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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

9 items from 2016


Romania Looking to Attract Big-Budget Foreign Productions

11 June 2016 12:01 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Transylvania International Film Festival earlier this month, producer Iain Smith fondly described his time shooting “Cold Mountain” in Romania in 2003 as “one of the happiest filmmaking experiences I’ve ever had.” He remembered the warmth and generosity of the local crew, and the moody landscapes that served as a backdrop to the film’s tale of love and loss during the U.S. Civil War.

Romanian officials and entertainment executives want more foreign producers to follow in Smith’s footsteps. Hopes are high that the local servicing industry will be revived by the splashy relaunch of a sprawling studio complex and the expected approval of tax rebates that would put the country on equal footing with its neighbors in a competitive region.

Interest in Romania was reportedly high last month in Cannes, where Romanian director Cristian Mungiu won an award for “Graduation.” At the festival, producer Bobby Paunescu announced a new management team for Bucharest Film Studios. Formerly known as Media Pro, the studio includes 19 sound stages, a 110-acre backlot, and one of the largest water tanks in Europe.

Paunescu says that the studio reboot has already borne fruit, with a Hollywood production committed to what he expects to be “the second-largest budget” for a film in his country after “Cold Mountain.”

“It’s a new chance for the industry,” he says, an opportunity to “relaunch Romania.”

Outside of the sophisticated production facilities in Bucharest, the door could also be opening for regional production centers to emerge as well, says helmer and Transylvania festival founder Tudor Giurgiu. Last year, Radu Mihaileanu’s “The History of Love,” based on the international bestseller by American novelist Nicole Krauss, was filmed in Bucharest and Cluj, a bustling medieval city where Eastern European film pioneers like Jeno Janovics, Alexander Korda, and Michael Curtiz built a thriving industry a century ago.

In the 13 years since “Cold Mountain” was filmed there, Romania has serviced a string of foreign film and TV shoots, including the History Channel’s “Hatfields & McCoys” and Terry Gilliam’s “The Zero Theorem.” But nothing has matched “Cold Mountain’s” $80-million budget, and Bogdan Moncea, of Bucharest’s Castel Film Studios, notes that while business has been “growing slowly but steadily after the recession years,” it’s yet to reach pre-recession levels.

That could change with the introduction of tax rebates, which are expected to be put in place later this year. Romania is one of the only countries in Europe without an incentive scheme, but industry insiders say that crafting a rebate plan is a top priority of the young, technocratic government that swept to power last fall.

The details haven’t been finalized yet. But Alex Traila, of the National Film Center, says that officials are trying to “do a bit of analysis in the neighborhood” to determine what would work best for Romania. The country might take a page from the Czech Republic’s playbook, where the tax break currently covers up to 20% of production spend, or from neighboring Hungary, which offers a 25% rebate.

The incentives would add to the appeal of a country that already boasts varied locations, skilled crews, and some of the lowest production costs in the region.

“Romania remains one of the most attractive places to shoot in Europe, even without a tax incentive program,” says Moncea. “But we are convinced that the introduction of such a program will boost the industry,” allowing it to reach its “full potential.”

Moncea’s Castel, which has serviced more than 250 features since opening its doors in 1992, has already had a busy year. The studio is just days away from wrapping Discovery’s six-hour miniseries “Harley & the Davidsons,” as well as Universal’s “Dragon Heart 4” — Castel’s sixth project for the studio in recent years. The company is also working on a four-episode police procedural for HBO Europe.

Romania’s entertainment industry is eager to make up for lost time. Paunescu estimates that, in the past 10 years, the country’s economy has lost out on $3 billion to $4 billion from direct spending and from the trickle-down effect of hosting big-budget foreign shoots.

“It’s obvious opportunities were lost,” says newly appointed Culture Minister Corina Sateu. “But now what we have to focus on is how to create legislation that makes it stop.”

»

- Christopher Vourlias

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The Eclipse Viewer – Episode 43 – Alexander Korda’s Private Lives

5 June 2016 5:00 AM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

This podcast focuses on Criterion’s Eclipse Series of DVDs. Hosts David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett give an overview of each box and offer their perspectives on the unique treasures they find inside. In this episode, David and Trevor discuss Eclipse Series 16: Alexander Korda’s Private Lives.

About the films:

Though born to modest means in Hungary, Alexander Korda would go on to become one of the most important filmmakers in the history of British cinema. A producer, writer, and director who navigated toward subjects of major historical significance and mythical distinction, Korda made a name for his production company, London Films, with the Oscar-winning The Private Life of Henry VIII. He then continued his populist investigation behind the scenes and in the bedrooms of such figures as Catherine the Great, Don Juan, and Rembrandt. Mixing stately period drama with surprising satire, these films are exemplars of grand 1930s moviemaking. »

- David Blakeslee

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The Furniture: That Hamilton Woman's High Ceilings

2 May 2016 8:00 AM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

It's another episode of "The Furniture," Daniel Walber's new series

75 years ago, the United Kingdom was standing nearly alone against the growing might of Nazi Germany. It remained unclear whether the United States would enter the war. And so, from within Hollywood, Alexander Korda set out to help sway American public opinion toward the Union Jack.

That Hamilton Woman was released on April 30th, 1941. Its propagandistic portrayal of Lord Horatio Nelson and his victory over Napoleon’s navy nearly got Korda into very real legal trouble as a foreign agent. His appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was scheduled for December 12th, but the attack on Pearl Harbor saved the director’s skin. Three quarters of a century later, its reputation rests not on its patriotism, but on its lush melodrama. It continues to enchant as a ravishing portrait of adulterous romance, art imitating the lives of stars Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. »

- Daniel Walber

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The Eclipse Viewer – Episode 42 – Chantal Akerman in the Seventies

29 April 2016 12:00 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

This podcast focuses on Criterion’s Eclipse Series of DVDs. Hosts David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett give an overview of each box and offer their perspectives on the unique treasures they find inside. In this episode, David and Trevor are joined by Lady P from the FlixWise podcast to discuss Eclipse Series 19: Chantal Akerman in the Seventies.

About the films:

Over the past four decades, Belgian director Chantal Akerman (Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles) has created one of cinema’s most distinctive bodies of work—formally daring, often autobiographical films about people and places, time and space. In this collection, we present the early films that put her on the map: intensely personal, modernist investigations of cities, history, family, and sexuality, made in the 1970s in the United States and Europe and strongly influenced by the New York experimental film scene. Bold and iconoclastic, these five films pushed »

- David Blakeslee

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The 20th Colcoa French Film Fest Kicks Off with ‘Monsieur Chocolat’

29 March 2016 7:00 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Colcoa French Film Festival (April 18-26) is celebrating its 20th year with its most ambitious program yet, bolstered by it’s first-ever TV competition, four world premieres, a special tribute to writer-director Jean-Paul Rappeneau, and the U.S. premiere of Nicolas Boukhrief’s home-grown terrorism thriller, “Made in France,” which was not theatrically released in France due to sensitivity following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.

L.A.’s annual French-language showcase, conveniently held under one roof at the DGA headquarters on Sunset Blvd. and designed as a promotional exchange between the French and U.S. film industries, will open with Roschdy Zem’s “Monsieur Chocolat,” about France’s most famous black circus performer during the Belle Epoque era, starring Omar Sy, who toplined the 2011 boxoffice smash, “The Untouchables.”

The closing offering will be Laurent Tirard’s “Up For Love,” a romantic comedy starring Oscar winner Jean Dujardin (“The Artist »

- Steve Chagollan

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Oberon on TCM: Actress with Mystery Past Wears Men's Clothes, Fights Nazis

18 March 2016 9:10 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Merle Oberon movies: Mysterious star of British and American cinema. Merle Oberon on TCM: Donning men's clothes in 'A Song to Remember,' fighting hiccups in 'That Uncertain Feeling' Merle Oberon is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month of March 2016. The good news: the exquisite (and mysterious) Oberon, whose ancestry has been a matter of conjecture for decades, makes any movie worth a look. The bad news: TCM isn't offering any Oberon premieres despite the fact that a number of the actress' films – e.g., Temptation, Night in Paradise, Pardon My French, Interval – can be tough to find. This evening, March 18, TCM will be showing six Merle Oberon movies released during the first half of the 1940s. Never a top box office draw in the United States, Oberon was an important international star all the same, having worked with many of the top actors and filmmakers of the studio era. »

- Andre Soares

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Colcoa Announces French Classics and Focus on a Filmmaker Programs

24 February 2016 5:30 PM, PST | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

Colcoa French Film Festival, "9 Days of Film Premieres in Hollywood," and its producer, the Franco-American Cultural Fund, have  announced the Focus on a Filmmaker program as well as an exclusive line up of predominantly digitally restored French Classics, presented as World, International or U.S. Premieres. All screenings will take place at the Directors Guild of America.

The Colcoa Classics Series will be shown from Tuesday 19 to Saturday 23 and on Monday April 25 as part of the 20th anniversary program.

Focus on a Filmmaker: Academy Award0 Nominee Jean-Paul Rappeneau

Colcoa will honor Academy Award-nominated writer-director Jean-Paul Rappeneau on Thursday, April 21 with the World Premiere of new digitally restored "A Matter of Resistance"  (1965), starring Catherine Deneuve and Philippe Noiret, as well as the U.S. Premiere of his new film "Families.," which had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall. Rappeneau joins previous honorees, writer-directors Michel Hazanavicius, Cédric Klapisch, Bertrand Blier, Costa Gavras, Florent Siri, Julie Delpy and Alain Resnais, whose key bodies of work have been cited in past festivals.

Jean-Paul Rappeneau will make a rare personal appearance as well as meeting audience members for a Happy Hour Talk panel dedicated to his work. (Colcoa Classics + Panel +Premiere of "Families"). This focus is presented with the support of TF1 International.

International Premiere of Digitally Restored "More"

Writer-director Barbet Schroeder, feted at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, will have a Colcoa-presented International Premiere of his digitally restored masterpiece, "More" (1969), in association with Les Films du Losange and Janus Films. Initially banned in France, Schroeder's debut feature cast the myth of Icarus as a cautionary tale of free love and drug addiction in the shadow of the May '68 Paris, illustrated by an original score by The Pink Floyd. (Colcoa Classics)

45th Anniversary of "Delusions of Grandeur"

The digitally restored version of writer-director Gérard Oury's hit comedy, "Delusions of Grandeur" (1971), will have its U.S. Premiere at the festival. Co-written with his daughter, Danièle Thompson, and Marcel Jullian, this historical spoof of the Victor Hugo play,Ruy Blasfeatures a first -time collaboration of two French giants, Louis de Funès and Yves Montand ."Delusions of Grandeur" will be presented in association with French studio Gaumont (celebrating its own 120th anniversary). (Colcoa Classics)

- International Premeire of Digitally Restored "Marius"

Colcoa will present the digitally restored version of "Marius" (1931), the first part of the famous trilogy taking place in Marseille, created by novelist Marcel Pagnol and writer director Alexander Korda. It stars Pierre Fresnay, Fernand Charpin , Raimu and Orane Demazis. This exclusive presentation in the U.S. is made possible by the Franco American Cultural Fund (Facf), which supported the restoration, La Cinémathèque Française and Les Films Marcel Pagnol. (Colcoa Classics)

- Internatonal Premiere of the Digitally Restored "They Were Five"

A special 80th anniversary screening of digitally restored "They Were Five" (La belle équipe) (1936) will be offered to the Colcoa audience just weeks after its French release. Thus, the festival will pay tribute to writer-director Julien Duvivier (born 120 years ago) who was the first filmmaker to cast two French stars Jean Gabin and Charles Vanel in this classic, popular, social comedy (presented with the support of Pathé International - (Colcoa Classics)

- World Premiere of Digitally Restored Colcoa Hit: "On Guard"  

Romance and revenge are the main ingredients in this sweeping swashbuckler set in a lavish 17th century backdrop. "On Guard,"   which premiered 19 years ago at Colcoa, stars Daniel Auteuil, Philippe Noiret, Fabrice Luchini, three of the multi-star cast and co-written and directed by Philippe de Broca. The festival will present the World Premiere of the restored version for its U.S. release by The Cohen Media Group (Colcoa Classics)

From April 18 to April 26, 2016, filmgoers will celebrate the 20th edition of Colcoa French Film Festival  at the Directors Guild of America.

The full line-up of films in competition for the Colcoa Cinema and Television Awards, will be announced before March 29 .

»

- Sydney Levine

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Criterion Picks on Fandor: Directing in Color

26 January 2016 9:08 AM, PST | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

Each week, the fine folks at Fandor add a number of films to their Criterion Picks area, which will then be available to subscribers for the following twelve days. This week, the Criterion Picks focus on nine films where some of the most famous directors in the Criterion Collection first directed a feature in color.

Saturate yourself in the vivid stylings of some of our favorite directors, wielding a whole new spectrum of expression for the very first time.

Don’t have a Fandor subscription? They offer a free trial membership.

Dodes’ka-den, the Japanese Drama by Akira Kurosawa

The unforgettable Dodes’Ka-den was made at a tumultuous moment in Kurosawa’s life. And all of his hopes, fears and artistic passion are on fervent display in this, his gloriously shot first color film.

Equinox Flower, the Japanese Drama by Yasujirô Ozu

Later in his career, Yasujiro Ozu started becoming »

- Ryan Gallagher

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British Film and Hollywood: What If Hitchcock Had Stayed in the UK? Interview with Film Historian Anthony Slide

5 January 2016 1:15 AM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, and Ingrid Bergman: The 'Notorious' British (Hitchcock, Grant) and Swedish (Bergman) talent. British actors and directors in Hollywood; Hollywood actors and directors in Britain: Anthony Slide's 'A Special Relationship.' 'A Special Relationship' Q&A: Britain in Hollywood and Hollywood in Britain First of all, what made you think of a book on “the special relationship” between the American and British film industries – particularly on the British side? I was aware of a couple of books on the British in Hollywood, but I wanted to move beyond that somewhat limited discussion and document the whole British/American relationship as it applied to filmmaking. Growing up in England, I had always been interested in the history of the British cinema, but generally my writing on film history has been concentrated on America. I suppose to a certain extent I wanted to go back into my archives, »

- Andre Soares

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

9 items from 2016


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