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AWARD

Mo Abudu, CEO of Nigeria’s The EbonyLife Group, will be celebrated by France’s upcoming Series Mania festival with its Women in Series Award. The prize, given in tandem with the European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA Network) and advocacy group Pour Les Femmes Dans Les Médias (PFDM), honors a remarkable woman from the audiovisual industry for her vision and leadership. Last year’s award went to Christina Sulebakk, general manager of HBO Max EMEA.

Abudu has turned Nigeria-based EbonyLife — the upscale international Black TV network she launched in 2013 — into a multi-pronged media conglomerate that has produced more than 5,000 hours of original content, including the top-grossing Nigerian film of all time, 2016’s “The Wedding Party,” and multiple projects for Netflix. Among these is the film “Òlòtūré” that exposes human trafficking in Nigeria. She will be handed her award on the evening of March 22 at the Forum’s Awards Ceremony in Lille. Abudu will subsequently hold an onstage conversation on March 24 during the Lille Dialogues on “Investing In Talent: How To Drive New Narratives.”

“From the outset, our mission with the ‘Woman in Series Award’ has been to increase the visibility of female producers and projects,” said Series Mania chief Laurence Herszberg in a statement noting that women execs are still under-represented, holding only roughly 10% of positions at the top echelons of the global media and entertainment industry.

Series Mania will run March 18-25.

COMMISSIONS

Following Cicelia Deane’s appointment last year as editorial and commissioning executive for BET U.K., Paramount‘s BET International has revealed five U.K. original commissions. These include “Moments That Shaped: Queer Black Britain,” a one-part documentary narrated by Gina Yashere which celebrates the community’s move from underground and hidden to out and proud; “The Evolution of Black British Music,” a five-part series which documents the last 35 years of Black British music; “Dating Black” (not available on My5 but on the BET International YouTube page), an eight-part series created by Black British female director Tonye Mak, designed to inspire meaningful discussions and remind what makes ‘Black love’ radical, transformative and aspirational; “Iconic Albums (2000s),” a three-part series which is an exploration into the making, cultural impact and legacy of some of the 21st Century’s greatest Black British albums; and “Me and My Mum,” a documentary series which reveals what it took for some of the U.K.’s leading Black actors, musicians, athletes and celebrities to succeed against the odds.

RENAMING

Film Victoria, the regional funding body in Australia’s Victoria state, has renamed itself VicScreen, reflecting its expanding role across multiple screen-based creative industries. The organization is also launching two funds: a A$40 million ($29.1 million) Victorian Production Fund that will increase support for Victorian-led film, television, digital games and online content created in the state; and a new $2.06 million ($1.50 million) Specialist Placement Program that is intended to address critical skills gaps across the screen industry. Using a multiplier effect, the Victorian Production Fund is expected to trigger A$130 million ($95 million) into the Victoria economy every year, and to create the equivalent of 3,700 full time jobs over four years. Victoria is home to the majority of Australia’s game development companies. – Patrick Frater

STREAMING

Vodafone has added WarnerMedia streaming platform HBO Max to Vodafone TV in Portugal, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, and it will be accessible through a number of the available packages in the four countries. Access will also be provided also through Vodafone set-top boxes. HBO Max expanded across several countries in Europe on Tuesday and
follows its arrival in October last year on the Vodafone TV platform in Spain.