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QuickShots | Universal & Weinstein Woes, Austin Grants, Sundance Shorts & Eternity with Marilyn

QuickShots | Universal & Weinstein Woes, Austin Grants, Sundance Shorts & Eternity with Marilyn

Universal execs under fire for a flop-filled season

Universal Pictures’ chairmen, Marc Shmuger and David Linde, have found themselves where all Hollywood executives invariably land when their studios falter: more talked about than their movies. And Universal is having a dismal year, managing just one hit in eight months, the action-packed car racing sequel “Fast & Furious.” Claudia Eller reports.

Weinsteins Struggle to Regain Their Touch

Ah, the flush years. They must seem kind of distant now. Because four years after Disney bought the Weinsteins out of Miramax, the company that first ushered indie films into the multiplex, the brothers are under serious stress. David Segal reports.

China to appeal WTO ruling on entertainment imports

China said on Monday it will challenge a World Trade Organization ruling against its restrictions on imported films, books and audio-visual products, continuing its sparring with Washington over trade access. Reuters reports.

Austin Film Society cashes out $112,000 to 2009 Texas Filmmakers Production Fund

The Austin Film Society unveiled 25 projects which received support from the organization’s 2009 Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund. In addition to $90,000 in cash grants, the group gave away $6,000 worth of Kodak film stock, $5,000 in in-kind services from Seattle-based Alpha Cine Labs and $1,000 in-kind services grant from local effects house TexFX. Recipients this year include David and Nathan Zellner’s latest project, “Pardon My Downfall,” Kyle Henry’s narrative, “Fourplay,” Erik Mauck and Chelsea Hernandez’s “The Road to Livingston” and James Marsh’s “Potlatch.” For more information and a full list of recipients, visit the AFS website.

Sundance to host “Downtown and Dirty Shorts” in L.A.

Shorts by James Franco, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride are among the films that will screen Friday, August 21 at 8pm in downtown Los Angeles, hosted by the Sundance Film Festival. The screening is free and on a first come, first serve basis, with a party to follow at Downtown Independent, 251 South Main Street. For more information, visit the festival’s website.

For sale on eBay: an eternity with Marilyn Monroe

The plot, at LA’s exclusive Westwood Village cemetery, is currently home to the remains of Elsie Poncher’s late husband Richard, who died in 1986. In accordance with his dying wishes, Poncher was buried face down in his crypt. “He said, ‘If I croak, if you don’t put me upside down over Marilyn, I’ll haunt you for the rest of my life.” She added that she was now “vacating” his remains in order to earn the money to pay off the mortgage on her Beverly Hills home. Xan Brooks reports in The Guardian.

2009 Los Angeles Irish Film Festival sets line up

The U.S. premieres of “Cherrybomb,” “Peacefire,” “Identities,” “Gabriel Byrne: Stories from Home and The Secret of Kells.” Magnolia Pictures’ supernatural drama “The Eclipse” kicks off the festival with its west coast premiere at the Linwood Dunn Theater located at the AMPAS Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study on Wednesday, September 23. The festival will close with a tribute to acclaimed Irish playwright Hugh Leonard, who died in Dublin in February of this year, with a screening of “DA,” the classic film based on his popular Tony-award winning semi-autobiographical stage play. For more information and line up details, visit the festival’s website.

Zurich Fest eyes Argentina spotlight

Argentina will be the spotlight of the upcoming Zurich Film Festival, taking place September 26 – October 4. Previously showcasing works from Israel and Russia, this year the 5th Zurich Film Festival is showcasing a diversified selection of Argentine fiction and documentary films. Among this year’s selection are M. Hohan’s “Cafe de los Maestros,” Anahi Berneri’s “Encamacion,” Federico Leon and Martin Rejtman’s “Entrenamiento Elemental para Actores” (Elementary Training for Actors), Mariano Llinas’ “Historias Extraordinarias” (Extraordinary Stories), Ana Katz’s “Una Novia Errante” (A Stray Girlfriend), Gabriel Medina’s “Los Paranoicos” (The Paranoias) and Celina Murga’s “Una Semana Solos” (A Week alone). The Zurich Film Festival will screen more than 50 Swiss and international film premieres in the International Feature Film Competition, the International Documentary Film Competition, the German-Speaking Competition and the Out of Competition series. For more information, visit the festival’s website.

Actor’s US ‘detention’ prompts outrage in India

India reacted with outrage Sunday after Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan said he was detained for questioning at a U.S. airport, though immigration officials denied he was formally held. Fellow Indian film stars and political leaders condemned what they called “humiliating” treatment given to Khan, a Muslim who is well-loved in a largely Hindu country. One Cabinet minister suggested a “tit-for-tat” policy toward Americans traveling to India. Nirmala George reports for A.P.

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