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8 April 2002

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  • Abril appointed new Via Digital head

    Luis Abril was named president of Spanish digital satellite TV operation Via Digital, by parent company Admira.Abril is also president of Admira, the multimedia arm of telecoms giant Telefonica, which he took over from Juan Jose Nieto in January.The appointment is the latest in a series of top level executive shifts at Admira and its operating divisions: Via Digital, free-to-air broadcaster Antena 3 and film producer-distributor Lolafilms.Local press also reported the app
  • Austin Powers allowed to display his Goldmember

    Austin Powers will get his Goldmember-ship after allcourtesy of an agreement reached yesterday between New Line Cinema and James Bondstudio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) The film, AustinPowers In Goldmember,will be released as just that on July 26, but according to the agreement, all futuretitles will be subject to MGM's approval if they are construed as parodies of 007movie titles.It is understoodthat, as part of the agreement, New Line
  • Bad Eggs smell good to Village Roadshow

    While the comedy thriller Bad Eggs does not have a particularly large budget in terms of the norm in Australia, it has attracted the single biggest financial commitment to an independent feature in entertainment conglomerate Village Roadshow's long history. "Mass audiences demand big laughs and we believe that Bad Eggs will deliver," said managing director Graham Burke of radio and television comedian Tony Martin's directing, writing and producing feature debut about two
  • Barbet Schroeder becomes Critics Week godfather

    Barbet Schroeder, the acclaimed international director responsible for Barfly Our Lady Of The Assassins and Reversal Of Fortune, is to be the godfather of the Critics' Week sidebar at Cannes.Schroeder, (pictured at left, on the set of his latest directorial effort, Murder By Numbers) will be honoured by a screening of his debut effort More from 1969, on Sunday May 19. The same day, he will also take part in a seminar abou
  • Big Trouble

    Dir: Barry Sonnenfeld. US. 2002. 84 mins. Delayed from last September because of its stolen bomb and plane hijacking plot points, Barry Sonnenfeld's Big Trouble arrives belatedly on US screens as a lightweight but pleasantly zany farce with a never-ending supply of gags and a more than capable ensemble cast to deliver them. The laughs aren't huge, but they are frequent enough to keep audiences satisfied, although this family friendly romp opened to only $3.5m from 1,96
  • Blockbuster gives its first Indie Filmmaker Award

    Blockbuster Video hasawarded its first ever $100,000 Independent Filmmaker Award to writer/directorDean Pollack on the basis of his debut feature Show And Tell, which has screened at various film festivalsincluding the Austin Film Festival where it won the second place award.Set in the world of tabloidTV, Show And Tell is the story ofan aspiring actress who decides to bring a sordid and controversial tale ontothe stage of a tabloid TV show. Pollack is a graduate of
  • Buyers back Gangs move to Dec 2002

    International buyers ofMartin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York are all supporting the shift of the film to a Christmas US release dateand many are expected to go day-and-date with the US, according to InitialEntertainment Group (IEG) president Graham King who majority financed the filmto the tune of $67m."Itnever really warranted a summer release," said King yesterday, "andthey just want what's best for it. None is financially dependent ongetti
  • Canada builds on its production capacity

    Canada is poised for a massive boost to its production capacity with four major studios having been announced in less than three months.Two of the new projects are in Toronto, one in Quebec and one in Regina, in the province of Saskatchewan, with the backers of the Toronto and Quebec projects claiming their facility will be among the world's largest.The latest project, announced Friday (April 6) in Toronto by Ontario premier Mike Harris, will see Studios of America lease part of
  • Cash or closure imminent for Spain's Quiero TV

    Spanish DTT platform Quiero TV could be forced to close down as soon as next week if a buyer doesn't emerge in time.Backers of Quiero, led by telecoms operator Auna (Retevision), set April 15 as a deadline to sell off the pay outlet or else shut it down. While sources at Quiero say a solution is still hoped for, they confirm that the April 15 deadline remains in place. Auna has been seeking a buyer for over a year, with American firm Anschutz Investment Company the latest rumoured nego
  • Changing Lanes races to the top with $17.6m

    Critically acclaimed drama ChangingLanes topped the domestic box officefor Paramount Pictures over the weekend with a powerful estimated gross of$17.6m. Directed by British film-maker Roger Michell, the film stars BenAffleck and Samuel L Jackson as two men who wage war on each other after aminor car accident.Changing Lanes, which Paramount/UIP is handling internationallywith the exception of Japan (Mutual Film Co/Toho-Towa), soundly beatColumbia's Panic Room whichs
  • Dandy (La Bande Du Drugstore)

    Dir: Francois Armanet. France. 2001. 98 mins.Dandy suffers from some of the same superficiality as the posturing, blow-dried youths it portrays. It's difficult to see this film, about Parisian rich kids during the mid to late 1960s, appealing to their modern-day peers in the 16 to 20-year-old age group, who are more into Nike trainers than Hush Puppies. But the star-crossed central love story, and some healthy doses of teen sex, may reach out to those looking for an infinitel
  • Digital cinemas expand in Brazil

    Brazil now boasts the first digital cinemas to operate on a regular basis in Latin America, with five screenings scheduled daily. A joint venture between exhibitor UCI and Brazilian technology integrator Teleimage, and sponsored by telecommunications company Intel, the second Intel Digital Theatre opened Friday March 29 in Sao Paolo following the launch of the first Intel Digital Theatre in Rio de Janeiro in December. Both are located at UCI multiplexes. A third digital theatre is sche
  • Duchovny stars in Myriad/Zoetrope's My Dark Places

    David Duchovny has taken thelead role in Robert Greenwald's upcoming film of James Elroy'sautobiographical novel My Dark Places which is being produced by Francis Ford Coppola's AmericanZoetrope and financed by Myriad Pictures.The film, originally set upby Myriad and then taken over by Zoetrope under the two companies' jointventure to produce five new films, will be released domestically by UnitedArtists (UA) under Zoetrope's domestic arrangement and soldinternationally by Myria
  • Dutch incentive to re-make European films

    The Dutch film industry has turned to European films as a source for re-makes in an attempt to foster local production. Three titles - 14 Tage Lebenslaenglich and Sex Oder Liebe (both German) and the Swedish comedy Gossip - have been selected to be given a Dutch make-over.The Dutch industry body - Film Fonds, has commissioned three young directors to make their debut based on adapted foreign screenplays. Initiated by Jean van de Velde the project is intended to gi
  • Female director is Korea's youngest ever

    South Korea's Ahn's World Production has begun principal photography on its first feature in three years, a romantic comedy to be shot by 25-year old female director Moh Ji-eun. Moh, a graduate of the prestigious Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), is believed to be the youngest Korean filmmaker ever to direct a studio production. "If it weren't for the success of other women filmmakers in the industry, I probably would never have received this opportunity," she says. Titled If Y
  • Fireworks strikes output deal with TeleMuenchen

    Fireworks International, the London-based sales arm of Canadian film and TV group Fireworks Entertainment, has struck an exclusive output deal with Germany's TeleMuenchen (TMG) covering all its TV programming.In German-speaking Europe, TMG, which has production, broadcast and distribution interests will handle Fireworks' entire slate. It will also represent Fireworks on new acquisitions and for co-productions. The company will itself buy all German-speaking TV rights on Fireworks new a
  • Food Of Love

    Dir: Ventura Pons. Sp-Ger. 2002. 112mins.An absorbing tale of obsessive love, featuring nice visual exploitation by Catalan director Ventura Pons of his native Barcelona, make Food Of Love enjoyable to watch. Some audiences may be put off by Pons' theatrical style, and occasionally find some of the dialogue and settings unnatural or affected. But in that sense Food is classic Pons, made by a director who got his start in theatre and who regularly finds cinemati
  • Ford, Spielberg to present Lucas BAFTA/LA honour

    Harrison Ford and StevenSpielberg will both serve as presenters at this Friday's 11thannual Britannia Awards held by the British Academy Of Film & TelevisionArts/Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA) in Los Angeles.They will honour GeorgeLucas, who will receive the BAFTA/LA Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for excellencein film at the event. Both Ford and Spielberg are longtime friends andcolleagues of Lucas. Ford starred in American Graffitti as well as playing Han Solo in the Star Wars
  • Former Canton executive joins Senator in LA

    Former Canton Coexecutive Nathan Kahane has joined LA-based Senator International as executivevice president, motion pictures, following the conclusion this week of asyndicated loan of 230m euros ($202m) by parent company Senator Entertainment.Kahane will headthe development and acquisition of feature films for Senator Internationalreporting to president Joe Drake and Senator Entertainment chairman Hanno Huth.He brings with him Jim Miller and Gregg Molander, also fr
  • Fourth Korean film to be remade by Hollywood

    Warner Bros has bought the remake rights to Lee Hyun-seung's Korean melodrama Il Mare from South Korean production company Sidus Corporation, making it the fourth film to be acquired for adaptation by a major Hollywood studio.The terms of the deal provide for an initial $500,000 plus a further 2.5% of the remake's worldwide revenues. Although the contract has not yet been signed, all the conditions of the deal have been agreed upon announced Sidus.Featuring popul
  • Fox enjoys international Joyride

    20th Century Fox scored a hit in Spain at the weekend, taking the top spot in the chart with their thriller Joy Ride. The film, which is the latest from director John Dahl, took a three-day gross of $1.1m (Euros1.2m). Playing on 230 prints the film scored a strong average of $4,612 - by far the highest of any film in the Spanish top 20.Starring Paul Walker, Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski, Joy Ride is already Dahl's biggest success in Spain having recorded 262,011 admissio
  • French cinema admissions fall 4% in 1st quarter

    For the first time in ages, the buoyant French theatrical market has slowed down. In March cinema admissions amounted to 15.1 million, some 16% down on the same month last year. That held the first quarter total to 54 million, a drop of 4% compared to the January-March period last year.The latest data from the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC), however, shows a running 12 month total of 186.9 million ticket sales, up 8.4%. The market share for French-made pictures was also a
  • Friends and foes fight for KirchPayTV

    Whether and when KirchPayTV will announce its insolvency has been a source of intense debate all week, since sister company KirchMedia filed for protection from its creditors on Monday (April 8).The company, which is the parent of the sickly Premiere World pay-TV operation, is trying to come up with a rescue plan and has been talking with bankers and investors all week. Industry sources had suggested that it would go to court to declare insolvency as early as Wednesday (Apr 10), but no
  • Germany's RTL buys three Intermedia titles

    Pursuing an 'all rights' strategy, German private broadcaster RTL Television has acquired German rights for three titles - K-PAX, K-19 and Basic - from Intermedia Film, in what is described as the beginning of a business relationship.RTL's co-operative agreement with theatrical distributor Constantin Film for Germany and Austria, will see the company release K-PAX and K-19 in German cinemas later this year. Video and DVD rights are taken by RTL subsidiary BM
  • Germany's RTL denies plans to acquire Constantin stake

    Private German broadcaster RTL has denied claims made by EM.TV Board Chairman Werner Klatten at a press conference last week that the RTL Group is interested in acquiring a stake in distributor-producer Constantin Film. The suggestion that RTL might be interested in taking an interest in Constantin is arguably not so off-the-mark. The two companies are now bound together in an exclusive distribution co-operation where Constantin handles the theatrical release in Germany and Austria for
  • God's Bankers (I Banchieri Di Dio)

    Dir: Giuseppe Ferrara. Italy. 2002. 127mins.With its controversial reconstruction of the life and mysterious death of Italian banker Roberto Calvi, Giuseppa Ferrara's latest film was designed to create an even bigger stir than his earlier political outings. God's Bankers has done so on one level at least: at the end of its third week of release, a Italian judge ordered its withdrawal after an injunction presented by Flavio Carboni, a businessman whose role in the Calvi
  • Goldfish Memory wraps first digital production

    Goldfish Memory, the first of four feature films to begin shooting in Dublin in March, has wrapped after a 24 day shoot, notching up 23 set ups a day according to producer Breda Walsh of Goldfish Films.Financed by a combination of Irish Film Board finance and deferrals, the Euros1.3m contemporary romantic comedy was shot by a twenty person crew using Sony DVCAM equipment. The film is the first funded feature in Ireland to opt for the digital production process and should be comp
  • High Crimes shut out by Panic Room

    Thriller queen Ashley Juddcouldn't beat out Jodie Foster to the top spot at the North American boxoffice over the weekend, as Panic Room reigned for the second weekend in a row with an estimated $18.5m take.Judd's latest High Crimesin which she is reteamed with Kiss The Girls co-star Morgan Freeman took an estimated $15m for 20thCentury Fox in the second position.Columbia Pictures' PanicRoom has now grossed $58.8m in itsfirst ten days and fell 38% to lead th
  • Holdovers benefit in week of weak openers

    Britney Spears vehicle Crossroads, distributed by Momentum Pictures, benefited over the weekend from a slew of underachieving openers at the UK box office.Crossroads, along with other films aimed at younger cinema goers, Return To Neverland, Ice Age and Jimmy Neutron - Boy Genius, took advantage of the end of the school Easter holidays to bolster their revenues. Momentum's film held fourth place in its second week on release dropping just 15% from its
  • Hollywood races to remake Korean comedies

    Two Korean hit comedies from 2001, My Sassy Girl and Hi, Dharma!, have been sold to Hollywood studios for English-language remakes. Korean distributor IM Pictures revealed that DreamWorks SKG has bought remake rights to My Sassy Girl (pictured) for $750,000 plus 4% of worldwide revenues earned by the remake. The film will reportedly be produced by Maverick Films, the film production arm of Madonna's company Maverick. The story of a gullible college student
  • Hong Kong's TVB believed close to dropping Galaxy launch plans

    Hong Kong's leading broadcaster TVB has denied reports that it is pulling out of the local pay-TV market by dropping plans to launch its $640m (HK$5bn) Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting platform.According to a report in Hong Kong daily, the South China Morning Post, TVB board members, led by chairman Sir Run Run Shaw, have decided to scrap the service because of a lack of interest from other investors and a harsh regulatory framework. Galaxy's licence requires it to find an investor
  • Iain Glen chosen to star in Japanese spy thriller

    Scottish actor Iain Glen is to star in veteran Japanese director Masahiro Shinoda's final film project: the $15m thriller Spy Sorge.The 71-year-old Shinoda has been trying for more than a decade to get backers for the film, which will require two months of filming in Shanghai and Berlin, as well as location shooting in 15 cities across Japan. Spy Sorge will be shot entirely with HD24P digital cameras and use state-of-the-art CGI technology to recreate 1930s Tokyo.
  • Indian Int'l awards rain down on Lagaan

    Epic historical drama Lagaan was the big winner at the third annual InternationalIndian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards at a glitzy ceremony held in Malaysia onSaturday night. Ashutosh Kovariker's film, which was nominated for a foreignlanguage film Oscar recently, won ten trophies including best film, bestdirector and best actor (Aamir Khan) as well as a special honor from theAcademy for its achievement in gaining international recognition. Khan, who wasalso the producer of Lagaan,
  • Insolvent KirchMedia begins rights renegotiations

    Debt-ridden media mogul Leo Kirch finally filed insolvency proceedings for the KirchMedia division of his KirchGroup empire yesterday morning (April 8).A provisional insolvency administrator Dr. Michael Jaffe was appointed by the Munich administrative court. Shortly after, consultants Wolfgang van Betteray and Hans-Joachim Ziems were named as a "turnaround management" team to handle an "insolvency in self-administration" of KirchMedia. The pair, which have been working inside Kirch for
  • Italian publisher buys into Mikado Film

    Italian publishing giant De Agostini has taken a majority stake in local arthouse production and distribution outfit Mikado Film, which recently co-produced Otar Iosseliani's Lundi Matin and released Jill Sprecher's 13 Conversations About One Thing. The move, which represents De Agostini's third major venture in the Italian film industry in the last 18 months, will significantly boost Mikado's buying clout in the international market-place and enable the 20-year-old artho
  • Japanese debut wins Paris festival's top prize

    Shoujyo (An Adolescent) (below) the first film directed by Japanese actor Eiji Okuda, won the top prize at the 17th annual Paris Film Festival (April 1-9).Mayu Ozawa who debuted as an actress in the film, also received the best actress award at the event.The film, based on the novel by Mikihiko Renjo, tells the story of a love affair between a 15-year-old girl (Ozawa) and an ageing policeman, played by Eiji Okuda. The public prize, worth Euros3
  • Jeff Coleman promoted to evp, production, at MGM

    Jeff Coleman has beenpromoted to executive vice president - worldwide feature physicalproduction - for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's film units MGM Pictures andUnited Artists. He will report jointly to Michael Nathson, president and COO ofMGM Pictures, and Bingham Ray, president of United Artists.Coleman will oversee all aspectsof production from inception through post-production for the companies. Amonghis upcoming projects are John Woo's Windtalkers, Scott Kalvert's Deuces Wild
  • Kirch declares insolvency, seeks

    German media giant KirchMedia this morning (Monday April 8) filed for insolvency following the failure of weeks of refinancing talks. While the company itself has yet to comment, North Rhine-Westphalia Premier Wolfgang Clement said that KirchMedia had made a court filing for insolvency. The company will now be managed by a court appointed administrator who, in a fashion similar to America's Chapter 11 system, will try to salvage as much of the group as possible. The compa
  • Korea's Cinema Service plans own studio and multiplex circuit

    South Korean major Cinema Service has successfully carried out a merger with its parent company, Locus Holdings, at the same time completing a major internal restructure to facilitate the construction of its own studio and its entry into the exhibition sector.Construction of a new studio complex in Paju is expected to begin this month, with Cinema Service becoming the first Korean company to build its own major studio. Previously, the industry has largely made use of the Seoul Studio
  • KT

    Dir: Junji Sakamoto. Jap. 2001. 138mins.A thriller about the true-life 1973 kidnapping of Kim Dae-jung, the current South Korean president, from a Tokyo hotel, KT tries for a no-frills approach that presents its knotty Cold War story in realistic shades of grey, as if John Le Carre was transposed to the Far East. The Japanese and Korean media will doubtless debate the film's historical fidelity until its May release, timed for the Japan-Korea World Cup. However, the re
  • Laudadio re-opens Taormina to non-English films

    For the first time in three years, Italy's prestigious Taormina Film Festival will once again be open to non-English language films. Artistic director Felice Laudadio said the decision to accept international pictures to the popular summer event had been taken post-September 11th. "Taormina will continue to be a launch-pad for summer releases; but the data we saw after September 11th showed a drop in English-language production," Laudadio told Screendaily. At the same tim
  • Ledoyen returns to host Cannes ceremonies

    French actress Virginie Ledoyen was this week confirmed as hostess for the opening and closing ceremonies at Cannes, reprising her role from 2000.The local beauty who also represents perfume house L'Oreal, has starred in nearly 30 films and made her international break-through with James Ivory's A Soldier's Daughter Never Dies. She went on to star in Danny Boyle's The Beach and can currently be seen in Francois Ozon's hit 8 Femmes. Next up is Jean-Paul Rappeneau's
  • Ledoyen returns to host Cannes ceremonies

    French actress Virginie Ledoyen was this week confirmed as hostess for the opening and closing ceremonies at Cannes, reprising her role from 2000.The local beauty who also represents perfume house L'Oreal, has starred in nearly 30 films and made her international break-through with James Ivory's A Soldier's Daughter Never Dies. She went on to star in Danny Boyle's The Beach and can currently be seen in Francois Ozon's hit 8 Femmes. Next up is Jean-Paul Rappeneau's
  • Media Asia loses Star TV's library to Fortune Star

    News Corp-owned broadcaster Star TV has ended its eight-year film distribution contract with Hong Kong's Media Asia Group, following the launch of its own international distribution unit, Fortune Star Pictures.Media Asia has handled worldwide distribution of the 600-title Star film library since 1994. It will now be distributed by Star's recently launched theatrical production and distribution outfit, Fortune Star, headed by former Media Asia deputy general manager Peter Poon.Th
  • Medusa acquires Pinocchio as part of Cecchi Gori package

    Italy's leading distribution outfit, Medusa Film, has grabbed theatrical rights to six films including Roberto Benigni's eagerly-anticipated Pinocchio (right) from beleaguered former powerhouse Cecchi Gori group.Pinocchio producer Elda Ferri and Medusa were unwilling to reveal financial details of the deal. However, sources close to the production believe the amount to be in the region of $9m (Lire 20bn). Cecchi Gori is believed to have originally paid around $11m (Lire24
  • Mexico finally revises film certification system

    Mexico's ratings board announced a long awaited revision of its ratings system - nearly a year after director Alfonso Cuaron and producing partner Jorge Vergara filed a lawsuit against the board for the C rating it gave their film, Y Tu Mama Tambien. Incensed that the C rating - limiting the audience to age 18 and above - would prevent the target teenage audience from seeing it, Cuaron and Vergara complained that the ratings were arbitrarily decided by a small committee of gove
  • Microsoft readies new films on the net offensive

    Software giant Microsoft has set its sights on the movie and TV distribution business, backed by an enhanced version of its Windows Media Player that will allow feature films to be delivered via the internet. The software behemoth made the announcement at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas yesterday (Apr 8). A Microsoft spokesman said an advanced version of the Media Player code-named Corona would tap strategic partnerships with such companies as Ado
  • Monrak Transistor first confirmation for Quinzaine

    Monrak Transistor, the third film by Thai new wave director Pen-ek Ratanaruang is the first film to have been officially confirmed to screen in the Directors' Fortnight (Quinzaine Des Realisateurs) section at Cannes.The film, a genre-defying odyssey of self-discovery is a contemporary tale of a young man from rural Thailand whose quest for fame as a folk-singer takes him on a roller-coaster journey.Monrak, which had its market debut at last week's Hong Kong Asia S
  • Mr. Bones to get major German release

    Anant Singh's Videovision has announced that South African comedy Mr.Bones which smashed all box office records for a local film in South Africa, will be distributed by Constantin Films in Germany with a release of 400 prints across the territory. Sanjeev Singh, head of distribution at the company, says, "It shows that they have a lot of faith in the movie being commercial and going big." The Singh brothers' Distant Horizon were the producers and financiers of the film that set
  • Murdoch seen moving in on KirchPayTV

    The prospect of the KirchGroup's pay TV unit KirchPayTV filing for insolvency is now appearing 'extremely unlikely', according to a report in the German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag (WamS).Sources close to talks told the newspaper that Rupert Murdoch is allegedly prepared to stump up Euros 600m to increase his stake in the ailing pay TV platform Premiere into a majority holding. German banks have also signalled their interest in being involved in a revamp of the platf
  • Olivennes departure plunges Vivendi into crisis

    Denis Olivennes, Canal Plus' director general and director of Vivendi Universal, resigned on Friday in protest at the financial pressures being put on the company by its chief executive Jean-Marie Messier.The shock resignation - delivered in a three line note - rounded off a desperate week for Vivendi Universal and confirms for many observers that the giant media group is now in crisis. Discrete questions about the long term future of Messier, the architect of the group, are now likely
  • Olmi's Arms embraced by Italy's Oscars

    Ermanno Olmi's 16th century war epic The Profession Of Arms swept the board at the David di Donatello awards - Italy's Oscars - scooping nine prizes last night (April 10), including best film, best director and best screenplay. The Profession Of Arms won a prize in every category it was nominated in, beating out its two main rivals, Giuseppe Piccioni's Light Of My Eyes - which received the award for best sound - and Silvio Soldini's Burning In The Wind, whic
  • Oscar-winner Noe Productions files for insolvency

    Winning the Oscar for best foreign film came too late to bring much comfort to Noe Productions. The company, which was the French co-producer on Danis Tanovic's No Man's Land and has previously been behind pictures such as Train De Vie and Les Portes De La Gloire, was declared insolvent on 2 April. Unable to service its current obligations it was put into court-sanctioned administration (similar to the US' Chapter 11) for a renewable period of four months. A
  • Oscar-winner Noe Productions files for insolvency

  • Parkhill has start date to dot the i for Summit

    Summit Entertainment has scheduled April 21 to start production on dot the i, an urban love triangle story starring rising Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Amores Perros).Award-winning novelist and screenwriter Matthew Parkhill makes his writer-director debut on the project, from UK production company Arcane Pictures. The cast also includes Natalia Verbeke (Son Of The Bride, Jump Tomorrow) and James d'Arcy, star of TV's Nicolas
  • RAI to handle sales on Bellocchio's Cannes contender

    RAI Trade, the film sales division of Italy's state-owned broadcast giant RAI, has picked up international distribution rights to Marco Bellocchio's Hour Of Religion. Organisers at the David di Donatello awards ceremony held on April 10, announced that the Italian auteur's film will receive its international premiere at Cannes, where it is tipped for a place in competition. It will be Bellocchio's seventh appearance on the Croisette. Hour Of Religion features well
  • Refinanced Senator favours one Joe over another

    German producer-distributor Senator Entertainment's deal with Joe Roth's Revolution Studios is likely to be revised as part of a wide-ranging review of its financial and production strategies. Joe Drake's Senator International sales arm is likely to be expanded.The news emerged as Senator signed a three-year Euros230m syndicated loan agreement with a consortium of German banks. The new cash is intended to allow expansion of international production and licence trading and to strengthen
  • Scorsese to head Cannes Short & Cinefondation jury

    Martin Scorsese will preside over the Short Film and Cinefondation jury during the upcoming Festival de Cannes (15-26 May), the festival announced today (Apr 9).Scorsese, who has been honorary president of the Cinefondation since it was formed four years ago, has been a vigorous supporter of youth development programmes. Last year at the "Transmission Day" he chose to screen his tribute to Italian cinema My Voyage In Italy (Il Mio Viaggio In Italia).Aided by four other in
  • Scotland's Smuji pushes video compression

    Scottish based production company Smuji Films is pioneering a revolutionary video compression system for broadcasting moving images over the internet. The Essential Viewing software plays images into a web browser without the need for plug-ins or players. The result is files a fraction of the size of conventional formats meaning an increase in video quality and a decrease in download times. The company claims that a three-minute download via a domestic-level 56k modem can deliver five
  • Seattle gives first Alpha Cine Award to Ching Ip

    The Seattle InternationalFilm Festival (SIFF) has named Ching Ip as the recipient of the first annualAlpha Cine Filmmaker Award for her feature film See You Off The The Edge OfTown. Ip's film will receive afree transfer to 35mm and a gala world premiere screening of the new printduring the final week of this year's festival (May 23-June 16).Ip was selected from morethan 60 digital, Super 16mm and 35mm feature film submissions from around theworld. The prize package is valued at
  • Sharp slide in VCL shares

    Shares in VCL, the German video and production finance group, swung violently today. Having closed on Thursday (Apr 11) at Euros0.93, the shares dipped at one stage to Euros0.40. At 1300 GMT they had recovered to Euros0.73, a drop of 21% on the day.The company offered no explanation for the stock price turbulence. Two weeks ago the company was granted permission by the stockmarket to delay publication of its 2001 accounts.
  • Signpost in tax deal with Atlantic Screen Capital

    Stewart Till's Signpost Films has unveiled an exclusive deal with Andrew Somper's Atlantic Screen Capital to structure tax and European financing.Somper was previously managing director and chief operating officer of tax-based financier Grosvenor Park Media and head of the media finance group at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner."This whole financial area is of vital significance and to have such access to Andrew's expertise is a huge asset for Signpost," said Till.Somper
  • Singing Horse strikes right note with China Star

    Singing Horse Productions, a company owned by director Joe Ma Wai Ho International Pacific Artists head Thomas Leong and producer Ivy Kong, has struck a deal to produce three pictures for Hong Kong powerhouse China Star Entertainment.All three will be directed by Ma, who has notched up a string of profitable low-medium budget pictures including Fighting For Love. China Star will fully finance and hold world rights. Production is by Leong and Kong.The first film Lion Of The Ea
  • South Africa's Ster-Kinekor boosts local revenues

    By closing some of its loss-making South African cinema sites, wooing Indian and black audiences by increasing its Bollywood offer - and effective management of its labour costs, Ster-Kinekor, the territory's leading distributor/exhibitor has managed to engineer a turnaround in its fortunes at home.The company reported a 39% improvement in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to $2.3m (R25.3m) for the six month period to December last year. Chie
  • Spain's producers' federation appoints three VPs

    The Spanish Producers' Federation (FAPAE) has named three vice presidents as a part of an ongoing restructuring of its leadership.Filmax president Julio Fernandez, current president of the Catalan producers' association Barcelona Audiovisual; Pancho Casal, spokesperson for the Independent Producers' Association of Galicia (AGAPI); and Enrique Uviedo, president of the Spanish Animation Producers' Association (AEPA), will take up the newly created positions of vice presidents.FAPA
  • Spean Bridge emerges as potential UCI investor

    Vivendi Universal is looking to pull out of United Cinemas International (UCI) - its international exhibition joint venture with Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures.A report in the Financial Times on Wednesday (April 10) said that Vivendi chief Jean-Marie Messier was looking to make an exit from UCI in order to lower Vivendi's debt levels. According to the same report, at least one rival cinema operator, thought to be UK-based Spean Bridge, was negotiating to buy Vivendi's stake in
  • Take Care Of My Cat

    Dir: Jeong Jae-eun. Korea. 2001. 112 mins.Take Care Of My Cat is a sympathetic, modern coming-of-age movie. As such it is a Korean antidote to the make-believe and squeaky-clean Hollywood approach adopted by Britney Spears-vehicle Crossroads, which examines a similar demographic. Structured as a slightly unbalanced five-hander with a tone close to a European comedie dramatique, Take Care has modest prospects on the international commercial circuits. But a
  • Technicolor buys Southern Star's Duplitek

    The Southern Star Group is expected to net about $26.4m (A$50m) from US-based video, CD, DVD and film print manufacturer Technicolor's acquisition of its duplication subsidiary Duplitek. Technicolour invested $17.4m (A$33m) in Duplitek nearly two years ago in a deal that gave it the right to expand its result minority interest in future. That's exactly what has now happened.Southern Star plans to use the funds to get rid of it's A$16m debt and use the rest to provide working cap
  • Telefilm Canada backs four Quebecois films

    Four Quebecois features have received the backing of Telefilm Canada, as the federal film and television support agency announced its first set of investment decisions through the Selective Component of the Canada Feature Film Fund (CFFF). 100% Bio. Directed by Claude Fortin and backed by Cinema Libre. A low-budget film about a filmmaker and a TV host, who decide to make a documentary on television. Le Debut De La Fin. Backed by Film Tonic and from writer-director
  • Telefonica names Faura head of contents

    Telefonica has appointed Kim Faura as the first corporate general manager of the newly organised contents division, Contenidos de Telefonica.Faura will take charge of co-ordinating contents and seeking synergies across the Telefonica group's multiple platforms and international holdings which include television, film, mobile phones and the internet.Faura was previously general manager of marketing at Telfonica de Espana and prior to that he worked at tobacco company Altadis
  • The Best Day Of My Life (Il Piu Bel Giorno Della Mia Vita)

    Dir: Cristina Comencini. Italy-UK 2002. 102 mins.Like all of Cristina Comencini's films, The Best Day Of My Life is about relationships: family relationships, sexual relationships and the troubled relationship between the two. A large ensemble piece, it features some of the strongest acting talents on the Italian scene, from veteran Virna Lisi to last year's Coppa Volpi prizewinners, Sandra Ceccarelli and Luigi Lo Cascio. And although Comencini's other job as a novelis
  • Ulrich Thomsen to star in Fly's Arven for Zentropa

    One of the most well-known Danish actors working abroad, Ulrich Thomsen, has returned to home turf to play the lead in Arven (literal translation The Inheritance), the eagerly awaited new film from writer-director Per Fly.Fly swept the national film awards last year with his strong social-realist drama The Bench. The DKR17.9m film roll from next week on location in Copenhagen, Sweden and France. It is written by the director in tandem with Kim Leona (The Bench), Do
  • Verhoeven receives Lifetime Award, reveals new projects

    Accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award during the 18th Festival of the Fantastic Film in Amsterdam, director Paul Verhoeven revealed his next planned project, having had his latest feature, Official Assassins, cancelled post-September 11.While he claims to have several projects up his sleeve, convincing Hollywood studios has become increasingly difficult "Since the assaults last September, Hollywood seems to be in a state of limbo", he said.His new pet-project is a Russ
  • Verhoeven, FilmFour partner for historical epic

    Paul Verhoeven, the Dutch director of such US blockbusters as Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers, and the UK's FilmFour have partnered on an epic film adaptation of one of the most shocking episodes in Dutch history. The partners are to shoot a film about the murderous aftermath of the seventeenth century shipwreck of the Dutch East India Company's flagship vessel, the Batavia.Verhoeven has signed to direct an adaptation of Mike Dash's book about th
  • Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending to open Cannes

    Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending will mark the director's first trip to Cannes when it opens the festival out of competition, the event announced on Thursday.Publicity-shy Allen has shown Manhattan, The Purple Rose Of Cairo and Hannah And Her Sisters at Cannes, but has declined to attend the screenings. The French were my first supporters and have always showed huge generosity towards me, said Allen. Over the last few years, they have invited me so many times that I now want to offer t
  • Xilam buys into French animated pic Kaena

    French animation production house Xilam has acquired the rights to fully computer-animated feature film Kaena -- co-financed and handled worldwide by StudioCanal -- following the bankrupcy of the original producer, Chaman Production.StudioCanal has already widely sold the Euros12m title -- which is scheduled to be completed by year-end -- the only major territories still available being France, the UK, the US and Italy. Chaman, which had made large-scale investments in t

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