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30 October 2007

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  • $2m White Lightnin' begins shooting in Zagreb

    Shooting has begun in Zagrebon UK commercials director Dominic Murphy's $2m debut featureWhite Lightnin'.The filmhas been able to use the UK tax credit,qualifying as a British movie despite beingan Americanstory shooting in Croatia and the US.Thestory of Appalachian mountain dancerJesco White was written bythe founders of Canadian hipster magazine Vice,Shane Smith and Eddie Moretti.It features RADA-trained UK actor Edward Hogg inhis first lead role, alongside Car
  • 2008: The New Line Highlights

    Jan 25: Be Kind RewindMichel Gondry's latest offbeat comedy features Jack Black as a video-store employee who accidentally erases all the tapes, so re-enacts and refilms them. Mos Def co-stars.Feb 29: Semi-ProWill Ferrell plays a former benchwarmer who returns to his basketball team in an attempt to take them to the major leagues. Directed by Kent Alterman, with Woody Harrelson and Andre Benjamin also in the cast.Mar 14: Pride And GloryEdward Norton and Coli
  • Academy stands by decision to disqualify Lust, Caution for Taiwan

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has defended its decision to reject Ang Lee's Lust, Caution as the Taiwanese submission for the Foreign Language Oscar race. When the Academy's Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee met on Oct 11 to discuss any problematic entries, Lust, Caution was disqualifed as the Taiwanese entry. Taiwan was invited to submit an alternate, and it quickly put forward Chen Huai-En's Island Etude. 'The film was
  • AFM- Buyers go global in search of spice

    Fuelled by fears of an industry-wide strike and financed by Wall Street's billions, Hollywood's production schedules are in overdrive to get projects in front of the cameras before next April. North American and international distributor schedules are already packed with US projects to see them through 2008. Following a sluggish Toronto film festival, international sales outfits and producers are worried that business at the American Film Market (AFM) will also be slow.
  • Akin's The Edge Of Heaven wins Europe's first LUX Prize

    Fatih Akin's The Edge Of Heaven, Germany's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, is the first winner of the European Parliament's new LUX Prize. The inaugural award was presented to the film's producer Klaus Maeck and actress Hanna Schygulla at a plenary session of the parliament in Strasbourg. The prize will finance the subtitling and video-to-film transfer into the 23 languages of the European Union and an original language adaptation for the deaf and ha
  • Amnesty and MySpace back premiere of Abu-Jamal doc

    MySpace and Amnesty International are backing the simultaneous world premiere tonight of documentary In Prison My Whole Life at both the Times bfi London Film Festival and the Rome Film Fest. Marc Evans, whose Snow Cake opened the Berlinale in 2006, directs. Livia Firth and Nick Goodwin Self produce, with Colin Firth serving as executive producer. John Battsek and Domenico Procacci serve as co-producers. The film is about journalist and death row prisoner Mumia
  • Animation Picture Co gives Spyro The Dragon the 3D treatment

    The Animation Picture Company has optioned feature film rights from Vivendi Games division Sierra Entertainment to the hit franchise video game Spyro The Dragon.The Animation Picture Company's principals Dan Chuba, John Davis, Mark Dippe, Brian Manis and Ash Shah will produce the 3D CGI feature.Daniel and Steven Altiere will adapt the screenplay from the franchise's The Legend Of Spyro trilo
  • Ardant and Depardieu to shoot Hello, Goodbye in Israel

    Fanny Ardant and Gerard Depardieu will travel to Israel in November to shoot new French featureHello, Goodbye (working title).The stars reunite after appearing together in Truffaut's The Woman Next Door and Anne Fontaine's Nathalie.In Hello, Goodbye, Ardant and Depardieu will play a married Jewish couple living in Paris who undergo an identity crisis when their only son marries a Catholic girl. They decide to leave their French home and move t
  • Arsenal beefs up AFM slate with LA street-fighting drama

    Principal photography has started in and around Los Angeles on the sub-$10m street fighting drama Blood & Bone from producers Arnold Rifkin and Christopher Eberts of Rifkin-Eberts. Remarkable Films' Nick Simunek and Matthew Binns are also producing along with Michael Mailer. Yarek Danielak's Arsenal Pictures holds exclusive international sales rights under a deal struck earlier this year with Rifkin-Eberts, and will show footage to
  • Ascot picks up three: Boarding Gate, Fido and Opium

    Ahead of this year's American Film Market, Switzerland's Ascot Elite Entertainment Group has picked up all German language rights on three titles. The new acquisitions are:Olivier Assayas' erotic thriller Boarding Gate, starring Asia Argento and Michael Madsen, from Magnet; Andrew Currie's satirical comedy Fido, with Carrie-Anne Moss, Billy Connolly and Dylan Baker, from Lionsgate; and Hungarian Janos Szasz's drama Opium - Diary of A Madwoman,
  • Asian tigers show their claws

    Two very different Korean openers hit the international chart this week: Ra Hee-chan's comedy Going By The Book, and Kim Mi-jung's historical murder mystery Shadows In The Palace. Going By The Book is a broad comedy about a traffic cop and a bank robbery gone wrong, while Shadows In The Palace is an action film set in a closed, hierarchical society of women, that played well at last month's San Sebastian film festival. Greece's El Greco had the highest screen average in the inte
  • Australia's documentary film-makers could get $18m boost

    Australian documentary makers are hoping to eventually get $18m (A$20m) per year for production and marketing from philanthropists and corporate donors thanks to the creation of the Australian Documentary Foundation. Documentary Australia was launched tonight in Sydney and aims to educate the two sectors about each other through a comprehensive website, and act as a mechanism for documentary makers to get (deductible gift recipient) status and for donors to get tax deductions. I
  • Band's Visit scoops top honours at Turkey'sEurasia fest

    Eran Kolirin's The Band's Visit, about an Egyptian police band which visits Israel for a performance, made a cross-cultural foray in the other direction when the Israeli production won best film at Turkey 's 3rd International Eurasia Film Festival on Sunday night. The film had also picked up the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix at the 20th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) just a few hours before on the same evening. Meanwhile, Abdellatatif Kechiche was named best director fo
  • Buzz Projects - The ABC of the AFM

    Lakeshore Entertainment is hoping to entice buyers at this year's AFM with Game, an action thriller from Crank directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Now in production, it stars Gerard Butler as a death-row inmate who becomes the cult hero of an online game. Lakeshore will also introduce United Artists' Vietnam project Pinkville, directed by Oliver Stone and starring Bruce Willis.Very different in tone is The Weinstein Company's (TWC) drama The Reader st
  • Cathay sets up multiplex jv with Dubai's Emaar Malls

    In its first expansion beyond South-East Asia, Singapore exhibitor Cathay Organisation has set up a joint venture with Dubai 's Emaar Malls. Tapping the expertise of Cathay, a pioneer in the movie entertainment industry since 1935, Reel Entertainment will manage the development of all the multiplexes in 150 malls that the Dubai-based property developer plans to open across the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent. The new company, 25% owned by Cathay and the rest
  • Caviezel stars in Arclight's remake of Long Weekend

    Jim Caviezel and Claudia Karvan will star in Arclight Films' thriller remake Long Weekend, which is scheduled to begin shooting in Australia in mid-November.The company's genre label Darclight is handling worldwide distribution and will commence pre-sales at AFM.Jamie Blanks, whose credits include Urban Legend and Storm Warning, is directing based on
  • City Of Men (Cidade Dos Homens O Filme)

    Dir: Paulo Morelli, Brazil, 106minsA touching coming-of-age story set against the violence and poverty of Rio's favelas, City of Men is the final instalment in a cycle of work inspired by Fernando Meirelles' City of God. Featuring characters from the three-year-running TV series City of Men that was commissioned following the success of Meirelles' 2002 film (itself developed from a TV project in 2000), Paulo Morelli's film proves a worthy conclusion t
  • Coach 14 takes three new titles to AFM

    One-year old sales outfit Coach 14 has acquired three new titles heading into the AFM. From Italy's Edoardo Winspeare comes Galantuomini. Produced by Fabrizio Mosca, the film stars Donatella Finocchiaro, Fabrizio Gifuni, Beppe Fiorello, Giorgio Colangeli, Gioia Spaziani and Mercello Prayer. It tells the story of a well-known judge returning to the south of Italy to find that an old friend has died and the woman that he loved is now working now for a crime organisation.
  • Control wins further prizes at Chicago festival

    Anton Corbijn's Control, which earlier this week picked up 10 British Independent Film Awards nominations, is one of three films to be awarded the Chicago International Film Festival's Audience Choice Award.Control shared the honour with Carlitos Ruίz Ruiz and Mariem Perez Riera's Puerto Rican comedy Lovesickness and Jon Dunham's US long-distance running documentary
  • Courtney named EVP, physical production at Film Dept

    Kathleen Courtney has been named executive vice president of physical production for Mark Gill and Neil Sacker's The Film Department.Dave Gare has been named vice president of post-production and Ian Watermeier has been named director of production and finance.Courtney will be based in the West Hollywood offices, reporting to production president Robert Katz.She previously worked as a freelance associate producer and production manager on
  • Crossing joins Cineclick Asia's multinational slate

    Seoul-based sales agent Cineclick Asia has picked up Crossing, a film from Volcano High director Kim Tae-kyun, for its multinational AFM slate. The film is about a North Korean ex-soccer player who crosses illegally into China, where he desperately tries to find a way to get his son and pregnant wife to join him. Budgeted at $7m, the film will depict the harsh reality of North Korean refugees in China. A Camp B production, the film is to be presented by Vantage Holdi
  • Crows: Episode 0 flies to top of Japanese box office

    Takashi Miike's Crows: Episode 0 grabbed the top spot at the weekend box office in Japan, knocking Fuji TV's Hero down to second place after seven weeks in the number one position. Produced by Fuji rival TBS and released on October 27, Crows grossed $3.49m (Y400m) in its first two days on 259 screens, for a strong $13,474 per-screen average. Both Hero and Crows are distributed by Toho, which has predicted final earnings for Crows at over $26.2m (
  • Danish Film Institute supports $7.2mviking epic

    Nicolas Winding Refn is getting ready to shoot Valhalla Rising with support from the Danish Film Institute. The national institute is guaranteeing $1.1m (Euros 0.8m) of its $7.2m (Euros 5.1m)budget. National star Mads Mikkelsen plays amute Viking who whileescaping from imprisonment in Scotland accidentally discovers America. The shoot is expected to start in spring 2008 primarily in Scotland. Winding Refn has written the story with Norwegian writer Roy Jacob
  • Despite tricky timing, Antalya's Eurasia market spurs a few deals

    The second edition of the Eurasia Film Market drew to a close yesterday, but participants said the market's timing proved difficult for some buyers. Despite a good mix of local and international sales companies and a bigger presence from Asia with Hong Kong's Media Asia, China's Huayi Brothers and Three Dots from Taiwan participating for the first time, the market was held in too hectic a period which kept more people from coming. This year, the fasting month of Ramadan has pushed
  • Disney India taps Samat, Star ups Shankar, Kumar

    Walt Disney International president Andy Bird has announced that Mahesh Samat has been appointed as managing director of Mumbai-based Walt Disney Company India. Samat will join the company in January and manage all of Disney's businesses in India excluding the ESPN/Star Sports joint venture with News Corp's Star network. He replaces Rajat Jain who resigned in March to join Mumbai-based mobile company Mobile2Win. A former Kellogg's executive, Samat was most recently at Johnson & Jo
  • Earth to open Brazil's Amazonas Film Festival

    Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield's Earth will open the fourth annual Amazonas Film Festival in Manaus, Brazil. The announcement came as the festival unveiled its feature and documentary film competitions as well as its symposium for the 2007 edition which runs Nov 9-15. The UK-Germany co-production, a feature-length companion to the 11-part BBC television series Planet Earth, premiered at San Sebastian. Closing the festival will be Jean-Jacques Annaud's His Majesty
  • Editorial - Screen says - The ideas business

    The fear that one day the money might just dry up is a permanent fact of life even for established film-makers. This year's Screen International UK Film Finance Summit was a fine opportunity to take the temperature of a major international business and that underlying concern was tangible.There's a general feeling of unease. What's not clear is whether today's market is throwing up a set of new problems that will make life more difficult in the coming years.There are obvi
  • Eurasia film fest on schedule despite Turkish border war

    Francis Ford Coppola attended the International Eurasia Film Festival for the gala screening of his Youth Without Youth amid escalating tension in Turkey. Coppola arrived at the Mediterranean coastal town Antalya with his family (wife Eleanor and son Roman) and executive producer Anahid Nazarian. He was presented with an honour award at Wednesday night's gala which played to a full house at the Ataturk Cultural Centre (AKM). It was the first screening of his latest film after the
  • Fabicki wins $42,000 prize at Rome New Cinema Network

    Polish filmmaker Slawomir Fabicki has been awarded the Best New European Project for Bonobo Jingo at Rome Film Festival's New Cinema Network. The award comes with $42,600 (Euros 30,000) in production funds sponsored by Mini. The jury, headed by Osca- winning producer Cedomir Kolar (No Man's Land), Italian producer Rosanna Seregni and Spanish sales executive Simon de Santiago, called the project 'a beautiful, touching and truly original story told in highly cinema
  • Favelle launches Sydney-based sales agency

    Former Arclight Films executive Michael Favelle has been quietly establishing his own sales agency, Odin's Eye Entertainment (OEE), based at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney. Favelle said his intention is to handle six to eight projects per year with a focus on independent, genre-driven features in the $1m to $15m range. His first pick-ups include two independently financed Australian films - the psychological horror Shape and Bitter & Twisted - but he also has some US proje
  • Festival Of Discovery: AFI Fest continues to grow at 21

    When it kicks off on November 1 with the North American premiere of Robert Redford's Lions For Lambs, AFI Fest will celebrate its 21st year as an American Film Institute event. But coming of age has not meant an end to growth, suggests festival director Christian Gaines.In recent years, he says, the Los Angeles event - the only US festival accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (Fiapf) - 'has changed and grown considerably. We've made an effort
  • Fortissimo acquires Black White + Gray

    Fortissimo Films has acquired worldwide rights toJames Crump's documentary feature Black White + Gray: A Portrait Of Sam Wagstaff & Robert Mapplethorpe.The film, which premieredat Tribeca and opened theatrically in New York to critical acclaim,chronicles the unlikely friendship between art collector and curator Wagstaff and controversial photographer Mapplethorpe.Their story brings in iconic figures such as Andy Warhol, PattiSmith andTruman Capote.The deal was ne
  • Fortissimo takes on Chorus Line doc Every Little Step

    Fortissimo Films has taken worldwide sales rights (excluding North America and Japan) to Every Little Step: The Journey Of a Phenomenon from Endgame Entertainment. The deal was negotiated between Fortissimo's co-chairman Michael J. Werner and Greg Schenz of Endgame Entertainment. Fortissimo will start pre-sales at next week's American Film Market. The documentary follows the journey of A Chorus Line from initial idea in the 1970s to its current Broadway revival
  • Germany - All's fair

    The topic on most people's lips at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair (October 15-19) was not the latest literary sensation, but rumours about the extraordinary saga at London talent agency Peters Fraser Dunlop (PFD).Caroline Michel, the company's beleaguered chief executive, cancelled her visit to Frankfurt at the last minute, still trying to prevent an exodus of senior agents who are disgruntled at the failure of their management buyout bid. But all the senior agents - including film spe
  • Golden Network carries Case, Peach Blossom to AFM

    Hong Kong-based sales agent Golden Network Asia has picked up worldwide rights excluding mainland China to two titles from Chinese producer Lola Zhang's Yunnan New Film Project - Wang Fen's The Case and Peach Blossom Land, to be directed by Huang Ruxiang. Golden Network's Carrie Wong will be selling both projects at next week's American Film Market (AFM). The Case, which is screening at the Tokyo International Film Festival this week, is a black
  • Gone with the Woman to open Nordic Film Days

    Norwegian Oscar entry Gone with the Woman (Tatt av kvinnen) will open the competition tomorrow (Oct 31) at the Nordic Film Days.The event in Lubeck, Northern Germany is the largest showcase of Nordic cinema outside Scandinavia.Gone with the Woman director Petter Næss' and lead actors, Trond Fausa Aurvag and Marian Saastad Ottesen, will attend the screening of the film, which last week (Oct 22) won the Discovery Award for Best Feature at the Hollywood Film Fest
  • Handpicked lines up financing for 11 films with Ginepri

    Michel Shane and Anthony Romano's Los Angeles-based Handpicked Films has secured multi-year financing for several slates backed by New York based hedge fund Ginepri Capital Partners. The initial Ginepri Motion Picture Slate of 11 films is valued at approximately $110m and Shane and Romano will act as executive directors and will oversee. Three more slates will be announced in due course. Budgets will range from $5-40m and Shane is working with Ginepri Capital managing partner S
  • Helen Lee-Kim adjusts to the increased volume at Mandate International

    These are happily hectic times for Helen Lee-Kim, newly ensconced as president of international sales at Mandate International following Lionsgate's $56m acquisition of Mandate Pictures in September.For what was formerly Lionsgate's international division, now read Mandate International. The expanded operation has seen Kim's workload balloon to accommodate films from Mandate, which remains an autonomous production entity in Beverly Hills with its domestic output deals intact, Ghost Hou
  • Home Song Stories wins top prize at Hawaii fest

    The 27th Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) presented its awards today with the Golden Orchid for best narrative feature going to Tony Ayres' The Home Song Stories. The film is about a Shanghai nightclub singer who emigrates to Australia with her son and daughter, and the hardships they go through as a dysfunctional family unit. Based on the director's life story, it stars Joan Chen (Lust, Caution) who also received HIFF's Achievement in Acting Award earlier this wee
  • Horrorfest scares up US theatrical outlet for Mulberry Street

    Belladonna Productions' Tribeca Film Festival entry Mulberry Street will get a US theatrical release through the After Dark Horrorfest.After Dark acquired rights from Lionsgate, which retains domestic home entertainment rights. Media 8 is handling international sales.Jim Mickle directed the story of a mysterious sickness that turns New York City residents into rat zombies.The After Dark Horrorfest, a partnership between
  • Image Entertainment shareholders approve BTP deal

    North American home entertainment company Image Entertainment announced that its stockholders have approved the amended agreement for Image to be acquired by BTP Acquisition Company. The merger is expected to close by Nov 6. The revised agreement will give shareholders $4.68 per share in cash. In March, Image agreed to be acquired by BTP for $95m, or $4.40 per share. BTP's portfolio already includes North American distributor THINKFilm and UK-based production, sales and financin
  • In Prison My Whole Life

    Dir: Marc Evans. UK-Italy. 2007. 91mins.On December 9 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal was arrested for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner. He has been languishing on Death Row ever since. Mumia's story forms the focal point of Marc Evans' impassioned and engaging feature-doc. Using computer graphics, animation and music as well as conventional voice-over narration and interviews, In Prison My Whole Life is far livelier than its o
  • Inaugural Fido Film Awards honour corgis from The Queen

    The first international awards for canine stars, the Fido Film Awards, were handed out earlier today at the Times BFI London Film Festival.The corgis who appeared in The Queen took the Best In World prize as well as the honours in the Best Historical Hounds category.Comedy Canine, for romantic comedy work, went to Year Of The Dog; Blockbuster Bowser for an action film went to
  • Iranian films get VOD foothold in North America

    Video-on-demand service Eurocinema has signed an exclusive deal with Iranian Film Society representative Nima Entertainment to provide Farsi-language Iranian films for Eurocinema's North American audiences.The initial titles are Tahmineh Milani's 2000 drama Two Women, Hassan Hedayat's 2002 mystery Twilight, Cyrus Alvand's 2004 comedy Corrupted Hands, and Mehdi Fa
  • Irish scheme shortlists 10 for low-budget features

    Catalystproject, the new Irish low-budget feature scheme, has selected its shortlist of 10 film-making teams, three of which will be greenlit. Catalystproject was launched with a series of seminars earlier this year, with 270 participant writers, producers and directors selected from nearly 400 applicants. Filmmakers participated in a series of intense workshops on the art of low budget filmmaking, receiving mentoring from Irish and international award-winning filmmakers, includ
  • Israel's The Band's Visit takes top prize in Tokyo

    In a unanimous jury decision, Eran Kolirin's The Band's Visit (Bikur Ha-Tizmoret) was awarded the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix at the 20th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF). The crystal trophy was accompanied by a cash prize of $50,000. The film was the highest-rated competition entry in a local critics poll published in the official TIFF daily newspaper.It tells the story of an Egyptian police band who visit Israel for a performance and end up stranded in a smal
  • Japan's Fuji TV unveils big-budget AFM slate

    Japanese broadcaster and film financier Fuji TV has announced a slate of big-budget titles which are being handled by sales agents Gaga Communications and Pony Canyon at the AFM. Gaga is handling international sales on Shaolin Girl which is being executive produced by Fuji TV's Chihiro Kameyama and Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow. Directed by Katsuyuki Motohiro, who teamed with Kameyama on the Bayside Shakedown franchise, the action pic stars Kou Shibazaki (Sinking Of J
  • Jason Reitman's Juno takes Best Film prize in Rome

    Jason Reitman's teen pregnancy drama/comedy Juno won Rome Film Fest's Marco Aurelio Best Film Award, announced yesterday. Reitman was in Rome to accept the award, along with screenwriter Diablo Cody.The lucrative award also comes with $287,700 (Euros 200,000).'It is terrifying to bring your film to another culture where they speak another language, and this is the first place it has played outside of North America. They
  • Lakeshore unleashes Underworld 3: The Rise Of The Lycans

    Lakeshore Entertainment is prepring Underworld 3: The Rise Of The Lycans, the prequel to its $200m worldwide franchise about warring werewolves and vampires that will open in North America through Screen Gems.Lakeshore and Sony Pictures Releasing International hold international rights to the film, which is set to begin production in Auckland, New Zealand, in January 2008.Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy reprise their roles as Lycan ma
  • Laura de Casto departs as Tartan announces restructuring

    Tartan Films has announced a new $6m cash injection and a restructuring that includes the departure of the company's veteran managing director Laura de Casto.She will now pursue opportunities as a producer in the US and UK.Tartan says the $6m convertible loan has been agreed with a private investor group.As part of the restructuring, the company's separate PR and marketing departments will be merged. Mylene Bradfield will head Group Marketing, and Sarah Bemand
  • Lightning Strikes with $20m acquisitions and co-financing fund

    Santa Monica-based Lightning Entertainment has secured a $20m acquisitions and co-financing fund backed by a private equity investor. The new fund will allow Lightning to acquire commercial films for international distribution as well as provide gap financing and completion monies for films in any stage of production. Co-founders Rich Goldberg and Richard Guardian expect to acquire 12 star-driven films a year and introduce them to international buyers. Ligh
  • Lightning takes on Vietnamese hit The Rebel

    Santa Monica-based Lightning Entertainment has picked up all non-English language rights to the Vietnamese hit The Rebel (Dong Mau Anh Hung). Charlie Nguyen's film is the largest production to come out of Vietnam and follows the exploits of a 1920s spy for the French who tires of betraying his country. Johnny Tri Nguyen, Ngo Thanh Van, Dustin Tri Nguyen, Nguyen Chanh Tin and Nguyen Thang star. Nguyen wrote the screenplay with Johnny Tri Nguyen and Dominic Pereira.
  • Lionsgate cranks up the action with Lakeshore double

    Lionsgate has acquired North American rights from Lakeshore Entertainment to the upcoming action thrillers Game, starring Gerard Butler, and Crank 2: High Voltage with Jason Statham (pictured) reprising his original role in the $25m sequel.Lakeshore holds international rights to both titles and is anticipating strong buyer interest at this week's AFM in Santa Monica.The original action thrille
  • Little Film Co to unveil Nettlebeck's English-language debut at AFM

    Los Angeles-based production and sales company The Little Film Company has begun principal photography in Vancouver on Sandra Nettelbeck's drama Helen starring Ashley Judd, Goran Visnjic and Lauren Lee Smith.Nettelbeck's English-language debut centres on a seemingly happy woman who harbours a dark secret that threatens to disrupt her entire life.Germany's Egoli Tossell Film is producing with Canada's Insight Film Studios. Aramid En
  • Lumina to sell Rebecca Miller's The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee

    Robin Wright Penn, Julianne Moore and Winona Ryder will star in Rebecca Miller's adaptation of her own novel The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee.Elevation Filmworks and Plan B Entertainment are producing the comedy-drama, which London-based Lumina will introduce to international buyers at AFM this week. CAA represents North American rights.Filming is set to begin in Connecticut in April 2008 on Miller's story about a dutiful wife and mo
  • Lust, Caution leads nominations for Golden Horse awards

    Ang Lee's Lust, Caution dominated the nominations for Taiwan's 44th Golden Horse Film Awards with nods in eleven categories including Best Feature Film. Also competing for the top prize and in multiple categories are Zhang Yang's Getting Home, Tony Ayres' The Home Song Stories, Wang Quanan's Tuya's Marriage and Doze Niu's What On Earth Have I Done Wrong'! Unusually, no Hong Kong film has been nominated for Best Feature Film. Ayres' Australia-Sing
  • Mackiewicz to jointly spearhead Arclight sales

    Liz Mackiewicz has been appointed executive vice president of worldwide distribution at Arclight Films in Los Angeles and will take charge of sales at AFM alongside company chief Gary Hamilton.Mackiewicz, who until recently served as a consultant to the company, will be responsible for evaluating projects as well as sales, licensing and distribution activities for the company.She previously served as senior vice president of worldwide distribution for Media 8 Entertainmen
  • Magnolia swoops for Spanish time-travel buzz-film

    Magnolia Pictures has picked up worldwide rights excluding Spain from producer Eduardo Carneros to Nacho Vigalondo's sci-fi film Timecrimes.Laird Adamson, head of international sales at Magnolia's sister company HDNet, will screen the film and begin international sales at AFM.Timecrimes centres on a man who inadvertently discovers the perils of time travel and premiered at the 2007 Fantastic
  • Martian Child

    Dir: Menno Meyjes. US. 2007. 108minsWell acted if sweetly moralising, Martian Child tells the story of a science fiction writer who adopts an orphaned boy who claims to be from Mars. Based on the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning short story by genre luminary David Gerrold, the film is an extremely personable, smarter than average family dramedy with just a pint-sized pinch of the is-he-or-isn't-he commotion of 2001's K-Pax, which also centered around the claims
  • Michael Sheen to host Britannia Awards in LA

    Michael Sheen, who portrayed the former British Prime Minster Tony Blair in The Queen, will host the 16th Annual BAFTA/LA Cunard Britannia Awards in Los Angeles on Nov 1.Sheen, who recently appeared as a presenter at the Hollywood Film Awards, will next be seen in the drama Music Within and recently completed filming Ron Howard's adaptation Frost/Nixon for Univer
  • Michelle Williams joins Bernal for Moodysson's Mammoth

    Oscar nominee Michelle Williams has joined the cast of Lukas Moodysson's Mammoth, opposite Gael Garcia Bernal.The Swedish auteur makes his English-language debut with the project, which starts shooting Nov 5 in Thailand before moving to the Phillipines, Sweden and New York. Lars Jonsson of Memfis Film will produce.'In Michelle Williams I feel that we have found the perfect actress for the part of Ellen, and the perfect match for Gael Garcia Bernal,' Moodysson sai
  • Midnight Clear lands at Cinemavault for AFM

    Toronto-based Cinemavault Releasing International has acquired overseas rights to Midnight Clear and Wind Man heading into the AFM.Midnight Clear will be released through Lionsgate in the US in December and stars Stephen Baldwin and Kirk B R Woller in a story about five strangers whose lives are changed by random acts of kindness.Seth Willenson and Ke
  • Miller leads trio of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment promotions

    Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) has promoted three executives in the company's international group, led by T Paul Miller's appointment as senior vice president of international and general manager of emerging markets.Also elevated in the corporate ranks are Claude Borna, promoted to vice president of retail marketing, Europe, and Orrie Dempsey, who becomes vice president of customer development, Europe.Miller will oversee strategic initiatives for SPHE's internati
  • Millerplanning to tap Australia tax offset for Justice League

    George Miller (Happy Feet) has confirmed that he hopes to get Australian film status for his next project, a comic book adaptation for Warner Bros starring Batman, Superman and a host of other comic book superheroes. If he is successful, he will be able to claim back 40% of a large proportion of the Australian expenditure under a new tax offset for Australian films. The incentive is in effect now, but the rules that will be used to judge what constitutes an Australian film are not
  • National Geographic creates global media group

    National Geographic has created a new Global Media group encompassing its film, magazine, book publishing, television, music, radio, and digital media and maps units.National Geographic Ventures president and chief executive officer Tim Kelly has been named president of Global Media, and will continue to report to National Geographic Society president and chief executive officer John Fahey.'Our goal is to enhance and broaden coordination among our editorial units, refine our dig
  • Netflix hires Nishimura-Seese for new indie buying role

    Lisa Nishimura-Seese has joined Netflix in the new role of vice president of independent content acquisition.Nishimura-Seese most recently served as general manager of New York-based Palm Pictures and will be charged with acquiring independent and small studio films for the subscriber base, which according to the company has reached seven million.She joined Palm in 2002 and before that served from 1996 to 2001 as head of sales and marketing for San Francisco-based Six Deg
  • New Line Cinema at 40 - The Ringleaders

    Some 40 years after Bob Shaye formed New Line Cinema in his Greenwich Village apartment, the company is a bona fide Hollywood studio, sitting alongside Warner Bros in the Time Warner family. And it has some of the biggest franchise properties in the business under its belt - The Lord Of The Rings, Austin Powers and Rush Hour among them.Bob Shaye was always crazy about movies. When he was 15, he made a training film for his father's supermarket and soon afterwards s
  • New Zealand Film Commission climbs new Mountain with King

    The New Zealand Film Commission and Film Fund are backing Jonathan King's recently announced Under the Mountain. Capitol Films and NZ On Air are also behind the project. As previously reported, Capitol sister company THINKFilm will launch the project to buyers (excluding Australia and New Zealand) at the forthcoming AFM. The producers will be Jonathan King and Matthew Grainger of Index Films Limited and Richard Fletcher of Liberty Films Limited in Wellington. Chris Hampson, Chris
  • Noise

    Dir/scr: Henry Bean. US. 2007. 91 mins .Noise has an intriguing idea at its core: it centres on a New York resident who begins a one-man guerilla campaign against urban noise pollution. But having hooked us with the tagline, director Henry Bean never seems to be sure quite where to run with it. The film shifts uncertainly from quirky black humour and political satire to serious emotional drama and back again, ending up as a sort of anarchist, local-scale Mr Smit
  • NZ Film pre-sells The Vintner's Luck to Icon andDendy

    Niki Caro's The Vintner's Luck has been pre-sold to Icon for the UK and Dendy for Australia and New Zealand. The film is Caro's next project after 2002's Whale Rider and 2005's North Country. The story follows a wine-maker in 19th century France who has an unusual relationship with an angel. International sales are being handled by Kathleen Drumm of NZ Film. As Screen reported earlier this week, Ascot Elite has already taken Swiss right
  • Omega on board for non-US sales of Six Lives Of Henry Lefay

    Omega Entertainment is co-financing and handling international sales on the Tim Allen comedy The Six Wives of Henry Lefay. The film, which will be introduced to buyers at the forthcoming AFM, is also financed by Ring Productions and Aramid. Producers are Brillstein Entertainment Partners' David McIlvain and Holly Wiersma. Cassian Elwes of the William Morris Agency packaged the project and is handling US rights. The film recently wrapped its six-week shoot in
  • Palm Springs honours Into The Wild duo

    Sean Penn will receive the Director of the Year Award for his acclaimed latest film Into The Wild at the 19th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival awards gala on Jan 5.Past director honourees at this Oscar bellweather include Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Babel, Anthony Minghella for Cold Mountain, Alexander Payne for
  • Ratatouille tops again with $21.9m international haul

    An estimated $21.9m haul for Ratatouille and a fourth consecutive weekend as the number one overseas film further validated Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International's staggered release strategy at a time when the day-and-date model is becoming increasing fashionable.Several months after the Pixar film made its first foray into international markets it remains the only summer release that continues to gross significant amounts.
  • Red Eagle set to soar for Thailand's Five Star

    Thailand 's Five Star will unveil at AFM The Red Eagle, the latest film by acclaimed Thai director Wisit Sasanatieng and starring Ananda Everingham. The picture about the masked crime-fighter Red Eagle will mark the return of the greatest superhero of Thai cinema in 37 years. The character, taken from Sake Dusit's popular Insee Daeng (Red Eagle) series of novels, was made popular on the silver screen by Thai actor Mitr Chaibancha. Unfortunately, the famed acto
  • Rome Fest sees growth in ticket sales, market presence

    Organisers said they were pleased with results at Rome Film Fests's second edition, which among other goals, aims to stimulate movie going. This year's festival issued 110,000 tickets, up from the inaugural run's 102,000.As last year, prestige was also strong on Rome's roster, with Terrence Malick coming to the festival and Francis Ford Coppola hosting the world premiere of Youth Without Youth.Martin Scorsese dropped out for the Film foundation presentation of restored Se
  • Roxburgh's Romulus leads Australian Film Institute nominees

    Actor Richard Roxburgh's debut film as a director, Romulus, My Father, leads the nominees for the Dec 6 Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards.Romulus, The Home Song Stories, Lucky Miles and Noise have been nominated for best film. Roxburgh has been nominated best director, alongside Tony Ayres for the Home Song Stories, Matthew Saville for Noise and Cherie Nowland for Clubland.The 16 nominations for Romulus also inc
  • Santa Barbara singles out Javier Bardem

    Javier Bardem will receive the 23rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival's (SBIFF) Montecito Award on Jan 28, 2008.Bardem, who stars in the Coen Brothers' upcoming thriller No Country For Old Men and Mike Newell's upcoming epic romance Love In The Time Of Cholera, is being recognised for 'a series of classic and standout performances in his career.'Bardem became an international star foll
  • Saw IV

    Dir: Darren Lynn Bousman. US. 2007. 93mins.Cinematic trends come and go, but the resilience of the Saw franchise continues unabated. Grimly efficient in a manner consistent with previous installments, Saw IV demonstrates that this well-oiled horror machine is showing noticeable wear and tear, but nevertheless enough of the moving parts still work efficiently to please the film's core gore crowd. Opening in its annual late-October slot, Saw IV coll
  • Saw IV could show international strength in Spain, Latin America

    Saw IV is expected to cast a ghoulish shadow over the international box office arena this weekend as it opens day-and-date with North America in Spain and Latin America. The fourth episode in the celebrated horror franchise opens in the key territories of Spain, Mexico and Brazil on Oct 26. Saw IV stands a good chance of knocking Ratatouille off its perch. The Pixar film has grossed $322m through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.
  • Saw IV enjoys $32.1m domestic carve-up

    Lionsgate's Saw IV maintained the horror franchise's grip on the Halloween season as it stormed to the top of the North American charts with a resounding $32.1m estimated launch.It still wasn't enough to stop the overall box office from slipping for the sixth consecutive weekend against the same period last year, although this time it was marginal: an aggregated $86.1m top 12 tally represented a 2% drop against the same weekend in 2006.Saw
  • Shochiku closes raft of Asian sales on Midnight Eagle

    On the last day of the TIFFCOM market, Japanese studio Shochiku announced that it has closed a raft of Asian sales on action thriller Midnight Eagle, which opened the Tokyo International Film Festival last week. Among deals concluded at the market, Dong-A Export Co bought the film for South Korea, Celestial Pictures acquired rights for Hong Kong and Macau and Scorpio East Pictures stepped up for Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. Universal Pictures will handle North American d
  • South Of Pico wins big at Annual American Black Film Festival

    AFI graduate Ernst Gossner's feature directorial debut South Of Pico has won the 11th Annual American Black Film Festival's (ABFF) grand jury prize for best picture.ABFF sponsor Heineken also presented Gossner with its Red Star Award recognising 'originality, innovation and vision in film', while South Of Pico star Henry Simmons, best known for his work on Shark
  • Start-ups - The Newcomers

    Although notoriously one of the most risky sectors of the global film industry, it is easy to see why so many want to be in North American distribution. Choose the right personnel, secure financial backing, build a strong pipeline, commit a sensible amount to p&a, get the marketing right - and the rewards can be huge.But this is easier said than done, and a cursory glance at the overpopulated weekend release schedules will quickly reveal that outside of the studios, successful North Am
  • StudioCanal adds new films from Jaoui, Lepage, Bruno and Nicolas

    StudioCanal has added several films to its line up heading into next week's American Film Market. Award-winning actor-director Agnes Jaoui returns to directing with relationship comedy Let It Rain starring Jamel Debbouze, Jean-Pierre Bacri and Jaoui herself. The film is currently in production with rights available worldwide. Also in production is Me Two from directors Bruno and Nicolas. The comedy stars Daniel Auteuil and Alain Chabat as two opposites who inhabit the same
  • Summit takes North America for Rian Johnson's Brothers Bloom

    Summit Entertainment has acquired North American rights to Endgame Entertainment's highly anticipated romantic adventure The Brothers Bloom. Rian Johnson's follow-up to Brick stars Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz and Rinko Kikuchi and is currently in post-production. Ram Bergman is the producer. Summit plans a 2008 release. The Weinstein Company will handle international sales at AFM. Endgame's Jim Stern, who also has a producer credit on
  • Sundance picks seven projects for Middle East Writers Lab

    The Sundance Institute has announced the selection of seven projects for the third annual Middle East Screenwriters Lab, which takes place in Jordan Oct 28-Nov 1. Run in collaboration with Jordan's Royal Film Commission, the Lab involves the upcoming directors and writers taking part in an intensive workshop with 'creative advisors', including Ali Zaoua director Nabil Ayouch, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix writer Michael Goldenberg, veteran Egyptian writer-dire
  • Sweden's Yellow Bird plans $15m Millennium trilogy

    The late Swedish author Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, which has sold almost two million books in Sweden, will be filmed by Sweden 's Yellow Bird on a $15.4m (Euros 10.7m) budget. Swedish actors Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace will star in the three thrillers filled with action and courtroom drama, following investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and his partner, the dysfunctional IT hacker Lisbeth Salander, who solve mysteries. Danish director Niels Arden Oplev, whose We S
  • TF1 adds Spike Lee's Miracle and David Morey's Mutants

    TF1 International will be present at the upcoming AFM with two important new titles as well as a wolrd premiere and promo reels for several of its highly-anticipated projects. The sales outfit recently signed Spike Lee's Miracle At St. Anna, a film based on the novel by James McBride and produced by Lee's 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks along with On My Own and in association with Rai Cinema. Set in Tuscany in 1944, the film tells the story of a village where four members of the US Ar
  • The Critical view - The art of war

    The autumn epidemic of films dealing with the US's entanglement in Iraq and Afghanistan has launched dozens of features and op-ed pieces but predictably, most of these were written before many of the films had surfaced. So pundits were limited to commenting on the fact that, whereas most of 1970s Vietnam films (Coming Home, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now) were nurtured in the Hollywood incubator for three or more years after America's traumatic withdrawal, the present Mi
  • The Knot dominates China's Golden Rooster Awards

    As expected, The Knotwon themajor awards at the 26th Golden Rooster Awards in Suzhou City in China, taking Best Feature Film, Best Director and Best Recording awards fromeight nominations. It wasdirector Yin Li's secondconsecutive best directorwin, following last year's honour for Zhang Side, a biopic about a Chinese revolution hero. This year the awardwas sharedwith Qi Jian for the film Forest Rangers, a film about environmental protection.
  • The Russians are coming' Leonard Klady looks at the 'Russian disconnect' at the international box office.

    We all know about the great tradition of Russian cinema that embraces such movie gods as Eisenstein and Pudovkin, Tarkovsky and Bondarchuk. The modern scene post-Glasnost is another matter.The first real sense of a meaningful change might best be encapsulated in a personal anecdote that occurred at Las Vegas' ShoWest convention in 2003. An introduction was extended to Michael Schlicht, a chief executive at Gemini Films. A major distributor of Russian movies, Gemini, at the time, also h
  • TIFFCOM: Nonzee's Chao Phraya River wins TPG award

    Thai director Nonzee Nimibutr's Just As Chao Phraya River Flows picked up the first ever Tokyo Project Gathering (TPG) Award at the conclusion of the TIFFCOM market on Wednesday night (Oct 24). Presented by Sony PCL vice president Yuji Takizawa, who is also director of the Skip City International Digital Cinema Festival, the award provides around $50,000 worth of access to Sony's digital post-production facilities, including colour grading and editing. The project, written
  • Toho to remake Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress

    Japanese studio Toho is set to produce a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1958 samurai film The Hidden Fortress, to be directed by Shinji Higuchi. Special effects expert Higuchi moved into the director's chair two years ago with submarine thriller Lorelei and had a top ten hit last year with Sinking Of Japan which grossed $46.8m. The $13m remake is scheduled to start shooting on November 1 in time for a May 10, 2008 release. The lead role will be played by 24
  • United Kingdom - Early light

    When asked about her taste in films, Tanya Seghatchian points to the wall behind her desk, and two very different posters for her past productions: one for Pawel Pawlikowski's low-budget award-winner My Summer Of Love and another for megahit franchise Harry Potter.Seghatchian - previously best known as the development executive (at Heyday Films) who discovered the Potter franchise and later as co-founder of Apocalypso Pictures with Pawlikowski - has been running th
  • United States - Ehud Resurrected

    Changes are afoot at Bleiberg Entertainment, where effervescent company founder Ehud Bleiberg is already plotting his next big move as a hugely successful year draws to a close.A familiar face on the foreign sales circuit for many years, Bleiberg knew it was time to make a bold move two years ago after his longtime Los Angeles-based partnership with former Dream Entertainment partner Yitzhak Ginsberg dissolved messily."I wanted to reinvent myself in a way that used all my skills
  • Unrelated

    Dir: Joanna Hogg. UK, 2007, 100minsBritish film-makers have never been comfortable making thoughtful, provocative arthouse movies about the tribulations of bourgeois families. It is a style of film-making in which the French have long excelled but that UK directors generally steer clear of in case of being thought affected or pretentious. Perhaps this is why Joanna Hogg's debut feature seems so refreshing and unusual.
  • US talk show host Letterman initiates election documentary

    US talk show host David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants Inc will commence filming in five US states on its first documentary this weekend with Lawrence Bender serving as producer.Balance Vector Productions will also produce the untitled film about five American teenagers who are running for a variety of elected offices across the US in 2007 ranging from a seat on the school board to town mayor.Michael Moore's former personal assistant Jason Pollock will sho
  • Vito Rocco's MySpace winner Faintheart starts shooting

    Faintheart, the winning film in the MySpace MyMovieMashUp competition, is starting principal photography this week.Director Vito Rocco beat out 800 other hopefuls in the contest to get his film greenlit with a budget of $2m (£1m). The project, being billed as 'the world's first user-generated feature film,' is a romantic comedy set in the world of Viking battle re-enactments. David Lemon wrote the script. Allan Niblo, James Richardson and Rupert Preston will prod
  • Vue to open $10m new all-digital 10-screen complex in Hull

    Vue Entertainment says it plans to launch Europe's first newly built fully digital cinema.Vue has invested $10m in the Princes Quay development in Hull, with the 10-screen all-digital cinema to open Dec 14.Vue Hull will be equipped with the latest in digital projection technology, including a 10 Terabyte server that allows for more than 100 films to be stored at the same time. It will be Digital 3D equipped.In addition to films, Vue Hull will offer content rel
  • Wales agencies plan Greenlighting conference in November

    The Film Agency For Wales and MEDIA Antenna Wales are planning a two-day Greenlighting Your Film conference in Cardiff Nov 12-13.The event will consist of talks, panels and case-study discussions. Speakers will include Angus Finney, Graham Begg, Ivana MacKinnon, Tom Roberts, Mare Evans, and Rebekah Gilbertson.'From polishing the script to securing distribution and sales agency support, the purpose of 'Greenlighting your Film' is to share expert inside knowledge with Welsh filmma
  • Wes Anderson to get visionary award at 18th Stockholm festival

    The Stockholm International Film Festival, has programmed 170 films from 40 countreis for its 18th edition (Nov 15-25) Festival director Git Scheynius announced that Wes Anderson will receive the Stockholm Visionary Award 2007. Anderson will attend the festival to introduce his latest film, The Darjeeling Limited, and fellow US director Paul Schrader is also due for a bronze horse award, the Stockholm Life Achievement Award, and to present The Walker as well as a retrospe
  • Zvyagintsev wins second Zagreb honour

    Andrei Zvyagintsev's Cannes entry The Banishment (Izgnanie) has taken the best feature film award at the fifth Zagreb Film Festival.The competitionincluded11 first or second films.Zvyagintsev had won the award at the inaugural edition of the festival in 2003 with Return (Vozvrascenie). The jury comprised of Slovenian director Jan Cvitkovic, Croatian director Goran Rusinovic and UK producer Sam Taylor presented the Golden Pram award of $7,000 (Euros 5,000).