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9 March 2008

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  • 10,000 BC

    Directed by Roland Emmerich. US. 2007. 108 mins. Closer in spirit to the kitschy fantasy of One Million Years BC than the grungy realism of Quest For Fire, Roland Emmerich's 10,000 BC is a lumbering and mostly unconvincing prehistoric adventure partially redeemed by some eye-catching effects and cinematography. Interest from younger moviegoers for whom the prehistoric genre may still be fresh could result in a healthy opening, but with limited st
  • Alex Hamilton appointed director of UK's Contender Films

    Alex Hamilton, the former president of Icon Film Distribution, has joined growing UK distributor Contender Entertainment Group.He has been appointed director of Contender Films, the company's feature film theatrical distribution and operations division for the UK and Ireland.He takes the post as of April 1 and will report to CEG managing director Richard Bridgwood.Hamilton departed Icon in November 2006. Prior to that job, he was director of sales and business development
  • Alison Lohman takes lead role in Raimi's Drag Me To Hell

    Alison Lohman has replaced Ellen Page in Ghost House Pictures and Mandate Pictures' upcoming supernatural thriller Drag Me To Hell.Page exited the project at the weekend due to scheduling conflicts. Lohman will now star as an ambitious career woman who gets cursed by a witch.Sam Raimi will begin directing on Mar 31 in Los Angeles from a screenplay he co-wrote with his brother Ivan.Universal Pictures holds North American
  • Avex and Bill Kong create $16.75m Irresistible film fund

    Japan's Avex Group Holdings has announced the establishment of a 10-year $16.75m film fund in partnership with major film producer Bill Kong.Operating under the name Irresistible Films LP, the fund was jointly established by Avex Group Holdings (39.4%), Hong Kong-based subsidiary Avex Asia Ltd (9.9%) and Silk Screen Partners Ltd with a majority share of 50.7%.Silk Screen Partners was established by Bill Kong and Asian regional investment expert Hugh Simon to manage the fund.
  • Away From Her sweeps the board at Canada's Genie Awards

    Debut filmmaker Sarah Polley wore out her boots at the 2008 Genie Awards Monday night. The director and screenwriter of Away From Her and her collaborators made their way to the podium seven times in the evening, picking up every major award including Best Picture for producers Daniel Iron, Simone Urdl and Jennifer Weiss and Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and the Claude Jutra Award for Best Debut for Polley. Julie Christie was named Bes
  • Bangkok International Film Fest to go ahead in July

    Following the recent appointment of Weerasak Kowsurat as the new minister of tourism and sports, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has finally been given the greenlight for this year's Bangkok International Film Festival (BKIFF) which will be held from July 21-30. The Federation of National Film Association of Thailand, which was roped in to run the Bangkok Film Market last year, will be responsible for managing the festival this year.The association's new president Jareuk Kaljar
  • Belgrad & Tolmach named presidents of Columbia Pictures

    Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach have each been named president of Columbia Pictures and have extended their contracts to 2011.The executives have been running production at the studio since 2003 and overseen titles such as the Spider-Man franchise, Casino Royale, Superbad, The Da Vinci Code, Hitch, Ghost Rider and many others.Studio sources said since 2003 releases under Belgrad and Tolmach's
  • Belgrade Meetings boost projects from Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia

    The third Belgrade Industry Meetings, also known as B2B (Business to Belgrade) took place this weekend as a part of the 36th Belgrade International Film Festival FEST(Feb 22- Mar 2).B2B focuses on 'Europe out of Europe'- a concept including countries which are geographically in Europe but not yet fully included in European integrative currents, and divided into three sections: the East European (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine), Euro-Asian (Israel, Ka
  • Bird, Kandhari to share the Leadership Award from IFFLA

    Walt Disney International chairman Andy Bird and PricewaterhouseCoopers India partner and leader of the entertainment media practice Timmy Kandhari will share the 2008 Industry Leadership Award from the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles' (IFFLA).The award was created to recognise the achievements of industry executives who have had 'a substantial and personal impact on the creation and distribution of Indian themed content globally and have led the expansion of the entertainment an
  • Bourne takes top honours at UK Sony Ericsson Empire Awards

    The Bourne Ultimatum was named best film at the UK's Sony Ericsson Empire Awards in London.But most honours - voted for by the public - went to Joe Wright's Atonement, with awards for best actor (James McAvoy), actress (Keira Knightley) and British film.David Yates was named best director for Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix while Sam Riley added to his honours as best newcomer for Control.Other UK films picking up prizes were
  • Breakfast With Scot to open 10th Miami Gay & Lesbian festival

    The East Coast premiere of Laurie Lynd's comedy Breakfast With Scot and Thomas Gustafson's Were The World Mine bookend the 10th Annual Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which is set to run from Apr 25-May 4.Avi Nesher's drama The Secrets starring Fanny Ardant is the centerpiece screening. Killer Films partner and longtime producer Christine Vachon will be the su
  • Burn After Reading set for Sept 12 opening in the US

    Focus Features will release Joel and Ethan Coen's upcoming comedy Burn After Reading on Sept 12.The dating gives the film prime positioning for premieres at the Venice and Toronto film festivals.George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt and Tilda Swinton star in the story of an ousted CIA agent who loses his unpublished memoirs. Richard Jenkins also stars.The Coens are producing and Working Title's Ti
  • Canada's Cineplex promotes Jason Fulsom

    Canadian exhibitor Cineplex Entertainment has promoted Jason Fulsom to vice president, film. The promotion, effective immediately, increases Fulsom's responsibilities to include the negotiation and programming of films for the Toronto market, working with the US majors and independent distributors as well as liaising with the exhibitor's corporate sales and alternative programming departments. 'Jason brings 11 years of film buying and booking experience to the position an
  • Canadian filmmakers denounce proposed law as censorship

    Canada's film and television community is up in arms amidst the revelation of proposed federal legislation that could potentially retract a production's tax-credit eligibility after the fact. Under changes to Bill C-10 introduced by the minority Conservative government, the Income Tax Act would deny a production company its tax credit unless the Minister of Canadian Heritage was 'satisfied that public financial support of the production would not be contrary to public policy.' The go
  • Cartoon Tributes go to French projects including Persepolis

    France was the big winner of this year's Cartoon Movie Tributes awarded to 'companies or personalities that have had a positive or dynamic influence on the European animation feature film industry' which were presented at the Cartoon Movie market in Babelsberg this afternoon.The Best European Director of the Year award went to Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud for their film Persepolis which has received more than 18 award nominations, including the Oscar for Best Animated
  • Chadwick to direct The Property for Material, Seymour

    London-based production company Material Entertainment is in advanced talks with Justin Chadwick to direct thriller The Property.Chadwick's The Other Boleyn Girl opens in the UK today.The Property is a London-set thriller about a young professional couple who use dubious methods to land their dream home, only to be tormented by the previous owner. Justin Trefgarne will work on the rewrite of Clive Dawson's original screenplay.Material will produ
  • Che, Chang promoted at NBC Universal International TV Distribution

    NBC Universal International Television Distribution has announced two promotions, with Justin Che named senior vice president of international new media licensing and Sandra Chang rising to vice president of international new media licensing.Both Los Angeles-based executives report to executive vice president of international new media licensing Beth Minehart.Che most recently served as vice president of international new media licensing and before that was vice president

    With production volume and box-office revenue growing at more than 20% year on year, along with breakneck multiplex development, China is a film market the global industry cannot afford to neglect. However, entering the Chinese market also means tackling the country’s yet-to-be-resolved issues - censorship and piracy.

    Jiang Yiyan, actressJiang stars in Zhao Tianyu's romantic comedy Gourmet Of Poison, opposite Francis Ng and actress Yu Nan. Also a pop singer, Jiang is now working with Lu Chuan on the historical drama Nanking! Nanking!, as well
  • China's Enlight Media and Hurray Holding call off merger plans

    Chinese ring tone provider Hurray! Holding and film and TV producer Enlight Media have announced that they have ceased their merger agreement which was signed on Nov 19 last year. According to a statement issued by both companies, the break-up resulted from the discrepancy in the two companies' business strategies. The two agreed that the merger may not serve the best interests of each company, but in future they will continue cooperation by other means.As a result of the announcem
  • China's Jeboo settles with MPA over copyright infringement

    The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and five US studios reached a global settlement with Beijing Jeboo Interactive Science & Technology and two co-defendents on litigation over copyright infringement of 20 Hollywood films. Five MPA member companies - Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Columbia and Universal -jointly filed complaints in the Shanghai court late last year against Jeboo, Shanghai East Cyber Cafe Tongxin Road Shop Co and San Yi Industry and Trading, for the unauthorised use
  • Chinese scriptwriters call on SARFT for rights protection

    More than 80 Chinese film and TV scriptwriters have collectively filed a petition to the State Administration of Film, Radio and Television (SARFT) demanding greater recognition and rights protection. The scriptwriters' three major demands are: to ensure their names are credited in the proper places in films and TV programmes; to ensure they are paid and paid on time, and to ensure that SARFT censors review scripts only after disputesbetween writers andproducers over content have been set
  • Comedy Bienvenue sets record for opening weekend in France

    The Dany Boon-directed comedy Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'Tis has overtaken Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith with the all-time best opening weekend in Paris and its environs.The film, which is set in the north of France and whose title refers to the local denizens, has sold 604,126 tickets in Paris since its debut last Wednesday. Further, the film has now surpassed the record set by Patrice Leconte's Les Bronzes 3 Amis Pour La Vie in 2006 for the all-time bes
  • ContentFilm calls off plans for acquisition by Peace Arch

    ContentFilm has called off a possible deal with Peace Arch Entertainment.Peace Arch Entertainment Group had entered into a letter of intent to acquire ContentFilm in late December in a deal to be worth 19,500,000 Peace Arch shares plus cash of $35m.Content said that since December 'there have been several circumstances that have made it more difficult to conclude the PAE transaction as contemplated' including a drop in Peace Arch share price, difficult capital markets and delays
  • Dragon Hunters opens 10th Cartoon Movie market in Babelsberg

    This year's Cartoon Movie co-production forum for European animation feature films will open in Potsdam on Wednesday evening March 5 with an avant-premiere screening of Dragon Hunters.The film's producers Futurikon, Trixter, LuxAnimation and Mac Guff Ligne are also among the nominees for this year's Cartoon Movie Tributes which are awarded in recognition of services to the European animation industry and voted on by the 500 delegates at the three-day event at the Babelsberg st
  • EFP backs eight European projects in Guadalajara

    European Film Promotion's Film Sales Support initiative is backing a range of European films at the Guadalajara International Film Festival in March for the second year.Eight European films are being supported for promotional campaigns via their sales agents at the festival (March 7-14).The films and their sales companies are: Stephan Carpiaux's Red Ants (Wide Management), Threes Anna's The Bird Can't Fly (Eastwest), Aitor Arregi and Jose Mari Goenaga's Lucio (Irusoin), Luis Fil
  • Ellen Page drops out of Raimi's Drag Me To Hell

    Ellen Page has exited Ghost House Pictures and Mandate Pictures' upcoming horror film Drag Me To Hell due to scheduling conflicts caused by a change in the production start date.Sam Raimi is preparing to direct the tale he co-wrote with his brother Ivan about an ambitious career woman who gets cursed by a witch.'We were racing to start production so that we could accommodate Ellen's schedule,' Ghost House Pictures and Mandate Pictu
  • Eros International releases Heyy Babyy on Blu-Ray format

    India's Eros International has released Hindi comedy Heyy Babyy on Blu-ray, marking the first global release of a Bollywood film on the format. The film is the first of a slate of planned Blu-ray releases by Eros.Heyy Babyy, directed by Sajid Khan and starring Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Ritesh Deshmukh and Fardeen Khan, will be followed by Om Shanti Om starring Shah Rukh Khan.Heyy Babyy has been mastered directly from the negative digital source und
  • Eurimages backs new projects from Danis Tanovic, Marco Bellocchio

    The Council of Europe's Eurimages co-production fund has backed 10 new features for a total of $5.4m (Euros 3.57m).The supported projects are:3 Sezony V Pekle by Tomas Masin (Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia) EEP by Rita Horst (Netherlands, Belgium) Europolis, The Town of the Delta by Kostadin Bonev (Bulgaria, Austria) Forgotten Space by Allan Sekula and Noel Burch Documentary (Netherlands, Austria) Fragments of Grace b
  • Fifth Sofia Meetingsselects 22 second features for fifth edition

    New feature films by Serbia's Dusan Milic, Estonia's Ilmar Raag and Germany's Marc Meyer are among 22 projects being presented at the fifth edition of the Sofia Meetings pitching forum for second feature films from March 13-16.For the first time this year, three of the projects selected for pitching at the Sofia Meetings are from participants of the EAVE producer training programme: Jean-Julien Chervier's White Grass, Toby Braeuhauser's Come In, and Ignas Miskinis's
  • Film Source acquires Urban's Preaching To The Perverted

    Alex Massis' Florida-based Film Source has acquired Stuart Urban's cult 1998 film Preaching To The Perverted.Preaching To The Perverted is an erotic romp though the underground world of British fetish clubs and tells of a computer geek who is dispatched by moral crusaders to infiltrate and gather evidence against London's S&M scene. Christien Anholt stars with Guinevere Turner and Tom Bell.T

    The oldest and arguably most established film market in Asia, Filmart (March 17-20) has emerged as one of the leading events on the global film industry's calendar.Launched by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) back in 1997, the market is still dominated by Asian product and those who want to sell to Asia. However, specialisation is probably not such a bad idea when so many events are competing for the industry's time, wallets and air miles.Initially focused on film a

    HONG KONGFilmart's host country has a strong line-up of product this year, from social dramas and crime thrillers to big-budget martial-arts films.Media Asia is selling Dante Lam's The Sniper, starring Richie Jen and Huang Xiaoming
  • Fine Cut seals The Chaser remake deal with Warner Bros

    Korea's Fine Cut has announced the $1m sale of remake rights for Na Hong-jin's thriller The Chaser to Warner Brothers. The no. 1 film, released Feb 14,has grossed over$20m (KW19bn) with 2.8 million admissions, according to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC)'s database as of March 6.In the film, a man declares to the police that he is responsible for a series of brutal murders, but they can't arrest him without any evidence. He taunts them by saying the last girl to go missing
  • France - Critical faculties

    "He would never talk about his problems but it was impossible not to feel his anxiety," says young French director Mia Hansen-Love of producer Humbert Balsan, who she worked with on her debut feature, Tout Est Pardonne, winner of the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc in France last year.Later this year, Hansen-Love hopes to begin production on her second feature, Le Pere De Mes Enfants. The $4m project, presented at Rotterdam's CineMart in January and being produced by Paris-
  • French films, led by Ch'Tis, lead the international box office

    French films accounted for nearly a quarter of the international top 40 revenue this weekend, spearheaded by a whopping $32.5m opening from top film Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis.The top 40 films generated $188.5m from 45,384 screens for the period of February 29-March 2. For the full international chart, compiled by Len Klady, click here.Ch'Tis, released thr
  • Guadalajara to open next week with El Cafe De Los Maestros

    The 23rd Guadalajara International Film Festival will open next Friday with Mguel Kohan's El Cafe De Los Maestros, a documentary about the glory days of Argentinian Tango.Argentina is the featured country this year and ten Argentinian films will screen this year, while the festival will also act as a meeting point for producers and distributors from Argentina in order to strengthen ties with Mexico.The Festival, which has evolved f

    Expanding from its Hong Kong roots to become a truly regional event, the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) has been the springboard for many critically acclaimed as well as commercially successful projects.From last year's line-up, Korean director Kim Jee-woon's The Good, The Bad And The Weird and Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata are expected to feature prominently on this year's festival circuit. Meanwhile, Yu Lik Wai's Plastic City will soon begin shooting
  • Head of KOFIC An Cheong-sook resigns

    Chairperson of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) An Cheong-sook has tendered her resignation to newly appointed minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism Yu In-Chon, citing personal reasons. Her three-year term, along with that of the other eight members of the 3rd KOFIC executive council, normally would end on May 27.In the case Yu accepts her resignation, KOFIC vice chairman Lee Hyeon-Seung would take charge of the council for the remaining period.In an open letter to the local

    Primarily an audience festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival (Hkiff) nonetheless achieves greater international recognition by taking place at the same time as Filmart and the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF). In turn, it helps to increase the film-maker quotient at both industry-heavy events.Nearly 300 films from 46 countries will screen at this year's edition (March 17-April 6), which opens with Japanese director Yoji Yamada's Kabei - Our Mother and So

    ConnectedDir: Benny ChanWarner China Film and Hong Kong's Emperor Motion Pictures are teaming up on this Chinese-language remake of New Line's kidnap thriller Cellular. Benny Chan is directing the $4.5m film with Louis Koo, Barbie Hsu and Liu Ye heading the cast.Contact: Emperor Motion Pictures, (852) 2835 6688An Empress And The Warriors

    Hong Kong's overall box office leapt 11% to just over $129.6m (hk$1bn) in 2007, marking the first time the territory's box office has bounced back above the hk$1bn level since 2001.The increase was due partly to new cinema openings, strong US studio product and a strengthening economy. Last year, the Lark Group's UA Cinemas opened Hong Kong's first Imax cinema, the seven-screen UA MegaBox in Kowloon.In addition, Intercontinental Group's Multiplex Cinema Limited (MCL) joined forc
  • Hong Kong Overview - Financing - A lifeline for independent producers

    Launched last April, the Film Development Council (FDC) advises the Hong Kong government on policy for the promotion and development of the local film industry. It also oversees the $38m (hk$300m) Film Development Fund and related areas, such as training and promotion of film literacy.Designed to support small to medium-sized productions, the fund backs films with budgets not exceeding $1.6m (hk$12m), which employ a certain proportion of Hong Kong talent. Funding support is in the form

    Launched last April, the Film Development Council (FDC) advises the Hong Kong government on policy for the promotion and development of the local film industry. It also oversees the $38m (hk$300m) Film Development Fund and related areas, such as training and promotion of film literacy.Designed to support small to medium-sized productions, the fund backs films with budgets not exceeding $1.6m (hk$12m), which employ a certain proportion of Hong Kong talent. Funding support is in the form

    Looking solely at the numbers, the Hong Kong film industry had a tough time last year, with a further decline in the number of films produced to a record low of 50, according to figures from the Motion Picture Industry Association (Mpia). Their combined share of the Hong Kong box office also contracted to just 23%, compared to 31% the previous year.This picture might not have been so gloomy if Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, which grossed $6.2m (hk$48m) locally, had been classified as
  • Huayi Bros to make donations to Jet Li's One Foundation

    Huayi Brothers Pictures has pledged to donate part of the box office revenues of its productions to Jet Li's charity group One Foundation. Starting from the release of Forbidden Kingdom, which starts Jet Li and Jackie Chan, Huayi Brothers will donate one mao (1.5 cents) from each ticket sold for the next ten years.In addition, four Chinese cinema circuits have pledged to donate one fen (one tenth of a mao) from each ticket they sell to a Huayi Brothers film. The four
  • IFC picks up domestic rights to Fear(s) Of The Dark

    IFC has picked up all North American rights to Fear(s) Of The Dark, a collection of nightmarish visions by six graphic artists and cartoonists.Blutch, Marie Caillou, Pierre DiSciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, Richard McGuire and Charles Burns directed and Valerie Schermann and Christophe Jankovic produced the French-language animated film.IFC Entertainment's vice president of acquisitions and production Arianna Bocco negotiated the deal w
  • IFC signs two-year exclusive rental deal with Blockbuster

    IFC Entertainment has signed a two-year deal with Blockbuster granting the video rental giant limited exclusive US rental rights for IFC titles.The agreement will make IFC titles available via Blockbuster's stores, mail subscription services and its digital downloading service will get an exclusive 60-day rental window covering physical and digital distribution. After 60 days IFC titles will become available on a non-exclusive basis for retail an
  • India's UFO Moviez digitalises more than 1,000 cinemas

    India's UFO Moviez has announcedit hassuccessfully completed the installation of digital technology in more than 1,000 cinemas across India. The company has a strong foothold in India, releasing over 600 movies in 17 languages within the last two years.Sister company UFO International has also completed installing digitalon 21 screens across Nepal, Sri Lanka and Mauritius within the last two months.Rajesh Mishra, CEO of UFO Moviez, says: 'In less than two years, UFO Moviez h
  • Ingenious acquires Human Capital, launches consulting arm

    UK-based finance powerhouse Ingenious Media has moved into consulting with the launch of Ingenious Consulting Network (ICN). Ingenious has acquired Human Capital, a strategy, research and development consultancy that concentrates on media, entertainment and telecoms.ICN said it planned to acquire other businesses offering consulting to media and entertainment businesses.Kip Meek, a former executive board member of Ofcom and Chairman of the Broadband S
  • International - France plays joker

    French films accounted for nearly a quarter of the international top 40 revenue this weekend, spearheaded by a whopping $32.5m opening from top film Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis.The comedy, released through Pathe, played on 838 screens and boasted the highest screen average of the year so far with a mammoth $38,816 per screen.It scored the all-time best opening week and weekend in the country, beating out Les Bronzes 3: Amis Pour La Vie in 2006, and reported 3,586,497
  • International sales pioneer Bill Moraskie dies at 82

    William J Moraskie, a long-time sales executive and one of the founding members of the American Film Market, died on Mar 2 at Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach, Florida, following a brief illness. He was 82.Moraskie was born on Jan 11 1926 in Mt Carmel, Pennsylvania, and following service in the US Navy from 1943-47 and two years of higher education he began his career in the film industry with Columbia Pictures in 1951.During his stint as assistant manager and
  • Jason Neff starts production on female jockey documentary

    Los Angeles-based film-maker Jason Neff has started production for his new documentary Jock for Innerview Entertainment and Ellman Entertainment.The feature-length documentary about female horse racing jockeys will be directed by Neff and produced by Neff and Linda Ellman (On Native Soil).
  • Jeremy Pelzer tapped to head UK's Elstree Studios

    Jeremy Pelzer has been appointed to head Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, UK.He will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Studio business, developing new initiatives, extending partnerships, and raising the profile of Elstree.Pelzer wasformerly studio director of Ealing Studios from 2002 to 2007 also managed the renewal of 3 Mills Studios in 2001.
  • Jerwood hands out three prizs to UK moving image artists

    The Jerwood Charitable Foundation has announced the three winners of the inaugural Jerwood Moving Image Awards.The winners are Evensong by Sophie Clements, Procrastination by Johnny Kelly and Sea Change by Rosie Pedlow and Joe King. Each gets an award of $19,783 (£10,000).The awards are for artists working in digital moving image.Roanne Dods, director of the Foundation, said: 'The Jerwood Moving Image Awards mark the coming of age of a uniquely
  • Joan Chen, Zhao Tao to star in Jia Zhangke's 24 City

    Joan Chen and Zhao Tao will star in Jia Zhangke's 24 City, which will begin shooting at the end of March. They will portray female factory workers in the 1980s. Also starring in the film are TV veterans Chen Jianbin and Lu Liping, according to Jia, who is now in Chengdu city in south-west China, preparing for the shooting.The $2.8m (RMB20m) film is jointly financed by Jia's Xstream Pictures, Shanghai Film Group, Chinese Real Estate developer China Resource Land (CR Land) and
  • Jumper and Vantage Point build US exports as they expand this weekend

    While none of Hollywood's releases could match the might of Pathe International's French comedy sensation Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis last weekend, US exports continued to build steadily and stir up their own drama.In particular, the close contest between Fox International's sci-fi romp Jumper and Sony Pictures Releasing International's (SPRI) thriller Vantage Point
  • LA distributors rep Orange launches film finance division

    Mirjam Wertheim's LA-based distributors' rep Orange Entertainment is branching out into film financing through a new division called Orange Film Finance and a first-look deal with Goldcrest Independent.In addition to its existing business, Orange will also serve as a consultant to independent producers helping them secure finance for films by accessing Wertheim and her team's market knowledge, ability to coordinate foreign presales and capacity to arrange other means of finance.
  • Larry Angrisani promoted to senior vice president at Miramax

    Larry Angrisani has been promoted to senior vice president of international publicity and awards for Miramax Films.Angrisani has served as head of the international publicity department at Miramax for the past four years and will continue to report to Miramax chief Daniel Battsek and senior vice president of international distribution and operations Colleen Seldin.Angrisani will continue to spearhead the company's international publicity and award's campaigns, working clo
  • Little Girl Blue named Best Film at Czech Lion Awards

    Alice Nellis' Little Girl Blue has been named Best Film at the annual Czech Lion awards, the Czech equivalent of the Oscars. The film's producer, Jan Sverak, received the award at a gala ceremony Saturday at Prague's Lucerna Palace and immediately shared it with the film's director, Alice Nellis. Sverak enjoyed 2-to-1 odds to win Best Film as he was also the producer and director of Empties,
  • Man leaves Singapore's MDA for Mark Burnett

    Man Shu Sum has resigned as director of the Singapore Film Commission (SFC) and director of strategic relations for the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA). He will join Mark Burnett Productions Asia (MBPA) as CEO to produce Asian television content for the international market. The company is a new $20m joint venture between the US television producer (Survivor, The Contender) and Genting International, a Singapore-listed gaming and entertainment giant.MBP
  • Managing director Stephan Schesch takes over Animation X

    Managing director Stephan Schesch has taken over control of the Berlin-based production house Animation X Gesellschaft zur Produktion von Animationsfilmen following the exit of the shareholders X-Filme creative pool and David Groenewold's Promedium from the joint venture.Speaking exclusively to on the eve of this year's Cartoon Movie co-production market in Babelsberg, Schesch explained that Animation X will be merged with his Munich-based production outfit Sch
  • Marketing veteran Geoff Ammer lands at Marvel Studios

    Geoff Ammer, the former head of worldwide marketing at Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, has landed at Marvel Studios as president of worldwide marketing and home entertainment.Ammer reports to Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel and will get to work immediately on campaigns for two of this summer's more anticipated releases, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. The latter poses the consi
  • McTavish joins cast of Hardy's Cowboys For Christ

    Graham McTavish, who stars alongside Sylvestor Stallone in Rambo, has joined Christopher Lee and Joan Collins on the cast of LA-based Fantastic Films International and London-based CFC Film's horror film Cowboys For Christ. Robin Hardy is set to begin filming on Apr 10 in Dumfries, Scotland, the same region where he directed Lee in the 1973 cult classic The
  • Meistrich's NEHST unveils development slate

    Larry Meistrich has unveiled the 2008 slate of features being out together at his NEHST Studios, which launched at Cannes 2007.President of NEHST Creations - production group Dana Offenbach will oversee production on the titles, which includes Sridhar Reddy's India-set martial arts adventure The Killing Moon, Ron Kanecke's supernatural drama And One For All and Boy's Na
  • Mika Kaurismaki to shoot new Finnish feature in July

    Finnish director-producer Mika Kaurismaki will return to local filmmaking to shoot The House of Branching Love (Haarautuvan rakkauden talo), his first feature in Finnish since Zombie and the Ghost Train in 1991.Credited with such films as Helsinki Napoli All Night Long, Rosso, The Clan and The Worthless, Kaurismaki - who has mainly been based in Rio de Janeiro - has made a dozen international movies, including documentaries on Brazilian music. (Hi
  • Mini works with Future Shorts for UK short film programme

    Car company Mini UK is launching screenings of original short films in UK cinemas.The four month campaign starts on March 7 and will feature films supplied by Future Shorts.The three shorts screening from March to June are: Procrastination by Levni Yilmaz, Park Football by Grant Orchard and Neighbor by Eric Lynne.Screenings of the shorts will be held before features such as Juno, National Treasure: Book Of Secrets, There Will Be Blood, The Bank Job, In Bruges and City Of
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day

    Dir. Bharat Nalluri, UK, 2008, 92 minutes.Set in lavishly-decadent pre-war London, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is a grown-up Cinderella story about a middle-aged jobless governess who schemes to be social secretary to an American Lolita, who, in turn, schemes to be a singer. Bharat Nalluri's unimaginative, awkwardly-scripted farcereminds you how witty and elegant the screwball comedies of the 1930's were - while also reminding you how difficult it is to equal them. Apl
  • Momentum, Sky partner for DVD/VOD release of Vegas, Baby

    Momentum Pictures and Sky have struck a deal to simultaneously release Vegas, Baby on DVD and Sky Box Office and Sky Anytime on PC.The release date is March 31 for Sky and DVD sales, which is two weeks after the DVD rental release.The Sky platforms will the pay-per-view/VOD offering for four months at a cost of £3.95.Eric Bernt's Vegas, Baby, is a comedy starring Kal Penn, Jonathan Bennett, Donald Faison and Jaime Pressly.The companies have also w
  • MPAA claims record domestic, international numbers for 2007

    The Motion Picture Association of America announced a record box office of $9.63bn for the calendar year 2007 in the domestic marketplace. Additionally it cited international box office of $17.09bn for a global revenue tally of $26.72bn that represented a 4.7% increase from 2006.MPAA president Daniel Glickman presided over a press conference call yesterday detailing industry statistics with particular emphasis on member company activity. 'I think it's fair to say that the overall
  • Neo's Money No Enough 2 starts shooting in Singapore

    Singapore's film industry is witnessing a big surge in output with Jack Neo's latest comedy Money No Enough 2 being one of the four local productions that starts filming this month. The new picture marks the debut project of Neo Studios, set up by Neo and former fund manager Philip Wu. Neo's regular backers MediaCorp Raintree Pictures and Scorpio East Pictures are co-producing.The picture celebrates the 10th anniversary of the original Money No Enough, a landmark film
  • New Films International extends Latin American deal with MGM

    New Films International (NFI) and MGM Television Group have extended their Latin American output deal by five years.Under the deal MGM will have the right to distribute 70 films from NFI's library as well as any titles produced or acquired during the life of the agreement.The two most recent NFI films are thriller The Alphabet Killer starring Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes and Timothy Hutton and Kabluey
  • North America - Hatched In Canada With French DNA

    Vincenzo Natali laughs ruefully at the notion that he is 'big in France'. As with seemingly every other notable English-Canadian film-maker, his work is more successful critically and commercially in France than in his own country.It is a proud tradition, which certainly places him in good company (David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin). His 1997 low-budget feature debut Cube drew more than 800,000 admissions in France, as opposed to a gross of $500,000 in North America in 1
  • NZ Film Commission boards Second Hand Wedding

    The New Zealand Film Commission has taken international sales rights and invested in the post-production of the feel-good drama Second Hand Wedding. The film was directed by Paul Murphy from a script by Nick Ward (Stickmen, The Ferryman). It is about Jill (Geraldine Brophy), a school teacher who is so obsessed by garage sales and trading second hand goods that her daughter Cheryl does not tell her when she decides to marry for fear her big day will be swamped by pre-l
  • Pan-European digital cinema pilot project to launch in autumn

    France's MK2, Hungary's Szimpla Film, Denmark's Nordisk Film and Belgium's Kinepolis Group are supporting a European 'Cinema on demand' film digitisation project entitled Europe's Finest which is being launched this autumn by Cologne-based reelport to digitise and distribute 30-40 European films.The project, which has been supported by the European Union's MEDIA Programme, will see 35mm prints of films being digitised into a JPG2000 DCI-compliant format in order for them to be screened
  • Pfeiffer leaves Hong Kong'sCelestial Pictures

    William Pfeiffer has resigned from Celestial Pictures after heading for seven years the Hong Kong-based company that owns the Shaw Brothers film library. Citing personal reasons for his departure, he is expected to pursue new business ventures reportedly with backing from Hollywood. March 9 is his last day of service.More about his resignation and his replacement will be announced later by publicly-listed Malaysian broadcaster Astro All Asia Networks which owns Celestial.Cel
  • Religare, Vistaar launch India's first film fund

    Religare Enterprises and Vistaar Entertainment Ventures have joined hands to launch the Vistaar Religare Film Fund (VRFF), touted as India’s first regulated film fund.AMC Vistaar Religare Capital Advisors Limited has filed for approval with the Indian stock exchange board as a venture capital fund (VCF). The fund will be close-ended with a lock-in of five years and is expected to raise approximately $49.6m (Rs2bn) in the first round.VRFF intends to invest in film projects in Ind
  • Revolver Germany on board for Czech co-production Normal

    Revolver Film Germany, the German outpost of Raymond van der Kaaij's Dutch production outfit Revolver Film, has boarded its first co-production Normal by Julius Sevcik with Czech producer Karla Stojakova's Axman Production.Speaking exclusively to, Marta Lamperova, van der Kaaij's partner in Revolver Film Germany, described the filmmaker as 'young and bold' and explained that Sevcik's second feature film would be 'a very dark story about a mass murderer
  • Richard Curtis starts rocking Boat for Universal/Working Title

    Universal Pictures and Working Title Films started principal photography yesterday for Richard Curtis' new comedy The Boat That Rocked.Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost and Kenneth Branagh star. Hoffman, Nighy, Ifans and Frost play iconoclastic DJs while Branagh plays a government official out to get the lawbreakers.The supporting cast includes Tom Sturridge, Jack Davenport, Ralph Brown, Chris O'Dowd and January Jones.The Boat That Ro
  • Richard Napper takes MD post at UK's Curzon Cinemas

    Richard Napper, the former managing director, UK, of Sony Pictures International, has been appointed as the new managing director of Curzon Cinemas.He will oversee all the business operations of exhibition outfit Curzon, part of UK distributor-exhibitor Curzon Artificial Eye Group. Louisa Dent continues as managing director on the distribution side.Philip Knatchbull, CEO of Curzon Artificial Eye, said in a statement: 'We are absolutely delighted that someone with Richard's consi
  • Rutger Wolfson appointed general director at Rotterdam for four years

    The Board of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has appointed Rutger Wolfson to a four-year term as general director of the festival. The post gives him final responsibility for the artistic and business matters of the festival, the CineMart and the Hubert Bals Fund.Wolfson will resign as director of De Vleeshal, centre for contemporary art in Middelburg as of early July. He had been doing that job as well as serving, since September
  • Sakoda to head sales, business affairs at Pony Canyon

    Shinji Sakoda has been appointed general manager for international sales at Pony Canyon and will also take charge of business affairs.Sakoda replaces Shuji Sato and will step out in his new role in the acquisitions team at Hong Kong's Filmart followed by Cannes.Ryutaro Ueda will take over Sakoda's former role as general manager of Pony Canyon's motion picture department.Sakoda previously oversaw international sales at Pony Canyon international sales from 1995
  • Sarajevo selects five low-budget short projects for City of Film

    Sarajevo Film Festival's Talent Campus project Sarajevo City of Film has selected five low-budget short film projects for the new initiative from the Bosnian Government and its Ministry of Culture and Sports. Participants of the first Talent Campus, held during the 13th edition of the festival in August 2007, applied for grants as production teams made up of three core members: director, producer and actor. The only conditions were that at least two members of the team come from different
  • Screen analysis- The end of the Line

    When Time Warner issued a brief statement last Thursday (March 28) announcing New Line Cinema would be absorbed into Warner Bros Entertainment as a genre unit, it was made very clear New Line's international sales activities would be terminated.'With the growing importance of international revenues, it makes sense for New Line to retain its international film rights and to exploit them through Warner Bros' global distribution infrastructure,' said Time Warner's president and CEO Jeff B
  • Screen opinion: Cinema's public advantage

    It's the small ironies that often give away the big picture.And this week we have the perfect example in the Northern English town of Huddersfield.The ban on smoking in public spaces, which has been spreading across much of the world, has forced players of the game of bingo out of their fuggy halls and they are being welcomed into the comfort of the local cinema.For those not brought up on the joys of the numbers game, a great many of the UK 's cinemas were converted in t
  • Screen opinion: The heart of cinema

    Training is the industry's lifeblood.' So said a senior UK film figure this week in support of a government plan to create an apprenticeship system funded by a new mandatory levy on producers.Unsurprisingly, a number of independent film producers in the territory can see the potential costs rather more than the benefits to them.There's also a chequered history for such schemes stretching back to the Eady Levy. And somewhere along the line, the consultation process seems to have
  • Singapore's Scorpio East buys six-pack from EMP

    Singapore's Scorpio East Pictures has inked a six-movie package deal with Hong Kong's Emperor Motion Pictures (EMP), including Derek Yee's Japan-set Shinjuku Incident starring Jackie Chan, Daniel Wu and Naoto Takenaka. The deal also includes Chen Kaige's Mei Lanfang, a biopic of the legendary Peking opera singer with Leon Lai in the title role and co-starring Zhang Ziyi.This marks the first collaboration between the two companies, following the end of an output deal b
  • Strand Releasing takes US rights to Claude Miller's A Secret

    Strand Releasing has acquired all US rights from UGC International to Claude Miller's A Secret starring Cecile De France, Patrick Bruel, Ludivine Sagnier, Julie Depardieu and Mathieu Amalric.The film screened recently in the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema series at New York's Lincoln Center and is based on Philippe Grimbert's novel about a dark family secret that unravels against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of France.Strand
  • Sydney aims to win back film shoots

    In an effort to turn around the perception that Sydney is unfriendly to film-makers, the New South Wales (NSW) Premier has promised to make it easier to shoot on location by putting the pressure on local councils and government agencies.New legislative amendments would require authorities to approve film-making applications, unless there were compelling reasons not to, NSWPremier Morris Iemma, speaking at Sydney's Fox Studios Australia., said location filming fees would be pegge
  • The Grocer's Son goes to North America with Film Movement

    Film Movement has picked up North American rights to Eric Guirado's drama The Grocer's Son.The story centres on a 30-year-old city dweller who is forced to return to Provence to look after his ailing father. Nicolas Cazale and Clotilde Hesme star.'We are so happy to be distributing this incredibly charming film by an exciting up and coming French director, and we are confident that American audiences will also be won over by this s
  • Then She Found Me to open second AFI Dallas Film Festival

    Helen Hunt's feature directorial debut Then She Found me and Stuart Townsend's activism drama Battle In Seattle bookend the AFI Dallas International Film Festival, set to run from Mar 27-Apr 6.The centerpiece screenings are David Gordon Green's drama Snow Angels and Barry Levinson's comedy What Just Happened'The 11-day festival will screen 210 features and shorts and among the key honours ar
  • THINKFilm takes Sundance critics' favourite Momma's Man

    THINKFilm has acquired North American rights to Azazel Jacobs' drama Momma's Man, which premiered at Sundance in January.The film reunites THINKFilm with Half Nelson producers Alex Orlovsky and Hunter Gray and executive producer Paul Mezey and will get its New York premiere at the Museum of Modern Art on Mar 28 as part of the New Directors/New Films series. THINKFilm plans a series of exclusive engagement
  • Three leads line up for Bruce Beresford's Mao's Last Dancer

    Director Bruce Beresford (Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy) has chosen three actors from three different countries to play Li Cunxin in Mao's Last Dancer.Chi Cao, principal dancer at the Birmingham Royal Ballet since 2002 and winner of the gold medal in 1998 at the Varna ballet competitions, will play the subject of the film as an adult.Australian Ballet dancer Chengwu Guo will play the teenage Li, while Huang Wen Bin, from Beijing, will play him as a
  • Trust, Bac Films to handle international sales on Cartoon Movie projects

    Trust Film Sales and Bac Films are to handle international sales on two projects pitched at this week's Cartoon Movie co-production market in Babelsberg.Trust will be handling international distribution for Valeria Edwina Saunders' Prima Ballerina which is being produced by her company Rambling Rose Animation Studio with Denmark's Zentropa, Hungarian Andras Erkel's Studio Baestarts and Germany's Lunaris Film- und Fernsehprodukti
  • TWC pacts with Bob Marley's widow for reggae biopic

    The Weinstein Company (TWC) has teamed up with Rita Marley and producer Rudy Langlais on the adaptation of Marley's autobiography No Woman No Cry: My Life With Bob Marley.Production will most likely begin in the first quarter of 2009 in Jamaica and other locations in time for a late 2009 qualifying release for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in 2010. The producers are currently out to casting and expect to announce the director shortly.
  • UK web users demand online distribution - but only for free

    UK consumers are enthusiastic about online distribution of films - but few are willing to pay.That's the finding of a survey commissioned by media lawyers Wiggin. Entertainment Media Research spoke to 1,608 UK consumers aged 15-54 in January 2008 and found strong interest in online entertainment, particularly films.But 70% want on-demand content to be free even if that means interruption by advertisements.Thatcompares to 15% opting for a reasonable monthly subscription fo
  • UK's fourth Birds Eye View opens tonight with Maureen Lipman

    The fourth Birds Eye View Film Festival kicks off in London tonight with a special focus on comedy. Maureen Lipman will open the festival at the BFI by presenting a range of short films and a performance by Imogen Heap to accompany silent comedy.BEV is a celebaration of women film-makers from across the globe, showcasing new features, documentaries and shorts. Screenings are held at London’s BFI Southbank and ICA and the festival runs through March 14, when it will close with a screeni
  • UK's John Akomfrah at work on Fela Kuti documentary

    UK film-maker John Akomfrah, who recently collected an Order Of The British Empire (OBE) for his services to film, has several new projects in the works.His Smoking Dogs Films production outfit, with Lina Gopaul and David Lawson, is currently working on a feature-length documentary about Afro Beat legend Fela Kuti. The film, entitled The Black President, is being prepared for a 2009 theatrical launch.Gopaul, Lawson, Joslyn Barnes and Danny Glover are producing.Ako
  • United Kingdom - Flying the flag for education

    The marriage of education and industry is often a forced one, but not at the UK's Met Film. The group, based at the legendary Ealing Studios, combines a film school with an ambitious production company and high-quality digital production and studio facilities. And it has been quietly putting together a pioneering approach of exploiting synergies in the business to address issues of working in a changing digital age.A big piece of the jigsaw was completed this month when producer - and
  • Universal comedy Baby Mama to open Tribeca on April 23

    Universal's comedy Baby Mama starring Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Sigourney Weaver will open the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Apr 23.Michael McCullers' feature directorial debut stars Fey as a career woman who enlists the support of a surrogate (Poehler) in order to start a family, only for the surrogate to turn up on her doorstep in need of a home. The film shot primarily in New York City.Universal has set an Apr 25 release
  • US box office down with lacklustre Semi Pro opening for New Line

    Box office fell for the third consecutive week as the Will Ferrell comedy Semi Pro, New Line's final release before it merges with Warner Bros, launched at number one on a lacklustre $15.3m.This wasn't as good as openings for Ferrell's previous sporting spoofs- Blades Of Glory last year ($33m) and Talladega Nights in 2006 ($47m). Ferrell plays the owner of a basketb
  • Valchanov's Which Way Today to open Sofia festival

    The 12th Sofia International Film Festival (March 6-16) will present 100 feature films, 20 documentaries and 60 shorts in 11 programmes. Bulgarian Rangel Valchanov's Which Way Today, the legendary director's first film in 14 years will open the festival, and Fatih Akin's The Edge Of Heaven will close it.The international competition programme consists of 12 features, including Macedonian I Am From Titov Veles by Teona Strugar Mitevska, Hong Kong-Taiwanese-German
  • Vantage Point takes $11.5m for SPRI, but Fox's Jumper is still top

    Fox International's sci-fi adventure Jumper triumphed over a strong challenge from Sony's assassination thriller Vantage Point to stay atop the overseas charts for the third consecutive weekend as a $12.8m estimated haul saw the tally vault to $81.9m.Jumper remains active on 4,067 screens in 44 markets and the weekend highlight came from Italy, where the film launch
  • Vertigo signs deal for Contender to handle DVD releases

    UK-based distributor Vertigo Films has signed a DVD distribution deal with Contender Home Entertainment, which is part of Contender Entertainment Group (owned by Canada's Entertainment One).Contender will handle DVD distribution for Vertigo's forthcoming theatrical releases, starting with Tom Shankland's serial killer thriller WAZ starring Stellan Skarsgard, Ashley Walters, Melissa George and Selma Blair.The deal covers Vertigo's upcoming slate of features including Rup
  • Vincent Gallo takes lead role in Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro

    Francis Ford Coppola has cast Vincent Gallo as the title character in Tetro, which is set to begin principal photography in Buenos Aires on Mar 31.Newly anointed Oscar winner Javier Bardem, Maribel Verdu and newcomer Alden Ehrenreich also star in the story of a young Argentinean man searching for his older brother.The budget is capped at $15m and Tetro is expected to open in 2009.'Despite the controversy always surrounding him, Vincent Gallo has a rea
  • Vivendi Entertainment branches out into theatrical releasing

    Vivendi Entertainment, formerly Vivendi Visual Entertainment, is branching out from its home entertainment expertise into theatrical releasing and plans to launch eight-14 films a year. Mike Doban will head the new division, which will provide distribution and marketing services and co-ordinate P&A funding. Doban has worked in distribution and exhibition for 27 years including 15 years at United Artists and was also was a co-founder of Freestyle Releasing. The announcem
  • Vivendi Entertainment launches US theatrical division

    Vivendi Entertainment, formerly Vivendi Visual Entertainment, is branching out from its home entertainment expertise into theatrical releasing with plans to handle eight-14 films a year.Mike Doban will head the new division, which will provide distribution and marketing services and co-ordinate P&A funding. Doban has worked in distribution and exhibition for 27 years including 15 years at United Artists and was also was a co-founder of Freestyle Releasing.The announcement
  • Wachowskis' Speed Racer set for simultaneous IMAX release

    Warner Bros has announced that the Wachowski Brothers' Speed Racer will be released on IMAX screens simultaneous with its conventional release May 9, 2008.Produced by Joel Silver, written and directed by The Matrix filmmakers and based on the anime series by Tatsuo Yoshida, the film stars Emile Hirsch as the eponymous free-wheeling race driver. Warner will be the exclusive distributor of the film to IMA
  • Wilco Wolfers confirmed as managing director of A-Film

    Confirming recent reports in Screen, Wilco Wolfers has been appointed managing director of Netherlands-based A-Film Distribution.He succeeds Pim Hermeling, whose departure was announced last week when his shares were transferred to investment company W2Media.Wolfers is currently managing director of Warner Bros Netherlands and will take up the new post as of April 14.'I am delighted that Wolfers will be leading A-Film the coming
  • Wolfson doesn't plan dramatic changes at Rotterdam festival

    Rutger Wolfson, who was today confirmed as general director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, says he doesn't plan sweeping changes for the event, now entering its 38th year.'I don't think there will be dramatic changes,' he told 'The reputation for Rotterdam is that it's innovative and that's one of the reasons I'm interested to be involved. There's an interesting question now, which we discussed at the la
  • Zentropa starts new fund to back challenging Danish films

    Lars von Trier's Danish production outfit Zentropa has started a new fund to give up to $1.2m (Euros 800,000) to challenging local film projects.Lars von Trier will judge the proposed projects himself and the production funds will go to films where the director is working outside the usual language of film and typical plots.The first project to be backed is Anders Ronnow-Klarlund's new film Memories. The unusual project will try to make a film out of still photos. The s