week in review digest


Rome tunes in TV-centric Fiction Fest

ROME — The inaugural Rome Fiction Fest for television programming will be held July 2-9, organizers said Tuesday, giving the Italian capital its second new festival in as many years (HR 11/29). The festival arrives in the wake of the first RomaCinemaFest, which debuted in October. According to organizers, the new festival will feature about 70 competition titles divided into categories that include best telefilm, comedy program, miniseries and continuing series. Former Munich Film Festival head Marlene Strenbaum will be the fest's creative director.

Krasinski suits up for Clooney pic

John Krasinski, one of the breakout stars of NBC's "The Office," is in negotiations to star alongside George Clooney and Renee Zellweger in Universal Pictures' "Leatherheads," a 1920s football romantic comedy that Clooney is directing (HR 12/1). Written by Steven Schiff and Clooney, the story centers on team owner Jimmy "Dodge" Connelly (Clooney), who hires straight-laced college football sensation Carter Rutherford (to be played by Krasinski) to play professionally. The scandalous sport becomes popular and commercialized, and confirmed bachelor Dodge falls for Carter's reluctant fiancee, Lexi (Zellweger).

Schawinski leaves Sat.1; Alberti upped

COLOGNE, Germany — Roger Schawinski has resigned as managing director of Berlin-based Sat.1 and will leave at year's end, the commercial network said Wednesday (HR 11/30). He was brought in to run Sat.1 three years ago by Haim Saban after the mogul bought the channel's parent company, ProSiebenSat.1. Matthias Alberti, deputy managing director and head of entertainment programming at Sat.1, will replace Schawinski.

EU extends e-commerce tax rules

BRUSSELS — European Union finance ministers meeting here Tuesday extended through 2008 the EU's rules for charging value-added tax on broadcasting and digital downloads (HR 11/29). The rules require sellers to collect the tax on broadcasts and goods delivered over the Internet to individual consumers. They are contained in the EU's 2002 e-commerce VAT directive, but this was designed with a limited shelf life and was set to expire at year's end. Plans to make the e-commerce tax permanent failed this year as finance ministers disagreed over a broader overhaul of VAT rules, which is still being debated.

Breen, six others upped at Fox Int'l

Kieran Breen has been promoted to senior vp marketing at 20th Century Fox International (HR 11/30). Breen, who most recently was marketing director at 20th Century Fox U.K., will develop and supervise the strategic marketing plans of all Fox releases overseas and oversee the Los Angeles, regional and field marketing operations. Several other Fox International execs also received promotions. Christi Mykles and Mark Davis have been upped to vp creative advertising. Melanie Bartlett has been promoted to vp strategic marketing, joining Britta Gampper, who holds the same title. Martin Gaiss, who has served as director of international publicity for the past two years, has been appointed vp creative content. Kimberly Wire has been promoted to director of international publicity, replacing Gaiss. In London, Elizabeth Kesses will take on Breen's former position as marketing director of Fox U.K.