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24 June 2003

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  • 2 Fast 2 Furious revs up in international second week

    Going into itssecond week Universal's 2 Fast 2 Furious added $5.2m from 840 theatres in sixterritories over the weekend to raise its international running total to $9.9m.In a slew ofstrong bows the street-racing sequel opened number one in Mexico on $1.8m from363 sites, registering 39% market share for Universal's seventh biggestopening there.It was more thandouble the opening of The Fast And The Furious ($816,000) and 8 Mile ($817,000).In Brazil, whe
  • 2 Fast, two French ride into UK cinemas

    Following four weeks under the reign of The Matrix Reloaded UK audiences finally elected a new box office champion this week with 2 Fast 2 Furious taking pole position. The fast-paced UIP action vehicle helped rev up the total box office for the UK/Ireland top 15 by 12% on the previous week.2 Fast 2 Furious grossed $4.6m (£2.7m) over the weekend from 424 sites - including $534,672 (£320,803) of previews. The sequel was a 56% improvement on its predecessor's ope
  • 80 Days provides boost to regional German economy

    Frank Coraci's Around The World In 80 Days is expected to generate an economic 'effect' of 4,000% on the Euros 500,000 production funding granted by the regional Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg, with turnover of Euros 20m in the region.The $110m-plus Walden Media production spent eight weeks shooting at the Babelsberg Studios and at locations in Berlin and Potsdam since the end of April and will now be moving to the town of Goerlitz on the German-Polish border for five days of shoo
  • Aliens vs. Predator to do battle in Prague

    The long-awaited Aliens vs. Predator is likely to begin filming in Prague in October for 20th Century Fox with horror director Paul Anderson (Resident Evil) at the helm, although the project has yet to receive the final greenlight, according to sources.Long subject to speculation by fans of the monster films, news of a combined sequel to the Aliens series, Predator (1987) and Predator 2 (1990) bubbled up throughout the 1990s, with studio executives' f
  • Antena 3 announces executive appointments

    Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 has announced several new executive appointments following the anti-trust authorities' greenlight to Grupo Planeta's buy-out of a 25.1% stake in the network.Planeta executives Jose Manuel Lara Bosch and Maurizio Carlotti will control Antena 3 as president and CEO, respectively. An Italian Mediaset veteran, Carlotti formerly held the CEO post at Antena 3 rival Telecinco.Their new executive team includes: former Atlas executive president Javier Bardaji
  • Australian film-makers fight for 'culture'

    High-profile filmmaking couple Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward, and Australian Film Commission (AFC) chief executive Kim Dalton, met with 45 government backbenchers to argue that 'culture' should be excluded from a free trade agreement with the US. It was yet another attempt to prevent constraints being applied to Australian film and television production under a free trade agreement. The industry is concerned that subsidies and the Australian content rules on television will be use
  • Australian producers body to launch script market

    The Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) is to launch SPAAMart, an initiative aimed at presenting Australia's best scripts to potential production partners. SPAAMart will be part of the annual SPAA conference, which is being held from November 18 to 21 at Melbourne's new Centre for the Moving Image. However, the timing of the ambitious plan may have to be re-examined once AFM shifts to November from next year - especially with the challenge of getting some internat
  • Barbarian Invasions to open Toronto

    The Toronto InternationalFilm Festival has announced some of its major titles at this year's eventwhich runs Sept 4-14. Denys Arcand's Les Invasions Barbares (The Barbarian Invasions) which was in competition at Cannes will open thefestival, continuing the tradition of a Canadian film being the opening nightgala presentation.Three gala presentationswere also announced today (Tuesday): Robert Altman's latest ensemble TheCompany set in the world of ballet,Lars Von Tr
  • Break A Leg wins audience prize at CineVegas

    Monika Mitchell's drama Break A Leg won the Audience Award for best featureat the fifth CineVegas Film Festival, which ran from Jun 13-21.
  • Cambridge film fest boasts wealth of UK premieres

    The 23rd Cambridge Film Festival, which runs July 10-20, has secured a range of UK premieres including Peter Greenaway's Cannes competition entry The Tulse Luper Suitcases: Part 1, The Moab Story, Gregor Jordan's Buffalo Soldiers, Wolfgang Becker's German hit Good-Bye, Lenin! and Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-winning Spirited Away.Other UK premieres at the festival, which runs July 10-20, include festival hit Whale Rider, folk music mockumentary A Mighty
  • Cinemark opens three new multiplexes in Latin America

    CinemarkInternational, one of the leading Latin American exhibitors, has opened threenew stadium-seating theatres in Southern Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica.The Galerias Boulevardsite in Southern Mexico's Tuxtla Gutierrez region is an eight-screen, 1,850-seatcomplex and the first to open in the city of Chiapas.It was built incooperation with the existing Liverpool site, the region's largestdepartment store, and the development group Grupo Grapas Tuxtla.T
  • Colour Me Kubrick is Studio Hamburg's first project

    Brian Cook's Euros 8.5m satirical comedy Colour Me Kubrick will be the first project for Studio Hamburg Produktion's English-language division Studio Hamburg International Production (SHIP) which was launched shortly before this year's Cannes Film Festival.The screenplay by Kubrick's long-time personal assistant Anthony Frewin centres on the true story of a man in London who pretended to be the legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick during the shoot of Eyes Wide Shut, thereby finan
  • Columbia Spain prepares first local production shoot

    Columbia Films Producciones Espanolas, Sony Picture Entertainment's Spanish production unit, has announced its first project to shoot this summer: Tam Tam, a co-production with local outfit Zebra Producciones. Starring Paz Vega (pictured) (Sex And Lucia) and Santi Millan (Love Can Seriously Damage Your Health), principal photography starts August 4 in Madrid. Award-winning short film director Juan Calvo (Hotel Oasis) wrote the script and will direct t
  • Crimson Gold

    Dir: Jafar Panahi. Iran. 2003. 96mins.The triumphant march of Iranian cinema continues apace. After Samira Makhmalbaf's At Five In The Afternoon won the jury prize in the main competition at Cannes comes Crimson Gold, Jafar Panahi's fourth feature, which picked up the Un Certain Regard jury prize. Set in present-day Tehran, the film deals with a busy, secular city which first seems a thousand miles from the repressive theocracy of Panahi's last outing, the Golden Lion
  • Croatia gets its first multiplex

    Blitz-Cinestar, a new joint venture between Croatian distributor, Blitz Film & Video Distribution and German exhibitor, Cinestar/Kieft & Kieft, is to open Croatia's first multiplex this autumn. The multiplex, Cinestar Zagreb will have 13 state-of-the art screens over two floors with a total seating capacity of 2,954. All theatres will be equipped with wall-to-wall screens, Dolby Digital and DTS sound systems as well as stadium seating, and 'love seats', which allow for double occupanc
  • Crude, Magdalene Sisters win honours in LA

    Paxton Winters' sardonic road movie Crude won the Target Filmmaker Award for BestNarrative Feature at the ninth IFP Los Angeles Film Festival, which ran fromJun 11-21.
  • Cruz steps up to Castellitto's Don't Move

    Penelope Cruz has signed to star in Italian-Spanish co-production Don't Move (Non Ti Muovere) for actor-turned-director Sergio Castellitto. The film, which begins shooting in Rome on July 28, would mark Cruz's first Spanish co-production since 2001's No News From God (Sin Noticias De Dios) and her third film in Italian. The Euros 6m Don't Move is a co-production between Italy's Cattleya and Medusa and Spain's Alquimia Cinema. The film marks Castellitto's sec
  • Dallas 362

    Dir: Scott Caan. US. 2003. 90 mins. Having made a name for himself playing henchmen or simpletons in films like Gone In 60 Seconds, Ready To Rumble and Oceans Eleven, actor Scott Caan - the son of James Caan - shows he is anything but simple with his directorial debut Dallas 362. Zealously avoiding any number of potential cliches, Caan's buddy movie is a likeable contemporary drama which has a strong sense of humour and doesn't outstay its welcome. The fi
  • Deep Breath

    Dir: Parviz Shahbazi. Iran. 2003. 86minsThe most acclaimed Iranian films of recent years have opened the world's eyes to the plight of women in a brutal patriarchal society. Deep Breath widens the debate by reflecting the experience of a defiantly apathetic younger generation who feel no investment in the system or respect for its values. Eschewing the meditative pacing and painterly images that have come to define Iranian cinema for Western viewers, Deep Breath, which
  • EAVE plans more production forums

    MEDIA Plus producer training programme EAVE has announced plans for further Production Forums in Venice, Ghent and Vendome following its first one on 'Responding To New Developments in European Distribution' in Paris from July 4-6.The Venice Forum - 'Getting To Know Asian Markets' - from August 23-26 will bring experts together from Hong Kong, Thailand, France, Japan and Korea to explore the potential for collaboration between Asia and Europe in film distribution and international co-p
  • Eliasoph named new head of Warner China

    Ellen R Eliasophhas been appointed to the new post of managing director of China at Warner BrosPictures International.Eliasoph willset up and run a company office in Shanghai, from where she will oversee thesubsidiary's Beijing office as well as its Hong Kong-based productionsand acquisitions staff.Herresponsibilities will include supervising the studio's theatricaldistribution in China and working with other subsidiaries of Warner BrosEntertainment to gain a foothold in the fas
  • Euro film alliance lobbies for increased broadcaster investment

    At a public hearing held in Brussels yesterday to discuss the review of the TV without Frontiers directive, the European Film Companies Alliance (EFCA) called on the European Commission to propose stronger investment and market access obligations for European films to broadcasters."Today a broadcaster can comply with the TV without Frontiers directive without showing a single European film. The review is an opportunity to change this" said Rasmus Ramstad, EFCA chairman and president of
  • Four bidders make formal offers for Vivendi Universal Entertainment

    Four bidders met the June 23 deadline for proposals to buy all or part of Vivendi Universal's entertainment assets.Given that Vivendi Universal issued prospectuses of financial information for Vivendi Universal Entertainment (VUE) to six would-be acquisitors, the shortlist holds no major surprises.Oil billionaire Marvin Davis, who previously offered $15bn, has now made a formal offer. So too has Edgar Bronfman Jr, the former Seagram chief executive, reportedly in conjunc
  • France supports Serbian film archive

    While many national film archives are coming under financial pressure, Serbia and Montenegro's Yugoslav Film Archive is to be upgraded to become one of the most sophisticated in the world.The French ambassador in Belgrade Gabriel Keller and the Serbian Minister of Culture Branislav Lecic have jointly announced that the Yugoslav Film Archive is to be reconstructed with funds from the French Government (Euros 291,000) and Serbian Ministry of Culture (Euros 138,500).
  • French comic book to get feature adaptation

    Continuing the trend, France's latest comic book character to make a jump from the page to the screen will be Rene Goscinny's Iznogoud. Patrick Braoude will direct a cast that could include comedian Michael Youn and beloved comic actor Jacques Villeret.The film will begin shooting in early 2004. Canal Plus graduates Eric and Ramzy could also round out casting. Iznogoud will be produced by Vertigo for M6.Goscinny, who passed away in 1997, was also the masterm
  • Hong Kong banks on post-SARS box office recovery

    Now that the SARS outbreak appears to be under control, Hong Kong exhibitors are hoping that a strong summer line-up of foreign and local releases will restore the box office to pre-SARS levels.Hong Kong box office receipts plummeted by around 47% during the peak of the crisis in March but improved slightly in May, which was down 20.2% compared to the previous May, according to industry body, the Motion Picture Industry Association (MPIA)."The box office picked up in May with th
  • Humantias shortlist includes Pianist and Antwone Fisher

    Jim Sheridan (In America) and Niki Caro (Whale Rider) are among 41 writers vying for $105,000in prize money in this year's 29th Humanitas Prize.
  • IFSI sells horror House to Metropolitan, Redbus, others

    Interactive Film Sales International (IFSI) closed a raft offoreign sales at Cannes on House Of The Dead, the horror feature from Germanproduction and finance fund Boll KG and Mindfire Entertainment.
  • Imax reveals screen plans for Disneyland Paris

    Imax Corp and French exhibitor EuroPalaces have signed an agreement to open an Imax 3D cinema at Disneyland Resort Paris, the 47th Imax cinema in Europe.The facility, which will be located within Disney Village and is set to open in June 2004, is expected to showcase Imax DMR films, that is, large-format adaptations of conventional 35mm live-action films. Last week Imax announced it is exchanging $22m in debt for 2.9 million common shares of the company. The action will reduce o
  • Ireland gears up for renewed production activity

    A stagnant period of film production in Ireland comes to an end this week with the start of shoot on Pierce Brosnan's Laws Of Attraction, followed next week by Jerry Bruckheimer's King Arthur .Arthur, which has a budget of $85m, is the biggest production ever to come to Ireland, dwarfing the substantial $30m Laws of Attraction. Both Bruckheimer and Brosnan produced lower budget films in Ireland last year - Veronica Guerin and Evelyn resp
  • Israeli Cinemas to slash ticket prices

    Israeli Theatres Cinemas has announced a reduction in ticket prices across its entire circuit for the whole summer season (until end September) and for all shows, by 22.5%.Instead of the present $7.50 the price of a single ticket will be $5.80 for the period. Israeli Cinemas, one of the two largest cinema chains in the country with 120 screens, has been spreading its wings in recent years, especially in Eastern Europe with multiplexes in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.L
  • Italian company produces French Crime

    French stars Daniel Auteuil and Anna Mouglalis are currently working on the set of an Italian film, A Strange Crime, which is being shot entirely in French and produced by The Hundred Steps producer Fabrizio Mosca. The Euros 6m thriller is directed by acclaimed stage director Roberto Ando, whose first feature, The Prince's Manuscript was a critical hit in 2000. It tells the story of a successful writer who travels to Capri to attend his step-son's wedding, when he
  • It's Initial from now on, IEG is out, says Los Angeles company

    Following its recent adoption of a new company logo,Graham King's independent finance, production and distribution companyInitial Entertainment Group has announced that it will no longer be known asIEG.Hereafter, the company has said, it will be known by itsfull name or as Initial but no longer by the acronym IEG.Recent creditsfor Initial, a wholly owned subsidiary of Internationalmedia, include GangsOf New York, Traffic and A
  • Japanese government to ease film production fund regulations

    Japan's Trade Ministry is set to relax the restrictions governing film production funds. Under the current law, only four such funds have been set up since 1992.Local industry analysts have been warning that unless Japan creates a system that makes it easier, and more attractive, to invest in feature film production, the country could fall behind other Asian territories like South Korea, which are beginning to adopt more creative financing methods. The Strategic Council on Inte
  • Jeunet re-teams with Tautou in Euros 46m Engagement

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet has confirmed the casting of Audrey Tautou in his next project, Un Long Dimanche de Fancailles (A Very Long Engagement). The film is adapted from the book by Sebastien Japrisot and will be produced and distributed in France by the local Warner Bros. outpost.Shooting on the project, which reunites Jeunet and Tautou after they worked box-office magic with Amelie, will begin in early August in Paris. The film will also bring together members of Jeun
  • Jones to quit UK's Mission Pictures

    Damian Jones, co-founder of UK production outfit Mission Pictures, is to leave the company to return to independent producing.According to a statement, Jones felt removed from the independent film production arena as Mission's development and production management work increased. He leaves with a two-year, non-exclusive independent production arrangement with the company.Mission, which Jones co-founded in 2001 with Andrew Hauptman and Graham Broadbent, is currently in production
  • Karlovy Vary unveils cosmopolitan competition line-up

    Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has unveiled this year's line-up, with films in competition including Korean Kim Ki-duk's Coast Guard and Facing Windows from Italy's Ferzan Ozpetek. The festival, which takes place in the Czech west Bohemian spa town July 4-12, will feature 16 films in the main competition for the $20,000 Grand Prix. In addition to previously announced entries Pupendo, Czech director Jan Hrejbek's local smash, and
  • Kidron close to Bridget Jones sequel

    After months of speculation, UK director Beeban Kidron is close to a deal to direct Renee Zellweger in Working Title Films' Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason.Kidron has long been linked to the sequel to the 2001 hit but negotiations have stepped up in the last week. Zellweger, who starred in Bridget Jones's Diary, is already reportedly committed to the sequel, which is expected to start shooting this autumn.Kidron, who first came to prominence with 1990 TV series
  • LA Cinema Libre unveil ambitious plans for film-making collective

    In a bid to nurture artisticfreedom among "politically charged and socially conscious" film-makers a groupof independent LA-based directors, producers and investors has formed a newmovement called Cinema Libre.
  • Les Cotelettes

    Dir. Bertrand Blier. France, 2003. 86 mins.Cannes selectors must have been pretty desperate to drag this dubious comedy, met at the end of its press screening with vociferous booing, into the world's most prestigious film competition. Adapted from Blier's stage debut, which was a hit, this is simply a dialogue-driven assembly of occasional one-liners and wisecracks, strung together for top speed delivery by two seasoned veterans of French stage and screen. An unimaginative ad
  • Lost Swedish classic is found and restored

    The Avenger (Hamnaren 1916), a long-believed lost silent classic from the Swedish director Mauritz Stiller has been rediscovered and restored by the Swedish Film Institute and will screen as part of this summer's Cinema Ritrovato Festival in Bologna. The film was recently rediscovered in Germany in an edited German version, and through painstaking detective work the Swedish Film Institute has been able to restore the nitrate film to its original Swedish version. The Av
  • Loyalty schemes, local production assessed at Cinema Expo

    The Media Salles Forum at Cine Expo in Amsterdam presented evidence of a link between the increase in box office in some European territories and an increase in home-made films.Its Focus On Europe seminar : 'A Panorama of Cinemagoing in Europe in 2002: Marketing Strategies by Exhibition Companies for building communities through Loyalty Programs' looked at the fact that box office over the year for Europe, at 931m admissions, only fluctuated 0.8% from 2001.Looking at the figures
  • Lumiere Institute unveils new museum

    As the Lumiere Institute celebrates its 20th anniversary today, a new museum dedicated to the earliest days of film is also to be inaugurated. Under the presidency of director Bertrand Tavernier and general secretary Thierry Fremaux, the Lumiere Museum boasts such important artifacts as the Cinematographe #1, the projector used by the Lumiere brothers when they ran the first film over a hundred years ago.Among the other pieces of history are an 1894 Edison Kinetoscope and equipm
  • Morris appointed new UK film minister

    Estelle Morris has effectively succeeded UK film minister Kim Howells following a government reshuffle.Morris has a higher ministerial ranking than the outspoken Howells, although, along with film and creative industries, her brief as arts minister covers such diverse matters as museums and street crime.Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell confirmed that Lord McIntosh of Haringey will become minister for broadcasting, gambling policy and the historic environment. Richard Caborn will
  • Mosaic to produce six urban movies for HBO Films

    LA entertainment groupMosaic Media Group has pre-sold a series of six urban films to HBO that will bewritten and directed by new film-makers.One of the first ideas underdiscussion is an untitled surreal love triangle and musical inspired by hip-hopduo Outkast's upcoming album SpeakerBox/The Love Below.The project will mark thefeature directorial debut of veteran music director Bryan Barber."This is about finding newand fresh talent and giving them the opportunity in an ex
  • My Architect wins feature prize at new US doc festival

    NathanielKahn's My Architect won the inaugural Sterling Award for a feature film at theSilverdocs: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival.More than 70films screened at the festival, a joint venture between the American FilmInstitute and the Discovery Channel, which ran from Jun 18-22 at the SilverTheatre And Cultural Centre in Silver Spring, Maryland.My Architect charts the efforts of the director andillegitimate son of the celebrated archit
  • My Little Eye opens in crowded markets

    UIP launched horror title My Little Eye into four European territories last weekend to varying success amongst crowded markets.The Spanish launch saw $250,843 (Euros 212,715) for sixth position from 140 screens - an average of just $1,792. The release put Marc Evans' film up against bigger budget Hollywood releases including Filmax's Bulletproof Monk, Columbia's I Spy and UIP stablemate How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.The film suffered similar problems i
  • New Zealand still examining tax incentives

    Despite New Zealand's Economic Development Minister, Jim Anderton, stating that tax incentives are being seriously considered for the film industry, mixed messages are coming from the Government.According to today's issue of the NZ Herald, Anderton said the country was looking at a number of options including a model based on Australia's recently introduced rebates. The newspaper claims that one of the considerations driving the issue is the potential for the film adaptation of
  • Nine films compete for Melbourne's FIPRESCI award

    Three films from South Korea, three from Australia, two from Japan and one from China, all by debut directors, are competing for the 52nd Melbourne International Film Festival's FIPRESCI Award, director James Hewison announced today. From South Korea comes Byun Young-Joo's Ardor, Park Chanok's Jealousy Is My Middle Name, and Kim In-Sik's Road Movie. The Australian films are Tony McNamara's The Rage In Placid Lake, Kathryn Millard's Travelling Light an
  • NonStop signs up with SF Anytime VOD service

    Stockholm-based distributor NonStop Entertainment AB has signed a deal with Video on Demand (VOD) service SF Anytime. The long-term agreement will see a number of NonStop-titles become available by streaming over broadband. SF Anytime earlier this year launched a VOD service allowing for the viewing of films at home through the company's website. The buyer has full access to the film for 24 hours.'NonStop Entertainment is a very interesting company in the Scandinavian film indus
  • Octane

    Dir: Marcus Adams. UK. 2003. 90 minsUK commercials and music video director Marcus Adams, whose first film Long Time Dead was a big hit at the UK box office in 2002, where it took $3m after opening on 233 screens, returns with a bigger cast and budget for his second feature Octane, a self-assured road movie-cum-horror flick which has considerable mileage as a home entertainment hit even if its theatrical potential is limited by its genre trappings. The film, which
  • Odyssey to embark on world sales for Piccadilly Jim

    Odyssey Entertainment is to handle worldwide sales on PG Wodehouse adaptation Piccadilly Jim for the UK's Mission Pictures, the companies announced on Wednesday.The period comedy of manners and mistaken identity sees Crush director John McKay directing a cast including Sam Rockwell from a script by Oscar winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes. Rockwell is taking the title role of Jim Crocker, while Tom Wilkinson is expected to play his father, Bingley. Mission is pro
  • Overnight

    Dir: Mark Brian Smith. US. 2003. 120mins.This candid documentary about Troy Duffy, a blue collar Boston twenty-something who struck a dream movie deal with Miramax in 1997, has the same compelling allure as watching a train wreck. It could comfortably be renamed How To Lose Friends And Alienate People In Hollywood. A must-see for anyone in the film business and a necessary addition to any film school curriculum, it will play more comfortably on a TV screen than in thea
  • Pandora to produce Nalin's Valley Of Flowers

    German production house Pandora Filmproduktion, producer of Indian director Pan Nalin 2002 feature debut Samsara, are to team up again for his next project Valley Of Flowers which is set to go into production in the Himalayas, Tokyo and a Cologne studio from summer 2004.Currently budgeted at around Euros 4m and likely to also involve Samsara's co-production partners Fandango of Italy and Paradis Films of France, Valley Of Flowers is a love story based on a Himalaya
  • Peter Sellers on hold as Rush returns to Australia

    HBO Films has reportedly put The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers on hold after star Geoffrey Rush was forced to return to Australia for personal reasons.The biopic was shooting at Shepperton Studios in the UK, but, according to UK reports, Rush took an emergency flight to Australia to be with his wife, who is ill. HBO is hoping that the actor, who plays Sellers, will resume shooting this month."The production of HBO's The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers has reworke
  • Picture This takes US rights on Girod's Gender Bias

    Picture This!Entertainment has acquired all US rights and Canadian video/DVD rights toFrancis Girod's transsexual thriller Gender Bias, with theatrical release set for summer2004.Based onBrigitte Aubert's novel Transfixions, the film was released through Pyramide SA in France as MauvaisGenre and this weekreceived its US premiere at San Francisco's (Frameline) InternationalLesbian and Gay Film Festival.The story centres
  • Premiere secures pay-TV package from Warner Bros

    Matrix Reloaded, Good Bye, Lenin! and Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets are among the titles in a multi-year pay TV package deal concluded by Germany's digital pay TV platform Premiere and Warner Bros. International Television (WBIT).The deal, which is an extension of an existing agreement signed last October also includes such titles as The Lord Of The Rings - The Two Towers, About Schmidt and Analyze That to air on Premiere's pay per view service Pre
  • Raindance to host Live! Ammunition! pitching event

    Independent UK film organisation Raindance is to host Live! Ammunition!, a pitching event featuring an all-women panel, in London on July 8. The panel includes Leslee Udwin, producer of East Is East; Tracey Scoffield, head of development and executive producer at BBC Films; director Antonia Bird; and writer and actress Morwenna Banks. Members of the audiences will have two minutes to pitch and then will receive feedback on their idea.
  • Release of Otomo's Steamboy delayed

    The makers of Steamboy, the $20m animated feature by Katsuhiro Otomo, have delayed the film's release date from October to sometime in 2004. Announced at a press conference on June 19, this decision leaves a huge hole in distributor Toho's autumn schedule. The film, Otomo's first full-length theatrical feature in fifteen years, since his international hit Akira, has been in production since 1997. Costs are expected to total $20m (Y2.4bn) - the most ever for a Japan
  • Reloaded swipes another $14.7m for Warner

    The MatrixReloaded kept up itsfine international form over the weekend as it grossed an estimated $14.7m from6,700 international screens and drew 2.5m admissions.The sci-fisequel's international running total is now $377m.The film held onto its number one position for the third consecutive week in Japan, adding$6.4m (Yen 763m) from 630 screens for a $52.9m running total (Yen 6.3bn).The Japaneseweekend drew 529,611 admissions and represented a 2
  • Sarandon, Tucci join cast of Miramax's Shall We Dance

    SusanSarandon and Stanley Tucci will join Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere in thecast of Peter Chelsom's remake of Shall We Dance for Miramax Films and Spyglass Entertainment. Miramaxis handling domestic rights on the film, Spyglass has international exceptJapan where Gaga Communications has rights.Thecast also includes Bobby Cannavale, Lisa Ann Walter, Debo
  • Scott Caan's Dallas 362 wins top prize at CineVegas

    Scott Caan's Dallas 362 took the Critics Award and Juliette Marquis, the star of ThisGirl's Life won aspecial Newcomer Actor Award at the fifth annual CineVegas International FilmFestival, which closed on Saturday (Jun 21).
  • Sequel rolls out fast and furious across Europe

    UIP's 2 Fast 2 Furious screeched into 15 European territories over the weekend taking $19m from 2,282 venues. The film, which claimed more than $21m over the weekend including its holdover territories, has taken $33m to date from international markets after launching in Australia on June 5. The absence of Vin Diesel seems to have done none no harm with 2 Fast 2 Furious already well on track to race past 2001's The Fast And The Furious' $62.6m international c
  • Serbian black comedy CiviLife for Belgrade shoot

    Principal photography on Serbian-German-French-Dutch co-production CiviLife is due to start in Belgrade on June 22 for eight weeks. The dark comedy about a Serbian black-market gangster shooting down an American pilot during the NATO bombing of Belgrade in 1999 is written and will be directed by Milos Radovic. Radovic enjoyed international recognition with short films Sudden And Premature Death Of Colonel K.K. (Iznenadna I Prerana Smrt Pukovnika K.K.) which won the
  • Shara

    Dir: Naomi Kawase. Japan. 2003. 100 minsThe third feature by Japanese director Naomi Kawase, Cannes competitor Shara is set, like Suzaku (a Cannes Camera d'Or winner in 1996) and Hotaru (2000), in the director's home province of Nara. Like the previous two, it deals with themes of separation, the continuity of tradition, and problems of communication within families and couples. Here, it is told via a story of a family riven by the sudden disappearance of
  • Sony revamps worldwide financial services dept

    As part of itsongoing drive to consolidate marketing and distribution, Sony PicturesReleasing's (SPR) financial services department is expanding to handleservices including accounts receivable and worldwide collection.Eileen Lomis,senior vice president of worldwide theatrical financial administration for theColumbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, will oversee the division'sexpansion.Lomis, a 25-yearveteran of Columbia, TriStar and Sony with extensive experienc
  • South Korea, France re-open co-production treaty talks

    South Korea and France have re-entered negotiations to draw up a co-production treaty, following the signing of an informal co-operation agreement at last year's Pusan International Film Festival between the Korean Film Commission (KOFIC) and the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC).A full co-production agreement signed on the governmental level would create a legal means for approved Korean-French co-productions to benefit from the support systems of both countries. Fra
  • Spain, Puerto Rico sign co-production pact

    As part of an ongoing push to 'internationalise local cinema,' Puerto Rico has signed a pact with Spain to facilitate feature film co-productions between the two countries.The deal follows Puerto Rico's new participation this year in the pan-regional Ibermedia program and inclusion last year in the Iberoamerican Conference of Cinematographic Authorities (CACI).Agreeing to "facilitate, promote and foment cinematographic activity in both countries," the accord envisions attaching
  • Sweden's Elina wins in Spain, by Jove

    Swedish film Elina, As If I Didn't Exist picked up the top Golden Moon of Valencia prize in the feature film competition of Spain's Cinema Jove International Film Festival (June 14-21), which also hosted tributes to Thomas Vinterberg, Richard Lester and Piotr Dumala. Director Klaus Haro (pictured) took home the Euros 18,000 purse, but the jury also recignised three other films, including a special jury prize to Lynne Ramsay's Morvern Calla
  • The Hulk explodes with five number one openings in Asia

    The Hulk grossed an estimated $3.1m from 325 theatres in fivenumber one Asian openings over the weekend, complementing Universal'stable-topping bow in the US.In Hong Kong it took$700,000 from 39 venues, which Universal claimed was roughly twice as much asthe opening for Gladiator andjust ahead of X2: X-Men United.Universal scored its fourthbiggest opening day ever in Singapore, where The Hulk grossed $580,000 from 28 venues for thedistributor's sevent
  • The Hulk rampages to $62.6m for Universal

    Universal's The Hulk turned its studio rivals green with envy over the weekend as thenumber one comic book adaptation clobbered the June opening record with anestimated $62.6m.
  • The Spanish Apartment is the toast of Sydney

    The French/Spanish film The Spanish Apartment, (aka L'auberge Espagnole/ Europudding) directed by Cedric Klapisch and produced by Bruno Levy for Ce Qui Me Meut, won both the PRIX UIP award for Best European Film and the audience award for best feature at the 50th Sydney Film Festival, which closed on Friday. The PRIX UIP carries a purse of Euros 15,000 and is open to European films screening in the festival's contemporary world cinema strand.The other top five fil
  • The Stroll

    Dir. Alexei Uchitel. Russia, 2003. 90 min.Alexei Uchitel's first film since he represented Russia in the Oscars in 2000 with His Wife's Diary is an easygoing romp which turns out to be a challenge in more ways than one. The opening attraction at this year's Moscow Festival, it is light, pleasant and evidently attractive to younger audiences, though preferably Russian-speaking ones. Others will likely be put off by the mass of dialogue that, given the exceedingly locali
  • Theo Angelopoulos to lead first Copenhagen film fest

    Theo Angelopoulos is to preside over the first Copenhagen International Film Festival's five-strong jury, which so far also includes Sweden's Jan Troell and Denmark's Bille August.The festival's awards, The Golden Swans, will be given to the best film, director, actress, actor, script and cinematography. In addition to the jury prizes, the festival will be handing out a Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as a number of honorary prizes.The event's first edition, which runs from
  • Tunisia's Bouzid wins Innsbruck with Arais Al-Tein

    Tunisian filmmaker Nouri Bouzid's Poupees D'Argile (Arais Al-Tein) picked up three prizes at this year's Innsbruck International Film Festival (June 18-22) which is dedicated to films from South America, Africa and Asia. The international jury, including Austrian filmmaker Andrea Maria Dusl, Benin's Idrissou Mora Kpai, and Brazil's Paulo Roberto de Carvalho named the film the winner of the International Competition and the Land of Tirol's Euros 5,000 Film Prize. In addition, Bou
  • UK National Film Theatre to be digital cinema test-bed

    The British Film Institute (BFI) has secured funding from the Department of Trade and Industry for a digital cinema test-bed at the National Film Theatre (NFT).The so-called Digital Test Laboratory is being set up just as BFI parent the UK Film Council develops plans for a nation-wide circuit of digital screens costing close to £14m.The BFI initiative includes digital cinema projectors from Texas Instruments and JVC and fibre-optic links to production houses and studios in the U
  • UK, French shorts lead Cartoon D'Or hopefuls

    British and French animated shorts make up almost two-thirds of the 25 European films vying to be shortlisted for the nominations for this year's Cartoon D'Or.Among the films being considered by a jury composed of CARTOON's Corinne Jenart, the UK's Mark Baker, Denmark's Jannik Hastrup and Spain's Antonion Zurera Aragon, are 16 British and French shorts.These include Ignacio Ferreras' How To Cope With Death, Zoia Trofimova's Le Trop Petit Prince,
  • UK's Momentum provides revenue boost for Alliance Atlantis

    UK-based Momentum Pictures has boosted its contribution to the bottom line of parent company Alliance Atlantis. Announcing its fourth-quarter and year-end results, the company said Momentum generated 20% of the fiscal 2003 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of its Motion Picture Distribution Group, or $7.9m of the Group's $39.6m EBITDA. In a statement, the company said, "Momentum accounted for 4% of the Group's EBITDA in the period compared t
  • Vitagraph, American Cinematheque take on US rights to Bubba

    American CinemathequePresents and Vitagraph Films have acquired US distribution rights to DonCoscarelli's comedy-horror film Bubba Ho-Tep which they will release in New York on Sept 26 andLos Angeles on Oct 2.Bruce Campbell, who starredin Sam Raimi's seminal horror film The Evil Dead, stars as an elderly Elvis who drives out anEgyptian mummy from his nursing home.Campbell's characteris assisted by a fellow patient who thinks he is John F Kennedy, played byactor-dir
  • Whale Rider wins another audience prize - at Maui

    Niki Caro's coming-of-age story Whale Rider won the Audience Award in the dramaticfeature category at the fourth Maui Film Festival at Wailea, which ended onSunday (Jun 15).
  • William Fraker to receive special honour at Lodz

    Pioneering cinematographerWilliam A Fraker is to receive the Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award at the11th Annual International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, whichruns in Lodz, Poland, from Nov 29-Dec 6.Born in Los Angeles in Sep1923, Fraker graduated from the University of Southern California with a degreein film-making and eventually worked as director of photography on his firstfeature, the thriller Games, in1967.After that he worke
  • Williams to get career achievement award at Chicago Film Festival summer gala

    Robin Williams will be presented with a career achievement awardat the 40th Chicago International Film festival's annual summer gala on Jul 17.
  • Yari teams with Ovation for Duchovny's directorial debut

    Ovation Entertainment and Bob Yari Productions haveteamed up to finance and produce David Duchovny's writing and directorialdebut House of D, a magical fable set ina New York that no longer exists.The storycentres on a man's attempts to make peace with his past and present andstars Duchovny, Robin Williams, Tyler Hoechlin (Road to Perdition) and Duchovny's real-life wife TeaLeoni (Hollywood Ending).Ovation chief executiv