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25 August 2000

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  • AFC confirms Zeccola, Barron appointments

    Australia's arts minister Peter McGauran has announced that Antonio Zeccola, who founded and owns local distributor Palace Films and co-owns Palace Cinemas with Village Roadshow, has been appointed to the board of the Australian Film Commission (AFC). He also confirmed that Southern Star executive Maureen Barron is to stay on in her role as AFC chair and complimented her on leading the organisation through a restructure and refocus. "Her re-appointment will provide continuity as the AF
  • Baldwin, Gallagher land Protection roles

    Stephen Baldwin and Peter Gallagher are to star in Protection, a mob thriller being produced by Alliance Atlantis' genre division Le Monde Entertainment. The film, which is scheduled to start principal photography in Montreal on Oct 2 this year, will be directed by John Flynn whose credits include Rolling Thunder and Lock Up. Lee Faulkner will produce with Ralph and Werner Bibo and Marc Forby acting as executive producers. Baldwin plays a Mafia hitman in the
  • Beast, Coffee join Toronto world premiere line-up

    The Toronto International Film Festival has finalised its programme for the 25th anniversary event, announcing a further six world premieres including UK heist film Sexy Beast, directed by Jonathan Glazer and starring Ben Kingsley and Ray Winstone, and Chinese Coffee directed by and starring Al Pacino.The other world premieres are:How To Kill Your Neighbor's Dog, a comedy written and directed by Michael Kalesniko and starring Kenneth Branagh, Robin Penn-Wri
  • Boll set to quit TaunusFilm International

    Uwe Boll will leave his post as managing director of German production outfit TaunusFilm's international arm - TaunusFilm International - on September 1 to concentrate on his directing career. He will continue to serve as a consultant, while TaunusFilm CEO Wolfgang Grass will oversee the subsidiary.Boll, who used accumulated vacation time to shoot his most recent project Sanctimony in Vancouver, cites the sales success of the film as the main reason for his decision. However Bol
  • Carlton sells film package to China's CCTV

    The UK's Carlton International has sold a package of 15 films to Chinese broadcaster CCTV6. Titles include both classic and contemporary fare and range from Boys From Brazil, Sophie's Choice and Great Expectations from Carlton's ITC library to Often Running and Night To Remember from its Rank collection and Fire Over England from the recently acquired Rohauer catalogue."This package is one of several we have completed with The Movie Channel. Th
  • Channel 4 boards Southern Star's Secret Life

    The UK's Channel 4 has boarded Australian production outfit Southern Star Entertainment's The Secret Life Of Us, marking its first pre-production commitment to a long-running Australian series. Australia's Network Ten and pay-TV entity Optus Television are also partners in the 22-hour $5.3m (A$9m) series. Southern Star describes it as "a cutting-edge drama about a group of stylish young city dwellers looking for love, sex, romance, money and success." Channel 4, Ten and O
  • Channel Nine bags second slot on Doordarshan

    Kerry Packer's Channel Nine has won a second primetime slot on state broadcaster Doordarshan's Metro channel, from 21.00 to 22.00, to add to its existing slot between 19.00 and 21.00.The Australian broadcaster paid about $14m for the extra hour. It will have to meet programming restrictions specified by Doordarshan which include not broadcasting sports, news and current affairs, or programmes about astrology or mysticism.Meanwhile Doordarshan is in negotiations with internationa
  • Cinar founders Charest and Weinberg fight back

    Cinar co-founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg have rejected the company's decision to fire them from their managerial posts and also its request that they relinquish their seats on the board of directors.The husband-and-wife team, who have kept a low profile since March when allegations of tax fraud and unauthorised investments came to a head, shot back late Friday through their lawyer, saying that they intend to vigorously defend any allegations of wrong-doing on their part.
  • Copenhagen to host new children's film festival

    A new children's film festival will take place in Copenhagen for five days from November 28. The Copenhagen International Children's Film Festival will screen more than 50 features from around the world and hand out a prize to the best film, the Buster Grand Prix.The festival is headed by Ola Tedin, former director of the BUFF children's festival in Malmo, Sweden. Director Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, whose credits include Mifune and several children's films including The Island On
  • Crouching Tiger to open San Sebastian's Top

    Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will open "Festivals' Top", part of this year's Zabaltegi (Open Zone) section at the San Sebastian International Film Festival (September 21-30). The festival has split its traditional offering of films in Zabaltegi into two divisions: Festivals' Top, which will present features already screened at other festivals, and New Directors, the line-up for which will be unveiled later this week.Festivals' Top will close with Zhang Yimou's
  • Dimension greenlights Scary Movie II for 2001

    The tagline was "No Mercy. No Shame. No Sequel." but Dimension Films, the genre production and releasing arm of Miramax Films, will break that promise and start production on Scary Movie II later this year. The first film has grossed close to $150m at the domestic box office and will probably be the most profitable film of the year.The same team behind the first film, a spoof of teen horror movies - director Keenen Ivory Wayans and writer/stars Shawn and Marlon Wayans - will ag
  • EC outlines concerns over AOL-Time Warner merger

    The European Commission has sent out a formal set of objections to the proposed merger between America Online (AOL) and Time Warner and the linked merger between Time Warner and EMI.In June the Commission announced that it would launch full four-month investigations into the competitive effects of the two mergers. The "statement of objections" circulated this week is a normal procedure within a full probe and will be followed in September by face-to-face hearings. The Commission is due
  • Fiennes joins Graham in Kaige's Killing Me Softly

    Joseph Fiennes has been cast opposite Heather Graham in Chen Kaige's first English language film Killing Me Softly which is set to go into production in London on Oct 30. The film is being produced and financed by Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock's Montecito Pictures; MGM has domestic rights with Myriad Pictures handling international sales.Based on the novel Killing Me Softly: A Tale Of Obssession by Nicci French, the film stars Graham as a young woman who risks everything in her
  • Fintage House to make InternetStudios e-safe

    UK-based Fintage House, which provides financial services to the entertainment industry, has reached an agreement with InternetStudios under which it will handle all financial transactions for the company's OnlineFilmSales web-site.Fintage's e-safe service, launched at Cannes, will handle all transactions resulting from sales and acquisitions of film and TV rights on the InternetStudios site. Headed by Robbert Aarts, e-safe provides collection account management, both on-line and off-l
  • Foreign cash finds its way to Mosaic

    More foreign money came flooding into Hollywood this week as Canada's Capital Communications CDPQ, a subsidiary of Montreal-based fund management giant Caisse de depot et placement de Quebec, announced that it will make a "major strategic investment" in Mosaic Media Group. Mosaic is the new name for the merged entities of Atlas Entertainment, Gold-Miller Management, Atlas-Third Rail Management and Third Rail Records.Encompassing film and TV production, talent management, recorded music
  • Gannon to head development at Pathe

    Matthew Gannon, most recently director of production/development at Fox Searchlight in Los Angeles, is joining UK National Lottery studio franchise Pathe Pictures as head of development.The move comes after Susanna Wyatt, former head of production for HAL Miramax, joined the franchise as head of physical production earlier this month. While at Searchlight, Gannon has been an executive on projects including Tamara Jenkins' Slums Of Beverly Hills, Fina Torres' Woman On Top
  • Gaumont joins loyalty card bandwagon

    Sundance's Geoff Gilmore is held accountable every year - not just for which films are chosen or dismissed, but for the state of US independent cinema itself. Now he's rumoured to be about the leave to join one of the majors. Is he selling out' Colin Brown reports.From the moment the Sundance line-up is announced in early December until the final Grand Jury prize has been handed out eight weeks later, all eyes are on Geoff Gilmore. Since 1990, he has been the director of
  • German state of Hessen to launch production fund

    The German state of Hessen is planning to launch a $7m (DM15m) fund to support commercial film and television production in the region from next year. Herbert Hirschler, state secretary in the Economic Ministry, stressed that Hessen would "want to be an equal partner in the risk and success of the project". "Unlike other regional states, they would not be interested in taking on risk, only to be put in the last position regarding the success of a production and to only have the
  • Germany's media[netCom] grabs Highlight titles

    German video-on-demand (VoD) company media[netCom] has signed a deal with Swiss-based rights trader Highlight Communications giving it VoD rights to all Highlight-licensed pictures. The non-exclusive deal covers titles such as Scary Movie, U-571, Requiem For A Dream, The Way Of The Gun and Soldier.Media[netCom] expects to reach 70,000 German cable households by the end of the year, using systems that it has developed in-house. On top of the mon
  • Goteborg fest launches fund for Bosnian producers

    The Goteborg Film Festival is playing a hand in rebuilding Bosnia-Herzegovina's film industry with the creation of the CineBosnia Film Fund, launched at this week's Sarajevo Film Festival (August 18-27).Unveiled by Goteborg director Gunnar Bergdahl and festival producer Magnus Telander, the fund will award $10,000 each year towards the pre-production, production or post-production of a Bosnian short, on film or video, in any genre.The initiative's funds have been raised over the
  • Haugesund unveils strong Nordic line-up

    The Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund claims to have its strongest ever line-up of Nordic features this year, including two Norwegian titles: Stein Leikanger's Odd Little Man and Hans Petter Moland's Aberdeen, a co-production with the UK.Road movie Aberdeen, starring Stellan Skarsgaard, Ian Hart and Lena Headey, screened at this year's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Odd Little Man, about the childhood memories of Norwegian humoris
  • Hollywood wins case against DVD hacking website

    Hollywood's eight movie studios won a significant court battle at the end of last week in its effort to protect DVDs from being copied onto computers.The studios via their advocate organisation The Motion Picture Association Of America (MPAA) successfully sued website publisher Eric Corley who had made available online software which descrambled the code which prevents DVDs from being copied. That software, developed by hackers, enables computer users to copy feature films from DVDs o
  • Hotaru

    Dir: Naomi Kawase. Japan. 164mins.Prod co: Dentsu, Imagica, Suncent CinemaWorks, Tokyo Theatre. Int'l sales: Wild Bunch (Le Studio Canal Plus), tel: (33) 1 4443 9800. Prod: Takenori Sento. Scr: Kawase. DoP: Masami Inamoto. Lighting: Atsuko Suzuki. Prod des: Kyoko Heya. Mus: Kawase, Naoko Matsuoka. Main cast: Yuko Nakamura, Toshiya Nagasawa, Ken Mitsuishi, Miyako Yamaguchi.Winner of the Fipresci Award and the Cicae Award at this year's Locarno Film Festival, Naomi Kawase's
  • Hungary's Bacso to take on diva's life story

    Hungarian director Peter Bacso is developing a biopic of Hungarian diva Katalin Karady, with the working title This Great Love I Was Given For You, for local production outfit Megafilm. Set during World War II in Budapest and the Ukraine, the film will revolve around singer-actress Karady, her lover and her Jewish song-writer. Three well-known Hungarian actors - Eszter Nagy-Kalozy, Gyorgy Cserhalmi and Peter Rudolf, have been lined up to star.Gabor Kalomista will produce

    Media mogul Vladimir Gusinsky has survived the Russian government's sustained assault on his media empire, which encompasses film, TV and press, and even made political capital out of this recent arrest and imprisonment. But has President Vladimir Putin succeeded in reining in one of his most vocal opponents' Anna Franklin reports.Media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky emerged as one of the richest and most powerful businessmen in Russia in the early 1990s. Long considered one of
  • Intermedia pacts with Cage's Saturn

    UK and US-based film packager and financier, Intermedia, has struck an first-look deal with Nicolas Cage and Norm Golightly's Saturn Pictures, which is expected to cover two films per year in the $30m-$60m budget range.Intermedia said that the exclusive two-year deal, which is currently at the detailed longform negotiation stage, will allow Saturn to develop a wide range of creative material for Cage and Golightly to produce. Intermedia will executive produce and handle worldwide distr
  • Japan's Square to securitize Final Fantasy assets

    Japanese games software company Square has announced a scheme to securitize cost overruns on the feature version of its Final Fantasy computer game which it is producing with Columbia Pictures. Though other securitization schemes have been devised for film production, Square's will be the first to offer shares to ordinary investors. Originally budgeted at $75m, the Final Fantasy computer-graphics animation now looks likely to burn through $115m in production costs. To raise the
  • Kinowelt strikes content deal with Germany's Onyx

    Ever-expanding Kinowelt is understood to have struck a film sales deal with German music channel Onyx Television. The move could transform the sleepy station which rates third behind the reviving MTV Deutschland and home-grown music channel Viva, which recently floated on the Neuer Markt."Kinowelt is the ideal partner for us," said Onyx chief Michel Assouline. "In addition to our traditional music formats we will be able to deliver hit films and classics in prime time." The deal is und
  • Liberty buys stake in Sony's Game Show Network

    Liberty Digital, a subsidiary of the US' Liberty Media Corp, is acquiring a 50% stake in Sony Pictures Entertainment's (SPE) Game Show Network (GSN) for $275m. The two partners said they are joining forces to create what they describe as "the first game-based interactive TV network." The deal is expected to be finalised in fourth quarter of this year.Liberty and Sony aim to make GSN the world's largest 24-hour TV service dedicated exclusively to games and game shows. Interactive televi
  • Low budgets high on Edinburgh agenda

    While the UK wrestles with how to channel National Lottery cash into bigger budget commercial pictures, a trio of low-budget titles stole the limelight at a high-profile "state of the nation" panel discussion at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.With panel chair and FilmFour chief Paul Webster inviting comments from the floor from the off, audience members variously cited Last Resort, One Life Stand and Billy Elliot as examples of low-budget UK film-making
  • Lucky Red snaps up Venice entry Phantom

    Italy's Lucky Red has picked up rights on Venice competition entry The Phantom (O Fantasma), from Portugal's Rosa Filmes.According to Phantom producer Amandio Coroado, the feature is slotted for a 10-copy release in Italy on September 8, coinciding with the film's festival screening. Phantom will be released in Portugal on 10 prints in October.A debut feature from Joao Pedro Rodrigues, Phantom is the dark tale of a young man's obsession for sex. Rodri
  • Me You Them opens well on home ground

    As expected, Richard Lenormand has been appointed chairman and CEO of StudioCanal to replace Vincent Grimond who has resigned following his appointment as senior executive vice president, operations and finance, at Universal Studios Group. The board of directors at StudioCanal unanimously appointed Lenormand. The 38 year-old was most recently senior vice president, finance, at Canal Plus Group. He joined Canal in 1990 in the finance department and was named vice president, financed in
  • MGM Worldwide TV forms Latin American sales arm

    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)'s TV distribution and co-production unit MGM Worldwide Television Distribution has established its first direct sales operation for the Latin American region and appointed Mary Ann Pasante to serve as vice president of Latin America Television Sales. Pasante will be based in Atlanta, Georgia, where the new branch office will be based.Pasante, who will report to Simon Sutton, senior vice president, international pay and free television, will oversee all sales
  • Morena, Cuatro Cabezas strike co-production deal

    Spanish production house Morena Films has signed a TV co-production accord with Argentinean outfit Cuatro Cabezas which will likely grow to include feature films.The agreement originally spans two interview-format shows already popularised on broadcaster Telefe in Argentina and now adapted for the Spanish market. The weekly shows will premiere on Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 beginning in September.El Rayo is a magazine style program dedicated to the world of sports and en
  • MPAA slams NC-17 rating on Artisan's Requiem

    Darren Aronofsky's Requiem For A Dream, a bold portrait of drug addiction which made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this year, has run into censorship trouble in the US where it is being released by Artisan Entertainment.The Motion Picture Association Of America (MPAA) yesterday gave the film a prohibitive NC-17 - a rating which many US cinema chains won't screen and for which many newspapers won't accept advertising. The MPAA cited sexual elements within the fi
  • Mushroom, Screen Artists team up for Horseplay

    Australia's Mushroom Pictures is working with Stavros Kazantzidis and Allanah Zitserman's production company Screen Artists on Horseplay, a darkly comic tale about a madcap plan to rig Australia's most famous annual horse race, the Melbourne Cup. Casting on the project, which Kazantzidis will direct, is underway. The feature will be the fifth from Sydney-based Kazantzidis as either writer or director in as many years. He recently directed, and co-wrote with Zitserman, Russian
  • New sales co Buskin to focus on Italian fare

    Former advertising executive Antonio Guadalupi has launched a Rome-based international sales outfit, Buskin Films, which is dedicated to handling titles from emerging local directors. The new company, which plans to officially launch at this year's MIFED, has already acquired four films: Giochi Di Equilibrio, directed by Amadeo Fago, Egidio Eronico's Il Guardiano, L' Accertamento, from Lucio Lunerti, and Fondali Notturni directed by Nino Russo. The last thr
  • New UK talent shines at Edinburgh

    A crop of new UK-based film-makers are emerging at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival as a string of low-budget pictures earned high praise.The find of the festival so far is Paul Pawlikowski's Last Resort, a $600,000 (£400,000) made-for-BBC TV film that world premieres at Edinburgh ahead of a Venice slot. Festival-goers agreed that the tale of Russian emigres in the UK established Pawlikowski, who debuted with The Stringer, as an important new talent.
  • Norstar seals six-picture deal with New Legend

    Toronto-based Norstar Filmed Entertainment has pacted with New Legend Media AG to co-produce six-pictures kicking off with The Fourth Angel starring Jeremy Irons, Forest Whitaker, Jason Priestly and Charlotte Rampling.The Fourth Angel is now configured as a co-production between Norstar, headed by Peter Simpson, Allan Scott's Rafford Films and UK-based Sky Pictures, with New Legend's Al Munteanu acting as executive producer. Artisan Entertainment has domestic rights to t
  • Norway's Detector set for internet preview

    Norwegian distributor Sandrew Metronome plans to pre-screen local production Detector, directed by Pal Jackman, on the internet this Thursday, the day before its theatrical release on Friday (August 25).Norwegian daily Dagbladet is running a competition on its web-site ( which will enable 150 winners to stream the entire movie."Film is best at the cinema and cinemas as we know them today will exist for many ye
  • One Life Stand

    Dir: May Miles Thomas. UK. 2000. 115mins.Prod co: Elemental Films. Int'l sales: Elemental Films (+44 141 332 0375). Prod: Karen M.Smyth. Exec prod: Owen Thomas. Scr/DoP/Ed: May Miles Thomas. Prod des: Ewen Duncan. Mus: Bobby Henry. Main cast: Maureen Carr, John Kielty, Gary Lewis, Alyson Orr, Archie Lal.Having secured attention as a pioneering, low-budget digital feature, One Life Stand proves to be equally noteworthy for the sombre precision of its black and white
  • Perfect Storm swells Spanish box office

    Warner Bros' The Perfect Storm succeeded in pulling in a significant box office gross when it opened in Spain last weekend with $1.6m (PTS294.6m) from its super-wide release of 315 prints. The opening makes it the fifth biggest weekend opening in Spain this year, squeezing past Columbia TriStar's release of Erin Brockovich but trailing The Sixth Sense, Mission Impossible 2, Gladiator and Toy Story 2 (see chart). Warner Sogefilms' release of British cl
  • Portugal's SIC inks five-year pact with Globo

    Portuguese broadcaster SIC has closed a five-year deal with Brazilian media giant Globo which gives the two groups mutually exclusive rights to the other's product. As part of the deal, the two companies also plan to start co-producing feature films, made-for-TV movies and fiction series.The first co-production in development is a 48-episode series based on the famous 19th century Portuguese novel Os Maias, set to shoot entirely in Portugal beginning this October.The deal is als
  • ProSieben shareholders approve SAT1 merger

    German broadcaster ProSieben said today (August 22) that its two main shareholders - KirchMedia and retailer ReWe - have approved its merger with fellow broadcaster SAT1.KirchMedia has a 58.4% share in ProSieben while ReWe holds the remaining 41.6%. SAT1's shareholders - including KirchMedia and publisher Axel Springer - will vote on the merger later today. Meanwhile, ProSieben reported yesterday a 15% increase in pre-tax profit to Euros110.6m for the first half of 2000, while t
  • Rainbow/IFC buys 5% stake in website IFILM

    Rainbow Media Holdings Inc, the Cablevision-owned outfit which manages US cable channel The Independent Film Channel (IFC), has acquired a 5% equity stake in entertainment website IFILM. Rainbow will provide IFILM with on-air promotional time on IFC and the two will exchange content and cross-promote through their web, television and print properties.As part of the agreement, IFC will pay IFILM to develop and produce 26 half-hour episodes annually of a hosted magazine-style TV show fo
  • Robert Louis Stevenson's The Suicide Club

    Dir: Rachel Samuels. US-Ireland. 1999. 91 mins.Prod co: Concorde New Horizons Corp. Int'l sales: Concorde New Horizons Corp. Exec prod: Roger Corman. Prods: Rachel Samuels, John Brad. Scr: Lev L. Shapiro. DoP: Chris Manley. Ed: Bernadette Kelley. Mus: Adrian Johnston. Main cast: Jonathan Pryce, David Morrissey, Catherine Siggins, Paul Bettany, Neil Stuke, Andrew Powell. Roger Corman protege Rachel Samuel's debut feature film, which was produced by Corman, is a faithful ad
  • Sagar to launch India's first pay-per-view portal

    Ramanand Sagar's Sagar Entertainment plans to launch India's first pay-per-view broadband entertainment portal within the next two months. The company, which is investing $3m in the project, is in the process of acquiring bandwidth spread across Europe, US and South-East Asia, in order to provide high-quality streaming to global audiences. The portal will offer monthly membership for unlimited viewing of video content, a pay-per-view option and purchase of digital video in the Windows
  • San Sebastian unveils New Directors' line-up

    Six Spaniards and only one American are among the 19, mostly European directors competing for the Euros150,000 New Directors' prize at this year's San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 21-30), the festival announced today.Three of the films will also compete in the Official Section. They are:Spaniard Salvador Garcia Ruiz's The Other Side (El Otro Barrio), his follow-up to 1998's Mensaka; Alaska.De, from German documentarian Esther Gronenb
  • Sapient to sponsor BAFTA LA's Britannia Award

    Sapient - a leading creator of new economy businesses - has partnered with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles (BAFTA LA) to sponsor the 10th Annual Britannia Award - now called the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence In Film - which is this year being presented to Steven Spielberg.The award will be presented to Spielberg at a black tie gala dinner to be held on Sat Nov 4, 2000, at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. During the event, Sapient co-
  • Seven wins access to Telstra network

    Australia's Federal Court has dismissed appeals from telecommunications giant Telstra and pay-TV provider Foxtel against a decision to give Seven Network access to Telstra's broadband cable network.Seven was first granted access earlier this year (Screendaily, March 29) and now looks to have secured it, providing the aggrieved parties don't take their case to the High Court. Seven is intent on gaining access because it owns rights to the Australian Football League and the Sydney
  • Smith, Coltrane join all-Brit Harry Potter cast

    Warner Bros has confirmed that Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Fiona Shaw, Richard Griffiths and Ian Hart will star in its adaptation of JK Rowling's Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone. They join previously announced child actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in the film's cast (Screendaily, August 18).At a press conference in London yesterday, Harry Potter director Chris Columbus, said that, despite rumours to the contrary: "It was always my int
  • Snatch

    Dir: Guy Ritchie. UK. 2000. 102 mins.Prod Co: SKA Films. Worldwide dist: Columbia TriStar. Prod : Matthew Vaughn. Co-prod: Michael Dreyer. Scr: Guy Ritchie. DoP: Tim Maurice-Jones. Prod des: Hugo Luczyc-Wynowski. Ed: Jon Harris. Mus: John Murphy. Main cast: Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Jason Flemyng, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Rade Sherbedgia, Jason Statham.Neatly sidestepping the curse of the second feature, writer-director Guy Ritchie serves up a canny rehash of the s
  • South Africa's Sasani doubles earnings

    South African production outfits have been struggling recently but at least one of the country's facilities companies appears to be thriving. Johannesburg and Cape Town-based Sasani Communications has reported that earnings almost doubled from $3.2m (R22.1m) to $6.2m (R42.8m) for the year to June 30. Revenues increased 8.4% to $46m (R319m).The group owns MCC - The Movie Camera Company, an agent of Kodak stock which also supplies Arriflex cameras and other equipment; Logical Designs, wh
  • Splendid acquires majority stake in Enteractive

    Germany's Splendid Medien has acquired an 85% stake in newly-launched multimedia company Enteractive which specialises in developing content for DVD and internet distribution. The company was founded by Hans Henseleit who holds the remaining 15%. He previously worked for DVD mastering company K-Kontor. "Exploitation of content via DVD and internet is not only going to supplement traditional ways of distribution like video and free TV, but also partially replace it. That's why it
  • Sundance launches Online Film Festival for 2001

    The Sundance Institute yesterday unveiled The Sundance Online Film Festival, a showcase of new work specifically developed for the web, which will coincide with next year's film festival, Jan 18-28, 2001. The cyber-festival will launch on Jan 18 on online film festival is open to mixed-media pieces that have been made for exhibition across the internet. All types of work will be considered including animation, live-action, documentary, interactive and experimental
  • The Cell tops chart, Spike Lee docu dazzles at 2

    New Line Cinema's only release of the summer - serial killer thriller The Cell - took the top spot at the North American box office over the weekend with an estimated $17.2m on 2,411 screens for a strong screen average of $7,134. The very adult movie, in which a psychologist enters the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to find the location of his final victim, was directed by first timer Tarsem Singh, most famous for his commercial and music video work (he directed Losing My Re
  • The Little Vampire

    Dir: Ulrich Edel. Germany-UK. 2000. 95minsProd Co: Cometsone Pictures. Int'l sales: New Line Cinema. Prod: Richard Claus. Exec prods: Alexander Buchman, Anthony Waller, Larry Wilson. Scr: Karey Kilpatrick, Larry Wilson based on the Little Vampire novels by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. DoP: Bernd Heini. Prod des: Joseph C. Nemec III. Ed: Peter R. Adam. Mus: Nigel Clarke, Michael Csanyi-Wills. Main cast: Jonathan Lipnicki, Richard E. Grant, Rollo Weeks, Jim Carter, Alice Krige, John Wood.
  • The Luzhin Defence

    Dir: Marleen Gorris. UK. 2000. 110mins.Prod cos: Renaissance, ICE3. Co-prods: Lantia, Magic Media. US dist: Sony Picture Classics. UK dist: Entertainment Film Distribs. Int'l sales: Renaissance Films, tel: (44) 20 7287 5190. Exec prod: Jody Patton. Prods: Caroline Wood, Stephen Evans, Louis Becker, Philippe Guez. Scr: Peter Berry, based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov. DoP: Bernard Lutic. Prod des: Tony Burrough. Ed: Michael Reichwein. Mus: Alexandre Desplat. Main cast: John Turtur
  • The Original Kings Of Comedy

    Dir: Spike Lee. US. 2000. 115 mins.Prod cos: MTV Films, Latham Entertainment, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. US dist: Paramount Pictures. Int'l distributin: UIP. Prods: Walter Latham, David Gale, Spike Lee. Exec prod: Van Toffler. Co-prod: Butch Robinson. DoP: Malik Sayeed. Ed: Barry Alexander Brown. Exec music prod: Alex Steyermark. Art dir: Tom Warren. Performers: Steve Harvey, D L Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Bernie Mac.You only have to look at the audience shots
  • Toei plugs New Year hole with Battle Royal

    Japanese studio Toei has lined up Battle Royal, the latest film by veteran action director Kinji Fukasaku, for release in the New Year, after it realised that its big movie for the key New Year's season, Firefly (Hotaru), would not be ready in time.Starring Beat Takeshi, better known abroad as director Takeshi Kitano, Battle Royal portrays a near-future society in which teenagers have taken the concept behind the Survivor TV series one deadly step further. T
  • Total Film Group buys Nebenzal's Lion Cult

    Gerald Green's LA-based production outfit Total Film Group has acquired film rights to Harold Nebenzal's third novel The Lion Cult, a thriller set in Zurich about a group of foreign companies who all share a lake-front mansion who are thrust into danger by the greed of competing cartels, Swiss banks and diamond merchants.Kendrew Lascelles, who wrote the screenplay for the film version of Arthur Miller's Focus, is writing the screenplay for The Lion Cult which is p
  • UCI launches new brand of cinema in the UK

    United Cinemas International (UCI) today unveiled its "next generation" brand strategy to differentiate its cinemas from other exhibitors in the highly competitive UK market. "thefilmworks" concept, created through a three-way partnership with UCI, advertising agency BDHTBWA and architects RTKL, will be rolled out first at the group's 20 screen Printworks multiplex in Manchester which opens this November. Besides the new logo, the concept includes the highest quality state-of-th
  • UPC claims lead in Polish digital market

    Dutch cable giant UPC has claimed the lead in the race to deliver digital services to Poland. It has also unveiled plans for the roll-out of broadband services in the territory later this year.UPC said that at the end of June it had 378,000 subscribers to its digital cable services, compared with the 325,000 claimed by Canal Plus' Polish service Cyfra Plus. Since UPC bought Poland's @Entertainment in 1999, the two groups have been racing to develop the digital pay-TV market. UPC said t
  • Vivendi Universal eyes Indian content

    Following the merger of Seagram, Vivendi and Canal Plus, the new entity, Vivendi Universal, plans to invest in Indian film and TV production and build up an Indian music catalogue, according to local press reports. The entertainment powerhouse will reportedly produce local-language TV programming and has already committed $7m to finance three Hindi movies in Mumbai. The company will also market Universal's television library to Indian broadcasters but has no plans to launch its own cha
  • Weber takes top post at Bavaria Media

    Michael Weber has been named managing director of Bavaria Film's rights handling division Bavaria Media. He was formerly head of the company's international sales arm, Bavaria Film International.During his tenure at the sales arm, Weber handled product such as Joseph Vilsmaier's Comedian Harmonists and Volker Schloendorff's Rita's Legends. He also developed the label "German Independents", to effectively promote and market German films worldwide. He was named "best export
  • Werner goes international with Platinum

    German cartoon character, Werner, the star of three hugely successful feature films, is set to enjoy an international TV career.Achterbahn, the company behind the character and all three films, has struck a joint venture agreement with the US' Platinum Studios to produce 26 English-language episodes for broadcast and the internet. Achterbahn said that the joint venture partners are also considering an English feature version in co-operation with a major studio inside the next three yea
  • Zentropa, Calyx form Danish-Scottish alliance

    Denmark's Zentropa and Calyx Film Production are teaming up with Scottish production outfits Sigma Films and Antonine Films to produce a raft of features in Scotland. Scottish Screen is backing the untitled partnership. According to Calyx's Lisbeth Matz, the Danish outfits have been building relationships with the Scottish producers since Zentropa's Lars von Trier shot Breaking The Waves in Scotland. "Since then we have been developing ideas and projects independently, until sud