news digest


WBITD elevates Robertson in AsiaGreg Robertson has been upped to senior vp and managing director, Asia Pacific, at Warner Bros. International Television Distribution, company president Jeffrey R. Schlesinger said Tuesday. A 21-year Warners veteran, Robertson will be responsible for the company's program-licensing activities throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim, including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. He also will oversee sales and ad-supported/subscription VOD licensing of TV series, theatrical motion pictures, telefilms and animation. Based in Sydney, Robertson reports to Malcolm Dudley-Smith, executive vp international sales and business development at WBITD.

Peace Arch lands 'Interview' in CanadaTORONTO — Peach Arch Entertainment has acquired Canadian theatrical rights to Steve Buscemi's "Interview," the Toronto-based distributor said Tuesday. It will release the psychological drama July 20, a week after Sony Pictures Classics opens the film in the U.S. Based on an earlier film by murdered Dutch director Theo Van Gogh, "Interview" bowed in January at the Sundance Film Festival and screened recently at the Seattle and Los Angeles fests. The release marks Peace Arch's first theatrical venture in Canada. It will be followed Aug. 15 by the company's first U.S. theatrical release, Tom DiCillo's romantic comedy "Delirious."

Dutch Film Fund board walksAMSTERDAM — The failure of the Netherlands' new culture minister, Ronald Plasterk, to reappoint Hans Dijkstal as head of the Dutch Film Fund has led to the resignation of the rest of the fund's board, according to local media reports. Disagreement between Plasterk and Dijkstal reportedly arose over the structure of one of the fund's initiatives, the Film Subsidy Fund, with the minister opting for a more independent approach in dealing with the complicated system of subsidies. Plasterk has appointed a temporary board of three members to oversee the fund until the beginning of 2008, when a full restructuring can be finalized.

'Santos' an international effortBUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Filmmakers from Argentina, Mexico and Spain are teaming for the production of the supernatural thriller "Boca de Santos." Argentina's Pablo Echarri, fresh off the worldwide success of Telefe's telenovela "Montecristo," will headline alongside Spanish actress Elsa Pataky ("Snakes on a Plane"), a veteran of European cinema. Mexico's Satori and Vertigo Films will team with Argentina's Cruz del Sur Cine for the shoot, slated to begin next month in Argentina's Patagonia region before heading to Jalisco, Mexico, and Barcelona. Mexican director Raul Ramon is making his big-screen debut with the project, which is budgeted at $5 million.

EC OKs free French sports listBRUSSELS — The soccer World Cup, the Tour de France, the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup are among "protected" events that must be broadcast on free-to-air television in France, it was revealed Tuesday. The European Commission said that it has cleared the French list of events broadcasters must offer to the general public. Under EU rules, any broadcaster that wins exclusive rights to these events must make them freely available on channels received by at least 85% of French homes. Under EU rules, national governments are able to protect popular and important sporting events, ensuring that they are offered free to audiences, even if a foreign broadcaster buys the rights.