news digest


'Atonement' to open Middle East fest

Joe Wright's "Atonement" will kick off the inaugural Middle East International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Oct. 14. The opener was announced Wednesday by Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, director general of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and chairman of Abu Dhabi Media. The Keira Knightley-James McAvoy starrer heads a list of films earmarked for MEIFF's Special Presentations sidebar that includes Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan film "I'm Not There."

Italy sends 'Woman' to Oscars

ROME — Giuseppe Tornatore's "The Unknown Woman" will represent Italy in Oscar's foreign-language category this year. It marks the second time the helmer has carried the flag for Italy; he won the foreign-language Oscar in 1990 for "Cinema Paradiso." "Woman" tells the story of a Ukrainian immigrant with a dark past who lives in a small Italian town. Members of the nominating body said Daniele Luchetti's "My Brother Is an Only Child" also was considered but lost out after a lengthy debate.

Orphans start, thriller ends Morelia

MEXICO CITY — Juan Antonio Bayona's horror film "The Orphanage" and Christopher Zalla's immigrant drama "Padre Nuestro" will bookend the fifth edition of the Morelia International Film Festival, one of Mexico's top movie showcases. In all, 76 films will unspool in official competition at the Oct. 5-14 festival, organizers said Wednesday. The opener, "Orphanage" is produced by Guillermo del Toro; "Padre Nuestro," a stolen-identity thriller about a boy fleeing across the border, won the grand jury prize for best U.S. drama the Sundance Film Festival.

'Phenomenon' has date with NBC

NBC's live competition series "Phenomenon" is set to premiere Oct. 24. The show, featuring illusionist Criss Angel and mentalist Uri Geller, centers on the search for the next great mentalist. The show will air its five-week run at 8 p.m. Wednesdays, with a special two-hour live episode at 8 p.m. Oct. 31. The winner, to be decided by viewers, will take home a grand prize of $250,000.

Scripps going high-def with HGTV, Food

Scripps Networks said Wednesday that it has reached a broad multiyear agreement with Comcast that includes the right to distribute HGTV HD and Food Network HD. Comcast already has launched the networks in Boston and parts of New Jersey and will continue to expand availability to markets over the coming year.

BBC brings body-image docus to U.S.

BBC America has acquired five hourlong documentaries, which will be making their U.S. premieres on the network. The titles are "Super Skinny Me" (Dec. 2), "476-lb. Teenager" (Dec. 9), "My Small Breasts and I" (Dec. 16), "My Big Breasts and Me" (Dec. 23) and "Teen Transsexual" (Dec. 30).