Over the weekend, the La Biennale di Venezia launched its new Biennale Cinema Channel in collaboration with Italian streamer MYmovies, offering up a streamable selection of films which have featured in previous editions of the Venice International Film Festival but which are not currently available elsewhere in Italy. The channel drops with an initial library of 36 titles which featured in various sections of the festival between 2007 and 2020. In September, the first group of films will be supplemented with titles available on the 2021 festival’s Sala Web from Sept. 1-11, and continuously updated thereafter. The channel is available as a monthly subscription for €7.90 ($9.38) or in three-month blocks for €19.90 ($23.62).
Venice prizewinning titles from the initial lineup include 2014 best screenplay winner “Tales” by Rakhshan Banietemad, Gastón Solnicki’s 2016 Fipresci Award-winner “Kékszakállú” (“Bluebird”), and Amat Escalante’s “La región salvaje” (“The Untamed”), which won the filmmaker the Golden Lion for best director in 2016.
Amazon Prime Video has unveiled key casting for its upcoming Spanish series “Operación Marea Negra,” and will begin shooting the true-crime drama on July 7. The series will revisit events from 2019 when a small, handmade semi-submersible craft crossed the Atlantic with three tons of cocaine on board. Three men piloted the submarine, battling storms, unpredictable currents, hunger, infighting and the authorities.
Álex González (“3 Caminos”) will play Nando, the ex-boxer and leader of the pack who turns to trafficking when his other financial options dry up. Joining him in the international cast are Nerea Barros (“La Isla Mínima”), Nuno Lopes (“White Lines”), Miquel Insua (“La Unidad”), Luis Zahera (“El Reino”), Xosé Barato (“Alba”), Carles Francino (“Cable Girls”), Manuel Manquiña (“Antes de la quema”), Lúcia Moniz (“Love Actually”), Luís Esparteiro (“Super Pai”), David Trejos (“Perdida”), Leandro Firmino (“Ciudadde Dios”) and Bruno Galiasso (“Marighella”).
“Operación Marea Negra” is produced by Ficción Producciones with Mamen Quintas and Julio Casal executive producing. La Forta (The Federation of Regional Organizations of Radio and Television) and broadcaster TVG in Spain and Portugal’s RTP and Ukbar Filmes are co-producing.
Pact, the U.K. trade body for independent film and TV companies, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with the launch of several activities intended to showcase the impact that U.K. indies have had on the production sector over those three decades, while planning for the years to come. Key among the company’s plans is the launch of Future30, a new initiative established to support 30 emerging U.K. indies. Interested participants can pitch for a chance at a free, two-year Pact membership along with a bespoke development program which includes access to industry experts who will help develop and grow their businesses. A panel of senior producers will judge the applicants and announce the selected companies in late September.
BBC Studios Factual Productions has appointed Naomi Benson as its new head of development for the commercial production arm of its documentary unit. Joining the company later this month, she will report to the unit’s creative director of development Cate Hall. In the role, Benson is charged with providing editorial direction, stimulating creativity and ensuring the BBC documentary team generates new ideas to fit the needs of a wide variety of clients and platforms. She is also tasked with growing the brand in new territories and creating relationships with new buyers.