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29 July 2007

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  • 50 shorts programmed for third annual HollyShorts in LA

    Adrien Grenier's coming-of-age tale Euthanasia is among more than 50 entries from seven countries that will screen at the third annual HollyShorts Film festival, which runs from Aug 11-12 in Hollywood.The line-up of events include two industry panels looking at how experience on short films can benefit a feature film-making career, and the impact of digital on packaging and promoting films, as well as a closing night party presided over by hip
  • AFCI to launch next phase of training programme at Cineposium

    The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) will launch the next phase of its Global Initiatives In Professional Development in conjunction with the 32nd annual AFCI Cineposium International Conference 2007 that runs from Aug 26-30 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.Hosted by the New Mexico Film Office, the event will be attended by members of the AFCI's global film commission network from 33 countries.The key training element in the professional development curriculu
  • Analysis: International box-office - Weekend July 20-22 - Harry Potter's new world Order

    Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix has cast its spell on the international box office, raking in a whopping $100.4m across 56 territories. The fifth instalment of the children's series has made an impressive $353.5m to date in only its second weekend. Transformers lagged far behind in second place, generating $33.8m from 41 territories in its fourth weekend, while Die Hard 4.0 was up 31% with a $23.6m take after expanding to an additional 11 territories. New entry
  • Arcel prepares new feature about Danish royals for Zentropa

    Danish director Nicolaj Arcel, whose Island of Lost Souls sold 195,000 tickets domestically, is preparing a feature film about the relationship between Danish King Christian VII, Queen Caroline Mathilde and German-born physician-in-ordinary Johann Friedrich Struensee, who was executed in 1772 - 235 years ago.Over the years several projects have been developed on the story, among others Physician-in-Ordinary, from Swedish author Per Olov Enquist's novel, but
  • Arndt promoted at NBC Universal TV Distribution

    Haydn Arndt has been promoted to senior vice president, sales liaison at NBC Universal International Television Distribution.Arndt, who most recently served as vice president, sales liaison, overseeing Australia and New Zealand, will continue to be based in NBC Universal's Sydney office.Since joining NBC Universal in 2005, he has overseen the free, pay and basic cable television sales of NBC Universal programming throughout Australia and New Zealand.The execut
  • Axiom and Matador wrap shoot for UK drama There For Me

    Director Sallie Aprahamian has wrapped principal photography on UK romantic drama There For Me.The film is the first collaboration between Axiom Films and Matador Pictures. Axiom developed the film in association with Matador and Regent Capital's Cinema Two. Arts Alliance Media's MetFilm is also co-financing.Douglas Cummins of Axion produces with Carlo Dusi of Aria Films co-producing. Paul Be
  • Bangkok Market closes with a whimper due to poor attendance

    The fourth Bangkok Film Market quietly came to a close today (Wednesday) in much the same manner as it opened softly two days ago.As in past years, the market is still plagued by the poor attendance of buyers. The situation has worsened this year when no free flights were given to buyers due to budget cuts.'Some buyers are not even aware the market is on after it was cancelled in January. The market, which has seen better days, certainly needs more promotion and publicity
  • BANGKOK: GMM's Kung Fu Tootsie tops Thai box office

    GMM Tai Hub's Kung Fu Tootsie has become the first Thai film to top the box office chart in July which is overwhelmed with Hollywood blockbusters. Opening last Thursday on 129 prints, the action comedy grossed $1.3m (40m baht) over its first four days and knocked last week's number one Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (which grossed $598,000) to second place. Harry Potter and other big Hollywood titles such as Transformers and Die Hard 4.0
  • BANGKOK: Right Beyond launches first Taiwanese-Thai co-production

    At the Bangkok Film Market, Right Beyond Films has launched international sales of The Fatality, billed as the first ever co-production between Thailand and Taiwan. In the horror film, an unsuccessful man in Taipei attempts suicide only to wake up in the body of a coma victim in Bangkok with a stable job, a healthy body and a beautiful wife. Two souls compete for control of the body that is developing supernatural powers over life and death. The feature was shot in February
  • BANGKOK: Thailand's Mono Film set to double production

    Up-and-coming Thai producer Mono Film is set to double its production output next year to eight films from last year's four. 'We now have more confidence after spending the last three years to learn the local and international markets,' says CEO Soraj Asavaprapha who founded the company with Pete Bodharamik in 2004. The company has learnt that it should not go after big-budget productions, but look for unique stories such as Me Myself, and expand the genres from action and
  • Bastion takes on Godley's debut Where The Treetops Glisten

    New UK independent producer Bastion Pictures has optioned the rights to Where The Treetops Glisten, which will mark the debut feature of Kevin Godley, who previously worked on music videos and documentaries. Godley co-wrote the script with Adrian Deevoy. The film is about executives at a TV company specialising in violent reality TV who become the subjects of a reality show themselves in their bid to turn the company around in a new direction. Andrew Thompson lef
  • Bavaria takes on Free To Leave ahead of Locarno premiere

    Bavaria Film International (BFI) has picked up Austrian director Peter Payer's fourth feature Free To Leave (Freigesprochen) ahead of its world premiere in official competition at next month's Locarno International Film Festival. A co-production between Austria's Lotus-Film and Luxembourg's Iris Productions, Payer's universal tale of guilt, lies and obsession was inspired by Odon von Horvath's play Judgment D
  • Berczeller wins Britdoc Pitching with Through A Glass, Darkly

    At today's More4 Pitching Forum at the Britdoc Festival, Paul Berczeller was named top pitcher with his project Through A Glass, Darkly. He wins $2000 (£1000) in a cash prize.He presented the project, about the son of a man involved in an infamous CIA LSD experiment, with producer Nikki Parrott of Tigerlily Films and executive producer Julie Goldman of Cactus Three.Berczeller is a Bafta-nominated director and writer whose previous
  • Boll World Sales picks up English-language horror film Fear

    Boll World Sales has picked up international distribution rights for Munich-based filmmaker Gerhard Hross' English-language horror film Fear which wraps principal photography in Berlin on July 30.Producer-director Uwe Boll is also serving as a co-financier for the low-budget production by Udo Bomnueter and Helmar Baum's Berlin-based Valerian Fear. Co-producers are Gruenberg Film with backing from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. Post-production
  • Brazilian admissions steady but ticket price rise boosts sales 4%

    Brazilian cinema admissions in the first six months of 2007 matched the figures for the same period last year, with attendance up only 0.15%. Box-office sales, however, rose 4% thanks to increase in ticket prices. According to Filme B, a local film company that reviews theatrical market numbers, Brazil's total box office amounted to $207m (R$384m), with admissions reaching 47.6m. These 2007 figures include the results from local independent distributors, which represented a
  • Brideshead Revisited: world of Waugh

    Edward Lawrenson visits the set of Brideshead Revisited and talks to director Julian Jarrold about his fresh approach to the classic story. It's early June and a hunting party is assembled outside Castle Howard in Yorkshire, UK. Glancing at the sight of 20 or so mounted riders, impeccably attired in their finery, public visitors to this magnificent stately home may be forgiven for thinking the ban on hunting with dogs has been overturned. But tucked behind one
  • Britdoc gives international prize to Devil Came On Horseback

    The second-annual Britdoc festival wrapped Friday with its international jury prize going to Darfur project The Devil Came On Horseback by Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern.The winner of the Screen International British competition was Kim Longinotto's Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, about a school for children with severe emotional difficulties. The internation
  • Bromstad to head international TV production at NBC Universal

    Angela Bromstad has been named president of international television production at NBC Universal International.Based in London to head the new division, Bromstad will spearhead television content partnerships and oversee an increase in local production across all territories.She previously served as president of the Los Angeles-based NBC Universal Television Studios, now called Universal Media Studios.'Angela is a talented and respected TV executive and we are
  • Burnett Fefferman gets top publicity job at IDP/Samuel Goidwyn Films

    Liza Burnett Fefferman has been named senior vice president of publicity at IDP/Samuel Goldwyn Films.Effective immediately, Fefferman will head the PR department overseeing the company's film slate in addition to managing corporate publicity and branding. Based in New York, she reports to IDP president Michael Silberman.She most recently served as a public relations/marketing consultant for GreeneStreet Films, Dan Klores' Shoot the Moon Productions, the New York Jets, and
  • Cactus Three: reality check

    New York-based Cactus Three has become a key player in the growing market for documentaries. Wendy Mitchell meets its founders. Having worked together at the now-defunct US indie distributor Wellspring, Julie Goldman, Caroline Stevens and Krysanne Katsoolis established their New York-based non-fiction mini-studio Cactus Three in 2003. It proved fortuitous timing, just before theatrical documentaries began to make their mark.Since then, Cactus Three has become a
  • Cause and effects

    From Harry Potter to Sunshine, the UK's post houses are creating world-class effects work. But how is the sector being affected by the exchange rate and increasing competition from India' Geoffrey Macnab reports. The past 12 months has been something of a banner year for the UK post sector. From creating the breathtaking space-scapes of Sunshine and the fantasy world of Paramount's Stardust, to the intricate world of Harry Potter And The Order
  • Celestial Movies launches on Indonesia's TELKOMVision

    Celestial Movies launched today on the cable and DTH satellite platform operated by Indonesian pay-TV operator TELKOMVision. This positions Celestial Movies as the only Chinese movie channel available on all four major pay-TV platforms in the country. The Jakarta-based TELKOMVision is Indonesia 's only pay-TV operator that provides both DTH and cable TV services. Its pay-TV services cover five major Indonesian cities, and the country's archipelago, with a wide range of services.
  • Chan to star in Tokyo-set drama Shinjuku Incident

    Hong Kong's JCE Movies is set to produce Japan-set drama The Shinjuku Incident, starring Jackie Chan and directed by Derek Yee. Chan will also produce the film through JCE - his joint venture with Albert Yeung's Emperor Motion Pictures (EMP) - while EMP will handle international sales. The Hong Kong star has long expressed a desire to work with Yee, the award-winning director of film such as Lost In Time and One Nite In Mongkok, as part of a move towards more
  • Chuck And Larry squeeze Harry at US box office

    Universal's comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry cut short Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix' table topping career as it opened number one on an estimated $34.8m.Audiences preferred the new Adam Sandler and Kevin James story of friends who fake a gay civil union to the ongoing adventures of the Hogwarts students, but it was close.Warner Bros' fifth episode in the
  • Climates wins top prize at Japan 's Skip City festival

    Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Climates was awarded best picture at the 4th Skip City International Digital Cinema Festival (July 14-22) in Tokyo. The accolade also carried a $82,722 (Y10m) cash prize by fest sponsor Sony. The Turkey-France co-production depicts the volatile relationship between a professor and his young girlfriend. Other winners in the 12-film competition line-up included Bosnian drama Skies Above The Landscape which won the best director priz
  • Constantin Film parts company with Schloendorff on Pope Joan

    Leading German producer-distributor Constantin Film has fired the Oscar-winning director Volker Schloendorff from the adaptation of the Donna Cross bestseller Pope Joan.In a letter to Schloendorff, Martin Moszkowicz, member of the Constantin board, wrote that 'it is unfortunately no longer possible for us to make the film together. I have discussed the situation and we unfortunately see ourselves forced to end the collaboration on this project
  • Critical opinion: barnacles all at sea

    DIY guides to script-writing are Hollywood's parasites. But is advice on high-concept cinema or indie auteurism of any use to the budding scriptwriter, asksLee MarshallUnlike the film industry, the grey whale has been with us for 30 million years. Still, the two ungainly beasts have a few things in common. They both live on, or off, the Western seaboard of North America. And they both attract freeloaders. One of the whale's guests, the grey whale barnacle, attaches its
  • Cultural test: yes or no'

    Is a rigorous cultural test a good way to determine which projects are eligible for national tax breaks' Two Screen writers give their opinions based on the experiences of the UK and Australia, where governments are both attempting to create sustainable, long-term film industries by making state financing available to local producers via tax credits and rebates.Screen's Sydney-based writer Sandy George, who doe
  • Cultural test: yes or no'

    Is a rigorous cultural test a good way to determine which projects are eligible for national tax breaks' Two Screen writers give their opinions based on the experiences of the UK and Australia, where governments are both attempting to create sustainable, long-term film industries by making state financing available to local producers via tax credits and rebates.
  • Depp to produce, star in Thompson's The Rum Diary

    Johnny Depp will nexst star in The Rum Diary, his second film to spring from the mind of the late godfather of 'gonzo' journalism Hunter S Thompson.Depp's Infinitum Nihil is producing with Graham King's recently minted GK Films and Warner Independent Pictures.Depp and King will produce with Film Engine's A J Dix, Anthony Rhulen and William Shively alongside Robert Kravis and Greg Shapiro.GK Films holds all rights to the
  • Edith Kramer named guest director at Telluride 2007

    Edith R Kramer will be the guest director at the Telluride Film Festival, which runs in Colorado from Aug 31-Sept 3.Kramer is renowned for her work in film preservation and collection development, and previously served as senior film curator and director of the Pacific Film Archive at the University of California, Berkeley.The guest director serves as a key collaborator in programming decisions. Past directors include Salman Rushdie, Laurie Anderson, Stephen Sondheim, and
  • Editorial opinion: punching its weight

    Can we judge the success of a national film industry on the numbers brought in by studio productions through subsidies and incentives, asks Michael GubbinsThere was a time when terms like the 'creative economy' sounded wildly self-important to the general public - at least outside Los Angeles. Even the term 'industry', when used to refer to film, would raise a certain amount of sniggering among those in 'real business'.Industry was supposed to be heav
  • FFC greenlights new films from Campion, Blanks, Brooks

    Five new Australian films have received a production greenlight from Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC), including projects from world-renowned directors Jane Campion (The Piano), Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend) and Sue Brooks (Japanese Story). All three of these films - UK/Australian period film Bright Star, horror film Long Weekend and comedy drama Subdivision - have received financing through FFC's marketplace door. This means that at least
  • Film Independent names ten projects in first Screenwriters Lab

    Film Independent has announced the 10 projects and fellows in the annual Screenwriters Lab, which runs in Los Angeles from Jul 30-Sept 12.Jeff Kleeman will teach the Lab, which is sponsored by the Writers Guild of America, West. Guest speakers include The Good Shepherd writer Eric Roth and The Dead Girl writer-director Karen Moncrieff.The 10 projects and their writers are: Nicole Jefferson (
  • Film industry said to contribute nearly $9bn to UK economy

    The UK film industry contributed about $8.9bn (£4.3bn) to the UK's gross domestic product in 2006 - a 39% increase in two years, according to a new Oxford Economics report supported by The UK Film Council and Pinewood Shepperton. That figure represents direct impact from core film activities such as production and distribution (directly contributing about $3.08bn (£1.5bn) per year to the GDP) and also indirect financial boosts such as the film industry supporting other sectors, related m
  • Fortissimo seduced by Lee's Help Me Eros

    Fortissimo Films has picked up worldwide sales rights outside Taiwan and Malaysia to Help Me Eros, directed by Taiwanese actor-turned-filmmaker Lee Kang-sheng. The film tells the story of a stock-broker who finds comfort in marijuana, suicide hotline counsellor Chyi and local betelnut seller Shin after a market crash leaves him penniless. His sex and drug-filled world falls apart when Chyi's secret is revealed. The deal was brokered between Fortissimo's co-chairman Wouter B
  • FX and tax credit

    How does the UK's new tax credit affect the post sector' Geoffrey Macnab reports.It is understandable the Hollywood studios looked askance at the UK last year, as rules governing Gaap funds were changed and those governing the new UK tax credit were altered to conform with European Union (EU) criteria.'From my contacts in the US, there was a bit of uncertainty,' says Cinesite's head of production Courtney Vanderslice of the changes to the tax credit legislation
  • Giffoni winners include Mid Road Gang and Keith

    Two thousand children cast their votes for winning films at the Giffoni Film Festival, the Southern Italian film festival dedicated to children and young people's cinema which wrapped its 37th edition Saturday.Led by Claudio Gubitosi, the festival brought in a record number of young jurors from several countries to vote on 64 competition films in four sections: Kids (ages 6-9), First Screens (ages 9-12), Free to Fly (ages 12-14), Y Gen (ages 15-19). This year's recipients
  • Global Film Initiative appoints six new board members

    The Global Film Initiative has announced the appointment of six new members to its board of directors.The new recruits join the current six-member board in advising the Initiative and its ongoing expansion of the Global Lens touring film series and related programmes.Now in its fifth year, the Initiative recently introduced theatrical, DVD and digital distribution of Global Lens titles.The appointees are film writer Michael Guillen, educator and administrator
  • ICM, MGlobal Trust team on LA-based Indian Splendor

    Prominent Indian film-makers, performers, and business and spiritual leaders will descend on Southern California next month to attend a celebration to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Indian independence.India Splendor will take place from Aug 10-15 and is being hosted by MGlobal Trust in association with ICM and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.The six-day event will open with a screening of Chak De India and includes a screening of
  • Iggy Pop and Andrea Arnold join forces for Raindance jury

    The London-based Raindance Film Festival has announced the jury for this year's 15th anniversary edition.Continuing tradition of including musicians on the jury, Raindance confirmed that Iggy Pop and Mick Jones will both serve as jurors for the 2007 festival (Sept 25-Oct 7).Other jurors will be film-makers Penny Woolcock, Andrea Arnold, Simon Channing Williams, Sandy Lieberson, Jemma Rodgers, distributor Oli Harbottle, cinematographers Jonathan Harvey and Brian Tufano, cr
  • IMAX to install cinema in Nanjing multiplex

    IMAX Corp and Nanjing Deji Plaza Co, based in the Chinese city of Nanjing, have signed an agreement that will see an IMAX cinema installed in the new Deji Plaza Mall shopping complex. The cinema, which will be capable of playing both IMAX 2D and 3D pictures, will be part of what will be the largest multiplex in Jiangsu province. There are currently 12 IMAX cinemas in operation in China with a further 13 set to open by 2010.'China's IMAX network is expanding in both commer
  • Indian Film Company backs six new projects including Loot

    The Indian Film Company, the Bollywood producer which recently started trading on the UK's Alternative Investment Market in June, has invested $24m (£12m) in six new film projects to be produced over the next year. The new projects bring Indian Film Company's slate of productions to a total of 20 films, representing about 60 percent of the IPO's funds of $110m (£55m). The new projects IFC is backinginclude Ranjneesh Thakur's Loot, which goes into production in August as a
  • Italian films lead the 16 selections for Venice Days sidebar

    Thirteen films and three documentaries - hailing from France, Spain, Russia, Canada, Germany, Italy, UK, Lebanon, United States, Poland, Mexico make up the programme for this year's Venice Days sidebar, announced Tuesday. Italy tops the entries this year with three features and two documentaries to include political satirist Sabrina Guzzanti's A Lobster's Perspective (Le ragioni dell'aragosta). The director focuses on poor fishermen in Sardegna, looking at the industry crisis thro
  • Japan's Avex signs on for Korean comedy Highway Star

    Korea 's Studio2.0 has sold musical comedy Highway Star to Avex Entertainment for Japan. A remake of Japanese film Enka No Hanamichi, the film tells the story of a wanna-be rocker who ends up singing Trot (Korean country-style music) behind a mask and becoming a star. Launched into pan-Asian popularity after his role in My Sassy Girl, Cha Tae-Hyun stars as the hapless singer. The film took in 1.7 million admissions last February and has remained as one
  • Kelly Reilly to lead cast for Watkins' thriller Eden Lake

    Kelly Reilly will star with 300's Michael Fassbender and This Is England newcomer Thomas Turgoose in Eden Lake for director James Watkins.Celador's Christian Colson (The Descent) is producing with Waking Ned producer Richard Holmes. The $4m (£2m) project will shoot July
  • Korean film orgs pledge to co-operate as investment falls

    Ten Korean film industry organisations, headed by the Korean Film Producers' Association (KFPA), issued the 'Korean Film Industry's Great Compromise Declaration' in Seoul this week. KFPA head Tcha Seung-jai, who is also head of major production house Sidus FNH, was joined by representatives from each sector of the industry - producers, investors, directors, management agents, production crews, equipment and post-production operators. CJ Entertainment's CEO J.S. Kim and hit directo
  • Korea's Sidus FNH to move into distribution

    Major Korean production house Sidus FNH has announced it will start distributing its own films late this year. The company's first self-distributed film looks likely to be romantic comedy Yong-eui-judo Miss Shin (original title) about a rich and accomplished young woman who goes about selecting a husband the same way she would go shopping for objects. Jointly headed by hit producers Kim Mi-hee and Tcha Seung-jai - also head of the Korean Film Producers' Association - the co
  • Legendary Hungarian DP Laszlo Kovacs dies at 74

    Laszlo Kovacs, the Hungarian-born cinematographer who fled his country during the 1956 revolution and went on to become one of the most influential DPs in Hollywood, died at his Beverly Hills home on Jul 22, aged 74.Kovacs amassed a sterling body of work during the late 1960s and early 1970s that included Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, That Cold Day In The Park, Paper Moon, and Shampoo. His later credits
  • Lionsgate takes minority stake in Roadside Attractions

    Lionsgate announced today that it has bought a minority ownership stake in Howard Cohen and Eric D'arbelloff's distributor Roadside Attractions.The passive investment means Roadside will remain an autonomous entity and plans 12 to 14 annual theatrical releases in North America, with Lionsgate handling home entertainment and ancillary markets.Cohen and D'arbeloff have been busy hiring distribution and marketing staff ever since Roadside's three-year arrangement with IDP Di
  • Lynch's Empire kicks off Korea's inaugural CinDi film festival

    The first Cinema Digital Film Festival (CinDi) opened on Friday (July 20) with a screening of David Lynch's Inland Empire. With a view to spotlighting new Asian directors working in the digital medium, the festival has a competition section of 20 films (see list below) vying for awards and a total of $55,000 in prize money. The fest also highlights an assortment of 20 other digital films in the 'invitation section' which range from Eric Rohmer's The Lady And The Duke
  • Malaysia's James Lee lines up Waiting, Hysteria

    Malaysian pioneering independent filmmaker James Lee will shoot two new projects back-to-back - digital film Waiting For Love and his first 35mm mainstream feature film Hysteria. A six-day shoot has just begun on the digital film, the last installment of a love trilogy which also includes Before We Fall In Love Again and Things We Do When We Fall In Love. It revolves around love affairs but the storyline is unrelated to the first two installments. Amy L
  • Mandalay to produce comedy Mental for Summit

    Summit Entertainment has acquired Bear Aderhold and Tom Sullivan's speculative comedy screenplay Mental.Mandalay Pictures will produce and Summit's production president Erik Feig and vice president of production Jean Song will oversee for the company. Summit holds worldwide rights.The story centres on a harried orderly who has 10 hours to transport a seemingly stable mental patient across Los Angeles in order to get a slice of his
  • Martin Schuermann steps down as CEO of IM Internationalmedia

    IM's CFO Sascha Konzack will now run the company on his own, Schuermann will continue as managing director of Intermedia Film Equities USA Martin Schuermann has stepped down from his post as CEO of IM Internationalmedia due to 'personal reasons' with immediate effect. He will continue to serve as the managing director of Los Angeles-based Intermedia Film Equities USA. Schuermann had taken up his posts at IM Internationalmedia in May 2005 as the successor to Moritz
  • Media Luna and Wide pick up Locarno competition films

    Cologne-based sales company Media Luna Entertainment has picked up the world sales for Lugano-born Fulvio Bernasconi's feature debut Off The Ropes (Fuori Dalle Corde), which will have its world premiere in official competition at the Locarno International Film Festival next week.The story of a young Italian boxer from Trieste with Michele Venitucci and Maya Sansa was produced by Switzerland's Ventura Film with Italy's ITC Movie and Bianca Film
  • Medusa announces that Michael Clayton will have Venice gala

    Italian film giant Medusa announced legal drama Michael Clayton starring George Clooney by screenwriter turned director Tony Gilroy will screen as a gala event at the 64th edition of the Venice Film Festival. Medusa VP and CEO Giampaolo Letta made up the announcement one week before the Venice Film Festival official line is made public, at the presentation of Medusa's 2007/2008 slate in Rome's Casina Validier Thursday night. Top Hollywood titles that Medusa will distribute include
  • Meirelles' Blindness sees start of shoot in Toronto

    Fernando Meirelles has begun principal photography on Blindness, a $25m multi-territory co-production adapted from the novel by Jose Saramago by Don McKellar. The film stars Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover, Alice Braga, Yusuke Iseya, Yoshino Kimura, Maury Chaykin and Gael Garcia Bernal. McKellar is also a featured player. The story takes place in a city ravaged by an epidemic of instant 'white blindness' and charts the disintegratio
  • Motovun gives top prize to Shaul's Sweet Mud

    At the ninth Motovun Film Festival (Jul 23-27) in Istria, Croatia, the jury led by Istvan Szabo gave the main prize to Israeli-German-Japanese feature Sweet Mud (Adama Meshuga'at) by Dror Shaul.Each of the jury members had their own special mentions, so the Serbian director Misa Radivojevic chose Naomi Kawase's Cannes Grand Prize Winner The Mourning Forest (Mogari No Mori), Albanian director Kujtim Csas
  • Nadine Labaki: beauty without cruelty

    It might not be about war or politics but the debut project from a young Lebanese director says much about the peace that can be achieved. Antonia Carver reports
  • Nimoy, Quinto to play Spock in Paramount's new Star Trek

    Leonard Nimoy will reprise his role as Mr Spock in J J Abrams' upcoming Star Trek feature for Paramount, the director announced on the opening day of Comic-Con in San Diego.Meanwhile Zachary Quinto, one of the stars of this year's hit US television series Heroes, will portray the Vulcan in his younger years.Both actors made surprise appearances at Paramount's slate presentation, along with p
  • No Reservations

    Dir: Scott Hicks. US. 2007. 101mins.No Reservations is the lighter, blander Hollywood version of Mostly Martha (Drei Sterne), the 2001 German-language romantic dramedy about love, food and family. The adjusted tone and the star power of leads Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart will certainly suit the remake's domestic positioning as a female-skewing piece of summer counter-programming.But even undemanding popcorn crowds might fee
  • North America rallies to Simpsons Movie with $71.9m opening

    Fox's The Simpsons Movie won the weekend race in emphatic style as the highly acclaimed theatrical version of the 18-year-old television series opened on an estimated $71.9m.The film also dominated the international arena and features the regular voice cast of Dan Castellenata, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright and Hank Azaria.The strong debut played a major part in raising weekend box office 45% higher than the comparable weekend in
  • Osian's launches fund for Asian, Arab filmmakers

    Indian arts organisation Osian's, organiser of the Cinefan film festival which is currently in progress in Delhi, is launching a development fund to support filmmakers from India, Asia and the Arab region. Dubbed the Film Fund: Osian's Originating Development (FOOD), thefund will provide grants ranging from $10,000-$25,000 for pre-production expenses such as script development, casting and location scouting. Osian's also intends to offer its in-house expertise on the development
  • Peccadillo takes UK rights to XXY and Poltergay

    UK distributor Peccadillo Pictures has acquired all UK and Ireland distribution rights to Lucia Puenzo's XXY as well as home entertainment rights for Eric Lavaine's Poltergay. XXY won the Cannes Critics' Week Grand Prix and Rail D'Or. Ines Efron and Martin Piroyansky star in the story of a young hermaphrodite who experiences prejudice in a new community in Uruguay. Peccadillo plans a summer release. Poltergay, which will be released on DVD around Hallowe
  • Potter rockets past $350m in overseas grosses

    Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix consolidated its gains from last weekend's memorable launch and seized an estimated $100.8m to cross $350m overseas after less than two weeks.Warner Bros Pictures International's (WBPI) fifth entry in the children's fantasy series drew approximately 14m admissions from 13,000 prints in 58 territories that saw the cumulative gross rise to $351.3m. The worldwide tally stands at more than $558m.
  • Promotional feature - Locarno - Open doors is open for business

    "The Middle East is hot right now," says Nadia Dresti, the director of the industry office at the Locarno international film festival. "This year's Open Doors is going to be particularly interesting."Supported by the Swiss Foreign Ministry's Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC), Open Doors is described by festival director Frederic Maire as "Locarno's strongest industry element" and aims to match regional film-makers with international co-producers and industry partners.
  • Ratatouille's Remy recruited for UK anti-piracy campaign

    The UK's Industry Trust for IP Awareness is working with Disney and Pixar for an anti-piracy campaign starring Ratatouille's Remy the Rat. The new anti-copyright theft spots will launch in cinemas Friday. Remy is seen dismissing pirated films for their poor quality and lack of taste. The initiative is also backed by Kodak and Technicolor.Lee Jury, executive marketing director, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK, said: 'As an industry it is importa
  • Romero's Diary Of The Dead heads TIFF Midnight Madness

    George Romero's Diary Of The Dead was one of the titles announced in the Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness sidebar today. The festival also announced titles in its child-oriented Sprockets Family Zone programme and the experimental strand Wavelengths. Diary follows a group of student filmmakers whose amateur horror production turns into a real-life blood orgy. Written and directed by
  • Rpin Suwannath to direct The Lotus Caves for Walden Media

    Effects pioneer Rpin Suwannath will make his directorial debut on Walden Media's John Christopher adaptation The Lotus Caves.Suwannath, who has worked closely with Walden on pre-visualisaing Walden's The Chronicles Of Narnia films, is currently in development on the project with executive producer Steven Granat.Set in a 2068 when humans have colonised the Moon, the story follows two teenager
  • Rushes Soho Shorts adds documentary competition

    The ninth Rushes Soho Shorts Festival in London will run July 28-Aug 3 with screenings of 90 short films across the categories of newcomer, animation, music video, and this year's addition, documentary, as well as a series of educational and networking events.Screenings will centre around the Curzon Soho and highlights will include Medb Films producer Elaine Wickham's directorial debut My Mother, with a soundtrack by
  • Sad Vacation by Aoyama Shinji to open Venice Horizons

    The Venice Film Festival's Horizons side bar dedicated to new trends in filmmaking has announced its opening and closing film in both the feature and documentary categories.Sad Vacation by Aoyama Shinji starring Japanese super star Tadanobu Asano will be Horizons' opening film.Sad Vacation is the story of a boy who lost both parents but meets his long lost mother - giving him the chance to reconcile his past. Last year, Shinji presented Crickets in the
  • Samuel Goldwyn to handle US distribution of Southland Tales

    Samuel Goldwyn Films will release Richard Kelly's Southland Tales in the US on Nov 9 in association with Destination Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group.The long awaited release follows the film's world premiere at Cannes 2006, when Kelly's follow-up to his 2001 cult hit Donnie Darko came under fire from critics who lambasted it for being overly long and self-indulgent.It is
  • Sarajevo Film Festival announces full competition

    The Sarajevo Film Festival has announced the competition programme of its 13th edition, running from Aug 17 to 25. The feature film competition will include two world premieres, Macedonian-Slovenian-Belgian-French co-production I Am From Titov Veles (Jas Sum Od Titov Veles) by Teona Mitevska and Bosnian-Slovenian-Serbian-German-UK It's Hard To Be Nice (Tesko Je Biti Fin) by Srdjan Vuletic, which will be the opening film of the festival. Both films are the result of Saraje
  • Screen International's Toronto Product Guide for 2007

    SCREEN INTERNATIONAL PRESENTSToronto Product GuideDear Industry Colleague,Screen International is compiling entries for its market leading product guide for Toronto 2007. This is your best opportunity to promote your company’s presence and your films at what will be a busy and strongly contested market.For your FREE product and company listings you must complete the forms and return by Friday August10th
  • Shooting messengers

    Attacks on film critics are misguided. It is the executive suites that have lost the popular touch, argues Len Klady. In the past few years, I've read a fair amount about the role of the film critic. To be more precise, it's felt like open season on people that critique the current crop of movies in newspapers and magazines, on television and the internet. The gist of these articles and editorials is that critics are out of touch with the core film-going audience.
  • Simpsons proves a $96m international box office champ

    The Simpsons Movie hit the jackpot at the weekend with a resounding $96m estimated overseas launch that vapourised fears about the long-running television series lacking the stamina or charisma for the big screen.Fox International's achievement was made all the more remarkable by the fact that, while the film opened day-and-date with the $71.9m North American debut, the initial wave of releases only broke into 71 of 94 scheduled markets and ei
  • Simpsons take on the world in 71 territories

    Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix will surge past $400m this weekend in what will be a tightly contested bout with the global release of The Simpsons Movie.Warner Bros Pictures International's (WBPI) fifth Potter episode has raced to $395m and should continue to make strong gains in its third weekend.However it may not remain at the top for a third consecutive weekend now that fans of
  • Spottiswoode Rwanda drama to open Atlantic Film Festival

    Roger Spottiswoode's Rwanda genocide drama Shake Hands With The Devil will open the 27th Atlantic Film Festival on September 13. Based on the memoir by Canadian Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, leader of the UN force that was unable to prevent the 1994 atrocity, the film stars Roy Dupuis in the lead and costars Deborah Kara Unger, Jean-Hugues Anglade and Tom McCamus. The film is world premiering at Toronto.Filmed in Rwanda using
  • Stephen Daldry's The Reader gears up for Berlin shoot

    Nicole Kidman is set to be the latest of the Hollywood A-listers coming to work in Berlin later this summer, following a long line of colleagues such as ex-husband Tom Cruise, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Richard Roundtree shooting in the German capital, according to German press reports.It has been revealed that Kidman will be reunited with UK director Stephen Daldry after his 2002 Oscar-winning film The Hours for the female lead in his adap
  • Suite Dreams director Mitani set to make Magic for Toho

    Toho has announced details of Suite Dreams writer-director Koki Mitani's next project. Entitled The Magic Hour, the film will star Satoshi Tsumabuki (Dororo) and Koichi Sato (Sukiyaki Western Django). The story follows a young underworld figure (Tsumabuki) who promises to track down a hit man for his boss. When he can't locate the assassin, he tricks a third-rate actor (Sato) into playing the role for a film that doesn't exist. The cast also includes Eri Fukat
  • Sundance names participants in Documentary Composers Lab

    Seven documentary film-makers and six film music composers have been invited to participate as Fellows in the Sundance Documentary Composers Lab, which runs from Aug 5-9 in Utah.The documentary subjects cover an Iraq War training simulation in the US, peace activists in Colombia, and Ethipian teenagers who move to America in search of a better life.The Documentary Composers Lab is a key component of the full Sundance Institute Composers Lab, which runs from Jul 24-Aug 9.
  • Swedish admissions up but local productions down 3.8% in 2006

    Swedish cinemas struck back in 2006, having lost 11% both in attendance and gross box office receipts the year before: admissions reached 15.3 million and ticket sales $181 million (Eu131 million), up 5% and 7%, respectively. However, according to the annual report on the film industry published by the Swedish Film Institute, local productions suffered another set-back, controlling 18.8% of the market, 3.8% down on 2006 and less than the 1997-2006 average of 20.6%. From 44 domes
  • The Bourne Ultimatum

    Dir: Paul Greengrass. US. 2007. 113mins.The Bourne Ultimatum serves as an involving and fitting bookend to Matt Damon's character-powered spy thriller series, paying off in a thrilling manner his amnesiac assassin's search to uncover the roots of his identity while also delivering plenty of slam-bang, real-world action set across a sprawling variety of locations. Despite their international settings and flavoring, the first two B
  • The Independent becomes sponsor of Sheffield Doc/Fest

    The UK 's Sheffield Doc/Fest has recruited The Independent newspaper as the festival's presenting media sponsor. The festival will now be known as Sheffield Doc/Fest in association with The Independent, and the sponsorship deal also includes editorial, advertising and marketing initiatives. Heather Croall, festival director of Doc/Fest, said: 'With The Independent on board, it's an exciting time for the Festival. It's a highly respected newspaper and will encou
  • The Simpsons Movie

    Dir: David Silverman. US. 2007. 87mins.Mixing to pleasingly irreverent effect the same sort of light social satire, dysfunctional family comedy and base physical gags that have been part of its well-honed formula for almost 20 years, The Simpsons Movie smoothly jumps the yawning chasm from small screen to large, delivering consistent laughs from the fallback position of a wide, nearly uninterrupted smile. Having debuted in almost buzz-free fashion i
  • Toronto confirms Special Presentations from Venice

    The Toronto International Film Festival today augmented its September line-up with a number of Special Presentations, many of them world premiering at Venice. Among the titles are Andrew Dominik's The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan picture I'm Not There and Paul Haggis' In The Valley Of Elah.
  • UK anti-piracy groups celebrate charges brought against market owners

    The UK's anti-piracy groups are welcoming a judgment handed down at St Albans Crown Court that says a market can be held accountable for pirated materials sold by its traders. The case was brought by Hertfordshire Trading Standards against Wendy Fair Markets Ltd and its directors Nicholas Hobday and Sally Ward who were found guilty on money laundering charges. Film anti-piracy body FACT and UK music labels association BPI note that the case is significant because all previous co
  • UK cinema admissions up 6% in first half of the year

    UK admissions rose 6% year-on-year for the first half of 2006, according to the country's distributors' organisation.Visitor numbers rose to 76.9 million with box-office revenues reaching $815m (£396.8m.)The figures from the Film Distributor's Association highlight two key factors:The popularity of local films, including Mr Bean's Holiday, Hot Fuzz , Miss Potter, The Last King of Scotland and Notes on a Scandal.And the success of major franch
  • Ulrich Muehe, star of Oscar-winning The Lives Of Others, dies aged 54

    The German film industry is in mourning after the death at 54 of actor Ulrich Muehe, the star of Oscar-winning international success The Lives Of Others.Muehe, who played the secret police officer Gerd Wiesler in Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's feature about 1980s East Germany, had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this
  • Utah increases rebate to film-makers from 10% to 15%

    The Utah Film Commission has increased by 50% the rebate available to film-makers through the State's Motion Picture Incentive Fund (MPIF).The incentive package rises from 10% to a 15% post-performance rebate for every dollar spent in the state of Utah.The cap on the fund remains at $500,000 and the budget for each film must be at least $1m. Qualifying projects have access to $4m duringfiscal year 2007-2008, which began Jul 1, 2007.'When we first started the i
  • Venice Film Festival announces its line-up

    The Venice Film Festival has announced its line-up. Films from Woody Allen, Ken Loach, Paul Haggis, Todd Haynes, Ang Lee, Wes Anderson, Miike Takashi, Brian De Palma, Andrew Dominik, Peter Greenaway, Kitano Takeshi, Eric Rohmer and Kenneth Branagh among others will play the festival which runs from Aug 29-Sept 8. Joe Wright's Atonement has previously been announced as opening the festival. OPENING FILM Atonement (Joe Wright, US-UK)
  • Venice lines up strong English-language programme

    Hollywood will be jetting to the Lido for the 64th edition of the Venice Film Festival where a cluster of top shelf US directors are unveiling their current projects in a festival that underscores the force of English-language cinema.While six American pictures have made the competition cut, they are flanked by three British and one Canadian titles giving English-language films an edge in this year's Venice competition lineup.In fact, of the 57 films across all the sectio
  • Veteran PR executive Gardner dies in New York, aged 88

    Public Relations executive Margaret Gardner died at her Park Avenue apartment in New York City on Jul 19 following a battle against cancer. She was 88.Gardner was born in Marinette, Wisconsin, and moved to Los Angeles after finishing high school to join her brother, the producer Arthur Gardner, who at the time was working as an actor in film and theatre.After graduating from UCLA she started out as a magazine writer and went on to become vice president in charge of intern
  • Vietnam - Stepping Into The World

    In 1981, Fay Kanin, the then president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Ampas), took Cyd Charisse and other Hollywood luminaries on a trip to China.Films including Charisse-starrer Singin' In The Rain were screened and meetings were held with representatives of the Chinese film industry. The trip was a one-off, but more recently Academy board members have lobbied for a wider, dedicated programme of international outreach inspired by the increasing scope of th
  • Walden options family comedy Relativity by Peter Craig

    Walden Media has optioned Peter Craig's family comedy screenplay Relativity.The story revolves around parents who on the occasion of their 35th wedding anniversary gather their children to reveal a big secret that sends shockwaves through the family.Vice president of development Evan Turner brought the project to the company and will oversee.Director of business and legal affairs Balazs Laszlo negotiated the deal on beh
  • William Ireton: the interpreter

    First he brought the Hollywood A-list to Japan. Now the head of Warner Entertainment Japan is turning his attention to stars closer to home. Jason Gray reports.In 2006, when Japanese films took a larger bite of the pie than Hollywood imports for the first time in more than two decades, Warner Entertainment Japan (WEJ) weathered the storm thanks mainly to the local titles on its slate.'We took a dip, but fortunately our local titles, the two Death Note fil
  • Wine growing comedy prepares to uncork

    Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Freddy Rodriguez, Rachael Taylor from Transformers, Chris Pine, and Eliza Dushku will star in Randall Miller's wine growing comedy Bottle Shock.The IPW, Zin Haze and Unclaimed Freight Production joint enterprise will begin shooting in the Napa and Sonoma Valley regions of California on Aug 1.Jody Savin and Miller worked on Ross Schwartz and Lannette Pabon's origin