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4 August 2003

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  • American Wedding

    Dir: Jesse Dylan. US. 2003. 96mins.The enthusiastic raunchiness of its gags aside, the third instalment of the American Pie franchise feels like the return of a favourite TV sitcom: the characters are enjoyably familiar and while the set up has changed a little the comedy still has energy to spare. Matching the performances of the first two films - the 1999 original did $234m worldwide and the 2001 sequel $288m - may not be easy now that the gross-out comedy trend is o
  • American Wedding opens number one but Gigli bombs

    Universal's AmericanWedding took an irreverent bite out of the box office pie at the weekend asit opened number one on $34.3m, according to studio estimates to be confirmedon Monday.As the only other top 10opener of the session Columbia/Revolution's crime caper Gigli was verymuch the bridesmaid with a dire joint seventh bow on $3.8m.The $55m third instalment ofthe American Pie franchise averaged a decent $10,800 from 3,172theatres and opened to mixed reviews
  • Arclight, Spice Factory launch Oz film fund

    Sydney-based sales agent Arclight Films International and prolific UK production company Spice Factory are to launch an Australian film fund. The news was revealed by Arclight managing director Gary Hamilton and Spice Factory joint director Michael Cowan on July 31 during the final outing of a two-city road show that has seen them address nearly 200 members of the Australian film industry in the last 10 days.Details of the fund are still scant and discussions are continuing with
  • ARGENTINA Production Listings - August 1 2003

    Copyright: Screen InternationalARGENTINA - August 1PRE-PRODUCTIONALTERNATE THERAPIES(Verbum) Budget: $625,000. Backer: Incaa. Drama. A psychiatrist turns his patients' stories into best-selling novels. Exec prods: Eduardo Montes Bradley, Rodolfo Duran. Prod/dir/scr: Duran. Main cast: Daniel Rabinovich, Manuel Callau, Diego Peretti, Claudia Fontan, Noemi Frenkel. Shooting from Feb 15, 2004.Contact: Eduardo Montes Bradley, Verbum, (54) 11
  • Arnie heats up the UK box office

    A return of the high summer temperatures affected a lot of films in the UK this weekend, but Columbia TriStar's Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines rode the heatwave with a massive $9.8m (£6.1m) gross from 478 sites playing 762 prints.The launch figures included Thursday previews of $1.7m (£1.05m) from 417 sites. Discounting the previews Terminator 3 was the fourth biggest three-day opening weekend of the year behind The Matrix Reloaded, X2: X-Men United and (narrow
  • Austrian Film Institute backs five co-productions

    Five international co-productions are among the projects awarded over Euros 2m in production support from the Austrian Film Institute (OFI) in its latest round of funding.Production backing was allocated to Jessica Hausner's thriller Hotel, to be co-produced by Coop99 Filmproduktion with Germany's Essential Filmproduktion; Wolfram Paulus's coming of age tale Augenleuchten, to be co-produced by Fischer Film with Cologne-based TagTraum); Eva Urthaler's debut feature Kel
  • Bavaria picks up world sales for San Sebastian film

    Bavaria Film International (BFI) has picked up world sales rights for Spanish filmmaker Cesc Gay's In The City (En La Ciudad), the follow-up to his internationally successful Krampack.Starring Monica Lopez, Eduard Fernandez and Leonor Watling, the tragicomedy about a group of friends who gradually discover the truth about one another has already been invited to screen in competition at San Sebastian and is likely to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival bef
  • Berlin Talent Campus secures major sponsor, sets deadline

    "Let's get passionate about film" is the motto for the Berlinale's second Talent Campus which will be held during next year's film festival from February 7-12.Campus organisers have also revealed that Volkswagen has joined Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the UK's Film Council and the House of World Cultures as one of the event's core financiers and will be supporting in particular the film music and sound design focus of the 2004 programme.Young composers of film scores, sound d
  • Blonde 2 takes $4m including number two opening in UK

    Fox International rolled out the MGM comedy sequel LegallyBlonde 2: Red, White & Blonde in the UK and several smaller European territories at theweekend, grossing $4m.
  • Bulgaria looks to cash in on footloose productions

    Bulgarian studios are getting ready to profit from the increase in prices that is expected to accompany the accession of its neighbours to the European Union next year."We see the three years between 2004 and 2007 when Bulgaria is scheduled to join the EU as a window of opportunity," said Evgeny Michailov, general director of Boyana Studios, Bulgaria's largest production facility, "Boyana's biggest competitors in the location services business are Prague's Barrandov Studios and
  • Campion's Cut to premiere at Toronto

    Jane Campion's In The Cut will makes its world premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival along with North American premieres of Michael Winterbottom's Code 46 and Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men. The latter two films are premiering at Venice. Toronto will present all three films at Gala screenings.In The Cut , written and directed by Campion based on the best-selling novel by Susanna Moore, stars Meg Ryan as a New York academic who gets caug
  • Charlie: The Life And Art Of Charles Chaplin

    Dir: Richard Schickel. US. 2003. 125minsAn admiring portrait of an artist who helped create the language of film comedy, Charlie: The Life And Art Of Charles Chaplin does an honourable job of covering the many facets of a complex and controversial figure. A straightforward mixture of talking heads and extensive film clips, it is a comprehensive beginners guide to the subject. Commissioned by MK2 and Warner Home Video as part of a significant promotional campaign backin
  • Chen back on track with Jin Chuan slate

    Former Applause co-founder Teddy Chen has unveiled the debut slate of his start-up production outfit, Jin Chuan Pictures, including Aubrey Lam's romantic drama Hidden Track.The film, which started shooting on July 25 in Hong Kong and mainland China, stars mainland newcomer Popo and a host of Hong Kong stars including Shawn Yue, Daniel Wu and Eason Chan. It tells the story of a mainland girl who moves to Hong Kong after her boyfriend disappears - and finds herself dating a series
  • Cinecitta lines up Soderbergh, Anderson shoots

    Rome's Cinecitta studios are continuing to attract a slew of Hollywood productions, the latest of which are Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic, and Steven Soderbergh Ocean's Twelve.The Royal Tenenbaums director Wes Anderson's new project, The Life Acquatic, is a comedy adventure that centres around an oceanographer, who was inspired by real-life French legend Jacques Cousteau.Production will start in September at Cinecitta, with Bill Murray in the lead r
  • Cinecitta targets UK producers with London office

    In a continuing drive to raise its international profile, Rome's Cinecitta Studios is opening a new office in London, after opening branches in New York and Los Angeles.The office will be headed by Joshua Andrews, fomerly head of worldwide sales at Icon Entertainment and head of production at Odyssey Entertainment.Andrews will liaise with UK producers who want information about filming in Rome, and will also work with Christian Halsey Solomon, the Italian-born producer who was h
  • Copenhagen fest completes jury

    The first edition of the Copenhagen International Film Festival (Aug 13-20) has filled the remaining two seats of its five man jury, who will be presided over by Theo Angelopoulos. Joining Denmark's Bille August and Sweden's Jan Troell are German writer-director Jutta Brückner and Belgian actress-turned filmmaker Marion Hänsel. Together they will judge between the 14 films in competition and will hand out the festival's first Golden Swan to the best film, director, act
  • Cowgirl lines-up Jewish circus artiste co-production

    Mark Schlichter and Nicole Kellerhals' Berlin-based production outfit Cowgirl Pictures has acquired the film rights to the journalist Ingeborg Prior's book Der Clown Und Die Zirkusreiterin for Schlichter to direct in summer 2004.Currently under the working title of Circus Girl (Das Leichte Maedchen), the Euros 6m project is being structured as an international co-production with partners from France and the Netherlands. It tells the true story of the Jewish circus
  • Czech government plays down tax incentive talk

    The Czech government has sent out yet another signal that it is not interested in offering tax incentives to incoming productions. Czech Culture Minister Pavel Dostal, long the target of criticism from foreign filmmakers, says he doubts Prague-based producers' claims that the film industry brings $250 million into the country each year, according to The New York Times. Dostal added that the Culture Ministry is interested above all in using its meager resources to aid Czec
  • Danny Deckchair

    Dir: Jeff Balsmeyer. Australia. 2003. 100mins.Welsh actor Rhys Ifans created the abiding comic movie image of 1999 as Spike in Roger Michell's Notting Hill: the shaggy, skinny flatmate-from-Hell merrily posed in his underpants for photographers outside Hugh Grant's London pad. Unpredictably Ifans emerges here as a glamorously handsome Australian Prince Charming, slaying Miranda Otto just as surely as Hugh conquered Julia Roberts in London. This highly unlikely transf
  • Erland Josephson gets tribute programme at Montreal

    Veteran Swedishactor Erland Josephson will be the subject of a tribute at the 2003 MontrealWorld Film Festival. The 80-year-old star of stage and screen, best known forhis long collaboration with compatriot Ingmar Bergman, will be presented withthe Special Prize of the Americas for career achievement. A selection ofhis films will be screened. Josephon has featured in 13 Bergman titlesincluding Hour Of The Wolf (1968), The Passion Of Anna (1969), Cri
  • Euro pay-TV outfits set for revenue boom

    For the past three years, the news emanating from most of Europe's pay-TV outfits has been consistently grim.Financial cutbacks, bankruptcies and mergers in countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain and France hit the film industry hard as the leading pay-TV players cut back on their investment in movies.However, a new report suggests that the film industry might now have grounds for cautious optimism. The report predicts that European pay-television revenues will triple in
  • Everett boards cast of France's Jet Set 2

    British actor Rupert Everett has joined the cast of Jet Set 2, the sequel to hit French film of 2000, which is set to start shooting in Ibiza in September.Miramax acquired remake and US distribution rights to the original French-language comedy Jet Set (Screen Daily, May 23, 2000). A "fish-out-of-water" tale about a comedian's attempts to infiltrate the jet set in order to save a night-spot threatened by closure, it was released by Bac Films in France where it did
  • Ford, Eastwood to bookend Deauville festival

    Although the official line up won't be announced until August 19, the Deauville Festival of American Film has released some details of the upcoming event. Bookending the festival are two Hollywood heavyweights: Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood. Ford's Hollywood Homicide, which was directed by Ron Shelton, will open the festival on Sept 5 while Clint Eastwood's Cannes contender Mystic River will close the 29th edition of the festival on Sept 14.While Ford is schedul
  • France helps propel English box office haul

    Working Title's Johnny English continued to demonstrate Rowan Atkinson's audience-pulling power in Europe last week when it launched in France through Mars Distribution, it's final European territory.The only international territory not handled by distribution giant UIP, France saw 428,079 admissions taken in its first full week on release from 557 screens. While this result, which equates to $2.75m (Euro 2.4m), is substantially lower than Atkinson and Working Title's 1997 hit
  • Freaky Friday

    Dir: Mark Waters. US. 2003. 97mins.An original remake sounds like an oxymoron, but the new Freaky Friday, Disney's reworking of its own 1976 film, is smart, energetic and loads of fun. Indeed, it is almost as good as The Parent Trap, a 1998 Disney re-make that, not so coincidentally, starred the same appealing young actress, Lindsay Lohan. The studio can expect very good business for this tween- and teen-friendly comedy about a mother and daughter who switch bod
  • Full competition line-up

    Venezia 60 - In CompetitionBuongiorno, Notte dir Marco Bellocchio,Segreti Di Stato, dir Paolo Benvenuti,Le Cerf-Volant, dir Randa Chahal Sabbag, Raja, dir Jacques Doillon,Twentynine Palms, dir Bruno Dumont,Alila, dir Amos Gitai, 21 Grams, dir Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Imagining Argentina, dir Christopher Hampton, A Good Lawyer's Wife (Baram-Nan Gajok), dir Im Sangsoo,
  • German producer pair relaunch film fund

    Producers Eberhard Junkersdorf (pictured) and Dietmar Guentsche have relaunched their media fund Neue Bioskop Germany (NBG) with the support of the Hamburg-based private bank Bankhaus Woelbern to raise private equity for the financing of a raft of German and English language features to be shot in Europe.The original fund, which was unveiled last autumn (Screen Daily, Nov 18), failed to raise enough funding and was subsequently wound up. Junkersdorf and Guentsche have now brough
  • Gigli

    Dir: Martin Brest. US. 2003. 124mins.If Gigli will be remembered at all it will be as the first film past the post to feature Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. Columbia can count on some initial interest when the film opens in the US next weekend, but negative word of mouth and a critical mauling will close the door on future business. Ancillary prospects are grim, although the DVD could lure voyeurs looking to freeze-frame Ms Lopez during the film's bizarre high-point:
  • Girl band musical storms Argentinian box office

    A musical starring local all-girl band Bandana has become this year's box office sensation in Argentina. Bandana: Vivir Intentando has attracted 778,000 admissions, posting a per screen average of 30,000. Co producers Patagonik Film Group and RGB Productions are hoping to reach the one million mark in a few weeks. To date, only romance El Dia Que Me Amen by Daniel Barone has come close, luring 477,000 admissions. Romantic comedy Un Dia En El Paraiso b
  • Greenaway draws Venetian blind over missing Suitcase

    Ardent fans of PeterGreenaway must have been left scratching their heads in puzzlement last week afterthe Venice Film Festival announced that Episode 3 (Antwerp) would have its world premiere on the Lido as thenext instalment of his on-going Tulse Luper Suitcases project.After all, it hasonly been a matter of months since the first part in this supposed Tulse trilogy premiered at the Cannes FilmFestival (under the title Part 1: The Moab Story).
  • Hamburg fest plans Euro hits showcase

    A showcase of local European box-office hits is one of the programme innovations being planned for this year's Filmfest Hamburg (Sept 19-26) under the new festival director Albert Wiederspiel.Austria's Poppitz, Sweden's Kops and Italy's Christmas On The Nile (Natale Sul Nilo) are already confirmed for the Eurovisuell sidebar which is also set to feature the top films from Denmark, Serbia, Belgium, Portugal, Russia, Iceland, and the Czech Republic. Wiedersp
  • Hamori teams with Brightlight for five films

    AndrasHamori's LA-based H2O Motion Pictures is teaming with Vancouver-basedBrightlight Pictures in a $50m, five-picture international coproduction slateto be filmed over the next three years. The slateincludes a starring role for Samuel L. Jackson and long-gestating project WhiteClouds, the lastscreenplay of late British dramatist Dennis Potter, which moved from the BBC to Alliance Atlantis and thenfollowed Hamori with his departure from the Canadian company. The projects
  • Hong Kong indies enjoy share surge

    The Hong Kong stock market is anticipating boom times for local companies following the signing of the recent free-trade agreement between the once freewheeling territory and mainland China.Shares of several Hong Kong film companies have climbed since the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) was unveiled at the beginning of the month. Those companies that have the most China-facing operations and those with significant video interests have gained the most. In the last
  • Hong Kong submits Affairs for Oscar consideration

    Blockbuster action thriller Infernal Affairs has been selected as Hong Kong's official entry for the best foreign-language category of the 76th Academy Awards. The selection was unveiled by Crucindo Hung, chairman of the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong. The choice of Infernal Affairs was unanimous.Infernal Affairs topped the local box office chart when it was released last December. The star-studded film, with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Andy Lau a
  • Hulk crosses $87m overseas, but disappoints in Japan

    Universal's The Hulk added $2.6m from 2,180 sites in 25 countries at the weekend toraise its international running total to $87.2m.The results do not include grosses for France and LatinAmerica, which are still being collated, but do encompass a disappointingJapanese opening figure of $1.2m from 432 theatres in its first two days.There are still 11 territories to open, including India, Lebanonand Slovenia this week.The street racing sequel 2 Fa
  • IFP LA moves 2004 Independent Spirit Awards forward by a month

    Abandoning its traditional March berth but sticking to its Oscarweekend slot, IFP/Los Angeles has announced that the 2004 IFP IndependentSpirit Awards will take place one day before the Academy Awards on Feb 28,2004.
  • Indian film shoots travel to Germany

    Germany has hosted a string of Indian shoots in recent months, suggesting that it could follow Switzerland, Austria and Ireland (Screen Daily, July 10) as a destination for Indian film productions."Places like Switzerland and Austria have made it comfortable for Indian units to come and shoot, but the Germans have also made us welcome", said veteran director Shyam Benegal who shot parts of his historical drama Netaji - The Last Hero in Germany.The film came to Germ
  • Indian music major unveils ambitious film plans

    Indian music major Saregama is planning to re-enter movie production and has unveiled plans to produce 20 Indian language films over the next three years.The owner of the largest music catalogue in India, the move is part of Saregama's plan to become an all-round entertainment company which will allow it exploit synergies across its various divisions. The company is also seeking to get involved in international co-productions and joint ventures, and recently struck a deal with Warner H
  • Indican digs for emeralds with Colombian gem-trading biopic

    Los Angeles-basedindependent distributor Indican Pictures will release Andrew Molina's EmeraldCowboy - Esmeraldero, the firstAmerican film to shoot in the Colombian capital of Bogota in 26 years and thefirst time cameras had entered the region's emerald mines. Emerald Cowboy -Esmeraldero chronicles the truestory of the famed adventurer and emerald trader Eishy Hayat, who was born inJapan and moved to Colombia in the early 1970s to become one of the leadingplayers on the i
  • Insomnia director readies Ibsen adaptation

    Erik Skjoldbjaerg, who made his international breakthrough with his debut feature Insomnia (1997), will return to his native Norway to direct an updated screen version of Henrik Ibsen's 1882 play An Enemy Of The People. To be produced by the recently restructured Norwegian arm of Nordic major Nordisk Film, producers Axel Helgeland (I Am Dina) and Aage Aaberge (Pelle The Police Car) hope to have the estimated US$13m (NOK20m) budget financed by the end of the
  • Irish viewers elect favourite films for broadcast

    Irish terrestrial broadcaster RTE has launched an innovative, interactive scheme which allows its viewers to vote for and choose the film they want to watch each week. Called Cinepicks, the scheme sees viewers vote for one of two possible films. Viewers vote by calling one of two premium rate telephone numbers and the film registering the most calls is then screened.For example, on the night before Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines opened in Irish cinemas, James Cameron'
  • Kodak adds Laser-Pacific to digital imaging stable

    Eastman Kodak has acquiredthe Los Angeles-based Emmy Award-winning post-production company Laser-PacificMedia in a deal worth $30.5m.Kodak will run the companyas a wholly owned subsidiary headed up by Laser Pacific president andco-founder Emory Cohen, who will report to Kodak's Entertainment Imagingproducts and services operation.Laser-Pacific and Cinesite,Kodak's visual-effects and digital restoration and mastering subsidiary, will nowmake up the hub of Kodak's worldwide entert
  • LA's Filmmakers Alliance lauds Anders

    Director Allison Anders, whose films include Things Behind TheSun, Gas Food Lodging and the Hispanic drama Mi Vida Loca, will receive this year's 4th AnnualVision Award from the Filmmakers Alliance.Anders is the first woman to collect the honour that recognisesestablished directors who have maintained a distinct artistic vision throughouttheir career. Previous recipients include Mike Figgis and Terry Gilliam.She will collect her award at X,
  • Le Divorce

    Dir: James Ivory. US/France. 2003. 115mins. Fans of film-makers Merchant Ivory should not fear that they have abandoned the literary classics altogether with their latest film. While Le Divorce is set in today's Paris, with hip young actors like Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts in the lead roles, it feels like an old-style Henry James saga of culture clash, rigid etiquette and subtle intrigue. It is in fact The Portrait Of A Lady in modern dress, with Glenn C
  • Le Divorce

    Dir: James Ivory. US/France. 2003. 115mins.It's no coincidence that Kate Hudson's character is named Isabel Walker, a thinly disguised Isabel Archer, in Merchant Ivory's latest film Le Divorce. Diane Johnson, herself an American who has lived in Paris, wanted to update the Henry James concept of American naifs being influenced by the old world when she wrote her popular 1997 source novel. So even though Le Divorce is set in today's Paris with hip young actors li
  • Locarno and Venice tussle over Russian selection

    Given the close proximity of their dates and the subsequent programming rivalry, there never has been much love lost between the Locarno (Aug 6-16) and Venice (Aug 27 - Sep 6) festivals. It's situation that was highlighted recently by a squabble over the competition programming of a Russian film.The Return, the debut of Andrei Zvyagintsev, was offered to both festivals but was rejected by Critics' Week of Venice. Then, to the delight of the film's agent, Raissa Fom
  • Locarno shines spotlight on film foundations

    Locarno's Film Industry Office is to cast a spotlight on the workings of film foundations such as Rotterdam's Hubert Bals Fund and Montecinema Verita at this year's festival.Held on August 12, the event will examine the potential role for international sales companies or distributors becoming involved at an early stage in the production.Case studies will be presented of four official competition films - Sabiha Sumar's Khamosh Pani, Martin Reitman's Los Guantes Magicos
  • Locarno, Venice tussle over Russian selection

    Given the close proximity of their dates and the subsequent programming rivalry, there never has been much love lost between the Locarno (Aug 6-16) and Venice (Aug 27 - Sep 6) festivals. It's situation that was highlighted recently by a squabble over the competition programming of a Russian film.The Return, the debut of Andrei Zvyagintsev, was offered to both festivals but was rejected by Critics' Week of Venice. Then, to the delight of the film's agent, Raissa Fom
  • Malaysian funding plan runs into controversy

    Malaysian director-screenwriter Adman Salleh's third feature, Paloh, is proving almost as controversial as his last film, Amok, which was once banned in its home country. Paloh is claimed to be the first Malaysian film that touches on the sensitive issue of the inter-racial relationship between the Chinese and the Malay. Set in Malaysia in 1945 during the Japanese occupation, the film is a historical drama with the 14 days of horror as a backdrop.Paloh
  • Marie Trintignant dies after five days in coma

    After nearly a week in a coma, French actress Marie Trintignant died on August 1 at a hospital outside Paris. The 41 year old suffered a brain haemorrhage following a violent argument with her boyfriend Bertrand Cantat, lead singer of the French rock group Noir Desir.Trintignant's injuries were suffered in Lithuania where she was shooting a TV movie directed by her mother, Nadine. Cantat has admitted that the two had a physical argument but has so far denied his acts were intentional.
  • Matrix Reloaded crosses Japanese milestone

    The Matrix Reloaded has crossed the symbolic Y10bn ($83.3m) mark at the Japanese box office following its release on June 7 on 631 screens nationwide. Warner Bros Pictures Japan is expecting the film to take $91.6 (Y11b) during its first run which ends on August 15. Only a handful of films have grossed over Y10bn at the Japanese box office in recent years, led by the mammoth take of Spirited Away with $250m (Y30bn). The other Y10bn plus films are Harry Po
  • Memories Of Murder (Salinui Chueok)

    Dir: Bong Joon-Ho. Korea. 2003. 129mins.Memories Of Murder is one of the most complete and compelling films to have come out of South Korea in recent years. Set up as a detective thriller, the film is by turn mysterious, dramatic, creepy and corroding - and it comes loaded with a chilling twist at the end. Its story, based on real events from the 1980s and 1990s, examines the inefficiencies of a rural police force in getting to grips with a perversely motivated and cal
  • Memories Of Murder (Salinui Chueok)

    Dir: Bong Joon-Ho. Korea. 2003. 129mins.
  • MGM withdraws from Universal bidding process

    And then there were four.After weeks of speculation and strategic manoeuvring that have shed little ifany light on the prospects for Vivendi Universal's entertainment assets,MGM chairman and chief executive officer Alex Yemenidjian said yesterday thatthe company had withdrawn from the sale.The dramatic announcementremoves arguably the most aggressive suitor from the process and leaves JohnMalone's Liberty Media, Viacom, NBC and a consortium led by EdgarBronfman Jr in the running.
  • Miramax acquires six-hour Italian family saga

    Miramax Films has acquired Marco Tullio Giordana'sacclaimed Italian drama La Meglio Gioventu(Best Of Youth) from Rai Tradefor North America (excluding French Canada), the UK, Ireland, Australia and NewZealand.The six-hour film, which won the Un Certain Regard - Altadis Awardat Cannes earlier this year, was originally conceived as a televisionmini-series and began its $1m Italian theatrical run as a two-parter. The surprise sleeper hit of the summer, both parts separately
  • Montreal secures Elephant for North America premiere

    Gus Van Sant's Palme d'or winner Elephant will have its North American premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival. The festival announced a selection of titles from its various programmes including some Official Competition titles and some of those screening Out of Competition, including Italian filmmaker Gabriele Salvatore's Io Non Ho Paura (I'm Not Scared) and Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf's Panj-E Asr, a story about life in post-Taliban Afghanistan
  • Mueller unveils debut Downtown slate

    Marco Mueller's new production company, Downtown Pictures, has unveiled a slate of 12 pictures, including the directorial debut of Italian actress Chiara Caselli and the first European movie by Hong Kong filmmaker Kirk Wong.Downtown's first completed film is Turkish-Cypriot picture Fango (Mud) by Dervish Zaim. A satire about nationalism in the "last silent" European war, Fango was co-produced with Fabrica, and is strongly tipped for a slot in the upcoming Venice International Fi
  • Oz cheaper than Canada for runaway shoots says report

    A Hollywood producer would save significant amounts of money shooting a big budget film in Australia compared to Canada, according to a report published this week.The report, which was produced by Sydney's best-known film accountancy firm for the Australian Government, concludes that a Hollywood producer would save 7.5% if he or she chose Sydney over Vancouver as the location for a US$24m runaway production. Australia's cost advantage rises as the film's budget rises, providing
  • Oz producers bemoan lack of homegrown hits

    An air of despondency is beginning to settle over Australian producers as, one by one, 2003's crop of local films fail to take off at the box office. The two latest Australian releases, Roadshow's comedy Bad Eggs and 20th Century Fox's Danny Deckchair, while only just out of the starting blocks, are highly unlikely to reach A$5m (US$3.2m), the magic figure generally used to gauge local commercial success. Bad Eggs, yet another product of Melbourne's fertile
  • Pawlikowski embarks on Love shoot

    Pawel Pawlikowski, the acclaimed director of Last Resort, has started shooting his new film, My Summer Of Love.Described as a loose adaptation of the book by Helen Cross, it is the story of the friendship and burgeoning sexuality of two teenage girls - one rich, one poor - who form an unlikely alliance one summer in Yorkshire. The film stars Paddy Considine, Emily Blunt and Nathalie Press, and shoots from August 4 to September 12.Produced by Apocalypso Pictu
  • Rings fever hits Japan early

    Japanese distributor Nippon Herald Films has sold a record number of advanced tickets to The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King - even though it does not open in Japan until Spring 2004.13,645 advanced tickets were sold on August 2 in nine key cities for the third part of Peter Jackson's trilogy. This broke the one-day record sales in nine key cities previously set by Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets with 11,220 tickets. The high number of ticket sale
  • Saban submits fresh bid for ProSiebenSat.1

    US billionaire Haim Saban is poised to take over 72% of the voting shares in the German broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 as part of a bidding alliance with five private equity investors.Sources at the insolvent KirchMedia confirmed press reports on August 4 that a revived bid from Saban would be on the table at a meeting of the media group's creditor committee on August 5.The German daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung had reported in its August 4 edition that Saban and the f
  • Saban's German bid accepted

    KirchMedia's creditors have approved US media mogul Haim Saban's offer to buy a controlling stake in Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 media group.The insolvent KirchMedia announced that its creditor committee had voted unanimously to accept the proposal of insolvency administrator Michael Jaffe to sell KirchMedia's shares in ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG to Saban Capital Group. "The conclusion of the agreement will be executed in the next few days", a statement said. Saban will becom
  • Screen International to sponsor EFA prize

    Screen International is once again to sponsor a major prize at the European Film Awards.The Prix Screen International will be presented to the best non-European film at this year's Awards, which will be held in Berlin on Saturday Dec 6.Nominations for all categories will be unveiled in the first week of November.Other individual award sponsors are ARTE, the Fassbinder Foundation, Fipresci and UIP.The major European Film Awards sponsors are Filmförderungsanstal
  • Starz Encore in Fox hunt for recent classics

    US pay TV channel operator Starz Encore has signed a long-termdeal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution that will give StarzSuper Pak and Starz On Demand subscribers access to titles like IndependenceDay and the entire Alien and Die Hard franchises.
  • Stuttgart regional body awards film funding

    New films by Didi Danquart, Michael Hofmann and Simon Aeby are among the projects supported with a total of Euros 3.1m by the Stuttgart-based regional body MFG Baden-Wurttemberg in its latest round of funding.Euros 500,000 production support was granted for Sophieee!!! filmmaker Hofmann's "impossible love story" Eden, which will be produced by the Ludwigsburg-based production houses Avanti Media and Gambit Filmproduktion, while Danquart's Romanian-set Offset - co-
  • Suicide bombers and von Trier edge on to Razor slate

    Former Senator Film executives Gerhard Meixner and Roman Paul have unveiled the production slate of their Berlin-based production outfit Razor Film with a two-track strategy - serving as the German partner on international co-productions and producing features by up-and-coming local talent.Razor's first international co-production will be Palestinian-born Hany Abu-Assad's drama Two Days (aka Paradise Now) about two youths from the Gaza strip who are just 48 hours away fr
  • T3 continues to rule international roost and raises total to $141m

    Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines dominated theinternational markets over the weekend as it maintained its perfect record ofopening number one in every territory and added an estimated $40m for a $141mrunning total.The weekend haul, which includes Japan and Korea where T3is not being released by Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International(CTFDI), came from 5,800 prints and sparked another chain of notable openings.In the UK the sci-fi sequ
  • T3 continues to rule international roost, raises total to $141m

    Terminator 3: Rise Of TheMachines dominated the internationalmarkets over the weekend as it maintained its perfect record of opening numberone in every territory and added an estimated $40m for a $141m running total.The weekend haul, whichincludes Japan and Korea where T3 is not being released by ColumbiaTriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI), came from 5,800 prints andsparked another chain of notable openings.In the UK the sci-fi sequelgrossed a mighty $9
  • T3 looks to storm key European markets

    Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines will again be the one to watch this weekend as openings in the key UK, Germany and Spain markets look set to push the sci-fi epic past $100m.Directed by Jonathan Mostow, the third instalment in the hit series has grossed $92m at the international box office to date, $48m of which comes from Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) markets.CTFDI will open T3 on approximately 1,000 prints in the UK on Aug 1, where it
  • The Stewardess (Fai Sheung Hung Tse)

    Dir: Sam Leong Tak. Hong Kong. 2002. 120mins.The Stewardess had a dismal theatrical outing in Hong Kong last year when its gross failed to break four figures. But an appearance in competition at the PiFan fantasy festival in Seoul last month could set this charmer of a black comedy back on course towards international recognition. The picture has an appeal that falls between Japanese horror flicks, typified by Miike Takashi's The Audition, and the Pang brothers
  • Tomb Raider 2 tops Hong Kong box office

    Paramount's Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life received a strong outing in its firstmajor international territory, Hong Kong, over the weekend.The action adventure claimed $826,168 (HK$6.4m) from 34 locationsover the four-day weekend (July 31-August 3), resulting in a stellar average of$24,299 per venue and a chart topping position.Cradle Of Life gave distributor UIP, which handles the film in most internationalterritories (notable exceptions being Japan, G
  • Tornatore targets Kidman for Leningrad

    Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore and Medusa vice-president Giampaolo Letta will be flying out to New York next week to talk to Nicole Kidman about joining the cast of the Oscar-winning director's upcoming English language movie, Leningrad.While Rome-based Medusa does not expect to sign a contract next week, company spokesman Claudio Trionfera confirmed that Kidman had recently expressed a strong interest in working with Tornatore and has agreed to meet the Cinema Paradiso
  • Toronto mega-studio plans are back on track

    Toronto's on-again, off-again bid to build astate-of-the-art purpose-built studio on its disused port area is back on track.Three months after the last Portlands deal fell apart,the city's corporate proxy, Toronto Economic Development Corp. (TEDCO), hasannounced a new Request for Expressions of Interest (RFI) toward theconstruction of a facility up to 385,000 sq. ft. on 30 acres of land in thecity's south-eastern quadrant. Additionally, TEDCO confirmed that the competing develop
  • Trans-Pacific Media ventures into production with five horror remakes

    International distributionconsultancy Trans-Pacific Media is making its first foray into production,teaming with Sick-O-Scope Motion Picture and Novelty Manufacturing Company toremake five horror films by cult director Herschell Gordon Lewis.The companies acquired theremake rights from Jimmy Maslon, who holds rights to most of the Lewis library,and say every project will be budgeted at under $1m.First up is The Wizard OfGore (1971), which is due to go intoproduction later
  • Two Towers breaks Swiss outdoor record

    New Line's The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers has achieved the unique distinction ofbecoming the only film playing solely in open air theatres to break into theSwiss top five.The second part of Peter Jackson's trilogy adaptation grossed$63,897 (SFR 87,156) on eight screens, climbing 141% and rising from 16th place to fourth inits 33rd week on release.It averaged $7,987 - the highest in the top 20 - andraised its Swiss running total to $9.5m.The film began playin
  • UK's Optimum acquires Thousand Months, Since Otar Left

    Optimum Releasing have acquired UK rights to A Thousand Months and Since Otar Left from Fortissimo and Celluloid Dreams respectively. Faouzi Bensaidi's A Thousand Months, selected for Un Certain Regard at this year's Cannes Film Festival, tells the story of Amina and her son Mehdi who live in the heart of the Atlas Mountains. Julie Bertucelli's Since Otar Left won the Critics Week Grand Prize at this year's Cannes. It tells the story of a lie for love
  • Ullmann woos Blanchett for star-studded Ibsen adaptation

    Norway's great film diva, the 64 year-oldactress-turned-filmmaker Liv Ullmann, is in talks with a bevy of top Hollywoodacting talents, including Cate Blanchett, Kevin Spacey and John Cusack, with aview to casting them in yet another big screen version of A Doll's House, her countryman Henrik Ibsen's classic dissection ofmarriage.Dinamo Story, the Norwegian production outfit behind theproject - which has yet to be financed - did not wish to com
  • Venice: full competition line-up

    Venezia 60 - In CompetitionBuongiorno, Notte dir Marco Bellocchio,Segreti Di Stato, dir Paolo Benvenuti,Le Cerf-Volant, dir Randa Chahal Sabbag, Raja, dir Jacques Doillon,Twentynine Palms, dir Bruno Dumont,Alila, dir Amos Gitai, 21 Grams, dir Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Imagining Argentina, dir Christopher Hampton, A Good Lawyer's Wife (Baram-Nan Gajok), dir Im Sangsoo,
  • Venice's last-minute Lido line-up

    Venice has unveiled its competition line-up for the festival's 60th edition (Aug 27-Sep 6), including widely anticipated films from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Michael Winterbottom, Takeshi Kitano, Christopher Hampton and Bruno Dumont - although most of the hotly awaited US titles will screen out of competition"It was a particularly difficult year," said de Hadeln, "because we had to view around 1,600 titles and 400 films. Some of the most important titles were sent to us after July 1
  • Veronica Guerin gains ground in Ireland

    Joel Schumacher's Veronica Guerin has crossed the Euros 2m mark in Ireland for distributor Buena Vista International.Ireland marks the first phase of BVI's international roll out for the film, which goes on to launch in the UK this weekend. Helped by poor weather, Veronica Guerin took an extraordinary Euros 99,000 from 63 prints in Ireland on Monday night, pushing its take to Euros 2,061, 310. The story of a journalist killed by the drug dealers she exposed
  • Warner Bros' Engagement stirs French debate

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet's next film, A Very Long Engagement, is stirring up controversy in France even before the first images have been shot. The film is to be produced by a new outfit, 2003 Productions, which was set up and is run by Warner Bros France president Francis Boespflug and is 32% owned by Warner's along with other French partners.Debate is raging in the local industry over whether or not the company qualifies under French regulations as a French company. This woul
  • Warner Bros France to distribute Fechner's L'Incruste

    A new French production company, Zig Zag Productions, has joined up with veteran producer Christian Fechner for the upcoming L'Incruste which Warner Bros will distribute in April 2004.According to French weekly trade Le Film Francais, former agent Jean-Michel Stazzu, who created Zig Zag, has been developing L'Incruste over the past two years and the film is currently shooting.The comedy stars Frederich Diefenthal of Taxi fame, comedian Titoff and Zoe Fel
  • Warner Bros strikes Russian TV output deal

    Warner Brothers International Television Distribution has concluded a landmark deal with three Russian television networks which have agreed to the joint purchase of a package of the studio's top films. The deal was concluded by Russian channels NTV, CTC and Russia (RTR) who will take turns airing the package which includes the Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings franchises and other top recent releases. The package also includes about 20 B-movies and a number of TV series from the Warn
  • Young Adam's Mackenzie starts Asylum shoot

    Young Adam director David Mackenzie has started shooting his new film, Asylum, which co-stars Ian McKellen and Natasha Richardson.Based on a novel by David McGrath, Asylum was scripted by Patrick Marber and is set in a mental hospital for criminals. The picture focuses on a woman (Richardson) who moves with her husband to an asylum where he will work. McKellen plays the role of a psychiatrist.Paramount Classics has North American rights to the film, which is
  • Zipser takes investment role at Australia's FFC

    Deborah Zipser is returning to Australia from LA to become an investment manager in the Sydney headquarters of the Film Finance Corporation (FFC).For the last four years she has worked as a lawyer at The Motion Picture Bond Company, most recently as head of business and legal affairs. She joins the FFC at a time when the new chief executive, Brian Rosen, is intent on using Australian taxpayers' money to leverage other finance into Australian films and co-productions. The