Thursday, April 29, 2010

Directors' Fortnight and Critics' Week 2010

The artistic directors of both Directors' Fortnight (Quinzaine de realisateurs) and Critics' Week (La Semaine de la critique) have stated they did not want to pick from Sundance titles. "We try to show films that don't pass through Sundance first", Critics Week’s Artistic Director Jean-Christophe Berjon said, “although U.S. indie entries are well represented this year." "I wanted to change things up and not take any Sundance films unless they were exceptional," said Frederic Boyer said in an interview. Considering how many Sundance titles went to the Berlinale, and that Cannes is 6 months later, singling out Sundance is somewhat odd. We in US already know that Sundance has a certain sort of American film, and that other films are continually being made that might be just as good but not to the taste of Sundance programmers or simply not timed for the Sundance slot. That the two Cannes sidebars feel a need to distance themselves from Sundance is very complementary to Sundance however. Both sidebars are showcasing new talent as well, which distances them from the main competition of the Festival de Cannes. Now the issue is how Directors Fortnight and Critics Week will distinguish themselves from each another.

Directors’ Fortnight was created by the SRF (French Directors Society) in the wake of the events of May ’68 by Godard,Truffaut, Chabrol and for a time, Louis Malle, but the non-competitive's 42nd edition is ALL NEW. First there is the new artistic director, Frederic Boyer. Next there is a new logo, a new website and 11 new first time directors of the 22 selected. And finally, all but one of the 22 films are brand new too (premieres).

Women ♀ make up four out the 22 films = 11%. No better than the 15% of the main event and Un Certain Regard and no better than Critics’ Week (15%) which follows.

All Good Children (Ireland - Belgium - France) by Alicia Duffy ♀ Coach 14

Lily Sometimes (France) by Fabienne Berthaud ♀ (closing film)SND Groupe M6

Love Like Poison (France) Katell Quillevere ♀ Films Distribution

Joy aka A Alegria by Marina Meliande, Felipe Braganca (Brazil) ♀ FiGa Films

Agnes Varda will receive French directors' organization the SRF's Carosse d'Or prize on May 13 during the sidebar's traditional opening-night ceremonies. ♀

This year's selection for the Fortnight was light on films from Asia. Apart from Kubat's film The Light Thief from Kyrgyzstan, just the Tiger Factory by Woo Ming Jin of Malaysia comes from Asia.

Latin America is well represented with two Mexican, one Argentinean and one Uruguayan horror film. From Mexico comes Michael Rowe's first feature Ano Bisiesto and Jorge Michel Grau We Are What We Are. From Argentina: Diego Lerman The Invisible Eye, an Argentinean-French-Spanish co-production, and from Uruguay: Gustavo Hernandez's horror film The Silent House , filmed in only four days in one continuous shot, and based on a true story. Trailer .

The lineup follows:

Directors' Fortnight

All Good Children (Ireland - Belgium - France) by Alicia Duffy ♀ produced by Element Pictures and Cineart, backed by Backup Films and being sold by title="Coach 14">Coach 14. Winner of third prize in the Cannes Cinéfondation competition in 2001, the director was also selected for the Croisette’s official shorts competition in 2003 with The Most Beautiful Man in the World (also nominated for a Bafta).

Benda Bilili! by Renaud Barret, Florent de la Tullaye (Congo, France) (opening film)
Funny Balloons

Des fil en noir;by Jean-Paul Civeyrac (France) Les Films du Losange

Everything Will Be Fine by Christoffer Boe (Denmark-Sweden-France) The Match Factory

The Light Thief (Kyrgyzstan) by Aktan Arym Kubat. The Match Factory. About an electrician, the last link with the Kyrgyg energy system and the Mafia. When the electricity rates were hiked Kyrgyzstan had its second revolution since independence from USSR and the country is currently in a state of suspense.

Shit Year by Cam Archer (USA) The Match Factory

Illega by Olivier Masset-Depasse (Belgium-Luxembourg-France) Films Distribution

title="Cleveland Vs. Wall Street"> by Jean-Stephane Bron (France-Switzerland) Films Distribution

Love Like Poison aka Un Poison violent by Katell Quillevere (France) ♀ Films Distribution

The Invisible Eye by Diego Lerman (Argentina-France-Spain) Pyramide International

title="Ano Bisiesto aka Leap Year">Ano Bisiesto aka Leap Year, Michael Rowe (Mexico) Pyramide International

Joy aka A Alegria by Marina Meliande, Felipe Braganca (Brazil) ♀ FiGa Films

Le quattro volte by Michelangelo Frammartino (Italy-Germany-Switzerland) Coproduction OfficeTarget="_blank"

Lily Sometimes aka Pieds nus sur les limaces by Fabienne Berthaud (France) (closing film) ♀ SND Groupe M6

Little Baby Jesus of Flanders by Gust Vandenberghe (Belgium) Flanders Image

Picco by Philip Koch (Germany) Rezo

The Silent House aka La Casa Muda by Gustavo Hernandez (Uruguay) Elle Driver

Tiger Factory by Woo Ming-jin (Malaysia)

Todos vos sode capitans by Oliver Laxe (Morocco-Spain) See trailer . Zeitun Films

Two Gates of Sleep by Alistair Banks Griffin (U.S.) Recreation

The Wanderer by Avishai Sivan (Israel)

We Are What We Are by Jorge Michel Grau (Mexico) Wild Bunch

Special Screenings:

Boxing Gym by Frederick Wiseman (U.S.) Doc & Film

Stones in Exile by Stephen Kijak (U.K.) BBC Worldwide

Short-film Program:

Licht, Andre Schreuders (Netherlands)

Quest, Ionut Piturescu (Romania)

Mary Last Seen, Sean Durkin (U.S.)

Petit tailleuer, Louis Garrel (France)

Shadows of Silence, Pradeepan Raveendra (France) ♀?

Shikasha, Hirabayashi Isamu (Japan)

A Silent Child, Jesper Klevenas (Sweden)

Tre ore, Annarita Zambrano (Italy) ♀

Zed Crew, Noah Pink (Zambia)

La Semaine de la Critique started in the spring of 1961, during the fourteenth Cannes International Film Festival. Upon the initiative of the Association Française de la Critique de Cinéma 2 (French Association of Film Critics), the Festival screened The Connection by Shirley Clarke (USA), part of a less popular wave of films, usually overlooked by producers as well as by film festivals. To have its screening at the Cannes Film Festival which at that time was ruled by producers and not very open to emerging tendencies, was a true phenomenon. The 48th annual International Critics Weeks’ artistic director Jean-Christophe Berjon has announced 7 competition films, all up for the Camera d’Or and 6 of which are world premiers. Feel-good films predominate as do young filmmakers.

Women in Critics Week ♀ only 1.5 (15%): French Competition Belle Epine, a first film but not a feel-good one by Rebecca Zlotowski and Sound of Noise, a first feature directed by Ola Simonsson ♀ & Johannes Stjarne Nilsson from Sweden and France.

Asian titles came out in force in this year's Critics Week competition, including Boo Junfeng Sandcastle from Singapore, Vietnamese director Phan Dang Di's Bi, Don't be Afraid and South Korean Jang Cheol So's Bedevilled. In its form, it's profoundly Korean, but it hits upon universal values, Berjon said of the latter.

Scandinavia adds a Nordic touch to the lineup, with Swedish directing duo Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjarne Nilsson Sound of Noise, a co-production with France about a police officer allergic to music who must confront a band of sonic terrorists.

Critics Week lineup follows:


Armadillo -- first feature Janus Metz, Denmark (TrustNordisk

Bedevilled -- first feature Jang Cheol So, South Korea (Finecut)

Belle Epine -- first feature ♀ Rebecca Zlotowski, France (Pyramide)

Bi, Dung so! aka Bi, Don't Be Afraid-- first feature Phan Dang Di, Vietnam/France/Germany (Vietnam Media Corp)

The Myth of the American Sleepover -- first feature David Robert Mitchell, U.S. straight from SXSW

Sandcastle -- first feature Boo Junfeng, Singapore (Fortissimo)

Sound of Noise -- first feature Ola Simonsson ♀ & Johannes Stjarne Nilsson, Sweden/France (Wild Bunch)

Special screenings:

Opening film Le Nom de gens aka The Names of Love -- second feature by Michel Leclerc, France (TF1

Rubber -- second feature by Quentin Dupieux, France (Elle Driver♀)

Copacabana -- second feature by Marc Fitoussi, France (Kinology)

Rights Round Up Cannes 2010

The buyers have already begun shopping and the market has yet to begin!

The Rights Roundup enables distributors and international sales agents to keep track of current market activities during and for a certain time after the event. The links to the international sales agents' (ISAs) and distributors' own websites enable readers to go deeper into the companies, thus pulling back the curtain on the international film business. Titles are linked to IMDbPro because to date it is the only place a paying public can see at a glance which companies (look under Company Credits) are involved in the international sales and distribution - as well as in the production - of the title. From those Company Credits, one can also see the rest of the company's lineup of films - whether in actual distribution, on offer, in development, or in the library/ catalog - all invaluable information for the business of film. For the real market going film professional however, only Cinando offers the best of market information, from locations to screenings and all the most current and accurate company contact information. And of course, for the known and approved buyers (distributors), the ISA gives further access to the film, its corollary materials, etc.

Getting the jump on the Marche du Film, to date, these international sales agents have licensed rights to the following films to the following distributors. As this is a work in progress, the correct links to contacts will be inserted as we progress:

- Companies link to their own websites.
- Film titles link mostly to IMDbPro. If you don't have a subscription, it might be worth getting one.
- You can also find the titles on the Cannes Market website Cinando.

Readers can let me know which links they prefer. I prefer IMDb as the title link because if you go into the titles' "Company Credits", you can often see and link immediately to the Distributors and you can see if the rights for your territory have been sold (if you are a Distributor) and what other films the designated Distributors have, something which might dovetail in nicely with your own tastes. If you are an International Sales Agent (which IMDb sometimes calls Sales Representative and which I call an ISA), you can see a competitor's title and what Distributors have acquired it. I am sure Cinando will move into this area once the International Sales Agents realize the value such rights information adds even while upping the competitive ante. Given a level playing field, the smart players will prevail. I am in favor of revealing who the buyers / Distributors are...their own websites and publicity needs are in accord with this transparency even if International Sales Agents do not like revealing who their clients are for fear their competitors will steal them away.

Aspect Film has licensed award winning Self Medicated to Lionsgate for UK, 21st Century Pictures for Australia. The North American DVD release is April 20th, following its theatrical release there by the now defunct ThinkFilm who also had the international rights, prior to Aspect’s acquiring it for international sales. Blood Night and Badland went to High Fliers for UK. Blood Night and Food Matters went to Tiberius for Germany in pre-Cannes deals.

On the hush hush, Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies, The 6th Day, the Children of Huang Shi) has signed on to direct Aspect’s biographical feature The Precious One. Mark Ordesky (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Golden Compass) will produce. We’re not making an official announcement yet, but will let you know as soon as possible.

Celluloid Dreams ♀ licensed Margarethe von Trotta’s ♀ Vision to Zeitgeist for US. Brendan and the Secret of the Kells went to GKIDS for US in pre-Cannes deals.

Cinephil♀ licensed Film Unfinished♀ to Oscilloscope for US in a pre-Cannes deal.

Crimson Wolf Productions licensed No. American rights to Eyeborgs to Image in a pre-Cannes deal.

D Street Media Group licensed Rivers Wash Over Me to Strand for US in a pre-Cannes deal.

DeaPlaneta presold Julia’s Eyes aka Los Ojos de Julia to Optimum for UK in a pre-Cannes deal.

Europacorp licensed Luc Besson’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Secto Optimum for UK and to TriPictures for Spain in a pre-Cannes deal.

FilmNation licensed Terrence Malick’s latest untitled project, a romantic drama starring Christian Bale, Javier Bardem and Olga Kurylenko to Ascot Elite for Switzerland and to Optimum for UK in pre-Cannes deals.

Films Distribution licensed L’Amour fou to Optimum for UK in a pre-Cannes deal.

Focus Features licensed True Legend to Optimum for UK in a pre-Cannes deal.

Fortissimo licensed The Promised Land, a Second World War drama set in Palestine with Colin Firth and Jim Sturges, to Ascot Elite for Switzerland in a pre-Cannes deal.

Hanway has presold David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method to Universal Pictures International (UPI) for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and South Africa. Picture will start in May. Mars picked it up for France, E1 for Canada, Transmission for Australia and Cineartfor Benelux. It is based on the true-life turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung, his mentor Sigmund Freud and his patient Sabina and is adapted by screenwriter Christopher Hampton from his play The Talking Cure. Focus has North American rights. UK is still available. Made in Dagenham went to Ascot Elite for Switzerland and Sony Pictures Classics for North America in pre-Cannes deals.

Imagina licensed Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger to Sony Pictures Classics for North America in a pre-Cannes deal.

InTandem licensed Beneath Hill 60 to Momentum for UK in a pre-Cannes deal.

Kinology licensed Hearbreaker (L’Amacouer) to IFC for U.S. after its North American premiere at the City of Lights, City of Angels Film Festival (ColCoa) in Los Angeles in a pre-Cannes deal. It will also play Tribeca FF. IFC Films will release Heartbreaker via its IFC in Theaters on demand platform the same day it opens theatrically.

Lakeshore licensed Lincoln Lawyer to Lionsgate for US in a pre-Cannes deal.

Lightning licensed Needle to Telepool for German-speaking Europe in a pre-emptive pre-Cannes deal. Playarte acquired the film for Brazil and Eagle Films for Middle East in pre-Cannes deals. Lighting Entertainment is handling worldwide sales excluding Australia and New Zealand, where the filmmakers are in talks with distributors.

Lionsgate licensed The Dark Fields in a pre-Cannes deal.

Mandate sold Knockout to Ascot Elite for Switzerland and Lionsgate for US. Mandate presold LOL to Tripictures for Spain. CAA is repping US rights to this English language remake of the French film, both directed by Liza Azuelos. The original French version was a huge hit in France last year taking $30m through Pathe. The Dark Fields went to Ascot Elite for Switzerland. It has already gone to Pinema for Turkey, IPA Asia Pacific for Thailand. Rogue and Universal have North America.

Moonstone has licensed 2:22 to Inception Media Group for US in a pre-Cannes deal.

Pathe licensed Sony Pictures Classics all North American rights to Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist. Based on an unproduced screenplay by Jacques Tati, the film won raves when it premiered earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival as a Berlinale Special Selection. Sony Pictures Classics previously worked with Chomet on his Academy Award-nominated film The Triplets of Bellevile.

QED licensed Walled In to Optimum for UK in a pre-Cannes deal.

Sahamongkolfilm licensed Ong Bak 3 to Optimum for UK in a pre-Cannes deal.

Salt ♀ licensed Killing Bono to Paramount for UK and Ireland in a pre-Cannes deal.

Sony Pictures International will be selling Sony Pictures Classics’s Inside Job which will be screening in the Cannes Film Festival Out of Competition Special Screening slot. SPC became involved in the film more than a year and a half ago and has acquired all English language rights including North America.

Summit has licensed Fair Game, Letters to Juliet, Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life, and Twilight: Eclipse to Ascot Elite Entertainment for Switzerland ahead of this year’s festival. Summit also acquired North American rights for its own distribution company as well as rights for Italy, Benelux, Scandinavia, Japan and CIS. River Road is the production company and rights holder. The Tree of Life also went to Optimum for UK. It was produced by Bill Pohlad through his River Road Entertainment although his US distribution company Apparition did not take North American rights. River Road Entertainment, Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi financed the project.

The Weinstein Company licensed Wes Craven’s Scream 4 and Piranha 3D to Ascot Elite for Switzerland in a pre-Cannes deal.

TrustNordisk licensed A Somewhat Gentle Man to Strand for US in a pre-Cannes deal.

UTV Motion Pictures has closed multiple movie output deals for some of its recent titles such as historical epic Jodhaa Akbar, Fashion and Race with leading Middle Eastern TV networks MBC, Infinity TV, Kuwait TV and Abu Dhabi TV. Jodhaa Akbar is the first Hindi film to be dubbed in Arabic to air on free-to-air, pan-Arabic network MBC, which estimates its audience at 130 million viewers. The network will also telecast other titles such as Chance Pe Dance, What’s Your Raashee, Wake Up Sid and Main Aurr Mrs Khanna over the next few months. Infinity TV, Abu Dhabi TV and Kuwait TV will air Fashion, Oye Lucky, Jodhaa Akbar, Race and Kismat Konnection and others in pre-Cannes deals.

Westend licensed Tamara Drewe to Sony Pictures Classics for US in a pre-Cannes deal.

Wild Bunch presold Dog Pound and The Revelation of The Pyramids to Optimum for UK in a pre-Cannes deal.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

German download revenue trebles - Per Variety

German download revenue trebles - Entertainment News, International Top Story, Media - Variety:
Posted: Tue., Apr. 27, 2010, 7:25am Variety:

German consumers paid for 4.8 million transactions

BERLIN -- Revenue stemming from film downloads in Germany rose
threefold to E21 million ($28 million) last year.

According to market research group GfK, consumers paid for a total of 4.8 million transactions in
2009, with new titles making up 60% of all sales.

At the top of the list was video-on-demand, which saw revenues double to $17.4 million, accounting for the
lion's share of the business.

Electronic sell-through (EST), which in Germany is largely generated by Apple's iTunes, accounted for $10.6 million.

Like DVD sell-through, the digital delivery business is strongest in the fourth quarter. Some 45% of revenue was generated in the last three months of
2009. And for the first time in the fourth quarter, EST accounted for more than 50% of digital delivery, followed by VoD with 38% and pay-per-view with 11%.

Germany's overall home entertainment market took in $1.8 billion in sale and $340 million in rental revenue; digital download business accounted for just 0.5% of the former and 5% of the latter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Backup Films Financed 7 Films in the Cannes Film Festival!

7 films in the three sections of Cannes were financed by Backup Films.  Entirely dedicated to film financing, Backup Films has, in 2009 alone worked with over 60 ambitious international projects in their search of financing, whether in their development, production, or distribution phase. Backup Films is currently managing film investments funds of over €33.6M, and has brokered, last year, €4.5M in coproduction, distribution and equity deals. Over the past 8 years, the films financed through the Backup Films Agency or Backup Films’ funds have gathered 40 A-class festival selections and have won 15 major prizes.

Official Selection

Tournée (Le Pacte) de Mathieu Amalric is in Compétition. Tournée is produced by Les Films du Poisson in association with SOFICA COFICUP – with funds from Backup Films.

L’autre monde, aka Black Heaven (Memento) the second feature of Gilles Marchand, and his second time in Special Screenings. It is produced by Haut et Court in association avec SOFICA COFICUP – with funds from Backup Films.

Un Certain Regard
Adrienne Pal (KMH Film) by Agnes Kocsis is produced by MH Film in association with the Agency Backup Films.

Critics' Week

Rubber (Elle Driver) by Quentin Duppieux is in a special screening and is a road movie following a psycho- and telepathic murderer across the Californian desert.  It is  is produced by Realitism Films in association with the Agency Backup Films.

Directors' Fortnight

Everything will be Fine (The Match Factory) by Christoffer Boe representsDenmark in the Quinzaine. An intense psychological thriller with a political conspiracy mixed in.  Boe won the Camera d'Or in Cannes in 2003 with Reconstruction, one of the best films of the entire year.  Produced by Alphaville Pictures et Lovestreams Agnès B. in association with SOFICA COFICUP – with financing from Backup Films.

The Light Thief (The Match Factory) by Atan Arym Kubat explores an electrician with the last access to the energy infrastructure of Kyrgyzstan during its revolution for independence from Russia and ties to the Russian Mafia. Produced by ASAP Films in association with Agency Backup Films.

All Good Children, (no ISA) debut feature of Alicia Duffy is in compétition for the Caméra d’Or. her shorts won the Prize Cinéfondation in 2001 and Palme d’Or for shorts in 2003).  Produced by Element Pictures in association with the Agency Backup Films.

Countdown to Cannes 19 Days: Films Distribution's Love Like Poison, Illegal

Love Like Poison is the debut feature of young French female director Katell Quillevere (one of five featured among the 22 features in Directors Fortnight) with her first feature, also called Poison Violent. French singer Lio co-stars with young Gallic talent in the story about a 14-year-old girl getting ready for her confirmation ceremony.

Illegal, Olivier Masset-Depasse's Belgian-French-Luxembourgian co-production will be showing in Directors' Fortnight.

It is being sold by Films Distribution.  In 1997 Nicolas Brigaud-Robert and François Yon began the company and visited every player in Los Angeles as they explored the terrain.  I was honored that they visited me at FilmFinders in West Hollywood and felt Francois and I would become the best of friends.  Since then, the company has made a name for itself in the marketplace as a highly-specialized outfit.  They seem to have grown quickly into quite a large outfit launching 15 to 20 new titles a year which are often the most prestigious festival selections. Some known quality films are La Pivallina, Merry Christmas, Live&Become, Crazy, Lady Chatterley, Lemon Tree, Coco Chanel, Cell 211.  They are dedicated to singular, award winning and innovative feature films from all over the world, proud to discover and introduce exciting new filmmakers around the world.  Films Distribution now handles a library of approximately 800 features, 300 of which are available worldwide.  In addition to its Paris office, in 2008 Films Distribution set up Films Boutique, a Berlin based subsidiary, somewhat similarly to Celluloid Dreams' Directors Cut, handling the artier of their festival films.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

British Women Weigh In

Women in Film and Television (WFTV) presented the 'Is It a Young Girl's Game?' event at BAFTA last month, which left many in the audience feeling frustrated that their experiences of ageism and gender inequality in the industry were not being understood or taken seriously enough. So how do you make your voice heard? Join WFTV for an open discussion entitled 'Enough of the Games' on 21 April at The Simpson Room. To RSVP please email stating your name, job title and company (where applicable).

Countdown to Cannes 21 Days: UTV's Udaan

The first film from India to be an official selection of the festival in 16 years, Udaan, the first feature directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, is a coming of age film depicting a teenage boy's return home after being abandoned in a boarding school for eight years. Motwane, interviewed by for the Wall Street Journal is quoted saying:
Honestly, I feel very pressurized right now. I’m honoured by it but my priority right now is to finish the film. It’s in the post-production stages and I have a long way to go to make it a perfect product. It’s a big step for me and Anurag (Kashyap). Actually for all Indians since it pushes the doors of world cinema open a little more for us.
Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO, UTV Motion Pictures has been coming out of the traditional mode of Bollywood and breaking into the true international movie scene over the past few years. Motion Pictures is one of UTV's many divisions, and is among the largest studios of the Indian Film Industry and the first in India to adopt a 'studio model' with film production activities vertically integrated with distribution and international sales.

At MIP, UTV Motion Pictures announced multiple movie output deals for some of its recent titles such as historical epic Jodhaa Akbar, Fashion and Race with leading Middle Eastern TV networks MBC, Infinity TV, Kuwait TV and Abu Dhabi TV.

Jodhaa Akbar is the first Hindi film to be dubbed in Arabic to air on free-to-air, pan-Arabic network MBC, which estimates its audience at 130 million viewers. The network will also telecast other titles such as Chance Pe Dance, What’s Your Raashee, Wake Up Sid and “ain Aurr Mrs Khanna” over the next few months.

In keeping with a trend recently spotted by Screen International, TV films and miniseries seem to be becoming the new arthouse film.  Udeen will surely go the TV route, it comes from UTV after all.  In doing this it is part of the worldwide trend so noted in Screen's editorial "Small is Beautiful" citing Todd Hayes's five hour mini series Mildred Pierce backed by HBO, Canal Plus' 320 minute Carlos the Jackal which will also premier as a feature in the Cannes Film Festival to be released by IFC both as a miniseries and as a 2 hour feature after its limited release of the 6 hour Red Riding trilogy.  "The lines are blurring between TV and Film".  And into the mix is coming Transmedia also being noted more and more by the press.  More on that anon...

International Women's Film Festival 12 Year in Seoul April 18

The International Women's Film Festival in Seoul kicks off its 12th edition April 8 with German drama The Day Will Come, directed by Susanne Schneider. Running for eight days at the Artreon Theater in Sinchon, west-central Seoul, the fest will screen 102 films from 27 countries under the banner “See the World Through Women’s Eyes.”

Main section New Currents presents 26 features representing the latest trends in women’s films. Included are three by Korean female directors, KWON Woo-jung’s documentary Earth’s Women, PARK Chan-ok’s award-winning second feature Paju, and KIM Jeong’s experimental drama Viewfinder.

Special highlight sections include Post-‘98 Indonesian Women’s Cinema, the newly-added Polemics section which this year focuses on ‘Maternity in Question’, a competitive Asian Short Film and Video section, and 13 new films in its annual Queer Rainbow section.

The festival will close April 15 with a screening of the winning short film. All films will be subtitled in English unless otherwise noted. The festival's website can be found at:

Women in Film Korea, an association of female film professionals named Paju director PARK Chan-ok their choice for Female Cineaste of the Year. PARK’s sophomore feature drew wide critical acclaim when it premiered at the Pusan International Film Festival this October, winning the NETPAC prize.

Paju went on to be selected as the opening film of the upcoming International Film Festival Rotterdam, taking place Jan 27, 2010. PARK’s second feature was a labor of love that came seven years after her highly praised debut, Jealousy is My Middle Name (2002).

The award ceremony took place Dec 15 in conjunction with the two-day 2009 Women in Film Korea festival, which highlights Korean films in which women listed in the closing credits had a strong creative presence. The event was held at the Cine Cube specialty multiplex in central Seoul.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Festival de Cannes Closing Night, Lineup and Poster - Final FINAL Announcement Made

The Festival de Cannes lives up to its name in its selection of its first 16 Competition Films from 13 countries. But an international cry went up when at the first announcement not a single picture was directed by a woman in the Competition area. (Last year there were directors Jane Campion, Isabel Coixet and Andrea Arnold.)  However, the Closing Night film was just announced and it is Julie Bertucelli’s The Tree, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marton Csokas and Aden Young.  It will close the 63rd Festival de Cannes on Sunday, May 23rd following the Awards Ceremony. Memento is the international sales agent.  Contacts for all films are listed below.

The other women invited can be found in the special screening sidebar where Sophie Fiennes' Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow about the German artist Anselm Kiefer, one of five docs chosen to be in the festival, Sabina Guzzanti's Draquila -- L'Italia che trema about the aftermath of the tremendous earthquake in Aquila, Lucy Walker's Countdown to Zero and Luciana Bezerra's  Por Nos Mesmos, one of the 5 shorts in Brazil's 5XFavela. Un Certain Regard gives Agnes Kocsis' Adrienn Pal a slot. Tha's 5.25 out of 34 slots or 15%

AND they put Juliette Binoche on the poster. Cannes Festival Poster 63rd Edition May 12 - 23, 2010. The photo shows French actress Juliette Binoche writing "Cannes" with a luminous brush taken by New York-based French photographer Brigitte Lacombe.

There is also a lack of a strong Asian presence compared to last year with films from the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Thailand and China. This year, Japan's Kitano will premiere his thriller Outrage, Hideo Nakata’s Chatroom comes to A Certain Regard from Japan. South Korean Lee’s Poetry is in Competition along with South Korean director Im Sang-Soo’s Competition title, the remake Housemaid. Un Certain Regard is featuring Ha Ha Ha, directed by Hong Sangsoo.

Nor is it a strong year for Latin American cinema though Mexican director Gonzalez Inarritu is bringing Biutiful and Patricio Guzman is bringing Nostalgia de la luz from Chile into a Special Screening. Los Labios by Ivan Fund and Santiago Loza are also in Un Certain Regard as is Octubre by Daniel Vega

Doubling back on the earlier Tipped for Cannes Report, the score of Tips (TC) thus far from IW (IndieWire)= , SI (Screen Int’l)= and ion = . I got one myself (SL).


Tournee by Mathieu Almaric (France).  International Sales Agent (ISA): Le Pacte.  An ex producer of big stage spectacles makes a comeback with strippers who tour around France. (See photo left)

Tender Son: The Frankenstein Project by Kornél Mundruczó (Hungary) Coproduction Office

Of Gods & Men by Xavier Beauvois (Algeria, France) Wild Bunch (SI-TC)

The Exodus — The Fortress: Burnt By The Sun 2 aka Utomlyonnye Solntsem 2 by Nikita Mikhalkov (Russia) Wild Bunch (SI-TC)

Biutiful by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (Spain) Focus Features (IW-TC)

Another Year directed by Mike Leigh (UK) Focus Features (IW-TC)

Hors La Loi aka Outside the Law by Rachid Bouchareb (France) Studio Canal (SI-TC)

The Princess Of Montpensier by Bertrand Tavernier (France) Studio Canal (SI-TC)

Un Homme Qui Crie aka A Screaming Man by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Belgium/ France) Pyramide Int'l

The Housemaid by Im Sang-soo (So. Korea) Mirovision (SI-TC).  This film's origins are the Rotterdam Cinemart 2008.

Certified Copy by Abbas Kiarostami (France) MK2 (SI -TC)

Outrage by Takeshi Kitano (Japan) Celluloid Dreams

La Nostra Vita aka Our Life by Daniele Luchetti (Italy) Celluloid Dreams

Poetry by Lee Chang-dong (Korea) Finecut (SI -TC)

Fair Game by Doug Liman (USA) Summit (IW-TC)

You, My Joy by Sergei Loznitsa (Germany/ Ukraine) Lemming Film & Ma Je De producers

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives aka Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand/ /UK/France/Germany/Spain) The Match Factory

Chongqing Blues aka Rizhao Chongqing by Wang Xiaoshuai (China) Films Distribution (SL-TC) A sea captain, returns from a 6 month journey when he is told that his 25-year-old son has been gunned down by the police. In his quest to understand what happened, he realizes he knew very little about his own son. He starts a journey back to Chongqin, a city he once lived. He will understand the impact of his paternal repeated absence on the life of his child.


The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu by Andrei Ujică (Romania) produced by Velvet Moraru

Carlos the Jackal by Olivier Assayas (France) StudioCanal (IW-TC)

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger by Woody Allen (Spain, USA) Imagina (IW-TC)

Tamara Drewe by Stephen Frears (UK) Westend (IW-TC)

Wall Street 2 by Oliver Stone (USA) 20th Century Fox (IW-TC)

The Tree by Julie Bertucelli (France) Memento (SI-TC)


Kaboom by Gregg Araki (USA) Wild Bunch (IW-TC)

L'Autre Monde aka Black Heaven by Gilles Marchand (France) Haut et Court (SI-TC)


Carlos the Jackal by Olivier Assayas (France) to be released by Sundance Channel and by IFC theatrically in US.  Studio Canal (IW-TC)

Countdown to Zero by Lucy Walker (USA) The Works International.  Magnolia and History Channel have US rights.

5XFavela compiled by Carlos Diegues and made up of five short films by Brazilian film directors Manaira Carneiro, Wagner Novais, Rodrigo Felha, Cacau Amaral, Luciano Vidigal, Cadu Barcelos, Luciana Bezerra Brazilan Cinema Promotion

Inside Job by Charles Ferguson to be released in the US and other territories by coproducer Sony Pictures Classics

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow by Sophie Fiennes, produced by Kassander Film

Nostalgia de la luz by Patricio Guzman (Chile), a Sundance project. Pyramide Int'l (SI-TC)

Draquila - L’Italia Che Trema by Sabina Guzzanti.

Chantrapas by Otar Iosseliani (France) Les Films du Losange (SI-TC)

Abel by Diego Luna (Mexico) produced by Canana Films


I Wish I Knew by Jia Zhang Ke

Carancho by Pablo Trapero (Argentina, So. Korea) Finecut. This is the second Argentinean South Korean coproduction in Cannes after Lions Den two years ago by Trapero.  Ad Vitam has France and Disney has Argentina rights.

Blue Valentine by Derek Cianfrance (US) Hyde Park.  Picked up for US by The Weinstein Co. in Sundance

O Estranho Caso de Angelica aka Anjelica (Portugal) by Manouel de Oliveira distributed in Portugal by Lusomundo

Les Amours Imaginaires aka Heartbeats by Xavier Dolan (Canada) Alliance Atlantis Vivafilms (IW-TC)

Los Labios by Ivan Fund and Santiago Loza (Argentina) premierd BAFICI 2010

Simon Werner a Disparu… by Fabrice Gobert

Film Socialism by Jean Luc Godard (France) Wild Bunch (IW-TC)

Unter Dir Die Stadt akaThe City Below by Christoph Hochhausler. Heimatfilm

Rebecca H. aka Return to the Dogs by Lodge Kerrigan (USA) Wild Bunch (ion-TC)

Pal Adreinn aka Adrienn Pal by Agnes Kocsis (Poland) Hungary's MMKA Fund 2008 grant. KMH Film

Udaan by Vikramaditya Motwane (India) UTV. The first Indian film in 16 years to be competing for an award in Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival.

Tuesday, After Christmas aka Marti Dupa Craciun by Radu Muntean (Romania) Multimedia Est (ion-TC)

Chatroom by Hideo Nakata (Japan) Westend Films

Aurora directed by Cristi Puiu (Romania) The Coproduction Office (IW-TC)

Ha Ha Ha, directed by Hong Sangsoo (So. Korea)

Life Above All by Oliver Schmitz (Germany, South Africal) A mother-daughter relationship that reflects the modern South Africa. The story of the 12-year-old Chanda, who is confronted with a dark secret in a little village near to Johannesburg. Produced by Dreamer Joint Venture Filmproduktion/Berlin in co-production with Senator Film Produktion/Berlin, Niama Film/Stuttgart and Wizard/Cologne.

Octubre by Daniel Vega (Peru) Produced by Lucas Creative and featured in Mannheim Heidelberg Meetings 2010 and Guadaljara

R U There by David Verbeek (Netherlands) IDTV

Countdown to Cannes 24 Days: Hyde Park's Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine which premiered in Sundance is showing in Un Certain Regard.

Its US distribution deal made in Sundance with The Weinstein Co. stirred up lots of interest. But of greater interest is the international sales agent who has already sold in in Italy to CDI, the Middle East to Front Row and Australia to Palace.

Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment is one of the top tier international sales agents in the international independent movie industry.  Among the US based sales agents, it stands with Summit on its own peak. 

Its commitment to the global film industry, to develop, finance and produce cross-cultural commercial films, continues to grow in Asia and the Middle East with the appointment of Jason Mirch to head its Abu Dhabi office Imagenation and Yeo Chang in Singapore to manage operations of Hyde Park Imagenation Singapore, along with finding and developing projects in Asia. Hyde Park Imagenation aims to create up to 20 features that will “open a window on Middle Eastern and Asian culture, enabling audiences around the world to look in and appreciate the region’s rich and increasingly dynamic heritage” states Imagenation Abu Dhabi COO Stefan Brunner. Mirch and Chang will work alongside Hyde Park International president Mimi Steinbauer, Hyde Park executive vice-president Patrick Aiello, and Imagenation Abu Dhabi COO Stefan Brunner.

The Cannes Independent Film Festival

Do you know that the Cannes Independent Film Festival is in its 3rd year?  I had never heard of it until two filmmakers I know mentioned their film is showing there.  I have not checked it out in person and do not know where it is in Cannes nor where it screens its films there.  But I did notice that it is part of a European Initiative to create (do we need this?) more film festivals, and is part of the 6th European Film Festival, an event which occurs in over a dozen cities across Europe every October and November. The newest cities added include:Essex, UK * Warsaw, PL * Graz, AT * Athens, GR * Budapest, HU * Bristol, UK * Turku, FI * Moscow, RU * Dresden, DE * Stockholm, SE * Einhoven, NL * Malaga, ES * Aalborg, DK.

If festivals were proven ways to monetize the filmmaker's finished product, if they were truly integrated into the marketing plan of the filmmaker and not just a gratuitious way to expose films to a public which pays for the "festival experience" rather than for the film, perhaps new festivals would serve an industry purpose.  Maybe just having a "bonafide" excuse to be in Cannes (where one's film is showing in "The Festival") is enough for this one.  But in my opinion, European Union money - and a filmmaker's money - would be better spent promoting the commercial distribution of the film.  Filmmakers seem to think that a long list of festival showings increases the value of their film.  But among industryites, it actually cheapens the film when all the festivals are unknown and all one needs to do is pay to apply, pay to get in, pay to send the film and marketing materials, pay to go there.

OK, here is one of the films I know of that will be there:  Emma Blue by  Robert Maclean, with Costas Mandylor of the SAW series as the Devil in Love. It will also be at the Marché, though the filmmaker does not name its international film agent, something which in the end is much more important for the film's international success and the future of the filmmaker in launching the next film, because, to quote veteran producer Mike Medavoy,.in this business "You're only as good as your next film".

For those of you with any vestige of energy left during the main Cannes event, here are further particulars on this new rump festival.  Who knows, maybe it will become the Slamdance of Sundance, though to date, I don't think it is much of a thorn in the side of the festival as Slamdance once was, nor do I foresee it becomine an equivalent of the Critics Week or Directors Fortnight.  We don't need another showcase of films, expecially in Cannes with its viable market of some 3,500 films and projects beyond the festival itself.

This is their disclaimer:
The Cannes Independent Film Festival, May 12-23, 2010, is an organisation totally independent and different from the Festival International du Film (aka the Cannes Film Festival) and the Marché du film and is not associated with or linked to those organisations.
Levelling the playing field

The mission of the Cannes Independent Film Festival is to provide truly independent films an opportunity to be screened during the world's most prestigious film gathering and the biggest International Film Market -- the Festival de Cannes. Being selected as a part of CIFF entitles you to:
  • Screen your film at great venues in Cannes
  • Sell your film to the world's biggest gathering of film buyers
  • Attend CIFF marketing and sales courses for festival participants
  • Network with and promote new projects to the entire film industry
  • Attend and host launch and promotion parties at the CIFF villa just off the Croisette
  • Work together with CIFF filmmakers to promote each others films and projects

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Producers Handbook

John Lee's book The Producer's Handbook is used by most film schools as a text covering the business, finance and distribution responsibilities of motion picture producers, ‘The Producer’s Business Handbook’ provides a comprehensive orientation to those desiring to become producers, as well as those focused specifically in finance, distribution, banking, completion bonds, legal, company operations and other aspects unique to the business of motion pictures. In addition to thorough orientation, this book also provides a CD with spreadsheets, organization charts and other elements enabling readers to put what they learn to use. Also included in the book are helpful statistics and charts indicating global positioning and trends.

One reader had this to say:
If you’re planning to produce a movie or thinking about investing in a movie and
want a realistic, in-depth look at the business of show business, you need to
read The Producer’s Business Handbook -and then you’ll want to read it

The Producer’s Business Handbook stands alone in describing the entire
inner workings of the financial engines that keep the “business” part of the
movie business humming. Only within the covers of this book will you find such a
wealth of knowledge that removes the mysteries of financing, marketing, and
distribution. The author provides another way of understanding the movie
business that will change your thinking forever.
The 3rd Edition is coming out in Fall 2010 with Anne Marie Gillen, CEO of Gillen Group LLC co-authoring and is co-branded by Variety.  It will contain many important updates regarding the current state of film financing, international repeals, self distribution and hybrid models, VOD, and viral marketing, etc.
About the Authors: John is Dean of Whistling Woods International, the largest film school in Asia. His twenty-seven year career was in the global financing and distribution of motion pictures, most of which were studio releases.  John and his wife currently live in Mumbai, India, where they are deeply involved in humanitarian work focusing on educating eager, able, but less fortunate children, and enabling women to become financially independent.

Anne Marie Gillen, CEO of Gillen Group LLC & Cabin 14 Productions LLC is an independent producer whose goal is to develop and produce commercially successful entertainment that expresses heart and enlightens the human experience. Her long expeience with motion picture and television development has created exceptional relationships with studios, international distributors, production and acting talent.   Presently Anne Marie’s film slate includes the recently completed film Into Temptation starring Kristin Chenoweth and Jeremy Sisto; she is producing The Schwa Was Here based on the bestselling young adult novel written by Neal Shusterman, and developing and producing Charlie’s Place with director Thomas Carter (Save the Last Dance, Coach Carter, Swing Kids).

Look inside the book at

Order the book at

This is not a plug, or it is a plug.  John Lee was a client of ours many years ago and his accomplishments are many but one of his primary enterprises was pulling back the curtain on the financial sphere of to project and plan the financing of film.  Anne Marie Gillen and I go back to our early days when she was working with John Daly at Hemdale!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

International Films and Natural Disasters

As we prepare for Cannes, let's hope no more volcanoes or earthquakes disrupt our plans. 

Right now, perhaps it's time to remember those who are less fortunate than we are with our grave concerns of our upcoming travel to Cannes .  Let's remember Haiti and take a brief look at some recent work out of their Cine Institute students who were already creating short documentaries when producer Douglas Arrowsmith asked them to produce a series of collected works for Canada. The students created a range of short films with a raw power and access that only Haitians filming Haitians can obtain: a little girl helping doctors in a tent camp; surgeons working in difficult conditions; the agony of losing loved ones; the joy of rescuing those trapped under the rubble, the trials of the handicapped after the quake; and the fight to save the historic buildings… The series premiered on on April 12 2010, the three month anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Community Manager vs. Conversation Manager vs. Social Media Manager

Patrick Attallah, Co-Founder & COO of GLITNER and Senior Consultant at ME&NA Consulting is one of Europe's more interesting commentators on new digital media today.  He sheds light on a new aspect of how any business needs to develop today.  He brings meaning to new media jargon in the film world.  
His blog post 'Movie & Television Social Media Marketing' identifies where social media technologies could help filmmakers and distributors, such as in :

- providing insight and commentary in real time (from location during shooting)
- promoting special contests, sneak previews facilitating collaborative video production experience
- involving online communities in the design building conversation about the movie or television season or   individual episodes
- opening dialogue between promoter and promotion participants
- movie & television website traffic generation
- promoting events such as movie premiers
- posting press releases

April 6th, 2010 Patrick recommends this article, 'Community Manager vs. Conversation Manager', quoted here verbatim as an example of his bridging the divide between digital thinkers and those building guidelines for film production / distribution / sales companies.

As the use of social technologies begins to climb the maturity curve, new skills (until now not widely understood) such as community & conversation management have begun to move to the forefront of discussions within businesses. Most are starting to realize that they have a missing job function in their team. But which job function: a Community Manager, a Social Media Manager, a Traffic Manager or a Conversation Manager.

Considering what Nestlé’s Facebook Fan Page went through a few days ago, it is becoming important for most brands to start having dedicated resources to manage their conversations. But businesses need to understand whether they need primarily a content-oriented person or a relationship-oriented person.

John Bell in a recent blog post described both functions of Community and Conversation Managers as follows:

Community Manager: Here’s how I see the main responsibilities of a community manager:

  • Steward a community conversation amongst a group of people who have come together to interact together presumably over some shared affinity (they all love Dancing With The Stars TV show; they are all moms with grade school-age children; they drive the same car)
  • Help keep order with a soft touch
  • Remain responsible to the community first

The job is really to nurture and often grow a community of people. Now, the affinity that brings them together may be the brand. That gives the community manager license to participate in the community but certainly not at the expense of the other community participants.

Conversation Manager

A Conversation Manager is a bit different especially as we think about how Twitter and Facebook work. Even with the threaded comments available now in the Facebook Wall posts, These are streams of utterances and brief conversations. More importantly, brands are hosting their own handles and pages which feel more personal and involved. A Conversation Manager’s responsibilities include:

  • Offering fans and followers a steady stream of valuable content and experiences
  • Responding to visitors who want to engage with the brand or need some help
  • Offering a pov as a brand or subject matter expert

Steven Van Belleghem believes ...that ‘traditional advertising no longer works. Advertisers need to change their day-to-day working methods. The gap between the contemporary consumer and the traditional advertiser is growing on a daily basis. This era is not the end of the advertising market, though it is the end of the advertiser!‘ He explains this change of trajectory from advertiser to Conversation Manager in his recently published book titled The Conversation Manager and following presentation.
          What about the Social Media Manager?
Rachel Happe has taken a stab at articulating the primary responsibilities of both Social Media and Community Managers. Here is how she defines the responsibilities of the Social Media Manager:

  • Content Creation (Blogging/ vlogging/ podcasting) designed to spur conversation/ viral sharing 
  • Responding to conversations about the brand and the content 
  • Ensuring input/feedback gets channeled to the appropriate internal functional group 
  • Curating and promoting UGC [whatever that is - Ithought it was a French exhibitor/ distributor/ producer/ ISA]
  • Managing tools – mostly social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) and blogs 
  • Reporting/measurement

So what do you think? Do you agree that there is a difference in these three roles? and if so, do you agree with how they have differentiated them? If you happen to be a ‘community manager’ or a ‘conversation manager’ or a ’social media manager’ reading this post, please do share with us your views on your job function and the challenges you are facing every day

Other related articles:

Community management: The ‘essential’ capability of successful Enterprise 2.0 efforts

A Community Manager and a Social Media Manager Walk into a Bar…

Community Manager or the Art of Ambiguity: an introduction

30 Days To Cannes: EuropaCorp

EuropaCorp's Little White Lies aka Les Petits Mouchoirs by Guillaume Canet  from France is on the Tipped for Cannes list.. meanwhile The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, which had its world premiere at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival on April 9, received an extraordinary review from Screen .

And EuropaCorp is currently featured in Nikke Finke's Deadline Hollywood as it seeks to take its film I I Love You Phillip Morris away from Consolidated Pictures Group for North American distribution and put it into the hands of Newmarket.  Read it for news of a good fight.  The comments are especially telling.

Luc Besson's EuropaCorp is known in the US for its big films with 20th Century Fox, Sony, Disney and Lionsgate, films like Clash of the Titans or The Incredible Hulk.  However movie buffs and the older acquisitions executives will remember the buzz around Luc Besson's early film in 1985 Subway starring Christopher Lambert and Isabelle Adjani which was picked up in the US by Island Pictures.

[Oops, IMDb lists Island and Island Pictures as two separate companies, but we know the company which in the space of one year -- 1985 to 1986 -- picked up and even produced (as Island Alive) such gems as Hector Babenco's Kiss of the Spider Woman, Tim Hunter's The River's Edge, Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa, Jim Jarmusch's Down By Law, Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have ItNobody's Fool starring Roseanne Arquette and Eric Roberts before anyone knew who Julia was, Alan Rudolph's Choose MeTrip to Bountiful written by Horton Foote, Nic Roeg's Insignificance. ] 

But I digress.

Luc Besson's partner Pierre-Ange Le Pogam had brought Besson into Gaumont where Le Pogam had worked 20 out of his 26 year career and they produced Subway, The Big Blue, Atlantis and the $100m epic Cannes opener The Fifth Element in 1997.  They left together with Taxi in 1998 when Gaumont turned the film down and the newly establshed ARP made a killing with it (6 million admissions in France alone and three other films in the franchise).  LionsGate picked up North America.

In Cannes 2000 Besson and Le Pogam decided to form EuropaCorp out of the projected 15m Euro return on the video sales they would make from Taxi 2.  They brought in French TV, some international partner-distributors and, on a film by film basis, some equity partners to finance the films.  Unless they could match 80% of their total risk, they would not make the movie.

In 2007 EuropaCorp went public to increase its leverage in Hollywood and to acquire the top tier classic film catalog of Roissy Films.  EuropaCorp is primarily a producer which, through its vertical organization has automatic distribution in France and international representation for the rest of trhe world which brings in 30-50% of its revenues.  It has always been profitable and continues to turn out films with a broad range of budgets.  2010 releases include the Besson-directed $37m picture The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec along with at least 6 other French and English language films. 

As announced in June 2009, EuropaCorp is joining forces with Euro Media Group and Quinta Communications in the “Studios de Paris”, a structure that will house 9 movie sets, each of which will cover 600 to 2,200 square meters at La Cité du Cinéma’s site at Saint-Denis. EuropaCorp will be a minority shareholder in the company operating the studios. Its investment will not exceed a maximum of 6 million euros. Euro Media Group, which owns various audiovisual production studios across Europe, will contribute its expertise to the running and management of the Studios de Paris.  The Group has signed a lease with “Nef Lumière”, the owner of the services complex, which will house the Ecole Louis Lumière and the offices of La Cité du Cinéma thus giving EuropaCorp access to a single location within which to accommodate its permanent teams and the film crews for each movie, while leaving complementary space for potential new activities.

Check out for their Cannes line up.

Females in Anime

Here's a new blog on the subject of Women in Cinema...Females in Anime by Mikey-San.  Maybe Hollywood could get some ideas for some new female roles reading this. "The Cheerleader", "The Genki Girl"...or maybe Hollywood already knows these.  Hear what the Japanese blogger (I hope she's a female!) has to say:

As the title says, welcome to Females in Anime! This is a blog that will take a look at the treatment of females ranging from young girls to women in many different animes. I am going to take a look at different character roles and stereotypes that females commonly take in animes through a series of different blog posts for the next couple of weeks.

Countdown to Cannes 31 Days: UFA

31 days to Cannes gives me 31 days to profile international sales agents of my choice.  As they announce the festival entries April 15, I want to begin with UFA whose name opens vistas into film history and today has a film tipped for the festival:

Die Komenden Tage aka The Days To Come by Lars Kraume produced by Badlands Film and by the venerable UFA Studio, the lives of a middle-class Berlin family unfold from the present day into a realistic near future, a time of great uncertainty and change as siblings deal with their hopes and fears as they face their future in a destabilised world.

Besides this, they are producing one of my all times favorite novels, a property handled in the 90s by German uber agent Sigrid Narjes (Above The Line Agency).  Together we tried unsuccessfully to find interested US coproducers. The Physician, based on Noah Gordon’s international bestseller was first published in English in 1986.  in 1987 it sold more than 6,000,000 copies in Germany alone and in 2004 was voted by German TV viewers as one of the top 10 books of all times (They read in Germany!).  I won't reveal the story which no synopsis can do justice. 
By reviving the UFA brand as one of the world’s most successful and historic brands in cinema production, Bertelsmann, RTL Group and FremantleMedia are also sending a clear message about the importance of cinema in the digital age.

UFA Cinema is a company in the UFA group, one of the most famous and renowned German film and TV companies and the largest producer of audiovisual content in Germany. Universum Film AG, (originally Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft) better known as UFA or Ufa, was the principal film studio in Germany, home of the German film industry during the Weimar Republic and through World War II, and a major force in world cinema from 1917 to 1945. After World War II, UFA continued producing movies and television programs to the present day, making it the longest standing film company in Germany.  UFA was created during November 1917 in Berlin as a government-owned producer of World War I propaganda and public service films. It was created through the consolidation of most of Germany's commercial film companies, including Nordisk and Decla. Decla's former owner, Erich Pommer, served as producer for the 1920 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which was not only the best example of German Expressionism and an enormously influential film, but also a commercial success. During the same year, UFA opened the UFA-Palast am Zoo theatre in Berlin, long time flagship of the Berlinale.

Pressured by the US film industry, in late 1921 UFA was merged with Decla-Bioscop, "with government, industrial and banking support" and a near-monopoly in an industry that produced around 600 films each year and attracted a million customers every day. In the silent movie years, when films were easier to adapt for foreign markets, UFA began developing an international reputation and posed serious competition to Hollywood.  After WWII, working with The Marshall Plan helped them survive but did not help them thrive internationally as US became the dominant force in worldwide cinema.

UFA Cinema was founded early 2008 to produce and commercialize - in Germany and worldwide – between 6 and 10 German- and English-language movies a year, in genres ranging from elaborate screen adaptations of novels and bestsellers, comedies for every target audience, and engaging family entertainment, to sophisticated political films and productions by next-generation moviemakers.

Its team of managing directors consists of Wolf Bauer (producer since 1981), Thomas Peter Friedl (18 years head of distribution for Constantin), Prof. Nico Hofmann (producing, directing and writing since 1985) and Dr. Jürgen Schuster (the new kid on the block since 2006). UFA CINEMA has a presence in all of Germany’s major media centers, with offices in Berlin, Munich, Potsdam and Cologne.

All UFA Cinema productions are distributed in the German-speaking countries by Universal Pictures International Germany and the home entertainment in cooperation with UFA Cinema

A strategic distribution partnership with Focus Features International (FFI) and Universal Pictures International (UPI) makes UFA Cinema a new major player in the German and international cinema sector. Together their international business approach, global production partnerships and contacts with filmmakers around the world make them both unique.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Newest in French Film Fashion Comes to LA: City of Lights, City of Angels: COL•COA

Lucky LA!  We can now get an advance look on the current batch of French films which will be on offer at the Cannes Film Market.  Not only the distributors, but the public is able to see these April 20 to April 25.  And take in panels, meet the French film community, see the US distributors, catch the buzz.  I'll see you there!

With 69% of its audience coming from the film industry in 2009, COL•COA is a unique showcase for French films in North America. COL•COA screenings offer exceptional exposure for French films and can generate a buzz among the industry and in the U.S. Both cultural and commercial dimensions of the event offer various reasons for all categories of professionals to attend.

DGA, WGAW and MPA Members

As their organization is a partner of the Franco American Cultural Fund, all members of the Directors Guild of America, The Writers Guild of America West, and The Motion Picture Association have been invited to the COL•COA screenings since the creation of the event. Therefore, they represent an important part of the audience. COL•COA gives them the opportunity to discover a selection of the newest French films and to exchange with French Filmmakers at The Happy Hour Talks, during the Q&A following screenings and events, or parties set up during the whole week.

Additionally, members of SAG, Women in Film, American Cinematheque, ICG, ASC and FILM INDEPENDENT can attend COL•COA at a discounted price.


People in charge of acquisitions for U.S. Distributors or buyers for other territories (Asia, South America and Europe) who are based in Los Angeles can take advantage of the exclusive program offered. At least 30% of the films have been released after January in France and some of them have not been shown at the European Film Market in Berlin. Furthermore, they can see the films with an American audience and possibly decide to buy a film if it is still available.

An Eye to the Future,an exclusive presentation of trailers of upcoming French films is another reason to attend the showcase a few weeks before the Cannes Film Festival. Most of the films will premiere at Le Marché du Film in Cannes.


COL•COA is now one of the most efficient platforms to promote a French film in Los Angeles. U.S. Distributors can use the event to have an official Premiere of their film before a release. It is also the best place to create a buzz a few months before a release, to show their film to the members of the HFPA for the next Golden Globe Awards, to promote the film to local exhibitors for a future release or test the film with our audience and build a marketing strategy.

Recent partners include: Film Movement, First Look Pictures, IFC Films, International Film Circuit, Koch Lorber, Liberation Entertainment, Lionsgate, Magnolia Pictures, Music Box Films, New Yorker, Red Envelope, Samuel Goldwyn, Strand releasing or Vivendi Entertainment.

Click here to download a detailed presentation of COL•COA for distributors

Exhibitors and Publicists

Exhibitors can discover new French Films and test them with an audience before booking them. They can mention their interest in a specific film to distributors even if the film is available for the market.

Publicists can work with our delegation of filmmakers to set up interviews with the press for a U.S. distributor when the film is already bought. Every year, a large number of journalists attend COL•COA and cover the event for local, national and international media (print, TV, radio and Internet).

Producers and Agents

New talent and remake opportunities are also a good reason for producers and agents to attend COL•COA. Each year, the selection offers an eclectic program that includes stories with a strong potential for remakes. Both programs of features and short films offer a chance to discover emerging filmmakers, actors or actresses from France.