By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

25 February 2003

View all stories from this issue.

  • AFM 2003 verdict: slow but steady

    A few disillusioned buyers may have already left the AFM deal tables this weekend to try their luck at the slots in Las Vegas, but if the market corridors felt emptier this year, at least the remaining buyers were serious. Indeed, many of those who resisted sin city's allure spent the weekend chasing Equinoxe Films' Mambo Italiano, the surprise hit of the market and proof that a hard-core of distributors will pursue strong enough films. Quickly dubbed My Big Fat Gay We
  • AFM conference assesses film funding jigsaw

    In the wake of Germany's Neuer Markt collapse, global television's retreat from film buying and the general economic downturn, independent production and distribution companies are being forced to reassess their business models and rely on a funding jigsaw from an ever broader and enterprising array of sources, a wide-ranging AFM financing conference heard yesterday Among other topics to surface during the conference, entitled The Future of Feature Film Financing: The CEOs, was whether
  • Alcon, Summit team on talking zebra picture

    Summit Entertainment has pacted with Alcon Entertainment, its partner on Insomnia and Affair Of The Necklace, to handle international rights on a major new family movie called Racing Stripes which Warner Bros plans to release domestically in the second half of 2004. Summit will pre-sell the film through IS Film Distribution, its new sales partnership with Intermedia.Like Babe and Cats And Dogs, the film will feature a talking animal - in this case a z
  • Alexandra's Project

    Dir. Rolf de Heer. Australia. 2002. 103mins.Whether the portrait of a husband victimised by his vindictive and possibly disturbed wife, or a fiercely feminist tract on male insensitivity, this new addition to Rolf de Heer's track record of eccentric speculations, is certainly a skilful exercise - if not a particularly affecting one. Yet another attempt to paint marital life as hell once the glossy cover is torn off, this competition entry finds the director in top technical
  • Arclight skateboards with Deck Dogz

    Arclight Films has added Australian skateboarding movie Deck Dogz to its sales slate. The film is directed by Steve Pasvolsky, who was nominated for a short live action Oscar for his film Inja, and is being produced by Bill and Jennifer Bennett and their b:j films. Bill Bennett is the acclaimed Australian director of Kiss Or Kill and In A Savage Land, in the financing of both of which pictures Arclight's managing director Gary Hamilton was closely involved.
  • Arclight's Twins Effect secures multiple berths

    Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has picked up North American and Latin American rights in all media on The Twins Effect, the made-in-Hong Kong martial arts vampire picture sold by sales newcomer Arclight Films.The Twins Effect is directed by Dante Lam and features Hong Kong teen singing sensations Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung, with Ekin Cheng and an extended guest appearance by superstar Jackie Chan.The deal was conducted through the Columbia TriStar Home En
  • Armada pre-sells One Point Zero

    Chris Sievernich's Armada Pictures International has announced a raft of pre-sales on Jeff Renfroe and Marteinn Steiner Thorsson's thriller One Point Zero. New Select has picked up the film for Japan, New Legend has bought for Germany, A-Film Distribution for the Netherlands, Cinema Park for Russia and Jumbo Film for Thailand. In each case pre-sales were for all rights in the respective territories. One Point Zero, which is currently in pre-production, centres on a
  • Artisan enters Ellroy's Dark Places

    ArtisanEntertainment has closed on its acquisition of North American distributionrights to My Dark Places, the film of James Ellroy's autobiographical novel, in a deal struck with Myriad Pictures. Thefilm is to be directed by Robert Greenwald and star David Duchovny as Ellroy,who finds himself embroiled in the investigation of his mother's murder thathappened when he was ten years old. Myriadis co-producing and financing the film, which is being produced by Greenwaldand M
  • Australia's Film Finance Corp greenlights two new films

    Writer/director Chris Kennedy and his co-producer John Winter, the Sydney-based duo behind Doing Time For Patsy Cline, are to get a second outing together on A Man's Gotta Do. One of Australia's busiest and most versatile actors, John Howard, has been cast in the lead role of Eddy, who "has gotta do what he's gotta do" to keep his eccentric family together. Hopscotch will release the film locally and sales will be handled by The Works. The Film Finance Corporation
  • Blake Edwards remakes 10 with MDP

    MDP Worldwide is to produce 10 Again, Blake Edwards' remake of his 1979 hit, 10, MDP chairman and CEO Mark Damon announced at the AFM.Edwards will write and direct the picture, which originally starred Dudley Moore as the lovelorn jet setter in search of the perfect mate, famously played by Bo Derek. Casting is set to begin immediately and principal photography is scheduled to kick off in August in the UK and undetermined tropical islands. MDP holds worldwide rights and w
  • Bloody Sunday director prepares Jimi Hendrix project

    Paul Greengrass, the award winning director of Bloody Sunday, is preparing to shoot a film about the last days of rock-legend Jimi Hendrix.Called Cross Town Traffic, the film is to be scripted by Oliver Parker (It Was An Accident) and produced by Number 9 Films' Elizabeth Karlsen (Little Voice, The Crying Game). It is being backed by $150,000 (£94,000) of funding from the UK Film Council's Development Fund. According to The Film Council, the film will for t
  • Bollywood's most ambitious film unveiled

    With a budget of $22m, Indian film Director Rajkumar Santoshi's version of Mahabharat is likely to be the most expensive Indian film ever made.Although shooting is not scheduled to start until 2004, pre-production has been underway for some time. The sets started being built at Hyderabad's Ramoji Film City midway through 2001. Indian Actors being considered for the key roles are Arjun Rampal (Arjun), Aishwarya Rai (Draupadi), Sunny Deol (Karna), Sanjay Dutt (Duryodhan), A
  • Buyers say yes to Noi

    Noi The Albino (Noi Albinoi), Icelandic director Dagur Kari's debut feature which has won six festival prizes in as many weeks, has proved a winner with buyers as well. Handled by Paris-based sales and production outfit, The Co-Production Office, Noi has now been licensed to nine territories. Latest deals closed at Berlin's European Film Market (EFM) include sales to Artificial Eye for the UK, Haut Et Court for France, Inter Cinema Art Agency for Russia, Cinemart f
  • BVI opens Jungle Book 2 in Benelux, Chicago in Italy

    Buena Vista International (BVI) opened The Jungle Book 2 in second place in Belgium over the weekendon $460,000 from 69 screens, roughly the same as previous bows for Atlantis and Ice Age. In Holland the animated sequel took$235,000 from 113 screens, about the same as the bow for
  • Canada to boost production tax incentive by 45%

    Canada's federal government will boost the production tax incentive, which has made it so attractive to foreign producers, by 45%. Thanks to a new federal budget announced yesterday, the Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit (FVPSTC) will be increased so that foreign film and television productions will be reimbursed 16% of their eligible Canadian labour costs, up from 11%. Sure to provoke to wrath of US film labour lobbyists and other film-friendly areas south of the bor
  • Cancellations hamper India's biggest industry event

    With the keynote speaker pulling out at short notice, the Indian Film Industry conference FRAMES 2003 is facing a daunting task of attracting speakers - and delegates, given the global economic and political climate. FRAMES, held between March 14 -16 in Mumbai, is promoted as Asia's biggest convention on the business of entertainment - largely due to the huge number of delegates it normally attracts. This year's event was planned to coincide with the signing of the Indo-Canadian
  • Cannes contenders take shape

    Cannes this year looks set to be a feast of high-art with stalwarts Lars Von Trier, Michael Haneke, Arturo Ripstein, Peter Greenaway and Ingmar Bergman all set to light up the Croisette with their latest films. According to international gossip - but absolutely without any sort of confirmation from the Cannes organisers - some four or five films have already been given firm offers. There is a host of top name directors hurrying to finish their films in time for Cannes. Not all
  • Celestial to launch 24-hour Chinese movie channel in March

    Hong Kong's Celestial Pictures is set to roll out its 24-hour Chinese movie channel, Celestial Movies, in Malaysia and Brunei on March 3, with launches in other territories around the world to follow over the coming year. The channel will be carried on Malaysian satellite platform Astro, which is majority owned by Celestial's backer, Malaysian media empire Usaha Tegas. Following its launch in Malaysia, the channel will be rolled out in Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan over th
  • CJ strikes early deals at AFM

    Korean major, CJ Entertainment sold German rights to two of its leading titles sci-fi fantasy Resurrection Of The Little Match Girl and cyber-thriller Unborn But Forgotten (pictured) to I-On New Media. The deals were struck at the end of last week's European Film Market in Berlin. An earlier Berlin deal saw France's Europa Corp take Unborn But Forgotten, which was previously sold to Nobel & Partners for Scandinavia, Lark Films for Hong Kong and Storm Pictures for Singapore.
  • Daly's Miracle launches Scoundrel's Wife

    John Daly's Miracle Film Distribution (MFD), the independent distributor that was recently launched by Miracle Entertainment as a wholly owned company to serve the US domestic theatrical market, announced today (Feb 19) that the WWII romantic drama The Scoundrel's Wife will be its first release. The picture will open on Feb 28 in St Louis, Missouri. The picture is set in 1942 Louisiana, where townspeople fear a German spy may be among them. Set against this background is a perso
  • Daredevil scores in Philippines, Jamaica openings

    Fox International opened its superhero adaptation Daredevil at number one in Jamaica over theweekend, grossing $29,000 from six screens. The picture also opened top of thecharts in the Philippines, taking $743,000 from 143 screens to register Fox'sfifth biggest bow of all time and the industry's s
  • Daredevil still flies high

    Fox/Regency's Daredevil heroically held off the competition and clung on top spot over the weekend with an $18.9m haul that took its running total after 10 days to $70.3m, according to studio estimates released today (Feb 23). The Marvel Comics adaptation, which stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, is set to become the first picture of 2003 to pass $100m and despite a predominantly male audience the studio said female attendance was strong. DreamWorks' comedy Old School
  • Dario Argento set to shoot The Card Player

    Cult Italian director Dario Argento is lining up a new thriller, entitled The Card Player. Produced by Medusa, the film starts shooting in March with hot Italian actress Stefania Rocca (Casomai, Resurrection) in the lead role. Worldwide distribution rights are being handled by Adriana Chiesa Enterprises. Argento's last film, Sleepless (Io Non Ho Sonno), about a retired, insomniac detective who investigates a series of murders, grossed an impressive Euros 2.6m when
  • Devdas scoops Indian Oscars

    Film Producer Bharat Shah's $10m Devdas may not have won an Oscar nomination but it did win 11 Indian Oscars at the 48th Filmfare awards. The awards included best film, director (Sanjay Leela Bhansali), actor (Shah Rukh Khan), actress (Aishwarya Rai) and best actress in a supporting role (Madhuri Dixit). Devdas also bagged trophies for choreography (Saroj Khan), female playback (Kavita Krishnamurthy and Shreya Ghoshal). The film also won awards for technical excellence in
  • DIC signs UK video deal

    UK independent DVD distributor Prism Leisure has signed a multi-picture deal with DIC Entertainment, the children's entertainment and programming producer and distributor, to exclusively distribute DIC's feature-length animated titles in the UK. Among the titles are Sabrina, Dennis The Menace, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Inspector Gadget's Last Case. Mark Pearce, commercial director at Prism Leisure, said in a statement: "We are delighted to have reached an agreement
  • Distant Lights (Lichter)

    Dir: Hans-Christian Schmid. Germany. 2003. 106mins.The winner of the FIPRESCI prize at this year's Berlin Film Festival, Lichter plays like a German Short Cuts. If Altman's cinematic short story collection was given unity by its origin in Raymond Carver's dark fables of the disempowered American male, then Distant Lights - whose original script has no literary parentage - finds its common thread in the theme of the border: specifically, the German-Polish
  • Entertainment croons with Spacey's Darin biopic

    Leading UK distributor Entertainment Film Distributors(EFD) has emerged as the first international buyer for Kevin Spacey's BobbyDarin biopic, Beyond The Sea.The story of the legendary American crooner, which Spaceywill direct and star in, was unveiled yesterday at the AFM by sales agent MDPWorldwide. Spacey will produce with Arthur Friedman, Bernie Morris,Mark Damon and Sammy Lee, with shooting scheduled for June.
  • Father Amaro, Aro Tolbukhin lead Mexico's Oscar nominations

    Foreign Oscar nominee The Crime Of Father Amaro (El Crimen Del Padre Amaro) and Spanish/Mexican co-production Aro Tolbukhin (In The Mind Of the Assassin) took 13 nominations apiece including Best Picture, Director and various acting categories for Mexico's Oscars, the 45th Ariel Awards. The nominees were announced yesterday (Feb 20) by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts & Sciences.Father Amaro lead actor Gael Garcia Bernal who played the young prie
  • Fortissimo Eyes up horror sequel

    Fortissimo Film Sales has picked up world sales rights to The Eye II, the sequel to Danny and Oxide Pang's stylish horror hit The Eye."We are thrilled at the level of interest from buyers. In many cases we have had bids even before the first film has been released in their territories," said Fortissimo co-chief Wouter Barendrecht. "It shows great confidence in the combination of producer Peter Chan, Applause Pictures and the Pang brothers." The film will be deliver
  • Fox opens Daredevil in two markets, grosses $3.6m

    Fox International began its international roll-out of Daredevil over the weekend, grossing $3.6m from 440 screens in two markets. In the UK, the Marvel Comics adaptation fared slightly below expectations, opening with $3.2m on 384 screens in second place behind holdover Two Weeks Notice. In Puerto Rico the picture grossed $481,000 from 56 screens. This weekend the picture is due to open in Jamaica, The Philippines and Malaysia.Meanwhile Solaris recorded a strong bo
  • Franchise sells eight to Japan's Artport

    ElieSamaha's Franchise Pictures is in aggressive form at the American Film Marketthis year, having already closed an eight-picture deal with Artport in Japan thatSamaha says is worth in excess of $9m.Amongthe titles to which Artport picked up rights are David Mamet's new picture Spartan, which stars Val Kilmerand William H Macy, Out Of Reach starring Steven Seagal and new action vehiclesfor Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Thedeal was closed between Franch
  • Franchise to finance Zeta-Jones-produced comedy

    Elie Samaha's FranchisePictures has gone into business with Oscar-nominated superstar CatherineZeta-Jones, agreeing to fully finance her first film as a producer, the rugbycomedy Coming Out in which shewill play a Welsh hairdresser. Alan Cumming is negotiatingto star with Zeta-Jones in the film which was written by Sara Sugarman (VeryAnnie Mary, Mad Cows) and KevinAllen (Twin Town) and will beshot in the UK and Wales. Cumming will play a flamboyantly gay West Endpe
  • French Cinema Rendezvous announces 2003 lineup in NYC

    The latest titles from Claude Berri, Benoit Jacquot and Raymond Depardon are among a line-up of 14 French pictures that will receive their New York premieres in the upcoming festival, Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2003. The event, which runs from Mar 7-16 at the Walter Reade Theatre, also features Olivier Assayas' 2002 Cannes competition entry, demonlover, Nicole Garcia's L'Adversaire (The Adversary) and work by six other female directors, including Julie Lopes-Curval's
  • French projects set to animate Cartoon Movie market

    Reflecting the strong French animation market, over a quarter of the 47 animation feature projects looking for financing or distribution at this year's Cartoon Movie market in Babelsberg (March 13-15) have been initiated by French animation studios. Among the 13 French projects, four are from Les Armateurs (Crossroad - The Devil's Music, The Evolution Man, Charley & Mimmo, and the Danish-French co-production The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Bear) and two from PRIMA Feature Anim
  • German Film Academy launches international exchange programme

    German Film Academy Baden-Wuerttemberg, whose graduates Chris Stenner, Heidi Wittlinger, Georg Gruber and Arvid Uibel have been nominated for an Academy Award with their animated short Das Rad, has launched an international student exchange programme.The new venture is aimed primarily at students attending foreign film schools and universities and wishing to study at the Film Academy from 4-10 months and will offer courses in directing, cinematography, producing, film music, wor
  • Gonzalo Marquez joins TM Systems as CFO

    TM Systems, the Miami and Hollywood-based designer of a fully integrated dubbing and subtitling service, has named finance veteran Gonzalo Marquez as CFO. Marquez arrives with more than nine years of experience in private equity investing and investment banking and was a principal of Banc of America Equity Partners, a $250m private equity fund with interests across Latin America. In his new role, he will be responsible for managing the company's financial priorities including financial report
  • Good Bye, Lenin! - success at home and abroad

    Wolfgang Becker's Good Bye, Lenin!, this year's winner of the Berlinale's Blue Angel award for the best European film, has become the top German opener at this year's local box-office and has been sold to more European territories by sales agent Bavaria Film International (BFI).Becker's tragi-comic farce starring Daniel Bruehl and Katrin Sass was released by X Verleih through Warner Bros. on 175 prints and clocked up over 360,000 admissions in its first four days of release (fro
  • Goodbye Lenin soars in Germany for Warner Bros

    Warner Bros Pictures International's local language picture Goodbye,Lenin rose by aremarkable 47% in its second week in Germany to claim top spot with anestimated $3.6m (Euros 3.4m) from 328 prints. Wolfgang Becker'sfall-of-the-wall comedy-drama has grossed an estimated $7.3m (Euros 6.8m).
  • Hannibal knocks on Dylan's door

    Richard Rionda Del Castro's Los Angeles-based Hannibal Pictures has acquired all rights to Masked And Anonymous in Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Turkey from Nigel Sinclair and Guy East's Spitfire Pictures. Larry Charles' picture, which stars Bob Dylan as a singer on the comeback trail, premiered at Sundance and was picked up for US distribution by Sony Pictures Classics with IEG representing the rest of the world. Masked And Anonymous is the first non-action tit
  • Helkon throws money behind zombie shocker

    UK distributor Helkon SK has picked up Boll KG'szombie feature House Of The Dead.The film, which had already been sold France and Spainbefore the American Film Market this week, has, as part of the Helkonacquisition package, an aggressive P&A commitment of EUR(Eu)1.5million. The sale was made with sales agent Interactive Film SalesInternational.Basedon the Sega arcade game, the story of college students trying to escape anisland full of deadly zombies s
  • Henderson named vp production at Senator int'l

    Senator International has appointed Aubrey Henderson as vice president of production. Reporting directly to Nathan Kahane, the company's executive vice president motion pictures, Henderson will be responsible for identifying, developing and packaging new production projects. Prior to working at Senator, Henderson held positions at CAA and ICM where she worked as an agent working with writers and filmmakers.
  • His Brother (Son Frere)

    Dir: Patrice Chereau. France. 2003. 89mins.Patrice Chereau's bleak and uncompromising new film about terminal illness and fraternal love is one of the director's most austere and least commercial works to date. Intimacy, to be sure, was not an easy ride for audiences, but it had more focus and structure to its angry passion than His Brother. Still, those who stick with the film will be rewarded by some perceptive emotional insights and fine performances by Bruno
  • Hyde Park attaches Jackie Chan to high-octane slate

    Ashok Amritraj's production and financing outfit Hyde Park Entertainment has added two high-level pictures to its development slate - action adventure The Hidden Kingdom which is being developed as a project for Jackie Chan with MGM and an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure novel The Outlaw Of Torn. Richard Outten is scripting the former, and Alan Adler the latter. Hyde Park has also attached Blue Crush director John Stockwell to his long-gestating Extractors
  • Icelandic Film Foundation drafts in new chief

    The Icelandic Film Foundation, the new name for The Icelandic Film Fund, has appointed Laufey Gudjonsdottir as its new managing director. .The appointment of Gudjonsdottir, a former buyer from the Icelandic national broadcaster, has meant that the former managing director of the Film Fund, Thorfinnur Omarsson, has been forced to step down. The future of the rest of the Foundation's staff is still uncertain. The Foundation changed its name on Jan 1, a date which was also meant to
  • IFP/New York acts again as US rep for Quinzaine

    For the 13th year, IFP/New York will serve as theofficial US representative for the Directors' Fortnight (Quinzaine desRealisateurs) which in previous years has provided a Cannes showcase for suchAmerican films as Lisa Cholodenko's Laurel Canyon, Allen & Albert Hughes' Menace II Society, Tamara Jenkins' The Slums Of BeverlyHills, Spike Lee's Summer Of Sam and Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides.However, all
  • Imageworks sells UK, New Zealand on Heaven

    Just prior to the AFM, Imageworks International closed a UK P&A and distribution deal with Film Financial Services and a New Zealand theatrical deal with Roadshow Film Distributors on The Other Side Of Heaven, the family film which Walt Disney Home Entertainment will release in North America on April 1.Shot on location in the Cook Islands and New Zealand, the film stars Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries) and Christopher Gorham in the story of a farm kid from Idaho who s
  • IMAX signs with Regal for two more US IMAX systems

    IMAX Corporation announced today (Feb 24) that it has signed adeal with Regal Entertainment Group to install two additional IMAX(R) theatresystems, increasing the number of IMAX theatres operated by Regal to 14 - morethan any other third party operator in the world. The two theatres will belocated in Boi
  • Israel's Broken Wings takes flight at AFM

    UK-basedsales agent Pathe International has sold Nir Bergman's darkly comic Israelidrama Broken Wingsto Optimum Releasing for the UK, Diaphana for France and to Cine Video Y TV forMexico in deals finalised at the American Film Market.On the backof the film's outing in Berlin, where it went to Sony Pictures Classics forNorth America, Pathe has also closed deals with A Film for the Benelux,Switzerland's Prooptiki and Argentina's Ringford.BrokenWings, which wassubmitt
  • Italian drama heads for box-office glory

    Italian director Gabriele Muccino's new film, Remember Me (Ricordati di Me), has grossed a massive $6.8m since its release on February 14th - placing it well on the path to local blockbuster glory. The bitter-sweet drama stars Son's Room actress Laura Morante, Fabrizio Bentivoglio (Teeth), emerging actress Nicoletta Romanov and Muccino's younger brother Silvio as a middle-class family each of whose members dream of fame and riches. Playing on a huge 450 scre
  • Italy mourns the King of Commedia

    Legendary Italian actor Alberto Sordi, a figurehead of the Commedia all'Italiana, has died in Rome at the age of 82.With his instantly recognisable thick Roman accent and deep voice, Sordi began his 60-year acting career at the age of 16.He was a symbol of national pride for several generations of Italians, who identified with his screen portrayals of the "quintessential Italian" complete with sharp comic edge and endearing foibles.Among Sordi's most famous credits are F
  • Italy tests product placement as film financing alternative

    Rome's Blue Star Movie has sealed a landmark multi-million dollar product placement deal with Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, with the multinational agreeing to fund an international short film and potentially a European feature-length picture. Blue Star Movie head Pete Maggi said Johnson & Johnson is investing "over Euros 10m" to finance script development and casting for the project, a comedy named Stopping Power Girls. Casting will take place across Europe, in preparati
  • Japan pushes Lord Of The Rings to the brink of $500m outside the US

    In its first three days on release in Japan, The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers grossed $9.66m (Y1.13bn) from 800,000 admissions. This represents a 25% improvement over the opening of The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring.The success brings the second installment of Peter Jackson's fantasy trilogy to the cusp of a $500m international total. As of Sunday (Feb 23) The Two Towers had taken $498m internationally. In the US, the film has grossed more tha
  • Japanese director set for Grudge re-match

    Japanesedirector Takashi Shimizu is to remake his horrorflick The Grudge (Ju-On) for GhostHouse Pictures, the newly hatched genre label formed by Sam Raimi, Rob Tappertand Senator International. TakaIchise, who produced Ringu (successfully remade by Dreamworks SKG as The Ring) and Ju-On, will produce for Ghost House. The pictureis being fast tracked by Ghost House and will shoot immediately after Boogeyman. The filmcentres on a murderous
  • Kamchatka sells to Italy, Denmark, Switzerland

    Kamchatka, the critically acclaimed Argentinian film which played in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, has been sold to Mikado Film in Italy, Gloria Film in Denmark, Ascot Elite in Switzerland, United King in Israel and LNK in Portugal by international sales agent Neil Friedman of Menemsha Entertainment. The film, directed by Marcelo Pineyro, stars Cecilia Roth and Ricardo Darin as a couple hiding out from the authorities with their two children after the military coup of
  • Kaye Cooper-Mead named president of IS FIlm Distribution

    Kaye Cooper-Mead has been named president of IS Film Distribution,the international sales and marketing joint venture launched recently byIntermedia and Summit Entertainment. Cooper-Mead will supervise day-to-daymanagement of contracts as well as the delivery, marketing and theatricaladministration divis
  • Keitel political thriller sells to Brazil, Portugal

    The Galindez Mystery, a political thriller starring Harvey Keitel and Saffron Burrows, has been bought by Mandra Film for Brazil and Madragoa Filmes for Portugal. The film is handled by Slav International, the new sales outfit founded in January by former TF1 International executive Max Saidel. It is an adaptation of a best-seller by M Vasquez Montalban in which an academic uncovers an old political crime, which still has present day ramifications. Directed by Spanish pro
  • Kelley Nichols takes new Latin America distribution job at Warner Bros

    KelleyNichols has been named vice president, distribution & marketing, LatinAmerica, at Warner Bros Pictures. The postion is newly created by the studio"due to the increasing complexities and importance of the Latin Americantheatrical marketplace."
  • Kim Ballard joins UK's Random Harvest

    Former FilmFour finance director Kim Ballard has joined UK tax-driven financier and producer Random Harvest as director of production finance. Ballard will oversee raising finance to complement Random Harvest's existing tax-based funds under the UK's Section 48 and EIS mechanisms. Random Harvest is adapting Phil Stoole's acclaimed short Schneider's 2nd Stage as a feature, which Stoole will direct. Kenneth Branagh is in talks to reprise his role in the psychological thrill
  • Kim Basinger boards John Irving adaptation

    Kim Basinger, last seen as Eminem's mother in Curtis Hanson's 8 Mile, has joined Jeff Bridges in the cast of Door In The Floor, Focus Features' film adaptation of John Irving's A Widow For One Year. Tod Williams (The Adventures Of Sebastian Cole) has adapted the novel for the screen and will direct the movie which is being produced by Ted Hope's This Is That and Michael Corrente's Revere and sold by Focus International.
  • Korean horror scares up French sale

    Cineclick Asia secured a "low six figures" pre-sale of Korean horror flick A Tale Of Two Sisters to France's Wild Side Films. The film, based on a traditional Korean folk tale is a chamber piece involving an interfering ghost, a cruel stepmother and two sisters with very different characters. The story has been told five times previously on film, but has been substantially modernised and given a lush production design by director Kim Jee-woon, director of the cult classic The
  • Korea's Jail Breakers given new Dimension

    Miramax Films has agreed a "mid six-figure" sum to buy remake rights to Korean comedy Jail Breakers. The comedy about two felons who break out of jail only days before discovering that they were to be pardoned, Jail Breakers was a hit that notched 550,000 on its first three days on Korean release. The deal was secured by sales company Cinema Service after strong interest from several US studios and independents. Miramax appears to have been favoured after quickly s
  • Korea's most expensive live-action film begins shooting

    Leading production house Kang JeGyu Films has just got underway on the largest ever live-action film - and possibly the country's most topical given current global tensions - ever made in Korea. Tae Guk Gi - which translates literally as "Korean national flag" - is a $11.5m about the Korean war, which ended 50 years ago in 1953. There has not been a major war-themed feature film made in Korea for the last thirty years. Tae Guk Gi is being directed by company founde
  • Krentzman leaves CAA, forms new movie financier

    Adam Krentzman, one of the most well-known Hollywood agents in international packaging and financing, is leaving CAA after 17 years to set up a new film financing entity which already has five producing deals in the bag. Although Krentzman wouldn't be drawn on the name or financial structure of the new company, he said that he and his partners had already secured equity financing, studio involvement and international output deals and were already looking at projects to finance. "Now that Poly
  • Lagaan director signs Shahrukh Khan for next feature

    Ashutosh Gowarikar, director of India's Oscar nominated cricket epic Lagaan, is lining up a new $6m film starring Shahrukh Khan.Called Swades, the film will be funded by Mumbai's UTV Motion Pictures and produced through Ashutosh Gowarikar Productions. Billed as a patriotic film set in contemporary times, it is being targeted both at the local Indian market and at the international market.UTV chairman Ronnie Screwvala told that he expected 30%
  • Lightning gets rights on The Job

    Lightning Entertainment has picked up international sales rights on The Job, a recently wrapped crime thriller produced by Dan Levin and Marc Levin's Platform Entertainment. Directed by Kenny Golde, the film stars Daryl Hannah as a cold-blooded contract killer who becomes pregnant and struggles with the choice of whether to keep the baby or go through with one last job. Dominique Swain and Brad Renfro co-star as the young couple she is hired to murder, with Eric Mabius as
  • Lions Gate goes trucking with Monsterman

    Lions Gate has pre-bought all domestic rights to Michael Davis' Monsterman, an upcoming road picture that centres on a pair of college friends en route to a wedding who realise they are being pursued by a monster in a truck. The project, which is currently in pre-production, will star Eric Jungmann (Not Another Teen Movie, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind). Davis' directing credits include the romantic comedies 100 Girls and 100 Women. "After the release of
  • Lions Gate hip hops with urban sales push

    Lions Gate International has launched a sales initiative of the urban movies that its parent company produces in an effort to capitalise on the worldwide popularity of hip-hop and US black culture. The company scored sales success with Dr Dre/Snoop Dogg vehicle The Wash, which grossed over $10m in the US through Lions Gate Films, selling to Metrodome in the UK among others, and is at AFM pushing State Property starring Jay-Z, Civil Brand which played at the Sundanc
  • Malaga fest lines up Aragon and Arias tributes

    The sixth annual Spanish Film Festival of Malaga (April 25-May 3) will include tributes to director Manuel Gutierrez Aragon and actor Imanol Arias.Malaga will also present a posthumous homage to Juan Antonio Bardem, director of 1950's classics like Death Of A Cyclist (Muerte De Un Ciclista) and Main Street (Calle Mayor) and co-scripter of Bienvenido Mr Marshall.Among Gutierrez Aragon's lengthy filmography as director are titles such as the recent Don Quix
  • Man Of The Year attracts US buyers

    Brazilian international sales company Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV is fielding at least three offers from US buyers to Jose Henrique Fonseca's The Man Of The Year (O Homem Do Ano), which made the official selection in Berlin last month. The story of how a regular guy turns into a hired gun and hero in his hometown played to rave reviews in Berlin. Meanwhile, Grupo Novo has launched a restored and remastered DVD package of five titles by Cinema Novo director Glauber Rocha. Am
  • MDP to fully finance Spacey's Bobby Darin biopic

    Kevin Spacey is going back behind the camera to direct the story of Bobby Darin, the legendary crooner who died tragically of a rheumatic heart in 1973. Spacey will also star as Darin in the film which is being fully financed by MDP Worldwide, Mark Damon's sales and financing outfit which also backed The United States Of Leland, produced by Spacey's Trigger Street Productions in which he also had a supporting role.Spacey made his directorial debut in 1996 with Albino Alligato
  • Mexican film industry stands up to MPAA

    The Mexican film industry has responded angrily to news that MPAA chief Jack Valenti wrote to Mexico's President Vicente Fox warning that the one peso levy on admissions may jeopardise Hollywood's investments in local cinema ( Feb10).An open letter to President Fox, signed by producers, directors, actors and other film professionals and led by producer Jorge Sanchez and actress Maria Rojo, urged Fox not to give in to Valenti's 'threats.'They reminded him that H
  • Modern classics for sale at UK's 3DD

    UK distributor 3DD Entertainment is offering its newly acquired library of modern classics for sale at the AFM, including rarely seen film versions of Peter Hall's adaptation of the Harold Pinter play The Homecoming and Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters directed by Lawrence Olivier. 3DD acquired all worldwide media rights (excluding US theatrical and home video rights) to the library of 14 digitally re-mastered titles in a partnership with US-based Lorber Media in Oct 2002. 3
  • More Canadian tax bacon for producers

    Hot on the heels of a hike in the federal production labour-based tax credit, the Canadian province of British Columbia has sweetened its own tax credit lure. The British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC), which offers an 11% rebate on eligible labour costs in the province, will now include a digital animation or visual effects tax credit, wherein producers can claim 15% of labour costs incurred in producing digital images for film and television productions. In add
  • More spanking sales business for Secretary

    Lions Gate Internationalhas closed two of last unsold territories on Steven Shainberg'ssado-masochistic relationship drama Secretary, selling the Sundance prize-winning film to ArsenalFilmverleih in Germany and Manga Films in Spain.StarringJames Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal, in the role that earned her a Golden Globenomination this year for best actress in a comedy or musical, Secretary had already been sold to animpressive roster of territorial distrib
  • Movies phone home in Germany

    Having been one of the most depressed places around, German TV is set for a rebound thanks to last week's takeover of Premiere and the arrival of Deutsche Telekom as a video-on-demand (VoD) broadcaster. Represented by former Kirch executive, Daniel Otto, Telekom's on-line subsidiary T-Online is at the AFM as a buyer. He is seeking to sign up a mixture of studio-level and indie films for its VoD service, which launches officially in the third quarter of this year with a mixture of film,
  • Mukta Arts plans $18m Indian film school

    Mumbai-based film Production Company Mukta Arts is launching a film school named Whistling Woods International. "Today most of us in the industry are products of individual and instinctive talent without much professional training," Mukta Arts' Subhash Ghai told Screendaily. "We want to change that. If the Hindi film industry needs to achieve pre-eminence and be able to address a global audience, it needs to have greater professionalism." The Mumbai-based institute will open its
  • National Security

    Dir: Dennis Dugan. US. 2002. 90mins. The interracial cop comedy has not looked too healthy of late, but National Security suggests there may still be life in the genre. Well designed for its star and executive producer Martin Lawrence, the reliably funny, action-spiked buddy caper has taken $35m after four weeks, after it opened to $16.8m on 2,729 screens, delivering fair returns for distributor Columbia and producers Outlaw and Intermedia, for who the project kicks of
  • New proposal to stem the flow of German tax money to Hollywood

    Ahead of next week's 'Alliance for Film' industry gathering in Cologne, producer-director and fund initiator Uwe Boll has added his voice to the debate about German media funds by proposing the adoption of the Canadian tax credit points system for the tax assessment of German funds.As Boll pointed out, "in Canada, films are recognised as domestic productions if defined, important key positions are occupied by Canadians. For German media funds this would mean that they would be recognis
  • Off The Map

    Dir: Campbell Scott. US. 2003. 108mins.World premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month, Off The Map feels like a magical realist novel: it is sweet, languorous and full of small, poignant pleasures. But Off The Map does not quite make it as a film. Whereas it might have worked as a leisurely read, it plays too long and whimsical on celluloid and ultimately makes too few concessions to contemporary movie-going conventions to break out beyond the festival
  • Palm teams with Jonze, Gondry and Cunningham for DVD specials

    Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures is teaming up with acclaimeddirectors Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and Chris Cunningham on a series of DVDsfeaturing a collection of music videos, shorts and commercials hand-picked bythe film-makers, along with storyboards, alternate versions and unseen shortfilms. Releases
  • Pearl & Dean launch charity initiative for 50th anniversary

    UK cinema advertising company Pearl & Dean, has announced a new charity initiative to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.In association with Warner Village and UGC Cinemas, actor Ewan McGregor and singer Sharleen Spiteri, the company will be spearheading campaigns for both the Children's Hospice Association Of Scotland (CHAS) and Medicinema.The campaign will be led with two commercials produced specially for each charity that Pearl & Dean will run from next Friday (Feb 28) in their
  • Pianist waltzes off with Cesar sweep

    Roman Polanski's Palme d'Or winner, The Pianist, swept the 28th Cesar Awards in Paris Saturday night. In the major categories the film took Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in what ended up to be a trouncing of odds-on favorite 8 Women. Francois Ozon's musical murder mystery had been heavily touted to walk away with several prizes out of its 13 nominations - the most for any film this year - but in the end it was The Pianist: 7, 8 Women: 0.
  • Polanski's The Pianist triumphs at the BAFTAs

    Roman Polanski's The Pianist completed a dazzling weekend last night, winning the best film and director trophies at the British Film Academy Awards in London. On Saturday night in Paris, the film swept the Cesar awards taking best film, director and actor prizes. Brody, who won the Cesar but lost the BAFTA to Daniel Day-Lewis, accepted the award on Polanski's behalf.Day-Lewis won the BAFTA for Gangs Of New York, the sole award of the evening for the Martin Scorsese-direc
  • Producers team for Nettelbeck's Helen

    Sandra Nettelbeck's next feature Helen is to be produced by MTM Medien & Television Muenchen's Andreas Bareiss and co-produced with Pandora Film's Karl Baumgartner, who produced her international hit Mostly Martha.Helen, which will be shot in English, centres on a law professor fighting to save her life and her family and is also, according to the makers, "a portrayal of a marriage and a tale of friendship, one of courage, devotion, and the triumph of the heart ove
  • Revolution teams with Universal, BVI in Japan

    Joe Roth's Revolution Studios has sealed two separate studio deals for distribution of its 2003 slate in Japan. Universal Pictures has taken theatrical and TV rights to six films kicking off with Jennifer Lopez hit Maid In Manhattan, while Buena Vista International (BVI) has taken three films kicking off with Tears Of The Sun starring Bruce Willis. Revolution's worldwide partner Sony Pictures Entertainment will handle home video and DVD rights in Japan.The new deals follo
  • Sarajevo film festival launches Balkan script development project

    The Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) has attracted support from Rotterdam International Film Festival's Hubert Bals Fund and the Dutch foundation HIVOS for a "Regional Script Development Project" which aims to support film production in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia. SFF director Mirsad Purivatra announced that the new venture will be launched in Sarajevo and at film festivals in Zagreb and Belgrade.The project, which is being co-ordinated by Zoran Mlinarevic at SFF, is calling for scr
  • Screen Gems buys domestic rights to Senator's Boogeyman

    After a fierce bidding war, Senator International announced has announced that Sony's Screen Gems has acquired North American rights to Boogeyman, the first film produced by Ghost House Pictures, the genre label set up by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Senator. Senator International president Joe Drake made the deal with Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper and senior vice president of business affairs Gary Hirsch."We have great regard for the team at Screen Gems and, given their pr
  • Seafood director cooks up second feature with Century Hero

    The second feature from award winning Chinese director Zhu Wen - South Of The Clouds - is scheduled to start shooting in Tianjin in northern China next week, with backing from state-owned studio Century Hero Film Investment. The US$363,000 (RMB3m) film, also scripted by Zhu, tells the story of a retired factory cadre who, against the wishes of his children, takes off for one last adventure in Yunnan province - a place he nearly moved to when he was young. Li Xue Jian, whose cre
  • Senator boards Bridge Of San Luis Rey with De Niro

    Senator International has acquired worldwide sales rights excluding France and Spain for The Bridge Of San Luis Rey, an epic new adaptation of Thornton Wilder's 1927 novel which will star an impressive ensemble led by Robert De Niro, Kathy Bates, Gabriel Byrne and Harvey Keitel. Mary McGuckian, the Irish director of This Is The Sea and Best, has written the screenplay and will direct. Producers are Samuel Hadida of Davis Film, whose distribution company Metropolita
  • Spanish gov't plans to monitor TV investment in film

    The Spanish government has said its plans to clarify and regulate television investment in local films more strictly in the future.The move could help appease the film sector, which last week released a seven-page statement detailing a series of measures urgently needed to boost the Spanish film sector, including stricter regulation of the 2001 law obliging broadcasters to invest 3% of their annual income in Spanish product. The Spanish Producer's Association FAPAE sees the move as a p
  • Stars line up to deliver Eulogy for Myriad

    Jesse Bradford, Zooey Deschanel, Glenne Headly and Kelly Preston have joined Myriad Pictures' star-studded comedy Eulogy. The four join Hank Azaria, Ray Romano, Rip Torn and Debra Winger, who have already committed to the project, with principal photography due to begin in Los Angeles on Saturday (Feb 22). Artisan Entertainment will handle US distribution and Myriad will offer the project to international buyers at AFM.Billed by Myriad president Kirk D'Amico, as a 'heartwarming
  • Steven Paul launches genre division Renegade

    Steven Paul's Crystal Sky has established a new genre division Renegade Worldwide which kicks off at AFM with Jon Voight-starrer Deadly Course and 3:44, a movie set against the underground music scene with Carrie Ann Moss in the lead role. Run by Paul and Patrick Ewald, Renegade Worldwide is also handling The Secret War which is produced by Showtime Networks and two erotic features from Zalman King - Chromium Blue, set on the high seas, and The Eternal, set
  • Susan Sarandon to star for Andrew Stevens' Powerhouse

    Susan Sarandon is in final talks to star in the drama A Whale In Montana for Powerhouse Entertainment, the multimedia outfit headed up by Franchise Pictures co-founder Andrew Stevens that is making its AFM debut this year.Whale In Montana centres on a widowed, small town doctor whose life is transformed by the appearance of a mysterious stranger. The project will be directed by George Hickenlooper, whose credits include The Man From Elysian Fields. Stevens will pro
  • The Principles Of Lust

    Dir: Penny Woolcock. UK. 2003. 105mins.A dark moral tale with a steely eye for life's nastier side, The Principles Of Lust is a compelling and discomforting narrative with intellectual ambitions only too rare in UK cinema. Its visual rawness, distinctly European feel and provocative subject matter will no doubt make it more a talking point than a box-office draw at home. However, Penny Woolcock's drama, set in the northern English city of Sheffield, should have a s
  • The Ring packs them in across Europe

    Horror remake The Ring enjoyed a host of powerful openings across Europe last weekend grossing over $14m from the 21 international territories currently playing it.Launching in seven new territories The Ring took top chart positions in the UK, Iceland and the Netherlands. It also scored the highest screen averages of the week in Italy, Norway and Sweden despite missing pole position in those territories.A remake of 1998 Japanese title Ringu, directed by Hide
  • The Ring remake lords it over the UK box office

    The UK/Ireland box office chart saw a new champion over the weekend as UIP's The Ring made a strong debut with $3.5m (£2.2m) from 396 sites - including previews of $478,046 (£300,213) from 311 locations.The horror title, the only new entry to make the top 15 this weekend, showed by far the best site average of the week with $8,847. The UK was just one of several territories where the film, a remake of Japanese film Ringu, triumphed (see separate story).Knocked down
  • Theron, Townsend put heads in Duigan's Clouds

    Reallife couple Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend have joined Penelope Cruz andThomas Kretschmann in the cast of John Duigan's next film Head In The Clouds which Gary Hamilton'sArclight Films is representing for worldwide sales. NataliePortman was originally attached to star in the lead role with Cruz, but Theronhas taken her place. Setin 1930's England, the Spanish Civil War and the last days of theoccupation of Paris, the story follows a young Cambridge student (Towns
  • Toho takes over Virgin Cinemas Japan

    Major Japanese distributor and exhibitor Toho announced on Tuesday a deal with Virgin Cinemas Japan to acquire its chain of multiplex cinemas. The $83m (Y10bn) deal will take effect by the end of March.Launched in September 1997, Virgin Cinemas Japan now operates eight multiplexes with 81 screens in suburban areas, while Toho manages 284 screens nationwide. After acquiring Virgin theatres, Toho will become Japan's largest exhibitor with 365 screens, followed by Warner Mycal with
  • TVB sells majority stake in Galaxy to Intelsat

    Hong Kong broadcaster TVB has announced a deal to sell a 51% stake in its long-delayed pay-TV platform, Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting, to US satellite services provider, Intelsat. The deal clears the way for Galaxy to be launched in the third quarter of this year, presenting Hong Kong's dominant pay-TV operator, I-Cable Communications, with its first heavy-weight competition. Under the terms of its licence agreement, TVB was required to sell a 51% stake in Galaxy to ensure it do
  • UK buys into Boorman's Skull

    Icon Film Distribution has pre-bought John Boorman's South African-set drama Country Of My Skull for the UK, affirming the UK as one of the most active territories at the AFM. Icon picked up all UK rights from UK-based The Works, which is going into production next month with Samuel L Jackson and Juliette Binoche in the lead roles. Set against the backdrop of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the picture is being produced by Robert Chartoff, Mike Meda
  • UK co-production tax breaks face uncertain future

    It has been a gold rush to rival the Klondike, only this time many of the prospectors have been rushing the other way across the Atlantic. Since the UK introduced generous tax breaks in 1997, international co-productions have rocketed by some 400%. Canadian-UK co-productions mark the biggest single rise at 171%, although European co-productions have mushroomed by 543%.This year, however, the UK may lose its lustre. Aghast at the amount of co-productions spending only a minimal a
  • UK film industry focuses on training

    UK support body the Film Council and training body Skillset are to launch a major initiative to improve film skills and training in the UK, seen as key to improving the British film industry's worldwide standing.Stewart Till, deputy chairman of the Film Council and Skillset, and CEO/chairman of UIP, this week launched the first part of the strategy - a mapping report looking at skills across all sectors in the industry - along with Film Council chief John Woodward and Dinah Caine, head
  • UK's Feature Film Company strikes Sterling deal

    Having recently earned kudos by boarding Bloody Sunday and The Last Great Wilderness at production stage, the UK's Winchester Entertainment-owned distributor: Feature Film Company is stepping up activities. FFC, which operates as the specialised arm of Winchester's UK distribution division, has appointed Laurence Gornall as managing director and struck a first-look deal with production company Sterling Pictures. Headed by Michael Riley, Sterling is shooting Storm
  • UK's Moviehouse picks up Britpop documentary

    UK-based sales outfit Moviehouse Entertainment has picked up Live Forever, the Britpop music documentary produced by John Battsek, who won an Academy Award for best documentary for One Day In September.The film charts the rise and fall of the mid-1990s music scene in the UK against a changing political backdrop and the so-called 'Cool Britannia' branding of the country. Directed by newcomer John Dower, the film is being released by Helkon SK in the UK and screens at the A
  • US distributors seek legal block on Mexico's cinema levy

    In an exclusive interview with Screen International, Steve Solot, MPA senior vice president for Latin America (pictured) has commented about the recent uproar in Mexico over MPAA head Jack Valenti's recent letter to Mexican President Vicente Fox. ( 10 & 20). In his missive, Valenti warned President Fox that the new $0.10 tax levied on cinema admissions since January may discourage Hollywood from investing further in local cinema. Producers, actors, directors and o
  • US turns up the heat on Asian remakes

    Hollywood's fervour for remaking Asian genre titles is reaching fever pitch. Dimension Films has acquired North American and remake rights to Cinema Service's comedy-drama that has the working title Teacher Mr Kim. And separately, Cineclick Asia is finalising a deal with Los Angeles-based production and distribution group Mosaic Media for an English-language remake of Oasis The Mr Kim deal is believed to be the first of its kind for a Korean film whic
  • Warner acquires Small Voices for the Philippines

    Warner Bros Pictures hasacquired theatrical and home video rights in the Philippines to the Philippinefilm Mga Munting Tinig (SmallVoices), the country's submission for the foreign language film Academy Award and winner of the AudienceFavorite Award at the recent Palm Springs International Film Festival. Theannouncement was made today by Francis Soliven, general manager of Warner BrosPictures International Distribution (Philippines), and Rodolfo Confesor,managing director of War
  • Wellspring boards Dumont's latest as co-producer

    Wellspring Media has boarded Bruno Dumont's upcoming drama 29Palms as co-producer,with production due to wrap in time for a screening in Cannes this year. Thestory centres on a young pair of photographers who are scouting for locationsin the Joshua Tree National Park when their
  • Wright to direct, Dorff to star in CDI's Mule

    Geoffrey Wright has signed on to direct and Stephen Dorff to star in Mule, the $17m actioner about the drug trade in Los Angeles, which is being produced by Tony Ludwig and Alan Riche (The Family Man, Deep Blue Sea) represented here by Chris Davis International. Dorff will also act as co-producer on the film.Wright is the Australian director of now classic Romper Stomper which starred Russell Crowe and October Films' cult horror flick Cherry Falls which star