the world digest


Man of culture

LONDON — Treasury minister Andy Burnham has been named secretary of state for culture, with responsibility for the broadcasting and film sectors, it was announced Thursday by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He replaces current Culture Secretary James Purnell, who has been promoted to the post of work and pensions secretary, effective immediately. During his seven-month tenure as culture minister, Purnell launched an investigation into public service broadcasting and told the BBC that it might have to face competition for public funding for the first time.

Promising open

MEXICO CITY — David Cronenberg's crime drama "Eastern Promises" will open the fifth edition of the Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival, organizers said Thursday. Known for its diverse international lineup, the festival is leaning heavily on European fare this year. Some 270 films from 47 nations will unspool during the two-week film fest, which runs Feb. 19–March 2. Only one U.S. production, Chris Fuller's drama "Loren Cass," will compete in the official fiction section.

Latin flavor

ROME — The Locarno Film Festival's Open Doors co-production laboratory this year will focus on Latin America. The previous two editions of Open Doors — which provides production grants to winning films — focused on projects from Southeast Asia and the Middle East, respectively. Organizers said that the 2008 edition will focus on projects from countries with emerging film production industries including Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Uruguay. The Locarno festival will take place Aug. 6-16.