Beyond signs five picture deal with Weintraub
Australia's Beyond Films has signed a major five picture deal with US producer Fred Weintraub of Weintraub Kume Productions. The slate of genre features will be co-produced by German film fund MBP, with Beyond Films handling international sales.

Beyond is also reported to have signed an all-rights package deal with Miramax for five Australian-produced features including Love In Limbo starring Russell Crowe, Emerald City starring Nicole Kidman, Two Hands starring Heath Ledger; and Erskinville Kings and Paperback Hero both starring Hugh Jackman.

At the same time, Beyond Films announced the consolidation of its North American operations through the closure of its Los Angeles office by the end of the year.

UK's Channel Four picks up Anne Frank biopic
Channel 4 has acquired the mini-series The Story Of Anne Frank from Buena Vista International Television. The biography of the Dutch diarist, which is directed by Robert Dornhelm and stars Ben Kingsley, premiered in the US on ABC where it achieved #1 ranking.

New gay and lesbian channel for the UK
UK-based RNTV, a gay and lesbian TV channel to be broadcast in the UK on Sky Digital, launched at Cannes this week. RNTV is set to commence broadcasting in April 2002, with 56 hours of viewing per week from 18:00 - 02:00 daily. The stand-alone channel will consist of a mix of original and acquired programming, of which at least 70% will initially be acquired, with the remaining 30%, joint co-productions.

Carlton's new telefilms
Carlton International's US production arm has announced three new telefilms. The first film, Atomic Twister, produced by Once Upon A Time Films in association with Carlton America, involves a tornado hitting a nuclear power plant in a small US town . The second title is a love story set in rural Pennsylvania called This Side Of Heaven which is being developed for CBS by Madison Avenue Productions in association with Carlton America. A third telefilm is based on a Vanity Fair story by Dominick Dunne.

Animated Mr. Bean goes worldwide on video
UK independent Tiger Aspect Productions has inked a worldwide video deal with VVL, part of Universal Pictures International Video, for a new cartoon series based on Rowan Atkinson's Mr Bean. VVL will handle video sales worldwide outside North America, Germany and Japan. Joe Abrams, former president of Pearson TV International, has been signed up to consult for Tiger Aspect on selling broadcast rights into the US. The show which will air in the UK on ITV1 this December is a 26 episode series being made by Varga Studios, Tiger Aspect and Richard Purdum Productions, with FremantleMedia looking after broadcast distribution.

Universal licenses horror movies and TV series
A package of 35 horror films including the 1931 and 1935 versions of Frankenstein and Bride Of Frankenstein have been licensed by Universal to Artear for broadcast on free-TV in Argentina and to Venevision for Venezuela. Other titles covered by the deals include Phantom Of The Opera, The Invisible Man and The Mummy.

Universal also licensed UK basic cable and satellite rights to its 1970s library series The Rockford Files and Alias Smith And Jones to Plus channel. Plus is an entertainment channel owned by Granada Sky Broadcasting carried on the BSkyB satellite platform. Smith And Jones will screen from January 2002 and the complete Rockford Files from February. Smith And Jones has been off British television for over ten years.

Capricorn One to be remade for TV
Peter Hyams' 1978 political thriller Capricorn One is to be remade as a made for TV picture in a joint venture by Carlton America and Fox TV Pictures. The new picture is likely to be scripted by Michael Cassut, whose credits include Red Moon, Missing Man and Beverly Hills 90210. "The original movie spun a wonderful 'what if' premise into a genuinely clever, provocative thriller. In the update we're hoping to make a movie that's not only an exciting ride but also comments on the increasing power that the media has to manipulate us," said David Madden, executive vice president of Fox TV Pictures. "Capricorn One is just one of many titles we intend to develop for today's marketplace," said Carlton America's president and CEO Stephen J Davis.

Porchlight movie collection goes to Japan and Latin America
Porchlight Entertainment has licensed its TV movies collection to Japan and Latin America. Japan's Gaga Entertainment bought Contagion, The Opponent and Inferno, while New Select took Japanese rights to Lightning: Fire From The Sky. LAPTV has recently bought a further 13 TV-movies titles bringing its total of Porchlight properties to 32. These include Contagion, The Opponent, Inferno, The and John John In The Sky. Brazil's Playarte bought home video and free-TV rights to Contagion, Lightning and Inferno.

Kaminski to direct Heidi TV movie and series
Albert Hanan Kaminski, director of hit kids feature Pettson And Findus is to direct a new TV movie and series based on the classic Johanna Spyri books Heidi. Germany's TV-Loonland and Kirch have pacted with Canada's Nelvana to produce the multi-million dollar project which is expected to begin production at the end of this year. Other creative credits already confirmed include Rudolf Stussi, who recently illustrated a new version of the Heidi stories, as background painter for both the film and the series. Sold internationally by Sweden's Svensk Filmindustri, Pettson And Findus achieved admissions of over one million in Germany last year.

Universal strikes deals with Zone Vision and Jasmine TV
British channel packager and distributor Zone Vision has acquired a wide ranging deal to deliver films and TV movies from Universal Television & Networks to Turkey. The films will be shown on basic cable channel, Showtime Turkey, which was launched in February 2000 as a direct-to-home channel carried on the DigiTurk satellite platform.

Library titles covered by the deal include Twister, Born On The Fourth Of July, Apollo 13 and Casino as well as a selection of made-for-TV movies. Belinda Menendez, co-president of Universal Studios Television Distribution, said: Zone Vision continue to build on the rapidly emerging pay-TV market in Turkey."

In Israel, Universal struck a similar deal with Jasmine TV. Jasmine, which operates cable movie channels Cinema 1,2 and 3, bought pay-cable rights to a mixed slate of features, TV movies and direct-to-video pictures. Titles include Shakespeare In Love, The Mummy, Liar, Liar and Scent Of A Woman as well as the non-theatrical picture Beethoven's 3rd.

Hallmark acquires feature package from Paramount Int
The Hallmark Channel has acquired a package of 15 features from Paramount International for its Taiwan service. These include Mission: Impossible, Days Of Thunder, The Hunt For Red October, Nick Of Time, The Saint and five films in the Star Trek series.

For pan-Asian screening, Hallmark Channel bought 27 episodes comprising the seventh season of Touched By An Angel from CBS Broadcast International. For its Turkish service Hallmark bought the first season of Judging Amy, a new series staring Tyne Daly and Amy Brenneman