Johnny in the Clouds (1945) - News Poster


Danish 3D animation 'Giant Pear' sells to 20+ territories

  • ScreenDaily
Exclusive: LevelK inks slew of deals ahead of Cannes events.

Ahead of Cannes, LevelK has closed a raft of deals on the upcoming Danish 3D animation The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear.

The film has been acquired for more than 20 territories including France and Benelux (Ninety-Seven Film Production), Korea (Yejilim Entertainment), Hungary and Romania (Ads Service), Poland (Vivarto), Middle East (Empire Networks), Estonia (Estin Film), Bulgaria (Pro Films), Croatia and Slovenia (Radar), and Iran (Century 21).

At the Cannes market on Friday (May 19), LevelK will host director Philip Einstein Lipski to discuss the project in two exclusive events at the Scandinavian Terrace.

Lipski (Ronal The Barbarian) directs alongside Joergen Lerdam (Niko & The Way To The Stars) and Amalie Naesby Fick, in her feature debut.

Thomas Heinesen and Trine Heidegaard produce for Nordisk Film Production (whose sister distribution company will launch in Danish cinemas on Oct 12). A Film handles the animation. Backers also include
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Global Screen to distribute fantasy animation 'Bayala'

  • ScreenDaily
Pre-sales to begin at Cannes Marche in May.

Munich-based Global Screen has picked up worldwide distribution rights to English-language animation feature Bayala, a 3D project from the producers of Niko & The Way To The Stars and Ooops! Noah is Gone…

Global Screen will begin pre-selling the film at Marché du Film (May 13-22) in Cannes.

The feature, set in a fantasy world of mythical creatures, is based on a line of figurines produced by German toy manufacturer Schleich. Figurines tied in to the movie will be issued alongside the release of the film.

The story revolves around elf princesses Sera and Surah, who must take a dragon egg into the hills to save their own magical powers.

Bayala is produced by Hamburg-based Ulysses Films in co-production with Luxembourg’s Fabrique d’Images. Hamburg’s Studio Rakete (Ooops! Noah is Gone…, Niko & The Way to the Stars) will be responsible for the design and animation, based on the
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Sundance 2016: The Germans Are On the Move

In preparation for Sundance and Berlin, Beta has picked up worldwide rights to the Israeli feature in World Cinema Dramatic Competition Sundance, “Sand Storm” and Global Screen has picked up worldwide rights to the Colombian feature “Between Sand and Sea” (“La Ciénaga”)

By the producers of Venice Public Choice Award-winning “The Farewell Party”, “Sand Storm” is an Israeli drama, shot in Arabic by debut-writer/director Elite Zexer. It will have its World Premiere at Sundance on January 25 and the European premiere to follow at the Berlinale Panorama section in February.

“Sand Storm” is the second partnership between Beta Cinema and the Israeli 2-Team Productions ( Haim Mecklberg/ Estee Yacov-Mecklberg). The film was already given the top award at the Locarno Festival’s works-in-progress section.

As wedding festivities get underway in a Bedouin village in Southern Israel, Jalila finds herself in the awkward position of hosting her husband Suliman’s marriage to a second, much younger wife. During the celebration, Jalila stumbles across eldest daughter Layla’s involvement with a boy from her university—a strictly forbidden liaison that would shame the family. Burying the indignity of Suliman and his new bride living next door, Jalila also tries to contain Layla’s situation by clamping down on her. But younger and possessed of a boundless spirit, Layla sees a different life for herself...

Director Elite Zexer: “ ‘Sand Storm’ is 87 minutes, but for me, it's years. Years of an amazing ride, of passions, of struggles, of ups, of downs, of pure joy, of forever waiting or of an impossible run. Years of creation. What I learned during the making of this film is that the most wonderful part of filmmaking is the making. It's hard to part with it and let it run loose in the world. But it's also very exciting. I can't wait.”

Producer Haim Mecklberg (2-Team Production): “We're extremely proud of “Sand Storm”, which touched the hearts of everybody who was exposed to it so far. Our collaboration with Elite was a sheer delight. Her command of every aspect of the film did not seize to amaze us through every step of the production. After a great experience we had with Beta Cinema on “The Farewell Party” (Goldwyn distributed stateside), we were very happy to find out how much they loved “Sand Storm” and we're looking forward to another fruitful cooperation.”

Beta Cinema’s Thorsten Ritter says that “ ‘Sand Storm’ is a true gem. It depicts a very particular world and culture, but never in a folkloristic or exposing way. Instead it draws you right in to find yourself immersed in family dynamics that resonate universally and regardless of being a man or woman. And while the film has not a scene too many, it is yet nuanced and multi-layered, featuring beautiful performances and a filmmaker in full command. You can tell we’re very excited.”

The second announcement emanating about Sundance also comes from Germany

Colombian feature “Between Sea and Land” (“La Ciénaga”) directed by and starring Manolo Cruz was just picked up by Munich-based international sales agent Global Screen for the world (except for Latin America which will be handled by Cineplex and which Uip will distribute in Colombia itself).

It will have its world premiere January 22, 2016 at the Sundance Film Festival,

Between Sea And Land” (“La Ciénaga”) is a breathtakingly tour de force from actor – writer - director Manolo Cruz, codirected with Carlos del Castillo. The film, set on a small inlet adjacent to the Caribbean Sea in Colombia, tells the moving story of 28-year-old Alberto and his mother Rosa.

Alberto is afflicted with a neurological disorder that confines him to his bed, and his mother, Rosa, lovingly protects and takes care of him. Alberto’s wry humor and creativity help them muster the strength to endure, and he greatly enjoys the company of his neighbor Giselle, who showers Alberto with affection. But the life Alberto can imagine feels just as close-yet-out-of-reach as the sea he looks upon, and which he dreams of one day visiting.

Manolo Cruz (who also wrote the film) gives a tremendous performance as Alberto, a young man trapped by physical hardship but unbound by spirit. Working in close alliance with his co-director Carlos del Castillo during filming allowed Cruz the space to portray the extraordinary resilience and grace of a character caught in between the margins of a beautiful and fragile landscape.

Klaus Rasmussen, Senior Sales and Acquisitions Manager at Global Screen states, “Our whole team was amazed with this unique and exceptional film that takes the viewer into a different world poor in materialism but rich in human heart and courage. We are very happy to present Manolo Cruz’s film to the international audience.”

Between Sea And Land” (“La Ciénaga”) is produced by Mago Films in coproduction with Photogroup Films and Scarlett Cinema.

Global Screen GmbH is a leading German sales & distribution company for theatrical and TV films outside of German-speaking territories. Our company is one of the largest world-sales outfits in Europe and has a catalogue containing more than 15,000 titles. The theatrical distribution handles a varied portfolio of German- and foreign-speaking feature films focusing on commercial arthouse films, family entertainment, and high-profile documentary features.

Among Global Screen’s current theatrical films are “The Memory of Water” starring Elena Anaya, apocalyptic Sci-Fi Thriller "Sum1" starring Iwan Rheon, German action blockbuster “Nick – Off Duty” and Dominik Graf’s "Beloved Sisters", which represented Germany at the Academy Awards as well as Nadav Sherman’s "The Green Prince", who won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2014. Global Screen’s portfolio contains also Erik Pope’s "A Thousand Times Good Night" starring Juliette Binoche and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Sandra Nettelbeck’s "Mr. Morgan’s Last Love" with Michael Caine as well as Academy-Award-winning "Nowhere in Africa" (2001), "The Boat" (1981), "Good Bye, Lenin!" (2003), "When We Leave" (2009) and the very successful vampire arthouse hit "Let the Right One In" (2008). The high-profile 3D animation films "Niko & The Way to the Stars" and "Ooops! Noah is Gone…" were sold all over the world and established the company as one of the leaders in family entertainment distribution.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Terence Rattigan On Film: The Browning Version

I. The Rattigan Version

After his first dramatic success, The Winslow Boy, Terence Rattigan conceived a double bill of one-act plays in 1946. Producers dismissed the project, even Rattigan’s collaborator Hugh “Binkie” Beaumont. Actor John Gielgud agreed. “They’ve seen me in so much first rate stuff,” Gielgud asked Rattigan; “Do you really think they will like me in anything second rate?” Rattigan insisted he wasn’t “content writing a play to please an audience today, but to write a play that will be remembered in fifty years’ time.”

Ultimately, Rattigan paired a brooding character study, The Browning Version, with a light farce, Harlequinade. Entitled Playbill, the show was finally produced by Stephen Mitchell in September 1948, starring Eric Portman, and became a runaway hit. While Harlequinade faded into a footnote, the first half proved an instant classic. Harold Hobson wrote that “Mr. Portman’s playing and Mr. Rattigan’s writing
See full article at SoundOnSight »

London Stage Star and Olivier Henry V Leading Lady Asherson Dead at Age 99

'Henry V' Movie Actress Renée Asherson dead at 99: Laurence Olivier leading lady in acclaimed 1944 film (image: Renée Asherson and Laurence Olivier in 'Henry V') Renée Asherson, a British stage actress featured in London productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Three Sisters, but best known internationally as Laurence Olivier's leading lady in the 1944 film version of Henry V, died on October 30, 2014. Asherson was 99 years old. The exact cause of death hasn't been specified. She was born Dorothy Renée Ascherson (she would drop the "c" some time after becoming an actress) on May 19, 1915, in Kensington, London, to Jewish parents: businessman Charles Ascherson and his second wife, Dorothy Wiseman -- both of whom narrowly escaped spending their honeymoon aboard the Titanic. (Ascherson cancelled the voyage after suffering an attack of appendicitis.) According to Michael Coveney's The Guardian obit for the actress, Renée Asherson was "scantly
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Renée Asherson obituary

Versatile actor who combined grace with gravity in her many roles over 65 years

Renée Asherson, a vivacious and stylish actor, who has died aged 99, enjoyed a career on stage and screen spanning 65 years. She will be remembered as the French princess in Laurence Oliviers wartime propaganda film version of Henry V, pertly trimming her garden roses while rehearsing the English words for delicate body parts.

She had made her screen debut earlier the same year, playing a small role in Carol Reeds The Way Ahead (1944), Peter Ustinovs script (from Eric Amblers story) showing how an army officer (David Niven) organised a bunch of disparate conscripts into a plausible fighting unit. She followed that with another war-time adventure, this time with more love interest, Anthony Asquiths The Way to the Stars (1945), scripted by Terence Rattigan, in which she played John Millss girlfriend, with Michael Redgrave and Rosamund John as a more straightforwardly middle-class pair.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Pounding Heart wins at Dok Leipzig

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Dok Leipzig’s Golden Dove for Best International Documentary went to the Us, while Norway scored a hat-trick at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck.

The top award in Leipzig’s International Documentary Competition went to Italian-born, Us-based film-maker Roberto Minervini’s Stop The Pounding Heart whose portrayal of a strict religious family was described by the jury as ¨refreshing and unsettling at the same time.¨

The Us-Belgian-Italian co-production is handled internationally by Doc & Film.

The Golden Dove in the German Documentary Competition was awarded to Carlo Zoratti for his feature-length debut The Special Need, while the newly-created Golden Dove for the animation-documentary hybrid form was presented to French director Daniela De Felice’s Casa.

A total of 18 prizes with cash awards totalling almost €70,000 ($95,000) included the Fipresci Prize for Gang Zhao’s A Folk Troupe; the Mdr Film Prize for Vitaly Mansky’s Pipeline; and the Youth Jury Prize to Joanna by Aneta Kopacz, a graduate
See full article at ScreenDaily »


(Anthony Asquith, 1929; BFI, PG)

Educated at Winchester and Oxford, lifelong socialist, closet gay, son of a Liberal prime minister, Anthony Asquith (1902-1968) is a currently undervalued film-maker whose career began in the silent era when he studied American cinema in Hollywood and German expressionism in Berlin. The British character in its various forms fascinated him, especially the middle classes, and he found an important collaborator in Terence Rattigan. Their association lasted from 1937 to the mid-1960s, resulting in numerous crucial works, including the wartime morale-booster The Way to the Stars and that masterpiece of stiff-upper-lip repression, The Browning Version.

Just before the coming of sound Asquith made two silent classics, A Cottage on Dartmoor and Underground that put his rival Hitchcock into the shade in the way it absorbed foreign influences and experimented with new styles. Underground is an exhilarating celebration of modern city life as embodied by the London underground system,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Observer film critic steps down

His first column appeared in April 1963 and he would become the doyen of UK film critics. Having announced he will soon file his last column, he talks about meeting Chaplin, and Hollywood's greatest canine actors

Philip French's international reputation as a film critic is unrivalled. As recently as February, after a career with the Observer that began in 1963, an American film journal rated him as Britain's "greatest living movie analyst". But at the end of August he is to file his last column as this newspaper's film critic. After an illustrious half century, French, who was honoured with an OBE in January, has decided to step down following his 80th birthday the same month.

In his first column for the Observer, he bemoaned the lack of British films offering a believable picture of criminathe underworld. He noted "the tired vignettes of sub-Runyon characters" in The Small World of Sammy Lee starring Anthony Newley.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Terence Rattigan, the poet of repression

Terence Rattigan's masterpiece The Deep Blue Sea, now adapted for the screen, was based on an affair between men. He was not the only writer to change a character's sex

Terence Rattigan was the great playwright of restraint, which means, of course, that he was obsessed with the prospect of passion breaking out. There is no more fervent champion of sexual obsession than the puritan, and no more convincing exponent of the destructive power of passionate emotion than the poet of repression. Rattigan's great subjects are what may not be spoken about; what may be concealed; and the moments when people – particularly English people – find it impossible to say what they feel. These are subjects often ascribed to Noel Coward, but Brief Encounter is broad and explicit compared to the best of Rattigan. Consider, for instance, the great scene in the Raf movie The Way to the Stars, the
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

DVD Review - The Flight Before Christmas (2008)

The Flight Before Christmas (a.k.a. Niko & The Way to the Stars), 2008.

Directed by Michael Hegner and Kari Juusonen.

Featuring the voice talents of Andrew McMahon, Emma Roberts, Carly Baker, Morgan Jones, Norm Macdonald, Gavin Morgan, Susan Slott, Paul Tylack and Alan Stanford.


After he accidentally leads a pack of hungry wolves to his herd, a young reindeer sets off on adventure to Santa’s fell, hoping to find his father and fulfil his dreams of joining Santa’s ‘Flying Forces’.

It’s surprising how thin on the ground CG-animated Christmas movies are, especially considering the enormous popularity of the medium with both kids and adults alike (go on, you know you want to admit it). In fact, without consulting the encyclopaedia of CG-animation, I’m struggling to think of any computer generated Yuletide offerings, save for Robert Zemeckis’ motion-captured pairing of The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Anthony Asquith emerges from Hitchcock's shadow

Unlike his famous contemporary, Asquith struggled with the transition to sound – but his partnership with Terence Rattigan produced classic cinema and theatre

When Alfred Hitchcock, interviewed by François Truffaut, lamented the "photographs of people talking" that passed for movies, he was voicing an old commonplace. Even before the coming of sound Anthony Asquith, the director with whom Hitchcock was then routinely compared (both were young, promising, stylistically similar, socially distinct) complained of films comprising "alternate close-ups of two men talking across a table with subtitles giving their conversation sandwiched in between. That is not a real film, but a photographed play."

For the cognoscenti cinema meant movement, rhythm, Battleship Potemkin. In a word, montage. Asquith was there in February 1929 when Vsevolod Pudovkin, in front of an English audience after the London debut of The End of St Petersburg, described the "Kuleshov experiment". Its inspirational conclusion, in Asquith's paraphrase, was that
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Jean Simmons obituary

British-born film star known for her roles in Great Expectations and Spartacus

Jean Simmons, who has died aged 80, had a bounteous moment, early in her career, when she seemed the likely casting for every exotic or magical female role. It passed, as she got out of her teens, but then for the best part of 15 years, in Britain and America, she was a valued actress whose generally proper, if not patrician, manner had an intriguing way of conflicting with her large, saucy eyes and a mouth that began to turn up at the corners as she imagined mischief – or more than her movies had in their scripts. Even in the age of Vivien Leigh and Elizabeth Taylor, she was an authentic beauty. And there were always hints that the lady might be very sexy. But nothing worked out smoothly, and it is somehow typical of Simmons that her most astonishing
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Jean Simmons obituary

British-born film star known for her roles in Great Expectations and Spartacus

Jean Simmons, who has died aged 80, had a bounteous moment, early in her career, when she seemed the likely casting for every exotic or magical female role. It passed, as she got out of her teens, but then for the best part of 15 years, in Britain and America, she was a valued actress whose generally proper, if not patrician, manner had an intriguing way of conflicting with her large, saucy eyes and a mouth that began to turn up at the corners as she imagined mischief – or more than her movies had in their scripts. Even in the age of Vivien Leigh and Elizabeth Taylor, she was an authentic beauty. And there were always hints that the lady might be very sexy. But nothing worked out smoothly, and it is somehow typical of Simmons that her most astonishing
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Jean Simmons: an unforgettable English rose

Philip French pays tribute to the Rank Organisation starlet who went on to become one of Hollywood's most luminous actresses

Jean Simmons, who has died at the age of 80 of lung cancer in Santa Monica, California, was among the finest, most beautiful British movie actresses of the postwar years. She was one of only two from that great 1940s flourishing of our native industry under J Arthur Rank to become a major star in Hollywood; the other was Deborah Kerr, with whom she twice appeared.

Born in 1929, the daughter of a gym teacher who had represented Britain in the 1912 Olympics, she grew up in Crickle­wood, north London, of which she once disloyally remarked: "No Cricklewood girl would ever admit to being from there." She got a deal of work as a child actress, without becoming a child star (her most memorable early appearance is singing at a forces concert
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

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