news digest


Film rookies find spot at San Sebastian

MADRID — Crossover artists from the TV world, complete unknowns and directors with just one feature under their belt are some of the 16 filmmakers competing for the €90,000 ($110,000) Altadis-New Directors Award at the 55th annual San Sebastian International Film Festival, organizers said. The Zabaltegi sidebar, which sports a hefty dose of English-language films this year, weaves together films from first-time directors, pearls from previous festivals and special documentary screenings that will be shown Sept. 20-29. The Zabaltegi section has been the launching pad for such previous unknowns as Walter Salles, Francois Ozon and Jonathan Glazer.

Uni Pics ups Johnson

Bret Johnson has been promoted to executive vp physical production at Universal Pictures by James D. Brubaker, president of physical production. Johnson will report to Brubaker and will continue his work with filmmakers on all aspects of physical production, including budgeting, scheduling, hiring crews and managing day-to-day production, from preproduction through delivery. Johnson has held various posts at Universal since joining the studio in 1988.

Allen Theatres looks to digital cinema

Access Integrated Technologies said that Allen Theatres will convert 87 screens in 14 locations to digital cinema using AccessIT's Theatre Command Center software and preshow programming and Christie DLP Cinema projectors. This commitment is the eighth of its kind among customers of AccessIT's Advertising and Creative Services division. Each of the customers signing the integrated digital cinema and preshow programming agreement are provided with a networked digital-cinema system that plays both feature movies and PreFlix advertising.

No Good TV moving forward

Edgy Internet site No Good TV said late last week that it is making the leap to television with a new show that will feature the site's irreverent mix of celebrity interviews and sketch-comedy. Former "Late Show With David Letterman" producer Robert Morton is said to be executive producing along with 3 Arts Entertainment. The show will be hosted by the site's Carrie Keagan and Shark Firestone.

EMI Group: No trading after Sept. 18

EMI Group Plc. said that its shares will no longer be listed for trading after it goes private Sept. 18. EMI is being acquired for £2.4 billion by private-equity group Terra Firma Capital Partners. As of late last week, Terra Firma, run by financier Guy Hands, held 94% of EMI. In London, EMI shares rose fractionally Friday to £2.64 ($5.24).

Mobile triad gets a feed on 'Big Brother 8'

CBS Mobile, Verizon Wireless and mobile entertainment service MediaFLO USA have announced that they are partnering on a new channel for CBS' "Big Brother 8." The channel will air a real-time, 24/7 feed of the activity inside the Big Brother House from Aug. 19 through the show's season finale Sept. 18. It is available at no additional charge to V Cast Mobile TV subscribers.