news digest


Graham new chief at AFTRA N.Y.

Holter Graham will replace Roberta Reardon as president at AFTRA N.Y. Reardon, a TV, commercials and voice actor, was elected April 28 by the union's national board to serve as national president of AFTRA until July. Longtime AFTRA president John Connolly resigned in March to become national executive director of Actors' Equity. Graham, whose onscreen TV credits include episodes of "Rescue Me" and "Law & Order," was unopposed for the New York post. A total of 1,838 valid ballots were cast, officials said.

Besson's EuropaCorp plans IPO

NEW YORK — Movie production firm EuropaCorp, controlled by French film director Luc Besson, plans to go public via an initial public offering in Paris. The company said Wednesday that it has filed for a stock listing on the Euronext Paris market. Its films include titles like "Transporter 2." Besson, best known as the director of "The Fifth Element," controls EuropaCorp via holding company Front Line.

'Transformers' transforming LAFF

Paramount Pictures' "Transformers" will have its Los Angeles bow June 27 at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The event will be open to the public, with the movie screening simultaneously in four Westwood Village theaters — the Landmark Regent, Mann National, Mann Bruin and Mann Village theaters, with the main premiere taking place at the Mann National — with a seating of 4,000. The red-carpet premiere will be followed by a block party, open to anyone who attends one of the film's four screenings, on the Festival Promenade on Broxton Avenue. "Transformers" opens wide July 4. Kasi Lemmons' "Talk to Me" will kick off the LAFF on June 21, while Danny Boyle's "Sunshine" will serve as the closing-night film July 1.

Conget in distribution at Film Movement

Industry veteran Rebeca Conget has been named vp theatrical distribution of a new division at Film Movement, a leading film distribution company. Conget will be responsible for expanding and running the division and will report to Film Movement president Adley Gartenstein. Conget was vp theatrical distribution at New Yorker Films.

Van Sant's 'Park' plays well worldwide

PARIS — Gus Van Sant's "Paranoid Park" has been soaring down the sales half-pipe, with distribution deals in 72 territories worldwide, French sales agent and distributor MK2 said Wednesday. MK2 provided all of the financing for Van Sant's film, which earned the director the Festival de Cannes' 60th Anniversary Award on Sunday. The only U.S. film to win an award in Cannes, "Park" will be released stateside by IFC Films' First Take Label simultaneously in theaters and via VOD. The film will be distributed in the U.K. by Tartan Films, in Italy by Lucky Red and in Spain by Vertigo.

QED in $50 mil film-financing deal

Film financing and international sales company QED International has secured $50 million from Comerica Bank and Aramid Entertainment Fund. The first film to be financed using the new credit facility is "The Return," starring Rachel McAdams and Tim Robbins. Lionsgate Films is handling domestic distribution on the film, and QED has begun sales in foreign territories. The Neil Burger-helmed film will begin principal photography this month. QED, which does not develop material, sealed the deal before the Festival de Cannes, where it was repping "Return," but waited until Wednesday to make the announcement. The company, which finances two to three films per year, focuses on films in the $10 million-$35 million budget range.