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30 July 2002

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  • Alberto Barbera is guest director at Telluride Festival

    Alberto Barbera, the former director of the Venice Film Festival, will serve as guest director of this year's Telluride Film Festival which kicks off in the Colorado mountain resort on Aug 30 and goes through to Sept 2.Serving as a key collaborator in all the festival's programming decisions, Barbera joins a long line of guest directors invited by the festival directors Bill Pence and Tom Luddy to programme the festival. Previous guest directors include Salman Rushdie (2001), Peter Bog
  • Bill Paxton's directorial debut opens 16th Int'l Fantasy Filmfest

    Actor Bill Paxton's directorial debut Frailty opens this year's 16th International Fantasy Filmfest, which hits Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Cologne and Hamburg before its finale in Berlin next month.The critically acclaimed film, which stars Paxton as a God-sent serial killer, features among a total of 63 films. Highlights include the international premieres of Warner Bros. Pictures' summer hit Eight Legged Freaks, the dark One Hour Photo, starring Robin Williams
  • Blue Moon

    Dir. Andrea Maria Dusl. Austria. 2002. 97mins.The auspicious directorial debut from Viennese columnist Andrea Maria Dusl, this road movie which takes Eastern Europe as its subject, should have no problem finding receptive audiences in German-speaking countries. In particular, the presence of Josef Hader, one of Vienna's top cabaret acts, and Detlev Buck, a leading German actor-director, will certainly strike a chord. But with careful handling, Dusl's portrait of the former so
  • Blue Moon rights selling fast in Locarno

    Monopole Pathe has picked up all Swiss rights for Austrian director Andrea Maria Dusl's feature debut Blue Moon which had its world premiere in the Locarno Festival international competition this weekend.Starring Austrian stand-up comedian Josef Hader, leading Ukrainian actress Viktoria Malektorovich and German actor-director Detlev Buck, Blue Moon follows the odyssey of three disparate characters from Vienna to the Black Sea port of Odessa.According to Blue Moo
  • Bollywood hits lead re-scheduled International film festival of India

    Bollywood hit Dil Chahta Hai (pictured) and winners of the 49th National Film Awards Dweepa and Chandni Bar are among the 20 feature films selected from 96 entries to be screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in New Delhi in October 2002. The other feature films selected in the Indian Panorama for screening at the festival are Aamaar Bhuvan (Bengali)Mitr My Friend (English)Baaja (Hindi)Vastupurush (Ma
  • Bollywood shocked by mafia connections

    Mumbai police today released audio tapes of conversations between an alleged member of the underworld and leading Bollywood film directors and actors The police say the recorded conversations, between the alleged Karachi-based don Chhota Shakeel, actor Sanjay Dutt, directors Mahesh Manjrekar and Sanjay Gupta and producer Harish Sugandh, reveal that an Indian actor was requesting personal favours from the mafia. The conversations ha
  • British Board of Film Classification names new president

    Quentin Thomas (pictured), a civil servant knighted for services to the Northern Ireland peace process, will succeed Andreas Whittam Smith as president of the British Board of Film Classification.Thomas, who led the team which first met Sinn Fein following the 1994 cease-fire, stressed the need for the self-funded body to remain dedicated to films and videos. The government recently mooted brining the classification body under the aegis of a regulatory super body called Ofcom."T
  • Columbia TriStar snaps up rights to Japanese sci-fi Returner

    Columbia Tristar Motion Picture Group has bought worldwide rights, outside Asia, to Returner, a sci-fi thriller expected to be one of the big Japanese films of the year.Although Hollywood has taken a greater interest in Japan in recent years, the purchase by a major studio of worlwide rights to a Japanese film prior to its domestic release is unprecedented. Producer Tetsu Horibe announced the deal at a press conference marking the completion of produc
  • Consumer-driven communications spending will drive industry growth

    Veronis Suhler Stevenson, the venerable media merchant bank, forecasts that communications spending will begin to recover in the second half of this year and continue at an annual rate of 5.5% until 2006. Veronis Suhler Stevenson's annual Communications Industry Forecast (CIF) describes the worst recession for the US media industry in decades. Recovery, it says, will be driven by the cable, broadcast television and radio sectors. Meanwhile, filmed entertainment, which has not de
  • Denzel Washington's Antwone Fisher to premiere at Toronto

    Antwone Fisher, Denzel Washington's directorial debut, makes its world premiere as a gala presentation at the 27th Toronto International Film Festival. In addition to newcomer Derek Luke in the title role, Antwone Fisher stars Joy Bryant, Salli Richardson and the Academy Award-winning Washington.Antwone Fisher is based on the true story of Antwone Fisher, a former sailor who endured an abusive upbringing and went on to become a sought-afte
  • Fledgling US digital cinema circuit targets foreign film suppliers

    Foreign films that arestruggling to find a theatrical footing in the US may soon be able to accessthe American marketplace via a budding new exhibition circuit that is thebrainchild of a New York digital film studio.Manhattan's EmergingPictures is targeting international producers and film exporters as potentialsuppliers to an alternative chain of theatres that it is being created bystringing together cultural institutions, performingarts centres and other community complexes that alre
  • Full Frontal

    Dir: Steven Soderbergh. US. 2002. 101mins.With a string of commercial successes and a best director Oscar safely under his belt, Steven Soderbergh should perhaps be forgiven for a brief lapse into self-indulgence. But that doesn't make it any less disappointing to see the director of sex, lies and videotape expend his talent on something as flimsy, uninvolving and pointlessly arty as Full Frontal. A fast and cheap (by Hollywood standards) romantic comedy-drama,
  • Germany's Helkon Media files for insolvency

    Germany's Helkon Media AG has filed for insolvency proceedings at the Munich insolvency court, the company said today (August 2).The insolvency is expected to be one of the largest of the Neuer Markt companies, amounting to hundreds of millions of Euros. The move was a shock to staff, who were unaware of the development late yesterday.Helkon said the aim of the proceedings is to find a solution that preserves both jobs and customer relationships. The company sai
  • Giffoni's youth jury captivated by Scars

    Norwegian director Lars Berg's Scars, a film about a young boy who uncovers a series of painful truths about his family, scooped the top prize at the 32nd edition of the Giffoni Film Festival, Italy's pre-eminent event dedicated to youth-oriented films. The movie's lead actor, Eirik Evjen, also won the festival's best actor award.Emanuele Crialese's Sicilian tale, Respiro - Grazia's Island, was voted a close second by the 300 12-14 year-olds who made up the jury of the Fr
  • Goldmember adds even more heat to the weekend

    Despite facing fierce competition from the hottest weekend in the UK so far this year, the day-and-date launch of Austin Powers In Goldmember gave a smouldering performance at the box office.The comedy, the third in star Mike Myers' and director Jay Roach's franchise, took a massive $8.76m (£5.6m) from 446 sites over the weekend - including $1.2m (£782,908) of previews at 359 sites on Thursday - for UK distributor Entertainment.Although the results for Goldme
  • HBO's Real Women goes theatrical after all via Newmarket start-up

    Only two months after HBO Films president Colin Callender publicly reconfirmed that all its movies would premiere on the HBO channel in North America, the company has announced that it will release crowd-pleasing festival favourite Real Women Have Curves in theatres this October. The film will be a joint distribution effort between HBO Films and Newmarket Capital Group's new theatrical distribution division which was officially launched last week with Bob Berney at the helm.The
  • Heavy security surrounds Jerusalem Film Festival

    Despite heavy security measures that resulted in a number of venue changes and the absence of the US majors - the 19th Jerusalem Film Festival proceeded without any major hitches.While there were cancellations and no-shows - Shapira Films, one of the leading Israeli distributors, among them - the festival maintained its 150 screening average and its two top events, the first night open-air screening and the grand first-half wrap party at David's Tower in the Old City, went ahead as pla
  • High Court backs UK government tax clamp down

    Highlighting the controversial clamp down in UK tax regulations this year, the High Court has upheld a decision by the Government to reject applications from the Peakviewing group of companies.The Department for Culture, Media & Sport said that the film and TV concern had been producing "thousands of five minute adverts for pubs, clubs and hotels" in the UK and overseas which it aimed to certify as British films.The High Court ruled that the culture department is not bound to is
  • Hong Kong's B&S to join growth enterprise market with 100 million shares

    Producer-distributor B&S Films has unveiled plans to join the long list of Hong Kong film companies listed on the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM).The company will place 100 million shares at 50 HK cents each for a listing on August 6. Chairman Siu Luen Fat said the move would help B&S expand into overseas markets and extend its distribution network to pay-TV and internet-based TV in Hong Kong and mainland China.Of the $3.1m (HK$24m) net proceeds raised from the placement, $705,00
  • Hong Kong's B&S to join growth enterprise market with 100 million shares

  • IFC, Killer & Jersey team for Todd Graff's Camp

    IFC Productions, the prolific New York production outfit behind Monsoon Wedding, Tadpole and Boys Don't Cry, has teamed with Killer Films and Jersey Films on Camp, a musical comedy which marks the directorial debut of writer Todd Graff. IFC had previously worked with Killer on Boys Don't Cry, but neither outfit has yet co-produced a film with Jersey, the Los Angeles-based company run by Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher.The film is set an
  • IM Internationalmedia reports revenues up, profits down

    IM Internationalmedia's business activities developed largely as predicted in the first half of 2002, posting a 33% year-on-year increase in revenues to Euros 94.3m, from Euros 70.8m (pro forma) - while EBITDA plummeted from Euros 17.8m in the first half of 2001 to minus Euros 13.4m for this year.The increase in revenues was largely to the release of Ali, Iris and The Dangerous Lives Of Altar Boys - all pure minimum guarantee films - which constituted 83% of the revenues,
  • International film buyers target Locarno film festival

    Over a dozen new international buyers - from Japan's Asmik Ace to Norway's Oro Films and the UK office of Unversal Pictures - are attending the Locarno International Film Festival for the first time this year; clear evidence of the festival's increasing market relevance.According to Industry Office co-ordinator Nadia Dresti, around 100 international buyers will be coming to the festival which kicks off today. Other new buyers attending this year include Zazie Films (Japan), E Pictures
  • Italy's Medusa Film announces new president

    Claudio Sposito, CEO of Silvio Berlusconi's media giant Fininvest, has been named president of the multi-billion dollar group's film division, Medusa Film. Sposito (pictured), who will retain his position at Fininvest, replaces Berlusconi's eldest daughter, Marina, who was appointed to the top job last year, following the sudden death of Medusa boss Carlo Bernasconi."Marina Berlusconi's appointment was a temporary one, and Claudio Sposito as a Fininvest manager, represents a sym
  • Italy's summer releasing strategy needs marketing support

    While Italy's box office figures slumped in mid-July as temperatures soared and millions of Italians hit the beaches, a deeper analysis reveals that the local industry's effort to establish a 12-month box office season has all the potential to be a success - as long as it is supported by substantial marketing.Box office earnings did slump a huge 48% between July 19-21 compared to the previous weekend, but national entertainment body AGIS points out that figures are still up a massive 6
  • Japan banks on period dramas to woo international market

    Japan is targeting the international market that swooned over Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, with at least seven new youth-oriented period dramas in various stages of production.Following 1999's boardroom coup, Shochiku's new management team, led by Nobuyoshi Otani, has dramatically beefed up the company's slate and is now investing $35m to $45m in five period dramas targeted at the multiplex masses. Heading the new slate is Tasogare Seibei, a period drama set in
  • Japan's film industry sustains growth - over three years

    Sustained by the twin engines of multiplex growth and the popularity of anime titles, Japan's film industry has enjoyed a three-year period of growth, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Total revenues from film production and distribution and video sales have risen 5.7%, from $4.2bn in 1998 to $4.5bn in 2001. In the same period, earnings from film production alone jumped 59%, from $648m in 1998 to $1bn last year. Boosted by anime films, the theatric
  • Korean cinemas exceeding local quota requirements

    Korean cinemas are screening local films at a record-setting pace, exceeding requirements of the nation's Screen Quota System for the second year on record and raising issues of 'cultural exception'. According to Korea's Coalition for Cultural Diversity in Moving Images (CMDI), which independently monitors the activities of 617 screens nationwide, theaters screened Korean films for an average of 80.02 days in the first half of 2002, which is 15.06 days more than required under the quot
  • Lost In La Mancha finds favour in London

    Although the chart was dominated by the launch of Columbia TriStar's Men In Black II the talking point of the UK weekend box office was Optimum Releasing's Lost In La Mancha.A documentary following the ill-fated production of Terry Gilliam's abandoned project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, La Mancha achieved a stunning opening of $67,228 (£42,824) from just 10 sites to take tenth position in the chart. This qualified the film as the fourth highest docu
  • Mark Braddel promoted to vice president, sales, at CTFDI

    Mark Braddel, currently director of sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI), has been promoted to vice president, sales. Braddel is based in London and will oversee territories including Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He will report directly to CTFDI senior executive vice president Mark Zucker."Mark has worked in the international marketplace for more than 20 years and he is an invaluable member of our core d
  • Men In Black II powers to top of UK chart with $8.4m

    Men In Black II stormed to the top of the UK charts with an $8.4m four-day opening for Columbia Tristar Film Distributors International over the weekend, according to studio estimates released today. The sci-fi sequel rolled out on 889 screens on Thursday August 1. Overall, the picture registered an international weekend haul of $18.6m from 5,400 screens and has now grossed $126.2m-$126.3m internationally. Final figures will be released this week.Men In Black II also open
  • Michelle Yeoh finds Midas Touch in Asia

    Han Entertainment's The Touch, produced by and starring Michelle Yeoh, topped the box office in all four Asian territories in which it opened over the weekend.The $20m romantic action drama, directed by Peter Pau, opened Thursday, August 1, in Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore.In Hong Kong, where Golden Harvest is handling distribution, the film grossed $570,500 (HK$4.45m) over the four-day weekend from 39 screens. It finished ahead of Stuart Little 2
  • Mitch Levine takes over at Palm Springs Film Festivals

    Following the departure of Denis Pregnolato earlier this year, film-maker Mitch Levine has been named executive director and CEO of the Palm Springs International Film Festivals (PSIFF) and takes up his post this week in advance of the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films which takes place Aug 6-12 in the California desert resort.In his new role, Levine will oversee the institutional and creative development of the PSIFF organisation as well as guiding the selection and s
  • Moritz de Hadeln unveils Venice 59 rich in glamour and discoveries

    Just four months and one week after being appointed to the job, Venice artistic director Moritz de Hadeln (pictured) has unveiled a glitzy roster of international premieres such as Julie Taymor's biopic Frida which opens the Venice 59 competition, Stephen Daldry's The Hours, Liliana Cavani's Ripley's Game and Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal.Calling the feat of assembling a festival in so short a time "a miracle," de Hadeln said he
  • Moritz de Hadeln unveils Venice 59's

    Just four months and one week after being appointed to the job, Venice artistic director Moritz de Hadeln (pictured) has unveiled a glitzy roster of international premieres such as Julie Taymor's biopic Frida which opens the Venice 59 competition, Stephen Daldry's The Hours, Liliana Cavani's Ripley's Game and Steven Soderbergh's (pictured) Full Frontal.Calling the feat of assembling a festival in so short a time
  • New research reveals the real value of cinema food sales

    With a current global value of $4.5bn, cinema concessions revenues are set to rise this decade, increasingly providing more profit for many exhibitors than that from movie ticket sales.According to new research from trade analyst Screen Digest, and the first time that such an in-depth study has been undertaken, if concessions account for 25% of a cinema's revenues, they will represent around 50% of its profits.The study found one US cinema where concessions accounted for 100% of
  • NYC's No Borders co-production market unveils full line-up

    A total of 36 projectshave been accepted into No Borders, the international co-production section ofthe IFP Market that will run from Sept 27-Oct 4 in downtown Manhattan. In additionto the 13 previously-announced international entrants, No Borders will includenew works from US indie veterans Jay Craven and Barbara Hammer, the firstdocumentary feature from Alison Maclean, the directorial debut of Hollywoodscreenwriter Malia Scotch-Marmo, as well as projects from producers-on
  • Plowright, Caviezel join cast of Walden's I Am David

    Walden Media, Cary Granat's production company which is owned and backed by The Anschutz Company, has cast Joan Plowright and Jim Caviezel in I Am David, its film of the classic Anne Holm novel which has begun shooting in Bulgaria.The story of an 11 year-old boy's escape and journey across post-World War II Europe, I Am David fits neatly with Walden's mission to provide educational entertainment with multimedia applications. Walden is already in production on James Camero
  • Revengers Tragedy

    Dir: Alex Cox. UK. 2002. 112mins.UK film-maker Alex Cox first came across Thomas Middleton's Jacobean revenge tragedy as a student in 1976, when he was intrigued by its very modern blend of morbid comedy and ultra-violence. His long-planned screen version is steeped in a 1970s anarcho-punk sensibility, with Derek Jarman a striking influence on its satirical and apocalyptic elements (Jubilee, The Last of England) and irreverent anachronisms (Edward II,
  • Rosenthal joins Australia's Beyond Films

    Isabel Rosenthal has been appointed acquisitions and development manager for sales agent Beyond Films and will be based in the Sydney head office. She has previously worked in similar roles in the US for Visual Media, 20th Century Fox and New Line Cinemas. The appointment comes three months after London-based Hilary Davis was made head of sales and acquisitions by Beyond International managing director Mikael Borglund. Gary Hamilton resigned from his role as general manager of Beyond F
  • Rudy Tjio joins ottfilm's development and acquisitions team

    Veteran film buyer Rudy Tjio has joined the development and acquisition division of Christoph Ott's distribution outfit ottfilm.Tjio, who had previously worked as a film buyer for over ten years at Prokino and then six years at TiMe Medien (until May 2002), told that he will be responsible for international acquisitions and attending festivals, while Berlin-based acquisition executive Claudia Poepsel will concentrate in future on German domestic titles.After atte
  • Saban Entertainment offers top price in Kirch Media auction

    Saban Entertainment, the US television production and distribution group, is understood to have submitted the highest bid of around Euros2.6bn for the assets of the insolvent KirchMedia.French broadcaster TF1 is understood to have put in the next richest bid, worth Euros2.2bn, according to German finance magazine Focus. The consortium bid involving German publishers Axel Springer, Bauer and the HypoVereinsbank is tendering Euros1.9bn. The other three bids are believed to be in the Euro
  • Selick to direct Coraline for Mechanic's Pandemonium

    Bill Mechanic's Pandemonium Films has acquired film rights to the horror fantasy novel Coraline by Neil Gaiman and hired Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James And The Giant Peach) to direct it. The novel, published in the US on July 2 by HarperCollins Children's Books, is the story of a bored young girl who discovers a door leading to a sinister world in her family's new apartment.Pandemonium plans to have the film in production in early 2003 for a late 2003
  • Seven groups submit KirchMedia takeover bids

    An offer of $2.6bn emerged as the highest of seven bids submitted by separate consortia offering to take over the insolvent KirchMedia, a meeting of the concern's creditors was told yesterday. Some creditors had hoped for bids to reach $3.5bnCommenting on the range of bids, KirchMedia managing director Wolfgang van Betteray declared that "the great interest by potential investors impressively confirms our assessment that the restructuring of KirchMedia can be successfully completed in
  • Seven titles selected for this year's Australian Movie Convention

    Australian teen comedy Blurred, which is being released by Becker locally in October, and 8 Femmes, which Dendy is releasing during the peak December period, are among seven films to be screened to hundreds of exhibitors at the annual Australian International Movie Convention, to be held from August 13-17 on Queensland's Gold Coast.Australia's specialist independent distributors get one spot for the simultaneous showing of two films at the convention. Dendy and Becker are
  • Shrek co-director Andrew Adamson signs to The Lion, The Witch...

    Andrew Adamson, the co-director of last year's CGI animated smash Shrek for DreamWorks SKG, has signed to direct The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, the first ever live action film of the CS Lewis book for Cary Granat's New York-based Walden Media. Walden optioned the seven-part book series The Chronicles Of Narnia last December in partnership with The CS Lewis Company and is hoping that The Lion, The Witch' will be the first of a franchise. Last week Walden anno
  • Signpost strikes first look pact with Cougar Films

    Stewart Till's Signpost Films has formed its first long-term production deal in the UK, striking a first-look pact with Cougar Films, the fledgling film production outfit of leading UK TV producers Sophie Balhetchet and Lynda La Plante.The first project to be developed under the deal is Click, a romantic comedy written and to be directed by Ol Parker. Thandie Newton will star, with shooting scheduled for the autumn in London. "This deal enables us to develop genre-based f
  • Signs

    Dir: M Night Shyamalan. US. 2002. 106 mins.In the hands of a less gifted director, Signs could have turned out an embarrassing mess. As it is, however, commercial auteur M Night Shyamalan just about manages to pull off what appears, on the face of it, to be a very curious blend of family drama, spiritual quest and alien invasion thriller. With a UFO theme and Mel Gibson as marketing hooks, the film should attract a broad and sizeable audience, though the final US gross
  • Signs of a blockbuster: Disney opens Shyamalan's latest on $60.3m

    Mel Gibson and director M Night Shyamalan both recorded career-high openings as the mystery-drama Signs recorded a blockbuster opening for Buena Vista over the weekend with an estimated $60.3m. It is the first number one for the studio since Monsters, Inc. last November and is almost double what executives had been expecting. The impressive debut was also a record high for Disney production label Touchstone Pictures, which reported an average of $18,474 from 3,264 venues. Figure
  • Signs of a blockbuster: Disney opens Shyamalan's latest on $60.3m

  • Signs of a Blockbuster: Disney opens Syamalan's latest to $60.3m

    Mel Gibson and director M Night Shyamalan both recorded career-high openings as the mystery-drama Signs recorded a blockbuster opening for Buena Vista over the weekend with an estimated $60.3m. It is the first number one for the studio since Monsters, Inc. last November and is almost double what executives had been expecting. The impressive debut was also a record high for Disney production label Touchstone Pictures, which reported an average of $18,474 from 3,264 venues. Figure
  • Spain's Manga seeks investor for $19.5m capital increase

    Spanish distributor Manga Films is seeking an investor to provide a capital increase of $19.5m to finance its local expansion plans.Manga president Luis de Vals, told Reuters that the addition of a new major shareholder would herald a consolidation of the company's activities with the objective of expanding in Spain.Admira (Telefonica Media) had intended to acquire a 60% stake in the company in 2001 but cancelled the deal later in the year. Instead, Admira signed a $50m coopera
  • Sponsorship issues cause Berlinale retrospectives organiser to quit

    Wolfgang Jacobsen, organiser of 12 retrospectives and 15 homages for the Berlinale since 1990, has stepped down from his position, citing "a series of conflicts" about the structure of the collaboration with the festival's TV sponsorsReplacing him, this year's retrospective, on FW Murnau, will be overseen by Hans Helmut Prinzler, director of the Film Museum Berlin. Organised by the Film Museum Berlin-Deutsche Kinemathek, Murnau's twelve preserved films such as Nosferatu, The
  • Sums begin to add up as UIP spreads Fears in Europe

    Paramount's latest Jack Ryan title The Sum Of All Fears received a promising, if somewhat subdued, European launch at the weekend in France and Belgium.In Belgium the action thriller exploded into first place over its five-day opening with a strong $187,931 (Euros 189,998) from 54 screens for a healthy average of $3,480 per screen. It had grossed $253,457 by the end of its first week. Distributed by UIP, which handles the film in all international territories except Japan
  • The Sea Watches (Umi Wa Miteita)

    Dir: Kei Kumai. Japan. 2002. 119mins.Based on a script by Akira Kurosawa, The Sea Watches (Umi wa Miteita) tries for a Kurosawa look, using the master's continuity drawings and production notes in telling its story of 19th-century era prostitutes. The director, however, is Kei Kumai, a veteran known abroad for such films as The Sea And Poison, Death Of A Tea Master and last year's Darkness In The Light. Rather than make a Kurosawa fil
  • The Star (Zvezda)

    Dir. Nikolai Lebedev. Russia. 2002. 97mins.Russian production company Mosfilm has every right to be proud of the technical standards achieved by its patriotic saga The Star - but that's about all it can be proud of. Adapted from a novel by Sergei Kazakevich, the son of a Jewish teacher who distinguished himself during World War Two as an intelligence office, the film is reputed to be a favourite of Russian President Vladimir Putin with its single-minded and fierce loya
  • The Works boards Whale Rider

    London-based sales outfit The Works has boarded Whale Rider, a drama set in the Maori community and written and directed by Memory And Desire's Niki Caro. Delivered in August, the $4.6m (NZ$10m) film is based on the novel by New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera (The Matriach, Tangi). It tells the story of a young girl's fight to prove herself and was shot on location in Whangara, on New Zealand's East Coast.Newcomer Keisha Castle-Hughes has the lead role. Cliff
  • UK cinema admissions hit 30-year high

    UK admissions hit 87.7 million over the first half of 2002, the highest level for thirty years, putting the UK box office on course for yet another year of impressive growth.According to figures released by the Cinema Advertising Agency (CAA) admissions between January and the end of June were up 25%, confirming an ongoing upswing in UK admissions.June, which saw the release of Columbia TriStar's Spider-Man, posted 12.2 million admissions - the month's highest since 1972.
  • UK's Channel 5 acquires Columbia TriStar slate

    UK terrestrial broadcaster Channel 5 has struck a multi-million pound deal to acquire Columbia TriStar's 2002/3 slate of films, including Men In Black II, Spider-Man, Terminator 3 and XXX.Reportedly worth $31.1m (£20m), the deal also includes Black Hawk Down, Charlies Angel's 2, Stuart Little 2 and The Panic Room. In a separate deal, C5 bought CSI: Miami, the spin-off from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, from Alliance Atlantis. Last month it als
  • Venice 59 and Controcorrente line-up

    VENICE 59In CompetitionBear's Kiss Dir: Sergei Bodrov (Germany/France/Spain/Italy/Sweden)Fuehrer Ex Dir: Winfried Bonengel (Germany)The Best Of Times (Meili Shiguang) Dir: Tso-Chi Chang (Taiwan)The Hours Dir: Stephen Daldry (USA)Un Monde Presque Paisible (On The Brink Of Peace - unofficial English title) Dir: Michel Deville (France)Naked (Nackt) Dir: Doris Dorrie (Germany)Dirty P
  • Winchester Entertainment's Gary Smith cleared by UK financial watchdog

    Winchester Entertainment chief Gary Smith (pictured) has been cleared by UK watchdog the Financial Services Authority (FSA) following an investigation into his sale of shares on the eve of a profits warning in February.The FSA told the publicly-listed company that it had found no evidence of insider dealing or market abuse and that no further action would be taken.Smith sold 400,000 shares in January for $837,400, 13 days before the company warned full-year results would be belo