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Actor and comedian Jerry Lewis dies aged 91

20 August 2017 1:09 PM, PDT

Lewis passed away at his home in Las Vegas.

Comedian and actor Jerry Lewis died aged 91 today (20 August).

His family released a statement which said: “Famed comedian, actor and legendary entertainer Jerry Lewis passed away peacefully today of natural causes at 91 at his home in Las Vegas with his family by his side.”

Lewis starred in a hugely successful series of film comedies with Dean Martin, such as At War With The Army and That’s My Boy.

His other hits included Cinderfella, The Nutty Professor and the Delicate Delinquent. Later in his career he teamed with Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro for The King Of Comedy.

During his life Lewis raised millions for muscular dystrophy, hosting telephons to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association from 1952-1959 and then 1962-2010. »


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

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Universal crosses $3bn at international box office (update)

20 August 2017 12:14 PM, PDT

Despicable Me franchise takes crown from Ice Age series.

Updated: Universal crossed $3bn at the international box office on Friday. This is the second time in the studio’s 105-year history that it has reached the milestone following 2015. Combined with the studio’s North American total of $1.4bn, Universal’s 2017 global box office stands at $4.4bn to date.

Illumination’s Despicable Me 3 powered the studio past the threshold, grossing $9.3m in 58 territories this weekend to raise the international total to $697.8m. Combined with North America’s $251.8m, the worldwide total has reached $949.6m.

Internationally, the Despicable Me franchise on $2.431bn overtook the Ice Age franchise on $2.427bn on Sunday to become the highest grossing animated film franchise of all time at the international box office. 

On August 6, the Despicable Me franchise passed the Shrek series to become the highest grossing animated film franchise worldwide.

In Japan, Despicable Me 3 ranks number one in its fifth weekend »


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Universal crosses $3bn at international box office

20 August 2017 12:14 PM, PDT

Despicable Me franchise takes crown from Ice Age series.

Universal crossed $3bn at the international box office on Friday. This is the second time in the studio’s 105-year history that it has reached the milestone following 2015. Combined with the studio’s North American total of $1.4bn, Universal’s 2017 global box office stands at $4.4bn to date.

Illumination’s Despicable Me 3 powered the studio past the threshold, grossing $8.4m in 58 territories this weekend to raise the international total to $696.7m. Combined with North America’s $251.7m, the worldwide total has reached $948.4m.

Internationally, the Despicable Me franchise on $2.428bn overtook the Ice Age franchise on $2.427bn on Sunday to become the highest grossing animated film franchise of all time at the international box office. 

On August 6, the Despicable Me franchise passed the Shrek series to become the highest grossing animated film franchise worldwide.

In Japan, Despicable Me 3 ranks number two in its fifth weekend as $2.3m »


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Roman Polanski denied dismissal of 1977 rape case

18 August 2017 10:33 AM, PDT

Request to unseal 2010 testimony from original prosecutor also denied.

Roman Polanski has failed to have his decades-old case for the sexual assault of a minor dismissed. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott M Gordon issued the order on Friday.

Samantha Geimer, Polanski’s victim, told the court in June that throwing out the 40-year-old case would rescue her from dealing with the impact of the continuing litigation.

Gordon noted in his 10-page order that the court “may not dismiss a case merely because it would be in the victim’s best interest.”

“The defendant in this matter stands as a fugitive and refuses to comply with court orders,” Gordon wrote. “As eloquently described by Ms. Geimer, his conduct continues to harm her and compounds the trauma of the sexual assault committed against her that gave rise to this case.”

Gordon followed with the crux of his reasoning for not dismissing the case: ”The defendant continues to stand »


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The Weinstein Company launches animation label Mizchief

18 August 2017 6:24 AM, PDT

First release will be Leap!, featuring Elle Fanning.

The Weinstein Company (TWC) is launching an animation-focused distribution label titled Mizchief.

The first release under the new banner will be Eric Summer and Éric Warin’s Leap! [pictured]. The animated feature has a voice cast including Elle Fanning, Nat Wolff, Maddie Ziegler, with Carly Rae Jepsen, Kate McKinnon, and Mel Brooks. Leap! has been given a Us release date of Aug 25.

Mizchief’s second release will be The Guardian Brothers, from director Gary Wang and Life Chaser Animation Studios. The film’s voice cast includes Meryl Streep, Mel brooks, Nicole Kidman, Edward Norton, Dan Fogler, and Bella Thorne.

The company, which has scaled back its theatrical operations in the past 18 months, said in a press release that it is planning to build its slate of animated films and that it has two projects in development – adaptations of Philip Pullman’s The Firework-Makers Daughter and George Selden’s The Cricket In Times Square.

TWC »


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

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John Boyega confirms royal cameos in 'Star Wars'

18 August 2017 5:20 AM, PDT

“I’ve had enough with those secrets”, says actor.

John Boyega has confirmed that UK royals Prince William and Prince Harry and actor Tom Hardy did film cameo roles in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

During an interview for BBC Radio4 this morning, Boyega was asked whether the royals were given lines in the film during cameos as Stormtroopers:

“I think they took that scene out”, he deadpanned.

“I’ve had enough with those secrets,” he laughed. “They came on set. They were there. I’m sick of hiding it. I think it was leaked, anyway. There were images. Every time I get asked, I have to dodge it. I’m tired of dodging it. They were there. Tom Hardy was there too.”

The princes visited the Pinewood set in mid-April of last year.

At the time, The Daily Mail quoted a source who claimed that the princes “filmed a scene in which Rey and Finn infiltrate »


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

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Six UK VoD companies receive $2.5m EU funding

18 August 2017 3:30 AM, PDT

Creative Europe announces new batch of audiovisual promotion grants.

Seven UK companies, including six VoD platforms, have received €2,203,119 ($2.5m) in grants from Creative Europe’s promotion of audiovisual works online scheme.

The platforms that secured funding are: Walter Presents, FilmDoo, Curzon Home Cinema, Mubi, BFI Player and Distrify.  

In addition, The Polka Dot Factory received a grant to develop their app Cues, which aims to develop potential audiences for European films.

A total of 14 applications from the UK were submitted, with half selected for funding. The amount allocated to UK companies made up 23% of the scheme’s budget.

In the UK, Mubi received the biggest grant of €668,940. Curzon received €480,000 and the BFI Player received €376,117.

The scheme’s biggest grant went to marketing company Under The Milky Way, which received €900,000.

In July it was announced that four UK companies received combined funding of more than €700,000 from Creative Europe’s Slate Funding scheme. They were Aardman Animations »


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

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China's Puji Capital backs Peter Guber's Mandalay Endurance

18 August 2017 1:40 AM, PDT

Shanghai-based investment firm launches film company, invests in Us production and distribution venture.

Shanghai-based investment firm Puji Capital has launched a film company, Puji Films, which is backing Mandalay Endurance Media Ventures (Memv), a joint venture headed by Peter Guber (pictured) and Steve Richards.

Memv is described as a film production, financing and international distribution platform with a focus on producing and distributing star-driven action, thriller and comedy films for a global audience.

The company’s shareholders also include Jeff Vinik, owner of the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning; Paul Schaeffer, vice chairman and COO of Mandalay Entertainment Group; and Peter Strauss, former chairman of Lionsgate Entertainment.

Guber was formerly chairman and CEO of Columbia Pictures Entertainment; chairman of Dick Clark Productions; and owner or co-owner of sports teams including the 2017 NBA Champions and Los Angeles Dodgers.

“We are at an interesting inflection with China’s film industry – we have China becoming the most important market globally coupled »


- lizshackleton@gmail.com (Liz Shackleton)

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Bosnia picks 'Men Don't Cry' for foreign language Oscar race

18 August 2017 1:17 AM, PDT

Post Yugoslav War drama is Alen Drljevic’s debut feature.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has submitted Alen Drljevic’s Men Don’t Cry into contention for this year’s best foreign language film Academy Award.

The film premiered at Karlovy Vary - where Picture Tree International boarded international rights - and played at Sarajevo Film Festival this week where it won the Youth Audience Award.

It also won the Special Jury Award and Europa Cinema Award in Karlovy Vary.

Director Drljevic’s debut feature counts an all-star Balkan cast including Leon Lucev, Boris Isakovic and Emir Hadzihafizbegovic.

The film, set two decades after the war ended in Yugoslavia, follows a diverse group of veterans who gather at a remote mountain hotel to undergo group therapy.

Watch the Men Don’t Cry trailer below or on mobile Here. »


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

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'Scary Mother' triumphs at Sarajevo Film Festival

18 August 2017 1:10 AM, PDT

Meda Or The Not So Bright Side Of Things takes best director and best actor.Scroll down to see the full list of winners.

Ana Urushadze’s Gerogia-Estonia drama Scary Mother has won the top prize at this year’s Sarajevo Film Festival, which concludes today (Aug 18).

The film took the Heart of Sarajevo for best feature film, which comes with a financial award of €16,000. It stars Nata Murvanidze as a 50-year-old housewife who experiences family struggles as she tries to complete her first novel.

The main competition saw Romanian director Emanuel Pârvu take the Heart of Sarajevo for best director for his film Meda Or The Not So Bright Side Of Things, which comes with €10,000.

Best actress went to Ornela Kapetani for Daybreak and best actor went to Şerban Pavlu for Meda Or The Not So Bright Side Of Things.

The jury, led by Michel Franco and featuring Mark Adams, Gordan Bogdan »


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

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Sarajevo CineLink: TV drama in the spotlight

18 August 2017 12:00 AM, PDT

Panels highlighted opportunities for filmmakers from the region to make TV content.

This year’s CineLink programme at the Sarajevo Film Festival shone the spotlight on TV drama, highlighting opportunities for filmmakers in the region to make small screen content.

“There’s a move towards TV series and there’s a lot of potential for growth there, in this region and the rest of the continent. Festivals will become important for series, we are witnessing this at Sarajevo now and I can only see it growing,” commented the festival’s industry chief Jovan Marjanović to Screen before the festival.

Sessions included a tutorial on how to pitch TV drama projects and an insider’s look into the concept of a writers’ room, both of which you can read below.

Pitching

The Midpoint international script and project development program was held at Sarajevo’s CineLink this year, with budding screenwriters given the opportunity to learn from a variety »


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

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How Turkey has become a European TV drama powerhouse

17 August 2017 11:58 PM, PDT

International exports of Turkish TV could hit $350m in 2017.

The Turkish TV industry has grown enormously on the international stage during the last decade - with export revenues expected to hit $350m per year by the end of 2017 - it was revealed during a presentation at Sarajevo Film Festival on Wednesday (Aug 16).

TV producer Selin Arat, whose company Tims & B Productions is responsible for some of the biggest Turkish hits including Magnificent Century [pictured] and Game Of Silence, hosted the talk during Sarajevo’s CineLink industry programme, which has a strong TV focus this year.

She highlighted examples of successful exports such as Magnificent Century, which has sold around the world including to Russia where it was a smash hit, helping network Domashy to increase its channel ratings by 350%. Similarly, the series was a hit for Chilean broadcaster Mega TV, being the first Turkish series to break into the Latin American market, which Arat said »


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

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John Cleese doubles down on Brexit position: "I don’t want to be run by a bunch of European bureaucrats"

17 August 2017 11:19 PM, PDT

Iconic comedian also calls UK press “a disgrace”.

UK comedy legend John Cleese has reaffirmed his position in the Brexit debate, saying that while it will be five years before we know the full outcome, he thinks leaving the European Union is the correct decision.

“I don’t want to be run by a bunch of European bureaucrats because they always look after themselves first,” he commented to Screen.

The Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star admitted that “it will be five years before we know if it was a good thing or a bad thing, or if it will be a hard of soft exit”, but added that he supported the possibility of the latter option.

Heart Of Sarajevo, ‘Edith’

Cleese was speaking to Screen at the Sarajevo Film Festival, which he has been attending this week to accept the festival’s top prize, the honorary Heart of Sarajevo.

The actor said »


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

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First look at Saoirse Ronan in 'Mary, Queen Of Scots'

17 August 2017 11:49 AM, PDT

Filming has begun on location in England and Scotland on Working Title Films production.

Focus Features holds worldwide rights and will release Mary, Queen Of Scots in the Us, while Universal Pictures International (Upi) will distribute the film internationally.

Josie Rourke, artistic director of The Donmar Warehouse, makes her feature directorial debut on the film. 

Beau Willimon wrote the screenplay adaptation based on John Guy’s biography My Heart Is My Own: The Life Of Mary Queen Of Scots.

Mary, Queen Of Scots explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart. Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth 1.  Each young Queen beholds her “sister” in fear and fascination. 

Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must »


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Shooting begins on Saoirse Ronan historical drama 'Mary, Queen Of Scots'

17 August 2017 11:49 AM, PDT

Filming has begun on location in England and Scotland on Working Title Films production.

Focus Features holds worldwide rights and will release Mary, Queen Of Scots in the Us, while Universal Pictures International (Upi) will distribute the film internationally.

Josie Rourke, artistic director of The Donmar Warehouse, makes her feature directorial debut on the film. 

Beau Willimon wrote the screenplay adaptation based on John Guy’s biography My Heart Is My Own: The Life Of Mary Queen Of Scots.

Mary, Queen Of Scots explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart. Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth 1.  Each young Queen beholds her “sister” in fear and fascination. 

Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must »


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The Orchard boards Lynn Shelton's 'Outside In'

17 August 2017 10:15 AM, PDT

Drama will premiere in Toronto, followed by a theatrical release in early 2018.

The Orchard has acquired worldwide rights to Lynn Shelton’s drama Outside In, starring Jay Duplass and Edie Falco

The Orchard has worldwide theatrical, digital rental and sales, cable/satellite VOD, airline, DVD and soundtrack rights to Outside In. 

Following The Orchard’s theatrical and digital release, Netflix will be releasing the film on its worldwide streaming platform.

Outside In, written by Lynn Shelton and Jay Duplass, centres on Carol (Falco), a high school teacher, and Chris (Duplass), her ex-student, as they explore a relationship after his release from a 20-year prison sentence. While Chris navigates his re-entry into the world, Carol works to rebuild her family, and reconnect with her teenage daughter. 

Kaitlyn Dever and Ben Schwartz star alongside Falco and Duplass in the film produced by Mel Eslyn and Lacey Leavitt.

The film features an original score from singer-songwriter Andrew Bird and was »


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Gkids acquires sci-fi animation 'Napping Princess'

17 August 2017 9:58 AM, PDT

Film won best animated feature award at Fantasia Film Festival; distributor plans September release.

Gkids has announced that it has acquired the North American distribution rights for the animated feature Napping Princess

Gkids will release the film theatrically on September 8 in New York City and Los Angeles, with a national expansion to follow.

Napping Princess, a sci-fi fantasy set in the near future, centres on the journey of a young girl, Kokone, and her friend Morio, as they set out to find Kokone’s missing father who has been accused of a crime.

Kokone soon realises she must tap into a world only accessible through her dreams in order to solve the mystery. 

The film is written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, the director of East Of Eden and Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex. 

Formerly known as Ancien And The Magic Tablet, Napping Princess was an official selection at this year’s Annecy Int’l Animation »


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First Look Media’s Topic studio unveils scripted TV slate

17 August 2017 9:01 AM, PDT

Slate includes hour-long drama from Channing Tatum’s production company Free Association.

First Look Media’s Topic studio has unveiled its development slate for scripted TV series, with projects from Alex Garcia Lopez, Erin Foley-Chan and Channing Tatum’s production company Free Association

Hunger, written by Garcia Lopez, is a geopolitical thriller about the powerful, covert and dangerous business of the global food industry. With nods to Traffic and The Night Manager, the hour-long series promises to be a provocative, uncompromising and international drama exposing an urgent and imminent crisis relatively unknown to the world.

Trying, written by Foley-Chan, is part of a first look deal with executive producer Daniel Powell. The half hour comedy follows Erin Foley-Chan, a chronic people-pleaser who can’t resist helping everyone around her. When told that she is infertile and cannot have a child without arduous treatments, she’s forced to deal with her own problems, for once.

Company »


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Five producers at the Sarajevo Film Festival you need to know

17 August 2017 8:57 AM, PDT

Screen speaks to up-and-coming producers from Serbia, Greece, Georgia, Turkey and Bulgaria.

Sarajevo Film Festival’s CineLink industry programme is in full flow. Below, Screen highlights five emerging producers from the region who are making waves.

Nataša Damnjanović (Serbia)

Serbian producer Nataša Damnjanović (pictured, top) started out as an editor, and since she founded the production company Dart Film together with Vladimir Vidić in 2006, she is still doing the editing on most of their films as well.

Damnjanović trained at Sarajevo and Berlinale Talents, Torino FilmLab and Eave, and first produced Nikola Ljuca’s short Sergeant in 2010 (which competed at Tampere), as well three shorts by Dane Komljen - A Surplus of Wind (2014), Our Body (2015), and All Still Orbit (2016), which screened at Locarno, Rotterdam, and Sarajevo.

Ljuca’s first feature Humidity world-premiered in Berlinale’s Forum in 2016 and won four national Serbian awards, including best film and best director. The same year, Komljen’s debut »


- vladan.petkovic@gmail.com (Vladan Petkovic)

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Sarajevo: Five producers from the region you need to know

17 August 2017 8:57 AM, PDT

Screen speaks to up-and-coming producers from Serbia, Greece, Georgia, Turkey and Bulgaria.

Sarajevo Film Festival’s CineLink industry programme is in full flow. Below, Screen highlights five emerging producers from the region who are making waves.

Nataša Damnjanović (Serbia)

Serbian producer Nataša Damnjanović (pictured, top) started out as an editor, and since she founded the production company Dart Film together with Vladimir Vidić in 2006, she is still doing the editing on most of their films as well.

Damnjanović trained at Sarajevo and Berlinale Talents, Torino FilmLab and Eave, and first produced Nikola Ljuca’s short Sergeant in 2010 (which competed at Tampere), as well three shorts by Dane Komljen - A Surplus of Wind (2014), Our Body (2015), and All Still Orbit (2016), which screened at Locarno, Rotterdam, and Sarajevo.

Ljuca’s first feature Humidity world-premiered in Berlinale’s Forum in 2016 and won four national Serbian awards, including best film and best director. The same year, Komljen’s debut »


- vladan.petkovic@gmail.com (Vladan Petkovic)

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