news digest


'Fraulein' moves to Film Movement

New York-based Film Movement has acquired North American rights to Andrea Staka's "Fraulein," the story of three women from the former Yugoslavia living in Switzerland. The film, which played at the Sundance Film Festival, is screening this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival. A theatrical release is planned for the fall, with the DVD distribution planned for first-quarter 2008. The deal was negotiated by Adley Gartenstein, Film Movement president and Ida Martins and Andrew Chang for Media Luna.

Reality TV gains offset location film decline

According to FilmL.A., location feature film production dropped 22% in the first quarter compared with the same frame last year, though overall location production in the city climbed 5.7%, offset by a surge in reality TV production. The organization, a nonprofit economic development corporation, recorded 1,860 permitted location feature film production days during the first quarter, down 526 days from the 2,386 days recorded a year ago. Television had a total of 6,478 days in the first quarter, up 1,482 days compared with the same period last year. Reality TV, which comprises mostly lower-budgeted productions, led the category, accounting for 43.8% (2,840 permitted production days) of the total.

XM reports loss, but shares rally

XM Satellite Radio reported a loss that was a smidgen less than what investors had been expecting, but it was enough to spark a rally in its shares Thursday that spilled over to hopeful merger partner Sirius Satellite Radio. XM narrowed its loss in the first quarter to $122 million from a loss of $149 million in the same quarter last year. On a per-share basis, XM lost 40 cents, a penny better than analysts' estimates. Revenue rose 27% to $264 million. The company added 285,000 net subscribers during the quarter to 7.9 million total, though executives said Thursday that it has since exceeded the 8 million mark. XM was up 6.4% on Thursday to $11.72.

SAG weighs in at nonunion audition

SAG national president Alan Rosenberg and several Hollywood board members made a surprise appearance Thursday outside an audition for a nonunion Mercedes-Benz commercial in West Hollywood to inform actors entering the audition of its nonunion status. They also distributed a flier that read, "Professionals do not work nonunion." Rosenberg was joined by Todd Amorde, SAG's national director of organizing; national board member Anne-Marie Johnson; David Jolliffe, chair of the Commercials Committee and Hollywood board alternate; and Hollywood Board alternate Anthony DeSantis. "It hurts all of us," Jolliffe said of nonunion work.

Sony has a point with new vid service

Sony Corp. launched its own video-sharing site today in Japan, marking an effort by the entertainment conglomerate to capitalize on the phenomenon started by YouTube. Dubbed eyeVio, a catchphrase meaning "one's viewpoint," the service employs a system that closely monitors its content for copyright violation. It was created to drive the demand for Sony-specific devices with users being able to upload content from Sony video camcorders and download content to Sony PSPs and other Sony products.

Wolman's 'Hands' No. 1 at Palm Beach

Dan Wolman's "Tied Hands," the account of a mother and her son who is dying of AIDS, was named best feature film at the 12th annual Palm Beach International Film Festival, which wrapped Thursday. Nicole van Kilsdonk was hailed as best feature film director for the comedy "Johan," while the award for best screenplay went to Scott Dacko for "The Insurgents."