GOLDBACHER COMMITS TO POND LIFE'S CORDOVA
LONDON The Governess director Sandra Goldbacher has committed to direct period piece Cordova from a script by Wonderland writer Laurence Coriat. The project, based at UK production outfit Pond Life Filmed Entertainment, is an adaptation of a novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield. The story, set in 1890s America and 1920s Italy, starts with a woman found dead with stigmata and then tracks back to reveal the events leading up to the incident. Pond Life's Beth Sanders will produce the project, which is at script stage.
CONSTANTIN, AUGUST TO SHOOT DETECTIVE DRAMA
MUNICH Bernd Eichinger's Constantin Film has acquired the worldwide film rights to 15 detective novels by bestselling author Henning Mankell, featuring police commissioner Kurt Wallander. Translated into 23 languages, the books have sold more than 1.5m copies in the German-language edition alone and have headed bestseller lists around the globe. The first adaptation - Die Falsche Faehrte - will be directed for Constantin by Oscar-winning Danish filmmaker Bille August with whom Eichinger produced Smilla's Sense Of The Snow and The House Of The Spirits.
MOSCA GEARS UP FOR BIG-SCREEN ABFAB
PARIS French production company Mosca Films is developing a big-screen version of cult BBC series Absolutely Fabulous. Gaspard de Chavagnac's Bel Ombre Films, which co-produced The Libertine with Mosca, is likely to be involved as a minority partner. Although no talent is yet attached, the producers hope to start production in September this year.
Francoise Meaux Saint Marc
WELDON GOES TRAVELLING WITH BUXTON RAVEN
COPENHAGEN UK author Fay Weldon is developing two projects with Jens Ravn and Jette Bonnevie of Buxton Raven Productions - one an adaptation of her novel The Leader Of The Band, and the other a film based on her own experiences travelling in Scandinavia, titled Mistranslation (working title). The Leader Of The Band, a love story and road movie covering ground from Belfast to the south of France is being set up as an international co-production with UK and French support. Mistranslation is being scripted by Danish writer Martin Kongstad and writer-director Soren Fauli. The duo plan to have a first draft finished by the end of the summer.
ADVANCED JOINS GRANADA, MGM IN GHOST WORLD
MUNICH German rights trader Advanced Medien has joined Granada Film and MGM in the financing of teen-age comedy Ghost World. "We will be embarking on further co-financing agreements with US studios in the current financial year and we're already in an advanced stage in our talks here,' said Advanced Medien chairman Christophe Montague. Advanced is also looking to add new film licences to its extensive catalogue.
LAGERLOF BIOPIC SET AT GRASTEN
COPENHAGEN Danish maverick producer Regner Grasten has optioned films rights to the memoirs of Swedish writer Selma Lagerlof. Grasten plans to adapt the three volume biography into a TV series as well as a feature film, both of which will be directed by Denmark's Peter Schroder. Swedish major Svensk Filmindustri is backing the project which has a budget of DKr130-150m ($17-19.5m). Grasten's previous work includes the biographical and literary adaptations Just A Girl (Kun En Pige) and Stolen Spring (Det Forsomte Forar) both with Schroder directing.
GORKY ENLISTS RUSSIAN NAVY
MOSCOW Russia's Gorky Film Studios has secured the support of the Russian navy for a new action film titled The Aircraft Carrier. The studio has commissioned a group of scriptwriters to work on the $3m project which has been in development for six months. 'This project is really unique because we will shoot on a real Russian aircraft carrier with its crew and military airplanes. The Russian navy has agreed to support us in this,' said Gorky spokeswoman Tatyana Sergeenko. No director is attached to the project although Sergeenko said several Russian directors are being considered.
FALARDEAU CRANKS UP QUEBEC DRAMA
MONTREAL Production has started on 15 Fevrier 1839, a ACPAV production from writer-director Pierre Falardeau, who scored at the Canadian box office last year with comedy Elvis Gratton II: Miracle A Memphis. The new project's title refers to a time in Quebec's history, following the French rebellion against the English in 1837, when captured French soldiers were to be executed. Starring Luc Picard as one of the condemned men, the film is being produced by Bernadette Payeur with funding from Telefilm Canada, SODEC, the Canadian Television Fund, broadcasters Tele-Quebec and Super Ecran, the Comite du 15 fevrier 1839, the Quebec liquor board and Montage Mataphore. Distributor Lions Gate Entertainment plans to release the film in February 2001.
HELMER PROJECT GETS BOOST FROM CINEMART
ROTTERDAM German director-producer Veit Helmer is in talks with several US buyers and international acquisition executives for his upcoming second feature No Man's Land, one of 42 projects in this year's International Film Festival, Rotterdam Cinemart section. No Man's Land is written by Black Cat, White Cat writer Gordan Mihic and details the story of a love affair between two refugees. The project is causing a flurry of interest following the success of Helmer's debut project Tuvalu, which has scooped several awards including the Kodak Vision Award at this year's Slamdance Film Festival and the audience award at this year's Max-Ophuls Festival in Saarbruken. Due to screen in the Forum section of this month's Berlin Film Festival, the film was shot entirely on location in Sofia, Bulgaria on a budget of $900,000.
SANCHEZ MAKES ENGLISH-LANGUAGE MOVE
MADRID Madrid-based Cuban producer Harold Sanchez Sanchez is preparing his first feature film, an English-language thriller called Death Line, for his start-up outfit Iroko Films. Tentatively budgeted at $7m, the film is based on Cuban author Julio Cesar Perea's best-selling 1991 book, Al Filo De La Muerte. Perea and Spaniard Alfonso Vilas wrote the script, which is currently being translated into English. Sanchez says he is in talks with US, UK and Irish co-producers on the project and will seek a native English-speaking director and international cast. Death Line is about a man attempting to clear his name after spending ten years in prison for the assassination of a senator.