BAFTA has rounded out its Screenwriters’ Lecture Series which takes place this fall. This is a great program that brings prolific and award-winning writers to London to chat about their craft, and the industry in general. Last year, Paul Greengrass and Steven Knight were among the talent. This year, British writers Nick Hornby (An Education, Wild) and Jimmy McGovern (Accused, The Street); Australian Andrew Bovell (Lantana, A Most Wanted Man); and Americans Nancy Meyers (Private Benjamin, It’s Complicated) and Beau Willimon (House Of Cards, The Ides Of March) form the lineup. The series runs from September 23-October 3.
The Women’s Tales initiative of the Venice Days section at the Venice Film Festival has lined up short films from French New Wave veteran Agnes Varda and Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner Alice Rohrwacher. The program has been running for the past several years and has resulted in eight short films to date which have been directed by pre-eminent female helmers. Italian filmmaker Rohrwacher took the Grand Prize in Cannes in 2014 for The Wonders and Varda, a legend who won Venice’s Golden Lion for 1985’s Vagabond, will be on hand to screen their respective films. Rohrwacher’s De Djess stars her sister and frequent collaborator Alba who won the Lido’s Best Actress Volpi Cup last year for Hungry Hearts. Varda’s new work is Les 3 Boutons. Both are to screen on September 3, kicking off the Women’s Tales program which also includes discussions with women working in film today.
The BBC has named Peter Salmon, currently Director, England, as Director of BBC Studios, the new production division created as part of the broadcaster’s move to separate TV production from TV commissioning. Salmon has been the producer of Crimewatch UK and was an executive producer of Wallace and Gromit animation, The Wrong Trousers. More recently, he was Controller of BBC One and BBC Sport, and was Director of BBC North. BBC Studios will initially be created in the public service, but longer term, the BBC will work with the Trust to explore whether it should become a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporation and create programming for other broadcasters as well, in return for abolishing the current guarantee that 50% of BBC programs are made by in-house producers. As a result of the appointment, Helen Boaden will oversee BBC England in addition to her other duties. Salmon will work closely with Director of Television, Danny Cohen, and other high-level execs to form the structure, leadership team and remit for BBC Studios. Salmon calls this “a great opportunity to build a new model for BBC Production and work with some of the best people in the business.” In-house, BBC teams produce such shows as Doctor Who, Luther and Strictly Come Dancing.
The UK’s Woodcut Media and Content Media are teaming to co-produce THE Ivy, a documentary look at the legendary restaurant as it undergoes its first major renovation in 25 years. No, not that Ivy, the one in London. The behind-the-scenes one-hour film will be sold via Content Television. BAFTA-winner Adrian Sibley directs the look at the reboot and re-launch. Frequented by famous folks, much like the LA Ivys, to which it has no relation, the London establishment’s clientele including Calvin Klein, Maggi Hambling, Ronald Harwood and Julian Fellowes appear in the doc to discuss their personal experiences inside the restaurant. There’s a growing taste for these inside looks at legendary London establishments — a 2013 documentary, Inside Claridge’s, about the iconic hotel, was a big hit in Britain.