In today’s Global Bulletin, European cinemas demand public funding; Amazon commissions U.K. original series; leadership changes are afoot at Banijay; and DCD and APC score global series sales.
After a surge in COVID-19 cases necessitated the closure of cinemas in several European countries, the Brussells-headquartered International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) has called upon national governments, the European Commission and the European Parliament to provide further public funding support to the sector.
Citing the employment provided by the sector in Europe and its €8.8 billion ($10.3 billion) 2019 box office, UNIC has demanded that cinemas be included in national recovery plans without crippling conditions. “Should adequate and swift support not be provided, the potential consequences in both a cultural and social sense would be nothing short of catastrophic,” said a UNIC statement.
Amazon Prime Video U.K. has commissioned “The Rig,” an original six-part thriller series, produced by Banijay company Wild Mercury Productions, created by writer David Macpherson and directed by John Strickland (“Line of Duty”).
The series follows the crew of the Kishorn Bravo oil rig, stationed off the Scottish coast, cut off from all communication with the shore and the outside world, as they confront forces beyond their imagination. Commencing in 2021, “The Rig” will be the first Amazon original series filmed exclusively in Scotland, supported by Screen Scotland, on an oil rig and at FirstStage Studios, the new Scottish film and TV studio space in Edinburgh.
In redefined roles at Banijay’s creative networks, Lucas Green will be the global head of content operations and James Townley the global head of content development, with both roles reporting into CEO Marco Bassetti.
Green will be in charge of all super-brands and existing IP in the combined format catalog, including “MasterChef,” “Big Brother,” “Survivor” and all existing unscripted formats across Banijay’s 22-territory footprint.
Townley will drive the development and creation of original unscripted IP across the group. His team also includes Carlotta Rossi Spencer, head of format acquisitions.
Townley and Green will team to facilitate material sharing worldwide via internal systems and global internal events, and with Banijay Rights, they will launch new programming slates at all key international markets.
U.K.-based DCD Rights has acquired four series totalling 41 hours of “Frankie Drake Mysteries” and has sold season 4 to S4 in Portugal and to LUK International in Spain, with the latter also re-licensing seasons 1-3 of the series, produced by Shaftesbury Production in association with CBC and UKTV, for Spain.
Set in 1920s Toronto, the series follows female private detectives as they take on the cases the police don’t want to touch. The cast includes Lauren Lee Smith (“Hudson & Rex”), Chantel Riley (“Suits”), Rebecca Liddiard (“Alias Grace”) and Sharron Matthews (“Mean Girls”).
Other series represented by DCD include “Run” starring Olivia Colman (“The Crown”) and Lennie James (“Line of Duty”); “Thorne,” starring David Morrissey (“Britannia”), Eddie Marsan (“Ray Donovan”) and Aidan Gillen (“Game of Thrones”); and “The Indian Doctor,” starring Sanjeev Bhaskar (“Yesterday”) and Ayesha Dharker (“Holby City”).
Meanwhile, About Premium Content has secured global sales on six-part Australian thriller series “Operation Buffalo.”
AMC’s streaming service Acorn TV has picked up rights for the U.K. and Ireland, while UPC has taken Switzerland, RTP in Portugal, NRK TV in Norway and Viasat World for Central and Eastern European territories.
The series was made with production investment from Screen Australia in association with the ABC and Create NSW, and with support from the South Australian Film Corporation. It aired on ABC Australia earlier this year.