week in review digest
Empty'Power' down in wake of IM unit collapse
BERLIN — Shooting on Jan de Bont's action film "Stopping Power" has ceased following the bankruptcy of Intermedia subsidiary IM Stopping Power GmbH, the single-purpose entity set up to finance the film (HR 9/4). Intermedia's German parent company, IM Internationalmedia, said that the main financier backing the kidnapping drama, which stars John Cusack, had "not fulfilled his obligations." IM was unable to find another backer in time to continue production, the company said in its statement to investors. "Stopping Power" had begun production in Berlin. It is unclear whether the film will be able to move forward with other investors.
'Ben X' takes top Montreal fest honors
MONTREAL — "Ben X," Belgian director Nic Balthazar's portrait of a mildly autistic boy bullied at school, took top honors at the 31st annual Montreal World Film Festival, which wrapped Monday (HR 9/4). Balthazar's directorial debut earned the audience award and shared the juried Grand Prix of Americas prize as the top festival film with French director Claude Miller's "A Secret," the tale of a Jewish family during and after World War II. Other winners at the Montreal festival included the jury's Special Grand Prize to director Ayelet Menahemi's "Noodle," a film about a lonely Tel Aviv flight attendant, while Swiss director Jacob Berger was named best director for "1 Day."
Concord, Roadshow link arms
SYDNEY — Village Roadshow Pictures Group, the U.S.-based film production division of Australia's Village Roadshow Ltd. (VRL), will merge with Los Angeles-based independent music firm Concord Music Group in a deal set to close by late October to form Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, executives said (HR 9/4). The partnership, announced by Concord owners Norman Lear and Hal Gaba, and by Village Roadshow chairman John Kirby and CEO Graham Burke, will see VRPG and Concord continue to operate as stand-alone entities. The new group's assets include such features as "The Matrix" trilogy and the "Ocean's" series, from its co-productions with Warner Bros, and titles like "Mystic River" and, on the music side, Concord's 5,000 albums from 21 record labels as well as music publishing rights.
BAFTA/LA finds four to fete
Kate Winslet will be honored with the British Academy of Film and Television/Los Angeles' Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year at the 2007 BAFTA/LA Cunard Britannia Awards on Nov. 1 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City (HR 9/5). Director Martin Campbell will receive the John Schlesinger Brittania Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing, while New Line Cinema co-chairmen and co-CEOs Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne will receive the Cunard Britannia Award for Lifetime Contributions to International Film. Tuesday's announced honorees join Denzel Washington, who will be lauded with BAFTA/LA's Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film.