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World Briefs

GERMANY

German licensing, production and distribution outfit Advanced Medien has taken German-language rights for the next five years to all pics from the L.A.-based Unified Film Organization (UFO). Deal includes upcoming UFO productions such as “Daybreak,” “Under Pressure” and “Falcon Down.” Advanced has previously distributed UFO productions such as “Velocity Trap” and “Dark Divine.”

AUSTRALIA

GranadaWest, a joint venture between the U.K.-based media giant and West Australian government agency ScreenWest, has inked its first development deal with a WA producer, Artemis Intl. Under the deal, Granada Media Intl. has nabbed international distrib rights to a batch of docus being developed by Artemis, a newly formed partnership between exec producer Brian Beaton and director-producer Celia Tait.

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Mark McCormack’s Intl. Management Group has launched TWI Prods. Australia/New Zealand to produce sports programming for free-to-air and pay TV outlets Down Under. The new Sydney-based company will complement TWI’s production centers in Gotham, London, Hong Kong and Delhi, which together have produced 5,000 hours of programming, servicing more than 200 countries.

TWI Prods. Australia/NZ CEO Richard Scotts, who formerly ran his own sports marketing and production agency, said the company is well placed to cover sports as the Australian networks increasingly outsource production in the lead-up to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Tracey Lang has joined TWI Prods. as project manager after 18 years with the Nine network.

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Characters from popular Australian TV series “Round the Twist” will be featured in one of the major attractions at Paramount’s Studio Adventure theme park in Melbourne. Studio City, the Viacom-backed consortium that’s developing the park, film and TV studios and entertainment precinct, confirmed inking a pact with the series’ creator, the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

The government-backed foundation will develop an interactive play area using characters and adventures from the series.

INDIA

News Corp.’s acquisition of a 4% stake in Zee TV has been cleared by the Indian government’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board. The equity stake is part of the September Star TV-Zee deal in which Zee bought News Corp.’s holding in its companies for close to $300 million. Murdoch, in turn, had agreed to hold 4% equity in Zee TV.

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