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TURNING ACTIVIST

Ted Turner is forming an independent company that will focus on documentaries and commercial films.

The new venture, Ted Turner Pictures, will be located three blocks from CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. And Turner looks forward to making the movies he wants to make, said Robert Wussler, chief executive of the company and a longtime business confidante.

"He has a big list," Wussler told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He's focused on certain things about improving the quality of life, saving this planet, preserving history."

Turner is not going into this venture through AOL Time Warner, the company that now owns Turner Broadcasting, the Atlanta-based cable empire he built. Turner is vice chairman of AOL Time Warner, but has a diminished role since the merger of AOL and Time Warner earlier this year.

Wussler said one commercial picture is about to begin production, but he declined to give details. Turner is particularly interested in the Civil War and other military history, he said.

"It's something he's prepared to put a sizable amount of his financial well-being into," Wussler said.

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