news digest


ABC News to cut about 1% in digital revamp

NEW YORK — ABC News will cut about 35 positions worldwide as part of a two-year review of its operations that will reposition the news division for the world of digital media. It won't be a straight 35 job cut, as some positions will be added in digital media and elsewhere while others will be eliminated. The level of cuts is comparatively small for the size of ABC News, about 1% of its worldwide work force. ABC News president David Westin made the announcement in an internal e-mail to staffers Friday. He wasn't available for comment Friday.

Canada quick to pass law on camcording

TORONTO — Canada's anti-camcording legislation was enacted into law after making a unanimous and swift passage through Parliament this week. Bill C-59, which will make it a criminal offense to videotape movies in local cinemas, received royal ascent Friday after passing through the upper senate Wednesday. Robert Nicholson, the federal minister of justice, secured approval from the Senate committee for amendments to the criminal code, making it a punishable offense to record movies at the local multiplex using a personal camcorder without authorization. The action follows persistent pressure by Hollywood studios on Ottawa to curb movie piracy originating from Canada.

Alvarado-Brown in Overture's biz

Overture Films has appointed Justin Alvarado-Brown senior vp business and legal affairs, overseeing all of the indie studio's productions, acquisitions and business affairs. He arrives from HBO, where he was senior counsel and oversaw business and legal affairs for theatrical films and TV series. He will report to Overture COO Danny Rosett, whom he worked with while serving as vp in the business and legal affairs department at MGM.

Chum chief Switzer will exit in July

TORONTO — Jay Switzer, president and CEO of Chum Ltd., will step down next month when the Toronto-based radio and TV broadcaster is absorbed by rival CTVglobemedia as part of a CAN$1.4 billion ($1.3 billion) takeover. On Friday, Switzer confirmed his departure but insisted that he will make no public comment until after his planned exit in two weeks.

Foster new director of Universal U.K.

LONDON — Entertainment U.K. commercial director Ian Foster has been named managing director of Universal Pictures U.K. He will begin the post in the fall. Foster is widely credited with playing a central role in the revival of Entertainment U.K.'s business. He rejoined the company as commercial director in 2003, having worked for the business as head of sales and marketing and video trading controller from 1995-99. In the interim, he was managing director of the group's independent record label, Demon Music. Foster fills the position vacated at the beginning of the year when Eddie Cunningham moved from chairman and regional managing director to become president of Universal Pictures International Entertainment.

ICG awards emerging cinematographers

International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 presented its Emerging Cinematographers Awards honorees during Cine Gear Expo, which concluded Sunday. Eight were selected from more than 70 short films submitted and judged by members of ICG. The cinematographers are Brian O'Carroll, "Cherry Bloom"; Christopher Johnson, "Common Practice"; Darren Genet, "Death Strip"; Tim Bellen, "Ed Meets His Maker"; Michael Alba, "History for Kids"; Hilda Mercado, "La Primavera"; Jozo Zovko, "The Morning Fog"; and Cameron Duncan, "Year of the Dog." The short films will premiere Sept. 23 at the DGA Theater in Hollywood.