A selection of classic episodes from Australian soap “Neighbours” will stream on Amazon Freevee from Feb. 23 ahead of the new season that is due to commence later this year.
These will include episodes featuring actors Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce, Natalie Imbruglia and Liam Hemsworth, all of whom cut their teeth on the show. The drop will include the all episodes from the 2012 season.
The library content will be available exclusively on Amazon Freevee in the U.S. and U.K. Amazon Prime Video subscribers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, and South Africa will also have access to the previous seasons and episodes.
“Neighbours” ran for more than three decades and nearly 9,000 episodes before being canceled in 2022 when the show’s primary funder, U.K.’s Channel 5, pulled out. Freevee then picked up the rights from “Neighbours” producer and distributor Fremantle.
The new season is a continuation of the long-running daily drama series about the lives, loves and challenges of the residents on Ramsay Street in Erinsborough, Australia, a fictional suburb of Melbourne. It will follow on from the show’s finale in 2022, which was watched by millions of fans. Stefan Dennis, Alan Fletcher, Ryan Moloney and Jackie Woodburne will return to reprise their leading roles. It will also stream on Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, and South Africa.
After the initial drop, a library season of “Neighbours” will launch on Freevee every month until the new season premiere. Starting Feb. 28, the streamer service will also launch a variety of “Neighbours” linear FAST channels.
The British Film Institute (BFI) has begun the rollout of its three-year funding strategy, awarding £15.2 million ($18.7 million) to 11 partners across the U.K. The funding aims to grow cinema audiences for U.K. independent and international film, support development of new filmmaking talent and ignite a passion for screen culture in young people.
Funds allocated are under the heads BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN), a collaboration of eight film hubs, managed by leading film organisations and venues around the U.K.; BFI Network, which brings together the U.K.’s film agencies to discover, develop and fund new and emerging writers, directors and producers; and BFI Film Academy Plus, the U.K.-wide in-venue education scheme.
Partners selected and funded to lead on activity across the U.K. are: In London, Film London to manage BFI FAN and BFI Network activity; in the Midlands, Broadway in Nottingham and Flatpack in Birmingham to manage BFI FAN, BFI Network activity and BFI Film Academy Plus; in the North, Showroom in Sheffield and HOME in Manchester to manage BFI FAN, BFI Network activity and Film Academy Plus; in Northern Ireland, Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast to manage BFI FAN and BFI Film Academy Plus, while Northern Ireland Screen will deliver talent development activity as part of BFI Network; in Scotland, Glasgow Film Theatre to manage BFI FAN and BFI Film Academy Plus and Screen Scotland will co-fund talent development activity as part of BFI Network as well as support BFI FAN; in the Southeast, the Independent Cinema Office to manage BFI FAN, BFI Network activity and BFI Film Academy Plus; in the Southwest, Watershed in Bristol to manage BFI FAN, BFI Network activity and BFI Film Academy Plus; and in Wales, Chapter in Cardiff to manage BFI FAN and BFI Film Academy Plus and Ffilm Cymru Wales will deliver talent development activity as part of BFI Network.
Nasfim Haque has been appointed as head of content for BBC Three, after Fiona Campbell moved to the new role of controller, youth audience for BBC iPlayer and BBC Three. Haque, who has been interim channel editor of BBC Three since February 2022, will now be overseeing the BBC Three team permanently on a day-to-day basis planning, developing and delivering a range of diverse content from suppliers across all genres and from across the U.K. Haque was a previously a commissioning editor in factual entertainment.
Banijay Benelux has tapped Dutch filmmaker Anne de Clercq to lead the creative team of its Amsterdam-based production label NL Film. In her new role, de Clercq will manage NL Film’s creative team and portfolio, developing new stories and acquiring IP, alongside pursuing her directing work. She will work closely with Jochum ten Haaf, who has been promoted to head of development, along with creative producers Henriette Drost and Claire Zhou.
De Clercq’s film credits include cinema hit “Soof 3” and “Snelle- Zonder Jas Naar Buiten,” a documentary about Dutch rapper and singer Snelle. NL Film’s recent hits include “Golden Hour,” “Modern Love” and the feature film “Costa.”
Fulwell 73 Productions has hired Rachel Arnold and Jon Green as creative directors to lead U.K. formats. The duo, who have worked on shows including “Love Island” and “Junior Doctors,” previously headed up RDF Media’s creative team and co-founded production company Definitely.
Arnold and Green will start this month, reporting to CEO. Their hiring comes just after LA and London-based Fulwell 73 expanded its ranks with a raft of new hires on both sides of the pond.
An as-yet-untitled cyber thriller film directed by India’s Vikramaditya Motwane (Cannes selection “Udaan”), starring Ananya Pandey (Amazon Prime Video’s “Gehraiyaan”) has commenced principal photography. The film is produced by Nikhil Dwivedi (“Veere Di Wedding”) via his outfit Saffron and Andolan films.
Motwane said: “This is a thriller with modern-day appeal and very relevant to our times. The film is a ‘screenlifer’ and will be completely told via the screens we consume – computers, phones and televisions.”
Australia’s Seven Network has commissioned Helium Pictures to produce the adventure series “Ultimate Escape,” based on a hit Finnish original format created by Rabbit Films (“Over The Atlantic”). The series sees teams of Australians race the clock and each other in a high stakes search and rescue operation in some of the toughest and most beautiful terrain on the planet.
South Asian content focused streamer ZEE5 Global has revealed the trailer of its latest original film “Lost,” directed by acclaimed Indian filmmaker Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury (“Pink”) and produced by Zee Studios, Namah Pictures, Sam Fernandes and Indrani Mukherjee.
Yami Gautam Dhar (“Dasvi”) plays a dynamic crime reporter on a relentless search for the truth behind the sudden disappearance of a young theatre activist played by Tushar Pandey (“Chhichhore”). Pankaj Kapur (“Maqbool”), Neil Bhoopalam (“Shaitaan”), Rahul Khanna (“Leila”) and Pia Bajpiee (“Abhiyude Katha Anuvinteyum”) also play pivotal roles.
Roy Chowdhury said: “True life events inspire me to tell different stories and ‘Lost’ was conceptualized the same way. The movie will make you question, introspect and tug at your heartstrings.”
“Lost” premieres Feb. 16.
Watch the trailer here: