news digest


Thompson gets go-ahead for BBC shake-up

LONDON — The BBC Trust gave the green light Wednesday to director general Mark Thompson's plans for the pubcaster, which include sizable job cuts. Insiders said Thompson told the trust that the budget moves would involve 2,800 job cuts but that he aimed to create 1,000 new roles to cope with the digital age. Thompson is set to announce today the full extent of his plans and decisions to both BBC staffers and the public.

Los Angeles on new Star map

Star, the Hong Kong-based media and entertainment company and a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp., is expanding distribution of its Hindi- and Mandarin-language programming in North America with the opening of a sales office in Los Angeles. The office, headed by vp distribution and sales David Wisnia, will market and drive distribution of Star's Asia-based networks in North America. Star broadcasts more than 40 Asian-language channels to 300 million viewers worldwide and produces more than 10,000 hours of Indian- and Chinese-language programming a year. In the U.S., it's looking to expand distribution of its four channels that are available on DirecTV.

Suharjono joins Warners' int'l offices

Erlina Suharjono has been named senior vp Asia distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures International. Suharjono, who reports to Warner International executives Veronika Kwan-Rubinek and Sue Kroll, will be responsible for supervising distribution and marketing in Asia through the Warners network of affiliate offices and licensees in the region. Based in Hong Kong, she also recently assumed duties as chief representative of Warner Asia, supervising the distribution of American-made films in China.

Johns back in Sony's d-cinema fold

Gary Johns has rejoined Sony Electronics as vp at its digital- cinema systems division. A 25-year Sony veteran, Johns spent the past four years as a consultant to Sony in areas including d-cinema market development and digital sound licensing. Before that, Johns was president of Sony Cinema Products. He will remain based in Sarasota, Fla.

5 emerge victorious in WIF/GM honors

Women in Film and General Motors have announced five women who have been selected as winners of the second annual acceleration grant for emerging filmmakers. The winners are Jamie Taucher of Sedona, Ariz.; Julia Kots of Manhattan; Connie Florez of Honolulu; Joyce Lee of San Francisco; and Mabel Valdiviez, also of San Francisco. The grant, awarded annually, is a program of the WIF/GM Alliance, the goal of which is to support talented filmmakers from under-represented communities.

Chapman student collects Angelus prize

Nicholas Ozeki, a student at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, has won the Patrick Peyton Excellence in Filmmaking Award, the top prize in the 12th Angelus Student Film Festival, for his film "Mamitas." Sponsored by Family Theater Prods. Hollywood, the Angelus Awards will be presented to seven student filmmakers and 16 finalists at a screening and awards ceremony Oct. 27 at the DGA in Los Angeles.