“The Mandela Project,” a five-part documentary series about the legacy of Nelson Mandela, will debut on BET‘s YouTube channel on July 18, the day celebrated globally as Mandela Day. BAFTA winner, chef and musician Big Zuu; international soccer star star Patrice Evra and F2 soccer freestyler and “Britain’s Got Talent” performer Jeremy Lynch; “Blackish” star Marsai Martin; Miss South Africa and Miss Universe (2019), Zozibini Tunzi; and the new “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” Jabari Banks, will each explore a different project focused on a subject close to their heart. They will meet the people central to making a meaningful difference to their communities across the U.K., U.S. and South Africa, with the whole story linked to the man who has inspired them – Nelson Mandela. The series will also feature unheard anecdotes and personal stories from Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba.
The series is produced in Africa by Paramount’s international studio, VIS, through the YouTube Originals Black Voices Fund in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Shurwin Beckford serves as showrunner. Nadine Zylstra is global head and Laurel Stier is global head of unscripted content, YouTube Originals, while Margaret Burris is the creative Lead on the series.
Check out an exclusive first look from the series below:
U.K. natural history producer Wildstar Films has appointed Doug Mackay-Hope as senior VP, development and production. Mackay-Hope was previously head of development for the BBC Natural History Unit, where he oversaw series “Big Blue Live” and “Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur.” The new hire follows the recent appointments of Juli Porter, who joined Wildstar from her previous position as COO of Whisper, as COO; and staff executive producer Anwar Mamon, who joined Wildstar from the BBC Natural History Unit.
Meanwhile, Abacus Media Rights, which recently acquired Flame Media, will retain the services of that company’s content sales and acquisitions director at Flame Media, Fiona Gilroy, who will manage producer relations and acquisitions throughout Australia and New Zealand and look at funding models. Gilroy previously built and managed international content sales businesses for Film Australia and SBS.
Elsewhere, James Mathews has been promoted from head of business affairs, legal and operations to the newly created position of COO at Beyond Rights while finance director Mike Ibberson will become CFO. Pat Bruen joins as finance director, reporting into Mike Ibberson. In the acquisitions team, Sarah McCormack is promoted from senior VP to executive VP, while Claire Runham has been elevated to senior VP and co-ordinator Hannah Rideout becomes acquisitions executive. Aleix Catala and Elisabeth Bland in the operations team are promoted to director of operations and operations executive respectively.
Dwayne Eaton joins Sky as a commissioning executive, reporting to Phil Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts and Entertainment. Eaton joins from the BBC where he worked on “The Graham Norton Show,” “Drag Race U.K.” and “Mastermind” and went on to commission BBC Three’s streetwear competition “The Drop” and Black music entertainment show “Tonight with Target,” hosted by DJ Target.
Newen Connect, the distribution arm of the Newen Group, has appointed former Mercury and BBC Studios executive Phil Sequeira as senior VP, distribution, reporting into executive VP, distribution, Leona Connell. Sequeira will head sales operations across the U.K. and North America, help drive sales of new titles as well as Newen Connect’s current cross-genre catalogue of over six thousand hours and explore and manage co-production opportunities for the distributor with broadcasters and platforms.
Passion Distribution has licensed 3×60′ series “Miriam and Alan: Lost in Scotland” to ABC (Australia), Gusto / Living Discovery (New Zealand), APT (U.S.), URTV (Sweden) and ERT – Tanweer as agent (Greece). In the documentary series, actors Miriam Margolyes and Alan Cumming get cosy in a mobile home, as they roll back the decades and return to their Scottish roots. It is produced by Blink Films for Channel 4. A second series has been greenlit which will follow the pair as they take in some of Scotland’s most spectacular and far-flung locations before they journey to the American West Coast.
Documentary “Mylene Class: Miscarriage & Me” has been acquired by SBS (Australia), Nelonen (Finland), NRK (Norway), Ananey (Israel) and BBC Persia. Produced by Hall of Mirrors for W (UKTV), the personal documentary sees Myleene Klass seek to break the taboo that surrounds miscarriage to help other women.
Another documentary, “Stacey Dooley: Inside the Convent” (1 x 60’) has been picked up by SBS (Australia), TV4 (Sweden), MTV3 (Finland) and NHK (Japan). Produced by Firecracker Films in association with Little Dooley for BBC One, it follows Stacey Dooley as she experiences what it’s like to live as a nun, spending 10 days living alongside the Order of the Holy Paraclete Anglican religious community.
Travel-history documentary series “Walking Hadrian’s Wall With Robson Green,” (3 x 60’), which follows actor and presenter Robson Green as he travels the length of one of the largest remnants of the Roman Empire, has been licensed by SBS (Australia), Top TV (New Zealand), APT (U.S.), UR (Sweden) and Ananey (Israel). The series is produced by Firecracker for Channel 5.
“The Sparrow,” written and directed by Michael Kinirons, has won the award for best Irish first feature at the Galway Film Fleadh on Sunday (July 10) while Kathryn Ferguson’s “Nothing Compares,” about musician Sinéad OʼConnor, won the best Irish documentary.
Other winners included Malachi Smyth’s “The Score,” which took home the award for best international film, “The Job of Song,” directed by Lila Schmitz won best international documentary and Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney won best Irish film for “Lakelands.”