Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, Ireland, Canada, Asia Pacific

Odeon Becomes Largest All-Digital Cinema Chain In UK, Ireland
Exhibition giant Odeon has completed its digital rollout across the UK and Ireland. All of Odeon’s 890 screens have been enhanced with the company’s Digital 8000 HD system at a cost of £40 million. The circuit now becomes the largest all-digital cinema chain in the two territories. Rupert Gavin, CEO of Odeon and UCI Cinemas commented: “The completion of this digital rollout realises our ambition to ensure that every guest can experience the best in digital technology and picture quality, a process that has taken just under two years to realise. We hope that our guests across the country enjoy the new digital experience and the exciting content set to hit screens in the months to come.”

Sky Revs Up Formula 1 Channel
Here’s something for Formula 1 fanatics: Britain’s Sky Sports has announced the launch of a channel dedicated to the hugely popular nine-month racing ritual. Rolling out in March, Sky Sports F1 HD will air live coverage of the entire Grand Prix season, including all practice and qualifying sessions and every race on the calendar. Magazine shows are planned and interactive services will put viewers in the driver’s seat, behind the scenes and down in the pits – just the thing for car-crazy Brits.

Fantasia Fest Innovates With Frontières Market
The Fantasia International Film Festival is adding an international co-production market to its upcoming 16th edition. The Montreal-based genre fest says the Frontières market will select 12 standout projects by filmmakers from Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and the US which will be presented to international producers, sales agents and distributors with the aim to getting the pictures made. The festival says this is the first international co-production market to connect Canada with Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and the US in an environment focused specifically on genre films.

Funds Award Script Grants To Asia Pacific Filmmakers
Script development grants worth more than $140,000 have been awarded to six filmmakers by the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund and the APSA Children’s Film Fund. The former is an initiative of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and the Motion Picture Association. The MPA APSA Fund is giving $25,000 to Shawkat Amin Korki for Memories On Stone, Maryam Ebrahimi for the documentary Burqas Behind Bars, Pryas Gupta for The Cricket Tree and Peyman Moadi for Those Days. Moadi stars in the festival circuit hit A Separation which was a grant winner in 2010. The Children’s Fund grants went to Garin Nugroho for The Seen And The Unseen and to Songtaijia for The Stone With Nine Eyes. The recipients hail from such countries as Iraq, Iran, India, Indonesia and China. For more info, click here

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