news digest


DVD, Blu-Ray close in on 'Encounters'

Steven Spielberg's landmark "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is coming to DVD and a 50GB Blu-ray Disc on Nov. 13, four days shy of the 30th anniversary of its 1977 theatrical opening. The release marks the first time a Spielberg movie has been issued on high-definition disc, and it also is the first home video release to include all three versions of the film. "Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition" also includes a new interview with Spielberg.

Appeals court awards Schulman legal fees

A California appeals court panel Wednesday affirmed more than $150,000 in attorney fees to Oscar-winning producer Cathy Schulman in her long-running battle with former boss Michael Ovitz. In an unpublished decision, the unanimous three-judge panel in the 2nd District Court of Appeal also reversed an order awarding Artists Production Group more than $75,000 in attorney fees it incurred in opposing Schulman's motion to stay or dismiss arbitration.

Utah gives studios reason to visit

With state tax incentive competition for filmmakers at a fever pitch, the Utah Film Commission said that it is increasing its postperformance tax rebate from 10% to 15%. The cap on the Motion Picture Incentive Fund program remains at $500,000, and the budget for each film must be at least $1 million. Filmmakers can access a total of $4 million for qualifying productions during fiscal 2007-08, which began July 1.

Fefferman sr. vp publicity at IDP/Goldwyn

NEW YORK — Liza Burnett Fefferman has been appointed senior vp publicity at indie distributor IDP/Samuel Goldwyn Films. Fefferman will head the publicity department and manage corporate PR and branding. The exec recently was a PR and marketing consultant at GreeneStreet Films, Shoot the Moon Prods., the New York Jets and Conde Nast's Domino magazine. She helped launch the Weinstein Co. as executive vp publicity.

TLC programs Pinvidic and Myers

Angela Shapiro-Mathes, TLC's new president and GM, has beefed up the channel's executive ranks by tapping Brant Pinvidic and Deborah Adler Myers to serve as co-heads of programming at the Discovery Communications-owned cable network. Pinvidic and Myers have been named senior vps programming. Pinvidic, based in Los Angeles, will have primary responsibility for primetime; Myers, from Silver Spring, Md., will lead daytime and fringe.

Morrongiello leads NAMAS

Christie Morrongiello has been named to the newly created position of director of the National Academy of Media Arts & Sciences, a new peer group of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. In addition, Lauren Saverine, assistant to the president of NATAS, will serve as administrator for the peer group. Morrongiello and Saverine will focus on developing membership and education programs for NAMAS. The new peer group is planning launch events in New York on Sept. 18 at Times Tower, the new headquarters of the New York Times, and Oct. 30 in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel, in conjunction with the Digital Hollywood conference.