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New festival is set for Argentina

CANNES — Argentina is set to have a new first-class international film festival this year, organizers of the new San Luis International Film Festival said Wednesday. The Nov. 16-25 event is the product of the regional San Luis government's energetic support of the arts, including a film law with tax incentives. The festival is headed by Julio Marbiz, formerly with the Argentine Film Institute and credited for resuscitating Argentina's premier film festival, Mar de Plata, in 1996 after 26 dormant years. The San Luis fest, which will offer prizes and sport five sections along with a parallel market. "San Luis has a tremendous advantage over other film festivals in the region because the San Luis government is assuming all the festival's costs," Marbiz said.



Korean fare focus of Seoul fest

CANNES — A new film festival focused on Korean national cinema will launch in October in Seoul, organizers said Wednesday. Called CHIFFS — for Chungmuro International Film Festival in Seoul — the event is planned for the district of the South Korean capital, long home to the country's movie industry. Organizer Kim Hong-joon is the former dean of the film department at the Korea National University of the Arts and one-time director of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. The CHIFFS program will range from silent classics to independent digital features and from films by masters to films by emerging directors.



Sony/ATV has first dibs on composers

CANNES — In a move designed to help young composers break into the film business, Sony/ATV Music Publishing in Germany has signed a first-look deal with film music confab SoundTrack_Cologne to collaborate in the field of talent scouting. Under the deal, Sony/ATV will have first crack at signing the winners of SoundTrack's annual New Sounds in European Film competition, which picks the best work of new film composers in Europe.



Singapore's Monsoon goes Dutch on 'Nadra'

CANNES — Singapore producer Monsoon Pictures has signed its first co-production with a Dutch company. The $6.5 million "Nadra" is helmed by Dutch director Ben Sombogaart and produced by Monsoon and Holland's IdtV Film. Prefinancing has begun, and shooting is scheduled to start in the Netherlands, Singapore and Malaysia in mid-2008. A-Film Distribution has acquired Benelux rights; Golden Village Pictures will distribute the film in Singapore. "Nadra" is based on the true story of 13-year-old Bertha Hertogh, who was at the center of a 1950s custody battle that led to Muslim-Christian clashes and deadly rioting in Singapore.



Malta opens curtain on film fest

CANNES — The first Malta International Film Festival will take place Sept. 15-23, organizers said. The festival will include screenings of about 100 films in seven categories, including an international competition, a sidebar for Arab-language films and a short film competition. Additionally, the festival will honor Venice Film Festival director Marco Mueller and Russian actress Natalya Bondarchuk with lifetime achievement awards and include retrospectives on opera singer Maria Callas and Italian-Egyptian singer Dalida. Organizers said the full lineup will be announced Aug. 10 in Malta.



ICON newly minted as COIN

CANNES — German indie film production house ICON Films has settled a two-year-long copyright lawsuit with Mel Gibson's Icon Prods. by changing its name to COIN Films. As part of the agreement, Icon Prods. bought the Icon name for Germany off the Cologne-based shingle. The decision by Gibson's company to settle came after an initial German court ruling eight weeks ago that found in ICON Films' favor.
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