news digest


Two set for Gothams fete

Tim Robbins will receive an inaugural humanitarian tribute and director of photography Ellen Kuras will earn a below the line honor at the IFP's 16th annual Gotham Awards, set to be hosted by comedian David Cross on Nov. 29. The Gothams have forged new partnerships with the Museum of Modern Art and the New York Times. will webcast portions of the awards ceremony, and the video Web site Revver will help develop "What Independent Film Means To Me …," a contest in which five 60-second films will be shown at the ceremony, online and on NYC-TV in the New York area.

Col's Robinson tapped for CineAsia prize

Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia managing director Barbara Robinson will be feted with the new Visionary Award at the annual CineAsia convention in Beijing, set for Dec. 5-7. Robinson joined the Columbia Tristar Motion Picture Group in 1988 to start the division and develop, produce and acquire local-language feature films. Her award-winning successes include Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." The CineAsia convention is produced and managed by the VNU Expositions Film Group, like The Hollywood Reporter a division of VNU Business Media.

ClickStar set to launch with JPL content

Broadband entertainment company ClickStar on Thursday announced a distribution deal with Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The pact involves the production of space-related educational content centered on NASA missions. The first of the productions, dubbed "Thought Spots," will be narrated by Morgan Freeman — one of the founders of ClickStar through his Revelation Entertainment banner. "Spots" will air on the ClickStar service when it launches next month.

MTVN, Nexon team to grow Neopets site

MTV Networks has partnered with Korean game publisher Nexon to expand the offerings of MTVN's, one of the Internet's largest youth communities with more than 30 million members. Through a new premium service, online users will be able to make in-game virtual purchases, or micro-transactions, whereby real money is used to buy items to enhance the online experience. In addition, Nexon will provide marketing and promotional support for in Asia as MTVN expands the brand to new territories.

Fest scripts becoming pics via Slamdance

The Slamdance Film Festival is jumping into the filmmaking business, partnering with Angel Baby Entertainment and executive producer Michael Malagiero to produce a feature each year from the winner of the new Slamdance Horror Screenplay Competition. The winning writer will receive an upfront payment of $10,000 against 5% of the film's budget, plus net profit participation and payments for future sequels. Each film will begin production within months and be screened at the next year's festival. Deadlines for script submissions are Dec. 11.

Mazzarelli joining Fox's morning show

Tom Mazzarelli, who most recently was senior producer on NBC's "Today," has been named executive producer of Fox's new national morning program, set to debut in January on the Fox O&Os. The as-yet-untitled show, hosted by former Fox News Channel "DaySide" hosts Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy, will originate from New York and feature celebrity and newsmaker interviews as well as general-interest programming.