In today’s Global Bulletin, Spain’s six-month state of emergency threatens already suffering cinemas, All 4 scores a pack of prestigious short films, ViacomCBS International Studios launches a dedicated kids’ content label, and Love Nature lands in the Nordics.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Sunday that the country is heading back into a nationwide state of emergency for the next six months as new COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket. The government will take the next two weeks to coordinate with regional governments on exactly what form the state of emergency will take, but an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew has been imposed nationwide, with regional governments allowed to move the confinement period one hour in either direction.
The new national curfew looks set to dent Spain’s already meagre box office revenues in 2020. “The regulation will destroy the possibility of normal third-session screenings of over two hours,” Camilo Tarrazón, president of the Catalan Exhibitors Union, told Variety on Monday.
The curfew, he went on, could turn back the tide on Spain’s tenuous box office recovery thanks to local hit “Father There Is Only One: 2” and “Tenet.” Total Spanish box office earnings for September tracked at 40% of those a year earlier, while for the week of Oct. 16-22, that figure had dropped 15% due to a lack of titles and increased regional restrictions across Spain.
The good news, Tarrazón did say, was that there was no suggestion that the government was intending to close cinema theaters in the country, as Italy did over the weekend. “There is absolutely no evidence of COVID-19 clusters being traced to cinema theaters,” he said.
For the time being, film and TV production look to be unaffected, as curfews and forthcoming travel restrictions — established by each region independently — are likely to exempt working people.
More detailed information should be available in two weeks when the conditions of the state of emergency will be updated.
Channel 4’s free streaming service All 4 has picked up a slate of new short films for its catalog, including “Two Single Beds,” written by and starring Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”), directed by William Stefan Smith (“Avenue 5”), and produced by Yvonne Isimeme Ibazebo (“Top Boy”) for Turnover Films and Kaluuya at his newly established production shingle 59%.
Co-staring Seraphina Beh (“Top Boy”), the short turns on two struggling comedians who cross paths far from home. The short was co-financed by Troika and Film4.
Other titles include theater director Bijan Sheibani’s “Morning Song,” about a young mother struggling with postpartum psychosis; Luna Carmoon’s “Shagbands,” about a group of teenage girls during 2006’s historic heatwave; and Harry Lighton, Matthew Jacobs Morgan and Marco Alessi’s “Pompeii,” set on a late-night subway ride as Tam plugs in his headphones and revisits memories of Halloween captured on his phone.
“Short films are an opportunity for us to explore, try new things and broaden the pool of talent with whom we hope to work on debut features,” said Film4’s senior commissioning executive Lauren Dark. “Daniel is a passionate advocate for emerging talent. We were thrilled to partner with him on his new company’s first venture, and to give All 4 viewers a glimpse of some of the best new filmmakers in the UK.”
KIDS & FAMILY
ViacomCBS International Studios (VIS) has announced a new kids’ content division to be headed by senior VP of production and development at Nickelodeon International Nina Hahn, who will duly fill the role of head of the newly-formed VIS Kids.
In the new role, reporting to ViacomCBS International Studios and ViacomCBS Networks Americas president Juan “JC” Acosta, Hahn will work on growing VIS’s kid-focused content pipeline by sourcing and developing original animated, live action and preschool content. She will be responsible for coordinating efforts between the studio’s production and development teams across Latin America, the U.K., Spain and Israel.
VIS Kids arrives at a time of major growth at VIS, which currently has 30 series in production and another 50 in development. The new label was established to ensure continued revenue growth and serve as a foundation for the studio’s plan to develop more than 30 new kids shows over the next three years.
Digitally focused wildlife brand Love Nature will debut as a linear platform in the Nordics on pay-TV operator T-We by Telenor Norway after closing a new two-year carriage deal.
More than 600,000 English-speaking subscribers will gain access to the platform’s award-winning factual series and film content, including recent commissions “America’s Wild Border: Northern Exposure” and “The Great Elephant Tale.”
The deal increases Love Nature’s reach to more than 110 countries on traditional pay-TV platforms in more than 200 million homes.