By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

24 December 2002

View all stories from this issue.

  • 2002: the united states of cinema

    When the year began it still seemed that Europe, cinema's ancestral home, was pulling its historical weight again. Jean Marie-Messier was at the helm of Franco-American entertainment conglomerate Vivendi-Universal, Germany's Neuer Markt listed companies were still in the game, and UK mini-studio FilmFour was mounting star-studded productions aimed at the international market.With the end of 2002 now fast approaching, it has become clear that European cinema still cannot stand on its ow
  • 95 titles selected for Rotterdam festival main programme

    International Film Festival Rotterdam 2003Main Programme Features Historias Minimas - Carlos Sorin - Argentina/Spain A Cold Summer - Paul Middleditch - Australia Blue Moon - Andrea Maria Dusl - AustriaNosotros - Diego Martinez Vigna - BelgiumepHop - Dominique Standaert - BelgiumLe Fils - Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne - Belgium/FranceMeisje - Dorothee van den Berghe - Belgium/The NetherlandsDurval Discos
  • Alain Resnais prepares musical comedy for New Year shoot

    After a five year hiatus, veteran filmmaker Alain Resnais is back with his next project, Pas Sur La Bouche. True to form, Resnais returns with a musical comedy since his last effort, the phenomenally well-received On Connait La Chanson.Pas Sur La Bouche is an adaptation of an operetta originally written by Andre Barde and Maurice Yvain and first produced in 1925. The farcical love triangle's script will be adapted by Resnais himself and produced by Bruno Pes
  • Alliance Atlantis, Focus Features renew distribution deal

    Toronto-based Alliance Atlantis and Universal's boutique outfit Focus Features have agreed to renew their distribution agreement to December 31, 2005. The deal covers all media in Canada and will include such upcoming titles as Neil LaBute's The Shape Of Things, starring Gretchen Mol, Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, and Frederick Weller, which premieres at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival; Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's 21 Grams, starring Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn, and Naomi Wat
  • Arclight shines on Head In The Clouds

    Arclight Films is to handle worldwide sales on Head In The Clouds, a romance starring Natalie Portman and Penelope Cruz which will be directed by the UK's John Duigan.The film, which spans 1930s England, the Spanish Civil War and occupied Paris, is to start shooting next month. Producing duties are shared by Bertil Ohlsson, best known for What's Eating Gilbert Grape', Jonathan Olsberg, who recently produced Me Without You, and the UK's Spice Factory, which has a st
  • Bauer moves closer to Kirchmedia deal

    German publishing giant Bauer and Kirch Gruppe say that they are at long last agreed on the terms of a deal which sees KirchMedia's majority stake in broadcast group ProSiebenSAT1 sold to a Bauer-controlled consortium (see Screendaily, Dec 11).They are believed to have settled on an asking price of $715m (Euros700m) for the 52.5% stake in the company which is Germany's largest broadcaster. But Bauer said that the acquisition is conditional on it also obtaining control of Kirch's
  • Berlin Talent Campus attracts more than 2,000 applications

    Over 2,000 young filmmakers from 70 countries have applied to take part in the Berlin International Film Festival's first Berlinale Talent Campus which will be held from February 10-14.The Talent Campus, which is being organised by Master School Drehbuch Berlin in co-operation with Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the UK's Film Council and the event's venue House of World Cultures, will host up to 500 creative newcomers in the areas of directing, screenwriting, production, camera and acti
  • Berlinale announces first Panorama titles

    The Panorama section at the forthcoming Berlinale will be welcoming back several filmmakers who have had films screened in past editions.Returning directors include: Israel's Eytan Fox, the UK's Richard Kwietniowski, Hong Kong's Peter Chan, Spain's Isabel Coixet and Japan's Hideo Nakata, whose chilling thriller Dark Water opened the 2002 Panorama.After viewings in Asia, North and South America, and Europe, around a third of the programme selection has been completed so fa
  • ContentFilm takes world rights on low budget Oz pair

    Ed Pressman and John Schmidt's ContentFilm has put up a substantial advance against world rights for the first two low-budget digifeatures being developed by new filmmakers under producers Andrew Mason and Lizzie Bryant of Sydney-based City Productions.Local support has come from the Ten Network via a television presale and, in what is a major break from tradition given that the projects will be shot on DVCpro and have no local theatrical distributor attached, the Film Finance Corpora
  • Denmark's Ole Bornedal joins Thura Film

    Danish filmmaker Ole Bornedal has joined long-time collaborator Michael Obel's Thura Film, which was behind his debut hit thriller Nattevagten in 1994. The duo also made the English-language version for Miramax with Ewan McGregor and Nick Nolte in 1998, and worked in the US together for a while. Bornedal's position in Thura will be as director and creative producer, not only on his own films but also on the company's other projects. "Denmark is overflowing with talented f
  • Fabritius ejected from Senator post

    German producer-distributor Senator Entertainment has given executive Juergen Fabritius orders to leave his managerial post at the group's German theatrical arm Senator Film Verleih just days before the Christmas celebrations.Fabritius joined Senator in January 2002 to serve as one of the managing directors with responsibility for marketing and distribution for releases in the German language area. This was after he had exited his managing director job at Kinowelt's distribution outfit
  • Film tracking set to become easier with ID plan

    Films are set to get an unique identification number - which will function in similar fashion to ISO numbers for books and music - allowing easier tracking and better anti-piracy protection.The International Standard Audiovisual Number (ISAN) has been launched by a consortium of producers' and authors' associations in conjunction with the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).The ISAN numbers can be burned into film masters and all subsequent copies and are expect
  • France's Xilam lines up 3-D Stupid Invaders

    Xilam Animation is moving forward on a 3-D feature version of Stupid Invaders, a film company founder Marc du Pontavice calls "a Shrek-like family" entertainment. The ambitious project is budgeted at Euros18m and will start production in June of 2003. Du Pontavice, an animation guru who left Gaumont four years ago to create Xilam, says that the project is based on the very successful Space Goofs, a TV series developed during his former tenure.Xilam's first 3-D an
  • Hero performs heroically in Asian openings

    Zhang Yimou's Hero broke box office records when it opened in China last Friday (December 20), grossing more than $1.45m (RMB12m) in a single day from 200 screens.According to distributor Beijing New Picture Film Co, the martial arts epic - known as Ying Xiong in Chinese - broke house records in every cinema it played in. In Beijing, the film grossed an impressive $230,000 (RMB1.9m) from 26 screens. Audiences queued round the block to see the film, despite freezing
  • Ice Age cracks $200m overseas

    Fox International's Ice Age has passed $200m in international box office ticketsales, the distributor said yesterday. The hit animation was released in the US last spring, eventually generating $174.8m at thedomestic box office, a figure that has been complemented by impressive totalselsewhere. In Germany, Ice Age opened on March 21 with a record $7.7m bow for an animated filmthat was also Fox's third biggest opening. The $33.9m running total isthe eighth highest e
  • Jean-Jacques Annaud begins shooting Two Brothers

    After his 1988 film The Bear, Veteran French director Jean-Jacques Annaud is returning to the animal kingdom with a tale of two tigers. The veteran filmmaker, whose recent efforts include last year's Enemy At The Gates and 1997's Seven Years In Tibet, is currently shooting Two Brothers - a tale of tiger siblings which hearkens back to Annaud's 1988 film, The Bear.Two Brothers is the story of tiger twins who are and taken into captivity.
  • Kosslick gives Berlinale new tolerant motto

    "Towards Tolerance" will be the motto for the 2003 edition of the forthcoming Berlinale in February.In his first festival as director, Dieter Kosslick last year tagged this year's Berlinale with the phrase "Accept Diversity".According to Kosslick, the Berlinale will "have several films in the programme which deal with topical political issues such as the global movements of refugees or the situation of children in the world."The festival's new Talent Campus, in particular
  • LOTR sequel Towers over first in smash worldwide bow

    New Line Cinema's The Lord Of The Rings: The TwoTowers has fully lived up to itsblockbuster expectations, reeling in $41.7m worldwide on its firstday on release. The figure represents a staggering 45% leap above thefirst episode's $29m one-day opening gross last year. Debuting in the US and 13 international territories - withanother 12 markets set to open by the weekend - the second leg of PeterJackson's trilogy adaptation of J R R Tolkien's fantasy trilogygrossed $26m do
  • Nicholas Nickleby

    Dir: Douglas McGrath. US. 2002. 130mins.Having captured the spirit of Jane Austen with his 1996 debut Emma, American writer-director Douglas McGrath now delivers a warm and engaging, though necessarily breezy version of Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby that features an enticing, mainly British ensemble cast. The cast has already won the National Board of Review's ensemble acting award and it will be the main selling point when the film gets its limited US open
  • Post-Soviet Russia film wins at Taiwan documentary fest

    A film about a remote but beautiful area of post-Soviet Russia, On The Edge Of Time: Male Domains In The Caucasus, was awarded the grand prize at this year's Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF), which was held in Taipei from December 5-15.Produced by Germany's Applause Film Media, the 90-minute film is directed by Stefan Tolz who spent two years in the mountainous region, located between Russia, Turkey and Iran.Meanwhile, the festival's merit prizes were awar
  • Premiere secures new owner and Hollywood films

    German pay TV platform Premiere has signed film package deals with another two Hollywood studios - Paramount Pictures and Columbia - securing programming directly from seven of the eight majors from 2003. At the same time Premiere has become the first part of Leo Kirch's collapsed media empire to close a deal with a fresh investor, saying that private equity firm Permira would take it over.A deal with Paramount Pictures over the next five years gives Premiere access to such film titles
  • Rings rules but Kaante and Alabama show there's room for alternatives

    The UK was no exception to The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers box office take over this weekend, with the sequel taking $13.7m (£8.6m) over the three-day weekend and $20.9m (£13.1m) from its five-day launch.Playing at 501 sites the film, which is distributed in the UK by Entertainment Film Distributors, scored a three-day location average of $27,373. At these it screened on a total of 1,160 prints for a three-day screen average of $11,822.In comparison, Th
  • Soft Money - Germany

    GermanyDespite the collapse of the Neuer Markt, Germany continues to offer local and international producers rich pickings from an expansive network of regional and state-based film funds. Thomas Clark reportsIn 1999, all an independent producer had to do to find backing for a project was to log on to, scroll through the companies listed and double-click on names such as Kinowelt, Helkon or Splendid. Three years on and the situation is rather different. Half of
  • Soft Money - Ireland

    IrelandWith the Section 481 tax incentive, producers can shave an average 12% from their budget by choosing Ireland for location work. Ted Sheehy reportsSteven Spielberg and Alan Parker are just two big-name directors who have made films using Ireland's Section 481 tax incentive for the film and television industry. Along with such Irish counterparts as Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan, they have contributed to an Irish production spend of $779m since 1994, of which $638m has been raised f
  • Star Trek: Nemesis

    Dir: Stuart Baird. US. 2002. 117mins. After four years in space dock, Paramount's Star Trek franchise is back with a solidly entertaining 10th big-screen instalment, whose disappointing US debut nevertheless casts doubt over the future of the 23-year-old movie series. An opening weekend gross of $18.8m from 2,711 US sites suggests that Star Trek: Nemesis - which in its second week will face potentially crushing competition from the similarly oriented Lord Of
  • Three Swedish features get state funding greenlight

    Three feature films have been greenlighted after receiving funding from the Swedish Film Institute (SFI).One of Sweden's most popular TV comedy production outfits, Killingganget, will celebrate its ten-year anniversary by making its first feature film. The as yet untitled film, was awarded $668,000 (SEK 6m) from film commissioner Lena Hansson Varhegyi of the SFI. It is being directed by Tomas Alfredson and produced by SVT Fiktion, the drama department of Swedish broadcaster SVT. Its t
  • Towering success: Lord Of The Rings sequel goes international

    The Lord Of The Rings sequel, The Two Towers, flattened competition across the globe in its opening weekend in 25 international territories. Claiming a tremendous $87.9m in its first five days on release (Dec 18-22), the film finished its international launch 38% higher than its predecessor, The Fellowship Of The Ring, did in 2001.Combining with a massive North American five-day opening ($102m) New Line expects the sequel to better Fellowship's $860m worldwi
  • Two Towers runs Rings around competition

    Thesecond instalment of New Line's The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, TheTwo Towers, stormed to the top of the North American box office over thethree-day weekend (Dec 20-22) with an estimated $61.5m. Theepic fantasy sequel opened on Wednesday (Dec 18) with $26m and has claimed apowerful estimated $101.5m in its first five days, 35% up on The FellowshipOf The Rings' five-day launch ($66.1m). Withan estimated $85m also taken from the 26 international countries th
  • Venice to investigate leaving the Lido

    The high cost of hotel rooms and other logistical headaches have prompted the organisers of the Venice film festival to consider moving the event from the Lido Di Venzia to Venice proper. "We no longer want to submit to the loan-sharking and blackmailing of Lido hotels, whose prices have become unaffordable for anybody," said Franco Bernabe, the president of the Biennale di Venezia, which organises cultural events in the city including the film festival, according to the Corriere De
  • Veteran French sales company, Mercure in liquidation

    France's veteran sales company Mercure Distrbution has been liquidated and will cease its activities in January. One of the last true independent sales agents in France, Jacques Le Glou had recently been rumoured to be selling his catalogue as a way to raise cash but was unable to stave off the financial downturn caused by a rotten economy and the current crisis in the independent sector.With the TV pre-sales market drying up, the profusion of films on the market and the reducti