news digest


Halo-8 freeing 'Animals' for world

NEW YORK — Indie distributor Halo-8 Entertainment has acquired worldwide rights to Curt Johnson's animal-rights documentary "Your Mommy Kills Animals," featuring appearances by Katherine Heigl, Moby, Joe Mantegna, Ben Stein and others. The film, from Indie Genius Prods., takes its cue from an FBI report labeling animal-rights activists as a top terrorist threat and attempts to take a balanced look at the issues surrounding their sometimes violent tactics. After a one-week Oscar-qualifying run this summer booked before the acquisition, Halo-8 will distribute "Animals" theatrically in major markets in September and on video via WEA's Ryko Filmworks in November.

Isham new D.C. chief at CBS News

NEW YORK — CBS News said Thursday that it has hired ABC News investigative chief Christopher Isham as its bureau chief in Washington. Isham will replace longtime CBS News D.C. bureau chief Janet Leissner, who will retire after a career that included nine years in that post. Isham will take over the D.C. bureau Sept. 4. Isham is chief of investigative projects at ABC News, with production credits for "World News," "Nightline," "20/20" and "Good Morning America" as well as other platforms. His unit has created the investigative Web site the Blotter, which has broken a number of stories online. He joined ABC News as an associate producer in 1987 and also worked in the documentary unit at NBC News.

Westwood One CEO Kosann signing off

Westwood One Inc. said Thursday that CEO Peter Kosann will leave the company after completing a previously announced plan to modify the radio broadcaster's relationship with CBS Radio. Kosann, a CBS Radio employee, will leave no earlier than Dec. 31 and no later than March 18. Also, Westwood has hired Gary Yusko as CFO, effective Monday. He replaces Andrew Zaref, who is leaving to pursue other opportunities.

Dreyer classic set to open Danish fest

The second annual Danish Film Festival: LA, commemorating 100 years of Denmark's cinema and culture, is set for Oct. 4-11 at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood. Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 silent film "La passion de Jeanne d'Arc" will open the event with a new score, and a Film Expo will be held to promote the country's postproduction facilities. The fest is presented by the Scandinavian American Arts Foundation in collaboration with the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington, the Danish Trade Commission in Los Angeles and the American Cinematheque.

IDA finalizes entries for DocuWeek

The International Documentary Assn. is featuring 12 feature-length docus and five short nonfiction films in its 11th annual Theatrical Documentary Showcase, DocuWeek, set for Aug. 17-23 at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood and the Landmark West Los Angeles. Features appearing are "Chops," "Kurt Cobain: About a Son," "In the Shadow of the Moon," "Here and Now," "Larry Flynt: The Right to Be Left Alone," "Nanking," "A Promise to the Dead," "The Price of Sugar," "Protagonist," "Taxi to the Dark Side," "War/Dance" and "We Are Together." The featured shorts are "Angel's Fire," "Gene Boy," "Steps to Eternity," "Salim Baba" and "Sari's Mother."
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