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ACQUITTAL

The Berlin International Film Festival has called for the acquittal of Zimbabwean author and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga (“I Want a Wedding Dress”) who served on the international jury of the festival earlier this year. Dangarembga was arrested in July 2020 at a protest in Harare along with journalist Julie Barnes, where both were calling for the release of journalists and for institutional reforms.

They are being charged with inciting public violence, disturbing the peace and bigotry, and with violations of COVID regulations. The women have since been released on bail, but they have also been subpoenaed 26 times. In the trial, now taking place before the anti-corruption Court in Harare, a decision will be made whether to drop the case or seek a verdict.

“As an institution that stands up for freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression worldwide, we ask the government of Zimbabwe to clear Tsitsi Dangarembga and Julie Barnes of all charges, or to drop the case. Both women have consistently campaigned for freedom in courageous and artistically compelling ways. The right to free speech is anchored in Zimbabwe’s constitution, and to deny that right to these women would be unconstitutional,” said Berlinale directors Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian.

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Paul Giamatti Manolo Pavon

CASTING

Paul Giamatti (“Billions”) has joined the cast of HBO Max series “30 Coins” for its second season, which is currently in production in Spain, Italy, the U.S., France and the U.K. Produced by Banijay Iberia’s Pokeepsie Films, the series is directed by Álex de la Iglesia and co-written by him and Jorge Guerricaechevarría. Giamatti stars as Christian Barbrow, an American business and technology billionaire, science guru, science fiction novelist and leader of a mysterious brotherhood that counts the world’s elite among its members. He is the ultimate disruptor, but no one knows his true intentions.

NETWORKING

A networking event aimed at helping displaced Ukrainian filmmakers recently relocated to London get work in the U.K. will take place at London’s CVP & ARRI Creative Space on June 27. The event is the brainchild of cinematographer Diana Olifirova, originally from Kyiv, who did a cinematography BA from I. K. Karpenko-Kary Film University, Ukraine and went on to earn a cinematography MA at the U.K.’s National Film and Television School. Olifirova has won the British Society of Cinematographers’ emerging cinematographer award and her recent credits include Netflix‘s “Heartstopper” and Channel 4 and Peacock‘s BAFTA-winning “We Are Lady Parts.” She came up with the idea for the event because she realized there is an increasing number of Ukrainian filmmakers coming to the U.K. and London to work, with no contacts. Some 30 Ukrainian filmmakers are confirmed to attend the event so far.

FESTIVAL

Six-part Sky original drama thriller series “Munich Games” will have its world premiere on June 28 at the 39th Munich Film Festival as part of the New German Movie strand. The series is set in 2022, 50 years after the Munich Massacre, a terrorist attack on the Israeli Olympic team in 1972. On the anniversary of the attack, Munich is hosting a friendly soccer game between an Israeli and a German football club. Political stakes are high and everything is being done to make the match a safe and peaceful event, but history might be repeating all over again.

Creator Michal Aviram (“Fauda”) wrote the series with Martin Behnke (”Berlin Alexanderplatz”) and Philipp Kadelbach (“We Children from Bahnhof Zoo”) directed. The cast includes Seyneb Saleh (“Mute”), Yousef Sweid (“Tel Aviv on Fire”), Sebastian Rudolph (“Dark”) and Dov Glickman (“Oslo”).

The series is a co-production between Amusement Park Film, CBS Studios and Sky Studios and will be launched on September 4 on Sky One across Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland, with other Sky markets across Europe to follow. Paramount Global Content Distribution will distribute the series outside of German speaking territories, the U.K., and Italy.