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28 April 2007

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  • 300 sweeps past $20m in worldwide grosses on IMAX screens

    IMAX chiefs said this week that Warner Bros' smash action feature 300, which swept past $20m in worldwide receipts on the large screen format in record time, has opened the door to a new demographic for the company.Zack Snyder's adventure feature has grossed more than $422m worldwide through all formats since it opened on Mar 9.As of Apr 25 IMAX revenues stood at $22.6m worldwide, incorporating an $18.9m domestic and $3.7m internat
  • Adam And The Devil (Adem'in Trenleri)

    Dir. Baris Pirhasan. Turk, 2007. 103mins. Cute, corny, folksy, but also heart-warming and crowd pleasing, Baris Pirhasan's feature Adam And The Devil deserves to do well, not only as an entertaining festival vignette but also as a pleasant nostalgic breath of home for Turkish audiences abroad. The story of a strict imam landing in a small village with wife and daughter, whose intransigent religious beliefs mellow in contact with the cheerfully idy
  • Al Gore opens Tribeca with climate-change shorts programme

    The sixth-annual Tribeca Film Festival opened Wednesday night in downtown Manhattan with a programme of short films and music to raise awareness for climate change.TFF's opening night presented the premieres of nine of the planned 60 short films that are part of the SOS campaign about the global climate crisis.There were no famous faces seen on the big screen, but celebrities did come out in support of Tribeca and SOS. Al Gore hosted the evening, which also included SOS f
  • American Pavilion rebrands as AmPav: The Pavilion At Cannes

    Entering its 19th year as the Criosette's full-service hospitality and business centre, the American Pavilion has been rebranded as AmPav: The Pavilion At Cannes.'The perception of The Pavilion was that we were being exclusive in our membership, when in fact we're pleased that more than 40% of our membership is made up of journalists and industry professionals from countries other than the US,' founder Julie Sisk said.Located on the Croisette close to the Palais des Festi
  • As predicted, Grindhouse will be split into two releases for UK

    As predicted, The Weinstein Company (TWC) has confirmed that Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse double bill will be released as two separate movies in the UK.Tarantino's Death Proof will be released via Momentum Pictures/Dimension Films on Sept 21 with Rodriguez's Planet Terror released at a later date to be confirmed soon.Tarantino's
  • Barmettler's Omega signs Rogers, slate from Baldwins

    Former Lakeshore International president Peter Rogers (pictured above on the right) has resurfaced at Markus Barmettler's Swiss-based production, financing and sales company Omega Entertainment and will serve as president.Rogers will head up the expanded company's new London office and oversee all international operations. He will arrive in Cannes with a slate of films from Howard and Karen Baldwin's Baldwin Entertainment Group pursuant to a two-year, first-look and financing deal an
  • Ben Hopkins starts shoot in Turkey for The Market

    Simon Magus and The Nine Lives Of Alex Katz director Ben Hopkins started shooting in Turkey today for his third fiction feature, The Market. The project is the first co-production between Kazakhstan, Turkey, Germany and the UK. The Market will be shot in the Turkish language.Producers are Roshanak Behesht Nedja
  • Berri's latest wins audience award at LA's COLCOA

    Claude Berri's Hunting And Gathering starring Audrey Tautou and Guillaume Canet was presented with the 2007 City Of Lights, City Of Angels (COLCOA) Audience Choice Award.'This year's festival is the most successful in the history of COLCOA,' festival director and programmer Francois Truffart said of the event, which ran from Apr 3-9.'Not only is the attendance the highest ever, it is a salute to the future of French cinema in Ameri
  • Black Book star Carice van Houten moves on to Dorothy Mills

    Dutch actress Carice van Houten is playing the lead role in a new psychological thriller by Agnes Merlet, with a working title of Dorothy Mills. The French-Irish coproduction will be Merlet's first feature since her 1997 award-winning biography Artemisia. The film will shoot in Ireland this summer. Van Houten is playing the lead role of an Irish doctor who investigates a mysterious case of a child that almost died in the care of a babysitter. The search leads her int
  • BVI's Wild Hogs leads lacklustre international weekend

    John Travolta and his biker friends in Wild Hogs roared up to the top of the international charts over the weekend as an estimated $11.5m haul from 3,046 screens in 38 territories raised the overseas tally to $43.5m.The comedy opened through Buena Vista International (BVI) at number one in a slew of markets, grossing $2.9m from 600 screens in Germany, $1.3m from 250 in Italy, $510,000 from Scandinavia where it ranked top in each of Denmark, No
  • Cannes 2007: the line-up

    Screen International profiles this year's Cannes contenders - click on sales company name to be taken to relevant websiteIN COMPETITIONAlexandraDir: Alexander SokurovIn Competition for three consecutive years with Telets, Russian Ark and Father And Son, Sokurov returns to Cannes with Alexandra, about an elderly woman who visits Chechnya where her grandson, a Russian army
  • Cannes announces three additions to Un Certain Regard

    A week after unveiling its official line up, the Cannes Film Festival has added three films to the Un Certain Regard sidebar, organizers announced today.Hou Hsiao Hs
  • Cannes Critics Week to close with Miniucchi's Expired

    The 46th Cannes Critics Week will kick off with Bruno Merle's Heros, starring Michael Youn, Patrick Chesnais and Elodie Bouchez and close with Expired from Cecilia Miniucchi and starring Samantha Morton and Jason Patric.The Critics Week line up was announced Thursday morning in Paris with seven titles in the main selection and a decidedly Latin feel. Of those, only one, Brazil's
  • Cannes Film Festival: 60th may be a dignified affair

    Emir Kusturica returns but Francis Ford Coppola's comeback is nowhere to be seen. The British have not received an invitation to the party but Stephen Frears will still sit at the top table. The French presence does not display an unseemly bias towards the home team but the Italians are probably feeling a little overlooked.The Competition selection for the 60th Cannes film festival opens up endless dinner party discussion topics, but to most critics it has the look of a very good year.
  • Cannes: the price of a weak dollar

    In April, the UK pound moved through the $2 mark for the first time since 1992. The euro has also grown in strength against the US dollar. On one level, Cannes-bound US companies are bound to suffer. Bringing staff to the Riviera is not cheap, even when the dollar is strong. When it is as weak as it is now, an expedition to the Marche begins to look painfully expensive.On another level, European buyers may be encouraged to buy US product at a '30% discount' as one US buyer puts it, whi
  • China's J.A. Media taps Chan, Shi as consultants

    Start-up Chinese producer-distributor J.A. Media has tapped former Media Asia sales chief Jeffrey Chan and leading Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi as consultants as it ramps up its film distribution activities. Based in Beijing, the company is a subsidiary of Jilin-based biotech and alternative energy producer, Jian Group, owned by entrepreneur Sheng Xiao Dong. The company is already involved in the production and distribution of TV drama series, such as remakes of two classic ATV drama se
  • Cineclick Asia picks up Lucky Miles, Misencounter

    Korean sales agent Cineclick Asia, newly incorporated into Fantom Co Ltd, has today announced additional foreign pick-ups from Argentina and Australia for its Cannes market line-up, as well as the crank-up of Afghan title Opium War and other title updates. This follows its acquisition of world sales right for the Chinese film Tuya's Marriage which won the Golden Bear at this year's Berlinale and saw a slew of sales at the European Film Market and Hong Kong Filmart. T
  • Coens sign two-picture deal with Focus, Working Title

    Joel and Ethan Coen will write, produce, and direct their next two projects Burn After Reading and A Serious Man for Focus Features and Working Title Films following a two-film deal announced yesterday [April 23].Brad Pitt has joined George Clooney and Frances McDormand on the previously announced espionage black comedy Burn After Reading, which is set to begin s
  • Corbijn's Control to open Cannes Directors Fortnight

    Anton Corbijn's debut feature Control has been selected as the opening night film of Directors Fortnight in Cannes next month.The film is a biopic of the late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, whom Corbijn knew personally, and follows his rise to fame, his relationships with both wife and girlfriend, his struggle with epilepsy and his suicide in 1980 on the eve of the band's first US tour. Corbijn is best known as a photographer of
  • Destiny (Kader)

    Dir/scr: Zeki Demirkubuz. Turk. 2006. 104mins. International film festivals should have another look at Zeki Demirkubuz' latest offering Destiny, which has been on the circuit since last year. Flawed it may be, but it has enough merit to deserve a niche of its own, certainly compared to some of the selections inflicted lately by a number of programmers on their unsuspecting audiences. Cut down from a much longer version to its present length, and uneasily
  • Disturbia wards off two other thrillers opening in North America

    Paramount's thriller Disturbia held on to the top spot for the second weekend in a row in a weekend that saw four new releases breaking into the top 10.The film added an estimated $13.5m for $40.7m, one place ahead of New Line's thriller Fracture with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling, which launched on $11.1m.Paramount's comedy Blades Of Glory crossed
  • Driver, Goldberg, Falco, Cooper among Tribeca jurors

    The Tribeca Film Festival has announced the jurors ahead of this week's launch.The main jury for the World Narrative Competition category is Chris Cooper, Edie Falco, Goran Paskaljevic, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Barry Sonnenfeld.Heidi Ewing, Whoopi Goldberg, Jehane Noujaim, Raoul Peck and Gideon Yago will serve on the World Documentary Competition.The Made In NY Narrative Feature Award jurors are Minnie Driver, Dave Fear, Alex Gibney, Leah Rozen, Oren Rudavs
  • Dygra teams with Fantastic Films to market animated movies

    Spanish animation producer Dygra Films has signed an agreement with the LA-based distributor Fantastic Films International to exclusively market its titles worldwide.The deal begins with the upcoming feature, The Spirit Of The Forest, sequel to Dygra's 2001 hit, The Living Forest. 'This agreement is a large leap in the path toward interna
  • EFP selects 21 producers for Cannes Producers on the Move

    The Hamburg-based, pan-European promotional organisation European Film Promotion (EFP) has selected 21 aspiring European producers for its Producers On The Move networking initiative to take place during the Cannes Film Festival next month. Since being launched in 2000, Producers On The Move has enabled over 120 up-and-coming European producers to meet opposite numbers from all over Europe to discuss current projects and lay the foundation for future collaborations at roundtable meet
  • Emperor Motion Pictures appoints Ng as sales chief

    Former Celestial Pictures executive Alan Ng has joined Hong Kong-based Emperor Motion Pictures (EMP) as assistant general manager, distribution. Ng, who will report directly to EMP chief executive Albert Lee, will oversee the company's growing distribution team. However he is not a direct replacement for Ricky Tse, who left the company last week to head up sales at Hong Kong 's Media Asia, as some of Tse's duties will be shared among the new team. Ng was formerly Celestial's vice
  • Finnish family drama wins River Run Film Festival

    Elaville Ja Kuolleille's Finnish family drama For The Living And The Dead won the best narrative feature award at the Ninth Annual RiverRun International Film Festival, which came to a close at the weekend. The jury also presented the best actor award to Hannu-Pekka Bjorkman for his portrayal as a grieving father.The best documentary feature prize went to Jennifer Baichwal's Canadian entry Manufactured Landsca
  • Foreign productions jump 7% in France

    The number of foreign shoots in France increased 7% last year on 2005, according to figures from the French national film commission, Film France. But US productions dropped 6%. British productions were responsible for 24% of the 1,286 shooting days logged, followed by those from the US (19%) and Japan (12%). Overall, TV shows accounted for 13% in terms of types of productions including The Sopranos and Hunan TV's Dreams Behind A Crystal Curtain from China. Thirty-
  • Fortissimo picks up worldwide rights to Pleasure Factory

    Fortissimo Films has taken on worldwide sales rights to Thai writer-director Ekachai Uekrongtham's Singapore-set drama Pleasure Factory, which has been selected for Un Certain Regard as the only South-East Asian feature in Cannes ' official selection this year. Ekachai, whose directorial debut was the critically-acclaimed Beautiful Boxer, is a Singapore permanent resident. Pleasure Factory, his second picture, is produced through his Singapore-based outfit Spicy Appl
  • France - Critical mass

    Jean-Michel Frodon, director of France's venerable Cahiers Du Cinema since 2003 has spent the last couple of decades travelling the world to track the newest trends in world cinema. He is also the man behind the decision to launch an English edition of the Cahiers, the 50-year-old bastion of film criticism."I was lucky enough to be a critic when things started to happen in African cinema in the 1990s. I went to China when the first generation of film-makers emerged in the
  • Gabor Csupo to direct children's fantasy The Moon Princess

    Gabor Csupo, director of Walden Media's $100m worldwide grosser Bridge to Terabithia is to direct children's fantasy The Moon Princess, based on Elizabeth Goudge's 1946 classic The Little White Horse.The live-actionproject, planned to begin pre-production in June, will star Colin Firth with other cast to be confirmed.The production will be produced by Sp
  • H20 picks up two in advance of Cannes

    H2O Motion Pictures has picked up international rights to Ashley Baron Cohen's black comedy Poor Things starring Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis.The Los Angeles-based company has further bolstered its Cannes slate with the drama Feel, which is being directed by music video director Matt Mahurin.Poor Things, which is currently shooting in Los Ange
  • HBO Films, FSLC stage US competition for film trailers

    HBO Films and The Film Society of Lincoln Center are holding a nationwide competition offering students the chance to create a trailer to precede film screenings at the Lincoln Center.The Film Society of Lincoln Center will premiere the winning work in the Student Trailer Competition at its 45th New York Film Festival, which is set to run from Sep 28-Oct 14.The winning trailer will be shown before every Film Society screening for the next two years, and will screen at the
  • High-disappointment DVD

    About two weeks ago, Jeffrey Katzenberg said in the course of an interview he was not particularly impressed with the new high-definition DVDs such as Blu-ray. He did not see much in the way of improvements from the standard format discs. Neither the image nor the sound did much to enhance the experience in the rapidly evolving home entertainment field, in his view.It was a terse dismissal, not only of the new format, but of an industry that appeared to be flogging expensive new machin
  • Hollywood Film Festival sets dates as Oct 17-22

    The 11th Hollywood Film Festival will run in Los Angeles from Oct 17-22, culminating in the Hollywood Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.'We are very proud that we have become recognised as a pre-Oscar showcase, as well as a source for providing great networking opportunities for film-makers looking for a break,' executive director Carlos de Abreu said.'In the last four years, a total of 54 Academy Award nominations and 12 Oscars have been given to films the festival has
  • Hooper to direct Katharine Graham biopic for Ziskin, HBO Films

    Tom Hooper is set to direct a biopic about the legendary Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham which is being produced later this year by Laura Ziskin for HBO Films.Joan Didion (The Year Of Magical Thinking) is scripting the film from Carol Felsenthal's 1993 biography Power, Privilege And The Post: The Katharine Graham Story.Hooper has become a firm favourite at HBO Films. He directed the
  • Image executive Gordon joins TWC as evp, home entertainment

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) has hired Barry Gordon as executive vice president of home entertainment.Reporting to Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Gordon will be based in TWC's Los Angeles office and will serve as liaison for the company's home entertainment operations.He will work closely with Trevor Drinkwater, president and chief executive officer of TWC's exclusive home video distributor Genius Products, and his team.Gordon's responsibilities will include working
  • India - UFO prepped for lift-off

    One of the more surprising revelations made by the Indian businessman and entrepreneur Raaja Kanwar, the man pioneering digital cinema and exhibition in the territory, is that he is not "a fan of Hindi movies".Kanwar's prefers English-language films and international arthouse movies and on meeting him one can see the passion and determination that have contributed to making UFO Moviez, his digital exhibition venture, an entity to reckon with.To date, the company has released mor
  • Industry moves

    KING IS A PARTICIPANTJonathan King has left Focus Features as executive vice-president of production and has joined Participant Productions as executive vice-president in charge of production. Prior to Focus, King served as president of production for Laurence Mark Productions, working on such titles as Dreamgirls and The Lookout.SULTAN MAKES PEACE ARCH MOVEJulie Sultan has joined Peach Arch Entertainment Group as executive vice-president of international theatrical film
  • Initial's Next predicts business before Spider-man onslaught

    The eye of the storm passes over the international arena this weekend, as the pre-Spider-Man 3 onslaught looks like creating one of the quietest overseas weekends in a while.The only excitement comes from sci-fi thriller Nextstarring Nicolas Cage and Julianne Moore, which launches day-and-date withNorth America in a slew of territories. Highlights are expected to comefrom France through TFI and French-s
  • 'It would be good if there was a new leadership'

    In a move which took even her staff by surprise, Sandra Den Hamer today confirmed that she will be leaving her position as director of the Rotterdam International Festival to take over as director of Amsterdam's Filmmuseum.'For me as well, it was quite sudden,' Den Hamer told of her decision to leave a festival that she has been working for in various capacities since 1986. She said that she was approached by the supervisory board of the Film Museum about a month ago.
  • Italian locations: Cinecitta at 70

    Cinecitta Studios, located on the southeastern outskirts of Rome, celebrates its 70th anniversary this month. And with a reputation built on more than 3,000 films, cinema legends and Oscar-winning craftsmen, Cinecitta's board of directors is determined to stay ahead of its international competitors.Over the years, Cinecitta has handled films ranging from Ben Hur and Cleopatra to recent high-profile productions such as Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York and Mel Gib
  • Italian locations: empire building

    Though Italy may not be able to count on national production incentives to attract shoots from overseas, the territory figures high on international location managers' wishlists, thanks largely to its stunning locations.Last year Martin Campbell shot parts of Sony's Casino Royale at Lake Como and in Venice, while parts of New Line and Catherine Hardwicke's The Nativity Story were shot in the ancient city of Matera, southern Italy - the same location used for Mel Gibson's T
  • Italian locations: film commissions

    Italy has 16 regional film commissions, all battling to create their own film funds and bolster production in their regions.The undisputed frontrunners are the Turin Piedmont film commission and the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia film commission, based in north-east Italy, both of which offer cash funds for approved projects.The Turin commission has just launched a $32m (EUR23.5m) equity fund in partnership the US's Endgame Entertainment under the newly formed Piedmont Film Company.
  • Italian locations: historical monuments

    As any Italian film commissioner knows, movie producers en route to Italy come armed with ambitious shooting agendas involving the nation's most treasured and ancient locations.While permits are granted on a site-by-site basis, major locations such as Rome and Venice have dedicated permit offices which are well versed in granting filming permits: Rome alone gave out 2,258 of them in 2006.Productions to have pushed the boundaries on their Italian shoots include Anthony Minghella'
  • Italian locations: Sicily

    The beautiful, but under-employed island of Sicily has lured some of the world's most renowned film-makers to its shores, from neo-realists such as Roberto Rossellini to contemporary Oscar winners such as Giuseppe Tornatore for Cinema Paradiso.Today, with support from regional, national and EU funding, the island is hoping to create a stable audiovisual industry to support local and international productions on a more permanent basis.While Steven Soderbergh chose to bring
  • Japanese animation Doraemon secures Chinese release

    Japanese publisher Shogakukan has announced that one of its recent feature films in the popular Doraemon franchise will screen theatrically in 35 cities across mainland China. Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur 2006 , which was released domestically in March last year, will become the first Japanese animated feature to be screened theatrically in China. State-owned Huaxia Film Distribution will release the film in July. Created in 1969 by Fujiko Fujio, the robotic cat is a
  • John Carpenter in Tribeca: Violent films comes from our fearsome world

    As audiences brace themselves for this summer's release of Hostel 2 and America comes to terms with the violence of the recent Virginia Tech murders, the Tribeca Film Festival last night hosted a discussion about violence in films and the impact on society.Panelists all agreed that the real-life violence seen on the evening news was more disturbing than fictional films, and that the current political and social landscape produced anxiety that
  • Kinowelt increases year-on-year annual profits and revenues by more than a third

    Germany's Kinowelt Group has increased its year-on-year annual profits and revenues by more than a third as business boomed in all of its divisions in 2006. A year ago, managing director Bertil le Claire forecast a 21% growth in turnover to $115m (Euros 95m) for 2006, but the Leipzig-based company performed even better, reporting annual profits of Euros 4.9m (+37.6%) on revenues of Euros 106.8m (+35.5%). Kinowelt's home entertainment division remained the group's cash cow
  • Koch Lorber picks up Tribeca competition entry 9 Star Hotel

    Koch Lorber Films has picked up Israeli film-maker Ido Haar's documentary 9 Star Hotel from Israeli-based Eden Productions and plans an immediate US release.The Arabic and Hebrew-language film in English subtitles is receiving its North American Premiere in competition at Tribeca and will launch at New York's Film Forum on May 23 followed by a nationwide roll-out. A DVD release is planned for the fourth quarter.The film charts the daily struggles of Palestinian constructi
  • Koepp's Sons wins top prize at Nyon

    Veteran German documentarist Volker Koepp was awarded the 'Visions du Reel' Grand Prix for his latest film Sons (Söhne) at the festival in Nyon. In addition, the International Jury, which included the Canadian actress Arsinee Khanjian and last year's Grand Prix winner Andres Veiel, gave the 'Prix SRG SSR idee suisse' to Claudio Pazienza's Scenes De Chasse Aux Sanglier. The Audience Jur
  • Losers And Winners the top winner at 14th Hot Docs

    German filmmakers Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken's Losers And Winners won the Best International Feature Documentary as the 14th Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival wrapped this weekend. The film looks at the impact of globalisation as a German smelting plant is disassembled to be rebuilt in China. The International Special Jury Prize went to Michael Skolnik's Without The King (US), a
  • Lost In Beijing to be released in mainland China in May

    The edited version of Chinese filmmaker Li Yu's second feature Lost In Beijing will be released in mainland China on May 18, according to the film's producer Fang Li and its distributor Polybona. The version to be released in mainland China is 15 minutes shorter than the one that premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February and a secondary storyline has been removed. However the director and producer say this should not prevent the audience from understanding th
  • Market forces and buzz titles

    At first glance, this year's Cannes Competition has a lopsided look. It comprises a handful of US films from well-known film-makers (almost all of which are already pre-sold everywhere) and some vintage European arthouse fare, on most of which all territories are available.'The films that are interesting commercially are already gone, which puts the stress on pre-buys for us,' says Alexandra Rossi, vice-president of European/Latin American acquisitions and co-productions at New Line.
  • Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg puts $9.3m into 26 projects

    New feature films by Jaco van Dormael, Dennis Gansel, Chris Kraus and Stefan Ruzowitzky are among 26 projects backed by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg with over $9.3m Euros 6.8m at its last sitting. The largest single amount - $1.2m (Euros 900,000) - went to Gavin Millar's biopic of Albert Schweitzer.Jaco van Dormael was allocated $0.7m (Euros 500,000) for his drama Mr Nobody, which is to star Sarah Polley and Jared Leto and is bei
  • Moviehouse and Revolver on board for documentary Taking Liberties

    Moviehouse Entertainment is taking on sales for documentary Taking Liberties, with all UK rights going to Revolver Entertainment. Chris Atkins, a longtime producer for Richard Jobson, wrote and directed the project for S2S Productions. Nicky Moss produced and also negotiated the Revolver deal. The film is described as 'a hilarious but shocking polemic that attacks the Blair Government's destruction of every one of the basic liberties.' Kurt Engfehr, who edited and co
  • Neil Marshall shooting Rogue's Doomsday in Cape Town and Scotland

    Neil Marshall, writer/director of The Descent and Dog Soldiers, has started shooting in Cape Town for Doomsday for Rogue Pictures. The action thriller is about a lethal virus that hits a major country. Bob Hoskins, Alexander Siddiq and Adrian Lester star.Crystal Sky Pictures' Steven Paul and Benedict Carver are producing
  • New animation studio Animation Lab gets set for Bunch

    Animation Lab, the recently announced Jerusalem and Los Angeles-based studio launched by Jerusalem Venture Partners, has announced its first project.Pre-production is underway on The Wild Bunch (working title), the first of six CGI features that Animation Lab plans to put into production over the next eight years.Jim Ballantine, whose credits include Bambi II and
  • Next

    Dir: Lee Tamahori. US. 2007. 96mins.A promising Philip K Dick premise gets spun out to middling effect in Next, a sort-of-sci-fi thriller with Nicolas Cage playing the reluctant hero and Lee Tamahori directing. The Initial Entertainment/Revolution Studios production may get lost in the summer crowd theatrically, but Cage's star power could help it get noticed later in ancillary markets. Paramount releases the film wide in North America this weeken
  • Nikkatsu, IMJ join forces to launch production outfit

    Japan 's Nikkatsu Corp and production company/creative agency Inter Media Japan Entertainment (IMJE) have jointly established a new production company named Dzonot Corp. IMJE invested 51% and Nikkatsu 49% of the initial $85,000 (Y10m) in capital to set up Dzonot, which will be headed by IMJE chief executive Osamu Naito. Dzonot will begin operations in the middle of May. Nikkatsu stated its aim is to combine the resources of its legendary studio lot facilities with IMJE's skill in
  • Opera Jawa triumphs at Singapore's Silver Screen Awards

    Opera Jawa , an Indonesian musical filled with gamelan music and Javanese court dances, won best film at the Silver Screen Awards of the 20th Singapore International Film Festival. Director Garin Nugroho was on hand to receive the top honour. Iraqi Kurdistan-born Shawkat Amin Korki took home best director for his debut Crossing The Dust which he filmedsoon after the US troops arrived in Iraq. The picture also shared the NETPAC jury award with Korean coming-of-age comedy
  • Peter Naish joins Capitol Films as managing director

    Former Icon Entertainment head of distribution Peter Naish has joined Capitol Films as managing director and will oversee both Capitol and THINKFilm under David Bergstein's growing entertainment empire.Naish will start work on Apr 30 and will join the team of Capitol head of sales James Norrie and sales manager Sophia Neves, and THINKFilm head of international sales Eve Schoukroun. All three will report to Naish.The upcoming Cannes sales slate includes John Maybury's The
  • Ronning and Sandberg on board for $8m Manus project

    Norwegian directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, whose first feature was the Luc Besson-written and produced western comedy, Bandidas (2006), starring Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek, have signed to direct Max Manus, a $8.4m (Euros 6.1m) World War II epic to shoot from February 2008 for Norway's Filmkameratene.Scripted by Thomas Nordseth from Manus' autobiographical books, it follows the young adve
  • Sandra Den Hamer leaves Rotterdam International Film Festival

    Sandra Den Hamer is to step down as director of the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Den Hamer, who has been involved with the event for more than two decades, will start work as director of Amsterdam's Filmmuseum from September 1.The Board of the Rotterdam Film Festival will start exploratory talks shortly to appoint a successor.
  • Screen-backed Cannes forum considers digital future

    Cinema in the digital age comes under the spotlight at Cannes next month in the festival's opening forum, backed by Screen International.Cinema: Towards The Audiences Of Tomorrow will focus on the impact of new delivery platforms on audiences and film-making itself.Film industry representatives, new media experts, journalists and sociologists will discuss how the digital economy is shaping new
  • Screen-backed Cannes forum focuses on digital future

    Cinema in the digital age comes under the spotlight at Cannes next month with the forum Cinema: Towards The Audiences Of Tomorrow.The Opening Forum, organised by the Marche Du Cannes and in collaboration with Screen International, will focus on the evolution of audience practices and the ties between cinema creation and new promotional and broadcast platforms.Film industry representatives, new media experts, journalists and sociologists will discuss how the digital econom
  • Set Report - Cracking the code

    Alex de la Iglesia has built a reputation across Europe as a comedy director with a larger-than-life persona and spontaneous style of film-making. So it came as little surprise to find him painting the walls of St Edmund Hall in Oxford and bellowing at his crew to work faster when Screen visited the set of his latest film The Oxford Murders on a sunny day in mid-March."He is a great passionate bear of a man who is wonderful to work with, but does try to improvise sometime
  • Shochiku flies with Universal Japan's Midnight Eagle

    Shochiku has announced that it will distribute $10m action thriller Midnight Eagle, produced by the Midnight Eagle Partners production consortium, led by co-producer Universal Pictures Japan. The film, which began production in January, is directed by Izuru Narushima whose credits include box office hit Fly, Daddy, Fly. Starring in the film's leading role is Takao Osawa, the popular star of Crying Out Love, In The Center Of The World , wit
  • Spider-Man 3

    Dir: Sam Raimi. 2007.US. 140mins.The financial reasons for making Spider-Man 3 require no explanation; the artistic reasons are a little harder to discern. Taking some inspiration from Superman 3, director Sam Raimi has chosen to explore the dark side of his superhero. Burdening Peter Parker/Spider-Man with endless personal issues and adding two new villains to the mix fatally over-eggs the pudding. The cluttered narrative is obliged to rush from climax to clim
  • SPTI, Daum seal free VoD licensing deal for Korea

    Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) and Daum Communications (Daum) announced today the first free video-on-demand (VOD) licensing deal between a Hollywood studio and a Korean company. SPTI will license annually selected library titles to top South Korean internet portal site Daum. The latter will stream these films via its site to consumers, on demand, for free, with the support of advertising. The specific titles are yet to be decided. Daum's service will b
  • Stiles to produce, star in Plum Pictures' The Bell Jar

    Julia Stiles will produce and star in Plum Pictures' adaptation of The Bell Jar, the psychodrama and only novel written by the late poet Sylvia Plath.Stiles and Plum optioned the book and will produce in association with Killer Films. Tristine Skyler is adapting the project, which is currently out to directors. The producers are aiming for an early 2008 shoot.The semi-autobiographical story chronicles the emotional breakdown of Est
  • Summit back at Cannes with Walden, Polanski, Step Up 2

    Patrick Wachsberger's Summit International, now embedded in the worldwide production and distribution company Summit Entertainment, has unveiled its Cannes sales slate.The roster includes two Summit productions - a second instalment in the nascent dance franchise Step Up and the teen fight club drama Get Some - as well as third party product including two projects from Walden Media and Roman Polanski's
  • Sundance annual summer Labs unveil projects, participants

    The Sundance Institute has announced the 13 projects for its annual June Directors and Screenwriters Labs, which run at the Sundance Resort in Utah from May 28-Jun 28.The selected projects include: The Cavanaughs (US) by John Morgan (co-writer/director) and Meg LeFauve (co-writer); Circumstance (US/Iran) by Maryam Keshavarz (writer/director); Cold Souls (US) by S
  • TFI International acquires Tavernier's In The Electric Mist

    TFI International has acquired In The Electric Mist, the new English-language film from director Bertrand Tavernier.
  • The Bean counters rejoice

    Mr Bean's Holiday held firm at the top this weekend generating $13.5m over the three-days, bringing its total to a whopping $145.3m in just five weeks. BVI comedy Wild Hogs was not far behind, taking $11.6m - a 30% increase on last weekend - after expanding to a further 18 territories. Japanese animations also had a good weekend. Detective Conan: Jolly Roger In Deep Azure and Crayon Shinchan 15 grossed $3.8m and $2.5m respectively in their opening weekend at home. Italian audien
  • The Bothersome Man racks up more prizes in Norway's Canon awards

    Norwegian director Jens Lien's The Bothersome Man added four prizes to its string of 20 national and international kudos, when the Norwegian film industry handed out the Canon awards at the the Kosmorama Trondheim International Film Festival, which ended yesterday.Decided by the business organizations - actors' prizes are voted by the Actors' Union, producers' prizes by the Producers' Association - the Canons went to
  • The Condemned

    Dir: Scott Wiper. US. 2007. 113mins.Criticising the dumbing-down of entertainment culture while shamelessly catering to the lowest-common denominator, The Condemned gets points for chutzpah but little else. The result, an action film about a hyper-violent reality contest, quickly devolves into a series of hand-to-hand combat scenes that become monotonous since there's no one on screen worth liking, let alone rooting for. Produced by WWE Films, the c
  • Tokyo to host world premiere of fifth Harry Potter

    Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix will receive its world premiere in Tokyo, Japan on June 28. Japanese audiences will get to see the fifth installment in the franchise before the rest of the world, including the UK, which traditionally hosts the premieres. The Japan screening will be followed by the London premiere on July 3 and the Hollywood premiere on July 8. The gala event will take place at Roppongi Hills Toho Cinemas, with a separate audience event for 900 fan
  • Tribeca domestic deal closed on Maccarone's Vivere

    here! Films has picked up North American rights to Angelina Maccarone's German drama Vivere at Tribeca and will release in theatres through sister company Regent Releasing.The story centres on three women on the run, each trying to save each other, and in the process, save themselves. Hannelore Elsner, Esther Zimmering, and Kim Schnitzer star, and Anita Elsani produced.'This film is about the decisiveness to live your dreams and desires instead of dying for them,' Maccaro
  • Tribeca Talent: Bill Guttentag

    Director Bill Guttentag's debut feature film Live!, a mockumentary about a reality TV show whose ultimate showdown ends with a nasty game of Russian roulette, combines his many talents in one package.As a respected non-fiction film-maker who won an Oscar for his 2003 documentary short Twin Towers, Guttentag knows how to put together a documentary, even a fake one. As the creator and executive producer of Law & Order: Crime & Punishment, the reality-based spin-off f
  • Tribeca Talent: Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz

    Carlitos Ruiz Ruiz's debut feature Lovesickness (Maldeamores) deals with the universal theme of love in very Puerto Rican terms. For Ruiz, 'It's a slice of our Latin idiosyncrasies which also shows how intense and intensely flawed love can be.'Having received a bachelors degree in photography from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998, Ruiz returned to Puerto Rico to do commercial work when a chance meeting with Benicio Del Toro - who would become the film's executive
  • Tribeca Talent: Marshall Lewy

    Marshall Lewy's debut feature Blue State, a character-driven road film about a Democrat activist moving to Canada after George W Bush is re-elected in 2004, reflects the director's life in several ways. Like his main character, director Lewy did field work in Ohio for the Democratic Party in 2004. And while he did not move north after the election, he ended up shooting his feature in Winnipeg in 2006. Living in Los Angeles, after completing his masters in film at Columbia Universi
  • Tributes flood in for Jack Valenti, dead at 85

    Jack Valenti, the former head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and chief architect of the modern film ratings system, has died. He was 85.The longtime lobbyist and former aide to President Lyndon B Johnson suffered a stroke in March and never fully recovered, eventually succumbing to complications at his home in Washington DC.The Houston-born Valenti developed a passion for film as a boy after he got a job sweeping floors in a local cinema. He earned th
  • UK box office: the golden lining

    UK admissions are set to increase 21% by 2011 - boosting box-office revenue by $673m (£336.1m), according to Dodona Research.The industry analyst says strong upcoming film product, benefits from digital technology and a turn in the investment cycle in new cinemas will increase admissions by 34 million to 190 million in the next four years.Dodona compared box-office performance in 38 European countries and found the UK had the fourth-fastest underlying growth once the effects of
  • United Kingdom - Guardian angels

    In May 2006, UK screenwriter Matt Hanson soft-launched his A Swarm Of Angels project, the first step in creating a $2m (£1m) feature film that will be conceived, developed, funded, produced and ultimately distributed via the internet.The project is touted as the first truly "open-source" feature film - involving movie fans rather than the studio system in funding and producing a full-length feature. It will then be distributed free online to a million targeted users.As author of
  • United Kingdom - Seaside heights

    While some in the British film business sit in their Soho offices complaining about funding, Medb Films founders Jan Dunn and Elaine Wickham are quietly building an indie film-making mini-empire in Ramsgate, on the Kent Coast.The seaside town is not known for its film scene, but that is changing since Dunn and Wickham shot 2005's award-winning low-budget debut feature Gypo in the area (Wolfe released the film in the US and Lionsgate in the UK). They have now completed a second f
  • United states - A Lion Of A Job

    "The challenge," says Clark Woods, president of domestic theatrical distribution at MGM, "is that each of the producers comes with fully financed films and, in most cases, fully financed p&a arrangements, so they have a vested interest in what we're doing. Trying to balance all those things is somewhat difficult."Woods, a distribution veteran who arrived at the new MGM in February 2006 after 25 years at Paramount, is referring to the fact the studio is principally a marketing and distr
  • United states - Stripped Down And Rebuilt

    Since arriving at Intermedia two years ago as CEO, Martin Schurmann has worked to reorganise the Los Angeles-based company and steer it out of troubled waters.Under previous leadership, including most recently Moritz Borman, Intermedia laboured under the weight of its ambitions, producing underperforming behemoths such as Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines and Alexander. That, added to the impact of the Neuer Markt collapse on German holding company Internationalmedia, me
  • Valley Of Flowers wins top prize at LA Indian Film Fest

    Pan Nalin's Valley Of Flowers won the 5th Indian Film Festival Of Los Angeles' grand jury prize for best feature as the event came to a close at the weekend.Paromita Vohra's Q2P won the best documentary award, while Srinivas Sunderrajan's Tea Break took best short honours.The Audience Choice Award went to John Jeffcoat's comedy
  • Vince Vaughn's Comedy Show goes to Picturehouse, NLI

    Picturehouse and New Line International have acquired worldwide rights to Ari Sandel's Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood To The Heartland.Vaughn produced the film, which originally premiered at Toronto last autumn and follows him on a comedy road tour with four up-and-coming comics. Peter Billingsley, John Isbell and Victoria Vaughn served as executive producers. Picturehouse plans an early 2008 release.
  • Vollman gets expanded publicity duties at Paramount

    Paramount's executive vice president of integrated marketing Mike Vollman has added theatrical publicity to his duties.In his expanded role, Vollman will oversee national publicity campaigns and lead the studio's field and integrated marketing activities. He will continue to report to president of worldwide marketing Gerry Rich.'Mike has played an integral and impressive role at Paramount since he came on board,' Rich said. 'He has stepped up as a leader time and time aga
  • Waitress wins narrative award at Sarasota Film Festival

    Adrienne Shelly's final film Waitress won the narrative competition award and Benjamin Niles' Note By Note: The Making Of Steinway L1037 took the documentary prize as the Sarasota Film Festival closed at the weekend.Each award carried a $5,000 cash prize for the film-makers. Olivier Meyrou's Beyond Hatred received a special jury prize from the documentary feature jury, and the 2007 Independent Visions C
  • Warner, IMAX hatch 3D Deep Sea-quel

    Warner Bros and IMAX Corp. are plotting a third aquatic 3D adventure. Working-titled Deep Sea-quel, the new film will be produced by the team behind last year's $40m-grossing Deep Sea 3D and the 1991 picture Into The Deep: director/cinematographer Howard Hall, producer Toni Myers and executive producer Graeme Ferguson. Joining the line-up on the new venture is Michele Hall,
  • Weinsteins plan 30 films over six years with Asian film fund

    Harvey and Bob Weinstein are reported to have set up their Asian film fund in a move that had been expected ever since they launched The Weinstein Company in October 2005.Goldman Sachs is understood to have raised approximately $270m in debt and equity for the venture, with the brothers said to be investing $15m of their own funds.According to an offering document seen by Bloomberg News, the fund will be used to produce and market more than 30 films over the next six year
  • World premieres at Tribeca Film Festival

    The Air I Breathe (Encounters)Contact: Mark Ankner and Graham Taylor, Endeavor Independent Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother (Discovery) Contact: Nikki Parrott, Tigerlily Films (domestic), ID Distribution (international) Amexicano (Discovery)