Wikileaks Shows MPAA Drove Aussie Copyright Suit
A newly released Wikileaks cable from the U.S. State Dept. confirms what many presumed all along: The Hollywood studios were behind a broad copyright suit filed in 2008 against Perth-based Internet service provider iiNet. The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft was the plaintiff of record, charging that the ISP failed to prevent pirating on its network. That claim was rejected on grounds the ISP couldn’t be responsible for its users’ actions. Earlier this month, however, Australia’s High Court agreed to hear an appeal, likely in the fall. The Motion Picture Association of America was from the outset a driving force in the suit but “does not want that fact to be broadcast,” then-U.S. Ambassador Robert D. McCallum Jr. wrote in 2008, adding that the MPAA wants to avoid the impression that it is “just Hollywood ‘bullying some poor little Australian ISP’.” That didn’t really work: the original ruling said that AFACT was for all intents and purposes a “local franchise” of the MPAA.
San Sebastian Film Fest Sets Jury Members
Serving as part of the official selection jury will be Babel screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, director Alex de la Iglesia (The Last Circus) and actresses Bai Ling (The Crow), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) and Frances McDormand (Fargo). American writer and film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum will chair the New Directors competition at the festival, which will run Sept. 16-24.
Japan’s Toei Unveils ‘Canaries of the North’
Junji Sakamoto (Children of the Dark) will direct Canaries of the North for Toei studios. The film will be based on a story by Kanae Minato, whose novel Confessions was turned into a box office hit that made Oscar’s short list for Best Foreign Film last year. Sayuri Yoshinaga will star as a teacher returning to a remote island where, 20 years earlier, a tragic accident occurred. Shooting will start this winter with a 2012 release planned.