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6 January 2008

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  • 2008 Preview - Hitting the high notes

    The reverberations of the US writers' strike are being felt around the world as a trio of international shoots - Sony's Angels And Demons, Warner Bros' Vietnam drama Pinkville, to be directed by Oliver Stone, and Warner Bros- backed Shantaram, set to star Johnny Depp - have been put on hold and hastily pulled from schedules.However, while there is further concern about projects set to shoot towards the end of the year and into 2009 if the strike continues, most of
  • 2008 Preview - Marketing - Unchartered Territory

    Pre-release audience tracking surveys, which have been honed into a precise science over decades, seem to be evolving into an inexact art, causing considerable consternation for Hollywood film marketers. Distributors use tracking surveys to decide how best to allocate the $3.5bn spent annually on paid media to advertise films in the US market. When this research is off, too much advertising may be directed at audience segments already sold on the film and not enough on consumers who need pers
  • 2008 Preview - The future is rewritten

    A Hollywood producer takes a shine to an up-and-coming European screenwriter. "I'm going to set you to work on the rewrite of my next film," the producer tells the writer. "Who wrote the first version'" the writer asks. "We haven't hired anyone yet," the producer replies.This story may be apocryphal but it hints at the challenge that lies at the heart of the US studios' international move into local production. Many, in Europe in particular, cling to the idea of the auteur, building fi
  • 27 Dresses

    Dir: Anne Fletcher. US, 2008. 111minsWell cast, slickly produced and performed with enough spirit to counterbalance its frequently stupendous lack of originality and plausibility, 27 Dresses pulls all the right levers for (mostly female) diehard romantic comedy audiences looking for just a pinch of wistfulness to go alongsidestray wish-fulfillment scenarios.
  • AMPAS names winners of Scientific & Technical achievement awards

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced 10 winners of Scientific and Technical Academy Awards that will be presented at a ceremony in Beverly Hills on February 9.Unlike other Academy Awards, achievements receiving scientific and technical awards need not have been developed and introduced during 2007, however they need to demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the film-making process.The Technical Achievement Award (Academy
  • BAFTA unveils five foreign nominees including Lust, Caution

    The Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) have announced five nominees for its Film Not In The English Language Award. Those films are The Diving Bell and The Butterfly; The Kite Runner; The Lives OfOthers; Lust,Caution; and La Vie En Rose.
  • Berlin-Brandenburg and Hamburg funds receive more cash

    Father Christmas did not forget the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (MBB) and Filmfoerderung Hamburg Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (FFHSH) as local politicians have decided to increase their financial commitment to their respective funds.The federal state of Brandenburg provided an additional$2.2m (Euros 1.5m) for MBB's 2007 budget, bringing the final total to $42.3m (Euros 28.7m).The additional injection of cash enabled the funder to support such projects as Michael Haneke's next f
  • Best Picture: Atonement

    Focus Features, Universal Pictures Int’l
  • Best Picture: No Country For Old Men

    Miramax Films, Paramount Vantage
  • Best picture: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

    DreamWorks-Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros Pictures
  • Best Picture: There Will Be Blood

    Paramount Vantage, Miramax Films
  • Blood is runaway favourite at National Society Of Film Critics

    The National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) voted Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood best picture at the weekend and named Anderson best director and the film's Daniel Day-Lewis best actor.The group voted Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days best foreign language film and No End In Sight by Charles Ferguson best non-fiction film.The
  • Chipmunks land in Australia, Brazil, six other territories

    Warner Bros Pictures International top brass will expect robust holdover business to boost the $117m running total of last weekend's box office champion I Am Legend.There are no releases scheduled for the sci-fi horror this weekend however several major launches lies ahead in the coming weeks, the first of which occur in Germany and Italy next weekend. WBPI's fantasy adventure Beowulf has amassed $108.1m.
  • Critical Mass- the art of the film trailers

    Trailers have received scant attention from film critics; Lisa Kernan's peppy 2004 history of the genre, Coming Attractions, is one of the rare exceptions.This is probably because the trailer is not considered a 'pure' genre. Trailers exist for one reason only: to make us go see the film.But they differ from other forms of advertising in that they are made of the same stuff as the thing they're selling. This is probably why trailer designers find it so difficult to get aw
  • David A Grafton to receive Academy's Gordon E Sawyer Award

    David A Grafton will receive this year's Gorden E Sawyer Award, an Oscar statuette for technological industry contributions, from the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.Grafton is a pioneer in designing lenses for optical effects printers which, at the time of their development, were adopted by virtually every visual effects facility in the business.Grafton will be presented with his Oscar at the Scientific & Technical Awards dinner on Feb 9, 2008, in Los Angeles.
  • Disney gets more box office Treasure in US, while Juno soars

    Buena Vista's National Treasure: Book Of Secrets held on to top spot for the third consecutive weekend thanks to an estimated $20.2m haul that raised the tally to $171m as the first weekend of 2008 got off to an auspicious start.The adventure sequel starring Nicolas Cage should overtake the $173m lifetime total of its 2004 predecessor by the end of Monday.Warner Bros' I Am Legend climbed to se
  • European Commission outlines strategy for online film

    The European Commission has outlined a new strategic approach to support Europe 's online content sector, including film.The Commission estimates that potential retail revenues across the EU's online content market could quadruple from Eu1.8bn ($2.65bn)in 2005 to Eu8.3bn ($12.25bn)by 2010.Given its scale and rapid growth, the Commission believes the sector would benefit from a stronger, more consumer-friendly single market for online content.The adoption of a Communicatio
  • Films Distribution to premiere three new features at Rendez-Vous

    French sales outfit Films Distribution has announced the world premieres of three new titles at the upcoming Rendez-Vous with French cinema. The event, organized by French film export body Unifrance, runs Jan 10-14 in Paris.At the Rendez-Vous, Films Distribution will screen The Maiden And The Wolves directed by Gilles Legrand and starring Laetitia Casta as a young veterinarian who is the object of a ruthless rivalry between the man she is supposed to marry and a simple man who h
  • France - Drivers follow positive signs

    Along with the crop of new films at this year's Unifrance Paris Rendez-Vous, there will also be a debut sales company in town.Eva Diederix and Adeline Fontan Tessaur have taken up residence at Stephane Celerier's Mars Distribution and, with an outside investment fund, are launching international sales outfit Elle Driver.The moniker is a wink to the character created by Quentin Tarantino, and played by Daryl Hannah in the Kill Bill films. It symbolises the attitude with wh
  • Halloween rebranded as London Short Film Festival

    The fifth incarnation of the former Halloween Short Film festival is relaunching its programme of screenings, talks and events under the new name of the London Short Film Festival. The revitalised festival takes place today through Jan 13, and extends its venues to include London's Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Curzon Soho, Roxy Bar & Screen and South London's trendy Amersham Arms.The festival kicks off tonight at the ICA with a comedy night featuring live performers, DJ sets and
  • Ian Maycock promoted to MD of Technicolor Thailand

    Technicolor (Thailand) has named Ian Maycock as the new managing director of its Bangkok facilities, a key hub for servicing filmmakers and distributors in the pan-Asian region.Maycock who has worked in Australia, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Malaysia, has a background in the production and post-production businesses of Asian films and TV. He first joined the company last May as director of business development.Technicolor (Thailand) has established a global reach through ma
  • International - Leading the charge

    German film Keinohrhasen was this weekend's highest non-US performer in the international top 40, generating a robust $7.6m over the three-day period.The romantic comedy was up 65% in the weekend after Christmas, playing across 569 screens for the second-highest screen average at $13,489 per screen. Directed by and starring Til Schweiger (Where Is Fred'), Keinohrhasen follows a bachelor who has a stint of community service at a school. It boasts a $15.5m tally to d
  • Japan, Korea make strong showing in HAF 2008 line-up

    Japan's Nakata Hideo (Ring series) and South Korea's Park Chan-wook (Old Boy) and Bong Joon-ho (The Host) are among the world-renowned Asian filmmakers who have had projects selected for the 2008 edition of the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF). A total of 25 projects have been selected for the co-production and financing market which takes place March 17-19. Mainland Chinese filmmakers account for the greatest number of projects - six in all, from filmmakers
  • Keinohrhasen leads non-US films in Screen international chart

    German film Keinohrhasen was this weekend's highest non-US performer in the international top 40, generating a robust $7.6m over the three-day period.The top 40 international films generated $269.1m from 49,546 screens for the period of December 28-30.For the full international chart, compiled by Len Klady, click here.The romantic comedy was up 65% in the weekend after C
  • Lost In Beijing film-makers banned for two years

    China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) hasblocked distibution of Lost In Beijing in cinemas or online, and banned producer Fang Li and his Laurel Films from making movies for two years.It has also suspended the film's screening permission and confiscated print and promotion material following an alleged breach of Chinese film regulations.The news came as a shock for Fang and the film's director Li Yu as the film-makers were just celebrating t
  • Malaysia's 2007 box office to hita record $91m

    Malaysia is on track to produce yet another record-setting year with the total box office expected to sail past the $91.2m (RM300m) mark for the first time in its history.A growth of at least 20% year-on-year is estimated, which would make it the seventh consecutive year with double-digit growth in box office since 2001.The growth was for the most part spear-headed by three Hollywood blockbusters which shattered box office records over the summer season to emerge as the top thre
  • Maycock appointed managing director of Technicolor (Thailand)

    Ian Maycock has been appointed managing director of Technicolor (Thailand), the Bangkok-based facility film lab which provides servicing for films, commercials and documentary projects.Maycock moves into the position from his role as director, business development. He has been with Technicolor since May 2007.The facility was established in Bangkok in 1977 as CineColor Lab and was taken over by Technicolor in 2004. The facility manufactures release prints for Australia, Ch
  • Norway's local market share holds steady as admissions fall 10%

    In 2007 Norwegian cinemas registered a 10% decline in admissions, to reach 10.8m, according to statistics from the Norwegian cinema association, Film & Kino. Local productions accounted for 1.7m admissions, to maintain last year's market share of 16.4% which (except for 2003) is the largest since 1975.'The big international blockbusters simply weren't big enough,' explained director of communications Birgitte Langballe, of Film & Kino. 'Still five of the best-grossing pictures were lau
  • Olympic challenge for international film in China

    As the finishing touches are being made to Beijing's sports venues, there is an air of nervous anticipation in the Chinese capital.The Beijing 2008 Olympics (August 8-24) will either be the biggest international coming-out party that China has ever seen, or a public-relations nightmare, with human-rights protesters spilling onto the streets and the Chinese government unsure how to deal with them.Within the film industry, there is more of a mood of nervous resignation. Local prod
  • Panahi, Tan among Rotterdam's Tiger Awards jurors

    The International Film Festival Rotterdam has lined up its jurors for its upcoming event.The jury for the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition, for first or second feature films, is comprised of: Russian film-maker/actress Renata Litvinova, Locarno's Tiziana Finzi, Iranian director Jafar Panahi, former Dutch Filmmuseum deputy director Rieks Hadders and Singapore director Royston Tan.The jury for the Tiger Awards Competition for Short Films is: Dutch visual artist Moniek Toebosch, Katia
  • Paris Screenings - Springboard to success

    French sales companies are often one of the first ports of call for an international buyer looking for veteran film-makers, cutting-edge work from genre masters such as Guillermo del Toro and arthouse experiments such as Todd Haynes' I'm Not There.Outfits including Wild Bunch, Celluloid Dreams and Bac Films have established themselves as brands in their own right, with recent projects including Persepolis (Celluloid), Silent Light (Bac), The Orphanage and Pa
  • Paris Screenings - 'the grande fete of french cinema'

    The tenth anniversary of the Unifrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris will give international buyers the first chance of the year to see the French films on offer from the country's sales companies.This year, more than 350 buyers and 120 journalists from two dozen countries will make the trip to Paris, keen for a sneak peak at projects away from the intensity of markets such as next month's European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin.Laurent Danielou, the head of Rezo Films
  • Robert Luketic's 21 to open 15th South By Southwest

    Columbia Pictures thriller 21 directed by Robert Luketic and starring Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey will open the 15th South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference & Festival on March 7 in Austin, Texas.The film, based on Ben Mezrich's book Bringing Down The House: The Inside Story Of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas For Millions, opens in North America on March 28.The festival,
  • Screen opinion- the film industry must avoid the hype

    Rudyard Kipling's exhortation that we should treat those 'impostors' triumph and disaster just the same ought to be nailed to the walls in film offices everywhere.January has started with a gloomy sense of introspection in some quarters. The mood of last summer, when the first blockbusters were defying the critics, and before most of us knew what 'subprime' meant, seems a long time ago.Come the new year, optimism has wilted. That proportion of the writing community that makes an
  • Sean Penn to head 61st Cannes Film Festival jury

    Sean Penn will head the jury at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, organisers have announced.The 61st festival runs May 14-25.'In the last few years, it seems there has been a rejuvenation of cinema building worldwide; increasingly thoughtful, provocative, moving, and imaginative films by talented filmmakers: that a new generation of filmmaking may have begun,' Penn said in a statement. 'The Cannes Film Festival has long been the epicenter in the discovery of those new waves of film
  • Seven films shortlisted for Visual Effects Oscar

    Seven films have been shortlisted for the Oscar for achievement in visual effects by the effects branch of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences. They are 300, The Bourne Ultimatum, Evan Almighty, The Golden Compass, I Am Legend, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End and Transformers.Members of the branch will view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Fol
  • Sky, Curzon Artificial Eye work together on The Edge Of Heaven

    As Screen International previously reported, Sky Television and Curzon Artificial Eye are working on a groundbreaking release for Fatih Akin's The Edge Of Heaven.The film will be released in at least 14 Curzon and City Screen cinemas on Feb 22, the same day it will be available to Sky Anytime in PC, and in HD/SD to Sky Box Office's 8.7m subscribers. The price for TV and PC users is about $20 (£9.99).
  • Slamdancer

    Drea Clark has a new job at the Slamdance Film Festival. But she is hardly a newcomer to the truly low-budget indie film showcase that runs each January in Park City, Utah, while the bigger and better-known Sundance festival roils all around it.Clark started with Slamdance as an intern in 1998, three years after the festival was launched by co-founder and current president Peter Baxter. She has been chair of the event's narrative feature competition programming committee for the past f
  • Spain's Dygra Films reveals five film slate until 2012

    Galicia based animation studio Dygra plans a slate of digital 3D projects.Dygra Films will release one film per year starting with Spirit Of The Forest in 2008, a sequel to The Animal Forest (2001), the first European film to be made entirely using CGI, which achieved $2m at the box office. This will be followed by the Christmas themed Holy Night! in 2009.'Our priority at the moment is to close celebrities for Spirit Of The Forest, hopefully b
  • Those Three (An Seh)

    Dir/Scr: Naghi Nemati. Iran, 2007. 77mins.Naghi Nemati's assured, poetic debut proves that the Iranian talent factory is still up and running. Playing in Dubai after its Locarno festival bow and Toronto slot, this austerely-shot existential odyssey about three soldiers lost in a snowy wasteland seems tailor-made to illustrate Fellini's claim that 'cinema uses the language of dreams'. Those Three tests its audience's resilience, but the payoff for patience is substa
  • UK breaks box-office records in stellar 2007

    The UK enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2007 with total box-office takings at $1.7bn (£904m), according to Nielsen EDI -the highest total since records began and up 8% from 2006Last year saw the release of the highest ever number of films generating more than $20m (£10m) and $40m($20m) with 23 titles breaking the $20m mark and 12 pushing past $40m.The growth was spearheaded by three Hollywood sequels - Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, Pirates Of The Caribbea
  • United Kingdom - A very long disengagement

    In the 11 years since he was fired from the directing chair of New Line's The Island Of Dr Moreau, Richard Stanley has kept a low profile. The UK film-maker had made a big splash with his first feature, Hardware, in 1990 but his subsequent career proved troubled to say the least. His second film, Dust Devil, was completed but became caught up in the bankruptcy proceedings of the UK's Palace Pictures and Stanley forked out $100,000 of his own money to meet delivery require
  • United Kingdom - Coming up for chair

    It is almost a decade since Colin MacCabe left his position as head of research and education at the British Film Institute (BFI). He is still an active producer - his latest project, Isaac Julien's Derek Jarman documentary, Derek, premieres in Sundance. Yet MacCabe cannot hide his dismay at what has happened to the BFI over the intervening years."I see an institute devoted to the love of history and film that has been deliberately destroyed," MacCabe says. The rot, he suggests,
  • United Kingdom/New Zealand - Spanning the oceans

    Auckland, New Zealand-based Matthew Metcalfe (General Film Corp) and UK-based Alan Harris (Atlantic Film Productions) have been too busy making films to join the line of producers complaining the new UK tax credit is not friendly to co-productions.The pair produced The Ferryman and have now re-teamed for Dean Spanley, a UK-New Zealand co-production with a cast including Jeremy Northam, Sam Neill and Peter O'Toole.Harris is no stranger to international financing arr
  • United States - Irishman in LA

    After a year as US vice-president of the Irish Film Commission, Jonathan Loughran knows what's on the minds of most Hollywood producers.Tax incentives are what they invariably ask about first, he confirms, "and if that's not the first question, I make it the first answer".The Los Angeles office that Loughran set up in early 2007 is the first outside Ireland for the Irish Film Board (IFB), the national film agency that encompasses the Commission.The office's purpose is two
  • Universal says 2007 was studio's 'most profitable year of all time'

    Universal Pictures has reported that 2007 marked a box office high for the studio with a global take of $2.133bn, consisting of a best ever $1.099bn domestic gross and $1.034bn in international markets.The studio also said it had scored best-ever financial returns from its domestic home entertainment and international television operations, making 2007 the studio's 'most profitable year of all time,' according to a statement.The statement was issued by Marc Shmuger and Da
  • Veterans of TF1, UGC launch new sales outfit Elle Driver

    A new sales outfit will debut next week at the Unifrance Paris Rendez-Vous. Elle Driver, headed up by Eva Diederix and Adeline Fontan Tessaur has taken up residence at Stephane Celerier's Mars Distribution offices and, with help from an outside investment fund, will work 'with quality films that can travel,' according to Diederix.Sheadds: 'We're open to everything, all types and all budgets.'The company will kick off at the Rendez-Vous selling a first feature from Fred Cavaye,
  • Western Australian mining boom helps funding for thriller Crush

    Few feature films are made in Western Australia but producer Deidre Kitcher said that profits from the area's mining boom lead to the thriller Crush going into production yesterday.She and co-directors John V Soto and Jeff Gerritsen convinced six investors to put up the $1.76m (A$2m) budget with the help of a three-minute trailer and a business plan that focused on the US teen market. Soto also wrote the script.'Our major investors service the mining industry and would
  • Yip rejoins Hong Kong's Emperor Motion Pictures

    May Yip has rejoined Hong Kong's Emperor Motion Pictures (EMP) as general manager for distribution. Yip left EMP in 2003 to join Fortune Star Entertainment in which she spent the next four years heading up distribution. In her new role at EMP, she reports directly to chief executive Albert Lee.Lee said: 'Yip is one of the most respected and sought-after distribution executives in Hong Kong. I am certain that her wealth of experience would help us in this exceptionally busy year.'