In today’s Global Bulletin, “Minari” star Han Yeri signs with Echo Lake Entertainment in the U.S.; Beijing and Cairo announce hopeful in-person festival details; AMC Plus snags Berlin-set Cold War drama “Spy City”; Cineflix Rights will distribute Israeli cop drama “Manayek”; Deepika Padukone steps down as head of Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image; Australia’s Screenwest unveils Rikki Lea Bestall as its new CEO; “The Last Five Years” gets a West End run; Harry Collet to star in mental health short “Why Wouldn’t I Be?”; and biopic “Banking on Mr. Toad” shifts to Rebellion Film Studios.
South Korean actor Han Yeri, who stars as Monica in Oscar-nominated “Minari,” has signed with Echo Lake Entertainment for U.S. representation. Han is well established in Korea, thanks to films including “Sea Fog” and “As One,” for which she won the best new actress prize at the Baeksang Art Awards in 2012.
Han continues to be represented by leading talent agency Saram Entertainment in Korea. With “Minari” she has been nominated for an Independent Spirit Award (best supporting female) and a SAG Award (outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture). Han also recorded two songs on the film’s soundtrack, including “Rain Song,” which was shortlisted for the Oscar as well.
Organizers of the Beijing International Film Festival have confirmed new dates in August for the 11th edition of the festival. It will shift from its usual slot in April to Aug. 14-21, 2021, making it more likely that the festival can be held in person and that foreign visitors might participate. The news was announced on the Chinese-language version of the festival’s website, along with application deadlines of May 20 for film submissions and May 23 for market participants. Organizers revealed that they are planning to include a red-carpet ceremony and a project market.
After managing an in-person event in 2020, the Cairo Film Festival will be back with a face-to-face 43rd edition from Dec. 1-10. Despite COVID complications and uncertain dates, last year’s event hosted 95 films from more than 40 countries including 20 premieres. Event capacities were halved, yet ticket sales still surpassed 30,000 and nearly 200 foreign guests attended, despite strict travel guidelines. Many more accredited guests were able to participate virtually from home, and will be again this time around if needed.
“Spy City,” a six-part thriller from best-selling author-screenwriter William Boyd (“The Trench,” “Chaplin”) produced by Odeon Fiction and Miramax, has sold to AMC Plus in the U.S., and will premiere on April 15. Starring Dominic Cooper (“Preacher,” “Mama Mia”), the series unspools in 1961 Berlin where four military factions hold dominion over the divided city in the years before the wall, meaning agents from all sides were free to move and interact at will. ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group is handling global sales of “Spy City,” with further deals in major territories currently in negotiation.
Cineflix Rights has secured global distribution rights to Israeli police drama “Manayek,” produced by Yoav Gross Productions for the Kan 11 network. It’s the second Israeli series Cineflix rights has picked up, having successfully represented “Tehran,” which proved a global smash after being picked up by Apple TV Plus. In “Manayek,” internal affairs investigator Izzy Bachar discovers a high-ranking police officer heads a sprawling criminal network within the force. The series is written by Roy Iddan (“Kfula”) and directed by Alon Zingman (“Shtisel”).
Leading Indian actor Deepika Padukone has announced her resignation as chairman of Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI), the organization behind the annual Mumbai Film Festival. Padukone had been chairman since 2019 and took over from producer-director Kiran Rao. She announced the news via her own Instagram account and explained the reason as the pressure of work. “As an artist it was invigorating to bring together cinema and talent from all over the world to Mumbai, my second home. I have come to realize, however, that with my current slate of work, I will be unable to give MAMI the undivided focus and attention it requires,” she said in the posting. In Padukone’s next role she will play opposite Amitabh Bachchan in the Indian remake of “The Intern.”
Rikki Lea Bestall has been appointed as the new CEO of West Australia film funding body Screenwest. She will take over from Willie Rowe at the end of his three-year term and start from May. Bestall was previously with the organization as head of development and production and director of development. She returns with additional experience from Kransnoff/Foster Entertainment in Los Angeles and multiple production roles across West Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. “The WA screen industry is poised for a period of unprecedented growth and in Rikki we have a CEO who can lead the organization drawing on her success and well-deserved respect across the WA screen industry” said Screenwest chair, John Driscoll. He thanked Rowe for his “much-needed stabilizing influence during a period of unprecedented change.”
Jason Robert Brown’s award-winning musical “The Last Five Years” is heading to London’s West End for a limited run at the Vaudeville Theatre, relocating from the Southwark Playhouse. Previewing from Sept. 17, the show will open on Sept. 23 and is scheduled to run through Oct 13. Jonathan O’Boyle will direct, with stars Molly Lynch and Oli Higginson returning to their lead roles. The show’s creative team includes choreographer Sam Spencer-Lane, set and costume designer Lee Newby, lighting designer Jamie Platt, sound designer Adam Fisher and musical director Leo Munby. It will be produced at the Vaudeville Theatre by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Edward Prophet and People Entertainment Group, with Dan Looney, Adam Paulden and Jason Haigh-Ellery for DLAP Group.
Harry Collet, who recently co-starred alongside Robert Downey Jr in “Doolittle,” is set to star in Ella Greenwood’s “Why Wouldn’t I Be?”, a short film developed in support of mental health charity and platform HUMEN. Collet will be joined by Elizabeth Berrington (“The Nevers”), Tut Nyuot (“Small Axe”) and theater vet Susan Lawson-Reynolds. Focusing on male depression, the film follows “Self-Charm” and “Smudged Smile” in a series of shorts about mental health from Broken Flames Productions, founded by Greenwood. Collet is repped by Curtis Brown, Berrington by United Agents, Nyuot by Independent Talent and Lawson-Reynolds by Olivia Bell Management.
In the latest development for the long-developed “Banking on Mr. Toad,” a live-action and CGI hybrid film about the life of “Wind in the Willows” author Kenneth Grahame, production has shifted to Rebellion Film Studios, and is scheduled to shoot at the end of July. In November 2017, it was announced that after years of development the film would begin shooting the following spring at Pinewood, with Toby Kebbell (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) starring as Grahame and Lena Headey in talks to play his wife Elsie. While Kebbell is still attached, the role of Elise was never officially filled, and the film’s team is in the process of casting the part.