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FESTIVALS

The 17th Zurich Film Festival (Sept. 23-Oct. 3) will honor Sharon Stone with its highest accolade, the Golden Icon Award. Stone will be in Zurich to accept the award in person on Sept. 25. The award ceremony will be followed by a screening of Martin Scorsese’s “Casino,” which earned Stone an Oscar nomination. The actor will also conduct a masterclass where she will offer insights into her creative process and career.

“It is an honor to engage with the global community and celebrate the profound depth of our art,” said Stone. “I am thrilled to be recognized in this capacity.”

“Sharon Stone is a true icon of the seventh art,” said festival artistic director Christian Jungen. “She is a woman that Hitchcock would have loved. Her distinguishing qualities include an irresistible charm, a great human depth, the talent to play a whole range of roles and the ability to captivate an audience like no other. At a time when the film business was dominated by men, she stood her ground to fight against sexism and in doing so became a major role model for many women in the film business.”

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Deepa Mehta Array

Meanwhile, Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta (“Funny Boy”) will serve as head of the jury for the Busan International Film Festival‘s New Currents competition for new Asian films. Other jury members include Cristina Nord, the head of the Berlinale Forum, and Korean filmmakers Jang Joonhwan (“Save the Green Planet!”) and Jeong Jae-eun (“Take Care of My Cat”).

The 26th edition of the festival will take place Oct. 6-15. The two recipients of the New Currents Awards will be announced at the closing ceremony.

COMMISSIONS

After “Our Man in Japan,” “James May: Our Man in the USA” will premiere on Amazon Prime Video in 2022. May will set off on an epic 4,000-mile fact-finding mission across the U.S.

The series will reunite the team behind the first series, including BAFTA-nominated series director Tom Whitter (“James May’s Toy Stories”) and executive producer Will Daws (“Amazing Spaces”).

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BBC

Meanwhile, the BBC has commissioned “The Gold,” a six-part drama series inspired by the events of 1983 where six armed men broke into the Brink’s-Mat security depot near London’s Heathrow Airport, and inadvertently stumbled across gold bullion worth millions.

It is commissioned by Piers Wenger, director of BBC drama and will be written by Neil Forsyth (“Guilt”). It is a co-production between Tannadice Pictures, an Objective Fiction partner, and VIS, a division of ViacomCBS for BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

In addition, Lee Mack and Holly Willoughby will host BBC One entertainment series “Wim Hof’s Superstar Survival” in 2022. The six-part series will follow a group of soul-searching celebrities as they embark on a journey of self-improvement, and face a test of mental strength.

The series is a Hungry Bear Media production for BBC One, commissioned by Kate Phillips, director of entertainment. The executive producer is Dan Baldwin and the commissioning editor for the BBC is Kalpna Patel-Knight. There will also be a three-part spin-off that goes behind the scenes of the show.

Elsewhere, BBC Factual has commissioned two-part series “Our Changing Planet” where filmmakers from BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit will document six key habitats around the world, including California, the Arctic, the Maldives, and the Amazon rainforest over seven years.

Co-produced by PBS, the show was commissioned by Patrick Holland, director, factual arts and classical music television and Jack Bootle, head of commissioning, science and natural history. The executive producer is Rosemary Edwards. International distribution will be handled by BBC Studios.

CONVENTION

The Australian International Movie Convention has been postponed and re-scheduled to Feb. 8-10, 2022 as a response to the latest outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The convention was to have been held in Sydney, New South Wales in mid-October. The decision to move the dates was taken by the National Association of Cinema Operators Australasia, and presenting partners Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia, Roadshow Films and the Australian Independent Distributors Association. Other events in Australia planned for late 2021, including the Screen Forever conference, have also shifted to the first quarter of 2022. – Patrick Frater

DISTRIBUTION

Bulldog Film Distribution have acquired the U.K. rights to “Lapwing.” Set in 16th-century England, it features Hannah Douglas (“Clownface”) as a mute woman who falls in love with a gypsy in an era of persecution. An entirely independent production “Lapwing” marks a feature film debut for both director Philip Stevens and screenwriter Laura Turner. The film, which stars Emmett J. Scanlan (“Gangs of London”) and Sebastian De Souza (“The Great”), will get a day and date release on Nov. 26. – KJ Yossman

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“Lapwing” Bulldog Film Distribution

Recently-launched I.E. Entertainment has struck a deal to supply 33 classic movies to Malaysian pay-TV leader Astro. The Malay-language titles represent one third of the Cathay-Keris library and span the golden age of Singapore filmmaking through the 1950s and 1960s and is considered culturally and artistically significant to Southeast Asia’s Malay communities and embodies Malaysia and Singapore’s heritage. They have not been seen on television in over a decade. Astro will make them available on Astro Citra and Astro Prima linear channels, and its Astro GO and OTT platforms from September. I.E. was established earlier this year by sisters and industry veterans Indra and Erlina Suharjono. – Patrick Frater

SALES

Salto, the French subscription-based streaming service jointly launched by France Televisions, TF1 and M6, has acquired the eight-part mystery thriller “Sherlock: The Russian Chronicles” from ZDF Enterprises.

The series will be available for the French audience under the title “Sherlock Les Chroniques Russes” in the fall. Salto previously acquired the thriller series “The Crimson Rivers” from ZDF Enterprises.
Launched in Nov. 2020, Salto currently boasts 10,000 hours of programs, including catch-up content from 19 different channels belonging to TF1, France Televisions and M6, as well as premieres of upcoming show and fresh content available for streaming. – Elsa Keslassy
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“Sherlock: The Russian Chronicles” ZDF Enterprises