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Screen
7 July 2000

View all stories from this issue.

  • AFC overhauls funding guidelines

    As part of its on-going revamp, Australia's major development agency, the Australian Film Commission (AFC), has issued new funding guidelines under which film-makers with a proven track record will be given the most support. Experienced talent will be given access to the lion's share of AFC funding - and at an earlier stage in the life of a project. The move will reduce the AFC's exposure but doesn't account for the fact that a disproportionate number of critically or commercially succ
  • Alibi picks up Sky's Most Fertile Man

    UK-based sales company Alibi Films International has acquired worldwide rights outside the UK and Eire to Sky Pictures' comedy The Most Fertile Man In Ireland.The Samson Films and Hot Films production, currently in post, follows a young man who discovers he has the highest sperm count in Ireland. He becomes Lothario to half of Belfast - until his activities come to the attention of Protestant paramilitaries who are losing the demographic battle with their Catholic counterparts.
  • Applicants line up for Spain's new DTT licences

    Yesterday (July 3) marked the deadline for applications for the two new free-to-air digital terrestrial television (DTT) licences to be awarded by the Spanish government before November 30.The Ministry of Science and Technology had postponed the deadline by a month, ostensibly to motivate competitors to form joint consortia. They didn't: five different groups - representing a range of domestic as well as international interests - applied for the new ten-year licences. The groups and th
  • Arthaus, Neue Visionen, Kairos win dist'n prize

    German distributors Arthaus Filmverleih, Neue Visionen Filmverleih and Kairos Filmverleih have each been awarded a Distribution Prize by the German culture ministry for "special achievement in the distribution of films of artistic excellence".German culture minister Michael Naumann will present the awards, which are each worth DM200,000 ($97,250), on October 10 in Bonn.
  • Australia's Energee to create TV Magic Pudding

    Australian animation house Energee Entertainment is planning to spin its not-yet-released first feature, The Magic Pudding, into a television series. International sales agent Icon Entertainment International has sold The Magic Pudding feature to more than a dozen territories including Bac Films for France and Gruppo Minerva for Italy. It will be using its own distribution division to launch the film in the UK in Easter 2001. In Australia the film will be released by 20th
  • Australia's FLICs get luke-warm response

    Australia's two Film Licensed Investment Companies (FLICs) have convinced investors to tip in only about half of the tax deductible total of $23.9 (A$40m) that they were allowed to raise before the June 30 deadline.The government-sanctioned FLICs were formed 15 months ago as a pilot scheme with the aim of boosting Australian film and television production and related activities with private financing. About $1.8m (A$3m) of this amount was raised at the end of the last financial year.
  • Avignon hands out prizes beyond US, French borders

    The Avignon film festival - for the first time expanded to include films from Europe, beyond France - awarded its prestigious Prix Tournage to Elias Merhige (US) for Shadow Of The Vampire, Virginie Wagon (France) for Le Secret, Giacomo Campiotti (Italy-France-UK) for A Time To Love (Il Tempo dell'Amore) and Nana Djordjadze (Germany-Georgia) for 27 Missing Kisses. Each receives a prize package including film stock from Kodak and free subtitling from LVT and Final Dr
  • BAFTA confirms pre-Oscars date change

    The Oscar campaign trail just took a detour to London. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) this week confirmed it will move next year's film awards to a pre-Academy Awards slot, a move expected to boost the event's global significance by establishing it as a prime pointer for the Oscars.The move from April 9 to February 25 means the awards come just a month before the Oscars. Even the Golden Globes, traditionally a bellweather for the Oscars, come as far back as Jan
  • Baise-Moi banned from French cinemas

    Following a lawsuit by Promouvoir, an association defending "judeo-christian and family values", controversial French title Baise-moi has been given an X rating by France's Conseil d'Etat effectively banning it from French theatres.Baise-moi, produced and distributed in France by former PolyGram subsidiary Pan Europeenne, had been rated PG-16 by the board of censors. It opened June 28 and scored a healthy 5,634 admissions from only 64 screens, despite the fact that France
  • Brazil launches film commission with int'l mission

    Brazil has launched a dedicated film commission to capitalise on a weakened local currency and attract large-scale overseas productions such as The Mission, one of the few high-profile features to shoot in Latin America's largest country.With the real down to nearly two to a US dollar, the Rio de Janeiro-based operation will steer overseas film companies to the Brazilian production outfits that would best fit their project. Hiring a local production company is a stipulation of
  • Bread And Tulips cleans up at the Nastri D'Argento

    Silvio Soldini's Bread And Tulips swept Italy's second most coveted awards, the Nastri D'Argento, last night, at an awards ceremony held in Taormina, Sicily's 10,000 seat Greek amphitheatre, directly before the European premiere of John Woo's Mission: Impossible 2. The film scooped the best film award, presented to director Soldini, best screenplay (Soldini and Doriana Leondeff) and best actress (Licia Maglietta). It also picked up the best supporting actor and actress pr
  • Brokaw's Avenue to merge with e-commerce firm

    Cary Brokaw's Avenue Entertainment Group, the production outfit behind The Player, Short Cuts and Drugstore Cowboy, has signed a letter of intent to merge with SolutionsAmerica Inc, an e-commerce company which specialises in facilitating digital business processes for the entertainment industry.In a statement Brokaw said that the merger was intended to expand Avenue's revenue base to offset the cyclical nature of revenues in the film business. "[SolutionsAmerica]
  • Canadian start-up has TiMe on its side

    Wolfram Tichy's TiMe Film & Television Produktion is backing start-up Canadian production company Savi Media in a long-term development and production deal. Essentially a first-look deal in exchange for start-up capital, the arrangement will see Savi, headed by veteran producer Alexandra Raffe, scout for and screen projects for co-development and co-production with Tichy's media fund-backed Vif Filmproduktion as well as produce its own slate. Raffe told Screendaily that s
  • CanWest gets greenlight to launch Canadian network

    CanWest Global Communications is to form Canada's third national free-TV network after this week securing regulatory approval of its $545m purchase of the prinicpal TV assets of WIC Western International Communications.CanWest will now combine the new assets with stations in two key markets - Hamilton, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia - where it already holds licenses. The new network will be Canada's third largest and the second largest private operation after CTV. Public broad
  • CASE STUDY - The King Is Alive

    US backers and an international cast are not typical traits of the Dogme 95 school of film-making, but the makers of Kristian Levring's The King Is Alive stayed true to the "back-to-basics" manifesto while shooting in the Namibian desert. Jacob Neiiendam reports.Spring 1995 A collective of Danish film-makers founds Dogme 95 in Copenhagen, with the expressed goal of countering "certain tendencies" in modern cinema. The soon-to-be-christened Dogme brothers compri
  • Collins replaces Rhys-Jones at Roadshow

    David Collins has been chosen to replace Libby Rhys-Jones as New South Wales general manager of Roadshow Film Distributors, based in Sydney and reporting directly to managing director Joel Pearlman in Melbourne. He starts on July 10.Rhys-Jones resigned from the biggest Australian-owned distributor at the end of May after a total of 12 years service to take an extended holiday overseas.Collins was formerly distribution manager for PolyGram, which became Universal, but was represe
  • Del Borgo joins executive exodus from Stream

    Giglio Del Borgo has quit his position as commercial director at Italian pay-TV platform Stream, one of several recent resignations that have raised questions about the fate of the News Corp and Telecom Italia-owned company.Stream chief Riccardo Catalani stepped down last week barely six months into the top job, making him the third CEO to leave the company in eighteen months. Commercial general director Mauro Pinelli and marketing director Paolo Badrigo also left last month. Catalani
  • Exhibitors refuse to pull Baise-moi

    A fully-fledged censorship row has blown up in France following the decision by French high court Conseil d'Etat to give controversial title Baise-moi (Fuck Me), which is already on release, an X rating. Exhibitor MK2 and some independent exhibitors are refusing to remove the film from their screens.The Conseil d'Etat's ruling followed a complaint by right-wing association Promouvoir and overturned the film's original PG-16 rating. Pathe and Gaumont are no longer screening the f
  • FilmFour backs GI 'n' drugs action movie

    The UK's FilmFour is majority financing Buffalo Soldiers, an action-laden but edgy tale of drug-swilling US soldiers stationed in West Germany circa 1989.The adaptation of Robert O'Connor's darkly-humorous novel, budgeted south of $15m, is scheduled to shoot in the autumn in Germany. Already being described by FilmFour insiders as Trainspotting meets Three Kings, the story centres on anti-hero Ray Elwood, a pill-popping, heroin-dealing US soldier who finds himself
  • FINANCIAL BRIEFS

    Media[netCOM] raises $38m through IPOFRANKFURT: Trading in the shares of German video-on-demand operator media[netCOM] began today. Initial trades took place at Euros21, unchanged from the upper end of the book-building range at which they were sold to investors. The flotation raised $37.98m (Euros39.9m).RTL Group confirms plans to list on London Stock ExchangeBRUSSELS: Following the clearance last Friday of the merger of CLT-Ufa, Audiofina and
  • France changes ratings system in Baise-moi row

    French culture minister Catherine Tasca has agreed to reinstate the 18 certificate in France following the censorship row that broke out when controversial title Baise-moi (Fuck Me) was given an X rating when already on release. As a result, exhibitors which were refusing the pull the film from their theatres in protest, have agreed not to screen it until it is awarded the new certificate.Eight cinemas in Paris, including the MK2 circuit and French arthouse exhibitor Film
  • Gladiator passes $350m in worldwide grosses

    Ridley Scott's Gladiator which was co-financed by DreamWorks SKG and Universal Pictures has crossed the $350m mark at the worldwide box office. Its international gross through Universal/UIP is now at $180m and rising, surpassing the $171m it has generated domestically on its DreamWorks release.The movie is to date the year's biggest grossing picture, although Mission: Impossible 2 from Paramount Pictures should beat Gladiator once it starts opening internationally
  • Gonzalez Quiros confirmed as head of Spain's ICAA

    Confirming weeks of rumours, Spain's Minister for Education, Culture and Sports, Pilar del Castillo, announced yesterday that Jose Luis Gonzalez Quiros will replace Jose Maria Otero as the new general director for the country's cinema institute, ICAA (Instituto de la Cinematografia y las Artes Audiovisuales).Sources at the Ministry confirm that Gonzalez Quiros, a professor of philosophy, is currently the only known candidate for the position but that his appointment has not yet been co
  • Hindi prods win right to one-year satellite window

    Hindi film producers have won the right for their films to be broadcast on satellite one year after the theatrical release following a landmark agreement signed with the Indian film distributors association, the Central Circuit Cine Association (CCCA).At present there are no strict rules on the satellite window in India, and whereas some films are broadcast only months after their theatrical release, others are not premiered on satellite for up to five years. The agreement is intended
  • Ian Holm to play fantastical Napoleon in Emperor

    UK actor Ian Holm is to play Napoleon in FilmFour's The Emperor's New Clothes, a historical fantasy being produced by The Full Monty's Uberto Pasolini and directed by Palookaville's Alan Taylor.Pasolini's UK production outfit Redwave Films confirmed that Holm, whose credits include The Madness Of King George, is to appear alongside Iben Hjejle of High Fidelity and Mifune.Adapted from the novel The Death Of Napoleon, the story tells how
  • India set to privatise state film bodies

    India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is considering privatising state-backed film production company, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and the government-owned Indian Film and Television Institute. The country's current government believes that these organisations are no longer useful and their role has been made redundant by private enterprise. The NFDC has a liability of $5m and is involved in several activi
  • Indian government to allow direct uplinking

    India's government has decided to allow satellite broadcasters to uplink directly from the country. Permission will be granted to Indian television companies and news agencies which are 100% Indian-owned, along with foreign television companies which have an Indian, or a non-resident Indian, owning at least 60% of the shares in the company.Private satellite channels have been demanding direct uplinking from India for the last few months.
  • India's Sriven acquires US animation company

    Hyderabad-based Sriven Multi-Tech, which specialises in multimedia and 2D animation, has acquired a 51% stake in Los Angeles-based 3D animation company Station X Studios LLC.Station has changed its name to Station X Entertainment as a result of the all-cash deal which sees Sriven plough $2.5m into the company. A portion of the investment comes from overseas venture capitalists and strategic investors.Station's current client list includes Microsoft, Columbia TriStar, Disney and
  • Intermedia seals first-look deal with Winslet

    In its first long-term deal outside the US since floating in May, Intermedia has struck an exclusive first-look pact with Kate Winslet and Jim Threapleton's UK-based production outfit Telltale Films.UK and US-based Intermedia will handle worldwide distribution on films from the Shepperton Studios-based company, formed last year by the husband-and-wife team. Winslet will also star in and act as executive producer on Intermedia's Therese Raquin, which is expected to start filming
  • Jacob's successor to be chosen after summer

    As was planned, Gilles Jacob officially took over from Pierre Viot as president of the Cannes film festival on Monday (July 3), but the decision as to who will step into his shoes in the crucial role of director general will only be announced after the summer holidays.Writer and journalist Olivier Barrot was in line for the position, and was appointed as a special advisor to Jacob. But his job evaporated only a month later, just prior to Cannes 2000, after apparently clashing with his
  • Japanese rivals join forces for digital venture

    Sony Corp, Toshiba Corp and Matsushita Electric are teaming up to develop interactive services for digital satellite TV. The three partners are also recruiting other companies, including Hitachi and the Tokyo Broadcasting Network, to join the alliance.The three electronics giants plan to launch a company this autumn to develop payment and security systems for interactive digital broadcasts, including shopping, game and pay-per-view services. Starting in December, eight broadcasters, in
  • Japan's NTV, NTT plan secure web-casting venture

    Japanese private broadcaster Nippon Television (NTV) and telecom NTT are planning a joint venture to provide copyright management and security services to companies broadcasting content, including films and TV programmes, over the internet.The partners intend to recruit a wide range of companies, including TV networks and internet service providers, as partners in the venture which is scheduled to launch in spring 2001. The joint venture plans to establish a new market, called B
  • Jobs go as BBC creates new media arm

    UK public broadcaster the BBC is slashing more than 200 jobs as it launches BBC Technology, a commercially-driven operation providing IT services to the BBC and external companies.The job losses will come from existing technology and operations subsidiary BBC Resources, part of which will be brought into the main organisation. The move comes as a far-reaching restructuring at the corporation is expected to lead to the loss of up to 1,000 jobs over three years.BBC director genera
  • Major territories in place for Crocodile Dundee 3

    CLT-Ufa has acquired French and German rights to Crocodile Dundee In LA, the third film in the Crocodile Dundee franchise. UIP will release the film in the UK, Scandinavia and the local Australian market. Paramount Pictures has North American rights and plans to release the picture in April 2001.Kathy Morgan International is handling international sales on the film to be directed by Simon Wincer. Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski are again in the lead roles of laid-back outb
  • Media Most claims investor will buy out debt

    Russia's Media Most group, owned by recently jailed tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, has claimed that an unidentified foreign investor is seeking to buy out its $211.6m debt to government-controlled utilities giant Gazprom.The beleaguered group has recently been under increasing pressure to pay back the loan. However one of Russia's largest daily newspapers, Kommersant, has published a letter from Geneva-based Capital Research Company - thought to be involved in negotiations to buy out
  • Media Park acquires minority stake in Horizonte

    Barcelona-based content packager Media Park has taken a 3% stake in Horizonte Digital, a consortium applying for one of two new free-to-air digital terrestrial television (DTT) licences to be awarded by the Spanish government in November.Media Park's participation in Horizonte Digital gives Telefonica, which recently bought out 25% of the Barcelona firm, a small foothold in the contest for the new DTT licences. For that reason, Media Park's stake in Horizonte has to be kept at a minimu
  • Messier threatens to veto Sky Global deal

    Vivendi chief Jean-Marie Messier is threatening not to contribute his 20% stake in UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB to Rupert Murdoch's planned digital distribution company Sky Global Networks, according to French reports.Messier is understood to have told analysts that he would not sell his BSkyB stake unless he secures an active role for Vivendi's new interactive operations in Sky Global.Financial daily Les Echos said: "Jean-Marie Messier confirmed this week he would participate
  • Mill Film ups Hughes to head operations

    The UK's Mill Film has appointed Neil Hughes to the newly created position of facilities and operations manager as the effects house beefs up its facilities.As well as looking after the day-to-day management of the company, Hughes, formerly production accountant for Mill Film, will maintain and develop relations between Mill Film's Shepperton and Soho sites. The appointment follows the installation of a high-speed computer links between the two operations.Hughes will report to m
  • Neeson, Campion pick up Taormina's Diamonds

    The Taormina Film Festival (July 1-9) has handed out a series of life-time achievement awards in place of its usual prize-giving ceremony in a move to eliminate what festival director Felice Laudadio described as "unnecessary and destructive competition between film-makers."Recipients of the honours - called the Taormina Arte Diamond Award - include Liam Neeson, Jane Campion, Tonino Guerra, Stephen Frears, Peter Weir, Melanie Griffith, Norman Jewison and South African director Darrell
  • Perry-Melish, Piano join website Reelplay.com

    International film sales business-to-business website Reelplay.com has made some key appointments from the film world to join its team.- Chris Perry-Melish, formerly president of international sales at Kushner-Locke Co, has been named senior vice president of sales. Perry-Melish previously held sales and distribution posts at Conquistador Entertainment, Prism Entertainment and Trimark Pictures.- John Piano, formerly counsel with the acquisitions, distribution and finance depar
  • Phone rivals hit at Vizzavi

    Vizzavi - one of the key planks on which the merger of Seagram, Vivendi and Canal Plus is built - was reportedly dealt a blow this weekend when two phone giants secured an injunction preventing the portal from operating in France. According to British newspaper The Sunday Times, British Telecommunications and the US' SBC Communications have used their rights as minority shareholders in the Vivendi-controlled phone group Cegetel to obtain a court order protecting their interests.
  • Policies, not personalities, spark Clark's exit

    Differences of style and strategy - rather than a personality clash or ugly fights over issues - appears to have provoked Duncan Clark's decision to quit his job as president of Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI).Clark, who has been with the studio since 1987 and headed international distribution for the last four years, officially leaves at the end of the week (July 7). In a prepared statement Clark described his career at Sony as "a life enriching experie
  • Saving Grace bags GWFF award at Munich fest

    UK title Saving Grace, directed by Nigel Cole, snatched the High Hopes award, sponsored by the German collection society GWFF, at the Filmfest Muenchen last week (June 24-July 1). Retaining its independent focus, the Munich event gave out 12 independently sponsored awards to up-and-coming film-makers. The Hypo Vereinsbank award, intended to further the career of German directors, went to Vanessa Jopp for Vergiss America. The Short Tiger 2000 award, sponsored by the
  • Sogecable relaunches script development programme

    Spanish media group Sogecable has relaunched its script development programme, Canal Plus Guiones (Canal Plus Scripts). The refurbished, four-year-old programme aims to help as many as 40 new and up-and-coming scriptwriters develop feature film and TV movie script ideas over the next three years on a combined budget of $400,000 (PTS70m).Of those 40 treatments, the programme expects to complete 20 scripts and sell as many as 10 or 12 to local producers. Sogecable film production
  • Storm Conquers US Box Office

    Channel 4 today confirmed the appointment of Mark Thompson, currently BBC director of television, as its chief executive.Thompson replaces Michael Jackson, who left to become president and chief executive of USA Entertainment in October. He will leave the BBC after Christmas, but not take up his new job until March 2002. Thompson is expected to earn more than $700,000 (£500,000) a year, around double his BBC salary.Although he has no private-sector experience, Thompson wi
  • StudioCanal pacts with Ovitz

    France's StudioCanal has formed a joint venture production company with Michael Ovitz's Artists Production Group (APG) to co-finance and produce 12 to 15 features over the next three years aimed at the US and international markets. StudioCanal will hold international distribution rights to the titles outside the US where distribution partners will be decided by the venture. StudioCanal said the formation of the joint venture underscored its "on-going objective to secure, through
  • Sturridge set to direct Disgrace for Granada Film

    Charles Sturridge, director of FairyTale: A True Story, is to shoot an adaptation of 1999 Booker Prize-winning novel Disgrace for the UK's Granada Film.The novel, written by J M Coetzee, follows a university professor who travels to South Africa after having been caught having an affair with a student. Sturridge will direct through newly-created film and TV production outfit Firstsight Films, launched by the director with Selwyn Roberts and Francesca Barra.Sturridge said
  • Taboo takes top honours at St Petersburg

    Nagisa Oshima's Taboo (Gohatto) won the top prize, the Golden Griffon, at this year's St Petersburg Festival of Festivals. The audience prize, the Silver Griffon, went to Beautiful People directed by Jasmin Dizdar. Canal Plus won a Bronze Griffon from the festival's board of directors for its presentation of a programme of French films during the event. The Nicolai Ovsyannikov Prize for support of the arts went to Tim Roth's The War Zone as the best directorial deb
  • The Widow Of Saint Pierre

    Dir: Patrice Leconte. 2000. 112 mins.Prod cos: Ephithete Films, Cinemaginaire. Co-prods: Denise Robert, Daniel Louis. Domestic dist: Pathe. Int'l Sales: Flach Pyramide International. Exec prods: Gilles Legrand, Frederic Brillion. Scr: Claude Faraldo. DoP: Eduardo Serra. Prod des: Ivan Maussion. Ed: Joelle Hache. Music: Pascal Esteve. Main cast: Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteil, Emir Kusturica, Philippe Magnan, Michel Duchaussoy.The latest film from the productive Leconte i
  • Thomas And The Magic Railroad

    Dir: Britt Allcroft. 2000. UK-US. 86 mins.Prod co: Destination Films, Gullane Pictures. Co-prod: Mark Jacobson. Domestic dist: Icon Distribution. Int'l Sales: Kathy Morgan International. Exec prods: Charles Falzon, Nancy Chapelle, Barry London, Brent Baum, John Bertolli. Prods: Allcroft, Phil Fehrle. Scr: Allcroft. Dop: Paul Ryan. Prod des: Oleg Savytski. Ed: Ron Wisman. Music: Hummie Mann. Main cast: Peter Fonda, Alec Baldwin, Mara Wilson, Didi Conn.This Thomas owes more
  • Toronto to feature Crowe, Lurie premieres

    DreamWorks' untitled Cameron Crowe project and The Contender, directed by Rod Lurie and handled internationally by France's TF1, will make their world premieres at the 25th Toronto International Film Festival (September 7-16).Handled internationally by DreamWorks/UIP, Crowe's latest project is a loosely autobiographical tale about a teenage rock fan on assignment for Rolling Stone magazine during the early 1970s. It stars Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Jaso
  • UK actors join Gilliam's Quixote cast

    The UK's Miranda Richardson, Christopher Eccleston and Bill Paterson have joined the cast of Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Gilliam's office confirmed on Monday.The actors join Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis and Jean Rochefort in the $30m plus production, which is to start shooting in Spain and the UK in September.In Gilliam's update of Miguel de Cervantes' 17th Century classic, Depp plays a modern-day advertising executive who somehow ends up in the 17th c
  • UK's Millennium takes three from UGC

    France's UGC has sold a trio of titles headed by Regis Wargnier's East-West to UK independent distributor Millennium Film Distributors.East-West, starring Catherine Deneuve and Sandrine Bonnaire, joins Le Libertin, a comedy with Vincent Perez and Fanny Ardant, and Claude Miller's La Chambre Des Magiciennes.Rive, who operates both Millennium and Gala Film Distributors, has also picked up Robert Guedigian's A L'Attaque. The film will be released
  • Universal to become Canal Plus subsidiary

    Vivendi chief Jean-Marie Messier has announced that Pierre Lescure - who has already been named COO of the future Vivendi Universal - will also be chairman of Universal Studios, which is to operate as a subsidiary of the new Canal Plus group, itself a 100% subsidiary of Vivendi Universal.Seeking to alleviate fears that Canal Plus will lose its independence following the Vivendi-Seagram-Canal Plus merger, Messier has released a charter, personally addressed to Lescure and detailing Cana
  • Vanaprashtham feted at India's Film Awards

    Shaji N Karun's Malayalam title Vanaprashtham picked up the best film award at India's 47th National Film Awards which were announced today. The film also won the best actor award for Mohan Lal's performance.The best director award went to Buddhadev Dasgupta for his Bengali film Uttara and Kiron Kher won the best actress award for her role as a lonely landlady in Calcutta in Rituparno Ghosh's Bariwali, which also won the best Asian film award at the Berlin Film Fes
  • Vivendi-Seagram: EC extends Vizzavi probe

    The European Commission has extended by two weeks its probe into the creation of Vizzavi. It was scheduled on July 10 to announce whether it thinks there is a competition question to be answered (Screendaily, June 15). It will now make the announcement on July 20. This kind of delay often indicates that the companies involved have offered some kind of concessions.Vizzavi is the multi-access-portal that was launched last month as a joint venture between Vivendi and Vodafone Airto
  • Warner Bros whips up US Box Office Storm

    Warner Bros' epic disaster movie The Perfect Storm was the champion at the North American box office over the Fourth Of July weekend, grossing $41.7m in the Friday to Sunday period, some $20m more than its nearest competition, Columbia Pictures' opener The Patriot.Playing at 3,407 screens, Wolfgang Petersen's true life actioner scored the highest site average in the top ten with $12,234. The opening also marked the third highest Fourth of July opening of all time behind
  • World's largest Imax theatre to open in Mumbai

    India is set to get its first Imax theatre - in its leading film city Mumbai - following an agreement signed last week between the Canadian large format specialist and Indian film processing lab, Adlabs.Scheduled to open in December this year, the $12.5m cinema will have the world's largest Imax dome and seat 520.The admission price for the cinema has been fixed at $3 for adults and $1.50 for children. Indian filmmaker Bharat Bala is planning to produce India's first Imax film.
  • Yes Television among winners of HK pay-TV licences

    The Hong Kong authorities awarded five pay-TV licences yesterday in a long-awaited move to open the local subscription television market to competition.One of the licences went to Elmsdale, which is 90% owned by UK video-on-demand operator Yes Television and 10% owned by Hong Kong's Shaw Media. Another went to Star TV's digital subsidiary Hong Kong DTV giving the Rupert Murdoch-owned platform its first opportunity to charge for its services in Hong Kong.The other companies to wi

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