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Global Bulletin: U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak Warned of Severe Job Losses Without Furlough Extension

Coronavirus - Tue Jul 21, 2020.
AP

In today’s Global Bulletin the U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport asks for an extension to the current furlough scheme, San Sebastian will close with Fernando Trueba’s “Forgotten We’ll Be,” ITV looks to invest, MediaWorks sells its TV business to Discovery, ZDF commissions a new WWII factual series and “The Eight Hundred” gets a U.K. and Ireland distribution deal.

FURLOUGH

The U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport committee has called on Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to extend the existing furlough scheme for workers in the arts and leisure sectors, warning of severe job losses otherwise.

Sunak had introduced the scheme in March, where self-employed individuals could claim 80% of their average income over the last three years up to £2,500 ($3,000) a month.

The scheme was due to run till the end of June but was extended to the end of October with some changes, with the main one being that employers were now required to share the cost of salaries with the government.

On Monday, the committee, led by member of parliament Julian Knight, wrote to Sunak, stating: “Ending the scheme for all industries alike in October does not reflect the unique situation faced by the arts and leisure sectors. These high-value sectors have become hostages to fortune; they are among the hardest hit by the COVID crisis, with 51% of workers still reliant on furlough, compared with 13% across all industries. However, while restrictions on activity and audiences remain, employees of empty theaters and closed leisure centers face no immediate prospect of returning to work.”

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MP Julian Knight Credit: Office of Julian Knight

“The job retention scheme has been a lifeline for companies that employ people in the arts and leisure sectors,” Knight said. “We’re making it absolutely clear to government that if furlough is cut off in October, not only will mass redundancies follow but we can expect many cultural organizations to go out of business, never to return.”

FESTIVALS

This year’s San Sebastian Film Festival will close with the international premiere of Colombian filmmaker Fernando Trueba’s “Forgotten We’ll Be,” playing in the event’s main competition. Adapted from Héctor Abad Faciolince’s homonymous novel, the film is a Cannes 2020 selection, but was unable to premiere when the festival was canceled.

The book and film recount the story of the author’s father Héctor Abad Gómez, a physician turned university lecturer and human rights activists who refused to back down in his highly public criticism of Colombia’s establishment, including the church and its paramilitaries. While running for mayor of Medellin, he was murdered in the city center in 1987.

“Forgotten We’ll Be” is produced by Colombian broadcaster Caracol Televisión and Dago García Producciones and features actors Javier Cámara, Nicolás Reyes Cano, Patricia Tamayo and Juan Pablo Urrego. It’s distributed by Bteam Pictures in Spain, and sold internationally by Film Factory.

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“Forgotten We’ll Be” Film Factory

INVESTMENT

ITV has announced the launch of 55 Ventures, a collaboration with Founders Intelligence in which the companies will invest in new business ideas aimed at growing ITV’s reach with 16-34 year-old audiences.

As part of the venture, ITV will recruit eight teams of people from inside ITV’s own ranks as well as outside applicants to create and scale a new business within ITV, aimed at generating a multi-million pound profit over the next three to four years.

Each team will receive a £10,000 ($13,151) investment and enroll in a training program where they will be mentored by executives from ITV and Founders Intelligence and provided with access to ITV’s network of strategic assets and contacts. At the end of the program, each team will pitch a long-term investment to ITV CEO Carolyn McCall and entrepreneurs Graham Cooke and Brent Hoberman. ITV will then invest in a non-specific number of the businesses, with members of the selected teams invited to join ITV full time.

ACQUISITION

After placing it’s free-to-air TV business on the market last October, New Zealand broadcaster MediaWorks has agreed to sell to international media heavyweight Discovery in a deal which, subject to government approvals, is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

Included in the deal are entertainment channels Three, Bravo, Three+1, Bravo+1, The Edge TV and The Breeze TV, streaming platform ThreeNow and Newshub, a multi-platform news service.

While the deal is finalized, Glen Kyne has taken over as general manager of TV for the broadcaster and will stay in that role under Discovery. Additionally, Discovery’s Australia and New Zealand operations will be placed under Simon Robinson, Discovery’s president for Asia Pacific.

DISTRIBUTION

ZDF Enterprises has commissioned and will distribute globally “Frontlines,” a new WWII historical series produced by Impossible Factual, which recently finished post-production and is now ready for delivery.

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“Frontlines” (Courtesy: ZDF Enterprises) Credit: ZDF Enterprises

Eight of WWII’s best-known battlefields take center stage as the stories of life and death struggles of soldiers from the front lines are recounted. The series utilizes first person testimony, location demonstrations, modern analysis and narration to bring to life the long dormant battlefields.

Before the series was finished, deals had already closed with Viasat World for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and CIS, Foxtel in Australia and iPrima in the Czech Republic.

EXHIBITION

Trinity Cine Asia will release 2020’s biggest global box office hit so far, Chinese epic war drama “The Eight Hundred,” in cinemas across the U.K. and Ireland on Sept. 16 in traditional 2D and IMAX.

Boasting an $80 million budget, “The Eight Hundred” is the first Asian film to be shot entirely using IMAX cameras, and by Sept. 1 had already grossed more than $292 million worldwide.

After years of censorship delays and the cancelation of the film’s original opening night at last year’s Shanghai International Film Festival, the box office success of “The Eight Hundred” in the face of a global pandemic couldn’t have been more welcomed by its embattled producers.

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The Eight Hundred Credit: Trinity Cine Asia