News in Brief

Film patron Robert Redford gets a nod from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Films Transit opens an office in Amsterdam; Kevin Lygo promises higher quality sex programs on Channel 5.
January 31, 2002

Robert Redford will receive an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of his contributions to the industry as ‘actor, director, producer, founder of Sundance [and] inspiration to independent and innovative filmmakers everywhere’. Redford has been an outspoken proponent of documentaries, initiating the Sundance Festival’s House of Docs and the soon-to-be-launched Sundance Documentary Channel. He will receive the award at the Oscar ceremonies on March 24.

Jan Rofekamp, founder of Montreal-based distributor Films Transit International, has set up a European branch of his company on familiar turf – Amsterdam. Barbara Truyen heads up the new office.

In the U.K., ITV is suggesting it may have to turn to double the number of repeats to offset slumping ad revenues over the next two years. The level of programming repeats could hit as high as 30%.

In the U.K., the Independent Television Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Council will conduct joint research into news and current affairs coverage.

The BBC says it will cut 40 jobs from Beeb Ventures, which includes shopping site and internet service provider Ventures CEO Julian Turner has resigned.

According to a report in The Guardian, Kevin Lygo, director of programs for the U.K.’s Channel 5, claims his current employer airs fewer shows about sex than Channel 4, where he previously worked. Channel 5 has had a reputation for programming trashy fare, including late-night soft porn, since its debut in 1997. In defense of sultry subject matter, Lygo went on to point out that there are both good and bad sex programs and promised to raise the quality of Channel 5′s.

The Hallmark Channel will now be available to 700,000 homes in Romania thanks to a recent deal with UPC Romania.

New York’s Atlas Media has signed a deal with Lions Gate International that will see Lions Gate pick up seven new hours for international distribution.

Chris Smith‘s Home Movie will be packaged with Jeff Krulik and John Heyn‘s doc classic Heavy Metal Parking Lot and released on April 5 by New York-based distrib Code Red, a partnership between Cowboy Pictures and Antidote Films. Home Movie competed in the doc competition at the 2001 Sundance Festival.

New York-based Creative Networks International is on the hunt for arts programming for its Cult Network Italia, a cultural Italian cable network.

The Barbados Pan African Film Festival (January 30 to February 3) is featuring such notable docs as Bill Greaves’ Ralph Bunch: An American Odyssey, Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice and First World Festival of Negro Arts, as well as St. Clair Bourne‘s Making ‘Do the Right Thing’. Both Greaves and Bourne are scheduled to attend the event.

The 2002 Berlin International Film Festival (February 6 to 17) will include a new section called ‘Perspective of German Cinema’. The program will showcase 10 films, including three documentaries – Mein kleines Kind /My Little One (Katja Baumgarten), Der Glanz von Berlin (Antje Kruska, Judith Keil) and Absolut Warhola (Stanislaw Mucha).

The Ann Arbor Film Festival is in the money, having recently received several grants, including: $15,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, $10,000 from the Academy Foundation of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, over $44,000 from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, as well as corporate support from the Sundance Channel and Pfizer. This year’s event takes place from March 10 to 17.

CABLEready has announced the results of its annual NATPE food drive. Despite tumbleweed in the aisles, the ninth-annual drive collected over 600 pounds of food that was given to The Community Food Bank of Clark County in Las Vegas.

According to a report in The New York Times, Fox has pulled its new reality show The Chamber off the air after just one week. Pushing the boundaries of the genre to new heights (or depths), the program featured contestants bound to chairs and exposed to either subzero temperatures or to flames that raised the temperature past 60 degrees Celsius. Critics say the show appeared to subject people to torture for the entertainment of TV audiences.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.