news digest


'Sicko' gets Friday sneak in N.Y.

Michael Moore's health-care documentary "Sicko," set to roll out nationwide June 29, will open Friday in New York, where it will play an exclusive engagement at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13. Additionally, public sneak previews of the film will be held at more than 40 theaters nationwide Saturday. Following Monday night's premiere of the film in New York, the Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said, "Ever since the film began generating tremendous word-of-mouth, we have been contemplating opening 'Sicko' in one theater in New York City and sneaking the film in the top markets across the country."

Serendipity adds Mickie, Cianciotta

Charlotte Mickie, a longtime movie acquisition and sales executive in Canada, is leaving Dreamachine to join veteran Canadian movie producer Robert Lantos at the Toronto-based Serendipity Point Films. Mickie's move could signal Serendipity's expansion into distribution — the company is expected to announce a new initiative in the immediate future — but neither Lantos nor any of his representatives would comment Tuesday. Also joining Mickie is Tony Cianciotta, who worked with Mickie in the 1990s at Alliance Communications, the Canadian film and TV producer.

WGA pacts for four Comedy series

The WGA has secured collective-bargaining agreements with four more shows on Viacom's Comedy Central. On May 10, the WGA said 35 writers on "The Sarah Silverman Program" and five other Comedy Central shows were seeking WGA representation. Guild representatives passed out fliers detailing their demands at the Viacom shareholders meeting last month in New York. On Tuesday, the WGA West and East said that deals had been secured covering "Silverman" and three others shows: "Mind of Mencia," "The Showbiz Show With David Spade" and "American Body Shop." The guilds still seek agreements to cover the Comedy Central programs "Lil' Bush" and "Reno 911!"

'Homo Erectus' evolves with Lampoon

National Lampoon has acquired worldwide rights to Adam Rifkin's "Homo Erectus." The prehistoric comedy, written and directed by Rifkin, stars Rifkin and Ali Larter. The film — produced by Burnt Orange Prods. and the University of Texas Film Institute with Brad Wyman and Carolyn Pfeiffer serving as producers and Tom Schatz as exec producer — will be released theatrically in September under the title "National Lampoon's Homo Erectus," followed by home video distribution through National Lampoon Home Entertainment.

'Hearts,' 'Kala' bookend PiFan

SEOUL — The 11th annual Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival will feature a slightly smaller and broader program than in past years with an eye toward attracting wider audiences, organizers said Tuesday. Running July 12-20 in Bucheon, a suburb 30 minutes west of Seoul, this year's PiFan will include 124 feature films and 91 shorts from 33 countries. The festival will open with the world premiere of Korean director Hwang Qu-dok's "For Eternal Hearts" and close with the international premiere of Indonesian filmmaker Joko Anwar's "Kala."

Vance in Fox's 'Prison' gang

Chris Vance has landed a regular role on the Fox drama "Prison Break" next season, when the series will be set in a Panama prison. Vance will play a mysterious inmate there. He most recently co-starred on the popular Australian medical drama series "All Saints." Production on the third season of "Prison Break" is slated to begin July 2.