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19 December 2001

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  • 2001: The Film Year in Review

    There were few great films in 2001, but enough good ones by new (Todd Field), developing (Peter Jackson,Baz Luhrmann), and veteran (Lynch, Altman) directors, to make the year moreagreeable. With most studio releases slipshod and slapdash, the interestingfilms were easily evident on first viewing. Hence, choosing the best was notdifficult, though for the first time in years, most of my personal choices areA- or B+ pictures. The guiding criteria inconstructing the lists below (which are
  • 60's retrospective, 'shooting stars' at Berlinale

    European cinema of the 1960s will be the theme of the 2002 Berlinale's Retrospective. In addition, a special 'Shooting Stars' film programme will be staged by pan-European promotion body European Film Promotion (EFP). Commenting on the 60s Retrospective, which has been organised by the Filmmuseum Berlin - Deutsche Kinemathek, festival director Dieter Kosslick said "the European 60s have had a lasting influence on our current political and cultural situation. The Retrospective will high
  • AFI announces first annual award nominations

    The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced its nominations for the first annual AFI Awards 2001.which will be presented on Jan 5, 2002, in Los Angeles. Two 13-member committees - one representing films and one representing TV - made the nominations; a 100-person AFI jury will select the award-winners.The film nominations are as follows:AFI Movie of the YearA Beautiful Mind, Black Hawk Down, In The Bedroom, The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship
  • Alliance given OK for Canadian indie film channel

    Alliance Atlantis Communications (AAC) has received approval from theCanadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for its acquisition of the Independent Film Channel Canada (IFCC). The IFCC was acquired through AAC's purchase of Halifax-based Salter Street Films earlier this year. The IFFC was launched in September 2001, one of an array of new specialist channels to begin transmission. The broadcast permit was originally sought by Salter Street under licenc
  • Amelie on course for 19 million admissions

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Oscar-tipped French-language title Amelie is proving as much of a success abroad as it was at home. As of Dec 14 the crowd-pleaser has already sold over 17 million tickets in the 25 countries in which it has opened - equivalent to approximately $100m in box office gross. International sales company UGC International predicts the film will have passed 19 million admissions by the end of the year. The biggest successes, outside France where the romantic comedy
  • Animated Oscar to go ahead; nine films eligible

    The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) will go ahead with its inaugural Best Animated Feature category this year after the board of governers voted in its favour at a meeting on Monday night.Nine films were declared eligible to compete by the executive committee of the short films and feature animation branch of the Academy which then recommended to the board that the award should go ahead. A minimum requirement of eight eligible films was decreed when the category was
  • Artisan Pictures revs up with Garbo Deception

    Artisan Pictures has announced its first script project since Artisan Entertainment merged with Bob Cooper's Landscape Entertainment in Sept and Cooper took over as CEO of Artisan Pictures.The company has hired screenwriter Bill Wheeler to draft the feature film script The Garbo Deception based on actual source material recounting the activities of Juan Pujol, a creative mastermind, who, during World War II, fabricated a network of non-existent "spies" which succeeded in deceiv
  • Artisan teams with National Lampoon on Wilder

    Artisan Pictures is teaming up with National Lampoon to release college comedy Van Wilder: Party Liaison in North America on March 29, 2002. Set to launch in over 2,000 theatres, the film will be redubbed National Lampoon's Van Wilder as a throwback to the 1978 college hit National Lampoon's Animal House.The film, which was fully financed by Myriad Pictures, stars Ryan Reynolds, Tara Reid, Tim Matheson and Curtis Armstrong. Artisan will work with National Lampoon
  • Atanarjuat and War Bride lead Genie race

    Zacharias Kunuk's Camera d'or winner Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) and Lyndon Chubbuck's The War Bride both received seven nominations for Canada's Genie Awards, announced Dec. 12 in Toronto. Bruce Sweeney's Last Wedding had six nominations while five were awarded to Renny Bartlett's Eisenstein, Bernard Emond's La Femme Qui Boit and William Philips' Treed Murray. Andre Turpin's Un Crabe Dans La Tete earned four. Both Atanarjuat, wi
  • Bacall, Gazzara join von Trier's Dogville

    Hollywood veterans Lauren Bacall and Ben Gazzara have been the latest additions to the all-star cast of Danish maverick Lars von Trier's highly anticipated follow-up to the multiple award-winning Dancer In The Dark. His new project, Dogville, has already attracted high-profile talent, including: Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Chloe Sevigny and Jeremy Davies as well as Trier regulars Stellan Skarsgaard, Katryn Cartlidge and Siobhan Fallon. Dogville shoots from
  • Beautiful Mind, Ring top Broadcast Critics noms

    The US Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) has announced its nominees for the seventh annual Critics Choice Awards which will be announced on Jan 11 in Los Angeles. Leading the way with five nominations was A Beautiful Mind followed by The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring with four.The BFCA nominates ten films for Best Picture with three nominees in each of the 16 other categories. The nominations are as follows:Best PictureAli; A Beauti
  • Bollywood 'K3G' takes UK box office by storm

    Bollywood received its latest boost at the UK box office this week with the Yash Raj Films release of the most expensive Indian film ever: Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (K3G) to record figures.Scoring the biggest opening for an Indian release in the UK with $687,017 (£473,355) the film landed in third place in the weekend chart - behind Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone and Momentum Pictures' The 51st State. K3G is the first Bollywood t
  • Bollywood UK: Sometimes Happiness Sometimes Sorrow

    Indian films got a dramatically varied reception at the UK box office this week as Yash Raj Films' Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (K3G) established a new record for a Bollywood opening, while Eros International's Bollywood Calling, managed only a dismal response at the turnstiles.K3G (Sometime Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow) took third place in the UK top 15, the first ever Bollywood title to achieve such a position in the national chart, with $687,017 (£473,355). Th
  • BSkyB accused of pay-TV market abuse

    BSkyB's stranglehold on pay-TV film rights in the UK has come under threat after competition watchdog the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said on Monday (Dec 17) it is to rule that the satellite broadcaster has breached competition laws.The investigation said that the difference between the prices BSkyB charges its customers and companies serving the rest of the market may not be enough to allow those companies to make a "normal profit". The investigation, which centres on BSkyB's premium
  • BVI tops $1bn for seventh consecutive year

    Buena Vista International (BVI) has become the third distributor this year to cross the $1bn barrier at the international box office, making it seven years in a row for the company. The battle charge was led by Pearl Harbor which took $251.5m in overseas territories, over $50m more than in the domestic market, and is the third biggest BVI live action title of all time after Armageddon and Pretty Woman.Mark Zoradi, president of BVI and Buena Vista Home Entertainmen
  • Canada's Martinelli unveils Capri prod company

    Canadian producer Gabriella Martinelli has launched a new Toronto-based production outfit, Capri Films, in partnership with Polish recording impresario Wladislow Bartoszewicz. The first project under the Capri banner will be Between Strangers, starring Sophia Loren and Gerard Depardieu, directed by Loren's son Eduardo Ponti and now in post production. Martinelli and Bartoszewicz are producer and executive producer respectively.The second project will be an adaptation of novelist
  • Cannes' Fremaux explores Italian talent

    Having visited Germany and the UK, Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux has turned his attention to Italy, visiting Rome to meet key players from the local film industry and find out more about new Italian talent. During his three-day visit, Fremaux reportedly met a number of producers, including Angelo Barbagallo, who produced The Son's Room, Tilde Corsi (Ignorant Fairies), Alia Film's Enzo Porcelli, Cattleya's Riccardo Tozzi, and Medusa Film vice-president Giampaolo
  • Catalunya to back Spain/Argentina co-productions

    The Spanish autonomous regional government of Catalunya has signed an agreement to back TV co-productions between Spain's national public television network Television Espanola (TVE) and Argentine firms Pramer and Tranquilo Producciones. The first two productions out of the accord will be Perfiles Catalanes, a 26-chapter series of 26 minutes each about leading lights of the Calatan cultural scene; and Un Mundo Alucinante, a 13-chapter series of 52 minutes each abou
  • Charlotte Gray

    Dir: Gillian Armstrong. UK-US. 2001. 121minsWith such elegant novel adaptations previously like Little Women and the under-rated Oscar And Lucinda, it is disappointing to see film-maker Gillian Armstrong falter somewhat in her respectable but muddled film of Sebastian Faulks' best-selling novel Charlotte Gray. The story of a Scottish woman who volunteers to go into Vichy France as a secret agent in 1942, Charlotte Gray is a thrilling book tinged w
  • CJ becomes Korea's first international distributor

    South Korean major CJ Entertainment will become the first Korean company to distribute directly into international territories when it releases the political drama Joint Security Area (pictured) in Hong Kong on January 3, 2002. The film will be the first in a series of planned overseas releases in Hong Kong, Taiwan and other parts of Southeast Asia.The 20-screen release of Joint Security Area, a local smash which remains one of the best-selling films in Korean his
  • Cruise hits the top spot again with Vanilla Sky

    Tom Cruise proved once again why he is one of the world's biggest box office stars as his R-rated love story-cum-sci-fi fantasy Vanilla Sky opened over the weekend with $25m from 2,742 sites. The Paramount Pictures release, one of the rare pictures for which Paramount has worldwide distribution, had been tracking poorly and had mixed reviews. Members of the public, apparently, were baffled by the film and didn't know what it was about - a problem since much of the film's plot c
  • Curb acquires Dummy with Brody, Jovovich

    LA-based sales outfit Curb Entertainment has acquired international distribution rights to Greg Pritikin's romantic comedy Dummy starring Adrien Brody, Illeana Douglas and Milla Jovovich.Brody stars as a shy, unemployed ventriloquist who falls in love with his employment counselor. The film was produced by Richard Temtchine and Bob Fagan through Quadrant Entertainment.Carole Curb, the president of Curb Entertainment, and Glen Reynolds negotiated the deal for Curb with R
  • Czechs appeal against Stockholm ruling on CME

    The Czech Republic has appealed against a decision by a Stockholm tribunal in the case of Central European Media Enterprises (CME) and TV Nova that could cost the country up to $500m.On Sept 13, a three-member international tribunal found that the Czech Republic had violated its treaty on the mutual protection of investments with the Netherlands government when it allowed Nova, its leading private TV station, to break away from its former partner, cosmetics heir Ron Lauder's CME. CME i
  • Diller Thriller for Vivendi Universal

    At end of play yesterday (Sunday), it looked certain that Barry Diller will be named the film and TV overlord at Vivendi Universal as early as this morning - a move that would appear to relegate its current entertainment chief Pierre Lescure to the managerial sidelines within the French-American conglomerate.In a widely cited story in The Los Angeles Times yesterday, Vivendi Universal is said to have approved a plan hatched by its chairman Jean-Marie Messier to acquire the film
  • Dimension, Storyopolis plan Opus animated film

    Dimension Films has acquired the rights to develop and produce an animated feature based on the cartoon character Opus, a penguin who first appeared in the first year of Bloom County in 1980. The project is the first film to come from the newly established first-look deal between Dimension and Storyopolis Productions.Berkely Breathed, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the cartoon is attached to write and direct the feature.Opus eventually appeared in a series of 11 cartoon
  • Echostar to sell 10% to Vivendi Universal

    Vivendi Universal is to buy 10% of the US's number two satellite broadcaster Echostar.The deal is expected to help Echostar in its ongoing bid to acquire the biggest satellite player DirecTV. But it is not conditional on the takeover going through.The $1.5bn investment is seen by Vivendi Universal as the basis for an eight year distribution alliance. This will give Vivendi Universal secure outlets for its film and TV content, the ability to launch five new channels on Echostar's
  • Enigma

    Screened at Sundance (Premieres). Dir: Michael Apted. UK. 2001. 117mins.Revisiting a little-known yet extremely important and heroic chapter of World War II, Michael Apted's Enigma is a compelling, sumptuously-made romantic thriller that is effective in both its political and more personal dimensions. Steeped in the tense atmosphere of wartime Britain, this suspenseful drama centres on the mysteries of codes and code breaking, while at the same time telling a quintessentially
  • Euro Pitch Point selects 12 projects for Berlinale

    An international jury composed of Eurimages' executive secretary Renate Roginas, Senator Film Produktion's managing director Benjamin Herrmann, Road Movies' Uli Felsberg, Maestranza Films' Antonio P. Perez, and Renaissance Film's Angus Finney has selected 12 feature film ideas to be pitched by their writers at the 3rd European Pitch Point on February 8 during the next Berlinale.The jury made its final selection from among 200 projects from 25 countries by focusing on originality in sty
  • Fox sets X2 release for May 2, 2003

    Laying claim to a choice release date 18 months ahead of time, 20th Century Fox has announced that it will release X2, the second film in its X-Men franchise, on May 2, 2003.The dating comes in the week that Warner Bros secured domestic rights to Terminator 3: The Rise Of The Machines which it will open in summer 2003. That's in addition to the two Matrix films which it has scheduled for May and December respectively, the third Harry Potter film T
  • France's UGC to enter UK distribution market

    French major UGC is planning to give foreign-language films a massive boost in the notoriously tough UK market by launching a UK distribution presence early next year.Plans for the initiative are being hammered out by UGC International executive Louisa Dent, who will oversee acquisitions for the venture. Dent, who declined comment, is expected to concentrate on European titles from UGC's own sales roster and from third-party pick-ups.The operation could secure some titles which
  • French film production on track for record year

    French film production has reached a massive 162 titles during 2001 (compared to 150 last year), and will top a record 200, including films in which French partners are minority co-producers (against 171 last year) according to the CNC (Centre National de la Cinematographie).Fuelling the growth, the bullish trend for high-budget productions was extended during 2001, with some nine films coming in at Ffr100m-plus ($13.7m), compared to seven last year - which was itself a record at the t
  • Germany's Feardotcom acquired by Warner

    Warner Bros. has picked up North American rights for William Malone's horror action thriller feardotcom, starring Stephen Dorff, Natasha McElhone, Stephen Rea and Udo Kier.The German-UK-Luxembourg co-production, produced by ApolloMedia's Frank Huebner, Quality International's Jan Fantl and Moshe Diamant, will be released by Warner Bros in the US on March 15, 2002 on at least 1,500 prints; all other territories had previously been acquired by Columbia TriStar.Meanwhile, pr
  • Harry has $45m weekend in international market

    Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone showed no signs of crumbling fast over the weekend, taking a massive $45.3m or 8.8m admissions from 8,378 prints in 39 countries. Its international total now stands at $313.16m, its worldwide cumulative total at $570m.Over the weekend, the film opened in Korea with an all-time industry record of $3.27m from 186 prints. Other major territories continued to play strongly: in France, it took $6.9m on 864 prints in its second weekend to bring its
  • Harry to get speedy release in China in Jan, 2002

    Warner Bros has set a release date for its worldwide blockbuster Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone in China. The film will open in advance of the Chinese New Year on Jan 31 and continue to play through the Chinese New Year holiday period (Feb 12-18), a period which has traditionally been reserved for the release of Chinese films. Warner hopes to open the film on approximately 1,200 screens in China.Since the revenue-sharing importation of Hollywood movies to China began in 19
  • Helkon SK ventures into production

    Children's fantasy comedy Tooth and comedy thriller Max Dark are among the first projects at the newly-launched production operation of UK distributor Helkon SK. Emma Berkosfky, former head of development at BSkyB film arm Sky Pictures, will head up development at the outfit.Berkosfky, who was also previously at British Screen Finance, has access to an annual development fund worth up to $1m and will run the initiative with the distributor's co-founders Zygi Kamasa and Si
  • Hong Kong's eSun strikes production pacts

    Hong Kong's eSun Holdings, part-owner of production and distribution outfit Media Asia Group, has signed a $25.6m (HK$200m) joint venture with leading Singapore broadcaster MediaCorp. At the same time, Media Asia has unveiled co-production pacts with Taiwan's Pandasia Entertainment and Hong Kong outfits Teamwork Motion Pictures and Filmko Pictures. The deals demonstrate a growing willingness amongst Asian territories to collaborate on pictures aimed at the international market.
  • Indian directors, cable cos agree piracy measures

    The representatives of Indian film producers and cable operators havereached an agreement to check video piracy which poses a serious threat tothe Indian film industry. Under the terms of the deal it was agreed that no film should be exhibited without a valid licence from the copyright holder. Also, it was agreed that no cable network operator (Multi System Operator [MSO]) or franchisee or local cable redistributor would show any film without a valid licence under the Co
  • Italian pay-TV merger plan withdrawn

    Italy's antitrust authority has announced that Vivendi Universal and News Corp have withdrawn their plan to merge their Italian pay-TV arms, pre-empting the watchdog's widely expected ruling against the operation. Despite initial industry confidence that the merger would receive swift regulatory approval, last September the antitrust authority opened an investigation into the deal, stating that a single pay-TV operation could lead Canal Plus to "gain a position of monopoly" in Italy an
  • Jacques Tati to be feted at 55th Cannes festival

    A special tribute to Jacques Tati, on the 20th anniversary of his death, which will include public, open-air screenings of two of his most popular films, will be part of next year's 55th Cannes film festival, to be held May 15-26.A restored 70mm print of the French film-maker's Playtime will be screened in the Palais. The public will also be able to see such cult titles as Les Vacances De Monsieur Hulot (Mr Hulot's Holiday) and Jour De Fete (The Big Day) whi
  • Kate & Leopold

    Dir: James Mangold. US. 2001. 120minsSo here's the pitch: a 19th-century English duke gets caught up in a time warp and is transported from New York in 1876 to 2001 where he meets a high-powered career woman. After much comedy derived from the differences between the two, they fall in love. In Hollywood, that's what's known as a high concept, and Kate & Leopold, the film which was made from that pitch, creaks under the weight of its own contrivance. Film-maker James Ma
  • Kloiber plans assault on Kirch pay-TV domination

    Herbert Kloiber's Tele Muenchen Group (TMG) and digital and interactive TV service company GET ON AIR are planning an ambitious 2002 launch of three German digital pay-TV channels to compete with Leo Kirch's high-profile Premiere World. The partners' timetables sees cartoon channel Toongate going on air in March, with action channel Actiongate following in June and the home and garden channel Homegate in the autumn.However, Kloiber's ambitions to encroach on Kirch's German pay-T
  • Korea's Cinema Service launches distribution arm

    Korean major Cinema Service has launched a new subsidiary, Big Blue Film, that will focus on the distribution of local features. The company will be headed by Choi Yong-bae, former head of distribution at Cinema Service, and will aspire to a slate of ten films per year.Ownership of Big Blue Film ("Cheong-eo-ram" in Korean) will be split between Cinema Service (50%), Terasouce Venture Capital (40%) and a collection of individual investors. Initially, the company will distribute
  • LA critics choose In The Bedroom as best picture

    Todd Field's In The Bedroom continued its winning streak with the end-of-year critics associations, winning the Best Picture of The Year award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) on Saturday night. David Lynch's Mulholland Drive - another frequent citation in the awards to date - was runner-up.Lynch was named best director by the group, with Robert Altman runner-up for Gosford Park. Altman had won the New York critics prize last week; Mulholla
  • Libermann picked to head France Television Dist

    Michel Libermann is to become CEO of France Television Distribution (FTD), the film and television rights trading arm of public broadcaster France Television, which includes international sales house President Films.The 43 year-old Libermann replaces Marc Bonduel, who departed in October to head Pathe's French film distribution arm Pathe Distribution and international sales outfit Pathe International.Libermann's nomination at the helm of FTD (under president Rene Bonnell) is un
  • Liberty Media's lifeline complicates Kirch dilemma

    John Malone's Liberty Media Group is reported to have opened talks with Kirch Group about ways to help the debt laden German giant meet pressing loan repayments. According to The Financial Times, executives from the companies have discussed options to provide funds to Kirch. This includes the possibility of Liberty buying News Corp's 22% stake in Kirch's loss making pay-TV business, Premiereworld.At the same time, it is understood that France's TF1 has approached Kirch ab
  • Mulholland Drive is top choice of New York critics

    David Lynch's Mulholland Drive (pictured here), a film that was rescued by France's StudioCanal after being rejected as a pilot for US network TV, has been named this year's Best Picture by the New York Film Critics Circle - although the film didn't win a single other award during deliberations at Manhattan's Sardi's restaurant on Thursday.Robert Altman beat Lynch to the best director prize for his latest ensemble the UK-financed Gosford Park, while Tom Wilkinson and Siss
  • Natali's Headspace to develop digital features

    Canadian filmmaker Vincenzo Natali is launching a feature film and multi-media production company, Headspace, which will develop cutting-edge digital production techniques such as the Cinema HD processBest know for his debut cult hit Cube, Natali recently signed to direct the movie Nothing for newly launched Vancouver production house 49th Parallel (Screendaily 12 Oct) Senator International, the principal financier, will handle worldwide distribution excludi
  • New Zealand moves against parallel imports

    The New Zealand Government yesterday announced it will introduce legislation to ban parallel import of video.The move will prevent films, videos and DVDs from being imported by retailers or persons other than the authorised distributor within nine months of its worldwide release. The policy will not affect private or domestic use.Commerce minister Paul Swain and associate minister for arts, culture and heritage Judith Tizard said the ban on parallel importing would give "the
  • Not Another Teen Movie

    Not Another Teen MovieReviewed by John Hazelton in Los AngelesDir: Joel Gallen. US. 2001. 82mins. A genre spoof aimed, apparently, at both teens and twentysomethings, Not Another Teen Movie hits its barn door of a target just often enough, although never with much style or wit. A handful of raunchy set pieces (that have earned the film an R rating in the US for its release on Dec 14) should generate sufficient word-of-mouth for a quick pre-Christmas US run. Howe
  • NTL suffers as mounting debt is downgraded

    The UK's biggest cable operator NTL has said it is "fully able" to meet all its trading obligations and interest payments, after rating agency Standard & Poor cut its rating from stable to negative.It is the second time in six month's that Standard & Poor has downgraded NTL, which is struggling under $17bn of debt.The downgrading follows comments by investment bank Goldman Sachs on Wednesday that it expects NTL to swap its bonds for shares as part of a major debt restructuring p
  • Palm Springs Fest to open with Monsoon Wedding

    Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, which won the Golden Lion at last year's Venice Film Festival, has been named as the opening night film at the 13th annual Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival which will be held Jan 10-21, 2002.A total of 150 films will screen from 45 countries including ten world premieres and 43 of the 51 films submitted for consideration in the best foreign language film Oscar category. The FIPRESCI jury, made up of journalists from around th
  • Paramount Classics buys Jaglom's Cannes comedy

    Paramount Classics has acquired rights in North America, Australia & New Zealand, Latin America and Japan to Henry Jaglom's Festival In Cannes - a romantic comedy set among the highrollers of the international film business and shot during the Cannes International Film Festival itself.The movie, which had its world premiere recently at the AFI Los Angeles Film Festival, stars Anouk Aimee, Maximilian Schell, Greta Scacchi, Ron Silver, Peter Bogdanvovich and Zack Norman and featu
  • Prisa may acquire Quiero TV stake

    Spanish multimedia conglom Prisa, backer of audiovisual powerhouse Sogecable, may buy a stake in troubled digital terrestrial television platform Quiero TV. In an interview published Friday in the on-line financial magazine Invertia, Prisa general manager of operations and vp of internet division Prisacom Ignacio Santillana is quoted as saying that Quiero "falls within the principal activity of the group," and its acquisition could "add value" to the company. Other local news so
  • Ross Landsbaum joins Miramax as evp, CFO

    Miramax Films has hired Ross Landsbaum as executive vice president of finance and operations and chief financial officer. He will oversee the company's finance, accounting, reporting, information systems, facilities and human resources as well as working on new financial arrangements for film projects.He will report directly to co-chairman Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Landsbaum was previously a finance and operations consultant to a diversified group of media and technology companies.
  • Sony subsids join German lobby group

    Sony Pictures Entertainment's German film and television production arms Deutsche Columbia Pictures Filmproduktion (DCPF) and Columbia TriStar Film und Fernsehproduktions (CTFF) have become the 21st and 22nd members of Germany's producer lobby group film20."I am very pleased that Deutsche Columbia Pictures was accepted as a member of film20 and am absolutely convinced that only a broad alliance of representation of interests is in the position to give the German cinema the social, cul
  • South African government body briefs film industry

    In a sign that the South African government is starting to take the local film industry seriously, the government's Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) new film division held a briefing last week for over 100 producers, directors, exhibitors and broadcasters in Johannesburg. The newly created division - Media and Motion Pictures - is headed by Sam Bhembe who outlined funding opportunities for delegates. He said that the IDC invests solely in projects and not in companies, f
  • Spain's Manga strikes deal with Admira platforms

    Barcelona-based Manga Films has inked a five-year partnership with Admira (Telefonica Media) TV holdings Via Digital and Antena 3.Admira had originally intended to buy out a 60% stake in Manga, a deal which fell through last summer. In its stead the new agreement, developed over several months, will see Manga provide feature films for both the pay digital satellite platform Via Digital and free-to-air Antena 3 for the next five years. The deal is rumored to be worth some Euros 50m.
  • Summit, Mandalay extend relationship till 2004

    International sales, production and financing outfit Summit Entertainment has renewed its relationship with Peter Guber's Mandalay Pictures for another three year term starting Jan 2002. Summit has provided international sales and distribution for Mandalay since Guber founded the company in 1995, servicing its movies with international partners through its domestic deal with Sony Pictures and now Paramount Pictures.The new deal, expected to yield an average of three films a year, kick
  • Sundance sets 11 for Screenwriters Lab

    The Sundance Institute has named the 11 projects which have been selected for the annual Screenwriters Lab which takes place Jan 4 to 9 at the Sundance Village in Utah just prior to the Suncance Film Festival.At the Lab, writers are given the opportunity to develop their work-in-progress screenplays in a community of screenwriters who have included in the past such luminaries as Naomi Foner, David Veloz, Alice Arlen and Stephen Gyllenhaal.The selected participants and projects
  • UK's Working Title options story

    Working Title Films is to make a film about the spectacular boom and bust story of on-line fashion store Bevan and Eric Fellner's UK production company has optioned the rights to the book boo hoo: a story from concept to catastrophe. The story offers an eyewitness account of the internet hype of the late 1990's and the rise and fall of what set out to be the ultimate on-line designer store.Before the web-site was even launched, was value
  • Universal sets The Hulk for June 2003

    Joining a trend for dating movies over 18 months in advance, Universal Pictures has announced that it will open Ang Lee's comic book adventure The Hulk on June 20, 2003. Earlier this month, 20th Century Fox announced that it would open X2, the sequel to X-Men, on May 2, 2003, while Warner Bros has also set Matrix Reloaded and Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines for the season."The Hulk will be our tentpole movie for summer 2003, which will be supporte
  • Venice Biennale gets unexpected new president

    In a sudden and unexpected move, Italy's Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani has appointed ex-Eni and Telecom Italia manager Franco Bernabe to replace Paolo Baratta as president of the Venice Biennale, the organisation that manages the Venice Film Festival. News of Bernabe's appointment at the weekend caught many industry insiders off guard. While Baratta was expected to be replaced within the next few months as part of a wider shake-up of the film industry after the victory of Silvio Ber
  • Vivendi builds war chest with BSkyB stake sale

    Vivendi Universal yesterday raised $1.5bn from the sale of a third of its stake in UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB. It appears to be amassing a warchest with which to build a TV production and distribution powerhouse. Last week it raised $1.07bn from the sale of some of its non-media businesses.Vivendi Universal, which is already overhauling its interests in USA Networks, is expected to bolster TV production in Europe through Canal Plus, the overseas channels owned by its US studio Uni
  • Vivendi Universal, USA Networks in $10.3bn deal

    Vivendi Universal has confirmed this morning that it is taking full control of the entertainment assets of Barry Diller's USA Networks (USA) in a deal valued at approximately $10.3bn and unanimously approved by both boards.Vivendi Universal will have a 93% control of an entity to be called Vivendi Universal Entertainment (VUE) that brings together Universal Studios Group and the entertainment assets of USA. Diller, as expected, will run VUE as its chairman and CEO - in addition
  • Winstar bought out, renamed Wellspring Media

    Winstar TV & Video, the entertainment arm of Winstar Communications, has been bought out by a group of private investors and re-named Wellspring Media. The buyout includes the theatrical division, Winstar Cinema, as well as the TV, home video, production and direct distribution units.Winstar TV & Video president Al Cattabiani will now serve as president and CEO of Wellspring and all of the existing key personnel will remain in place. Winstar Cinema's inaugural release under its new id
  • Zee confirms Indian partnership with AOL offshoot

    Zee Telefilms , India's largest media firm, and AOL Time Warner offshoot Turner International (India) Private Ltd, have agreed the establishment of a joint venture outfit that will distribute Zee's channels abroad and AOL's in India.The deal sees Zee hold 74% of the new Delhi-based company, Zee Turner Private Ltd. And although Zee boss Subhash Chandra formally denied that he had sold any part of Zee Telefilms to AOL Time Warner, many local observers believe that the joint venture is li