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DEVELOPING SITUATION

New president of the Philippines Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday swore in a swath of new officials at government agencies. Among them, veteran actor Tirso Cruz III, was appointed as chair and chief executive of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). He replaces Liza Dino Seguerra who has held the post for the past four years. In a Facebook posting, Seguerra said that she had not been officially informed of her replacement, but that nevertheless she would ensure a smooth transition.

COMMISSIONS

The BBC has commissioned independent production company Zig Zag to make “Football Academy,” a soccer documentary series following the young players and staff of the academy at Southampton Football Club, which will air this fall in the countdown to the 2022 soccer World Cup in Qatar. The 15×30’ series, for CBBC, was filmed during the 2021/22 season and will track the highs and lows of key characters at the academy, with access to teams from the under eight through to the under 15 age groups. It will follow the stories of young footballers from the male, female and disability teams. Narrated by Alan Carr, whose father was a professional soccer team manager at Northampton Town amongst others, the show also sees Southampton first team and England international players James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond and Kyle Walker-Peters take part in a range of soccer challenges with the academy pupils. It also features guest appearances from Liverpool’s Mo Salah, and Premier League MVPs Alan Shearer and Micah Richards amongst others.

The series is executive produced by Danny Fenton and Andy Scott, with Will Innes as series producer. Supplementing the main TV series are 5×3’ YouTube short form films starring soccer influencer Kieran Brown, and a BBC Learning film about careers in soccer.

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“Football Academy” Zig Zag Productions

Meanwhile, BBC Comedy has commissioned sitcom “Henpocalypse!,” produced by Various Artists Limited (“I May Destroy You). The 6×30′ series, which will play on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer is written by Caroline Moran (“Hullraisers”) and follows five women on the ultimate hen weekend, which goes very wrong leaving them in the ultimate fight for survival.

Executive producers are Phil Clarke, Helen Williams and Roberto Troni. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Tanya Qureshi. VAL is part of BBC Studios portfolio of invested indie production companies with whom they hold a minority share. Filming begins early 2023 and casting will be revealed imminently.

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Elsewhere, ITV documentary “Life and Limb: The Missing Millionairess” will delve into the life of Australian millionairess Melissa Caddick who went for a morning run in Sydney in November 2020 and never returned home. The story gripped Australia, but what transpired was that Caddick, a financial advisor, had cheated 74 victims, including her friends and family, out of $AUD23 million ($15.6 million). The documentary, produced by Fremantle label Naked, will explore her disappearance and will seek to aid and narrate the story of her victims, as well as bring them some closure.

It was commissioned by Jo Clinton-Davis, controller of factual, ITV. Executive producers will be Fatima Salaria and Fiona Caldwell for Naked. Fremantle will distribute the series internationally.

ITV has also acquired scripted drama “Vanishing Act” from distributor DCD Rights, which tells Caddick’s story over three episodes. It stars Kate Atkinson, Colin Friels, Jerome Velinsky and Maya Stange. The series is a Screentime Banijay Production for Nine Network Australia in Association with Screen NSW. Both “Life and Limb: The Missing Millionairess” and “Vanishing Act” will be shown on ITV and streamer ITVX.

SHORT FILM COMPETITION

The Tokyo International Film Festival has announced that it will partnering with Prime Video for a second time to present the Amazon Prime Video Take One Award. It aims to discover talented new directors through an open call for short film submissions. Finalists will be screened at the 35th TIFF, to be held from Oct. 24 – Nov. 2, 2022. Separately, the festival announced that it will hold its Children Meet Cinema, youth filmmaking workshops. Hayakawa Chie, whose feature debut “Plan 75” was selected for the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes and received a Special Mention from the Camera d’Or jury, will be the lead mentor for the TIFF 2022: Teens Meet Cinema production workshop.

ANNIVERSARY EDITION

The Hong Kong International Film Festival – delayed due to COVID from its usual Spring timing to August – will put on a 10-title retrospective feting local cinema in the 25 years since 1997. They include: “Little Cheung,” by Fruit Chan (1999);  “Shaolin Soccer,” by Stephen Chow (2001); animation “My Life as McDull,” by Toe Yuen (2001); “PTU,” by Johnnie To (2003); “One Nite in Mongkok,” by Derek Yee (2004); “The Warlords,” by Peter Chan Ho-sun (2007); “A Simple Life,” by Ann Hui (2011); “The Grandmaster,” by Wong Kar-wai (2013); “Port of Call,” by Philip Yung (2015) and “Better Days,” by Derek Tsang Kwok-cheung (2019). The festival will run Aug. 15-31, 2022 as a hybrid event.

LAUNCH

Indian kid’s entertainment channel Sony YAY! has launched in a Tamil-language version on Telekom Malaysia Berhad’s Unifi TV. Shows available at launch including “Sab Jholmaal Hai,” “Guru Aur Bhole,” “Taarak Mehta Ka Chhota Chashma,” “Kicko & Super Speedo,” “Paap-O-Meter,” “Prince Jai aur Dumdaar Viru” and “HaGoLa.” Sony YAY! is expected to tap into the prominent Tamil-speaking population of the region which comprises 1.8 million people — the third highest in the world, after India and Sri Lanka.

ADAPTATION

Manuel Catteau‘s non-fiction specialist outfit ZED will adapt for television “Chasing Dragons: The Forgotten Knight of the Round Table” a previously unknown medieval novel from the universe of the Arthurian legend. The
novel has been reconstructed by the medievalist historian Emanuele Arioli after 10 years of a quest that led him to several European countries. Written in the 13th century, the novel is one of the first to recount the adventures of the knights of the round table. It reveals notably the existence of an unknown knight Segurant, bewitched while going to King Arthur’s court and condemned to pursue an imaginary dragon.

ZED’s adaptation will be a documentary blending contemporary and animated sequences, in collaboration with illustrator Antoine Carrion. In a double story arc it will follow Arioli’s quest and the adventures of Segurant. The film, directed by Marie Thiry and produced by Christine Le Goff for Arte, is scheduled for completion in fall 2023.

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“Chasing Dragons: The Forgotten Knight of the Round Table” ZED