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9 August 2006

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  • Albert drops out of Locarno jury over Fraeulein involvement

    Austrian filmmaker-producerBarbara Albert has stepped down from Locarno FilmFestival's International Jury "to prevent any discussion about theindependence of the jury" after a local newspaper suspected a cover-up bythe festival about Albert's involvement in the screenplay for Andrea Staka's Das Fraeulein, the only Swiss film in this year's OfficialCompetition.In an official statement,the festival said that "when the film was submitted to the festival as aworking print, th
  • Amazon offers movie download service in US

    Online retailer Amazon has launched a download-to-own service in the US. Amazon Unbox is to offer films, TV and other video entertainment from more than 30 studios and networks.Paramount, Fox, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros., Lionsgate and MGM have signed up.Disney, whose chief shareholder is Apple CEO Steve Jobs, is not among the group. Apple is expected to announce its own iTunes based download-to-own service next week.Related stories online
  • Balcony to release Tony Kushner documentary in North America

    Balcony Releasing has picked up North American rights to FreidaLee Mock's documentary Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner.
  • Bon Cop Bad Cop makes Alliance Atlantis' day

    Quebecois action comedy Bon CopBad Cop became the first Quebec-made filmto break into the North American box office Top 20, all of it garnered withinthe province's exhibition circuits in Eastern Canada. Released by Alliance AtlantisVivafilm in the Quebec province August 4, the film pulled in over $1.27m(C$1.43m), the largest ever first weekend gross for a Quebecois movie. It's aphenomenal figure given that C$1m is considered a bench mark for a hit filmacross the length of its Qu
  • Brian De Palma to talk at Edinburgh

    The Edinburgh InternationalFilm Festival has added another A-lister to itsscheduled attendees. Brian De Palma will participate in one of the festival'sReel Life Q&A interviews to talk about the legacy of the New AmericanCinema.EIFF is presenting aretrospective devoted to "other voices" of the new American cinema of the1970s.Other Reel Life intervieweesat the 60th EIFF (Aug 14-27) include Steven Soderbergh,Charlize Theron, SigourneyWeaver, Arthur Penn, Iain Sm
  • British Film Institute launches download service for archive

    The British Film Institute (BFI) has launched a download-to-own service.BFI Online now includes paid-for access to features and shorts taken from the national archives that include 230,000 fiction and non-fiction films and 675,000 television programmes.The money is reinvested in the insititute's work."The BFI's archives have been revolutionised so that, for the first time, anyone with a broadband connection can download films from the collection," said UK Fil
  • Carla's List has buying buzz ahead of Locarno premiere

    Swissdirector Marcel Schuepbach's documentary Carla's List about the work of Carla Del Ponte, the prosecutor ofthe International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), wascreating a buzz among international buyers ahead of its world premiere at theweekend in Locarn
  • Chest set to be filled with Spanish gold

    Buena Vista International (BVI) will looking to plunder anotherbig weekend as Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest sets course for $500m.
  • Craft winners announced for 2006 Hollywood Film Awards

    Organisers at the 10th Annual Hollywood Film Festival haveannounced the line-up of crafts winners set to receive awards at the Hollywood AwardsGala on Oct 23.
  • Das Fraulein

    Dir: Andrea Staka. Sw-Ger-Bos-Cro-Serb. 2006. 81mins.Cross-cultural relationships and the immigrantexperience are given a new twist in Das Fraulein, AndreaStaka's debut feature, which examines three womenfrom the former Yugoslavia and how they deal with their past, their present andtheir future.Working from a script shewrote with Austrians Marie Kreuzer andwriter/director Barbara Albert (who resigned from the Locarn
  • Dimension feasts on 3rd Project Greenlight film

    Dimension Films will release the third Project Greenlight feature Feast in theatres on Sept 22 following theworld premiere at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas on Sept 12.
  • Distant Horizon's Prey gobbled up by TWC

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) has picked up North American rightsfrom Distant Horizon to Darrell James Roodt's safari thriller Prey.
  • Dubai opens submissions for new Arab competition

    The Dubai International Film Festival hasopened submissions for its new Arab Film Competition, which is open tofeatures, shorts and documentaries. Eligible films must be made by a director ofArab nationality or origin and have a subject or storyline of centered on theArab world, Arab history or Arab culture."The Competition serves to provide Arabfilmmakers an opportunity to receive recognition for outstanding work, andencourage production of films that spread
  • European partners start new initiative for minority film-makers

    The Locarno Film Festival has joined France's CNC, theUK's British Council, bfm International Film Festival, Screen East andGermany's Goethe Institut among the initial partners for a new European film developmentinitiative, Babylon. Fiona Howe and Gareth Jones of the UK production houseScenario Films and Thierry Lenouvel of France's Cine-Sud Promotion unveiled theinitative in Locarno this weekend.
  • Fernandes gets promotion and vp stripes at Warner Bros India

    Blaise Fernandes has been promoted to the newly created positionof vice president and managing director of Warner Bros Pictures India PrivateLimited.
  • FilmFour backs Irish comedy Garage

    FilmFour is on board for Irish film-makers LennyAbrahamson and Mark O'Halloran's follow-up to theiraward-winning comedy Adam & Paul.O'Halloran wrote and Abrahmsonwill direct Garage, about asmall-town misfit. The new film will star Pat Shorttand Anne Marie Duff. The project willshoot for six weeks starting Aug 14 in Ireland. The filmmakerswill again work with Dublin-based Elem
  • Focus, AOL partner up for The Ground Truth

    Focus Features hasentered into a strategic online marketing partnership with AOL for PatriciaFoulkrod's Iraq War documentary The Ground Truth.As part of the initiative AOL willcreate a customised profile of the film on its new AIM social networking service.Featured soldiers in the documentary will write blogs and war testimonies, andusers will get access to ex
  • Frederic Maire already looking forward to 60th Locarno

    With his firstedition as artistic director coming to a close on Saturday (Aug 12), Locarno's Frederic Maire isalready looking ahead to the festival's 60th anniversary in 2007.Speakingexclusively to, Maire revealed thatthe festival will be organizing a tour of 30 important competition films frompast years by such directors as Spike Lee, Claude Chabroland Marco Bellochio in cinemas throughout the regionof Ticino from September 2006 to June 2007. Thisinitiative will be fla
  • Gaumont to start Bensalah's Big City

    French major Gaumont has announced the start of shooting on Djamel Bensalah's Big City,a western starring a cast of children ages 8 to 14.Principal photography willcommence on Aug 14 in Alberta, Canada before movingto Bulgaria
  • Giamatti eyes lead role in Philip K Dick biopic

    Paul Giamatti is lining up a possible lead role as Philip K Dick in a biopic of the influential sci-fi writer whose novels havespawned such adaptations as Blade Runner, Total Recall, and thecurrent release A Scanner Darkly.Giamatti will produce through his newly formed Touchy Feely Films incollaboration with Anonymous Content's Steve Golin and Lenny Bekerman.The film
  • Greek Film Centre sparks controversy with Haifa withdrawal

    In a move that has surprisedmany, the state-funded Greek Film Centre, which gives Greek film-makers fundsavailable for development, co-production and promotion, has decided to withdrawthe Greek films from the upcoming Haifa International Film Festival (Oct 7-14)in Israel.The films already invited byHaifa's artistic director Pnina Blayer were the Pandelis Voulgaris' The Brides,a local box office hit - and Yannis Economides' Soul Kick
  • Icon launches home entertainment division

    UK distributor Icon has created a home entertainment division, which willbe headed by Ian Dawson. Dawsonhad been HMV's head of DVD & related products and he will start at Icon inOctober 2006, reporting to Icon CEO Martin Bigham. "This last year has seen thebuild up of a fantastic slate of new titles for theatrical release and
  • IFTA top brass renew contracts until 2009

    Jean Prewitt will continueas president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles-based IndependentFilm and Television Alliance (IFTA) and Jonathan Wolf will continue asexecutive vice president of IFTA and managing director of the AFM.Both executives have signed new three-year contracts that will run through 2009following a unanimous decision by the IFTA board.Prewitt was appointed i
  • Im Kwon-taek recruited for Asian Film Academy

    The Asian FilmAcademy (AFA) has announced master Korean cineaste ImKwon-taek as this year's dean for the TalentCampus-style intensive program for young filmmakers from Asia. In its secondyear, AFA is co-hosted by the Pusan InternationalFilm Festival, the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), and Dongseo
  • IMAX to instal two cinemas in Ukraine

    IMAX Corp andKiev-based production company Kinokompaniya 'Triumph' have announced plans tobuild two IMAX cinemas in Ukraine.The first complex is set to open in Kiev in early 2007 and the second to followin an unconfirmed major city in early 2008. The two cinemas will bring to ninethe number of IMAX facilities operating in the Commonwealth of IndependentStates."We are
  • Japanese box office poised to beat 2005 numbers

    When the list of the top tenreleases for the first half of 2006 was widely reported in the Japanese medialast month, it was clear that the trend toward homegrown hits was alive andwell, with seven of the slots occupied by Japanese films.A barrage of local andHollywood summer movies has altered the box-office landscape somewhat, with thelist now evenly split between overseas and domestic fare, with world dominator The Da Vinci Codeat the top. The combined top ten releases have ac
  • Kazakh epic Nomad racks up sales in Locarno

    It may have had threedifferent directors and an immensely complex birth, but bloodcurdling Kazakhepic Nomad has caught buyers' hearts.The $35m epic, which received its international premiere in Locarno's Piazza Grande at the weekend, has been bought in anumber of international territories. In France, Nomadwill be co-distributed by Rezo and Wild B
  • Korean court clears banned footage from President's Last Bang

    Seoul CentralDistrict Court dismissed the defamation suit against ImSang-soo's ThePresident's Last Bang to be screened in its full version yesterday (Aug 10).Selected forCannes Director's Fortnight in 2005, ThePresident's Last Bang dramatises the events thatsurrounded authoritarian president Park Chung-hee'sassassination on the night of Oct. 26, 1979.The defamation suitwas brought by Park Ji-man, son of late
  • La Consultation lands French and Swiss deals at Locarno

    Helen de Crecy'sfirst feature-length documentary LaConsultation on the world of private medicine has been sold to Xenix Filmdistribution for Switzerland and to Ad Vitam for France.The dealsfor the film, which is showing in Locarno's Filmmakers of the Present section, was negotiated byCaroli
  • Locarno gives Golden Leopard to Das Fraeulein

    AndreaStaka's fiction feature debut Das Fraeulein has become the first Swiss film to win Locarno'sGolden Leopard in more than 20 years, since the top honour went to Fredi M.Murer's Hoehenfeuer in 1985.
  • Locarno pays tribute to late Daniel Schmid

    TheSwiss filmmaking community is in mourning after the news at the weekend of thedeath of one of its internationally best-known filmmakers Daniel Schmid at theage of 64 from cancer.
  • London's 50th festival to open with Last King Of Scotland

    The Times BFI London FilmFestival will open its 50th edition on Oct 18 with the Europeanpremiere of Kevin Macdonald's The LastKing Of Scotland.Based onthe award-winning novel by Giles Foden adapted byPeter Morgan and Jeremy Brock, the film stars Forest Whitaker as UgandanPresident Idi Amin and JamesMcAvoy as a Scottish doctor who encounters thedictator. FilmFo
  • Mandate's buys supernatural thriller script 27 Times

    Mandate Pictures has bought the screenplay to Thomas Thonson'ssupernatural thriller 27 Times.
  • Marcus Alexander joins CFX digital intermediates division

    Marcus Alexander has been named senior digital intermediate producerfor UKpost-production house Capital FX. He had been working at FramestoreCFC and will take the new post as of mid-September.Alexander will be working closely with CFX'sAdam Inglis, who also joined from Framestore.Alexander previously worked on films including The Queen, The LastKing of
  • Metrodome launches children's DVD label

    UK-based distributor Metrodome's home entertainment division has launched a new labelfor children's entertainment. The budget label MiniMetro will focus on distributing children's films andTV programmes to UK retailers. The label launches inSeptember, following on a separate launch of another home entertainment label,In2Film. That division will seek to exploit library titles when Metrodome regain
  • Mikado takes Italian rights for Hottest State and Retribution

    Arthouse distributor Mikado Film has taken Italiandistribution rights to Venice titles The Hottest State and Retribution (Sakebi).Directedby Ethan Hawke, The Hottest State,which is screening in the Horizons competition, is about a young actor from Texas who tries to make it in Manhattan while struggling with arela
  • Mike Eschmann stars shooting $4.9m Tell

    Swissdirector Mike Eschmann, whose last comedy Achtung, Fertig, Charlie! is the most successfullocal film of the past 25 years, begins shooting his next feature Tell, a parody of the Swissnational hero Wilhelm Tell, in the Bernese Alps from today (Aug 7).The$4.9m (Euros 3.8m) Swiss-German co-production between Lucerne-based ZodiacPictures, Impuls Home Entertainment, Swissbroadcaster SF and Germany's
  • Montreal World Film Fest unveils complete line-up

    The Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF) has unveiled thecomplete line-up for its 30th edition, including 13 world premieresand six international premieres in its key World Competition programme.In all, the festival will present 215features, 106 world or international premieres and 58 North American premieres.As in past years, the World Competition has tended to themargins of international cinema. This year, the most recognised filmmakers in competition come from Brazil and Iran.
  • Nomad

    Dirs: Ivan Passer/Sergei Bodrov/Talgat Temenov. Kazakh. 2006. 112mins.A sprawling spectacle that took its three directorsmore than three years to usher it to Locarno's PiazzaGrande, Nomad is a larger-than-lifehistorical epic replete with stunning landscapes and authentic productionvalues.While hardly afestival gem, it should still be something of a crowd pleaser among sympatheticaudiences and gen
  • Online pirate DVD seller busted in London

    A pirate DVD seller in Hackney, London,has had her house raided and will be summonsed to appear in court. The raid wasconducted by Hackney Trading Standards and the UK's Federation AgainstCopyright Theft (FACT).The woman, age 55, had beenselling pirate DVDs online. Officers found more than 3
  • Parker's I Really Hate My Job starts London shoot

    DirectorOliver Parker has started shooting comedy I Really Hate My Job in London. Neve Campbell, Shirley Henderson,Alexandra Maria Lara, Anna Maxwell Martin and Oana Pellea star.
  • Peep Show team to shoot feature Magicians

    The team behind the UK TV hit Peep Show is gearing up to shoot its first feature, Magicians, which will start principalphotography in the UK on Aug 20. The comedy is about a double act of magicians whofall out and become rivals years later. It will shoot on location in Surrey,London,Nottingham and Skegness.Magicianswill be directed
  • Poitier to receive lifetime award from BAFTA/LA

    Sidney Poitier will receive BAFTA/LA's Cunard Britannia Award forlifetime contributions to international film at the 15th annual BAFTA/LA CunardBritannia Awards in Los Angeles on Nov 2.
  • Pulse (Kairo)

    Dir: Jim Sonzero. US. 2006. 86mins.The latest Americanisedremake in the still-burgeoning J-horror trend arrives in the form of thestrident and melodramatic Pulse, anonsensical thriller devoid of unified menace which quickly devolves into arather silly series of stylised, desultory jolts andartificial peril.With its dogged,demo-focused television advertising campaign and an absence of head-to-headcompeti
  • Pusan adds Midnight Passion section

    The PusanInternational Film Festival has added a new section called Midnight Passion. Thesection will present a programme of 12 features from variousgenres including horror and comedy.Midnight screenings were held unofficially in 2004 but this year's programme launches officially.The screenings will be held from Oct 13-16 atMegabox Theater in Haewoondae.Three movies will be screened each night, and audience members wil
  • Rushes Soho Shorts gives top prize to Tom Harper's Cubs

    The eighth Rushes SohoShorts Film Festival wrapped in London on Aug 4. The festival's winners were the AscentMedia short film award for Tom Harper's Cubs;the Vue animation award for Run Wrake'sRabbit; the ARRI newcomer award toJonathan Hopkins for Goodbye Mr Snuggles;the Sony Media music video award for TheDenial Twist for White Stripes by Michel Gondry; andthe Adobe titles and idents award to Chris Pa
  • San Francisco Film Festival gets $150,000 grant from AMPAS

    The San Francisco FilmSociety has received a $150,000 three-year 'secure foundation' grantfrom the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences(AMPAS).The rare award will bepresented to the San Francisco International Film Festival in the form of$50,000 in its 50th anniversary year next year, and $50,000 for each of thefollowing two years.'We greatly appreciatethis recognition from the Academy, especially as we celebrate the 50thanniv
  • San Sebastian plans Emigrants retrospective

    The 54th SanSebastian International Film Festival (Sept 21-30) will offer a programmedevoted to films about emigrants.Theretrospective will screen about 30 films on the topic in a range of genres andstyles. The classictitles include Louis Malle's Alamo Bay;Elia Kazan's America, America; Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged; Goran Paskaljevic's SomeoneElse's America; Luchino Visconti's RoccoAnd His Brothers; Luc and Jean-Pierre Dar
  • Sarah Goodwin joins UK sales company Independent Film Sales

    Sarah Goodwin has joinedLondon-based Independent Film Sales (IFS) as salesand marketing manager.Goodwin previously held a similarpost at Vine International Pictures, where she worked on projects fromdirectors such as Peter Greenaway, Alan Rudolph andTerry Jones. The sales company's slate includesPa
  • Severance

    Dir: Christopher Smith. UK. 2006. 95mins.The latest in a seemingly endless cycle of newBritish horror films, Christopher Smith's Severanceis slick, funny and determinedly superficial and derivative. The screenplay(co-written by Smith and James Moran) is leavened with sub-Viz humour, satirical asidesabout office politics and the arms trade, and self-parodicjokes. Smith, who earned plaudits for his debut horr
  • Shochiku promotes Matsumoto to head film division

    Japanese studio Shochikuannounced today several changes in the top management of its motion picturedivision. Chiefly, Teruki Matsumoto has been promotedto managing director of the filmed entertainment division. In the position Matsumotowill oversee all production, development and distribution of feature films. He will report directly to Shochiku president Junichi Sakomoto,who himself was promoted to that
  • Shyama Friedenson promoted to SVP at Lionsgate Int'l

    Shyama Friedenson has been promoted to senior vice president of internationalmarketing at Lionsgate.Friede
  • Sony crosses $1bn at domestic box office

    Powered by the successesof The Da Vinci Code, Click, and the current number one picture TalladegaNights, Sony Pictures Entertainmenthas crossed $1bn at the domestic box office for the fifth consecutive year.The result gives thestudio unique distinction of being the only one in Hollywood
  • Spanish actress Fernandez gets lead role in JSA remake

    Spanish actress Dafne Fernandez has been cast in the lead in Gladiator producer David Franzoni's remake ofKorean political thriller Joint Security Area.
  • Spanish film wins Europa Cinemas Label

    Daniel Sánchez Arevalo's Dark Blue Almost Black (Azul Oscuro Casi Negro) has won the Europa Cinemas Label at Venice Film Festival.The award, judged by a jury of exhibitors, will be handed out at the closing ceremony tomorrow.The film is a Producciones Cinematográficas production, sold internationally by Sogepaq, which has already picked up sales in key territories.Europa Cinemas' aim is a body set up to support the programming of European films, and to foster initiative
  • Stone's World Trade Center has strong first day

    World Trade Center grossed $4.4m from 2,803 theatres at the North American box officeon its opening day yesterday (Wednesday).
  • Swiss cinema market share grows to 18%

    A current wave of local box-office successes provided a welcome stimulantfor Locarno Film Festival's first Day of SwissCinema, which is being held today. Accompanied by Jean-Frederic Jauslin,the head of the Federal Office for Culture (BAK), and the Film Section chiefNicolas Bideau,Switzerland's Interior Min
  • Swiss grants go to projects from Indonesia and Malaysia

    Two projects from Indonesia and one from Malaysia were selected from the 11 South-East Asian filmprojects presented at this year's Open Doors in Locarno to receive development and production grantssponsored by the Swiss Foreign Ministry's Agency for Development andCooperation (DEZA).The decision o
  • The Departed and La Sconosciuta could be headed for Rome

    GiuseppeTornatore's La Sconosciuta and Martin Scorsese'sThe Departed could be among thetitles that will screen at the first edition of the Rome Film Festival (Oct13-21).Accordingto industry gossip - but without any confirmation from Rome organisers - titlesthat could be heading to Rome also include Ridley Scott's A Good Year and Mira Nair's The Namesake.Onthe Italian front, in addition to La Sconosciuta, Rome
  • The Lives Of Others director to host special screening for Attenborough

    Florian Henckel von Donnsermarck is planning a private preview in London of his multiple award-winning debut feature The Lives Of Othersfor Richard Attenborough. "We're going to hold aspecial screening in England before the film premieres because I know that hedoesn't really like to go to premieres," von Donnersmarksaid. The young German director
  • Toronto festival 'ratchets up acquisition frenzy'

    Seeking to stoke up even more potential acquisitionactivity this September, the Toronto International Film Festival has announced15 world premieres and five international premieres it has identified asbuyer-friendly - that is, with major rights available -- including newfilms from Werner Herzog, Margarethe von Trotta, Hal Hartley, Tarsem Singh,Alek Keshishian, Scott Caan, Shane Meadows and Brad Siberling. TIFF co-director Noah Cowan told Screen Daily: "Many ofthese films would n
  • Toronto premieres hit another crescendo

    The Toronto International Film Festival has unveiled anotherraft of world and international and North American premieres, with new filmsfrom Christopher Guest, Marc Forster, Roger Michell and Darren Aronofsky. Also in the mix is a joint world premiere with the VeniceFilm Festival of Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Mozart's opera The MagicFlute.Two world premieres are set to receive the Gala treatment:Guest's Oscar race spoof For Your Consideration, starring Catheri
  • Tribeca and Rome festivals announce collaboration

    TheTribeca Film Festival (TFF) and the Rome FilmFestival have officially announced their collaboration.Duringits first edition, Rome, which runs Oct 13-21,will screen a selection of films that were shown at Tribecaearlier this year. The names of the films will be announced in coming weeks.Tribeca will screen several of Rome's films during the next editionof its festival, w
  • UK's Uli Meyer starts production on $30m MonsterMania!

    London-based Uli Meyer Animation has started production on MonsterMania!, a $30m computer-animatedfeature. MichaelMarshall Smith and Stephen Jones wrote the script for the monster comedy/adventure,which is based on an idea by Uli Meyer, Jones andSmith. MonsterMania! has beenin active development for three years. Uli Meyer Animation will co-produce withIndia's Ittina Animation Studios and Switzerland's C
  • Vue to launch Adventure Film Festival

    Vue Cinemas is organizing a UK nationwidedigitally projected film festival. The Adventure Film Festival will run Sept11-23 with a five-night programme at 55 Vue Cinemas around the UK. The themed nights will be Endurance, Storm Force, Ocean Adventure, HighAltitude and On-The-Edge. Selected sites will hold a one-day festival combiningfilms fr
  • Walden, Fox give birth to family film label

    Walden Media has set up a joint venture with Fox FilmedEntertainment (FFE) to release family pictures that encompasses all of Walden'sfuture slate and current and new work from Fox.
  • Wysiwyg plans Oct UK release for Hall's The Plague

    UKdistributor Wysiwyg Films, formed by Tom Swanston and Cauri Jaye, has announced several films in its forthcomingrelease slate. The filmsinclude Greg Hall's The Plague, duefor a Digital Screen Network release on Oct 6. The London-set urban drama hasbeen praised by Mike Leigh. Neil Oseman's SoulSearcher, a sci-fi adventure, will be released on DVD this month. Otherreleases scheduled for 2007 include period drama Scarlet Kiss and do