GLOBALIZATION FIRE UP FEST MARKET
Annecy attendance has The Big Mo. And Hollywood and US animation at large is driving that surge as US industry reaches out to the world for talent & markets. 5 days out from 15th Jun launch of 2015 fest edihtion, France’s Annecy Animation Film Festival & Market were on track for an overall 10% – 15% accreditation boost, a near dramatic boost. US fest / market participants were up a remarkable 60%, Canada’s by 40%. Including the Festival’s International Animation Film Market (MIFA), registrations – industry professionals & accredited film school students, look set to come in around 8,000 vs. 7,100 in 2014, reported Patrick Eveno, CEO of Citia, the Annecy Fest’s organizer. At MIFA, market registrations were over 10% up year -on – year. MIFA began its 30th edition on 17th Jun, 2015 with more participants than it finished last year’s, MIFA head Mickael Marin confirmation. Put that down to globalization, often driven by a digital revolution.
BRUCE PITCHES ‘BADLANDS’
Bruce Tuchman, president of AMC Global & Sundance Channel Global, is pitching upcoming series ‘Into The Badlands’ as a role model for the company’s future content investments. “I’m proud to say I don’t know any broadcaster in US which has put in so much investment and put so much on the line into what is essentially a Chinese – inspired story and is now bringing that to a huge audience in US.” said Tuchman on at the China and the World conference on the fringes of the Shanghai Television Festival. Starring Hong Kong’s Daniel Wu, the 6 part series that debuts in Nov, 2015 is the story of a well – trained warrior who embarks on a journey across a dangerous territory to find enlightenment. Accompanying him on his journey is a young boy named M. K. (Aramis Knight). Tuchman said that the series is inspired by Chinese fantastical tale “Journey To The West” and is AMC’s “costliest investment till this date.” “It is a genre – bending show. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic US.
3 MOVIES JOIN THE FESTIVAL LINEUP
Kyle Balda & Pierre Coffin’s ‘Minions’, Chris Columbus’ ‘Pixels’ & ‘Terminator Genisys’, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger & Emilia Clarke, are among the films selected to play at Croatia’s Pula Film Festival. The international program competition includes George Ovashvili’s ‘Corn Island’, which won at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival; Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or winner ‘Dheepan’, Gabriel Ripstein’s ‘600 Miles’, winner of the Berlin Film Festival’s 1st feature award Alante Kavaite’s ‘The Summer Of Sangaile’, which won the Sundance Film Festival’s world cinema dramatic directing award. 14 films play in the competition section of the international program, and 14 features have been selected for the Croatian films program, which were chosen from the 28 movies submitted. The fest is headed by Gordana Restovic and the festival board includes Hrvoje Puksec, Mike Downey & Tanja Milicic. Downey, who is also deputy chairman of the European Film Academy, said: “The international program reflects a growing interest from the Pula public in quality cinema from all over the world.”
BRITISH COUNCIL LAUNCHES SCRIPT WRITING PROGRAM
The British Council has launched a UK -Nigeria screenwriting partnership program, Script Junction, which will run from Jun to Nov. The aim of the program, which is part of the British Council’s UK – Nigeria season of cultural collaborations, is to help 6 Nigerian & 6 UK screenwriters further develop their skills as well as to foster cultural exchange between the film industries in UK & Nigeria. The other program partners are the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the National Film & Television School, the Africa International Film Festival and the Nigerian Film Institute. The workshops will kick off with a 5 day module at the Edinburgh Film Festival from 19th – 23rd Jun, 2015. A 2nd 5 day module will be held in Nigeria during the Africa International Film Festival in Nov, 2014. At Afriff, all 12 participants will also pitch their projects to an expert industry panel and get feedback on their work. The project aims to “bring together, inspire & motivate a cohort of contemporary screenwriters to explore, develop & create screenplays.
MARY JOINS BFI FILM Fund
The British Film Institute has appointed Mary Burke as senior production & development executive at the BFI Film Fund. Burke joins from Warp Films, where she is an executive producer & board member. The BFI is UK’s largest public investor in film, with more than £30 million ($46.5 million) in funding to invest each year. Burke’s role will be to identify & support a diverse range of British feature film projects, working closely with writers, directors & producers across development & production. Burke’s producer credits include ‘Bunny And The Bull’, the 2009 feature debut from Paul King, who went on to direct ‘Paddington’, UK’s most successful independent film of 2014; ‘Submarine’, the feature BAFTA & BIFA winning debut of Richard Ayoade, which premiered at Toronto Film Festival in 2010; Paul Wright’s ‘For Those In Peril’, which premiered in Critics’ Week at Cannes in 2013; ‘Berberian Sound Studio’, the critically acclaimed 2nd feature from Peter Strickland, which premiered at Edinburgh in 2012; and Chris Waitt’s feature documentary ‘A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures’, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL TO CHINA SHOW
Cirque du Soleil is to open an office in China and launch its 1st permanent show in the country by 2018. The moves follow the acquisition of Cirque earlier this year by financier TPG & Fosun, the Chinese conglomerate that is fast expanding its entertainment & leisure portfolio. The developments were announced at a Fosun event in Shanghai, attended by 20th Century Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos, Cirque’s president and CEO Daniel Lamarre and representatives from South Korean talent agency SM Entertainment, in which Fosun also has an investment. ‘Titanic’ director James Cameron sent a video message. “Toruk – The First Flight,” a stage show derived from Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ will debut in Montreal and tour China in 2017, after several stops in North America. Cirque’s China office opens later this year in Shanghai. The permanent show will be based in Hangzhou and will be a part of a joint development with Hangzhou Industrial. It will be located within a large mixed – use residential, retail & entertainment development that Fosun describe as a hive city.
SHANGHAI FESTIVAL DROPS “TITAN”
The Shanghai International Film Festival, which opened recently, will not go ahead with the scheduled screening of Japanese cartoon ‘Attack On Titan: Guren No Yumiya’. The film appeared recently on a list of animated content which the Chinese government has banned because of “violent and pornographic content.” In a statement circulated only to Chinese media, the festival said that “Titan” had been withdrawn “due to technical reasons.” It said that the film’s 3 screenings will now be filled with other festival titles and that refunds would be available to those who bought tickets in advance. “Titan” (aka “Attack On Titan: Crimson Bow And Arrow”) is directed by Tetsuo Araki, produced by Wit Studio. It is handled internationally by Pony Canyon. The film was one of 8 Japanese movies submitted to the Shanghai festival by the Japan – China Friendship Film Festival Executive Committee. Festivals in China are often able to show films that would not be screened in Chinese commercial theaters, but they are not exempt from censorship.
BRIDGING THE DRAGON PROJECT MARKET
With the start of Shanghai festival, the 1st edition of the Sino – European project lab “Bridging The Dragon” comes to a close. The 4 day residential workshop was held in Songjiang, Shanghai. It saw 10 selected projects, 5 each from China & Europe, pitched, analysed & critiqued by a panel of experts. Of particular importance in the context of attempting to make films that might straddle both European & Chinese markets were elements including story structure, believability of the setting in relationship to the other co – producing side, and feasibility of the co – production. Screenwriting tutors included Shu Huan, Alex Jia, chief creative officer of the Shanghai New Culture Media Group, Luigi Ventriglia, tutor at TorinoFilmLab & Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten. Production experts included Xian Su from DMG Entertainment, Synnove Horsdal from Maipo Film, independent producer Chi Cheung Kwong, Dongrong Zhu from SMG Pictures, Leontine Petit from Lemming Film & Isabelle Glachant from Chinese Shadows.
‘LONG LIVE’ WINS THE WEEKEND
‘Love Live! The School Idol Movie’, a feature animation based on a multimedia project that encompasses a TV anime show, comic, music CDs & live concerts, opened at #1 in Japan for the 13th – 14th Jun, 2015 weekend. Bowing on just 121 screens, with Shochiku distributing, the film about teenaged girls who form an idol group to save their school from closing earned $3.42 million on 252,000 admissions. The film is expected to finish near the $20 million mark. Debuting at #2 was ‘Our Little Sister’, Hirokazu Koreeda’s Cannes competition entry about 4 sisters who form an unusual household in the seaside town of Kamakura. Opening on 323 screens, the film took in $1.86 million from 182,000 admissions. With Gaga & Toho as co – distributors and a full – scale media blitz by Koreeda and his 4 stars, the film looks likely to pass the $10 million milestone. Last week’s top ranking films, led by #1 ‘Tomorrowland’, slipped down 2 places to occupy the #3 to #8 slots. Naomi Kawase’s ‘An’, which also screened at Cannes, held onto its #10 rank, while reaching the JPY200 million ($1.6 million) mark on 94 screens with Elephant House distributing.
NETFLIX PRODUCTION PACT WITH KOGYO
Online video giant Netflix and the Yoshimoto Kogyo talent agency are partnering to make local programs for Netflix’s coming foray into the Japanese market, according to reports. In an unusual arrangement for the Japanese market, Netflix will underwrite a specified portion of the production costs, in exchange for exclusive streaming rights for a set period, according to Japan’s Nikkei newspaper. Meanwhile, Yoshimoto will retain the copyright, allowing it to sell the content elsewhere. The 1st show produced under the arrangement will reportedly feature Sanma Akashiya, a popular MC who has been a fixture on Japanese TV for decades. Netflix is reportedly in talks with Japanese TV production houses, animation studios and other contents producers for similar deals. Netflix is planning to launch a new video – streaming service in Japan this fall. Partly in response, 29 Japanese content providers, including major TV networks & film studios, joined together to form the Japan Contents Group (JCG) consortium at the end of May, 2015. They aim to start their own pay – per – view service before the end of the year.
‘JURRASIC WORLD 2ND LARGEST OPENER OF THE YEAR
Despite the ongoing MERS outbreak, the Korean box office recovered from last week’s slump. According to the KOBIS tracking service, admissions hit 2.19 million between Fri & Sun, represented a week – on – week rise of 147%. Spectators were brought out by ‘Jurassic World’. Released on Thurs, the UPI picture grossed $14.4 million from 1.81 million admissions in 4 days. Opening on 1,290 screens nationwide, “World” accounted for 72% of the weekend total. Its score was the 2nd highest opening of the year, behind ‘Avengers: Age Of Ulton’, which amassed $28.2 million in its 1st week. ‘San Andreas’ slipped to 2nd place, with a drop of 63%. The disaster pic earned $2.1 million between Fri & Sun, boosting its total to $11.2 million after 2 weekends. 3rd place went to Warner’s ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ with $1.05 million between Fri & Sun, down 49%. It has a cume of $28.3 million after a month in cinemas. The weak performance of Korean titles continued for another week. 5th placed, ‘The Treacherous’ managed $243,000 and after 4 weekends has accumulated $7.82 million. Last week’s opener ‘Perfect Proposal’ took an 87% tumble to 8th place, managing only $66,500 between Fri & Sun, and just $960,000 after 11 days.
LEE MIN – HO CONFIRMED HIS PRESENCE IN ‘BOUNTY HUNTERS
Fast rising Korean actor Lee Min -Ho, who has recently been in high demand in Greater China, has been confirmed to star in action – adventure film ‘Bounty Hunters’. The film is poised to be one of the most expensive in a growing wave of Korean – Chinese co -ventures. Pitched at Cannes by sales agency, it had a tentative budget of $16 million. More recent data put the budget at $31 million. Casting was confirmed this week by Lee’s agency. His recent credits also include ‘Public Enemy Returns’, & TV’s ‘Boys Over Flowers’. The movie is to be directed by Korea’s Shin Terra, action comedy and is written by Edmond Wong. It is the story of 5 bounty hunters who chase fugitives for money in China, Hong Kong, Korea & Thailand. Locations are expected to include Korea’s Jeju Island.
The production involves China’s Harmonious Entertainment Shanghai, Hong Kong’s Pegasus Motion Pictures, & Korea’s Starhaus Entertainment.
6 CELEBITIES BOOKED
Wes Anderson, Joel Coen, Frances McDormand, William Friedkin, Paolo Sorrentino & Italian star architect Renzo Piano are among onstage speakers recruited by new artistic topper Antonio Monda for the 10th edition of the recently reconfigured Rome Film Festival. Anderson (pictured) is booked for a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author Donna Tartt about their love for Italian movies; Joel Coen and McDormand will speak about what it’s like to be husband and wife on set, and also on the notion of “muse”; Friedkin will hold forth with an as yet unspecified Italian master; Sorrentino will screen and discuss a previously unseen short of his and talk about the films that formed his cinematic vision. Renzo Piano will talk about the rapport between movies and architecture. Monda, a New-York based Italian journalist and academic with ties to the U.S. film and literary worlds, recently replaced Marco Mueller as Rome’s artistic director, after Mueller’s three-year mandate expired. Piera Detassis, a prominent Italian film journalist, critic and fest topper, was named Rome prexy.
VENICE FILM FESTIVAL TO PAY HOMAGE TO FEDERICO FELLINI
Venice Film Festival will pay homage to Federico Fellini with a special world premiere screening of a freshly restored copy of ‘Amarcord’ in Sept, 2015, 4 decades after the Italian master’s reminiscence of his native ‘Rimini’ won the foreign – language film Oscar. The announcement was made by Italy’s Cineteca di Bologna, the prominent film archives known globally as a prime film preservation entity. It handled the restoration, sponsored by Italian fashion e – tailer Yoox Group in collaboration with Warner Bros & Italy’s Cristaldi Film, which produced the 1973 pic, the title of which means ‘I remember’ in the local dialect. Fellini’s. ode to his youth and satirical depiction of small – town Italy during 1930’s ‘Fascism’ is considered his most personal film. Co – written with poet & scribe Tonino Guerra, and shot at Rome’s Cinecittà Studios, it is set to Nina Rota’s nostalgic score. Cineteca di Bologna topper Gianluca Farinelli noted that ‘Amarcord’ is the last of 4 pics Fellini won Oscars for, and “in some way marks the start of the final period in his career. I also believe this film speaks a lot about Italy to an international audience,” Farinelli added. The 72nd edition of the Venice fest will run 2nd to 12th Sept, 2015.