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9 March 2004

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  • Cape Town studio drafts in Hollywood designer

    Scott Carter, whodesigned the Disney sound stages in the US, has been chosen to designDreamworld, Cape Town's film studio complex."We went toHollywood and got the best man we could find," says Mike MacCarthy, oneof the directors of the DreamWorld consortium along with producer Anant Singhwho is chairman of the group.Carter will beworking in tandem with local architects Stauch Vorster, who work in associationwith ACG Architects. "He will do the master design and the localarchitec
  • 10% more buyers at this year's AFM than last year, says market

    Total attendance at thismonth's AFM climbed by 5% to 7,212 compared to 6,834 last year, while thenumber of buyers rose 10% from 1,309 to 1,434, organisers said yesterday (2).There were 642 registeredcompanies compared to 598 last year and the number of individual exhibitorsrose from 3,419 in 2003 to 3,672, a climb of 7%.In addition a record 306film and television companies - including 101 debutants - exhibited at themarket, which closes today (3) and marks the final spring AFM b
  • AFM: Gemini Films scores with Ma Mere

    French sales house GeminiFilms enjoyed strong sales at the American Film Market on its Christophe Honoretitle Ma Mere and on forthcoming Andre Techine picture Changing TimesMa Mere was sold to CNC (Benelux), Mont Blanc (Switzerland),Italian International Films (Italy), Audiovisual (Greece), Paradise (Russia),Shani Films (Israel), Filmax (Spain), Alfa Films (Argentina), Independenta(Romania) and Atalanta (Portugal).Changing Times was picked up by Lumie
  • Art Port, Summit strike first deal on Down In The Valley

    Art Port Inc. has acquired Japanese distribution rights toDown In The Valley, the dark thrillerstarring Edward Norton and Evan Rachel Wood, from Summit Entertainment. Thedeal, concluded at AFM, marks the first deal between the two companies.The deal was closed between Art Port president & CEOJunichi Matsushita and Summit president and CEO Patrick Wachsberger.Summit also closed deals for the film at the market withTobis

    The Passion Of The Christ took A$2,095,841 from 151 screens to retain first place in the chart during its second four-day weekend on release. This was about two thirds of the gross of the corresponding period a week earlier from a screen count that rose by six prints.Speaking of prints, Roadshow must have found some money lying around to strike some more. About ten extras of The Return Of The King and of Mystic River, which have been in the charts for 11 and 16 wee
  • Austrian region launches Euros 1.5m fund

    Austria's Land of Styria and the city of Graz havejoined forces to provide an annual Euros 1.5m for the creation of the CineStyria Film Commission & Film Fund.Introducing the new regional body at this week's Diagonalefilm festival in Graz, managing director Enrico Jakob explained that CineStyria intends to be 'a regional, national and international interface fornetworking, promotion, information, service, support and funding of film, TVand multimedia projects with a
  • Batman Begins begins in Iceland for Warner Bros

    Gary Oldman hasjoined the cast of Warner Bros' Batman Begins, which began shooting in Iceland thisweek and is being directed by Christopher Nolan.Oldman will play Lieutenant James Gordon, a detective onthe Gotham police force, and joins an illustrious cast that includes ChristianBale as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Michael Caine as his trusted butler Alfred.Katie Holmesstars as Wayne's childhood friend Rachel, Liam Neeson as Wayne's mentor HenriDucard, Morgan
  • Bellochio's latest joins Kahn at Wellspring

    Followingyesterday's news that it has acquired all US rights to Cedric Kahn's Berlintitle Red Lights (FeuxRouges), New York-basedindependent Wellspring has taken US rights to Italian director MarcoBellocchio's Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte).The deals forboth pictures were negotiated by Wellspring's head of acquisitions MarieTherese Guirgis and head of theatrical distribution Ryan Werner and HengamehPanahi on behalf of Celluloid Dreams. Wellspring wi
  • Berlinger signs two-book deal on career, Metallica

    Award-winningdocumentary film-maker Joe Berlinger has signed a two-book deal with StMartin's Press for the worldwide publishing rights to Metallica: ThisMonster Lives andBerlinger's memoirs Murder, Music & Mayhem: A Filmmaker's Mid-Career Report.Metallica:This Monster Lives isbased on Berlinger's experiences filming the legendary heavy metal band in Metallica:Some Kind Of Monster,which IFC Films plans to release in theUS in July.Murder, Musi
  • Berry named ShoWest female star of the year

    Halle Berry, whowill next appear as the lead in Warner Bros' Catwoman, has been named ShoWest female star ofthe year."Halle Berry is a classic," Mitch Neuhauser, co-managingdirector of the Las Vegas event, said in a statement."From theexcitement of the worldwide smash X2: X-Men United to the torment of this past fall'ssleeper sensation Gothika, the past year was sensational for Halle Berry."Berry won thelead actress Oscar for Mons
  • Beyond sells Good Woman to Japan

    Beyond Films, the London-based, Australian-owned sales agent, has wrapped up a large number of deals on its AFM slate.Mike Barker's Scarlett Johansson-starring, Oscar Wilde adaptation A Good Woman was sold to Gaga Communications for Japan, Prooptiki for Greece, Bergvik for Iceland, Gulf Films for the Middle East, LNK Audiovisuais for Portugal and International Production Associates for Thailand. The film is an Italian-UK-Spanish co-production and also stars Helen Hunt, Tom Wilki
  • Brother Bear has huge openings in Italy, Israel for BVI

    Buena Vista International's (BVI) animated picture Brother Bear is closing in on $100m at theinternational box office thanks to a record-breaking $6.6m weekend haul thatraised its running total to $95.8m.
  • Channel 4, Senator play the blame game

    UK broadcaster Channel 4 has defended itself against legal proceeding from Senator Films over its closure of its stand alone film unit FilmFour, saying that it made a claim first against the German company.Senator, which had an output deal with FilmFour, filed a lawsuit this week against Channel Four for damages over the closure of the film operation two years ago.But Channel Four said on Tuesday (Mar 2) that FilmFour made a significant claim against Senator and its subsidiary E
  • Chinese box office to triple within five years

    China is forecast to be the fast growing cinema market in the Asia Pacific region over the next five years according to a new report, Cinemagoing Asia Pacific by Dodona Research.Chinese box office is expected to more than triple to reach $380m by 2008, compared to $120m last year. The report, which covers twelve markets in the region, forecasts that cinema-goers in these countries will spend close to $7.5bn on cinema tickets in 2008.China has only 2,000 functioning screens - and
  • Chinese pair to open Hong Kong Festival

    The Hong Kong Arts Development Council has unveiled the line-up of the 28th Hong Kong International Film Festival (April 6-21) which includes Oscar winner The Barbarian Invasions and the winner of last year's Palme d'Or, Gus Van Sant's Elephant.In total, around 300 movies from more than 40 countries will screen at the 16-day event. Two mainland Chinese productions - Li Shaohong's Baober In Love and Ann Hui's Goddess Of Mercy - open the festival while Eric Ro
  • Coen, Redler team up on prison thriller Breakback for Millennium

    Chris Coen of Halcyon Entertainment and Dan Redler of Dan Redler Entertainment are teaming up to produce the $20m prison thriller Breakback for Avi Lerner's Millennium Films.Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Peter Wetherell will serve as executive producers on the picture, which is based on a screenplay developed by Halcyon and written by Edward Cass.Millennium is providing financing and the producers are in discussions with direc
  • 'Courageous' doc wins top Diagonale prize

    Martin Bruch's documentary handbikemovie was the surprise winner of this year's Euros 19,000 Diagonale Grand Prix in Austria, which was sponsored by the Land of Styria and Kodak.Bruch, who has multiple sclerosis and uses an adapted wheelchair, filmed handbikemovie with a camera attached to his bicycle helmet. It shows the spectator the streets of Vienna, New York, Paris, London and Istanbul from a quite unique perspective.At the awards ceremony in Graz at the week
  • CTFDI, Edko reconfigure Hong Kong partnership

    Columbia TristarFilm Distributors International (CTFDI) has dissolved its joint distributionventure in Hong Kong with Edko Films and named Edko its sole agent anddistributor in the market.Edko/Columbiageneral manager Li Chow will relocate to Beijing to oversee mainlanddistribution of the studio's pictures, while Edko chief Bill Kong will overseedistribution activities in Hong Kong.Kong is alsojoining Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia's (CPFPA) board of directors andwill con

    French comedy Ruby & Quentin (Tais Toi) saw a strong bow at sixth place in the Czech Republic last weekend. The film, which stars Jeno Reno and Gerard Depardieu, sold over 3,500 tickets more than US title The Rundown despite playing on five less screens. It also demolished Richard Linklater's School Of Rock, which finished a dismal 13th on its opening weekend.The chart still belongs to Warner Bros' unstoppable double The Last Samurai and The Lord Of The R
  • Darclight readies Beowulf, Possession

    Arclight genre label Darclight has announced that two films are about to go into pre-production.The supernatural thriller Possession, adapted from Peter James's novel, and Beowulf - Alien Meets Braveheart, inspired by the 9th Century Beowulf poem, both involve the UK's Spice Factory and film financier Movision Entertainment.The UK/Canadian co-production Possession is to be directed by Stuart Baird (Star Trek Nemesis, US Marshalls), financed by Movisio
  • Dead, Lives get extended sneak peaks in US

    Demonstrating a new twist on the theatrical marketing model,Universal and USA Network are teaming up to screen an unprecedented telecast ofthe uncut first 10 minutes of the forthcoming horror remake Dawn Of The Dead in the US.
  • Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

    Dir: Guy Ferland. US 2004. 87 minsThe original Dirty Dancing made a star of Patrick Swayze, became one of the surprise hits of the late 1980s and grossed an $163m worldwide. Set in the Catskills in 1963, it introduced a predominantly female audiences to the catchphrase "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" as it powered its way to an impressive (for the time) $63.5m box office at home and a long healthy life on ancillary.Its successor, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nigh
  • Disney crisis: Eisner gets 43% no-confidence vote from shareholders

    Disney chiefMichael Eisner defended his 20-year record in front of shareholders atyesterdayC;s stormy annual meeting in Philadelphia as calls for his departuregathered pace.According toreports, 43% of shareholders withheld their support for Eisner - who is bothchairman and chief executive officer - representing a strong no-confidence voteand something of a coup for the men who oppose him, former board membersStanley Gold and Roy E Disney.While EisnerC
  • Disney crisis: Eisner gets 43% no-confidence vote from shareholders

    Disney chiefMichael Eisner defended his 20-year record in front of shareholders atyesterdayC;s stormy annual meeting in Philadelphia as calls for his departuregathered pace.According toreports, 43% of shareholders withheld their support for Eisner - who is bothchairman and chief executive officer - representing a strong no-confidence voteand something of a coup for the men who oppose him, former board membersStanley Gold and Roy E Disney.While EisnerC
  • Disney crisis: Eisner gets 43% no-confidence vote from shareholders

    Disney chiefMichael Eisner defended his 20-year record in front of shareholders atyesterdayC;s stormy annual meeting in Philadelphia as calls for his departuregathered pace.According toreports, 43% of shareholders withheld their support for Eisner - who is bothchairman and chief executive officer - representing a strong no-confidence voteand something of a coup for the men who oppose him, former board membersStanley Gold and Roy E Disney.While EisnerC
  • Disney crisis: Eisner gets 43% no-confidence vote from shareholders

    Disney chiefMichael Eisner defended his 20-year record in front of shareholders atyesterdayC;s stormy annual meeting in Philadelphia as calls for his departuregathered pace.According toreports, 43% of shareholders withheld their support for Eisner - who is bothchairman and chief executive officer - representing a strong no-confidence voteand something of a coup for the men who oppose him, former board membersStanley Gold and Roy E Disney.While EisnerC
  • Disney crisis: Eisner gets 43% no-confidence vote from shareholders

    Disney chiefMichael Eisner defended his 20-year record in front of shareholders atyesterdayC;s stormy annual meeting in Philadelphia as calls for his departuregathered pace.According toreports, 43% of shareholders withheld their support for Eisner - who is bothchairman and chief executive officer - representing a strong no-confidence voteand something of a coup for the men who oppose him, former board membersStanley Gold and Roy E Disney.While EisnerC
  • Disney crisis: Eisner gets 43% no-confidence vote from shareholders

    Disney chiefMichael Eisner defended his 20-year record in front of shareholders atyesterdayC;s stormy annual meeting in Philadelphia as calls for his departuregathered pace.According toreports, 43% of shareholders withheld their support for Eisner - who is bothchairman and chief executive officer - representing a strong no-confidence voteand something of a coup for the men who oppose him, former board membersStanley Gold and Roy E Disney.While EisnerC
  • Disney looks to UK tax funds to support distribution costs

    Walt Disney Studios isbelieved to be the latest Hollywood major to tap a UK tax-based fund tounderwrite their distribution costs.The studio is finalizing apact to licence about eight films to the Timeless Releasing scheme devised byUK tax financier Future Film in a deal understood to be worth up to £200m.The fund was originally setup with Paramount Pictures, but that studio appears to have dropped out.The Timeless Releasingscheme works under generally accepted accountancy
  • Duffy doc Overnight sold to THINKFilm

    THINKFilm hasacquired all North American rights to Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana'sdirectorial debut Overnight, which was a midnight screening at Sundance this year and causeda stir for its warts-and-all portrait of an upstart film-maker in theindependent film business.First screenedin a longer cut at the Seattle International Film Festival last June, Overnight is the story of former bartender TroyDuffy and his whirlwind leap to fame after Miramax Films' Harvey Weinste
  • Dutch film finance scheme faces extinction

    The Dutch ministries of Finance and Economic Affairs have stated they are no longer willing to provide funds for film production.From 2005, film policy will become an exclusively cultural affair, under the aegis of the ministry of Culture. In effect this means that state support for film will fall from Euros 23m to Euros 13.8mAnd while the State Secretary of Culture says she is willing to investigate the possibilities of generating private money for film production, the ministri
  • Duval to retire from UK film censor BBFC

    British Board Of Film Classification Director Robin Duval is to retire in August after five and a half years at the helm.Duval oversaw the Board's first major public consultation exercise resulting in the Classification Guidelines published in September 2000. The Board now classifies 14,000 titles a year - up from 5712 titles in 1998.Duval said: 'My period as Director of the BBFC has been immensely stimulating and challenging. I shall be very sad to leave. I believe the p
  • Eagle triples Passion prints for Italy

    Italian distributor Eagle Pictures has revealed that it will increase the number of prints it releases Mel Gibson's The Passion Of Christ on in Italy from 150 to more than 500 - a figure normally associated with Italy's Christmas comedy blockbusters."We already had huge requests for the film from exhibitors even before the hype surrounding the Passion's US release," said Eagle spokesman Saverio Fearragina, underlining that the final screen count could be well over 500.Fea
  • Ebeling, Behring complete management buyout of MCOne

    Sven Ebeling and HagenBehring, co-chief executive officers of Media Cooperation One (MCOne), one ofGermany's largest independent video and DVD distributors, have completed amanagement buyout of the company.Ebeling and Behring,co-founders and shareholders of MCOne, last month acquired the remainingmajority shares of the company previously owned by DBI, the equity division ofDeutsch Bank Group.In the co-production arena,MCOne most notably co-financed and co-produced last year's Os
  • Eisner stripped of chairman's title

    Walt Disney's powerful chief executive officer Michael Eisner was forced last night to hand over the chairman's title to George J. Mitchell, in order to placate a rising tide of shareholder resentment over what they see as his imperious management style and a poor company performance.The embattled Eisner was put on the spot yesterday as he defended his 20-year record in front of shareholders atyesterday's stormy annual meeting in Philadelphia as calls for his departuregathered pace.
  • Emily Olsen named corporate PR head for Samy Boy

    Emily M Olsen, the founder of StellarQuest Public Relations andConsulting, has been named director of corporate communications for Samy BoyEntertainment and its affiliated companies.
  • filmBUZZ claims festivalgoers are key arthouse audience

    A report published yesterday(March 4) by the independent film research and tracking specialist filmBUZZreveals that festival-goers are a core constituent of arthouse audiences andplay a key role in those pictures' box office success."In our exit surveys at filmfestivals we discovered that audiences members' demographics closely mirrorthose of arthouse patrons," filmBUZZ president Greg Kahn said in a statement."These film festivalattendees, the majority of whom live in close prox

    While Brother Bear and the local hit Dog Nail Clipper stayed on top of the Finnish chart this weekend, the two new releases on third and fourth, Something's Gotta Give and the homemade WW2 drama Beyond The Front Line, both had much better screen averages but fewer prints.Veteran actor and filmmaker Aake Lindman (b.1928) has based his new film on the true story of a small band of Finnish-Swedish soldiers fighting in 1942-44. It stars Tobias Zilliacus and Ilkk
  • Forman to receive lifetime award from San Francisco

    Milos Formanwill receive the Film Society Award for Lifetime Achievement in Directing atthe 47th San Francisco International Film Festival, which runs from Apr 15-29.The Award willbe presented by Danny DeVito on Apr 22 at a black tie gala in honour of Formanand Oscar winning actor Chris Cooper, who will receive the Peter J Owens Award."The films ofMilos Forman evince an eclectic and questing nature and portray the vagaries ofhuman beings with great humour and pathos," Roxanne Me

    The top two films at the French box office traded places last week with three week old hit comedy Podium shooting back up to number one from second position knocking last week's winner The Crimson Rivers: Angels Of The Apocalypse down a notch.Podium has garnered 2.6 million admissions so far in its short run with the Crimson Rivers sequel also starting what looks to be an impressive run with 1.4 million tickets sold in two weeks.Two new entries this w
  • France appoints new national ratings chief

    France's film council (CNC) has announced the appointment of Sylvie Hubac to the post of president of the national ratings board known as the Commission de Classification.Hubac was nominated by culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon and the proposal was then ratified by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.Hubac studied at France's national administration school which is a training ground for future heads of state and captains of industry. She also holds a degree in law and from
  • French directors call for curbs on film print numbers

    About 200 filmmakers have signed an open letter in Frenchdaily Le Monde calling for a limit tothe number of prints sent out to theatres on a film's release.Among the signatories were members of the Agence Pour LeCinema Independant Et Sa Diffusion (ACID) including Chantal Akerman, CedricKlapisch, Bertrand Tavernier, Nicolas Philibert, Jean-Jacques Beneix and LucasBelvaux.The signatories wrote: "We filmmakers ask that fromnow on no film monopolise more than 10% of our scree
  • Garner named ShoWest female star of tomorrow

    Jennifer Garner,who will next star in 13 Going On 30 for Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures, has beennamed ShoWest 2004 Female Star of Tomorrow."Jennifer Garner has already taken the world by storm onthe small screen and we can only imagine what great success lies in store asshe begins to conquer the excitement and glamour of the silver screen," MitchNeuhauser, co-managing director of ShoWest, said in a statement."Her versatilit

    Although the Ben Stiller/Jennifer Anniston romantic comedy Along Came Polly opened with the Top 15's best screen average ($6,384) and sold almost 400,000 tickets in its four days, this was not enough to unseat Scary Movie 3 from the top spot.The genre parody saw its gross slip 50% week-on-week but added another $3.6m at the weekend for its current tally of $12.26m. The only other new entry in the Top 15 this week was Senator's release of Lars Buechel's Erbsen Auf Halb
  • Gothika opens top for CTFDI in Brazil, Philippines

    Fired up by number oneopenings in Brazil and the Philippines, Columbia's horror picture Gothikacontinued to score steady international business at the weekend.The picture is releasedthrough Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) and grossed anestimated $410,000 from 140 screens in the Latin American market and a powerful$200,000 from 10 in the Philippines.Other highlights were $1.7min its second weekend in Spain on a 33% drop to raise the total there to
  • Gothika starring Cruz opens top in Spain for CTFDI

    The horrorpicture Gothikastarring local star Penelope Cruz opened top in Spain at the weekend on $2.5mon 262 screens through Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International(CTFDI).The decent debutwas part of a $4.1m weekend haul for the picture, which raised itsinternational running total to $23.9m.Elsewhere, thedrama Big Fishgrossed $2.7m for a $19m running total and the drama Mona Lisa Smile took $2.4m for $49.5m in CTFDI markets.
  • Hidalgo

    Dir: Joe Johnston. US. 2003. 135mins.After getting bumped last year from Disney's fall slate, reportedly due to an overabundance of horse movies, the family-targeted action-adventure Western Hidalgo, starring Viggo Mortensen in his first post-Aragorn turn, arrives amid press reports questioning the authenticity of the film's real-life protagonist, one-time cowboy and long-distance rider Frank T Hopkins, and the horse race across the Arabian peninsula that drives its pl

    Most likely nobody would've thought that in the fourth week of its release Gabor Herendi's Hungarian Vagabond will still be such strong competition for Tom Cruise's Last Samurai. The Japan-set epic debuted on top of the chart with over 47,000 admissions, a mere 15,000 more than Herendi's historical comedy which has reached the 300,000 admission mark.Last week's other two releases, Hiner Saleem's Vodka Lemon and Miklos Jancso's latest, The Battle Of Mohacs, s
  • International co-productions face funding paradox

    At the heart of international co-productions lies an essential paradox for Europe. The various national incentive schemes and subsidies upon which they depend are designed to keep filmmaking crews and talents fully employed in their local countries. And yet, co-production treaties are meant to encourage cross-border collaborations.This contradiction may help explain the tortured arrangements producers often find themselves entering into in order to satisfy the various national requirem
  • Irish exhibitors clamour for Passion prints

    Irish distribution company Eclipse Pictures, which is handling the Irish release of The Passion Of The Christ for Icon UK, has had to secure an additional 10 prints for the Irish release, such is the demand for the picture from exhibitors.Of the 60 prints now available, approximately 50 will play sites in the Republic of Ireland from March 12 and the remainder will open in Northern Ireland to coincide with the UK release on March 26. Additional prints may be sought for the secon
  • Italian film set for Euros 70m emergency funding

    Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani is to present on Friday an emergency decree to the Italian Parliament to pour extra funds into the local cinema industry, after the Italian bank that manages the film industry's funds announced that its coffers are almost emptyAccording to Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, the BNL bank, which manages the government's film fund, has announced that the fund has dwindled to a paltry Euros 40m. In 1994, BNL's film fund amounted to around Euros

    Filmauro's Italian coming-of-age tale, Che Ne Sara' Di Noi (literally, What will become of us) opened on a high at number four at the Italian box office last weekend, grossing $997,007 from 171 screens.The picture, which was directed by Giovanni Veronesi and co-scripted by Veronesi and the film's lead actor, Silvio Muccino, posted a high per screen average of $5,830 on the wave of a strong marketing campaign centreing around Muccino.Meanwhile, Carlo Verdone's L'Amore E
  • Japanese cinema icon to retire at 50

    After 50 years and 27 films, Godzilla is to retire after the latest instalment, Godzilla: Final Wars, which is scheduled for a December release.Toho producer Shogo Tomiyama explained that the studio made the decision to retire its most famous character in the planning stages of the new film. "We could not make a truly new Godzilla, one that no one had ever seen before," Tomiyama explained.Toho intends to go all out with the last instalment, featuring ten well-known monste
  • Japan's Movie Television files for bankruptcy protection

    Japan's Movie Television, a leading seller of Hollywood films and TV programmes to Japanese TV, has filed for protection from its creditors after its debts climbed to $345m (Y38bn) at the end of January.Launched in 1984, Movie Television acquires broadcasting rights to TV series and films from five major studios - Fox, Paramount, Universal, MGM and Warner Bros - and sells them on to Japanese TV broadcasters. The titles acquired include X-Files, Titanic, Star Wars Episode 1: T
  • Kinnear, Davis join Brosnan black comedy Matador

    GregKinnear and Hope Davis will join Pierce Brosnan in the black comedy Matador, which is being financed by Bob Yari and Mark Gordon's Stratus FilmCompany and is due to go into production in Mexico City in April.RichardShepard wrote the screenplay and will direct, with Irish DreamTime principalsBrosnan and Beau St Clair producing along with Furst Films' Sean and BryanFurst (The Cooler). Yari and Gordonwill serve as executive producers.
  • Las Palmas lines-up 30 projects for market

    The Las Palmas International Film Festival is gearing up forits fifth annual edition (March 12-20), and is set to host the second annualEuroForum Co-Production Market where more than 30 new projects will bepresented from 10 different countries.Honorary award recipients Mia Farrow and Omar Shariff areamong the stars expected to turn out for the festival on Spain's Grand CanaryIsland, alongside competition film actors Diego Luna (Nicotina) and Hayden Christensen (Shattered Glas
  • Lords lash out at tax loophole closure

    Thecontroversy over the government's decision to close down film taxloopholes last month erupted in the House of Lords this week.LabourGovernment spokesman Lord Davies came under fire yesterday as the House OfLords debated the film tax crisis. An array of Tory peers queued up to attacklast month's abrupt decision by the Inland Revenue to close the taxloophole enabling film production schemes to use accountancy write-offprinciples. The UK film industry even found an unlikely ally in the
  • Mabius, Ironside prey upon Payne's Reeker

    Eric Mabius and Michael Ironside have signed on to thehorror film Reeker, which was writtenand is being directed by David Payne for Payne and Tina Illman's TheInstitution and Amanda Klein and Michael Nash's Primal Pictures.Mabius featured in Resident Evil and the upcoming Resident Evil: Apocalypse, while Ironside had a role in StarshipTroopers.The story centres on a group of youngsters, trapped at aneerie desert tra
  • Malaysia cranks up local production

    Malaysiais poised to become the second largest film producer in South East Asia, thanksto an increasing number of pictures being churned out by local producers.Twoof the biggest producers in Malaysia are planning to increase film output thisyear: Metrowealth has set to make 11, up from six last year, while TayanganUnggul will produce five, up from three last year. A string of other producersare also pumping money into the industry and a dozen of films are inpre-production stage.
  • Malkovich boards Ruiz's Klimt picture

    John Malkovich is to take the title role in Raul Ruiz's Klimt, an homage to the famous Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.The film will focus on the last years of Klimt's life from 1900 to 1918. Negotiations are currently underway for German actress Veronica Ferres to play Klimt's partner Emilie Floege and other parts to be taken by Sophie Marceau and Austrian actors Elisabeth Orth and Georg Friedrich.The international co-production's lead producer is Epo-Film. Shooting on the
  • Mar del Plata unveils Latino flavoured line-up

    Mar del Plata, Latin America's only A grade festival, has unveiled its competition line-up for this year's edition, which runs from March 11-20.Festival head Miguel Pereira has put together a 14-strong line-up that combines titles from established film-makers, a few of which have already appeared at other events out of competition, with a number of discoveries by emerging film-makers.Many of the films use Latino talent or settings and the competition jury is largely composed of
  • Minghella, Rickman back UK launch of Stellar Network

    Jude Law, Anthony Minghella and Alan Rickman are lending their names to the Stellar Network, the starry New York networking organisation which is opening its doors in London.Other boardmembers from across film, theatre and television include director Peter Kosminsky, playwright and screenplay writer David Hare, showbusiness journalist Baz Bamigboye and Jane Wright, head of rights and commercial affairs at BBC Films.The membership-based organisation aims to connect the UK's profe
  • Movision, Spice Factory step in to rescue The River King

    UK-based production and financing companies Movision and SpiceFactory have stepped in to join Myriad Pictures as co-financiers onsupernatural murder mystery The River King, which is due to begin production in Canada later thismonth.
  • Mueller confirmed as Venice festival chief

    As expected, former Locarno and Rotterdam festival chief Marco Mueller has been appointed artistic chief of the Venice Film Festival.Rome born Mueller will replace Moritz de Hadeln, the British-born Swiss national who became the first non-Italian to run the world's oldest festival when he was appointed in 2002 on a one-year contract.Mueller, like his predecessor, will now have four months to prepare the line-up of the 61st festival, which will be announced at the end of July.
  • Mueller poised to take over as Venice artistic director

    Former Locarno and Rotterdam festival director Marco Mueller is poised to be crowned artistic chief of the Venice Film Festival, during a Biennale board meeting that will take place today (March 4) at 5pm.Venice organisers said on Thursday that several names are still in the running, although according to local reports, Mueller has emerged in recent weeks as the clear favourite. Meanwhile, actor Giancarlo Giannini, who had previously also been tipped for a leading role in the festival,
  • New Spanish distributor starts to build slate

    New Barcelona-based distributor ABL Augusta has closed its first two all-rights acquisitions for Spain with Morgan Spurlock's hit Sundance documentary Super Size Me and Takashi Miike's Japanese thriller One Missed Call.Veteran executive Adolfo Blanco launched ABL after leaving his position as director of distribution at DeA Planeta in January. His first two acquisitions, closed at the AFM, are representative of the kinds of genre he is looking for to fill out a planned 10
  • Newmark sets domestic release dates for Wake, Pizzas

    Newmark/EchelonEntertainment Group has set the US release of Henry LeRoy Finch's drama Wake for late April and Vinnie Sassone'sromantic comedy A Tale Of Two Pizzas for the autumn.In Wake, four brothers gather for a debauchednight of drinking and perversion only to realise they are attending a awake. Martin Landau stars with Gale Harold and Blake Gibbons.A Tale Of TwoPizzas is set againstthe backdrop of two rival New York families w
  • Nightsongs (Die Nacht Singt Ihre Lieder)

    Dir. Romuald Karmakar. Germany. 2004. 95mins.Regarded by many as one of the great hopes of German cinema, Romuald Karmakar's award-studded career risks taking a downward turn with Nightsongs, a self-indulgent, repetitive and unimaginative adaptation of a Norwegian stage play that gains nothing from being transferred to film.A static portrait of a marriage gone stale moving in circles around itself, the film features carefully studied but painfully bland perf
  • Passion stays top, races past $200m in second weekend

    Newmarket Film's ThePassion Of The Christ streaked past $200m in its second weekend, holding onto top spot and adding an estimated $51.4m for $212m.Newmarket president BobBerney said Mel Gibson's picture fell only 39% - a very strong hold bearing inmind releases of this scale typically fall 50% in their second weekend - andpredicted it would pass $300m.By way of comparison, TheLord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, which used its Oscar triumph ofthe previous we

    While local hit Nigdy W Zyciu continued to dominate the Polish chart in its third week local distributor SPI Poland were pleased with their second week figures for Sofia Coppola's Oscar-winning Lost In Translation, which slipped just 3% from its launch weekend.After 10 days on release the comedy drama has already sold 109,531 tickets - more than twice those garnered by family title Looney Tunes: Back In Action which has played 20 more screens during the same period
  • Rentrak hires Springer for global box office tracking system

    RentrakTheatrical, a subsidiary of Oregon-based information management companyRentrak, has hired industry veteran Rob Springer to head up the expansion ofits global box office tracking system Box Office Essentials.Springer, whomost recently served as executive director of sales administration atParamount, will be based in Los Angeles and is a key appointment as the companymoves to expand further its international operations and services.He will beresponsible for managing the int
  • Return Of The King adds $11m to bring gross to $663.1m

    On the weekendthat The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King won all 11 of the Oscars for which ithad been nominated, Peter Jackson's trilogy finale leapfrogged 2001's HarryPotter And The Sorcerer's Stone to become the second biggest international picture of all time.It added $11mfrom 3,148 screens in 60 territories to raise its international running totalto $663.1m, overtaking Potter's $658.2m but still far behind Titanic, which grossed $1.2bn following
  • Return Of The King gets int'l boost from Oscar wins

    New Line International's TheLord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King is bearing down on $700m at the international box office after raisingits running total by $9.4m from 3,547 screens in 60 markets at the weekend to$679.4m.Peter Jackson's trilogy finaledropped 27% in its fourth weekend in Japan, adding $4.7m from 698 screens for a$55.4m cumulative score. It remained number one in key cities.The Return Of The King's AcademyAwards success from the previous weekend
  • Scary 3 has a monster opening in Germany

    Scary Movie 3 enjoyed a massive $7.4m number one bow in Germany on626 screens through Buena Vista International (BVI) at the weekend for thebiggest release of the year there so far this year.It was also the biggest everbow opening for a Miramax production and contributed to a $12m weekend haulfrom BVI markets, raising the picture's international running total in thosemarkets to $44.7m.Cold Mountain took $8.4m from all markets including France,raising its cumulative
  • Section 48 scheme runs into 'difficulties'

    Bedford Row Films, an apparently conventional scheme funding films under the UK's established Section 48 tax deferral rules, has written to investors saying it is 'facing difficulties'.The company told investors it has made advance payments on a slate of 19 films but has been 'let down badly' by the vendor of 17 titles. In the letter it describes the vendor as 'a regular and reliable supplier of film stock over the years, not only to Bedford Row but to other film partnerships.'B
  • Singapore set as host for Indian International Academy Awards

    The 2004 International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) AwarY
  • Singapore set as host for Indian International Academy Awards

    The 2004 InternationalIndian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards will be held on May 22 in Singapore.The IIFA presentationceremony launched four years ago at London's Millennium Dome and is thehighlight of a three-day show honouring the best of Indian cinema.The IIFA Weekend will runfrom May 20-22, culminating in the fifth IIFA Awards at the Singapore IndoorStadium, Singapore's leading indoor venue that seats more than 5,000 guests."Singapore is extremelydeligh
  • Singapore set as venue for Indian International Academy Awards

    The 2004 International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards will be held on
  • Sofia film festival launches 8th edition

    Director Takeshi Kitano's highly-praised Zatoichi opens the 8th Sofia International Film Festival today.The festival boasts some 100 features, 10 documentaries and 60 shorts as well as a feature competition comprising 14 titles including Karlovy Vary audience favourite, Buddy, Camera D'Or winner, Reconstruction, Locarno award winner, Maria and 16 Years Of Alcohol.The festival will also screen a selection of films from Bulgaria and the Balkan re
  • Something's Gotta Give closes in on $100m international

    The romantic comedy Something'sGotta Give added an estimated $8.3m from 2,400 screens at the weekend,raising its international cumulative total to $91.1m.Released internationallythrough Warner Bros, the picture grossed $6.9m in European markets for a $64.6mregional total there.It has amassed $18.5m in theAsia-Pacific region and $8m in Latin America.
  • South Of The Clouds (Yun De Nan Fang)

    Dir: Zhu Wen China. 2004. 100mins.Zhu Wen began his working life as a factory engineer before deciding, 10 years ago, that stories were his real metier. After four short story collections, a novel and two film script collaborations (he was one of three credited screenwriters on the Zhang Yuang prison drama Seventeen Years), Zhu turned to direction with the 2002 Berlinale Forum entry Seafood. His second film, also in the Forum sidebar, is a quirky little tale of
  • SPAIN Production Listings - March 9 2004

    SPAIN - March 9PRE-PRODUCTIONNever Again (Nunca Mais)(Producciones do Pais Nunca Mais, MediaPro) Budget: Euros 620,000. Feature-length film made up of short films about the Prestige oil spill off Spain's Galicia coast. Exec prods: Suso Iglesias, Carlos Ares, Andres Mahia, Xose Castro, Jose Manuel Blanco. Dirs/scr: Gracia Querejeta, Joaquin Oristrell, Daniel Guzman, Cesc Gay, Xavier Villaverde, Enrique Urbizu, Jorge Coira, Eduardo Ulloa. Shooting spring a
  • Spanish industry gets political

    For full Spanish production listings click HERESpanish cinema has a long history of broaching social issues. Recent hits Take My Eyes (Te Doy Mis Ojos) and Mondays In The Sun (Los Lunes Al Sol) are examples of films tackling hot topics such as domestic abuse and unemployment. Pedro Almodovar touches on the abuse of minors by Catholic priests in his new Cannes opener Bad Education (La Mala
  • Stalins gets senior vp stripes at MGM International TV Dist'n

    Carolyn Stalinshas been promoted to senior vice president of international televisiondistribution at MGM.Stalins, whooversees distribution in the UK and France for MGM's features and televisionseries, NBC's television series and the catalogues of MGM/UA, Orion, Polygramand NBC, will continue to report to Gilberte DeTurenne, senior vice president andmanaging director of Europe."For more than10 years, Carolyn has been an integral part of our team and has greatlycontributed to our
  • Starsky & Hutch

    Dir: Todd Phillips. US. 2003. 100 mins.Hollywood's infatuation with the cheesy classics of 1970s American TV continues with an action comedy take on Starsky & Hutch that plays for laughs more than thrills and gets just about enough of them to, in all probability, keep the affair going for at least another year. If the comedy itself doesn't prove a powerful box office draw when it opens in the US this weekend, the package around it - a re-teaming of Ben Stiller and Owen
  • Ster-Kinekor targets black audiences for South African growth

    South African broadcasting and cinema group Primedia, owners of distributor/exhibitor Ster-Kinekor has announced improved figures with revenue up 15.1% to $135m (R898.6m) and pre-tax profit growing 39% to $20m.The film division lifted revenue 5.6% to $13.6m thanks to a higher contribution from Ster-Kinekor Home Entertainment.But overall operating profits were down for the division because of lower than expected attendance at Ster-Kinekor cinemas and increased marketing costs as
  • Stillking opens Cape Town production office

    Prague based production service company Stillking Films hasopened an office in Cape Town, South Africa.The move highlights the growing importance of South Africaas an international film location. Stillking is the Czech Republic's topproduction services company, working on films such as The Bourne Identity (Universal), Shanghai Knights (Disney), Van Helsing (Universal), and Tristan & Isolde (Scott Free/Fox).Stillking says the South African office will
  • StudioCanal parts company with Schmidt

    Michel Schmidt, deputymanager of France's StudioCanal, has left the company.At present, there is noreplacement for Schmidt and his next steps are not known. Neither Schmidt norStudioCanal chose to comment on the departure although it is understood that itwas based on a mutual agreement.Schmidt joined Canal from hispost as head of international sales at Gaumont in 1997 to become director ofsales and marketing for Canal subsidiaries.Throughout the VivendiUniversal merger an

    While nothing changed in the Swedish top five, where Brother Bear and Spy Kids 3D: Game Over stayed in front of the home made The Ketchup Effect and The Threat.The new release of Tim Burton's Big Fish, however, served up a better screen average ($4,138) than any of the five, while Cold Mountain had the best ($4,952) despite falling to tenth.This week's big disappointment was the new local release of Richard Hobert's medieval tale Thre

    The Oscars managed to shuffle things around at the top of the Swedish chart in a way that none of the new releases could.While SF's release of Peter Pan disappointed on eight, and Fox's Runaway Jury only managed to get as high as 13 despite a high screen average, it was the hot Oscar films that impressed the most.While The Return Of The King moved from sixth to second and threatened Brother Bear's top position, Lost In Translation jumped from 1
  • Triple Agent

    Dir: Eric Rohmer. France. 2004. 115mins.Triple Agent is another clever, witty, intelligent morality play by the dean and master of the genre Eric Rohmer, interpreted with his legendary playful earnestness. This is however, by his own admission, the most talkative of his films and as such something of a challenge even for his ardent fans.Taking place in Paris during the course of 1936-7, it traces through a series of long-winded conversations the tortuous car
  • Turner to script BloodRayne for Uwe Boll

    AmericanPsycho co-writerGuinevere Turner is writing the screenplay for Uwe Boll's adaptation of BloodRayne, based on the bestselling video gameabout a human-vampire hybrid who hunts down supernatural enemies.Shooting on the$15m production is due to kick off in the Greater Vancouver area and EasternEurope in late summer.Turner, whoseother writing credits include Go Fish, said of the BloodRayne character, "She's hot, she's pissed off,she has special pow
  • UK cinema outlook remains positive

    The UK's cinema industry remains on track to deliver 200 million cinema-goers - and £1bn at the box office - by 2008, according to a new report from analysts Dodona Research.The report put last year's drop of 8.5 million admissions down to the exceptional product line-up of the previous year rather than any underlying weakness in the market, stating that the 167.5 million admissions recorded in 2003 were exactly in line with the trend of 4% annual growth established over the last decad
  • UK Film Council offers digital projection funding for film clubs

    The UK Film Council has launched a £500,000 National Lottery funded initiative to boost access to films in areas without a local screen.Film clubs and local film societies, community groups and mobile film exhibitors are to apply to the digital fund for non-theatrical exhibition. The organisations can secure up to £5,000 to help buy DVD-based digital projection equipment.The Film Council, which administers all lottery funding for film, said that although the UK saw 167 million v
  • Universal's Along Came Polly scores table-topping Mexico bow

    Universal's romantic comedy AlongCame Polly grossed an estimated $8.2m from 1,600 sites in 14 markets through UIP at theweekend to raise its international running total to $24.3m.The highlights were a firstplace $1m bow in Mexico from 233 sites including previews and second place inGermany on $2.9m from 469.The picture remained top inits second weekend in the UK, adding $3m from 370 for $8.7m, and raised itstotal in its third weekend in Brazil by $165,000 for $1.2m, ranki
  • Universal's Polly set for big openings in Germany, Mexico

    Universalexecutives will be hoping the stars continue to shine on Along Came Polly this weekend when the romantic comedygoes out wide in Germany and Mexico through UIP.The picture, which opened top in the UK last weekend andremained number one in its second weekend in Brazil, opens in Germany on Mar 4on 475 screens and in Mexico on Mar 5 on 260.Strong openingsare expected in light of Polly's string of impressive international bows, which have notc
  • Veteran Italian producer juggles historic biopics

    Renowned Italian executive and line producer Mario Cotone is currently developing two major international multi-million dollar projects that will both be backed by RAI and are set to shoot next autumn.The first is a long-gestating $25m movie about Matteo Ricci, a 16th century Italian Jesuit missionary and scientist who lived in China during the late Ming dynasty.The legendary priest, who dressed like a Chinese scholar, is credited for bringing Western culture, mathematics, scien
  • Von Trier completes Manderlay casting

    Lars von Trier has rounded out the cast for Manderlay, the second film in his USA trilogy after Dogville, with a contingent of US stars.Danny Glover and John C. Reilly join the new leading lady Bryce Dallas Howard as well as Lauren Bacall, Jeremy Davies and Chloe Sevigny, who return for more after first appearing in Dogville.France's Isaach De Bankole, who originates from the Ivory Coast and has starred in Jim Jarmusch's Night On Earth and Ghost Do
  • Von Trier's Dogville takes Danish critics' prize

    Lars von Trier was back with a vengeance in Copenhagen on Sunday night, where the Danish film critics gave out their prestigious Bodil Awards.With Dogville singled out as the best film he became the first filmmaker to win the coveted award five times - despite missing out with his two latest films, Dancer In The Dark and The Idiots.His previous winning films were Element Of Crime, Europa, The Kingdom and Breaking The Waves.Many had tippe
  • Walden denies Kidman link to Narnia

    Walden Media has denied widespread rumours that Nicole Kidman is poised to take a major role in the forthcoming The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.Early this week, several New Zealand newspapers - including The New Zealand Herald, The Sunday Mail and The Dominion Post - reported that Kidman spent time in Christchurch, New Zealand, and toured potential locations by helicopter for the fantasy epic."It was a false story that came out of New Zealand," said Ali
  • Walk On Water is joint Roadside/Goldwyn domestic buy

    RoadsideAttractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films have jointly acquired North Americanrights to Eytan Fox's political thriller Walk On Water.The picture, a hit at Berlin this year, is the follow-upto Fox's worldwide success, Yossi And Jagger.The story centreson an Israeli assassin who goes undercover as a tour guide in order to trackdown his target, an elderly Nazi war criminal.Lior Ashkenaziand Knut Bergen star and the pictu
  • Winchester finally becomes Content

    The name Winchester Entertainment PLC is set to disappear, it was confirmed yesterday as further details of the merger between Winchester and Ed Pessman and John Schmidt's ContentFilm inc. were announced.Subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting on 26 March, the new enlarged entity is to be called ContentFilm PLC. It will be traded on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.As part of its expansion, the company has raised £8
  • Working Title options best-seller

    Working Title Films has optioned Star Of The Sea, Joseph O'Connor's best-selling novel set on a ship full of emigres fleeing the Irish potato famine.Told through the eyes of one passenger, a New York Times reporter, the acclaimed novel charts the fortunes of an array of characters on board the Star Of The Sea, which is heading for America in 1847. During the 26-day journey, passengers in steerage die of starvation and disease, while the first class is riddled with adultery and i