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12 December 2005

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  • ...and produces spectacular $42m launch in 13 international markets

    Harry Potter held off the Pevensie children of Narnia with anestimated $51.9m weekend haul on more than 11,200 prints in 56 markets thatbrings the running total after four weekends to $414m.
  • AFI FEST close to FIAPF accreditation

    LA's AFI FEST is bidding to join the world's elite festivals andbecome the first in the US to carry International Federation of Film ProducersAssociations (FIAPF) accreditation.
  • AWARDS UPDATE: AFI names ten best films of the year including Brokeback, Munich

    Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Crash, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, GoodNight And Good Luck, A History Of Violence, King Kong, Munich, The Squid AndThe Whale and Syrianahave been named as theAmerican Film Institute's (AFI) ten outstanding films of the year.
  • Bavaria Film International Picks Up Schmid's Portovero

    Bavaria FilmInternational (BFI) has picked up international distribution rights to Swissdirector Daniel Schmid's latest feature Portoverowhich has just begun shooting on location in Switzerland.StarringCatherine Walker (Conspiracy of Silence),Eduardo Noriega (Che),Marisa Paredes (
  • Brokeback named year's best picture by LA critics

    Ang Lee's BrokebackMountain continued thewinning streak it started at the Venice Film Festival, taking best picture anddirector citations from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) in itsdeliberations on Saturday.The western, which focuses on a love affair between twocowboys, opened in the US over the weekend to some of the best reviews of theyear and a per-site screen average of over $100,000.The LA criticsvoted A History Of Violence and its director Da
  • Cast firms up for Ira & Abby: A Divorce Comedy

    Jason Alexander and Judith Light have joined the cast of RobertCary's comedy Ira & Abby: A Divorce Comedy, which began principal photography inNew York last month.
  • CineAsia opens in Beijing with Glickman address

    CineAsia gets underway forthe first time in Beijing today (Dec 13) with an opening address from MPAA CEODan Glickman and a screening of Chen Kaige's The Promise which opens across China later this week.Zhao Shi, vice minister of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television,is also a keynote speaker at the opening ceremony which is being held in theGreat Hall of the Pe
  • Cinema still attractive to videogame generation

    Reports about cinema's death at the hands of DVDs, videogames, computerscreens, mobile phones and all today's other competing diversions have beengreatly exaggerated, according to leading experts on audience trends.In fact, their latest research suggests that theatre-goersacross all age-groups are now going to the movies more often than they used to.
  • CineMart decides on final selection for 2006 market

    The world's largest co-production market, Rotterdam'sCineMart, has announced 2006's final selection. Atotal of 45 projects in advanced stages of production, including new films fromAmat Escalante, Pablo Trapero,Guy Maddin, He Jianjun andJan Svankmajer are now eligible to present to anestimated 800 producers, TV buyers, sales agents,distributors and fund representatives at the Jan 29-Feb 2 event. (See full listbelow.)CineMartreceived 450 applications this year, according to heads Maritv
  • Cinematographer Adrian Biddle dies aged 53

    British cinematographer Adrian Biddle, who most recently worked onV for Vendetta, died December 7. The cause of death was an apparent heartattack. Biddle had been travelling from his home in Weybridge to a commercialshoot in London.Biddle, a member of the British Societyof Cinematographers, was Oscar-nominated for his work on The
  • Czech Republic to host Edith Piaf co-production

    Director Olivier Dahan will begin shooting the Edith Piafproject La Momeon January 16 at Prague Studios in the Czech Republic.The film, produced by OKKO Production and Songbird Pictures Limitedand Legende Entreprises,will star Marion Cotillardas Piaf. Cotillard won a Cesar award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in A Very Long Engagement. She also
  • Day-and-date releasing comes under Euro fire

    Some of Europe's leading distributors and marketers arenow questioning the drift towards day-and-date releasing.Judging by the remarks made at yesterday's European Box OfficeForum, hosted by Screen International at Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London, there is a growing consensus that filmscan s
  • Eagle Pictures secures Italian rights to Apocalypto

    EaglePictures has acquired Italian rights to Mel Gibson's upcoming film, Apocalypto, marking one of Icon's firstmajor international deals on the picture.Apocalypto - a Greek term meaning "anunveiling" or "new beginning" -is set 3,000 years ago in Central America before its conquest byEuropeans.Thefilm, which Gibson is directing, producing and financing, will be spoken inMayan dialect, although lik
  • Echo Bridge picks up domestic rights to Beer League

    Echo Bridge Entertainment has acquired all North American rightsfrom Ckrush Entertainment to Frank Sebastiano's comedy Beer League.
  • Eureka gets UK rights to Junebug

    UK DVDdistributor Eureka plans to move into theatrical releasing after licensingall UK rights for Phil Morrison's Junebug. Eureka, which previously distributed DVDs, is planning a theatricalrelease for spring 2006 with sales and distribution handled by MiracleCommunications.
  • FFC backs production on two Australian films

    Film Finance Corporation Australia (FFC) today agreed to fund the thriller Storm Warning and the coming-of-age teencomedy Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger.
  • Film London seeking companies for new work placement scheme

    Film London hasstarted a new scheme to create paid work placements for film industry traineesworking in London. Under the new programme,Film London will provide up to six selected companies with 75% of the totalsalary of the placement for up to six months, HR support including trainingplans, and general recruitment adv
  • First feature film to come out of Yemen shows at Cairo

    London-basedFelix Films Entertainment has kicked off a festival tour for A New Day in Old Sana'a, the firstfeature film ever to come from Yemen. Intended to showWestern eyes a softer side of a country usually associated with terrorism, thefilm had its international premiere on Monday when it screened in competition atthe Cairo International Film Festival.
  • Fonda, Shore get special honours from National Board Of Review

    Jane Fonda will receive theNational Board of Review (NBR) of Motion Pictures' 2005 Career AchievementAward and Howard Shore will collect the 2005 Career Achievement For Film MusicComposition.Both awards will bepresented at the annual awards gala in New York on Jan 10, 2006.Fonda won two best actressOscars for Klute in 1972 and ComingHome in 1979. Her credits include TheChina Syndrome, Barbarella. Coming Home, Nine to Five, On Golden Pond, and she recently re
  • Fox international chief issues theatrical wake-up call

    One of Hollywood's top international film chiefs yesterday calledon his industry colleagues to treat this year's box office admissions slide as anecessary wake-up call."We desperately have to change," declared Tomas Jegeus, executivevice president - international, 20th Century Fox International, w
  • Future Films Australia opens for business

    A productruling from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) was made public yesterday,signalling that the new financing outfit Future Films Australia is officiallyopen for business in a market not previously renowned for attracting privateinvestment into film.The rulinggives more momentum to Future Films' search for both high net worth individualswho are potential investors and wholly Australian films or co-productions withsubstantial presales and quality distributors attached. The intention
  • Global Film Initiative gives grants to films from Romania, Argentina, Chile

    The Global Film Initiativehas unveiled its autumn 2005 grant recipients, which include Tudor Giurgiu'sRomanian romance Love Sick, andYesim Ustaoglu's childhood drama Pandora's Box.Also on the list are PaulaHernandez' Argentinian project Rain,Daniel Benavides Pinto's Chilean picture The Murderer Among Us, and Iranian filmmaker Chapour Haghighat's project ThreeLittle Dreams.The Global Film Initiativeis a non-traditional distributor specialising i
  • Goblet of Fire still boiling in the UK

    All eyes may have beenturned to family holiday rival TheChronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And TheWardrobe as it became Buena Vista International's (BVI) highest ever launchin the UK but Harry Potter And The GobletOf Fire refused to lay quietly in the background this weekend. Narnia gave BVI the lead with a $14.1m (£8m) three-dayweekend that proved the distributor's record in the
  • Gruenberg joins First Look to run theatrical distribution

    Former Miramax distribution president executive Andy Gruenberg hasjoined First Look Studios as executive vice president of theatricaldistribution.
  • IDT closes $125m credit line for animated features

    IDT Entertainment has closeda credit agreement with a bank group led by JP Morgan Chase Bank for a $125mfive-and-a-half year secured revolving credit facility to partially fundproduction and marketing costs of its first six CG animated features.Proceeds from the facilitywill go towards financing projects already in feature production as well as theproduction, marketing and distribution of future IDT Entertainment CG animatedfeatures.John W Miller, managingdir
  • International revenues to overtake domestic this year, says report

    Combined international motion picture revenue streams will overtake their domestic equivalent this year and are forecast to boom over the next eight years with a notable surge in the home entertainment sector, a new report is predicting.
  • Irish Film Board gets 18 percent increase

    The IrishMinister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, John O'Donogue,has announced an overallbudget increase of 18.5 percent for the Irish Film Boardin 2006. Within a total allocation of $20.2 (Euros17.126m) the minister hasdecided to provide a sum of $17.7 (Euros15m) to the agency as capital fundingfor production, development and training next year.The provision for administration costs will be $2.4 (Euros 2.126m), a 4%increase on the provision for 2005.The original capital allocation fo
  • Italian industry looks overseas for production

    While Italianfilm-makers continue to struggle with trickling government funds for homegrownprojects, Italians producers and financiers are becoming more and more involvedin international productions.Foremost among themis Massimo Pacilio's Rome-based Movieweb, a co-producer on Oliver Parker's Fade To Black, an atmospheric thrillerthat follows Orson Welles' exploits in seedy post-World War Two Italy.The recently wrappedfeature - which is be
  • Kadokawa to make One Missed Call 3

    Kadokawa HeraldPictures will make a third instalment in its hit One Missed Call horror series, company sources have revealed.Called Chakushin Ari Final (One MissedCall Final), the new film will be directed by Manabu Aso and will starMeisa Kuroki and Maki Horikita, two seventeen-year-old ingenues whohaveenjoyed a meteoric rise to the topthis year. The
  • Keeping Mum

    Dir: Niall Johnson. UK. 2005. 103mins.Keeping Mum is acurious mish-mash: part morbid comedy in the vein ofold Ealing classic Kind Hearts And Coronets, part family drama, part Rowan Atkinsonvehicle, part murder mystery, part Mary Poppins, its
  • King Kong

    Dir: Peter Jackson. US.2005. 189mins.Peter Jackson's KingKong is Jurassic Park, War Of The Worlds, Jaws, ET and Raiders Of The Lost Ark allrolled into one mammoth, three-hour rollercoaster ride. As if saying to StevenSpielberg "Anything you can do, I can do better", Jackson delivers
  • Kinowelt Forecasts 30% Increase in Group Turnover

    Kinowelt is forecasting a 30% year-on-year increase inturnover to over $82.4m (Euros 70m) by the end of 2005. This financial forecastwill see the company return to its position as one of the key German players. Thisgrowth, despite the overall market trend, was largely down to thetheatricaldistribution division which expects to more than triple itsturnover to around $20m (Euros 17m)thanks to such box-office hits as MillionDollar Baby (over 500,0
  • Lemming Director Chosen As Jury President

    TheGerman-French director Dominik Moll has been named asthe jury president for the Dialogue en perspective Prize at next year's BerlinInternational Film Festival. Togetherwith seven cineastes aged between 18 and 29 from France and Germany, Moll will select awinner from one of the German films screening in the PerspektiveDeutsches Kino sidebar.The43-year
  • London's Everyman Expands Into Production

    Everyman Media, the holding company behind theEveryman Cinema Club in London, is targeting investors toco-finance short and feature-length films by emerging directors. Everyman said it would seek to produce a slate of"original stories in commercial genres that are both set and shot in the UK." T
  • MacLaine, Theron, Newman join honour roll at Palm Springs

    Shirley MacLaine will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award,Charlize Theron will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress, andThomas Newman will collect the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing at the17th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) in January.
  • Midsummer Madness to begin shooting in March 2006

    Vienna/London-basedsales agent EastWest Filmdistributionhas picked up world sales rights on Riga-born Alexander Hahn's comedy Midsummer Madness which was presented atlast week's Baltic Event Co-Production Market in Estonia's Tallinn and set to beginshooting next March.Midsummer Madness will be co-p
  • Missing In Action Plans 2006 Shoot For The Sycamores

    Missing In Action Films, theUK production banner formed by Mia Bays, isplanningan early 2006 shoot for its first narrative feature film, Neil Hunter andNatalie Sirett's TheSycamores. Thefilm is a mysteryset in the 1970s. Bays is producing with David Parfitt, producer ofShakespeare in Love, on board asexecutive producer.
  • Moment To Remember breaks Japanese record

    A Moment to Remember has broken the recordfor highest grossing Korean film in Japan. Surpassing rival 'KoreanWave' film April Snow, the film grossed$22m (2.7 billion yen) as of December 4, according to international sales agentCJ Entertainment. Basedon a Japanese television series, John H. Lee's melodrama about a woman withprogressive memor
  • More multiplex cinemas planned for Argentina

    Village Cinemas opened anine-screen, 1.800 stadium-seating complex this weekin one of the fast-growing districts of Buenos Aires. This $ 14
  • MTV Films picks up movie rights to Getting Up

    MTV Films has acquired feature rights from Atari to Marc Ecko'supcoming video game Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, which is scheduled to launch on gamingconsoles in February 2006.
  • Munich

    Dir: Steven Spielberg. US.2005. 165 mins.It's a bold and courageous move for Steven Spielbergto address the 100-year Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a $70mHollywood movie, and he has already stirred up advance controversy for thestory he opted to tell - that of the Israeli government's secret hit squadsallegedly formed in the aftermath of the Munich Olympics massacre in 1972.
  • Munich

    Dir: Steven Spielberg. US.2005. 165 mins.It's a bold and courageous move for Steven Spielbergto address the 100-year Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a $70mHollywood movie, and he has already stirred up advance controversy for thestory he opted to tell - that of the Israeli government's secret hit squadsallegedly formed in the aftermath of the Munich Olympics massacre in 1972.
  • Narnia is unleashed in 14 territories this weekend

    Following a stunning run inits first three weekends Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire faces its first major test this weekend. The Warner Bros release hasamassed more than $330m so far and is expected to build strongly on that with aslew of mighty holdovers. However with no new majordebuts Harry and chums will come under fire from The Chronicles Of Narnia:The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe,which Buena Vista International (BVI) opens in 14 territories day-and-da
  • Narnia rules North America, with smashing $67.1m debut

    TheChronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe was the runaway winner at the weekend box officefollowing a resounding $67.1m estimated launch on 3,616 screens.
  • National Board Of Review delays naming winners

    The National Board of Review (NBR) has postponed announcing itswinners until next Monday [Dec 12] after it emerged last night [Dec 6] thatincomplete reminder lists had been mailed out to voters.
  • New projects by Miller and Golubovic backed by Eurimages

    Newfeature films by Claude Miller, Alain Resnais, Lone Scherfig, and Srdan Golubovic are among 14 projects awarded over $5.2m (Euros4.4m) by the Council of Europe's pan-European co-production fund Eurimages.Thelargest amounts - $768,850 (Euros 650,000) each - were awarded to Slovak filmmaker JurajJakubisko's Bathory, which is to be co-produced by the director's Slovakand Czech-based production houses with Hungary's EurofilmStudio and the UK's L
  • New York Critics Circle fetes Brokeback Mountain

    Brokeback Mountain maintained its early awards season momentum by scooping bestfeature and best director honours in the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC)awards announced today [12].
  • Nils Malmros starts shooting Kaerestesorger

    Director Nils Malmros has just started shooting one of the most expensive Danish films of all-time: the budget for Kaerestesorger is set at $4.3m (3.7m Euros), including a record backing from the Danish Film Institute.The director travelled widely with his 1981 picture Tree of Knowledge and nearlyalways draws on his own life experiences for inspiration. Tree ofKnowledge focused on the early teenage years in elementary school of agroup of child actors shot over a thr
  • Pact names members of 2006 council

    Pact, the UK producers group, has confirmed that the 2006 PactCouncil elections have confirmed the following council leaders. Alex Graham ofWall to Wall will serve as chair; Malcolm Brinkworthof Touch Productions will serve as vice chair, TV; Andrea Calderwoodof Slate Films will serve as vice chair, film; Jonathan Peel of Millimages UK will serve as vice chair, animation; andAnthony Lilley of Magic La
  • Paramount gets DreamWorks in $1.6bn deal

    Paramount Pictures has signed a contract to acquire DreamWorks SKGfor $1.6bn in cash and assumption of debt in a move that offers a timely boostto Paramount's domestic and international ambitions.
  • Phoenix production outfit teams with Indian animation house

    Phoenix-based production outfit Fortitude Entertainment Group(FEG) has teamed up with Indian animation house Maya Entertainment to formFortitude Maya.
  • Picture Players wraps The Killing Of John Lennon

    UK-basedPicture Players has finished principal photography on its first feature film, The Killing of John Lennon.AndrewPiddington wrote and directed the film about MarkDavid Chapman, who shot John Lennon in 1980. Newcomer Jonas Ball plays Chapman.ProducerRakha Singh is making his feature film debut afterwo
  • Prescience launches new fund before UK's Section 48 expires

    UK-based Prescience Film Finance has launchedits latest investment offering, Prescience Film Partners LLP, a film financingpartnership being promoted by financial services group Smith & Williamson. The film partnership will support films goinginto production before April 1 2006, to take advantage of the UK'sSection 48 tax relief before it expires. The fund will seek
  • Roberto Faenza to make historical drama The Viceroys

    Italian auteur Roberto Faenza, whose last picture I Giorni Dell'Abbandono screened incompetition at the Venice Film Festival, is currently lining up an ambitioushistorical adaptation which Luchino Visconti had originally planned to bring tothe big screen.The $9.8m (Euros 8m) film, entitled The Viceroys, is an adaptation of Federico De Roberto's 1894 novelabout three generations of a powerful Sicilian dyn
  • Saw producer Hoffman dies in LA aged 42

    Gregg Hoffman, the Twisted Pictures partner and producer and a keycreative force behind the Saw horror franchise, died from natural causes in Los Angeles onSunday. He was 42.
  • SFC grants seed money to six projects

    The Singapore FilmCommission (SFC) has announced the winners of its inaugural project developmentfunding scheme which offers total seed money of up to $118,624 (S$200,000) tosix new Singapore projects.The new scheme aims toencourage filmmakers to turn their creative ideas into viab
  • Skillset offers support to women returning to film work

    UK training body Skillsethas announced a new initiative to help women working in film return to work. The Timeshift programme will provide job-sharing roles on filmproductions for teams of eight women, who will benefit from a child-careallowance as well as their salaries. Eligibleapplicants will have at least three years' experience in any of these roles:production accountants, assistant production accountants, prod
  • Slamdance unveils 12th annual festival lineup

    The 12th Annual Slamdance Film festival will screen 21 premieresfrom a line-up of 20 narrative and documentary competition features and sixspecial screenings.
  • Sundance 2006 unveils 73-title shorts lineup

    Gwyneth Paltrow'sdirectorial debut and new shorts from Bob Odenkirk, Tamra Davis, Jennie Livingstonand Isaac Julien take their place among 73 short films set to screen at theSundance Film Festival in Utah next month.Organisers received 4,327submissions overall, and of the 73 selected, 42 are American and 31 titles hailfrom a further 17 countries.Paltrow directed Dealbreaker with Mary Wigmore, who acted with the Oscar winnerin The Royal Tenenbaums and ShallowHal
  • The Dubai International Film Festival opens with controversial drama

    The second Dubai InternationalFilm Festival has stepped up its bid to become a centre of cultural debate inthe Middle East with the gala opening of its second edition and theGulf premiere of a decidedly controversial film - Hany Abu Assad's suicidebomber drama, Paradise Now. Unspooling in front of anaudience of local dignitaries including His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed binSaeed Al Maktoum, Assad's tale tracks the final h
  • The Family Stone

    Dir: Thomas Bezucha. US. 2005. 104mins.The Family Stoneis a serio-comic story about the holiday gathering ofa chatty, mildly bickering bohemian New England brood, and the straight-lacedgirlfriend that the eldest son brings home. A sort of mash-up of The Myth OfFingerprints and
  • The Producers

    Dir: Susan Stroman. USA.2005. 135mins.The strange, zany trip of Mel Brooks' The Producers - which began in 1968 as amovie about a Broadway musical; morphed into a Tony-winning smash hit Broadwaymusical about a Broadway musical; and now reincarnates itself on film withalmost the entire creative team behind that stage adaptation intact - finally comesto a pleasing thi
  • THINKFilm buys into The Best Restaurant

    THINKFilm has picked upNorth American rights on The Best Restaurant In The World. Ever to be produced by Vancouver-based Irreverent Media. Monika Mitchell (Break ALeg) will direct the screenplayadapted by Rick Obran from his stage play. Irreverent's Tom O'Brien and HarrySutherland will produce. Casting is pending on several roles in the ensemblepiece, although Canadian actors Gina Chiarelli (See Grace Fly) and John Kapelos (The River King) are locked.
  • UK industry greets tax news with relief

    The UK film industry is largely cheering yesterday's announcement about new film tax laws, but seeking further clarity about aspects of the plans such as co-production rules and the transition period to the new system.Experts say they are glad the percentage of benefit was higher than expected (net 20% for low-budget films and 16% for higher-budget films) although there will be more restrictions - the new tax credit will be based only on UK spend, not a film's entire budget as under th
  • Von Trier's producer call it quits

    Vibeke Windeløv, Lars von Trier's producer for manyyears, has decided to bow out of producing his upcoming feature My Man the President. After working on severalof Von Trier's international film projects Windeløvat the age of 54 wants new challenges. She will remain a co-owner of Zentropa and may return to producing films there at a laterstage. Windeløv is renowned for producing a slew of Europeanart-films such as
  • Warner Bros taps Virtual Studios to co-finance six titles

    Warner Bros Pictures willco-finance six upcoming projects with Los Angeles-based Virtual Studiosincluding Steven Soderbergh's The Good German, Wolfgang Petersen's Poseidon and Ed Zwick's Blood Diamond.The deal was originally announced back in October. Relativity Media's chief executive officer Ryan Kavanaugh and his partner Lynwood Spinks were instrumental in facilitating the unique financing on the deal.The other three titles are VFor Vendetta starri
  • Weinstein Co forms US DVD venture with Genius

    The Weinstein Company (TWC)has formed a new US DVD releasing venture with home entertainment productionand distribution outfit Genius Products.Under the terms of the dealGenius will raise $32m in equity funding to finance the new entity, which willrelease on DVD all feature and direct-to-video titles controlled by thebrothers, as well as Genius' existing home video distribution operationsincluding the Wellspring Media library.The move gives Harvey andBob Weinstein a 70% controll
  • Women in Film and TV hands out annual awards

    UK industry group Women in Film and Television(WFTV) announced its 15th annual awards today in London. Winners were Gail Egan, executive producer of TheConstant Gardener and VeraDrake, for The Olswang Business Award; Deborah Saban,assistant director of Shakespeare in Loveand Proof, f
  • Yuya Yagira to make romantic drama

    Fuji TV has revealed plans to cast Yuya Yagira -- the 15-year-oldwinner of the 2004 Cannes Best Actor prize for his work in HirokazuKore-eda's NobodyKnows -in Sugar and Spice Fumizekka (Sugarand Spice - Great Flavour), a romantic dramabased on a bestselling novel by Amy Yamada. Yagira's previous film for Fuji TV, Shining Boy