Europe’s largest pan-continental pay TV platform Sky is setting up a dedicated Sky Arts Production Hub in Milan to bring new dedicated content its 21 million customers across Italy, Germany, Austria, Ireland and the UK. The move, which carries with it a commitment of $20 million in new spending, is one of the first moves since BSkyB completed its acquisition in November last year of Sky Italia and majority interest in Sky Deutschland to create a European TV giant in a deal worth nearly $11 billion. The hub will focus on producing both pan-European events in addition to content commissioned locally. Alongside this, Sky Arts in the UK and Ireland will re-launch by offering customers an on demand catalogue of over 1,000 hours of content nd will also merge Sky Arts 1 and Sky Arts 2 into on channel, launching on June 9.
FremantleMedia International has secured exclusive distribution rights to Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope, starring Jude Law. Filming is set to commence this summer. The HBO-Sky Atlantic-Canal + co-production tells the story of the beginning of the Pontificate of Pius XIII, born Lenny Belardo (Law). He is a complex and conflicted character, so conservative in his choices as to border on obscurantism, yet full of compassion towards the weak and poor. This Pope is a man of great power who’s stubbornly resistant to the Vatican courtiers, unconcerned with the implications for his authority. During the series, Belardo will face losing those closest to him and the constant fear of being abandoned, even by his God. A man who is, however, not afraid of undertaking the millennial mission of defending that same God and the world representing Him.Wildside is producing, with Haut et Court co-producing. Exec producers for Wildside are Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani together with John Lyons. Exec producers for Haut et Court TV are Caroline Benjo, Carole Scotta and Simon Arnal.
Soda Pictures has acquired UK rights to a quartet of Nordic features out of Cannes: Joachim Trier’s competition title Louder Than Bombs with Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne and Isabelle Huppert; Un Certain Regard winner Grímur Hákonarson’s Rams; Danish thriller and Tribeca winner Jeppe Rønde’s Bridgend and Magnus von Horn’s debut The Here After.
Sundance Institute and Capalbio Cinema have announced the first Italy | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Workshop, supporting emerging indie filmmakers in Europe. Modeled on the Screenwriters Lab in Utah, the workshop is a four-day program designed to give independent screenwriters a fully immersive space to work intensively on their first or second feature film scripts, with Joan Tewkesbury and Erin Cressida Wilson as the workshop advisors. The Lab will take place July 8-11.