John Short Joins Epic Pictures Group As VP Foreign Sales
John Short has been named VP international sales for Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson’s Epic Pictures Group. Ewald and Berenson will focus on focus on the company’s original productions, while Short will oversee day-to-day operations for foreign sales. Short is introducing Epic’s slate at the upcoming Filmart in Hong Kong March 18-21 and will attend the Cannes Market May 16-25. Epic’s Big Ass Spider! premieres March 11 at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Ewald and Berenson financed and produced the pic directed by Mike Mendez and starring Greg Grunberg. Short previously served as VP International Sales for Hyde Park Entertainment where he handled Bernie, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Our Idiot Brother. Prior to Hyde Park, Short was VP of YFG Intl.

Michael Petroni To Direct Australian Thriller ‘Backtrack’
See Pictures, the Australian production company formed three years ago by writer-director Michael Petroni and Jamie Hilton, will start shooting its first feature Backtrack in Melbourne midyear. Petroni wrote and will direct the supernatural thriller about a psychologist whose life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers his patients are ghosts of people who died in an accident 20 years earlier. Hilton and Antonia Barnard are producing, casting is underway, and the film is financed by Screen Australia, the 40% producer offset, Australian distributor Madman Entertainment, Deluxe, Spectrum and international sales agent Bankside. Petroni scripted The Rite, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Fox 2000’s The Book Thief, a WWII drama set in Germany which stars Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and Sophie Nélisse. – Don Groves

AFP Signs Video Service Deal With Al Jazeera
AFPTV contracted with Al Jazeera to provide its video service to the Qatar-based satellite news service. The move comes just over a year after AFP signed with another Arabic service Al-Arabiya. The Al Jazeera contract signifies the growing importance of AFPTV as a major global TV player. AFPTV has enjoyed strong growth globally, in particular in the Middle East and North Africa. The number of TV stations subscribing to AFP video rose by 17 last year. Al Jazeera joins five new clients this year.

Tesco Launches Clubcard TV As Customer Rewards Promotion
UK retailer Tesco has launched Clubcard TV, offering hundreds of free online movies and TV shows to 16 million Clubcard customers. Content is geared to families and kids and includes comedy, drama, romance, thrillers and documentaries. Although the service is free, advertising will run before, during and after movie or TV shows customers are watching. Tesco also said it will collect Clubcard data to “help us deliver a more personalized service.”