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7 March 2003

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  • 18 Years Later (18 Ans Apres)

    Dir: Coline Serreau. France. 2003. 90 minsWith 18 Years Later, Coline Serreau has made a surprisingly bland follow-up to her 1985 comedy, Three Men And A Cradle, which mushroomed from sleeper into one of the most successful French films ever, registering 10.25m admissions and taking around $71.75m by today's standards, as well as spawning a hit Hollywood remake (Three Men And A Baby).Coming after her more ambitious 2001 comedy-drama, Chaos, 18 Years La
  • Angst (Der Alte Affe Angst)

    Dir. Oskar Roehler. Germany. 2002. 91mins.Too much navel-gazing and too little perspective will make Oskar Roehler's formulaic psycho-drama a hard sell, at home as well as abroad. Unlike his earlier, award-winning Nowhere To Go, which put the tragedy of a disillusioned woman writer in a larger socio-political context, the demise of East Germany, this feature takes as its theme a playwright who has only one concern in life, his own sexual identity and the anguish it cau
  • Arclight commits to two new thrillers

    Arclight Films has committed to handling international sales on writer/director Glenn Standring's second film, the vampire thriller Perfect Creature, and director Anne Turner's Australian/UK co-production Irresistible. Standring's debut film The Irrefutable Truth About Demons sold around the world and an August shoot is planned for this next one in Dunedin and Auckland, New Zealand. Then the action will move from New Zealand to London for post-production. Ti
  • Arclight sells Moonlight

    Gary Hamilton's Arclight Films has acquired worldwide sales rights to Moonlight, the next film by Paula van der Oest whose last film Zus & Zo is one of the five best foreign language film nominees this year.Moonlight, which Hamilton says will screen at the Cannes market this year, is van der Oest's fourth feature and her first in the English language. A romantic thriller about a 13 year-old girl who falls in love with an Afghan drug dealer, Moonlight recently won t
  • Bac sees dip in 2002 revenues

    Jean Labadie's Bac Majestic has announced its 2002 revenues, which registered a 3.5% drop to Euros90.8m for the year.Bac puts the slip down to the tapering off of its exhibition activities: it closed or sold theatres last year in Lille, Brest, Nimes and ParisOverall, exhibition was down to Euros3.2m from Euros6.8m in 2001. This year will also see the company divest of sites in Toulon and Douai.With such hits as 8 Women and The Pianist under its belt, the
  • BBC sells Sylvia Plath project to Icon for UK

    BBC Films has sold UK rights excluding free TV to the as yet untitled Sylvia Plath Project to Icon Film Distribution, the film of arm of the UK broadcaster announced on Wednesday.Icon previously acquired Australian rights from sales agent Capitol Films. Currently in post-production, the film was directed by New Zealander Christine Jeffs and stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Plath and Daniel Craig as Poet Laureate Ted Hughes.The project was developed by Alison Owen and BBC Films. Owen pro
  • BBC Worldwide to co-produce feature documentary with Germany's Greenlight

    BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, is working on a theatrical version of its acclaimed natural history documentary series The Blue Planet. BBC Worldwide has signed a co-production agreement with German production and international distribution company Greenlight Media to fund the feature length documentary.Greenlight Media will co-ordinate all global sales activities in regard to the TV and video/DVD rights of the film in conjunction with BBC Worldwide.T
  • Bertolucci tangos with ShoWest

    Exactly three decades after Last Tango In Paris scandalized audiences and censors, Italian maestro Bernardo Bertolucci is still considered too risque for middle America, at least from the evidence of yesterday's sneak preview of his latest film to US theatre owners.After peppering up a ShoWest luncheon audience with excited talk of his upcoming release slate, Fox Searchlight's president of distribution Stephen Gilula then issued a warning to anyone eager to see the first glimpse
  • Blockbuster-Warner ceasefire spells change for UK film, video

    Video rental giant Blockbuster and Warner Bros this week announced that they had reached an agreement on video rental practices in the UK. The deal is likely to change the structure of the video sector, favouring "sell-through" video and new media at the expense of rentals. The agreement ends an eight month dispute that started last July when Warner announced that it would no longer maintain a "window" between video and DVD releases of its titles into the rental and retail markets.
  • Brian Rosen to head Australia's Film Finance Corp.

    It is believed that the Federal Cabinet today approved the appointment of producer Brian Rosen as chief executive of Australia's biggest film investor, the Film Finance Corporation (FFC). He will return to Australia from Los Angeles to take up the highly influential job.For the last decade Rosen has developed projects through Rosen Harper Entertainment, the company he owns in Australia with Richard Harper, and through Classic Films in the US. He has producer credits on about 10
  • Bulgarian Lovers goes to the US

    Spanish sales company Grupo PI announced it has closed an all rights deal in the US to TLA Releasing on Berlin Panorama entry Bulgarian Lovers (Los Novios Bulgaros) (pictured).Veteran director Eloy de la Iglesia's first feature film since the 1980's, Bulgarian Lovers tells the story of an affluent Madrid lawyer whose love affair with a young Bulgarian man jeopardises his social standing and ultimately his life.The Madrid-based company says it also sold all rights i
  • Buyers shoot for UGC's Mike Blueberry

    UGC International has struck a number of key sales deals on its big-budget supernatural Western, Mike Blueberry, Expanded Reality.The $35m film, directed by Jan Kounen, who previously made the stylish and ultraviolent Dobermann, is the story of a "Wild West" marshal who faces the challenge of a lifetime when his arch enemy steps out of the past. It stars Vincent Cassel, Michael Madsen and Juliette Lewis. Blueberry was sold to Central Partnership for Russia,
  • Cartoon Movie tribute nominees announced

    France's MK2, Sweden's Folkets Bio and Spain's Grupo Filmax are among seven companies or individuals who have been nominated for Cartoon Movie Tributes in recognition of their contribution to the success of feature animation in Europe.The full line-up of nominees are:Didier Brunner (France), 'for producing the greatest number of auteur films over the last five years' Grupo Filmax (Spain), 'for its strategy of production and distribution in Spain' Folkets Bio (Sweden) 'fo
  • Celestial Pictures launches travelling Chinese film festival in US

    Hong Kong'sCelestial Pictures has launched a traveling US film festival of Chinese martialarts films which kicked off in Los Angeles on Friday and will travel throughuniversities and cinemas in 20 cities the country.The seriestitled Heroic Grace: The Chinese Martial Arts Film features ten classic ShawBrothers films produced between 1966 and 1980 from directors such as ChangCheh, King Hu, Liu Chia-liang and Chu Yuan. The series is presented by the UCLAFilm and Televi
  • China 'ready' for foreign-owned multiplexes

    China's top film executivesays Beijing may soon allow foreign exhibitors to take a majority stake in itstheatre chains and is also actively considering relaxing the country's intricaterules regarding international co-productions.Yang Buting, chief executiveofficer of sprawling entertainment conglomerate China Film Group, told theShoWest convention in Las Vegas yesterday that the Chinese Government was easingits attitude towards foreign partnerships in order to spur more outsideinvestme
  • Columbia TriStar starts shooting first South Korean production

    Silmi Island (working title), Columbia TriStar's first foray into the South Korean production sector, started principal photography on March 1. Fully financed by Columbia for $10m, an unusually high budget by local standards, the Korean-language feature is directed by Cinema Service founder Kang Woo-suk. Kang, a producer and investor who also directed the hit comedies Two Cops (1993) and Public Enemy (2002), is widely regarded as the most powerful figure i
  • Comandante

    Dir: Oliver Stone. US. 2003. 99mins.For his first documentary, filmmaker Oliver Stone has chosen, in typically Stone fashion, a controversial subject: Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Commandante provides a fascinating look at the man behind the iconic beard and cigar. But the subject is the only controversial thing about the film. Viewers who come looking for the critical edge of Stone the film-maker will be disappointed, for Stone's presence in front of the camera is mor
  • Cradle 2 The Grave

    Dir: Andrzej Bartkowiak. US. 2003. 99mins.Having successfully applied the formula first in Romeo Must Die and then in Exit Wounds, producer Joel Silver and director Andrzej Bartkowiak reassemble many of the talents from those two $50m-plus domestic hits for another slick yet moderately budgeted package of hip-hop/martial arts action for Warner. The action feels a little rote this time out, but judging by Cradle 2 The Grave's $17.1m US opening - from 2,625
  • Cradle 2 The Grave

  • Cradle 2 The Grave hip hops to the top

    Warner Bros' action thriller Cradle 2 The Grave opened in first place over the weekend on $17.1m, according to studio estimates released today (Mar 2). The martial arts-hip-hop picture was the only major bow of the weekend as the studios pace themselves in the run-up to the Academy Awards on Mar 23 and it proved too strong for the competition, keeping DreamWorks' comedy Old School in second place and shunting Fox/Regency's Daredevil into third.However the big story
  • Deauville Asian festival announces competition films

    The fifth edition of the Deavuille Festival of Asian Film will kick off next week in the seaside Normandy town. From March 13 to 16 seven films will compete for the Lotus statue with a jury presided by French screenwriter Pierre Jolivet.Other members of the jury include French actresses Clotilde Courau, Sandrine Dumas, actor-directors Jean-Marc Barr and Antoine de Caunes and writer Denis Robert.The competition films are as follows: Japan's Blessing Bell directed b
  • Denmark's NatFilm reveals fest programme

    The line-up for the 14th edition of Copenhagen's NatFilm Festival (Mar 28-Apr 6) contains 143 features and documentaries, including many of the hottest titles from the recent Berlin Film Festival. The full programme is due to be officially announced tonight (7 Mar) at a pre-launch party and screening of writer-director Anders Thomas Jensen's highly anticipated The Green ButchersJosef Fares' colourfully unrealistic Swedish box-office hit Kops opens the festival, while Mich
  • Denmark's Steen wins best actress & supporting actress awards - again

    Danish actress Paprika Steen made awards history on Sunday by winning both best actress and best supporting actress prizes at the Danish film critics' Bodil Awards - having done exactly the same at last month's Danish academy awards, the Roberts.Steen (pictured) and director Susanne Bier took centre stage at Sunday night's Bodil Awards, which are handed out by the Danish association of film critics. Steen secured both the best actress and best supporting actress prizes for Ok
  • Dentists, Dopamine bookend San Francisco fest

    Alan Rudolph's The Secret Lives Of Dentists has been selected as the opening night film for the 46th San Francisco International Film Festival on April 17. The film, which stars Campbell Scott and Hope Davis, has been well-received at its previous screenings at the Toronto and Sundance Film Festivals, and is distributed in North America by Manhattan Pictures International. Arclight Films has international rights.The festival will close with another Sundance picture, Mark Decena'
  • Devil wins top prizes at Czech Lions

    Petr Zelenka's part-fiction musical documentary Year Of The Devil took top prizes at the Czech Lions, the Czech Film and Television Academy's awards for the best Czech films of 2002, at a ceremony in Prague over the weekend. Zelenka's black comedy won six awards, including Best Film and Best Director - the director's second win in both categories - following up on its win of the Grand Prix at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival last July and the main prize at the Triest
  • DreamWorks considering Cinar acquisition

    DreamWorks SKG is one of several companies pondering the purchase of troubled Canadian animation house Cinar Corp, according to a report in Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper. Citing unnamed sources, the report says the studio is in league with California-based investment firm Triyar Capital and Michael Hirsh, the former CEO of Nelvana Limited, the Canadian animation house Hirsh co-founded and later sold to Toronto-based Corus Entertainment. Hirsch left Corus in October 2002 to
  • Dreamworks joins Prague production influx

    Dreamworks SKG has gone into pre-production in Prague on an untitled teen comedy, formerly called The Ugly Americans. The European road trip movie represents the first shoot in the Czech capital for DreamWorks, previously the only major studio not to have shot a film in the Czech Republic, which has drawn runaway U.S. productions with its skilled crews and low labour costs. The film has gone though a series of working titles, according to Matthew Stillman of Stillking Fil
  • Echo Lake, Esparza/Katz team to remake 50s classic

    Film-maker David Riker (LaCiudad) is to direct a remake of the1953 film Salt Of The Earth, theoriginal release of which was blocked during the McCarthy era, for Echo LakeProductions and Esparza/Katz Productions.The film will be produced byDoug Mankoff of Echo Lake along with Moctesuma Esparza and Robert Katz ofEsparza/Katz Productions and Paul S Mezey who produced La Ciudad. Becca Wilson, daughter of original screenwriterMichael Wilson is co-producing. The film wil
  • Fireworks scores AFM deals on Coronado

    Fireworks Pictures closed a host of international sales on its effects-driven action film Coronado at AFM including deals with Manga in Spain, Scanbox in Scandinavia, Europa in Brazil and RCV in Benelux. The film was written and produced by Volker Engel and Marc Weigert, partners in the production company Uncharted Territory and special effects experts who have credits including Independence Day (for which Engel won an Oscar). Boasting 600 special effects shots, th
  • Fourtou sheds little light on Universal sale progress

    Jean-Rene Fourtou just isn't talking. At a press conference on Thursday night announcing 2002 financial results, the Vivendi Universal chairman stuck to business and refused to be led on any of the burning questions swirling around a possible sell-off of entertainment assets.Regarding offers made by Texas oil man Marvin Davis and on-going discussions with Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone who are interested in buying up all or part of Vivendi Universal Entertainment (VUE), Fourtou said,
  • France's TPS signs multi-year deal with BVI television

    One week after Canal Plus struck an exclusive pay-TV deal with Disney for five animated features, rival French satellite platform TPS has signed a multi-year agreement with Buena Vista International Television for live-action films from Touchstone Pictures.The deal is for first window pay-TV and will include major current and upcoming releases and also gives second window pay-TV rights to TPS for Walt Disney features, excluding animation.Films so far in the package are M. Night
  • Gaga takes Japanese rights to Winterbottom's Code 46

    Gaga Communications has acquired Japanese rights to Michael Winterbottom's sci-fi Code 46, which is currently in production starring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton.The deal was sealed with UK-based sales agent The Works at last week's AFM, where Winterbottom's previous film, Berlin winner In This World, was one of the market's strongest selling titles. The story of two Afghan refugees, also sold by The Works, has now gone to a host of territories including France
  • German actor Horst Buchholz dies, aged 68

    The German film industry is mourning the passing of actor Horst Buchholz at the age of 68.After appearing at Berlin's Schiller Theatre, Buchholz was discovered by director Julien Duvivier who gave him his first film role in Marianne De Ma Jeunesse in 1955. In the same year, he appeared in Helmut Kaeutner's Sky Without Stars, winning the Best Actor award when the film screened at the Cannes Film Festival. His breakthrough to stardom came after he played the title ro
  • German film fund awards more than $5m to new projects

    New features by Dennis Gansel, Sherry Hormann, Ben Verbong and three graduation films by students of Munich's Academy for Television & Film (HFF) are among the film projects receiving over Euros 5m from Bavaria's regional film fund FFF Bayern.Olga Film's production of Dennis Gansel's historical drama Napola about the decisions to be taken by a working-class boy who becomes a pupil at a Nazi elite school in 1942 received the largest amount with Euros 1.45m. This was follo
  • Germany's RTL Group names new CEO

    Gerhard Zeiler has been named chief executive Germany's RTL Group following the exit of Didier Bellens.Zeiler (pictured) will take up his new responsibilities immediately, but will also continue in his current position as CEO of RTL Television, a 100% subsidiary of the RTL Group. Commenting on his appointment, Zeiler said that "heading the only really pan-European audiovisual Group is a tremendous challenge. RTL Group has a wide range of assets in several businesses across a nu
  • Goodbye, Lenin tops German box office for third week running

    Warner Bros-distributed pictures Goodbye Lenin and Two Weeks Notice held on to first and second place respectively in the German charts at the weekend, claiming an impressive 65% market share. Goodbye Lenin, an X-Verleih presentation of an X-Film Creative Pool Production that Warner Bros is distributing in the territory, added another $4m (Euros 3.8m) from 540 prints.Two Weeks Notice took $1.8m (Euros 1.7m) from 261,000 admissions from 716 prints in its thir
  • Guadalajara unveils Mexican contenders

    Guadalajara's 18th Mexican Film Showcase (Mar 21-27) has unveiled the official entries to its Mexican and Iberoamerican sections. Fifteen Mexican films have made the cut. With the exception of El Crimen Del Padre Amaro, none of the titles have yet been released in Mexico. Two documentaries are in the list: rockumentary Alex Lora: Esclavo Del Rock & Roll and La Pasion De Maria Elena which participated at Sundance in January.Set to have their world premieres a
  • High-profile speakers lined up for 2nd Inside Pictures training course

    Four Weddings And A Funeral writer Richard Curtis, Notting Hill producer Duncan Kenworthy and Working Title Films co-chair Tim Bevan are amongst the speakers lined up for the second edition of Inside Pictures, the training scheme set up by former PolyGram Filmed Entertainment chief Michael Kuhn.The scheme, which has secured £350,000 from the Training Fund at UK support body the Film Council, is now fielding applications for the course. The 14 participants will attend
  • Hoffman gets top honour at San Francisco Film Festival

    Dustin Hoffman is to receive the Peter J Owens Award at the 46th San Francisco International Film Festival, which runs from Apr 17 - May 1. The Owens Award, named after the local cultural benefactor and longtime festival board member, will be presented to Hoffman at the Film Society Awards Night on Apr 23 at San Francisco's Ritz Carlton Hotel.A tribute to Hoffman has been scheduled for Apr 24, when a retrospective reel and onstage interview will precede a screening of Lenny.
  • Hong Kong film fest introduces three new international competition sections

    The Hong Kong International Film Festival (HIFF) is introducing three international competition sections to its 27th edition (April 8-23), marking the first time the event has handed out awards.A section entitled Firebird Awards for Young Cinema will screen 11 first or second productions from new directors, including Blind Shaft, directed by China's Li Yang, Noi Albinoi from Iceland's Dagur Kari and One Night Husband from Thai director Pimpaka Towira. In the Asian
  • IFM has Grim Weekend at MIP-TV

    IFM World Releasing, the distribution associate of US/Australian international film and TV sales company IFM Film Associates, has picked up worldwide distribution rights on the horror title Grim Weekend. The picture will premiere at the upcoming MIP-TV in Cannes.Grim Weekend centres on a real estate agent who invites friends and co-workers for a weekend in a remote woodland cabin when an unknown assailant begins to murder the group. The picture was directed by Bob Willems
  • IMAX launches new system for use in multiplexes

    IMAX Corporation today (Mar 3) announced a deal with US cinema chain Jack Loeks Theatres to install its first large-format theatre system specifically designed for use in multiplex theatres. The move is a departure from the traditional IMAX format, which required construction of a new theatre. Under the new IMAX MPX technology, a small projection system can be added to an existing multiplex theatre or converted from two adjacent and under-used stadium-seating auditoria in a multiplex.T
  • Intacto takes top honours at Fantasporto

    Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's Intacto (pictured) picked up best film and best screenplay prizes in the Fantasy Section of the 23rd Oporto International Film Festival (Feb 21 - Mar 1), better known as Fantasporto.The UK's Danny Boyle went home with the best director prize for 28 Days Later, with Germany's Robert Schwentke getting a mention for Tattoo. 28 Days Later also won the Melies D'Argent award for the Best European Fantasy Feature in competition at the fest
  • Italian parliament seeks 'impartial' president for state broadcaster

    In an apparent effort to contain ongoing criticism over Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's sway on state broadcaster RAI, the speakers of the two houses of the Italian Parliament have decided that the network's next president should be appointed from the opposition party.The unprecedented decision (Rai's president and three of its five board members are normally appointed from the governing coalition) followed the resignation last week of president Antonio Baldassarre and remaining boa
  • Jackass grosses out in the UK

    It may feature a man having his nipple bitten by a baby crocodile but Jackass: The Movie's constitution did not prove strong enough to unseat The Ring at the UK box office last week.But Jackass, which entered the chart at number two, still made a remarkable assault on UK cinemas with a three-day gross of $2m. The adaptation of MTV's outlandish cult gross-fest, which had an unexpectedly large opening in the US last year, opened in the UK on 340 sites to an average o
  • Jagoda In The Supermarket

    Dir: Dusan Milic. Serb-Ger-It. 2003. 82mins.Produced by Emir Kusturica (who has the briefest cameo in the film as a police chief), this oddball siege comedy has many of the Greater Serb's traits: a goofball surreal-symbolic take on Balkan tragedies, characters that slip in and out of caricature, and a delirious Serbian reggae soundtrack courtesy of a local wedding and funerals band. But Jagoda In The Supermarket wears the burden of Serbian history more lightly than, sa
  • Jagoda In The Supermarket

  • Latin American films dominate Fribourg competition

    More than half of the feature films showing in the competition of Germany's 17th Fribourg International Film Festival (March 16-23) come from Latin America.Brazil is represented by two films - Jorge Furtado's Two Summers and Eliane Caffe's The Story Tellers - while Argentina has four pictures: Luis Ortega's Black Box, Carlos Sorin's Minimal Stories, Adolfo Aristarain's Common Ground and Cesar Luis D'Angiolillo's Potestad - competing for the fe
  • Macquarie and Nine launch second production fund

    Australia's Nine Network and Macquarie Bank have launched a new production investment fund with the aim of raising at least $12.3m - after the partnership's inaugural fund last year raised $13.3m out of a hoped-for $35m. The Nine Network and Macquarie Bank today (March 4) lodged a prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission aimed at raising a minimum of $12.3m (A$20m) through an unlisted managed fund for the production of a portfolio of film and television.
  • Mar del Plata opens with peace dedication

    Mar del Plata, Latin America's only A grade film festival, unspooled yesterday (March 6) with the screening of Fernando Meirelles' City Of God. Launching the event, new festival director Miguel Pereira dedicated the event to a celebration of peace. "At a time when we may soon see bombs falling on Iraq, the biggest applause should be for peace," he said. The audience responded with rousing applause; almost as popular with the Argentinian public was the observation by the g
  • Myriad attracted by Murders

    Myriad has picked up all worldwide sales rights to the low-budget film You Can't Stop The Murders, which is being released in Australia on March 13 by BVI and Miramax. The comedy is Anthony Mir's directorial debut and he also appears in the film alongside his long-term stand-up comedy collaborators Gary Eck and Akmal Saleh. Producer Anastasia Sideris did the deal with Myriad after a call from co-president Kirk D'Amico convinced her the sales agent loved rather than needed
  • Neither For, Nor Against (Quite The Contrary (Ni Pour, Ni Contre (Bien Au Contraire)

    Dir: Cedric Klapisch. Fr. 2002. 112minsAfter the success of Europudding, the Barcelona-set youth comedy which was the fourth biggest French film at home last year (where it took $16.6m), Cedric Klapisch had a tough act to follow. He does so with Neither For, Nor Against, another ensmeble piece, but one which hives off into a completely different genre: the gangster thriller. Klapisch has avoided being tied down to a certain genre, usually ensemble comedy (Eu
  • New animation companies launched in Germany, Spain

    MTM Medien & Television Muenchen, which has been nominated in the Foreign Language Film Academy Award category for Caroline Link's Nowhere In Africa is branching out into animation production.This follows plans by MTM and the animation production house Papa Loewe Filmproduktion to work together on the development of animation films.The first joint project will be the 26-part TV series Antje & Friends, based on an idea by children's author Janosch, which is being pr
  • New UK tax fund targets transatlantic film distribution

    Warner Bros. is set to tap into a transatlantic distribution fund being raised through UK tax financing.The scheme is the brainchild of UK tax specialist Scotts Atlantic, which is currently raising the fund from private investors. While Scotts Atlantic was not available for comment, rival tax funds said that the scheme involved Warner Bros. licensing rights to its films to UK investors, who would then pass the films back to the US studio to distribute. The aim is said to provide p&a fu
  • Portugal's LNK Filmes strengthens its slate

    Portugal's LNK Filmes has announced a host of acquisitions, further strengthening its market position as well as that of its expanding umbrella holding company JRP.Pick-ups concluded at the AFM, according to commercial manager Luis Froes, who co-handles international acquisitions, include Joel Schumacher's The Phantom Of The Opera, Michael Winterbottom's Code 46, John Boorman's Country Of The Skulls, and Olias Barco's Snowboarder. In Berlin, LNK Filmes took
  • Producers and directors toast Chicago

    First-time director Rob Marshall was the surprise winner of the Director's Guild of America (DGA) feature film directing award on Saturday night for his musical Chicago. The DGA honour is regarded by awards watchers as a key indicator of Academy Award success: since 1949 only five winners have not gone on to claim the Oscar statuette.The accolade is yet more good news for the Broadway adaptation, which has gained momentum in steady fashion and this weekend passed $100m at the No
  • Rotterdam fest acts to avoid Berlin date clash

    A potentially damaging head-to-head clash between the Rotterdam and Berlin film festivals over the dates for their 2004 editions has been nipped in the bud.Following Berlin's announcement this week that its 54th festival will be held from Feb 5-15 (the earliest start for the German festival since its move to February in 1978), Rotterdam's organisers have now decided to bring the 33rd festival forward by a week.Speaking to Screendaily from New York, Rotterdam festival dire
  • Sex, History and Hinglish - Bollywood's new genres

    The failure of several big-budget Indian films last year, both at home and abroad, has forced Indian filmmakers to experiment with new themes. A three-hour, big-budget Hindi movie of boy-meets-girl theme, with top stars, lavish sets, spectacular scenes set in New Zealand and Switzerland and extravagant song-and-dance numbers, costs about $7m to produce. But this kind of cinema that Hindi cinema is famous for worldwide is now struggling for survival. Export is one of the only are
  • Splendid's Without Apparent Motive is apparently off

    Splendid Pictures' $38m thriller Without Apparent Motive is not going ahead, certainly in its latest incarnation with director Bille August and stars Richard Gere and Julianne Moore. All three have left the project. The film, which was scheduled to start production in the next few weeks, had secured both Gere and Moore ' both exceedingly hot after their turns in Oscar-nominated films Chicago (Gere) and The Hours and Far From Heaven (both Moore) ' in the lead
  • Studio production costs soar to record levels

    Jack Valenti's state-of-the-industry address at ShoWest today (Mar 4) was startling not only for the fact that 2002 admissions were the highest in the US since 1957. Despite stabilising production costs over the past few years, negative cost of films released by members of the Motion Picture Association Of America (MPAA) were up a dramatic $3.9bn in 2002 - an upturn which was only partly offset by a small drop in the average cost of releasing them.In a speech entitled Emerson's Doct
  • Sumner Redstone eyes selected VU entertainment assets

    Paramount-owner, Viacom may have emerged as the new front-runner in the race to buy Vivendi Universal's US entertainment assets. Viacom is understood to have focused its interest on Universal Studios and the TV operations, but not Universal Music.Viacom chief Sumner Redstone and Vivendi Universal boss Jean-Rene Fourtou met recently in secret to discuss the options. Fourtou is already holding a bid worth $20bn - including the music business - from Texan oil billionaire Marvin Davis.
  • Sweden's BUFF festival celebrates 20th anniversary

    Sweden's BUFF, one of Europe's major children's film festivals, is to celebrate its 20th anniversary on March 11-16. The festival, which takes place in Malmo in the south of Sweden, plays an important role as a platform for children's films in the Nordic region. In 2002 the festival had 12,000 visitors.This year, BUFF will screen 91 films from all over the world. Just like at Berlin's Kinderfilmfest, there is a strong showing of Scandinavian children's films. Five out of the ten
  • Sweden's NonStop acquires host of titles for Scandinavian release

    Swedish acquisitions and distribution company NonStop Entertainment has acquired Scandinavian rights to Berlin Golden Bear winner In This World by Michael Winterbottom. Other new acquisitions include audience favourite Whale Rider by acclaimed director Niki Caro, the new Spanish thriller Killing Words, Australian box office hit Crackerjack and Edward Furlong's in Three Blind Mice. Romantic drama Whale Rider, by New Zealand's highly acclaimed Ni
  • The end of the road for Wim Wenders & Road Movies'

    The final chapter in the history of Road Movies may have been written with the news of the firing of Wim Wenders as managing director from the company he founded with partners in 1976 to make such classics as Paris, Texas, Wings Of Desire and Buena Vista Social Club.A second managing director at Road Movies - Frank Graf - was also given his marching orders, so that the company now has only Das Werk's Joachim Sturmes in the managerial driving seat. According to a re
  • The One And Only

    Dir: Simon Cellan Jones. UK 2002. 91mins. Spectacularly misnamed, The One And Only is anything but exceptional. Instead, it is a feeble cookie cutter comedy which represents a real disappointment given the considerable previous achievements of the talent involved: producer Leslee Udwin (East Is East), writer Peter Flannery (the BBC series Our Friends In The North, Funny Bones) and director Simon Cellan Jones (Our Friends..., acclaimed film d
  • The Soul Keeper (Prendimi L'Anima)

    Dir: Roberto Faenza. Italy-France-UK. 2003. 97mins.Italian director Roberto Faenza's first English-language film spins a historical romance out of a footnote in the history of psychoanalysis. By turns involving and frustrating, it demonstrates the danger of a many-handed script which was only translated into English at a fairly late stage. But while the dialogue smacks a little too much of a language-teaching video; strong performances from the two leads, Emilia Fox (The P
  • The Third Wave heralds Sonet's international ambitions

    Swedish production and distribution company Sonet Film has started shooting its first English-language feature film, The Third Wave, directed by Anders Nilsson, who made local box-office hit Executive Protection in 2001.Following Sonet Film's local success both Executive Protection and last year's Everyone Loves Alice, the company has announced that it will focus more on international projects to broaden its target market."The Swedish music industry
  • THINKFilm buys Scherfig's Berlin hit Wilbur

    THINKFilm has acquired all North American rights to Lone Scherfig's darkly humorous drama Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself. The film, which is her English-language debut, is Scherfig's next film after Italian For Beginners, which was a critical and commercial hit around the world including the US. Trust Film Sales handled both films and finalised this sale at the AFM. "Wilbur's perfect balance of comedy,
  • Venice star Nadia Zandegiacomo dies, age 35

    Nadia Zandegiacomo of the Venice Film Festival died last week at the age of 35, having succumbed to the cancer that kept her away from the 2002 festival - the first time in ten years that she had not given her invaluable all to the event.Zandegiacomo served as a producers’ and filmmakers’ liaison under festival directors Gillo Pontecorvo, Felice Laudadio and Alberto Barbera. She will be remembered to all who saw her as the lovely woman wielding a walkie-talkie as she led delegations of
  • Whale Rider becomes 2nd highest grossing local NZ film

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