LILLE, France — In this week’s Newswire, Variety catches Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones at Series Mania, Starzplay continues its major territory overseas rill-out, Endemol Shine Group hires Kasia Jablonska as its digital sales boss, and France’s Annecy Intl. Animation Festival reveals early sections.


“Black Mirror’s” Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones hosted their second talk at Series Mania – the first open to the public – on Thursday afternoon, having participated in a Ted Sarandos keynote two days before as part of the Lille Transatlantic Dialogues.

The pair dove deep into the history of their Netflix standout “Black Mirror,” and even dropped a hint that Owen Harris, the director behind two of the series’ most popular episodes in Haley Atwell, Domhnall Gleeson starrer “Be Right Back” and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mackenzie Davis-led “San Junipero,” is likely to return for a third episode. When French journalist Pierre Langlais, who MC’d the event, asked about directors who have made multiple appearances in the anthology series, Jones responded, “We worked with Owen Harris… and he may be doing, well I won’t say that.” Nothing concrete in the statement, but the swallowed sentence and accompanying smile hinted that the assembled audience of “Black Mirror” superfans had just been treated to some potential exclusive news.

The two took questions and screened clips for nearly two hours, and were honest and humbly self-critical in their responses. Time and again they explained ways in which the move from BBC’s Channel 4 to Netflix has allowed them to experiment with not just narrative, but format and technologies in ways that would never have been possible before. The clearest examples: the choose-your-own-adventure standalone “Bandersnatch,” and Emmy-winning “USS Callister.”


First announced in 2018, U.S. broadcast network Starz’s SVOD platform Starzplay was launched in Spain by Orange TV on Thursday, March 28. The service was previously available in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, and has announced upcoming bows in France and Italy. Current Orange TV subscribers are eligible for a free trial of the platform lasting through April 30, at which point the service will be available for €4.99 ($5.6) per month. The service will contain past and current Starz content such as the networks most-watched original series “The Girlfriend Experience,” with future Starz Originals airing exclusively on the service, day-and-date in territories where available.

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This year’s Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival, running June 10–15, has announced participants for its TV, commissioned and graduation films sections. The world’s most inclusive animation festival will include major U.S. standout series such as Disney’s “101 Dalmatian Street,” Netflix’s “Big Mouth,” and Cartoon Networks “The Powerpuff Girls” alongside shows from around the world like Japan’s “Dino Girl Gauko,” New Zealand’s “Kiri and Lou,” Italy’s “La stella di Andra e Tati,” and a host of local French content. The commissioned films section includes 35 selections from commercials, music videos, marketing campaigns, and issue-driven content. 48 student films will also participate from around the world. The festival is driven, in spirit and attendance, by the student population who attend.


Former A+E Networks and NBCUniversal executive Kasia Jablonska has been hired by Endemol Shine Group as the company’s new head of digital distribution and monetization. She will report to Yannick Ferrero, director of commercial operations at the company. Her new responsibilities will include enhancing the company’s VOD, AVOD, SVOD, PPV and electronic sell-through businesses, growing its digital distribution strategies and identifying new platforms and other areas of potential growth. The digital team at Endemol Shine manages the company’s vast catalog of scripted and unscripted content across digital platforms, and has partnered with platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Amazon.