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28 October 2003

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  • Alila

    Dir. Amos Gitai. Israel-France. 2003.A collage of several plots (alila in Hebrew means plot) combine to deliver a composite picture of the country, as it is today in Gitai's new film. Originally headed for Cannes but finally emerging in Venice, Alila is one of his least overtly militant and one of his most emotionally charged in a long time. Working from a similarly, but far more detailed, novel by Yehoshua Knaz, one of Israel's best writers, this collection of persona
  • Amsterdam unveils main competition line-up

    The International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam (Nov 20-30) has said that, from this year's edition, it will only accept documentaries that premiere at the festival into its main competition.The news came as festival director Ally Derks yesterday (Oct 28) unveiled an international line-up of 21 instead of the usual 20 docs into the main Joris Ivens competition (see list below). Austrian director Ulrich Seidl (Animal Love, Models and Dog Days) is this year's spe

    The Italian Job has raced up the charts from the 18th to the fourth slot despite a mere increase of three prints from UIP. Word of mouth and glowing reviews has boosted its performance. In contrast, local thriller El Polaquito which also opened last week, sunk like a stone. Teen slasher Freddy Vs Jason remains on top while Fox's 28 Days Later pushed Foreign Oscar contender Valentin down to third. Local comedy Soy Tu Aventura, about two bankrupt

    Mexican-Argentinian co production Nicotina opened poorly at number 17 despite favourable reviews and the presence of Argentinian talent before and behind the camera. Seabiscuit's success in the US has not registered here where it opened number eight. Oscar contender Valentin saw a mere 7% drop after seven weeks in release. Femme Fatale enjoyed the best opening at number four. Next weekend will see the release of Korea's The Way Home by director

    Intolerable Cruelty lead the field with a A$1,916,705 gross from 228 screens on its opening weekend. Putting aside the only IMAX picture in the chart, it also had the best screen average. This positive start, combined with its star power and the good word of mouth surrounding it, indicates a very happy Australian season ahead for distributor UIP.Another opener, Roadshow's Freddy vs Jason, which took A$1,317,912 from 188 screens, also came over the top of last weekend's st
  • Australia's Animal Logic gears up for CGI Feet

    Visual effects veteran Hael Kobayashi has relocated from LA to Sydney in the new role of digital artists manager at Australian effects house Animal Logic.Animal Logic is gearing up for production to start next year on director George Miller's Happy Feet, the first CGI animated feature to be produced in Australia. One of Kobayashi's first responsibilities will be to recruit people to work on Happy Feet, which is about a young penguin's adventures in Antarctica. It i
  • BAFTA launches broadside against screener ban

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has issued a strongly worded statement condemning the MPAA's decision to send out screener tapes to AMPAS members only.The statement says the move is potentially "catastrophic" for the BAFTA film awards and its members. It adds that the ruling is "discriminatory", "unwarranted", and "unnecessary".See below for the full statement:Statement from The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA):"BAF
  • Beaune conference ends upbeat, but down on US

    The 13th annual Rencontres Cinematographiques de Beaune in France was a generally upbeat affair, but also one that marked the departure of lobbyist, Pascal Rogard. The Rencontres, which is organised by France's association of writers, directors and producers (ARP) was founded by Rogard (who remains as managing director of ARP until the end of 2003) and serves as a platform for cultural debates facing the French and European industries.Beginning on Friday, two discussions took p
  • Belgian tax shelter takes Quantum leap

    Dutch producer Matthijs van Heijningen is set to be one of the first foreigners to make use of the new Belgian tax shelter regulations with English-language mystery piece, Quantum Movie (working title).The Euros7m production focuses on a historical meeting between physics genius Albert Einstein and other physicists at Brussels' Hotel Metropole in 1927. The action then takes a quantum leap to replay the scene in1940 and again in 1962.The UK's Kenneth Hope (Superstition

    Eight new openers in the marketplace could not prevent local hit The Alzheimer Case from claiming its rightful place at the top of the Belgian box office chart last weekend.The psychological thriller has recorded a massive 131,200 admissions after 12 days on release and grossed $930,164 (Euros 786,919). The Alzheimer Case added two prints this weekend, its second, and saw grosses rise 24% week-on-week putting it ahead of both last week's leader Bad Boys II and a ho
  • Brazil makes history as local films dominate box office

    In a historical first, Brazil's box office saw three local films among the top four last weekend. Topping the charts was TV sitcom spin off The Normals (Os Normais) about a married couple and their misadventures. In the feature film, two couples hold simultaneous weddings and end up switching partners by the end of the day. Local distributor Lumiere co produced the comedy along with media giant Globo which made use of its dominant reach to plug the movie. The film
  • Brown Bunny bites back with Vienna victory

    After attracting widespread disdain from international critics on its world premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny has now picked up the FIPRESCI Prize at this year's Viennale - Vienna International Film Festival in a re-edited version. Festival director Hans Hurch said the FIPRESCI jury's decision had been "completely unexpected" and "a great surprise" for him, but that he regarded it as "a kind of recompense" after the harsh treatment me
  • Cinecitta mulls expansion into East Europe, Africa

    Italy's Cinecitta studio is working on plans to expand its activities into Eastern Europe and North Africa.The Italian studio is exploring partnerships with studios in Eastern Europe with the aim of providing the mother-ship with pan-European productions. The scenario would see films shoot locations in the inexpensive east and then decamp to a soundstage base camp in the Rome facility. Cinecitta is also in talks concerning a joint-operation in North Africa for a large studio fac
  • Cinema People's Academy takes shape in India

    Hindi film producer Smita Thackeray has announced the launch of a new Indian film-industry body called Cinema People's Academy. Modelled on the US Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), it will also be create a new Awards ceremony for Hindi Film industry. The other major objective of the Academy is to take up welfare activities within the Hindi film industry. Thackeray was until recently the President of the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association and her init
  • Copenhagen fest names new programming chief

    The Copenhagen International Film Festival, which had its first run earlier this autumn, has appointed 35-year-old Lone Korslund as its new head of programming. She replaces Michael Soeby, who decided to leave for personal reasons after putting together the first programme. Korslund has worked as a manager at a number of cinemas in Copenhagen, including Scala, Dagmar Teatret and Kinopalaet. She has been a consultant to the festival since its beginning. "Now that we are in
  • Cruelty hits for Universal with $12.6m weekend

    Fired by two major international number one openings Universal's IntolerableCruelty grossed anestimated $12.6m through UIP at the weekend from 2,030 sites in 22 countries.
  • Cruelty leads international pack with $13.1m

    Final weekend figuresreleased by Universal have confirmed Intolerable Cruelty as the weekend's number one international filmon $13.1m from 2,405 sites in 22 countries.Helping the black comedy onits way to an $18.9m international running total was a table-topping bow inAustralia on $1.7m from 228 sites including previews. It took 23% market share.Intolerable Cruelty topped the table in Spain on $1.7m from 232 andopened second in Germany on $2.1m from 358, beating th
  • CTFDI takes Bad Boys II to $100m with $9.1m weekend

    Bad Boys IIis expected to pass $100m in international ticket sales today or tomorrowfollowing a $9.1m weekend haul that raised its total to $99.9m for ColumbiaTriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI).

    As expected Constantin Film's release of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol.1 slaughtered last week's chart-topping children's film Brats, cutting it down 73.1%. Bill's 37 prints scooped 25,635 admissions, where as Brats' 104 prints took just 19,472, which was still enough for a second place in front of the Coen-brothers' Intolerable Cruelty, despite that film's higher screen average. Both American films received generally favourable reviews, an
  • Diggs takes lead role in Armada's Drum

    Taye Diggs, whose creditsinclude Chicago, Basic and BrownSugar, has joined the cast of ArmadaPictures' true-life Apartheid drama Drum, which begins principal photography on Nov 7 inSouth Africa.Set in the 1950s, the storycentres on a magazine writer who risks his life exposing the South Africanregime and sparks a popular protest movement.UTA, attorney Ken Weinriband Abe Hoch of A Management brokered the deal for Diggs and attorney Robert OKaplan represented
  • Disney's Alamo quits the Oscar race, moves to April 2004

    Buena Vista has pulled its historical epic The Alamo out of awards contention this season andswitched the release date from Dec 25 to April 2004 after director John LeeHancock requested more time for completion.
  • Disney's Alamo quits the Oscar race, moves to April 2004

    Buena Vista has pulled its historical epic The Alamo out of awards contention this season andswitched the release date from Dec 25 to April 2004 after director John LeeHancock requested more time for completion.
  • Dreyfuss gets on Kumar's Road To Ladakh

    Actor Richard Dreyfuss production outfit Dreyfuss/James Prods. has pacted with Indian born writer-director Ashvin Kumar to turn his short film Road To Ladakh into a feature film. Judith James of Dreyfuss/James Prods, who discovered the film at the Cannes Film Festival this year, will now co-produce the film with Ashvin Kumar. The film is about a chance meeting between a dilettante American journalist and a threatening, suspicious Indian stranger in the border regions of I
  • Dutch Film Fund names de Vries as film supervisor

    Actor, director and writer Edwin de Vries has been appointed by the Dutch Film Fund as its new film supervisor, playing a major role in advising and developing commercial film projects. He succeeds director Jean van de Velde and producer Burny Bos.De Vries is best known in the Dutch film world for the screenplays he wrote for Left Luggage and The Discovery of Heaven, directed by Jeroen Krabbe. Together with Krabbe and director Ate de Jong, De Vries forme
  • Elf

    Dir: Jon Favreau. US. 2003. 97 mins. Elf is a Christmas comedy that's as sweet-natured and goofily amusing as its title character, a gangly innocent played, in his first solo-starring role, by in demand former Saturday Night Live funny man Will Ferrell. Looking to get a jump on the extended holiday season, New Line launches the film in the US on November 7, a slot taken to lucrative effect last year by The Santa Clause 2. Approaching that sequel's domesti
  • Esposito's Coeur wins German distribution backing

    Arsenal Filmverleih has been awarded the Euros 20,000 MFG/Unifrance Distribution Prize at Tuebingen's French Film Days for Marc Esposito's Le Coeur Des Hommes for release in Germany next March.In addition, a Special Mention went to Lucas Belvaux's film trilogy of Apres La Vie, Cavale and Un Couple Epatant which will be released by Kool Filmverleih in Germany next year. The Distribution Prize was established by the Baden-Wuerttemberg regional film fund Medi
  • Euro film industry savages screener compromise

    Brussels-based lobby group, the European Film Companies Alliance (EFCA) has torn into the Oscars' screening tapes ban, describing it as a "blow to cultural diversity", "evidence of arrogance" and a threat to the Oscars themselves.EFCA, which represents many of the most muscular European film companies, including Svensk Filmindustri, CLT-Ufa, Intermedia, Lusomundo, Nordiskfilm, Pathe, UGC and Zentropa, rubbishes the compromise hatched out between the MPAA and AMPAS under which Academy m
  • European Film Academy unveils documentary contenders

    The European Film Academy has announced the nominations in its Documentary 2003 - Prix Arte category. The winner will be presented at the European Film Awards Ceremony on Saturday, December 6 in Berlin.The documentary jury consists of: Alfredo Knuchel, documentary filmmaker, festival programme advisor & journalist, Switzerland; Ben Lewis, producer/director, UK; and Michael Muschner, filmmaker/musicologist, Germany.The nominated documentaries are:Chia E Ta
  • FIPRESCI to award prize at Geneva's Cinema Tout Ecran

    The international critics federation FIPRESCI will award a prize for the first time this year at Geneva's Cinema Tout Ecran's Festival (November 3-9).The festival's International Competition of 13 films from 12 countries will include world premieres of Pu Sheng's The Pure Land (Jing Tu) and Emmanuel Bourdieu's Cadets De Gascogne (Vert Paradis) as well as Eytan Fox's Yossi & Jagger and Goran Rebic's Donau, Dunaj, Duna, Dunay, Dunarea.Veteran producer-
  • Focus to sell Europe on Zhang's latest martial arts epic

    Focus Features will handleinternational sales in mainland Europe excluding the UK for Zhang Yimou'sin-production martial arts spectacle, House Of Flying Daggers.Sales on Yimou's firstproject since the action epic Herowill begin at MIFED next month. Producer Bill Kong will collaborate with Focusfor the third time following Heroand Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.The story centres on abodyguard and his beautiful charge who encounter betrayal, danger and
  • Football Days (Dias De Futbol)

    Dir: David Serrano. Spain. 2003. 118mins.There should be much interest in Football Days (Dias De Futbol) at the upcoming MIFED market, considering the film's breakneck climb up the Spanish box office chart and the cast and crew repeats from last year's biggest local box office hit and hot international seller, The Other Side Of The Bed (El Otro Lado De La Cama). Football Days became the second highest grossing local film this year in less th
  • German festivals attack NRW spending cuts

    Over a dozen film festivals and workshops in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) have joined forces to attack the NRW regional government for proposed spending cuts which would see its budget for film cultural activities slashed by around 50% by 2005.The protesting festivals include the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Cologne's Feminale, Duisburg Film Week, and film workshops in Duesseldorf and Muenster.The level of grants had already been reduced this year over 2002, bu
  • German film fund changes under fire

    Germany's Federal Finance Ministry (BMF) has come under fire from fund initiators and media lawyers for the recent additions to its Media Ruling requiring all decisions on a private film fund's activities to be taken exclusively by a board elected from the investors (, August 2003).In a discussion organised by the Verband Deutscher Medienfonds (VDM) at the Munich Media Days, producer and fund initiator Eberhard Junkersdorf of Neue Bioskop Film said that the new gu
  • Hamptons festival praises Jesus

    Screen Door Jesus, a film about faith, religion and race that waswritten and directed by a former preacher who was excommunicated from hischurch, walked away with three jury prizes including the Golden Starfish forbest narrative feature at the 11th Hamptons International Film Festival on LongIsland.Memphis-born Kirk Davis, whostudied filmmaking at New York's Columbia University after his brief stint atthe pulpit, took home some $180,000 in goods and in-kind services towards them
  • Huelva names competition contenders

    The 29th annual Iberoamerican Film Festival of Huelva, Spain (Nov 8-15) has unveiled the full line-up of films for this year's first edition under new director Porfirio Enriquez.The festival, which also hosts a growing three-day Co-Production Forum (Nov 9-11), has become a key meeting point for Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American filmmakers. New to this year's Forum are screenings of films made thanks to deals signed at one of the previous three editions of the event.Huelva f

    Though the top of the Icelandic chart remained unchanged with Kill Bill Vol.1 and Intolerable Cruelty dominating, the new release of The Rundown caught up to third with a slightly better screen average on its 3 prints.However, two other new films disappointed, Thierry Schiel's Tristan And Isolde and Kevin Costner's Open Range only managed to make it into seventh and ninth positions, with low screen averages. The successful return of Dagur Kari's No
  • Irish talent throws weight behind Section 481 campaign

    Irish directors and screenwriters have weighed in behind Screen Producers Ireland's (SPI) campaign for the retention of Ireland's Section 481 tax break beyond its December 2004 termination date. Expressing their concern about the expiration of the tax incentive at a Dublin press briefing on Oct 22 were director Neil Jordan, screenwriter and Irish Film Board member Roddy Doyle, writer and director Conor McPherson, director Aisling Walsh, writer and director Barry Devlin, director and wr
  • Israel hosts major Amos Gitai retrospective

    The first full scale retrospective programme of Amos Gitai's work in his own country was launched at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque this week with the national premiere of his latest feature film, Alila. An emotional Gitai thanked the local film industry players who congratulated him on stage. For many years, Gitai has considered himself an outcast in his own homeland because of the difficulty he had raising funds locally for his documentaries and fiction features which were often ve
  • Italian production round-up

    For the latest Italian listings, see International production ListingsA wealth of hotly-anticipated pictures are currently being made in Italy: These include Cuore Sacro, a new picture by Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek, whose last two films, Ignorant Fairies and Facing Windows have become local blockbusters. Produced by his regular partners, Tilde Corsi and screenwriter Gianni Romoli, Ozpetek says his next film will focus on the contrast bet

    New 01 Distribution title Caterina Va In Citta was the highest grossing Italian film of the weekend at the local box office, where it beat stiff competition from Ermanno Olmi's highly anticipated pirate epic Singing Behind The Screens.Paolo Virzi's comedy, about a 13-year-old girl who moves to a big city with her family, opened with a superb $679,864 from 168 screens and a massive screen average of $4,047 Meanwhile, Ermanno Olmi's arthouse movie Singing Behind T
  • ITALY Production Listings - October 27 2003

    ITALIAN LISTINGS October 27PRE-PRODUCTIONALL'OMBRA DEL PADRE(Tea Nova) Exec prod/dir: Rean Mazzone. Scr: Denis Jacobs. Cast: Jean-Pierre Cassel, Philippe Volter, Stefania Sandrelli.Contact: Tea Nova, (39) 06 625 9260AMAMI(Tangram Film) Backer: Fondo di Garanzia (It). Drama about a woman who has recently separated from her husband and realises that she can be happy on her own. Prods: Matteo Levi, Roberto Levi. Dir: Renato De Mari

    The made-for-Japan version of Kill Bil: Vol 1 was packing theatres following its October 25 release, beating out Days Of The Sun and Identity for the number one spot over the weekend. (The chart below covers the previous week)Among the differences with the US version were the use of colour throughout the climatic House of Blue Leaves scene, extra shots in several other scenes and a longer animated sequence. Also, Quentin Tarantino dedicated the Japanese version to
  • Japan acts to boost its international film profile

    Encouraged by recent Hollywood interest in Japanese films such as The Ring and Spirited Away, the Japanese government is looking to further raise the profile of local films abroad.Japan's External Trade Organization (Jetro) plans to assist four Japanese film companies setting up sales booths at next year's AFM, as well as underwriting a central booth for promoting Japanese films. The four companies will receive subsidies, which will substantially reduce the cost of rentin
  • Japanese majors to build major Tokyo cinema complex

    Toho is joining forces with another Japanese major, Toei, to build a cinema complex in Shinjuku - a major Tokyo entertainment district. The move follows Toho's acquisition of Virgin Cinemas Japan for $83m earlier this year.The partners plan to construct the new complex in a commercial tower that Toei is building as part of a six-company consortium.Construction will start in November 2006, making the eight-screen 1,900 seat site the second largest in central Tokyo after To
  • Juarez joins Juarez at Spain's Intuition Media

    The 29th annual Iberoamerican Film Festival of Huelva, Spain (Nov 8-15) has unveiled the full line-up of films for this year's first edition under new director Porfirio Enriquez.The festival, which also hosts a growing three-day Co-Production Forum (Nov 9-11), has become a key meeting point for Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American filmmakers. New to this year's Forum are screenings of films made thanks to deals signed at one of the previous three editions of the event.Huelva f
  • Juarez joins Spain's Intuition as production chief

    Ele Juarez's Madrid and Miami based consultancy Intuition Media has appointed Patrick Juarez as managing director of feature film and documentary production arm Intuition Films.Juarez will oversee the selection and production of projects for the newly opened division, which aims to make one or two films per year possibly in co-production with Latin America or the US Hispanic market.Thanks to a deal unveiled last month, Intuition Films is the exclusive representative seeking pro
  • Lenin! crosses UK box office landmark

    Good Bye, Lenin!, has passed the £1m mark at the UK box office, making it only the seventh European subtitled film in the last ten years to achieve such success, the UK Film Council has revealed. The film's UK release - by UGC Films UK - was supported by the Film Council's Distribution and Exhibition Fund to the tune of £90,000, which was used to underwrite the cost of additional prints and wider advertising.Good Bye, Lenin!, is one of six specialised films to rece
  • Lennox contributes song to The Return Of The King

    The soundtrack to the upcoming The Lord Of The Rings: TheReturn Of The King willbe released through Reprise/WMG Soundtracks on Nov 25, featuring a new score byOscar-winner Howard Shore and a track from Annie Lennox.
  • Lions Gate finally swallows Artisan to create indie giant

    Lions GateEntertainment has agreed to buy Artisan Entertainment for $160m plus assumptionof Artisan debt believed to be up to $85m, bringing to an end an auctionprocess that has lasted five months.The deal - whichis subject to anti-trust regulatory approval and is expected to be completed bythe end of the year - offers Artisan shareholders including majority investorAudax Group and Canada's Bell Globemedia contingent payments based on howwell the merged company performs.Artisan
  • Lions Gate swallows Artisan to create indie giant

    Lions GateEntertainment has agreed to buy Artisan Entertainment for $160m plus assumptionof Artisan debt believed to be up to $85m, bringing to an end an auctionprocess that has lasted five months.The deal - whichis subject to anti-trust regulatory approval and is expected to be completed bythe end of the year - offers Artisan shareholders including majority investorAudax Group and Canada's Bell Globemedia contingent payments based on howwell the merged company performs.Artisan
  • Love Actually

    Dir: Richard Curtis. UK. 2003. 129 minsLike a latter-day Frank Capra, Richard Curtis believes in the innate decency of the ordinary individual. His films salute the power of love and the possibility of harmony in a world riven with division. His vision may not be dark or cutting-edge but it is comforting, witty and irresistibly heart-warming for a vast middlebrow audience who have embraced Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill and his adaptation of Bridge
  • Love Me If You Dare (Jeux D'Enfants)

    France-Belgium. 2003. 93 mins.To rework an old Jean Cocteau pronouncement, just as there was painting before and after Picasso, there is French cinema before and after Amelie - as some local scribes are putting it with some alarm, there is the "Amelie Poulain-ization" of French movies. As evidence of this, here is Love Me If You Dare (Jeux D'Enfants), a romantic comedy-fantasy about two young people who go through life daring one another to commit increas
  • LXG nears $100m for Fox

    Fox International's TheLeague Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG) is poised to cross $100m later this week after a $6.8m weekend haulraised its international running total to $96.3m.The fantasy-adventure openedto modest success in its final five territories, including a $16,000 number onebow on six screens in Bolivia, and enjoyed a good second week holdover in theUK, where it dropped 33% and added $2m for $6.7m, ranking fourth.Elsewhere the distributorope
  • Mason joins Channel 4's commercial arm

    Graeme Mason, former UK-based president of acquisitions at Universal Studios, has been appointed to the newly-created role of head of media projects for 4 Ventures, the commercial arm of UK broadcaster Channel 4.Mason, who has been working as a consultant for Channel 4, is focusing on identifying programming ideas that can be developed into multi-platform entertainment spanning the broadcaster's different services such as terrestrial TV, pay-TV and the web.Reporting to Channel 4
  • Mouth To Mouth rolls with Egoyan as exec producer

    Atom Egoyan is acting as executive producer on Mouth To Mouth, the feature film directorial debut of Alison Murray.A turbulent story about a young girl's search for a place to belong, Mouth To Mouth marks the first co-production between producers M2M Films and Egoli Tossell. Producer Anne Beresford is behind recent dance and opera films, including the film version of Benjamin Britten's opera Owen Wingrave and 4Dance, both for the UK's Channel 4. Egol
  • Mukta's Ghai lines up Oberoi for Kisna love story

    Indian filmmaker Subhash Ghai's next film will be musical love story Kisna with Vivek Oberoi in the title role. Ghai told that Kisna is set in the 1930s and that it will begin shooting in December in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. It is slated for an August 15, 2004 release.Two of the film's five songs and its background score have been composed by A R Rahman (Bombay Dreams), with the rest by Ismail Durbar. The film is
  • Nemo has strong fourth weekend holdover in UK

    Finding Nemo continued to plough throughinternational waters as it grossed $6.8m at the weekend to raise its internationalrunning total to $134m.The result wasdriven chiefly by a strong fourth weekend holdover in the UK that saw Nemo drop 34% and stay top for the thirdconsecutive weekend, adding $6.5m for a $36.4m running total.Kill Bill Vol1 took $6.9m at theweekend to elevate its total to $20.2m and opened number two in Italy on $1.5mfr
  • New theatrical distributor launches in Germany

    Leading German independent producers Egoli Tossell Film and Wueste Film have joined forces with the Berlin-based exhibitor timebandits Medien to launch a new theatrical distributor - timebandits films.The distributor will have its headquarters in Potsdam. Timebandits Medien's co-owner Burkhard Voiges will serve as head of distribution.The initial line-up of films already confirmed for release from early 2004 include Bernd Fischer's documentary From Dachau With Love, which
  • New York's Emerging Pictures teams up for China shoot

    New York-based Emerging Pictures is teaming with China Film and two Hong Kong companies - Media Asia and the Chinachem property group - to co-produce Fei, the second feature from mainland-born director-producer Ann Hu. The film, which started shooting in China last week, features Chinese stars Zhou Xun (Hollywood Hong Kong) and Wang Zhi Wen along with Los Angeles-based actors Vivian Wu and Lisa Lu. The screenplay was written by US writers Beth Schacter and Michael

    New openers had a boost in New Zealand last weekend as Monday (Oct 27) was a public holiday providing an extra day for films to tally figures (the chart covers the normal four-day Thurs-Sun period). After a strong performance on previews the weekend before, Columbia TriStar's S.W.A.T. recorded a mighty gross of $275,219 (NZ$454,111) over the five-day holiday weekend from 52 screens. This was easily enough to push Calendar Girls off the top spot, where it has been for two
  • NonStop takes on sales for Sonet pair

    Film sales agent NonStop Sales has taken on worldwide sales for two Swedish films from Sonet Film - romantic comedy Miffo and children's/family drama Emma And Daniel - The Meeting. Both productions will market premiere at MIFED.Directed and produced by Daniel Lind Lagerlof with production companies Sonet Film and Hagring, Miffo is one of Sweden's most successful films this year with 430 000 admissions since its August 1 premiere.Miffo most rece

    Scary Movie 3 was the talk of the town last weekend following its exuberant $48.1m number one opening, trailing several records and a timely lesson in how to revive a franchise in its wake.The horror spoof scored the biggest ever October opening (overtaking Red Dragon's $36.5m in 2002) and was also the biggest debut for Miramax, its genre label Dimension and director David Zucker.Opening to mixed reviews, Scary Movie 3 averaged an excellent $13,727 from 3,50

    After two weeks at the top of the chart even Mother's Elling had to back down to the attack of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol.1, though it retained its position on the admissions chart (30,652 vs. 29,819) due to its high number of prints. However, Bill's impressive 806 admissions screen average made its gross the most, whereas the Coen-brothers' Intolerable Cruelty landed safely on third in front of the other new releases Calendar Girls on fifth an
  • Odyssey pacts with Polone in two title deal

    US agent-turned-producer Gavin Polone, whose credits include Panic Room, has struck a two title deal with Ralph Kamp and Louise Goodsill's sales agent Odyssey Entertainment.The UK-based seller has taken international rights to upcoming production Old Man Johnson and completed film Seeing Other People, both from Polone's production company, Pariah. "We have always sought to establish on-going relationships with exciting and talented originators of material,"
  • Outrage from HFPA, SAG at MPAA's secret deal with Academy

    The Hollywood Foreign PressAssociation (HFPA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) have strongly condemnedyesterday's (23) exclusive screeners ban U-turn between the MPAA and AMPAS.Under the terms of thebehind-closed-doors deal, a one-year experiment will see VHS tapes go out onlyto those Academy members who sign an agreement pledging to safeguard theirtapes or face expulsion in the event of non-compliance."The Hollywood Foreign PressAssociation views with dismay and concern today'
  • Polish broadcaster beefs up film spend

    Polish public broadcaster TVP has vowed to increase its funding for the beleaguered Polish film industry amid signs that the crisis faced by producers over the last two years is beginning wane. TVP has been one of the major backers of Polish films throughout the 1990's, investing in nearly 90 percent of the feature films produced. But in 2001 Poland's economic downturn forced TVP to cut its funding to just under $25m (Z100m) The funding cuts coincided with major cuts in g
  • Rival festival emerges to challenge Austria's Diagonale

    Austrian filmmakers including Michael Haneke, Ulrich Seidl and Barbara Albert have thrown their weight behind plans to hold a three-day alternative festival event ahead of next year's Diagonale - Festival of Austrian Cinema (March 13-21, 2004) in Graz.The move to launch a new festival is a response to Secretary of State for the Arts Franz Morak's controversial policy on the Diagonale (, September 2003). This envisages the Diagonale being re-positioned with a CineM
  • Romand-Monnier joins France's Cinematheque

    Michel Romand-Monnier has been named deputy managing director of Cinematheque, France's national film archives. The move follows the nomination of Claude Berri to the presidency of Cinematheque earlier this month.Romand-Monnier will take up his duties on November 3.With a long career encompassing communications and the film industry, the 49 year old Romand-Monnier was most recently head of European digital cinema development at Technicolor.A press release from the
  • Ruby & Quentin (Tais-Toi!)

    Dir Francis Veber, France-Italy. 2003 85 min.After a sociological satire that was only fitfully successful (The Closet), comedy maestro Francis Veber is back conducting the score that has become his signature: the male-bonding farce. The adventures of a dim-witted, ne'er-do-well robber and a vengeful, cold-blooded professional on the run both from police and a gang of rival gangsters, Ruby & Quentin harks merrily back to the chase farces of Veber's earlier successes as
  • Ruby & Quentin (Tais-Toi!)

    Dir Francis Veber, France-Italy. 2003 85 min.After a sociological satire that was only fitfully successful (The Closet), comedy maestro Francis Veber is back conducting the score that has become his signature: the male-bonding farce. The adventures of a dim-witted, ne'er-do-well robber and a vengeful, cold-blooded professional on the run both from police and a gang of rival gangsters, Ruby & Quentin harks merrily back to the chase farces of Veber's earlier successes as
  • Scary Movie 3 breaks record for October and Miramax

    Dimension's Scary Movie 3 galvanised the box office over the weekend with a stunning$49.7m number one opening that was easily the biggest October bow of all time,while Paramount/Mandalay Pictures' epic love story Beyond Borders flopped outside the top 10.
  • Sin Ton Ni Sonia

    Dir. Carlos Sama. Mexico, 2003. 112 min.A real script and a tough editor would have done a world of good for this messy little comedy rushing all over Mexico City in its despondent attempts to cover three plots, a host of characters and several film genres at the same time. The general idea being that if none of the separate ingredients can stand up on its own, the best is to throw in some more, hoping that driven fast enough and then tied up together any old way for the final act,
  • Singh's Videovision to handle Maqbool sales

    Anant Singh's South African company Videovision Entertainment has signed a landmark deal with Indian production outfit Kaleidoscope Entertainment to handle international sales for critically acclaimed Indian film Maqbool. Producer Bobby Bedi's Maqbool, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, is set against the backdrop of the Mumbai underworld and stars Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Tabu, Irfan and Khan and is directed by Vishal Bharadwaj. This is the first int
  • Spacey's Beyond The Sea wins German backing

    Kevin Spacey's Bobby Darin biopic Beyond The Sea is among the projects which have received a total Euro 3.3m production support from Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg in its latest round of funding.The $22m drama, which has also received backing from the German Federal Film Board (FFA) and is being co-produced by Jan Fantl's Quality International, will begin principal photography at the Babelsberg Studios and in Potsdam on November 10. Greta Scaachi, Vanessa Redgrave and Brend

    The Coen brothers' Intolerable Cruelty had a strong but far from record-breaking opening in Spain, earning Euros 1.6m off 235 copies through UIP, enough to place it in top spot. Columbia's Hollywood Homicide placed second, with just shy of Euros 1m off 275 prints.Other first-weekend openers included: Clint Eastwood's Mystic River, which ranked fifth with just under Euros 550,000 and the weekend's second-highest per-copy average of Euros 4,558; Angelina Jolie-starre
  • Sports marketeer bankrolls Korean car racing feature

    Sports marketing firm Hyundai Sports International (HSI) has signalled its entry into the Korean film industry with G.T., a feature about racecar driving that will be targeted heavily at the international market.Short for "Grand Touring", G.T. features a high budget by local standards at $4.4m and is described as "a human drama about friendship, love and intrigue among young racecar drivers." HSI will join Nobs Culture as co-producer of the film and will also act
  • Stamp joins cast of Franchise's Fish

    Terence Stamp has joined the cast of Dead Fish, which is currently shooting in London.Directed by Charley Stadler, the black comedy thriller also stars Gary Oldman as a ruthless hitman and Robert Carlyle as a heartless debt collector. Stamp will play the eponymous Fish.Elena Anaya (Sex & Lucia), Andrew Lee Potts (Band Of Brothers), Jimi Mistry (The Guru) and Billy Zane (Titanic) also star. Dead Fish is an Orange Pictures/IMF (Internatio
  • Sweden set to roll out Ingmar Bergman database

    The Swedish Film Institute has received Euros 438,000 from the Bank of Sweden to establish an "Ingmar Bergman Interface" - an international, English-language data base and website for research into the life and art of Ingmar Bergman.Ase Kleveland, managing director of the Swedish Film Institute and chairman of the board of the Bergman Foundation, said: "We are incredibly happy about the support. We have been preparing for this ambitious project for a year. Now the work can begin in ear

    Several French-region launches caught attention in Switzerland last weekend. It was little surprise that these were led by French language action comedy Tais-Toi which, with $148,085 (SFR 193,695) taken from 16 screens over the four-day weekend, was the number one film in the French-speaking region. Tais-Toi is released in the German region on Jan 29, 2004.Also playing well was Gus Van Sant's Cannes Palme D'Or winner Elephant. The acclaimed drama, about a violent i
  • Telecinco turns back on Hollywood output deals

    Spanish broadcaster Telecinco has confirmed a significant shift inits film acquisitions and production policy, turning its back on lengthy Hollywoodcontracts in favour of more selective pacts with both US indies and local suppliers.Opting for cost-cutting multi-title package deals with leading US producersand mini-studios rather than long-term output agreements with the big studiomajors, the network unveiled new product agreements with DreamWorks, NewRegency, New Line Cinema, Hyde Park
  • Top East Euro producers to pitch projects at Cottbus

    Fourteen projects will be pitched to potential production partners during this year's two-day Connecting Cottbus co-development forum between November 4-5.They include new feature films from: Slovenia's Emotionfilm, producer of Damjan Kozole Spare Parts; the Czech Republic's Negativ, producer of Petr Zelenka's Year Of The Dog; and Slovakia's ALEF Film&Media Group, producer of Cruel Joys by Juraj Nvota.Emotionfilm will be pitching Kozole's new project, The
  • Twins Effect stars double up again for Roses

    After developing a taste for action in The Twins Effect, Hong Kong singer-actresses Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi have signed up to star in action comedy Black Roses (working title), to be co-directed by Donnie Yen and upcoming director Barbara Wong Chun-chun.Carl Chang, the former CEO of Emperor Multimedia Group (EMG), is producing the film with backing from prolific producer-distributor, Universe International Holdings. Chang, one of the producers of The Twins Effe
  • UIP rolls out Coen's Cruelty in key territories

    Universal's black comedy Intolerable Cruelty goes out in its second wave of international releases this upcoming weekend with medium-sized bows in four major territories.The Coen Brothers film opens through UIP in Australia on 200 prints on Oct 23, Germany on 350 on Oct 23, Spain on 239 on Oct 24 and the UK on 380 the same day.Intolerable Cruelty opened number one in Italy and Brazil in its first session last weekend and can rely upon its high-profile leads George

    Despite being listed in a recent UK poll of the top 100 books of all time, the film adaptation of Louis Sachar's best selling children's title Holes made little impact on the UK/Ireland box office.Two new family films launched wide at the weekend to take advantage of the national school half-term holiday (and the bank holiday weekend in Ireland) but both Holes, from BVI, and Entertainment's Secondhand Lions were crushed by the continued might of chart leader Fin
  • UK's Screen West Midlands launches regional film fund

    A £3.3 million pot of film and media funding has been launched by UK regional screen agency Screen West Midlands.The agency, which aims to attract more co-productions and features from across the globe to the region, has split the cash into production funding worth £3 million over 3 years and a development fund of £300,000 for this year alone."We want to strike up some deals and make sure that the money we have can be used to attract production as soon as possible," said Krysia
  • Universal taps into Hannover Leasing fund

    Hannover Leasing, financier of two parts of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, is set to board The Bourne Supremacy, Universal Studios' sequel to its box-office success The Bourne Identity.Backing for the film is earmarked to come from Hannover's new media fund, Montranus Beteiligungs GmbH & Co Verwaltungs KG, worth at least Euros 228m. As part of a new approach, the fund will create a holding company called Motion Picture Leonie Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG whic
  • US films dominate French video market

    The French video market is more heavily dominated by US films than France's theatrical market. A new study published by the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC) shows that Hollywood films accounted for 74% of gross receipts between 1996-2001 in the video sector, compared with a 57% market share of theatrical BO.The study, by Benoit Danard, head of the CNC's statistical division, was one of two pieces of research presented at last weekend's Rencontres Cinematographiques de
  • US post outfit Soundelux launches London office

    U.S. sound post-production company Soundelux has opened a London office, offering sound supervision and sound editorial services to international feature producers completing their films in the U.K.Supervising sound editor Eddy Joseph will head the new facility. Joseph's credits include Cold Mountain, Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone and Enemy At The Gates.'Soundelux is fully committed to servicing the needs of its clients, and as we see an increasing tren
  • USA comes under scrutiny at Amsterdam

    25 documentaries on the state of the USA - tackling topics such as the aftermath of September 11, the impact of US led globalisation and militant American organisations - will form the backbone of a USA Today programme at this year's International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam.The documentaries include: New Americans (USA 2003), directed by last year's IDFA winner Steve James and others, about people from different parts of the world migrating to the US; Brothers And Othe
  • UTA's Cohen, d'Arbeloff team to launch new US indie distributor

    Howard Cohen is leaving UTA and will team up with Lovely & Amazing producer Eric d'Arbeloff to launchRoadside Attractions, a new US independent distribution company that willinitially focus on acquisitions.
  • Vollmar's My Parents wins Hof prize

    Baden-Wuerttemberg Film Academy student Neele Leana Vollmar was awarded this year's Kodak Eastman Support Award for her short My Parents (Meine Eltern) at this year's Hof International Film Festival (October 22-26).Vollmar joins an illustrious list of previous Kodak Eastman prize-winners such as Oscar winner Caroline Link (Nowhere In Africa), Tom Tykwer (Heaven), Soenke Wortmann (The Miracle Of Bern), Hans-Christian Schmid (Distant Lights) and Detlev
  • WBITD restructures Euro sales operation

    Warner Bros. International Television Distribution (WBITD) has restructured some of its European sales operations.Mickie Steinmann, who currently serves as sales director for Scandinavia, Benelux, Finland, Greece and Cyprus, is being promoted to vice president, sales, and will continue to handle Scandinavia, Benelux and Finland while adding Israel and pan regional Middle Eastern satellite services to his role.Nicky Wood is also joining WBITD from BSkyB, where she has served for
  • Weinstein, Bachchan in Mumbai meeting

    Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein made a short private visit to Mumbai to meet Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan last week. The details of meeting are not immediately known, although it comes in the same month that Bachchan relaunched his production company AB Corp on 11th October 2003.Weinstein also visited the shoot of Gurinder Chadha's Bride And Prejudice, for which Miramax has US distribution rights. Weinstein was also present at the India party at this year's Cannes f
  • Wellspring acquires worldwide rights to Stoked

    US-based distributorWellspring has acquired all worldwide rights excluding the US, Canada and theCaribbean Basin to Helen Stickler's acclaimed documentary Stoked: The RiseAnd Fall Of Gator.The film charts thetumultuous career of 1980s skateboarding legend Mark 'Gator'Rogowski, whose rise from local hero to international superstar ended ininfamy.The deal was negotiated by Sticklerand Irwin M Rappaport.'Stoked is exactly thekind of film we look fo
  • Working Title readies New Zealand Number

    Writer/director Toa Fraser's Number 2 looks like being the first New Zealand film to secure the involvement of Working Title Australia (WTA) - and the third feature since Tim White opened the company's Sydney office in November 2000.While the board of the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) has offered its support on a conditional basis, financing is still being finalised by the producers, Lydia Livingston, who is based in Sydney and works as an agent, White and his colleague Lis
  • Zenpix sells four to Screen Media Ventures for domestic DVD and syndicated TV

    Santa Monica-based producer and distributor Zenpix has solddomestic DVD/video and syndicated television rights to four theatrical titlesto New York-based international acquisition and distribution house Screen MediaVentures (SMV).