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Screen
5 May 2004

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  • ... as new artistic director's vision is approved

    The Venice Biennale has cast aside the political turmoil which had whipped up on the Lido shores a couple of weeks ago, to confirm Marco Mueller's four-year contract to head the Venice Film Festival (Sept 1-11,2004) while also approving his new vision for the world's oldest festival.As such, the Biennale officially announced that the festival will revert back to the single Golden Lion competition, which will this year feature 20 titles, while the entire festival will screen a total of
  • 450 films for Cannes' Short Film Corner

    The Cannes Market has announcedthe participation of 450 short films in its new Short Film Corner which debutsat this year's festival.The Corner, based at the Palaiswas created to support the short film industry by opening channels ofdiscussion between producers, distributors and TV networks.Over 100 hours of programming fromabout 40 countries will be available for screening from 9am to 6pm with buyersgranted priority access.Most films are from Europe (45%)and the US (25%)
  • 450 films for debut Short Film Corner

    The Cannes Market has announcedthe participation of 450 short films in its new Short Film Corner which debutsat this year's festival.The Corner, based at the Palaiswas created to support the short film industry by opening channels ofdiscussion between producers, distributors and TV networks.Over 100 hours of programming fromabout 40 countries will be available for screening from 9am to 6pm with buyersgranted priority access.Most films are from Europe (45%)and the US (25%)
  • Alliance Atlantis acquires leading Spanish distributor

    Canada'sAlliance Atlantis Communications has agreed to buy Spanish distributor AurumProducciones for about $54m.Thedeal will extend the Canadian firm's reach in Europe, where it already alreadyowns Momentum Pictures in the UK."Thisacquisition is part of our clearly articulated strategy to expand intocontinen
  • Along Came Polly reaches $80m for UIP

    The romantic comedy Along Came Polly has passed $80m at the international boxoffice according to latest information from UIP executives and still has fivecountries to go.Meanwhile StrikeEntertainment's horror remake Dawn Of TheDead added $2.4m through UIP at the weekend to raise itsinternational running total to $11.9m, excluding $10.1m in the UK from anindependent release through Entertainment.Opening figures for Hollandwill be announced on Tuesday after the Monda
  • Barbarian Invasions sweeps Genies

    Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions swept Canada's Genie Awards, winning six major prizes, including best picture and two prizes for Arcand himself, best direction and best original screenplay.Quebecois icon Remy Girard won the best actor prize for his role in The Barbarian Invasions as the bon vivant stricken with terminal cancer, while newcomer Stephane Rousseau took the supporting actor prize for his performance as the estranged son and Marie-Josee Croze, who won th
  • Bavaria Film takes Int'l sales on new omnibus film

    Bavaria Film International will handle international sales on theomnibus film Generation by six Central and Eastern European filmmakers,which goes into production next month.The film, which was initiated by the 'relation' EastEuropean cultural programme of Germany's Kulturstiftung des Bundes, will seesix 12-18-minute shorts being made by Stefan Arsenijevic (Serbia &Montenegro), Nadejda Koseva (Bulgaria), Mait Laas (Estonia), Kornel Mundruczo(Hungary), Cristian
  • Bill 2 adds $10m in week two in 27 territories

    Miramax's Kill Bill Vol 2 reigned supreme in the UK, Taiwan and a host of smaller territories atthe weekend as it added an estimated $10m on 2,562 screens in 27 territoriesthrough Buena Vista International for a $36.1m total.In its secondweekend in the UK the Quentin Tarantino sequel took $2.5m on 411 screens,raising its total there to $9.9m including previews.The pictureopened top in Taiwan on $177,390 and ranked second in Australia after adding$975,921
  • Bill is international Passion killer

    The eightweek reign of The Passion Of The Christ ended this week as theinternational marketplace bowed to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 2.The secondpart in the director's genre epic saw a raft of number one positions - with fewexceptions - after opening in 20 territories for a $17.7m weekend. It has taken$18.3m, including previews.The UK ledthe way accounting for $4.9m (£2.8m) alone. The territory provided $20m(£11.6m) of Vol. 1's $109.5m international
  • Breaking News added to Cannes line-up

    In a late addition to its official line-up, the Cannesfestival is to show Breaking News, the latest picture by legendary HongKong action director Johnnie To.The film will screen in official selection, out ofcompetition on 12:30am on Friday 21 (00:30 Saturday 22 May) in the main SalleLumiere.Festival organisers confirmed that the film had been invitedseveral weeks ago, but that at the request of the producers it had not beenannounced at the same time as the main selection
  • Breaking News added to festival line-up

    In a late addition to its official line-up, the Cannesfestival is to show Breaking News, the latest picture by legendary HongKong action director Johnnie To.The film will screen in official selection, out ofcompetition on 12:30am on Friday 21 (00:30 Saturday 22 May) in the main SalleLumiere.Festival organisers confirmed that the film had been invitedseveral weeks ago, but that at the request of the producers it had not beenannounced at the same time as the main selection
  • Brooks scouting locations in India

    American comic actor Albert Brooks is currently in Delhifinalising locations for his next untitled film.Brooks, who is planning a very "Bollywood" type of film, butwithout the song and dance elements, is keen to hire an Indian actress to actopposite him.Brooks told ScreenDaily.com, "I am looking forward toshooting this comedy film with one of the beautiful stars of Hindi cinema". Inthe untitled film Brooks plays himself on a secret US government mission todiscover what ma
  • Calm before next weekend's monster storm

    With Van Helsing set to open in 40 territories or so next weekend, it looks like being a quiet weekend for major openings in key territories across the world.Scooby-Doo 2 is scampering towards $100m at the international boxoffice and Warner Bros Pictures International executives will be looking toKorea and Russia to provide a timely box office boost this upcoming weekend.The family sequel hasamassed $77.2m and opens in both markets on Apr 30. Strong figures should
  • Canal Plus acquires MovieSystem

    Canal Plus has acquired video-on-demand outfit MovieSystemit was announced Monday. Founded in 2000, MovieSystem is a leader in the VoDmarket and in 2001 established five-year VoD output deals with Pathe and LucBesson's Europa Corp. along with about 70 other French production companies.The catalogue now numbers roughly 1,500 titles and isaccessible in France to subscribers of DSL television and high-speed internet.Canal Plus said the acquisition would allow it to "enterwith force
  • Canal Plus charges into video-on-demand

    Movingaggressively into on-line distribution of movies, Canal Plus has acquiredvideo-on-demand outfit MovieSystem.Foundedin 2000, MovieSystem is a leader in the VoD market and in 2001 established fiveyear VoD output deals with Pathe and Luc Besson's Europa Corp. along with about70 other French production companies.Thecatalogue now numbers roughly 1500 titles and is accessible in France tosubscribers of DSL television and high-speed internet.CanalPlus said the acquisition
  • Censored: Singapore Film Festival

    As this year'sSingapore International Film Festival draws to a close on May 1, festivaldirector Philip Cheah has revealed that the Board of Film Censors banned threefilms and asked to cut another three which were scheduled for screening -effectively removing six titles from the event.Censorship is aconstant problem for the festival. "Every year a number of films are lost tothe censors, but this year is the highest in the past three years," Cheah says.He feels that the board's decision
  • Comcast turns its attention to MGM

    MGM, the venerable US studio, could be among the newacquisition targets being weighed up by Comcast, the US cable network giant.Comcast this week decided not to pursue its hostile takeoverapproach to Walt Disney. Earlier this year it had offered $54bn for Disney, butthe bid had been rebuffed by the Disneyboard and was seen by investment analysts as too low to succeed - even thoughthe wealthy Comcast could probably have raisedthe colossal sum.Keen to boost its content management
  • Dates opens top in Brazil, Turkey, still rules Germany

    Powered bynumber one bows in Brazil and Turkey, the romantic comedy 50 First Dates grossed $7.1m on 2,560 screens to raiseits international running total to $46.1m.The picture,released through Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI),opened in Brazil on $705,000 on 169 screens and grossed $216,000 on 75 inTurkey.Dates stayed top in its second week in Germanyas it fell 21% on $2m for $5.1m, added $1.1m on a mere 9% drop in its fourthweek in the UK fo
  • Death In Gaza takes Hot Docs Audience Award

    Death In Gaza, the documentary about life in Palestine whose director, James Miller,was killed during its making, won the 2004 Audience Award at the 11thHot Docs Canadian Documentary Film Festival in Toronto. Miller was in Gaza inMay 2003 documenting the lives of Palestinian children when he shot and killedby the Israeli army.
  • Defiant Samaha steps into witness box

    Yesterday, five years andthousands of miles away from the hotel room in Cannes where they formed whatwas supposed to be one of the most lucrative alliances in independent filmfinancing history, Elie Samaha and Rudiger "Barry" Baeres finally facedtheir moment of truth.That's when Samaha steppedinto a witness box in a Santa Ana, California federal courtroom. Afterdescribing his rise from working as doorman at Studio 54 to dry cleaning mogulto becoming one the most prolific indie film pro
  • DENMARK 4 May

    As noneof the new releases at the Danish box-office chart really impressed on theiropening weekend, Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol.2 stayed on top ofthe chart despite dropping 40%. Starsky & Hutch, which opened muchbetter in the neighboring Nordic countries, was a close competitor for the topspot, but its screen average was just DKK24,738 on its 35 prints.
  • Doughty, Carver complete cast of Aryan Couple

    Casting onAtlantic Film and Mairis Film's second world war drama The Aryan Couple has been completed with the arrival ofKenny Doughty and Caroline in the title roles.Directed by John Daly, the picture centres on a Jewishindustrialist who is forced to turn over his vast empire to the Nazis to payfor his family's safe passage out of Poland.Martin Landau,Judy Parfitt, Danny Webb, Steven McIntosh, Jake Wood, Austen Pamer, NolanHemmings an
  • Dutch documentaries are the toast of Nyon

    Three out of four Dutch documentaries selected for the maincompetition performed well at the 10th edition of the Visions duReel international documentary festival in Nyon, Switzerland.The grand prize ofthe international jury, consisting of directors Christian Frei(Switzerland), Werner Penzel (Germany) and Nicolas Philibert (France), wasawarded to Justiça by Maria Ramos,'for her fiercely profound look' at Brazil's 'relentless judicial machinery'.
  • Filming underway on Shoreline's ensemble production Marilyn Hotchkiss

    Filming has begun in Los Angeles on RandallMiller's comedy drama Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing And Charm School,which stars Robert Carlyle and an ensemble cast including Marisa Tomei, JohnGoodman, Mary Steenburgen, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny DeVito.Carlyle plays a man who embarks upon anadventure when he tries to help another fulfil his dying wish. Sean Astin,David Paymer, Sonia Braga, Miguel Sandoval, Camryn Manheim, Ernie Hudson andElden Henson also star.Miller and
  • Ford leaves Miramax after six years

    Stuart Ford has resigned hisposition as executive vice president of Miramax International and will leavethe company at the end of May to pursue other opportunities.During his six-year tenureat Miramax the 34-year-old executive played an active role in internationalsales and distribution operations and acquisitions.He previously served asco-head of acquisitions, where his credits included Amelie, City Of God and Dirty Pretty Things, and as senior vice president of i
  • Forman to be honoured at Cannes Europe Day

    Celebrated director, Milos Forman is to be the guest ofhonour for the "Europe Day" being organised by the Cannes festival on 18 May.The event is intended to celebrate the growing EuropeanUnion (EU) and the accession next week of ten new countries including Forman'snative Czech Republic. It will take as it theme the topic "how to become aEuropean film-maker".It will kick off with a meeting of ministers of culture fromthe 25 EU countries and presentations from a number of key witn
  • Forman to be honoured at Europe Day

    Celebrated director, Milos Forman is to be the guest ofhonour for the "Europe Day" being organised by the Cannes festival on 18 May.The event is intended to celebrate the growing EuropeanUnion (EU) and the accession next week of ten new countries including Forman'snative Czech Republic. It will take as it theme the topic "how to become aEuropean film-maker".It will kick off with a meeting of ministers of culture fromthe 25 EU countries and presentations from a number of key witn
  • FRANCE 30 April

    Ben Stillerand Owen Wilson emerged into the box office limelight this week taking over$4.3m with a strong $7,071 per screen average for 70s TV adaptation Starsky& Hutch. The show has high recognition in France and with littlecompetition its big screen incarnation had an easy ride.PanEuropeenne's Mariages! Also had a healthy opening with a $9,625 perscreen average on 365 copies for a take of $3.5 million. Still going strong arePathe's Les Choristes
  • France acts to ward off Cannes strike threats

    French culture minister Renaud Donnedieude Vabres may have won a temporary stay against potential threats to the CannesFilm Festival when he proposed a series of measures intended to calm strikingshow business workers on Wednesday.For the past year, temporaryworkers have been protesting changes to their benefits system which took effecton January 1, 2004. The new system dictates that rather than work 507 hoursover 12 months to qualify for 12 months of benefits, artis
  • Gaumont trails to Cannes with high-profile slate

    French major Gaumont is heading to Cannes with a new film by Eric Valli, a promo reel for the $15 million Olivier Marchal-directed 36 and has confirmed that director Francis Veber is at work on an as-yet untitled project for the studio.Speaking to ScreenDaily, Gaumont head of worldwide marketing and distribution Franck Chorot said photographer turned director Eric Valli will begin shooting the English-language The Trail in late June. Valli is currently scouting loc
  • German animation industry reaches new heights

    At the recent Cartoon Moviefinancing market in Babelsberg, German animation producers were feelingparticularly bullish. Of the 14 countries present with projects, Germany wasrepresented with eight of the 40 projects - after France and Spain - and was alsoa co-production partner on the Danish studio A.Film's The Ugly Duckling& Me.Moreover, in the space ofjust three weeks after the market, two hotly anticipated locally producedanimation features opened in German cinemas: Ambient E
  • Global takes on White Countess, Therese Raquin

    Peter Elson's foreign salesand distribution outfit Global Cinema Group has picked up two new titles forCannes in the form of Merchant Ivory's Chinese romantic drama The WhiteCountess and an adaptation of EmilZola's classic revenge tale Therese Raquin.The acquisitions follow theannouncement earlier this week (Screendaily Apr 27) of Global's jointfinancing, production and distribution venture with New Zealand productionhouse Daybreak Pacific.The $16m White Countes
  • Godsend

    Dir:Nick Hamm. US. 2004. 100 mins.Humancloning ought to make a juicy subject for a psychological horror film (not tomention a topical marketing hook for distributors). But the cloning premiseturns out to be more intriguing than the execution in Godsend, adisappointingly generic PG-13 thriller from Lions Gate that marks the US debutof British theatre-turned-movie-director Nick Hamm (The Hole).Opening- against several other end-of-sp
  • Hector wins top awards at Malaga festival

    The Seventh Malaga Film Festival's top award has gone to Hector, with AdrianaOzores also taking Best Actress for her part in the Gracia Querejeta-directedmovie about a young boy who has to choose between living with his aunt or hisfather in Mexico after his mother dies.The Jury Prize went to the Zavier Bermudez-directed Leon And Olvido (Leon Y Olvido) about twins, onewith Down's Syndrome.Pablo Carbonell won Best Actor for Tuna And Chocolate (Atun Y
  • HONG KONG 4 May

    FilmkoEntertainment's Koma - a thriller starring acclaimed up-and-comingactresses Karena Lam and Lee Sin-je - opened in top position at the Hong Kongbox office this week, grossing $513,815 from 36 screens.
  • Horizon picks up international rights to Cosmic Africa

    Rob Straight's Canadianproduction and international sales company Horizon Entertainment has picked upinternational rights to Craig and Damon Foster's South African documentary CosmicAfrica.The 72-minute Americanco-production with US-based Cosmos Studios will get its European premierescreening in Cannes as part of a retrospective celebrating the tenthanniversary of the end of Apartheid.Cosmic Africa purports to shed new light on traditional Africanastronomy and feat
  • Icon appoints international distribution chief

    IconEntertainment International has appointed Peter Naish as head of internationaldistribution.Naishjoined the company this week and will be involved in all aspects of Icon'sinternational business under chief executive Nick Hill and chief operating officerAndy Mayson.Naish's film industry careerbegan at erstwhile UK distributor First Independent Films, where he wasmanaging director. More recently, he was partner at consultant
  • IFC picks up Toback film

    IFC Films has acquired NorthAmerican rights in all media to James Toback's thriller When Will I Be Loved starring Neve Campbell and plans to release thepicture in August.Campbell (Scream, TheCompany) plays a strong-willed womanwho exacts revenge on a couple of men whose conniving and sexist ways havebelittled her for too long.Dominic Chianese (TheSopranos) and Fred Weller (TheShape of Things) also star in thepicture, which was produced by Ronald Rotho
  • Intandem recruits Hurman as director

    Intandem, the production,sales and distribution company set up former Winchester entertainment chiefGary Smith, has appointed Billy Hurman as a director.Hurman joins other formerWinchester colleagues at the company, where Andrew Brown is director and DeniseBridgeman acquisitions and marketing executive. Hurman is joined by Sasha Dein, who will take on corporate andproject marketing responsibilities as well as talent liaison."[Intandem] has anexciting slate of quality, commercial
  • INTERNATIONAL 29 April

    The eightweek reign of The Passion Of The Christ ended this week as theinternational marketplace bowed to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 2.The secondpart in the director's genre epic saw a raft of number one positions - with fewexceptions - after opening in 20 territories for a $17.7m weekend. It has taken$18.3m, including previews.The UK ledthe way accounting for $4.9m (£2.8m) alone. The territory provided $20m(£11.6m) of Vol. 1's $1
  • Istituto Luce beefs up its international production slate

    Italy's Istituto Luce is beefing up its internationalproduction slate with several high-profile co-productions, including AbelFerrara's Go Go Tales and Brad Mirman's The Shadow Dancer withHarvey Keitel and Giancarlo Giannini.French production outfit, Euro American, has boarded GoGo Tales, a Euros 5m comedy set in a night-club, which is being produced byIstituto Luce together with Rome-based Gerardo Pagliei's Gam Films and AndreaDe Liberato's Poetiche Cinematografic
  • Italy's Cinecitta and Roma studios in first ever collaboration

    Brian De Palma's upcoming movie, The Black Dahlia,will start shooting this summer at Cinecitta Studios and Roma Studios, markingthe first ever collaboration between Italy's two biggest studios.An adaptation of James Ellroy's classic noir novel, TheBlack Dahlia is set in 1940s Los Angeles and tells the story of two copswho investigate the brutal death of a young woman. One of the cops, however,soon realises that his girlfriend had ties to the murdered woman, and beginsunco
  • JAPAN 4 May

    Disney's TheHaunted Mansion led the weekend before the start of the Golden Weekholiday. Family fare usually goes over well this week-long period -- one of thefew times of the year when the millions of workaholic dads take in a movie withtheir kids. Also, nearly every sentient and ambulatory Japanese has been toTokyo Disneyland and experienced the Haunted House ride that is thefilm's inspiration -- yet another box office plus.Second is Casshern,a
  • Justice enters new orbit with Lunar

    MatthewJustice, the producer who has headed production activities at the successful UKfinancier Invicta Capital, is to strike out on his own.Justice istaking full control of the production company ICL Films that he set-up forInvicta which he joined in late 2001. Renamed as Lunar Films, the company willcontinue to plough the European production, co-production and co-financingfurrows that Justice and Invicta worked together."Thecompany is now completely under my control," said Jus
  • Kitchen Stories follow up wins Norwegian backing

    The Norwegian Film Fund has injected $706,000 into BentHamer's English-language debut Factotum based on the novel by CharlesBukowski, as well as $1.2m into newcomer Ove Raymond Gyldenaas' local youthcomedy Tommy's Inferno.The reason why Hamer's follow-up to the multiple-awardwinning Kitchen Stories receives less than a feature debut is that Factotumis a Norwegian-US co-production between Hamer's BulBul Films and JimStark's Stark Sales Inc
  • Laws Of Attraction

    Dir:Peter Howitt. US. 2004. 90mins.Laws Of Attraction travels the well-worn path ofcountless screwball romantic comedies before it. Yet while the join-the-dotsplot is disappointingly devoid of any fresh twists or ideas, the film itselfproves an unexpectedly pleasant diversion, thanks to sparkling dialogue andwinning performances from Pierce Brosnan, Frances Fisher and Michael Sheen.Itmay be no Philadelphia Story but i
  • Mean Girls opens top of the class for Paramount on $25m

    With one week to go beforeUniversal's Van Helsing kicks off the summer season, Paramount's high schoolsatire Mean Girls strutted its stuff in fine style, opening top on anunexpectedly high estimated $25m.The strong bow shunted 20thCentury Fox/New Regency's Man On Fire into second place and eclipseddisappointing debuts by New Line's Line's Laws Of Attraction in fourth on $7m,Lions Gate's Godsend in fifth on $6.9m and Dreamworks' Envy in sixth on
  • MEDIA programme extended, budget increased

    The official greenlight has now been given for the extensionof the European Union's MEDIA Programme until the end of 2006.In accordance with the wishes of the European Parliament andthe European Commission, the budget for training measures will be increased toEuros 59.4m and for MEDIA Plus (development, distribution, promotion) to Euros453.6m.The corresponding increase in the overall budget from theoriginal Euros 400m for 2001-2005 to Euros 513m is intended t
  • MGM Home Entertainment to distribute Icon titles in UK

    MGM Home Entertainment Group has signed an exclusiveagreement with Icon Film Distribution UK to distribute seven titles on homevideo and DVD in the United Kingdom.The deal includes Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ; 21Grams; Billy Ray's Shattered Glass; thebiopic Sylvia; Lars Von Trier's Dogville; The Singing Detective; and Britishcomedy Gladiatress.MGM Home Entertainment UK will begin releasing the
  • Moneypenny expands into SA, NZ

    Financial services company Moneypenny, which has been anintegral part of Australia's film industry for 25 years, is expanding intoSouth Africa and New Zealand within the next few months.Principal Jane Corden (pictured) relocates to Capetown for 12 monthsfrom late June - one of her first tasks will be to find a local partner - whilePhillip Gore will run the New Zealand operation.Moneypenny is the umbrella business for 20 productionaccountants who handle as much as half of all the
  • MPAA Asian piracy strategist Ellis gets senior vp stripes

    Mike Ellis, the MPAA's topanti-piracy strategist for the Asia-Pacific region whose hands-on approachresulted in the seizure of roughly 44m illegal optical discs from 13 countrieslast year, has been promoted to senior vice president and regional director,Asia-Pacific.Ellis will continue todirect strategic control of regional operations - as he has done since 1999 -and will also assume responsibility for promoting the MPAA and its membercompanies' commercial interests through greater cop
  • My Bollywood Bride set for May shoot in Mumbai, Los Angeles

    Jason Lewis ofSex And The City fame is set to star in My Bollywood Bride, a cross-culturalromantic comedy and co-production between Indian production house Dream TeamPictures and former investment banker Brad Listermann's Nevada-based HisKarmaProductions.My Bollywood Bride centres on a former windsurfer turned adventurenovelist who meets a holidaying Bollywood star in California and pursues her toMumbai in an effort to win her heart.Music v
  • Nelson named to brand management position at Warner.

    Diane Nelson has beenpromoted to the newly created position of executive vice president of globalbrand management at Warner Bros Entertainment, where she will work with thecompany's divisions to promote existing franchises and develop new brands.Nelson and her team willcollaborate with all the business units to develop non-theatrical propertiesalongside the major theatrical brands.Her team will also serve ascross-Time Warner worldwide brand managers for the studio's pictures,tel
  • New Diagonale team named

    German-born film academic and journalist Birgit Flos(pictured) has been appointed as the new director of the Diagonale for threeyears from 2005.She will run the annual showcase of Austrian cinema in athree-person team together with critic Robert Buchschwenter (managing director,production) and financial consultant Georg Tillner (managing director, finance)and intends to continue in the tradition of previous Diagonales by presenting"the whole spectrum of filmmaking in Austria"."A
  • New sales company Hybrid to debut at Cannes with Argentinian thriller

    Los Angeles-based HybridPictures principals P J Pettiette and Claudie Viguerie have launchedinternational sales and distribution arm Hybrid Pictures International (HPI).The new unit, which willoperate out of Los Angeles, is preparing to bring the psychological thriller Jennifer'sShadow starring Faye Dunaway toCannes, where it will receive its world premiere.Going forward, Pettiettewill handle production, finance and distribution initiatives while Vigueriewill oversee all
  • NEW ZEALAND 4 May

    Kill Bill: Volume 2opened on the weekend and claimed the top spot from another BVI/Miramax film, Starsky& Hutch, just as it did in Australia on the previous weekend. KillBill took NZ$364,251 from 32 screens while Starsky & Hutch, inits second weekend on r
  • Nicholson heads list of CineVegas honourees

    Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn, Holly Hunter,David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Julian Schnabel, Dean Stockwell and Bruce Conner willbe honoured at the upcoming CineVegas Film Festival 2004, which runs from Jun11-19.Nicholson will receive the Marquee Award recognising "the artisticexcellence, professional accomplishment and dedication to cinema by an actor ordirector whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced film art."Drive, He Said, which Nicholson wrote
  • Offhollywood Digital signs deal with Cinecitta as studio's NY representative

    Cinecitta Studios has signeda deal with New York's Offhollywood Digital effectively turning the productionhouse into Cinecitta's East Coast representative.The agreement will enableNew York producers to meet with Offhollywood Digital staff to discuss theirfilming needs, which will then be relayed to Cinecitta executives with a viewto filming in Rome and using the post production facility Cinecitta Digital."This strategic alliancewith Offhollywood Digital place
  • Ontario film censor loses power to cut

    An Ontario judge has ruled that the province's film reviewboard does not have the right to require cuts to films submitted forclassification prior to distribution.Overturning a previous judgment, Mr. Justice RussellJuriansz of the Ontario Superior Court said the province's censorship rules runcontrary to the nation's freedom-of-expression statutes.Justice Juriansz said the Ontario Film Review Board (OFRB)did not have a provision for giving notice that a film had been cut,potenti
  • Pact appoints new director of film

    Tim Willis, a formerdirector at UK media concern Civilian Content, has been appointed director offilm at producers body Pact, chief executive John McVay announced on Thursday.Willis replaces RonniePlanalp, who is moving back to New York with her family. He will have overallresponsibility for Pact's film strategy and will work closely with the Pactfilm policy group and Margaret Matheson, vice chair of film at Pact andmanaging director of Bard Entertainments."Yet again Pact demons
  • Renaissance picks up two for Cannes: Baxter, Human

    London-based Renaissance Films has picked up two new films forCannes - international rights to IFC Productions' romantic comedy The Baxter and worldwide rights outside Spain,Portugal and Argentina to Tornasol Films and Greenpoint Films' Spanish-langugecomedy Only Human.The Baxteris a romantic comedy starring and directed by comedian Michael Showalter andinspired by classic 50s comedies such as Billy Wilder's The Apartment.Showalter plays a repressive account
  • Roads To Koktebel wins Best Film Award at goEast Festival

    Russian directing duo Boris Chlebnikov and AlexeiPopogrebsky's Roads To Koktebel picked up the Euros 10,000 Best FilmAward at this year's goEast Festival of Central and East European Film whichclosed with an awards ceremony in Wiesbaden on Tuesday night (April 28).The international jury chose this film, which has also beenselected by FIPRESCI to screen at the Critics Week in Cannes next month,"for its fresh and emotional approach recreating an artistic tradition ofhuman story-te
  • Samaha faces heat in Intertainment lawsuit

    FranchisePictures CEO Elie Samaha's unique defense in his marathon litigation withIntertainment Licensing was put to the test Tuesday in a Santa Ana, Californiafederal courtroom, and his explanations for why he admittedly pumped thebudgets on Franchise films were akin to his own analogy comparing making filmsto making souffles: Some rose, some didn't.Under intensequestioning by Intertainment lawyer Scott Edelman, Samaha sought to explain analleged oral agreement done in secret between
  • San Sebastian to reprise film 'rescue' initiative

    TheSan Sebastian Film Festival has confirmed it will stage Films in Progressduring this September's event, aiming to help struggling Latin American andSpanish film-makers complete their pictures.Heldin conjunction with the Recontres Cines Amerique Latine de Toulouse, Films inProgress was the first initiative of its kind from two such festivals, and hasbeen held twice a year since 2002, in March in Toulouse and San Sebastiantowards the end of the year. This year's dates at the 52nd edit
  • Sarajevo film festival announces opening film

    Kod Amidze Idriza, the new feature by award-winningBosnian director Pjer Zalica (Fuse), is set to be the opening film atthe 10th edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival (August 20-28).The Euros 1.3m drama, which was scripted by Namik Kabil andstars Senad Basic and Semka Sokolovic, began shooting in Bosnia-Herzegovina onApril 5 as a co-production between the Sarajevo-based production companyRefresh, Slovenia's Arkaden Studio and Croatia's Jadran Film.In addition, the
  • Saura to get EFA lifetime achievement award

    Veteran Spanish director Carlos Saura will be the recipientof a lifetime achievement honour at December's European Film Awards.The Awards will take place in Barcelona on December 11. "Inrecognition of his dedication to cinema, the European Film Academy takes greatpleasure in presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Carlos Saura in hisnative country," the organisation said in a statement.His credits include internationally renowned works such asCannes jury prize-winners Co
  • Scooby takes $4.1m to pass $80m for Warner

    Scooby-Doo 2 passed $80m at the international boxoffice at the weekend following an estimated $4.1m haul with 876,500 admissionsfrom 3,998 screens in 58 territories for Warner Bros.Opening fifth in Russia on $139,000 from 108 screens andopening on $118,400 in Korea, the Warner Bros Pictures International releaseraised its international running total to $81.9m.Latest territorytotals released by the distributor put the UK on $25.9m, Mex
  • Silence reigns at Jeonju

    South Korea'sJeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) wrapped up its fifth edition on May2, with awards going to Iranian director Babak Payami's Silence Between TwoThoughts and Cuban documentary Suite Havana.One of Korea's topfestivals along with Pusan and Puchon, the JIFF screened a total of 284 shortand feature films, with a strong emphasis on independent, digital andexperimental works from Asia and around the world.The event also hosted the we
  • Silver City goes to Cannes through Myriad

    Myriad Pictures will bringJohn Sayles' political satire Silver City to Cannes after acquiring international rights to the all-star ensemblecomedy from production company Anarchists' Convention.Newmarket Films acquired USrights in spring and plans a September 17 release ahead of the Presidentialelection in November.Written and directed bySayles, Silver City takes placeduring an imagined Colorado gubernatorial race in which a semi-literateright-wing candidate's campa
  • SPAIN Production Listings - May 4 2004

    SPAIN - MAY 4PREPRODUCTIONAlgoHabran Hecho(Ibarretxe & Co, Dale Candela [Arg], OM Films [Fr]) Based on the true storyof a nun who was kidnapped and went missing in Buenos Aires in 1977. Prods:Eduardo Carneros, Maria Cabrejas, Olivier de Bannes. Ed: Luis CesarD'Angiolillo. Music: Pablo Velez. Dir: Fernando Oscar Nogueira. Scr: MariaCabrejas. Main cast: Jeanne Balibar, Itziar Lazkano, Dario Grandinetti, PabloEcharry, Valentina
  • Spanish cinema on ambassadorial mission

    The Spanish film producers body FAPAE wants to open special film officesin Spain's embassies and consulates around the world, starting next year, aspart of new proposed measures to promote their industry.FAPAE president Pedro Perez said the offices would co-ordinate differentinstitutions involved in domestic production, from the Ministry of Culture tothe 17 autonomous regions in Spain to FAPAE itself, to form "one body, onevoice" for the Spanish film industry overseas.As a first
  • Spanish producers go for box office gold

    The president ofthe Spanish exhibitors' federation FEECE has called on local producers to helpturn around the gradual slide in ticket sales in Spain by making filmsspecifically targeting the largest cinema-going demographic: the 15 to 45 agegroup. He need hardly have bothered: a new wave of films matching this profileare in the pipeline in Spain.
  • Steen's debut gets Karlovy Vary premiere

    Aftermath, the feature directing debut from acclaimed Danishactress turned filmmaker Paprika Steen, has been singled out for a competitionentry slot at the upcoming film festival in Karlovy Vary.The 39th editionof the Czech festival runs from July 2-10 and last year had several popularNordic films on its program including award-winners Buddy and Old,New, Borrowed And Blue.Steen achieved anunprecedented double whammy at last year's national film awards pickin
  • Strange Bedfellows

    Dir: Dean Murphy.Australia. 2004. 105minsHomegrown comedies set infriendly country communities did not fare well at the Australian box officelast year. Danny Deckchair and The Honourable Wally Norman (forinstance) had large, sweetly eccentric supporting casts but little credibilityand far too few supporting laughs. Strange Bedfellows f
  • Strong Venice line-up taking shape

    Marco Mueller may onlyyesterday have received board approval for his planned changes to theinfrastructure of the Venice festival on Tuesday, but he has wasted no timecoming up with big plans for the programme.His forward-thinking shouldallow the industry more of a chance to plan ahead than this year's Cannes,where many selections were only firmed up very late.Mueller last week flew toLos Angeles for a series of meetings with studios and leading independents andwas met with open
  • Sundance names 13 projects for summer labs

    Projects from Thailand andSouth Africa are among 13 represented in the Sundance Institute's annual Junefilm-makers and screenwriters labs, which run from May 25-Jun 24 under theauspices of the Feature Film Programme's year-round series of workshops and events.The labs offer emergingdirectors and screenwriters a chance to develop new work under the guidance ofexperienced film-makers including Ed Harris, Gary Winick, Antonia Bird, Scott Frank, Jon Amiel, Stanley Tucci, Joan Tewksbury, Ke
  • Sunshine has sunny opening in UK for Momentum

    Strong weekend performancesraised the early international running total of Focus Features' offbeat romanceEternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind to $3.8m.The picture opened in secondplace in the UK through Momentum, grossing a mighty $1.8m on 343 screens by theend of Sunday (2).Fuller figures for thefour-day weekend featuring Bank Holiday Monday will become available later inthe week.Executives attributed theresult to the local popularity of UK star Kate Winslet as
  • SWEDEN 4 May

    Nothingmuch happened at the Swedish chart this week, as positions one through fiveremained unchanged with Kill Bill Vol.2 as a strong leader with a solid$3,217 screen average on its 39 prints.The newrelease of Angelina Jolie's serial killer outing Taking Lives did lessimpressively with just its $1,949 screen aver
  • Tarnation

    Dir:Jonathan Caouette. US. 2004. 88mins.Alreadysomething of a myth in the world of US independent film, Tarnation wasmade on Apple's I-Movie programme for a total budget of $218.32 according to itsfilm-maker Jonathan Caouette. Screened at the Sundance Film Festival in theexperimental and often overlooked Frontier section, the film was immediately amagnet for attention, and is now one of three US selections in DirectorsFortnight at Cannes.ButCaouette's savvy
  • Troy

    Dir: Wolfgang Petersen.US. 2004. 155mins.If, in the end, Troy fails to stir the heart as much as it dazzles theeye, it is nevertheless one of the most intelligent and ambitious tentpoleblockbusters to come out of Hollywood in some time. After all, it took someguts and not a little hubris to take one of the cornerstones of literature,Homer's Iliad, and turn it into an audience-friendly summer movie. Butpowerhouse film-maker Wolfgang Petersen has never been intimida
  • Valenti urges Congress to adopt piracy strategy

    Outgoing MPAApresident Jack Valenti presented a five-point anti-piracy plan to Congressyesterday (29), urging legislators to foster stronger links between government,intelligence agencies and America's international partners.Testifyingbefore the senate appropriations committee's sub-committee on commerce,justice, state and the judiciary, Valenti called for greater FBI funding andtraining and a higher awareness of enforcement issues among US andinternational agencies.He also prop
  • Van Helsing

    Dir/scr:Stephen Sommers. US. 2004. 132 mins.Thrillseekers looking for the maximum number of effects shots for their box officedollar (or pound, euro or yen) will get their money's worth fromwriter-director Stephen Sommers' $150m summer action-adventure Van Helsing. Which is just as well,because there's not much else to be got from this bland, rarely scary andoccasionally giggle-inducing Universal release that attempts to launch a newfr
  • Walden to produce Jim Thorpe story with Sayles writing the script

    WaldenMedia has committed to produce Carlisle School, a feature about the early life and times of the championNative American Olympian Jim Thorpe with John Sayles attached to write thescreenplay.
  • Warner Bros opens first majority-owned cinema in China today

    Warner Bros InternationalCinemas (WBIC) becomes the first ever Western majority owner of a joint ventureChinese theatre today (April 29) with the official opening of the 2,200-seatShangying Warner Cinemas multiplex in Nanjing.The site features eightauditoriums, stadium seating and traditional and digital projection and openedfor business at the weekend with a soft launch that included free screeningsand a charity benefit. The inaugural paid screening will be Looney Tunes:Back In Act
  • Warner Bros UK chief quits to head up Aegis Media.

    Nigel Sharrocks, the head ofWarner Bros' UK distribution arm, is leaving the film business to head up media buying groupAegis Media.Sharrocks, whose pre-Warnerbackground is in advertising, will be the new chief executive of the company inthe UK and Ireland, replacing Mark Craze, who left this month.Meanwhile Josh Berger, executive vice president & managing director, Warner Bros. Entertainment UK, will continue to oversee the UK operations of Warner Bros. A Warner spokesperson sa
  • Wild Bunch picks up Cargo

    Wild Bunch has picked up international sales duties on PaulLaverty-scripted thriller Cargo, set to star Peter Mullan (TheMagdalene Sisters) and Luis Tosar (Take My Eyes).The estimated Euros 9.8m English-language thriller is aproduction of Juan Gordon of Spain's Morena Films and Andrea Calderwood of theUK's Slate Films. Clive Gordon will direct from a script by Ken Loach regularLaverty.Wild Bunch, which handled Mullan's Magdalene Sisters,will present t
  • Wild Bunch picks up Cargo for Cannes

    Wild Bunch has picked up international sales duties on PaulLaverty-scripted thriller Cargo, set to star Peter Mullan (TheMagdalene Sisters) and Luis Tosar (Take My Eyes).The estimated Euros 9.8m English-language thriller is aproduction of Juan Gordon of Spain's Morena Films and Andrea Calderwood of theUK's Slate Films. Clive Gordon will direct from a script by Ken Loach regularLaverty.Wild Bunch, which handled Mullan's Magdalene Sisters,will present t

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