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6 March 2009

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  • Alexander promoted to senior executive VP at Sony International

    Ralph Alexander has been promoted to senior executive vice president of international operations and distribution at Sony Pictures Releasing International.Alexander will oversee 23 managing directors as well as the generaloperational and administrative issues of the territory offices. Hewill also work on a wide range of issues arising out of the territoryoffices as well as from the company's licensees and its joint venturepartners BVI and Warner
  • Andrew Bujalski: 'Mumblecore doesn't mean much for me'

    If Andrew Bujalski never heard the word 'mumblecore' again, he'd be quite happy. 'I'm tired of hearing about it,' he explains from Austin, Texas, days after his latest film, Beeswax, had its world premiere in Berlin. 'I'm tired of the reduction inherent in it. It's designed to take a lot of film-makers and dismiss them all in one fell swoop. I understand why it's useful for critics and writers, but it doesn't mean much or do much for me.'Bujalski does not deny a
  • Ang Lee to head international jury at Venice's 66th edition

    Two-time Venice Golden Lion winner Ang Lee will head the international jury of the Venice FilmFestival’s 66th edition.
  • Australia nears $150m with final territory opening in Japan

    Warner Bros Pictures International's The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button has reached $161m from its overseas adventure and will look to hold on to its international crown this weekend.However with no new releases scheduled for the next several days thedrama may struggle against Sony Pictures Releasing International'sbanking thriller The International and Universal/UPI's comedy RoleModels, both of which open
  • Awards - Oscar winners - Millionaire's playground

    When we started out we had no stars, no power or muscle to do what we wanted. But what we had was a script that had mad love and a genius director ... and we had partners in Film4, Pathe and Fox Searchlight."Celador chief Christian Colson's words after hoisting aloft the best picture Oscar on Sunday night for Slumdog Millionaire encapsulated the rags-to-riches tale of the big winner at the 81st Annual Academy Awards.Here was emphatic vindication of taste and commercial gu
  • Belgrade Fest hosts fourth co-production market

    The 37th Belgrade International Film Festival FEST has opened its fourth East-West co-production market, the B2B Industry Meetings.B2B spotlights countries that are geographically in Europe, but not fully integrated in European film networks and markets, as well as countries outside Europe with strong European influence and heritage.The co-production market gives film-makers, producers, distributors, exhibitors, and public bodies from those countries
  • Benjamin Button crosses $175m but Watchmen looms

    The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button continued a magnificent overseas run through Warner Bros Pictures International to remain top of the Hollywood pack as it soared past the $175m mark. Its domination looks likely to end next weekend, however, when Paramount Pictures International launches the graphic novel adaptation Watchmen day-and-date in North America.Benjamin Button added an estimated $13.4m from more than 5,140 screens for $176.2m, powered by $
  • Boon's Welcome To TheSticksmakes him highest paid actor in Europe

    Welcome To The Sticks director and star Dany Boon has become the highest paid actor in the history of European cinema, according to French daily Le Figaro.The film, which sold nearly 21 million tickets in France alone, has already earned Boon $33m (Euros 26m). Boon directed, starred in and co-wrote the film and still stands to gain further from ancillary revenue. In the number two spot, but well behind Boon, on
  • Cannes announces participants for upcoming Cinefondation Residence

    The Cannes Film Festival has announced the six participants participating in the 18th session of the Cinefondation Residence.The filmmakers are from Israel, Poland, Slovenia, Germany, Guatemala and Chile. There are four first-time and two sophomore directors in the bunch.The six filmmakers will spend four and a half months honing their first or second feature while meeting with executives and creatives from the local industry. The 18th session of the Residence r
  • Content Republicto handleonline release of The Republic Of Love

    Digital distribution company Content Republichas struck a dealwith The Works International to distribute Deepa Mehta's The Republic Of Love online in European territories including Benelux, Germany, Italy and France.Content Republic will release The Republic Of Love this spring as part of its recently announced deal with Babelgum as well as other online partners. The deal was negotiated between Teun Hilte, co-founder of Content Republic, a
  • Departures tops Japanese box office following Oscar win

    In the first weekend since its Oscar win for best foreign-language film, Departures ascended to the number one position at the Japanese box office after re-entering the top ten last week in eighth place.Departures earned $3.3m (Y320.5m) from 299,495 admissions on 189 screens in its 25th week of release. The film's total earnings have now surpassed $39.46m (Y3.84bn).Compounding audience interest was Sunday's 'movie service day', which offers 1,0
  • Dutch DP Anton Van Munster dies at the age of 74

    Anton Van Munster, the award-winning cinematographer and brother of producer-director Bertram van Munster, died on February 11 in Holland after a brief illness. He was 74.After studying cinematography in Rome at the Centro Spirimentale Di Cinematografia, Van Munster worked for many years with Dutch director Bert Haanstra. Their work on the 1963 feature Alleman earned a best documentary Oscar nomination.
  • Elephant Eye sells Sundance winner to France, Spain and Greece

    Elephant Eye Films has sold distribution rights to France (ARP), Spain (Filmax) and Greece(Videorama)for Lee Daniels’ Sundance winner Push
  • Eureka takes UK rights to Soul Power from Celluloid Dreams

    London-based Eureka Entertainment has acquired the UK rights to Soul Power from Celluloid Dreams.Jeffrey Levy-Hinte's documentary about the famous 1974 R&B concert in Kinshasa, Zaire, had its world premiere at Toronto 2008. Sony Pictures Classics picked up North American and Latin American rights.Levy-Hinte produced with David Sonenberg and Leon Gast.The film chronicles the experiences and performances of
  • Film Movement takes North American rights to Munyurangabo

    Film Movement has acquired all North American rights to first-time American film-maker Lee Isaac Chung's Rwandan genocide tale Munyurangabo.The feature was shot entirely in the native Kinyarwanda dialect usinga non-professional cast and crew that included genocide orphans.Munyurangabo premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2007 andwill open in May. The story centres on two boys from the rival Hutuand Tutsi tribes who stri
  • Finalists for the Cartoon Movie Tributes 2009 announced

    Irish animator Tomm Moore who directed Berlinale offering Brendan and The Secret Of Kells, French distributor Bac Films and the production team behind Niko & The Way To The Stars are among the finalists nominated for this year's Cartoon Movie Tributes. Cartoon Movie Tributes rewards companies and personalities who have contributed to the development of European animation over the last year. T
  • Folman, Cantet join Taormina jury in 55th anniversary year

    Oscar nominees Ari Folman and Laurent Cantet have joined the international jury of the Taormina Film Fest. The announcement came along with other initiatives aimed at celebrating the festival's 55th anniversary.France will be this year's 'guest of Honour,' as part of Taormina's focus on Mediterranean cinema. For the event, eight recent French films will bescreened throughout the festival and actress Dominique Sanda, who hasworked with Bernardo Bertolucci an
  • Francis Boespflug to leave Warner Bros France after 12 years

    Warner Bros Pictures France's Francis Boespflug is leaving the company, Warner announced today. Most recently, the industry veteran served as managing director production and distribution for the French arm of the US major.Boespflug, who had been with the company for 12 years, cited personal reasons for his departure.Boespflug was instrumental in positioning Warner France as a major partner to the French production community and helped increase the studio's acti
  • Georgia planning tax incentives for film production

    Georgia is planning to introduce its own programme of tax incentives for film production in the second halfof 2009.Speaking at this year's B2B Belgrade Industry Meeting, KonstantinChlaidze, director of the Georgian National Film Center, revealed thatresearch was currently being carried out with the UK-based consultingcompany BOP on the feasibility of such a scheme.Chlaidze said that the Film Center was working 'very actively' toachieve th
  • German Federal Film Board's finances in question after court ruling

    Future financing of the German Federal Film Board (FFA) was potentially put into question after the German Administrative Court ruled this week that the national funding institution's cinema levy is unconstitutional.According to the German Film Law (FFG) cinema owners are required to pay a levy of between 1.8% and 3% of the annual gross turnover made on each cinema screen so long as the lower threshold of $95,175 (Euros 75,000) gross turnover is reached.In respo
  • HKIFF to open with Shinjuku Incident, Night And Fog

    Derek Yee's Shinjuku Incident, starring Jackie Chan, and Ann Hui's Night And Fog will open this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival (March 22-April 13) which announced its line-up today. The world premiere of both films will take place on March 22, one night before the opening of Hong Kong Filmart, the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) and the third edition of the Asian Film Awards on March 23. Produced by Dragon Emperor Movies, a su
  • How will film festivals survive the funding crunch'

    A snapshot is emerging of an international festival landscape in dramatic flux, as festivals of all sizes are being forced to look anew at how they operate.Last autumn the Jackson Hole Film Festival in Wyoming announced it was shutting down after barely five years of existence, a victim of the economic Darwinism that is sweeping through the industry. Nobody else wants to follow suit, and budget meetings in the coming weeks and months for those festivals that have not already set them a
  • Indian Film Company to co-produce Chadha's Afterlife

    London and Mumbai-based The Indian Film Company (TIFC) has announced that it will co-produce Gurinder Chadha's upcoming project, It's A Wonderful Afterlife, with the director's Bend It Films. Hanway Films is handling international sales on the film which is scheduled to start shooting March 28 in London. The cast includes Shabana Azmi, Sendhil Ramamoorthy (Heroes) and Shaheen Khan (Bend It Like Beckham), and the film will also introduce British-India
  • International - Change hits the top 10

    Four new entries debuted in Screen's international chart this week, the highest of which was StudioCanal's Change Of Plans, from director Daniele Thompson, at number eight. Starring Welcome To The Sticks' Dany Boon, the comedy opened in France, Belgium and French-speaking Switzerland, taking $5.9m from 550 screens for the week's highest screen average at $10,700.India provided the other top 10 entry, with UTV Communications' Delhi 6 in ninth place, grossing
  • Japan's Usen divests stake in ShowTime VoD portal

    Japanese media and communications conglomerate Usen has divested its stake in broadband VoD portal ShowTime Inc. Usen sold its 50% stake in ShowTime to online shopping giant Rakuten Inc for $18.38m (Y1.784bn), making the company a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rakuten. The shares will be delivered on March 25. The two companies jointly established ShowTime in 2001 as Japan's first major broadband provider of movie, animation and TV contents. In recent years, S
  • Juraj Herz to begin shooting Habermann in March

    Slovak auteur Juraj Herz will begin filming March 17 on his new film, Habermann.The $10m production is a co-production between Art Oko Film of Germany, KN Filmcompany of the Czech Republic, and Wega Film of Austria.Atlas Film International is handling international sales. Art Oko producer Karel Dirka expects to have a completed film in time for next year's Berlinale.The story takes place in a small town in the Sudetenland around the year 1938, the year
  • Kirill Mikhanovsky - your man in Havana

    An urban thriller set in contemporary Havana, Fuga Mortis is the story of an adolescent hustler who tries to save his sister from the streets, and discovers his best option is to kill one of his grandfather's ageing comrades. The project's director and writer, Kirill Mikhanovsky, received the Screen International best pitch award at the Baltic Event Co-Production Market in Tallinn, Estonia, in December. He was subsequently accepted to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab.Mikhan
  • Liew Seng Tat aims higher with second feature

    Malaysian writer/director Liew Seng Tat enjoyed a festival hit with his debut feature, Flower In The Pocket, which won the New Currents award and audience award at Pusan 2007 and a Tiger award at Rotterdam 2008.With his second feature, In What City Does It Live', he wants to make sure the film has a bigger life outside of festivals too. 'With (Flower) we didn't think of the business side of the film, of getting distribution, when we were making it,' he notes
  • Meszáros wraps production on historical drama The Hope

    Hungarian auteur Márta Meszáros has concluded production on historical drama The Hope. The film's protagonists are two pioneering politicians, Anna Kethly and Golda Meir, whose lives intersected in 1956. Eniko Eszenyi plays Kethly while Polish actress Beata Fudalej portrays Meir. Other cast include Erno Fekete, Zsuzsa Czinkoczi, and Gyorgi Cserhalmi). Emil Novak is the DOP. By examining the personal and historical consequences of the Sovi
  • Minority report: how training is opening up the film industry

    Film is such a powerful and important medium and it has a huge impact on society. It can't be healthy to have such an imbalance and I can't actually believe it's still as extreme as it is,' says Rachel Millward, founder of UK organisation Birds Eye View (BEV), which supports women film-makers. She may be talking about the under-representation of women in the film industry but the same could easily be applied to the lack of black, ethnic minority, indigenous, disabled, lesbian and gay film-mak
  • Minority report: training in Australia

    Minority training in AustraliaIndigenous Australians now comprise just 3% of the country's population and until the Australian Film Commission (AFC) stepped in to create a dedicated indigenous branch in 1993, they had virtually never had the chance to tell their own stories on screen.This year, the focus on indigenous film-makers looks set to sharpen further still. The branch has been taken over by Screen Australia and its annual budget is expected to double to
  • Minority report: training in the US

    Minority training in the USOne of the hottest US initiatives supporting women and minority film-makers is the Tribeca Film Institute's Tribeca All Access (TAA), a project-based, meetings-driven programme held during the Tribeca Film Festival in April, and now in its sixth year. Programme manager Tamir Muhammad says the 2009 TAA will expand to include workshops and masterclasses on topics such as packaging films in the current economy and alternative distribution.
  • Mitchell Lichtenstein cries Happy Tears

    Mitchell Lichtenstein, whose debut Teeth was a cult favourite on the 2007 festival circuit, unveiled his second film, Happy Tears, in competition at Berlin recently. The story of two very different sisters (played by Parker Posey and Demi Moore) who find themselves looking after their father (Rip Torn) as he succumbs to senile dementia, the film has echoes of his own life.The writer-director, whose father was renowned pop artist Roy, named Happy Tears after one of
  • Ning Hao gears up to shoot Chinese road movie

    Chinese filmmaker Ning Hao will start shooting road movie Wu Ren Qu in China's north-west Xinjiang province on March 10, Ning's Stoneman Films has confirmed. China Film Group Corporation and Beijing Guoli Changsheng Film and TV Productions - which backed Ning's last film Crazy Racer - are both investing in the new production which is budgeted at around $2.92m (RMB20m). Guoli Changsheng is the production company of well-known actor/director Zhang Guoli.
  • Nordisk hopes for pan-Scandinavian blockbuster with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

    Danish director Niels Arden Oplev’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Men Who Hate Women or Män som hatar kvinnor at home) - part one of Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium thriller trilogy - could set box-office records with its hotly anticipated opening today in Sweden and Denmark.Danish major Nordisk Filmis releasing the production by Sweden’sYellow Bird on 166 prints in Sweden, 102 inDenmark, to be followed by 86 in Norway (
  • Opinion: UnderstandingIndia beyond Slumdog

    The triumph of Slumdog Millionaire this week at the Academy Awards as well as its enormous success at the domestic and the global box office has directed the world's attention to India, its talent - such as composer and music star AR Rahman - energy, locations and the narrowing gap with the west as witnessed in the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' format.Many commentators, certainly in the US, have bandied around the word 'Bollywood' in reference to Danny Boyle's crowd-plea
  • Oscilloscope takes domestic rights to Oscar-nominated Garden

    Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired all North American distribution rights to Scott Hamilton Kennedy's Oscar-nominated documentary The Garden.The New York-based company plans a theatrical release this spring and DVD release in early summer on the story of a political wrangle over the fate of a community garden.David Fenkel negotiated the deal for Oscilloscope wi
  • Peter Scarlet resigns as artistic director of Tribeca Film Festival

    Peter Scarlet has resigned his post as Tribeca Film Festival’s artistic director, ten days after it was announced that former Sundance director Geoff Gilmore will arrive in Marchto take up an expansive new role at the New York event.
  • Polish Film Institute awards $17m in funding

    The Polish Film institute has announced more than $17m in new funding for film projects and productions, including $14.5m for feature production. The results of the first funding session in 2009 also include $8.2m in direct support for international co-productions, including Polish-minority co-productions. The single largest grant was $2.2m (PLN 8m) in production funds for Krzyz Walecnych. The film is directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak and is conceived
  • Public funding for cinema in Italy cut by 23% for 2009

    Arts funding in Italy for 2009 has been drastically reduced, with cinema hit by a reduction of $26.7m (Euros 20.9m), sparking a move by the arts community to change Italy's laws governing funding for cinema and the arts. The budget for Italy's single arts fund, the FUS, has been reduced to $509m (Euros 398m) from a projected $726m according to AGIS, the entertainment trade organization that liaises with the government. Specific funding in 2009 for cinema will no
  • Regent takes US rights to Spottiswoode's Shake Hands With The Devil

    Regent Releasing has picked up US rights from Halifax Film to RogerSpottiswoode's drama Shake Hands With The Devil and will release inthe summer.Roy Dupuis stars as Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, a Canadianformer United Nations military officer who alerted the world toongoing atrocities in the war between African Hutu and Tutsi tribes.Deborah Kara Unger also stars.The picture was nominated for 13 Genie Awards in Canada and is based
  • Road movie and black comedy among winners at Belgrade

    The 2009 Belgrade co-production market chose Georgian director Tamara Sulamanidze's feature debut and second features from Kazakhstan's Nariman Turebayev and Macedonia's Igor Panov as best in group at this year's B2B Belgrade Industry Meetings. Projects from three areas, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Euro-Asia were pitched in a public session on February 28 and the group winners were each awarded prizes of $6,300 (Euros 5,000).European film industry figures in
  • Samson & Delilah

    Dir/scr/cine: Warwick Thornton. Aust. 2009. 101 mins
  • Samson and Delilah and Treeless Mountain toast ofAdelaide

    The Adelaide Film Festival may only be in its fourth year but the event has developed a reputation far beyond its age by being the first Australian film festival to seriously launch an international feature film competition and the first to invest in films. Following its lead, Sydney now also has a competition while Melbourne now invests in films.The biggest buzz this year has been around the world premieres of eight Australian features, many of which owe their
  • Seraphine wins seven Cesars including best picture

    Martin Provost's Seraphine was the big winner at Friday night's Cesar awards ceremony in Paris. The film scored seven prizes including best picture.Vincent Cassel took top acting honors for Jean-Francois Richet's Mesrine, the two-part story of France's notorious gangster which had been the most-heavily nominated going into the awards with ten mentions in total. Seraphine, the story of the gifted self-taught painter, had been nominated
  • Slumdog Millionaire bounces 45% after Oscar wins

    The Tyler Perry phenomenon - with Madea Goes To Jail - rolled on at the weekend and eclipsed The Jonas Brothers to hold on to its number one berth for the second consecutive weekend on an estimated $16.5m for $64.9m through Lionsgate.Revenues for the top 12 releases climbed for the fourth weekend in arow as box office stayed on course for a record year. Research companyMedia By Numbers announced that box office had reached $1.8bn and was tracking 1
  • Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

    Dir Andrzej Bartkowiak. US. 2009. 96 minsEven avid fans of the classic video game on which it is based are likely to give a thumbs down to Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. Coming 15 years after the first big-screen Street Fighter -1994’s $99m-grossing Jean-Claude Van Damme outing - this Hyde Park production could possibly have tapped into a second generation of followers of the Capcom game series, and maybe a broader cinema audience too. But with its
  • SWF's Scriptmarket opens for submissions

    Scriptmarket, a scheme to help up-and-coming screenwriters get their films made and on screen, opens for submissions tomorrow (February 27). 'Emerging screenwriters may have written or even optioned a great spec script, but getting it noticed, getting feedback on it and getting meetings to progress it can be an uphill battle,' said David Pearson, director international, Screenwriters Festival and producer at Arturi Films. 'Scriptmarket can help kick start the process a
  • Telefilm backs seven feature projects from Quebec

    Telefilm Canada has announced it will invest in seven Quebecois feature projects, including the true-life story of airline pilot Robert Piche, who glided his powerless jetliner to a safe landing across hundreds of miles of open ocean. Piche will be directed by Erik Canuel from a screenplay by Chantal Cadieux and Ian Lauzon for producer Andre Dupuy. The film will be distributed by TVA Films. Nitro director Alain DesRochers will direct Gerry, a biopi
  • Terribly Happy comes out on top at 2009 Bodil Awards

    Terribly Happy directed by Henrik Ruben Genz was the main winner at the 61st edition of the Bodil Awards in Copenhagen on March 1, taking five awards including best Danish film. Terribly Happy also won best actor, actress, and actor in a supporting role while Jørgen Johansson won best director of photography for both Terribly Happy and Flame and Citron. The awards are bestowed by the Danish Film Critics Association and are consider
  • The Web TodayMarch Archive - International film news on the web

    March 2A fine pickle- The Guardian
  • Training - Opinion - 'It took time but the field opened up'

    For a country where a husband's infidelity is almost tacitly agreed in a marriage contract, it is surprising that machismo has very little place in the French film business. Women have been running companies, working as producers, editors, screenwriters and directors for years in what appears to be one of the few places where the glass ceiling has been seriously cracked.While they certainly do not dominate the profession, there are many women working behind the camera and at the highes
  • Tribeca to open with Woody Allen's Whatever Works

    The world premiere of Woody Allen’s Whatever Works starring Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson and Ed Begley Jr will open the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival on April 22.The picture’s North American distributor Sony Pictures Classics plans a summer release and said the opening night marked ‘the perfect opportunity to celebrate Woody Allen’s return to film-making in New York.’‘I fell in love with New York through Woody Allen’s movies,’ Tribeca co-founder Jane Ro
  • Watchmen

    Dir: Zack Snyder. US. 2009. 162 mins.
  • Watchmen watch: reaching beyond the fan boys through online innovations

    The arrival of Watchmen was always going to generate buzz. On March 6 the film will hit more than 6,000 screens worldwide, with all the major markets opening within the month (the last to open, Japan, is only three weeks behind North America). With a launch of this magnitude in such a tight timescale, how have Warner Bros and Paramount Pictures International attempted to engage a wider audience than the fan-boy faithful’‘We always knew we had a strong fanbase
  • Yubari awards SR: Saitama's Rapper, premieres Slumdog

    Yu Irie’s 79-minute comedy drama SR: Saitama’s Rapper was awarded the grand prix at the19th editionof Japan’s Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival (Feb 26-Mar 2), which wrappedtonight.
  • Zac Efron to be honoured at ShoWest as Breakthrough Performer

    Zac Efron is the latest name to be added to the honouree roster at ShoWest and will collect the 2009 Breakthrough Performer Of The Year Award on April 2.Efron appeared on stage in a musical number at the 81st Annual Academy Awards last weekend and his credits include the High School Musical franchise, Hairspray, and Me And Orson W
  • Zentropa gives birth to new animation outfit

    Denmark's Zentropa has launched a new animation company, Rambuk, to be headed by director Stefan Fjeldmark.Most recently Fjeldmark has been working with Denmark's Fine and Mellow Productions in a non-animation role. Commenting on the appointment, Zentropa CEO, Peter Aalbaek Jensen described Fjeldmark as having 'a rare ability to combine his borderless creativity and leftfield imagination into films often made with a mix of exciting new techniques. He has an offb