2 years and 9 months in priso
  • Besson's Europa in major output & facilities deal

    Vivendi Universal and Canal Plus have signed a three-year, ten picture deal with Luc Besson's company Europa Corp. The partnership also includes the use by Universal Music and Universal Studios of Besson's own high-tech facilities Digital Factory.The amount represented by the various deals remained undisclosed. Vivendi Universal chairman and CEO, Jean-Marie Messier, underlined that the most important element of the deal was creativity, stressing that : "Behind (the deal) there is a no
  • Beyond to sell 3 Blind Mice for international

    Beyond Films has signed up to handle international sales on 3 Blind Mice, starring Edward Furlong and Sharleen Spiteri, the lead singer of rock group Texas.The cyber thriller is slated to begin shooting in the UK during January 2002, with France's Mathias Ledoux directing from a screenplay he co-wrote with Mikael Ollivier. Producing chores are shared by Guillaume Godard, Carolyn Caldera and Jean-Luc De Fanti, while Canal Plus has French pay-TV rights.Furlong's character w
  • Breve Traversee (Brief Crossing)

    Dir: Catherine Breillat. France. 2001. 82 mins. While too slight, both dramatically and visually, to be entirely persuasive as a cinema feature, Catherine Breillat's contribution to a 10-part series commissioned by French broadcaster Arte "on the theme of difference and equality between the sexes" is an incisive and elegant chamber piece ideally attuned to the small screen. Breve Traversee - or Brief Crossing - might count among the director's minor works, but
  • Bunuel And King Solomon's Table

    Dir: Carlos Saura. Spain-Germany-Mexico. 105 mins.Bunuel And King Solomon's Table (Bunuel Y La Mesa Del Rey Salomon) closed September's San Sebastian International Film Festival with a resounding thud. One influential local critic called it "probably the worst Saura has made," proving that the combination of a respected veteran filmmaker (Carmen, Goya In Bordeaux), fertile source material and solid production backing don't necessarily spell critical success, eve
  • Canton/Senator pact reduced to 24 Hours

    Luis Mandoki's $40m thriller 24 Hours is to be the only film produced under the high profile alliance between Germany's Senator Entertainment and Mark Canton's The Canton Co. The two companies this week dissolved their production and financing pact, which was signed only last August. The partners were to deliver four to six pictures a year over five years, with Warner Bros having first look for North American distribution. While the companies were not explicit about the r
  • Chaos

    Dir: Coline Serreau. France. 110mins.If there's one occupational hazard that seems to afflict comic artists at some point in their careers, it's the desire to be taken seriously and the temptation to dispense with laughter as a medium. This is what has now happened to writer-director Coline Serreau, who has parked her exuberant comic gifts in the studio cloakroom to make Chaos, a melodrama so dour it his hard to believe it sprang from the warm imagination that produced
  • Cineart/Cinelibre restructures ownership

    Belgium's leading independent distributor, Cineart/Cinelibre, has restructured its ownership, with Eliane Du Bois buying outright control after a 25 year partnership with Thierry Abel.Du Bois took over Abel's share of the business when the duo decided to separate their interests and concentrate respectively on distribution and exhibition. Cineart, the operation's more mainstream label, is set to handle The Lord Of The Rings and has already enjoyed success this year with titles s
  • Cobalt taps into German WorldWide Picture Fund

    Cobalt, the London and Los Angeles-based sales and financing house, is tapping into German financing through a Euro 100m fund being launched by local studio facility Studio Hamburg and the German arm of ING Bank.The partners are to finance around seven international pictures budgeted up to $20m each through the fund, with Cobalt handling worldwide sales on a non-exclusive basis. Titled Studio Hamburg WorldWide Pictures, the fund will also work with other international partners such as
  • Dinner Rush

    Dir Bob Giraldi. US 2001. 94 mins.There is a lot of fun to be had in Bob Giraldi's Dinner Rush, an unpretentious, quintessentially New York independent film that recalls the kind of offbeat, low-budget pictures made in the 1970s and early 1980s, before independent cinema became a forceful movement or chic marketing hook. Although set in a Downtown eaterie, Dinner Rush is decidedly not an erotic food-and-sex film, which explains why it hasn't done well from its N
  • EFA to host international film festival conference

    The first ever conference of international film festival directors has been scheduled during the European Film Awards (EFA) weekend in Berlin from November 29 to December 2.The unprecedented event will see the Berlinale's Dieter Kosslick and UK film critic Derek Malcolm chair a conference entitled "Film Festivals In The Spotlight - The Future Role of Film Festivals" where Kosslick will be joined by the directors of Cannes (Thierry Fremaux), Karlovy Vary (Eva Zaoralova), Locarno (Irene
  • Egmont takes Scandi rights to Skagerrak

    Nordic major Egmont has taken Scandinavian rights to Soren Kragh-Jacobsen's Skagerrak, the veteran director's second English-language film after 1997's The Island On Bird Street.Set in the UK, Skagerrak will star Iben Hjejle (pictured), who also appeared in Kragh-Jacobsen's crowd pleasing Dogme-title, Mifune. The romantic-comedy-drama, budgeted at up to $5.5m, follows a Danish girl partying her way through the UK who runs out of money and offers to become a surroga
  • Film Council to host UK's new MEDIA Desk

    London is to be host to the UK's new MEDIA Desk, the system of national outposts run by the European Commission's Media Plus support programme.The MEDIA Desk is to be hosted by the Film Council, which will inject up to Euros150,000. It goes live immediately, headed by Agnieszka Moody. In addition to supplying information and guidance on the various strands of the $362m (Euro400m) Media Programme, the Desk will also co-ordinate antennae in Northern Ireland and Wales.The U
  • Fiona Watts returns to Warner Bros marketing in LA

    Fiona Watts, a veteran international marketing executive who spent ten years at Warner Bros Pictures from 1988 to 1998, is returning to the studio in Los Angeles after two years as a consultant in the UK.She is being appointed senior vice president, international marketing, reporting directly to Sue Kroll, president, international marketing, at the studio. She is responsible for managing the division's day-to-day cross-departmental marketing operations, working closely with regional o
  • Foreign films enjoy bumper year in North America

    Sony Pictures Classics widened Jacques Rivette's Va Savoir from three to seven prints last weekend, scoring $67,268 for a fine $9,610 screen average. The success of that film, added to First Look's hit Italian release Bread And Tulips and Menemsha's long-running Philippine American hit The Debut ($64,670 on just six screens over the weekend), continue the bumper year for foreign language films. Eleven films not in the English language have already grossed over $1m
  • Fortissimo gets international rights on Springtime

    Fortissimo Film Sales, the Dutch-Hong Kong-based world sales group, has picked up international rights to the high-profile remake of Chinese classic Springtime In A Small Town.The new film (pictured), a story of lust unleashed on a respectable bourgeois family following the arrival of a mysterious visitor, is now being filmed by The Blue Kite director Tian Zhuangzhuang on location in Southern China. It is executive produced by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon produc
  • Fox Studios Australia to close the Backlot

    Fox Studios Australia is to shut down its loss-making public entertainment site, the Backlot to expand the professional component of its otherwise hugely successful central Sydney site.A restructure is also planned that will see Lend Lease Corporation sell its 50% share in the studio portion of the site back to Fox Filmed Entertainment. The studio component of the old showground site has been a roaring success since opening in May 1998, as has the retail and 'eatertainment' sect
  • France has big appetite for American Pie 2

    American Pie 2 has bolted out of the starting blocks in France, with more than a quarter of a million admissions on its first day of release, making it the sixth best opening of the year so far.Debuting on 495 prints, the UIP title pushed last week's chart-topper Bridget Jones's Diaries, which sold 185,000 tickets on its first day and one million tickets in its first week, down to the second slot, with a 40% drop.The sequel to American Pie is expected to do
  • From Hell wins box office race

    20th Century Fox scored another number one hit over the weekend as its R-rated Jack The Ripper thriller From Hell directed by Allen & Albert Hughes opened with an estimated $11.3m in North America.Starring Johnny Depp as a Scotland Yard inspector and Heather Graham as a Whitechapel prostitute and one of the Ripper's targets, the bloodthirsty film screened at the recent Venice and Toronto film festivals. It co-stars Ian Holm, Katrin Cartlidge, Ian Richardson and Jason Flemyng.
  • Germany's Constantin relinquishes Mandalay output

    Germany's ConstantinFilm will not be renewing its output deal arrangement with Mandalay Pictures when it expires at the end of this year. The decision comes as the producer-distributor is drawing up a new strategy for filling its product pipeline for theatrical releases. As a recent bank analystreport observed, until now there had been a three-way split in the sourcing ofConstantin's product between in-house productions, output deals, andfirst look/pick up deals. In future, the plan is
  • Germany's MBP launches family entertainment fund

    Low budget family entertainment features are the focus of a new film fund being launched by Munich-based financier MBP whose past credits include Istvan Szabo's Taking Sides, Fred Schepisi's Last Orders and Jimmy Murakami's animation feature Christmas Carol.MBP NY 121 (NY 121 refers to MBP's address in Munich's Nymphenburger Strasse) aims to raise a maximum of Euro 10m from private individuals each putting up at least Euro 250,000 to back projects with budgets not
  • Global starts pre-sales on Six Bullets From Now

    Peter Elson's Global Cinema Group is launching pre-sales on Ridley Scott-produced action film Six Bullets From Now, one of three titles the US sales outfit is handling for Los Angeles production operation Miracle Entertainment.Stephen Kay, whose credits include The Last Time I Committed Suicide and Get Carter, is directing the story of a hotel heist in New York in 1972. Miracle president Jason Zelin said that the project is as yet independent of the Scott's new ove
  • Golden Harvest reports reduced crop

    Robert De Niro, togetherwith his business partner Jane Rosenthal, formally unveiled plans yesterday fortheir new four-day film festival in downtown Manhattan that they hope can helprevitalize a neighbourhood devastated by the terror attacks on September 11th.The first annual TribecaFilm Festival will run from May 1st-May 5th and showcasesome 40 feature length films and 20 shorts at various screening venues acrossthe Tribeca warehouse district that is sited within a
  • Hamburg film fund invests in production support

    New film projects by Margarethe von Trotta, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Volker Schloendorff, and Rolf Schuebel have received backing in the latest round of funding by Hamburg's regional public film fund FilmFoerderung Hamburg. A total of $1.2m (DM2.6m) production support was given to von Trotta's Rosenstrasse project, which will begin shooting next spring with Katja Riemann and Maria Schrader in the leads and to Fridriksson's international co-production Falcons. Von Trotta'
  • Himel & Jack join Drake at Senator International

    Senator International, the LA sales arm of Germany's Senator Entertainment, has made a further two appointments, hiring Paula Himel as vice president, sales, and Brent Jack as vice president, international marketing.The announcement follows the appointment earlier this month of Brian Goldsmith as CFO and executive vice president of operations and Paula Call as senior vice president of business and legal affairs.Himel joins Senator after six years at International Film Office a
  • Icon takes UK rights on Y Tu Mama Tambien

    UK distributor Icon has picked up Good Machine International's Y Tu Mama Tambien (pictured), the erotic Mexican film by Alfonso Cuaron which recorded the biggest three day opening ever of a local film in its home market.The Spanish-language film, which won prizes for best screenplay and best newcomer at Venice, tells the story of two best friends who embark on a sexually charged road trip with a seductive woman. IFC Films, the theatrical distribution arm of Independent Film Cha
  • IEG signs on to Douglas' Racing With Monsoons

    Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) is deepening its in-house production programme, striking a deal with Michael Douglas' Furthur Films to develop and finance Racing With Monsoons.The action-adventure is written by Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck, who co-wrote Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom and American Graffitti. Set in the world of diamond-smuggling in India, the film is "the closest thing you'll get to Romancing The Stone," said King, referring t
  • Intimate Scenes picked up by Flach Pyramide

    Catherine Breillat, the director who became a cause celebre with her sexually explicit Romance, is three weeks from starting production on Scenes Intimes, a picture about making films and, in particular, shooting nude scenes.French sales house Flach Pyramide International has picked up international rights to the film, which re-teams Breillat with rising talent Roxanne Mesquida, star of A Ma Soeur, (Fat Girl). Co-starring are Nikita star Anne Parillaud and G
  • Japanese opt not to travel to London or Mifed

    London and Mifed were dealt a blow this week when Japanese buyers and sellers voted to stay at home en masse due to travel fearsCompanies cancelling their trips completely include Shochiku and Asmik Ace, while companies cancelling as buyers include Toho Towa. Nippon Herald will send two buyers to London but none to Mifed, while others cancelling or scaling back include Amuse, Pony Canyon, Pioneer, Little Magic and Daiei. Only the heavyweight Gaga Communications is bringing an unchanged
  • Jeepers Creepers leaps into UK box office

    UK distributor Helkon SK scored a hit with its horror title Jeepers Creepers at the weekend as it claimed $2.2m (£1.5m) from 307 sites in the UK. The film, which stars Justin Long and Gina Philips, scored the best site average of any of the openers with $7,134 per venue. Directed by Victor Salva, whose previous films include 1997's Powder which took just $122,241 on limited release for BVI, Jeepers Creepers opened at number three in the chart after receiving mostly fair t
  • Justice joins Invicta Capital

    Producer Matthew Justice has been appointed as consultant to Invicta Capital, the recently-launched film investor and tax advisor.Justice, whose credits include Stephen Norrington pictures Blade and The Last Minute, is expected to bring UK qualifying projects to Invicta's Invicta Filmworks offshoot. Partially-based in Los Angeles, Justice may also become involved in a number of other Canadian and European co-productions. Invicta now intends to move into gap
  • King, DiCaprio and Scorsese re-team for Alexander

    Two years exactly since triggering a buying frenzy in London with Gangs Of New York, Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) is to team with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese again on the ultimate indie epic - the story of Alexander The Great.King has bought the script Alexander in a mid seven figure deal for Scorsese to direct and DiCaprio to produce and probably star in. Formerly based at The Canton Co, the script was written by Peter Buchman (Jura
  • LaPlante & Balhetchet launch UK Cougar Films

    Established UK television drama producers Lynda La Plante and Sophie Balhetchet have launched Cougar Films, an outfit geared towards the development and production of commercial features.The company, which has started development on several projects, will also serve as an outlet for developing Balhetchet's future television projects. La Plante will continue to produce television through her existing company La Plante Productions."Feature film represents a new platform for us," s
  • Lars von Trier lines up Wagner and Wendy

    Fully living up to his maverick reputation, Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier (pictured), will not only direct Richard Wagner's mammoth 3-day long opera The Ring Of The Nibelungen in Germany but is writing a US-set film that features guns - but not lead girls."To head a staging The Ring Of The Nibelungen in Bayreuth has been a lifelong dream of mine, which is why I aim for a staging I can accept as worthy of the original, nothing less!" Trier said Thursday Oct 18. This new
  • Latvia becomes 27th Eurimages member

    As from 1st January 2002, Latvia will become the 27th country to join Eurimages, the support fund for the co-production, distribution and exhibition of European films. Consequently all projects involving a Latvian co-producer can be presented for the forthcoming deadline for applications on 10 January 2002. Latvia will also be able to benefit from the distribution and cinema support schemes.Established by the Council of Europe in 1988, Eurimages has supported 829 European co-pr
  • Lions Gate takes int'l rights on Nine Queens

    Lions Gate Films International has picked up international distribution rights to the Argentinian hit Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas) which was acquired for North American distribution earlier this year by Sony Pictures Classics. The pick-up echoes Lions Gate's acquisition of another Latin American movie, Amores Perros, which became a breakout hit for the company.The directorial debut of Fabian Bielinsky, Nine Queens attracted over 1.2 million admissions in Argentina fo
  • Little Bird feathers its nest with new talent

    Flush with the success of Bridget Jones's Diary and the US release of Croupier, UK-based production outfit Little Bird is revving up its slate by expanding its network of affiliated filmmakers and international financing partners.Producer-director team Dixie Linder and Tim Roth have joined the company to develop a slate of films including Mike Barker's contemporary comedy The Mighty Wurlitzer as well as projects for Roth to direct. Bringing in a slate of horror fil
  • Loews Cineplex and Yelmo expand in Spain

    Loews Cineplex and Spanish partner Yelmo Films have announced they will pump a Euros 60m (pts9.98bn) loan into the construction of eight new multiplexes for Yelmo Cineplex, their joint exhibition venture in Spain.The capital injection will supplement current cash flow and Loews' initial contribution to the venture on its 1998 launch, which was an unrevealed amount equal to the cash equivalent of the value, net of debt, of Yelmo's existing theater assets. At the time Yelmo operated 13 c
  • Manitu becomes all-time German champion

    After 14 weeks on release, this year's surprise summer hit Der Schuh Des Manitu has broken the 15-year record held by comedy Otto - Der Film to become the most successful German film since records began, in 1980.Michael "Bully" Herbig's Western parody clocked up total admissions of more than 8.85 m by October 21, taking it past Otto - Der Film's long-standing record set in 1985 of 8.78m admissions.In fact, the Constantin Film release shows no sign of running
  • Maziya appointed CEO of African Broadcast Network

    Savannah Maziya has been appointed chief executive officer of the African Broadcast Network, a pan-African TV network launched in January this year. South Africa-based ABN currently operates a one-hour primetime feed to GTV (Ghana), KBC (Kenya), AIT (Nigeria), ITV (Tanzania), ZNBC (Zimbabwe) and ZBC (Zambia), but is poised to expand with a further two-hour slot and add affiliates in three other countries. It is also readying a package of African feature films for continental bro
  • Media Asia woos Cheung, Lau and Jackie Chan

    Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan, leading local actor Leslie Cheung and popstar-turned acting sensation Andy Lau have joined Media Asia's 2002 slate as the film concern launches a drive to raise its talent profile following a management shake-up earlier this year.The move is being driven by leisure magnate Peter Lam, who this year became a director of the company instead of just a silent investor. Bringing further clout to the company, Chan is poised to become a full board member of the
  • Microsoft bets on Intertainer for broadband VOD

    Microsoft will be making a significant push into the online entertainment market by offering VOD broadband service Intertainer through its widely available internet portal when it is revamped next week under the name of MSN 7. Intertainer's VOD service will made be available in the top 35 broadband markets in the US, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. (See complete list below.)The MSN tie-in, which goes live Oct. 25, repr
  • Miramax burrows Down Under with Sydney offshoot

    Miramax International says it has taken major steps toward more closely controlling its own distribution and marketing in Australia and New Zealand through the establishment of a new Sydney office to be headed by former Roadshow executive David Collins.Miramax says its Australasian operation will perform a similar function to its supervisoryoffices already established in London and Rome, providing a closer oversight relationship not only with local distributors who have licensed Mirama
  • Musa: The Warrior

    Dir: Kim Sung-Su. South Korea 2001 154 MinsThis South Korean blockbuster had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival at the same time as the September 11 attacks sent journalists and buyers racing from screening rooms to watch real-life horror unfold on TV sets. Those who missed the film for perfectly understandable reasons are advised to catch it again, because Musa: The Warrior makes for an impressive and well crafted epic in the vein of Kurosawa and more recent
  • My Voyage To Italy (Il Mio Viaggio In Italia)

    Dir Martin Scorsese. Italy-US 1999. 246 min.No history book about Italian cinema (and there have been several quite good ones) can accomplish what Martin Scorsese does in this four-hour documentary. For My Voyage To Italy brings the extraordinarily rich tradition of this national cinema to life by placing it in the socio-historical context in which it was made and the personal context in which Scorsese saw these films for the first time while growing up in New York's L
  • Oberhausen to analyse Catastrophe as media event

    The ways in which catastrophes become media events will be the focus of the Special Programme at next year's edition of the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (2-7 May 2002).The events of September 11 have given the programme a new topicality and resonance which had not been anticipated when preparations began on the programme in May 2000. However, the festival organisers "have come to the conclusion, though, that the necessity to discuss and analyse the attacks and their con
  • Omirbajev's Jol to open FilmFestival Cottbus

    Kazakh filmmaker Dareshan Omirbajev's Jol will open this year's FilmFestival Cottbus (October 31 - November 4) which has developed into a leading international showcase spotlighting the range of production from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. German producer Peter Rommel, Directors Fortnight selector Jacques Gerber and Russian actor Ivan Shvedoff are among the members of the international festival jury which will be viewing 11 films from nine countries screening in the feature
  • ottfilm announces further distribution deal

    Following the sealing of a distribution co-operation with the German office of UIP at the end of August, new theatrical distributor ottfilm has reached a further agreement with the Munich-based Filmwelt Verleih Agentur.Filmwelt, which also handles films on an agency basis for TiMe Medienvertrieb, Advanced Filmverleih and, will be responsible for the billing and booking to the cinemas, while the acquisition of films and press and marketing activities will remain in th
  • Overseas takes Julie Walking Home worldwide

    Overseas Filmgroup has acquired worldwide distribution on Agnieszka Holland's new film Julie Walking Home and has partnered with Pierce Brosnan's Irish Dreamtime to take on international sales on Bruce Beresford's Evelyn.Julie Walking Home, which is currently shooting in Holland's native Poland, stars Miranda Otto, Lothaire Bluteau and William Fichtner. It is the story of a woman whose husband has cheated on her who flees to Poland with her terminally ill son to se
  • peppermint to launch film distribution at Mifed

    The German international sales sector has seen some movement with the news that the German TV distributor peppermint is to launch a feature film distribution arm at the forthcoming MIFED market with eight titles, including Ralf Huettner's romantic comedy Moonlight Tariff (Mondscheintarif) and Stefan Jaeger's digitally shot Birthday.As part of the company's expansion into selling feature films, peppermint's managing director Michael Knobloch has appointed former EM.TV exec
  • Phillips, Vennis launch Moviehouse sales company

    Former J&M Entertainment head of sales Gary Phillips has partnered with Mark Vennis, formerly a director of film financiers Mansfield Associates, to launch UK-based independent sales company Moviehouse Entertainment. The partners aim to handle five or six UK and US theatrical projects per year. The company is backed by private equity from London and Los Angeles, with a $15m credit line from the Royal Bank of Scotland."Although the business has become much tougher in recent years
  • Potter and Rings will deliver for AOL Time Warner

    "The worldwide premieres of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone next month and The Lord Of The Rings in December will lead our strongest-ever quarter for filmed entertainment," forecast AOL Time Warner chief Gerald Levin.He made the prediction today (17 Oct) as he presented third quarter results for the world's largest media enterprise, which showed strong film performances making up for slumping advertising.Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortis
  • Recession watch - Part VI

    In the sixth, and final, part of Screen International's analysis on the effect on the industry of the Sept 11 attacks on the US, the threat of recession on the corporate finance sector is assessed.Abstracted from Screen InternationalCorporate finance activitiesShare prices have wobbled hugely since the Sept 11 atrocities - some such as Disney which runs theme parks and an advertising-dependent TV network dropped 17% in first trading after the atta
  • Renaissance finds domestic safety in double deal

    The UK's Renaissance Films has seen two of its productions secure North American distribution homes, with Paramount Classics taking domestic and a slew of international rights to Paul McGuigan's The Reckoning and now also IFC Films grabbing domestic rights to Rose Troche's The Safety Of Objects. Both deals were confirmed yesterday.Paramount Classics acquired rights in North America, Latin America, Australia & New Zealand, South Africa and Japan to The Reckoning, in
  • Sacker and Savay-Ross form CUE

    Neil Sacker and Julie Savay-Ross have teamed up to form Creative Union Entertainment (CUE), a new LA-based international sales and financing outfit which kicks off with Wesley Snipes-starrer When The Ride Is Ruff.Sacker, a former executive vice president, business and legal affairs at Miramax Films and senior counsel at Warner Bros is chief executive of the new company. Savay-Ross, formerly vice president, international distribution, at Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) is presi
  • Salma Hayek eyes The Ground Beneath Her Feet

    Salma Hayek is in advanced talks to star in Raoul Ruiz's forthcoming adaptation of Salman Rushdie's novel, The Ground Beneath Her Feet. Production is through Paulo Branco's Gemini Films, with additional financing for the $18.5m film coming from StudioCanal and UK National Lottery franchise Pathe Pictures. Shooting is expected to begin in April.The story, adapted by Rushdie himself, follows a woman who, against the odds, survives the 1989 Mexican earthquake and is subseque
  • Sandy Reisenbach to step down from Warner Bros

    Hollywood marketing veteran Sandy Reisenbach, who is currently executive vice president, marketing and planning, at Warner Bros will step down from his day to day responsibilities at the end of the year and become an active consultant.He will continue to serve as a senior analyst to studio chairman and CEO Barry Meyer and president and COO Alan Horn on general marketing issues as well as with AOL Time Warner integrated marketing and advertising initiatives."Sandy and I have be
  • Spain chooses three foreign Oscar contenders

    Penelope Cruz-starrer No News From God (Sin Noticias De Dios), erotic melodrama Sex And Lucia (Lucia Y El Sexo) and period drama Juana La Loca are the Spanish Cinema Academy's three semi-finalists to compete for the country's nomination to the foreign language category of the Oscars.In accordance with the Spanish Academy's new regulations for the Oscar nomination, the semi-finalists were announced today (Oct 22) in Madrid, three weeks before the final nomination is
  • Spain's Huelva fest announces line-up

    Spain's Iberoamerican Film Festival of Huelva (Nov 17-24) has announced the 12 titles which will compete for its top Golden and Silver Columbus awards in this year's 27th edition.Huelva has the difficult task of seeking films which haven't yet premiered in Spain just two months after the San Sebastian International Film Festival, which offers an ample selection of Latin American cinema, particularly in its Made In Spanish sidebar. The festival promotes itself as the bridge between the
  • SPC buys Almodovar's latest for North America

    Sony PicturesClassics (SPC) has acquired North American rights to Pedro Almodovar'snext film Hable Con Ella (Talk To Her) in a deal struck with the film's sales agent, Good MachineInternational.This is thefourth Almodovar film to be released in the US by the SPC managementtrio of Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom. Previously this triumviratehad handled The Flower Of My Secret, the Academy Award-winning All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre
  • Svensk Filmindustrie appoints new acquisition head

    Nordic major Svensk Filmindiustri's veteran head of acquisitions: Anders Bergholm is to hand over his duties to new head Robert Enmark, as of Nov 2. Bergholm spent more than 30 years within the parent company Bonnier Group and 20 years with Svensk Filmindiustri (SF). "Anders has been with us for a long time, done a great job and now made a decision to move on," says Rasmus Ramstad, president and CEO at SF. "We wish him all the best in the future, and are very pleased to appoint
  • The Last Castle

    Dir Rod Lurie. US 2001. 130 mins.The big mystery of prison action film The Last Castle is not how Robert Redford was cast in the lead - he received $11 million, his highest pay cheque to date - but how director Rod Lurie got such low-key and unimpressive performances from a stellar cast that includes, in addition to Redford, The Sopranos's James Gandolfini and You Can Count On Me's Mark Ruffalo. The film boasts an allegedly "original screenplay,"
  • The Man Who Sued God

    Dir: Mark Joffe. Australia. 2001. 102 mins.Although this intelligent comedy could well have bitten deeper and challenged its heavyweight targets (God, religion, insurance) more aggressively, it's nevertheless a pleasure to welcome a widescreen entertainment so confident in its adult, humanistic stance. With an intriguing premise and a star role exactly tailored to the eccentric, widely admired Scottish stand-up comedian and increasingly reliable actor Billy Connolly, The M
  • The Phantom Menace takes latest DVD crown

    Twentieth Century Fox has claimed a new record for first day sales of a DVD with the release of Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace. The picture racked up $17m on Tuesday Oct 16 Oct, through traditional retail outlets. Buena Vista Home Entertainment the previous week sold $20m-$25m of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs with a combination of pre-orders, retail sales and distribution through Disney stores. Only one week before that, Universal sold two million units of T
  • The Pledge shows international promise

    Sean Penn's latest directorial effort, The Pledge, saw strong openings in several key territories this week and continues to find solid success in others. Opening in Germany and Switzerland on Oct 11 and the UK on Oct 12 the drama, which features an all-star cast headlined by Jack Nicholson, showed impressive performances from limited releases.In the UK the film grossed a three-day figure of $142,100 from just 34 sites for a resounding site average of $6,066, a result mirrored b
  • Tim Roth tapped for Natural Nylon's $23m Cromwell

    Tim Roth is in final negotiations to play 17th century English revolutionary Oliver Cromwell in IAC Film's Crowmell And Fairfax.Roth will star opposite Dougray Scott, who plays general Fairfax. Mike Barker is directing the $23m Natural Nylon production, which is to shoot in January after cutting a deal with UK actor's union Equity to side-step its planned strike.The title is one of eight European films in a slate deal between IAC and LA and Brussels-based production and f
  • Tokyo festival loses stars to travel fears

    Cameron Diaz, Josh Hartnett and Julia Stiles of Save The Last Dance have cancelled their attendance at the 14th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival, citing security concerns.The festival will present 140 films from 24 countries between October 27 and November 4 and is still hoping to welcome 51 international guests.For years Hollywood stars, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith and Brad Pitt have been appearing on the stage of the f
  • Truly Human (Et Rigtig Menneske)

    Dir: Aake Sandgren. Denmark. 2001. 93 mins. This sixth production from the Dogme 95 stable is a bittersweet fantasy variant on the "noble savage" genre that has exercised art-house films such as Francois Truffaut's L'Enfant Sauvage or Werner Herzog's The Enigma Of Kasper Hauser, as well as more mainstream fare like the Jodie Foster vehicle Nell. While Truly Human offers few fresh insights into the theme, it's a wistful, humorously acted piece which earne
  • Turin festival announces first competition titles

    The upcoming Turin Film Festival (November 15th-23rd)'s line-up will include James Toback's latest film, Harvard Man, Todd Solondz's Storytelling and David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, organizers of the northern Italian festival announced. The festival will only reveal its full-line up on November 8th, but organizers have already confirmed that competition titles will include Carola Spadoni's Giravolte-storie Romane and Monica Stambrini's Benzina. Other
  • UK govt seeks opinion on cross-media ownership

    The UK government is to publish a consultation paper next month to canvass opinion on how best to regulate cross-media ownership, culture secretary Tessa Jowell has announced.The consultation paper will inform the government's forthcoming Communications Bill, due to be published next year.According to Jowell, who plans to be as "deregulatory as possible", the key to media regulation in the UK is balancing limits on media ownership with the economic health of the media sector.
  • UK property developer launches UKI Films

    Secretive UK property player UKI has entered the film production business, launching UKI Films with former Rocket Pictures development chief Polly Steele.UKI, said to be worth up to $1bn (£700m), is covering overheads and providing an annual development fund of $217,000 (£150,000) over three years. Steele, who produced Rocket's Women Talking Dirty, said that it might also fund production "if it was matched by someone in the industry".The Schimmel family, which runs UKI, w
  • UK's ITC argues for early Carlton/Granada merge

    The chairman of the Independent Television Commission (ITC), one of the UK's broadcast regulators, has called on the government to bring in urgent interim legislation that would allow the two largest commercial broadcasters to merge.Sir Robin Biggam, said: "We are going through tough times and government needs to act quickly to use interim legislation, as necessary, to deal with the issues that need to be addressed now if we are to have a dynamic and prosperous communications sector in
  • US actors guild supports UK's Equity strike

    The US' Screen Actors Guild has come out in support of the threatened actors' strike by UK performer's union Equity, instructing its members to seek SAG advice before accepting work on any UK production.The SAG support is a boost to Equity's ongoing dispute with UK producers, which centres around attempts to secure payments for UK actors from ancillary revenue streams. SAG said it will instruct its members "whether acceptance of any specific offer will adversely affect Equity's effort
  • Warsaw fest attracts record audiences

    Despite losing its backing from the Polish Ministry for Cinematography, this year's 17th annual Warsaw International Film Festival, (October 4-15) screened 126 films from 37 countries, drawing a record audience of 61,000 - making it the biggest edition so far. The international non-competitive festival awarded its audience poll prize to Lone Scherfig's Italian For Beginners. A highlight of the event was the announcement by Andrzej Wajda and Wojciech Marczewski that they h
  • Why Can't I Be Audrey Hepburn gets Myriad money

    Myriad Pictures has committed to fully finance romantic comedy Why Can't I Be Audrey Hepburn, which is set to star Jennifer Love Hewitt.Hewitt, who herself played Hepburn in a recent ABC miniseries, will be directed by Ryan Murphy, the writer and producer of hit US TV show Popular. She plays a news anchorwoman with the romantic ideals of an Audrey Hepburn movie who is stood up on her wedding day. She turns to her fiance's best friend, a wisecracking fireman, to help her w

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