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24 December 2000

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  • Allegations fly between Franchise & Intertainment

    Franchise Pictures has fought back against German distributor Intertainment Licensing, filing its own suit in the Superior Court of the State of California and issuing a second statement on Friday (Dec 22) saying that it was shocked at Intertainment's public revelations.Meanwhile Intertainment issued its own statement on Friday, explaining the sequence of events over the last two weeks. "Intertainment has discovered, through thorough research and various sources overcharges in the pro

    BEST ACTRESS/BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESSIt's been a rich year for actresses, but Julia Roberts is the only dead cert for a best actress nomination. Meanwhile, in the supporting actress category, the British are sure to make their now traditional appearance. Mike Goodridge reports.She was Oscar-nominated for her second starring role and her third, but Julia Roberts has had to wait 10 years and another 19 films before her third. And there can be nothing more certain that
  • BKN International plans US, Japanese expansion

    German children's animation producer and distributor BKN International (BKNI) is in final talks to acquire an animation studio in the US by the end of this year as part of its ambitious strategy of international expansion.Speaking at this week's shareholders' meeting, CEO Nadia Nardonnet said that in addition to the Stateside plans, the company aims to have a production presence in Japan by the end of 2001/beginning of 2002. It is also planning to set up an animation production centre
  • Broadcast Critics name Crowe, Roberts best of 2000

    The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the largest film critics group in North America, has announced its winners for the sixth annual Critics' Choice Awards to be presented on Jan 22 in Los Angeles.Only one award remains undecided - Best picture for which the BFCA has put forward 11 nominations; the winner will also be announced on Jan 22.Those 11 are (in alphabetical order) Almost Famous, Billy Elliot, Cast Away, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Canadian circuits under competition scrutiny

    Canada's two principal exhibitors, Famous Players and Cineplex Odeon, are under investigation by the country's Competition Bureau for possible collusion. The two chains are the dominant players in Canada, with more than 1,600 of the nation's 2,400 screens. Both are controlled by US-based parent operations: Famous Players is a unit of Viacom, Cineplex Odeon is a subsidiary of Loews Cineplex.Affidavits filed in the Federal Court by the Bureau allege the companies are not bidding a
  • Constantin bonds with IFG for multiple films

    Germany's production outfit Constantin Film has closed a multi-picture agreement with LA-based completion bond company International Film Guarantors (IFG) under which IFG will be Constantin's principal completion guarantor. The first film to be overseen by IFG's Los Angeles office is the comedy Slap Her, She's French which began shooting in November in Dallas, Texas, and stars Piper Perabo. Director is Melanie Mayron and producers are Beau Flynn, Jonathan King and Matthais Emck
  • Crouching Tiger beats Traffic for Toronto critics

    On the eve of taking the Golden Globe Awards nod for best foreign language picture, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was named best film of the year by the Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA).The picture's closest rival was Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, for which Soderbergh was named best director. Although Traffic came in as runner-up for best film, the picture's Benecio Del Toro came away with best actor.The journalists association also judged Crou
  • Denmark's TV2 launches development fund

    Danish broadcaster TV2/Denmark, which has become one of the biggest supporters of feature films in Denmark, is to provide the industry with an additional $0.72m (DKr6m) in development funding.The public service station is obliged by law to provide an annual minimum of $2.4m (DKr20m) for local feature production, and will continue to do so for the next four years. However, in 2000 it surpassed this amount by contributing $3.6m (DKr30m) to a total of 11 films. Among these are Nordisk Fil
  • Depardieu adds heft to Bornedal's gothic romance

    Gerard Depardieu has joined the cast of Ole Bornedal's I Am Dina, an English-language gothic romance that is one of the most expensive Scandinavian film productions ever.The addition of the French actor, one of Europe's best paid stars, could further increase the $13m budget of the project, which is being principally financed by Northern Lights, the Norwegian subsidiary of Denmark's Nordisk Film.Based on Herbjorg Wassmo's best-selling novel, the story is set in Norway cir
  • EC greenlights Universal, NTL pay-TV film service

    The European Commission has approved plans for The Studio Channel, a UK pay-TV joint venture between cable giant NTL and Universal Studios Networks.The greenlight came after the Commission's analysis showed that the creation of the library film service will neither create nor reinforce a dominant position in any market. The operation is expected to launch in the first quarter next year.The service will initially operate 18 hours a day, with films packaged in thematic blocks and
  • Festival calendar gets FIAPF re-write

    After a year which saw changes amongst top staff at many leading festivals, 2001 seems set to be the year of changes to the festival calendar.According to FIAPF - the organisation which regulates standards at festivals - there are major shifts at four of the 11 top non-competitive festivals. There are also changes at two competitive events.The Mar Del Plata festival, which did not take place in 2000, moves to a March slot. The event will run March 8-17, 2001.Shanghai beco
  • Franchise fires back at Intertainment allegations

    United International Pictures (UIP) chairman Paul Oneile and president Andrew Cripps have both renewed their contracts with the company, taking them through to 2006. The move comes as UIP enjoys a strong year, having already grossed $1.7bn this year thanks to films such as Shrek, Bridget Jones Diary and American Pie 2.'I couldn't be happier Paul and Andrew signed on for an additional five years," said Rob Friedman, vice chairman of the Motion Picture Group for Para
  • Franchise to file suit against Intertainment today

    Franchise Pictures has announced that it will file suit against Intertainment Licensing GmbH, Intertainment AG and Barrie Baeres in Los Angeles County Superior Court this morning. Details of the suit will be revealed during the morning.According to Franchise, the LA-based independent production company headed by Elie Samaha, Franchise had previously filed an action against the publicly traded German distributor but it was dismissed at Intertainment's request, "so that the parties coul
  • Gladiator, Traffic lead nods for Golden Globes

    Ridley Scott's Gladiator and Steven Soderbergh's Traffic landed five nominations each as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced its nods for the 58th annual Golden Globes.Paramount's re-release of Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys seems to have paid dividends: the film received four nominations including a best actor nod for Michael Douglas. Also with four nominations were Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous, Lasse Hallstrom's Chocolat and Stephen Sod
  • Kinowelt attacks RTL, Kirch buying tactics

    Germany's Kinowelt Medien has slammed local broadcasters RTL and the Kirch Group for supposedly having an understanding akin to a "gentlemen's agreement" after passing on films from Kinowelt's $300m Warner Bros package.According to local newspaper Financial Times Deutschland, Kinowelt co-president Michael Koelmel said that the two groups of TV channels work together "indirectly" on programme acquisition for pay TV. "It is likely that they also talk about programme acquisition for free
  • Living Blood wins Italy's St Vincent prize

    Edoardo Winspeare's Living Blood (Sangue Vivo) has taken the top award, the Grolla d'Oro, at the prestigious St Vincent Prize, which is designed to promote Italian cinema abroad. Living Blood, a tale of two brothers set in southern Italy against a backdrop of crime and music, was recently selected for the World Cinema section of the upcoming Sundance film festival. Winspeare also won the St Vincent prize for Best Director. The Best Actor prize was awarded jointly t
  • Media[netCom] to launch second VoD trial

    Blair Witch Project, Ghost Dog and John Carpenter's Vampires are among an initial 200 features that will be offered by Germany's media[netCom] during its second set of video-own-demand (VoD) trials at the end of January. The trials will initially be launched in 25 test households in the Hamburg suburb of Rahlstedt Hoehe, but is to be extended to 1,800 homes in the area over the next few months. The number of films available is to expand to more than 3,000 titles.
  • Mexico's Titan brings Frankenstein back to life

    The horror genre is about to be revisited in Mexico with upcoming production Viva Frankenstein!, the latest feature from Sex Shame And Tears (Sexo, Pudor Y Lagrimas) co-producer Titan Producciones.The project is to be directed by Daniel Gruener whose credits include All Of Them Witches (Sobrenatural), a psychological thriller that was a box office hit in Mexico and a favorite at various festivals including Sundance, Toronto, Camera Image, Cartagena and Puerto Rico.
  • Palace Films makes Deadly investment

    Highlighting the shortage of sales agents in Australia, local distributor Palace Films has put up an international distribution guarantee for Aussie rules football drama Deadly, Unna', despite the fact that Beyond Films is handling sales on the film.The move is a first for Palace whose owner-managing director Antonio Zeccola will take an executive producer credit. The Australian Film Finance Corporation (FFC), pay-TV entity the Premium Movie Partnership and the South Australian
  • Peter Mullan heads to Rotterdam's CineMart

    Peter Mullan's Magdalene will be one of the projects seeking financing partners at CineMart, the industry market at January's International Film Festival Rotterdam.The UK actor-director's follow-up to his well-received directing debut Orphans joins another nine titles so far confirmed for this year's event. Also on offer are L'Amour En Blue by Peter Delpeut; Nonze Nimibutr's A Comrade Symphony; Halcyon, by Karim Traidia; Un Homme Un Vrai, by Ar
  • Sarah Radclyffe pacts with Miramax

    UK producer Sarah Radclyffe has struck a three-year first-look deal with Miramax Films to make family features.Radclyffe will make films with her producing partner Courtney Pledger under her newly-launched banner Jigsaw Films. The co-founder of Working Title Films, whose recent credits include FilmFour's UK comedy There's Only One Jimmy Grimble, will work with Miramax UK chief Allon Reich.The move comes as UK film superbody The Film Council, which controls all National Lo
  • ShowBIZ Data restages Sundance Interactive Lounge

    Business-to-business entertainment website ShowBIZ Data Inc is to stage its Interactive Lounge concept at the Sundance Film Festival in January for a second year running. The lounge, based at Harry-O's on Main Street, will host online and offline services for the independent film-making community including distribution, production, marketing and educationActivities at the lounge in 2001 will include access to submission of short films for The Sci-Fi Channel's short film series Exposur
  • StudioCanal, RAI confirm Italian partnership

    France's StudioCanal has finalised the long sought after Italian link in its European theatrical distribution chain, unveiling a partnership with RAI Cinema, the start-up film arm of public broadcaster RAI.The two partners will hold equal shares in the company, which is expected to complete StudioCanal's international distribution network. The operation is to launch by the end of next month and release at least 15 titles over the 2001-2002 season.It remains unclear which titles
  • Together (Tillsammans)

    Dir: Lukas Moodysson. Sweden-Italy. 2000. 106 mins.
  • Tom Tykwer heads Brussels line-up

    The Princess And The Warrior, German director Tom Tykwer's follow-up to Run Lola Run, is expected to be one of the highlights of January's Brussels International Film Festival.The film is to screen as part of a showcase of work from new German directors of the 1990s, which has been organised with German cultural body the Goethe Institut. Other film-makers in the frame include Yilmaz Arslan, Oskar Rohler and Petra Katharina Wagner.Adding to the Euro film-making tale
  • UK admissions on track to reach 26-year high

    Cinema attendance in the UK is expected to reach 143 million admissions this year - the highest number since 1974. These record figures have been predicted by the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) despite a drop in attendance during November. Average weekly admissions dropped 30% last month compared to the same month last year when The Sixth Sense, The World Is Not Enough and The Blair Witch Project bolstered end of year box office grosses. Final admissions for