10 items from 2015
Sony Pictures and China Film Co. Ltd. are developing a Chinese remake of the romantic comedy “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and setting it for release in China on Valentine’s Day 2016.
The film will star Shu Qi (“Gone With The Bullets”), Feng Shaofeng (“Wolf Totem”), Song Qian (“My New Sassy Girl”) and Ye Qing (“Man of Tai Chi”). Alexi Tan (“Blood Brothers”) will direct and produce with his company, Play Productions.
Shooting is set to begin in late July in London, Italy and Beijing.
The remake will center on a pair of journalists — male and female — who have grown up together as best friends. The man falls in love with a wealthy Chinese girl who has been studying in the U.K, and asks his »
- Dave McNary
The new facility, dubbed Animal Logic Vancouver, will initially be launched as an exclusive partnership to produce three animated movies — starting with “The Lego Movie Sequel.” The Canadian studio will begin operations in September at 45,000 square foot facility in the Yaletown area and is expected to create 300 new jobs with launch of production on the sequel in January.
Animal Logic is already working on a pair of Warner Bros. animated films — Lego spinoff “Ninjago” (set for Sept. 22, 2017) and “Lego Batman” (set for Feb. 10, 2017) — at its headquarters in Sydney. It did not disclose which titles it will be producing in Vancouver after “The Lego Movie Sequel,” which is set for release on May 18, 2018.
- Dave McNary
Australia’s biggest ever delegation to the Beijing Film Festival includes producer Alan Lindsay, who is seeking Chinese partners for the animated family film Piccolo The Dolphin Prince, written and directed by Greg Mclean, whose gory breakout film was Wolf Creek.
“It is Romeo and Juliet set in the world of dolphins,” said Lindsay, who is managing director of Vue Group. Since Mclean brought him the concept two years ago there has been considerable R&D on the dolphin characters and continued development on the underlying theme of the human impact on dolphins.
Lindsay will also be meeting with potential partners on Silver Spoon (working title), which he describes as “Downton Abbey set in Shanghai during the turbulent 1930s”. The live action drama inspired by real life focuses on a Chinese family that owns a lavish department store and once lived in Australia.
Lindsay regards China as his “second home” and has developed many partners there. His latest »
- Sandy.George@me.com (Sandy George)
More than 50 Australian producers and screen industry representatives are heading to China for the 5th Australia-China Film Industry Forum (Acfif) and the Beijing International Film Festival and Beijing Film Market.
That.s the largest ever delegation from Australia, including VFX and post-production businesses and federal and state government officials.
Co-hosted by Ausfilm and Screen Australia, the forum is part of the Beijing Film Market.s Industry Conversations program.
Two panels of Australian, Chinese and international producers and screen industry decision makers will discuss opportunities for co-production, locations, studios, facilities and visual effects, and. focus on Australia.s federal and state incentives for international production.
The participants will include Ellen Eliasoph, president/CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures Asia, director/producer Pauline Chan, Alex Sangston, Screen Australia.s senior manager, producer offset and co-productions, »
- Don Groves
The album features original music by Patrick Doyle (“Brave,” “Thor”) marking the eleventh time Doyle has teamed with director Kenneth Branagh. The score was recorded at Air Lyndhurst Studio in London, and was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Shearman and produced by Maggie Rodford. The film arrives in theaters on March 13, 2015.
Patrick Doyle’s long-time creative collaboration with Branagh began in 1989 with “Henry V.” The film’s song ‘Non Nobis Domine’ was awarded the 1989 Ivor Novello Award for Best Film Theme. In 1991, they re-teamed for “Dead Again,” which earned Doyle a Golden Globe-nomination. Subsequent collaborations include “Frankenstein,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “As You Like It,” “Hamlet” (for which Doyle received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score), “Sleuth,” and “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”
- Michelle McCue
Even before the Berlin festival is over, and the Oscars remain under wraps, the thoughts of many executives have turned to Cannes.
At this stage, the selectors of Cannes different sections have seen very little, so there is no such thing as a certainty.
Following some of the chatter and looking at which films might have the right credentials comes up with a strongly international selection for Thierry Fremaux and his team to choose from.
Fellow Italian, and previous Palme d’Or-winner Nanni Moretti, has “My Mother” (aka “Mia Madre”) while Paolo Sorrentino’s Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel-starrer “Youth” (aka “La Giovinezza,” aka “In the Future”) is also a strong competition contender.
Buzz is strong for “The Lobster,” the English-language »
- Patrick Frater
A run-of-the-mill student romance set in Beijing on the cusp of the millennium, the popular “Back in Time” reinforces how much the young demographic it targeted holds sway over China’s commercial market. Drawing a familiar arc of high schoolers falling hard in love, then drifting apart in college, mainland helmer Zhang Yibai knows how to reshuffle winning elements from other hits, but comes up short in terms of evoking anything vibrant, sensuous or heart-tugging. “Time” cruised past “The Crossing” to earn $90.7 million in 27 days, outperforming John Woo’s shipwreck epic almost threefold.
Ever since Vicky Zhao’s “So Young” used a two-part structure to paint a rosy picture of campus days in stark opposition to the cruel disappointments of adulthood, nearly every mainland youth romance, from Frant Gwo’s “The Old Classmate” to Snow Zou’s “But Always,” has glorified the innocence of puppy love and bemoaned adult life. »
- Maggie Lee
Paris – Co-productions with the world’s fastest growing film market, China, was the subject of this year’s 15th Dream Industry (Feb. 4-6), integrated within the Paris Images Trade Show.
The event included round tables with representatives from French and Chinese film agencies, directors and producers, and a master class with guest of honor, Chinese helmer Wang Chao (“Fantasia”).
Discussions provided fascinating insights into the different working models prevailing in France and China, and how industry players have come to terms with this complex reality.
Key French-Chinese coproductions discussed during the event included Wang Chao’s romantic tale, “Looking for Rohmer,” Jean Jacques Annaud’s epic production, “Wolf Totem,” Pascal Morelli’s animation feature, “108 Demon-Kings,” Philippe Muyl’s “The Nightingale,” Pengfei Song’s “Les Vagabonds de Pékin”and Emmanuel Sapolsky’s “The Eye of Silence,” plus Zoltan Mayer’s 100% French production, “Voyage to China,” and Leon Lai’s Chinese action comedy, »
- Martin Dale
The move, announced Wednesday, comes six years after Imagi Animation Studios released “Astro Boy” as a $65 million CGI film, based on the mangas and anime series by Osamu Tezuka and voiced by Freddie Highmore. Worldwide grosses hit $40 million.
Astro Boy first appeared in a Japanese manga series from 1951 to 1968, selling over 100 million manga copies worldwide. The character was also turned into TV series in 1980 and 2003.
“It’s going to be a blast relaunching Astro Boy as a robot superhero for the new millennium,” Nalbandian said. “Known and loved universally, Astro is the embodiment of wish fulfillment for young and old, »
- Dave McNary
They didn’t make our final Top 100 cut, but here is a list of foreign film titles that are on our radar for 2015. We being with…
198. Kills on Wheels – Dir. Attila Till
197. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend – Dir. Yuen Woo-ping
193. Flaskepost – Dir. Nikolaj Arcel
192. The Lady in the Van – Dir. Nicolas Hytner
191. Zoom – Dir. Pedro Morelli
190. Away from the Sea – Dir. Imanol Uribe
188. Ulrike’s Brain – Dir. Bruce La Bruce
187. Tsunami – Dir. Jacques Deschamps
186. And Your Sister? – Dir. Marion Vernoux
185. There Was Las Vegas – Dir. Alexandre Castas
183. Stepne – Dir. Maryna Vroda
182. Irreplaceable – Dir. Olivier Masset-Depasse
181. Histoire de Judas Iscariot – Dir. Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche
180. The First, the Last – Dir. Bouli Lanners
179. Selection Officielle – Dir. Jacques Richard
178. Desierto – Dir. »
- Nicholas Bell
10 items from 2015
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