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    Filmmaker Caught in Battle Between IFC and Mark Cuban

    Filmmaker Caveh Zahedi is caught in the middle of a growing battle between Landmark Theaters owner Mark Cuban and IFC Films. The theater owner apparently ordered his chain (the leading arthouse circuit in the country) to drop Zahedi's "I Am A Sex Addict" in retaliation over distributor IFC Films' day and date deal with Comcast. Cuban is upset that the cable system has refused to carry his HD Net cable networks. In an open letter to Cuban on his blog (hosted by indieWIRE), Zahedi detailed the situation. Cuban then responded saying that IFC knew better than to try to book the film at Landmark and he encouraged Zahedi to ask IFC to drop the day ...

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    Studios Take First Steps in Online VOD Distribution; Indie Companies Tentative So Far

    The Hollywood studios (with the exception of Disney) announced Monday the launch of a new movie downloading service that will release films on DVD and via online video-on-demand (VOD) on the same day. The tandem initiative from Movielink.com and MGM, Paramount, Sony, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. ...

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    Doc Directors and Bloggers Buzz About Showtime/Smithsonian Deal

    A deal between Showtime Networks and The Smithsonian Institution is drawing negative reviews from filmmakers and bloggers alike. The pact, announced nearly a month ago, marks the creation of Smithsonian Networks, which in the words of an announcement will offer programs, "drawn from the assets of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex, and its scientific and scholarly research centers, as well the editorial content of the Smithsonian and Air & Space magazines." According to a New York Times article, the deal includes an agreement that the joint venture has first right of refusal to commercial documentaries that heavil...

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    BBC: Local releases lift French cinema

    Locally produced film releases have helped a surge in French box office returns, new figures have revealed. Cinema attendance in France has risen by 17.9% in the first quarter of 2006 compared with the same period last year, according to analysts Nielsen. French films accounted for three of the top ...

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    NY Times: Universal Will Not Pull "United 93" Trailer, Despite Criticism

    Universal Studios said on Monday that it would stick with plans to show an adrenaline-pumping trailer for "United 93," its forthcoming thriller about the passenger revolt on one of the planes hijacked on 9/11, despite qualms from some moviegoers and families of 9/11 victims. Adam Fogelson, Universal's president of marketing, said the trailer, which was pulled from AMC Loews Lincoln Square 12 Theater in Manhattan on Saturday after complaints from patrons, would be shown only before R-rated movies or "grown-up" PG-13 ones. He said the trailer was created to give a candid sense of the film itself, which opens at the end of the month. Sharon Waxm...

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    SF Chronicle: Bahamas "Brokeback Mountain" Ban Draws Ire

    A Bahamian government board's decision to ban the movie "Brokeback Mountain" has prompted charges of discrimination and censorship in the island chain. Gay rights groups and others have called on the Plays and Films Control Board to reverse its decision prohibiting theaters from showing the award-wi...

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    The Guardian: Interview: Heath Ledger

    As the beating heart of "Brokeback Mountain," Heath Ledger, still only 26, has blasted himself high into the A-list's stratosphere. And how does he respond to the media frenzy? By taking a year off... Here, the brooding Australian actor talks to David Lipsky about fighting fame, becoming a father an...

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    Goldcrest Gets "Son"

    Goldcrest Films International has aquired the worldwide sales rights to Andrew Walton's "Arctic Son," described as a doc about "family, dependence and self reliance in the Canadian Yukon." The film will have its world premiere this weekend at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC. It will also screen later this month at IFP Independents Night at the Walter Reade Theater, and at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, followed by a screening at Hot Docs in Canada. The film is a production of Arts Engine Inc./Big Mouth Films. Arts Engine is planning to excecute a national outreach campaign for distributing the film, with the g...

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    The Top Ten So Far...

    Each Monday, indieWIRE receives the final weekend numbers for specialty releases in theaters. This is our top ten for the past weekend so far, with most numbers already in. The top ten is subject to change before the final chart is published tomorrow and the weekly box office column is written. Thre...

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    Random House and Focus Features Acquire Rights to New Koontz Novel

    Author Dean Koontz has sold his forthcoming novel, "The Husband" to Focus Features and Random House Films, the two comanies heads, James Schamus and Peter Gethers announced today. The story, which will be published on May 30th in hardcover in the U.S. and Canada, is the story of an ordinary working man whose love for his wife is put to a harrowing series of tests over a 60-hour period, beginning when his peaceful workday is shattered by a phone call from a stranger. "The Husband" is the third Random House, Inc. title acquired by the joint venture. In the multi-year deal announced last November between the publisher and Focus Features, the com...

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