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9 October 2000

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  • 1st German Cinema Festival set for LA next month

    The Export-Union of German Cinema is to stage the 1st annual Festival of German Cinema in Los Angeles from Nov 3-9 presenting 16 new feature films, 15 shorts and a selection of shorts from German film students.Films screening will include: Sebastian Schipper's Gigantic, Achim Von Borries' England, Peter Keglevic's Falling Rocks, Vanessa Joop's Forget America, Peep Danquart's Home Game, Martin Eigler's Friends, Anno Saul's Green Desert,
  • A Shot At Glory

    Dir: Michael Corrente. UK-US. 2000. 114 mins.Prod Co: Eagle Beach Productions, Butcher's Run Productions. Int'l Sales: Seven Arts International (1) 323 467 1822. Prods: Michael Corrente, Robert Duvall, Rob Carliner. Exec Prods: Billy Heinzerling, Steven Bowman, Denis O'Neil. Scr: Denis O'Neil. DoP: Alex Thomson. Prod des: Andy Harris. Ed: David Ray. Mus: Mark Knopfler. Main cast: Robert Duvall, Michael Keaton, Ally McCoist, Brian Cox, Kirsty Mitchell.A labour of love for
  • Artisan acquires comedy script Trifecta

    Artisan Entertainment has acquired worldwide rights to the comedy script Trifecta - the first feature script from the creators of cult US cable TV series Strangers With Candy. Written by show creators Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert with Strangers actor David Pasquesi (all alumni of Chicago's Second City comedy troupe), Trifecta is a screwball comedy about two hapless brothers who join forces with a pyrotechnic conspiracy theorist in a heist plot to steal a
  • Away From The Window

    Dir: Jan Jakub Kolski. Poland. 2000. 104mins.Prod co: Close Up, TVP SA: Agencja Filmowa and Agencja Produkcji Filmowej Komitetu Kinemotograffii. Int'l sales: Close Up, tel: (48) 22 851 2042. Domestic dist: Gutek Film. Prod: Witold Adamek. Scr: Cezary Harasimowicz. DoP: Arkadiusz Tomiak. Set des: Bogdan Nobel-Nobielski. Music: Michal Lorenc. Ed: Zbigniew Kostrzewinski. Prod man: Tadeusz Drewno. Sound: Andrzej Zabicki. Art dir: Michal Hrisulidis. Cost des: Malgorzata Zacharska. Main c
  • Belgrade cinemas hold one-day celebration

    The citizens of Belgrade were treated to free cinema admissions for one day on Friday (October 6) as distributors and exhibitors celebrated the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic's ten-year dictatorship.Among the films screening for free were Mission Impossible 2, Gladiator and Hollow Man. The National Film Archives went one step further, holding a three-day celebration, offering free screenings of domestic and foreign classics, from October 6 to 9. The Free Ci
  • Billy Elliot leads race for BIFAs

    Stephen Daldry's Billy Elliot has garnered five nominations at the forthcoming British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), including nods for best British independent film and best director. The low-budget film, co-produced by Working Title, Tiger Aspect and the BBC, has also picked up nominations for best actress (Julie Walters), best screenplay (Lee Hall) and best on-screen newcomer (Jamie Bell).Other films in the best independent British film category include Terence Davies'
  • Billy Elliot leaps 13% in second weekend

    The Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps may have weighed in at number one in the UK's weekend chart but the box office winner was British title Billy Elliot, which rose 13% from its opening weekend to $2.5m (£1.7m).The figures are vindication that UIP's ambitious release strategy for Stephen Daldry's low-budget directorial debut is a success. Released on just another five screens last weekend (October 6-8), the picture's screen average also rose, crossing more than $8,000 (£5,0
  • Canada boosts funding for domestic films

    The Canadian government has unveiled its new Feature Film Policy under which it will double its investment in feature films to $67m (C$100m) a year.The policy also includes promises to support production from "script to screen" and to boost lacklustre box office receipts for indigenous films."This policy will offer us more homegrown choices in local theatres," heritage minister Sheila Copps told the crowd at the Vancouver International Film Festival, where the long-awaited annou
  • Chaplin Film to back competition winners

    Hungarian production company Chaplin Film and web-site have selected five treatments from their joint screenwriting competition which Chaplin plans to develop into full-length screenplays.The winning projects include Propulsion by Balazs Loth, Dead Channel by Miklos Varga and Andras Horvath, Champion Factory by Istvan Bernath and family dramas Lajcsi, The Cute by Jozsef Makai and Once Upon A Day
  • CITT teams with Total, Mediatrade for TV movies

    Columbia TriStar International Television (CITT) is teaming up with Brazilian production companies Total Filmes and O2 and Italy's Mediatrade to co-produce two TV movies.Both projects will be financed through a combination of pre-sales and tax incentive mechanisms under Brazil's Audiovisual Law. Budgets will be capped at $500,000.The first project under the deal, Favourite Son, is scripted by Dean Hargrove, creator of the long-running Columbo TV series, with Brazil
  • Das Werk takes majority stake in LA's Promark

    Publicly traded German post-production facility Das Werk has acquired a 73% stake in 13 year-old LA-based production and sales outfit Promark Entertainment Group.The move gives Promark access to Das Werk's network of post-production facilities while giving Das Werk a foothold in the US and access to Promark's international sales network. The deal was struck between Das Werk and Conny Lernhag, chairman of Promark Entertainment Group, and Jon Kramer, president of Promark Entertainment G
  • Desire to kickstart Mannheim-Heidelberg

    The International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg has announced its line-up for this year's event (November 9 -18), which opens with the premiere of Desire, a German-Canadian co-production, directed by Colleen Murphy. Among the titles in the International Competition are Rafi Pitts' Sanam (Iran), Alain de Halleux's Pleure Pas Germaine (Belgium), Arto Paragamian's Two Thousand And None (Canada), Julian Kemp's House (UK) and Ragnar Bragason's Fiasco
  • Deutchman joins Studionext as CEO

    Ira Deutchman has joined New York-based online entertainment producer Studionext as its CEO. The founder of Fine Line Features and, more recently, Redeemable Features is the latest high-profile film industry executive to join the dotcom fray. Studionext, which launched last year with the backing of private investors, has what Deutchman describes as an "evolving" business plan that aims to bridge new media with old media, from Hollywood studios to television networks."Hollywood i
  • Digital alliance to compete with Sky PerfecTV

    Japan's largest trading house Mitsubishi Corp has joined forces with four corporate allies to enter the communications satellite (CS) broadcasting market, currently dominated by the Sky PerfecTV platform. According to a basic agreement signed on September 28, Mitsubishi, Nippon Television Network, Japan Satellite Broadcasting, NTT DoCoMo and NTT Communications have launched a planning company charged with developing various digital broadcasting services, using the next-generation commu
  • European Investment Bank turns attention to film

    Capital starved EU film-makers are set to grab a share in a Euros12bn boost from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU's long-term lending arm. The move - which could shrug off the EU's low-budget image - follows concerns that massive box office potential rests untapped because EU film-makers have struggled to beat their Hollywood rivals in the race to finance production and distribution of their products.Officials at the Luxembourg-based bank said "content" projects would
  • Film Council to give boost to UK production houses

    UK film superbody the Film Council, which went live this week, is to pump a share of its own revenues from films back into independent production companies in a bid to help build a sustainable local industry.The boost will come from films backed through the Council's main fund for commercially-oriented projects, the annual $14.6m (£10m) Premiere Fund, and its fund for lower budget projects, the $7.3m (£5m) New Cinema Fund. The cash is to be allocated on a discretionary and confidential
  • Filmax, Endemol launch joint production venture

    Growing Spanish producer-distributor The Filmax Group and Endemol-backed TV producer Gestmusic have joined 50-50 to launch new production outfit Zenit Multimedia.Based in Santiago de Compostela, Zenit will produce original product for television including fiction series, variety shows and docu-series. Plans to market its original formats abroad are also in the works. The new joint venture may also enter feature film production in the future.Gestmusic Endemol is owned 60% by Dutc
  • French film fest throws spotlight on thrillers

    The resurgence of the traditional French thriller will be celebrated at this year's French Film Festival in Scotland and the UK with a series of screenings including Frederic Schoendoerffer's Scenes De Crimes and Eric Rochant's Total Western.Other films in the series include Claude Chabrol's Au Coeur Du Mensonge, Cannes Quinzaine entry L'Affaire Marcorelle and Alain Corneau's Le Cousin. Other highlights include box-office successes Jet Set
  • Germany's MediaFonds 1 launches 'back-end' fund

    European film projects in need of urgent gap finance have a new source of cash to turn to following the establishment of "back-end", a fund being created by Munich-based MediaFonds 1.The new fund, which starts life with a pot worth $5m-$8m, aims to provide 30%-40% of budgets for films which need to get into pre-production this year. Eligible projects are TV films with budgets in the $2m-$4m range and feature films costing $3m-$6m. There are no restrictions on nationality or language.
  • Greenfingers

    Dir: Joel Hershman. UK-US. 2000. 91 mins.Prod Co: Boneyard Entertainment. Int'l Sales: Overseas Filmgroup (1) 310 855 1199. Prods: Travis Swords, Daniel J Victor. Exec prod: Trudie Styler. Scr: Joel Hershman. DoP: John Daly. Prod des: Tim Hutchison. Ed: Justin Krish. Mus: Guy Dagul. Main cast: Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, David Kelly, Natasha Little, Warren Clarke.Inspired by true events, Greenfingers is a gentle, understated charmer that audiences will take to their
  • Helkon adds UK plank to European platform plans

    German production and distribution group Helkon Media has bought a 51% stake in UK distributor Redbus Films Distribution (RFD) as part of its plan to build a pan-European studio akin to PolyGram Filmed Entertainment.The RFD acquisition is immediately expected to help Helkon cement its growing alliance of European distributors, which already includes Italy's Eagle Pictures and Spain's Tri Films. And it paves the way for RFD to move into continental Europe. "The UK is a particular
  • Horwits poised to boost Contantin's American dream

    Bernd Eichinger's Constantin Film has hired high-profile US producer Mitch Horwits as president of its stateside development and production division, Constantin Development.Horwits, whose producer credits include The Usual Suspects, Short Cuts, Bound, Shadowlands and Breakdown, was most recently president of Spelling Pictures.According to a statement, Horwits will be responsible not only for international production and acquisition, "but also for co-ordination of [
  • House Of Mirth to open Rio festival

    Terence Davies' The House Of Mirth will open the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival (October 5-18), with the UK writer-director in attendance.The festival will also feature a UK Focus including titles such as Simon Cellan Jones' Some Voices, Peter Greenway's 8' Women, Stephen Daldry's Billy Elliot and Nick Hurran's Girls' Night. A Ken Loach retrospective will also take place, screening titles ranging from 1966 TV movie Cathy Come Home t
  • Ibiza comedy Harry cranks up for Sky

    Sky Pictures has started production on Is Harry On The Boat', a TV movie with a cast headed by Human Traffic's Danny Dyer and Davinia Taylor, Kate McGowan, Daniela Denby-Ashe, Will Mellor and Ralph Little. UK comedian Keith Allen is also taking a role.Based on the book of the same name by Colin Butts, Is Harry On The Boat' is about the tourist trade in Ibiza. Scripted by Eitan Arrusi, the film has been fully-funded and commissioned by Sky Pictures, and produced
  • Jacob appoints twin assistants to head up Cannes

    Veronique Cayla and Thierry Fremaux are the two new names for every producer and director to watch following their appointment to top roles at the Cannes Film Festival under president Gilles Jacob. The two will report directly to Jacob who is giving up his role as general manager, having taken over as festival president in June. The new triumvirate becomes effective from January 2001. Fremaux, a film historian who was previously in the running to head the Cinematheque Francaise,
  • Kinowelt USA buys Let It Ride pitch for Hurd

    Kinowelt USA, the US production arm of German film giant Kinowelt, and producer Gale Anne Hurd have acquired the rights to the pitch Let It Ride by Melanie Mayron and Cynthia Mort for a sum in the mid-six figures.The film will be produced by Hurd's Valhalla Motion Pictures, which has a first-look, multi-year development, production and distribution arrangement with Kinowelt USA. The deal was announced by Kinowelt USA co-chairs Chris Sievernich and Rainer Koelmel.Mort is
  • LA-based Halcyon unveils four new projects

    One year-old Los Angeles-based production outfit Halcyon Entertainment, headed by producer Chris Coen, has unveiled four new projects joining two previously announced ones on its development slate.They are:- Deepwater based on the novel by Matthew Jones and scripted by Tim Metcalfe (Kalifornia, Bones, Killer) is a psychological thriller about a young drifter who lands a job in a rundown motel where he becomes involved in a murder plot.- Madel
  • Lachlan Murdoch rises at News Corp

    Rupert Murdoch's eldest son, Lachlan Murdoch, has been appointed deputy COO at News Corp, making him the company's third highest ranking executive behind his father and president and COO Peter Chernin. The 29-year-old is currently in charge of News Corp's US print and publishing operations, and has been chairman and CEO of News Ltd in Australia since 1997.Observers believe Lachlan is being lined up to eventually succeed Rupert Murdoch, although Chernin is expected to replace him
  • Leak bags four Golden Calves at Netherlands fest

    Jean van de Velde's Leak (Lek) grabbed four top awards, including the Golden Calves for best feature and best director, at this year's 20th Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht (September 20-29). The film, hotly tipped as the Netherlands' official entry for next year's foreign-language Oscar, also picked up Golden Calves for best script (van de Velde and Simon de Waal) and best actor (Victor Low).The jury, headed by former Netherlands festival director Jacques van Heijnin
  • Lewis, Gershon don Claire's Hat for Alliance

    Juliette Lewis and Gina Gershon are set to star in Bruce McDonald's Claire's Hat, the Canadian director's fifth feature, set to begin production October 16 in Toronto. Billed as a noir caper, the picture is produced by Robert Lantos and Alliance Atlantis, through its first look deal with Lantos' Serendipity Point Films. Alliance Atlantis is fully financing the production and has worldwide distribution rights except for the US, which Serendipity will handle. The screenplay is by
  • Lions Gate buys US on Korea's Nowhere To Hide

    Lions Gate Releasing will release Lee Myung-Se's acclaimed Korean action thriller Nowhere To Hide in the US, starting with a limited run in New York and Los Angeles in December. The film was sold internationally by sister outfit Lions Gate Films International but this is a separate deal negotiated by Lions Gate Releasing co-presidents Tom Ortenberg and Mark Urman with Tae-Won Chung on behalf of Taewon Entertainment.The film, which screened at the Vancouver, Pusan and London fil
  • Marcondes relaunches Brazilian distribution co

    Brazil's Marco Aurelio Marcondes has relaunched his distribution consortium, which includes Art Filmes' Ugo Sorrentino, Jose Sobrinho of Top Tape and Europa Filmes' Wilson Feitosa, under the new banner M.A. Marcondes.The consortium, first announced in March last year, was originally called Consorcio Brasileiro de Cinema (CBC). "It was more a pipe dream then," explained Marcondes who will oversee marketing, sales and physical distribution at the venture while his partners will trawl fil
  • Meet The Parents

    Dir: Jay Roach. US. 2000.Prod cos: Nancy Tenenbaum Films, Tribeca Productions. US dist: Universal Pictures. Int'l dist: DreamWorks/UIP. Prods: Nancy Tenenbaum, Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Jay Roach. Scr: Jim Herzfeld, John Hamburg from a story by Greg Glienna & Mary Ruth Clarke. DoP: Peter James. Prod des: Rusty Smith. Ed: Jon Poll. Mus: Randy Newman. Main cast: Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, James Rebhorn, Jon Abrahams, Owen Wilson.Critics hav
  • Meet The Parents scores a whopping $29m

    Topping the Columbus Day weekend box office in North America with the highest October opening ever was Universal's comedy Meet The Parents which grossed a stunning $29.1m at 2,614 theatres. The comedy, directed by Jay Roach - the man behind the two Austin Powers films, was another hit for Universal and yet another for DreamWorks SKG which co-financed the film and is handling it internationally.Meet The Parents stars Ben Stiller as a male nurse spending a nightmari
  • Messier denies rumours of rift with Lescure

    Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier has officially denied rumours of a rift with Canal Plus boss Pierre Lescure which he described in a televised interview as 'a storm in a glass of water'.Messier said he was confident that Lescure would ride out any changes arising from the proposed three-way merger between Vivendi, Canal Plus and Seagram and reiterated that the Canal Plus chairman would be 'the boss of the television and film activities at Vivendi Universal'.The French and for
  • MIPCOM: TV-Loonland acquires Sony Wonder

    German animation group TV-Loonland has bought the television production and distribution assets of Sony Wonder - a division of Sony Music Entertainment specialising in children's and family programming - and its subsidiary Sunbow Entertainment for $20.5m.Sony Wonder handles a catalogue of 1,200 half-hour episodes. The division started out as a home video label specialising in the children's, family and special interest genres, then moved on to produce its own original programming in 19
  • MIPCOM: Universal pacts with SBS, TV3

    Universal Studios International has entered into multi-year output agreements with both the Dutch arm of broadcasting giant SBS and Swiss channel TV3.The deal with SBS, which owns two Dutch channels, SBS6 and NET5, covers recent box office hits such as The Mummy, The Green Mile and Shakespeare In Love as well as upcoming features films and TV dramas and television library titles. SBS unveiled a multi-year output deal with Buena Vista International Television (BVI-T
  • MIPCOM: Video Networks secures BBC product

    UK video-on-demand operator Video Networks has signed an output deal with BBC Worldwide under which it gains access to hundreds of hours of programming, shortly after its has aired on BBC1 and BBC2.As yet, BBC Worldwide has not decided which programmes will be covered by the deal, but top-rating shows such as EastEnders and Walking With Dinosaurs are expected to be included.Video Networks' HomeChoice service, which started rolling out across London one month ago, e
  • Norwegian government axes Norsk Film

    In a move widely supported by the local film industry, the Norwegian culture ministry has decided to close state-owned production company Norsk Film and replace it with a new financing body The Norwegian Film Fund (NFF).Norsk Film has suffered a string of box office and critical disappointments over the last five years, although its latest production, Hans Peter Molland's Aberdeen, is a moderate success after one week on release, earning $71,842 from 22 screens. The NFF,
  • Plenilunio

    Dir: Imanol Uribe. Spain. 2000. 118 mins.Prod cos: Sogecine, Aiete-Ariane Films. Int'l Sales: Sogecine (00 34 91 396 74 00). Exec prod: Fernando Bovaira. Prod: Andres Santana. Scr: Elvira Lindo, based on the novel by Antonio Munoz Molina. DoP: Gonzalo F Berridi. Prod des: Felix Murcia. Ed: Teresa Font. Music: Antonio Meliveo. Main cast: Miguel Angel Sola, Adriana Ozores, Juan Diego Botto, Fernando Fernan Gomez.Born to a Basque family in El Salvador, Uribe came to Bilbao a
  • Sky Perfect to raise $1bn in IPO

    Japan's Sky Perfect Communications, which operates the Sky PerfecTV communications satellite platform, expects to raise more than $1.019bn (Y110bn) via its initial public offering (IPO) scheduled for October 20.Sky Perfect intends to list its shares on the MOTHERS market of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. If it reaches its target figure, Sky Perfect's IPO will be the largest ever on Japan's three markets dedicated to new venture companies. It plans to issue 400,000 new shares, each with a fa
  • Spean Bridge expands across Europe, Asia

    Despite the gloom hovering over several European exhibitors, particularly those with circuits in Germany and the UK, fledgling exhibition company Spean Bridge has announced ambitious expansion plans to build sites across nine European countries, as well as Taiwan and Japan.From its initial announcement in 1998 to build cinemas in the UK and Germany, Spean Bridge is now also targeting Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Belgium and Poland. Outside Europe, its plans for Brazil have been put
  • Splendid launches TV division

    German rights trader Splendid Medien has launched a New York-based television arm, headed by TV veteran Douglas J. Schwalbe.The unit will acquire, co-finance and sell mini-series and TV movies. "We realised that there is worldwide demand for a special type of product," said Splendid chairman Andreas Klein.Splendid's first television project will be the two-part TV series Victoria And Albert, produced by the UK's own2feet Productions for US network A&E. Splendid has worldw
  • Stanley lines up $9m sci-fi thriller

    Richard Stanley, the South African-born director controversially taken off New Line Cinema's The Island Of Doctor Moreau in 1996, is returning to the sci-fi genre of his auspicious 1990 debut Hardware.Stanley is readying $9m futuristic action thriller In A Season Of Soft Rains for a shoot next year. Set in the UK after a revolution, the story follows an American assassin who comes to England disguised as a cricket player to assassinate the young Prince Richard, who
  • Stream, Telepiu given ultimatum on decoder

    The Italian communications watchdog has slapped a second fine and an ultimatum onto rival pay-TV companies Telepiu and Stream for failing to agree on a common decoder. According to Rome daily La Stampa, communications chief Enzo Cheli imposed a fine of $250,000 on top of an existing $150,000 fine and demanded that Stream and Telepiu comply with regulations or risk sanctions as drastic as the suspension of their licences. Cheli rejected the proposal set forth by the two co
  • The Cell captures top spot; Comunidad opens well

    It was a busy weekend at the Spanish box office with five new releases bowing to different fates last Friday. Riding on buzz and hefty marketing campaigns leftover from their US premieres, Jennifer Lopez-starrer The Cell and Buena Vista's Coyote Ugly landed in the first and second spots. Aurum and Buena Vista opened the films wide on 261 and 221 prints, respectively. Both films brought in over $1m (PTS190m) on their opening weekend, but were well out of range of the year's top o
  • The Crimson Rivers (Les Rivieres Pourpres)

    Dir: Mathieu Kassovitz. France. 105mins.Prod cos: Legende Entreprises, Gaumont, TF1 Productions in association with StudioCanal. Int'l sales: Gaumont, tel: (33) 1 46 43 2000. Domestic dist: GBVI. Exec prod: Alain Goldman. Scr: Mathieu Kassovitz and Jean-Christophe Grange, based on Grange's novel. DoP: Thierry Arbogast. Ed: Maryline Monthieu. Prod des: Thierry Flamand. Sound: Vincent Tulli. Music: Bruno Coulais. Main cast: Jean Reno, Vincent Cassel, Nadia Fares, Dominique Sanda, Jean
  • The Dish

    Dir: Rob Sitch. Australia. 2000. 104 mins.Prod co: Working Dog. International sales: Working Dog Sales (61 3) 9826 4344. Exec prod: Michael Hirsh. Prod: Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch. Scr: Cilauro, Gleisner, Kennedy, Sitch. DoP: Graeme Wood. Prod des: Carrie Kennedy. Ed: Jill Bilcock. Mus: Edmund Choi, Jane Kennedy. Main cast: Sam Neill, Kevin Harrington, Tom Long, Patrick Warburton Genevieve Mooy. Tayler Kane, Bille Brown, Roy Billing.A feel-good
  • Tigerland

    Dir: Joel Schumacher. US. 2000. 95 mins.Prod co: New Regency Productions. International sales: New Regency (310) 369 8300. US dist: 20th Century Fox. Exec prods: Ted Kurdyla, Bruce Berman. Prods: Arnon Milchan, Steven Haft, Beau Flynn. Scr: Ross Klavan, Michael McGruther. DoP: Matthew Libatique. Prod des: Andrew Laws. Ed: Mark Stevens. Mus: Nathan Larson. Main cast: Colin Farrell, Clifton Collins Jr, Matthew Davis, Tom Guiry, Shea Whigham.It may be the same old story - yo
  • Time Warner, EMI call off merger plans

    Time Warner and EMI said today (October 5) that they have called off their planned $20bn merger because they have not been able to meet the concerns of the European Commission's competition regulators. The two companies said were are pulling their application for regulatory approval, but will press on with talks and hope eventually to present new merger plans. "The withdrawal of our application allows additional time to reassess regulators' concerns and to pursue solutions simul
  • Transcontinental to debut with Convent, Conquest

    A new production-distribution outfit, Transcontinental Film, has launched in the Northern Italian town of Bergamo, with two picks-ups under its belt - horror film The Convent and Mexican hit The Other Conquest.The company, headed by Adriano Valoti, plans to handle both mainstream and arthouse titles. The Other Conquest, written and directed by Salvador Carrasco, pulled in a record one million admissions in Mexico for distributor 20th Century Fox. US horror title
  • Universal to enter Japan's CS market

    Universal Studios is tying up with Japanese companies including Hitachi and the Asahi media group to enter the communications satellite (CS) broadcasting business in Japan. The partners will launch a joint venture company in April to provide broadcasting services starting from autumn 2001. They plan to use the Universal film library and Hitachi technology to provide a near-video-on-demand service. Universal will also supply music programming, while CNN and UK broadcaster the BBC will p
  • Viennale to open with Le Gout Des Autres

    Agnes Jaoui's French hit Le Gout Des Autres will open this year's Viennale - Vienna International Film Festival (October 13-25). Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys will close proceedings.Highly-anticipated titles in the festival's feature section include Terence Davies' The House Of Mirth, Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood For Love, Lars von Trier's Dancer In The Dark and Nagisa Oshima's Gohatto. The documentary section will showcase such diverse work
  • Virgin takes top honours at Pusan

    Korean writer-director Hong Sang-Soo's third film, Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, was awarded best film and best script by Pusan Film Critics on Sunday night in a ceremony that coincides with Korea's 5th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF).The best director award went to Bae Chang-Ho for My Heart, while Daniel Byun was crowned best new director for Interview. Jeon Do-Yeon was judged best actress for her part in Happy End and Song Gang-Ho best ac
  • Vivendi reports 67% rise in first-half profits

    France's Vivendi, currently awaiting approval from the European Commission (EC) for its proposed merger with Seagram, has reported a 67% rise in first-half profit to Euros1.4bn on turnover up 16% to Euros19.4bn. The growth came mostly from Vivendi's SFR mobile phones unit.Meanwhile Vivendi has given the EC "voluntary undertakings" over non-exclusivity in film and music rights, but has not proposed any asset sales, according to French daily La Tribune. Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie
  • WAMC set to animate Stephen King's Dragon

    Los Angeles-based financing outfit WAMC Entertainment, headed by Frenchman Sidonie Herman, has optioned Stephen King's novel The Eyes Of The Dragon, which it plans to adapt as a $45m animated feature.WAMC - founded by Herman in 1995 - specialises in securing international production financing for North American and European film and television properties, mostly in the animation area. The novel, which King wrote for his daughter in 1987, is set in a kingdom still inhabited by dr
  • Zanucks strike first-look deal with DreamWorks

    Veteran Hollywood producers Richard D. Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck have signed a two-year, first-look deal with DreamWorks Pictures. Richard Zanuck has already produced Deep Impact for the studio in 1998 with his longterm producing partner David Brown and he is teaming with Dean Zanuck to produce Road To Perdition, an upcoming DreamWorks production to be directed by Sam Mendes and star Tom Hanks.The Zanucks are also developing The Ninth Man at DreamWorks; Harrison