Global Village: Tunisia Wary of ‘Blue’; India Networks Go Black, More
India Censors on a Spree
India’s Information & Broadcasting ministry has blacked out Comedy Central for 10 days, beginning May 25, for airing two primetime shows deemed offensive. The channel aired standup program “Comedy Central Presents” a year ago, which “carried obscene dialogue and vulgar words derogatory to women ” according to the ministry. On July 4, the channel aired prank show “Popcorn,” where a man simulated sex with a dummy; the ministry found this to be “vulgar, obscene and against good taste.” Separately, India’s National Commission for Women has served notice on Eros Intl.’s Kishore Lulla and Saif Ali Khan and Dinesh Vijan of Illuminati Films, producers of hit zomcom “Go Goa Gone” for including a song titled “Slowly Slowly” that is “offensive and contains lyrics that encourage violence against women.”
Baja Heats Up Second Fest
The second Baja Film Festival will get an extensive makeover under new director Alonso Aguilar as it aims to forge stronger links between Mexico and Hollywood. Unspooling Nov. 13-16 in Los Cabos, Baja will bow Works in Progress and Mexico First new director sidebars; launch a Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund offering development and post-production grants; and mix Mexican, U.S. and Canadian features into its main competition. Seasoned international film execs Alejandra Paulin and Maru Garzon have joined fest’s top management ranks. There will still be Hollywood A-list invitees, as well as an attempt to lure more serious industry heft.
Tax Loophole Seeing Double
The U.S. Senate probe into Apple’s tax practices, and a similar enquiry by the U.K. Parliament into Google, have focused attention on Ireland’s Double Irish tax scheme. Under Irish law, a company managed elsewhere can be registered for tax purposes in Ireland. The nation also allows firms to move revenues from one country to another. A company registered in Ireland can legally move profi ts to an Irish subsid registered in a tax-haven country like Bermuda, thus giving rise to the term Double Irish. Companies also have the option of routing profits through the Netherlands to a tax-haven country, resulting in even lower taxes, a practice known as the Dutch Sandwich.
Lemche to Head EFP
The Danish Film Institute’s Christian J. Lemche has been elected president of European Film Promotion, a nonprofit org that promotes the interests of 36 European member countries at festivals and markets around the world. Martin Schweighofer (Austrian Film Commission) is the new EFP vice president; board reps are Cristian Hordila (Romanian Film Promotion), Francoise Lentz (Film Fund Luxembourg) and Teresa McGrane (Irish Film Board).
Kids’ Show Speaks English
As Spanish broadcasters slash fiction commissions and budgets, producers are turning to low-cost English-language production targeting international markets. Banking that an already-familiar concept will be more attractive to buyers, top Spanish indie Boomerang is shooting online rock-band saga “The Avatars,” a remake of Italian Disney original “E-Band.” Co-produced with Italy’s Fly Distribuzione TV and Brave Films, the youth series mixes New Yorkcast American leads — Tyler Young, Gabi Carrubba, Kirk Bonacci — with a Spanish crew. Boomerang still produces top-rated talent contest “The Voice” for Mediaset Espana. But the economic crisis has forced producers to look for new lines of work, producer Alfonso Blanco told Spanish website Vertele.st and Australia’s Ten.