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27 January 2004

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  • 2004 Sundance/NHK winners unveiled

    Gyorgy Palfi's Taxidermia, Miranda July's Me And You And Everyone We Know and Andrucha Waddington's House Of Sand have won the 2004 Sundance/NHK InternationalFilm-makers Awards.Each winner will receive$10,000 and a guarantee from Japanese public broadcaster NHK to buy theJapanese television rights upon completion of the project, as well asyear-round financing and distributing support from Sundance staff. The winnerswill attend the Sundance awards ceremony.Th
  • 32 projects head for Berlinale co-production market

    New projects by Daniel Burman (Raquel Liberman), Alexander Sokurov (The Sun), Robert Glinski (Unkenrufe), Goran Paskaljevic (Lost In The Stars), Susanne Bier (Simon) and Pang Ho Cheung (Waiting For Nike) are among 32 projects chosen from 230 entries to be presented in the Berlinale's first Co-Production Market.The first edition Market will be held Feb 8-9, with individual meetings with potential co-production partners complemented by a series o
  • Along Came Polly opens top in Australia for Universal

    Universal's comedy AlongCame Polly got its international campaign off to a strong start inAustralia through UIP at the weekend, opening top on an estimated $1.9m from193 sites.The film will open in therest of the world over the next three months, starting with Portugal on Feb 6.The dance drama Honeyraised its international running total to $11.5m, where the highlights included$315,000 from 356 sites in its fifth weekend in Germany, dropping 57%
  • Anatomy Of Hell (Anatomie De L'Enfer)

    Dir: Catherine Breillat France 2004. 77mins.Forthright French director Catherine Breillat made her international breakthrough in 1999 with Romance, the centrepiece of a retrospective at the Rotterdam Film Festival. Breillat has returned to Rotterdam to premiere her tenth film Anatomy Of Hell, which takes Romance's sexual explorations even further, into territory where some audiences may be nervous to follow. Anatomy again features Euro-porn idol R
  • Animal Logic drafts in veteran Smith for liaison role

    Animal Logic, Australia's foremost visual effects studio, has appointed Greg Smith to the newly created position director of communications and public affairs.The former executive, who was instrumental in the firm's key move to Sydney's Fox Studios in 1998, will be Animal Logic's "senior liaison person with government and industry bodies", according to managing director Zareh Nalbandian. "Greg brings with him extensive industry knowledge and insight."Smith has held high-profile

    The Return Of The King continues to reign over Argentina's box office after three weeks. New entries Spy Kids 3-D Game Over, Mona Lisa Smile and 21 Grams took over the top slots, pushing down Disney's Brother Bear and Clint Eastwood's Mystic River. Argentinian comedy /drama Hoteles by Aldo Paparella opened weakly at number 20.A varied bunch of movies are expected to open next weekend. Tom Cruise vehicle The Last Samurai could knock
  • Berlin unveils full Competition line-up

    The Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 5-15) has rounded out its Competition section, confirming new titles from Korea, Hong Kong, Argentina, Colombia and the US.In total 26 films have been selected for Competition. 23 of these will compete for the Golden and Silver Bears, while three will be shown out of competition.New additions to the Competition list are Kim Ki-Duk's Samaritan Girl (Samaria); Sylvia Chang's 20:30:40, Daniel Burman's Lost Embrace (El Abr
  • Berlinale unveils Forum of New Cinema

    More than half of the programme of this year's International Forum of New Cinema are world premieres, and particular attention is being paid to little-known filmmaking countries like South Africa and Thailand.As the Berlinale is casting a spotlight on South Africa this year, the Forum will be featuring a series of ten documentaries under the banner of Project 10 - Real Stories From a Free South Africa, which were developed together with broadcaster SABC1 and the Amsterdam-based Maurits
  • Berlin's Panorama unveils complete line-up

    Berlin's Panorama section has unveiled its full line-up across its main programme and the Special, Dokumente and Short Films strands.The line-up comprises 34 features, 16 documentaries and 26 short films. The films are from 32 countries and include twelve directing debuts and 14 films which are to be digitally projected, two of them in High Definition.The Panorama's main programme will open on Feb 5 with Walk On Water by Eytan Fox/Israel, the story of a rel
  • Business stirs at Paris Screenings

    Kiyonaga Nakagawa from Comstock was the only Japanese buyer present at the Rendez-Vous De Paris, the Unifrance organised screenings that are otherwise targeted at European distributors.He made a splash taking Japanese rights to TF1 International's Spy Bound (Agents Secrets), directed by Frederic Schoendoerffer, starring Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel.Other deals included Tartan Films' purchase of UK rights to Les Clefs De Bagnole, from Rezo Films, a dist
  • Cabin Fever's Roth steps into The Box for Camelot

    Following the acquisition of its Sundance hit Garden State, Camelot Pictures is to finance and produce The Box, a psychological thriller written by Richard Kelly (Donny Darko) and Eli Roth (Cabin Fever) that Roth is set to direct.Kelly and Sean McKittrick's fledgling Darko Entertainment will produce with Camelot founders Gary Gilbert and Dan Halsted, who plan to take The Box into production later this year.The screenplay will be loosely based
  • Chapman rewarded in Australian honours list

    Veteran Australian film producer Jan Chapman has been named in this year's Australia Day honours list.She has been created an Officer in the Order of Australia , perhaps equivalent to a pre-1975 Damehood, "for service to the Australian film industry as a producer, and as a contributor to organisations providing strategic direction to the industry". She can now use the letters AO after her name.Her life has been connected with film since the 60s when she was a member, along with
  • Chomet, Resnais share Golden Star

    The French awards season got underway on Monday with the Etoiles d'Or conferred by local film journalists. In a tie, best picture went to Sylvain Chomet's Les Triplettes De Belleville and Alain Resnais' Pas Sur La Bouche.Chomet's film, which has picked up critics' awards in the States from such diverse places as Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York is hotly tipped to receive an Oscar nomination in the animation category and was also awarded the Etoile d'Or
  • CTFDI scores success abroad with Mona Lisa Smile

    Mona Lisa Smile grossed $8.6m on 2,065 screens for Columbia TriStarFilm Distributors International (CTFDI) at the weekend.It opened number one inGermany on a notable $2.8m from 601 screens, and also secured top berths inAustria ($335,000 from 78) and Switzerland ($550,000 from 85).The drama opened second inFrance behind The Last Samurai on $1.8m from 394 screens and second inBrazil behind the same title on $465,000 from 154. It also placed third
  • Depardieu, Auteuil team for French cop drama

    French stars Daniel Auteuil and Gerard Depardieu are pairing up for a new film by Oliver Marchal entitled 36.The Euros 13.75m film, produced through French major Gaumont, is set at 36 Quai des Orfevres, a mythic spot in French cinema and the site of police headquarters in Paris.The two titans face off as police chiefs each heading up a special forces brigade who fight over everything from their methods to the woman they love.Italian actress Valeria Golina is the gi
  • Doolan joins Irish Arts Council as film specialist

    The Irish Arts Council has appointed Jane Doolan to the new part time consulting role of Film Specialist. She will be responsible for developmental work and for providing policy advice to the Arts Council on film.The Arts Council is a major source of funding in Ireland for cultural organisations such as The Irish Film Institute, film festivals and resource centres for film-makers. It has recently been examining models for increasing the production funding it makes available for innovat
  • Dutch Film Fund names ten directors for development scheme

    The Dutch Film Fund has unveiled a new initiative called Ten To Watch, which sees ten directors given Euros 10,000 to develop their next film project.The scheme was launched during this week's International Film Festival of Rotterdam with the aim of stimulating more artistic and less commercial productions in the Netherlands.The ten directors are: Mark de Cloe (producer: Theorema Films), Peter Delpeut (producer: Waterland Film & TV), Fow Pyng Hu (producer: Motel Films), Michiel
  • EASTERN EUROPE Production listings - Jan 26 2004

    RUSSIAPRE-PRODUCTIONELIZABETH AND KLODIL (ELIZAVETA I KLODIL)(Krug Film Studio) Co-prod: Mosfilm (Russia) Backer: Service of Cinematography of the Russian Ministry of Culture. Adventure film about two 15-year old girls - Russian and French - who run away from their families and go to one of the resorts in the South of France where they experience their first love adventures. Dir: Sergey Solovjev. Scr: Sergey Solovjev. DoP: Pavel Lebeshev.Contact: Fedor Popo
  • Eastern Europe production overview

    For full Eastern European production listings click HEREMost production outfits in the East have hunkered down to complete post-production during the cold, dark winter months after the short and frantic shooting season of summer and autumn.In Russia 2003 was the best year for film production since 1991 with more than 100 features produced - as the GDP continues its fifth straight year of growth to
  • Easy

    Dir. Jane Weinstock. US. 2003. 95mins.Despite a premiere at Toronto last autumn, followed by a competition slot at Sundance this month, Easy would do best to stay aware from the glare of film festivals. Given the right treatment, this romantic romp might land some deals, especially in secondary markets. But under the media spotlight it risks having its shortcomings blown out of proportion, doing the kind of damage it may be hard to repair later on.Jamie (Mar
  • Employee Of The Month

    Dir: Mitch Rouse. US. 2004. 97 mins.Few films deserved a slot in the Sundance Film Festival less than the repellent Employee Of The Month, a bungled attempt to blend gross-out comedy with double-cross heist thriller which had buyers walking out and audiences shaking their heads in dismay in Park City.Despite the odd directorial flourish and some talented actors doing their best to bring it to life, the film is difficult to watch for several reasons. Take poo
  • FIlm competition to raise Black Aids awareness

    BlackEntertainment Television, the Black AIDS Institute and the Kaiser FamilyFoundation, a lobby group that focuses on public health issues, have set up theRap-It-Up/Black AIDS Short Subject Film Competition.The competition is designedto raise awareness of AIDS among black communities in the US and is open topeople of all ethnicities to submit a statement of purpose and a screenplaythat addresses the subject.A panel of prominentAfrican-Americans will select two winners, who will
  • Fox comedies Stuck and Cheaper continue rollouts

    Fuelled by a decent openingin Spain at the weekend, Stuck On You added $2.5m from 1,166 international sites to raise its running totalto $17m.Fox International opened thecomedy in second place in Spain on $1.4m. It also scored good bows in Belgium,grossing $210,000 from 35 screens, and Greece, where it took $162,000 from 31.The comedy Cheaper By TheDozen grossed $1.7m to elevate its internationalrunning total to $11.2m.Latest figures from thedistributor put
  • Fox's Dozen lifts international haul to $8.4m

    Fox International's comedy Cheaper By The Dozen grossed $2m at the weekend from 610 screens in five markets, raising its international running total to $8.4m.Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World added $1m from 877 in 25 markets to elevate its total in Fox markets to $67.2m. Including France ($5.2m) and Italy ($14m) the naval adventure has amassed around $86.4m.The distributor opened the thriller Runaway Jury in seventh place in the UK on 291 scree

    As expected, Tom Cruise vehicle The Last Samurai slashed its way to the number one spot this week coming close to the one million admissions barrier and taking in over $5m in its first week.In so doing it ended the five week reign of Return Of The King which drops to number three behind Mathieu Kassovitz's Gothika.Lost In Translation continues to crowd-please and remains at number four. Apart from Samurai, two new French entries are the only on
  • France Television slashes film sales arm

    France Television Distribution Cinema, the film sales and acquisitions arm of public broadcaster France Television, is to cease its international sales activities in the coming weeks according to sources close to the situation.France Television Distribution currently has two sales teams, one for TV and one for film. The film team will be significantly cut back.In all, five people are to be laid off as FTD heads to Berlin and the AFM with no sales executives in tow. Chief executi
  • Full list of Oscar nominations

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King has emerged as the front runner for the Oscars this year, with eleven nominations including best picture and best director.Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World is just behind with ten nominations, followed by Seabiscuit and Cold Mountain on seven and Mystic River on six.Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl has five, while Lost In Translation, City Of God, The Last

    After four weeks at the top and over $ 80.5m gross to date, The Return Of The King has been toppled by another Warner Bros. release The Last Samurai which has now grossed $ 9.8m in just two weeks.Constantin Film's release of Lost In Translation has meanwhile gone from strength to strength, climbing to No 3 and registering an impressive $ 6,500 screen average from the now wider release of 116 prints.Another Constantin Film release - The Recruit starrin
  • Godard loses copyright case in Paris court

    Paris' high court has ruled against filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard for copyright infringement in his 1987 film King Lear.According to Agence France Presse, author Viviane Forrester brought the suit claiming Godard had used a text from her book La Violence Du Calme that was recited in the film without her authorisation.Godard and Bodega Films are to cease use of the film until the credits can be amended. Forrester and her publisher, Les Editions du Seuil will receive Eur
  • Gothenburg emerges into Cold Light with record sales

    When Sweden's leading film event, the Gothenburg Film Festival, opened its box office earlier this month, business was brisk. It sold a record 30,000 tickets on its first day - including all the tickets to opening film Cold Light by Hilmar Oddsson as well as several other screenings.Not a bad start for the 11-day showcase, which kicks off today (Jan 23) with 213 features and documentaries including all the local films released in 2003.Swedish culture minister Marita Ulvsk
  • High Point takes over Irish Dead Bodies sales

    World sales outfit High Point Films, has taken on international sales on Irish thriller Dead Bodies.Produced by Dublin based Distinguished Features, headed by David McLoughlin and Clare Scully, Dead Bodies is directed by Robert Quinn and stars Andrew Scott as a young slacker whose world is turned suddenly upside down when he finds himself implicated in a web of lies deceit and murder.Andrew Scott, is set to represent Ireland in the Shooting Stars programme at the B
  • Holy Cross leads sweep of FIPA prizes by Brit shows

    British productions swept the floor at the awards ceremony of the 17th Festival International des Programmes Audiovisuels (FIPA) in Biarritz, run by former Cannes Quinzaine des Realisateurs director Pierre Henri Delleau.BBC Northern Ireland production Holy Cross, Mark Brozel's debut film about the story of two Belfast families, received the Golden Fipa for best full length fiction.Two more Golden Fipas were awarded to the film. Zara Turner and Bronagh Gallagher jointly wo
  • Homework, Monster Road among top Slamdance honorees

    KevinAsher Green's sensual drama Homework has won the 2004 Slamdance GrandJury Sparky Award for best narrative feature, while Brett Ingram's profile oflegendary animator and Frank Zappa collaborator Bruce Bickford in MonsterRoad won the equivalent documentary prize.Inother awards at the weekend ceremony, the Grand Jury Sparky Award for bestnarrative short went to Jeremy Saulnier's rites of passage exercise Crabwalkand Elena Elmoznino's Freestyle, a look at t
  • Hungarian critics name Pleasant Days as best film

    The Hungarian Film Critics association has named director Kornel Mundruczo's festival favorite Pleasant Days as the best Hungarian production of 2003.Producer Viktoria Petranyi accepted the B. Nagy Laszlo prize for Mundruczo who is currently abroad developing his next feature, Delta.Benedek Fliegauf's Oscar submitted Forest received the best first film award.The critics' other clear favorite was Nimrod Antal's subway thriller, Control, which is

    Only three of last week's eight new releases made it into the weekend box office top ten, the most popular of them being a French comedy Tais Toi, directed by Francis Veber and starring Jean Reno and Gérard Depardieu.Last week's surprise disappointment was Gary Ross' Seabiscuit which failed to impress Hungarian audiences just like The Russian Ark or Baltasar Kormákur's The Sea.Watching its progress after a spectacular opening weekend, the t
  • IFM picks up Deadly Deceit

    AntonyGinnane and Ann Lyons' US-Australian international film and television salescompany IFM World Releasing has picked up world distribution rights to ChrisPhilpott's thriller Deadly Deceit,which will premiere at the American Film Market next month in Santa Monica.Billed as an updatedmorality tale, Deadly Deceitcentres on a bet by a handsome stranger that he can get a man's wife to sleepwith him within seven days. Kelly Harms and Waneta Storms star. The film isimmediate
  • Irish Film Board looks to recruit key staff

    The Irish Film Board (IFB), Ireland's national screen agency, has advertised for five full time positions.The IFB currently has 15 staff and the positions advertised largely arise from vacancies created by departing staff.The positions advertised are deputy head of production investment, development manager, business executive, policy executive, and executive assistant.Staff departing include: development manager Rebecca O'Flanagan who is going freelance at Easter to deve

    The Last Samurai and Finding Nemo continue to dominate the Japanese box office in their sixth week on release. Warner Japan, which was originally expecting the Tom Cruise samurai drama to finish with Y10 billion ($93m), has now upped its projection to Y13 billion ($121m). Meanwhile, Buena Vista is now looking to gross Y12 billion ($112m) for Finding Nemo - another increase on a previous estimate.The two blockbusters have been so dominant that few other films releas
  • Keene promoted to chief executive at Premier PR

    Sara Keene has been appointed to the newly created post of chief executive of Premier PR, the international entertainment PR agency.The move follows the company's recent expansion into several new arenas.Keene has been promoted from the position of co-managing director. She will lead the senior management team and focus on business development, marketing, quality control, employee development and overall business performance whilst continuing to work with her own longstanding cl
  • King lords over Italy with $12.2m in four days

    Powered by a new industryrecord for an opening weekend in Italy, New Line's The Lord Of The Rings:The Return Of The King boosted itsworldwide cumulative total to $876.5m at the weekend to become the sixth biggestgrossing title of all time.Peter Jackson's trilogyfinale added an estimated $28.7m from 7,187 screens in 57 territories for a$538.7m international running total, passing The Fellowship Of The Ring and Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets in the all-time
  • King rules with 11 Oscar nominations

    New Line's The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King has emerged as the frontrunner for Academy Award glory with 11 nominations including best picture and a second best director nod for Peter Jackson following The Fellowship Of The Ring in 2002.Twentieth Century Fox's naval adventure Master And Commander followed close behind on 10 including a fourth best director nod for Peter Weir.Interestingly neither film earned a single nomination in the acting cate
  • Kosslick mixes it up with wide ranging selection

    The 26 films in Berlinale chief Dieter Kosslick's Competition line-up are, he acknowledges, "quite a different mix".But, he says, political issues run like a central theme through many of the Competition line-up films - but love, relationships, passion and unrequited love are also topics.Kosslick also argues that the Competition "has two focuses this year - South Africa on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of freedom after the end of apartheid - and Latin America in recognit
  • LA manager D'Andrea joins Edmonds Entertainment

    LA-based manager/producerAlex D'Andrea has joined Edmonds Management, bringing with him a client rosterthat includes Stephen Baldwin, Jacob Young (who appears in the upcoming featureThe Girl Next Door) and director Gillies Mackinnon (Hideous Kinky).D'Andrea most recentlyserved with ADA Entertainment and prior to that was a manager at Seven SummitsPictures and Management, where his clients included Zooey Deschanel, Sean Beanand Jennifer Beals.Prior to Seven SummitsD
  • Latter Days sparks TLA, Madstone war of words

    A war of words has erupted between TLA Releasing and Madstone Theatres after the exhibitor cancelled the upcoming Salt Lake City run of C Jay Cox's directorial debut Latter Days, which deals in part with the life of a gay Mormon missionary.TLA Releasing lambasted the move at a Sundance press conference earlier this week, claiming that the theatre operator pulled the film after it received calls from conservative religious groups threatening to boycott the chain.However in
  • Laudadio named director of Rome's Casa del Cinema.

    Felice Laudadio, director of the Taormina Film Festival and former head of the Venice Film Festival, has been named the director of the "Casa del Cinema", an ambitious new cinema and cultural complex that will be unveiled in Rome in September 2004.The brain-child of Rome mayor and cinephile Walter Veltroni, the Casa del Cinema (literally, House of Cinema) aims to become an international meeting point for actors, journalists, festival organisers, directors and producers, harking back to
  • Madrid targets foreign shoots with film commission launch

    Long the capital of the Spanish film and television sectors, Madrid has finally made official the launch of its much-anticipated Film Commission.An estimated 70% of Spanish films shoot in Madrid, yet producers have long complained of complications shooting here. A large clutch of producers turned out to Friday's presentation to show their support.Spain now boasts more than 20 film commissions - up from six just three years ago - which, together with projects such as the massive
  • Maria Full Of Grace

    Dir: Joshua Marston. US/Colombia. 2004. 101mins.Yet further confirmation that HBO Films is now the beating heart of US independent cinema, Maria Full Of Grace is a riveting portrait of drug mules transporting heroin from Colombia into the US which is as much intense thriller as it is powerful social comment.A slot in competition at Berlin will introduce Marston's sensational directorial debut to European audiences after a US premiere in competition at Sundan
  • Max acquires international rights to Lepage's Moon

    Montreal-based Max Films hasacquired international rights to Robert Lepage's Far Side Of The Moon (La Face cachee de la lune) from Alliance Atlantis. The film, based onwriter-director-star Lepage's stage piece, will have its international premierein Berlin's Panorama section. Shot on HD, it will screen in 35mm and HD, thefirst time the festival has presented films in both formats. US rights arestill available.Set against the backdrop ofthe Cold War Soviet-US space race, t
  • Media Luna picks up Panorama pair

    Media Luna Entertainment has picked up international sales rights for Hilmar Oddsson's Cold Light and Russian directorial duo Olga Stolpovskaya and Dmitry Troitsky's You I Love (Ya Lyublu Tebya) which are both screening in Berlin's Panorama section.Oddsson's contemporary drama, which was the opening film at Gothenburg Film Festival, will show as a Panorama Special, while the comedy/love story You I Love - which is billed as "the first gay movie from Russia" - will
  • Media Luna takes on Spanish Bearcub sales

    Media Luna Entertainment has picked up world rights on new Spanish film Bearcub (Cachorro), premiering in the Panorama section of the upcoming Berlin Film Festival.The new drama - the sixth feature by director Miguel Albaladejo (Rancour, Manolito Four Eyes) - turns on a gay dentist forced to tone down his lifestyle when his 11 year old nephew comes for a short visit that gets unexpectedly extended.The deal was signed this week by the film's producer, Juan Alexander
  • Merchant eyes Venice festival slot

    The Merchant Of Venice producer Barry Navidi has confirmed that he hopes to premiere the film at the next Venice Film Festival, which runs from Aug 27-Sep 5."The Merchant Of Venice belongs to Venice," Navidi told from the 15th century villa in the suburb of Mestre where the picture is currently shooting. "We would absolutely love to have the premiere here. We could even project the film on the Rialto bridge. Wouldn't that be great'"Directed
  • Mexican stand-off as Guadalajara faces up to rival festival

    Mexico is poised to have two major film festivals slated just a month apart.The 19-year old Guadalajara Mexican and Iberoamerican Film Showcase (March 19 to 25) could get upstaged by a new film event in Mexico City to run from February 19 to 29.Dubbed the Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival (FICC), it is the brainchild of the city's second largest exhibition circuit, Cinemex, which runs 369 screens, mainly in the capital. The upstart's 19 other sponsors include
  • Mexico, Ireland to get Passion-ate

    20th Century Fox Films is set to release Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ on an estimated 300 prints in Mexico, according to Jose Juan Hernandez, general manager of Fox Mexico.Fox has yet to announce release dates for the region. "We are still mulling target opening dates of either March 16 or 19 in Mexico," said Hernandez who does not foresee any protests from the church."On the contrary, I think the church will embrace the film and give it its full support," he ad
  • Minghella to open Screen European Film Summit

    Cold Mountain director and British Film Institute chair Anthony Minghella is to open Screen International's European Film Summit with an on-stage interview.The Summit - titled Modernising European Cinema - is being held on Feb 4 on the eve of the Berlin International Film Festival at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Berlin.Minghella will be answering questions on the production of Cold Mountain and on his thoughts on the way forward for European cinema in both creative an
  • Napoleon Dynamite

    Dir: Jared Hess. US. 2004. 86mins.Napoleon Dynamite, which was met in Park City by raucous cheers and bursts of unsuppressed chuckling, is exactly the kind of off-beat comedy that delights otherwise earnest festivals such as Sundance. Within hours of its first screening, word on this occasionally-inspired portrait of Loserville, Idaho, which played in dramatic competition, quickly spread around town. And yet this modestly made film should not be allowed to carry the burden of
  • Nemo finds its place in the half a billion dollar club

    Finding Nemo passed $500m at the international box office overthe weekend, becoming the 10th title in history and the first animated filmever to cross the half-billion threshold.Nemo added $5.2m at theweekend for $504.2m, featuring $2.3m in its eighth weekend in Japan for astunning $93m running total. It is set to become Buena Vista International's(BVI) second title to cross $100m in the territory since Armageddon in 1999.In France the film hasgrossed $63m and is e
  • Nemo takes another $7.3m for BVI, poised to cross $500m

    Finding Nemo is closing in on $500m at the international boxoffice following a $7.3m weekend haul in all its territories that raised thefilm's running total to $496.4m.Executives at Buena VistaInternational expect the smash hit to pass the half-billion mark by Saturday(24).Elsewhere for BVI, BrotherBear continued its impressive runwith a record-breaking bow in South Korea on $550,000 from 96 screens that thedistributor claims is the biggest ever opening there for a
  • Nemo to swim past $500m barrier

    Buena Vista International (BVI) executives are saying Finding Nemo should pass $500m at the international box office by Friday (Jan 23) after last weekend's $7.3m haul raised its total to $496.9m.The animated hit had a chance of reaching the half-billion milestone last weekend but ultimately it was New Line International's The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King that crossed the line first.Peter Jackson's trilogy finale passed the mark on Jan 20 and goes into
  • New Films Int'l trades for Merchant Of Venice

    New Films International (NFI)has acquired Michael RadfordC;s The Merchant Of Venice for distribution across Latin America, EasternEurope, Turkey and the Baltic States, in a deal struck with Arclight FilmsThe $30m Shakespeareadaptation, which stars Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Lynn Collins, is currentlyin production in Luxembourg and scheduled for release in 2005. Ron Gell, vicepresident of worldwide acquisitions and co-productions for NFI, negotiated thesa
  • New Films Int'l trades for Merchant Of Venice

    New Films International (NFI)has acquired Michael Radford's The Merchant Of Venice for distribution across Latin America, EasternEurope, Turkey and the Baltic States, in a deal struck with Arclight FilmsThe $30m Shakespeareadaptation, which stars Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Lynn Collins, is currentlyin production in Luxembourg and scheduled for release in 2005. Ron Gell, vicepresident of worldwide acquisitions and co-productions for NFI, negotiated thesale with Nicolas Chartier

    Comedies are enjoying a purple patch at the US box office these days so it was little wonder that Universal's Along Came Polly dethroned The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King.New Line's fantasy epic is fading fast in its fifth week but that still shouldn't diminish Polly's achievement. It opened top on $32.5m over the four-day Martin Luther King Day holiday, the second best for the period just behind Sony's Black Hawk Down, which took $33.6m in 2001.
  • Oliver Stone to receive top Bangkok career prize

    Oliver Stone will receive a special Golden Kinnaree award for career achievement at the 2004 Bangkok International Film Festival.Stone will collect the honour at the event's Jan 31 awards gala, towards the end of the 14-day festival which runs from Jan 22-Feb 2."We are thrilled that we may honour Oliver Stone for his immeasurable impact on global cinema," executive director Craig Prater said in a statement."He is one of a handful of thought-provoking filmmakers whose dire
  • Open Water

    Dir: Chris Kentis. US. 2004. 79minsBased on a true story about a husband and wife who were accidentally left behind while scuba-diving 18 miles from shore, Open Water, which played in the American Spectrum sidebar at Sundance, is a bargain-basement scary movie that should more than repay its investment. What it lacks in cinematic terms - a long list indeed - is more than made up for by the terror it will strike in the hearts of filmgoers looking for a serious jolt. It'
  • Polish box office falls as local films misfire

    Polish box office and admissions slipped year-on-year during 2003.Yearly admissions fell 8.6% to 23.4m and box office 7.4% to $86.7m (ZLO319.7m) in 2003.The fall mirrors the worldwide box office decline and also follows a disappointing year for local titles, which saw only one major Polish release, Jerzy Hoffman's When The Sun Was God, reach a top ten position.Released by Syrena, the film weighed in at number six with 900,550 admissions and a $2.7m gross.In
  • Primer claims Alfred P Sloan prize at Sundance

    First-time director ShaneCarruth collected the Alfred P Sloan Prize at Sundance on Saturday (24) for histhriller Primer.The prize carries a $20,000award and goes to a film that either focuses on science or technology as atheme or depicts a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character.This year's jury, comprisingNeil LaBute, Mark Decena (who won the prize in 2003 for Dopamine), Contactproducer and screenwriter Ann Druyan, MIT Artificial Intellige
  • Rappeneau races ahead with Bon Voyage at Cesars

    Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Bon Voyage has emerged as the front-runner for France's Oscar equivalent, the Cesars, with 11 nominations.The nominees for the awards were announced this morning (Jan 23) by the newly installed president of France's Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema, Alain Terzian.Bon Voyage, a picaresque tale set against the June 1940 fall of France, stars Isabelle Adjani and Gerard Depardieu. It is also France's entry for the foreign language Oscar c
  • Redbus dives into Open Water

    UK distributor and producerRedbus Pictures has acquired UK rights to low budget shark thriller OpenWater, which premiered at Sundancelast week.Redbus bought the picturefrom Lions Gate Films and plans to release it on 300 plus prints in the latesummer or early autumn later this year.Based on the true story oftwo married scuba divers left behind by a careless boat crew, the film focuseson the shark-infested journey that followed, as the drifting couple face theirmost primit
  • Return Of The King crosses $500m overseas

    New Line International's TheLord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King was due to pass $500m in international ticket sales yesterday, a littleover a month after the film began its blockbusting run on Dec 17.The final part of PeterJackson's Tolkien adaptation grossed $23.1m from 8,104 screens in 54territories at the weekend to raise its running total to $496.7m."By the end of the day weshould have made $500m," Rolf Mittweg, president and chief operating officer ofthe compan
  • Return Of The King, Lost In Translation dominate Golden Globes

    The 61st Golden Globes awards onSunday (25) were dominated by New Line's The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The Kingwhich took home four prizes including best picture (drama) and director for Peter Jackson andFocus Features' Lost In Translation which won three including best picture (musical orcomedy).Sean Pennwas named best lead actor in a drama for Warner Bros' Mystic River andBill Murray won for best actor in a musical or comedy for Lost InTranslation.
  • Rotterdam debates the future of digital

    Independent cinema versus corporate America was the underlying theme of a big set-piece debate at the Rotterdam festival yesterday (Sun 25 Jan).The discussion on digital cinema and its potential threats to conventional film-making took the form of a parliamentary debate, a format which inevitably produced colourful language and a spirit of embattlement among European delegates.The motion "this house believes that the digital dream will destroy cinema as we know it" was proposed
  • Russian renaissance prompts increase in state support

    The Russian film industry underwent a renaissance in 2003 according the Russian Ministry of Culture. After years of crisis the ministry announced that 60 state supported features, 400 documentaries and 30 animated films were produced last year. An additional 25 to 30 features were produced with wholly private backing.Deputy Minister for Culture of the Russian Federation, Alexander Golutva said: "The Russian cinema is on the rise. What we planned to do last year we did."He also
  • Russia's Cinema Park opens its first multiplex in Moscow

    Cinema Park, the verticallyintegrated Russian production, distribution and exhibition outfit, got its ambitious two-year theatreexpansion underway yesterday (22) with the opening of a nine-screen Moscowmultiplex.More than 600 peopleattended the opening of Cinema Park at Kaluzhskaya, which coincided with therelease of The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King.The site cost roughly $9mand comes with stadium seating, Dolby Digital and Surround EX sound, a sushi bar, faci
  • Second UK First Light film awards to be held in Feb

    The UK's second First Light Film Awards are to be held in London on February 25.The awards are part of a $1.6m initiative launched in May 2001 between UK funding body The Film Council and Birmingham-based Hi8us Projects to give young people aged between 7 and 18 the opportunity to make short films on digital video.There are nine categories including Best Live Action Drama/ Fiction, Best Silent Film, Best Documentary, Best Animation, Best Comedy, Best Horror, Best Film made by un

    The trio at the top of the Serbian-Montenegrin chart has not changed since the last weekend in spite of two new openers.The Return Of The King still reigns with 10,292 admissions for the weekend and now has grossed a total of $589,531 and Mona Lisa Smile is holding strong after selling another 6,725 tickets to gross a cumulative $58,638.Bosnian Fuse has jumped a whole 50% since the last weekend with 3,127 tickets and is proving to be a hit outside its own te
  • Seven scripts selected for top Oz development scheme

    Seven creative teams have been selected for Australian script development programme SPARK 2004, developed by the Australian Film Commission (AFC) and the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).Australian cinema has often been accused of neglecting its scripts and scriptwriters. Acting, camerawork and production design are usually first rate, while the script needs 'further work'.SPARK concentrates considerable firepower on seven writer/director/producer teams who co
  • Sinatra feature scores Miracle sale to US

    UK/Australian co-production The Night They Called It a Day has been picked up for the US by Miracle Entertainment.Emile Sherman of Sherman Pictures, co-producer of the feature with the UK's Nik Powell of Scala Productions, made the announcement in Sydney. "Miracle have been incredibly enthusiastic about the film and its potential from the moment they saw it," he said.The comedy/drama, which centres on legendary singer Frank Sinatra's disastrous 1974 concert tour of Austra
  • Skyy Vodka names finalists in contest to shoot short in 72 hours

    Ian Harrington, Chris Lopataand Abdallah Omeish have been named as finalists in the inaugural Skyy Short FilmProject: One Script, Three Different Film-makers, Three Very Different Films toshoot in New York City this spring.The trio beat off pitchesfrom hundreds of aspiring film-makers following the event's launch at Sundancelast year and must now prepare for their final challenge of filming afive-minute short in 72 hours based on the same screenplay.Adam and Mark Kassen ofShades
  • Sony Classics takes on North American rights to Zelary

    Sony Pictures Classics (SPC)has acquired North American rights to Ondrej Trojan's Zelary, the Czech World War II epic which is this year'sCzech Republic entry for the best foreign language film Academy Award.The deal was struck betweenSPC and Neil Friedman of Menemsha Entertainment who had previously soldTrojan's production Divided We Fallas well as Argentinian hit Son Of The Bride to SPC.Setagainst the backdrop of Nazi
  • South Korean cinema scores record market share

    South Korean cinema recorded a 53% local market share in 2003 - the strongest on record - according to a report just released by the Korean Film Commission (KOFIC).The nationwide figure is an estimate based on a 49.7% local market share for Seoul (where accurate figures are more readily available, and where Korean cinema slightly underperforms relative to the nation as a whole). Nationwide figures for past years are estimated at 48.3% for 2002 and 50.1% for 2001.Hollywood cinema
  • SPC climbs Merchant Ivory's Heights

    Sony PicturesClassics has extended its distribution ties with Merchant Ivory Productions byacquiring North American rights to Heights, a low budget comedy of manners set in contemporaryManhattan.SPC is alsonegotiating to acquire international territories on the film, a $2-3m MerchantIvory production that stars Elizabeth Banks, Glenn Close, James Marsden, JesseBradford and John Light, with a guest appearance by Isabella Rossellini.The announcementcame during this year's Su
  • Speck speaks up for 'explosive' Panorama programme

    The Berlinale's Panorama, which opens on Feb 5 with Eytan Fox's Walk On Water, has "a particularly bold, raw and energetic programme this year", according to section head Wieland Speck.Speaking to, Speck cited "such explosive films as Abdellatif Kechiche's L'Esquive which really touches one through its unbelievable energy to Joey Curtis' Quattro Noza set in Latino community in Southern California which is reminiscent of West Side Story with
  • Spirit of Bruce Lee conquers Korean box office

    A 1970s-set film about high school violence has taken hold of the South Korean box-office, drawing 800,000 admissions ($4.5m) on 270 screens in its first three days.Spirits Of Jeet Kune Do: Once Upon A Time In High School, the film by poet-director Yu Ha (Marriage Is A Crazy Thing) portrays a group of Bruce Lee-obsessed high school boys in a hierarchical school environment that is plagued by violence. The film marks the third major success in a row - after last yea
  • Stork Day (E Gia Ieri)

    Dir: Giulio Manfredonia. Italy/Spain/UK. 2004. 94 mins.Why would anyone want to remake a film as unique as Groundhog Day' The only original thing about this bland, inoffensive attempt to do just that is the fact that it is a European remake of an American film. Producer Riccardo Tozzi's claim that this is the first time that this has ever happened had this reviewer rifling through the archives. True, the remake traffic has mostly been in the other direction, but there
  • Strong Paris sales for Wild Bunch

    French sales house WildBunch will go into Berlin and AFM buoyed by a raft of strong sales followinglast week's Rendez-Vous De Paris market.Its biggest seller wasPierre Salvadori's Apres Vous. The film was sold to Crystal Films forCanada, Alta Films for Spain, Audiovisual for Greece, IIF for Italy, Atalantafor Portugal, Cinema Mondo for Finland, Hollywood Classics for the CzechRepublic and Slovakia, Central Partnership for Russia, Independenta forRomania, Shani Films for Israel,
  • Sundance jury passes over audience favourites

    If the Sundance FilmFestival has drifted to the mainstream from the margins, no one has told thejuries of the 2004 event. In the keystone Dramatic Competition, the juryawarded its prizes to films that generated little buzz through the course ofthe festival while ignoring the films that caused the greater stir. Absent fromthe podium were the filmmakers whose work scored critical attention anddistribution deals during the festival, directors such as Zach Braff of GardenState, Greg Harris
  • Super Size Me!

    Dir: Morgan Spurlock. US. 2003. 98 minsSundance buyers were drawn to this highly entertaining documentary like kids to candy and Big Macs for good reason: director Morgan Spurlock does to McDonalds fast food what Michael Moore did to both General Motors and the National Rifle Association in his canonical documentary blockbusters, Roger And Me and Bowling For Columbine. Audiences will also eat this one up, but they may never look at a quarter-pounder and cheese w
  • Swiss tune in to Jagged Harmonies

    Dominique de Rivaz's Jagged Harmonies - Bach vs Frederick II (Mein Name Ist Bach) has won the top award at the Swiss Film Prize 2004.Sold internationally by Bavaria Film International, de Rivaz's feature debut won in the best film category. It had its world premiere at last August's Locarno International Film Festival.The film tells the story of Johann Sebastian Bach's meeting with Frederick the Great of Prussia. In 1747, the composer was ordered to the royal court to mee
  • The Butterfly Effect

    Dir: Eric Bress & J Mackye Gruber. US. 2004. 113mins.This efficient if wildly elaborate supernatural thriller, which world premiered at Sundance this week and opens through New Line on Jan 23, should be a moderate-to-strong moneyspinner for the studio which has become the home for smart, low-budget youth-oriented horror like Final Destination and its sequel.International distributors will target the same youthful audiences in their territories and both domes
  • The Butterfly Effect opens top for New Line on $17.1m

    New Line's thriller TheButterfly Effect opened top at the weekend on an estimated $17.1m, provingstar Ashton Kutcher has the chops for more serious acting away from the comedyroles and his former incarnation as a professional prankster.Kutcher plays a man with theability to travel through time who uses his power to undo terrible events inhis life. Eric Bress and J Mackye Gruber's thriller also stars Amy Smart andMelora Walters. It drew poor reviews and averaged $6,564 from 2,605
  • The Last Samurai races past $200m at int'l box office

    The Last Samurai added an estimated $30.5m for Warner Bros PicturesInternational at the weekend, raising its cumulative score from all itsterritories to an excellent $205.3m.Inthree first-place finishes, the drama took $428,000 from 50 in Norway, an outstanding$459,000 from 111 (including previews) in the Philippines and $278,000 from 62in Argentina.Ittook $643,000 from 88 screens in Sweden for an unconfirmed ranking.Inits second week in France The Last Samurai
  • The Machinist

    Dir: Brad Anderson. Spain/US. 2004. 98 mins.The Machinist is a sinister and unsettling psychological thriller which has cult favourite written all over it. It's Donnie Darko meets Kafka, Repulsion meets Safe. Talented US film-maker Brad Anderson (Session 9, Happy Accidents) takes the Cold War paranoia re-invading US society under the Bush administration and pours it into this mesmerising puzzle of a movie which will irritate as many a
  • The Return wins FIPRESCI honours at Palm Springs

    AndreiZvyagintsev's drama The Return was named best foreign language film by the FIPRESCI panelof international critics at the closing ceremony of the record-breaking 15th Palm Springs InternationalFilm Festival on Sunday(19).In other awards,the John Schlesinger Award for Outstanding First Feature or Documentary went to Yann Samuell'sFrench Film Gala love story, Love Me If You Dare. The film will be released in Maythrough Paramount Classics.The AudienceChoice Award
  • The Return wins FIPRESCI honours at Palm Springs

    AndreiZvyagintsev's drama The Return was named best foreign language film by the FIPRESCI panelof international critics at the closing night ceremony of a record-breaking15th Palm Springs International Film Festival on Sunday (19).The JohnSchlesinger Award for Outstanding First Feature or Documentary went to YannSamuell's French Film Gala love story, Love Me If You Dare, which Paramount Classics will releasein May.The AudienceChoice Award for best documentary went
  • The Silence Between Two Thoughts (Sokoote Beine Do Fekr )

    Dir: Babak Payami. Iran. 2003. 88mins.There were three Iranian films at Venice last year; and all three were newsworthy. One (Hana Makhmalbaf's Joy Of Madness) because the director was only 14. Another (Abolfazl Jalili's The First Letter) because the director had been detained in Teheran by the authorities. And the third - Babak Payami's The Silence Between Two Thoughts, which screened in the Upstream sidebar - because the film had been confiscated by the
  • The Woodsman

    Dir: Nicole Kassel. US. 2004. 85mins.As Capturing The Friedmans made abundantly clear, there is no crime more heinous in the public imagination than paedophilia. So a dramatic feature that has a paedophile as its protagonist would seem to be engaging in taboo for taboo's sake. Which is why The Woodsman, which screened in the Dramatic Competition at Sundance, is such a revelation. Like Dead Man Walking, the film presents a realistic portrait of a man rathe
  • Thirty projects set for debut Talent Project Market at Berlin

    Feature films from 23 countries as far flung as the Philippines, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Iceland, Ukraine and Hong Kong are among the 30 projects selected for the first Talent Project Market at next month's Berlinale Talent Campus.The Talent Projects were picked from 256 entries by an international jury comprising the Berlinale Co-Production Market's organiser Sonja Moerkens, Ido Abram of CineMart, Michelle Byrd of Independent Feature Project New York German distributor Stephan Holl of Rap
  • Top Spanish film exec drafted into key Sogecable role

    Sogecable has announced that Fernando Bovaira will take over as the company's managing director of contents following the unexpected departure earlier this month of Jose Manuel Lorenzo.Bovaira has topped Sogecable's production activities through powerhouse Sogecine since 1996, where he shepherded the country's two biggest-grossing local films ever, English-language The Others and comics-inspired Mortadelo & Filemon, The Big Adventure (La Gran Aventura De Mortadelo & Filemon).
  • Traechslin launches new Swiss distribution company

    A new Swiss distribution company - Basle based Cineworx - has been launched by Pascal Traechslin, the head of distribution at Fama Film for the past six years.Traechslin told on the eve of Rotterdam's CineMart at the weekend that he has set up Cineworx with partners Waltraud Wesselmann (finance) and Thomas Schmutz (marketing).He plans to have a two-pronged acquisition strategy concentrating on quality arthouse films and European children's films aimed at
  • UK Conservatives pledge to simplify tax system

    The UK's Conservative Party has pledged to simplify the country's tax system and has highlighted the Section 42 sale and leaseback tax break for the UK film industry as an example of over complex legislation.Shadow Chancellor Oliver Letwin - whose Conservative Party has edged ahead in the opinion polls of the ruling Labour Party according to a survey last week by YouGov - said that the UK's tax handbook was now 7,000 pages long and that it was so complicated that it was having a seriou
  • UK delegation travels to Bollywood for scriptwriting project

    A delegation of UK film industry players have travelled to Mumbai to lead a week-long intensive series of workshops to identify Indian scriptwriting talent and match it with UK industry skills.The UK Film Council has produced a four day programme starting on 27 January focusing on the western "development process" where a film is shaped by the scriptwriting process and look at the differences and complementary styles in approaching filmmaking.Indian films are made in a very diff

    The UK finally saw a new box office champion last weekend as Scary Movie 3 ended the five week reign of The Return Of The King.Grossing a massive $6.4m (£3.5m) from 418 sites the new life injected into the series by director David Zucker and his cast, including spoof-comedy stalwarts Leslie Nielsen (The Naked Gun) and Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots!), helped the film surpass the opening of both previous films.Scary Movie opened in September 2000 taki

    The UK truly came down with Scarlett fever this week. Not only did Monday morning BAFTA nomination announcements reveal that actress Scarlett Johansson had secured two of the five nominations in the best actress category but the two films she was nominated for were doing stellar UK business over the weekend.New release Girl With A Pearl Earring got off to a good start for Pathe with a tenth position and a $6,536 screen average. The 17th century set drama about the Dutch painter
  • US box office revenues to pass $10bn by 2006, says report

    Box officerevenues in the US are predicted to pass $10bn for the first time ever in 2006,according to a new report from analysts Dodona Research.This figurecompares with $8.7bn in ticket revenue for 2003 and is expected to grow to$11bn by 2008. Most of the gains will come from higher ticket prices ratherthan increased attendance.By 2008, 1.56 billionAmericans are expected to attend cinemas, compared to 1.43 billion in 2003, butthey will be paying $7.05 for the privilege on
  • Video Island partners with MSN for DVD rentals

    UK online DVD rental service Video Island has unveiled a partnership with leading UK website move sees the launch of MSN DVD Rental within the MSN Entertainment Channel, which will be serviced by Video Island.MSN's 16.2 million users will now have access to Video Island's 15,000 titles on DVD. It will see users offered the choice from three flat fee monthly packages allowing an unlimited number of DVD rentals, with a revolving library of 2, 3 or 5 DVDs out a
  • Warner Independent makes first acquisition at Sundance

    Two more deals were closedat the Sundance Film Festival yesterday and more are set to close before thefestival finishes this weekend, as the domestic buying frenzy continued.Warner Independent Pictures,which had made multi-million dollar bids on at least two pictures this week,finally closed on its first acquisition, taking North American and UK rights toJohn Curran's independently financed We Don't Live Here Anymore for $2m.Meanwhile, deals were nearon Ian Iqbal Rashid's
  • WGA announces ten screenplay nominees

    The Writers Guild of America(WGA) nominees for best original screenplay have been announced as GurinderChadha, Paul Mayeda Berges and Guljit Bindra for Bend It Like Beckham, Steven Knight for Dirty Pretty Things, Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan and Kirsten Sheridanfor In America, Sofia Coppola forLost In Translation and TomMcCarthy for The Station Agent.In the adapted screenplaycategory, Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman are nominated for Amer
  • Woodsman, September Tapes score Sundance sales

    One of the Sundance FilmFestival's most acclaimed competition entries this year - Nicole Kassell's TheWoodsman - was sold yesterday toNewmarket Films for North America for a figure in the $1.2m range.The deal, closed yesterdayafternoon, was the end of a bidding war between six buyers for thecontroversial title which tells the story of a paedophile and his attempts toreintegrate into the community after 12 years in prison. It stars Kevin Bacon,who also executive produced, and his
  • York Entertainment picks up Lexie, Evicted

    Los Angeles-based production and distribution outfit York Entertainment has picked up two titles for home video distribution in the second quarter.Lexie is scheduled for release on Apr 20 and centres on the intrigue that surrounds a music producer's efforts to get back in the game. It stars Cindy Herron Braggs, Ice T and Gary Busey and is directed by Fred Williamson.Evicted, which is due out on May 4, follows the life of two slackers who stage a massive party on th