A round-up of the latest news taken from the Screen International Berlinale dailies - the official festival magazine.
For previous stories and a full listing of the films in the main sections of the festival - type: Berlinale into the search bar at the top of the screendaily homepage.
At a ceremony on Sunday (Feb 10), Benjamin Hermann of distributor Senator Film gave a cheque of Euros 77,000 to Eva Hubert of the Hamburg Film Board as repayment of a subsidy on Now Or Never - Time Is Money (Jetzt Oder Nie - Zeit Is Geld). The film has been seen by 1.19 million people.
In another ceremony set to take place today (Feb 12), actor Moritz Bleibtreu will return Euros 450,000 for Das Experiment and Euros 335,000 for Lammbock to the North Rhine Westphalia Film Board. Producer, and Berlinale jury member, Claudie Ossard and Prokino boss Stephan Hutter is to pay back a mighty Euros 565,000 for Franco-German co-production Amelie, while producer-director Michael 'Bully" Herbig will repay Euros 255,000 received by mega-hit Manitu's Shoe (Der Schuh Des Manitu).
A bank fund based on the Bavarian Bank Fund model is one of a series of new financing instruments being prepared in Berlin and Brandenburg to support the film and TV industry.
IBB and ILB, investment banks belonging to the two Länder, are looking to collaborate with the Commerzbank and Bankhaus Lampe on a financing structure to support internationally attractive cinema and TV projects.
In addition, Ingrid Walther, head of the Media, Information and Communication Technology division of Berlin's Senate Department for Economics, Labour and Women's Issues, confirmed that final talks are underway with two as- yet-unnamed production companies for production slate funding packages to boost production in the area.
Spain was the first major territory to be closed on Annette K. Olesen's well-received competition contender Minor Mishaps, when Golem picked it up late Sunday.
French distributor Films Sans Frontieres has picked up all French rights to The Dervish (Dervis), the story of a minor official forced to arrest is best friend directed by Alberto Rondalli. The Italian-Turkish co-production is sold internationally by Raitrade.
Bavaria Film International (BFI) has sold Hella Joof's romantic comedy Shake It All About (En Kort En Lang) to Swiss distributor Filmcoopi.
The sale is the first to be recorded after BFI struck an alliance with Denmark's Angel Films. BFI has so far agreed to handle international sales of three new Danish films, Shake It All About , Jesper W Nielsen's humorous drama Okay and Peter Bay comedy The Funcard Stampsalesman's Son (working title).
"Its not really an output deal, as we agree on one film at a time, but it is a very natural collaboration, which springs from our own experiences with buying films from them," says Sara Stockman, Angel Films' head of distribution. "Our relationship started when we sold the theatrical rights to Scandinavia for Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run and Volker Schloendorff's Die Stille Nach Dem Schuss," said Thorsten Schaumann, BFI head of sales. Shake It All About, which is an ongoing success at the Danish box-office has now passed 500,000 admissions.
Women In Film Deutschland (Wifde), the German chapter of Women In Film International, has been launched at a Berlinale forum session "Linking Borders" to share experiences and examples of good practice with respect to promoting women in the industry.
Sharon Rose, director of Hear No Evil recording studio, and Angie Greaves, radio producer/presenter, spoke about the work of the UK chapter after a keynote speech by Renate Roginas, Eurimages executive secretary.
The number of multiplexes in Europe last year climbed by 12% from 631 to 709 according to research body Media Salles, which yesterday presented its annual report. These included eight megaplexes - which it defines as complexes with more than sixteen screens. The fastest growth rates were in Turkey, Poland and Italy.
Multiplexes (defined as having eight or more screens) now account for over a quarter of all screens in Europe. Media Salles said that the total number of screens in operation in the 25 countries of East and West Europe that it surveys, rose by 13%.
In a novel move, Media Salles this year presented its yearbook as a credit card sized CD-ROM. Previous editions were delivered as huge and unwieldy tomes.
Fortissimo Film Sales has picked up world rights on Monrak Transistor a genre-defying odyssey, by hot Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang. Among the top auteurs of Thailand's new wave Ratanaruang previously delivered two features; Fun Bar Karaoke and the festival favourite 6ixtynin9. Monrak Transistor, which is strongly tipped to appear in Cannes, stars Suppakorn Kitsuwan, who headed the cast of a previous Fortissimo title The Tears Of The Black Tiger. Produced by Duangkamol Limcharoen at Cinemasia, the film has already been pre-sold to Clockworkx of Japan.
The German theatrical sector is set to remain on a growth curve, at least in the near and medium term. That is the conclusion of Pierre Deraed and Hartmut Pfeifer in a report published by Mercer Management Consulting and HypoVereinsbank. They forecast that the market will grow at an annual 6% hitting a value of Euros 1.5bn in 2006. Audiences at multiplexes are expected to grow by 30%.
In a rare interview ,Toshio Suzuki, the president of Studio Ghibli speaks to Screen International.
As president of Studio Ghibli how did you dare to greenlight Hayao Miyazaki's Y3bn Spirited Away, when he didn't have a script'
"He initially had other ideas about a 20 year-old girl falling in love with an old man. However, he doesn't know the minds of the young women of today, so we decided to cut the age in half and go for a 10 year-old main character. He always makes things up as he goes along.
What was the thing that made Spirited Away such a success in Japan'
"The film is so simple, really. That is the force of animation. You can speak about the world and its problems in a very simple way, thus clarifying issues. Miyazaki deals with problems that are very close to his heart: relationship between parents and their kids, and how the young see the world."
How do you follow up a success like this'
We have several projects lined up. Miyazaki's next is a secret, but I can say it will be released in 2004. He did, however, also choose two new projects for two young directors: The Cat Returns will be released this year and Howl's Moving Castle in 2003."
Interview by Jacob Neiiendam