German Producers Plan Pope Benedict Biopic
The Odeon Film company said German producers Marcus Mende and Peter Weckert have acquired film rights to an upcoming biography of Pope Bendict XVI by journalist Peter Seewald. The bio is to be published in early 2014, Reuters reported. Seewald, who has signed on as a consultant for the film, previously authored three book-length interviews with Benedict – two as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and one as pope. Benedict’s predecessor Pope John Paul was the subject of a dozen documentary films around the world and two major television movies in the United States.

Shekhar Kapur Proceeds With Dystopian ‘Paani’
Oscar-nominated Indian director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) has finally secured production financing for his ambitious futuristic tale Paani after teaming up with production studio Yash Raj Films. Kapur introduced the project to investors at Cannes in 2010 but had until now not been able to raise financing for the estimated $30 million project. Production is slated to begin midyear 2013 in India and elsewhere. YRF boss Aditya Chopra is producing and Oscar-winner AR Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) providing the music score. YRF plans to cast a leading young actor from India and an actress from the West. Paani is set in the near future in a megacity at a time when water wars have broken out and a water company boss’s daughter has been kidnapped.

Netflix Faces Competition In Mexico
Movie and TV show disc rental and streaming giant Netflix faces fresh competition in Mexico from America Movil which launched a rival service Friday. The new service, Clarovideo, will cost about 69 pesos ($5.30) a month, according to Bloomberg. America Movil offers a similar service in Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay which allows viewers to watch TV shows and movies an Internet connection. Netflix began selling streaming subscriptions in Mexico last year for 99 pesos ($7.60) a month.

Celebrity Diving Format Sold To China Satcaster
Banijay International’s diving format Stars In Danger: High Diving has been licensed to China’s leading satellite broadcaster Jiangsu Satellite Channel just ahead of next week’s Asia TV Forum 2012. The 10-episode series will be produced by Jiangsu TV for primetime broadcast in Spring 2013. Taped in front of a live audience on location in an Olympic-size swimming pool, Stars In Danger: High Diving will feature stars from music, TV, film and pop culture. Stars In Danger: High Diving has also sold to Fox as a special and possible series in the U.S., and to TV2 Norway and TV3 Sweden.

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