'Redacted' walks point on Sky-Italia strategy

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ROME -- Brian De Palma's "Redacted," which wowed Italian critics en route to winning a Silver Lion in Venice last year, will not appear in Italian cinemas, instead leaping straight to the small screen via Sky-Italia.

The move is part of what the News Corp. unit says is a trend of placing greater emphasis on films -- particularly first-run films -- as the satellite broadcaster gears up to challenge its entrenched rivals: state broadcaster RAI and Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset.

"Top-level films is one of the areas Sky-Italia plans to emphasize more and more over the coming months," a spokesman for the company said in a phone interview.

On Friday, Sky-Italia announced plans to create a new cinema-only channel called Sky Cinema Hits, a meta-channel that will feature the most popular films from four other Sky-Italia cinema-themed channels.

"Redacted" -- which focuses on press coverage of the war in Iraq -- premiered Friday on Sky Prima Fila (Sky First Run), one of the broadcaster's main film channels. Distributor Eagle Pictures said it elected not to release the film in cinemas, but would not elaborate on that decision.

"Redacted" attracted widespread acclaim from the Italian press at the 2007 Venice Film Festival, where it was mentioned among the favorites for the Golden Lion, won by Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution." "Redacted" took home the Silver Lion, the festival's second-highest prize.
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