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In today’s Global Bulletin, a two-parter on the BBC’s controversial 1995 interview with Princess Diana sells around the world; “Catfish U.K.” plans to premiere four episodes on MTV U.K. this spring; See-Saw Films ups Simon Gillis to COO; Wirecard scandal film being developed; Women in Film and Television U.K. is to expand its mentoring programs for mid-career women to Scotland and Wales; and Vilnius Film Festival to unspool in hotels.
U.K. production funding and distribution agency Drive has sold two-part documentary series “The Diana Interview: Revenge of a Princess” to Channel Nine in Australia, REELZ in the U.S., TV 2 in Norway, Servus TV in Austria, RTL Netherlands and TVNOW in Germany, to broadcast this year.
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Produced by Minnow Films for U.K. broadcaster ITV, the series focuses on the controversial 1995 interview when Diana, Princess of Wales, poured her heart out on current affairs show “Panorama” to BBC journalist Martin Bashir.
The series looks at what led to this watershed moment and hears from those who witnessed her marriage descend into tragedy and, through previously unseen documents and footage, as well as eyewitness territory from inside the interview room, discover how and why this extraordinary interview came about.
Drive has also sold 13-episode true crime series “Poisonous Liaisons” to AMC Networks’ streamer Sundance Now for North America; coral survival documentary “Reef Rescue” to NHK in Japan and PBS NOVA in the U.S.; LGBTQ focused documentary “Cured” to Israel’s Yes, ORF in Austria and SVT in Sweden; and 30-episode helicopter medics series “Helicopter ER” to Sky New Zealand and Spike in the Netherlands.
“Catfish U.K.,” the U.K. version of cult U.S. show “Catfish: The TV Show” will premiere four episodes on MTV U.K. this spring, with six more episodes to follow later in the year.
Produced by ViacomCBS International Studios U.K., “Catfish U.K.” is the first international version of U.S. show. It follows the real-life stories of individuals in online relationships with partners they’ve never met in person.
Radio and TV presenter Julie Adenuga (“Greatness Only”) and writer and filmmaker Oobah Butler (“Vice Life Hacks With Oobah Butler”).
“Catfish U.K.” is commissioned by Craig Orr and Kerry Taylor for MTV International. The show is executive produced by Orr for MTV International and Kate Amarnani for ViacomCBS International Studios U.K.
U..K./Australian production company See-Saw Films (“Lion”) has promoted COO, film, Simon Gillis to the newly created role of COO for the company. Based in London, Gillis will continue to report directly to joint MDs Iain Canning and Emile Sherman.
As well as supervising the film and TV divisions’ day-to-day operations across the London and Sydney offices, Gillis will be responsible for leading the commercial strategy across the group.
See-Saw has also hired Katie FitzGerald Frazer and Ellen Lister as senior business and legal affairs executives, reporting to head of U.K. business affairs Alice Clough, and Emily Leach as senior production executive, reporting to head of U.K. production Nicky Earnshaw. Katie joins from entertainment law firm Sheridans, Ellen from ITN Productions, and Emily from Film4.
Karl Spoerri, Viviana Vezzani and Jasmin Kirner of SPG3 are developing a feature film about the biggest corporate fraud scandal in German history together with Pier 89, Moritz Borman and Philip Schulz-Deyle’s development company, based on the tell-all book “Bad Company” by former Wirecard manager Jörn Leogrande.
In the summer of 2020, fintech wunderkind company Wirecard collapsed after billions of dollars disappeared and remained untraceable and members of the board and senior managers were arrested. Robert Schwentke (“Flightplan”) will direct and co-write the screenplay with Matthew Wilder and tell the story of money, greed and megalomania for a global audience.
Women in Film and Television U.K. has expanded its mentoring programs for mid-career women to include Scotland and Wales, complementing those that already exist in England and Northern Ireland.
Forty one mentees have been selected to take part in this year’s U.K. programs – designed for women looking to take a significant step in their careers. Each of the participants are paired up with senior industry professionals for six hours of mentoring contact. This runs alongside peer-to-peer training and seminars, WFTV events, and wider industry networking opportunities over six months.
Mentors taking part in this year’s editions include writer Sally Wainwright, Peter Fincham, co-CEO of Expectation Entertainment, directors Sarah Gavron and Philippa Lowthorpe, David Abraham, CEO of Wonderhood Studios, Channel 4 commissioning editor Fozia Khan, and presenter and journalist Ellie Flynn.
The England program is run in association with ScreenSkills and is supported by BBC, UKTV and Channel 4. The new programs launched in Scotland and Wales are supported by Netflix, who also sponsor the existing program in Northern Ireland.
Heading up the overall program this year is WFTV’s director of mentoring Tracy Forsyth. WFTV has also recruited mentor producers Karen Kelly in Scotland, and running the Welsh program will be Hannah Corneck. Sarah McCaffrey will continue to run the program in Northern Ireland.
ScreenSkills is supporting the Four Nations Mentoring Scheme with National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI.
The Vilnius International Film Festival’s 26th edition (March 18 – Apr. 4) will take place in the Lithuanian capital’s six top hotels and online. Vilnius residents are invited to check into a hotel for the full festival experience including red carpet, selfie moments, and films beamed straight into their hotel pods.
Festival programmers Aistė Račaitytė, Marija Fridinovaitė, Andrei Tănăsescu led by artistic director Mantė Valiūnaitė curated the cross-sectional theme “To Act and/or To Be”. The selected festival films tackle the choice between acting and being on various levels, including philosophical, ethical, political, psychological, social and environmental.
Berlinale winner “Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn,” by Radu Jude, opens the discussion of how humans act as individuals and as community. Films in the European debut competition include “Bad Roads,” “Feast,” “Gritt,” “Looking for Venera,” “Mighty Flash,” (2021, Ainhoa Rodríguez), “Moon, 66 Questions,” “Natural Light,” “Rascal” and “Why Not You.”
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