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Screen
8 July 2007

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  • 3 Mills joins Sohonet network

    London-based 3 Mills Studios has installed entertainment-industry Internet platform Sohonet. Sohonet provides high-speed connectivity to a system of users that already includes Pinewood Studios, Warner Bros, Technicolor, HBO, The Mill and Framestore CFC. 'As a leading UK facility, it is essential that our clients be provided with the best possible services to ensure their creative visions are fulfilled,' said Derek Watts, Studio Executive for 3 Mills Studios. 'The Sohonet connecti
  • Alexander McCall Smith adaptation marks Botswana first

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) and Mirage Productions will begin filming on July 9 in Botswana on The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency based on Alexander McCall Smith's bestseller. This marks the first time a major film will be shot entirely in Botswana. The project, which is being made for television and is expected to spawn a television series, is believed to be backed by a $5m investment from the Republic
  • Arab film festivals launch guild to share expertise

    Directors from key Middle Eastern film festivals have agreed to form an Arab Film Festival Guild, aimed at increasing cooperation and sharing expertise in the region, and promoting the Arab film industry internationally.The final plans for the Guild were discussed at a meeting held during Morocco's Rabat Film Festival attended by Dubai International Film Festival chairman Abdul Hamid Juma; Yusuf Dak Elbab, of the Damascus International Film Festival; Cairo director Soheir Abdel Kader
  • Arts Alliance signs content deal with HP's Video Merchant arm

    Arts Alliance Media (AAM) has signed a deal to become the international content provider for HP's new Video Merchant Services business. HP will now offer AAM's film content to distribution partners around the world, including North America. HP Video Merchant Services powers online video web stores and provides content fulfilment for retailers. The service enables retailers to offer electronic downloads and DVDs produced on-demand. A beta version fo the service launched in February
  • AV Pictures strikes UK deal for The Tournament with Entertainment

    AV Pictures has sold UK rights to action thriller The Tournament to Entertainment Film Distributors. The film, starring Robert Carlyle, Ving Rhames and Kelly Hu, is about a fight between the world's greatest assassins. AV likens it to 'a grown-up Battle Royale.' First-time feature director Scott Mann will start shooting in Bulgaria on July 11. Keith Bell, who produced Dog Soldiers, is producing. Sherezade Film Development is financing. AV h
  • Box-office opinion: India can strike the right note

    India's film industry is facing huge challenges, but a global breakout success may not be far away, says Len KladyIt has been a brutal summer. The movies that were supposed to set box-office records have come up short. And the seasonal surprises, while warmly welcomed, are failing to close the gap in lagging ticket sales.Yes, the movie moguls of Mumbai are in a quandary. Just last weekend the high-profile Apne starring veteran Bollywood actor Dharmendra a
  • Brandenburg gives second state guarantee to Mr Nobody

    Jaco van Dormael's latest feature Mr Nobody, based on his own original screenplay, is the second film after Kevin Spacey's Beyond The Sea to be awarded a state guarantee by the Land of Brandenburg. Brandenburg will guarantee up to 80% of the $7.1m (Euros 5:25 m) loan from Commerzbank, which is financing the German co-producer's equity contribution to the film. The project is being structured as a German-French-Belgian co-production between Marco Mehlitz's Berlin/Po
  • Buena Vista partner on fifth outing of Wild Soccer Bunch

    The German outpost of Buena Vista International will also distribute the fifth film of The Wild Soccer Bunch franchise which begins shooting today at locations in Saarland and Munich. With the working title of DWK5 - Die Wilden Kerle: Hinterm Horizont, the SamFilm production by Joachim Masannek sees the cast from the previous four films such as Jimi Blue Ochsenknecht, Nick Romeo Reimann, Raban Bieling, Sarah Kim Gries, and Marlon Wessel reprising their roles with 'ne
  • Catherine Breillat: blood and guts

    When she suffered a cerebral haemorrhage while making her latest film, French director Catherine Breillat convinced her producer she would be all right - as long as she sat down. Nancy Tartaglione-Vialatte reports. She may be loved by international arthouse audiences, but French director Catherine Breillat is not beloved at home.Her films - routinely described as 'challenging' - including Romance, Fat Girl, Sex Is Comedy and Anatomy Of He
  • Cha cha cha: the dream team

    A staggering who's who of Mexican talent is in production on Carlos Cuaron's feature directorial debut Rudo Y Cursi. Chiara Arroyo reports from the first leg of the shoot. Six years after Y Tu Mama Tambien focused international attention on Mexico's film-making scene, many of the same players involved in that film are reunited on Rudo Y Cursi, which is four weeks into its seven-week shoot.The film is directed by Carlos Cuaron, who wrote
  • Chandra and Screwvala line up for MIPCOM's India Day

    TV and digital content market MIPCOM will have a spotlight on India at its next event, to be held October 8-12 in Cannes. India Day is planned for October 8, organised with The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and will examine the growth and potential of the country's film, television and animation sectors. The day will include panels about Indian TV and programming and keynote speeches from Subhash Chandra of The Zee Network and The Essel Group and
  • Children Of Glory selected as new opener for Bangkok fest

    Children Of Glory , directed by Hungary's Krisztina Goda, has been selected as the new opening film of the Bangkok International Film Festival following last week's withdrawal of Persepolis . The Andy Vajna-produced film was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the Soviet regime. In parallel with the revolution is the story of the water polo competition at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne where Hungary defeated the USSR
  • CMG takes international rights to Owl And The Sparrow

    Ed Noeltner's Cinema Management Group (CMG) has snapped up all international rights to Stephane Gauger's Owl And The Sparrow, which won the Los Angeles Film festival's audience award for best narrative feature at the weekend. Shot in more than 30 locations in and around Saigon, Vietnam, Owl And The Sparrow inter
  • Comweb becomes equity partner in Toronto's FILMPORT studio

    Toronto-based Comweb Corporation has joined as an equity partner in a new company that will control Toronto's FILMPORT studio project. The new entity, Filmport Inc, will also own Toronto Film Studios (TFS) and other FILMPORT properties. Principal shareholders will be Comweb, merchant bank The Rose Corporation and a company owned by TFS president Ken Ferguson. In all, the management will invest $30m in the venture. Ferguson will be the president of Filmport Inc. Said Ferguson in a
  • Conversation With My Gardener (Dialogue Avec Mon Jardinier)

    Dir. Jean Becker. France, 2007. 109mins.A pleasant talkathon featuring a successful painter relocating to the country estate of his late parents and the gardener he hires, Conversation With My Gardener is the kind of film that veteran director Jean Becker should be capable of directing with one hand tied behind his back. Inoffensive and unconfrontational, and never trying to scratch under the neat lacquered surface of cheerful double entendres and sunny repartees,
  • Corneau's Second Wind to open Rome Film Fest competition

    Second Wind (Le Deuxieme souffle) directed by Alain Corneau will open the Rome Film Fest's competition section on the Fest's opening day, the Rome Film Festival announced Tuesday. The film is based on a book by the same name by Jose Giovanni. In a statement, the Rome Film Fest called the work a summation to now of the director's work in noir films 'to which he has always been a passionate interpreter and insuperable innovator.' Shot between Paris, Marseille and Le Bo
  • Daniel Craig project to start UK portion of shoot

    Bailie Walsh's Flashbacks of A Fool had been shooting in South Africa since May 28 and will move to the UK on July 4.In addition to the previously announced starring role for Daniel Craig, the Flashbacks Of A Fool cast also includes Helen McCrory, Olivia Williams, Emilia Fox, Mark Strong, James D'Arcy, Claire Forlani, Jodhi May, Alfie Allen, Sid Mitchell, rapper Eve, Harry Eden and newcomer Max Deacon. First-time feature writer/director Bailie Walsh started princip
  • Documentary case study: Air Guitar Nation

    Peter Bowen explains why a debut documentary with a jokey-sounding title was the right fit for a new distributor.The plot of Alex Lipsitz's first documentary feature Air Guitar Nation sounds like a joke. A smattering of hopeful US air guitarists, with names like Bjorn Turoque and C-Diddy, follow their dreams to put America back on the international stage by competing in the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland, as European devotees rise up to oppose the U
  • Documentary case study: Sicko

    Michael Moore's Sicko may be drumming up hype because of its subject matter. But for The Weinstein Company, the director is the real story. Peter Bowen reports. After Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed more than $220m worldwide, it became clear that a Michael Moore film was not your everyday documentary. For his new film Sicko, Moore has commented that this 'may have the widest audience of any film I've ever done, simply because so many people - regardl
  • Editorial opinion: chasing the tale

    Story doesn't get the credit it deserves in most contemporary discussions of cinema. Or, come to it, in the industry's own categories of merit.It wasn't always so: between 1940 and 1956, a best story Oscar ran alongside that for best original screenplay; then, in 1957, it was quietly retired, and the screenplay reigned supreme.After all, scripts involve work, whereas a great story can come in a moment of inspiration, on the beach, at the bar, during coitus: perhaps the Academy f
  • Ekachai Uekrongtham: reel to feel

    To capture the notion of pleasure on film, Thai director Ekachai Uekrongtham has made a film about Singaporean prostitutes. Silvia Wong reports. To some, Singapore's notorious red-light district is a sordid and dark place. To Ekachai Uekrongtham, Geylang is a 'rich emotional maze'.It was here he chose to shoot his second feature, Pleasure Factory, as he was keen to 'explore how pleasure seekers and providers swap places knowingly and unknowingly and how p
  • Eurimages backs new films fromMoodysson, Dardennes

    At its latest meeting July 1-3, the board of the Council of Europe's Eurimages Fund has agreed to back 12 new feature films with a total of $6m(Euros 4.38m). The selections include new films from Lukas Moodysson, The Chorus director Christophe Barratier and from Palme d'Or winners the Dardenne brothers. The films backed are: Eleve libre, directed by Joachim Lafosse (Belgium-France) Europolis, directed by Corneliu Gheorghita (Romania-France)
  • EuropaCorp starts trading on Euronext after $95m IPO

    Luc Besson's EuropaCorp made a strong entry to the Euronext today having raised $95.1m (Euros 70m) in an initial public offering. The French mini-major sold 4.51m shares at $21 (Euros 15.5) each, the company said in a statement. Underwriters have the option until August 3 to sell 451,612 further shares to bring the total raised to $104m (Euros 77m). At a recent press conference, Besson said Europa is looking to double its revenues in the next four years by exploiting the company's
  • Experts at Screenwriters Festival call for new Code Of Practice

    The status of screenwriters in the film industry and issues raised by the Screenwriters Manifesto have been a frequent subject of debate at the International Screenwriters Festival in Cheltenham, UK (July 3-6). After two days catering to emerging talents, Oscar-winning writer William Nicholson (Gladiator, forthcoming The Golden Age) opened the main festival Thursday by renewing his call for writers who want more of a voice in film productons to become producers. He a
  • Festival watch: Bangkok International Film Festival

    The Thai government's support for the local industry is focused on the annual international festival (July 19-29). Silvia Wong reportsBacked by a dynamic TV commercial and post-production sector that services the international industry, Thailand has developed a vibrant film business that produces nearly 40 films a year. Most are made for local audiences, capturing a healthy 36% market share.Thai films are mostly self-financed, except for a handful of internation
  • FFC to determine which films are classed as Australian

    The points-based cultural test that was being developed by Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC) has been scrapped, and the local industry has reverted back to the less prescriptive method that has been in place for more than 20 years. The FFC had based its proposed new method of determining which films are Australian on the UK Film Council's cultural test - and had thought it would give producers more certainty. Instead it caused concerns because it was perceived as being too prescri
  • France's CNC creates fund to back experimental new media projects

    France 's film center the CNC has announced the creation of a new fund designed to aid in the development of experimental projects for new media. Submissions are currently being solicited from French and European Union nationals and residents and/or French production companies. The projects must be destined for at least three new media platforms including mobile phones, Internet, video games (console, computer, on-line games), cinema, television and must be in the French language.
  • German Fund exceeds cap again for Bryan Singer's Valkyrie

    The United Artists' production of Bryan Singer's WWII drama Valkyrie - which begins shooting in Berlin and Babelsberg from July 18 - is the second international film after Speed Racer to be granted support from the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) greater thaan the cap of $5.4m (Euros 4m). The co-production with Studio Babelsberg will receive $6.5m (Euros 4.8m) - Speed Racer was allocated $12m (Euros 9m) - by an advisory committee which convenes when applications are
  • German sales company Cine-International to close its doors

    Munich-based world sales company Cine-International Filmvertrieb has announced that it will be shutting down operations as of tomorrow (Wednesday). Rumours had been circulating within the film industry in Germany that the company was having problems, and speculation was fuelled further when Cine-International did not attend the MIP-TV in April or the Cannes Film Market in May this year. In a letter to 'film buyers, colleagues and friends', Cine-International's head of
  • Industry moves

    Woods to leave ausfilmAusfilm chief executive Mark Woods will leave the government partnership when his two-year contract expires in August. Woods, who was previously chief executive of the Irish Film Board, said he has achieved the two-year plan he had in mind when he took the top job at Ausfilm.Overture boosts senior management teamJustin Alvarado-Brown has joined Overture Films as senior vice-president of business and legal affairs. Alvarado-Brown most recently served
  • International box office: mixed signals in Argentina

    Increased ticket prices have helped raise total box-office revenues in Argentina but admissions have been falling. Diego Batlle reports. Admissions figures in Argentina dropped by an estimated 7% for the first half of 2007. The period saw 18.2 million admissions as opposed to 19.5 million in 2006.However, total box office was up 15.5% from the same period last year because of the rise in the average ticket price from $2.65 to $3.25.Hollywood blockbusters
  • Irish producers get additional revenue share in new recoupment deal

    The Irish Film Board (IFB) has announced a new arrangement for loan recoupment which will enable producers financed by the IFB to share in revenues from their film or television projects, while the IFB itself is recouping its investment. According to the IFB, 'Irish production companies will now share in the IFB's own revenues, so that part of what would normally flow to the IFB towards its own recoupment, flows to the producer instead.' As of July 1 the producer of a film or tele
  • Jar City (Myrin)

    Dir. Baltasar Kormakur. Ice-Ger. 2007. 93mins.It starts with the death of a little girl and it ends in a cemetery. In between these grim bookends, Jar City, Baltasar Kormakur's remarkable new whodunit, forges pitilessly ahead, through a maze of facts systematically unearthed one after the other, to reveal not only the culprit of a seemingly pointless crime, but also the suffocating pressure of an in-breeding nation suffering from genetic complications.
  • Jean-Jacques Bernard takes over as president of Critics Syndicate

    France's Critics Syndicate, which notably runs the Critics Week sidebar at the Cannes Film Festival, has elected Jean-Jacques Bernard to the post of president. Bernard replaces Gerard Lenne who held the post for six years Bernard is a journalist and critic who has worked for TV network France 2, Premiere magazine, France-Inter radio and Canal Plus. Today he is the editor in chief of CineCinema Classic's Boulevard du Classic . Two new members were also added to the Sy
  • Kadokawa starts streaming features on mobile phones

    Kadokawa Group Holdings (Kadokawa GHD) has begun streaming feature films, TV dramas and animation titles from its library through mobile giant NTT DoCoMo's i-mode cell phone internet connection service. Short films, music videos and animation clips have been popular mainstays in recent years, but Kadokawa's service marks the first time a Japanese studio has offered feature films over cellular networks. Dubbed i-Movie Gate, subscribers pay $4.30 (Y525) or $8.60 (Y1050) per month
  • KOFIC unveils participants for Development Lab

    The Korean Film Council has announced the list of fellows and mentors for the second KOFIC Filmmakers Development Lab, along with a new $40,000 award. Aimed at emerging filmmakers worldwide of Korean descent, the Lab selects five candidates, who have submitted scripts, to be fellows. They are then paired off with mentors from the industry in Korea and the US for a week-long workshop in Hawaii. The fellows and their projects are then presented at the Independent Feature Film Market
  • Korean films lose market share in first half of 2007

    Leading South Korean exhibitor CJ CGV has released statistics for the first half of the year, which place the market share of local films at 47.3%, the lowest since 2001 and down from 59.5% for the same period last year. Local film market share in Seoul - traditionally lower than nationwide - was also at a low of 41.2%. Cinemas saw 72 million admissions, 10.8% down from the same period last year, but nevertheless higher than in other recent years. Last year's first-half spi
  • Korea's Megabox opens its first cinema in Beijing

    Major South Korean exhibitor Megabox Mediaplex opened its first multiplex in Beijing yesterday (July 4). Billed as a '5-star modern multiplex cinema', the Beijing Megabox is the first internationally co-owned theatre in the capital. With eight screens and 1,700 seats, the cinema boasts a VIP and membership system, and internet and phone reservation services, which differentiate it from its competitors. The Megabox is situated in an entertainment and shopping mall complex in
  • Kormakur's Jar City take top honors at Karlovy Vary

    Baltasar Kormakur's Icelandic thriller Jar City (pictured above) won the Grand Prix of the 42nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic on July 8.Kormakur and producer Lilja Palmadottir will share the $20,000 cash prize. The film also received the FICC Don Quijote Award. Trust Film Sales is handling international sales of the Icelandic-German co-production. Norwegian director Bard Breien was named Best Directo
  • LAFF honours for Gauger and Whiteley

    Stephane Gauger's Owl And The Sparrow won the Los Angeles Film Festival's Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and Greg Whiteley's Resolved took corresponding documentary honours at the weekend. Stephen Walker's Young @ Heart won the Audience Award for Best International Feature, and The Audience Award for Best Short Film went to Dee
  • Lemhagen's gay adoption story among Swedish-backed projects

    Swedish director Ella Lemhagen, who had her international break with the award-winning Tsatsiki, Mum and the Policeman (1999), is readying her new project, Patrik 1,5, with $1m (Euros 800,000) production support from the Swedish Film Institute.Scripted by Lemhagen from Swedish dramatist Michael Druker's play, Patrik 1,5 is the story of a gay couple adopting a child. The boy is not one-and-a-half-years old as promised, but 15 - and homophobic, with a criminal past.
  • Licence To Wed

    Dir: Ken Kwapis. US. 2007. 90mins.Two up-and-coming stars get left at the cinematic altar in License To Wed, a badly strained romantic comedy with enough plot contrivances to fill a reception hall. In a supporting role, Robin Williams delivers a (relatively) toned-down performance, but this bit of summer counter-programming lacks the necessary creative spark to break out of a crowded marketplace. The Warner Bros. release opens July 3 domestically, c
  • Lola Doillon: coming of age

    The latest member of the Doillon dynasty to join the family business tells Nancy Tartaglione-Vialatte what she loves about film-making. Lola Doillon grew up on film sets. Her father, Jacques Doillon, is the award-winning director of Le Petit Criminel and Le Jeune Werther and her sister is the actress Lou Doillon, whose credits include Abel Ferrara's Go Go Tales. Lola herself has worked in nearly every technical post a film shoot can offer, from second
  • Margaret Hodge takes UK film minister post under James Purnell

    Following last week's news that James Purnell has taken over as the UK 's Secretary for Culture, Media & Sport, Margaret Hodge has now been named Minister Of State at the DCMS, handling film activities. Purnell replaces Tessa Jowell as head of DCMS (she now is Olympics Secretary), and Hodge replaces Shaun Woodward as film minister. Woodward has now been tapped for Northern Ireland Secretary. Purnell will have overall responsibility for all departmental policy, spending reviews, an
  • MARV Films: the magic touch

    Matthew Vaughn and Kris Thykier of MARV Films are moving into the big league with Stardust and a new Sony deal. Wendy Mitchell reports. Anyone bemoaning the decline of the UK film industry should open their eyes to the banner year at Matthew Vaughn's Marv Films. Marv has made the $90m fantasy epic Stardust with Paramount and has just signed a three-year first-look deal with Sony through its International Motion Picture Production initiative.'We w
  • Metrodome plans August theatrical run for Wild Style

    Metrodome is planning the first UK theatrical release of hip-hop classic Wild Style. The 1982 film by Charlie Ahearn will hit cinemas on August 10. The film is a slice-of-life from the South Bronx , starring the likes of Grand Master Flash , Grand Wizard Theodore, D.St,, Grand Master Caz, Fab Five Freddy, The Cold Crush Bros, The Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Double Trouble, Fantastic Freaks and Rammellzee, breakdancers The Rock Steady Crew and graffiti artists Lee Quinones, Don
  • Michael Wailes to join UK's Vertigo as head of sales

    Vertigo Films has hired Michael Wailes in its new head of sales post. He will start the new position at the end of August.Wailes has worked in theatrical sales for more than 10 years, most recently at Tartan Films. Vertigo's Rupert Preston said: ''We are thrilled that Michael is joining our distribution team, bringing with him his experience, knowledge and expertise in the theatrical distribution field, we feel that he will become an integral and valuable member of the co
  • Nicholson launches competition at Cheltenham screenwriting festival

    At the International Screenwriters Festival in Cheltenham, Oscar-nominated screenwriter William Nicholson today announced the call for entries for the new Screenwriter Development Competition from regional screen agency South West Screen. ‘I think the competition is a fantastic opportunity and I’m very much looking forward to reading the shortlisted entries and to working with the eventual winner,’ Nicholson said at the festival, which runs through tomorrow. ‘It’s so important that new
  • Oliver Stone's Iranian biopic gets blocked by government

    The 'not making of' Oliver Stone's latest film would make a good script in itself. In 2006, the US director approached Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's people, hoping to make a film about the Iranian president's rise to power. Unsurprisingly, he was turned down - albeit a year later, via the media, and in typically coded governmental speak. 'I sent a negative answer by Ahmadinejad to Oliver Stone,' the local Fars agency quoted Mehdi Kalhor, media adviser to the president, as saying. 'It is r
  • Oscar changes the eligibility rules for documentaries - again

    Will the new Academy Awards requirements benefit films with greater resources' Peter Bowen reportsAfter altering the rules in 2005, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Ampas) is again changing the rules dictating the eligibility of documentary features.In short, a doc must have a seven-day qualifying exhibition in either New York or Los Angeles that must be completed by August 31, must roll out in 14 markets in at least 10 states, and cannot have a
  • Participant doc to capture Live Earth spirit

    Participant Productions will present a feature documentary directed by Brian Hill to be inspired by the Live Earth concerts. The film will aim to capture the spirit of the concerts, a series of eight events set to take place around the world on July 8 put together by Live 8 executive producer Kevin Wall, Al Gore, and the Alliance for Climate Protection. The film will also document stories of individuals around the world who are striving to combat the e
  • Reality check

    As the theatrical documentary boom slows, distributors are looking for more innovative release strategies. Ahead of the UK's BRITDOC festival (July 25-27), Peter Bowen explores the future for feature documentaries. After a few years of strongly performing feature documentaries, a recent slowdown in the number of breakouts has left many wondering about the genre's future in the theatrical marketplace.'The highest number of successful documentarie
  • Remakes: Thai take two

    Remake rights for Thai genre movies are increasingly in demand from film-makers in Asia and the US. Silvia Wong reports. Initial Entertainment Group's take on Danny and Oxide Pang's 1999 action thriller Bangkok Dangerous stars Nicolas Cage and is directed by the Pang brothers themselves.It is the first high-budget English-language remake of a Thai film to make it into production. Other remakes in the works include the psychological thriller 13, optioned by The Wein
  • Rio favelas to host new Cine Cufa festival in September

    Organisers are planning a new festival in Rio, Cine Cufa, which will run September 4-16. Non-profit group Central Unica das Favelas is planning the festival, based in the City Of God favela where Fernando Meirelles film of the same name was set. The festival is set up 'with the purpose of expanding notions of cinema and who it is for' and to showcase features and documentries 'produced and directed by film-makers from the other side of the fence, coming out of the margins of socia
  • Robert Thalheim: Auschwitz story

    A young German director draws on his memories of Auschwitz for a contemporary film about life in the shadow of evil. Martin Blaney reports. It was Alain Resnais' 1959 film Hiroshima Mon Amour that provided the inspiration for Robert Thalheim's And Along Come Tourists.Resnais' juxtaposition of the catastrophic impact of the atomic bomb with personal tragedy encouraged the German director to consider a film drawn from his own experiences in the t
  • Rupert Friend to star opposite Blunt in The Young Victoria

    Rupert Friend has been cast as Prince Albert to Emily Blunt's Queen Victoria in the forthcoming feature The Young Victoria. Jean Marc Vallee will direct from a script by Julian Fellowes. Graham King and Martin Scorsese are producing. Denis O'Sullivan will oversee the project for King's GK Films. The Young Victoria will start shooting on location in the UK in August.Friend recently appeared in The Libertine and Pride and Prejudice, and is current
  • Sakkalli takes new Asian sales post at producer Power

    European film and TV producer and distributor Power has named George Sakkalli to the new post of vice president, Asian sales and distribution. Sakkalli had been at Granada International where he was vice president of sales, Asia. Prior to that he worked for NBC Entertainment. Chris Philip, Power's worldwide sales president, said: 'George's experience within Asia adds significantly to our international sales presence as we move into a new phase of growth and development. His in-dep
  • Shrek keeps action duo at bay

    Shrek The Third continues to hold the top spot despite the release of two highly anticipated action films - Transformers and Die Hard 4.0.The green ogre was up 5% - largely led by an impressive $33.5m opening in the UK - and generated $60.9m over the three-day period. Transformers opened in 10 territories this weekend, giving the robots a $36.2m take, while John McClane was back with a vengeance in Die Hard 4.0, which grossed $30.9m from 35
  • Simple Things (Prostyje Vesci)

    Dir. Alexey Popogrebsky. Russ, 2007. 108mins.Flying solo for the first time after the resounding success of his debut Koktebel (directed with Boris Khlebnikov), Alexey Popogrebsky has opted for an intimate, closely observed story with Simple Things which, just as its title indicates, refrains from more ambitious metaphors and prefers to stay on a purely realistic level. Tackling simple everyday issues with great care for detail and an intelligent cast that n
  • Spider-Man 3 drives Sony to cross overseas $1bn in record time

    The apocalyptic robots of Transformers just about did enough to keep Bruce Willis at bay as Paramount/DreamWorks' Transformers ruled the overseas market at the weekend. The action epic grossed an estimated $43.6m from 3,503 venues in 29 territories following last weekend's robust take-off and now stands at $93.6m. Meanwhile Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPR
  • Spike Lee's Italian project St. Anna to boast $45m budget

    Director Spike Lee and the Italian On My Own Production have announced new details on Lee's new Tuscany-set film project.The film will have a $45m budget, is to be produced 50% by On My Own - the new independent production company launched by ex-Mikado founders and owners Roberto Cicutto and Luigi Mussini - and 50% by Spike Lee, Luigi Mussini specified. The project is based on James McBride's novel Miracle at St. Anna, which is inspired by the true story of African Americ
  • Thai talent watch: the new vanguard

    Silvia Wong highlights the names to watch out for from the Thai film sectorAnanda Everingham, actorAfter debuting in Shutter, the Bangkok-based actor has become one of the most familiar faces in Thai cinema. His films this year
  • Thailand: on the market

    Hong Kong action titles and J-horror films have helped whet the global appetite for Thai thrillers and chillers. Silvia Wong reports. He stands just 5'6' tall but Tony Jaa is a giant of Thai cinema. As Thailand's own Jackie Chan, the gymnastic dynamo has helped to kickbox Thai action films onto global multiplex screens.Two of Jaa's films, Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong, both directed by Prachya Pinkaew, were released in the US in 2005 by Magnolia Pictur
  • Thailand: projects in the pipeline

    Thai productions coming to the screen soon, compiled by Silvia Wong. Click on link to be taken to related websiteFirst Flight (completed)Dir: Thanit JitnukulSet during the First World War, a young Thai peasant aspires to become a pilot in the country's first flying division.Contact: Golden Network, (852) 2751 1886www.goldnetasia.com
  • The Art Of Negative Thinking (Kunsten A Tenke Negativt)

    Dir. Bard Breien. Nor. 2007. 79mins.The script Bard Breien wrote for The Art of Negative Thinking, blackly comic debut, may have been intended for the screen, but it could work as well, if not even better, on the stage. Dealing with the type of material that Scandinavian cinema seems unusually comfortable with, it displays for a while a refreshingly unceremonious approach to the plights of the physically impaired, but settles down midway into a conv
  • The Champagne Spy (Meragel Hashampaniya)

    Dir. Nadav Schirman. Is. 2007. 90mins.If the first requisite for a good documentary is a darn good yarn, then Nadav Schirman couldn't have asked for anything better than with The Champagne Spy, a tale of intrigue, espionage, love, betrayal, glamour and misery based on a true story that is begging to be told. That no one has told it before may well be because many of the people involved are still sworn to secrecy; even in its present form, plenty of the details are
  • Toby Melling to head Content's new library sales division

    Toby Melling has joined ContentFilm International as head of film library sales, the company's newly launched division which has a library of 100+ feature films. Melling had been vice president sales at Granada International and previously worked at BBC Worldwide, Capitol Films and Pandora in Paris. He will also run seek to add new titles and libraries to the division. President of CFI Jamie Carmichael said: 'We have a growing slate of high quality features, and we're looki
  • Tom Collins: immigrant song

    Northern Irish film-maker Tom Collins comes home to his favourite festival in Galway with his debut feature, Kings. Wendy Mitchell reports. The 2007 Galway Film Fleadh will be a homecoming for Tom Collins (above left), who will be screening his debut theatrical feature Kings at the event on July 13.The drama's funding came together in Galway in 2004 and 2005 with Northern Ireland Screen, the Irish Film Board, TG4, The Broadcasting Commission of
  • Tornatore's The Unknown wins best director in Moscow

    The ten-day 29th Moscow International Film Festival ended on Saturday, with Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore winning the festival's Best Director award for his film The Unknown (La Sconosciuta). The film stars Russian actress Ksenia Rappoport as a young Ukrainian woman in today's Italy working as domestic help and trying to escape her dark past as a sex slave. Tornatore's next film will have even more of a connection to the former Soviet Union - he is planning a historical epic
  • Toronto adds debuts from David Auburn and Helen Hunt

    Two high-profile directorial debuts are among five films added to the Toronto International Film Festival's September Special Presentations line-up. Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn (Proof, The Lake House) has directed his own screenplay with The Girl In The Park. The film features Sigourney Weaver as long-suffering mother who encounters a troubled teenager and suspects the youngster may be her daughter who disappeared as an infant 15 years earlier. Q
  • Transformers breaks US July 4 box-office record with $29m

    Robots have taken over the domestic box office this Independence Day as DreamWorks and Paramount 's Transformers raked in $29.08m on the US national holiday, the biggest July 4 gross to date. The film's performance beats Spider-man 2 at $21.9m in 2004. Transformers - which has a 6.5 day opening in the US - has already generated $65.75m across 4,011 screens in its first 2.5 days of release in the US, including Monday night takings of $8.8m across over 3,000 screens. I
  • Transformers expands to 18 new territories; set to cross $100m

    Paramount/PPI's Transformers has already amassed $53.5m since opening last weekend and stands a good chance of crossing $100m over the next several days in international markets. The effects-heavy tale of warring robots touches down in 18 new territories this weekend including Russia, Spain and Sweden on July 4. PPI stablemate and the current international box office champion Shrek The Third will soar past $300m this weekend and stands at $284.6m. Fox Inte
  • Transformers set to deliver best US first week for non-sequel

    Paramount/DreamWorks' sci-fi action blockbuster Transformersobliterated the competition over the weekend, opening on an estimated$67.6m over three days that rose to $152.5m including previews overthe six-day July 4 holiday week.If estimates hold up this will be the biggest first week result for anon-sequel, overtaking Spider-Man's $151.6m mark set in May 2002.Michael
  • UK Film Council, BBC Two plan digital release of British classics

    The UK Film Council and the BBC Two are working together for the theatrical release of new digital presentations of seven British film classics. The Summer Of British Film season runs from late July to September 11. New digitap prints of the restored films will go out through the Digital Screen Network to 136 UK cinemas, in association with distributors Optimum Releasing and Park Circus. The films on release are Guy Hamilton's 1964 Goldfinger, David Lean's 1945 Brief
  • UK report highlights white male domination of screenwriting

    Screenwriting remains a predominantly white male pursuit, suggests a UK report.Writing British Films - Who Writes British Films', commissioned by the UK Film Council and conducted by Royal Holloway, University of London, talked to 63 screenwriters credited on a sample of 40 British films in 2004.Among its findings were:98% of the writers were white82.5% were men 66% were aged over 46 and most earned
  • Upcoming feature documentaries

    From star-led projects to nature documentaries, Peter Bowen profiles a selection of upcoming feature docs.SickoMichael Moore's assault on the US healthcare system opened on June 22 in the US, and starts an international r
  • UTV Motion Pictures valued at $321m as AIM trading starts

    Indian film studio UTV Motion Pictures has started trading today on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The company has raised about $70m (£35m) to fund a new slate of about 30 films, both Bollywood offerings and projects made with Hollywood.Shares rose from a placement guide of $2.90 to $3.07, putting a value on the business of about $321m. The slate includes M Night Shyamalan's The Happening, with Fox and Shyamalan's Blinding Edge Pictures. UTV also has a deal
  • Valerio Zingarelli joins Babelgum as new CEO

    New Internet TV platform Babelgum has appointed Valerio Zingarelli as its new CEO. Zingarelli succeeds Babelgum co-founder Erik Lumer, who will now focus on strategic product development. Zingarelli previously worked at Vodafone, where he was global director of networks and service platforms, and he also served as an independent board member of Fastweb. As its content platform grows, Babelgum says that it plans to grow to about 100 employees by the end of 2007. The c
  • Venice to close with Alexi Tan's debut Blood Brothers

    Blood Brothers, the first feature by director Alexi Tan which is produced by John Woo and Terence Chang, will close the Venice Film Festival's 64th edition, out of competition, the Biennale said today. Fortissimo is handling international sales on the project, and already sold a number of territories during the Cannes Market.The selection of Tan's film points to artistic director Marco Mueller's personal signature on the festival line-up this year. The event
  • World Cinema Fund gives largest award to Guerra's Wind Journeys

    Five projects from Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have been selected by the World Cinema Fund (WCF) from a total of 81 submissions from 28 countries for funding of $313,387 (Euros 230,000).The largest single amount of funding - $81,753 (Euros 60,000) - went to Colombian director Ciro Guerra's The Wind Journeys, to be produced by Bogota-based Ciudad Lunar Produciones with Germany's Razor Films, which previously worked on
  • Worldwide digital 3D screens treble

    Hollywood's increasing investment in exclusive 3D movies is driving the surge in custom-made screens, writes Diana Lodderhose. The number of digital 3D cinema screens has nearly trebled during the first six months of 2007, suggesting exhibitors are stepping up to meet Hollywood studios' increasing investment in exclusive 3D movies.According to a Screen Digest report, The Business Case For Digital Cinema Exhibition, there were 258 digital 3D screens worldw
  • Yereven to host 12 projects at first regional co-production forum

    Nine features and three documentary projects from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Serbia, Russia and Turkey are to be pitched to potential co-producers and financiers at the Directors Across Borders' (DAB) first Regional Co-Production Forum (July 10-12) during next week's Golden Apricot International Film Festival in Yerevan. The low-budget projects include the coming of age tale Susa by Georgian director Giorgi Chalauri, who participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus this year, Ar

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