×

NEWSREADER MAKES NEWS

Critically-acclaimed Australian series “The Newsreader” is set to air in 80 additional territories, following a string of rights sales deals organized by Entertainment One. The six-part show was licensed to the BBC (U.K.), Arte (France and Germany), RTE (Ireland), Viaplay (the Nordic and Baltic regions, Poland and The Netherlands), Cosmo (Spain), Filmin (Portugal and 2nd window in Spain), Now TV (Hong Kong), Telus (Canada) and NBCUniversal International Networks & Direct-To-Consumer (Latin America).

Starring Anna Torv and Sam Reid, “The Newsreader” centers around the frantic, busy heart of a commercial TV newsroom set in the 1980s, while following the relationship between an ambitious young TV reporter and the star female news anchor. The show was produced by Werner Film Productions, for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, with finance from Screen Australia, the ABC and Film Victoria. It was created and written by Michael Lucas, produced by Lucas and Joanna Werner, and directed by Emma Freeman. It was also named by Variety as one of the best international shows of 2021.

LOCATION LOCATION

Visualization studio The Third Floor (”Doctor Strange”) has opened a new permanent studio in London’s Soho district in the U.K. Kitted out with a “by artists, for artists” design and feel, the studio will support the company’s expansion and enable collaboration and creative work as it takes on evermore real-time visualization and virtual production.

Lazy loaded image
Third Floor’s new office in Soho, London Courtesy of Third Floor

The London studio is equipped with multiple Supervisor and Avid suites, meeting rooms, a virtual demo location and swappable desks. The company also boasts a Tech Hub at Pinewood Studios, which is the home of their Virtual Production team.

“It’s a pleasure to announce our new flagship location for The Third Floor London at 33 Foley Street in the heart of Soho, London,” said Marcus Alexander, The Third Floor’s executive director. “Managing Director Tim Keene and I are excited to house our incredible talent and team in incredible new facilities — literally on the third floor of the building!”

The Third Floor also has offices in L.A., Atlanta, Beijing and Australia.

SHRINKING MARKET

Two more cinemas in Hong Kong are to close permanently, following a downturn in business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cinema City Victoria in Causeway Bay will close with immediate effect after four years of operation. The Broadway Circuit said that its Diamond Hill branch in the Hollywood Plaza shopping center will lose next month. Cinemas in Hon Kong have faced prolonged and repeated closures due to government health orders, and all have been suspended since Jan. 9, 2022, due to a fifth virus wave. Government has provided subsidies, but reduced admissions, the banning of concessions sales and the end of rent freezes by landlords has pushed many to the brink. The UA chain collapsed in March last year.

PERMISSION TO FLY

Warner Bros. franchise film The Batman is poised for a theatrical release in mainland China. On a video posted to Warner’s social media accounts in China, the film’s stars Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz announced “good news […] our new movie, The Batman, will be released in China.” That appears to mean that the movie has cleared the censorship process, but authorities have not yet given it a release date. With a Cold War between China and the U.S. still raging, China last year cut the number of Hollywood imports below to below the two countries’ agreed quota. The first Hollywood film to release following the Chinese new year holiday season is “Death on the Nile,” set for an outing on Friday. Woody Allen’s “A Rainy Day in New York” has been given a China release on Feb. 25.

FESTIVAL COOPERATION

Lazy loaded image
Miffest and Udine festivals. MIFFest and FEFF Udine

The 5th edition of the Malaysian International Film Festival will work together with the 24th running of Italy’s Udine Far East Film Festival. They aim to create a bridge between the film industries in the East and the West. Udine will run April 22-30, 2022. After operating a hybrid festival last year, MIFFest is scheduled to take place in-person July 10-15, 2022 with the Malaysia Golden Global Awards ceremony held on July 16, 2022 in Kuala Lumpur.

SALES, DISTRIBUTION AND COMMISSIONS

Beta Film has sold Finnish thriller ‘Helsinki Syndrome’ throughout Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

The show, from “Bordertown” creators Mikko Oikkonen and Juuso Syrjä, is described as a Robin-hood-like thriller about a man who takes four journalists hostage at their Helsinki offices.

The series has sold to DR, NRK for Norway, SVT in Sweden and NPO in the Netherlands. Negations with other international broadcasters are still ongoing.

*****

International factual distributor Rainmaker Content have inked a co-production and finance deal with Woodcut Media for “Hitler: A Life in Pictures,” which has been pre-bought by Channel 4 in the U.K.

Rainmaker will have worldwide distribution rights (excluding the U.K.) to the series, which uses archive and expert interviews as well as photographs and home video footage to explore the life of the infamous dictator.

Matthew Gordon and Kate Beal executive produce while Woodcut Media’s Jonathan Mayo is series producer. Polly Scates, Channel 4 acquisitions manager, pre-bought the series.

“We’re sure our clients around the world will be extremely interested in this first time opportunity to see these astonishing photographs alongside the home video footage shot by Eva Braun,” said Rainmaker’s co-chief operating officer, Vicky Ryan.

*****

ITV has commissioned “Yorkshire Ripper: The Secret Murders” from U.K. indie Impossible Factual.

The two-episode documentary series will investigate a string of murders and attacks against women that took place in the North of England in the 1970s and ’80s thought to have been carried out by notorious serial killer Peter Sutcliffe.

The series will air in the U.K. on Feb. 23 and 24 at 9pm on ITV.

“Even those familiar with the Sutcliffe saga will be shocked by the true scale of his crimes revealed in this series,” says series producer and director Adam Luria.

*****

World of Wonder, the media company behind the Drag Race franchise and documentaries including “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” are launching a new drag-themed docs-series, “Frocumentary.”

“Frocumentary” follows drag band The Frock Destroyers, made up of alumni from RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K., as they record and release an album against the backdrop of the pandemic.

The 4-part show is set to air weekly from March 15 on World of Wonder’s streaming platform WOW Presents Plus. It is exec produced by Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey and Tom Campbell for World of Wonder. World of Wonder’s documentary division is headed by Jim Fraenkel

APPOINTMENTS

ITV Studios has appointed Julie Clark as director of production for its U.K. drama labels.

Clark, who joins from Studio Lambert, will work across ITV Studios’ drama labels including Happy Prince, Jeff Pope’s Factual Drama, Patrick Spence, 5 Acts, Tall Story Pictures, Silverprint Pictures and Quay Street Productions.

She will report to Matt Cleary, director of production for scripted in the U.K.

Clark has previously worked at Left Bank Pictures and BBC Drama. Most recently she has been working on upcoming Disney Plus series “Nautilus” and Amazon Prime’s “The Feed.”

Lazy loaded image
Julie Clark ITV Studios

“As ITV Studios drama has continued to increase in size, so we have needed to build on the brilliant production talent base we have here, and Julie joining us only serves to strengthen that” said Cleary.

*****

Italian film and television production outfit Pegasus has appointed Patricia Arpea as head of national and international coproductions.

Arpea, who has worked in the screen industry for almost thirty years, will report directly to Pegasus founding partners Martha Capello and Ilaria Dello Iacono.

“Now that Patricia has joined us, we will be able to extend our productive mission, orienting our work mainly towards projects with a universal character and language, in which Italian creativity is set within an international scenario,” said Pegasus’ CFO Sergio Romerio.