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4 September 2007

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  • A Man's Fear Of God takes best feature prize at Sarajevo

    Ozer Kiziltan's Turkish-German production A Man's Fear Of God (Takva) won the Heart of Sarajevo award for the best feature film at the 13th Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 17-25).The jury, presided by Jeremy Irons and including Frederic Maire, Ozgu Namal, Andrea Staka and Meinholf Zurhorst, gave the $34,160 (Euros 25,000) prize provided by the local Ministry of Culture and Sport of to the religious drama about a man whose devotion to God is challenged by social and financial success
  • Action thriller Midnight Eagle to open Tokyo film festival

    The Tokyo International Film Festival has announced that Midnight Eagle will be the opening screening of the festival's 20th edition (October 20-28). The film is directed by Izuru Narushima and stars Takao Osawa (Crying Out Love, In The Center Of The World), Yuko Takeuchi and Hiroshi Tamaki. The story follows a nature photographer (Osawa) who finds a top-secret American nuclear weapon payload in the Northern Alps of Japan and tries to prevent it from fa
  • Ang Lee plans safer edit of Lust, Caution for Chinese audiences

    Since its Venice world premiere, Ang Lee's Lust, Caution has created whatFocus boss James Schamus is calling 'a tidal wave of interest' across Asia.The Asian response has been largely positive. Lee's steamy espionagethriller will be given a major Asian release later in the autumn. However,controversy is already dogging the film - and not just because of theexplicit sex scenes that have earned it a NC-17 certificate in th
  • ASC dedicates Heritage Award to memory of Kovacs

    The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has dedicated the 2008 Heritage Award competition for film school seniors and recent graduates in the US to the memory of the Laszlo Kovacs, who died on Jul 22.The organisation simultaneously issued a call for entries in the annual competition. The deadline for submissions is Oct 31.The Laszlo Kovacs Heritage Award will be presented to one or more recipients during the 22nd Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on Jan 26
  • Atonement

    Dir: Joe Wright, UK, 2007, 122 mins
  • Australia, China sign co-production agreement

    After almost three years of formal negotiations, Australia and China signed off a film co-production agreement in the Australian Embassy in Beijing earlier this week. The treaty with the Chinese government will cover production of films and telemovies. The first film to be produced with China as part of Australia's Official Co-production Programme is the Australia-China-German co-production, The Children Of Huang Shi, which is in the final stages of post-production.
  • Austrians enter The Counterfeiters for Oscar consideration

    Stefan Ruzowitzky's Second World War drama The Counterfeiters (Die Faelscher), which was first shown in competition at February's Berlinale, has been selected as the Austrian entry for the 80th Academy Awards. This is the second time that a film by Ruzowitzky has been submitted by Austria for the Best Foreign Language Film category consideration after his historical drama Die Siebtelbauern in 1998. The Counterfeiters - which is being handled intern
  • Babelgum recruits Spike Lee to judge new online shorts festival

    New Internet TV platform Babelgum has announced plans to launch a new online film festival for films up to 45 minutes long.At a press conference in Venice, Babelgum CEO Valerio Zingarelli also announced that Spike Lee will serve as an honorary judge of the Babelgum Online Film Festival. Zingarelli $20,000 in prizes would be awarded in each of six categories.The other jurors are Joe Bateman from Rushes Soho Shorts Festival in the UK, Ally Derks from International Documenta
  • Balls Of Fury

    Dir: Robert Ben Garant. US. 2007. 90mins. A rather shockingly enervated treatment of a colourful, wilfully silly concept, Balls of Fury looks to disappoint both those expecting the bawdy underdog tale of a make-good loser and those seeking something a bit more offbeat from its creators, the creative team behind the small screen cable series Reno 911.Obvious benchmarks, both in the movie's concep
  • Bankside takes on sales for Shake Hands With The Devil

    Going into the Toronto International Film Festival, UK-based Bankside Films has acquired Roger Spottiswoode's Shake Hands With The Devil. The film screens as a Special Presentation in Toronto. Michael Donovan (Bowling for Columbine) produces with Laszlo Barna.Shake Hands With The Devil is based on the autobiography of Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, based on his personal experiences with the Rwandan genocide. Roy Dupuis, James Gallanders, Jean Hugue
  • Belgium - Back in the habit

    It is 15 years since Belgian director Stijn Coninx was Oscar-nominated for his feature Daens in 1992. Now, he is preparing a new feature likely to pique the curiosity of European buyers. La Vie Extraordinaire De Soeur Sourire - to star Cecile De France - will tell the story of Sister Luc-Gabrielle (aka Jeanine Decker), the so-called 'singing nun' and the only Belgian performing artist to have a number one hit in the US.This summer Coninx has been scouting locations, and a
  • Ben X

    Dir: Nic Balthazar, Belgium - Netherlands, 2007, 90 mins.A galvanizing portrait of autism and its profound impact on both the autistic person and their families and community, Ben X boldly melds virtual reality with live-action verite style and docudrama to create what may be a new film grammar. Inspired by actual events - the suicide of a mildly autistic Belgian student who was virtually harassed to death - first-time director Ni
  • Ben X, Un Secret share top competition honours at Montreal

    Nic Balthazar's Belgium-Netherlands coproduction Ben X was the toast of Montreal as the debut filmmaker took the audience award, the Ecumenical Prize and shared top competition honours with Claude Miller's A Secret as the 31st Montreal World Film Festival wrapped on Monday night. The story of a young autistic man's struggle to find his place in the world, Ben X c
  • Blood Brothers has strong opening in mainland China

    Alexi Tan's Blood Brothers, produced by Lion Rock Productions and Taiwan 's CMC Entertainment, has raked in around $3m (RMB23m) in mainland China between its opening on August 16 and last Sunday (Aug 26). The film, distributed in China by Beijing-based Huayi Brothers, grossed $1.6m (RMB$12m) on its opening weekend, ranking second at the box office behind Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix. The film fared less well in Hong Kong where it opened August 23 and gro
  • Bourne-again triumphs

    Jason Bourne kicked the Simpsons out of the top spot as The Bourne Ultimatum took $15.2m in its third weekend - pushing it past the $50m mark. The third instalment of the franchise expanded into a further five territories, taking $2.5m in its first weekend in Russia and opening to $1.1m in Brazil. The Simpsons Movie dropped 48% to number three, taking $11.5m at the weekend, while Disney's Ratatouille took $11.8m, putting it at number two. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix crossed the
  • Cassandra's Dream

    Dir. Woody Allen. UK, 2007. 108 min.Woody Allen's third British outing is neither the satire some of the Venice audiences seemed to denote in it, nor the forbidding tragedy painted in early rumours which spread around the Lido before the official press screenings. If there is a black comedy hiding deep within the folds of this tragic tale, it is so subtly dissimulated that very few will ever manage to unveil it. And if this is supposed to be a tragedy, it's so remote t
  • Celluloid Dreams on board for Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django

    Celluloid Dreams has taken on Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django, which will have its world premiere in competition at Venice before screening in Toronto's Midnight Madness section. Celluloid has acquired worldwide rights outside of Asia, which Sedic International is handling. Producers are T. Nakazawa of Sedic International; Geneon Entertainment; Sony Pictures Entertainment (Japan); Dentsu; TV Asahi; Shogakukan; A Team; Nagoya Broadcasting Network and Tokyu Recrea
  • Celluloidveteran Tanja Meissner joins Memento Films

    Former Celluloid Dreams sales executive Tanja Meissner has joined Paris-based producer/distributor Memento Films. Meissner will act as head of world sales and acquisitions for the company.Her first markets will be Venice and Toronto. Memento has recently acquired Philippe Aractingi's Under The Bombs which traces the story of a Shiite woman and a Christian taxi driver who search for the woman's missing son in southern Lebanon. Memento is also working
  • China - Onward and upward

    Industry experts in China believe the country's 2007 box office could break the $400m (rmb3bn) milestone as the number of cinemas and admissions continues to grow.According to monthly statistics from the Film Bureau of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft), total box office for the first half of the year reached $138.8m (rmb1.1bn), while the figure through to the end of July stands at $187.7m (rmb1.4bn).As the January-June figure represents a 30% increas
  • Clubland wins top prize at Australian Writers Guild Awards

    Clubland written by Keith Thompson won the top prize, for 'Outstanding Australian Script', at this year's Australian Writers Guild Awards (the Awgies) which took place on Friday night. The film also shared the award in the original feature film category along with another story about family - Tony Ayres' The Home Song Stories. The two films were nominated alongside Greg McLean's crocodile thriller Rogue and Matthew Saville's drama Noise. Clubland
  • Comment- Long live the kings

    Reworking the cliche that 'content is king' has been a favourite with analysts and conference speakers in recent years. In fact, it has already spawned its own cliche: 'The customer, not content, is king.'Familiarity with that concept has already bred contempt. And when you strip down the idea of audience influence in the context of film, it's easy to see the holes in the argument.Bona fide examples of customer power today are thin on the ground. Cinema has always been a thoroug
  • Crisis at Internationalmedia deepens as Schuermann suspended

    The crisis at IM Internationalmedia has deepened with the announcement this morning that Martin Schuermann, CEO of the Group's US subsidiary Intermedia Film Equities USA, has been suspended with immediate effect from his 'executive employment status'. Schuermann had already stepped down from the IM board on July 25, but had continued to be responsible for the group's worldwide operations. This latest turn of events comes after an IM subsidiary, IM Stopping Power GmbH, was for
  • Damian Spandley joins The Works UK Distribution

    Damian Spandley has been named head of sales at The Works UK Distribution. He had been senior programmer for City Screen. He replaces David Shear, who recently moved from The Works to Revolver Entertainment. He will now be responsible for The Works UK Distribution's dating strategy and exhibitor relation and will also play a key role in acquisitions. Mick Southworth, managing director of The Works UK Distribution said: 'We have long viewed Damian as a really talented play
  • Danny Dyer to star in UK low-budgetfeature 7 Lives

    Danny Dyer, Kate Ashfield and Mary Stockley are set to star in a new UK low-budget feature, 7 Lives. The plot follows a man who is attacked by 'hoodies' and then falls into a dream state where he lives out other lives and confronts his own adultery. The film will be comprised of seven stories, shot on film or high definition video, each with a different look. Two stories will be shot on locatoin and other scenes will be set at a disused warehouse in East London.
  • De Palma's Redacted won't get Bubble-style release

    HDNet Films, which pioneered day and date multi-platform releasing with Steven Soderbergh's Bubble, has decided to give Brian De Palma's controversial new digital feature Redacted a more traditional release.The film, produced for HDNet Films, received its world premiere in Venice this week. It tells of the rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman by American soldiers in Iraq in 2006.The story is based on
  • Death Sentence

    Death SentenceDir: James Wan US. 2007. 106 mins.Death Sentence updates the scenario and ethos of seventies shocker Death Wish in a stylishly violent revenge thriller with 'Splat Pack' director James Wan behind the camera and baby boomer star Kevin Bacon in front. It's an unlikely pairing that makes for an uneven film with some grating tonal shifts. But it's also a pairing that might, by appealing across several audience demographics, pay off fo
  • Deauville festival opens tonight with Cahill's King Of California

    The 33rd Deauville Festival of American Cinema, running in the French town Aug 31-Sept 9, will open with King of California, which stars Michael Douglas stars a newly-released mental patient juggling his obsession for hidden gold with his relationship with his teenage daughter (Evan Rachel Wood). The film is directed by first-timer Mike Cahill and produced by Sideways and About Schmidt director Alexander Payne. Douglas will also be one of four subjects of Deauville Trib
  • Dennehy in talks for Righteous Kill

    Brian Dennehy is in negotiations to join new cast members John Leguizamo, Dan Futterman, Trilby Glover and professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek on the crime thriller Righteous Kill, which begins filming on Sept 4 in Connecticut and New York. As previously announced in Cannes, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro star as detectives on the trail of a vigilante killer in New York. 50 Cent,
  • Dokument takes Strike to Toronto

    Dokument Films, a new distributor of independent features for thetheatrical, DVD and digital download markets, has boarded VolkerSchlondorff's Polish Solidarity movement drama Strike under itsinitial slate.The Gdansk shipyard saga is accompanied by John Waters' one-man show This Filthy World directed by Jeff Garlin, and the investigativedocumentary RFK Must Die from UK Producer Shane O'Sullivan.Dokument is a wholly owned subs
  • Easternlight picks up Tan's box office hit 881

    Easternlight Films, the Asian label of Gary Hamilton's international sales outfit Arclight Films, has acquired worldwide rights to Royston Tan's 881. The deal was concluded by MediaCorp Raintree Pictures' Daniel Yun and Scorpio East Pictures' Lim Teck with Hamilton and Ying Ye, director of Easternlight, who were in Singapore to watch the film this week. Billed as Singapore 's first musical in recent years, the picture lived up to local expectations as a film with legs thank
  • EastWest picks up San Sebastian title The Bird Can't Fly

    Vienna/London-based sales agent EastWest Filmdistribution has picked up world rights to Dutch film-maker Threes Anna's The Bird Can't Fly, which will have its world premiere in the Zabaltegi - New Directors competition section at next month's San Sebastian International Film Festival. Anna's feature debut stars American actress Barbara Hershey as a middle-aged woman who discovers she is to be a grandmother after her daughter dies. But she then has to battle with the natural
  • EFA People's Choice nominees include The Queen and Black Book

    The European Film Academy has announced the nominees for this year's People's Choice Award.Film fans across Europe vote for the winner online from Sept 1 to Oct 31. Past winners include Volver, Amelie, The Full Monty and Good Bye, Lenin!. The winner will be announced at the European Film Awards in Berlin on Dec 1.The 2007 nominees are:2 Days In Paris
  • Ellis wins Palm Springs award

    Simon Ellis' UK film Soft won the 2007 Palm Springs InternationalFestival of Short Films & Short Film Market's Best Of Festival Awardand a cash prize of $2,000.The Future Filmmaker Award and a $2,000 cash prize went to Dee Reesfor the US entry Pariah, while Pop Foul's US title Moon Molson tookthe Panavision Grand Jury Award.In audience awards, Stewart Schill's US film I Hate Musicals won thebest live action sho
  • EMI plans September DVD release of Chelsea football documentary

    EMI continues its recent foray into feature documentary releases with the Sept 24 DVD launch of Blue Revolution.EMI Catalogue will handle the Bombo Sports and Entertainment production.The film traces the past three years in the life of Chelsea Football Club, including interviews with players and management (including Jose Mourinho, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Joe Cole) as well as match f
  • Eros picks up Varma's Darling, Bhool Bhulaiyaa

    India's Eros International has acquired the overseas distribution rights to two forthcoming films from local production house T-Series - Ram Gopal Varma's Darling and Bhool Bhulaiyaa, directed by Priyadarshan. Darling is a horror-comedy-musical, starring Fardeen Khan, Esha Deol and Isha Koppikar, which is scheduled for worldwide release on September 7. Bhool Bhulaiyaa, scheduled for global release on October14, is a comedy about ghost-busting starring A
  • Eros teams up with Dutt's White Feather Films

    India's Eros International has signed a co-production, marketing and distribution deal with local production company White Feather Films (WFF). The Mumbai production house is owned by director-producer Sanjay Gupta and actor Sanjay Dutt, who was recently released from prison pending his appeal of a conviction for arms possession. Under the terms of the deal, the two companies will jointly produce 15 films with combined budgets of more than $60m (Rs2.5bn). The line-up includ
  • EVA picks up international sales on Antonio Vivaldi, Un Prince A Venise

    Germany's Entertainment Value Associates (EVA) has secured international distribution rights to Jean-Louis Guillermou's biopic Antonio Vivaldi, Un Prince A Venise which will have its gala world premiere tonight in Paris ' in the presence of a VIP audience including French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The French-Italian co-production by Dream Film, M.A.D. Films and Vivaldi Productions stars Stefano Dionisi as Vivaldi, heading a cast including Michel Galabru, Delphine Depardieu
  • Evangelion soars to the top of Japan's box office

    Japanese animated feature Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone took the top spot at the local box office over the September 1-2 weekend, grossing just over $2.42m (Y280.4m). The film, which is set to close this year's Pusan International Film Festival, opened on 84 screens for a high per-screen average of $28,800, by far the highest this year, with no other film managing to crack $20,000. Japan 's annual animated franchise installments such as Pokemon, Doraemon
  • Fallen Heroes (Nessuna qualità agli eroi)

    Dir: Paolo Franchi It/Switz. 2007. 100 mins.Paolo Franchi is the true heir to Antonioni among the current crop of young Italian directors: he's fascinated by passive, blocked, brooding characters, by emotions that can hardly be translated into images, let alone words. And like the films of the late lamented Ferrarese maestro, both Franchi's promising debut La Spettatrice and his current Venice competition entry feel like ongoing thought processes rather than finish
  • Festival Buzz - Other World Premieres

    SPECIAL PRESENTATIONSLove Comes Lately (Ger-Aus-US)Dir: Jan SchutteContact: Zero Fiction Film, (49) 30 390 663 0Shake Hands With The Devil (Can)Dir: Roger SpottiswoodeContact: White Pine Pictures, (226) 416 703 5580Real To ReelAlgerie, Unspoken Stories (Alg)Dir: Jean-Pierre LledoContact: Jean-Pierre Lledo, lledo.2007@yahoo.frAmazing Journey: The Story Of The Who (US)Dir: Paul Crowder, Murray LernerContact: Spitfire Pictures, (1) 310 300 9000
  • Festival buzz - Special Presentations

    Nothing Is Private (US)Dir: Alan BallEight years after American Beauty, writer Ball returns to features with his directorial debut. Aaron Eckhart and his Thank You For Smoking co-star Maria Bello headline alongside Toni Collette in a drama about a sexually obsessed Lebanese-American girl who moves next door to a bigoted Army reservist.Int'l sales: Celluloid Dreams, (33) 1 49 70 03 70Rails & Ties (US)Dir: Alison EastwoodIf Clint Eastwood'
  • Festival buzz - Toronto International Film Festival

    GALA PRESENTATIONSCleaner (US)Dir: Renny HarlinHarlin brings one of the more gung-ho US films to this year's festival. Samuel L Jackson stars as a former police officer who unwittingly covers up evidence of a murder. Ed Harris and Eva Mendes also star. Sony is releasing domestically.Int'l sales: Nu Image/Millennium Films, (1) 310 388 6900Closing The Ring (UK-Can)Dir: Richard AttenboroughAttenborough returns with this epic love story s
  • Festival Deauville - Opening French doors

    The 33rd edition of the Deauville Festival of American Film will showcase 124 films, including 11 in competition. And for the first time, the festival has added a sidebar entitled American Nights, which will screen 60 films back to back, 24 hours a day, in the French seaside town's Morny cinema.The festival's artistic director Bruno Barde says the idea was to show films without interruption. "If at 3am you can find images on TV or the internet, in Deauville at 3am there will be films i
  • Film Agency For Wales backs illegal logging script

    The Film Agency For Wales is backing Blind Eye, written by Penarth, Wales-based writer Anna Holmes. The film is currently in development. The story is about a freelance forestry consultant whose principles are challenged working for the UK government in Indonesia, where illegal logging is a problem. New Zealand-born Holmes has a background in broadcast journalism and has a background with the subject matter, she and her partner run ethical timber company Ecotimber.
  • Film Sales Company takes on Argentinian drama

    Andrew Herwitz' New York-based Film Sales Company is moving intoproduction with the remake of Jorge Gaggero's Argentinian dramaLive-In Maid.Herwitz picked up English-language remake rights to the portrait ofthe relationship between a grand dame and her live-in maid.Rodrigo Garcia is attached to write and direct the project, which isexpected to begin filming in the middle of 2008.The original starred Norma Aleandro and won
  • Finnish producers ready to strike over film subsidy

    Finnish film production will be brought to a halt if the government does not fulfil a alleged promise of an extra $1.6m (Euros 1.2m) subsidy. At a press conference in Helsinki, 30 feature film producers announcedthey will not start new projects until their demand has been met. 'If not they can take the total amount of film support in 2008 and give it to the National Opera,' they said in a declaration signed by such producers as A
  • Fipresci names Mungiu's 4 Months best film of the year

    At the Fipresci Grand Prix vote, Cristian Mungiu's Romanian abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (4 Luni, 3 Saptamini si 2 Zile) has been named best film of the year. The vote reflects 248 members of the International Federation of Film Critics. Other top films in the vote were: The Queen, Letters From Iwo Jima, Still Life, and Syndromes And A Century. The Fipresci Grand Prix will be presented at the San Sebastian Film Festival's opening ga
  • First Tropfest@Tribeca competition set for Sept 23

    Sixteen short films from four countries have been selected to compete in the inaugural Tropfest@Tribeca competition in New York City on Sept 23.Finalists, chosen from a pool of 161 submissions, were each asked to interpret the word 'slice' in their film.The winner will be chosen by a jury of Rose Byrne, Griffin Dunne and Capote director Bennett Miller - further jurors will be unveiled in September - and the winner will receive a $1
  • Former Sina exec launches China's first fund for docs

    Former executive Ben Chiang has launched CNEX, the first private fund for documentaries in China. The Beijing-based outfit aims to become a fully-fledged film production, sales and distribution outfit, focusing on documentaries produced in the Greater China region. The first three films on the CNEX slate are: Du Haibin's Umbrella, which is screening in the Horizons section of this year's Venice film festival; My Last Secret, directed by Li Xiaofeng and Jia K
  • Fortissimo takes on Schnabel's Lou Reed film Berlin

    Fortissimo Films has acquired worldwide sales rights, excluding North America, to Julian Schnabel's Berlin, a concert film featuring Lou Reed. Waterboy's Jon Kilik produced with Tom Sarig and Reed. Executive producers are LM Media Gmbh, Stanley Buchthal and Maja Hoffmann. Berlin will world premiere at this week's Venice International Film Festival, with a North American premiere to follow in Toronto. During production, Madman licensed rights for Australi
  • France and Italy acquire Mongol ahead of Toronto world premiere

    Beta Cinema has closed deals with France's Metropolitan Filmexport and Italy's BIM Distribution for the distribution rights to Sergei Bodrov's Genghis Khan epic Mongol ahead of its world premiere as a special presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept 8. Beta had already presold the title to more than 30 territories, including Picturehouse/Odeon for North America, Hopscotch for Australia/New Zealand and Lumiere for the Benelux. The sales agent will al
  • GreeneStreet sells The Nines on back of Venice Critics Week screening

    Ariel Veneziano of GreeneStreet Films International has closed a slew of sales in Venice on John August's feature directorial debut The Nines.Rights have gone to: Argentina (Telexcel), Brazil (Playarte), Eastern Europe (Blue Sky), Greece (Village Roadshow), Iceland (Sena), Israel (Forum Film), the Middle East (Italia Film), Portugal (Castelo Lopes), Scandinavia (Non-Stop), South Africa (Ster Kinekor) and Turkey (D Productions). Optimum holds U
  • Halloween

    Dir: Rob Zombie US 2007 110mins Rob Zombie's're-imagining' of the original Halloween replaces the atmospheric suspense of John Carpenter's 1978 slasher classic with plodding gonzo horror that offers plenty of blood but not much of the rocker-turned-filmmaker's usual gory flair. Still, the combination of Zombie with one of the horror genre's best-known brands drew an unexpectedly big crowd for the film's domestic opening last weekend. So even if the Zombi
  • Halloween has biggest Labor Day opening ever for MGM/Dimension

    Rob Zombie's reinterpretation of John Carpenter's horror classic Halloween brought a record-breaking summer to a close as it opened number one with an estimated $31m four-day haul over Labor Day Weekend.The result surpassed The Transporter 2's 2005 $20.1m launch with ease to become the biggest Labor Day debut in history.In fact no film has grossed more over this holiday weekend, as Halloween
  • In focus - The search for a new audience

    The idea of a 'digital revolution' for film can sometimes seem ridiculously overblown. For all the talk of paradigm-shifting technologies and the long tail, the traditional box office has been happily breaking records around the globe.In the UK and France, the July box office reached new highs for the modern era - albeit with a little help from the weather.China's summer box-office grosses were up 60% in June and July, pushing the industry towards the $400m (rmb3bn) milestone. A
  • In The Valley Of Elah

    Dir: Paul Haggis. 2007. 120 mins.The really fascinating aspect of aul Haggis's follow-up to the Oscar-winning Crash is the way it uses Hollywood conventions as a Trojan horse to deliver a radical, anti-war message to a mainstream audience.Like Brian de Palma's passionate cinematic 'j'accuse', Redacted, which also screened in Venice, In the Valley of Elah looks at the way the war in Iraq brutalises the young American soldiers
  • International box office - Czech Republic - Recovery position

    Admissions in the Czech Republic grew 13% year on year for the first half of 2007, with cinemas earning total revenues of nearly $31.3m (czk637m). If the trend continues, 2007 will outpace last year's 11.5 million admissions, continuing the recovery from 2005's 9.5 million.The Czech Republic, which has a population of 10.2 million, saw just over 6.6 million admissions between January 1 and June 30, the best first-half performance in recent years, according to the Czech Union of Film Di
  • Into The Wild

    Dir: Sean Penn. US. 2007. 148mins.Sean Penn's fourth feature as a director is as exhilarating as it is unwieldy, a sprawling hymn to nature, humanity and personal freedom which firmly establishes the much-feted actor as a film-maker of vision. Shining an affectionate light on the drifters and counter-culturalists living in today's heartland, the film is destined to win a loyal if specialized audience following among smart liberals and the college crowd drawn by the true stor
  • Italian distributor cancels Woody Allen screenings in Venice

    There were angry scenes in Venice over the weekend when it emerged that Italian distributor Filmauro had cancelled three of the five screenings planned for Woody Allen's new feature, Cassandra's Dream, starring Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor. The reasons for the last-minute cancellations were shrouded in mystery. Some well-placed sources suggested that Filmauro would have preferred to premiere the film at the Rome Film Fest rather than in Venice. Others speculated that the
  • Italy - The Dark master

    Thirty years in the making, the launch of Dario Argento's The Mother Of Tears finally closes the door on The Three Mothers trilogy of cult horror films that began with Argento's Suspiria in 1977 and Inferno in 1982."I feel relief but also sadness," Argento says of the film, which has its world premiere in Toronto's Midnight Madness section next week. "There's no other episode for the fantastic world I invented, and I am sorry about that."Produced by Medusa a
  • It's A Free World

    Ken Loach UK/Germany/Italy/Spain/Poland,/ 2007, 96 minutesKen Loach is back in familiar groove in It's A Free World. This is a small-scale but often affecting and very well observed film in the vein of The Navigators, Riff-Raff and Raining Stones. It may not be vintage Loach (there are moments of improbability and occasional lurches toward melodrama) but the film has all the qualities associated with the director - depth of characterisation,
  • Japan - Adaptations - Tapping the sources

    Books: While the manga TV animation-animated feature cycle has been a mainstay in Japan, Toho Studios' 2004 megahit Crying Out Love, In The Centre Of The World ($72.5m) sparked an increased dependence on novels as source material, with major publishers such as Kadokawa Publishing and Shueisha regularly joining production consortiums. Toho has remained faithful to its female-oriented fare, continuing with this September's Closed Note.Bestsellers in various genres ar
  • Japan - Hot projects in the pipeline

    Aruitemo AruitemoDirector Hirokazu Kore-eda is no stranger to critical acclaim with films such as Nobody Knows and international arthouse hit After Life. His latest stars Hiroshi Abe (Bubble Fiction) as the good-for-nothing son of a doctor who returns home for the anniversary of his brother's death. With Kore-eda's talent for eliciting strong performances, Aruitemo Aruitemo promises to be a unique family dramedy.Contact: Noriko Akiyama, Cine Qu
  • Japan - Production - Out with the new in with the old

    After a phenomenally successful year - Japanese productions grossed an unprecedented $920m (Yen107.8bn) at the local box office in 2006 - the territory's film-makers and financiers are continuing their reliance on proven books, comics, manga and TV shows (known as 'gensaku').Of the top 20 local films in Japan last year, 18 were based on existing properties: eight book adaptations, led by top earner Tales From Earthsea ($67m); seven based on manga (including animation or live-act
  • Japan - Technology - Jumping between platforms

    BroadbandThere are now around 26 million broadband connections in Japan, with some of the fastest and cheapest services among Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (Oecd) countries. Many consumers watch TV on computers with built in TiVo-like functions, increasing the audience for the dramas that are often made into movies.Unlike most countries, Yahoo! trumps Google in Japan with its extensive shopping and auction services and highly localised information. Yahoo!
  • Jean-Claude Carriere to take center stage at Copenhagen

    French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere, who has worked on Belle Du Jour, The Tin Drum, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being, will receive the Copenhagen International Film Festival's Life Achievement Award in September. 'Screenwriters always end up in the shadow of the director, but we would like to do our bit to redress that imbalance,' programme director Jacob Neiiendam said of the festival's fifth edition (Sept 20-30). Carrière will also hold the first o
  • Jia Zhangke on track with Chinese doc 24 Cities

    Golden Lion winning director Jia Zhangke, whose new documentary Useless about clothing designer Ma Ke screened in Venice's Orizzonti, has revealed further details of his next dramatic feature, which he is planning to have ready in time for the Olympic Games.The project (provisionally titled 24 Cities) follows four women working in a state-run aeroplane factory. When the factory closes, 30,000 people lose their jobs.'Since the Olympics Games (in Beijing in 2008) i
  • Joffe finishes shooting You And I

    Roland Joffe has wrapped principal photographyin Moscow on hiscoming-of-age drama You And I. Previously titled Finding t.A.T.u, the adaptation of Alexei Mitrofanov's Russian bestseller, is a stylistic departure forthe director of The Killing Fields and The Mission. Shot entirely on location in and around Moscow,the film starsMischa Barton and newcomer Shantel VanSanten.Producers areLeonid Minkovksi and Serge Konov from the Mosfilm based RAMCO, and
  • Kinowelt takes on sales, distribution and co-production of animated title

    Kinowelt International has picked up international rights (except for France and Italy) on Tony Loeser and Jesper Moeller's animated feature film A Case For Friends...How It All Began which has now begun production at Loeser's MotionWorks' studio in Halle. Kinowelt's theatrical and home entertainment divisions will release the film in Germany, and its Leipzig-based production subsidiary Extrafilm Produktion has come onboard as a co-producer with MotionWorks, Italy's Enanima
  • Lantos unveils new Canadian distribution, international sales outfit

    Canadian producer Robert Lantos has officially unveiled his new international and domestic film distribution enterpriese, Maximum Films International and Maximum Film Distribution. As previously tipped on Screendaily, former Celluloid Dreams managing director Charlotte Mickie will head the former while veteran Canadian industry executive Tony Cianciotta will head the latter. Both were key executives for Lantos during his years at Alliance Communications. In making the ann
  • Lions For Lambs to open AFI FEST

    Lions For Lambs, the inaugural release under Paula Wagner and TomCruise's revamped United Artists, will get its North American premierewhen it opens the AFI FEST in Los Angeles on Nov 1.The announcement suggests the film is likely to receive its worldpremiere at the 51st BFI London Film Festival that runs from Oct17-Nov 1, given that it is not screening in either Venice or Toronto.The film's powerhouse cast of Cruise, Meryl Streep and
  • London agency ICM changes name to Independent

    Leading London-based talent agency ICM is changing its name to Independent Talent Group, or Independent. The change follows 2002's management buyout from ICM Inc.The change reflects 'the group's true independence from ICM Inc. in the USA and is also to obviate confusion in the marketplace,' the company said. Independent represents actors, directors, writers, producers/production companies, casting directors, models, presenters, and below-the line personnel such as cameram
  • Lucky Red takes Italian rights to Rush Hour 3 from New Line

    Italian distributor Lucky Red has acquired rights to New Line's Rush Hour 3, starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker and directed by Brett Ratner. The film has grossed over $110m in the first three weeks of its Stateside run while European grosses figure at $16.5m for the UK after three weekends, and $7.1m in Germany in its first two weeks. Lucky Red's chief of acquisitions Stefano Massenzi told they are 'racing' to get the title into Italian theate
  • Lumina sells German-speaking Europe on Donkey Punch to Universum

    London-based Lumina Films has sold German-speaking rights to Olly Blackburn's British thriller Donkey Punch to Universum Film.The film, produced by Warp X, is now in post-production and is scheduled for a summer 2008 release in the UK by Optimum Releasing.Produced by Angus Lamont, Mark Herbert and Robin Gutch, the film is about the freak death of a partygoer on a luxury yacht in the Mediterranean and the conflict that arises among
  • Lust, Caution (Se Jie)

    Dir. Ang Lee. China/US, 2007. 156 mins. One of the main attractions in Venice this year, Ang Lee's new film promises much more than it actually delivers. Lavishly handsome and elegant, possibly too much so for its own good, this sprawling adaptation of a short story by Eileen Chang risks leaving audiences cold - despite the sometimes excessively passionate nature of its storyline. Comparisons with Brokeback Mountain are inevitable but with it
  • Master of Spices

    Indian director Santosh Sivan based his new film Before The Rains, which has its world premiere as a Special Presentation in Toronto next week, on the Israeli short film Red Roofs, one of Dan Verete's Desert Trilogy (2001). But, Sivan says, it really only served as a stepping off point for his own creations."The film had very black and white characters - good and bad," he says. "My characters are more grey. We didn't follow it at all. India had this colonial past w
  • Match Factory adds second Wayne Wang film to sales lineup

    Cologne-based sales company The Match Factory has added a second Wayne Wang film - The Princess Of Nebraska - to its sales lineup to join Wang's A Thousand Years Of Good Prayers which will have its international premiere in Toronto's Masters section and screen in competition at San Sebastian. The Princess of Nebraska - which will have its world premiere in the Masters sidebar at Toronto on Sept 9 - follows 24 hours in the life of a young pregnant Chinese woma
  • Mehruji to head Pusan's New Currents jury

    The 12th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) has announced the jury for its New Currents award, which will be headed by Iranian cineaste Darjush Mehruji (The Cow). The jury will award $30,000 each to three films by first-time directors in the New Currents section. Mehruji will be joined by Chinese actress Yu Nan (Tuya's Marriage, The Story Of Er Mei), Romanian director Cristian Mungjiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days), Serbian director Goran Paskaljevi
  • Met Film Post acquires Chris Atkins' S2S Post

    UK-based Met Film Post has acquired indie post-production company S2S Post, which has worked on more than 30 features since its creation six years ago.S2S founder Chris Atkins will step down from running the company to concentrate on the feature film production side of S2S. He recently directed his first feature, political doc Taking Liberties.Atkins said: 'I'm thrilled that Met Film Post has stepped in to keep the business alive,
  • Michael Clayton

    Dir:Tony Gilroy USA , 2007, 119 mins George Clooney isn't out to break the mould with Michael Clayton, a slow, moody and insomniac thriller which wears its social conscience very much on its sleeve. In Syriana andGood Night and Good Luck (and to some extent The Good German) audiences have become familiar with this particular Clooney type - an isolated man on the edge of a moral and personal abyss.
  • Movie downloads set for strong growth

    Online movie downloading is becoming a serious business for Hollywood studios in the US and Western Europe, according to a report from analyst Screen Digest.But the authors warn that the fragmen
  • Movies from 26 countries compete for European Film Awards

    Cristian Mungiu's Palme D'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Chris Kraus Golden Lola-winner Four Minutes, Shane Meadows' This Is England and Tom Tykwer's Perfume - The Story Of A Murderer are among 42 films competing for this year's European Film Awards.Unlike previous years, no major film nation has more than three f
  • NBC Universal acquires Hallmark global pay-TV channels

    NBC Universal has acquired Sparrowhawk Holdings and its global portfolio of pay TV channels from Providence Equity Partners, 3i and management shareholders.The move represents a major step forward in NBC Universal's strategy to more than double the size of its international cable channels in the next two to three years.Terms of the deal were not divulged, however the portfolio includes the international Hallmark Channels, which joins NBC Universal's roster of more than 30
  • New Zealanders McIver, Dando cast in The Lovely Bones

    Following a worldwide search Peter Jackson and his team have cast New Zealanders actresses Rose McIver and Carolyn Dando in DreamWorks/Film 4's upcoming drama The Lovely Bones.The Alice Sebold adaptation tells the story of murder victim Susie Salmon, who continues to observe her family on Earth after her death as her killer prepares to strike again.McIver will play Susie's younger sister Lindsey, while Dando has been cast as outsid
  • Nic Balthazar's Ben X conquers Montreal

    Nic Balthazar's Belgium-Netherlands coproduction Ben X was the toast of Montreal as the debut film-maker took the audience award, the Ecumenical Prize and shared top competition honours with Claude Miller's A Secret as the 31st Montreal World Film Festival wrapped on Monday night. The story of a young autistic man's struggle to find his place in the world, Ben X
  • Norwegian animation Elias to launch in local versions

    Norwegian directors Espen Fyksen and Lise I Osvoll's fully-animated Elias and the Royal Yacht, which has taken 230,000 admissions locally, will be launched in Sweden on Sept 28 - in a local version, with a star cast, and backed by strong marketing and merchandising campaigns. Denmark and Finland will follow. 'Major Hollywood studios used to have a monopoly on such releases,' said Norwegian producer John M Jacobsen, of Filmkameratene, who last
  • Optimum, TWC set October UK launch for Sicko

    Optimum Releasing and The Weinstein Company are teaming to release Michael Moore's Sicko in the UK on Oct 26. Optimum previously released Moore's hit Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore 's exploration of the US health care system, Sicko has already grossed about $24m at the US box office. Danny Perkins, managing director of Optimum, said: 'We are delighted to be releasing Sicko together with The Weinstein Company and working with Michael Moore again. We feel tha
  • Principal photography wraps in Finland for Lordi film

    Finnish director Pete Riski has wrapped principal photography for Dark Floors, the $5.6m (Euros 4.2m) horror movie starring Finnish monster rock group Lordi, the 2006 winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. Except for the concluding bluescreen shots in Helsinki, Dark Floors was lensed entirely in a former factory for Nokia components in provincial Oulu, otherwise the home town of a children's film festival, this year's Nordisk Panorama and the annual Air Guitar World Champion
  • Production uncertainty overshadows Pinewood growth

    The UK's Pinewood Studios has warned film revenue may be reduced this year because of delayed studio productions.The UK studio has been performing well recently and was further boosted this year by news that it would host the next Bond movie.Current business includes Chris Weitz' His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass at Shepperton and Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd at Pinewood.Half-y
  • Publicist Robert Garlock dies in New York at 41

    Robert Garlock, the well-known New York-based publicist has died at the age of 41 of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was most recently head of the talent division at 42West where he represented clients including Penelope Cruz, Hugh Grant, Clive Owen, Uma Thurman, Sigourney Weaver, Hilary Swank and Kate Winslet,Garlock had become a partner in 42West after 16 years at PMK/HBH where he worked on campaigns for over 40 features including Pul
  • Pusan boasts premiere-packed programme

    The 12th Pusan International Film Festival (Oct 4-12) has announced a 275 film line-up from 64 countries - with 193 world, international or Asian premieres. 'This shows how far the Pusan festival has come in establishing itself,' said Asian Cinema programmer Kim Ji-seok. 'We're very proud to announce that all 11 films in the New Currents competition are either world or international premieres.' (See full list below.) Films in the Window on Asian Cinema section include Thai princ
  • Pusan to open with Assembly, close with Evangelion

    The Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) has announced that the world premiere of mainland Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's Assembly will open this year's edition. The closing film will be Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone, directed by Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki and Masayuki. Feng's filmography includes Chinese hit The Banquet, starring Zhang Ziyi, as well as A World Without Thieves and A Sigh. His latest film is a war epic focusing on
  • Raindance to offer content through Joost, the online and mobile film portal founded by the Raindance Film Festival with dandy productions, Dogwoof Pictures and Crucible Media, has partnered with Internet TV platform Joost. Joost users will now be able to view - for free -'s independent features, shorts and documentaries. Offerings include UK thriller Gingerbread Man and Spanish horror project The Nameless. Elliot Grove, founder of the Raindance Film Festival, said: 'We have some of the most ex
  • Red Envelope and New Line take rights to childbirth doc

    Red Envelope Entertainment and New Line Home Entertainment havejointly acquired North American rights to the childbirth documentaryThe Business Of Being Born.Ricki Lake produced the film, in which director Abby Epstein capturesfootages of women giving birth and speaks to mothers, obstetriciansand experts about whether childbirth is a natural process or a medicalemergency.Red Envelope plans a limited theatrical release in October
  • Redacted

    Dir: Brian De Palma, US, 2007. 90minsDesigned to resemble an American's soldier video blog from Iraq , with additional footage from a French-language pseudo-documentary, YouTube clips and reports from local TV crews, Brian de Palma's attempt to reveal some of the expurgated truth behind the media coverage of the war in Iraq ultimately backfires on him.
  • Relativity on board for Contractors

    Relativity Media has swooped on film rights to Bob Fisher'sspeculative script Contractors and will finance, develop and producethe project with Landscape Entertainment.Fisher, who co-wrote the 2005 hit Wedding Crashers with Steve Faber,co-wrote Contractors with David Hemingson.The story centres on two contractors who land a big assignment in theHamptons, only for one of them to discover that his ex-girlfriend isengaged to the we
  • Rezo boosts Toronto slate with Sayles' Honeydripper

    Following its success with Julie Delpy's 2 Days In Paris , France 's Rezo Films will handle international sales on another English-language film, John Sayles Honeydripper. The film will have its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival this month and is a 'rock-n'-roll fable' about a 1950s juke joint owner down on his luck until the legendary 'Guitar Sam' comes to town. The cast includes Danny Glover, Charles S Dutton, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Stacy Keach and Mary Steen
  • Ridley Scott to tackle religion and politics with Body Of Lies

    Ridley Scott, in Venice at the weekend for the special screening of Blade Runner: The Final Cut, has revealed further details of his new Warner Bros film, Body Of Lies, which starts shooting on Wednesday. 'We are working fast. We are working to get ahead of the strike,' Scott said of the decision to get the film, which stars Leonardo Di Caprio and Russell Crowe, into production so soon after the completion of Scott's last film, American Gangster. Scott bi
  • Ruzowitzky drama is Austrian entry for Academy Awards

    Stefan Ruzowitzky's Second World War drama The Counterfeiters (Die Faelscher), which was first shown in competition at last February's Berlinale, has been selected as the Austrian entry for the 80th Academy Awards.This is the second time that a film by Ruzowitzky has been submitted by Austria for the Best Foreign Language Film category after his historical drama Die Siebtelbauern in 1998. The Counterfeiters - which is being handled internati
  • San Sebastian unveils full competition and Horizontes programme

    The 55th San Sebastian International Film Festival has unveiled the full line-up for its Official Selection and Horizontes Programme. The festival runs Sept 20-29. As previously reported, David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises will open the event in competition. The remaining 15 films in Official Selection are: Battle For Haditha, dir. Nick Broomfield (UK) Buddha Collapsed Out Of Shame ( Buda Az Sharm Foru Rikht), dir: Hana Mak
  • Sarajevo set to joinEuropean film fund network

    The Film Foundation Sarajevo could become one of the members of Cine Regio, the European network of regional film funds, by the beginning of October. Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily during Sarajevo's CineLink market, Cine Regio's general secretary Charlotte Appelgren said that meetings had been held with representatives of the Sarajevo fund and the City of Belgrade culture secretariat's filmmaking fund to discuss the possibility of Cine Regio membership.
  • Sarajevo's CineLink gives out record $68,000 funding

    In addition to expanding its selection to projects with some financing in place, the Sarajevo Film Festival's co-production market CineLink has secured record funding of $68,150 (Euros 50,000) in its fifth edition. In addition to the long-term partner Hubert Bals Fund, the Goteborg International Film Festival and France's CNC have each contributed the development grants to three projects of $13,630 (Euros 10,000) each. The Hubert Bals Fund Award went to project Donkey by Cr
  • Sebastien Beffa now overseeing acquisitions at Films Distribution

    French sales outfit Films Distribution is restructuring its sales and acquisitions department and will launch an international TV sales arm.The company announced the news Wednesday saying that Sebastien Beffa would oversee all acquisitions and also take part in corporate development alongside existing Films Distribution principals Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, Francois Yon and Valery Guibal. Beffa, who was previously at StudioCanal, has recently acquired Coco by Anne Fontaine,
  • Sholay rights owners strike $100m deal with Pritish Nandy

    After Sholay Media and Entertainment won its court case against Indian filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, restricting him from using the title or names of characters in his alleged remake of the cult classic, the owner of the rights to Sholay has now entered into a deal with Pritish Nandy Communications to remake the film.In addition to a feature remake of the 1975 Bollywood classic, the deal covers an animated version, a prequel and a sequel. The deal is valued at $100m.Chairman
  • Shoot 'Em Up

    Dir: Michael Davis. US. 2007. 87mins.Merrily amoral, shamelessly watchable and outlandishly funny, Shoot 'Em Up is not for all tastes, but those with a dark sense of humour and a penchant for knowingly excessive violence will have a ball. Short enough so that its thin premise doesn't run out of steam, this tongue-in-cheek action-comedy thriller both lampoons gratuitous action movies while offering sufficiently exciting (and gratuitous) set pieces in its own right.
  • Shrek narrowly beats Bourne to top international box office

    In a narrow victory DreamWorks/Paramount's Shrek The Third wrestled the overseas crown from The Bourne Ultimatum and raised its international running total by an estimated $17.2m to $436m.The weekend result struck a blow for the more traditional staggered release pattern in a season where the more spectacular opening grossesgenerated by day-and-date launches have dominated the headlines.The family sequel opened top through Paramount Pictures Inter
  • Shrek's staggered release keeps revenues rolling

    Paramount Pictures International (PPI) bucked the summer trend by notreleasing DreamWorks/Paramount's Shrek The Third day-and-date with the US, and has enjoyed the consequences as the tentpole continues togenerate revenues throughout the summer.The animated hit has already done most of its business but PPIexecutives are anticipating a robust boost to the $418.4m tally thisweekend when it opens in seven territories including Italy and Swedeno
  • Silk to close curtains at Tokyo InternationalFilm Festival

    The Tokyo International Film Festival (October 20-28) has announced that François Girard's Silk will be the closing film of this year's 20th edition. The $26m Canadian-Italian-Japanese co-production stars Michael Pitt, Keira Knightley, Koji Yakusho, Alfred Molina, Miki Nakatani and newcomer Sei Ashina, who won the part through an audition of 800 hopefuls. Famed musician Ryuichi Sakamoto composed the music. Based on the best-selling novel by Italian author Alessandro Ba
  • Sleuth

    Dir: Kenneth Branagh, UK/USA 2007. 89 mins .Sleuth has a lot going for it: a script by Harold Pinter; Michael Caine and Jude Law in the lead roles (the only roles, in fact); Kenneth Branagh directing. It's also one of those films that comes laden with historical baggage, at least for older viewers: it's based on Anthony Shaffer's1970 play, which Joseph Mankiewicz later made into a film starring Laurence Olivier and (in a neat, media-friendly twist) Michael Caine, who in the
  • Soenke Wortmann comes to the rescue of Constantin's Pope Joan

    German director Soenke Wortmann has come to the rescue of Constantin Film's planned adaptation of the Donna Cross bestseller Pope Joan after the previously attached director Volker Schloendorff was fired amidst much controversy last month.Franka Potente is still expected to take the title lead role in the international project which is set to begin principal photography in the first half of 2008.This project would mark a return for Wortmann to the
  • Sogepaq takes on international sales of Bernal's Deficit

    Spain 's Sogepaq has taken on international sales, outside Mexico and North America, for actor Gael Garcia Bernal's directorial debut Deficit. Bernal's Mexico-based production outfit Canana Films produced Deficit, which had its world premiere during Cannes Critics Week. The film will also screen in Toronto's Vanguard section, where Sogepaq will start sales. Bernal himself stars in the story of a Mexican snob whose weekend pool party disguises a loss of i
  • Sony Pictures returns to German-language production

    Sony Pictures is making a comeback to the production of German-language feature films after acquiring the film rights to Tommy Jaud's bestselling second novel Resturlaub.The comedy about a German brewery manager's dream of beginning a new life at the other end of the world in Argentina has already sold more than 600,000 copies, with the hardcover edition in the top 20 for 50 weeks in the Der Spiegel bestseller list and the paperback also in th
  • Stopping Power forced to stop $40m shoot over financing issues

    Principal photography on Jan de Bont's $40m action thriller Stopping Power has had to be suspended after the default of a key equity investor in the film made it impossible for the Internationalmedia Group to close the required financing. The investor's breach has led to the IM Internationalmedia wholly-ownd subsidiary IM Stopping Power GmbH having to file for insolvency. In a press communique, IM Internationalmedia stated that 'th
  • Sugarhouse

    Dir: Gary Love, UK 2007, 92mins A claustrophobic psychodrama that never quite shakes off its stage origins, Sugarhouse is performed with ferocious intensity by its three leads. First-time director Love creates a genuine sense of menace. He also effectively cranks up the tension even if the plotting ultimately seems contrived Notable as the first of a slate of 10 or so low budget digital features being made over the next three years by new British
  • Telluride unveils unofficial world premieres

    Telluride Film Festival organisers have unveiled the roster ofunofficial world premieres, many of which have been previouslyconfirmed for Venice and Toronto.The Colorado festival is set to run from Aug 31-Sept 3 and this yearboasts such high profile titles as Sean Penn's Jon Krakauer adaptationInto The Wild, Noah Baumbach's Nicole Kidman starrer Margot At TheWedding, and Todd Haynes' star studded Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There.
  • The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

    Dir: Andrew Dominik. USA 2007. 159 mins.Stirring, nuanced and elegaic, Andrew Dominik's retelling of Jesse James's legend is equal parts a mentor-acolyte love story, a melancholy neo-Western and a tragedy of betrayal with Biblical echoes. Based on the historical novel by Ron Hansen, the film touches on the way history and the media create heroes and monsters, asking what might have happened in the months and days leading up to the killing of Jesse James by Robert Ford,
  • The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

    Dir: Andrew Dominik. USA 2007. 159 mins.Stirring, nuanced and elegaic, Andrew Dominik's retelling of Jesse James's legend is equal parts a mentor-acolyte love story, a melancholy neo-Western and a tragedy of betrayal with Biblical echoes. Based on the historical novel by Ron Hansen, the film touches on the way history and the media create heroes and monsters, asking what might have happened in the months and days leading up to the killing of Jesse James by Robert Ford,
  • The Darjeeling Limited

    Dir: Wes Anderson USA 2007. 91 mins.Wes Anderson treads water, or maybe lime tea, with The Darjeeling Limited, the latest quirky philosophical comedy from the US maverick. This tale of three brothers who meet up on an Indian train to bond and find themselves has a kooky, laid back charm and is full of Anderson's trademark themes and surreal eye candy, but ultimately, for all its offbeat wit and road-to-enlightenment send-ups, it feels a little thin - more popp
  • The Darjeeling Limited

    Dir: Wes Anderson USA 2007. 91 mins.Wes Anderson treads water, or maybe lime tea, with The Darjeeling Limited, the latest quirky philosophical comedy from the US maverick. This tale of three brothers who meet up on an Indian train to bond and find themselves has a kooky, laid back charm and is full of Anderson's trademark themes and surreal eye candy, but ultimately, for all its offbeat wit and road-to-enlightenment send-ups, it feels a little thin - more popp
  • THINKFilm takes world sales for Babenco's The Past

    THINKFilm International has taken worldwide sales rights (excluding Latin America and Italy) to Hector Babenco's The Past (El Pasado). The film will have its world premiere in the Masters section of the Toronto International Film Festival. Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a young translator going through a divorce, whose former wife become obsessive and out of control. Babenco, Marta Goes, Mariana Chaud and Federico Leon adapted the script from Argentine writer Alan Pauls's
  • Tonderai starts five-week UK shoot for Hush

    Writer/director Mark Tonderai started shooting his debut feature film Hush on Aug 20 for Warp X, Shona Productions and FearFactory. The suspense thriller will shoot on location in Sheffield and the East Midlands over five weeks. Will Ash and Christine Bottomley star in the story of a couple who barely avoid a roadside accident only to be drawn into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game.Hush is produced by zoe Stewart with Mark Herbert and Robin Gutch. Colin Pon
  • UK thriller MindFlesh finishes post-production

    Post-production is wrapping up on UK indie horror title MindFlesh. The thriller stars Christopher Fairbank, Peter Bramhill, Lucy Liemann, and Carole Derrien. The story, adapted from William Scheinman's White Light, is about a taxi driver whose obsession with a ghostly goddess becomes real. MindFlesh shot on location for four weeks in South London in October 2006. Robert Pratten directed. Worldwide rights are available and inquiries should
  • UKFC supports release of In The Hands Of The Gods with $300,000

    The UK Film Council has announced the latest funding recipients from its Prints & Advertising Fund, which supports the release of specialised films. The awards are: $303,363 (£150,000) to Lionsgate UK for In The Hands Of The Gods$294,262 (£145,500) to Artificial Eye for Lady Chatterley$252,600 (£125,000) to Optimum Releasing for Eagle vs Shark
  • United Kingdom - Mountain High

    Eight months in as president of Paramount Pictures International (PPI), Andrew Cripps is enjoying the change of pace from his last job as president and COO of UIP."What I've really thrived on are two things," he says. "Working with all divisions at Paramount and being part of the overall decision-making process. I'm on the greenlight committee and that's been fantastic - and really, really different from my experience at UIP."Also, UIP was very stable and structured and here we'
  • United States - Collective thinking

    Life just wasn't the same for Michael Green after the co-founder of top management company The Firm sold his stake to partner Jeff Kwatinetz in 2001. "I got bored of sitting on the beach," Green says from the Beverly Hills offices of The Collective, the full service production and management company he launched less than two years ago with his own money."I got back into circulation and was very bullish about content, and found myself being intellectually stimulated by the shifting dist
  • Universal and Studio Canal create French DVD joint venture

    Universal Pictures International Entertainment and Studio Canal are creating a joint venture to handle home entertainment titles in France.From January 2008, the joint venture will combine the sales, marketing and distribution (via ODS) businesses of all titles for Studio Canal and Universal Pictures France. The new entity will be named Universal Studio Canal Video GIE. The announcement was made by UPIE president Eddie Cunningham and Studio Canal CEO Olivier Courson.The com
  • Universal promotes Nicholas, Edwards and Perez in London

    Universal Pictures Internataional Entertainment, the international home entertainment division of NBC Universal, has announced several staffing changes in its London-based management team. Melanie Nicholas has been promoted to senior vice president, marketing. In addition to her current responsibilities for International Licensees and Russia, she will now also lead international marketing initiatives for home entertainment outside the US. Egor Borisov, Managing Director of Universal Pi
  • UTV moves into Telugu-language film production

    Mumbai-based UTV Motion Pictures (UTVM) is making a foray into Telugu-language films by signing Telugu star Mahesh Babu, one of the most bankable stars in the Southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, for two movies. The company has also acquired the Andhra Pradesh distribution rights for Mahesh Babu's next film Atithi, co-starring Amrita Rao, which is scheduled for release in October 2007. His last film, Pokhiri, is the highest grosser in the history of the Telugu film in
  • Venice exodus begins as international players head to Toronto

    As Venice's first weekend wraps and Toronto's opening looms on Thursday, the traditional mid-Venice festival migration has already begun. Industry delegates are leaving the Lido en masse, despite Venice - one of the world's most prestigious (and oldest) film festivals - continuing through Saturday. 'That's a big problem. Venice or Toronto should do something about it. It (the festivals) shouldn't overlap in the way that it does,' said Pathe head Francois Ivernel. 'You don't want
  • Venice opens competition with warm welcome for Wright's Atonement

    The 64th edition of the Venice Film Festival kicked off Wednesday with UK director Joe Wright's Ian McEwan adaptation Atonement, which was well received in its world premiere. All eyes were on British actress Keira Knightley as she sauntered down the red carpet flanked by British co-stars James McAvoy and veteran actress Vanessa Redgrave. The second work by Joe Wright, which comes on the heels of Pride and Prejudice, got the festival off to a competitive start from the out
  • Venice opens competition with warm welcome for Wright's Atonement

    The 64th edition of the Venice Film Festival kicked off Wednesday with UK director Joe Wright's Ian McEwan adaptation Atonement, which was well received in its world premiere. All eyes were on British actress Keira Knightley as she sauntered down the red carpet flanked by British co-stars James McAvoy and veteran actress Vanessa Redgrave. The second work by Joe Wright, which comes on the heels of Pride and Prejudice, got the festival off to a competitive start from the out
  • Venice sellers say market is healthy

    As the 64th Venice Film Fest opens tonight with Joe Wright's Atonement, thoughts are on expansion and stability. While the Italian industry will have to wait to see if artistic director Marco Mueller and Biennale President Davide Croff will be reinstated for a second mandate - all festivalgoers are wondering how long Venice will wait for its new Palazzo' The duo met journalists at Venice's opening conference that focused on the Palazzo project and their mandate.'The new P
  • Venice's new Palazzo should be ready for 2011 festival

    Italy's culture minister Francesco Rutelli, Biennale President Davide Croff, Venetian mayor Massimo Cacciari and regional president Giancarlo Galan revealed further plans today for Venice's new Palazzo. The project has been in the works since 2004 but today Croft noted that the current project should be completed in time for the 2011 Venice Film Festival.The original plans for the Palazzo will be reviewed and changed over the next three months. Venice Mayor Massimo Caccia
  • Verhoeven plans $27m adaptation of Dexter's The Paperboy

    Paul Verhoeven will direct the big-screen adaptation of Pete Dexter's novel The Paperboy, which former cinematographer Jan de Bont will produce. The Dutch collaborators will reunite for this $27m (Euros 20m) drama about three people being influenced by the execution of a presumed killer. Shooting is scheduled in a couple of months in Florida and Louisiana. No actors are attached yet. Director Verhoeven previously joined forces with De Bont as his director of photography
  • War

    Dir: Philip G. Atwell. US. 2007. 103mins.A sturdy B-movie thriller with enough style to overcome its formulaic trappings, War finds mid-level action stars Jet Li and Jason Statham riffing on their already established personas to winning effect. A needlessly elaborate plot somewhat spoils the pairing of these martial-arts icons, but genre fans should be satisfied by the amount of R-rated violence and the film's kinetic sheen. This Lionsgate release o
  • War

    Dir: Philip G. Atwell. US. 2007. 103mins.A sturdy B-movie thriller with enough style to overcome its formulaic trappings, War finds mid-level action stars Jet Li and Jason Statham riffing on their already established personas to winning effect. A needlessly elaborate plot somewhat spoils the pairing of these martial-arts icons, but genre fans should be satisfied by the amount of R-rated violence and the film's kinetic sheen.This Lionsgate release
  • Western European box office set to grow 17% over next five years

    Box office gross in Western Europe is predicted to surge by 17% over the next five years largely due to advancements in digital cinema and expanding local film industries, new research predicts. According to a report from Dodona Research, box office in the Western European market - which includes 13 countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland - will reach $6.4bn (Euros 4.7bn) by 2011 with Greece, the
  • Wild Bunch announces equity boost and $150m joint venture

    French sales, distribution and financing outfit Wild Bunch has raised $34m (Euros 25m) in equity and announced a $150m co-production and acquisition venture with US investment group Continental Entertainment Capital (CEC). CEC is providing most of the new capital with additional support from capital risk fund Iris Capital, which is already a shareholder in Wild Bunch, and also by the founding partners of the company. As Continental Films, Wild Bunch and CEC, will create th
  • Wild Bunch boosts strong Toronto slate with addition of $22m Terra

    Wild Bunch has acquired worldwide rights outside English-speaking territories to the $22 million animated project Terra, which will screen in a gala world premiere at Toronto. The film is directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas and has a voice cast including Luke Wilson, Evan Rachel Wood, Danny Glover, Dennis Quaid, Rosanna Arquette, Brian Cox and Chris Evans.The acquisition was handled by Agnes Mentre on behalf of Wild Bunch with CAA retaining North
  • Wolfson named as part-time director of Rotterdam

    In a surprise move, the Board of the International Film Festival Rotterdam has appointed Rutger Wolfson as director of the forthcoming January 2008 edition.However, the 37-year-old Wolfson will be doing the job on a part-time basis and his appointment is for one year only. While overseeing IFFR, Wolfson will also remain in his present job as director of De Vleeshal, a centre for contemporary art in Middelburg, The Netherlands. The festival board has also appointed Stef Fl