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29 July 2003

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  • 15 year old's Madness leads Venice Critic's Week

    The 18th International Critics Week line-up at the Venice Film Festival (Aug 27-Sep 6) will feature eight films this year, including Joy Of Madness by 15-year-old Hana Makhmalbaf (pictured), daughter of Iranian director Moshen Makhmalbaf and younger sister of Samira.A documentary, Joy Of Madness was filmed in Afghanistan and tells the story behind the shoot of Samira Makhmalabaf's At Five In The Afternoon - which played in competition at Cannes ear
  • All Tomorrow's Parties

    Dir: Yu Lik Wai. China-France. 96minsShot digitally for the sake of flexibility and screened the same way in Un Certain Regard at Cannes - though a film version is in the making, to judge by the credits - Yu Lik Wai's second feature attempts to explore the near future by drawing references from the recent past. Its bleak vision of post-Apocalyptic Asia suggests that, whether we have learned our history lessons or not, we are bound to live through them again. It is not a diff
  • Arkles buys Nemesis Game for NZ

    New Zealand distributor Arkles Entertainment has acquired local rights to the UK/NZ/Canadian co-production Nemesis Game and plans to release it in October. The film has been on release for some time in the US.Nemesis Game is about a university student whose life comes under threat due to a fascination with both riddles and an underworld game. It stars Adrian Paul, Ian McShane, Carly Pope, Rena Owen and Brendan Fehr. It was developed with the assistance of the New
  • At least 12 international buyers target Locarno for the first time

    US distributors Zeitgeist and Kino International, Sweden's Nonstop Entertainment, Brazil's Imovision, Spain's Lolafilms and Poland's Best Film are among a raft of international buyers attending the Locarno International Film Festival for the first time this year.Nadia Dresti of the festival's Industry Office told Screen Daily that acquisition executives from Japan's Crest International, the Czech Republic's Artcam, Russia's Pan Terra, Finland's Finnkino Oy, Israel's United King
  • Australia/UK co-productions benefit from FFC cash

    Two 'commercial' Australia/UK co-productions are among four feature films to receive backing from Australia's Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC) in its latest round of funding.Irresistible, a thriller about a woman who believes she is being stalked by her husband's beautiful co-worker, is written and directed by Ann Turner and executive producer Sue Maslin (Japanese Story). The producers are Tatiana Kennedy, Tom Burstall, Franziska Wagenfeld and Michael Cowan.
  • Bayside Shakedown 2 smashes Japanese records

    Bayside Shakedown 2, the sequel to a 1998 hit cop thriller, recorded the best-ever opening for a Japanese film, following its July 19 release on 400 screens. In its first three days the film grossed $15.7m(Y1.8bn) on 1,260,934 admissions. The previous record holder, Hayao Miyazaki's animated smash Spirited Away, earned $14.1m on 1,231,348 admissions in its first three days on release in July 2001. It opened, however, on only 320 screens. Distributor Toho expects
  • Bayside Shakedown 2 smashes Japanese records

    Bayside Shakedown 2, the sequel to a 1998 hit cop thriller, recorded the best-ever opening for a Japanese film, following its July 19 release on 400 screens. In its first three days the film grossed $15.7m(Y1.8bn) on 1,260,934 admissions. The previous record holder, Hayao Miyazaki's animated smash Spirited Away, earned $14.1m on 1,231,348 admissions in its first three days on release in July 2001. It opened, however, on only 320 screens. Distributor Toho expects
  • Bengali cinema triumphs at Indian Film Awards

    A revived Bengali cinema was the focus of attention at India's 50th National Film Awards on Saturday with Mr And Mrs Iyer and Mondo Meyer Upakhkhan taking the top prizes.Filmmaker Aparna Sen was named best director for her English-language feature Mr And Mrs Iyer, while Sen's daughter, Konkona Sen Sharma (pictured), took the Best Actresses award for the same film. The film also won the Nargis Dutt Award which is given for the encouragement of national integr
  • Buddy chosen as closing local film at Haugesund

    Buddy, the runaway hit of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, has been selected as the closing local film of this year's Norwegian International Film Festival (Aug 17-24) in Haugesund It will screen on Aug 21 and will at the same time be the opening film of the New Nordic Films film market, which runs until Aug 24. Buddy was the surprise hit of this year's Karlovy Vary where it picked up the audience award. Its first-time director Morten Tyldum has subsequently been in
  • BVI's Bruce takes another $9m for $145m total

    BruceAlmighty raised itsinternational total to $145.5m with a $9m weekend haul that was driven by somedecent holdovers.Going into thecomedy's fifth week in the UK, distributor Buena Vista International(BVI) reported a 5% drop for $1.2m to raise the running total there to $34.6m.The secondweekend in Mexico added $1.8m for a $6.9m total, while the fifth weekend inSpain produced $1.4m and a number one ranking for a $15.1m total to date.Finding N
  • Calendar Girls set for open air world premiere

    Nigel Cole's highly anticipated Calendar Girls is set to make its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival (Aug 6-16), as an outdoor screening in the Piazza Grande in front of a potential audience of 7,000.The high profile, public screening is seen by distributor Buena Vista International as an ideal venue to showcase the film, which is viewed by many industry figures as a crowd pleasing comedy drama with huge break out potential.The world premiere screen
  • Carlton takes over at UK's Film Four Lab

    Peter Carlton has been appointed as head of Channel 4's experimental film division, Film Four Lab.Carlton joins Film Four Lab having set up and run regional film fund EM Media Investments (EMMI) based in the East Midlands. Joining in mid-September and reporting to Film Four head Tessa Ross, he will be responsible for developing and working with new young film talent."Peter has a great creative reputation working with some of the best new film talent in the UK," says Ross. "I'm t
  • Comcast mulls Vivendi Universal bid

    Comcast, the US cable giant, may be poised to join the race to buy the US entertainment assets being sold by Vivendi Universal. These include Universal studios, cable channels including Sci-Fi and theme parks.According to several US press sources, including the Wall Street Journal, Comcast has expressed to Vivendi a "preliminary, but genuine" interest in the auction process. If Comcast can be persuaded to make a formal offer for all or part of the Vivendi Universal Entert
  • Coming And Going (Vai E Vem)

    Dir: Joao Cesar Monteiro. Portugal. 2003. 179minsShown posthumously at Cannes out of competition following his death from cancer in February this year, Coming And Going is the epic final testament of Portuguese actor-director Joao Cesar Monteiro, who had some claim to being European cinema's single most eccentric talent. His films, rambling exercises in comic self-portraiture, are undeniably a specialised taste, and Coming And Going lacks the focus of Monteiro w
  • Competition watchdog to probe UK distribution

    Competition watchdog the Office Of Fair Trading (OFT) is to investigate film distribution in the UK.The OFT will review its Film Orders, which regulate the distribution of films in the UK. The Orders were introduced in 1983 and 1994 after reports by the then Monopolies and Mergers Commission (now the Competition Commission) found that the practices of the large distributors and cinema chains restricted competition. The Orders ban exclusive agreements between distributors and cin
  • Danish Film Institute makes key appointments

    The Danish Film Institute has made a string of appointments to some of its key positions. Influential managing director Henning Camre has had his six-year contract prolonged another two years until 2006. He has been the key to the restructuring and development of the new film policy at the institute since 1998. At the same time the Film Institute's department for marketing and promotion has appointed Lizette Gram as International festival relations manager. Gram comes to the new
  • Dark Blue

    Dir: Ron Shelton. US. 2002. 113mins.Dark Blue is the first Hollywood film to fully take on board the shameful case of Rodney King, the black motorist who was savagely beaten by four LA traffic cops in 1991. The King beating and the riots that were unleashed a year later when an all-white jury found the four cops not guilty, open and close the film, and provide a much-needed bassline for this potentially arid story of corruption and conscience among Hollywood's favourit
  • Dimsey steps down from Film Victoria after seven weeks

    Ross Dimsey, the general manager of industry development and investment at State Government agency Film Victoria, has stepped down after a mere seven weeks in the job. Those who are closely involved are being tight-lipped about what exactly happened. A statement released by Film Victoria says that the role was "not as he anticipated and in the circumstances it is not appropriate for him to continue".The industry initially greeted Dimsey's appointment with some surprise. While he
  • Documentaries dominate Swiss showcase at Locarno

    Documentaries are particularly strong in this year's "Appellations Suisse" showcase of new Swiss cinema to be presented at the forthcoming Locarno International Film Festival (August 6-16).Of the ten films screening in the showcase which is primarily aimed at international buyers and festival programmers, seven are documentaries, including Stefan Haupt's local hit Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross - Dem Tod Ins Gesicht Sehen (Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross -Facing Death) and Matthias von Gunten's
  • Dodona reveals mixed picture of European cinemagoing

    The fastest growing European cinema market in 2002 was Estonia, according to a new report from analysts Dodona Research. The report, Cinemagoing Europe, which covers the market in 28 countries, says that 1.03bn Europeans visited cinemas in 2002, 6.5m more than in the previous year. While most markets continued to show growth or at least matched the previous year, disappointing performances in two big markets, Germany (down 14m or 8%) and Spain (down 6m or 4%), dragged dow
  • DPS buys into Vanguard Animation, forms co-production giant

    Digital Production Studios(DPS), the New Jersey-based 3D animation subsidiary of IDT Media, has teamed upwith John Williams' UK-based Vanguard Animation in a major co-productionpartnership.The move paves the way foran animation giant following an eight-figure capital injection into Vanguardfrom the deep pockets of IDT Media's parent company IDT Corp, themultinational carrier, technology and telephone company.DPS has acquired a minoritystake in Vanguard Animation and will co-prod
  • Dumas-Zajdela appointed to CNC funding role

    Frederique Dumas-Zajdela has been named president of the commission of France's CNC which deals with approving feature films for state funding. Dumas Zajdela manages local production house Noe Productions and will take over the CNC functions from Margaret Menegoz who was recently named president of French film export body Unifrance. Her position at Noe has led to the production of films such as Danis Tanovic's Oscar winning No Man's Land and Jan Kounen's controversial
  • Estonia pins hopes on Names In Marble follow up

    Kristian Taska, the young writer-producer who broke the Estonia box-office record with his feature debut Names In Marble, is in the final weeks of shooting his highly anticipated second film, We Won't Sleep Tonight. It is the first of its kind to be shot in both Estonian and English language versions. Directed by his father Ilmar Taska, a writer-producer in his own right, We Won't Sleep Tonight is a psychological thriller written by well-known Estonian playwrights
  • European films line up for Toronto premieres

    Swedish filmmaker Mikael Hafstrom's Evil will make its world premiere at the 28th Toronto International Film Festival. The festival has also announced the North American premiere of Margarethe von Trotta's Rosenstrasse, signaling that the film will world premiere at Venice. As previously reported in Screendaily, Dutch filmmaker Alex van Warmerdam's Grimm will also make its world premiere while compatriot Theo van Gogh's Interview will have its
  • Father And Son (Otets Y Syn)

    Dir: Alexander Sokurov. Germany. 2003. 81mins.Alexander Sokurov's new film is the second part of a trilogy that began in 1996 with the esteemed Mother And Son, which brought the director to international attention. Subsequent appearances in Cannes competition have included Moloch (1999), Taurus (2000), and Russian Ark (2002), the last of which went on, somewhat improbably, to become a big hit in the niche art film market, both in the US and elsewhe
  • Film industry 'disappointed' by European VAT ruling

    European film trade associations have reacted with "deep disappointment" to last week's European Commission (EC) ruling on value added tax (VAT), which keeps charges on DVDs and video cassettes at high levels.The EC's internal markets commission said that the objective of its sixth VAT revision was to simplify and rationalise reduced VAT rates. But it did not accept that recorded music or video cassettes and DVDs should be put on the list of goods eligible for reduced rates. Tha
  • Filmstiftung NRW backs four international co-productions

    Four international co-productions - by the UK's Christopher Smith, Argentinian Pablo Trapero, Palestinian Hany Abu-Assad and German newcomer Till Franzen - are among seven feature projects receiving a total of Euros 2.5m production support from Filmstiftung NRW in its latest round of funding. Euros 500,000 was allocated to Smith's fantastic horror thriller Creep, which will star Franka Potente and shoot this summer as a coproduction between zero west Filmproduktion and the UK's
  • Game Over wins the box office race

    Dimension's Spy Kids 3D: Game Over was the clear winner in an otherwisetight top five this weekend, opening on an estimated $32.5m.
  • Global acquires four more for US distribution

    The Global FilmInitiative, the US charitable foundation launched earlier this year to promotecross-cultural understanding through cinema, has completed its inaugural2003/04 slate with the acquisition of four acclaimed festival titles.DjamshedUsmonov's Tajik thriller Angel On The Right was culled from the official selectionin Rotterdam and Cannes and concerns a gangster who returns to his home town tosee his dying mother.In JoelLamangan's Philippines drama Wretched Live
  • Good Bye, Lenin! star in demand

    Good Bye, Lenin! star Daniel Bruehl has been reunited with director Hans Weingartner on his new feature Jan Jule Peter and has joined the cast of actor Charles Dance's directorial debut Ladies In Lavender which is set to roll in September.Bruehl and Weingartner both came to prominence last year through Weingartner's Das Weisse Rauschen (White Noise), his graduation film from Cologne's Academy for Media Arts (KHM), which received several awards including the
  • Good Bye, Lenin! tops 6m German admissions

    After 23 weeks on release in Germany, Wolfgang Becker's tragicomedy Good Bye, Lenin! has now passed the 6m admissions mark and clocked up over Euros 36m in box office takings.The X Filme creative pool production now qualifies for a Golden Screen with star Award, sponsored by the German exhibitors association Hauptverband Deutscher Filmtheater (HDF) and the film magazine Film-echo/Filmwoche, which will be presented to Becker at the beginning of the open air cinema programme in B
  • Historias Minimas sweeps Los Premios Condor, Argentina's Oscars

    Carlos Sorin's MinimalStories (Historias Minimas) made a sweep on Monday night of Argentina's Oscars, Los Premios Condor. The Spanish-Argentinian co-productiontook home eight awards from its twelve nominations, including trophies for bestpicture, director, original screenplay, new actor, cinematography and sound. Adrian Caetano's Un OsoRojo, won only one award out of anequal number of nominations.However, another Caetano-directed feature, Bolivia, also won b
  • Hong Kong indies Go for local films

    Three Hong Kong distributors - Golden Scene, Edko Films and Panorama Entertainment - and local exhibitor Newport have set up a joint venture distribution company, Go Film Distribution, which aims to specialise in locally produced films.The company - which has been set up in response to the shrinking market share of Hong Kong movies - has the support of both the Newport Circuit, which owns 10 cinemas in Hong Kong, and Edko's Broadway circuit, which owns nine sites with 41 screens.
  • Hulk, 2 Fast 2 Furious both pass $80m for Universal

    Universal's TheHulk enjoyed several good holdoversat the weekend to add $5.1m from 3,076 theatres in 28 countries and raise itsinternational running total to $81.5m.With no new openings thecomic book adaptation remained number one in its second week in the UK,grossing $2.3m from 499 sites and dropping 37% for a $10.8m total.In France itadded $796,000 from 568, dropping 29% for $9.9m after 26 days, while Germanyproduced $219,000 from 286 and ninth place
  • HVE, Constantin ready German teen comedy zombie flic

    After scoring box office success with comedies aimed at the youth market such as the Erkan & Stefan franchise and Feuer, Eis Und Dosenbier, Munich production house Hofmann & Voges Entertainment (HVE) is now turning its attention to producing the first German teen zombie comedy Die Nacht Der Lebenden Loser (Night Of The Living Dorks).Co-produced with Constantin Film Produktion - HVE have a first look production deal with Constantin - the film is being directed by
  • IFP announces Gotham nominees for new actor, director

    Jesse Eisenberg,the young co-star of Roger Dodger, Judy Marte and Victor Rasuk from Raising Victor Vargas, and Paul Schneider from All The RealGirls are among thenominees for Breakthrough Actor Award at this year's IFP Gotham Awards.Others vying forthe honour, which was won last year by Maggie Gyllenhaal for her acclaimedperformance in Secretary, are Bobby Cannavale for The Station Agent and Lee Pace for Soldier's Girl.
  • Imax beefs up China presence

    Imax Corp. has increased to ten the number of giant-screen cinemas set to open in China by the year 2005, signing a deal with Shanghai United Cinema for two Imax MPX theatre systems. MPX systems can screen both Imax 2D and 3D large-format films as well as its DMR-branded transfers of standard format films such as the recently released The Matrix Reloaded and the upcoming The Matrix Revolutions.Both of the new systems will be installed at existing multiplexes, one i
  • Indian beer baron moves into film production

    Indian beer baron Vijay Mallya has entered the Indian film business and is to produce his first Hindi film, Rakth. Mallya runs UB Group, whose best-known brand is Kingfisher beer. Kingfisher is the market leading beer in India and sells in 65 countries around the world. Rakth, which is about a tarot card reader, will be produced with Suniel Shetty and Prakash Khubchandani of Popcorn Entertainment. Sanjay Dutt, Yana Gupta and Bipasha Basu will play the leads in the
  • InDigEnt taps Mark Christopher for film # 11

    Mark Christopher whose lastfilm was the 1998 nightclub drama 54 is the latest director to sign on to make a low-budget film forInDigEnt, the digital video collective created by New York-based IFCProductions' Jonathan Sehring and Caroline Kaplan, producer-director GaryWinick and Cinetic Media's John Sloss.Christopher will make theoffbeat comedy Pizza, the 11thfilm from InDigEnt, which since its inception in 1999 has developed animpressive roster of independent films includ
  • Irish government funds key arthouse venues

    The Irish Minister for Arts John O'Donoghue has announced the first recipients of capital funding through the Cultural Cinema Consortium scheme to assist the development of specialist cinemas. Euros 750,000 each has been offered to Kino Cinema in Cork and Limerick Filmhouse in Limerick which allow both operators to develop and enhance access to a broader range of cinema in both cities.The Cultural Cinema Consortium was created in 2001 as a joint initiative of the Arts Council an
  • Italian distributors contest 'inaccurate' admissions data

    The Italian box office is growing at a healthy rate, says Richard Borg, the newly-appointed head of Italy's national distributors union, UNIDIM, describing as "inaccurate" previously released data showing that industry figures had dipped in the first semester of 2003.Earlier this week, Cinetel data showed that ticket sales had dipped 0.12 percent between January 1 and June 30 2003 compared to the same period last year. However, Cinetel only surveys 75 percent of cinemas around Italy -
  • Japanese Story

    Dir: Sue Brooks. Australia. 2003. 107minsA seemingly conventional mixture of life-changing road movie and cross-cultural romance becomes something much more interesting and intense thanks to an unexpected plot twist in the final third of Japanese Story. It may come too late for some viewers who will have already lost patience with a sluggish storyline that seems to have little fresh on offer. It is a shame because events thereafter significantly develop the film's them
  • Kidman parts company with Von Trier's USA trilogy

    Despite collaborating to great acclaim on Dogville, Nicole Kidman and Lars Von Trier will no longer work together on the next two instalments of the director's planned USA trilogy.Because of Kidman's busy schedule, Lars von Trier feels he cannot wait for the Hollywood star and will shoot the films with different actresses playing the role of Grace. The move comes despite Kidman saying at a Cannes press conference for Dogville that she would star in the remaining fi
  • Kitano's Dolls wins at Era New Horizons film festival

    Takeshi Kitano's Dolls won the Grand Prix at the third Era New Horizons Film Festival (July 17 - 27) in Cieszyn, southern Poland.Among other competition entries which received high scores, voted by the audience, were Patrice Cherau's Son Frere, Rolf de Heer's Alexandra's Project, Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark and Samira Makhmalbaf's At Five In The Afternoon. Festival organiser, Gutek Film, will distribute the seven most popular competition e
  • Korean summer box office heats up

    South Korea's mid-summer season is proving to be quite competitive at the box-office, with four local pictures and two Hollywood films waging an intense competition for screens and viewers.Korean feature Singles currently sits atop the Seoul charts in its second week, having drawn 95,000 admissions over the two-day weekend on 49 screens, making for a healthy $10,000 screen average. The comic drama about late-twenties romance, based on a popular Japanese TV s
  • Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life

    Dir: Jan De Bont. US. 2003. 118mins.Smarter, sexier and more stylish than its predecessor, the second film of the Tomb Raider franchise drops the video-game pretence and goes the Bond route. Dean Georgaris' screenplay gives Lara Croft more to do and more to be, and Angelina Jolie responds with a more dynamic performance, tougher, sexier, with an emotional vulnerability absent in the first outing. With Speed's Jan De Bont at the helm, the film moves at a furious
  • Locarno prepares to showcase global talent

    Films by Korea's Kim Ki-Duk, Argentina's Martin Rejtman, Germany's Soenke Wortmann, Austria's Barbara Albert and Switzerland's Dominique de Rivaz Knecht will be unveiled on July 24 as world premieres at the forthcoming Locarno International Film Festival (August 6-16).The official Locarno competition line-up will be fully unveiled on July 24 at a press conference in Rome.According to releases from Germany's Export-Union, the Austrian Film Commission and the Swiss Film Centre, t
  • Locarno unveils full competition line-up

    The concept of "passage" - historical, geographical and personal - is the common theme running through the International Competition line-up for the Locarno International Film Festival (August 6-16), according to festival organisers.This year, 19 of the 20 competition films are world premieres - and come from 17 different countries. The festival has also remained true to its brief to seek out new voices and new auteurs by selecting eight first features and four second features for the
  • London Imax release reloads Warners coffers

    The BFI London Imax is providing Warner Bros' summer blockbuster The Matrix Reloaded with an extra lease of life in a large screen format.Opening on July 4, The Matrix Reloaded: The Imax Experience scored its biggest opening worldwide at the London location with $61,301 (£38,681) taken over three days. Eight of its 11 performances over the first three-days were sold out.To date the film has taken $213,946 (£135,000) at the London Imax, with a ticket price of $18 (£
  • Marie Trintignant undergoes emergency surgery

    French actress Marie Trintignant has undergone two emergency operations and remains in a coma after a violent argument with her boyfriend Bertrand Cantat, a singer with the rock group Noir Desir.Trintignant was in Lithuania filming Colette, a TV movie she co-wrote with her mother Nadine who is also directing the project. According to police reports, Cantat was under the influence of a combination of medication and alcohol and during an argument with the 41-year old actres
  • McKellen eyes role in Merchant Of Venice alongside Pacino

    Ian McKellen says that he "very much hopes" to play a role in a new Merchant Of Venice movie which is set to star Al Pacino."I very much hope to play Antonio in the film, when the money arrives to make it," said McKellen, who was attending the Giffoni International Film Festival for Children where he received the Truffaut award for outstanding contribution to cinema.Il Postino director Michael Radford is rumoured to be attached to the The Merchant of Venice
  • MGM in strongest ever position, says Yemenidjian

    Fresh from the sale of its 20% equity stake in Rainbow CableNetworks, MGM's chairman and chief executive officer Alex Yemenidjian said thecompany was in its best ever financial shape as second quarter results wereunveiled.
  • MGM loses court case against Cecchi Gori

    MGM has lost its legal battle against the Cecchi Gori Group in a Rome court, according to Italian press reports.The US studio had accused the Italian group of failing to stand by its production and distribution agreements. As such, MGM sued the Fin.Ma.Vi holding group which controls the Cecchi Gori Group for Euros 1.2m, local news agencies reported.But the Rome court ruled in favour of the beleaguered Cecchi Gori Group."The court ruling confirms that MGM cannot pursue its
  • MGM's Legally Blonde 2 opens at the top in Germany for Fox

    LegallyBlonde 2: Red, White & Blonde grossed around $2.7m on 961 screens at the weekend as FoxInternational unleashed the MGM comedy sequel in its first wave of majorinternational releases.It opened numberone in both Germany and Austria, grossing $1.6m from 551 screens and $188,000from 58 respectively.In Switzerlandand Taiwan the film ranked second, taking $189,000 from 38 and $318,000 from 82respectively.Mexico producedfifth place on $336,000 from 208.28
  • Milwaukee, Minnesota

    Dir: Allan Mindel. US. 2003. 95mins.Milwaukee, Minnesota is a typical Sundance competition movie - one of the ones you never hear about again after January - that has somehow washed up on the shores of the Riviera in the Critics' Week section. As such, this effort by first-time director Allan Mindel (the former head of a modelling and 'talent management' company) seems to have been made on a shoestring, is more or less watchable in spite of too many flat spots in the s
  • Minimal Stories scoops LA Latino fest prize

    Carlos Sorin's Minimal Stories (Historias Minimas), which made a sweep of Argentina's Oscars, the Condors, just last week (Screen Daily July 21), has won another major prize: the best picture nod from the 7th Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (July 18-Aug 2).A jury led by Mexican director Arturo Ripstein chose Spain's Miguel Hermoso as best director for La Luz Prodigiosa, best debut to Uruguayan film La Espera by Aldo Garay and best screenplay to Domin
  • MPAA unleashes nationwide anti-piracy campaign on Thursday

    After months of apocalyptic warnings about the global threat ofpiracy the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is ready to unleash itsfirst nationwide US educational campaign.
  • Mutt Boy (Ddong-gae)

    Dir: Kwak Kyung-Taek. Korea. 2003. 101 mins.Not quite slice-of-life drama, nor exactly a coming-of-age tale, Mutt Boy is a finely-crafted, but ultimately unfulfilling, chunk-of-growing-up-in-contemporary-Korea story by one of the country's most skilled directors, KT Kwak. Though it shares elements with them, Mutt Boy is drawn on a smaller scale than Kwak's two previous films; the sensational gangster drama Friends and last year's Champion, a Korean Rag
  • Neeson parts company with 20th Century Fox International

    Scott Neeson, president of 20th Century Fox International Theatrical, is stepping down from his position at the end of the month.In a statement, 20th Century Fox said he had "elected to re-direct his interests."Neeson began his association with 20th Century Fox International Theatrical in 1989 as general manager of the then joint-venture Hoyt's Fox Columbia Tri Star Films in Sydney, Australia. He relocated to Los Angeles in 1993 as vice president of international marketin
  • Nesher returns to Israel to shoot End Of World

    Avi Nesher, one of the most promising Israeli filmmakers of the seventies who moved to US in the early eighties and stayed there for close to 20 years, is now putting the final post-production touches to his first Israeli film since The Rage And The Glory (1984). Nesher is the writer and director of such movies as Timebomb, Doppelganger, Taxman and recently Ritual, a remake of I Walked With A Zombie, due for release this autumn by Dimension Films. His
  • Nina's Tragedies: A Very Sad Comedy (Ha'assonoth shel Nina)

    Dir: Savi Gabizon. Israel, 2003. 106mins.Film-maker Savi Gabizon's gently nonsensical humour has been much appreciated in the past by both Israeli critics and audiences. His new coming-of-age comedy, which looks at a gallery of eccentric, obsessive characters engineering themselves into impossible corners, should do reasonably well at home, especially after its recent Wolgin Award for Best Israeli feature, cinematography and script at the Jerusalem International Film festival
  • Obituary: John Schlesinger

    John Schlesinger, the Oscar-winning director of Midnight Cowboy, died on Friday, near his home in Palm Springs, California. The British-born, veteran film-maker, suffered a debilitating stroke in December 2000, from which he never fully recovered. Recent weeks had seen the 77 year old's health deteriorate significantly.Schlesinger, along with Tony Richardson, Lindsay Anderson and Karel Reisz, was part of the new wave that transformed British cinema in the sixties and remained a
  • O'Connor to head HBO US theatrical releasing arm

    HBO Films hascemented its theatrical ambitions with the launch of a domestic releasing armsupported by a distribution partnership with Fine Line Features, the specialtydistribution division of HBO's AOL Time Warner sister company New LineCinema.United Artistsmarketing chief Dennis O'Connor has been brought in to head up the newunit - called HBO Films Domestic Theatrical Releasing - and will be responsiblefor domestic distribution and marketing as well as overseeing the relationshipwith
  • Pictorion Das Werk unveils new management structure

    Pictorion Das Werk - formerly Das Werk - has unveiled its new management structure and the opening of an additional post house in Cologne.The move comes three months after Helmut Breuer's Media Select took over the insolvent Das Werk postproduction group' facilities in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich and Frankfurt-based Zweigwerk (Screen Daily, March 28).The facilities will operate as independent operations developing their own talents and specialities, but will also b
  • Powell quits production for NFTS job

    Nik Powell, one of the most prolific producers in the UK, is to quit the production scene and take over as director of the National Film & Television School (NFTS).He takes up the new job from 29 September and will cease to have any direct managerial role at Scala Productions, the company he founded in the 1990s after the demise of Palace. Powell replaces Stephen Bayly, who had been the school's head since 1998 and returned to production in April this year. 'This is an exception
  • Reda resigns from Winchester board

    Winchester Films' US-based CEO Hadeel Reda has left the board of directors of its UK parent Winchester Entertainment and is shedding her title of chief executive officer.Reda is to pursue independent producing but will continue overseeing Winchester's ongoing US projects and seek projects for the company's international sales team."I've been proud to play a part in building Winchester and I look forward to an ongoing relationship with the company as I pursue further producing op
  • Reloaded slows down with $3.1m over weekend

    Approaching theend of its international run, Warner Bros Pictures International's TheMatrix Reloaded grossedan estimated $3.1m over the weekend with 547,284 admissions from 1,645 screens.The sci-fi sequel's estimated international total todate is a stellar $437.8m.Second weekendfinal figures from China will not be available until Tuesday (Jul 29). Elsewhere WhatA Girl Wants grossed$617,856 with 116,600 admissions from 47
  • San Sebastian unveils Spanish competition premieres

    Three films from high profile young Spanish directors - Iciar Bollain, Cesc Gay and Achero Manas - have been selected for the official section of this year's San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 18-27). One other Spanish film will also screen out of competition, while at least two works by new directors will participate in Zabaltegi-New Directors. A Cannes Critics winner in 1999 for Flowers From Another World, Bollain is competing for the first time at San Seb
  • Sarajevo fest lines up world premieres

    No Man's Land lead actor Branko Duric's directorial debut Sour Cream And Marmalade and Srdan Vuletic's Summer In The Golden Valley are among four world premieres confirmed for the Regional Programme of the forthcoming Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) (August 15-23).Duric's film is described as being "about a couple from the bottom of the social ladder, about smuggling refugees across borders and other 'suspect' things", while Vuletic, who scripted Ahmed Imamovic's Eur
  • Secretary team join Pressman in Arbus biopic

    Secretary director Steven Shainberg and screenwriter ErinCressida Wilson have been hired to adapt Arbus, Patricia Bosworth's acclaimed biography ofphotographer Diane Arbus, for Edward R Pressman Film Corporation, BonnieTimmermann and Vincent Farrell's Iron Films.Michael Roban, who served asexecutive producer on Secretary,will serve in the same capacity on the project along with Alessandro Camon.Content International will handle international rights."Secre
  • Segal to part company with Odeon

    Richard Segal, chief executive of UK cinema chain Odeon, is to leave the company in August. Ian Pluthero, most recently an executive director and chief executive of Carlisle Holdings, has been appointed to look after day-to-day running of the company while Odeon looks for a permanent replacement.Segal has headed the exhibition chain for seven years, during which time he led the Cinven-backed buyout from Rank in February 2000. He also presided over a securitisation of Odeon late
  • Shaw replaces Shields as international sales chief at Full Moon/Shadow

    Christopher Shaw has beennamed director of international sales at independent production company FullMoon/Shadow Entertainment following the departure of Ed Shields to launch EJSInternational.Shaw, who has held severalpositions in the company's international department, will remain at Shadow'sHollywood offices.He will work closely withcompany founder Charles Band to oversee foreign sales of the company's growinglibrary of DVD titles, including Full Moon's signature product the
  • Spinetta named MD of FreemantleMedia production

    Emanuela Spinetta has been appointed managing director of FremantleMedia's production business in Spain with immediate effect. FreemantleMedia, formerly known as Pearson Television, is one of the major international producers of entertainment and drama productions, responsible for more than 260 programmes in over 40 countries.In addition to her new role, Spinetta will continue as head of Light Entertainment for Grundy Italia, FremantleMedia's Italian production company. Since j
  • Spy Kids 3D: Game Over

    Dir: Robert Rodriguez. US. 2003. 89mins.The final episode in Robert Rodriguez's family adventure series is an effective strictly-for-kids action feature which has already proved its mettle with a whopping $32.5m opening at the US box office last weekend. Set mostly within a computer game, the film was conceived and shot in 3-D and requires audiences to wear free 3-D glasses, an added attraction for kids which will also swell its grosses in international territories where the
  • Ster Century sells off UK exhibition circuit

    Ster Century, the South African-owned UK and Ireland cinema circuit, has been sold to Aurora Holdings, a UK-based outfit whose partners include ex-Ster Century Europe managing director Mike Ross.Ross, who will now become CEO of Ster Century, would not comment on the value of the deal, which was backed by Inflexion Private Equity. The business was acquired from Royale Resorts and Primedia. Aurora's senior management also includes Theo Fonternel who, along with Ross, developed the
  • Strikes hit Paris Cinema attendance figures

    A week after the curtain closed on the inaugural Paris Cinema, organisers have announced that roughly 70,000 Parisians attended the festival. The two-week mini-festival which ran from July 2-15 was backed by the city and run by former Directors' Fortnight artistic director Marie-Pierre Macia. While good intentions, a healthy programme and some big-name talent were on hand, Paris Cinema couldn't have chosen a worse year to debut.Thanks to an artists and technicians strike that ha
  • Studios look to consolidate summer box office takings

    With upcoming international releases thin on the ground in the major territories this weekend, several films stand to consolidate their running totals.The French release of international hit Johnny English is cause for interest. The comedy, which has taken $117.3m to date internationally for UIP, was unable to repeat that success in North America last weekend, when it took a disappointing $9.1m from 2,236 theatres.France is the only international territory where Johnny
  • Sundance, Strand share Son Frere US rights

    Strand Releasing hasacquired US theatrical and home entertainment rights and The Sundance Channelhas acquired US TV rights to Patrice Chereau's Berlin prize winner SonFrere. According to the two deals,the film will have its US premiere on The Sundance Channel in early 2004 aspart of an on-air focus of Chereau's work. Strand will then put the filmout theatrically.The Sundance deal wasnegotiated by vice president of acquisitions Christian Vesper with Eric Lagesseof the film
  • T3 tops international releases with $19.4m

    Terminator 3: Rise Of TheMachines continued its march toward$100m over the weekend, grossing a mighty $19.4m from 2,590 screens (includingJapan and Korea, where CTFDI does not have distribution) for an $85.2minternational running total in its third week.In a series of impressive number one bows in its thirdweek on release, the sci-fi sequel grossed $2.8m on 529 prints in Mexico forthe 15th biggest ever bow there.In India itgrossed just over $1m ($1.02m)
  • The Rage In Placid Lake

    Dir: Tony McNamara. Australia. 2002. 90mins.Let's get some misassumptions about this comedy feature debut from writer/director McNamara and Australian rockstar/actor Ben Lee out of the way. Firstly, it is not related to Fox's 1999 crocodile feature Lake Placid. And secondly, lead character Placid Lake (played by Lee himself) displays none of the rage signposted in the title. It's a shame, because rage might have added something to this rambling modern fable, about an a
  • Tomb Raider sequel enjoys robust Asian debut

    Paramount's sequel Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life may have seen disappointing results in North America over the weekend but it got off to a stronger start internationally.The action adventure title opened in four Asian territories through international distributor UIP, taking $2.3m and setting records for a Paramount title in two of the four launch countries.In The Philippines Cradle Of Life claimed $699,041 over a four-day weekend from 75 screens for a
  • Toronto puts Canadian film-makers into Perspective

    Canadian filmmakers Gary Burns, Deepa Mehta and Guy Maddin have been awarded prominent positions in the line-up of the Toronto International Film Festival, as the event announced its Perspective Canada programme. Burns' A Problem With Fear (pictured) will open the programme, Mehta's The Republic Of Love will be a Gala presentation and Maddin's The Saddest Music In The World will be a Special Presentation. Veteran Canadian documentary filmmaker Allan King's Dyin
  • UIP strikes Croatian licence deal

    United International Pictures is to distribute its films in Croatia through a new licence arrangement with Blitz Film and Video effective from August 1.UIP used to distribute in Croatia through Zagreb-based Kinematografi.Amongst the line-up of Universal, Paramount and DreamWorks films that UIP will bring to Croatian audiences through the new deal are Tomb Raider 2, The Hulk, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, The Italian Job and American Pie The Wedding.Roger
  • UK says Hello! to Good Bye, Lenin!

    While the UK's top three films remained unchanged this weekend and children's films stormed cinemas, a German comedy was making waves on limited release.Wolfgang Becker's critically acclaimed Good Bye, Lenin! - which has drawn over six million admissions and $41.6m (Euros 36.1m) in Germany - launched in the UK for UGC Films at just 26 sites to become the biggest German-language opener of all time in the territory.Good Bye, Lenin! grossed $219,661 (£135,311) for an
  • Valenti hails US trade agreements with Chile, Singapore

    Motion PictureAssociation of America (MPAA) president Jack Valenti hailed another blow toworldwide piracy yesterday (24) as Congress passed two trade agreements withChile and Singapore.The agreements,passed by members of the US House of Representatives, eliminate tariff andcustoms barriers to US entertainment products and pave the way for strictenforcement of copyright standards.'Today'saction is a victory for the hundreds of thousands of hard working men and
  • Venice fest set for Italian showcase

    Italian films may be the ones to profit most from the absence of big-name auteur directors that looks set to afflict the Venice festival this year.From Italy the official selection is likely to include Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers in an out of competition slot, Marco Bellocchio's Buongiorno Notte, Edoardo Winspeare's The Miracle and Paolo Benvenuti's Segreti Di Stato. Elsewhere in the line-up, probably in the Contro Corrente parallel competition sectio
  • Vivendi Universal mulls Benelux pay-TV offers

    Vivendi Universal is reported to be considering two or three offers for its pay-TV operations in Benelux. But the bids are said to be considerably less than the conglomerate had hoped for and could see the break-up of the group into three separate operations.Telecoms group Telnet in association with a number of cable network operators from the north of Belgium have apparently put together a bid worth Euros75m, a figure which compares with the Euros300m that Vivendi had hoped to raise f
  • Warner International hits $1bn after seven months

    Driven by the worldwide successes of Harry Potter And TheChamber Of Secrets, The Matrix Reloaded and Two Weeks Notice, Warner Bros Pictures International has passed $1bn inticket sales after just seven months of the year.
  • Wondrous Oblivion scoops top Giffoni prize

    British director Paul Morrison's Wondrous Oblivion won the top Golden Gryphon prize at the Giffoni International Film Festival (19th - 26th July), one of the world's leading festivals dedicated to children and youth-oriented films.Written and directed by Morrison, who earned an Oscar nomination in 2000 for his debut feature, Solomon And Gaenor, Wondrous Oblivion is set in England in the 1960s. It tells the story of an eleven-year-old boy who is passionate about cri
  • Woods tipped to take Irish Film Board post

    Mark Woods, an expatriate Irishman based for many years in Australia is being strongly tipped as the new CEO of the Irish Film Board following Rod Stoneman's departure in September. However, a spokesperson for the Irish Film Board has refused to give air to the unofficial news, which has had growing currency among the Irish film production fraternity over the last week. "The Irish Film Board is making no comment on the appointment of a new CEO at this stage. An official statemen