In today’s Global Bulletin, BFI Distribution gets Riz Ahmed’s “Mogul Mowgli,” London’s Dagenham neighborhood gets go-ahead to build new world-class film studios, Banijay Nordics confirms its CEO, Zinc Media Group promotes from within, Endemol Shine Germany sells new singing format, and Koch Films buys Sola Media.
“Mogul Mowgli,” co-written, starring and produced by Riz Ahmed and his company Left Handed Films, has been acquired by BFI Distribution. The fiction feature debut of celebrated documentary filmmaker Bassam Tariq, it premiered at Berlin in February, winning the Fipresci International Critics Prize.
Following Ahmed’s character Zed, the film tells the story of a British Pakistani rapper preparing for his first world tour when a sudden illness threatens to end his international career before it even begins. After the diagnosis, Zed takes a step back and takes stock of his past, his family and the uncertain legacy he is leaving behind.
A co-production between Left Handed Films and Pulse Films in association with Silvertown Films, “Mogul Mowgli” also received backing from BBC Films, Cinereach, Ssfilm, Vice Studios and Ryot Films. BFI will release the film in the U.K. and Ireland this fall.
London mayor Sadiq Khan has approved the construction of major new film studios in the East London suburb of Dagenham. Planned by Barking and Dagenham Council in response to the rapid growth of the city’s film and TV industries, the new studios will be the British capital’s largest.
The plans, approved by a planning committee in July, include six sound stages, productions offices and set construction workshops to be built on former industrial land. According to a statement, the work will create an estimated 1,200 jobs and inject £35 million ($45.86 million) per year to the local economy.
Dagenham East has been a filming hotspot since temporary studios were built following a 2017 study which singled out the neighborhood as an ideal location for a new studio to be constructed. Major productions in the area include Marvel’s “Black Widow” and Sony Pictures “Morbius.”
Banijay has confirmed that following the company’s acquisition of Endemol Shine, Jacob Houlind will continue as group CEO for Banijay Nordic. In the role, he will oversee operations for Banijay’s 24 Nordic companies spanning Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the U.K. and U.S.
Houlind has been CEO and co-owner of Nordisk Film TV since 2006, selling the company to Banijay in 2009. He first took the reins as group CEO of Banijay Nordic following the merger of Nordisk Film TV and Zodiak Media.
Current Endemol Shine Nordics CEO Karin Stjärne will be leaving the business at the end of the month as part of Banijay’s ongoing integration of the two companies, expected to be completed this fall.
U.K. factual production company Zinc Media Group has appointed Greg Sanderson as director of London Television. In the role, Sanderson will oversee the company’s four factual brands: Blakeway, Brook Lapping, Films of Record and Reed.
Managing director of Brook Lapping since 2015, Sanderson has overseen the growth of the label’s current affairs and investigative programming catalog over the past five years. His resume includes major factual film and TV successes such as “Meatloaf: In and Out of Hell” and “Buried Secrets of World War II,” and theatrical documentary features including Oscar-winner “Man on Wire” and International Emmy-winner “The English Surgeon.”
Endemol Shine Germany have created a new musical format for German network Sat1. “I Got You Babe,” a plush new singing competition, features quirky puppets which sing alongside celebrities to see who can perform the best duet each week.
The six stuffed singers and their celebrity counterparts will compete in front of a three-person jury which, at the end of each episode with help from viewers, will decide the day’s best performance. Two jurors have been confirmed already in German singing program “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” alum Sarah Lombardi and actor Hans Sigl (“Der Bergdoktor”).
“I Got You Babe” will premiere on Sat1 this fall.
Koch Films GmbH, part of the Koch Media Group, has purchased long time business partner Solveig Langeland’s family entertainment specialized global sales company Sola Media.
Langeland will continue as director of the Stuttgart-based company, supported in content acquisitions by Moritz Peters. The merger will also allow Koch Media service units to aid in areas such as legal, admin and finance, meaning Sola can focus on the continued growth of its film catalog.
“The takeover will open up many promising new opportunities for my company, my employees and myself,” said Langeland in a statement. “I am convinced that, in a constantly changing world, we will be better and stronger together.”