“Floodlights,” a feature-length single drama for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer tells the story of Andy Woodward, the former professional soccer player whose revelations about the sexual abuse he suffered as a youth player sent shockwaves throughout the industry. In 2016, Woodward went public about sexual abuse by his youth coach, Barry Bennell. After doing so, hundreds more men, many also victims of Bennell, found the courage to speak up about their experiences of abuse, lifting the lid on a national scandal in the U.K.’s most popular sport.
Gerard Kearns (“The Last Kingdom”) portrays Woodward and the cast also includes Jonas Armstrong (“Hollington Drive”), Morven Christie (“Lockwood & Co”) and Steve Edge (“Benidorm”).
“Floodlights,” made with the full cooperation of Woodward, is written by BAFTA-winning screenwriter, Matt Greenhalgh (“Control,” “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”) and directed by BAFTA-nominated Nick Rowland (“Calm With Horses”). It is produced by Expectation, part of BBC Studios’ portfolio of indies in which they hold a minority share, in association with Only the Best. .
Woodward said: “Since speaking out in 2016 I wanted to continue to encourage people to talk without fear, to make a change. ‘Floodlights’ tells my story, which no child should ever have to go through. I hope this film helps to stop abuse in football and in all areas of life.”
“Floodlights,” due this spring, was commissioned by Piers Wenger, director of BBC Drama and Charlotte Moore, BBC chief content officer. Executive producers are Colin Barr for Expectation, Lucy Richer and Clare Sillery for the BBC and Sue Horth and Grant Best.
Reykjavik’s intimate and ambitious Stockfish Film Festival offered a chance to see and hear what some of Iceland’s best-known auteurs and new talents are up to. The small island nation produces more films per capita than anywhere in the world. After nabbing the Europa Cinemas Label at the Berlinale for “Beautiful Beings” helmed by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson, producer Anton Máni Svansson is in post on “Godland,” the latest from director Hlynur Pálmason (“A White White Day”), which is tipped for a prestigious film festival this year. He is also producing a “A Deal With Chaos,” a documentary about Oscar-winning, Iceland-born composer Johann Johannsson, that features unprecedented access to the late musician’s archives. The directors are Orri Jonsson and Davíð Hörgdal Stefánsson.
Busy “Rams” producer Grimar Jonsson just wrapped a three-country shoot on “Northern Comfort,” from helmer Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson (“Under The Tree”) that should be at festivals late this year or early next. He is also in pre-production on “The Fires: Love And Other Disasters” with feature debutant Ugla Hauksdóttir. Veteran helmer Friðrik Thor Friðriksson (“Children Of Nature”) is producing “Loss,” directed by Ari Alexander Ergis Magnusson. (“Mikael”). He also has plans to direct a new documentary. And, director Ísold Uggadóttir, a prize-winner at Sundance for “And Breathe Normally,” is at work on “The Tower,” a multi-part documentary for broadcast. It investigates decades of abuse at a Catholic school in Reykjavik. — Alissa Simon
Josh Berger, former president and managing director of Warner Bros. U.K., Ireland and Spain, who also served previously served as BFI chair, has been appointed as chair of the board of trustees of performing and creative arts institution the Brit School. Established in 1991 with the support of The Brit Trust, the school has trained over 10,000 young people in music, theatre, dance, media production, and visual arts. The school’s alumni include Adele, Loyle Carner, Tom Holland, Amy Winehouse, Cush Jumbo, and many other notable artists, and creative professionals working at leading companies including Apple, BBC, Facebook, Sky, and TikTok.
Berger is the producer of Guy Ritchie’s upcoming film “The Interpreter,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal; executive producer of “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”; and a producer of the Tony-winning musical “Ain’t Too Proud.”
International artist manager Dumi Oburota is joining global music distribution company The Orchard as a global A&R consultant with a brief of signing and developing global hip-hop and R&B artists.
Oburota’s record label Disturbing London, whose roster includes Tinie Tempah, Yxng Bane and WIZ 36IX as well as producers such as Elevated, and Eight9FLY, will partner with The Orchard, giving its artists access to The Orchard’s artist and label services, which include data analysis, audience growth expertise, marketing, rights management and brand partnerships.
“Dumi brings to The Orchard a wealth of music industry knowledge and a passion for developing talent which makes him the perfect addition to The Orchard family,” said The Orchard’s managing director Ian Dutt.
MBC’s new reality format “Bloody Game” is set to bow internationally at the upcoming MipTV market (Apr. 4-6). Styled as a psychological mind game competition where 10 players are isolated in a luxurious mansion to play a survival game as they eliminate one player each per episode. It creates a microcosm of society showing the contrast between the haves and have-nots, and allows all kinds of conspiracy, betrayal, lies, and slanders to the 10 competitors whilst they strive to become the sole survivor and win the prize money. When shown in Korea, “Bloody Game” attracted new subscribers to Korean streamer Wavve, the key investor and a partner of MBC for the show. Internationally, the format is already optioned to France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and The Netherlands. The format sales team as well as the producer/director Jung-Hwang Hyun will participate in the market onsite and Jean Hur, director of format Sales and co-development at MBC says that they are confident that “Bloody Game” has the potential to inherit the international fame of their hit format, “The Masked Singer.”