the world digest


The producers

ROME — The Italian government is getting into the movie business, according to an announcement Monday from the Ministry of Culture, which said that the Italian state will begin taking the title of "co-producer" on certain films it helps fund. According to the statement, the state is likely to take the title on films it contributes a "significant" level to and when the film contains some "cultural interest." Films funded in part by the state's co-financing programs will automatically be candidates for this status if the state's contribution to the film is not repaid within five years of the film's release.

Pine-ing for Toronto

TORONTO — Britain's Pinewood Studios Group is partnering with a Canadian real estate developer to build five high-end soundstages in mid-town Toronto, local media reported. Pinewood will join with CastlePoint Studio Partners Ltd., a division of Toronto real-estate developer CastlePoint Development Corp., to build a 100,000 square foot studio space on a 2.3-hectare site, according to the Toronto Star. A Pinewood spokesman declined comment, while Alfredo Romano, a principal at CastlePoint Development, was unavailable at press time.

E! takes MegaPass

CANNES — E! Networks has closed a 100-hour broadband TV licensing deal with Korea Telecom's MegaPass TV broadband platform, E! Networks' Asia-Pacific managing director Christine Fellowes said Monday. The MegaPass TV agreement, which includes specials "Style Star" and "Incredible Celebrity Slimdowns," comes in addition to the more than 325 hours of E!, Style, G4 and Versus programming sold in the region this year. Licensing terms involve a combination of minimum guarantees and per-subscriber fees, Fellowes said.