Production notes, photos and promotional video © 2007 MGM, The Weinstein Company
PETER WEBBER – Director
Index to filmmakers bios on this page will be posted here
Peter Webber attended the film school at Bristol University.
Webber has directed award-winning documentaries on subjects ranging from composer Richard Wagner to crash test dummies to creatures of the deep sea. He later went on to direct the controversial Channel Four miniseries, MEN ONLY, charting the decline into crime and debauchery of the formerly respectable members of a five-a-side soccer team. His next drama, BBC’s THE STRETFORD WIVES, starred Fay Ripley in a tale of women's revenge on men, before being invited to direct Series 4, Episode 6 of SIX FEET UNDER.
Webber’s debut feature film GIRL WITH A PEARL EARING, starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johannsen and was a huge success earning 3 Academy® Award nominations, 2 Golden Globe nominations and 10 BAFTA nominations. The film received many awards at international film festivals including the Hitchcock d’Or and the Audience Award at the Dinard Film Festival.
Webber’s filmography is available on www.pfd.co.uk.
Thomas Harris began his writing career covering crime in the United States and Mexico, and was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in New York City. His first novel, Black Sunday, was published in 1975, followed by Red Dragon in 1981, The Silence Of The Lambs in 1988, and Hannibal in 1999.
As a producer and presenter of motion pictures, the career of Dino De Laurentiis spans over 65 years. Dino’s remarkable contribution to cinema, both in Europe and in the United States, is unprecedented. He helped transform the very image of Italy and its people immediately following WWII through pioneering filmmaking collaborations with such directors as Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Michelangelo Antonioni, and others.
Following the war, the people and art of Italy, Germany and Japan were largely isolated from the rest of the world for obvious reasons. Their film industries, which prior to the war had thrived, were at a standstill, with morale low and funding tight at best. Dino, realizing that films genuinely serve as “ambassadors to the world,” virtually invented the concept of foreign pre-sales and the practice of the selling of rights territory-by-territory to finance his pictures. (Pre-sales are now an established method for independent filmmakers to finance their films and make their dreams realities). Subsequently the studios started sharing risks by partnering with each other and splitting the rights to their movies.
Dino was able to reach across European borders, creating the concept of cultural coproductions and forming production partnerships with countries that only a year or so before had been at war with his own.
These films energized Italy’s movie industry, heightened national pride, and opened the door to new relations with the rest of the world. Fellini’s LA STRADA and NIGHTS OF CABIRIA, both produced by Dino, won Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. LA STRADA, in fact, won the very first Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1956. The next year, Dino’s film THE GREAT WAR, directed by Mario Monicelli, was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and went on to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Shortly thereafter, the Italian government awarded Dino the prestigious Cavalieri Del Lavoro for his contribution to launching Italian cinema worldwide. To this day, he is the only producer to hold this highest of civilian honors. Dino’s films continued to expand in importance and scope. In the sixties, he attracted to his Rome-based studio, Dino Citta, major stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Bette Davis, Robert Mitchum, Richard Harris, George C. Scott, Peter O’Toole, Orson Welles, Anthony Quinn, Van Heflin, Kirk Douglas and many others, and such major US directors as John Huston (THE BIBLE), King Vidor (the epic WAR AND PEACE), Roger Vadim (BARBARELLA), Edward Dmytryk (ANZIO) and Martin Ritt (FIVE BRANDED WOMEN). As an Independent filmmaker, Dino gambled on moving his enterprises to the US where he wasted no time in expanding even further his considerable contributions to the world of global cinema. Important, powerful films followed such as THE VALACHI PAPERS, SERPICO, THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, THE SHOOTIST, THE SERPENT’S EGG, BUFFALO BILL, KING KONG, RAGTIME, CONAN, DEAD ZONE, DUNE, THE BOUNTY, YEAR OF THE DRAGON, MANHUNTER, BLUE VELVET, CRIMES OF THE HEART, BEDROOM WINDOW, BOUND, BREAKDOWN, U-571 and HANNIBAL. His last project was the SILENCE OF THE LAMBS prequel RED DRAGON, directed by Brett Ratner and starring Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Early 2007 will see the release of three of De Laurentiis’ current projects: HANNIBAL RISING, THE LAST LEGION, directed by Doug Lefler and starring Colin Firth, Sir Ben Kingsley and Aishwarya Rai, as well as VIRGIN TERRITORY, starring Hayden Christiansen, Mischa Barton and Tim Roth and based on the Italian literary classic, The Decameron.
Dino has launched the careers of many young talented directors. As a risk-taker, an innovator and a tremendously energetic and creative independent producer, he has always insisted on providing opportunities to directors, emphasizing their creative freedom while offering the great production values of a major studio. The directors he has worked with include Sydney Pollack, Sidney Lumet, Milos Forman, Bruce Beresford, Michael Cimino, David Lynch, Luchino Visconti, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Altman, Terrence Young, John Milius, David Cronenberg, William Friedkin, Michael Crichton, Frank Pierson, Don Siegel, Roger Donaldson, Curtis Hanson, Michael Mann, Peter Bogdanovich, Ridley Scott, and young directors John Dahl, Larry and Andy Wachowski, Jonathan Mostow and Brett Ratner.
In total, Dino has produced, presented, financed or distributed more than 600 films. As a pioneer in building studios around the world, he has built four major facilities: Dino Citta’ in Rome, North Carolina Film Studios which is now Screen Gems Studio, Village Roadshow Studios in Australia and the De Laurentiis studio in Ouarzazate, Morocco. He has been responsible for films that have been commercial as well as critical successes. All told, his productions have earned 4 Academy Awards, 30 Academy Award nominations, and have been recognized with close to 100 different awards worldwide, including the Palme d’Or for Best Film and 3 Golden Lions for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival. At the Oscars ceremony 2001, Dino was awarded the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award.
Dino’s philosophy is and always has been that the best movies are made by supporting and championing the director to the fullest possible extent. He believes that discovering and nurturing new talent, from directors to writers to actors, is one of a producer’s most important contributions. His passion about the projects he becomes involved with, as well as the entire creative filmmaking process, has made him one of the most prolific producers of all time. Above all, he is a passionate filmmaker, never giving up on his vision for making movies the world wants to see. He is, without a doubt, one of the film industry’s most influential independent producers – a legend!
After graduating from Ball State University, producer Martha De Laurentiis began her film career, which spans over 30 years, in New York as an assistant auditor on the NBC miniseries, THE DRAIN CURSE for Martin Poll. Producer Frank Marshall recognized her talents and hired her as his assistant for Paramount’s WARRIORS and for the next three years she continued working in NY production. Martha met Dino De Laurentiis in 1980 while working as his New York Production Accountant on RAGTIME, directed by Milos Forman.
After the completion of RAGTIME, Martha became the head of administration for Dino De Laurentiis Productions where she oversaw the financing of Stephen King’s DEAD ZONE, AMITYVILLE II and AMITYVILLE III. FIRESTARTER marked her arrival as associate producer, which led her to producing more films including Stephen King’s CAT’S EYE and SILVER BULLET, DATE WITH AN ANGEL, BEDROOM WINDOW, Stephen King’s MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE and RAW DEAL with Arnold Schwartzeneger, along with three CBS mini-series Stephen King’s SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK, SOLOMON AND SHEBA and SLAVE OF DREAMS.
In 1983, Martha established her company, the Dino De Laurentiis Company and in 1984 together with Dino, built the North Carolina Film Studios in Wilmington, NC of which she was president through 1988. In the five years as president, twenty-seven films were shot locally in Wilmington, establishing North Carolina as the second leading filmmaking state in the country. In 1986, they expanded to the Gold Coast in Australia building a studio complex, which is currently the Warner Bros/Village Roadshow Studios. In 2003, Martha and Dino began construction on a major film studio in Ouarzazate, Morocco, which is now completed and operational, including vast back-lot and sets from Ridley Scott’s KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
Together with Dino, DDLC has produced more than thirty films including the Oscarnominated CRIMES OF THE HEART, David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET, Michael Mann’s MANHUNTER, Michael Cimino’s YEAR OF THE DRAGON and DESPERATE HOURS, BREAKDOWN starring Kurt Russell, the critically acclaimed BOUND, U-571 starring Matthew McConaughey, HANNIBAL directed by Ridley Scott and RED DRAGON starring Ed Norton and Anthony Hopkins.
Along with HANNIBAL RISING, 2007 will see the release of DDLC’s THE LAST LEGION, directed by Doug Lefler and starring Colin Firth, Sir Ben Kingsley and Aishwarya Rai. Audiences can also look forward to VIRGIN TERRITORY, starring Hayden Christiansen, Mischa Barton and Tim Roth, based on the Italian literary classic, The Decameron. This current slate of films is produced in conjunction with Quinta Communications and will be released by The Weinstein Company in the USA.
Martha is President of the West Coast Advisory Board for the Jason Foundation, whose mission is the prevention of teenage suicide. She is currently serving on the Ball State University Advisory Board Alumni Association, The North Carolina School of the Arts Board of Visitors, The Los Angeles Women’s Leadership Council, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Women’s Leadership Board and on the board of the international organisation, Save the Children.
Tarak Ben Ammar was born in Tunisia to a prominent family, including his father who held several ministerial posts and his uncle, Habib Bourguiba, the first President of the Republic of Tunisia.
Tarak Ben Ammar is a graduate of Georgetown University. He put Tunisia on the entertainment industry map with his company Carthago which included a production entity and studios, which Ben Ammar built. He convinced a number of US producers to film their projects in Tunisia and participated in the production of international movies, including major blockbusters such as George Lucas' STAR WARS and Spielberg's RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
Having learned from such prestigious teachers the basics of film making, he went on to produce or co-produce between 1980 and 1990 over 50 pictures, ranging from commercial French comedies (TAIS-TOI QUAND TU PARLES, DEUX HEURES MOINS LE QUART AVANT JÉSUS CHRIST, etc…) to prestigious pictures such as Zefirelli’s LA TRAVIATA and Roman Polanski’s PIRATES.
After this first part of his career as a film producer, Tarak Ben Ammar decided to devote more time as an investor and a strategic adviser to major media players.
In 1990, he formed with Mr Silvio Berlusconi, whom he met in 1983, a company called Quinta Communications. Quinta Communications has been used as a vehicle for a number of investments and as a production and distribution company.
Quinta co-produced with Lux Vide such TV series as JESUS OF NAZARETH and THE BIBLE. It also produced in 2002 FEMME FATALE, directed by Brian de Palma. The company also engaged in trading of audiovisual rights, acquired from US producers and sold to European Broadcasters.
In 1996 and 1997, Quinta managed and produced Michael Jackson’s international ‘History’ concert tour and his multi-platinum album ‘Blood on the Dance Floor’.
More recently, Quinta and Ben Ammar had enormous success as the distributor of Mel Gibson’s THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST in fifteen major worldwide territories. Quinta Group continues to produce large budget projects such as THE LAST LEGION, VIRGIN TERRITORY and HANNIBAL RISING, all in association with the De Laurentiis company
Mr Ben Ammar was awarded the “Legion d’Honneur” in 1984 by President François Mitterand for his cultural contributions. He has four children and resides in Paris.
Chris Curling is a prominent and respected independent producer based in London with excellent connections in every sector of the business, both in the UK and the rest of Europe.
In 1990 he founded his own company, Zephyr Films, which specialises in international co-productions of British qualifying films. Over the last three years he has produced more than ten films.
Chris’ first film of the year will be PENELOPE, to be directed by Mark Palansky. A coproduction with Scott Steindorff’s Stone Village Pictures and Reese Witherspoon’s Type A Films, the film will star Christina Ricci and Reese Witherspoon.
Following that will be Gillian Armstrong’s Houdini film DEATH DEFYING ACTS, which he is producing with . Kirk D’Amico, Dan Lupovitz and Marcis Nassatir are executive producers.
2007 will see the release of THE LAST LEGION, a film directed by Doug Lefler and starring Colin Firth, Sir Ben Kingsley and Aishwarya Rai and a co-production with Dino and Martha De Laurentiis and Tarak Ben Ammar.
Following this will be the third of his trio of films in conjunction with DDLC and Tarak Ben Ammar; VIRGIN TERRITORY, starring Hayden Christiansen, Mischa Barton and Tim Roth and directed by David Leyland. The film is a modern take on the Italian literary classic, The Decameron.
Last year Chris executive produced David Mackenzie’s new film ASYLUM for Paramount, starring Ian McKellen, Natasha Richardson and Marton Csokas. The film was in competition at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival. He was also a producer on Mike Binder’s latest film THE UPSIDE OF ANGER starring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen, for Media 8 and Fine Line.
He can be in the first film of Richard E. Grant, the coming of age comedy, WAH-WAH, starring Gabriel Byrne, Emily Watson, Julie Walters, Miranda Richardson and Nicholas Hoult as the adolescent boy growing up in colonial Africa.
Chris is a member of the European Producer’s Club and ACE. He also serves on PACT’s film committee and BSAC’s Co-Production working group.
Phil Robertson is a director of Zephyr Films, a London-based independent production company, which he has run in partnership with fellow producer Chris Curling since 1995. He has a successful track record in the production of feature films for the international market, specialising in British qualifying co-productions.
Phil is currently co-producing both VIRGIN TERRITORY and THE LAST LEGION, with the De Laurentiis Company. Doug Lefler directs THE LAST LEGION, with Colin Firth and Sir Ben Kingsley featuring and both are scheduled for release in late 2006-early 2007.
Also nearing production at Zephyr Films are Gillian Armstrong’s Houdini film DEATH DEFYING ACTS for Myriad Pictures, and MY ITALIAN STORY, which is directed by Barry Levinson and will star Antonio Banderas and Isabelle Huppert.
Petr Moravec’s has produced several feature films including Roman Polanski’s OLIVER TWIST starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Peter Hyams’ A SOUND OF THUNDER starring Ed Burns and Catherine McCormack, and Andy Cadiff’s CHASING LIBERTY starring Mandy Moore.
Ben Davis’ career has ranged from short films through to commercials. His sharp eye and talent was noticed by many and he was soon working as cinematographer on his first feature, MIRANDA, starring Christina Ricci, John Hurt and John Simm. He then went on to work for Matthew Vaughn on his impressive LAYER CAKE starring Daniel Craig. This was followed by Oliver Parker’s upcoming romantic comedy IMAGINE ME AND YOU starring Lena Heady. His most recent feature is the Dino De Laurentiis Company production, VIRGIN TERRITORY, with Hayden Christensen, Mischa Barton and Tim Roth.
A hugely successful production designer in his native Poland, Allan Starski still resides in Warsaw from where he travels the world to lend his talents to international filmmakers. In 1993 he designed the sets for Steven Spielberg’s SCHINDLER’S LIST, for which he was awarded an Oscar, a BAFTA nomination and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Production Design.
In the past decade he has designed the sets for numerous international movies, the most notable being WASHINGTON SQUARE, the Polish film PAN TADEUSZ for which he won the Polish ‘Eagle’ Award, THE BODY and THE PIANIST, Roman Polanski’s award-winning story of courage and survival in the Warsaw ghetto of World War II. His work on this production won him a French ‘Cesar’ Award and another Polish ‘Eagle’ Award.
His recent credits are OLIVER TWIST, another Polanski collaboration starring Ben Kingsley, THE I INSIDE and EUROTRIP.
An established costume designer in her native Poland, where she worked as Anna Biedrzycka through the ‘70s and ‘80s, Anna Sheppard moved to England in the late ‘70s. After working with Agnzieszka Holland on TO KILL A PRIEST, she became internationally recognised when Steven Spielberg chose her to costume SCHINDLER’S LIST, for which she was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Costume Design.
This painful period of history was revisited when she designed the costumes for Roman Polanski’s award winning THE PIANIST, her work being recognised with a Polish ‘Eagle’ Award and nominations for an Oscar and a French ‘Cesar’ Award. Sheppard’s collaboration with Polanski continued on his most recent film, OLIVER TWIST.
Sheppard lives in London and works in Europe and the US. She has a range of credits including WASHINGTON SQUARE, DRAGONHEART (SATURN nomination for Costumes), THE OGRE, THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU, WISDOM OF CROCODILES and Michael Mann’s Academy® Award nominated contemporary drama, THE INSIDER, starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe. She returned to the subject of World War II when Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks asked her to design the costumes for their mini-series, BAND OF BROTHERS. Her recent credits include SAHARA, SHANGHAI KNIGHTS and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, the last two with Jackie Chan.
Pietro Scalia’s many feature film credits include Rob Marshall’s MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, starring Ziyi Zhang, Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh; John Dahl’s THE GREAT RAID, starring Benjamin Bratt and James Franco; Gus Van Sant’s GOOD WILL HUNTING, starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Minnie Driver; Sam Raimi’s THE QUICK AND THE DEAD, starring Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe and Leonardo Di Caprio; and Oliver Stone’s JFK, starring Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones and for which Pietro won a Best Editing Academy Award in 1991.Pietro has also worked with Bernardo Bertolucci on two occasions, 1996’s STEALING BEAUTY and 1993’s LITTLE BUDDHA. He has also edited several films directed by Ridley Scott, including HANNIBAL, GLADIATOR (Academy Award nominated) and BLACK HAWK DOWN (for which he won his second Academy Award for editing).
Valerio Bonelli’s numerous credits include the following feature films: MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA (Associate Editor) ,REDMEANSGO, ODESSA…ODESSA (Special Jury Prize, Berlin Film Festival and Official Selection, Sundance), FOUNTAIN OF LOVE, BREAKING OUT, JEALOUSY, THE LOOK OF HAPPINESS, FRUITS OF THE EARTH, JIMMY RIDDLE, NAPKIN, THE CHESS BOARD and Ruggero Di Paola’s LA MADRE. Bonelli was 1st assistant director on Bernardo Bertolucci;s THE DREAMERS, and was Assistant Editor on Ridley Scott’s HANNIBAL,BLACK HAWK DOWN (Assistant Editor, Documentary Footage) and GLADIATOR (AVID Assistant Editor). His documentaries include MACAO, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ELEGANT, LIFE ON THE TRACKS (both for the BBC) and THIS IS A TRUE STORY.
Ilan is currently composing the score for "Stardust," Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman's fantasy novel, starring Clare Danes, Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfiefer. Ilan’s relationship with Vaughn began with the box office hit “Layer Cake,” starring Daniel Craig. Ilan was nominated in the category of “Discovery of the Year” at the World Soundtrack Awards for this score.
Other recent feature film scores include FilmFour's “Straightheads,” starring Gillian Anderson, and “Virgin Territory,” a romantic comedy directed by David Leland, starring Hayden Christensen, Mischa Barton and Tim Roth.
Ilan has also worked with various songwriters. He has written string arrangements for Badly Drawn Boy’s songs in “Something’s Gotta Give" and worked with Bernardo Bertolucci on a song for “The Dreamers.” Ilan has been on tour supporting David Gilmour and more recently programmed and arranged strings on Gilmour’s hit solo album “On An Island.”
Shigeru Umebayashi (UME) was born in Kita-Kyushu, Japan in 1951. He launched his music career during the Japanese new wave movement in the 80s as the leader of the rock band “Ex” and has composed numerous songs for many Japanese artists. In 1984, the opportunity arose to work as a film composer when he produced a song for Japanese actor, Yusaku Matsuda (BLACK RAIN). In addition to composing, he directed the film MOGURA and the play “Hae,” based on an original story by Gii Do Mopassan.
UME’s work has been recognized internationally for original music for IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, written and directed by Wong Kar Wai (originally composed as “Yumeji’s Theme”) and for 2046, also by Wong.
He has worked with writer/director Zang Yimou as music producer and composer on GOLDEN FLOWER (2006) and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS (2004) for which he composed the song “Lovers,“ sung by world-renowned opera singer Kathleen Battle. In 2006 he composed original music for JET LI’S FEARLESS (Ronny Yu,USA), THE DARK SEA (Roberta Torre, Italy) and CHARLESTON ZA OGNJENKU (Uros Sojanovic) Serbia).
He produced and composed music for the upcoming films BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE (2007) for producer Bill Kong (JET LI’S FEARLESS) and ABSURDISTAN (2007) for German director Veit Helmer.
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