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30 October 2008

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  • 34 films from 24 EU countries to screen at AFI's European Showcase

    AFI has unveiled the complete line-up for the 2008 edition of its AFI European Union Film Showcase, to run at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland, from November 6-25.Thirty-four films from 24 EU countries, including 11 official foreign language Oscar submissions, will screen. The films are: Eldorado from Belgium; I Was Here from Estonia; The Home Of Dark B
  • Ackerman named COO at LA media and research firm Interpret

    Aric Ackerman has been appointed COO at Los Angeles-based media and technology research firm Interpret LLC.Ackerman will oversee business development, finance, legal and operations for the company, which helps major entertainment and video game clients devise and assesse their media strategies.Ackerman reports to CEO Michael Dowling and will also be responsible for identifying acquisitions and strategic partnerships as the company steps up its technology investments aroun
  • Adrien Brody cast as The Courier for Arclight Films

    Gary Hamilton's ambitious Arclight Films has announced Adrien Brody as the lead in thriller The Courier based on a script by red hot writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas.Arclight sales chief Pascal Borno will commence worldwide sales at AFM next week on the story of a daredevil carrier who is pursued by corrupt police and feuding crime lords as he tries to deliver a briefcase to an elusive underworld figure.Principal photography i
  • Altadena Films takes on rights to Celia The Queen and City Rats

    Altadena Films has acquired international rights to documentary Celia The Queen and comedy feature City Rats. Celia The Queen , co- directed by Joe Cardona and Mario De Varona, is a documentary that pays tribute to legendary singer Celia Cruz. It was executive produced by Antonio Gijon and Gabriel Mena of Hispafilms.The documentary traces Celia's exile from Cuba up until her tragic death in 2003 and includes live concert footage and candid interviews with Cruz,
  • Altadena Films takes on rights to Celia The Queen and City Rats

    Altadena Films has acquired international rights to documentary Celia The Queen and comedy feature City Rats. Celia The Queen, co- directed by Joe Cardona and Mario De Varona, is a documentary that pays tribute to legendary singer Celia Cruz. It was executive produced by Antonio Gijon and Gabriel Mena of Hispafilms.The documentary traces Celia's exile from Cuba up until her tragic death in 2003 and includes live concert footage and candid interviews with Cruz,
  • Andrea Segre wins best new project at Rome's New Cinema Network

    Italian filmmaker Andrea Segre has won best new European project at Rome's New Cinema Network, Fabbrica dei progetti, for Shun Lee and the Poet (Shun Lee e il poeta).The prize includes a $37,500 (Euros 30,000) award in production funds.Segre's project delves into the cultural impacts of immigration in Italy. The project focuses on the difficult, but romantic relationship between a fisherman and an illegal Chinese immigrant named Shun Li.The New Cinema Network's jur
  • Aramid backs first German P&A fund for independents

    Aramid Capital Partners (ACP) is behind the launch of PA CO, the first fund in Germany specialised in P&A financing for independent films.The Munich-based $ 12.5m (Euros 10m) fund will be headed by PA CO director and distribution veteran Manfred Wenzel who previously held senior positions at Kinowelt and VCL Film + Medien.The fund will initially target German independent distributors and independent producers, TV operators and even major studios have alr
  • Aramid launches second entertainment fund, Aramid II

    Following the success of its first entertainment fund (Aramid I), film financier Aramid Capital Partners has launched a second fund.The new fund was created to meet the growing demand for investment opportunities, following PricewaterhouseCooper's forecast of 7.3% growth in the global entertainment industry in 2009.Aramid I has raised $300m since its launch in October 2006 and provided production debt funding for over 40 projects, including recent releases
  • Arcand, Leconte receive France-Canada cultural accolades

    Canadian filmmaker Denys Arcand and French filmmaker Patrice Leconte have been awarded the Samuel de Champlain cultural prize, an annual accolade presented by the Paris-based France-Canada Institute. The prize acknowledges contributions to the understanding of the cultures of the two nations through letters, the moving image and theatre. The prizes were presented at a ceremony in Paris today.Arcand, who won the Best-Foreign Language Oscar as well as the Best Picture Cesar
  • Arclight picks up rights to The Red Baron

    Arclight Films has acquired worldwide rights excluding German-speaking Europe and the Czech Republic ahead of AFM to the $23.3m (Eu18m) German aerial action title The Red Baron. Matthias Schweighofer, Til Schweiger, Lena Headey and Joseph Fiennes star in the Niama Film tale of the legendary first world war German fighter pilot. Nikolai Mullerschon wrote and directed the project and Thomas Reisser and D
  • Arsenal takes German rights to Argentinian music doc El Ultimo Aplauso

    Arsenal has bought German rights to German Kral's Argentinian music documentary El Ultimo Aplauso, following its world premiere at the Hof Film Festival. The deal was closed on Sunday night with Beatrix Wesle's Atrix Films.The company plans an early 2009 release.The film follows a group of forgotten Tango singers, who used to perform in the famous El Chino Tango Bar in Buenos Aires. Battling to earn a living during the country's bi
  • Asia Pacific Screen Awards unveil jury members

    Filmmakers from India, China and Korea have joined jury president Bruce Beresford for the judging of next month's Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSAs). Included is one of India's most highly regarded filmmaking veterans, actor and director Aparna Sen (Mr And Mrs Iyer). The chief creative officer responsible for commissioning Bengali films at production house Saregama India, has just finished filming on The Japanese Wife.Also on board is Chinese director and a professor
  • Bela Tarr to start The Turin Horse next month with Werc Werk Works

    Elizabeth Redleaf and Christine Kunewa Walker's fledgling US production and finance company Werc Werk Works is putting together the international drama The Turin Horse that Hungarian film-maker Bela Tarr will direct.Werc Werk Works is collaborating with Hungary's T T Filmmuhely, France's Movie Partners In Motion FILM, Swiss producer Vega Film AG and German outfit Zero Fiction Film.Principal photography is scheduled to begin in Hung
  • Belgian trio's Rumba wins in Zagreb

    Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy' s Rumba won the main prize and $6,250 (Euros 5,000) at the sixth Zagreb Film Festival, which ran from October 18-25. This is the directing trio's second win at Zagreb after Iceberg in 2005. Special mention went to Mexican Rodrigo Pia's
  • Bengt Toll appointed head of Swedish Film Institute's Audience Dept

    Bengt Toll, of Swedish regional film centre, Film i Väst in Trollhättan, has been appointed head of the Swedish Film Institute's Audience department, as of February 2009. Previously Toll was head of development of Swedish regional film centre, Film i Väst in Trollhättan and is also currently chairman of CineRegio, the European network of regional film funds.In his new job Toll will be responsible for distribution and promotion of Swedish film
  • Berlinale 2009 retrospective dedicated to 70mm

    The programme will concentrate on 70mm films which were originally shot on 65mm or 70mm negative film and then printed onto 70mm for the cinema screen. It will be prepared by the Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum for Film & Television.Among the classic titles already confirmed for screening are David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Cleopatra, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' West Side Story, and Sergei
  • Berry and Skarsgard go before camera on Frankie and Alice

    Principal photography has commenced on Geoffrey's Sax drama Frankie and Alice, starring Halle Berry and Stellan Skarsgard in the lead roles. Produced by Toronto-based Access Motion Pictures, the project will makes its first market appearance at the AFM through Cinesavvy, Access' partner sales company, which is handling world rights.Set against the backdrop of early 1970s Los Angeles, Berry plays Frankie, an exotic dancer whose life is turned u
  • Bester, LaCour promoted to svp at Union Bank Of California

    Adam Bester and Bryan LaCour have been promoted to senior vice president at Union Bank Of California.Bester and LaCour work in the bank's specialised financial services division and report to David Musicant, who heads national banking.LaCour is responsible for managing the bank's entertainment finance business, which has provided capital to Hollywood for more than 25 years. Films Union Bank Of California have financed include Alexander, T
  • Beta Cinema presents four market premieres at AFM

    The Munich-based sales agent will be having market screenings for the first time of:Robert Dornhelm's $ 6.4m (Euros 5m) production of the Puccini opera La Boheme with star singers Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon, which has been released so far in Austria (Constantin Film) and Germany (NFP/Warner);Nicolai Rohde's drama 10 Seconds, inspired by real events following a mid-air collision over Lake Constance in 2002, with a cast headed by Marie Bäumer (
  • Black Balloon, Unfinished Sky lead Aussie awards pack

    The Black Balloon, Unfinished Sky, The Square and The Jammed all have a chance of winning best film and also the best direction category at this year's 50th Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards. It was announced today that family drama The Black Balloon, from debut director Elissa Down, was nominated 11 times, more than any other film. The unlikely love story Unfinished Sky, directed by Peter Duncan, has 10 nominations while The Square, d
  • Bleiberg to self-distribute Adam for Oscar qualifying run

    Bleiberg Entertainment will self-distribute the Holocaust drama Adam Resurrected in New York and Los Angeles for an Academy Awards qualifying run in December.Adam Resurrected premiered at Telluride and Toronto recently and will screen at the AFI FEST 2008 on November 8 and 9.Jeff Goldblum stars as a survivor who ends up in a rehabilitation facility where a chance encounter gives him a chance
  • Bronson

    Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn. UK, 2008. 92 mins.With Bronson, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (the Pusher trilogy) takes his first director-for-hire job and makes an indelible stamp on it. Bronson is about the UK’s most violent prisoner, Charles Bronson, born Michael Peterson, but it’s in no way a biography. This is Refn’s nihilistic tribute to Kubrick and A Clockwork Orange; a hyper-violent showcase with strong theatrical elements scored el
  • Byzantium Entertainment set to debut at AFM with Aladdin

    Alan Mehrez and business partner Aileen Rodriguez' new production, finance and international sales company Byzantium Entertainment will debut at AFM next week with the live-action adventure Aladdin.The company plans to produce two to three films a year in the low to mid budget range. Aladdin is funded through private equity and will commence shooting in Cairo in March 2009.Mehrez, who over t
  • Celluloid Dreams acquires Wagenhofer doc, Let's Make Money

    Celluloid Dreams has acquired Erwin Wagenhofer's documentary, Let's Make Money. Produced by Allegro Film's Helmut Grasser, the film is a behind-the-scenes look at the ways in which ordinary people are implicated in the political and economic machinations of the international finance market through a simple bank deposit.Celluloid will premiere the film at the upcoming AFM. It will be released in Austria by Filmladen and by Delphi in Germany.Of the f
  • Church abuse drama Doubt will open AFI FEST

    An unfinished version of Miramax's church abuse drama Doubt will now screen as the AFI FEST 2008 opening night film on October 30 after Paramount pulled The Soloist on Wednesday [October 22). Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis star in John Patrick Shanley's 1960s-set story of a nun who confronts a priest she suspects of abusing a black student. Scott Rudin and M
  • Cinemavault picks up international rights to Trucker

    Cinemavault has acquired international rights from new York-based Plum Pictures to the Michelle Monaghan drama Trucker in time for AFM.The film premiered at Tribeca last April and stars Monaghan as a tough truck driver who takes her estranged 11-year-old boy into her care.Nathan Fillion, Benjamin Bratt, Joey Lauren Adams and Jimmy Bennett star.James Mottern wrote and directed Trucker
  • Consumer spending on video rose to $17.3bn in 8 key markets in 2007

    Consumer spending overall on movie and TV videos rose by 26% to $17.3bn in eight key markets; UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Australia, Japan and the US in 2007. Despite the rise, spending on buying movies declined everywhere except the US, UK and Australia.That was one of the key findings of latest research from media analyst Screen Digest into the relationship between box office takings and subsequent video sales (DVD or HD) of a film.While movie titles continue to dominat
  • ContentFilm takes international rights to The Winning Season

    ContentFilm International has acquired international rights to the new comedy The Winning Season, directed by award-winning James C. Strouse.Strouse's previous films include Grace is Gone and Lonesome Jim. The film stars Sam Rockwell (Frost/Nixon, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), rising star Emma Roberts (Ly
  • Costa Films seals co-production deal for News of a Kidnapping

    Costa Films has sealed a co-production deal with Mexico's Argos Comunicacion, Colombia's Caracol TV and a Spanish company to be announced, to adapt Nobel Prize-winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez's epic novel Noticias De Un Secuestro (News of a Kidnapping) for the big screen.Mexican film-maker Pedro Pablo Ybarra will direct the $5m movie and is aiming for a mid-2009 start date, from a script by Argentina's Aida Bortnik (The Official Story).'We are supervis
  • Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler to open 49th edition of Thessaloniki

    The Wrestler , winner of this year's Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, will open the 49th Thessaloniki International Film Festival on Friday, November 14th. It will be presented by Evan Rachel Wood who plays the role of Rourke's daughter in the film. Director Aronofsky has been a Thessalonik
  • De Heer to head jury in Sydney, which sticks to mid-year spot

    Australian auteur director Rolf de Heer has agreed to be president of the competition jury for the 2009 Sydney Film Festival (SFF).The competition rewards new directions in film and organisers use words such as audacious, courageous, cutting-edge and emotional to describe the kind of films sought. It was launched this year and the first prize is A$60,000 in cash.An award winning director himself, including the Cannes' 2006 Un Certain Regard special jury prize, D
  • Delphis takes international rights on Dutch family hit Letter For The King

    Montreal sales company Delphis Films has acquired international sales rights to Dutch filmmaker Pieter Verhoeff's chivalric adventure Letter For The King. The deal is for rights outside Benelux and German-language territories. The German release is scheduled for November.Budgeted at Euros 7.5m and shot on location in Holland, Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Scotland, the family-oriented picture opened at home in July and has since dra
  • Easternlight picks up international rights to Champions

    Arclight Films' Easternlight division will handle international sales, excluding certain Asian territories, to recently completed martial arts action epic Champions, produced by Hong Kong-based Sundream Motion Pictures. The film, which is directed by veteran filmmaker and Sundream president Tsui Siuming, centres on the Chinese martial arts team that participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.Tsui also produced the film with Sundream's Amy Li and Tom Cheung. Dicky Cheung heads
  • Editorial - Stuck in the middle

    There's an old saying that if you stand in the middle of the road, you'll get knocked down from both directions. It's looking like an extremely relevant piece of advice for the film industry.At the top end of the scale, the current economic conditions are uncomfortable and in recent weeks, cuts have been announced at Time Warner, Paramount and NBC Universal. The global, mostly diversified conglomerates that own the studios will no doubt be assessing the value of their film assets. None
  • Elizabeth Radshaw named director of Toronto Documentary Forum

    The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has named Elizabeth Radshaw as the new director of its allied market, the Toronto Documentary Forum (TDF). Founding TDF director Michaelle McLean stepped down in June after nine years to become director of the Canwest-Hot Docs Completion Fund.Radshaw was most recently head of acquisitions of UK-based independent television distributor TVF International. Before that she was associated with the National Film
  • Erik Van Looy's Loft soars to top of Belgian box office

    Erik Van Looy's new feature Loft, which was recently picked up for international sales by London-based The Works, is becoming a bona fide box office smash in its home territory of Belgium.Loft, which opened last week, has now posted 125,000 admissions, five times more than the number two film in the charts, Mamma Mia!, in the same period.This compares fa
  • European Commission launches consultation on state aid for film

    The European Commission has launched a public consultation to allow its plans to extend the state aid assessment criteria for cinema in Europe until 2012 to go ahead. The European Commission has launched a public consultation on its plans to extend the state aid assessment criteria for cinema in Europe.Earlier this year the Commission announced its intention to extend current rules until 2012, in order to
  • Film-makers meet to build on UK-India co-production treaty

    UK and Indian film-makers gathered at a summit in London yesterday, October 23, to explore how they can work more closely together to benefit the industries in both countries. The ' UK and India the shape of things to come' summit followed on from the public launch of the UK-India co-production treaty on October 22.The treaty means that UK-India co-produced films can bypass the UK cultural test. As a result, Indian filmmakers will have access to
  • Film-makers meet to build on UK-India co-production treaty

    UK and Indian film-makers gathered at a summit in London yesterday, October 23, to explore how they can work more closely together to benefit the industries in both countries. The ' UK and India the shape of things to come' summit followed on from the public launch of the UK-India co-production treaty on October 22.The treaty means that UK-India co-produced films can bypass the UK cultural test. As a result, Indian filmmakers will have access to
  • Franklyn

    Dir/scr. Gerald McMorrow. UK 2007. 95 minsIt's unusual in the current film-making climate to see an independent director making such an ambitious debut as Gerald McMorrow's Franklyn. He aims high, visually and conceptually, but a more experienced director would have trouble finding the right tone to pull this intricate plot off.Set partially in a futuristic place called Meanwhile City, where the feeling is baroque Bladerunner, and also in pr
  • Goldcrest Independent boards Marceau-Lambert drama Percussions

    Goldcrest Independent has acquired international rights to Thelma Films and Cine Nomine's upcoming French romance Percussions starring real-life couple Sophie Marceau and Christophe Lambert.Executive president of sales Pierre Weisbein will introduce the project to buyers at AFM following a seven-week shoot in the Colombia city of Cartagena.Currently in post-production in Paris, Percussions t
  • Goldcrest Independent picks up international on Portugal's Amalia

    Goldcrest Independent has acquired international rights to VC Filmes' Amalia, a biopic about the celebrated Fado singer Amalia Rodrigues that it claims is the largest Portuguese production to date.Senior vice president of sales Pierre Weisbein will introduce the film at AFM next week. Carlos Coelho Da Silva directed from a screenplay by Pedro Marta Santos and Joao Tordo. Manuel Fonseca produced and Sandra Barata, Ricardo Pereira and Ana Padrao
  • Halcyon Pictures to be re-launched as Unanimous Pictures.

    Halcyon Pictures, founded in 2001 by Funny Games producer, Chris Coen, is to be re-launched from today, October 28, as Unanimous Pictures.Halycon Pictures' theatrical releases to date include Tom McCarthy's Oscar-contender, The Visitor , starring Richard Jenkins and Hiam Abbass, Michael Haneke's all-star US remake of his own provocative thrill
  • High School 3 beats off Saw V in blockbusting US box office weekend

    Hollywood served a timely reminder that film-going appears to be recession-proof as two mighty brands powered the box office to its biggest weekend of the last ten weeks.The top 12 films climbed 40% against the same period last weekend after grossing approximately $120m and were led by Disney Channel's phenomenally successful High School Musical property, which until now had earned its stripes as a TV movie and DVD smash. The brand made a seam
  • High School Musical 3 takes brand-building to new level

    High School Musical's (HSM) third instalment lived up to its billing as the right film for the right time: pure escapism in a global recession.High School Musical 3: Senior Year set a new opening record for a musical in the US with a three-day debut of $42m. Internationally, it opened number one in 22 countries with a new October o
  • High School Musical dances to 22-country $40m opening

    High School Musical 3: Senior Year finished top of the class overseas thanks to an estimated $40m haul from 3,100 screens in 22 countries through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International that set a new opening weekend record for an international launch in October.Dominant in North America as well with a $42m three-day debut, the Disney Channel smash starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale opened number one in all its ter
  • Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival launched in LA in Jan 2009

    The first Annual Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival and market will take place from January 28-31, 2009 at Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.The event has been established with the support of the Brazilian Consulate in LA and Brazilian film support agency Ancine to bridge the gap between Hollywood, Brazil and the international film community and will offer film-makers the chance to network with producers and distributors from Latin America.Festival top brass expect to pr
  • Huayi Bros unveils fourfilms including Chen's Twilight

    Beijing-based Huayi Brothers Pictures has unveiled a new slate of four productionsfrom directors Tsui Hark, Feng Xiaogang, Chen Kuo-fu from Taiwan and Singapore's Jack Neo. Huayi Bros' president Wang Zhonglei announced the slate during his visit to the Tokyo International Film Festival.Chen Kuo-fu's Twilight, a drama about communist secret agents' espionage war against the puppet government of Japanese-occupied China, will be the first to start shooting.The story is b
  • IMAX expands theatre deal with Ukraine's Triumph

    IMAX Corp. and Kyiv-based media company Triumph have added a third cinema to its giant-screen roll-out in the Ukraine. Triumph's exhibition arm, Kinokompaniya Triumf, will now have theatres in Kiev, Odessa and Kharkov. The Kiev site was installed last month, while the Odessa site is expected to be operational by 2010 with Kharkov to follow in 2011. IMAX now has 13 systems scheduled to be in business in Russia and the CIS.In a statement, Triumph general director
  • In focus - Reasons to be cheerful

    A nagging question underpinned this year's UK Film Finance Summit - why wasn't everyone more miserable' Goodness knows there was plenty to worry about: a crashing economy, collapsing pre-sales and a depressingly complicated digital switch which threatens the future of exhibition.The packed audience at London's Waldorf Hotel did not lack the expected consensus that the industry was in serious financial straits. The banks and financiers were as blunt as it is possible to be about the sta
  • International - Eagle eye rules roost

    Paramount Pictures International's Eagle Eye flew to the top of the international chart, with a 6% increase in takings for the October 17-19 weekend, holding on to the top spot in South Korea (taking $2.1m) and securing second-place debuts in both Japan ($3.1m from 306 screens) and the UK ($1.1m from 362 screens). The thriller, starring Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan, took $11.5m from 3,546 screens in 45 territories, bringing its total to date to $44.8m.Universal's Mamma
  • Intrepid's Cold Light Of Day gets AFM launch from Essential

    Essential Entertainment has boarded international rights to the thriller Cold Light Of Day from Intrepid Pictures, riding high following the success of the Rogue Pictures summer release The Strangers.Jere Hausfater will commence pre-sales at AFM next week on the story of a young man thrown into an international conspiracy when he learns his father is a secret agent. Scott Wiper wrote the screenplay and
  • J Andrew Greenblatt and Eric Bresler join Philadelphia Film Society

    J Andrew Greenblatt has been appointed executive director and Eric Bresler has been named managing director of the Philadelphia Film Society, which presents the Philadelphia Film Festival and the Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.Greenblatt is the managing partner in OG Consulting and president of Film 101 Productions and has supported both festivals as a patron for a number of years.Bresler comes from background of project management and event coordination
  • Jane Campion acquires rights to Alice Munro short story Runaway

    Oscar winning director Jane Campion has acquired the rights to Canadian writer Alice Munro's 2004 short story Runaway. The story will be the basis for her next film after she wraps current project Bright Star. Campion plans to do the film through 2 B Films, the company she formed with Christopher Gill, with whom she worked on The Water Diary, her segment of the multi- director film Eight/Huit.Speaking to Screen at the Rome Film Festiv
  • Jean-Julien Baronnet becomes CEO of EuropaCorp

    EuropaCorp has announced the appointment of Jean-Julien Baronnet to the post of chief executive. The company has also reinforced its board with the nomination of new administrators including Herve Digne, currently president of Postmedia Finance, and Gregoire Chertok of Rothschild & Cie.Europa co-founder, Luc Besson, retains his position as president of the board.In other Europa news, the company earlier this week announced an association with comic
  • KOFIC unveils Korean film industry rescue package

    The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has announced a plan to revitalise the ailing local film industry, starting with the creation of film funds worth a combined $55.5m - including a $3.4m fund for international co-productions and another of the same amount for 'diversity films' (ie arthouse films). After coming under fire in recent weeks for not carrying out KOFIC's 2008 mandate, while continually criticising past administrations in public forums, KOFIC chairman Kang Han-sup in his fifth mont
  • Kohlberg, Kaplan launch Essential Pictures with seven pictures

    Essential Entertainment co-founder Jim Kohlberg and producer Neil Kaplan have launched sister company Essential Pictures to develop, package, finance and produce films and have unveiled a maiden slate of seven titles.Essential Pictures is backed by a separate equity pool from the source that partially funds Essential Entertainment and plans to make two to three films a year in the $10-40m budget range and is seeking product from scripts to books and pre-production galleys.
  • Kristin Scott Thomas to be feted at Santa Barbara festival

    Kristin Scott Thomas will receive the 24th Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Cinema Vanguard Award on January 27, 2009.Scott-Thomas stars in Philippe Claudel's French drama I've Loved You So Long and currently appears on Broadway in Chekhov's The Seagull.'A masterful performance by a British actress in a French film and a triumphant Broadway debut in Chekhov in the same year - Kris
  • Lake Tahoe finds a US distribution home with Film Movement

    Film Movement has acquired domestic rights to Fernando Eimbcke's Mexican drama Lake Tahoe, winner of the FIPRESCI Award and the Alfred Bauer Prize at the 2008 Berlinale.The film follows the antics of a teenager who escapes from his miserable home life only for his car to break down, leading to a series of encounters with bizarre characters.Film Movement's Adley Gartenstein brokered the deal with Peter Dunner of Funny Balloons.
  • Le Pacte acquires world rights to Bonnell's La Dame De Trefle

    French sales and distribution company Le Pacte has acquired world rights to the latest film from director Jerome Bonnell, La Dame De Trefle. Le Pacte will handle the French release and will commence sales at the AFM next week.A drama with a thriller bent, the film stars Malik Zidi, Florence Loiret Caille and Jean-Pierre Darroussin. It is produced by Gloria Film and tells the story of Aurelien whose double life as a florist and a trafficker in s
  • Lightning picks up Spanish ghost story The Beckoning

    Santa Monica-based sales and distribution company Lightning Entertainment has picked up worldwide rights excluding Spain to Elio Quiroga's Spanish ghost story The Beckoning.Quiroga wrote and directed the story about a traumatised young doctor who moves to the country after her child dies of cot death and is haunted by mysterious apparitions.Over time the woman discovers the answer may lie in a cache of old government newsreels. Ana
  • London Film School to support working filmmakers in developing skills

    The UK's London Film School has launched Fast Forward, a programme to enable film professionals to develop their craft or to move to a new one. The London Film School (LFF) has launched Fast Forward, upgrade programmes for working professionals.The programmes will allow working professionals to train during intensive weeks throughout the year, in order to move up a level in their area or sidestep to a new one.Ben Gibson, LFS director said: ' Fast Forward is
  • Mamma Mia! becomes biggest ever UK movie at UK box-office

    Mamma Mia! The Movie has broken box office records to become the biggest UK movie of all time at the UK box-office. Like the James Bond and Harry Potter franchises, the film is a UK-US collaboration. With box-office reaching $104,590,000 (£66,995,244), it is the second highest-grossing film of all time in the UK behind Titanic. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was previously the most successful British film of all time at the UK box-office having
  • Maya to produce and distribute slacker comedy Hollywood Players

    US Latino outfit Maya Entertainment will develop, produce, and distribute the slacker comedy Hollywood Players written and to be directed by Joaquin Perea.Casting is underway in time for a February 2009 start date and a fourth quarter release on the story of two brothers in east LA who get themselves into trouble when they videotape a suspicious transaction that accidentally gets released on the web.Robert A Parada of Streetwise En
  • Metrodome acquires UK and Ireland on 50 Dead Men Walking

    Metrodome Distribution has acquired an all rights deal for the UK and Ireland from HandMade Films International to Kari Skogland's Fifty Dead Men Walking, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.Metrodome's Peter Urie struck the deal with HandMade's Guy Collins following robust interest from buyers after the world premiere. The film subsequently won the jury prize at the Vancouver Film Festival.The fi
  • MIPCOM 2008 attendance boosted by presence of METRIC countries

    The 24th MIPCOM recorded a small overall increase in attendance from 2007, but with a significant increase in attendance from the so-called METRIC countries, the Middle East, Turkey, Russia, India and China, as well as the Ukraine.MIPCOM 2008 saw a small year on year increase in attendance, with overall attendance up by 1.6%, but with attendance from some areas and industry sectors up substantially.The number of international buyers in particular was up 7.2%, with over 300 new b
  • MRP Matila Röhr Productions and Nordisk Film TV to merge

    Finnish leading production house, MRP Matila Röhr Productions, and Nordisk Film TV - the Finnish subsidiary of Danish major, Nordisk Film - will merge their operations under the banner of Matila-Röhr-Nordisk. They will maintain two production lines, feature films and TV programming.'We have long wanted to invest in television drama, and it seems sensible to combine our own competence i
  • Mudge's Worldwide boards Lonely Street, Stone's Point

    Barbara Mudge's Los Angeles-based boutique sales agency Worldwide Film Entertainment has boarded international rights ahead of AFM to the comedic murder mystery Lonely Street and thriller Stone's Point.Lonely Street is based on Steve Brewer's series of novels about a private eye who unwittingly becomes embroiled in a tabloid reporter's murder. Joe Mantegna, Linds
  • Murphy, Broadbent and Gleeson sign up for Perrier's Bounty

    Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent and Brendan Gleeson have signed to star in Perrier's Bounty, a Parallel Films and Number 9 Films production. The film will be directed by Ian Fitzgibbon (A Film With Me In It) from a script by Mark O'Rowe (Boy A,
  • Natalie Portman steps onto Don Roos film for Incentive

    Natalie Portman has replaced Jennifer Lopez in Don Roos' upcoming drama Love And Other Impossible Pursuits, the first film from the $100m Incentive Filmed Entertainment fund launched by Screen Capital International and William Morris Agency at Cannes.Jere Hausfater's Essential Entertainment will commence international pre-sales at AFM on the under-$15m film adapted from the novel by Ayelet Waldman about a woman who learns from her precocious s
  • NDTV Lumiere strikes online deal with BIGFlix

    NDTV Lumière has partnered with Indian entertainment portal to provide 30 world movies titles from its extensive acquisitions list to India and the SAARC territories. These titles will be available on the site on a yearly basis at a price of $1.99 per download-to-rent and $4.49 per download-to-own.Viewers can choose to watch films through real-time internet streaming or alternatively download movies and watch them as many t
  • New Town Killers

    Dir/scr. Richard Jobson, UK, 2008, 98mins.
  • New York's South Asian Film Festival gives The Pool top honours

    Chris Smith's The Pool was named best narrative feature and ChristyGarland and Susan Armstrong's Doormat took documentary honours as the2008 fifth annual South Asian Film Festival (SAIFF) came to a close onOctober 25.Dipti Gogna's Narmeen won best short film prize as nearly 200 attendees packed the gala ceremony event at BLVD in New York City. T
  • Nick Love starts UK shoot of Vertigo production The Firm

    Principal photography has started on The Firm, written and directed by Nick Love (The Business, The Football Factory) starring newcomer Paul Anderson, Calum MacNab (The Football Factory) and Daniel Mays (Shifty).The $4m (£2.5m) film is produced by Allan Niblo and James Richardson of Vertigo Films. Shooting will take place in and around London.The Firm retells a similar story to Alan Clarke's original 1989 classic UK TV drama, which focused on U
  • Nominations for British Independent Film Awards announced

    The nominations and jury members for the 11th annual British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) were announced today at Soho House in London.
  • On Set: Christian Alvart's Pandorum

    German director Christian Alvart could not believe his eyes when he was given an early draft of Pandorum to read by UK producers Jeremy Bolt and Paul WS Anderson of Impact Pictures and Robert Kulzer of Germany's Constantin Film: Travis Milloy's spec script was similar to a project Alvart had been developing himself called No Where.He was even more surprised when the producers agreed to the idea of him working with Milloy on bringing ideas from both projects together in a
  • Once star Market Irglova turns down Darkness

    Marketa Irglova has backed out Darkness, a new film from veteran Czech director Juraj Herz, which began shooting this week.Lenka Krobotova (Karamazovi) replaces Irglova, who will spend the time on a concert tour with Once co-star and recording-artist partner Glen Hansard. Krobotova will star opposite Ivan Franek.Shooting is taking place in the western part of the Czech Republic and will last two months. The film will see its premiere in summer 2009.He
  • Opium War

    Dir/scr Siddiq Barmak. Afghanistan-Japan-Korea-France. 2008. 92 mins.There could be a good film hiding somewhere behind Afghan director Siddiq Barmak's tragicomic parable about his country's two main industries - war and opium. But it's not up there on the screen. This Best Foreign Film Oscar candidate is a misguided, amateurish attempt to turn a culture clash - between two lost and wounded US soldiers and the tank-dwelling family of an Afghan poppy farmer - into a K
  • Optimum picks up rights to John Crowley's Is There Anybody There'

    Optimum Releasing acquires UK theatrical and video rights from Odyssey to Is There Anybody There' John Crowley's first film since acclaimed Boy A. Optimum Releasing has taken UK theatrical and video rights from Odyssey Entertainment to J ohn Crowley's follow-up to Boy A, Is There Anybody There' starring Michael Caine, David Morrissey, Anne-Marie Duff, Leslie Phillips and Bill Milner. The film follows a young boy who lives in an old people's
  • Oz genre filmmakers check into The Clinic

    Distributor Richard Sheffield and producer Jonathan Shteinman are the executive producers on thriller The Clinic, which goes into production on November 10 in the isolated regional town of Deniliquin in Australia. Producer Samuel Pinczewski and director James Rabbitts are the drivers behind the film, set in the middle of nowhere and about a group of women fighting to deal with what is happening to them and survive. The pair have worked together on shorts, music videos and commercia
  • Passchendaele passes $1m mark in Canada after a week

    TIFF 2008 opener Passchendaele has grossed $1m (C$1.38m) after its opening week in Canada on release through Alliance Films. Written and directed by and starring Paul Gross, the WWI-set epic opened on 202 screens across the country. The film was a distant second at the national box office behind 20th Century Fox's video game adaptation Max Payne, starring Mark Wahlberg, and just ahead of Warner Bros. th
  • Passengers

    Dir: Rodrigo Garcia. US. 2008. 93 mins.A handful of eerily-staged scenes and a surfeit of passably evocative production design can't save the otherwise muddled Passengers, in which Anne Hathaway stars as a grief counsellor assigned to help survivors of a fiery plane clash. In trying to tick a wide variety of genre boxes, the movie ends up servicing none that credibly. Opening at only 125 theatres domestically, Passengers grossed a meagre $18
  • Peace Arch picks up three for international sales

    Peace Arch Entertainment Group has picked up international rights to the dark comedy Nobel Son, the drama Explicit iLLS and the thriller Two: Thirteen.The company will showcase all three films at the AFM along with Goal 3: Taking On The World, the final episode in the Goal football trilogy.
  • Pinewood Shepperton Studios receive $110m credit facility

    Pinewood Shepperton plc has secured a $110m (£70m) funding package from a banking syndicate led by The Royal Bank of Scotland ('RBS') comprising Lloyds TSB plc and Allied Irish Bank. The five year funding agreement replaces banking facilities established in 2004. It will facilitate the continued growth of Pinewood's film, television and pre-let development strategies through core business ventures totalling ($62) £40m and property development facilities of $47m (£30m).
  • Profile: Donald De Line

    When former studio chief Donald De Line left the executive suite to become a producer, he decided to get his hands dirty rather than produce from afar. 'There are producers who sit in an office and producers who like to be on set, in the midst of the action,' De Line says. 'I like to be in the midst of the action.'One time president of both Paramount Pictures and Touchstone Pictures, De Line and his De Line Pictures is as busy as any production outfit in Hollywood. Last year he spent s
  • Queens of Langkasuka tops Thai box office

    Nonzee Nimibutr's fantasy action epic Queens of Langkasuka topped the box office charts in Thailand this weekend. The action-packed film has grossed 34.2m baht ($980,000) over five days in Bangkok, boosted by a public holiday on Thursday. The film has a chance to become the first local feature to break the psychological milestone of 100m baht ($2.86m) at the box office this year.The highest grossing local films in 2008 so far are comedy sequel Holy Man 2, youth romanc
  • Regent Releasing picks up worldwide rights to Blue Tooth Virgin

    Regent Releasing has swooped on worldwide distribution rights to US comedy The Blue Tooth Virgin written and directed by Russell Brown.Regent plans a limited release in early 2009 following the film's world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival last summer, where it won the special jury award.The story charts the fall-out between an aspiring screenwriter and his magazine editor friend after the writer asks his friend
  • Reiko Bradley moves to head Seven Arts International

    Heading into the AFM, Reiko Bradley has been named president of Seven Arts International.Bradley will oversee all aspects of Seven Arts Pictures' burgeoning international sales and distribution operations as well as domestic distribution and the marketing of all Seven Arts titles. She will also play a key role in evaluating projects for acquisition and production.Bradley co-founded Becker Films International and prior to that spent six years as executive vice president of
  • Revolver takes UK rights for Synecdoche, New York

    Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut Synecdoche, New York is British-bound. On the eve of the film's London Film Festival screening, UK distributor Revolver has taken rights for UK and Eire. The deal was negotiated between Joel Kennedy of Revolver and Mark Lindsay of Kimmel International, the international sales agent.Kaufman, who scripted Adaptation, Being John
  • Richard Jobson reignites the spirit of '77

    The notion of punk cinema has been kicking around for a few years, based on the idea that a new generation of film-makers pick up a camera and take distribution into their own hands.Scottish film-maker Richard Jobson is an undisguised champion of the 'spirit of 1977' for film and he should know - back then he was lead singer of punk band The Skids. Now he sees clear comparisons. In the 1970s, a generation ripped up the elitist rock rule-book; now there are signs of the sam
  • Role Models

    Dir: David Wain. US. 2008. 99 mins.A superbly-cast comedy, Role Models manages to locate and till fresh ground in the ascendant guys-behaving-badly sub-genre of American studio comedies. Both Paul Rudd (Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) and Seann William Scott (the American Pie films) are best known as ensemble comedic players who have yet to prove themselves commercially as leading men. That fact - as well
  • Russia faces dramatic production curbs in wake of credit crunch

    Russian market faces contraction in production, Central Partnership's Armen Dishdishyan says largest companies will weather crisis.The global credit crunch has forced a sharp contraction in Russian film production, with up to a quarter of film projects falling victim to the financial meltdown.Armen Dishdishyan, vice president of international sales and co-production at Central Partnership, told
  • Sam Mendes attached to direct Columbia's Preacher

    Columbia Pictures has attached Sam Mendes to direct a feature adaptation of the graphic novel Preacher that Neal Moritz will produce through Original Films banner alongside Kickstart Productions' Jason Netter.This will be Mendes' second graphic novel project after Road To Perdition, although the property's supernatural tone marks a dramatic direction shift for the film-maker.Writer Garth Enn
  • Saw V

    Dir: David Hackl. US. 2008. 92 mins.Halloween staple Saw's serial killer Jigsaw died two episodes ago, so Saw V is forced to move supporting characters to centre stage and supply new twists to events that occurred in previous films, making it mostly of interest to franchise fans. In some ways, it's impressive that first-time director David Hackl has managed to pick enough meat off these old bones for another go-round, but at the same time, one has to wonder
  • Screen Australia issues its inaugural guidelines

    The four-month-old government film agency Screen Australia today issued guidelines on how it is going to spend its $60.5m (A$100m) per year. As expected, very experienced producers will most benefit under the new regime and large amounts of money will be directed into a small number of projects and businesses, rather than being spread thinly across many.Some companies will get as much as $900,000 (A$1.5m) over three years for development under an 'enterprise programme'. They will h
  • Screen opinion: audiences offer hope of better things

    It's not that my film deserves an audience, but its audience deserves to see it.' The frustration of Samm Haillay, a producer on Duane Hopkins' Better Things, encapsulates the critical issue for film.It is unrealistic to expect films like Hopkins' bleakly beautiful tale of growing up in the UK, to find a mass market. Indeed it would be a depressing film business if smaller movies attempted to tailor their messages as if they were items on supermarket shelves.The trick, ho
  • Shyamalan, MRC joint venture sets Devil as first feature

    Devil will be the first project to go under M Night Shyamalan and Media Rights Capital's (MRC) previously announced financing and production partnership The Night Chronicles.The supernatural thriller is based on an original story by Shyamalan that Quarantine director John Dowdle and Andrew Dowdle will direct. Production is set for 2009.Shyamalan and Sam Mercer are producing and the directors
  • Sola Media takes on international rights to Long Shadows

    Stuttgart-based Sola Media has picked up international rights to terrorist drama Long Shadows which had its world premiere in competition in Rome this week.Directed by Connie Walther and starring Franziska Petri and Ulrich Noethen, the film follows a former German RAF terrorist released after two decades in prison who falls for his next door neighbour, a fragile young woman who has just lost custody of her son.'My generation grew u
  • South-East Asian projects backed by World Cinema Fund

    Three South-East Asian film projects have been backed with a total of Euros 160,000 by the Berlinale's World Cinema Fund (WCF).The five-person jury chose three projects from among 108 submitted from a total of 33 countries:Primitive: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand), prod co: Kick The Machine Films, Bangkok $75,000 (Euros 60,000); Independencia, dir: Raya Martin (Philippines), prod
  • Summit picks up The Book Of Eli

    Summit International has picked up international rights to The Book Of Eli starring Denzel Washington and will introduce the apocalyptic tale to buyers at AFM next month. The Book of Eli marks the first theatrical project from Albert and Allen Hughes since From Hell opened in 2001. Washington is producing with Joel Silver and Alcon Entertainment's A
  • Telefilm Canada launches production funding for French outside Quebec

    Public film financier Telefilm Canada is setting up an investment program for French-language filmmakers who work outside of the province of Quebec. The agency's new Official Languages Activities Program (OLA) will have a total of $1.88m (C$2.3m) to devote to the initiative. While more than 80 per cent of French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec, the federal government's Ministry of Canadian Heritage is encouraging French cultural enrichment beyond the province, where the number of m
  • The Human Contract

    Dir/Scr: Jada Pinkett Smith. US. 2008. 106minsA seriously-intended dramatic study of erotic obsession, jealousy and violence, Jada Pinkett Smith's debut feature The Human Contract is a messy and frequently furious entwining of the sacred and the profane. Despite some entertaining stretches and compensatory observations about contemporary Los Angeles, the work is finally undone by too frequent lapses into the overwrought or simply incomprehensible .
  • The Hurt Locker kicks off 23rd Mar del Plata Film Festival

    The 23rd Mar del Plata Film Festival, which takes place in Mar del Plata, Argentina from Nov. 6-16, has announced that the festival will open with Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq bomb squad movie The Hurt Locker with Bigelow and writer Mark Boal in attendance.Latin America's only FIAPF classified A-level festival will screen 388 features and shorts, closing with Kim Ki Duk's Breath.A jury composed of
  • The Man Who Loves (Uomo che ama, L')

    Dir: Maria Sole Tognazzi. Italy. 2008. 97 mins.Maria Sole Tognazzi's second feature, which opened this year's Rome Film Festival, has the merit of offering a rarely-seen woman's take on a man's experience of love. But behind the smokescreen of its play with the audience's gender expectations and its tricksy (but predictable) temporal structure, this is a slow-motion traditional melodrama, lifted above the level of television only by a handful of committed performance
  • The Past Is A Foreign Land (Il passato è una terra straniera)

    Dir: Daniele Vicari. Italy. 2008. 120 mins.Italian director Daniele Vicari's latest outing is uneven but compellingly-dark. Shot, scored and directed with terrific command of atmosphere, this study of the relationship between a conflicted law student from a good family and the dangerous but attractive working class card-sharp he takes up with is one of those films that manages to add up to more than the potentially low-figure sum of its parts. The
  • Thirty Two Short Films gets reprise release in Canada

    Francois Girard's 1993 critical hit Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould will be re-released in Canada as part of the Glenn Gould Foundation's year-round celebration of the life of the late Canadian pianist. Presented under the auspices of the Toronto International Film Festival Group's Film Circuit, a limited run begins November 14 in Toronto. Further screenings are scheduled in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Vancouver. The film, which celebrates it
  • TIFFCOM wraps successful edition despite competition

    Tokyo's TIFFCOM (Oct 22-24) wrapped Friday night with delegates agreeing the market was good for meetings involving Japanese counterparts, and was getting bigger and better. Despite being sandwiched between MIPCOM and the AFM, and taking place at the same time as the Rome Film Festival, the market was busier than the recent Asian Film Market in Pusan. On the whole, however, most deals are waiting to be closed at the AFM.The Tokyo Project Gathering (TPG, Oct 21-24) award went to Li
  • TIFFCOM: Asmik Ace dresses Asia in Handsome Suit

    Japanese producer-distributor Asmik Ace closed several Asian deals for new comedy The Handsome Suit on the second day of the TIFFCOM market. The film was sold to Golden Harvest for Hong Kong and Macau; Serenity picked up Taiwanese rights, and Encore acquired rights for Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Bids for the film came in directly following the film's market screening.The Handsome Suit tells the story of a homely restaurant owner who tests out a special suit that
  • Tiger Gate gears up to launch two channels across Asia

    Lionsgate's new Asian venture, Tiger Gate, is gearing up to launch two 24-hour genre channels across Asia - action channel KIX, and Thrill which is themed around suspense films and thrillers. The two channels were being promoted at the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) conference which kicked off in Hong Kong today (Oct 28).Tiger Gate, the new Lionsgate-backed venture spearheaded by former Celestial Pictures chief William Pfeiffer, has been quietly acquiri
  • Tribeca Film Institute selects five for Sloan Filmmaker Fund

    The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) has selected five feature projects to receive financial and creative support from its inaugural TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund supported by the Alfred P Sloan Foundation.The projects were whittled down from a list of 130 submissions and will receive a total of $110,000 in funding. The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund supports narrative projects that tell compelling stories about science and technology or portray scientists, engineers and mathematicians as major cha
  • Troubled Water

    Dir: Erik Poppe. Norway-Sweden. 2008. 90 mins.A sensitive, slow-build script, original directorial vision and bravura performances turn what might have been just another high-concept melodrama centring on the death of a child into a highly-charged ride that is both gritty and poetic. Eric Poppe's third film is by no means perfect: the split point-of-view structure lacks balance at times, and a neat 'mirror' ending probably worked better on the page than it does on th
  • Trumer named COO, Buet promoted to evp at StudioCanal

    Former Paramount Pictures France chairman Camille Trumer has segued to StudioCanal just one week after announcing his departure from the US studio's French arm.Trumer has been appointed chief operating officer of StudioCanal, reporting to president Olivier Courson. Trumer will take up his functions beginning December 1 and will be in charge of the mini-studio's operations in France including distribution and French and European co-productions and acquisitions.At the same
  • Tulpan takes best film and director at Tokyo fest

    Sergey Dvortsevoy's Tulpan was awarded the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix at today's conclusion of the 21st Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF). The crystal trophy was accompanied by a cash prize of $100,000. Click here for review. Dvortsevoy also won the best director prize for the film, his feature directing debut. Tulpan tells the story of a navy serviceman who returns to nomadic life on the steppe of Kazakhstan with hopes o
  • Tulpan takes first feature award at Times BFI London Film Festival

    The 52nd Times BFI London Film Festival has announced three awards at its closing gala, Tulpan, takes best first feature, Three Blind Mice is critics favourite and Mid-August Lunch is recognised for its humanity and artistry. Director Sergey Dvortsevoy received the Sutherland Trophy for Tulpan; director Matthew Newton was awarded the 11th FIPRESCI Internati
  • UKfilm tax credit provides $170m in support since Jan 2007

    The UK government's has published figures showing the amount of film tax relief provided in support of UK production, since the current scheme was introduced in January 2007.They show that 110 claims received tax relief to the end of March 2008 totalling $170m (£104m), and covering around 100 new films. Overall 155 claims have been made over this time, for a total of $207m (£126 m). However, a number of the claims are more recent and therefore still being processed.
  • United Kingdom - Dodge the doom-mongers

    In a credit crunch, necessity must be the mother of invention. That is the view of a growing number of industry players, including Mark Herbert and Barnaby Spurrier, who called on film-makers to innovate their way out of the present economic difficulties, at Screen International's UK Film Finance Summit last week.Mark Herbert, managing director of Warp Films and joint managing director of Warp X, whose recent hits include Dead Man's Shoes, This Is England and Do
  • Universal Pictures takes Benelux distribution rights to De Storm

    Universal Pictures International Studio has acquired Belgian, Netherlands and Luxembourg distribution rights to De Storm (The Storm). The Dutch film was directed by Ben Sombogaart, whose latest film Bride Flight was released in cinemas in the Netherlands on October 16 and opened third in the Dutch box office chart.'Ben Sombogaart is clearly one of the most talented Dutch directors working today,' said Christian Grass, President of Universal
  • Universal teams with Top Up TV for UK VOD service TVBox

    Universal Pictures and Top Up TV have launched the UK VOD service TVBox offering current and library TV shows from the NBC Universal stable.The service will run within Top Up TV's Anytime package of services and marks the first brand extension of NBC Universal's PictureBox VOD service for features.The TVBox service will provide Top Up TV viewers with series such as the Law & Order brand, Friday Nig
  • US remake of Norwegian Troubled Water optioned by Basil Iwanyk

    Norwegian director Erik Poppe's Troubled Water (De Usynlige) has been optioned by Hollywood producer Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road (Clash of the Titans), for an American version. According to Scandinavian distributor Scanbox Entertainment, Iwanyk will develop the project with US-Icelandic producer Joni Sighvatsson and his Palomar Pictures.Sighvatsson is also backing another two US remakes of Nordic films: Jim Sheridan's Brothers, produced wit
  • USAID helps put Serbia back on map

    The news that River Road Entertainment had selected Serbia as the location for shooting Coriolanus, a $10m project to star and be directed by Ralph Fiennes, surprised many in Serbia. While this is perhaps the most tangible indication that Serbia is re-emerging as a cost-effective destination for international production, it was also a result of dedicated work by a US programme to reignite the country's film sector.The USAID Serbia Competitiveness Project, implemented by US
  • Warlords heads the pack forTaiwan's Golden Horse Awards

    Peter Chan's The Warlords leads the race for the 45th Golden Horse Awards with nominations in 12 categories, including best feature film, best director and best actor for Jet Li. Also competing for the best film award are Feng Xiaogang's Assembly, Wei Te-sheng's Cape No. 7, Liu Fendou's Ocean Flame and Gilles Yang's ORZ Boyz. Unusually, only Wei and Chan are represented in the best director category where they are joined by Pang Ho-cheung f
  • Wenders helps toturn First Page in Taipei

    Wim Wenders formally announced his new project, First Page Taipei, in Taiwan's capital today. The German filmmaker, introduced as 'the master of road movies', will executive produce the debut feature of Taipei-born and San Francisco-raised director Arvin Chen. Wenders stated that he and his director have two things in common: aSilver Bear and a love of films about cities.Chen secured hisSilver Bear at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival for his short film Mei, which took a
  • Whatson to head acquisitions at Australia's Palace Films

    Nicolas Whatson has been promoted to the role of general manager at Palace Films, one of Australia's leading arthouse distributors, giving him ultimate responsibility for what is released in both Australia and New Zealand. Whatson has been part of the acquisition team at Cannes, Toronto and Sundance since 2004, and has been getting increasingly involved in the execution and roll-out of campaigns, but his key role has been as New South Wales head of the company's cinema division.The
  • When A Man Comes Home (En Mand Kommer Hjem)

    Dir. Thomas Vinterberg. Denmark-Sweden. 2007. 96mins.Thomas Vinterberg's artsy, bittersweet comedy, repped by Celluloid Dreams, is only now making its international bow after a disappointing Danish run a year ago. With Teodora Film set to open Italy in December, this funny Festen bowed to a warm audience at the Rome Film Festival and may yet secure further sales.Featuring a lovelorn country boy as the central character, alongside revelations ab
  • Wild Bunch sells Javier Fesser's Camino to several territories

    Spanish director Javier Fesser's controversial, but popular religious family drama Camino has been sold by Wild Bunch to several territories, including Latin America and India.Currently on general release in Spain through Alta Films, the film has been picked up by SPI for Poland, Quality Films for Latin America, Alliance for I
  • Worldwide - Here comes the crunch

    Cinema may still prove to be recession-proof but the third-quarter figures for international markets do not suggest people are rushing to the multiplex for escapist entertainment.Global box office for Q3 generated approximately $7.28bn in ticket sales. Compared with 2007, that translates to a drop of roughly 0.5% and a decline in admissions of 6% or 7%.Given the economic difficulties, comfort can be drawn from a fairly flat picture year on year. But there are worries in the numb