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Odeon & Uci chief operating officer Ian Shepherd exits

4 minutes ago

Shepherd is also leaving his position at the Nfts.

Odeon & Uci Cinema chief operating officer Ian Shepherd has exited the major European exhibitor.

Shepherd was at Odeon for three years, initially as group chief commercial officer. He took up the position of COO in December 2016.

Ian Shepherd

He is replaced by Jan Bernhardsson, formerly president and CEO of Nordic Cinema Group, which AMC acquired in a $929m deal earlier this year.

Last month, Bernhardsson was promoted to COO at Odeon and executive vice president of AMC Europe. He will be in charge of all the AMC controlled theatres across 14 countries in Europe, and will report to Mark Way, managing director of Odeon Cinemas and president, AMC Europe.

A spokesperson for Odeon sent Screen the following statement: “Ian told us earlier this year that although he wanted to work with us to ensure that our transition into AMC was a success, his longer »

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

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Gemma Arterton to star in Jessica Swale's 'Summerland'

1 hour ago

Exclusive: Embankment launches sales on Second World War drama.

Gemma Arterton will lead the cast of Summerland, the directing debut of Olivier Award-winning playwright Jessica Swale.

Swale has also penned the screenplay of the feature, which is set during the Second World War and stars Arterton in the lead role of Alice.

When an evacuee boy arrives out of the blue and is placed in her care, Alice resolves to be rid of him. Yet, as the young boy opens her heart, allowing her to unlock the secrets of her past, Alice begins to realise that sometimes imagination really can set you free.

Swale won Bafta’s Jj Screenwriting bursary for the project in 2012.

Her theatre credits include Blue Stockings, which premiered at London’s Globe theatre in 2013, and Nell Gwynn, starring Arterton, which won her the Olivier Award for best new comedy in 2016.

Guy Heeley of Shoebox Films, whose credits include Locke, is producing »


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

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Palm Springs sets 2018 dates

2 hours ago

California film festival reveals initial schedule for 29th edition.

Palm Springs International Film Festival has revealed the dates of its 29th edition.

The festival will run January 2-15 in 2018.

It will kick off with the annual film awards gala on Jan 2, which this year featured the likes of Amy Adams, Andrew Garfield and Mahershala Ali.

Palm Springs will host a ‘Power of Words: Book to Screen’ focus on Jan 3, with the screening portion of the festival running Jan 4 – Jan 15 next year.

The 2017 edition saw Toni Erdmann win the Fipresci prize, while Gus Van Sant’s When We Rise won the audience award. »


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Directors UK appoints chair

3 hours ago

Steve Smith replaces Beryl Richards on UK organisation’s board.

Directors UK, the professional association for British screen directors, has appointed Steve Smith as the new chair of its board.

Smith replaces the outgoing Beryl Richards, who is stepping down after two and a half years in the post.

He steps up from the role of vice chair, which he has been in for two years.

Smith is a director whose career in television has included stints on The Graham Norton Show on the BBC, as well as The New Paul O’Grady Show and Da Ali G Show.

Richards is departing after reaching the maximum term length of six years on the board.

During her tenure, she spearheaded campaigns on issues such as gender, diversity, pay, copyright and on the importance of training and career development for directors.

Andrew Chowns, Directors UK’s chief executive commented: “I would like to thank Beryl for all her work »


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

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Finnish Film Foundation elects new commissioners

3 hours ago

Sarita Koskelin and Kari Paljakka will start in new roles next year.

The Finnish Film Foundation has elected Sarita Koskelin and Kari Paljakka as its new Feature Film Commissioners, starting from Jan 1 2018.

In addition to handling the support for feature films, Koskelin will handle applications for television drama series and Paljakka for minority co-productions.

Koskelin and Paljakka will take over their duties from the current Feature Film Commissioners Hannu Tuomainen and Marjo Valve, who will finish their five-year terms at the end of this year.

Koskelin (formerly Sarita Harma) is a TV producer who is currently executive producer in charge of drama at Finnish MTV Media Company. She has also served on the Finnish Film Foundation’s governing board from 2007 to 2011.

Paljakka is a film director and scriptwriter who has previously served as a Production Consultant at Avek – The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture from 1998 till 2001 and worked as a film producer at Filmitakomo.

Finnish Film Foundation Managing »


- wendy.mitchell@screendaily.com (Wendy Mitchell)

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Arp to release Cannes Midnight title 'The Merciless' in France

3 hours ago

Cj strikes French deal for South Korean action film.

South Korea’s Cj Entertainment has sold Cannes Midnight Screenings title The Merciless to French distributor Arp, which will release the film throughout France on June 28.

Directed by Byun Sung-hyun (Whatcha Wearin’), The Merciless stars Seol Gyeong-gu (a.k.a. Sul Kyung-gu, Cold Eyes) as a gangster plotting to take over a criminal organisation who teams up with a fearless newbie in prison, played by boy band Ze:a member Yim Si-wan (The Attorney).

“The Merciless is a very tense thriller, a very clever script, expertly directed, with strong characters, great gunfights and many unexpected twists. We hope that in France, fans of thriller, action and pure entertainment will be as thrilled as we were watching the film,” said Michèle Halberstadt, Arp head of acquisitions.

Arp previously distributed other Korean titles such as Kim Jee-woon’s The Good, The Bad, The Weird and I Saw The Devil, as well as »


- hjnoh2007@gmail.com (Jean Noh)

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Norway backs Marius Holst WW2 film 'Betrayed'

4 hours ago

Project illumates a dark chapter in Norwegian history.

The Norwegian Film Institute has allocated $1.4m (Nok 12m) in production funding for Marius Holst’s next film.

Betrayed is a €5.3 million (Nok 49 million) production by Martin Sundland and Are Heidenstrøm for Oslo’s Fantefilm, whose credits include disaster hit The Wave.

Betrayed - set for release in autumn 2019 — is about a dark chapter of Norway’s World War 2 history “that few Norwegians knew or wanted to acknowledge.”

The historical drama will tell the story of hundreds of Norwegian Jews who were rounded up in the middle of the night of 26 November 1942 and taken to Oslo harbour where they were put on a German cargo ship bound for Auschwitz.

“Prior to Marte Michel’s award-winning book, The Ultimate Crime, the way the Jewish society was treated in Norway during WW2, was part of our history that few people knew about. Even fewer were interested in illuminating it. In this movie »


- wendy.mitchell@screendaily.com (Wendy Mitchell)

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Men earn 10% more than women at the BBC

4 hours ago

Gender pay gap figures revealed.

Men are earning 10% more than their female counterparts at the BBC, according to figures published this week.

The broadcaster revealed, as part of a freedom of information request, that the average level of pay for men is 10.4% higher than for women.

As of 31 December 2016, women earned an average of £34,400 at the BBC, while men earned an average of £37,971.

The gender pay gap has closed since 2015, when there was an 11.3% difference, with women earning an average of £33,923, compared to £37,758 for men.

The corporation also revealed that there are almost half as many women earning £75,000 or above, compared to men.

It reported that there were 334 women earning £75,000 or above as of 31 December 2016, compared to 615 men.

The gap has slightly increased over the last twelve months, growing from 44.8% fewer women to 45.7%.

The BBC said: “Pay differences can arise for a number of reasons, such as geographical location, conditioned hours, the application »

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'McKellen: Playing The Part' gets sales deal, first clip released

5 hours ago

Exclusive: Independent boards doc about the life and career of acting legend Ian McKellen.

London-based sales and production outfit Independent has boarded feature documentary McKellen: Playing The Part and will introduce the title to buyers at Cannes.

Watch an exclusive first clip below, or click here to watch on mobile.

Joe Stephenson (Chicken) is directing the feature about the life of revered English actor Ian McKellen, whose career has spanned nearly 50 years and has seen him Oscar nominated for roles in Gods And Monsters and The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring.

The film, which is based around an exclusive 14-hour interview with McKellen, will also feature archive material of the actor’s early work, and never-before-seen photography from McKellen’s private collection.

English singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel has written music for the film, which also features the likes of Luke Evans, Frances Barber, Adam Brown, Scott Chambers, Milo Parker and [link »


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

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Michael Moore, Kim Longinotto, Dionne Walker projects set for Doc/Fest market

5 hours ago

Documentary festival’s MeetMarket will host 65 projects at 2017 edition.

A Michael Moore exec-produced Orson Welles doc and Dan Gordon’s Cuban sports film are among projects to be pitched at Sheffield Doc/Fest’s MeetMarket.

The festival’s flagship pitch event, which takes place on 12-13 June, will host 65 projects selected from more than 500 submissions.

The Mark Cousins-directed Orson Welles: A Portrait Of The Artist will be seeking sales and distribution deals at the market, alongside Kim Longinotto’s Shooting The Mafia, a film about a female photographer’s war against the Mafia.

Hillsborough director Dan Gordon will return to pitch Running For The Revolution with co-producer Julie Goldman, and Bafta-nominated The Hard Stop producer Dionne Walker is to present psychological doc Invisible Woman 2.0, about a couple working the streets of Paris.

Elsewhere, the Laura Poitras exec-produced The Rashomon Effect, directed by Lyric R. Cabral, will look at the differing perspectives of eyewitnesses recalling the shooting »


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First English trailer for Philippe Garrel's 'Lover For A Day'

6 hours ago

Exclusive: Stylish, steamy and very French, Garrel’s new feature explores his trademark theme of relationships.

Screen can reveal a first English-language version of the teaser for Lover For A Day, through French producer Saïd Ben Saïd’s Paris-based production and distribution house Sbs, which is also handling international sales.

Watch below, or on mobile Here.

Philippe Garrel may be one of the only representatives of the French New Wave, alongside Agnès Varda, in Cannes this year as the festival marks its 70th anniversary, unless Jean-Luc Godard puts in a real-life appearance which is unlikely.

Garrel will not be premiering his latest work Lover For A Day in Official Selection, however, but rather Directors’ Fortnight.

The director, 69, has been a regular guest at the parallel section ever since attending its first edition in 1969 when it launched as a rebellious counterpoint to the main festival following the student and workers revolt of 1968.

Set in contemporary Paris and shot »


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Stanley Tucci's Giacometti biopic 'Final Portrait' gets UK deal

6 hours ago

Exclusive: Vertigo acquires project starring Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer and Clémence Poésy.

Vertigo Releasing has acquired Final Portrait, a biopic of Alberto Giacometti directed by Stanley Tucci, for the UK and Ireland.

Geoffrey Rush plays the Swiss painter and sculptor with Armie Hammer and Clémence Poésy co-starring.

Adapted from U.S. writer James Lord’s memoir A Giacometti Portrait, the film offers a window into the chaotic life of the artist in 1960s Paris.

Ed Caffrey from Vertigo Releasing and Nicole Mackey of Hanway Films struck the deal.

The film, a labour of love for Beauty And The Beast and Hunger Games star Tucci, premiered at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

Vertigo are planning a summer 2017 release to coincide with Tate Modern’s Giacometti retrospective and are exploring opportunities to cross promote.

Gail Egan produces for Potboiler alongside Nik Bower for Riverstone Pictures and Ilann Girard for Arsam International. Riverstone Pictures fully financed »


- orlando.parfitt@screendaily.com (Orlando Parfitt)

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Pact proposes 40% UK tax credit for British independent films

6 hours ago

UK producers including Andy Paterson and Rebecca O’Brien back the radical proposal.

On the day that Pact-commissioned report The State Of The UK Independent Film Sector is launched, leading British producers have made a radical new proposal for the UK’s film tax credit to be hiked up to 40% for British films in the £2m to £10m budget range.

The Film Tax Relief (Ftr), introduced in 2007, is acknowledged to have helped spending on UK film production to reach record levels (£1.596bn in 2016) but the plight of independent producers remains dire.

The report, put together by consultancy firm Olsberg Spi and focusing on the period between 2007 and 2017, exposes many of the chronic problems now facing the independent sector.

Prime among these is the struggle for producers to make a living yet alone build a sustainable business when (the report calculates) the international market value for UK independent films has plummeted by 50% since 2007 and continues to fall.

“Over »


- geoffrey@macnab.demon.co.uk (Geoffrey Macnab)

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'Keep The Change', 'Son Of Sofia' triumph in Tribeca awards

17 hours ago

Bobbi Jene among top competition prize-winners at 16th annual festival.

Rachel Israel’s Keep The Change was named best U.S. narrative and Elina Psykou’s Son Of Sofia best international narrative as the Tribeca Film Festival handed out juried awards on Thursday evening.

Bobbi Jene directed by Elvira Lind won the best documentary award. Israel also won the Best new Narrative Director award.

For the fifth year, Tribeca recognised innovation in storytelling through its Storyscapes Award for immersive storytelling, which this year went to Treehugger: Wawona.

Alessandro Nivola won the Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film award for One Percent More Humid, while Nadia Alexander received Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film for Blame.

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film went to Angus MacLachlan for Abundant Acreage Available.

Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film went to Guillermo Pfening for Nobody’s Watching (Colombia, Argentina, Brazil »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Gravitas Ventures expands into international sales

17 hours ago

Distribution and sales veteran Scott Kaplan has joined Gravitas Ventures as senior vice-president of global sales.

Kaplan will be based in New York and report to Gravitas president Michael Murphy, licensing new releases and library titles to international buyers.

“We see traditional international sales as complementary to our global licensing business,” Murphy told Screen. “We want to be able to give our filmmakers the best of both worlds to maximize revenue and exposure.”

Kaplan most recently served as senior vice-president of global sales at Gunpowder & Sky Distribution, and served in the same capacity at FilmBuff, which Gunpowder & Sky acquired last year.

“In addition to having great sales acumen, Scott brings a critical expertise to our team,” Murphy said. “He has a great eye for global acquisitions. In the last few years we’ve seen strong international growth and with the addition of Scott we’re going to step on the gas to further increase global awareness.”

Kaplan »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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A71 picks up Hot Docs selection 'My Enemy, My Brother'

17 hours ago

Hot Docs runs from April 27-May 7.

A71 has acquired My Enemy, My Brother ahead of the film’s world premiere at Hot Docs on Saturday (29).

Ann Shin directed the story of two former enemies who become blood brothers after one, an Iranian boy who left home to join the army, saved the life of the other, an Iraqi conscript, during the Iran-Iraq War. The men lost contact for 25 years until they were reunited.

My Enemy, My Brother began as a short film and was shortlisted for the Oscar in 2015. The feature will screen again in Hot Docs on May 1 and May 6.

“We are very happy to have acquired the Canadian rights to My Enemy, My Brother,” David Miller, co-president of A71 Entertainment, said. “Ann and her team obviously had such great success with the short, and they did a fantastic job turning this into a powerful feature length story.”

Shin also produced. Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, [link »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Vine acquires Manchester Library

17 hours ago

Investor recently secured controlling interest in Village Roadshow Entertainment Group.

Vince Alternative Investments has bought the Manchester Library Company

The new deal gives Vine a library of 30 theatrical releases that generated approximately $1.5bn worldwide including Limitless, Immortals (pictured), The Fighter, and The Strangers. 

Manchester also holds the Rogue film library and several other titles. The deal includes the underlying remake and sequel rights to many of the titles. 

“The Manchester transaction reinforces Vine’s strategy to leverage and parlay our expertise in managing and owning scalable entertainment assets,” Vine CEO Jim Moore said.

“This library has the right blend of genres, rights opportunities and evergreen appeal that fits within our asset programme.”

Morgan Lewis represented Vine in the transaction, while O’Melveny & Myers represented the seller.

Evolution Media Capital advised the seller.

Vine recently secured a controlling interest in Village Roadshow Entertainment Group. Moore now serves as chairman of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group. »


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Damien Chazelle attached to TV musical drama 'The Eddy'

20 hours ago

Musical drama takes place in contemporary multicultural Paris.

Oscar-winning La La Land director Damien Chazelle is attached to direct The Eddy.

The story takes place in a contemporary multicultural Paris that revolves around a club, its owner, the house band and the volatile city that surrounds them. 

Jack Thorne, who recently wrote the play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child with J.K. Rowling, will write the project. 

Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Glen Ballard, best known for co-writing Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill and Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror, and Six Feet Under showrunner Alan Poul are attached as executive producers.

Chazelle became the youngest best director Oscar winner for La La Land at the age of 32 in February, and rose to fame with Whiplash, which he wrote and directed.  

Upcoming projects include a reunion with La La Land star Ryan Gosling (pictured with Chazelle) on First Man, Universal Pictures’ [link »


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Cannes adds Roman Polanski, Ruben Östlund to line-up

20 hours ago

Santiago Mitre’s La Cordillera, Li Ruijun’s Walking Past The Future join Ucr.

Roman Polanski’s Based On A True Story is one of several additions to the Cannes line-up announced on Thursday.

The film will play out of competition and stars Eva Green, Emmanuelle Seigner and Vincent Perez and tells of a writer who gets involved with an obsessive fan.

Meanwhile Ruben Östlund’s The Square lands a competition slot. Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West star in the drama about a city square where there are no rules. Östlund’s last film, Force Majeure, won the Un Certain Regard jury prize in 2014.

There are two additions to Un Certain Regard. Political drama La Cordillera stars Ricardo Darin and is Argentinian director Santiago Mitre’s follow-up to his Cannes Critics’ Week 2015 Nespresso Grand Prize-winner Paulina. The other new selection is Walking Past The Future from Li Ruijun.

Joiing the Special Screenings roster are Barbet Schroeder’s [link »


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Fsc bulks up Hot Docs slate with 'Forbidden Games', 'This Cold Life'

21 hours ago

Exclusive:Both documentaries to receive world premieres in Canada.

Film Sales Company president Andrew Herwitz has added two films to his Hot Docs slate as the festival gets underway in Toronto.

Adam Drake and Jon Carey directed Forbidden Games, which centres on the life of Justin Fashanu, the talented and first openly gay British footballer who rose to fame in the 1980s.

Unlike his brother and fellow professional John, who learned how to navigate the media and thrived, Justin Fashanu’s life was marked by struggle and ended in tragedy.

This Cold Life by Darren Mann focuses on Longyearben, the northernmost town in the world, where inhabitants must rally together in the face of environmental changes.

Herwitz holds worldwide rights to both films.

As previously reported, the Film Sales Company will premiere 32 Pills at Hot Docs, as well as SXSW selection Spettacolo, which Herwitz just licensed to Grasshopper Film for the Us, and Berlinale »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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