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24 September 2004

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  • Allen's Melinda set for big push in UK

    Fox International is planning a big UK push for WoodyAllen's Melinda And Melinda following the film's positive reception lastweek at the San Sebastian Film Festival.Fox will release the film in the UK on January 28, withits launch backed by a touring Allen and members of the cast.Allen's last two films have had an unenthusiasticreaction in the UK - Anything Else took just £352,900 and HollywoodEnding w
  • Allen's star shines at San Sebastian

    Woody Allen was the undeniable star of the opening weekendof the 52nd annual edition of Spain's San Sebastian International Film Festival(Sept 17-25).That is saying a lot, considering other visitors includedthe always-polemic Oliver Stone, M. Night Shyamalan presenting The Village, Michael Winterbottom accompanying his controversialNine Songs, and local hero PedroAlmodovar, in town to present Allen with the festival's lifetime DonostiaAward, among others.The world
  • AUSTRALIA 20 September

    At no time this year until now has there been eight openersin the top 20 list or five in the top 10. The Olympics can take some of thecredit for that, and it turned out to be a wise decision by distributors givenhow well the Australian team did.The only Australian film among these new faces, thelong-awaited Somersault, tookA$181,664 to just scrape into the top 10. Being on 21 screens only, its screenaverage of A$8,650 was the highest in the list with the exce
  • Bahamas launches film festival in Dec

    The Bahamas InternationalFilm Festival will take place for the first time Dec 9-12 in Nassau, Bahamas.The event plans to presentabout 50 films encompassing international features, shorts, documentaries andanimated films. The theme of this year's competitive section is Spirit OfFreedom with a focus on films providing insight into the "mosaic of culturesthat make up our world."The festival also plans toshowcase a series of innovative films by emerging artists, with a specialModern
  • Bana teams with Hanson for Warner Bros

    Eric Bana, Australian starof Hulk and Troy, has landed the lead role in Curtis Hanson's nextmovie for Warner Bros Lucky You.Bana, who is also scheduled to star in Steven Spielberg's Vengeance next year, will play Huck Cheever, the leadcharacter in the character-based drama set in the world of high-stakesprofessional poker.Eric Roth and Hanson wrotethe screenplay. Hanson is also set to produce with Carol Fenelon and DeniseDiNovi. Production is set to begin on
  • Barco to focus on digital cinema sector

    Belgian projector manufacturerBarco, one of the leading players in the growing digital cinema sector, hassold its home cinema activities to French company TEC.The company says that theoperation, part of its media and entertainment division, was its last activityto be focused on the consu
  • Bavaria scores with pack of Bombon sales

    Bavaria Film International hada busy Toronto with its shaggy dog story Bombon - El Perro whichratcheted up a pack of high profile sales.The film was licensed to TF1for France, Cinequanon for Japan, Pathe for the UK, A Film for Benelux, LevFilms for Israel, Audiovisual for Greece and Hopscotch for Aus
  • Bernal to star in Gondry's The Science Of Sleep

    HotMexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal is to star in the next film by EternalSunshine Of The Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry.The Science Of Sleep will also star French actress Charlotte Gainsbourgand French actor-director Alain Chabat.Productionoutfit Partizan and French major Gaumont will co-produce The Science OfSleep.Thescript was written by Gondry and centres around a man who learns to manipulatehis dreams.Shootingof the English and Frenc
  • Beyond The Sea to open AFI FEST

    AFI FEST, theLos Angeles International Film Festival, will open on Nov 4 with the USpremiere of Kevin Spacey's Bobby Darin biopic Beyond The Sea.In addition theorganisers of the event have announced a presenting sponsor deal with Audiyesterday (23) and a name-change to AFI FEST 2004 presented by Audi,The centrepiece gala screening on Nov 9 will be TheMerchant Of Venice, directed by MichaelRadford and starring Al Pacino, while the festival will clo
  • Boorman's Skull drives Civilian Content into profit

    Buoyed by revenues from JohnBoorman's Country Of My Skull, media concern Civilian Content hasreported its first interim pre-tax profits.Civilian was forced topostpone reporting revenues from County Of My Skull last year whenproduction was delayed, a key factor in the company's £1.1 million pre-tax lossfor last year. But the AIM-listed outfitposted profits of £429,000 for the six months ended June 30 this year,reversing a loss of just over £100,000 for the same period the
  • Bourne takes $6.7m in 23 territories for Universal/UIP

    The Bourne Supremacy grossed $6.7m from 2,284 sites in 23 territoriesover the weekend for Universal/UIP, bringing its international total to date to$54m.The thriller sequel openedsecond in Spain after local smash Mar Adentro with a $1.9m gross from 356 sites, a 2% increase inlocal currency on The Bourne Identity in 2002 but a 26% increase in US dollars.The film also opened inSweden ($0.34m at 38 sites), Greece ($0.34m at 36 sites) and Por
  • British Film Institute unveils new executive team

    The British Film Institute (bfi) has unveiled its newExecutive Team under director Amanda Nevill.The team comprise figures from the world of film as well asprivate sector executives with managerial and commercial experience.The executive teamcomprises:Eddie
  • Canary to sing at Tokyo FILMeX opening

    The Tokyo FILMeX festival (Nov20-28) has announced its line-up for its fifth edition, with a competitionsection presenting ten features from young Asian directors.The festival's opening film will be Japanesedirector Akihiko Shinota's Canary, which receives its world premiere atTokyo FILMeX. The director of Harmful Insect, Shiota's latest featuredepicts the story of childr
  • Cecchi Gori cleared of money laundering

    Vittorio Cecchi Gori, whoseproduction, distribution and exhibition empire crumbled four years ago amid awhirlwind of bad debt and corruption charges, has been cleared of launderingmoney.In 2001, the media baron wastemporarily placed under house arrest for alleged wrongdoings linked to thebankruptcy of his former football club, Fiorentina. He was alleged to havechannelled money away from his club, which later went bankrupt, to fund hisfilm production and distribution interests.Si
  • Chaplin, Kier, Pare join the cast of BloodRayne

    GeraldineChaplin, Udo Kier and Michael Pare have joined Ben Kingsley, Kristanna Loken,Michelle Rodriguez, Matt Davis and Michael Madsen in the cast of BloodRayne, the new film adaptation of the popularvideo game.Currentlyshooting in Romania, the film is produced and directed by Uwe Boll and writtenby Guinevere Turner. It stars Loken, last seen in Terminator 3: Rise Of TheMachines, as a sexy,supernatural huntress named BloodRayne who is a breed of human and vampire. Thesto
  • Child abuse drama signals new direction for Polish film

    Aftera spate of veteran directors and big budget historic epics dominating Polishfilm for the past few years, this year's annual roll-out of new Polish featurefilms at the Gdynia Film Festival proved that a fresh wind is blowing in theindustry.The festival in the Baltic seaside resort wrapped over theweekend. Young newcomer Magdalena Piekorz swept to victory with her debut TheWelts
  • Chomet readies Tati screenplay for Scottish shoot

    Oscar-nominated Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets OfBelleville) is to direct an animatedversion of a screenplay by legendary French comedian Jacques Tati.Called The Illusionist,it will be produced in Edinburgh - where Chomet recently set up shop -by Mark Cousinsof 4Ways Films. Sally Chomet will co-produce through Studio Django.Other partners include Les Films De Mon Onle and PhilippeCarcassonne, who will exec-produce through his company Cine B. Pathe is alsolikely to bo
  • Cinema Libre buys David O Russell Iraq war doc

    DavidO Russell's 35-minute war documentary Soldier's Pay, which was to have been packaged with his 1999 GulfWar drama Three Kings on DVD untilWarner Bros dropped it, has landed at Cinema Libre Studio, the LA company whichis also releasing Robert Greenwald's documentary Uncovered: The War On Iraq.CinemaLibre plans to release the films in US theatres in a double bill as of nextweek. Sold
  • Crooner Connick Jr takes lead in Oz Boomerang

    US crooner Harry Connick Jr has signed to play a disgracedcorporate cowboy who pays a street kid to help him commit suicide in BoomerangDeal, to be directed by Phillip Marzella from his own script.It will be Australian director Marzella's follow-up to Low-FatElephants, which he wrote, directed and produced in 2000 and which screenedat gay festivals around the world.Marzella says the film is a unique take on the love storygenre and follows the pair's wanderings over
  • DeA Planeta likes look of Mirror Maze

    Spanish-Italianmedia conglomerate DeA Planeta has boarded new Rioja Films thriller MirrorMaze as co-producer and local distributor.Rioja chief Jose Antonio Romero and the film's director,Guillermo Groizard, unveiled the project at the San Sebastian InternationalFilm Festival (Sept 17-25).It is oneof five feature c
  • Denver Film Festival to present focus on German cinema

    The Starz DenverInternational Film Festival, which holds its 27th annual event Oct14-24, will stage a focus on German cinemaMargarethe VonTrotta will attend the festival wih her films Rosenstrasse and The Other Woman, which she directed, and AmericanSoldier, in which sheacted. Other German films screening include Head-On, Jester Till, When TheRight One Comes Along, Learning To Lie, Olga's Summer, The Miracle Of Bern,Between The Lines, First Kiss and Night
  • Dinard unveils British film festival line-up

    Danny Boyle's Millions isto open the Dinard Festival of British Film (Oct 7-10), while Mike Leigh's VeraDrake will close the festival.Artistic director, HussamHindi has put together a programme which includes Gurinder Chadha's Brideand Prejudice - A Bollywood Musical, Roger Michell's Enduring Love,Mike Barker's A Good Woman and the controversial Nine Songs fromMichael Winterbottom.Six films will screen incompetition, including Pavel Pawl
  • Eros

    Dir/scr: Wong Kar Wai,Steven Soderbergh Michelangelo Antonioni (screenplay with Tonino Guerra).Fr-It-Lux. 2004. 108 mins."I wanted my name on aposter with Michelangelo Antonioni," is Steven Soderbergh's stated reason forcoming on board the three-part portmanteau film Eros. Having seen thefilm, one wonders if Soderbergh will now be asking distributors to take hisname off the posters.For while his and Hong Kongart-house darling Wong Kar Wai
  • European Film Awards names 42 finalists

    The European Film Academy has announced the 42 finalistsselected to compete for this year's 17th edition of the European Film Awards,to be celebrated on December 11 in Barcelona.Among thetitles are international festival favourites and local box office hits such as BadEducation, Ae Fond Kiss, 5 x 2, The Sea Inside, Being Julia, Take My Eyes, TheGirl With A Pearl Earring, Les Choristes, Love Act
  • Film Movement buys North American rights to Antares

    Larry Meistrich's theatricaldistribution and subscription DVD service Film Movement has acquired NorthAmerican rights to Austrian drama Antares at the Toronto International Film Festival.The controversial film directedby Gotz Spielman tells three stories of passion, jealousy and violence on thesame impersonal housing estate.
  • Film Sales Company takes on Hidden Flaws

    Worldwide sales of Paulavan de Oest's Toronto film Hidden Flaws (Verborgen Gebreken) areto be handled by Andrew Herwitz's New York-based The Film Sales Company following a deal struckduring the last days of the festival.The film, adapted by Tamara Bos, from Renate Dorrestein's novel A Cryin
  • Finland submits Producing Adults as 2004 Oscar entry

    Aleksi Salmenpera'sfeature directing debut Producing Adults was been selected as the official Finnish submission forthe 2004 foreign language film Oscar.The romanticcomedy is written by Pekko Pesonen and produced by Petri Jokiranta and TeroKaukomaa's Blind Spot Pictures. It follows Venla (Minna Haapkyla), apsychologist working at an infertility clinic, who decides to have a babywithout telling her husband Antero (Kari-Pekka Toivonen), as he will doanything to avoid it. Further c
  • FRANCE 20 September

    US filmsled the charge onto the top of the chart this week with the debut of The Bourne Supremacy and Catwoman in the number one and two spotsrespectively.Frenchcomedy Mensonges Et Trahisons openedat number 3 with a strong $6,497 per screen average. Hot festival title The Motorcycle Diaries from Braziliandirector Walter Salles came in at
  • Future Film acquires worldwide Kaurismaki rights

    Scandinavian distributor Future Film has acquiredworldwide TV and DVD rights for 19 of Finnish director Mika Kaurismäki'sfeature films.The package includes films spanning the director'sentire career, from his very first films TheLiar (1981) and Saimaa-ilmiö (1981) to his newestfeatures.Also included are films suc
  • German funder dishes out Euros 4.2m to co-productions

    A film about aclassical music love triangle and a feature about World War 1 nurses are among13 international co-productions awarded over Euros 4.2m in support byDuesseldorf-based Filmstiftung NRW in its latest round of funding.The largest amount - Euros 1m - went to HelmaSanders-Brahms' costume drama Clara about the love triangle betweenClara and Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms,
  • German remake for hit Dutch football feature

    SuccessfulDutch football feature In Orange (In Oranje) is to be remade for Germanaudiences.Germanproduction house Gemini Film struck a deal this week with In Orange producers Motel Films and Fu Worksto retell the story in German with a working-title In Die Mannschaft.Accordingto Fu Works other countries - including Spain, England and France -haveexpressed interest in making their own national version.InOrange tells theadventures of a young boy

    It was not surprising afterall the media buzz surrounding the portrayal of Hitler's last days in thebunker that Constantin Film's release of Oliver Hirschbiegel's The Downfall(Der Untergang) should come in at number one.The $ 4.3m four-day grossfrom 405 screens was the second strongest opening for a German film this yearfollowing the sci-fi spoof (T)Raumschiff Surprise, another filmdistributed by Constantin.After having its title as topGerman in
  • Gibson to get producer trophy at Hollywood Film Awards

    Mel Gibson will receive theHollywood Producer Of The Year Award at the Hollywood Awards gala ceremony inLos Angeles on Oct 18.Gibson joins alineup of previously named award-winners at the show including John Travolta(lifetime achievement), Michael Mann (directing), Keira Knightley (breakthroughacting - female) and Jamie Foxx (breakthrough acting - male).'MelGibson's career exemplifies extraordinary ability, craftsmanship, and determination. He is an excellentexample of a highly
  • Hotel Rwanda

    Dir: Terry George. 2004.S Afr-UK-It. 122mins.Terry George's gripping,fact-based Hotel Rwanda brings to mind both The Killing Fieldsand Schindler's List, but its low-key approach means it is unlikely tobecome as commercially successful as those two titles. That said, it did winthe Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival at the weekend.Written by Terry George and newcomer KeirPearson, who has been researching the story sinc
  • IFP/New York Market Awards announce winners

    Colombianphotojournalist Scott Dalton's La Sierra won the documentary feature directoraward and a $10,000 grant at the IFP/New York's IFP Market Awardsyesterday (23), which honour works-in-progress by established and emergingfilmmakers.Andrea Williamsclaimed $10,000 and the directing prize for A Spoonful Of Sugar, while Seith Mann's Come Sunday took home two awards and two $10,000grants in the screenwriting and the emerging narrative screenwriti
  • IFTA AGM yields new executive committee, board lineup

    The IndependentFilm & Television Alliance (formerly AFMA), has announced its new executivecommittee and board of directors following its AGM in Los Angeles yesterday(23).The seven-personexecutive committee, headed up by chairman Michael Ryan in his second year inthe post, includes new members Lewis Horwitz of Horwitz Entertainment FinancialServices as vice chairman of finance, Mark Damon of Media 8 Entertainment asvice chairman, Barbara Mudge of Worldwide Film Entertainment as chairman
  • Imaginary Heroes

    Dir/scr: DanHarris. US. 2004. 112minsThe great soap opera of life is revisited once again in Imaginary Heroes,an entertaining but superficial tug at the heartstrings. The directorial debutof X-Men 2 screenwriter Dan Harris picks at the scabs of a family'semotional wounds to reveal a considerable collection of guilty secrets anddamaging deceptions.Superioracting and polished production values help push the emotional buttons in a filmthat
  • IPW picks up film rights to Groo The Wanderer

    Marc Toberoff's IntellectualProperties Worldwide (IPW) has picked up the motion picture rights to GrooThe Wanderer, the long-running comicbook that has been described as Conan The Barbarian meets Shrek.Created by Sergio Aragoneswith writer Mark Evanier, Groowas first published in 1983 and has spawned more than 170 instalments. Thetitular hero fuses an uncanny warrior mentality with charming naivete and amarked lack of intelligence.
  • ITALY 23 September

    Spider-Man2 leapt straight tothe top of the Italian box office, where it earned a massive $8,993,096 in fourdays. The web slinger opened on September 16 on a wide 631 screens, and scoreda huge $12,296 per screen average for Columbia Tristar Italia.Shedding37% of its earnings, UIP's The Terminal dropped to second place threeweeks after its Venice premiere, having earned $6,316,704. Bim's Farenheit9/11 also su
  • Kinsey, Nixon bookend Hamptons festival

    The 12th annualHamptons International Film Festival, which takes place in East Hampton, New York,Oct 20-24 will open with a screening of Bill Condon's Kinsey and close with Niels Muller's The AssassinationOf Richard Nixon.The festival, which wasfounded to focus on US independent film, will play host to the Golden StarfishFeature Competition with over $180,000 in goods and in-kind services availablefor the winner's next film. Among the films competing are Eddie O'Flaherty'
  • Kung Fu Hustle (Gungfu)

    Dir: Stephen Chow. HK-Chi. 2004. 95minsThe martial arts film to end all martial arts films, Kung FuHustle makes Kill Bill look like a playground scuffle. StephenChow's affectionate salute to the era of Bruce Lee and the Shaw Brothers is ajaw-dropping mixture of blistering fight sequences, slapstick sadism anddelirious black comedy.Action fans and Chow devotees will be in seventh heaven althoughthe mainstream audiences who embraced Hero will be more re
  • Kusturica looking at box office Miracle in Serbia

    Emir Kusturica's Life Is A Miracle is to open on a huge50 prints in his home territory of Serbia and Montenegro on Sept 30.The film willopen in 40 cities and towns and will be distributed by Metro.The number ofprints is by far the biggest ever in the territory. By comparison, films like Spider-Man 2 or The Lord Of The Rings went out on no more than 15 prints.
  • Lelouch billed for free Parisiens screenings

    45,000people took advantage of free screenings of Claude Lelouch's Les Parisiensin France on Friday.The freescreenings were paid for by the director himself in an effort to combatdreadful reviews from most of France's leading media outlets.On Monday, Lelouch spoke tothe
  • Lelouch offers free showings of latest film

    French director Claude Lelouch showed his new film LesParisiens for free across France on Fridayto try to prove wrong the critics who have panned it.Lelouch said he would bear the costs of the showings atabout 400 cinemas across France, according to Reuters."I've taken this decision following an unprecedentedmedia lynching," he said in a radio interview.The film opened in French cinemas on Wednesday. Lelouchplanned to foot the bill only for showings on Friday but d
  • Lions Gate takes Canadian rights to Toronto hit Phil The Alien

    Lions Gate Entertainment hastake Canadian rights in all media to Phil The Alien, the debut of writer-director-actor Rob Stefaniuk.The story of an intergalactic nomad who falls to earth in Northern Ontario, thefilm screened in the Canada First! feature film competition at Toronto.Produced by Toronto-basedproduction company Black Walk, it features Stefaniuk alongside Nicole Deboer,Bruce Hunter, Boyd Banks and veteran Canadian comic Joe Flaherty.Executive producer MihkelHari
  • Losique launches Montreal counterattack

    Serge Losique, the embattledpresident of the Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF), has fired back at hisnemeses at Telefilm Canada and its Quebec counterpart SODEC.On September 7, the twoagencies, the principal sources of public subsidy of the MWFF, issued a callfor proposals for a film event in Montreal, a direct challenge to Losique andthe MWFF as the city's principal film event. The proposal came in the wake ofthe publication of a report commissioned by the two agencies from auditing
  • Media Asia plans Tokyo Raiders sequel

    Hong Kong's Media Asia is planning a Korea-set sequel toJingle Ma's 2000 box office smash Tokyo Raiders that is set to star TonyLeung Chiu-wai, Richie Jen and Shu Qi.The$5.1m (HK$40m) action comedy - which has the working title Korea Raiders- is scheduled to start shooting in October for release during next Chinese NewYear (February 2005). Ma will again direct while Leun
  • Mexican exhibitor signs three-screen deal with IMAX

    Mexico City-based Cinepolisand IMAX have signed a multi-year agreement that will see three giant-screencinemas in the country.The exhibitor, the largestin Latin America, will retrofit an existing large format cinema at CinepolisPerisur in the capital city. The second and third theatres will be newadditions built onto existing multiplexes. Locations are pending. According toIMAX, the Perisur complex will open in time for the November release of WarnerBros. Pictures' The Polar Express
  • MGM to continue producing after Sony deal

    Sony and itsequity partners issued a joint statement with MGM yesterday (23) that they haveentered into a definitive agreement under which the investor group will acquireMGM for $12 in cash per MGM share, plus the assumption of MGM's approximately$2bn in debt.The investorgroup, which comprises Sony Corporation, Providence Equity Partners, TexasPacific Group, Comcast Corporation and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, hascommitted a total of $1.6bn in equity financing to acquire MGM.A
  • Mobius Pictures to sell Styler trio

    Mobius Pictures, the sales operation of Elie Samaha'sformer partner, David Bergstein, has partnered with Trudie Styler'sUK-based production company Xingu Films for three pictures.Mobius is bankrolling A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, theadaptation of model-singer Dito Montiel's autobiography starring Robert DowneyJr. Montiel, who will direct from his own script, is to start shooting nextmonth in New York on the story of how he survives his rough childhood in Astoria.Do
  • New distributor launches into Spanish market

    Start-up Spanish distributor ABL Augusta has joined with twopartners to launch new distribution company Notro Films to reach the Spanish,Portuguese and possibly Latin American markets.The partners, who made their announcement at the SanSebastian International Film Festival (Sept 17-25), include ABL founder AdolfoBlanco, and Jose Maria Irisarri and Marcos Fernandez of property developerParquesol Inmobiliaria.The new company aims to acquire rights for Spain, Portugaland possibly t
  • Open to retire from Belfast's Queen's Film Theatre

    TheNorthern Ireland cinema business will mark the end of an era this month withthe completed upgrading of Belfast's Queen's Film Theatre (QFT) and theretirement of Michael Open who has programmed and managed the venue for threedecades.The QFT was established under the aegis of Queen'sUniversity in 1969 and it will shortly complete its upgrading of the cinema'sfacil
  • Palm buys music doc Be Here To Love Me

    Chris Blackwell's PalmPictures has closed a deal to buy North American and Caribbean rights toMargaret Brown's documentary Be Here To Love Me, a profile of musician Townes Van Zandt which hadits world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last week.The acquisition is Palm'sthird out of Toronto after Iraq war documentary Gunner Palace and Johnny To's actioner Breaking News.Thedeal on Be Here To Love Me
  • Palm Pictures to launch Caribbean Goldeneye festival

    US-UK distributor and producer Palm Pictures is launching what it claimsis the world's most exclusive film festival at company founder ChrisBlackwell's home in the Caribbean.The Goldeneye FilmFestival (Dec 8-13, 2004) will invite about 100 VIP guests to Blackwell'sIsland Outpost property -- Goldeneye -- located in Oracabessa Bay, Jamai
  • ProSiebenSat.1 launches inhouse sales outfit

    Germany'sProSiebenSat.1 group has launched an in-house sales outfit SevenOneInternational which will have its market premiere at the forthcoming MIPCOM(October 4-8).The new company will be headed by Jens Richterwho was managing director of KirchMedia's international sales operation BetaFilm from 2000 until May this year. Since leaving Beta Film, Richter has beenworking as a consultant for
  • Punto Y Raya named as Venezuelan Oscar contender

    EliaSchneider's Punto y Raya (Step Forward) has been named as Venezuela'sofficial entry for best foreign language consideration in this year's Oscarrace.Thehighest grossing local film of the year in Venezuela, Punto Y Raya wasalso winner of the Rita Award for Best Picture at the recent 2004 Los Angeles,Latino Int'l Film Fest (LALIFF) in July.Producedby Jose Novoa and Elia Schneider's Unity Films, Punto y Raya tells thestory of two soldiers, one Venezuelan, t
  • Rio ready to roll with 2004 festival line-up

    The Rio International Film Festival (Sept 23-Oct 7) hasunveiled its 2004 line-up, which features a selection of 300 films with astrong focus on Brazil and Latin America.The festival's World Panorama section features highlightsfrom festival favourites over the past year, including Pedro Almodovar's BadEducation, Alexander Payne's Sideways and Lukas Moodysson's AHole In My Heart.The Premiere Latin America section, meanwhile, bringstogether acclaimed features f
  • Rwanda is Toronto audience favourite, Pete Tong Canadian winner

    Terry George's HotelRwanda won the AGF Peoples' ChoiceAward at the Toronto International Film Festival, as the 29thedition wrapped here on Sunday.Starring Don Cheadle, theUK-South Africa-Italy coproduction is based on the experience of PaulRusesabagina, an hotel manager who saved many lives during the Rwandan civilwar. The prize was one of many awarded to international coproductions at thefestival, a ringing endorsement of global partnerships.Pete Travis' UK-Eirecoproduct
  • San Sebastian sees Torrente action

    He lies,he drinks, he rarely showers - Spanish P.I. Torrente is back in AmiguetesEntertainment's in-the-works Torrente 3.Industry executives had the chance to get in early on theT3 action as one of a handful of new projects presented at the SalesOffice of the San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 17-25).
  • Second wave of layoffs implemented at Miramax

    Barely six weeksafter the last round of Miramax lay-offs, the spectre of redundancy notices returned tothe mini-major yesterday (23 Sept) as a further 55 employees were told they werelosing their jobs as part of an efficiency drive.The numberaccounts for roughly 13% of the current 420-strong workforce. Most of thoseaffected have been notified and asked to leave immediately, with the remainderset to follow once contractual issues have been resolved.The move affectsa broader range
  • Shanghai Story dominates at top Chinese awards

    Peng Xiaolian's Shanghai Story won four awardsincluding best picture and best director at China's leading film awards, theGolden Roosters, on Sunday night despite it not having had a wide,commercial release.The film, about a family separated by the CulturalRevolution, also picked up best supporting actor for Feng Yuanzheng while thebest actress prize was shared between Shanghai Story's Zheng Zhenyao andZhang Ziyi in Jasmine Flower. Best actor went to Liu Ye for
  • Skoll outfit to co-finance two Warner Bros pictures

    Participant Productions, aproduction company formed in Jan by former eBay president Jeff Skoll to make sociallyrelevant films and documentaries, has formed a partnership with Warner BrosPictures to co-finance two Warner 2005 movies Syriana and Class Action.Participant'smandate is to back projects which centre on "important social issues thatawaken, inspire and empower their audiences to make a difference." Syriana, writt
  • Sky is high but maybe not the limit with $16.2m opening

    Maybeit was the devastation of Hurricane Ivan in the southeastern US, maybe the lackof interest in the new product but box office was slow this weekend in NorthAmerica, down some 27% from the same period last year.
  • Smith to drive UK's£50m film training strategy

    Alexander producer Iain Smith has been named as the new chairof the Skillset Film Skills Strategy Committee.The committee is in charge ofguiding the delivery of A Bigger Future - the £50m five year trainingstrategy for the UK film industry.Smith, who has sat on theFilm Skills Strategy Committee since it was formed in 2003, replaces StewartTill as chair. Till has stepped down since becoming chair of the UK Film Council butwill maintain an overview as deputy chair of
  • 'Son of Section 48' details announced by UK Treasury

    The UK government hasfinally launched its 20% tax credit for UK qualifying films.The Treasury, which was dueto unveil details as far back as July, aims to give filmmakers 20% of theirbudgets via a tax credit even if films fail at the box-office.But commercially successful filmmakers may be able to claim up to 30% of theirbudgets through the measure, which affords further relief on future income worth, when combined with the initial tax relief, 150% of the budget. This is aimed a
  • Spanish pay-TV outfit snaps up arthouse films

    Spain'ssole pay-TV platform Digital Plus has signed new deals with local independentdistributors Alta Films, Wanda Vision, Vertigo, Musidora and Golem, coveringkey European arthouse hits such as Dogville, Goodbye, Lenin! and TheGirl With The Pearl Earring.The dealscover only a handful of already-released titles cherry-picked from ea
  • Spider-Man 2 eyes $400m international gross

    A number one launch in Italy,its final major territory, saw Spider-Man 2 spinning back into theinternational top 30 to take third position. The strong launch brings thesequel's international cumulative gross to $391m and it looks assured ofpassing the $400m in the next week.I, Robot and Collateral also received boosts from majorterritory openings. I, Robot launched in Japan, as well as in severalEastern European territories, while Collateral took the
  • Star Wars box set, videogame take $115m in first day

    20thCentury Fox Home Entertainment has announced that first day sales for the StarWars box set in NorthAmerica and many international territories and the Star Wars Battlefront videogame in North America have exceeded$115m.The game will be available internationally later thisweek, as will the box set in unreleased territories such as Japan, Australia,Benelux and Mexico.The three firstStar Wars films Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back a

    In its third weekKay Pollak's local romantic drama Saa Som I Himmelen managed tooutperform Shrek 2 as it moved into the top spot with a strong $6,673screen average on its high 100 prints.In second place Shrek2 had just half that on its 159 prints, while the new release of TheBourne Supremacy scored
  • Telefilm Canada backs new features from August, Kunuk

    Telefilm Canada has announcedit will back two features, Bille August's Explosion, a Canada-Denmark-UK coproduction, and TheJournals of Knud Rasmussen, aCanada-Denmark coproduction co-directed by Zacharias Kunuk,director of 2002 Camera d'Or winner Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner.Explosion, based on Canadian journalist Robert MacNeil's novel"Burden of Desire", is a historical drama of a love triangle set against theaftermath of the 1917 Halifax Harbour expl
  • The Apology wins Slamdance script contest

    Organisers of the 9th AnnualSlamdance Screenplay Competition announced the 10 winners at an awards ceremonyin Los Angeles yesterday (23).The competition culled thetop 10 screenplays from more than 1,800 submissions, judged by a panel ofscreenwriters, filmmakers and industry professionals.Cash prizes of $3,000,$1,000 and $500 went to the top three, while each winner receives screenwritingsoftware and will have his or her screenplay read during Slamdance's stag
  • The Intruder

    Dir: Claire Denis. Fr.2004. 130mins."Impenetrable" would be a generous way of describing French auteur ClaireDenis' latest feature; adjectives like "self-indulgent" and "dull" might occurto the less well-disposed critic.Not that this film is devoidof moments of visual poetry and - at least in the early stages - plot tension.But its wilful obscurity, its stubborn refusal to explain what the hell isgoing on, and why the moody, rugged Michel Subor first
  • THINKFilm takes domestic to Wexler documentary

    Toronto and New York-basedTHINKFilm has acquired all North American theatrical and home video rights toMark Wexler's Venice and Toronto title Tell Them Who You Are, a biographical portrait of the filmmaker's father,renowned cinematographer Haskell Wexler.In the film, Wexler Sr, whohas won two Academy Awards for his work in Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf' (1967) and Bound For Glory (1976), challenges Wexler Jr, on every choice hemakes as a filmmaker. Among the lumin
  • THINKFilm woos Three Of Hearts at Toronto

    Another domestic deal wasclinched in the closing days of the Toronto International Film Festival, withTHINKFilm taking domestic theatrical and DVD rights to Susan Kaplan's documentary ThreeOf Hearts: A Postmodern Family.US cable network Bravo camein on the project at an early stage and holds TV rights with the intention oflaunching it in Bravo's upcoming feature documentary strand premiering in 2005.The film was produced byHibiscus Films in association with Bravo and Cact
  • Toronto serves up succession of Oscar contenders

    So, it was sometimes difficult to get into screenings, itwas impossible to see everything you wanted and Vera Drake was nowhere to be seen. Journalists always like tohave some complaints but in truth the 2004 edition of the Toronto InternationalFilm Festival left little to grumble about.Quantity was matched by quality at an event that is stillmore organised than Venice, more friendly than Cannes and less feverish thanSundance.Given the 328 titles on offer, it is unlikely
  • UK 22 September

    Michael Mann's Collateralhad a solid opening through UIP, taking £2.4m to secure the number one slotin the UK.It knocked Open Water,distributed through Redbus, down into second place in its second week. The lowbudget shark attack film has now taken an impressive £3.4m.Elsewhere, three Britishproduced films struggled to make a major impact. Warner Bros release Traumawent out on 176 sites, but took just £144,000 - taking thirteenth place on
  • UK government to unveil new tax support system

    The UK government has movedto clamp down on excessive producer fees on British films.Under revamped co-productionguidelines published this month, the Department for Culture, Media & Sporthas targeted producer fees over 10% of production expenditure.Although producer fees over10% are not necessarily barred, the DCMS will automatically ask for additionalproof that they are actual costs incurred and directly related to theproduction. The 10% figure applies to al
  • UK set to unveil new tax support system

    The UK is set to unveil anew tax support system,according to reports over the weekend.The replacement to existingsupport under Section 48 is expected to be unveiled today (Tuesday, Sept 21). It is anticipated that it will be a basic 20% tax credit for production costs on films budgeted under£20m.The credit is expected to come into effect in July next year. As withSection 48, it is anticipated that films must qualify as UK productions toaccess either form of support.An ext
  • UK talent agencies join forces

    The Rod Hall Agency, thetalent agency of Simon Beaufoy, Jeremy Brock and Simon Nye, is to form a jointventure with fellow agency Alan Brodie Representation. The team-up follows thedeath of the company's founder, Rod Hall.The new-look operation willincorporate Hall's name as well bring in clients mainly from the TV world, butincluding film talent such as Tim Firth."Alan and his company AlanBrodie Representation have an excellent reputation together with a client listand bespoke s
  • Undertow

    Dir. David Gordon Green. US. 2004. 107mins.An intoxicating auteur spin on Southern Gothic, Undertow is a conventional adventurestory - good boys, bad uncle, hidden gold - that is told in a mostunconventional way. To say its his most commercial film yet isn't saying much,as the qualities that make it a Green film are the very qualities that willlimit its commercial prospects: genre films that set their own course rat
  • Vitagraph acquires US theatrical to Los Angeles doc

    Vitagraph Films has acquiredUS theatrical rights to Thom Anderson's documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself at the Toronto International Film Festival.The film had alreadypremiered in the US for a two-week engagement in New York on July 28 and hasnow qualified for consideration for a 2004 documentary feature Academy Award.The deal was negotiated byJosh Braun of Submarine Entertainment and attorney Roger E Kass on behalf ofAnderson with Vitagraph.The film, a cinematic
  • Vital

    Dir/scr/cine/prod des/ed:Shinya Tsukamoto. Japan. 2004. 86mins.Tsukamoto is one of those directors whose name on the opening credits is alwaysgreeted with applause by festival junkies. A one-man band who hates to delegateany of the headline technical jobs, Tsukamoto will probably never break out ofthe cult ghetto, unlike his Japanese compatriots, Takeshi Kitano and TakashiMiike. But that's okay, because, as Vital demonstrates, Tsukamoto isvaluable pre
  • Yesterday named as South African Oscar choice

    AIDS drama Yesterdayhas been selected as South Africa's official contender for the foreign-languageOscar nomination.Yesterday, directed by Darrell Roodt, follows a village woman(played by Roodt's Sarafina star Leleti Khumalo) who has contractedAIDS, but