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5 December 2007

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  • 61 films named eligible for Golden Globe foreign language award

    Sixty-one foreign language films have passed eligibility requirements for consideration in the 65th Annual Golden Globe Awards in January 2008.
  • AFI DALLAS festival receives $1m gift

    AFI DALLAS International Film Festival has received a $1m gift from Dallas philanthropist Nancy Hamon as organisers plan the second festival in 2008.'This is a significant financial milestone for AFI DALLAS as we continue planning for our second festival,' founder, chairman and festival director Liener Temerlin said.'Nancy Hamon has been the impetus for so much significant work in the community, from the arts to education to medical, to every important discipline in the h
  • After Bergman: the death of arthouse'

    The American Film Market (AFM) has never been especially fertile territory for auteur cinema. This has always been a market for mainstream product and straight-to-video fodder, not arthouse titles. Nonetheless, one trait was very noticeable among independent sales agents in Santa Monica earlier this month. Companies which used to handle films from revered European directors were turning more and more to cast-driven English language and genre fare.'Volume and prices have fallen f
  • Australian Film Institute achievement award goes to editor Bilcock

    Editor Jill Bilcock received the Australian Film Institute (AFI)'s award recognising achievement on the world filmmaking stage. She thanked two people when she picked up the honours: producer Verity Lambert, who died of cancer in the UK in late November, and director Fred Schepisi. It was Schepisi who directed Bilcock's first studio film, A Cry In the Dark, in the late 1980s and Lambert who produced it. Among the films she has edited since are Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge
  • Awards Countdown - Best actor - Awards People

    BEN FOSTERThe fast-rising young actor talks to Jeremy Kay about shoot-outs and barbecue with Russell CroweFollowing memorable roles in Alpha Dog, Hostage and Six Feet Under, Foster found himself playing a psychotic gang member alongside Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in James Mangold's Western remake 3:10 To Yuma."To come to the table with these two guys is obviously very exciting," Foster says. "Russell took so much time with me and taught m
  • Awards Countdown - best actor prospects

    1. Daniel Day-LewisThere Will Be BloodWHY As Daniel Plainview, a determined silver miner who becomes a self-made oil tycoon in turn-of-the-last-century California, Day-Lewis delivers another of cinema's great performances. Assuming a voice with a deep, resonant timbre, Day-Lewis' Plainview is menacing and intimidating, yet painfully human and desperate for human connection. It is a grand portrait of a man ruined by success.CHANCES Many thought Da
  • Baltic Event gives best project award to Temptation of Saint Tony

    The third annual Baltic Event co-production market announced four awards in Tallinn. The Temptation of Saint Tony, a local Estonian project, received $5,864 (Euros 4,000) for best project presented in the market. The black comedy is directed by Veiko Ounpuu and produced by Katrin Kissa, the same team behind the Venice Horizons winner Autumn Ball. Pär Stenback of the Nordic-Baltic Film Fund presented the award and explained it would be the last from the fund, as
  • Beowulf leads international as WBPI crossed $2bn mark in 2007

    Beowulf's $19.4m estimated weekend haul raised the number one overseas film to an even $75m as Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI) celebrated reaching the $2bn milestone for the year-to-date.The action film's sterling year-end performance has been a timely one and propelled the distributor to its second $2bn mark after $2.2bn in 2004, which remains an all-time industry record.Harry Potter And T
  • Beowulf, Enchanted expected to lead international weekend

    Warner Bros Pictures International's (WBPI) Beowulf still looks like the one to beat this weekend as it bears down on the $50m mark.The animated adventure has amassed $48.4m to date and should race toward $75m this weekend with launches in Australia on November 29, Brazil and Sweden on November 30 and Japan on December 1.Latest figures from WBPI put The Brave One on $32.8m,
  • Bracewell lines up Richard E Grant, Laura Fraser for Cuckoo

    UK producers Punk Cinema are starting a shoot this week for Richard Bracewell's Cuckoo, his second film following acclaimed low-budget debut The Gigolos. Richard E Grant, Laura Fraser, Antonia Bernath, Adam Fenton and Tamsin Greig star in Cuckoo, a thriller about lies and jealousy. The story follows Poilly, a woman who thinks she's losing her mind, as she deals with a wild rocker boyfriend, a jealous younger sister and a meddling boss. Bracewell
  • Certification opens for new Australian tax rebate

    Film Finance Corporation Australia flings opens its doors tomorrow for applications from producers wanting to get an indication that their films will be certified Australianonce completed.The provision certificates they will get (if successful) will give producers the starting point to start using the new film financing system introduced this year into Australia and based on a rebate: in broad terms, producers can claim back 40% of what they spend in Australia making films, providing t
  • Charlie Wilson's War

    Dir: Mike Nichols. US. 2007. 97 mins.In a year when big-name Hollywood talent has plunged headlong into films about war, terrorism and politics, Charlie Wilson's War is both refreshing and disappointing. Refreshing, because it tells its story with such brisk narrative skill and wit. Disappointing, because it assiduously avoids taking its subject matter into the more ambiguous territory which might risk alienating a wide moviegoing aud
  • China's Polybona sets up talent management arm

    Beijing-based film distributor Polybona Film Distribution has established an artist management wing - Polybona Artist Management - with actress Huang Yi as one of its first signings. Huang stars in the current hit release Brothers, a gangster drama directed by Derek Chiu, and also starring Andy Lau and Eason Chan. Her next project is Yu Lik-wai's Plastic City. The Polybona talent stable also includes actress Jiang Hongbo whose credits include Devils On The
  • CNC/FFA joint commission backs new Gaspar Noe film

    Three projects were supported by the CNC/FFA's German-French Funding Commission this week from its 'mini-traite' co-production fund.Funding of $737,925 (Euros 500,000) went to Gaspar Noe's Japan-set Enter The Void which is being produced as a majority French co-production by Fidelite Films with Berlin-based Essential Filmproduktion and Italy's BIM Distribuzione. Currently being shot in Japanese and English in Tokyo, the director's third featur
  • Cohen named consultant for Digital Distribution Coalition

    Steven B Cohen has been appointed as consultant to manage DigitalCinema Distribution Coalition, the alliance between Warner BrosEntertainment, Universal Pictures and Digital Cinema ImplementationPartners (DCIP).DCIP was originally announced on March 6 2007 and was set up to develop the most cost-effective form of digital delivery.Cohen has more than 20 years of experience in digital distribution,digital post-production and digital cinema. He is currently the head ofhis ow
  • Costume designer Marit Allen dies at 66 in Australia

    Costume designer Marit Allen, who recently worked on La Vie En Rose and was collaborating with George Miller on the Warner Bros action title Justice League Of America, died of a brain aneurism in Australia on November 26.Allen was born in England in 1941 and after graduating from the University of Grenoble in France launched her career in the fashion department of Queen Magazine in 1961.She
  • Daldry's The Reader gets funding boost from Filmstiftung NRW

    International co-productions by Dito Tsintsadze, Ben Verbong, Joergen Bergmark, and Stephen Daldry are among 14 projects awarded over $8m (Euros 5.5m) by the Duesseldorf-based regional fund Filmstiftung NRW this week. The largest sum - $2.2m (Euros 1.5m) - went to Daldry's adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's bestselling novel The Reader, which will shoot in Cologne at the beginning of next year. Production support was granted to Georgian-born filmmaker Tsintsadze's Murde
  • Day-Lewis to be honoured with achievement award at Palm Springs

    Daniel Day-Lewis will receive the 19th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival's (PSIFF) Desert Palm Achievement Award at the festival's annual awards gala on January 5 2008.Day-Lewis has earned rave reviews for his latest performance as a ruthless oil baron in Paul Thomas Anderson's film There Will Be Blood, which Paramount Vantage will release on December 26.'Daniel Day-Lewis is a tremendously accomplished actor with an i
  • Dharm, Lucky Miles share best film prize at AFFF

    India's Dharm, about a Hindu priest's questioning of his religious belief, and Australia's Lucky Miles, about a group of men who are left stranded in the Australian desert, emerged as joint winners of the bestfilm prizeat the 3rd Asian Festival of 1st Films (AFFF). Lesley Dyer was on hand to receive the award for the Australian production which also won her and Jo Dyer best producer. The awards ceremony was held at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore last night (Dec 4). I
  • Discovering Earth: themaking of the BBC epic doc

    We used a high-speed digital Photron that can film at 2,000 frames per second to capture the shark leaping out of the water to grab a seal,' explains Earth director Alastair Fothergill. 'The action only lasted a second, but because we stored the image on a laptop computer we were able to slow it down by up to 40 times, which means in the film it lasts about 45 seconds.'This is just one of many stunning nature shots captured using high-definition (HD) technology in the BBC
  • Distribution - Market Snapshot - Diversity pays dividends

    Plenty of enterprising young distribution companies, including Vertigo, Dogwoof, Soda, Swipe and Revolver, have sprung up in the UK, ready to give theatrical releases to the best 'auteur' films and the most challenging documentaries.Bigger companies such as Lionsgate UK (which enjoyed enormous success with The Lives Of Others and recently acquired Francois Ozon's Angel), Momentum Films and the StudioCanal-backed Optimum Releasing are also supporting what might be describe
  • Distribution - New talent - Cutting edge Propositions

    Back in 1962, the German directors who signed the Oberhausen Manifesto (the birth point for the 'New German Cinema') were among the first to recognise film festivals were becoming the main launch pad for directorial talents. The acclaim given to various short films at international festivals, said the Oberhausen collective, showed "the future of the German film lies in the hands of those who have proven that they speak a new film language".In a world where Wong Kar Wai, Alexander Sokur
  • Distribution - The view from the cool kids - The new cinephiles

    There are those who enjoy movies, can discuss directors at dinner parties and regularly read film reviews; and then there are the cinephiles. A breed apart from 'regular' movie fans, they are afflicted by a passionate, argumentative, all-consuming love of Film As Art, and have figured out ways to accrue vast knowledge and devote their lives to the subject - getting jobs as critics, curators, programmers, academics, researchers, and, on occasion, as film-makers. They help to set the critical a
  • Eguchi to head cast of Japanese action fantasy Goemon

    Yosuke Eguchi has been cast as the lead in the big-budget Japanese action fantasy Goemon. He stars as the legendary 16th century ninja bandit Goemon Ishikawa. The cast also includes Takao Osawa, Ryoko Hirosue and comedian Gori. Goemon is director Kazuaki (Kaz) Kiriya's sophmore feature after a three-year absence since 2004's sci-fi fantasy Casshern. Kiriya is also known a photographer and the director of ex-wife Utada Hikaru's music videos. The film is being p
  • El Greco

    Dir. Yannis Smaragdis. Greece / Spain / Hungary, 2007. 107minsHaving picked up the Greek cinema State Award on top of the Audience Award at Thessaloniki, this is undisputedly this year's favourite Greek film, racking over 600,000 admissions and still going strong. An historical pageant adapted from a fictional biography by Dimitris Siathopoulos, it purports to offer the life and times of one Domenicos Theotocopoulos, better known as El Greco, possibly the greatest Spanish
  • Equinoxe signs two-year deal for Kimmel slate in French Canada

    Montreal-based Equinoxe Films has signed an exclusive two-year deal to release New York-based Kimmel International's slate in all media in English and French-speaking Canada.The upcoming releases include the romantic comedy Management with Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn, the Jack Black comedy Ye Olde Times, and the Haruki Murakami adaptation All God's Children Can Danc
  • Eros starts shoot for Sujoy Ghosh's Aladin

    Eros International has started shooting Sujoy Ghosh's Aladin, a modern day retelling of the Arabian Nights story with a Bollywood twist. Eros makes its first move into visual effects through its new venture EyeQube Studios on the project. Eros is producing Aladin in association with Sujoy Ghosh's company Boundscript. Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Riteish Deshmukh and Jackie Fernandez star. 'We are approaching Aladin with the same proven methods employ
  • Estonia - Ballroom Blitz

    AAutumn Ball (Sugisball) is the sort of risky story of which distributors are normally wary, but which independent film-makers - and the Venice Horizons jury which awarded it the top prize this year - love.Adapted from the book by Mati Unt, Veiko Ounpuu's film is set on a bleak Estonian housing estate and follows four dislikeable characters as their lives disintegrate.Although many of the characters came directly from the book, much of the storyline was added durin
  • Estonia - The end of violence

    Writer-director Ilmar Raag was inspired to tell the story of The Class when the Columbine tragedy in the US awoke memories of his own school days.Citing a recent study which estimated 76% of Estonian schoolchildren have encountered violence at school, Raag says: "I don't pretend to know what happened in Columbine, but I feel that some patterns of violence are unfortunately universal over time and space."Raag introduced producer Riina Sildos of Tallin based-Amrion Producti
  • European Film Awards - Michael Ballhaus - Recognition for a master

    Michael Ballhaus has consistently proven himself as a DoP able to reconcile the demands of cinema to both art and commerce. His 40-year career is distinguished by lengthy collaborations with Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Martin Scorsese, while his body of work reveals a man as much at home with the demands of a slick contemporary thriller such as Air Force One (1997) as with the sumptuous period look of The Age Of Innocence (1993).Born in Berlin, the 72-year-old Ballhaus t
  • European Film Awards - The Glories of Europe

    Generalising about European cinema is a fool's errand. Countless films never cross national borders. Many films only have a theatrical life on the festival circuit. Some of the continent's biggest box-office hits (Les Bronzes 3, Natale A New York, and (T)Raumschiff Surprise - Periode 1 for example) barely register on any critic's radar. Seeking coherence in such a random picture is not easy.But the dominance of high-profile international hits among this year's European Fi
  • Fernando Del Rio moves to Universal Pictures Mexico

    Fernando Del Rio has been appointed managing director of Universal Pictures Mexico, based in Mexico City. Del Rio starts the post immediately and reports to Paulo Valente, regional managing director for Latin America, for Universal Pictures International Entertainment. Del Rio moves from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, where he covered Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. Previously he had senior sales positions at SC Johnson and Son. In his
  • Five Chinese cinema circuits join forces to protect local films

    Five major cinema circuits in China have established an alliance, tentatively titled the Chinese Film Union, which aims to select 50 screens across the country to exclusively show Chinese-language films. The five circuits are Beijing-based New Film Association, Shanghai United Circuit, Stellar Megamedia Circuit, Wanda Cinema Circuit and China Film Southern Cinema Circuit. Together they account for around half of the box office revenue in China. The alliance will select 50 screens
  • Fox Baja veteran Arneson moves to Hungary's Korda Studios

    After its first shoot for Universal's Hellboy 2 wrapped last week, new Hungarian studio Korda Studios has announced some new key members of its team.Charlie Arneson has been appointed studio manager at Korda. He comes to Hungary after 10 years as head of Fox Baja Studios in Mexico, best known as host to James Cameron's Titanic shoot. He will get the chance to work with another water tank as Korda readie
  • Fox, Vertigo line up untitled thriller to shoot in Seoul

    Producers Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment and Bill Choi and Peter Kiernan of Management 360 are in Seoul scouting locations for an as-yet-untitled LA-cop-goes-to-Seoul project. The project, which is being developed at Fox Atomic, has been compared to the Michael Douglas-starrer Black Rain, which took an American police detective to Tokyo in the 1980s. However, the producers emphasised that their film is not a remake of Black Rain. The film will star Channing Tatum (
  • Fred Claus leads UK box office for Warner Bros

    Christmas season is in full swing as Fred Claus opens to number one in the UK box office, generating nearly $4m (£2m) in its first weekend. For the full UK/Ireland chart click here.The festive comedy, distributed by Warner Bros, took $3.9m (£1.9m) from 445 sites and enjoyed the highest site average in the top 20 at $8,986 (£4,353) per site. The film sees Vince Vaughn reunite wit
  • Garage takes top honours at Moretti's first Turin festival

    Irish director Lenny Abrahamson's second feature Garage took the $36,600 (Euros 25,000) Best Film Prize at the 25th edition of the Turin Film Festival, which wrapped Saturday in the Northern Italian town. Scripted by Mark O'Halloran who also wrote Abrahamson's debut feature Adam & Paul, Garage is the story of Josie, a sweet and harmless gas station manager in rural Ireland whose naïvete and loneliness get him into trouble. Garage debuted at Cannes Directors Fort
  • Gaumont starts shoot for Splice starring Adrien Brody

    Vincenzo Natali has started principal photography on Splice, which Gaumont is co-producing with Canada's Copperheart Entertainment. The film is set to shoot until February 29 in Toronto, with a 2009 release planned.Splicestars Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley and Delphine Chaneac.Natali, who found cult success with Cube and also directed a vignette for Paris, Je T'Aime , co-wrote the script with Antoinette Terry Bryant and Doug Taylor. Steven Hob
  • Gondry, Spurlock, Levinson, Haneke films to be unveiled at Sundance

    The Sundance Film Festival rolled out the star power as they announced the line-up of Premieres, Spectrum, New Frontier and Park City At Midnight films today [Nov 29].As previously announced the festival will open on January 17 with Martin McDonagh's feature directorial debut In Bruges starring Ralph Fiennes, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Festival director Geoff Gilmore revealed the closing film will be CSN
  • Gonzalon Arijon's Stranded takes top prize at IDFA

    Gonzalon Arijon's Stranded (France) has won the VPRO Joris Ivens award, the top prize at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).The award comes with a cash prize of Euros 12,500. The film, about the survival story of the Uruguyan rugby team after a plane crash high in the Andes, was selected earlier this week for the World Documentary Competition in Sundance next January.The other nominees were Yung Chang's Up The Yangtze and Carlos Bosc
  • Industry veterans launch Chinese cinema company CMG

    Exhibition industry veterans Charles Wesoky and Ira Stiegler are teaming with Beijing-based film producer and distributor Jimmy Wu to launch a cinema management company, CMG (China) Limited, which aims to build 50 cinemas in China by 2011. Wesoky, former CEO of AMC and United Cinemas International (UCI), has been named advisory chairman and co-founder of CMG. Former Warner Brothers International Cinemas (WBIC) vice president and architect Ira Stiegler, who was in charge of designi
  • International - India scores again

    Indian distributor UTV Communications had an international hit this weekend with Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, which enjoyed a $3.5m take and was the highest non-US entry in the top 40 chart.The second feature from director Vivek Agnihotri played across 583 screens in 16 territories for a $5,798 screen average. Set in London, it is the story of a bankrupt football club struggling to stay afloat.This was one of three Indian films in the international top 40, taking a combined 6.1%
  • Into The Wild, Sicko take top honours at IFP's Gotham Awards

    Sean Penn's Into The Wild won best feature for Paramount Vantage and Michael Moore's Sicko from The Weinstein Company was named best documentary at the IFP's 17th Annual Gotham Awards [Nov 28].Ellen Page took home the Breakthrough Actor Award for her role as a pregnant teen in Jason Reitman's Juno, released through Fox Searchlight.The Breakthrough Dir
  • Irish budget gives 18% increase to Irish Film Board

    In this afternoon's Budget for 2008 Brian Cowen, Irish Minister for Finance, gave a generous 18% increase to the Irish Film Board and renewed Section 481 Film Relief until 2012.During the course of his budget speech the minister said, 'I am renewing Section 481 Film Relief until 2012 on the current basis. Any adjustments to the relief will depend on the outcome of a study of the relief that I have had commissioned. Any such changes will be announced in the Finance Bill.' The finan
  • Italy heats up as Beowulf leads international box-office chart

    Italian box office may typically be dormant during summer months but it's making up for it now as three titles generated nearly $7m this weekend, accounting for 5.5% of the international top 40's revenue.For the full international chart, compiled by Len Klady, click here.New entry Winx Club: Il Segreto Del Regno Perdutocatapulted to number eight in the chart with a $3.2m take af
  • JPMorgan fortifies Entertainment unit with $200m warchest

    JPMorgan is stepping up its involvement in Hollywood with a commitment to invest $200m of its own capital in film and entertainment projects.The New York-based bank, which late last year arranged $225m in production and distribution funding for start-up Overture Films, said it will use subordinated debt for investments such as film and television financings, acquisitions and print and digital media start-ups.This new initiative is intended to complement JPMorgan's enterta
  • Kanter, Malick form I Am Third Productions in LA, Austin

    Producers Conroy Kanter and Ecky Malick have formed I Am Third Productions and announced their first two projects.Based in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, I Am Third Productions is developing Father Elijah, based on Michael O'Brien's books about a Carmelite priest sent to defeat a man believed to be the Antichrist.Kanter is also preparing Morning Star And Moon as a vehicle for Shirley MacLain
  • Kiarostami, Panahi and Puiu among CineMart 2008 selections

    CineMart, the co-production market of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, has selected 39 projects for its 2008 edition, out of a record 550 entries. CineMart, celebrating its 25th anniversary, runs Jan 27-31, 2008 and comes with prize money of Euros 25,000.The selections are low- and medium-budget features including new projects from directors Abbas Kiarostami, Sophie Fiennes, Cristi Puiu (two projects of a six-part series), Julia Loktev, Jafar Panahi, Koen Mortier, and Alex
  • Korea's Doosabu pacts with Polygon Entertainment

    Korea's Doosabu Film has announced a deal for two effects-laden films with US-based Polygon Entertainment, headed by former ILM computer graphics supervisor Hans Uhlig. Uhlig's credits include The Perfect Storm and The Day After Tomorrow. The Korean company, which produced gangster comedy My Boss, My Hero and dramedy Sex Is Zero from director Yoon Je-gyun, is set to produce Yoon's upcoming big-budget tsunami film called Haeundae, after the beach
  • London Film School recruits new patrons for funding appeal

    The London Film School (LFS) has welcomed a new group of patrons who support the School's capital appeal. The $14m (£7m) two-year appeal will raise funds to establish a new, larger LFS in London's West End. The new space will have teaching and film-making facilities with public cinemas, a bar and meeting spaces. LFS is one of Skillset's Screen Academies. The patrons are: Chris Auty, Tony Elliott, Roger Graef, Christopher Hird, John Hurt, Hanif Kureishi, Charlie Parsons, F
  • Lumiere, Infinity FCS join forces for Indo-Brazilian alliance

    Indian film completion guarantor, Infinity Film Completion Services, has taken a 25% stake in Brazilian producer-distributor Lumiere as the first step in an Indo-Latin American alliance spanning production and distribution. The deal was inked by Lumiere founder and CEO Marc Beauchamps, Joshua Skurla who also recently joined Lumiere as an investor, and Infinity FCS founder Aanand Mahendroo. The partners were brought together by former EuropaCorp artistic advisor Francois da Silva who rece
  • Mann, Dushku star in The Thacker Case

    Principal photography has begun in and around Los Angeles and in Iowa on the true-life wrongful death story The Thacker Case.Set in small town Iowa, the film stars Gabriel Mann as a young attorney who uncovers a web of lies and cover-ups following the mysterious death of Kevin Thacker, a repeat drunk driver whose body was found in an alleyway behind a police station following his final arrest in 1983.Brian Jun, whose feature debut
  • Middle Eastern promise: Hunt Lowry profile

    When Warner Bros Entertainment unveiled its big Abu Dhabi strategic alliance deal at the end of September, it was the end of 10 months of corporate matchmaking and the start of a new job for Hunt Lowry.The producer (whose credits include The Last Of The Mohicans and Disney's The Kid) and former head of Gaylord Films and its Pandora specialty division had been looking to start a new co-financing and co-production venture since Warner Bros-based Gaylord was wound down in 20
  • Myriad signs one year, first look deal with comic book outfit Studio 407

    Myriad Pictures has entered into a one-year first-look deal to make live-action features with Bangkok and US-based comic book creator Studio 407.Studio 407's US staff will operate out of Myriad's Santa Monica offices for the duration of the deal. Myriad get first look at all potential feature adaptations from Studio 407 properties while Studio 407 staff will supervise the development and production of graphic novels or comic books based on Myriad properties. 'We are alway
  • Naomie Harris to receive tribute at Bahamas Film Festival

    Naomie Harris will receive the Bahamas International Film Festival's (BIFF) Rising Star Tribute on December 11.Harris' credits include 28 Weeks Later, Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 and 3, and Miami Vice.Festival organisers also announced that BIFF's Filmmaker Residency Programme will award $10,000 toward development and production on an independent
  • Net effect: Will the writers' strike drive TV to the web'

    As usual, it is all about money. The strike action of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (Amptp) was inevitable. Content creators do not want to give up the potential revenue represented by the web (among other new media platforms) and distributors do not want to pay for something that has yet to prove a reliable revenue source. Writers are the advance guard on the content side of the money war, but they have strong support from thei
  • New rules approved on European Audiovisual Media Services

    The European Parliament has formally approved the Council's position on the new Audiovisual Media Services Without Frontiers Directive. The Directive promises to modernise the rules governing the sector and provide a comprehensive legal framework covering all services, including on-demand distribution of content.The Directive has been developed to a provide more flexible approach for the industry as it negotiates challenges such as changing viewing habits in the wake of technolo
  • No Country off to flying start with National Board Of Review wins

    The National Board of Review has announced the first winners of the North American 2007 awards season, naming Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country For Old Men best film of the year.The Coen Brothers' unflinching adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's crime thriller also takes the best adapted screenplay prize, while the key cast of Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, John Brolin, Woody Harrelson and Kelly Macdonald is named best ensemble.Julien Sc
  • Norwegian Fund backs projects including epic Max Manus

    The Norwegian Film Fund's $3.1m backing hasgiven thegreen light for leading Norwegian producer John M Jacobsen's Max Manus, a WWII epic which will shoot from February. The fund also chipped in for two less expensive first features.From a screenplay by Thomas Nordseth based on Manus' own books, and produced by Jacobsen and Sveinung Golimo for Filmkameratene on a budget of $9m (Euros 6.2m), the film will star Axel Hennie as the 25-year-old adventurer, whose experiences in the re
  • Overture to produce, distribute family drama Humboldt Park

    Overture Films will produce and distribute State Street Pictures and 2DS Productions' lighthearted family drama Humboldt Park to star Freddy Rodriguez and John Leguizamo.The story centres on three siblings who return to their parents' home for the holidays in the Chicago district of Humboldt Park.State Street's Robert Teitel and George Tillman Jr will produce while Rodriguez will serve as executive producer with Rene Rigal and 2DS'
  • Pact elects 2008 Council including chair Charles Wace

    UK producers group Pact has elected its 2008 Council members, which take their posts as of January 2008. The Chair will be Charles Wace of Twofour, Vice Chair/Television is Debbie Manners of RDF, Vice Chair/Film is Andrea Calderwood of Slate Films, Vice Chair/Children's & Animation is Mike Watts of Novel Entertainment, and Vice Chair/Interactive is Andrew Chitty of Illumina Digital. The other elected Council members are Eileen Gallagher of Shed Productions, Stephen Garrett of Ku
  • Participant, Magnolia back Gibney's new lobbying documentary

    Participant Productions (the outfit behind Oscar winner An Inconvenient Truth) is partnering with US distributor Magnolia on Burning Down The House, a new Alex Gibney feature-documentary about the murky world of political lobbying.This is a subject that has caused huge controversy in the US since political lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sent to prison after being convicted on a series of criminal felony counts relating to his lobbying activities. The film is now in pos
  • Peace Arch acquires Canadian rights to 32 First Look titles

    Toronto-based Peace Arch Entertainment Group has acquired exclusive Canadian rights to 32 films from First Look Studios Los Angeles.Peace Arch will release five of the films theatrically in Canada, followed by DVD, video-on-demand and television distribution. The titles are An American Crime starring Catherine Keener, Smiley Face with Anna Faris, Day Of The Dead, Findin
  • Prime Focus strikes acquisition deal for Post Logic and Frantic

    The Prime Focus Group has moved into the North American market with the acquisition of Post Logic Studios, based in New York and Los Angeles, and Frantic Films VFX, which has offices in Los Angeles, Winnipeg and Vancouver.Financial terms were not disclosed. Prime already has six visual effects and post-production facilities in India and four in London (the latter are grouped as Prime Focus UK, formed after Prime's deal with post house VTR). The deal boosts Prime by 200 st
  • Production - The Baltic assault

    The Baltic states, comprising Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are emerging as Europe's newest low-cost production hub, says UK-born Gary Tuck, managing director of Lithuania-based Baltic Film Services, which entices and services international productions. These include Ed Zwick's Second World War drama Defiance, starring Daniel Craig, which is now shooting at the Lithuanian Film Studios (LFS). Tuck says his business has seen a 50% increase in foreign productions over the last two years.
  • Quiet weekend at domestic box office led by Enchanted

    A borderline comatose domestic weekend saw the top three hold firm as the top 10 stayed largely the same. Buena Vista's family release Enchanted remained the champion in its second weekend as an estimated $17m raised the running total to an impressive $70.6m.Screen Gems' drama This Christmas in second place added $8.4m for $36.9m in its second weekend and Paramount's Beowu
  • Randy Quaid comedy to open Slamdance Film Festival

    Randall Cole's comedy about a doomed gambler Real Time starring Randy Quaid will open the 14th Slamdance Film Festival on January 17 2008.Event president and co-founder Peter Baxter and his team whittled down more than 1,200 submissions to the final roster of 29.Entries include Steve Clark's rites of passage tale Frost, Tao Ruspoli's dark road movie Fix
  • Romanian triumph at European Film Awards

    Romanian cinema was the big winner at this year's 20th edition of the European Film Award when director Cristian Mungiu picked up the honours for European Film 2007 and European Director 2007 for his Palme D'Or-winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Accepting his award, Mungiu called for continuing support for the diversity of production for independent cinema in Europe. The awards ceremony before 1,400 guests at Berlin's Arena saw the Israeli film The Band's Visit
  • Rossellini, Dunst to present shorts at Sundance

    Films directed by Isabella Rossellini and Kirsten Dunst are among 83 entries in the Sundance Film Festival's short film line-up.Festival programmers said global submissions grew by 15% over last year as they sifted through 5,107 hopefuls from 17 countries.Dunst arrives in the US Short Films programme with Welcome, which stars Winona Ryder in the tale of an ultimately friendly spirit that inhabits a family's new home.In
  • Rutger Hauer plans second masterclass in Rotterdam

    Film-maker Rutger Hauer will again host a masterclass during The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR, Jan 23- Feb 3, 2008). The second Rutger Hauer Filmfactory, Jan 21-31, will invite 30 international film-makers to work with Hauer and other experts to make 12 short films. In addition to direction, writing, camera, production and editing, this year's instruction will also include lighting. Film-makers can register at
  • Shugrue steps down from Envoy, Brian Hall named new CEO

    Ted Shugrue has stepped down as CEO and left Envoy Media Partners, the majority partner in Vietnam's largest theatre chain MegaStar Media JVC.Shugrue is parting ways with Envoy after he decided he would be unable to relocate his family to Vietnam.He is replaced by Brian Hall, who will be based in Ho Chi Minh City and oversee strategic management of the group's MegaStar Cinemas and MegaStar Distribution operations. Shugrue was one of Envoy's founding partners a
  • Sichler to leave StudioCanal as VP and managing director

    StudioCanal has announced the departure of board vice president and managing director in charge of international development Frederic Sichler. Sichler, who formerly ran StudioCanal's operations in Paris, has been shuttling between London and Paris since the company took over the UK's Optimum Releasing in May of 2006. According to a statement by StudioCanal, Sichler will leave his functions at the end of the year for a 'new international, professional adventure,' but will keep close ties wit
  • Sony Pictures Japan earns $140.8m for best year ever

    Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (SPEJ) has recorded its best year ever in the territory, with current total box office earnings of $140.8m (Y15.5bn) the company announced at its year-end press conference. While The Da Vinci Code ($82.26m) was Sony's only Top Ten megahit in 2006, the company has released a string of mid-range successes this year, led by top earner Spider-Man 3 ($62.71m), which had its world premiere in Tokyo this April. Current release Resident E
  • Sweeney Todd

    Dir. Tim Burton, US, 2007, 105mins
  • Taiwan's Wall takes top honours at IFFI Goa fest

    Taiwanese director Lin Chih Ju's The Wall was awarded the Golden Peacock and a cash prize of $25,500 (Rs1m) at the closing of the 38th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa last night. The Silver Peacock for most promising director and a cash prize of $12,700 (Rs500,000) went to Thailand's Pongpat Wachirabunjong for her debut Me Myself. The Special Jury award was shared by Bangladeshi filmmaker Golam Rabanny Biplab for the story of On The Wings Of Dre
  • The critical view - Same old story

    Beowulf is an ideal subject for a Hollywood adaptation. The original poem, written in Old English some time before the year 1010, is heavily formulaic. It features a seemingly indestructible hero whose bodily strength is highly fetishised. There's plenty of violence - and we can generate a bit of sex too by reading well between the lines. And it has a three-part structure cadenced by the killing of three monsters.One could argue that cinema has a great deal in common with the or
  • The future of arthouse: Screen opinion

    The death of auteurs Antonioni and Bergman has inevitably warmed up that old chestnut about the death of arthouse cinema. It's a perennial favourite that's wrapped up in wider social issues: the notion that society is dumbing down and our brains are becoming atrophied by a forced diet of empty-headed pap culture.Serious artistic purpose, goes the argument, has been replaced by postmodern irony and cultural relativism, dragged down to the lowest common denominator by the inexorable forc
  • The Golden Compass

    Dir: Chris Weitz US/UK 118minsA more well-tooled and expertly crafted beginning to a winter franchise is hard to imagine, yet it's this very gleaming perfection that may leave The Golden Compass open to accusations of soullessness and artifice. The perceived Americanisation of the greatest British children's publishing phenomenon since Harry Potter (the title of the US publication is used over the British) has not
  • Thomson to establish Asian digital cinema hub

    Thomson is set to establish its first digital cinema hub in Asia, via its Technicolor Digital Cinema business, in view of the rapid growth for such services in the region's digital media and entertainment industry. With the support of Singapore 's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), the new facility will be built in the city-state and fully integrated with Thomson's operations in the US. Curt Behlmer, vice president and COO of Technicolor Digital Cinema within Thomson Services d
  • Transmedia takes UK rights to Tornatore's The Unknown

    UK distributor Transmedia International Releasing has taken all UK and Ireland rights to Guiseppe Tornatore's The Unknown (La Sconosciuta). A theatrical release is planned early next year. Transmedia's Simon Caplan negotiated the deal with Rome-based Adriana Chiesa. The Unknown won best film at Italy's Donatello Awards and is also the Italian contender for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. The film noir was shot in the Northern city
  • United States - Art class

    Donald Krim trained as a lawyer, and he provides a distinct and telling response to the question of how art-film distributor Kino International has survived for three decades in the volatile and constantly changing US marketplace. "Good taste and hard work," he says.The company has recently been celebrating its history with a seven-city 30th anniversary US tour, presenting some of its best-known titles.Meanwhile, as president of the New York-based specialty concern with a staff
  • Universal brings Charlie Wilson's War forward to Dec 21

    Universal Pictures has brought forward the release date of Charlie Wilson's War from December 25 to December 21 based on strong tracking from preview screenings.The studio's marketing and distribution president Adam Fogelson said he anticipated word of mouth to sustain the film throughout the holiday season.Tom Hanks plays the eponymous US Congressman who persuaded the CIA to provide covert support to the Mujahideen during the Sovi
  • Unknown starRappoport takes lead in new Serebrennikov feature

    Russian-born actress Ksenia Rappoport, who was nominated for European Actress 2007 at last weekend's European Film Awards for her performance in Giuseppe Tornatore's The Unknown, has taken the lead in Kirill Serebrennikov's new feature Yuriev Den which has now begun shooting on location in the Russian town of Yuriev near Suzdal. The $1.47m (Euros 1m) Russian-German co-production between St. Petersburg-based New People Film Company and Germany's Rohfilm was written by
  • Untold Beauty cranks up with Fan, new investors

    Taiwanese heartthrob Fan Chih Wei will topline the cast of Singapore first-time director Roy Lim's Untold Beauty which will begin shooting this Wednesday (Dec 5) after a change in investors. Lim's Moving On is now producing the $689,500 (S$1m) supernatural romance Mandarin-language picture with MediaCorp Raintree Pictures. Other new investors include Hwa Yea Multimedia and RAM Entertainment. Both are film distributors from Malaysia. Shooting Gallery Motion Pictures which or
  • Vaclav Havel's play Leaving eyes big screen

    Playwright and former Czech president Vaclav Havel says his new play is likely to become a feature film. (Leaving) Ochazeniwas published in book form in November and will see its stage premiere in May or June 2008.It is the first play in 18 years from Havel, a former dissident who led his country's non-violent revolution in 1989 and emerged as president. Havel told Czech daily Lidove noviny that cinematographer Jaroslav Brabec initiated the idea a
  • Vasermil

    Dir: Mushon Salmona. Israel. 2007. 95minsClosely related to the socially-engaged films of Ken Loach and Shane Meadows, Mushon Salmona's debut compensates for his lack of experience with a healthy dose of anger and frustration. Set in the provincial town Beer Sheba where he grew up, Salmona situates his three interwoven plots among the community's marginal minorities, dealing with characters and an atmosphere Salmonais intimately familiar with. This is a
  • Vaughn's MARV strikes first-look deal with publisher Quercus

    Matthew Vaughn and Kris Thykier's production company MARV Films has struck a three-year, first-look deal with Quercus Publishing.MARV will have an exclusive first-look window for all of Quercus' fiction material to consider optioning film rights. MARV recently produced Vaughn's Stardust and the company also has a new first-look deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment.London-based Quercus was set up in 2004 by Mark Smith, Wayne Davies, and Anthony Cheetham and
  • Vietnam - Shugrue mountain

    With 60% of its 84 million population below the age of 30, Vietnam offers huge potential to international exhibitors. But the biggest challenge is galvanising the audience into film-going.Vietnam's cinema business has been held back by piracy, poor facilities and the late arrival of titles into the market. 'Young couples would never automatically think of movie-going for the weekend,' says veteran US exhibitor J Edward 'Ted' Shugrue.Shugrue is the man trying to convince them, by
  • Warner to handle three pictures from Media Rights Capital

    Warner Bros Pictures has signed a distribution agreement with Los Angeles-based Media Rights Capital (MRC) to handle three upcoming projects from the recently formed company.Warner Bros will handle worldwide distribution on Robert Rodriguez' family film Shorts as well as domestic distribution on Richard Kelly's thriller The Box starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden and Frank Langella and the Ricky Gervai
  • Wide sells Sabine to a dozen territories including US, UK

    Underlining that there is still an appetite among theatrical buyers for feature documentaries, Paris-based Wide Management has been racking up sales on two of its titles that screened this week at International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).Sandrine Bonnaire's Her Name Is Sabine has been an especially strong draw for distributors. Bonnaire's documentary offers a portrait of the actress/director's sister, a 38-year-old autistic woman. ICA Films has now swooped to take t
  • Winstone, Gooding, Perlman join cast of Untitled Gehenna Project

    Ray Winstone, Cuba Gooding Jr and Ron Perlman have signed to Ice Cold Productions' action thriller Untitled Gehenna Project.Jason Connery will direct the story of a team of elite soldiers that uncovers an evil force during a mission to rescue a government scientist from an underground base.Taryn Manning, Franky G, Zack Ward, Stephanie Jacobson, Jason London and Brandon Fobbs also star.Bill Sheinberg, Jon Sheinberg, Sid
  • Wirthensohn takes over from Filippelli at TIFF's sales/industry office

    Giulia Filippelli is stepping down as head of the Toronto International Film Festival's Sales and Industry Office after a three years. Replacing her is Stefan Wirthensohn, who has worked closely with Filippelli through her tenure on the strategy and administration of the office. The changes take effect January 1, 2008.Now based in London, Filippelli will continue to work with the office as a consultant. Wirthensohn, Filippelli and TIFF co-director Noah Cowan will attend next February
  • XXY continues winning streak at Argentina's Sur prizes

    The Argentinian Academy of Film Arts and Science awarded Lucia Puenzo's XXY with six Sur prizes (out of 13 nominations), including best film, best first film, best director, best adapted script, best new actress (Ines Efron) and best supporting actor (Martin Piroyansky), at a gala held in Buenos Aires on Monday.XXY, the local submission for the foreign language film category at the Oscars, won the Critics Week award in May at the Cannes Film Festival and sold more than 20
  • Yushita joins Global Networks Asia from Discovery

    Shigeo Yushita has been appointed channel director, Japan, Global Networks Asia, NBC Universal has announced. Yushita takes the Tokyo-based role immediately, to launch and expand NBC Universal's pay TV platforms in Japan. He reports to Raymund Miranda, managing director, Global Networks Asia, as well as to Taichi Fukuda, managing director Japan, NBC Universal International. Shigeo Yushita most recently served as general manager, programming for Discovery Japan and he is also a v