In today’s Global Bulletin, Discovery revisits Madeleine McCann case; Sky boards SXSW ISIS documentary; Icon Film Distribution launches U.K. streamer; BBC Studios pacts with Youngest Media; Broken Flames partners with TerraMedia; ViacomCBS renews SkyNZ deal; and Japan’s NHK buys Russian Sherlock Holmes series.
Three-part Discovery Plus original documentary series “Prime Suspect: The Madeleine McCann Case,” examines the new German suspect Christian B and his link to one of the world’s most well-known unsolved cases — Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.
The three-year-old disappeared from her parents’ holiday apartment in Portugal in 2007. The German police are convinced that Madeleine’s abductor is sitting in a German jail, where he is serving a sentence for raping a 72-year-old woman in Praia da Luz, the holiday destination where McCann was abducted.
Produced by Danish Heartland TV and directed by Jesper H. Grand, the series features the participation of friends of the suspect, an ex-girlfriend and other key persons in the case, including the suspect’s defense counsel, the German prosecutor and the former Portuguese investigator.
The first episode will be available on Discovery Plus on Feb. 15 in the U.K., Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. It will also premiere in India, the U.S., Germany, Portugal and South America later in 2021.
European pay TV operator Sky has boarded filmmaker Alba Sotorra Clua’s feature documentary “The Return: Life After ISIS” ahead of its premiere in competition at the upcoming SXSW Film Festival. MetFilm Sales is handling worldwide sales on the title.
The documentary, which will air on Sky in the summer, provides exclusive access to a group of young Western women who devoted their lives to ISIS. These will include British recruit Shamima Begum, who fled the country with two school friends when she was just 15, and Hoda Muthana from the U.S., who incited her followers on Twitter to go on drive-by shootings to kill Americans.
The film explores the realities of the more than 60,000 ISIS brides and children stranded in Syria with no country to go back to.
Sotorra Clua’s previous projects include the documentary feature film “Game Over” (2015) and “Comandante Arian” (2018).
The film is an Alba Sotorra Production in association with MetFilm and Ronachan Films, directed and produced by Sotorra Clua. Also producing are Vesna Cudic and Carles Torras. – Leo Barraclough
Icon Film Distribution is launching a new streaming service, The Icon Film Channel, which will be available on Amazon Prime Video in the U.K. from March 18.
The monthly subscription channel will initially launch with some 150 classic titles including “Drive,” “Apocalypto” and “The Passion of the Christ.” Titles also include “Buried,” “The Butterfly Effect” trilogy, “House of Sand & Fog,” “La Vie En Rose,” “Looking For Eric,” “The Guest,” “Enigma” and “The Mummy.” In addition, remastered titles such as Oscar-winner “Gosford Park” and “Malcolm X” are also included, with many being only available to stream in the U.K. through the service. Additional titles, both catalogue and new, will be added to the service monthly.
BBC Studios has struck a first-look distribution deal with entertainment indie Youngest Media, and will represent their formats in all territories other than the U.K., Germany, Netherlands and the U.S.
Founded by David Flynn and Lucas Church and now with production bases in the U.K. and Germany, Youngest Media’s formats include “Game of Clones” (E4), “Hardball” (BBC One) and “Small Fortune” (ITV).
The U.K.’s Broken Flames Productions has partnered with social impact agency TerraMedia on its film “Faulty Roots.” Jie-Ming Chung and Mikkel Juel Iversen of TerraMedia will serve as executive producers on the film and will provide financing, production and distribution support to help ensure its social impact and see that it meets its commercial goals.
Written and directed by Ella Greenwood, “Faulty Roots” is a coming-of-age film focusing on youth mental health. The cast includes Melanie Walters (“Gavin & Stacey) and Kayleigh-Paige Rees (“Sanditon”), who will also produce. Filming is set to start in late 2021.
ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group and Sky NZ have renewed a multi-year deal that will see Sky customers continue to enjoy content from CBS, The CW and Showtime plus Paramount Television Studios programming.
The agreement includes exclusivity for Showtime content, including “Billions,” “Ray Donovan” and “Dexter,” and rights across other Sky channels and platforms, including Neon, Sky Go, Sky On Demand and free-to-air channel Prime. The agreement follows a long-term deal Sky has in place with ViacomCBS for hit channels and mega brands MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, Nick Music and MTV Music channels. Despite the similarity in name, Sky NZ no longer has any connection with the European corporation Sky Group that is now part of Comcast. – Patrick Frater
Japan’s NHK Enterprises has bought “Sherlock: The Russian Chronicles” and will premiere it on Sony Pictures Television’s AXN Mystery channel Feb. 14.
Produced by Russian independent studio Yellow, Black and White’s local production arm and streamer START, in co-production with Sreda, the series is directed by Nurbek Egen and written by Oleg Malovichko. Set in 19th-century St Petersburg, it sees Sherlock Holmes attempt to track down Jack the Ripper, who has fled to Russia. It premiered on START and subsequently was a ratings booster for Russian channel TNT.