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Screen
5 January 2003

View all stories from this issue.

  • Amitabh Bachchan rescues Bollywood box office

    Bollywood may be the biggest producer of films in the world but the ratio of hits to flops in 2002 made depressing reading. In one of the worst years in the history of the local film industry, 2002 saw the release of 132 films out of which 124 failed to make an impact at the box office.But now, Hindi film superstar Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Kaante has revived the Bollywood film industry from a dismal year which saw only one hit - Devdas, which took $8m K
  • Billy Elliot delivers ratings success for BBC

    The BBC scored a spectacular hit with Billy Elliot on New Year's Day, with the in-house production becoming the most popular film on TV during the Christmas period across all channels.The BBC Films and Working Title Films collaboration recorded 12.2 million viewers, pushing the BBC's The Mummy, which attracted 10.7 million viewers on Christmas Eve, into second place.The BBC spent only £1m on the story of a working class boy who wants to be a ballet dancer, includin
  • Bomb threat escalates for Korea's CJ Entertainment

    Police in Seoul are searching for a man who sent a mail bomb to the head offices of CJ Entertainment as part of an extortion scheme. The small explosive, concealed inside a book addressed to CEO Lee Kang-bok, caused minor burns to Lee's hands and forehead.A note pasted on the inner cover of the book revealed the suspect to be the same man who called in a bomb threat in early December at four multiplexes owned by CGV, a subsidiary of CJ Entertainment. The call resulted in the e
  • Czech cinema admissions continue gradual increase

    The Czech Republic registered an estimated 10.7 million cinema visits during 2002, compared to 10.4 million in 2001 and 8.3 million in 2000, according to preliminary results of the Czech Union of Film Distributors (UFD).The biggest increases in cinemagoing were seen in Ceske Budejovice, Hradec Kralove and Ostrava where new multiplex cinemas were opened in 2002. There are currently nine multiplexes in Prague, with the 10th due to be opened end-February.
  • Daldry, Nolan get honours at Palm Springs Film Fest

    Hotshot UK director Stephen Daldry will be honoured as international film-maker of the year at this year's Palm Springs International Film Festival during the festival's gala ceremony on Saturday (Jan 11).Daldry's second film The Hours, which was nominated for seven Golden Globes last month, will be screened in Palm Springs in the afternoon followed by a Q&A with Daldry, who will join other honorees at the evening gala including fellow Brits Stephen Frears, who will also receive
  • Equilibrium

    Dir: Kurt Wimmer. US. 2002. 107 mins.You could call Equilibrium a poor man's Minority Report. Or, for that matter, a poor man's Fahrenheit 451, 1984 or The Matrix. Unimaginatively derivative and silly without being fun, this sci-fi thriller from Miramax's Dimension label comes equipped with a mid-level Anglo-American cast but is likely to appeal only to sci-fi fanatics, and even they will probably wait to catch it on video or TV. Dime
  • European Pitch Point jury selects 12 best scripts

    Twelve screenwriters and their projects have been chosen from 160 submitted to participate in next month's European Pitch Point.Screenwriters from the UK, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sweden are among the final 12 whose projects were selected from 160 submitted from all over Europe to participate in next year's European Pitch Point (EPP).According to EPP's organisers, the international jury of German distributor Stephan Hutter of Prokino, No Man's Land producer Cedomir
  • Grill Point leads German critics' award nominations

    Andreas Dresen's Grill Point (Halbe Treppe) has picked up nominations in three of the four categories for this year's German Film Critics Award.Grill Point, which received the jury's Grand Prix at the last Berlinale and a Silver Lola at the German Film Awards, has been nominated in the Best Feature Film category against Tom Tykwer's Berlinale opening film Heaven, while the ensemble of four lead actors - Axel Prahl and Thorsten Merten, Gabriela Maria Schmeide and St
  • Hard Goodbyes: My Father (Diskoli Aporcheretismi: Babas Mou)

    Dir. Penny Panayotopoulou. Greece/Germany, 2002. 108 min.A coming-of-age story that is richer and more original than most, Penny Panayotopoulou's first feature film effort is the most accomplished Greek film offering of this year. First unveiled in Locarno, where 10 years-old Giorgos Karayannis walked away with an acting award, it also shared the best acting prize in Thessaloniki, this time for Christos Stergioglou, who plays his uncle, and shared the FIPRESCI award. Modest,
  • Harry Potter sweeps past $500m

    Warner Bros Pictures, celebrating its biggest international gross of all time in 2002, scored its first triumph of the new year as Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets whipped past the $500m mark at the box office over the weekend. Already the fifth biggest international grosser of all time, the film grossed an estimated $25.9m over the weekend, bringing its total to date to $512m.It opened in just one territory - Poland - over the weekend, taking $1.46m from 126 prints, maki
  • Hero

    Dir: Zhang Yimou. China. 2002. 98 mins. One of the most eagerly awaited films in Asian film history - and already a box office blockbuster in China and Hong Kong - Zhang Yimou's Hero is an intoxicatingly beautiful, structurally enigmatic and decidedly brief epic which will struggle to escape comparisons with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the west not to mention the arthouses where its chief audience will lie. Miramax Films, which early on paid a p
  • Hong Kong box office slumps 17% in 2002

    Hong Kong's box office slumped by 17% in 2002, despite a year-end boost from hits such as Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets and locally-produced crime thriller Infernal Affairs.Total box office receipts were $110.6m (HK$862.6m) compared to $133.4m (HK$1.04bn) the previous year, according to figures from industry body, the Motion Picture Industry Association (MPIA). Hong Kong-produced films grossed $44.6m (HK$347.5m) in 2002, a decline of 24% from the previous
  • Hungary passes new film law offering tax rebates of up to 20%

    The HungarianParliament has passed a new film law which should position the country as oneof the most attractive in the world for incentive-hungry internationalproductions.The law, which passed justbefore Christmas on Dec 22, offers two kinds of incentives. The first is astraight rebate system for productions shooting in Hungary which offers a 20%tax rebate on the Hungarian spend of the budget.The secondincentive is a co-production programme in which a tax re
  • Hungary passes new film law offering tax rebates of up to 20%

    The HungarianParliament has passed a new film law which should position the country as oneof the most attractive in the world for incentive-hungry internationalproductions.The law, which passed justbefore Christmas on Dec 22, offers two kinds of incentives. The first is astraight rebate system for productions shooting in Hungary which offers a 20%tax rebate on the Hungarian spend of the budget.The secondincentive is a co-production programme in which a tax re
  • Hungary passes new film law, offers new tax rebates of up to 20%

    The HungarianParliament has passed a new film law which should position the country as oneof the most attractive in the world for incentive-hungry internationalproductions.The law, which passed justbefore Christmas on Dec 22, offers two kinds of incentives. The first is astraight rebate system for productions shooting in Hungary which offers a 20%tax rebate on the Hungarian spend of the budget.The secondincentive is a co-production programme in which a tax re
  • Hungary passes new film law, offers new tax rebates of up to 20%

    The HungarianParliament has passed a new film law which should position the country as oneof the most attractive in the world for incentive-hungry internationalproductions.The law, which passed justbefore Christmas on Dec 22, offers two kinds of incentives. The first is astraight rebate system for productions shooting in Hungary which offers a 20%tax rebate on the Hungarian spend of the budget.The secondincentive is a co-production programme in which a tax re
  • Kaurismaki tops Finnish award nominations

    Aki Kaurismaki can no longer be said to be an unrecognised filmmaker in his native Finland after his award-winning The Man Without A Past became his most successful film at the local box-office ever and picked up the highest number of nominations for the local film awards: the Jussi. Best film, direction and script for Kaurismaki as well as nominations for best actor, actress, cinematography and editing.Aku Louhimies' box-office hit Lovers & Leavers was also nominated as
  • Lightning takes international rights on The Event

    LightningEntertainment has acquired international sales rights to ThomFitzgerald's The Event, which will screen in the Panorama section of the Berlin FilmFestival on Feb 8, 9 and 10. Set in Manhattan, The Event explores the effect of one man'sdeath on his loved ones and boasts a strong ensemble cast that includes ParkerPosey, Olympia Dukakis, Sarah Polley and Don McKellar. The picture will bereleased in North America in the second half of the year through THI
  • London film critics opt for All Or Nothing

    The nominees have been announced for the 23rd Awards of the London Film Critics' Circle to be held at London's Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday 12th February 2003, in aid of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).The Dilys Powell Award for outstanding contribution to cinema will be presented to director Lewis Gilbert (Sink The Bismark, Alfie, Educating Rita, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, Shirley Valentine).Michael Caine is in the running f
  • Shine's film arm put on Ice

    The core film executives at Elisabeth Murdoch's UK company Shine Entertainment are launching independent production outfit Ice Productions following the closure of Shine's film arm.Shine has handed over the rights to its film slate to its former head of film, Erica Motley, who will head Ice. The former HBO executive is joined at the new London-based company by her development executives from Shine, Claire Bennett and Irene Ilias."We are going forward on all our projects," Motley
  • Soft Money - Canada

    CanadaCanada's surfeit of tax and subsidy financing has helped to make it one of the most attractive international destinations for foreign productions. But the country's soft money is not as soft as it once was. Denis Seguin reportsIt is not by accident that Canada is the world's leading film production destination: the territory is rich in soft money. The federal government and some provincial authorities offer labour-based tax credits on salaries paid for work performe
  • Soft Money - France

    FranceA French co-producer is surely the most sought-after. After all, they tend to bring equity finance and access to the world's most generous subsidy and incentive schemes to the table. Nancy Tartaglione reportsWant to access soft money in France' Marry a rich French person. OK, perhaps there is no need to go quite that far, but when it comes to accessing France's tax breaks, various regional initiatives and government subsides, it pays either to be French or certainly
  • The hard facts about soft money

    Hard cash may have heavyweight appeal and a sense of immediacy, but it is in increasingly short supply. Patrick Frater examines how soft money has become the currency of choice for the world's independent producers. Over the next weeks, and leading up to the Screen International European Film Finance Summit being held in Berlin on 5 February, 2003, Screen International writers look at where it is to be found, how it is being used and who
  • The Pianist sweeps National Society Of Film Critics awards

    Roman Polanski's The Pianist swept the board at the National Society Of Film Critics awards voted on by 55 US film critics at Sardi's Restaurant in New York City on Saturday night. The film won best picture, best director, best screenplay and best actor categories, continuing the divided awards season which has seen no one film taking the lead.Late last year, the National Board Of Review voted for The Hours as its best film, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association voted
  • The Two Towers continues record-breaking int'l run

    The records continued to fall to The Lord Of The Rings as the second week of The Two Towers theatrical run came to a close.The fantasy sequel has already passed the $200m box office mark both from international territories and separately in North American. With $414m recorded by year's end, just 14 days into release, the film is expected to surpass its predecessor, The Fellowship Of The Ring, by some way.The second weekend of The Two Towers was 30% up
  • The Two Towers towers over the competition

    New Line's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers stayed atop of the competition in its third week in North American theatres with a $25.7m haul that gives Peter Jackson's Tolkien adaptation a mighty $261.7m running score, according to studio estimates released on Sunday (Jan 5). The second instalment in the fantasy trilogy averaged $7,082 from 3,622 theatres and has now overtaken its more youth-oriented magical counterpart, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, which slipped
  • Third Danish film confirmed for Berlin's Kinderfilmfest

    Danish animator Jannik Hastrup's latest feature-length animation, The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Bear (Drengen Der Ville Gore Det Umulige), has become the third Danish film to be confirmed for the Berlinale's Kinderfilmfest. The film had its world premiere in France and Benelux on Dec 18 as L'enfant Qui Voulait Etre Un Ours, and it will be released domestically by Angel-Scanbox during the film festival in Berlin on Feb7. The film is Danish-French-Norwegian co-productio
  • Three films break box office records in Australia

    Several box office records have been broken over the Christmas/New Year holiday period in Australia. The Two Towers notched up the biggest ever opening week and Bowling For Columbine the biggest opening week for a documentary. And, as the year closed, Crackerjack became the highest grossing Australian film for 2002.After recording the biggest opening day of all time with a gross of $2.97m (A$5.23m) from 425 screens - helped by Boxing Day traditionally being the mos
  • Warner scores its biggest ever international year with $1.6bn in 2002...

    Harry Potter became 2002's highest grossing film internationally in what was the final triumph in a record year for Warner Bros Pictures.The company saw its best year of all-time at the international box office in 2002, pulling in $1.6bn and beating its previous record of $1.34bn, set in 2001, by 19%. The massive gross is also the second biggest recorded internationally in one year for an MPA company, behind 20th Century Fox's 1998 haul of $1.97bn - fuelled largely by Titanic
  • World premieres dominate Rotterdam's Tiger Award competition

    This month's International Film Festival Rotterdam will showcase eight world premieres in its centrepiece section, the VPRO Tiger Award Competition.Titles debuting in the 14-film competition include Eliane Caffe's Brazilian-French film Jave Valley (Os Narradores De Jave); China's Welcome To Destination Shanghai (Mu Di Di Shanghai), directed by Andrew Cheng; and Icelandic director Dagur Kari's Noi The Albino. From the UK come Simon Pummell's Bodysong and Penn

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