news digest


Maitland launches distrib'n arm with 'Class'

NEW YORK — Maitland Primrose Group is launching a film distribution arm with its first acquisition, John Kirby's satirical documentary-musical "The American Ruling Class," featuring appearances by Walter Cronkite, Mike Medavoy, Kurt Vonnegut and the late Robert Altman. Maitland, parent company of Moving Pictures Media and its Moving Pictures Magazine, acquired worldwide rights to the film and will give it a theatrical release via Maitland Primrose Distribution. Harper's Magazine recently retired editor Lewis Lapham wrote and appears in the docu, which follows two fictional Yale students as they question notable names in the U.S. class system. The film will be launched March 23 in Tempe, Ariz.

Sprockets corrals 'Reef' as fest opener

TORONTO — In a year big on animated films, the Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children said Tuesday that "The Reef," a 3-D movie featuring the voices of Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rob Schneider, will open its 10th edition April 13. Sprockets will screen 43 animated films from a lineup of 98 films — 39 features and 59 shorts — before it ends April 22. These include closing-night film "The Ugly Duckling and Me!" "Azur and Asmar," "The Three Musketeers" and "Khan Kluay." On the live-action front, Sprockets has booked a special presentation screening for "Luna: Spirit of the Whale." Sprockets will unspool movies in 25 languages from 28 countries including Spain, Kenya, Ireland and Estonia.

ASCAP preps I Create Music Week in April

ASCAP has announced a week of events next month in Hollywood to celebrate the voice of the music creator. I Create Music Week will unite some of the industry's top songwriters, composers, lyricists and music publishers representing a broad array of genres, mediums and musical perspectives. The schedule includes two major awards shows at the Kodak Theatre — the 24th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards, honoring Melissa Etheridge, on April 17, and the 22nd annual ASCAP Film & Television Music Awards, honoring Marc Shaiman, on April 18 — as well as the second annual ASCAP I Create Music Expo, a three-day national conference at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel dedicated to songwriting and composing. The expo, set for April 19-21, will feature panels including top music creators from every musical genre. Details:

Atwell visiting Jarrold's 'Brideshead'

LONDON — Hayley Atwell has joined the cast of helmer Julian Jarrold's film adaptation of "Brideshead Revisited," financier and sales house HanWay Films said Tuesday. Atwell will play Julia Flyte opposite Ben Whishaw and Matthew Goode, from a screenplay by Andrew Davies and Jeremy Brock. The screenplay, based on the Evelyn Waugh novel, has been developed through Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae's Ecosse Films production banner, and the duo are producing with Kevin Loader.

Premiere Sky targets September launch

COLOGNE, Germany — Leading German pay TV group Premiere will launch a new satellite service, Premiere Sky, in September with former NBC Universal Germany executive Wolfram Winter on board as managing director. Winter left his job as managing director of NBC Universal Global Networks Germany late last year to head satellite pay TV startup Stargate. His move to Premiere suggests that Stargate's launch may be delayed. Premiere Sky will package new and existing pay TV channels and primarily target Premiere's existing satellite customers.