In today’s Global Bulletin, Raindance will premiere 11 National Youth Film Academy short films, Panorama Studios appoints Rajat Goswami, Sky Kids announces the return of legendary Aardman character Morph, Potboiler Productions starts development on “Augustown,” BBC Two’s “Danny Boy” starts shooting and announces casting, Beyond Rights hires Fox vet Connie Hodson and OKRE launches digital roundtable series.
FESTIVALS – EXCLUSIVE
Raindance Film Festival will premiere 11 short films shot remotely by students of the National Youth Film Academy who worked together throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Set Ready course initiative. The films will screen in Raindance’s Off-Competition section Oct. 28 – Nov. 4.
Each of the shorts will screen at the Odeon Greenwich with in-person crowds of invited friends, family and crowdfund donors. Four additional films from National Youth Film Academy students will also premiere in the Off-Competition section, selected at the Emerging Brits Industry Showcase in February earlier this year.
Organized with Odeon Cinemas and ProCam, the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready course is dedicated to finding and developing young British actors and filmmakers between 16 and 25 years old. The current class of participants have been working remotely throughout the pandemic to produce their crowdfunded shorts, with some raising as much as £11,000 ($14,220).
“I’m absolutely delighted that despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 we have successfully produced 11 great short films on this year’s SetReady Course,” said National Youth Film Academy founder Rob Earnshaw. “This is thanks to the sheer determination of everyone in each one of our groups and I’m incredibly excited to have all their films featured at Raindance this year.”
APPOINTMENT – EXCLUSIVE
India’s Panorama Studios has appointed Rajat Goswami to the position of head of new stream films and acquisitions.
Goswami was previously acquisitions head at Basil Content Media where he represented films like 2019 Busan Film Festival title “The Wayfarers” and 2020 Moscow Festival title “1956: Central Travancore” for sales and festivals. Panorama’s titles include big-ticket films “Bhuj: The Pride of India,” and “The Big Bull,” both of which will premiere on Indian streamer Disney Plus Hotstar.
In his new role, Goswami will be responsible for generating mainstream appeal for independent films and fostering emerging filmmakers. He will work closely with Panorama managing partner Murlidhar Chhatwani. – Naman Ramachandran
Sky Kids is set to bring back iconic Aardman Animation character Morph in “The Epic Adventures of Morph,” a new series coming to the small screen this November.
Clocking in with 15 five-minute episodes, this iteration of the claymation character, a predecessor to “Wallace and Gromit,” “Shaun the Sheep” and many others, stands out as the longest season of Morph in its 43-year history. Reunited with sidekick Chas and friends Delilah, Grandmorph and the Very Small Creatures, Morph and the gang will embark on several smaller-than-life adventures which take them away from their desktop home and into the wider world for the first time.
Starting Nov. 9, the first 10 episodes will be available on Sky Kids across all Sky platforms including Sky Q, Sky+, the Sky Kids App and the NOW TV Kids Pass.
Potboiler Productions’ producer Rachel Dargavel, Rathaus Films producer Madeleine Askwith and director Shabier Kirchner have partnered with BBC Film on the development of a feature film adaptation of Jamaican poet and writer Kei Miller’s novel “Augustown.”
Author and playwright Courttia Newland is adapting the screenplay. Her previous credits include two of the “Small Axe” films, as well as several novels and theatrical productions. Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) has boarded as executive producer, representing his company Lammas Park. He is joined by Gail Egan and Andrea Calderwood from Potboiler and Eva Yates from BBC Film.
Named one of Variety’s cinematographers to watch, Kirchner will make his feature directing debut with “Augustown,” having previously impressed with his short film “Dadli,” a Third Horizon premiere coming to the Criterion Collection in November.
Filming has started on BBC Two’s new drama “Danny Boy” (working title), and the broadcaster has announced that Anthony Boyle (“Order by Innocence”) and Toby Jones (“The Hunger Games”) will headline the series’ cast.
Produced by Expectation, the show tracks a young man’s journey from medal-winning war hero to accused murderer, and his investigation to uncover the truth behind the murky situation. Jones will play Brian Wood, a real-life soldier accused of war crimes in Iraq by human rights lawyer Phil Shiner.
Bafta-winner Robert Jones (“Murder”) handled screenwriting duties with Sam Miller (“I May Destroy You”) directing. Other confirmed casting includes Alex Ferns (“Chernobyl”) and Leah McNamara (“Normal People”).
Beyond Rights has appointed Connie Hodson to the newly created role of head of partnerships and business development for the company, reporting to CEO Kate Lewellyn-Jones at the company’s London offices.
Hodson will be responsible for business growth through the development of production and strategic partnerships while seeking out new ways to acquire and maximize the company’s IPs. She will head the acquisitions and co-productions team and work closely with marketing head Sean Harris, who will continue to lead day-to-day operations for the marketing department.
Hodson joins Beyond Rights from Fox Networks Group Content Distribution (FNGCD), where she was VP of global content.
Charity organization Opening Knowledge Across Research and Entertainment (OKRE) has launched the OKRE Development Rooms, a new program of roundtables dedicated to developing new ideas and perspectives based in academic research and lived experience of creatives in the audiovisual industries.
The online events are organized with partners BFI, BBC and the Association for U.K. Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) and will be free to stream. Each event will focus on one major theme, examined from several angles with input from global experts on the specific topic.
The first OKRE Development Room event, “Planet, Perspectives, Plot,” will discuss climate change research, personal lived experiences and sources of funding.