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'Breathe' to open London Film Festival

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Andy Serkis’s directorial debut is STXinternational’s first UK release.

The 61st BFI London Film Festival (Lff) will open with Andy Serkis’s feature directorial debut Breathe on October 4.

Starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, the film tells the story of an adventurous young man who is struck by Polio in his late 20s. Paralysed and only able to breathe with the help of a machine, he defies his doctors, who give him months to live, by travelling the world.

Supporting cast include Hugh Bonneville, Tom Hollander, Stephen Mangan and Diana Rigg. Jonathan Cavendish produced for The Imaginarium Studios, with financing from Silver Reel, BBC Films and the BFI. Embankment handle sales.

The film is receiving its European premiere at Lff.

Clare Stewart, director of the festival, commented: “We are proud to be opening the 61st BFI London Film Festival with a film that is a beacon for remarkable British talent: the directorial debut of [link »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Organic PR agency opens Manchester office

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Account manager Chris Boyd will lead Organic’s northern business.

London-based film and TV publicity and marketing agency Organic has opened a new office in Manchester.

“Organic North”, based in the Havas Village on Princess Street, will work with the London office to service Organic’s existing clients to provide on-the-ground services in Manchester and the surrounding area.

The agency will also work with new clients based outside of London, covering UK and regional publicity campaigns, junkets, festivals, media management, unit publicity and social media management.

Account manager Chris Boyd will lead Organic’s northern business and travel between Manchester and London.

Organic North will sit alongside sister agency Target Live - a full service agency for the Arts and live events - which also opened an office in Manchester earlier this year.

Caragh Cook, managing director of Organic, said: “Having a home in Manchester means we can provide a communications hub for the North, situated in the »


- orlando.parfitt@screendaily.com (Orlando Parfitt)

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Jodie Comer joins BBC America’s 'Killing Eve'

9 hours ago

Comer joins previously announced Sandra Oh in female-led drama set to debut in 2018.

BBC America announced on Wednesday that Jodie Comer has been cast in a lead role opposite Sandra Oh in Killing Eve

The eight-episode drama is based on novellas by Luke Jennings and centres on Eve (Oh), a security services operative and Villanelle (Comer), an elegant and talented killer. The spy action thriller follows the two women as they go head-to-head in a game of cat-and-mouse. 

The series produced by Sid Gentle Films comes from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of BBC UK and Amazon’s Fleabag, who will serve as showrunner and executive producer.

Sally Woodward Gentle and Lee Morris will also serve as executive producers on the original series.

Comer’s credits include The White Princess, the recent adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, drama series Doctor Foster, and BBC America miniseries Thirteen, for which she was nominated for a best leading actress BAFTA award. Comer »


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Apple Music acquires 'Bang! The Bert Berns Story'

10 hours ago

Platform makes another notable buy after Tribeca opener Clive Davis in April.

Abramorama and filmmakers Brett and Cassandra Berns announced on Wednesday that Apple Music has acquired Bang! The Bert Berns Story.

The film centres on the life and career of 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bert Berns – songwriter, producer and label chief of the 1960’s whose hits included Twist And Shout, Hang On Sloopy, Brown Eyed Girl, Here Comes The Night, and Piece Of My Heart.

Stevie Van Zandt narrates the film that features interviews with Van Morrison, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Ben E King, and Solomon Burke, among others.   

Apple Music plans an autumn global release, followed by a release on iTunes Movies to rent or download. Abramorama originally released the film theatrically in North America in April.  

Sid Ganis served as executive producer on the film directed by Bert Berns’ son Brett Berns and co-directed by Bob Sarles, who also edited »


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BFI launches £20m plan to tackle UK skills shortage

13 hours ago

Industry heavyweights back 10-point initiative to boost UK crews.

This evening (June 28), the British Film Institute (BFI) launched the Film Skills Strategy plan, an ambitious new programme with a 10-point plan to tackle skill shortages in the industry.

The scheme will cost £20m of lottery funding over five years.

The programme also aims to address the still chronic lack of representation and inclusion in the workforce at a time when UK film is worth an estimated £4.3bn to the British economy and inward investment is continuing to rise.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, BFI chair Josh Berger and BFI CEO Amanda Nevill were at the House of Commons for the launch of Future Film Skills - An Action Plan. 

A new BFI-commissioned report revealed significant opportunities for the film workforce with an estimated 30,000 job opportunities likely to be available over the next five years.

Despite all this activity, however, problems »


- geoffrey@macnab.demon.co.uk (Geoffrey Macnab)

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BFI launches £20m plan to tackle UK skills shortage, workforce diversity

13 hours ago

Industry heavyweights back 10-point initiative to boost UK crews.

This evening (June 28), the British Film Institute (BFI) launched the Film Skills Strategy plan, an ambitious new programme with a 10-point plan to tackle skill shortages in the industry.

The scheme will cost £20m of lottery funding over five years.

The programme also aims to address the still chronic lack of representation and inclusion in the workforce at a time when UK film is worth an estimated £4.3bn to the British economy and inward investment is continuing to rise.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, BFI chair Josh Berger and BFI CEO Amanda Nevill were at the House of Commons for the launch of Future Film Skills - An Action Plan. 

A new BFI-commissioned report revealed significant opportunities for the film workforce with an estimated 30,000 job opportunities likely to be available over the next five years.

Despite all this activity, however, problems »


- geoffrey@macnab.demon.co.uk (Geoffrey Macnab)

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Smith Global Media acquires 'Gnome Alone', 'Charming'

14 hours ago

Wide theatrical releases planned for 3Qu Media family films.

Smith Global Media, the theatrical distribution company run by Will Smith’s brother Harry Smith, has added the animated family features Gnome Alone and Charming to its slate.

3Qu Media financed and produced both films in association with Sc Films International and Smith Global Media plans wide theatrical releases for both.

Shrek producer John H. Williams produced both films and 3Qu Media’s Henry Skelsey, Jon Christianson and Jeremy Ross served as executive producers. Production took place at Cinesite’s Montreal studio.

Charming is scheduled for a wide theatrical release in the second quarter of 2018 and features a voice cast of Demi Lovato, Wilmer Valderrama, Ashley Tisdale, recording artists Sia and Avril Lavigne, Nia Vardalos, John Cleese, and singer-songwriter G.E.M.

Ross Venokur wrote and directed the story of Prince Felipe Charming, who was cursed at birth to break hearts and sets out with a strong-willed thief to find »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Saban Films executive duo on the rise

17 hours ago

President Bill Bromiley announces two key promotions.

Jonathan Saba and Ness Saban have been promoted at Saban Films.

Saba (pictured at centre) is named senior vice-president of distribution, sales and marketing, while Saban (pictured at right) becomes vice-president of business development.

Saba previously served as vice-president of sales, marketing and distribution since the company’s launch in May 2014.

He has supervised release strategy and marketing campaigns for the entire slate, including Rob Zombie’s 31. Prior to Saban Films, Saba held executive positions in acquisitions, distribution and marketing at Anchor Bay Films, Image Entertainment, Criterion Collection, and Rilean Pictures.

Saban began his career at Los Angeles-based Saban Films, where he has served as director of business development, spearheading the acquisition of close to 50 films in less than three years including Tommy Lee JonesThe Homesman, and the upcoming 24 Hours To Live with Ethan Hawke and Small Town Crime with John Hawkes.

“Both Jonathan »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Olivia Cooke to star in 'Vanity Fair' adaptation for ITV, Amazon

18 hours ago

Mammoth Screen to produce seven-part series.

ITV has tied with Amazon for the first time – commissioning a seven-part adaptation of William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.

Mammoth Screen, the company behind ITV’s Victoria, and Amazon Studios will co-produce the 7x60-minute drama which is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars and will star Olivia Cooke will star as the social climbing heroine Becky Sharp.

Thackeray’s novel, which was published as a serialisation from 1848, is to be adapted by Gwyneth Hughes.

Mammoth Screen managing director Damien Timmer will executive produce the series alongside Hughes, James Strong and Tom Mullens.

Vanity Fair was ordered by head of drama Polly Hill, who told Screen’s sister publication Broadcast earlier this month that she was open to signing more international co-production deals.

“We want to be in the market for those bigger, global facing dramas because the audience has become an international one,” she said. “What »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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'The Beguiled', 'Good Time' set for Jerusalem international competition

20 hours ago

Festival selects 12 titles for second edition of competitive strand.

Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time, and François Ozon’s Amant Double (The Double Lover) all of which played in competition at Cannes, have been selected for this year’s international competition at the Jerusalem Film Festival (July 13-17).

Returning for a second time after launching in 2016, the festival’s international competition has picked a total of 12 titles and will again award a prize of $20,000 to the winning film.

Joining the aforementioned are: Hong Sang-soo’s On The Beach At Night Alone, Cãlin Peter Netzer’s Ana, Mon Amour, Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß’s My Happy Family, Ferenc Török’s 1945, Valeska Grisebach’s Western, Fellipe Barbosa’s Gabriel And The Mountain, Mohammad Rasoulof’s A Man Of Integrity, Stéphane Brizé’s A Woman’s Life, and Lav Diaz’s The Woman Who Left.

As previously announced, the festival »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Luc Besson's EuropaCorp posts record loss

20 hours ago

Poor box office performance of English-language slate, including Miss Sloane and The Circle, to blame.

Luc Besson’s mini-major EuropaCorp has posted a company record losses of $136m (€119.9m) for the 2016-17 financial year.

In a statement released in Paris on Wednesday morning (July 28), the company said consolidated revenue rose 3% to $171m (€151.7m) but net operating cash flows had fallen dramatically to $2.7m (€2.4m) for 2016-17, down from $92m (€81m) in the previous financial year.

The slight increase in consolidated revenue had been driven by foreign sales and an increase in Svod and TV sales to the Us, EuropaCorp said.

EuropaCorp had already officially announced in February that the company would post losses in 2016-17 that were “substantially higher” than losses in previous financial years. The company did not give further details but local media and entertainment analysts suggested a figure of around €35m ($39m).

The company said the losses were due mainly to the poor box »


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Abi Morgan's female lawyer series 'The Split' casts up

21 hours ago

BBC One, Sundance TV series heading into production.

Abi Morgan’s BBC One and Sundance TV drama The Split has cast up ahead of production, which kicks off in London next week.

Nicola Walker [pictured centre] (Four Weddings And A Funeral) will lead the six-part drama, alongside Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me), Stephen Mangan [pictured right] (Episodes), Fiona Button (Lip Service), Deborah Findlay (Leaving), Annabel Scholey (Being Human), Barry Atsma (Hector And The Search For Happiness) and Stephen Tompkinson (Dci Banks).   

Written by Morgan [pictured left], whose credits include Shame, The Iron Lady and The Hour, the series counts Jane Featherstone as an executive producer under her new banner Sister Pictures.

Broadchurch director Jessica Hobbs is directing, with Black Mirror’s Lucy Dyke producing.

The series is an exploration of modern marriage and the legacy of divorce told through the lens of the Defoes, a family of female lawyers working in London’s divorce circuit.

It was commissioned by Piers Wenger, controller of BBC »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Christoffer Boe shooting Danish crime series 'Warrior' with Dar Salim

21 hours ago

Other projects backed by June round of Nordisk Film & TV Fond include Liberty created by Asger Leth.

Danish director Christoffer Boe is lining up a hot cast for his new Danish crime TV series Warrior.

Dar Salim (A War, Game of Thrones, pictured) will play a former soldier and Danica Curcic plays the policewoman he loves, with the ensemble also including Lars Ranthe, Nicolas Bro, Søren Malling, Jacob Oftebro and Natalie Madueño.

Peter Bose and Jonas Allen of Miso Film produce the 6x48’ series, which Boe co-wrote with Simon Paternak. The project just received $356,000 (Nok 3m) in funding in the latest round from the Nordisk Film & TV Fond.

It is produced for Denmark’s TV2 with further funding from the Danish Film Institute. Shooting now, it will be delivered in autumn 2018 with FremantleMedia International handles sales.

It is described as “a modern-day character-driven crime drama about strong human bonds, loyalty and treachery among army veterans, gang members »


- wendy.mitchell@screendaily.com (Wendy Mitchell)

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Film London awarded £1.3m for artists scheme

22 hours ago

Flamin initiative, including Jarman award, will continue for the next four years.

Film London has been awarded £1.3m in funding for its work with artist filmmakers as part of Arts Council England’s 2018-22 National Portfolio.

The funding ensures that Flamin (Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network) will continue for the next four years.

Flamin programmes include Flamin Productions, Film London’s commissioning scheme for mid-career artists, and the Film London Jarman Award, which recognises UK-based artists working with the moving image.

The funding will also allow Flamin to develop new award schemes, training, touring programmes and partnerships.

Flamin Productions has backed films by Ben Rivers (Two Years at Sea), Elizabeth Price (West Hinder), Sebastian Buerkner (The Chimera of M.), Sarah Turner (Public House) and Mark Leckey (Dream English Kid 1964-1999Ad).

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that our Arts Council England funding has been »


- orlando.parfitt@screendaily.com (Orlando Parfitt)

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Nfts selects participants for diversity-focused directors workshop

22 hours ago

Six selected for second edition of free scheme.

The National Film and Television School (Nfts) has unveiled the participants for the second edition of its diversity-focused directing workshop.

The scheme, which is free for participants, is aiming to increase the number of women, people from Bame backgrounds and those with disabilities working professionally in screen directing.

Selected for the second edition are: Bim Ajadi, Morgan Bailey, Ella Bennett, Laura Degnan, Sophie King, Savanah Leaf.

Led by theatre director Alby James, the pilot edition of the scheme kicked off in March with a two-day introductory session, followed by two months of script development for short films projects and an intensive two-week directing skill workshop.

The initial participants will shoot their short films in the summer and the completed works will be showcased later this year. They also automatically receive an interview for the Nfts’ Directing Fiction Ma.

The news was unveiled at the annual Nfts fundraising gala in »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Eurimages to support 27 films including Asghar Farhadi project

28 June 2017 1:07 AM, PDT

Council of Europe’s cinema fund to award €7,104,430.

Eurimages, the council of Europe’s fund for co-production, distribution and exhibition of European cinema, has announced it will support 27 films (including a documentary and an animation) for a combined €7,104,430.

The projects selected by the Eurimages board at its 147th meeting held June 19-23 are:

The Beast in the Jungle (Netherlands, Luxembourg) - Clara Van Gool (Netherland)A Woman At War (France, Iceland) -  Benedikt ErlingssonAsghar Farhadi’s Spanish Project(France, Spain, Italy) - Asghar Farhadi (Iran - France)The Man Who Surprised Everyone (Russia, Estonia, France) - Natalya Merkulova, Alexey ChupovThe Guest (Italy, Switzerland) - Duccio ChiariniIs This What You Were Born For? (Romania, Czech Republic, France, Bulgaria) - Radu JudeJade (Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland) - Sacha PolakMotherland (Lithuania, Latvia) - Tomas VengrisThe Magic Quill (Czech Republic, Slovakia) - Marek NajbrtAlice T. (Romania, Sweden) - Radu MunteanHistory of Love (Slovenia, Italy, Norway) - Sonja ProsencDogman (Italy, France) - Matteo »


- orlando.parfitt@screendaily.com (Orlando Parfitt)

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Bosco Entertainment, Tita line up xenophobia satire

27 June 2017 10:47 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Screenplay written by The Unbearable Lightness Of Being actor Laszlo Szabo.

La-based producer and Bosco Entertainment founder Julio Bove has attached former European Film Award nominee Jacques Malaterre to direct La Saison des Oursins, a satirical comedy about xenophobia.

Marseille-based Tita Productions is on board to produced alongside Bosco and the partners anticipate a spring or autumn 2018 shoot in the south of France ahead of delivery in 2019.

The project is based on a screenplay by Hungarian multi-hyphenate Laszlo Szabo, whose on-screen appearances include The Unbearable Lightness Of Being and Full Moon In Paris.

La Saison des Oursins is told through the eyes of a Jewish man in Marseille who receives a heart transplant and embarks on a quest to find the donor.

The older man eventually learns his new heart belonged to a promising French Arab teenage footballer who was the victim of a hit-and-run.

The man befriends the youngster’s mother and together they attempt »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Gravitas Ventures acquires 'Nightworld'

27 June 2017 8:52 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Horror veteran Robert Englund stars in tale of cursed apartment block.

Gravitas Ventures has acquired Us rights from Vmi Wordwide to paranormal thriller Nightworld starring Robert Englund.

Chilean genre auteur Patricio Valladares, whose credits include Hidden In The Woods and Downhill, directed the film, which shot on location in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Open Frames produced Nightworld, which also stars Jason London and centres on a former Lapd officer who takes a job as head of security at an old apartment building.

When he begins to experience bizarre and terrifying events, the watchman investigates the building’s shadowy owners and past employees, uncovering a malevolent force waiting to erupt.

Englund will be familiar to genre fans as the face of Freddy Krueger, the nemesis from the Nightmare On Elm Street series.

Valladares is in the throes of launching the Suspense! Co-Producer Network set to take place in Concepcion in July.

Vmi Worldwide handles international sales on Nightworld. »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Independent stalwarts among record 774 Academy influx

27 June 2017 8:35 PM, PDT

Invitees will boost overall membership to around 8,500.

A record 774 people from 57 countries have been invited to join the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, an influx that will swell membership to around 8,500.

Among the new faces are veterans of the independent film world that include Im Global founder and CEO Stuart Ford, Lionsgate UK and Europe CEO Zygi Kamasa, FilmNation founder and CEO Glen Basner, Good Universe partner and head of international Helen Lee Kim, and Cornerstone Pictures co-founder Alison Thompson.

The list beat last year’s intake of 683 and according to the Academy comprises 39% females and 30% people of colour, two areas where the Academy has been vocal in its efforts to boost representation in light of the ongoing diversity drive across the industry.

The intake includes Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, acquisitions executives Dori Begley from Magnolia Pictures, Eda Kowan from Lionsgate, Hussain Amarshi from Mongrel Media and Peter Goldwyn from Samuel Goldwyn Films, and publicity »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Chilean veterans back genre co-production event

27 June 2017 7:15 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Suspense! Co-Producer Network to launch in July.

Patricio Valladares, the Chilean director of Hidden In The Woods and Downhill, and producer Francisco Inostroza are among a coterie of professionals behind next month’s inaugural Suspense! Co-Producer Network.

The event for aspiring genre filmmakers will take place from July 26-28 in Concepcion, Chile, when filmmakers can pitch industry professionals and participate in one-on-one meetings.

The schedule includes round-table networking for producers without a project, panels addressing new trends in genre cinema, and social events.

Three projects will receive co-production deals at a follow-up event in September when judges will consider 10 finallists selected from July.

Valladares (pictured) is on board as industry director and his launch collaborators include Inostroza, Working Place CEO Ricardo Campos, and Luis Aguirre España, CEO of national agency Concepcion Crea y Produce (Ccp).

Partners include Corfo, Working Place, Ccp, government body Comité de Desarrollo Productivo Regional, and Carriel Sur Pictures.

This year’s »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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