news digest


Penn earns directing nod

Sean Penn will be honored as director of the year at the 19th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala, set for Jan. 5 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The award recognizes Penn for his latest film, "Into the Wild," the adaptation of Jon Krakauer's best-selling book that has been released by Paramount Vantage.

Horrorfest darkens lineup

NEW YORK — After Dark Films has completed its Horrorfest lineup by acquiring all North American rights to the supernatural thriller "Crazy Eights" and the psycho killer flick "Lake Dead." James K. Jones' "Crazy Eights" stars Frank Whaley and Traci Lords. George Bessudo's "Dead" stars Edwin Craig, Pat McNeely and James C. Burns. The Horrorfest "8 Films to Die For" lineup is rounded out by "Borderland," "The Deaths of Ian Stone," "Mulberry Street," "Nightmare Man," "Tooth and Nail" and "Unearthed." The features hit more than 300 screens nationwide from Nov. 9-18.

Friendly goes green for Discovery

Veteran producer and executive Andy Friendly has been hired to develop and executive produce a series for Planet Green, Discovery's eco-lifestyle channel set to launch in 2008. Friendly, president of Andy Friendly Prods. and an Emmy-nominated producer, also will consult on programming and production for Planet Green. Friendly is developing the series he will executive produce in addition to assisting in developing a range of new programs for the network.

DMX, Super Vista team for d-cinema

DMX with Super Vista is beginning to preview a photographic conversion and projection process they are developing with an aim to bring the look of 70mm film to the digital-cinema realm. Production is based on 35mm film, and the images would go through a reformatting process at DMX partner and Los Angeles post house Digital Jungle, which maintains a digital intermediate suite equipped with the DMX technology. This format could be projected in digital-cinema theaters if they are equipped with DMX's software system and a dual-link server.

Magnolia sets watch to 'Timecrimes'

NEW YORK — Magnolia Pictures has bitten into Nacho Vigalondo's "Timecrimes," nabbing worldwide rights (except Spain) to the comic sci-fi feature. The film will hit theaters in 2008. Magnolia said English-language remake rights to "Timecrimes" are now in play. HDNet Films head of international sales Laird Adamson will rep the film at next week's American Film Market. The deal was negotiated by Magnolia's Tom Quinn, Dori Begley and Jason Janego with producer Eduardo Carneros of KV Entertainment.

Safon is new exec vp in CNN's world

NEW YORK — Scot Safon has been upped to executive vp and chief marketing officer of CNN Worldwide. Safon, who was senior vp promotion and marketing, will be responsible for branding as well as marketing, promotion and advertising. He reports to CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton and is based in Atlanta. Safon joined CNN in 2002 following a stint in charge of marketing at TNT.