U.K. broadcaster ITV has commissioned Fremantle U.K. to produce a documentary film on British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently awaiting trial in a U.S. jail over her alleged involvement in the crimes of which Jeffrey Epstein was accused.

Maxwell faces trial this year on charges of sex trafficking and the abuse of underage girls, which could see her jailed for decades. She denies her involvement in the crimes.

“Ghislaine” (working title) will feature new interviews with key figures at the center of the case, including alleged victims and Ghislaine’s siblings, staff, friends, lawyers and investigators, some speaking publicly for the first time on this matter. It will be presented by Ranvir Singh.

“Ghislaine” was commissioned by ITV head of factual entertainment Sue Murphy and commissioning editor, factual entertainment, Nicola Lloyd. Executive producers are Yvonne Alexander and Fatima Salaria for Fremantle U.K., who hold international distribution rights.

Two-part series “Ghislaine Maxwell: Life on Trial,” from from non-fiction specialists Roast Beef Productions for U.K. broadcaster Channel 4, has sold widely, including to Starz in the U.S. and HBO in Latin America.

Both works will air after the trial concludes in early 2022.


“Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” confirmed Monday that it has passed Chinese censorship and will release in the world’s largest film market sometime soon. It has not yet set a release date.

The sequel to 2019’s psychological horror film “Escape Room” sees stars Taylor Russell, Deborah Ann Woll, and Logan Miller return for a new set of challenges in which they and three others must solve a series of increasingly challenging puzzles or die trying. It is directed by Adam Robitel.

The film grossed $51.8 million globally after a July theatrical release, far less than its predecessor, which earned $156 million worldwide, $34 million of which came from China. – Rebecca Davis.

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“Forest For The Trees” Syndicado


North American distributor Syndicado has acquired worldwide rights to “Forest for the Trees,” directed by award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker Rita Leistner. The documentary is having its international premiere at DOC NYC on Nov. 15. Returning to her roots in northern forestry in rugged and mountainous parts of British Columbia,
Leistner, a former war photographer, and former tree planter, turns her lens onto a community of tree planters who overcome difficult conditions and emotional difficulties to bring back the forest one tree at a time.

Syndicado will release the film in North America in 2022 and os handling sales at upcoming markets including IDFA, Berlinale, RealScreen and MipTV.

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The Red Sea International Film Festival (Dec. 6-15) has added six more titles to the previously announced “The Lost Daughter” and “Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon” that are part of its International Spectacular section. They include Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Ennio,” Yamina Benguigui’s “Sisters,” Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” Fernando León de Aranoa’s “The Good Boss,” Dina Amer’s “You Resemble Me” and Claire McCarthy’s “The Colour Room.”

All films are Arab premieres.


Ex-HBO Europe CEO Linda Jensen and “Harry Potter” producer David Barron are joining the executive team of international premium content company Envision Entertainment. As global head of scripted, Barron will focus on enhancing Envision’s slate of high-end premium content, while global head of investments Jensen will launch an investment arm of the business which will acquire both IP and stakes in synergistic media companies. Envision founder Michael Nakan will work across both production and investment arms.


Auckland, New Zealand, will host new film festival In The Shade, the first live international film festival in the city since 2019. In 2020, the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) went online and this year due to COVID-19 restrictions that left Auckland cinemas closed, they continued in other centres but Auckland was left without either an in person or online option, leaving a cinema watching gap for the city.

The festival will open with the first New Zealand screening of Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” and “Benedetta,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “Annette,” “Nitram,” “A Hero” and “Lamb” are among the first titles announced in the line-up.

The festival is brought to Auckland Jan. 19 – 30, 2022 by Dos Ojos, a collective of cinephiles that have joined forces.

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NIGHTMARE ALLEY, from left: Cate Blanchett, Bradley Cooper, 2021. ph: Kerry Hayes / © Searchlight Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection ©Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection