news digest


Uni sets 'Truth' free overseas

Universal Pictures International has acquired all international distribution rights to the Ricky Gervais comedy "This Side of the Truth" from Media Rights Capital. Warner Bros. already has domestic distribution. The comedy is produced by Lynda Obst and Oly Obst. Dan Lin is executive producer. "Truth" marks Gervais' feature directing debut and begins shooting Monday in Boston.

Light at tunnel's end for vid chain

Movie Gallery said Wednesday that a federal bankruptcy court has approved its reorganization plan and it expects to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early in the second quarter. The second-largest video-rental company in North America said in February that it planned to shutter 400 Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video stores on top of the planned closure of more than 500 others that it had announced in September.

'Seattle' stays close to home

The Charlize Theron starrer "Battle in Seattle" will open the 34th Seattle International Film Festival, set for May 22-June 15. The film, which centers on the city's 1999 anti-globalization protests against the World Trade Organization, is the directorial debut of actor Stuart Townsend.

Newman upped at CBS Entertainment

Michelle Newman has been upped to the newly created position of vp daytime programming and marketing at CBS Entertainment. In her new position, she will work with senior vp daytime Barbara Bloom and spearhead marketing campaigns for CBS' daytime series "The Young & the Restless," "The Bold and the Beautiful," "Guiding Light," "As the World Turns" and "The Price Is Right."

Pair now directors at Hallmark

Sheri Goldberg and Sheri Helmers have been promoted to director of network program publicity at Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. Goldberg and Helmers, based in Los Angeles, are part of the team responsible for promoting the networks' lineup of original movies, theatrical premieres and event programming to consumer media across all platforms, including television, radio, print and online.

Lots of drawing cards at toon fest

ROME — The 12th annual Cartoons on the Bay festival in Solerno, Italy, gets under way today with its biggest lineup ever — more than 175 programs from 25 countries. The festival will hand out prizes in eight competitive categories before wrapping Sunday.

Three series for MTV Tres

Three new original productions were announced Wednesday by MTV Tres, which targets Latino youth. "Rock Dinner" (debuting Monday), which lets viewers find out what it's like to make dinner for a Latino superstar; "Bust a Ritmo" (June 16) centers on the moves some viewers will risk for something that really matters to them; and "Dame un Break" (May 12) gives unsigned Latino bands a shot at stardom.