news digest


Paris, filming loves you

PARIS — Paris proved to be the city of lights, camera, action in 2006, with a 10% increase in film production in the French capital for the year, the Paris Mayor's Office said Tuesday. A total of 727 film shoots took place in the capital last year, compared with 660 in 2005. The city welcomed an average of 10 productions per day for a total of 3,432 days of filming at more than 4,400 locations. Ninety-seven French feature films were made, including 20 first-time efforts. Foreign features — among them, Brett Ratner's big-budget "Rush Hour 3" — accounted for another 15 feature-length films, four more than in 2005. Several popular television series like "The Sopranos" also filmed in the city. Despite a drop in the number of fiction films shot in Paris (137 in 2006 compared with 150 in 2005), the number of shooting days increased from 1,130 in 2005 to 1,152 days.

'Lookout' launching SXSW

Scott Frank's crime thriller "The Lookout" will launch this year's South by Southwest Film Conference & Festival. The Miramax Films release stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an athlete who suffers a brain-damaging accident and gets caught up in a bank heist. Other features in the lineup, which will be unveiled Feb. 6, include the North American premieres of the TLC docu "The Last Days of Left Eye" and the assassination docu "638 Ways to Kill Castro." The world premiere of "Lookout" is set for March 9 in Austin.

'Rwanda' opens Pan African

Director CB Hackworth's documentary "Rwanda Rising" has been selected to open the 15th annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival, set for Feb. 8-19. Forest Whitaker will emcee the opening-night screening and afterparty, to be held at the DGA in Los Angeles. The film, produced and written by Hackworth and former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, documents changes taking place today in Rwanda.

Style Network joins DirecTV's lineup

DirecTV is getting some Style. Starting this week, Style Network will be available in the satellite TV provider's Total Choice Plus programming package, which offers more than 185 channels, including 67 XM satellite radio channels, for $49.99 per month. The news means that the network now will be available to more than 50 million cable and direct-broadcast satellite subscribers in the U.S. Style, which launched in 1998, is part of the recently formed Comcast Entertainment Group, which also includes E! Entertainment Television and G4.

Disney to bow new site at CES

After a yearlong redesign, the Walt Disney Co. will unveil its new Web site,, on Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to reports. The revamped site will feature social networking, chat and video clips in the vein of MySpace but with greater parental controls and more advertising opportunities, including video ads and sponsorships. Disney also will sell subscription-based products through the site and feature Disney Xtreme Digital, a broadband product allowing customization abilities for kids' profiles and personalized pages on the site.