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29 October 2004

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  • AFM name 31 films for Premiere Screenings

    EddieO'Flaherty's boxing drama Fighting Tommy Riley and Nickolas Perry and Harry Thomason'spolitical documentary The Hunting Of The President are among a line-up of 31 independentfeatures selected for the AFM's Premiere Screenings Programme.The titles wereannounced yesterday (26) by Jonathan Wolf, executive vice president of theIndependent Film & Television Alliance and AFM managing director.The screeningprogramme runs from Nov 3-9 and was established in 1999 to br
  • Allen's Melinda to open Stockholm

    Woody Allen's Melinda & Melinda has replaced Oliver Stone's Alexander as the opening film of the Stockholm InternationalFilm Festival on Nov 18.The move follows the decision to move the US opening of Alexander from the beginning of November to November 24.Stone will now arrive in Stockholm on November 25, where Alexanderwill have its European premiere.The director will also be awarded the Stockholm LifetimeAcheivement Award.
  • Amazonas festival to open with ecological drama

    TheAmazonas Film Festival (Nov 26 - Dec 1) will open with ecological adventuretale Taina 2 - A New Amazon Adventure by Mauro Lima in Manaus, Brazil.The filmis the story of a young Indian girl facing up to a dangerous gang who smuggle rare specimens of Amazon fauna.Thefestival was created by Lionel Chouchan of Le Public Systeme which organizesthe Deauville, Cognac, Gerardmer and Marrakech festivals among others, andd
  • Arclight launches AFM sales on Word, Girl

    Arclight Filmshas picked up international rights to Every Word Is True starring Sandra Bullock and GwynethPaltrow among others and Hilary Duff comedy Material Girl which 20th Century Fox isdistributing domestically. Both will be offered to buyers at AFM.WarnerIndependent Pictures (WIP) is financing Every Word Is True and handling domestic distribution;Arclight's Gary Hamilton closed the deal for foreign sales with WIP's MarkGill.Set to startshooting in Jan,
  • AUSTRALIA 25 October

    Shall We Dance'opened last Thursday and leads the box office chart for the four-day weekendending on October 24. It sold A$2,104,907 worth of tickets to 267 screens to beable to earn that honour.The BVI title pushed Collateralinto second place after just one week at the top. The UIP Tom Cruise vehiclegarnered 37% less interest than the previous weekend, taking A$1,563,124 from299 screens, the widest release of any of the top 20 films.Another ope
  • AWP takes the world on Satan's Little Helper

    Los Angeles-basedinternational production and distribution company American World Pictures hasacquired worldwide rights to Satan's Little Helper, the first horror picture in more than 20 years bycult filmmaker Jeff Lieberman.The Halloween-themed picturemade its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year and centres on anaive child who becomes the unwitting apprentice of a masked psychopath.Satan's Little Helper will screen at the AFM i
  • BAFTA Scotland announces film award nominees

    Young Adam, American Cousins and Afterlifelead the nominations for the BAFTA Scotland Awards to be held in Glasgow onNovember 14.A significantexpansion of the previous biennial awards honouring new talent, these nowannual awards will honour Scottish achievement at all levels as well asrecognising developments in new technology and new media.Scots actor BillyBoyd was present at the announcement of the nominations that saw recognitionfor Young Adam in five cat
  • BAFTA voters prepare for 'mystifying' campaign season

    BAFTA voters are preparing for 'mystifying' campaignseason in the UK following the delay in plans to distribute anti-piracy DVDplayers to every BAFTA member.The move has led to predictions in certain quarters thatthe late arrival of the DVD players will cause a repeat of last year's chaosamong film voting members as the 2004-5 awards season beckons.Earlier this month, Dolby subsidiary Cinea delayed plansto send out the pla
  • Bavaria closes further Bombon sales

    Bavaria Film International (BFI) has closed further sales onArgentine director Carlos Sorin's Bombon - El Perro following its market screening at MIFED.Deals for all of the Germanspeaking territories were concluded with Alamode Film (Germany), Poly Film(Austria) and Trigon Film (Switzerland), while all rights were also sold toMikado Film (Italy), Arthaus (Norway), Discovery (ex-Yugoslavia), Barbar(Turkey) and to Best Hollywood (Hungary, Czech Republic and Slova
  • Bavaria wraps Surprise sales

    Bavaria Film International (BFI) has concluded a number ofsales for the German 2004 blockbuster Dreamship Surprise - Period 1 after its market premiere at MIFED.While Pony Canyon secured all rights for Japan, Believen picked up the sci-fi spoof forRussia, Intwest for Ukraine, Discovery for ex-Yugoslvaia and Best Hollywood forHungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In addition, Pris-video acquired allrights for Portugal.BFI expects to close further deals at the forthcom
  • Best Man joins The Works for AFM

    Shooting Fish director Stefan Schwartz is directing The Best Man, a romantic comedy that is part of a trio of new filmson the AFM slate of UK-based sales agency The Works.Shooting has already startedon the story of a hapless best man who falls in love with the bride. Thepicture, which stars Stuart Townsend, Amy Smart and Seth Green, will bereleased by Redbus in the UK, with German-speaking rights taken by PictorionPictures.Neil Peplow is producing forInsider Films,
  • Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason

    Dir: Beeban KidronUK-US-Fr 2004 107minsBridget Jones is back, as fretful and neurotic as ever,in an expertly crafted (if rather soulless) sequel which is likely to hit allthe right buttons for Working Title. Renee Zelwegger again excels as the podgy,thirtysomething London singleton with the ineffably messy love life. She is fedplenty of witty and acerbic one-liners by a high-powered screenwriting team.Hugh Grant effectively reprises his role as the womanising cad, Daniel Cleaver,whi
  • Bullet Boy

    Dir: Saul Dibb. UK. 2004.91minsA low-budget blackBritish film with energy and attitude, Bullet Boy is among the moreinvigorating UK movie debuts of recent years. In his first feature, directorSaul Dibb (best known as a documentary maker) uses his north London locationsin eerie, atmospheric fashion and manages to deal with gun crime andgangsterism without preaching.Part thriller, part familymelodrama, the film is plotted along familiar lin
  • Bush's Brain to screen pre-election on Sundance

    Bush's Brain, the profile of George W Bush's chiefpolitical strategist Karl Rove, will screen on the Sundance Channel on the eveof the presidential election on Nov 1.Directed andproduced by Joseph Mealey and Michael Paradies Shoob, the documentary is basedon the bestselling book by journalists James Moore and Wayne Slater.Bush's Brain examines Rove's rise to power frompolitical consultant to one of the most influential presidential advisors inyears.
  • BVI's King Arthur rules in China

    King Arthur, which has been a star performer forBuena Vista International (BVI) this year, scored the distributor's thirdbiggest ever debut in China at the weekend.The epicadventure opened on an estimated $870,000 on 335 screens, ranking behind PearlHarbor and Pirates OfThe Caribbean in theall-time opening pantheon.Overall thepicture grossed $1.5m for a $143m international running total.The PrincessDiaries 2 opened fourthin England (it had alre
  • Canada - Production Listings: October 30

    CANADA - October 29PRE-PRODUCTIONMODERN LOVE(Cirrus Productions/ Les Films Locomotions) Budget: $4.1m. Backer: TelefilmCanada. Dist: Equinoxe Films (Canada). Romance. Maddie is a marriage and sextherapist but when her boyfriend rejects her marriage proposal and leaves her,she is confronted with the harsh realization that she knows nothing of thehuman heart and modern love. Exec prods: Jacques Blain, Denis Martel, RichardSpeer and Marc S.
  • Canada's Tapestry strikes sales alliance with MarVista

    Moving to boost itsworldwide profile, Toronto-based production house Tapestry Pictures haslaunched Tapestry Distribution International (TDI), which will sell worldwidetelevision, home video and DVD rights through a strategic alliance with LosAngeles-based MarVista Entertainment.TDI will continue to beresponsible for Canadian distribution under the deal. Tapestry principals MaryYoung Leckie and Heather Haldane head up TDI and Tapestry's business affairsand development coordinator Amanda
  • Columbia bears Ghost House's The Grudge to a wide audience

    Ghost House Pictures' Japanese horror remake The Grudge, released in North America by ColumbiaPictures, scored the second biggest October debut of all time as it opened topon an estimated $40m, dethroning DreamWorks' animated hit Shark Tale in its fourth weekend.
  • Czech features dominate Cottbus market

    New Czech feature projects dominate this year's ConnectingCottbus East-West co-development market which will be held during theFilmFestival Cottbus - Festival of East European Cinema (Nov 2-6) from November4-5.Five of the 13 projects selected from nine countries for themarket will be pitched by Czech production houses, including Bionaut Films (TheCarp), Endorfilm (U-Bahn) and Verbascum (The Reflection of theBethlehem Star) - which is appropriategiven that the main
  • Dead Man's Shoes leads BIFA contenders

    The British Independent Film Award (BIFA) nominations wereannounced today, with Shane Meadows' DeadMan's Shoes leading the field with eight nominations, closely followed byMike Leigh's Vera Drake with seven nods including Best Actress for ImeldaStaunton.Other strong contenders include Pawel Pawlikoski's My Summer Of Love; Kevin Macdonald's Touching The Void and
  • DENMARK 25 October

    Though the new release of stuntman-turned-filmmaker LasseSpang Olsen's romantic comedy Inkassomuscled its way into the top of the Danish chart with its high 77 prints, itdidn't quite have the draw of Kings' Game,which had a better screen and admission average on its 57 prints despite beingin its fourth week. However, as expected last week's hit and chart topper, My Sister's Kids In Egypt, dropped amassive 72% down the
  • Direct Cinema 'godfathers' lined up for IDFA fest

    FrederickWiseman, Albert Maysles, D.A. Pennebaker, Richard Leacock and Robert Drew, thelegendary 'godfathers' of the Direct Cinema movement, are all toattend the seventeenth IDFA, the world's biggest documentary festival, inAmsterdam next month.They will be taking part in a special debate about thelegacy of Direct Cinema, which revolutionised documentary in the 60s andintroduced the i
  • DreamWorks Animation raises $812m in IPO

    In the first initial publicoffering by a major studio in seven years, DreamWorks Animation raised $812myesterday (26), far higher than analysts expected.
  • Dutch video rental sector in decline

    Film piracy is becoming an increasingly serious threat tothe Dutch video rental industry. According to the latest data, 80% of videooutlets are suffering declining business, with drops of as high as 15 %compared to 2003.Industry body, the NVDOdescribes the situation as 'disastrous', with the main reason for thedecline being the enormous number of movies downloaded illegally from theinternet - and subsequent black market sales.According to Platform Filmtheft,
  • Eddie Michaels relaunches LA PR firm as Insignia

    LosAngeles-based publicity firm Eddie Michaels & Associates relaunches asInsignia Public Relations and Media Strategies today (28) with company founderEddie Michaels announcing three key promotions.Zachary Rosenfieldhas been named a principal of the firm and will continue to work closely withMichaels in managing strategic media campaigns for the firm's productioncompany, producer, and event clientele.Rosenfieldjoined Michaels in 1998 and has played an integra
  • Emmerich strikes first look deal with German fund

    Director Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow) has signed a "first look" agreement withthe German private media fund VIP for his own in-house developed film projectsas opposed to those offered to him by Hollywood studios.As part of the agreement, the German-born director and VIP'sAndreas Schmid are planning to set up a joint production outfit in Munich bythe end of November and are already discussing the first joint projects whichare expected to have budgets ranging between E
  • EU drops antitrust case against six Hollywood studios

    The European Commission (EC) has called on NBC Universal andParamount Pictures to drop what it regards as unfair conditions in their outputdeals with European broadcasters.The EC's departing Competition Commissioner Mario Monti saidyesterday that his organisation had dropped its investigation into thepractices of the other six "major Studios", Buena Vista International Inc.(subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company), Warner Bros Entertainment Inc, 20thCentury Fox Film Corp., Sony Pictures
  • European regional funding network swells its ranks

    The UK's Screen South, Sweden's Film I Vast and Spain's IVACLa Filmoteca are among eight regional film funders who have swelled the ranksof the Cine-Regio network of European funding agencies to bring the membershipup to 13.Part-financed by the European Union's Interreg IIICprogramme, the Cine-Regio network was launched at the beginning of this year byfive founding members, Belgium's Wallimage, Germany's MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg,Austria's Vienna Film Fund, the Netherlands' Rotterdam Film
  • Every Word Is True joins Arclight AFM slate

    Arclight Films has picked upinternational rights to the all-star drama Every Word Is True which Warner Independent Pictures (WIP) is financingand distributing in North America.Set to start shooting inJan, the film is being produced by Killer Films and is the story of thelegendary Truman Capote (to be played by British stage actor Toby Jones) andhis bizarrely close relationship with jailed convicted murderers Dick Hickockand Perry Smith, the subjects of his classic novel In Co
  • Festival of India to honour Amritraj

    Indian born Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj, Chairman andCEO of Hyde Park Entertainment is to be honoured at the International FilmFestival of India being held in Goa (Nov 29 - Dec 9).The festival will screen five of his recent films in asection called Spotlight on Ashok Amritraj, an Indian Success Story inHollywood. The films include Walking Tall, Raising Helen, Bandits, MoonlightMile and Bringing Down the House.Speaking to, festival direc
  • First Independent picks up two from Park for US

    Gary Rubin's FirstIndependent Pictures has picked up US rights to Gary Sinyor's comedy Bob TheButler and Richard Jobson's actiontitle The Purifiers from Park Entertainment.Bob The Butler stars Tom Green as an accident-prone man who throughvarious mishaps becomes a butler and befriends a family. Brooke Shields andSimon Callow also star.Steven Manners and JaneWalker Wood co-wrote the screenplay and Gavin Wilding and Esther Randall serveas producers. Executive
  • FRANCE 29 October

    In its second week, SharkTale stayed at the top of the chart for an additional 678,986 admissions.The second and third place films are also repeats of last week with L'Enquete Corse and Arsene Lupin only dropping off by 18% and 27% respectively.The sequel to French hit comedy Pedale Douce - fittingly titled PedaleDure - took the fourth position in its debut week to bring in 235,186moviegoers. Al
  • Freestyle buys into Hamptons prize winner Riley

    Susan Jackson, Mark Borde and Mike Doban's fledgling USdistributor Freestyle Releasing has acquired all North American rights fromVisualeyes Productions and Jellyworks to Eddie O'Flaherty's directorial debut FightingTommy Riley.
  • French engage with Amelie follow-up

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet's highlyanticipated Euros 45m A Very Long Engagement scored the fifth bestopening day of the year when it was released in France on Wednesday (Oct 27).With 220,821 tickets soldthroughout the country on 707 screens, the wartime epic had the best opening of2004 for a French film.Compared with other filmslaunched this year, it came in at number five behind Harry Potter And ThePrisoner Of Azkaban, Spider Man 2, Shrek 2 and The Villag
  • Glickman wins over French film-makers

    The 14th annual Rencontres Cinematographiques de Beaunewrapped up on Sunday (Oct 24) after three days of debates which welcomed scores of Frenchand American talent as well as new MPAA president Dan Glickman.The Rencontres is organisedby French writers, directors and producers' association ARP, and eachyear reunites industry and political heavyweights in this Burgundy town todiscuss issues currently facing the film business at home, at the Europeanlevel and abroad.
  • Golden Harvest closes Taiwan exhibition deal

    Following lengthynegotiations, Hong Kong's Golden Harvest Entertainment has reached a deal toacquire Taiwan's Warner Village cinema circuit - a joint venture between WarnerBros and Australia's Village Roadshow - with a consortium of Taiwanese partnersfor US$38m.Golden Harvest istaking a 40% stake in the circuit for US$15.2m while Taiwanese companies -including disc manufacturer CMC Magnetics and a real estate company - will holdthe remaining 60%. The deal is subject to regulatory appro
  • Grudge gives Ghost House, Senator Int roaring start

    Ghost House Pictures' Japanese horror remake The Grudge, released in North America by ColumbiaPictures, scored the third biggest October debut of all time as it opened topon an estimated $40m, dethroning DreamWorks' animated hit Shark Tale (the second biggest Oct opening of all time) in its
  • HUNGARY 28 October

    Despite five new films hitting the screens in Hungary lastThursday, not one of them could capture the admissions' top spot, a positionsecured by the Bruce Willis comedy TheWhole Ten Yards in its second week of release.Collateral faredbest of the newcomers coming in second place but with less than 19,000admissions on a strong thirty prints.Veteran Hungarian filmmaker Marta Meszaros' historical film A Temetetle
  • I, Robot takes Italy by storm with $2.8m opening

    I, Robotis fast approaching the $200m milestone for Fox International following astrong Italian debut that raised the international running total to $193m.
  • IAC announces AFM line-up

    UK-based sales agent IAC Film has boarded four films including Leningrad, a WW2 story starring Mira Sorvino, Gabriel Byrne and Armin Mueller-Stahl.Sasha Buravsky is to direct the story of a young British female journalist during the Nazi blockade of Leningrad in 1941. Principal photography will start in January.Also joining IAC's slate are The Feast Of The Goat, a political thriller produced by Spain's Andres Vicente Gomez from a novel by leading Peruvian writer M
  • IMAX lands in Pakistan

    Imax Corp. and the Pakistaniprovince of Punjab have signed a deal that will see the first-ever Imax cinemain the country. The new facility, which will be capable of presenting 3D filmsas well, will be located in Lahore as the anchor tenant of a leisure centre thePunjab Government is developing. The actual screen will be one of Imax'sbiggest, 71 feet high by 95 feet across.In a joint statement Imaxco-chairmen and co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechlser said thedeal testified
  • INTERNATIONAL 28 October

    Albeit off thechart, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11became the first documentary to achieve $100m from international markets duringlast week. The film added $392,745 over the weekend with Japan and recentlaunch territory Hong Kong currently providing the highest numbers. The filmhas taken $100.8m and may get some boost still from next week's US Presidentialelection.Despite seeing no new territory openings this week UIP's S
  • Int'l Box Office: Fahrenheit 9/11 passes $100m

    Albeit off thechart, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11became the first documentary to achieve $100m from international markets duringlast week. The film added $392,745 over the weekend with Japan and recentlaunch territory Hong Kong currently providing the highest numbers. The filmhas taken $100.8m and may get some boost still from next week's US Presidentialelection.Despite seeing no new territory openings this week UIP's Shark Tale easily
  • Int'l buyers snap up Pobby & Dingan rights

    On the eve of the AFM,pan-European buying group Indie Circle has picked up its highest-profile filmto date. It snapped up multi-territory rights to Pobby & Dingan, thefantasy drama directed by The Full Monty's Peter Cattaneo.The picture is handled by UKsales and finance outfit Renaissance Film
  • Irish greyhound comedy races towards record book

    Redbus Film Distribution'scomedy road movie Man About Dog iswell on its way to becoming one of the most successful Irishindependently-financed films ever.A hit at the Irishbox-office, the Paddy Breathnach-directed film is on course to go up 7% compared to last week.Redbus estimates it will pass the $1.8m (£1m) mark by Monday, which it says makes it the second most successfulIrish-backed picture in the local market behind Intermission, which made $3.4m (Euros 2.7m). The pr
  • Italian government launches private equity film fund

    In a highly ambitious move,the Italian government is launching a private equity fund to support theItalian film industry.Cinefund will have a targetbudget of Euros 50-70m per year, to be spent on 30 to 40 Italian films andco-productions 'with high box office potential.' The fund will investan average of Euros 1-2m per film.
  • Japan's Gaga bought by Usen Corp.

    Japan's Usen Corp. has announced the purchase of GagaCommunications, a leading independent film distributor.Usen, a major supplier of broadband services in Japan, plansto acquire a 57.6% stake, amounting to $94.3m (Y10 billion) and operate Gaga asa subsidiary. It will invest the funds in two share issues that Gaga isplanning for the latter part of December 2004 and the first part of January2005.Also, Tatsumi Yoda, the honorary chairman of Avex GroupHoldings will invest $28.3m (Y
  • Kidman in talks with Aardman for Flushed Away

    Nicole Kidman is in talks tostar in Flushed Away, the next title to roll out of the multi-pictureanimation deal between the UK's Aardman Animations and DreamWorks SKG.Kidman is likely to play astreet-smart sewer rat named Rita, with Hugh Jackman voicing Roddy, a posh ratwho is swept out of his penthouse and into the sewer. There, he meets Rita, whohelps him find his way home.Rounding out the cast arereportedly The Lord Of The Rings duo Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis.
  • Kimmel signs sales partnership with Capitol

    Sidney Kimmel's Los Angelesand New York-based production company Sidney Kimmel Entertainment has signed anon-exclusive foreign sales partnership with Capitol Films in time for AFM.Capitol will represent NickCassavetes' drama Alpha Dog,starring Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone, aswell as the Julianne Moore/ Billy Crudup romantic comedy Trust The Man, written and directed by Bart Freundlich.Senator Internationalcontinues to represent and
  • Latvian, Croatian films tie for best film prize in Denver

    Rich Devaney's debut feature and inner city drama BrooklynBound won the Emerging Filmmaker Award andDanny Schechter's WMD: Weapons Of Mass Deception took the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentaryat the 27th Starz Denver International Film Festival.LailaPakalnina's Latvian school-set drama Python tied for the Krzysztof Kieslowski Awardfor Best Feature Film with Zrinko Ogresta's Here, a series of vignettes depictingd
  • Levinson, Goldberg reteam to form DVD distributor Tango

    UK industry veterans Paul Levinson and Warren Goldberg havelaunched DVD distributor Tango Entertainment, which will acquire product in allgenres for North America and the UK, with the aim of offering everything fromcut-price to star-driven titles.
  • Lightning takes international rights on Mexican

    LosAngeles-based sales and distribution company Lightning Entertainment has pickedup international rights outside the US and Mexico from Televisa Cine to the hitMexican satire A Day Without A Mexican.Sergio Arau's picture will make its market debut at theAFM in Santa Monica next week. It arrives on the back of a successful Mexicanrun predicted to gross more than $7m and a strong limited US run throughTelevisa Cine, the US distribution arm of
  • Menemsha picks up US rights to Machuca

    Neil Friedman's MenemshaFilms has picked up US distribution rights to Chile's Oscar entry Machuca which played in Directors Fortnight at Cannes thisyear as well as at Edinburgh, Pusan, Vancouver and Montreal.Directed by Andres Wood,Machuca is set in Santiago, Chile, in 1973 and tells the story of thefriendship between two eleven year-old boys, one from a wealthy neighbourhoodand one from an illegal shantytown.Friedman closed the dealwith the film's sales agent Latido and
  • MGM bullish with third quarter figures announcement

    Powered by a 30% increase inworldwide video shipments of titles like Barbershop 2 and Agent Cody Banks 2, and the Jul 1 launch of the MGM Channel in Spain,MGM top brass remained upbeat as they announced third quarter operatingfigures.Third quarter revenues were$401.3m for the period ending Sept 30 2004 compared to $457.1m for thecorresponding period in 2003. Cash provided by operating activities totalled$26.9m.The company's net loss was$26.7m, or $0.11 per share, w
  • MGM Channel launches in Taiwan, will launch in Malaysia

    Marking theone-year anniversary of the launch of MGM Channel for the Greater China andSoutheast Asia market, MGM announced yesterday (27) it has launched in Taiwanwith Malaysia to follow in "coming months".The announcementmeans MGM Channel now operates in seven countries in the region, including HongKong, Singapore, Indonesia, Macau and Thailand.The MGM Channelis produced and distributed in the region by MGM Networks through an alliancewith CNBC Asia Pacific.
  • MGM teams with NTV-PLUS in Russia channel

    MGM Networks hasannounced a deal with Russia's largest Pay-TV provider NTV-PLUS to localise anddistribute a Russian-language version of the MGM channel to NTV-PLUS'direct-to-home subscribers.The agreementfollows the launch in 2002 of MGM Channel in the former Soviet Union countrieson a number of cable and MMDS systems."We have beenassiduously trying to expand our networks in the fast-growing Russian market,"Bruce Tuchman, MGM Networks executive vice president said in a statement
  • Minghella, Chadha sign for Script Factory's SCENE

    Directors Anthony Minghella and Gurinder Chadha have bothsigned up for Script Factory's SCENE Festival.SCENE (November 27-30) is The Script Factory's annualmini-festival within TheTimes bfi London Film Festival and puts some of theworld's leading filmmakers on stage to talk about their work and theprocess of filmmaking.The Script Factory recently announced Gwyneth Paltrow as its SCENE Patron.Anthony Minghella will host an interview with Joshua M
  • Most High, Capricciosa are top winners at Hamptons

    Reza Bagher's Swedish drama Capricciosa won the Golden Starfish Award for BestInternational Film at the 12th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival,while Marty Sader's drug drama Most High won Best Narrative and Leslie Sullivan's A Touch OfGreatness took the SpikeTV Best Documen
  • MPAA hires Carlson as vp of global government affairs

    Former George W Bushcampaigner Stacy Carlson has been named executive vice president of globalgovernment affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).Carlson will commence hernew post on Jan 3 2005, and currently runs California Governor ArnoldSchwarzenegger's Washington DC office, handling federal issues for the state.She played an integral rolein the 2000 Bush for President campaign, serving as Western Region politicaldirector and director of ballot access and d
  • Mueller warns Biennale he needs full control over festival

    Veniceartistic director Marco Mueller is warning the Biennale that he needs to havefull control over the next film festival, "or he will be better off beinga full time producer again.""The mishap that happened at this year's eventdidn't have anything to do with the number of films in the festival. There werefar more films in Venice when the festival was directed by Alberto Barbera orMoritz de Hald
  • Myriad acquires world on Holland's Beethoven

    Los Angeles-based Myriad Pictures has acquired worldwide rights toAgnieszka Holland's love story Copying Beethoven, starring Ed Harris and Diane Kruger.
  • Neverland gets international debut in UK

    All eyes will beon Russia this weekend as various distributors inundate the lucrative marketwith Shark Tale, Home On The Range, Princess Diaries 2 and Anacondas.Shark Tale, the number one international pictureand a key factor in this week's IPO in the US of DreamWorks' animation unit,opens in Russia through UIP on Oct 28. As of Oct 24 it had amassed a $77.3minternational running total.Another animatedtitle, Home On The Range opens on Oct 29 through Bu
  • New bidder enters race for Swedish exhibitor

    A new bidder, independentexhibitor Triangelfilm, has said it would like to buy the Sandrew Metronome'scinema chain to stop it being sold to rival SF Bio.Sweden's second biggest exhibitor Sandrew Metronomeannounced in August that it had sold its cinema chain to SF Bio. The deal meantthat SF Bio, owned by Swedish media major Bonnier Group, would control morethan 75% of the Swedish exhibition sector.The deal has been heavily criticised in Sweden and has gonebefore
  • NORWAY 28 October

    The pairing of Cruise and Foxx made Collateral the big winner at the Norwegian box-office this weekend,where it took an impressive NOK44,012 screen average from its 35 prints.The second highest average belonged to Before Sunset (NOK38,088), which, however, only managed to get into 15th spot with itsjust five prints.While most other films fell down the chart, local hit Hawaii, Oslo stayed on third grossing
  • One Last Dance begins in Singapore

    Production begins next week on One Last Dance,a Hong Kong-set gangster picture which is already attracting internationalinterest.The $2.5m film has an unusual cast of co-producersincluding Mediacorp Raintree Pictures of Singapore, China's Ming Productionsand A-Film of The Netherlands.Shot in Cantonese and directed by Brazilian-AmericanMax Makowski, One Last Dance is described by producer Peter Loehr as a"twis
  • Parker to head Marrakech festival jury

    Alan Parker is to head the jury at the fourth edition of theMarrakech Film Festival (Dec 6-12).Fourteen international films will be shown in the officialcompetition although their names have yet to be announced. The festival hasalso programmed tributes for Italian actress Claudia Cardinale, Egyptiandirector Youssef Chahine and Scotsman Sean Connery.In total 65 films will be shown spread across thecompetition, a Panorama of Moroccan cinema and a tribute to Bollywood cinema.
  • Perabo clicks with Parker debut

    US actress Piper Perabo (pictured) has joined the cast of Click, a romantic comedy that has just started shooting in London.The directorial debut of screenwriter Ol Parker, the film tells the story of a woman who faces doubts as she's about to marry her long-term boyfriend.Click is produced by Cougar Films, Fragile Films and X Filme Creative Pool, along with Ealing Studios and BBC Films.Backers include Minotaur Film Partnership No. 3, Endgame Entertainment,
  • Producers weigh up Belgium, China and S. Africa benefits

    The benefits of shooting inBelgium, South Africa and China were outlined to international producers at afilm financing conference hosted by Screen International in London last week.The main reason to co-produce with China, said Thomas Leongof International Pacific Artists, is access to Chinese investment.'Although China is a communist country, it iscurrently quite rich,' he explained. 'Corporate investors alwaysinvest in equity, always in cash.'Providing
  • Reynolds, Reeds leave Curb to start Fabrication

    KjehlRasmussen's fledgling Hollywood-based distributor Fabrication Films has pickedup its first two features for worldwide distribution and will bring them to theAFM in Santa Monica next week.The company,which plans to distribute six to nine titles a year including US theatricalreleases, has acquired all worldwide rights to Jay Anania's mystery Her NameIs Carla and allinternational rights to Dmitri Fiks' wartime thriller The Second Front.Fabrication hasalso announc
  • Shall We Dance' opens top in Australia

    Miramax's romantic comedy remake Shall We Dance' began its international roll-out with astrong $1.5m number one opening in Australia through Buena Vista Internationalat the weekend.
  • Somersault wins every single AFI prize

    Cate Shortland'sSomersault managed a remarkable cleansweep of prizes at the star-studded AFI (Australian Film Institute) Awards inMelbourne (Oct 29), winning in all 13 categories.Somersault's record-breakingrun meant no other feature was honoured. The awards included best film forproducer Anthony Anderson, best director and best script for Cate Shortland,and actor awards for leads Abbie Cornish (pictured) and Sam Worthington, as well asLynette Curran and
  • Talent from Maria, Woodsman among Gotham Breakthrough nominees

    Mos Def andCatalina Sandino Moreno are among Breakthrough Actor Award nominees and RodneyEvans and Nicole Kassell are in the running for Breathrough Director Awardhonours in IFP/New York's upcoming 14th Annual IFP Gotham Awards on Dec 1.Formerly knownas the Open Palm Award for Outstanding Directorial Debut, the BreakthroughActor Award features five nominees: Mos Def for The Woodsman; Anthony Mackie for Brother ToBrother; CatalinaSandino Moreno for M
  • Teen horror novel Scared Stiff comes to the screen

    LosAngeles-based production house Puzzle Box Productions is teaming up withauthors Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner to adapt their Scholastic Booksteen horror bestseller Scared Stiff for the big screen.The story involves a brotherand sister who live above their parent's mortuary business and work together tostop the corpse of a vengeful mass murderer from returning to life."The potentialaudience for Scared Stiff is huge,' Puzzle Box's Will
  • The Forgotten opens top in Spain and Mexico for CTFDI

    Revolution Studios' supernatural mystery The Forgotten launched well in its first marketsthrough Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI), opening topin both Spain and Mexico on $1.4m on 262 screens and $1m on 300 respectively.
  • The Grudge

    Dir: Takashi Shimizu. US.2004. 90mins.The second Hollywoodremake of a J-horror movie after blockbuster hit The Ring, The Grudgehas confirmed the wide appetite for this kind of unsettling chiller with a $40mopening weekend in North America.Domestic distributorColumbia Pictures positioned the film to perfection, scoring a teen-friendlyPG-13 rating, creating intriguing TV spots and programming them relentlessly inthe run-up to the wee
  • The Polar Express

    Dir: Robert Zemeckis. US.2004. 92mins.Only Hollywood couldproduce a film as lavish and technologically ground-breaking as The PolarExpress, and Warner Bros is banking on that fact to entice millions offamilies around the world into their seasonal heartwarmer.The film brings to lifeChris Van Allsburg's classic US kids' book using a new animation techniquecalled Performance Capture in which live action performances by actors arecomputerised
  • Trouble continues for River Queen

    Director Vincent Ward is off the New Zealand shoot of River Queen and, unlike Samantha Mortonwho earlier took time out because of illness, isn't coming back.A statement issued today from the production office saidonly that Ward "has been removed". It did not give a reason andpublicist Sue May declined to do so. Filming will continue but a replacementdirector has yet to be named.Silverscreen Films' Don Reynolds, who is producing with TheFi
  • UK faces co-production reality-check

    UK filmcommissioner Steve Norris has called for the British qualifying certificationof UK co-productions to be taken over by the UK Film Council.Speaking during apanel discussion on co-productions at Screen International's UK Film FinanceSummit in London last week (Oct 21), Norris said that the UK film industryneeded to develop a co-production system that is fast, predictable and run bypeople who understand the business."We have a systemin overload, and we have a government depa
  • UK tax fund, Foresight, pulls out of two projects

    UK tax fund Foresight has had to pull out of Michael Winterbottom's Tristram Shandy and FilmFour's quirky Brothers Of The Head, citing what it says is the latest problem to hit the UK financing sector.The fund has just bankrolled Terry Gilliam's Tideland but had to abandon the other two films on its debut slate after delays in securing a bridging loan against the $12m (£6.5m) investment it had been pledged by investors.Foresight co-founder Paul Brett said th
  • UK/IRELAND 26 October

    Aliens and predators may have fought their way into secondplace in the UK/Ireland chart but they were still no match for UIP's animatedsharks.Shark Tale heldthe lead for a second weekend, dropping 36% from its opening week, notincluding previews. It has quickly established a strong $22.7m (£12.4m)cumulative gross.Alien Vs Predator(AvP) got off to a fighting start with a $3.7m (£2m) opening, includingpreviews of $441,161 (£241,549). In North Amer
  • Universal takes New Police Story for Japan, Korea

    Universal Pictureshas acquired all rights to New PoliceStory, starring and produced by Jackie Chan, for Japan and Korea.Co-produced byChan's JCE Movies and the China Film Group, the US$15m action blockbuster isdirected by Benny Chan and also stars Nicholas Tse, Daniel Wu, Charlie Youngand Charlene Choi.The deal wasnegotiated by Keizo Kabata of Universal Pictures Japan and Albert Lee of HongKong production and sales outfit Emperor Motion Pictures (EMP),
  • Universal's Bourne opens top in Germany

    A number one $2.9m debut inGermany on 528 screens was the key driver as Universal's The BourneSupremacy raised its internationalrunning total through UIP to an estimated $85.5m.The German launch claimed21% market share as it eclipsed Shark Tale in its second weekend by 31%, opening 12% bigger than The BourneIdentity in 2002.Overall the spy thrilleradded $4.5m on 1,400 screens in 29 territories. It also opened top in Austriaon $350,000 on 54 and there are 14
  • Verhoeven's Blackbook postponed

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  • Vivendi, Viacom complete UCI Cinemas sale

    Vivendi Universal and Viacom have completed the sale of UCICinemas' European operations to UK private equity group Terra Firma for Euros270m ($343.5m).The deal is part of Vivendi Universal's efforts to narrowits focus on media and telecoms and sell non-core assets to reduce its debt.Viacom and Vivendi each owned 50 percent of UCI which hasoperations in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal and Italy.Terra Firma announced in September that it was buying theth
  • Warner Bros, Cattleya reteam on Placido crime epic

    Principal photography isunderway in Rome on Michele Placido's epic crime drama Romanzo Criminale, the latest collaboration between Warner BrosPictures Italy and Cattleya.Warner Bros Italy holdsItalian theatrical and home video rights on the picture, a fact-based sagaabout street gangs who try to control Rome's underworld from the mid-1970sthrough the 1990s.Stefano Rulli and SandroPetraglia adapted the screenplay from Giancarlo De Cataldo's novel and thepicture stars Stefa
  • Warner Int'l promotes Zeitz to vice president

    Jeff Zeitz has been namedvice president of business systems planning at Warner Bros PicturesInternational.Zeitz will continue toreport to executive vice president of operations and finance Angelina Speareand will be responsible for daily oversight of the system's initiatives and identifybusiness opportunities.He will continue tocollaborate with senior management to establish project priorities and act as aliaison to the Warner Bros Studios MIS team to ensure the division is alig