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4 May 2007

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  • $80m investment fund to cashflow UK tax credit

    An $80m (£40m) investment fund has been set up to cashflow the new UK tax credit.The Limelight Fund is offering producers who qualify for the incentive finance on what it says is a competitive terms.UK producers David Parfitt and Christopher Figg are amongst the scheme's designers and sit on Limelight's board. They promise a finance scheme that is geared towards producer needs rather than tax avoidance.'We first got involved with this because, like most independent produc
  • Arthouse Films launches screening series at New York's 5 Ninth

    Arthouse Films and the partners of 5 Ninth restaurant in New York's meatpacking district have launched a new film salon and screening series called the Film Salon at 5 Ninth.The series will start on Monday nights in May, focusing on films by and about artists.The evenings will include screenings, food, drink and discussions with directors and producers. The initial films selected include: James Crump's Black White + Gray
  • Beyond Belief

    Dir: Beth Murphy. US. 2007. 98mins.Beyond Belief follows two 9/11 widows outside Boston as they rebuild their families. The women move beyond grief and beyond their own experience to start a charity to help the thousands of Afghan women whose hardships from decades of war and discrimination is barely know to most Americans. The documentary is a motivational tale about turning a misfortune into an opportunity for empathy and healing.
  • Bona Culture branches out from Polybona

    Li Chiyan, one of the founding members of Polybona Film Distribution along with Yu Dong, has left the company to form his own distribution outfit, Bona Culture. The new company plans to distribute around ten films a year of which eight will be Chinese-language and two will be foreign films distributed on a flat-fee basis. It has already released its first film, E-mail, directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Guangbei, which opened on April 12. Upcoming releases include Kung
  • Cannes Classics to include Wajda's presentation of Kanal

    The Cannes Film Festival today announced its program for the Cannes Classics sidebar which aids in the rediscovery of great works via restored prints and theatrical or DVD releases.This year, the section is presented under the patronage of Andrzej Wajda who will introduce a restored copy of Kanal, winner of the Special Jury Award at Cannes in 1957. Jane Fonda will also be on hand to pay homage to her late father Henry Fonda at a screening of S
  • Cannes Directors Fortnight bookended by debuts from Corbijn, Kogut

    This year's Directors Fortnight will open at Cannes with Anton Corbijn's Control, a biopic of late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. The closing film is also a first film, Mutum, from Brazilian director Sandra Kogut.In total 23 films round out the main selection with nine first time features which are also eligible for the Camera d'Or prize. The selection is heavy on French films whereas other sections appear to favour foreigners: the official competition boasts a bevy
  • Cannes do attitudes

    It is difficult to imagine what the mood was like at the inaugural Cannes film festival, which this year reaches its 60th birthday.The concept of an event celebrating cinema in all its manifestations and pitting films against each other competitively was still relatively novel back in 1946. The seaside resort was also looking to extend its tourist season. So altruism had to rub shoulders with commercial pragmatism from the outset.During my first Cannes in the mid-1970s, I was wa
  • Chris Kraus's Four Minutes takes best film Lola

    Chris Kraus's prison drama Four Minutes (Vier Minuten) was awarded the Golden Lola for Best Film at this year's German Film Awards at the weekend in Berlin.Produced by sisters Meike and Alexandra Kordes of the Berlin-based production outfit Kordes & Kordes Film, the film also picked up the Lola for Best Lead Actress for Monika Bleibtreu, who turned 63 on the day of the ceremony. Sold to 40 territories by Beta Cinema,
  • Darfur doc Sand And Sorrow to close IETFF in Monte Carlo

    A preview of Paul Freedman's Darfur documentary Sand And Sorrow narrated and produced by George Clooney will close the inaugural International Emerging Talent Film Festival (IETFF), which runs in Monte Carlo, Monaco, from May 13-15.Thom Fitzgerald's AIDS drama 3 Needles will open the event, which is screening 11 features including the world premieres of Douglas Horn's US romantic comedy
  • Debut feature wins Golden Kingfisher in Plzen

    Coming-of-age drama Pusinky (Dolls) won the grand prize at the 20th Film Festival Finale Plzen on Saturday. Karin Babinska's debut feature, Dolls is a coming-of-age story about three young women on a road-trip holiday. The film is produced by Cineart TV Prague. International sales are being handled by Telexport Prague. Director Petr Nikolaev received an award for Outstanding Film Achievement for his feature It's Gonna Get Worse, which looks at Czech
  • DFFF-backed Flame & Citron moves to Babelsberg Studios

    Shooting begins today on the lot of the Babelsberg Studios for Ole Christian Madsen's thriller Flame & Citron (Flammen und Citronen), which has become the first international co-production to receive support from the newly established German Federal Film Fund (DFFF).The story about two gangsters who became the most wanted men in Denmark under Nazi occupation in 1944 stars Mads Mikkelsen, Thure Lindhardt, Stine Stengade, Christian Berkel and Ha
  • Digital Rights - Talking points - Any other business'

    Home-video residualsThe home-video residual formula established in the mid-1980s before the video market took off has been a thorn in the guilds' sides ever since. The formula is variously characterised as being based on the 20% royalty on video sales that goes to the producer of a film, or as excluding 80% of video revenues attributed to packaging and other costs. Guilds see the formula as antiquated, but they have never managed to get it updated. For the WGA, says David Young, the fo
  • Digital Rights - Territory report - Australia

    The agreements covering film production in Australia are in place until 2009, so all is calm between the unions right now. Digital and new media is not an issue - yet - because the agreements in place already capture the small amount of money flowing from new technologies.Actors' fees are based on a film's Australian theatrical release and additional loadings cover a range of other rights, which producers buy up-front. A 20% loading for ancillary and Australian pay-TV rights includes d
  • Digital Rights - Territory report - France

    France's union system differs greatly from the US. While there are lobby groups and associations, there are no guilds per se which resemble the Hollywood heavies such as the WGA, DGA and SAG. The closest thing to those organisations is the Societe des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (Sacd) which represents all of France's writers - who are often directors as well.Neither is the issue of digital revenues causing sleepless nights. Rules surrounding ancillary payments and residuals ha
  • Digital Rights - Territory report - The UK

    The UK's film unions regard the digital revolution with a mix of excitement and trepidation. In the short term, there is the threat of job losses. Lab technicians and cinema projectionists are among those already affected by moves away from celluloid. Production crews are also experiencing change as new technology blurs job definitions. However, digital promises new distribution outlets as well as a shake-up of the way rights are handled.Actors' union Equity says digital rights are cur
  • Digital Rights - Territory report - Was this the opening salvo'

    Earlier this year Canada's performers' union, the Alliance of Canadian Television, Cinema and Radio Artists (Actra), held its first-ever strike. The six-week stoppage may come to be seen as one of the initial skirmishes in the North America digital rights war.Actra, representing 21,000 performers across the country, is the most aggressive labour representative, a reflection of its size and the importance of Canadian actors to soft-money financing in the nation. Its perennial complaint
  • Digital rights - The new media issue from both sides

    The Writers Guild of America positionFor writers, a simple principle lies at the heart of discussions of new or non-traditional media such as the internet, mobile phones and other digital platforms. "If the companies get paid, we get paid. That's our view," explains WGA West executive director and lead negotiator David Young. "If they don't make money, writers don't make money."Rather than getting into an examination of different new media technologies and business models, the g
  • Digital rights - Unions - The bill of rights

    The start of a new round of labour talks often has Hollywood on edge. But this summer the anxiety level will be higher than usual when representatives of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (Amptp) begin negotiations over a new contract between film and TV writers and their studio and network employers.It is not just that the negotiations' July 16 start date leaves only three-and-a-half months before the current WGA contract ex
  • Distribution - Making a splash

    Expectations are high for the Australia and New Zealand box office this year - and not just because of the number of high-profile studio sequels scheduled to open over the summer months.Admissions have been rising steadily in recent years - from 76 million in 1997 to 83.6 million in 2006 - and with an encouraging spike in older cinema-goers, a strong pipeline of product and the ongoing refurbishment of cinemas, distributors are confident the upward trajectory will continue.As a
  • Disturbia heads soft pre-Spider weekend at domestic box office

    Faced with the modest threat of three new releases, Paramount's thriller Disturbia held on to the number one spot for the third weekend in a row as an estimated $9.1m elevated its running total to $52.2m.This was an extremely slow weekend - how often does the top film gross less than $10m' - however box office will shift up a gear or five next weekend when Spider-Man 3 launches the blockbuster season.
  • Dorian Gray adaptation opens NewFest

    Duncan Roy's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's cautionary tale The Picture Of Dorian Gray, starring David Gallagher, will open NewFest: The 19th Annual New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Film Festival.Robert Cary's drama Save Me will close the festival. Chad Allen, Robert Gant, and Judith Light star in the tale of a gay addict who seeks a cure for his homosexuality.The Centerpiece Scre
  • Dororo

    Dir: Akihiko Shiota. Jap. 2007. 135mins. It's easy to see why Dororo, a period action fantasy feature, wowed the Japanese box office earlier this year: like its eponymous heroine, it swaggers and blusters, but for those who have an inner child to unlock - or who are simply in the mood for some rumbunctious Sinbad-the-Sailor-style entertainment - it delivers the goods. Based on a 1960s manga that was serialised on Japanese TV, the film throws fast actio
  • Double Edge to co-finance two US films with Inferno

    Taiwan and US-based Double Edge Entertainment will co-finance with Inferno Distribution the psychological thriller The Heaven Project, which has started principal photography and stars Paul Walker and Piper Perabo.The company also co-financed with Inferno the family comedy Smother starring Diane Keaton, Liv Tyler and Dax Shepard, which is currently in post-production.Double Edge is backed by v
  • Dreamachine handles Broomfield's improvised Iraqi war drama

    Fledgling financing and sales house Dreamachine has acquired international rights to Nick Broomfield's drama Battle For Haditha, currently shooting in Jordan.The London, Paris and Toronto-based venture,created through the merger of HanWay Films and Celluloid Dreams last month, will commence pre-sales in Cannes.Battle For Haditha re-enacts the aftermath of an Iraqi insurgent attack on a US conv
  • DreamWorks wins bidding for Jackson's Lovely Bones

    Peter Jackson's upcoming Alice Sebold adaptation The Lovely Bones has landed at DreamWorks, the studio announced late on Friday after it won the auction for Jackson's project in association with Film 4.Sony, Warner Bros and Universal had also pursued the New Zealander, whose ongoing legal spat with New Line meant the studio with whom he had created The Lord Of The Rings knew it need not apply. The price
  • Dutch government vows to again support Rotterdam's Bals Fund

    Reversing earlier decisions, the Dutch government has announced its continued support of the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has initially rejected the fund's subsidy application for 2009-2012, but now Bert Koenders, the Minister of Development Cooperation, has asked the Fund to continue its work. It's not yet known what the government will do to back the initiative, however. 'The fund offers audiences the opportu
  • Easternlight takes on Three Kingdoms for sales at Cannes

    Easternlight Films will handle international sales at Cannes on Hong Kong director Daniel Lee's martial arts epic Three Kingdoms - Resurrection Of The Dragon, based on the popular Chinese classical novel The Romance Of The Three Kingdoms.Andy Lau and Maggie Q star in the story of a common man who rises to command an army charged with the task of overthrowing an evil warlord. Taewon is co-producing with
  • Editorial - Screen says - dividing the spoils

    Multi-award winning screenwriter William Nicholson this week related a fundamental truth he has learned about the film industry. "If you want power over your work, be prepared to take the risks and pay the money." His advice to screenwriters demanding greater financial, moral and creative power over their work is to accept that truth... and act.Tomorrow's film business will, for the first time in history, offer a realistic chance of taking that control. The era of the writer-director-p
  • El Violin a surprise hit at Mexican box office for Canana

    Francisco Vargas' El Violin, the first distribution release from Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal and Pablo Cruz's outfit Canana, has been a surprise hit in Mexico on 20 prints, scoring the number one ranking at the box office in its first weekend and some 36,000 admissions in its first week.The black-and-white movie about a one-armed, aged violin player had failed to score a local distribution deal despite worldwide acclaim at film festivals, u
  • Filipino Oscar-contender finds US home

    TLA Releasing has acquired North American non-theatrical, video, and select TV rights from Unitel Pictures International to Filipino director Aureaus Solito's The Blossoming Of Maximo Oliveros.The distributor plans a DVD release on Aug 28 on the story of a gay pre-teen growing up with petty thieves in the slums of Manila who is offered the chance of a better life when he befriends a police officer. Nathan Lopez and J R Valentin star.
  • Film Movement takes North American rights to Tribeca title Fraulein

    Film Movement has acquired the North American theatrical and home video rights to Fraulein, which as been screening this week at the Tribeca Film Festival. Andrea Staka's feature is about three modern women from the former Yugoslavia now living in Switzerland who have to come to terms with their pasts.The film has already collected awards in Locarno, Sarajevo and the Swiss Film Awards.The deal was negotiated by Film Mov
  • First Pakistani film to shoot in India opens on home turf

    The first ever Pakistani film shot entirely in India, Javaid Fazal's The Return, was released on April 27 in its home country, where it played to packed houses over the first three days. Producer Shoab Alam said that the entire music and post-production work was also completed in Mumbai. He is trying to also secure a release for the film in India but no deal has been confirmed yet. The film was released nationwide on a dozen prints in ten cities by Pervaiz Production (Punja
  • Former Blockbuster executive Wilson joins First Look as COO

    Dean Wilson has been named chief operating officer First Look Studios (FLS) and will report to FLS chief executive officer Trevor Short and Avi Lerner, co-chairman of FLS controlling company First Look Holdings.Wilson most recently served as head of new business development for Blockbuster Inc and was responsible for the company's alternative film distribution strategy.In his new position Wilson will be responsible for the marketing, sale, acquisition and distribution of
  • Fortissimo on board for Bela Tarr's Cannes title The Man From London

    Fortissimo Films has taken on worldwide rights outside of Germany, France and Hungary to Bela Tarr's The Man From London, from TT Filmmuhely, 13 Production, Black Forest Films, Von Vietinghoff and Cinema Soleil.The film will premiere in Competition in Cannes. It marks Tarr's first feature in seven years, after 2000's Werckmeister Harmonies.The Man From Londo
  • Gardener Of Eden

    Dir: Kevin Connolly. US. 2007. 88 mins. Actor Kevin Connolly's directorial debut is brimming with intelligence and good ideas, but its downbeat subject matter and grim setting in a suburban New Jersey town will make it a tough sell for distributors. The fact that Gardener Of Eden is the first feature from Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way production company might entice buyers to take the risk, but otherwise there is not enough novelty here to distinguish a low-budg
  • German regional fund backs 18 projects with $6.8m

    The fifth outing of The Wild Soccer Bunch franchise, an adaptation of Thomas Mann's novel Buddenbrooks and a TV remake of the classic The Bridge are among 18 projects awarded a total of $6.8m (Euros 5m) by the Munich-based regional fund FFF Bayern in its latest round of funding. The largest single sum - $1.4m (Euros 980,000) - was allocated to SamFilm's
  • Goodman, Ricci and Sarandon join Speed Racer cast

    John Goodman, Christina Ricci and Susan Sarandonhave joined the cast of Larry and Andy Wachowski's action film SpeedRacer which will commence principal photography at the BabelsbergStudios outside of Berlin from June. The German-English co-production between Sechste Babelsberg Filmand London-based Velocity Productions - which is based on the animated1960s cult series of the same name - had already cast Emile Hirsch inthe role of the racer Speed; Goodman and Sarandon wi
  • GreeneStreet Films options The Contortionist's Handbook

    GreeneStreet Films (GSF) has optioned Craig Clevenger's psychological thriller The Contortionist's Handbook through its development finance deal with private financier Sriram Das.Das will produce with GSF the story of a master forger who creates a string of new identities for himsel
  • Hogs, Bean lead lacklustre international weekend

    Buena Vista International's (BVI) biker romp Wild Hogs held on to the international box office by the skin of its teeth as it added an estimated $7.2m from 3,200 screens in 37 markets to raise the tally to $55m.Nearly one-quarter of this amount has come from Australia, where after two months the comedy stands at $13.1m following a $250,000 weekend haul.The film ranked number one throughout German-speaking Europe, and grossed $1.4m
  • Hopkins gets lifetime achievement award at Seattle

    Anthony Hopkins will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 33rd Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), set to run from May 24-Jun 17.The presentation will feature clips from Hopkins' career, an on-stage interview, and a screening of The Remains Of The Day. Hopkins will introduce his new film Slipstream later in the festival.'We are delighted to have the opportunity to recognise
  • In focus - Specialty divisions - Niche labels reveal new look

    These are changing times for the specialised divisions of the Hollywood studios. Over the past two years, Fox Searchlight and Universal's Focus Features have restructured their management teams, Warner Independent Pictures has replaced its president, Disney's Miramax Films has started a new life without Harvey and Bob Weinstein, and Paramount Classics has been reinvented as Paramount Vantage.Several of the specialised arms have begun to get involved in bigger projects and all, as compe
  • India's PNC, Motion Pixel Corp team for five-picture slate

    Indian media and entertainment company Pritish Nandy Communications (PNC) has signed a five-picture deal with Florida-based animation house Motion Pixel Corporation (MPC) and its animation studio Estudio Flex in Costa Rica. The deal covers five 3D animated full-length feature films, which will feature Indian and international actors, songs and dances presented in a Bollywood format. The first of these films, Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena,is currently under production and schedule
  • Industry moves

    Den Hamer leaves Rotterdam film festivalSandra Den Hamer is to step down as director of the Rotterdam International Film Festival. She will start work as director of Amsterdam's Filmmuseum from September 1. A new director is now being sought for next year's festival which runs January 23 to February 3.Ng takes Emperor Motion Pictures roleFormer Celestial Pictures executive Alan Ng has joined Hong Kong-based Emperor Motion Pictures (EMP) as assistant general manager, distr
  • Intermedia-backed sales-distribution company will be called IM Global

    The recently launched Los Angeles and London-based international sales and distribution company backed by Intermedia will be called IM Global, it was announced last night.IM Global, headed by president Stuart Ford and Intermedia chairman Martin Schuermann, will bring a number of Intermedia titles, as well as the slate assembled by Ford and his team in their recent First Look International (FLI) incarnation.Ford said: 'Ju
  • Ireland agrees co-production agreements with three countries

    Ireland's Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism John O'Donoghue has received government approval for the signing of three bilateral co-production agreements with Germany, Luxembourg, and New Zealand.Similar agreements are in already operation with Canada and Australia, but these will be the first such agreements negotiated between Ireland and EU Member States. The certifiying authority for administering co-production in Ireland is the Irish Film Board.The bilateral agreeme
  • Israeli fund support for Eyal Sivan documentary sparks row

    A storm has erupted in Israel after an important fund announced its intention to back a documentary by Eyal Sivan, a fierce opponent of the country's policies.The Paris-based Israeli film-maker's documentary Jaffa is to receive support from the Cinema Project, a division of Tel Aviv's Joshua Rabinovitch Cultural Fund.But the backing for Siivan, who has taken a strong line against the policies of the State of Israel, has come u
  • Israel's My Father My Lord wins top jury prize at Tribeca

    David Volach's Israeli drama My Father My Lord won the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature and a $50,000 cash prize at the 6th annual Tribeca Film Festival.Mexican film-maker Enrique Begne received the Best New Narrative Filmmaker and and $25,000 in cash for Two Embraces. Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film went to Lofti Edbelli for Making Of, which also
  • Italian exhibitors say recent report 'gives wrong idea of market'

    The Italian exhibitors body (Anec) has a bone to pick with Italy's National Statistical Institute (Istat) over the conclusions of a recent report analyzing 'cultural consumer trends' that indicates the nation's cinema-going public is diminishing.The report, released late last week, looked at all forms of entertainment from television to museums to sporting events.Regarding Italy's cinema-going health Istat concluded, 'while 2005 showed a significant rise in distribution i
  • Italian minister stresses importance of co-production incentives

    Ahead of official festivities for Cinecitta's 70th anniversary to be celebrated in a mega party on the famed movie studio's lot on May 4, Italy's movie making politicos got together to talk about the state of Italian cinema and attracting international productions yesterday.As part of the celebrations, Culture Minister Francesco Rutell announced a new annual Cinecitta prize that will be given out in six categories: costumes, set construction, special effects, make up and hair, organi
  • Jeonju's top award goes to Ying Liang's The Other Half

    The eighth Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) wrapped its nine-day run today with the top Woosuk Award going to The Other Half, directed by Ying Liang. Local distributor Sponge also picked up Koji Hagiuda's Genius from Bitters End at the fest's industry screenings. The Indie Vision jury on awarding The Other Half declared the mainland China film, featuring a woman working at a law firm whose boyfriend who is accused of murder, is 'an excellent portrait of the
  • Kosovo/Macedonia - Dogme learns new tricks

    In late April, Aneta Lesnikovska screened her debut feature Does It Hurt' - The First Balkan Dogma in Skopje, Macedonia. The screening in her homeland followed various festival outings, starting with the world premiere in the Tiger Competition in Rotterdam and also including the Bermuda International Film Festival where the jury (including Richard Dreyfuss and Carrie Fisher) gave it a special jury award for innovative film-making. It will also screen in Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Taipei
  • Lakeshore reorganises, hires Deckter, promotes Burke. Longmuir

    Lakeshore Entertainment chairman and chief executive officer Tom Rosenberg and president of worldwide marketing and distribution David Dinerstein have announced wide-ranging changes at the Los Angeles-based production, financing and sales company.Former Arclight Films president of international sales and Morgan Creek International vice president Jonathan Deckter arrives as senior vice president of international sales and will work alongside eight-year Lakeshore veteran Elisabeth Cost
  • Live!

    Dir: Bill Guttentag. US. 2007. 96mins.Bill Guttentag's hilarious satire of reality/game show media culture, Live! takes its subject to the wall with a live televised Russian Roulette competition. Presented as a The Making Of story, Live! also attacks the ghoulish opportunism of independent documentaries. Live! will show viewers of The Apprentice that 'you're fired' can have a very literal meaning. The wildly funny film has topical
  • Luhrmann's Australia starts production in Sydney

    Filming started today in Sydney on the long-planned romantic action adventure Australia , Baz Luhrmann's fourth film and his third with 20th Century Fox. The cast is headed by Nicole Kidman, as English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley, and Hugh Jackman, the rough hewn cattle-drover who initially repulses her, then catches her eye. The film is set just prior to World War II and opens with Kidman unexpectedly finding herself the owner of a cattle station the size of Belgium. The
  • Market focus - Talk of the virtual town

    Distributors are finding ways to capitalise on and measure the internet buzz of a film before its release with the help of digital marketing specialists.Historically, word of mouth has been nearly impossible to measure or track, offering marketers only limited anecdotal information. But the advent of blogs and viral online communities such as MySpace and YouTube has created a fertile ground for internet discussion. So it is no surprise digital marketing is changing how distributors mar
  • Media 8 picks up four including Eichmann, hires Anisi

    Media 8 Entertainment will arrive in Cannes with four new titles for sale, including the historical drama Eichmann starring Thomas Kretschmann, Franka Potente, Troy Garity, and Stephen Fry.The company also announced that Tannaz Anisi has joined as vice president of international distribution and will jointly handle Media 8 sales alongside Kristen Figeroid. Liz Mackiewicz recently departed after serving as senior vice president of international
  • Mehta to serve as visiting artist at Loyola Marymount

    Deepa Mehta will serve as the inaugural Cosgrove Family Endowment Distinguished Visiting Artist at the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television (SFTV).Mehta's appointment is for the 2007 and 2008 academic years, during which time she will mentor students and participate in workshops, seminars and lectures with an emphasis on humanistic visual storytelling for film.'Deepa Mehta is one of the most significant and important humanistic writer-directors workin
  • Montreal World Film Festival to premiere Dansereau's Brunante

    The Montreal World Film Festival will screen the world premiere of Fernand Dansereau's Brunante, the festival announced today. The film reunites the director and his favoured actresss Monique Mercure in a sequel 40 years after their original 1966 film Ce N'est Pas Le Temps De Romans. As well, the MWFF will pay homage to the career of Dansereau, considered a pioneer of film and television in Quebec.
  • Moviehouse takes on sales for Slingshot's debut feature Sugarhouse

    UK-based sales company Moviehouse Entertainment has taken on international sales for Sugarhouse (formerly known as Sugarhouse Lane), the first feature from new digital studio Slingshot Studios.Gary Love makes his feature debut with the urban thriller based on co-screenwriter Dominic Leyton's play Collision.Ashley Walters, Andy Serkis and Steven Macint
  • MPAA changes Hip Hop rating from R to PG-13

    The Motion Picture Association of America's ratings review board has revised the rating for THINKFilm's The Hip Hop Project from an R to a PG-13.The eight-member panel voted six to two in favour of the change, citing the upcoming release's 'positive images and inspiring message'.'This motion picture is a call to end the destructive forces of violence, misogyny, and criminality that dominate the music our children are listening to,'
  • Network 18 launches $110m fund for Indian film

    India's Network 18 Group is launching a fund to invest in both Indian films and films targeted at Indian audiences, which aims to raise $110m via a flotation on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. The Mumbai-based media giant is behind the Indian Film Company (IFC), a newly-incorporated, Guernsey-registered company, which plans to invest in Hindi-language films - a $2bn market which is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 16%. Network 18, the parent of recently-launched f
  • New German sales agent to launch in Cannes with So Long, My Heart

    New German sales agent to launch in Cannes with So Long, My Heart!The Munich-based Avalon Entertainment Group has launched a sales arm that will be attending the Cannes Market with its first acquisition, So Long, My Heart! (Wir Werden Uns Wiederseh'n), the second feature by the directorial duo of Stefan Hillebrand and Oliver Paulus.The tragicomedy follows a love triangle between careworkers (played by Isolde Fischer, Pola Kinski and Tom
  • New Yorker Films gorges on Still Life for US

    New Yorker Films has picked up Jia Zhang-Ke's Venice 2006 Golden Lion winner Still Life and has scheduled an autumn platform release in New York City followed by a nationwide roll-out.Still Life chronicles the changes that sweep through an ancient town when a hydro-dam project forces families to uproot and move to a new suburb.'I once walked into someone's room by accident and saw dust-cover
  • New Zealand mourns death of film-maker Brad McGann

    New Zealand has lost one of its most promising film-makers with the death of Brad McGann. Just 43, he had been fighting cancer for some years.McGann directed the international hit In My Father's Den in 2004.The film won ine awards at the New Zealand Screen Awards in 2005 including Best Picture and Best Director and the critics prize at the Toronto Film Festival.'Brad was someone with whom many of us had a close connect
  • Newspaper veteran named new CEO of Danish Film Institute

    The Danish Film Institute has announced that Henrik Bo Nielsen will take over as the new CEO of the instutute, as Henning Camre steps down from the post in June.Camre had strengthened the Danish industry's profile internationally, as well as backing local hits, in his decade at the job.Nielsen previously served as CEO at small but respected left-wing daily newspaper, Information, which he managed for 15 years. 'They chose me because of my solid experience of b
  • No Mercy For The Rude takes audience prize at Udine

    Udine's Far East Film Festival wrapped its ninth edition Saturdayas organizers lauded the growth and appeal of a once niche festivalthat has edged its way to become Europe's most complete sampling ofAsian cinema.The non-competitive festival announced audience award -winnersSaturday night. South Korean noir title No Mercy For The Rude directedby Park Chul-hee, 'the story of a sous chef who becomes a killer in
  • Nobel Son

    Dir: Randall Miller. US. 2007. 107mins.A twist on the father-son conflict, and on the hostage drama, Nobel Son brings gore and some surprising humour to the dysfunctional family potboiler as it skewers academic propriety. The gag-filled comedy, which flaunts its quirkiness and improbable situations, could draw on the audience for Alan Rickman and Danny DeVito, and on the growing public for seductive Eliza Dushku. There's enough torture to bring in some gor
  • Ossard to produce Chomet's first live-action feature

    French producer Claudie Ossard plans to work with animator Sylvain Chomet (Belleville Rendez-Vous) on Chomet's first full-length live action feature.The pair previously collaborated on one of the segments of portmanteau project Paris je t'aime. Ossard, producer of past hits including Amelie and Delicatessen, sp
  • Paramount Vantage sales team takes shape with Walton hire

    Alex Walton has left HanWay Films to join Paramount Vantage as vice president of international sales and will relocate from London to Los Angeles.The specialty division will launch its foreign sales operation in Cannes, a move that has been widely predicted since Nick Meyer joined the studio as co-president following his lengthy long tenure as head of Lionsgate International. Walton will report directly to Meyer.Paramount Vantage will continue to distribute the majority o
  • Paul Taylor's Tribeca doc We Are Together lands UK deal with EMI

    We Are Together (Thina Sumunye), which had its North American premiere here at the Tribeca Film Festival in the Documentary Competition, has struck a deal with EMI Music for theatrical, DVD and soundtrack rights in the UK.Paul Taylor's film, produced by Teddy Leifer, is about the children of the Agape Orphanage in South Africa who form a world-renowned choir.'We Are Together is not only a po
  • Penny Averill replaces Cussons as head of UK's WFTV

    Penny Averill has been appointed the new chief executive of the UK 's Women in Film and TV (WFTV). Averill most recently worked as deputy director of the British Board of Film Classification and previously worked at UKTV. She succeeds Jane Cussons as chief executive and officially takes up her post this month. She will report to WFTV chair Sophie Balhetchet. Averill said: 'I've known Sophie for many years and her work as a producer where she's created strong leading roles f
  • Picturehouse launches open casting calls for American Girl movie

    Picturehouse will stage a series of open casting calls at American Girl Place shops in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York in the first two weeks of May for eight-12-year-old roles in its upcoming American Girl adaptation Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery.Abigail Breslin will play Kit Kettredge, a resourceful nine-year-old girl growing up in 1934 during America's Great Depression, in a story inspired by the hugely successful toy brand.
  • Pierre Weisbein joins Goldcrest as evp of sales

    Pierre Weisbein, the former head of sales at StudioCanal and Senator International, has joined Goldcrest Films International as executive vice president of sales.Weisbein, who most recently served with his own company Green Room Pictures, will lead the company's new films division as it builds its inaugural slate. Goldcrest plans to invest up to 30% of the production budget through a combination of equity, post and gap funding.'Goldcrest is a brand that has been around fo
  • Producer Ahrenberg plans US remake of Sophie's World

    Translated into 54 languages, and selling 35 million copies worldwide,Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder's novel, Sophie's World, which wasfilmed to limited success by Norwegian director Erik Gustavson in 1999,will now become a bigger-budget English-language project.Swedish producer Staffan Ahrenberg, who worked on Phillip Noyce's The
  • RAI's 01 Distribution names Adriano Coni as its new president

    RAI Cinema, the film unit of Italy's state run broadcaster RAI has named Adriano Coni as new president of 01 Distribution, the distribution arm of RAI Cinema. Coni previously acted as chief of both RAI Cinema's marketing and human resource divisions.01 Distribution has been without a president since its previous president, Carlo Macchitella, stepped down on January 30th when allegations were raised that he accepted bribes in a high profile case involving Italy's former Prime Minister
  • Rajendra Roy named chief curator at MoMA's Film Department

    The Museum of Modern Art in New York has appointed Rajendra Roy as the Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of the Department of Film. Roy, the artistic director of the Hamptons International Film Festival and the only American programmer for the Berlinale, will succeed Mary Lea Bandy, who retired from MoMA in 2006. Roy will stay on with the Hamptons festival as an unpaid artistic advisor through the 2007 season. MoMA director Glenn Lowry made the announcement, and said: 'Rajendr
  • Rezo's Cannes slate include Sokurov's competitor Alexandra

    In its third Cannes, Rezo Films' sales division is gearing up for a busy market. Three films on its line up are official selection titles along with two works in Critics' Week and new market films. In the official competition, Alexander Sokurov marks a return with Alexandra about a grandmother who goes to visit her grandson who is an officer based in Chechnya. The film stars Russian opera legend Galina Vishnevskaya and has been sold to Be
  • Screenwriters Festival to take centre stage in industry debate

    This year's International Screenwriters Festival falls at a critical time in the history of writers.The event, which runs from July 3-6 in the UK town of Cheltenham, has quickly established itself as a major event in the industry calendar.Last year the event, backed by Screen International, attracted such leading figures as Guillermo Del Toro, William Nicholson and Julian Fellowes.But this year there is an added sense of purpose, says festival head David Pears
  • Smiley Face

    Dir: Gregg Araki. US. 2007. 87mins.Smiley Face opens as a would-be LA actress's pot-induced journey stumbles to an end, with blonde stoner Jane (Anna Faris) reflecting on the binge that, as the omniscient narrator (Roscoe Lee Browne) puts it, took a young woman 'from point A to point Z.' The comedy should draw the under-30 crowd, thanks to Faris' deft blend of earnest innocence and slapstick stupefaction. Given the international reac
  • Sony consolidates international production under Schindler, Wigan

    Building on its longstanding ties to the foreign local language community, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is launching its International Motion Picture Production Department.Deborah Schindler, who since 2005 has run the East Coast motion picture production and development operation for Columbia Pictures, is promoted to president of the new division and will lead it alongside Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group vice chairman Gareth Wigan.Wigan, based in Los Angeles, h
  • Spider-Man 3 makes record-breaking opening

    Spider-Man 3 grossed a sensational estimated $29.15m in its first day in 16 international territories on May 1, eclipsing the opening day results of the first two episodes in the same territories. Ten of the territories (eight Asian, seven European and Egypt) generated record opening or single day marks, namely France, Italy, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Belgium, the Philippines, and Egypt.
  • Spidey 3 has world in its web as blockbuster opens in 105 markets

    The global blockbuster season has well and truly begun as Spider-Man 3 opens in approximately 105 countries around the world this week in what has already become a record-breaking event.After two days in release the latest episode in the Marvel comic book superhero's adventures stood at $42.5m. This dizzying figure was made all the more remarkable given that the film had yet to launch in North America and approximately 30 countries, with openin
  • Stray Dog takes best film at Cine PE - Festival do Audiovisual

    Stray Dog (Cao Sem Dono) is the big winner of Cine PE - Festival do Audiovisual, one of the most important and prestigious Brazilian film festivals. The event, basedin Recife (the sunny Northeast of the country), awarded as best film the drama about a guy in the middle of an existential crisis. Produced by Drama Filmes, Stray Dog is one of the Brazilian highlights at Cannes Film Market this year. The film is directed by Beto Brant, best known for T
  • Suburban Girl

    Dir: Marc Klein. US. 2007. 96mins. The 'chick lit' phenomenon, which has flooded bookstores around the world, is clearly triggering a celluloid trend, especially after the success of The Devil Wears Prada last year and a wide release planned later this year for The Nanny Diaries. Suburban Girl, an adaptation of two short stories from Melissa Banks' bestselling collection The Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing, is an inoff
  • Sweden's Jonsson starts shoot for debut feature King Of Ping-Pong

    After 14 shorts and several awards, Swedish director Jens Jonsson has started principal photography for his first feature, King of Ping-Pong, in Norbotten,northern Sweden.Scripted by Jonsson with Hans Gunnarsson, the story is about the relationshipbetween an obese table tennis champion and his younger brother. Jan Blomgren is producing for Sweden's Bob Film with regional film centre Filmpool Nord, Denmark's Nordisk Film Production
  • Taxi To The Dark Side

    Dir. Alex Gibney. US. 108mins.Taxi To The Dark Side is a troubling look into torture practiced by the US military, beginning with the beating and murder in December 2003 of an Afghan taxi driver in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ending with a probe into how torture became US policy. The documentary takes the bull by the horns: much of its testimony comes from US military personnel who were stationed at the prison at Bagram Air Forc
  • TF1 International unveils Cannes slate

    TF1 International has unveiled its slate for the upcoming Cannes Film Market. Among the official selections, TF1 is handling Directors Fortnight closer Mutum by Sandra Kogut.The company has also announced three new films.- Ca$h, directed by Babylon A.D. screenwriter Eric Besnard, stars Jean Reno, Jean Dujardin and Alice Taglioni. Produced by Patrice Ledoux, the film is about a
  • TFI International acquires Tavernier's In The Electric Mist

    TFI International has acquired In The Electric Mist, the new English-language film from director Bertrand Tavernier.TFM Distrbution will release Mist in France in 2008. TF1 is selling world rights outside the US and English-speaking Canada where Ithaca will handle the film.The pedigree cast includes Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard, Kelly Macdonald, Tom Sizemore, Mary Steenbergen, Ned Beatty, James Gammon, Levon Helm and Justina Machado.Mist began shooting on
  • The Cake Eaters

    Dir: Mary Stuart Masterson. 2007. US. 95mins. Mary Masterson's directorial debut, The Cake Eaters, is a drama in a rainy small town about two families coming to terms with death and misfortune, counterpointed with a young couple tasting love for the first time. With a protagonist suffering from a degenerative terminal disease, the downbeat setting might scare off younger audiences in search of light entertainment. But Kristen Stewart's performance as s
  • The Gates

    Dirs: Albert Maysles, Antonio Ferrera. US. 2007. 100mins. The Gates takes its name from the 2005 project in which the artists Christo and Jean-Claude lined the paths of Central Park in Manhattan with orange portals draped with orange fabric. The event, which drew thousands of tourists to the park in February of that year, is ably filmed by the artists' friend and collaborator, Albert Maysles (Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens).
  • The Invisible

    Dir: David Goyer. US. 2007. 102mins. Caught in a state of bodily limbo, a teenager must try to unravel his own death in The Invisible, an evocatively gloomy, elliptical drama of redemption that captures the palpable disconnection of youth. Much more a character-rooted, sustained mood piece than a commercially geared supernatural thriller, the movie represents an impressive attempt at a genre curveball from Batman Begins writer and occasional director David
  • The Power Of The Game

    Dir: Michael Apted. 2007. UK. 70mins. Michael Apted's new documentary, The Power Of The Game, is a film with a thesis: how football creates a global bond among countries. It also serves as an illuminating reflection of internal tensions within each country that plays the sport, even the United States. It's not a new observation, but it is one that Apted (best known for the The 7 Up series) has leavened with interviews with players and organisers from places as
  • THINKFilm International picks up De La Iglesia, Cole films

    THINKFilm International arrives in Cannes buoyed by a sales slate that includes Alex De La Iglesia's new thriller The Oxford Murders starring Elijah Wood and John Hurt, about a series of killings in the English university town that are seemingly related to mathematical symbols.The line-up continues with Five Dollars from director Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls) in which
  • Tiscali works with AAM to launch new UK VOD service, Movies Now

    Phone and Internet company Tiscali has launched its online VOD download service, Movies Now, in partnership with Arts Alliance Media (AAM).The new service launches with more than 500 films and programmes available to anyone visiting the Tiscali web site ( Users can rent or download titles to own with prices starting at $2 (£1) and films costing $6-$7 (£3-£3.50).Titles offered include United 93, Children Of Men
  • Tribeca All Access prizes go to Waste, Salvation and Sisterhood

    The Tribeca Film Festival's fourth Tribeca All Access programme closed Saturday night with awards (including cash prizes) presented to Ben Rekhi's Waste (narrative prize), Dee Rees' Eventual Salvation (documentary prize) and Marilyn Fu's The Sisterhood Of Night (screenwriting prize). The TAA programme, which seeks to connect industry experts with narrative and do
  • Tribeca attendees talk tough about Oscars documentary rules

    As could have been anticipated, a heated debate broke out as the independent documentary film-making community got a chance to debate the Oscar eligibility rules with two of the Academy's governors, Michael Apted and Rob Epstein.In a outreach programme at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) explained the revised rules for documentary submissions and then opened the floor for film-makers to express their thoughts on the rules.
  • Truly Indie takes on US theatrical release of Steel City

    Truly Indie will handle the US theatrical release of Brian Jun's drama Steel City, which will open May 25 in New York with other cities to follow.The story about a small-town family that has to grapple with difficult situations caused by their an alcoholic father.Ugly Betty star America Ferrera stars with Thomas Guiry, John Heard, Clayne Crawford and Raymond J Barry.The project p
  • United Kingdom - Crime Pays

    If the film world has not heard from producer Peter James in a while, it is because he is revelling in his new incarnation as a bestselling crime author.James, who has long juggled film producing with writing novels, has moved up to the international literary premier league. New instalments in his breakthrough crime series - Dead Simple, Looking Good Dead and the forthcoming Not Dead Enough (out in June in the UK) - chart at the upper echelons of The Sunday Time
  • United Kingdom - Hints of Wales

    Pauline Burt is in the enviable position of running a national film agency that does not have to beg producers to shoot in the region.Burt is the chief executive of the new Film Agency for Wales, which was launched in July 2006 and effectively replaced Sgrin, which had also been involved in TV.Other areas of the Welsh government - such as the IP Fund from Finance Wales - concentrate on incentives to shoot in Wales "as an economic rather than a cultural drive", she says. The new
  • United States - Found in transition

    Newly ensconced as head of worldwide marketing and distribution at Los Angeles-based Lakeshore Entertainment, former Paramount Classics co-head David Dinerstein is quietly ushering in a revolution.The quality of projects produced and sold by Lakeshore will stay the same of course, but Dinerstein is plotting an expanded production slate typically falling within the $4m-$30m range, ongoing partnerships with studios on bigger budgets, and more emphasis overall on controlling how the films
  • United States - From Coast To Coast

    GreeneStreet Films International (Gsfi) chief Ariel Veneziano's decision to move from New York to Los Angeles last October underscores the strides the division has taken.In the last year or so Veneziano has worked furiously to beef up the sales arm of John Penotti and Fisher Stevens' New York-based GreeneStreet Films, and says Los Angeles is now the only place for him to be."On a practical level, there's a much wider choice of personnel to work with here and there's a bigger com
  • Upbeat Babelsberg steps up production plans

    Germany's Babelsberg Studios aims to intensify its involvement as a co-producer on national, European and international productions. On the publication of its annual report for 2006, the publicly-listed Studio Babelsberg AG announced that it would 'invest in promising film productions and thereby use the potential of additional sources of revenue as well as strengthen the film hub of Germany.' The production centre on the outskirts of Berlin is currently serving as a co-producer
  • Warner Bros takes worldwide rights to 11th Hour

    The Warner Bros fold has picked up worldwide rights to the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced eco-doc 11th Hour in a pre-emptive move ahead of the film's world premiere at Cannes.Warner Independent Pictures (WiP) will handle the domestic release while Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI) will release around the world.Leila Conners-Petersen and Nadia Conners co-directed 11th Hour, which secured
  • Warner Independent hatches two-year deal with producer Bregman

    Warner Independent Pictures has signed a two-year, first-look deal with producer Anthony Bregman's New York-based production house Likely Story.Likely Story was formed in 2006 and is currently in post-production on Carriers and The Sleep Dealer in association with This Is That, and in pre-production on Synecdoche, New York. The company is also casting
  • Wide Management picks up Quinzaine title Counterparts

    Paris-based sales company Wide Management has picked up international rights for German filmmaker Jan Bonny's feature debut Counterparts (Gegenuber) which has been selected for this year's Directors' Fortnight sidebar in Cannes. The drama about domestic violence between a primary school teacher and her policeman husband features Viktoria Trauttmannsdorff (whose credits include Christian Petzold's Ghosts
  • Wild Bunch strikes exclusive Benelux partnership with A-Film

    France's Wild Bunch and Benelux's A-Film have announced a distribution, acquisition and co-production partnership for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. A-Film will now be the exclusive theatrical, video and television distributor in the Benelux region for new films acquired or co-produced by Wild Bunch.A-Film will also be responsible for handling existing Wild Bunch catalogue titles which do not currently have distribution in the area. The two companies will make joi
  • Wind Chill

    Dir: Gregory Jacobs. US. 2007. 91mins. It isn't hard to see why Wind Chill is getting left out in the cold in the US theatrical market. As messy and confusing as it often is, however, this misfit horror thriller - produced, originally for Revolution Studios, by the UK's Blueprint Pictures and Steven Soderbergh's Section Eight - still has some merits, including a strong performance from British lead Emily Blunt and flashes of promise from director Gregory Jacobs.