news digest


Court 'Rings' up sanctions against NL

A judge has ordered New Line to pay $125,000 in sanctions for failing to turn over court-ordered documents in the ongoing legal battle with director Peter Jackson. Jackson's attorneys also might be allowed to inspect New Line's files if it doesn't produce several audits within 21 days, and the studio must hire an outsider to collect electronic documents, including e-mails. New Line is accused of giving affiliates favorable licensing deals and failing to properly calculate revenue from DVD sales of 2001's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."

Weinstein Co. swims with CG-ani 'Seals'

NEW YORK — The first CG-animated film in the Weinstein Co. and Exodus Film Group's multipicture co-production pact will be the aquatic family comedy "Navy Seals." In a story concept developed at Exodus and based on true Marine heroes, a group of U.S. Navy dolphins are captured and their one chance at freedom depends on the help of a group of misfit seals. The film will be written by Justin Eick. Exodus CEO John Eraklis will produce the feature and president Max Howard will executive produce. Weinstein production exec Eric Robinson is overseeing the project.

A-list talent onstage at RomaCinemaFest ROME — The program for the RomaCinemaFest's Extra sidebar was unveiled Wednesday, with Francis Ford Coppola, Sophia Loren, Terrence Malick, Jane Fonda, Gerard Depardieu and Bernardo Bertolucci among the A-list talent tabbed to take part in a series of onstage conversations. Films screening in the documentary-focused sidebar include "In Prison My Whole Life," about former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal and narrated by Colin Firth; "Taxi to the Dark Side," about torture in Afghanistan; Uganda-based "War Dance," about children preparing for a music contest; and "New Home Movies From the Lower 9th Ward," Jonathan Demme's film about the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

NBC takes Direct action with downloads

NEW YORK — NBC will make episodes of its programs available for download on its Web site for one week after their original broadcast, the network said Wednesday. The initiative, dubbed NBC Direct, will start in beta in October and will allow viewers to download episodes from on Windows-based PCs. The content will be encrypted so that it can't be viewed more than a week after the first network airing.

MTV Thinks about social activism

NEW YORK — Viacom's MTV is stepping in to the social networking arena with, a community destination focused on youth activism that is set to launch today in beta. Think was started in large part because of an MTV study conducted last year that found that 80% of young people want to actively help their community but only 19% are "very involved." The site will produce blogs, videos, profiles, podcasts and other features relating to socially conscious causes.

NBC Uni gives $1.5 mil for Paley tech

The Paley Center for Media said Wednesday that NBC Universal has donated $1.5 million to update center locations in Los Angeles and New York with new technology. With that, the Paley Center has raised more than $15 million, or 75%, of its Phase 1 goal of $20 million by year's end.