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30 October 2001

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  • Amelie joins cast of foreign-language Oscar race

    The foreign-language Oscar race hotted up yesterday as Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amelie Poulain aka Amelie was named the French submission for the Academy Award, ending speculation that other French films might deprive the phenomenal hit of its chance in the Hollywood spotlight.The submission now gives US distributor Miramax Films the fuel it needs to mount an Oscar campaign which should not only include foreign language film but also director and actress
  • Asoka opens well, Amelie shows legs

    Last weekend heralded the arrival on UK shores of an Indian film expected by critics to be the Bollywood film that would achieve the crossover to a wider audience that has so far eluded previous films in this market. The release of Asoka, by Miracle Communications, at 76 sites nationwide was a bold move, which on the surface appears to have paid off. The film scored a massive opening weekend of $341,743 (£235,461), including previews of $55,411, to record the second-biggest open
  • Bergman marries up again with Ullman, Josephson

    Sweden's most renowned filmmaker, 83 year-old veteran Ingmar Bergman, has written a TV-movie for national broadcaster SVT Fiktion entitled Anna, which is set to shoot in 2002. The chamber-piece, which Bergman is to direct, will star regulars Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson as well as Borje Ahlstedt and Julia Dufvenius as the four leads. Though it seems likely to be a follow-up to the classic Scenes From A Marriage, which was also made for SVT as a six-part series, as wel
  • Blockbuster has 92% rise in third-quarter earnings

    Blockbuster the global video rental giant, has reported a 92% increase in third-quarter earnings as it continues to benefit from the increasing growth and higher margins of the burgeoning DVD market.The company said that it expects that its DVD business, where margins are some 10% higher than that of video, to continue to drive revenues and gross margins in the fourth quarter.Early indications are that the video and DVD markets have been boosted by the after-effects of the Sept.
  • Bones

    Dir: Ernest Dickerson. US. 2001. 90 mins. Its touches of social conscience aside, Bones is the sort of horror nonsense that only really thrill-starved pre-Halloween filmgoers can be expected to swallow. Featuring rapper Snoop Dogg in his first starring role and boosted by a soundtrack that has already entered the music charts, it may attract US audiences - particularly young and black audiences - for a week or two. But thereafter - and in the international marketplace
  • Box office supports Capitol's sales frenzy

    Films that cinemagoers want to see have done wonders for business at the UK's Capitol Films, which is handling the breakout Woody Allen title The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion and horror hit Jeepers Creepers."We are essentially sold out now on Jeepers Creepers," said Capitol co-chief Jane Barclay, after selling it and No Such Thing to Miramax for Italy, where they are likely to be released through Buena Vista. "The ratio between weekend and weekdays is e
  • Canadian actors' strike averted

    Canada's film and TV performers have reached a tentative agreement with producers that will boost actors' earnings 6% over two years. The increase is the same as that negotiated by SAG earlier this year.The 18,000-member Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) renewed its Independent Production Agreement with the nation's two producers groups, the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) and the Association des producteurs de films et de tel
  • China Star lines up $13m Books And Swords

    China Star has unveiled a big-budget period action-romance to be directed by veteran Tsui Hark.Pre-production is cranking up on Books And Swords, a $13m adaptation of one of China's most famous novels. The story, which will be heavy on swordfight action, is about two brothers and is set during the Han dynastic period. One becomes a despotic emperor of China, the other becomes a rebel fighter who opposes the man he later discovers to be his brother in order to protect the common
  • Danish Film body may sack critical consultants

    The Danish Film Institute (DFI) has suspended two of its film consultants, Thomas Danielsson and Gert Duve Skovlund, for publicly rubbishing a new production, Jolly Roger, which they themselves had awarded state funds worth $900,000 (DKR 7.5m).It all began with an editorial in the Danish newspaper: Information, criticising the consultants for backing the film, which opened recently to negative reviews. In response, Danielsson and Skovlund submitted an open letter to the newspape
  • Eight Euro distribs put Celluloid at core of pact

    Eight of Europe's best known independent distributors have pacted together to form an ambitious pan-continental buying and investment alliance. In a deal finalised on Monday night (Oct 29), their first acquisition is not, however, a film but a sales company - Celluloid Dreams. The Hengameh Panahi-headed Celluloid will act as the alliance's acquisitions hub while also continuing to act as a conventional sales agent. The co-operative involves Cinelibre/Cineart from Belgium, Fu Wor
  • European parliament proposes promotion fund

    The creation of a European Promotion Fund and the "interconnecting" of existing automatic support funds in European Union member states are among a set of recommendations presented by European Parliament (EP) deputy Luckas Vander Taelen in a report "on achieving better circulation of European films in the internal market and the candidate countries".Declaring that his report "would rather focus on a number of positive recommendations than a detailed analysis of why things are going wro
  • F&ME boards Fridriksson's Falcons

    Film and Music Entertainment (F&ME), has boarded as co-producer Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's first English language project, Falcons, which has just started shooting in Iceland.Falcons is the story of Dua (Margret Vilhjamsdottir) a young woman who speaks to birds and prefers the company of animals to that of humans. In a small village in the Western Fjords she meets Simon (Keith Carradine) an ex-con who has just finished a jail sentence for murder. As outsiders, these two f
  • Five Korean directors team to form EGG Films

    Five established South Korean filmmakers have grouped together to form the nation's first in-house production company. Named EGG Films, the company will tie up the services of directors Park Chan-wook (Joint Security Area), Bae Chang-ho (My Heart), Kwak Jae-yong (My Sassy Girl), Lee Young-jae (Harmonium In My Memory) and Lee Mu-young (The Humanist) for the next six years.Headed by CEO Ji Young-jun, the company is the first in Korea to employ directors
  • France's film marketing costs set to soar

    France's audiovisual watchdog CSA (Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel) has recommended a partial lift of the current ban on advertising films on television - a move set to radically shake up the French distribution sector. The policy is part of a new French government legislative programme concerning advertising on television. Although the CSA has prudently stressed that the move should be 'progressive' and involve an agreement between all parties concerned, the move is likely to be co
  • Franchise boards Ryan and Douglas & Crystal pics

    Elie Samaha's Franchise Pictures, which has a five year co-financing and domestic distribution deal with Warner Bros, has boarded Meg Ryan starrer Against The Ropes with Paramount and taken international rights on Warner's remake of The In-Laws to star Michael Douglas and Billy Crystal.Against The Ropes marks the first collaboration between Samaha and Paramount, which has a host of partnerships with independent companies such as Mutual, Lakeshore and Mandalay. Ryan
  • German cinema admissions to rise by 9% in 2001

    German cinema admissions are expected to rise by 9% this year to 166m, according to a new report. In comparison, French admissions are expected to reach between 172m and 180m, while in the UK they are predicted to reach at least 148m for 2001.According to German HypoVereinsbank (HVB) Equity Research media analysts, despite the increase in anticipated German cinema tickets sold, the average number of admissions per release in 2001 is likely to total 390,000 - slightly below 2000's 400,0
  • Germany's Bavaria takes controllong stake in Odeon

    Munich-based Bavaria Film has become a major shareholder in the publicly-listed Odeon Film by increasing its interest to 50.01%.Bavaria Film had originally held a 32% stake in Odeon at the time of its IPO in spring 1999, but had gradually increased its shareholding in the intervening period.An adhoc announcement released by Odeon declared that Bavaria's latest step "demonstrates its trust in the present strategy of Odeon Film and its continued commitment to Odeon Film as a partn
  • Good Machine ties up Almodovar, Parker deals

    Good Machine International (GMI) has tied up key territory sales on Pedro Almodovar's latest picture Hable Con Ella (Talk To Her) and Oliver Parker's The Importance Of Being Earnest. But the deals were not done at Mifed. GMI did most of its business in London last week and president David Linde spoke to Screen over the weekend from Madrid where he is visiting Pedro and Agustin Almodovar before returning to New York.Like Miramax International, GMI had pulled out of
  • Greg Sims launches Iron Entertainment

    Devin International president Greg H Sims has launched a new company called Iron Entertainment with US theatrical and home video distribution capacity as well as financing, production and sales. Sims is joined in the outfit by Herbert N Dorfman, the former president of Orion Home Video, who has been named president of Iron Home Entertainment.A key investor in the new operation is Adam Levy, Iron's New York-based partner who is chairman of Warlock Records and its affiliated label
  • H5B5 issues sales and profit warning

    German media company H5B5 Media has issued a sales and profit warning for the current and coming financial years due to "the reserved purchasing behaviour of German and international television stations". The Munich-based company now expects sales for the current year to be on the same level as 2000 (DM 39.06m) and operative results to be negative as a result of decreased sales and one-time restructuring costs.H5B5 had planned to post half of its sales revenues in the US market,
  • IMAX format films to showcase at Berlinale 2001

    A selection of past and present large format IMAX films are set to be shown in a special sidebar at next year's Berlinale.The showcase, which will be spread over three days during the festival, will be screened at the two IMAX cinemas at the festival's Potsdamer Platz venue - in the Discovery IMAX theatre directly opposite the main Berlinale-Palast festival cinema on Marlene Dietrich Platz and at the other IMAX screen in the Sony Center's Cinestar multiplex.Although no titles ha
  • Italy's Eagle buys Wine, develops Rose

    As it beefs up its slate of high-profile pictures, Rome powerhouse Eagle Pictures has acquired rights to Blackberry Wine, the new novel from Joanne Harris, the best-selling author of Chocolat, and is also developing The White Rose, a new project from director Joel Schumacher (Tigerland, The Client).An epicurean follow-up to Chocolat, Blackberry Wine is narrated by a bottle of wine and follows a frustrated writer, Jay Mackintosh, who live
  • Jamie Bell heads supernatural WWII action drama

    Jamie Bell, the child star of international hit Billy Elliot, is to head the cast of The Great War Project (working title), a supernatural action drama which tops the slate of Film and Music Entertainment (F.&.M.E.).The picture is the story of eight young soldiers trapped in the WWI trenches who are systematically picked off by a killer who may not be human. Direction and screenplay is by first timer Michael J Bassett, whose short film credits include The Last Waltz
  • Juliette Lewis to star in Desire And Search

    Juliette Lewis is set to star in Desire And Search, a quirky thriller being handled by Norwegian sales and finance outfit BV International.The $9m budget UK-Canadian picture is the story of an avenging angel who taps into people's secret desires and blackmails them in order to keep quiet. It is set for a March 2002 shoot under the direction of Simon Marshall, whose previously shot Out Of Depth.Production is by the UK's Steon Films and Canada's Finance Art. Steon c
  • Korea enjoys biggest industry boom since 1960s

    Not since the 1960s has Korean cinema enjoyed a boom that compares to this year. Four local features - Friend, My Sassy Girl, Kick The Moon and My Wife Is A Gangster - make up the top-grossing releases of the year to date. The market share for Korean films in Seoul stood at 39.9% at the end of September, with figures for the nation as a whole likely to be even higher. "After the success of Friend and My Sassy Girl this year, a large number of companies decided to i
  • K-PAX

    Dir Iain Softley. US 2001. 118minsLawrence Gordon, the producer of K-Pax, would like to believe that his new film is in the spiritual-magical vein of Field Of Dreams (1989), a far superior baseball story about faith and redemption, which he also produced. However, judging by the minor melodrama that unfolds onscreen, K-Pax is more in the therapeutic tradition of Equus, an intimate chamber piece centring on the problematic, shifting relationship bet
  • Lions Gate seals deals on three key titles

    Lions Gate International has closed key territory sales on its three hottest titles - Bret Easton Ellis adaptation Rules Of Attraction, Argentinian thriller Nine Queens and drama Monster's Ball.Icon Entertainment bought UK, Australia and New Zealand on Rules Of Attraction which stars James Van Der Beek and Kip Pardue. Metropolitan Filmexport took it for France, Planeta/Zono for Spain and Les Films L'Elysee for Belgium.Nine Queens sold to
  • Little controversy at Beaune conference

    As the 11th Rencontres Cinematographiques de Beaune drew to a close Sunday (Oct 28), filmmakers comprising the association of writers, directors and producers (ARP) issued a statement outlining the most pertinent points to come from a weekend of debates. The main themes are nothing new in Beaune (cultural diversity, author's rights, etc.) where ARP meets annually - alongside representatives from the European Commission and U.S. groups like the MPA and AFMA - to present an open forum fo
  • London: Intermedia in discussions to buy IEG

    Intermedia, the independent giant which floated on Frankfurt's Neuer Markt 18 months ago, is in discussions to buy Graham King's Initial Entertainment Group (IEG), the independent maverick which has backed mega-projects such as Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York and Michael Mann's Ali.Buyers at London Screenings this week were abuzz with talk of the union which would see King and IEG become an autonomous production label of Intermedia
  • Mayson joins Artists Independent Network

    Andy Mayson, former chief operating officer at Intermedia, has joined London-based production and management company Artists Independent Network (AIN) as managing director.Mayson joins the operation as it prepares to move into the US by setting up a New York office early next year and starting its own sales division at the end of this year. The former chief financial officer at Working Title Films was part of the team that took Intermedia public on the Neuer Markt."[Mayson's] ex
  • Mifed market premieres attract attention

    As the 68th edition of Mifed kicked off yesterday under its new private operator, Rassegne, interest was expected to hot up on a slew of market premieres, including Robert Altman's much-anticipated Gosford Park and Spanish Penelope Cruz-starrer No News From God.Other titles expected to cause a stir include Fred Schepisi's Last Orders, which stars Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins and is sold by Winchester; John Malkovich's directorial debut, Dancer Upstairs, sol
  • MIFED news round-up: Part II

    Buena Vista International is close to acquiring Latin American and French rights on local blockbuster, The Last Kiss. Rome sales agent Intramovies has also sold German rights to Tobis.Scripted and directed by Gabriele Muccino, the generational drama stars Stefano Accorsi and was produced by Fandango and Medusa Film. Meanwhile, Intramovies head Paola Corvino has picked up worldwide distribution rights to three new Italian pictures, which it will premiere at Berlin's
  • Miramax strikes a host of long distance sales

    Miramax International may have opted not to attend London and MIFED but it is closing deals by phone in New York and has sold a four-picture package to Gaga Communications for Japan. Gaga, the only Japanese buyer attending the markets in force, stopped in New York en route to London and met with Miramax distribution chairman Rick Sands to negotiate the acquisition. The package is topped by the film of musical Chicago directed by Rob Marshall and stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Re
  • Monsters, Inc.

    Dir: Pete Docter. US 2001. 92mins.
  • Mosaic's Roven assesses Till synergy

    A day after unveiling a production deal with Stewart Till's new distribution network, Mosaic Media Group producer Charles Roven says he is now studying how the deal can work in synergy with his existing MGM, Helkon Media and Toho-Towa partnership."We believe that there is a great possibility that the two relationships can work in conjunction with each other," he said. "We are looking for ways in which they can potentially work together or certainly work alongside each other."Now
  • Murdoch abandons Hughes bid

    News Corp. has abandoned its bid for Hughes Electronics and its DirecTV satellite television service after company parent General Motors failed to choose a buyer. Speculation that GM's board of directors would select between News Corp. and rival bidder EchoStar Communications came to naught over the weekend. The board made no decision.In a statement issued Saturday evening, News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch said the company would immediately withdraw its bid, expre
  • Myriad Pictures to finance Imagining Argentina

    Myriad Pictures is to fully finance and handle worldwide rights on Imagining Argentina, a film based on the Lawrence Thornton novel which is set to star Antonio Banderas and Emma Thompson. Myriad is in discussions with Spanish and UK co-production partners on the project which will be shot in Spain in 2002. Christopher Hampton, the Oscar-winning screenwriter whose directing credits include Carrington starring Thompson and The Secret Agent, will direct and has writt
  • News Corp withdraws Hughes/DirecTV offer

    News Corp has formally pulled out of the race to buy US satellite pay-TV giant DirecTV, leaving Echostar Communications as the only other likely bidder. "We have no option but to withdraw immediately our fully negotiated and financed proposal,'' said chief executive Rupert Murdoch in a statement. "Hughes [DirecTV's immediate parent company] would have been an excellent strategic fit for our global platforms, and we are disappointed with the board's inaction in the face of an as-yet unf
  • Olmi wins Italy's St Vincent prize for Arms

    Veteran Italian director Ermanno Olmi has been awarded the Best Director prize for Profession Of The Arms at Italy's prestigious St Vincent Prize, a pre-eminent festival designed to promote Italian cinema abroad.Profession Of The Arms, a tale of 16th century warfare, screened in competition at Cannes. It is also one of the titles that could make it onto the Italian commission's shortlist for the country's foreign Oscar nominee.Producers Lugi Musini and Roberto Cicu
  • On The Line

    Dir: Eric Bross. US 2001. 85 minutes A Serendipity for the junior high school crowd, On the Line stars two of today's biggest teeny-bopper heart-throbs, 'N Sync bandmates Lance Bass and Joey Fatone. As with the recent John Cusack-Kate Beckinsale romantic comedy, On The Line puts a slight spin on the classic "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl" scenario in that, instead of trying to win back Ms. Right, the protagonist spends the entire film trying to f
  • Only One Take to premiere at Bangkok

    One Take Only from new generation Thai director Oxide Pang will have its world premiere when it closes the 4th Bangkok Film Festival on Nov 25. Local production Girl's Friends, the debut feature film from film critic turned director Mongkholchai Chaivisuth, will also have its world premiere. Both films make up part of the New Thai Cinema section alongside the international version of Nonzee Nimibutr's Jan Dura and Mysterious Object At Noon directed by Apich
  • Paramount Classics goes for Mostly Martha

    Paramount Classics has acquired North American, other English-speaking and Lation American distribution rights to Mostly Martha, the German-language romantic comedy written and directed by Sandara Nettelback, from Bavaria Film International. The film, which world premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and then screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, stars Martina Gedeck as Martha, a top chef who opens her kitchen to a high-spirited Italian (played by Sergio Castell
  • peppermint adds six titles to Mifed slate

    German sales company peppermint has added another six titles to its new film division's MIFED slate bringing the line-up to 14 films for its market premiere.Leading the raft of the latest peppermint pickups is US production outfit Interlight's $28m film noir thriller White Jazz, which is currently in pre-production and will be directed by Robert Richardson with Nick Nolte and John Cusack starring. Peppermint will be handling German-speaking and Benelux rights on this James Ellro
  • ProSiebenSat.1 suffers nine-month profit dive

    The slowdown in the German advertising market has pushed down the earnings of the ProSiebenSat.1 Group in the first three quarters of 2001. Consolidated revenues of Euros 1.419 billion were posted as of September 30, down 4.5% on last year's Euro 1.486 billion. While the consolidated pre-tax result was Euros 34.6m (2000: Euros 65.4m), group net income for the first nine months of 2001 amounted to Euros 22.3m (2000: Euros 30.6m.)
  • Rai seeks US distribution reciprocation

    In a bid to boost the presence of Italian films in the US theatrical market, Rai Cinema is including a clause in all the acquisition and co-production contracts it signs with US partners stipulating that they must in turn agree to distribute of a number of selected Rai titles in the US. "Silvio Soldini's Bread And Tulips, which is distributed in the US by First Look, has already made more than $3m on the US market - and more than $20m world-wide. It is right for our US partners
  • Refn secures Eno to score Fear X

    Musician and producer Brian Eno is to score Nicolas Winding Refn's English-language debut, Fear X. The script for Fear X was penned by Refn and cult author Hubert Selby Jr, writer of Requiem For A Dream. The Danish filmmaker sent Eno his previous features Pusher (1996) and Bleeder (1999) along with the script for the new film, and that was apparently enough to convince him to score the new film. The $6.6m Fear X shoots in January.
  • Regent rides with Media Asia's Unicorn

    Regent Entertainment has boarded Media Asia's English-language action flick, The Unicorn Hunt. The film, to be directed by Li Chai Ngai, is a light-hearted action film in the mould of The Thomas Crown Affair. It is the story of a reporter and a CIA sleuth on the hunt of a modern day Robin Hood, who is mistakenly assumed to be a criminal mastermind.Media Asia and Regent will co-invest in the picture, where the budget has already climbed to $8m, and each handle separ
  • Salles' Virgin heads for Cinecitta

    Brazilian director Walter Salles' upcoming Assumption Of The Virgin will start shooting next year in Rome's fabled Cinecitta Studios on a set designed by Oscar winning legend Dante Ferretti (Gangs Of New York).Benicio Del Toro, Geoffrey Rush, Chloe Sevigny and Juliette Binoche are all set to star in the movie, about a nun who is lured away from her convent by the Renaissance painter Fra Lippi. Carolyn Choa is producing with David Lascelles. Executive producers are Oscar-w
  • Salvatores to film Italian kidnap drama

    Oscar winning director Gabriele Salvatores's next project will be a screen adaptation of Niccolo' Ammaniti's critically-acclaimed drama, "Io Non Ho Paura."Set in southern Italy in the 1970s, Io Non Ho Paura is the story of a 10-year-old boy who discovers another young boy who has been kidnapped by his own father. Produced by mini-major Medusa Film and Rome's Cattleya, the movie is scheduled to shoot in June. The Italian director, who won a foreign language Oscar fo
  • Schmid wins prestigious Hof film award

    Hans-Christian Schmid, director of last year's box-office and critical success Crazy, was awarded this year's Film Prize of the Town of Hof at the International Hof Film Days (October 24-28) joining past filmmakers including Wim Wenders, Doris Doerrie, Tom Tykwer, Detlev Buck and Werner Herzog, all of whom have a special connection to the festival.Schmid first came to recognition after his made-for-TV movie It's A Jungle Out There (Nach Fuenf Im Urwald) caused a b
  • Sexy Beast scores at British indie film awards

    Extolled by US critics, but cooly received in the UK, British gangster drama Sexy Beast was finally feted in its home market. It triumphed at last night's British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), winning in all four categories in which it had been nominated.Sexy Beast was named Best British Independent Film of the year. Its Jonathan Glazer and Ben Kingsley (pictured) were named best director and best actor respectively. In winning, Kingsley, beat co-star Ray Winstone, wh
  • Sony Pictures Classics in multi-territory deals

    Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) has revisited two former domestic acquisitions - Renaissance Films' The Luzhin Defence and Winchester Films' Last Orders to pick up additional territories. On the former, it has bought Germany and Australia/New Zealand and on the latter it has bought Germany.The moves not only signify the increasing need for studio-affiliated companies to pick up international territories to fuel foreign pay-TV output deals but also shows how the studios are s
  • Spirited Away conjures $200m in Japan

    Japanese animation sensation Spirited Away has crossed the mammoth $200m mark in Japan, the first non-US feature ever to do so and, still going strong at the top of the box office, is on track to overtake Titanic's all-time box office record of $213 million (Y26bn). The fantasy , which is directed by Princess Mononoke's Hayao Miyazaki, has grossed $201m (Y24.6bn) in the territory after 14 weeks. Since its release on July 20, Spirited Away has sold 19m ticket
  • SunriseMediaStar fund lines up partners

    Pierce Brosnan's Irish production outfit DreamTime, veteran producer Wayne Duband's Screen Corporation Limited (SCL), France's TF 1 and Ireland's Mc Films are being lined up as production partners for the new Euros 50m private film fund SunriseMediaStar.Sunrise's managing director Nadia Saleh plans to provide financing for between six to seven feature films which could included two Irish DreamTime projects - Laurie Shearing and Riccardo de los Rios' sci-fi fantasy Life On Mars a
  • Telefonica signs output deal with Warner Bros TV

    Telefonica Media, the multimedia subsidiary of Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, has signed a non-exclusive, multi-year output deal with Warner Bros International Television (WBIT) for free-to-air, pay TV and PPV rights to WBIT product beginning in January 2002. The deal gives Telefonica Media (TM, soon to be renamed Admira) non-exclusive rights to new WBIT feature films and TV series in Spain for free-to-air broadcaster Antena 3 and pay digital satellite platform Via Digital, as well
  • The Pretender delayed by legal dispute

    The shooting of The Pretender, Gilles Mimouni's next film after 1996 L'Appartement, is to be delayed until March 2002.Shooting was due to start this month but has been held up by a legal wrangle. Mimouni's producer George Benayoun (Messaouda Films/Natan Films) has filed and won a breach of contract suit against his partner Les Films Alain Sarde, (a subsidiary of StudioCanal) which co-developed the ambitious $23m English-language project. Although no formal co-produ
  • Thirteen Ghosts

    Dir: Steve Beck. US. 2001. 90 mins. The ghouls are the title characters but the elaborate set is the real star of Thirteen Ghosts, a one-note, yet efficiently jolting Halloween offering from Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis' mid-budget horror label Dark Castle Entertainment. Re-made (like Dark Castle's Halloween '99 release The House On Haunted Hill) from an original by sixties horror showman William Castle, this good-looking spin on the old haunted house scenari
  • Thym launches Luxembourg production company

    Heinz Thym, formerly head of film co-productions and acquisitions for CLT Ufa International is setting up a Luxembourg film production company, T Films.As a registered Luxembourg producer, T Films will be able to access the principality's generous local tax shelter schemes. Through the 100%-owned T Films, Thym will seek to be involved in European and US productions which can benefit from the tax shelter scheme, allows a 25% rebate for productions shooting in Luxembourg.Th
  • Till launches production, distribution company

    Stewart Till has launched an ambitious production, financing and distribution company modelled after PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE), the erstwhile Euro major where he was head of international activities.Montreal-based pension fund CDP Capital Communications and Los Angeles-based Mosaic Media will provide equity financing, although the financing of the first projects will be supported by significant bank lending from the Union Bank of California.Echoing PFE, the operation i
  • Trainspotting author joins Four Way Pictures

    UK author Irvine Welsh, currently writing the follow-up book to his bestseller Trainspotting, has joined director Antonia Bird, actor Robert Carlyle and journalist Mark Cousins as a partner at talent-led production company Four Way Pictures.Welsh is writing a new screenplay, The Meat Trade, for the two-year old company, set up to offer film-makers and talent a creatively protective environment. The modern day body-snatcher story is set in Edinburgh and billed as "a big Br
  • TriPictures entices new Spanish directors

    Up-and-coming Spanish directors have a potential new outlet in Spanish distributor TriPictures' start-up production division, which is seeking directors on several projects in early development stages.Head Douglas Wilson says he is currently negotiating directors for two projects: The Inheritors, from scripter Fernando Camara, and The Suicide Club, based on the work by Robert Louis Stevenson.The division will embark on three medium-budgeted feature films per year,
  • Two new German media funds launched

    A $15.4m (DM 33.2m) two-part TV biopic on the life of Italian automobile legend Enzo Ferrari is one of four projects lined up by Germany's Victory Media for its latest media fund, Victory MultiMediaFonds Private Placement which was launched on October 31.The $38.5m (DM 83.1m) fund intends to attract private individuals each investing at least $464,000 (DM 1m) by 21 December 2001 for the financing of three live-action internationally marketable TV projects in co-operation with DeAngelis
  • Une Hirondelle A Fait Le Printemps

    Dir: Christian Carion. France. 103mins.While many French films deal with provincials who seek love and fortune in the big city (ie Paris), first-time director Christian Carion's Une Hirondelle A Fait Le Printemps takes the reverse tack: a young city-slicker who abandons a successful career to live off the land. Although it is a theme which is often served with comic dressing, here it is treated with utmost seriousness, but in a fairly conventional dramatic mann
  • Universal's K-PAX takes the crown at box office

    K-PAX, the Universal drama starring Kevin Spacey as a man who claims he's an alien, opened at the top of the North American box office with an impressive estimated three-day gross of $17.5m. The movie was co-financed by Intermedia, which screened it to international buyers for the first time at London Screenings last week. Budgeted at $48m, the film was directed by the UK's Iain Softley and co-stars Jeff Bridges, Alfre Woodard and Mary McCormack. Reviews were decidedly mixed.
  • Varda completes first of 20 Paris Je T'Aime shorts

    French film-maker Agnes Varda (The Gleaners) has completed shooting The Flighty Lion, the first in a series of twenty shorts uniting directors such as Jean-Luc Godard, Tom Tykwer and Woody Allen. The twenty shorts are to be put together as a feature film entitled Paris Je T'Aime, produced by Paris-based Novem Productions. Each short film is dedicated to a 'falling in love' story set in one of Paris' twenty districts and is to be written and directed b
  • Warner Germany strikes deal with Target Media

    Warner Bros Pictures Germany has entered into a long-term, multi-picture deal with Target Media Entertainment covering the production and distribution of German- and English-language films to be released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Target Media is a recently established, Berlin-based joint venture betweeen Cartoon Film, Comet Film, Cometstone International and others; Thilo Graf Rotkirch's Cartoon Film recently co-produced The Little Polar Bear with Warner Bros Pictures German