week in review digest


'Labyrinth,' del Toro ace Mexico's Ariels

MEXICO CITY — Guillermo del Toro's anti-fascist fable "Pan's Labyrinth" swept the 49th edition of the Ariel Awards, winning nine of Mexico's top film prizes, including best picture and director (HR 3/22). "Labyrinth," a Mexico-Spain co-production, was the favorite going into this past Tuesday evening's ceremony at Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts. Nominated for 12 Ariels, it also received awards for Maribel Verdu as best actress, cinematography, art direction, original score, makeup, costume design and special effects. Other multiple winners were Francisco Vargas' feature debut, "El Violin" (The Violin), and Juan Carlos Rulfo's docu "En el Hoyo" (In the Pit).

Finance cap latest blow to U.K. film biz

LONDON — U.K. film producers were hit with a second tax clampdown in as many weeks Wednesday when the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown delivered his annual budget speech to the House of Commons (HR 3/22). The issued policy documents contain a new ruling that puts a cap on the amount of money producers can raise under Enterprise Investment Schemes at £2 million ($3.9 million) per year. The previous EIS limit was £8 million ($15.7 million) a year. Such EIS structures have been a focus of interest for producers searching for tax-efficient plans to attract investors after recent tax clampdowns.

Warners Int'l ups Volland

Lance Volland has been named senior vp publicity at Warner Bros. Pictures International and will lead the international publicity department for the studio (HR 3/22). He will head the creating and overseeing of all aspects of publicity campaigns for WBPI's international feature film releases. Volland's broadened responsibilities include supervising all publicity materials as well as junkets, film festivals, local production publicity, media promotions and tie-ins, trade publicity, awards campaigns and publicity strategies.

Late changes might disrupt Moscow fest

MOSCOW — Interfest, the company that has long run the Moscow International Film Festival, has been ousted in favor of organizers with closer connections to the fest's president-director Nikita Mikhalkov, Russian media reported (HR 3/21). The move — just three months before the late June opening — threatens to make 2007 a disastrous year for a festival that has long been criticized for poor organization and leadership. Long-standing events company Interfest failed in its bid to win the annual tender for running the festival in what agency head Mikhail Shvydkoi told business daily Kommersant had been a "fair competition."

'Three amigos' seek film support

MEXICO CITY — Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron met this week with Mexico's new president to urge more support for the struggling film industry (HR 3/21). The trio said they had met recently with President Felipe Calderon in a bid to garner more backing for the industry and subsequently sat down with Mexican lawmakers. The "three amigos" are pressuring the federal government to create better distribution and exhibition opportunities for local production companies.
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