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4 February 2008

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  • 57000 km Between Us (57000 KM entre nous)

    Dir: Delphine Kreuter. France. 2007. 82 mins.Hell is other people - especially family, and especially when they have a camcorder in hand. That's the message of Delphine Kreuter's debut 57 000 KM Between Us, a caustic exercise that uses its rough-edged DV medium to revealing effect, re-tuning French bourgeois comedy for the digital age. The film is so zeitgeist-specific that it could date quickly, but Kreuter's scrutiny of online mores is sincere rather than modish.
  • A Very British Gangster finds US home at Anywhere Road

    San Francisco-based distributor Anywhere Road has acquired all North American rights to Donal MacIntyre's hit Sundance 2007 documentary A Very British Gangster.Anywhere Road president Robert Ogden Barnum plans a summer release for the edgy profile of Dominic Noonan, head of a celebrated Manchester family who balances a reputation as a hard-headed enforcer and champion of the community.Strategic Film Partners principals Alex Barder
  • American Teen gets post-Sundance play at Miami Film Festival

    Nanette Burstein's Sundance hit American Teen will get its first major screening outside Park City when it plays at the Miami International Film Festival on Mar 8.Paramount Vantage paid approximately $1m for worldwide rights excluding the UK to the story of four high school students who endure the ups and downs of adolescent life before they head off to college.Particia Riggen's Under The Same Moon
  • Amy Beecroft named head of GreeneStreet Films International

    Amy Beecroft has been named head of GreeneStreet Films International (GSFI) in the wake of Ariel Veneziano's departure last autumn to head up Icon Entertainment International.Beecroft previously served as director of international theatrical distribution for HBO and vice president of international theatrical distribution at First Look Studios.Based in Los Angeles, she will oversee sales, marketing and distribution activities on GSFI's slate of productions and third party
  • Assassination of a High School President

    Dir: Brett Simon. US. 2008. 98mins.Brett Simon's Assassination of a High School President is a small and pleasant surprise. It's a mostly energetic satire of the sexual, social and political hierarchies of contemporary high school reconceived, like Rian Johnson's Brick, as a postmodern noir. Its throwaway accessibility makes it go down very easily. The movie's obvious comparisons, from Lord Love a Duck to John Hughes's cycle of high sc
  • Assembly becomes China's second biggest local film

    Feng Xiaogang's The Assembly has become the second highest-grossing local film in mainland Chinese box office history, according to figures released by producer-distributor Huayi Brothers, with revenues reaching $36.16m (RMB260m) as of Jan 31. The record surpassed that of Zhang Yimou's 2002 film Hero, which made $34.77m (RMB250m).Zhang's 2006 imperial drama Curse Of The Golden Flower remains the highest-grossing local production in China so far, with a final gr
  • Atonement scoops top honours at UK's new Attenborough awards

    The UK regional film journalists awards, newly christened the Richard Attenborough Film Awards, have announced its results for 2008, with Atonement taking top honours as film of the year.Atonement continued its winning streak with Joe Wright named best director, James McAvoy named actor of the year, and Christopher Hampton named screenwriter of the year. Cate Blanchett won actress of the year for Eli
  • Awards Countdown - The Oscars - By the numbers: oscar nominations

    2008 nominees with the most previous nods20 nominations Kevin O'Connell, sound mixing on TransformersO'Connell was nominated previously for Terms Of Endearment (1983), Dune (1984), Silverado (1985), Top Gun (1986), Black Rain (1989), Days Of Thunder (1990), A Few Good Men (1992), Crimson Tide (1995), Twister (1996), The Rock (1996), Con Air (1997), The Mask Of Zorro (1998), Armageddon (1998), The Patriot (2000), P
  • Baghead

    Dir. Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass. USA, 2008, 84 minsIn this their second feature, the Duplass brothers have made a wildly funny parody of low-budget horror cinema, and created a bag-headed monster that has a no-budget franchise written all over it. Baghead should go right to the young audience that made a hit out of The Blair Witch Project, which it mocks shamelessly. Its satire seems likely to draw repeat viewings in theatres and in home
  • Barker's Book Of Blood to be filmed by Matador, Midnight Picture Show

    Matador Pictures and Midnight Picture Show are giving Clive Barker's horror story Clive Barker's Book Of Blood the big screen treatment.The project is the first in a series of planned collaborations between Midnight Picture Show and Matador Pictures to turn other Book Of Blood stories into features.Los Angeles-based Essential Entertainment is handling worldwide sales on
  • Bavaria Film to unveil four market premieres at EFM

    Bavaria Film International (BFI) will have four market premieres at the forthcoming European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin next week. These titles are in addition to the three films that the company has in Official Competition - Cherry Blossoms - Hanami, Restless and Black Ice.The four new titles showing at the EFM are:* Michael 'Bully' Herbig's animated feature Lissi And The Wild Emperor which was the most successful local film in German cinemas la
  • Berlin - Market Buzz

    English languageHorror/ThrillerBook Of Blood (US) Dir: John HarrisonHarrison adapts Clive Barker's Book Of Blood, about a paranormal investigator who discovers a highway along which souls are transported. UK effects house Artem is providing the scares and the film is shooting in Edinburgh.Int'l sales: Essential Ent't, (1) 310 550 9100Cry Of The Owl (US) Dir: Jamie Thraves
  • Berlin - the critic's preview

    The final Competition line-up of the 58th Berlinale confirms the German festival's preference for indie kudos over commercial clout and star power.Once again - and in contrast to last year's Cannes and Venice festivals - few of the US entries are likely to tickle the critics.The one exception looks to be Lance Hammer's directorial debut, the dark Mississippi Delta drama Ballast, which stockpiled critical plaudits on its Sundance debut.Another US entry, Paul Thomas
  • Berlin film festival - the world premieres

    In principle, it's business as usual,' says Dieter Kosslick of his seventh outing as Berlinale festival director, before going on to admit this year's line-up boasts a slew of prestigious world premieres. 'We have some really big highlights this year, such as Martin Scorsese's opening film, the documentary Shine A Light about the Rolling Stones.'Of the 26 Competition films, 18 are world premieres (down one
  • Berlinale unveils sevenothermembers of competition jury

    The Berlinale has unveiled the seven members of the International Jury who will join jury president Costa-Gavras in deliberating on the prizes for this year's competition. They are: Susanne Bier, director/screenwriter (Denmark)Sandrine Bonnaire, actress/director (France)Uli Hanisch, production designer (Germany)Diane Kruger, actress (Germany)Walter Murch, editor (US)Shu Qi, actress (Taiwan)Alexander Rodniansky, producer (Russian Federation)Presen
  • Berlin-based M-Appeal launches with Rotterdam trio

    A new Berlin-based sales company M-Appeal launched this week with a slate comprising threefilms in the Rotterdam line-up and another five titles to be presented at the forthcoming European Film Market (EFM). The company has been established by Maren Kroymann, formerly head of acquisitions at the German sales agent mdc international, with Artur Brzozowski and Birgit Haugg as sales managers. Kroymann's former mdc colleague Marta Lamperova is acting as a consultant to the fledgling outfit.
  • Bersch takes over from Schlessel as president of SPWAG

    Steven Bersch has been named president of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG) after the promotion of Peter Schlessel to president of worldwide affairs for SPE.Bersch, who comes to the studio from his position as chief operating officer at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, will report to Schlessel.He will oversee SPWAG's acquisition and co-financing of films for various SPE distribution platforms and will also take over management of films produced b
  • Beta's EFM slate includes 32A, Absurdistan and Heart Of Fire

    Beta Cinema will be having five market premieres at next week's European Film Market in Berlin, including Luigi Falorni's Competition film Heart of Fire (Feuerherz) which Senator will release in Germany this summer.The other titles having their first outing to an international market are:Irish filmmaker Marian Quinn's debut feature, the coming-of-age tale 32A which has its world premiere in the Generation 14plus competitionVanessa Jopp's bittersweet come
  • Blind Date

    Dir: Stanley Tucci. US/Belgium/Holland. 2008. 85mins.The second of a planned trilogy of English-language remakes of films by the murdered Dutch provocateur Theo van Gogh, Stanley Tucci's Blind Date, about a man and woman who stage elaborate games in order to conceal the pain of a horrifying loss, is a fitfully interesting stylistic failure. Tucci never surmounts the primary obstacle that his reconsi
  • Bottle Shock

    Dir. Randall Miller. US, 2008,112minsBottle Shock is a dramatization of a California winery's rise from obscurity to victory over French wines in a blind-tasting competition in France in 1973. It is based on a true story, and produced by friendly souls from the winemaking region North of San Francisco. The only thing that differentiates this 'movie' from an infomercial is its unbearable feature length. If you hav
  • Bragman sets up New York arm of LA PR firm 15 Minutes

    Howard Bragman's Fifteen Minutes Public Relations has expanded its reach into New York and will be headed up by former vice president of Ogilvy Public Relations' consumer marketing practice Corey R Martin.Broadway, fashion and event publicity specialist Pete Sanders joins Martin and the pair will develop a broad account base that encompasses entertainment, consumer products, food and nutrition, fashion, lifestyle, charities, personalities, special events and corporate communications.
  • Brian Burkin joins SPE's international production division

    Brian Burkin has joined Sony Pictures Entertainment's International Motion Picture Production division as senior vice president business affairs and operations.Burkin, who started his career in private practice and served nine years as senior vice president of business affairs at Miramax Films, will assume responsibility for negotiating deals and managing relationships with film-makers around the world as he oversees business affairs for the division.He will be based in N
  • British Columbia boosts foreign production service tax credits to 25%

    The province of British Columbia has boosted its production service tax credits, matching a recent rise in credits in Ontario and Quebec. The tax credit for foreign-financed productions will rise from 18 per cent of labour costs to 25 per cent, while the credit for local and qualifying coproductions, Film Incentive BC, will rise from 30 per cent to 35 per cent. The new terms apply retroactively to all projects that were in production after December 31, 2007 and will run until then th
  • Bumper Asian crop set for release over Chinese New Year

    Two Chinese-language films, Stephen Chow's CJ7 and Kung Fu Dunk starring Jay Chou, are poised to kick off the first major box office battle of the year with massive pan-Asian releases over the upcoming Chinese New Year. This year, the first day of the lunar New Year holidays falls on Feb 7, extending the weekend to four days in most Asian territories and to a weeklong holiday in China. Like Christmas, Chinese New Year traditionally sees a major boost to the box office.
  • Canning, Sherman launch Aus/UK production outfit See-Saw

    UK-based acquisitions executive Iain Canning and Australian producer Emile Sherman have launched Australia/UK-based production outfit See-Saw Films. One of the first credits for the new company will be as producer of an English-language remake of writer/director Guillem Morale's 2004 Spanish mystery thriller The Uninvited Guests (El Habitante Incierto).Canning and Sherman will work with the original film's producers, Joaquin Padro and Mar Targarona from Spanish produc
  • Caroline Stern leaves Horizon for Cinemavault

    Former Horizon Motion Pictures vice president of sales and acquisitions Caroline Stern has joined Toronto-based Cinemavault as head of sales.Stern relocates from Vancouver and will travel with the Cinemavault team to the EFM in Berlin next week to commence sales on Stephanie Black's new Bob Marley documentary Africa Unite, among others.Stern joined Horizon Motion Pictures in 2001 and worked her way up from servicing, business affai
  • Celluloid Dreams takes international on Sundance doc Flow

    Celluloid Dreams has acquired international rights to Irena Salina's Sundance documentary Flow: For Love Of Water and will commence sales at EFM next week.Salina shot the film in 12 countries over the course of five years and explores water privatisation, hygiene and the impact of dam construction on local communities. Steven Starr served as producer.The production team announced that the film will be the first theatrical title to
  • CineMart prizes go to new projects from Sophie Fiennes, Liew Seng Tat

    At tonight's CineMart 2008 closing night party in Rotterdam, the Arte France Cinema Award for best project this year's co-production market went to The Pervert's Guide To Ideology, to be directed by UK film-maker Sophie Fiennes.The honour also comes with $14,856 (Euros 10,000) in cash. The film will continue Fiennes' collaboration with philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Zizek, who she also worked with on 2006's
  • CJ7

    Dir: Stephen Chow. Hong Kong . 2008. 86 mins.Some might have had serious misgivings about Stephen Chow's plans to blend his trademark slapstick comedy with an ET-style story about a poor child and an alien, but they need not worry. The resulting souffle CJ7 is a deliriously funny, determinedly unsentimental family film which will be relished by audiences of all ages. The film opened top in Ta
  • Coen Brothers take top honours at DGA Awards

    Joel and Ethan Coen boosted their chances of Academy Awards glory next month after they won the Directors Guild Of America (DGA) award for outstanding directorial achievement in feature film 2007 for No Country For Old Men.The DGA honour is a very strong indicator of Oscar success - all but six times since tDGA winners have gone on to claim the Oscar since the DGA started handing out awards in 1948 - and provided plenty of cheer for the brothe
  • Construction starts on $60m studio complex near Cape Town

    Construction on the long-gestating Dreamworld Film City studio complex near Cape Town is set to begin this week.Speaking to in Cape Town, the Western Cape's premier Ebrahim Rasool said the foundation stone would now be laid for the $61m (Rand 460m) studio.The project had initially received $7.8m (Rand 60m) from the provincial government before than attracting the rest from the private sector.A bid by a consortium of investment groups, led by the v
  • Consultant's report recommends improved Irish tax regime

    To coincide with the publication of Ireland's Finance Bill for 2008, the Irish government has today published a consultants' report commissioned last year in advance of the renewal of Ireland's Section 481 tax incentive.The bill took little account of recommendations made by the Irish Film Board and by producers' and employers' lobby groups,which wanted:An increase in the rate of investor tax relief (from 80% to 100%).Afourfold increase in the amount an individual
  • Cristi Puiu's suburban series leads buzz at 25th Rotterdam CineMart

    With just two days left to go at Rotterdam's CineMart, a number of key projects are emerging as hot titles in the co-production market. They include Cristi Puiu's Aurora & Home Sweet Home, his new in a series of suburban stories; Koen Mortier's 22nd Of May about a dull man caught up in a bombing; Jafar Panahi's Return about two soldie
  • Day-Lewis, Christie win top film honours at SAG Awards

    The 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards crowned Daniel Day-Lewis and Julie Christie king and queen of the acting world on Sunday [Jan 27] and positioned the pair at the forefront of the race for the lead actor Oscars next month.The jovial ceremony at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center bore no ill-effects from the ongoing writers strike, although the actors didn't miss an opportunity to recognise their comrades in the Writers Guild Of America through the occasional acceptance
  • Derek

    Dir: Isaac Julien. UK. 2008. 76mins. A collaboration between film-maker Isaac Julien and actress Tilda Swinton, Derek is a fondly remembered film essay on the life and art of iconoclastic British film-maker Derek Jarman (1942-1994). The documentary is arranged through disparate parts that occasionally play against each other and sometimes deny a cogent or analytical portrait of the artist.Julien is at his best excavating the past, most memorably
  • Donkey Punch (2007)

    Dir. Olly Blackburn, 2007, UK, 90 minutesDonkey Punch, in young male slang, is a term for a hard blow to the back of the neck during sex, which produces a clench that gives pleasure to at least one person in a couple. This act kills a vacationing girl from Leeds during on orgy onboard a yacht in newcomer Olly Blackburn's thriller, and triggers a desperate scramble to hide any evidence.Olly Blackburn's cruise in the Mediterranean sun to bloody murder
  • Eastern Promises, Shake Hands lead Canadian Genie nominations

    David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises and Roger Spottiswoode's Shake Hands With The Devil are leading the nomination pack with 12 apiece as the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced the nominees for the 28th annual awards. Among the other titles nominated for best motion picture, Sarah Polley's Away From Her follows with seven nominations, Stephane La
  • EastWest takes on sales for Rotterdam title Worldrevolution

    Sales company EastWest Filmdistribution has acquired worldwide rights to Worldrevolution According To Drahdiwaberl.Klaus Hundsbichler's film looks at the life of Vienna-based punk musician Stefan Weber and his revolutionary band Drahdiwaberl, which has been together for almost 40 years.Hundsbichler worked on the film for more than eight years. 'My most important decision was not to make a film for hardcore fans of Weber and Drahdiw
  • Edgerton debut to feature in AFC's IndiVision Lab

    The Australian Film Commission (AFC) has unveiled the eight low-budget projects that will take part its IndiVision Project Lab, one of which will be the directorial debut of Kinky Boots star Joel Edgerton. Edgerton's film The Professor is a thriller about a top forensic scientist investigating a family murder-suicide, who becomes secretly obsessed with his wife's double life. Rachel Okine, a production and acquisitions executive with Hopscotch Films, will produce.Edge
  • EFM hosts digital debates

    The European Film Market (EFM) and Arts Alliance Media (AAM), are hosting a series of debates at this year's Berlinale.The sessions will be from 5pm-6pmat the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel will cover various aspects of digital distribution.Embrace Digital Distribution: Drive Your Business Into The Future will look at both the home entertainment market and digital cinema.The sessions are:Friday, February 8:Digital Cinema - The Independent Distributor's
  • Elle Driver adds four including new Skolimowski title

    Nascent sales company Elle Driver has added four titles to its line up for the upcoming EFM. First up is drama Stomach (Estomago) from Brazil 's Marcos Jorge. The Zencrane Filmes/Indiana Production effort is an adult fable on power, sex and cooking. It came in second place for the audience award at last week's International Film Festival Rotterdam and also picked up the best film, best actor, best director and special jury prize at the Rio Film Festival in 2007. Elle Driver has als
  • EU report says legal framework for VoD not solidly defined

    The new legal framework for video-on-demand (VoD) services in Europe created under the European Commission's Audio Visual Media Services Directive may not be as solidly defined as expected. That is the conclusion of a report published today by the European Audiovisual Observatory. If true, it could open up a legal Pandora's Box instead of opening up new distribution channels.Providing one of the first analyses of the new Directive, the report claims that the legal parameters for Vo
  • EU ruling hits fight against online piracy

    The battle against the illegal downloading was dealt a major blow as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that internet service providers (ISPs)cannot be obliged to release customers' personal data during civil legal claims raised by copyright owners.The point was settled in a legal action taken by Promusicae, a Spanish musical and audiovisual producers' organisation, against the Spanish Telecoms giant, Telefonica.Promusicae went to court on the basis that Telefonica custom
  • European Film Market preview

    For Berlin world premieres click hereFor this year's buzz titles click hereFor the critic's choice click hereFlash back to last year's European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin, and 2007 was the year the EFM came of age.Significant deals we
  • Exhibition in wave of global consolidation

    Consolidation in the exhibition sector is expected to continue on a global scale with the imminent changeover to digital projection marginalising opportunities for medium-sized operators, Dodona Research predicts.The analyst has launched a database, Exhibitor Rankings - which lists almost 300 exhibitors operating 20 screens or more spread across more than 50 countries.It has shown that the largest acquisitions have most recently occurred outside of the US, against the tre
  • Flahive and Billard launch new sales company Wavelength

    John Flahive and Anne Billard, both veterans of the British Film Institute, are launching a new international sales company, Wavelength Pictures.The London-based Wavelength makes its debut at Berlin's European Film Market. The company's first project to sell is Bacon's Arena, a co-production of the BBC and Estate of Francis Bacon. The project has been International Emmy-nominated after its BBC airing in 2005.The biographical portrait of the famous painter, directed by Adam Low,
  • Fool's Gold

    Director: Andy Tennant US. 2008. 113 mins.Feeling as if it was lashed together from bits of earlier, more convincing romantic comedies and adventure romps, Fool's Gold is a rickety vessel that just about reaches its destination thanks to the star power of Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson and the helmsmanship of Hitch director Andy Tennant.Winter audiences up for a good-looking piece of sunny Caribbean escapism could turn this Warner B
  • Fortissimo adds Son Of ALion, Hold Me Tight to EFM slate

    Fortissimo Films has bolstered its slate for the upcoming European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin with two acquisitions. The Amsterdam and Hong Kong-based sales agent has picked up Australian production Son Of A Lion, which was shot in Pakistan by first-time director Benjamin Gilmour. The deal, which includes worldwide rights outside Australia, was brokered by Fortissimo co-chairman Michael J. Werner and producer Carolyn Johnson.Fortissimo has also acquired world rights outside
  • Fortissimo and Circe Films team up for art titles

    Dutch based film company Fortissimo and Amsterdam-based production outfit Circe Films are teaming up to producea series of European arthouse titles. They announced their new partnership in Rotterdam.The first co-produced feature will be Face, the next project of Tsai Ming-Liang, initiatied by French JBA Productions.Fortissimo has taken salesrights to previous films from the Malaysian director, including I Don't Want To Sleep Alone and What Time Is It There'.
  • France-Spain - Coach's driving ambition

    As it heads to the European Film Market in Berlin, Franco-Spanish sales company Coach 14 is also celebrating its first birthday.Founded by former Funny Balloons partner Pape Boye and Jaume Domenech, the company has offices in Paris and Barcelona, with backing from Spanish production outfit Iris Star, which was founded by Domenech and his father. Domenech also runs Iris Star's Spanish distributor Stardis Pictures.The partners have worked with 11 international titles this year - u
  • Gandolfini joins Jesse Martin in the cast of Sexual Healing

    Sopranos star James Gandolfini will star with Jesse L Martin in in Sexual Healing, the story of the last years of singer Marvin Gaye which Gandolfini's company Attaboy Films.Gary Hamilton's Arclight Films will executive produce the film and handle international sales on the film which is budgeted in the $15m region.Martin, whose credits include Rent a
  • Go with Peace, Jamil

    Dir: Omar Shargawi, Denmark 2008, 90 minutesHigh on testosterone and sweaty machismo, Omar Shargawi's debut feature is let down by a lack of subtlety and some shallow characterisation. This is a revenge thriller set in the immigrant Arab community in Copenhagen. Sunnis are pitted against Shias. Shargawi shows plenty of flair for staging fights and chases. The juddering handheld camera work and in-your-face performances have a rough intensity about them, but Shargawi fails
  • Golden Network signs seven-picture deal with Sidus FNH

    Hong Kong-based sales agent Golden Network Asia has signed a deal with major South Korean production house and start-up local distributor Sidus FNH for worldwide rights excluding Korea to seven pictures. The films include hit Olympic drama Forever The Moment (aka Women's Handball Team), which was produced by MK Pictures and locally distributed by Sidus; and two films that were both produced and distributed by Sidus - colonial period drama Radio Days and romantic comed
  • Hannah Montana 3-D concert film sets US box office records

    If there were any lingering doubts over the potency of 3-D they were swept away at the weekend as Disney chiefs extended the release of Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour following a sensational number one launch that set a new Super Bowl weekend record.The children's tale of a youngster who moonlights as a hit singer grossed approximately $29m and owed much to the fact that it arrived in North American cinemas with
  • Hartnett to take the lead in Snoot's martial arts action pic Bunraku

    Snoot Entertainment, the four year-old LA-based production company behind Toronto Film Festival premiere Terra, has cast Josh Hartnett in martial arts action film Bunraku.The live action film is written and will be directed by Guy Moshe (Holly) and is the story of a a young man who has spent his life searching for revenge only to find himself sucked into a bigger
  • Hauer joins van Houten in cast of Smoke And Ochre

    Rutger Hauer and German actor Sebastian Koch have joined the cast of biopic Smoke And Ochre, to be directed by Dutch filmmaker Paula van der Oest. Dutch actress Carice van Houten plays the lead role of revolutionary South African writer Ingrid Jonker. Hauer will play her father while Koch will appear as her boyfriend Jack Cope.Dutch company Riba Film is developing the $10.4m (Euros7m) project, which is scheduled to start shooting at the end of this year. It will be the first
  • Headey, Bean, Friend line up for medieval thriller Black Death

    Lena Headey, Sean Bean and Rupert Friend will lead the cast of supernature chiller Black Death for UK producers Ecosse Films.Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance) will direct. Ecosse’s Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae will produce with Egoli Tossell’s Jens Meurer co-producing.Black Death will shoot entirely on location in Germany and the UK.HanWay Films will be selling the project, introducing it to buyers at next week’s European Film Ma
  • Hell raiser - Sam Raimi back to his horror roots

    It has been 27 years since Sam Raimi made the world sit up and take notice with The Evil Dead and 16 years since he directed his last horror film, Army Of Darkness.Since then he has broadened his range to include a western (The Quick And The Dead), a thriller (A Simple Plan) and a sports drama (For The Love Of The Game).And there was that modest Spider-Man trilogy he made for Sony. But now Raimi is set to return to his independent horror root
  • High Point expands with new Sydney-based operations led by Bowen

    UK-based High Point Media Group has expanded its operations to now include Australia and New Zealand.Producer/writer Adam Bowen will head up the Sydney-based operations to source films and TV projects from Australia and New Zealand.Bowen will work closely with High Point's head of productions and acquisitions Carl Simons and head of development Piers Nightingale.Bowen is a veteran of the UK and Australian industries, and he also created the Italian prime-time
  • Hoshino appointed president of Japan's Studio Ghibli

    Japan 's Studio Ghibli has announced that Koji Hoshino has taken over as company president from Toshio Suzuki as of February 1. Suzuki, who had served as producer of all Ghibli productions since 1989, became president in 2005 after the studio became independent from parent company Tokuma Publishing.Suzuki stepped down to focus more on his producing duties but will remain on the board as executive director. Hoshino is expected to focus on boosting the company's merchandising revenue
  • Iceland box office up 2% in 2007, led by Astropia

    Iceland had another record-breaking year at the box office in 2007. The box officein the small island nationhit $18.4m (ISK 1.1bn) on 1.477m admissions, up 2% from a strong 2006. The figures are calculated from SMAIS, the association of film rights holders in Iceland.Local productions took 9% of market share, a drop from 2006 when Baltasar Kormakur's Jar City smashed local records.There were three local productions in the top 10 in 2007. Astropia led the chart
  • Icon plans UK re-release of La Vie En Rose

    Icon Films is planning an awards season re-release of acclaimed French film La Vie En Rose.The Edith Piaf biopic is nominated for seven BAFTAs and three Oscars. The film also received 11 Cesar nominations.Its UK theatrical re-release in selected cinemas will start Feb 15. The original run of La Vie En Rose started in June 2007 and it earned more than $3.3m at the UK box office.
  • IFC loads up with Sundance double winner Ballast

    IFC has picked up North American rights to Lance Hammer's Mississippi Delta-set drama Ballast, which screens in competition in Berlin and won the best director and cinematographer awards at Sundance last month following an enthusiastic reception by critics.Vice president of acquisitions and production Arianna Bocco negotiated the deal with William Morris Independent's Cassian Elwes and the film is expected to launch on the day-and-date First T
  • Iger signs new five-year contract as CEO of Disney

    Robert Iger has signed a new five year contract as chief executive officer at The Walt Disney Company. His previous contract would have expired on Sept 30, 2010, but the new contract takes him through to Jan 31, 2013.Iger became CEO at Disney on Sept 30, 2005, taking over from longtime chief Michael Eisner.In the two fiscal years since he assumed the role, the company has posted record revenues, net income and earnings per share. In the fiscal year 2007, the company's reven
  • IM Global takes on Michael Cera-starrer Not Our Class Dear

    Michael Cera, red hot after the success of Juno and last summer's sleeper hit Superbad, will star opposite Sigourney Weaver in the comedy Not Our Class Dear.The $10m production is set to begin filming in Manhattan in April and is being produced by Denise Di Novi and Flagrant Films. Los Angeles-based Flagrant, run by Mike Macari and Neal Edelstein, is financing th
  • Imports gain upper hand at flat Japanese box office

    According to annual data published today by The Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren), overall box office revenues for 2007 totalled $1.87bn (Y198.44bn), a 2.2% decrease from 2006's $1.91bn (Y202.93bn). The figure represents earnings on 163.19 million admissions, only a 0.8% drop on the previous year's 164.56m cinemagoers. The discrepancy can be accounted for in a lower average ticket price of $11.43 (Y1,216), the lowest since 1992, versus $11.59 (Y1,233) in 2006. The incr
  • India's UTV changes name to avoid AIM listing confusion

    India's UTV Motion Pictures, which floated on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) last year, has changed its name to UMP Plc to avoid confusion with another AIM-listed company, UTV Media Plc (formerly Ulster Television Plc). The company will be trading under the new name from Feb 4. Its wholly-owned subsidiary incorporated in Mauritius will continue operating under its current name of UTV Motion Pictures (Mauritius) Limited.UTV also announced results for the third quarter
  • International - The very best figures

    Russian comedy The Very Best Film (Samiy Luchshiy Film) claimed the international crown this weekend with a mammoth $17.8m opening weekend in two territories, accounting for 9% of the international top 40 revenue.The parody, distributed through Caroprokat, enjoyed a $16.5m opening in Russia, the biggest ever in the country. It also generated $1.3m in the Ukraine, where it is distributed through Gemini Films.Overall, the film played across 790 screens in the two ter
  • Invicta Entertainment sets up shop Berlin

    Production and financing outfit Invicta Entertainment has set up its headquarters in Berlin to produce films in the $1m-$10m range for the international market. With an in-house development team and access to private equity for development and production, Invicta will have the ability to acquire, develop and produce projects at will.Commenting on the choice of Berlin as the location for the new outfit's base, producer Darryn Welch said: ' Berlin and its practical geographical setti
  • Jackson George joins Overture as vp of creative advertising

    Jackson George has joined Overture Films as executive vice president of creative advertising and will oversee theatrical creative campaigns for the studio.Prior to Overture, George served as creative director at the theatrical advertising agency In Sync Advertising.During his eight-year tenure he worked on campaigns for more than 100 films, among them Cast Away, Walk the Line, What Lies Beneath, 3:10 To Yuma and
  • Japan's Sun Music unveils details of debut film production

    Japanese talent management company Sun Music has announced details of its first feature film production, a drama entitled Yesterdays. The main character will be played by 25-year-old Takashi Tsukamoto in his first leading role. The story follows Tsukamoto's mission to find his estranged dying father's ex-lover, when he slips back in time and meets his father as a young man.The tale is based on a short story by Takayoshi Honda from his best selling collection Fine Days
  • Jeonju unveils African trio for digital shorts project

    South Korea's Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) has announced three African directors - Idrissa Ouedraogo, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun and Nacer Khemir - for its Jeonju Digital Project 2008, the festival's trademark shorts troika showcase. The festival provides each director with $53,000 to make a 30-minute short to be put in the Jeonju Digital Project omnibus, which JIFF distributes locally and internationally through festivals and commercial release. Past editions' projects have won in
  • Joan Collins joins Christopher Lee in Hardy's Cowboys For Christ

    Joan Collins has joined Christopher Lee and Paul Wesley in the cast of Cowboys For Christ which is written and will be directed by Robin Hardy, who has only made one film since his classic 1973 horror film The Wicker Man.Although the new film, which is being produced by CFC Film Ltd, is neither a sequel or prequel to The Wicker Man, it will be shot in the same lo
  • Joanna Leigh wins Red Planet Prize for Samuel Johnson script

    Red Planet Pictures has selected Joanna Leigh as the winner of its first Red Planet Prize for screenwriting.Leigh, a lexicographer from North Wales, won the new writing talent competition judged by the likes of Stephen Fry and Mark Gatiss. She beat 2,000 other entrants.Her winning script literary is about Dr Samuel Johnson writing and eventually printing his dictionary masterpiece.Red Planet Pictures was set up by famed EastEnders writer Tony Jordan, who will now
  • John Maybury to direct new Wuthering Heights for Ecosse

    John Maybury has signed on to direct a new big-screen adaptation of Wuthering Heights for Ecosse Films.HanWay Films will handle international sales and introduce the project to buyers at the forthcoming EFM in Berlin.The new script is written by Olivia Hetreed, who also adapted The Girl With A Pearl Earring. Emily Bronte's 1847 novel is about Heathcliff and Cathy, two ill-fated lovers in the Yorkshire moors.Ecosse's Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae will produce.
  • K5 International takes on Wonderful World starring Broderick

    UK- and Germany-based sales company K5 International has taken on sales (outside North America) to Joshua Goldin's debut feature Wonderful World.Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan star in this comic fable about 'the most negative man in the world.' Ben is forever fighting 'The Man' until he is inspired by the Senegalese sister of his sick roommate.The film is just finishing principal photography in Louisiana.Miranda Bailey, Matt Leutwyler and Glenn Williamson are
  • Korean admissions up by 3.5% according to KOFIC

    Korean admissions increased by 3.5% to 158.8 million in 2007, according toa year-end report by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), contradicting earlier figures released by exhibitor CJ CGV which estimated a 5.5% dip in admissions. However, KOFIC agreed with CJ CGV that the market share of local films was down to 50.8% nationwide in 2007, compared to 63.8% the previous year.As previously projected in the first half of 2007, exports last year dropped to $12.3m - half of the $24.5m coll
  • Korea's Showbox sells M, Happiness to Japan

    South Korean distributor Showbox Mediaplex has announced the sales of director Hur Jin-ho's Happiness and Lee Myung-se's M to Avex for Japan. The announcement comes on the heels of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC)'s latest report on exports dropping by 50% last year, with flat fee and high minimum guarantee deal structures recently giving way to more revenue-sharing deals.Following the screenings of the two films in Pusan and Toronto last year, the deal was struck for
  • Kristin Gallagher leaves Warner Bros for New Wave

    Former Warner Bros Home Entertainment executive Kristin Gallagher has been appointed vice president of international development at marketing and production services company New Wave Entertainment.Based in Europe, Gallagher will act as international liaison between New Wave's US-based studio clients, while introducing the company's suite of services to the European community.New Wave Home Entertainment president Mike Meadows will continue to run the division from Los Ange
  • LA's Film Independent wins $150,000 grant James Irvine Foundation

    Film Independent has received a three-year $150,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation to further its Talent Development Programmes and diversity initiatives.The grant will specifically support Film Independent's signature diversity programme, Project: Involve, and three editions of Film Independent's annual talent guide, which spotlights graduates of Film Independent's Talent Development Programmes.Film Independent executive director Dawn Hudson said the Foundation h
  • Lightning takes on sales for Pinkett Smith's directorial debut

    Santa Monica-based sales and distribution company Lightning Entertainment will introduce Jada Pinkett Smith's directorial debut feature The Human Contract to buyers at EFM next week.The Human Contract stars Jason Clarke and Paz Vega in the tale of a repressed advertising executive who embarks on a passionate affair that forces him to confront harsh truths about his past.Pinkett Smith, Ted Da
  • Linklater to shoot Me & Orson Welles starting Feb 24

    Richard Linklater will start shooting Me & Orson Welles in England (Pinewood Studios and London locations), the Isle of Man and New York from February 24.Zac Efron and Claire Danes lead the ensemble cast for the coming-of-age romantic comedy set in the theatre world. The story follows a teenager who finds a minor role in a 1937 play directed by the young Orson Welles. The cast also features Christian McKay, Ben Chaplin, Kelly Reilly, Eddie Marsan, Leo Bill, Imogen Poots and Ai
  • LoveFilm to acquire Amazon's German, UK DVD rental business

    LoveFilm International has struck a deal to acquire's DVD rental business in the UK and Germany.As part of the transaction, Amazon Europe will make a cast investment (of an undisclosed amount) to become the largest shareholder in LoveFilm International.The two companies have signed a multi-year marketing deal for Amazon Europe to promote LoveFilm's services on Amazon sites in the UK and Germany.The deal is subject to regulatory approval in the UK and Germany. B
  • Magnolia to distribute ten Oscar-nominated shorts in US theatres

    Magnolia Pictures and Shorts International have announced they will partner for the third year running to bring the 10 Oscar-nominated live-action and animated short films to US theatres on Feb 15 prior to the awards ceremony on Feb 24.The Oscar Shorts programme will at first open in approximately 50 cities and will expand in the following weeks. The programme will be shown digitally by programme co-sponsor RAIN Network via its proprietary digital distribution system.The
  • Malta increases possible cash rebate from 20% to 22%

    The Malta Film Commission on Saturday announced its revised financial incentives for film and TV productions shooting on the island. The cash rebates are given to qualifying companies on Malta-based production spend. Up to 22% can be claimed as a rebate - that's up to 20% on the rebate as before, but an extra 2% bonus if Malta is featured as itself in the project. Eligible productions need to pass a new cultural test.The Malta spend includes includes EU services engaged in Malta during
  • Manda Bala film-makers win Microsoft HDi Grant during Sundance

    Director Jason Kohn and producer Jared Goldman received the Microsoft HDi Grant during the Sundance Film Festival last week from the Sundance Institute and Microsoft Corp for their 2007 festival entry Manda Bala (Send A Bullet).The prize is worth an estimated $100,000 and provides the film-makers with the resources to author Manda Bala in high definition and develop immersive interactive experiences using Microsoft's industry-leading HDi techn
  • Mark Cranwell leaves BT Vision for Babelgum

    Mark Cranwell has been named director of content acquisition of Babelgum, the Internet TV platform.Babelgum CEO Valerio Zingarelli made the announcement about the newly created post.Cranwell will lead Babelgum's outreach to producers, film-makers and content creators. He reports to Simon Kenny, the company's head of content strategy and advertising, also based in London.Cranwell had been director of business affairs for BT Vision.'Having an executive of Mark's tale
  • Match Factory takes on Chiko, Revanche, LoveAnd Other Crimes

    Cologne/Munich-based sales agent The Match Factory will be handling international sales for three world premieres in the Berlinale's Panorama Special section next week.The first of the trio is Hamburg-born Oezguer Yildirim's feature debut Chiko which premieres Feb 9 in the Zoo Palast.The no holds-barred story about a wannabe drug boss (played by Denis Moschitto) whose loyalties and future are put on the line when his best friend crosses the local big man (Moritz Bleibtr
  • Meet The Spartans, Rambo lead North American box office

    Fox's comedy spoof Meet The Spartans starring Sean Maguire and Carmen Electra narrowly squeezed out Lionsgate/The Weinstein Company's (TWC) action saga Rambo to open top on an estimated $18.7m at the weekend.Rambo took $18.2m and sees Sylvester Stallone reprise his role as the die-hard former Green Beret who assembles a crack squad of mercenaries to rescue Christian
  • Mei Ah Entertainment sells BIG stake to mainland investor

    Hong Kong producer-distributor Mei Ah Entertainment has sold a 21% stake in local production outfit BIG Media Group to Chinese investor Brandon Wen Rui Feng for $10.3m (HK$80m). Mei Ah bought a 44% share in BIG last year which was diluted to 23% following the placement of new shares. The company's stake in BIG has now been reduced to 2.3%. However, Mei Ah will continue to handle international sales on BIG's slate and acquire select titles for its movie channels and theatrical release.
  • MercuryMedia on board for How Ohio Pulled It Off

    UK-based MercuryMedia has added documentary How Ohio Pulled It Off to its sales slate.Ohio Filmmakers LLC produced the 57-minute documentary about election fraud in the US in 2004.Mercury's head of acquisitions Jason McGeown said: 'The relevancy of this film cannot be underestimated.'Mercury's slate also includes 9/11 conspiracy documentaries Loose Change: Final Cut and Zero.
  • Metrodome takes UK rights for Weber films including Let's Get Lost

    Metrodome Distribution has acquired all UK rights to Bruce Weber's film collection, including the Oscar-nominated Chet Baker documentary Let's Get Lost.Metrodome negotiated the deal with Eva Lindemann at Little Bear.The collection also includes A Letter To True, Chop Suey, Broken Noses and various short films.Weber will travel to the UK for the theatrical launches (including Let's Get Lost in May 2008) and work with Metrodome on the campaign.We
  • Momma's Man

    Dir: Azazel Jacobs. US. 2008. 94 mins.Azazel Jacobs' highly personal Momma's Man was a major discovery at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Artfully tracking the internal breakdown of a thirtysomething man, the film is both lyrical in its near wordless storytelling and humorous in its warm observation of human behaviour. Bound to achieve festival bookings beyond Sundance
  • Myriad picks up sales on Durst's feature debut Charlie Banks

    Myriad Pictures has added Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst's feature film directorial debut The Education Of Charlie Banks to its EFM slate and will introduce it to buyers in Berlin next week.Jesse Eisenberg stars as a university student who is pursued by the bully who tormented him at high school. Jason Ritter also stars and Peter Elkoff wrote the screenplay.Anchor Bay Entertainment holds domestic theatrical rights and plans to rel
  • Nerakhoon (The Betrayal)

    Dir: Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath, US, 2008, 87mins.Even by the standards of independent documentaries, Ellen Kuras's Nerakhoon is the ne plus ultra of ultra-marathons. For her directorial debut, the cinematographer spent 23 years with the family of her co-director, Thavisook Phrasavath (Tavi), as Laotions settled in New York City and adjusted uncomfortably into a new culture after being ousted as pariahs
  • New Year Parade, Song Sung Blue take Slamdance top prizes

    Tom Quinn's The New Year Parade won the 14th Annual Slamdance Film Festival's Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature and Greg Kohs' Song Sung Blue took corresponding documentary honours at the weekend.The Grand Jury Award For Best Animated Short went to Andrew McPhillips's Blood Will Tell, the Grand Jury Award For Best Experimental Short went to Michael Lang
  • New York Rendez-Vous with French cinema opens with Lelouch

    The US premiere of Claude Lelouch's thriller Roman De Gare will open the 13th Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in New York on Feb 29.Fanny Ardant stars opposite Dominique Pinon as a bestselling author who is questioned by the police over similarities between her novels and the activities of a serial killer. Audrey Dana is currently nominated for a Cesar newcomer award for her performance.Samuel Goldwyn Films holds US rights and has s
  • New Zealand box office up in 2007 but no records fall

    The $118.93m (NZ$151.74m) worth of tickets sold at New Zealand cinemas in 2007 exceeded the previous year by 3.6%, but fell short of 2003, the country's stand-out year in terms of gross box office. 'All the blockbusters did well in the middle of the year, yes, but business petered out badly at the end of the year,' said Joe Moodabe, chief executive of dominant exhibitor Village SkyCity Cinemas.'Exhibition was also badly hurt by some distribution decisions. The one we disagreed with
  • No Country For Old Men wins top Producers Guild Award

    Scott Rudin and Ethan and Joel Coen took home the top prize from the Producers Guild Of America (PGA) Awards on Saturday night, winning the Darryl F Zanuck award for producer of the year for No Country For Old Men.The award, which puts No Country further on track to win the best picture Oscar on Feb 24, was presented to the winners at the PGA Awards which also saw Ratat
  • Noise dominates Australian critics awards

    Noise , a drama about a police officer with a debilitating case of tinnitus, dominated the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards (FCCA).It earned best film for producer Trevor Blainey, best director for Matthew Saville, best actor for Brendan Cowell, best editor for Geoff Hitchins, and best music score for Bryony Marks, who is married to Saville. In the cinematography category, Laslo Baranyai shared his award for Noise with Nigel Bluck who filmed The Home Song Storie
  • Noise dominates Australian critics awards

    Noise , a drama about a police officer with a debilitating case of tinnitus, dominated the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards (FCCA).It earned best film for producer Trevor Blainey, best director for Matthew Saville, best actor for Brendan Cowell, best editor for Geoff Hitchins, and best music score for Bryony Marks, who is married to Saville. In the cinematography category, Laslo Baranyai shared his award for Noise with Nigel Bluck who filmed The Home Song Storie
  • NonStop picks up Sundance winner King Of Ping Pong

    Swedish director Jens Jonsson's Sundance winner, The King Of Ping Pong, has been picked up for international distribution by Sweden 's NonStop Sales. Jonsson's feature debut, which took first prize in Sundance's World Cinema Dramatic Competition and was also awarded for Best Cinematography (Askild Vik Edvardsen), opened Sweden 's Göteborg festival last week and is also screening at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.Produced by Jan Blomgren for Bob Film Sweden, t
  • Nordisk sets up new Norwegian distribution and sales operation

    Danish major, Nordisk Film, has merged its distribution and sales operations into a new company, Nordisk Film Distribusjon Norway, which will become Norway's largest provider of consumer entertainment with an annual turnover of $110.3m (EUR73.3m).The move is part ofthe company's driveto further strengthen its position in the Norwegian market place.As of Feb 1, the company headed by Espen Tollefsen - previously Nordic sales manager of Sony PlayStation - will supply content for al
  • Northern Ireland Screen launches new low-budget scheme

    Northern Ireland Screen has launched its new Low-Budget Fiction Production (LBFP) scheme.The fund intends to finance one TV drama or low-budget feature film between June 2008 and March 2009.Feature film projects must have distribution interest from a sales company, distributor or broadcaster and budgets must be no more than $395,435 (£200,000), of which NIS will invest up to $296,577 (£150,000).Producers can apply until March 31 and full guidelines are available at
  • Nu Image/Millenium brings Conan, Dolph to Berlin

    Nu Image/Millennium Films heads to next week's EFM in Berlin intent on drumming up international sales on the recently announced Conan The Barbarian, as well as the action thriller Direct Contact starring Dolph Lundgren.The slate includes the crime thriller Righteous Kill starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino that Overture Films will release in North America late
  • Over Her Dead Body

    Dir: Jeff Lowell. US. 2008. 95 mins.A languid, thinly sketched and habitually unfunny supernatural comedy that never scratches beyond the surface of its conceit, Over Her Dead Body quickly wears out its welcome in both this world and the next. Delving into a love triangle comprised of a pleasant guy, the psychic who falls for him and the vengeful, deceased fiance trying to kee
  • Paramount Australia pacts with start-up Transmission

    Dendy Films' executives Andrew Mackie and Richard Payten are leaving the company to establish a new Australian/New Zealand distributor, Transmission, that will conduct most of its business through a joint venture with Paramount's local theatrical and home entertainment divisions. The deal was negotiated with Paramount in the US and is being painted by the players involved as providing the best of both worlds: the focused hands-on attention to detail of an independent and the marketing and
  • Persepolis takes Rotterdam KPN Audience Award

    As the International Film Festival Rotterdam comes to a close today, the KPN Audience Award has gone to Persepolis.The animated film, by Marjane Satrapi and Philippe Paronnaud, also won the young jury's MovieSquad Award. The audience prize comes with Euros 7,500.Runners-up for the audience prize were Estomago - A Gastronomic Story by Brazil's Marcos Jorge (which is being sold by new Paris-base
  • Persepolis wins young people's jury prize in Rotterdam

    The young people's jury at the International Film Festival Rotterdam has given its MovieSquad award to Persepolis.The five jurors, aged 16 to 19, selected Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud's animated project as the best of the 22 festival films they viewed.The prize means that Persepolis will get Dutch distrubtion through the MovieZone educational programme for young people (part of the Du
  • Phoebe in Wonderland

    Dir/scr: Daniel Barnz. US. 2008. 96mins.In the lyrically compelling though dynamically flawed Phoebe in Wonderland, first-time feature director Daniel Barnz excites and frustrates in equal measure. His story of a dazzlingly smart young girl's personal liberation through her exposure to the Lewis Carroll masterpiece has moments of awe and wonder though it ends so shockingly compromised and safe that much of the impressive work feels cancelled out.
  • Polybona, EMP set up talent company with Jackie Chan

    Beijing-based Polybona Film Distribution, Hong Kong's Emperor Motion Pictures (EMP) and international star Jackie Chan have launched a joint venture artist management company, Bona Yinglong Artist Management. Chan will be the chairman of the new Beijing-based company with EMP's Albert Yeung as vice-chairman. Chan and Yeung are already partnered through Hong Kong-based production outfit JCE Movies. Polybona president Yu Dong will be CEO of the new artist management company.At the la
  • PPI's Cloverfield goes on rampage in 15 territories

    Paramount's monster movie Cloverfield took a big hit in its second weekend in North America but has everything to gain overseas as it goes on the rampage in 15 territories through PPI this weekend. The film lands in Germany on Jan 31, followed by the UK, Mexico, Italy, Spain and Austria on Feb 1 and is expected to build strongly on its $16.6m international running total.PPI's No Cou
  • PPI's Cloverfield rules international with $18.6m from 33 territories

    Paramount's Cloverfield roared the loudest at the weekend and gobbled up an estimated $18.6m through PPI from 3,174 venues in 33 territories for a $36m running total.The film opened in 15 territories and was led by a strong number one UK launch on $6.7m from 386 sites. Elsewhere the rampage generated $2.4m from 257 in Italy, $2m from 371 in Spain, $1.4m from 341 in Germany and number one in Mexico on $1.6m from 350. Austria produced $192,000 fr
  • Protege, Warlords lead race for Hong Kong Film Awards

    Derek Yee's Protege, produced by Peter Ho-sun Chan, and The Warlords, directed and produced by Chan, dominated the nominations for this year's Hong Kong Film Awards. Drug-trafficking thriller Protege picked up 15 nods, including best film and director, while The Warlords scored 13, including best film, director and two nods in the best actor category for Andy Lau and Jet Li.Rounding out the best film category are Ann Hui's The Postmodern Life Of My Au
  • Rai Trade adds The Viceroys, Maybe God Is Ill to EFM slate

    Rai Trade will present two market premieres at the European Film Market in Berlin next week. Those titles are Roberto Faenza's The Viceroys (I Viceri), a historical drama set in 1800s Sicily and feature length documentary Maybe God is Ill directed by Franco Brogi Taviani that shines light on the tragedies and hopes of the African continent. Rai trade will be completing their line up with other 20
  • Rail Road Crossing (Pas a nivell)

    Dir: Pere Vilà. Spain. 2007. 103 mins.For many viewers, Catalan drama Rail Road Crossing will seem like the watching-paint-dry film par excellence. At first sight, Pere Vilà's debut feature exemplifies the three-act structure of art cinema: nothing happens, nothing happens and still nothing happens. But for viewers prepared to go with its very reticent flow, Rail Road Crossing will be a rewarding low-key pleasure - an uncomprom
  • Riprendimi

    Dir: Anna Negri. Italy. 2008. 96 mins.Anna Negri's second film Riprendimi is a bittersweet comedy about the breakup of a relationship and the fallout for those involved. Offering intelligent commentary on the fickleness of young men and women today as well as many amusing insights into humans in romantic crisis, the film marks the emergence of a fresh new voice in Italian
  • River, Water take top prizes at Sundance Film Festival 08

    Tia Lessin and Carl Deal's Hurricane Katrina tale Trouble The Water won the 2007 Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize: Documentary award and Courtney Hunt's tale of immigrant smuggling in Frozen River took the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic prize at the awards night ceremony in Park City on Saturday [Jan 26].The World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary went to James Marsh's UK film
  • RKO is latest producer to sign interim agreement with WGA

    The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has singed another interim agreement following deals late last week with Lionsgate and Marvel, this time with RKO Pictures subsidiary RKO Productions.RKO Productions' filming schedule, to be announced next week, includes several original screen projects, as well as the financing, production, and distribution of a number of new versions of classic films from RKO's 1,300-film library.'The negotiation with the Guild was smooth and business
  • Robert Elswit wins ASC Oustanding Achievement Award for Blood

    Robert Elswit won top honours in the 22nd Annual American Society Of Cinematographers' (ASC) Outstanding Achievement Awards for feature film for There Will Be Blood on Saturday [Jan 26].Elswit beat out Roger Deakins for The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford and No Country For Old Men, Janusz Kaminski for The
  • Ron Gell launches production and sales outfit G-Machine

    Longtime producer, sales and acquisitions executive Ron Gell has launched Los Angeles-based sales and production outfit The G-Machine.Gell will arrive at next week's EFM with seven titles, among them the Cannes 2007 Directors Fortnight entry PVC-1 from Spiros Stathoulopoulas, which was shot in one continuous take. A terrorism thriller, it is based on the true story of a woman who was turned into a human time bomb. Merida Urquia and Daniel Paez
  • Rotterdam short Tigers go to Rivers, Ho, Liotta

    The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has handed out the awards in its short film programme.The three Tiger Awards for Short Film went to Ah, Liberty! by Ben Rivers (UK), As I Lay Dying by Ho Yuhang (Malaysia) and Observando el cielo by Jeanne Liotta (US). Each comes with a p
  • Russia's Very Best Film dominates international chart

    Russian comedy The Very Best Film (Samiy Luchshiy Film) claimed the international crown this weekend with a mammoth $17.8m opening weekend in two territories, accounting for 9% of the international top 40 revenue. For the full international chart, compiled by Len Klady, go to Global Box Office.The parody, distributed through Caroprokat, enjoyed a colossal $16.5m opening in Russia, marking the biggest ever opening for a film in the country. It also generated $1.3m in t
  • Salvatores gears up for 10-week shoot for As God Commands

    Oscar-winning Italian director Gabriele Salvatores will begin principal photography February 11 on the thriller As God Commands (Come Dio Comanda), based on the eponymous best-selling book by Niccolo Ammaniti.Maurizio Totti's Colorado Film co-produces with Rai Cinema who will distribute nationally via 01 Distribution. Totti confirmed the film's budget has risen to $8.6m (Euros 5.8m) from the originally announced $6.6m (Euros 4.5m).
  • Santa Barbara top honours go to Amal, Beautiful Bitch

    The 23rd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) signed off on Sunday night [Feb 3] with the traditional awards ceremony in which the Panavision Spirit Award For Independent Cinema was awarded to Richie Mehta's drama Amal.The Heineken Red Star Award in honour of 'the most progressive and gifted independent film director' went to Tao Ruspoli's Fix with Olivia Wilde, which received its wo
  • Screen opinion - Copyright and wrong

    Everyone has a pet-hate phrase that makes them release the safety catch on their revolver. This is a personal choice: whenever the issue of copyright theft is raised, someone earnestly gets up to berate speakers for the use of the word 'piracy'. It conjures up images in the minds of poor impressionable youngsters of Johnny Depp in the Caribbean, they say.If worrying about children swashing their virtual buckles was worthy of serious consideration in discussing the problem, we could all
  • Second AFI Dallas festival to open with The Last Lullaby

    The World Premiere of Jeffrey Goodman's noir thriller The Last Lullaby starring Tom Sizemore and US premieres of the music documentaries Glass: A Portrait Of Philip In Twelve Parts and Sonic Youth: Sleeping Nights Awake are among 15 titles named in this year's AFI Dallas 2008 International Film Festival line-up.Additional titles are: Stuart Townsend's WTO riots d
  • Showbox picks up world rights to Kim's Dream

    Seoul-based distributor/investor Showbox Mediaplex has picked up worldwide sales rights excluding Japan for celebrated Korean director Kim Ki-duk’s upcoming film Dream.  Top Japanese star Odagiri Joe (Sad Vacation, Tokyo Tower) stars opposite leading Korean actress Lee Na-young (Maundy Thursday, Someone Special).The film tells the story of the mysterious connection between a man who dreams every night of a past love and a woman who uncon
  • Sleep Dealer

    Dir: Alex Rivera. Mexico/US. 2008. 90 mins.Alex Rivera's low budget futuristic thriller Sleep Dealer is set in the near future where the USA has been sealed off from Mexico yet Mexican workers still do all the hard labour through technology. A selection in dramatic competition at Sundance last week and the winner of the screenplay prize, the film is certainly to be admired for its ambition but falls down critically in the plot department and ultimately comes off as
  • Smart money

    Benjamin Waisbren does not mince words when he weighs up the film business from a financier's point of view (and using financiers' parlance). "Film's a wonderful, iconic art form; it's not a great asset class," says the New York-based president and CEO of new film-finance operation Continental Entertainment Group (CEG). "Because it's not liquid, it's not transparent, it's really not predictable. It's a difficult, challenging asset class."So why is he in such a tricky business' "Because
  • Smith names evp of production finance at Paramount Pictures

    Roderick Smith has been appointed executive vice president of production finance at Paramount Pictures and will report to president of feature production management Mark Bakshi.Smith will oversee day-to-day management of the production finance department including budgeting and cost estimating and will analyse production incentives and tax rebates for worldwide productions.Prior to joining Paramount, Smith served as senior vice president of production finance at Marvel St
  • Sony Pictures Television extends deal with ProSieben

    Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has extended its relationship with Germany's ProSiebenSat 1 Group through a multi-year volume deal. The deal includes current and library feature films and TV programmes for the ProSieben's free-to-air channels.The line-up of feature films includes such blockbusters as Spider-Man 3, The Pursuit Of Happyness and The Da Vinci Code as well as library hits ranging from Men In Black to My Best Friend's Wedding
  • Spain's MediaPro signs to finance three films from Woody Allen

    MediaPro will finance the ever-industrious Woody Allen's next three films beginning in 2009.The Spanish company financed and co-produced Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the Spanish-language comedy currently in post-production that Wild Bunch is selling at EFM and The Weinstein Company acquired recently for North America.Allen plans to return to his beloved New York this spring to film an untitled project before the three-film deal with Me
  • Spanish director Jaime Rosales takes top honours at Goyas

    Jaime Rosales pulled off the surprise of Spain's 23rd Goya awards in Madrid by winning best director and best film for Solitary Fragments (La Solidad).Until those awards were announced, the evening had been dominated by Juan Antonio Bayona's hugely-popular horror The Orphanage and Emilio Martinez-Lazaro's Las 13 Rosas.Bayona's debut feature had amassed seven awards, including best new director and original screenplay (Sergio Sanchez), and Lazaro's Fr
  • Spanish director Jaime Rosales takes top honours at Goyas

    Jaime Rosales pulled off the surprise of Spain's 23rd Goya awards in Madrid by winning best director and best film for Solitary Fragments (La Solidad).Until those awards were announced, the evening had been dominated by Juan Antonio Bayona's hugely popular horror The Orphanage and Emilio Martinez-Lazaro's Las 13 Rosas clean up the other leading awardsBayona's debut feature had amassed eight awards, including best new director and original screenplay (Ser
  • SPC buys The Wackness, Frozen River as Sundance ends

    Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) has paid low seven figures for North American rights to Jonathan Levine's The Wackness, which won the 2008 Sundance Film Festival's Audience Award: Dramatic prize on Saturday [Jan 26].The deal marked SPC's third pick-up following Courtney Hunt's dramatic grand jury prize winner Frozen River and Mark and Jay Duplass' comedy Baghead.
  • SPTI seals mobile VoD deal with Korea's SK Telecom

    Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has sealed a video-on-demand (VoD) licensing deal with South Korean mobile operator, SK Telecom. Under the terms of the agreement, a selection of SPTI's films and TV series will be offered on-demand and in full-length to SK Telecom mobile customers via its mobile platforms NATE and June. The deal makes SPTI the first US studio to offer its content on SK Telecom's platform.Titles covered by the deal at launch include all three films in t
  • Strand Releasing takes US rights to Lee's Help Me Eros

    Fortissimo Films has announced a slew of sales coming out of the Rotterdam Film Festival and in the run up to next week's European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin. The company has sold all US rights to Lee Kang-sheng's Venice competition entry, Help Me Eros, to Strand Releasing. The Culver City-based distributor is planning a summer 2008 release for the film, which recently won the grand prize at the Gijon Film Festival and the special jury prize at the Bangkok Film Festival.Str
  • Summit, Walden team on youth music drama Will

    Walden Media and Summit Entertainment are continuing their long-standing relationship by agreeing to co-finance the fish-out-of-water story Will starring Liam Aiken, Vanessa Hudgens, Lisa Kudrow, Aly Michalka and Scott Porter. David Bowie is also in talks to join the film's cast.The music-oriented film, to be directed by Todd Graff (Camp) will be produced by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas through her Goldsmith
  • Sundance review - After the gold rush

    'There's no question people were cautious and were being more cautious than ever about the marketing of the film,' says the co-head of the Independent Film Group at UTA, Richard Klubeck, who negotiated the $5m sale of worldwide rights on Chuck Palahniuk adaptation Choke to Fox Searchlight.'They came to each screening more sceptical and were looking for reasons not to buy.'For Screen's Sundance reviews click her
  • Swedish box office flat but local films increase market share

    Swedish cinema attendance fell by 1% to 15.2 million admissions in 2007, although local productions managed to increase market share. Local films pulled in 3.2 million spectators last year, for a market share of 21.1%, compared to admissions of 2.9 million for a 18.8% market share in 2006. However, the number of film releases declined from 44 to 30.'Figures confirm there is a strong interest for local cinema, which will be further pushed by a number of strong releases waiting in th
  • Technicolor to move London West Drayton office to Pinewood Studios

    Thomson has announced that it will relocate Technicolor London from its West Drayton location (home for more than 70 years) to a new post-production facility at Pinewood Studios.The new Technicolor at Pinewood location will offer integrated film and front-end services, release printing, and digital cinema distribution services.Technicolor will host a groundbreaking ceremony at Pinewood on January 29. Pinewood chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said: 'We are thrille
  • The Brøken

    Dir/scr: Sean Ellis. UK/France. 2008. 88mins.In his second feature The Brøken the talented British director Sean Ellis (Cashback) traffics in a melange of styles and historical references that range from the poetic horror works of Jean Cocteau (Orpheus) to the social malaise and extreme alienation of Roman Polanski (The Tennant), Stanley Kubrick (The Shining) and David Lynch (Eraserhead). His ambition and hist
  • The Critical view - Acts to grind

    When writing a film review, I have a checklist in the back of my head. Did I mention the editing' What kind of look are the director and DoP going for - handheld cine-realism, washed-out widescreen nostalgia, garish techno-futurism' How about the sound design, the soundtrack, the miking of dialogue: is it an elocution lesson or a mumblefest' Is there something interesting to be said about the costumes, the production design, the special effects' How does the film relate to other recent post-w
  • The Deal

    Dir: Steven Schachter. Canada. 2008. 98mins.Completing an informal trilogy of Sundance titles about the making of movies (following Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind and Barry Levinson's What Just Happened'), Steven Schachter's The Deal is erratic and paper thin. Not a moment of it rings particularly true, and it never gathers the fluency and bounce of the best screwball farces.The movie's fairly light and relaxed on its feet, which makes
  • The Escapist

    Dir: Rupert Wyatt. UK/Ireland. 2008. 105mins.In his debut feature The Escapist director Rupert Wyatt animates the virtues of the B-movie thriller - direct expression, taut construction and a stripped down psychology-with a more conceptually unorthodox narrative design that collapses time and space.In the script he wrote with Daniel Hardy, Wyatt initiates the prison break during the opening title sequence before snapping back to consider more tradi
  • The Great Buck Howard

    Dir: Sean McGinly. US. 2008. 87 minsThe Great Buck Howard is a well-made character piece which is so slight, good-natured and ever so slightly bland that it is likely to land in a commercial no man's land somewhere between the mainstream and the arthouse. Produced by Gary Goetzman and Tom Hanks, who also stars in a supporting role, the film bears all the hallmarks of their company Playtone. Like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, That Thing You Do!, Starter For Ten
  • The Guitar

    Dir: Amy Redford. US. 2008. 93mins.The suggestive metaphor of loss and emotional trauma as divine liberation is treated awkwardly between the outrageous and obscene in Amy Redford's debut feature The Guitar. Saffron Burrows is commanding as a distraught woman who finds a novel way to cope with tragedy, but the movie constantly subverts realistic detail with the fantastic in waysthat are not dramatically satisfying.Written by a man (Amos
  • The King of Ping Pong (Ping-Pongkingen)

    Dir: Jens Jonsson. Sweden. 2007. 107 mins.Growing pains in a cold climate: this formula has reaped handsome dividends for Nordic cinema in the past, most spectacularly for Lasse Hallström's My Life as a Dog, and more modestly for Dagur Kári's Icelandic art-house hit of 2003 Noi Albinoi. Swedish comedy-drama The King of Ping Pong looks set to follow in their wake: a contender in Rotterdam's Tiger Awards competition, it arrives in Europe
  • The Merry Gentleman

    Dir: Michael Keaton. US. 2008. 110mins.In his directorial debut The Merry Gentleman, Michael Keaton reveals some of the same flair for the off-beat, moody and unconventional he has acutely demonstrated as an actor. He summons a wonderful performance by Kelly Macdonald and strong character distinction to the secondary players, but otherwise his movie works only in fragments.Keaton's own performance is quite frankly a part of the p
  • The Visitor

    Dir/scr: Thomas McCarthy. US. 2007, 102mins
  • The Wackness

    Dir: Jonathan Levine. US. 2008. 110 mins.Having shown that he is a dab hand at teen horror in Toronto 2006 hit All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, Jonathan Levine proves that he can handle character-driven drama, albeit still of the teen variety, in his second film The Wackness. The audience award winner at Sundance last week, the film is
  • THINKFilm International adds Bridgewater to Berlin slate

    THINKFilm International has added another title to its slate ahead of Berlin. The company is handling international rights to Henry Alex Rubin's Bridgewater, which will star Ethan Hawke.Bridgewater will start shooting in mid-March.The film is described as 'a story of honour, courage and brotherhood.'US distribution will be handled by sister company THINKFilm.Rubin previously directed the Oscar-nominated docu
  • THINKFilm Intl boards Blue Valentine with Gosling, Williams

    THINKFilm International has come on board to sell international rights to Blue Valentine, which will star Oscar nominees Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling.THINKFilm will introduce the film to buyers at Berlin's European Film Market next week. The project is set to shoot in June 2008.US-based sister company THINKFilm will handle US distribution.Derek Cianfrance directs and co-wrote Blue Valentine, which is produced by Half Nelson team Silverlake Fil
  • Tomas Alfredson's vampire film takes top Gothenburg prizes

    Swedish director Tomas Alfredson's Let The Right One In (Låt Den Rätte Komme In) won two prizes in the Nordic competition at Sweden's Gothenburg International Film Festival.The romantic horror film based on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel about a 12-year-boy who meets avampire girl picked up the Nordic Film Award's$15,700 prize and Dragon statuette. It also claimed the$7,750 Kodak Nordic Vision Award for Best Cinematography (Hoyle van Hoytema) at the awards cerem
  • Transsiberian

    Dir: Brad Anderson. US. 2008. 111 mins.The latest entry in Brad Anderson's increasingly fascinating oeuvre is an ambitious thriller set on the Transsiberian train from China to Moscow which recalls train-set thrillers from the 1970s like Silver Streak, The Cassandra Crossing and Murder On The Orient Express, not to mention the greatest train film of them all The Lady Vanishes from which it borrows liberally.It's gripping, suspe
  • Trouble the Water

    Dirs: Tia Lessin & Carl Deal. US. 2007. 90minsAlthough both productions document the same Hurricane Katrina that unleashed its fury on the US Gulf Coast in 2005, Trouble The Water could hardly be more different stylistically from Spike Lee's 2006 mini-series When The Levees Broke. If Lee's reverentially crafted four-act requiem coul
  • TWC to take US, Latin America on next Dario Argento horror movie

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) is in final negotiations to take US and Latin American rights to Dario Argento's forthcoming Giallo which is scheduled to start shooting on March 3.LA-based Hannibal Pictures is handling world sales and also financing the $7-8m picture, which has been described as a return to the genre that the cult horror director pioneered in the 1970s.TWC previously bought rights to Argento's last film,
  • Unified Pictures to debut international sales arm at EFM

    California-based production, financing and distribution company Unified Pictures has launched an international sales division and retained Ann Dubinet to oversee the debut slate at next week's EFM in Berlin.Unified will commence sales on the revenge noir The Perfect Sleep starring Roselyn Sanchez, drama Bob Funk starring Oscar nominee Amy Ryan and Rachael Leigh Cook and thriller
  • United Kingdom - Mountain high

    It has been an exciting year for Summit Entertainment. The company - with ex-Paramount executive Rob Friedman - tapped into a $1bn financing fund via Merrill Lynch to move into US distribution and in-house producing, making it a fully vertically integrated studio with development, financing, domestic distribution, production, and foreign sales and distribution.In 2006, the company had about 45 employees; since the April 2007 financing deal that has grown to more than 100 staff.D
  • United States-Italy - Spike goes to war

    Spike Lee's The Miracle At St Anna is alternatively being billed as the director's Second World War project and as his Italian project. Both are true - it is his first war film and the first project he has shot almost entirely outside the US."It's a miracle this film got made," says Lee of the diverse elements that came together with lightning speed to put the $45m Italy-US co-production in motion.The director says he had an Italian project in mind for years and James McB
  • Untraceable

    Dir. Gregory Hoblit, US, 2008, 100 minsNeither terrifying nor inspiring, Untraceable is still a curious portrait of a society that struggles to police itself, under siege from one of its own children. The much-feared 'enemy within' that Cold Warriors railed about is now sitting at his basement computer and playing with his chemistry set. It's an odd fit in the marketplace, a boiler-plate Jodie Foster tough-girl story (a Silence of the Lambs, several generati
  • Very Best Film scores very best opening in Russia

    Russian comedy The Very Best Film (Samiy Luchshiy Film) smashed box office records in its home territory with a whopping $16.5m opening weekend - the biggest ever opening for a film in the country. The film, distributed through Caroprokat, played across 702 screens in Russia for a massive $23,482 screen average over the four-day period of January 24-27.It beat out 2007 summer Hollywood hit Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End, which previously held the high
  • Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

    A first-time Oscar nominee for best actor, Viggo Mortensen tells Mike Goodridge how he put himself in David Cronenberg’s hands to play a Russian hoodlum in Eastern Promises.
  • Warner Bros taps Oz tax break for next Harry Potter

    Warner Bros is set to be the first company to trigger the 15% post-production, digital and visual effects (PDV) offset introduced by the Australian government in May last year. The studio has signed with local effects house Rising Sun Pictures for some of the visual effects on Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince.The offset aims to encourage foreign films to undertake post-production in Australia irrespective of where they are filmed, but at least $4.48m (A$5m) must be spe
  • Willson tapped to head Universal's new Berlin-based arm

    Andrea Willson has been recruited by Universal Pictures to head its new Berlin-based local production arm to invest in the development and production of German language feature films.Willson had previously been the head of Sony Pictures Entertainment's German production arm Deutsche Columbia Pictures Filmproduktion, where she was involved in such films as Stefan Ruzowitzky's two Anatomy thrillers and the Til Schweiger-starrer Was Tun, Wenn's Brennt until the unit was clos
  • Wonderful Town

    Dir: Aditya Assarat. Thailand, 2007. 92 minsAditya Assarat's first feature, a tragic, melancholy, minimalist love story taking place in what was once a Thai beach resort before the 2004 tsunami hit, offers a poignant portrait of a place grappling with the loss of its main source of income amid the stifling traditions which once might have been considered part of its exotic charm but now only impede its progress. One of the highest-rated films in the Pusan
  • Wonderful Town, Flower and Jamil take Tiger Awards at Rotterdam

    The37th International Film Festival Rotterdam has given this year's three VPRO Tiger Awards to Aditya Assarat's Wonderful Town from Thailand, Liew Seng Tat's Flower In The Pocket from Malaysia, and Omar Shargawi's Go With Peace Jamil (Ma Salama Jamil) from Denmark.Each of the three gets a newly increased cash prize of$22,300 (Euros 15,000) as well as guaranteed broadcast in The Netherlands on sponsor network VPRO.The competition was open to 15 first or
  • Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona lands with the Weinsteins

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) has acquired North American rights to Woody Allen's upcoming comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona starring Javier Bardem, Patricia Clarkson, Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall.Johansson and Hall play two Americans on holiday in Barcelona who become romantically involved with a flamboyant artist and his crazy ex-wife. Kevin Dunn and Chris Messina round out the key cast.The film is currently in p