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9 October 2003

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  • $43bn NBC Universal is born

    Vivendi Universal today (Sept 8) announced it had signed a definitive agreement with General Electric to merge its US entertainment interests (VUE) with GE's NBC. As expected, the new company will be called NBC Universal and will be 80% owned by GE with 20% held by the shareholders of VUE.In a joint statement, the companies noted that NBC Universal will create "one of the world's most profitable and fastest-growing media companies, with an estimated value of $43 billion."
  • foreign language hits benefit from French exposure

    This year's two leading foreign-language releases at the international box office are both enjoying a major boost in France - where local films have been suffering of late.The biggest international foreign-language film so far this year is Zhang Yimou's Hero.It opened top in France last week (Sep 24-30) selling nearly 330,000 tickets from 375 screens and beating Canadian-French co-production The Barbarian Invasions despite that title playing on 80 more screens.
  • Afghanistan becomes Unveiled at Mill Valley

    In a stirring plea to the international community at the weekend, one of the women journalists behind the documentary Afghanistan Unveiled used the film's world premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival to urge for more aid work in the war-torn country."The international aid organisations need to extend their coverage so that it is not just in Kabul but in the provinces of Afghanistan," Mary Ayubi, a 26-year-old journalist and camera operator on Brigitte Briault's stunning film,
  • Arcand's Decline is born again

    In the wake of its highlysuccessful sequel, The Barbarian Invasions, the original 1986 film The Decline Of The AmericanEmpire has suddenly been given a new leaseon life in the marketplace. Both films were directed by Quebec auteur DenysArcand.The Decline Of The AmericanEmpire, nominated for foreign-languageOscar in 1997 has just been re- licensed in several major territories includingFrance and Germany through Seville International, the recently launcheddivision of
  • Arclight engrossed by Chan's New Police Story

    Arclight Films has picked up international sales rights to the new Jackie Chan vehicle which currently goes under the working title of New Police Story.The film is produced by JCE, a new company formed by Jackie Chan and his regular business and investment partners Willie Chan (no relation) and Solon So. Finance comes from JCE and private investors including Albert Yeung, leading shareholder in Emperor Multimedia Group (EMG) and another recent Chan vehicle The Medallion.
  • Armenia names Vodka Lemon for Oscars

    Venice prizewinner Vodka Lemon has been selected as Armenia's entry for the foreign language Oscar category.The film is directed by Hiner Saleem, an Iraqui-Kurd, and is a co-production from French production company Dulcine Films along with Franco-German channel Arte, Canal Plus, Sintra Films, Amka Films, France's CNC and Eurimages.International sale for Vodka Lemon are handled by f for film.Vodka Lemon is set to be released in Italy and Switzerland n

    Australia's weekend chart was based on five days instead of the usual four because half of the country was treated to a holiday Monday. Cinema attendance was also high because of welcome wet weather and continuing school holidays.The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen did quite extraordinary business for 20th Century Fox up to and including October 6, taking A$3,458,037 from 209 screens to gain the top spot on the chart and record an impressive screen average of A$16,545.
  • Bad Boys 2 tops Spanish, UK charts

    Bad Boys 2 grossed$9.8m at the weekend for Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International(CTFDI), raising its international running total to $43.4m.The action sequel opened film number one in the UK on $4.5m from619 venues ($5.2m including previews), while Spain produced an estimated $3.1mnumber one bow in Spain from 403.Bad Boys 2is due to open next weekend in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Holland.The police thriller S.W.A.T. raised its internation
  • Bad Boys II has explosive UK launch

    Columbia TriStar's explosive blockbuster Bad Boys II crashed onto UK screens last weekend to hijack the top spot with an impressive $5.3m (£3.2m) from 383 sites. This included $700,338 (£420,203) of previews from 350 sites on Thursday Oct 2.The sequel, which re-teams stars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith with director Michael Bay following the 1995 original which launched all of their film careers into the stratosphere, scored a site average of $13,817. The result means
  • BBC snares Calendar Girls in major Buena Vista deal

    The BBC has struck an exclusive free-TV licensing deal with Buena Vista International Television for a package of over 100 titles, including Calendar Girls, Cold Mountain and Kill Bill.The multi-million pound deal covers titles from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films. Other titles in the package include Chicago, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and The Hours.Although the deal largely comprises US films, B
  • Bertolucci ready to plunge into Hell And Paradise

    Bernardo Bertolucci, whose erotic Venice Film Festival title TheDreamers is to be releasedin Italy this weekend, looks set to finally start shooting his long-awaitedpicture about 16th century Italian composer Gesualdo da Venosa.Although he first announced plans to make a movie aboutGesualdo way back in 1997, the Oscar-winning director said he is still currentlywriting the screenplay and now expects to start shooting the film in Naples in2004.EntitledInferno e Paradiso
  • Blind Shaft falls victim to Chinese pressure

    The International Film Festival of India (Oct 9-19) has pulled Li Yang's Blind Shaft from its line-up after the Chinese government expressed its objection to the film. The Hong Kong-German co-production has already played widely at festivals around the world, starting with its premiere at this year's Berlin Film Festival where it won the Silver Bear for individual artistic achievement. However, this marks the first time that Beijing has exerted pressure to stop the film from bei
  • Bollywood megastar arises from bankruptcy

    Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan is to relaunch the operations of his film production company Amitabh Bachchan Corp Ltd. on Oct 11 in Mumbai. The company, which was declared bankrupt in 1999, will now be known as AB Corp and will launch a new Hindi film, directed by Indian filmmaker Raj Kumar Santoshi starring Amitabh Bachchan himself, alongside his son Abhishekh Bachchan and Indian film actor Sunjay Dutt. Full details about the film are officially to be announced on Oct 11. Ho
  • Brazil introduces film investment schemes

    The fledgling government of Brazil's President Luis Inacio'Lula' da Silva is poised to announce a new subsidy grant of $9.2m (Reals 25m)towards film production.This is welcome news for a film community that has suffered fromrecent cutbacks in film investment from the public sector. State-owned companies such as BR, BNDES and Electrobras began tocurtail their investments in film after the election of left-wing presidentLula last year in anticipation of changes in the government's
  • Brazil poised for leap into digital age

    Vastly underscreened Brazil is poised to take a quantum leap into the digital age. A fledgling local company, Rain Networks, plans to transform 100 existing independent screens in Brazil into digital screens by spring next year. In Rio de Janeiro alone, the city is planning to build 50 new screens equipped with both digital and traditional 35 mm formats. Rain Networks has developed the exclusive Kinocast system of digital distribution and exhibition that makes use of the compre
  • Brazilian film-maker set for Carnival exposure

    For the first time in the history of Rio de Janeiro's centuries-old carnival, a samba school has chosen a filmmaker and his life's work as its theme. Carlos 'Caca' Diegues, best known internationally for Bye Bye Brazil, will be the inspiration for next year at the samba school of Barra da Tijuca. Each costume will represent all of his 15 films and reflect the influences on his life's work. Diegues will ride on the last of various floats which will be inspired by his lates
  • Budapest's Titantic fest kicks off with Otar

    The eleventh edition of Hungary's premiere film festival, the Titanic Film Festival Budapest kicks off October 8 with a screening of director Julie Bertuccelli's Cannes favorite Since Otar Left. The festival will screen fewer films this time than in previous years - a total of 41 productions - with a heavy emphasis on French film as part of the French cultural season in Hungary. Two French film financing experts will visit the festival to share their experiences, Michel R
  • Bugs! swarms over UK Imax theatres

    Bugs!, the first large format 3D feature to have had significant UK financing, opened across the country in six Imax theatres last weekend for a strong $29,914 take in its first three days on release.The Film Consortium, jointly responsible with SK Films and UKFTV for marketing the film in the UK, is expecting the ticket sales to increase even more when the Imax-friendly school half-term begins later in the month.The BFI London Imax at Waterloo, the country's biggest Imax
  • BVI hits milestones with Pirates, Bruce Almighty

    In a milestone weekend for Buena Vista International (BVI), PiratesOf The Caribbean passed$300m and Bruce Almighty crossed $200m at the international box office.
  • BVI hits milestones with Pirates, Bruce Almighty

    In a milestone weekend for Buena Vista International (BVI), PiratesOf The Caribbean passed$300m and Bruce Almighty crossed $200m at the international box office.Piratesadded $11.1m from all territories and raised its cumulative score to $310.1m,becoming the distributor's third title to reach that threshold after TheLion King and Armageddon and its second to pass $600m inworldwide receipts behind The Lion King.Among the
  • Celestial parent to float on Malaysian stock exchange

    Astro All Asia Networks, the Malaysian pay-TV operator that owns Hong Kong film studio Celestial Pictures, is to float on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange later this month. The flotation, handled by Goldman Sachs and Malaysian investment bank CIMB, is expected to raise up to $552m (M$2.1bn) of fresh cash. After the flotation the group will remain controlled by Ananda Krishnan, Malaysia's richest man, but it should be able to pay down a significant portion of its outstanding debt.
  • Chinese film wins Vancouver festival prize

    Chinese filmmaker Diao Yinan has won the Vancouver International Film Festival's Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema for his film Uniform, a story of contemporary China's lost generation of young people who search for an identity amidst a society beset by industrial decay and urban despair. According to a statement issued by the jury, Uniform was the unanimous choice for the prize because it "possesses a complexity in its characters, an economy in its storytelling and
  • Cinema Park secures $20m for Russian multiplex chain

    Cinema Park, the verticallyintegrated Russian production, distribution and exhibition outfit, has secureda $20m loan from World Bank Group member The International Finance Corporation forits ongoing theatre-building project.At a time ofmassive growth in the country's exhibition sector, Cinema Park plans to build achain of 20 multi-screen cinemas at a cost of $84m across Russian federationcities including Moscow, St Petersburg, NizhliNovgorod, Krasnoyarsk, and Rostov-na-Donu.Comp
  • CJ's Yoon moves over to Kang Je Gyu Films

    One of Korea's best known sales agents Mark Yoon has joined Kang Je Gyu Films, the production and sales boutique that is currently making the $13m war picture National Flag (Tae Guk Gi).Yoon becomes head of international business at Kang Je Gyu, having for the last several years been vice president of international sales and acquisitions at Korean major CJ Entertainment. He replaces Bill Hwang who left Kang Je Gyu in July.Yoon's new role, as head of international business
  • Cronenberg takes Canadian Directors Guild prize

    David Cronenberg won the best direction prize for Spider at the Directors Guild of Canada awards in Toronto on Saturday. The UK-Canada co-production also won the DGC's Team Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Feature Film, a prize which reflects the job categories represented by the guild, including assistant director, editor and production designer. Two Canadian feature filmmakers were similar double winners in television categories. Jerry Ciccoritti's Trudeau

    As Pirates Of The Caribbean sailed back into the top spot past last week's chart topper The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which dropped a massive 42% - the new release of Aage Rais Nordentoft's well received youth film 2 Moves One Pass carved a solid if unremarkable 17,020 admissions on its 40 prints. Stealing Rembrandt continued its successful run at fourth position now passing 209,163 admissions after five weeks. Christoffer Boe's multiple-award winni
  • Dinard enjoys Pearl Earring, Alcohol

    The Dinard Festival of British film handed out its top prize on Sunday in a split decision. Peter Webber's Girl With A Pearl Earring took home the Hitchcock d'Or but will split the purse that goes along with the award with Richard Jobson who won the directing prize for his film 16 Years Of Alcohol about a man trying to escape his past. Webber's film stars Colin Firth stars in the story of Dutch painter Vermeer and the titular portrait, the girl is played by Scarlett Johan
  • Doppelganger

    Dir. Kyoshi Kurosawa. Japan 2003. 107 mins.After the disappointing Cannes performance of his last film Bright Future, Japan's current cult master of bizarre mystery is back on more comfortable grounds with this exploration of a classical gothic theme, transferred into the world of modern research of prosthetic machines. Kurosawa uses the doppelganger effect to represent the split personality of a scientist developing a machine that could perfectly copy human functions
  • DreamWorks puts Oscar faith in extra House screenings

    The trickle-down effect of the MPAA's ban on screener tapescontinued this week as DreamWorks SKG announced it has booked one month ofprivate screenings in Los Angeles for its awards contender House Of Sand AndFog.Vadim Perelman's drama, which is being handled forinternational sales by Winchester's Cobalt Pictures, will play twice a night inone theatre at Laemmle's Music Hall Theatre in Beverly Hills from Nov 14-Dec11.Admission will be free to Academy mem
  • Dutch industry wins tax extension

    The Dutch CV tax incentive scheme has been extended for one year following intensive lobbying from the local film industry.Following a special hearing into the issue, a majority in the Dutch parliament is willing to support the tax break for at least a year. Initiated by D66, one of the Netherland's three governing coalition parties, the move means that Euros 17m will be available for next year. This will be used to give tax write-offs to private investors in Dutch movies.
  • Eco's medieval epic joins desert crusade

    Thomas Schuehly, the producer of Oliver Stone's Alexander, is planning to return to Morocco withhis next project, an adaptation of Umberto Eco's medieval historical novel Baudolino that he hopes to shoot in 2005.Schuehly, who was also executive produced the screen adaptation ofEco's The Name Of The Rose, is trying to entice Milos Forman into directing the film, whosepicaresque story starts in 1204 as the Byzantium capital of Constantinople isbeing sacked by the kni
  • Feature producers to benefit from Enterprise Australia

    Several feature film producers are among the 16 selected to participate in the inaugural Enterprise Australia, the Australian version of the workshop which UK management consultants Olsberg SPI have already conducted in Europe. It is aimed at equipping Australian producers with the business skills to make their companies globally competitive and to help them address their often financially perilous existence between projects. They include Rosemary Blight (Fresh Air, In The Wi
  • Film Council plots public-private cash boost

    Leading British support body the UK Film Council is to team with a private sector partner to raise new private investment through a dedicated Enterprise Investment Scheme, a tax-driven financing mechanism that will bankroll selected features alongside the council's National Lottery cash.The scheme, which could pave the way for a dramatic boost in the council's already significant production investment of some £20m a year, will work with the council's £10m a year Premiere Fund for comme

    Sibelius this week had to give up the number one spot to Bad Boys II, which had a strong 19,190 admissions opening on 45 prints. However, Timo Koivusalo's popular drama only dropped 11% and has so far scooped 119,718 admissions in its four weeks on release. Bad Boys II was in fact the only new release on the top 10 this week, and the order of the rest of the films remained unchanged. Thus last week's new Harrison Ford vehicle Hollywood Homicide droppe
  • Foreign shoots 'little benefit' to local industry, say Moroccans

    Morocco may be feeling the economic benefits of foreign productions coming to the country to shoot, but local film-makers this week voiced concerns that the influx of foreign money and crews was having no significant knock-on benefits to indigenous production.In a frank and wide-ranging round table discussion at the Marrakech International Film Festival (Oct 3-8) delegates heard how important inward investment had become to the Moroccan economy. In 2002, in the province of Ouarzazate a
  • Fortune Star set for MIPCOM debut

    Fortune Star, the Hong Kong film and television production arm of News Corp's Star TV, makes its debut as an exhibitor tomorrow at MIPCOM (Oct 10-13) with an emphasis on the DVD sector and high definition content.The boutique, headed by former Media Asia distribution head Peter Poon, has yet to unveil details of its feature slate. But Poon will screen a one off showing of Love Asia, which is something of a cross between a swimsuit exhibition and a travel show. The show is seen a
  • Fox Searchlight launches In America strategy after screener ban

    In the first practical response to the MPAA ban on screener tapes,Fox Searchlight is trying to get exposure for its Nov 26 opener In America directed by Jim Sheridan by hostingweekly paid screenings in the LA area starting Oct 9.

    Zhang Yimou's Asian actioner Hero surprised the tally counters this week by debuting in the number one spot on only 375 screens. Clearly down to a residual effect coming off the success of films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and France's keen taste for the genre, Hero also benefited from a wide-spread ad campaign with billboards boasting its arrival all over the country. Up next is Denys Arcand's Cannes winner The Barbarian Invasions whose ad cam

    Despite the beating it took from the critics, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen opened at number one this week - largely due to a lack of strong competition, but also thanks to a very visible poster campaign that's been running for some weeks. Another surprise was the poor performance of Harrison Ford's Hollywood Homicide which premiered in Deauville in early September but which looks like it could barely get arrested this week. At number two, romantic comedy a
  • French exhibitors sweat as box office downturn bites

    Calling themselves the film industry's 'poor relation', French exhibitors worried very vocally about the future of their business last week at a meeting held during the 58th annual exhibitors' conference in Deauville. The event, organised by the National Cinema Federation (FNCF), is similar to Show West in the US and is a time for distributors to trot out their upcoming films replete with appearances by some big names.Despite the growing momentum for the three-day event, exhibit
  • Fuse lights up Marrakech jury

    Pjer Zalica's Fuse was awarded the Golden Star (Etoile d'Or) at the third Marrakech International Film Festival, which wrapped yesterday(Oct 8. The Bosnian film also won the best actor prize for Bogdan Diklic's performance. Tom McCarthy's The Station Agent took the feature film Special Jury Prize, while Takeshi Kitano was named best director for Zatoichi. (See below for full list of winners).The festival's twelve-title competition section, which included tit
  • Garai boards O'Donnell's Inside I'm Dancing

    Hot young UK actress Romola Garai has joined the cast of Damien O'Donnell's Inside I'm Dancing which will film in Ireland for eight weeks from October 20. Garai (I Capture the Castle) has just finished shooting Vanity Fair with Mira Nair and will be seen early next year in the Dirty Dancing sequel, Havana NightsGarai will take the leading role of Siobhan opposite James McAvoy and Steven Robertson in Inside I'm Dancing, an unconventional
  • Gaumont pins hopes on future film output

    French major Gaumont is pinning its hopes on a string of forthcoming films to improve its bottom line - after revealing that it had lost millions of Euros on its latest film at the French box office.On Monday, the company unveiled a net loss of Euros 2.6m in the first half of 2003 compared with Euros 9.3m in the same period last year.Gaumont noted that it was hit particularly hard by the poor performance of Christian Clavier comedy Lovely Rita. The film was released on Se
  • Gentlemen begins European tour, Pirates eyes $300m

    Pirates Of The Caribbean is expected to pass $300m in international ticket sales this upcoming weekend, which also sees the first major European assault by The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG).Buena Vista International's (BVI) Pirates has no major openings but strong holdovers should be enough to hoist its $295m running total past $300m.Fox International begins its first major European roll-outs for LXG, with openings in France on Oct 1 on 600
  • German fund moves into international TV financing

    Munich-based fund specialist LHI Leasing is set to move into financing international TV series with the placement of LHI Filmproduktionsfonds KALEDO later this month.With a projected volume of over Euros 100m, the leasing-type TV production fund intends to back future episodes of the US series Law & Order, Law & Order Criminal Intent and Law & Order Special Victims Unit. A license agreement with Amsterdam-based Universal International BV would see fixed payments b
  • Germany sees summer admissions plunge

    German cinemas registered 14% fewer admissions and a 15% drop in box-office takings in the third quarter of 2003, compared to the same period 12 months ago, according to figures collated by Nielsen EDI.Cinemas reported Euros 159.8m in revenues and 28.4m tickets sold between June 30 and September 28, with Pirates Of The Caribbean emerging as the quarter's most successful release (Euros 27m/4.33m admissions) followed by Terminator 3 (Euros 17.5m/2.9m admissions) and Ame
  • Grant mucks in on African Farm

    Richard E. Grant, who was born in Swaziland and spent his early years in South Africa, has finally returned home to star in the $2m production of The Story Of An African Farm.The film is currently shooting for six weeks in South Africa's dry and barren semi-desert Karoo 300kms north of Cape Town. Based on the classic 1883 South African novel by Olive Schreiner, the film is a rites-of-passage tale. It tells the story of three children who discover the wiles, cruelty and fo
  • Hong Kong star to Focus on distribution

    Hong Kong star Andy Lau has established a new company, Focus Films, which will be involved in the co-financing, distribution and acquisition of both local and international films. The new outfit is part of a major restructuring of Lau's business interests which span production, distribution and artist management. Focus Films is part of the wider Focus Group Holdings, which also includes artist management arm Topman Global and intellectual property arm Topman Holdings. Lau's existing co
  • Hungarian adaptations win state funding

    Three literary adaptations have received distribution aid from the Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary.To qualify for the aid, filmmakers and distributors have to commit to generating 80-100,000 admissions. Eight films received aid, with the largest sums going to: Tamas Sas' adaptation of Apam Beajulna (This'd Make Daddy Faint) by Richard Salinger, produced by Gabor Kalomista of Megafilm; Gabor Herendi's parody of various episodes in Hungarian history, Magyar V

    It was a sad weekend for new releases at the Hungarian box office. Sean Connery and His League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen clearly didn't prove winners standing against the American Pie wedding party. On an impressive thirty copies the adventure didn't even make 33,000 in admissions.Director Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men also failed to impress making just over 6,000 admissions from ten copies.An even bigger disappointment was the Olivier Martinez-Mira Sorvino
  • Intermission joins landmark year at Irish box office

    Intermission hit the Euros 2m milestone for BVI at Irish cinemas on Wednesdaynight, adding to the lustre of 2003 as a landmark year at the local box officefor films made in Ireland. With several strong titles yet to be released in the final quarterIrish-made films have already reached a combined gross of Euros 7m this year.The results have given added impetus to the campaign to persuade the governmentto retain the tax break for film production.Whereas many other territori
  • International Festival of India unveils line-up

    The 34th edition of the International Film Festival of India (Oct 9-20) - the last to be held in New Delhi before the venue shifts to Goa next year - will open with Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi's magnum opus Pinjar.Based on Amrita Pritam's novel of the same name and set during the Partition of India and Pakistan, it stars Manoj Bajpai and Urmila Matondkar.Rituparno Ghosh's Chokher Bali, based on Rabindranath Tagore's novel and starring Aishwarya Rai, and Vishal Bhardwaj's

    A highly visible marketing campaign for Italian film My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) is paying off for 01 Distribution, as the picture grossed $241,984 from just 89 screens on its opening weekend, earning a strong $2,719 per screen. Directed by Alessandro Piva, My Brother-In-Law is set in the southern town of Bari and focuses on the relationship between Toni, an irrepressible 40-year-old and Vito, his quiet, married brother-in-law. The picture stars popular actor-director
  • Jackson to present Rings trilogy at Lincoln Center in Jan

    Peter Jackson will attend anall-weekend screening of the completed The Lord Of The Rings trilogy on Jan 10-11 2004 at the Lincoln Center inNew York City.Jackson will present thespecial extended editions of the first two films in the trilogy followed by TheReturn Of The King, the final filmin the trilogy which opens on Dec 17 around the world.The screening series is presentedby New Line Cinema and the Film Society Of Lincoln Center; on Saturday Jan 10,Jackson and me

    S.W.AT. opened at the top of the Japanese nine-major-cities box office with a strong $60,011 screen average on 22 screens - despite a free ticket giveaway. To attract the target young male demographic, distributor Sony launched a nationwide campaign offering free admission to anyone in the first year of junior high school. Ads urge eligible teens to "go to the movie theatre with your friends and classmates." "A movie in a theatre is different from one you see at home" it explain
  • Kher named as Indian Censor chief

    Indian actor Anupam Kher, who has appeared in Bend It Like Beckham has been appointed chief of India's Censor Board. The move was announced by the Indian information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi, who said Kher had worked in commercial cinema, cross-over cinema and had considerable experience in theatre.Kher takes over from film director Vijay Anand, whose brother - film star and director Dev Anand - had declined to accept the post.
  • Krueger takes over as Berlinale marketing chief

    PR specialist Heike Krueger has been appointed successor to Dr. Silke Zimmermann as head of marketing & communications at the Berlinale.Krueger, who took up her post on October 1, had run her own agency PR & Film for the past twelve years handling arthouse film and TV projects for German theatrical distributors and broadcasters. She had also been responsible in the past couple of years for the press work of the American Cinema Foundation's Freedom Film Festival held during the Berlina
  • Lansbury gets BAFTA/LA Lifetime award

    Angela Lansbury will receive BAFTA/LA's Britannia Awardfor Lifetime Achievement in film and television at the 12th Annual BritanniaAwards in Los Angeles on Nov 8.Lansbury, who earned three Academy Award nominations for roles in TheManchurian Candidate, ThePicture Of Dorian Grayand Gaslight,received BAFTA's Silver Mask for Lifetime Achievement in 1992 and a similaraccolade from the Screen Actors Guild in 1997.As previouslyannounced, Sony Corp of America chair
  • Lansbury gets BAFTA/LA Lifetime award

    Angela Lansbury will receive BAFTA/LA's Britannia Awardfor Lifetime Achievement in film and television at the 12th Annual BritanniaAwards in Los Angeles on Nov 8.Lansbury, who earned three Academy Award nominations for roles in TheManchurian Candidate,
  • Les Sentiments

    Dir: Noemi Lvovsky. France. 2003. 95mins.French director Noemie Lvovsky came to notice with two small autobiographical features set at different stages in the life of four girls. The second, Life Doesn't Scare Me (La Vie Ne Me Fait Pas Peur, 1999) earned Lvovsky a slew of festival prizes, including a Locarno Silver Leopard, and made her a rising talent to watch. Like most rising talents, though, she needs to stumble before she can run; and Les Sentiments
  • Lieberfarb makes noise on DTS board

    In his first appointment since exiting Warner Home Videoin December 2002 DVD evangelist Warren Lieberfarb has joined the board ofdigital audio technology specialists Digital Theater Systems (DTS).Lieberfarb is one of three new arrivals alongside fellow industryveterans Joerg Agin and Joseph Fischer.Agin, who has held top executive roles at Eastman Kodak andMCA/Universal's new technology and business development division, becomeschairman of the company's nominating and corporate
  • Loews embarks on money raising plan

    Exhibitor Loews Cineplex is planning to raise capital through an income trust, the latest entertainment company seeking to leverage the revenue stream of its business operations without diluting ownership of the company proper. According to a report in the Toronto Globe and Mail, the privately-held exhibitor's primary stakeholder, Toronto-based Onex Corp., is expected to file a prospectus within days. Onex had pondered an IPO for the exhibitor last year but put the project on ho
  • Lombardo says ciao to Miramax Italia

    Miramax'stop executive in Italy, Fabrizio Lombardo, will now switch to a "bigger-picturerole" for the company, serving as a personal European investment advisor toco-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Lombardo'snew role means that London-based senior vice president of production GinaGardini will now become Miramax's primary executive liaising with the Italianfilm and television community. The fact that Gardini will now split her time between UK and Rome - rather than re-locate f
  • LXG tops weekly international box office

    Fox International's The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG) was the number one internationalperformer of the weekend after grossing $14.6m from 3,327 screens in all itsterritories.In its first wave of major European openings, LXG scored a sensational $5.1m from 706screens in Germany for star Sean Connery's biggest ever bow in a non-James Bondrole.The fantasy-adventure's international running total is now $51.5m.Australia opened on a table-topping
  • Madden to mentor on Proof for Directing Change

    Women in Film and Television (WFTV) and United International Pictures (UIP) have named Tammy Riley-Smith as the second director to benefit from the UK scheme Directing Change.Launched in May 2003, Directing Change gives women directors the opportunity to work alongside an experienced and internationally recognised feature film director during a major production. Riley-Smith, a London based writer/director with more than 11 years experience in directing and writing
  • Maturing Pusan experiences growing pains

    As South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) passes its midpoint, the overall impression is of an event that is rapidly maturing, but still experiencing a few growing pains. Signs of the festival's burgeoning status in the Asian film industry abound. It secured a major international premiere for its opening film in Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Doppelganger, which elicited a subdued but largely positive reception from festival guests. PIFF has also tak
  • Media Plus promotes festival exposure for Euro films

    Four European institutions have received a total of Euros 800,000 from the European Union's MEDIA Plus Programme as part of its new initiative to promote European films and professionals at film festivals around the world.The Brussels-based European Film Festivals Coordination (EFFC) was awarded Euros 250,000 to establish a support service for all festival organisers around the world interested in enhancing the participation of European Films; to organise a package of films touring
  • Miramax tempted by Infernal Affairs

    Miramax Films is poised to acquire rights for North and South America, Italy and Spain to Hong Kong blockbuster Infernal Affairs, the first film in what is shaping up to be a hugely successful franchise. The Media Asia production has now been sold to most major territories including the UK, which went to Metro Tartan, and Japan where Comstock will open the film on October 11. Remake rights were snapped up by Warner Bros and Brad Grey and Brad Pitt's Plan B production outfit earl
  • Mirovision wanders into horror Park

    Korea's Mirovision has picked up international sales on the new picture by super hot Hong Kong director Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, one half of the team behind the Infernal Affairs sensations.The Park is a low-budget horror piece about a group of seven teenagers who step into a theme-park which has been abandoned for 14 years following the accidental death of a little girl. Lau directed it as a personal project separate to those with his regular writing partner Alan Mak
  • Morgan Creek switches allegiance to Universal

    Morgan Creek Productions,James G Robinson's production and financing company which has been basedat Warner Bros for the last 13 years, has entered into an exclusive, three-yeardomestic distribution agreement with Universal Pictures.Under the terms of the deal,Morgan Creek will produce and finance all its films for domestic distributionin all media by Universal. Morgan Creek International will continue to handleinternational territories.Morgan Creek which iscurrently reworking it
  • Movielink hoards Italian titles for Internet viewing

    Broadband video-on-demand service Movielink has acquired Internetrights to a selection of Italian films from Intramovies, the internationaldistributor that represents rights to several major Italian film libraries.The first 25 subtitled films are expected to be ready for downloadin November and include and Marco Tullio Giordana's crime drama I CentoPassi, Francesco Nuti'scomedy Io Amo Andreaand Gabriele Muccino's comedy Come Te Nessuno Mai.The move is a furt
  • MTM, Key Entertainment partner on Riot rights

    As part of an ongoing internationalisation of its activities, the Oscar-winning German production outfit MTM Medien & Television München (Nowhere In Africa) has joined forces with the Los Angeles-based Key Entertainment to acquire the film rights to Indian writer Shashi Tharoor 's best-selling novel Riot: A Love Story.The tragic love story between a young American female student and a district magistrate in provincial India was described by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiese

    It was family fare versus slasher horror at The Netherlands box office last weekend as BVI's Freaky Friday squared off against RCV's Freddy Vs Jason.Both big hits in North America each film was able to claim a victory with Friday finishing ahead of Freddy but the horror film performing far better in gross to screen count ratio.Freddy Vs Jason, which sees the two horror icons Freddy Krueger (from the A Nightmare On Elm Street series) and

    Local film The Locals grossed NZ$62,060 from 22 screens, giving it a screen average of NZ$2,821, in its opening four days in its home market of New Zealand. This put the debut feature of short filmmaker and commercials director Greg Page in tenth spot. Distributor Essential came on board early this year when the chilling tale was in post-production. The film tells the story of two friends on a weekend road trip who after meeting two girls get lost in extremely hostile territory.

    Alliance Atlantis' much-hyped local Canadian release Foolproof did not live up to the box office expectations generated by its title. Backed by a C$2m P&A campaign and released through the company's Odeon Films subsidiary on nearly 200 screens across Canada, the light-hearted caper movie earned a paltry $230,312 for a screen average of just $1,219. The poor showing is a poke in the eye to Telefilm Canada, the federal film funding agency, which hopes to see Canadian films improve
  • Oz industry launches Asian focused trade body

    A group of executives from the Australian industry have formed a new trade association to lobby their government for legislative support of their efforts to work within Asia.The establishment of the Australian Asia-Pacific Co-Production Association was announced yesterday at South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival by a group including Roger Savage, of Soundfirm, Paul De Carvalho, director of the Sydney Asai Pacific Film Festival, Gary Hamilton, managing director of Arclight Fil
  • Oz post house Soundfirm opens China outpost

    Australian post-production outfit Soundfirm, which has credits including Zhang Yimou's Hero and Moulin Rouge, has established an outpost in Beijing to provide services for both local and international projects. The Melbourne-based company has a strong track record with Asian film, stretching from Jackie Chan blockbuster Rumble In The Bronx through to He Ping's Warriors Of Heaven And Earth, which is China's official entry for the upcoming Oscars. The c
  • Palm takes domestic rights to Fortissimo's Last Life

    Chris Blackwell's PalmPictures has acquired all North American and Caribbean rights to Pen-ekRatanaruang's Venice and Toronto hit Last Life In The Universe from Thailand.The film, which isThailand's official entry to the foreign language film Academy Award, will bereleased in summer 2004 by Palm. It stars Japanese superstar Asano Tadanobu,who won the best actor prize in Upstream Competition at Venice last month, as amysterious librarian who has hidden himself away from society a
  • Patel upped at Paramount International TV

    Mina Patel has been promotedto senior vice president of sales strategy and operations for ParamountInternational Television, where she will continue to report to Joe Lucas,executive vice president of sales and marketing.Patel, who was formerly vicepresident, sales planning and administration, will now oversee thedivision's sales planning and administration, becoming more strategicallyinvolved in the sales analysis process.She will alsoexpand her duties to inc
  • Peter Sellers tickles UK and Down Under

    IconFilm Distribution and Warner Home Video have teamed up to acquire theatricaland home video rights respectively in the UK and Australia/New Zealand for HBOFilms' star-laden The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers.BBCFilms had already secured all UK television rights to the film, which wrappedin London recently and stars Geoffrey Rush as the turbulent British comedicactor synonymous with the Pink Panther series and films like Dr Strangelove and Being There.
  • Pie 3 opens top in Italy, New Zealand for Universal

    Universal's American Pie: The Wedding opened number one in Italy on anestimated $2m from 337 sites through UIP at the weekend, grossing 40% more thanthe prequel's equivalent bow in 2001.
  • Pieces Of April stirs Mill Valley emotions

    Peter Hedges' emotional on-stage interview after the Oct 4 screening of his dysfunctional family drama Pieces Of April provided one of the early highlights of the 26th Mill Valley Film Festival, which in its first weekend offered a heady mix of passion and personality that confirmed its status as a spirited forum for film-makers.Writer-director Hedges, whose screenplay credits include What's Eating Gilbert Grape and About A Boy, said the sell-out film was a tribute
  • Piracy dominates debates at Marrakech

    Although the company is set to complete its deal to sell its US entertainment assets to NBC in the next few days, some things are still business as usual at Vivendi Universal. The company sponsored a special round table at the Marrakech Film Festival on Monday October 6 to discuss issues ranging from how to reinvigorate Morocco's depressed box-office to piracy.Flying journalists and panellists to the festival on Sunday, Vivendi treated its guests to an open air showing of Th

    Jerzy Hoffman's When The Sun Was God-An Ancient Tale proved the staying power as it of Polish films as it spent its third week at number one and topped the magic million dollar mark with $1,032,073, closing in on Pirates which settled at number four this week with a cumulative box office of $1,382,524 after five weeks on release. Another Polish film, Jezry Stuhr's Tomorrow's Weather (pictured) distributed by ITI Cinema and produced by Zebra Film made its debut this
  • Pusan gets surprise North Korean sidebar

    Ina late addition to its line-up South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival(PIFF) is to show a selection of seven films from North Korea. The move isbelieved to be the first time that films from the isolationist northern statehave been officially screened in public in the South.PIFFchief Kim Dong Ho said the screenings will "further cultural exchanges betweenthe two Koreas and celebrate 100 years of Korean cinema." Thefestival received permission to screen the films this we
  • Relaunched Kinowelt unveils first foray into production

    For the first time since its relaunch at the beginning of this year, Kinowelt has announced that it will be making its first foray into production by co-producing an adaptation of Wladimir Kaminer's bestselling cult novel Russendisko next year (, April 2003).The film, which will be produced by Christoph Meyer-Wiel of CMW Films with fellow Berlin producer Joachim von Vietinghoff of Von Vietinghoff Filmproduktion, Rainer Koelmel of Kinowelt Filmproduktion an
  • Rhinoceros Eyes

    Dir/scr. Aaron Woodley. US. 2003. 92 min.Rich in atmosphere, Rhinoceros Eyes is an impressive directorial debut on many levels. The film, which premiered at Toronto, won the festival's Discovery prize for developing filmmakers as selected by the press corps. But Woodley, who is also debuting as a screenwriter, doesn't have the script to match the film's visual flair. On a commercial level, this is a low-key comedy that rarely rises beyond amusing and never sets the pul
  • Rio festival strikes populist note

    The Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival has taken on a more populist stance this year, expanding its reach to open air theatres (Lonas Culturales) in the impoverished suburban areas and even in the city's famous hilltop slums, known as favelas.Among the festival highlights was a Mickey Mouse tribute held at one of Rio's more prominent favelas, Pavao Pavaozinho, which boasts one of the coastal city's most spectacular views. The tribute included the screening of nine rare Mickey
  • Russia names Return as Oscar contender

    As expected, the Venice Film Festival's recent Golden Lion winner The Return, directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev, has been selected as the Russian entry for the upcoming Oscars. The film, produced by Moscow based Ren Films, won worldwide critical acclaim in Venice and is considered a hot contender for a slot as one of the five finalists for the foreign language Oscar. The Return has already been sold in numerous territories throughout the world with North American righ
  • Scandal erupts at South Korean box office

    South Korean feature Untold Scandal has become the first local film ever to draw one million viewers in its opening weekend. Released on October 2, the film has attracted 1.13 million admissions ($6m) nationwide in its first four days. An adaptation of French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses which sets the action in 17th-century Korea, Untold Scandal has benefited from a sexy marketing campaign, strong word of mouth and the casting of popular stars including TV idol
  • School Of Rock

    Dir: Richard Linklater. USA 2003. 100 minsOne of the best things about Richard Linklater's superb new comedy, School Of Rock, is that it doesn't take itself too seriously, as director Linklater has on occasion been wont to do. Employing the highest of high concepts - failed rock guitarist impersonates a substitute teacher and turns a bunch of overachieving, nerdy fifth-graders into a mean, lean rockin' machine - the movie embraces a conventional Hollywood genre and, b
  • School Of Rock rocks for Paramount with $20.2m

    Paramount's comedy School Of Rock shook the charts at the weekend, openingnumber one on an estimated $20.2m.
  • Searchlight pacts with Wong Kar-Wai's Block 2

    Fox Searchlight Pictures has signed a three-picture deal withaward-winning Hong Kong director-writer-producer Wong Kar Wai and his productionoutfit Block 2 Films.Under the terms of the deal, Block 2 and Searchlight willco-finance and co-distribute a minimum of three English-language films thatWong

    Srdjan Karanovic's Loving Glances (Sjaj U Ocima) played in second position last weekend, its second, for distributor Delta Video. Despite screening on two more screens this was not enough for the 1995 Belgrade-set story about refugees featuring actors from all around former Yugoslavia to beat Tuck's The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen which held the lead in its second week and has sold 25,522 admissions on eight prints after 11 days on release. This compares to 12,311 a
  • Serious films win Copenhagen children's fest prizes

    Two children's films with serious topics took top honours at the Copenhagen International Children's Film Festival BUSTER, which wrapped this weekend for the first time in collaboration with the industry event New Nordic Children's Film.Dominique Standaert's Belgian Hop about illegal refugees in Europe was chosen as the best feature by the children's jury, and received $7,800 from the Nordisk Film Foundation. The children's jury, which consisted of eight boys and girls ag
  • Shochiku lines up Mullan for jazz drama

    Expanding Japanese production and distribution group Shochiku is to unveil new historical drama Out Of This World by leading director Sakamoto Junji.Under the tagline 'Jazz Brings Peace', the film stars UK actor Peter Mullan and US actor Shea Whigham as American GIs who introduced jazz to Japan when the country was under US occupation at the end of WWII. They co-star with Japanese names Hagiwara Masato, Odagiri Joe and Murakami Jun.The film, made on a budget of $2.5m, was
  • Snapper takes UK for Scorsese's The Blues

    Snapper Music has acquired the UK theatrical, DVD, VHS and broadcast rights to the film series, The Blues. The Blues, executive produced by Martin Scorsese, is a seven-film series of personal and impressionistic films viewed through the lens of directors who share a passion for the music. In addition to Scorsese's film, the other directors comprise Charles Burnett, Clint Eastwood, Mike Figgis, Marc Levin, Richard Pearce and Wim Wenders.Snapper will be relea
  • Sony studio chief Calley steps down

    After months of speculation, Sony Pictures confirmed on Thursday (Oct 2) that chairman and chief executive John Calley is stepping down after seven years in the job.Sony said that Calley, 73, had signed a first look production deal with the studio, and that he would remain on the company's board of directors and its operating committee. The committee reports to Sony Corp of America chairman and chief executive Howard Stringer. Columbia Pictures chair Amy Pascal, Columbia TriStar

    Among the slew of Spanish films set for release this month, Vicente Aranda's Carmen was one of the most anticipated and, accordingly, one of the most promoted. The sexy, $11.5m drama starring Paz Vega and Leonardo Sbaraglia opened strong in second position with Euros 1.14m off 180 copies, replacing Football Days (Dias De Futbol) as the third biggest local opener this year.Yet Football Days, released like Carmen through Buena Vista, held onto the numbe
  • Star TV strikes Indian production deal

    Rupert Murdoch's STAR TV India has struck a deal with Indian production company UTV to make three big budget movies. The $25m deal will give STAR the exclusive television and broadcast rights in perpetuity of the three movie products. The rights to theatrical and the home video will remain with UTV. UTV will also be responsible for originating and producing the films over 18 months. The completed movies will be broadcast one year after their theatrical release. UTV
  • Stars express Marrakech support

    The Marrakech International Film Festival (Oct 3-8) will likely move to November in 2004 to occupy a less crowded space on the international film calendar, and to avoid a clash with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.The festival, presided over this year by French actress Nathalie Baye, launched its third edition on Friday to a broadly positive reaction from delegates, complimentary about the festival's wide-ranging selection and organisation - although the late start of some screenings
  • Stone, Farrell push on in fierce Morocco desert

    Oliver Stone and Colin Farrell made an appearance at the MarrakechInternational Film Festival today (Oct 6) to talk up Stone's Fidel Castrodocumentary Comandanteand his $150m historical epic Alexander, which has now entered the third week of production at asite 35km south of Marrakech.The pair were on ebullient form at a press conference which sawStone speaking with characteristic zeal about Comandante's difficulties in America, and Farrellspeaking with characteris
  • Stringer gets Britannia Award honour from BAFTA/LA

    Howard Stringer, chairmanand CEO of Sony Corporation Of America and vice chairman, Sony Corporation,will receive BAFTA/LA's Britannia Award for contributions to worldwideentertainment at the 12th annual Britannia Awards on Nov 8 in LosAngeles. 'We are pleased to honor Sir Howard Stringer, who hasmade immeasurable contributions to the manner and practice of entertainmentbusiness,' said BAFTA/LA chairman Gary Dartnall in a statement. 'Hehas maintained the highest leve

    The new release of Ulf Malmros' black comedy Slim Sussie was able to put a dent in the successful run of Mikael Haafstroem's Evil, which stayed at number one with more than double the screen average of the newcomer at second. Pirates Of The Caribbean continued its strong performance in third, while Bad Boys II fell back 35% to sixth. SF Film's release of the Bruce Willis vehicle Tears Of The Sun showed a solid screen average on its 31 prints and made
  • Taiwan readies first teenage gay comedy

    Reflecting the new commercial sensibility amongst Taiwan's young filmmakers, production starts October 7 on a film that it described as Taiwan's first ever teenage gay comedy. Formula 17, produced by start-up production company Three Dots Entertainment, is a light-hearted fable about a gay 17-year-old boy who moves to Taipei for the summer in search of first love. "Unlike most Asian films dealing with gay subject matter, Formula 17 is a comedy where every single ch
  • Tartan swoops on ten pictures at Pusan

    Tartan Films of the UK has had a busy time at the Pusan festival and PPP market, picking-up ten pictures from Korean and Hong Kong sellers.Heading the slate in terms of art-house prestige is probably 2046, Wong Kar-Wai's long awaited treatise on post-handover Hong Kong life. The company enjoyed great success with Wong's previous In The Mood For Love, but seller Fortissimo Film Sales has so far held of completion of deals for many territories as the film remains in protrac
  • Thai exhibitor first Asian player to install 2K digital projector

    Thailand's SF Cinema City has teamed up with Christie Digital Systems to become the first Asian exhibitor to install a 2K digital projector, the next generation in digital screening technology.The Thai cinema chain has installed the system at its signature theatre - the nine-screen SFX Central Ladprao in Bangkok. It was used last weekend to present Disney/Pixar's digital animation Finding Nemo - an event which was hailed by Christie as Asia's first commercial 2K digital screenin
  • Top Spanish post-production houses unveil merger

    Two Barcelona-based heavyweights, En Efecto and MEDIApro, have announced the merger of their post-production interests.The formerly Das Werk-owned En Efecto, now controlled by one-time Admira president and Antena 3 CEO Juan Jose Nieto, houses audio and digital post-production companies Videoefecto, Madpix, Audioclip and Lisbon-based Bikini Pos Producao de Filmes.Production, facilities and rights management conglom MEDIApro brings post-production houses Zeligstudio and the recent
  • Travellers & Magicians

    Dir: Khyentse Norbu. Bhutan. 2003. 105 mins.Travellers & Magicians is the first feature film to be shot entirely within the secret and reclusive Kingdom of Bhutan. Like Khyentse Norbu's debut, The Cup, this magic realist fable is being handled by UK-based sales company HanWay. But buyers may find it less attractive than The Cup, which wove two apparently unconnected themes - football and Tibetan Buddhism - into a charmingly exotic, but also reassuringly f
  • Travellers & Magicians

    Dir: Khyentse Norbu. Bhutan. 2003. 105 mins.Travellers & Magicians is the first feature film to be shot entirely within the secret and reclusive Kingdom of Bhutan. Like Khyentse Norbu's debut, The Cup, this magic realist fable is being handled by UK-based sales company HanWay. But buyers may find it less attractive than The Cup, which wove two apparently unconnected themes - football and Tibetan Buddhism - into a charmingly exotic, but also reassuringly f
  • Turn Left, Turn Right opens top in Taiwan for Warner

    Warner Bros Pictures iscelebrating the success of its first ever Chinese-language film Turn Left,Turn Right which opened at the topof the Taiwanese box office over the weekend bringing its total to date of$3.2m.The studio issued a pressrelease to trumpet its $0.637m opening on 79 screens in Taiwan. In Taipei, thefilm grossed $0.296m on 16 screens, some 90% higher than the second film in thecity.Ironically, even though TurnLeft, Turn Right is a HongKong-produced fil
  • Twin Sisters takes top prize at Utrecht

    The Second World War-drama Twin Sisters - the Netherlands' submission to the Oscars - won the main award, the Golden Calf for Best Film at the 23rd Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht. Most awards however went to opening film, Robert-Jan Westdijk's Phileine Says Sorry, which won best actress (Kim van Kooten), sound design, editing and camera. Three awards went to the crime drama Van God Los: best actor (Tygo Gernandt), best director (Pieter Kuijpers
  • UK Production Listings - October 6 2003

    UNITED KINGDOM - October 6PRE-PRODUCTIONBRONTE (Random Harvest Pictures) Budget: $12m. Period drama. The moors above Yorkshire are harsh and life is severe for the Bronte family. Follows the lives of the famous writing family. Exec prods: Tim Smith, Melvyn Singer. Prods: Alistair Maclean-Clark, Basil Stephens. Dir: Marleen Gorris. Scr: Angela Workman. Contact: Random Harvest, (44) 1753 783 900COLD & DARK(Cold Films) Int'l sales: Beyond Fil
  • UK proves perfect platform for Finding Nemo

    In an exclusive digital presentation at just two cinemas in the UK, Buena Vista International's (BVI) Finding Nemo has platformed to stunning figures in the territory.The Pixar Animation Studios' title, which is already the highest grossing animated film of all time in North America, launched at London's Odeon Leicester Square and Manchester's UCI Filmworks for a $254,655 (£152,793) gross over the three-day weekend (Oct 3-5).The $226,072 (£135,643) taken at the Odeon Leic

    Stephen Fry's directorial debut Bright Young Things met with a mixed reception from critics in the UK - but its box office launch reflected the faith distributor Icon Film Distribution put in the film.The comedy-drama, based on the novel Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, took eighth place with a $545,488 (£327,293). Bright Young Things was put out on a fairly wide 192 sites and managed a solid $2,841 location average.While the averages would no doubt have looked
  • Untold Scandal

    Dir. E J-Yong. Korea 2003. 120 mins.E j-Yong's new film is the best proof that a good story will strike roots wherever it is planted and, once lit from the right angle, will bear fruit. Last weekend Untold Scandal enjoyed the biggest opening ever in Korean history (over $5m in the first four days) and is now set to smash all previous box-office records there. While this new version of Dangerous Liaisons takes as it source material Chorderlos de Laclos' 18th-cen
  • Valenti showdown talks 'positive'

    Fresh from a conferencecall with MPAA chief Jack Valenti, the heads of the studios' specialtydivisions are preparing a follow-up meeting in a bid to thrash out alternativesto the screener ban.Whilesources described Wednesday's showdown as "positive", details of the agendaremained sketchy other than proposals for less draconian anti-piracy measures.Itis understood neither Fox searchlight nor the fledgling Warner IndependentPictures took part, in keeping with their no-show at last
  • Verve takes UK rights to Edinburgh winner Afterlife

    Verve Films have acquired UK theatrical rights to Gabriel Films' Afterlife, the winner of the Standard Life Audience Award at the 2003 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Written by Andrea Gibb and directed by Alison Peebles, the low-budget digital feature is the first title created under the New Found Films scheme financed by Scottish Screen, Scottish Television and Grampian Television and was one of the stand out titles at Edinburgh this year. " We read the film at s
  • Vietnamese Buffalo rolls with Euro financing

    Filming on Buffalo Boy, a Vietnamese coming of age drama gets underway next week after having secured a raft of European financing.The film is the ultimate product of the growing system of project and co-production markets. Buffalo Boy was presented at Korea's PPP and New York's Independent Feature Project last year and Rotterdam's CineMart in January this year. The film, written and directed by Ngien-Minh Nguyen-Vo, is the story of a young boy who is forced to ado