Monday, May 21, 2007

H2O sign Lajos Koltai to two films

Lajos Koltai
by Mike Goodridge
May 16, 2007

Cannes, France -- Andras Hamori and Mark Horowitz’s H20 Motion Pictures has signed Lajos Koltai to direct two features – Under The Frog and Born Of Fire.
Oscar-nominated cinematographer Koltai directed Hungarian Holocaust epic Fateless and next month’s US release Evening for Focus Features with a cast including Meryl Streep, Claire Danes, Glenn Close, Toni Collette, Vanessa Redgrave and Natasha Richardson.
Under The Frog, set to shoot in Hungary and Germany in November, is a co-production with New York’s Vox3 Films.
Hamori will produce alongside Christina Weiss Luric, Steven Shainberg and Andrew Fierberg, and H20 will start selling here.
The company is in advanced talks with Germany’s EuroArts and Ireland’s Element Pictures to join the production.
Based on Tibor Fischer’s novel, a love story set against the backdrop of Hungary’s 1956 anti-Soviet uprising. Lindsey Shapiro and Dezso Magyar have written the screenplay.
Budgeted in the $50m range, Born Of Fire is the story – written by Axel Melzener and Heiko Burkardsmaier - of 16th Century English cannon-maker Adam Dreyling.
He was a superstar of his day in perfecting the most effective weapon of his time but to assure the Protestant government of his loyalty, the Catholic Dreyling’s wife and two children are taken hostage by the queen’s secret service.
The film is budgeted in the $50m range and will feature epic battle scenes. “It is a true European story which is going to be a European multi-country co-production,” said Hamori.

This Just In: New DVD Releases

Afro Samurai, 2007, Directed by Fuminori Kizaki, USA, Japan
Produced by Tarrant County-based Funimation. In a futuristic Japan where conflicts are settled by the sword, Afro Samurai, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson (photo at left), must avenge his father's murder by challenging a powerful warrior named Justice (Ron Perlman) in this anime miniseries. If he can defeat Justice, considered the premier samurai, Afro will become the new No. 1. He's joined on his quest by Ninja Ninja, who provides excellent strategic advice in combat -- but who also may be a hallucination.

Apocalypto, 2006, Directed by Mel Gibson, Mexico
Oscar-winning director Mel Gibson moves on from biblical fare to tackle the end of the Mayan civilization in this gripping action-adventure set just before Spain's conquest of Mexico and Central America in the 16th century. When an invading force threatens his peaceful existence, a courageous native risks everything to protect his way of life -- even if it means leaving his beautiful mate and unborn child behind.

Letters From Iwo Jima, 2007, Directed by Clint Eastwood, USA, Japan
As tens of thousands of Allied troops push further inland, the Japanese troops defending Iwo Jima during World War II prepare to meet their fate in this Clint Eastwood-directed Oscar nominee for Best Picture, a companion piece to his hit film Flags of Our Fathers. Japanese Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) knows his men are outnumbered and, with no hope of rescue, that most will eventually die in battle -- or end up killing themselves.

The Good German, 2007, Directed by Steven Soderbergh, USA, Germany
U.S. Army correspondent Jake Geismar (George Clooney) gets caught in a web of intrigue involving ex-flame Lena (Cate Blanchett) in Steven Soderbergh's drama set in post-World War II Berlin. Lena's missing husband is hunted by U.S. and Russian military, and in desperation, she looks to Jake for a way out. Tension mounts as Jake discovers Lena's been keeping secrets and the black market dealings of his shady driver (Tobey Maguire) come into play.

As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me (So Weit Die Fube Tragen), 2003, Directed by Hardy Martins, Germany
After escaping from a Siberian labor camp in the wake of World War II, German soldier Clemens Forell (Bernhard Bettermann) makes his way toward his wife and children, traveling more than 8,000 miles over the course of three long years to reach his final destination. Hardy Martins directs this critically acclaimed adaptation of the best-selling book by Josef Martin Bauer, a true story of survival and courage.

Sansho the Bailiff (Sansh├┤ day├╗),1954, Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, Japan
After deliberately disobeying a cruel feudal lord, a governor and his family are exiled and forced to fight for their survival, standing up to a pack of slave drivers determined to capture them and tear them apart. Extras include interviews with Japanese film critics Tadao Sato, Tokuzo Tanaka and Kyoko Kagawa, who discuss the influential work of director Kenji Mizoguchi and the film's status as a cinematic masterpiece.

Urban Tribes (Tribus Urbanas), 2006, Directed by Director: Guillermo Lagunes, Mexico
In an effort to halt violent gang battles in Mexico City and stop the barrio kids from killing one another, an idealistic priest proposes a graffiti competition to bring everyone together. The plan works for a while … until a lover's feud explodes and covers the streets with renewed bloodshed. Real-life inhabitants from the streets of Mexico City co-star in this tragic tale of urban life and loss.