European Film Academy To Honor Comedy
Amour was the big winner at last year’s European Film Awards, and that was no joke. But the European Academy will add a bit of humor to the proceedings in 2013 with a new prize for European Comedy. The award is designed to “pay tribute to a genre which has proven that it is able to unite and entertain audiences across Europe and beyond,” the EFA said. Some of the top-grossing films and crowd-pleasers that have crossed European borders of the past few years have been local comedies including Intouchables and Welcome To The Sticks. A special committee will select three nominees from across Europe and the winner will be voted for by the full membership. The EFA also said today that it is relaunching prizes for European Sound Designer and European Costume Designer. The 26th European Film Awards will take place in Berlin on December 7.

Cut-Uncut Festival To Screen Censored Bollywood Films
A new film festival in New Delhi will celebrate scenes from Bollywood movies that have been deemed too racy for Indian viewers. According to AFP, the Cut-Uncut Festival is an attempt by the ministry of information and broadcasting to bolster a new, more open-minded approach to cinema. Until recently, long kissing scenes, nudity and scenes of rebellion against the government could all be censored, an official told the news agency. “We want to be more liberal, stop enforcing the old rules and instead recognize artistic endeavor,” the person said. The festival runs from April 25-30 and kicks off with a screening of the classic Karma starring Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani, whose onscreen kiss – the first in a Bollywood film – was cut in 1933. Documentary The Final Solution, about Hindu-Muslim religious rioting, will also be shown after it was previously banned. Bollywood is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with India the country of honor at May’s Cannes Film Festival.

Karlovy Vary Names Jury President, Will Honor Oliver Stone
Agnieszka Holland will be jury president at the 48th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The Oscar nominee’s recent HBO series Burning Bush will screen at the festival which runs from June 28 – July 6. The festival also said today that Oliver Stone will receive the honorary Crystal Globe in recognition of his contribution to world cinema. Among Stone’s works to screen at Karlovy Vary will be Scarface, a new cut of Alexander and two episodes of The Untold History Of The United States.

Winner Of MPA Pitch Competition Unveiled In China
The Motion Picture Association has named Shao Xuan the winner of its screenwriting master-class and feature film pitch competition. The student hails from the ART of Film Research Centre in Beijing and her project, The Song From Sun Village, tells the story of a young boy taken in by villagers who care for children of imprisoned parents. The boy forms a choir with the other orphans in an attempt to communicate with his mother. As part of the prize, Shao will take a comprehensive immersion course in filmmaking in Los Angeles in November. The workshop took place at the Beijing Film Festival which just wrapped.

Core Media Hires Clare Thompson
Core Media Group has appointed Clare Thompson as creative director of Core Media UK. Her remit will be to develop original programming and strategy in the UK and Europe, and to drive investment partnerships with other international producers. Core announced its international expansion in January with former ITV director of television Simon Shaps as managing director international content and production. Thompson was previously joint managing director of consulting firm Ignite which ran content development, commissioning and strategy sessions for companies like the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and MTV. She also spent eight years at ITV, working with Shaps.

‘Master Class’ Sings In French
After sealing deals in Hungary and China, Keshet International has licensed its musical talent show format Master Class to France’s Newen Group. The series sees four mentors teach child singers to make the most of their potential. There are no eliminations and only positive feedback for the weekly performances. The deal for France follows a successful second season in Israel. The Hungarian version launched this past weekend as TV2’s most watched program of this year.

Endemol Boards BBC’s ‘Ark’
Endemol Worldwide Distribution will handle international sales on BBC One’s upcoming epic drama The Ark. Shooting starts in August on the six-part series that airs in the spring of 2014. Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations, Olivier Twist) penned the story about World War One’s front line medics as told through the eyes of women from the Voluntary Aid Detachment. The series is drawn from diaries and letters of actual VADs and is set in a field hospital on the coast of France. Each episode has a story of the week and a continuing overall arc. Emmy winner Anne Pivcevic (Little Dorrit, Great Expectations) is exec producing. Producer is Annie Tricklebank (Upstairs Downstairs) and the director is David Evans (Downton Abbey).

Company Casts BBC’s ‘Truckers’
Company Pictures is producing Truckers, a five-part drama for BBC One, which will star Stephen Tompkinson (Wild At Heart, DCI Banks). The drama written by William Ivory (Made In Dagenham, Burton & Taylor) tells the stories of a rogue’s gallery of characters who all work for the same British haulage company. Each episode will see a trucker undergo a life changing journey. Steve Lightfoot, John Yorke and Ivory are exec producers for Company Pictures. Faye Dorn is producer. Sheree Folkson and Sue Tully will direct with shooting to start next month.