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FESTIVAL

NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), with presenting partners The Arab Film and Media Institute and Dutch Culture USA are partnering for a short film festival that runs across the Dec. 10 and 11 weekend.

The annual event, titled NFMLA Film Festival InFocus: Middle Eastern, Arab & Dutch Cinema, will feature virtual screenings of films followed by live Q&As. The films are by emerging filmmakers from the Netherlands, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, France, Belgium and the U.S.

The program includes the U.S. premiere of “Nervosa,” the latest work by NFMLA alum Thessa Meijer and the Tribeca award-winning short “Leylak,” by co-directors Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos.

Festival panels will feature conversations with Palestinian director-writer Hany Abu-Assad (“Omar”), whose upcoming feature “Huda’s Salon” will be distributed by IFC Films, and Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour (“Wadjda”).

NFMLA and the Academy have also brought together industry professionals to participate in this year’s edition including Robert Walak and Alisa Tager at Anonymous Content, Tanja Tawadjoh at Black Bicycle Entertainment, Beatriz Sequeira at Blumhouse Productions, Annamaria Sofillas at Topic/First Look Media, Talha Asad at HBO, Allie Moore at Left Handed Films and Brie Neimand at ViacomCBS.

The festival programming is supported by Los Angeles City Council member Mitch O’Farrell.

APPOINTMENTS

Veteran film producer Liz Watts has joined U.K.-Australian firm See-Saw Films as head of film and television, Australia. Watts joins from her own company Spirit Pictures and brings with her projects hatched under a first-look deal with Universal International Studios’ Matchbox Pictures. Until June of this year, Watts was co-founding partner of Porchlight Films, which was wound up after 23 years of operation. At See-Saw she will oversee all Australian projects from See-Saw and subsidiary Picking Scabs and report to joint MDs Emile Sherman and Iain Canning, as as well as See-Saw’s U.K.-based creative director Helen Gregory. Watts previously collaborated with See-Saw on Garth Davis’ “Mary Magdalene.” Her other credits include Justin Kurzel’s “True History of the Kelly Gang” and David Michod’s “The King.” – Patrick Frater

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Meanwhile, “See No Evil” filmmaker Karen Kelly is to be the new chair of industry body Directors U.K., succeeding Steve Smith. James Hawes (“Black Mirror”) and Anna Thomson (“Objects of Desire”) have been appointed vice-chairs. Also on the board are filmmakers Abigail Dankwa, Avril Evans, Zoe Hines, Jessica Hobbs, Alex Kalymnios, Tinge
Krishnan, Lisi Russell and Carolyn Saunders, Directors U.K. CEO Andy Harrower, finance director Guy Gibbons and non-executive director Deborah Stones.

STUDIO

BBC Studioworks, the commercial subsidiary of U.K. broadcaster BBC which provides studios and post production services to the TV industry, will operate the upcoming TV studio at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, Scotland. The move is the first stage in BBC Studioworks’ ambitions to open additional studios across the U.K., and is a response to growing demand to make more TV shows in Scotland.

The 10,500 sq. ft studio, co-funded by the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, will open in fall 2022 and will be a multi-camera facility offering state-of-the-art gallery suites and ancillary areas including dressing rooms, a green room and offices.

FORMAT

International distribution company Lineup Industries has sold documentary format “Emergency Call” to Japanese public broadcaster NHK. A local version of the show which follows the ups and downs of an emergency call centre through the ears and eyes of the people who work there, will air on NHK in Jan. 2022.

The format was originally created by De chinezen for Belgium broadcaster VRT Eén, the Flemish public channel. Lineup Industries handles global distribution for the series, which has been made locally in Belgium , Australia, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.

The U.S. version of the format, produced by 8 Hours Television and hosted by actor Luke Wilson, has also sold to Australia’s Nine Network, New Zealand’s TV3 and Talpa TV in the Netherlands.

LICENSING

Australian content distributor Fred Media has licensed both seasons of reality TV series “The Circus” to Hayu for streaming in the U.K. and Ireland, Benelux, Canada and Australia. A Stripe Studios production for NBCU NZ (Bravo TV), “The Circus” follows the ten-strong Weber family who live, work, and play together under the backdrop of a circus big top. “The Circus” has recently been recommissioned for a third 10 x 30 minute series. It will deliver later in 2022 and Fred Media will again be distributing. – Patrick Frater

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“The Circus” Fred Media