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9 October 2001

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  • A taste for French films

    In recent months French productions have found a lucrative niche at the box office of The Federal Republic of Yugolslavia (FRY), which consists of the republics of Serbia and Montenegro, successfully competing with both Hollywood blockbusters and local productions.One reason for this trend is the fact that since the end of April this year local distributor Metro Film, which represents most French studios, has managed to hold the ticket price for French movies at an attractive $0.67 (Di
  • Amelie takes the UK box office by charm

    UK distributor Momentum Pictures is celebrating a triumphant weekend for its French pick-up Amelie as it stormed into the UK charts, taking fifth position, with a massive $832,000 (£560,768) from its 82 print release, including previews of $64,731 (£43,629) from 67 sites. The film easily outperformed the week's new Hollywood offerings, Driven, which took $214,527 from 188 sites, and Angelina Jolie picture Original Sin, $143,356 from 155.Amelie, which
  • Bandits

    Dir Barry Levinson. US 2001. 122 min.Following his minor, disappointing comedy, An Everlasting Piece (which DreamWork barely released last year), Barry Levinson is back on terra firma with the crime comedy Bandits, a hybrid of a movie that blends to almost satisfying results the norms of classic screwball comedy (specifically Preston Sturges), romantic triangles (including Truffaut's seminal Jules Et Jim and Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid) and
  • Bandits replaces Windtalkers at London film fest

    Barry Levinson's crime caper Bandits has replaced John Woo's Windtalkers at the London Film Festival after MGM postponed the US release of the World War II film following the terrorist attacks in the US.Bandits, which stars Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett, takes up Windtalkers' gala screening slot at the UK event, which runs November 7-22.The story of two non-violent bank robbers who become national celebrities was originally sched
  • Bickel sets up new sales outfit at Lexington Ent

    Steve Bickel, the international sales veteran who most recently headed sales for The Shooting Gallery, has joined Jeffrey Kramer's Lexington Entertainment Group to head a new sales and marketing venture called Aura Entertainment. He will represent in-house productions, acquire independent and foreign features and selectively develop and produce his own projects.Lexington Entertainment Group is a group of companies which encompasses interests in film, TV, theatre, post-production, new
  • Catch 23 secures credit facility with Comerica

    Catch 23 Entertainment, the LA-based production company founded by financier Robert B Sturm, has completed a multi-million dollar credit facility with Comerica Entertainment Group, a division of Comerica Bank Of California.The proceeds from the facility will provide Catch 23 with additional film financing and development capital and will be used to accelerate the growth of the company's management division. The collateral base for the facility included existing C23 assets as well as a
  • Charlton Heston plays Mengele in war crime drama

    Charlton Heston has joined the cast of Papa Alguem 5555, a movie about a Nazi war criminal who lives in hiding in Brazil. Adapted from a controversial novel by German author Peter Schneider, the Italian-Brazilian-Hungarian film is currently shooting in Rio de Janeiro.The movie, which is set in 1977 and directed by Italy's Egidio Eronico, stars Heston in the lead role as Josef Mengele, an unrepentant and unpunished German war criminal who lives in hiding in Belem, in northern Bra
  • Chicago festival honours Sigourney Weaver

    Signourney Weaver is to receive a lifetime achievement award during this year's Chicago International film festival, at a gala evening hosted by Bill Kurtis of A & E television. "We're thrilled to have Sigourney Weaver as our lifetime achievement award recipient," said festival director Michael Kutza. "She is truly a star with cinematic presence and dramatic versatility."Weaver recently starred in director David Mirkin's romantic comedy caper Heartbreakers, alongside Jenn
  • Cobalt to finance Chin's Cambodia-set actioner

    Cobalt Media Group has teamed up with writer/producer Stephen Chin on Last Place On Earth, an action drama set in Cambodia on the eve of the UN-supervised elections which Chin wrote.Chin will also produce Last Place On Earth, with Cobalt arranging production finance and handling international sales through its London distribution arm Cobalt Pictures headed by Peter Rogers. It is scheduled to shoot in spring 2002.Cobalt's Jackie Levine brought the project in to th
  • Constantin/Propaganda joint venture folds

    ProCon Pictures LLC, the joint venture launched by Germany's Constantin Film and US production studio Propaganda Films to share the development, financing, production and exploitation of international cinema and TV projects has folded.The joint venture, which was established at the beginning of May 2000 had aimed to produce three to four films a year and benefit, in particular, from Propaganda Films'connections with such talent as directors Spike Jonze, Simon West and Dominic Sena as w
  • Dark Blue World opens AFI Fest, Ball to close it

    Jan Sverak's Dark Blue World - distributed in the US by Sony Pictures Classics - will open the AFI Fest 2001 on Nov 1 in Los Angeles, while Marc Forster's Monster's Ball - fully financed by Lions Gate Films - will have its world premiere as the closing night film on Nov 11.Dark Blue World, which is being primed as for Oscar consideration, will be screened at Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Starring Ondrej Vetchy, Krystof H-dek and Tara Fitzgerald, the film wi
  • Dinard assesses UK/French exchange

    Asif Kapadia's well-received The Warrior has scooped the Golden Hitchcock at the Dinard Festival Of British Film, which carries a $2,805 (FF20,000) award to aid distribution in France and a $1,400 (FF10,000) grant to the director.Jury president Emily Watson hailed the India-set adventure story as one that had opened "a new door. It has great simplicity, but great ambition". Having previously screened at Edinburgh, the film has established Kapadia as a talent to watch and
  • Distrib newcomer ThinkFilm calls Time Out for US

    ThinkFilm, the fledgling North American distributor that was set up recently by a team of former Lions Gate executives, has acquired US rights to Venice-winning French title L'Emploi Du Temps (Time Out), the second feature film by Human Resources director Laurent Cantet.Since the Toronto film festival some ten companies have been seeking to bag US rights to Time Out, which won the Golden Lion in Venice's Cinema Of The Present section. The fill will now be handled i
  • Edges Of The Lord opens Hamptons Film Fest

    The ninth annual Hamptons International Film Festival, which takes place Oct 17-21 in East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Westhampton Beach in New York, will feature 11 world premieres including opening night film Edges Of The Lord starring Haley Joel Osment and Willem Dafoe and directed by Yurek Bogayevicz. Miramax Films has US rights to the film.Closing night is Michael Apted's Enigma which is being released domestically by Manhattan Pictures International.Also featur
  • Ellender named MD of Freemantle Int'l

    David Ellender has been named managing director of Fremantle International Distribution, which distributes programming throughout the world. He comes to Fremantle from Universal Studios Television Distribution, where he was also managing director.At his new post, Ellender will be accountable for managing and developing all aspects of the company, including the continued widespread distribution of its catalogue. He will also help guide FID through the distribution of non-English languag
  • Elling

    Dir: Petter Naess. Norway. 2001. 90 mins. Playing in the Zabaltegi (New Directors) programme at San Sebastian, this sweet-tempered comedy about two eccentrics carving an unusual niche for themselves in society is a modest audience-pleaser which won the Youth Jury award by a comfortable margin and was given a Special Mention by the New Directors Jury. The film itself could occupy a snug berth in minor art-house venues and on the small screen; it has already been a sizeable cri
  • Encore buys 300 hours of film & drama for China

    Entertainment programmer and channel packaging group Encore International (EI) is to buy over 300 hours of feature films and drama series for resale into China. The pictures will be shown in a new primetime slot on China Central Television's Everyday Jiayi (Everyday Best Entertainment) brand, moving from EI's previous variety entertainment format. Film suppliers signed up under the new five-year agreement include Morgan Creek, Canal Plus, Southern Star, Beyond International and
  • Euromedia & Bollore buy French SFP studios

    French state-owned studios and facilities group Societe Francaise de Production (SFP), which has been drowning in red ink for decades, has been acquired for $4.2m (Ffr30m) by Euromedia Television facilities house in partnership with Bollore Investissement.The French government has been seeking to sell SFP -- which lost close to $11.2m (FFr80m) last year, despite being given a massive $301.5m (FFr2.15bn) cash injection in 1998 -- since 1996. Facilities house Euromedia (which had already
  • Fantasy over for Japan's Square film business

    Following the US flop of its first feature, the CGI animation Final Fantasy, game maker Square Co. has announced its exit from the film business. The company expects to record a $83m (Y10 billion) net loss for the current fiscal year, ending in March. Expecting big box office from Final Fantasy's US release, Square projected a profit of $5.8m (Y700m) for fiscal 2001. Now, however, it is scrambling to recover the $137m (Y16.4 billion) in production costs, spent during the
  • Film Council and CNC launch The Short Channel

    The UK's Film Council has partnered with equivalent French public support body CNC to launch a short film competition aimed at promoting creative and financial co-operation between the two territories, as well as encouraging producers to develop films with a chance of travelling.Dubbed "The Short Channel" the scheme will produce six short films from three screenplays, with three pairs of UK and French directors making a film from the same screenplay. The initiative has coffers of Euros
  • Garland leaves Universal Studios Networks

    Tony Garland has left Universal Studios Networks (USN), where he was president, in order to concentrate on other interests.The long-anticipated move sees Bibiane Godfroid become the unchallenged head of channels and services within the Canal Plus Group, the film and TV arm of Vivendi Universal.In a statement, the company said that it had "decided to create a single ensemble of premium and thematic channels including the Universal television brands," which Garland had presided ov
  • Germany to get UK comedy TV adaptations

    UK television comedy series Hale And Pace and drama series Reckless are being adapted by the German production arm of UK broadcaster Granada. Called Granada Produktion fuer Film und Fernsehen, the company aims to establish itself in the German market, through local adaptations of comedy and TV movies. Granada Produktion was founded last year, and is currently managed by Stefan Oelze.According to Frank Speelmans, head of creative at Granada, "our niche in the Germa
  • Hallmark acquires 15 features from Paramount

    The Hallmark Channel has acquired a package of 15 features from Paramount International for its Taiwan service. These include Mission: Impossible, Days Of Thunder, The Hunt For Red October, Nick Of Time, The Saint and five films in the Star Trek series.For pan-Asian screening, Hallmark Channel bought 27 episodes comprising the seventh season of Touched By An Angel from CBS Broadcast International. For its Turkish service Hallmark bought the first season of Judgi
  • Hedwig to open Stockholm film festival

    John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig And The Angry Inch will open the competition at the Stockholm International Film Festival, which focuses on new and innovative cinema. Other competitors include Henry Bean's The Believer and Richard Parry's South West Nine, from the producers of Human Traffic. Todd Solondz's Storytelling has a slot in the American Independent section, while Ethan Hawke's directing debut Chelsea Walls screens in a digital strand an
  • Inch'Allah Dimanche wins top Marakesh award

    Inch'Allah Dimanche by Franco-Algerian director Yamina Benguigui was yesterday (Oct 2) named best film at the end of the first Marakesh film festival. The film is the story of a family of Algerian immigrants in 1960s France.The jury rewarded two other films: Andanggaman by Ivory Coast director Roger Gnoan M'Bala and Andrucha Waddington's Brazilian picture Eu Tu Eles with joint special prizes.Including sidebars on Arab films and held in a Muslim country only
  • Industry mourns tragic death of Steen S. Larsen

    One of the most respected and competent cinema builders in Europe died on Monday Oct 8, when Nordic major Nordisk Film Biografer's vice president of Logistics, Steen S. Larsen, was among the passengers killed on board the SAS flight that tragically crashed in Milan. Larsen had attended the IBTS Mediatech 2001 conference in Italy to look into possible new techniques for Nordisk Film Biografer, and was due to return to Copenhagen that morning. The 41 year-old Larsen was unmarried and had
  • Interactive Dogme film heads for MIPCOM

    On the eve of the Millennium, the four Danish directors behind the Dogme 95 movement spent the crucial hour between 23.30 and 00.40 making their first film together -the first interactive TV movie, simply known as D-Dag (D-Day). The movie, which had its world premiere at the Danish TV-Festival, will make it's international premiere at MIPCOM, where Trust Film Sales' Rikke Ennis will present the film as well as the concept. Directors Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Soren Kragh
  • Intertainment, RTV announce appointments

    Stephen Brown, the head of German film rights trader Intertainment's US operations and board member responsible for business development, has been appointed as the vice president and successor to David Williamson who has left the company by mutual agreement. Williamson's responsibility for legal affairs will now be assumed by CEO Barry Baeres.Brown's promotion is seen as an acknowledgement of Intertainment's focussing its production activities on collaboration with US studios.Me
  • Italy's Mifed boosts its international appeal

    As it attempts to recover ground lost to supporters of the rival London Screenings, Mifed has announced an increase in the number of premieres and films screening at the market, as well as several innovations including a convention on international relations, a VIP Lounge and a new market award.Mifed organizers said 487 movies will be on offer at the Milan Fiera compared to 455 last year, with premieres rising to 322 titles from last year's 269. Around 32% of the films on offer will co
  • Italy's MIFED is increasingly threatened by events

    This month's MIFED film market appears to have been hit hard by the terrorist attacks on the US, with the number of registered sellers plummeting by more than 26%, according to Screen International's figures.Many of those companies may now cancel following Sunday night's attack on the Taliban regime. On Monday, tension was also heightened by an air crash at Milan's Linate airport which reportedly left more than 100 dead.North America saw the biggest drop out of companies
  • Kinepolis delays international expansion

    Belgian exhibition giant, Kinepolis Group, is delaying its international expansion plans by one full year, according to a report in Belgian newspaper De Financieel-Economische Tijd. Planned cinema complexes in Granada and Nancy will be opened in 2003 rather than 2002 and other investment plans have been postponed from 2003 to 2004.Kinepolis, a Belgium-based company with cinemas in seven European countries, says it has chosen to delay the projects to help cut at least 20% of its
  • Korean debut wins Hamburg's Golden tesafilm reel

    Korean director Kim Dae-Seung's first feature film Bungee Jumping Of Their Own has won the Filmfest Hamburg's 'Golden tesafilm Reel' audience award against competition from 10 other first-time filmmakers. Filmfest director Josef Wutz announced that more than 25,000 admissions were registered for the 148 screenings of the 81 films in the festival programme.Meanwhile, the Hamburg subtitling company 'SUBS' 'Golden Letter' newcomer award went to the short Strandgut by
  • Laszlo Kovacs wins ASC Lifetime Achievement Award

    Laszlo Kovacs will receive this year's Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society Of Cinematographers (ASC) at the 16th annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on Feb 17, 2002, in Los Angeles.Kovacs, who was raised in communist Hungary, came to the US in 1957 as a political refugee. He made his breakthrough as the cinematographer on Easy Rider (1969), going on to work on classic films such as Five Easy Pieces (1970), What's Up Doc' (1972), The King
  • Lee Evans, Christopher Walken undertake Plots

    Lee Evans and Alfred Molina have joined Christopher Walken and Brenda Blethyn in the cast of Plots With A View, a comedy set in small-town Wales which starts a six-week shoot in the UK this Wednesday (Oct 10).Directed by Nick Hurran and produced by the US' Snowfall and the UK's Spice Factory and CF1, the film tells the story of duelling Welsh funeral parlours. International sales are being handled by Vine International.Walken plays funeral parlour owner Frank Featherbed,
  • Max Keeble's Big Move

    Dir: Tim Hill. US. 2001. 80 mins. Disney's latest live-action family film is a kid-centric and pleasantly rambunctious junior high school comedy that delivers its life lessons without losing its sense of fun. Pre-teens and parents should give the film a decent start at the box-office - perhaps more than decent in the US, given the country's current yen for warm, family-friendly entertainment - leading to a strong showing in ancillary markets. Part of the film's app
  • Mexico to produce 60 films annually from 2006

    Mexico will produce up to 60 films a year starting in 2006, according to president-elect Vicente Fox. Speaking at the presentation of awards to members of the film production workers union (Sindicato de Tecnicos Manuales de la Producion Cinematografica), Fox made his first public commitment to local cinema. "Our aim is for Mexico to produce more than double its current output and that all genres be explored, be they action, science fiction, adventure etc", said Fox.."We welcome all kin
  • Minnie Driver joins New Cardiff cast

    Minnie Driver is set to join Heather Graham, Colin Firth and Mary Steenburgen in New Cardiff, a romantic comedy being produced by the UK's Fragile Films for Buena Vista International.Driver is to play Vera, a scheming woman who dumps her fiance, an artist played by Firth, by sending him an invitation to her wedding to someone else. Firth's character heads to a hotel run by Steenburgen in New England to enjoy the simple life and repair his broken heart. Sparks fly when he meets a
  • Moulin Rouge opens with tuneful $1.9m in France

    20th Century Fox scored a powerful opening for Moulin Rouge in France where six months ago the film world premiered as the opening night film of the Cannes International Film Festival. The film's five day total was $1.893m on 343 screens, making it the number one film in France over the weekend.Baz Luhrmann's musical extravaganza also opened at the top spot in French-speaking Switzerland ($134,601 on 20 screens) and had strong bows in Portugal ($133,045 on 44 screens), Poland (
  • Moulin Rouge worldwide gross passes $100m mark

    20th Century Fox's Moulin Rouge passed the $100m mark at the worldwide box office over the weekend, its total gross reaching $102.257m. Its domestic total after 19 weeks on release is $56.58m The movie opened in Italy, Belgium and Norway over the weekend, taking $0.707m on 150 screens in Italy, $0.299m on 50 screens in Belgium and $0.166m on 26 screens in Norway. It also opened in Lebanon ($46,336 on nine screens) and Croatia ($34,515 on seven screens).Those new opening
  • My Wife Is A Gangster breaks local Korean record

    South Korean comedy My Wife Is A Gangster opened to phenomenal returns during Korea's 5-day Chusok holiday, filling cinemas to 94% capacity for a nationwide gross of $7.6m, and setting a new record for being the first local release to reach one million admissions in 5 days. Released by Korea Pictures, a new distribution company which struck gold earlier this year with the record-breaking Friend ($44m), My Wife Is A Gangster is the story of a female gang boss who r
  • Optimism emerges from industry gloom

    A sector by sector look at the industry's financial prospects after the impact of the Sept 11 events and the threat of economic slowdown. To be published over the next few days. Part 1: broadcast TV. Abstracted from the weekly edition of Screen InternationalThree weeks on, and like the rest of the world, the film industry has begun to move beyond the initial shock and outrage of September 11 to start asking questions about the impact of the tragedy on business.
  • Pliny Porter named production head at Fireworks

    Pliny Porter has joined CanWest-owned FireWorks Pictures as head of production and development. He will work with CanWest Entertainment chairman and CEO Jay Firestone and Fireworks president Daniel Diamond in growing the company's production and development activities. He joins the company, which is enjoying current success with Rat Race and Hardball, from Joe Roth's Revolution Studios where he had a first-look deal. He will spearhead the development and production of th
  • Premiere Grp takes US on Electric/Storm's Preacher

    Mitch Goldman's new US distribution operation The Premiere Group has signed to handle domestic rights on Preacher, a $22m feature of the comic book series by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon which is being produced by Rupert Harvey's Electric Entertainment and H Michael Heuser's Storm Entertainment.Rachel Talalay (Tank Girl) is directing the film which is scheduled to start shooting in November from a screenplay by Ennis. The picture is currently out to cast th
  • Production division is latest Kinowelt casualty

    Cash-strapped Kinowelt Medien's production arm Kinowelt Filmproduktion has become the latest victim of the German media group's radical programme of restructuring.Redundancy slips have been handed out to all of the production arm's employees as well as to co-managing director Ulrich Limmer, whose contract would have been up for renewal at the end of the year.According to a report in German magazine Blickpunkt:Film, Kinowelt's production activities, in particular its internationa
  • Real TV dominates MIP-COM television market

    MIP-COM organisers are putting a brave face on a television programmes market that is competing against the scariest and most compelling kind of reality TV - war. The main market had not officially opened by the time that US and British missiles had started raining down on Afghanistan on Sunday night. The opening set-piece and the medal ceremony for Reed-Midem veteran Xavier Roy yesterday (8 Oct) were sombre affairs with little flair or flamboyance and were conducted with the anticipat
  • Recession watch - Part II

    In the second part of Screen International's analysis on the effect on the industry of the Sept 11 attacks on the US, the threat of recession on the home entertainment and film exhibition sectors is assessed.Abstracted from Screen InternationalHome entertainmentVideo was an immediate winner from the Sept 11 fallout. Not only did the shares of companies such as Blockbuster and Hollywood Entertainment surge upwards, the underlying transaction numbers jolte
  • Script Factory launches UK comedy competition

    Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack's Mirage Enterprises, sales and financing operation Intermedia and UK script development body The Script Factory have launched a screenwriting competition for contemporary urban comedies.Finalists will compete for a $14,700 (£10,000) development commission from Mirage and Intermedia by pitching ideas to Minghella and Pollack. The competition closes November 9."We all acknowledge that there is great UK writing talent out there full of ideas bu
  • Shine pair re-teams for Oz-UK Love's Brother

    Jane Scott and Jan Sardi, the producer and writer of Australian hit film Shine, are teaming up again for the romantic comedy Love's Brother, except that this time it will also be Sardi's directorial debut. Great Scott Productions' producing partner in the official Australian/UK co-production is Sarah Radclyffe Productions.A substantial part of the budget is coming from the Australian Film Finance Corporation. Scott would not name the sales agent because the deal is not ye
  • Shortlist announced for Comedy Shorts initiative

    The UK's First Film Foundation and the Paramount Comedy Channel have announced the shortlisted scriptwriters and directors in the Comedy Shorts Initiative 2001. Four scripts and five directors have been shortlisted from a total of more than 700 submitted scripts and showreels The judging panel, which currently includes Bruce Robinson, Stephen Fry, Duncan Kenworthy, Ricky Gervais and Doug Naylor, will choose the overall winning script and director, to be announced on 17th October.
  • Showcase Entertainment acquires Frost, Judgment

    LA-based Showcase Entertainment has acquired worldwide rights to action/horror movie Frost: Portrait Of A Vampire written and directed by Kevin VanHook, and international rights to Christian thriller Judgment.Frost is based on the comic book series Jack Frost also created by VanHook. It stars Gary Busey as a former mercenary who learns that his best friend has become a vampire. Production recently wrapped in Los Angeles.Judgment is the third film in
  • Soon En Wong named Asian m'ktg director at CTFDI

    Soon En Wong has been named marketing director, Asia, for Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International. In his new position, Wong will supervise marketing and promotions activities in the region for all titles produced locally by the studio's Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia division.Based in Hong Kong, Wong will work with LA-based executive vice president, international marketing, Nigel Clark to evaluate local marketing plans and with Sal Ladestro, vice president of marketi
  • Speaking Of Sex to close Chicago Film Festival

    John McNaughton's comedy Speaking Of Sex will have its world premiere as the closing night film of the Chicago International Film Festival on Oct 18.The film stars James Spader as an over-sexed therapist who becomes involved with a new client (Melora Walters) while a rival doctor (Lara Flynn Boyle) is determined to catch him in the act. Catherin O'Hara, Jay Mohr and Bill Murray co-star.A native of Chicago, McNaughton has directed films including Henry: Portrait Of A
  • Stranded

    Dir: Luna. Spain. 2001. 101 mins. The undisputed talking point of San Sebastian for all the wrong reasons, this $4.5m English-language space opera is a spectacular misfire on virtually every level. Its first press screening, in the New Directors section, unfolded in stunned silence punctured by incredulous laughter, but the film became a much debated curiosity once word had got out, with the cardboard space helmets distributed at its party a sought-after cult item. Mainstream
  • Sweden's Film I Vast to sponsor Goteborg festival

    Sweden's successful regional fund, Film I Vast has become the new backer of the Nordic Film Award at the Goteborg Film Festival. The award was instigated in 1989 by local newspaper Goteborg Posten, and has been known as the GP's Nordic Award, but from next year's 25th edition it will be known as the Nordic Film Award. "Goteborg Posten's involvement in the festival has always primarily been an exchange of favours," festival head Gunnar Bergdahl told ScreenDaily. "However, Film I
  • Thirteen Conversations About One Thing

    Dir Jill Sprecher. US 2001. 102 mins.Poignant, touching, and in moments unabashedly philosophical, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Jill Sprecher's sophomore effort, very much fulfils the promise she showed in her 1997 Sundance-premiered debut, Clockwatchers. Interweaving five contemporary stories into a single narrative, the film deals with the profound, often unintentional, impact that seemingly disparate people have on one another while searching for a
  • Training Day opens to $24.2m

    Warner Bros' police drama Training Day conquered the box office with ease over the weekend, ending studio fears that audiences wouldn't respond to a story about a crooked cop and validating the move of the film from its original Sept 21 release date. The film grossed a powerful estimated $24.2m over the three day period making it the second highest October opening ever after last year's Meet The Parents.Denzel Washington plays the corrupt LA cop in the critically acclaim
  • UK's Scala Productions boards TSP's Seagull

    The UK's Scala Productions has boarded English-language Spanish production The Seagull, in development at Barcelona start-up TSP.Spaniard Enrique Gabriel (Fading Memories) will direct the "Mediterranean adaptation" of the Chekhov play, which was co-scripted by TSP founders Eva Baro and Antoni Sole. The $12m film is being prepped for a 2002 shoot.LA-based Independent Artists (IA) has already pre-bought world rights excluding Spain as part of a five-year mutual first
  • Universal TV & Networks seals MIP-COM deals

    British channel packager and distributor Zone Vision has acquired a wide ranging deal to deliver films and TV movies from Universal Television & Networks to Turkey. The films will be shown on basic cable channel, Showtime Turkey, which was launched in February 2000 as a direct-to-home channel carried on the DigiTurk satellite platform.Library titles covered by the deal include Twister, Born On The Fourth Of July, Apollo 13 and Casino as well as a selection of made-for-TV
  • Warner Germany scores smash with Polar Bear

    Warner Bros Germany has scored a record-breaking opening with its locally produced family entertainment picture The Little Polar Bear (Der Kleine Eisbar), taking DM4,320,651 ($2.04m) on 477 prints over the weekend.The animated German-language film co-produced by Warner Bros Germany with Cartoon Film is the best opening of the year for Warner in terms of admissions and the second best in terms of box office.The movie opened higher than other family films - than
  • Work In Progress (En Construccion)

    Dir: Jose Luis Guerin. Spain 2001. 125 mins. A humorous and poetic chronicle of the impact on a working-class neighbourhood of a major construction project, Work In Progress was one of San Sebastian's most original discoveries. Screened to a packed auditorium of over 1000, the film held the audience's attention and suffered a remarkably low number of walk-outs. The reviews were also enthusiastic, and the film went on to win a Special Award from the main jury as "a tale