In today’s Global Bulletin, Highland Film Group secures distribution in key territories for Kevin Bacon-starrer “One Way,” “Germany’s Next Top Model” gets a five-season renewal, ITV brings back “The Cube,” launches “Stack It!” and picks up co-producers for “A Year on Planet Earth,” Amazon Prime Video unveils premiere details for “Toofaan,” Filmzie and Netgem TV team in the U.K., Mopar Studios enlists U.K. drama specialists to develop international content, Sky hires a trio of comedy specialists and Hot Docs unveils its Special Presentations titles.
Highland Film Group has secured a raft of international distribution deals for Andrew Baird’s new thriller “One Way,” starring Kevin Bacon and Colson Baker (“The Dirt”), better known as recording artist Machine Gun Kelly.
Produced by Thomasville Pictures, “One Way” follows Freddy (Baker), who goes on the lam with a bag of cash after a robbery by his crime boss goes wrong. Grievously wounded, he boards a bus and puts in a call to his estranged father (Bacon), who betrays him to the boss, leaving Freddy with only one way out.
Deals were closed with Splendid Film for Germany and German-speaking Switzerland, Cinemundo in Portugal, Rialto Distribution for Australia and New Zealand, Blue Swan Entertainment in Italy, MCF in ex-Yugoslavia, Just Media in Benelux, Monolith Film in Poland, MGN for Russia and Baltics, Eagle Films in the Middle East, Moviecloud in Taiwan and FilmFinity in South Africa.
ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group has closed a multi-season format deal with Seven One Entertainment Group to renew “Germany’s Next Top Model.” The deal is for five new seasons to be produced by Redseven Entertainment for broadcaster ProSieben.
Hosted by hometown superstar Heidi Klum, who is also an executive producer on the show, the German adaptation has been the region’s top program among young adults 14-29 in 2019 and 2020. Season 16, launched in February, enjoyed the best ratings a “Top Model” season opener has seen in Germany in a decade.
ITV and ITV Hub are bringing back award-winning U.K. game show “The Cube,” after 2020’s specials proved a massive hit for the broadcaster, pulling 4.1 million viewers when it premiered in October. Objective Media Group Entertainment will again produce the new six-episode run, with casting already underway. In addition to the six-part contestant series, two hour-long celebrity specials are also being produced, with participants competing for charity.
ITV is also partnering with Nippon TV on “Stacking It!” a new game show format resulting from the companies’ 2020 co-development deal, with each producing their own local version. Announced during ITV Studios’ London Screenings Formats Festival session, the series will premiere to the international marketplace at MipTV’s Formats Accelerator sessions on April 9.
Rounding out ITV’s busy news day, the company has secured its first international co-production partners for its upcoming natural history series “A Year on Planet Earth” in Fox Nation, Fox News Media’s streaming service, in the U.S. and ARD in Germany. In a case of strange bedfellows, progressive actor, comedian and author Stephen Fry will narrate the docuseries, produced by Plimsoll Productions in association with ITV Studios.
Amazon Prime Video has unveiled the highly anticipated global premiere date for Indian summer blockbuster “Toofaan,” which will be available to stream directly on the platform from May 21.
Produced by Excel Entertainment in association with Romp Pictures, “Toofan” is an inspirational sports drama starring Farhan Akhtar as a goon from the streets of Dongri who, against all odds, becomes a professional boxer. Mrunal Thakur, Paresh Rawal, Supriya Pathak Kapur and Hussain Dalal co-star, with BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (“Rang De Basanti”) directing.
Streaming and social media platform Filmzie has secured an integration deal with U.K. TV service provider Netgem TV. Under the deal, any home with a Netgem TV box or connected TV will gain access to the entirety of Filmzie’s series and film slate for free.
Netgem TV will use its platform to promote Filmzie content through its streaming app, as well as providing access through the Netgem user interface, joining popular content such as Amazon Prime Video and live sports broadcasts.
Sweden’s Mopar Studios has commissioned U.K. writers Roland Moore and Brendan Foley to develop a slate of international thrillers centered around terrorism and the Sino-American cyberwars for the company’s drama slate. According to Mopar, the appointments emphasize the company’s commitment to combine Nordic and international talent to broaden its drama beyond its domestic roots and appeal to a wider global audience.
Moore, creator of “Land Girls,” will focus on a conspiracy thriller in which two telecommunications workers get caught up in a cyber-security breach, set in a world of advanced AI and big tech. Foley, writer of “Johnny Was” and “Cold Courage,” is working on a series set against a backdrop of European terrorism, from both the far right and far left.
Sky Studios has hired a trio of writers to bolster its comedy team rosters in indie commissioning and in-house development. The team, which develops, commissions and produces original scripted comedy for the broadcaster, has added Adnan Ahmed and Katie Churchill as in-house producers, and announced that this summer Alex Moody will join as commissioning editor for indie-led projects.
Ahmed (“Muzlamic,” “The Big Asian Stand Up”) comes to Sky from BBC Studios with Churchill (“Simon Amstell: Set Free”, “Lazy Susan”) joining from Tiger Aspect, and represent the first hires for Sky Studios’ in-house development and production team, helmed by BAFTA-winning writer-producer Anil Gupta. Moody will join from the BBC, where her commissions include “Worzel Gummidge” and “King Gary,” among others.
Canada’s Hot Docs has unveiled the 15 titles that will participate in April’s Special Presentations program, including a diverse slate of world and international premieres, award winners from other high-profile events and works from established filmmakers and up-and-comers alike.
Special Presentations world premieres include John Daschbach’s “Come Back Anytime,” a profile of self-taught Japanese ramen master Masamoto Ueda and his Tokyo ramen shop; Daniel Sivan’s “Dirty Tricks,” an in-depth look at the world of competitive bridge playing; “The Taste of Desire” from Willemiek Kluijfhout, about humanity’s relationship with nature; and Yung Chang’s “Wuhan Wuhan,” documenting life in the city during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hot Docs’ full festival lineup will be announced March 23.
Hot Docs’ 2020 Special Presentation Lineup:
“7 Years of Lukas Graham,” (René Sascha Johannsen, Denmark)
“All Light, Everywhere,” (Theo Anthony, U.S.)
“Come Back Anytime,” (John Daschbach, Japan)
“The Death of My Two Fathers,” (Sol Guy, U.S.)
“Dirty Tricks,” (Daniel Sivan, Israel)
“Misha and the Wolves,” (Sam Hobkinson, U.K., Belgium)
“Playing with Sharks,” (Sally Aitken, Australia)
“The Return: Life After Isis,” (Alba Sotorra Clua, Spain, U.K.)
“Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm,” (Hannah Berryman, U.K.)
“The Rossellinis,” (Alessandro Rossellini, Italy, Latvia)
“Subjects of Desire,” (Jennifer Holness, Canada)
“A Taste of Desire,” (Willemiek Kluijfhout, Netherlands)
“With Drawn Arms,” (Glenn Kaino, Afshin Shahidi, U.S., Mexico)
“Who we Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,” (Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler, U.S.)
“Wuhan Wuhan,” (Yung Chang, U.S.)