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26 May 2002

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  • 24hr party - no Cannes do

    Outraged guests were pushed and knocked to the floor by bouncers as scenes of violence erupted in Cannes at Saturday night's party for Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People.One guest saw bouncers lock a man's arms behind his back and throw him through a gap in the barriers so he "landed on his face." Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, head of the Icelandic Film Corporation, which bought the film, has complained to sales agent The Works after he and Finnish director Mika Kaurismaki
  • About Schmidt

    Dir: Alexander Payne. US. 2002. 125 mins. Screened in CompetitionUnderplaying the overt social satire of Citizen Ruth and Election, Alexander Payne's remorselessly interior dramedy is centred squarely on a single character, and narrower in focus and more pessimistic in tone than either of its predecessors. About Schmidt also abandons the femme slant of the earlier films: its main character is an alienated insurance actuary who is, as he realises himself (
  • AFI Fest to showcase German cinema

    AFI Fest, the 11-day Los Angeles international film festival which takes place in November, has teamed with Export-Union of German Cinema to present a section of contemporary German cinema within the 2002 festival (Nov 7-17).The Made In Germany section will be a combined marketing and programming effort between AFI and Export-Union featuring features, documentaries and shorts.
  • All Or Nothing

    Dir: Mike Leigh. UK-France 2002. 127 mins.After a brief detour into history (and real-life individuals) with his 1999 Gilbert and Sullivan drama, Topsy Turvy, Mike Leigh returns to more familiar terrain with this subtle, precisely observed contemporary story of ordinary South London folk. Comic but also melancholy - although it ends on a cautiously affirmative note - All Or Nothing takes a low-key approach to some very elusive themes, including loneliness, illness, the
  • Anthony Hopkins to take on the Pope

    Anthony Hopkins is finalising a deal to play Pope Pius IX opposite Oscar-nominated Spanish star Javier Bardem in FilmFour's $20 million Edgardo Mortara.Miramax Films and Germany's Senator Film are co-financing the true story of how the Vatican divided Catholics, Protestants, and Jews around the world by kidnapping a Jewish boy in 1858. Damien O'Donnell, who directed FilmFour's UK hit East Is East and Miramax's Heartlands, is to direct in Italy in autumn.
  • Arclight, Spice Factory launch UK slate

    Horror adaptation Possession, modern-day Count of Monte Cristo story Lazarus Ash and thriller Perfect People head the slate of $10m - $25m productions in a partnership between Gary Hamilton's Arclight Films, the UK's Spice Factory and best-selling horror novelist Peter James.The announcement follows last month's unveiling of plans for ambitious UK tax fund Movision, which Spice Factory, a prolific UK producer, formed with partners including James' Ministry o
  • Attack Of The Clones opens new episode in international box office records

    Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones has established a new box office record for a simultaneous international opening weekend.According to 20th Century Fox, Episode II grossed $67m internationally from 70-plus territories, in a combination of opening weekend revenues that included Thursday to Sunday tallies as well as Friday to Sunday figures - including previews.In Europe alone, Attack Of The Clones achieved a $54m debut weekend, with $17m of
  • Babelsberg to co-fund and house Myriad's Borgia

    Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures, the holding company for Vivendi Deutschland's media activities, has cut a deal with Myriad Pictures to house, co-finance and co-produce Neil Jordan's Borgia and the Ed Pressman production The Tenth Victim. Babelsberg CEO Gabriela Bacher has accessed state guarantees from the state of Brandenberg with which to co-finance the films. Her deal to bring the state guarantee to the Myriad films is not to be confused with the media funds being d
  • Bavaria takes over from Christa Saredi

    Bavaria Film International has taken over sales duties from World Sales Christa Saredi on a trio of Michael Haneke films and a library that also includes pictures by Hal Hartley, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Assi Dayan and Bakhtiyar Khudojnazarov.The move sees Bavaria complete the take-over of the WSCS catalogue that was previously handled by Christa Saredi and its Cologne-based offshoot Orfeo Films, which was headed by Helen Loveridge.Bavaria had already taken over sales of Pan Na
  • Belgium unveils film tax plan

    Belgium is to become the latest European country attempting to use tax as a way of boosting film production.Didier Reynders, the Belgian finance minister is expected today (Friday May 24) to announce the launch of a new tax shelter.The new measures are expected to allow film investors to set off Euros 750,000 of corporation tax, provided that their total tax liability exceeds Euros 1.5m. The tax relief is available at 150% of initial investments, meaning that a Euros 500,
  • Binet and Covo tipped for TF1/Miramax jobs

    Patrick Binet, currently head of sales house UGC International, and France Jose Covo, former head of PolyGram, are expected to be appointed to senior positions within the unnamed new TF1-Miramax production and distribution venture.Binet is known to have been seeking an exit from the operation he helped create and in which he is a 20% shareholder. He is understood to have clashed with Brigitte Maccioni, who folded the sales division into the film distribution and production divis
  • Borgia inches forward

    Regarded as a barometer of the health of large-scale film financing in a depressed European market, Neil Jordan's epic Borgia appears to be finally coming together as a mammoth co-production between the UK, Germany, Italy, Ireland and possibly France.Co-producers and partners deep into talks include BBC Films for the UK and RAI Cinema for Italy. US-based international sales agent and financier Myriad Pictures is thought to be in talks with several French buyers including Pathe a
  • Brosnan to broaden range with two new projects

    Pierce Brosnan and producing partner Beau St Clair have announced two new projects - romantic comedy The Laws Of Attraction and 11th century epic Legend Of Lochenbar for an autumn and early-2003 shoot respectively. Both are to star Brosnan.Brosnan, wearing his producer's hat, and St Clair met with potential backers in Cannes for the two projects. Brosnan was also finalising sales on the completed Irish Dreamtime production Evelyn, a UA release and Overseas
  • Cannes 2002: tough choices for Palme readers

    Constantly improving after far from auspicious beginnings, Cannes 2002 should finally settle in the memory as a robust and rewarding vintage. Filled with uncompromising auteurist statements, exciting discoveries and tender explorations of the human condition, it was a Festival to restore anyone's faith in the health and vigour of world cinema - even if the real excitement often fell outside the main competition.On paper, it had seemed a Festival of forbidding austerity with many filmma
  • Cannes gets first glimpse of Gangs Of New York

    After months of media attention over the fights that supposedly went into the making of Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York, the film's key figures settled their score with the press at yesterday's footage screening. "This is real art, unlike half the shit in this goddam Hollywood" declared executive producer Harvey Weinstein Based on the 20 minutes of footage shown to the press in Cannes, the consensus was that the wait for the film will have been worth it, with the combinatio
  • Capitol duets with Medusa on Callas Forever

    Capitol Films has partnered with Medusa Film to handle Franco Zeffirelli's Callas Forever, starring Fanny Ardant as the opera legend.UK-based Capitol is representing the film worldwide excluding Italy, France and Spain. The film, which also stars Jeremy Irons and Joan Plowright, takes a fictionalised looks at Callas' final days.Capitol has also partnered with Italy-based Medusa on Carlo Vanzina's South Kensington to take worldwide distribution rights outside
  • Carlyle says hello to Saying Goodbye To Mr. Welcome

    Robert Carlyle, star of the hotly pursued Directors Fortnight title Once Upon A Time In The Midlands, has boarded psychological thriller Saying Goodbye To Mr. Welcome, which Gillian Barrie of Sigma Films will co-produce with Denmark's Zentropa.Scottish actor-turned director Kenny Glenaan (Gas Attack) will direct the Brendan Somers' script about a couple brought back together by the mysterious disappearance of their child. The filmmakers hope to attrac
  • Cinemavault closes Fast Runner deals

    Cinemavault Releasing has closed 14 territorial deals in Cannes on the award-winning Inuit film The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat) including with Alcine Terran in Japan, Mediafilm in Italy and SF Norge in Norway.Other buyers snapping up the epic film directed by Zacharias Kunuk were Ost For Paridis in Denmark, Bergvik in Iceland, Polyfilm in Austria, Sharmill in Australia, Rialto in New Zealand, Artfree in Greece, Quality Films in Mexico, Cineplex in Taiwan, Adyton in Poland, Noah in
  • Columbia launches German arthouse distribution division

    The German office of Columbia TriStar Film has launched Columbia Pictures Art Selection - a classics-style division for the theatrical release of arthouse titles.The first releases will be Ed Harris's biopic Pollock on June 6, Marleen Gorris' Nabokov adaptation The Luzhin Defence (Sept 5) and Fred Schepsi's Last Orders (Oct 31).Commenting on the creation of CPAS, Columbia TriStar's general manager Juergen Schau pointed out that an "arthouse team" had been "c
  • Donaldson Polakoff looks to capitalise on Shimkent Hotel

    Paris-based producing duo Gil Donaldson and Carol Polakoff are moving quickly to capitalise on the anticipated success of their Directors' Fortnight film Shimkent Hotel.The film, which screens in the ACID section of the Fortnight, is the directorial debut of bad-boy artist and former jockey Charles de Meaux.Boasting a clutch of the rising French actors including Melvil Poupaud, Romain Duris and Caroline Ducey, Shimkent Hotel is a psychological thriller which shot i
  • Dougray Scott becomes Hero partner

    Actor Dougray Scott has partnered in Hero Films, the UK production company of producer Anne Batz and director Mike Barker, with whom Scott recently helped save the troubled production of To Kill A King.The company's first production will be The Bum's Rush, a $2.8 million black comedy set in the Highlands by debut writer-director Stewart Svaasand. Scott will have a cameo in the film."This film was a great impetus for me to form a company," Scott said. "I've always w
  • Dreamworks falls for Millennium Actress

    Millennium Actress, an animated drama handled by distributor Klockworx, has become the first foreign-language animation to be acquired by Dreamworks SKG.Dreamworks has picked up all rights outside Asia to the film, which won the best animation prize when it premiered at Fant-Asia last July and took the animation award at Sitges, SpainMillennium Actress, directed by Satoshi Ko, is a sci-fi love story aimed at general audiences with a particular appeal for women. Int
  • DVD piracy panel calls for jail terms amongst penalties

    "If DVD piracy is allowed to continue it means the long term death of culture," boomed David Kessler, head of France's national cinema body the CNC, speaking in Cannes yesterday at a seminar on DVD piracy.Also involved were Nicolas Seydoux, chairman of Gaumont and MPAA chief Jack Valenti.All three speakers argued that DVD piracy reduces revenues that could be re-invested in other films. "We need to be able to finance our flops as well as our successes. The way to do this in the
  • Enough

    Dir: Michael Apted. US. 2002. 115 mins. One of a handful of non-traditional chick-flicks hitting US screens this summer, Enough starts out as a promisingly taut woman-in-peril thriller but eventually degenerates into a questionable cross between a female Rocky and a Mission: Impossible-style action romp. Still, younger female moviegoers will certainly get a kick from seeing an athletic Jennifer Lopez kick some male butt. Nor will males necessarily be put
  • FilmFour's Motorcycle travels far and wide

    Testifying to the ability of stand-out market titles to find international pre-buys despite the financial woes of European buyers, FilmFour International has closed a raft of deals on its hot Che Guevara picture The Motorcycle Diaries.The story of the revolutionary's travels as a young man, for which Walter Salles is to direct rising Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal, pre-sold to Nippon Herald for Japan in a significant deal for the financing of the Spanish-language film.Fi
  • First Look gets $8m from Seven Hills

    First Look Media has accessed new capital to the tune of $8m from a new deal with Reverge Anselmo's Seven Hills Pictures to further build its domestic distribution operation.Under the deal, which was signed this week, Seven Hills will invest $6.05m in cash in First Look, in addition to $2m in subordinated debt which will be used to fund a joint venture between Seven Hills and First Look to provide P&A funds for the release of films selected either by Seven Hills or by First Look.
  • First Look gets No News for North America

    First Look Pictures has acquired North American rights to Agustin Diaz Yunes' No News From God, the Spanish comedy starring Penelope Cruz, Victoria Abril, Gael Garcia Bernal and Fanny Ardant. It will open theatrically in autumn, and on video and DVD in the winter.In the film, Abril plays an angel sent to earth from heaven to win the soul of a boxer (Bernal), while Cruz plays Hell's most experienced operative sent to get there first.The film joins First Look's bustling rel
  • Focus outlines its global strategy

    Focus - the new Universal-owned company merging Good Machine International and USA Films - is starting to outline its modus operandi, pledging a commitment to original-language films and representing a new source of studio movies to independent buyers.Talking to Screen International yesterday, Focus co-chiefs David Linde and James Schamus said that their priority is to ensure that they have the best domestic North American distribution company for international film-makers, "whether th
  • Fox Searchlight selects Beckham for North & South America

    The Works has confirmed that Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired North and South American rights UK hit Bend It Like Beckham.Fox Searchlight president Peter Rice and The Works chief executive Aline Perry said Fox Searchlight will handle North America and Twentieth Century Fox South America. Fox is understood to have paid $3m-plus for the soccer-themed comedy, directed by Gurinder Chadha."Bend It Like Beckham's Gurinder Chadha speaks with a voice that resonates wi
  • Fragile deal struck with Miramax

    Miramax Films and the UK' s Fragile Films have struck a two-and-half year first look deal.Miramax will get first option on English-speaking markets for film and TV projects developed and produced by Barnaby Thompson and Uri Fruchtmann, heads of Fragile and co-owners of Ealing Studios. Fragile previously had a longterm deal with Miramax' s Walt Disney stable-mate BVI.Announcing the deal at Cannes, Miramax co-chief Harvey Weinstein compared Thompson to UK producers such as Jeremy
  • France's CineTem busy acquiring for new film channels

    CineTem, the six film channels being launched by French group AB, will be up and running on Canal Plus' digital platform CanalSatellite and some cable networks from September 7.Laurent Zameczkowski, who heads the group of channels, has been busy buying library titles for over a year, signing up package deals for 50 to 200 titles from US studios and major companies as well as one-off acquisitions from smaller independents.The channels will be showing some 2,500 titles per year be
  • France's TF1 looks to enter Noe territory

    Miramax's new French partner TF1 is understood to be close to buying into Noe Productions, the company which despite having co-produced this year's foreign-language Oscar winner No Man's Land, was recently forced into receivership.With a production track record also including such festival-friendly titles such as Jan Kounen's feature film debut Dobermann, Milcho Manchevski's 1994 Venice title Before The Rain and Radu Mihaileanu's Train Of Life, Noe would pla
  • France's TF1 to increase film production, financing activity

    Just as StudioCanal is scaling back its European film production and distribution operations, TF1 seems to be intent on increasing its activity and filling the void.After boldly branching out into distribution through its as yet unamed joint venture with Miramax - which is expected to be headed by Jose Covo - the broadcaster is understood to be seeking to step up its involvement in film production, co-production and co-financing.This activity will be separate from the TF1/Miram
  • Franchise partners with ApolloMedia for big budget sales

    Elie Samaha's Franchise Pictures has partnered with Frank Huebner's German private film fund ApolloMedia to represent sales of five completed films including Alan Rudolph's Investigating Sex, Bruce Beresford's Bride Of The Wind and Christine Lahti's My First Mister.Franchise and Apollo are also partnered on big-budget production A Sound Of Thunder starring Ed Burns, Catherine McCormack and Ben Kingsley and directed by Peter Hyams, and on A Hairy Ta
  • Franchise, Comerica hit in Intertainment court battle

    In the ongoing legal battles between Elie Samaha's Franchise Pictures and Germany's Intertainment AG, Intertainment has won its first court decision. A federal district court yesterday upheld two of the three racketeering and corruption (RICO) claims brought by Intertainment against Franchise and its two principals Samaha and Andrew Stevens.In its lawsuit, Intertainment alleges that Franchise and its principals submitted fraudulently inflated budgets to Intertainment on films i
  • Gaga takes Haynes' Far From Heaven

    Japan's Gaga has bagged Todd Haynes' forthcoming Far From Heaven, which stars Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid.The title, which had been strongly tipped as a potential Cannes main competition title, is still in post-production but will be ready for Venice and Toronto .TF1 International, which is handling the USA Films title worldwide except for the US, is wrapping up pre-sales in Cannes.Among other major territories, Latin America has gone to PWI, Italy to Eagle, Spain to
  • Gala brings Trespasser to the UK

    Gala Films has nabbed all UK rights to Beto Brant's The Trespasser (O Invasor), winner of the Sundance Best Latin American feature this year. Brazilian international sales agent Grupo Novo closed the deal with the arthouse distributor today in Cannes. According to Grupo Novo sales chief Alfredo Calvino, Gala Films plans to release Brant's gripping portrayal of the Sao Paolo underworld on an initial six prints following the London Film Festival. Gala will be presenting the film t
  • Germany remains weak as Miramax strikes multi-territory deals

    Miramax International may have completed a string of deals here but one territory it wasn't closing on was Germany. "We've seen everyone, but the offers are just too low," said worldwide distribution chief Rick Sands. "Their mission was to push down pricing, but we have to tough it out. Germany has great theatrical distribution and video and DVD markets and TV will only get better."In the meantime, it closed multi-picture deals with sister company Buena Vista International (BVI)
  • Golan teams up for Blood Games, Return From India

    Avi Lerner and Danny Dimbort of Nu Image are re-teaming with their old friend and Dimbort's old boss Menahem Golan, acquiring worldwide rights to Golan's romantic picture The Return From India featuring Israeli stars Aki Avni, Riki Gal and Assi Dayan.The completed film which Golan co-wrote, produced and directed was shot in India and tells the story of an affair between a 50 year-old widow and a 26 year-old doctor.Meanwhile Golan has teamed up with former diamond business
  • Golden Harvest reaps Cannes delicacies

    Golden Harvest, the powerhouse Hong Kong-based distributor has picked up a collection of the most in-demand indie titles on the Croisette.Quentin Tarantino's martial arts action film Kill Bill has been picked up for Hong Kong and Malaysia from Miramax International. Uma Thurmann, Lucy Liu and Darryl, Hannah star in the film which is in pre-production in Beijing, China.Golden Harvest bought Hong Kong only on James Foley's crime drama Confidence from Lions Gate Films
  • Granada closes German pre-sale on All American

    The UK's Granada Film has closed a significant pre-sale to Germany with Telepool on romantic comedy All American Man.The German company bought all rights to the film, which writer-director Craig Ferguson is to shoot in January. "It's a real coup," said Penny Wolf, head of sales. "We have not heard of any other pre-buys for Germany."The film, which also stars Olivia Williams and Brenda Blethyn, has also gone to Medusa for Italy and Scanbox for Scandinavia.Gra
  • HBO announces international theatrical sales push

    UK distributor Momentum Pictures has picked up UK theatrical, TV and home video rights to HBO Films' My House In Umbria, a drama based on the William Trevor novel starring Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall and Ronnie Barker and directed by Richard Loncraine. The sale, closed by Momentum with HBO's worldwide distribution arm HBO Enterprises, coincides with a new offensive into international theatrical markets by the US pay-TV giant for its movies which premiere exclusively on TV in the US.
  • Heather Graham to star in Stardust

    Nick Hurran, whose Plots With A View was sold to Miramax Films for domestic, has signed to direct romantic comedy Stardust for Luxembourg-based The Carousel Picture Company with Heather Graham attached to star and James Purefoy and Brenda Blethyn in leading roles. Mark Damon's MDP Worldwide is handling sales on behalf of Carousel.Damon is also handling George & The Dragon, Carousel's action adventure directed by Tom Reeve and starring Purefoy, Michael Clarke Duncan
  • Helkon seduced by Bollywood Queen

    Flush with the success of runaway UK hit Bend It Like Beckham, UK distributor Helkon SK has bought Bollywood Queen for the UK and France.Helkon, which bought the Bollywood-inspired romantic comedy from Gary Hamilton and Victor Syrmis' Arclight Films, is expected to eventually sell on French rights.The film, backed by UK tax financier Great British Films, is about an Indian girl obsessed with Bollywood musicals who falls for an English boy whose family runs a rival
  • Hong Kong's Cheung and Law plan epic Story Of Ah-Toi

    Hong Kong on and off-screen partners Mabel Cheung and Alex Law are planning a giant leap in budget for their next production, provisionally titled The Story Of Ah-Toi, to be set in the US and written and directed by Law with Cheung producing.Throughout their career together, Law has written and Cheung directed An Autumn Tale, The Soong Sisters, Beijing Rocks and the upcoming $1.5m Cultural Revolution drama Red Shoes, while Law has directed the Jackie Chan/Sa
  • Hopscotch jumps on Columbine

    Hopscotch, the Australian distributor launched this month by ex-Dendy Films chief Troy Lum and releasing veteran Frank Cox, has made its first acquisition, picking up Bowling For Columbine.The company bought all rights for Australia and New Zealand to the Michael Moore Competition documentary from Alliance Atlantis. Lum, whose Dendy acquisitions included Amelie and Y Tu Mama Tambien, expects the release to be tied in to an Oscar campaign from US distributor United
  • Icelandic Film Corporation heats up buying activity

    Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's Icelandic Film Corporation (IFC) has stepped up its buying/distribution ambitions, picking titles like 24 Hour Party People and Once Upon A Time In The Midlands even before their screening in Cannes.Distribution now accounts for 30% of IFC's activities, and the company has hired Isleifur Thorhallsson as new head of marketing, sales and acquisitions who is at Cannes this year."We have previously released films from our regular co-pr
  • Icon falls for Trust's Hearts and Wilbur

    Icon has picked up UK and Australian rights to two of Trust Film Sales' hottest new Zentropa titles, Susanne Bier's Dogme-drama Open Hearts and Lone Scherfig's English-language romance Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself.Arsenal Filmverleigh and Shani Films have also taken German and Israeli rights to Open Hearts, which has already been invited to the main competition in San Sebastian.
  • India's location shooting rules to be relaxed, as local production soars

    As a result of meetings held in Cannes last week, the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is considering relaxing the rules for international companies planning to shoot films in India.Senior government officials met several filmmakers who showed interest in shooting in India but were put off by the red tape involved. Among the rules that are likely to be changed are script clearance conditions, visa requirements for international crews, presence of a government Liaison off
  • Irreversible wins shock value but no awards

    Anger and outrage followed the bombshell detonated by Gaspar Noe's Irreversible, a tale of rape and revenge that is depicted more brutally than any film that has been shown at the Cannes festival. That it did not win a single prize probably reflected its jury-dividing content, outweighing Noe's awesome technical prowess and narrative cleverness. Some critics had argued that the striking opening title credits alone should have won it a prize. But its impact on audiences wa
  • Italy's Bim picks up nine Cannes titles - so far

    Italian distributor Bim Distribuzione bought three more official selection films yesterday, bringing its total haul to nine so far this market.Bim picked up Aki Kaurismaki's competition title The Man Without A Past from Bavaria Film, Nicolas Philibert's Un Certain Regard title Etre Et Avoir from Mercure and Director's Fortnight title L'Auberge Espanol from Wild Bunch.Earlier buys included Un Certain Regard film Marie Jo Et Ses Deux Amours from Mercure
  • Kapadia boards St Agnes' Stand

    The Warrior director Asif Kapadia has boarded Miramax Films' western St Agnes' Stand.Kapadia, who transplanted the spaghetti Western to India for The Warrior, is expected to bring an epic Sergio Leone feel to Agnes, a western story about an injured gunslinger on the run in New Mexico. Reminiscent of Kapadia's debut, in which a samurai-like warrior befriends an orphan and a wise woman in his search for redemption, the adaptation of Tom Eidson's novel tells ho
  • Luque enrolled as head of Film Business School

    Former director of creative affairs at Lolafilms UK, Nadine Luque has been appointed new director of the Film Business School, part of the MEDIA Programme-backed pan-European training initiative the Media Business School (MBS).Luque's initial one-year contract with MBS will span two intensive four-day sessions of the Film Business School, a training course for producers.Luque says she envisions a greater European focus for the courses, and plans to invite both new and veteran pr
  • MacCabe laments his old place

    Among the more interesting films of the Cannes festival this year is a film essay by Anne-Marie Mieville and Jean Luc Godard called The Old Place. By all accounts it is a beautiful and intriguing meditation on the relations between painting and film. But for one of the executive producers, Colin MacCabe, this honour is also a cause of national shame MacCabe, who produced film and television for the British Film Institute (BFI) from l985 to 1998, is still spitting blood over the
  • Menemsha ties knot on Bride deals

    Neil Friedman's LA-based sales agency Menemsha Entertainment has sold Argentinian Oscar nominee The Son Of The Bride to Movienet in Germany and Tandora in Singapore. The film, directed by Juan Jose Campanella, is a family drama with Ricardo Marin, Norma Aleandro and Natalia Verbeke.The film, which has been confirmed as the opening night at the Munich Film Festival on June 29 and has a slot in the Edinburgh Film Festival, is now unsold in only six territories which Friedman expec
  • Miramax Australia makes debut acquisition with debut film

    Miramax Films has acquired the Australian and New Zealand distribution rights to Anthony Mir's directorial debut You Can't Stop The Murders, marking the first acquisition for Miramax's newly formed Australian office under Victoria Treole.The film is a comedy which also features stand-up comedian Mir alongside fellow comedians Gary Eck and Akmal Saleh. It tells the story about two local constables in a small Australian town who team up with a big city detective to solve a string
  • Morvern Callar

    Dir: Lynne Ramsay. UK. 2002. 97mins. Screened in Director's FortnightA mesmerising journey through the hidden depths of a woman's soul, Morvern Callar confirms writer-director Lynne Ramsay as one of the most audacious and uncompromising British filmmakers of her generation. Poetic, stunningly beautifully and untainted by crass commercial concerns, it is as serious and demanding an expression of pure art as a Carl Dreyer film or a Camus novel. Likely to be warmly embrac
  • Myriad sources Jeepers Creepers 2 financing

    Myriad Pictures has closed a deal to source financing from Comerica Entertainment Group, the entertainment financing arm of Comerica Bank, for Jeepers Creepers 2: Like A Bat Out Of Hell which is being produced by American Zoetrope and distributed in North America by United Artists.
  • Nick Moran tunes up Telstar directing debut

    UK actor Nick Moran hit Cannes this week to announce his directing debut, Telstar, a biopic of underground music legend Joe Meek.The Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels star is to start shooting the picture next month on a budget of just under $2million, provided by an unnamed private backer. The film will tell the story of how the eccentric, tone deaf Meek and his partner Geoff Goddard - who is convinced he is the song-writing medium for Buddy Holly's spirit - came up with
  • Palm takes Fulltime Killer to North America

    Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures has bought North American distribution rights to Hong Kong hit Fulltime Killer from TeamWork Motion Pictures. The action thriller was directed by Johnny To and collaborator Wai Ka Fai and stars Andy Lau as a master assassin pursued by two relentless predators. It was selected as the Hong Kong submission for the best foreign language film Academy Award last year.Palm's head of acquisitions and co-productions David Koh negotiated the deal for the fi
  • Pardue, Carlyle tempted by Pandora

    Kip Pardue and Robert Carlyle are in negotiations to star and William Malone (House On Haunted Hill) to direct psychological thriller Tempting Pandora being sold - appropriately - by Pandora. Meanwhile Pandora's sales head Sebnem Askin has closed a range of deals for the film including to M6/SND in France, RTL in Germany, New World in Spain, Gaga in Japan, Dan Film in Scandinavia, Jay Net in Korea and Paradise in Benelux.
  • Polanski's Pianist tops list of Cannes winners

    A roar of approval, but applause that fell a long way short of a prolonged standing ovation, greeted Roman Polanski's Palme d'Or win at Cannes 2002 with The Pianist.Jury president David Lynch opened the evening's ceremonies by saying that there were not enough prizes to go round, but that the "jury feels very good about its final choices." The jury's choice of The Pianist, however, surprised a room full of critics.The film had been given a grea
  • REVIEW: About Schmidt

    Dir: Alexander Payne. US. 2002. 125 mins. Screened in CompetitionUnderplaying the overt social satire of Citizen Ruth and Election, Alexander Payne's remorselessly interior dramedy is centred squarely on a single character, and narrower in focus and more pessimistic in tone than either of its predecessors. About Schmidt also abandons the femme slant of the earlier films: its main character is an alienated insurance actuary who is, as he realises himself (
  • REVIEW: Ararat

    Dir: Atom Egoyan. Canada. 2002. 115mins. Screened in CompetitionArarat is the film Atom Egoyan has been waiting to make his entire career. All the familiar Egoyan tropes are present - the obsession with mediated images, the juxtaposition of 'truth' and 'fiction', of the 'normal' and the 'foreign', - but the canvas is much broader, in terms of both narrative scope and emotional range. Ararat refers to the mountain in eastern Turkey, a symbol for that region's opp
  • REVIEW: Demonlover

    Dir: Olivier Assayas. France 2002. 129mins. Screened in CompetitionDemonlover is the latest victim of the French tradition whereby a highly respected director over-reaches drastically, eliciting critical calumny and press-show booing - something that has happened in Cannes to the likes of Beineix, Carax and Kassovitz. It is a shame to see it happen to Olivier Assayas, one of France's most cerebral and cine-literate directors. His latest film, which could not be further from h
  • Schloendorff commits to Ten Minutes Older - The Cello

    Oscar and Palme d'Or winner Volker Schloendorff has joined the band of top name directors now committed to making Ten Minutes Older - The Cello. The film is an ensemble piece that follows Un Certain Regard portmanteau Ten Minutes Older - The Trumpet. The Cello has now been sold to Shapiro for Israel, Artcam for the Czech Republic as well as previously announced sales to the US, Germany, Japan and Italy.
  • Send in the Clones: UK box office under attack

    It came as no great surprise last weekend when 20th Century Fox opened the latest film in the Star Wars saga, Episode II - Attack Of The Clones, to massive results and the number one spot in the UK.The four day opening scored $16.6m (£11.4m) from 467 sites in the territory and landed the second-highest opening in UK box office history - behind the launch of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone ($23.9m including previews) in November last year and ahead of
  • Sex doll horror adds to ContentFilm slate

    After just eight months in operation New York's ContentFilm, run by indie stalwarts Ed Pressman and John Schmidt, has announced its fifth fully-financed film to go into production, a sexually-twisted psychological horror called Love Object.Said to combine elements of Demon Seed and Chucky with those of Roman Polanski's early classics, the film is written and directed by Robert Parigi, and stars Desmond Harrington (Ghost Ship, We Were Soldiers) and Melissa Sa
  • SF Bio to help promote short films in Sweden

    Swedish major SF Bio will be giving new filmmaking talent a chance to have their short films screened in cinemas across the country from this autumn. "We want to point attention to these great films, which might not be seen otherwise," says Sture Johansson, SF-Bio. "The audience won't have to pay as much to see a collection of shorts as they do for the features, but we hope this will help them get acquainted with the new talents." The project will be trialled for one year. Amon
  • Shaolin Soccer scores in South Korea

    Hong Kong director Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer has scored big in South Korea, grossing $1.2m nationwide in its first three days to secure the number two spot at the box-office behind Spider-Man. Distributed jointly by Cinema Service and Film Bank, the film's release was timed to take advantage of World Cup hype as Korea and Japan prepare to jointly host the worldwide event from May 31. The film, which broke box-office records in Hong Kong last year, tells the
  • Snapper, Two Drivers alliance starts with two Minnie features

    Juha Wuolijoki's New York and Helsinki-based Snapper Films has formed an alliance with Minnie Driver's outfit Two Drivers, which the actress runs with her sister Kate Driver and producer Lisa Fielding.Their joint slate includes two new features both budgeted under $10m, the horror-thriller Luci's Prayer based on a script by Rick Ramage (Stigmata) and Independent written by Bronwen Denton-Davis and to be directed by Peter Markham. Driver will star in both.
  • Sogepaq wraps Asian deals

    Spain's Sogepaq has closed a range of sales to Asia on four recent pictures from sister company Sogecine.Daniel Calparsoro's Kosovo-set action drama Guerreros has sold to Japan (Gaga), Korea (Cinestar), Hong Kong (Winson), Taiwan (Spring Cinema) and Thailand (MJC Entertainment). Japan's Gaga also picked up English-language sci-fi pic Stranded from Sogepaq, as did Thailand's New World.Costume drama Mad Love (Juana La Loca) sold to Japan (Daiei) and Thailand (
  • Sollet's Long Way finds US home

    Samuel Goldwyn and Fireworks have bagged Peter Sollet's Long Way Home ahead of its Un Certain Regard screening for their US joint distribution venture IDP.The title - sold by Studio Canal's division Wild Bunch which also co-produced along with Forensic Films - has been hotly pursued by US distributors.Long Way Home has also been sold to Momentum for the UK, Hopscotch for Australia and New Zealand and Seville for Canada. The film is a follow-up to Sollet's criticall
  • Spain's MediaPro buys 60% stake in Ovideo

    Spanish audiovisual company MediaPro has bought out 60% of film and TV producer Ovideo TV.The company has also bought a 20% share in Italian producer and consultancy Gruppo Comunicazione Italia (GCI) with an option to raise the stake later this year.The deals follow MediaPro's announced full-fledged entry into feature film production last month under newly-hired film chief Juan Ruiz de Gauna. MediaPro's star product is forthcoming documentary Looking For Fidel about Fidel
  • Spanish thriller Intacto connects with Cannes' buyers

    Intacto, the Spanish thriller that opened Cannes' Critics' Week sidebar, has scored highly with international buyers.Handled by Lions Gate Films International, Intacto was bought by Nippon Herald for Japan, Momentum for the UK, Lady Films for Italy, Scanbox Entertainment for all of Scandinavia, Spentzos for Greece, Cosmopol for Russia and the CIS and Right Beyond for Thailand.The Juan Carlos Fresnadillo-directed picture premiered in January at the Sundance festival
  • Spider

    Dir. David Cronenberg, Can-UK. 2002. Screened in CompetitionDavid Cronenberg has described Spider as "pure". This is something of an understatement. An uncompromising portrait of mental disturbance, Spider makes Cronenberg's previous Competition entry Crash seem commercial; whereas the 1996 film promised attractions such as cars and sex, Spider has nothing to entice viewers but a note-perfect cast delivering a sad story that gets sadder as its jig-
  • Spider

    Dir. David Cronenberg, Can-UK. 2002. Screened in CompetitionDavid Cronenberg has described Spider as "pure". This is something of an understatement. An uncompromising portrait of mental disturbance, Spider makes Cronenberg's previous Competition entry Crash seem commercial; whereas the 1996 film promised attractions such as cars and sex, Spider has nothing to entice viewers but a note-perfect cast delivering a sad story that gets sadder as its jig-
  • Studio Canal: minus to equal plus

    StudioCanal is to slash its production to just 15 films a year as part of a dramatic streamlining of operations. However, closing Vivendi Universal's European production and distribution arm is not on the agenda, insists chairman Richard Lenormand, despite rumours to the contrary.StudioCanal's production policy will now firmly focus on Europe and the bulk of the cuts will apply to high-profile US titles."We were involved in too many projects before so it is more a case of bala
  • Svensk Filmindustrie to set up Danish specialist arm

    Nordic major Svensk Filmindustrie's Danish branch SF-Film is to launch a new division in a bid to take a greater share of the booming local market."We will set up a branch focusing exclusively on the marketing and distribution of Danish films," said Michael Fleischer, who has been the managing director of SF in Denmark for over two years."We plan to release 4-6 films a year, through our deals with FilmPeople and Buttenschoen & Budde, as well as upcoming films from Cosmo Film, St
  • Swaraj: Bollywood ready to go global

    "There is more to Indian creative talent than snake charmers and monkeys, "said Sushma Swaraj, India's minister of information and broadcasting.on the eve of the screening of Devdas, the first "Bollywood" film to obtain a slot in Cannes Official Selection.The minister heads a 100-strong delegation to Cannes, which she claims is testimony to a rapidly-changing, export-driven, outlook within the Indian film industry."We have big stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, [former Miss Wo
  • Sweden's Film I Vast lines up another busy slate

    Swedish regional film fund Film I Vast has lined up another busy schedule, including the eagerly awaited new film from Jalla! Jalla! director Josef Fares.The as yet untitled action comedy shoots for Lars Jonsson's Memfis Film in June, where production also starts on Kristian Petri's Details from Gotafilm based on a play by Lars Noren and co-produced with Denmark's Moonlight Filmproduction.The Trollhattan studio, which has hosted Lars von Trier's Dogville and
  • Sweet Sixteen

    Director: Ken Loach. UK. 2002. 106mins. Screened in Competition.Continuing the rich collaboration between director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty, Sweet Sixteen puts a very human face on the plight of the socially disadvantaged in modern Britain. The heartrending tragedy of a Scottish teenager struggling for his small share of happiness may not mark a radical departure from Loach's distinguished record of uncompromising social realist dramas but it remains a h
  • The full list of Cannes winners

    Cannes 2002 PrizesPalme d'OrThe Pianist Dir: Roman PolanskiGrand Jury PrizeThe Man Without A Past Dir: Aki KaurismakiBest ActressKati Outinen in The Man Without A PastBest ActorOlivier Gourmet in The Son (Dirs: Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne)Best Direction (joint)Im Kwon-Taek for ChihwaseonPaul Thomas Anderson for Punch Drunk LoveBest ScriptPaul Laverty for Sweet Sixteen
  • The Man Without A Past (Mies Vailla Menneisyytta)

    Dir: Aki Kaurismaki. Finland. 2002. 97mins. Screening in CompetitionA low-life comedy-drama guaranteed to leave the viewer feeling high, the latest from Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki has all of his distinctive features: poker-faced humour, stripped-down and highly composed visuals, and a humanist romantic sensibility. All combine to make The Man Without A Past possibly the most purely pleasurable experience to run in Competition so far this year at Cannes. Kaurismaki
  • The Man Without A Past (Mies Vailla Menneisyytta)

    Dir: Aki Kaurismaki. Finland. 2002. 97mins. Screening in CompetitionA low-life comedy-drama guaranteed to leave the viewer feeling high, the latest from Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki has all of his distinctive features: poker-faced humour, stripped-down and highly composed visuals, and a humanist romantic sensibility. All combine to make The Man Without A Past possibly the most purely pleasurable experience to run in Competition so far this year at Cannes. Kaurismaki
  • Thura Film has Itch and Blues

    Copenhagen-based Thura Film, which has offices in London and LA, is lining up a slate of new projects following their action-comedy Old Men In New Cars, which is getting good feedback in the market.Thura's London-based Ornette Spenceley has picked up Cecilia McAllister's 20 Year Itch, a comedy drama about a isolated woman in her 40s, who starts to re-evaluate her life when she get an anonymous love letter. "It very much has the UK feel of East Is East, but we alway
  • Tonie Marshall revs up France Boutique

    Pyramide Productions's Fabienne Vonnier is in Cannes wrapping up financing for Tonie Marshall's next title France Boutique, which is to star Karin Viard and Francois Cluzet as a couple specialising in the production of TV home-shopping shows.France Boutique sees Marshall going back to a comedy in the vein of Venus Beauty Institute which won her four Cesars in 2000.France Boutique brings together again Venus Institute's production partner
  • Tristan And Isolde involved in double shooting

    Start-up production company Octagon Films will co-produce a version of Tristan And Isolde with Ridley Scott's Scott Free, to be directed by Kevin Reynolds - while at the same time Intermedia and Metropolitan Filmexport have teamed to finance and sell their own Tristan & Iseult, to which Rupert Wainwright (Stigmata) is attached to direct.Octagon Films has been set up by leading Irish producers Morgan O' Sullivan of World 2000 and James Flynn of Metropolitan F
  • UK filmmaker Eddie Cantor dies, aged 36

    British filmmaker Charlie Cantor died last week, aged 36. Friends and colleagues are invited to a memorial service at Bafta in London on May 28 at 7.00pm. Cantor's credits include Appetite, which he produced and co-wrote for J&M Entertainment and the Isle of Man, and Blood, which he wrote and directed.
  • UK's Entertainment extends New Line output deal

    Leading UK independent Entertainment Film Distributors has extended its output deal with New Line Cinema for two years, whereby Entertainment will handle all New Line product in the UK until Dec 2003.The last deal between the two companies expired in Dec 2001 when Entertainment enjoyed its biggest ever hit with New Line's The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring which grossed a whopping $89m in the UK.Films under the new deal will include Austin Powers In Gold
  • Vortex re-teams with Cage's Saturn on Chain

    Vortex Pictures is to re-team with Nicolas Cage's Saturn Films on Cage's next production Chain which is written and to be directed by John Rice. Chain is a gritty revenge tale about a modern day cowboy who rides a Harley Davidson and Rice and Cage are looking to have it complete and ready for release in summer 2003.
  • Warner expands European production push

    Warner Bros Pictures has hired Crisilde Dominici as director, local production, Italy as part of its expansion drive into European production and acquisitions, and has declared its intentions to embark on a Spanish local production plan later this year.Dominici, who has worked with directors such as Nanni Moretti, joined the company in March. She will report to general manager, Paolo Ferrari and vice president of European productions, Simona Benzakein, in identifying suitable projects
  • Wild Bunch flies with Purple Butterfly

    StudioCanal division Wild Bunch is boarding Purple Butterfly, the next film by Suzhou River director Lou Ye, which will topline Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's star Zhang Ziyi.Produced by Shanghai Film Studios, Purple Butterfly is an Hitchcokian adventure/romance set in Shanghai at the time of the Japanese invasion of China. The film is billed as a cross between Crouching Tiger and a John Woo movie and is being positioned as a palatable exoti
  • Wild Bunch set to cut loose

    Wild Bunch, one of the leading sellers of festival films at Cannes this year, is expected to loosen its ties with parent company StudioCanal.StudioCanal insiders say that StudioCanal' s French head Brahim Chioua will step aside, taking Vincent Maraval, and Wild Bunch, with him. Financial details of the separation have yet to be finalised. Until the dust settles, nobody at StudioCanal or Wild Bunch will confirm anything on the record.The rumour mill also suggests that Stephane Ce
  • Wildside takes Tongan Ninja

    France's Wildside Films, the distributor headed by Manuel Chiche, has picked up Tongan Ninja from the New Zealand Film Commission. The off-beat martial arts comedy previously went to Vision Africa for South Africa and to Pacific Entertainment for Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore and to Sar-an for Turkey.
  • Zentropa unleashes 'Dogumentary' label

    Under a new 'Dogumentary' label, Denmark's Zentropa has finalised deals for a slate of docs to be mentored by Lars von Trier as a documentary equivalent to his Dogme-movement.Organised by documentary arm Zentropa Real and headed by Carsten Holst, the idea has so far attracted filmmakers from Denmark (Sami Saif, Bente Milton, Mikael Klint, Claus Birch), Sweden (controversial Paal Hollander), Norway (Margreth Olin) and the UK.The financial backers and co-producers include the Nord
  • Zonka takes Le Petit Voleur remake to Crossroads

    Crossroads Films, the New York-based film, commercials and video production outfit which has a first-look deal with United Artists (UA), has signed a deal with French film-maker Erick Zonka to direct an English-language remake of his 65-minute 1999 movie Le Petit Voleur.The film was the story of a young working-class man, who, sick of his mundane life in a bakery, turns to a life of crime. It starred Nicolas Duvauchelle as the lead protagonist "S" but was not as widely seen as Z