Cineplex acquires Digital Display and Communications

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Top Canadian theatre circuit Cineplex Entertainment acquired Digital Display and Communications Inc. (DDC), a leading implementer of digital signage and networks and associated products and services. The total transaction is valued at approximately CA$3.5 million.

DDC is a Waterloo-based company that designs, installs, maintains and operates digital signage networks on numerous software platforms in retail, financial, hospitality and entertainment markets across North America. DDC’s services include consulting, system design, technology sourcing, creative production, project management and ongoing network operations for a number of Canada’s top brands. For more information, visit their website at www.thefullpicture.com.

Campaign Aims to Save Cinema Parallèle
François Macerola, head of the Quebec government agency SODEC, is holding a series of meetings to figure out how to save Cinema Parallèle, a venerated Quebec cinema complex whose precarious future has sparked a heated debate about la belle province’s capacity to support auteur cinema.

Last January, both fans and distributors of independent cinema panicked when Softimage founder Daniel Langlois announced that he would stop showing films at his three-theatre complex Ex-Centris, which houses Cinema Parallèle and two other screens that show predominantly rep-house films. Quebec art distributors claim that they receive 30 to 50% of their revenues from Ex-Centris.

The most popular idea is for Parallèle to buy the entire complex from Langlois for CA$6 million, well below its market value because Langlois believes in the project, but the Quebec government would also have to contribute CA$12.6 million, which it has so far refused to do.

CFC Launches Documentary Program
The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and the National Film Board (NFB) are uniting once again, teaming up to launch the second edition of their joint documentary development program. The initiative will choose four accomplished Canadian directors with original documentary concepts.
Led by Jerry McIntosh, Larry Weinstein and Gerry Flahive, the program is expanding to include emerging forms of documentary expression, from creative mid-length projects to interactive works.

Toronto Fest to Open with Hockey Musical
A very Canadian movie that combines music with Canada’s favorite pastime, hockey, will open the 35th annual Toronto International Film Festival. According to festival directors Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey, the upbeat Score is a perfect fit given Canada’s Gold Medal victory at the Winter Olympics earlier this year.

The cast is led by Olivia Newton-John and singer/songwriter Marc Jordan, who play parents of a sheltered, rising teen hockey star as he swiftly goes from obscurity to fame. The film features cameos from Nelly Furtado, Hawksley Workman, Walter Gretzky and George Stroumboulopoulos, and includes music by Barenaked Ladies, Amy Sky, Newton-John and Workman. Score is writer-director Michael McGowan’s third film at the festival following Saint Ralph and the road-trip drama One Week, which scored high at the box office for Mongrel Media.

'Chloe' Leads Directors Guild Nominations
In preparation for their annual award ceremony in September, the Directors Guild of Canada unveiled their 2010 nominations. Atom Egoyan’s Chloe leads the pack with five nominations in categories including best director and best feature film.

Egoyan will be up against fellow directors Reginald Harkema for Leslie, My Name is Evil, Penelope Buitenhuis for her fourth feature A Wake, and TV veteran George Mihalka for Faith, Fraud & Minimum Wage.

Chloe, which stars Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson and Amanda Seyfried, also picked up nods for production design, picture editing and sound editing.

In the best feature film category, Chloe will be up against Ruba Nadda’s Cairo Time, Jacob Tierney’s Trotsky and John N. Smith’s romantic drama Love and Savagery.

E-mail Canadian news items to Adina Lebo at mptac.ca@ca.inter.net.