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FESTIVAL

Taliban hostage drama “And Tomorrow We Will Be Dead,” by Swiss filmmaker Michael Steiner (“The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch”) will open the 17th Zurich Film Festival (Sept. 23 – Oct. 3).

The film follows the story of Daniela Widmer (Morgane Ferru) and David Och (Sven Schelker), the Swiss couple were kidnapped and handed over to the Taliban in 2011 while traveling through Pakistan. The story kept Switzerland on tenterhooks. For eight months, the two were held as hostages until they managed to escape.

“I’m a storyteller and here I wanted to give a personal insight into the fate of the two hostages Daniela Widmer and David Och, so that the audience understands the context,” said Steiner.

The world premiere of the film will take place in the presence of Swiss Federal President Guy Parmelin and the Mayor of Zurich Corine Mauch. It will be the first screening in the newly renovated Convention Center, the festival’s newest venue with more than 1200 seats.

The film is a Zodiac Pictures Ltd production in co-production with MMC Zodiac, SRF and Blue, and was supported by the Federal Office of Culture, the Zurich Film Foundation, SRG SSR, the cantons of St.Gallen and Lucerne and Suissimage. Distributed by The Walt Disney Company (Switzerland), the film will open in Swiss cinemas on Oct. 21.

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Cheyne Gateley/Variety

Meanwhile, Iranian director Reza Mirkarimi, Kazakh professor and film critic Gulnara Abikeyeva, and Korean journalist Kim Haery have been appointed as the members of the Kim Jiseok Award jury at the Busan International Film Festival (Oct. 6-15, 2021). Among the world premiere films unspooling at the festival, they will pick two from Asia worthy of receiving $10,000 cash prizes. China’s Wang Nanfu, Korean director Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, and Indonesian producer Mandy Marahimin will form the BIFF Mecenat Award jury, while festival advisor Bastian Meiresonne and directors Royston Tan and Yoon Danbi will select the short film winners from the Wide Angle section. The BIFF Mecenat Award selects a Korean and an Asian documentary, and the Sonje Award selects a Korean and an Asian short film among the films invited to the Wide Angle competition section. The winners are awarded KRW 10,000,000 ($8,570) each. – Patrick Frater

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“Tiger Zinda Hai” Everett Collection

REBATE

The latest film in Bollywood’s “Tiger” franchise, starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, currently shooting in Saint Petersburg, has become the first film to benefit from the Russian Export Center and Ministry of Economic Development’s federal rebate program. The Russian government will refund 40% of production cost within the territory of the Russian Federation, almost $650,000, to producer Yash Raj Films, based on the declared budget for production in Russia.

The film’s Russia shoot is handled by Alexander Dostal’s Etalon Film, a de facto recipient of cashback from the state bodies.

Directed by Maneesh Sharma (“Fan”), the film is the third in the “Tiger” spy action franchise after “Ek Tha Tiger” (2012) and “Tiger Zinda Hai” (2017).

PRODUCTION

All3Media will launch a new production label in Belgium run by former Dedsit co-founder David Ottenburgh, who joins from SBS where he was executive creative director. He will lead All3Media Belgium as managing director from Sept. 1, reporting into newly announced All3Media Deutschland CEO Taco Rijssemus.

The company will focus on developing new formats as well as adapting programming from the All3Media International catalogue for the Belgian market. All3Media Belgium’s first production will be idtv reality entertainment format “The Traitors” for VTM, following its launch earlier this year on RTL4 in the Netherlands.

At Dedsit, Ottenburgh developed a range of new formats including “Tegen de Sterren op,” “Lang Leve,” “Rode Neuzen Dag” and “Jonas & Van Geel.” Dedsit was sold in 2019 and Ottenburgh joined SBS where he was responsible for the SBS Creative and SBS Studio divisions.

LICENSING

Two seasons of animated pre-school series “Turbozaurs” have been licensed to mainstream Chinese streaming platform Youku, part of e-commerce and entertainment giant Alibaba. The show involves friendly dinosaurs which can transform themselves into machines. Together with a group of three kids they form a rescue team and embark on missions to ensure everyone is safe and happy. It was created by Caramel & Co Animation Studio for the Carousel Channel in Russia. International licensing is handled by Beyond Rights, for which this is a first deal with Youku. – Patrick Frater

HUB

The U.K.’s Channel 4 has partnered with TikTok to create a bespoke Paralympics Hub on the platform, designed to showcase the most captivating moments throughout the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Launching Tuesday, the Hub will feature a comprehensive schedule of Paralympics content from Channel 4 created by its Leeds based 4Studio, especially for the TikTok community. Content will include behind the scenes access from athletes, event and medals highlights with a split screen ‘reaction’ format, and a Q&A series with athletes.

FORMAT

Fremantle fashion format “Project Runway” will be locally produced in Thailand by JKN Best Life Co., to air exclusively on JKN18, a channel wholly owned and operated by JKN Best Life Co. “Project Runway Thailand” will be the fifth Asian edition of the popular franchise, having previously aired in the Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea, and Vietnam. The series is scheduled to premiere on JKN18 in 2022.

Under the guidance of a mentor, the fashion reality series pits aspiring fashion designers against each other, and sees talented young fashion designers and their models battle for catwalk stardom, with the chance to showcase their creations to the world.

The Thai edition of the show will feature award-winning fashion designer and professor Tawn Chatchavalvong “Tawn_C” (Thai Tim Gunn) on the jury, alongside Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip “Anne” making her debut as the first transgender host on “Project Runway.”

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“Project Runway Thailand” Fremantle