LA-based non-profit org Australians in Film has appointed Simonne Overend as president. One of the first things on her agenda will be to launch the Gateway LA script development program. The program will support the development of commercially successful, Australian-created TV and movie screenplays for U.S. and international audiences. Overend will co-chair the program with Peter Lawson, EVP Production and Acquisitions at Open Road Films. The Gateway LA prize will see between one and three winners per year selected from an Aussie List of up to 10 film and television scripts, circulated to a group of judges selected from the Australians in Film network. Winning projects will receive a cash award to facilitate development of the script, a flight to LA, meetings with producers and executives, and table reads. The Aussie List is modeled on The Black List and the UK’s Brit List. Applications open on August 4 and close September 12 at australiansinfilm.org/GatewayLA. Overend is also VP Scripted Development for Essential Media.
BAFTA has set director Yann Demange as the latest filmmaker to take part in “Brits to Watch: The Screenings”, a series of six showcase events hosted by BAFTA in New York and Los Angeles. On August 27 in NY and on September 2 in LA, Demange will be presented at a screening of his debut feature film ’71, which premiered in Berlin this year. The film takes place over a single night in the life of a young British soldier (Jack O’Connell) accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast in 1971. Roadside Attractions will release ’71 in the U.S. in early 2015. Demange was nominated for TV BAFTA Awards for 2009’s Dead Set and 2012 for Top Boy. He also has received two nominations for Best Director. At each “Brits to Watch: The Screenings” event, an actor, director, writer or producer who shows great promise presents a sample of recent work to an audience of film industry professionals. BAFTA then arranges a number of follow-up meetings for the individuals to meet with key industry figures in both cities. Previous featured talent includes Clio Barnard, Richard Laxton, Amma Asante, Kieran Evans, and Hong Khaou.
David Stapf, President of CBS Television Studios, and Armando Nuñez, President and CEO of CBS Global Distribution Group, will deliver a joint keynote address at Mipcom on October 14. The execs will discuss this year’s overall market theme, The Global Quest for Original Content. The duo will tackle topics including the rise of event series programming, new relationships with digital distribution partners, CBS’ year-round programming strategy and the global appetite for CBS and Showtime content. Stapf was named to his position in 2004 and is responsible for overseeing all of the studio’s program development and production, basic cable and premium channel markets. Nuñez took up his post in 2012 and oversees all of CBS Corp’s international and domestic distribution operations, including CBS Studios International, which licenses CBS programming worldwide to more than 200 markets across multiple media platforms.
Berlin-based international sales and production outfit Picture Tree International has secured global distribution rights to biopic The Pilgrim: The Best Story Of Paulo Coelho from Brazilian production house Cuatro Dama Filmes. Coelho’s 30 novels including The Alchemist have been translated into 80 languages, distributed in 224 countries and sold more than 165 million copies. The Pilgrim tells the story of the man behind the myth: He flirted with death, escaped from madness, experimented with drugs, overcame torture and made rock ’n’ roll history in Brazil but never gave up on his biggest dream: to triumph as a writer. Julio Andrade and his younger brother, newcomer Ravel Andrade, share the role of Coelho. The cast also includes Fabiana Gugli, Lucci Ferreira, Nancho Novo and Paz Vega. Documentarian Daniel Augusto directed from a script by Carolina Kotscho Sony Pictures will release it wide in Brazil on August 14.
Joanna Scanlan, Alexandra Roach and Elaine Cassidy have been tapped to star as the unorthodox crack team of cops at the heart of No Offence, a new police procedural series from creator-writer Paul Abbott (Shameless, State of Play). Colin Salmon, Will Mellor and Paul Ritter co-star in the tale of tough but big-hearted bobbies who go above and beyond to bring down the criminal rabble in a crumbling cop-shop. It is shooting on location in Manchester. Airing next year on Channel 4, the eight-episode hourlong series kicks off with a 75-minute opening episode.
U.S. visual effects company Stereo D, which specializes in the conversion of movies to a 3D format, plans to move a big chunk of its workforce to Canada. The Los Angeles Times reports that workers have until next month to decide whether they want to relocate. Plans are not final, but the Toronto office is expected to open in November and employ about 100 of Stereo D’s 300-plus workers. The company will maintain it Burbank headquarters but with a smaller staff. Company president William Sherak said there are no plans for layoffs.