‘Highway Thru Hell’ Lands At Nat Geo US
Beyond Distribution has sold Highway Thru Hell, a documentary series examining the treacherous trucking route, the Coquihalla Highway in British Columbia, to National Geographic Channel U.S., where it will premiere next February. Produced by Vancouver’s Great Pacific Media, the docu was commissioned by Discovery Canada where it posted the highest series debut in the channel’s history in September. The eight-part series follows the heavy rescue team as it attends the scenes of numerous wrecks, removing often dangerous cargo, cleaning up twisted metal and clearing the roads.- Don Groves
Producer Al Clark Feted By Australian Film Academy
The Raymond Longford Award is the Australian film industry’s highest honor, named after the pioneer filmmaker and bestowed by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (formerly the Australian Film Institute). The latest recipient, Al Clark, has produced or executive produced 19 films including Chopper, The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, The Crossing (which gave Russell Crowe his first lead role), Siam Sunset (the directing debut of John Polson) and Red Hill. The English-born Clark started his career with Richard Branson’s music and film company Virgin, where he co-produced Michael Radford’s 1984 and exec produced Julien Temple’s Absolute Beginners. “Al’s commitment to and passion for the Australian film industry, his body of work and the way in which he has nurtured new talent who have all gone on to great heights deserves this highest of recognitions,” said AACTA chairman Alan Finney. The Longford award was first presented in 1968; previous recipients include Geoffrey Rush, Peter Weir, George Miller, Fred Schepisi, DOPs Don McAlpine and Russell Boyd and producers Anthony Buckley, Sue Milliken and Jan Chapman.- Don Groves

Jackie Chan To Scale Back On Action
Jackie Chan has told Reuters that his upcoming Chinese Zodiac 2012 will be his last major action movie. The martial arts star cited his increasing age, but said he’d still be involved in action in some form. “I’m not young any more, honestly,” he said, noting that special effects and doubles could help avoid physical risk in the future. “Why (do) I have to use my own life to still do these kind of things? I will still do as much as I can. But I just don’t want to risk my life to sit in a wheelchair, that’s all.” Chan is the director, writer, producer and star of the new film which also stars Oliver Platt and debuts in China next month. The story follows Chan’s treasure hunter who is aiming to repatriate sculpture heads of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, which were taken from Beijing’s Summer Palace during the Opium Wars. Chan also told Reuters he is looking to devote more time to charitable work.

Berlinale Sets 2013 Retrospective Co-Curated With MoMA
The Berlin Film Festival has designated 2013’s retrospective The Weimar Touch: The International Influence Of Weimar Cinema After 1933. The section, co-curated by the Deutsche Kinemathek and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, will focus on continuities, mutual effects and transformations in the films of German-speaking emigrants up into the 1950s. Weimar cinema flourished between 1918 and 1933, but with the Nazi takeover the German film industry was forced to align with Party politics and more than 2000 people working in the industry, for the most part of Jewish descent, had to emigrate and many sought a new start in Europe and the U.S. Thirty-three films are to be presented in five chapters: Rhythm And Laughter, Unheimlich – The Dark Side, Light And Shadow, Variations, and Know Your Enemy. Included will be Hermann Kosterlitz’s socially critical comedy Peter, the recently restored Dutch film, Komedie Om Geld by Max Ophüls and Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot. The festival notes the latter film put “the subversive humor and frivolous travesty of Weimar cinema into an American context.” Other titles will include Joseph Losey’s 1951 adaptation of Fritz Lang’s M and Victor Saville’s 1935 British film First A Girl, based on Reinhold Schünzel’s Viktor Und Viktoria which was ultimately remade by Blake Edwards in 1982 as Victor/Victoria. In the Know Your Enemy section, films shown will be those that took a stand against the Nazi regime including Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be Or Not To Be and Michael Curtiz’ Casablanca. After the festival, which runs February 7-17, films from the retrospective will be shown at the MoMA in New York.