week in review digest


Black, others face jail time

TORONTO — Fallen Canadian media baron Conrad Black is facing hard time after being convicted on mail fraud and obstruction-of-justice charges stemming from past business deals (HR 7/16). Toronto-based Black faces up to 35 years in a U.S. prison after a Chicago federal jury on Friday convicted him and three former business associates for pocketing about $60 million in "noncompete" payments diverted from shareholders of Hollinger International, the publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspaper titles, which they ran. Black was found guilty on three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, which alone carries a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars. The federal jury found Black not guilty on nine other counts.

Peace Arch lands 'Interview' in Canada

TORONTO — Peach Arch Entertainment has acquired Canadian theatrical rights to Steve Buscemi's "Interview," the Toronto-based distributor said last week (HR 7/11). It will release the psychological drama July 20, a week after Sony Pictures Classics opens the film in the U.S. Based on an earlier film by murdered Dutch director Theo Van Gogh, "Interview" bowed in January at the Sundance Film Festival and screened recently at the Seattle and Los Angeles fests. The release marks Peace Arch's first theatrical venture in Canada. It will be followed Aug. 15 by the company's first U.S. theatrical release, Tom DiCillo's "Delirious."

Growing role for Lopez at Fox Int'l

MEXICO CITY — Fox International Channels has promoted Hernan Lopez to president and COO (HR 7/16). Lopez will report to David Haslingden, president and CEO of Fox International Channels and National Geographic Channels International and U.S. In addition to his new role, Lopez will maintain his responsibilities as president of Fox Latin American Channels and managing director of FX U.K.

Dutch Film Fund board walks

AMSTERDAM — The failure of the Netherlands' new culture minister, Ronald Plasterk, to reappoint Hans Dijkstal as head of the Dutch Film Fund has led to the resignation of the rest of the fund's board, according to local media reports (HR 7/11). Disagreement between Plasterk and Dijkstal reportedly arose over the structure of one of the fund's initiatives, the Film Subsidy Fund, with the minister opting for a more independent approach in dealing with the complicated system of subsidies. Plasterk has appointed a temporary board of three members to oversee the fund until the beginning of 2008, when a restructuring can be finalized.

WBITD elevates Robertson in Asia

Greg Robertson has been upped to senior vp and managing director, Asia Pacific, at Warner Bros. International Television Distribution (HR 7/11). A 21-year Warners veteran, Robertson will be responsible for program-licensing activities throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim, including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. He also will oversee sales and ad-supported/subscription VOD licensing of TV series, motion pictures, telefilms and animation.