World Briefs

FRANCE

Culture minister Catherine Tasca has called UGC Cine Cite, France’s biggest exhibitor, to account for its unilateral launch of a cheap-rate cinema pass.

The deal, under which filmgoers can see as many films as they want at UGC’s 42 French cinemas for $14 dollars a month, has met with a chorus of disapproval, especially from independent exhibitors.

Telling journalists she was “preoccupied” by UGC’s initiative, Tasca said she intended to see UGC’s CEO Guy Verrechia, and others in the industry to discuss it.

She promised to be “attentive to the maintenance of the independent sector,” adding: “In my view, there is more to this than the harmless measure its promoters are portraying it as.”

CHINA

Turner movie channel TNT has gotten a makeover in Asia that includes a rebranding as Turner Classic Movies.

TCM will continue to share a channel with Cartoon Network on many cable outlets in the region.

The move reflects the channel’s emphasis on films dating back to the 1920s. The network will now do more packaging of films, such as monthlong salutes to directors and actors.

LATIN AMERICA

The Canal Fox channel is launching an Internet site for “The Simpsons” in Spanish and Portuguese for Latam markets in May.

Lossimpson.com and ossimpson.com will rep the first multilingual sites for the popular animated series.

Canal Fox is available to more than 11 million subs in the region.

AUSTRALIA

“Love is the Devil” thesp Derek Jacobi has signed to star as the voice of Vaslav Nijinsky in a dramatized documentary film that will use existing images of, and re-create significant moments in the life of, the great Russian dancer for “Innocence” writer-director Paul Cox.

More than 10 years in planning, “Nijinsky” is being produced in association with America’s Winstar, which will rep the film internationally. It will be distribbed theatrically in Oz by Sharmill Films.

NEW ZEALAND

Columbia TriStar has picked up Beyond Film’s New Zealand feature “Shearer’s Breakfast” for all territories except Germany, where rights rest with Senator Film, and Australia, where Beyond retain rights.

Majority financed by Germany’s MBP, the A$3.4 million ($2.1 million) film, which commences shooting next week, will be directed by Scott Reynolds and produced by Sue Rogers, while “High Art’s” Radha Mitchell is slated to star opposite American thesp Barry Watson.

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