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MySpace Collaborates With Coelho

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NEW YORK News Corp.'s MySpace is collaborating with best-selling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho to make a user-generated movie of his book The Witch of Portobello.

Users can submit videos focusing on one of the book's characters to MySpaceTV or Coelho's MySpace page, myspace.com/paulocoelho, and up to 15 winning submissions will be molded into a video "mash-up" called "The Experimental Witch." Users can also submit songs for a soundtrack to the film, with up to 16 selected for the project.

Coelho, speaking from Paris in a conference call with reporters, said that his agent has been approached by "quite a few people" interested in buying the finished product for a 52-minute TV film. No decision on final distribution of the project has been reached, though.

Witch is not the only Coelho title that will get a film treatment. Last month, it was announced that his 1988 novel The Alchemist would be made into a $60 million-plus film produced by Harvey Weinstein for the Weinstein Co. and starring, directed and produced by Laurence Fishburne.

Coelho, the Guinness World Record-holder for the most translated living author, said that Witch would be the only project that he's doing with his readers, though.

"I don't have any sort of idea of what's going to happen," Coelho said, "which makes the project much more interesting.

Submissions for the project, which will be promoted in 20 countries, will begin on June 16 and close on July 25, with winners to be announced on August 24. Coelho said that winning filmmakers would receive a reward of 3,000 euros ($4,638).

Coelho communicates with his readers via his MySpace page and he said he finds the service "addicting."