Tribeca And Doha Film Fest End Partnership
After four years of collaboration, the Doha Film Institute and Tribeca Enterprises have announced the dissolution of their partnership on the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Doha Film Institute CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater says the Qatar-based festival will continue in a “new niche” with future plans to be laid out during Cannes next month. I’m told the separation was amicable after Tribeca helped launch the festival. Last year, DTFF showcased Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist which was made with the backing of the DFI. In Berlin earlier this year, Participant Media partnered with the DFI to form a $100M revolving fund to finance a slate of feature films.
Fraser Robinson Joins ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Former NBC Universal International Channels exec Fraser Robinson has joined ITV Studios Global Entertainment as VP scripted acquisitions & co-productions. He will be charged with growing the drama slate and co-production portfolio of the commercial arm of UK broadcaster ITV. He was previously director of scripted development for NBCU’s international channels group in London with responsibility for developing and managing co-produced content across over 50 platforms worldwide and oversaw series including Haven, Fairly Legal, Rookie Blue and Shattered. Read More »
The Gilles Bourdos-directed Renoir debuted in Un Certain Regard at Cannes last year where Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired it for the States. It’s been dated for a March 29 release, but before that Renoir will screen at the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema which kicks off tonight in New York. Celebrating its 18th year, the Rendez-Vous, presented by Unifrance and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, will screen 21 movies including A Lady In Paris with Jeanne Moreau, François Ozon’s In The House and tonight’s opener, Populaire which The Weinstein Co. has in the U.S. Renoir is set on the Côte d’Azur in 1915 and centers on Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir and the woman who becomes the painter’s model and the filmmaker’s lover. Veteran French actor Michel Bouquet stars with Vincent Rottiers and Christa Theret. The trailer is below; click over for the Rendez-Vous promo:
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Wesley Snipes Comeback Effort Kicks Off With ‘Gallowwalkers’
In advance of the former action star’s impending release from federal prison, Wesley Snipes is trying to get back into the game with the announcement that Gallowwalkers, the long-in-development action/sci-fi/horror film directed by Andrew Goth, will be shown to international buyers at the 2013 Berlin film market. Gallowwalkers features Snipes in the role of Aman, a cursed gunslinger whose victims return from the dead to torment him. The film, which began production in 2006, will have its market premiere February 8. Gallowwalkers also stars Riley Smith, Tanit Phoenix and Patrick Bergin. It is executive produced and produced by Jack Bowyer (Dark Hearts, Private Peaceful) and produced by Courtney Lauren Penn (Dark Hearts), and Brandon Burrows (Darks Hearts) of Boundless Pictures. VMI International is handling sales at Berlin. - Ross Lincoln
ITV Orders 300 More Episodes of ‘The Chase’
The UK’s ITV has renewed popular daytime game show The Chase with what is believed to be the network’s biggest order ever — more than 300 episodes over 2 seasons. The ITV Studios-produced show, which this week was named Broadcast magazine’s Best Daytime Programme, airs daily at 5 PM and has boosted the time-slot average by 1.1 million viewers, a 39% gain vs. last year.
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While the French film industry has recently been polarized at home – spurred on by a Le Monde editorial penned by Wild Bunch co-founder and sales chief Vincent Maraval – there was good news from abroad this morning. Foreign admissions hit a record high in 2012 with French films selling 140M tickets, an 88% uptick over 2011, for 875M euros ($1.17B) in receipts. Export body Unifrance says today that the figures for 2012 are doped by the extraordinary performance of a handful of films including Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s The Intouchables, Olivier Megaton’s Taken 2 and Oscar-winner The Artist, which rep 65% of overseas sales. Intouchables, which was shortlisted for the Foreign Language Oscar but failed to make the final nominations, is the most successful French-language film ever internationally at 29.6M tickets sold while the Luc Besson-produced Taken 2 is the most successful French film ever outside the home territory with over 46M admissions. Other films hitting high marks abroad include Michael Haneke’s multiple Oscar nominee Amour, comedy Asterix & Obelix: God Save Britannia, Bibo Bergeron’s animated A Monster In Paris, Jacques Audiard’s Rust & Bone and Pathé’s What’s In A Name. Western Europe consumed French films in record numbers and Asia had the strongest progression. North American audiences bought 32M tickets to French movies for a 45% jump on 2011.
Unifrance this week has been hosting the annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema which gives international buyers a look at upcoming French films on the slates of local sales companies. Next week, it will be back to business and to the debate over how French films are financed. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Wild Bunch has added eight French projects to its lineup ahead of the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in Paris next week. They include works from the talent behind such films as Of Gods And Men, A Prophet and Tell No One, and I’ve got a preview of them below.
The Rendez-Vous brings out some 450 international buyers to sample the wares of local sales companies — and soak up a lot of champagne. Sponsored by France’s film export body Unifrance, it’s a must-attend on the calendar for indie distributors who spend four days at a market and screenings in Paris’ Opéra Garnier district. Although not a lot of business is transacted during the event per se, it remains a key opportunity for French sales companies to offer a glimpse at locally produced films that will circulate throughout the year. Wild Bunch typically uses the Rendez-Vous as a platform for its French pics. Last year, Vincent Maraval and his team started talking about eventual Cannes Jury Prize winner Poliss, which Sundance Selects later picked up. In 2010, the company emphasized Of Gods And Men, which ultimately won the Cannes Grand Prize and the Best Picture César and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. This year, along with talking up the new French projects, Wild Bunch will screen The Players for the first time. The star-studded series of vignettes about infidelity is from a group of directors that includes The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin (starring here in his first role since The Artist). It sold well during AFM while the new titles are also ones to watch given the company’s track record with some of the biggest exports of recent years.
Among those new titles are Tell No One producer Alain Attal’s 14 million euros Populaire, an already buzzy Mad Men-era typing competition romcom starring Romain Duris, Deborah François and Artist breakout Bérénice Bejo. Another romantic comedy on the slate, director Valérie Donzelli’s Hand In Hand, sees a mirror maker with a taste for hip-hop and an opera dance director befallen by a strange phenomenon that leaves them forced to mimic each other’s movements. Wild Bunch recently handled Donzelli’s Declaration Of War, which is this year’s Oscar entry from France. The company is also repping Fidélité Films’ Renoir, about the relationship between artist Auguste Renoir, his filmmaker son Jean and the muse they once shared. Michel Bouquet stars. Also on the slate, Of Gods And Men co-screenwriter Etienne Comar and Vendome Pictures’ Philippe Rousselet are producing Haute Cuisine, based on the true story of French president François Mitterrand and his personal cook.
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UK Touts Film Tax Relief Results
Britain’s department of Revenue & Customs released figures today outlining the impact of the country’s production tax breaks. Since the scheme was introduced in January 2007, 760 films have been eligible for the tax relief with 650 films making £645 million worth of claims. Through the end of 2010, 585 films had received £570 million. The total production spend was £5 billion, 75% of it in the UK. Big-budget films had an average spend of £82.9 million. Films budgeted at under £20 million more frequently sought out the relief and were granted a total of £230 million versus £340 million for bigger-budget pics. Under the tax relief program, films with a core expenditure of £20 million or less can claim a 25% rebate on qualifying UK spend while pics with over £20 million in core expenditures can claim 20%. Films must either qualify as British or be an official co-production. Read More »