international news digest


Now playing: Toronto festival titles

TORONTO — In a bid to build word-of-mouth for its top picks, the Toronto International Film Festival is holding its first-ever advance press screenings this week in Los Angeles and New York. A festival spokeswoman said Wednesday that the screenings aim to give U.S. reviewers a head start before the festival kicks off Sept. 6. Films unspooling at the Wilshire Screening Room in Los Angeles this week include Canadian director Richie Mehta's "Amal," Roger Spottiswoode's "Shake Hands With the Devil," Avi Nesher's "The Secrets," Arthur Dong's "Hollywood Chinese" and Dutch director Tamar van den Dop's "Blind." Titles screening in New York include Nobuhiro Yamashita's "A Gentle Breeze in the Village," Iranian filmmaker Hana Makhmalbaf's "Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame" and Nina Davenport's "Operation Filmmaker."

'Clayton' closing Atlantic film fest

TORONTO — Tony Gilroy's "Michael Clayton" will close the Atlantic Film Festival on Sept. 22, organizers said Tuesday. The Warner Bros. Pictures drama, which stars George Clooney as a fixer in a New York law firm, will screen at the Halifax, Nova Scotia, event ahead of its Oct. 5 theatrical release. The movie has earlier festival slots scheduled for Venice, Deauville and Toronto. Unveiling the lineup for its 27th edition, the Atlantic fest also announced gala slots for Halifax filmmaker Chaz Thorne's "Just Buried," Peter Greenaway's "Nightwatching," Francois Ozon's "Angel," Francois Girard's "Silk," Clement Virgo's "Poor Boy's Game" and the French animated film "Max & Co."

230 buyers planning French Rendez-Vous

PARIS — A record 230 foreign buyers will join reps from 54 Gallic TV distribution companies at the seaside resort of Biarritz for the 13th annual TV France International Rendez-Vous, organizers said Wednesday. The four-day showcase, which kicks off Monday, expects 25% more participants than last year, its strongest attendance ever. This year the Rendez-Vous is moving from its traditional Saint-Tropez headquarters to Biarritz's Le Bellevue expo center. Foreign buyers will be able to watch the 822 available French shows — 65% of which are new to the international market — in a digital viewing center.

CanWest-Alliance hearings delayed

TORONTO — The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on Wednesday postponed public hearings on CanWest Global's pending takeover of Alliance Atlantis Communications following the late filing of key documents related to the CAN$2.3 billion ($1.99 billion) purchase. The broadcast watchdog said that moving the hearings to Nov. 19 — they originally were scheduled for last week — is the result of CanWest's dropping 300 pages of material "with marked changes" on the regulator's desk late last week. Winnipeg, Manitoba-based CanWest, which is partnering with Goldman Sachs to purchase AAC, said a later-than-planned closing of the purchase prompted the delay in regulatory disclosures.