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Global Showbiz Briefs: Iran Reopens Its House Of Cinema; Channel 4 Hires Nick Lee; More

Iran Reopens Its Film Industry Body After 20 Months
Iran has reopened the House of Cinema, its main film industry guild. The move comes nearly two years after it was closed, the BBC reported, citing state news agency Irna. Per the report, Deputy Culture Minister Hojatollah Ayoubi said the decision indicates new President Hassan Rouhani’s support for films. The January 2012 closure of the body was decried by prominent filmmakers, including Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi (A Separation). At a reopening ceremony, Ayoubi reportedly said, “When a cultural issue — like the one about the House of Cinema — becomes a political one, that is (because) the situation was not managed properly.” Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Marc Forster Heads Zurich Competition Jury; Fox Preps Launch In Netherlands; More

By | Friday July 26, 2013 @ 9:00pm PDT

Marc Forster Tops International Film Competition Jury At Zurich
Marc Forster has been tapped to lead the International Film Competition Jury at the Zurich Film Festival, which runs September 26-October 6. The Swiss-German director, producer and screenwriter most recently helmed World War Z. Said Forster, “I have followed the success story of the Zurich Film Festival from afar and I’m certain that a fascinating task awaits me,” he said. The jury also includes American producer Stacey Sher, Indian producer Guneet Monga, Australian writer-director Andrew Dominik and Swiss filmmaker Thomas Imbach.

Fox Launches August 19 In The Netherlands
Fox will launch a 24-hour localized channel in the Netherlands on August 19. It will be available to digital TV subscribers of Dutch cable operator Ziggo. Fox International Channels will operate the new network in partnership with Dutch media venture Eredivisie Media & Marketing. The channel will target men and women ages 12 and older, offering a slate of premium, first-run drama, movies, animation and sports programming. The series lineup will include The Walking Dead, Da Vinci’s Demons, The Bridge, Low Winter Sun and Ripper Street. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: San Sebastian, Zurich Fests Partner; LoveFilm, CBS Ink; ITV’s ‘Come Dine With Me’ Streams

Zurich, San Sebastian Film Festivals Opening Windows On Each Other
The Zurich and San Sebastian Film Festivals are creating a unique partnership for their upcoming editions, which run almost simultaneously. Zurich will open a San Sebastian Window, which will offer insight into contemporary Spanish cinema by showcasing entries from the different sections of San Sebastian’s program. In turn, a Zurich Window will enhance the San Sebastian program with contributions from German-speaking countries, particularly Switzerland. The parties intend to strengthen their alliance in the coming years. Zurich runs Sept 26-Oct 6, and San Sebastian is September 20-28.

CBS Studios Fare To Stream in UK, Germany Via LoveFilm
Amazon’s LoveFilm has singed a multiyear licensing deal with CBS Studios International to bring content from the group to the UK and Germany. Subscribers will be able to stream network TV series including The Good Wife and Blue Bloods as well as Showtime programming such as Nurse Jackie, Californication and Dexter. The original 1960s Star Trek series and and Star Trek: Voyager also will be available. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Tokyo, Zurich Festivals; News Corp’s Binding Bid

Tokyo Hosts ‘Trouble With The Curve’
Clint Eastwood-starrer Trouble With The Curve will close the Tokyo International Film Festival on October 28. Directed by frequent Eastwood collaborator Robert Lorenz, the film stars Eastwood as an aging baseball scout and Amy Adams as his estranged daughter. Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Matthew Lillard and Robert Patrick also star. Warner Bros has set the U.S. release for September 21. The festival opens October 20 with Paramount’s 3D Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away, exec produced by James Cameron and directed by Andrew Adamson.

News Corp Presses Binding Offer
News Corp has moved to solidify its hold on Australian pay-TV platform Foxtel and the Fox Sports channels with a binding takeover bid for Consolidated Media Holdings. CMH owns 25% of Foxtel and 50% of Fox Sports. News is offering $A3.45 ($3.55) per share, valuing the company controlled by James Packer at $1.94 billion. That’s a bit less than News Corp’s non-binding cash offer made in June, but shareholders will receive a 6 cents per share dividend. Said Packer, exec chairman of 50% shareholder Consolidated Press Holdings: “This is a great outcome for CMH shareholders and for News and it reflects a fair price.” There was no immediate response from Seven Group Holdings, which has a 25.3% stake in CMH and has asked regulators whether it could buy the balance. A decision is due September 13. News owns 25% of Foxtel and the other 50% of Fox Sports. If the News deal proceeds it’s expected to close in November. Citi media analyst Justin Diddams told Deadline it’s unlikely the Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven Group will make a counter-offer. -Don Groves
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Global Showbiz Briefs: Zurich Master Classes, Oliver Père To Arte France

Frank Darabont, Michael Shamberg, Pietro Scalia Set For Zurich Master Classes
The Zurich Film Festival today announced this year’s headliners for its Master Class series. Instructors will include writer-director Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Walking Dead); producer Michael Shamberg (Pulp Fiction, Erin Brockovich); editor Pietro Scalia (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down), producer Greg Shapiro (The Hurt Locker), screenwriter Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, About Elly); director Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Easy Money), director Benh Zeitlin (Beasts Of The Southern Wild) and UTA’s David Flynn. Additionally producer Jerry Weintraub (the Ocean’s Eleven series, among others) will lead a session as well as receive a career achievement award. Espinosa, Shamberg and Scalia also will be on the fest’s fiction jury of which Darabont will serve as president. Richard Gere will receive the fest’s Golden Icon award and John Travolta will be honored with the Golden Eye award at the opening night screening of Oliver Stone’s Savages. Fest runs September 20-30.

Italy’s Eagle Acquires Venice Opener ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’
Eagle Pictures has snapped up Italian rights to director Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist ahead of its world premiere Wednesday at the Venice Film Festival. K5 International is handling international sales. The movie is also screening at Toronto on September 8th. Based on the novel by Mohsin Hamid, it stars Kate Hudson and Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, Trishna) plus Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Martin Donovan and Om … Read More »

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Zurich Film Festival: Jeff Nichols’ ‘Take Shelter’ Wins Best Feature Award

By | Saturday October 1, 2011 @ 6:43pm PDT

The 7th Zurich Film Festival announced its award winners tonight, with Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter taking best feature film. This year’s edition also was marked by an appearance from Roman Polanski, who received the fest’s lifetime achievement award Tuesday. A list of competition winners follows:

International Feature Film Competition
Take Shelter by Jeff Nichols (U.S.)

Outstanding Performance By An Actor
Deon Lotz for Beauty

Outstanding Performance By An Actress
Corinne Masiero for Louise Wimmer

International Documentary Film Competition
Buck by Cindy Meehl (U.S.)

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‘Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir’ Is Surprise Addition To Zurich Film Festival

By | Tuesday September 27, 2011 @ 1:30pm PDT

Roman Polanski Attending Zurich Film Festival

There’s another reason Roman Polanski has returned to the Zurich Film Festival, where he was arrested two years ago by authorities who tried unsuccessfully to bring him back to the U.S. to face a 1977 statutory rape charge. After the festival bestowed its lifetime achievement award on the Oscar-winning director Tuesday night, it offered up the surprise world premiere of the documentary Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir, in which Polanski talks to friend and producer Andrew Braunsberg about his career, the murder of his wife Sharon Tate and his recent arrest. Laurent Bouzereau directed the feature-length docu. It was at the 2009 Swiss festival, where Polanski was originally to to receive the lifetime honor, that he was arrested — he never made it to the fest, getting stopped at the airport. He served time in jail and was under house arrest until he successfully fought off extradition to the U.S., making today’s return trip possible. (UPDATE: Polanski thanked the crowd after accepting his award Tuesday night: “Better late than never,” he said in his speech, according to Reuters. “It’s a strange anniversary for me, two years, day for day. … Certain parts of it I’d rather forget, but I’m happy to be here. It is a very moving moment for me so do not expect any speeches.”)

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Roman Polanski Attending Zurich Film Festival

By | Thursday September 15, 2011 @ 3:09am PDT
Mike Fleming

Roman Polanski, who was placed under house arrest by Switzerland when he came to attend the Zurich Film Festival in 2009, is returning to the festival this year to accept a lifetime achievement award. According to an announcement, Polanski will not be doing interviews during the festival but will be going. Festival organizers also will not speak about the legal case. Last time, Polanski never made it to the festival, arrested at the airport and taken into provisional custody. Swiss authorities eventually freed him and declined an extradition request from the United States, where Polanski skipped out on a conviction for engaging in a sex act with an underage girl in 1978. Polanski’s latest film, Carnage, was accepted as the opening-night film of the New York Film Festival. He most certainly is not expected to attend that gathering. Here’s the announcement: Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Switzerland, Australia, Italy

Zurich Film Festival To Present Paul Haggis with Golden Eye
The festival will also screen a retrospective of the Oscar-winning screenwriter and filmmaker’s work, which includes Million Dollar Baby, Crash and In the Valley of Elah. In addition, Haggis will lead one of the festival’s master class workshops, where he will discuss his work and career. Previous honorees at the festival, which will run Sept. 22-Oct. 2, include Roman Polanski, Milos Forman and Oliver Stone.

Universal, Sony Merge Home Entertainment In Australia
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures International Entertainment will combine operations in Australia in 2012 for the distribution of DVD and Blu-ray movies and TV shows. The new unit will be headed by Jim Bachelor, currently managing director for Universal Pictures Australia and New Zealand; and Kim Overall, managing director, Australia and New Zealand, SPHE, who will be in an advisory role. The unnamed joint venture, announced today by Eddie Cunningham, president of UPIE, and Matt Brown, EVP, international for SPHE, must still meet antitrust guidelines in Australia. Read More »

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Soderbergh’s ‘Contagion’ To Open Zurich

By | Tuesday August 30, 2011 @ 12:27am PDT

Zurich, Switzerland (August 30, 2011) – The Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) announced today the members of the two juries that will preside over the international competition categories at the 7th edition of the Festival, which takes place September 22 – October 2, 2011. Academy Award® nominee Laurence Fishburne (“The Matrix” trilogy, “Mystic River,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It”) will serve as Jury President for the ZFF’s international section. The Festival will also be honoring Fishburne with a special achievement award.

Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion,” which stars Fishburne, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law has been selected as the Festival’s opening night film and will screen at the Corso Cinema on the evening of Thursday, September 22nd. “Contagion” is an action-thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak. The film is a Warner Bros. Pictures release, directed by Academy Award® winner Steven Soderbergh. Soderbergh also produced the film with Gregory Jacobs, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. Scott Z. Burns wrote the screenplay.

Multiple Academy Award® winner and humanitarian Sean Penn will be in Zurich this year to accept the Festival’s coveted Golden Icon Award.

The 2011 Zurich Film Festival jury members are:

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