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27 January 2005

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  • 2005 Sundance/NHK winners announced

    The Sundance Institute and Japanese broadcaster NHKhave announced the winners of the 2005 Sundance/NHK International FilmmakersAwards.The annual award supports new voices in international cinema and is presentedto emerging directors from four global regions. Recipients get a $10,000 cashaward and a guarantee from NHK to purchase the Japanese television broadcastrights upon completion of their latest project.
  • 40th Solothurn film festival kicks off

    The 40th editionof Switzerland's Solothurn film festival kicks off today with a screening ofClemens Klopfenstein's The Bird's Sermon Or The Screaming Of Monks (DieVogelpredigt Oder Das Schreien Der Moenche), featuring former Bond-girl UrsulaAndress in a supporting role.A total 180 new Swissproductions will be shown in the course of the event.In addition, 20 films fromthe former Yugoslavia are to be screened.This year's festivalfeatures 386 films in tot
  • Alexander soars past $100m in international markets

    Following a dazzling international run that hasyielded more than three times the domestic gross, Alexander passed the $100mmilestone at the weekend with an estimated $9.5m haul from approximately 2,900screens in 54 territories.The picture's international running total now stands at $103m,
  • And the Oscar reactions are...

    "BringingThe Aviator to the screen took years of effort by an extraordinary groupof individuals, and I am thrilled that so many of the people who poured theirheart into the film have been recognised by the Academy," Martin Scorsesesaid after The Aviator earned 11 Academy Award nominations this week,including a sixth best director nod for the veteran filmmaker.
  • Anti-piracy raids across Asia seize 6m pirate discs

    Police forces across 12Asian countries this week completed a total of 876 raids, resulting in 277arrests and the seizure of 5.9 million pirate discs, according to the MotionPicture Association (MPA).As part of an extendedcampaign, 'Operation Eradicate', launched in December 2004, the initiative cameto a close this week with law enforcement officials targeting street vendors inmajor cities in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, India,Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Z
  • Anytime strikes Asian VoD deal with US studios

    Singapore-basedvideo-on-demand company Anytime has signed content supply deals with three USstudios, resulting in what it claims is the largest single offering in Asia ofHollywood product for VoD.The three deals with Twentieth Century Fox, Sony PicturesTelevision International and Warner Bros International Television Distributionjoin an existing supply deal with Universal Pictures. Th
  • Are We There Yet' defies bad weather to open top on $18.5m

    Columbia/Revolution'sAre We There Yet'opened top on an estimated $18.5m at the weekend, dominating a three-day periodthat was blighted by massive blizzards across northeastern America.BrianLevant's poorly reviewed romantic comedy starring Ice Cube And Nia Longaveraged $6,829 on 2,709 screens and knocked Paramount's drama Coach Carter into second place on$11m for $43.2m after two weekends.
  • Are We There Yet' defies bad weather to open top on $18.5m

    Columbia/Revolution'sAre We There Yet'opened top on an estimated $18.5m at the weekend, dominating a three-day periodthat was blighted by massive blizzards across northeastern America. BrianLevant's poorly reviewed romantic comedy starring Ice Cube And Nia Longaveraged $6,829 on 2,709 screens and knocked Paramount's drama Coach Carter into second place on$11m for $43.2m after two weekends.
  • Are We There Yet' defies blizzards to open top on $18.5m

    Columbia/Revolution'sAre We There Yet'opened top on an estimated $18.5m at the weekend, dominating a three-day periodthat was blighted by massive blizzards across northeastern America.BrianLevant's poorly reviewed romantic comedy starring Ice Cube And Nia Longaveraged $6,829 on 2,709 screens and knocked Paramount's drama Coach Carter into second place on$11m for $43.2m after two weekends.FocusFeatures' genre label Rogue Pictures opened Assault On Precinct 13
  • AUSTRALIA 24 January

    Roadshow sent Alexanderin to battle for the hearts and minds of Australians but UIP's Meet TheFockers remained the most popular film at the box office for the fifthconsecutive weekend. It grossed A$1,762,667 from 290 screens compared to theA$1,667,851 clocked up by Alexander, which had the disadvantage of beingon about 100 less screens. In its opening weekend Alexander was able toclaim the highest screen average, however, of A$8,919. F
  • Australian box office hits record heights in 2004

    Australians spent $693m (A$907m) going to the cinema lastyear, the highest annual result ever, according to new Motion PictureDistributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) figures.This was 4.79% or $31.6m more than last year's record.The MPDAA has not released the figure for admissions, however. This may havedipped, meaning that growth came from ticket price rises rather than anincrease in admissions. "These results are extremely encouraging anddemonstrate the great passion Aust
  • Aviator dominates 77th Academy Award nominations

    Martin Scorsese's TheAviator has emerged as the clear front-runner for the 77thAcademy Awards with 11 nominations, ahead of Finding Neverland and MillionDollar Baby which bagged seven nods apiece.The nominations wereannounced this morning in Los Angeles and also saw Ray receive six nodsand Sideways rewarded with five. All five of these films have beenshortlisted in the best picture category.One of the main surpriseswas the strong showing for Mi
  • Bangkok Film Market earns plaudits

    The second running of the Bangkok Film Market (BFM) earnedwarm plaudits from many of the participants. While claims that the event would generate $250m of salesbusiness were always highly dubious and the volume of corridor traffic droppedsharply after day one, it seems that the site of business shifted away from themarket itself and to the Bangkok river-front and hotel pool-sides.'We came here expecting nothing and have been surprisedto find ourselves signing
  • Berlinale lifts lid on 'sassy' Forum programme

    The Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 10-20) hasunveiled the full programme of the 35th International Forum of New Cinema, which focuses largely on films by new and youngdirectors.The programme, which is one of the key festival strands alongsidethe main competition, Panorama, the Kinderfilmfest and the Perspektive DeutschesKino, is billed by the organisers as sassy, playful and colourful. It consistsof 39 feature and documentary films, including 16 debut works and 24 world
  • Berlinale names competition jury members

    The Berlinale (Feb 10-20) has named the members ofthe International Jury for its main competition films.The jury will decide which of the 21 films set to play incompetition will win the festival's top prizes, the Golden and Silver Bears.As previously announced, German director Roland Emmerichwill head the jury. The other members are:- Lithuanian actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite, whose actingcredits include Burnt By The Sun and Mission Impossible. S
  • British Columbia increases labour-based tax credits for foreign film shoots

    Thegovernment of Canadian province British Columbia has increased its film andtelevision production labour-based tax credits to match recent increases inrival production centres in Ontario and Quebec.
  • British Film Institute reignites film sales division

    Having once championed PeterGreenaway, Derek Jarman and John Maybury, the British Film Institute (BFI) islaunching back into film sales at next month's Berlin market after acquiringall worldwide rights to two films.The institute's salesdivision, which has not represented new films since Maybury's acclaimed 1998debut Love Is The Devil, has picked up rights to African civil war dramaThe Night of Truth and Australian-based director Paul Cox's HumanTouch.Heading
  • British talent dominates FIPA prizes

    British talent swept the floor at the awards ceremony of the 18th FestivalInternational des Programmes Audiovisuels (FIPA) in Biarritz, which is run by Cannes Directors'Fortnight founder Pierre Henri Delleau.The BBC Northern Ireland TV production Gunpowder, Treason andPlot, directed by Gillies MacKinnon, was awarded the Golden Fipa in thes
  • Buyers hit Paris for weekend Rendez-Vous

    The 7th annualFrench Film Rendez-Vous opens today (Jan 21) with 350 foreign distributors and110 foreign journalists making the trek to Paris to get a taste of forthcomingFrench films.Organised by French export body Unifrance, the event runs until Mondayand is an intimate gathering where buyers are treated to screenings and meetand greets with local talent.Largely a European affair, the Rendez-V
  • Capitol bounces with Rabbit

    Berlinale Special film Rabbit On The Moon (Conejo En La Luna)has been picked up in international markets by the UK's Capitol Films.The "Mexican new wave" film directed by Jorge Ramirez-Suarez is athriller that examines the effects on a family when the husband is wronglyaccused of a political murder. It stars Lorraine Polkington and Bruno Bichir.
  • Closer gathers steam with trio of major debuts

    Sony Pictures Releasing International's (SPRI) torriddrama Closer continued its impressiverun with an estimated $12.3m weekend haul that included a trio of major numberone debuts.The picture opened top inFrance on $2.7m on 328 prints, top in Spain on $2m on 259, and top in Brazil on$750,000 on 180. It also opened number one in Belgium on $350,000 on 28.Overall the picture played on2,070 screens in 21 territories and raised its international cumulative totalto $29.2m.
  • Controversial Van Gogh short withdrawn from Rotterdam

    Dutch production company Column Productions haswithdrawn Theo van Gogh's controversial short film Submission: Part Ifrom the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Producer Gijs van de Westelakendecided to cancel a public screening of the film for "security reasons".The film, in which the late Van Gogh andliberal Somali-Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali criticise the radical elementsof Islamic religion, would have screened Sunday 30th January as an introductionto a debate about f
  • Dalecarlians named best film at Swedish Film Awards

    Despite an Academy Award nomination today, eight local award nominations and 1.2 million admissionsin Sweden, last year's local box office champion As It Is In Heaven didn't wina single Swedish Film Award (Guldbagge) at a ceremony held last night inStockholm.Instead, Tomas Alfredson'sfour hour's drama Four Shades Of Brown and first- time film maker MariaBlom's comedy drama Dalecarlians were the clear winners at the ceremony,taking four and three awards respectively
  • Damon's Foresight unveils Joffe, Chouraqui pictures

    Mark Damon's new production and financing company Foresightunveiled its first three projects yesterday (27): Captivity, BeyondFriendship and Marlowe.
  • Dear Wendy

    Dir. Thomas Vinterberg.Denmark/Germany/France/UK. 101 min. Dogme may be no more butif Dear Wendy is any indication, the artistic collaboration of itsfounders Thomas Vinterberg and Lars Von Trier is very much alive. An elaboratespoof of US politics and culture, the new film is a continuation of the themesraised in Von Trier's Dogville, an acerbic satire of America's foundingmythologies and military adventurism - the rightness of the right to bear armsand the noti
  • Docurama acquires ex-Sundance six-pack

    Docurama, the US home entertainment specialist distribution label for non-fiction titles,has picked up a raft of previous Sundance titles and plans to release themthroughout the year.The titles are:* Sundance 2004 entry The Arthur Dong Collection: Stories From The War OnHomosexuality containingComing Out Under Fire,Family Fundamentals,and Licensed To Kill;* Carlos Bosch and Jose Maria Domenech's 2004 Oscar-nominated Balseros;* Liz Garbus'
  • Douglas to co-produce Racing The Monsoon in India

    Indian film financiersSahara One Motion Pictures and Percept Picture Company have announced that theywill be the primary backers of the Michael Douglas project Racing TheMonsoon - acting as co-producers with Douglas's production company FurtherFilms.The film will be shot in theAmby Valley near Mumbai - a luxury resort created by Sahara group. Douglasarrived in Mumbai on Sunday to make the announcement of the third part in theseries Romancing The Stone and Jewel Of The
  • Elektra pins hopes on overseas rescue

    Fox International's Elektra begins its international assault in earnest with debuts inthe UK, Mexico, Brazil and South Korea on Jan 21 on 350, 350, 176 and 81screens respectively.The comic book adaptation has taken $2.3m from the earlystages of its run and executives will be hoping for stronger returns than thoseposted in last weekend's disappointing North American opening.Elektracould do well, bearing in mind that Daredevil, the Fox picture that spawned thi
  • Elektra takes $4.5m for Fox International

    Fox International's Elektra grossed an estimated $4.5m on 1,207 screens in six territories at theweekend, raising its international running total to $6.8m.The comic book adaptation opened in fifth place in the UKon $1.5m on 330, second in Mexico on $893,000 on 350, fourth in South Korea on$715,000 on 81, first in Singapore on $426,000 on 43, and third in Brazil on$332,000 on 176.Elektra added$620,000 on 227 in its second weekend in Australia, ranking sixth and elev
  • Empire brings Italy's Caterina to US

    Empire Pictures has picked up Paolo Virzi's coming-of-age story Caterina In The Big City (Caterina Va In Citta) and plans a US release on April 8 in New York and Los Angeles followed by a nationwide arthouse rollout. The picture, which was a sizeable hit in Italy when it opened in 2003, stars newcomer Alice Teghil as a 15-year-old country girl who arrives at a private school in Rome.Sergio Castellito and Margherita Buy, who won the 2004 David di Donatello award for
  • Euro money underpins Oscar hopefuls

    With Howard Hughes, ClintEastwood and Ray Charles in the running, this year's Oscarhopefuls read like a list of American icons. But the Oscar nominations unveiled today are as much a testament to European filmfinancing as to the acting and directing skills of Martin Scorsese, LeonardoDiCaprio and Eastwood.More than ever, USfilmmakers such as Scorsese and Eastwood are relying on European finance tomake their movies fly. Scorsese even calls his Oscar favourite The Aviatorhis "Euro
  • France's CNC unveils Euros 22m funding for film-makers

    France's advance on receipts schemewill benefit from a budget of Euros 22m for 2005, the French Film Commission(CNC) said this week.The advance on receiptsscheme is a subsidy for filmmakers which is paid back following the film'srelease.The CNC said this aid wouldgo to roughly 60 films chosen from about 600 project-stage candidates as wellas between 15 and 20 finished films. Th
  • Fry secures Gold Circle backing for Sprout's Boy

    In between voicing The Guidein The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, British actor and directorStephen Fry is kickstarting his UK film and TV production company, SproutProductionsFry and his partner inSprout, Gina Carter, have secured backing from Gold Circle, the US indie behindsupernatural suspense hit White Noise, for Sprout's first featureproduction. Titled The Winged Boy,the fairytale-like story is written by Crispian Mills, grandson of the Britishactor
  • GERMANY 26 January

    The third instalment of theWesley Snipes Blade franchise - Blade: Trinity - blasted intolast weekend's Top 15 with over $ 4.3m from 524 screens, followed by MartinScorsese's multi-Oscar nominated The Aviator which grossed over $ 2mfrom 318 prints to enter the chart at No. 2. Trinity's 512,540 admissions in its first four days wasconsiderably more than the opening performance of the first Blade filmwith 280,000 tickets sold. However
  • Golden Scene takes on sales for Kwan's Regret

    Hong Kong distribution company Golden Scene has picked upinternational sales rights to Stanley Kwan Kam Pang's forthcoming Chang HenGe (which translates literally as Everlasting Regret).The film is based on a prize winning novel and wasadapted by Elmond Yeung and Jiang Liping.Production design is by William Chang. Starring Sammi Cheng, Tony LeungKa Fai, Hu Jun and Dainel Wu, it started production in November. Delivery isscheduled for May when it hopes to find a place in C
  • Hanks options Cold Feet writer's Understudy

    Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman's Playtone Productions hassnapped up film rights to The Understudy, the second novel from Britishwriter David Nicholls who is best known for his work on hit TV series ColdFeet. The Understudy is a romantic comedy about a failedactor and Nicholls is to write the screenplay himself. "I have a very good working relationship with Playtoneand they seemed very passionate about the book," Nicholls commented.Hanks' company also optioned N
  • Happy Endings

    Dir/scr. Don Roos. US. 2004. 128mins A full seven years since making a splash at Sundance as a filmmaking debutant, Don Roos returns to Park City with this year's opening night attraction. Happy Endings, his third directorial outing, promises a benign beginning to the Park City festivities, if only because few can be offended by this merry, multi-storied meditation on what it means to be deep-down happy in today's complicated times. The end result may not be an entirel
  • Hard Candy

    Dir: David Slade. US.2005. 103mins.Whip-crackingly tautpsychological drama Hard Candy is the most talked about movie atSundance this year and one of the most riveting directorial debuts seen at thefestival in a few years. A two-hander in which a teenage girl turns the tableson the paedophile who has picked her up on the internet, it will certainlycause a stir in the media wherever it opens throughout the world and, asinitial reaction in Park City is indicating, it will
  • here! Films takes US rights to Sundance competitor

    Sales consortium Latido International has closed a deal withhere! Films for North American distribution rights on Spanish film Unconscious(Inconscientes), which is competing in theWorld Cinema competition at Sundance. Unconscious headlinesnew Almodovar muse Leonor Watling (Talk To Her) and local star Luis Tosar (Mondays In TheSun, Take My Eyes) in the 1913-set tale ofa pregnant woman who involves her lovestruck brother-in-law to help investigatewhy her husba
  • HONG KONG 21 January

    National Treasure held on at the top of the Hong Kong box office butAlexander stormed in behind it, grossing US$348,131 for second position in itsopening week. Distributed by GoldenHarvest's Panasia label, Oliver Stone's sword-and-sandals epic scored a healthyscreen average of US$11,604. Meanwhile, Kung-fu Hustle, which dropped tothird position, continues to inch towards becoming Hong Kong's highest evergrossing local film, taking US$329,027 in its fou
  • Hong Kong industry urges anti-online piracy action

    Hong Kong's film, TV and music industries have jointlycalled on the government to address the growing problem of online piracy whichthey say is "threatening the very survival" of the territory's content supplyindustries.Thecall was made at a symposium held by the Film, Television and RecordingIndustries' Copyright Concern Group on Sunday (Jan 23) and attended by topindustry figures in
  • ICM agency recruits Jones for below the line team

    Vanessa Jones is to join UK agency ICM on Feb 1 after atwo-year break travelling the world.The former PFD agent joins the below the line team of SueGreenleaves, Chris Smith, Kate Ledger and Rachael Taylor at the agency."Vanessabrings to ICM a wealth of experience and a great personality, and willcompliment perfectly the friendly style that our department is known for," saidICM's Chairman,
  • Inside Deep Throat

    Dirs/scrs: Fenton Bailey,Randy Barbato. US. 2004. 90mins It has been thirty-threeyears since Deep Throat first went down on one of Time Square's triple-Xfleapits in Manhattan and came up a pop-cultural landmark that reverberates tothis day. The lasting impact, both personal and societal, of this seminal pornflick is now chronicled in a breezy documentary that dwells mostly on the widerpolitical legacy still being played out today in the morality schisms ofAmerica and e
  • INTERNATIONAL 27 January

    Having spent two weeksracking up healthy numbers in Germany - its only international outing so far,multiple Oscar nominee Ray expanded into seven further territories.Openings in the UK, Italyand Australia helped Ray to enter the chart in 17th place with a $2.2m weekend - and thanks to its Germanreception where it dropped a mere 11% over the weekend, a cume of $4.3m.In North America, where ithas been on release for 13 weeks, Ray re-entered the chart over the w
  • IRELAND Production Listings - January 25

    PRE-PRODUCTIONAURORA ISLAND(Magma Films [Irl] Art Oko Film [Ger]) Co-prods: Future Film [UK]. Budget:Euro5m. Backers: Buena Vista [Ger]. Dist: Buena Vista (Germany) and Moviehouse(UK). Thriller. Exec prods: Ralph Christians, Stephen Margolis, Michele Berk.Prods: Karel Dirka, Clodagh Freeman. Dir: Peter Medak. Scr: Agatha Dominik,Robert Newton. DoP: Elemer Ragalyi. Prod des: Mi
  • Irish film production to benefit from foreign funding

    With the exception of filmsfinanced under the Irish Film Board's low budget initiatives - such as TheTrouble With Sex, and the amateur soccer club drama Studs which isscheduled for a Dublin shoot in February - all Irish locally produced filmsrequire foreign co-producing partners and a significant element of foreignfinancing.A cursory look at thelocally developed projects in the Ireland production listings underscores thesuccess Irish producers have had in raising production fina
  • ITALY 26 January

    Although six new titles werereleased in Italy last weekend, the country's top three releases remainedunchanged for the second week running.Warner Bros's Alexanderheld firmly onto its number one position, with a strong screen average of$6,100 and an impressive running gross of $7,663,628. UIP's Bridget Jones:The Edge Of Reason grossed an extra $1,730,192, bringing its total to$10,885,073.Meanwhile, UIP'sOscar-nominated picture, Ray, was un
  • Italy's Nastri d'Argento nominations announced

    Gianni Amelio's The HouseKeys and Paolo Sorrentino's The Consequences Of Love have receivedthe lion's share of nominations for Italy's Nastri d'Argento, the country'ssecond biggest awards.Amelio's film, which isItaly's foreign Oscar candidate, and Sorrentino's film, which premiered inCannes last year, each earned eight nominations - including for best director,best producer and best editor. Both Kim Rossi Stuart andToni Servillo picked up best actor nods for their
  • Japanese are Windstruck by Korean film

    Windstruck, director Kwak Jae-young's follow-up to hishit romantic comedy My Sassy Girl,has set a new box office record for a Korean film in Japan. Released by WarnerJapan on 300 screens on December 11, the film recorded $17.65m (Y1.8bn) on 1.37million admissions as of January 16. Reuniting Jun Ji-hyun andJang Hyuk, the stars of My Sassy Girl, the film is a bittersweet love story about a policewoman (Jun) whofalls in love with a high school teacher (Jang) she mista
  • Jeunet's Engagement heads Cesar nominations

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement leadsthis year's Cesar nominations with 12 nods including best picture, director andactress. The recognition for the Jeunet film follows a decision bythe Cesar organisers, the Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema, to modifyits eligibility rules to allow the film to compete. Engagement has been at the heart of a long battlein France over whether it is French or not. It was stripped of its Frenchnationality in late 200
  • Katja von Garnier to direct Lakeshore's Blood And Chocolate

    Germandirector Katja von Garnier has signed on to direct Lakeshore Entertainment's BloodAnd Chocolate, it was announced today byLakeshore's Tom Rosenberg.Produced by Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi with Daniel Bobker, the film isset to start shooting this spring.Set inEastern Europe, Blood And Chocolate is the story of Vivian Gandillion, anineteen year old
  • Lions Gate buys world on Sundance urban doc Rize

    Thetaste for street culture and urban storytelling continued to drive the earlydeals at Sundance yesterday (24) as Lions Gate Films acquired all worldwiderights to Rizeby David LaChapelle.The documentary centres on a former children's entertainer who opens an academydevoted to clowning and krumping, an emerging dance form out of South CentralLos Angeles that involves blindingly fast body gyrations.LaChapelle, an internationally renowned fashion photographer and music vi
  • Los Angeles film production leaps 19% in 2004

    Film production in LosAngeles boomed in 2004 according to latest figures from LA's EntertainmentIndustry Development Corp.It said one of the keyreasons for the 19% increase in production days for feature films in 2004 wasthat the decline in value of the US dollar has made it more attractive forHollywood films to stay at home.In recent years, anincreasing number of 'runaway' productions have left Hollywood to shoot incountries like the UK, Canada, Ireland and Australia because of
  • Macy, Elliott et al join Thank You For Smoking

    William H Macy and Sam Elliott are among sevenactors that have joined the cast of Room 9/ContentFilm's satirical comedy ThankYou For Smoking,which began principal photography in Los Angeles yesterday (24).Adam Brody, Cameron Bright, David Koechner, JK Simmons, and Kim Dickens arealso among
  • Madrid, Paris Commissions strike co-production deal

    Celebrating the one-yearanniversary of its creation, the Madrid Film Commission has signed acollaboration agreement Monday with Paris's Ile de France Film Commission tohelp foment Spanish-French co-productions.According to producerEnrique Cerezo, president of the Madrid Film Commission (MFC), and CorinneRufet, president of the Ile de France Film Commission, Spain and France couldbe making many more than the dozen co-productions they do each year.Concrete steps to help beefup tho
  • MK2 to sell Hong's Tale Of The Cinema

    France's MK2 is again backingand selling the latest film by Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo. The Frenchmini-major previously financed his Cannes competition film Woman Is TheFuture Of Man.MK2 is partnered with Koreancombine Chungeorahm Films on A Tale Of The Cinema (Geuk-Jang-Jeon), whichis
  • Napster mulls move into online film distribution

    Napster, the fast-growing US digital music service, isconsidering moving into films and video games in an ambitious drive to win newsubscribers. Chris Gorog, Napster chairman and chief executive, saidin a report in today's Financial Times that the US-listed group couldapply its online music model to films, TV programming and other video content -allowing users to sample and access content over the web. Napster is the latest technology company to threatentraditional film d
  • NEW ZEALAND 24 January

    Alexander lead the box office on the weekend taking NZ$279,198from 46 screens in its opening weekend. Only Finding Neverland, whichtook NZ$187,540 from 34 screens in its second weekend for BVI, had a screenaverage that was anything like as high as Alexander's NZ$6,070. FindingNeverland, which is in fourth position, had a screen average of NZ$5,516. Separating these two filmswas the BVI title The Incredibles, which is now in its fif
  • Paramount, MTV, Miramax lead buying fever at Sundance

    An initiallyrestrained Sundance 2005 finally kicked into life yesterday (23) with a flurryof deals closed, led by Paramount Pictures and MTV Films' $16m three-picturedeal with producer John Singleton that includes the acquisition of CraigBrewer's early festival favourite and American Dramatic Competition entry Hustle& Flow.Meanwhile Miramax was believed to be in final negotiations with CAA last night for multiple territory rights to Richard Shepard's popular Premieres entry T
  • Paris screenings end on optimistic note

    The Paris Screenings(Rendez-Vouz du Cinema Français) (21-24 Jan) ended yesterday with sellers incautiously optimistic mood and a culture minister set on rolling back thebarriers to business development.At a cocktail reception atthe Musee d'Orsay, minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres left little doubt thathe will stand up to more conservative elements of the French productioncommunity and change the national subsidy system."We need to apply symmetryto ourselves and recognise
  • Pathe acquires UK rights to The Business

    Pathe Distribution hasbeaten off rivals to acquire UK rights to The Business, Nick Love'sfollow-up feature to football hooligan film The Football Factory.The Business, a gangster flick set in Spain's so-called Costa delCrime during the 80s, was pursued by several distributors after UK productioncompany Vertigo went into principal photography with private backing. Vertigowas considering releasing the film itself until Pathe took it off the table.Pathe is rele
  • PGA goes for Aviator as the year's best film

    Michael Mann and Graham King won the DarrylF Zanuck Producer of the Year award for The Aviator at the 16th Annual PGA Awards hosted by Intel in LosAngeles on Jan 22.Innon-theatrical honours: Mike Nichols, Cary Brokaw, Celia Costas and Mike Haleywon the David L Wolper long-form television award for Angels In America; David Chase, Brad Grey, MitchellBurgess and partner Robin Green, Ilene S Landress, Terence Winter, HenryBronchtein, Matthew Weiner and Martin Bruestle won the
  • Picture This! picks up domestic rights to The Great Water

    PictureThis! Entertainment has acquired all North American rights to Ivo Trajkov'sMacedonian foreign language Academy Award submission The Great Water.
  • Puchon Film Festival loses second artistic director

    South Korea's second majorfilm festival, the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) plungedinto chaos on Tuesday, as its organising committee decided to hold its ninthedition without a festival director.The committee, chaired bycity mayor Hong Geon-pyo, also voted to dismiss its programming team, less thansix months before the event's scheduled opening in July.The current situation wassparked by the dismissal of festival director Kim Hong-joon at the end ofDecember
  • Ray tunes into eight territories

    Having spent two weeksracking up healthy numbers in Germany - its only international outing so far -multiple Oscar nominee Rayexpanded into seven further territories.Openings in the UK, Italyand Australia helped Ray to enterthe chart in 17th place with a $2.2m weekend - and thanks toits German reception where it dropped a mere 11% over the weekend, a total of$4.3m.In North America, where ithas been on release for 13 weeks, Ray re-entered the chart over the w
  • Rotterdam festival to offer downloads of arthouse films

    The InternationalFilm Festival Rotterdam is launching an experiment next week that will see itdistribute arthouse films over the internet. Twenty formerIFFR festival hits will be available for download, including Fernando Meirellesand Nando Olival's Domesticas, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's Abouna and Carlos Marcovich's Who The Hell Is Juliette'.The site,,is being launched by internetprovider Tiscali, one
  • Sea Inside takes top Bangkok festival honours

    AlejandroAmenabar's The Sea Inside won theGolden Kinnaree for best picture as well as best actor for Javier Bardem's roleas a quadriplegic at the third Bangkok International Film Festival. TheGolden Kinnaree for best director was shared by Park Chan Wook for Old Boy and Christophe Barratier for Les Choristes while Annette Bening (
  • Sokurov's Sun to shine with The Works

    In advance of what looks bound to be the busiest Berlinalefor British sales companies in recent memory, London-based The Works hasannounced it is handling international sales on Alexander Sokurov'sBerlin competition entry, The Sun. Set in occupied Japan at the end of the Second World War,the film examines the events surrounding Emperor Hirohito's renunciationof his divine status. This is the third in Sokurov's 'men ofpower' trilogy following Moloch(about Hitler) and Ta
  • Spanish get busy with winter market deals

    Spanish companies are busy setting up business deals on theeve of the first winter festivals and markets in Sundance and Berlin.Spanishsales consortium Grupo Pi has picked up international rights on directorMariano Barroso's Ants In The Mouth (Hormigas En La Boca), a romanticthriller set in 1958 Cuba and starring Ariadna Gil, Eduard Fernandez, SamuelClaxton and Jorge Perugorria
  • Sundance names 2005 Mark Silverman Fellow

    American Gunco-producer Ted Kroeber has been named the recipient of the 2005 Mark SilvermanFellowship for New Producers at the fifth annual Producers Brunch at Sundance.Kroeber will receive a $5,000 cash grant to be used in pre-production and willbenefit from the services of an advisory committee of five workingprofessionals throughout his Fellowship year.Kroeber is co-producing the drama American Gun with Forest Whitaker and his Spirit DanceEntertainment, which
  • Sundance, Docurama launch DVD doc collection

    Sundance Channel and documentary DVD label Docurama willlaunch the Sundance Channel Home Entertainment Documentary Collection on Apr 26with The First Amendment Project, thefirst of six titles a year culled from the channel's library.The First AmendmentProject is a series of films in thefirst-ever programming partnership between Sundance Channel and Court TVexploring contemporary issues surrounding the Constitutional amendment.The DVD will include three tit
  • Sundance: Focus takes North America for On A Clear Day

    Focus Features has picked up North American rights to GabyDellal's feelgood drama and Sundance World Dramatic Competition premiere OnA Clear Day, starring Peter Mullan and Brenda Blethyn.The company's acquisition executives pounced after five screenings of thetitle, which centres on a down-at-heel unemployed man's attempt to claw backsome self-confidence by swimming the English Channel.Focus negotiated the deal with Cinetic Media and Icon EntertainmentInternational on b
  • Sundance: Lions Gate stumps up $4m for Hard Candy

    Lions Gate Films has sealed itssecond major deal in two days, paying $4m for worldwide rights excluding theUK, Spain and Australia to David Slade's hot psychological thriller HardCandy.
  • Tautou lines up for Howard's Da Vinci Code

    French stars Audrey Tautou and Jean Reno are reportedlyjoining the cast of Ron Howard's adaptation of The Da Vinci Code - whichhas just gained permission to shoot in Paris's Louvre museum.Local newspaper Le Parisien said that A VeryLong Engagement and Amelie star Tautou had been selected to playSophie Neveu opposite Tom Hanks. It reported that other local female stars hadalso been auditioned including Vanessa Paradis, Sophie Marceau, Judith Godrecheand Julie
  • The 77th Adacemy Award Nominations

  • The Aristocrats

    Dir. PaulProvenza. US. 2004. 90mins.A documentary exploring the art and history of the world's filthiest joke, The Aristocrats is a no-frills primer onthe craft of comedy. Co-executive producers Paul Provenza and Penn Jilette (thespeaking half of the magic-comedy duo Penn & Teller) have tapped the brainstrust of professional US comedy as well as some big British names, gatheringtogether over a three-year period one hundred stand-up pe
  • The Forest For The Trees (Der Wald Vor Lauter Baumen)

    Dir:Maren Ade. Ger. 2003. 81minsA sober psychological drama about a novice teacher in meltdown, Maren Ade'slow-budget The Forest for the Trees builds slowly but assuredly toproduce an unsettling final kick. An introverted but commanding lead performanceby Eva Lobau should put her name on the map, as well as that of debut featuremaker Maren Ade, whose graduation film this is.Acrisp but functional digital look, plus a bracingly concise running time, willlimit
  • The Incredibles passes $600m at global box office

    Buena Vista International's(BVI) The Incredibles became onlythe 25th picture to pass $600m in global ticket sales at the weekendfollowing a $5.2m international weekend gross that raised its internationalrunning total to $343m.National Treasure added $6.1m for $128.5m, fired up by number onedebuts in Malaysia and Argentina that yielded $289,000 and $239,000respectively.BVI executives expect it topass $300m at the global box office next weekend, when it will become p
  • The Jacket

    Dir: John Maybury. US/UK.2005. 102 mins. An intriguing hybrid oftime travel thriller, asylum horror movie and visual arts experiment, TheJacket may ultimately fail in its ambitions to fuse those genres but itremains an engaging and original entertainment which has the potential to tapinto a medium to wide audience on its opening weekends around the world. Don't expect numbers alongthe lines of The Grudge or The Ring. Weekend two will see bigdro
  • The Magic Roundabout (La Manege Enchante)

    Dirs: Dave Borthwick, Jean Duval, Frank Passingham. 2005. UK-Fr. 81minsRemaking 1960sfive-minute children's TV show The Magic Roundabout as a full-lengthcomputer-animated feature always seemed a somewhat unlikely project. Sadly, theresulting $24m Anglo-French co-production explains why.The original series beganlife as La Manege Enchante on French TV in 1964. In the UK the BBCoriginally rejected it as too difficult to dub before presente
  • The Matador

    Dir: Richard Shepard. US.2005. 97 mins. A crime comedy whichplays like Pulp Fiction-ultra-lite, The Matador is an unlikelyfit for the Sundance Film Festival where it world premiered on Saturday night.Broad, benign and cheerfully implausible, it is an independently financed filmwith mainstream sensibilities and distributors who have already committed willbe pleased with their purchase. Chief among its pleasures isa deliciously uninhibited performance f
  • The Sundance gamble

    Coinciding as it does withthe western New Year, the Sundance Film Festival has always found itself in afortuitous slot. This event kick-starts the industry calendar like no other.Those who flock to Park City do so with that January zeal for renewal; whetherthey are distributors, agents or critics, they all feel an infectious urge toprowl for the freshest talents on display. The more unheralded the discovery,the better the story, and the higher the price, it seems. To that extent,Sundance has
  • Thumbsucker

    Dir: Mike Mills. US.2005. 94mins.Music video andcommercials director and graphic artist Mike Mills makes an impressive featuredirectorial debut with Thumbsucker, a short and sweet adaptation of thenovel by Walter Kirn.Of all the high schoolpictures at Sundance this year, this is by far the best, treating the teenagerat its centre as an intelligent human rather than as caricature or stereotype.It is also the most understated, and its audie
  • Tout Un Hiver Sans Feu wins top Swiss Film Prize

    Greg Zglinski's Tout UnHiver Sans Feu picked up the $51,000 (CHF 60,000) Swiss Film Prize 2005 forBest Feature Film at this week's Solothurn Film Days.Meanwhile, the prizes forBest Documentary went to Stefan Schwietert's Accordion Tribe - which hadits world premiere at Graz's Diagonale last year - while Best Short Film wentto Alexander Meier for Cheyenne.Manuel Flurin Hendry's Straehlwon three prizes in the categories of Best Lead Role (Roeland Wiesne
  • Unconscious (Inconscientes)

    Dir: Joaquin Oristrell.Sp-Port-Ger-It. 108mins.Spain's Joaquin Oristrelltakes time off from contemporary urban dramas and, with Unconscious,delivers an attractive and witty mystery comedy that maintains its screwballenergy throughout.Although the elements ofperiod comedy, an unappealing title and foreign language might deter somebuyers from looking deeper into this delightful Sherlock Holmes-Meets-Freudpiece, distributors and festivals pr
  • US indie distributor TLA plans initiative into UK market

    Marking its first expansion outside North America,domestic independent TLA Releasing, which specializes in gay and lesbian titles,has declared its intention to enter the UK home entertainment market andrelease 12 to 16 titles from its US catalogue each year.Down the line the company says it plans
  • V good Bridget passes $200m at international box office

    Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason passed $200m in international ticket sales throughall distributors at the weekend.The romantic comedy sequel added an estimated $2.5m on 1,070 screens in 21markets through UIP for a $184.5m UIP running total. The figure rises to $210mincluding a $15.5m cumulative total in France through Mars.Bridget Jones's Diary opened in2001 and grossed $210m by the end of its international run.Bridget Jones: The
  • Vine libary titles find Dream ticket

    Los Angeles-based production and international salescompany Dream Entertainment has acquired all rights to select titles from VineInternational Pictures' UK-based film library.The titles include:* Alan Rudolph's thriller Equinox starring Marisa Tomei, Mathew Modine andLara Flynn Boyle; * the drama Prince Of Jutland starring Christian Bale, Gabriel Byrne, Kate Beckinsale and HelenMirren; * the adventure The Inside Man starring Dennis Hopper;* and adv
  • Zglinski's Hiver wins Swiss Film Prize

    Greg Zglinski's Tout Un Hiver Sans Feupicked up the Swiss Film Prize in the best film category at this week'sSolothurn Film Days.The prize for best documentary went to StefanSchwietert's Accordion Tribe - which had its world premiere at Graz'sDiagonale last year.Manuel Flurin Hendry's Straehl won threeprizes for best lead role (Roeland Wiesnekker), best supporting role (JohannaBantzer) and best lighting and cinematography (Filip Zumbrunn)