news digest


Varo's new reality at Lifetime

Sandy Varo has been named vp reality programming at Lifetime Television, where she will be responsible for developing unscripted programs. Varo was director of alternative series at CBS, where she worked on such reality series as "Survivor," "The Amazing Race," "Big Brother," "Rock Star: INXS" and "Rock Star: Supernova." Varo also has served as producer on Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" and story producer on CBS' "Big Brother 5."

IFC rocks with 'Strummer' in N. America

IFC First Take has acquired North American theatrical and TV rights to Julien Temple's rockumentary "Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten" from Sony BMG Music Entertainment. The late Clash frontman is brought to life in previously unseen interviews, concert footage and recordings of his BBC radio show. Under the day-and-date VOD/theatrical distribution program, the film will be released Nov. 2. The rocku was produced by Amanda Temple, Anna Campeau and Alan Moloney.

Met HD theaters triple via CineMedia

The Metropolitan Opera's series of operas transmitted live in high definition into movie theaters is expected to reach 300-400 movie theaters and performing arts centers in the U.S. through a renewed deal with National CineMedia. This would be nearly triple the number of venues from last season. Through this agreement, NCM's Fathom entertainment division will present the Met's HD series in theater locations including participating AMC Entertainment, Cinemark USA, Georgia Theater Co., National Amusements and Regal Entertainment Group theaters.

'Spiderwick,' Vivendi make a game of it

Vivendi Games subsidiary Sierra Entertainment said that it will bow a video game based on the "The Spiderwick Chronicles" movie from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films. The film, to be released in February, and the game are based on the best-selling children's book series by Holly Black that chronicles the magical adventures of three siblings. The game is being developed by Stormfront Studios for Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, DS portable system and PC.

Shelly Foundation bestows inaugural grant

The Sundance Institute, in collaboration with the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, has awarded the inaugural Adrienne Shelly Foundation Women Filmmakers Grant to Maryam Keshavarz. The Shelly Foundation — dedicated to the memory of the filmmaker found slain last year in her Manhattan apartment — provides a $5,000 grant to be awarded by Sundance Institute each summer. It will go to a filmmaker coming out of the Feature Film Program's June Director's Lab. Keshavarz's project, "Circumstance," explores Iran through the eyes of two adolescent girls.

India captures facility for Mobility's VFX

Motion-capture facility Mobility Art Studios has opened in Hyderabad, India. The company aims to service a local and international base of customers producing content for film, television, commercials and games. It has two shooting stages, equipped with Vicon MX-F40 motion-capture cameras.