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Screen
3 June 2003

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  • 14 directors team for Hong Kong SARS shorts

    Hong Kong's film industry is joining various sectors in the community to demonstrate its fighting spirit against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). According to Cheung Tung Joe, chairman of the Hong Kong Film Awards Association, a total of 14 directors have offered their services to the making of 12 short films on SARS. These include individual works from Wong Kar Wai, Tsui Hark, Peter Chan, Fruit Chan, Stephan Chow, Joe Ma, Brian Tse, Johnnie To, Teddy Chan as well a
  • 8 Mile opens at number one in Japan

    Opening in its final territory over the weekend, Universal'sdrama 8 Mile went straight to number onein Japan with a gross of $2.2m from 233 sites. The film's international runningtotal is now just over $113m.As expected, given the widespread youth appeal of its lead star Eminem, the film's Japanese opening drew a mostly youngaudience, with 80% of viewers aged under 25. Males comprised 60% of thetotal audience.Spy spoof Johnny English opened top of
  • ADV Films to make live-action feature of Japanese animated TV series

    ADV Films has acquired the rights to produce a live action feature of Japanese animated TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion and has teamed with Lord Of The Rings effects producer Weta Workshop in New Zealand to create the visual effects. The film is a collaboration between ADV, Weta and Gainax.ADV is a producer/distributor of Japanese animation in North America; Gainax Network Systems was one of the original production studios responsible for the TV series.Neon Ge
  • ADV Films to make live-action feature of Japanese animated TV series

    ADV Films has acquired the rights to produce a live action feature of Japanese animated TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion and has teamed with Lord Of The Rings effects producer Weta Workshop in New Zealand to create the visual effects. The film is a collaboration between ADV, Weta and Gainax.ADV is a producer/distributor of Japanese animation in North America; Gainax Network Systems was one of the original production studios responsible for the TV series.Neon Ge
  • At Five In The Afternoon (Panj E Asr)

    Dir: Samira Makhmalbaf. Iran-France. 2003. 106minsAlthough dialogue-heavy longueurs that are endemic to Iranian cinema will make Samira Makhmalbaf's film - which won the Jury Prize at this year's Cannes - trying for some, adepts will welcome it with open arms. It is filmed in traditional Makhmalbafian family style, in which socio-political debate replaces conventional psychological realism. But here, as in Makhmalbaf's earlier films, The Apple and Blackboards, t
  • Autumn Springs in Germany

    Neil Friedman's Menemsha Entertainment has closed a deal in Germany on Czech festival favourite Autumn Spring with MFA. The film, directed by Vladimir Michalek, will open in New York City in the US through First Look Pictures at the end of July.Menemsha has also closed deals on the film with Sharmil in Australia, LNK in Portugal, Gloria in Denmark, Crown in Taiwan, Netherlands TV in The Netherlands, Delta in Peru, Gussi in Mexico, Discovery in Bosnia and Croatia and Shani in Isr
  • Autumn Springs in Germany

    Neil Friedman's Menemsha Entertainment has closed a deal in Germany on Czech festival favourite Autumn Spring with MFA. The film, directed by Vladimir Michalek, will open in New York City in the US through First Look Pictures at the end of July.Menemsha has also closed deals on the film with Sharmil in Australia, LNK in Portugal, Gloria in Denmark, Crown in Taiwan, Netherlands TV in The Netherlands, Delta in Peru, Gussi in Mexico, Discovery in Bosnia and Croatia and Shani in Isr
  • Bardem to star in Amenabar's Out To Sea

    In what will surely be one of the biggest buzz titles out of Spain next year, auteur Alejandro Amenabar will team with star Javier Bardem in new film Out To Sea (Mar Adentro), the director's first feature foray since international hit The Others.Sogecine will co-produce with Amenabar's own Himenoptero and Italy's Lucky Red. A budget has not yet been set but the film begins shooting this September between Galicia, Madrid and Barcelona. Sogepaq is handling international sal
  • Bavaria Film closes multiple Cannes sales

    Bavaria Film International (BFI) has sold the FIPRESCI Award-winning Spanish film Las Horas De Dia to France's ARP and the UK's ICA among a raft of deals concluded by the German sales agent in Cannes.ICA also picked up Argentinian director Santiago Loza's Extrano which won a Tiger Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in February.Meanwhile, Wolfgang Becker's tragicomedy Good Bye, Lenin! added Sweden (Triangelfilm), Finland (Kamras), Hong Kong
  • Bergman receives film preservation award

    Swedish cinema legend Ingmar Bergman might have snubbed both Cannes and Oscar galas, but on Monday he personally showed up to receive the FIAF's Film Preservation Award at Filmhuset in Stockholm. "I'm deeply honoured and very happy," Bergman said, "by receiving this award I feel like I really belong in this passionate union." The prize, which is given not for his films but his dedication to the restoration of colour films, was handed out by FIAF president Ivan Trujillo at the cl
  • Bowling rolls past $50m worldwide gross

    AllianceAtlantis Communications' Oscar winning documentary Bowling ForColumbine has passed$50m at the worldwide box office.MichaelMoore's controversial anti-gun diatribe has grossed more than $21m in theNorth American market, where it was distributed by United Artists, it ranks asone of the most successful documentaries of all time.Internationallythe records have tumbled. After Alliance Atlantis sold the film to more than150 territories it became the b
  • Bruce Almighty

    Dir: Tom Shadyac. US. 2003. 102minsThe triumvirate of actor Jim Carrey, director Tom Shadyac and screenwriter Steve Oedekerk struck box office gold with their first film together, 1994's Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Ever since they have worked together in various combinations (for example Shadyac and Carrey with Liar, Liar). Finally they regroup for Bruce Almighty, an intermittently hilarious comedy about a self-absorbed but otherwise likeable TV reporter
  • Bruce Almighty topples The Matrix Reloaded with $86.4m opening

    Universal'scomedy Bruce Almighty toppled The Matrix Reloaded from top spotover the four-day weekend as it opened on an estimated $86.4m.Itis the second biggest Memorial Day bow of all time behind The Lost World:Jurassic Park, which took $90.2m in 1997.JimCarrey stars as a jaded reporter who is granted God's powers for a day.Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman co-star and the film was directed by TomShadyac.Itaveraged $24,806from 3,483 sites and receiv
  • Bruce Almighty topples The Matrix Reloaded with $86.4m opening

    Universal'scomedy Bruce Almighty toppled The Matrix Reloaded from top spotover the four-day weekend as it opened on an estimated $86.4m.Itis the second biggest Memorial Day bow of all time behind The Lost World:Jurassic Park, which took $90.2m in 1997.JimCarrey stars as a jaded reporter who is granted God's powers for a day.Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman co-star and the film was directed by TomShadyac.Itaveraged $24,806from 3,
  • Bruce Almighty topples The Matrix Reloaded with $86.4m opening

    Universal'scomedy Bruce Almighty toppled The Matrix Reloaded from top spotover the four-day weekend as it opened on an estimated $86.4m.Itis the second biggest Memorial Day bow of all time behind The Lost World:Jurassic Park, which took $90.2m in 1997.JimCarrey stars as a jaded reporter who is granted God's powers for a day.Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman co-star and the film was directed by TomShadyac.Itaveraged $24,806from 3,
  • Bruce Almighty topples The Matrix Reloaded with $86.4m opening

    Universal'scomedy Bruce Almighty toppled The Matrix Reloaded from top spotover the four-day weekend as it opened on an estimated $86.4m.Itis the second biggest Memorial Day bow of all time behind The Lost World:Jurassic Park, which took $90.2m in 1997.JimCarrey stars as a jaded reporter who is granted God's powers for a day.Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman co-star and the film was directed by TomShadyac.Itaveraged $24,806from 3,
  • Bruce Almighty topples The Matrix Reloaded with $86.4m opening

    Universal'scomedy Bruce Almighty toppled The Matrix Reloaded from top spotover the four-day weekend as it opened on an estimated $86.4m.Itis the second biggest Memorial Day bow of all time behind The Lost World:Jurassic Park, which took $90.2m in 1997.JimCarrey stars as a jaded reporter who is granted God's powers for a day.Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman co-star and the film was directed by TomShadyac.Itaveraged $24,806from 3,
  • Bruce has almighty international openings for BVI

    In its first wave ofinternational openings Bruce Almighty grossed $5m over the weekend, scoring three number one bows andbreaking several records along the way.Distributed through BuenaVista International the comedy opened in Italy on a terrific $3.8m from 353screens, scoring the biggest ever bow for star Jim Carrey.In Singapore the film took$680,000 from 33 screens, claiming 60% market share and setting a new openingrecord for Carrey.In The Phi
  • Buena Vista's comedy can't bring down The Matrix

    In a lacklustre weekend, affected by good weather, Buena Vista International's comedy release Bringing Down The House was unable to unseat Warner Bros' The Matrix Reloaded from its lead position.The Steve Martin-Queen Latifah comedy was the only new release able to make much impression on the box office over the sweltering weekend, taking $1.86m (£1.1m) from 388 sites - including previews of $425,728 (£259,694). The film grossed $146,401 (Euro 124,441) from 52 screens in
  • Buyers battle for Battle Royale II

    Japan's Toei sold Battle Royale II, the follow-up to the controversial 2000 dystopian thriller, to eight European territories at Cannes. In addition to sales to the three Scandinavian countries, the three Benelux countries and Iceland, Toei concluded deals for the UK, Germany, Russia, Hong Kong and Thailand. "All we had was a seven-minute digest of the film," said Toei sales rep Tad Okubo. "It's extremely unusual to do so much business with so little to show." The origina
  • Buyers pick up Whore

    Spanish production and sales outfit Dolores Pictures has closed five all-rights deals on its English-language title Whore.Sales include to Italy (DNC), Hong Kong (Intercontinental Film Distribution), South Korea (Jon Cinema Co Ltd), Indonesia (Rapi Films) and Israel (Shoval Films).The film, which stars Denise Richards and Daryl Hannah in a tale of a young woman's encounter with the world of prostitution, already pre-sold to 38 countries.Dolores showed a teaser at t
  • Buyers pick up Whore

    Spanish production and sales outfit Dolores Pictures has closed five all-rights deals on its English-language title Whore.Sales include to Italy (DNC), Hong Kong (Intercontinental Film Distribution), South Korea (Jon Cinema Co Ltd), Indonesia (Rapi Films) and Israel (Shoval Films).The film, which stars Denise Richards and Daryl Hannah in a tale of a young woman's encounter with the world of prostitution, already pre-sold to 38 countries.Dolores showed a teaser at t
  • Buyers rush to acquire Grudge sequel

    The Grudge 2, the sequel to Japanese hit horror The Grudge (Juon), was sold to France, Germany, Spain, Hong Kong, Korea and Thailand at Cannes this year, while over 18 other countries, including the US, are in negotiations. The Grudge was sold to over 30 territories, including the US where it was distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment, which is heading the race with US rivals to pick up the North American rights to the sequel. Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictur
  • Camera d'Or win paves way for sales and new film

    Danish writer-director Christoffer Boe might be a newcomer, but after the success of his Cannes Critics' Week entry Reconstruction, which took both the Camera d'Or and the Label Regards Jeunes this weekend, buyers are eager to close further deals on the film. Germany, France, Italy and Australia have joined the UK and US as bidders for the romantic psychological drama, which Nordisk Film International Sales sold to Japan's Gaga, Switzerland's Xenix Film and Greece's AMA among ot
  • Canadian cinema to enjoy worldwide roadshow

    The Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG) is expanding its Film Circuit initiative beyond Canada, backing events in Europe, Egypt and Mexico and three events in the US. Launched in 1992, the Film Circuit is an alternative distribution system for Canadian and international independent films in over 120 communities across Canada and abroad. Many of the films screening on the Circuit screened at the Toronto festival.Canadian Film Festival Mexico (June 13-17) will featur
  • Carandiru is Brazil's all-time top grossing local film

    Hector Babenco's prisondrama Carandiru has become thehighest grossing Brazilian film of all time in its home territory according tolocal distributor Columbia TriStar. In terms of admissions, it hasjust overtaken 1989's family smash Princesa Xuxa E Os Trapalhoes which attracted 4.018m moviegoers.As of June 1, 2003, Carandiru has raked in $9,053,066 (REAL 27,160,220) and scored 4.109m admissions since itsdebut on April 11. The film is still playing on 261 scre
  • Columbia Asia to back new film from Stephen Chow

    Columbia Pictures FilmProduction Asia (CPFPA) has announced that it is backing the next film fromHong Kong megastar Stephen Chow, an action comedy tentatively titled Kung FuHustle, which is scheduled to startshooting in China on June 27. One of Asia's hottest stars,Chow has directed and acted in a string of hits including Shaolin Soccer, the highest grossing local film of all time in HongKong, The King Of Comedy (1999)and The God Of Cookery (1996).Miramax ha
  • Controversy sparked at Diagonale festival director appointment

    The Diagonale festival of Austrian cinema and Austria's Secretary of State for the Arts Franz Morak have once more hit the headlines - this time with the appointment of Miroljub Vuckovic as the festival's Artistic Director and Tilmann Fuchs as Business Affairs Manager to succeed Christine Dollhofer and Constantin Wulff.Speaking to the news agency APA, Viennale festival director Hans Hurch described the appointment as a "deeply undemocratic, arbitrary, vindictive action" and suggested t
  • Cougar, Film Council, Ingenious strike three-way deal

    Lynda La Plante and Sophie Balhetchet's Cougar Films has struck a three-way development deal with the UK Film Council and tax financier Ingenious Media, it was announced today. The deal will cover development on an initial slate of projects, including a new horror film from My Little Eye writer David Hilton titled @. Also in the works is a medical thriller titled Reputation by Patriot Games writer Peter Iliff and director Stephen Hopkins, who is currently fi
  • Dendy, Rialto empty their wallets at Cannes

    Australia's Dendy Films picked up six titles while at Cannes including two from Renaissance, director John Curran's We Don't Live Here Anymore, starring the homegrown Naomi Watts alongside Laura Dern, and The Mother, another collaboration between Notting Hill director Roger Michell and controversial writer Hanif Kureshi. Curran's first film, Praise, was made in Australia.The arthouse distributor also acquired two films from Pandora. John Sayles' Casa Del
  • Disney/Pixar's Nemo finds new animated BO record

    Finding Nemo's $70.6m domestic number one bow rewrote the record books over the weekend as the Disney/Pixar collaboration scored the biggest opening ever for an animated film. The superb three-day estimated total overtook the previous high-water mark set by Pixar stablemate Monsters, Inc, which opened on $62.5m in Nov 2001. Finding Nemo's record opening also marked the fifth consecutive number one bow for a Pixar film, which started back in 1995 when Toy
  • Euro film bodies lobby Commission for more ambitious vision

    European film councils this week called on the European Commission to adopt a more ambitious vision for the European film industry and to include it in the new EU constitution currently being considered by member states.At a meeting of European culture ministers in Greece, the 16 state-funded film councils (see below) also called for draft proposals, that make the EU ultimately responsible for defining the scope of key cultural and audiovisual policies - including trade with countries
  • Film Movement takes Shum's Long Life

    New York-based Film Movement has taken all US rights to Mina Shum's Long Life, Happiness And Prosperity. The film is set for limited theatrical release in the autumn and through Film Movement's subscription-based DVD film club.Produced by Christina Jennings and Scott Garvie of Toronto's Shaftesbury Films and Raymond Massey's Vancouver-based Massey Productions, Shum's third feature stars Sandra Oh as a divorced mother whose 12-year-old daughter uses ancient Chinese magic to find
  • Finding Nemo

    Dir: Andrew Stanton. US. 2003. 100mins.Pixar Animation Studios has made some of the best American features during the last decade in the two Toy Story films and Monsters Inc; Finding Nemo, which is released in the US on May 30, the first time a Pixar feature has been released in the summer, maintains that exceptionally high standard. Deliriously inventive and soaked in a warm and generous wit, Finding Nemo sets a high artistic benchmark for other a
  • Finding Nemo sinks the competition

    Disney/Pixar's FindingNemo made a splash overthe weekend as it scored the biggest ever bow for an animated film, opening onan estimated $70.6m.The latest pieceof wizardry from Pixar, the studio behind Monsters Inc and Toy Story, was doused in critical praise andaveraged $20,924 from 3,374 venues.It is the fifth consecutive number one opening for Pixarand Disney, which currently handles worldwide distribution on all Pixar titles,beating the
  • Flanders festival changes awards policy

    In the light of the present crisis in arthouse distribution, Ghent's Flanders International Film Festival (FIFF) will be revising its awards policy for the 30th edition from October 7-18.While the festival will be increasing the total prize money by 10% to just over Euros 81,000, the major change is that the money attached to the festival's top competition winners will go entirely to the distributors which acquire the titles and release them theatrically in the Benelux territories. Unt
  • Fortissimo picks Zhang's Sunflower

    Fortissimo Film Sales has picked up international rights to Sunflower, the next picture from Chinese director Zhang Yang, which Peter Loehr is producing through his Los Angeles and Beijing-based production company Ming Productions. China's Asian Union Film and Singapore's Raintree Pictures are co-financing the $1.9m film which is currently being cast and is scheduled to start shooting this September. Fortissimo co-chairs, Wouter Barendrecht and Michael Werner, will also e
  • France's Rencontres announces first four titles

    The Rencontres Internationales de Cinema has announced four titles out of an eventual twenty which will screen during its upcoming 9th edition July 3-13.The first four films to be signed are Bus 174 from Brazil's Jose Padilha, Extrano from Argentinian Santiago Loza, Ether from India's Velu Viswanadhan and Toutes Ces Belles Promesses from France's Jean-Paul Civeyrac.The Rencontres, which is normally held in November, will for the first time make the mo
  • French indie banks on next generation festival auteurs

    Independent French production label Aeternam Films unveiled a raft of art-house pictures produced by some of the world's edgiest talents.The company, headed by Francesca Feder, will co-produce The Moon Also Rises, the next picture by Lin Cheng-Sheng, whose Robinson's Crusoe appeared in Cannes competition last week. The drama focuses on a mother and daughter relationship in China and may star Yang Kuei-mei, star of Robinson's Crusoe. The picture, which will s
  • Gaga to produce feature version of Devil May Cry game

    In the latest of a string of game-to-film adaptations, arcade game maker Capcom and distributor Gaga Communications have concluded a film option deal for Devil May Cry, a Capcom game series that has sold 4.37 million units internationally. According the terms of the deal Gaga, will have exclusive rights to produce a film version of the game, together with Hollywood partners, for worldwide distribution. Capcom and Gaga previously announced a similar deal for Onimusha
  • German DVD boom gathers pace

    Germany's DVD boom continues at the expense of the VHS video market, according to figures released by video trade body BVV for the first quarter of 2003.The number of DVDs sold increased year-on-year by 57% from 7.4m units to 11.6m, while that for sell-through VHS cassettes dropped by 37% from 2002's 8.1m units to 5.1m.While overall sales revenues for DVDs and videos increased by only 0.3% - from Euros 247.3m to Euros 248m, the popularity of DVDs was reflected in the 30.4% growt
  • Gozu

    Dir: Takashi Miike. Japan. 2003. 129minsAudiences never know quite what to expect from the indefatigably prolific Japanese oddball Takashi Miike: sometimes a couple of wildly inspired sequences will leaven a routine film, sometimes he relentlessly beats you into submission. With the barely-describable Gozu, however, Miike's crazed imagination delivers the goods pretty much from start to finish. This surreal, gag-filled shaggy-dog story will certainly please his busy vi
  • Hong Kong to construct 'Avenue of Stars'

    A long-awaited project to create a Hollywood-style Avenue of Stars has finally taken off in Hong Kong. A 440 m long walkway featuring some 100 floor plaques will be built at the Waterfront Promenade in Tsim Sha Tsui to showcase Hong Kong's film industry. Cheung Tung Joe, chairman of the Hong Kong Film Awards Association (HKFAA), says, 'It is a great honour that Hong Kong's film industry receives such a tribute.' HKFAA is compiling an list through nominations, which are ba
  • Huesca gets 1,400 submissions for shorts competition

    Reflecting the importance of the short film format as a calling card for young talents, the Huesca Film Festival of Spain (June 5-14) said it received more than 1,400 submissions for its parallel international and iberoamerican short film competitive sections.Of those presented, 53 were chosen from 27 countries for the international competition and 12 for the iberoamerican competition.Now in its 31st year, Huesca will also offer a showcase of recent feature films from Europe inc
  • Imax, CAA extend project hunting agreement

    Imax Corp. said it is extending its March 2002 agreement with CAA. The large-format leader retained the talent agency to assist in securing major studio pictures for re-engineering as large-format product and attracting A-list talent to appear in Imax original productions. The company says CAA was integral in landing Star Wars: Episode II Attack Of The Clones, which screened in Imax format last autumn, and the second and third Matrix films, The Matrix Reloaded and
  • James' Journey To Jerusalem

    Dir. Ra'anan Alexandrowicz. Israel. 2003. 85mins.The first fiction feature by documentary film-maker Ra'anan Alexandrowicz, James' Journey To Jerusalem is a dark satire that confronts the black market labour and moral bankruptcy of the once idealistic Israeli society. Originally planned as part of a TV drama series called Voices From The Heartland, its Directors' Fortnight slot at Cannes should pave the way for a theatrical release. If handled carefully it could
  • Japan, UK welcome Barbarian Invasions

    Denys Arcand's double prize-winning Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barbares) was sold to Comstock for Japan and to Artificial Eye for the UK by French sales house Flach Pyramide International. Earlier in the festival FPI sold Barbarian Invasions to Bim for Italy Filmcopie of Switzerland, Films de l'Elysee for Belgium, Shapira for Israel and Filmgroup for Russia.Artificial Eye also bought Alexander Sokurov's Father And Son from Celluloid Dreams and
  • Japan, UK welcome Barbarian Invasions

    Denys Arcand's double prize-winning Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barbares) was sold to Comstock for Japan and to Artificial Eye for the UK by French sales house Flach Pyramide International. Earlier in the festival FPI sold Barbarian Invasions to Bim for Italy Filmcopie of Switzerland, Films de l'Elysee for Belgium, Shapira for Israel and Filmgroup for Russia.Artificial Eye also bought Alexander Sokurov's Father And Son from Celluloid Dreams and
  • Japan, UK welcome Barbarian Invasions

    Denys Arcand's double prize-winning Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barbares) was sold to Comstock for Japan and to Artificial Eye for the UK by French sales house Flach Pyramide International. Earlier in the festival FPI sold Barbarian Invasions to Bim for Italy Filmcopie of Switzerland, Films de l'Elysee for Belgium, Shapira for Israel and Filmgroup for Russia.Artificial Eye also bought Alexander Sokurov's Father And Son from Celluloid Dreams and
  • Kinderfilmfest tribute for Iran's Mohammad Ali Talebi

    Iran's Mohammad Ali Talebi is to receive the first ever showcase at a film festival of a selection of his feature films with the staging of a Director's Portrait by this year's Kinderfilmfest during the Munich Film Festival (June 28-July 5).Among the five films being shown are his 1992 film Chakmeh which marked his international breakthrough, the Iranian-Japanese co-production Kiseje Berendj (A Sack Of Rice, 1996) and his latest work To Azadi (You Are Free, 2001).
  • Kitchen Stories (Salmer Fra Kjokkenet)

    Dir: Bent Hamer. Norway, 2003. 95minsA charmingly glum, low-key audience-pleaser, Norwegian comedy Kitchen Stories was always likely to be one of the sweeter features on offer at Cannes. Although its drily reserved Nordic humour never approaches the harder edges of, say, Aki Kaurismaki's comedies, it should appeal to anyone with a taste for benign melancholy. Snazzy art direction and largely visual humour should give it solid cult appeal. International sales should be
  • Kitchen Stories sells like hot cakes

    Bent Hamer's kitchen-sink drama Kitchen Stories (Salmer Fra Kokkenet), which was one of the hits of the Cannes Directors' Fortnight section, has proved as popular with buyers as it has with critics and the public. Handled by France's Celluloid Dreams it was sold to SPO Inc (Japan), Cinelibre-Cineart (Benelux), Lady Films (Italy), Circuito Cinearte (Brazil), SF Norden (Mexico), Films Du Losange (France), Frenetic Films (Switzerland), Seville (Canada), United King (Israel)
  • La Petite Lili

    Dir: Claude Miller. France. 2003. 104minsBetter forget all about Chekhov before you go to see this. Though a free adaptation of The Seagull, one more among so many, Claude Miller's film has none of the subtle, sensitive intelligence of the great Russian playwright. Instead, it is a clever but blunt version of the play - Miller's opinion of how Chekhov's characters would look and act in the contemporary setting chosen for the plot. Looking very much like a personal refl
  • Latest Cannes sales

    Turkish competition film Distant (Uzak) secured itself a US release with a sale to New Yorker, the specialist releasing operation that is now under new management.Korean sales house Mirovision secured a big deal on its hugely ambitious animated film Wonderful Days, selling the $13m-budget picture to Pathe for France and Benelux.Giants Entertainment picked up world sales rights to Sitting Ducks, a Notting Hill-set comedy about asylum seekers. The film
  • Latest Cannes sales

    Turkish competition film Distant (Uzak) secured itself a US release with a sale to New Yorker, the specialist releasing operation that is now under new management.Korean sales house Mirovision secured a big deal on its hugely ambitious animated film Wonderful Days, selling the $13m-budget picture to Pathe for France and Benelux.Giants Entertainment picked up world sales rights to Sitting Ducks, a Notting Hill-set comedy about asylum seekers. The film
  • Local box office hits starve Norway of film funds

    The local success of two children's films has caused unforeseen problems for the Norwegian Film Fund, which administers the annual $28m in state subsidy for film in Norway.Olsenbanden jr has so far recorded 350,000 admissions, while Summer Of Wolves has been seen by 210,000 Norwegians. In addition, the local low-budget horror Wilderness produced by Spleis Film, is now approaching 150,000 admissions. However, their dual success has also created a headache for
  • Local debuts dominate Galway festival line-up

    New Irish films from directors Shimmy Marcus, Karl Golden and Sean Walsh dominate Galway Film Fleadh's initial line-up for its fifteenth edition on July 8-13. These comprise the debut features, Headrush, with Wuzza Conlon, Laura Pyper, Steven Berkoff, and Huey Morgan directed by Shimmy Marcus; The Honeymooners with Jonathan Byrne and Alex Reid directed by Karl Golden and BL,.M, an adaptation of James Joyce's Ulysses with Stephen Rea, Hugh O'Conor and Angelin
  • Macedonia becomes 29th member of Eurimages

    As of July 1, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" will become the 29th country to join Eurimages, the Council of Europe's pan-European support fund for the co-production, distribution and exhibition of cinematographic works.Consequently, projects involving Macedonian co-producers may be presented for the forthcoming deadline for applications of support on 22 August 2003, and the republic will also be able to benefit from the Eurimages' distribution and cinema support schemes.
  • Mar del Plata retains its 'A' grade festival status

    Argentina's leading Mar del Plata International Film Festival will retain its A grade festival status next year, the International Federation of Film Producers' Associations (FIAPF) agreed at a general assembly meeting in Cannes.The festival's status was challenged following the inclusion in competition at its latest edition (March 6-15) of local film Valentin despite the fact that the film had already competed in Biarritz, making it ineligible according to FIAPF regulations.
  • Margaret Menegoz named president of Unifrance

    Following a meeting of the directors' board yesterday, French producer Margaret Menegoz has been elected president of French export body Unifrance. The nomination comes after months of speculation and an interim presidency-by-committee that was set up following the sudden death of Unifrance's former president Daniel Toscan du Plantier at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Menegoz, who has produced over 30 films since 1976 including recent Cannes entry Le Temps Du Loup,
  • Matrix Reloaded hits $250m in third week int'l box office

    The Matrix Reloaded grossed $56m in 62 countries over the weekend, according to estimates released by Warner Bros. The sci-fi sequel's total now stands at $250m in its third week in international markets. Figures for the opening in Indonesia will become available on Monday. However, the film is expected to finish the weekend with the biggest bow ever, including previews, of around $415,000 (local currency 4.2bn) from 70 screens. Despite the European heatwave
  • Matrix Reloaded passes $100m abroad in record time

    The Matrix Reloaded scored a sensational $113.2m as it expanded into a further 49 countries over the weekend, becoming the first film in history to gross more than $100m in a single weekend at the international box office.The closest any film haspreviously come was New Line's The LordOf The Rings: The Two Towers, which grossed $99.4m last year.The Warner Bros sci-fi sequel is currently playing on 8,924 prints in 62 countries, after opening in 13 the previous weeken
  • Matrix Reloaded passes international $100m mark in record time

    The Matrix Reloaded became the first film to pass $100m in its second international weekend as it grossed a sensational $113.2m.After opening in 13 countries last weekend, the sci-fi sequel unloaded in a further 49 and raised its cumulative international total to $154m.The closest any film has previously come to passing $100m in such short time was New Line's The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, which grossed $99.4m last year.Warner Bros International's The
  • Matrix sequel reloads UK opening record

    The Matrix Reloaded scored a triumphant bow for Warner Bros and recorded the highest ever opening for a non-PG rated film at the UK box office at the weekend. The 15-certificate sci-fi actioner claimed $14.6m (£8.9m) over the three day weekend (May 23-25) and has grossed $19.9m (£12.2m) since opening on Wednesday (May 21), immediately after its UK premiere. The Wachowski Brothers' film is the fourth highest three-day opener of all time in the territory behind Warner's
  • MGM severs Fox video ties in four territories

    Spurred by strong projected growth for international DVD playersales, MGM Home Entertainment has reclaimed full control of its distributionoperations in the UK, Australia, France and Germany.The decision to recapture distribution in theseterritories is consistent with MGM's contractual option to reclaim back-roomfunctions as part of its international distribution agreement with TwentiethCentury Fox Home Entertainment.The two companies are currently in advanced negotiations to ha
  • MGM, Rogers sign VOD pact

    MGM Home Entertainment and Rogers Cable have signed an agreement that will see some of the studio's pictures on the Canadian cable company's VOD service. Rogers says it's the first Canadian company to sign a VOD content agreement with a Hollywood major. Rogers and competitors Calgary-based Shaw Cable and Carleton-based Cogeco have all signed content agreements with the nation's leading local distributor Alliance Atlantis which also sub-distributes Miramax, New Line and Artisan titles i
  • Montreal festival deprived of 'A-list' status

    The Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF) has lost its prestigious Category 1 (colloquially referred to as "A-list") accreditation from the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF). The Paris-based body is effectively punishing MWFF director Serge Losique for changing the dates of the 2003 event without consultation. Montreal's new dates (August 27 - September 7) overlap with both Venice (August 27 - September 6) and Toronto (September 4 - 13). Speaking from
  • Mr Ibrahim goes to Japan

    Powerful French sales and production operation ARP Selection sold Japanese rights on Mr Ibrahim to Gaga Communications. The film (aka Les Fleurs Du Koran, aka Momo) by French director Francois Dupeyron, stars Omar Sharif as an elderly Arab grocer who develops an enduring friendship with a 12 year-old Jewish boy."Gaga has been tracking this film for a very long time and we are very happy to have them on board," said ARP co-chiefs Michele Halberstadt and Laure
  • Mystic River

    Dir: Clint Eastwood. US. 2003. 137 minsAnyone seeking lessons in the graceful art of the selfless auteur need look no further than Clint Eastwood. The producer, director and composer on Mystic River, Eastwood serves the story rather than indulges his ego and creates the framework for a fine ensemble cast led by a blistering Sean Penn performance. Carrying palpable echoes of his Oscar-winning epic Unforgiven, this is a measured, masterful statement on the evil th
  • Nicolas Roeg to shoot Adina

    Legendary British film-maker Nicolas Roeg is attached to direct Adina, a philosophical horror exploring society's obsession with youth, sex and beauty. Producers are Andy Denemark and Bernadette Elliott for New York-based Burnt Danish Productions. Scheduled for production later this year, the film is written by Bernadette Elliott and Michael Lupetin. "Nicolas Roeg has created some of the most daring and cinematic films of the post-war period," said Lupetin in a statement.
  • Noi Albinoi triumphs in Transylvania

    Dagur Kari's Noi Albinoi took the top two prizes at the second Transylvania International Film Festival in Cluj-Napoca.The multiple-award winner from Iceland walked away with both of the festival's main prizes on Saturday May 31, the Transylvania Trophy worth $4,000 and the Romanian critics' prize.There was also a local success at the country's leading film festival as DOP for Romanian entry The Rage, Vivi Dragan Vasile received the 'best image prize' offered by Ko
  • Osama is first title for five-strong buying alliance

    Osama, the first Afghan film to be made since the fall of the Taliban, was jointly acquired by five European distributors which last year formed a loose buying alliance.The currently unnamed company is owned by Lucky Red of Italy, Frenetic Films of Switzerland, Haut Et Court of France, Cineart of Belgium and A-Film of The Netherlands.The Seddiq Barmak-directed film, which appeared in Directors' Fortnight, is sold by Frank Manion of London-based Swipe Films. "This i
  • Ozon's Swimming Pool has a splashy start

    Two of this year's high-profile Cannes competitors, Francois Ozon's Swimming Pool and Lars Von Trier's Dogville, may have come away lacking awards but both have shown they don't lack audiences as they launched in multiple French-speaking territories last weekend.Swimming Pool dived into second place in France where the thriller sold 297,591 tickets through its first full week for Mars Films - approximately $1.7m. Playing on 360 prints the film scored a stron
  • Paillard says Cannes Market a success, 7% increase in participants

    Jerome Paillard,executive director of the Cannes Market, reported a 7% increase of overallparticipants at this year's event with 7,880 compared to 7,368 in 2002.Notableincreases came from Spain, which accounted for a 26% rise in participants, theUK (21%), Germany and France (both 12%).Paillard saidthe number of overall buyers fell by 6% except for France, which registered an8% increase.Registrationsdropped from China and Thailand (both down 50%), Canad
  • Paltrow out, Deneuve in on cast of Russell's Huckabee's

    After news this week that Gwyneth Paltrow had pulled out of David O'Russell's forthcoming I Love Huckabee's, casting has been confirmed with French doyenne Catherine Deneuve set to topline alongside Dustin Hoffman.The film, which also stars Jude Law, Mark Wahlberg and Naomi Watts, will begin shooting in Los Angeles in early June. Previously titled The Existential Detective, O'Russell's film - which he also wrote and is producing - focuses on a couple of married det
  • Paradiso enjoys buying spree

    Paradiso Entertainment bought all Benelux rights to After The Sunset and Rush Hour 3. From the UK's Portman Entertainment it bought Intermission. From Odyssey Entertainment it picked up The Libertine. From Pandora it concluded a three picture deal including Casa De Los Babys, A Home At The End Of The World and Grid. From In-Motion it grabbed new George Romeros title The Ill. Prior to the market Paradiso renewed its annual output deal with Wild
  • Pathe International boasts 70-plus Cannes deals

    Pathe International has unveiled more than 70 Cannes deals across its UK and French slates, with Gurinder Chadha's Pride & Prejudice: The Bollywood Musical, Danny Boyle's Millions and Patrick Alessandrin's Mean Spirit (Mauvais Esprit) amongst the busiest titles.Sandrew Metronome took Pride & Prejudice: The Bollywood Musical for Scandinavia, joining buyers such as Miramax, which added Australia and New Zealand to its pre-Cannes purchase of US and Latin Americ
  • Plenus plans merger with Korea's online game giant, NetMarble

    Plenus Entertainment, parent company of South Korean major Cinema Service, has unveiled plans to merge with Korea's largest online game company NetMarble. The announcement comes only months after the collapse of a planned merger between Plenus and rival studio CJ Entertainment.NetMarble, which has been 51% owned by Plenus since November 2001, has shown explosive growth since its launch in early 2000 by catering to Korea's robust online game community. It currently accou
  • Purple Butterfly

    Dir: Lou Ye. China. 2003. 126minsAfter the Cannes Competition screening of Purple Butterfly, the long-awaited third film from Chinese director Lou Ye, some of the best critical minds of our generation - plus the present reviewer - stood outside the Salle Bunuel, arguing about the plot. Everyone had a slightly different version of what actually happened in this historical romance, which is set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai in the 1930s. Lou Ye is no David Lynch, and the
  • Rai Trade sells its Heart out

    Rai Trade did good business with Pupi Avati's competition film A Heart Elsewhere (Il Cuore Altrove), selling it in over 20 territories.Deals included ones struck with Axiom Films for the UK, Ocean Film for France, Palace for Australia, Art Film for Brazil, Cine Video Y TV for Mexico, Alliance Atlantis for Canada, Castello Lopes for Portugal, Negro Y Azul for Spain, Imagine Film Distribution for Belgium, Shoval for Israel, Chantier Films for Turkey, Ruscico for Russia, IFA
  • RCV wraps up a dozen Cannes buys

    Dutch distributorRCV Entertainment bought a dozen high profile English-language titles at Cannes. Although the prices paid have notbeen disclosed, the company's willingness to pre-buy so many titles that haveyet to go into production underlines the competitiveness of the Dutch market. RCV'sshopping list was headed by Monkeyface, the racing scam story to be directed by Stephen Frears with Cath
  • Sandrew Metronome grabs Arcand's Barbarians

    Nordic major Sandrew Metronome, which had an all new acquisition team in Cannes, grabbed Denys Arcand's double award-winning Les Invasions Barbares along with four other films at the festival. Sandrew Metronome already holds rights to the animated crowd-pleaser Belleville Rendez-Vous, which screened in the official selection outside competition, as well as Clint Eastwood's competition entry Mystic River through its output deal with Warner Bros.Other acquisit
  • Since Otar Left (Depuis Qu'Otar Est Parti)

    Dir: Julie Bertuccelli. France-Belgium. 2003. 102minsThe modest but solid debut of French film-maker Julie Bertuccelli, Since Otar Left should be considered closely by festivals looking for a film that connects with audiences while admirably resisting every temptation offered by its touching story to plunge into bathos by over-plucking the heartstrings. The film is set in Tblisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia, meaning approximately 80% of its dia
  • Sony plans pay-TV channel in Germany

    Sony Pictures is planning to launch its own pay TV channel in Germany and is also interested in collaborating with T-Online on providing content for its video on demand service.Speaking to the German business daily newspaper Handelsblatt, Michael Grindon, president of Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI), stated that he was 'convinced that there are good opportunities for such a cable or satellite channel' which could be distributed via Premiere's digital pay platform, cable n
  • Spain's City of Light studio options Mario Puzo's Borgia novel

    Spain's City of Light studio complex has optioned the rights to Mario Puzo's last novel, The Family, with plans to film the Euros 25m feature on-site in 2005. US scriptwriter David Giler (Aliens 3) will adapt the epic tale about the powerful 15th century Borgia family whose influence under Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, transformed Renaissance Italy. A director is not yet attached. A completed script is anticipated for the end of 2004, when the Euros 100,000 op
  • Spain's Filmax starts shooting The Machinist

    Filmax began principal photography Monday on Brad Anderson's The Machinist, a 100% Spanish production shooting for eight weeks in Barcelona.The English-language film stars Christian Bale (American Psycho), Jennifer Jason Leigh (ExistenZ), Aitana Sanchez-Gijon (I Am Not Scared), John Sharian (Saving Private Ryan) and the young Matthew Romero.The story turns on a factory worker whose acute insomnia leads him to suffer disturbing hallucinations. W
  • Spain's Sogepaq announces 'best Cannes in years'

    Calling Cannes its "best market in years," Spanish sales house Sogepaq announced a slew of deals, including local hits Mondays In The Sun and Mortadelo & Filemon - The Big Adventure.Fernando Leon's award-winning Mondays was sold to Winchester Entertainment for the UK and Ireland. The film, Spain's official nomination to the latest foreign-language Oscar category, stars Javier Bardem in a tale of a group of out-of-work friends.Mortadolo & Filemon, now
  • Spain's youth-themed Jove fest attracts contenders from 30 countries

    Eight features and 70 short films from more than 30 countries will face off in the two parallel competition sections of next month's 18th annual Cinema Jove Film Festival (June 14-21).The feature titles chosen from 47 entries to this youth-oriented festival in Valencia, Spain all mark their premieres in Spain. The festival highlights their focus on current-day themes and relations affecting young children and adolescents.They include: Lynne Ramsay's Movern Callar (
  • Spanish producers focus on foreign finance

    Spanish producers have avidly begun turning to foreign partners in a bid to finance their films. In fact, co-production talk has dominated recent Spanish events - such as first-ever Italian-Spanish co-production market in Madrid; the Spanish Film Screenings of Malaga which saw meetings between the UK's Film Council and Spanish producers; the first annual EuroForum Co-Production Market in Las Palmas and the Spanish Film Screenings of Lanzarote.With cash strapped Spanish broadcas
  • Spitfire addicted to Korean thriller remake

    Guy East and NigelSinclair's Spitfire Pictures and Roy Lee and Doug Davison's VertigoEntertainment are teaming up to produce Addicted, a remake of KM Culture's Korean thriller Jungadok.Michael Petroni, whosecredits include Queen Of The Damned and The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, will adapt the screenplay from the original.Addicted is a supernatural thriller about two brothers whocollide in a freak car accident and fall into comas, only for on
  • Spruill heads up Kodak's Entertainment Imaging division

    D Brian Spruill has beennamed vice president and general manager of worldwide sales operations andmarketing for Kodak's Entertainment Imaging division.His role includescoordinating the work of four strategic product groups and the company'sworldwide sales and marketing operation.Spruill has held a number ofsales, marketing and strategic planning management posts since joining Kodak in1972. Most recently he served as vice president and director of strategicplanning.In addi
  • Sweden's Film I Vast gears up for more films

    Swedish regional fund Film I Vast is expanding its already considerable studios with another 4500 square meters of fully equipped sound stage. "We're not doing this because of Manderlay, but we are in talks about that film," said CEO Tomas Eskilsson referring to the second film of Lars von Trier's U.S.A. trilogy of which the first Dogville was shot at its Trollhattan studios. Office space will also be doubled and the fund is in talks with a number of local
  • Sweden's NonStop is ceaseless buyer

    Sweden's NonStop Entertainment had a busy time in Cannes acquiring the Palme d'Or winner Elephant by Gus van Sant and a further seven other films. From Elephant sales house, HBO Films London, it also bought Sundance winner American Splendor. From Pandora, NonStop took John Sayles latest film Casa De Los Babys. A new deal with Arclight resulted in five new acquisitions; it bought spy thriller A Different Loyalty, starring Sharon Stone and Rupert
  • Sweden's NonStop is ceaseless buyer

    Sweden's NonStop Entertainment had a busy time in Cannes acquiring the Palme d'Or winner Elephant by Gus van Sant and a further seven other films. From Elephant sales house, HBO Films London, it also bought Sundance winner American Splendor. From Pandora, NonStop took John Sayles latest film Casa De Los Babys. A new deal with Arclight resulted in five new acquisitions; it bought spy thriller A Different Loyalty, starring Sharon Stone and Rupert
  • Taormina announces June festival line-up

    The 49th Taormina BNL FilmFest, directed for the fifth consecutive year by Felice Laudadio, will screen 50 feature films during the event's eight days, 10 as world premiers and 16 as international premiers.Announcing the line-up Laudadio expressed his delight at being able to use Taormina with the aim of helping Italy's summer distribution season get a head start. 'Grande Cinema' In The Greek TheatreIn this section, eight films will be screened each evening; many are the fir
  • The Fog Of War

    Dir: Errol Morris. US. 2003. 95minsErrol Morris's latest documentary/essay, The Fog Of War, is a brilliant, nuanced examination of the career of Robert S McNamara, who served as secretary of defence in the US cabinet during the Vietnam War. Owing to its intellectual, moral and political complexity, the film, which will be released in the US by Sony Pictures Classics, should play equally well around the world. The film enjoyed a special screening at this year's Cann
  • The Last Customer/Il Grido D'Angoscia Dell'uccello Predatore 20 Tagli D'Aprile

    Dir: Nanni Moretti. Italy 2003. 23/27minsSometimes a short work from a major film-maker can give more pleasure than an epic feature from a lesser talent. That is certainly the case with Nanni Moretti's The Last Customer, a warm-hearted salute to a family pharmacy business that had become an institution in its New York neighbourhood. Less essential but still entertaining, Il Grido D'Angoscia Dell'uccello Predatore 20 Tagli Aprile is a postscript to his 1998 diary featur
  • The Matrix Reloaded passes international $100m mark in record time

    The Matrix Reloaded became the first film to pass $100m in its second international weekend as it grossed a sensational $113.2m.After opening in 13 countries last weekend, the sci-fi sequel unloaded in a further 49 and raised its cumulative international total to $154m.The closest any film has previously come to passing $100m in such short time was New Line's The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, which grossed $99.4m last year.Warner Bros International's The
  • The Mother

    Dir: Roger Michell. UK. 2003. 112minsA finely-shaded performance from veteran British actress Anne Reid is the shining centre of The Mother, a shrewd and believable portrait of an older woman's belated revolt against a life of quiet desperation. A thoughtful companion piece to the kind of themes previously explored in Shirley Valentine, it unfolds with a graceful sureness of touch that confirms the versatility and growing stature of director Roger Michell. Criti
  • UIP, BVI seal theatrical pact for Scandinavia

    United International Pictures (UIP) and Buena Vista International (BVI) are to rationalise their theatrical distribution operations in parts of Scandinavia.BVI will close its distribution operations in Denmark and sub-distribute its films through the Danish branch of UIP. In Finland the situation is reversed; with UIP closing and instead routing its studio parents' pictures through the Helsinki offices of BVI.The new arrangement takes effect from October 1 in Denmark and from a
  • UK Film Council renews slate funding deals

    The UK Film Council has renewed its slate funding deals with Fragile Films, Ruby Films and Tall Stories.All three production outfits are now into the second year in their three-year deals, which are reviewed annually.The council's development fund also unveiled slate deals with Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges' Bend It Films, Paul Anderson and Jeremy Bolt's Impact Pictures and Zoe Stewart's Shona FilmsFragile Films received £200,000, while Bend It Films and Impact P
  • Universal's 8 Mile stays on top in Japan

    Even a typhoonwas not enough to dislodge Universal's 8 Mile from its number one berth in Japan,where in its second week the film grossed $1.7m from 235 venues.The drama slipped a mere 23% and has taken $6m in theterritory. Overall the film's international running total is $116.3m.The spy-spoof JohnnyEnglish grossed $1.2mfrom 1,519 sites in 21 countries in its eighth weekend on release, raising itsinternational cumulative score
  • US FCC relaxes media ownership rules

    Deregulation opponents saw their concerns swept aside today (Jun2) as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to relax mediaownership rules.
  • Veteran producer appointed to stimulate Oz industry

    Producer Ross Dimsey has been appointed general manager of industry development and investment at Film Victoria, one of Australia's biggest State Government film assistance agencies. He is a past president of the Screen Production Association of Australia and is a former director of Queensland's version of Film Victoria. His credits include three features, Kangaroo, Warm Nights On A Slow Moving Train and The Naked Country, all of which were made nearly 20 years ago.
  • Wanda Vision sells Suite Havana to Trigon

    Spanish producer-distributor-sales house Wanda Vision has sold Cuba-set co-production Suite Havana to Trigon Films for all Swiss and Austrian rights.Havana director Fernando Perez's prior film, Life Is To Whistle (La Vida Es Silbar), drew more than 100,000 admissions in Switzerland, Wanda chief Jose Maria Morales said.Suite is one of several Latin American co-productions on Wanda's busy slate. "There are great stories and talents to be found in Latin America
  • Wellspring acquires US rights to two Cannes titles

    US distributor Wellspring has acquired US rights to two filmswhich played at this year's Cannes Film Festival - Alexander Sokurov's FIPRESCIprizewinner Father And Son and Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold, winner of the Jury Prize in the UnCertain Regard section.
  • X2 takes another $5.5m for Fox

    X2: X-men United grossed just over $5.5m on 4,670 international screens over theweekend to raise its running total to $177.1m.

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