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3 June 2007

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  • Alexandra (Vishnevskaya)

    Dir: Alexander Sokurov. Russia, 2007. 92 minutes.This new effort by Russian auteur Sokurov, an anti-war minimalist 'situation' - calling it a 'tale' would imply more attention to narrative than the film warrants - set and actually shot in the ruins of Grozny, in Chechnya, is very much in the humanist-formalist tradition of this immensely talented but sometimes difficult director. For once, however, there is more accent on the humanism than the formali
  • Ambitious Pixion recruits visual effects master Crawford

    Pixion, the post-production arm of Century Communication Limited (CCL), has recruited specialist David Crawford to lead its VFX team in India. Crawford is associated with Hollywood blockbusters such as Spiderman, Titanic, Mission Impossible 2, XXX, and Vanilla Sky.Pixion has recently seen an exponential growth and is working on around 40 films under various banners to be released in the comi
  • Artificial Eye buys four more from Cannes, including The Banishment

    UK distributor Artifical Eye has announced four more acquisitions from Cannes. They are Andrei Zvyagintsev’s The Banishment, Fatih Akin’s The Edge Of Heaven, Alexander Sokurov’s Alexandra, and Bela Tarr’s The Man From London.The Banishment (Izgnanie) stars Konstantin Lavronenko, who won the best actor prize in Cannes.Fatih Akin won the best screenplay and the ecumenical award for The Edge Of Heaven (Auf Der Anderen Seite).
  • AV closes more deals on crocodile thriller Black Water

    AV Pictures has closed more deals on its hot seller Black Water, including a North American deal with Grindstone Entertainment Group. Other new deals at the end of Cannes included France (Free Dolphin Entertainment), Germany (Legend), Scandinavia (Nobel Entertainment), CIS (Lizard Cinema Trade), Mexico & Central America (Cine Video y TV) and Former Yugoslavia (Mirius Tuck). As Screen previously reporter, the crocodile thriller previously sold to the UK (The Works
  • BBC Worldwide takes stake in Andy Harries' Left Bank

    BBC Worldwide recently announced that it will take a 25% equity stake in Left Bank Pictures, the new production company being set up by former ITV/Granada production head Andy Harries, one of the producers of The Queen. Helen Jackson, BBC Worldwide's director of Independents, will take a seat on the Left Bank board, and BBC Worldwide gets an exclusive distribution first-look at Left Bank 's TV productions. Left Bank will work with international partners on TV one-off films
  • Beginning of the End's run

    Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End made Spider-Man 3 walk the plank this weekend. BVI's third instalment of the franchise knocked Sony's web-slinger off the top spot as it raked in a whopping $216.3m from 102 territories in its first weekend, for a total of $251m to date. Spider-Man 3 dropped 59% in its fourth weekend, still generating a sizable $21m over the three-day period. And Warner Bros' thriller Zodiac took $5.7m - down 38% - from 18 ter
  • Blueberry Recruitment becomes Blueberry Creative Consultants

    Post-production talent company Blueberry Recruitment has changed its name to Blueberry Creative Consultants. The company's clients include production mangers, producers and directors from the likes of BBC, CNN, RDF, Darlow Smithson and Flaming CGI. Blueberry works with about 150 freelance editors and designers. The rebranding comes as the company expands its offerings with talent development, support, promotion and work activities.
  • Calle Santa Fe

    Dir: Carmen Castillo. Chile-Fr-Bel. 164mins.Beginning as a reconstruction of the October 1977 police shooting of Chilean underground Marxist leader Miguel Enriquez, Calle Santa Fe is a long but ultimately compelling documentary both celebrates the anti-Pinochet resistance and subjects it to testing questions. These are made all the more incisive and affecting because Carmen Castillo, the film's director and narrator, was Enriquez' partner and fellow combatant - inj
  • Canada promises piracy clampdown to visiting Schwarzenegger

    He didn't come seeking it, but The Terminator's presence in Canada's capital triggered the promise of a new Canadian anti-camcorder bill. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Canada on a trade mission, promoting everything from his state's fruit and vegetables to wine, high technology and climate-change awareness, but it was his visit to Ottawa that elicited the statement from Prime Minister Stephen Harper that his government would
  • Cannes Grand Prix winner The Mourning Forest to air on Japanese TV

    Cannes' newly crowned Grand Prix winner The Mourning Forest (Mogari No Mori) will air on Japanese public broadcaster NHK on May 29, five days before its June 3 theatrical release in Japan. Though the broadcast was planned before the film's win, the great amount of additional press combined with NHK's Digital BS-hi high-definition current subscriber base of 20m people across Japan, will offer the largest potential audience Kawase's work has ever received. It is unclear wheth
  • Cannes Market attendees up 4% to 10,491

    The Cannes Film Market has announced strong results for its most recent edition. 10,491 participants were accredited from 92 countries with new territories from Africa and Asia taking part for the first time. The figures represent a 4% jump over last year with, notably, increased participation from Latin America (up 28%). Chile alone sent 33 participants as compared to just 14 last year. The Chinese contingent surged to 114 participants from 82 last year. The US and the UK also ea
  • Charlie Kaufman: worlds within worlds

    Charlie Kaufman started production last week on his first feature as a director, Synecdoche, New York, with a cast led by Philip Seymour Hoffman. On the eve of the shoot, Kaufman and Spike Jonze, one of his producers, talked exclusively to Mike Goodridge. Oddly, I'm not scared,' Charlie Kaufman says on a break from hair and make-up tests for his directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, in early May in Brooklyn. 'Maybe I'm in a state of denial. I'm
  • CineVegas to honour Hopkins, Kingsley, Theron

    The Cine Vegas Film Festival has set Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley, Mike Newell and Charlize Theron to receive awards during its June 6-16 run at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Hopkins will get the event's Marquee Award; Kingsley the Vanguard Actor Award; Newell the Vanguard Director Award; and Theron the Half-Life Award. The honours will be handed out during the festival's Honorees Reception on June 15. Cine Vegas previously announced it would give its Vanguard Producer
  • Coach 14 books healthy sales during first Cannes

    At its first Cannes, Coach 14 steamed ahead with healthy sales on four of its titles.Project El Rey De La Montana, by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego concluded pre-sales with the UK's Optimum, Madman in Australia and New Zealand, Eureka Pictures in Korea, France's WildSide and Canada's Seville Pictures.The US, Switzerland, Germany and Japan are currently under negotiation. John Pilger's documentary The War On Democracy sold to Italy's Fandango while the English-langua
  • Cobra to announce winners of 50-second short competition

    Cobra Beer will host its second-annual CobraVision Awards on Monday, June 4, at London 's BFI Southbank. Presenters at the ceremony will be TV presenter June Sarpong and actor Martin Freeman. Of the 20 finalists in the company's 50-second short film competition, CobraVision will select one winner and two runners-up. Prizes include $24,000 in cash and trips to India. The competition has been running since 2005 and winning films get shown on ITV2, ITV3 and ITV.
  • Concorde picks up 4 Months and Band's Visit for Germany

    Germany's Concorde Film has picked up Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's Golden Palm winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days from Wild Bunch and will release the film theatrically in German cinemas later this year. Among Concorde's other acquisitions from Cannes include Israeli filmmaker Eran Kolirin's Un Certain Regard hit The Band's Visit from Bleiberg Entertainment, which won the Youth Prize and Coup de Coeur award. Meanwhile, Kinowelt has announced a number
  • Conget takes VP distribution role at Film Movement

    US independent and foreign distributor Film Movement has hired Rebeca Conget for the newly created position of vice president of theatrical distribution. Conget, who has been vice president of theatrical distribution at New Yorker Films for the past 10 years, will be responsible for expanding and running the Film Movement's new theatrical division. The division's upcoming releases include Pavel Lounguine's The Island, Matthew Sav
  • Controversial Spanish film law approved by ministers

    Spain's controversial new film law took a major step forward on Friday after being approved by the Council of Ministers.The legislation, now expected to come into force by the end of the year after being pushed through Parliament as a matter of urgency, is intended to improve distribution and boost young talent, independent producers and new technologies.However, it has been bitterly contested by exhibitors and television operators as well as some actors and even other mi
  • Cristian Mungiu, Coens get top votes from Screen's Cannes jury

    This year's Screen International Jury at Cannes has picked joint winners for the first time in its history. The panel of international critics, who scored each of the 22 films in competition on a scale from 4.0 (excellent) to zero (bad), gave top marks to Cristian Mungiu's Palme d'Or-winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days; and the Coen brothers' No Country For Old Men, which left the festival empty-handed (rumour is that the Coen brothers were only just pipped by Gus Van Sant f
  • Days Of Darkness

    Dir. Denys Arcand.Can-Fr. 2007. 115mins.Also called at various stages Age Of Ignorance, Denys Arcand's new movie could also be called The Decline Of The Canadian Empire or alternately The Decline Of The Canadian Male.And Michael Moore should be made to sit through it for as many times as it will take him to lea
  • Deborah Lincoln takes new post in London for Warner Bros.

    Veteran communications and political strategist Deborah Lincoln has been named to the newly created position of vice president, corporate communications, Europe, Warner Bros. Entertainment Based in London, Lincoln will work closely with Susan Fleishman, Warner's executive vice president of corporate communications, territory managers and managing directors on corporate business issues, executive changes, legislation, regulation, litigation and controversial policies or practices.
  • Distribution - A shorts story about talent

    Ask any new film-maker why they made a short and they will likely say they wanted to tell a story and to explore their craft. But it is also true shorts act as a commercial for a film-maker's talent - and in the age of YouTube, getting a calling card seen is easier than ever before.Gone are the days when film-makers had to strike a print of their short and cajole executives and producers into screenings: shorts posted online can be viewed immediately - and can quickly build the kind of
  • DVD: specialty forces

    The specialty DVD market has thrived in recent years. But with the market under pressure Denis Seguin looks at how niche distributors are making their product stand out. Consider the sophisticated bachelor pad circa 2003, art-dressed to impress a visitor: on the coffee table, an issue of The New Yorker magazine, a book of architectural photographs and a DVD jewel case of Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows from The Criterion Collection's five-disc box
  • Editorial opinion: complications at birth

    'This story, in which we believe so much, is going to reach lots of people now,' Cristian Mungiu said as he deservedly collected his Palme d'Or.The victory for 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days will indeed allow the film to spread its wings. Its success points to the sound working of one institution - the Cannes film festival - which selected the film in the first place. One might even see it as a sign that all is well in the market. The cream has indeed risen to the top.But i
  • EEAP kicks off Paramount Vantage deal with Marc Pease

    Berlin-based East European Acquisition Pool (EEAP) has begun a long-term cooperation with Paramount's independent division Paramount Vantage by acquiring all Central and East European rights to the new Ben Stiller comedy The Marc Pease Experience. In addition, EEAP continued its close cooperation with The Weinstein Company by picking up six titles, including The Nanny Diaries, starring Scarlett Johansson, and Crossing Over with Harrison Ford and Sean Penn, for
  • eQuinoxe sets up home in Evian and selects 8 projects

    The 29th eQuinoxe screenwriting workshop will run June 3-9 in Evian, France. After years of a nomadic existence, this marks the beginning of a partnership with the town of Evian. eQuinoxe president Noelle Deschamps says the aim is that the workshop will now be based in Evian for the foreseeable future. Danielle Thompson will preside over this edition of the workshops with participation from Laurent Tirard, Mary Sweeney, Robert Wade, Martin Sherman and Susan B. Landau. In total, eight scr
  • Eros recognised with Bollywood Award

    At the Bollywood Awards in New York on May 26, Eros International received the Honorary Award for its contribution to Indian cinema. Eros is celebrating its 30th anniversary of bringing Indian cinema to international markets. Ken Naz, president of Eros International, USA, said in his acceptance speech: 'This is an honour that we would like to share with millions of moviegoers that have supported us over the years and as new technologies of delivering content take place,
  • European film commissions join forces in Brussels

    A new association, the European Film Commissions Network, met for the first time during the recent Cannes Film Festival.Fifty film commissions from all over Europe had their first general assembly meeting during the festival and will continue to meet on a regular basis to share experiences and foster joint initiatives, according to Film France.The association, open to all film commissions based in Europe, will elect a president this autumn when a complete programme will be
  • Family business

    The daughter of film-maker Luis Puenzo has emerged as an exciting international talent with Cannes favourite XXY. Diego Batlle reports. A renowned novelist and screenwriter in Argentina, Lucia Puenzo is enjoying an exciting 2007 with a new book recently published and her first feature, XXY, selected for Cannes' Critics Week. The 31-year-old artist is not new to film, having written screenplays and directed a slew of short films, documentaries and TV min
  • Film music company Cutting Edge acquires Air-Edel

    Music supervision and publishing company Cutting Edge has acquired Air-Edel Associates and Air-Edel Recording Studios from the Sanctuary Group. Air Edel was founded by George Martin and Herman Edel and is now run by Maggie Rodford. The company manages composers and provides music supervision for film, TV and video games. Its roster of composers includes Patrick Doyle, Dario Marinelli and Christian Henson. Phil Hope, managing director of Cutting Edge, said: 'We are delighted to b
  • Film Sales Company strikes three new deals for Crazy Love

    The Film Sales Company has announced theatrical rights sales of documentary Crazy Love to Tartan Films for the UK, Palace Films for Australia and Shani Films for Israel. All three distributors plan an early autumn release for the film, which is directed by Dan Klores and co-directed by Fisher Stevens and explores a 50-year love affair filled with infidelities, violence and deceit. The deals were signed during the last days of the Cannes festival. Film Sales Company presiden
  • Film Sales gets Cannes deals on Crazy Love

    The Film Sales Company has announced theatrical rights sales of documentary Crazy Love to Tartan Films for the UK, Palace Films for Australia and Shani Films for Israel. All three distributors plan an early autumn release for the film, which is directed by Dan Klores and co-directed by Fisher Stevens and explores a 50-year love affair filled with infidelities, violence and deceit. The deals were signed during the last days
  • Film4 Summer Screen to open with Knocked Up

    London's Somerset House has announced the line-up for its open air cinema series Film4 Summer Screen. The giant-screen projections, hosting up to 2,000 people, will run Aug 2-11. The series opens with Judd Apatow's hit US comedy Knocked Up. Other films selected are The Descent, The Thing, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Rushmore, Rear Window, ET, Walk The Line, Chak de India, Hot Fuzz, Point Break and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Finnish Film Foundation backs new Lordi film Dark Floors

    Dark Floors - Finnish director Pete Riski's horror project to star 2006 European Song Contest winners Lordi - will receive $405,000 (Euros 300,000) state funding from the Finnish Film Foundation. Currently shooting at Uleaborg in Northern Finland, starring Mr Lordi, Amen the unstoppable mummy, Awa the vampire countess, Ox the hellbull and Kita the alien manbeast, the $5.6m (Euros 4.2m) Solar Films production - which will premiere locally on Feb 8, 2008 - is mainly using a Finnish cast
  • Flashpoint acquires remake rights to Hong Kong's Phoenix

    LA-based Flashpoint Entertainment has acquired the English-language remake rights to Hong Kong action comedy Enter The Phoenix from JCE Movies. Flashpoint's Andrew R. Tennenbaum, whose credits include The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, will produce the remake. The original film, produced in 2004 by JCE's Jackie Chan, Albert Yeung and Willie Chan and sold internationally by Emperor Motion Pictures, was directed and co-written by its star Steph
  • Fox sells Mexican studio to investors' group

    Twentieth Century Fox has sold the Mexican studio used to shoot parts of Titanic and Tomorrow Never Dies to a group of private investors. The 46-acre Baja Studios near Rosarito, about 150 miles south of Los Angeles, was built in 1996. Its huge water tanks housed a replica of the title ship during the extended shoot of Titanic. The tanks were also used on other water-borne epics, among them Master
  • Fuel's gold

    Small can be very sweet, as the Irish director discovered when his new film Garage was well-received at Cannes last week. He talks to Ted Sheehy. Lenny Abrahamson's first film, Adam & Paul, is one of the most successful Irish films of recent years. And with the film's cult status assured, Abrahamson and screenwriter Mark O'Halloran found themselves brimming with creativity. 'We have generated enough ideas and projects and proposals to keep me shooting for the ne
  • Gargotta takes top marketing role at Columbia TriStar

    Tommy Gargotta has been named senior executive vice president, worldwide creative advertising, Columbia TriStar Marketing Group (CTMG). As part of Gargotta's expanded duties he will serve in an integral capacity on the global launch of tentpole films and work closely with the studio's international marketing division. Prior to the promotion, he was solely involved in the creation and launch of domestic creative campaigns. Gargotta joined Columbia in March 2001 as senior
  • German and UK producers to bring Catweazle to the big screen

    The Red Baron producers Dan Maag and Thomas Reisser of Niama Filmproduktion are teaming up the UK's Paul Knight and Richard Carpenter of Catweazle Ltd. for a feature film based on the 1970s cult international hit TV series Catweazle. Based on Carpenter's original series about the magical adventures of the eccentric and irascible wizard Catweazle who accidentally travels through time whilst on the run from the invading Normans in 1066, the film will be directed by John Hende
  • Germany 's Odeon expands with genre production label

    The publicly listed German film and TV group Odeon Film is expanding its feature film activities by setting up the Hanover-based Waterfall Productions (WFP) with producers Peter Rommel and Thomas Haberle to specialise in the production of quality genre feature films with budgets between $3.4m-$4.7m (Euros 2.5m-3.5m) for the international market. Originally operating under the working title of Get Lost Films, WFP is 50.1% owned by Odeon Film, with Rommel and Haberle each holding 24
  • Germany's Constantin Film to co-produce Faubourg 36

    Leading German producer-distributor Constantin Film has joined forces with France's Galatee Films and Pathe Renn production to produce Faubourg 36 (working title), the next feature from The Chorus director Christophe Barratier. Set in Paris in 1936, Faubourg 36 will focus on three unemployed theatre professionals - played by The Chorus stars Gerard Jugnot, Maxence Perrin and Kad Merad - who take advantage of the French general to occupy a music hall and
  • High-end DVD distributors

    Denis Seguin looks at a selection of company players in the high-end DVD sector. Click on bolded compnay name for more information.Artficial EyeUK-based Artificial Eye, along with its Curzon Cinemas circuit, is a stalwart of the art cinema scene. Its video division has kept pace with a vast catalogue of European and world cinema artists including Robert Bresson, Krzysztof K
  • Hunton takes new role at Paramount Home Entertainment

    Paramount Home Entertainment International (PHEI) has appointed Don Hunton to a new post as executive vice president, general manager Paramount Home Entertainment for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Hunton was previously senior vice president of the Asia Pacific, UK and Ireland regions for PHEI. Prior to joining PHEI, he held various management positions at MGM.Meanwhile, Luigi Calabrese will become senior vice president, general manager
  • In focus - Festival Buzz - Cannes Talent Watch

    Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu, actors, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 DaysThe understated, emotionally nuanced performances from the two young stars of Cristian Mungiu's abortion drama helped propel the Romanian title to the Palme d'Or. "The leads never put a foot wrong, giving remarkably controlled and unaffected performances," is how Screen critic Dan Fainaru put it.Anton Corbijn, director, ControlThe biopic of late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis was one of the must-see f
  • Industry moves

    CONI TAKES HELM AT 01Adriano Coni has been named the new president of Italy's 01 Distribution, the distribution arm of RAI Cinema. Coni previously acted as chief of both RAI Cinema's marketing and human resources divisions.MEDIA 8 INTERNATIONAL ROLE FOR ANISIThe US's Media 8 Entertainment has hired Tannaz Anisi as vice-president of international distribution to jointly handle Media 8 sales alongside Kristen Figeroid. Anisi previously served as senior vice-president of int
  • Jellyfish (Meduzot)

    Dir. Etgar Keret, Shira Geffen. Is-Fr. 2007. 78mins.While it makes for a bleak portrait of dysfunctional families and wretched personal lives, Jellyfish is a su
  • J-horror hit-makers join forces for US project

    J-horror hit-makers Hideo Nakata and Taka Ichise are set to team up on US horror project Inhuman, from Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises. The film will be based on a script - inspired by a real Japanese murder case - by Eric Heisserer, writer of the in-development Warner/Heydey horror project Dionaea House (aka The Occupants). Nakata will direct and Ichise will produce with Vertigo Entertainment's Roy Lee and Doug Davison.
  • Joel Silver keen to bring future projects to Babelsberg

    Producer Joel Silver is already looking at ways of bringing future projects to Germany's Babelsberg Studios even before the first scenes are shot for Larry and Andy Wachowski's action film Speed Racer Speed Racer starts its four-month shoot Monday with a cast headed by Emile Hirsch, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, and Matthew Fox, and also including the UK's Roger Allam, Germany's Benno Furmann and Korean popstar-actor Rain. Speaking at an inter
  • Kerry McCluggage to give keynote at IFTA conference

    Kerry McCluggage, chairman of Allumination FilmWorks and former chairman of Paramount Television Group, is to deliver the keynote speech at the Independent Film & Television Alliance's (IFTA) annual Production Conference next month. The event, which takes place on June 15 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, will also feature panels on Marketing and Distributing Movies in the Age of New, User-Centered Technologies and How Do New Incentive Programs Change our Choices for Production Locations'
  • Kindred's Erb and Nicolo start production outfit Feverpitch

    Distribution and production executives Jeffrey D. Erb and Joe Nicolo have left distribution company Kindred Media Group to form their own production operation, Feverpitch Pictures. Feverpitch plans to produce two to four films a year in the $1m-$5m range. The company says it will also set up one or two studio co-productions a year, with budgets of $20m-$50m. Nicolo and Erb are currently executive producing Tooth and Nail, on which principal photography was recently complete
  • Liddell makes directorial debut with psychological thriller

    Veteran producer Mickey Liddell is to make his directorial debut with She Lived, a psychological thriller starring Haley Bennett, Jake Weber and Shannon Woodward. The Liddell Entertainment production will start shooting in July on location in Los Angeles. Liddell Entertainment's Jennifer Hilton will produce with Stephen Kay as executive producer. Script is by John Travis and rewrites by Rebecca Sonnenshine. Prior to launching his
  • Lithuania becomes eligible for Eurimages funding

    Lithuania has become the 33rd country to join Eurimages, the Council of Europe-supported film co-production, distribution and exhibition fund. The Eurimages board had recommended the inclusion at its March 2006 meeting and Lithuanian authorities have now confirmed their membership. Now all projects involving a Lithuanian co-producer can be considered for Eurimages funding.
  • Little Film Company takes on rights to Satanas

    The Little Film Company has acquired worldwide rights from Dynamo & Rionegro Producciones to Andres Baiz' thriller Satanas. Rodrigo Guerrero (Maria Full Of Grace) produced the film, which stars Damian Alcazar, Marcela Mar and Blas Jaramillo in a story that explores the ripple effect of misguided actions on a group of strangers. The film was produced by the new film fund from Dynamo, a development, production and financing company based in Columbia. '
  • Magnolia and Red Envelope take domestic rights to Ferguson doc

    Magnolia Pictures and Red Envelope Entertainment have acquired all North American rights to Charles Ferguson's No End In Sight, Documentary Jury Prize winner at this year's Sundance Festival. The film, which looks at the decision-making process behind the occupation of Iraq, was written and directed by Ferguson and executive produced by Oscar nominee Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room).
  • Major screenwriters join international festival

    The second international screenwriters festival has attracted some of the biggest names in the business.Organisers of the event - which runs from July 3-6) to in the UK town of Cheltenham - have revealed more details of its programme.Among the keynote speakers will be Tony Jordan (Hustle) and Sir David Hare (Plenty, The Hours).There will be masterclasses from Abi Morgan (
  • Martin to direct Cadillac Records for Sony BMG Film

    Sony BMG Film has chosen Darnell Martin (Their Eyes Were Watching God) to direct Cadillac Records, a feature about the world of rock and roll in 1950s Chicago, from her own script. Production is set to begin later this year on location in Chicago, with Sofia Sondervan and Andrew Lack producing. The film will follow the lives of some of America's musical legends, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf and Elvis Presley. Sony BMG expec
  • Matson promoted at NBC Universal's Global Networks

    Greg Matson has been appointed senior vice president, commercial & network development, Global Networks, an international division of NBC Universal. The new appointment is effective immediately. He currently serves as senior VP, network development and distribution and will now also coordinate the commercial operations for Global Networks. Peter Smith, President, NBC Universal International, commented, 'Greg has been a key architect of our recently announced Global Networks
  • Meyer promoted to new Disney global publicity role

    In a reorganisation of Disney's global publicity operation, Teri Meyer has been promoted to the newly-created position of executive vice president of worldwide publicity for Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Marketing. Meyer will be responsible for formulating and executing worldwide publicity campaigns for all live-action and animated motion pictures released under the Walt Disney Pictures (live action and animation), Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures banners.
  • MK2 sells Van Sant's Paranoid Park to 72 territories

    MK2 has announced stellar sales on Gus Van Sant's Cannes competition film Paranoid Park. The skateboarder-turned-accidental-murderer tale, which won the 60th anniversary award at Cannes last weekend, has been sold in 72 territories including the UK to Tartan Films, Italy to Lucky Red, Spain to Vertigo, India to Palador, Argentina to Alfa, Greece to DP Skouras, Japan to Tokyo Theaters and Korea to Spong Films. A US sale was also completed but MK2 is not revealing the distr
  • Momentum's The Painted Veil added to Odeon Digital Trial

    Momentum Pictures has added its film The Painted Veil to the Odeon Digital Trial. The trial, which started in February, is running at Odeon Hatfield and Surrey Quays, where DCI -compliant digital projection systems have been installed on all 18 screens. Odeon is testing various technology suppliers to evaluate their products. The cinema chain is also conducting audience research about the digital experience. The Painted Veil is Momentum's fifth digital release in
  • Mr Brooks

    Dir: Bruce A. Evans. US. 2007. 117mins.A lurching, zigzag tale of serial murder, killer apprenticeship, malevolent reverence and cat-and-mouse investigation, Kevin Costner's Mr Brooks puts a deliciously warped spin on what are by now many prim and proper thriller conventions. A throwback to a certain breed of wildly plot-driven thrillers from the 1980s, the film surfs along on its own crest of rising ridiculousness before slowly becoming something more interesting tha
  • MySpace, Film4 and Vertigo name 12 finalists for feature competition

    MySpace and its partners Film4 and Vertigo Films have selected the 12-person shortlist for its MyMovie MashUp contest. One winner will get $1.97m (£1m) to direct a feature film. The finalists are: Sadik Ahmed, Sean Conway, Katy Davis, Scott Flockhart, Tom Geens, Tom Harper, Mat Kirkby, Frazer Lee, Vito Rocco, William Sinclair, Dave Tucker, and Sam Walker. About 1,000 UK directors entered the contest on MySpace. The 12 shortlisted film-makers will now turn their idea into a filmed
  • New London festival to spotlight North American indies

    The first Declaration of Independence Film Festival will be held in London June 1-7, with a concentration on North American independent films. Features selected include Dan Casey's micro-budget Detroit crime drama The Death Of Michael Smith, Ali Selim's Sweet Land starrign Alan Cumming and Alex Kingston, Paul Fox's Everything's Gone Green, Michael Shroeder's Man In The Chair starring Christopher Plummer, Tanuj Chopra's Punching At The Sun, and
  • NonStop's Cannes buying spree includes 4 Months and Paranoid Park

    By purchasing Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's Cannes winner, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Sweden 's NonStop Entertainment has concluded a golden hat trick, having already acquired the Golden Bear winner from Berlin (Tuya's Marriage) and the Golden Lion winner from Venice (Still Life).NonStop will distribute Mungiu's illegal abortion drama, which was also awarded the international critics' FIPRESCI prize, in Scandinavia (except Norway, which was already l
  • Ocean's Thirteen

    Dir: Steven Soderbergh. US. 2007. 122mins.Thirteen should produce some lucky numbers for Warner Brothers and maintain the muscular box-office momentum in the current summer of threequels. The third entry in the crime caper franchise, Ocean's Thirteen marks a return to form after the self-indulgent tomfoolery of its globe-hopping predecessor, even if the revenge heist scenario now feels very tired. Steven Soderbergh disguises the paucity of the mater
  • Peace Arch starts US distribution arm under Balsam

    Peace Arch Entertainment is setting up a US theatrical distribution division to be headed by the Canadian company's president of US distribution Mark Balsam. First release for the new Peace Arch Releasing division will be Tom DiCillo's Sundance premiere Delirious, which will open in New York City on Aug 8. The comedy - which won the best director and best screenplay awards at the San Sebastian festival -- stars Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Alison Lohman, Gina Gershon and El
  • Pirates faces scattered competition in second weekend

    International weekend preview: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End opens in just one new territory for its second weekend, but with little new competition arriving in the international marketplace the Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer sequel is assured of another round of impressive grosses. Distributor Buena Vista International (BVI), which opened the third Pirates film in 102 territories last week, said the international total for At World's End had
  • Pirates reaches $156m domestic, $245m international

    Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ended the four-day North American holiday weekend with an estimated domestic gross of $156m, a new record for the Memorial Day weekend. And distributor Buena Vista issued a new international figure of $245m (including estimates for Monday), pushing the film's worldwide total past $400m for its first six days on release. The domestic estimate included $14m from Thursday evening previews. Without the previews contribution, At World's End
  • Pirates raids international market with $205.5m opening

    Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End grossed an estimated $205.5m in the international marketplace this weekend, the biggest standard opening of all time, according to distributor Buena Vista International (BVI).If early estimates putting the film's North American total at $126.5m stand up, At World's End, the third installment of Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer's Pirates trilogy, could become the b
  • Producers close in on Miramax deal for Boys Are Back In Town

    The producers of the Australian/UK co-production The Boys are Back in Town are in negotiations to pre-sell US rightsto Miramax on the project, which is Australian director Scott Hicks' first film shot in Australia since hit Shine. Australian producer Tim White, of Southern Light Films, would not comment when contacted by but other sources close to the production have confirmed the deal is in the works. It is very rare for an Australia
  • Promise Me This (Promets-moi)

    Dir: Emir Kusturica. Fr-Serb. 2007. 140mins'Never knowingly understated' continues to be the motto of Serbian madcap director Emir Kusturica. All the usual ingredients are present in Promise Me This, the latest knockabout episode of Emir's Balkan Follies - manic overacting, slapstick, wildly cartoonish characters and the usual menagerie of hapless animals (this time including cats, goats, a cow, a warthog and a turkey in a bonnet).
  • QED secures $50m credit facility from Comerica and Aramid

    Los Angeles-based finance and international sales company QED International has secured a $50m revolving credit facility from senior lender Comerica Bank and the London-based Aramid Entertainment Fund. The new financing facility will allow QED to 'directly and quickly' greenlight projects, said CEO Bill Block. 'This facility allows us to say yes to production companies and writers/directors that we believe will be viable in today's global marketplace,' Block said.
  • Quality and diversity ensure it was a Cannes to remember

    Special occasions always provoke unrealistic expectations but Cannes rose to the challenge of a landmark 60th festival with a programme that had distinction in abundance.Opening with Wong Kar Wai's underwhelming My Blueberry Nights was still a statement of intent, underlining the belief that auteur-cinema matters and that the festival was taking its anniversary responsibilities very seriously. The competition selection eschewed the Brown Bunny faux pas and pro
  • Random House and Rogue work on series including Sigler's Infested

    Scott Sigler's novel Infested, to be published in the US and Canada next spring by Random House's Crown imprint, has been acquired for development by Random House Films and Rogue Pictures. The thriller is the first in a series of at least two books. Crown has a world rights multi-book deal with Sigler and the filmmaking partnership now gets rights to both Infested and the as-yet-untitled second book. Infested follows a CIA black-ops specialist and a Center for
  • Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case (Bunt: Delo Litvinenko)

    Dir/scr: Andrei Nekrasov. Ger. 2007. 113mins.A political hot potato dropped into the Cannes official selection at the last moment, Andrei Nekrasov's Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case is likely to spark more news stories than it answers questions.The highly polemical film covers the political context behind the lethal poisoning in London last year of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent and forthright critic of President Putin. It features intervi
  • Ring of truth

    The Austrian auteur tells Vladan Petkovic why blurring the line between fact and fiction is the hallmark of his work. Austria's Ulrich Seidl is a film-maker best known for his documentaries such as Loss Is To Be Expected and Animal Love, as well as the Venice prize-winner Dog Days, the first of his films he described as fictional. Import Export is his second. It screened in Competition at Cannes, winning critical acclaim for i
  • Rogue and Random House take film rights to Sigler novel

    Scott Sigler's novel Infested, to be published in the US and Canada next spring by Random House's Crown imprint, has been acquired for development by Random House Films and Rogue Pictures. The thriller is the first in a series of at least two books. Crown has a world rights multi-book deal with Sigler and the filmmaking partnership now gets rights to both Infested and the as-yet-untitled second book. Infested follows a CIA black-ops
  • Rogue promotes Heineman and Deutschman

    Rogue Pictures has promoted Alex Heineman to vice president, production and Andrew Deutschman to creative executive.Deutschman and Heineman will continue to be based in the company's West Coast and East Coast offices, respectively, reporting directly to co-presidents Andrew Karpen and Andrew Rona.The two newly-promoted executives have already worked together on a number of projects in development, including Hack/Slash and
  • Romanian drama wins Palme d'Or

    Cristian Mungiu's difficult-to-swallow but critically-acclaimed Romanian drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks, And 2 Days has won Cannes 60th anniversary Palme d'Or.But Stephen Frears' jury threw some curveballs in their prize-giving. There was no mention of the Coen brothers' lauded No Country For Old Men and another favourite, the heavily-praised The Edge Of Heaven director Fa
  • Romulus, My Father

    Dir: Richard Roxburgh. 104mins. Aus. 2007.The directorial debut from Australian actor Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge, Van Helsing), Romulus, My Father boasts strong performances, elegant camerawork and striking early 1960s production design. But it's a tough working-class tale that grows ever more harrowing as it intensifies and, despite the formidable presence of Eric Bana in the title role, will remain strictly an arthouse item after its May 31 rele
  • Rozema rolls on HBO/Picturehouse's Kit Kittredge

    Patricia Rozema has commenced principal photography on Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery for HBO Films and Picturehouse. The long-awaited return to features for Toronto-based Rozema features Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin in the title role. The screenplay is by Ann Peacock, who wrote The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.
  • Secret Sunshine (Miryang)

    Dir: Lee Chang-dong. S Kor. 2007. 133mins.An uncompromising experiment in how much suffering a soul can take, both on screen and in one's cinema seat, Lee Chang-dong's follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Oasis makes for an original but ultimately gruelling two-and-a-quarter hours' viewing. This contemporary, twisted parable of Job is impressive, intriguing and frustrating in more or less equal measure. Starting off in the key of romance, shif
  • Senator continues Weinstein relationship with four more titles

    German producer-distributor Senator Film has consolidated its close working relationship with The Weinstein Company (TWC) by acquiring another four titles from the US independent during last week's Cannes festival. The quartet of acquisitions are headed by Michael Moore's 'out of competition' film Sicko and include Rian Johnson's romantic comedy The Brothers Bloom, starring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz, which is currently in postproduction; the projec
  • Sony challenges Disney's Pirates box-office record figures

    Walt Disney Co has released final box office figures for the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, producing a slightly increased six-day worldwide total of $404m. At the same time, however, Sony, distributor of this month's earlier global blockbuster Spider-Man 3, has raised doubts about some of Disney's box-office record claims. Disney/Buena Vista's latest box-office report for the third installment in its Pirates franchise reduced the film's
  • Strategic Partners from 2006 projects could generate $168m

    Projects initiated at the ninth Strategic Partners co-production market could generate $168m (C$181m) in activity, according to a new economic impact study from the Atlantic Film Festival. The three-day event, held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, last year, could pump $59m (C$63.2m) into the Atlantic Canadian economy over the next four years as a result of this year's pitches, the study said. Looking ahead, the 10th Strategic Partners will run Sept 14-16 with a focus on anchor countries
  • Sweet 60 for Cannes

    The 60th edition raised expectations but the festival and market succeeded because Cannes concentrated on what it has always done best. Michael Gubbins and Mike Goodridge report.The merchandising, and particularly the ubiquitous poster, made sure no-one forgot it was the festival's diamond jubilee. But there was a commendable refusal to wallow in nostalgia, and the 60th events rarely slipped into kitsch. Even the specially commissioned multi-director series of sh
  • Tartan on board for Silent Light and Paranoid Park

    Tartan Films has taken all UK and Ireland rights to two Cannes competition award winners: Silent Light and Paranoid Park. Carlos Reygadas' Silent Light, sold by BAC Films, jointly won the Jury Prize. The film is about a father and husband whose faith is tested when he falls in love with another woman. Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park, sold by MK2, won the special 60th anniversary prize. That film is about a teenage skateboarder who accidentally comm
  • Thailand - Whirlwind Affair in Bangkok

    After two high-profile international co-productions, Invisible Waves and Last Life In The Universe, Pen-ek Ratanaruang has returned to his Thai roots with the $2m Ploy, a riff on The Seven Year Itch. The film played in Directors' Fortnight at Cannes, where critics described it as dark, erotic and funny.Ploy follows a married couple who have been living in the US and return to Thailand for a funeral. Their marriage is put to the test when a young girl named Ploy appears. Pen-ek is impre
  • The Hospital goes digital with Kodak JMN3000

    London private members club and screening venue The Hospital has installed a Kodak JMN3000 digital projector in its 30-screen cinema. The DCI -compliant unit can handle JPEG and MPEG-compressed files, including 3D MPEG, and is the first player to include Kodak Image Science. David Marrinan-Hayes, marketing communications manager for The Hospital, said: 'Our members and audiences expect us to keep pace with the latest technology, to be able to screen mainstream fea
  • The Last Mistress (Une Vieille Maitresse)

    Dir: Catherine Breillat. Fr-It. 2007. 114minsSeasoned provocatrice Catherine Breillat puts a predictably louche spin on the costume drama genre in An Old Mistress, her adaptation of an 1851 novel by Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly. Well known for her sexually explicit and intellectually confrontational dramas such as Romance and Anatomy Of Hell, Breillat here shakes historical drama out of its petticoats, with a torrid but rigorously executed tale of boh
  • The Mourning Forest (Mogari no Mori)

    Dir: Naomi Kawase. Japan/France 2007. 98 mins.Naomi Kawase is one of those directors who usethe medium of film to work through their obssessions. In her case,these include fractured families, the aftermath of a loved one's deathor disappearance, rural Japanese traditions, the spiritual luminosityof the elderly and infirm. Luckily for audiences - or at least forpatient audiences - Kawase is also a consumate, original filmmaker,with a
  • 'The Orphanage': Review

    Dir: Juan Antonio Bayona. Sp. 2007. 105mins.
  • Thijs Romer to co-star in Tucci's Van Gogh remake

    Young Dutch actor Thijs Romer will co-star in the forthcoming remake of Theo van Gogh's Blind Date, to be directed by Stanley Tucci. Shooting starts in two weeks in Belgium. It will be Romer's international film debut. He co-stars as a waiter, who is watching a married couple who are pretending to be on a blind date in his restaurant. The couple is portrayed by Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci. Dutch company Column and New York 's Ironworks are producing. Blind
  • THINKFilm confirms more Cannes deals on Oxford Murders

    THINKFilm International has announced its flurry of deals from Cannes. Alex de la Iglesia's thriller The Oxford Murders, now in post-production, closed further territories including Germany (Koch Media), Brazil (Imagem), Eastern Europe (Paradise MGN, Vision and Pro-vision), the Middle East (Front Row), Greece (Audiovisual) and Hong Kong (CMC). Un Certain Regard title My Brother Is An Only Child (Mio Fratello e Figlio Unico) by Daniele Luchetti closed deals in the
  • Tomorrow Unlimited to host Creators Series in New York and LA

    New company Tomorrow Unlimited, which was founded by former executives from Res Media Group with Tribeca Enterprises, will host its first event next week. The Creators Series events will run in New York (June 8-10) and Los Angeles (June 14-17). The multidisciplinary conference will present artwork, video, and interactive installations from more than a dozen international new creative talents.Talks will include a participatory filmmaking panel with Matt Hanson from A Swarm Of Angel
  • Transilvania competitors include 4 Months, 3 Weeks

    Twelve films are set to compete for the grand prize at this year's Transilvania International Film Festival, among them Cristian Mungiu's Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days. This year's festival, which opens Friday, will also feature the world premiere of Nae Caranfil's The Rest Is Silence, a $3.2m retelling of the filming of the first Romanian feature in 1911.Late last year, producer Cristian Comeaga told ScreenDaily that the time was ripe for a b
  • Trust closes its new local Danish distribution arm

    Zentropa has pulled the plug on its recently launched Danish distribution outfit, Trust Film Distribution. The division, set up late last year, is now being disbanded. Jimmy Bredow and Maja Giese, who oversaw the distribution arm's activities, will be leaving the company. 'I looked into it (Danish distribution) for the last 15 years and said why don't we try that. It is not as easy as it seems,' Zentropa boss Peter Aalbaek Jensen said of the decision to close the arm down. However
  • UK producers group Pact appoints four new key personnel

    UK producers body Pact has announced the appointments of four new staff members. Joining June 4 are Dawn Simpson and Matthew Basham, who have been named director and deputy director, respectively, of Out Of London. That new department will be based both in London and Wales . Simpson previously worked at Propeller TV and Basham was head of distribution at the Director's and Producer's Rights Society. Also, Cathy Ditchfield, who joined Pact on May 21, has been appointed to director
  • Universal Italy makes first local film deal for distribution

    US majors are lining up to distribute and produce local films in Italy following a slow but consistent trend internationally. Two films from the Rome-based Cattleya production outfit start shooting this month with Hollywood players on board. (Chocolate Lessons) Lezioni di Cioccolato will be Universal Italy's first foray into distributing a local film. The project is to be directed by Claudio Cupellini and to star Violante Placido. The comedy is set for a late November 2007
  • US-based web service signs multi-picture Bollywood deal, the California-based online community for world cinema, has signed a 30-film distribution deal with India's National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). Under the agreement, the films of some of India's most acclaimed directors will be available for download for the first time, said Jaman. The films will be delivered in high-definition directly to viewers around the world.The collection includes three films from Satyajit Ray as well as works by Kundan Shah, Sh
  • Wanted: new horizons

    The film industry cannot base its hopes for expanding audiences on a diet of recycled ideas, says Leonard Klady. One of the most oft-heard industry phrases contends that 'it's a product-driven marketplace'. The simple implication being that good movies will bring more people into the multiplex.As with most truisms, it is inanely simplistic at best and patently absurd when subjected to intense scrutiny. Putting aside all notions of what constitutes a good movie,
  • Warner Bros brings forward Potter opening in US

    Warner Bros has brought the US opening of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix forward from Friday, July 13 to Wednesday, July 11. The domestic launch now coincides with the film's first major-territory international opening, in France. The extra days will also help boost the film's opening weekend box office gross. The only previous Potter film launched in the summer, 2004's Harry Potter An
  • Warner's Dark Knight shooting sequences in IMAX

    Director Christopher Nolan is shooting four sequences from the forthcoming Batman franchise picture The Dark Knight using IMAX cameras, according to the giant-screen company. While the reformating of conventional feature films into IMAX is commonplace, IMAX says the move is 'unprecedented' and marks 'a revolutionary integration' of 35mm and 15/70 formats. The company claims the impact of the IMAX sequences will be apparent in both conventional and IMAX environments: the large-aspe
  • We Own The Night

    Dir/scr: James Gray. US. 2007. 105mins.A self-conscious evocation of the crime and punishment police thrillers that were once a speciality of Sidney Lumet, We Own The Night is an average B-movie with delusions of grandeur. Transparent plotting and dubious moral grand-standing are the main drawbacks in a film that lacks the weight that it so desperately wants to achieve. Co-stars and co-producers Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix currently carry cons
  • Weinsteins acquires domestic rights to Woody Allen film

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) has acquired US, Australian and New Zealand rights to Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream. TWC expects to open the film in North America later this year. The completed drama, starring Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Tom Wilkinson, Sally Hawkins and newcomer Hayley Atwell, had been expected to screen at the Cannes festival but may now be looking for another prestigious festival slot, possibly at Venice.
  • Witt joins The Weinstein Company as senior VP of production

    Renee Witt has joined The Weinstein Company as senior vice president of production. Based in New York City, Witt will work closely with Michael Cole, Harvey Weinstein, writers and film-makers on the development of projects for TWC's slate. She will also oversee the production of certain projects. Witt most recently served as Senior Vice President at Laura Ziskin Productions where she was responsible for acquiring and overseeing such projects as
  • You, The Living

    Dir/scr: Roy Andersson. Swe-Ger-Fr-Den-Nor. 2007. 94minsOne of European cinema's most distinctive stylists, and darkest humourists, returns with another tragi-comic panorama of the human condition in