mouth of madness

The Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness sidebar has booked French director Mabrouk El Mechri's action comedy "JCVD," which features Jean-Claude Van Damme playing himself caught in the middle of a post office heist. Also receiving an international premiere is Japanese director Toshio Lee's "Detroit Metal City," which stars KISS' Gene Simmons. Also featured will be the Mark Hartley documentary "Not Quite Hollywood," which examines the Australian exploitation films of the 1970s and '80s.

Can't touch this

The Italian parliament has approved a controversial law that will give Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity while in office. Berlusconi, who controls broadcast giant Mediaset, has three open cases against him involving bribery, influence peddling, graft and corruption. Each will be suspended while he is in office. Berlusconi's term lasts until 2013.

Itv's breakthru

ITV Prods. has inked a strategic partnership with BreakThru Films, the indie banner behind Oscar-winning animated short "Peter and the Wolf." BreakThru will receive financial backing from the U.K. broadcaster in addition to management advice and office overhead support. In exchange, ITV Prods. will jointly develop and co-produce on "mutually beneficial" projects and distribute some products through ITV Worldwide.