In today’s Global Bulletin, James Cameron heads to Bristol for Wildscreen Festival, Cairo Film Festival moves its dates back a month, Canal Plus ups its stake in MultiChoice Group Ltd., Wheelhouse Entertainment announces a U.S. version of “The Wonderbox,” and Fugitive partners with MO Studios on two new series.
Wildscreen Festival today announced that filmmaker and explorer James Cameron will attend this year’s event and engage in a conversation with BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit producer Orla Doherty.
Cameron is currently executive producer on two National Geographic Series, “OceanXplorers” and “Secrets of the Whales,” and his connection with the marine world is well documented. In 2012, he became the first human to reach the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep, 6.8 miles below the surface, as part of the Deepsea Challenge expedition in partnership with National Geographic.
“I feel very much at home in the natural history filmmaking community, so I’m pleased to be joining everyone at Wildscreen to share some of my personal experiences working in the field,” Cameron said in a statement. “The oceans-related projects I’m producing all share elements I love — new tech used for scientific inquiry wrapped in great storytelling that visually excites and emotionally resonates. I’m proud to work with my long-time partner, National Geographic, as well as BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit, to bring viewers incredible and surprising new insights into our oceans and the rich and abundant life we need to protect and preserve.”
Doherty added: “This is a rare and exciting opportunity to hear from one of the world’s best storytellers and film-making visionaries on his feature films and documentaries about our natural world. I’m eager to hear about what motivates him as a natural history filmmaker and where he sees tech and innovation taking us both as messengers and as residents of a fast-changing planet.”
Cairo Film Festival has been moved back a month and will now take place Dec. 2-10. According to a press release, the change was made to allow for a safer and more successful physical edition in accordance with health procedures and measures approved by the Egyptian Government and WHO.
Cairo Industry Days, one of the region’s most important professional get-togethers, will take place Dec. 4-7, while the Cairo Film Connection will run Dec. 5-7.
Mohamed Hefzy, president of the festival, says “The team of Cairo International Film Festival is thrilled and eager to present an outstanding program of distinguished films at the 42nd edition. Furthermore, the return of Cairo Industry Days cannot be more significant at a time when the industry struggles for survival, hope and resistance against the difficult conditions imposed by the coronavirus all over the world. We never gave up hope for an outstanding physical edition!”
Vivendi-owned Canal Plus has increased its stake in the sub-African pay TV group MultiChoice Group Ltd. to 6.5 %. A pay TV leader in Africa, MultiChoice Group boasts approximately 19.5 million subscribers across 50 countries. MultiChoice Group is the parent company of MultiChoice South Africa, which includes SuperSport, M-Net and DStv Media Sales, as well as MultiChoice Africa Holdings, Showmax Africa and Irdeto.
“This acquisition, which is a long-term financial investment, underscores the confidence that Canal Plus and its shareholder Vivendi have in the perspectives of MultiChoice and the African continent to which they are very much attached,” said Vivendi in a statement.
MultiChoice Group is listed at the Johannesburg stock exchange.
Jimmy Kimmel and Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment has optioned the U.S. remake rights for Newen Distribution’s “The Wonderbox,” originally commissioned by French broadcaster France 3. Format rights have also sold in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Portugal.
The original, a hit when it aired earlier this year, has been commissioned and will begin production on a second season later this fall, before airing end of 2020. In the series, celebrity guests are invited on set to open a series of “Wonderboxes” containing surprises that are meant to elicit emotion from the guest and audience alike.
London-based development, financing and production company Fugitive has partnered with New York-base MO Studios in a deal announced ahead of Rome’s MIA, where the two will present their first joint project, “The Fugitive Game.”
A period drama set at the beginning of the Dada movement and the creation of The Cabaret Voltaire, “The Fugitive Game” follows Emmy, a German national and the rollercoaster ride of successes and failures she endures in a hunt for fame and fortune.
MO Studios and Fugitive are also developing a four-part docuseries, “Dada, The Mother of Protest Art,” examining how Dada converted artists into activists in 1916. The series will combine archival materials and interviews with modern-day successors to the movement to tell a century-long story.
Netflix has started filming on its latest Spanish original film, “We Were Songs,” based on Elísabet Benavent’s best-selling novel “Canciones y recuerdos” (Songs and Memories).
María Valverde (“Exodus: Gods and Kings”) stars as Maca, a 30-year-old woman doing her best to find happiness in the world, but unfulfilled in her career working for a Miranda Priestly-like boss in the fashion industry. Just as she starts finding her way, her ex-boyfriend Leo, played by Alex González (“X-Men: First Class”), reappears, opening old wounds.
Spanish Academy Goya Award nominee Juana Macías (“Planes para mañana”) will head the project, written by Laura Sarmiento. Longtime Netflix contributors Zeta Studios (“Élite”) will produce, shooting in Madrid and Lisbon.