“The Unknown Man” begins shoot; U.K.’s Channel 4 plugs financial surge; “My Life Is Murder” and “Stella Blomkvist” get renewed; and U.K.’s Channel 5 orders WWII programming.
Principal photography on thriller “The Unknown Man,” starring Joel Edgerton (“Boy Erased,” pictured left) and Sean Harris (“Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation,” pictured middle) has begun in South Australia. The film is by writer/director Thomas M. Wright (“Acute Misfortune,” pictured right) and being produced by See-Saw Films (“Lion”), Anonymous Content (“Spotlight”) and Blue-Tongue Films (“The King”).
Edgerton of Blue-Tongue Films, along with Rachel Gardner, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning of See-Saw Films, as well as Kerry Roberts and Kim Hodgert of Anonymous Content are producing.
The project has production investment from Screen Australia in association with Trinity Media Financing International, with support from the South Australian Film Corporation, Screen NSW, National Bank of Canada and Fulcrum Media Finance. Rocket Science and Cross City Films are handling international sales, with CAA Media Finance acting as financing agent and co-representing sales in the U.S.
U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has released its 2019 report with an update for COVID-19 affected 2020. The channel is bullish, despite having to cut its content budget by £150 million ($194 million) and find a further £95 million ($123 million) in organizational savings in a scenario where the ad-supported broadcaster has seen the advertising market diminish by 50%.
“The Great British Bake Off” launched with 10.8 million viewers, winning Channel 4 its biggest audience since 1985, and audiences across Channel 4’s services are up over the fall.
“We will end this year with a cash surplus and a robust financial position to protect against any further economic instability caused by COVID,” said Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon. The organization has increased its 2020 content budget by £11 million ($14.2 million) now with plans for a significantly higher outlay for 2021.
U.K.-based distributor DCD Rights has raised production finance and secured distribution rights to a new season of the murder mystery drama series “My Life Is Murder,” starring Lucy Lawless (“Xena: Warrior Princess”) and Ebony Vagulans (“The Furies”). This season has been greenlit by a consortium consisting of AMC Networks’ streaming service Acorn TV, which will take a package of English-speaking rights (North America, the U.K. and Australia premiere rights with secondary rights for NZ), DCD Rights for rest of world, and producer Greenstone TV, with New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ and Network 10 in Australia also on board.
The 10-part series is relocating from Melbourne, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand, and is in pre-production.
Meanwhile, neo-noir crime drama “Stella Blómkvist” has scored a season two commission from Icelandic broadcaster Síminn TV and the Nordic region streaming company Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group), and has begun principal photography on location in Iceland. Red Arrow Studios International has picked up worldwide distribution rights.
Based on the best-selling crime novels of the same name, “Stella Blómkvist” is directed by Óskar Thór Axelsson (“Trapped”) and Thora Hilmarsdóttir (“The Valhalla Murders”) and stars Heida Reed (“Poldark”) as a quick-witted lawyer. The series is produced by Icelandic producer Sagafilm with support from the Icelandic Film Center, the Ministry of Industries and Innovation and distributed by Lumière in the Benelux.
Independent producer October Films is in production on a feature-length documentary special for Remembrance Day, “How Britain Won World War Two,” in which foreign correspondent Michael Buerk and Royal Marine Arthur Williams reveal the hidden stories and events that changed the course of World War Two.
In October’s three-part series “The Dambusters Story: A Battle Against Time,” historian Dan Snow relives the countdown to one of the most daring and ingenious bombing raids in history. Both the documentary and the series are for U.K. broadcaster Channel 5.
“How Britain Won World War Two” is executive produced by Julia Harrington, the producer is Bob Marsden, and it was commissioned by Daniel Pearl. “The Dambusters Story: A Battle Against Time” is executive produced by Neil Breakwell, the series producer is Jamie Simpson, and it was commissioned by Lucy Willis.