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30 March 2007

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  • AAM to offer digital VOD service to Cannes Market

    Cannes' Marche du Film and Arts Alliance Media have announced a new partnership that will enable international buyers and sellers to watch films and projects for sale via the Internet from anywhere in the world. The new business-to-business video-on-demand service, Vizumi Pro, can replace the traditional posting of screeners. 'It's a cost effective way to provide instant delivery, control of viewers permissions, traceability of viewings, and a high level of security as well as eli
  • Ancient Greece is the word

    300 continues to conquer at the international box office and took a whopping $48.2m at the weekend as it expanded into an additional 20 territories. The Spartan epic was boosted by 241% and had number one openings in all markets, bringing its international total to $79.3m after just three weeks. New entrant Mr Bean's Holiday took $5.5m at the weekend after opening in Singapore and Malaysia and taking $3.7m from previews in the UK. Audrey Tautou romantic drama Hunting And Gath
  • Anita Monga joins Seattle Film Festival programming team

    Anita Monga has been hired as senior programmer at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), reporting to festival director Carl Spence. She will work with Spence and his team on the annual 25-day festival in May and June but primarily focus on programming the new SIFF Cinema in Seattle.Monga comes to Seattle from San Francisco where she has been involved in film exhibition for 28 years. She was director of programming at the famous Castro Theatre, a founding member of the Film
  • Artificial Eye buys Rivette and Costanzo titles after Berlin

    UK distributor Artificial Eye has announced two more acquisitions on the back of the 2007 Berlin Film Festival. The company has taken UK rights to Jacques Rivette's Don't Touch The Axe (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache) starring Jeanne Balibar, Guillaume Depardieu, Michel Piccoli and Bulle Ogier. It also acquired Saverio Costanzo's In Memory of Me (In Memoria Di Me) starring Christo Jivkov, Filippo Timi, Marco Baliani and Andre Hennicke.Les Films du Losange sold the Rivette f
  • As You Like It

    Dir: Kenneth Branagh UK-US. 2006. 127mins. Kenneth Branagh's fifth Shakespeare adaptation (after Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet and Love's Labour's Lost), As You Like It is a curiously undercharged affair. Handsomely and fluidly shot and intelligently performed, it nonetheless lacks spark. What should be a playful and magical sojourn in the Forest of Arden turns into a test of endurance as we wait for lovers to recognise one ano
  • Ascot Elite Home Entertainment partners with MFA+

    Stuttgart-based independent Ascot Elite Home Entertainment has entered a long-term partnership with German theatrical distributor MFA + FilmDistribution to handle the home entertainment rental and sell-through distribution and marketing of selected MFA + titles in all German-speaking territories. It will begin in the coming months with the Colombian box-office hit Rosario Forever and the Estonian children's animation film Lotte From Gadgetville which was shown in this year'
  • Australia: inward production

    Australia regularly hosts major studio shoots, but the production services industry is vulnerable to big fluctuations. While 2004/05 saw $196.2m in inward investment, the following 12 months saw a drop of to $18.6m.Ausfilm is funded by the national government, film service companies and state film agencies. It is pressing to improve Australia's tax offset for films spending at least $11.5m (a$15m) by adding flexibility and boosting the refund from 12.5% to 15%.Previously ch
  • Bean, Robinsons line up to do battle with 300

    Warner Bros' reigning overseas champions of 300 are squaring up for a thunderous battle this weekend against Buena Vista's futuristic animated family Robinson and the return of Universal's hapless Mr Bean.Warner Bros Pictures International's (WBPI) Spartan army has amassed more than $92.3m to date and invades Brazil on Mar 30. 300 has dominated the international arena for several weeks now and will soar
  • Bergstein group buys Image Entertainment

    Los Angeles-based entrepreneur David Bergstein is poised to add a home entertainment platform to his growing entertainment empire as he closes in on the acquisition of Image Entertainment.Bergstein bought the UK's Capitol Films and New York-based THINKFilm earlier this year. Now BTP Acquisition Company, the investor group he leads, has agreed terms to buy Image - which commands a library of some 3,000 DVD titles - in a transaction valued at approximately $132m.The amount
  • Bomb injures six on Afghanistan film set

    A terrorist bombing has injured six actors and crew on the set of Iranian film maker Samira Makhmalbaf's Two Legged Horse (Asbedopa).The film was half way through its planned shoot but production has now been halted while the Makhmalbaf family leaves Afghanistan. A production spokesman said they don't yet know the future of the production.The bomber is believed to have inflitrated the set pretending to be an extra before throwing the bomb from a rooftop.ISAF Securi
  • Borderland

    Dir: Zev Berman. US. 2007. 104mins. A solidly professional exercise in the horror/thriller genre, Borderland will not disappoint those that like their suspense and gore laid on in equal measure, and nice and thick. Still, it doesn't rise significantly above other examples of the genre, and a commercial release in the US by LionsGate Films may feel a bit of a gamble to some.However, attractive (if relatively unknown) leads, a serviceable script that
  • Brazilian winner of Fribourg top prize

    The last Fribourg International Film Festival(FIFF) under the tutelage of artistic director Martial Knaebel ended with the presentation of the Grand Prix toBrazilian Chico Teixeira's feature debut Alice's House The film was praised for its'intimacy, complexity, superb acting and precise point of view on auniversal story'. Teixeira's film also garnered the Youth Jury'sE-CHANGER Award.
  • BT Vision Download adds films from Warner Bros

    British Telecom has announced new content deals for its BT Vision Download Store, a UK-based download-to-own service. Warner Bros will let the BT service offer downloads of recent films including Happy Feet, The Prestige, A Scanner Darkly, and franchises including the Batman films, the Harry Potter series and the Matrix trilogy. Later in the year, Warner Bros TV offerings will be added to the service. BT and Warner already had a content agreement for it
  • Canada: inward production

    Toronto's main advantages as a film production location are that it is Canada's largest city, it is the capital of its most populous province and next door to the US. Producers can shoot Toronto for New York, Chicago or Boston and tap into federal tax credits, Ontario tax credits and the largest English-speaking talent base in the country.Judy Ranin is the Los Angeles-based representative of Film Ontario. Her job is to use Toronto to sell the rest of the province of Ontario.
  • Canana to release Francisco Vargas'El Violin in Mexico

    Canana, the Mexican production company founded by actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna with producer Pablo Cruz, has acquired Francisco Vargas' El Violin for distribution as its first theatrical release in Mexico.Despite winning 25 international awards and scoring sales in many foreign territories - including the US (Film Movement) - the black-and-white drama about a one-armed aged violin player had failed to land distribution in its own co
  • Captivity US release delayed by MPAA suspension on rating

    The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has suspended the ratings process on After Dark's upcoming horror film Captivity for one month in the light of the film's controversial billboard campaign in Los Angeles and New York.In an unprecedented move, After Dark and its distributors will now be required to clear all promotional materials as well as the venues of all advertising buys relating to the film.The sanction follows A
  • Chan exits Hong Kong's Media Asia Distribution

    Jeffrey Chan, head of distribution and sales at Hong Kong producer-distributor Media Asia, is leaving his position after five years with the company. Chan, whose last day will be Saturday (March 31), hasn't announced his next move and said he would be taking a short break in the interim. Media Asia's Fred Tsui will oversee his duties until a replacement is appointed. 'I had a good time and made a lot of friends - it was an interesting page in my life and my career,' Chan said of h
  • Cineclick Asia seals raft of deals at Hong Kong Filmart

    Korean sales agent Cineclick Asia has announced a slew of sales concluded at Hong Kong Filmart last week, led by deals on Kim Ki-duk's upcoming title Breath and recent Berlinale Golden Bear winner Tuya's Marriage. Featuring Taiwanese star Chang Chen, Kim's fourteenth title Breath was sold to France 's ARP following sales to more than ten territories at the AFM and Berlin 's European Film Market, including Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Benelux and Israel. Sched
  • Clement leaves Sony to join PHE promotions department

    George Clement has joined Paramount Home Entertainment (PHE) as executive director of promotions.Clement, who previously served as director of international promotions and licensing at Sony Pictures Consumer Marketing, will be responsible for developing and building promotional partnerships for the entire portfolio of PHE product.He will report to PHE executive vice president of worldwide marketing Mary Kincaid.During his tenure at Sony, Clement managed intern
  • CobraVision competition grows to 50-second shorts

    CobraVision, Cobra Beer's short film competition, is introducing a new format in its third year. For the past two years, CobraVision had screened slots of 10 five-second films during advertising breaks on itv2, itv3 and itv4. From May 1, the five-second slots will be replaced with a 50-second film playing before films on itv4. Prizes in the competition include software and a cash prize of £10,000 and competition details can be found at www.c
  • Columbia Asia acquires worldwide rights to Chow's A Hope

    Sony's Hong Kong-based content arm, Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia (CPFPA), has acquired worldwide rights, excluding China, to Stephen Chow's latest comedy feature A Hope. Chow wrote, directed and is starring in the film which was shot in China late last year. Sony Pictures Classics will release the film in North America. CPFPA backed Chow's previous film, Kung-fu Hustle, which grossed more than $100m worldwide and picked up five awards including best film an
  • Constantin, SamFilm and Zipfelmutzen lead German producers in 2006

    German producer-distributor Constantin Film has double cause for celebration after being named the most successful German producer and distributor of 2006 by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) and posting the 'most successful fiscal year of its history' in 2006. This was the third year running that Constantin had received this double honour at the FFA's 'Industry Tigers' event, the Munich company having taken top spot in both categories in 2003 as well. The producer and/or distri
  • Cusack, Hayes join voice cast of TWC's Igor

    John Cusack and Sean Hayes have joined the voice cast of Exodus Film Group's CG-animated comedy Igor, which The Weinstein Company (TWC) is scheduled to release in North America on Oct 24, 2008.Cusack will voice the title character of Igor, a mad scientist's assistant who secretly harbours dreams of becoming a great inventor. Hayes, who starred in the long-running US series Will & Grace, will voice Igor'
  • Czech Republic - Who wants to be a millionaire'

    I Served The King Of England is Jiri Menzel's first feature in more than 10 years.Set during the former Czechoslovakia's fall to the Nazis, the film follows the adventures of a waiter who longs to be a millionaire. It is Menzel's latest adaptation of novelist Bohumil Hrabal's work, following on from Closely Watched Trains, which won the foreign-language Oscar in 1969, and Larks On A String, which took the Golden Bear in 1990.In adapting the screenplay, Menze
  • Czech Republic: inward production

    Prague has seen significant growth as a production hub in recent years, but it has been the local industry taking the initiative in attracting foreign producers. The Czech Film Commission was established by local producers in 2004 in order to assist foreign film-makers, promote the Czech Republic and lobby government.With a background in subtitling and translating screenplays, Ludmila Claussova has run the commission since its inception.Why shoot in the Czech Republic'
  • Dafoe, Gruffudd, Panettiere join Senator's Fireflies

    Willem Dafoe, Ioan Gruffudd and Hayden Panettiere have joined Julia Roberts, Carrie-Anne Moss, Ryan Reynolds and Emily Watson on Senator Entertainment's first self-financed US production, the drama Fireflies In The Garden. Shannon Lucio, and George Newbern have also boarded Dennis Lee's feature directorial debut, which is set for an Apr 3 start in Austin, Texas.Lee's semi-autobiographical story explores the complexities of love and
  • Du Toit returns as programming co-director at PSIFF 08

    The Palm Springs International Film Festival has announced that Helen du Toit will return as co-director of programming alongside the current director of programming Carl Spence for the 2008 edition.Du Toit most recently served as programme director of the Vancouver Film and Television Forum, and also programmed for various film festivals including Toronto, Seattle, and Palm Springs.The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films will run from Aug 23-29, 2007.
  • Editorial - The spoils of war

    It is not normal for Screen to focus on the performance of a specific film but the heroic efforts of Warner Bros' 300 in boosting a year's box office that was already shaping up to be a classic deserves analysis.It is not the quality of the film that is the big talking point. It is, as many critics have pointed out, a ludicrously loud, reactionary, gory piece of style over substance - but it has some bad points, too.300's success in most territories offers a
  • Egeda launches Spanish VOD site

    Spanish rights society Egeda has launched, A VOD service offering Spanish and European titles at a price lower than DVD rental costs.Run by Egeda Digital, the site currently offers around 2
  • Emerging to screen Global Film Initiative programmes in US cinemas

    Distributor Global Film Initiative (GFI) is expanding its reach through a deal with Emerging Pictures that enables GFI's touring Global Lens 2007 series to screen in digitally equipped cinemas. 'Up to now we have been limited by the costs and logistics of screening only 35mm film,' GFI executive director Kristin Wiederholt said. 'This agreement unlocks those handcuffs. In theory, we could now screen a film simultaneously in 20 different locations.'Global Lens 2007 will be
  • Film commissions: friends in hired places

    What is a film commissioner' 'On one end of the spectrum, they can be basically not much more than civil servants allocated film as part of their portfolio but they can also be people who have worked in the industry and know how we think and what we need. The range is very wide indeed,' says UK producer Iain Smith, whose credits include Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain and Alfonso Cuaron's Children Of Men (pictured).For a commissioner, the primary goal is to promote in
  • Film London adds companies to work placement scheme

    Film London's Company Placement Scheme has added some new companies in its second year, including Film & Music Entertainment (F&ME), Headline Pictures, Ipso Facto and Warp X. Returning companies in the scheme include Diverse Productions, Number 9 Films and Tigerlily Films. The scheme offers six-month paid work placements to those new to the film an TV industry, trying to attract more black and minority ethnic participants. Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London said
  • Filmstreet gets rights to Beatles-signed band's story

    Los Angeles-based Filmstreet Productions has taken the film rights to new book All You Need Is Luck or How I Got A Record Deal By Meeting Paul McCartney. Paul Tennant's book is about three teenage musicians in Liverpool in 1967 who became the first group signed to the Beatles' Apple label. Tennant himself was a member of the group, named Focal Point. 'This is a real Cinderella story,' said Filmstreet's Peter Foldy. 'Focal Point was a part of and a witness to rock music
  • First co-production between Israel and Australia gets underway

    Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn and Claudia Karvan have joined Geoffrey Rush and Anthony LaPaglia as the voice cast for the animated film $9.99, the first co-production between Israel and Australia. The project has just started shooting in Sydney. New York-based director Tatia Rosenthal co-wrote the film with Israeli writer Etgar Keret, based on five of his short stories. It is being produced by Australia 's Emile Sherman of Sherman Pictures and Israel 's Amir Harel of Lama Producti
  • Fox sets Shyamalan thriller for Friday 13 June, 2008

    Twentieth Century Fox will release M Night Shyamalan's paranoia thriller The Happening on Friday 13th in June 2008.Mark Wahlberg is set to star in the story of a family on the run from an apocalyptic threat to humanity. Shyamalan is preparing an August shoot in Philadelphia based on his original screenplay, and is producing with Sam Mercer and Barry Mendel.The studio is co-financing with Mumbai-based UTV and holds worldwide rights
  • France: inward production

    Canada may double for New York or Chicago, but when it comes to France, producers often choose the real deal. The Da Vinci Code, The Devil Wears Prada and Marie-Antoinette all shot in the territory.While there are no specific tax breaks for international productions the national film commission, Film France, is lobbying for tax breaks to extend beyond a tax credit for French productions. Meanwhile, the Ile de France film commission has an $18.5m support fund, open
  • Franco-German co-productions backed with $974,850 by FFA/CNC

    New feature films by Jaco van Dormael and Martin Provost have received a total of $974,850 (Euros 730,000) backing by the German-French Funding Commission which is administered by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) and France's CNC to promote co-production between the two countries. $467,393 (Euros 350,000) was awarded to van Dormael's Mr Nobody which is being structured as a German-French-Belgian co-production between Lago Film/Integral Film, Paris-based Pan Europeene Production
  • Germany: inward production

    Germany has it all: a wide diversity of locations and the sophisticated production facilities and infrastructure found in the three major film-making hubs of Munich, Cologne and Berlin-Brandenburg. Having recently hosted the likes of The Bourne Ultimatum and Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer, Germany got more attractive with the introduction of the German Federal Film Fund.The Berlin-Brandenburg Film Commission is a division of the regional public film fund Medienboard Ber
  • Harper named Regency chairman and CEO

    Fox Filmed Entertainment (FFE) vice chairman Robert Harper has been named chairman and chief executive officer of Regency Filmed Entertainment. He replaces David Matalon who left the company earlier this month to return to his own production company.Harper will oversee Fox-based Regency's film production unit, New Regency Productions, as well as Regency Television. Fox distributes Regency titles, and Regency Television is a joint venture between Regency and Fox Television Studios.
  • heile welt named best Austrian film

    Jakob M. Erwa's feature debut heile welt received the Diagonale Grand Prix for Best Austrian Feature Film at this year's showcase of Austrian film-making which was rounded off with an awards ceremony at Graz's Dom im Berg on Saturday evening. Produced by Novotny & Novotny Filmproduktion, heile welt follows a group of adolescents in semi-documentary style as they try to cope with their emotions and environ
  • Hitman starts Bulgarian shoot for Fox and EuropaCorp

    Twentieth Century Fox and EuropaCorp started principal photography Tuesday on thriller Hitman directed by Xavier Gens. Timothy Olyphant stars with Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Ulrich Thomsen and Michael Offei. Skip Woods wrote the screenplay based on the video game franchise of the same name, about a professional assassin who gets caught up in a political takeover. The 12-week shoot will be concentrated in Sofia, Bulgaria, with a second unit shooting in South Africa, Ista
  • Hoyts tries for record-breaking screen at $30m Auckland multiplex

    A new Hoyts 10-screen multiplex cinema in Auckland, New Zealand, may house the world's largest 35mm cinema screen.The $30m Hoyts Sylvia Park, in Auckland's Mt Wellington, will open March 29 with a large 30.67-meters-wide and 13-meters-tall screen. The company has appliced with Guiness World Records to see if the screen is indeed the world's largest.The gigantic screen requires a projector run by an 8000-watt bulb. Local film Black Sheep will be the first film shown o
  • Huayi's The Assembly adds new mainland China funding partners

    Shanghai Film Group, Beijing New Film Group and Zhejiang Film and TV Group announced that they will partner with Huayi Brothers to invest in Feng Xiaogang's $10m war movie The Assembly. The three groups signed the partnership deal Monday in Beijing. Together with Huayi Brothers, the four mainland Chinese investors will be sharing the Chinese market gross of the film, while Hong Kong's Media Asia takes charge of sales of South East Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Also partnering
  • Hungary: inward production

    Although it offers a 20% tax rebate on film production, Hungary has been hampered in the past by its lack of studio space. This could be set to change. The new Korda Film Studio in Etyek, about half an hour's drive from Budapest, is expected to host Hellboy 2 this summer and another new studio, Stern Film in Pomaz, just north of Budapest, recently landed an adaptation of The Nutcracker, to be directed by Andrei Konchalovsky.The Hungarian Film Commission works with other H
  • In Focus - Victory March

    3 00 has been happily rewriting the cinematic rulebook over the past three weeks. It has already broken box-office records in the US, with a $70m opening weekend, the highest for a March film and the third highest US opening for a film with an R-rating. Now the Spartans are conquering the international market, opening at number one in 33 territories and taking $241m worldwide in under three weeks.Yet the film seems to tick none of the boxes for a hit. Today's blockbusters are
  • Indian film industry to double in value to $4bn in five years

    India 's film industry is estimated to more than double in value to $4.05bn (Rs175bn) by 2011, compared to the $1.96bn (Rs84.5bn) it was worth in 2006, according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report presented at the FICCI-Frames conference in Mumbai today. Domestic box office, which was worth $1.48bn (Rs64bn) in 2006, is projected to grow to $2.76bn (Rs119bn) by 2011, while home video revenues will grow from $151m (Rs6.5bn) to $579m (Rs25bn). Factors contributing to growth include c
  • India's UTV launches world cinema distribution venture

    Mumbai-based entertainment giant UTV plans to bring world cinema to the Indian market through a joint venture with local distributor Palador Pictures, UTV Palador, which encompasses arthouse theatres, a DVD label and a movie channel. Unveiled at the FICCI-Frames conference in Mumbai on Tuesday, UTV Palador plans to release more than 1,000 films fromdirectors such as Akira Kurusawa, Francois Truffaut, Michael Haneke, Wim Wenders, Claude Chabrol, Abbas Kiarostami and Takeshi Kitano.
  • Industry moves

    Kreska's new at YorkKristine Kreska has become the new director of acquisitions and licensing for York Entertainment. She was previously vice-president of feature film sales at BD Fox & Friends, Inc.Vitale steps down at first Look picturesRuth Vitale will step down as president of First Look Pictures on April 30 following the board's decision to scale down its theatrical operations in the wake of Henry Winterstern's departure as CEO and co-chairman.Mittur mobile in
  • Ireland: inward production

    Historically, Ireland has managed to attract high-end international productions, such as Mel Gibson's Braveheart and Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. But the territory's bidding position has been undermined by a strong euro and a weak US dollar.The Irish Film Board recently established an office in LA under the management of Jonathan Loughran: the Irish Film Commission US focuses on the promotion of Ireland to the US audiovisual industry.Previously, Loughran
  • Irish fund backs Kisses, Alarm, Eden and Hunger

    The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) has backed four feature projects from the third round of its Sound & Vision Fund. The four projects will share a total of $1.7m (Euros 1.285m) between them from the BCI fund's $12m (Euros 9m) allocation to independent producers of television programming to be broadcast free-to-air in Ireland. Following immediately on the decision Fastnet Films' Kisses, written and directed by Lance Daly, has started principal photography in Dublin. K
  • Kadokawa returns to directing with historic love story

    Genghis Khan producer Haruki Kadokawa has announced his return to the director's chair after a 10-year absence. At a press conference held in central Tokyo yesterday, Kadokawa announced he will direct a film starring 17-year-old Korean actress Ara, who made her film debut in a supporting role in the producer's recently released Genghis Khan. The film is scheduled to go before cameras this summer and slated for a 2008 release. The untitled project is currentl
  • Latin American locations: welcome to the jungle

    During the past decade Latin America has attracted more and more international production with its stunning and varied locations and cheap labour costs.
  • Lost star Yunjin Kim joins cast of Prime's Seven Days

    Korean crossover actress Yunjin Kim is attached to star in Prime Entertainment's crime thriller Seven Days (working title). Best known for her performances in the hit TV series Lost from US network ABC, she first garnered attention with her role in the watershed 1999 hit Shiri. Seven Days will be directed by Won Shin-yeon, who previously directed the comic thriller Bloody Aria and horror film The Wig. Kim will star as a top-flight l
  • Malta: inward production

    In recent years, Malta has successfully attracted some ambitious projects, such as Troy and Munich. The Mediterranean island may offer tax credits, ocean-side water tanks, sunshine and plenty of spectacular locations but the challenge now is to lure big US projects in the face of heavy competition from Eastern European rivals.Oliver Mallia joined the Malta Film Commission in 2002. He was previously communications co-ordinator at the Ministry for Economic Services where he
  • Market focus - Double ahead for India

    India 's film industry is expected to more than double in value in the next five years, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The business will be worth $4.1bn (rup175bn) by 2011, compared to the $2bn (rup84.5bn) it was worth in 2006, according to the report presented at this week's Ficci-Frames conference in Mumbai.The Indian box office, which was worth $1.5bn (rup64bn) in 2006, is projected to grow to $2.8bn (rup119bn) by 2011, while home video revenues will grow from $151m (rup6.5bn)
  • Metrodome plans theatrical run for 1986 Transformers movie

    Metrodome Distribution is planning a two-week UK theatrical run for the 1986 animated feature Transformers: The Movie. The theatrical release at London 's Apollo West End from May 4 will of course hope to cash in on Transformers interest stirred by Michael Bay 's blockbuster due out in July. Metrodome will release the title on a two-disc DVD in June, which will include a new re-mastered widescreen format of the film as well as new special features. A single-disc edition will also be sold
  • Mexico: inward production

    With its proximity to Los Angeles and its low costs, Mexico has long benefited from footloose US productions. The Mexican government recently dissolved the Mexican Film Commission because it wants to redefine its function.In the interim, Hugo Villa Smythe (pictured) of the Mexican Film Institute Imcine is in charge of the commission agenda.Why shoot in Mexico'The natural and historic richness of my country are always attractive for producers. In addit
  • Mongolia - Making the long walk to freedom

    Shot entirely on location in the Mongolian steppes, Desert Dreams is written and directed by Zhang Lu, a Chinese film-maker of Korean descent. He takes on the story of a mother and son who escape from North Korea and journey to Mongolia. There they encounter a man battling desertification by planting trees.With North Korea a political hot potato, Desert Dreams may seem topical but Zhang describes it as a story about humanity, regardless of nationality - about men and wome
  • Mr Bean's Holiday

    Dir: Steve Bendelack. UK-US. 2007. 85mins If Rocky Balboa and John McClane can hit the comeback trail after a lengthy absence then who would deny a similar opportunity to Rowan Atkinson's one man disaster area' Ten years have passed since Bean but the public's affection for the gurning, bug-eyed loon remains strong thanks to television reruns and the character's ubiquitous presence as in-flight entertainment. Mr Bean's Holiday delivers the traditio
  • New Zealand: inward production

    During the past year, New Zealand has played host to a range of ambitious projects, including Warner Bros' epic 10,000 B.C., directed by Roland Emmerich. James Cameron, meanwhile, is in pre-production on his long-awaited Avatar.Although a lack of studio space is an issue, a significant attraction has been the Large Budget Screen Production Grant (see fact box) introduced in 2003.Susan Ord is responsible for managing all international and local location inquiries, r
  • Odeon takes over Munich production company Hofmann & Voges

    The restructured film and TV group Odeon Film has taken over Munich-based production company Hofmann & Voges Entertainment, which will continue to operate as a separate entity under the new owner's roof. The purchase price (in single-digit millions) was largely paid for with shares in Odeon, thus making Mischa Hofmann and Philip Voges the company's second largest shareholder after fund manager David Groenewold's German Film Productions (GFP). 'With Mischa Hofmann and Philip Voges
  • Omnilab moves into distribution and sales for Australian features

    Two of the four features that have just received funding from Film Finance Corporation Australia now see the Omnilab Media Group take local distribution and international sales rights, in partnership with others. Omnilab is Australia 's largest privately owned group of service companies and has been promising to get into Australian feature film production for some time. It is one of the financing partners in The Bank Job which Roger Donaldson has been directing in the UK. O
  • Paramount nabs multiple territories on Sleuth starring Jude Law

    Paramount Pictures International has acquired UK, Australia, New Zealand and South African rights to Kenneth Branagh's Sleuth. The film, recently shot at the UK's Twickenham Film Studios, stars Jude Law and Michael Caine in an updated version of Anthony Shaffer's play, with a new script by Harold Pinter. The screenplay is Pinter's first in more than 10 years. Law is also producing the film along with Branagh, Simon Halfon, Simon Moseley and
  • Pascale Ferran to head jury for Cannes Un Certain Regard

    The Cannes Film Festival has announced that director Pascale Ferran will head up the jury for the Un Certain Regard sidebar at this year's event, which runs May 16-27. Ferran has been to the festival before, having been selected with her 1990 short film Le Baiser followed by La Sentinelle in 1992 (for which she wrote the screenplay). In 1994 she won the Camera d'Or for her feature directorial debut Petits Arrangements Avec Les Morts. Ferran's 2006 film Lady
  • Pinewood Shepperton sees turnover up 22% in 2006

    Pinewood Shepperton today released its preliminary results for the year ended Dec 31 2006. It was a robust year for the company, with turnover up 22% at $80m (£40.7m) and operating profit 'before exceptional items' up 70% at $17.9m (£9.1m).The company's increasing diversification into television also seems to be bearing fruit, with revenues up 32%, at $23.2m (£11.8m). In a statement, chief executive Ivan Dunleavy predicted that 2007 would be 'a busy year' for the studios. L
  • Playing to the crowd

    One of the great debates for international film is why movies so rarely trouble the box office beyond their national boundaries. For all the talk of cultural diversity, the blockage generally comes down to the simple fact of language. Dubbing and subtitles remain a big obstacle.Finding ways to break through linguistic barriers is generally seen as an issue of marketing and distribution. Less attention is given to the cinematic elements that unite rather than divide. A good example i
  • Potboiler to follow Gardener with Le Carre's Mission Song

    Following its successful adaptation of John Le Carre's The Constant Gardener, Simon Channing Williams and Gail Egan's London-based Potboiler Productions is preparing a new film based on Le Carre's latest book, The Mission Song. Joe Fisher, writer of acclaimed TV drama Soundproof and of 1998's The Tichborne Claimant, is scripting the adaptation. The budget range is likely to be in a roughly similar range to that of the $23m Constant Gardener. The Miss
  • Premiere Fund backs Paul Andrew Williams' The Cottage

    The UK Council's Premiere Fund has come on board with Lottery funding for Paul Andrew Williams' The Cottage. Williams, who became a talent to watch with his 2006 low-budget thriller London To Brighton, also wrote the script. The story follows two brothers who kidnap an underworld figure and then 'stumble upon a dark rural secret.' The cast will feature Andy Serkis, Reece Shearsmith, Jennifer Ellison and Steve O'Donnell. The Premiere Fund has given $1.5m (£
  • Production - AFCI Trade Show 2007 - The world's locations meet in one location

    This year more than 200 members of the Association of Film Commissioners International (Afci) are expected to descend on Santa Monica for the 22nd Afci Locations Trade Show 2007. The event runs from April 12-14 and is a key opportunity for the global community of film commissioners to promote their city or country's production incentives and swap information."The hot topic is of course incentives," says Afci president Robin James. "Governments around the world have acknowledged how sig
  • Revolver takes prizes for Kidulthood DVD marketing

    Indie distributor Revolver Entertainment beat the major studios at the British Video Association Awards 2007, taking the Best Feature Film Marketing Award for the DVD release of urban drama Kidulthood. The judges, which picked the Kidulthood campaign over those for bigger releases including Cars and The Da Vinci Code, said: 'The judges were impressed by the resourcefulness and ingenuity shown by Revolver's in-house marketing team. The daring and bold Cromwell R
  • RGM to co-finance Winged Creatures starring Forest Whitaker

    Singapore-based media financing company RGM Entertainment is co-funding and executive producing Winged Creatures, its third international project under the Loan Guarantee Facility (LGF) in collaboration with the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA). Directed by Rowan Woods, the ensemble drama is about survivors of a random restaurant shooting. The cast is toplined by Forest Whitaker who in his first production since winning the Oscar for best actor, plays a driving instr
  • Scottish Screen pushes diversity in exhibition strategy

    After a lengthy process of consultation Scottish Screen has announced a new Cinema Exhibition Strategy designed to extend the reach and diversity of films available to Scottish audiences. The core of the strategy is the development of 'cultural cinema hubs' strategically placed around the country. Each one will serve as a centre of support and services to a network of organisations ranging from smaller cinemas to community groups and film societies. There are expected to be four h
  • Seoul unveils first foreign production incentives

    Seoul Metropolitan City Government has announced its first incentives for foreign film and television shoots to take place in the South Korean capital. The government has allocated $532,000 for incentives out of a $745,000 fund meant to promote tourism through marketing the city of Seoul in visual media. The city's locations support organisation, the Seoul Film Commission, will refund 25% of production expenditures accruedin the city, up to a maximum of $100,000 per project.
  • Shear leaves The Works to take new sales post at Revolver

    David Shear is leaving his post as head of sales at The Works UK Distribution to become sales director of Revolver Entertainment. He starts the newly created post on June 11 and will be responsible for Revolver's theatrical strategy. Before joining The Works' theatrical distribution arm, Shear was head of sales at ContentFilm, Winchester Film Distribution and the Feature Film Company. Justin Marciano, managing director of Revolver Entertainment said: 'With his excellent the
  • Sky signs up three-year deal with Spyglass Entertainment

    UK-based BSkyB has struck a new, three-year output deal with Spyglass Entertainment, which covers up to 15 Spylass-produced titles from 2008. Spyglass's past hits have included Seabiscuit, Memoirs Of A Geisha, Bruce Almighty and The Sixth Sense. The deal covers both Sky Movies paid broadcast rights (including HD broadcasts) and Sky Box Office pay-per view. The pact also includes an option for SVOD rights. Spyglass's Chief Executive Officers, Gary Barber an
  • Spain: inward production

    Spain has attracted a growing number of high-profile international productions, many of which turn to local companies such as KanZaman or Filmax as Spanish co-producers, bringing in local subsidies. The Spain Film Commission was created in 2001 to unite film commissions across Spain. Carlos Rosado, the head of the Andalusia Film Commission, was appointed director.Why should international producers consider Spain'Spain's attractions place it in perfect shape
  • Stambler joins THINKFilm as director of acquisitions

    Ben Stambler has left Magnolia Pictures and joined THINKFilm's New York office as director of acquisitions.Stambler served for three years as manager of acquisitions at Magnolia and played a key role in the acquisitions of The Host, The Signal, and Jesus Camp.He will jointly report to THINKFilm's head of US theatrical Mark Urman and senior vice president of acquisitions and business affairs
  • Sweet Mud, Cashback share top prize at Bermuda Fest

    The 10th Annual Bermuda Film Festival came to a close at the weekend, with the Mary-Jean Mitchell Green Award for Best Narrative Feature going to Dror Shaul's Israeli drama Sweet Mud and Sean Ellis' UK comedy Cashback.Linda Hattendorf's Cats Of Mirikitani won best documentary honours, with special mentions going to Living With Lew
  • Thailand: inward production

    Thanks to its lush settings, Thailand has long been a prime location. Despite the devastating tsunami in 2004, last year's military coup and the more recent Bangkok bombings, the territory is still attracting production.Recent high-profile shoots include the remake of Bangkok Dangerous starring Nicolas Cage, and Ridley Scott's American Gangster, while Sylvester Stallone is shooting his Rambo IV.Facing competition in the region, Thailand now boasts a new soun
  • The 4th Regiment takes prize at Guadalajara co-production meetings

    The third Iberoamerican Co-production Meetings organized by the 22th Guadalajara International Film Festival wrapped here Tuesday. The Mexican project The 4th Regiment (La 4a compania) produced by Tita Lombardo's Spanda Films to be directed by newcomer Amir Galvan Cervera was awarded the main prize offered by the Spanish public TV(RTVE). RTVE will determine the amount of the prize, ranging from $200,286-$333,842 (Euros 150,000-250,000) after seeing the finished film. RTVE will
  • The Hills Have Eyes 2

    Dir: Martin Weisz. US. 2007. 89mins. Hoping to wring more money from humans-vs-mutants battles to the death, The Hills Have Eyes 2 offers another round of dull gory fright scenes that neither push the horror envelope nor exhibit any noticeable ingenuity. Borrowing liberally from fear classics like Aliens and The Thing, this Fox Atomic release rarely rises above a general sense of unpleasantness. A sequel to the remake of the 1970s Wes Craven
  • T-Online Hungary to handle Warner titles for online VOD

    T-Online Hungary has signed a deal with Warner Bros International Television Distribution (WBITD) to provide T-Home TV and T-Online Teka with online video-on-demand rights to Warner Bros titles.The multi-year agreement begins in April and was negotiated on behalf of WBITD by Ruth Woods, manager, sales and sales planning, Europe.Licensed titles include recent releases like Blood Diamond, The Prestige, Happy Feet and
  • Trap, Victim and Ragtime among competitors at goEast festival

    Srdan Golubovic's thriller The Trap, Kirill Serebrennikov's black comedy Playing The Victim and the world premiere of Pulat Ahmatov's Ragtime..., a depiction of everday life for two young Russian women in a small frontier town, are among 10 feature films and six documentaries selected for the main competition of the goEast Festival of Central and Eastern European Film which begins tonight in Wiesbaden. The competition's awards with prize-money totalling almost $40,03
  • Tribeca Film Institute announces 2007 festival programmes

    The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) unveiled the 2007 festival prgrammes yesterday [March 28], which include the Tribeca Film Fellows programme, a gala screening of films by young New York film-makers entitled 'Our City, My Story', and an on-stage discussion with documentarian Albert Maysles.The third Tribeca Film Fellows Programme invites 20 young film-makers from across New York aged 15-19 to take part in a mentorship scheme with festival film-makers, culminating in film pitches.
  • True North wins best film at Cherbourg-Octeville

    The 22nd Cherbourg-Octeville Festival of Irish and British Film (March 14-20) gave its top awards to Steve Hudson's True North. The film took best film, best film voted by the student jury, and best actress for Angel Li. The other winner was Niall Heery's Small Engine Repair, which won the audience award and best actor for Steven Mackintosh. Bankside Films is handling sales on True North while Moviehouse is selling Small Engine Repair. Other film
  • Turtles take the lead from 300 at domestic box office

    Warriors continued to hold sway at the North American box office but this weekend the Spartan heroes of 300 were usurped by the might of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.The computer-animated stars from the 1980s claimed the number one post with a solid $25.4m estimated launch through Warner Bros.Kevin Munroe directed the story of four mutant fighters who try to thwart an evil force. This is t
  • UK actor cast in male lead for next Oskar Roehler project

    UK actor Ray Fearon, who appeared in the soap opera Coronation Street and Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, has been cast as the male lead for German director Oskar Roehler's next feature Lulu And Jimi, to follow his 2006 Berlinale competition film Elementary Particles (Elementarteilchen). Fearon, who is currently on stage at London's Young Vic in Thomas Otway's The Soldier's Fortune, will appear opposite young German actress Teresa Weissbach, w
  • UK: inward production

    The UK has been a popular location for major US and international productions for decades. But with uncertainty in recent years over the territory's tax incentives and a clampdown on Gaap financing, Colin Brown - who was appointed in December 2006 - will need to convince US studios of the merits of the new tax credit scheme.Why shoot in the UK'We have the studio space to accommodate several major films and have been looking to increase our capacity. We also
  • UK's Albion launches with aims to produce Christian features

    Albion Productions has launched as a UK production company dedicated to only making Christian feature films. Albion is set up as an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) company and is seeking investors for its first production, Darkness Into Light. The company said 10% of the film's profits will go to Christian charity Frishta. Darkness Into Light will follow a modern man who tries to find out the truth behind the Resurrection. The team behind Albion includes Da
  • United States - Outsider's view

    Mennan Yapo, the German-Turkish director of the newly released thriller Premonition, thinks it is a good thing Hyde Park Entertainment and Sony chose him for the project. "You have this story rooted in Americana about a small town setting with this perfect couple and their children, so it was smart not to let an American make this film because it helped to avoid the cliches," he says.Yapo appeared on most people's radars with his 2004 German-language thriller Soundless. H
  • United States - Shooting range

    "Not everyone should have, or wants to have, a film industry," says Jean Prewitt, the president and chief executive officer of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (Ifta). "Countries and communities have to understand why they are doing it."Prewitt has had so many inquiries over the years from countries, states and communities about encouraging film production that she was inspired to team up with LA-based consultant Rob Aft of Compliance Consulting to write a guide for local com
  • UTV and ROMP reunite for four films over three years

    Indian entertainment conglomerate UTV and filmmaker Rakeysh Mehra's company Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Productions (ROMP),which teamed up for last year's hit film Rang De Basanti, have reunited. Together they will invest $64.9m (Rs2.8bn)in four films to be produced over three years. Among the films, to be directed by Mehra, are Dilli-6 based on Mehra's growing up years in Delhi (to be launched in summer 2008) and Paanch Kaurav also known as 5-K (working title), w
  • Von Trotta plans biopic of medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen

    Hildegard von Bingen, one of the most important women of the medieval age, will be the subject of veteran German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta's next feature film. The project will go into production at locations in Hessen and Bavaria from late summer after many years of research and preparation. Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was a visionary, poet, composer, naturalist healer and theologian, who founded convents, corresponded with secular and ecclesiastical leaders and, remarkable f
  • Warner Bros to co-produce release new Til Schweiger project

    Warner Bros' German office is serving as co-producer and distributor on actor-director-producer Til Schweiger's new feature film Keinohrhasen which begins principal photography on location in Berlin today. Produced by Schweiger and Tom Zickler's production company Barefoot Films with Warner Bros Film and private broadcaster SAT.1, the romantic comedy was co-written by Schweiger and Anika Decker and co-stars Nora Tschirner (Soloalbum), Matthias Schweighofer (The Red B
  • WBPI's 300 has earth-shaking $48m international weekend

    The Spartan army continued to sweep all before it as 300 grossed an estimated $48m through Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI), an exceptional result from 5,000 prints in 33 markets that raised the overseas tally to $79m.The epic opened at number one in 20 markets, led by $8.9m in the UK from 369 sites that included previews and registered 59% market share of the top five titles.300 sc