Toronto Raptors vice-chair and president Masai Ujiri has joined the upcoming documentary series on the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a partnership between the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), as an executive producer.
Fremantle and Passenger are producing the as yet untitled series, which tells the story of the creation, launch and inaugural season of the BAL, a new professional basketball league in Africa featuring 12 club teams from across the African continent. The series is being directed by emerging South African director Tebogo Malope.
Ujiri was the architect behind the Raptors’ historic 2019 NBA Championship win and he also serves as president of Giants of Africa, the non-profit he co-founded in 2003, which uses basketball as a tool to educate and enrich the lives of African youth.
The first edition of BAL took place in May in Kigali, Rwanda. Working alongside showrunner and executive producer Richard Brown (“True Detective”) and executive producers Fisher Stevens (“Tiger King”) and Akin Omotoso (“Black Is King”), Ujiri will help tell the stories of the many cultures, characters, and personalities across Africa in the context of the new league.
Meanwhile, writer/director Pablo Salvador (“Blue Eclipse”) has commenced “Gunnar Fischer: Metamorphosis of Light,” a new documentary about legendary Swedish cinematographer Gunnar Fischer, known for his contribution to some of Ingmar Bergman‘s most iconic black and white movies, such as “The Seventh Seal,” “A Summer with Monica” and “Wild Strawberries.” Interviewees will include cinematographers Anthony Dod Mantle, Fischer’s son Jens Fischer and director Stefan Jarl. The music will be created by Jorge Arriagada, known for his collaboration with directors Raul Ruiz and Olivier Assayas. The film is based on Fischer’s unpublished memoirs “Återblickar” (Flashbacks) and will feature Swedish actor Tomas Bolme, whose voice will bring to life Fischer’s own account of his collaboration with Ingmar Bergman.
French Vietnamese filmmaker Tran Anh Hung (“Norwegian Wood,” “The Scent of Green Papaya”) will be president of the jury that decides the main prizes at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. He is to be joined by Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir, director of Sydney Film Festival Nashen Moodley, Indian photographer, screenwriter and filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala and China’s Janet Wu, director of the Wu Tianming Film Fund for Young Talents. A separate youth jury, awarding three prizes will be headed by Thai filmmaker Anocha Suwichakornpong (“By the Time it Gets Dark”), journalist Jean Noh and New Zealand animator Antony Elworthy. Prizes will be announced at a ceremony on Nov. 11, 2021. – Patrick Frater
Meanwhile, MTV has confirmed that rapper/actor/entrepreneur Saweetie will host and perform “Best Friend” and “Back To The Streets” from her upcoming debut album “Pretty Bitch Music” at the 2021 MTV Europe Music Awards airing on Nov. 14.
Saweetie has a 2021 MTV EMA nomination in the Best New category alongside Giveon, Olivia Rodrigo, Rauw Alejandro, Griff and The Kid LAROI. Earlier this year she won her first-ever MTV VMA Award for Best Art Direction for “Best Friend” ft. Doja Cat with art direction by Alec Contestabile at the 2021 ceremony in Brooklyn, New York.
Streaming aggregator ScreenHits TV will enter the live linear channel space globally by offering access to the 24/7 live feeds of Bloomberg Television, its enhanced Bloomberg TV Plus (excluding the U.S.) and its next-gen, global streaming news channel, Quicktake. Rose Hulse, CEO-Founder of ScreenHits, revealed that the linear channels will be made available in the coming weeks to subscribers across SHTV’s newly enhanced desktop platform and iOS mobile/tablet app.
KC Global Media is launching television and digital series “AXN Ultimate Challenge Indonesia,” premiering on Nov. 25 on English-language general entertainment channel, AXN Asia and streaming on its YouTube channel. Hosted by Richard Kyle, the six-part 15-minute series stars Indonesian celebrities, actor and singer-songwriter Afgansyah Reza (aka Afgan) and Isyana Sarasvati and their travel partners Reza Chandika and Rara Sekar take on tasks that test their minds, muscle and social media skills while discovering the country’s cultures, cuisine and natural wonders. Founded by Andy Kaplan and George Chien, KCGM operates a portfolio of Asian TV channels including: AXN, anime channel Animax, South Korea’s One and Japanese entertainment channel GEM. – Patrick Frater
Sky and Apple have revealed a new long-term agreement that will see Apple TV Plus launch on Sky Glass and Sky Q later this year, while Now brings integrated billing and in-app purchases across iOS and tvOS. Sky customers in the U.K. will also be able to access Sky Go on Apple TV devices in mid-2022.
Customers in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy will now have access to Apple TV Plus originals including “The Morning Show,” “Trying” and “Ted Lasso,” among others.
Sky recently announced expanded deals with ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC and Apple TV Plus content will now be available alongside content from the U.K.’s public service broadcasters and other global streaming partners including Netflix and Disney Plus, completing Sky’s TV content aggregation strategy.
The deal also follows the reveal of Sky Glass, the streaming TV with Sky services baked in.