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7 April 2003

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  • Alliance Atlantis renews pact with Miramax till 2006

    Toronto-based AllianceAtlantis and has renewed its long-standing sub-distribution pact with MiramaxFilms. The all-rights, all-media deal encompasses all Miramax and Dimensionproduct through December 2006.Since AAC's precursorAlliance Communications first signed the deal in 1994, the arrangement hasproven lucrative to the Canadian company, which enjoys an overwhelmingmarketshare amongst indigenous distributors and more than holds its own againstthe US majors. Earlier this year, AAC's mo
  • Audiences elect Head Of State over Core, Basic

    Movie audiences flirted with the idea of a new President over theweekend as the Dreamworks comedy Head Of State opened at number one on an estimated$14m. The poorly reviewed $35m picture stars Chris Rock as an aspiringpolitician who ends up in the White House. It co-stars Bernie Mac and wasco-writ
  • Australia's Film Finance Corp backs Deck Dogz, Scarlett

    Writer/director Steve Pasvolsky's short film Inja failed to win an Oscar in the live action category for which it was nominated, but yesterday he got a very significant consolation prize: the Film Finance Corporation (FFC) agreed to invest in his debut feature Deck Dogz. Pay-TV outfit The Movie Network is the other equity investor.Universal has already acquired the film for Australia, the UK, Japan and Latin America, a higher than usual number of pre-sales for an Australi
  • Barbara Rudnik to head PLANET documentary prize jury

    German actress Barbara Rudnik (pictured) has been named chairperson of the international jury for the PLANET Documentary Film Prize 2004.The other members of the jury are Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Christian Frei (War Photographer), European Film Award winner Andres Veiel (Black Box BRD) and veteran Polish filmmaker-writer Andrzej Titkow.The prize, which is open to film students and filmmakers who have completed film school within the last five years, in
  • Basic

    Dir: John McTiernan. US 2003. 95mins In a rather odd coincidence of timing, US majors have released three military-themed thrillers in the space of a month: Tears Of The Sun, The Hunted and, now, Basic. More of a whodunnit than the previous two, Basic finds action-director McTiernan (Die Hard) attempting to return to form after his disastrous remake of Rollerball last year. Overly plotted but cunningly structured, the film proves unexpectan
  • Blue Moon wins Grand Prize at Diagonale

    Andrea Maria Dusl's feature debut Blue Moon was the winner of this year's Euros 19,000 Grand Prize at the Diagonale Festival of Austrian Cinema which closed in Graz on March 30. Meanwhile, the Diagonale's Euros 10,000 Prize for Innovative Production was shared ex aequo by Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion (for Elsewhere) and Josef Koschier's SK Filmproduktion (for Am Anderen Ende Der Bruecke) and the Euros 12,000 Prize for Innovative Cinema in the category of inno
  • BVI recruits four top slots for CIA thriller

    Buena Vista International scored a strong weekend for its CIA thriller The Recruit over the weekend with number one openings recorded in four European territories. The UK, Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands all awarded the film, which stars Al Pacino and Colin Farrell, with a lead position.The UK and Ireland saw The Recruit take $1.4m (£920,472) from 381 sites for a weekend average of $3,787. The film took the top spot after expanding from its one screen platform at the O
  • BVITV appoints Alison Homewood

    Buena Vista International Television (BVITV) has appointed Alison Homewood as vice president of sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa, it was announced by Tom Toumazis, vice president and managing director, BVITV. Homewood will report directly into Toumazis and joins BVITV from BBC Worldwide where she was deputy managing director for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. Homewood will join BVITV in early May and lead the EMEA sales force through the international upfronts an
  • Celluloid Dreams takes world rights on Facing Windows

    Paris-based sales house Celluloid Dreams has picked up worldwide rights to Ferzan Ozpetek's Facing Windows. The film, produced by Tilde Corsi and Gianii Romoli's R&C Produzioni, is currently at number two at the Italian box office with more than 1 million tickets sold for a take of Euros 6.4m.Facing Windows is a also a front runner at Italy's upcoming Donatello awards on April 9 with 11 nominations - the most for any film this year - inclduing Best Film, Best Director, Be
  • Cendres Et Cachotteries wins grand prize at Paris fest

    The 18th Paris Film Festival closed Tuesday night with Cendres Et Cachotteries (pictured) by Alice Nellis taking home the Grand Prize. Madame Brouette from Senegalese director Moussa Sene Absa earned two awards, the special jury prize and the best actor statue for Aboubacar Sadikh Ba.American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal won the best actress prize for her role in the S&M in the office story Secretary by Steven Shainberg.The Critic's Prize was split betwe
  • CETV granted extra broadcast rights in China

    CETV, the Chinese-language entertainment channel majority-owned by AOL Time-Warner, has been granted additional broadcast rights in mainland China.In a statement AOL Time-Warner said that the channel will be allowed to broadcast via cable networks in the cities of Guangzhou and Shenzen. Since October 2001 it has been allowed to broadcast in the southern Guangdong province, giving it a legal reach of about one million homes. The new permit doubles that. CETV is also allowed in fo
  • Chouchou continues to dominate French box office

    In its secondweek in France the comedy Chouchou, which is being distributed by Warner Bros, held on to top spot,grossing an estimated $4m (Euros 3.8m) for a $10.2m (Euros 9.6m) running total.In Paris and the suburbs the picture recorded 127,500admissions on 46 screens, while nationwide the figures were 650,000 admissionson 531 screens.The picture,which was produced by Les Films Christian Fechner, enjoyed a 46% market sharenationwide, beating off Dared
  • CIA thriller recruits UK core audience

    Buena Vista International's CIA thriller The Recruit expanded from one to 381 sites in its second weekend on release in the UK and swept straight to the top of the chart with $1.4m (£920,472).The wide opening of The Recruit kept other new hopefuls, including day-and-date launch The Core, off the top and knocked last week's leader, romantic comedy Just Married, into second. The Recruit had previously been platformed for a single week in London's Odeon
  • Cohen remakes hardcore anime classic for Distant Horizon

    DirectorRob Cohen, whose recent filmmaking credits include the international hits XXX and The Fast And The Furious, is teaming up with Distant Horizon to rework the acclaimedbut controversial 1998 Japanese anime shocker Kite into a live action version that will water down theoriginal's explicit sexual content.Inaddition to signing on direct the remake of Yasuomi Umetsu's blood-splattered cultclassic about a young female assassin bent on revenge, Cohen will also pro
  • Constantin Film confirmed as Germany's top producer, distributor

    Constantin Film confirmed its leading position as Germany's top production house and distributor by walking away with almost a third of the Euros 22.6m retroactive "reference" funding handed out by the German Federal Film Board (FFA).The box-office success last year of such (co) productions as the Oscar-winning Nowhere In Africa, Paul Anderson's Resident Evil, Doris Doerrie's Nackt and the teen comedy Knallharte Jungs brought Constantin Euros 5.4m to invest
  • Dobermann director plans eco-friendly documentary series

    Jan Kounen, the French director behind the stylish and hyper-violent 1997 comic-book adaptation Dobermann, is to show another side of his character with the launch of a new series of spiritual and eco-friendly documentaries. Kounen, who is just completing post-production of Blueberry, a stylised fantasy Western, that weighs in with a massive Euros 34m budget, is now preparing a five part-documentary series, Another Reality. The films span the world's forgotten peo
  • Downtown New York to get new film and arts centre

    IFP/New York andFilm/Video Arts (F/VA) have received a $100,000 grant to conduct a feasibilitystudy for a media arts centre in Lower Manhattan.The award ispart of a federal $1m emergency aid package set up to help rebuild New Yorkafter 9/11.The announcementwas made today (Apr 1) by Empire State Development's (ESD) chairmanCharles A Gargano, who said the arts played an important role in urbanregeneration. ESD is New York state's business support agency.
  • Encuentros Iberoamerican market feels the effects of war

    As expected, the war in Iraq had an impact on Encuentros, the first Iberoamerican market (March 21-25) held during Mexico's Guadalajara Film Festival. However, despite several last minute cancellations, the market reported 180 attendees. With a shoestring budget of $120,000, Encuentros had to overcome several problems. Gripes ranged from scarce information on available rights per title to missing English subtitles.Nevertheless, buyers and sellers reported closing a surpri
  • European competition watchdog to rule on Stream/Telepiu merger

    The competition watchdog of the European Commission (EC) is tomorrow expected to announce that the merger of Italian pay-TV companies Telpiu and Stream can go ahead.The deal was sealed five months ago with the News Corp-controlled Stream buying Telepiu from Vivendi Universal's Canal Plus unit for Euros 900m. The deal will leave a single pay-TV operator in the country, but the EC regulators have had to weigh up the possibility that if it blocked the deal one or both companies wou
  • European Film Promotion to tour Argentina

    Pan-European promotional body European Film Promtion (EFP) will presenting a touring programme of new European films through Argentina in May and June as part of a first collaboration this year with the Buenos Aires V Festival Internacional de Cine Independente (BA FICI) (April 16-26)Organised under the banner 'New Directors/New Directions', the programme will visit Cordoba, Rosario, Santa Fe, Salta and Resistencia for screenings of Valeska Grisebach's Be My Star, Gyorgy Palfi's
  • Exhibition vet Bill Doeren joins Kodak Imaging

    Exhibitionveteran William B Doeren has been named vice president of the KodakEntertainment Imaging division and general manager of Kodak Digital Cinemagroup.He replacesRobert J Mayson, who is moving into a full-time role as vice president andgeneral manager of Image Origination Products in the same Kodak division.In a statementEric G Rodli, president of Kodak Entertainment Imaging division, highlightedDoeren's wide experience, adding: 'Bill is the right leade
  • Filardi boards Armada's Drum

    Bringing DownThe House screenwriterJason Filardi has signed on as executive producer on independent financing,production and distribution company Armada Pictures' upcoming thriller, Drum.Filardi will supply creative input on the screenplay aswell as other aspects of the production, which is inspired by real events andcentres on two South African journalists involved in the 1950s anti-Apartheidmovement.Filardi heardabout the pr
  • Film-maker partners with HBO, Magnolia on US release of Friedmans

    Capturing TheFriedmans, AndrewJarecki's galvanizing documentary which was the talk of this year'sSundance Film Festival and winner of its documentary grand jury prize, will bereleased in US theatres in a three-way partnership between Jarecki himself,Eamonn Bowles' Magnolia Pictures and HBO Documentary Films. The team hasopted for an exclusive run in New York City on May 30 followed by an expansionto the next ten major US markets two weeks later. HBO will then premiere thefilm on
  • Former Catch 23 president Barber joins UTA

    Jeremy Barber,the former president of Catch 23 Entertainment, has joined United Talent Agencyas an agent in the motion picture department.Barber, awell-known face on the international festival circuit, will focus onrepresenting film-makers as well as packaging and financing in the independentfilm area. He will work with Howard Cohen, head of UTA's independentpackaging department, and Shana Eddy."Jeremy's unique experiencein the representation and film packaging businesses will a
  • Forsyth, Beaufoy to help finesse four Aurora projects

    A second film from Soft Fruit creative team Christina Andreef and Helen Bowden, and yet another from one of the country's most experienced producers, Matt Carroll, are two of the four projects chosen for the second intensive Aurora script development workshop.Bill Forsyth, who wrote and directed Scottish film Local Hero, and The Full Monty writer Simon Beaufoy, have accepted invitations to lend their expertise to the initiative and will be in Australia in the secon
  • Fox's Daredevil scores $6.6m over weekend

    The acrobaticantics of Daredevilwere too much for the competition over the weekend as Fox's actionpicture scored a string of number one openings, grossing $6.6m on 3,661international screens for a $45.9m running total.Among thehighlights was the United Arab Emirates, where the picture grossed $254,000 on23 screens for Fox's second highest opening ever.Daredevil also took $251,000 on 65 screens inSouth Africa for Fox's seventh highest opening eve
  • France, Germany, UK record declining cinema admissions

    France, Germany and now also the UK are seeing declining admissions in the first stages of 2003.France's national cinema federation, the FNCF, released figures for the first quarter of 2003, showing a 9% decrease in ticket sales compared to the same period in 2002. In February 2002, Asterix And Obelix: Mission Cleopatra was released and tipped the box-office scales early in the year. The film went on to be 2002's biggest local grosser. This year, no one film has ha
  • Franchise, Warner land Monkeyface

    ElieSamaha's Franchise Pictures has signed on to finance the $52m heistthriller Monkeyfaceto star Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones and to be directed by StephenFrears. Laura Bickford and Mark Shorrock are producing the film which will be distributedin North America by Warner Bros per its distribution agreement with Franchise.The deal comesjust a month after Douglas' production company Furthur Films, which isco-producing Monkeyface,signed a two-year first-look prod
  • French film festival in Los Angeles opens with 24 Hours

    The annual CityOf Lights, City Of Angels Film Festival in Los Angeles has unveiled its lineupof 11 new French films which will screen from April 8 to 12. The festival,which is supported by L'ARP, Directors Guild Of America, Film & TVDepartment of the French Embassy, SACEM, Unifrance and Writers Guild OfAmerica, west, kicks off with a gala screening of Laurent Bouhnik's 24Hours In The Life Of A Woman on April 8.Other filmsbeing screened are Guillaume Canet's Mon Idole, Ger
  • German broadcasters to double film funding

    Germany's public and private broadcasters have agreed to double their financial contribution to the German Federal Film Board (FFA) to Euros 22.4m from 2004, State Minister for Culture Christina Weiss (pictured) announced on unveiling the draft German Film Law (FFG) on Wednesday (April 2).While public channels ARD and ZDF will provide Euros 11.2m, the private commercial stations' contribution will consist of both financial support as well as offering advertising slots for German films
  • Germany's Constantin Film reports increased sales

    Germany's leading independent distributor-producer Constantin Film posted a 3% year-on-year increase in sales to Euros 131.2m "in spite of the continuing crisis on the German media market last year", according to figures for the 2002 fiscal year.Constantin reported that it had reached the targets set at the beginning of 2002 and achieved a positive EBIT of Euros 4.8m (2001: Euros MINUS 15.9m) and an EBIT margin of 3.6%.The income from the international exploitation of Residen
  • Gimenez Cacho joins Almodovar's Bad Education

    Actor Daniel Gimenez Cacho (pictured) looks set to take the third lead role in Pedro Almodovar's forthcoming Bad Education (La Mala Educacion) alongside Mexico's Gael Garcia Bernal and Spaniard Fele Martinez.According to reports in both the Mexican and Spanish press, Gimenez Cacho will play a priest who re-encounters a former student whom he had sexually abused, played as an adult by Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien).Martinez, the shrunken man in the silent film-wi
  • HAF decision to be taken today

    Organisers of the Hong Kong Asia International Film Finance Forum (HAF) will today (Tuesday, Apr 1) take a decision as to whether to press on with the projects market scheduled to take place next week (Apr 7-9).Hong Kong is at the centre of an outbreak of a killer virus known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). This has infected 1,500 people worldwide and killed 54. Some 622 of the confirmed cases are located in Hong Kong. With fears about the disease growing and a numb
  • Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum postponed

    The organisers of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) have confirmed that the event has been postponed until further notice due to the outbreak of a deadly virus in Hong Kong. More than 450 industry professionals from 20 countries had registered to attend the projects and co-production market which was due to take place next week (April 7-9). However, following a large number of cancellations, organisers felt they had no choice but to postpone the event. Their decision
  • ICM to open new UK literary division in London

    International CreativeManagement (ICM), the LA talent agency is opening a new London office calledICM Books to be based in Soho Square. Not to be confused with the UK agency runby Duncan Heath, the new division of the Hollywood agency is designed to buildon its reach in the New York book world as well as accelerate the sale offoreign translation rights for its US authors.The office will initially bestaffed by Margaret Halton, foreign rights director, who is transferring fromICM New Yor
  • Infernal Affairs, Hero share honours at Hong Kong Film Awards

    The show went on at the Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday night (April 6) despite the outbreak of atypical pneumonia in the territory. Box office smash Infernal Affairs and Zhang Yimou's Hero were the big winners, taking home seven awards apiece, although the latter scored mostly in the technical categories. Infernal Affairs bagged the award for best film along with best director for Andrew Lau and Alan Mak; best actor for Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and best supporting acto
  • Israel's Channel 10 on the brink of bankruptcy

    The future of Israel's newest television broadcaster, Channel 10, hangs in the balance as controlling shareholder Yossi Maiman gives the station one week to avoid bankruptcy.Maiman, who holds 51% of Channel 10's interests, has recently been injecting some $8m a month into the operation to keep it afloat. Last weekend, however, he decided he had enough. He gathered his partners and told them that unless they started contributing their share to keep the ailing broadcaster afloat,
  • Istituto Luce re-focuses on documentaries

    Italy's 79-year-old state-owned Istituto Luce has decided to re-focus on its original role as Italy's leading maker of documentaries."We want to revitalise our role as a documentary-maker and give it new impetus. We will no longer just make "montage" documentaries, but will produce new ones too," said Istituto Luce president Andrea Piersanti, who took up the position earlier this year.He added: "We want to turn Istituto Luce once again into a factory of Italian documentaries."
  • Italian festival set to withdraw invitations to 22 Chinese guests

    Italy's Far East Cinema Festival, one of the biggest Asian film events in Europe, is to withdraw invitations to 22 Chinese guests who were due to fly in to the country later this month, because of fears of the killer SARS virus. The festival, whose fifth edition will be held in the northern town of Udine from April 24 to May 1st, said it would revoke invitations to all directors, actors, actresses and producers from Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. "We have never underestimated
  • Italian producer seals landmark international co-production deals

    Veteran Italian producer Leo Pescarolo has sealed two landmark multi-million dollar international co-production deals with China and Canada.Fred Wang of Hong Kong's Salon Media Films has taken a 50% stake in the $18m English-language fantasy tale She, which Pescarolo developed through his Rome-based development outfit Imago Film.Salon Media Films, a facilities outfit involved in services and production, is owned by Salon Films, which recently signed a major joint venture
  • Italy follows France in big budget stakes

    Taking a lesson from the French industry, Italian producers are lining up a string of big budget features in a bid to wow local and international audiences.Cast an eye over many of Italy's forthcoming films and one things stands out: despite the financial woes of the local industry, a slew of big budget, commercially-oriented projects are in the pipeline, driven by internationally astute producers. In fact, so many large scale films are in production, that some are beginning to
  • Italy's Mediaset records increased profits

    Mediaset, Silvio Berlusconi's private Italian network, recorded a 45.7% rise in net profits in 2002 to Euros 362m. In 2001, net profits had slipped to Euros 248.4m on the back of losses linked to the company's minority stake in KirchMedia.Overall, however, the group's net financial position on December 31st 2002 still showed a deficit - this time of Euros 170. 8m compared to the Euros 247.8m recorded last year. The improvement, Mediaset said, was due to savings of Euros 126m in
  • Jungle Book sequel gets German boost

    Buena Vista International's belated sequel to 1967's animated classic The Jungle Book scored a strong launch in Germany last weekend to take that country's top chart position.With 472,521 tickets sold the four-day (March 27-30) opening weekend take of $2.6m (Euros 2.4m) from 668 screens The Jungle Book 2 scored a good average of $3,905 per screen. It also managed to knock local favourite Good Bye, Lenin! off pole position after a five week reign, despite the
  • Koch to distribute Passport Video catalogue in North America

    US independent music andhome entertainment distributor Koch Entertainment Distribution is stepping upits DVD operation with the announcement that it has signed an exclusive deal todistribute Passport Video's entire catalogue in the US and Canada.Passport Video'slibrary comprises mostly documentaries and entertainment specials and includesnew releases and reissues of the five-DVD Collectors Sets The Beatles - ALong And Winding Road and TheRolling Stones - J
  • Korean mega-merger cancelled

    South Korean major CJ Entertainment announced on April 4 that it had called off its proposed merger with rival studio Cinema Service, which would have created the Korean film industry's biggest-ever company.Disagreements over price are reported to be the primary reason for the cancellation, although a change in fortunes for the two companies is also believed to have contributed to the decision. CJ Entertainment originally signed a memorandum of understanding on January 29 to pu
  • Korea's Good Fellas targets Vietnam for multiplex growth

    Good Fellas, a Korean exhibition company, is to open its second cinema in Vietnam in May with a dozen more in the pipeline, confirming Vietnam as one of the most promising, untapped international cinema markets.The new venue, to be part of the company's Diamond Cinema (DMC) joint-venture multiplex chain, will be located in Da Nang, a port city in the central region of the country, and will have three screens and 500 seats. Next November the company plans to open a six-screen, 1,000 se
  • Las Palmas awards top prize to Mr & Mrs Iyer

    India's Aparna Sen (pictured) picked up the gold prize for best film for Mr & Mrs Iyer at the fourth annual International Film Festival of Las Palmas (March 28-April 5), which also hosted the first edition of the EuroForum Co-Production Market.Organisers of the first annual three-day EuroForum said that despite some last-minute cancellations, chalked up to the war in Iraq and individual scheduling problems, the debut event surpassed expectations. Some 80 companies held mo
  • Leslie Cheung dies, aged 46

    Hong Kong actor and singer Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing reportedly leapt to his death from a Hong Kong hotel on Tuesday. He was 46. According to Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK, Cheung jumped from the Mandarin Oriental hotel in the Central district of Hong Kong Island in the early evening. He was certified dead after arriving at the Queen Mary Hospital. Police said that a suicide note was found on the body. One of Asia's most popular Canto-pop performers, Cheung also had a distinguished a
  • L'Homme Du Train joins Monsieur Hire for Leconte remake

    Not one, but two films by French director Patrice Leconte are set for English-language remake treatment. According to multiple US sources, Leconte's most recent effort, The Man On The Train (L'Homme Du Train) is poised to be set up via Warner Bros, while earlier drama Monsieur Hire is likely to be made in the UK with Leconte himself in the director's chair.The Man On The Train, a light drama about a bank robber and a retired schoolteacher who want to
  • Lord Of The Rings beats Lord Of The Rings

    In the same week that Universal announced Peter Jackson would be directing a King Kong re-imagining for release in 2005, the second of the New Zealand director's epic The Lord Of The Rings trilogy surpassed the international cumulative gross of its predecessor.The Two Towers became the fifth highest grossing film of all time at the international box office when it passed The Fellowship Of The Ring's $548.5m total at the end of last week. The sequel now boast
  • Madragoa Filmes awarded Portugese production support

    Paulo Branco's Lisbon-based production company Madragoa Filmes has received two of the three latest feature film subsidies granted by the Portuguese Film Institute ICAM.The ICAM (Instituto do Cinema, Audiovisual e Multimedia) announced the three winners of the newest bid for direct financial support to fiction feature films out of 13 submissions. The supports are worth a combined Euros 1.95m, or Euros 648,500 per project.The three films are: Fado Filmes' Dotcom from direc
  • Maid In Manhattan is J Lo's number one international movie

    Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International's (CTFDI) MaidIn Manhattan became thehighest grossing international film starring Jennifer Lopez over the weekend.
  • Malaysia bans Ghobadi's Marooned In Iraq

    The Malaysian censorshipboard, Censorship Film Malaysia, has banned the local release of Marooned InIraq, Bahman Ghobadi'sacclaimed drama which details the impact of Saddam Hussein's devastatingchemical attacks on the Iraqi Kurds.A personal film retitledfrom Cannes 2002 where it played in Un Certain Regard as Songs From MyHomeland, Marooned In Iraq follows an old Iranian Kurd musician who sets out insearch of his long estranged wife who crossed over into Iraqi Kurd
  • Mango Yellow wins top prize in Toulouse

    Brazilian Claudio Assis picked up the grand prize at the 15th annual Latin American Film Screenings of Toulouse, France (March 21-30) for his film Mango Yellow (Amarelo Manga).The prize comes with Euros 3,000 for the film's subtitling and distribution in France. Yellow, which is sold internationally by Brazil's Grupo Novo, won five top awards at last November's Festival de Brasilia including best film, actor (Chico Diaz), cinematography, editing and the public's prize.A s
  • Marleen Gorris to direct Bronte

    Academy Award-winning director Marleen Gorris is to direct Bronte, the story of the Bronte sisters.The Dutch director, who won the best foreign-language Oscar for Antonia's Line, is to go into pre-production in May for Random Harvest, the UK producer and tax-based financier which acquired the screenplay from DreamWorks SKG.Angela Workman, who teamed with Random Harvest on Anna Friel picture The War Bride, wrote the story of Charlotte, Emily and Anne and how
  • Matrix Reloaded confirmed for Cannes

    Likely to deliver some of the most spectacular images on the Croisette this year, Matrix Reloaded has been confirmed as receiving a place in the Cannes Festival's official selection.The film, which is the second installment of the Matrix trilogy and is directed by the Wachowski brothers, will be given a special screening on Thursday May 15. Warner Bros will begin international release of the film immediately after the Cannes premiereCannes said that accompanying th
  • Menemsha takes North American rights on El Bonaerense

    Neil Friedman's LA-based sales and distribution outfit Menemsha Films has acquired North American rights to Argentine police drama El Bonaerense, the second feature from Pablo Trapero. Menemsha secured all rights (with the exception of pay-TV, which went to HBO) from Wild Bunch/ TVOR.Trapero won widespread critical acclaim with his directorial debut Crane World (Mundo Grua). "Crane World got incredible attention in Europe but did not get the same exposure i
  • Miramax bulks up on Chinese video rights

    Miramax Films and Hong Kong-based content providerCelestial Pictures have signed a long-term deal giving the US mini-major aswathe of video and video-on-demand (VoD) rights to numerous titles within the renowned Shaw Brotherslibrary as well as English-language remake rights for two Chinese films.Under the deal, Miramax has video distribution rights for NorthAmerica, the UK, Australia and New Zealand to 50 titles from the library. Inaddition, Miramax retains VoD rights to the entire col
  • Momentum, Bac lead charge for The Statement

    Summit Entertainment hasconcluded a host of sales deals on Norman Jewison's The Statement which started principal photography on Monday inParis and Marseilles. Momentum Pictures acquiredUK rights, Bac Films took France, Gussi bought the film for Latin America,Filmax for Spain, Nordisk for Scandinavia, Columbia TriStar for Australia,Video Vision for South Africa, Lusomundo for Portugal and Central Partnershipfor Russia.The film, which is aCanada/UK/France co-production is
  • Murdoch gets greenlight for Italian job

    The European Commission (EC) watchdog has approved the long-awaited merger of Italian pay-TV companies Telepiu and Stream, paving the way for Rupert Murdoch's single pay-TV platform, Sky Italia.The antitrust authority's thumbs-up comes after an arduous two-and-a-half year battle led by News Corp's own Italian pay-TV company, Stream, and Vivendi Universal's Telepiu to stem their devastating financial losses.The deal was sealed last October, when News Corp agreed to buy Telepiu fr
  • Ned takes $1.5m in Australian opening weekend for Universal

    Ned Kelly followed up its powerful opening day(Screendaily Mar 28) with a $1.5m opening weekend.Buoyed by anintense publicity campaign featuring Heath Ledger and most of the cast, theUniversal Pictures/Endymion Films production opened in 252 theatres and went onto claim a 30% market share over the weekend.It was the thirdhighest opening day for an Australian picture behind Moulin Rouge and Crocodile Dundee II.The debut was33% bigge
  • New film investment, distribution company launched in South Korea

    Kim Dong-joo, ex-president of Korea Pictures, has announced the launch of an ambitious new investment and distribution company to focus on film and the performing arts. Named Show East, the company has recently began shooting on its first feature Mutt Boy, by the director of Korea's current box-office record holder Friend (2001).Other upcoming projects which will be financed and distributed through the new company include Old Boy, a dark thriller directed b
  • Newcomer wins Denmark's NatFilm Natsvaermer award

    At the opening gala for the 14th edition of Denmark's NatFilm Festival newcomer Jannik Johansen received the Natsvaermer Award along with $3,600, which is presented annually to a new talent. The 37 year-old Johansen has written and directed several shorts including A Quiet Death (1997) and Off Track (1999), before assisting first-time directors Anders Thomas Jensen and Hella Joof as assistant director on Flickering Lights (2000) and as technical director on Shak
  • Oscar Moore screenwriting prizewinners secure production co, director

    Jason and Brendan Butler, the new Dublin-based screenwriters who won last year's Oscar Moore Screenwriting Prize, have secured a director and a production company for their script Ton Of Money.Irish production outfit Octagon Films has optioned the project, a comedy about a group of criminals who come across £1m in small change. Robert Quinn, director of new Irish movie Dead Bodies, has filled the directing chair. Since winning the Oscar Moore prize, which is admini
  • Oscars push up Chicago international business by 25%

    Fresh from itshaul of six Academy Awards, including one for best picture, Chicago's international box office leapt25% over the weekend according to Miramax International.The Broadwaymusical adaptation grossed an estimated $7m in markets over the weekend toraise its international running total to approximately $80m.Combined withthe picture's $144.5m US gross, which is the highest ever achieved for aMiramax Films title (Screendaily Mar 30), the worldwide total now stands at
  • Pater Familias

    Dir: Francesco Patierno. Italy. 2003. 94mins.For really vibrant Italian cinema, it is not a bad idea to look away from the industry hubs of Rome and Milan. Naples, in particular, has built a healthy homegrown scene around such directors as Mario Martone (L'Amore Molesto) and Antonio Capuano. Newest boy on the block is Francesco Patierno, whose first feature, Pater Familias, screened in Panorama at this year's Berlinale before heading for the Hong Kong Internatio
  • Phone Booth tops lacklustre box office

    The delayed Foxthriller Phone Boothrang up a modest $15m number one opening gross over the weekend as box officefigures were sluggish for the fourth weekend in a row. Despite two other largeopeners following close behind in second and third places, the general lack ofinspiring films compounded the "war effect" as audiences continued to eschewthe big screen.In PhoneBooth, Colin Farrellplays a publicist trapped in a Manhattan phone booth at the mercy of a sniper,a delicious
  • Plans unveiled for Scottish facilities centre

    Scottish producer Gillian Berrie of Sigma Films has revealed plans to develop Film City Glasgow in the city's Govan Town Hall. Backed by Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, Glasgow City Council and the European Regional Development Fund, the £3m project was inspired by Zentropa's facilities in Denmark - Film City Copenhagen. A 6,500 square metre listed building, the site has two auditoriums, vast office space and enormous cellars and was used during the filming of Lynne Ramsay's debut
  • Prawer Jhabvala to get screenwriting honour at Nantucket

    The Oscarwinning screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is to receive NBC'sScreenwriter Tribute at the eighth annual Nantucket Film Festival (NFF), whichruns from Jun 19-22.Jhabvala wonbest adapted screenplay Oscars for A Room With A View in 1987 and Howards End in 1993. She was nominated for TheRemains Of The Day in1994.Jhabvala'snext project is Fox Searchlight's upcoming comedy Le Divorce, which teams her once again withdirector James
  • Production starts on The Bridge Of San Luis Rey

    Principal photography gets underway today (Friday) in Madrid, on The Bridge Of San Luis Rey, a Spanish-French-UK co-production being sold internationally by Senator International.The film's star-studded cast is headlined by Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Kathy Bates. Irish director Mary McGuckian (This Is The Sea) wrote the screenplay and will direct.Shooting will take place in historical locations in Madrid, Segovia and Cuenca before moving to Malaga and enviro
  • Russian distributors focus on foreign-language films

    Russia's box office grew by a stellar 45% last year - and with the chief beneficiaries being the Hollywood majors, Russian distributors are increasingly relying on foreign-language films.Animation and major releases aside, one of the things that characterises the Russian market is the popularity of French films. Thirty-eight French films were released in Russia last year scoring a healthy 2.5m admissions and a box office of nearly $5m. Asterix Et Obelix: Mission Cleopatre
  • Salamina Soldiers (Soldados De Salamina)

    Dir: David Trueba. Spain. 2003.112 mins.Based on a best-selling novel, Salamina Soldiers (Soldados De Salamina) makes the Spanish Civil War unusually accessible by weaving it into a contemporary tale less concerned with local politics and more with humanity at large. This graceful third feature film from writer-director David Trueba, seems the work of a more veteran filmmaker and solidifies him as one of the most promising of his generation. Salamina Soldiers
  • Scooby cast sign on for Warner's sequel

    Warner Bros hassigned up actors Freddie Prinze Jr, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard andLinda Cardellini to return in the sequel to Scooby-Doo which is set to start shooting on April14 and to open domestically on March 26, 2004.The filmreunites the team behind the first film - James Gunn, will be directed by RajaGosnell and produced by Charles Roven and Richard Suckle of Mosaic Media Group.In the secondfilm, Scooby and the gang confront an anonymous masked villain wh
  • Screwball comedy scores Spain's fifth biggest opening

    Actor-turned-director Jesus Bonilla struck gold this weekend with star-studded comedy Moscow Gold (El Oro De Moscu), recording the fifth top opening weekend ever for a Spanish film.The success follows on the heels of Mortadelo & Filemon - The Big Adventure, which continues its record streak with a cumulative Euros 21.6m in its eighth week. Both films will help boost Spanish cinema's market share, which last year fell to 13.7%. Between January 1 and February 28 2003, that
  • Spanish scriptwriting consultancy to launch in May

    Four Spanish partners are preparing a May launch for their new consulting company abc guionistas (abc scriptwriters) which will offer a range of services related to film and television scripts.If successful, the company could help streamline practices in Spain for scriptwriters and those who hire them. "Agents for scriptwriters are rare in Spain," says veteran writer Valentin Fernandez-Tubau, co-founder of abc with writer Angel Garcia Roldan, actress Amparo Climent Corbin and accountan
  • Strand takes North American rights to A Thousand Peace Clouds

    Santa Monica-based Strand Releasing has snapped up North American rights to award-winning Mexican gay drama A Thousand Peace Clouds Encircle The Sky (Mil Nubes De Paz Cercan El Cielo) by Julian Hernandez. Hernandez, who also wrote the screenplay, recently took home the Best Director and Best Sound awards for his film at the recent Guadalajara Mexican Film Showcase which ran from March 21 to 27. Strand co-presidents Marcos Hu and Jon Gerrans spotted the film in Berlin 2003
  • The Core

    Dir: Jon Amiel. US. 2003. 136 mins. This end-of-the-world action opus is an efficiently executed but unexceptional popcorn flick, which will fail by a long way to produce the big box office numbers its studio maker Paramount Pictures designed it to. The Core's biggest problem is that it falls squarely in the dead space between high-camp B-movie flick and deadly serious thriller. Audiences might have responded more warmly to an undiluted attempt at the former variety a
  • The In-Laws gets world premiere at Tribeca

    FranchisePictures and Warner Bros' comedy The In-Laws, which stars Michael Douglas and AlbertBrooks, will receive its world premiere at the second Tribeca Film Festival onMay 10, co-founders Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal announced today (Apr 3).The picturefollows the uneasy relationship between two prospective fathers-in-law whosechildren are to be married. Douglas plays a secret agent and father of thegroom, whose style unnerves Brooks' straight-laced ch
  • The Punisher catches Dream star

    Thomas Jane, currently starring in Warner Bros' Dreamcatcher,has signed to play the lead role in Artisan Pictures and Marvel Studios' superheroadaptation The Punisher.Set to start shooting in July with a view to a Summer 2004 release,the project is the latest example of the joint venture between Artisan andMarvel to develop, produce and distribute Marvel-based programming across allmedia.The companies plan to share profits equally after distributionfees
  • The Suit (Shik)

    Dir: Bakhtiar Khudoinazarov. Russ-Ger-It-Fr. 2003. 95 mins.The latest outing by director Bakhtiar Khudoinazarov is, essentially, about three country lads fooling about, telling unlikely stories and occasionally becoming maudlin or lovestruck. Charming in its own small way, it is unlikely to have the impact of 1999's Luna Papa on the international arthouse circuit. Still, it will keep fans of the Berlin-based director's brand of Russian whimsy going until Leo, hi
  • THINKFilm buys domestic rights to Brazilian documentary

    THINKFilm haspicked up North American rights to Jose Padilha's award-winningdocumentary, Bus 174.A theatrical release in New York has been scheduled for Oct 8.Since its worldpremiere at the Rio de Janeiro Film Festival last autumn Bus 174 has drawn considerable attention afterfestival selections at Sundance, Rotterdam and Miami.It was named best Brazilianfilm in Rio, won the Special Mention Amnesty International Award at Rotterdamand was awarded the best documentar
  • Toonz Animation to launch training school

    India's Toonz Animation, run by a group of former Disney and Turner executives, is to launch an animation school in May.Based in Thiruvananthapuram, Toonz Animation India was recently ranked among the top 10 animation studios in the world. According to Bill Dennis, president and CEO, the Toonz initiative is aimed at meeting the acute shortfall of trained personnel in the country - even as the animation industry holds the prospects for rapid growth.Those who enrol for the Toonz p
  • Toronto Film Festival announces 'Festival Centre' complex

    The Toronto InternationalFilm Festival Group (TIFFG) today (Tues) launched its new initiative to createFestival Centre, a film complex in Toronto located on the corner of King andJohn Streets which will consist of a five-storey podium building and aresidential condominium development.Announced withmuch fanfare, the new facility will be housed on property owned by Hollywoodproducer Ivan Reitman.The 150,000 sqft space will feature three permanent cinemas and two 'flexible'screenin
  • Tribeca hosts world premieres of InDigEnt film, restored Leone classic

    Kill The Poor, the latest low-budget feature from the festival-winning digitalvideo collective InDigEnt, are among the many additional films that will bereceiving their world premieres at this year's Tribeca Film Festival in earlyMayDirected by Alan Taylor, whose Palookaville won the award for best first feature atthe Venice Film Festival, Kill The Poor appears in the NY, NY sidebar dedicated to films shot inNew York. InDigEnt was previously responsible for several Su
  • UIP signs content deal with Neos Interactive

    UnitedInternational Pictures (UIP) has signed a non-exclusive content deal with NeosInteractive, the developers of upscale hospitality digital entertainment systemNeosTV (formerly known as IRIS).The deal wasfacilitated by content procurement specialist Federal Hill Communications,which was appointed by Neos Interactive to oversee talks with the majorstudios.The UIP packagefeatures a range of titles including The Bourne Identity, Red Dragon and
  • UK Film Council takes over BFI exhibition function

    The British Film Institute's exhibition department is to be closed and its functions taken over by the UK's Film Council.According to local reports from the BBC, the BFI is to close its programming unit, which supplies support to regional film theatres for the screening of arthouse product.According to the BBC, the unit, which also supports the distribution of films, will have its duties re-distributed to the Film Council, the parent body of the BFI.The move comes as the
  • UK's easyCinema to test low-cost cinema concept

    Ending months of speculation, the UK's easyCinema has leased the first site in the roll-out of its innovative low cost cinema concept: UCI's 10-screen multiplex, The Point in Milton Keynes. EasyCinema, part of Greek entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou's no-frills empire easyGroup, will sell tickets for as low as 20p if booked a month in advance, applying the company's yield management pricing structure used in businesses ranging from car rentals to plane tickets. Prices will rise nearer
  • UK's Metrodome picks up The Hard Word, Spellbound

    Fresh from the UK theatrical success of Donnie Darko, indie distributor Metrodome has picked up The Hard Word from Beyond Films and Academy Award-nominated documentary Spellbound.Metrodome is planning a late-summer release for Hard Word, a story of three fraternal bank robbers which stars Guy Pearce and Rachel Griffiths. The film will be released in the US by Lions Gate in June. Jeff Blitz's Spellbound, which was nominated for best documentary
  • US arthouse renamed after benefactor who donated $2.5m

    As a reflectionof philanthropy many arthouse film theatres might envy, the Rafael Film Centrein northern California has changed its name to the Christopher B Smith RafaelFilm Centre to honour donations of $2.5m from benefactor Smith.Smith hails from a family of philanthropists andentrepreneurs and is a long-time supporter of the centre, which is owned andrun by the non-profit California Film Institute (CFI). He joined the CFI boardof directors in
  • US judge rules against National Amusements, Hoyts cinemas

    A US federal judge has ordered two major exhibitors to provide stadium seating to people in wheelchairs, after ruling that both companies had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.Judge William G. Young ruled that National Amusements and Hoyts Cinemas ranked in 2000 among the 10 largest movie exhibitors, discriminated against disabled people by segregating them in the lower, traditional seating sections or special aisles on the edge of the popular stadium-style seats.''As
  • Valentin

    Dir: Alejandro Agresti. Argentina/Holland. 2002. 82mins.Valentin is an immensely likeable if lightweight addition to the existing host of nostalgic, bittersweet comedies about growing up in a dysfunctional family. Small but perfectly formed, it is keenly pitched at middlebrow art-house audiences and quality broadcasters. Miramax, which is also funding director Alejandro Agresti's next two pictures, is scheduled to release it in the US in early summer. Valentin w
  • View From The Top

    Dir: Bruno Barreto. US. 2003. 87mins.Not the absolute disaster many had anticipated, this long-delayed star-studded comedy should overcome its numerous artistic failings and produce some decent numbers on theatrical release around the world. Certainly its $7m opening from 2,508 sites in North America was nothing to be ashamed of, and Miramax Films and its international distribution partners can be confident that the film will pay back their investment in ancillary markets whe
  • Visionbox, Small Planet team on US release of Charlotte

    Los Angeles-basedproduction outfit Visionbox Pictures has teamed up with fledgling USdistributor Small Planet Pictures on the theatrical release of itsaward-winning drama Charlotte Sometimes, with a roll-out scheduled for May in Los Angeles, SanFrancisco, Chicago and Hawaii.The film, written and directed by Eric Byler (Kenji'sFaith), centres on a love triangle betweena reclusive car mechanic, his room-mate and a beguiling stranger.
  • Wellspring hires Rob Williams in acquisitions dept

    Wellspring has appointed RobWilliams as manager of acquisitions. Williams arrives from Dreamworks'New York office and will report to the newly appointed head of acquisitions,Marie Therese Guirgis; his responsibilities include acquiring films and programmingfor Wellspring's theatrical, home video and worldwide sales businessunits.'Rob's experience inboth studio and arthouse film distribution will serve us well. His passion forworld cinema and his marketing know-how are going to be treme
  • Wenders tipped to get back his old company

    Wim Wenders and Peter Schwartzkopff, who jointly founded Reverse Angle Production in Hamburg last autumn, are now favourites to retrieve Wenders' old production company Road Movies from the insolvent Das Werk group, according to Germany's Die Welt.The daily newspaper reported at the weekend that Das Werk's insolvency administrator Holger Lessing had also conceded that Wenders and Schwartzkopff had 'good chances' of taking over the production house, although no agreement had yet been re