news digest


MPAA taps Saunders to run new unit

The MPAA said Monday that it has created a department dedicated to rights management and copyright royalty policy and appointed organization veteran Jane Saunders senior vp in charge of the operation. Previously vp international commercial relations, Saunders joined the MPAA in 1995; for the past six years, she has been responsible for the organization's European rights management activities. MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said the move aims to streamline and better coordinate the management of business and political aspects of copyright royalty activities at the MPAA and its international affiliate, the MPA.

Sundance picks six for mobile shorts

NEW YORK — Six Sundance Film Festival alumni directors have been commissioned by the Sundance Institute and mobile phone operator trade group GSM Assn. to create five short films designed for mobile phones, Institute president and founder Robert Redford said Wednesday. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris ("Little Miss Sunshine"), Justin Lin ("Better Luck Tomorrow"), Maria Maggenti ("Puccini for Beginners"), Cory McAbee ("The American Astronaut") and Jody Hill ("The Foot Fist Way") have been tapped to create three- to five-minute low-budget original shorts to premiere in February at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Depending on the success of the venture, more films may be commissioned, Redford said.

'Spidey 3' trailer to hit Viacom's web

"Spider-Man 3" will receive a TV and online blitz tonight when Columbia Pictures unveils a new, full-length, 21/2-minute trailer at 10 p.m. in a "road block" across Viacom's online brands and CBS' TV network — six months before the film's May 4 premiere. On CBS, the spot will air after "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and before "Shark." On Comedy Central, the trailer will run before a new "South Park" episode, while MTV will show the spot before a new "Real World/Road Rules Challenge."

CineAsia taps Rieder, Choo for awards

Kurt Rieder, vp Asia sales and marketing at United International Pictures, and Meileen Choo, executive director of the Cathay Organization, are set to receive the 2006 CineAsia Distributor and Exhibitor of the Year awards, respectively, at the CineAsia 2006 exhibitors convention, set for Dec. 5-7 at the China World Hotel in Beijing. The convention is produced by the VNU Expositions Film Group, which like The Hollywood Reporter is a division of VNU Group.

Focus, AOL seek 'Truth' with forum

In conjunction with Veterans Day, Focus Features and AOL will co-host an interactive online event Saturday to encourage discussions between citizens and returning Iraq War veterans. The initiative is part of the marketing efforts for Patricia Foulkrod's documentary "The Ground Truth," which Focus released theatrically and is distributing on DVD. Several celebrities have signed on to participate in the event, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EST on a link provided by AOL Userplane from "Truth's" AIM page.

Imax lowers price tag after Q3 losses

TORONTO — Giant-screen exhibitor Imax Corp. said Wednesday that it has told its financial advisers to possibly secure a sale of the company at a lower price than originally sought during a failed formal sales process in March. Imax, which reported a steep loss Wednesday because of fewer theater installations during its most recent third quarter, said that it has told Allen & Co. and investment bank UBS to possibly identify a buyer for the company "at a lower valuation than originally sought."