news digest


Premiere to issue slew of new shares

COLOGNE, Germany — In his first act as the new head of German pay TV group Premiere, CEO Michael Bornicke and Premiere's board approved the issue of up to €250 million ($338 million) in new Premiere shares. Premiere plans to use the capital in its upcoming bid for rights to Germany's top soccer league, the Bundesliga. Soccer is the primary draw for German pay TV subscribers. Premiere has a deal to sublicense the Bundesliga from cable group Unity Media through 2008. Bidding on the 2009-12 Bundesliga seasons will begin this year.

Dark Horse plays with 'Monkeys'

Dark Horse Indie is developing a project titled "War Monkeys." Cleve Nettles is writing the horror comedy, based on a story by producer Chris Patton. The story follows a janitor who, during a Christmas holiday, gets trapped in an underground research facility with military-trained Rhesus monkeys. Mike Richardson will executive produce. "Monkeys" is the second feature Nettles has been hired to pen this year. The scribe is writing the thriller "Oculus" for producers Christina K.Y. Lee and Jason Perr of Accelerated Entertainment. He also is associate producer on "Cat Tale" at Imagi Entertainment. Nettles is repped by Velocity Management.

Morgerman beefs Yari PR

NEW YORK — Yari Film Group has appointed Lionsgate vet Jennifer Morgerman senior vp publicity in a move to expand the new indie distributor's marketing department. The exec already has hired new vp national publicity Stacey Leinson, who held PR positions at Universal Home Entertainment, DreamWorks and MGM/UA. She also brought former FX staffer Lyndi Heus aboard as director of special projects. Morgerman arrives after spending seven years as head of publicity at Lionsgate, coordinating awards-season campaigns for such films as "Monster's Ball," "The Cooler" and "Secretary."

NYFF menu: Hong Kong, Brazil, bizarre

The 45th annual New York Film Festival will feature three main sidebars this year. "Tropical Analysis: The Films of Joaquim Pedro de Andrade" will screen all 13 features and shorts from the director pivotal in Brazil's Cinema Novo movement. The 11th annual "Views From the Avant-Garde" includes programs from helmers Robert Beavers, Ernie Gehr, Peter Hutton and Ken Jacobs. "Chinese Modern: A Tribute to Cathay Studios" focuses on films from the influential Hong Kong studio in the 1950s. The NYFF runs Sept. 28-Oct. 14 at the Frederick P. Rose Hall in Manhattan.

Moving Pictures, Corbis license Toronto

Media outfit Corbis is teaming with Moving Pictures magazine to create and license celebrity photos and video, including exclusive interviews with actors and filmmakers, from the Toronto International Film Festival. MPM editors will conduct the interviews, which will be shown on the magazine's Web site and sold to other outlets. The magazine is a subsidiary of entertainment media company Maitland Primrose Group.