news digest


AMPAS fest grants reach $290,000

The Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has allocated $290,000 in grants among 27 U.S. film festivals for next year, Festival Grants Committee chair Gale Anne Hurd said. Separately, three festivals — the Los Angeles Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Telluride (Colo.) Film Festival — have received $50,000 apiece under a special multiyear grant program designed to give funding assurance for long-term projects. A complete list of the recipients and their grant awards are available at

Warner Horizon taps Fortson

Veteran Warner Bros. executive Kevin Fortson has been named head of production at Warner Horizon Television, the studio's recently launched division that focuses on lower-budgeted scripted and reality primetime series for cable and broadcast. Fortson will oversee all aspects of physical production for the Warner Horizon series, including budgeting, scheduling and staffing. He will report to WBTV president Peter Roth, who oversees Warner Horizon. Fortson most recently was senior vp operations at Warner Bros. Studio Facilities.

IFC Ent. takes N.A. rights to 'Americanese'

NEW YORK — IFC Entertainment has acquired all North American rights to Eric Byler's relationship drama "Americanese" for its IFC First Take program. "Americanese," which had its East Coast premiere this weekend at the Hamptons International Film Festival, won the audience award for best narrative feature and jury prize for ensemble acting this year at the South by Southwest International Film Festival. Based on Shawn Wong's 1995 novel "American Knees," the film follows a pair of Asian-Americans as they deal with romantic issues. The film was produced by Lisa Onodera and will be released next year.

Germany to introduce PC license fee

COLOGNE, Germany — In the face of massive public and industry protest, Germany is set to take the lead in Europe by introducing public broadcasting license fees for personal computers. Starting in January, German households and companies with Internet-capable PCs will be charged a monthly license fee of €5.50 ($7). The resulting revenue will be used to offset the cost of producing and adapting public broadcaster programming for the Internet. The charge will apply only to people or companies that do not already pay the standard €17 ($21.50)-a-month TV license fee. Most European broadcasters charge citizens this kinºd of so-called "TV tax" to pay for public broadcasting. Germany's 20 largest employers' associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Germany are united in their opposition to the plan, which they argue will stifle the Internet economy in Germany.

Warner Bros. opens store in Macau

NEW YORK — Warner Bros. Consumer Products has opened a flagship studio store in Macau — its second such store in Greater China — with a grand-opening ceremony attended by local celebrities, Tweety, Batman and a host of Looney Tunes characters. The 300-square-meter shop occupies part of the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Center and is operated by Cartoon Matters, which has been granted the rights to open and operate Warner Bros. Studio Stores in Macau through a sublicense from PMW Retail Group Ltd. Warner Bros. Consumer Products and PMW, a subsidiary of Hutchison Harbour Ring Ltd., opened the first Warner Bros. Studio Store in China this year in Shanghai.