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5 May 2000

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  • 6ixtynin9, 2H share critics prize at Hong Kong

    Chinese director Li Ying's Japanese production 2H and 6ixtynin9 by Thai director Pe-nek Ratanaruang shared the FIPRESCI prize at the 24th Hong Kong International Film Festival (April 12-27). In a statement to the press, Romanian critic Mihai Chirilov stated that the jury "wanted to make a statement and to be more radical." He added: "Our goal is to recognise unknown films without other awards."Despite the fact that the Chinese film Suzhou River was a hit wit
  • Advanced to raise $34m for acquisitions spree

    Readying itself for a raft of acquisitions, German distributor, producer and licensor Advanced Medien is to raise more than $34m (euros37m) through a rights issue.The company said that it will issue 3.325 million new shares, raising its capital base by a quarter. The exact price will be determined during the probable subscription period (May 15-29), but the prospects of expansion and confirmation of good figures for the first quarter sent Advanced's shares soaring 22% today, from euros
  • Advanced, Petersen form joint producing venture

    Advanced Medien, which earlier this week announced a $34m rights issue, is committing some of that cash to a new joint venture with Wolfgang Petersen, director of Das Boot, In The Line Of Fire and Air Force One.The five-year deal sees the creation of a Los Angeles office that will produce and distribute up to two films per year. The first two, which Petersen will produce but not necessarily direct, are scheduled to be delivered next year, according to Advanced. Bud
  • Anderson takes marketing role at In2Film

    Jon Anderson, formerly vice president of marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International, has joined Columbia's former UK chief Carmen Menegazzi at publishing and new media venture In2Film.Anderson joins as director of worldwide marketing, while Menegazzi has moved up from development director to international managing director.Formerly known as Inside Film, In2Film publishes a film-specific programme that is distributed in ci
  • Barryfilms strikes $50m pact with MBP

    UK production company Barryfilms and Rainer Mockert's German-based financing outfit MBP have closed a $50m funding deal to finance $25m family picture Ogopogo as part of a slate of pictures.Ogopogo, which is first to go through the deal, is to be directed by John Henderson (Loch Ness) from a script by Barryfilms head Barry Authors. The project, currently in pre-production ahead of a ten-week shoot in Canada in August, is being produced with Jim Henson's Creature Sh
  • Beware Of Greeks Bearing Guns

    Dir: John Tatoulis. Australia. 2000. 90 mins.Prod cos: Media World Features. Worldwide sales: Trident Releasing. Producers: John Tatoulis, Colin J. South, Dionyssis Samiotis, Anastasios Vasiliou. Scr: Tom Galbraith. DoP: Peter Zakharov. Prod des: Stan Antoniades. Ed: Michael Collins. Music: Mikis Theodorakis. Main cast: Lakis Lazopoulos, Zoe Carides, John Bluthal, Claudia Buttazzoni.Spurred by his grandmother's glinty-eyed obsessions, mild-mannered teacher Mario (Lakis La
  • Bossa Nova shows legs at Brazilian box office

    Bruno Barreto's Bossa Nova has racked up Real2.5m ($1.4m) after four weeks at the domestic box office - a solid result for a local title which looks set to be repeated by at least two other domestic productions in the coming year.The romantic comedy - which also started its international roll-out last week - attracted 423,095 admissions in the four weeks to April 27. In its first week (March 31-April 7), the picture scooped Real868,841 ($496,481) from 64 screens for an average o
  • BSkyB to back Liz Murdoch's solo venture

    Elisabeth Murdoch, who earlier today dramatically quit as BSkyB's managing director of Sky Networks, is expected to strike a TV programming deal with the satellite broadcaster as part of her new production venture.Murdoch, a driving force behind BSkyB's prolific film production activity, is setting up a UK venture specialising in TV, film and new media content. She is to step down next month.But Murdoch's departure is expected to unnerve the film sector as she has been a leading
  • Cami Winikoff named COO at Trimark Pictures

    Cami Winikoff has been promoted to chief operating officer at the LA-based independent producer/distributor Trimark Pictures. Previously executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Trimark, she will now oversee all operational facets of the company, reporting to chairman and CEO Mark Amin.Winikoff has been at Trimark for ten years overseeing all aspects of business, legal affairs, production, post-production, servicing and administration for the company. Most recently

    In a recent article on (April 19), Golden Harvest Entertainment managing director CK Phoon was quoted as saying that Golden Harvest "bankrolled about 30% of the production slate of Media Asia Group in 1999." This may have been taken as implying that Golden Harvest invests directly in Media Asia's feature productions. This is not the case, clarified Media Asia. Media Asia finances its own productions and from time to time, has co-financed projects such as Tempting Heart
  • Clouds Of May scoops Istanbul's Golden Tulip

    Turkish films dominated the 19th International Istanbul Film Festival (April 15-30) where the top honour in the international competition, the Golden Tulip, was awarded to Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan for Clouds Of May (Maysi Sikintisi) (pictured).The film also won the top prize in the national competition as well as the audience award and the international critics' FIPRESCI prize. The special jury prize went to The Last Dance directed by Indian director Shaji Karu
  • CLT-Ufa unveils English-language quintet

    European powerhouse financier CLT-Ufa International has unveiled a slate of five new English-language pictures for Cannes, including films by Yves Simoneau, Claire Denis and Bob Spiers. The line-up is headed by Denis' Trouble Every Day, a psychological thriller starring Vincent Gallo, Beatrice Dalle and Alex Descas. The film is produced by Francine Films and Rezo Productions and is available outside France, Japan and German TV. It will screen at Cannes on promo reel.CLT-U
  • Constantin, Impact team for US-based venture

    Bernd Eichinger's distribution and production group Constantin Film has set up a Los Angeles-based joint venture with Anglo-US production group Impact Pictures.The deal with Jeremy Bolt and Paul Anderson's London and Los Angeles-based Impact Pictures sees the creation of an as-yet-unnamed production company that will be 51% owned by Constantin. Kicking off in October, it will develop and produce theatrical and TV movies for the international market with most projects fully-financed by
  • Co-Production Office passes Takashi's Audition

    Philippe Bober's boutique production and sales outfit The Co-Production Office has picked up world sales duties to Miike Takashi's psychological horror picture Audition.The film which scooped the FIPRESCI and KNF awards at the Rotterdam festival in January is a tale of a man who advertises for a wife by auditioning actresses for a film project. The one he falls for, however, seems to be waiting for him to fall into her trap. It stars actor-turned musician Isibashi Ryo. Takaski's
  • Dot-coms tie up with MIF, MITIC, American Pavilion

    Dot coms will invade the Croisette this Cannes Film Festival with several online companies firmly aligned with staple institutions such as The Cannes Market, The American Pavilion and MITIC.Communications giant Intel is equipping the American Pavilion with a high-speed internet capability to support new sponsors,,, E! Online and Meanwhile the Cannes market and have formed an alliance wih Florida-based streami
  • FilmFour road movie revs up in US

    FilmFour's low-budget wing FilmFour Lab stepped into the US this week, starting production in Buffalo, New York on an untitled comedy love story that marks the feature debut of director Joel Hopkins.The road-movie, based on Hopkins' award-winning short Jorge, stars newcomer Tunde Adebimpe, British and French actors James Wilby and Hippolyte Girardot, along with Spain's Natalia Verbeke.Robin Gutch, head of the Lab, and Elinor Day of FilmFour Productions are responsible for
  • Films Distribution picks up De L'Histoire Ancienne

    In the run-up to Cannes, French international sales company Films Distribution has acquired Critics' Week title De L'Histoire Ancienne, directed by Orso Miret.The deal follows Films Distribution's acquisition of Un Certain Regard title Wild Blue, directed by Belgian film-maker Thierry Knauff, last week (Screendaily, April 26).De L'Histoire Ancienne - about a dying man whose family has to come to terms with his past as a French resistance hero - is pro
  • Flintstones, Frequency can't sink U-571

    Universal's family comedy The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas grossed $10.8m in its first three days at the box office over the weekend but was unable to beat U-571, also from Universal, in its second weekend. The submarine thriller grossed $12.3m, bringing its total to $38.2m after two weekends. Viva Rock Vegas, a prequel to the 1994 blockbuster The Flintstones, is directed by Brian Levant and produced by Bruce Cohen, the team behind the first movie. It star
  • George Litto Pictures sues insurance giant AXA Re

    Producer George Litto has initiated arbitration proceedings against French insurance AXA Re for revoking two insurance contracts to provide the funding for five films. According to Litto's complaint, George Litto Pictures (GLP) obtained two lines of credit from Chase Manhattan Bank worth more than $100m. The issuance of each loan was contingent on the existence of supporting insurance which AXA assumed to protect Chase in the event of any shortfall.When GLP sought the shortfal
  • Gladiator storms Australian box office

    Ridley Scott's highly-anticipated Roman epic Gladiator scooped an eye-popping $0.6m (A$1m) from 293 screens on its opening day in Australia (May 4) - the first territory worldwide to play the film. This opening figure is the territory's sixth highest ever, no doubt boosted by the film's protagonist Russell Crowe who was in Sydney for the opening. Although born in New Zealand, Crowe is heralded as a local star having been brought up in Australia. The result puts the film in the c
  • I Dreamed Of Africa

    Dir: Hugh Hudson. US. 2000. 114 mins.Prod cos: Jaffilms. US dist: Columbia Pictures. Int'l dist: Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International. Prod: Stanley R Jaffe, Allyn Stewart. Scr: Paula Milne, from the book by Kuki Gullman. DoP: Bernard Lutic. Prod des: Andrew Sanders. Ed: Scott Thomas. Mus: Maurice Jarre. Main cast: Kim Basinger, Vincent Perez, Liam Aiken, Eva Marie Saint, Garrett Strommen, Daniel Craig, Lance Reddick, Ian Roberts.Kuki Gullman's life, documente
  • Jerry Giaquinta upped to executive vp at SPE

    Jerry Giaquinta has been promoted to executive vice president, corporate communications, for Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). He will continue to report to SPE co-president Yuki Nozoe.Giaquinta joined SPE in 1998 as senior vice president, corporate communications, after a four year stint in Silicon Valley as vice president of corporate marketing for Silicon Graphics and vice president of corporate communications for Tandem Computers.As executive vice president, he is respons
  • Kadokawa boards Japanese movie channel

    Kadokawa Publishing, a Japanese publisher with interests in film production, is boarding Japanese Movie Satellite Broadcasting (Nihon Eiga Eisei Hoso), a start-up movie channel operated by News Corp, Sony, Fuji TV, Softbank and Toho.Although Kadokawa has supplied content to satellite television, the move marks the company's first venture into satellite TV management. The channel, which specialises in Japanese movies, is carried by the SKY PerfecTV satellite platform.Kadokawa wil
  • Le Pogam exits post as Gaumont marketing chief

    Pierre-Ange Le Pogam is understood to be leaving his position as Gaumont's worldwide distribution and marketing chief in the latest of a string of upheavals at the French film group.News of Le Pogam's departure, coming on the eve of Gaumont's Vatel opening the Cannes Film Festival, follows hard on the heels of a number of disposals and talent departures that have left many in the French film industry puzzling over the long term direction of the French film major.Disposals
  • Lions Gate steps up foreign-language acquisitions

    Lions Gate Films International is continuing its foray into foreign-language cinema by acquiring worldwide rights (with the exclusion of Latin America) to Mexican box office hit Gimme Power (Todo El Poder). The move follows a similar acquisition last week of Cannes Critic's Week contender Love's A Bitch (Amores Perros) (Screendaily, April 26).Lions Gate has also picked up Korean detective action thriller Nowhere To Hide, directed by Lee Myung-Se. The acquisi
  • McLean tipped to direct Haysom's Golden Delicious

    Sydney director Alison McLean, whose most recent film was Jesus' Son, is tipped to helm Golden Delicious, a black comedy about four women who kidnap a male prostitute. Written by Christine Rogers and Anne Kennedy, Golden Delicious is being produced by Trevor Haysom who was associate producer on McLean's Crush. Haysom's other well advanced project is My Father's Den, an adaptation of a Maurice Gee novel of the same name by director-writer Brad M
  • MK2 picks up nine from CiBy library

    French arthouse specialist MK2 has acquired worldwide rights to nine titles from the library of defunct sales and financing outfit CiBy 2000. Most of the rest of CiBy's catalogue was acquired by France's TF1 International.The titles include: David Lynch Twin Peaks: Fire Walks With Me (1992); Robert Altman's Kansas City (1996); Mike Leigh's 1996 Cannes Palme d'Or-winner Secrets And Lies; David Lynch's Lost Highway (1997); Pierrre Boutron's Messieurs Les En
  • Quiero goes live with 14-channel line-up

    Spain's first digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform Quiero TV (formerly Onda Digital) starts broadcasting today (May 5) with an initial offer of 14 thematic channels, Internet/e-mail and PPV services. Quiero is Europe's second DTT platform, after the UK's ONdigital, and the first in the world to offer internet and e-mail via the television.Describing cinema, sports, children's programming and Internet as the "keystones" of the platform's initial offer, general director I
  • Quinta boards IAC's Midnight Return

    Quinta Communications, the rights trading venture of Tarak Ben Ammar, has committed to provide half the $30m budget on IAC Film and Davis Panzer Productions' Midnight Return.Quinta will arrange distribution of the follow-up to Midnight Express in France, Italy, Spain and the UK, as well as work with UK-based IAC on unsold territories including North America, Australasia and Scandinavia.The project, on which IAC aims to secure US actor Edward Norton for the lead, is
  • Roissy, Celluloid Dreams cancel merger plans

    French sales outfits Roissy Films and Celluloid Dreams have cancelled the merger of their international sales activities because of a misconception that Roissy was financially backing its partner."Joining our two company names proved too confusing for buyers and producers," said Roissy Films chairman Raphael Berdugo. "Each of us will keep his autonomy, which does not mean we will not co-operate on a project-by-project basis, in which case we would share the receipts."The two com
  • Sogecable seals ten pic pact with Spyglass

    Spanish media group Sogecable has closed an exclusive ten picture deal with Spyglass Entertainment for pay-TV outlet Canal Plus and Canal Satelite Digital's PPV service Taquilla.Among the titles included in the deal are box office sensation The Sixth Sense, Brian de Palma's Mission To Mars, Edward Norton's directorial debut Keeping The Faith and Shanghai Noon starring Jackie Chan.The Spyglass accord comes at a time when the pay-TV market in Spain is h
  • Summit tickled by Haxan's Heart Of Love comedy

    Summit Entertainment has boarded Heart Of Love, a broad comedy from the film-making team behind The Blair Witch Project. Summit will act as international sales agent on the film and will introduce it to buyers this month at Cannes.Haxan Entertainment's Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick have written and will produce and direct the film, an off-kilter comic creation which they themselves have described as "Monty Python meets Airplane". Shooting is set to start
  • Telefonica reportedly in merger talks with KPN

    Spain's Telefonica is in talks with Dutch telco KPN in what could result in a merger of the two giants according to Spanish press reports. Telefonica has confirmed that it is in negotiations with KPN on a "variety of matters", but sources were unavailable to comment further.A report in Spanish newspaper El Mundo over the weekend suggested that a joint company would be owned 60% by Telefonica and 40% by KPN. El Mundo also suggested that North American operator Bell South c
  • TF1 discusses pan-Euro link-up

    French broadcaster TF1 is in preliminary talks with the UK's Carlton Communications, Germany's KirchGruppe and Italy's Mediaset to jointly develop television programming and Internet-related activities, according to French press reports.TF1 - which already has a 50-50 Internet content venture with Carlton - @lliance - has already announced its intention to become an Internet service provider and portal operator from autumn 2000. The company has created a new subsidiary, eTF1, to group
  • Toei, Toho join forces for multiplex venture

    Japanese distributor-exhibitors Toei and Toho have agreed to co-operate in the multiplex construction business, due to high costs which have left local exhibitors struggling to keep up with foreign players.Under the terms of the recently-signed agreement, Toei will join Toho in its existing plans to construct a multiplex in Japan's third largest city, Nagoya. Toei has concluded similar deals with rival Shochiku, but until now Toho has gone its own way in the multiplex sector. Th
  • Toho forecasts third year of record net profit

    Toho, Japan's largest film distributor and exhibitor, has forecast after-tax net profit of Y6.7bn ($62.0m) in 2000, for a gain of 2% compared with the previous financial year. If Toho achieves this figure, it will mark the company's third straight year of record net profit. However current profit is expected to drop for the 2000 financial year. Toho estimates that sales for 2000 will total Y76bn ($703.7m), if revenue patterns for the previous year continue. The company is confid
  • Toronto to premiere Egoyan, Cronenberg shorts

    As part of its 25th anniversary celebrations, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will feature the premieres of 10 short films by leading Canadian directors including Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg and Jeremy Podeswa.Also participating in the initiative are Mike Jones, Jean Pierre Lefebvre, Guy Maddin, Don McKellar, Patricia Rozema, Michael Snow and Anne Wheeler. The directors were challenged to produce a "Prelude" short inspired by the TIFF, which runs this year from Septemb
  • Tykwer to direct Kieslowski's Heaven for Miramax

    White-hot German director Tom Tykwer will make his English-language debut directing Heaven, a Miramax co-production that will form the first in a planned trilogy of films based on screenplays by late great Polish film-maker Krzysztof Kieslowski and his writing partner Krzysztof Piesiewicz. Cate Blanchett is in talks to star in the $11m film which is scheduled to start shooting in July on locations in Italy and Germany.Miramax Films has worldwide rights to Heaven excluding
  • UGC agrees to withdraw card from May 9

    UGC has agreed to put the sale of its highly controversial subscription card - UGC Illimite - on hold from May 9 until the French competition council decides whether it is anti-competitive. The move follows a request by French culture minister Catherine Tasca (Screendaily, April 25). For FFr98 per month - roughly equivalent to two screenings in a Paris theatre - the card gives unlimited access to all films screened by UGC. The promotional effort has been staunchly opposed by ind
  • UK's Film Council sets aside $16m for bigger films

    The Film Council, the UK government's newly-created film superbody, has launched a $16m (£10m) annual fund for commercial films as part of its debut package of public support measures, the Council announced today.The commercial fund, titled the Premiere Production Fund, sits alongside a hefty fund of $8m (£5m) a year for development. Other measures include the creation of a sizeable annual pool of $8m (£5m) for innovative films and new film-makers, dubbed the New Cinema Fund.Cru
  • Universal takes domestic on start-up Catch 23

    Robert B. Sturm, a Denver-based financier and philanthropist, has formed a new LA production company Catch 23 Entertainment and entered into a deal with Universal Pictures' unnamed specialty film division to handle domestic distribution on the films it produces. Sturm plans to engage foreign sales agents on a picture by picture basis. Intermedia is handling one of his first two films, After Image, starring John Mellencamp and Louise Fletcher and directed by Robert Manganelli, wh
  • Web distributor article 27 launched by media execs

    A group of e-commerce and advertising executives have launched article27, a London and New York-based company that plans to market and distribute features via the Web.The company, which aims to launch its Internet site to consumers this summer, has been acquiring rights to films and has alliances with indie film companies such as Zeitgeist Films, New Yorker Films and Films Transit. The operation aims to access new technology to deliver films over the Internet but will also use traditio
  • Weinsteins commit to seven more years at Disney

    Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the inimitable co-chairmen of Miramax Films, have extended their contracts with The Walt Disney Co for another seven years, scotching any speculation that they might be lured away from the company they co-founded in 1979."It is our pleasure to continue our association with Disney," said the brothers in a statement. "Since we began this relationship in 1993, we've grown from an independent film company into a fully fledged media company. We couldn't have accom
  • Zentropa, Kinowelt share Moments Of Clarity

    Nordic mini-major Zentropa's international branch, Zentropa Internationale, is finalising a three-picture deal with Germany's rapidly expanding Kinowelt. The pact, which is likely to be extended to more pictures, will kick off with Moments Of Clarity written by newcomer Mikael Colville Andersen."We'll work on three projects for now, but we really want to make this collaboration work," Ole Sondberg, who heads up Zentropa Internationale with Lars Duus, told Screen. "There a