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25 February 2001

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  • 3000 Miles To Graceland

    The Tarantino effect is very much in evidence in 3000Miles To Graceland, a trashy, excessively violent action movie about a casinoheist that goes hilariously and uproariously awry. Using the iconic Elvis Presley and his ostentatiousattire as a conceit, the yarn is set against the background of the glitzy,high-energy chaos surrounding an International Elvis Week in Las Vegas, where aband of Elvis impersonators
  • Additional Berlin Film Festival prizes

    Additional prizes at the 51st Berlin International Film FestivalPIPER HEIDSIECK NEW TALENT AWARD:best young actress for her first major role: Angelica Lee Sinje (Ai Ni Ai Wo)PIPER HEIDSIECK NEW TALENT AWARD:best young actor for his first major role ex aequo to Cui Lin and Li Bin (Beijing Bicycle)CRYSTAL BEAR:for best feature:There's Only One Jimmy Grimble by John HayCRYSTAL BEAR (Spec
  • AFM buyers adapt quickly to Spike Jonze

    Intermedia and Good Machine International (GMI) have closed a raft of sales on Adaptation, the new movie from director Spike Jonze which stars Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper. Columbia Pictures will release the film in North America; sister company Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group has taken it for Australia and New Zealand and Latin America; Asmik Ace took it for Japan, Lauren Film for Spain, SamFilm for Iceland, Shani Film for Israel, Italia Film for the Middle
  • Amores Perros escapes UK censorship

    Mexican Best Foreign Oscar nominee Love's A Bitch (Amores Perros) is set to receive clearance from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), despite a harrowing and controversial dog fight scene.The scene, a 21-second, yet pivotal, sequence in the film, was in danger of falling foul of the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act, 1937 which stipulates that animals should not be incited in any way to fight.Optimum Releasing, which acquired the U.K. rights from the film's
  • Cinema loyalty pass hits French market shares

    French exhibitor Gaumont, severely hit by a slump in cinema ticket sales following the launch of UGC's cinema loyalty pass in March 2000, has seen its revenues slide 15% to $215m in 2000, despite launching its own pass last September, in partnership with Paris exhibitor MK2.Gaumont - which merged its exhibition operations with Pathe early this year - has lost the battle of Paris, where it competes head on with UGC and where 60% of all passes were issued last year, according to a recent
  • CineMedia quits rights market

    German media group CineMedia Film is set to quit rights trading and licensing just one year after its launch into the market.The Munich-based company made its surprise withdrawal after admitting that figures for the last financial year revealed that sales forecasts for it rights trading and licensing activities would fall far short of original expectations. Delayed sales revenues from a package of films f
  • CineMedia quits rights market

    German media group CineMedia Film is set to quit rights trading and licensing just one year after its launch into the market.The Munich-based company made its surprise withdrawal after admitting that figures for the last financial year revealed that sales forecasts for it rights trading and licensing activities would fall far short of original expectations.Delayed sales revenues from a package of films from ICON, including the Mel Gibson box-office hit What Women Want and
  • CineMedia quits rights trading

    German media group CineMedia Film is set to quit rights trading and licensing just one year after its launch into the market.The Munich-based company made its surprise withdrawal after admitting that figures for the last financial year revealed that sales forecasts for it rights trading and licensing activities would fall far short of original expectations. Delayed sales revenues from a package of films
  • Del Toro, Rush join Intermedia's Assumption

    Two of this year's Oscar nominees Benicio Del Toro and Geoffrey Rush, together with acting legend Vanessa Redgrave, are all lining up to star opposite Juliette Binoche in Intermedia's period drama Assumption Of The Virgin.Directed by Walter Salles, the film stars Binoche as a nun lured away from her convent by a man in 18th century Italy. Carolyn Choa is producing with David Lascelles. Mark Shivas, BBC's David Thompson and Anthony Minghella executive producing. Meanwhile
  • Destination Films closes after 2 1/2 years

    Destination Films, the mid-budget domestic distribution company founded in 1998 by Steve Stabler and Brent Baum, closed down at the end of last week after an ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful run of releases.The company was funded by an insurance-backed $100m funding arrangement through a wholly owned subsidiary brokered by Willis Corroon, but never secured the $100m line of credit it also planned as a P&A fund. The revolutionary Destination deal, constructed by Baum, saw insurers
  • Dimension Films and TF1 team up for Heist

    Dimension Films and France's TF1 are understood to have partnered on Heist (aka 2-11), the English-language debut of Gerard Pires, director of French action hit Taxi.Dimension, the genre arm of Miramax Films, is understood to have taken US rights to the project, currently in pre-production, and optioned Pires' next English-language project. TF1 is expected to handle the bulk of international sales on Heist, which stars Stephen Dorff and Natasha Henstridge.
  • Eastern European admissions boom predicted

    Box office revenues in Central and Eastern Europe are forecast to soar by 80% over the next four years, notwithstanding the increasing problem of overscreening in many key cities as well as consolidation among some international exhibitors.According to a new report, Cinemagoing: Central and Eastern Europe, published by film industry consultants Dodona Research, higher ticket prices and increased admissions will push the region's box office up from US$160 million in 2000 to US$29
  • Edinburgh Film Festival chief to quit

    Lizzie Francke, Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, is to quit after this year's Festival in August - her fifth in charge of programming what has become Britain's leading launch-pad for introducing new local talent.Francke told Screen: "Five is a good round number. I've helped shaped the festival, it's been tremendously exciting, but I feel I need a new challenge." She added that she had resigned now to ensure the festival had adequate time to find a
  • EM.TV to sell off its 45% stake in TMG

    German mediaconcern EM.TV may sell its 45% stake in Herbert Kloiber's Tele-Muenchen-Group(TMG) to an external investor, according to the German daily newspaper DieWelt. Until now ithad been assumed that Kloiber, Germany's second most important rights traderafter Kirch, himself wanted to buy back the EM.TV stake, but at a price muchlower than the $372m (DM 800m) he had received from EM.TV chief Thomas Haffa in1999. Die Welt
  • Erik Christenson promoted to run Myriad/J&M sales

    Eric Christenson has been promoted to executive vice president, sales and distribution, at Myriad Pictures, from his previous position as senior vice president of acquisitions and distribution.Christenson will oversee all aspects of the sales and distribution team at Myriad and London-based J&M Entertainment; both Myriad and J&M are owned by Germany's IN-Motion AG.In his new role, he will supervise sales and all aspects of marketing, servicing and collections worldwide. He wil
  • EuroArts snaps up New York partner

    German sales agent EuroArts Entertainment and the New York-based production house Snapper Films have formed a development and production alliance.Under the three-year deal, the two expect to produce at least two English-language pictures a year with budgets in the $5m region. "What we are looking for is films in three genres; thrillers, family and romantic comedies," said Snapper chief Juha Wuolijoki.The first project to be co-developed and financed under the new deal is Luci
  • Europe ready to roll its costliest cartoon feature

    Europe's most expensive animated feature, Simsala Grimm, is finally poised to go into production in May under the direction of cartoon veteran Gerd Hahn.Drawn from a Russian fairy tale, the long-in-development theatrical version sees the return of the evil characters from the eponymous TV series who attempt to take over the land of Simsala.Represented internationally by Dutch company Greenlight International, the $30m film is fully financed by Berlin Animation Film which
  • Fat Girl (A Ma Soeur!)

    Screened at Berlin (Competition). Dir: Catherine Breillat. France-Italy. 2001mins. No European director, and certainly no female European film-maker, has made a more audacious series of films than Catherine Breillat. There are times, in fact, when she seems to court controversy. In this respect, Fat Girl carries on where Romance left off. Fat Girl is a bold study of two young sisters who are close to each other, but who are also capable of an extremely feroc
  • Fortissimo picks up Ayres' debut film

    Co-chair Wouter Barendrecht has confirmed that Fortissimo Film Sales is taking all international rights for Walking On Water, one of three Australian features which go into production in the next few months in time to premiere in March 2002 as The Adelaide Festival of Arts' first ever film content.It will be Tony Ayres' feature film directing debut and the script is by Roger Monk. Ayres already has a considerable body of work as a writer of television, and a writer and director
  • Fortissimo serves up spicy Thai dish

    Fortissimo Film Sales has picked up a trio of new pictures including Jan Dara, by Nonzee Nimibutr, the Thai director behind last year's pan-Asian blockbuster Nang Nak.His follow-up Jan Dara is a saga of sex, guilt and retribution set in 1930s Thailand which sees a young man return to a home broken by the sexual tyranny of his father. It is based on one of Thailand's most controversial best selling and erotic novels. Appropriately, the film stars Christy Chung, rece
  • Fox joins Brazil's cunning fiscal movie scheme

    20th Century Fox Film Brazil has closed an unprecedented package deal with local production company Total Filmes.According to the terms of the agreement, Fox will distribute three feature films produced by Total over a three year period, starting in 2001. Fox will exploit the fiscal advantages provided by Brazil's audiovisual law which guarantees foreign investors deductions of up to 70% from federal taxes. Fox follows in the footsteps of Columbia TriStar Brazil which has distri
  • Franchise labels latest accusations

    Franchise Pictures' chairman Elie Samaha and president/COO Andrew Stevens yesterday responded to the latest charges in the lawsuit against them by Intertainment Licensing, labelling the accusations as "preposterous."Intertainment amended its suit on Tuesday to include Imperial Bank as a defendant, alleging that Imperial not only knew that the budgets on the Franchise films were being inflated but concealed the fraudulent scheme from Franchise.Answering back in what has become an
  • German weekend box office hits all-time high

    Germany saw arecord-breaking weekend in the cinemas with the first four days on release ofthe Mel Gibson-starrer What Women Wantand Ridley Scott's Hannibal. Accordingto the German distributors association VdF, the result(February 15-18) of 3,563,651 admissions and box office takings of $19,937,759 (DM42,898,463) broke the previous record set in September 1997 by such films as
  • Germany creates new film and cinema prizes

    Germany's new state minister for culture and affairs of the media Julian Nida-Ruemelin has launched another initiative - the Innovation Prize - to follow last week's announcement of three annual film distribution awards.The prize, which will recognise innovations in filmmaking will be awarded up to twice a year with a premium of $14,000 (DM 30,000) each time. "This prize will honour promising ideas and new creative approaches which will strengthen the film industry and improve the effi
  • Germany's Producers AG expands again

    Claus Boje and Detlev Buck's production outfit: Boje Buck Produktion and theatrical distribution outlet Delphi Filmverleih are the latest companies to become partners in the rapidly expanding Producers AG. Producers AG CEO Friedrich-Carl Wachs confirmed last week during the Berlin Film Festival that the Potsdam-based media venture capital company will acquire shares in a step-by-step procedure to eventually hold a majority 51% stake in the two companies. Boje Buck Produktion was
  • Gladiator dominates Baftas, but Bell is best actor

    Jamie Bell, the young star of Stephen Daldry's featurefilm debut, Billy Elliot, has won the Bafta award for best leading actor- despite having been overlooked in the Oscar nominations.Bell, who claimed that he almost didn't bother attending theawards, given the caliber of the competition, beat the Oscar-nominated RussellCrowe to the coveted title at the awards ceremony in London on 25 February.Ridle
  • Goldman launches p&a-fueled US releasing outfit

    Former New Line Cinema president and COO of distribution Mitch Goldman has launched The Premiere Group, a new marketing and distribution operation that intends to guarantee Hollywood-level films a wide release in the US.J.P. Morgan will arrange a revolving credit facility of at least $100 million to partly back The Premiere Group's print and advertising costs. The company is close to reaching an agreement with Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment to release its home video and DVD titles
  • Grupo Novo returns to AFM

    Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV, a distributor of films by Brazilian independent producers, is back at the AFM for the first time in ten years with a slate headed by two pictures which recently appeared at Berlin.Latitude Zero, by Toni Venturi, whose script was backed by the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab in 1998. That film appeared in the Panorama section, as did Posthumous Memories, (A Marvada Carne) by Andre Klotzel, based on a 19th century classic book by Machado de As
  • Hannibal devoured by UK audiences

    Despite Hannibal taking a large bite out of the UK box office over the weekend, four other openers faired well, no doubt owing a debt of gratitude to sell-out screenings of the UIP monster, which turned hungry audiences toward other titles. As reported on yesterday, Hannibal became the highest grossing 18-certificate opener ever in the UK and the fifth largest opener of all time. The behemoth commanded the top
  • Hannibal still heads US box office; Graceland weak

    Franchise Pictures' violent actioner 3000 Miles To Graceland and Fox's costly animated/live action mix Monkeybone failed to make much of an impression at the box office which was led for the third week by MGM's smash chiller Hannibal. However the status quo is in for a shock next Friday as DreamWorks SKG unleashes its first big picture of the year - Julia Roberts/Brad Pitt-starrer The Mexican, which should comfortably land in the top spot.Hannibal took $15.8
  • Hannibal takes a large bite out of the UK

    Despite Hannibal taking a large bite out of the UK box office over the weekend, four other openers faired well, no doubt owing a debt of gratitude to sell-out screenings of the UIP monster, which turned hungry audiences toward other titles. As reported on yesterday, Hannibal became the highest grossing 18-certificate opener ever in the UK and the fifth largest opener of all time. The behemoth commanded the top spot with a mighty $
  • Hudlin to direct Chan in $35m martial arts fantasy

    Emperor Multi-media Group (EMG) has signed Reginald Hudlin to direct its Jackie Chan film The Highbinders which, at a suggested budget of $35m, is the most expensive film ever to be financed from Hong Kong. The English-language martial arts fantasy will shoot later in June or July in Hong Kong and locations that possibly include Ireland and Australia. Hudlin is best known so far as the director of Boomerang, and also of House Party, which he made with his producing
  • Icon launches Australian distribution company

    Icon Entertainment, Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey's production outfit which successfully launched UK distribution outfit Icon Film Distribution in 1999, is doing the same in Australia - creating a local distribution companyThe Icon offshoot could go up against Village Roadshow as an indie giant if the Australian results of Icon's What Women Want are anything to go by. That grossed A$21m for Roadshow. Mark Gooder, formerly head of distribution at The Becker Group, will head up the n
  • IEG directs Traffic to Japan, Australia

    Initial Entertainment Group (IEG) has closed its last two remaining territories on Steven Soderbergh's Oscar contender Traffic, selling Japanese rights to Nippon Herald and Australian and New Zealand rights to Village Roadshow.In addition, IEG's CEO and president Graham King has closed a deal with Korea Pictures Co for Korean rights to Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York; King had originally signed up Shinabro for Korean distribution but that deal fell through.T
  • Italian domestic films lose flavour

    In what has been branded as 'one of the worst years ever' for Italian films at the local box office, national film body, Anica, said that while overall takings increased last year, the box office continued to be heavily dominated by US fare and suffered from a low number of medium-to-high Italian earners. While total box office for the year grew 5.5% to $402m (L805 bn), Italian films only managed to score $70m, compared to the $88m earned in 1999 - a 20% slump in takings, Anica said. M
  • Large Screen Format gets downsized

    Further fallout in the Large Format cinema sector is being predicted, following the news that IMAX Corporation has slashed 13% of its 1000-strong workforce.The job cuts come as part of a broader corporate restructuring plan, according to the company, which involves the consolidation of the manufacturing of sound and projection systems at its Ontario site. Most of the job losses will come from the US, with IMAX scaling back operations at its facility in Alabama.In a statement, co
  • Lions Gate acquires Tom Hanks-produced comedy

    Lions Gate Films has acquired worldwide rights to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a comedy produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman's Playtone Productions.Based on the autobiographical stage show by Nia Vardalos, the film is directed by Joel Zwick, produced by Hanks, Goetzman and Hanks' wife Rita Wilson and stars Vardalos and an ensemble cast including John Corbett, Gia Caredes and N Sync member Joey Fatone.Currently in post-production, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the s
  • Mandolin to play first in UK

    Universal has moved Captain Corelli's Mandolin from its April release date in the US back to August. The romantic drama, starring Nicolas Cage, was scheduled to open on April 27 in North America, before commencing its international roll-out in the UK on May 4. According to Universal's London office and UK distributor Buena Vista International, there are no plans to alter the UK release date. If the UK release does remain unchanged, the film will premiere in the territory three m

    RIPLEY'S GAME ADDS CASTRay Winstone, Lena Headey and Chiara Caselli have joined the cast of Fine Line Features' Ripley's Game which is currently shooting in Italy under the direction of Liliana Cavani. Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, the film stars John Malkovich as Ripley and Dougray Scott as his victim Jonathan Trevanney. An Anglo-Italian co-production, the film is produced by Ileen Maisel and Simon Bosanquet, with Russ Smith and Marco Chimenz executive producers. Charl
  • MCP backs Cronenberg's Spider with Fiennes

    Having departed as the director of Basic Instinct 2, David Cronenberg is back aboard the long-gestating psycho-thriller Spider that is now being financed through MM Media Capital Partners (MCP).Ralph Fiennes, originally attached to star opposite Miranda Richardson when the film was announced in October 2000 as a UGC production, also remains involved; Richardson's status, however is not known. The story, adapted by Patrick McGrath from his novel, tells of a man's search fo
  • Miramax circles cult Japanese sci-fi fantasy

    Continuing its buying spree of international films, Miramax Films is in the final stages of picking up domestic rights to Japanese sci-fi fantasy Avalon directed by Mamoru Oshii whose credits include cult movies Ghost In The Shell and Patlabor. The film, which - bizarrely enough - was shot in Poland and in the Polish language, is set in a computer-generated game world in which players can perform superhuman acts of violence. The subtitled film opened on Jan 20 this
  • Miramax resumes love affair with foreign cinema

    A noticeably acquisitive Miramax Films is close to domestic deals on two of the hottest non-American titles on the current sales circuit -. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Cannes competition contender Amelie From Montmartre and Tsui Hark's The Legend Of Zu, starring Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon discovery Zhang Ziyi. In both cases Miramax is expected to take US rights, continuing a sudden domestic rights-buying binge that began at Sundance and went on through to this year's B
  • Namco plans major studio and theme park for Tokyo

    Game maker Namco has announced ambitious plans to build a "movie village", in cooperation with film subsidiary Nikkatsu, government bodies and local businesses. The project will include a major film and television studio as well as a film school, a film museum and movie theatres for the general public. The aim, says Namco president and chairman Masaya Nakamura, is to "build a '(movie) village' that can compete with Hollywood." Namco plans to acquire a site in the Tokyo-Yokohama area by
  • New European short film awards launched

    The Brussels-based European Coordination of Film Festivals and Jameson Irish Whiskey have joined forces to launch an initiative worth Euros300,000 over the next three years to support European short film-making. The Jameson Short Film Awards will be presented annually at eight European film festivals to a short film with the potential to reach a European audience. All fiction films in the national selection will be eligible for the award with a cash value of Euros6,000 which will be de
  • Roddy Doyle adds Film Board to commitments

    WriterRoddy Doyle has been appointed to a revamped Irish Film Board by Irish Arts andHeritage minister Sile de Valera. The new board was announced after amonth-long vacuum, which arose when the remit of the last board members ran outon January 15. Doyle has awriting and producing credit on the Film Board-backed When Brendan Met Trudywhich is soon to be released in Ireland. The film is his fourth fe
  • Romero thriller shakes Ricky's Bon Bon

    Latin singing superstar Ricky Martin is close to signing to star in his feature film debut in The Assassination - a political action thriller being directed by George A Romero and co-starring Oscar nominee Ed Harris, James Coburn and Anthony Quinn.. Set to start shooting in April, The Assassination is based on real life events surrounding the assassination of Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo. Highland Crest Pictures is co-producing the film and selling worldwid
  • Round-up of Berlin's European Film Market

    Sales of Jean-Jacques Beineix’s Mortal Transferto Japan’s Amuse Pictures and Greece’s Rosebud are among a raft of deals sealedby Bavaria Film International at the European Film Market in Berlin last week.
  • Sogecable reduces losses

    Spanishmultimedia conglomerate Sogecable posted year-end financial results for 2000which reflect an 18.2% decrease in net consolidated losses to Euros11.4m(pts1,900m).The losses arelargely due to content expenses - particularly rights deals for cinema andfootball - for the group's pay TV platforms Canal Satelite Digital (CSD),launched in 1997, and Canal Plus.Sogecableposted
  • Studio Hamburg Produktion and Ellipse Deutschland

    Studio Hamburg Produktion (SHP), a production arm of Studio Hamburg, and Berlin-based Ellipse Deutschland Film- und Fernsehproduktion have joined forces to work together on animation projects for film and television.In a first phase of the collaboration, the partners are planning to co-develop and produce four projects including TV animation series and feature films, which will all be targeted to the international market.Ellipse Deutschland was founded last year as a German offs
  • Sullivan launches feature film division

    Canadian TV production and distribution outfit Sullivan Entertainment has launched a feature film division to develop, produce and finance its own productions to be distributed through Sullivan Entertainment International. The division kicks off with The Piano Man's Daughter starring Stockard Channing and Christian Campbell. Whoopi Goldberg is executive producer.The company, founded in 1979 by Trudy Grant and Kevin Sullivan, plans to produce between two and three films a year in
  • Summit spears diva Britney's first film project

    Pop diva Britney Spears is the latest American megastar on offer to international buyers courtesy of Summit Entertainment which has boarded her first feature film. The as yet untitled film is being financed by her record label Jive Records and is set to start shooting next month.Summit Entertainment had no comment on the picture but buyers at this week's American Film Market in Santa Monica were abuzz with the news that the global recording star's picture was on sale. Tamra Davis is di
  • Tartan picks up Fat Girl for UK release

    Tartan Films has picked up all UK rights to Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl (A Ma Soeur!) at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it has just won the $14,000 (DM30,000) Manfred-Salzgeber Film Prize. Metro Tartan Distribution will release the film in the UK later this year.The picture explores the unflinching story of two young sisters' sexual awakening whilst on a family holiday at the seaside. Australia's Potential Films, which previously distributed Breillat's co
  • TEAM Communications plans expansion

    The US TV production and distribution company TEAMCommunications Group, whose shares are traded on the Nasdaq and Neuer Marktexchanges, is planning further expansion in Europe and the US through'strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions' and the developmentof a sales force based in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, the Benelux countries,the UK and Scandinavia. 'Being big is an important factor in ourbusiness', declared Mic
  • The Tailor Of Panama

    Brosnan too suave by halfThe Tailor Of PanamaDerek Malcolm in BerlinScreened at Berlin (Panorama). Dir: John Boorman. US-Ireland. 2001. 111mins.Rumours that the ending of The Tailor Of Panama was changed so that Pierce Brosnan's spy doesn't get killed but flies off instead towards a prosperous future hints at what is wrong with this quick-paced, but undistinguished, John Boorman version of John Le Carre's ironic tale. It's perhaps because Brosnan can't se
  • Two new theatrical distributors emerge in NZ

    The next two New Zealand films to release locally signal the arrival of two "new" theatrical distributors - or, more accurately, players who have principally been active in video distribution.Mark Galloway's Stage Door Entertainment releases The Price Of Milk on March 1, and Gordon Adam's Metropolis Film releases The Irrefutable Truth About Demons on March 22. Both are welcome additions to the local distribution scene."I would have said that I wouldn't be doing mul
  • UK audiences devour Hannibal

    UIP's Hannibal opened to phenomenal receipts over the weekend to become the UK's biggest 18-certificate opener of all time. The previous record, held by Columbia TriStar's Snatch (£3,180,002), was obliterated by Hannibal's three-day gross of £6,402,540 ($9,292,511), more than double that of the Guy Ritchie-directed feature. Released on over 600 prints at 421 sites, the film achieved an unprecedented site average of £15,208 ($22,072) with cinemas around the country
  • UK Film Council eyes IRA picture Bloody Sunday

    In a move bound to trigger controversy, UK public funding body the Film Council is likely to invest in Portman Film and Granada Film's Bloody Sunday, a feature about the real-life shooting of 13 unarmed civilians by members of the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland.The project, being made through Jim Sheridan's company Hell's Kitchen, is expected to be one of the larger productions backed by the Council's low-budget National Lottery production fund, the New Cinema Fund.
  • US buyers starting to look south of the border too

    Mexico is emerging as a hot buying territory - a trend driven not so much by local distributors as by US distributors such as Miramax Films which have been adding territorial rights south of the Rio Grande as part of their North American purchases.The suddenly acquisitive Miramax, which is driving sales to the US at the AFM market with several deals imminent, is negotiating taking Mexico alongside a pending domestic deal on The Legend Of Zu. Such a deal would mirror Miram
  • Video keeps VCL profits on course

    While Germany's VCL Film + Medien has flagged ambitions to move into the UK, Benelux and Scandinavia and last year made a splash on the production finance scene, the company delivered on-target results powered by its German home entertainment business. Rated Germany's number two video distributor with a 12.2% market share, VCL saw its video and DVD grow 25% from Euros36.4m to Euros45.5m. VCL, whose shares tumbled by over 70% from their highs, was among the companies coming under close
  • Wild Bunch hits the road with The Red Siren

    French super-mini Wild Bunch has boarded its second English-language picture The Red Siren (La Sirene Rouge) by rising French filmmaker Olivier Megaton Fontana, a director rated by compatriot Luc Besson as one of the hottest emerging talents in Europe. Megaton's film is a road movie thriller with a heavy accent on action sequences and stars Jean-Marc Barr. Wild Bunch has already scored a notable pre-sale on the picture, striking an early deal for Japanese rights to Comsto
  • Winchester breaks more Hearts with deals

    Winchester Films has closed two more major territories on Heartbreakers, the all-star comedy which MGM will release domestically on March 23. Dall'Angelo Pictures has bought Italian rights on the film and Buena Vista International has taken Australian rights. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Gene Hackman, Jason Lee and Ray Liotta, the film has already been sold to Advanced in Germany, Icon in the UK, Sogepaq in Spain and CLT-Ufa in France and Benelux. Winchester still h
  • Woody Allen project trio Bac in business in France

    VCL Film + Medien has secured a new French distributor for its trio of forthcoming Woody Allen pictures and confirmed Spanish and Italian releases. Jean Labadie's Bac Films, which has released many previous Allen films, will distribute the films in France. VCL, which has until now not identified the other "attached" buyers has now confirmed here that Lauren Films has also bought them for Spain and Mediaset for Italy"We always had a buyer in France," explained VCL chief Datty Rut
  • Zoo launches new UK cinema company

    The launch of a new British exhibition company was announced February 19 by its founding members. Zoo Cinema Exhibition Ltd has been formed by Clare Binns, managing director of Chris Blackwell's Oasis Cinemas, one of the UK' most established independent exhibitors.David Wight, formerly managing director of Film Network Ltd, joins the company as director of operations and development, and Nick Theakston, an experienced corporate financier will act in a non-executive capacity as director