Australian Government Prepares For Fight Over Media Reforms
News Corp warns that media reforms introduced to Parliament on Thursday local time could harm the company’s new publishing spinoff and may be challenged in the High Court. Kim Williams, CEO of Australia’s News Limited, attacked the proposal to create a public interest media advocate, which would have the power to approve or reject mergers and takeovers and oversee self-regulatory bodies such as the Australian Press Council. He described the legislation as an attempt by the Labor Government to “constrain and harness News Limited” and said the reforms may hurt the asset values of the new News Corp. The government also proposes creating a parliamentary committee to examine abolition of the rule prohibiting a broadcaster from reaching more than 75% of the country. The Liberal/National Party Coalition, which is heavily favored to win the federal election in September, has vowed to block or repeal the legislation. – Don Groves

Tudou’s Gary Wang Eyes Animation Domination In China founder Gary Wang is gearing up to launch an animated film studio in Beijing on April 1, making movies primarily for the domestic market. The entrepreneur told The Wall Street Journal he has secured tens of millions of dollars in funding from a group of international investors. With China now the world’s second biggest movie market at $2.74B in sales last year, the time is ripe, Wang believes. Movie theaters are opening at a breakneck pace and the environment has improved for distribution, promotion and copyrights, Wang said. China does not have a large animation sector but DreamWorks is now in a joint venture with China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment on Oriental DreamWorks, a Shanghai studio that will develop and produce original Chinese animated and live-action content. Wang is recruiting local talent, but also scanning Los Angeles and San Francisco for directors, storyboard artists and senior animators. Because the Chinese animation market is underdeveloped, Wang’s new studio will face fierce competition from Hollywood majors. “We need to take a very long-term view,” given that each film will take several years to produce,” he told The Journal. “There are very few animation movies that Chinese people can call their own. It will take time, but this could be potentially bigger than Tudou.” Wang left Tudou last year after it merged with Youku.

Christophe Lambert To Head Monte-Carlo Jury
Franco-American actor and producer Christophe Lambert will preside over the TV Series Jury for the 53rd Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo in June. Lambert follows American producer Josh Schwartz who was President of the TV Series category last year. The fest runs from June 9-13 in the principality.

Fortissimo Has ‘Rigor Mortis’
Fortissimo Films has acquired international rights outside Hong Kong and China to Rigor Mortis, the feature directorial debut of Hong Kong actor/singer/writer Juno Mak. Now in post-production, the film draws its roots from the Chinese vampire movies of the 70s and 80s. Starring Fist Of Legend‘s Chin Siu-ho, the film was produced by Japanese director Takashi Shimizu along with Mak and his Kudos Films. The story is set in a modern-day housing estate and revolves around Chin Siu-Ho, playing himself as a down and out actor/vampire hunter who moves into a rundown public housing flat only to discover that his apartment is haunted and he is not alone. The film will receive an international festival launch later this year followed by its Hong Kong theatrical launch.

Gregg Allman To Play Sundance London
The second Sundance London film and music festival will host a musical performance by Gregg Allman and John Paul White of The Civil Wars. The pair will share a stage for the first time on April 27 April at IndigO2 in London’s O2 Arena. The performance will take place in conjunction with the UK premiere of Greg “Freddy” Camalier’s music documentary, Muscle Shoals. Allman is a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band and White still lives in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The film, just acquired by Magnolia, unearths the rich musical history of the tiny Alabama town. Sundance London runs from April 25-28.

Hong Kong’s Emperor And UA Team On Theaters In China
Hong Kong’s Emperor Motion Pictures has partnered with UA Cinemas for expansion into exhibition in in mainland China, FilmBiz Asia reports. The first complex to open under the partnership will be a 12-screen, 1500-seat luxury cinema in Nanhai VivoCity in Foshan in early 2014. 1,500. Emperor and UA are looking at additional sites in Foshan, Dongguan, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Chongqing and Shanghai. UA has used the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between Hong Kong and China to open mainland cinemas in Shanghai, Wuhan, and Chongqing under the Studio City Cinemas brand. Recently, it opened UA Cinemas in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, Guangdong. Emperor has financed movies including Let the Bullets Fly, (2010), The Viral Factor, and CZ12. As co-distributors Emperor and UA have handled foreign films including The Hunger Games, Departures (2008) and Confessions (2010).