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7 November 2000

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  • A.Film restructures following Help! success

    Danish animation studio A.Film has appointed Henrik Edeltoft as managing director. He replaces Anders Mastrup who will now focus on the company's international development following the worldwide sales and local box office success of its latest project Help! I'm a Fish.Edeltoft recently worked for Scandinavian major Egmont which owns 50% of A.Film. "I have worked closely with Henrik for some time now, and he was the obvious choice when I started to look for somebody to take care
  • Advanced boosts slate with Paradise, Killers

    Adding to a string of MIFED deals, German distributor Advanced Medien has added two more titles to its 2001 release slate: Majid Majidi's award-winning film The Colour Of Paradise and Dito Tsintsadze's Lost Killers.Paradise, acquired from Menemsha Entertainment, has enjoyed successful runs in a number of countries, but in Germany has so far only been shown at the Berlin, Hamburg and Munich festivals. The deal was grabbed on the eve of the London film market along w
  • Alan Parker set to direct for Intermedia

    Alan Parker appears to be close to a deal to direct the drama The Life Of David Gale for Intermedia Films.Written by Charles Randolph, the project tells the story of a professor who advocated banning capitol punishment who is falsely accused of murdering a fellow activist and is put on death row.The project is expected to be a co-production between Parker's UK-based outfit Dirty Hands and Nicolas Cage's US company Saturn, which has a deal with Intermedia. Shooting is like
  • Almodovar to stay at home for next film

    Still basking in the worldwide success of All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre), Spanish director Pedro Almodovar has decided to shoot his next film on home turf, postponing indefinitely his much anticipated English-language debut.The provisionally titled Hable Con Ella (Talk To Her) will shoot in Spain sometime next year, possibly as early as March. Sources at Almodovar's Madrid-based production outfit El Deseo confirm that a first draft of the Spanish-language scrip
  • Alpine Pictures, Strick deal in Love

    Alpine Pictures has teamed with Cape Fear screenwriter Wesley Strick to produce teen thriller Love Is The Drug starring Leelee Sobieski, the fast-rising young actress who appeared in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.Love Is The Drug is billed as a Generation X thriller set against the Los Angeles rave scene where a love triangle between three teenagers ends in treachery and death.Alpine Pictures president of film production John Bunzel will oversee th
  • Anderson moves to UIP Australia

    Expatriate Australian Jon Anderson is returning home to take up the role of marketing manager of UIP Australia from November 20. Anderson was most recently Columbia TriStar's London-based director of marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Throughout the 1980s he worked for the merged Fox Columbia company in Sydney. When announcing the appointment, UIP Australia managing director Mike Selwyn paid tribute to Diana Velhagen, who has been running the department since Sam
  • Bac desires Wenders, plans DVD release

    French distributor-exhibitor Bac Majestic has acquired all French rights to selected Wim Wenders titles from the German film-maker's own production company Road Movies. Bac, which plans to release the titles on DVD during 2001, is also in talks to acquire Wenders' Paris Texas and Wings Of Desire from the French co-producer of those titles, Argos Films.
  • Bacon & Eggs, Chickflicks fry up Coyote

    UK production outfit Bacon & Eggs Productions is co-producing its first feature - a comic horror film called Coyote - with Chickflicks, the US production company founded by Sara Risher and being bankrolled by New Line Cinema, where Bacon & Eggs enjoys a first-look deal.Bacon & Eggs and Chickflicks will co-produce the film - about a pack of coyotes taking revenge against some schlocky Hollywood film-makers in Los Angeles - with Steven Wolfe's production and management company Sne
  • Berlin Film Festival to feature Lang tribute

    The 2001 edition of the Berlin Film Festival will honour director Fritz Lang with a retrospective, screening the complete filmography of the German director, who died in Los Angeles in 1976. Many of the prints that will screen have been restored from original negatives.The highlight of the series, which was organised by the Berlin Film Museum, will be a screening of Lang's classic Metropolis, with a new score composed by Bernd Schultheis and performed by the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorc
  • Bertelsmann restructure prompts top execs to quit

    BMG Entertainment's top two executives - chairman Michael Dornemann and president and CEO Strauss Zelnick - are leaving their posts as part of a wide-ranging reorganisation of parent company Bertelsmann.In a statement, Bertelsmann said that Dornemann will step down from the company's board on December 31 and will quit the chairmanship of BMG Entertainment at the end of the current financial year on July 31. "By taking this step, Dornemann will facilitate the restructuring of Bertelsman
  • Billy Elliot nominated for European Cinema award

    Stephen Daldry's Billy Elliot is one of 15 European titles competing for a $130,000 (FFr1m) prize at the 5th edition of the Forum of European Cinema to be held November 9-14 in Strasbourg. The award - doled out by French film industry support organisation CNC - is intended to support distribution of the winning title in Europe.The other competing titles are:Vanessa Jopp's Vergiss Amerika (Germany), Fintan Connolly's Flick (Ireland),Katrin Otta
  • Blue Dolphin to reissue MGM library titles

    The UK's Blue Dolphin Film & Video is teaming up with Hollywood Classics and MGM to handle and distribute the MGM Library, which incorporates MGM/UA, Orion, PolyGram and Cannon for theatrical and non-theatrical distribution in the UK.This library is the largest film library in the world with a range of titles unsurpassed from the Bonds to the first Terminator and Platoon and the golden age of Hollywood.According to Blue Dolphin, the distributor will "proactively" s
  • Brazilian box office revenues up 12%

    Brazil's box office has been on the upsurge since 1997, according to local research entity Filme B. To date, box office revenues in 2000 have increased by 12% compared to the same period in the previous year to $156m (Real292m) from $139m (Real260m). Due to ticket price increases, admissions have grown by a lower margin of 7%. At the current growth rate, total admissions are expected to reach 75 million, up from 70 million last year.US films have dominated the box office so far this ye
  • Brazil's Top Tape ramps up DVD activity

    Brazilian distributor Top Tape is shifting gears in a bid to capture the growing DVD market in Brazil. The first indie in Brazil to deal with the new format, Top Tape plans to acquire 40 to 50 DVD music titles a year from artists such as Steely Dan, Cristina Aguilera and Santana. The move follows on from an output deal with US-based DVD distributor Aviva earlier this year. Brazil's home video sector is still in a slump but the DVD market is taking off, albeit slowly. "We expect
  • BSkyB on course for five millions subscribers

    UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB is set to reach its target of five million subscribers almost two months ahead of schedule.The broadcaster has notched up more than 4.7 million direct-to-home subscribers, of which more than four million were digital customers. BSkyB had aimed to reach five million by the end of the year.BSkyB also announced that its revenues for the three months ended September 30 this year rose by 33% to $754m (£520m). Revenues were at $567m (£391m) for the compa
  • Canada's Itemus acquires The Shooting Gallery

    US media company The Shooting Gallery has been sold to Toronto-based dotcom Itemus in a $56m share swap deal. However The Shooting Gallery familiar to the international film industry, namely the film development and distribution business, will be spun off, along with allied television and music arms, to existing shareholders prior to the deal. That business will operate under the name Shooting Gallery Entertainment and will become a client of Itemus' Shooting Gallery subsidiary.
  • Charlie's Angels

    Dir: McG. US. 2000. 92 mins. Prod cos: Columbia Pictures, Leonard Goldberg, Flower Films, Tall Trees. US dist: Columbia. Int'l dist: Col TriStar. Prods: Leonard Goldberg, Drew Barrymore, Nancy Juvonen. Exec prods: Betty Thomas, Jenno Topping, Joseph M Caracciolo. Scr: Ryan Rowe & Ed Solomon, John August. DoP: Russell Carpenter. Prod des: J Michael Riva. Ed: Wayne Wahrman, Peter Teschner. Music: Edward Shearmur. Main cast: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Sam Ro
  • Charlie's Angels a box office knockout with $40.5m

    A disappointing year for Columbia Pictures was turned around overnight with the sensational $40.5m opening this weekend for Charlie's Angels, the big screen version of the campy 70s TV series famous for launching the career of Farrah Fawcett Majors. The long-awaited action adventure directed by first-timer McG and starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Bill Murray lifted overall box office by 37% from the same weekend last year and marked the biggest non-summer opener in h
  • Cine-International sells eight to E-M-S

    Veteran German sales house Cine-International Filmvertrieb clinched a number of MIFED deals on its new and library titles.Market newcomer E-M-S New Media licensed German-speaking video and DVD rights to eight pictures including Robert Sigl's mystery thriller Laurin, Wolfgang Lesowsky's Gustav Mahler, Michael Cacoyannis' Sweet Country, Nicholas Schilling's Rheingold and Rudolf Thome's Paradiso - Seven Days Or Seven Women. The package also included S
  • CNC slaps fine on UGC over loyalty pass

    French film industry watchdog, the CNC, has fined UGC $198,000 (FFr1.5m) because the exhibitors' controversial loyalty card scheme breaches its regulatory code.The UGC pass allows cinema-goers to see an unlimited number of films for FFr98 a month with a minimum subscription period of one year. The CNC argues that cinema tickets issued through the passes do not show the name of the film that the cardholder is going to see, thus making it impossible to calculate admissions for specific t
  • Coppola clan keeps growing at Capitol

    Jeremy Davies, Gerard Depardieu, Billy Zane, Elodie Bouchez and Giancarlo Giannini have all been lined up to star in CQ, to be directed for Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope by his son Roman Coppola. It is one of several Zoetrope productions being financed by Germany's VCL and sold through Capitol Film Sales.The others include the previously announced biopic on Mexican artist Frida Kahlo to be directed next February by Luiz Valdez (La Bamba) with Jennifer Lopez playing the
  • Crystal Sky, VCL, Cinetel coil around Viper

    CineTel Films has teamed up with Steven Paul's Crystal Sky and Germany's VCL to produce the $5.2m action picture Viper starring Theresa Russell and Patrick Muldoon. CineTel's Paul Hertzberg and Lisa Hansen are producing the film, with Paul and VCL's Datty Ruth as executive producers. Jay Andrews, whose credits include Militia and Stealth Fighter, is the director.Viper, which has already started production, is the first co-production between CineTel and Cryst
  • Daldry renews pact with Working Title

    Hot UK director Stephen Daldry, whose debut Billy Elliot has become both a critical and box office sensation on home turf, has signed a three-year deal with Working Title Films to direct a minimum of two films. The pact follows on from Working Title's previous first-look arrangement with Daldry which resulted in Billy Elliot and recently expired. However Daldry's next project is likely to be Paramount's adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Cunningham's nove
  • Demme joins on-line outfit Article 27

    Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme has joined the board of advisors of article27, the on-line entertainment syndicator that is rapidly expanding international activities.Demme's appointment comes as article27 is partnering with UK indie distributor Optimum Releasing for a theatrical release of German title Aimee & Jaguar. Article27 picked up all rights to the film in the UK after the film's US release through Zeitgeist Films, which partnered with the fledgling Web out
  • Dinosaur takes top spot in second week

    Dinosaur stomped into the number one spot in the UK's box office chart as it increased its second weekend gross by 8% to take $3.1m (£2.2m) from 495 sites. Coinciding with the schools' half-term break, the Disney picture has grossed an impressive $14.8m (£10.2m) after ten days.Supernatural thriller What Lies Beneath at number two also had a successful weekend dropping just 20% from its opening number one position bringing its 10-day gross to $7.8m (£5.4m).UK distri
  • Dream, Town share Valladolid's Golden Spike

    The 45th annual Valladolid International Week of Film (Oct 20-28) handed out its awards with no single film standing out as a walk-away winner.Top awards were evenly dispersed across a handful of competing films, with US filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and France's Robert Guediguian sharing the top award, the Golden Spike, for Requiem For A Dream and The Town Is Quiet (La Ville Est Tranquille), respectively. Karyn Kusama's Sundance favourite, Girlfight, took home the Si
  • EFA nods reward box office heavy-hitters

    Four of Europe's biggest homegrown hits of 2000 - the UK's Chicken Run and Billy Elliot, Italy's Bread And Tulips and France's Le Gout Des Autres - have been nominated for best European Film at the European Film Awards which take place December 2 in Paris.Also competing for the prize are France's Harry, He Is Here To Help, Sweden's Faithless and Denmark's Cannes Palme d'Or winner Dancer In The Dark. The selection also includes an
  • EU gives aid to third-world film-makers

    The European Union (EU) has launched an aid programme to support production and distribution of films from the crisis hit African, Caribbean and Pacific regions.The new cash is coming from the EU's European Development Fund in an effort to boost cultural and social co-operation. Production finance of Euros100,000 to Euros400,000 per film will be available. And on the distribution the EU will provide up to 40% of distribution and promotion costs up to a maximum of Euros80,000.
  • EXECUTIVE SUITE - Kirk D'Amico

    The founder of Myriad Pictures tells Patrick Frater why bigger is better in the changing film sales sector.Your company prides itself on selling films from a myriad of genres. What are you looking for when you pick up a title'Although I hate to make comparisons with other companies, we are looking for a broad mix similar to Miramax and Dimension. On the one hand we are looking for quality, artistic, talent-driven films that make unique, compelling viewing. On the o
  • EXECUTIVE SUITE - Roberto Patruno

    The managing director of Istituto Luce talks to Melanie Rodier about the company's changing objectives.What are Istituto Luce's ties to the state and what is the company's budget'We are a joint stock company owned by Cinecitta Holding and funded by the Italian government. The cultural ministry gives us $8.7m-$9.5m (L20bn-L22bn) every year. Of this, $434,000-$650,000 goes to Istituto Luce's exhibition branch; about $1.7m is used to reconvert our library; a further $
  • Film Export to shoot Aranda historical comedy

    Italy's Film Export Group has announced that it is about to start shooting a new Spanish co-production entitled Locura De Amor and directed by Vicente Aranda.Based on a true story, the $5m historical comedy recounts the trials and tribulations of a young Spanish royal couple in the 15th century. Maria Grazia Cucinotta (Il Postino) stars with Giuliana Gemma and Daniele Liotti, and shooting begins this week in Madrid.Fresh from a pre-MIFED buying spree, Film Export's
  • Filmax develops English-language trio

    Fresh from the sales success of forthcoming English-language feature Darkness, Barcelona-based mini-studio The Filmax Group is prepping three new English-language co-productions as part of its international push.Luis Sepulveda's political drama Nowhere, a co-production with Surf Films of Italy and Buena Vista/Telefonica Media-backed Patagonik of Argentina, is being prepped for a March shoot between Spain and Argentina. Filmax president Julio Fernandez says talks are under
  • Fireworks buys Innocence for the US

    Fireworks Pictures - the domestic distribution subsidiary of Jay Firestone's Toronto-based CanWest Entertainment - has closed its latest acquisition at MIFED, taking US rights to Paul Cox's award-winning crowd-pleaser Innocence from sales agent Cinemavault Releasing.The deal was sealed by Fireworks vice president of acquisitions and co-productions Bob Aaronson and Cinemavault CEO Nick Stiliades. Innocence and other Fireworks acquisitions such as Simon Magus and
  • First-half losses almost double at Stream

    Ailing Italian pay-TV operator Stream has reported that losses almost doubled in the first half of 2000 to $134.4m (L302bn) from $67.6m (L152bn) in the same period last year, despite an increase in both revenues and subscriber numbers.Revenue was up to $46m (L104bn) compared to $10m (L23bn) in the first half of 1999. Stream also reported that subscriber numbers rose 27% to 489,000 during the period on the back of programming which includes nearly 50% of Italy's first-division soccer ma
  • Fox Studios Australia slashes entry prices

    Fox Studios Australia has reduced admission prices to its Backlot entertainment area in an effort to increase visitor numbers. The move represents a partial merger of the Backlot with the adjacent Bent Street cinema and restaurant precinct.From mid-November adult prices to various attractions, which include the Titanic experience and the Lights Camera Chaos stage show, will be A$24.95 instead of A$39.95. Children's and concession prices have been discounted by A$10 to A$14.95 and A$19.
  • Franchise adds Plan B, Stallone duo to slate

    Franchise Pictures is debuting a range of new pictures at London including two new actioners starring Sylvester Stallone and the mob comedy Plan B starring Diane Keaton. And for the first time in several markets, all major territories are available on the titles since Franchise's German partner, Intertainment, has not taken up its option to buy pan-European rights.Franchise, which is also in negotiations with Kirch/Mediaset acquisition alliance Epsilon for a pan-European arrange
  • Germany's Filmfest Luenen to present editing prize

    For the second time, German film magazine Der Schnitt will present an award for Best Editing at the Filmfest Luenen (November 16-19) which will be accompanied by a cash prize of $6,600 (DM15,000) from funding body Filmstiftung NRW. The 11 German films nominated for this year's prize include the festival's opening film Gripsholm along with Innere Sicherheit, Fandango, Freunde, Der Himmel Kann Warten, Lost Killers,, Marmor
  • Gilmartin to head development for Impact Pictures

    UK and US production outfit Impact Pictures has appointed Rory Gilmartin as head of development as the operation ramps up production activities after forming a joint venture with Germany's Constantin Film.Gilmartin, formerly at Pathe and Miramax in London, will develop and co-ordinate international film projects at the production operation, which was founded by director Paul Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt. Armed with financing from Constantin, Impact is gearing up for product
  • Goldby bites into Portman's Big Apple

    Academy Award-nominated director Roger Goldby is to make his feature debut with The Big Apple for UK-based Portman Entertainment.Matthew Modine, John Simm and Timothy Spall are to star in the dark comedy about an Irishman who kidnaps the US president at the top of the world's tallest building.Shooting on the £4.5m production is to start next January in New York and Canada, with UK outfit Flashlight producing.Goldby was nominated for an Oscar in 1998 for his short f
  • Hilltop seals $50m Korean financing pact

    LA-based Hilltop Entertainment and Korea's Media Film International (MFI) have sealed a $50m production, financing and distribution deal to deliver five action films with an average budget of $10m per picture. The two companies will jointly finance the films through direct investment and from a previously agreed financing facility arranged between Hilltop and UK-based Future Film Group.All five films will be UK-Canada-Korea co-productions on which physical production will be ove
  • HOT joins bidding for Murdoch's TM3

    Munich-based home shopping network HOT Networks is in talks to acquire a majority stake in German broadcaster TM3, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Kirch Media was previously seen as a front-runner to buy the channel which has less than a 3% share of the German market.HOT is part-owned by US-based Home Shopping Network (HSN) which has a 46.66% stake while HOT chairman Georg Kofler and Thomas Kirch, son of media baron Leo Kirch, each hold 26.66%. The deal would be a first move towar
  • Houston's Angel takes flight with Noe

    French production company Noe Productions is developing an adaptation of Canadian novelist Nancy Houston's The Mark Of The Angel, set to star French actress Elsa Zylberstein, who optioned the novel.Noe's president Frederique Dumas is currently in talks with US and UK partners to join the English-language project which the UK's Michael Radford has expressed interest in directing. Zylberstein's credits include Raoul Ruiz' Le Temps Retrouve and Combat D'Amour En Songe
  • Hurley, Leary reteam for Gold Circle's Dawg

    Elizabeth Hurley and Dennis Leary are to star in romantic comedy Dawg, their second film together for fledgling production company Gold Circle Films (GCF) following Double Whammy.The project joins a rapidly expanding slate at GCF which was founded earlier this year by Gateway Computers co-founder Norm Waitt. The Los Angeles-based company, backed by a $100m commitment over two years, plans to deliver six to eight films per year with budgets ranging from $4m to $7m.
  • India opens doors to DTH broadcast services

    After years of indecision, India's government has finally given the go-ahead for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcast services in India. In addition, foreign investment in the DTH sector has been allowed but is capped at 49%. "The total foreign investment in the DTH broadcasting sector shall not be more than 49% of which the share of foreign direct investment will not exceed 20%," the government said in a statement. Rupert Murdoch was thwarted in his plans to launch DTH services in In
  • Intermedia acquires remake rights to Sleepwalker

    Intermedia has acquired the remake rights to Swedish/Norwegian thriller Sleepwaker from John M Jacobsen and AB Svensk Filmindustri. The English language version will be produced by Mark Johnson Productions which has a first look deal at Intermedia.The original film, a co-production between Filmnor, Svensk and Filmkameratene, was directed by Johannes Runeborg and written by Johan Brannstrom. It tells the story of a man whose wife and children disappear in the middle of the night
  • Japan picks up buying slack in Milan

    If German buyers were getting more sober at MIFED, the Japanese have made up for it, closing a string of multi-million dollar deals which kept the market buzzing and propelled brisk business on the smoke-filled corridors of the Fiera.Nippon Herald Films was particularly busy, scoring three pictures from Intermedia (K19: The Widowmaker, K:Pax and The Wedding Planner), two from Miramax International (Scary Movie 2 and About Adam) and two from Summit Ent
  • Japan, Korea lunge after Hark's Legend

    China Star has secured a Japanese release through Twins Distribution for its big budget Tsui Hark movie, The Legend Of Zu.In Korea, Hark's action thriller will be distributed by Poscobo. Outside Asia the film is being handled by Summit Entertainment, which bought it as part of a three picture package through Anant Singh's Distant Horizon.Distant Horizon is now in talks with China Star's Ann Hung to do a similar deal on Black Mask II, a sequel by Tsui to his hit
  • Japan's Gaga picks up Third World Cop

    Gaga Communications has picked up Japanese rights to Third World Cop from London-based sales outfit The Film Company.The Film Co also used Mifed to sell Stephen King's The Night Flier to Aditya for India, Lady Ninja to SBS Australia and Remote Control to Comedy for Australia. UK thriller Going Off Big Time went to Polmedia for Poland.The operation, part of indie concern High Point and The Film Company Group, said it is in advanced stages of neg
  • Jupiter invests in Japanese movie channel

    Japan's Jupiter Programming is taking a 9.9% stake in local movie channel Nihon Eiga Broadcasting Corp, which is part-owned by Sony and Fuji TV.Jupiter, a supplier of programming to cable and satellite television, is also acquiring a 15% stake in Mitsui-owned children's channel Kids Station. The company plans to take an active role in marketing the two channels to cable stations. Jupiter currently operates seven channels specialising in golf, documentaries, home shopping and oth
  • Keitel, Warren head up Mai's US debut

    Harvey Keitel and Leslie Ann Warren head the cast of Snatch, the first film to be produced in the US by Denmark's Thomas Mai.The $4m satirical comedy is set to shoot in January, under the direction of Cecilia Miniucchi, director of Selena Remembered and Nitsch 98. The film is a San Francisco-set, multi-layered story of several characters whose lives intersect, with commentary by a passing chicken. Valeria Golino and Stefano Dionisi also star.The picture will
  • Key, Mediatrade combine buying power

    In the latest sign that Italian independent distributors are becoming a force to be reckoned with on the international buying scene, ambitious young Rome-based independent Key Films has partnered with the Berlusconi-owned Fininvest group to acquire films.The new deal with Mediatrade, Fininvest's television and film rights division, will allow the fledgling outfit to chase after full Italian rights to prominent features by guaranteeing television rights to any completed films, co-produc
  • Kidman resumes work on Amenabar's The Others

    Nicole Kidman has returned to the Spanish shoot of Alejandro Amenabar's thriller The Others after nearly a month off to treat a recurring knee injury.Kidman left Spain on October 9 for treatment in the US. In her absence, Amenabar carried on filming scenes in which Kidman's character does not appear. Kidman plays Grace, a woman who awaits the delayed return of her husband from World War II while caring for her two young children. The children, played by newcomers Alakina Mann an
  • Kinowelt sells Warner package to ZDF

    Kinowelt, the German distribution, licensing and production giant, has sold a package of films from its famously hard to shift Warner Bros catalogue to state broadcaster ZDF. The deal should help defuse some of the recent criticism of the group. The 21-picture package for free TV is made up of 19 titles from the Warner catalogue and two Kinowelt titles. Warner films licensed to ZDF include Batman & Robin, Contact and the revised cinema version of Flipper as well as
  • Kinowelt still in the hunt for films; targets RCV

    Rainer Koelmel, co-chief of Kinowelt, has insisted that his expansion-minded German outfit is in good financial health and still on the acquisitions trail, for both product and companies - contradicting persistent talk around the MIFED halls that his company is facing a liquidity crunch. Koelmel said that despite the plunging share price, Kinowelt is still very much in the buying game and has targeted Dutch distributor RCV as a potential purchase. "The only thing that this has changed
  • Libra balances Esposito with Glasser

    Anthony Esposito, president of Leading Pictures Inc, and independent producer Richard Glasser have formed a production/distribution outfit called Libra Entertainment which has a first-look production deal with David Glasser's Cutting Edge Entertainment. Richard Glasser is also director of acquisitions at Cutting Edge.Libra will concentrate on projects with Canadian content that can also take advantage of UK and EU treaty-friendly production agreements. All projects will be in the $3m-$
  • Lost Killers wins main award at Cottbus

    Georgian director Dito Tsintsadze's Lost Killers was awarded the $8,800 (DM20,000) top prize at the 10th annual Cottbus Film Festival in Germany, which spotlights Eastern European films.The German production, recently acquired by German distributor Advanced (see separate story), qualified for the festival because of the director's nationality as well as its Eastern European content. The second $4,400 (DM10,000) prize was given to Achim von Borries' England!, about
  • Love's A Bitch wins Tokyo's Grand Prix

    Mexican title Love's A Bitch (Amores Perros), directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, was awarded the Grand Prix at the 13th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival, which ended on Sunday (November 5). Inarritu also took the Best Director Award. Other top awards at the festival went to Stuart Blumberg, who took the best screenplay award for Ed Norton's Keeping The Faith, Jennifer Jason Leigh, who won best actress for The King Is Alive, directed by Denmark
  • Masterpiece (Obra Maestra)

    Dir: David Trueba. Spain. 2000. 115mins.Prods: Fernando Trueba PC, Buenavida Producciones. Backers: Amiguetes Entertainment, TVE, Via Digital. Domestic dist: Lola Distribucion. Intl sales: Lolafilms (34) 91 436 7400. Prod: Cristina Huete. Scr: David Trueba. DoP: Javier Aguirresarobe. Sound: Pierre Gamet. Music: Roque Banos. Ed: Pablo G. Del Amo. Main cast: Santiago Segura, Pablo Carbonell, Ariadna Gil, Loles Leon, Luis Cuenca, Jesus BonillaMasterpiece (Obra Maes
  • Media Asia sells packages to Miramax, Medusa

    Hong Kong's Media Asia has struck two key deals - one a 20-picture North American deal with Miramax, the other a five-year European DVD distribution deal with the UK's Medusa Communications - that together ensure an explosive presence in international markets.Miramax is acquiring theatrical and video rights to a mix of new and catalogue films, although only the newest are expected to get an early theatrical outing. These include Tempting Heart, 2000 AD and Metada Fumac
  • Miracle to work for Italian

    Miracle Entertainment - the public LA-based company run by Tony Cataldo and Richard Abramson - is to fully finance and handle worldwide sales on The Italian, a drama to be directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal and produced by Mike Marcus and Carroll Kemp.The movie, which is the story of a man "with an extraordinary talent" who attempts to conceals his secret from his family, is to go into production in March 2001 in New York and is currently casting. The screenplay was written by Danny
  • Motohiro cranks up Bayside Shakedown follow-up

    Japanese director Katsuyuki Motohiro, whose 1998 cop comedy Bayside Shakedown grossed nearly $100m at the Japanese box office, has started production on SF drama Satore.The film stars hot male TV star Masanobu Ando as a mind-reading doctor whose gift becomes a national treasure - and personal misery. It marks the first collaboration of the Nippon Television Network, Tokuma Publishing, which owns the Studio Ghibli animation house, and Robot, Motohiro's production company.
  • MTG buys worldwide rights to Crown Film Library

    Modern Entertainment, part of Sweden's Modern Times Group, has acquired worldwide distribution to the Crown Film Library.The 110-title catalogue spans English-language pictures produced between 1960 and 1990 and includes several early films by Danny DeVito and Kevin Costner.Modern Entertainment, which is part of the Modern Studios division and which was previously called MTG Media Properties, has bought 20-year worldwide rights, including DVD outside the US. The deal extends Mod
  • New German buyer turns up the heat at MIFED

    A new all-rights buyer from Germany, E-M-S New Media, has emerged at MIFED and is set to get more aggressive once it goes public on the Neuer Markt later this month. With an initial public offering set for Nov 21, E-M-S (short for European Multimedia Services) has snapped up all rights in Germany to two pictures from Interlight Pictures - Timepiece to star Mike Myers and Helen Hunt and White Jazz with John Cusack and Nick Nolte - a single picture from Highland Crest, T
  • One Life Stand leads nods for Scottish BAFTAs

    Elemental Films' One Life Stand and controversial BBC Scotland television drama Tinsel Town lead the nominations for the third biennial BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards. A recent winner for Best Achievement in production at the British Independent Film Awards, the low-budget digital feature One Life Stand tells of the complex relationship between a mother and son. It has secured nominations for Maureen Carr in the Best Film Performance category, Karen M Smyth as Be
  • Orfeo adds Samsara to cross-cultural slate

    Samsara - a Himalayan-set story of one man's struggle to find spiritual and sexual freedom that was written and directed by Pan Nalin, a Paris-based Indian director - is among several cross-cultural projects being sold by MIFED debutant Orfeo, the Cologne-based outfit formed earlier this year as a joint venture between Christa Saredi and German producer Pandora.In addition, Orfeo has picked up Firefly Dreams, a Japanese drama about inter-generational relationships which O
  • Paradiso fills shopping basket at MIFED

    Belgian distributor Paradiso Entertainment closed a series of package deals at MIFED with New Line Cinema, Good Machine International and Beyond International. Having previously handled New Line's Rush Hour it snapped up Rush Hour 2 and Nick Cassavetes' hospital-set hostage drama John Q, which is now in production with Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall and Anne Heche. It also bought Jason X, Crystal Lake Entertainment's futuristic horror thriller, directed by
  • Peakviewing taps Sales to grow feature business

    Peakviewing Transatlantic has appointed Daniel Sales, former president and chief executive officer of Cinequannon Pictures International, to act as consultant in a drive to step up feature activities.The company has formed a new division specifically geared to produce and market features internationally. The move comes as Martin Myers is heading Peakviewing's launch into UK theatrical releasing this Christmas with sci-fi family fantasy Merlin The Return.Peakviewing aims t
  • Permut signs Swank, sets DreamWorks remake

    Hollywood producer David Permut has signed Oscar winner Hilary Swank to star opposite Richard Gere in Julia Pastrana, a romantic epic to which director Taylor Hackford has finally committed as his next film after Proof Of Life.Both this film and another, Thief Of Light, are being financed by a foreign distributor consortium consisting of Helkon Media in Germany, Toho Towa in Japan, UGC in France and Medusa in Italy which between them will pay $100m for the two proj
  • Portugal Telecom buys out Lusomundo

    Portuguese telecommunications company Portugal Telecom (PT) has acquired the 58% it did not already own of local media and film giant Lusomundo in a transaction valued at Euros267m.The deal marks the full-blown entrance into the Portuguese feature film sector of a new heavyweight player. PT, which acquired 42% of Lusomundo in April (ScreenDaily, April 5), benefits from the new source of content for its growing media, interactive and internet interests.Lusomundo, which wil
  • Puffer replaces Tellenbach as KirchPayTV boss

    The Kirch group has dropped KirchPayTV boss Markus Tellenbach. The operation will be taken over from January by Manfred Puffer, who is currently Kirch Holding finance director. KirchPayTV was supposed to float on the German stock market by the end of next year. But growth in subscriber numbers is understood to be significantly behind scheduled growth and may have caused Tellenbach's departure. It currently has 1.7 million subscribers, compared with a 2.9 million targeted for the end of
  • RAI Cinema says no deal yet with StudioCanal

    RAI Cinema has firmly denied trade reports that it has closed a deal with StudioCanal to become its Italian distribution partner. President & CEO Giancarlo Leone said negotiations with the French company are continuing but insisted that he is also talking to other potential European supplier partners for its upcoming theatrical releasing label that will launched by the end of the year.Meanwhile, Leone announced the names of the first two titles that RAI Cinema will produce with legenda
  • RAI Trade picks up Taviani duo, Mikado trio

    RAI Trade, the film sales division of the Italy's state-owned RAI broadcast giant, has picked up a trio of new features from producer-distributor Mikado and added the next two pictures from the Taviani brothers, Paolo and Vittorio.The three from Mikado - Domenica, The Dervish (Il Dervisco) and The Third Act (Il Terza Atto) - are the first to flow from a two year international deal between RAI Trade and Mikado signed during last month's Venice festival.Dom
  • Rosetta takes honours at Belgian Oscars

    Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne's Rosetta took four Joseph Plateau Awards for Belgian Cinema at this year's 16th edition of the Night Of Cinema Musica, dubbed the Belgian Oscars. The Palme d'Or winning film picked up the prizes for best actress, best director, best film and top grossing Belgian film. Meanwhile, Dominique Deruddere's Everybody Famous was selected as this year's Belgian entry for the foreign-language Oscars.
  • Sogepaq, Wild Bunch have a Devil of a time

    Spanish sales outfit Sogepaq and France's Wild Bunch have closed a string of sales on the highly anticipated Spanish-language thriller The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo Del Diablo) from director Guillermo del Toro. Sogepaq and Wild Bunch are jointly handling international sales on the film outside Latin America.All rights were sold to Germany (Kinowelt), Italy (Lantia), France (StudioCanal), Japan (Asmik Ace) and Korea (KN Culture). Other all rights deals were closed for Benelux
  • Spain chooses One as Oscar contender

    Jose Luis Garci was nominated this week for the sixth time to represent Spain in the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards with his latest film, the black-and-white You're The One. The Garci nomination came as a surprise in some corners: in 1999 a scandal erupted when Garci was accused of buying votes from the Spanish Cinema Academy for the nomination to the Goyas (Spain's Oscars) of his film The Grandfather (El Abuelo). The scandal subsided, Garci was cleared a
  • Ster Kinekor puts European circuit up for sale

    In the latest shake-up to hit Europe's exhibition industry, Ster Kinekor's European cinema circuit Ster Century has been put on the sales block. Joint South African shareholders Royale Resorts and Primedia are actively courting potential buyers to re-focus on their core businesses as further consolidation of the exhibition market gains momentum.Ster Century's managing director Mike Ross has also confirmed that a management buyout of the company is under discussion: "The manageme
  • Summit's Femme Fatale seduces buyers

    Summit Entertainment has sealed a score of high-profile sales deals on its new titles including Brian DePalma-directed thriller Femme Fatale which will shoot in Paris no later than Feb 15.Nippon Herald, which has been noticeably aggressive in its acquisitions strategy at London and MIFED, perhaps in anticipation of its planned public offering next year, bought Femme Fatale for Japan as well as Rob Sitch's hit Australian comedy The Dish. Earlier this week it also to
  • TF1, Beyond share sales on Yu's Revolver

    TF1 International and Australia's Beyond Films are to share sales duties on Revolver, the next film by Bride Of Chucky-director Ronny Yu, after his forthcoming 51st State.In a similar fashion to their joint involvement on another Australian picture Cut, TF1 will co-finance and sell the picture in all non-English-language territories except Germany and Korea. These will be sold by Beyond. The action thriller is due to shoot in April with delivery for the end
  • The Bench takes trio of awards at Nordic Filmdays

    Danish director Per Fly's critically-acclaimed debut The Bench (Baenken) scooped three prizes at the 42nd Nordic Filmdays in Lubeck, Germany, which wrapped Sunday night.The film was awarded the Audience Prize, the NDR Promotion Prize and a special prize for lead actor Jesper Christensen from international Church organisation Interfilm for his powerhouse performance as an alcoholic. The Bench (Baenken) has opened domestically to positive reviews and scored 20,000 admission
  • The Legend Of Bagger Vance

    Dir: Robert Redford. US. 2000. 119 mins.Prod cos: Allied Filmmakers, Wildwood Enterprises. US dist: DreamWorks SKG. Int'l dist: 20th Century Fox. Prods: Robert Redford, Jake Eberts, Michael Nazik. Exec prod: Karen Tenkhoff. Scr: Jeremy Leven, from the novel Gates Of Fire by Steven Pressfield. DoP: Michael Ballhaus. Prod des: Stuart Craig. Ed: Hank Corwin. Mus: Rachel Portman. Main cast: Will Smith, Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, Jack Lemmon, Bruce McGill, Joel Gretsch.Rober
  • Toei's Firefly finally ready to roll

    Toei's Firefly (Hotaru), a feature about Word War II kamikaze pilots starring Japanese screen legend Ken Takakura, is finally ready to go before the cameras after months of delay. Toei intended the film as a tentpole release for the New Year season but dropped it from its line-up when negotiations with Takakura over the script started to drag. The distributor rushed to plug the gap with Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royal, a drama about a murderous game in a near-future Japan.
  • Tokyo governor set to open film office

    The governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, has called for the creation of a Tokyo film office to assist film-makers shooting in the Japanese capital.Tentatively called the Tokyo Location Box, the new office is set to open next spring. Speaking at the Tokyo International Film Festival, Ishihara said the Tokyo government needs to ease red tape and otherwise provide more support for film-makers. Film offices already exist in Hokkaido, Yokohama and Osaka, but Tokyo remains the most p
  • Tomorrow picks up Shadow Magic

    Tomorrow Film Corp has taken international rights to Shadow Magic, Ann Hu's China-set period drama which had its world premiere in the World Cinema section at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. Sony Pictures Classics has domestic rights to the film in which Jared Harris plays an English entrepreneur who travels to Peking in 1902 to introduce silent movies to the Chinese. The film is a multi-national co-production with partners including Beijing Film Studio, China Film, Sand
  • Trust picks up Selby's latest cult adaptation

    Zentropa's international sales arm, Trust Film Sales, has picked up worldwide rights excluding Scandinavia to Fear The X, the English-language debut from Danish writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn.The thriller shoots in the US and Rio from February 2001 on a $6.5m budget. The script is written by Winding Refn and cult author Hubert Selby Jr, who wrote the novels on which Requiem For A Dream and Last Exit To Brooklyn were based. Refn and producer Henrik Danstrup, who previously
  • UK admissions per screen in decline

    After a good run at the box office during September and October, admissions in the UK are back on track to reach at least 142 million by the year end - the highest level since 1973 according to the Cinema Advertising Association admissions monitor. But due to the huge growth of multiplex cinemas, these figures belie a dangerous underlying trend of falling admissions per screen (see chart). In comparison to 1973 when average admissions per screen were 88,750, the number of screens in th
  • UK regulator appoints Morris as policy director

    The Independent Television Commission, which regulates private TV in the UK, has appointed Dominic Morris to the new position of director of policy. Morris has been controller, policy development at the BBC since 1996, where he was responsible for leading the corporate policy function of the public broadcaster covering both UK and European policy and new technologies.Until 1996 he was deputy head of the prime minister's policy unit responsible for media, European, trade and industry, e
  • Unified Film Organization creates theatrical arm

    Unified Film Organization (UFO), the LA-based production and sales operation in which publicly traded German distributor Advanced Medien took a 51% stake earlier this year, has launched a theatrical level division called Consolidated Motion Pictures.First film to come out of the division is $6m New York-set romantic comedy Snatched with Friends and Whole Nine Yards star Matthew Perry. Jace Alexander, a TV director of The Practice, Law And Order and ot
  • Viacom acquires BET for $2.43bn

    Viacom has agreed to purchase BET Holdings, the parent group of successful US cable channel Black Entertainment Television (BET), for $2.43bn in stock and $570m worth of debt. Based in Washington DC, BET serves the African American market and will continue to be run by Robert L Johnson (chairman and CEO) and Debra Lee (president and COO) who will report directly to Mel Karmazin, president and COO of Viacom.Johnson now becomes the second largest shareholder in Viacom after its ch
  • Vine sells Superstition to Germany, Spain

    Vine International has clocked up a handful of key sales on Superstition, its supernatural suspense thriller which is now shooting in Amsterdam. At Mifed it clinched a sale to Germany with Atlas Film + Medien, to Spain with VTF and to Poland with NVC. Vine said it was also in serious discussions concerning a sale to Japan. The picture is the directorial debut of Kenneth Hope and boasts a starry cast including Sienna Guillory, Mark Strong, Charlotte Rampling, Frances Barber, Davi
  • Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors

    Dir: Hong Sang-Soo. South Korea. 2000. 127 mins.Prod co: Miracin Korea. Int'l sales: Mirovision. Exec Prod: Hong Sang-Soo. Prod: Lee Yu-jin. Scr: Hong Sang-soo. DoP: Choi Young-taek. Ed: Ham Sung-won. Music: Ok Gil-sung. Main cast: Lee Fun-joo, Jung Bo-suk, Moon Sung-keun.South Korea's thirtysomethings are much like Hollywood's, who talk endlessly and do a lot. Or at least those of France, who talk endlessly and do very little. Hong Sang-soo's film veers more towards the
  • What Lies Beneath resurfaces above

    What Lies Beneath returned to the top of the UK chart last weekend after the previous week's chart topper Dinosaur dropped a hefty 62%. The supernatural thriller starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer was the only film to make more than $1.5m (£1m) over the weekend (Nov 3-5) and has now scooped a running cumulative of $11.1m after 17 days. Dinosaur dropped to number two in the chart but will comfortably reach $20m from its run at the UK box office.Also suffer
  • Winchester raises $32m warchest

    In one of the largest City of London funding injections into the UK independent film sector since the heady days of Goldcrest, publicly-quoted Winchester Entertainment is this week raising $31.9m (£22m) on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).Armed with this warchest, Winchester is looking to become even more involved in US production financing. A $3m development fund will be created for select US producers. In addition, Winchester is to scale up its children's TV activities and a n
  • Working Title opens Eye

    Working Title is fast-tracking a Big Brother-meets-horror genre picture, My Little Eye, which follows a group of 20-somethings who sign up for a reality web show that turns increasingly sinister. Resurrection Man's Marc Evans is shooting the film, written by David Hilton, in Nova Scotia early next year for low-budget wing WT2, which scored a hit with Billy Elliot and is in post on another horror flick, Long Time Dead.
  • Zentropa adds Italians to financing web

    Denmark's Zentropa has signed a deal with Italy's Istituto Luce and Rome-based producer Leo Pescarolo of Imago Film to co-develop, finance and distribute a package of five titles including Lars Von Trier's next two films and three English-language films by other Danish directors.Zentropa is also in talks with Fine Line and several European entities to co-finance the slate. Pescarolo said the deal will involve collaboration on the films from the earliest stages, including script develop