Bangkok juror flees

An organizer of the Bangkok International Film Festival expressed annoyance Friday that one of the festival's international judges, Singapore director Eric Khoo, had bolted already, choosing to watch the competition films on DVD instead. It wasn't readily apparent why Khoo, helmer of Singapore's foreign-language Oscar entry "My Magic," left just as the festival was officially getting under way. The jury snafu failed to dampen opening-night ceremonies, which featured a screening of Thai director Nonzee Nimibutr's action-fantasy "Queens of Langkasuka."

New game plan

Leo Kirch has been sent back to the bench. The defunct media mogul's hopes of rebuilding his empire were put on hold late last week when the German soccer league pulled out of its €3 billion ($4.4 billion) marketing deal with Kirch's Sirius group. Citing regulatory hurdles to a Kirch deal, league boss Reinhard Rauball said Friday that rights for the 2009 season and beyond again were up for sale. The league's asking price is at least $600 million a season. The Kirch deal would have paid out an average of $730 million a season.


Russian Internet portal Rambler, in cooperation with HIRO Media, has launched movie download service Rambler Kinozal. Following successful trials in April, the free video download service launched Friday, offering nearly 750 hours of movies, TV series and reality shows.