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Posted on Tue. Jun. 24, 2014 - 12:31 am EDT


Venice Film Festival taps composer to lead jury

For the first time, a composer will lead the international jury at the Venice Film Festival.

Organizers said Monday that the jury president this year will be Frenchman Alexandre Desplat, a six-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner. His many credits include the scores for “Godzilla,” “The King’s Speech,” “Argo” and “Philomena.”

Desplat began his career in French cinema and broke into Hollywood in 2003 after composing for “Girl with a Pearl Earring.”

The 71st edition of the festival, which often showcases unconventional, artistic films, runs Aug. 27 to Sept. 6. The nine-person jury awards the Golden Lion for best film and seven other prizes.

‘Transformers’ clear for Chinese release

A Beijing property developer and Paramount Pictures said Monday that they have smoothed out a dispute over the new “Transformers” movie and it will be released in China as scheduled.

The Beijing Pangu Investment Co. Ltd. said the two sides “have gained mutual trust and reached understanding” after friendly negotiations, days after it demanded edits to remove any reference to its property over an alleged contractual default.

“Because a third party created some misunderstanding, we were having some disagreement with Paramount,” said Norman Song, general manager of the Pangu 7 Star Hotel. “After several days of intense discussion, we came to an agreement.”

‘Looper’ director set for ‘Episode VIII”

“Looper” writer-director Rian Johnson will write and direct “Star Wars: Episode VIII” and pen a treatment for “Episode IX,” a representative for Johnson confirmed to the Los Angeles Times.

Johnson will take over George Lucas’ franchise from J.J. Abrams, who is currently shooting “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

The news comes as something of a surprise given the tendency of this franchise – and other major series’ in Hollywood – to stay with the same director for follow-up films. Spinoff “Star Wars” movies are also being planned.

Pinewood Studios expansion OK’d

The British government has approved plans to double the size of Pinewood Studios, home to Harry Potter and James Bond.

The Department for Communities and Local Government granted planning permission Thursday for a $340 million expansion of the movie-making complex near London.

Expansion was backed by politicians, the British Film Institute and film companies including Universal, Disney and Lucasfilm. A government report said building new sound stages, workshops and other facilities could create more than 3,000 jobs.

More than 1,500 films have been shot at Pinewood, including all eight “Harry Potter” adventures.

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