China Eyes Merger Of TV, Film & Press Watchdogs
In a move that could help to streamline China’s clearance or censorship of entertainment content, the government plans to merge the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) and the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP). Currently, movie and TV distributors who want to do business in China have to navigate a sea of red tape through SARFT and the merger could help cut that down, but is unlikely to result in wholesale deregulation. SARFT would continue to oversee sensitive content in the media and add the National Copyright Administration under its umbrella. The proposed combination comes as the public is increasingly discontent with a bloated central administration, whose bureaucracy and inefficiency are at odds with a market-oriented economy, The South China Morning Post reported. The proposal, which still needs to be approved, was submitted over the weekend at the National People’s Congress. It’s part of a reform of the cultural sector that began in 2003 and has turned hundreds of former government organizations including publishers and theaters, into companies that operate according to market rules, China Daily notes.

Autenti Acquires Oscar-Winning Documentary ‘Inocente’
Munich-based documentary label Autentic has boarded European sales on Oscar-winning short Inocente. Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine’s doc about a homeless Mexican teenager will be offered to buyers for the first time at the MipDOC TV market in Cannes next month. Executive Producer and Shine co-founder Susan MacLaury said the filmmakers hope people will be inspired by the film to help the 1.5M homeless children and 1.8M undocumented children in the United States. Inocente was produced by Shine Global, Salty Features, Fine Films and Unison in cooperation with Epic Screen, Pass Pictures and Gold Glove Productions.

Screen Australia Film And TV Production Budgets Capped
Australian film and TV drama producers who were hoping for an increase in overall funding from Screen Australia are out of luck. On Monday, the federal government agency said the allocation for feature film production investment in the year starting June 30 will be $A23M ($23.4M), the same as the current fiscal year. The 2013-2014 budget for TV drama production similarly is unchanged at $19M. The budget for documentaries is also $19M. Screen Australia caused a ruckus in the industry in December when it announced its drama production budget for 2012-2013 was exhausted, apart from projects that had applied for funding at the February 2013 board meeting, when investment was approved for just one film, Michael Petroni’s thriller Backtrack. The agency will next consider applications for film and TV dramas at its June 25 board meeting. – Don Groves

BBC Four Adds International Dramas To Saturday Nights
BBC Four has acquired two dramas for its Saturday night block, adding to its international lineup that has included Wallander, The Killing, Borgen, The Slap and The Bridge. Swedish crime series Arne Dahl (a pseudonym of the award winning author Jan Arnald) is based on five of Dahl’s novels, beginning with The Blinded Man. It revolves around a tight-knit team of elite specialists who investigate the dark side of society. From Italy, Inspector Da Luca is a four-part crime series based on the novels by Carlo Lucarelli and set in and around Bologna during the years of Mussolini’s dictatorship. Inspector Da Luca is an investigator whose brutal honesty and uncompromising character help him solve cases, but combined with his love of women, they also conspire to get him in trouble. Richard Klein, controller of BBC Four, said, “These acquisitions are part of BBC Four’s ongoing mission to give viewers an excuse to stay in on a Saturday night by offering an entertaining alternative to Saturday television viewing.” The timeslot has grown threefold in ratings since 2009 for a 2.9% share in 2012.