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26 May 2006

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  • ...and delivers in US with $77m debut

    The Da Vinci Code opened powerfully in NorthAmerica this weekend with a gross of $77m, making it the first of the year'ssummer blockbusters to live up to expectations.
  • A Scanner Darkly

    Dir, Scr: Richard Linklater. USA 2006. 100 mins.Returning to the animated live-action technique of his 2001 philosophical doodle Waking Life, the hyper-productive Richard Linklater has come up with what must surely be the first sci-fi slacker movie. Based on Philip K Dick's cult novel of the same name, this is an entertainingly oddball ride, though also a meandering one. But when the conspiratorial surveillance plot gets too confusing we can fall back on th
  • Abu-Assad's follow-up to Paradise Now lands at Focus

    Focus Features has picked up worldwide rights to Hany Abu-Assad's follow-upto Paradise Now.Abu-Assad pitched the as-yet-untitled contemporary drama to Focus and iswriting the screenplay. Senior vice president of production Kahli Small issupervising development for production president John Lyons.Paradise Now earned an foreign language Academy Award nominationthis year and picked up a string of awards from Berlin and the Hollywood ForeignPress Association, among oth
  • Ambitious auteurs at Cannes still lack the 'wow factor'

    It only takes two or threefilms to bring a festival alive. They don't even have to be touched bygreatness, just talking points that make everyone glad to be here. Cache set Cannes buzzing last year. The Brown Bunny managed it on an unforgettable scale in 2003. This year, a respectableroll call of competition titles all come with caveats and equivocations. Volver is sublime but it is really Almodovar's best' TheKaurismaki is slight. The Moretti i
  • Apted recruited to direct Goal! 3

    Director Michael Apted is in discussions with MilkshakeFilms to direct the final film in their Goal! trilogy. During a Cannes event with financiers Scion Films,producer Mike Jefferies announced that negotiations are ongoing with Apted for Goal!3.The film will be Apted's second football project in arow. He's currently shooting an as-yet-untitled football documentary for Patheand Reason, which will finish its shoot in Germany during next month's W
  • Arista gears up for Scribes 2 programme

    Arista Development islaunching Scribes 2, a programme for black and minority ethnic screenwriters. The eight-month screenplaydevelopment scheme is run by Arista, BBC Film and Capitol Films Production. Mentors in the programmecome from Cuba Pictures, Element Films, Feel Films, Samuelson Productions andTiger Aspect Pictures. Each participant developsone screenplay and one outline, which are shown to Capitol and BBC throughexclusive first-look deals.
  • Bangkok changes dates to pre-Berlin slot

    The BangkokInternational Film Festival has changed its dates to Jan 26 - Feb 5 after thisyear's new post-Berlin slot proved unsuccessful. According toJuthamas Siriwan, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) whichfunds the festival, next year's event will be jointly managed by US consultingfirm Film Festival Management (FFM) and a local team. The festival hasalso brought on board former Bafta LA chief Gary Dartnell as a consultant.Jennifer Stark is heading the intern
  • Bauer Martinez takes new tactic with The Break-Up Guy

    Bauer Martinez Studios isretooling its business plan to focus on self-generated material and plans tokick off this October with production of original comedy The Break-Up Guy scripted by David Drew Gallagher.Gallagher previously wrote BauerMartinez's upcoming Van Wilder 2: The Rise Of Taj.The romantic comedy scriptdeveloped from a pitch is the story of a professional who creates problems withcouples. "It's the opposite of Hitch," said Bauer Martinez chief Ph
  • BBC Films' slate includes US-set film by Lynne Ramsay

    "We're in very bullishmood. We've got some great films," says head of BBC Films David Thompson. Threemonths ago, it was announced that the Beeb's investment in film production isset to rise from $17m to $26m a year, subject to the favourable settlement ofthe current licence fee negotiations.Here in Cannes, BBC Filmshas two titles in competition, Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation and Andrea Arnold's Red Road. Meanwhile, BBC Films'development slate is continuing to swell
  • Bleiberg works with July August for Kirot

    US-based production andsales house Bleiberg Entertainment is teaming with July August Productions onthe action project Kirot. Danny Lerner will direct thestory about a female assassin on the run and a battered housewife who joinforces to escape from their oppressors.Ehud Bleiberg is producingand has commenced worldwide sales here. Production will start later this year.'Danny Lerner is a veryskilled filmmaker and Kirot is afast-paced, cutt
  • Boost to Czech film fund dies in parliament

    The Czech parliament hasfailed to override a presidential veto of a measure that would have increasedstate support for the local film industry threefold and required greatercontributions from exhibitors and distributors. In April, the Chamber ofDeputies passed legislation that would increase the annual size of the StateFund for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography from $3m to atleast $9.6m. Culture Minister Viteslav Jandak had said the fund could reac
  • Buskin basks in equity

    Rome-based sales and co-production outfit Buskin Filmhas sealed a '$20m financial partnership with Italian private funds groupMg Lab.''The deal will enable Buskin to board internationalco-productions by'investing between 10-25% of a film's budget. In future, Buskin hopes' to be able to invest upto 35% of a movie's budget.'' Buskin CEO Antonio Guadalupi said hehopes to invest in 10 films over' the next three years. Each project will have a project of $10-$12m.''Under the n
  • Caetano film cleans up in first competition stampede

    In the first buying stamped for a competitiontitle at the Cannes market this year, Wild Bunch has concluded a raft of dealson Adrian Caetano's Buenos Aires 1977(Cronica De Una Fuga).The Weinstein Company took North American, NewZealand and Australian r
  • Celsius racks up deals on Paris Je T'aime

    Buyers have fallen head overheels for Paris Je T'Aime.Mid-way through the market, the portmanteau picture (which opened Un CertainRegard) has been snapped up by more than 20 buyers. The French release throughLa Fabrique is scheduled for June 1. Celsius Entertainment, which co-financedthe film and is handling world sales, is in advanced negotiations with both UKand US buyers, but has already closed the following territories:Benelux - A-filmPortugal - LusomundoScandi
  • Chiesa books Japan sale for Rosso Come Il Fuoco

    Adriana Chiesa Enterprises has sold Rosso Come IlFuoco to Japan's Sine Qua Non.Directed by Cristiano Bortone, the film is inspired bythe true story of Mirco Mencacci, a blind sound editor who was sent to aschool for blind children in the 1970s, where he discovered a passion forcin
  • Chinese press given warning

    China's 50-strong state-owned press contingent has been ordered not to coversensitive subjects at the festival - in particular Lou Ye's controversialcompetition title Summer Palace. Sources say that followingan official communi
  • Cillian Murphy and Natalie Press to star in Telepathy

    Rising young stars CillianMurphy and Natalie Press are to star in Telepathy, a new sci-fi feature just announced on Beyond'sCannes slate.Miranda Richardson and SamNeill are also in the cast. The project, due to shoot in October 2006, is scriptedby Stephen Volk and is to be directed by Lesley Manning (whose credits includehighly praised BBC TV films My Sister's Wife and Ghostwatch.)Telepathy tells the story of Josef and Viktor Zalen
  • Climates (Iklimler)

    Dir/scr: Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Turk-Fr. 2006. 97mins.In 2002, Turkish director NuriBilge Ceylan made his mark on the Cannes competitionwith Distant (Uzak). That, his third feature,struck many audiences as a resounding blow in favour of the great art-cinematradition of films as contemplative, thematically rich personal essays. Ceylan's growing reputation as a contemporary classic isconfirmed by the immensely sa
  • Comme T'Y Es Belle strong at French box office

    In its first week out, LisaAzuelos' sleeper comedy that could, Comme T'Y Es Belle, has sold nearly 350,000 tickets in France. Theticket tally was roughly on par with that of Mission: Impossible :III.French sales company WildBunch has added a screening in Cannes on Monday May 22 at 2 pm as buyers havebeen circling the 'film.Belle, which Pan Europeenne is distributing in France,centres on the lives 'and loves of four women played by Michelle Laroque,Aure Atika
  • Congorama gone to UGC for France

    Philippe Falardeau's Congorama,the closing film at the Directors Fortnight, has been sold to UGC for France.The deal was negotiated by French co-producer EricTavitian and producer Luc Dery.Congorama, onLondon-based The Works' Cannes slate, is a Canada/Belgium/France co-production.Starring Olivier Gourmet (best known for his work withthe Dardennes), Congorama is the story of a Belgian inventormisunderstood by his employer.On a journey to Canada,
  • Czech producers protest funding cut in Cannes

    Czech producers in Canneshave reacted with dismay and fury to yesterday's decision by the Czech Parliamentto kill off the long-awaited law to boost Czech production support.To register their anger, theCzech film delegation attending the Cannes Film Festival shut down the Czechstand at 5 pm yesterday for the remainder of the festival. The flag was removedfrom its pavilion, Number 104, at the end of the Village International. TheCzech Film Center, co-financed by the P
  • Da Vinci Code breaks international opening record...

    Riding a global wave of publicity and controversy, The DaVinci Code this weekend became the biggest international day-and-dateopener ever, with an estimated gross of $147m from 12,213 screens in 90territories. Added to the film's estimated North American gross of $77m,the international take gives Sony's Holy Grail-themed adventure a worldwidefirst-weekend total of $224m, the second biggest ever, behind only the $253.9achieved this time last year by Star Wars: Episode III - Re
  • Danes and Cubans bed down with Marquez whores

    The Danes and the Cubans are getting into bed together on ascreen adaptation of Nobel-prize winning novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez's mostrecent novel, Memories of My Melancholy Whores."The year I turned 90, I wanted to give myselfthe gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin," begins thenovel, which tells the story of an elderly journalist's erotic obsession with a14-year-old prostitute.The film is being packaged by Danish-based Crone Film.It will be
  • Danish Film Institute's THINKTANK could become policy body

    The Copenhagen THINKTANK,the new initiative organised by the Danish Film Institute (DFI) to ponderstrategy for European film, is looking over time to become a policy body.'We have all the keyplayers with us, all the national institutes and a lot of people from theindustry,' said the DFI's Henning Camre in Cannes this week. Thelong-term goal is to devise policy that the European members will adhere to.The Danes have been thedriving force behind the THINKTANK.
  • Danish Film Institute's THINKTANK could become policy body

    The Copenhagen THINKTANK,the new initiative organised by the Danish Film Institute (DFI) to ponderstrategy for European film, is looking over time to become a policy body.'We have all the keyplayers with us, all the national institutes and a lot of people from theindustry,' said the DFI's Henning Camre in Cannes this week. Thelong-term goal is to devise policy that the European members will adhere to.The Danes have been thedriving force behind the THINKTANK.
  • Dogwoof gets UK rights to Grbavica

    UK distributor DogwoofPictures has taken all UK rights to Berlinale Golden Bear winner Grbavica. Jasmila Zbanic'sSarajevo-set drama is a co-production from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, andGermany.The deal was struck withsales company Match Factory.'The film has animportant political and social angle, but it's also a moving story about amother and daughter,' said Dogwoof's head of acquisitions Anna Godas.Grbavica is about a 12-y
  • Drama/Mex

    Dir/Scr: Gerardo Naranjo. Mexico 2006. 105 mins.A loose, choral drama that plays out over one hot night in Acapulco, Drama/Mex traces its line of influence back through Amores Perros and Gus Van Sant to early Truffaut.Shot in just three weeks, featuring mostly non-professional actors, this Cannes Critics' Week entry is fresh, likeable and bursting with a spontaneous energy that makes up for its often-slight storyline. This could see some theatrical action beyond its
  • Dueling Napoleon projects race to the screen

    In what is becoming a Capote-esque race to get to the screen first, the twoNapoleon movies about his final days on St Helena and his friendship with a 15-year-oldare now both set to go before the cameras.Patrice Chereau has declaredthat he will shoot his $20 million The Monster Of Longwood this winter, beating the Scarlett Johansson project NapoleonAnd Betsy which cannot shoot until2007 due to the Johansson's hectic schedule.Following a l
  • Edinburgh festival adds documentary award

    TheEdinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has announced special plans forits 60th festival, to be held August 14-27.Thefestival is launching a new award for best documentary feature, which willcarry a cash prize. TheEIFF is programming a special 1970s retrospective this year. They Might BeGiants: Other Voices from the New American Cinema will include films such HalAshby's The Last Detail, Irvin Kershner's Loving, Larry Cohen's God Told Me Too, Arthur P
  • Element Films makes sales on Boy Town

    John Freme's Element FilmsInternational has completed sales on rock and roll comedy Boy Town to Canada (Equinoxe), Benelux (Dutch Filmworks), andIsrael (Forun Film).Mick Molloy and SallyPhillips star in the story of a 1980s boy band that reunites for one more chanceat the big time.Sales were also concluded onthe terrorism thriller Five Fingersstarring Ryan Phillippe and Laurence Fishburne. Rights went to Australia(Indie Pictures) and Germany and
  • Elena Anaya joins cast of The Floating World

    Goya nominee Elena Anaya hasjoined Wintertime Films and Walker Films' Australian Outback-set drama TheFloating World.The Spanish actress willstar as a grieving widow who embarks upon ajourney of self-discovery andlearns disturbing truths about her past.Ben Mendelsohn and VinceColosimo round out the key cast.John Winter wrote anddirected and is serving as producer with Roslyn Walker.US-based LightningEntertainment is handling international
  • Emperor closes raft of sales on Rob-B-Hood

    Emperor Motion Pictures hassold action comedy Rob-B-Hood,starring Jackie Chan and directed by Benny Chan, to Italy's Minerva, Germany'sSplendid and Korea's ShowEast. The Hong Kong-based companyhas also sold all Eastern Europe territories on thefilm to Central Partnership and SPI. Produced by Chan's JCEMovies and Beijing-based Huayi Brothers, the $17m film is about three bumblingsmall-time crooks who dodge bullets to return their
  • EU and US team up for new online film charter

    Online film downloading isto get more user-friendly with the signing of a new charter. In Cannes,EU and US Internet service providers and telecom operators such as TimeWarner, Vivendi and Telecom Italia endorsed the European Film OnlineCharter, which aims to encourage the wider circulation of European filmsboth within and outside the EU as well as increasing broadband Internetuse across Europe.The charter underlines thatinternet service providers and film companies should cooperate to
  • Fabrication sees brisk sales on 10th & Wolf

    Fabrication Films hasreported brisk sales on crime thriller 10th & Wolf that Oscar winning Crash screenwriter Bobby Moresco will direct fromhis own screenplay.James Marsden, GiovanniRibisi, Brad Renfro and Piper Perabo star in the tale of a Gulf Warveteran who becomes embroiled in the Mob life he thought he had left behind.Deals closed with Brazil(Alpha); CIS (Pyramide); Benelux (Indies); Portugal (Lusomundo); Greece(Hollywood Entertainment); Ea
  • Fast Food Nation

    Dir: Richard Linklater. US. 2006. 116mins.The American Dream is full of shit but everyone stillwants a slice of it in Fast Food Nation,an uneven attempt to pick the dramatic meat from the bones of Eric Schlosser's2001 non-fiction bestseller. Following the multi-story template established by Traffic, it traces the food chain fromthe smug marketing executives in company board rooms to the vulnerable workerson
  • Field and Al Ali named artistic directors for Dubai festival

    The DubaiInternational Film Festival has unveiled new artistic directors for 2006, MasoudAmralla Al Ali and Simon Field, who will program films from the Arab andnon-Arab worlds respectively. Al Ali is basedin Abu Dhabi and is the artistic director of the UAE Cultural Foundation andthe founder of the Emirates Film Competition; he will program sectionsincluding Emerging Emiratis, a new selection of five films from new film-makersin the United Arab Emirates.Field, a producerat Illu
  • Film Four, Intermedia on board for Baghdad Blog

    FilmFour andIntermedia will work together on a feature film adaptation of Baghdad Blog, written by Iraqi architect Salam Paxabout his daily life in Baghdad before, during and after the invasion.Snowcake director Marc Evans will direct, withRoss Klavan, who wrote Tigerland, adapting the script. Scott Kroopf andOllie Madden will produce for Intermedia and Peter Carlton is representing thefilm for FilmFour. Asif Kapadia will serve as an executive producer.
  • Filmax recruits Universum for Transsiberian

    Spain's Filmax Entertainmenthas signed on Germany's Universum Film to co-produce Brad Anderson's new film, Transsiberian.Set to shoot in English inlate October between Spain and Eastern Europe, the project is the director'sfollow-up to the well-received The Machinist, also a production of Julio Fernandez for Filmax.Universum will retaindistribution rights in German-speaking territories. The deal was signed inCannes by Universum's Tania Reichert-Facilides and Filmax
  • FilmFour backs Hillcoat's Death Of A Ladies Man

    After earlier Cannesannouncements to back the next films from Michael Winterbottom and Ken Loach,FilmFour has announced another new film on its slate. The Channel 4 feature filmarm is working with Kudos Pictures, run by former FilmFour head Paul Webster,to co-finance Death Of A Ladies Man.The black comedy, with a budget under $5.6m (£3m), will reunite the team behindThe Proposition: director JohnHillcoat, writer Nick Cave and actor Ray Winstone. Webster will produce.
  • Films Distribution takes rights to new Leopold film

    Fran'ois Yon's FilmsDistribution has taken worldwide rights to Wolfsbergen, the latest feature fromhighly acclaimed Dutch director Nanouk Leopold (whose Guernsey screened in the Quinzaine last year.) The new film --a kaleidoscopic drama about four generations of a family -- re-unites severalof the stars from Oscar-winning Character.The cast is headlined by JanDecleir, Fedja van Huet and Tamar van den Dop.Wolfsbergen will be delivered early next year and look
  • Firth, Weisz and McKellen sign on for The Colossus

    Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, Ian McKellen and Susan Sarandonhave signed on to star in The Colossus for director Sean Mathias.Katselas Films' political thriller is based on AnnHarries' novel Manly Pursuits. Lisa Katselas, who previously worked on RichardIII and MrsDalloway,will produce. Mathias co-wrote the screenplay with Myer Taub.
  • Focus International sells out on Cannes slate

    Focus Features International has reported its most successful Cannes ever, preselling "pretty much the entire slate" according to president Alison Thompson here yesterday. Thompson said thatthe company had closed 110 deals on its new titles, demonstrating, she said, thatthe company continues to sell films contrary to market speculation that Focustitles would be fed increasingly through Universal International.She also said
  • Focus takes rights to next film from Hany Abu-Assad

    Focus Features has picked upworldwide rights to Hany Abu-Assad's follow-up to Paradise Now.Abu-Assad pitched theas-yet-untitled contemporary drama to Focus and is writing the screenplay.Senior vice president ofproduction Kahli Small is supervising development for production president JohnLyons.Paradise Now earned a foreign language Academy Award nominationthis year and picked up a string of awards from the Berlinale and the HollywoodForei
  • Fortissimo opens New York bureau

    Salesagency Fortissimo is to open a New York office. Thebureau will be led by Hong Kong-based executive Winnie Lau, who has beenpromoted to Senior Vice President, Sales & Acquisitions.Shewill move from Hong Kong to New York this summer for the launch of the office beforethe Toronto Film Festival.Theannouncement was made by company co-chairmen Michael J Werner and WouterBarendrecht in Cannes, where the company has five films in official selection."Inher five years w
  • Fortissimo sells Solondz happy return

    Fortissimo Filmshas boarded the as-yet-untitled new film from Todd Solondz, a companion pieceto his earlier break-through piece Happiness,and will commence pre-sales immediately in Cannes.The film, knownas The New Todd Solondz Film, will be produced by Ted Hope (21 Grams), Mike Ryan and Derrick Tseng (Chasing Amy) with Fortissimo Films'co-chairmen Michael J Werner and Wouter Barendrecht serving as executiveproducers.
  • Fortissimo serves up Waiter to France...

    Fortissimo Films has sold Waiter, the company's fourth venturewith Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam, to France's BAC and Israel's United King. The Dutch/HK-based companyhas also closed a slew of sales on John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus which has gone to BIM (Italy), Central Partner
  • Fortune Star sells remake rights to A Better Tomorrow

    Korean production companyFingerprint Pictures has acquired remake rights to classic Hong Kong actiontitle A Better Tomorrow, directedby John Woo in 1986, from Hong Kong-based Fortune Star Entertainment.Fingerprint, founded byKorean producer Park Hyung-jun (My Boyfriend Is Type B), is currently recruiting scriptwriters and adirector for the Korean remake which is planned for production in 2007.The company is also workingwith Fortune Star to bring in a high-profile p
  • Gaga enters Dragon Tiger Gate

    Hong Kong's Mandarin Films has sold Wilson Yip's Dragon Tiger Gate to Gaga Communications(Japan), Flashstar (Brazil), Indofilm (India), Italia Film (Middle East), and Cinebox (Vietnam.)
  • Giordana plans Franco-Japanese co-production

    Best of Youthdirector Marco Tullio Giordana's next picture will be a $7m-$10mFrench-language adaptation of cult author Amelie Northomb's period novel, Mercure.''The story centres on a girl disfigured by abomb who mustn't see the reflection' of her own faceFabrizio 'Mosca of Rome-based Titti Film willproduce, having previously worked with the director on The' HundredSteps.The film is planned to be a French/Japaneseco-production - two countries where' t
  • Gonzo goes Gaga for Peggy Sue

    Japan's Gaga Films and animation house Gonzo will collaborate on an animatedfeature adaptation of French children's book Peggy Sue And The Ghosts: Sleep Of The Demon, written by SergeBrussolo.The book is the second in aseries of eight best-sellers which have been published in France, the first six of which have been translated intoJapanese. Kadokawa pub
  • Haut Et Court pursues Assayas $15m Happiness

    French production and distribution company HautEt Court will produce the next film from Olivier Assayas, The Pursuit Of Happiness. The film will be shot inEnglish on a $15m budget and written by Douglas Kennedy.Based on Kennedy's own book, the film is
  • Haut Et Court slate includes next film from Assayas

    French production anddistribution company Haut Et Court will produce the next film from OlivierAssayas, The Pursuit Of Happiness.The film will be shot in English on a $15m budget and written by DouglasKennedy.Based on Kennedy's own book,the film is set in post-World War II New York with McCarthyism as abackdrop. It's too early to cast, but Haut Et Court chief Carole Scotta, thethree principal roles -- two men and a woman in their 30s -- will beheld by top-dra
  • Hawke. Finney and Tomei sign to Lumet film

    Oscar-winning director Sidney Lumet is moving aheadwith new thriller, Before The Devil Knows You're Dead. London-based Capitol Films revealed at Cannes that isfinancing and selling the project.Lumet (whose credits include such acknowledgedclassics as Network, Dog Day Afternoon and Twelve Angry Men) is currently putting together a heavyweight cast. Already attached are Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke,renowned British actor Albert Finney (Erin Brockovich, Big Fis
  • Horror film Damned finds several buyers

    Pathe Distribution in the UKand RCV in Benelux are two buyers who have already stepped up to buy Damned, a new US horror film from producer Rob Fried (Collateral,Godzilla) which is being sold byPierre Weisbein's Green Room Pictures.Focus in Brazil and Star TVin Asia have also acquired the film, which is written by newcomers Jim Agnewand Sean Keller. It tells the story of a family who survives a plane crash inthe Rocky Mountains only to find themselves
  • Hunchback planned as $10m UK-Poland co-production

    Producers Nik Goldman and Max Ryan are setting up a$10m UK-Poland co-production for a new adaptation of The Hunchback of NotreDame.The project, entitled Hunchback,will star Ryan, John Rhys-Davies, Christopher Lee, Said Taghmaoui, StevenBerkoff and Jack Ryan. Battlefield Earth's Roger Christianwill direct.The 10-week shoot will take place this summer inKrakow and Lodz and CGI will be hand
  • Ireton promoted to president and representative director of Warner Japan

    William Iretonhas been promoted to president and representative director of WarnerEntertainment Japan.
  • Irvine Welsh to direct The Man Who Walks

    Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh is to make his directorial debuton TheMan Who Walks.The $3.7m (£2m) productionwill be made for his own company4way Pictures and is an adaptation ofthe 2002 novel by fellow Scottishauthor Alan Warner, who also wrote MorvernCallar. Producer Catherine Aitken iscurrently in Cannesfinalising finance.A blackly comic road moviethriller,the film tells of a young man searching for his eccentric uncle togeth
  • Israel Film Fund backs new film from Koshashvili

    The Israel Film Fund hasannounced that it is boarding a raft of new projects. The Fund will pump morethan $300,000 into $5m drama Kishta,by director Dover Koshashvili and producers Marek Rozenbaum and EdgardTenenbaum.Meanwhile, the Fund hasalready committed $400,000 to Lebanon, produced by Einat Bikel and executive produced by France-based AlainGirard of Arsam International. The drama tells the story of a soldier in theLebanon war. The project is based
  • Italy pays tribute to Leo Pescarolo

    Leo Pescarolo, the Italian producer behind Federico Fellini's Prova D'Orchestra and co-producer of Lars von Trier's Dogville, has died. He was 70.Born in Genova to silent-era movie star Vera Vergani, Pescarolo was known as a courageous producer who championed quality arthouse pictures and international co-productions.He was credited with "discovering" a number of directors, such as Liliana Cavani and Francesca Archibugi, with whom he collaborated on several features, including th
  • Italy's Istituto Luce plans co-production with Pereira

    Italian state distributorand co-producer Istituto Luce has set its sights on Argentina as a newco-production partner, and is lining up a new picture by Argentine directorMiguel Pereira, who previously made La Deuda Interna.Entitled La Mula, the film will have a budget of up to $3.8m, and isabout a girl who smuggles drugs from Argentina to Italy.The film, written anddirected by Pereria, will focus on the girl's relationship with anItalian relative she meets when she
  • Jindabyne

    Dir: Ray Lawrence. Australia. 2006. 123 minsIn a time of uncertainty or crisis, the only things you can cling on to are personal integrity and a sense of community. That is the hard lesson learnt by the residents of Jindabyne in director Ray Lawrence's haunting companion piece to his award-winning comeback feature Lantana (2001). Like Lantana there is a dead body, a killer and a mystery that could easily be the basis of a Wolf Creek-style chiller. Lawrence sets aside the pursuit o
  • Jodorowsky plans new film King Shot

    Alejandro Jodorowsky, theoriginator of the midnight movie, has a new film planned, entitled King Shot.He describes the project as somethingof a metaphysical spaghetti Western that could star his fans and friends NickNolte and Marilyn Manson. Producer Pieree Spengler is developing.Jodorowsky is in Cannestoday for Cannes Classics screenings of 1971's El Topo and 1973's Holy Mountain, both of which are represented by Allen Klein's ABKCOand have bee
  • Julian Richards prepares for Summer Scars

    Prolific British filmmaker Julian Richards, whopreviously directed The Last Horror Movie, has completed the financing of hislatest project.Summer Scars, Richards'sfourth feature, is billed as "a dark psychological thriller about a gang ofschool truants held hostage in the woods by a psychopath."Kevin Howarth (who also played in The Last HorrorMovie) will star. The feature, with a budget under $1m, hasbeen financed by the Arts Council of Wales, Little Wing Fi
  • Kadokawa sets up $18m animation fund

    Japan's Kadokawa Shoten Publishing has established a $17.8m (Y2bn) animationfund which will underwrite 35 film and TV animation productions over the nextfive years.In addition to Kadokawa, theDevelopment Bank of Japan (DBJ) and other banking facilities such as ShinGinkoTokyo also contributed to the fund through a recently announced DBJ initiativeto stimulate the production, distribution and export of an
  • La Tourneuse De Pages

    Dir: Denis Dercourt. Fr. 2006. 83mins.While it tries to wedge itself inbetween the caustic social commentary of Claude Chabroland Michael Haneke's notion of past guilt hauntingthe Western bourgeoisie, Denis Dercourt'spsychological thriller La Tourneuse De Pages sadly has neither the wit nor thedepth to play in such a lofty league.Dercourt takes for his story a butcher's young daughter whoflunks her piano t
  • Lau linked to Chinese classic

    Korea'sTaewon Entertainment and Hong Kong's Visualizer Film Production areco-producing $15m-$20m epic Three Kingdoms - Resurrection of the Dragon.Hong Kong star Andy Lau Tak Wah is attached to the project with other castingto be confirmed.Thefilm is being directed by Daniel Lee, who previously directed Dragon Squad,starring Sammo Hung Kam-bo and Michael Biehn. Headof production and distribution company Taewon Entertainment TaeWon Chung isproducing with Susanna Tsang of Visualize
  • Laura Dern signs on for Polson's Tenderness

    Laura Dern has joinedRussell Crowe in John Polson's thriller Tenderness, which is set to begin filming in New York onMonday.New York-based GreeneStreetFilms International is reporting a torrent of interest on the story of aviolent teenager who falls for a runaway girl while being investigated by adetective.Sixth Sense editor Andrew Mondshein has also boarded theproject, 'adapted from the novel by Robert Cormier.GreeneStreet Films isfinancing Tenderness
  • Lazio starts Italy's fourth regional film fund

    The long drought that hashit Italy's traditional film financiers is spurring the country to find newways of bolstering its film industry.As such, the Lazio regionaround Rome will become the fourth region in Italy to establish a filmfund.The $12.8m (Euros 10m) fund,created along the lines of France's Ile de France fund, will be handed out tointernational co-producers who shoot afilm in Lazio.The fund will cover up to50% of a movie's budget and is not ex
  • Ledger and Williams join Haynes' Dylan project

    Hot off their Academy Awardnominations, Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams have both joined thestar-studded cast of I'm Not There,Todd Haynes' $25m portrait of Bob Dylan that finally starts shooting inMontreal this July.Ledger, who replaces ColinFarrell, will be one of six top-flight actors to play the iconicsinger-songwriter in his different life-guises. The others will be CateBlanchett, Richard Gere, Christian Bale and Ben Wishaw, the lead in theupcoming adaptation of
  • Lightning closes key deals on Conversations With God

    Santa Monica-based LightningEntertainment has struck key territorydeals on its spiritual adaptation ConversationsWith God.Sales have closed inAustralia/New Zealand (Hopscotch); Spain (Isaan);Mexico (Quality Films);Brazil (Alpha Films); Benelux (Inspire Films);Czech Republic (Padora);Turkey (Fida); Hungary (Budapest Films);Singapore (Ram Nido); and HongKong (Edko).Samuel Goldwyn Films holdsUS theatrical and Fox Home Entertainmentholds North American vid
  • Lights In The Dusk (Laitakaupungin Valot)

    Dir/scr: Aki Kaurismaki. Fin. 2006. 80mins.LightsIn The Darkrepresents business as usual, more or less, for Finnish gloomsterAki Kaurismaki - albeit leavened with somewhat lessof his distinctive dry humour. This social-realist tale, with a dash of filmnoir, is about a loner whose life goes from bad to worse to worse still, andfinds the director in more pessimistic spirit
  • Linklater plans Chet Baker project

    Richard Linklater is movingfrom Fast Food Nation into aproject about Chet Baker called Chesney which will look at one day in the life of the jazz legend before he wasfamous.Describing the film as'a small jazz movie,' Linklater said this week that the film would bemade independently. Linklater is in Cannes with two films Fast FoodNation, in competition, and AScanner Darkly, in Un CertainRegard.He stressed that the Bakerfilm wouldn't
  • Lionsgate closes slew of deals on Rogue

    Lionsgate International hasreported storming business on its upcoming action thriller Rogue starring Jet Li and Jason Statham.Filming wrapped recently inVancouver on Lionsgate's biggest production to date. Statham plays anFBI agent who pursues the notorious assassin who killed his partner.Phillip Atwell directed.Sales were concluded withJapan (Asmik Ace); Germany (Constantine); France (Metropolitan); Spain(Aurum); Italy (RAI); South Korea (The Showtime
  • Lionsgate swoops on Wayne Beach's thriller Slow Burn

    Lionsgate has picked up North American and UK rights form GreeneStreetFilms International to the thriller Slow Burn starring Mekhi Phifer, Ray Liottaand Chiwetel Ejiofor.Wayne Beach directed the multi-layered story of a district attorney who has onenight to salvage his reputation and solve a murder. Lionsgate plans an Augustrelease in the US.James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J, Taye Diggs and
  • London Film Festival plans 50th anniversary events

    As the Times bfi London FilmFestival prepares for its 50th anniversary (October 18-November 2), plans areunderway for a series of celebratory events.These will include a specialscreening under Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square as well as the largest surprisefilm screening, showing simultaneously in 50 venues across the city. There arealso expected to be a number of shorts films from leading directors celebratingLondon that will be specially commissioned for the fe
  • London Film Focus will feature a dozen world premieres

    A dozen world premieres are among around 40 filmsscreening at this year's London UK Film Focus (LUFF). The third edition of the event runs from June 26-29,attracting distributors from around the world to see UK product. Among the titles likely to pique the curiosity of thebuyers are Life & Lyrics (sold by Beyond) and PennyWoolcock's Mischief Nights (handled by Pathe).Other titles to receive their world premieres include Popcorn starring Jack Ryder;
  • Lucky Red finds partners for Mereu's Sound Of Wood

    Italy's Lucky Red is teamingup with France's Haut et Court andBelgium's Artemis to co-produceSalvatore Mereu's new feature,Sound Of Wood (Sonteaula).The $3.85m film, produced byAndrea Occhipinti of Lucky Red, hasjust started shooting in Sardinia for20 weeks.It is adapted from a book byGiuseppe Fiore, about a 12-year-oldshepherd whose father is unjustlyaccused of killing a man and sent toprison. The boy eventually becomes abandit, and applies his own co
  • Magnolia strikes three-territory deal for The Host

    Magnolia Pictures hasswooped on Bong Joon-ho's left-field monster movie The Host, acquiring rights for the US, UK and Australia to thefilm that screened in Director's Fortnight.Sales agent Cineclick Asiahas also sold the film to France's Ocean Films, Spain's Notro Films andDiscovery for former Yugoslavia. Other territories closed in Cannes includeBrazil and Argentina (Providence), Mexico (Gussi) and Thailand (J-pics).Cineclick will distributedirectly i
  • Manchevski's love story Bones lands at Bavaria

    Bavaria Film International has taken worldwide rights toMilcho Manchevski's new picture, Bones. It is the Macedoniandirector's third feature after Dust, which opened theVenice Film Festival in 2001, and Before The Rain, which earnedan Oscar nomination and the Venice Golden Lion in 1994.Bones, which marks New York-based Manchevski's return to Macedonia,is a mythical love story and contemporary tale about a young doctorwho embarks on a soul-searching and inves
  • Mandarin closes Gate on Cannes deals

    Hong Kong's Mandarin Films has sold Wilson Yip's Dragon Tiger Gate, one of the hotChinese-language titles in the market, to Germany's Splendid Film and Spain's Tot Media. The martial arts actionthriller, starring Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse and Shawn Yue, was sold earlier inthe market to
  • Marie Antoinette

    Dir/scr: Sofia Coppola. US. 2006. 123 minsIt's history but not as we know it in Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola's frivolous, fun-filled attempt to make 18th century Versailles accessible to 21st century audiences.Her version of Marie Antoinette is more Paris Hilton than Paris, France as we meet a shallow young woman whose world revolves around footwear, fashion and fabulous parties. If the hostile reception at the first press screening is anything to go by purists will tre
  • Martial arts heaven as Jackie and Jet star together for first time

    Going under the secretive working title of Untitled J& J Project, the project is being lined up for a 2007 start and isbeing sold here by Arclight Films.Based on a classic Chinese legend, thestory follows a teenager who gets transported to ancient China after hesteals a mystical staff from a New York pawnshop.The youngster enlists the help of a motley crew inorder to overcome the tyrannical Jade Emperor and release the legendaryMonkey King, the only person who can return him to
  • Match Factory lights up German-Asian Drummer

    Michael Weber's The MatchFactory and Hong Kong-based Emperor Motion Pictures (EMP) will handleinternational distribution of Kenneth Bi's TheDrummer, set to star Simon Yam and Lee Sinje. EMP will handle distributionto select Asian territories on the drama, which revolves around the art ofChinese zen drumming, while Munichand Cologne-based The Match Factory will handle sales in the rest of the world.Yam's credi
  • Match Factory takes global rights to Weingartner satire

    The Match Factory has taken world wide sales rights toHans Weingartner (The Edukators)'s new picture with the working title FreeRainer.The film is a contemporary satirical drama with anunconventional love story, about a group of outcasts who undertake acultural revolution.The picture, which will shoot later this year,is produced by Weingartner's own Berlin-based Kahuuna Films andAustria's Coop99.The Edukatorsscreened in competition in Cannes in 2004 a
  • Match Factory, Emperor to handle The Drummer

    Michael Weber's The MatchFactory and Hong Kong-based Emperor Motion Pictures (EMP) will handleinternational distribution of Kenneth Bi's The Drummer, set to star Simon Yam and Lee Sinje.EMP will handle distributionto select Asian territories on the drama, which revolves around the art ofChinese zen drumming, while Munich and Cologne-based The Match Factory willhandle sales in the rest of the world.Yam's credits includeJohnnie To' s Election and itssequel Electio
  • McBurney and Teller to curate Katrin Cartlidge Foundation

    The Sarajevo FilmFestival has announced that UK actor Simon McBurney and photographer JuergenTeller will be the curators of the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation this year.Producer andfoundation trustee Cat Villiers announced the new curators at a Cannesreception for the festival and Bosnia and Herzegovina film.McBurney and Tellerwill announce the name of the winner of this year's scholarship at an officialceremony at the 12th Sarajevo Film Festival. The fund wasestablished aft
  • McTiernan confirmed to direct Deadly Exchange for Film Bridge

    John McTiernanhas been confirmed to direct the thriller Deadly Exchange,about a terrorist who infiltrates the US to hunt down the FBI agent that killedhis family.
  • MIrren, Fishburne to be among CineVegas honorees

    Laurence Fishburne, Helen Mirren, and Christina Ricci are amonghonourees at the upcoming 2006 CineVegas Film Festival.Ray director Taylor Hackford is also in line for an honorary award, and SylvesterStallone will be presented with a special award.Organisers at the event, scheduled to run from Jun 9-17, have arranged a packedschedule that includes film
  • MK2 takes Lau and Mak's Confession

    Hong Kong's Media Asia Distribution haspre-sold all French-speaking rights to Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's ConfessionOf Pain to France's MK2.Infernal Affairs star Tony Leung Chiu-wai willstar in the $8-10m project which is scheduled to start shooting in June for
  • Momentum strikes deals for P.S and Spring Break

    Momentum has acquired the UK rights to P.S. I LoveYou from Summit Entertainment and the UK and Spanish rights to Spring Break In Bosnia from QED.Richard LaGravanese will direct the big-screenadaptation of the P.S. I Love You by Irish author Cecelia Ahern. Hilary Swank will star. ForrestGump's Wendy Finerman will produce.
  • Moviehouse takes on sales for Jerusalema

    London-based salesoutfit Moviehouse Entertainment has boarded the new South African film Jerusalema, by writer-director Ralph Ziman.The film is based on realevents and is set in contemporary Johannesburg. It tells of the rise and fallof a notorious Robin Hood gangster figure Lucky Kunene.Jerusalema began shooting onMay 8 and continues for 10 weeks.The story, written by Ziman,portrays Lucky and best friend Zakes as they begin their criminal careers inthe township of
  • Myriad takes on three for sales: Argento, Barreto, Silberling

    Myriad Pictures has picked upworldwide rights to Dario Argento's English-language horror picture TheMother Of Tears, and Brad Silberling's comedy 10 Items Or Less starring MorganFreeman.
  • New UK festival Britdoc adds pitching forum

    Nokia has come on board as a principal sponsor ofBritdoc, the UK's new international documentary festival. The event isscheduled for July 26-28 in Oxford.The festival has announced a documentary featurepitching forum, presented by Channel 4 offshoot More4, for UK film-makers topitch a pa
  • NonStop Sales gets Irreverent Media slate

    Stockholm-basedinternational sales agent NonStop Sales has struck a multi-picture deal withVancouver-based Irreverent Media Ltd.The slate deal includes TheBestRestaurant in the World. Ever, starring Bruno Ganz with THINKFilm to distribute in Canada; TheLight-house starring Kevin Zegers,Ryan Reynolds, Henry Czerny and Ewen Bremner; and mockumentary Gay Like Me', also with THINKFilm. The deal, which was initiatedat the Berlinale, was brokered by NonStop's Michael Wer
  • Oliver Stone unveils World Trade Center footage in Cannes

    The first nerve-crunching 20minutes of Oliver Stone's World Trade Center were screened before the 20th-anniversary screeningof Platoon on Sunday night to astrong response from a packed Salle Debussy in Cannes.The footage laid out themorning of September 11, 2001, from the point of view of John McLoughlin(Nicolas Cage), a Port Authority police officer, who leaves his wife (MariaBello) in bed at 4 am to head to work.As the sun comes up, he andhis
  • Optimum takes UK rights for seven features

    UK distributor Optimum hasacquired UK rights to seven new features.The distributor has come onboard FilmFour's Brick Lanedirected by Sarah Gavron, which will start shooting in June. Also in the pre-productionstage, Optimum has taken Day of the Dead, a horror film directed by Steve Miner for Nu Image/Millennium Films.From Europa Corp, Optimumstruck deals for Luc Besson's Angel-A and Gerard Krawczyk's Taxi 3.The distributor struck a dealwi
  • Poison Friends (Les Amitis Malefiques)

    Dir: Emmanuel Bourdieu. Fr. 2006. 103mins.The theme of young male friendship gets a vigorousthough hardly ground-breaking workout in PoisonFriends, French screenwriter Emmanuel Bourdieu'ssecond directorial outing, which opened Critics' Week at Cannes. Though theprotagonists are already at university, this still qualifies as a coming-of-agemovie, which (not for the first time) shows how rejecting false masters, and
  • PolyBona readies Sky Fighters release in China

    China's Beijing PolyBona hasscheduled a June 23 theatrical release for Gerard Pires' Sky Fighters, one offour French titles recently acquired by the company which is stepping updistribution of foreign films.The air force thriller willbe premiered at the upcoming Shanghai International Film Festival (June 17-25)before receiving a wide theatrical release across China on 200 prints and up to2,000 screens.PolyBona is also lining upreleases for three other French titles - Merry Chris
  • Princess

    Dir: Anders Morgenthaler. Den. 2006. 80mins.It's a sometimes dazzling curio rather than afully-fledged achievement, but Anders Morgenthaler'sadult animation Princess is certainlyone of the more attention-grabbing items on the Cannes menu this year. Kickingoff Directors' Fortnight, this tale of vengeance in the Danish porn underworldresembles the sort of grim material usually tackled by confrontationaldirectors such as Gaspar Noe,but
  • Producers Guild of America sets date for January 20 awards

    The 2007 Producers Guild of America's awards ceremony will take placein Los Angeles on January 20.The annual event will be staged at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza inCentury City on Jan 20.Nominations will be announced on January 4.
  • Punk Cinema plans Gigolos follow-up later in 2006

    UK production company PunkCinema has commissioned the writers and actors its film The Gigolos to write a follow-up.Sacha 'Tarter andTrevor Sather will write Billion Dollar Break for production in late 2006. The caper comedy is about aRussian billionaire and an office drone who find themselves on the run togetheracross Europe. Richard Bracewell, who directedThe Gigolos and is also on board for the new film, said: "It's Midnight Run across Europe. Bi
  • Pusan's Asian Film Market lines up companies

    The upcoming Asian FilmMarket will have a focus on Asian talent and talent agencies with companiessuch as Korea's Namoo and IHQ, Japan's Stardust and Hong Kong's Jet Tone set toattend the four-day market (October 15-18).The market also hopes tosign up agencies from the US and other Asian territories including China andTaiwan."We aim to helpinternational companies learn how to work with Asian talent which in turnshould stimulate co-production between Asia and the West," says mark
  • Pyramide on board for Breillat's love triangle

    Controversial directorCatherine Breillat has begun shooting her latest film Une VieilleMaitresse. Handled by PyramideInternational, the film is a $11.5m (Euros 9m) period piece about a lovetriangle involving a young man, his older mistress and the young woman he mustmarry.Asia Argento plays themistress with newcomer Fu'ad Ait Aattou as the lover and Roxane Mesquida in asthe young bride. Mesquida previously worked with Breillat in Fat Girl. The rest of
  • QED close to selling out Spring Break In Bosnia

    Beverly Hills-based QED International has closed major territory saleson Richard Shepard's comedy thriller Spring Break In Bosnia starring RichardGere and Terrence Howard.Rights have gone to TF1 in France, Avex in Japan, Senator in Germany; DutchFilmworks for Benelux, Sandrew Metronome for Scandinavia, SPI for EasternEurope, Sun Distribution for Latin America, Village
  • QED strikes key sales on Spring Break In Bosnia

    Beverly Hills-based QED International has closed major territory saleson Richard Shepard's comedy thriller Spring Break In Bosnia starring RichardGere and Terrence Howard.Rights have gone to: TF1 in France; Avex in Japan; Senator in Germany; DutchFilmworks for Benelux; Sandrew Metronome for Scandinavia; SPI for EasternEurope; Sun Distribution for Latin America; Villag
  • Quinceanera, Champions bookend Newport festival

    Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's drama Quinceanera and David Wike'scomedy Champions bookend the 9th Annual Newport International FilmFestival, which runs from Jun 6-11.This year's instalment features panel discussions, a New England spotlight, anda comedy improv night, among other events.For a full line-up of events visit the official website at
  • Rai Trade lines up A Fortune-Teller Told Me

    International sales agentRai Trade is lining up a major English-language adaptation of Tiziano Terzani'sbest-selling novel, A Fortune-Teller Told Me.The book recounts thejournalist's experience as a foreign correspondent in Asia, where he waswarned by a fortune teller not to risk flying for a whole year or he would diein a plane crash - so he travelled across the Far East on foot, by boat,bus and train for a year.Rome-based Rai Trade, whichoptioned the
  • Rapid Eye gets German rights to two from UTV

    India's UTV has sold twotitles - Rang De Basanti and Don - to Germany's Rapid Eye Movies.Rang De Basanti, starring Indian superstar Aamir Khan, will have afull theatrical release in Germany on June 16. The film has broken new groundin India by becoming a massive hit despite its political theme, which fallsoutside the usual boy-meets-girl formula.Released in January, RangDe Basanti is the highest-grossingfilm of the year in India an
  • Rapid Eye takes German rights to Yo-Yo Girl Cop

    Japan's Toei has pre-soldGerman rights to Kenta Fukasaku's Yo-Yo Girl Cop, starring Japanese pop diva Aya Matsuura, to RapidEye Movies.Based on a legendary 1980sTV series, about a deadly yo yo-wielding girl detective, the film is alsowhipping up buyer interest from the UK and France. Fukasaku previously directedToei's record-breaking Battle Royale 2.Meanwhile, Toei has alsosold Takehiko Shinjo's Heavenly Forest starring Aoi Miyazaki to Ho
  • Red Road

    Dir: Andrea Arnold. UK-Den. 2006. 113mins.
  • Rocket Pictures plans new UK animation facility for Gnomeo

    Elton John and DavidFurnish's Rocket Pictures is teaming with Miramax Films to create a newanimated facility in London for the Rocket/Miramax CG-animated musical comedy GnomeoAnd Juliet.Meanwhile Lee Hall, whoworked with John on Billy Elliotis writing the Elton John biopic tentatively titled Rocket Man for Disney. The project will be crafted as a musicalfantasy: "Tommy meets MoulinRouge," according to John.Gnomeo And Juliet, which is set
  • Scottish producers criticise Scottish Screen

    Scottish producers in Canneshave issued a stinging rebuke to national film agency Scottish Screen over itsdelay in revealing its long-term plans for feature film production. "Again and again(in Cannes), we have been asked what is happening with Scottish Screen. We don't quite know," said Mark Cousins of 4 Ways Productions. "The value of cinema inScotland is being diminished," said Catherine Aitken of bluewonder films. In recent months, productionfunding at Scottish Screen
  • Serbia, Norway plan new film tax incentives

    As competition to attractinternational production heats up, territories from Scandinavia to the Balkansare trying to woo big-budget, runaway films by offering new tax breaks.Serbia is the latest countrylooking to join the tax credit bandwagon. The new Serb incentive is likely tobe worth 21.5% in total to both local and international productions set up inthe country. The Serbs delayed announcing the new measure in Cannes because ofthe referendum being held this week
  • Shane and Romano plan $120m Buddha biopic

    Producers Michel Shane andAnthony Romano have boarded Indian billionaire Bhupendra Kumar Modi'slong-gestating biopic about the life of Buddha.In addition, Modi hasoptioned the rights to Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh's book about Buddhism, OldPath White Clouds, on which the$120m Buddha will be based.Shane and Romano, whoexecutive produced I Robot and CatchMe If You Can, will executiveproduce the film through their production compa
  • Shepperton Studios set to host Pullman film

    The new UK tax credit looksto have already paid dividends, luring New Line's $150m adaptation of PhilipPullman's His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass away from the Czech Republic to Shepperton Studiosjust outside LondonThe prospect is bound toprovide a major boost to the British studio sector following a lengthy periodof uncertainty in which various big budget international films were lost, amongthem the talismanic James Bond movie Casino Royale and its immediate follow
  • Shortbus

    Dir/scr: John Cameron Mitchell.US.2006. 102mins.A film thatshows three men having no-holds-barred group sex while bawling out The Star-Spangled Banner at the top oftheir lungs is not going to delight the US censors - but John CameronMitchell's follow-up to Hedwig And The AngryInch has plenty to offer the rest of us. Shortbus is an often very funnychoral drama of sexual mores set against what's left o
  • Southland Tales

    Dir/scr: Richard Kelly. US. 2006. 140mins.Maybe SouthlandTales, Richard Kelly's long-awaited follow-up to cult sleeper Donnie Darko,will work as a multimedia project with publishing, music industry and websitetie-ins; it certainly doesn't hang together as a film. Multi-genre film-makingis always a challenge, and this futuristic black comedy musical thriller,larded with facile high-school literary and Biblic
  • SPO strikes Japan deals for Go Master and Invisible Waves

    Japan's SPO Entertainmenthas snapped up two titles from Fortissimo Films - Tian Zhuangzhuang's The GoMaster and Pen-ek Ratanaruang's InvisibleWaves, which premiered incompetition at this year's Berlin.Go Master, which stars Chang Chen and Sylvia Chang, tells thelife story of Wu Qingyuan, the world's most renowned player of the ancient gameof Go. Israel's United King and Greece's Village Roadshow have also acquiredthe film, which is currently in
  • Stella Sze takes key role at Global Entertainment Group

    Global Entertainment Group(GEG), the recently formed production and financing arm of Hong Kongentrepreneur Johnny Hon's Global Group, has appointed Stella Sze to oversee itspush into the Chinese market.The company, which listedyesterday (May 23) on London's Ofex index, aims to produce and finance film andTV productions aimed at Asia and in particular the India and China markets.Sze, who has been appointedas managing director based in Hong Kong, was formerly a
  • StudioCanal takes a seat at Feng's Banquet

    Beijing-based Huayi Brothershas sold Feng Xiaogang's period drama TheBanquet to France's StudioCanal.The period drama, starringZhang Ziyi, has also gone to Portugal (Eco Filmes), Source Investment (Benelux, Scandinavia), Femeway (Greece
  • Sundream sells package to Sahamongkol

    Hong Kong producer-distributor Sundream Motion Pictures has solda package of three titles - Battle OfWits, 49 Days and Eye In The Sky - to Thailand's Sahamongkol Films. Sundream, which is attendingCannes for the first time this year, also sold 49 Days and Eye In The Sky to Brazil
  • Tartan acquires US rights to Red Road

    Tartan USA has acquired all US rights to Andrea Arnold's British title Red Road, in competition at Cannes, from Trust Film Sales. Arnold's debut feature Red Road, an intense drama starring newcomer Kate Dickie, is the first of three films to be made through Lars von Trier's Advanced Party scheme in which directors work with a set of characters created by Lone Scherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen. The deal was brokered by Jane Giles and Marie Therese Guirgis for Tartan USA and
  • Tartan gets US rights to The Page Turner

    Tartan USA has acquired allUS rights to The Page Turner (La Tourneuse de Pages) from Films Distribution. The film, which premiered inUn Certain Regard, is a psychological thriller, written and directed by DenisDercourt and starring Catherine Frot and The Child star Deborah Francois.Didar Domehri of FilmsDistribution negotiated the deal with Tartan USA acquisitions consultantMarie-Therese Guirgis.Guirgis said: 'ThePage Turner is an expert
  • Tartan picks up Invisible Waves from Fortissimo

    UK distributor Tartan hastaken UK and Irish rights to Pen-ek Ratanaruang's thriller Invisible Waves fromFortissimo Film Sales.Invisible Waves first lappedup in the main competition in Berlin earlier this year. It also opened theBangkok Film Festival.The film is produced byFortissimo Films' Wouter Barendrecht and Michael J Werner and executiveproduced by Miky Lee, Faruk Atalan and Daniel Yu. The deal was brokered byTartan Films' managing director Laura De Casto and Fortiss
  • Tartan strikes deals for Princess and The Right of the Weakest

    Tartan Films has acquired all North American, UK and Irish rights to DirectorsFortnight title Princess by Anders Morgenthaler and all UK and Irish rights toCannes competition title The Right Of The Weakest by Lucas Belvaux.The company also acquired UK and Irish rights to Back to Normandie
  • The Family Friend (L'Amico Di Famiglia)

    Dir, Scr: Paolo Sorrentino. Italy/France 2006. 110 mins A generally unsurprising Cannes competition received an invigorating blast of invention with The Family Friend, a stylish, dark but sometimes perplexing third feature from Neapolitan director Paolo Sorrentino.The story of a thoroughly grumpy old loanshark, this philosophical black comedy sets itself the challenge of making us sympathise with the most unlikeable character imaginable. Sorrentino's stylistic verve
  • The Right Of The Weakest (La Raison Du Plus Faible)

    Dir, scr: Lucas Belvaux. Belgium/France 2006. 116 minsA Belgian proletarian caper movie is hardly the first thing anyone expected from Lucas Belvaux, whose Trilogy, a set of three interlocking features, was an audacious formal anomaly in recent French mainstream cinema. The Right Of The Weakest lies halfway between working-class realism in a Ken Loach/Dardennes bracket, and a Melville-esque tough-guy crime drama. But the film's decidedly ordinary execution, its narr
  • The Right Of The Weakest (La Raison Du Plus Faible)

    Dir, scr: Lucas Belvaux. Belgium/France 2006. 116 minsA Belgian proletarian caper movie is hardly the first thing anyone expected from Lucas Belvaux, whose Trilogy, a set of three interlocking features, was an audacious formal anomaly in recent French mainstream cinema. The Right Of The Weakest lies halfway between working-class realism in a Ken Loach/Dardennes bracket, and a Melville-esque tough-guy crime drama. But the film's decidedly ordinary execution, its narr
  • The Singer (Quand J'Etais Chanteur)

    Dir/Scr: Xavier Giannoli. France. 2006. 112 minsSad songs say so much in The Singer, an unashamedly sentimental love story that features one of Gerard Depardieu's most fully realised and endearing performances in recent years. His melancholy, smalltime singer has the same weary charm as Burt Lancaster's aging hood in Atlantic City.Depardieu is well matched by Cecile de France and together they transcend the potentially corny material to create something small in sca
  • Thessaloniki festival to welcome Wenders and Salles

    Wim Wenders and Walter Salles will be attending the47th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which will run November 17-26.This year's festival will include a Wim Wendersretrospective, with Wenders in attendance for screenings and also to conduct amasterclass. His wife Donata Wenders will also exhibit photos she has taken ofhis films.Another special guest will be Walter Salles, who willbe part of the festival's homage to Brazilian Cinema. The section wil
  • Three Dots bask in Eternal Summer

    Taiwan's Three Dots Entertainment, whichrecently launched a sales arm, has picked up international rights to LesteChen's gay youth drama Eternal Summer, starringJoseph Chang, Bryant Chang and Kate Yeung.The film, currently is shooting in Taiwan,tells the stor
  • Towel Talk wins 24-Hour Film Challenge

    UK-based production company Wysiwygwon the 24-Hour Film Challenge with its short mystery/comedy Towel Talk.The challenge, held inCannes, has teams of film-makers making a film of five minutes or less during a24-hour period.Towel Talk was made by Tom Swanston, Cauri Jaye and MatthewGolding and stars Jonathan Rhodes. Wysiwyg was in Cannes to sellfive completed films in the market and also has several features in development.
  • Tribeca Film Festival sets 2007 dates

    The 2007 TribecaFilm Festival will take place from Apr 25-May 6.Festival organisers said 465,000 people attended this year's event,representing a rise of 69% against 2005.For more information visit the official website at
  • Trust books several deals for Red Road

    Andrea Arnold's Red Road, one of the buzz titles in the Cannes competition,has closed multiple deals following its premiere earlier this week, with Spain,France and a host of other smaller territories already gone. The film is alsoattracting strong interest from the US.The version of Red Road on Copenhagen-based that screened last weekend was"a work in progress." Arnold is expected to refine the film furtherand possibly even to shorten it before its final delivery.
  • TV producer Red to make film debut with Mark of Cain

    Nicola Shindler's UKtelevision drama production outfit Red Production Company is to venture intofeature film production. Red, whose TV credits include Queer as Folk and Clocking Off, will make its big-screen debut with The Mark OfCain, a hard-hitting film aboutBritish soldiers' experiences in the Iraq War. Shooting starts this month inTunisia and the UK.The film is directed by MarcMunden and is written by BAFTA award-winning writer Tony Marchat. It starsGerard Kear
  • UK Post starts new audio post-production awards

    UK Post has startedplanning the inaugural Conch Sound Awards. The awards will honour those whowork in audio post-production in film, TV and commercials.The first ceremony will beheld September 21 at the Radisson Edwardian Mayfair's cinema in London.Industry group UK post hasnomination applications available online.After initial nominations, industry experts will
  • UK's Brass Hat seals new $200m equity mega-fund

    UK production and financing group Brass Hat Films is positioning itselfas a major European player, after securing a $200m equity fund from ahigh-net-worth individual in the middle east in addition to its existingin-house equity funds which are now entering their fifth cycle.London-based Brass Hat, which is run by Nick Hamson, CEO, and LarsSylvest, president, is already two-and-a-half years into a five-year alliancewith Ashok Amritraj's Hyde Park Entertainment whereby Brass Hat has prov
  • UK's Warp X unveils first six low-budget features

    FilmFour, the UK FilmCouncil's New Cinema Fund, Screen Yorkshire, EM Media and Optimum Releasinghave announced the first projects planned for their low-budget studio Warp X. The first film to be shotfor Warp X will be Travels With My Virginity, a comedy about a teenager hitchhiking in ruralFrance in 1978. The story is based on writer/actor Guy Dartnell and directorLee Simpson's material from theatre group Improbable Theatre. Gregor Truterwill produce. A Septe
  • Verhoeven's Black Book continues shoot in Israel

    Paul Verhoeven's wartimeepic Black Book, recently sold toEureka for Korea, is now in the final part of its marathon shoot.Verhoeven, producer San FuMaltha, writer Gerard Soeteman and other colleagues invested an extra $382,770(Euros 300,000) of their own money to enable Verhoeven to take the project toIsrael.He is currently on locationin northern Israel.The film will open onSeptember 14 in the Netherlands and is a likely candidate for either Tor
  • Volevo Solo Vivere

    Dir: Mimmo Calopresti. It. 2006. 82mins.Mimmo Calopresti'shomage to the almost 6,000 Italian Jews who died in Hitler's death camps, and the 837 who returned alive, Volevo Solo Vivere spins amoving story out of sensitively sifted and edited archive material.The archives used are thoseof the Shoah Foundation's Institute For Visual Hi
  • Weinsteins give fables irreverent twist

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) has launched UnstableFables, a new line 'of direct-to-video CG animatedfeatures being produced with The Jim' Henson Company, Flame Ventures andPrana Studios.''The projects will take an irreverent twist on fairytales and the 'first releases will be based on Goldilocks, The ThreeLittle Pigs, and 'Billy Goats Gruff.''Production is set to begin in September and TWCaffiliate Genius' Products will release on DVD.''The Jim Henson
  • Werner works with Vajna on Hungarian Children Of Glory

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