STUDIOS POSITION PRE-STRIKE FILMS AS OSCAR 2002 CAMPAIGN BEGINS
Studios are already talking up their powerful line-ups of pictures being readied for Oscar gold in 2002. The number of prestige pictures jostling for release slots in November and December is already formidable. The names in these films are pretty familiar to Oscar voters - Gwyneth Paltrow, Meryl Streep, Michael Mann, Stephen Daldry, Cate Blanchett, Lasse Hallstrom, Judi Dench, Steven Soderbergh and Russell Crowe, not to mention old favourites like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. With an actors'strike looming in June, all these films should be ready for their end-of year release dates, since principal photography will have to have been completed by then. Miramax, in particular are casting their hopes to 2002 after failing to take home an Oscar for the first time in 13 years. This week's lead story in SCREEN INTERNATIONAL gives a taste of what the studios are preparing for us.
ONE YEAR ON AFTER ITS HIGH PROFILE LAUNCH AT CANNES, WHAT HAS RAI CINEMA ACHIEVED'
When Italian state broadcaster RAI launched its new arm, RAI Cinema, at Cannes last year, the local film industry's reaction was one of enthusiasm mixed with a good dose of perplexity. Thanks to a 1998 Italian law requiring national broadcasters - RAI, Mediaset and Telemontecarlo - to pump at least $46m (L100bn) each year into local and European cinema, Italy's broadcasting veteran looked set to become one of the leading players in the local film industry. This year RAI prepares to officially launch its new distribution label, hatched as a joint venture with StudioCanal. Find out from this week's SCREEN INTERNATIONAL if RAI Cinema's work so far has been well received or if the sceptics who feared RAI would be invasive to the local industry were proved right.
EXECUTIVE SUITE: DIRECTOR-TURNED-PRODUCER DAVID WICHT DISCUSSES WHY MORE FOREIGNERS ARE GOING INTO PRODUCTION IN SOUTH AFRICA THAN LOCAL COMPANIES
"Basically there is no money available for films in South Africa because the broadcasters, distributors and the private sector refuse to come on board. But we have first class facilities, good infrastructure and excellent crews. There is a growing awareness that the country offers a huge variety of locations, excellent talent and a weak currency, which makes it the most cost-effective English-language production country in the world." David Wicht, 45, is currently head of Film Afrika Worldwide in Cape Town. Read SCREEN INTERNATIONAL about Wicht's challenge to convince the world to back South African local content driven films
ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION: FUTURE OF FILM FINANCING
At this year's AFM, a group of executives from leading film financiers came together to dispel a few myths and to discuss the status and future of borrowing to finance independent film production. "There is plenty of money within the system. Investors have capital available, but it is a selective market," said Clark Halloran of JP Morgan. "Deals are scrutinised for their fundamentals not for the upside. For the right deal, capital is available". Similarly, Douglas Hansen, director of corporate finance and media at Union Bank of California says "There is a lot of strategic capital out there. And there is a lot of co-production money, especially from government incentives such as tax credits." Read this week's SCREEN INTERNATIONAL Round Table for further clues on how to get at those pots of gold.
HBO'S WORLD WAR II EPIC BAND OF BROTHERS IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE TV SERIES EVER MADE. FIND OUT WHY.
From the powerhouse talent behind it (executive producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks), not to mention 1,000 extras, 500 speaking parts and 600 crew, this was an epic production worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster. The construction budget alone $17m, while the elaborate collection of WWII uniforms, guns and equipment set the maxi-series back another $20m. Read this week's SCREEN INTERNATIONAL for the inside track on the making of this important TV event.
NORDIC FILMS MAY BE RAKING IN PRIZES AND ATTENTION INTERNATIONALLY, BUT A YOUNG GENERATION OF FILMMAKERS ARE ALSO FINDING SUCCESS ON THEIR HOME TURF.
Backing provided by the region's national film institutes has always provided the backbone for feature production in the relatively small Nordic markets. Spurred on by their box office success and ability to tap funding, many local filmmakers are making international projects at home instead of being lured abroad. Young filmmakers across the region have experimented with genres and used skills honed at film schools and in TV to make films that have given local audiences faith in home-grown product. Read more on what's hot up north in this week's SCREEN INTERNATIONAL.
CASE STUDY THE 51ST STATE
In 1995 UK liquor store clerk Stel Pavlou came up with the idea of a kilt-wearing African-American chemist who creates the ultimate designer drug and comes to seek his fortune in London's rave scene. Pavlou's friend, a producer with Sky TV, took the project to Focus Film. They passed it to Tim Roth who considered himself for the role of Felix, the chemist's hoodlum sidekick. Roth took the script to LA where it made it's way to Samuel L. Jackson. After years of rewrites, changing scriptwriters, and steady sales, shooting began in Liverpool in Sept for 10 weeks and it's delivery date is set for June 2001. Read SCREEN INTERNATIONAL for more on the making of the film that put Samuel L. Jackson in tartan.
CLOSE UP ON FRENCH DIRECTOR PATRICK CHEREAU
"People used to say love and sex scenes could only be found in French films, but it's as wrong as the one about good food and wine. I would never say Germans are all about sausages. We have to avoid those cliches in Europe," says Patrick Chereau, the 56-year old director whose first English language film Intimacy - which took it's title from Hanif Kureishi's semi-autobiographical novel and its plot from his short story Nightlife- won the Golden Bear at Berlin. "When I decided to make Intimacy, I wanted to learn about English films, because they are so real compared to the French abstract way of thinking. This is a cliche too, but I thought it could be beautiful to make a mixture of these ." The film is the result." Read more about Chereau and his cultural forays in this week's SCREEN INTERNATIONAL.
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