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4 September 2000

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  • Aberdeen

    Dir: Hans Peter Molland. Norway-UK. 2000. 105 mins.Prod Co: Norsk Films, Freeway Films. Int'l sales: Trust Film Sales: (45) 3686 8788. Prods: Tom Remlov, Petter J Borgli. Co-prods: Kastro Khatib, John McGrath. Scr: Hans Petter Moland, Kristin Amundsen. DoP: Philip Ogaard. Prod des: Janusz Sosnowski. Ed: Sophie Hesselberg. Mus: Zbigniew Preisner. Main cast: Stellan Skarsgard, Lena Headey, Ian Hart, Charlotte Rampling, Louise Goodall. Despite a trio of gutsy, bruising cent
  • ABS finds one third of Oz households on-line

    The number of Australian households with internet access grew to 2.3 million or 33% in the 12 months to May 2000 according to research conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The figure compares to 22% in May 1999.The ABS also found that nearly half of Australia's adult population - or 6.4 million people - accessed the internet at least once during the period. In addition, 54% of households (3.8 million) currently have a computer compared to 47% in May 1999.Almos
  • B4U launches entertainment channel in India

    International Hindi movie channel B4U launched a free-to-air entertainment channel - B4U Digital Entertainment Channel - in India on September 3. The company, jointly owned by UK-based Kishore Lulla of Eros Entertainment, Laxmi Mittal of the Ispat Group and Indian film producer and distributor Bharat Shah, also plans to launch a Hindi movie channel, a music channel and a sports channel in the subcontinent.B4U has already invested about $125m in its Indian launch and plans to inv
  • BBC, Telewest mull UKTV float

    Telewest is considering floating its joint pay-TV venture with the BBC, UKTV, according to Telewest CEO Adam Singer.Speaking at last weekend's Edinburgh International Television Festival, Singer said the venture, which controls a stable of six cable TV channels, including UK Gold and UK Play, is valued at more than $1.47bn (£1bn).Meanwhile BBC Worldwide and Telewest have also announced plans to extend UKTV, with Telewest agreeing to further, unspecified investment. Apart from ne
  • Beautiful Creatures

    Dir: Bill Eagles. UK. 2000. 87 mins.Prod Co: Snakemen Productions for DNA. Int'l Sales: UPI (44) 20 7307 1300. Prods: Alan J Wands, Simon Donald. Exec prods: Duncan Kenworthy, Andrew McDonald. Scr: Simon Donald. DoP: James Welland. Prod des: Andy Harris. Ed: Jon Gregory. Main cast: Rachel Weisz, Susan Lynch, Iain Glen, Maurice Roeves, Alex Norton.A lurid, Tarantino-style romp of murder, greed and sweet liberation, Beautiful Creatures doesn't have the substance or
  • Bleeder, Torowisko among Sarajevo winners

    Danish picture Bleeder, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, won the FIPRESCI prize at the Sarajevo Film Festival last week (August 18-26) while the Regional Programme jury gave their award to Poland's Urszula Urbaniak for Torowisko.The FIPRESCI jury also gave a special mention to Srdjan Vuletic's Hop, Skip & Jump, a special award from the festival's Bosnian programme. The Panorama section jury selected Edward Yang's A One And A Two and Mike Leigh's Topsy Tu
  • Branagh joins Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence

    Kenneth Branagh has been cast as AO Neville - the controversial chief protector of aborigines in Western Australia in the 1930s - in Phillip Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence.The film, which starts shooting on September 18, is about the courageous escape of three Aboriginal girls after they are forcibly removed from their families. Noyce is also lined to direct Intermedia's The Quiet American, adapted by Christopher Hampton from the novel by Graham Greene. The film will g
  • Bread And Roses to get airing at Valladolid

    Ken Loach's Bread And Roses is among the titles to be included in the official section of the 45th edition of the popular Valladolid International Film Week (Oct 20-28).The title, co-produced by Spain's Alta Films, received strong reviews in competition at Cannes this year. It will screen out of competition at Valladolid. Other Spanish co-productions in the festival's official section include Esperando Al Mesias and Nueces Para El Amor.Three Spanish f
  • Bring It On continues at the top of US box office

    The Labor Day weekend was another disapppointing one at the North American box office. Estimated figures for the whole four days (Fri-Mon) saw a drop of some 13.5% on the same weekend last year when The Sixth Sense was still atop the charts. It is indicative of the miserable August this year which doesn't look set to get better in September with its non-eventful release slate and competition from the Olympic Games on TV.Bring It On from Universal and Beacon Pictures was t
  • Caine to receive San Sebastian Donostia award

    Sir Michael Caine will be the recipient of this year's Donostia Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 21-30). John Irvin's film Shiner, in which Caine plays the ambitious father of a rising boxing star, will screen out of competition in the festival's official section.In 1996, Caine won San Sebastian's best actor Silver Shell award for his work in Bob Rafelson's Blood And Wine. He received an Academy Award for best supporting actor ear
  • CanalSatellite expands line-up; forecasts profit

    Canal Plus' French digital satellite operation, CanalSatellite, will add several new channels and interactive services to its line-up this autumn, most of which will be derived from its alliance with media and publishing giant Lagardere. Canal Plus has also said it expects the service to reach break-even this year as subscriptions grow 20-30%.The digital pay-TV operator - which carries some 230 channels and interactive services and expects to reach 1.5 million subscribers by October -
  • China reportedly to create cable TV giant

    China plans to merge its estimated 2,000 cable companies, which reach 90% of its 1.2bn population, into a singe entity according to a report in the China Daily newspaper.The director of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT), Xu Guangchaun, was quoted as saying that the move would prepare the country for its entry into the World Trade Organisation. Another SARFT official, Zhu Zhentie, said: "We are also preparing for the convergence of the broadcasting netwo
  • Cinar founders to stay on as directors

    Cinar Corp CEO Barrie Usher has said that the company will keep founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg on the board of directors, despite having asked them to step down on August 17.The news comes after the two said through a lawyer that they would not resign as company directors unless the other board members also stepped down to make for a clean slate. Charest and Weinberg are majority shareholders, with 62% of Cinar's voting shares, and therefore cannot be forced out as dire
  • Columbia gives Brazilian series theatrical outing

    Columbia TriStar Brazil is lining up a 55-print release from September 15 for The Dog's Will (Auto Da Compadecida), a feature film derived from the Brazilian mini-series of the same name broadcast by Rede Globo last year.Although made-for-TV, the mini-series' producers - Rede Globo's film arm, Globo Films - considered the possibility of a theatrical spin-off from its inception. The project was filmed on 35mm and additional scenes were shot at the same time as the mini-series for
  • Dr. T And The Women

    Dir: Robert Altman. US. 2000. 120 mins.Prod co: Sandcastle 5. Int'l sales: Initial Entertainment Group (1) 310 315 1722. Prod: Robert Altman, James McLindon. Scr: Anne Rapp. DoP: Jan Kiesser. Prod des: Stephen Altman. Editor: Geraldine Peroni. Music: Lyle Lovett. Main cast: Richard Gere, Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Laura Dern, Shelley Long, Tara Reid, Kate Hudson, Liv Tyler.At Venice, the pre-screening conviction was that Altman's new film would be an inoffensive Texan co
  • Edinburgh toasts latest wave of British filmmaking

    Critical enthusiasm for a new wave of British filmmaking was reflected in the prizes announced Sunday night at the 54th Edinburgh International Film Festival. Pawel Pawlikowski's lyrical, Venice-bound Last Resort received the Michael Powell Award for Best New British Feature whilst the Standard Life Audience Award confirmed the crowd-pleasing qualities of Stephen Daldry's Billy Elliot (previously known as Dancer). Previous recipients of the latter award include
  • Fine Line, Overseas buy Before Night Falls

    Fine Line Features has bought North American rights and Overseas FilmGroup has taken international rights to Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls, which screened to great acclaim at the Venice Film Festival this weekend. The company, which competed with Sony Pictures Classics for the film, paid just north of $1m for the acquisition.Fine Line plans to release the film - Schnabel's second after 1995's Basquiat - in December in time for Oscar consideration, adding to a lineu
  • France's MK2 set to launch loyalty pass

    MK2 plans to launch a loyalty pass, as an answer to the cards created by fellow French exhibitors UGC, Pathe and Gaumont. The company's chairman Marin Karmitz - who has been one of the staunchest opponents of loyalty passes - is not giving details about the card, but said in an interview with French magazine L'Express that it will be "more interesting than UGC's". MK2 was one of a group of exhibitors involved in a lawsuit which lead to the temporary withdrawal of UGC's Illimite
  • France's Ubi Soft acquires Clancy's Red Storm

    French video game developer and distributor Ubi Soft Entertainment is to acquire Tom Clancy's Red Storm Entertainment - which develops video games adapted from the US author's novels - for a reported $45m.Red Storm, which is based in Morrisville, North Carolina, registered revenues of $52m in 1999.Ubi Soft, a leader in the video game sector in France along with Infograme Entertainment and Cryo Interactive, already has 16 foreign subsidiaries in 50 countries including the US.
  • Granada, WGBH to co-produce Uncle Silas

    The UK's Granada Media and US public broadcaster WGBH have struck a deal to co-produce My Uncle Silas, a mini-series based on short stories by HE Bates, set to star Albert Finney and Charlotte Rampling.Granada-owned Yorkshire Television will produce the series - about a ten-year-old boy sent to the country at the turn of the century - while Granada International will handle sales. Peter Norris, who worked on the television series of HE Bates' The Darling Buds Of May
  • Harrison to step down from NSW film office

    Michelle Harrison resigned today (August 29) from her key role as manager of development and finance at the New South Wales Film and Television Office (NSWFTO) in order to raise money for her own project.Harrison plans to will leave her post in late November. During her two-and-a-half years with the organisation she influenced the NSWFTO to invest in Better Than Sex, Goddess Of 1967, Monkey's Mask and Risk, four of the nine Australian films which have been a
  • Hart Sharp to co-produce UK comedy Lily

    Hart Sharp Entertainment - the New York-based production outfit behind Boys Don't Cry and Sundance co-winner You Can Count On Me - has boarded its second UK picture within a year - Lily And The Secret Planting which it will co-produce with the UK's Sarah Radclyffe Productions and Strawberry Vale Film and TV Productions.Samantha Morton and Linda Bassett are in negotiations to star in the London-set romantic comedy which Hettie Macdonald will direct. Hart Sharp princ
  • Hong Kong's Mei Ah steps up film, TV production

    Encouraged by the new crop of pay-TV channels about to hit Hong Kong, local producer Mei Ah Entertainment is expanding its film production slate and ploughing an additional $13m-$26m (HK$100m-HK$200m) into television production.According to Mei Ah managing director Patrick Tong, the company will produce another 11 features by the end of March 2001 to add to the nine that it has already produced so far this year. Upcoming features include La Vie En Perfect, to be directed
  • IFP/West absorbs LA Indie Film Fest into programme

    Independent Feature Project/West, the non-profit organisation for independent film-makers, is to take over production of the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival (LAIFF), the April event which to date has been staged by the LA Film Collaborative (LAFC). It will now be incorporated as an ongoing program of IFP/West.Festival director Richard Raddon, programming director Thomas Ethan Harris and marketing/publicity director RJ Millard will stay on to organise the festival.IFP/West
  • Indian filmmakers turn to bilingual period epics

    In a bid to penetrate the international film market, Indian filmmakers are taking the historical route with several Hindi and English period pieces now going into production.Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan is producing and acting in a film on the ancient Indian emperor, Ashoka, directed by Santosh Sivan who earlier made the internationally acclaimed festival filmThe Terrorist. Filmmaker Rajkumar Santoshi has announced his new bilingual film (Hindi and English) on an In
  • Indian stars offer to plead for Rajkumar's release

    Prominent Indian film stars - including Tamil superstar Rajnikanth - have offered to walk into the jungle to plead with bandit Veerappan for the release of Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar.Veerappan kidnapped Rajkumar and three of his relatives near the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border on July 30. Only one group of hostages has spent longer in captivity with Veerappan. The bandit kidnapped eight Karnataka forest department employees in August 1997 and released them after 44 days.Indian
  • Indian state mulls tax exemption for multiplexes

    The government of the Indian state of Maharashtra is considering a proposal to grant tax exemption to proposed multiplex projects in order to encourage investment in the region’s cinema sector.Maharashtra currently has about 1,300 cinema halls but few are equipped with high-tech projection and sound systems. Modi Entertainment, Zee Telefilms and Adlabs are among the companies planning to build multiplexes in the state.
  • Key chief mimics Factory with artists' collective

    Kermit Smith, head of Italian distributor Key Films, is creating an artists' collective, called Happy Together, which plans to promote, produce and distribute independent Italian films."I would like it be a creative forum similar to Andy Warhol's Factory in the 1970s," Smith said, referring to the US artist's famed gathering of directors, producers, artists and designers. "After ten or twelve years working here, I just felt like getting really involved in Italian projects. It's a diffe
  • Kieft, Mediaport set to open first Cinestar 'plex

    German exhibitor Kieft & Kieft Filmtheater will open its first multiplex through the Cinestar joint venture, created with Italy's Mediaport and property developer Dora, in Udine, Italy on September 14. Kieft and Mediaport, which is part-owned by state-backed Italian producer-distributor Istituto Luce, launched the joint venture, which aims to build 20 multiplexes across Italy, earlier this year. Kieft owns 40% of Cinestar while Mediaport and Brescia-based Dora both own 30%. A German ex
  • Kirch-backed regional channel refused licence

    In an unprecedented move, German media authority Landesanstalt fur Rundfunk Nordrhein-Westfalen (LfR) has refused a licence to proposed German cable channel TV.NRW 1.LfR spokesperson Peter Widlock said the authority was concerned about the channel's budget, which was cut from $23-46m (DM50-100m) to $11.5m (DM25m) one day before its decision. Another more serious problem was the channel's intention to split programming at certain times to day, to cater for local advertising markets, a p
  • KirchPayTV offloads stake in BSkyB

    UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB's shares slid to a three-month low yesterday after Germany's KirchPayTV sold its remaining 3.1% stake in the company for $862m (£594.5m).KirchPayTV, which houses digital platform Premiere World, acquired a 4.3% stakes in BSkyB last December. At the same time, the UK company bought a 24% stake in KirchPayTV. Kirch offloaded some of its BSkyB stake in June.Meanwhile, BSkyB's investment in Premiere World was given the greenlight yesterday by German an
  • Korean screen quota campaign hits Venice

    Having two years ago shaved their heads in protest, Korean activists belonging to the Coalition for Cultural Diversity In Moving Images (CDMI) are now seeking more pragmatic means of combating Hollywood domination of their local film industry. CDMI general director Gi-Hwan Yang used the Venice film festival as a high profile platform from which to seek international support for his campaign to maintain Korea's Screen Quota system. "Many investors, producers and directors fear fo
  • Korea's Digital Nega backs Asian digital package

    Seoul-based venture capital firm Digital Nega, a subsidiary of entertainment magazine publisher Nega, is financing a trio of digital features by prominent Asian directors Fruit Chan, Park Ki-Hyung and Hideo Nakata.Although the themes of the three films differ, all are being shot using Sony HD Cam 1080/24P digital cameras and have budgets of about $800,000. Digital Nega claims it is the first Asian company "to have such well-known directors shoot in digital format for theatrical release
  • Kosslick talks up Berlin in Babelsberg speech

    Berlin-Brandenburg is currently dragging behind other German states as a production location, but will soon play catch-up, according to incoming Berlin festival chief Dieter Kosslick, who delivered the keynote speech at this week's Babelsberg 2000 producers' convention.Kosslick presented figures from a report by market research company FORMATT which showed that Bavaria was Germany's top location in 1999, hosting film and TV productions worth a combined $350m (DM770m). It was followed b
  • Lions Gate takes on Urbania as Unapix cancels deal

    Lions Gate Films has taken over US distribution duties on Sundance Film Festival competition entry Urbania from Unapix Films Theatrical, signalling increasing concern over the future of the ambitious New York-based Unapix Entertainment, which also yesterday said it has terminated its sale of a 25% stake to German entertainment company H5B5 Media for $4m. A company representative was unable to comment on speculation that Unapix is in financial trouble.Urbania, a sur
  • Lolafilms, Kinowelt make Rain together in Iowa

    Marking their first co-production since announcing their share-swapping production and distribution pact at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Spain's Lolafilms is joining forces with Germany's Kinowelt to make Rain, an English-language American-set project to which Martin Scorsese is attached as executive producer. The film will be a 50-50 co-production between the two European powerhouses, with Lolafilms' chief executive officer Andres Vicente Gomez and Kinowelt chairman Rainer
  • Media Most benefits from Ostankino tragedy

    The tragic fire at Moscow's Ostankino Television tower that claimed four lives last week and wiped out nearly all broadcasting in the city has proved a windfall for Media Most Group's satellite service NTV Plus.The Media Most Group, which has been beset by financial problems over the past year, reported that its satellite dishes are currently selling at between four and five times above average. Calls inquiring about the service are coming in at 400 times above average. Before the fire
  • Merger talks between Ifilm, fizzle out

    On-line film company and long-delayed entertainment web-site have reportedly ended their merger talks which were first revealed last week."As you know, we have been in discussions with These discussions have ended and have not resulted in a transaction," said Ifilm CEO Kevin Wendle in an internal e-mail on Friday."The companies will continue to enjoy many overlapping shareholder and personal relationships," the memo continued.The failed merger l
  • MGM, Zee join forces for Indian movie channel

    MGM has formed a joint venture with India's largest private broadcaster Zee Telefilms to establish a 24-hour movie channel for South Asia in the third quarter of this year. Through the partnership, Zee's existing English-language film channel, Zee Movies, will be relaunched as Zee-MGM. "Zee will have a dominant equity stake in the joint venture company," Zee Network CEO R.K. Singh told ScreenDaily. The channel will showcase films from MGM's 4,100-title library which inclu
  • Moodysson follows up on early promise

    Sweden is currently enjoying the release of Together (Tillsammans), the second feature film by the country's most promising director Lukas Moodysson whose Fucking Amal (aka Show Me Love) in 1999 became one of the most successful Scandinavian films ever. Fucking Amal opened in Sweden in November 1998 with 35 prints, grossing $483,626 during its first week. It left the theatrical circuit 26 weeks later with a total gross of $6,457,137 and also became one of th
  • Myriad acquires foreign rights to Double Whammy

    Kirk D'Amico's international sales outfit Myriad Pictures has acquired international distribution rights to Tom DiCillo's latest picture Double Whammy starring Denis Leary, Steve Buscemi and Elizabeth Hurley. The deal was completed between Myriad and the film's producers David Kronemyer and Marcus Viscidi. Kronemyer's Gold Circle Films retains domestic rights.IN-motion AG, the publicly traded German entertainment outfit which acquired a controlling stake in Myriad in July, is co
  • Nieto to spearhead Telefonica Media

    Putting a close to weeks of speculation, Juan Jose Nieto was confirmed today as the new executive president of Telefonica Media, the powerful multimedia subsidiary of Spanish telco Telefonica. Nieto's promotion means he will take over the position left vacant with the August 10 departure of Manuel Garcia Duran in a shakeup that followed the resignation of former Telefonica chairman Juan Villalonga. Nieto will now run a division whose assets include stakes in both the private Antena 3 t
  • Offline acquires US rights to Jang Sun Woo's Lies

    New York-based Offline Releasing has acquired US distribution rights to Korean director Jang Sun Woo's controversial film Lies and will work with boutique distributor Cowboy Booking International to release the film at arthouse venues nationwide, starting with a New York play-date on Nov 17.Featured in both the 1999 Venice Film Festival (Official Competition) and 1999 Toronto Film Festival, Lies chronicles the sexual odyssey of a 38-year-old sculptor and a much younger wo
  • Oz exhibs slash ticket prices to counter Olympics

    Australia's three major exhibitors are dropping their ticket prices by more than 60% during September in anticipation of a downturn in business as a result of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.The move was lead by Hoyts, which also took into consideration the extended school holidays in some parts of Australia. The other two players - Village Cinemas and Greater Union - originally planned to only lower prices during the games, which run for 16 days from September 15, but will now also d
  • Production report: Venezuela faces funding crisis

    Venezuelan film production is at a virtual standstill, victim of a new government in transition. This year, state-backed film body CNAC has just enough subsidy money to support one film while its selection committee has yet to convene. In 1999, the subsidy fund of $112,000 (165 million Bolivares) was parcelled out among four films. According to CNAC spokesperson Patsy Montiel, the subsidy fund may rise this year but is supposed to encompass not just full-length features but shorts and
  • Quills

    Dir: Philip Kaufman. US. 2000. 120 mins.Prod cos: Industry Entertainment. US dist: Fox Searchlight. Int'l dist: 20th Century Fox. Prods: Nick Wechsler, Peter Kaufman, Julia Chasman. Scr: Doug Wright, from his own play. DoP: Roger Stoffers. Prod des: Martin Childs. Ed: Peter Boyle. Mus: Stephen Warbeck. Main cast: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Malahide.Power-director Philip Kaufman is back behind the camera for the fi
  • Regent International names Gene George president

    Gene George has been named president of Regent International, the international division of LA-based independent producer/distributor/exhibitor Regent Entertainment. George, a veteran on the international scene who was most recently president of NewStar Worldwide and before that executive vice president of Arista Films, will oversee all international sales and distribution operations working alongside Regent partner Mark R Harris and Meggan Kimberley who is senior vice president of Regent Int
  • Regus to sponsor London Film Festival

    The London Film Festival (November 1-16) has unveiled its first ever title sponsor, meaning the festival will change its name for its forthcoming 44th edition.Business centre operator Regus Instant Offices has guaranteed funding of over $1.46m (£1m) for the festival over the next three years. As a result, the festival's name will change to the Regus London Film Festival.According to the festival, the sponsorship deal will allow it to fend off a rise in ticket prices. It will als
  • Renaissance/Clear Blue Sky mount first two of five

    Glenn Close and Dermot Mulroney will headline an impressive cast in Rose Troche's The Safety Of Objects, a tale of suburban angst which is one of five pictures being co-financed by the UK's Renaissance Films and investor Paul Allen's Clear Blue Sky Productions. It will be quickly followed by Paul McGuigan's Morality Play, a medieval murder mystery.Safety, adapted from a collection of short stories by AM Holmes, will also star Timothy Olyphant and Patricia Clarkson
  • S.O.S. strikes twice at Norwegian Amandas

    Thomas Robsahm's second Italian-language feature S.O.S. took home the Amanda Award for best Norwegian film at this year's Haugesund festival. Kjersti Holmen won best actress for both S.O.S and Sofie's World.Robsahm, who has been working for national broadcaster NRK since 1992, also wrote and produced the film for his own production outfit Speranza Films. Meanwhile veteran actor Bjorn Sundquist picked up his third and fourth Amanda awards; one for best actor
  • San Sebastian competition has heavy Spanish accent

    The San Sebastian International Film Festival has unveiled 15 titles for its official selection at this year's 48th edition (Sept 21-30).The line-up so far is marked by a high number of Spanish productions and co-productions, among them Karl Francis' One Of The Hollywood Ten, starring Jeff Goldblum and Greta Scacchi, which will close the section and screen out of competition.Titles competing for the top Golden and Silver Shell awards include:Kathryn Bigelow's T
  • Sandrews strikes gold with Detector

    Following the lack of government funding in 1999 and 2000, only a few Norwegian films have been released so far this year. But the August 25 opening of Pal Jackman's Detector has been received enthusiastically by local audiences pulling in a three-day opening weekend gross of $208,939 (NKr1,842,841) from 31 screens (29,680 admissions).The drama-comedy about 30-something men and how they cope with reality is penned by Norway's best-selling author Erlend Loe and was given generous
  • Scorsese documentary pulled from Venice line-up

    Martin Scorsese has pulled his much-awaited Italian cinema documentary out of this year's Venice film festival, saying that the four-hour film, entitled Il Mio Viaggio In Italia is not yet ready to be screened."Due to the nature of working with old films and elements that are sometimes forty and fifty years old, the process has been very different than that of making a new release," Scorsese said from Rome, where he is about to start filming Gangs Of New York with Leonard
  • Seven Songs takes Nordic crown at Amandas

    Finland's Seven Songs From The Tundra (Seitseman Laulua Tundralta) was the surprise winner of the best Nordic film prize at Norway's Amanda Awards, which take place during the Norwegian film festival in Haugesund. The black-and-white feature mixes dramatised local legends and documentary footage from the lives of the all-but-unknown Nenets tribes in the northern part of Finland and Russia. Produced by Jorn Donner Productions Oy, which also handles sales, Seven Songs
  • Sitges adds Sabotage, Shadow Of The Vampire

    Spain's Sitges International Film Festival (Oct 5-14) has announced two more films in this year's line-up: screwball comedy Sabotage will close this year's event, while Elias Merhige's Shadow Of The Vampire will compete as part of the official selection.The English-language Sabotage, from Spain's Ibarretxe Brothers (writer-directors Esteban and Jose Miguel, producer Javier and musician Santiago), is a madcap send-up of the Battle of Waterloo. The film stars Stephen
  • Sony Classics bags House Of Mirth

    Terence Davies's acclaimed The House Of Mirth has been acquired for North American theatrical release by Sony Pictures Classics, in a last minute agreement with Showtime which had previously wanted to premiere the film on its cable channel (Screendaily, August 23).Showtime co-produced the film - an adaptation of Edith's Wharton's novel which got a strong reception at last month's Edinburgh Film Festival - as part of a 12 picture production deal with the UK's Granada Film.
  • Sony Classics buys domestic rights to Pollock

    Sony Pictures Classics (SPC) is understood to have bought US rights to Pollock, the directoral debut of Ed Harris which played in Cinema of the Present this week at the Venice Film Festival and will also play at next week's Toronto Film Festival.Alliance Atlantis Pictures International last week acquired all international rights to the film, a biopic of expressionist artist Jackson Pollock. Harris plays Pollock, with an ensemble cast including Amy Madigan, Val Kilmer, Jennifer C
  • Southern Star expands TV production slate

    Australia's Southern Star is stepping up television production with five new projects, worth a combined $17m (A$30m), including The Rubicon, a co-production with the UK's Warner Sisters.The slate, according to Southern Star Entertainment CEO Errol Sullivan, represents 18 months of intensive work finding new financing pathways that avoid the dangers of deficit financing. All five projects have been pre-sold to local broadcasters and involve international co-financing partners.
  • Spain's Prisa reports 40% profit increase

    Spanish multimedia giant Grupo Prisa reported first half profits of $46.6m (PTS8,393m), a 40.7% rise over the same period last year. Operating revenues rose 86% to $470m (PTS87.5bn). The first half of 2000 has been an important period for Prisa, which floated 20% of its shares to great success on June 26. In April, the group absorbed the Spanish-speaking world's biggest publisher, Santillana de Ediciones.Also this year, Prisa upped its participation to 21.26% of multimedia subsi
  • Stone sparkles at Amfar's Venice premiere

    Sharon Stone was the undoubted star of the first ever amFAR benefit event to be held in Venice.Stone, in town to present Clint Eastwood with a Golden Lion, donated a leather vanity case that she had designed and produced by luxury luggage maker Louis Vuitton. The case was sold for $16,000 to Monaco-based Marto Bertrand. The glamorous Stone then topped that by paying $150,000 for an item that only joined the auction line-up at the last moment; an option to sit for a portrait by celebrat
  • Telecinco buys stake in digital producer

    Spanish broadcaster Telecinco has acquired a 35% stake in TV and interactive content producer Multipark Madrid (MPM). The two companies plan to develop new thematic channels for TV as well as content for the internet.The move forms part of Telecinco's entry into digital content and interactive link-ups. Earlier this year the broadcaster launched a 24-hour internet news channel and a Spanish version of European portal Jumpy. Telecinco has also been tapped by the UK's Carlton Communicati
  • Telecinco's Lejarza to join Grupo Arbol

    Spanish television executive Mikel Lejarza has announced that he will leave his post as general director of broadcaster Telecinco to join TV production outfit Grupo Arbol.Lejarza, 44, who made his resignation public earlier this month (Screendaily, August 6), has been with Telecinco for five years. He was appointed general director in May 1999.He leaves the network at a prosperous time: Telecinco posted fiscal profits of Euros110.5m in 1999 and dubbed itself "the most pro
  • Telluride world premieres Pacino, Kaufman pictures

    Al Pacino's second film as director Chinese Coffee and Phil Kaufman's eagerly awaited Marquis de Sade drama Quills are receiving their world premieres this weekend at the 27th annual Telluride Film Festival which unveiled its programme to attendees today. The prestigious festival, which has received personal sponsorship support this year from the likes of Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman and Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall, never reveals its programme in advance of the event but is
  • UIP and EFA expand short film co-operation

    The European Film Academy (EFA) and international distributor United International Pictures (UIP) are to extend their co-operation in supporting short films.Having last year sponsored the EFA Short Film Award, the Prix UIP at Venice - which went to Italian director Enrico Verra for Benvenuto In San Salvario - UIP now plans to back EFA prizes at up to 12 European festivals.So far seven festivals have agreed to set up EFA-UIP prizes. In addition to Venice these are Berlin,
  • Venice to introduce TV festival

    Venice will hold its first International Television Festival in March 2002, an event that will be helmed by former Munich festival chief Marlene Sternbaum and Veneziafiere president Gabriele Zanetto.The new television festival will be officially unveiled on September 8 at the Venice film festival (Aug 30- Sept 9) by Venice mayor Paolo Costa; Rossana Rummo, the head of the entertainment department at the Cultural Ministry; Cinecitta Holding president Felice Laudadio; Roberto Levi, the p
  • Venice: Unimpressed under the umbrellas

    The violent, shocking or merely technically advanced have become such staples of top festival line-ups that it has become difficult to impress jaded critics and only slightly less cynical audiences.So it is that Venice has awaited with bated breath a selection of films by top names of today - and many tipped as tomorrow's best talents - and then exhaled again with a disappointed huff. At mid-point, the Venice festival has still yet to catch fire. Hot films are few and most deals are on
  • Vivendi Universal gets greenlight from Canada

    The three-way merger between Vivendi, Seagram and Canal Plus has been cleared by Canada's competition authorities. The deal is now only now only waiting for a greenlight from the European Commission (EC) after being waved through by the French and US authorities. The EC was originally scheduled to rule on the merger at the end of August but has requested further information. Vivendi and Canal Plus have both stated they are confident that the EC will make a positive decision by t
  • Warner Bros acquires French rights to La Verite

    Warner Bros France has picked up French-speaking rights to highly-anticipated local comedy La Verite Si Je Mens 2 - La Grande Distribution, the sequel to the 1997 hit title, through its French offshoot PECF (Production et Edition Cinematographique Francaise).La Verite Si Je Mens - directed by Thomas Gilou and produced by Vertigo Films for a mere $3.7m (FFr27m) - racked up $23.3m (FFr170m) at the French box office. The sequel, also directed by Gilou, is currently shooting.
  • Warner Bros strikes TV deal with Tohokushinsha

    Japan's Tohokushinsha, the country's largest distributor of foreign films to television, has signed a three-year free TV output deal with Warner Bros International Television. The deal includes Warner's theatrical releases for the period 1999-2001, as well as TV series, made-for-TV movies and selected classic film titles. A prime sales target for the product is the new digital broadcast satellite channels which begin regular broadcasts on December 1, particularly the five free-t
  • Warner, Videocine launch Mexican production outfit

    Warner Bros and Mexico's Videocine have formed a joint production venture, Coyoacan Films, following the success of their first co-production The Second Night (La Segunda Noche).Romantic comedy Second Night grossed $5.2m in Mexico and ranks among the top five all-time Mexican box office hits. Producer-distributor Videocine has a busy development slate, but according to director general Eckehardt von Damm, hasn't yet decided which projects will be produced under the
  • Whiteout

    Dir: Setsurou Wakamatsu. Japan. 129 mins.Prod cos: Destiny, INB Production. Backers: Nippon Herald, Fuji TV, Toho, NTV, Dentsu, INB, Destiny. Dist: Toho, Nippon Herald, tel (813) 3213-6821. Prod: Shohei Kotani. Scr: Yuichi Shimpo. DoP: Hideo Yamamoto. Prod Des: Fumio Ogawa. SFX: Hajime Matsumoto. Music: Osamu Onodera. Main cast: Yuji Oda, Nanako Matsushima, Koichi Sato, Ken Ishiguro.Whiteout is a Japanese thriller that locks eyeballs with the Hollywood
  • X-Men, Shanghai Noon top tepid weekend

    The UK box office over the August bank holiday weekend was disappointing, with the aggregate gross around $1.5m lower than the same weekend last year. The major opener, Shanghai Noon (pictured), released and highly-publicised by Buena Vista International, grossed $1,095,159 (£744,631) over the three-day weekend taking second place in the chart. X-Men retained the number one position although it dropped 51% from its opening weekend. The comic-book adaptation took $2.9m (£2m) from