IFP will present conversations with Gus Van Sant, Melvin Van Peebles and HBO's Sheila Nevins at the Gotham Independent Film Awards Series. The program also includes panels featuring director and actor nominees from the Gothams as well as Museum of Modern Art screenings of Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You contenders. It runs Nov. 20-Dec. 6 at venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.


Marvel Entertainment plans to step up its presence in Russia and the other CIS states. Sandrine de Raspide, an executive vp at Marvel Entertainment International, said Monday that the company is looking for a partner in Russia that will help it promote four upcoming movies. The company also is in negotiations with Russian TV channels about broadcasting animated series produced by Marvel Entertainment.


Linda Woolverton was honored Thursday with the WGA West's Animation Writers Caucus' 11th annual Animation Writing Award for lifetime achievement. Woolverton, who wrote Disney's 1991 animated feature "Beauty and the Beast" and co-wrote "The Lion King," most recently penned the screenplay for Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." She was honored at the AWC's awards ceremony at WGAW headquarters.


Imagi Studios has signed worldwide licensing agreements with American Greetings, Penguin Group, Jazwares, D3Publisher and IDW Publishing for "Astro Boy," its upcoming CG-animated film that will be released domestically on Oct. 23, 2009. The agreement with American Greetings also extends to furture Imagi films.