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RCS finds niche

ROME — Italy's RCS Media Group said Thursday it is making a significant push into television broadcasting with a $21 million deal to acquire four satellite channels carried by Sky Italia, a unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. The niche channels, sold by local broadcaster Digifin, are Jimmy, which broadcasts classic films and old U.S. sitcoms; fishing and hunting channel Caccia e Pesca; the Sailing Channel; and Planet, which specializes in programs dedicated to hobbies. Analysts speculate that RCS, which owns the country's largest newspaper, may be gearing up for future acquisitions.



School master

COLOGNE, Germany — Chinese director Jia Zhang Ke, whose "Still Life" won the Golden Lion in Venice, will be one of the patrons of the 2007 Berlinale Talent Campus, the one-week film school that runs during the Berlin International Film Festival. As Talent Campus patron, Jia Zhang Ke, who made his international debut in Berlin with 1998's "Xiao Wu" (Pickpocket), will take part in seminars and workshops with some 350 young filmmakers from around the globe. The Talent Campus runs Feb. 10-15.



Fight for funding

COTTBUS, Germany — Industry professionals, festival organizers and film school heads in the Czech Republic have set up a new Film Council to lobby for a national cinematography law. The move by the wide range of groups, including the Karlovy Vary international film festival, follows Czech president Vaclav Klaus' May veto of legislation that would have provided for an annual $13 million national film fund. "A new law would enable Czech filmmakers to do more co-productions and expand the variety of genres we can produce," said Jana Cernik, managing director of the industry-backed Czech Film Center.
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