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4 February 2001

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    IN COMPETITIONBamboozled (US)Dir: Spike LeeLee's scathing satire on the portrayal of racial stereotypes on TV stars Damon Wayans, Savion Glover, and Jada Pinkett-Smith.Int'l sales: New Line International,(1) 310 967 6700 Beijing Bicycles (Ch)Dir: Wang Xiao-shuaiThe latest film by "sixth generation" Chinese film-maker Wang Xiao-Shuai whose So Close To Paradise was screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 1999 and won praise fo
  • Alliance Atlantis confirms domestic Maelstrom sale

    Alliance Atlantis Communications has confirmed that Arrow Features has acquired US rights to Denis Villeneuve's Maelstrom, which world premiered at the Montreal Film Festival last year and screened last week at the Sundance Film Festival.The deal was announced by Patrice Theroux, president of Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution, and Dennis Friedland, president of Arrow Features.Produced by Roger Frappier and Luc Vandal, Maelstrom is the story of a 25 ye
  • Azzurro takes top honours at Swiss Film Awards

    Denis Rabaglia's Azzurro was named Best Feature Film at this year's Swiss Film Awards, held during the Solothurn Film Days (Jan 23-28), against competition from Markus Imboden's Komiker - which left empty-handed despite being nominated in three categories - Silvio Soldini's Bread And Tulips, Xavier Koller's Gripsholm and Clemens Klopfenstein's WerAngstWolf.The Best Actor award went to Bruno Ganz for his role as the waiter Fernando in Bread And Tuli
  • Battle Royale, Jalla! stir up Rotterdam

    Japanese director Fukasaku Kinji's Battle Royale, Swedish debutant filmmaker Josef Fares' comedy Jalla! Jalla! and Juan Pablo Rebella's dry-humoured slacker drama 25 Watts from Uruguay are among the buzz films on festival guests' lips at the 30th Rotterdam International Film Festival this week."I received phone calls from Sundance from people asking if I could reserve tickets for them to Battle Royale," CineMart coordinator Ido Abram noted of Kinji's hard-h
  • BBC Films ups Scoffield, appoints Bennette

    The UK's BBC Films has revamped its production team, promoting Tracey Scoffield to executive producer and appointing Rachel Bennette as a producer.Scoffield, previously head of development, will executive produce projects as well as retain overall responsibility for BBC Films' development slate. Bennette was previously development executive at Uberto Pasolini's production company Redwave Films.The BBC's film operation under David Thompson moved to Mortimer Street offices in cent
  • Bean's The Believer takes top prize at Sundance

    Signalling a return to its roots as a committed showcase for edgy, provocative filmmaking, the Sundance Film Festival awarded its top dramatic prize to Henry Bean's incendiary directorial debut The Believer.Starring Ryan Gosling in a career-making role as a tormented Jewish religious student who joins a militant neo-Nazi clan, The Believer drew its controversial inspiration from a true story and was financed by Fireworks Pictures.US theatrical distribution for this
  • Beckett on Film project rolls out in Dublin

    Top directors including Anthony Minghella, Atom Egoyan and David Mamet are expected to attend the ambitious "Beckett on Film" project, a week-long series of screenings of filmed versions of Samuel Beckett's 19 plays, which kicks off at the Irish Film Centre in Dublin today.Some of the films have already been given festival screenings at Cannes, Toronto, Venice, New York, Cork and Belfast, but the coming week's repertory is the world premiere of the completed project.Produced by
  • Berlin names competition jury

    Italian horror king Dario Argento, veteran Brazilian director Hector Babenco and UK actress Jacqueline Bisset will be amongst the international jury members for the 51st Berlin International Film Festival. Also on the panel are German film-maker Fatih Akin, French actress Dominique Blanc and former San Sebastian International Film Festival chief Diego Galan. The Far East is represented by Kyoko Hirano, head of New York's Japan Society Film Center, and Chinese director Xie Fei. B
  • Billy Elliot, Gladiator, Chocolat lead SAG noms

    The nominations were announced yesterday for the 7th annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, set to take place on March 11 in Los Angeles. The nominees were chosen by 4,200 randomly selected SAG members and are dubbed the only acting awards voted on entirely by the actors' peers.In the five film categories, key nominees were Almost Famous, Billy Elliot, Chocolat, The Contender and Gladiator which all received three nominations.The list of fi
  • BV International acquires Vietnamese Stork

    Norwegian sales company BV International Pictures has picked up international rights to Jonathan Foo and Nguyen Phan Quang Bing's Song Of The Stork, described as the first Vietnam war film to be shot on location in Vietnam by an international crew. Inspired by true stories, Song Of The Stork depicts the conflict through the fates of five different characters from the beginning of the war until the present day. Also billed as the first Singapore-Vietnamese joint eff
  • Chan's biggest opener in four years is no accident

    Golden Harvest allowed no mishaps with the release of Jackie Chan's latest title, The Accidental Spy. Teddy Chan's US$25m action-comedy, which opened over the highly competitive Chinese New Year period on 49 screens, has proved Chan's biggest opener in four years, taking US$1.78m in its first week on release. January has proved successful for Chan in the past. In 1997 Mr Nice Guy, the last Chan film to gross more than Spy in its opening week, pulled in $2,073,601 from 48
  • Christina Ricci joins FilmFour's Miranda

    Christina Ricci is to star opposite UK actor John Simm in the provisionally-titled UK romantic comedy Miranda.The $5.9m (£4m) production is being financed by the UK's FilmFour, which is handling international sales. To be directed by Marc Munden from a script by Rob Young, the project marks the feature debut of TV production outfit Feelgood Fiction.Ricci, whose recent credits include Sleepy Hollow and The Man Who Cried, also with a UK production outfit, Work
  • Cinema Novo launches production fund

    Bruges' Cinema Novo Film Festival, which focuses on films from Africa, Asia and Latin America, has announced initial steps towards its long-awaited production fund for feature films from the southern hemisphere.On the occasion of Bruges being a "European Capital 2002", Cinema Novo will award two post-production grants - each worth Euros12,000 - to feature-length fiction films for post-production and completion in 2002. The deadline for submitting projects is March 31, 2001.Based
  • CinemaxX embarks on $9m cost-cutting programme

    The board of German exhibitor CinemaxX has agreed to a "massive programme of reducing costs" which should lead to a $9.6m (DM20m) improvement in its results. The company also said that it now plans to focus on the German market, and will only pursue expansion abroad "in co-operation with a strategic partner".Hanno Huth, president of producer-distributor Senator Entertainment, which acquired more than 25% of CinemaxX last year, was recently quoted in business weekly Focus Mone
  • Cool And Crazy bags top award at Goteborg

    Knut Erik Jensen's feature-length documentary Cool And Crazy (Heftig Og Begeistret) picked up the Nordic film award at Scandinavia's largest film event, the Goteborg Film Festival in Sweden, which wrapped on Saturday night.The film had its successful world premiere at the Tromso International Film Festival in Norway, but director Jensen, producers Jan-Erik Gammleng (Barentsfilm) and Tom Remlov (Norsk Film), as well as DoP Svein Krovel, were all present in Goteborg to pick up the
  • Corman, Schwarzenegger, Zellweger get AFMA Honours

    The American Film Marketing Association (AFMA) is to launch its own awards ceremony at this month's American Film Market (AFM), giving out a series of "AFMA Honors" to celebrate the talent integral to independent film-making.The first awards event will take place on the beach near the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, where the AFM is held, on the evening of Feb 22.Those to be bestowed with the inaugural AFMA Honors include Arnold Schwarzenegger who will be named Worldwide Box O
  • Davis quits as CEO of Terra Lycos

    Bob Davis, founder of internet giant Lycos, will step down as CEO of Terra Lycos in a move widely depicted as the result of a power struggle with Terra chief Joaquim Agut.Davis will continue as non-executive vice president to the administrative board of Terra Lycos, the merged firm which resulted when Lycos was bought out last year for $12.5bn by Spanish internet company Terra, a subsidiary of telecoms conglom Telefonica.Lycos' Ted Philip has also stepped down from his post as c
  • Dead Babies

    Dir: William Marsh. UK. 2000. 105mins.Successful as they may be in the literary world, Martin Amis' books have proved resistant to cinema adaptation, the sole previous attempt being the anodyne and poorly-received 1989 version of The Rachel Papers. Dead Babies, Amis' second novel, written in 1974, has been a long time in coming to the screen: the rights were acquired more than 10 years ago by William Marsh, a US director, based in the UK, who adapted it initially as a
  • DeLaurentiis, Lehman, Cardiff get Oscar honours

    Octagenarian Dino De Laurentiis will be presented with the Irving G Thalberg Memorial Award while Ernest Lehman and Jack Cardiff will receive honorary Oscars at this year's Academy Awards ceremony on March 25.De Laurentiis, whose films range from La Strada and Nights Of Cabiria in Italy to Serpico, Death Wish, Blue Velvet and the upcoming Hannibal, gets the Thalberg, an award given to "creative producers whose bodies of work reflect a consiste
  • Fake UK doc gets Colombian treatment

    Colombian production outfit Tucan Productions is developing a feature inspired by the case of UK broadcaster Carlton Television's fake 1996 documentary The Connection, which claimed to have uncovered a new heroin route from Colombia to British school playgrounds.The Deal (El Trato) is to be directed by Colombian filmmaker Francisco Norden, who had his first feature A Man Of Principle (Condores No Entierran Todos Los Dias) in Cannes' Un Certain Regard in 1984. The p
  • FFA supports Wortmann, Egger projects

    New features by Soenke Wortmann, Urs Egger and Joseph Orr are among the projects awarded almost $2.4m (DM5m) production support by the Berlin-based German Federal Film Board (FFA) in its latest round of funding.Wortmann's Cologne-based production company Little Shark Entertainment received $481,000 (DM1m) for his football film about the German team's victory at the 1954 World Cup - Das Wunder Von Bern. Hanno Huth's Senator Film will co-produce the project as part of its two-year
  • Film Council pledges to support distribution

    UK film body the Film Council has revealed that it plans to fund distribution through its National Lottery Premiere Fund.The $14.6m (£10m) annual fund, launched in October to back production on mainstream pictures, will use a range of methods including sharing p&a costs with distributors or footing the cost of a minimum guarantee and taking UK rights. Premiere Fund chief Robert Jones will decide which of its projects merit distribution support on a case-by-case basis, noting that only
  • Fox Searchlight, Key Films dive into Deep End

    Fox Seachlight has splashed out $4m for the distributionrights to The Deep End in all available worldwideterritories except Italy, where Key Films looks set to release the film aftertabling a pre-emptive bid during this year's Sundance Film Festival. Cited by this jury for its cinematography, The Deep End stirred up considerable buying interest in Park Cityafter arriving at the festival with the French rights already pre-bought byARP. The stylish psycho-thriller stars Bri
  • Gazprom claims victory in battle for NTV

    Representatives of Vladimir Gusinsky's embattled Media Most group have been barred from exercising voting rights attached to a disputed 19% stake in the group's flagship station NTV, leading gas giant Gazprom to claim victory in its long-running battle to take control of the broadcaster.Gazprom, which already owns 46% of NTV, claims it is entitled to the additional 19% because it is held as collateral against a $261m loan that Media Most has now defaulted on. If the court hands over th
  • Gladiator leads nominations for revamped Baftas

    Ridley Scott's Gladiator leads the race for the 2001 film awards of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which are lent extra significance this year with a pre-Oscar date on February 25.Gladiator, which has grossed $444.7m worldwide, racked up 15 nominations, including film, original screenplay, cinematography, sound and the achievement in special visual effects categories. Oliver Reed, who died during the film's production, has also received a nomination in t
  • Grupo Boca adds thriller to expanding slate

    Spanish production outfit Grupo Boca is seeking an Italian co-production partner on forthcoming thriller They're Watching Us (Nos Miran), to be directed by first-time feature director Norberto Lopez, from a script by Jorge Guerricaechevarria (Live Flesh, Common Wealth co-writer).The film, which is scheduled to start shooting next week, will star Carmelo Gomez, Iciar Bollain, Carolina Peterson and Massimo Ghini.Nos Miran kicks off Boca's 2001 slate, wh
  • Harry, Le Gout Des Autres lead race for Cesars

    Two sleeper hits - Harry, He's Here To Help (Harry, Un Ami Qui Vous Veux Du Bien) and Le Gout Des Autres - dominated the nominations for this year's Cesar awards, with nine nods apiece.Departing from its taste for high-profile and classic dramas by established auteurs, the French film industry has singled out trendier, smaller and often genre titles for this year's Cesar, the French equivalent of the Academy Awards, which are to be announced on February 24.Thriller
  • Hollywood Partners champions Hill's Undisputed

    Hollywood Partners (HP), the Munich-based private film fund, has committed to co-financing and co-producing Walter Hill's Undisputed, starring Wesley Snipes, Ving Rhames and Peter Falk, in return for all foreign rights and certain income rights in the US and Canada.The film, which began shooting at a maximum security prison just outside Las Vegas two weeks ago, is being co-produced with Avi Lerner and Danny Dimbort's Nu Image/Millennium Films alongside Brad Krevoy's MPCA. Nu Ima
  • Hundred Steps clinches Brussels' Golden Iris

    Marco Tullio Giordana's The Hundred Steps (I Cento Passi) was awarded top honours at the 28th Brussels International Film Festival, which closed Saturday night. The film, a true story of a young Sicilian militant who mounts a rebellion against the reigning mafia don, won the Golden Iris for Best Film while screenwriters Tullio Giordana, Claudio Fava and Monica Zapelli won the Silver Iris for Best Screenplay. The Special Jury Prize went to Nana Djordjadze's German-Georgian
  • Intimacy

    Screened at Sundance (Premieres). Dir: Patrice Chereau. UK. 2001. 119mins.Based on short stories by famed UK writer Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy, Patrice Chereau's first English-speaking feature, is a stunningly-made film that explores the mysteries of sexual desire in a dauntless way. This audacious treatment, accompanied by graphic portrayal of sex (showing male and female frontal nudity), is likely to divide critics and be slapped in the US with an NC-17 rating. However, as a
  • Irish cinema admissions up 18% in 2000

    Cinema admissions in the Republic of Ireland leapt by 18% to 14.89 million in 2000, compared to 12.45 million in 1999 - the largest year-on-year increase on record - according to figures from Carlton Screen Advertising.The month of February, 2000 showed a massive 68% increase over the previous year to 1.66 million, a figure bolstered by the release of a number of high-performing titles (see table below) and the presence of new cinema sites in the market. The months of June, October and
  • Italy's Buskin Film snaps up Berlin trio

    Fledgling Italian sales outfit Buskin Film has picked up worldwide rights to three films which are set to screen at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival: Peter Del Monte's Against The Wind (Controvento), Luciano Emmer's A Long, Long, Long Night Of Love and Rosalia Polizzi's Reconciled.Against The Wind, produced by Italy's Poetiche Cinematografiche, is about two sisters, played by Valeria Golino and Margherita Buy, who also stars in Berlin competition title I
  • Japanese DVD sales more than double

    According to figures released by the Japan Video Association, DVD video sales in Japan more than doubled in 2000, to $900.7m (Y104,488m) on 30,261,000 units, accounting for 37.9% of all video software sales. Meanwhile, sales of video cassettes fell 22.5% to $1,369.9m (Y158,797m) on 33,752,000 units, for a 57.6% share. The number of new DVD video titles also soared, to 4,889, for a 219.3% year-on gain, while the number of video cassette releases held steady at 5,929.In the Januar
  • Jodie Foster drops out as Cannes jury president

    Actress Jodie Foster has been forced to drop out as president of this year's Cannes Film Festival jury after being selected as a last-minute replacement for the injured Nicole Kidman in the lead role of David Fincher's The Panic Room.The impending threat of a summer strike, should either the writers or actors guilds now fail to agree new employment contracts with the Hollywood studios, meant that Columbia Pictures could ill afford to delay further shooting of Fincher's film in o
  • KC Medien boards third Mandalay project

    German film investment fund KC Medien has confirmed Reginald Hudlin's latest feature Servicing Sara, starring Liz Hurley, Matthew Perry and Bruce Campbell, as the third Mandalay Pictures project that it will co-finance.In the last year, KC Medien has put up part of the financing for Mandalay's production of Jean-Jacques Annaud's Enemy At The Gates, the opening film at this year's Berlin Film Festival, and Frank Oz's Beyond Borders, which is currently on hold due to
  • Kevin Williams picks up Cordoba's debut

    Madrid-based sales outfit Kevin Williams Associates (KWA) has picked up world rights on Juan Vicente Cordoba's feature film directorial debut, What You Never Knew (Aunque Tu No Lo Sepas).The film, a co-production between Samarkanda and Enrique Cerezo PC, premiered at last year's San Sebastian International Film Festival.What You Never Knew stars Gary Piquer and Silvia Munt as neighbours whose frustrated teenage romance has left them still pining for each other as a
  • Kinowelt bags $78m by offloading Alliance shares

    German major Kinowelt has sold half of its shares in Canada's Alliance Atlantis Communications (AAC), but says that the strategic alliance between the two groups will continue.After the German stock market closed yesterday (Tuesday) Kinowelt announced that it had sold 6.3 million class B shares, its entire holding of the non-voting stock. The move, brokered by Merrill Lynch at C$18.75, compared with Monday night's closing price of C$20.50, brings Kinowelt some US$78m (DM166m) of cash.
  • Kirch, Cologne Gemini buy into Prima Idee

    One of Germany's leading independent producers, the Cologne Gemini Group, and Kirch Media's new subsidiary, Kirch Media Entertainment, have taken stakes in Berlin-based production outfit Prima Idee which specialises in TV entertainment format ideas and concepts. In addition to taking a 30% stake in Prima Idee, Kirch Media Entertainment, a joint venture between Kirch Media and ex-SAT1 chief Fred Kogel, has appointed former Endemol Entertainment director of programmes Axel Beyer as the
  • Maelstrom sweeps the board at Canada's Genies

    Denis Villeneuve's Maelstrom won five prizes at Canada's Genie awards on Monday night, including best picture, best director, best screenplay (Villeneuve) and best actress for its star Marie-Josee Croze. The film's cinematographer, Andre Turpin, was the winner in his category. The victory was another feather in the cap of leading Quebecois producer Roger Frappier, who shared the producer credit with Max Film colleague Luc Vandal. Maelstrom, which was backed by Alliance At
  • Menemsha picks up Sundance winner

    Los Angeles-based international sales company Menemsha Entertainment has picked up worldwide rights to Brazilian romantic comedy Possible Loves (Amores Possiveis), directed by Sandra Werneck, which won the Latin American Jury Prize at this year's Sundance.20th Century Fox holds the Latin American rights to the film which is represented by Brazilian distributor Lumiere EBA. According to Menemsha's Neil Friedman, he plans to take the feature to Berlin and Cannes this year.
  • Metrodome shares slide to 12-month low

    The UK's Metrodome Group saw its shares hit a 12-month low on Tuesday after posting a loss of $908,000 for the six months ended 30 September 2000.The media group blamed higher than expected costs at direct marketing division Home Entertainment. The group's share price slumped to $0.53 on Tuesday, down 25% in a week. Shares have fallen steadily in recent months from a 12-month high of $2.40 early last year. The group's market capitalisation is now $4.4m compared to a record $15.6m - al
  • Montreal's Telescene saved by CineGroupe

    Canadian film and television producer Telescene Film Group has been pulled back from the brink of bankruptcy (ScreenDaily, December 4), thanks to a joint venture with another Montreal-based industry player, animation house Cinegroupe Corp. Under the terms of the arrangement, CineGroupe will initially control 80% of the new company with Telescene holding 20%. CineGroupe will fund the venture for the first two years.The new company, which will be based in Montreal with offi
  • Oscar-winner Zanetti lines up directing debut

    Art director Eugenio Zanetti, who won an Oscar in 1996 for Michael Hoffman's Restoration, is set to make his theatrical directing debut with The Burning Tree, which has Anthony Quinn attached to play one of the leads.Los Angeles-based production company Esparza-Katz (Selena) will co-produce the project with Astrolabio of Spain and Argentine producers Cuatro Cabezas and Oscar Kramer. Heading the cast of Argentine actors are Norma Leandro (The Official Story,
  • Pellet scoops four awards at Spain's Goyas

    Actor-turned-director Achero Manas' debut feature film, Pellet (El Bola), was the surprise grand winner at the 15th edition of Spain's top Goya Awards on Saturday night.A startlingly realistic tale of child abuse and one of the first titles out of new production house Tesela Producciones, Pellet won four out of five nominations including best film, best new director, best original script and best new actor (the young Juan Jose Ballesta).Following in the footsteps o
  • Serbia names Branislav Lecic as culture minister

    Branislav Lecic, one of Yugoslavia's most popular stage, film and TV actors, has been appointed minister of culture by Serbia's new democratic government.Former culture minister, Zeljko Simic, a tough dogmatic Marxist, had to resign last October along with the whole pro-Milosevic regime. Simic didn't pay much attention to the film industry and the Serbian film lobby expects more action from Lecic. However, in his first press conference, Lecic didn't mention cinema and said that
  • Showcase buys Dumped and Code Conspiracy

    LA-based independent producer/distributor Showcase Entertainment has picked up international sales rights to two new pictures - romantic comedy Dumped and high-tech thriller The Code Conspiracy.Dumped, which is written and directed by former child actor Oliver Robbins (one of the children in Poltergeist), stars Dana Barron as a young woman who embarks on a mission to snare her long-time boyfriend (Seth Peterson). Hollywood Video has already acquired the dom
  • Sky Global float dependent on merger talks

    News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch said that he may not press ahead with the proposed flotation of his satellite operations under the Sky Global Networks banner.Murdoch said the need for a flotation would be determined by News Corp's ongoing talks to acquire DirecTV from Hughes Electronics and separate talks to sell the Fox Family Entertainment channel, which is jointly owned with Saban Entertainment."We have to conclude these conversations with these American satellite broadcasters
  • Soros emerges as latest NTV champion

    Financier George Soros is poised to join the international consortium of investors offering to buy a stake in Russian broadcaster NTV, part-owned by Vladimir Gusinsky's embattled Media Most Group.Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros said he had held talks with Jean Lemierre, president of the European Bank For Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), about joining the group of investors which also includes CNN founder Ted Turner. The EBRD is believed to be committed to inv
  • StudioCanal pays a visit to God's Town

    France's StudioCanal is to co-finance the next feature from Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles, God's Town (Cidade De Deus), which is scheduled to start shooting on location in Rio de Janeiro in June.The film will be produced by Sao Paulo-based O2 Filmes, which is co-owned by Meirelles and Andrea Barata Ribeiro, and co-produced by Walter Salles' Videofilmes with Brazilian media giant Globo as co-financier. StudioCanal's specialist division Wild Bunch will handle intern
  • StudioCanal starts process to up share of Expand

    France's StudioCanal has started a procedure to exercise its right to take a controlling stake in leading French television production and distribution group, Expand.The call right to the 20.4% stake, held by Finexpand, will give StudioCanal a controlling 53.7% stake in the company, formed in February 2000 by the merger of Expand and StudioCanal's TV production and distribution division, Ellipse Programmes.The right has to be exercised before March 31. However, at the end of the
  • StudioCanal's German arm boards second project

    The German production arm of France's StudioCanal, StudioCanal Produktion, is to co-produce Robert Schwentke's directorial debut Tattoo, it's second project following Edward Berger's love story Frau 2 Sucht Happy End.StudioCanal's German theatrical arm, Tobis StudioCanal (TSC), has set an autumn 2001 release for the thriller, which has been shooting in Cologne since January 28. Munich-based Lounge Entertainment is producing. The story centres on a young detective, played
  • Sundance/NHK Filmmakers Awards announced

    The winners of the 2001 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award were announced at the weekend at the close of the Sundance Film Festival. The award was created to honour and support emerging film-makers with their next screenplays - one each from the US, Europe, Latin America and Japan.The winning filmmakers and their projects are The Mudge Boy by Michael Burke from the US, Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven by Daniel Burman from Latin America, Halima's Paradise
  • Sundance: ARP gets European rights to Haiku Tunnel

    French independent ARP concluded its buying streak at the Sundance Film Festival, taking continental European rights to American Spectrum entry Haiku Tunnel. ARP had already bought French-speaking rights to David Siegel and Scott McGehee's The Deep End and Joel Hopkins' Jump Tomorrow, in both instances before the US domestic buyers Fox Searchlight and IFC Films came on board.Haiku Tunnel is a social comedy directed by first time film-makers Jacob an
  • Sundance: Artisan buys US on Sundance rape docu

    Artisan Entertainment, which has picked up a film every year at Sundance for the last three years, made it four on Friday, closing a deal to acquire North American rights to the documentary Raw Deal: A Question Of Consent, which is playing in the festival's American Spectrum section.The film examines the events surrounding a rape charge filed against college student Michael Yahraus in Feb 1999 by exotic dancer Lisa Gier King hired by a fraternity on the University of Florida ca
  • Svankmajer to be awarded Freedom Prize

    Veteran Czech filmmaker-artist Jan Svankmajer is to be presented with the Andrzej Wajda/Philip Morris Freedom Prize by Polish director Wajda at a special ceremony in Berlin's Academy of Arts on February 11.The presentation will take place as part of the Freedom Film Showcase of films from Central and Eastern Europe to be held simultaneously with the Berlin Film Festival.Established by the American Cinema Foundation, the prize is awarded to "a mid-career Eastern or Central Europe
  • Sweden set to revise ratings system

    Sweden's culture minister Marita Ulvskog has announced that a new film ratings system could be introduced in Sweden, based on a report which she recently commissioned from the Swedish Council on Media Violence.Sweden's current censorship debate started at the end of last year with the release of teen horror spoof Scary Movie. The State Board of Film Classification, Statens Biografbyra, initially granted the film a 15 certificate, but when distributor Columbia TriStar appealed th
  • Sweden's NonStop takes on Flickering Lights

    Swedish sales agent NonStop Sales, launched last year at Cannes, has picked up a raft of hot Nordic titles headed by Danish feature Flickering Lights which has racked up admissions of 380,000 at the local box office.Flickering Lights, produced by Tivi Magnusson and Kim Magnusson's M&M Productions, features an all-star cast of Denmark's best acting talents including Soren Pilmark (The Kingdom), Ulrich Thomsen (The Zookeeper), Mads Mikkelsen (Bleeder),
  • TF1 takes 100% control of Eurosport

    Leading French broadcaster TF1 - which recently reported a 57.8% jump in its net revenues for 2000 - has acquired Canal Plus' and Havas Images' stake in the Eurosport group, which it now owns 100%.Eurosport, which reaches 92 million households and is available in 54 countries and 17 different languages worldwide, has been profitable since 1996 and reported revenues of Euros242m in 2000.The move was prompted by the Vivendi-Seagram-Canal Plus merger. TF1, which had already acquire
  • The Believer

    Screened at Sundance (Dramatic Competition). Dir: Henry Bean. US. 2001. 99 mins.The most provocative feature in competition at this year's Sundance Film Festival was The Believer, Henry Bean's mesmerising drama about neo-fascism in America, this time propagated by a Jewish youngster who rebels against his own tradition. Loosely based on the true tale of Daniel Burros, a Nazi who killed himself when the New York Times disclosed his Jewish origins, the film offers a stim
  • The Invisible Circus

    Screened at Sundance (Premieres). Dir: Adam Brooks. US. 2001. 98mins.Adam Brooks' The Invisible Circus is a total miss, both as a potentially intriguing look into the tumultuous politics of the 1960s and 1970s, and as a coming of age of a young girl obsessed by the mysterious death of her sister. The film's strongest marketing hook is Cameron Diaz, who plays the role of the older sister, but her performance (which is pallid) is contained within a lame movie, that despite exot
  • The Wedding Planner

    Dir: Adam Shankman. US. 2001. 100 mins.The Wedding Planner is an exceptionally lame romantic comedy only partially redeemed by a charismatic turn from lead actress Jennifer Lopez. Lopez rises above the sub-standard material and shows great promise as a romantic comedy star. The film opened with a respectable $13.5m over Superbowl weekend, no doubt boosted by Lopez' constant MTV exposure, and the fact that it was the only romantic comedy on release. Her name will also pay divi
  • Traffic speeds up at UK box office

    Steven Soderbergh's critically-lauded Traffic opened on a high this weekend to take second position at the UK box office. The Entertainment release, which features celebrity couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, as well as Golden Globe winner Benicio Del Toro, scored an impressive three-day gross of $1,813,539 (£1,244,088) for a site average of $7,494. This gave Traffic the highest site average of the weekend beating both Cast Away and Crouching Tiger, Hidde
  • Twenty Twenty Vision sets sights on Bach project

    Young Berlin-based production outfit Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion, which has its debut feature Filippos Tsitos' My Sweet Home in competition at Berlin next week, has lined up three further productions including a biopic of composer Johann Sebastian Bach set to star Vadim Glowna (No Place To Go).Dominique Rivaz will direct the project, Bach In Potsdam, which is partly based on a true story about an encounter between the composer and Frederick the Great in Pot
  • Uruguay's 25 Watts lights up Rotterdam

    Uruguayan directors Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll's 25 Watts, about a group of bored teenagers in Montevideo, clinched one of the three VPRO Tiger Awards, along with the Movie Zone Award, at this year's Rotterdam International Film Festival.The other two Tiger Award winners, who each receive prizes worth Euro10,000, guaranteed theatrical distribution in the Netherlands and an airing on Dutch television, were German director Maria Speth's The Days Between (In Den Tag Hine
  • Usborne to head regional at UK's New Cinema Fund

    UK film superbody the Film Council has appointed independent producer Alex Usborne to oversee regional funding through its low-budget and edgy production fund, the New Cinema Fund.Usborne is to encourage film-makers across the UK to access the fund, which is worth $7.4m (£5m) a year. He previously ran Sheffield-based production company Picture Palace North and has credits including The Acid House and Large."I grew up in Sheffield and I am intensely passionate about
  • Valentine can't edge out Wedding Planner from No 1

    Columbia Pictures' The Wedding Planner - sold internationally by Intermedia - held on to the number one slot at the North American box office over the weekend, taking in an estimated $11m to bring its ten day total to $28.2m. The romantic comedy beat out competition from Warner Bros' teen horror movie Valentine which had been expected to conquer the box office this weekend. Valentine came in at second with $10.1m.The Wedding Planner stars Jennifer Lopez, who this
  • Vivendi Universal to withdraw from BSkyB board

    Vivendi Universal is reportedly planning to pull its board director from UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB next month, as the first move in a strategic exit from the company.The European Commission is forcing Vivendi to dispose of its 22.7% stake in BSkyB as one of the conditions of its recent three-way merger with Canal Plus and Universal Studios parent, Seagram.Vivendi Universal is expected to swap the BSkyB shares for a holding in another media business, rather than sell them on
  • Wedding Planner tops Superbowl Weekend

    The North American box office continued to look healthy, improving some 55% on the same weekend last year this Superbowl weekend, when the competition from sports on television is traditionally intense.Heading the pack was Columbia Pictures' romantic comedy The Wedding Planner - a co-production with IMF and Intermedia (which has international rights) - which stars Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey. The romantic comedy directed by first-timer Adam Shankman grossed an estima
  • Wowow to list on Tokyo's Mothers market

    Japanese satellite broadcaster Wowow has unveiled plans to raise about $172.4m (Y20bn) by listing shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Mothers market for venture capital firms. The company plans to list by the end of March but may delay until April or beyond depending on market conditions.Wowow plans to allocate these funds towards new equipment and programme acquisitions, including films. It plans to launch a new communications satellite (CS) service early next year, while continuing