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FESTIVAL

Zurich Film Festival has revealed the lineup for its Hashtag section, which is devoted to “a topic that is trending on social media,” the event said Thursday. This year’s section screens films under the title #MyReligion, and deals with “questions of faith, euphoria and modern deities.”

“Whether in the U.S.A., Russia or the Middle East, we are seeing a comeback of religions,” Christian Jungen, ZFF artistic director, said. “This often leads to conflicts in coexistence within multicultural societies. That’s why this year we are concentrating our efforts on the topic of faith, its merits and its dark sides. But we are also highlighting the substitute religions that are out there now for secular people, such as the Tiktok cult.”

The selected films are Adamma Ebo’s comedy “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.,” Tarik Saleh’s thriller “Boy From Heaven,” Tarik Saleh’s coming-of-age drama “The Realm of God,” Sara Dosa’s documentary “Fire of Love,” Orit Fouks Rotem’s docufiction “Cinema Sabaya,” Anita Rocha Da Silveira’s horror “Medusa,” Shalini Kantayya’s documentary “Tiktok, Boom” and Thomas Salvador’s mystery/adventure “La Montagne.”

The festival’s 18th edition takes place from Sept. 22 to Oct. 2.

APPOINTMENTS

Jamie Cooke, Warner Bros. Discovery general manager for CEE, Baltics, Middle East, Mediterranean and Turkey, has appointed his leadership team including Roni Patel to manage content licensing for the combined region and the Nordics; Andrei Grigorescu responsible for ad-sales; Cristina Valasutean overseeing business development and distribution in Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia; Kenechi Belusevic overseeing business development and distribution in SEE, Baltics, CIS, Mediterranean and Israel and lead on commercial sports development across the combined region; Francesco Perta overseeing business development and distribution in MENA and Turkey; Grigory Lavrov responsible for trade marketing across the combined region and channel management for TLC and DMAX in Turkey and Fatafeat in the Middle East; Lee Hobbs responsible for the EMEA-wide pay TV channel business (including Discovery Channel, TLC, HGTV and ID brands), as well as EMEA WBD Creative Agency servicing multiple content and channel brands; and Mabelie Bruijns managing all communications across the combined region and PayTV networks business in EMEA.

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Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak Getty Images

UNION

Lynda Rooke and Paul W. Fleming, the president and general secretary, respectively, of Equity, the U.K. trade union representing over 47,000 performers and creative practitioners, have urged British Prime Ministerial candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to adopt a five-point plan to safeguard the future of the creative workforce.

These include abandoning the proposed privatization of broadcaster Channel 4 on the grounds that it makes no economic sense and that £2.1 billion ($2.5 billion) could be slashed from the supply chain over a 10-year period and 2,400 fewer jobs each year, per an EY estimate.

Equity also suggests delivering sustainable long-term funding for the BBC; investing in the arts as part of the government’s levelling up agenda; improving Universal Credit — a monthly payment from the U.K. government to help with living costs available to those on a low income, out of work or cannot work — for creative freelancers; and protecting performers from unregulated artificial intelligence and ensuring that performers are fairly compensated and can control the exploitation of their digital self.

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“21 Immortals,” Rozlan Mohd Noor Envision Entertainment

OPTION

The U.K.’s Envision Entertainment (“Connected – The Homebound Detective”) has optioned Malaysia’s Inspector Mislan crime thriller series by Rozlan Mohd Noor. The books, set in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, follow the exploits of a tough street cop in every imaginable situation. Noor served for 11 years as a crime investigator in the Criminal Investigation Department of the Royal Malaysia Police and a court prosecutor before joining the private sector. “21 Immortals,” his first Inspector Mislan novel, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s Best First Book Award and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award.

Michael Nakan, Envison’s chief content officer, said: “The Inspector Mislan character is perfect for television, he is a gritty, seemingly incorruptible Malay muslim street cop who brooks no opposition, from the criminal mafia or his superiors. Thanks to the uniquely creative writing of Rozlan Mohd Noor, I am delighted we have the opportunity to bring Inspector Mislan to the television audience. We intend to partner a Malaysian writer/filmmaker with a British one in order to make high quality, authentic content which works for both local and global audiences – this is the first of several projects with international appeal we have in consideration; currently we are working on similar projects in Hungary and India.”

David Barron, director at Envision, and producer of six Harry Potter films, who discovered the Inspector Mislan series, said: “Once I started reading ’21 Immortals’ I realized the enormous potential the Inspector Mislan character has for both film and television production, so optioning the books has been the first step in bringing this gritty Malaysian cop to life on screen.”

OPENING

“Stranger Things: The Experience” launched in London, U.K. on Thursday, Aug. 18. A ticket gets you an hour-long immersive multi-media experience, where fans can step into the creepy town of Hawkins as well the Upside Down, plus a shopping and dining area featuring familiar favorites such as ice-cream store Scoops Ahoy and even a “Stranger Things”-themed bar. There are also plenty of photo-opp moments including a chance to sit on the iconic “Stranger Things” couch and even pose with a life-size model of Vecna (played by Jamie Bower Campbell in the series).

Co-produced by Netflix and Fever, “Stranger Things: The Experience” is located at Troubadour Brent Cross Studios in London. Tickets can be purchased at www.strangerthings-experience.com.

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Courtesy of Fever