KEVIN MACDONALD STRIKES FACTUAL DEAL WITH WORKERBEE
Oscar-winning director and producer Kevin Macdonald has struck a multi-project creative partnership with the Workerbee Group. Macdonald, whose credits include “One Day in September,” “Touching the Void” and “Marley,” is executive producing a major feature documentary for a streaming platform as the first element of his two-year Workerbee deal. Details are yet to be announced of the film or the other premium factual projects which are expected to include those he directs and executive produces.
Manchester-based Workerbee recent credits including “Janet” for Lifetime and A&E, “Bruno Vs Tyson” (Sky), “The Bridge” for Channel 4 and HBO Max, “Peter Crouch: Save Our Beautiful Game” for Discovery and “Idris Elba’s Fight School” for BBC Two.
The company has recently been revamped into a clear films and formats divisional structure. The Macdonald deal is the first creative partnership to be announced by the newly formed Workerbee Group, which has been established under CEO Rick Murray to back up and coming businesses and forge new creative partnerships with a focus on the North of England and Wales.
BARUNSON LAUNCHING KIM JEE-WOON’S ‘COBWEB’
Barunson E&A, the production company behind “Parasite,” is giving a Berlin EFM launch to “Cobweb,” a black comedy film starring Song Kang-ho (“Parasite” “Memories of Murder”) and directed by Kim Jee-woon (“A Bittersweet Life,” Apple TV+’s “Dr. Brain”).
“Cobweb” is set in the 1970s when censors dominated the Korean film industry and sees a desperate director on a mission to reshoot the ending of his latest movie in just two days. Chaos lurks around every corner, from the helmer’s confused and uncooperative cast and crew to the interfering censorship authorities.
The cast also includes Im Soo-jung (Kim’s “A Tale of Two Sisters”), Oh Jung-se (“When the Camellia Blooms”), Jeon Yeo-been (Netflix series “Vincenzo”and pop idol Jung Soo-jung. Produced by Anthology Studios, Barunson Studio and Luz y Sonidos, “Cobweb” has been in post-production since June 2022 and is set to release in 2023. French-speaking territories sales will be separately handled by Finecut.
CHINA’S RENREN SUED FOR PIRACY
Hollywood media conglomerates Universal Studios, Paramount, Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, 21st Century Fox, and Disney, along with streaming giants Amazon and Netflix have begun legal action in China against streaming app Renren Video (aka Doudou TV), according to Chinese media citing a business information database. The action alleging copyright infringement was filed in a Shanghai court against Renren’s parent company Shanghai Zhongduomei Network Technology Co.
China has several large and legitimate streaming platforms. But the global players are largely excluded from operating in the Middle Kingdom and hundreds of millions of viewers turn to sites such as Renren to illicitly watch foreign content.
SCHWEBIG TO HEAD ASIAN ACADEMY CREATIVE ACADEMY
Clement Schwebig, Warner Bros. Discovery president – India, SEA and Korea has been appointed as the chair of the 2023 Asian Academy Creative Awards. He takes over the honorary role from founder of Virtualness and former Meta executive, Saurabh Doshi who held the position for two years.
The Singapore ceremonies are staged each December and include awards across scripted, non-scripted, news, documentaries, factual, promos, kids and branded. In addition to the Awards ceremony, through its Academy Campus the awards aim to develop and encourage the next generation of industry professionals. Warner Bros. Discovery is a patron of the Asian Academy.
RED SEA COMEBACK
The Red Sea International Film Festival has confirmed the third edition will take place from Nov. 30 – Dec. 9, 2023, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The second edition expanded its the industry and events program and presented 143 films from 66 countries to 39,410 filmgoers and 4,345 film professionals, media and students. The 2022 festival showcased seven new Saudi feature films and 16 short films.
International guests included: Sharon Stone, Spike Lee, Antonio Banderas, Akshay Kumar, Nadine Labaki, Andy Garcia, Luca Guadagnino, Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Gaspar Noé.
Warner Music India is acquiring a majority stake in Divo, a digital media and music company in India with a presence across all four South Indian language music markets. With a significant presence in the Tamil market, and a fair share of the Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu music industries, Divo released more than 30,000 songs last year.
Film music albums released by Divo include two films starring superstar Rajinikanth – “2.0” (2018) with music by Oscar winner A.R. Rahman and “Darbar” (2020) featuring a score by Anirudh Ravichander.