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25 September 2001

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  • A.I. tops UK box office chart

    Warner Bros. scored another hit in the UK at the weekend when A.I. Artificial Intelligence took the top chart position with $3.3m (£2.3m) from 428 sites, including previews of $424,616. With a site average of $7,819 the Steven Spielberg film had a strong opening weekend, the distributors second highest of the year so far, after Cats & Dogs' $5.4m (£3.7m) over the August 3-5 weekend. The science fiction tale starring Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law (who were up against each
  • Absolument Fabuleux

    Dir: Gabriel Aghion. France. 2001. 105 mins.A French feature film remake of the iconic BBC TV series, Absolument Fabuleux replaces its source material's uniquely vivacious humour with hamfisted slapstick and overcooked farce. Despite many inventive touches and amusing French renderings of the series' hallmarks, it suffers acutely in the translation. In France, the series has a small cult following outside the main vein of popular culture which explains why this film ha
  • Acquisitions boost for Nordic Smile

    Nordic distribution and production outfit Smile Entertainment, which has divisions in Denmark and Finland, has boosted rights acquisitions, grabbing a number of new titles for Scandinavia. According to Smile head Timo T. Lahtinen, the increase is in part due to delays in the outfit's own productions and co-productions, caused by turbulence in the international financing markets.Earlier this year Smile signed an agreement for feature developing and production with New York based
  • Apes passes $150m, AI $100m in international takes

    Two more movies have hit powerful international box office milestones in the past week. 20th Century Fox's Planet Of The Apes topped the $150m mark over last weekend, while Warner Bros' AI Artificial Intelligence soared past $100m.Planet Of The Apes has now taken $156.4m after seven weeks on release. Over last weekend, it debuted at number one in Italy with $1.87m on 366 screens which outperformed Jurassic Park III's opening earlier in the summer. It also o
  • Asoka

    Dir: Santosh Sivan. India. 2001. 150 mins.Could this be the Indian Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' Probably not; but Santosh Sivan's loose historical biopic of Mauryan emperor Asoka is a hugely enjoyable swords-and-saris romp which should have no trouble crossing over from speciality Asian circuits to general release. Juhi Chawla - the former Miss India, who co-produced the film with her brother Sanjiv - refers to Asoka as "a low-budget experimental film". The
  • BBC's Care wins Prix Italia TV drama prize

    The BBC's heart-wrenching drama Care won the prestigious Prix Italia prize for best TV drama at the annual television and radio awards ceremony held this year in Bologna and Reggio Emilia (Sept 14-22). The 104 min picture tells the story of a 14-year-old boy who is sent to a children's home when he's caught stealing a packet of cigarettes. He subsequently endures physical and sexual abuse from both wardens and visitors, including a local magistrate. The drama, directed by A
  • BCE, Cogeco acquire Quebec TV network

    Canadian telecommunications and media conglomerate BCE has teamed with Cogeco, the nation's fourth-largest cable company, to purchase majority control of Quebec-based television network TQS. The US$47m deal was part of the regulatory divestiture by publishing and media giant Quebecor in the wake of its US$3.4bn takeover of Groupe Videotron last year and its broadcast asset, TVA Group, the province's largest broadcaster. Quebecor purchased 86% of money-losing TQS several years ago and h
  • Birthday Girl

    Dir: Jez Butterworth. UK-US. 2001. 85mins. After an unusually long time in the works, Birthday Girl emerges as a likeable and competent small-scale divertissement which represents a considerable advance on Mojo, writer-director Jez Butterworth's poorly received debut film adapted from his own stage play. Birthday Girl is notable above all for a splendid comic performance from Nicole Kidman - her best since To Die For - which, along with her recent,
  • BSkyB goes all-digital as Vivendi sells 23% stake

    Vivendi Universal has handed over its 23% stake in Europe's richest pay-TV group BSkyB to an unnamed investment firm, believed to be Deutsche Bank.The move came only hours before BSkyB announced that it would switch off its analogue signal at midnight (Sept 27), some 15 months ahead of its planned December 2002 schedule and 12 years after its launch. The share manoeuvring, which allows Vivendi to comply with the terms of its merger authorisation by the European Commission, in
  • Canada's Remstar signs Prophecy output deal

    Montreal-based Remstar Distribution and Prophecy Entertainment have signed an output deal that gives Remstar a first-look option at the next four projects in development at the Vancouver-based production and sales house. The deal follows Remstar's acquisition of two Prophecy titles, Ripper: Letter From Hell and The Barber for distribution in Canada. Prophecy is slating projects over the fall and winter of 2001 and expects to complete the four-picture agreement with Remsta
  • Canada's tax change closes expensive loophole

    Toronto and London-based Grosvenor Park and Vancouver-based Sentinel Hill Alliance Atlantis Equicap Limited Partnership (SHAAELP), in which Alliance Atlantis Corp. holds a 30% stake, are two of the Canadian-based companies expected to be hardest hit by the Canadian government's closure in Jan 2002, of a loophole in its tax law that allows film investors to deduct losses made from funding start-up production partnerships.Publicly-held AAC issued a statement on Sept 24, saying that the n
  • Chicago selects Heist to open 37th edition

    The 37th Chicago International Film Festival has announced that David Mamet's Heist will open the 37th Chicago International Film Festival on October 4, 2001. The event is sponsored by Marshall Field's Project Imagine, community-giving initiative that designates 5% of federally taxable income to arts and cultural organisations.Heist replaces the previously-scheduled opener Arnold Schwarzenegger film Collateral Damage, which had its Oct 5 domestic release can
  • Danish producer duo return to Early Bird

    Passing the reins of Zentropa Internationale to Kaare Schmidt, the producer duo Ole Sondberg and Lars Sund Duus have left Zentropa to set up projects via their own outfit Early Bird. Zentropa Internationale is the international arm of Denmark's progressive production outfit and was set up one and a half year ago. Among the projects set up by Sondberg and Duus are the English-language thrillers known as Zentropa Zhillers, which attracted financing from USA Films, Studio Canal and Concor
  • Davies controversially named chairman of BBC

    Gavyn Davies has been named chairman of the BBC, the government said in a statement.The appointment of the Goldman Sachs economist, who has close links to Labour, was met with protests from opposition parties. Davies, already vice-chairman of the BBC, succeeds Christopher Bland, who is to take the chair at British Telecommunications.Other contenders included broadcaster David Dimbleby and Baroness Jay, former leader of the House of Lords.
  • Deanna Sanchez joins Myriad in business affairs

    Deanna Sanchez has joined Myriad Pictures in Los Angeles as director of business affairs. She will be responsible for managing in-house business, operational and legal matters covering all aspects of theatrical features from development through distribution.She reports directly to David Miercourt, Myriad's senior vice president of business affairs.Prior to joining Myriad, Miercourt was a senior manager in the data technologies and alliances contracting group at SBC Communicati
  • Dinard festival announces jury and line-up

    The organisers of the 12th Festival du Film Britannique de Dinard have announced British actress, Emily Watson (Breaking The Waves, Gosford Park) as this year's jury president presiding over a jury of ten. Fellow jury members include: director Michel Alexandre, actor Daniel Craig, actress and musician Nicole Croisille, actor Adrian Dunbar, actress Sophie Guillemin, actor Tcheky Karyo, actor Gary Lewis, journalist Jean Claude Narcy and actresses Joely Richardson and Emily
  • Dutch film fest is launch pad for new initiatives

    Holland's film season has kicked off with the 21st edition of the Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht (19-28 September) - opening with the tax-scheme funded feature The Cave, which had its world premiere at the World Cinema sidebar in Montreal. This year, the festival serves not only as a platform for Dutch films, but also as a launching pad for new initiatives.Traditionally, the Dutch have always been fond of organising in guilds and unions. The film industry is no exception; severa
  • Dutch film tax scheme changed again

    The Dutch government has announced an additional tranche of funding worth Euros 7m, to subsidise mid-range projects' marketing campaigns, as well as production support. At the same time, however, changes to the Dutch tax incentive scheme, mean that producers must now secure 50% of a film's budget (up from 30%) in order to qualify for tax breaks.This is the third time since its inception in 1999, that the Dutch tax break system has been changed. The amendments will come into force on 1
  • Equity throws UK productions into uncertainty

    Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things is amongst the high-profile productions plunged into uncertainty as the UK film sector starts to feel the impact of last week's decision by actors union Equity to strike from December 1.Other titles hit by Equity's call for its members to refuse any new contracts involving work from December include Ruby Films' Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath bio-pic and Thaeddus O'Sullivan's 1930s love triangle In The Heart Of Me. Frears is in the m
  • Father And Daughter awarded Cartoon d'Or

    Michael Dudok de Wit's animated short Father And Daughter was presented with this year's Euro25,000 Cartoon d'Or at the 12th Cartoon Forum co-production market (September 19-22) which was held in the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2001. Next year's Forum will be hosted by the region of Snowdonia, Wales. De Wit's short, which had previously won prizes at animation festivals in Utrecht, Brussels and Espinha, was produced by UK production company Cloudrunner and Cinete
  • Fox and Warner team for Swiss distribution

    After months of speculation the Swiss outposts of US majors 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. have announced that they will release their films from Oxtober 1 under the joint banner Fox-Warner.According to an official release, the new distribution outfit's operations will be coordinated from Warner Bros.' offices in Zurich and will be run by Leo Baumgartner (Managing Director) und Marc Maeder (Deputy Managing Director).Fox's Swiss branch was set up in Switzerland in 1923, initia
  • France's new TPS Star challenges Canal Plus

    Television Par Satellite (TPS) the French digital satellite operator which is a rival to Vivendi Universal's CanalSatellite, is taking on Canal Plus, the French pay-TV channel, with the launch of a 'premium' channel, TPS Star, which will concentrate on film and soccer programming.The operator -- which boasts 1 million subscribers, compared to 4.6 million for Canal Plus and 1.6 million for CanalSatellite -- needed a flagship channel to anchor and promote its digital service. However, al
  • French films see 40% leap in foreign revenues

    Foreign theatrical revenues for French-language films has leapt 40% during the first seven months of 2001 compared to the same period last year.According to a Unifrance report, Germany saw the strongest rise (178%), of the seven countries considered (Germany, Spain, the US, the UK, Italy, Quebec and Switzerland) which together represent 55% of the global results in the 34 countries monitored by the French export body.Quebec saw the second best increase (143%), followed by Italy
  • German private film fund names strategic partners

    Indigo Film, Claussen + Woebke Filmproduktion and Calypso Film have been named as the first strategic partners of the Berlin-based private media fund German Film Productions (GFP), which plans to raise Euros 11m for the financing of German language feature films and TV movies.According to GFP, "letters of intent" have been signed with the three production outfits to jointly develop projects for cinema and television. Negotiations are underway with other German producers for single proj
  • German Short Film Award nominations revealed

    Su Turhan's Gone Underground, which was one of the first shorts to be shot with the Sony 24p digital high definition camera, is among eight German shorts nominated from 108 entries for this year's German Short Film Awards which will be presented by Culture Minister Julian Nida-Ruemelin at a ceremony in Berlin on November 10.The eight nominated films, which each receive a premium of $11,686 (DM 25,000) on being nominated to be invested in the preparation or production of a new fi
  • Germany gains digital accord, loses Puffer

    German broadcasters yesterday (Thursday 20 Sept) put aside their differences and reached agreement on new standards for digital TV. But that came too late to save Manfred Puffer, who was replaced by Peter Mihatsch, as head of Premiere World.Puffer joined Premiere World last year as its chief financial officer and in January was promoted to run the operation, which is Germany's leading digital channels group. No explanation was given for his sudden departure in what amounts to merely th
  • Germany's BKNI gets shareholder support

    Following its recent announcement to implement a capital increase of 769,695 new ordinary shares to finance further investment in the production of new animated series, BKN International (BKNI) has now received an offer of support from its largest shareholder, Durham Capital Holdings "to ensure that the management of BKNI retains flexibility to pursue these opportunities in line with the company's stated growth strategy". Durham has agreed to invest Euros 1m as part of the proposed sha
  • Germany's RTL joins Filmstiftung NRW

    Germany's largest private TV channel RTL is to become the fourth shareholder of the country's largest public fund Filmstiftung NRW.At a session of the fund's supervisory board, it was decided to give RTL a seat each in the film funding committee, the supervisory board and the shareholders' assembly. RTL's decision to join the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, and broadcasters WDR and ZDf as a shareholder has to be approved by RTL's advisory board and the Filmstiftung's shareholder
  • Glitter

    Dir: Vondie Curtis Hall. US 2001. 104 minutes Knocking Mariah Carey in her feature film debut would be easy --and unfair, given what a shambles the entire movie is. Set against the backdrop of the New York club scene in the early 1980's (think Studio 54), Glitter is a weak take-off on A Star Is Born. Were it not for Carey's legions of devoted fans, it's doubtful this film would make a dime. As it is, the picture will hardly cause a ripple at the box office.
  • Hardball leads the pack again over dismal weekend

    It was one of the most dismal weekends of the year at the North American box office, down 7% from the same weekend last year and some 15% from last weekend. The reasons: two films due to open this weekend (Training Day and Big Trouble) were postponed, the one left - Glitter, pictured here - was a flop, and audiences preferred to stay at home due to nerves over terrorist attacks, especially on Friday night to watch the Sept 11 telethon.The two hour telethon, which
  • How Harry Became A Tree

    Dir: Goran Paskaljevic. Ireland/ Italy/ UK/ France. 2001. 100 mins. The main trouble with Harry is its peculiar cocktail of ingredients. Based on a Chinese short story, scripted in first Serbian, then French and eventually English, directed by a Serb, Goran Paskaljevic, produced by an Irish-Italian-French-British team and set in Ireland, the result is never quite as weird and wonderful as its cosmopolitan origins and surreal title lead one to expect. It's a Europudding
  • Iris, Charlotte dated for pre-Oscar US releases

    Two high-powered British prestige pictures - Iris and Charlotte Gray - have been set for release in the US and Canada in December, meaning that they qualify for and indeed will be pushed for Oscar consideration.Neither had been certain to open this year. Warner Bros, which has US rights to Charlotte Gray, has an intensely busy release schedule in November and December including Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, Ocean's 11 and The Majestic
  • Irish producers and unions failing to reach accord

    A report on labour relations in the Irish film industry prepared for the Irish Film Board by Frank McGettigan and released Sept 19 concludes "there is little likelihood, in the short term at least, of the negotiation of agreements which satisfy both parties." For more than a year producers' organisation Film Makers Ireland (FMI) and the technical and craft unions have been unable to reach an agreement on pay and working conditions. The issue was cited as an inhibitor of growth in the s
  • Italy's Mediaset accused of unlawful trading

    Italy's Mediaset was again caught up in a whirl of controversy this weekend after a Milan court accused the group's president, Fedele Confalionieri, of unlawful rights-trading. Investigating prosecutors also lifted the lid on the conflict of interest issue, one of the hottest points of contention for Mediaset and current prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.According to leading Rome daily La Repubblica, Milan prosecutors have accused Mediaset - and by association Confalonieri - of selling
  • Italy's Mifed cancels Gala, boosts security

    In a sign of solidarity to the US for last week's terrorist attacks, Mifed has announced the cancellation of a gala evening which had been arranged to showcase Italian cinema during the market. Instead, organisers said the (undisclosed) budget which had been allocated for the event will be given to a charity linked to the US attacks. While a recent hike in registration costs had already caused some industry executives to warn that they may choose not to attend the market, Mifed is now
  • Joy Ride

    Dir: John Dahl. US. 2001. 98minsFasten your seat belts and hang on to your popcorn as director John Dahl unleashes a heart-stopping, scare-the-pants-off them, precision-engineered thrill machine. Unpretentious and unrelenting, Joy Ride provokes all the wild-eyed terror and hysterical laughter of a giddy childhood visit to a fairground attraction. A return to form after the disappointments of Unforgettable and Rounders, this represents Dahl's most commerci
  • Kirch, Mediaset dismantle top-heavy Epsilon

    Epsilon, the joint venture film finance outfit involving the Kirch group and Italy's Mediaset, has been wound up after two years of internal wrangling.The two companies' film production label Emotion and the TV arm Evision will live on as 50-50 joint ventures controlled by the parent companies. But their ambitions are hugely reigned back. "Epsilon as a conglomerate company will no longer exist," Roberto Pace, CEO of Mediaset rights trading arm Mediatrade, said on Friday. Explain
  • London film festival announces programme

    Walt Disney Co-Pixar animation title Monsters Inc (pictured), Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater World War II picture Windtalkers, Steve Martin comedy Novocaine and Sandra Goldbacher's Venice title Me Without You are amongst the gala screenings at November's London Film Festival.Fred Schepisi's Last Orders, which has an ensemble UK cast of Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Tom Courtenay, David Hemmings and Ray Winstone, will be the Briti
  • M6 grabs CJ's Musa, holds onto Yeoh's The Touch

    Korean blockbuster Musa (aka Musa The Warrior) has been picked up for French release by M6 and heads a growing Asian slate that, despite rumours to the contrary, continues to include Michelle Yeoh's The Touch. Musa, which is the biggest-budget Korean title of all time, is set for an early 2002 release through M6 stablemate Societe Nouvelle de Distribution (SND). M6, which this month overtook TF1 as the most profitable broadcaster in France, will handle TV an
  • Mannheim Meetings introduces Nyman's film debut

    Michael Nyman's directorial debut, and film version of his own opera Facing Goya and Icelandic filmmaker Hilmar Oddson's Cold Ice are among the film projects from Latin America, West and Eastern Europe and Canada already confirmed for this year's Mannheim Meetings co-production market (October 11-14) at the 50th International Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival. Similar in its structure to the Pusan Promotion Plan (see separate story) as well as Rotterdam International Film
  • Melissa Mazgedian upped at Paramount int'l group

    Melissa Mazgedian has been promoted to vice president, international motion pictures, for Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group.Mazgedian will work closely with Paramount's international distribution unit United International Pictures (UIP) to coordinate sales and marketing for the international release of feature films. She will continue to report to Joanna Johnson, executive vice president of international motion pictures for the Motion Picture Group.Mazgedian was most rec
  • Michael Nathanson renews contract at MGM Pictures

    Michael Nathanson, the president and COO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Pictures, has entered into a longterm agreement with MGM to remain in charge of the production division. He has been in the job since 1997 and is one of the few senior managers to have survived the transition of management at MGM in 1999. He continues to report to MGM vice chairman and COO Chris McGurk.Nathanson will continue to oversee all facets of development, acquisition, business and production of films produce
  • Miyazaki beats own Japanese box office record

    Spirited Away, the Hayao Miyazaki animated feature that outperformed the Hollywood competition this summer, has broken the all-time box office record for a Japanese film, set in 1997 by Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke. In just 56 days since its July 20 release, the fantasy about a young girl's adventures in a mysterious land of goblins and gods, has grossed $164.4m (Y19.354 billion), passing the $163.6m (Y19.323 billion) mark Princess Mononoke achieved after ne
  • Prozac Nation

    Dir: Erik Skjoldbjaerg. US. 2001. 98 mins.As if proof were needed, Christina Ricci proves she is one of her generation's most fearless actors with a bold and nuanced performance in Prozac Nation, the film of Elizabeth Wurtzel's autobiographical book about youthful depression. Virtually on screen for the film's entire 98 minutes, Ricci plays Wurtzel as unlikeable, hostile and crude, while also - crucially - maintaining the sympathy of audiences who, while possibly not r
  • Pusan Promotion Plan features Imamura pitch

    Confirming the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) as one of the world's leading co-production workshops, two-time Cannes Palme d'Or winner Imamura Shohei is to submit his latest project for scrutiny and international funding at the forthcoming event (Nov 12-14).Imamura's Shinjuku Cherry Blossom Fantasy is joined by scripts from The Isle director Kim Ki-duk, Tadjikistan's Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov director of Luna Papa, and Chinese director Lin Cheng-sheng, who presented Be
  • Ridley & Tony Scott sign three year deal with Fox

    Ridley Scott and Tony Scott and their production outfit Scott Free have closed a three year-producing and directing deal with 20th Century Fox to develop and make movies with all producing divisions of Fox. In addition to producing films for Fox, the brothers have committed to direct at least one film each for the studio."It's something we've been pursuing for a while," explained Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairman Jim Gianopulos. "When it became apparent they were looking for a new
  • Rio festival to open on Sep 27 as scheduled

    The Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival 2001 will run from September 27 to October 8 as scheduled. It plans to screen more than 400 films and videos from various countries in 30 cinemas around the city of Rio. The festival includes workshops, seminars and various sidebars including a retrospective on films produced by Brazil's, Luiz Carlos Barreto and Troma On Parade, a retrospective of films made by US producer Troma, now celebrating its 25th anniversary.What is known locally a
  • Roldan heads Sogecine-Sogepaq distribution

    Jacques Roldan, former head of acquisitions for Spanish media giant Sogecable, has been appointed director of distribution for the newly merged production and distribution/sales activities of Sogecable interests Sogecine and Sogepaq.The appointment - unveiled at the San Sebastian International Film Festival - is the first strategic announcement made by new Sogecine-Sogepaq general manager Fernando Bovaira since his appointment last spring. Reporting directly to Bovaira, Roldan will ove
  • RTL results herald European media market woe

    As the largest and most international broadcast group in Europe, RTL's results and market view had been eagerly awaited by financial analysts as indicators of the outlook for the European media sector. What they got was not pretty.Unveiled on Wednesday September 19, first half results showed a 27% drop in pre-tax earnings. Chief executive Didier Bellens warned of tough times ahead and said that the group may miss its revised earnings target.'Since July, markets have continued to
  • San Sebastian honours absent friends

    The San Sebastian International Film Festival kicked off its 49th edition yesterday (Sept 20) with the screening of The Safety Of Objects by Rose Troche, and a surprise announcement that Warren Beatty would be the recipient of a third Donostia Award. Beatty, like fellow Donostia recipient Julie Andrews, will not be present to receive the award owing to the "uncertainty" of circumstances following last week's attacks in New York and Washington. This year's 49th edition of the fes
  • Screen International Comment

    Not even our darkest imaginations could have foretold the horrors of last week, although several came close enough to force our creative industries into a sensitive retreat. A handful of upcoming films and TV shows with terrorist themes were instantly put on the back-burner; adverts laced with ghoulish humour were hurriedly papered over; and video games that mirrored events too chillingly for comfort were sent scurrying back to the digital drawing boards. Not to have done so, of course, would
  • Serendipity

    Dir Peter Chelsom. US 2001. 89 mins.Despite a schematic structure and overdose of contrivances, romantic comedy Serendipity represents a step in the right direction for director Peter Chelsom after his disastrous experience with New Line's Town & Country. Recalling Sleepless In Seattle, and other comedies and dramas about the mysterious operations of fate, Marc Klein's script is sporadically inventive and even smart in showing destiny's alluring hold o
  • Sony's Spanish production arm heralds others

    Sony Pictures Entertainment has appointed Iona de Macedo head of its newly-launched Spanish production operation, Columbia Films Producciones Espanolas, and is looking to raise production levels in other local markets such as the UK. De Macedo will relocate to Madrid from the studio's Brazilian arm, where she served as vice president of production for Columbia TriStar International Television for Latin America, excluding Mexico. The division's five-year plan envisages building u
  • South Korean film minister appointed

    South Korean President Kim Dae Jung has appointed Namgung Jin to serve as his next Minister of Culture and Tourism, following the nomination of former Minister Kim Han-gill as a candidate in a local parliamentary election.Namgung, 59, worked previously as senior presidential secretary for political affairs before the President's cabinet underwent a reshuffle on September 7.Former Minister Kim Han-gill, a novelist-turned-politician who was appointed to the Ministry last year, was
  • Spence, Blackaby join San Francisco Film Festival

    The San Francisco International Film Festival has recruited a new programming team for its upcoming 45th annual festival under newly appointed executive director Roxanne Messina Captor, an Emmy-nominated producer and director who joined the festival in Jan this year. Carl Spence joins San Francisco from the Seattle International Film Festival where he was associate director for eight years, while Linda Blackaby joins from the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival wh
  • Sweden's STV gets Happy Life for three years

    Sweden's national broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT) has signed an agreement with local media major Svensk Filmindustri (SF) and it's subsidy Happy Life, which will span three years and more than 80 hours of entertainment for kids. Kicking off from spring 2002, the deal will include alread- established characters like Karlsson On The Roof, Sune and Pettson & Findus, as well as new concepts in development."Swedish animation is flourishing and it is great to be ab
  • The Martins

    Dir: Tony Grounds. UK. 2001. 84 mins. Tiger Aspect, a company which aims to foster television talent and has a short but successful track record in translating TV-generated projects to the big screen (Bean, Kevin And Perry Go Large), will be hard-pressed to tempt film-goers to this limp comedy. The women, particularly Kathy Burke, give sterling performances, but Lee Evans in the leading role demonstrates once again that he lacks the charisma to carry a movie. Local ref
  • The Safety Of Objects

    Dir: Rose Troche. US. 2001. 120 mins.The multi-story ensemble piece has become fashionable of late, to dazzling effect in the case of Amores Perros or Happiness and with more muddled results in Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her and What's Cooking' Rose Troche's third film The Safety Of Objects is another of these multi-charactered affairs which falls somewhere in between the two camps. Initially veering unsteadily between the inspir
  • Tokyo film fest selects 14th edition competitors

    The 14th edition of the Tokyo Film Festival, which screens 140 films between October 27 and November 4, has selected the 14 films which will compete for the $42,700 (Y5m) Grand Prix and the $11,300 (Y2m) Jury Prize.Among the films in competition are Michel Gondry's Human Nature, starring Tim Robbins and Patricia Arquette, Paul Sarossy's Mr In-Between, Tim Blake Nelson's O, Mistutoshi Tanaka's Kewaishi, and One Fine Spring Day by Hur Jin-Ho the directo
  • UK's FilmFour signs first look deal with Tubedale

    FilmFour has struck a first look deal with Tubedale Films the production company of UK actor David Morrissey, former PolyGram Film International executive Carl Clifton and Morrissey's brother, Paul.The writer Esther Freud is also a partner in the company along with businessman Stuart Hatwell. David Morrissey, whose acting credits include Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Hilary And Jackie, is to direct at least two projects after recently completing BBC1 drama Sweet Reven
  • US theatres plan Sept 11 charity day next Tuesday

    Theatre circuits across the US are banding together to create a "Victims Benefit Day at the Movies" next Tuesday (Sept 25) on which 100% of ticket and concession sales will be donated to the September 11th Fund of the United Way and the American Red Cross.50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross and 50% to the United Way.Among participating circuits are AMC, Carmike Cinemas, Cinemark USA, Hoyts Cinemas Corp, National Amusements, Regal Cinemas and United Artists The
  • Vidocq

    Dir: Pitof. France. 100 mins.Last season it was Brotherhood Of The Wolf, a prototype for a new kind of European popular cinema, that attempted to makeover a French costume drama with the idiomatic layering of genre set-pieces (martial arts action movie, monster movie, etc.). This season we get Vidocq, a go-for-baroque hi-tech suspense costume piece starring Gerard Depardieu and directed by a French F-X wizard who goes by the name of Pitof.Vidocq
  • Warner Village tests Greek co-production

    Warner- Village Roadshow's first ever Greek co-production, the satirical comedy, Crying, A Blessing From Paradise will be a crucial test for local titles' box office potential, when it is released on Oct 26.The Safe co-production, with local directors Thanassis Papathanassiou and Mihalis Reppas, will try to renew the spectacular success of the duo's first comedy, last year's Safe Sex, which scored an all-time record of 1.4 million admissions nationwide.But c
  • Warner's double international hit

    Warner Bros had cause to celebrate this weekend in the international market as two of their titles carved up the box office. While Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence crossed the $100m barrier, even before opening in many key European territories including France, Spain and the UK, Swordfish secured top level entries from several new openings. Japan accounts for $77m of A.I.'s international take to date.John Travolta's latest big screen outing, which in