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29 July 2001

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  • 105 German graduate films up for First Steps award

    Berlinale 2001 competition entry My Sweet Home by Filippos Tsitos, Hans Weingartner's Max Ophuels Prize-winner White Noise (Das Weisse Rauschen) Benjamin Quabeck's HypoVereinsbank Prize-winner No Regrets (Nichts Bereuen), and Marco Kreuzpaintner's medium-length film Der Atemkuenstler are among 105 titles submitted for this year's First Steps Award open to recently completed graduation films from German film schools.As with last year, a total $56,273 (DM 125,
  • Alliance Atlantis to raise $106m

    Alliance Atlantis Communications (AAC) is raising money to forward its TV ambitions, announcing plans for a public offering of 8million Class B non-voting shares. Based on the July 19 closing price of $13.30 on the US NASDAQ exchange, a fully-subscribed offering would realise $106m. In a statement AAC said the proceeds will ultimately help the company finance the seven digital speciality channels it's set to launch this autumn. The money will be used to repay indebtedness under its cre
  • Ang Lee to be consultant for Columbia's Asia unit

    Ang Lee has struck a deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) to act as a consultant for its Hong Kong-based production unit Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia (CPFPA) - the company which backed his 2000 Chinese-language smash Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.In his consultant capacity, Lee will work closely with CPFPA to discover new talent and further the ongoing development of Chinese-language projects."Working with Ang on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon w
  • Apes rules US box office; Fox epic opens on $69.6m

    20th Century Fox breathed a sigh of relief as its great summer hope Planet Of The Apes opened to out-of-this-world box office results, taking an estimated $69.56m over the Friday to Sunday weekend which is the second highest opening, the highest non-sequel opening and the highest non-holiday weekend opening of all time. On Friday alone, the film took $25.1m, a record for a Friday, although second to the Wednesday opening day total of Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace in
  • Australian exhibitors appoint industry negotiator

    The Cinema Owners Association of Australia (COAA) has appointed exhibitor Andrew Halkett as a negotiator, a role that positions him between members and film distributors when disagreements occur over film policy or terms.The appointment is one of a number of outcomes and changes that have flowed from meetings this month involving COAA, the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA) and the industry-wide committee which administers the industry's code of conduct, which
  • Beyond adds Ron Saunders to production stable

    Beyond International has added Ron Saunders to its stable of joint venture production companies.Pacific & Beyond will focus on emerging international opportunities in quality children's television, features and documentary. Saunders is best known for his children's programming and animation. He has been both an independent producer and held senior positions at Yoram Gross-EM TV, Southern Star, Film Australia and the ABC. In the feature film arena he executive produced Napoleon,
  • Big budget films boost Italian industry confidence

    With a total of 12 Italian films showing in various sections of this year's Venice film festival, and a raft of big budget films in the pipeline from the likes of Roberto Benigni and Franco Zeffirelli, the Italian film industry is feeling more positive than usual.After last year's bleak patch, there is a renewed buzz about the Italian film industry. Nanni Moretti's Palme d'Or did much to restore a sense of pride to the local film community. But most of all, it is the surprise blockbust
  • Billy Liar gets remake treatment from Landscape

    Landscape Entertainment, the production company founded by former DreamWorks executive Bob Cooper and backed by Canadian conglomerate Bell Globe Media, is to remake the 1963 classic Billy Liar - the British kitchen sink drama which sealed the careers of director John Schlesinger and stars Tom Courtenay and Julie Christie.Paul A Kaufman, whose Kaufman Company banner is based at Landscape, brought the project in to Landscape and he will produce with Cooper. Marc Rosen, senior vic
  • Bishop adds VOD, PPV roles at MGM Home Ent

    David Bishop, the president and chief operating officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Home Entertainment Group, has been given added responsibility for the company's video-on-demand and pay-per-view initiatives as well as other emerging technologies.Bishop currently oversees all aspects of MGM Home Entertainment Group's worldwide video and DVD operations, its consumer products and interactive businesses and its internet unit"David has played a key role in charting MGM'
  • Brazilero to open Athens film festival

    One of the most eagerly awaited Greek films of the year, Brazilero will open Athens' 7th edition as a world premiere. The quirky comedy with socio-political undertones is directed by Sotiris Goritsas, whose most recent film Balkanizateur was a critical and a box office success for local distributor Rosebud. Patrice Chereau's Intimacy, Guillermo Del Toro's The Devil's Backbone, Andrew Dominik's Chopper and Tom Tykwer's The Princess And The Warrior
  • BSkyB reports losses but predicts profits

    UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB recorded spiralling losses on July 25, but indicated that it had now born the brunt of costs of moving to digital.Pre-tax losses before were nearly double those of the previous year at $733.6m (£514m) after goodwill, interest, share of joint ventures' losses and exceptional items. But the broadcaster has now switched the majority of its subscribers to digital. The digital service boasts 5.3 million subscribers out of BSkyB's total of 5.45 million.
  • C4 chief Jackson joins Diller after long courtship

    Barry Diller spent a whole year trying to persuade Michael Jackson to quit Channel 4 before finally succeeding yesterday in luring the British TV boss across the Atlantic to run his cable channels, TV production arm and USA Films from both New York and Los Angeles. After entering serious talks about six weeks ago, the 43-year-old Jackson finally relented and agreed to become the president and chief executive officer of USA Entertainment Group at an unspecified date. His newly-created p
  • Capitol takes over Cobalt's Spider

    Capitol Films has taken over the financing of David Cronenberg's Spider after Cobalt Media Group dropped out on the eve of the shoot.A spokesperson confirmed Cobalt was "no longer involved" in the psychological thriller, which is expected to start shooting within two weeks, a delay of a few weeks.While the spokesperson declined to comment on the reasons behind the move, the company is understood to have struggled to pre-sell the project in some markets.Cobalt's exi
  • Charlotte Arnold leaves Intermedia for Summit

    Charlotte Arnold has left Intermedia to join Summit Entertainment as vice president of international sales. She will be based in Summit's London office and report to David Garrett, executive vice president and head of Summit London, and Patrick Wachsberger, LA-based president and CEO.While at Intermedia, Arnold oversaw the theatrical sales activities for several European territories, the Middle East, South East Asia and Latin America. She will cover roughly the same territories at Sum
  • Corelli to open Dutch Film By The Sea

    Working Title's Captain Corelli's Mandolin is set to open the third Film By The Sea international film festival in The Netherlands. The World War II romantic drama, set on the island of Cephalonia and starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz, has yet to open theatrically in any territories other than France and the UK, where it has grossed a total of $13.1m (£9.1m) after 12 weeks on release.The festival takes place from 10-16 September in the Dutch town of Vlissingen and t
  • Dark Blue World

    Dir: Jan Sverak Czech Republic-UK 115mins.With the WWII aerial drama Dark Blue World, Czech director Jan Sverak has proven his ability to manage both comedy and tragedy on a much larger scale, without losing any of the warmth and emotional depth of his Oscar-winning Kolya. Much of the credit must go to his father Zdenek, who wrote the scripts for both films. Bigger budget action features like Pearl Harbor, which seems one-dimensional by comparison, coul
  • David Miercort heads business affairs at Myriad

    LA-based entertainment lawyer David Miercort has been named senior vice president of business affairs for Myriad Pictures. He will head the business affairs department in Myriad's LA office and will be responsible for all in-house business, operational and legal matters covering all aspects of theatrical films.He will report directly to Myriad president Kirk D'Amico; he will also negotiate all development and production deals, distribution agreements and financing agreements relating
  • Deauville announces additional titles

    Joel Coen's The Man Who Wasn't There, toplining Billy Bob Thornton and Frances McDormand and Woody Allen's The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion, featuring Dan Aykroyd, Helen Hunt and Charlize Theron are among a raft of titles which have been added to Deauville's 2001 line-up.Both the Coen brothers (whose debut film, Blood Simple, was screened in Deauville in 1984) and Allen (Small Time Crooks had a 'surprise' screening in Deauville last year) are regulars and Alle
  • Dinosaurs tear into UK, as Bollywood hit sings on

    Still in the UK top fifteen after five weeks on release, Bollywood crossover Lagaan passed the £500,000 ($710,000) mark at the box office over the weekend, making it the sixth highest-grossing Bollywood production in the UK. 1998's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, distributed by Yash Raj Films, remains the best performing Bollywood film in the territory, with a total gross of £1.75m ($2.5m).Predictably, UIP's Jurassic Park III claimed top spot at the UK box office with a formid
  • Eisner still 'content obsessed' despite $5.3bn buy

    Walt Disney chief MichaelEisner insists his entertainment empire continues to be 'contentobsessive', as opposed to newly fixated on distribution, despite yesterday's$5.3bn deal to acquire a collection of children's programming channelsfrom Rupert Murdoch and Haim Saban.The purchase of Fox FamilyWorldwide gives Disney access to more than 115 million new viewers across theUS, Europe and Latin America via cable networks known as Fox Family Channel andFox Kids. Eisner now plans to f
  • France favours Evolution over Kids

    French cinema-goers have once again demonstrated their cultural distance from their American counterparts by embracing Columbia TriStar's Evolution, according it a certain 'je ne sais quoi' that its domestic audience failed to appreciate In its first week on release Ivan Reitman's alien/romantic comedy attracted a substantial 400,000 admissions, placing it second in the French national box office chart, while stateside the film's entire run amassed a comparatively meagre
  • France re-instates 18 certificate

    A year after the furore about censorship and freedom of expression provoked by Baise-Moi, French culture minister Catherine Tasca has reinstated the 18 certificate in France. The controversial rape film is now also looking set for a UK release.According to the new French regulations a film will obtain the new 18 certificate, instead of an X, if it wins the approval of three-thirds of the Classification Commission. (Baise-Moi's PG-16 rating was won by only one vote).
  • Fremaux opens Cannes door to German films

    After nearly a decade of being excluded from the Cannes Film Festival's official competition, the German film industry has been given a glimmer of hope by the festival's new artistic director Thierry Fremaux.Following a visit to Munich, where he met industry figures including FFF Bayern's Klaus Schaefer, Berlin Film Festival director Dieter Kosslick, producers Eberhard Junkersdorf, Thomas Woebke and Maria Koepf, and Bavaria Film chief Thilo Kleine, Fremaux announced concrete steps to
  • Germany creates two new digital film awards

    Digital filmmakers can compete for two new German awards that are being launched at the BerlinBeta Film Festival (August 29 - September 5) and Filmfest Hamburg (September 24-30) this year.Sponsored by leading postproduction group Das Werk, the BerlinBeta Digital Fiction Award will give the winning film postproduction services with a value of $14,357 (DM 32,000)Meanwhile, Filmfest Hamburg will inaugurate a $44,866 (DM 100,000) "Digital Technology in Film" award, split between two
  • Germany maintains investment in exhibition sector

    The German exhibition sector has been maintaining a high level of investment in the national cinema infrastructure, despite widespread caution that cinema construction is outstripping the growth in admissions across many European territories.During last year, Germany's exhibitors invested more than $355m (DM 800m) in building 448 new cinema screens. (compared to 478 in 1999), with less than half (206) of these located in multiplexes.Berlin-based German Federal Film Board (FFA) c
  • Ghost World

    Dir: Terry Zwigoff. US.2001. 111 min.Documentarian Terry Zwigoff,who directed the superlative Crumb,a highlight of American documentary cinema of the past decade, makes a roughtransition into feature filmmaking with Ghost World, yet another tale of how the mediocrity of Americansuburbanism can almost suffocate the individuality of its few, truly creativedenizens. Based on the popular and acclaimed underground comic book by DanielClowes, who co-wrote the script with
  • Giffoni fetes Jimmy Grimble

    A jury of international school children presided by Billy Elliott star Jamie Bell has awarded the Giffoni Film Festival's top prize to UK director John Hay's football hopeful movie, There's Only One Jimmy Grimble.The youth-oriented festival, which ran July 14th to July 21st in the small southern town of Giffoni Valle Piana near the Amalfi coast, also awarded prizes to two US directors: Sean McNamara, for Race To Space, a drama about the 1960s space rivalry between
  • Indian TV production company moves into film

    Balaji Telefilms, whose television serials rank among India's top shows has announced plans to begin making low-budget films. The Mumbai based production company, founded by Hindi film star Jeetendra Kapoor and his daughter Ekta, is looking to make content-driven movies, with a budget of around $100,000, to be targeted at the weekend broadcast market.Balaji produces 20 serials in Hindi and other regional languages, with a total of 67 programme episodes a week. Star Plus, the fla
  • Indo-US joint venture plans animation series

    Film Club USA and AAFD (Anglo American Film Distributors) have joined with Padmalaya Telefilms Ltd to produce and market a 200 part animation series based on the popular Indian folk stories, The Jataka Tales. The Indo US joint venture will bring together Padmalaya's state-of-the-art animation studio in Hyderabad, and the expertise of AAFD and Film Club USA, in packaging and selling of entertainment products in developed and emerging markets. Film Club has produced Bach
  • Jerusalem votes for Late Marriage

    Seriously concerned that political tensions might hurt this year's event, Jerusalem festival chief Lia van Leer was relieved to some 7,000 people roar with delight at the opening night, open-air screening of Shrek. Dover Kosashvili's Late Marriage was the main prize winner, taking prizes for Best Israeli Feature Film and Best Israeli Script. The debut feature, screened earlier this year in Cannes' Certain Regard section, looks likely to become Israel's festival flag-bearer for t
  • Kidman puts pen to paper on Dogville contract

    Zentropa now claims Nicole Kidman has signed on the dotted line to star in Lars von Trier's Dogville after all - an agreement clearly hastened by noises from the film's producers earlier this week that a new lead was being sought because of the Australian actress' apparent hesitancy to commit.Zentropa Entertainment's ever colourful frontman Peter Aalbaek Jensen, whose company is producing the film, admits to being an "hysteric" when he issued a statement on Monday that all conce
  • Kirk Wong signs to direct Artisan's Iron Fist

    Hong Kong action director Kirk Wong has committed to develop and direct Iron Fist, the film of Marvel Enterprises' comic book which is the first to be generated by a joint venture between Artisan Entertainment and Marvel formed to create character-based programming across all media.Ray Park will star in the title role of Iron Fist which has been scripted by John Turman. Principal photography on the film is expected to begin in late 2001 or early 2002. Artisan will handle distri
  • Local comedy is Korea's biggest summer hit

    Local Korean comedy Kick The Moon has passed Pearl Harbor's $12.1m and The Mummy Returns' $11.5m to become this summer's biggest box-office hit, and the second-highest grossing film of the year after the smash hit Friend. As of July 22 the film had attracted over 3.1 million admissions nationwide to record a gross of $16.7m in its fifth week of release. The current tally makes it Korea's most successful comedy ever and the 4th highest-grossing Korean feature of a
  • Local pick-up leads UIP Denmark in new direction

    The Danish branch of UIP has revealed that it is embarking on a search for local films to distribute.Following the Norwegian branch of UIP's surprise success with the release of Elling, which attracted a phenomenal 700,000 admissions, UIP Denmark has picked up the local feature-length documentary, Family.'We believe that this film has the potential of attracting a wide audience, if it gets a chance,' says Michael Berg, head of the Danish arm of UIP. 'We are going t
  • Miyazaki smashes own box office record in Japan

    Toho's summer release of Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away) has smashed the four-day opening record set by the Japanese all-time box office champion, 1997's Princess Mononoke. Spirited Away, an animated feature by Hayao Miyazaki, who also directed Mononoke, grossed $15.8m (Y1.95bn) over the weekend and Monday, some 83% more than Mononoke's debut.Toho, which released both Spirited Away and Mononoke, says that the new fil
  • No Borders Co-Prod Market unveils 2001 lineup

    The Independent Feature Project (IFP) has announced the projects which will make up this year's No Borders Co-Production Market taking place between Sept 30 and Oct 4. In addition, No Borders has struck up an arrangement with UK public funding body The Film Council which will act as a presenting partner through its New Cinema Fund, bringing affiliated UK producers to New York for the event.The event, which takes place during the IFP Market in New York City but has its own independent
  • Oldenburg festival launches $99 Specials

    The Oldenburg Film Festival (September 5-9) has launched a new short film programme in co-operation with the Slamdance Film Festival and based on its "$ 99 Specials" initiative which was a new feature last January. Twelve of the hottest young German filmmakers will each be provided with a budget of Euros 99 to make a short that will premiere at this year's Oldenburg festival and then screen at Slamdance in January 2002. Artistic co-ordination for the German initiative is being h
  • Palm Springs Short Fest adds $15,000 prize

    The 2001 Palm Springs International Festival Of Short Films, which takes place Aug 7-13, has created a $15,000 prize for future filmmakers. All filmmakers whose films are entered in competition are eligible for the prize, dubbed the Palm Springs International Future Filmmaker Award.The festival has also announced that it will double the prize money offered in each of its nine first place award categories, increasing the total award monies presented at this year's festival to $43,000.
  • Planet Of The Apes

    Dir: Tim Burton. US.2001. 120 min.Tim Burton's singularcinematic vision is very much missing from Planet Of The Apes, his eagerly-awaited remake of the 1968 cultclassic. Part sci-fi, part action-adventure, part ape/human romantic melodrama,but not particularly satisfying on any of these levels, it's a truly mediocrepicture that suffers in several departments: a pallid performance by MarkWahlberg, who again proves he's neither a charismatic star nor a commandingactor; c
  • Rachel Wood gets development job at Catch 23 UK

    Rachel Wood, formerly head of development at Nik Powell's Scala Productions, has joined Catch 23 (C23) Entertainment's newly launched UK film production and finance venture to head its development activities.She will spearhead C23's efforts to develop projects featuring British acting, writing and directing talent and liaise with International Creative Management (ICM) UK and its heads Duncan Heath and Lyndsey Posner who are serving as advisors to the C23 venture. Wood previously work
  • Reelplay buys FilmBazaar as B2B websites dwindle

    Reelpay has completed its acquisition of FilmBazaar, further consolidating the business-to-business e-marketplace for the film and television distribution industries.Under the terms of the merger agreement, Reelplay acquired FilmBazaar in a stock-for-stock deal. Headed by co-presidents Stephen Liu and Dennis Young, Reelplay is also suggesting that it will look for further acquisition of declining B2B web businesses, of which there are several including ShowBizData and InternetStudios.
  • Roadshow plots to become Bollywood powerhouse

    Working with its Delhi-based exhibition partner, Australia's Village Roadshow is set not only tobecome India's first nationwide multiplex chain but is now looking to expand into local film production and distribution as well. The venture says it is already discussing deals with both Miramax Films and Intermedia to supply films for distribution across the massive sub-continent.Priya Village Roadshow (PVR), a 60:40 joint venture between Ajjay Bijli's Priya Exhibitors and Roadshow reveale
  • Robert Luketic

    The Robert Luketic story is already well-known around Hollywood. It is now set to be repeated many times by the talented young Australian director as he conducts worldwide publicity for his debut feature Legally Blonde, which opened at the top of the US box office, winning a popular vote of $20.4m despite surprisingly lacklustre reviews.In short, it goes like this. Having completed his first film, a 10-minute short musical called Titsiana Booberini at the Victoria Colleg
  • Soderbergh, Miramax reteam on Hotel Room Fire

    Miramax Films is reteaming with Steven Soderbergh for the first time since 1991's Kafka on the director's next film How To Survive A Hotel Room Fire - a sequel of sorts to Soderbergh's film debut sex, lies, and videotape which was also a breakthrough film for Miramax in 1989.Miramax has worldwide rights to the film which was written by Coleman Hough and will be produced by Scott Kramer (The Limey). No cast has yet been set for the film which Soderbergh desc
  • Sogecable reveals profit rise of 262%

    Spanish media group Sogecable has posted net consolidated profits of Euros7.5m (pts1.251m) for the first half of 2001, up 262% from Euros2.1m (pts345m) during the same period last year.The company posted an extraordinary gain of Euros40.5m (pts6.7m) largely derived from the July 2 sale of 45% of rights division Sogepaq to France's StudioCanal.Sogecable also released new subscription figures for its pay-TV platform Canal Satelite Digital (CSD) and channel Canal Plus. The latter a
  • Sony Classics grabs Sverak's Dark Blue World

    Sony Pictures Classics has picked up Jan Sverak's Czech language WWII aerial drama Dark Blue World for theatrical release in North America, Australia and the UK. The deal brings the total number of territories to which the film has been sold all rights to 23, including Japan, Italy (Medusa) and Germany (Buena Vista). According to the film's producer Eric Abraham, of the UK's Portobello Pictures sales are on target to surpass the 40-territory release achieved by Sverak's Oscar-wi
  • South India's 'Marlon Brando' dies

    Legendary Tamil film star Villupuram Chinnaiah Pillai "Sivaji" Ganesan, dubbed the Marlon Brando of south Indian cinema, died on 21 July aged 74, after a brief illness.Winner of many awards, including National honors: the Padma Shri, the Dadha Saheb Phalke award (the country's highest honour in the entertainment industry) and the French Chevalier honour, "Sivaji" Ganesan made his succcessful debut in the film Parasakthi. released in 1952. Since then, in a career spanning
  • Spain's Cinebox joins Brazilian multiplex wave

    After decades of steadily declining audiences, Brazil is suddenly witnessing something of a cinema renaissance, with new players entering the market and existing exhibitors expanding their circuits.The new money is being invested by major Spanish exhibitor Cinebox, which has revealed plans to open more than 100 screens in the territory over the next four years.Founded in 1997, and with a circuit of 73 screens in its home country, Cinebox last year established a powerful Spanish
  • Spirited Away

    Dir: HayaoMiyazaki. Japan. 2001. 125 mins. Though aimed,says director Hayao Miyazaki, "at ten-year-old girls," his new film Spirited Away (Sen toChihiro no Kamikakushi)is a masterwork, the latest and best in a long line from Japan's premieranimator. Expected to earn Y20bn ($162m) and break the Japanese box officerecord for a domestic film set by Miyazaki's 1997 eco-fable Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away could alsochallenge Titanic's all-time
  • Sundance names six composers for Composers Lab

    The Sundance Institute has announced the six composers who have been selected for the Sundance Composers Lab which will be held in Utah from July 24 to Aug 6.The Sundance Composers Lab, which first took place annually from 1986 to 1989 and then reintroduced in 1998, aims to provide a group of composers with first-hand experience composing for film and enhancing the musical understanding of independent film-makers participating in the Institute's Feature Film Programme.The 2001
  • Three Spanish films to vie for San Sebastian award

    Spain's premiere film event, the San Sebastian International Film Festival has unveiled the first titles in its official competition line-up for the 49th edition which runs from Sept 20-29.Three Spanish films will compete for the festival's top prize, the Golden Shell (Concha de Oro) award. They include: Vicente Aranda's Juana La Loca, (pictured) a period tale based on the destructive relationship between 16th century Spanish royals Juana de Castilla and Felipe el Hermoso; 1986
  • Toho profits from digital version of Spirited Away

    Japanese exhibition giant, Toho, held its first digital screening of Hayao Miyazaki's blockbuster, Spirited Away on July 20 at the Umeda Sukara-za Cinema in Osaka. The company used an IMAX DIGIMAX projector for the event, which delivered a three-day opening gross of $228,629 (Y28m), the highest take of all 336 screens showing the animated feature.Toho is also set to start digital film screenings at its Umeda Kitano Theatre in September, beginning with Final Fantasy and fo
  • Traumwerk and Promark unite for TV series

    Das Werk's production subsidiaries Traumwerk Filmproduktion and Promark Entertainment are banding together under the label Promark International to develop English-language TV 'events' and mini-series productions for the international market. The joint venture will be co-ordinated from Los Angeles by Promark's Jon Kramer and from Traumwerk's new Berlin office by former RTL Television executive Nikolaus Kraemer. "Like Hallmark we want to produce programming with a mass-appeal where the
  • Tuchman joins, Haimowitz leaves MGM Networks

    Bruce Tuchman has been named executive vice president of MGM Networks Inc, with a remit to establish cable, satellite and other channels to distribute MGM's 4,100-title film library and manage the company's existing channel interests worldwide.Tuchman takes the role previously held by Jules Haimowitz, president of MGM Networks, who will now serve as special consultant to MGM. Tuchman reports to Jim Griffiths, president of MGM Worldwide Television Distribution.Tuchman comes to
  • Turpin's Crabe to open Toronto's Canada programme

    Andre Turpin's Un Crabe Dans La Tete has been selected as the Opening Night film for the Toronto International Film Festival's Perspective Canada programme. Written and directed by the Quebecois filmmaker, the comedy features David La Haye, Isabelle Blais, Emmanuel Bilodeau and Chantal Giroux and is produced by Luc Dery and Joseph Hillel for Montreal-based Qu4tre par Quatre.Other world premieres from Canadian filmmakers include Sturla Gunnarsson's Rare Birds, starring Wil
  • UK's Pathe goes for Dinner Rush

    The UK's Pathe Distribution has acquired Dinner Rush from Entertainment Capital Group (ECG).The story about the dramas of New York's hippest Italian eatery has a cast including Danny Aiello, Vivian Wu, Sandra Bernhard and Summer Phoenix. Access Motion Picture Group, a subsidiary of ECG, will release the film in the US.The film is directed by newcomer Bob Giraldi, a New York restaurateur who also owns London's Vong.Berenice Fugard, head of acquisitions at Pathe, sai
  • Venice 2001: Film Festival Line-up

    Following this year's radical restructure of one of the world's oldest international film events, Venice film festival chief Alberto Barbera has unveiled the line-up of the two official competition sections for the event's 58th edition. Now including the Cinema Of The Present competition - which showcases some 30 contemporary, debut and fringe films - as well alongside the more established Venice competition which runs in parallel, the festival boasts a number of widely-anticipated new
  • Venice selection expansion hailed as double treat

    The programming innovations revealed for the 58th Venice Film Festival - which this year heralds the advent of an additional competition line-up known as The Cinema Of The Present - have been greeted with generally favourable industry reactions.Many have praised the inclusion of more innovative and 'fringe' titles into the competitive section, the kind of films that in previous years tended to become marginalised by both the press and the industry. Others have expressed optimism about
  • Vivendi Universal reports robust first half

    Vivendi Universal differentiated itself from rival media conglomerate AOL Time Warner when it today announced first half results that were better than expectations.Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were up 53% to $1.19bn (Euros1.37bn) on sales up 14% at of Euros6.59bn. Its shares bounced Euros2.5 to Euros66.15. Last week they had slid to an all time low of Euros53.75 in the wake of AOL Time Warner's disappointing figures.Growth came across the
  • Winona Ryder takes lead role in UK rom com

    Hollywood star Winona Ryder has taken the lead role in British romantic comedy Lily And The Secret Planting which goes into production in London next month. The film is the long-awaited second feature of Hettie Macdonald, who made her debut with Beautiful Thing in 1996.Lily is a $5m co-production between the UK's Sarah Radclyffe Productions and Strawberry Vale Film and TV Productions and New York-based production company Hart Sharp Entertainment. Hart Sharp princi