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FESTIVALS

Leslie Shampaine and Pip Gilmour‘s feature documentary “Call Me Dancer” will have its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, in competition for best documentary, on Feb. 9, followed by its New York premiere as the opening night film at the Dance on Camera Film Festival at Film at Lincoln Center on Feb. 10.

The film follows Manish Chauhan, a young and talented street dancer from Mumbai who struggles against his parents’ insistence that he follow a traditional path.When he accidentally walks into an inner-city dance school and encounters curmudgeonly 70-year-old Israeli ballet master Yehuda Maor, a hunger develops within him and he is determined to make it as a professional dancer, but the odds are stacked
against him.

Filmed in India, Israel, the U.K. and the U.S., the dance documentary features original songs by Jay Sean, music by Bangladeshi-American hip-hop artist Anik Khan and a score by British-Indian composer Nainita Desai.

First Hand Films has boarded the project for international sales while East Village Entertainment is handling North America sales.

The film is produced by Shampaine Pictures in coproduction with ZDF and in association with Arte. Executive producers include Sean, John Patrick King, Jitin Hingorani, Ori Z. Soltes and Esther van Messel and the film is produced by Priya Ramasubban, Cynthia Kane and Shampaine.

A fictionalized version of the Chauhan, fellow dancer Amiruddin Shah and Maor story was the subject of Sooni Taraporevala’s 2020 Netflix original film “Yeh Ballet,” with Julian Sands playing the character based on Maor.

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Meanwhile, Jio Studios’ and Wide Angle Creations’ Tamil-language film “Appatha,” directed by Priyadarshan and starring Urvashi, in her 700th film, has been selected as the opening film at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Film Festival organised by the Government of India, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting through the National Film Development Corporation in association with the SCO Council of Heads of States. The festival runs Jan. 27-31.

GREENLIGHT

A second season for Disney+ original comedy series “Extraordinary” has been greenlit, Johanna Devereaux, VP scripted content and the show’s executive producer for the streamer, revealed ahead of its London premiere on Tuesday. Filming will commence later this month.

Created by Emma Moran and directed by Toby McDonald (“Ragdoll”), Jennifer Sheridan (“Rules of the Game”) and Nadira Amrani (“On the Edge”), the series follows a young, self-aware woman who lives in a world where everyone has a superpower except her.

Moran and series cast Máiréad Tyers, Sofia Oxenham, Bilal Hasna, Luke Rollason, Siobhán McSweeney and Patricia Allison attended the premiere. Additional series cast members include Ardal O’Hanlon, Robbie Gee and Ned Porteous. 

“Extraordinary” is executive produced by Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris and Charles Dawson for Sid Gentle Films, the production company behind “Killing Eve.” The series is produced by Charlie Palmer.

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Music competition show “Starstruck” is set to be adapted for Danish TV. Network DR1 will broadcast the show, which is set to be produced by Banijay Nordic label Mastiff TV Denmark.

The show, which sees ordinary people transformed into super stars, was created by Banijay U.K.’s Remarkable Entertainment, which sold it to British broadcaster ITV and ITVX.

The series has already been sold to Chile and Bulgaria.

AWARDS

6ft From the Spotlight, a film and TV industry charity focused on improving mental health and well-being, walked away with the inaugural Earl of Wessex Award at the Production Guild of Great Britain‘s (PGGB) talent showcase in London, U.K. on Tuesday evening,

His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex (also known as King Charles III’s younger brother Prince Edward) presented the award in person during the ceremony at The Savoy hotel. 6ft From the Spotlight was founded by crew and mental health specialists in 2017 in order to tackle mental health issues and difficult working conditions, especially during the pandemic. They also popularized the role of an on-set wellbeing facilitator in the industry as well as providing training for the role, which has been used in productions including “Gangs of London” Season 2.

At the event, Entertainment Partners and Netflix each pledged £250,000 ($308,000) to form a PGGB talent development Fund. The fund will invest in specialist training for below-the-line professionals working in roles represented by PGGB members, including production accountants, production managers, line producers and assistant directors.