week in review digest

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European culture going digital

BRUSSELS — Euro-MPs have confirmed a €250 million ($344.6 million) plan for a European digital library that will include movies and television programs in its massive archive (HR 7/18). The project, which will be co-funded from the European Union's budget, will include 6 million cultural works and be available to anyone with an Internet connection. The EU also will co-fund with the private sector the creation of a Europewide network of digitization centers to boost the initiative. Two million films, programs, books, photographs, manuscripts and other cultural works will be accessible by 2008, with that figure jumping to 6 million by 2010.



Hood takes on Fox's 'Wolverine'

Gavin Hood is suiting up to direct "Wolverine," 20th Century Fox's "X-Men" spinoff that will star Hugh Jackman. David Benioff wrote the screenplay, which will explore the origins of the lone-wolf superhero, one of the most popular characters in comics. Wolverine has a mutant healing power that allows him to recover from any wound, which led him to survive an experiment in which his skeleton was bonded with an unbreakable metal. The process also installed retractable metal claws. Lauren Shuler Donner, Jackman and John Palermo are producing the movie (HR 7/20).



Thai '13' lucky at PiFan awards

BUCHEON, South Korea — "13" was the big winner as the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival handed out its awards, taking home the fest's two top prizes (HR 7/20). Directed by Chookiet Sakveerakul, the Thai thriller won both the Best of Puchon prize, awarded by the Puchon Choice jury, and the European Fantastic Film Festival Federation Asian Award. The best actor award was shared by Thomas Kretschmann and Thomas Huber, both from Martin Weisz's "Grimm Love." Best actress went to Charlene Choi for her work in Oxide Pang's "Diary." PiFan, Asia's biggest film festival devoted to fantasy and genre movies, boasted much-improved attendance this year, returning to the heights it held before a struggle with the local city government three years ago forced a change in leadership.



FHE ups trio in revamp of worldwide ops

LONDON — 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment announced Tuesday a restructuring of its international operations that will give company veteran Gary Ferguson an expanded role as senior vp emerging markets (HR 7/18). Ferguson, who was senior vp Europe, will be responsible for developing a viable business in China and Russia and for identifying expansion opportunities in Brazil. He also will supervise Fox's worldwide licensee operation and play a key part in the division's anti-piracy agenda. Additionally, FHE said U.K. managing director Steven Leighton has been promoted to senior vp Northern Europe, and former Warner Home Video exec Marc Caux joins FHE as senior vp Southern Europe.



Fickman on way to 'Witch' redo

Andy Fickman is coming on board to direct "Witch Mountain," Walt Disney Pictures' modern re-imagining of its classic 1975 adventure movie "Escape to Witch Mountain" (HR 7/23). Andrew Gunn is producing via his Gunn Films banner. The 1975 film was based on a science fiction novel by Alexander Key and followed a pair of siblings, endowed with paranormal powers, who go on the run from a diabolical group of men.
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