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25 February 2008

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  • AFI Dallas festival adds two cash & services awards

    The AFI Dallas International Film Festival will bestow two new awards at its upcoming event, which runs from Mar 27-Apr 6.The Best Texas Film and Best Environmental Film will be sponsored by MPS Studios and Current Energy, respectively, in addition to the existing $25,000 Target Filmmaker Awards for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary and the $10,000 HDNet Award.The MPS Studios Texas Filmmaker Award will award $8,000 in cash and $12,000 in goods and services this
  • After Bruges'Profile of Martin McDonagh

    In Bruges, which opened the Sundance Film Festival last month and opened in the US earlier this month, marks a longed-for arrival in the world of feature-length cinema for the celebrated London-based Irish playwright Martin McDonagh.'I loved movies from a very early age, about 13 or 14 onwards, so in some ways this is like a dream that I never thought would ever be fulfilled or come to fruition.Storytelling through books and movies was always my first love and I fell in
  • Alfred Molina, Orlando Bloom, Sally Hawkins join cast of An Education

    Alfred Molina, Orlando Bloom and Silver Bear-winner Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) will join the cast of An Education, shooting in London in March and April. Award-winning Danish director Lone Scherfig (Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself, Italian For Beginners) will direct the film. Nick Hornby adapted the screenplay from the memoir
  • Bavaria Film International unveils more Berlin sales

    Bavaria Film International (BFI) has announced additional deals on competition film and other titles at this year's Berlinale.All rights to Doris Doerrie's Cherry Blossoms have been picked up by Jour 2 Fete for France, Wanda Vision for Spain, Fidalgo for Norway, and Alfa Films for Argentina. These are in addition to previously reported sales to Benelux (Cinemien), South Korea (JinJin Pictures), Taiwan (Swallow Wings), Colombia (Cine Colombia),
  • Before The Fall (3 Dias)

    Dir: Francisco Javier Gutierrez. Spain 2008. 93 mins.The buzz surrounding this Spanish sci-fi thriller at Berlin was fuelled by both the co-production involvement of Antonio Banderas and the news that Euro genre giant Filmax had picked up international rights. It's difficult to see what all the fuss is about: for all its MTV-like, desaturated attitude, Francisco Javier Gutierrez's directorial debut is a surprisingly flat, under-scripted oddity that never makes up its min
  • Ben Ammar promises to preserve French 'cinematic heritage'

    Quinta Communications boss Tarak Ben Ammar has moved to reassure the French industry that he recognises a 'cultural responsibility' in his takeover of the country's post-production sector.In December, Ben Ammar bought a 57% stake in post-production group Eclair, cementing his position as the owner of all of France's film labs.Industry groups the SRF, the SACD and ARP- representing directors, writersand producers -have expressed concern that Eclair would be broken up and called f

    Four Oscar veterans and one newcomer join a best actor race which sees a Brit playing American, an American playing British and an American playing Russian, not forgetting two Americans playing old-fashioned AmericanGEORGE CLOONEY, Michael Clayton Clooney gives probably his most accomplished performance to date as the amoral fixer for one of New York's biggest law firms. Like Clooney, Clayton is charming, but the actor imbues the character with dark edges, self-

    Laura Linney is the only American in the best actress category this year, which also numbers the legendary Julie Christie, dazzling French star Marion Cotillard and 20-year-old newcomer Ellen PageCATE BLANCHETT Elizabeth: The Golden AgeShekhar Kapur's movie may have been one of the most over-directed souffles of the year, but Blanchett walked away unscathed with more glowing reviews for playing Queen Elizabeth I. As decisive and imperious as she is in her public

    PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON There Will Be Blood Anderson is the first to admit his adaptation of the 1927 novel Oil! is loose - he invented many of the situations in the film using the first 100 pages of the book as the inspiration. The result is a highly original adapted screenplay.WHAT SCREEN SAID 'This vivid, sprawling parable about greed and moral corrosion will ride to the box office largely on Daniel Day Lewis' volcanic performance.' David D'ArcyET

    The five film-makers nominated for the best director Oscar this year are among the most visionary and risk-taking in North America today.PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON There Will Be Blood Anderson roars back to the screen and could land his first directing Oscar nomination (he has two writing nods to his name) for his wildly ambitious and inventive adaptation of parts of Upton Sinclair's novel Oil! From the opening, wordless section of one-man diamond mining to the volcani

    Hollywood writers may be involved in an acrimonious strike that could result in the collapse of this year's Academy Awards, but 10 of their number have still been shortlisted for this year's two screenplay Oscars.BRAD BIRD RatatouilleBird took over Ratatouille at a relatively late stage and came up with perhaps the most sophisticated and unconventional animated screenplay to date. Toy Story, Shrek and The Incredibles were all nominated for screenplay Oscars, and

    This year's best picture nominees include work from some of Hollywood's biggest names - Scott Rudin, the Coens, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Paul Thomas Anderson - as well as relative newcomers such as Jason Reitman, Tony Gilroy and Joe WrightATONEMENT Focus Features, Universal Pictures International Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, producers Focus Features left their best until last this year, opening Joe Wright's heartbreaking period drama i

    CASEY AFFLECK The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert FordAffleck was the bright new star of 2007, thanks to his breakout performance as Robert Ford; the actor anchors the film, starting off as James' biggest fan, ending as his killer.WHAT SCREEN SAID 'Ravishingly shot in an autumn-to-winter palette and featuring a mesmerising central performance from Casey Affleck, solidly supported by Brad Pitt, this is a mature, meticulous work. Pitt is good, Aff

    CATE BLANCHETT I'm Not There One of the most respected actresses in Hollywood, Blanchett could be this year's shoo-in for the supporting category with her gender-bending turn as rock star Jude Quinn (aka Bob Dylan) in I'm Not There. Blanchett doesn't try too hard to affect a male impersonation, resulting in one of her wittiest performances yet.WHAT SCREEN SAID 'Most compelling of all Haynes' Dylans, Cate Blanchett plays a former folk singer pilloried by med
  • Beta Cinema announces deals on Heart Of Fire, presales

    Beta Cinema has concluded deals for Luigi Falorni's Berlinale competition film Heart Of Fire for France (Ocean Film), Italy (BIM Distribuzione) and Greece (Seven Films) and is currently 'in final negotiations' with distributors on the title for North America, the UK and Japan.According to Andreas Rothbauer, Beta Cinema's head of theatrical sales and international theatrical acquisitions, Veit Helmer's Sundance World Cinema competition film Abs
  • Big Screen Entertainment Group teams with Five Star Picture

    Big Screen Entertainment Group (BSEG) has entered a joint venture with Florida production companies Five Star Pictures for the primary purpose of producing feature films in Florida.Over the coming weeks, BSEG and Five Star will be announcing specifics regarding their partnership, which includes over a dozen film projects, most with A-list writers, actors and directors.'This venture promises to catapult both Big Screen and Five Star to the forefront of independent filmmaki
  • Bulzoni returns to York Entertainment as president

    Steven Bulzoni is returning to Los Angeles-based DVD distributor York Entertainment and has been appointed president of domestic entertainment.Bulzoni will report directly to CEO Tanya York and oversee all functions of domestic operations including sales, licensing, marketing, acquisitions, and operations.He previously served as general manager from 1998-2004. York Entertainment releases 30-50 new titles each year.
  • Canada's Strategic Partners market to spotlight South America

    Filmmakers and financiers from Brazil, Argentina and Mexico will join international delegates at this year's Strategic Partners Co-Production market in Halifax, Nova Scotia (September 12-14).Run in conjunction with the Atlantic Film Festival, this three-day concentrated market has a strong core attendance from Canada, the US and the UK, as well as delegations from the spotlight countries, whose selection is based on industry growth, spiking business activity and consultation with reg
  • Chi McBride and Bow Wow join cast of Driving Lessons

    Chi McBride, Jermaine Williams and musician Bow Wow have joined Dermot Mulroney and Hope Davis on the cast of Driving Lessons, which is set to begin filming in Los Angeles in early March.Vivi Friedman will direct the story of an unhappily married couple who get a second chance after the woman loses her memory in an accident.The new arrivals include Max Thieriot, Brittany Robertson, Madeline Zima and John Patrick Amedori. Evan Ross
  • Christopher Hampton to speak at International Screenwriters' Festival

    Christopher Hampton, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Atonement, has been added to the high-profile line-up of speakers at this year's International Screenwriters' Festival, to be held July 1-3 in Cheltenham. Previously announced speakers include BBC Fiction controller Jane Tranter, Oscar winners Julian Fellowes, Guillermo Del Toro, Lucy Prebble, Deborah Moggach, Peter Kosminsky and Drama ITV director Laura Mackie. 'We have a
  • Chuang takes up distribution post at restructured Star

    Hong Kong-based regional broadcaster Star Group has folded its Fortune Star division back into its main TV programming production and distribution operation, and appointed Yvonne Chuang as vice president, programme syndication and distribution, effective March 10. Fortune Star's production team will report to David Searl, Star Group's senior vice president of production, while the syndication and distribution team will report to Chuang.Chuang, who is currently vice president, acqui
  • CineVegas celebrates 10th birthday with LA highlights series

    CineVegas Film Festival has curated CineVegas: 10 Years On The Edge, a series of individual festival highlights set to run in Los Angeles in April to mark the event's 10th anniversary.Programmed in association with Cinefamily, which runs the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles, the series will kick off on Apr 4 with Dennis Hopper's The Last Movie.Artistic director Trevor Groth and his team have also selected James Fotopoulos' distu
  • Countdown to Oscar: Screen Looks At The Nominees

    If this year's Oscar nominations are a gauge of contemporary cinema, today's film-makers are apparently preoccupied with the dark side of the human soul - whether it be the unadulterated evil of the assassin in No Country For Old Men or the rotten heart of the oil magnate in There Will Be Blood, the murderous corruption of corporate America in Michael Clayton or war's poisonous murder of love in Atonement.That's not to mention the power of revenge in Swee
  • Discovery, Magnolia walk tightrope together with Man On Wire doc

    Discovery Films and Magnolia Pictures have acquired North American theatrical and DVD rights to James Marsh's Sundance world documentary jury and audience winner Man On Wire.Magnolia Pictures plans a late summer theatrical release followed by DVD roll-out through Magnolia Home Entertainment.Man On Wire is based on French high-wire walker Philippe Petit's book
  • Drifting Flowers (Piao Lang Qing Chun)

    Dir: Zero Chou. Taiwan, 2007. 97 mins.Following on from last year's Spider Lilies and seemingly catering for the same market - gay festivals and specialised distribution - Zero Chou's episodic drama about unrequited love through childhood, adolescence and old age is another step in her 'Rainbow Colours' project about finding love in Taiwan.Less dreamy and featuring a more realistic (if poetic) narrative, the three episodes of Drifting Flowers
  • Early returns point to box-office recovery in Norway

    Norwegian cinemas have got off to a flying start in 2008, boosting ticket sales by 27.8% between Jan 1-Feb 21 compared to the same period in 2007, according to statistics published by Norwegian cinema association, Film & Kino.Local films drew 1.7m admissions in the whole of 2007. In the first seven weeks of 2008, however, local film have already registered 527,000 admissions.Nils Gaup's The Kautokeino Rebellion is this year's best
  • EU survey shows explosion in VoD

    Video on Demand (VoD) services in Europe rose by a staggering 82% in 2007. That is the finding of a new EU survey by the published by the European Audiovisual Observatory and the French Government's Media Development Department.By the end of 2007, a total of 258 VoD services were in operation across 24 European countries, compared to only 142 services in December 2006.The survey reveals that the huge upsurge is mainly due to an increase in the number of television channel
  • FDC grants funding to McDull WuDang, Claustrophobia

    Animation McDull WuDang and live-action feature Claustrophobia have become the first two film projects to be approved for funding by Hong Kong's recently-established Film Development Fund (FDF). Administered by the Hong Kong Film Development Council (FDC), the fund is designed to support small to medium-sized productions. McDull WuDang is budgeted at $1.54m (HK$12m), while Claustrophobia has a budget of $692,000 (HK$5.4m).Each project will receive 30%
  • Film Department taps Bickel as new international chief

    Steven Bickel has replaced Elizabeth Kim as president of international at Los Angeles-based The Film Department.Bickel starts work on Feb 25 and reports directly to CEO Mark Gill and president and COO Neil Sacker.It is understood that the departure of former Lionsgate executive Kim after barely six months in the job was amicable and resulted from divergent expectations.Bickel arrives from Aura Entertainment, a production and distribution partnership with Lexin
  • Films Distribution picks up Happy Ever Afters

    Films Distribution has acquired Happy Ever Afters by newcomer Stephen Burke. The film is the story of two wedding parties taking place in the same hotel at the same time and the collision of the two in what is being referred to as an Irish My Big Fat Greek Wedding with a hint of What's Up Doc'Sally Hawkins will star in the screwball Irish comedy with shooting set
  • Fine Cut seals slew of deals for The Chaser, Hansel And Gretel

    Seoul-based sales agent Suh Young-joo's newly launched Fine Cut has announced a raft of deals from the European Film Market (EFM). Na Hong-jin's action thriller The Chaser did sales to Haut et Court for France, Cineart for Benelux, Seven Group for Greece, and Golden Scene for Hong Kong.At its opening, the film racked up $4.8m this past weekend according to KOFIC, with local industry buzz tipping Na as the new hot director to watch.Fine Cut added that interest from Jap
  • Frozen River, La Zona, Ballast among New Directors/New Films

    The Film Society Of Lincoln Center and The Museum Of Modern Art have announced the line-up for the New Directors/New Films series to run in New York from Mar 26 to Apr 6.The 37th edition will present New York premieres of 26 features and six shorts and kicks off with Courtney Hunt's acclaimed immigrant drama Frozen River, which won the dramatic grand jury prize at Sundance and will be released in North America through Sony Pictures Classics.
  • Gail Egan, Elisabeth Murdoch named to UK Film Council board

    Elisabeth Murdoch, chairman and CEO of the Shine Group, and Gail Egan, producer and founder of Potboiler Productions, have joined the UK Film Council Board of Directors.'It's fantastic news that Elisabeth and Gail have agreed to join the UK Film Council board,' said UK Film Council chairman Stewart Till CBE. 'I know that Gail and Elisabeth will be a huge asset to the UK Film Council and I look forward to working with them as we build on the first seven years of work and face the sign
  • Graine, Cotillard, Amalric win top Cesars

    As widely predicted, Abdellatif Kechiche's La Graine Et Le Mulet had a healthy showing at Friday's Cesar Awards taking the Best Picture and Best Director trophies. The film also scored a best newcomer award for actress Hafsia Herzi.Oscar nominee Marion Cotillard was honored with the Best Actress prize for La Vie En Rose while Mathieu Amalric took the Best Actor award for his role in Julian Schnabel's
  • Grant Thornton promotes Brion, Page to partner

    UK-based accounting/financial services firm Grant Thornton has promoted Liz Brion and Nick Page to become partners in the firm's Media and Entertainment team.Brion joined GT in 2001 and is head of media tax.Page joined GT in 1996 and has been a specialist in the Media and Entertainment Team since 2004, working on audit and advisory services.Terry Back, Head of Media at Grant Thornton, says, 'I am delighted that Liz and Nick are joining the media partner team. Their promot
  • Greenaway co-producer backs Istvan Szabo project

    Veteran Hungarian director Istvan Szabo is to bring Magda Szabo's international bestseller The Door to the screen for Sandor Söth's Berlin/Leipzig-based Intuit Pictures and Jenö Habermann's Filmart in Budapest.Described by Söth to as 'a morally complex story about age, loyalty and betrayal' between two strong women, a famous writer and her ageless housekeeper, Szabo's novel won the Prix Femina Etranger in its Fre
  • Greenaway scouting Australia for science-fiction feature

    Legendary filmmaker Peter Greenaway will fly over Western Australia on Feb 23 scouting locations for a science-fiction feature film based on his most recent book The Historians Book 39: The Rise and Fall of Gestures Drama.'The book is really a history of cinema rewritten as fiction,' he told It is the first of 100 slim volumes that will together act as a compendium of history. Each will
  • HBO takes over US pay-TV rights to Taxi from Discovery

    HBO Documentary Films has acquired domestic pay television rights to Alex Gibney's Oscar nominated documentary Taxi To The Dark Side.The film will debut on HBO in September after HBO executives brokered a deal with Discovery Communications. THINKFilm holds theatrical rights.Taxi To The Dark Side investigates the homicide of an innocent taxi driver at the Bagram Ai
  • Hong Kong Filmart expecting 7% increase in exhibitors

    The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), which organises the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (Filmart), is expecting a 7% increase in the number of exhibitors at this year's event, to 480 from 30 countries and regions. The market, which aims to position Hong Kong as a vital trading hub for the Asian and international film and media industries, takes place March 17-20 as part of territory's expanding Entertainment Expo.This year the market will feature two new pavilio

    BUTTERFLY LOVERS(BIG Pictures [HK]) Int'l sales: Mei Ah Entertainment. Genre: Costumed martial arts romance. Synopsis: Based on the classic Chinese love story, Butterfly Lovers, the story follows a girl who dresses herself as a boy and falls for a boy at school. The boy is not aware of her real gender and they become lovers one day when the truth is exposed. Happiness, however, does not always last long. Dir: Jingle Ma (additional martial arts scenes designed and directed by Ching Siu
  • Hui's The Way We Are to have world premiere at HKIFF

    Ann Hui's The Way We Are and Vincent Chui's Love Is Elsewhere are among the local films making their world premiere at this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF). The fest, which runs March 17-April 6, will screen nearly 300 films from 46 countries.This year's Filmmaker In Focus is Eric Tsang who has contributed to the festival eight of his earlier works and three new films that he has executive produced - the Winds Of September trilogy - three d
  • Icon Film Distribution buys Australian arthouse brand Dendy

    Icon has acquired the 35 cinema screens in Australia and the distribution interests that underpin one of Australia's key arthouse film brands, Dendy.Becker Group Limited announced the sale today and said it was worth a 'cash consideration' of $19.4m (A$21m). The sale is expected to be completed by Mar 31. A competitive bid process was used and Becker managing director Warwick Syphers said Icon was selected based on various parameters including value, timing and transactio
  • In Focus - Cannes film festival - Palme Reading

    Official selection berths seem set for Ari Folman's animated documentary Waltz With Bashir from Israel; Wong Kar Wai's revision of his 1994 martial arts classic Ashes Of Time - Redux; and Courtney Hunt's Sundance prizewinner Frozen River.Also tipped from Sundance are Barry Levinson's What Just Happened' featuring Robert De Niro, Bruce Willis and Cannes jury president Sean Penn, and Marina Zenovich's acclaimed documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired
  • In Focus - Market beats festival to number one spot

    The Berlinale kicked off in fine style with Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones documentary Shine A Light, but the general consensus - at least for buyers - was that this year the festival line-up was upstaged by the market.The focus turned to the European Film Market (EFM) following a perceived lack of mainstream appeal in festival entries and the fact that a number of Competition titles had been viewed in advance or pre-sold, including Golden Bear winner The Elite Squad (T
  • In Focus - Postcard from Berlin

    Breakout filmsHappy-Go-LuckyAudiences were enchanted by Mike Leigh's story of a young schoolteacher navigating modern life (with memorable flamenco classes and driving instruction). Sally Hawkins was the source of the buzz, stepping up from minor roles in previous Leigh films to win the Silver Bear for best actress (review, p21).Hey Hey It's Esther BlueburgerBerlin's Generation section for children and teens boasted a slew of must-see films. They included The Black Bal
  • International - Jumper hops to top

    With Doug Liman's Jumper in at number one, India's Jodhaa Akbar was the highest non-US entry in this weekend's international top 40, generating $8.1m from 15 territories. The 16th-century love story, starring Aishwarya Rai, catapulted to number four in the chart and played on 1,105 screens for a $7,305 screen average. It grossed $713,866 from just 15 screens in the UK, putting it in the UK top 10 with a $15,519 screen average. The film also took $142,338 from 15 screens in Austr
  • Italian culture minister to run for mayor of Rome

    Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli has announced he will run for mayor of Rome, a position he has twice held in 1993 and 1997.Rutelli's announcement comes on the heels of the recent shake up in the Italian government, which saw Prime Minister Roman Prodi resign after 20 months in office: he lost a risky confidence vote that obliged him to step down.Rutelli acted as Italy's Culture Minister under the Prodi government, during which time he effectively stabilized the
  • Jodhaa Akbar scores biggest non-US opening in Screen chart

    India's Jodhaa Akbar was the highest non-US entry into this weekend's international top 40, generating $8.1m from 15 territories. The top 40 films generated $189.3m across 48,218 screens from the period of February 15-17.For the full international chart, compiled by Len Klady, go to global box office.The 16th century love story, starring Aishwarya Rai, catapulted to number four in the chart and played on 1,105 screens for a $7,305 screen average. It generated $713,866
  • Jumper remains internationalnumber one with $21.9m tally

    The sci-fi adventure Jumper maintained its number one status overseas thanks to a $21.9m estimated gross through Fox International from 4,040 screens in 40 markets that raised the tally to $61.2m.The film opened top in France on an excellent $5.1m from 586, second in Thailand on $1.3m from 170 and top in New Zealand on $517,952 from 70 in what was the industry's biggest February launch.There were other number one debuts in Sweden on
  • Juno wins three at Independent Spirit Awards

    Juno was named best feature at the 2008 Spirit Awards presented by non-profit group Film Independent at a ceremony on Santa Monica Beach on Saturday.Jason Reitman's smash hit comedy also won trophies for Ellen Page (best female lead) and Diablo Cody (best first screenplay).Director Reitman, however, was beaten to the directing Spirit Award by Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
  • Kabei, Demon to open Hong Kong InternationalFilm Festival

    The Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) has announced that Japanese director Yoji Yamada's Kabei - Our Mother and Soul Of A Demon, directed by Taiwan's Chang Tso-chi, will open the 32nd edition of the festival (March 17-April 6). Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones documentary Shine A Light and Coffee Or Tea, co-directed by veteran local filmmaker Shu Kei and his protege Kwan Man-hin, will close the event.Yamada and Kabei star As
  • Katyn

    Dir: Andrzej Wajda. Poland 2008. 122 mins.
  • King, Verbinski team on 'mould-breaking' animation

    Oscar-winning producer Graham King has teamed up with blockbuster filmmaker Gore Verbinski, fresh off his Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy, to develop an untitled animated feature that he will direct with a view to creating a new box office franchise.Both parties are eager to move ahead quickly on the big budget project and a domestic distribution deal is expected to be announced shortly.Oscar-nominated writer John Logan, with whom
  • La Rabia

    Dir/scr Albertina Carri. Argentina. 2008. 83 mins.
  • Liman's Jumper out-leaps Spiderwick over US holiday weekend

    Fox's sci-fi adventure Jumper starring Hayden Christensen as a globe trotting teleporter dominated the four-day Presidents' Day weekend thanks to a $31.7m estimated haul.The film has grossed $38.3m since it opened on Thursday and also stars Samuel L Jackson, Diane Lane and Jamie Bell. Doug Liman directed.Opening in second place was the dance Paramount's family saga The Spiderwick Chronicles st
  • London International Documentary Festival returns for second run

    A greatly expanded London International Documentary Festival is to return on Mar 29, after the success of its inaugural outing in 2007. Presenting over 50 films across the eight days of the festival programme, the LIDF will hold events and screenings at eight London venues, including the Barbican, the Curzon cinemas, and the British Museum.A screening of Joshua Dudgale's The Unwinking Gaze, a film which follows the Dalai Lama's att
  • Love of Siam bags top honours at Thailand's Oscars

    Love of Siam clinched three major prizes at the Thai Subhanahongsa Awards - billed as the nation's equivalent of the Ocars - including best picture, best director and best supporting actress. The gay drama about the friendship of two teenage boys is directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Chukiat Sakweerakul who was on hand to receive the awards along with producer Prachya Pinkaew.Muay Thai Chaiya, Kongkait Komesiri's solo directorial debut about the underground kick-boxi
  • Manuel Alduy named new head of cinema at Canal Plus

    Canal Plus has announced the departure of its head of cinema, Evi Fullenbach, and the appointment of Manuel Alduy as her replacement. In a press release, the company said Fullenbach was leaving for personal reasons but will continue to manage relationships between the US studios and Canal from her base in London.Until present, Alduy has acted as head of French film acquisitions for the Canal Plus group. He will now oversee both foreign and French acquisitions as well as managing the
  • Medb Films acquires rights to Tremain's Sacred Country

    Kent-based independent film company Medb Films has acquired the film rights to Rose Tremain's best selling-novel Sacred Country. The option has been funded with development funding from regional film agency Screen South. The film is set in the English countryside, London and Nashville, Tennessee. It tells the story of an English girl who believes she was meant to be a boy and spends her life trying to change her sex.Med
  • Mercuri rising: Profile ofNu Image/Millennium's Christian Mercuri

    It took Christian Mercuri a while to find his niche when he joined Nu Image/Millennium Films six years ago.But after working with company co-founder Avi Lerner on the Los Angeles independent's production side, 'I moved over and started doing sales with Danny (Dimbort, partner to Lerner and third company principal Trevor Short). And I found I really liked the international market, I liked the clients.'That fondness for the foreign side of the business is just as well, given Mercu
  • MK2 picks up Berlin doc With Gilbert & George

    France's MK2 has announced the acquisition of Julian Cole's documentary With Gilbert & George.The film ran in the Panorama Dokumente section of the recent Berlin Festival. MK2 has taken world rights.A moving portrait, the work traces the lives of award-winning artists Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore from their humble beginnings to the world's artistic stage.Cole, who modeled for Gilbert & George in 1985, spent the next 18 years filming the duo and following the
  • Motherland (La Terramadre)

    Dir: Nello La Marca. Italy. 2008. 120mins.Italian director Nello La Marca's first narrative feature Motherland (La terramadre) is a neorealist drama about economic disenfranchisement that explores the intertwined fates of two radically different people trying to survive in the dirt-poor southern Sicilian city of Palma di Montechiaro .La Marca has made several documentaries and his training shows here; his portrait of the city is the film's most dis
  • Mumbai film festival to open with Wajda's Katyn

    The 10th edition of the MAMI (Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image) film festival will open in Mumbai on March 6 with Polish master Andrzej Wajda's Oscar-nominated Katyn. Japanese director Naomi Kawase's The Mourning Forest, which won the Grand Jury Prize at last year's Cannes, will close the week-long event.Presented by Reliance Big Entertainment, the festival will screen 140 films from 45 countries in three theatres.Awards will be presented to Indian
  • New Berlin deals on James Marsh's Man On Wire

    The Works International has concluded four new distribution deals for James Marsh's documentary Man On Wire. Diaphana has acquired distribution rights for France, Madman has taken Australia and New Zealand, Cineart will distribute in Benelux, and Arsenal in Germany and Austria. A deal is close to completion for Spain. The news comes one day after The Works announced a North American deal with Discovery Films and Magnolia Pictures fo
  • New Line's Golden Compass to be released in China

    New Line Cinema's fantasy adventure The Golden Compass has passed censorship in China and will be released by the China Film Group and Hua Xia on 300-400 screens beginning on Mar 28.The film has already grossed more than $322 million worldwide since its Dec 7 release and is also scheduled to open in Japan on Mar 1. It is one of only a handful of American feature films that will be released in China this year. Only 14 American featu
  • No Country For Old Men dominates Academy Awards

    Miramax and Paramount Vantage were the narrow winners at a largelyworkmanlike 80th Annual Academy Awards with No Country For Old Men claiming four Oscars for best film, directing and adapted screenplay for Joel and Ethan Coen and supporting actor for Javier Bardem.For winners in full, click hereThere Will Be Blood, which like No Country For Old Men was parented byMiramax and Paramount Vantage, won
  • NonStop seals EFM sales on Gnomes And Trolls

    Scandinavian-based NonStop Sales is continuing to cultivate deals on its animated features, Gnomes And Trolls I and Gnomes And Trolls II. Following the European Film Market in Berlin, the films have now gone to 14 territories.Further deals on both titles confirmed yesterday include Media Film (Slovenia + Croatia), P.C.V (Greece + Cyprus), and Flashstar/Five Stars Distribution (Brazil, Argentina, Chile,
  • North America - VoD vision becomes real

    Telecom giants, games companies and video retailers are re-energising the North American VoD market. John Hazelton reportsVoD programming has been available for close to a decade in the US. Until recently, however, the Hollywood studios, eager to protect the DVD market, have offered relatively few major movies to cable operators' VoD services. And those that were offered were only made available six weeks or more after DVD release.Now, with DVD growth slowing and the digital cab
  • Northern Ireland Screen announces $1.4m in funding for local films

    Northern Ireland Screen has announced almost $1.4m in funding for indigenous film production from home-grown talent through the Northern Ireland Screen Fund, supported by Invest NI. 'Last year the big Hollywood film [Walden Media's children's adventure City Of Ember] afforded a great deal of experience for many local cast and crew and brought over £9m [$17.7m] into Northern Ireland,' said Richard Williams, chief executive of Northern Ireland S
  • Orion Pictures unveils six-film production slate

    India's Orion Pictures has announced a six-film slate to be produced over the next 12 months. It includes the animation project Ab Dilli Door Nahi, about five jungle animals trying to meet Indian politicians in the capital city of New Delhi. Already in production, local actors such as Ayesha Takia, Akshaye Khanna and Boman Irani are lending their voices to the animation.Formed in 2005 with directors Mukesh Talreja and Nikhil Advani, Orion Pictures kicked off its endeavours w
  • Oscar favourite No Country opens in nine markets for PPI

    Fox International's sci-fi adventure Jumper will be the one to beat following its storming overseas launch last weekend. The film has reached $37.8m after approximately one week in release and will spring up in several territories this weekend including France on Feb 20.Also for Fox, Oscar nominated comedy Juno has amassed $29.4m to date and still has debuts to come in Germany, Japan and Italy. Romantic
  • Oscars winners 2008 in full

    Academy Awards 2008. Winners in bold (Click to see review)Best motion picture of the yearAtonement - Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, producersJuno - Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, producersMichael Clayton - Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, producers
  • Ozparliament tables legislation forunified film agency

    Australia's Federal Parliament today tabled legislation to establish a new single film agency, Screen Australia. It is expected to be debated in early March and then passed. Screen Australia will come into being July 1 andencompass the responsibilities of the investment agency Film Finance Corporation Australia, the Australian Film Commission (AFC) - which has a development focus, and documentary house Film Australia.The previous government announced it would establish Screen Austr
  • Palador, Zee Studio join forces to broadcast world cinema

    Mumbai-based Palador Pictures, which aims to promote world cinema in the Indian sub-continent, has tied up with 24-hour movie channel Zee Studio to showcase 26 films from its catalogue. Starting April 2008, the channel will dedicated a Sunday slot to sub-titled films from directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Francois Truffaut, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Jim Jarmusch.Last year Palador released box sets of films by Akira Kurosawa, Wong Kar Wai and a world cinema assorted box set. Individu
  • Pathe announces brisk sales on 16 titles at EFM

    Before the European Film Market, Pathe executive vice-president Francois Iverne predicted that the relatively few US titles at EFM this year, owing to the WGA strike, would be good news for Pathe. A just-announced raft of sales on 16 titles would appear to bear him out. Miguel Kohan's homage to tango which screened Panorama, Cafe De Los Maestros, sold to Kinowelt in Germany, Cineart for Benelux, Jin Jin Pictures in South Korea and Sterkinekor
  • Portico pacts with Vividas to bring streaming to Taiwan

    Taipei-based Portico Media has signed a deal with Vividas Group to become the exclusive agent of its internet video streaming technology in Taiwan. Portico also has a non-exclusive licensing deal for the Greater China region. While there are no content deals to announce at this stage, Portico believes that the technology will be attractive to local media companies wishing to offer pay-per-view (PPV) content to worldwide audiences.'Although there are several internet sites with PPV
  • Regan spearheads NatGeo's digital mapping business

    Charles Regan has been named vice president of digital mapping business at National Geographic Global Media (NGGM).Regan will be responsible for leveraging National Geographic's content, products and services across multiple platforms. He reports to NGGM's senior vice president of corporate strategy, development and extended platforms Paul Levine.Prior to joining NGGM Regan served 10 years at, where he was responsible for business development, creating strategic
  • Revolver strikes marketing deal with UK publisher Pan MacMillan

    UK distributor Revolver has struck a unique marketing deal with publisher Pan MacMillan.The companies will work together on film releases and book tie-ins.Revolver's forthcoming release My Brother Is An Only Child by Daniele Luchetti is based on Antonio Pennacchi's Il fasciocomunista. Each will be released (in cinemas and bookstores) on April 4.Revolver Entertainment head Justin Marciano said: 'This new partnership will allow us to call on Pan Macmillan'
  • Ruud Lamers to leave Warner Bros after 25 years

    Managing director of Warner Home Video Benelux Ruud Lamers will leave the company on Apr 30.Lamers joined Warner Home Video Benelux upon its inception in 1982 and since then has been involved in many developments such as retail sell-through, the launch of DVD and digital distribution.'The last quarter of a century was a fascinating period to be working for Warner Home Video,' Lamers said. 'As part of an ever-changing market segment, working in an environment of change has
  • Screen Opinion: The Red-Stained Carpet

    No matter which film walks home from Sunday's Oscar ceremony with the big prize, it will mark another victory for the US-centric studio apparatus otherwise known as Hollywood. Even at the more artistic fringes of the film-making spectrum, the big-six movie conglomerates still exert a gravitational pull on the marketplace that evidently sucks many of the most potent talents and scripts into their planetary distribution orbits.Consider all the best-picture nominees this year. Two of them
  • Shoreline bolsters sales slate with double acquisition

    Shoreline Entertainment has acquired worldwide rights to Marius Balchunas' drama The Elder Son starring Shane West, Leelee Sobieski and Rade Serbedzija and international rights to Dave McLaughlin's comedy On Broadway starring Eliza Dushku and featuring Will Arnet and Amy Poehler.The Elder Son tells the story of a Russian clarinetist living in Los Angeles whose li
  • Singapore fest launchesPanorama to showcase local cinema

    The Singapore International Film Festival is launching asection to highlight local cinema called Singapore Panorama.The fest'sSilver Screen Awards for Asian features will also include two competing films from the new sectionat its upcoming 21st edition (April 4-14.)'It's a platform to represent new works and an easy handle for everyone to look for new talent,' said festival director Philip Cheah, commenting on the Panorama. 'We planned the showcase thinking that we would at best on
  • Singapore's InnoForm Media acquires video distributor

    Singapore producer-distributor InnoForm Media has acquired leading home video distributor Alliance Entertainment as a wholly-owned subsidiary, in line with a strategy of extending its business portfolio. Established in 1999, Alliance Entertainment is a well-recognised brand not only in Singapore but also in South-East Asia with a catalogue of more than 3,800 titles. As the exclusive video licensee of Hollywood studio labels, it distributes for Warner Home Video, 20th Century Fox Home Ente
  • Sony Classics picks up I've Loved You So Long for US

    UGC International has sold Philippe Claudel's I've Loved You So Long... (Il Y A Longtemps Que Je T'Aime...) to Sony Classics for the US. The film, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Elsa Zylberstein, Serge Hazanavicius and Laurent Grevill, ran in competition in the recently-wrapped Berlin Film Festival where it earned strong reviews.A family melodrama, it marks Claudel's feature directing debut. Other princ
  • Summit completes casting on romantic vampire franchise

    Summit has completed casting on its upcoming romantic thriller Twilight with Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone, Nikki Reed, Ashley Greene and Kellan Lutz joining Kristen Stewart and Edward Cullen.Catherine Hardwicke is poised to commence filming later this month on Melissa Rosenberg's adaptation of the bestselling series of books by Stephenie Meyer.Stewart stars as a small town girl who unwittingly sparks supernatural war when she falls for a vampire, pl
  • Sweden - Taking the crown

    Jens Jonsson was on the other side of the world for his breakthrough moment. As his film The King Of Ping Pong was winning the Sundance 2008 World Cinema Jury Prize (as well as the World Cinema cinematography prize), he had already left Park City to show the film closer to home at the Gothenburg International Film Festival in Sweden. "I was in Gothenburg with the rest of the Swedish crowd wishing I was in Park City with the Hollywood crowd," Jonsson says, before erupting into a boister
  • Swinton, Murray, Bernal, Hurt join cast of Jarmusch's latest

    Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Hiam Abbass, Paz De La Huerta, Alex Descas, Youki Kudoh, Jean-Francois Stevenin and Luis Tosar have joined Jim Jarmusch's tentatively titled The Limits Of Control.Isaach De Bankole stars as a mysterious loner in the story, which began filming earlier this month in Madrid. Focus Features is co-financing with Entertainment Farm.'These acclaimed actors span an international sp
  • The Art Of Crying named Best Danish Film

    The Art Of Crying won two honours at the annual Bodil Awards last weekend in Copenhagen. Peter Schønau Fog's powerful drama won Best Danish Film and Jesper Asholt (Mifune) was named Best Actor for his mesmerizing performance of a father with incestuous tendencies. Fog had faced difficulty finding finance for the film and used the awards as an occasion to upbraid those financiers who chose not to su
  • The Bank Job

    Dir: Roger Donaldson. US/UK/Australia. 2008. 111 mins.The juicy combination of a Royal sex scandal, high-level corruption and the perfect crime provides The Bank Job with too many options for its own good. An entertaining recreation of true events from the 1970s, it veers between larkish, old-fashioned Italian Job-style caper, Scandal-like commentary on establishment hypocrisy and a more edgy, hardboiled thriller. The uneven tone of t
  • The International View - Summer's thirst for firsts

    I don't think we're ever going to see a summer like last year that was so reliant on sequels and remakes," suggests Fox distribution executive Chris Aronson. "And that's a good thing."It's not that the US film industry or those of France, Japan or India have slammed the door on commercial franchises. The summer is set to serve up the second chapter of the Narnia saga, a much delayed fourth instalment of Indiana Jones, new editions of Batman and The Mummy and
  • THINKFilm acquires Ellen Page drama

    THINKFilm has acquired all US rights from Corvid Pictures to Bruce McDonald's drama The Tracey Fragments starring Ellen Page.The national release will commence with a May 9 platform release in Manhattan on the heels of its premiere on March 14 as part of New York's Museum of Modern Art's Canadian Front series.Based on screenwriter Maureen Medved's novel of the same name, The Tracey Fragments
  • UK Film Council's P&A Fund announces $1m in awards

    The UK Film Council's Prints & Advertising Fund is backing U2 3D, the first-ever feature length live action film shot and exhibited in breakthrough digital 3D. Released on Feb 22 by Revolver Entertainment, the film documents the band U2's 2006 Buenos Aires concert in the Vertigo tour. The film is one of many titles to be backed by the fund, which seeks to support the release of specialized films and help increase viewing choices for UK a
  • UK government unveils 'action plan' for creative industries

    The UK government today unveiled an 'action plan' for the creative industries with the launch of a report entitled 'New Talents for the New Economy'.The headline measure features a plan to develop 5,000 apprenticeships across the creative industries sector by 2013, which has already attracted commitments from employers such as the BBC, ITV Granada, the Royal Opera House and Universal Music.The report also includes proposals for a World Creative Business Conference, an ind
  • UK industry leaders issue call for bold thinking

    The UK needs to be braver and more imaginative in its approach to fostering creative industries across the spectrum, including film, television and video games.That was the key message from industry leaders attending 'The UK's Creative Economy - Options for Strategy' seminar held at the Royal United Services Institute in London on Tuesday.The high level seminar featured speakers as diverse as Lord David Puttnam and Will Hutton and provided a forum to debate a host of majo
  • United Kingdom - Love is all around

    Mike Leigh has not named his new film Happy-Go-Lucky ironically. He readily says the Berlinale Competition title is "lighter" than 2004's devastating 1950s abortionist drama Vera Drake. "It's upbeat and funny and life affirming," the director says. Still, he says the project "does have some weight to it".Actress Sally Hawkins, who Leigh worked with on All Or Nothing and Vera Drake, sets the tone. "The conception of the film is mine but as usual I collaborate
  • Universal signs deal to produce movies based on Hasbro games

    Universal Pictures and Hasbro have formed a six-year strategic partnership to produce at least four motion pictures based on Hasbro brands, including Monopoly, Candy Land, Clue, Ouija, Battleship, Magic, The Gatherin and Stretch Armstrong.Under the terms of the deal, Hasbro will partner exclusively with Universal Pictures for feature films, with the exception of Transformers, which has already appeared, and GI J
  • UPI plans to march Elite Squad across Latin America

    Universal Pictures International (UPI) plans to release Jose Padilha's $5m Elite Squad in theatres throughout Latin America following the film's Golden Bear win at Berlin. 'We are presenting Elite Squad in main Latin American festivals to generate a media exposure for the film,' says Mauricio Durán, UPI VP for of marketing and distribution in Latin America. 'The Golden Bear confirms the pedigree of
  • Vantage Point

    Dir: Pete Travis. US. 2008. 90 mins.Although it's a thriller based around a familiar, Rashomon-style concept, Vantage Point ratchets up its intensity so effectively that the film's lack of originality hardly matters. The assassination of the US president is told through the perspective of different eyewitnesses, with each variation offering new clues as to the crime's perpetrators. The result is a crafty puzzle film elevated by its muscular performances and
  • Vantage Point shoots down US box office with $24m opening

    Sony's presidential assassination thriller Vantage Point featuring an ensemble headed by Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox led the board at the weekend as it launched on a $24m estimated gross.Fox's adventure Jumper slipped to second place on a distant $12.7m for $56.2m while Paramount's family saga The Spiderwick Chronicles ranked third on $43.6m after two weekends.
  • Video-on-demand - Europe - Patchwork picture is a brake on growth

    Europe's position in the VoD market is characterised by a distinctive set of issues that differentiate it from much of the rest of the world.One is the role of the telecoms companies, such as British Telecom, France Telecom, Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom. These were often the state monopolies that once ran the continent's telephone exchanges but which, after privatisation, have been looking at entertainment as a long-term replacement for their diminishing calls business.They g
  • Video-on-demand - Right here, right now

    In an increasingly on-demand world, video-on-demand (VoD) represents a growing opportunity for film distributors and producers. But grasping that opportunity will mean forging relationships with a new generation of rights buyers and structuring deals that produce significant new revenue without eroding income from established ancillary outlets, especially the vital DVD market.Territory snapshots: US
  • Video-on-demand - Territory snapshot: Eastern Europe - Doc Air fest makes waves

    The Czech Republic's Doc Air is the only online distributor in Central and Eastern Europe specialising in documentary features. Users can stream the video or download either DivX or DVD files to their computers. The service currently offers 150 titles and has 30-50 downloads a day at roughly $1.46 (EUR1) apiece.In Hungary, distributor Budapest Film launched a VoD platform in June 2007 called Filmklik which allows users to download films to their computers. Numbers for the service are m
  • Video-on-demand - Territory snapshot: Spain - Independent producers search for VoD play

    With the leading VoD portals in Spain such as Imagenio and Orange TV striking deals with the US studios to show all their major projects, the smaller Spanish indie films are being squeezed out. But now local producers and distributors are fighting back with their own internet VoD portals.One of the main instigators of this change is Egeda, Spain's producers' rights protection society, which has been digitising its members' productions, and now offers some 2,000 Spanish titles on its Fi
  • Video-on-demand - Territory snapshot: The UK - Indies fight to be seen in a new light

    UK film companies are waking up to the possibilities of releasing independent films through VoD services (both online and TV).Dogwoof Digital, a film distribution company dealing with independently produced feature films, has announced it will launch the UK's first digital platform from its own website, bypassing the service provider, in this case Tiscali TV.Three years ago the company started offering film content to Tiscali, which, Andy Whittaker, head of Dogwoof Digital, says
  • VOD Canada - Commercial concerns

    In Canada, the future of the format is ad-supported VoD. Denis Seguin looks at how this could work.There are an estimated 2 million video-on-demand households in Canada, representing a penetration rate of 43.5%. Accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast a market of 4 million by 2010, at a penetration rate of approximately 55%.'The technology and infrastructure costs are coming down and storage is m
  • Worldwide Bonus signs UK distribution agreement with Rovinge

    Worldwide Bonus Entertainment has announced a five-film distribution deal for all UK rights with production company Rovinge Motion Picture Company. The agreement will commence with the distribution of new British comedy Three And Out, starring Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Imelda Staunton and Gemma Arterton.Directed by Jonathan Gershfield, Three And Out is scheduled for an April 21 charity premiere in Leicester Square, with a general UK release from April 25.