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5 May 2003

View all stories from this issue.

  • 3D Ghosts to get special screening

    Ghosts Of The Abyss, James Cameron's 3D documentary in which he returns to the wreck of the Titanic, is to screen in Official Selection, out of competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival.The screening will take place on Saturday May 17, three days into the festival, at the Grand Amphitheatre Lumiere where the audience will be provided with special 3D glasses required to view the film.The documentary follows the Academy Award-winning director back to the legendary shi
  • Brenner hired as New York-based marketing consultant for Cinecitta

    Debbie Brenner,the New York-based marketing and competitive strategy consultant, has beenhired to boost the profile of Italy's legendary Cinecitta Studios amongUS film-makers.Brenner's job will be to attract the attention ofcommercial directors and photographers to the studio's film and TVfacilities, which include 22 stages and the largest sound stage in Europe.Making theannouncement, Carole Andre-Smith, Cinecitta Studios' chief internation
  • Calendar Girls head for Cannes

    Buena Vista International's highly-anticipated UK comedy Calendar Girls will screen at Cannes outside the festival.The story of members of the traditionally stuffy Women's Institute who pose for a charity nude calendar will screen Thursday May 15. Stars Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, along with the real women on which the film is based, are attending. The film will be released in the UK on September 5, with Gala Premieres in Skipton, Leeds and London. Directed by Savi
  • Calendar Girls head for Cannes market

    Buena Vista International's highly-anticipated UK comedy Calendar Girls will screen at Cannes outside the festival.The story of members of the traditionally stuffy Women's Institute who pose for a charity nude calendar will screen Thursday May 15. Stars Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, along with the real women on which the film is based, are attending. The film will be released in the UK on September 5, with Gala Premieres in Skipton, Leeds and London. Directed by Savi
  • Cameron's 3D Ghosts to obtain special screening

    Ghosts Of The Abyss, James Cameron's 3D documentary in which he returns to the wreck of the Titanic, is to screen in Official Selection, out of competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival.The screening will take place on Saturday May 17, three days into the festival, at the Grand Amphitheatre Lumiere where the audience will be provided with special 3D glasses required to view the film.The documentary follows the Academy Award-winning director back to the legendary shi
  • Cannes' Un Certain Regard to add lustre

    The Cannes Festival's Un Certain Regard sidebar is taking on the allure and scale of a fully-fledged festival to rival discovery events like Locarno or Rotterdam.The Cannes selectors today completed their selection with the addition of Argentinian director Pablo Reyero's La Cruz Del Sur (sold by F For Film). Previously announced additions included Los Soldados De Salamina by Spanish director David Trueba (handled by Lolafilms) and Crimson Gold by Iranian Jafar Pana
  • Carandiru

    Dir: Hector Babenco. Brazil. 2003. 146mins.
  • Chada, Campion pledge support for UK women in film scheme

    Directors Gurinder Chadha and Jane Campion have pledged their support to a UK scheme for women in film launched this week by industry agency Women in Film and Television and distributor United International Pictures (UIP).Titled Directing Change, the scheme will allow women directors to work alongside an experienced and internationally recognised feature director on upcoming productions."It is our hope that this scheme will become an established route for women directors looking
  • Chris Davis International takes on ACG library

    American Cinema Group (ACG)has appointed Chris Davis International (CDI) the exclusive worldwidedistributor in all media for the ACG library which includes Go Tell TheSpartans and A Force Of One.CDI will be licensing video,DVD and internet rights to the titles at Cannes next month and ACG'ssenior vice president, worldwide marketing, Eric Karson, will be attending themarket with Davis.The library's keytitles are Ted Post's war actioner Go Tell
  • Clooney's Confessions welcomed in Italy

    After a series of generally low-key limited releases George Clooney's directorial debut, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, received a boost to its international box office last weekend with a number one bow in Italy.The territory is the first to provide the comic-drama, which is based on the 'unofficial autobiography' of Chuck Barris (who rose to fame as the producer of US game shows in the 1960s and '70s), with a first placed ranking and a $1m opening weekend.Local distri
  • Constantin continues to fend off Highlight's advances

    The board of Germany's most successful producer/distributor Constantin Film has failed to reach a decision on a response to Swiss media group Highlight Communications' planned take-over of the company.Despite holding a specially convened meeting to discuss Highlight's intention of acquiring the 58.6% of Constantin it does not already own, the German production outfit said it had been unable to reach agreement as to what was the best way forward for the company.In an adhoc commun
  • Co-production quartet hatched at Buenos Aires conference

    European and Latin American participants at the second annual AL-Invest conference forged four co-productions during the event, organised by Brussels-based Jose Luis Escudero of Intercommunicacion, Belgium.The meeting between European and Latin American producers, that coincided with the 5th Buenos Aires International Film Festival of Independent Cinema, matched around 30 European film companies with 120 Latin American projects. While many of the European delegates hailed from S
  • Dead Bodies

    Dir: Robert Quinn. Ireland. 2003. 85mins.Dead Bodies achieves most of what it hopes to be: a low-budget, jokey thriller peopled by plot-expedient characters who are too young to develop character or motivation. But the debut feature from director Robert Quinn, , the first film shot in Ireland on high-definition, lacks the story, energy and style to prove itself theatrically overseas. The result is that this wannabe Anglo-American film noir, the first of the Irish Film
  • Distant (Uzak)

    DistantDan Fainaru in IstanbulDir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Turkey. 2002. 106mins.With a high profile after its selection in competition at Cannes later this month, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's new film promises to become a surefire hit on the festival circuit. Faithful to Ceylan's intransigently ascetic reputation, it has already collected all the significant films awards at home in Turkey, including best film, best director and the FIPRESCI prize at last month's Istanbul Film Festival. T
  • Distant Horizon to bring black comic book hero to the screen

    Targeting the growing hip-hop and urban market, Distant Horizon, the international film financing, production and distribution company headed by Anant Singh, announced its plans to adapt urban-underground comic book Brotherman for the big screen. Rights for the comic were bought from Atlanta-based publisher Flipbook Communications.Based on the series of comic books developed by three brothers, Jason and Guy Sims and Dawud Anyabwile, Brotherman, known as the 'Dicta
  • Echelon buys rights to wartime drama Double Destiny

    Los Angeles-based productionand distribution company Echelon Entertainment has bought all worldwide rightsto Double Destiny, a true wartimesaga about identical twins raised separately, one as a Nazi and one as a Jew.The story starts withefforts to reunite the brothers in 1980, 35 years after they were forced tolive apart during the second world war, one with his mother in Nazi Germany andthe other with his father in Trinidad.Double Destiny is be
  • EU says pay-TV broadcasters to blame for rise in piracy

    The European Union (EU) this week criticised Europe's pay-TV companies for creating the conditions that encourage piracy of their services.In a new report on electronic services the European Commission said: "significant amounts of piracy result from the impossibility of obtaining pay satellite-TV channels originating from other member states. EU citizens fail to understand why, within the internal market, they cannot get legitimate access to protected pay-TV services, even if they are
  • Eurimages supports 15 European co-productions

    New features by Sergio Bodrov (Alone With The Moon), Manuel Pionier (Chemins De Travers), Patricio Guzman (Salvador Allende), Frederic Fonteyne (La Femme De Gilles) and Silvio Soldini (Agata E la Tempesta) are among 15 European co-productions awarded over Euros 4.1m in production support by the Council of Europe's pan-European fund Eurimages at its last sitting in Athens.The largest amount of funding - Euros 525,534 - was allocated to Fonteyne's La
  • Father Amaro ordained by Mexican press awards

    Mexican blockbuster The Crime Of Father Amaro has won four Silver Goddess awards from the Mexican Press Association, Pecime. Now on its 33rd edition, these are the second most prestigious awards after Mexico's Oscars, the Ariel.Carlos Carrera's priest scandal drama went home with the awards for Best Picture, Director, Cinematography (for DoP Guillermo Granillo) and Actor for Gael Garcia Bernal last Tuesday, April 29th. "These awards cap what we embarked on a year
  • Filmart falls victim to SARS

    The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) is expected to announce tomorrow that its annual film and TV market, Filmart, will be postponed to September 24-26 as a result of the ongoing SARS crisis.The widely expected postponement comes after a recent survey by the TDC which found around 60% of buyers and other scheduled attendees in favour of moving the market from its late June time slot.The new dates mean that Filmart will take place just prior to South Korea's Pusan Intern
  • French frank on film support

    France's culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon has called for a series of measures to further support French cinema and to encourage films to shoot within the country.During a ministerial meeting on Wednesday, Aillagon stated it is imperative to "diversify and perpetuate" film financing in France in order to boost the local industry and attract more overseas productions.Noting the proposed tax on DVD and video sales, Aillagon said the move would amount to an extra Euros 30m-40m
  • Germany's BetaCinema moves into English-language films

    German sales agent BetaCinema has moved into English-language features for its line-up at the forthcoming Cannes market. The Munich-based outfit, which is now headed by Andreas Rothbauer (international sales) and Robert Czajkowski (acquisitions), has picked up Canadian filmmaker Ruba Nadda's feature debut Coldwater, starring Arsinee Khanijan, Simon Abkarian and Michael Riley, and Lithuanian filmmaker's Audrius Juzenas' Ghetto, starring 'new face' Sebastian Huelk, Erika
  • Germany's CMW Film boards Russendisko adaptation

    A film version of Wladimir Kaminer's cult novel Russendisko has been announced as one of the projects in the slate of international co-productions by German producer Christoph Meyer-Wiel's new Berlin-based production outfit CMW Film Company.The adaptation of Kaminer's collection of short stories will go into production in Berlin next year as a co-production with France's Ocean Films, Scandinavia's Tom Remlov and veteran Italian producer Leo Pescarolo's Imago Film. South African-
  • GreeneStreet, Kimmel team for Slow Burn

    GreeneStreet Films and Sidney Kimmel Entertainmentannounced today (May 1) that they will co-finance writer-director WayneBeach's thriller Slow Burn in aco-production deal with Bonnie Timmermann Productions.The actioncentres on an ambitious district attorney who has a 24-hour showdown with apowerful gang leader.Ray Liotta andLL Cool J will star in the project. Liotta is currently starring in JamesMangold's Identity while LL Cool J will next be seen
  • HBO London Films trumpets first sale on Elephant

    HBO Films London has struckits first sales deal on Gus van Sant's Cannes-competition bound film Elephant. All rights in France were sold to mini-major MK2,which can be expected to support its launch at the festival.The film is related to hisprevious film Gerry in style.Focusing on high-school violence, it was shot without a script, in sequence andwith a single camera. The majority of the cast are school children fromPortland. Among the few recognisabl
  • HBO London trumpets first sale on Elephant

    HBO Films London has struckits first sales deal on Gus van Sant's Cannes-competition bound film Elephant. All rights in France were sold to mini-major MK2,which can be expected to support its launch at the festival.The film is related to hisprevious film Gerry in style.Focusing on high-school violence, it was shot without a script, in sequence andwith a single camera. The majority of the cast are school children fromPortland. Among the few recognisabl
  • Heijl joins expanding Moonlight Films

    Dutch distribution veteran Jean Heijl has joined independent outfit Moonlight Films from Indies Entertainment Group. His move coincides with Moonlight opening a new distribution office near Amsterdam and a planned expansion of the number of titles it handles."With Jean Heijl on our team we believe we can be a serious player in the market with strong commercial product. Jean's years of experience and expertise will surely be of strong influence," said Charles van Droffelaar, pres
  • Hollywood prays for summer salvation

    When 20th Century Fox's X2: X-Men United opens in the US (and 92 other territories) this weekend, it will trigger the start of a nervously anticipated domestic summer season.Box office in the first quarter of this year has been sluggish, casting doubts over whether 2002's all-time record of $3.16bn in ticket sales can be surpassed. However, with the TV war in Iraq off the screens and several $100m-plus films already in the bag, there is reason to believe this summer's tentpole r
  • Hopkins receives tribute at Maui Film Festival

    Anthony Hopkinswill receive the Silversword Award Tribute at the 4th Annual Maui Film Festivalat Wailea, Hawaii, which runs from Jun 11-15.The honour,named after a rare indigenous plant, goes to actors or film-makers whosecontributions to cinema and their personal commitment affect positive change inthe world. Clint Eastwood collected the accolade last year.Hopkins, who wonthe best actor Oscar for his role as Hannibal Lecter in 1991's TheSilence Of The Lam
  • Icon grabs worldwide rights to Jindabyne

    Icon Entertainment International has jumped aboard Jindabyne, the next film by director Ray Lawrence, who gave Australia its biggest commercial and critical hit of 2001 with Lantana. It is the first time the company has grabbed all worldwide sales rights to an Australian film since its local distribution arm opened two years ago. Lawrence will revisit the frailty and complexity of marriages and human relationships in Jindabyne, which takes its name from the
  • Icon seduced by Loach's Fond Kiss

    Ken Loach may not be such a stranger in his own land after all. Having typically financed his films with little more than a TV deal out of the UK, the director's regular producer Rebecca O'Brien has secured an all-rights pre-sale on Ae Fond Kiss to Icon Film Distribution.The deal re-unites Loach with the UK distributor of Sweet Sixteen, which Icon picked up when it competed at Cannes and opened on a hefty 66 sites for a total gross of $1.3m (£824,821). With the odd
  • IMAX cuts deal to launch three new theatres in India

    IMAX Corporation announcedtoday (Apr 29) that it has signed an agreement to install three theatres inIndia, marking the company's largest international multiple dealcommitment to date.The deal with commericalreal estate developer Aerens Developers & Engineers was closed in lateMarch and brings to six the number of IMAX theatres that will be open by 2006,marking the sub-continent as the second fastest growing market after China inIMAX's 35-year history.The thr
  • India to relax foreign production regulations

    The Government of India is to allow shooting of foreign films in India as well as offering post-production facilities, minister for information and broadcasting Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters in New Delhi on 26th April."Foreign producers will not have much problems to come to India as they will enjoy single-window clearance in getting visas etc," he said.With a view to attracting foreign funds and technology, 'co-production' agreements are have already been signed with Canad
  • IN-motion boards Romero chiller

    London-based sales house IN-motion Pictures has boarded horror -meister George A Romero's thriller The ILL.IN-motion will handle worldwide sales excluding the UK and US on the project, to be directed by Romero and produced by Thierry Cagianut and Matthew Myers of P-Kino Films. Principal photography starts in September on location in the UK, with casting to be announced.Romero's script tells how an ancient evil force reawakens at a gothic college campus and staff and stude
  • Istituto Luce boards Garcia-vehicle and Haneke-Binoche drama

    Two months after new management was put into place at Istituto Luce, the venerable state-owned Italian film distributor is returning to local and international film production. Its slate includes a new picture by Cannes regular Michael Haneke and vehicles for Andy Garcia and Al Pacino. New chief executive Luciano Sovena announced yesterday that the company will spend Euros 8m on feature film production in 2003.Luce is to co-produce Modigliani, a new feature about the famo
  • Johnny whips up another $13.3m

    Universal'sspoof spy thriller Johnny English was the top international film for the third week in a row,grossing $13.3m from 3,167 theatres in 27 countries over the weekend.After 18 days inrelease the film has amassed a staggering $77.1m international running total.In two openings,Johnny Englishfinished third in Taiwan on $132,000 from 60 sites, roughly 30% belowdistributor UIP's estimates as fear of SARS hit theatre-going.Figures for theopening in Greece we
  • Julie Spielberg joins MGM theatrical business affairs

    Julie Spielberghas been appointed senior vice president of legal affairs for MGM'stheatrical business affairs division, the studio's executive vicepresident of theatrical business affairs Jonathan Bader announced today (Apr30).In her new postSpielberg will be involved in all aspects of theatrical business and legalaffairs related to MGM's film production activities, talent andfilm-maker contracts, rights acquisitions, financing agreements, multi-picturearrangements
  • Jungle Book 2 crosses $70m international grosses

    Buena VistaInternational's The Jungle Book 2 grossed $5.4m in international markets over the weekend,raising its running total to $71.8m.Highlights were a third weekend $1.8m haul in the UK,which saw box office drop 22% for a $9.6m cumulative total, and a $1m gross inGermany that slipped 31% and raised the five-week total to $10.4m.In its thirdweekend in Australia the family sequel grossed $600,000, dropping 44% for a$2.2m total.Mexico added$500,0
  • Lot 47's Williams partners up with Vanco at Cowboy

    Greg Williams, CEO of Lot 47Films, is to join John Vanco as a partner in Cowboy Pictures. He brings VickiLoughery and Rick Thiedig with him from Lot 47. Williams will retain thelabel of Lot 47 Films and continue to exploit its library's ancillary rights.Williams and his team are in the process of moving into Cowboy's Tribecaoffices."I couldn't be more bepleased that Greg and his talented staff will be working with us at Cowboy,"said Vanco in a statement. "It's become clear to me
  • Malaysian censors change their minds on Iraq

    The MalaysianCensor Board, Censorship Film Malaysia, has overturned its previous ruling toban Bahman Ghobadi's Marooned In Iraq. The board originally informeddistributor Sureya Film at the end of March that the film promoted the image ofSaddam Hussein as "inhumane" and would be damaging to relationsbetween Malaysia and Iraq and Iran.The ruling was overturned this week in the wake ofSaddam's removal from power by a US-led coalition army.A personal
  • Marketing vet Kalish in filmmaking foray

    Ambergate Associates, the outfit spearheaded by veteran marketing consultant Eddie Kalish, is expanding its activities to include film and television development and production, music management and live event presentation.In co-production with writer-producer Elliot Geisinger's (Amityville Horror, The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia, Child's Play) Gem Films, Ambergate is prepping three Geisinger-penned theatrical features: This trio of projects comprise: The Devi
  • Matrix computer game does record business

    Infogrames Entertainment said that it has done record business on Enter The Matrix, the video game tie-in with forthcoming film The Matrix Reloaded.The game will be released on 15 May in parallel with the premiere of the film at the Cannes festival and its simultaneous world release. Infogrames said that it had forecast pre-orders would reach 2.5 million, but that it had already received 3.5 million.The film's directors Andy and Larry Wachowski shot four hours of f
  • Mauritania's Waiting For Happiness wins at Buenos Aires

    Films from as far afield as Mauritania, Thailand and Belgium took home the top prizes at the Buenos Aires Fifth International Film Festival of Independent Cinema.Mauritania's Waiting For Happiness by director Abderrahmane Sissako won best picture while director Apichatpong Weerasethakul of Thailand's Blissfully Yours was named best director. In a year that recognised upcoming female directors Argentina's Celina Murga won the special jury prize for Ana Y Los Otro
  • May Yip moves from EMG to Fortune Star

    May Yip, distribution andacquisition manager at Hong Kong's Emperor Multimedia Group (EMG), is leavingthe company today to take up the position of head of distribution at FortuneStar. Fortune Star is the contentarm of News Corp-owned regional broadcaster Star TV. It owns world rights inperpetuity to a large library of Chinese-language films including titlesproduced by Golden Harvest, Golden Princess and D&B. EMG is a production anddistribution company with credits including Jack
  • Mexico's production activity intensifies

    Despite a challenging economic climate, a raft of new film companies are suddenly launching in Mexico - all hoping to hit the big time with their new projects.Many have been spurred on by the kind of success seen by local blockbuster El Crimen Del Padre Amaro. The new outfits are also aware that Mexico is a fertile territory for film; the country ranks fifth in the world in terms of admissions and boasts the largest screen count (3,000+) in the region. Among the am
  • Miravista boards two Brazilian projects

    Miravista, the joint co production venture between The Walt Disney Company Latin America and Telefonica Spain's Admira, has boarded two Brazilian projects currently in post, 1972 and O Caminho Das Nuvens (A Walk In The Clouds). According to Miravista manager Fernando Lagier, who is based in Disney's regional headquarters in Buenos Aires, the company is mulling other projects in the region, including a Mexican/Brazilian co production. The company has come in as a mi
  • Myriad takes foreign on A Foreign Affair

    Los Angeles and London-basedproduction and distribution company Myriad Pictures is in final negotiations toacquire all foreign rights outside the US and English-speaking Canada to thecomedy-drama A Foreign Affair, companypresident Kirk D'Amico announced today (May 1).
  • New Line takes domestic on romantic comedy Laws

    New Line Cinemahas acquired North American distribution rights to the romantic comedy LawsOf Attraction starringPierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore which is scheduled to go into production inDublin and New York on June 16, 2003.The studio beatout other studios including MGM, Paramount and Disney to the film which isproduced by Deep River Productions, Brosnan's Irish Dreamtime, Stratus Filmsand Intermedia. Intermedia's sister company Initial Entertainment Group (IEG)is handling int
  • Nordisk Film appoints Magnusson in production push

    Danish producer Kim Magnusson has been appointed general manager of Nordisk Film's film and TV drama operations across the Nordic region. The 37 year-old producer has a number of successes behind him for M&M Productions, the outfit he set up with his father Tivi Magnusson in 1995. These include Anders Thomas Jensen's Flickering Lights (2001) and The Green Butchers (2003) as well as two Academy Awards for best short fiction film. "It was an offer I just couldn't refuse," M
  • Oscar winning Czech director returns with Bottles

    Oscar-winning director of Kolya,and Dark Blue World and Czech Republic box office record holder, Jan Sverak has announced his return to directing after an absence of nearly two years. Dispelling rumours that his next project would be a horror film, Sverak said his latest project would be Returnable Bottles, a comedy about a Czech family that largely takes place in a supermarket. The first of Sverák's major films to be set in the present day, Returnab
  • Out Of Control wins top Britspotting prize

    Dominic Savage's Out Of Control has won the Best Feature Film Award at the 4th 'britspotting' British Independent Film Festival in Berlin.The award for the hard-hitting study of three juvenile delinquents from the poverty stricken estates of South London includes Euros 13,000 worth of post-production and online editing work to be carried out by Das Werk in Berlin on a future film by Savage.The jury also gave special mentions to another two films in the feature film compet
  • Palm takes domestic rights to Venice hit Springtime

    Palm Pictures has acquired North American and Caribbean rights to the award-winning drama Springtime In A Small Town, the first film from acclaimed director Tian Zhuangzhuang since 1993's The Blue Kite, from Fortissimo Film Sales.A theatrical release is planned through Palm's Arthouse Films this autumn, followed by a DVD and videorelease in the early part of 2004.Springtime In A Small Town is the latest addition to the company's slate and follows recent acqu
  • Paramount's Prince heads for Prague

    Paramount is joining the Prague production influx with romantic comedy The Prince and the Freshman starring Julia Stiles and directed by Martha Coolidge (Valley Girl, Rambling Rose). The film has received the green light and will begin production in the Czech capital in June, Prague sources told Screendaily.Paramount joins a slate of other firms shooting in the Czech capital in what may prove to be the Prague film scene's busiest year ever. The sec
  • Pathe steps up for Oliver Stone's Alexander

    France's Pathe hasboarded Oliver Stone's historical epic Alexander as a co-production partner and will handledistribution rights in France and Benelux. The film, which is beingfinanced by Intermedia and stars Colin Farrell, is scheduled to start shootingin the summer and is being structured as a UK-France-Germany co-production.Warner Bros has domesticrights to the picture which it plans to open domestically in fall 2004, sixmonths or so after Warner's other classical epic
  • Plummer joins Farrell in Malick's New World cast for New Line

    Christopher Plummer, whosemyriad credits include A Beautiful Mind, The Sound Of Music and The Insider, will join Colin Farrell in Terrence Malick's upcoming epic The NewWorld for New Line. Plummer will play CaptainChristopher Newport, an English officer who is among the first settlers in theNew World and who becomes president of the Jamestown Colony. Equal parts historical epicand love story, The New World isset in the 17th century
  • Post-production monopoly challenged in Argentina

    A new major post production facility will launch in August in a bid to challenge the monopoly of leading facility Cinecolor in Argentina. The new lab, called LACSA, aims to bring down the prices set by Cinecolor which has forced major and local distributors to deeply reduce their local print runs. (Screendaily April 25). LACSA is a three-way partnership forged by former Cinecolor founder and CEO Fernando Huberman, producer Fernando Sokolowicz of Aleph Media and entertai
  • Prewitt, Wolf sign new contracts at AFMA till 2006

    Jean Prewitt will continueas president and chief executive officer of AFMA and Jonathan Wolf will retainhis position as AFMA executive vice president and managing director of the AFMfollowing a unanimous vote by the board of directors. "Our board moved early andenthusiastically to ensure Jean and Jonathan's continued presence," MichaelRyan, chairman of the Los Angeles-based trade organisation, said in astatement. "Both have contributedsignificantly to making AFMA a quality servi
  • Rembrandt steals early US buyer buzz

    Danish newcomer Jannik Johansen's highly anticipated feature debut Stealing Rembrand may be months away from its scheduled domestic release, but it is already picking up considerable buzz following an early screening in London for US buyers, according to the film's producer Thomas Gammeltoft.The Danish-UK film, a co-production between Gammeltoft's Fine & Mellow and Lene Bausager's UK-based Ugly Duckling Film, is a crime-comedy-drama inspired by the true story of a bunch of haple
  • Renaissance takes on We Don't Live Here Anymore

    London-based RenaissanceFilms is to handle international sales on We Don't Live Here Anymore, an intense drama currently shooting in Vancouverstarring Naomi Watts, Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern and Peter Krause.The film, formerly known as Anymore, is based on short stories by Andre Dubus, whoseshort story Killings was filmedas hit independent In The Bedroomin 2001. Larry Gross (Prozac Nation, Beautiful Country) adapted the Dubus stories for the screen and
  • SAG declares Global Rule One a success in year one

    Exactly one yearafter the launch of its Global Rule One initiative to protect member'scontractual rights on worldwide productions, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG)today (May 1) hailed the plan a success.The guild saidthat since the launch there have been more than 100 foreign theatricalproductions shot under SAG terms that may not have fallen under signatoryagreements in the absence of the rule.Global Rule Onewas designed to afford members the benefits of collec
  • Samurai Resurrection (Makai Tensho)

    Dir: Hideyuki Hirayama. Japan. 2003. 106minsHideyuki Hirayama's Samurai Resurrection has the flamboyant costumery, bravura swordplay and super-powered trickery of many a Hollywood sci-fi or fantasy epic, but served up with a distinctive Japanesque spin. It may not be ideal remake material, unless the re-makers figure out how to Westernise a martial arts fantasy set in medieval Japan, but it should travel well, particularly with its target young male demographic. Its st
  • SARS causes Shall We Dance shift from Toronto

    The SARS scare in Torontohas claimed its first feature film victim. Miramax Films' Shall We Dance, starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere, set toshoot June 23 in Toronto, will relocate physical production to Winnipeg,Manitoba. A company spokesperson toldScreendaily that Miramax production executives made the decision Monday,spurred by the World Health Organisation (WHO) travel advisory issued April 23cautioning against non-essential travel to Canada's largest city. Thes
  • SARS shuts Beijing's cinemas

    Beijing authorities have closed the city's cinemas for an indefinite period in an attempt to stop the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a move which executives fear may be followed in other cities and provinces.The Beijing government decided Saturday to suspend all entertainment businesses involving mass public gatherings including karaoke houses, internet cafes, video game halls, theatres and cinemas. The closures are likely to have a huge impact on the box of
  • Savage to direct Blanchett in Atwood adaptation

    Rising UK director Dominic Savage is to direct Cate Blanchett in an adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel Alias Grace for Working Title Films.John Brownlow, whose recent credits include BBC Films' Sylvia Plath project, is adapting the novel, which tells the true story of a Canadian housemaid named Grace Marks who was convicted of the murder of her employer and his mistress in 1843. Brownlow's script revolves around Marks' relationship with a young doctor, who attempts to
  • Say It In My Own Words

    Say It In My Own Words (Dillo Con Parole Mie)Lee Marshall in RomeDir: Daniele Luchetti. Italy. 2003. 108minsDaniele Luchetti scored a minor hit in 1995 with the classroom comedy drama La Scuola and followed it with the intermittently interesting Piccoli Maestri (1998), about a group of students caught up in the Italian wartime resistance movement. Five years on, you might reasonably expect him to have graduated, but Say It In My Own Words, a
  • Sheridan to receive BAFTA/LA award of excellence in Nov

    Jim Sheridan is to behonoured with BAFTA/LA's John Schlesinger Britannia Award for ArtisticExcellence at the 2004 Britannia Awards in Beverly Hills on Nov 4. In a statement BAFTA/LAchairman Gary Dartnall paid tribute to the film-maker for creating "some of themost affecting cinema in history". Sheridan's work has garneredtwo Academy Awards and 13 nominations including three for last year's acclaimedautobiographical family portrait In America. Sheridan
  • Sithengi reveals pan-African ambitions

    The annual Southern Africa International Film and Television Market (Sithengi) is reaching out to the rest of the continent. Sithengi is translating its website ( and editorial material into French and Portuguese, introducing audio-visual competitions, and setting up partnerships with African festivals like the Pan African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in Burkina Faso, Zanzibar International Film Festival in Tanzania, and the Zimbabwe Internationa
  • Solo takes German rights on Jester Till

    Peter Heinzemann's Solo Film has picked up theatrical and video/DVD rights for producer-director Eberhard Junkersdorf's (pictured) latest animated feature Jester Till (Till Eulenspiegel).The Euros 15m co-production between Junkersdorf's Munich Animation, the UK's Scala Productions and Illuminated Film Company, Belgium's DFJ Motionworks and German media fund CP Medien will be released by Solo Film on over 400 screens on September 25, 2003. The video/DVD launch w
  • Spanish media giant grabs slice of Antena 3

    Spanish publishing and media giant Grupo Planeta has bought 25.1% of Spanish free-to-air broadcaster Antena 3 from telecommunications company Telefonica, the companies announced Wednesday. The deal values Antena 3 at Euros 1.45bn ($1.6bn). Telefonica is required by law to sell off its 59% stake in the broadcaster before going through with its planned merger with Sogecable to unite pay-TV platforms Via Digital and Canal Satelite Digital. Telefonica has already approved plans to d
  • Steve Smith leaves Intertainer for Encore

    Encore International (EI),the international television programming affiliate of Starz Encore Group, hasnamed former Intertainer Asia chief operating officer Steve Smith as its chiefoperating officer and executive vice president.Smith assumes overallresponsibility for EI's channel development plans in Asia and the US andwill oversee the company's unique daily programming block on ChinaCentral Television.He will report to MichelleSie Whitten, EI's president and
  • Sundance Channel acquires Dopamine for film series

    The SundanceChannel has acquired all North American rights to Mark Decena's debut featurefilm Dopamine, thecompany's senior vice president of film programming Paola Frecceroannounced today (Apr 29).A romanticcomedy about a computer programmer who falls for a nursery school teacher, Dopamine stars John Livingston (The Net) and Sabrina Lloyd (TV's SportsNight).The acquisition was negotiated by Linda Lichter of Licht
  • To Kill A King

    Dir: Mike Barker.UK. 2003. 105mins.An ambitious, solidly executed period drama, To Kill A King represents a daunting marketing challenge. Charting the close personal friendship and bitter ideological differences between Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Fairfax in 17th-century England, it is a history lesson propelled by ideas rather than action. A sober, serious-minded tale in which revolution and evolution fight for intellectual supremacy, it unfolds in gloomy debating cham
  • Toronto breathes again after WHO warning rescinded

    The World HealthOrganisation yesterday lifted its travel advice against non-essential travel toToronto, effective today. It is a welcome relief for Canada'slargest production centre, which was bracing for a collapse of US productions.The city suffered an instantaneous downturn in tourism and convention businesswhen WHO posted the advice April 23. As of April 28 (Monday), only one featurefilm shooting in Toronto, Miramax's Shall We Dance, had decided to change locations based on theadvi

    Three major new openers in the UK were no challenge for homegrown hit Johnny English last weekend (April 25-27), which saw the comedy drop off a mere 10% to lead for a third consecutive week. The UIP distributed film claimed another $3.6m (£2.3m) over the three-day weekend and has already grossed $21.8m (£13.7m) in the UK after 17 days on release.Impressing in third place was another UIP title, romantic comedy How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. The film, which stars Kate Hudso
  • UK scriptwriters learn to pitch in 25 words or less

    Four feature films pitched using 25 words or less have been granted development funding from UK support body the Film Council.The films were pitched to the Council as part of their "25 Words or Less" programme which was launched last year and called for applicants to present their concept for a horror, comedy or thriller screenplay in not more than 25 words. "25 Words or Less" is an adapted Hollywood term to describe an idea where a film is encapsulated in one sentence. For exam
  • UK tax breaks could disappear altogether warns PACT

    UK producers body PACT has warned that the UK's influential film tax breaks could disappear completely in July 2005.While the tax relief mechanism under Section 48 is due to expire in 2005, the film industry is hoping for another extension after lobbying led by support super body the Film Council secured a renewal in 2002. But PACT said in a statement that "there is considerable concern, both at PACT and within the independent production community, as to what, if any, fiscal support wi
  • UK's BFI undergoes major internal review

    Anthony Minghella, the director who chairs of the British Film Institute (BFI), has launched a wide-ranging internal review of the venerable film body to develop a blueprint for the future of the organisation.The strategic review may well lead to an overhaul or even a scaling back at the National Film and Television Archive, seen by many as an almost holy part of the body's work. With the BFI stretched financially, the review will consider the scale of the collections, currently
  • Un Certain Regard takes on added lustre

    The Cannes Festival's Un Certain Regard sidebar is taking on the allure and scale of a fully-fledged festival to rival discovery events like Locarno or Rotterdam.The Cannes selectors today completed their selection with the addition of Argentinian director Pablo Reyero's La Cruz Del Sur (sold by F For Film). Previously announced additions included Los Soldados De Salamina by Spanish director David Trueba (handled by Lolafilms) and Crimson Gold by Iranian Jafar Pana
  • US puts Taiwan and Russia on its Priority anti-piracy list

    In anendorsement of the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA)inchoate anti-piracy strategy, the United States Trade Representative hasplaced Taiwan and Russia on its global Priority Watch List.AmbassadorRobert Zoellick's Special 301 annual review, named after the section ofthe 1988 Trade Act that empowers the US to act against countries that block itsfilm, TV and video exports or allow them to be pirated, also elevated Poland toPriority status and announced
  • Veneziano is back at Alliance Atlantis, moves from LA to London

    ArielVeneziano has been appointed director of motion picture sales and internationalhome video distribution at Alliance Atlantis Entertainment Group, president ofdistribution Ted Riley announced today (May 2).Effective immediately,Veneziano will be based in the company's London office where he willoversee European film sales and worldwide home video distribution (excludingNorth America).He will report to CharlotteMickie
  • Vivendi buries Hollywood ambition

    Media giant Vivendi Universal ended months of speculation yesterday by confirming that it was bowing out of the US entertainment industry and selling-off subsidiary Universal Entertainment Networks.Indicating that a post-restructure Vivendi would focus on telecoms and French television, Vivendi Universal chief executive Jean-Marie Fourtou told shareholders the company was talking to a number of parties with a view to jettisoning Universal Entertainment Networks "in its entirety" or in
  • Wallace launches film rep outfit with Capitol as client

    Ronna Wallace, the seasoned independent production and acquisitions executive associated with such companies as Samuel Goldwyn and Stratosphere as well as Live Entertainment during its film financing heydey a decade ago, has launched her own film rep company, Eastgate Pictures.Under the new banner, Wallace will serve as producer's rep on finished films and will provide other consulting services to filmmakers and film financiers.Additionally, she will continue to serve as consult
  • Warner promotes Reid, Rich, Volland to vice presidents

    Warner Bros.Pictures International (WBPI) has announced three promotions in its marketingdepartment, with Samantha Reid becoming vice president of marketing, creativeadvertising and production, Blair Rich becoming vice president of marketing andcreative advertising and Lance Volland becoming vice president of publicity.The promotionswere announced today (Apr 29) by Sue Kroll, WBPI's president ofmarketing.Reid and Richwill report directly to Kroll, while Volland will continue to
  • Warner scores its biggest opening ever in India

    In its finalinternational release Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Chamber OfSecrets scored thebiggest opening ever for the distributor in India, grossing $341,000 (Rs 16.1m)from 102 screens.The familysequel finished second in the charts behind the regional blockbuster Hero (third weekend) and ahead of opener ShanghaiKnights. The opening was44.6% higher than that of the original.Elsewhere,Warner's horror film Dreamcatcher grossed an esti
  • Wellspring's Russian Ark joins US digital series

    US distributor Wellspring isto exhibit Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark, which was famously shot in a single unedited91-minute take, as part of the BMW Films Digital Cinema Series in MicrosoftWindows Media 9 Series in select cities nationwide.The film was released intheatres in December 2002 on 35mm through Wellspring and grossed $1.6m.Cinematographer Tilman Buettner shot it on a high definition camera and used aprototype hard disk drive developed by German co
  • Whale Rider and The Cuckoo tie for San Francisco Festival audience award

    NikiCaro's drama Whale Rider and Alexander Roqozhkin's Russian anti-war comedy The Cuckoo tied for first place in lastnight's (May 1) Virginmega Audience Awards at the 46th San FranciscoInternational Film Festival.Runner-up wentto Chen Kaige's rites-of-passage Chinese drama Together. Best documentary feature went to HeartOf The Sea: Kapolioka'Ehukai, a profile of the pioneering Americansurfer, with the runner-up award going to Drowned Out, abou
  • X2 marks the spot with $155.2m worldwide opening

    X marked the spot for 20th Century Fox over the weekend as the hugely anticipated comic book sequel X2: X-Men United raised the curtain on the summer season in spectacular style, storming to number one on an estimated $85.9m.Bryan Singer's follow-up to his 2000 worldwide smash X-Men also grossed an astonishing $69.3m international bow for a $155.2m worldwide opening weekend. The film opened in 93 territories in what is the largest global launch ever staged by a distributo
  • X2 marks the spot with $155m worldwide opening

  • X2: X-Men United

    X2: X-MEN UNITEDMike Goodridge in Los AngelesDir: Bryan Singer. US. 2003. 135mins.Bryan Singer lifts the X-Men franchise out of the formulaic superhero realm in his rip-roaring sequel which, having had the scene set for it so efficiently by the 2000 smash original, is as subversive and sophisticated as any summer tentpole can expect to be. The first film grossed $157m domestically and $137m in international markets. Those figures should be surpassed - and quickly - be
  • Yip swaps EMG for Fortune Star

    May Yip, distribution and acquisition manager at Hong Kong's Emperor Multimedia Group (EMG), is leaving the company today to take up the position of head of distribution at Fortune Star. Fortune Star is the content arm of News Corp-owned regional broadcaster Star TV. It owns world rights in perpetuity to a large library of Chinese-language films including titles produced by Golden Harvest, Golden Princess and D&B. EMG is a production and distribution company with credits includi