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8 July 2005

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  • Ashura (Ashura-jo no Hitomi)

    Dir: Yojiro Takita. Jap.2005. 119mins.The film version of a hitplay, Ashura is set in and around the Kabuki world of early 19th-centuryTokyo (then called Edo). It even stars Somegoro Ichikawa, a Kabuki actorreprising his stage role as the demon-slaying hero.Save for its Kabukiperformance scenes, however, the film is, less Kabuki reconfigured for thescreen than a splashy melange of everything from J-horror to Rogers and Hart(the composers
  • Avenge But One Of My Eyes (Nekam Achat Mishtey Eynay)

    Dir/scr: AviMograbi. Is. 2005. 75mins.Avi Mograbi's well-deserved reputation for systematicallybaiting the official policies of the Israeli government will spread evenfurther with Avenge But One Of My Eyes, his explosively provocativedocumentary essay that played out of competition at Cannes.As usual, itwill be highly appreciated by all those who share Mograbi's radical viewpointon Israel's occupation of the West Bank, while also enraging Israel
  • Beauty Remains (Mei Ren Yi Jiu)

    Dir: Ann Hu. China-US.2005. 89mins.Set against the backdropof the late 1940s Chinese Revolution, Beauty Remains is a grand,romantic saga where passion trumps politics and the lives of three littlepeople amount to more than a hill of beans. A handsomely mounted production, itelegantly balances the operatic and the cerebral in a very satisfyingdramatically charged yarn.In China the film did wellafter a mid-February rollout, taking more than
  • Broadcasters boost backing for Hong Kong film

    There was acollective sigh of relief in the Hong Kong film industry last week as the firstlocal release of the summer - Media Asia's drift racing drama Initial D -burnt rubber in five Asian territories, including an impressive haul of US$2.6min its first week in Hong Kong. The results seemto vindicate the industry's recent strategy of cutting down production to focuson a smaller number of big-budget films. But while Hong Kong producers may beinspired to mount similar pan-Asian p
  • Cineworx launches production arm with Madonnas

    Swiss distribution outfit cineworx has launcheda production arm cineworx filmproduktion and has boarded Maria Speth's secondfeature Madonnas (Madonnen) as its first project.The German-Swiss-Belgian co-production betweenCologne-based Pandora Film, cineworx filmproduktion and the Dardenne brothers'Les Films du Fleuve begins shooting in Frankfurt from July 14 for four weekswith another stage of filming planned for the winter at locations in Cologneand Belgium. The Euros 2m d
  • Colour Blossoms

    Dir/scr:Yonfan. HK-Chi. 2004. 106mins.A glorified soap opera wrapped up in silk, satin anddisrobed models, Yonfan's Color Blossoms will be hailed by his faithfuladmirers as a stylish melodrama about over-ripe divas, fresh ingenues and sexyhulks, whose fleeting basis in reality is a springboard for magnificent flightsof decadent fancy. Just imagine an Asian version of Fassbinder that has goneway way over the to
  • Dark Water

    Dir: Walter Salles. US.2005. 100mins.Hideo Nakata's elegant2002 Japanese chiller Dark Water makes a smooth transition to a New YorkCity setting in its US remake thanks to an intelligent screenplay by RafaelYglesias and intense direction in his English-language debut by Walter Salles.But while a moreself-possessed film than the Hollywood redos of Nakata's own The Ring orTakashi Shimizu's The Grudge, the film is also a more ad
  • Disney takes domestic on Yari/Stratus drama Hoax

    Walt Disney Studios has boardedYari Film Group/Stratus Film Company's drama Hoax starring Richard Gere and directed by LasseHallstrom as domestic disributor.Yari's Syndicate Films ishandling international sales on the film which is scripted by Bill Wheeler andtells the story of Clifford Irving the man who wrote and sold a bogus biographyof Howard Hughes. Alfred Molina co-stars as Richard Suskind, Irving'saccomplice with Marcia Gay Harden as Irving's wife Edith.Mark Gordon
  • European Film Academy launches new prize categories

    Achievements in film editingand production design will be recognised at the next European Film Awards to beheld in Berlin on December 3, 2005.The European Film Academy(EFA) has introduced two new prize categories for European Editor 2005 andEuropean Production Designer 2005 to add to the existing 15 award categories. The two new categories willeach have three nominations chosen by the Academy members from a shortlist ofaround 40 films.
  • European Film Promotion makes a date with New York

    The pan-European promotionnetwork European Film Promotion (EFP) is to launch a new sales initiative"European Days" in New York commencing this November.
  • Fantastic Four

    Dir: Tim Story. US. 2005.105 mins.The title characters inMarvel's longest running comic book series form a dysfunctional family ofsuperheroes who struggle to cope with the emergence of their superpowers andthe celebrity that results. So maybe it's appropriate that the lightweight butenjoyable movie version of Fantastic Four, with its playful, slightly old-fashioned feel,is likely to work better for families and non-comic book fans than it is forthe more usual au
  • Fantastic starts rollout, War widens

    Comic book adaptation FantasticFour starts its international rollout this weekend day-and-date with its USopening, launching in four major markets as well as a slew of smallercountries. And War of Worlds islooking to build on its powerful international debut with openings in two moremajor territories. Fox International opens FantasticFour
  • Film London advises film-makers in wake of blasts

    Film-makers in London have been urged to follow instructions from thepolice and emergency services in the wake of the series of bomb-blasts thatstruck the capital yesterday.The bomb attacks on London'stransport network killed at least 50 people and injured scores more. There were three explosionson the Underground and one on adouble-decker bus. London film agency FilmLondon - which helps co-ordinate shoots in the city - issued the following noteto film-makers today:
  • Film London issues advice to film-makers in wake of blasts

  • Fox claims victory as first studio to cross $1bn in international

    20th Century FoxInternational has become the first studio to cross $1bn in internationalgrosses in the increasingly fierce race for grosses outside the US. As oftoday, the studio's international distribution arm reported $1.09bn in boxoffice returns so far in 2005.The films included in theachievement are Robots, theanimated movie which took $114m and has Japan yet to open on July 30; KingdomOf Heaven, Ridley Scott's epic whichhas taken $144m in Fox territories (excluding
  • Garcia wins prestigious French prize for directing

    Actress and filmmaker Nicole Garcia has been awarded the Francois-VictorNoury prize for her work as a director.The prize comes with a Euros 20,000 purse and is given by the film andtelevision department of France's Academy of Beaux Arts. Prizes are awardedeach year by the foundation in different areas of the arts. The jury that votedon Garcia's award was made up of directors PierreSchoendoerffer, Gerard Oury, Roman Polanski and Francis Girod and actressJeanne Moreau.Garcia, who
  • German fund told to boost local production

    Leading German film fund Filmstiftung NRW in North Rhine-Westphalia must be used to bolster local productionrather than attract "funding tourism," according to the state's new primeminister Juergen Ruettgers.Speaking at the opening ofthis year's Medienforum NRW, Ruettgers praised the economic contribution ofFilmstiftung NRW.
  • German funding agency wins cash injection

    Local public broadcaster RundfunkBerlin-Brandenburg (RBB) is to provide German funding agency MedienboardBerlin-Brandenburg (MBB) with an annual Euros 1m for the backing of cinema andTV co-productions.Decisions on theallocation of the Euros 1m will be taken jointly by RBB and MBB and benefitproductions that have a special connection to the capital and Brandenburg. Thefocus will be on featu
  • German industry intensifies call for 'local spend'

    Leadingfigures in the German film industry have called for the introduction of a"German spend" as a key element in any future legislation regulating taxincentives. The move, they say, will put Germany on a equal footing with itscompetitors in such countries as Hungary, Ireland and Luxembourg.At lastweek's media funds conference held by the Instit
  • IMAX reaches deal for two more screens in India

    Large-format cinema leaderIMAX and Chennai, India-based exhibitor Sathyam Cinemas have signed anagreement that increases to four the number of IMAX cinema systems destined forthe circuit. The first will open in thecity in March 2006, with another to follow in 2008. Currently, Sathyam'sChennai flagship location is the highest attended cinema complex in the nation.The other two cinemas will open in 2007 and 2008 in as yet undisclosedlocations. All four will be capable of playing IMAX DMR
  • Kadokawa breaks sales records with Samurai Commando

    Kadokawa Pictures has confirmed sales of SamuraiCommando Mission 1549 - a science fiction fantasy about aJapaneseSelf-Defence Forcesunit time-travelling back to the days ofthe samurai - to 31 international territories. This breaks a modern-day recordfor a domestic live-action film held by Hideo Nakata's Ringu, with 30.The film is scheduled for theatricalrelease in the US, UK, Germany, Russia, Uruguay, Hong Kong, South Korea,Taiwan, Singapore and Mexico by the end of the
  • Karlovy Vary kicks off with Stone, Redford awards

    The 40th KarlovyInternational Film Festival got underway over the weekend with a flurry ofawards going to veteran filmmakers. Saturday saw a Crystal Globego to Sharon Stone for outstanding contribution to world cinema. The actressalso presented a newly re-edited version of Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers. "Jim Jarmusch was notsatisfied after the presentation of the film at Cannes and so he wanted to makea few slight improvements," festival
  • Lau takes lead in Lee's Three Kingdoms

    Hong Kong star Andy Lau has signed on to play the lead in$10-15m period drama, Three Kingdoms: Resurrection Of The Dragon(working title), to be directed by Black Mask director Daniel Lee.Arclight Films is handling international sales on the filmwhich is being produced by Hong Kong-based Visualizer Film Production and Lau'sFocus Films. Production is tentatively scheduled for late summer 2006. The film is based on one of China's most popular classicalnovels, The R
  • Leading Canadian directors get Telefilm funding

    Montreal-base SevillePictures has the greenlight on a biographical drama about Canadian generalRomeo Dallaire, the commander at the helm of the bedeviled UN peace-keepingmission during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The Canada-South Africa-UKcoproduction, to be directed by LA- and Montreal-based Yves Simoneau, is one oftwelve features to receive backing from Telefilm Canada in the latest financinground of the Canada Feature Film Fund. Another Dallaire backer is Martin Katz's Prosper
  • Lions Gate seals comic book deal with Niles, Jane

    Lions Gate Films hasacquired worldwide rights to a host of comic books by author Steve Niles andsealed a first-look deal on all projects by or found by Niles and hiscollaborator - actor Thomas Jane.The deal includes hit title TheLurkers, The Dark Country by TabMurphy, In The Blood and a newproject which will shortly be unveiled at the upcoming Comic-Con convention inSan Diego.Jane, who played ThePunisher for Lions Gate, will takeleading or supporting roles i
  • London Film Focus closes on a high

    The second London UK Film Focus (LUFF) has closed on a generally upbeat note.Screenings were well attended and buyers clearly supported the event, which nowlooks set to become an annual fixture in the calendar"I do think we've stepped up a rung this year. The quality of the filmswas better by far," project manager Helena Mackenzie commented.Among the titles generating the most positive buzz were Breakfast On Pluto,The Business, The Proposition and The Des
  • Media Luna picks up Brother To Brother, Dead Long Enough

    Cologne-based internationalsales company Media Luna Entertainment has picked up Rodney Evans' BrotherTo Brother and Tom Collins' Dead Long Enough.Produced by Evans' owncompany Miasma Films with Intrinsic Value Films and C-Hundred Films, BrotherTo Brother is the story of gay African-American lives that won severalawards in 200
  • No Song Of Love

    Dir/scr: Lars Kraume.Germany. 2005. 98mins.A hybrid of drama anddocumentary, Lars Kraume's sophomore screen effort deserves full points forbreaking down the barrier between the two genres, even if the story he uses forthis purpose is not always the most original or imaginative one.
  • Regional film body must reject 'funding tourism.' says PM

    Germany's media funds areback in business - at least, for the time being.The German government's proposed taxreforms, which would have seen the old-style media funds axed, have beenabandoned. But the reprieve could prove to be temporary for the funds,which, according to analysts, raised a staggering raised Euros $13 bn between1997 and 2004, with about 80 percent of t
  • Revelations, Intel team for new online venture ClickStar

    Morgan Freemanand Lori McReary's production outfit Revelations Entertainment has formed a newdistribution company aiming to distribute films directly to consumers over theinternet, with backing from Intel, the leading chipmaker and manufacturer ofcomputer and networking products.The company,called ClickStar Inc, plans to create an online service in which consumers canaccess, pay for and download first-run, pre-DVD release films andartist-created entertainment channels in their homes.
  • Robbins, Luke to star in Noyce's Hot Stuff

    Tim Robbins and Derek Lukewill head the cast in Working Title's production of Phillip Noyce's HotStuff, a political thriller set in South Africa.Based on the true story ofPatrick Chamusso, an ordinary man forced to resort to terror, the film is setin a turbulent and divided South Africa in the nineteen eighties and thepresent day.Robbins plays a charismaticpoliceman who investigates Patrick and his family. Luke plays Patrick, a saboteur sentenced to 24 years imprisonmentf
  • Samurai Commando Mission 1549 (Sengoku Jieitai 1549)

    Dir: Masaaki Tezuka.Japan. 2005. 119mins.A remake of Kosei Saito's1979 film about a military Self Defence Forces (SDF) unit that time travelsback to the days of the samurai, Samurai Commando: Mission 1549 hasalready attracted a flood of foreign rights offers for producer KadokawaPictures. Concluded deals totalled 31 at last count - a new record for alive-action Japanese film.What director Masaaki Tezuka(Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.) delivers on the screen i
  • Schnabel to direct Doll for Killer, Number 9

    ElizabethKarlsen's Number 9 Films has reteamed with Christine Vachon's Killer Films toproduce The Lonely Doll, which will be directed by Julian Schnabel (BeforeNight Falls, Basquiat).The film, writtenby Carl Lund, is based on the life story of Dare Wright, the beautiful andeccentric author and photographer of the best-selling Lonely Dollchildren's books.The picture willfocus on the extremely close relationship between the childlike Dare Wright andher mother,
  • ScreenDaily: Thursday 7 July

    Due totoday's events in London we are unable to bring you our usual coverage on service will resume as soon as possible.
  • Seven Invisible Men

    Dir:Sharunas Bartas. Lith-Fr-Port. 2005. 119mins.Add to the seven invisible men of this film's title aninvisible plot and invisible characterisation. Sharunas Bartas, the darling ofcinema purists in the 1990s, here self-destructs, offering us a brilliantparody of an art film. Alas, this appears to have been unintentional. Thiscompletely impenetrable exercise will find little commercial traction anywhere,and even most rigorous film festivals will look the othe
  • Spielberg's Mossad thriller to shoot in Malta, Hungary, US

    Steven Spielberg's untitledthriller set in the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre has begunshooting in Malta, with stints to come in Hungary and New York City beforepost-production and delivery in time for a Dec 23 release date in the US.The movie, scripted by TonyKushner, follows the secret Israeli squad assigned to track down andassassinate the 11 Palestinians believed to have planned the massacre of 11Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.Eric Bana stars
  • Surprise restructure for Irish Film Board

    In a surprise move, theIrish Film Board has radically restructured, abolishing two senior positions inadvance of the appointment of a new CEO.It is believed that the Headof Production and Development, Brendan McCarthy, andHead of Marketing, Moira Horgan, have already been told that their contractswill not be renewed in September.Speaking to in advance of anofficial announcement of the restructuring, IF
  • Technical problems...

    Due to technical errors, we were not able to bring you the full Screendaily service this morning. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
  • The Descent

    Dir/scr: Neil Marshall.UK. 2005. 96mins.The Descent, Neil Marshall's follow-up to 2002 hit DogSoldiers, is superior British genre fare: unashamedly gory but handsomelycrafted and inventive too, and with some gallows humour to leaven the moreextreme moments. Marshall's influences are wide-ranging. He has pitched thefilm as 'Deliverance goes underground', but he seems inspired in equalmeasure by The Shining, Carrie and even Alien
  • UK box office dips after disappointing second quarter

    The one ray oflight for the European box office at the end of the first quarter, the UK, has also dimmedsignificantly.Up 13%year-on-year at the close of the first quarter, the UK was the toast of Europe,looking rosy for a potential record year. Now, however,second-quart
  • UK film outfits launch Equalities Charter

    20 of the UK's top film outfits including the UK FilmCouncil, Channel 4, BBC Films, BAFTA, and Vue Cinemas have joined forces tolaunch an Equalities Charter for Film.Billed as the first charter of its kind, it aims to promoteequal opportunities good practice and tackle issues of access, training andrepresentation, both behind the camera and on-screen.The companies came together last night at the RoyalCommonwealth Society to launch the signing of the charter.The charter ai
  • UK film-makers celebrate London Olympic win

    Film-makers Daryl Goodrichand Caroline Rowland of New Moon, an independent London-based commercialsproduction company, are celebrating after playing an important role in helpingsecure the 2012 Olympic Games for London.New Moon was responsible twokey films used by the London campaign: the official star-studded 'MakeBritain Proud - London 2012' film and the film Inspiration, whichwas screened for the first time during the final selection process at the IOCCommittee presenta
  • UK industry comes together to launch Film Academies

    Senior figures from the UKfilm industry, the government and the world of higher education attended aSkillset organised ceremony in London today (July 5) to launch a new network of screenacademies to train film-making talent.The network is made up ofseven existing institutions in England, Scotland and Wales. They include TheScreen Academy at the National Film & Television School, the Screen Academyat Napier University and Edinburgh College of Art and the Film Business Academyat Cass Bus
  • War of the Worlds makes $102.5m international debut

    War of the Worlds blasted into the internationalmarketplace this weekend with an estimated five-day gross of $102.5m from 8,000prints running in 78 countries. It was by far the biggest international opening weekend everfor international rights owner Paramount Pictures and international distributorUIP. And in several major markets the film became the biggest internationalopener ever for both star Tom Cruise and director Steven Spielberg. Compared to the wide international
  • War of the Worlds reaches $113.2m in US

    War of the Worlds captured the top spot on the NorthAmerican box office chart for the July 4 Independence Day holiday weekend withan estimated gross for the four days from Friday to Monday of $77.6m from 3,908theatres, for a powerful per-theatre average of $19,857.Having opened on Wednesday, th
  • War of the Worlds reaches $113.2m in US

    War of the Worlds captured the top spot on the NorthAmerican box office chart for the July 4 Independence Day holiday weekend withan estimated gross for the four days from Friday to Monday of $77.6m from 3,908theatres, for a powerful per-theatre average of $19,857.Having ope
  • War of the Worlds reaches $113.3m in US

    War of the Worlds blasted into the internationalmarketplace this weekend with an estimated five-day gross of $102.5m from 8,000prints running in 78 countries. It was by far the biggest international opening weekend everfor international rights owner Paramount Pictures and international distributorUIP. And in several major markets the film became the biggest internationalopener ever for both star Tom Cruise and director Steven Spielberg. Compared to the
  • Worldwide box office slumps in first six months of 2005

    Theworldwide box office has slumped dramatically in the first six months of theyear, according to latest figures from Nielsen EDI.TheNorth American and international box office was already performing poorlyaccording to first quarter figures. Updated figures for the first six monthsmake those first-quarter figures look positively rosy.Thenegligible 1% first-quarter deficit in North American figures has now become adefinite 10% slump.Key international territories such as Ge
  • Yellow Dog snaps up Munich audience prize

    Afterbeing named Best Director at this year's German Film Promotion Awards (ScreenDaily, July 1 2005), Byambasuren Davaa has now seen her latest feature TheCave Of The Yellow Dog chosen by festival goers at the Munich Film Festivalfor the Bayern 3 Audience Award.AlthoughMunich is not a competitive festival, the nine-day event provided the
  • Zim And Co

    Dir: Pierre Jolivet. Fr. 2005. 90mins.Played for- aughs like the flipside of Mathieu Kassovitz's gritty LaHaine, Zim And Co is a pleasant ultra benign diversion in itsportrayal of the trials and tribulations of a multi-cultural cast of characters- one Arab, one African and one white (who may be Jewish).Screened at Cannes in Un Certain Regard, its comic energyis wildly uneven, but for the most part its charm quotient stays high, thankslargely to the fa