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28 November 2003

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  • Animal Kingdom dominant at Turin

    French director Joel Brisse's film The End of The Animal Kingdom (La Fin du Regne Animal) has won the top prize at the Turin Film Festival (Nov 13-21), Italy's pre-eminent event dedicated to cutting-edge cinema from around the world.Brisse's debut feature, which won the festival's Euros 20,500 prize, tells the story of an anti-conformist man who lives at one with nature but is considered by many to be the village idiot. His only friend is a young girl from the village.The
  • AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND Prod Lists - Nov 25 2003

    AUSTRALIA - November 25PRE-PRODUCTIONIRRESISTIBLE(Irresistible Films, Kennedy Mellor, Spice Factory, Movision Entertainment) Backers: Film Finance Corporation Australia, Movision. Int'l sales: Arclight. Dist: Palace (Aust/NZ), Momentum (UK), Blue Star (Italy). Psychological thriller. Sophie Hartley is convinced she is being stalked. She becomes increasingly certain that her husband's beautiful co-worker, Mara, wants her children, her husband,
  • Australian Film Commission slams AFMA

    The Australian Film Commission has slammed the American Film Marketing Association (AFMA) for its lack of support in the free trade agreement currently being negotiated with the U.S."If they actually represented the interests of independent producers around the world as they claim, they would be supporting Australian producers, not the Hollywood studios seeking to impose their will on a tiny, fragile, culturally-based industry," AFC chief executive Kim Dalton told
  • Australia's FFC unveils studio model financing plan

    Australian funding body the Film Finance Corporation (FFC) is to adopt a studio model when funding local films as part of a radical overhaul of its investment procedures.Chief executive Brian Rosen said that the FFC will choose films to fund and will then work alongside filmmakers to secure marketplace interest. In the past the FFC has used a deal driven model of funding - using deals with distributors, investors and other marketplace players to trigger FFC support.The ne
  • Balkan Fund hands out script grants at Thessaloniki

    Four film projects from four southeastern European countries have received the first grants to be handed out by the Balkan Fund, a script development initiative created in November 2002 by the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF).The projects to receive 10,000 Euros each are: The Journey, writer/director/producer Artan Minarolli, Albania;Grbavica, writer/ director Jasmila Zbanich, producer Dhamir Ibrahimovic, Bosnia & Herzegovina;Small Crime,
  • Bangkok unveils festival line-up

    Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 2 is to close the second edition of the Bangkok International Film Festival, held between Jan 22 - Feb 2 next year. The event, which will screen around 150 films, opens with a screening of Thai title Renaissance.Organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the festival is seen as a way of promoting Thailand's qualities as a film-making hub for international producers.A three-day Bangkok Film Market will also make its debut du
  • Barbara Windsor wins Women in Film and TV lifetime award

    Barbara Windsor is to be awarded the Working Title Films Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2003 Five Women in Film and Television Awards (WFTV).The annual awards ceremony celebrates the achievements of women in all aspects of the British film and television industry and will be held on the Dec 5 at the Hilton Hotel, London.Barbara Windsor will be at the ceremony to receive her lifetime achievement award.The WFTV board of directors, who nominated Windsor for the award, cit
  • Be bold with ideas, HBO tells documentary makers

    HBO documentary chief Sheila Nevins has called on film-makers to come forward with challenging ideas on international subjects and not to assume that the US network is only interested in US-focused films. Traditionally, HBO has a reputation for screening more domestically-oriented films - particularly in its America Undercover series. But Nevins pointed out that HBO currently has a film about children living in a brothel in India on its slate. "Once I would have said 'who's going to wa

    Local hit The Alzheimer Case (De Zaak Alzheimer) reclaimed the lead in Belgium from two-week usurper The Matrix Revolutions last weekend after a paltry 4% week-on-week slip in its sixth weekend.Erik Van Looy's film has grossed $3m (Euro 2.5m) and provided a considerable boost to local film success with more than double the number of Belgian's seeing a Flemish film in 2003 (over 500,000) compared to 2002. The Alzheimer Case accounts for over 375,000 of these
  • BFI launches online film archive service

    As part of a move to make its vast film and television collection more accessible to the public, the British Film Institute (bfi) has launched a new website featuring footage from its archives.Clips of films dating back to the late 19th Century can be viewed on the site, which is called Screenonline and has been developed over two years at a cost of £2m. The website also features comprehensive biographies of key players in the British film and television world, stills and articl
  • Bruehl, Canet headline Carion's Joyeux Noel

    French director Christian Carion is to follow up his debut hit Une Hirondelle A Fait Le Printemps, with Joyeux Noel starring French hearthob Guillaume Canet and Good Bye, Lenin! star Daniel Bruehl.Based on a true story and set to shoot in 2004, the Euros 23m film is produced by Christophe Rossignon's Nord-Ouest Productions with the UK's Bertrand Faivre of The Bureau and Belgium's Artemis co-producing. Carion spoke about the project during the German-French F
  • Busy new year ahead for Oz production

    For full current production listings click hereThere are just four films in production in Australia for the next three months, The Human Touch, some of which has already been shot in France, The Oyster Farmer, Ten Canoes and the Kennedy Miller animation Happy Feet. There may be an unknown cheapie shooting in an alley somewhere, funded by cash advances from the credit cards of
  • Carlton strikes Spanish deals for Film Collection

    Carlton International has struck two deals with Spanish distributors to handle its Carlton Film Collection.Manga Films has taken TV and video rights for the entire Korda Library, which features 33 classic films. This is an expansion of a previous deal, with new titles now added including such as The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Four Feathers and The Thief Of Baghdad.Filmax has acquired video and DVD rights for nearly 100 titles from The Rank Film Library for use in Spain
  • Cat In The Hat jumps to the top with $40.1m

    Universal Pictures' Dr Seuss adaptation The Cat In The Hat opened at the top of the box office over the weekend with an estimated $40.1m gross, some $15m less than its 2000 predecessor How The Grinch Stole Christmas.The dismally reviewed fantasy kids movie, produced by Imagine Entertainment and backed by Universal and DreamWorks SKG, stars Mike Myers, Alex Baldwin, Kelly Preston, Sean Hayes, Spencer Breslin and Dakota Fanning. It is the feature directorial debut of Bo Wel
  • Czech doc makers hype their hypermarket hoax

    Earlier this year, the Czech public fell foul to an elaborate hoax cooked up by two enterprising students of Prague's Famu film academy. One of the hoaxers, Filip Remunda, is now at IDFA to talk to commissioning editors about the documentary he and his colleague are making about this controversial stunt, and to accompany a group of East European film-makers who have attended a workshop programme run by the Institute of Documentary, a Czech-based professional organisation he co-founded
  • D-Cinema set to drive doc theatrical boom

    A group of European distributors is banding together to give documentaries wider theatrical play through use of digital exhibition technology. The initiative, European DocuZone (EDZ), will link distributors, institutions and some 175 screens in eight countries to create a digital network capable of giving documentary films simultaneous releases across the region. It will kick off in September 2004 with full partners in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Scotland, Austria, Slovakia, Spa

    Though Finding Nemo had no problem hanging on to the top spot this week, with twice the screen average of two new releases Love Actually and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this weekend's box-office total was down no less than 51,8% from last year. Matrix Revolutions continued its rapid retreat from the chart, falling back another 52.2% and mustering a disappointing screen average. The only solid performer was Lars von Trier and Joergen Leth's playfully experimenta
  • Denmark's Ost takes trio from Brussels AVE

    Danish distributor Ost for Paradis has picked up all rights to three titles handled by Belgian-based Brussels AVE, in a deal struck at this week's Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival.The films are Mannheim-Heidelberg's International Competition film I Always Wanted To Be A Saint (J'ai Toujours Voulu Etre Une Sainte) by Luxembourg filmmaker Genevieve Mersch; the first digitally produced Belgian film Hop by Dominique Standaert; and the documentary Chomsky -
  • Diagonale dismisses Austrian film curator

    With just over three months to go, the beleaguered 'official' Diagonale 04 festival has given its Austrian films curator Wolfgang Ainberger his marching orders after his criticism of the festival's directors was made public in the Austrian media last week (, 24 Nov 2003).In an official statement, the Diagonale's director of business affairs Tillmann Fuchs said that "with his way of acting, Ainberger has contravened the elementary principles of 'loyalty and decenc
  • Discovery Docs seeks new talent to mentor

    Discovery Docs, the theatrical documentary initiative set up in May this year, is looking for up-and-coming directors which its 'dream team' of heavyweight directors that includes Barbara Kopple, Michael Apted, Peter Gilbert and Nanette Burnstein can mentor. Andrea Meditch, Discovery Docs head of development, who is visiting IDFA for the first time, told IDFA Screen Daily that as well as looking for ideas and scripts at the festival, she was also on the look out for new talent."
  • Dr Seuss' The Cat In The Hat

    Dir: Bo Welch. US. 2003. 82 mins. Taken on its own terms, the $100m-plus live-action screen version of Dr Seuss' signature children's book is a no more than typically gaudy and aggressive Hollywood comedy that appears to have been production designed for kids but written largely for adults. US reviewers, however, have not taken kindly to such treatment of a beloved childhood favourite and some parents seem to have felt the same way: in spite of a very wide release, massive ad
  • EFA to honour Chabrol, di Palma

    The European Film Academy is to honour Claude Chabrol and Carlo di Palma at its forthcoming awards ceremony.Chabrol, whose credits include Le Beau Serge, Jours Tranquilles A Clichy, Madame Bovary and La Fleur Du Mal, will receive the European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award 2003. Di Palma will receive the European Achievement In World Cinema 2003. The Italian cinematographer began his career as an assistant to Luchino Visconti and has worked with the likes
  • Finding Nemo eyes $200m international haul

    Riding high on a sensational European run, Finding Nemo is expected to pass $200m in international ticket sales this upcoming weekend with wide releases in France and Spain and strong holdover business.Following an international table-topping weekend last week, the worldwide animated hit has amassed $190.8m at the international box office to date and Buena Vista International (BVI) executives are confident it will pass the milestone in the next few days. It opened in France on N

    For the first time ever, the Coen brothers opened in first place with George Clooney starrer Intolerable Cruelty. The strong showing is a clear case of counter programming winning out as the smart throwback comedy overtook the flashy race car comic book adaptation Michel Vaillant. Vaillant, a Europa Corp. production garnered 460,777 admissions surprising many industry watchers who thought it would easily break the 500,000 mark its first week out. Directed at a youn
  • Full Monty writer sparks off British Muslims drama

    Simon Beaufoy, the writer of This Is Not A Love Song and The Full Monty, has tackled the experience of British Muslims post-September 11 in Spark, a drama which started shooting this week for Channel 4.The production is UK director Kenny Glenaan's follow-up to Gas Attack, a controversial asylum-seeker drama which won 2001's Michael Powell award for new British features at the Edinburgh film festival. Spark tells the story of Yasmin, a British Muslim
  • German public embraces film piracy

    The illegal copying of feature films onto CDs and DVDs or by downloading from the Internet is becoming more acute in Germany, according to a new study commissioned by the German Federal Film Board (FFA).5.1m people burnt approximately 30.1m feature films onto 63m blank CDs and DVDs in the first eight months of this year, compared to 27m films for the whole of 2002. Called Burner Study2, the study findings were based on statements from 10,000 interviewees between January and August 2003

    Finding Nemo exceeded even the wildest hopes of exhibitors, who are in desperate need of a good fourth quarter, by scoring over 2m admissions (without previews) and Euros 13.3m in box office takings from its 1,004 prints. Not only was the Buena Vista release the best opening of 2003 (toppling the previous No. 1 opener Matrix Reloaded) with a screen average of $13,272, but it is also the best first weekend ever for the US major's German office and for an animation film release i
  • HanWay's Wase-Bailey exits as Haslam takes over

    Thierry Wase-Bailey is standing down as managing director of UK-based sales operation HanWay.Wase-Bailey is being replaced by Tim Haslam, who was president of international distribution at Intermedia before Jere Hausfater took over.Wase-Bailey, who has headed HanWay for four years, is to focus on developing his own sales and consultancy business, EntCo. "Thierry is a formidable salesman," said Jeremy Thomas, producer and chairman of HanWay's parent company, Recorded Pictu

    China Star's Lost In Time, starring Cecilia Cheung and Louis Koo, opened at the top of the Hong Kong box office chart grossing $941,553 and a strong screen average of $22,965. The romantic drama, about a woman coming to terms with her husband's death, is directed by Derek Yee whose credits include award-winning dramas such as Viva Erotica and C'est La Vie Mon Cheri. Two US movies - Scary Movie 3 and Intolerable Cruelty - opened in second and fourth pl

    Matrix Revolutions dropped off by 53% in its second week in Hong Kong although it held on to the top spot in a week that saw seven new films enter the top 10. However, the re-release of a much older Warner Bros film - Casablanca - racked up a stronger screen average grossing $17,816 from a single screen at Edko Films' new Palace IFC complex in the Central district of Hong Kong. The new cinema aims to screen Hollywood classics and arthouse films, in addition to more mainst

    Following the success of SPI distributed Help, I'm A Fish!, last weekend yet another fishy story ruled the Hungarian box office, this time it was InterCom's Finding Nemo that opened with an impressive 72,000 admissions. But the real success story belongs to the Hungarian film Kontroll, the feature debut of Nimrod Antal. The story of the Hungarian public transportation's much feared ticket controllers was standing at almost 25,000 admissions following its opening we
  • Independent coalition sues MPAA over screener ban

    A group of independent film-makers including Robert Altman, Christine Vachon, John Sloss, Ted Hope and John Penotti has teamed up with IFP/Los Angeles and IFP/New York to file a lawsuit against the MPAA in an effort to have the screener ban lifted immediately.The move comes as the dust was starting to settle on the ban which was imposed by the MPAA on every awards organisation except for members of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS).The suit, filed in the US District
  • Indican takes US rights to Two Men Went To War

    Indican Pictures has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the UK comic drama Two Men Went To War.The film is an Ira Trattner Production for Little Wing Films directed by John Henderson and co-written by Richard Everett and Christopher Villiers.The deal was struck after the film screened at the recent Hollywood Film Festival.Two Men Went to War is based on a true story, following Sgt. Peter King (Kenneth Cranham) of the Army Dental Corps, deemed too old to fi
  • Italians protest against Rai 'censorship'

    Italian composer Nicola Piovani and Nobel winning playwright Dario Fo were among more than 15,000 people who attended a live show at the weekend to protest against censorship at Italian state broadcaster RAI.The show was conducted by local comic Sabina Guzzanti, whose satirical TV programme was closed down by Italian state broadcaster RAI last week after just one program, despite scoring record-breaking audience numbers.Only 2,400 people were actually able to get into see the li

    Robert Rodriguez's gun-slinger Once Upon A Time In Mexico knocked Love Actually off the top spot at the Italian box office over the weekend, grossing a strong $1.8m from 283 screens for BVI.The Johnny Depp vehicle, which premiered to much publicity at the Venice Film Festival in September, scored an impressive screen average of $6,365.UIP's Love Actually continued to perform impressively, grossing a further $1,447,296 for UIP which brings its running total t
  • Jan Vrijman Fund brings light to Darkness

    Jan Vrijman Fund co-ordinator Isabel Arrante Fernandez has unveiled a raft of new projects including In The Darkness, the latest project by Sergei Devortsevoi (Highway, IDFA 1999), co-produced by Jane Balfour. Aiming for completion in spring 2004, the film has also received script development funding from the Hubert Bals Fund and it is backed by French channel Arte, YLE Finland and the Finnish Film Foundation.Other films backed by the $358,000 (Eu300,000) Jan Vrijm

    Michael Winterbottom's In This World led all new openers with a screen average of $36,760. Distributor Amuse, now merged into Toshiba Entertainment, saturated leading Tokyo art theatres with trailers prior to the November 15 opening at the Cine Chanter theater in Tokyo and the Kannai MG theatre in Yokohama. Also, with Japanese Self Defense Force troops set to go to Iraq before the end of the year, public interest in the Middle East is high. Finally, Japanese audiences have long
  • Japanese studio abandons move plans

    Game maker Namco has abandoned its plan to move the studio of film subsidiary Nikkatsu from its current location in a Tokyo suburb to a new site in Yokohama. The plan, announced by Namco president Masaya Nakamura in July 2001, called for the construction of a new studio on a 2.2 hectare site in Yokohama's Minato Mirai 21 area. In addition to advanced digital production and editing equipment, the studio site would have training and amusement facilities. The cost of the plan, at n
  • Jones appointed senior programmer at IFP LA Film Festival

    Doug Jones has been appointed senior programmer at the IFP Los Angeles Film Festival which this year runs from June 17 to June 26. He will work year-round with the festival's programming director Rachel Rosen.The festival, formerly the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, was taken over by IFP/Los Angeles in 2001 and expanded to include international films and special events and screenings throughout Los Angeles. Festival director is Richard Raddon, while Rosen joined in Sept 2001.
  • Koelmels face charges for bankruptcy delay

    The spectre of the former Kinowelt's demise is coming back to haunt brothers Michael and Rainer Koelmel with news that Munich's public prosecutor's office may bring charges against the brothers for delaying the declaration of the bankruptcy of Kinowelt Medien.The prosecutor's spokesman Anton Winkler told the news weekly Focus that it was "probable" that charges would be brought against the brothers.However, a spokesperson of the Sparkasse Leipzig, which granted the Koelm
  • KWA takes on Spanish Night and Sunset

    Madrid-based international sales agent Kevin Williams Associates (KWA) has picked up two new Spanish films, The End Of The Night and Red Sunset, both of which are showing to buyers this weekend at the Spanish Film Screenings of Lanzarote (Nov 27-29).Now in its fifth edition, the three-day Screenings kicked off Wednesday night on the Canary Island of Lanzarote with some 71 buyers from 29 countries attending. More than 30 recent Spanish films and co-productions are screenin
  • Lescure returns with AnnaRose production outfit

    Former Canal Plus chairman Pierre Lescure has announced the launch of a new film production and distribution company as well as a London-based capital development outfit.According to reports in the French media, his production outfit is called AnnaRose and is named after his young daughter. Two film projects are being readied, although Lescure said it would take time to get them off the ground due to difficulties raising financing and continuing script polishing. Both are co-production
  • Leth parks bike doc in favour of opera opus

    Acclaimed Danish documentary maker and poet Joergen Leth, whose The Five Obstructions, his collaboration with Lars von Trier, is being shown as part of IDFA's special programme and which has been nominated for a European Film Award, has confirmed that he has put his Tour de France project on hold and will instead push ahead with a number of other projects, including one involving von Trier. The $635,000 (Eu538,000) cycling documentary, which was to have depicted the cycling even
  • Love Actually storms UK box office

    Richard Curtis' directorial debut Love Actually took the UK by storm this weekend, opening at number one and grossing a massive $11.34m (£6.7m) from 477 locations.Screening on approximately 775 prints, the weekend takings - which included previews of $1.7m (£1m) - scored the biggest ever opening for UK distributor UIP.Love Actually dethroned Warner Bros The Matrix Revolutions, which saw a second consecutive 55% drop off in its third weekend.It was the
  • Malaysia imposes home entertainment price controls

    Malaysia is to impose price controls on home entertainment products in its fight against piracy despite opposition from the local film and music industries.According to a recent report released by the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, the price control mechanism will take effect from 1 January 2004, setting a ceiling retail price on all locally manufactured VCDs and CDs.The ceiling price for VCDs will be US$3.8 (RM14) while local CDs and foreign CDs will be capped
  • Manga snags Kill Bill for Spain

    Barcelona-based Manga Films has snagged theatrical, video and DVD rights in Spain to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, and will give attendees at the local Sitges International Film Festival (Nov 27-Dec 7) a sneak preview of Volume 1 on Saturday.It looks unlikely that Tarantino will attend the festival, which kicks off Thursday night with a screening of local filmmaker Pau Freixas' thriller Camara Oscura. Manga anticipates a wide release for the first volume of the much-anti
  • McKellar cranks up Childstar

    Principal photography is underway in Toronto for Don McKellar's second film, Childstar through Toronto-based Rhombus Media. Written by McKellar and Michael Goldbach, the comedy features an ensemble cast including McKellar, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mark Rendall Dave Foley, Gil Bellows, Brendan Fehr, Kristin Adams, Peter Paige, Noam Jenkins, Alan Thicke, Eric Stoltz and Michael Murphy. Producers are Niv Fichman and Daniel Iron of Rhombus and Jennifer Jonas.Described as a wry s
  • McKenzie promoted to vice president at WBITD

    AlastairMcKenzie has been promoted to vice president, legal & business affairs,Europe, for Warner Bros International Television Distribution (WBITD).McKenzie waspreviously director, legal & business affairs, Europe, and in his new rolewill have an expanded role in all aspects of legal and business affairs for thedivision. He will continue to focus on licensing and distribution-related negotiationsand agreements for WBITD deals in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
  • Michel Vaillant

    Dir: Louis-Pascal CouvelaireLuc Besson is backseat driving again. The latest model to roll off his EuropaCorp action movie assembly line is called Michel Vaillant, the name of a champion race car driver who is indeed valiant on wheels or off but who won't keep the ghost of Steve McQueen up nights worrying about his crown. Once again Besson didn't direct, just wrote and produced and rounded up the financing for this Euros 21m production, strapping into the dr
  • Miyazaki breaks with architectural project

    Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) has publicly disassociated himself from a planned community to be built on a man-made island in Hakata Bay, near the city of Fukuoka. Earlier this month Fukuoka mayor Kotaro Yamazaki announced a project to build a community for 1,500 families based on sketches drawn by Miyazaki. Samples from Miyazaki's work, together with a mission statement from the animator, were added to the project's Web site. On November 20 Miyazaki se
  • Mushroom, Rialto tie up production joint venture

    Australian production outfit Mushroom Pictures (Chopper, Gettin' Square) and Auckland based distributor Rialto Entertainment have formed a joint venture to produce thrillers and contemporary horror movies along the lines of 28 Days Later.The aim for the initial 18-month period of the deal is to develop, finance, produce and distribute a "cutting-edge genre picture" from Australia and another from New Zealand."The advantage is that we will be jointly producin

    Dutch family title Pipo And The P-P-Pearl Knight (Pipo En De P-P-Parelridder) looks unlikely to follow in the successful footsteps of this year's The Skippers Of The Kameleon.Opening in fourth position in The Netherlands the latest film adventure of Pipo the clown managed just $188,640 (Euro 158,080) from 115 screens for a weak $1,640 average for Independent Film. In comparison stablemate Skippers Of The Kameleon remains in the top 20 after 22 weeks on relea
  • New Line plunges back into German funds

    New Line Cinema has again joined forces with German private fund specialist Hannover Leasing (HL) to raise up to Euros 100m for a raft of international English-language features.The latest fund, MERADIN Produktions GmbH & Co. KG, which is being co-initiated by HL with the Stuttgart-based financial investment company DaimlerChrysler Services Structured Finance, has invited private German individuals to invest a minimum of Euros 20,000 to initially raise Euros 50m to finance, produce and

    Roadshow's The Matrix Revolutions comfortably beat the competition to retain the top spot in its third weekend on release, showing more resilience than in some other markets. UIP's Love Actually put in a strong performance to secure second place, despite only being on previews. It grossed NZ$212,718 from 45 screens compared to the NZ$340,095 from 77 screens accumulated by The Matrix. Both films have the highest screen averages in the chart.In the third spot is Road

    The biggest specialised opener in North America last weekend was Focus Features' 21 Grams taking $274,454 from just eight screens in New York and Los Angeles, marking a site average of $34,307.The film, which played in the Venice, Montreal, Toronto and New York film festivals, is a heavyweight Oscar contender and its opening signals that audiences are responding to the ad campaign which asks how much vengeance weighs. The film saw a limited expansion this week and sees further e
  • 'Original' Diagonale squares up against 'official' Diagonale

    The supporters of Austria's 'original Diagonale' have unveiled their plans for a four-day event in Graz between March 3-7, 2004 while the 'official' Diagonale O4 under the management of Tillmann Fuchs and Miroljub Vuckovic seems to be on the verge of imploding."The 'original Diagonale' will take place because it has the trust and support of the filmmakers, directors and the Diagonale team", . The creative artists and the team, which is prepared to work in an honorary capacity, will be
  • Oz group plans Kieft & Kieft takeover

    Australia's Amalgamated Holdings (AHL) is planning a complete takeover of Germany's largest exhibitor Kieft & Kieft.According to press reports AHL, whose subsidiary Greater Union has had a 50% stake in Kieft & Kieft since 1998, has issued a letter of intent indicating that it is interested in acquiring the remaining 50% from brother and sister Heiner and Marlis Kieft.As part of the proposed takeover AHL would settle debts of Euros 7.65m and would have the Kiefts remain in their
  • Post houses create£1.4bn special effect for UK economy

    The UK post-production industry generated £1.39bn in revenues in 2002 and employs 15,000 people, according to a comprehensive new study of the sector published today (Nov 27) by the UK Film Council.The report - Post-production in the UK - concludes that the UK post sector ranks with the USA and New Zealand as one of the top three providers of visual special effects for the global film industry. The figures are likely to be far higher this year. Executives predict that 200
  • Revolutions takes fast declining $21.5m over third weekend for Warner

    The Matrix Revolutions slowed down in its international run over its third weekend in theatres, taking an estimated $21.5m in 94 territories for a cumulative total to date of $230.2m.It appears that the film will stop considerably short of the $454m international total scored by its predecessor Reloaded.In Japan, the third weekend drop was just 16% to an estimated $4.7m to bring its territory total to $35.87m, but in other key territories it fell much faster. In th
  • Rosenstrasse producer joins Canada's True West

    Germany's Henrik Meyer, one of the producers of Margarethe von Trotta's Venice prize-winner Rosenstrasse, has joined Elizabeth Yake's British Columbia-based production outfit True West Films as a vice president and partner.Speaking to at this year's Mannheim Co-Production Meetings, Yake explained that they had both been looking for international partners to work with over the past couple of years. "The strategy is that we will have two companies: f
  • Schultze sweeps Stockholm festival prizes

    The 14th edition of the Stockholm International Film Festival, which wrapped on Sunday night, showered most its awards on German newcomer Michael Schorr for Schultze Gets The Blues.The picture won best film, best actor, best script and writer-director Schorr was also named best debutant. The film, which previously screened in Venice, tells about a man forced into early retirement, who finds new meaning in his life through playing his accordion Creole style. Tom Mac
  • South Korean quota system wins temporary reprieve

    South Korea's filmmakers have secured a temporary respite in their efforts to maintain the nation's Screen Quota system. In a press conference on November 21, members of the South Korean film industry announced the results of a three-hour meeting with Korean president Roh Moo-hyun concerning the quota issue. Roh is reported to have said that if filmmakers object to a reduction of the Screen Quota, he will not unilaterally force a reduction.Nonetheless, the president is quoted

    UIP's Love Actually opened to 282,029 spectators in Spain this weekend, taking Euros 1.4m - far short of the biggest openers in the territory, but enough to place it in first position over the weekend. The British romantic comedy went out on a wide 288 copies.Meanwhile, on 466 prints in its third weekend, Warner Bros' Matrix Revolutions placed third with just Euros 983,604 for a cumulative Euros 9.86m. Above Matrix was Columbia's new Tears Of The Sun, which
  • Speers wraps Adam & Paul Dublin shoot

    After a snappy four-week shoot on location around Dublin, local commercials production house Speers Films will today (Nov 28) wrap Adam & Paul, the company's first foray into feature production.Produced by Jonny Speers under the company sobriquet Porridge Pictures, Adam & Paul is a low budget (Euros 841,000 including deferrals) "stylised downbeat physical comedy" about two junkies, friends since boyhood who scam their way through another day.The film is written by
  • Ster-Kinekor embarks on African exhibition push

    Ster-Kinekor Theatres, South Africa's largest cinema exhibitor, will open an 800 seat, 5-cinema complex in Zambia on Dec 12 - part of drive to expand its presence throughout Africa.Located at the recently opened Arcades Entertainment and Leisure complex in Lusaka, it is the first world-class multiplex in the country. All five screens will have comfort seating, Dolby Digital surround sound and world-class luxury finishes - a first for many Zambians.Ster-Kinekor already has multip
  • Styler's Xingu goes Wilde over Alpha Male

    Trudie Styler's Xingu Films is to produce Alpha Male, the debut feature of UK writer-director Dan Wilde.Wilde aims to start shooting next summer on the production, which is set entirely in an English country house and tells the story of the power struggles within a family over 20 years.26 year-old Wilde made his mark with Bookcruncher, an ambitious 30 minute short which Styler executive produced. The short film was enough for Styler, whose productions with debut wr
  • Takeover talks see Winchester shares suspended

    Winchester Entertainment has asked for shares to be suspended after confirming talks on a possible merger that would count as a reverse takeover.The talks are believed to be with New York-based ContentFilm, headed by Ed Pressman and John Schmidt, and are believed to be a sign of overseas interest in the UK due to mooted tax incentives that would involve relief on both production and distribution, where Winchester is active locally and internationally.Shares rose 2p to 28p before
  • Teze returns to TFI as film sponsorship chief

    Former TF1 International executive Perrine Teze is to head up a new film sponsorship division at TF1 Publicite.Teze, who has been on maternity leave for the past six months after helping to oversee the birth of TFM - the film division's joint distribution venture with Miramax - will work in close contact with TF1's existing sponsorship division.The idea behind the division is to link advertisers with film, allowing them to partner during the entire life of a film, from shooting
  • The Haunted Mansion

    Dir: Rob Minkoff. US. 2003. 98 mins.Disney's latest attempt to turn a theme park attraction into a movie relies on impressive design and effects work and a warmly funny performance from Eddie Murphy to pep up an otherwise rather anaemic ghosts'n'ghouls family comedy adventure. The selling points may well prove strong enough in the US to give Disney its first Thanksgiving number one in three years (the company practically owned the holiday weekend before the arrival of the
  • The Missing

    Dir: Ron Howard. US. 2003. 135mins.The versatile Ron Howard stirs up a melange of story elements in The Missing and the result, perhaps surprisingly, is a consistently engaging tale that is part stoic western, part spooky thriller and part dysfunctional family drama. Selling such a hard-to-categorise item to mainstream audiences won't be easy for worldwide distributor Sony, in the US (where the film opens this week over the Thanksgiving holiday period) or in the intern
  • Timeline

    Dir: Richard Donner. US. 2003. 116 mins.Packaged as a big budget Michael Crichton adaptation with veteran action director Richard Donner at the helm, Timeline is a breathless adventure romp that sometimes feels more like an educational TV special intended to make medieval history seem cool. Too silly for adults and too innocent for teens, the film, released in the US this Thanksgiving weekend by Paramount, won't do much to change the downward box office trend for non-
  • Trio make Joris Ivens shortlist

    After an intense week of deliberation that ended yesterday first with a canal trip and then with a closed session at the Hotel Vondel, the jury of this year's Vpro Joris Ivens Award have decided on the shortlist for this year's $15,000 (Eu12,500) prize. Led by German film-maker Monika Treut, the five-person jury narrowed their choice of eventual winner down to either Yoav Shamir's Checkpoint, Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk's Lost Boys Of Sudan and Peter Liechti's Lucky Jack
  • UGC reopens Dublin multiplex

    The Irish production, distribution and exhibition trades turned out in force on Nov 25 for the re-opening of UGC's Euros 13m upgrade of their Dublin site. The site is already one of the company's top locations in the Ireland/UK territory, UGC Commercial Director Mike Thomson told at the launch."With 17 screens we expect Dublin to go to number one in the Ireland/UK area and to challenge our top French sites which achieve about three million admissions a yea
  • UK industry partners with Orange for cinema day

    The UK has launched a so-called cinema day offering users of mobile phone network Orange two tickets for the price of one on Wednesdays.The three-year initiative, developed with pan-industry promotional body All Industry Marketing (AIM), has secured exclusive promotion in at least 90% of UK cinemas. As part of the deal, Orange will have exclusive content rights to more than 12 releases next year for the first month they hit the screen. The long-debated promotion differs to previ

    While the box office was dominated by UIP's romantic comedy Love Actually last weekend - which claimed $11.3m (£6.6m), including previews of $1.7m (£1m), from 775 prints at 477 sites - two others prepared for an onslaught to claim the lead this weekend.20th Century Fox's Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World launched at London's Odeon Leicester Square for a week's platform release ahead of its nationwide launch. The sea-faring adventure, which stars Russell Crow
  • US TV cold-shoulders docs

    Documentaries critical of US government policy and big business interests will find it increasingly hard to get US network broadcast slots, despite a growing demand from the public, says leading author and professor of law, Joel Bakan. Bakan, who wrote the book on which Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott's Joris Ivens' competition entry The Corporation is based, said that while publisher's were eager to back controversial books such as Michael Moore's best seller Dude, Where's M
  • Von Trier, Haim and Schipper win Filmstiftung NRW funding

    New features by Lars von Trier (Manderlay), Philippe Haim (The Daltons/La Vraie Vie Des Daltons) and Sebastian Schipper (Ein Freund Von Mir) are among the film projects awarded over Euros 3.8m by Filmstiftung NRW in its latest round of funding.The largest sum - Euros 1,858,970 - was allocated to Haim's new screen adaptation of the adventures of Lucky Luke which will be produced by UGC Images with Germany's Integral Film and Spain's Sogedasa. The Euro
  • Wachs joins Germany's Premiere in strategy role

    Former Senator Entertainment executive Friedrich-Carl Wachs is to head up the newly created division of strategy and planning at Germany's pay TV operator Premiere from Dec 1. Wachs will be responsible at Premiere for project management and will coordinate the collaboration of all of Premiere's business divisions on important strategic projects.Last January, Wachs made an unexpected exit from his post at Senator Entertainment as board member with responsibility for Strateg
  • WDF comes to IDFA on hunt for third film

    The World Documentary Fund (WDF), the $2.5m (Eu2.1m) international initiative set up to promote theatrical documentaries, has made its first visit to IDFA where it is understood to be keen to cherry-pick its third big-budget documentary project. The fund already has one completed film - Vikram Jayanti's Game Over: Kasparov And The Machine - a contender for this year's Joris Ivens Award and its second, Stephen Silver's study of the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack, Diameter
  • Website plans to boost Taiwan films abroad

    Taiwan's Government Information Office (GIO) is gearing up for a re-launch of its website as the definitive guide to the local film industry in a bid to further promote Taiwan-made films in the international market.The re-launch is scheduled on 7 January 2004, by which the Chinese-language website will be redesigned with a fresh new look and a host of brand new sections of content. More importantly, a much-needed English version will be added, giving foreign users bett
  • Working Title Dancing with trio in production

    With East Is East director Damien O'Donnell starting up principal photography on Inside I'm Dancing in Dublin, Working Title Films has no less than three features in production at once.Inside I'm Dancing, an Elling-esque tale of two young disabled men outwitting the system which stars Romola Garai, James McAvoy and Steven Robertson, joins Jonjo Mickybo, another title from low budget division WT2. Jonjo Mickybo, the story of two Belfast b