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3 June 2002

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  • '99 Euro Films' expands European dimension

    The UK's Richard Stanley, France's Tony Baillargeat, Spain's Nacho Cerda, Belgium's Harry Kuemel and Germany's Benjamin Quabeck are to contribute to a second edition of the '99-euro films' series of digitally produced shorts which is now being opened up to European filmmakers.Producer Torsten Neumann and creative director RP Kahl have attracted backing from Lower Saxony's NordMedia fund for nine eight-minute films which will be shot on mini-DV this summer with shooting budgets of Euro
  • Almodovar to head first European cinema heritage week

    Pedro Almodovar will be the patron of the first European Cinema Heritage Week (November 15-23, 2002) which aims to raise awareness of European cinema and to promote discussion of the visual image.Launching the Heritage Week in Cannes, European Commissioner Viviane Reding said 'the European public will discover the great films which are the key elements of our cultural diversity, and that they will get back into the habit of going to see European films. I also see this Week as an opport
  • Australia's Seven takes everything from Icon

    Australia's Seven Network has signed for television and pay television rights to all the films that are released theatrically by the Australian arm of Icon Film Distribution, which opened for business early this year. The first package of films in the multi-year deal includes We Were Soldiers, Gosford Park, the thriller Basic, starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, the Rob Schneider comedy Harrv The Barbarian, and a yet-to-be announced Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Balding gets top spot at Australia's ABC

    Russell Balding has been appointed to the most important role in Australian public broadcasting: that of managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. An accountant by training, he joined the ABC in 1996 and is currently deputy managing director. The board's decision was unanimous. Former managing director Jonathan Shier and the board parted ways last November, just two years into his five-year contract. His stormy reign, lack of acceptance by staff and controversial de
  • Banderas, Cruz may re-unite with Almodovar for Tarantula

    Two of Spain's hottest properties, Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, are likely to co-star in Tarantula, a futuristic film noir by director Pedro Almodovar. Producer Agustin Almodovar was quoted in Cannes this weekend confirming that the long-mooted project (see Screendaily July 10, 2001) would star Banderas and Cruz. Tarantula, the story of a plastic surgeon in the year 2010 or 2015, who takes revenge on his daughter's rapist by giving him a forced sex-ch
  • Beckham to play in Japan and Korea

    It looks like Beckham will be playing in Japan and Korea. UK-based sales outfit The Works has sold Bend It Like Beckham to a host of markets including Japan (New Select) and Korea (Digital Nega).Other markets sold included Germany (Highlight) and Hong Kong (Golden Scene). The soccer drama comedy went to Fox Searchlight for North and South America.The Works closed deals on Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen to territories including Japan (Cine Qua Non); Hong Kong (First Dist
  • Beta Cinema closes US distribution deal on Sun Alley

    Germany's Beta Cinema has closed a US distribution deal with Outrider Pictures for Leander Haussmann's feature film debut Sun Alley (Sonnenallee) with a release planned for this autumn.This is the second Beta title to secure US distribution this year following Roxie Releasing's acquisition of Roland Suso Richter's The Tunnel at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.Meanwhile, the German blockbuster Manitou's Shoe (Der Schuh Des Manitu) has added Turkey t
  • Bollywood release triumphs in the shadow of Star Wars' attack

    Five new openers launched into the UK chart this week but were unable to make much impact on the box office of chart leader Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones.The most impressive of this week's debutantes was Eros International's latest Bollywood release, Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam. The romantic drama grossed a mighty $354,191 (£242,975) off just 28 sites - a site average of $12,650 - and landed in seventh position. The film, which stars Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri
  • Competition line-up set for Cologne International festival

    TV movies and documentaries by Charles Sturridge (Shackleton), Danny Boyle (Vacuuming Completely Nude In Paradise), Christian Frei (War Photographer) and Coco Schrijber (First Kill) are among 20 national and international premieres selected from more than 600 entries for the 12th International TV & Film Festival Cologne (June 14-21) as part of the's Cologne Conference.The British presence in this year's festival is particularly strong with t
  • Divine Intervention (Yadon Ilaheyya)

    Dir: Elia Suleiman. France-Palestine. 2002. 92mins. Subtitled a "chronicle of love and pain", Elia Suleiman's second feature belies its own maudlin-sounding description and reinvents the tragic tensions in Palestine as a deadpan, slow-burning, almost silent comedy. Lacing the surreal apocalyptic humour of Roy Andersson's Songs From The Second Floor with a melancholy Aki Kaurismaki-style love story, this oddball item will be a tricky sell, especially, it goes without sa
  • Eureka Screenings to select 300 love stories

    Love has been chosen as the theme for Audiovisual Eureka's 5th Eureka Screenings which are being hosted in Skopje by the Minister of Culture of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from October 30 - November 3.During three days, buyers from all over Europe will have the opportunity of viewing a selection of 300 'love stories' from fiction to documentary, animation and shorts. The films will be selected by a jury headed by Oscar-nominated Macedonian filmmaker Stojan-Stole Po
  • Everard named chairman of New Zealand Film Commission

    Exhibitor Barrie Everard has been appointed chair of the New Zealand Film Commission, the government agency which plays a crucial role in the development and production of most NZ films. Everard is joint owner/operator of the Berkeley Cinema Group and has already been a board member for two years. His tenure as chairman is for the next two years. In other board changes, television, radio and film producer/director Ngäruawähia-based Tainui Stephens (Te Rarawa) and a par
  • Every Stewardess goes to France

    Spain's Wanda Vision has sold all French rights on Berlin Panorama entry Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven (Todas Las Azafatas Van Al Cielo) to Pretty Pictures.Wanda's Jose Maria Morales and Miguel Morales said the deal was closed in Cannes. The film from up-and-coming Argentine director Daniel Burman (Waiting For The Messiah) stars Alfredo Casero, Ingrid Rubio, Emilio Dissi and Norma Aleandro in a love story between a grieving widower and a lonely flight attendant.T
  • Fast Runner strolls past C$1m in Canada

    Zacharias Kunuk's Anatarujuat: The Fast Runner has grossed more than C$1m ($650,000) at the Canadian box office. The film has been on release since April 12 through Alliance Atlantis' art house distribution arm Odeon Films. The film won the Camera d'Or at Cannes in 2001 and went on to win six Canadian Genie Awards. In a statement, Odeon said the Inuit-language epic has drawn viewers from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast to the Arctic coast. It opens in the US June 4 throu
  • Focus acquires The Pianist from VU stablemate StudioCanal

    Focus, Vivendi Universal's new speciality label has acquired US and select international distribution rights to Cannes Palme d'Or winner The Pianist from stablemate StudioCanal. Focus has scheduled a December release for the film in the US, according to a statement from Focus co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus.The English-language feature, a StudioCanal production, was produced by Polanski with Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde, and co-produced by Gene Gutowski.
  • Germany's Das Werk reports sales increase, film production optimism

    German media company Das Werk posted a 14.6% increase in turnover to Euros 26.8m for the first quarter of 2002 compared to the same period last year, thanks to business generated by its new acquisition Centropolis Effects (CFX).In a breakdown of the Group's turnover, the German companies brought in Euros 11.9m (44.4%), London-based Glassworks and Spain's En Efecto Euros 8.8m (32.8%) and the concern's Stateside subsidiaries Promark Entertainment and CFX Euros 6.5m (24.3%). In the first
  • Germany's Helkon Media boss steps down

    An era has come to an end at Germany's Helkon Media with the decision by Martin Heldmann, co-founder, CEO and major shareholder, to step down from heading the company as well as managing several of its subsidiaries.Helkon's advisory board and board of directors expressed their regret at Heldmann's move but said that "they respect his decision after the successful efforts in restructuring the company during the last six months and enabling a new lineup in the companies' management".
  • Gimmick boosts Denmark's digital post-production status

    Denmark has increased its already considerable status as a source of state-of-the-art digital post-production, with the launch of start-up outfit, Gimmick..Veteran Bo Christensen founded and ran ShortCut for seven years before selling it to major Nordisk Film, where he continued as MD of postproduction for three years. Late last year he left with colleagues Lars Soerensen and Mikael Balle, and together they have set up the new outfit, Gimmick, financed by themselves. 'London com
  • Hollywood Ending gets good beginning in France

    Woody Allen has always seen a strong following in France. Indeed when he made the unprecedented decision to present his latest film, Hollywood Ending, at this year's Cannes Film Festival in person he told reporters, "The French were my first supporters and have always been immensely generous toward me."Now that generosity is noticeable once again as Hollywood Ending lauds it over the rest of the French chart, with the obvious exception of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack
  • Hollywood SFX pioneer launches Japanese digital film studio

    Richard Edlund, a special effects master who is president and CEO of Boss Film Studios, has launched a start-up for the production of digital films in Yokohama, Japan. The winner of four Academy Awards for his work on Stars Wars, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return Of The Jedi, Edlund intends to use his new Yokohama base to penetrate the Asian market. The as-yet-named company is capitalised at $80,000 (Y10m), of which Edlund is providing
  • IFC aims to Sex up Breillat's North American appeal

    IFC Films has confirmedits acquisition of all North American rights to Catherine Breillat's Sex IsComedy, the well-received OpeningNight selection of this year's Directors' Fortnight in Cannes which ithopes will introduce the provocative French director to her widest statesideaudience yet.The acquisition wasannounced Thursday by Bob Berney, senior vice president of marketing &distribution for IFC Films, the indie distribution outfit currentl
  • IFC Films closes in on Sex Is Comedy for US

    IFC Films is in advanced negotiations to acquire Catherine Breillat's Sex Is Comedy, which opened this year's Directors' Fortnight sidebar at the Cannes Film Festival, for US theatrical release."This would be a very good sale," said Flach Pyramide International's Eric Lagesse, who is handling worldwide sales on Sex Is Comedy. "IFC is currently enjoying strong success with Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron's Y Tu Mama Tambien and they will be a position to give stron
  • India's Hinduja Group announces Hollywood-style studio for Mumbai

    The Hinduja Group, one of the oldest overseas distributors of Bollywood films, has announced plans to set up a Hollywood-style studio enterprise in Mumbai. Their Indian film production and distribution venture 'In Network' company will produce 15 - 20 features a year. The Hinduja group has already entered film financing by earmarking a $5m fund, being routed through Aasia Industrial Technologies, a subsidiary of Hinduja TMT, the holding company of the group's new economy initiative.
  • Irreversible

    Dir: Gaspar Noe. France. 2002. 95mins. Flagged from the beginning of the festival as Cannes' 'succes de scandal', with a huge commotion in the French media and an official warning printed on its tickets, Irreversible emerges as neither successful nor, come to that, especially scandalous. A significant backward step for Noe after his explosive 1998 feature debut I Stand Alone (Seul Contre Tous), this told-in-reverse revenge drama is a murky exercise in style, who
  • Japan's Toei names new president, posts fiscal 2001 results

    Toei, one of the Japan's major film studios, is expected to name current president Tan Takaiwa as its new chairman. Managing director Tsuyoshi Okada, son of outgoing chairman, Shigeru Okada, will take over as president.Tsuyoshi Okada's appointment will see him hit the ground running to regain financial stability for the company. According to its recently announced results for the 2001 fiscal year, ending March 31, Toei's consolidated net profit dropped 89.9% to $7.3m (Y911M). Th
  • Japan's Toho gears up for new fiscal year with new president

    Toho, Japan's largest film distributor and exhibitor, has named its new president, Hideyuki Takai. He replaces Toshihiko Ishida, who will take the post of advisor. Takai joined Toho in 1964 and has been involved in film production since 1977. Credits include Kon Ichikawa's 48 Ronin (1994), Hideyuki Hirayama's School Ghost Stories (1995) and Koki Mitani's Welcome Back, Mr. Macdonald (1997). Among recent hits are the 2000 thriller Whiteout
  • Japon returns from Cannes with kudos and contracts

    Mexican director Carlos Reygadas' feature debut, Japon, returned from Cannes with more than just a Golden Camera Special Jury Mention, it also secured sales contracts for twelve territories.Screened in a longer version at this year's Rotterdam Festival, Japon was picked up there for international sales by French-German producer and sales agent Philippe Bober. The distribution deal enabled Reygadas to re-edit the film and complete post-production between Rotterdam and Cannes, "ac
  • Kinepolis Group's Albert Bert dies, aged 74

    Albert Bert, co-chairman of the board of directors of the Kinepolis Group died on 21 May 2002 aged 74. Bert was widely acknowledged as one of the innovators of how movie theatres are operated in Belgium. In the sixties, he took over the Cinema Majestiek in Harelbeke from his father. In 1970, the building was converted to house two theatres, thus becoming the first 'duplex' in Belgium. A year later, he and his sister-in-law, Rose Claeys-Vereecke developed the first purpose built
  • Korean Film Commission appoints president and new staff

    Lee Choong-jik (pictured) has been appointed chairman of the Korean Film Commission (KOFIC), the nation's foremost promotional body. Chang Mi-hee, a film professor and former actress, was named vice chairman. A total of nine new commissioners were appointed to the organisation, seven of whom currently hold positions as film professors. Kim Hong-joon, festival director of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan), is the only returning member of the original commission,
  • Major cash boost for German regional film fund

    German regional public fund Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg could get a 30% boost to its funding budget for 2003 following an announcement by the Berlin Senate that it intends to provide an additional Euros 2.5m for the subsidy body next year.Assuming that the Land of Brandenburg follows suit, the Filmboard would then have Euros 20m at its disposal rather than the current Euros 15m - making it third biggest of the German regional film funders, behind Filmstiftung NRW and FFF Bayern's Euro
  • MDP posts near 50% revenue increase

    Mark Damon's MDP Worldwide recorded a second quarter revenue increase of nearly 50% on the back of feature film The Musketeer and producing and financing fees from Christian Duguay's The Extremist. It was a company-record sixth consecutive profitable quarter. Six month income was up 90% from the same period last year. MDP saw a 48% increase in net income of $1.6m for the second quarter ended March 31, 2002, up from the $1.08m for same period in the preceding year. Over si
  • Melbourne's St Kilda fest becomes premiere short film event

    Melbourne's St Kilda Film Festival will next year quadruple the cash prize for Best Australian Short Film to $5,650 (A$10,000), making it the most lucrative award for short films in the country. This is in addition to the $11,300 (A$20,000) already awarded at the festival.Festival director Malcolm Blaylock told the opening night audience that the increase recognises the importance of the genre in Australia, brings the award into line with similar global prizes, and reaffirms the festiv
  • Mixed reception for Star Wars: Episode II in Eastern Europe

    Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack Of The Clones has achieved the biggest opening ever in Hungary, overtaking the record set by Lord Of The Rings - The Fellowship Of The Ring. Clones, which opened with 37 copies in 25 cinemas also produced the biggest attendance ever on its day of release (May 16) with over 37,000 tickets sold. The weekend saw another 157,000 tickets sold and the total number of viewers Thursday through Monday nearly reached a quarter of a million. On
  • New directors awarded German Film Board funds

    The new generation of German cinema is the focus in the Federal German Film Board's (FFA) latest round of production funding which totalled Euros 2.5m.Backing between Euros 100,000 and Euros 270,000 was given to feature debuts by Marco Kreuzpaintner (Ganz Unz Gar) and Joachim Masannek (Die Wilden Kerle) and second features by Achim von Borries (Die Liebe In Gedanken), Leander Haussmann (Die Kleine Schwester), Marco Petry (90/99) and Hendrik Handloegte
  • New releases open well as the blockbusters re-write Memorial Day records

    Memorial Day weekend saw more box-office records tumble, with Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones holding on to top spot with a $62.1m four-day haul, according to studio estimates. George Lucas's fifth Star Wars instalment has now grossed $202.5m in 12 days becoming the second fastest movie ever to do so behind Spider-Man's nine days. Clones is now the fastest film in the franchise to pass the $200m mark, beating Star Wars: Episode I ' The Phantom Menac
  • New Yorker takes US rights on Etre Et Avoir

    Dan Talbot's New Yorker has acquired US rights to Cannes title Etre Et Avoir, a documentary by Nicolas Philibert which was screened out of competition in the main selection.Mercure Distribution, which is handling worldwide sales duties, has also sold Japanese rights to the title, which follows a group of children and their teacher in a small school in the centre of France, to Long Ride. Italian rights have gone to Bim and several other major territories are currently in advanced
  • Niche acquires Cannes titles over the phone

    Niche Pictures principal Lyn McCarthy has closed deals for Australian and New Zealand rights on two high-profile Cannes film - on the phone from the northern New South Wales coast resort Byron Bay, where she lives. They are director Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen, which was in Competition at Cannes, and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's Intacto, the opening film in Critics Week, Niche is releasing Loach's previous film The Navigators in Australia on August 15. Others in the li
  • No Man's Land wins European Union media prize

    This year's Foreign Language Film Oscar-winner Danis Tanovic's No Man's Land has been presented with the European Union's Euros 25,000 Media Prize.'Beyond the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia and the story of these two soldiers, one Serbian, the other Bosnian, No Man's Land illustrates with talent and humour the absurdity of violence between peoples', declared Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Culture and Audiovisual Media on the presentation of the prize at the closing
  • Once Upon A Time In The Midlands

    Dir: Shane Meadows. UK. 2002. 104 mins. Director's FortnightExtensive critical acclaim has failed to generate great audience enthusiasm for the previous films of British hyphenate Shane Meadows. A broad, bittersweet comedy, his third feature Once Upon A Time In The Midlands should tip the balance in the opposite direction. A more conventional and more obviously commercial proposition with a stellar cast of British acting talent, it is a warmhearted, highly likeable aff
  • One Day Out wins top prize at South Korean shorts festival

    Kim Sun-kyung's 16mm short One Day Out (pictured) has won the Busan Asian Short Film Festival Grand Prize, which was awarded on Sunday. A Special Jury Prize was awarded to Choi Jin-young's Too Happy To Die.Highlights of the South Korean five-day BASFF, under the auspices of festival directors, Jeon Soo-il and Kim Sang-hwa, included a retrospective of short films by Iranian director Ali Mohammad Ghasemi and two seminars titled, "Characteristics of Media: D
  • Oz exhibitors and distributors forge amicable relationship

    Just four years ago it would have been absolutely unimaginable but the first day of the Cinema Owners Association of Australia's (COAA) annual conference closed in Sydney yesterday with something resembling a love-in between independent exhibitors and the major distributors. The final session had been reserved to discuss progress on revising the cinema industry Code Of Conduct. The code caused enormous friction and antagonism when introduced in 1998, after a damning review of the indus
  • Pathe UK closes raft of sales on Campion's In The Cut

    Pathe International UK has closed a raft of sales on forthcoming Jane Campion erotic thriller In The Cut. Deals were closed at Cannes with Senator for Germany, Nexo for Italy, Gaga for Japan, Brandon Young for Korea, AB Svensk for Scandinavia, Interncontinental for Hong Kong, PT Amero for Indonesia, Four Star for the Middle East, Shaw for Singapore and Nontanund for Thailand.English speaking territories and Eastern Europe are already being handled by Screen Gems, while Pa
  • Patriotic fever hits Bollywood

    As the threat of war intensifies, Indian filmmakers are rushing to make patriotic movies, with five separate films about the famous Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, in various stages of production.Bhagat Singh was hanged on March 23, 1931 for his uprising against the British. There have already been three films made on his life and now five different films are in production in Mumbai.Vijeyta Films' 24 March 1937 Shaheed, Iqbal Singh Dhillion's Shaheed E Azam an
  • Real Women have deals too

    A number of internationaltheatrical distributors have bought local territorial rights to HBO Films' RealWomen Have Curves, even though theaward-winning made-for-cable production will not be seen in US theatres.Among the buyersannounced yesterday by the pay-TV networks sales arm, HBO Enterprises, were MosaicEntertainment, which bought UK rights in association with Optimum Releasing;Italy's BIM Distribution; Mexico's Gussi; ABC Distribution of
  • Record-breaking Spider-Man sets new precedent in India

    Columbia Tristar India's release of Spider-Man has set at least three new records in the territory having grossed nearly $1.4m from 250 screens on its first weekend - just three weeks after its US debut.The film was released simultaneously in English and three local languages - Hindi, Tamil and Telugu - across 250 screens, the widest reach and biggest return for a Hollywood title since The Mummy Returns which opened on 175 screens to gross just short of $500,000.
  • Russian Ark (Russkiy Kovcheg)

    Director: Alexander Sokurov. Russia. 2002. 96 mins.
  • holiday break

    Owing to the Golden Jubilee holiday in the UK, will be providing a limited news service until Wednesday 5th June.
  • Sedgwick named director of new Adelaide film festival

    Katrina Sedgwick has been appointed director of the inaugural 2003 and the 2005 Adelaide International Film Festival. The first edition will be held in late February or early March 2003 and will celebrate the 30th year of the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC). Chair of the festival board is Sydney businesswoman Cheryl Bart and her deputy is SAFC chief executive Judith Crombie. The other board members are Mojgan Khadem, the director of Serenades, convergent media executive Gabrie
  • Serbian Government introduces national film fund

    The Serbian Government has launched a Euros 1.5m prototype film fund, with six local features receiving an award equivalent to 30% of its budget.Goran Markovic's The Cordon, Srdjan Koljevic's Red Coloured Gray Truck, Dusan Kovacevic's The Professional, Milos Petricic's An Almost Ordinary Story, Srdjan Karanovic's Loving Glances and Milos Radovic's Justice, Death And The Hope were selected for support by the Ministry of Culture from a shortlist
  • Sex Is Comedy

    Dir: Catherine Breillat. France. 2002. 92 mins. A welcome reprieve from the joyless intensity of such recent succes de scandale as Romance and A Ma Soeur, Sex Is Comedy allows Catherine Breillat to reveal the kind of light touch and easy humour that some critics may have thought was beyond her. Films about the making of films can sometimes seem like the last refuge of a bankrupt talent, but Breillat finds fresh inspiration in attempting to de-mystify the
  • Son Of The Bride to open Munich film festival

    Juan Jose Campanella's romantic comedy and directorial debut Son Of The Bride (El Hijo De la Novia), which was nominated for the Foreign Language Oscar, will open this year's Filmfest Muenchen in Germany on June 29.The 20th edition of Munich's audience festival under Eberhard Hauff's direction (June 29 - July 6) will be staged under the motto 'The Magic of Movies' and include an homage to documentarist Donn Alan Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (who will be awarded the Honorary Awar
  • Spain's Admira names Martin Marin as new president

    Admira, the media subsidiary of Spain's Telefonica last night confirmed the anticipated appointment of Pedro Antonio Martin Marin as its new president, and announced the division of the filial into two separate companies: Admira and Telefonica Contenidos (Telefonica Contents).Martin Marin will preside over Admira, which will contain the company's free-to-air TV and radio interests in Spain and abroad, including Antena 3 TV, Onda Cero, Grupo Atco (Telefe y Radio Continental), Pearson an
  • Spain's Grupo Pi announces string of deals

    Spanish sales consortium Grupo Pi announced a string of deals on various titles from its growing slate of feature films.At Cannes, Pi closed all rights for Colombia to Cineplex on women-driven comedy My Mother Likes Women (A Mi Madre Le Gustan Las Mujeres) starring Leonor Watling (Talk To Her). The film previously sold to Kamras for Finland at the Lanzarote Screenings.Also at Cannes, Pi closed all rights for France to ASC Distribution on Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego's
  • Spanish Huesca film festival to honour Kaurismaki

    Finnish actress Kati Outinen, recently awarded the best actress prize at Cannes for her work in Aki Kaurismaki's The Man Without A Past, is one of the stars expected to turn out for this year's 30th anniversary edition of the Huesca Film Festival of Spain (June 6-15).Outinen will be on hand as part of a tribute to Kaurismaki planned by the fest, which honours the director with its Luis Bunuel Prize. Two other tributes, the City of Huesca awards, are dedicated to Spain's Vicente
  • Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron

    Dirs: Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook. US. 2002. 84mins. There's no denying the passion and expertise that went into Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron, the third traditionally animated movie from DreamWorks SKG. But this perfunctory and serious story about a wild stallion in the untamed American frontier struggling to maintain his freedom in the face of man fails to stir up the elusive magic of Disney's greatest pictures and feels slight and dated in this age of Shrek, Spid
  • The Man Without A Past has a promising future

    Aki Kaurismaki's Cannes Grand Jury prize winner, The Man Without A Past, has been snapped up by Sony Pictures Classics for the US, while in its home territory, the film has seen an 80% leap at the local box office.According to news wire sources, Sony Pictures Classics picked up both The Man Without A Past and Russian title The Cuckoo in the closing stages of the festival. Other Cannes acquisitions by the company included US rights to Owning Mahown
  • The Pianist

    Director: Roman Polanski. 2002. 148 mins. In Competition Working from material close to his own childhood experiences in war ravaged Poland, Roman Polanski has created his most satisfying film in twenty years. Old-fashioned, stately and a little uneven, The Pianist recovers from a disappointing start to mature into a restrained and moving account of one man's war. Following an essentially passive figure as he observes the best and worst of human nature, it has much in
  • The Pianist

  • The Son (Le Fils)

    Dirs: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Belgium/ France. 2002. 103 mins.The Dardennes' austere and uncompromising aesthetic is back on full display in The Son, a minutely observed, dramatically compelling study of the violent emotions seething below the drab surface of working-class lives. Not exactly an easy sell, in other words, which won't be news to the filmmaking brothers: even Rosetta, their bombshell Palme d'Or win three years, did not penetrate far beyond the extr
  • The Sum Of All Fears takes US box office by storm

    Paramount's spy thriller The Sum of All Fears exceeded expectations and shot to the top of the charts over the weekend, overthrowing Star Wars: Episode II, with an estimated $31.2m gross. Clones was shunted to second spot on $20.7m, bringing its cumulative total to $232m after 18 days. Spider-Man slipped to third with $14.5m in its fifth weekend on release and has now amassed $354m. This means Sam Raimi's Marvel Comics adaptation needs only another $3m to ov
  • The Way Home wins Korea's top Grand Bell award

    Lee Jeong-hyang's The Way Home was named best picture at South Korea's 39th annual Grand Bell (Daejong) Awards, held in Seoul on May 26.The film, about a seven year-old boy who goes to live with his grandmother in the country, has been a local audience favourite, earning over $20m since its April release. At the Cannes Market, sales agent CJ Entertainment sold distribution rights for all English-speaking territories to Paramount, following earlier sales to Chin
  • Tradewind, MMC Independent sign first-look deal

    Cologne/Erfurt-based production house Tradewind Pictures and the MMC studios' production arm MMC Independent have signed a first-look deal for a long-term co-operation on the production of national and international feature films.As part of the agreement, both partners will offer each other the chance to board projects as a co-producer. As Tradewind's managing director Thomas Springer explained, 'this will make the financing of our projects with a studio shoot that much easier if we c
  • Two blockbusters pass $100m international gross on same weekend

    The two first undisputed summer blockbusters, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones and Spider-Man, both crossed the $100m mark at the international box office over the weekend.Episode II also managed to do so in record time, passing $100m on May 24, after just nine days on release. 20th Century Fox's film had grossed $128.9m by end of play Sunday (May 26). Top territories include the UK ($31.2m) and Germany ($21.9m).Meanwhile Spider-Man also p
  • UK cinema advertising bucks downward trend as ticket sales surge

    The UK's Cinema Advertising Association is predicting that cinema ticket sales will reach 174m by year's end, an increase of 11.5% on 2001's 30-year record. In addition the UK's cinema advertising sector is growing rapidly, with last years' market up by some 28% - despite a 2.6% downturn in the advertising market as a whole.The Cinema Advertising Association has revised its end-of-year forecast of 164m, announced just a month ago and based on the first quarter results, as a result of t
  • UK's BBC Films, New Cinema Fund team for Entering Blue Zone

    Kate Ashfield, David Morrissey and Peter Mullan are to star in Entering Blue Zone, a UK film jointly commissioned from BBC Films and the Film Council's New Cinema Fund for BBC TWO.Directed by Sarah Gavron and produced by Stuart Mackinnon, Entering Blue Zone is the story of a premature baby's fragile existence, and of a mother's supreme trust and tragic betrayal.Rosemary Kay's screenplay - based on her novel Between Two Eternities - was awarded the BBC's De
  • Wild Bunch picks up Cannes title Chihwaseon

    Wild Bunch has picked up world sales rights outside Asia to Im Kwon-Taek's Chihwaseon - the Cannes competition title that jointly won the festival's best direction prize.Wild Bunch picked up the film after seeing it at its early screening on Saturday 25 May and closed the deal on Sunday morning.Wild Bunch previously handled sales on Im Kwon-Taek's 2000 Cannes competition film, Chunhyang. Wild Bunch director of acquisitions Alain De La Mata commented: "Wild Bunch's
  • Yeoh to get tough with French distributor M6

    Wearing her producer hat - rather than that of actress or Cannes juror - Michelle Yeoh is to start legal proceedings against French distributor M6/SND.Yeoh and Thomas Chung, managing director of Hong Kong-based Han Entertainment, through which the Yeoh-produced film The Touch is financed, say they will be seeking damages and interest from M6 for failing deliver on an agreement to buy French rights.At Cannes 2001, M6 was the first international distributor to sign on for