International Update

Australia

Ten Network’s new programming director, Kel Geddes, who signed on last week after Len Downs resigned, has started making major schedule changes/The Simpsons” has been shifted from its Sunday night slot, where it was losing ground to Nine’s “60 Minutes,” to Tuesday nights, bumping out “Alien Nation,” to battle against Nine’s sitcom “All Together Now” and Seven’s winning drama “A Country Practice.”

Multicultural broadcaster SBS has picked up six one-hour telepics from Bob Weis in association with the Australian Film TV & Radio School; they have an emphasis on new talent. Six other hourlong pickups are from docu series “Tales Of The South Pacific,” from Juniper Films.

The multimillion-dollar Warner Bros. Movie World theme park, a joint venture between Village Roadshow, WB and Seaworld, has set its official opening for June 2.

Canada

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. tv web reports $C8 million ($6.9 million) worth of international program sales for the fiscal year ended March 31, a slight boost from 1989-90. New sales made at the recent MIP totaled $C3 million ($2.6 million), according to sales chief Inta Erwin. They included “Love And Hate” miniseries to Italy’s RAI. Mini aired last summer on NBC to tall ratings.

Toronto’s Green Tea Films distrib, headed by Russell Chan, is taking contempo four-pic “Revolutionary Gems From Hungary” package across the U.S., following brisk biz at the city’s Festival Cinemas rep house chain.

Quebec really is different from English-track Canada. Toprated domestic tv series in Quebec this season was the third and final year of “Les Fille De Caleb,” with a weekly average of 3.1 million viewers, per Nielsen. Quebec’s population is 6 million. Toprated domestic series in Canada’s other nine provinces was “The Road To Avonlea,” with 1.3 million weekly average, also per Nielsen. Total population in those nine provinces is 20 million. “Road” also aired on the U.S. Disney Channel.

After fierce bidding, tv net Tele-Metropole has secured exclusive rights to broadcast the 1992 Summer Olympic Games from Barcelona to French Canada, namely to its four affiliate and six subsidiary stations in Quebec. Michel Chamberlain, v.p. of programming, said the total cost to TM is $C7 million ($6.02 million), “including broadcast rights and everything else.”

h2>Denmark

To score points in the current ratings war with TV-2, pubcaster DR/TV has dusted off “Here’s Your Life.” As before, producer and host will be Gregers Dirckinck-Helmfeld. Program depicts the lives of well-known Danes.

Finland

Jukka Vilhunen, managing director of Finnish Film Foundation, has resigned; his term would have ended April 30. Vilhunen says he is leaving because of the recent public debate over misappropriations of funds. The chairman of the Film Foudation, Jukka Makela of Finnkino, also left his post but remained a member of the board. He was replaced by Hannu Tarmio, former general director of WSOY, the biggest publishing house in Finland.

France

Still no sign of the Alexandre Dumas adaptation “La Reine Margot,” which was due to star Isabelle Adjani. Pic was to be next film from producer Claude Berri following his co-production of Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “L’Amant.” Berri has the project on the back burner, partly because of the costs projected for shooting the film. He says budget would be well over 100 million francs ($17 million).

Francois d’Amecourt has been appointed head of marketing at indie vid distributor Delta Video. Delta has announced a summer release slate that includes Anthony Page’s “Absolution,” starring Richard Burton, and John Frankenheimer’s combat pic “The Fourth War.”

About 54% of television drama and 5% of films screened on European webs are American, according to a new report by analyst BLM. Companied interview 64 networks from 17 European countries.

The second Intl. Market of European Documentaries is sheduled to run June 21 to 24 in Marseille. Market reports that some 120 network buyers and 130 producers already have signed up for this year’s event. Organizers have made room available for private viewing of rushes, projects in preproduction. Running alongside the market is the second European Documentary Biennial fest, June 19 to 25. Forty docs have been selected for official competition.

Pay-tv channel Canal Plus has set up a fiction production committee, headed by program director Albert Mathieu. Also on the board is Francoise Reymond, acquisition chief. Canal Plus plans to co-produce 24 tv movies this year.

At the Cannes Film Fest for its second year, the music rights collection agency Sacem will host a conference May 14. Powwow will concentrate on the importance of music in the production of films.

Greece

In Athens, Michael Cacoyannis began shooting his new comedy “Up, Down And Sideways,” also produced and written by him and toplining Irene Papas, Stathis Tzortzoglou, Eleni Yerasimidou and Panos Michaelopoulos.

Iceland

“The White Viking,” one of Scandinavia’s biggest co-production film projects ever (with a total cost of about $6 million), is being completed. The state television companies in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden joined hands with the Norwegian film company Filmeffekt in 1989 to produce the feature film and miniseries based on Hrath Gunnlaugsson’s story. Icelandic director Gunnlaugsson helms the pic, to be shot in the Icelandic language.

Italy

Lensing started last week in Cinecitta on “Ivy,” a new Italian soap opera produced by Silvio Berlusconi Communications. The first of 26 episodes is skedded to air in primetime next October on Berlusconi’s Canale 5 as a replacement for the worn-out “Dallas.” “Ivy” is produced by Giulio Lombardo (son of veteran producer Goflredo Lombardo) at a cost of $350,000 per hour.

Pubcaster RAI-1 announced plans for a six-part mini called “The Baron” starring Ron Moss. Project is based on a novel by Sveva Casati Modignani and will be scripted by producer Alessandro Fracassi.

Former journalist and RAI exec Sergio Zavoli has been named prexy of Telesanmarino, a new pubcaster serving the tiny republic of San Marino. Giovanni Maria Bruscolini, head of RAI’s Ancona bureau, has been appointed director general, and Mario Cobellini will be vice-president.

The 34th Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds will run from June 26 to July 14, offering 200 performances, including three ballets, three operas, six plays and dozens of concerts, films and conferences. Legit program is topped by Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera,” staged by German director Gunther Kramer, and Umberto Marino’s “Ce N’est Q’un Debut,” starring Marghertita Buy, Sergio Rubini, Fabrizio Bentivoglio and Giuseppe Cederna.

U.K.

Britain’s commercial tv regulator, the Independent Television Commission, will invite bids for new tv services using BSkyB’s soon-to-be-redundant Marco Polo satellite. Bidders, thought likely to include community, ethnic, educational, parliamentary and arts groups, could benefit from cutprice rental fees for the satellite’s five transponders and may be allowed to transmit in PAL rather than MAC. The imposition of the expensive MAC transmission standard is widely agreei to have contributed to BSB’s lack of success, which resulted in its merger with Sky TV last year.

The Summit Group, the sales and distribution partnership formed by producers Andy Vajna, Bernd Eichinger and Arnon Milchan, has tapped former pay-tv exec David Garrett to head a new international office based in London. Garrett, as vice-president of international tv, will be responsible for selling feature films to tv stations around the world.

Michael Deeley, former chief exec of Consolidated Entertainment, has been picked by longtime friend and former colleague John Heyman to expand Island-World’s tv operations to include the kind of lavish co-productions that were Consolidated’s trademark. Deeley, head of Island-World Intl. TV, expects to set up a sales division based in London.

John Goldschmidt, managing director of Anglo-German production company Viva Pictures, is starting production in June on a film version of Bruce Chatwin’s novel “Utz.” Cast is headed by Armen Mueller, Brenda Flicker, Paul Scofield and Peter Riegert

East-West trading company Spec Group, which last year made two films in the Soviet Union, has formed Spectator Film Sales Intl. Division, headed by Kevin Christie, former joint managing director of Ideal Communications, will debut at Cannes.

Central TV will organize the tv side of a British Academy of Film and Television Arts festival in Washington May 12 to 18. Festival will include screenings of programs from ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC, and seminars with leading personalities from the U.K. industry.

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