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INVESTMENT

Media group Vivendi has acquired a stake in France and U.K. headquartered Pernel Media, the independent production company behind “Legends of the Pharaohs,” “The Real War of Thrones,” “Wheeler Dealers France,” “Attila’s Forbidden Tomb” and “Ancient Superstructures.

Pernel will remain an autonomous entity led by Samuel Kissous and will keep expanding the range of broadcast partners and platforms it is working with in France and internationally. The company goal aims to accelerate its international business, consolidate factual output with premium global series, and firm up its scripted projects.

As part of the financing restructure, previous shareholders Alliance Entreprendre and Odyssee Venture are exiting the company.

In July, Pernel hired former head of Arte Distribution Celine Payot Lehmann as international executive producer.

STREAMING

HBO Max will stream original drama series “Kamikaze” on Nov. 14 in 46 countries and territories where the streamer is available across Europe, the U.S. and Latin America.

Based on the novel “Muleum” by Erlend Loe, “Kamikaze” follows 18-year-old Julie (Marie Reuther) on a journey of rediscovery, after losing her parents and brother in a plane crash, that takes her from her native Denmark to the far corners of the world.

The eight-episode series is the first Max Original commissioned in Denmark and is produced by Ditte Milsted from Profile Pictures. It is written and adapted by screenwriter Johanne Algren, conceptualized by Annette K. Olesen and directed by Kaspar Munk. Executive producers for HBO Max are Camilla Curtis, Hanne Palmquist and Christian Wikander.

“Kamikaze” was produced with support from the Danish Film Institute and developed with the support of the Creative Europe MEDIA Program of the European Union. It world premiered at Series Mania festival in Lille, France where Reuther won best actress in the international competition.

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“The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs” Pushpendra Singh

DISTRIBUTION

Pushpendra Singh‘s “The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs” is set to release theatrically in the U.S., Mexico and India. Deaf Crocodile and Gratitude Films acquired the film for the U.S. and will open it at the Museum of Modern Art, New York on Jan. 12, 2022 followed by an arthouse release in other cities. Salon de Belezza, an independent distribution company, will release the film in Mexico along with the MoMA release.

Produced by Sanjay Gulati and Ajit Singh Rathore, “Shepherdess” premiered at Berlin 2020 and has played 50 festivals since. At the Goa Film Bazaar 2019, the project won the VKAAO Work In Progress lab award, which includes a free theatrical distribution deal with PVR Cinemas, India’s largest multiplex chain. PVR will release the film in India over November and December. Channel 4 has U.K. rights.

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Sangeeta Krishnasamy, Bront Palarae 108 Media

PRODUCTION

108 Media has attached Zainir Aminullah’s Revolution Media as co-producer for its original action-crime series “I am Vash,” to be directed by Adrian Teh (“Wira”) and starring Sangeeta Krishnasamy (“Daulat”) and Bront Palarae “The Bridge”).

Set in the crime-ridden sea-side town of Port Klang, Malaysia, during 1970s Malaysia, the eight-episode series follows Vash, a rebellious policewoman up against societal and political pressures while working the biggest case of her career as she tirelessly hunts a gang leader.

The project will be led and executive produced by Justin Deimen, Abhi Rastogi, and Micah Tadena of 108 Media with Zainir Aminullah and Anne Low of Revolution Media, as well as a creative and producing team consisting of David Chang, Choong Chi-Ren, Tony Pietra Arjuna, Justin Wong, Shern Chong and Leon Tan.

The series will commence production in May 2022.

REBRANDING

Future plc has rebranded Barcroft Studios, the factual content business it acquired 2019, as Future Studios. Al Brown becomes VP of Future Studios and is responsible for overseeing internal development and commissioning and distribution. He previously oversaw Barcroft’s factual output for Channel 4’s True Stories brand as executive producer, reporting into chief creative officer John Farrar.

Ellie Winstanley, who has been series producer on many of the company’s series for Snapchat and Channel 4, has been appointed junior executive producer and will have responsibility for external digital commissions on Snapchat, YouTube and Facebook output.

Future has been commissioned by Channel 4 to co-produce the reboot of classic TV show “GamesMaster.”

SALES

U.K.-based sales firm 101 Films International has boarded BUFF Originals feature “Finding Forever” and will launch at the online American Film Market (Nov. 1-5). Casting is underway. It will be written and directed by Clare Anyiam-Osigwe (“No Shade”) and produced by Jesse Quinones (“Calloused Hands”) for Woolfcub Productions, Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe for BUFF Originals, Finding Forever Ltd and Ajaib Singh Kalsi.

The project was pitched at Film London’s Production Finance Market earlier this week. Set in a London gospel church, the film follows three best friends, two of whom are in long term relationships and take comfort in supporting their best mate to swap the single life for the married life, but matters go awry.

BUFF Originals is the production arm of the British Urban Film Festival.

AWARD

Shubham Singh‘s “Highway Nights,” produced by Akhilesh Choudhary, featuring filmmaker Prakash Jha in the lead, is the Grand Jury Prize winner at the ShortsTV Best of India Short Film Festival, from over 2400 entries received this year. The film follows an ageing, overworked truck driver who gives a lift to a young, chatty sex worker one night. It received a prize worth $2,500 and eligibility for a television broadcast deal on ShortsTV.

The finalists also include Rahul Srivastava’s “Itwaar,” atarring Kumud Mishra and Lubna Salim, produced by Prateek Chakravorty; Arun Varghese’s “The Case,” starring Neha Mahajan and produced by Priyanka Murmu, Nishant Gala, Mahajan, Arun Varghese and Carroll Chiramel; Aastha Verma’s “The Last Rights,” starring Kanupriya Sharma and produced by Anil Kumar and Verma; and Adeeb Rais’ “Dafan,” featuring Ahsaas Channa and Neena Kulkarni and produced by MadMidaas Films.

The films will receive a theatrical release in Hollywood, which qualifies them for 2023 Oscar consideration.

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“Highway Nights” ShortsTV