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(2015)

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Indie Sales Closes Key Deals on Matteo Rovere’s ‘Romulus & Remus’ (Exclusive)

  • Variety
Indie Sales has announced a slew of major deals on Matteo Rovere’s ambitious Italian epic film “Romulus & Remus: The First King” in the run-up to Cannes, where the movie will have a market screening.

The film is based on the legend of Romulus and Remus, twin brothers and shepherds who lived in peace near the Tiber river and embarked on an incredible journey to found Rome. “Romulus & Remus: The First King” is headlined by Italian star Alessandro Borghi (“Suburra”) and shot in Proto-Italic language, the ancestor of Latin.

The Paris-based sales company has sold the film in North America (WellGo USA), Germany and Austria (Capelight), Spain (Mediaset), Switzerland (Pathé), South Korea (Kth), Poland (Wistech Media), Czech Republic and Slovakia (Cinemart).

“’The First King’ is an intense action epic in the hands of a cinematic auteur that takes the founding of Rome out of legend and grounds it in history,
See full article at Variety »

Lotus Production Blossoms Under Leone Film Group Partnership

  • Variety
In a key step in its ongoing expansion Leone Film Group in 2014 partnered with young producer Marco Belardi and bought his small but commercially flourishing Lotus Production shingle, which has since become a bigger affair.

Raffaella Leone says while Lfg was being floated on the Milan bourse she knew they “had to guarantee content” to investors beyond titles available in Hollywood and on the international market at large. She also knew it was tough to build a production company from scratch, since “production was not our specific know-how.”

So Raffaella and Andrea zeroed in on Lotus, which in 10 years of activity had forged exclusive relationships with up-and-coming Italian directors such as Paolo Genovese, now known for 2016 megahit “Perfect Strangers.” After a few meetings, Belardi and the Leones struck up “a good personal feeling,” she says. And from there sprung a “fortunate match.”

Belardi recalls he was a bit taken aback
See full article at Variety »

Netflix Orders Three New Italy Originals, Including ‘Three Steps Over Heaven’

  • Variety
Netflix has announced three new Italian originals, indicating that the streaming giant is ramping up operations in the country as it gets more traction with local subscribers.

The new Italian Netflix originals in the pipeline are: “Curon,” a genre show with supernatural elements, which is set in a Northern Italian village; a series adaptation of hit teen romance movie “Three Steps Over Heaven”; and an adaptation of a bestselling Italian novel titled “Fedeltà,” which translates as “Faithfulness,” and is about a Milanese couple in their 30s.

“Curon,” in which “a mother and her teen kids return to her mysterious hometown village in Northern Italy only to discover what lies below the surface of her past,” according to promotional materials, sees Ezio Abbate serving as head writer. Abbate was a writer on “Suburra,” which was Netflix’s first Italian original. “Curon” will be produced by Indiana Productions and marks the first
See full article at Variety »

Italy’s Cattleya Producing Female Detective Series ‘Petra’ for Sky

  • Variety
Italy’s Cattleya Producing Female Detective Series ‘Petra’ for Sky
Cattleya, the Italian company behind hit series “Gomorrah” and Amazon’s upcoming “ZeroZeroZero,” is making its first foray into the detective genre with “Petra,” featuring a hard-boiled female inspector played by actress Paola Cortellesi.

The four-part Italian-language series is being produced as an original for Sky Italia.

Production has kicked off in Genoa with Italy’s Maria Sole Tognazzi (“A Five Star Life”) directing the adaptation of prominent Spanish writer Alicia Giménez-Bartlett’s book “Death Rites,” a bestseller in Italy and Spain which has also been published in the U.S.

Cattleya and Sky’s TV adaptation of “Petra” transposes the setting to Italy. It sees titular character Petra Delicado, a twice-divorced sleuth chained to a tiresome desk job among sexist colleagues, suddenly thrust onto the front line to solve violent crimes with newly assigned partner Antonio Monte, an old-school cop close to retirement. Her sidekick is played by Andrea Pennacchi,
See full article at Variety »

Italian Production Buoyed by TV-Film Crossovers

  • Variety
Italian Production Buoyed by TV-Film Crossovers
2019 is looking buoyant for Italy’s film and longform narrative TV industries, which are becoming increasingly interconnected as a new generation of directors emerges. They are crossing over between the two media while recent legislation pumps millions of Euros into the country’s production and distribution sectors.

Just as high-end TV dramas directed by Italian film auteurs such as Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Young Pope” and Saverio Costanzo’s “My Brilliant Friend” conquer global small-screen audiences, theatrical box-office returns have been plunging, prompting many of Italy’s top film industry players to regroup. Most are making both movies and TV.

Case in point: Palomar, the company behind “Piranhas,” Italy’s Berlin competition entry depicting Neapolitan teen gangsters. The gritty drama is directed by up-and-coming helmer Claudio Giovannesi and based on a novel by star author Roberto Saviano, whose mob exposé “Gomorrah” spawned both a prize-winning movie and a game-changing TV series.
See full article at Variety »

Italian industry rallies around Venice Film Festival after gender rows

Italian industry rallies around Venice Film Festival after gender rows
“This is not the festival’s problem.”

The Venice Film Festival (which concludes on September 8) and its director Alberto Barbera have faced fierce criticism in the international press since announcing a Competition line-up featuring just one film directed by a woman.

More negative headlines occured during the festival itself, with an obscure filmmaker revealing a pro-Harvey Weinstein t-shirt on the red carpet, and an insult shouted towards Jennifer Kent during a press screening of The Nightingale.

However, in the Italian industry there is sympathy for the festival, with senior industry figures telling Screen those in charge of financing films in Italy,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Patrick Dempsey to Star in ‘Devils’ for Sky Italia, Lux Vide

  • Variety
Patrick Dempsey to Star in ‘Devils’ for Sky Italia, Lux Vide
Patrick Dempsey is set to head up an international cast for Sky Italia and Lux Vide’s financial thriller “Devils.” The 10-part series, based on a novel by Guido Maria Brera, is expected to shoot in London and Rome for 24 weeks starting in September. Italian actor Alessandro Borghi also stars.

Set in the London office of a big U.S. bank, “Devils” sees Borghi play the ruthless head of trading from Italy, welcomed and introduced to the world of finance by Dempsey’s bank CEO. When the Italian ends up involved in an intercontinental financial war rocking Europe, he will have to choose whether to ally himself with his mentor or fight him.

Dempsey is best known for his long-running role in ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” for which he received two Golden Globe nominations. Borghi was most recently seen in Netflix’s first Italian-language original series, “Suburra.”

Veteran British
See full article at Variety »

Patrick Dempsey & Alessandro Borghi To Lead Financial-World Thriller Series ‘Devils’ For Sky Italia & Lux Vide

  • Deadline
Patrick Dempsey & Alessandro Borghi To Lead Financial-World Thriller Series ‘Devils’ For Sky Italia & Lux Vide
Exclusive: Grey’s Anatomy icon Patrick Dempsey and in-demand Italian actor Alessandro Borghi, star of Netflix’s Suburra, are to lead cast in hot new financial-world thriller series Devils for The Young Pope and Gomorrah backer Sky Italia and Medici: Masters Of Florence producer Lux Vide.

Based on the best-selling novel by Italian trader Guido Maria Brera, the anticipated ten-part English-language series will be set in the London office of a major U.S. bank, where the ruthless Head of Trading, Massimo Ruggero (Borghi) from Italy, has been welcomed and introduced to the world of finance by Dominic Morgan (Dempsey), the bank’s CEO. When Ruggero ends up involved in an intercontinental financial war rocking Europe, he has to choose whether to ally himself with his mentor or fight him. The book was partly inspired by the financial crisis that swept global markets in 2008.

Among the Euro series’ strong supporting
See full article at Deadline »

ITV Boss Carolyn McCall: “We Will Continue To Look At M&A” But Rules Out U.S. Scripted Acquisitions

ITV will continue to eye acquisitions in the production space with CEO Carolyn McCall telling Deadline that it will be “very disciplined” about future purchases. However, the company has ruled out “significant” acquisitions in the scripted space in the U.S.

McCall’s comments come as the battle to buy Endemol Shine heats up with multiple bidders understood to be eyeing the Big Brother and Black Mirror producer.

McCall told Deadline, “We’ve had a very effective strategy of diversifying away from advertising, not because we don’t like it, but because it’s a cyclical business. We have made a lot of acquisitions and have doubled the size of the [ITV Studios] business in the last five years. We are going to continue to grow organically and that we will look at M&A, although we don’t comment on specific opportunities. We will look at M&A in a
See full article at Deadline »

World Cup & ‘Love Island’ Help Bolster ITV Revenues As British Broadcaster Reveals Details Of Strategic Refresh

British commercial broadcaster ITV has revealed the first details of its “strategic refresh” as the World Cup and reality series Love Island helped revenues grow in the first six months of 2018.

The company posted total external revenue growth of 8% to £1.59B, up from £1.47B in 2017. This was aided by a 16% rise in revenues at ITV Studios, up from £692M in the first six months of last year to £803M as well as total advertising revenue growing 2% and online revenues, particularly via its ITV Hub, growing by 48%. However, Ebitda across the group was down 7% to £375M.

ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall outlined that the company will continue to focus on being an integrated producer broadcaster with a strong production business as part of its ‘More than TV’ strategy.

The three areas of focus for ITV’s new strategy, which it stated was “very much a refresh not a reboot”, are strengthening the integrated producer broadcaster,
See full article at Deadline »

‘Sicario 2: Soldado’ Review: Dir. Stefano Sollima (2018)

Sicario 2: Soldado: Denis Villeneuve’s blistering, daring thriller gets a follow-up three years on, but this sequel lacks some of the magic of the dynamic original.

Sicario 2: Soldado review by Freda Cooper.

It’s par for the course. A film is a success, so there has to be a sequel, right? Risk aversion, financial imperative, low creativity ….. whatever the reason, and sometimes it’s all three, follow ups have become a mainstay of the current cinema offering. The critical and box office success of Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario (2015) meant it was only a matter of time before part two arrived, even if fans were less than convinced by the idea. The combined talents of Villeneuve, Roger Deakins and Taylor Sheridan had produced a blistering, daring thriller, one of the best in years. How can you follow that?

The short answer is that you can’t. Not that it
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Sicario 2: Soldado review – terrific tale of terror on the Mexican border

Isis is smuggling suicide bombers into the Us in this fierce and riveting sequel that chimes with Trump-era tribulations

With the luck and timing that always go with talent, screenwriter Taylor Sheridan has come up with an uncompromisingly fierce thriller that involves the Us government separating a Mexican father from his child as part of a plan to crack down on illegal border crossings.

He and Italian director Stefano Sollima (known for the 2015 mob drama Suburra) have collaborated on a horribly gripping sequel to Sheridan’s 2015 Mexican cartel picture Sicario (directed by Denis Villeneuve). This delivers a coolly targeted payload of brutality, launched from a cauldron of male aggression and international politics.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Best Foreign Shows to Binge This Summer

  • Variety
The Best Foreign Shows to Binge This Summer
Looking past the regular popular streaming playlists, audiences can find quality television shows to binge made in countries both across the pond and south of the border. Read on to find the best international television shows to watch this summer.

Breathe

“Breathe,” starring R. Madhavan and Amit Sadh, is an Indian thriller that features a cat-and-mouse story as a police detective tries to solve a string of murders of organ donors. His prime suspect is a father desperately seeking a donor to save his dying son.

How to Watch: Amazon Prime

Cable Girls

This Spanish period drama follows four women working in Madrid’s first and only telephone company in 1929 right before the global financial crash. The show showcases the hardships working women faced during the time period and how they overcame them. The series stars Blanca Suárez, Maggie Civantos, Ángela Cremonte, and Nadia de Santiago.

How to Watch: Netflix
See full article at Variety »

‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’: Benicio Del Toro Says It’s Better Than The Doors’ First Album

‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’: Benicio Del Toro Says It’s Better Than The Doors’ First Album
When Texas-born actor-turned-writer Taylor Sheridan broke out with “Sicario” (2015) and “Hell or High Water” (2016), he hoped that the two markedly original screenplays would wind up as a trilogy of “the modern-day American frontier,” he told me. “When I write a movie, I write it for me. I let characters be human and flawed and relatable. When we do things that aren’t that great, we can understand it.”

If “Wind River,” Sheridan’s 2017 directorial debut, was the third installment, then the next in the series arrives in theaters Friday: “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.” Columbia Pictures didn’t know quite what to expect when Sheridan handed in a finished script, written without studio input.

Sheridan said the first “Sicario” was “toxic” to financiers because, among other things, it had a female lead. “I wrote the Spanish dialogue without subtitles,” he said. “It was dark, the act structure didn’t make sense,
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’: Benicio Del Toro Says It’s Better Than The Doors’ First Album

‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’: Benicio Del Toro Says It’s Better Than The Doors’ First Album
When Texas-born actor-turned-writer Taylor Sheridan broke out with “Sicario” (2015) and “Hell or High Water” (2016), he hoped that the two markedly original screenplays would wind up as a trilogy of “the modern-day American frontier,” he told me. “When I write a movie, I write it for me. I let characters be human and flawed and relatable. When we do things that aren’t that great, we can understand it.”

If “Wind River,” Sheridan’s 2017 directorial debut, was the third installment, then the next in the series arrives in theaters Friday: “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.” Columbia Pictures didn’t know quite what to expect when Sheridan handed in a finished script, written without studio input.

Sheridan said the first “Sicario” was “toxic” to financiers because, among other things, it had a female lead. “I wrote the Spanish dialogue without subtitles,” he said. “It was dark, the act structure didn’t make sense,
See full article at Indiewire »

Denis Villeneuve Gives ‘Sicario 2’ a Rave Review: ‘It’s An Impressive’ and ‘Masterful’ Sequel (Exclusive)

Denis Villeneuve Gives ‘Sicario 2’ a Rave Review: ‘It’s An Impressive’ and ‘Masterful’ Sequel (Exclusive)
Denis Villeneuve’s lack of involvement in “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” has made fans of the original a bit nervous about what to expect from the follow-up, but the filmmaker is here to assure moviegoers the sequel is a worthy follow-up to his original. The “Sicario” sequel is directed by Stefano Sollima, the Italian director best known for “Suburra” and helming numerous episodes of the series “Gomorrah.” He also served as the drama’s showrunner and executive producer.

Villeneuve first reacted to “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” by telling producers, “[The sequel is] a knockout. Sollima did a masterful follow up to ‘Sicario.’ I was blown away!” When asked for further comment by IndieWire, the “Blade Runner 2049″ director had more praise to share about the film.

“Having seen his film, I’m proud to say that Stefano did an impressive, powerful, masterful follow-up,” Villeneuve told IndieWire. “It’s a hell of a good movie!
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Queer Eye For The Straight Guy’ & ‘The Four’ Help Boost ITV Revenues

Netflix’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Fox’s The Four helped British commercial broadcaster ITV bolster its revenues for the first three months of the year.

The company revealed that overall revenue across the firm was up 5% to £772M (Us$1B), compared to £734M ($995M) last year. Revenue at production group ITV Studios, which produced the above series, grew 11% to £382M ($518M) to the end of March 2018, with organic revenues up 9%. The latter will particularly please the company, which has seen much of its production growth come from its swathe of acquisitions. This comes after Deadline revealed in April that it was potentially one of the suitors considering an acquisition of Endemol Shine Group.

Online revenue, helped by the steady growth of its on-demand platform ITV Hub, was up 41% and advertising numbers were up 3% in the first quarter with the soccer World Cup this summer expected to
See full article at Deadline »

Claes Bang Joins Christopher Walken, Elizabeth Debicki in ‘The Burnt Orange Heresy’

  • Variety
Claes Bang Joins Christopher Walken, Elizabeth Debicki in ‘The Burnt Orange Heresy’
Claes Bang (“The Square”) has joined “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” the neo-noir thriller from Giuseppe Capotondi (“Suburra”).

The Danish actor joins Christopher Walken (“Catch Me if You Can”) and Elizabeth Debicki (“The Night Manager”) in the picture, which HanWay Films will introduce to buyers in Cannes. HanWay has international rights with UTA Independent Film Group managing the U.S. sale.

Based on the Charles Willeford novel, Bang plays James Figueras, a charismatic and fiercely ambitious art critic who is offered a career-changing introduction to reclusive artist Jerome Debney (Walken). In return for the introduction, however, he must steal a masterpiece from the artist’s studio. Set in Italy in the early 1970s, Debicki plays Berenice Hollis, Figueras’ lover.

As Hollis and Figueras start to spend time with the legendary Debney, they start to realise that nothing about the artist and their mission is what it seems. The film is in
See full article at Variety »

Mip: Italy’s Rich Cinema History Influences Country’s New TV Lineup

  • Variety
Mip: Italy’s Rich Cinema History Influences Country’s New TV Lineup
The global rise of Italian TV series is now in full swing, riding the wake of hits such as “Gomorrah,” “The Young Pope” and “Medici: Masters of Florence.”

A wave of new high-end shows that mine iconic aspects of Italy’s past and present, but also venture into the supernatural and tap into the vibrant reinvention of classic genres — such as spaghetti Westerns and horror that Italian cinema is historically known for — is about to roll out around the world.

But besides shows sparked by the rekindled love affair between long-form narratives and the country’s cinematic past, there is also “Winx Club,” the animated franchise featuring six trendy teenage fairies designed with a style mashing Japanese manga and classic Western animation that has bewitched millions of tween girls in more than 100 countries.

In March, Netflix announced it will adapt “Winx” into a live-action series for young adults in tandem with its creator,
See full article at Variety »

Mip: Italian TV Exec Tozzi Talks Netflix and How to Reach Global Audiences

  • Variety
U.K.-based ITV Studios recently bought a majority stake in top Italian production shingle Cattleya, which made “Gomorrah” for Sky and “Suburra” for Netflix. The deal marked the biggest foreign acquisition in the Italian media sphere in recent memory. Cattleya founding partner Riccardo Tozzi spoke exclusively to Variety about the vision behind the company’s increasingly international scope, what he thinks is driving the success of Italian TV dramas in the global marketplace and the next necessary steps.

What prompted the Cattleya sale to ITV Studios and what’s its significance — not just for Cattleya but perhaps for the Italian TV industry at large?

ITV Studios is the largest aggregator of production companies in Europe. Being part of it brings us into the core of the international TV production system. It’s a recognition of the quality of the products we make, but also, indirectly, of the high level achieved by Italian scripted production.
See full article at Variety »
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