news digest


'Wellness' nabs top prize at SXSW

AUSTIN — Jake Mahaffy's "Wellness" won the best narrative feature jury award Tuesday at the 2008 South by Southwest Film Festival. Awards for documentary grand jury feature and audience award for documentary feature went to Daniel Junge for "They Killed Sister Dorothy." The audience award for narrative film went to Mark Webber for "Explicit Ills." Festival veteran Jeremiah Zagar's "In a Dream" brought home the Emerging Visions audience award. A complete list of winners can be found at

SAG, AFTRA plan meetings

The tension between SAG and AFTRA appears to be lessening, again. SAG national executive director and chief negotiator Doug Allen on Tuesday released a timeline in which the guild and AFTRA would meet March 25-26 to discuss wages and working conditions proposals. SAG and AFTRA then will meet at a national board meeting March 29 in Los Angeles to discuss the proposals and develop a package for negotiations on their primetime contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

AEG's three-way deal dwindling

NASHVILLE — Talk is premature that a possible deal among Ticketmaster, Cablevision Systems' Madison Square Garden Entertainment and Anschutz Entertainment Group's AEG Live is dead. But the Cablevision parts of the pact could be described as "on life support," sources said. Sources said the component of the deal that would see Ticketmaster take a 15% stake in AEG remains in play and likely will occur, but a part that would see Cablevision take a 34% stake has stalled.

'Found,' 'Visitor' nab Method Fest slots

The 10th Method Fest will feature Helen Hunt's directorial debut "Then She Found Me" and Tom McCarthy's "The Visitor" as this year's Centerpiece films. Other selections for this year's event, set for March 23-April 3 in Calabasas, Calif., include "The Stone Angel," "Chronic Town," "Diminished Capacity" and "Unfinished Sky." World premieres include "Crazy" and "Lullaby." This year's lineup includes 25 features and 48 short films.

MTV launcher Sykes to leave network

John Sykes, president of network development at MTV Networks and part of the executive team that developed and launched MTV, is leaving the company at month's end. MTV Networks will not be replacing his position. It is unclear what Sykes' plans are after he leaves the company.

Fenady in presidential office at Uni

Universal Pictures has promoted Andrew Fenady to president of physical production. He replaces longtime physical production head James Brubaker, who chose not to renew his contract and will move into a senior advisory role with the company.