By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

23 October 2002

View all stories from this issue.

  • 800 Bullets (800 Balas)

    Dir: Alex De La Iglesia. 124mins. Spain.A spoof on the classic western, 800 Bullets (800 Balas) is one of the funniest, most original and stylistically adventurous pictures to emerge from Spain in recent memory. Perhaps heir to that other local master of invention, Pedro Almodovar, director Alex De La Iglesia's proven versatility deserves wider international recognition beyond his growing cult fan base. Although they don't tend to do blockbuster business outside
  • Abandon

    Dir: Stephen Gaghan. US. 2002. 99mins.The directorial debut of Oscar-winning Traffic screenwriter Stephen Gaghan, Abandon is not so much a teen thriller as a Bright Young Thing thriller - and like some of its Ivy League student characters it may be a bit too clever for its own good. US cinemagoers have certainly given the Spyglass Entertainment production (distributed by thriller expert Paramount) a cool reception in the competitive run-up to Halloween: a
  • Artificial Eye takes 11'09'01 for the UK

    UK distributor Articificial Eye has picked up controversial September 11 film 11'09"01.The distributor bought all rights to the picture, which caused a storm in the US with its critical take on US foreign policy. The Venice title combines 11 films shot by a group of leading directors including Samira Makhmalbaf, Danis Tanovic, Ken Loach, Amos Gitai and Claude Lelouch.The film, which met a mixed critical response, takes directors from different countries and cultures to present 1
  • Canada gets its first subscription-based video-on-demand service

    Shaw Communicatons and Corus Entertainment are launching Canada's first subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD) service. Set to launch in Calgary, Alberta on Nov. 1, the service, Movie Central Express, will offer viewers a selection of feature films and TV programmes. According to Shaw spokesman Michael D'Avella, the service is identical to SVOD service offered by Home Box Office in the US. Shaw's Movie Central subscribers will pay a monthly flat fee of C$5.99 for unlimited VOD acce
  • Ceili War starts in Northern Ireland

    Location filming started in Northern Ireland on Friday on The Great Ceili War. The $7.7m (£5m) film about brothers who lead rival bands is directed by John Irvin and will shoot for four weeks in Belfast and Glenarm, County Antrim, before relocating to the Isle of Man. The script is an original screenplay written by Nicholas Adams. Richard Taylor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission welcomed the production to Northern Ireland saying, "The f
  • Channel 4 slashes staff numbers as part of radical overhaul

    UK broadcaster and former stalwart of the British film industry Channel 4 has embarked on the most radical shake-up in its 20 year history, announcing plans to slash 200 jobs.The redundancies are in addition to the 50 job losses at Channel 4's FilmFour division, which was recently closed as a standalone division and folded back into the main channel's drama department. A further 48 posts were cut from Channel 4 and its commercial arm 4 Ventures in the autumn of 2001.The redundan
  • Chicago audiences vote for Columbine, Real Women

    Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine won the audience choice award at the 38th Chicago International Film Festival, with the silver plaque going to Patricia Cardoso's Real Women Have Curves.Moore attended the festival, participating in a two-hour Q&A following the screening of his popular documentary which world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Actresses America Ferrara and Ingrid Oliu attended Chicago for Real Women, which opens this weekend in the U
  • Cohen's Manhattan picks up US rights to 12 Hours

    Manhattan PicturesInternational has picked up US rights to Puerto Rican festival favourite 12Hours with an eye on an early March2003 release. Raul Marchand-Sanchez's 93-minute picture was showcased at theTribeca Film Festival and won the Audience Choice Award at the Chicago LatinoFilm Festival. A socially relevant drama, 12 Hours was produced by Puerto Rico-based production companyMuvi Films and focuses on five parallel lives during one hot and hectic nightin
  • Coote says that Intertainer Asia is doing just fine

    Singapore-basedIntertainer Asia issued a statement yesterday saying that the imminent (Oct 23) suspension ofIntertainer Inc's video-on-demand service in the US will have "no impacton, or consequence to" its operations. Jonathan Taplin's Intertainer Incsaid last week that it was temporarily shutting down
  • Diesel fuels hot UK box office opening

    Latest action icon Vin Diesel enjoyed his biggest UK opening yet with Columbia TriStar's XXX at the weekend. The film, intended to be the first in a franchise for which part two is already scheduled for a 2004 release, took a mighty four-day opening gross (Oct 17-20) of $5.3m (£3.4m) from 435 sites.XXX's three-day opening weekend (Friday Oct 18-Sunday Oct 20) scored $4.8m (£3.1m) for a muscular average of $10,944. This put its launch ahead of Diesel's previous h
  • Digital opener for 36th Hof Film Days

    Marc Ottiker's digitally shot feature Halbe Miete will have its world premiere as the opening film of the 36th International Hof Film Days today (Wednesday October 23).Ottiker's film and Hanno Hackfort's Junimond, which is also showing at the festival, are the first projects completed under the 'Radikal Digital' initiative launched in Hof two years ago by Road Movies, broadcaster WDR and the public funding body Filmstiftung NRW .The festival (Oct 23-27), whose dir
  • Eurimages president Massaro in shock resignation

    Gianni Massaro has resigned as president of European Council film fund Eurimages, blaming the "excessive power of the European Council," bad management, and feuds between the Council and the Eurimages Committee.Massaro explained the reasons for his departure at a press conference in Rome, commenting: "I fear that Eurimages cannot go very far under the existing conditions. Funds given by representative states will soon be insufficient. The European Council puts at Eurimages's disposal p
  • European Film Academy nominates shorts

    The European Film Academy (EFA) and United International Pictures (UIP) have announced the 11 nominations for the Euros 10,000 European Short Film Award 2002 - Prix UIP, the winner of which will be presented in Rome on December 7, during the European Film Awards ceremony.The nominations are:MunoBouli Lanners, BelgiumPrix UIP GhentNews From L Project (Nouvelle De La Tour L)Samuel Benchetrit, FrancePrix UIP ValladolidWedding N
  • First Look picks up North American rights to Angela

    First Look Pictures hasacquired North American rights to Roberta Torre's Italian drama Angela which had its world premiere in Directors Fortnightat the Cannes Film Festival this year and recently played in the TorontoInternational Film Festival. First Look Pictures president MJ Peckos negotiatedthe deal for the film with sales agent Adriana Chiesa of Adriana ChiesaEnterprises.Angela stars DonatellaFinocchiaro as Angela, the wife of a much older Mafioso drug d
  • Fox's Perdition past the $50m mark in international

    Fox's Road To Perdition grossed $3.1m on 1,935 international screens over the weekend, bringing the picture's cumulative total to just under $50.1m. In the gangster drama's only opening it took $112,000 from 45 screens in Poland. In its second week in Australia Road To Perdition dropped 38% for a $475,000 haul from 248 screens for a $1.5m cumulative score, while in its second week in Brazil it took $184,000 from 172 screens for a $635,000 running total. The picture fell 25% in i
  • French porn ban could cost national film industry dear

    Appearing late at night exclusively on encrypted channels, pornographic films have been a staple of the French pay-TV scene since Canal Plus launched in 1984. Now elements of the political establishment and the broadcast regulator, the CSA, are considering banning X-rated films from television. The Association of Cable and Satellite Channels (A.C.C.e.S) points out that this will have a major impact on channel operators and their ability to invest in the film production industry. Possib
  • Germany submits Nowhere In Africa for foreign-language Oscar

    Multiple award-winning Caroline Link's Nowhere In Africa has been chosen as the German entry to compete for the best foreign-language Oscar.The nine-person independent jury of experts, which was appointed by the Export Union of German Cinema to select the German entry to compete for the best foreign language film Oscar, has chosen Caroline Link's Nowhere In Africa (Nirgendwo In Afrika).It is the second time that a film by Link has been entered by Germany for
  • Germany's Das Werk to change market listing

    Germany's leading postproduction player Das Werk has been given the greenlight by the German Stock Exchange to change its listing from the Neuer Markt to the Frankfurt's Geregelter Markt from Monday 11 November.Das Werk, which had been listed on the Neuer Markt since its IPO in August 1999, explained that the change to another stock exchange had been motivated by the desire to cut costs. Earlier this year, other Neuer Markt-listed media companies such as Helkon Media (now in ins
  • Gettin' Square gets international distribution

    Universal Pictures/Studio Canal/UIP has been named as the international distributor of Gettin' Square, the hard-edged comedy drama that went into production in Queensland today under the direction of Jonathan Teplitzky, whose debut film was Better Than Sex. Hoyts is handling the film locally. Gettin' Square is set in the world of small-time crooks and big-time criminal investigation authorities and stars David Wenham, Sam Worthington and the UK's Timothy Spall. A j
  • Hollywood Hong Kong scoops record number of Golden Horse nods

    Fruit Chan's Hollywood Hong Kong has scored a record number of nominations - 14 in all - for the 39th Golden Horse Awards, Taiwan's equivalent of the Oscars, including best picture, best director, best actor for Glen Chin and best actress for China's Zhou Xun.The film, which beat Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's previous haul of 13 nominations in 2000, also picked up nods for best supporting actress (Hu Wei-Men), best newcomer (Wong You-Nam), best original screenplay, bes
  • Hong Kong government plans film guarantee fund

    The Hong Kong government has issued a consultation paper proposing the establishment of a Film Guarantee Fund to help local companies obtain bank loans for film production.The paper suggests that $6.4m (HK$50m) of the existing $12.8m (HK$100m) Film Development Fund should be used to guarantee loans to filmmakers from banks and other participating lending institutions. The scheme would initially run for two years on a revolving basis with loan guarantees discharged by the banks being pl
  • Hungary, Romania submit foreign-language Oscar entries

    Hungary and Romania have each submitted debut films from young directors as their candidates for the best foreign-language category at next year's Academy Awards.The Romanian candidate is Cristian Mungiu's Occident, produced by Temple Film, which screened in the Director's Fortnight section of this year's Cannes Film Festival. Hungary's entry for the Academy Award is Gyorgy Palfi's Hukkle, a documentary style feature film.In the past few weeks, the first internatio
  • Hungary's premiere film festival wraps

    The 10th Titanic Budapest Film Festival came to an end on Sunday night with a special screening of Atom Egoyan's Ararat. Although the director could not be present at the screening he did send a letter saying 'I am proud and honoured that you have chosen to close your festival with this deeply personal film'. The film's makers were represented by producer Robert Lantos, of Hungarian origin, who confessed that the idea to make Ararat was born on a flight between Budapest a
  • Hyman leaves Miramax to head physical production at Focus

    Kevin Hyman has joined Universal Pictures' specialty films unit Focus Features as executive vice president of physical production. Hyman, who previously worked at Miramax Films, will be in charge of physical production and post-production on Focus' in-house productions and will oversee post-production on other Focus acquisitions. He will be based at the company's Manhattan offices and will report directly to Focus president of production Glenn Williamson, while working closely with co-preside
  • IDA names best documentary nominees for 2002

    The International Documentary Association (IDA) has announced the films which will vie for the prizes at the annual Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards to be announced at the benefit gala on Dec 13 in Hollywood.The awards are presented in four categories - feature length films (see nominees below), short films, limited series and continuing series. The gala will also see career achievement awards go to Ken Burns and Agnes Varda.Feature length nomineesA Child's
  • Indigenous Sami people ready second movie for release

    With a tiny population spread across the outer reaches of Scandinavia, it seems incredible that the indigenous Sami people can boast of a film-making culture. Yet the town of Kautokeino, based in the northern most part of Norway and with just 3,000 inhabitants, already boasts one Oscar-nominated director, Nils Gaup. His renowned 1987 film Pathfinder was the first feature to be shot in the Sami language.Now a second Sami film is about to be released. Road movie Bazo
  • Jackie Chan, Arclight join EMG's Twins Effect

    Jackie Chan has joined Hong Kong pop idols Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung in the cast of Emperor Multimedia Group's The Twins Effect.In addition, EMG announced that Sydney-based production and sales house, Arclight Films, will represent the film, which started shooting in Hong Kong on Tuesday, in all territories outside Asia.The action horror stars singing sensations Chung and Choi - known collectively as Twins - as high-kicking schoolgirls who are called on to battle a
  • Kiss The Bride, Cinemania win top prizes at Hamptons Fest

    Director-screenwriter Vanessa Parise's Kiss The Bride and James Coburn were among honorees as the tenth Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) closed amid a flurry of awards on Oct 19 and 20. Jury panel and audience awards were selected from 129 independent features, documentaries and short films screened from Oct 16-20. At a ceremony held at the Guild Hall in East Hampton on Oct 19 the centrepiece Golden Starfish Feature Award went to Vanessa Parise for Kiss The Bride, a d
  • Korean exhibitor to launch pilot US cinema

    South Korean major CJ Entertainment has announced plans to expand its CGV multiplex line into the US, with its first venue scheduled to open in Los Angeles' Koreatown in 2004. The venture marks the first effort by a Korean film company to target the Korean-American community through theatrical, rather than ancillary markets.Ownership of the three-screen, 700-seat venue is to be structured as a yet-to-be-named joint venture with CJ Entertainment and US-based DC Town Capital, hea
  • Locally-produced family films dominate Nordic box office

    Locally-produced family films are enjoying a strong run at the Nordic box-office, with home-grown films proving more than a match for US product. Hayflower And Quiltshoe (Heinähattu ja Vilttitossu) (pictured) had the biggest opening for a family feature in Finland this year with a weekend gross of Euros 224,453 and an impressive 34,713 admissions from 37 prints. The result far outperformed the openings US family titles: Lilo & Stitch 19,210 (on 46 pri
  • Los Angeles' AFI FEST announces full lineup of 134 films

    AFI FEST, the internationalfilm festival held by the American Film Institute (AFI) in Los Angeles Nov7-17, has announced its lineup, which is composed of 134 films from 37countries.The festival is divided intovarious categories: International feature competition, internationaldocumentary competition and international shorts competition, AmericanDirections, Asian New Classics, European Showcase, Latin Cinema Series andSpecial Screenings."AFI FESThas become the festival of record
  • Man Without A Past wins Grand Prize at Flanders fest

    Aki Kaurismaki's The Man Without A Past has won the Grand Prize for Best Film at the 29th Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent.The International Jury, under chairmanship of Gerard Mortier, announced the winner Friday night (October 18) at the Capitole theatre. The ceremony preceded the gala screening of the closing film, the European premiere of Shekhar Kapurs' The Four Feathers.The Grand Prize of the Flemish Community for Best Film - carrie
  • Media Asia picks up two Chinese features

    Hong Kong's Media Asia has picked up all rights outside China to two features from up-and-coming mainland talent in the run-up to Mifed.Directed by Zhang Yibai, Media Asia's first pick-up: Spring Subway is written and produced by Liu Fendou whose writing credits include Zhang Yang's Shower and Spicy Love Soup. The Beijing-set drama, which received its world premiere at this year's Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy, revolves around the painful break-up of a lon
  • MGM pleased with 'better than expected' third quarter results

    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer(MGM) has posted 'better than expected' third quarter earnings,powered by revenues from its film and television library, increased televisionprogramming and the number one comedy, Barbershop.
  • Montreal World Film Festival gets competitive

    In an effort to boost its profile on the international festival circuit, the Montreal World Film Festival is transforming several of its programmes into competitive sections, complete with cash prizes. As a result the festival will be selecting far fewer feature films, from more than 200 at the 2002 event to less than 150 next year.Set to begin with the 27th festival, August 27 to September 7, 2003, all sections will be adjudicated by a jury with the exceptions of the mostly retrospect
  • New Los Angeles producer Ovation moves on three new projects

    Ovation Entertainment, the new LA company which teams former Trilogy Entertainment Group co-head Richard B Lewis with former eBay president Jeff Skoll as the lead investor, has hired Gregory Widen, the writer of Highlander and Backdraft, to rewrite action adventure movie The Rising originally written by Jeffrey Miller as well as write period actioner The Quest based on true historical events.Ovation has also acquired Meant To Be, a romantic comedy fro
  • Nobel Prize helps greenlight Hungarian classic adaptation

    Despite a string of international producers lining up with offers to film Imre Kertesz's Fateless, after the Hungarian author won the Nobel prize for Literature last week, it seems the project is going to remain predominantly Hungarian.Hungarian cinematographer Lajos Koltai has been preparing his directorial debut - a film based on the novel Fateless - for the last five years. But with a comparatively astronomical budget of $8m - which would make it the second most expens
  • Noe's Irreversible gets UK theatrical OK

    The British Board Of Film Classification given Gaspar Noe's Irreversible an 18 certificate, and passed it uncut for its UK theatrical release - which will be through Metro Tartan in Spring 2003..In a statement, Metro Tartan said it was delighted to hear that the film had been passed uncut for cinema release with an 18 certificate, adding that in France the censorship body chose to give the film a 16 certificate rather than the 18 certificate which also exists there. The film has
  • Optimum makes the most of new acquisitions

    Mostly Martha, the German-language film currently on more than $3m at the North American box office, has secured a UK release through independent distributor Optimum Releasing.Optimum picked up UK rights from Paramount Classics, which is releasing the film in North America. Directed by Sandra Nettelbeck, the story of a celebrated but obsessive chef and her carefree Italian colleague is a strong contender for Germany's Foreign Language Oscar nomination.Also new to Optimum'
  • Padre Amaro goes to the Oscars

    Carlos Carrera's El Crimen Del Padre Amaro has been selected to represent Mexico at the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The controversial priest scandal drama was widely anticipated to win the nomination given its critical acclaim and record-breaking success at the Mexican box office. Diana Bracho, president of the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences announced the decision Friday (October 18). Carrera is one of the 24 active members of
  • Pascal, Blake, Landau promoted to vice chairmen at SPE

    Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) chairman John Calley has promoted three of company's leading lights to the position of vice chairman under a new management structure designed to encourage a "constant flow of information". Columbia Pictures chairman Amy Pascal, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group worldwide marketing and distribution president Jeff Blake and Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment president Yair Landau will retain their roles and assume enhanced day-to-day responsibilities repo
  • Pusan Int'l film festival unveils 7th edition line-up

    The Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) has unveiled the line-up of its 7th edition, to be held from November 14-23 in South Korea. Increasingly seen as the region's leading showcase of Asian cinema, this year's festival will feature a record 228 films as well as further efforts to expand the industry-related events that have fuelled the festival's growth.Opening the event will be the eagerly anticipated world premiere of The Coast Guard (pictured)
  • Rabbit-Proof Fence scoops 10 AFI nominations

    Period drama Rabbit-Proof Fence, directed by Phillip Noyce (pictured), has dominated the AFI (Australian Film Institute) Award nominations with ten nods,. But with only one less is first-time director Tony Ayres' Walking On Water, a highly contemporary story about the effect of a young man's death on his family and friends. Wal
  • Senator shares boosted by KirchMedia licence deal

    German distributor and licence trader Senator Entertainment has struck a "wide ranging deal" that will see its films licensed to the bankrupt KirchMedia group. The films will be shown on free-TV channels ProSieben, Sat 1 and Kabel 1.Senator did not disclose the terms of the deal, nor say how many films were involved, but did reveal that the value of the licences will be explicitly linked to the films' theatrical box office record. On its recent track record of modest hits and bo
  • Signs becomes BVI's biggest Italian live action opener ever

    Signs grossed $13.6m in a record-breaking weekend for Buena Vista International (BVI) that produced the distributor's biggest live-action opening of all time in Italy. The supernatural drama took $4.1m from 414 screens and was also the fifth highest industry opening ever for a US-produced picture in the territory. In France the picture ranked number one with $3.3m from 699 screens, roughly comparable to the opening of Pearl Harbor.In Russia Signs grossed $1m from 1
  • Sobini joins Permut in long-gestating Julia Pastrana

    MarkAmin's Sobini Films has teamed up with David Permit's PermutPresentations to co-produce Julia Pastrana, based on the real-life Victorian English romance between a deformedentertainer and the man who turned her into an international star. Although nodirector and cast have be
  • South Korea adds to list of foreign-language Oscar submissions

    Lee Chang-dong's third film Oasis has been picked to represent South Korea for the best foreign language Oscar. The film joins a rapidly-growing list of national submissions, including, most recently, Bohdan Slama's Wild Bees from the Czech Republic and Fernando Lopes's O Delfim from Portugal Oasis (pictured) an unconventional love story about a slightly retarded ex-convict and a woman with cerebral palsy, was recently awarded the
  • Spain selects three contenders for foreign-language Oscar submission

    The Spanish Cinema Academy's preliminary selection of three titles for the foreign-language Oscar submission includes Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her, Jose Luis Garci's Story Of A Kiss and Fernando Leon's Mondays In The Sun.The pre-selection will be whittled down to one nominee, unveiled on November 11. The Academy introduced the two-tiered nominating system last year with the objective of boosting promotion for more films. Actress Marisa Paredes, current president o
  • Spain TV Expo readies inaugural US edition

    The newly created Spain TV Expo is readying its first edition next month in Miami (Nov 14-16) with the anticipated participation of companies from Spain, the US and Latin America.The Expo was created to further commercial relations between Spanish producers and key broadcasters from the Americas through one-on-one meetings between buyers and sellers, as well as panel discussions on current trends in the Hispanic television market.Among the Spanish companies expected to attend ne
  • Spain's film funding crisis deepens

    Spain's film funding crisis is escalating, with producers, actors, broadcasters and the government all blaming each other for a major production slowdown.Newly released figures show that both local productions and foreign acquisitions have plummeted in Spain this year. Spanish producers' federation FAPAE estimates that 84 films will shoot in Spain in 2002, down almost 25% from 2001. "But these films were contracted last year, before the crisis," warns FAPAE president Eduardo Campoy.
  • Spanish pay-TV merger could encounter national resistance

    The pending merger of Spain's digital pay-TV platforms, Via Digital and Canal Satellite Digital is likely to meet stiff resistance from numerous sectors within the country. The nation's Court for the Defence of Competition is understood to be collecting multiple complaints concerning the merger from Spanish companies and associations prior to the government's final approval, expected before year end. Spain's Association of Cable Operators (AOC) is believed to be one of the drivi
  • Spencer Proffer moves to Mandalay Branded Entertainment

    MandalayEntertainment Group offshoot Mandalay Branded Entertainment (MBE) has acquiredthe operations of Spencer Proffer's film, music and television outfit MorlingManor Music and Media, with Proffer coming on board as MBE executive vicepresident. Proffer, a former United Artists and C
  • The Intended

    Dir: Kristian Levring. UK-Denmark. 2002. 110minsDanish expatriate Kristian Levring's follow-up to his Dogme-film The King Is Alive is a companion piece in every sense, visually, emotionally and thematically. Even if this sombre drama is more straightforward than its predecessor (it was shot using more conventional methods of film-making than the infamous manifesto), it will most likely appeal to the same arthouse audience and buyers which hankered after Levring's previ
  • The Nugget

    Dir: Bill Bennett. Australia. 2002. 97mins.Although he is strictly one part of a sparky acting ensemble, Eric Bana shoulders the above-the-title promotional weight for The Nugget, a pleasantly folksy Australian comedy. After his huge arthouse success as Chopper, his macho lead in Black Hawk Down - and before his coming worldwide multiplex outings as The Hulk and opposite Brad Pitt in Troy -Bana is here having selfless, underplayed fun with a
  • The Ring runs circles around the competition

    A haunted video tape proved too much for Hannibal and friends over the weekend as DreamWorks SKG's The Ring spooked Red Dragon off the top spot with an estimated $15m bow. The English-language remake of Hideo Nakata's 1998 Japanese horror picture Ringu impressed the critics and averaged $7,571 from 1,981 theatres. Upcoming star Naomi Watts, who won rave reviews for her performance in Universal's Mulholland Drive last year, stars as a reporter who investigates a cur
  • THINKFilm buys North America on The Heart Of Me

    THINKFilm has acquired all North American rights to UK drama The Heart Of Me which world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and which is the closing night presentation at the London Film Festival next month (Nov 21). Directed by Thaddeus O'Sullivan, the film stars Helena Bonham Carter, Paul Bettany and Olivia Williams.THINKFilm, which plans to release the film next year, bought the film from Pandora, the LA-based finance and sales outfit which co-financed the f
  • Two Helkon subsidiaries file for insolvency

    Another two, first and second-tier, companies of the bankrupt Helkon Media group - Helkon International Holding GmbH und Helkon International Production GmbH - filed for insolvency at the Munich Regional Court on Wednesday (October 16). A release stated that these filings were 'a direct result of the insolvency of Helkon Media AG which was registered on August 2, 2002 and opened on October 1 and have no further consequences for the continuation of business operatons of Helkon Media AG.
  • UGC makes solid start as UK distributor

    The UK saw a new film distributor take its bow in the theatrical marketplace over the weekend as UGC Films released Mike Leigh's critically-acclaimed All Or Nothing.Entering the chart at number 10, despite playing at just 55 sites, the social drama, which stars Leigh regular Timothy Spall, grossed a good $254,320 (£164,291) for a solid screen average of $4,624.This stands up well against the marketplace's most obvious recent comparison, Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen
  • UIP chairman Oneile expected to step down

    UIP chairman Paul Oneile is expected to announce his departure from the international distribution giant imminently.London-based Oneile, who is understood to be leaving for personal reasons, has headed the international distribution venture of Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures since 1996.UIP president Andrew Cripps is seen as a likely to candidate to head the distributor following Oneile's departure. Oneile, who could not be reached at time of going to press, and Cripps
  • UIP exec Marion Pilowsky tapped by Myriad in London...

    Myriad Pictures, the Los Angeles-based sales & financing outfit, is beefing up its overseas presence by appointing UIP acquisitions chief Marion Pilowsky to head its London operation.Under the title of head of international production, Pilowsky aims to board between two and five projects in her first year from the UK and international markets. The move marks a return to independent production for Pilowsky, who spearheaded the production arm of Australian pay-TV company Premium Movie Pa
  • Universal moves into China with $900m theme park

    Universal Studios has signed a preliminary agreement with one of China's largest tourism enterprises, Beijing Tourism Group (BTG), to build a $900m theme park in the Chinese capital, according to Hong Kong daily the South China Morning Post.The proposed park is subject to approval from the Chinese government's State Development and Planning Commission but construction could begin as early as next year according to BTG chairman Duan Qiang."Equity distribution has not been finalis
  • Villa Des Roses

    Director: Frank van Passel. Bel-UK-Neth-Lux. 2002. 119minsSelected as Best Feature at the recent Hollywood Film Festival and a triple nominee at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) later this month, Villa Des Roses is finally beginning to generate the kind of modest heat that could secure it a welcome in sophisticated arthouse markets. The long-awaited second feature from Belgian director Frank Van Passel is a visually striking, emotionally uneven period romance
  • Vivendi sells publishing businesses

    Vivendi Universal chief Jean Fortou confirmed yesterday that it was selling its European and Latin American publishing assets for Euros 1.25bn ($1.2bn) to a consortium led by French publishers Lagardere that includes US investment house Ripplewood Holdings and publisher John Wiley & Sons.Vivendi's US publishing arm Houghton Mifflin is to be sold separately following disappointing bids. The Boston-based academic publisher has an estimated value of around $1.5bn, nearly 40% less than Vi
  • Watling joins cast of Gay's In The City

    Actress Leonor Watling has joined the cast of director Cesc Gay's forthcoming tragicomedy In The City (En La Ciudad).Watling, who starred as the comatose ballerina in Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her (Hable Con Ella), will take a supporting role in the film, which stars Eduard Fernandez (Smoking Room), Monica Lopez (Intact), Vicenta Ndongo (No News From God) and Maria Pujalte (My Mother Likes Women), among others.Co-scripted by Gay and Toma
  • XXX takes Europe by storm, racks up $18.2m weekend

    CTFDI's action thriller XXX scored nine number one openings in Europe and beyond over the weekend, grossing an estimated $18.2m from 4,300 screens. To date the picture has notched up 40 international number one bows and showed little sign of slowing down over the weekend. In the UK it scored a tremendous number one opening of $5.2m from 607 screens, including previews - roughly 6% bigger than Red Dragon and about the same as The Matrix. Continued good business is expected