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7 April 2004

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  • Alliance Atlantis gets Canadian rights to Super Size Me

    Alliance Atlantis's OdeonFilms has acquired Canadian rights to Morgan Spurlock's Sundance-prize winning SuperSize Me. The deal was negotiated bySpurlock and Odeon president Bryan Gliserman between Sundance and Austin'sSouth-By-Southwest Festival (SXSW).Odeon vice-president ofmarketing and publicity Mark Slone told ScreenDaily that the film was the idealtheatrical documentary release because of its marketability. "It's extremelytopical. The debate over obesity in North America, t
  • Asian territories embrace The Christ

    IconEntertainment's The Passion Of The Christ showed that it could play beyond traditional US and European strongholds over the weekend, placing number one in the market in five Asianterritories for Fox International. In South Korea, where 49% of the population is Christian, it amassed a huge $2.3m opening on 157 screens.The film opened with $0.9m in The Philippines on 132screens, it took $0.58m in Singapore on 32 screens and $0.57m in Hong Kong on39 screens. I

    Two high-profile family-friendly openers, UIP's The Cat In The Hat and Roadshow's Scooby-Doo 2, failed to make a dent in the popularity of 50 First Dates, despite the latest Adam Sandler romantic comedy being on fewer screens and in its second week.50 First Dates grossed A$2,573,524 from 286 screens, The Cat In The Hat took A$1,570,536 from 294 screens, and Scooby-Doo 2 took A$1,386,186 from a whopping 328 screens - so far in 2004, only Retu
  • Baober In Love (Lian Ai Zhong De Bao Bei)

    Dir: Li Shaohong. China. 2004. 100minsHad the Berlin festival in February been just a touch more adventurous it might have scheduled Baober In Love as the Chinese film in competition rather than Sylvia Chang's pleasant but predictable 20 30 40. Programmed in the International Forum sidebar, the surprising Baober was allowed to languish. Its qualities of entertainment, modernity and visual excitement were better displayed at this month's Hong Kong Internat
  • Best Of Youth sweeps Italian critics' prizes

    Marco Tullio Giordana's epic The Best of Youth has swept the Nastri d'Argento awards, winning seven of the prestigious Critics' prizes, including best director, best screenplay and two collective awards for its ensemble cast.The Best Of Youth, which won Un Certain Regard at Cannes last year, is a six hour film that was originally conceived as a two-part RAI TV series about the trials and tribulations of two brothers between the 1960s and the present day. It was picked up
  • British Film Institute unveils plans to 'open up'

    The British Film Institute (bfi) is to receive one of thebiggest shake-ups in its 70-year-history.Following a nine month internal review, chairman AnthonyMinghella and Director Amanda Nevill have announced a series of initiatives to"open up" a cultural organisation which, though widely respectedworldwide, has developed a reputation for being aloof and too reliant (inMinghella's words) on "the cultural hegemony of London."Extra money will be invested in making the National Film a
  • BVIT to sell Miramax reality TV show

    Buena Vista International Television, Walt Disney's film and TV sales division, has picked up its first TV product from Miramax Television.BVITV will handle Project Runway, a reality show offering a 'behind the catwalk' look at the fashion industry, and the associated format rights. The US show features supermodel Heidi Klum and will air on the Bravo channel from November this year.The deal was announced by Rick Sands, Miramax Films COO, and Tom Toumazis, senior vice pres
  • Call to cancel Stuttgart film festival

    The future of next year's Filmfest Stuttgart-Ludwigsburg looks uncertain after comments by Gabriele Roethemeyer, chief executive of the MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg fund and managing director of the festival's organising body.Speaking to the local newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung on the eve of this week's International Animation Film Festival, Roethemeyer said that she wouldn't "be unhappy if it came so far" if the Filmfest did not take place in July 2005.Admissions for the 2003 edition
  • Chancellor Schroeder to open Oberhausen short film fest

    Germany's Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is to be one of the opening speakers at the 50th edition of the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (April 29 - May 4)The opening event will also see filmmakers Wim Wenders, Soenke Wortmann, Romuald Karmakar and Eija-Liisa Ahtila presenting short films which were screened at past editions of the internationally renowned festival.5,256 shorts were submitted this year for the four competition sections, with 68 selected for th
  • Cianciotta returns to distribution at Canada's Capri

    Gabriella Martinelli's CapriFilms has appointed exhibition and distribution veteran Tony Cianciotta aspresident of its new distribution division, Capri Releasing.The Toronto-based shingleannounced its first release: Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster, for which Cianciotta picked up Canadian rights atBerlin from Films Transit. The documentary, directed by Joe Berlinger and BruceSinofsky, chronicles the trials and tribulations of the aging members of theinfamous heavy metal band.
  • CTFDI's Gothika surges to $6.1m weekend

    Columbia TriStar FilmDistributors International (CTFDI) saw its horror thriller Gothika surge to $6.1m on 1,737 screens over the weekend oninternational release, including a strong $2.6m opening in the UK on 306screens for third position in the market.The Halle Berry-starrer hasnow totaled $58.1m in CTFDI territories which consist of all internationalexcept Japan which was retained by domestic distributor Warner Bros. It alsoopened in Sweden with $0.21m on 51 screens.Mean
  • Czech film funder faces reduced revenues

    The lower house of the Czech parliament voted March 31 to reduce advertising on public network Czech Television, fuelling film industry fears that a major source of financing is drying up.Czech Television spokesman Martin Krafl told that if the upper house and president approve the measure, "We will lose in advertising approximately $7.4m (CZK 200m) per year."Among the films Czech Television has helped finance in recent years are Oscar nominees Musime S

    Denmark's first CGI movie, Terkel In Trouble was directed by Stefan Fjeldmark, Kresten Vestbjerg Andersen and Thorbjorn Christoffersen. The $1.2m film is based on a story written by the Danish comedian Anders "Anden" Matthesen and is a production by Thomas Heinesen for Nordisk Film Production, in collaboration with A-Film.Released on 75 screens, the film beat The Passion Of The Christ to the top of the chart, grossing just short of $650,000 over the weekend.
  • Ella Enchanted

    Dir: Tommy O'Haver. US. 2004. 95 mins.Somewhere underneath the decorative clutter of characters, effects, jokes and name actors which over-stuffs Ella Enchanted, director Tommy O'Haver has fashioned a sweet, good-natured fantasy which wisely banks on the delightful new star Anne Hathaway to provide its heart.With Home On The Range and The Prince & Me also in the US marketplace when it is released on Apr 9, it faces competition for the family bu
  • Eurimages chief plays up Media Programme 'collaboration'

    Eurimages chief Jacques Toubon has distanced himself from comments he made earlier this week suggesting that a merger between the Media Programme and Eurimages may be inevitable in the future.Last week, in an email interview with, he said it would be "natural that the two initiatives will merge in the future."Blaming a translation error, Eurimages now says that it should have used the word "collaborate" instead of "merge."A spokesperson for Toubon commente
  • Faithless Games wins Plzen Czech film fest

    Michaela Pavlatova's Faithless Games was the winner of the GoldenKingfisher Award for Best Feature Film at this year's Finale Festival of Czech Films in Plzen (29 March - 4 April)The festival's International Jury called Faithless Games "a well-crafted work reflecting the unpredictable aspects of everyday life." The film had previously been shown in competition at San Sebastian and Cottbus last year.Meanwhile, Vladimir Moravek's Bored In Brno, which took five
  • Feature collaboration just the ticket for Loach, Olmi, Kiarostami

    International festival favourites Ken Loach, Ermanno Olmi and Abbas Kiarostami are teaming up to direct a single feature film entitled Tickets.The three veteran directors co-wrote the screenplay, which takes place on a train from an Eastern European country to Rome's Termini station. The film is expected to start shooting on May 31st in Austria.Unlike previous collaborations such as 11'09''01 - September 11, by Ken Loach, Danis Tanovic and Sean Penn, and the upcomi
  • Filmfest Dresden suffers unexpected funding cut

    This year's Filmfest Dresden has been dealt a financial blow by the city hall just three weeks before the opening of the international festival of animation and short films on April 13.The City of Dresden has slashed its support for the 2004 edition by 40%, leaving the festival with a Euros 50,000 hole in its Euros 340,000 budget and insufficient time to find alternative sources of finance.The state of Saxony on the other hand, has extended its support for the festival this year
  • First Look gets domestic to family drama Touching Wild Horses

    First Look Media has pickedup all domestic rights to Eleanore Lindo's family drama Touching Wild Horses, which stars Jane Seymour, Charles Martin Smith andMark Rendall.First Look's Bill Bromileynegotiated the deal with David M Perlmutter of the privately owned Canadianproduction company Chesler/Perlmutter.First Look Media will openthe picture theatrically on Apr 30 in Salt Lake City followed by a home entertainmentrelease in the autumn.The pictu

    Les Choristes remained at number 1 this week with only a 4% drop off its first week out.New entry, Enki Bilal's Immortel, an eerie mix of sci-fi and animation, landed at number 2 with a strong $7,112 per screen average.Viggo Mortensen actioner Hidalgo opened at number 3 with disappointing results and only $136,617 on 349 screens.The rest of the pack dropped off by roughly 40% as France gears up for the Easter weekend and school vacations that follow.
  • France gets new Culture Minister

    Following France's recent elections which saw the upheaval of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's government and a resurgence of the conservative right, culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon is on his way out after only two years in office.Replacing Aillagon is Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, a former deputy minister of European Affairs in Raffarin's first cabinet.On Thursday, his first day in office, de Vabres pledged his commitment to finding a solution to the ongoing showbusin
  • French cinema looks to boost profile in China

    For the first time ever, Unifrance is to organise a French film Panorama in Beijing (April 8-11) with the aim of boosting the profile of French cinema in China.In conjunction with the Chinese authorities and the French embassy in China, ten French films have been selected by the Chinese Film Office for public screenings at the Chinese Senate.The initiative is the fruit of months of meetings between the two countries and follows former culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon's off
  • French show healthy Passion for Gibson epic

    Despite boycotts and lawsuits in the lead up to its French release, The Passion Of The Christ has had a healthy first five days at the local box office.On its opening day, Wednesday March 31, Mel Gibson's film sold 82,111 tickets for a take of just over $500,000 on 502 screens.It's not a blockbuster tally - by comparison recent hit, Les Choristes, did nearly twice that business on fewer screens on its opening day.The Passion went on to sell nearly hal
  • German network cuts acquisition spend, ups film support

    ARD, Germany's public broadcasting network plans to cut its spending on film production and acquisition by Euros 100m over the next four years from 2005.Speaking to the German news agency dpa, Hans Wolfgang Jurgan of the film licensing subsidiary Degeto Film said that the present annual expenditure of Euros 240m-250m would be reduced by around 10%, although it was not planning to reduce the number of programme slots or increase the number of repeats. The network would rather make savin
  • German p&a fund comes unstuck

    The p&a fund model launched last year by Ideenkapital to raise investment for the marketing costs of three 20th Century Fox releases appears to have come unstuck.According to the Association of German Media Funds (VDM), the tax authorities in Munich at Finanzamt Muenchen III are not expected to recognise the tax relief which was being claimed by some 4,600 investors on the Euros 231.2m they had invested in Ideenkapital's Mediastream IV fund last year.The three features which wer

    A ridge of high pressure over Central Europe brought a spate of unexpected warm spring weather over the weekend. Consequently, cinemagoers disappeared into the beergardens rather than the cinemas and the result was seen in the lower overall attendance.Disney's Brother Bear held onto the top spot for a third week to gross $10.9m overall so far, while the only new entries in the weekend's Top 10 - Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed and Peter Pan - opened weakly with $8
  • Goldman to produce Crimson Rivers III

    During his acceptance speech as French producer of the year, Alain Goldman confirmed that he will be producing a third instalment in the successful Crimson Rivers franchise, to be directed by Florent Emilio Siri who is currently working on Bruce Willis vehicle Hostage.Goldman will also produce an adaptation of 2000 best-seller Frederic Beigbeder's 99 Francs and another Jean-Christophe Grange (Crimson Rivers) novel, The Birdwatcher.The Internati
  • Goldmann named president of Atmosphere Entertainment MM

    Bernie Goldmann has beennamed president of Mark Canton's LA-based Atmosphere MM Entertainment. He willoversee Atmosphere MM's film and TV development and production activities, willtake an equity stake in the company as well as a seat on its board ofdirectors.A former president ofproduction for Village Roadshow Pictures Entertainment, Goldmann most recentlyproduced Taking Lives with Cantonat Warner Bros, which was the first film under the Atmosphere MM banner.Goldmann fir
  • Haneke plans Paris shoot for Cache

    Director Michael Haneke will begin shooting his latest film,Cache, in Paris on July 5, moving on toAustria where it will be completed in early September.The film stars Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche as ahusband and wife caught in a story of intrigue and revenge.Auteuil is Georges, a TV presenter who begins receivingmysterious packages filled with video tapes of himself and his family takenwithout his knowledge. When the tapes become more personal Georges goes to thep
  • HBO Films wraps up Mrs Harris

    Production has wrapped in Los Angeles on Mrs Harris, starring Annette Bening and Sir Ben Kingsley.The Number 9 Films and Killer Films production is produced for HBO, and is written and directed by playwright Phyllis Nagy.A tale of love and obsession, Mrs Harris explores the story of Jean Harris (Bening), who killed her lover, Dr. Herman 'Hy' Tarnower (Kingsley), a respected cardiologist and author of the best-selling The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet.
  • Hellboy scores heavenly bow for Revolution and Sony

    Itwas another strong weekend at the North American box office, with overallticket sales for the top 12 films up 39% from the same weekend last yearcontinuing an upward trend on 2003 for the sixth consecutive weekend.RevolutionStudios' well-reviewed comic book actioner Hellboy directed by Guillermo Del Toro opened at number onewith a $23.5m gross through Columbia Pictures.Thefilm, which stars Ron Perlman as the bright red, cigar-chomping demon workingfor good in a world of
  • High Point strikes MIP-TV deals on feature slate

    At the recent MIP-TV, UK sales house High Point Films And Television secured a number of deals for its feature film slate.Dutch blockbuster Peter Bell was sold to Belgium's VRT, Hungary's (HBO) and TV Markiza of the Slovak Republic. TV Markiza also picked up another Dutch film, Bella Bettien, while a third Dutch theatrical title Little Crumb was sold to Finland's YLE.Chinese TV distributor Star Image picked up Bootleg, a family drama about the chocola
  • IFC backs documentary about Z Channel from Cassavetes

    The Independent Film Channelhas unveiled its latest original documentary Z Channel: A MagnificentObsession which is the feature directorialdebut of Xan Cassavetes. The film looks at the ground-breaking LA film channelof the 1970s and 1980s and its brilliant but troubled programmer Jerry Harvey,who committed suicide after murdering his wife in 1988.The documentary includesinterviews with Robert Altman, Jacqueline Bisset, James Woods, QuentinTarantino, Jim Jarmusch, Alexander Payn
  • Immortel (Ad Vitam)

    Dir: Enki Bilal. Fr-UK-It. 2004 102 mins.A futuristic take on the Greek myth of Amphitryon, set in New York City in 2095, Immortel is the visually exciting third feature from Enki Bilal, the Belgrade-born artist who is one of the dominant figures in European comic strip art. Using a darkly baroque blend of live action and flesh-and-blood actors with computer-generated animation and characters, Bilal has produced one of the more strikingly credible strip-to-screen makeo
  • Innocence

    Dir/scr: Mamoru Oshii. Japan. 2004. 99mins.Japanese sci-fi animation, from Katysuhiro Otomo's Akira (1988) onwards, often points towards a post-apocalyptic part-human future. For all the blasts 'n' babes - the buffed heroines in spandex pouring thousands of rounds into clanking foes - the essential vision is dark. But as Mamoru Oshii's Innocence makes clear, not all Japanese sci-fi animators are following the same path into dystopian gloom.A follow-up
  • International executives lead New Zealand film school

    Fortissimo Film Sales' Wouter Barendrecht, German-based producer-distributor Karl Baumgartner, UK-based producers Judy Counihan and Rosa Bosch and The Warrior producer Bertrand Faivre are amongst the tutors at this month's Film Business School In New Zealand.Twenty-one New Zealand producers have been selected to attend the five-day course, the first time that the event has been held in the southern hemisphere. The intensive residential course starts April 12 and focuses on finan

    As Italy braces itself for the release of The Passion Of The Christ on April 7, five new films opened at the box office last weekend, although none of them garnered a warm reception during what turned out to be a particularly lukewarm weekend.Columbia Tristar's Peter Pan opened at number 4 on 251 screens, but earned only $637,006 for a disappointing screen average of $2,538. UIP's School Of Rock also opened timidly in eighth place, grossing just $305,667 from 144 s

    Both of this week's new releases in the nine-major-cities chart opened strongly, with Something's Gotta Give recording a $41,935 average on 17 screens and Bong Joon-ho's Memories Of Murder, $40,909 on two.Something's Gotta Give was boosted by its raft of awards, particularly the Oscar Best Actress nomination for Diane Keaton. It also appeals to the middle-aged female demographic that made Callas Forever last year's longest-running art house hit.Meanwh

    In the box office battle between Disney's bears and Shochiku's dog, the latter again emerged victorious for the second week running.Helmed by Yoichi Sai, a director better known for his excursions into the underworld and, on TV, his pungent wit, Quill grossed $883,396 on 17 major urban screens, compared to $526,488 for Brother Bear.Based on the true-life story of a seeing-eye dog, the film is expected to finish near the $47.6m (Y5.0 billion) mark recorded by Shoch
  • JAPAN Production Listings - April 7 2004

    JAPANPRE-PRODUCTIONASHURAJO NO HITOMI(Shochiku) Int'l sales: Shochiku. Dist (Jap): Shochiku. Samurai action drama. A samurai battles with monsters that haunt ancient capital Edo. Dir: Yojiro Takita. Scr: Masashi Todayama. Main cast: Somegoro Ichikawa. Release date: Spring 2005.Contact: Kiwamu Sato, Shochiku, (81) 35550 1623CHI TO HONE(Be Wild, Artist Film, Asahi Hoso, Eisei Gekijyo) Backers: Be Wild, Artist Film, Asahi Hoso, Eisei G
  • Japan's Klockworx makes entry into US distribution

    Japanese distributor TheKlockworx Company is boldly stepping into the US distribution market, teamingup with US independent Pathfinder Pictures to buy and release films in the US.Klockworx plans to acquirebetween 20 and 30 films for theatrical and DVD release in its first year ofoperation, about half of which will go theatrical. Each will be allotted atotal acquisition and P&A budget in the $7m to $10m range. Pathfinder'sexisting distribution infrastructure will handle the new titles.
  • Kal Ho Naa Ho leads IIFA nominees

    Nikhil Advani's romance KalHo Naa Ho leads the pack of fifthInternational Indian Film Academy (IIFA) nominees with 12 nods including bestpicture, best actor, best actress and best direction.The nominations wereannounced at the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi, India, on Mar 31. All winners willbe chosen by the public and handed out at the Singapore Indoor Stadium at theculmination of the IIFA weekend in Singapore that runs from May 20-22.It was also announced thatthe three-day
  • Karma proves a winner at Hong Kong Film Awards

    Running On Karma, directed by Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai, scooped three prizes including best film at the 23rd Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday night, while To was awarded best director for cop drama PTU.An action adventure film that ruminates on reincarnation and destiny, Running On Karma also picked up best screenplay and the best actor prize for Andy Lau's performance as a bodybuilder and former monk.During a night in which the honours were fairly evenly sp
  • Kill Bill Vol 2

    Dir: Quentin Tarantino.US. 2004. 136 mins.Rather like ThePassion Of The Christ, weknow how Quentin Tarantino's four-hour-plus epic Kill Bill will end. Yes, plot spoiler ahead, she killsBill. The pleasure, of course, comes in the journey, and, in contrast to thehigh style and stylized action of Vol 1, Vol 2 is as seductive for its verbose drama as much for its brilliantfight sequences. Talky and character-drive
  • Kill Bill Vol 2 review

    Dir: Quentin Tarantino.US. 2004. 136 mins.Rather like ThePassion Of The Christ, weknow how Quentin Tarantino's four-hour-plus epic Kill Bill will end. Yes, plot spoiler ahead, she killsBill. The pleasure, of course, comes in the journey, and, in contrast to thehigh style and stylized action of Vol 1, Vol 2 is as seductive for its verbose drama as much for its brilliantfight sequences. Talky and character-drive
  • Knots to close Gen Art Film Festival on Apr 20

    Greg LombardoC;s comedy Knots has been named the closing night film of this yearC;sGen Art Film Festival on April 20 in New York City.The festival which starts onApril 6 is now in its ninth year and was founded in 1996 to showcase emergingUS independent film-makers. Among the films it has screened include directorialdebuts by Brad Anderson (The Darien Gap), Tim Blake Nelson (Eye Of God) and Peter Mattei (Love In The Time Of Money)
  • Knots to close Gen Art Film Festival on Apr 20

    Greg Lombardo's comedy Knots has been named the closing night film of this year'sGen Art Film Festival on April 20 in New York City.The festival which starts onApril 6 is now in its ninth year and was founded in 1996 to showcase emergingUS independent film-makers. Among the films it has screened include directorialdebuts by Brad Anderson (The Darien Gap), Tim Blake Nelson (Eye Of God) and Peter Mattei (Love In The Time Of Money). This year, courtesy of Acura
  • Lolafilms to get retrospective at US Museum Of Moving Image

    The US premiere of Fernando Trueba's comedy-drama Girl Of YourDreams (La Nina DeTus Ojos) starringPenelope Cruz will kick off a two-week retrospective of Spanish productioncompany Lolafilms in New York on Apr 30.
  • Malaga film festival unveils competition line-up

    The Spanish Film Festival of Malaga (April 23 - May 1) has unveiled its full competition line-up for this year's seventh edition, where actress Geraldine Chaplin, director Fernando Trueba and distributor Enrique Gonzalez Macho will receive tributes.The 16 films in competition offer a broad selection of the current Spanish film industry, featuring a mix of new and veteran filmmakers and production companies, and a range of budgets and genres.They also showcase a slew of high-prof
  • Marshall to get career tribute at Tribeca Festival

    The world premiere of GarryMarshall's comedy Raising Helenstarring Kate Hudson at the Tribeca Film Festival will kick off a tribute tothe veteran director on May 2.The screening will befollowed by an on-stage interview and Q&A session with Marshall, whosecredits include Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries and Runaway Bride."We are honoured andthrilled to have the opportunity to pay tribute to Garry Marshall at thisyear's Tribeca Film Festival,' festival co-fo
  • Massive marketing push for Passion in Italy

    Eagle Pictures' head of marketing, Antonio Adinolfi, has spent Euros 2.5m to publicise Mel Gibson's Passion Of The Christ, which is released in Italy today, Wednesday (April 7).The figure, which is huge compared to the usual marketing budget of Italian indie distributors, has been spent mainly on TV advertisements and outdoor posters.Eagle benefited from Italy's notoriously lenient ratings board deciding that The Passion could be released in Italy without an
  • Media Programme, Eurimages merger 'inevitable'

    Jacques Toubon,head of the Eurimages production aid scheme, thisweek told that mergerwith the Media programme may become "inevitable".The former French culture minister said that such a move could be a consequence ofthe imminent enlargement of the European Union (EU)."Soon the MEDIAProgramme and Eurimages' membership will overlap, with the consequence that itwill no longer make sense to keep two separate institutional frameworks: theEuropean Union for the
  • Michael Grade appointed chairman of the BBC

    Michael Grade, the former chief executive of Channel 4, has been appointed chairman of the BBC.Grade heads UK studio group Pinewood Shepperton, which he announced only this week would float this year on the London stock exchange.Grade is a former controller of BBC1 and director of BBC television programmes and was branded "pornographer in chief" by the right wing press after introducing explicit programmes at Channel 4.He succeeds Gavyn Davies, who resigned in January aft
  • Mira Nair hatches film deal with Indian poultry giant

    Mira Nair's Mirabai Films has announced a partnership with Indian poultry giant Balaji Rao's Bala Entertainment to establish a film production company that will create independent Asian cinema for the world market.The new production company, International Bhenji Brigade, is looking at producing three South Asian or Asian diaspora films over the next three years.The new company will have offices in Mumbai and New York. The company has a budget of $10m and will produce three movie
  • Miramax takes Stratus' Hostage for North America

    MiramaxFilms has acquired North American rights to Hostage, the Bruce Willis action thriller financed byStratus Film Company and scripted from his own novel by Robert Crais.FlorentSiri (The Nest) is directing thefilm, which is currently shooting in Los Angeles, and Stratus, Equity Picturesand Cheyenne Enterprises are the production entities. The film's producers areCheyenne partners Arnold Rifki
  • Morante named as mistress of Cannes ceremonies

    Italian actress Laura Morante will act as mistress of ceremonies for the 57th Cannes Film Festival which begins on May 12.Morante succeeds Monica Bellucci who held the post last year.Her duties will include opening and closing the official competition and welcoming jury president Quentin Tarantino on the first night of the festival.Morante is the daughter of author Elsa Morante and last appeared in Cannes in 2001 when she co-starred in Nanni Moretti's Palme d'Or winner
  • Morante named as mistress of ceremonies

    Italian actress Laura Morante will act as mistress of ceremonies for the 57th Cannes Film Festival which begins on May 12.Morante succeeds Monica Bellucci who held the post last year.Her duties will include opening and closing the official competition and welcoming jury president Quentin Tarantino on the first night of the festival.Morante is the daughter of author Elsa Morante and last appeared in Cannes in 2001 when she co-starred in Nanni Moretti's Palme d'Or winner
  • Netherlands gets 1 More Film distributor

    The rapidly changing Dutch distribution scene this week sees the launch of one more distribution company, appropriately called 1 More Film.The company is headed by Wallie Polle and Suzan van der Veen, both recently with The Netherlands' leading distributor A-Film. Polle is an industry veteran who has previously worked at Bij The Movies, Meteor Film and Polygram. Van der Veen previously worked with Kriterion, C-Films and Fu Works.Its first release on April 22 will be Bent Hamer's

    Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed scampered to the top of the US charts with $29.4m at the weekend, averaging a healthy $8,888 from 3,312 sites. Family specialist Raja Gosnell's follow-up to his 2002 original didn't come close to that picture's $54.1m opening weekend, although it didn't open in a lucrative summer slot like its predecessor. Nevertheless SD2 did produce the studio's best March opening of all time.Buena Vista's The Ladykillers opened in second place on

    Norwegian thriller A Cry In The Woods, based on the book by Karin Fossum, opened in second position over the weekend, grossing $806,500 for distributor Scanbox.Other openings included The Story Of The Weeping Camel which took $19,433 from nine sites for 16th position.
  • Oscar names its 2005 dates: Feb 27 is the big night

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences has setits key dates for next season with the 77th Academy Awards scheduled to takeplace on Feb 27 2005 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.Nominationballots will be mailed on Dec 27 2004, the polls will close at 5pm PST on Jan15 2005 and the nominations will be announced at 5.30am PST on Jan 25.Final ballotswill be mailed on Feb 2 and the polls will close at 5pm PST on Feb 22.
  • OZ and NEW ZEALAND Prod Lists - April 2 2004

    AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALANDAUSTRALIAPRE-PRODUCTIONDECEMBER BOYS(Becker Films) Backers: Film Finance Corporation Australia, South Australian Film Corporation. Int'l sales: MBM (German-speaking territories), Aura Entertainment (rest of world). Dist: Becker (Aust/NZ). Drama. Four orphans go for a holiday by the sea. Friendships are tested and new alliances made when rumours emerge that two seaside families are looking to adopt. Prod: Richard Becker. Dir: Rod
  • Passion passes $100m from 44 international markets

    Current global box office king The Passion Of The Christ held onto the top international position last weekend as its international cumulative passed the $100m mark.The film launched well in several territories including France and Spain - where it claimed the top spot having amassed 525,000 admissions. With a total gross of $101.7m as of Sunday The Passion is expected to receive another boost over the Easter weekend.Opening in 27 new markets, Warner Bros' Scoob
  • Polly takes another $5m for Universal, Dead opens well in Mexico

    UniversalPictures/UIP opened hit comedy Along Came Polly in eight more territories this weekendincluding Korea, Russia and Sweden for an estimated total of $5m at 2,000 sitesin 32 countries.Theinternational total on the film is now $69m, with ten more territories still toopen including New Zealand and Panama next weekend.Polly's holdovers included Germany where ittook an estimated $0.61m in its fifth weekend for a total of $10.9m, Spainwhere it grossed $0.73m in it
  • Record year for Swiss video industry

    The Swiss video industry posted record turnover in 2003 thanks to the rise in popularity of the DVD format and would have been even higher if it had not been for the problems of piracy and illegal parallel imports.According to the Swiss Video Association, the turnover in DVDs increased year on year by 23% to CHF 194m (approximately Euros 123m), which represents some 90% of the overall home entertainment turnover of CHF 218 (Euros 138.3m).The year-on-year growth in the number of
  • Ritchie Boys gets world premiere at Hot Docs

    Christian Bauer'sCanada-Germany coproduction The Ritchie Boys, the story of German Jews who formed an eliteintelligence unit for the US Army during WWII, will make its world premiere atthe 11th Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.The festival, North America'slargest film event devoted to non-fiction fare, will present the worldpremieres of a further eleven feature-length documentaries, including TheTake, a critique of globalizationbased on the experience

    In one of the few territories not yet hit by the Passion-fever, Clint Eastwood's Mystic River is performing strongly, pulling together nearly 1,500 admissions over the weekend from a single print.InterComFilm's new release, Peter Pan proved something of a disappointment and so did New Film's How To Deal and Ro-Image 2000's Cat In The Hat. The latter failed to reach the 1,000 admissions mark over the weekend on three prints and its chances of climbing
  • Sales agents win cash backing to market European films

    With the aim of opening up new markets outside the European Union, the European Film Promotion (EFP) is to launch its new Film Sales Support (FSS) initiative at this month's Buenos Aires Film Festival (April 14-25).FSS offers financial support to sales companies and producers who promote and market European films at four selected international film festivals in 2004. The initiative is backed by the EU's Media Programme.Ten films have received backing from FSS, including Alex van
  • Scooby unleashed by Warner Bros in 26 territories

    Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed is being let loose on 26 internationalmarkets this upcoming weekend in Warner Bros' first major push outside the US.
  • Scorsese to present The Leopard at Lake Placid

    Martin Scorsese will presenta special screening of Luchino Visconti's The Leopard at this year's Lake Placid Film Festival which takesplace June 2 to 6.Scorsese will talk about thefilm which will then screen in a restored version which runs to 180 minutes.The director has always cited Visconti's 1963 epic as one of his favouritefilms alongside The Red Shoes andCitizen Kane.The Lake Placid FilmFestival will also screen Sundance grand jury prize winner Prim
  • launches exclusive International Box Office chart today launches a new and exclusive International Box Office chart, to complement the existing 25 global box office charts. These continue to be constantly updated on the site.The new chart comprises the very latest box office data from more than 60 international territories and is accompanied by a commentary that highlights the broad range of films - both US and international - capable of generating significant box office revenues across diverse geographical boun

    When I Grow Up I'll Be A Kangaroo (Kad Porastem Bicu Kengur), the new teen comedy from Thunderbirds (Munje) (2001) director Radivoje Rasa Andric and producers Milko Josifov and Zoran Cvijanovic opened at number one last weekend, selling 19,319 admissions for a total gross of $75,695 for Cinears.Josifov is a partial owner of both the production company Yodi Movie Craftsman and distributor Cinears and the film also shares part of the Thunderbirds cast and the same ur
  • Shoots attracted to new studios, locations and low costs

    For full Australia and New Zealand production listings, click HEREMany internationally known women adorn the cast lists of Australia's upcoming films, although not all of them are known for being on the big screen.Rachel Hunter, who plays a caravan park Goddess and mother to an indeterminable number of children in You And Your Stupid Mate, for example, shot to attention when she married age
  • South Korea mulls substantial film tax breaks

    South Korea's Ministry of Finance And Economy has introduced plans to expand its system of tax breaks for small and medium-sized firms in the service sector to include the film industry.The changes, if ratified by Korea's National Assembly later this year, will grant a five-year, 50% reduction in corporate taxes to new startups that employ 5-10 people.In the case of further hiring in subsequent years, the level of tax reduction can potentially increase to as much as 100%.
  • Sponsors sign up for Cannes Producers Network

    The Cannes Market has attracted a number of sponsors and consultants toits new Producers' Network.The network includes a newrange of facilities and meeting specifically designed to serve the needs ofproducers during the festival and market.Professional partners include theAustralian Film Commission, New Zealand FilmCommission, IFP/New York, Telefilm Canada, SODEC, Region Ile de France, National Film andVideo Foundati
  • Sponsors sign up for Producers Network

    The Cannes Market has attracted a number of sponsors and consultants toits new Producers' Network.The network includes a newrange of facilities and meeting specifically designed to serve the needs ofproducers during the festival and market.Professional partners include theAustralian Film Commission, New Zealand FilmCommission, IFP/New York, Telefilm Canada, SODEC, Region Ile de France, National Film andVideo Foundation and the UK Film C
  • Sundance Channel acquires two features, 10 shorts from Plympton

    US pay cable network TheSundance Channel has picked up two features and 10 shorts by the animator BillPlympton for broadcast in a May spotlight on the film-maker's work."Get to Know: Bill Plympton"will present the US television premiere of his animated sci-fi feature MutantAliens as well as his first feature TheTune, a comedy musical, along with ahost of new and vintage shorts from 1987 to 2003 including 25 Ways To QuitSmoking, Can't Drag Race WithJesus and
  • Sundance Channel, Wellspring team up for Cho's third concert film

    US pay-cable network TheSundance Channel and independent theatrical and video distributor Wellspringhave teamed up to acquire distribution rights to Margaret Cho's latest comedyfilm Revolution (pictured).Sundance will air the worldpremiere of the film on June 19 as part of its Out Loud programming month andWellspring will then release it on home video and DVD in August. In a separatedeal, Strand Releasing picked up the non-theatrical rights to the film.Revolution is Cho's
  • Swedish films face funding crisis

    A funding crisis is threatening the Swedish film industry as a conflict between US distributors and local exhibitors threatens to delay the new Swedish Film Agreement.The agreement, which is designed to generate money for local productions, is due for renewal at the end of this year, and a number of Swedish movies scheduled for early 2005, now run the risk of being cancelled or postponed as a result.The cause of the conflict is that, in addition to normal ticket sales, Swedish e
  • Taormina reveals details of 50th edition

    Stephen Frears, Peter Weir and Jane Campion are among the guests attending the 50th edition of the Taormina Film Festival (June 13-20).Felice Laudadio, former Venice director who has headed the Taormina Film Festival since 2000, said that Anjelica Huston, Margarethe Von Trotte, John Jost and Roberto Perpignano are also expected to attend, and will all be hosting a series of workshops during the event.Twelve international films will compete for the festival's Firepresci-Taormina
  • Tarantino plots anime prequel to Kill Bill

    Quentin Tarantino isconsidering a continuation of his Kill Bill epic by writing and producing an anime prequel whichtells the early life story of Bill before the fatal events in his two-volumepicture.Tarantino said he wouldwrite and oversee the picture and David Carradine would voice Bill. The filmwould be animated in the anime style which he used for a short stretch offlashback in Vol 1.The film would follow thestory of Bill and his three mentors. It would start i
  • Teen comedy Formula cracks Taiwan box office

    Taiwanese teen comedy Formula 17, produced by start-up production company Three Dots Entertainment, has surpassed expectations for a local film over its opening weekend in Taipei, achieving a screen average of US$11,777 (NT$387,660) - the highest among all new releases.Following its premiere at the Taipei Film Festival on March 22, the film opened on three screens on April 2 against US releases The Butterfly Effect, Starsky & Hutch and The Human Stain. The film has
  • Telefilm Canada greenlights four from Quebec

    Canadian public sector filminvestor Telefilm Canada has given the greenlight to four projects from Quebec,including films from Bernard Emond, whose 20h 16 Rue Darling screened in the Critics Week at Cannes 2003, and JeanBeaudin, who is currently wrapping the Canada-France historical epic NewFrance.Emond's project, entitled JeanneEt Francois, tells the story ofwoman physician and a young orphan who meet at the most desperate times oftheir lives. Veteran filmmaker Be
  • Telefilm Canada strikes deal with CAA to boost Canadian films

    Telefilm Canada has hired anagent. Canada's public sector film financier has entered an agreement with CreativeArtists Agency (CAA) that could see Hollywood's largest talent agency packagingprojects for production in Canada.According to a leaked memodirected to Canadian producers from Telefilm executive director RichardStursberg, the purpose of the agreement is "to assist Canadian producers toattach talent, find financing and obtain distribution" and to lure expatriateCanadian talent i
  • The Prince And Me

    Dir: Martha Coolidge. US. 2004. 110 mins.The Prince & Me is a contemporary fairy tale romance which will enchant pre-teen and teenage girls around the world, but few else. If that core demographic signs up at the box office this weekend in North America, girl power will likely follow suit internationally. And a strong domestic opening is indeed on the cards given Paramount's muscular positioning of the film as counter-programming to Walking Tall and Hellboy
  • The Smell of Blood (L'odore Del Sangue)

    Dir: Mario Martone. It-Fr. 2004. 99mins.Italian auteur Mario Martone's latest arthouse offering is a sterile and rather dated relationship drama in psycho-thriller sauce which will be defended only by the director's staunchest fans, and make the rest of us nostalgic for the edgy originality of his 1995 breakout film, L'Amore Molesto, which played in competition at Cannes (it is rumoured in the Italain press that this might follow suit).Based on a posthumous
  • Top producers launch Indian awards ceremony

    Indian producers body the Film Producers Guild of India is to launch its own awards ceremony next month.The nominees for the first Apsara FPGI Awards will be announced on May 5 with prizes to be unveiled at a ceremony in Mumbai on May 29.The 50-year old Guild has 153 by-invitation-only members, made up of the most powerful and influential members in the Hindi film production sector.Filmmaker Ramesh Sippy, the convener of the awards, told, 'The Apasa
  • Tribeca snags Cholodenko, Burns world premieres

    LisaCholodenko's latest Cavedweller,Ed Burns' Looking For Kitty andDavid Duchovny's directorial debut House Of D starring Robin Williams will have their worldpremieres at this year's Tribeca Film Festival which takes place May 1 to 9.

    Having struggled to find an audience in many territories Robert Benton's drama The Human Stain has proved particularly popular in Turkey.Although having to settle for second place on opening behind UIP's Along Came Polly, The Human Stain played at 25 fewer screens and boasted a far stronger screen average.The film stars Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman and Ed Harris and is released in Turkey by local distributor Ozen Film. It is based on the novel of the same name by

    Turkey, the latest territory addition to's World Box Office service, boasts two local productions in its current top 10.While down 37% on its previous weekend local hit Neredesin Firuze' continues to hold a top three position and has taken a $4.5m gross to date for UIP.Something's Gotta Give held the top spot for the third consecutive weekend despite slipping 34% from the previous week.New Films International saw the highest new openin
  • UK Film Council creates new 'development franchises'

    Creating what have been immediately dubbed "development franchises" after the National Lottery super entities formed in the 1990s, the UK Film Council is to underwrite a handful of film operations allying producers with distributors and financiers from the UK and overseas.The initiative, which has had producers and executives scrambling to form alliances in recent weeks, is part of an overhaul of development funding at the council, which administers lottery support for film. The Govern
  • UK studio to seek London stock market listing

    UK studio group Pinewood Shepperton has confirmed it is seeking to float this year.The group aims to refinance all its current debt and create a capital structure for further growth. 3i, the venture capital company which bankrolled Michael Grade and Ivan Dunleavy's purchase of Pinewood from Rank in February 2000, and their purchase of Shepperton a year later, aims to realise some or all of its investment. Cazenove has been appointed as sponsor for the float."Pinewood Shepperton
  • Warner Bros signs first volume TV deal in China

    Marking its first-evervolume programming distribution deal with a Chinese broadcaster, Warner BrosInternational Television Distribution (WBITD) has signed a multi-yeartelevision deal with China Movie Channel (CCTV-6).The deal calls allows CCTV-6to broadcast selected current and library feature films as well asmade-for-television movies and was negotiated by WBITD's director of strategicdevelopment and sales Ted Lai and CCTV-6 vice president Jia Qi."We are extremely pleasedthat o
  • Warner Bros strikes mobile distribution deal with Vodafone

    Warner Bros. Online and mobile phone company Vodafone have signed a distribution deal which will bring Warner Bros. Entertainment brands as well as current information on upcoming projects to Vodafone customers across the world.The global agreement covers 16 countries. Initially, Warner Bros. Online will provide Vodafone with games, screensavers, alerts and other mobile applications based on its popular brands.Vodafone and Warner Bros Online will also collaborate on the developm
  • Warner wins international weekend with Scooby off the leash

    WarnerBros opened Scooby Doo 2 in 27markets over the weekend for an estimated total of $15.5m from 3,800 screens.After two weekends on release, the film has now taken $17.7m.
  • WBITD signs multi-year deal with SBS in Holland

    Warner BrosInternational Television Distribution (WBITD) has signed an exclusivemulti-year deal with SBS Broadcasting (Holland) for current and upcomingtheatrical pictures and television programming.Titles includethe upcoming Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban and Ocean's Twelve, The Matrix Reloaded, The Last Samurai and Mystic River.The deal also gives SBSBroadcasting, which comprises the channels SBS 6, NET 5 and Veron
  • Wild Bunch ready to drop lawsuit over revolutionised Che

    WithSteven Soderbergh stepping to replace Terrence Malick as the director of Che, this re-written biopic about the Cubanrevolutionary Che Guevara may prove an easier sell on the international market,believes its relieved Paris-based sales agent Wild Bunch.Malick'sabrupt departure last month from Che in order to focus more immediately on The New World, another project he'd been simultaneously nursingfor New Line, left Wild Bunch smarting.TheFrench sales house
  • Wincer readies Pasternak epic, seeks investors for Clancy

    Australian director Simon Wincer is scheduled to start shooting the epic love triangle The Loneliness Of Always from September 13 in Moscow.His own Billabong Productions is the producing entity and he will also take a producer credit alongside Robert Katz. The "highly complicated co-production" involves partners in Germany, Britain, Russia, France and Italy.The Loneliness Of Always explores the relationship between Boris Pasternak, who wrote Doctor Zhivago,
  • Wolfe steps up US theatrical, buying Thoughts, City

    California-based USindependent Wolfe is continuing its expansion into theatrical distribution withthe acquisition of Achim Von Borries' German drama Love In Thoughts which made its world premiere at the Sundance FilmFestival and Spanish director Cesc Gay's latest picture In The City.The 20 year-old company hasbeen established as a video company of gay and lesbian entertainment but hasrecently started a theatrical arm to release Adored: Diary Of A Porn Star which op
  • Zeffirelli tipped for presidency role at RAI Cinema

    Italian director Franco Zeffirelli is expected to soon be named the new president of Rai Cinema, the film arm of state broadcaster RAI.Zeffirelli was approached, he says, both by RAI CEO Flavio Cattaneo, and by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who owns Rai Cinema's rival Medusa and Mediaset. "So many people have called me, including Berlusconi," Zeffirelli told Italian news agency ADN Kronos, adding that the leader of the centre-right government, who is known to be a close frie