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28 November 2002

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  • Academy Pictures picks up Locarno winner The Longing

    Ludwigsburg-based Academy Pictures has picked up Iain Dilthey's The Longing (Das Verlangen) which was the surprise winner of the Golden Leopard at this year's Locarno International Film Festival in the summer.Academy's managing director Stefan Paul told that he expects Dilthey's sombre drama to screen in the Berlinale's Perspectives German Cinema sidebar before opening in Germany in the spring.
  • Adam Bialow promoted in international dept at Lions Gate

    Adam Bialow has been promoted to vice president ofinternational business and legal affairs at Lions Gate Entertainment in a movethat highlights the distribution and production company's expandingworldview. Bialow will beresponsible for business and legal affairs for Lions Gate's internationaltheatrical, home video and television arms and will continue to report to WayneLevin, the company's executive vice president for legal and businessaffairs.
  • Adaptation

    Dir: Spike Jonze. US. 2002. 114mins "The best script I've ever read" is a line oft spoken, by star Meryl Streep among many others, of Adaptation, the eagerly awaited reunion of writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze after 1999's Being John Malkovich turned American movies on their head. The answer to the question of whether Jonze does that enthusiasm justice on screen is a resounding yes, creating a film about film-making and the creative process which
  • African film industry buoyed by record breaking Sithengi

    South Africa's Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri may have failed to show at the opening party for the seventh edition of Sithengi, Southern Africa's Film and TV Market. But that did not dampen the spirits of delegates who acknowledged that, despite organisational hiccups, it was the best Sithengi so far. The event attracted a new record of over 1700 delegates from 49 countries, and this year the focus was on telling and selling African stories in an African way while sti
  • Alliance Atlantis film activities boost second quarter

    Toronto-basedAlliance Atlantis announced strong second quarter results for its distributionarm, the Motion Picture Group (MPG), which delivered nearly half of thequarter's $160m (C$252m) in revenue for the period ending Sept. 20. TheMPG's $76.2m revenue was up more than 50% from the same time last year.T
  • Anonymous Content, Strong/Morrone merge

    LA management and production company Anonymous Content is to merge with talent management outfit Strong/Morrone Entertainment effective Jan 1, 2003, the two companies announced on Friday. Beverly Strong and Jeff Morrone along with managers Maani Golesorkhi, Nils Larsen and staff will transfer their base of operations into Anonymous Content's headquarters in Culver City. Anonymous Content is run by founder and CEO Steve Golin.Strong/Morrone's talent list includes young actors Rachael Le
  • BFI endorses Carnages at Regus London film festival

    The British Film Institute's Sutherland Trophy went to French film Carnages by Delphine Gleize as this year's London Film Festival wound to a close.Other awards saw the FIPRESCI prize going to The Angel On The Right and the Satyajit Ray Award go to Rachida. Thespian X, by Gerald McMorrow, won the short film prize. The festival's 46th edition racked up an attendance of 110,000. The most popular gala screenings were Curtis Hanson's 8 Mile, Shekhar Kapur
  • Bond and Potter generate $22.5m weekend between them from 66% of the nation's screens

    The entry of James Bond title Die Another Day and the continued might of Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets at the UK box office this weekend caused a massive downturn in the fortunes of most other current releases.Die Another Day, the first Bond handled by 20th Century Fox since taking over international distribution of MGM's titles from UIP, was embraced by UK audiences - recording the highest opening ever for the secret agent with a five-day take of $14.4m
  • Bond lives another day with killer $47m opening

    Reports of the demise of James Bond have been greatly exaggerated of late and the superspy struck back over the weekend as MGM's Die Another Day opened top of the table with a record-breaking $47m haul, according to studio estimates.The 20th Bond may have divided the critics but there was no denying its box office sparkle as it registered the highest ever opening for a Bond film, beating $35.5m set by The World Is Not Enough in 1999. It was also the second biggest release
  • Bond opens to record figures internationally

    Die Another Day stormed the international charts over the weekend, grossing $25m from five territories for 20th Century Fox.Not only did the film claim the top spot in each market where it opened, it also claimed the biggest Bond opening in every territory in the process.The first Bond film handled by Fox under its distribution deal with MGM launched in the UK on Wednesday November 20 (to celebrate its status as the twentieth official Bond title) The film achieved a massi
  • Buyers gear up for Lanzarote's Spanish Film Screenings

    The fourth annual Spanish Film Screenings of Lanzarote (Nov 28-30) kicks off in Spain's Canary Islands this week with 92 buyers attending from around the world to screen 37 of the latest Spanish feature films.With a budget of close to Euros530,000 - almost Euros50,000 more than last year's edition - the market features several new additions this year including a 32% rise in buyers attending and the participation of animated feature films."The increased budget allows us to bring
  • Callas Forever to open Palm Springs festival

    Franco Zeffirelli's Callas Forever will receive its North American premiere when it opens the 14th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on Jan 9, 2003. The director, a longtime friend of the legendary opera singer, and lead actors Fanny Ardant and Jeremy Irons are expected to attend. The picture takes a fictitious look at the last days of Callas' life as she is lured into an ill-advised comeback by an impresario (Irons)."International in scope and subject matter, it's
  • Chamber Of Secrets conjures up another $58.7m

    Harry Potter And TheChamber Of Secrets raised itsinternational cumulative score to $128m after 10 days with a mighty $58.7m haulover the weekend, according to studio estimates released today. The secondinstalment in the Potter franchise recorded 8.632m admissions from 5,249screens in 20 territories and established another set of records along the way,opening number one in all its territories. It was the biggest three-day openingof all time in Sweden, grossing $1.9m (SEK 17.9m) from 156
  • China assesses co-production potential with South Africa, Australia

    The Chinese government is increasing its level of cultural exchanges with South Africa and Australia with a view to the development of potential co-productions.A delegation of Chinese government officials and film industry players is currently visiting South Africa to coincide with the country's first Chinese film week.Hosted by the Department of Arts and Culture and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the delegation will meet with key players in the South African fil
  • Cineclick Asia unveils string of international sales

    Last week's Pusan festival was background for Cineclick Asia to unveil a string of English-language territory deals on its slate of high profile Korean movies.Action comedy, My Wife Is A Gangster and boxing drama Champion were both sold to the UK's Medusa. Friend, the action drama which briefly held the Korean BO record, was sold to Chimera Films for the US. The company is also in advanced negotiations with Blockbuster Video for US rights to Champion.
  • Columbine bowls over international audiences

    The past two weeks have seen two box office behemoths unleashed into the international market. Two consecutive weekends of nearly $60m in international grosses have marked a huge start for Harry Potter sequel The Chamber Of Secrets and a $25m-plus debut last weekend marked a triumphant return for James Bond in Die Another Day. However, despite the dominance of these movies, along with a handful of consistently strong US titles currently doing the rounds - most nota
  • Danish animation gets French world premiere

    Danish animator Jannik Hastrup will give his new feature-length animated film, The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Bear (Drengen Der Ville Gore Det Umulige), its world premiere in France and Benelux on Dec18 as L'enfant Qui Voulait Etre Un Ours. French distributor Gebeka will release it on 100 screens while Alternative will distribute in the French-speaking part of Benelux. Scanbox holds Scandinavian rights and will release it in Norway on Jan 17 and in Denmark on Feb7.The
  • Danish production companies unite for $13m, five-feature slate

    Two Danish production outfits Easy Film and ASA Film have joined forces to produce their future projects in collaboration. The companies have secured backing from distributor Scanbox for the development of five new features, of which they aim to produce two a year. Scanbox takes Scandinavian rights and will distribute theatrically through its collaboration with Angel Films in Denmark. Henrik Moller-Sorensen's ASA Film has a string of features behind him, and while Niels Bokkeheu
  • Das Werk divisions begin insolvency proceedings

    Key divisions of Germany's Das Werk post-production group have begun filing for insolvency, three weeks after their parent company began insolvency proceedings (, Nov 7).Das Werk post-production companies at Berlin's Potsdamer Platz, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Ludwigsburg and Munich as well as Hamburg-based Magic Video have each filed for insolvency. The move came after German banks stopped providing them with fresh capital."Through the insolvency proceeding
  • Devdas dominates the first annual RACE awards in India

    India's Oscar submission Devdas has won eight awards in the first annual RACE (Rajkamal Academy Of Cinematic Excellence) National Awards, which will be presented at a ceremony in Mumbai, India, on Dec 21, 2002.RACE was established in Oct 2002 by Kiran Shantaram to develop the Indian film industry; as well as the awards, further initiatives include the launching of film festivals, workshops and programmes to introduce Indian technicians to the latest film technologies.The
  • Eager guests limber up for Cuban festival

    An impressive array of international guests is set to attend the 24th Havana Film Festival of New Latin American Cinema (Dec 3-13) which opens with Mexican Foreign Oscar contender El Crimen Del Padre Amaro.Festival director Ivan Giroud promises a celebrity-studded event with confirmed guests led by Marisa Tomei, Julie Taymor, Matt Dillon; Argentinean actors Graciela Borges, Gaston Pauls and Federico Luppi; Brazilian director Karim Ainouz (Madame Sata) and award-winning Ar
  • Etre Et Avoir wins European documentary award - Prix ARTE

    European cultural channel ARTE and the European Film Academy have named French filmmaker Nicolas Philibert's Etre Et Avoir as the winner of this year's European Documentary Award - Prix ARTE which will be officially presented at the European Film Awards gala in Rome's Teatro dell'Opera on December 7.Philibert's film was unveiled as this year's winner at a special screening of Etre Et Avoir in Berlin's Cinema Paris hosted by the French Embassy, the Bureau du Cinema de Inst
  • Europa Cinemas recognises youth-oriented activities

    Film theatres in Barcelona, Spain and Liege, Belgium were presented with the inaugural Europa Cinemas awards for the quality and diversity of their programming and for in-house activities for young audiences.The winners were the 9-screen, Barcelona-based Cinemas Verdi and Verdi Park, run by Enrique Perez Font and the 4-screen, Churchill and Le Parc Cinemas in Liege managed by Jean-Marie Hermand.The awards were made in Paris at the annual conference (Nov 22-24) of Europa Cinemas,
  • European Pitch Point jury named

    German distributor Stephan Hutter of Prokino, No Man's Land producer Cedomir Kolar, Dogville co-producer Els Vandevorst from the Netherlands' Isabella Films, UK producer and European Film Academy (EFA) chairman Nik Powell, and Eurimages secretary general Renate Roginas will serve on the international jury of next year's European Pitch Point to be held during the forthcoming Berlinale on February 10. The jury will select the twelve most promising screenwriters and their p
  • Europe's broadcasters exceeding minimum quotas by 50%

    For all the everyday complaints about imported programming, Europe's TV broadcasters are comfortably exceeding local content quotas set down by the Television Without Frontiers directive. According to a European Commission report broadcasters devote an average 62% of airtime to European works in 2000, up from 60.7% in 1999. The minimum quota currently stands at 40%."This trend reflects increasing public demand for national and European works, especially of fiction. It testifies to the
  • Film Studio planned for Cape Town

    South Africa's provincial minister of finance and economic affairs has announced plans to build a $27m film studio in Cape Town.The minister, Ebrahim Rasoo, also called for expressions of interest from the private sector, which was followed up by a nationwide campaign in the country's press calling for tenders to build the studio. Making the announcement at Cape Town's Sithengi film festival and market, he estimated that the film industry in Cape Town and surrounding areas was
  • France mulls Eurimages exit

    Europe's leading film producing nation, France is considering withdrawing from Eurimages, the Council of Europe-backed support body.The proposal is only one of several suggestions made by the country's film regulator, the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC), in a report into Eurimages' usefulness. Although France is a net beneficiary - its producers receive more aid than the French state pays in - the CNC's conclusions are mixed.The CNC says that Eurimages' budget has be
  • Fremaux makes fact-finding trip to Australia

    Thierry Fremaux is currently on his first ever visit to Australia - and the first by a Cannes Film Festival artistic director - but instead of selecting films, he is spending his time learning about Australian cinema. "I am totally ignorant about Australian cinema, which is why I wanted to come," he told 80 filmmakers and film agency representatives at a lunch in Sydney. He emphasised there were no rules about what sort of films Cannes wanted to showcase. "What we want to do is help fi
  • Gebirtig

    Dirs: Lukas Stepanik, Robert Schindel. Austria 2002. 115minsAdapted from Robert Schindel's own successful novel of the same name, this Austrian candidate for the 2002 foreign Oscars delivers one of the more intelligent, caustic and lucid films made on the country's share in Nazi guilt, an issue that has been repeatedly discussed but remains unsettled, almost 60 years after the end of World War II. While the answers provided by Schindel and Lukas Stepanik may not please everyb
  • Gebirtig to open Max Ophuels prize festival

    Lukas Stepanik and Robert Schindel's co-directed drama Gebirtig - Austria's entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar - will be the opening film at the 24th Max Ophuels Prize Festival (January 13-19, 2003) in Saarbruecken. The Austrian-German-Polish co-production between Cult-Film, Daniel Zuta's Cologne-based DaZu Film and Akson Studio in Warsaw, which stars Peter Simonischek, August Zirner, and Daniel Olbrychski, screened in competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film F
  • German distributors call for cinema owner flexibility

    German distributors are planning to start talks with cinema owners about introducing more flexible programming and price structures.The move comes amid distributor concern that exhibitor programming and pricing patterns are deterring potential cinema-goers from visiting local theatres. The distributors worry that the exhibitor's habit of increasing prices at the weekend is putting off people who do not have time to go cinemas during the week. They also want exhibitors to open up
  • Germany's Telepool boards Santa Claus feature

    German licence trader Telepool has picked up German rights to the live-action family entertainment film The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus which is set to begin shooting next year. Based on a novel by The Wizard Of Oz writer L Frank Baum, the story tells how Young Claus became a world-wide legend. John Stephenson, director of Hallmark Entertainment's Animal Farm and creative head of Jim Henson's Creature Shop in London, is attached to direct the film. P
  • Hong Kong project market set for revival

    The Hong Kong Asia Film Finance Forum (HAF) is set to make a return in 2003 after a two year hiatus. The new event will combine the project market of the first HAF with the industry screenings of last year's hastily organised Hong Kong Asia Screenings (HAS). Held at the beginning of April 2003, the timing of HAF should allow it to complement the Hong Kong film awards on 6 April and the Hong Kong film festival which gets underway on 8 April.HAF is this time backed by the t
  • I'm Taraneh, 15

    Dir: Rassul Sadr-Ameli. Iran. 2002. 110 mins. A young single mother's struggle for survival is the theme of a compelling story that's both universally recognisable and packed with revealing detail unique to contemporary Iran. The country's official candidate for the Foreign Language Oscar and a critical and popular hit there, it arrives at the London Film Festival laden with acting and directing kudos from Fajr and Locarno. International arthouse audiences should have no trou
  • IMAX announces major European expansion plans

    In the wake of expansion into China, Russia and India, Toronto-based large format operator IMAX Corporation has announced its intention to establish itself in more European markets.Speaking in London at the European launch of the company's DMR technology - which digitally re-masters 35mm films for projection on IMAX systems - company co-chiefs Richard L Gelfond and Bradley J Wechsler said that out of 74 European cities with over 1 million inhabitants, IMAX is currently present in 25. "
  • Imovision, Teleimage team to form Telescope

    Brazilian independent distributor Imovision has teamed up with local post production outfit Teleimage to create a new distribution, exhibition and production entity, Telescope. The new company has earmarked $4m in seed capital to kickstart its various activities, half of which will be allotted to building an exhibition circuit. The circuit will include 50 digital screens and 30 arthouse screens. According to Imovision/Telescope president Jean Thomas Bernardini, the company aims
  • Irreversible wins Stockholm Bronze Horse

    Gaspar Noe's Irreversible won the Bronze Horse for best film 2002 at the 13th Stockholm International Film Festival on Saturday in Sweden. The jury, composed of Kristoffer Leandoer, Alexandra Rapaport, Ilkka Matila, Lucy Walker and Dogge Doggelito, cited the film as "groundbreaking cinema that manages to revitalise film narration in almost all its aspects and at the same time tells a deeply moving parable of the thin ice that keeps us all from the abyss.""No matter what mixed fe
  • Jealousy, Passion share top honours at Pusan

    South Korea's Park Chan-ok's (pictured, right) debut Jealousy Is My Middle Name and Indian director K.N.T. Sastry's (pictured, left) The Rite' A Passion shared the top prize in the Pusan International Film Festival's New Currents competition for first and second-time Asian directors.A Special Mention was awarded to Park Jin-pyo's Too Young To Die, which also picked up the FIPRESCI Award for best Asian film and the festival's Audi
  • Karel Reisz dies, aged 76

    Karel Reisz, director of Saturday Night And Sunday Morning, the major box-office success of British New Wave cinema in the early 60s, has died in London aged 76.The Czech-born filmmaker had been ill for six months with a blood disorder. He leaves a wife, Betsy Blair, and three sons.Reisz became one of the leading British directors of the 60s after he came to England as a refugee from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. After winning the BAFTA for best film in 1961 for Saturd
  • KirchMedia back on the map with Buena Vista deal

    KirchMedia has signed a multi-year deal with Buena Vista International Television (BVI-TV) for the German free-TV rights to 20-30 feature films a year from Touchstone, Walt Disney Pictures and Miramax as well as a selection of TV movies and series from ABC/Touchstone and Walt Disney.The agreement includes such feature films as Signs, Sweet Home Alabama, the future Jerry Bruckheimer action blockbuster Pirates Of The Caribbean and Disney animated features like Peter Pan:
  • Koelmel Bros' Kinowelt bid in jeopardy

    The saga of the Koelmel brothers' bid to take over the core activities of their insolvent Kinowelt Medien empire has taken yet another, dramatic twist.Insolvency administrator Wolfgang Ott has issued the Sparkasse Leipzig with an ultimatum to transfer the purchase price of Euros 32m by November 27 at the latest.Ott announced on Friday (Nov 22) that he asked the bank on November 8 and 14 to inform him whether their pledge from August 5 to finance the takeover by Neue Spielfilm
  • Kongrod takes over at Sandrew Metronome

    Morten Kongrod (43) has been appointed CEO and president of Sandrew Metronome AB, Sweden, and head of the Nordic Sandrew Metronome Group. Kongrod will take over on March 1, 2003 from Klas Olofsson (60), who is retiring. Olofsson has been head of Sandrew Metronome since 1998. Kongrod is currently senior vice president of Schibsted ASA within their TV/film and publishing division, and he is chairman of the board of Sandrew Metronome AB. The Sandrew Metronome Group specialis
  • Late Night Shopping bags BAFTA Scotland award

    Ideal World's critically acclaimed Late Night Shopping was named best feature Film at the 2002 BAFTA Scotland New Talent Awards held in Glasgow on Sunday night. The quirky tale of fraught friendships starring Luke de Woolfson, James Lance and Heike Makatsch also won best director for Saul Metzstein and the craft award for production designer Mike Gunn. Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen continued its winning streak with its young star Martin Compston named best actor whilst
  • Lucas to be honoured by the National Board Of Review

    The National Board of Review (NBR) is to present GeorgeLucas with a special award in honour of his 'visionary cinematicachievements', the film body announced today (Nov 25).The presentation will take place at the annual awards galaon Jan 14, 2003, at Tavern on the Green in New York. A full list of theNBR's honourees and the top 10 English-language pictures and top fiveforeign language pictures will be released on Dec 4.
  • Menemsha picks up international on Kamchatka

    Neil Friedman'sLA-based sales and distribution outfit Menemsha Entertainment has acquiredinternational rights to Kamchatka,Marcelo Pineyro's latest film which is representing Argentina in theforeign language film category of the Academy Awards.Friedman picked up the filmfrom Argentina's Patagonik Film Group, for which Friedman had alreadysold Son Of The Bride, lastyear's Argentinian submission and an Oscar nominee for best foreignlanguage film. Patagonik, whose other cred
  • Miami Film Festival under Guillemet opens with Other Side Of The Bed

    Hit Spanish comedy musical The Other Side Of The Bed (El Otro Lado De La Cama) will open the 20th annual Miami International Film Festival on Feb 21 to Mar 2 next year. The festival, which is the first to be programmed by former Sundance Film Festival co-director Nicole Guillemet. Directed by Emilio Martinez Lazaro and starring Paz Vega, the film, which is making its US premiere at Miami, is an exploration of a twenty something generation's sexual angst.On the following n
  • Miramax swoops on MDP's The I Inside

    Miramax Filmshas acquired all distribution rights for North America, Italy and Australia/NewZealand to MDP Worldwide's psychological thriller The I Inside. The film will be released in NorthAmerica under the Dimension Films label.Starring RyanPhillippe, Sarah Polley and Stephen Rea and directed by Roland Suso Richter,the picture centres on an amnesiac's journey back in time to solve themystery of his brother's murder. The I Inside is based on the play Point Of D
  • New Zealand film commission eager to promote co-productions

    The New Zealand Film Commission is trying to capitalise on the country's high profile due to Lord Of The Rings, by helping to develop international co-productions.John Gilbert, Academy Award nominee for his editing on The Fellowship Of The Ring and producer of a popular NZ sitcom, is in discussion with producer Andrew Bendel from the new London company Blue Horizon Productions, on a UK/New Zealand co-production. Plans were cemented this month when Bendel visited NZ as par
  • Optimum adds two to 2003 UK release slate

    UK independent distributor Optimum Releasing has picked up all UK rights to Roger Dodger from Alliance Atlantis and XX/XY from Senator International.Artisan Entertainment is currently distributing Roger Dodger in the US, where the Venice title is on more than $650,000. The film, which stars Campbell Scott and Isabella Rossellini, tells the story of a schoolboy's attempts to lose his virginity under the comically misguided tutelage of his bachelor uncle.XX
  • Out

    Dir: Hideyuki Hirayama. Japan. 2002. 119 mins.Every once in a while a Japanese movie comes along that translates well across borders, whether as an original or a remake. Hideo Nakata's Ringu was one, Hideyuki Hirayama's Out, a black comedy about three women who chop up bodies for cash, is another, though it's more likely to fill midnight screenings than mall multiplexes.In addition to its eye-catching (and stomach churning) premise, the film features
  • Peter Scarlet named executive director of Tribeca film fest

    Former San Francisco festival head, Peter Scarlet has been appointed executive director of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.The festival, in its second edition (May 6-11, 2003) was founded last year by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal. The main focus of the 2003 will be an official selection including new films from around the world shown non-competitively and a competition for feature-length fiction and documentary films by first- and second-time directors. Sidebar events
  • PLANET & stern documentary prize winner gets on the road

    Production has begun in Berlin on Axel Brandt and Irina Roerig's documentary Russenbus - Fremde Brueder which has been selected as the first winner of the PLANET & stern Documentary Prize launched at the Vision Day during this year's Berlinale (Screen Daily Feb 2002).Brandt and Roerig's portrait of the coach connection between Moscow and Berlin was selected by the jury of Oscar-winning director Florian Gallenberger, Swiss filmmaker Erich Langjahr, Austrian writer-director Ruth B
  • Potter sets new Japanese box office record

    Launched on a record 858 screens on November 23, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets has become the highest-grossing opener of all-time in Japan, taking $16.7m from 862,958 admissionsThe previous record holder was Star Wars: Episode II - Attacks Of The Clones, with an opening gross of $13m. Third biggest launch was Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone with $12.6m. "We are on track to surpass the total gross of the first Harry Potter film, which was $
  • Remakes take centre stage at Pusan

    The surge in the number Asian films being remade for western audiences was highlighted at this year's PPP projects market in Pusan. After announcing the sale of remake rights on Korean hit Marrying The Mafia last month, Korean major Cinema Service opened up unreleased Break Out for remake treatment after receiving strong interest. South African-based mini-conglomerate Distant Horizon announced that it has non-exclusive rights allowing it to set up the picture with a studi
  • Roadshow snaps up Oz rights to Perfect film

    Roadshow Films has acquired all Australian and New Zealand rights to the unfinished homegrown drama One Perfect Day, about a young musical prodigy torn from the pursuit of his classical music career after his sister dies from a drug overdose at a dance party. One Perfect Day is a rare example of an Australian film without funding from taxpayers but with a budget big enough to afford decent attachments. It is the directorial debut of Paul Currie whose original idea was the
  • Roger Michell's Mother adds clutch of int'l sales

    The UK's Renaissance Films has concluded pre-sales for Roger Michell's recently wrapped film The Mother. Deals were closed with Concorde for Germany, Atalanta for Portugal, Odeon for Greece, Shani Films for Israel and A Film/Cinelibre for Benelux. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film for North America during the summer.Fully financed by BBC Films and currently in post-production the film stars Anne Reid (Liam), Daniel Craig (Road To Perdition), Cathryn
  • Smile snaps up Sinatra pic for Scandinavia

    Copenhagen-based Smile Entertainment has acquired the Scandinavian rights to Paul Goldman's The Night We Called It A Day, which started shooting in Australia earlier this month for Scala Productions and Ocean Pictures. The deal was negotiated between Smile's Timo T. Lahtinen and Scala's Nik Powell as an early pre-buy. International sales of the film are otherwise handled by Winchester Films. The film stars Dennis Hopper as Frank Sinatra on his unfortunate tour to Australi
  • Solaris

    Dir: Steven Soderbergh. US 2002. 99 minutes For a film which purports to be about the deepest recesses of the human heart, this sci-fi romance is curiously lacking in emotion. It is a fatal flaw and, while the marquee value of international heartthrob Clooney and wunderkind film-maker Soderbergh promises encouraging opening-weekend numbers, not even the actor's phenomenal sex appeal - and his strong performance here - will rescue the picture from ultimate commercial oblivion.
  • Spain to alter local TV ownership rules

    In a decision that will directly affect both parties in Spain's pending pay-TV merger, the Spanish government has announced that it will prohibit companies from owning shares in more than one broadcaster at the national, regional and local levels. Grupo Prisa and Telefonica - the backers, respectively, behind set-to-merge digital satellite platforms Canal Satelite Digital (CSD) and Via Digital - will be affected by the reform of an existing law. The reform was announced this week by Sc
  • StudioCanal picks up von Trotta's Women

    StudioCanal has taken on international sales for Margarethe von Trotta's new feature The Women Of Rosenstrasse which continues shooting at the Babelsberg Studios until the end of this week before moving to Munich The Euros 6.5m co-production between Studio Hamburg Letterbox Filmproduktion, Tele Muenchen, the Netherlands' Get Reel, and Studio Hamburg Produktion fuer Film und Fernsehen centres on a little-known case of resistance to the Nazi dictatorship by 6,000 German women pro
  • The Magdalene Sisters makes a deep impression on Ireland

    After just five weeks on release Peter Mullan's prize-winning The Magdalene Sisters has been seen by one in twenty of the Irish population, having passed the Euros 1m mark in the Republic.According to its Irish distributors Eclipse Pictures, "indications are that it will play in Irish cinemas right into the New Year." The box office figure would suggest approximately 200,000 admissions, or one in twenty of the Irish population.Commenting on the gross to date of Euros 1,05
  • Three new Korean films maintain strong local market share

    South Korean cinema continues to perform strongly, with local films currently maintaining a 45% market share in Seoul and three Korean titles heading the box-office this weekend. Cinema Service's Jail Breakers (pictured) has become the latest comedy to top the box-office, drawing 554,000 admissions nationwide in its first four days to earn $3m. From Kim Sang-jin, whose previous films Attack The Gas Station (1999) and Kick The Moon (2001) both rank
  • Treasure Planet

    Dir: John Musker & Ron Clements. US. 2002. 95 mins. Walt Disney Feature Animation follow up the delightful Lilo & Stitch with a more conventional holiday programmer in Treasure Planet, an entertaining, but perfunctory animated adventure which will come third on kids' wishlists after live-action family movies Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets and The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers. Written, produced and directed by Musker & Clements, the cr
  • Two more low budget features get underway in Ireland

    A further two low budget features started shooting in Dublin last week, bringing to seven the total of low budget films shot or shooting in Ireland so far this year. The two latest additions to the low budget reanimation of Ireland's production sector are Fatface Films' Halo Effect and Zanzibar Productions' Headrush.Both films are Dublin-set contemporary stories with budgets in the region of Euros 1m. Both are supported by the Irish Film Board under the provisions of its
  • UK government moves to tighten co-production rules

    The Great Goose Caper, a Chevy Chase family film currently shooting in Canada, is not the UK government's ideal co-production. Certainly, its UK spend of 26% of its budget is within existing co-production requirements. But co-productions with such a minimal UK involvement have triggered a dramatic overhaul of UK production treaties by the British government. It's a move that has producers from Canada to Australia up in arms.Aiming to rectify the perceived imbalance in whe
  • Wild Bees (Divoke Vcely)

    Dir: Bohdan Slama. Czech Republic. 2001. 94minsThis good-natured countryside romp has already secured a place in a number of film festivals, from Rotterdam onwards. While there is no denying its unspoilt natural flavour and its light, insouciant charm, it is also difficult to ignore its lack of a real story, its tendency for self-indulgent folklorisms and its cheerful disregard for plot details. Film festivals will have no problem selecting it - being a first film is a great
  • XXX continues its run, with $2m over weekend

    The action picture XXX, which is being distributed internationally byColumbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI), added another $2mover the weekend to raise its international cumulative score to $122.5m. TheVin Diesel starrer held well in Belgium and Holland in spite of bows by HarryPotter And The Chamber Of Secrets inboth territories and is expected to finish on around $130m. Family sequel StuartLittle 2 continued its march toward$100m wi