week in review digest


Dutch 'Donor' a hoax to raise awareness

AMSTERDAM — Dutch pubcaster BNN considers its media stunt with the fake "Great Donor Show," which aired Friday in the Netherlands, a successful mission (HR 6/4). In the reality-style program, a 37-year-old terminally ill patient was supposed to donate a kidney to one of three contestants in need of a transplant. Shortly before the ending, it was announced that the show was a hoax designed to draw attention to the lack of donors in the country. About 18,000 viewers registered during the program as donors, and that number is growing. About 1.7 million people watched the program, making it one of the best-viewed programs in BNN history. Chairman Laurens Drillich said that the program, dedicated to BNN founder Bart de Graaff, who died of kidney failure in 2001, has fulfilled its objective of drawing worldwide attention to donorship.

Van Sant's 'Park' plays well worldwide

PARIS — Gus Van Sant's "Paranoid Park" has been soaring down the sales half-pipe, with distribution deals in 72 territories worldwide, French sales agent and distributor MK2 said last week (HR 5/31). MK2 provided all of the financing for Van Sant's film, which earned the director the Festival de Cannes' 60th Anniversary Award. The only U.S. film to win an award in Cannes, "Park" will be released stateside by IFC Films' First Take Label simultaneously in theaters and via VOD. The film will be distributed in the U.K. by Tartan Films, in Italy by Lucky Red and in Spain by Vertigo.

IFPI wants EU to help stop China's piracy

BRUSSELS — The IFPI is calling on the European Union to add its weight to the World Trade Organization challenge against Beijing to reduce China's piracy rates (HR 6/4). The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's discourse comes as European Commission figures reveal that China accounted for 93% of all pirate discs seized by European customs officials. "These statistics underscore the urgent need for the EU to step up pressure on China before the WTO. China is producing and exporting millions of pirate products around the world. This has to stop," IFPI regional director for Europe, Frances Moore, said Friday.

'Battlestar' gets grounded

The upcoming fourth season of Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica" will be its final one after all (HR 6/1). Ending "Battlestar" with the upcoming 22-episode fourth season was a creative decision made by the hit show's executive producers Ronald Moore and David Eick. "This show was always meant to have a beginning, a middle and, finally, an end," Eick and Moore said in a statement Thursday. "Over the course of the last year, the story and the characters have been moving strongly toward that end, and we've decided to listen to those internal voices and conclude the show on our own terms." The fourth and final season of "Galactica" will kick off in November with "Razor," an extended two-hour episode.

It's 'Happening' for Deschanel at Fox

Zooey Deschanel has signed on to star opposite Mark Wahlberg in M. Night Shyamalan's natural-disaster actioner "The Happening" for 20th Century Fox (HR 5/31). Penned by Shyamalan, the story revolves around a family on the run from a natural crisis that presents a large-scale threat to humanity. With plot details under wraps, the studio would only confirm that Deschanel will play the female lead.