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8 February 2002

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  • $25m Rhythm Section to shoot in Berlin this year

    The German-UK partners behind zombie video game adaptation Resident Evil are planning to return to Berlin this year to shoot The Rhythm Section, a large-scale thriller that sets a Nikita-style story in the German capital.The $25m-$30m production is being developed through the long-term production partnership between leading German producer Bernd Eichinger and director-producer team Paul Anderson and Jeremy Bolt. The partners first teamed last year to shoot the $30m
  • A Rumor Of Angels

    Dir. Peter O'Fallon US. 2000 104 mins.A sentimental drama about coming to terms with the loss of a loved one, A Rumor Of Angels boasts a first-rate performance from Vanessa Redgrave as an eccentric old woman who claims to have a spiritual connection with the afterlife. Redgrave and a talented cast transcend an earnest, yet uneven and cliche-ridden script that's better suited for television than the big screen. Director Peter O'Fallon (Suicide Kings), who also co
  • America So Beautiful

    Dir: Babak Shokrian. US. 2001. 91mins.There's an incontestable topical relevance to this tale of young Iranians in Los Angeles in 1979 whose dream of owning their own disco evaporates after the fall of the Shah and the American Embassy hostage drama in Tehran. Having studied in California and worked there as an editor and production designer, Tehran-born director Babak Shokrian brings a distinctively indie-American sensibility and polish to his debut feature (shot mainly in E
  • ApolloMedia lines up Hyams, Duguay projects

    German private film fund ApolloMedia is lining up another three features in the Euros 25m-Euros 70m bracket with producer Moshe Diamant, which will see the fund reunited with directors Peter Hyams and Christian Duguay after working on D'Artagnan (The Musketeer) and The Extremists, respectively.According to the fund's production coordinator Jan Fantl of Quality International, an early summer start is scheduled for principal photography in Luxembourg and Canada on Hyams' f
  • Arnie does some damage at lowkey box office

    Three critically lambastednew entries topped the North American box office over the weekend and it wasnot a spectacular one, down some 22% on the same weekend last year when Hannibal made its record-breaking debut.At the top of the heap withan estimated $15.2m was Collateral Damage, the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starrer from Warner Bros and Bel-AirEntertainment which was originally scheduled to open last October but was movedin light of Sept 11. Not surprisingly so, since Sch
  • Asterix breaks French 5-day opening record

    Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatre drew a phenomenal 2.96 million admissions during its first five days on release in France, breaking the all-time record previously held by another French film (and another sequel) Taxi 2, which saw 2.95 million tickets sold.Pathe Distribution released the Asterix & Obelix sequel on a massive 957 prints (also a record) on Wed Jan 30. The title, which is the most expensive French-language film ever ($42m), still has a race on its h
  • Australia's Darnley House boards $12m Jamil

    Australia's Darnley House Productions has boarded Italian producer Leo Pescarolo's $12m picture, Jamil, The Last Goddess.Backing has also been secured from Italy's Rai Cinema for the movie, which is loosely based on H.Rider Haggard's novel She, a mythical late 19th century African adventure about an immortal woman who is inspired by immortal love. Pescarolo is also close to closing co-production deals on the picture with major European co-production partners.
  • Bavaria Film Int'l, X-Filme expand relationship

    German world sales company Bavaria Film International (BFI) and X-Filme Creative Pool, producer of the Berlinale's opening film Heaven, have agreed to expand their existing working relationship."Our goal is to intensify the co-operation with X Filme on an informal basis, which could go over and above the world sales business to include greater co-operation with the distribution arm X Verleih", said BFI managing director Michael Weber, "and also see us helping to look in Europe
  • Beatty gets lifetime nod at San Francisco Fest

    Warren Beatty will receivethe Akira Kurosawa Award for lifetime achievement in film directing at the 45thSan Francisco International Film Festival (Apr 18-May 2). The award will bepresented to Beatty on Thursday April 25 at Film Society Awards Night at SanFrancisco's Argent Hotel.The presentation willinclude a compilation of clips from Beatty's career, an onstage interviewand screenings of Reds and Bulworth will be shown during the festival. Beatty made his directo
  • Berlinale 2002 gets under way - Heaven can wait

    The stars and the crowds turned out in force for Tom Tykwer's opening night film Heaven. The high security gala ceremony, with 2,500 guests, was attended by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, star Cate Blanchett and Miramax Films' co-chief Harvey Weinstein. Co-producers Maria Köpf and Anthony Minghella, Blanchett and Tykwer also dazzled at the press conference earlier in the day. But initial press reactions to the film were distinctly cool. At the first press screening it
  • Berlinale confirms status as new-talent event

    Two of the Berlinale's "Vision Day" panelists have revealed details of the new projects they are hatching.Terry Gilliam, in town for Lost In La Mancha, will serve as executive producer on the Quay Brothers' long-anticipated second feature The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes. "Audiences are searching for a chance to journey into completely new, untravelled, mind-stimulating universes'the very kind of films the Brothers Quay create", said Gilliam.UK producer
  • BERLINALE Screen International's news round-up

    A round-up of the latest news taken from the Screen International Berlinale dailies - the official festival magazine.For previous stories and a full listing of the films in the main sections of the festival - type: Berlinale into the search bar at the top of the screendaily homepage.Madrid-based sales agent, Kevin Williams Associates (KWA) has picked up world sales duties on Forum title One Lucky Day (Un Dia De Suerte).The film, about an
  • Berlusconi's conflict-of-interest law criticised

    Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's government is trying to push through a polemical new conflict-of-interest law, days before it is due to appoint a new board of directors for state broadcaster Rai, the main rival to the premier's multi-billion dollar media empire.The proposed law states that the national watchdog should monitor potential conflicts between the personal and public interests of government officials and report any violations to Parliament, which would then debate
  • Bidding wars begin over rights to Eight Women

    Bidding wars in Germany and the UK on glitzy French ensemble piece Eight Women (Huit Femmes) lit up an otherwise sluggish market as the Berlinale moved into its second week.Prices for the German rights were said to have risen to as much as $1m on Eight Women, which was boosted by a spectacular box-office opening in France and the presence of stars such as Catherine Denueve at the festival. Sales agent Celluloid Dreams is understood to be fielding offers fro
  • Blasco named president of Spain's Antena 3 TV

    Spanish media group Admira Media, filial of telecoms giant Telefonica, has appointed Luis Blasco the new president of holding Antena 3 Television.Blasco, a former CEO of Radio Espana, will also act as vice president of Admira under president Luis Abril, who replaced Juan Jose Nieto in January.Jose Antonio Sanchez, a local newspaper and radio journalist, was named assistant to the president of Admira.At Antena 3 Blasco replaces Enrique Alvarez, who the company says resigne
  • Brian Benson wins Sundance producers fellowship

    Brian Benson has beenselected as the recipient of the 2002 Mark Silverman Fellowship, a programmefor producers run by the Sundance Institute.The award was established asa tribute to independent producer Silverman whose credits include BloodSimple and Raising Arizona and supports "visionary independent producerswho have committed to a film project and still face the challenge of movingforward into production." Under the fellowship, Benson is awarded a cashprize to be used
  • Buena Vista UK records biggest-ever opening

    Buena Vista International recorded their biggest opening weekend of all time in the UK with the release of Monsters, Inc. The latest production from Pixar Animation Studios opened on Friday (Feb 8) to record a three-day gross of $13.1m (£9.2m) - including $3.8m (£2.7m) of previews.The animated film is the fourth highest opener in the UK behind Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone ($23.2m/£16.3m including previews of $9.5m/£6.7m), Th
  • Canada enjoys 17% rise in 'runaway productions'

    Canadian film and television production increased to $3.3bn in 2000-2001 against $2.84bn in 1999-2000, driven in large part by a 17% increase in foreign location shooting - often referred to as "runaway production" by US film industry lobbyists. According to figures released today (Feb 7) by the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association (CFTPA), foreign location shooting accounted for slightly over $1bn or 35% of the total production spend across the sectors, the majority of i
  • Canada's Genies snatched by The Fast Runner

    To the surprise of no one, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) continued its winning ways, taking Best Picture and Best Direction at Canada's 22nd Genie Awards on Feb. 7. The Inuit-language feature, which is Canada's submission for the Foreign-language Academy Award, also won the Genies for Screenplay, Editing and Original Score. Director Zacharias Kunuk, who won the Camera d'Or at Cannes last year, was also awarded the Claude Jutra Prize for Best First Feature. Best Actor kudos
  • CDP's Winterstern named chairman of Signpost Films

    HenryWinterstern, the co-founder and managing partner of Canada's CDP CapitalEntertainment, has been appointed chairman of the board at Stewart Till'snew company Signpost Films. He will play an integral role in identifyingstrategic partners and providing deal expertise for Signpost.Signpost is backed by CDPCapital Communications (a member of fund management group CDP Capital) andMosaic Media Group, the LA entertainment group which consists of CharlesRoven's Atlas Entertainment and Eric
  • Chico takes Hungarian Film Week prize

    Ibolya Fekete's film Chico - about a mercenary who fights in many of the 20th century's revolutionary conflicts - has walked away with the Hungarian Film Week's main feature film prize. Chico is just one of a number of films credited with injecting a more populist note into the Hungarian Film Week, which saw every film attract sell out crowds during the eventJust a few years ago, the Film Week usually had one popular production and a string of much less liked art
  • Collateral Damage

    Dir: Andrew Davis. US. 2002. 108mins.If it were not for the September 11 terrorist attacks, Collateral Damage - Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest action vehicle - would have been dismissed by critics as yet another popcorn picture, using terrorism as a cheap plot device to advance its gung-ho reactionary politics. However, that momentous event, which pushed the film's theatrical release back from early October 2001 to February 2002, has ironically put this prepostero
  • Contact Berlin feature line-up confirmed

    New feature projects from the UK, Spain, Denmark and France are among 12 films being presented to key potential financiers at the "Contact Berlin" financing platform being held at this year's Berlinale from February 9-10.The line-up of projects include:The Body In The Yard (AGAT Films & Cie, France)The Bum's Rush (Hero Films, UK)Details (Gota Film, Sweden)Headrush (Zanzibar Productions, Ireland)Little Sisters (Oscar Films, Scotl
  • Cool And Crazy tops Amanda awards at Haugesund

    Knut Erik Jensen's documentary Cool and Crazy about a male choir from a remote arctic town took home two Amanda Awards, for best Norwegian film and best documentary at this year's Haugesund Film Festival. With more than half a million admissions, Cool and Crazy has become the second best attended film of the year in Norway, and the first documentary ever to achieve such results. Now the producers are preparing a submission for the Academy Awards in both foreign language a
  • Eight Women (Huit Femmes)

    Dir: Francois Ozon. France. 2002. 103mins.Clearly not one to be stuffed into a stylistic straitjacket, the erratic, highly talented Francois Ozon has flamboyant fun with Eight Women (Huit Femmes), an old-fashioned Agatha Christie-ish whodunnit made over as high camp with songs and an all-female cast. Although it will no doubt be dismissed as vacuous by those looking for the serious content of his sombrely haunting Under The Sand (Sous Le Sable), his prev
  • Euro public film fund coordination group launched

    A new structure to promote a greater exchange of information between European public film funds is on the cards after meetings held during the Berlinale.The venture, which goes under the unwieldy working title of European Coordination Group for Regional Audiovisual Investment Funds (CEFIR-AV), was initiated by Rotterdam Film Fund's Jacques van Heijningen and Wallimage's Philippe Reynaert.The first contacts with German regional funds and opposite numbers in France, Spain, Sweden
  • Ex-London film fest chief launches Metropolis Film

    Former London Film Festival head Sheila Whitaker is launching UK distributor Metropolis Films.The venture is to handle world cinema, releasing most titles on video but with some theatrical outings. Whitaker is attending Berlin with her partner in the company, Andy Ordonez, formerly of Japanese financing house NDF.Ordonez said the company is looking for films that "have some commercial opportunity" such as a known director or festival kudos.UK support body the Film Council
  • FilmFour, Karlsen team Together on two projects

    FilmFour is teaming withElizabeth Karlsen's production outfit Number 9 on two new projects- an English language remake of Lukas Moodysson's Swedish hit Together and a film of the cult novel The Deadly Percheron by John Franklin Bardin, to which they have optionedthe rights.The Together remake will be set in the US, but Moodysson and hisproducer Lars Jonsson will act as executive producers and consult on the choiceof writer and director. A huge success on the festiv
  • Fox International ups key execs McLaren, Hanneman

    20th Century FoxInternational, the recently created division of the studio which combinesinternational theatrical and international home entertainment divisions underStephen Moore, has promoted three of its key executives.Mary McLaren, who waspreviously executive vice president for home entertainment international, hasbeen promoted to executive vice president of business operations for 20thCentury Fox International, overseeing the finance, operations and informationtechnology activitie
  • France, Spain and UK dominate Cartoon market

    More than half of the 42 feature projects selected for this year's Cartoon Movie market (March 14 - 16) to be presented to investors and distributors come from animation production companies from France, Spain and the UK.As the leading centre for animation in Europe, France leads the field with 10 projects by such studios as Teva (The Painting, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea) and Les Armateurs (The Evolution Man, Belphegor), followed by Spain with nine projects - ran
  • Full list of AFM seminars & finance conference

    The American Film Market(AFM) will host six seminars and a finance conference at this year'sevent (Feb 20-27), sponsored bylegal advisory firm Coudert Brothers.The programme is as follows:Feb 22 AFM FinanceConferencePanels: The Future Of FeatureFilm Financing IPanelists: Lewis Horwitz(moderator), Paul Brooks, Martin Katz, Edward S Labowitz, John W MillerThe Future Of Film FinancingIIPanelists: Paul Wissmann(moderator), Kirk D'Amico, Mark Damon, Avi Le
  • German exhibitors boycott All Industry Meeting

    German exhibitors' association Hauptverband Deutscher Filmtheater (HDF) last week boycotted an All Industry Meeting on joint marketing measures in response to critical comments made about it in an internal memo by the distributors' association Verband der Filmverleiher (VdF). HDF - which represents more than half of the German exhibition sector, including the majority of small independent cinemas - was described, among other things, as being as clumsy "as a tanker". The exhibito
  • Germany's VIP fund to back Richter's The I Inside

    Munich-based Film & Entertainment VIP Medienfonds (VIP) is to back the first English-language project by Der Tunnel director Roland Suso Richter.VIP is to supply just over half of the budget for The I Inside which will go into production in March by Rudy Cohen's RCD Productions with a cast understood to include Stephen Dorff, Christian Slater and Lauren Bacall.Richter, whose previous feature credits included 14 Tage Lebenslaenglich and After The Truth
  • Gilliam to exec produce Quay Bros' next feature

    Two of the Berlinale's "Vision Day" panelists have revealed details of the new projects they are hatching.Terry Gilliam, in town for Lost In La Mancha, will serve as executive producer on the Quay Brothers' long-anticipated second feature The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes. "Audiences are searching for a chance to journey into completely new, untravelled, mind-stimulating universes'the very kind of films the Brothers Quay create", said Gilliam.UK producer
  • Gosford Park charms the box office

    UK audiences turned out in force at the weekend to greet the latest local production, Gosford Park. The film, which won director Robert Altman the best director Golden Globe last month, opened at just 156 venues to record an impressive $1.2m (£837,589) taking fourth place in the national chart. This resulted in a screen average of $7,594 - the highest for any film on release over the weekend. With a stellar ensemble cast of mostly British actors, including Dame Maggie Smith, Sir M
  • Guardian teams with Mainline for new sales outfit

    Richard S Guardian, theveteran sales executive who has held stints with Overseas Filmgroup, HBOEnterprises and most recently Beyond Films, has teamed up with video and TVdistributor Mainline Releasing to launch Lightning Entertainment, a newLA-based boutique focusing on worldwide distribution of mid-budget independenttheatrical films.Mainline principals RichGoldberg and Marc Greenberg will provide the initial funding to cover overhead,as well as acquisitions and co-productions. Guardia
  • Happy Times (Xingfu Shiguang)

    Dir: Zhang Yimou. China/US. 2000. 96mins The first film from Edward R Pressman and Terrence Malick's Sunflower Productions, Zhang Yimou 's Happy Times is a Chaplinesque sentimental comedy which has its moments of greatness. Even during the more pedestrian scenes, it is difficult not to be warmed by this winning tale of the relationship between a blind girl and her reluctant benefactor . Its People's Republic production values - including some kitchen-scissors editing
  • Harry Potter scores in China, despite piracy

    Despite early availability of the title on pirate DVD and VCD formats, Warner Bros. estimates that Harry Potter grossed a promising $2m from 300 theatres during its first week of release in China (Jan 30 - Feb 5)."It's out-performing The Mummy Returns, but not doing as well as Pearl Harbor which was a summer release," said Chen Qingyi, marketing director at the Shanghai Film Art Centre where the film premiered on Jan 26.The Mummy Returns took two week
  • Harry strides past $600m in international b.o.

    Warner Bros' HarryPotter & The Sorcerer's Stone aka Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone crossed the $600m mark at the international boxoffice over the weekend, becoming only the second film in history to do so afterTitanic. The film is now poisedto become the third highest worldwide grosser in history, with its total of$916m just $3m away from overtaking Jurassic Park's $919m, and should also pass second-placed Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace ($
  • Heaven

    Dir: Tom Tykwer. 2001. Germany/US. 97mins.If Run Lola Run was Tom Tykwer's breakthrough film, then the Miramax-backed Heaven is his first big commercial test. The message that we are in very different territory from his smart and stylish 1999 indie hit is made clear in the posters plastering Tykwer's hometown of Berlin, where the film was chosen to open this year's festival. The words "from the producers of The English Patient" nestle between Cate Blanche
  • Hong Kong film studio plans come under threat

    Ambitious plans for a new film studio complex in Hong Kong could be under threat as three investors in the project - Hong Kong's Media Asia and Mei Ah Entertainment and Taiwan's Era Group - have decided to pull out.A consortium of six companies, led by Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers, won government approval last September to build the $109m (HK$850m) "Movie City" complex in Tseung Kwan O, in the western part of Hong Kong. The site is to include studios, post-production facilities, specialis
  • Intermedia restructure scales back UK base

    Intermedia, the biggest film concern listed on Germany's Neuer Markt, is scaling back the UK base from which it first launched as a small independent sales outfit.As the indie film giant becomes more of a Hollywood player, it is understood to be leaving only the international marketing department under Paul Davis based in the UK. Since floating on the stockmarket in 2000, Intermedia has increasingly shifted its focus from edgy, low-budget fare such as UK Berlin competitor Iris t
  • Jean Prewitt promoted to CEO of AFMA

    Jean Prewitt, the presidentof AFMA, has been promoted to chief executive officer of the independet filmand TV trade organization. Prewitt, who joined the organization in April 2000,will retain the title of president as well."Over the last twoyears, Jean has exhibited exemplary leadership in solidifying AFMA's role inrepresenting the independent film production and distribution communityworldwide," said chairman of the board of AFMA Kathy Morgan"Additionally, she has succeeded in expand
  • Kinowelt's fate to be determined by March 2002

    A final decision on the fate of the debt-ridden Kinowelt Medien Group is likely to be made by the second half of March, according to the provisional insolvency administrator Dr. Wolfgang Ott.In a status report to the end of January on his efforts with Kinowelt's management and the creditor banks to preserve the assets of the debtors, Ott declared that "further collapse of the Kinowelt Media Group has been halted. Business operations are continuing in an orderly fashion and according to
  • Korean investors swarm to country's first film IPO

    South Korean major CJ Entertainment celebrated a triumphant IPO on Korea's over-the-counter KOSDAQ exchange on Feb 5, seeing its share price double in value during the day.CJ Entertainment is the first of Korea's film companies to hold an initial public offering. It floated a 30% stake worth $34m (Won 44.5bn) and saw its share price rise from an initial $9.00 (Won 12,000) to close at $18.00 (Won 24,000).Investors were encouraged by the heady growth of the local film industry as
  • LAFF and sponsor Target offer top prize of $50,000

    The 2002 Los Angeles FilmFestival is to introduce a new prize awarded to the director of the bestdramatic feature in competition worth $50,000. IFP/West executive director DawnHudson unveiled the award yesterday which will be furnished by thefestival's key sponsor Target, one of the biggest retail store circuitsin the US.The prize, which is thelargest cash prize bestowed by a major US film festival, will lend weight tothe LA Film Festival, which is being revamped since its association
  • Lagaan gets second US release, now through SPC

    Sony Pictures Classics willgive Ashutosh Gowariker's Indian epic Lagaan a new theatrical outing in the US in the late springamid buzz that the 223 minute-film received a rapturous reception at itsAcademy Award foreign language film committee screening. The Academy Awardnominations are announced next Tuesday (Feb 12).The film was released on theHindi theatre circuit in June last year through SET Pictures, the globaldistribution arm of Sony Entertainment Television (SET), which is
  • Mark Reinhart heads sales at Regent gay arm HERE!

    Mark Reinhart, the veteransales executive who has worked at companies including The Samuel Goldwyn Co,Artisan/LIVE Entertainment and GRB Entertainment, has been hired by RegentEntertainment to oversee sales for HERE! Films, the specialty marketing anddistribution arm of Regent focusing exclusively on gay-themed films. His titleis vice president, international, and he reports to Regent partner PaulColichman.At HERE!, Reinhart will beresponsible for acquiring, marketing a
  • Mickie switches back to sales at Alliance Atlantis

    Charlotte Mickie, to manythe international face of Canada's Alliance Atlantis Communications, hasbeen promoted to managing director, international motion picture sales, at itsEntertainment Group, returning to a sales role at the company which last monthaxed over 80 staff and dramatically reduced its feature film department.Locatedat the company's head office, Mickie will oversee all aspects of motionpicture acquisitions, presales and sales, moving back to sales after herpositions, firs
  • Minor Mishaps (Sma Ulykker)

    Dir: Annette K Olesen. Denmark. 2002. 109mins.That peculiarly Danish brand of bittersweet, intimate comedy finds its latest expression in Minor Mishaps, the story of a turbulent family reunion that combines many familiar Dogme elements (although it is not, in the strict sense, a Dogme film) with Mike Leigh's preparation for a script, based on characters developed through intensive improvisation with the actors. While the result doesn't break any new ground, it's an ext
  • Miramax takes on Zhang Yimou's Hero

    The ever-voracious Miramax has pounced on Hero, the big-budget historical adventure whose post-production kept director Zhang Yimou away from Berlin this week. The film is getting good word of mouth in Asia where it is being compared with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Miramax grabbed all rights in North America, Latin America, the UK, Australia/New Zealand, South Africa, Africa and Italy.Hero is produced by Bill Kong's Edko and is represented in the
  • Nazi image set to fire up Berlin film festival

    A crucifix parodied as a Nazi swastika, hung only a few hundred metres from Hitler's famous bunker in Berlin's Potsdamer Platz, is certain to spark controversy at the Berlin festival as well as among the city's populace.The gruesome image (pictured) is the poster for Costa-Gavras' Amen, which gets its premiere on Wednesday (Feb 12). The poster was designed by Oliviero Toscani, the Italian photographer who has never shied away from controversy and became notorious with some of h
  • New German production outfit seeks US product

    Framewerk's Stefan Jonas and three partners have launched the new Munich-based international production outfit SRO Entertainment AG.SRO - which stands for Standing Room Only - will be represented in Los Angeles by Michael Ovitz's AMG and top lawyer Larry Hirsch to access top quality projects from the US."Our plan is to bring projects from there to Germany which we can produce or post-produce here drawing on our connections to the Das Werk Group", Jonas explained."For the feature
  • Nicole Kidman gets

    Nicole Kidman will receive adistinguished decade of achievement in film award at worldwide exhibitorsconvention ShoWest in March in Las Vegas. The actress will accept her award,which recognizes "Kidman's extraordinary body of work over the lastten years," on stage on March 7 at the Showest gala awards banquet.Other 2002 honorees so farannounced include Will Smith, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg and Naomi Watts.Kidman was previouslyhonoured in 1992 by ShoWest as the female star of
  • No Regrets (Nichts Bereuen)

    Dir: Benjamin Quabeck. Ger. 2001. 104mins.A blend of comedy and pathos, No Regrets is a light-hearted coming of age story that flags up its lead, newcomer Daniel Bruehl, as one of Germany's upcoming talents to watch. The film has done well in German-speaking territories, where it has taken DM 468,065 since opening last November, and also drawn acclaim on the festival circuit, taking the Hypo Prize at last year's Munich Film Festival and the German Film Critics' Debut F
  • Ocean's Eleven steals past $100m overseas

    Warner Bros celebrated itsfirst international smash of the new year as Ocean's Eleven stole past the $100m mark outside North America overthe weekend with a healthy $21m gross in 32 territories. Its total is now$111m.Playing on 3,827 screens,the film drew an estimated 3.75m admissions over the three days. It opened inFrance with an estimated $5.86m gross on 789 screens, second only to Asterix& Obelix: Mission Cleopatre andahead of the highly touted 8 Femmes.
  • One Hour Photo

    Dir: Mark Romanek. US. 2002. 96 mins.Actor Robin Williams gets a wonderful opportunity to stretch (to use Hollywood jargon) in Mark Romanek's feature directorial debut, One Hour Photo, playing a serious dramatic role that deviates from the two screen images that have defined his career: as a funny, wiry man in broad farces (Mrs. Doubtfire, The Birdcage) and as a sensitive and noble messiah in dramas (The Fisher King, Good Will Hunting). Unfortun
  • Paradox Lake

    Dir: Przemyslaw 'Shemie' Reut. US. 2002. 85mins.Neither documentary nor fully fledged drama, Paradox Lake is cinema verite at its most infuriating. Shemie Reut's experimental feature is for the most part tedious and trying, yet its terrifically clever final act hints at what it might have been. It's one of those independent movies that could warrant a Hollywood remake, just to cleanse it of its cinematic and thematic pretensions. Buyers, unfortunately, won't stick it o
  • Paris prefers Eight Women to Amelie

    French sales agency Celluloid Dreams has received a double confidence boost ahead of tonight's (Feb 8) competition film Eight Women (Huit Femmes).In its first day on commercial release Eight Women, a female ensemble piece by controversial director Francois Ozon, secured 43,000 spectators from a 24-print release in Paris handled by Mars Films. "We are thrilled by the public's response," said Pierre Menahem, Celluloid executive. "We would have been happy with 25,000. We did
  • Pinewood Shepperton backs new Toronto studio

    A major film and television production facility is set to be built in Toronto with the participation of the UK's Pinewood Shepperton Studios and its partners including Ridley Scott and Tony Scott. If approved for land-use permits, the 1.2m sq. ft. studio will feature as many as 16 sound stages over 43 acres of waterfront land, similar in scale to Pinewood or Shepperton. The announcement is sure to inflame passions in the US, where lobby groups such as the Film and Television Action Committee
  • Safe Conduct (Laissez Passer)

    Dir: Bertrand Tavernier. France. 2001. 170mins.An ambitious, enormously detailed portrait of a complex and (internationally, at least) little known footnote of World War II, Safe Conduct observes the film-makers working at the Continental, a German studio set up in Paris to produce French movies under the Occupation. Bertrand Tavernier's contention is that much of the resulting work was far from bland pro-Nazi propaganda or frothy escapism and that the French artists a
  • Scottish shorts scheme expands to features

    The New Found Land short film scheme is to expand its remit and fund two features. The joint initiative between Scottish Screen, Scottish TV and Grampian TV is now in its third year and annually funds six half-hour dramas shot on digital and intended for television transmission and Festival exposure. The scheme will now fund two feature-length scripts which will be completed in time for screening at the 2003 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Each of the 90 minute, digital producti
  • Screen International's latest Berlinale news

    A round-up of the latest news taken from the Screen International Berlinale dailies - the official festival magazine.For previous stories and a full listing of the films in the main sections of the festival - type: Berlinale into the search bar at the top of the screendaily homepage.Kevin Spacey plans to take time out from acting: "I need to stop," he says. "I need some quiet." Since winning the Best Actor Oscar in 2000 for American Beauty
  • Screen International's latest news from Berlin

    A round-up of the latest news taken from the Screen International Berlinale dailies - the official festival magazine.For previous stories and a full listing of the films in the main sections of the festival - type: Berlinale into the search bar at the top of the screendaily homepage.At a ceremony on Sunday (Feb 10), Benjamin Hermann of distributor Senator Film gave a cheque of Euros 77,000 to Eva Hubert of the Hamburg Film Board as repayment of a sub
  • Screenwriters to get equal billing at Berlinale

    Less than a year after the threat of a screenwriters' strike stuck fear into the heart of Hollywood, the Berlinale is to change its rules on recognition for scriptwriting.From next year the Berlinale will give writers equal credit with directors and lead actors in the listing of all festival films. Dieter Kosslick's promise was revealed this weekend by Thomas Bauermeister, managing board member of the Screen Writers Guild of Germany. The new boost for the screenwriters - who sin
  • Senator Int'l picks up worldwide on Vaya Con Dios

    Senator International hasacquired worldwide rights (excluding German-speaking territories) to the Germanromantic comedy Vaya Con Dioswritten and directed by Zoltan Spirandelli.Recent winner of fourBavarian Film Awards including best new director, best new actor and best newactress, the film tells the story of three monks who leave their bankruptmonastery to find their last remaining brother monks in Italy. But failing toresist the temptations of the real world on their journey,
  • Sogepaq takes world rights on City Of No Limits

    Spanish sales house Sogepaq has picked up worldwide rights on Berlin Panorama entry In The City Of No Limits (En La Ciudad Sin Limites).Directed by Antonio Hernandez (Lisboa), City is a co-production between Spain's Zebra Producciones and Iconica with Argentina's Patagonik.The film stars Leonardo Sbaraglia (Intact) as a young man who reunites with his family in Paris to take care of his ailing father whose mental lapses turn out to mask long-hidden se
  • Spain's Grupo Planeta launches documentary arm

    Spain's Grupo Planeta has launched new documentary production-distribution label "Planeta D" to be overseen in the group's Barcelona headquarters by former Media Park executive Jonathon South.Capitalising on the current popularity of documentaries in Spain, Planeta envisions the new division as "the brand of reference of documentaries of prestige in Spain."Planeta D will produce and back "ambitious" documentary projects both locally and internationally, distributing in Spain the
  • Splendid Pictures lures de Bont to The Courier

    Jan de Bont is in finalnegotiations to make his next film as a director for newly formed SplendidPictures, the joint venture between Splendid Medien and Cutting EdgeEntertainment. The film, The Courier, is being produced by Newman/Tooley Films and is set to go intoproduction in late spring.The film is the firstproduct of the new outfit which was formed when Splendid's old partnerInitial Entertainment Group (IEG) was sold to Intermedia. Splendid, which owned49% of IEG, is thought
  • Ster-Kinekor loses Vanilla Sky in rental dispute

    Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky is not screening on any of Ster-Kinekor's 190 screens throughout South Africa after negotiations between UIP/SA and Primedia's Filmco, owners of Ster-Kinekor, the country's biggest exhibitor, broke down. According to industry insiders, UIP initially wanted an opening week's film rental of 65% to which Ster-Kinekor offered 40% (the industry standard). UIP then reduced the terms to 55% but Ster-Kinekor refused to go higher than 50% and as a result UIP
  • Taiwanese website offers studio movies for $1

    A Taiwanese web-site has incurred the wrath of Hollywood for offering web-casts of thousands of major film titles for just $1.Current rental releases such as Shrek, Legally Blonde and American Pie 2 are available on the site - - which streams movies online using Real Player software. The site's database also includes thousands of classic titles and Chinese-language films such as Jackie Chan starrer The Accidental Spy. The dollar fee allows unlimited pla
  • Thailand's Major Cineplex sets IPO for June

    Thai cinema operator Major Cineplex is set to become the country's dominant exhibitor after announcing plans to float shares on the stock exchange of Thailand (SET) in June. The initial public offering (IPO) of 20m shares at a value of five baht each will be used to fuel the circuit's expansion, announced managing director Vicha Poolvaraluck on Feb 5.Major Cineplex and Entertain Golden Village (EGV) are currently the leading cinema operators, pulling in approximately 40% of the
  • Travelling Birds (Le Peuple Migrateur)

    Dir: Jacques Perrin. Fr/Ger/Sp. 2001. 97mins.Travelling Birds offers audiences a rare chance to fly like a bird without recourse to mind-expanding drugs. This is the third in a trilogy of big-screen nature films produced - and in this case directed - by former French matinee idol Jacques Perrin. Microcosmos, the second in the series, proved that nature could make the leap from the small to the large screen without being excessively Disneyfied. This follow-up has
  • Venice fest denies Barbera resignation reports

    The Venice Film Festival has denied reports that artistic director Alberto Barbera has already resigned from his position. Rumours about Barbera's resignation and replacement began to emerge at the end of last week, when the Venice Biennale's board of directors stepped down three months before their contract officially expired. Their move followed the ousting of Biennale president Paolo Baratta, who was replaced by new government-appointee Franco Bernabe, a former head of Telec
  • WGA nominates Rings, Park, Mind, Rouge

    The Writers Guild Of America(WGA) unveiled its nominations for the 2001 WGA awards this week just daysafter it was revealed that two of the year's most acclaimed screenplays-from the independent breakthrough hits Memento and In The Bedroom - had been deemed ineligible.The original screenplaynominees are Julian Fellowes for Gosford Park, Joel & Ethan Coen for The Man WhoWasn't There, Milo Addica andWill Rokos for Monster's Ball,Baz Luhrmann and Craig P
  • Wild Bunch adds Spirited Away, amongst others

    French sales agent Wild Bunch is poised to pick up world sales rights to animated feature Spirited Away during the Berlin Film Festival. The picture, which was a late addition to the Berlinale competition, is the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time.The fantasy, directed by Hayao Miyazaki of the legendary Studio Ghibli, grossed a colossal $201m (Y24.6bn) in Japan after 14 weeks on release. Spirited Away has sold 19 million tickets , comfortably ahead of the previou
  • Winchester boss faces share-selling investigation

    Winchester Entertainment chief executive Gary Smith could reportedly face an investigation after selling shares in the UK media concern less than two weeks before it issued a profit warning on revenues.Smith sold 400,000 shares for $837,400 thirteen days before the company warned full-year results would be below those of the previous year. Winchester shares fell 62% to 52.5 pence on Tuesday (Feb 5) after the warning.In wire reports, a spokeswoman said that Smith, who now owns 11
  • Winchester issues profit warning for year to March

    Winchester Entertainment hasissued a profit warning for the financial year to March 31, 2002, in which itsays it will make a one off write-down of approximately£2 million to itschildren's TV programming assets.However, the board of the companystressed in a statement that the expected low results are due to a number ofcircumstances such as the delayed delivery of a number of films previouslyanticipated for delivery in the year to March 31, 2002. "The companycurrently has net cash reserv