In today’s Global Bulletin, Sky announces its most sustainable Italian shoot yet for “Romulus” season two; “Death and Nightingales” heads to Starz in the U.S.; Beta Film appoints Sarp Kalfaoğlu in Istanbul; KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission plans its upcoming Film Makers Conference; Lineup Industries and NHK Enterprises strike deals in three territories on a pair of programs; “I Can See Your Voice” gets a Turkish adaptation; and Fremantle’s UFA launches a new documentary unit.
Sky has confirmed that its popular period drama series “Romulus,” a mix of myth and history about the founding of the Eternal City of Rome, will be back for a second season. Importantly, the upcoming shoot is being propped up as Sky Italia’s most sustainable production to date as part of the Comcast-backed pay-TV operator’s overall plan to be net zero carbon by 2030.
Season two’s eight episodes will be produced by Sky, ITV Studios’ Cattleya and Groenlandia, and will start shooting in May in Rome and Lazio. Episodes will be directed by Groenlandia founder and “Romulus” showrunner Matteo Rovere, Michele Alhaique (“Senza nessuna pietà”) and Enrico Maria Artale (“The Third Half”).
As with season one, already sold in more than 40 territories by ITV Studios, season two will be shot in archaic Latin, with screenplays from returning writers Filippo Gravino (“Veloce come il vento”) and Guido Iuculano (“Una vita tranquilla”), joined by Flaminia Gressi (“Bella da morire”) and Federico Gnesini (“Lo spietato”).
Starz has picked up “Death and Nightingales” from Red Arrow Studios International and will premiere the series on the Starz channel and app in the U.S. on May 16. Red Arrow has also sold the program to HBO Europe for CEE, Nordics, Spain and Portugal; Sky Network Television in New Zealand; Yes in Israel and DirecTV for Latin America excluding Brazil.
Starring Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”), Jamie Dornan (“The Fall”) and Ann Skelly (“The Nevers”), the series is based on Eugene McCabe’s book of the same name. It was originally commissioned by BBC Two and adapted and directed by “The Fall” director Allan Cubitt and produced by Jonathan Cavendish (“Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”).
Leading European producer-distributor Beta Film has bolstered its business in Turkey, appointing former BluTV executive Sarp Kalfaoğlu as the company’s Istanbul-based representative who will strengthen the outfit’s production and distribution activities in south-east Europe.
Turkey has enjoyed a content boom in recent years, developing a strong, competitive production landscape with global-facing potential. Beta’s recent Turkish series “Persona,” starring International Emmy-winning Haluk Bilginer, has been sold to numerous territories, including Germany’s Telekom Magenta TV, as the first Turkish series in Germany. A U.S. deal is also imminent.
South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Film Commission has laid out plans for a mid-May KZN Film Makers Conference, a hybrid event where 100 in-person attendees will address the key issues facing the local film industry and look to attract international support from partners, financiers and distributors. According to the Commission, attendees to the meetings will “engage on a number of strategic interventions that plan to catalyze that rate of economic growth of the KZN film industry, provide solutions to all film industry challenges and also to ensure an equitable economic participation of youth, women and disabled people in both townships and rural areas.”
Dutch indie distribution company Lineup Industries and NHK Enterprises, the distribution wing of Japanese broadcaster NHK, have unveiled the first producer options born from a strategic distribution partnership between the companies.
“The Late Night Show with Nitty & Gritty,” which allows guests with interesting lifestyles to share their stories anonymously through the use of puppets, was options by Hihhihhii in Finland and SkyhighTV in the Netherlands. Hihhihhii also joined Spain’s Mediacrest in optioning “Chiko’s Challenge,” a co-viewing comedy quiz program and prize winner at the Galaxy Awards and U.S. International Film & Video Festival.
Eccho Rights’ Istanbul offices have closed a deal sending CJ ENM entertainment format “I Can See Your Voice” to Turkish broadcaster Acun Medya, whose TV8 network is already home to several popular Turkish format adaptations such as “The Voice,” “Master Chef” and “Survivor.” Created by Seon-young Lee and produced by CJ ENM, the original series first aired in Korea in 2015 and has spread like wildfire since. “I Can See Your Voice” has already aired in 18 territories, including the U.S. and U.K., and will see several new key territories launch local versions this year, including Spain, Russia and France.
Fremantle company UFA has launched UFA Documentary GmbH, a new unit tasked with overseeing the company’s growing catalog of factual formats. Acting as a stand-alone production company under the UFA umbrella, the unit will mirror work done at other UFA companies UFA Fiction, UFA Serial Drama and UFA Show & Factual. Focusing on documentary, hybrid-documentary and serialized features, the group will be headed by co-CEOs Gwendolin Szyszkowitz-Schwingel and Marc Lepetit.
Argentina’s Cinema 7 Films and Farr Productions in the Netherlands have agreed to co-produce “Jo, The Van Goghs’ Widow,” inspired by the eponymous biography written by Camilo Sanchez. The film is written and will be directed by Rodrigo H. Vila, who collaborated with Wouter van der Veen, scientific director at the Institut Van Gogh.
Shooting is set for later this year in the Netherlands and France, and will retrace the steps of Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, sister-in-law of the Vincent van Gogh, who did the legwork in promoting Vincent’s work after his death, establishing herself as one of history’s most important and influential art dealers.