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28 April 2002

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  • A Snake Of June (Rokugatsu No Hebi)

    Dir: Shinya Tsukamoto. Japan. 2002. 80 mins.Having burst onto the international indie scene in 1989 with Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Shinya Tsukamoto has always been a one-main show, writing, filming, editing and acting his private visions of a nightmare world in which humans have fused to machines, all set to a pounding soundtrack of industrial noise. After becoming a cult sensation, however, Tsukamoto seemed to hit an impasse, recycling the same outrages to ever dim
  • Advanced's corrected figures show deeper losses in '99, but less red ink in 2000

    German rights trader Advanced Medien has published its revised financial statements for 1999 and 2000 after auditors exposed "dubious" transactions in the original filing, rendering them "ineffective" and, according to some analyst allegations at the time, possibly fraudulent. (ScreenDaily, March 21, 2002)According to the corrected figures, the company recorded revenues of Euros 11.26m in 1999 (compared to the original total of Euros 33.16m) and an EBITDA of Euros 4.71m (previou
  • Alfonso Cuaron is guest director for LA Film Fest

    Alfonso Cuaron, currently enjoying a major US specialized hit with Y Tu Mama Tambien, will serve as guest director for the 2002 IFP Los Angeles Film Festival which this year has moved to June (dates are June 20-29), started an international section and scored a host of new sponsorship deals. In this newly created role, Cuaron will host a two-day film-maker retreat, programme a sidebar of films that have inspired his own work and attend the opening night festivities. IFP/Los Ange
  • Annual amfAR AIDS research gala set for May 23 in Cannes

    Cannes jury president David Lynch and jury member Sharon Stone will join other celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Elton John, Iman and Harvey Weinstein at the annual amfAR AIDS research gala. The event will take place on Thursday May 23 at the Moulin de Mougins restaurant and be sponsored by Motorola. Co-sponsor De Beers will provide a $100,000 diamond necklace from its new collection for one of the auctions at the fund raising event.Since 1993 amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS a
  • Australia to re-asses Baise-Moi classification

    French film Baise-Moi, which is due to be released in Australia by distributor Potential this Thursday (April 25), is being re-examined by the Classification Review Board at the request of the Federal Attorney-General Daryl Williams. The original certification restricted the film to viewers over 18 years of age (R18). The film also had to be withdrawn from screening at New Zealand's Incredible Film Festival by the High Court two weeks ago after the Society for the Promotion of C
  • Australia's Palace boards De Heer's Project

    Palace Films has picked up all Australasian rights to Rolf de Heer's tenth feature Alexandra's Project and, in what is the largest ever financial commitment to an Australian film by the long-standing distributor, has also signed on as a major investor. Palace founder and manager director Antonio Zeccola will get an executive producer credit as a result. "This is the natural progression of our close involvement with Australian features to date, and the result of a convergence of
  • Beckham picked up for Germany

    Highlight Film has picked up German speaking rights for Gurinder Chadha's box office hit Bend It Like Beckham, which has so far clocked up $6.6m on its UK release. Highlight plans to organise a large scale marketing campaign to launch the football comedy into German cinemas this year and has already indicated that the film will have another title for its German release. Bend It Like Beckham, which was co-produced by Germany's Road Movies Filmproduktion and received
  • Beckham shows strong legs in UK and kicks Scorpion

    Local hit Bend It Like Beckham saw off fierce competition from UIP's The Scorpion King at the weekend to hold the top spot at the UK box office.With an impressive second weekend take of $2.5m (£1.7m) from 386 sites Beckham, which is distributed by Helkon SK, dropped off a miniscule 6% from its opening weekend. Its screen average of $6,453 was also the highest of any title currently on release and the ten-day gross now stands at $6.6m (£4.6m).
  • Berlusconi's Mediaset posts heavily-reduced profits

    Mediaset, the leading private Italian network owned by Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, recorded a sharp drop in net profits in 2001 on the back of losses linked to its 2.3% stake in KirchMedia. Net profits were down to Euros 248.4m, compared to Euros 423.5m in 2000.Overall, the group's net financial position on December 31st 2001 showed a deficit of Euros 247.8m (compared with a surplus of Euros 125.3m on December 31st 2000). Mediaset attributed the loss to "expenditure related to
  • Bernal turns revolutionary for Motorcycle Diaries

    Rising Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal is to play Che Guevara in Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries.The white hot star of Y Tu Mama Tambien and Amores Perros will spend two months in Argentina this summer preparing for the production, which is being co-financed by the UK's FilmFour and Germany's Senator Films. "Apart from anything else, I need to get used to riding a motorbike," he said. "It's a good chance to learn", he told the UK's Telegraph Magazine i
  • Biggie & Tupac

    Dir: Nick Broomfield. UK. 2001. 107mins. The ostensible subject of Nick Broomfield's first feature since Kurt & Courtney, his controversial 1998 film about the suicide of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain, is the unresolved murders of rap stars Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. Its actual subject is much the same as that of all Broomfield's documentaries: the sweat, nerve and thick skin that go into making them. Fans and foes of the idiosyncratic director will find these qualit
  • Brazil softens foreign pay-TV tax regulations

    Brazil's Senate approved yesterday a more palatable version of new rules imposing taxes on foreign pay TV programmers, following a congressional nod last week. However, the original proposed regulations on new taxes and fees on film studios remain unchanged.Studios face an 11 percent tax on remittances and increased fees on film imports. TV programmers will have to pay a three per cent tax instead of the proposed 11% on cash remittances to their bases abroad. New fees on imported
  • Can Hungary's Bridgeman cross-over to commercial success'

    Historical biopic Bridgeman, the most expensive film ever produced in Hungary, opened last week with the country's fourth highest weekend gross ever for a local film. But despite national interest in the subject matter, controversy has erupted over the government's massive $2.5m investment in the $6m film, when the Hungarian average feature budget is just $500,000.Following the massive success of director Gabor Herendi's A Kind Of America (Valami Amerika)
  • Cannes 2002: all the films in Official Selection

    2002 CANNES COMPETITION, UN CERTAIN REGARD, SHORTS AND SPECIAL SCREENINGSCannes official selection listOpening film - out of competitionHollywood Ending Dir: Woody Allen (US)Closing film - out of competitionAnd Now Ladies And Gentlemen' Dir: Claude Lelouch (Fr)CompetitionPunch Drunk Love Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson (US)The Hour Of Religion Dir: Marco Bellocchio (It)Spider Di
  • Cannes Critics Week selection announced

    "More accessible," "less cerebral," are the watchwords used by chief selector Claire Clouzot to describe the line-up for the Critics' Week section at Cannes.The section will open with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's Spanish thriller Intacto, in which every character is the pawn of another. It premiered at Sundance and has already been bought for remake by Disney. The section continues with a rare Japanese tragi-comedy Chicken Heart and continues with fluid story-telling in Ema
  • Cannes: A tale of two committees

    Cannes' selectors this year have opted for absolute simplicity: main competition is the home of the established names of the art-house, while Un Certain Regard gives room for experimentation, new directors and little seen schools of film-making.Rather than follow the example of Venice last year and launch two largely indistinguishable competitions of supposedly equal merit, they sought established talent and known quality for the competition showcase. Gilles Jacob, Thierry Fremaux and
  • Casomai

    Dir: Alessandro D'Alatri. Italy. 2002. 116mins.Alessandro D'Alatri is back with a stylish romantic comedy which draws more than any of his previous outings on his other job - directing TV commercials. Set in contemporary Milan, Casomai will appeal to the generation it depicts: urban professional thirtysomethings, caught between work, the pleasure imperative and the family instinct. Bolstered by a solid poster campaign, a tie-in soundtrack and the bankable Stefania Rocc
  • Controversial Italian G8 documentary to screen at Cannes

    New controversy is scheduled in Italy around the documentary Bella Ciao, about the riots at last year's G8 meeting in Genoa, which will screen in Cannes' Critics Week. The film, which was co-directed by the outgoing head of RAI 2, Carlo Freccero (under alias), was repeatedly rejected for broadcast by RAI management, and has never been seen on Italian TV.The documentary is named after an Italian WWII resistance song which became an anthem of the Italian G8 protesters following th
  • Digital pay-TV platforms fold in Spain and the UK

    Two European pay-TV platforms, Spain's Quiero TV and the UK's ITV Digital have simultaneously reached the end of their struggles to survive.Spanish pay television platform Quiero TV, Europe's second digital terrestrial television platform behind the UK's ITV Digital (formerly Ondigital), is pending formal closure following a decision by shareholders to return its DTT license to the government.In a press statement released late Thursday evening (April 25) following a general sha
  • Director's Fortnight unveils six more titles

    The Director's Fortnight (Quinzaine Des Realisateurs) came closer to completing its line up when it announced the selection of a further five films. These included Shane Meadows One Upon A Time In The Midlands, Lynne Ramsay's Morvern Callar from the UK, Romanian first film Occident by Christian Mungiu and three US pictures. They are Joseph & Anthony Russo's Welcome To Collinwood, Lisa Cholodenko's Laurel Canyon and Rafael Nadjari's Apartment #5C.
  • Farrugia appointed chairman of Canal Plus SA

    Dominique Farrugia (pictured) has been appointed chairman of Canal Plus SA, the principal French channel within the Canal Plus and Vivendi Universal empire. His appointment, which is subject to approval by Canal Plus shareholders at a meeting tomorrow (Friday, April 26), sees him replace Pierre Lescure at the channel. Lescure was fired last week and replaced as chairman of the Canal Plus group by Xavier Couture. Farrugia was one of Lescure's closest allies and is c
  • Five-hour thriller wins top prize at Singapore's Silver Screen Awards

    Despite a running time of five hours, the Filipino thriller Batang West Side, directed by Lav Diaz, beat 14 other contenders to win the Best Asian Feature Film prize at the Silver Screen Awards of the 15th Singapore International Film Festival (April 11-27). Quantity with quality paid dividends for Batang West Side (pictured, top) which triumphed over a field of strong contenders including competition favourites such as Camel(s) (Korea), and two
  • Fortissimo to handle remaining sales on Pau's The Touch

    Han Entertainment, Thomas Chung's nascent media empire, is to appoint fellow Hong Kong outfit Fortissimo Film Sales to handle outstanding territories on big-budget extravaganza The Touch. Produced by superstar Michelle Yeoh through her Mythical Films, which has a deal with Han, the film is the English-language directorial debut of Oscar-winning cinematographer Peter Pau. Starring Yeoh, Ben Chaplin, Richard Roxborough and Brandon Chang the romantic action drama is the story of a
  • Germany's NRW film body awards Euros 9m backing

    New features by Amos Kollek, Max Faerberboeck, Lone Scherfig and Peter Lichtefeld are among the projects granted over Euros 9m backing by Filmstiftung NRW in its latest round of funding. The highest sum - Euros 1.022m - was awarded to Bosko Biati Film's Spanish-German co-production of Lichtefeld's Playa Del Futuro, which will shoot in Spain and North Rhine-Westphalia and star Peter Lohmeyer, Nina Petri, Outi Maenpaa and Hilmi Soezer, while Euros 1m went to Max Faerberboeck's omn
  • Germany's third largest exhibitor faces bankruptcy

    Germany's third biggest cinema chain, Ufa Theater, with 240 screens at 42 sites, is threatened with insolvency after its bank declined to provide further financing following two years of restructuring.Ufa spokesman Uwe Kattwinkel confirmed a report in the German weekly Der Spiegel that the chain needed an additional Euros 3m to compensate for a drop in business in the traditionally quiet summer months and that the company expected to post profits of Euros 300,000 this year.Speak
  • Germany's TiMe distribution scales back staff, moves HQ

    The difficulties facing the German independent distribution sector has forced Wolfram Tichy's TiMe Group to re-locate its theatrical distribution and licensing arm TiMe Medienvertriebs GmbH from Munich to the group's headquarters in Potsdam.Commenting on the decision, which saw the laying off of distribution head Rudy Tjio and five other staff, Tichy declared that it had "not been easy" to give up the Munich-based operation after almost 12 years in business. "Under the present market c
  • Hong Kong's Lark flies with new distribution arm

    Lark International Holdings (LIH), which owns Hong Kong exhibitors UA Cinemas and Cityplaza Cinemas, has launched a distribution arm, Lark Films Distribution (LFD).Headed by former Edko Films executive Karen Wong, LFD plans to acquire 8-10 films a year with a focus on quality US product. The company has already attended this year's American Film Market and expects to close its first deals during Cannes.'We saw an opportunity to pick up films that could be shown in UA cinemas bet
  • Ice Age heats up international box office

    20th Century Fox saw its computer-animated hit, Ice Age, pass the $100m mark in international box office at the weekend. With a total international gross of $104.3m, Ice Age is only the second film release on the international circuit this year to pass the watershed. The first was A Beautiful Mind, which now stands at $110.8m.Featuring the voices of Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo, Ice Age has proved successful around the world, setting rec
  • Internationalmedia claims revenues set to double in 2002

    After posting a decrease in revenues and a negative EBIT for the financial year 2001, Internationalmedia (IM) has announced that revenues in 2002 will be between Euros 330m - 370m and operating profit before goodwill amortization (EBIA) estimated at between Euros 21m - 25m. "The budget for 2002 is based on cautious assumptions," underlined IM's new deputy chairman Caspar von Blomberg (pictured), pointing out that "for the first time, the annual budget is calculated
  • Italian film industry wins credit bonanza from Euro bank

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) has made its biggest investment into European film production by granting a Euros 100m credit line to the Italian film and theatre industry.The investment, which comes under the Audiovisual Innovation 2000 Initiative (i2i), will be managed by the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL)'s film and theatre credit department, under the direction of Romano Franza.Funds will be available to finance up to 50% of the cost of a project, from a minimum of Eur
  • Italy's antitrust body set to approve Stream/Telepiu sale

    Italy's Antitrust Authority is set to greenlight the deal which will see Rupert Murdoch's News Corp sell Italian pay-TV platform Stream to Vivendi Universal, if Vivendi's Telepiu complies with new conditions regarding its ownership of pay-TV rights to Hollywood movies.According to unconfirmed reports, the Italian watchdog will demand that when Telepiu renegotiates contracts with US studios in 2004 and 2008, it reduces the duration of its ownership of pay-TV rights to movies.Simi
  • Japan's Toho posts record profit of $78.5m

    Toho, Japan's largest film distributor and exhibitor, has posted a record-breaking net profit of $78.5m (Y10.29 billion) for the fiscal year 2002, ended February 28, an increase of 16.2% over 2001. The impressive profit surge is largely thanks to the unprecedented local success of Spirited Away, Hayao Miuyazaki's animated feature which has grossed $230m (Y30.19 billion) and recorded 23.33 million admissions since its Japanese release on July 20 last year.Among Toho's othe
  • Kaurismaki sheds past, switches sales to Bavaria Film

    Germany's Bavaria Film International has picked up international sales rights to Aki Kaurismaki's new film The Man Without A Past (Mies Vailla Menneisyytta), which will appear in a Cannes competition slot.The Man Without A Past (pictured) is produced by the director's company Sputnik and co-produced with Kaurismaki regulars, Germany's Pandora Filmproduktion and France's Pyramide with Sweden's Wilmar Andersson holding Nordic rights. The film was or
  • Ken Loach, Rebecca O'Brien launch new production company

    UK director Ken Loach and producer Rebecca O'Brien, whose Sweet Sixteen was confirmed for Cannes competition on Wednesday, are splitting from long-standing UK film co-operative Parallax Pictures to launch a new production company, Sixteen Films.Parallax Pictures is being dissolved next month, ending a partnership that has been prominent in UK and continental European film production for more than a decade. Parallax's Sally Hibbin will be based at a new company, Parallax Independ
  • Kragh-Jacobsen starts filming on English-language Skagerrak

    Denmark's Iben Hjejle and New Zealand's Martin Henderson top the international casting line-up for veteran Soren Kragh-Jacobsen's Skagerrak, the highly anticipated English-language follow-up to his Berlin Silver Bear-winning Mifune Produced by Denmark's Nimbus Film by Lars Bredo Rahbek and Bo Ehrhardt, Skagerrak started shooting Monday April 22 on location in Scotland, where Hjejle and Henderson will be joined by Bronagh Gallagher (The Commitments, Pulp F
  • Life Or Something Like It

    Dir: Stephen Herek. US. 2002. 103 mins. "Live every day as if it was your last" is the none-too-original moral of Life Or Something Like It, an insipid romantic-comedy/drama that casts Angelina Jolie as a post-feminist Marilyn Monroe who discovers the drawbacks of blonde ambition and the virtues of true love. Jolie's rising star power will be put to the test by this, her first major comedy outing. The young men who made Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Gone In 60
  • Lightning strikes with first acquisition: American Gun

    Lightning Entertainment, the new LA boutique sales outfit run by Richard Guardian, has made its first acquisition, buying worldwide rights to the completed feature American Gun starring James Coburn, Virginia Madsen and Barbara Bain.Written and directed by Alan Jacobs, who last directed Nina Takes A Lover, and produced by Brent Morris, American Gun stars Coburn as a a World War II veteran whose daughter is shot to death. While embarking on a cross-country trip in a
  • Lord Of The Rings sinks Titanic in Denmark

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring became the biggest grossing film of all time in Denmark over the weekend, dethroning four-year leader Titanic.Still playing well in the Scandinavian territory Rings took $17,639 (DKr 147,533) over the three-day weekend (April 19-21), bringing its total gross to $11.01m (DKr 92.1m). This just tipped the fantasy adventure past Titanic's standing record total Danish gross of $10.999m (DKr92m), set in 1998.
  • Messier called to account for his actions by French TV watchdog

    Jean-Marie Messier will have to detail the half-year accounts of Canal Plus Group and French pay-TV channel Canal Plus, a 49% subsidiary of Vivendi Universal, to the CSA (Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel), the French broadcasting industry watchdog.Following Messier's controversial firing of Canal Plus Group's chairman Pierre Lescure, the CSA has written to Messier stating that, since the change in management was linked with 'important financial losses' at the pay-TV platform, he will
  • Messier faces the heat at Vivendi Universal shareholder meeting

    Yesterday evening, Vivendi Universal chairman, Jean-Marie Messier stepped up to the stage before a sweltering and packed house at Paris's Zenith theatre to face a 5,000-strong audience of the annual shareholder's meeting and deliver the performance of his life.Defending himself following weeks of bad publicity, questionable decision making and a 70% drop in his company's stock over the past two years, Messier (whom Fortune magazine once labelled a 'corporate rock star') remained defian
  • Moby Dick gets biggest slice of German film fund backing

    New feature film projects by Soenke Wortmann, Sherry Hormann, Wolfgang Panzer and Benjamin Quabeck are among more than 20 projects backed with over Euros 6m by FilmFernsehFonds Bayern in its latest round of funding.The largest single amount of Euros 1.5m though, went to Trixter Film for Moby Dick: The Legend Returns, its animated feature film adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith short story Moby Dick II or The Missile Whale, which is being planned as an internation
  • Monopoly worries force sale of Canadian cinema stake

    Anti-trust concerns by Canada's Competition Bureau has forced the sale of exhibitor Famous Players' minority stake in regional cinema circuit Galaxy Entertainment.Viacom's Canadian exhibition subsidiary Famous Players actually sold its stake in Galaxy Entertainment three weeks ago, appeasing monopoly concerns raised by the Competition Bureau. The public confirmation, however, was made yesterday.The concerns were prompted by Onex Corp's March 21 takeover of Loews Cineplex, the gr
  • Moretti appeals to Italy's president over Berlusconi's threat

    Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti has appealed to Italy's president to intervene after premier Silvio Berlusconi charged that three top RAI personalities should be fired because their use of state-run television has been "criminal.""You are the custodian of the constitution, therefore the guarantor of the freedom of each one of us,'' Moretti wrote in a letter to president Ciampi, which was published in Italian newspapers on Sunday. "But what is left of freedom when the freedom of opini
  • MRP plans Finland's first digital cinema

    Finland's MRP: Matila & Rohr Productions is planning to build the country's first digital cinema. 'We are building it from scratch,' Marko Rohr told Screendaily, 'it will have three screens and is the next obvious step for us in our ambitions to be involved in every part of the film chain.' The site will be constructed as part of a new high-tech IT building in the centre of Kajaani in the North of the country, an area already well known for its booming IT and technology community. Work
  • Murder By Numbers

    Dir: Barbet Schroeder. US. 2002. 120mins.Murder By Numbers is an ambitious attempt to make a multi-layered murder investigation film, loosely retelling the chilling Leopold and Loeb case which has intrigued everyone from Alfred Hitchcock in Rope to Tom Kalin in Swoon. And with Barbet Schroeder behind the camera, the film is instantly more fascinating and character-based than your average studio genre movie. But absorbed as he clearly is by the situation,
  • My Brother Tom wins 'Britspotting' audience award

    The 3rd 'Britspotting' British Independent Film Festival in Berlin awarded audience prizes for the first time this year, with the Best Feature Film category won by Dom Rotheroe's feature debut My Brother Tom which took home Euros 13,000 in prize-money donated by Das Werk and Metropolitan TV.The prize for Best Short Film, meanwhile, went to Simon Hook's Knit Your Own Karma with prize-money of Euros 500 donated by the British Embassy in Berlin.The Britspotting
  • Myriad's D'Amico resigns from IN-motion board

    Kirk D'Amico has resigned from the executive board of directors of IN-motion AG, the German media outfit which bought out his Myriad Pictures in July 2000. D'Amico, who took up his post on the board in 2001, will continue to be president of Myriad which is an international sales company with a library of over 200 titles and a production/financing slate including new films from Neil Jordan and Christopher Hampton and a host of titles from Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope.D'Amico
  • New support award for German cinema planned for Munich Filmfest

    Leading German bank HypoVereinsbank has been joined by Bavaria Film and public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk for an expanded version of its Director's Support Award which is presented during the next Munich Filmfest at the beginning of July.Now in its 14th year, the Euros 40,000 prize for directors is to be renamed Support Award for German Cinema ("Foerderpreis Deutscher Film") and will be joined by two Euros 20,000 awards for screenwriters and actors of German films screening in th
  • New York Lesbian & Gay Fest opens with CHO, closes with Lan Yu

    The 14th annual New York Lesbian & Gay Film Festival will open with Margaret Cho's latest performance film The Notorious C.H.O. from Wellspring Media and close with Stanley Kwan's Lan Yu from Strand Releasing.The event, which takes place June 6-16, also hands out annual film-maker awards decided by the audience and juries consisting of New York-based journalists and professionals. They will be handed out at the closing night event. Winners are also announced for the Vito
  • Nina Sadowsky named president of production at Signpost Films

    Stewart Till's Signpost Films has appointed Nina Sadowsky as its Los Angeles-based president of production.Sadowsky was president of Meg Ryan's Prufrock Pictures for five years and executive produced The Wedding Planner. Prior to joining Prufrock, she produced Sundance title Jumpin' At The Boneyard."Nina has all the attributes we were looking for in this position," said Signpost chief Stewart Till. "She has great taste and a strong history of effective development
  • Nordisk Film adds to Egmont's profits slump

    Newly restructured Nordic media major Egmont revealed its highest revenues ever on Wednesday (April 24) - at the same time as announcing a 67% dive in after-tax profits.While Egmont's revenues for 2001 reached an all-time high of Euros 1.1m, its profit after tax was a mere Euros 5.4m, compared to 2000's Euros 16.5m. Recently appointed president and CEO, Steffen Kragh (pictured) said "The result for 2001 is clearly unsatisfactory and underscores the importance of the change process alr
  • Norway's Film Fund supports first-time directors

    The Norwegian Film Fund has greenlit seven new films, all of which are set to roll this year, with newcomers and children's films grabbing most of the $4.1m support from the fund.Production outfit Yellow Cottage has received funding for two high-profile children films based on well-known local franchises. Originally a TV-series created by Norway's public broadcaster NRK in the eighties, the adventures of a Volkswagen police beetle as told in Pelle Politibil became a popular fran
  • NuVision launches distribution division in Argentina

    Latin American regional distributor NuVision has launched its own distribution arm in Argentina. It will continue its sub-distribution deal with local partners In the rest of the region. According to NuVision director Pedro Rodriguez, NuVision parent company, giant live entertainment conglomerate CIE, owns radio stations in Argentina which will provide some media support for its releases. 'By running our own operations, we hope to ride the storm in Argentina,' said Rodriguez. I
  • Palm/Manga sign domestic video deal with WEA

    The home entertainment division of Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures, which releases films from both Palm and Palm-owned Japanese animation label Manga Entertainment, has struck a domestic distribution deal with WEA Home Video to replace a previous arrangement with RYKO Distribution.The Palm/Manga catalogue consists of over 300 titles including live action movies such as The Basketball Diaries and Stop Making Sense as well as Manga's anime line featuring films like Ghost
  • Peter Hoffman launches new sales arm under David Lamping

    Peter Hoffman, chairman of Seven Arts Pictures, has launched an international sales division Seven Arts International and hired veteran David Lamping as president. Lamping will head into Cannes with a broad slate of films including the next pictures from Bronwen Hughes (Forces Of Nature), Paul McGuigan (Gangster No 1, The Reckoning) and Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces, The King Of Marvin Gardens). Lamping, who has been head of his own sales and marketing con
  • Saddam's Bombmaker is first acquisition for BBC Films' LA arm

    BBC Films has optioned Saddam's Bombmaker, the autobiography of Khidhir Hamza, the former head of Iraq's nuclear weapons program who defected to the US in 1995. The project is the first acquisition made by BBC Films' new Los Angeles office run by Peter Kalmbach, who will oversee development and production of the project. Producers are Scott Kalmbach and David Koplan.'Given the current world crisis, my story is very sensitive and highly charged," Hamza said. "I have every
  • SAG faces cross-border legal assault over Global Rule One

    The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) will face legal challengesin both the US and Canada if it tries to stamp its authority beyond USterritory through its controversial Global Rule One, according to producersassociations in those two countries.Last week, the US-basedAlliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) and the CanadianFilm and Television Producers Association (CFTPA) threatened to take SAG tocourt, with the AMPTP saying the intended new rule contravenes
  • Scorpion King paralyses April opening record in US

    Universal's TheScorpion King paralysedthe competition over the weekend and went straight to the top of the domesticbox office with a record-breaking April opening of $36.2m, according to studioestimates released today.The Mummy spin-off sees former wrestling star TheRock (a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson) headline as a mercenary nomad who battles an evilwarlord and is set in Egypt 5,000 years ago.With expectations running highfor what the studio hopes will become a lucrative
  • Selection field narrows for Cannes contenders

    Salesagents, distributors and publicists are waiting anxiously for news of whichfilms have made it into which Cannes section. As the days count down to theofficial announcements for the various sections, Screen International sifts through the gossipand the guessing to bring you the low-down on the state of play around theworld.USWoodyAllen told Screen International last year that he was hoping his new film, HollywoodEnding,would play at the Cannes film f
  • Senator International takes international rights to Sundance film XX/XY

    Senator International, the LA sales arm of Germany's Senator Entertainment, has acquired international rights to XX/XY, the romantic drama written and directed by Austin Chick which played in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. IFC Films has domestic distribution rights on the film which stars Mark Ruffalo, Maya Stange and Kathleen Robertson."This was one of the most talked about films at Sundance," said Senator International president Joe Drake. "It is a passionate, emot
  • Senator sells 10-film package to ZDF

    Germany's Senator Entertainment has closed its second free-TV package deal of 2002, this time for ten titles with German public broadcaster ZDF.The package (the contents of which was not disclosed) was equally split between first- and second-run licenses and follows another combined deal of seven titles, with the ARD network's central film buyer DEGETO in January. Speaking to Screen International, Senator Entertainment's COO Dr. Friedrich-Carl Wachs explained that due to curren
  • Sex-scandal priest drama acquired by Columbia TriStar Mexico

    A topical and controversial story of a priest involved in a sex scandal has been acquired by Columbia TriStar Mexico. Carlos Carrera's El Crimen Del Padre Amaro, starring Mexico's fast-rising star Gael Garcia Bernal (Amores Perros, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Motorcycle Diaries) sold all Mexican rights, with a first option for worldwide rights to the company. Earlier this year, Columbia Tri Star Mexico boarded its first Mexican co production, the comedy thri
  • Spain's MediaPro launches in to feature film production

    Spanish producer and rights broker MediaPro has announced its fully-fledged entry into feature film production, with plans to produce and back between five and seven films per year.Newly appointed film chief Juan Ruiz de Gauna, former CEO of Via Digital, said MediaPro won't "just play a financing role, we will play a creative role and develop our own projects," going directly to talent sources, seeking alliances with other producers and developing two to three films in-house annually.
  • Sweden's Strix unveils controversial Solidarity TV show

    Formats, the formulae under which game, reality and quiz shows are sold for adaptation in different countries, have been big business for the last few years. But at concept stage it is sometimes difficult to tell one from another - hence a high degree of unlicensed copying. But there will be no mistaking one, called Solidarity, unveiled by Strix Television, a division of Sweden's Modern Times Group.Speaking at a seminar on the future of formats Strix MD Anna B
  • The Water Giant re-locates from Canada to New Zealand

    Eight weeks of principal photography has just begun at Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown in New Zealand on the $20m family adventure The Water Giant, formerly called Ogopogo. The original plan was to shoot on Canada's Lake Okanagan, but it was too developed to offer the wilderness backdrop required. A relocation to Winnipeg was then abandoned because of the threatened SAG strike. British director John Henderson is working from an original screenplay by Barry Authors, who is a
  • Tony Manne to leave Columbia TriStar, set up NY consultancy

    Tony Manne, the international distribution veteran who has worked at Columbia Pictures for 30 years, is leaving his post as executive vice president of international marketing and distribution for Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) and setting up his own distribution and marketing consultancy. Manne will move from Los Angeles to New York to set up the company, Bristol Media International, which will also have a non-exclusive deal with CTFDI. "I am thrilled to be b
  • UK's Gala acquires Mon-rak Transistor

    The UK's Gala Film Distributors has made its first acquisition of a Thai film, buying Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Mon-rak Transistor, which will get its international premiere in Cannes Directors' Fortnight.The film is billed as a contemporary genre-defying odyssey of self-discovery about a young man from rural Thailand. Handled by Fortissimo, the film was also sold to Ocean Films for France.Earlier sales include Klockworx for Japan, Lucky Red for Italy and Ablaze for Hong Kong.
  • Warner Bros. to make live-action version of Akira

    Warner Bros. is to make a live-action feature based on the Japanese hit animation Akira. Currently in pre-production, the film is set to be released as early as 2004. The Hollywood studio has concluded a deal with Kodansha, the Japanese publisher which holds all rights to the animated feature, to produce a live-action feature. Released in 1988, the animated feature grossed $12m at the Japanese box office and enjoyed moderate success in other territories such as Europe, Asia and
  • Wellspring gets worldwide rights to Margaret Cho concert film

    Wellspring Media, the specialized US distribution outfit which is now independent of former owner Winstar Communications, has acquired worldwide rights to Margaret Cho's stand-up movie Notorious C.H.O. (pictured). The film is a 90-minute film of Cho's July 4, 2001, Seattle concert, part of her 37-city North American tour which went from 2001 into Jan 2002. Wellspring will open the film theatrically in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco one year later on July 4, 2002, before
  • Woody Allen names new film Anything Else, Capitol Films to sell

    Anything Else will likely be the title of the next Woody Allen film which the prolific director is planning to start shooting on June 3 in New York City. Starring Jason Biggs, Christina Ricci, Glenn Close and Danny De Vito, the film is a more serious comedy than his more recent films, said Allen at the weekend as he conducted interviews for his 32nd film Hollywood Ending which will be the opening night film at next month's Cannes Film Festival."It's a character comedy wit