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Mike Goodridge appointed artistic director of Macao fest

  • ScreenDaily
Goodridge joins the International Film Festival & Awards Macao in its second year of operation.

Protagonist Pictures CEO Mike Goodridge has been appointed artistic director of the International Film Festival & Awards Macao (Iffam).

Goodridge is stepping down from Protagonist in August, but will remain on the company’s board of directors.

The second edition of the Iffam is scheduled to take place at the Macao Cultural Centre from December 8-14.

The Iffam Organising Committee has also announced that the festival’s competition programme would be dedicated to films from first and second time film-makers and that the jury would award a $60,000 prize for best feature.

“This is a young festival and we think that our international competition should consist of work from young directors who can offer fresh perspectives on the world we live in,” said Goodridge.

Meanwhile Goodridge, head of festival management Lorna Tee and head of industry June Wu will focus on developing the Iffam Industry
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Macau Festival Hires Mike Goodridge, Sets Young Film Competition (Exclusive)

The International Film Festival & Awards Macao has appointed former Protagonist Pictures CEO Mike Goodridge as its artistic director. The second edition of the festival is scheduled to be held December 8-14 in and around the former Portuguese colony of Macau, which is best known for a casino industry bigger than Las Vegas’.

In a rethink following an ambitious launch last year, the festival has reset its competition section to focus on first- and second-time feature directors. It will now offer a $60,000 prize to the best feature.

The festival began last year with the hiring of high-profile festival selector and China expert Marco Mueller. But in a dramatic turn of events, Mueller quit in September, just one day before his selections were announced. No reasons were given for his resignation, though speculation centered on disagreements between Mueller and the festival management.

The first edition went ahead with a caretaker team spearheaded
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Marco Mueller quits Macao festival

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Marco Mueller quits Macao festival
Shock move comes one month before inaugural edition of Macao event.

Veteran festival director Marco Mueller has quit his post as head of the International Film Festival & Awards Macao one month ahead of the event’s first edition (December 8-13).

The surprise move was confirmed this morning by organisers who also said the festival would continue “as planned”.

“The organising committee of 1st International Film Festival and Awards Macao (Iffam) received notice from Macau Films & Television Productions and Culture Association (Mftpa) that Mr Marco Mueller has resigned from his position as festival director with effect from 13 November 2016.

“Mftpa reassures the organising committee that the secretariat will assume all responsibilities of the festival director and that this incident will not affect the organisation of the festival as planned.”

An explanation for the abrupt departure has not been disclosed.

The Macau event, backed by the territory’s culture and tourism authorities, is set to include a competition, out-of-competition and gala
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Bona Film Seeks Status as Chinese Major Ahead of Ipo (Exclusive)

Bona Film Group is building on its role as one of China’s most successful distributors and is looking to expand its business both in Hollywood and in China, prior to a new Ipo in 2018.

The company this week signed a deal to launch a $20 million film investment fund with Imax China, the Hong Kong stock market-listed offshoot of Imax. The pair will invest in Chinese movies and conversions of Chinese titles for release on the country’s huge number of giant screens. Imax China, which has a similar fund with China Media Capital, currently has some 320 screens in commercial operation, with an order book for nearly 300 more. The fund would likely give Bona’s Imax screens priority access to some of the titles.

Bona is also expanding the co-financing arrangement it has through The Seelig Group in the current slate of Twentieth Century Fox. That has already seen Bona
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Tokyo: Producers talk China-Japan collaboration

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A trio of high-profile Chinese film executives discussed the reasons why the Chinese and Japanese film industries are not regular collaborators at the Japan Content Showcase (Jcs) on Tuesday.

Bona Film Group COO Jeffrey Chan kicked off the session by recalling 2006 historical epic Battle Of Wits (pictured) a rare co-production between China, Japan and Korea that has never been repeated. The film brought together two of the day’s speakers – Chinese director-producer Huang Jianxin and Japanese producer Satoru Iseki, who was moderating the panel.

“But since then we haven’t seen any collaborations on that level between the three countries,” said Chan. “After that I tried to raise a film fund between China, Korea and Japan, but was not successful.”

Huang said the film grossed around $15m (RMB100m) in China, which was considered a hit at that stage in the country’s box office development. He then explained how Japanese filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa have influenced
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Marco Mueller’s Macao Festival Adds Competition, Sidebars

Marco Mueller’s Macao Festival Adds Competition, Sidebars
The new International Film Festival and Awards Macao, headed by Marco Mueller, will feature a main competition section as well as four non-competitive strands. The first edition of the Iffam will take place in Macau Dec 8-13, 2016.

The festival will have “a strong but not exclusive focus on genre titles,” organizers confirmed Monday.

The competition will feature 10-12 new international films to be judged by a jury of five film professionals. The out-of-competition gala section will showcase six of the most important works of the second half of the year. The ‘Hidden Dragons’ section will present six films that represent the latest trends in contemporary Asian genre cinema, while a ‘Best of Fest Panorama’ will contain 5 or 6 award winning films from other major festivals. Submissions are open until Sept. 30.

A previously announced section of 12 non-East Asian, non-u.S. genre films selected by a dozen major East Asian film directors, is now named ‘Crossfire.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Macau festival headed by Marco Mueller reveals details

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Macau festival headed by Marco Mueller reveals details
Festival consultants to include James Schamus, Olivier Père, Huang Jianxin and Michael J. Werner.

The inaugural International Film Festival and Awards Macao (Iffam, Dec 8 – 13), spearheaded by former Venice and Rome chief Marco Mueller, will have a strong but not exclusive focus on genre titles, the festival has announced.

The event will include a number of gala and red carpet screenings, with a competition strand and special focus sections alongside an industry screening programme, masterclasses, education initiatives and a co-production event.

The festival’s screening programme will encompass the following strands:

• Competition – 10 to 12 new international films to be judged by a jury of five film professionals

• Out of Competition / Gala – a selection of 6 of the most important works from the latter half of the year

• Hidden Dragons – 6 films representing the latest trends in contemporary Asian genre cinema

• Best of Fest Panorama – 5 or 6 award-winning feature films from major international festivals

• Crossfire – 12 non-East Asian, non-us genre films
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China-uk Film Fund pacts with Smg Pictures

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The Zhongze China-uk Film Fund has signed a strategic partnership with Smg Pictures, which kicks off with London-set comedy Special Couple.

Zhongze will help facilitate the project’s UK shoot including access to local cast and crew.

Fully financed by Smg Pictures, the Chinese-language project tells the story of two Chinese male friends living in London – one a medical student and the other an illegal immigrant – who pretend to be a couple so they can both stay in the UK.

Creative talent on the film includes director-producer Huang Jianxin and script supervisor Su Huan. Smg Pictures is the film production
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Chinese studios target further acquisitions

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Chinese studio bosses said they plan to continue their acquisition spree, in order to strengthen the fast-growing local film industry, as the seminar programme at the Shanghai International Film Festival got underway on Sunday.

“We will acquire more content producers in future so we have IP to make into films and games,” said Zeng Maojun, vice president of Wanda Culture Industry Group, which recently acquired Warcraft producer Legendary Pictures.

He later added: “The reason we bought Legendary was to marry their experience with the China market for better effect.”

Zhang Qiang, executive director and CEO of Alibaba Pictures, said his
See full article at ScreenDaily »

China is the New Hollywood, Says James Schamus

China is the New Hollywood, Says James Schamus
Leading U.S. independent producer James Schamus proclaimed Sunday that “China is becoming the new Hollywood.”

The former head of Focus Features and producer of “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” was speaking in Beijing at a set-piece seminar on Chinese co-production at the first full day of the Beijing International Film Festival.

He and other speakers who included Chinese producers Yu Dong and Huang Jianxin, and British producer Iain Smith, argued that co-productions have qualitatively changed as the Chinese film industry has hurtled through multiple stages of development in just a few years.

Two years ago at the same seminar, Oliver Stone embarrassed his hosts by flat out saying that co-productions don’t work, and that China needs to learn to examine its own history more critically.

Schamus, who is involved in a partnership with China’s Meridian Entertainment, offered a perspective that was music to the ears of China’s
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Korea’s Cj Entertainment Uses Festivals to Build Film Ties With China

South Korea’s Cj Entertainment continued to strengthen its film industry ties with near neighbour China by this weekend holding a short film festival (Sept. 17-19).

The grand prize winner was “Farewell My Love,” by Chinese director Zeng Guang. Runners up were “Life Smartphone,” by China’s Xie Cheng Lin and “The Sea,” by Korea’s Han Ting. Awards were made by a jury that included Kang Je-kyu (“Swiri,” “TaeGukGi”) and Chinese director Huang Jianxin.

The festival was the second edition of the event. Organizers said that they had 572 submissions and selected 42 to show over the three days. Winners take home cash prizes and a place on a Korean film training program.

Cj, which is Korea’s largest integrated entertainment combine, sees itself as a provider of skills, hardware and investment to the Chinese film industry. Its Cj-cgv exhibition operation is now the eighth largest cinema circuit in China.

As
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Bona unveils 26-picture slate, Huaxia deal

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China’s Bona Film Group has unveiled an ambitious 26-picture slate to celebrate the company’s 15th anniversary, along with a strategic cooperation with Huaxia Film Distribution.

Bona Film Group founder and CEO Yu Dong said he expected the slate would gross a combined $1.6bn (RMB10bn) at the China box office. The slate announcement came just days after it emerged that Bona is trying to delist from the Nasdaq.

Speaking at the Siff Forum on Monday, Yu Dong said it wasn’t surprising that he wanted to take his company private again because “my audience and customers are in China – coming home is the wish of all our investors and partners.”

Bona, which floated on New York’s Nasdaq exchange in 2010, currently has investors including Studio 8 backer Fosun International and private equity company Sequoia.

The company’s new slate includes Ang Lee’s previously announced Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which Bona is
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Shanghai Festival to Open With Film Industry Tribute ‘I Am Somebody’

Shanghai Festival to Open With Film Industry Tribute ‘I Am Somebody’
Derek Yee’s tribute to cinema’s nameless extras “I Am Somebody” has been set as the opening movie of the Shanghai International Film Festival. The 18th edition of the event runs June 13-21.

The film festival will wrap with Ballet In The Flames of War,” a Chinese-Russian co-production co-directed by China’s Dong Yachun and Russia’s Nikita Mikhalkov.

Getting its world premiere at Siff, “Somebody” is a comedy about the lives of extras based at the gigantic Hengdian World Studios, near to Shanghai. Hong Kong-based Yee said that everyone in the film industry has big dreams. He will be accompanied on the red carpet by Yu Dong, producer and founder of Bona Film Group, as well as a host of Hengdian extras.

“Ballet” is based on real events and recounts a Russo-Chinese love story that unfolded during World War II. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Sylvia Chang's Murmur Of The Hearts To Open 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival, Full Line-Up Revealed

Taiwanese actress Sylvia Chang's latest directorial effort Murmur Of The Hearts will open the 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival, it was announced today. The world premiere is part of a Filmmaker in Focus programme dedicated to Chang, which will screen 13 of her films, including Legend Of The Mountain, Passion and Queen Of Temple Street.May We Chat director Philip Yung's latest, Port Of Call, will close the festival, which runs from 23 March - 6 April 2015. Gala presentations include debuts for the latest pan-Asian anthology Beautiful 2015 (with segments from Huang Jianxin, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Yim Ho and Tsai Ming-liang), the directorial debut from Painted Skin and The Great Magician scribe Lau Ho Leung, Two Thumbs Up, the local premiere of Tsui Hark's 3D...

[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Oscar Isaac & Jessica Chastain’s ‘A Most Violent Year’ Leads Specialty Openers: Preview

  • Deadline
Oscar Isaac & Jessica Chastain’s ‘A Most Violent Year’ Leads Specialty Openers: Preview
A24’s A Most Violent Year will dominate the Specialty Box Office New Year’s weekend. The feature began as director J.C. Chandor was releasing his previous feature, All Is Lost. A Most Violent Year will begin its limited run in the New Year, but the title will have a wide release by the end of the month. Also opening this weekend is IFC Films’ doc The Search For General Tso, which has its roots from a New York Times Best Seller. Well Go USA will bow China’s The Taking Of Tiger Mountain in exclusive engagements. The title opened number one at home when it rolled out ahead of Christmas. And Magnolia’s genre label, Magnet, will open Spanish thriller [Rec] 4: Apocalypse in five locations January 2. the title is already available via ultra-vod.

A Most Violent Year

Director-writer: J.C. Chandor

Cast: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola,
See full article at Deadline »

Daily | Scorsese, Herzog, Huang

Martin Scorsese's released a statement commending Kodak for its decision to carry on making film stock. Also in today's roundup of news and views: Films by Todd Rohal, Nacho Vigalondo and Kevin Smith are lined up for Austin's Fantastic Fest. A terrific interview with Werner Herzog. An appreciation of the neglected Fifth Generation Chinese director Huang Jianxin. A play about Jane Fonda. Richard Linklater's next project, plus a forthcoming documentary on Larry Clark's Kids (1995) and more. » - David Hudson
See full article at Fandor: Keyframe »

Daily | Scorsese, Herzog, Huang

Martin Scorsese's released a statement commending Kodak for its decision to carry on making film stock. Also in today's roundup of news and views: Films by Todd Rohal, Nacho Vigalondo and Kevin Smith are lined up for Austin's Fantastic Fest. A terrific interview with Werner Herzog. An appreciation of the neglected Fifth Generation Chinese director Huang Jianxin. A play about Jane Fonda. Richard Linklater's next project, plus a forthcoming documentary on Larry Clark's Kids (1995) and more. » - David Hudson
See full article at Keyframe »

Chinese Helmer Wu Tianming Dies at 74

Chinese Helmer Wu Tianming Dies at 74
Chinese director Wu Tianming, who helmed several films that reshaped Chinese cinema, including “Old Well” and “King of Masks,” died of an apparent heart attack on March 4 in his home in Beijing. He was 74.

The filmmaker, known as the “Godfather of the Fifth Generation,” was the former head of Xi’an Film Studios, and the films he directed, also including “Life,” “CEO” and his final film, “Song of the Phoenix,” earned Wu worldwide critical acclaim and garnered him multiple awards.

Wu, a native of China’s Shan Xi Province, developed an early interest in the theater and worked odd jobs at local playhouses in order to observe the actors. He later worked as a stage actor and became a film player with Xi’an Film Studios. By the time he reached his teens, Wu’s interest shifted to motion pictures, and Dovzhenko’s “Poem of the Sea” served as the impetus for his filmmaking career.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

China’s Propaganda Effort Goes Ethnic

China’s Propaganda Effort Goes Ethnic
Hong Kong – The Chinese government has unveiled plans to make at least one film for each of its 55 ethnic minority groups.

The scheme was unveiled Sunday by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, which said that more than 20 of the country’s ethnic groups had never been properly represented on screen.

The official Xinhua news service said that the first four films would represent the Mongol, Manchu, Dong and Qiang groups.

China has long produced propaganda films through its state-controlled studios, though the films’ popularity has waned in recent years.

Two that bucked the downtrend were 2009 historical epic “The Founding of a Republic” and 2011 “The Great Revival” (aka “The Founding of a Party,” pictured), both of which were co-directed by Huang Jianxin and Han Sanping and produced by China Film Group. Both employed a glitzy array of stars that helped the films achieve genuine mass market appeal.

China is these days
See full article at Variety - Film News »

New Iron Man 3 Photos Feature Wang Xueqi

Here's a couple of new photos from Iron Man 3 featuring veteran Chinese actor Wang Xueqi, who was recently confirmed to play a new character named Dr. Wu in the film. It was previously speculated that he would play Chen Lu/Radioactive Man, but it doesn't look like that's the case. Apparently the role will be small a small one, unless something is being hidden from the fans. The photos feature the actor with Robert Downey Jr., Gweneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle.

Xueqi is considered the Chinese Sean Connery, and has had a successful 25 years, appearing in films such as Yellow Earth (1984) and The Big Parade (1986), Huang Jianxin’s Samsara, and Zhang Yimou’s Codename Cougar (1989), and more recently the award-winning Forever Enthralled (2008) and Bodyguards and Assassins (2009).

The movie will start shooting in Beijing, China today Monday, December 10th.
See full article at GeekTyrant »
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