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4 July 2003

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  • A Long Weekend in Buda And Pest (Het Pesten Et Budan Egy)

    Dir. Karoly Makk. Hungary. 2003. 90mins.While it is by no means a sequel to his celebrated feature Love of 32 years ago, Karoly Makk's new film not only employs the same two leading actors, Mari Torocsik and Ivan Dardas, but also makes extensive use of footage from his earlier picture to provide credible background. All this to suggest that the time has come for Hungarians to put the Communist past to rest, bury the hatchet and accept that life has to go on. Saying it
  • Academy gets tough on Oscar campaigning

    The Academy OfMotion Picture Arts & Sciences yesterday issued strict new guidelines overmarketing practices for Oscar contenders. They aren't guidelines anymore,the Academy statement said, they are 'regulations.'The Academythreatens suspension of membership or expulsion if members indulge in campaignactivities which have undermined the letter or spirit of the regulations andeven suggests that 'more serious violations could result in a film losingits eligibility for
  • Academy gets tough on Oscar campaigning

    The Academy OfMotion Picture Arts & Sciences yesterday issued strict new guidelines overmarketing practices for Oscar contenders. They aren't guidelines anymore,the Academy statement said, they are "regulations."The Academythreatens suspension of membership or expulsion if members indulge in campaignactivities which have undermined the letter or spirit of the regulations andeven suggests that "more serious violations could result in a film losingits eligibility for awards consideration
  • Andie MacDowell signs on for The Last Sign

    Despite the disappointing results of her last European effort, 2002's Ginostra, Andie MacDowell has once again hooked up with a French producer.Claude Carrere, whose credits include cult hit Nid De Guepes and recent release Corps A Corps, will produce MacDowell in The Last Sign. Director Douglas Law began shooting early takes in Montreal on June 25.The film, which has been in development for four years, is based on the book Un Soleil Trop Tard
  • Angels go Full Throttle with $12.5m in 11 territories for CTFDI

    Charlie'sAngels: Full Throttleopened with a kick in 11 territories over the weekend, taking $12.5m on 1,386screens for Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI).The actioner opened day-and-date with the US in thecountries and topped the charts in nine of the 11. In the remaining twoterritories, it was the highest grossing Hollywood film.In Japan, thefilm scored the third biggest opening of the year with $5.3m on 467 screens.That was more t
  • AOL Time Warner reduces Chinese TV stake

    AOL Time Warner has sold a controlling stake in Chinese Entertainment Television (CETV) to Hong Kong's, less than two years after the channel was granted broadcast rights in mainland China.Diversified media company, owned by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing, is paying US$6.8m for a 64% stake in CETV. It will also invest up to US$30m over 30 months to finance the broadcaster's operations.AOL Time Warner retains a 36% stake in the channel. It also has an option to buy
  • Asia Pacific Film Festival postponed until 2004

    The 4th Sydney Asia Pacific Film Festival, scheduled for August, has been postponed until next year because SARS and other international uncertainties prevented organisers from travelling widely and accessing films."As a principal focus of the festival this year was to be Hong Kong, the SARS situation made it doubly difficult," said chair and co-director Paul de Carvalho. The festival is the only one in Australia dedicated to Asian film, although Asian product is usually well re
  • Australian strike action threatens film production

    A breakdown in negotiations between Australian performers and producers over the new film and television agreements could lead to strike action - but only a long-running dispute is likely to affect Australian films because of how few are heading into production. Offshore films shooting in Australia are covered under a different agreement so are exempt.The casts of three television series, however, have unanimously agreed to pursue industrial action and others will vote on the is
  • Battle Royale II storms Japanese box office

    Battle Royale II - Requiem, the sequel to Kinji Fukasaku's 2000 hit Battle Royale, had a better Japanese opening weekend than the original - and for that matter than any other film in the history of distributor Toei. Released on 261 screens on July 5, BR2 earned $2.8m (Y337m) from 230,00 admissions. BR2's opening gross was 64% better than that of Battle Royale, as well as achieving a 49.8% gain over Yoshimitsu Morita's Lost Paradise (199
  • Battle Royale II: Requiem

    Dir: Kinji Fukasaku, Kenta Fukasaku. Japan. 133mins.Blood squib for blood squib, Battle Royale, Kinji Fukasaku's last completed film did not show much that had not been shown before. Based on a best-selling novel about a "class" of 42 teen troublemakers forced to murder each other by a repressive government it caused shock in Japan more due to the tender age of the victims than the scale of the slaughter. Having been warned away by their elders, the young lined up for
  • Bavaria Film takes int'l sales on Tuschi's feature debut

    Bavaria Film International will handle international sales on Cyril Tuschi's feature debut SommerHundeSoehne which is set to shoot on location in Spain and Morocco this October. The low-budget production between Tuschi's Lala Films! and Nicholas Conradt's Friends Production has received backing from Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg and broadcaster ARTE and has already been picked up for German theatrical release by Academy Films.Scripted by Tuschi with Ole Ortmann, Barbara Os
  • Birch Tree Meadow wins Munich's Bernhard Wicki prize

    Marceline Loridan-Ivens has been awarded the Euros 25,000 "Bernhard Wicki Film Prize - The Bridge 2003" for her exploration of her own and Germany's past in La Petite Prairie Aux Bouleaux (A Birch Tree Meadow) at a gala ceremony during this week's Munich Film Festival. The film's lead actress Anouk Aimee was presented with an Honorary Award.The Prize, which was created last year by legendary German filmmaker Bernhard Wicki's widow Elisabeth Wicki-Endriss "to honour filmmakers an
  • Black hole looms for UK finance

    With debate raging over what should replace the UK's influential tax deferrals, only two things are certain. Firstly, many in the industry support preserving a status quo that last year saw investors shelter $2.7bn (£1.6 bn) through sale and leaseback schemes and, to a far smaller extent, riskier production schemes.Secondly, change is on the cards, with both the UK Film Council and research body British Screen Advisory Council (BSAC) submitting proposals to focus the tax deferra
  • Bright Leaves

    Dir: Ross McElwee. US. 2003. 107minsBright Leaves may start out exploring the deadly allure of tobacco but it soon mushrooms into an engaging mixture of family album, social history and human eccentricity. Best known as the award-winning director of Sherman's March (1986), Ross McElwee now has an enviable track record of transforming personal obsession into priceless documentary essays. Bright Leaves is one of his most entertaining and accessible films an
  • Canada's Cineplex moves booking role to Los Angeles

    Canadian distribution and exhibition veteran Tony Cianciotta is leaving Cineplex Odeon Canada (COC), where he held the position senior vp of film, the top booking job at Canada's second-largest exhibitor. One of the most respected players in the North American industry, Cianciotta told Screen International that the company had offered him a golden parachute and he accepted. In a separate statement issued the same day (Wednesday), COC announced that Cianciotta's position w
  • Czech producers plan private film commission

    Czech film producers have started a working group to establish a Czech film commission and are prepared to move ahead with the project even without financial support from local and national governments. "The commission we are setting up at this stage is essentially a private one," said Matthew Stillman, head of local production house Stillking Films and one of the organisers of the group, speaking at a press conference following the first meeting of the Czech Film Committee during the
  • De Jong sails Kameleon to Dutch success

    Director Steven de Jong's new film, The Skippers Of The Kameleon (De Schippers Van De Kameleon) swept into Dutch cinemas last weekend with a $414,743 (Euros 362,900) opening gross.The Dutch-language film, released by Independent Film with Bridge Entertainment, sold 84,000 tickets in its first five days, setting an opening weekend record for a local family/children's title.Kameleon is the biggest Dutch opening so far this year, ahead of Independent Film's Liever
  • Depuis Qu'Otar Est Parti wins Prix Michel d'Ornano

    Cannes Critics' Week winner, Depuis Qu'Otar Est Parti has been announced as the winner of the 13th annual Prix Michel d'Ornano. The film's director and screenwriter Julie Bertuccelli will receive the award at the Deauville Festival of American Film in September.The prize was created as an aid to writers and rewards a debut feature-length film. Named after Michel d'Ornano, the former mayor of Deauville and the founder of the American film festival, the prize is sponsored by membe
  • Disney closes French animation studio

    After 15 years of activity, the Disney animation studio based in Montreuil, France is to be closed. Located just outside Paris, the studio had worked on several of Disney's feature animation projects including The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan and Jungle Book 2.The news was made official in June when all 89 employees of the studio were laid off. The proposals made by Disney do not, however, sit well with the fired staff who claim they will fight for bet
  • Eila

    Dir. Jarmo Lampela. Finland. 2003. 94minsA neatly packaged but pretty slender melodrama combining social consciousness and parental guilt, Jarmo Lampela's new picture would have been more comfortable in a family TV slot than in the competition of a film festival. Though it attempts to echo the dry, deadpan approach of Finland's premier filmmaker, Aki Kaurismaki, it lacks both the irony and the compassion that distinguishes work from the director of The Man Without a
  • Enterprise Australia promotes sustainable film business

    A number of Australian government agencies have joined forces and recruited media management consultant Jonathan Olsberg from the UK-based Olsberg SPI to help Australian producers stop living a hand-to-mouth existence between productions and start developing sustainable businesses. Enterprise Australia has been adapted from similar programs held in the UK and Europe, and is aimed at those producers who are already successfully producing projects for the screen. The focus will be on lon
  • Equator posts $2m pre-tax loss for 2002

    Equator Group, the UK media concern which earlier this year ended take-over talks with Handmade Films, has posted a pre-tax loss for last year of $2m (£1.2m).The red ink was in contrast to a profit of $789,000 (£475,000) the year before. Equator's sales also dropped steeply, falling to $613,000 (£369,000) from $2.3m (£1.36m).Equator managing director Ian Robertson said he will assume the duties of chairman pending the appointment of a new non-executive chairman. The former chair
  • Eurimages backs 10 co-productions

    New features by Thomas Vinterberg (Dear Wendy), Auli Mantila (Ystavani Henry) and Robinson Savary (Bye-Bye Blackbird) are among ten projects supported with a total of Euros 3.8m by the pan-European co-production fund Eurimages in its latest round of funding decided at a committee meeting in Riga.The complete list of projects backed is:Bye-Bye Blackbird (Luxembourg, Germany, France, UK) - Robinson SavaryDear Wendy (Denmark, France, Germany,
  • Facing Windows cleans up at Italy's Golden Globes

    Ferzan Ozpetek's Facing Windows swept the Italian Golden Globe awards last night, taking five awards including Best Film, and Best Actor and Actress for Filippo Nigro and Giovanna Mezzogiorno, respectively. The film also picked up the Best Music prize, for Andrea Guerra, and Best Screenplay, for Ozpetek and writing partner Gianni Romoli. The Best Director award, however, went to former Oscar winner Gabriele Salvatores for I'm Not Scared.Best non-Italian Eur
  • Field narrows in Vivendi Universal race

    A trio of companies from the original six which expressed an interest may now head the race to buy Vivendi Universal's US entertainment assets which include Universal Pictures film studio.According to published reports, MGM, Liberty Media and Viacom are likely to make a shortlist that gives them access to a second level of financial data and allow them to make a final, firm bid. But other press reports say that Jean-Bernard Levy, Vivendi chief operating officer, is due to hold meetings
  • France continues resistance to film advertising on TV

    The French government appears to have won another round in its ongoing battle against film advertising on television. Since May 2002, an EU commission under the guidance of Frits Bolkstein, has been pushing for television advertising access for several sectors previously banned from putting commercials on air. Among them, supermarkets, press, publishing and film.In April this year, French culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon made proposals to Brussels which would allow for a r
  • France increases production aid to encourage export

    The French national cinema centre (CNC) has announced the establishment of a new form of aid to filmmakers based on export potential.L'IFCIC, the institute for film and cultural industry financing, which acts as a guarantor for loans made to filmmakers - most notably behind film finance structure Coficine - will now extend its guarantee to cover film export.This aid will guarantee loans made by French banks to film and television producers and potentially allow for stronger pre-
  • French actors' strike threatens festivals

    Following May's nationwide disruptions in France, which saw strikes paralyse everything from schools to trains to the postal service, the French protest bandwagon is rolling again this month with actors and technicians now at the forefront.Industry workers are protesting a proposed cut in unemployment benefits that would see them move from working 507 hours over 12 months for eligibility to 507 hours in 10 and a half months of 'on-time.'Following a protest Tuesday when 60 artist
  • French film production on the increase

    Despite the overall malaise affecting the French cinema sector this year, with box-office down for the first half compared to 2002, film production is on the rise. According to French weekly trade Le Film Francais, figures released by the National Cinema Centre (CNC), reveal that 82 films were greenlit between January 1 and June 15, 2003 - ten more than for the same period last year.Investment was also up - to Euros 415m from Euros 398m for first semester of 2002.
  • French strike action results in temporary concession

    In their fight to quash a change in unemployment benefits, France's "intermittents du spectacle" - or part-time showbiz workers - won a temporary reprieve when culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon agreed to maintain the current system until the end of 2003. The workers are rallying against an agreement signed by all the major unions except the powerful CGT on June 27 which would see artists and technicians forced to work 507 hours over ten and a half months rather than the current 50
  • Full Throttle scores at international box office in 43 markets

    Columbia TriStar FilmDistributors International (CTFDI) scored the biggest international hit of theweek with Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, which added another 32 territories to its existing 11 and scored$22.3m on 3,982 prints.Although Full Throttle struggled to hold up domestically, drops in those 11foreign markets were less dramatic. For example, in Japan, it fell 29% to take$2.8m for a total of $11.9m, and in Korea, it fell 21% to take $1.8m for atotal of $5.5m
  • German distributors pay back subsidies

    Thanks to the commercial success of such releases as the Oscar-winning Nowhere In Africa, scifi horror pic Resident Evil and 2002's top local film Bibi Blocksberg, producer-distributor Constantin Film has been able to pay back more than Euros 1.5m in production and distribution subsidies to the Bavarian public fund FFF Bayern and the Bavarian Bank Fund (BBF).FFF Bayern funding executive Nikolaus Prediger told Screen Daily that Constantin's distribution arm C
  • GERMANY, AUSTRIA, SWITZ Prod Lists - July 4 2003

    AUSTRIA/GERMANY & SWITZERLAND - July 4AUSTRIAPRE-PRODUCTIONIM JAHR DES PFERDES (Wildart Film) Backers: Filmfonds Wien, BKA, Land Upper Austria. Documentary. Story of the Asian community in Vienna and the Khmer in Helsinki and Cambodia. Prod: Vincent Lucassen. Dir/scr: Ebba Sinzinger. DoP: Wolfgang Thaler. Ed: Karina Ressler. Shooting from summer 2003 in Helsinki, Vienna, Linz and Pnom Penh. Contact: Vincent Lucassen, Wildart Film, (43)
  • Germany's Helkon Media sells remaining assets

    German media group Helkon Media is now practically nothing more than a name after the insolvency administrator Axel W. Bierbach sold the bulk of the film library to the Hamburg-based investment company Aurum Beteiligungs- und Verwaltungs GmbH. The asset deal was greenlit by Helkon's creditor banks and the creditors committee, and both parties agreed to maintain a silence on the purchase price. This latest nail in the bankrupt group's coffin comes some six months after two of He
  • Guild of German arthouse cinemas fete Good Bye, Lenin!

    Wolfgang Becker's runaway hit Good Bye, Lenin! won the Gold Award in the Best German Film category of the Guild of German Arthouse Cinema Awards at a ceremony in Marburg's Cineplex cinema. Fatih Akin's family drama Solino picked up Silver .In the Best Foreign Film category, the Guild members gave the Gold Award to the French film Une Hirondelle A Fait Le Printemps and Silver to Gurinder Chadhha's Bend It LIke Beckham. During the Guild's AGM the memb
  • High Hopes Award goes to French producing duo

    French producers Jean-Philippe Andraca and Christian Berard of Paris-based Les Films A4 have received the Euros 25,000 High Hopes Award, donated by the German collection society GWFF, for their production of Robert Kechichian's feature debut Aram, which was co-produced with StudioCanal and BAC Films.In its decision, the jury of distribution expert Veronika Morawetz, producer Norbert Preuss and KirchMedia's feature film division head Philipp Riccabona expressed its admiration for
  • Highsmith's White On White starts UK shoot

    Shooting started in the UK this week on White On White, the latest outing of Patricia Highsmith's anti-hero Ripley, produced and backed by German fund Cinerenta. Lakeshore Entertainment is handling international distribution.Based on Highsmith's novel Ripley Underground, the protagonist Tom Blessing - AKA Ripley - will be played by Barry Pepper. Director is Roger Spottiswoode, whose credits include Tomorrow Never Dies. Also cast are Willem Dafoe, Claire Forl
  • Hochbetrieb wins FFA Short Tiger award

    Hochbetrieb by Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg (FBW) student Andreas Krein has won this year's Euros 25,000 Short Tiger award sponsored by the German Federal Film Board (FFA) for students at German film schools.The other five nominees - including two fellow FBW students, Sven Martin (Ritterschlag) and Anna Matysik (Post Card), Oliver Held (Spring, Academy for Media Arts/Cologne), Maximilian Erlenwein (John Lee And Me, dffb), and Ozgur Yildirim (Der
  • Hong Kong box office succumbs to Twins Effect

    Two diminutive vampire-slayers are kicking Charlie's Angels' butts at the Hong Kong box office.Emperor Multimedia Group's The Twins Effect, starring Hong Kong pop sensation Twins and a special appearance by Jackie Chan, grossed $2m in the week ending July 2 - more than four times the opening week gross of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.By July 3, the action comedy - which opened Tuesday, June 24 - had a 10-day gross of $2.57m. In comparison, The Matrix R
  • India to invest $50m in international film festival location

    The Governments of India and Goa, and the Confederation of Indian Industries are clubbing together to invest $50m into a project to turn the coastal tourist paradise of Goa into the permanent location for India's travelling International Film festival.The 35th edition of the International Film Festival of India in October 2004 will be held in the former Portuguese colony, and will include an annual film and television market.Festival events will be held within a one kilometre ra
  • Indian box office heats up for the summer

    Seven local box-office hits released over the last few months have brought much-needed relief to the Hindi film industry of Mumbai. Raj Kanwar's Andaaz, Ken Ghosh's Ishq Vishk, Aziz Mirza's Chalte Chalte, Ram Gopal Varma's Bhoot, Tigmanshu Dhulia's Haasil, Sujoy Ghosh's Jhankaar Beats and Sooraj Barjatya's Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon have all been successful at the Indian box office.Rajshri Productions' latest contemporary love story
  • Indian director joins with US producer for Chess mystery Move 5

    Mumbai-based Hindi Film Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra and his company Vinod Chopra Productions have entered into an agreement with Los Angeles-based Bobby Newmyer and Jeff Silver of Outlaw Productions to produce a Hollywood English-language film, Move 5.Move 5 is about two men playing a game of chess, in which one player is dead and the other alive. Throughout the game, The living player tries to discover the reasons behind the other's death. The film is in pre-production a
  • Internationalmedia stock gets boost from T3 expectations

    Shares in IM Internationalmedia, Intermedia's corporate parent, rose 19% this week ahead of the US release yesterday of the company's high stakes behemoth, Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines.Shares in the US-German film operation were at Euros 1.61 at press time late yesterday afternoon, 1.23% down from Tuesday's close of Euros 1.63. Mo Schlattner, Internationalmedia's spokesperson in Munich, put the rise down to a good critical response to the film and sell-out previews on Tues
  • Italy's Cattleya unveils dynamic production slate

    Founded in 1999 by former Medusa producers Riccardo Tozzi, Marco Chimenz and Giovanni Stabilini, Cattleya is proving itself to be one of the most dynamic independent production companies in Italy today.On Tuesday, Tozzi announced a slate of high-profile films that the company is preparing for the 2003-2004 season, featuring such European stars as Sergio Castellito (The Hour Of Religion), Penelope Cruz and Sophie Marceau. "European cinema is
  • Koktebel

    Dir. Boris Khlebnikov, Alexei Popogrebsky. Russia. 2003. 100mins.One of the nicest surprises at Moscow, this unprepossessing but remarkably sensitive road movie will most likely have a very busy festival career - and not just because it took the Grand Jury Special Prize and the Silver St. George. Rather, few selectors will able to resist Koktebel's simple, straightforward, unadorned approach and its understated, laconic style, as it follows an 11-year-old boy and h
  • Korean multiplex breaks single-day ticket sales record

    A 16-screen multiplex run by South Korea's Megabox Cineplex has broken a local one-day admissions record, with the venue selling a total of 31,372 tickets on Saturday June 28. Believing this to also be a new world record, the company intends to submit a formal application to the Guinness Book of World Records.The tally tops a previous record set by the same venue on July 28, 2001 when 30,378 tickets were sold in a single day. Located in Seoul's COEX Mall, the multiplex is one
  • Korea's Taewon and Cinema Service may end partnership

    South Korean import/production company Taewon Entertainment has announced that it is transferring local distribution rights for Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King from Cinema Service to rival distributor CJ Entertainment. The switch virtually guarantees CJ Entertainment a third smash hit for 2003, following Memories Of Murder ($26m) and My Tutor Friend ($25m), which currently top the year's box-office rankings. The first two instalments
  • Little Studio strikes two-picture deal with director Claridge

    US management and production company Little Studio Films has concluded a two-picture directing deal with Munich-based British director Peter Claridge for two of its feature projects - action thriller Terminal Leave and the romantic comedy The Vedova.The Vedova, which is set entirely in Italy and in the style of Michael Radford's Il Postino, is being planned as a co-production between Little Studio Films and Italy's Progetto Immagine, while Terminal Leave
  • Local films get high presence at first Copenhagen festival

    The first edition of the Copenhagen International Film Festival, August 13-20, has announced its main competition line-up, which includes three local productions and two Danish co-productions. The three local titles are Jesper W. Nielsen's The Bouncer (Manden Bag Doeren), Torben Skjoedt Jensen's The Tenth Muse (Afgrunden) and Swedish-born newcomer Anders Gustafsson's Scratch (Bagland). These will compete for the festival's Golden Swan with another 11 titles
  • Lombardo promoted to president of Cinesite Hollywood

    Dan Lombardo has been namedpresident and Jerry Pooler is stepping into a new role of executive director,creative, at Cinesite Hollywood, the LA digital facility which was founded in1992 and opened Cinesite (Europe) in London in 1994.Lombardo, who joinedCinesite two years ago as vice president of production, will also continue inthe role of general manager. He succeeds Ruth Scovill as president. Poolerjoined Cinesite in 1992 when the facility opened and oversaw the d
  • Macquarie, Nine raise $13.6m for second production fund

    Australians had reached into their pockets for $13.6m (A$20m) by the time the clock struck midnight on June 30, the deadline for investment in Macquarie Bank and the Nine Network's second film and television production fund. While they did not dig as deeply as last year, which saw $16m (A$23.6m) raised, it will enable two of the five features in the prospectus to be produced. The $3m (A$4.5) comedy You And Your Stupid Mate is about two friends who learn they have to work
  • Media Business School seeks applicants for training course

    The pan-European Media Business School (MBS) has announced a July 28 deadline for applications to the upcoming fourth edition in October of its Marketing & Distribution training course.A maximum of 16 participants will be selected to attend the course, which is jointly organised by MBS and UIP and supported by the MEDIA Plus Programme of the European Union.The course offers young film executives first-hand training from leading European and American professionals. The course beg
  • New German distributor to release Don's Plum

    RD Robb and John Schindler's Don's Plum, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, will now be released in Germany by new distributor Favorit Film.Established in the Bavarian town of Wasserburg by Bernhard Troestl and Esther Jakub, Favorit Film has also picked up Andrea and Antonio Frazzi's World War 2 drama Il Cielo Cade, starring Isabella Rosselini and Jeroen Krabbe.However, the new player's first release - on July 10 - will be Joe Duebell's Grossglocknerl
  • New UK distributor, Georgia Films, launched

    UK-based tax financier Lucky UKFS, headed by Philippe Martinez of US production-sales outfit Bauer Martinez Studios and Alan Latham, has appointed distributor Martin Myers to launch a new UK distributor, Georgia Films.The venture is kicking off with a September release for Citizen Verdict, Bauer Martinez's thriller about a reality TV producer played by talk-TV personality Jerry Springer. Also confirmed is UK film Shoreditch.Bauer Martinez and UKFS have already team
  • New Zealand producers seek new chief executive

    Jane Wrightson has resigned from her post as chief executive of New Zealand's Screen Production and Development Association to take up the role of chief executive of the Broadcasting Standards Authority from mid-August.Wrightson, former chief executive of New Zealand On Air, former chief film censor and one-time commissioning editor for Television New Zealand, takes over from Evan Voyce. "Jane's working experience in the broadcasting sector, her experience in managing a highly f
  • OpenPictures and Intertainment seal strategic partnership

    Intertainment and Munich-based development, production and distribution company OpenPictures have concluded a strategic partnership which includes a co-operation on jointly financing and marketing international feature films with US major studios and legal financing against Franchise Pictures and other parties involved in a $100m litigation.In a statement, Intertainment said "OpenPictures concurs with the legal position of Intertainment and anticipates a positive outcome to the trial [
  • Osbourne to star in Malice In Sunderland

    Kelly Osbourne, of hit TV series The Osbournes, is to star in Malice In Sunderland, a contemporary reworking of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.Simon Fellows is to direct the UK-German co-production, with shooting scheduled to shoot later this year. Mark Byrne of the UK's What's The Story is producing, while Christian Beutel of MagicWorx GmbH (Germany) is co-producing. Solveig Langeland of Bjorg Veland's BV International Pictures will handle international s
  • Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

    Dir: Gore Verbinski. US. 2003. 144 mins.Thank heavens for Johnny Depp. The maverick actor who has generally avoided roles in Hollywood event pictures to date survives his first Jerry Bruckheimer production not only with integrity intact but the knowledge that he enhances the end product to such a degree that its sloppy by-the-numbers plot seems less transparent than is usual in Mr Bruckheimer's annual extravaganzas. And Depp looks like he is having fun as cockney pirate J
  • Poland's Era New Horizons film festival returns for 3rd edition

    The Era New Horizons Film Festival is back in Poland with its third edition to celebrate innovative arthouse films.The festival, which runs from July 17-27 in Cieszyn, southern Poland, sold almost 40,000 tickets last year. This year it is set to showcase over 100 screenings of the latest productions that go beyond the limits of conventional cinema.The annual festival will kick off with Lars von Trier's Dogville, starring Nicole Kidman and will close with Francoise Ozon's
  • Raintree, Spaceworks team for English-language co-productions

    Singapore's Raintree Pictures is teaming up with Toronto-based production company Spaceworks Entertainment to co-produce two English-language films. The first to go into production will be romantic comedy Leap Of Love, adapted from the novel by Singapore author Catherine Lim. Seah Wee Thye, who previously directed two of Singapore's top-rating TV sitcoms - Under One Roof and Phua Chu Kang, is attached to direct the US$2m film. The project participated in las
  • Reloaded leaps to $410m and number ten of all time

    Warner Bros Pictures/VillageRoadshow's The Matrix Reloaded passedthe $400m mark at the international box office over the weekend; with its $410mtotal, it has now surpassed Spider-Man ($403m) as the tenth highest grossing international hit of all time. It is the first film inhistory to surpass $100m in a single weekend in international markets and thehighest grossing US R-rated film of all time, surpassing Terminator 2:Judgment Day and The Bodyguard.Wi
  • RTL, Planeta reach agreement on Antena 3

    Luxembourg-based RTL Group and Spain's Grupo Planeta have reached an agreement which could see both companies increasing their stakes in Spanish free-to-air broadcaster Antena 3.Following the IPO of Antena 3 planned before year-end, RTL Group and Grupo Planeta could up their respective 17.2% and 25.1% shares in the channel, the companies said Monday.RTL Group will also retain its two existing seats on Antena 3's board of directors, to be occupied by finance director Thomas Rabe
  • Rywin teams with Atlantic Alliance for Holocaust drama

    AtlanticAlliance Pictures, a recently formed joint venture between two US producers anda third in the UK, has teamed up with Lew Rywin and his Heritage Films inPoland to produce its first feature Love Is A Survivor.Heritagecollaborated with both Steven Spielberg on Schindler's List and with Roman Polanski on ThePianist, although Rywinhimself is currently facing criminal charges in Warsaw of corruption.Love Is ASurvivor echoes Schindler's List and T
  • South Africa to host second '3 Continents' film festival

    South Africa will host the second 3 Continents Film Festival this September, showcasing recent documentary and feature-length films from Latin America, Africa and Asia that explore human rights issues. The 3 Continents Film Festival is an initiative of Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), Southern African Communications for Development (SACOD) and Uhuru Productions.The event will build on the successful first 3 Continents Festival held last September in Buenos Aires, hosted by the La
  • Spain's BocaBoca to double feature output

    Spanish producer BocaBoca is planning to more than double its recent feature film output with an ambitious 2003-2004 slate and a new five-year production plan. Whereas in the last two years the company has produced just two films - well-received thriller Nos Miran, still going strong on the genre festival circuit, and youth drama 4th Floor (Planta 4a), invited to screen at the Montreal festival this autumn - BocaBoca's plans now envisage two to three films per year.
  • Spanish digital merger concluded

    Spain's Sogecable and Via Digital have completed the merger of their pay TV platforms, joined in new unit Digital+, with Wednesday's integration of Telefonica-backed Via Digital into Grupo Prisa and Groupe Canal+ -backed Sogecable. Digital+, the merged offspring of Canal Satelite Digital (CSD) and Via Digital, will be launched at the end of the month. The new line-up of channels, yet to be unveiled, will be readily accessible by existing CSD and Via Digital subscribers. Followin
  • Strand takes The Child I Never Was for US release

    US indie distributor Strand Releasing has picked up Kai S Pieck's feature debut The Child I Never Was (Ein Leben Lang Kurze Hosen Tragen) (pictured) which is being handled internationally by Bavaria Film International.Premiering last year at the Hof Film Days, the film is based on the life of Germany's most famous child murderer Juergen Bartsch who, between the ages of 15 and 19, abused, tortured and killed four schoolboys in the Ruhr region of Germany from 1962 to 1966.
  • Stuttgart film festival reveals competition line-up

    Paula van der Oest's Zus & Zo, the opening film of this year's Filmfest Stuttgart Ludwigsburg (July 10-15, 2003), Lukas Moodysson's Lilya 4-ever, Karim Dridi's Rage and Sandra Goldbacher's Me Without You are among 14 films from 14 European countries competing for around Euros 70,000 in prize money.The international jury of producer-distributor Karl Baumgartner, producer Helmut Grasser, actresses Nina Hoger and Leslie Malton, and director Andrej Nekrasov will
  • Swedish Film Institute re-awards funding to troubled production

    Exactly one year after the Swedish Film Institute's (SFI) unprecedented decision to withdraw its financial support of $619,000 (SEK5m) for the screen adaptation of 2001 local best seller Popular Music From Vittula (Popularmusik fran Vittula), the production has received a new grant of $866,000 (SEK7m) from the SFI.The state funding makes up a third of the film's budget. The rest of the financing comes from Solar Films in Hesinki, Nordisk Film and TV Fund in Oslo and Filmp
  • Sydney screening of Ken Park raided by police

    Australian police stepped in to prevent a much-publicised Sydney screening of the banned US film Ken Park. The film hardly got past the opening credits before the it was confiscated in front of the capacity crowd gathered at an inner city town hall.Several of the organisers, including high-profile critic Margaret Pomeranz and president of the Film Critics Circle of Australia Julie Rigg, accompanied officers to the nearby police station. Rigg told Screen International that
  • T3's first day gross of $16.5m sends Intermedia shares soaring

    Having climbed 19% lastweek, Intermedia shares had rocketed a further 18% by press time yesterday asopening figures for Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines came in. The film, which grossed $4m on Tuesdaynight previews, took $12.5m on its first full day on release yesterday throughWarner Bros, bringing its first day total to $16.5m. Intermedia is estimating afive-day gross in the $70m range.Shares in IMInternationalmedia, Intermedia's corporate parent, were at Euros 2.09 at
  • Ten first-time directors to compete at Guadarrama fest

    Asif Kapadia's The Warrior and Eduard Cortes' Nobody's Life (La Vida De Nadie) are among the ten films to compete at next week's second annual International Film Festival of Guadarrama in Spain (July 12-23).Only first-time feature directors are eligible to compete at Guadarrama, where jury and public prizes are awarded. Director-producer Eduardo Campoy, current president of the Spanish Producers' Federation, will be the subject of a tribute at the event.The remaini
  • Terminator 3 pays off with $72.5m opening

    Terminator 3:Rise Of The Machines,the most expensive independently financed movie of all time, paid off for itsbackers Intermedia and parent company IM Internationalmedia AG with anestimated $44.1m opening in the Friday to Sunday period and a total of $72.5msince its first previews last Tuesday night.The $175m epicsci-fi actioner which is produced by Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar of C2 Pictureswith Intermedia and Hal Lieberman was the box office champion of the holidayweekend for
  • The Island (L'Isola)

    Dir: Costanza Quatriglio. Italy. 2003. 102mins.A coming of age film set on Favignana, an island off western Sicily known for its tuna fishing traditions, The Island (L'Isola) is so relentlessly charming and so ravishingly shot that one can almost forgive a lack of dramatic backbone. Dealing with themes that arise from the unhealthy closeness of this isolated community and the ever-present sea - a source of income, a bridge to the outside world, but also a taker
  • UK's Metrodome reduces losses by 30%

    UK media concern Metrodome Group slashed its losses over the last financial year, largely driven by its UK release of US indie film Donnie Darko.The company, which has been refocusing on distributing film and TV product, posted losses for the full year after taxation of $1.8m (£1.1m), almost a third of 2002's loss of $5.2m (£3.2m).The company said that Donnie Darko had generated sales of more than $3.3m (£2m) so far. It also confirmed that its German parent, TV-Loo
  • UK's Script Factory launches training programme for writers

    Lawless Heart director Neil Hunter and producers Andrea Calderwood, Robyn Slovo and Kate Ogborn are to act as mentors for young writers on a new teaching programme launched by writers training The Script Factory.The week-long workshop kicks off on July 14 and will benefit ten up-and-coming young screenwriters.The writers will workshop projects including a Graham Greene adaptation and a biopic of British civil rights activist Michael X. Actor workshops led by performers fr
  • Universal takes in another $16.4m from The Hulk

    Universal's TheHulk took $16.4m from 3,316 printsin 21 territories over the weekend, bringing its total so far to $38.73m with27 countries to open. It opened number one in both France, Spain and Belgiumand is set to open in the UK on July 18, in Japan on Aug 2 and China inSeptember.In France, it opened onWednesday with a single day total of $1.2m, the fourth biggest opening day forUniversal in the market. Its weekend total of $4.4m at 692 theatres was thestud
  • Vienna International Film Festival courts controversy

    The seeds for a potentially controversial Vienna International Film Festival (Viennale, October 17-29) have been sown with the inclusion of two special programmes - one dedicated to US actor-director Vincent Gallo and the second to Austrian filmmaking as a riposte to Austria's Secretary of State for the Arts Franz Morak.The Gallo showcase, which "wants to offer the controversial filmmaker, radical author and idiosyncratic actor the space and freedom he deserves in cinema", will include
  • Wiedemann to head new Danish talent development fund

    Editor turned scriptwriter turned film commissioner, Vinca Wiedemann, has been appointed artistic director of the new $3.9m Talent Development Fund at the Danish Film Institute (DFI). The new fund has been established by public broadcasters DR, TV2/Danmark and the Film Institute as part of the four-year media agreement. Its starts operating from Sep1, and will have an annual budget of $3.9m, which is earmarked for the support of young and upcoming filmmakers. Since 1999, Wiedema