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27 February 2009

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  • $405m cinema chain, Kino City, planned for mid sized Russian cities

    Three Russian industry heavyweights, Eduard Pichugin, the CEO of Cinema Invest and founder of Kronwerk Cinema chain, the producer Sergei Selyanov of CTB production company, and the director and businessman Fyodor Bondarchuk will embark on Kino City, a project to build 122 cinemas across Russia. There are currently around 1700 screens in Russia, across 700 theatres, 200 of which are multi complexes, the rest being one-screen facilities. Given Russia's 142 million
  • Adam Yauch's indie music approach to film

      Adam Yauch, co-founder of groundbreaking hip-hop group The Beastie Boys, is building on his experience and knowledge of the music world to create a new breed of film distribution company. In January 2008, he launched Oscilloscope Pictures, a full-service New York-based distributor.‘It’s an idea I’ve had for a
  • Alta Films picks up award winning Salt Of This Sea

    Spanish outfit Alta Films has picked up Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir's romantic drama Salt Of This Sea for theatrical distribution in Spain. Salt Of This Sea picked up the best screenplay award at the Dubai International film festival in December and played in Un Certain Regard at Cannes last year. The film is a Spanish (MediaPro)- French (JBA Production) - Palestinian (Philistine Films) - Swiss (
  • Alta Films picks up French comedy LOL for Spain

    Spanish outfit Alta Films has picked up theatrical distribution rights for Spain to Lisa Azuelo's French comedy LOL (Laughing Out Loud) from Pathe International. The film is a co-production between Pathe, Bethsabee Mucho, TF1 and M6 Films in collaboration with Canal+, CNC, CineCinema and Poisson Rouge Pictures. LOL (Laughing Out Loud) is a coming of age tale focusing on sixteen year old Lola's (Christa Theret) complex relationship with her mother (
  • Anaheim University names digital school after Akira Kurosawa

    Anaheim University in southern California is to launch a state-of-the-art digital school named after Akira Kurosawa on March 23, the day the late Japanese film-maker would have turned 99.The Anaheim University Akira Kurosawa School Of Film will unveil details of its online digital film programmes and other initiatives on the day.'March 23rd would have been Akira Kurosawa's 99th birthday, and the Cherry Blossom Gala and Akira Kurosaw
  • Anna Butler to head up marketing at Icon

    Anna Butler has been appointed head of marketing at Icon Distribution and is due to start in her new role on March 9. Butler previously headed up Fox Searchlight's UK marketing department, where she worked on titles such as The Last King Of Scotland and Notes On A Scandal. Prior to that she spent six years working at Pathe as marketing director. Icon's upcoming
  • Ascot picks up five more titles in EFM

    Leading Swiss independent distributor Ascot Elite, acquired the rights for German speaking Europe to another five titles to add to the previously announced black thriller comedyChawby Shin Jeong-Won.The Zurich-based group picked up Gerald McMorrow’s thriller Franklyn, starring Ryan Philippe, Sam Riley and Ev
  • Australia's ABC TV considers investing in film

    Australian broadcaster, the ABC, is hoping to invest in 15 feature films over the next three years. 'We must be one of the few public broadcasters in the developed western world that does not have a connection with its national feature film industry,' said the director of ABC TV, Kim Dalton. He is very keen to redress this but will not know if he can until the Federal Government hands down its annual budget in May. Every three years, the ABC must justify the taxpa
  • AWPto handle sales onTaraporevala's Little Zizou

    LA-based American World Pictures (AWP) has picked up international rights to Indian screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala's directorial debut, Little Zizou, from The Indian Film Company (TIFC). Produced by TIFC and executive produced by Mira Nair, the film recently won two awards - best director and best screenplay - at the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival in New York. It also won the best producer award the Asia-Pacific Festival of First Films held in
  • Bavarian fund backs projects by Hirschbiegel, Wieland and Kraus

    New films by Sundance winner Oliver Hirschbiegel, Ute Wieland and Chris Kraus are among the projects receiving funding totalling $5m (Euros 3.9m) from the Bavarian regional fund FFF Bayern. The largest single award, $1.2m (Euros 950,000), went to Hirschbiegel's adaptation of Andreas Ulrich's bestselling book Angel Face. The film tells the true story of the German mafia hit man, Giorgio Basile, who was known as 'the angel face' in mafia circles and was for many y
  • Bergman's Images From The Playground to screen at Cannes

    Images from the Playground, a compilation film containing previously unseen material from nine of Ingmar Bergman’s behind-the-screens films, fromSawdustand TinseltoPersona,will be screened for the first time, at the Cannes Film Festival this year.The film was produced with the support of World Cinema Foundation, the film preserving organization led by Martin Scorsese. It will be screened as part of World Cinema Foundation
  • Berlin's raw deals for bear traders

    In the wake of a slow Sundance and a very difficult American Film Market (AFM), distributors turned up in Berlin in expectation.
  • Busan celebrates opening of AZ Works post-production complex

    After five years of work, the city of Busan and the Busan Film Commission (BFC) are celebrating the opening of the 'AZ Works on the beach' post-production complex in Busan's newly developing Centum City. AZ Works, which also has labs in Seoul and Beijing, is headed by CEOLee Yong Gi, a leading digital intermediate colorist who worked on a plethora of films such as Bong Joon-ho's The Host and Kim Jee-woon's The Good, The Bad, The Weird. The company's
  • Button adds $19.6m for Warner Bros to sweep past $150m

    While 13 Oscar nominations for The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button may not translate into such a dominant reality once the awards are handed out at tonight's 81st Annual Academy Awards, what is in no doubt is the incontrovertible evidence of the picture's commercial clout. Staying on top of the Hollywood pack overseas for yet another weekend, the fantasy drama added s
  • Cannes Film Festival honours Clint Eastwood

    The Cannes Film Festival has honoured Clint Eastwood with a special Palme d’Or.In Paris for the release of his latest directorial effort, Gran Torino, Eastwood was awarded the special Palme by festival president Gilles Jacob and delegate general Thierry Fremaux in recognition of the auteur who is ‘the synthesis of the classicism and the modernity of American cinema.’Eastwood’s relationship with the festival date
  • Christie Digital USA's Jack Kline on changing models

    Over the past three years, digital cinema has finally become a reality for a growing number of exhibitors and distributors around the world. And although the global credit crunch has slowed the industry's conversion from 35mm prints and projection, Jack Kline still has his sights set firmly on the digital future.As president and COO of Christie Digital Systems USA, a leading supplier of digital projection systems, Kline is looking to exploit new opportunities in the international marke
  • CJ Entertainment to invest $60m in local and overseas projects

    Leading Korean investor/distributor CJ Entertainment CEO Katherine Kim has announced that the company will be investing $46.5m - $53.1m this year in 13-15 local releases and another $6.64m in 5-10 overseas projects in the US, China and Japan. Speaking to local press, Kim also talked about Korea's dying ancillary markets and the need to stop piracy and increase diversity in films distributed. She elaborated on CJ's aim to expand its markets to a global arena by con
  • Cooper named comedy star of the year at ShoWest

    Bradley Cooper will receive the ShoWest 2009 Comedy Star of the Year Award on April 2 in Las Vegas.Cooper will next be seen in Warner Bros'' Las Vegas-set comedy The Hangover on June 12 opposite Justin Bartha and Zach Galifianakis and his previous credits include Wedding Crashers, Yes Man and He's Just Not That Into You.
  • Coppola's Tetro set for US release through Zoetrope on June 11

    American Zoetrope will self-release Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro in limited release in the US on June 11 based on the first original screenplay by Coppola since The Conversation in 1974.The story tells of two brothers, of family lost and found, and the conflicts and tragedies within a highly creative Argentine-Italian family.Vincent Gallo stars in the
  • Dasgupta quits as CEO of India's Multi Screen Media

    Kunal Dasgupta has quit as CEO of India's Multi Screen Media (MSM), previously known as Sony Entertainment Television (SET), after almost 14 years in the role. Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) issued a statement on Thursday saying that Dasgupta had resigned for 'personal reasons'. However, local press is speculating that his departure is related to a dispute between MSM and the Board of Cricket Control India over sponsorship of the Indian Premier Leag
  • Departures sweeps Japanese academy awards

    Yojiro Takita's Departures picked up ten prizes, including best picture of 2008, at the 32nd Japan Academy prize awards ceremony, held Friday evening at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo. The film, which had thirteen nominations, also won best director, best actor (Masahiro Motoki), best supporting actor (Tsutomu Yamazaki), best supporting actress (Kimiko Yo) and best screenplay (Kundo Koyama), along with wins for cinematography, lighting, sound and edi
  • Dutch government reveals future funding plans for Hubert Bals Fund

    Details have finally emerged of how the Dutch government will continue to support the Hubert Bals Fund, with private investment playing a more key role than previously. As previously reported in ScreenDaily, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs had agreed to continue its backing of HBF after fierce debate as to whether Foreign Aid money should be used to support culture based projects. The Hubert Bals Fund is now confident of the government's commitment to cont
  • E1 strikes film and TV content deal with iTunes in Canada, US, UK

    Canadian media company E1 is offering its film and TV content via iTunes online stores in Canada, the US and the UK. The company's key launch title is the blockbuster Twilight, which it distributed theatrically in Canada and the UK. 'We are excited to be able to offer film and TV enthusiasts the opportunity to rent or purchase E1 content on iTunes,' said E1 president of filmed entertainment Patrice Thero
  • Film veteran Hercules Bellville dies

    Hercules Bellville passed away on Saturday February 21at the age of 69 following a fifteen month fight with lung cancer. Born in San Diego, California to an American mother and an English father, Bellville attended boarding school in Britain and went on to study modern languages at Oxford. He started out in the film business as a runner. A long association with Roman Polanski began in 1964. He was assistant director on Polanski's Repulsion and the pair co
  • Frames wraps with talk of cost-cutting and collaboration

    As the three-day FICCI Frames media and entertainment conference came to a close in Mumbai yesterday, industry leaders had agreed on three recession-busting strategies - collaboration, improving consumer relations and cutting costs. Speaking at the closing session, Zee chairman Subhash Chandra spoke of the entertainment industry's need to pull together if it was to overcome challenges such as shrinking capital and declining ad revenues. 'If all the stakeholders of
  • France's Critics Union honours Agnes Varda's Les Plages D'Agnes

    France's Critics Union handed out its prizes for 2008 on Monday night with top honours in Paris going to Agnes Varda's Les Plages D'Agnes as the best French film while Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood took the best foreign film award. The Critics group is also the organization that runs Critics' Week at Cannes. Accepting the prize for Les Plages D'Agnes, 80-year-old Varda commented, 'This is, in a way, my final film.' In her
  • Hamptons moves festival forward by a week to Oct 8-12

    Seeking to benefit the local economy, the board of directors of the Hamptons International Film Festival has moved this year's event forward by one week to take place over Columbus Day Weekend holiday and run from October 8-12.The 17th annual event will remain based in East Hampton with additional venues in Southampton, Sag Harbor and Montauk.According to the board the date shift was made in consultation with many of the festival's
  • HKIFF to celebrate 25th anniversary of Film Workshop

    This year's Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) will feature a special sidebar programme celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong production house Film Workshop, founded by filmmaker Tsui Hark and veteran producer Nansun Shi. Entitled 'A Tribute to Romantic Visions: 25th Anniversary of Film Workshop', the sidebar will screen 12 films including Tsui's Peking Opera Blues and A Chinese Ghost Story and John Woo's 1986 A Better Tomorrow.
  • Hot Russia projects to tempt international buyers

    The Inhabited IslandIn this two-part adaptation of a popular novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, an improbably handsome cosmonaut, played by Vasily Stepanov, crashes on a hostile planet. Fyodor Bondarchuk, who directed the 2005 hit The 9th Company now ventures an epic spectacle along the lines of Timur Bekmambetov's Night Watch. Produced by Art Pictures Studio and CTC TV, the first part topped the Russian box office following its release in January, and has gro
  • Inaugral 'Write Here, Write Now' awardgiven to Sonya Gildea for Faith

    The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in association withWaltDisneyStudios Motion Pictures (Ireland) have announced that Sonya Gildea's script Faith has won the inaugural 'Write Here, Write Now' screenwriting award. The judging panel also gave an honourable mention to Rodney Lee for his script Do Not Pass Go. The 'Write Here, Write Now' award was established to acknowledge the creation of original and innovative scripts with a combination
  • Independent Spirit Awards slideshow

  • International - Button holds fast

    The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button dominates the international chart this week, crossing the $100m mark internationally and falling off just 6% to take $30.5m over the February 13-15 weekend. With Warner Bros distributing in 49 markets, David Fincher's Oscar contender now stands at $119.6m from eight weeks on release and should soon outperform its domestic tally of $122.2m.The highest new entry, debuting at number five, was Paramount Pictures International's Friday The 13th
  • Israeli Film Council avoids drastic reduction in government funding

    The Israeli Treasury has agreed to increase this year's annual film budget by almost 16% to $16m (67m shekels). The Israeli Film Council will continue to be in charge of distributing this sum between the various funds, foundations and institutions involved in film activities across the country. Only a few months ago, the Israeli film industry looked set to lose almost 50% of the subsidies it was accorde
  • James Morris re-appointed Irish Film Board Chair for twelve months

    After a hiatus of five weeks, Ireland’s Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen, has announced the appointment of a new governing board for the Irish Film Board following the end of the tenure of the previous board members.The new board will have a four-year remit until February 2013 and includes the re-appointment of James Morris as chairperson, but only for a twelve-month period, and members Lesley McKimm, Tristan Orpen Lynch, Kevin Moriarty, and Kirsten
  • Korea's Sponge Entertainment wins Shortbus ratings battle

    After two years, Sponge Entertainment has won the fight to screen John Cameron Mitchell's sexually explicit film Shortbus in South Korea with a 'Teenager Restricted' rating. The film follows a sex therapist, who has never experienced an orgasm, as she is introduced to the people in an underground sex club called Shortbus. Previously, the Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) had twice given the same version of the controversial film the 'Restricted' rating which
  • Low-budget doc stampedes South Korean box office

    Old Partner, a documentary about an old man and his cow, has topped the South Korean box office with 419,295 admissions from 276 screens this past weekend. The sleeper hit, which is distributed by Indiestory both in Korea and overseas, has accumulated a record 1,393,079 admissions for a documentary, and $6.13m since its release Jan 15 when it opened on seven screens. National interest in the quiet hard-working old man, his cow, and his complaining but sympa
  • Magnet Releasing imports Nicolas Winding Refn's Bronson to US

    Magnet Releasing has acquired US rights to Nicolas Winding Refn's Bronson following the drama's Sundance and Rotterdam screenings. The film had its world premiere at the London Film Festival last year.This is the second time Refn has partnered with Magnet after the distributor and its sister company Magnolia released his
  • Marston, Bahrani projects to get grant support from Cinereach

    New work from Maria Full Of Grace director Joshua Marston and Man Push Cart director Ramin Bahrani are among a selection of ten works-in-progress to receive grants totaling $250,000 from non-profit film support body Cinereach.Cinereach was founded
  • Metrodome builds its French cinema slate with Anything For Her

    Metrodome has acquired UK and Irish rights to the French feature Anything For Her. Metrodome's CEO Peter Urie, general manager distribution Sara Frain and head of acquisitions James Brown negotiated the deal with Elle Driver. Thriller Anything For Her stars Diane Kruger as a wife wrongly accused of murder, alongside Vincent Lindon as the husband who hatches a plan to break her out of prison. Metrodome continues to build on its French cinema slate. The compan
  • My Year Without Sex

    Dir/scr: Sarah Watt. Australia. 2009. 96 mins
  • Olaf de Fleur breaks the ice

    Olaf de Fleur says he has been through 'a good film school of dos and don'ts' in the past few busy years making a string of very different feature films. 'I've been working on quantity, just doing a lot of films for the past four or five years,' the Icelandic director says. 'You need four or five films to get the language of film correct.'Those films include documentaries Africa United and Shining Star, Berlin 2008 Teddy winner The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela
  • Opinion: Going back to basics

    It wasn't just the critics who were gloomy at Berlin this year. Most of those attending the European Film Market (EFM) were facing some hard realities: buyers and sellers were shaking their heads trying to figure out the numbers, which no longer seemed to make sense. The mood was set when top seller Focus Features International passed on taking its traditionally grand stand at the Martin Gropius Bau, arguing that its sales focus will be in Cannes.Only a handful of new English-language,
  • Oscar winners - Slumdog Millionaire wins Best Picture

    Winners of the 81st Annual Academy AwardsBest Supporting ActressPenelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina BarcelonaBest Original ScreenplayDustin Lance Black, MilkBest Adapted ScreenplaySimon Beaufoy, Slumdog MillionaireBest Animated FeatureWall-E, Andrew StantonBest Animated Short
  • Pathe boards Dead Man Running for UK and Ireland

    Pathe Distribution has taken UK and Irish rights for Dead Man Running from Park Entertainment. Dead Man Running is produced by Nicholas 'Pikki' Fearon, Alan Latham and Tom Matinson. Alex de Rakoff wrote and directed the film which shot in London in November and December 2008. The story follows notorious New York gangster and loan shark, Mr. Thigo as he arrives in London to make an example out of one of his late p
  • Polish film festival in UK to kick off with 33 Scenes From Life

    The seventh edition of the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival will open in London with Malgorzata Szumowska's drama, 33 Scenes from Life, a study of the resilience of the human spirit and the ties that unite people. The festival will take place in London from March 12 to April 8. The programme will include features, documentaries and shorts. Ahead of its UK release, a preview of Andrzej Jakimowski's Tricks will be screened. The nostalgic tale of childho
  • Poul, Wright to adapt Dews' Must Read After My Death

    Alan Poul and Craig Wright have optioned the family story captured in documentary Must Read After My Death and plan to co-produce the feature film which Wright will write and Poul will direct.The documentary, directed by Morgan Dews, was released Friday (February 20) at New York's Quad Cinemas and in an innovative national day-and-date online release via Gigantic Digital. The films opens February 27
  • Q & A with Revolver's managing director Justin Marciano

    Why did you want to get involved with the programme' Justin: It was an instantly interesting prospect for us. There is only one future and that is digital. We have really tried to experiment ourselves, feel in the dark, off our own backs. For us as a private company, we would never have been able to afford to hire the services of Huge [digital consultancy firm, who will be mentoring Revolver over the next year], so this was a great opportunity, which we would have been
  • Regent sets May as US release for Oscar winning Departures

    Regent Releasing and Here Media will release their Japanese foreign language Oscar winner Departures in May, the distributor said following the picture's Academy Awards win at the weekend.Yojiro Takita's victory marked the first time Regent and Here received an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category and the first win for Japan in t
  • Russian Box Office Stats 2008

    CIS Box Office Top 20 2008* TITLE (ORIGIN) DISTRIBUTOR Total gross 1 The Irony Of Fate: The Sequel (Rus) 20th Century Fox CIS $49.9m 2 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (US) UPI $40.8m 3 Admiral (Rus) 20th Century Fox CIS $33.7m 4 The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor (US) UPI $27.8m 5 The Very Best Film (Rus) Caroprokat $27.6m 6 Wanted (US) UPI $26.3m 7 Hancock (US) Bvspr $26.0m 8
  • Russian Film Hub - Company Profile - New world order

    Founded a decade ago by Yuri Sapronov and Andrei Smirnov, Russian World Studios (RWS) comprises state-of-the-art studios in both Moscow and St Petersburg, a production company, a location scouting service and a camera rental house.The company is now preparing to launch a production and distribution unit with Sergei Chliyants' Moscow-based New Cinema Studio. Under the deal, New Cinema Studio, which includes New Cinema Marketing and New Cinema Distribution, will become a division of RWS,
  • Russian Film Hub - On Location - Moscow calling

    Russia has two main production facilities: Mosfilm in Moscow and Russian World Studios (RWS) which has facilities in both Moscow and St Petersburg. The consensus among producers is that the country needs more modern facilities. Post facilities abound - in addition to RWS and Mosfilm, Cinemateka and Dr Picture have good reputations - but most Western producers shoot on location for a few days and prefer to return home for post-production.'We only shot two days there because of the dista
  • Russian Film Hub - Q&A - 'Have a healthy budget and a lot of time'

    Les WeldonProduction: Command Performance. Dolph Lundgren directed and starred in this action thriller, produced by Nu Image Films and Millennium Films. Shot on location on Red Square and elsewhere in Moscow for two days in autumn 2008, with other locations in Bulgaria.Why did you choose to shoot in Russia'We needed Red Square and Moscow streets.Did you consider anywhere else'No.Did you use local crews and equipment'Entire
  • Russian Film Hub - The billion dollar club box office

    The Russian box office is predicted to hit the $1bn mark in 2009. According to the European Audiovisual Observatory, Russia became Europe's fourth biggest market in 2008 in terms of admissions - 123.9 million (a 16% increase on 2007). And according to local analysts Nevafilm, the CIS (excluding Ukraine) generated $830m in box-office revenues in 2008, up a whopping 47% on 2007.Russian films are helping drive this growth. Local titles garnered a 22% market share last year, propelled by a
  • Russian Financial Alliance Bank puts film fund operation on hold

    As reported by Kommersant, Russian Financial Alliance's (RFA) $10m mutual fund, Kinofond, has been put on hold. RFA has refused to comment at this stage as to why Kinofond's operations have been suspended. The RFA bank established, the $10m Kinofond in 2007 through a sister company, the RFA investment agency. In the Russian business publication RBC Daily in 2007, Jacob Reznik, CEO of RFA's investment arm described the fund as a very timely venture.
  • Salomon signs on to direct Rocky Marciano boxing biopic

    Mikael Salomon has signed on to direct M.E.G.A. Film's boxing biopic Undefeated: The Rocky Marciano Story.According to M.E.G.A. Film's founder Morris S Levy, who will produce, this is the first authorised picture about the sporting legend's life and will reveal new details from the fighter's younger brother Lou Marciano.The story will follow Marciano from childhood to his 1
  • Screen Actors Guild rejects studios' 'best and final offer'

    Hopes of a settlement in the ongoing contract dispute between the Screen Actors Guild and the studios suffered the latest setback at the weekend as the Guild's national board of directors rejected the studios' 'best and final offer.'On Saturday the board of directors voted 73% to 27% in favour of rejecting the Alliance Of Motion Picture And Television Producers' offer dated February 19 after talks collapsed last week. The studio and television
  • Singapore film festival to open with Sincerely Yours

    The 22nd Singapore International Film Festival (April 14-25) will open with Sincerely Yours from debuting Taiwanese feature director Rich Lee. The film explores the plight of illegal foreign workers in Taiwan with a multi-national cast. The festival will close with Milk from Turkey, a 'quietly stunning and poetic film about the relationship between a milkman and his mother' according tothe festival. In total the festival will screen 193 films from 34
  • Slumdog takes eight Oscars including best picture, best director

    Slumdog Millionaire wins 8 Oscars including best picture and best director.
  • South Australian Film Corp launches producer equity scheme

    South Australian Premier Mike Rann has announced the introduction of a producer equity scheme that will give producers of films with investment from the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) cash up front and a bigger share of the rewards from successful films. Under the scheme the SAFC will channel the money it recoups on its investment straight to the producer. On successful films, the SAFC and the producer will then share profits at a rate determined on a case-by-c
  • Swipe Films sells UK rights to Beyond The Fire

    Swipe Films has sold UK distribution rights to Beyond The Fire to Met Film Distribution. The deal was negotiated by Frank Mannion of Swipe Films and Patrick Fischer on behalf of Met Film Distribution. Written and directed by Maeve Murphy, Beyond the Fire is a love story and stars Scot Williams and Cara Seymour. The film was shot in and around London and Liverpool. Produced by Helen Alexander with independent finance, Beyond the Fire w
  • Take 12: monetising digital - Justin Marciano of Revolver

    Nesta/UKFC digital innovation programme - Part 2: Revolver EntertainmentRevolver Entertainment’s managing director Justin Marciano
  • The Wrestler named best feature, actor at Independent Spirit Awards

    The Wrestler was named best feature and won the best actor award for Mickey Rourke and the best cinematography award for Maryse Alberti at the 2009 Film Independent Spirit Awards which took place today (Saturday) in Santa Monica.The annual event, which honours films embodying independence and 'who dare to challenge the status quo', also saw Woody Allen's
  • Tom Tykwer dreams big with 'fascinating' adaptation ofCloud Atlas

    Much has happened in Berlin in the decade between the release of Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run, which exploded onto the European film-making scene in the late 1990s, and his latest film, The International, which opened this month's Berlinale.'Berlin is completely up there with any other big film city in terms of production craft. Anything you want to set up here is equal to London, New York or Los Angeles,' enthuses Tykwer. 'You have brilliant stages here in Babelsberg, and t
  • Tyler Perry's latest Madea film tops domestic box office with $41.1m

    As fruitful relationships between studio and film-maker go, they don't get much better than the collaboration between Lionsgate and Tyler Perry. Both parties scored the highest launch of their careers at the weekend as Madea Goes To Jail stormed to the top with an estimated $41.1m number one debut that played its part in propelling the box office towards ever greater heights.Made for relatively low cost an
  • UK Film Council awards distribution support to Che

    Che: Part One, Bronson and Franklyn are among a list of films to have benefited from the latest round of awards from the UK Film Council's prints and advertising fund. While blockbusters are often released in the UK with more than 1,000 film prints, the average number of prints for a foreign language specialist film is under ten. The fund has an
  • UK's Firefly Vision and Lansdowne Films to produce Skin

    Firefly Vision, sister company of the UK's Firefly Films, has signed with Jordi Devas' Lansdowne Films to produce Skin. Skin marks the debut of screenwriter Steven Elliott and is set in Thailand and London. Speleers is set to star in the film and the producers are currently in talks with possible directors. Firefly Films is headed up by Ed Speleers and Simon Melhuish. Speleers said that Firefly Vision hopes to give a voice t
  • UK's Left Bank Pictures appoints Mackie as head of film

    Suzanne Mackie has joined Left Bank Pictures as head of film, effective immediately. She joins from Harbour Pictures where she was director of development. Mackie will focus on Left Bank's film development slate including the film adaptation of Ayub Khan-Din's play Rafta Rafta, which is already in advanced stages of development. The role will be part-funded by the UK Film Council's award of $218,000 to Left Bank Pictures as part of the production c
  • UK's LoveFilm promotes Chris Bird to director of film strategy

    LoveFilm's Chris Bird has been promoted to director of film strategy, having previously held the role of head of marketing services. Bird will handle LoveFilm's strategic relationships with studios and distributors and will developing the commercial arm of the new LoveFilm On-Demand service. Jo Underhill, who replaces Bird in the role of head of media sales, joins the company from She will lead the advertising sales team, which is now a full in-house o
  • UK's Microwave scheme greenlights two projectsafter Shifty success

    Film London Microwave the micro-budget film-making scheme supported by BBC Films, which resulted in the award winning Shifty and Mum & Dad, has greenlit two feature films, Strawberry Fields and Foxglove. Strawberry Fields will be directed by Frances Lea and produced by Liam Beatty. Written by Lea and award-winning playwright Judith Johnson, it's a rites of passage comedy set in England during summer. Foxglove will be directed by Ornette
  • Warner's Button should continue international lead this weekend

    Warner Bros Pictures International's The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button has ruled the roost for the past two weekends and has reached an impressive $130m and crossed $250m worldwide.With no wide release of any Hollywood picture planned this weekend, the Oscar nominated drama starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett looks a good bet to hold on to it
  • Werc Werk Works to produce, finance Epstein & Freidman's Howl

    Elizabeth Redleaf and Christine Walker's Werc Werk Works will produce and fully finance Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's Howl starring James Franco.Howl is set to go into production on March 16 in New York City and centres on the obscenity trial into Allen Ginsberg's groundbreaking Beat Generation poem of the same name.Franco stars as Ginsberg in the pi
  • Will Cannes 2009 deliver on high expectations?

    With Berlin over, selectors at the Cannes film festival (May 13-24) are facing a deluge of films from the world’s greatest auteurs - so many, in fact, some big names could end up being excluded from official selection.Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces opens in Spain on March 18 and is expected to land on the Croisette for its international premiere. Lars von Trier’s psychological horror Antichrist should also secure a competition slot.Michael Haneke is primed t
  • Will Russia's film boom survive the credit crunch'

    In recent years, the Russian film industry has been remarkably robust. The 78 Russian films released in 2008 enjoyed a 22% share of the $830m CIS gross (excluding Ukraine), according to local analysts Nevafilm. Russian box office grosses alone came to $548.1m (rub19.9bn). State funding for production increased to $88.5m (rub2.6bn) in 2007, the last year for which figures are available, and 2008 saw a 20% growth in the number of screens in Russia, as ticket prices also increased.But the
  • Wonderful Town wins top honours at Thai Oscars

    Aditya Assarat's Wonderful Town scooped five awards, including best film and best director, at Thailand's leading film honours, the Subhanahongsa Awards, on Sunday night (Feb 22). The indie drama also won best screenplay - which also went to Assarat - best cinematography and best art direction. A love story set in a small Thai town after the 2004 tsumani, the film has already won several festival awards, including a Tiger Award at Rotterdam, and was picked