Digest: Rome fest goes digital


The market event at this year's RomaCinemaFest will include a special sidebar event called World Going Digital, which will discuss the international distribution and financing of digital content. Co-sponsored by the Italian Association of Independent Authors and Producers, the event will take place on Oct. 22 after the close of the Business Street, the Rome festival's version of a market. The Rome festival will take place Oct. 18-27, with the Business Street open Oct. 18-21.

Paris offers cinema bargains
French filmgoers can once again catch their favorite summer movies for bargain prices as the fifth edition of "Paris Cinema" kicks off in the capital on July 3. Chaired by actress Charlotte Rampling, the 12-day fest around 10 movie theaters in Paris will offer screenings of 20 still-to-be confirmed films in the official selection of the program in addition to out-of-competition premieres. The public will vote on a Paris Cinema Audience Award winner and a Paris Cinema Award of the Future. Guests of honor include French actress Sandrine Bonnaire and Italian director Francesco Rosi. "Paris Cinema" will spotlight cinema from abroad with a tribute to Lebanon and New Lebanese Cinema. Workshops and professional meetings are on the agenda as are open-air screenings and special events including four "cine-concerts" of Ernst Lubitsch films; short film screenings in collaboration with the Academie des Cesars; free open-air screenings of vintage silent films and old commercials accompanied by live music; and opening and closing night outdoor festivities.

TV highlights Constantin figures

Germany's top indie producer-distributor Constantin Film boosted sales by 15% to €82.8 million ($112 million) but saw net profit slip to €600,000 ($816,000) in the first quarter of 2007, the company announced Tuesday. TV service production, which Constantin Film CEO Fred Kogel has made the focus of expansion at the Munich-based company, accounted for €51.1 million ($64.5 million), or 62% of total sales. In contrast, theatrical sales, hurt by the under-expectations performance of titles like German comedy "Neues vom Wixxer" and French pick-up "La Vie en Rose," earned just €5.5 million ($7.5 million) for Constantin, compared with €7.9 million over the same period last year. Constantin said German boxoffice revenue fell almost 20% in the first four months of 2007, meaning it would be a challenging year. But with TV booming and Constantin well-positioned to take advantage of that expansion, the company said it expects to earn at least €250 million ($340 million) for the full year and to book operating profits of at least €12 million ($16 million).

Hirschfield develops Participant

Lynn Hirshfield has been appointed vp business development at Jeff Skoll's political film company Participant Prods. She will lead the launch of a Participant publishing division and marketing efforts to support the company's films and social action campaigns. Hirshfeld reports to Participant marketing heads Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones. She arrives at the company after consulting on their docu campaign for "An Inconvenient Truth" and various development positions at Web startups and television productions.

Melbourne Fest bridges gap

The Melbourne International Film Festival will add a networking event to its 56th edition, which runs July 26-28. Up to 10 as-yet-unidentified new and veteran film industry professionals from around the world will explore moviemaking opportunities in Australia's Victoria state at an event called "37 South: Bridging the Gap." The title is a reference to Melbourne's position on the globe, and organizers' hope that it will lessen the distance between the rest of the world and the home of directors Fred Schepsci ("Devil's Playground") and Sue Brooks ("Japanese Story") and screenwriter David Parker ("Malcolm"). MIFF Executive Director Richard Moore said the event should coincide with an expected change in federal policy that could offer features shooting in Australia a 40% rebate.

Montage adds Final Draft feature

Minneapolis-based Mariner Software announced the upcoming release of Montage 1.3, screenwriting software developed exclusively for Mac OS X. Montage 1.3 introduces a new feature, Save as Final Draft. Screenwriters will be able to write scripts in Montage, then export to Final Draft -- users can already import Final Draft scripts into Montage. Also included in Montage 1.3 will be localization for French, German, Spanish and Italian languages, along with support for Movie Magic Screenwriter.sex file formats. Demonstrations of a prerelease version are being offered at the Moviesoft booth 23-01 at the Cannes market. No ship date has been announced for the release.