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5 August 2005

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  • Alison Thompson takes up top job at Focus International

    Moving to boost its Europeanpresence and ramp up worldwide sales, acquisitions and overseas production,Focus Features has hired former Pathe Pictures International sales chief AlisonThompson as president of its international division.Thompson will remain inLondon and oversee all international sales, distribution, and publicityactivities, reporting to Focus co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus andchief operating officer Andrew Karpen.Meanwhile Mike Runagallreplaces Thompso
  • BAFTA calls for UK entries to Oscar foreign language award

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) hascalled for all films wanting to be the UK's submission for the Foreign LanguageFilm Award at the 78th American Academy Awards to submit VHS/DVDsfor viewing by August 26.BAFTA is the appointed organisation by theAmerican Academy to select the UK's submission for consideration for theForeign Language Film Awa
  • Barclay signs on for Suburban Mayhem

    Emily Barclay, who came toattention via the critically acclaimed New Zealand film In My Father's Den,has been cast in the lead role of a conniving single mother with murder on hermind in the Australian black comedy Suburban Mayhem.Playing her besotted boyfriendwill be Michael Dorman, who is named as one of Australia's stars of tomorrow inthe current issue of Screen International. Also in the cast is AnthonyHayes (The Boys), Genevieve Lemon (The Piano)
  • Big budget Eragon cranks up in Hungary

    Stefan Fangmeier'sbig budget fantasy picture Eragon has just started shooting in Hungary,at a built set near Budakeszi, just outside of Budapest. The film will shootin nine different locations in Hungary until October 29, as well as a week oflocation work in Slovakia. The film is based onthe best-selling novel of the same title written by Christopher Paolini. The film's leadcharacter, a young boy who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a youngdragon, is played b
  • Big weekend for Warner, as Charlie, Island spread wider

    Warner Bros PicturesInternational will be vying to hold on to the box office crown this weekend as CharlieAnd The Chocolate Factory opens inTaiwan on Aug 6 alongside an anticipated string of impressive holds.The family picture amassedjust over $20m last weekend powered by a massive UK launch and stands on a$37.3m international running total to date.Sci-fi thriller TheIsland has been producing steadybusiness and Warner Bros executives were hoping for more of the sam
  • Brillstein-Grey completes post-Grey reorganisation

    Brillstein-GreyEntertainment has completed the transition of its management and televisioncompanies to new owners and announced that longtime executives CynthiaPett-Dante and Jon Liebman will lead itsexecutive team.Pett-Dante, aBrillstein-Grey partner of 14 years whose client roster includes Brad Pitt,Courteney Cox-Arquette and Matthew Vaughan, assumes leadership and strategicresponsibilities for the overall company.In addition she will overseePitt's production company Plan B wi
  • Canada's Brault to receive Iris award at New Montreal FilmFest

    Michel Brault will receivethe New Montreal FilmFest's Iris Achievement Award at the end of aretrospective of his work set to take place during the festival's inauguraledition running from Sept 18-25.Brault earned more than 200credits as director, producer, cinematography and cameraman on such titles as PourLa Suite Du Monde, Les Noces De Papier, Les Ordres, Mon Oncle Antoine, and Kamouraska.Films confirmed for theretrospective include Les Raquetteurs, La Lutte,
  • Canada's Capri picks up six including U-Carmen

    Toronto-based CapriReleasing has picked up all Canadian rights on several titles, including GoldenBear winner U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha,from South Africa, John Hillcoat's Australia-UK coproduction The Proposition, starring Ray Winston and Guy Pearce, GabrieleSalvatores' Italian box office hit Quo Vadis Baby', and Sundance title Pretty Persuasion, starring Evan Rachel Wood. Capri also picked up AaronWoodley's US indie title Rhinoceros Eyes, winner of the
  • Charlie has spectacular $13.1m opening in UK

    Life is sweet for Warner Bros Pictures International as asensational UK debut helped Charlie And The Chocolate Factory dominate the markets outside NorthAmerica over the weekend.
  • Colonna leaves The Firm to join Brillstein-Grey

    Sarah Michelle Gellar’smanager JoAnne Colonna has left The Firm to join the senior ranks ofBrillstein-Grey Management.Colonna, whose other clientsinclude Andy Garcia, Brittany Murphy, Brendan Fraser and Anna Paquin, servedsix years at Artists Management Group (AMG) and The Firm, which eventuallyacquired it, as co-head of the talent department.It is understood she willcontinue to focus on the representation of actors, directors and literarytalent, and dev
  • Da Vinci Code set to join Maltese influx

    The Malta FilmCommission Act, which came into force on July 15, has already attracted a raftof high-profile international films to the island, led by Steven Spielberg's Munichand now a confirmed one-week shoot for The Da Vinci Code thisNovember.Under the terms of theAct, the Malta Film Commission is empowered to grant fiscal and financialincentives to the industry. Since the measures were first promoted in February,one production has already filmed in Malta, with two curr
  • Da Vinci Code set to join Maltese influx

  • Death wins again at Motovun Film Festival

    The 7th edition ofMotovun Film Festival in Istria, Croatia (Jul 25-29) ended with a doublevictory for Romanian Cristi Pulu's Deathof Mr. Lazarescu. After winning the main prizeat the 12th Palic Festival of European Film in Serbia and Montenegro(Jul 17-23), the drama took the main award 'Propeller of Motovun' andAmnesty International Human Rights Award. It is the latest in a stringof wins for the feature which played i
  • Edinburgh names Michael Powell Award jury

    Director and producer Antonia Bird, actress Eva Birthistle, screenwriterPaul Mayersberg and actor Alessandro Nivola will join Jury Chair Michael Kuhnon this year's Michael Powell Award Jury at the Edinburgh International FilmFestival (August 17-28).13 films selected for the British Gala section of the festival areeligible for the Michael Powell A
  • F For Film takes Friday

    French seller F For Film has acquired world rightsto the French/Belgian co-production Friday Or Another Day (Venredi Ou UnAutre Jour), a last-minute entry to Locarno's International Competitionline-up.Directed by Yvan le Moine (The Red Dwarf),Friday stars Philippe Nahon, Hanna Schygulla and Ornella Muti and is a freeadaption of the Michel Tournier novel Vendredi Ou Les Limbes Du Facifique.Friday will have its world premiere atLocarno on Friday, 12 Aug
  • Former Miramax execs Silfen, Andres join Lindsay at Kimmel International

    Sidney Kimmel has announcedthat former Miramax International executives Jill Silfen and Joan Andres willjoin Kimmel International under their former Miramax colleague Mark Lindsay whois president of the division.Jill Silfen has joined assenior vice president of business and legal affairs and Joan Andres has beennamed manager of sales and administration.Based in Sidney KimmelEntertainment's new offices in New York, both will report directly to Lindsay.Silfen, who previousl
  • German box office blow as Siegfried disappoints

    Aftera catastrophic first half to the year (that saw box office down 19%year-on-year) the German box office was dealt a further blow at the weekendwhen the most anticipated local film of the year failed to deliver up toexpectations.Siegfriedis the new comedy from Sven Unterwaldt, director of one of last year's biggestGerman hits 7 Dwarf
  • Golden Globes set 2006 awards date as Jan 16

    The timetable for the 63rd Annual Golden Globes has been announcedclimaxing with the Beverly Hills awards ceremony on Jan 16, 2005.
  • Gonzo, Fuji TV and Mosaic Media pact for Afrosamurai

    Samuel L Jackson will starin a live-action adaptation of Takashi Okazaki's Afrosamurai comic franchise that is being put together byJapanese teen animation company Gonzo KK, Fuji Television Network and LA-basedMosaic Media Group.Mosaic's Charles Roven andAlex Gartner are producing the project and The Firm's Eli Selden and Julie Yornwill serve as executive producers.Shinichiro Ishikawa,president of Gonzo's parent company GDH KK, will serve as co-producer alongwith Fuji Tel
  • Green light for Germany's $110m venture capital fund

    German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has greenlit a $110m(Euros 90m) venture capital fund for the German film industry and will reservethe necessary financing in his planned national budget for 2006. According to guidelines which have just been made public,the fund would be able to grant conditionally-repayable loans of up to 20% ofthe budget for a German film or German co-production so long as certainprerequisites are fulfilled.These include a "German spend" element,requiring th
  • Grosvenor Films nears thriller Messages wrap

    Grosvenor Films wraps itsnew £1.2m supernatural thriller Messageson August 7 in London.Thefilm, directed by David Fairman, tells the tale of pathologist Dr. RichardMurray who receives cryptic messages from his dead wife which enable him totrack down the identity of a serial killer.He eventually becomes a suspect after turning up at the scenes of themurders.
  • Grosvenor Park weighs in behind Highlander trilogy

    The new trilogy of Highlander films being prepared byDavis-Panzer Productions and Sequence Films are to use a "one-stop"financing structure created by Grosvenor Park.Highlander V,budgeted between $12-$14m, is due to start shooting in Lithuani
  • Hollywood Film Awards name craft winners

    The HollywoodFilm Festival has announced its roster of craft awards recipients for theupcoming Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony at the Beverly Hilton on Oct 24.Pawel Edelmanwill receive the Hollywood Cinematographer of the Year Award, Walter Murch willbe honoured with the Hollywood Editor of the Year Award, and costume designerColleen Atwood will receive the Hollywood Costume Designer of the Year Award.Productiondesigner Grant Major will receive the Hollywood P
  • Hollywood Film Awards name craft winners

    The HollywoodFilm Festival has announced its roster of craft awards recipients for theupcoming Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony at the Beverly Hilton on Oct 24.Pawel Edelmanwill receive the Hollywood Cinematographer of the Year Award, Walter Murch willbe honoured with the Hollywood Editor of the Year Award, and costume designerColleen Atwood will receive the Hollywood Costume Designer of the Year Award.Productiondesigner Grant Major will receive the Hollywood Production Designer o
  • Intramovies takes on Locarno competitor Keller

    Intramovies has taken on internationaldistribution for Austrian filmmaker Eva Urthaler's feature debut Kellerwhich will have its world premiere in Locarno's International Competition onAugust 4.Described byLocarno's artistic director Irene Bignardi as 'an anguished portrait oftwo adolescents violently and despairingly seeking for their moral and sexualidentity',
  • IRA - King Of Nothing to shoot in Belfast, Bray this month

    Benelux-based BBIProductions is preparing to shoot the drama IRA - King Of Nothing in Belfast and the Irish town of Bray later thismonth.Damian Chapa will direct andstar alongside Joe Estevez and Rachel Hunter in the story of a diehard IRAterrorist who threatens to destroy the tentative peace process.BBI owns worldwide rights onthe project, which is being executive produced by Piet Dekker and is based on ascreenplay by Chapa.Last week the IRA officiallyannounced it
  • Kennedy moves from politics to head corporate comms at SPE

    Capitol Hill heavyweight JimKennedy is replacing Susan Tick as senior vice president of corporatecommunications at Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE).Beginning in September,Kennedy will oversee communications strategy, media relations and issuesmanagement and will also serve as communications counselor to the executiveteam.He will partner with SPE'sgovernment and community relations, internal communications and otherdepartments in support of their objectives, and will liaise with
  • Kinowelt offers new rental terms to exhibitors

    Distributor Kinowelt has entered the debate on the lengthof theatrical "windows" by offering exhibitors a new arrangement forthe calculation of rental charges.In principle, Kinowelt intends to hold fast to asix-month "window" before a film can appear on video and DVD. In theevent of one of its new films having an earlier DVD release, the Leipzig-baseddistributor would offer cinemas a reduction in the percentage of the cinemarental due.Organised as a sliding scale, the distributo
  • Lady Vengeance smashes Korean box office records

    Park Chan-wook'sVenice-bound Sympathy For Lady Vengeance has notched the highestgrossing opening weekend in South Korean history, narrowly beating out lastyear's record-breaking Tae Guk Gi.The film, the finalinstalment of Park's so-called "revenge trilogy," which also includesOldboy (2003) and Sympathy For Mr Vengeance (2002), sold 1.46mtickets between July 28 and 31, amounting to approximately $9.3m in box officetake.Although initially openingon 370
  • Locarno hit by hotel room shortage

    As the Locarno Film Festival begins its 58thedition this week, the event's organisers are having to address the deepeningcrisis in the Swiss lakeside town's hotels. This year, the festival has 153 fewer hotelrooms to draw on in Locarno for guests after the closure of Hotel Zurigo andBeau Rivage and the conversion of the neighbouring Hotel Muralto into luxuryappartments. Moreover, 2005 looks like being the last yearthat jury members will be accommodated in the Hotel Reber since t
  • Locarno lands BAK support for the next three years

    Switzerland's Federal Office of Culture (BAK) hasannounced that it will extend its annual $935,000 (CHF 1.2m) support to the Locarno International Film Festival for another threeyears.The news comesshortly before this year's event opens on August 3 with KetanMehta's TheRising - Ballad Of Mangal Pandey.The grant represents12 percent of the festival's total
  • Losique's Montreal festival uninvites Karla

    Under pressure from itssponsors, the Montreal World Film Festival has decided not to present acontroversial film about Canada's infamous serial killing couple Karla Homolkaand Paul Bernardo. Karla, directed by Joel Bender, tells the story of Homolka,whose husband Bernardo is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping, rape andmurder of two teenage girls in the early 1990s. The MWFF released aone-sentence press statement: "In light of the reaction to its proposed showingof
  • Miramax battle R rating for Dahl's Great Raid

    Miramax Films announced saidyesterday that it would appeal against the MPAA's R rating of John Dahl'supcoming wartime drama The Great Raid.The MPAA's ratings boardawarded the rating based on "strong war violence and brief language".Set in the Philippines in1945, The Great Raid recounts theliberation by American soldiers of 500 POWS from the notorious CabanatuanJapanese camp. Benjamin Bratt and James Franco star.'There have been anumber of war films with comp
  • Mitchell steps into Battsek's shoes at BVI (UK)

    Robert Mitchell (pictured)has been promoted to senior vice president and managing director of Buena VistaInternational (UK) in the wake of Daniel Battsek's departure to head up thenew-look Miramax.Mitchell will be responsiblefor BVI UK's marketing, publicity and distribution operations and reports toBVI president Mark Zoradi and BVI Europe executive vice president and generalmanager Stuart Salter.He most recently served asthe company's senior vice president of marketing/sales an
  • Mr And Mrs Smith obliterates the competition in France

    Mr And Mrs Smith opened number one in France through SND over theweekend on $6.1m following a storming opening day.The picture launched on$1.8m on Jul 27 in the third biggest French opening day of the year behind StarWars: Episode III and War Of TheWorlds, producing 895,806 nationwideadmissions.Overall Mr And Mrs Smith has grossed $174.4m through all distributors and$137m through Fox International.Warner Bros PicturesInternational has confirmed
  • Mueller says he'll resign if no market at Venice

    Venice festival chief MarcoMueller has said that he will not carry on unless there is a firm plan toestablish a film market on the Lido.Mueller, who will see arecord nine US premieres at Venice this year, told Screendaily:"I have no hesitation in saying I can't continue in Venice unless we cantransform it into a festival with a market."
  • Neame to receive BAFTA/LA Britannia Award

    Ronald Neame, the English director who earned three Oscarnominations for his work as a writer and producer with David Lean, is toreceive BAFTA/LA's Britannia Award for Lifetime Contributions to InternationalFilm.The son ofsilent film star Ivy Close, Neame got his break as a teenage cameraman onAlfred Hitchcock's Blackmail and trained under Claude Friese-Green.A string of cinematography credits ensued in the 1930s and1940s including Blithe Spirit and InWhich We S
  • New Gunarsson, Fitzgerald films among the Canadian premieres at Toronto

    Sturla Gunnarrson's epic Beowulf& Grendel starring Gerard Butlerand Sarah Polley and Thom Fitzgerald's Three Needles starring Chloe Sevigny, Lucy Liu, Stockard Channingand Sandra Oh will have their world premieres as Special Presentations at the30th Toronto International Film Festival. Also world premiering is LieWith Me, the much-anticipatedsexually explicit feature from Clement Virgo; it screens in the Visionsprogramme. The second annual CanadaFirst! compe
  • NHK invests in first ever Israeli film Sweet Mud

    Japanese broadcaster NHK hasinvested in its first ever Israeli film, Sweet Mud directed by DrorShaul.Sweet Mud is set 30 years ago in a kibbutzand tells the story of a 12 year old boy, Dvir, who realizes that his mother,Miri, is mentally ill. In this closed community bound by rigid rules, Dvir navigatesbetween the kibbutz motto of equality and the stinging reality that his motherhas, in effect, been abandoned by their collective community.Other investors include le
  • Nightwatch to kick off inaugural Libertas fest

    The Croatian premiere ofTimur Bekmambetov's Night Watchwill kick off the inaugural Libertas Film Festival in the Croatian town ofDubrovnik on Aug 26.Twenty features arescheduled to play at the four-day event, including the European premieres ofAndrew Wagner's The Talent Given Usand Antonio Campos' Buy It Now.A Croatian film-makersshowcase and Croatian premieres of Walter Salles' Dark Water, Ira Sach's Forty Shades Of Blue, and Wong Kar Wai's
  • Paramount's War celebrates $500m gross

    Paramount/DreamWorks'science fiction epic War Of The Worlds has swept past $500m at the worldwide box office since it opened fiveweeks ago.Steven Spielberg's H G Wellsadaptation has grossed more than $315.1m in international and $219.8m indomestic ticket sales as of Aug 2 for a worldwide running total of more than$534.9m.The picture launched inNorth America on Jun 29 along with several other territories through UIP,grossing an opening day worldwide haul of more than $34m.
  • Parker's Fade To Black starts Euro shoot

    Seven weeks of principal photography is underway on locationin Serbia, Italy and the Isle of Man on director Oliver Parker's thriller Fade To Black.The film follows legendary director Orson Welles through thepost-war world of criminality and political scheming that proliferated in late1940's Italy. When an actor is murdere
  • Pathe International gets On The Road with Salles

    Pathe International ispartnering with Focus Features on the long-gestating movie of Jack Kerouac's OnThe Road which will be directed byWalter Salles, written by Jose Rivera and produced by Rebecca Yeldham.The film is a reunion forthe makers of The Motorcycle Diaries which was directed by Salles, written by Rivera, executive produced byYeldham, sold by Pathe and distributed in North America by Focus.The project has long been indevelopment at Francis Ford Coppola's A
  • RAI set to confirm new president today

    Italian public broadcasterRAI is set to confirm the appointment of Claudio Petruccioli as its newpresident today. The appointment will end a 15-month management crisis at theheavily politicised broadcaster.Petruccioli, 64, a memberof Italy's Democratic Party of the Left, is a former head of the parliamentarywatchdog that oversees RAI.RAI's last president,left-wing journalist Lucia Annunziata, resigned in May 2004, claiming primeminister Silvio Berlusconi directly interfered in t
  • San Sebastian unveils Spanish titles set for competition

    The San Sebastian InternationalFilm Festival (September 15-24) has unveiled four Spanish titles set to competefor this year's Golden Shell. Sud Express by Chema de la Pena, Malas Temporadas by Manuel Martin Cuenca and Alberto Rodriguez'sToronto-bound 7 Virgins will joinMonxto Armendariz's opening title Obaba atSpain's premiere festival.They will be joined by twohigh-profile Spanish co-productions; the highly-anticipated $2.8mArgentinean-Spanish-French
  • Sarajevo hosts four world premieres in competition

    The Sarajevo Film Festival,widely recognized as the biggest film festival in South East Europe, hasannounced the competition lineup for its 12th edition which runs Aug19 to 27.Over 70 films were submitted to be selected for the 11-film competitionsection, an increase from previous years since Hungary has now been added asone of the participant countries."There are two threads that are characteristic and that connect all11 films competing for SFF Awards," said the festival's sele
  • Star Group renews China Star output deal

    Pan-Asian broadcaster Star Group has announced the renewalof the output deal between its Star Chinese Movies channel and Hong Kongproduction and distribution company China Star.Under the new multi-million US dollar agreement, StarChinese Movies has exclusive pay-TV broadcast, video-on-demand and pay-per-viewrights to the Chinese films produced by China Star in the next five years. Theterritories covered are Hong Kong, Macau
  • Tarnation takes top prize at Era New Horizons

    JonathanCaouette's Tarnation won the Grand Prix at the 5th Era NewHorizons Film Festival (July 21-31) in Cieszyn, southern Poland.Amongother competition entries which received high scores as voted by the audiencewere: 4 by Ilja Khrzhanovsky (Russia), 13 Lakes by James Benning(USA), 20 Fingers by Mania Akbari (Iran), an
  • Thai epic to bequeath film industry city

    PrinceChatrichalerm Yuko's Naresuan, thefollow-up to his 2001 historical epic TheLegend of Suriyothai, has resumed shooting after a six-month break tocomplete the extravagant set in Thailand's Kanchanaburi province. The $12m (THB500)film - the most expensive Thai picture ever - is 100% funded by the Thaigovernment to mark the birthday of the Queen of Thailand. Representing morethan half of the pr
  • Thailand's SF Cinema City gears up for IPO

    Thailand's second-largestcinema chain SF Cinema City is gearing up for a public listing on the country'sstock exchange in the first quarter of 2006.The money raised through theIPO will be used for expansion. SF is set to invest $53m (baht 2.2 bn) in fivenew cinema complexes in 2006.More than half of thatinvestment will go on two projects: an 11-screen multiplex at Thapra shoppingcentre and a 20-screen megaplex at the extension of the Central World Plaza(formerly known as World T
  • The Dukes Of Hazzard

    Dir: Jay Chandrasekhar.US. 2005. 102 mins. Itwould have been easy just to make fun of The Dukes of Hazzard, the supremely corny early eighties US TV seriesabout Bo and Luke Duke, two young buck good ole boys from deep in the heart ofGeorgia. Surprisingly though, this Warner Bros/Village Roadshow big screenversion of the action co
  • The Rising: The Ballad Of Mangal Pandey

    Dir: Ketan Mehta. India.2005. 150minsThe story of the IndianMutiny gets a swashbuckling spin, complete with musical numbers, in TheRising, a film that director Ketan Mehta originally planned to make in1988.The presence of Aamir Khan -star of Lagaan, one of the few Bollywood films to achieve a healthydegree of non-niche prominence - suggests that The Rising might follow suit,though much will depend on its reception in Locarno where
  • Thomson to leave UK Film Council for DDA Consulting

    UKFilm Council press and PR executive Ian Thomson is leaving to become managingdirector of DDA Consulting, a division of leading film PR outfit DDA.DDA Consulting actsfor a number of non-entertainment related clients as well as those within DDA'straditional sector.
  • Transporter 2

    Dir: Louis Leterrier. France.2005. 87 min.After the ill-judged mixtureof mawkish sentimental drama and martial arts mayhem of Glasgow-based Dannythe Dog/Unleashed, writer-producer Luc Besson returns to the pure actionvein with this sequel to his 2002 hit, The Transporter. With hissurrogate Louis Leterrier again handling directing chores, Transporter 2is a wholly derivative but slightly-more-watchable-than-most actioner, which borrows heavily fromBesson's eve
  • UK announces new tax proposals: Section 42 to go

    The UK Government has signaled its intent to do awaywith Section 42 as well as Section 48 in a set of long-awaited proposals fornew tax incentives for the British film industry. In future, low- andhigh-budget films would be be dealt with under a "single coherent regime".At the same time, the Department for Culture, Mediaand Spo
  • Wedding Crashers finally takes domestic box office crown

    New Line's Wedding Crashers roared to the top of the domestic charts and passed $100m inits third weekend as Sony's high-tech action romp Stealth virtually stalled on take-off and openedweakly in fourth place on $13.5m.
  • Wedding Crashers tops box office against three newcomers

    New Line's Wedding Crashers roared to the top of the domestic charts and passed $100m inits third weekend as Sony's high-tech action romp Stealth virtually stalled on take-off and openedweakly in fourth place on $13.5m.
  • Weinsteins win US, territories on Tom Yum Goong

    The Weinstein Company haspicked up US and multiple territory rights to Thai director Prachya Pinkaew's Ong-Bak follow-up Tom Yum Goong.The Weinsteins also holdrights in Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to the actionpicture, which is set to launch in Asia on Aug 11. TF1 International holdsremaining worldwide rights. A US release date will be set in due course.Starring Tony Jaa, Tom YumGoong centres on a young Thai fighter who must overcome a gang