The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has unveiled its masterclass lineup for this year’s online festival taking place June 14–July 16. Classes will be held by creative team members of major global programs including “It’s a Sin,” hosted by creator Russel T. Davies, director Peter Hoar and actor Nathaniel Curtis; Warner Bros. Television’s Peabody-winning series “David Makes Man,” led by creator Tarell Alvin McCraney; “Transplant” with creator and showrunner Joseph Kay; Finnish animated series “Moominvalley”; CBC’s “Sort Of”; and a previously announced presentation from the creative team behind FX’s new series “Reservation Dogs.”
Thong Kay Wee has been appointed as program director of the Singapore International Film Festival, taking over from Kuo Ming-Jung. He will work alongside executive director Emily J. Hoe from June 21. Thong was previously program and outreach officer at the Asian Film Archive. There, he has presided over multiple film-centric programs with a focus on Asian cinema since 2014. He has also programmed the Singular Screens strand of the Singapore International Festival of the Arts since 2018. The next edition of the festival is scheduled for Nov. 25–Dec. 5. – Patrick Frater
The Duplass Brothers, through their Duplass Brothers Productions label, have enlisted Italian production company Iervolino Entertainment to handle production services on the upcoming comedy feature “Spin Me Round,” set to shoot in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, in Modena. Iervolino will also join as an executive producer on the film, joining previously announced co-producers Duplass Brothers Productions and Limelight. “Spin Me Round” is co-written by director Jeff Baena (“The Little Hours”) and lead actor Alison Brie (“Community”), who will be joined on screen by an ensemble cast including Alessandro Nivola, Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, Craig Robinson and Zachary Woods. The film turns on an American manager of a chain of Italian restaurants who is invited to Italy for a program of restauranteurs, where a seemingly idyllic getaway quickly morphs into anything but.
Popular on Variety
Swipe Films has sold Frank Mannion’s feature documentary “Sparkling: The Story of Champagne” in several key territories, including deals with Gravitas Ventures for North America – where it will be released on Aug. 13, Britbox in the U.K., Smile Entertainment in Scandinavia (excluding Norway where it was picked up by Fidalgo), Rialto in Australia and New Zealand, and Canal Plus in France and Poland. Swipe’s own distribution division will also handle a U.K. theatrical release on June 25, with an accompanying marketing campaign including tastings and a chance for viewers to win a bottle of limited edition 007 Bollinger or Champagne-themed vacations.
The film features Stephen Fry and a cast from the world of champagne including Taittinger heiress Vitalie Taittinger, Bruno Paillard, Oz Clarke, best-selling authors Don & Petie Kladstrup, Cristal wine-maker Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, and Sir Nicholas Soames, Conservative party MP and grandson of Winston Churchill, who allegedly consumed over 40,000 bottles of Pol Roger in his lifetime.
Spanish powerhouses Movistar Plus and The Mediapro Studio confirmed that production is already underway on season 2 of their 1992-set YA genre series “Paraíso” at a press event celebrating the show’s presence at this week’s Malaga Film Festival. Previewed at a MipTV presentation hosted by The Wit about young adult fiction, where it was also chosen among Variety’s 10 buzziest market titles, the supernatural Steven Spielberg /“Stranger Things”-esque series is directed by Fernando González Molina (“Palm Trees In the Snow”). It launched on June 4 in Spain on Movistar Plus, where its first three episodes are now available.
Channel 5 in the U.K. has unveiled two new commissions resulting from its Indie Initiative program, an extended second run of Chatterbox’s “Sally Lindsay’s Posh Sleepover” and a new run of Big Deal Films’ “Greatest Toys.” Channel 5’s Indie Initiative was developed with the TV Collective in Sept. 2019 and supports diverse production companies supplying mainstream primetime programs into the network. The two commissions bring the initiative’s total number of commissions up to 12, with several major successes among them such as “Adrian Dunbar’s Coastal Ireland” and “The Yorkshire Ripper’s New Victims.”
Shanghai Disney Resort will launch new in-park live theater show, “Mickey’s Storybook Adventure” from June 16, the fifth anniversary of the park’s opening. The 28-minute performance features a cast of 23 live vocalists, dancers and musicians who represent 23 Disney characters from 13 classic and modern Disney stories. The narrative kicks off with Mickey Mouse and Goofy accidentally dislodging Olaf the snowman from “Frozen” from within the storybook. As they try to put him back in his rightful place, they encounter more characters from “The Jungle Book,” “Moana,” “Mulan,” “Rapunzel,” “Zootopia” and “Princess and the Frog.” – Patrick Frater