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Udine Far East Festival selects 13 projects for genre market

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Companies including Xyz, Wild Bunch and Media Asia are set to attend.Scroll down for list of projects

Projects from 13 countries will be presented at this year’s edition of Focus Asia, the co-production market held at Udine Far East Film Festival April 26-28.

More than 100 sales agents and financiers will gather for the event, including representatives of Xyz, Media Asia, M-Line, Showbox, Wild Bunch, Reel Suspects, and M-Appeal.

While last year’s inaugural edition of Focus Asia featured screenings and events built around finished projects, this year’s crop are all in the early stages of development.

The selection was curated from 72 submissions by a committee featuring representatives of the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival and the Nordisk Film & Fond’s Nordic Genre Boost.

The project teams are from countries including Japan, Indonesia, France, Sweden, Italy, Singapore and Laos.

The Udine Far »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Amazon open to smaller indie pitches in UK

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SVoD service is keen for smaller UK TV indies to pitch ideas.

Amazon Prime Video is opening its doors to smaller UK indies and “boutique” producers as part of the next stage of growth.

The SVoD service is keen for fledgling producers and filmmakers to pitch projects to sit alongside ideas from high-end, Hollywood-backed firms.

Head of international originals Morgan Wandell told Screen’s sister publication Broadcast: “We are very open. Sometimes, the most original voices and distinctive filmmakers come from boutiques or the independent film world. We love that kind of talent.”

Last month, the digital streaming service ordered Le Mans: Racing Is Everything from New Black Films.

The series, commissioned by head of unscripted Conrad Riggs, tells the story of the gruelling 24-hour race, which was founded in 1923.

The indie, run by Senna producer Victoria Gregory and director James Erskine, is one of the first British producers to win a factual commission from Amazon since the »


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Front Row, Kuwait Cinema Company, Ahmad Helmy's Shadows launch TV series

38 minutes ago

Egyptian show Tough Luck will feature an all-star Arab cast.

Middle East and north Africa distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment is in production on its first regional television venture in the form of Tough Luck, an Egyptian sitcom lead by Sharif Ramzi and Mai Selim.

The company is financing and producing the Arabic-language project with the Kuwait National Cinema Company and Shadows Communications, the production arm of producer Ehab Sergany [pictured right] and actor Ahmad Helmy.

Helmy will have guest appearances in the show, joining a cast that is also due to include Ahmad Sakka, Mona Zaki, Mai Kassab, Ahmad Fahmi, Shiko, Nicole Saba, Hisham Majed, Baoiomy Fouad, Hassan Al Radad and others.

Director and writer is Akram Fareed, known for hit 2007 romance Omar & Salma.

Singers Mohammed Fouad, Bousi, Hisham Abbas, Mustapha Qamar and belly-dancer Fifi Abdo will also feature.

The show depicts a comedy of errors befalling residents in a dilapidated tenement of Cairo’s fifth district, as a series »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Front Row, Kuwait Cinema Company, Ahmad Helmy launch TV series

38 minutes ago

Egyptian show Tough Luck will feature an all-star Arab cast.

Middle East and north Africa distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment is in production on its first regional television venture in the form of Tough Luck, an Egyptian sitcom lead by Sharif Ramzi and Mai Selim.

The company is financing and producing the project with the Kuwait National Cinema Company and Shadows Communications, the production arm of producer Ehab Sergany and actor Ahmad Helmy [pictured right].

Helmy will have guest appearances in the show, joining a cast that is also due to include Ahmad Sakka, Mona Zaki, Mai Kassab, Ahmad Fahmi, Shiko, Nicole Saba, Hisham Majed, Baoiomy Fouad, Hassan Al Radad and others.

Singers Mohammed Fouad, Bousi, Hisham Abbas, Mustapha Qamar and belly-dancer Fifi Abdo will also feature.

The show depicts a comedy of errors befalling residents in a dilapidated tenement of Cairo’s fifth district, as a series of handymen, labourers and nannies attempt to fix the crumbling building »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Sundance comedy-drama 'The Last Word' gets UK deal

2 hours ago

Exclusive: Us outfit Myriad strikes deal for feature starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried.

Vertigo Releasing has nabbed UK rights to Sundance comedy-drama The Last Word, starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried.

The deal was negotiated by Ed Caffrey from Vertigo and Kirk D’Amico from Myriad Pictures.

Director Mark Pellington’s (Arlington Road) feature follows a retired businesswoman (MacLaine) who tries to control everything around her. When she decides to write her own obituary, a young journalist (Seyfried) takes up the task of finding out the truth resulting in a life-altering friendship.

The film is likely to get a June or July 2017 release.

Caffrey said: “We’re very excited to be working with Kirk and the whole team behind The Last Word on the UK release. Shirley MacLaine is Hollywood royalty and delivers a fantastic performance that we’re confident will really travel.”

Said Myriad president and CEO D’Amico: “I am delighted that Vertigo will release »


- andreas.wiseman@screendaily.com (Andreas Wiseman)

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How Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are transforming the TV business

2 hours ago

The scripted drama boom is changing the entire TV industry. But is it a change for the better?

“It’s an exciting time,” is a refrain now most commonly uttered by those in the business of making content for the Us streaming services.

Not only have Netflix, Amazon and co fuelled a surge in the volume of scripted content, subscription video on demand services (SVoDs) are also doing their bit, as they expand and evolve, to change the business and art of high-end television.

“Partly it’s driven by the SVoDs, partly it’s driven by the retrenching of the feature film business,” says Ted Miller, co-head of the television department at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), whose client Matthew Weiner is among the high-profile writer-producers working on streaming series.

The Crown

“You have artists who want to tell great stories and if those stories are not being done in the movie business they are being done now »


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CinemaCon: Focus touts 'Darkest Hour', 'The Beguiled', 'Atomic Blonde'

13 hours ago

Studio celebrates 15 years at Las Vegas anniversary lunch.

Gary Oldman talked up his role as former British prime minister Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, one of several titles on a 2017 slate Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski called “the best we’ve ever had.”

Oldman admitted he initially found the prospect of portraying the wartime leader intimidating, yet judging from footage, Joe Wright’s latest collaboration with Working Title and Focus after Anna Karenina, Atonement and Pride & Prejudice could become an awards season heavyweight when it opens in November.

“Winston was a hard one,” the British actor, who was transformed after more than three hours in make-up each day, said. “It’s a lot of wrap your head around. Not only the physical [transformation] but here was a man who was hailed as arguably the greatest Briton that ever lived. He’s an iconic figure, has been quoted many times, and many famous actors have portrayed him.

“It was daunting »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Sandi Richter Cooper named British Columbia film commissioner

13 hours ago

New hire has worked in film, TV and commercials for more than 25 years.

Creative BC announced on Wednesday that Sandi Richter Cooper will be the next British Columbia film commissioner and director of production services.

Cooper will report to Creative BC CEO Prem Gill and lead the production services team in the delivery of provincial film commission services, from locations marketing and physical production resource support, to industry and community relations services.

She will join the organisation on May 1 and will work closely with Creative BC’s current and acting film commissioner Robert Wong, whose priorities as vice-president will remain focused on the delivery of Creative BC’s development funding programmes, tax credit administration, international collaborations and marketing initiatives.

The appointment will enable Creative BC to support ongoing collaboration between the industry and government stakeholders who contribute to the province’s film business.

These include eight regional film commissions, industry and labour organisations, and government »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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eOne acquires TV rights to 'The Rocks'

13 hours ago

Mediterranean-set love story is told in reverse

The company announced on Wednesday it has acquired television rights to Peter Nichols’s novel.

BAFTA-nominated Tom Harper (pictured) will direct The Rocks and Laura Eason is attached to adapt the screenplay. Harper’s credits include the War & Peace mini-series and horror feature The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death.

The book was published in 2015 and is a love story told in reverse set on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca.

The story starts in the present day with the death of an older married couple who fall from a cliff after an argument.

It rewinds through time, following the intertwined lives of the couple and their families over the course of 50 years.

The series, developed in the Us and the UK, is being spearheaded by eOne’s Carolyn Newman and Polly Williams. eOne controls worldwide rights to the series. 

“Dark, funny and romantic, with a unique »


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CinemaCon: Warner Bros shows 'Dunkirk', 'Justice League' footage (reports)

13 hours ago

Studio wows crowd at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace on Wednesday with footage from upcoming tentpoles.

Christopher Nolan took to the stage on Wednesday to talk up his July 21 Second World War release Dunkirk and predictably spoke out in favour of the theatrical experience.

The British filmmaker is a vocal supporter of the big screen, a long-time friend of Imax, and critic of last year’s Screening Room proposal to shift to a day-and-date theatrical and home viewing paradigm.

Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy are among the cast in the story of the Allied evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk in summer 1940. Nolan introduced lengthy footage.

Meanwhile Zack Snyder did the same for Justice League, the all-star DC Entertainment mash-up starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa and Amy Adams due to open on November 17.

The audience got to see footage from Justice League, June 2 release Wonder Woman, and a montage »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Adrienne Becker named Annapurna COO

13 hours ago

Executive will work across all aspects of Megan Ellison’s company.

Adrienne Becker arrives from Killer Content where she served as CEO for the last three years.

Becker will lead Annapurna’s business strategy across Annapurna Pictures, Annapurna TV and Annapurna Interactive. She reports to founder and CEO Megan Ellison.

At Killer, Becker set up the development apparatus and broadened the company into a creator of television and digital media and added the Killer Films Media brand and digital arm.

She also secured corporate investment and raised funds to build a library of owned IP under Killer Impact, some of which she brings to Annapurna.

Becker will remain on the Killer Board and oversee the transition to a new CEO to be named in the coming weeks.

Annapurna is a stand-out, unique enterprise that persists, reinvents, and innovates, towards lasting value and impact,” Becker said. “I am excited and humbled to be joining the very talented team assembled »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Academy to continue working with PwC after Oscars gaffe

13 hours ago

New protocols include ban on electronic devices backstage on Oscar night.

It emerged on Wednesday the organisation will not sever its ties with the accountancy firm behind last month’s momentous Oscar night gaffe.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs notified members of the development following the board’s first meeting after what she called the “most extraordinary and memorable Oscars ceremony in decades”.

Heading into its 84th year working with PwC, the board reviewed its relationship with PwC covering Oscars voting, auditing, and taxes and decided to maintain ties.

However the Academy will put into place several new protocols after PwC partner Brian Cullinan mistakenly handed best picture co-presenter Warren Beatty the wrong envelope at the climax of the show.

PwC Us chairman and senior partner Tim Ryan will assume greater oversight; now that Cullinan and Martha Ruiz will no longer be working the show, PwC partner Rick Rosas will return as co-balloting leader and more key »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Academy to continue working with PwC

13 hours ago

New protocols include ban on electronic devices backstage on Oscar night.

It emerged on Wednesday the organisation will not sever its ties with the accountancy firm behind last month’s momentous Oscar night gaffe.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs notified members of the development following the board’s first meeting after what she called the “most extraordinary and memorable Oscars ceremony in decades”.

Heading into its 84th year working with PwC, the Academy board reviewed its relationship with PwC covering Oscars voting, auditing, and taxes and decided to maintain ties.

However the Academy will put into place several new protocols after PwC partner Brian Cullinan mistakenly handed best picture presenter Warren Beatty the wrong envelope at the climax of the show.

PwC Us chairman and senior partner Tim Ryan will assume greater oversight; now that Cullinan and last month’s show partner Martha Ruiz will no longer be working the show, PwC partner »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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CinemaCon: Vin Diesel pays tribute to Paul Walker

17 hours ago

‘Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot,’ star tells attendees.

In a show-stopping portion of Universal’s presentation in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Vin Diesel paid heartfelt tribute to the late Paul Walker before he introduced a surprise screening of April 14 release The Fate Of The Furious.

“That was a hard decision to make,” Diesel said of continuing the $3.9bn, 16-year-old global franchise after his friend’s death in November 2013. “But part of Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot.

“Every time you see Dom [Diesel’s character] on film, every time you see any of the cast… you are reminded of this angel that was so integral to this concept of brotherhood for our millennium.

“There’s something beautiful about that, something celebratory about that. The irony is when I thought about going into this eighth chapter, it was Paul Walker who promised eight.

“I played over and over in my brain him saying »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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CinemaCon: Vin Diesel pays tribute to Paul Walker

17 hours ago

‘Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot,’ star tells attendees.

In a show-stopping portion of Universal’s presentation in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Vin Diesel paid heartfelt tribute to the late Paul Walker before he introduced a surprise screening of April 14 release The Fate Of The Furious.

“That was a hard decision to make,” Diesel said of continuing the $3.9bn, 16-year-old global franchise after his friend’s death in November 2013. “But part of Paul’s legacy lives through every frame that we shoot.

“Every time you see Dom [Diesel’s character] on film, every time you see any of the cast… you are reminded of this angel that was so integral to this concept of brotherhood for our millennium.

“There’s something beautiful about that, something celebratory about that. The irony is when I thought about going into this eighth chapter, it was Paul Walker who promised eight.

“I played over and over in my brain him saying »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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CinemaCon: Universal shows 'The Mummy', 'Despicable Me 3' footage

18 hours ago

Studio hosts lively Las Vegas presentation on Wednesday.

Universal Pictures brought spectacular footage from Tom Cruise starrer The Mummy and invited Steve Carell to the stage to talk up Despicable Me 3.

Studio chairman Donna Langley kicked off the session by congratulating Focus Features on its 15th anniverary and told attendees at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace how Universal just recorded its best first quarter driven by Fifty Shades Of Grey, Split, and Get Out. The latter two titles from Blumhouse Pictures have generated more than $400m worldwide.

Langley added that 2016 was the second most profitable year in Universal history, powered in no small part by Illumination’s The Secret Life Of Pets and Sing, which combined for $1.48bn at the global box office.

The executive hailed Illumination Entertainment founder Chris Meledandri as a key part of the studio’s family and the animation guru enjoyed a brief chat with Carell.

“There’s a humanity »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Sundance Selects takes Us rights to 'Dealt'

18 hours ago

The documentary won the Audience Award at this year’s SXSW.

Sundance Selects has acquired Us rights to director Luke Korem’s Dealt, written by Bradley Jackson & Luke Korem.  

The film, a Keep On Running Pictures and Ralph Smyth Entertainment production, made its world premiere at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival and won the Audience Award in the Documentary Feature Competition, centres on Richard Turner, a living legend in the world of magic.

Dealt is the story of sixty-two year old Richard Turner who is known as one of the world’s greatest card magicians, yet he is completely blind. Richard traces his journey from his troubled childhood, when he began losing his vision, to present day as he pursues perfection, knowing his biggest weakness might also be his greatest strength.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Sundance Selects to share the magic and inspiration of Richard Turner’s amazing life story,” said Korem. “Sundance Selects »


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Graham Greene’s last novel to get film adaptation by William Boyd

19 hours ago

Chaplin writer to adapt novel for Wild Tales and Mad To Be Normal producers.

Bad Penny Productions has picked up rights to Graham Greene’s last published novel The Captain And The Enemy, which is being adapted for the big screen by screenwriter and novelist William Boyd (Chaplin).

The novel tells the story of a young boy named Victor Baxter taken away from his boarding school by a stranger to live in London. The mysterious stranger is simply known as “the Captain”.

In London Victor companions a sweet but withdrawn woman named Liza, serving as her conduit to the outside world. When Victor reaches manhood, he finally learns the secrets of the Captain.

The thriller includes smuggling, jewel theft and international espionage and culminates in a dramatic showdown in Panama.

In addition to Bad Penny’s Phin Glynn (Mad To Be Normal), other producers are Victor Glynn (That Good Night) and Axel Kuschevatzky (Wild Tales).

The film will »


- andreas.wiseman@screendaily.com (Andreas Wiseman)

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Afm to host LocationExpo in 2017

29 March 2017 5:42 AM, PDT

The market is also launching an online locations resource.

The American Film Market (Nov 1-8) is launching a platform to connect film commissions, production facilities and services with industry professionals.

The service, called LocationEXPO, will include a physical space during the market for networking and events, as well as an online locations, incentives and facilities resource, which has already launched.

A monthly newsletter, which the American Film Market says will be sent to more than 100,000 film professionals, will begin May 9.

“We are launching LocationEXPO to serve the growing number of Film Commissions that participate at Afm as well as provide access to Afm attendees for Film Commissions that are unable to attend,” said Jonathan Wolf, managing director of the Afm.

More than 50 film commissions attended the Afm last year including the Colombian Film Commission, FilmLA, Mexican Film Commission, Panama Film Commission, Spain Icex, Taipei Film Commission, Thai Trade Center, West Virginia Film Office and the New Zealand Film Commission.  »


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Afm to host locations expo in 2017

29 March 2017 5:42 AM, PDT

The market is also launching an online locations resource.

The American Film Market (Nov 1-8) is launching a platform to connect film commissions, production facilities and services with industry professionals.

The service, called LocationEXPO, will include a physical space during the market for networking and events, as well as an online locations, incentives and facilities resource, which has already launched.

A monthly newsletter, which the American Film Market says will be sent to more than 100,000 film professionals, will begin May 9.

“We are launching LocationEXPO to serve the growing number of Film Commissions that participate at Afm as well as provide access to Afm attendees for Film Commissions that are unable to attend,” said Jonathan Wolf, managing director of the Afm.

More than 50 film commissions attended the Afm last year including the Colombian Film Commission, FilmLA, Mexican Film Commission, Panama Film Commission, Spain Icex, Taipei Film Commission, Thai Trade Center, West Virginia Film Office and the New Zealand Film Commission.  »


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