Wesley Snipes Comeback Effort Kicks Off With ‘Gallowwalkers’
In advance of the former action star’s impending release from federal prison, Wesley Snipes is trying to get back into the game with the announcement that Gallowwalkers, the long-in-development action/sci-fi/horror film directed by Andrew Goth, will be shown to international buyers at the 2013 Berlin film market. Gallowwalkers features Snipes in the role of Aman, a cursed gunslinger whose victims return from the dead to torment him. The film, which began production in 2006, will have its market premiere February 8. Gallowwalkers also stars Riley Smith, Tanit Phoenix and Patrick Bergin. It is executive produced and produced by Jack Bowyer (Dark Hearts, Private Peaceful) and produced by Courtney Lauren Penn (Dark Hearts), and Brandon Burrows (Darks Hearts) of Boundless Pictures. VMI International is handling sales at Berlin. - Ross Lincoln
ITV Orders 300 More Episodes of ‘The Chase’
The UK’s ITV has renewed popular daytime game show The Chase with what is believed to be the network’s biggest order ever — more than 300 episodes over 2 seasons. The ITV Studios-produced show, which this week was named Broadcast magazine’s Best Daytime Programme, airs daily at 5 PM and has boosted the time-slot average by 1.1 million viewers, a 39% gain vs. last year.
Unifrance Names First Non-Producer President
French export body Unifrance, which works tirelessly to promote French film abroad, has named a new president. For the first time in the organization’s 64-year history, the office will be held by a film director, rather than a producer. Jean-Paul Salomé, whose credits include The Chameleon and Arsène Lupin, replaces outgoing Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre who held the post for two consecutive two-year terms. Unifrance attends international film festivals every year to bang the drum for French film and recently held its annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris. It also co-produces the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Among its most famous presidents have been Daniel Toscan du Plantier who held the post from 1988 until his sudden death at the Berlin Film Festival in 2003 and Oscar-nominated Amour producer Margaret Menegoz who took over from Toscan du Plantier and preceded de Clermont Tonnere. Salomé’s appointment was welcomed by the French film community with one exec commenting, “I think he’ll bring a new vision and way of thinking to Unifrance.”
Syfy’s ‘Defiance’ Set For Next-Day UK Channel Bow
Syfy’s new fantasy sci-fi drama series will debut in the UK on Tuesday, April 16th, 24 hours after its U.S. launch. Set in the near future, it’s described as an epic fantasy drama with the scope of a sci-fi blockbuster and intimacy of a small-town drama. It takes place on an Earth that has been permanently altered after the arrival of seven alien races with whom humans must learn to co-exist in a town called Defiance. In an unusual convergence of TV and online gaming, the premise of the series will also be depicted in a game, also called Defiance, developed in parallel by Trion Worlds that will launch April 2 in the U.S. Viewers of the series will follow the action set in the boom-town of Defiance in St. Louis, and gamers will experience the adventure in the new frontier of the San Francisco Bay area. Although series and game are interconnected, they are also independent stand-alone narratives. Watch a live-action trailer for the game below:
Retro Berlinale Classics Includes Hitchcock, Fosse, Kazan
Starting this year, the Berlin Film Festival’s Retrospective program is adding a Berlinale Classics section that will showcase recent restorations of film classics and rediscovered movies. The five to be shown this year include Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder in digital 3D (it was originally filmed in 3D); Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront in a 4K high-res digital restoration; Tokyo Story by Yasujirō Ozu; Hanns Heinz Ewers’ silent film The Student Of Prague with a new musical arrangement performed by the Orchester Jakobsplatz München under Daniel Grossmann and Bob Fosse’s Cabaret presented by the film’s associate producer Harold Nebenzal.
BBC, Fremantle Partner To Develop Kids Shows
BBC Children’s and FremantleMedia Enterprises’ Kids & Family Entertainment division have partnered to develop and produce a continuing series of children’s programs over the next five years with millions of pounds budgeted to fulfill production requirements. BBC Children’s is the UK’s premier broadcaster for kids and family entertainment, and FME’s Kids and Family Entertainment division produces original family programming across multiple genres including traditional animated, CGI and stop-motion series, live-action and mixed-media. The two organizations also have a harmonious track record. The preschool hit Tree Fu Tom was one of CBeebies in 2012 and Wizards vs Aliens, created by Russell T Davies and Phil Ford (Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood), was CBBC’s No. 2 premiering show of 2012. This partnership does not affect the first-look deal that BBC Children’s has with BBC Worldwide. BBC Children’s will continue to collaborate with a wide range of partners.
‘The Raid 2′ Production Underway In Jakarta
Shooting is expected to last 100 days for the sequel to last year’s popular Toronto, Sundance and SXSW selection The Raid: Redemption. The sequel reunites writer-director Gareth Huw Evans with actor Iko Uwais reprising his lead. Ario Sagantoro is producing for PT Merantau Films along with Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer, Aram Tertzakian and Todd Brown for XYZ Films. The cast includes Tio Pakusadewo, Putra Arifin Scheunamann, Julie Estelle, Alex Abbad and Roy Marten. Line producer is Daiwanne Ralie, with Matthew Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono serving as directors of photography. The Raid 2 follows Rama (Uwais) as he goes undercover and infiltrates the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate. Sony Pictures Classics released the orginal The Raid Stateside. Global box office is approaching $15M.