Prolific British screenwriter and producer Peter Morgan is being awarded the BFI Fellowship, the org’s highest honor, for his contribution to the industry. With more than 30 awards to his name, Morgan is one of the UK’s most influential screenwriters, who often uses the British establishment — its leadership and politics — for inspiration in his work. His credits include The Queen, Frost/Nixon, The Last King Of Scotland, Rush and, more recently, Netflix’s The Crown, which was created and written by Morgan. Previous recipients of the Fellowship include Tim Burton, Clint Eastwood, Judi Dench and Martin Scorsese. Morgan will be presented with the award at the annual BFI Chairman’s Dinner, hosted by Chair Josh Berger, on February 21 in London.
Altitude has boarded worldwide sales rights on Mary And The Witch’s Flower. The animated pic is the first feature from Studio Ponoc, the Japanese animation house founded by former Studio Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura (The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya) and director Hiromasa Maro Yonebayashi (Arrietty). Altitude has also taken UK distribution rights to the film with Madman releasing in Australia and New Zealand. Currently in post-production, the film is based on the novel by Mary Stewart, The Little Broomstick and is a blend of magic and fantasy set in a school for witches. Nishimura and Yonebayashi previously worked together on the Oscar-nominated When Marnie Was There and recently founded Studio Ponoc, bringing together former Studio Ghibli animators and artists to create new films in a similar tradition.
Foyle’s War producer Eleventh Hour Films has appointed Mike Ellen as Head of Development. This follows a management restructure and as part of the company’s expansion. Ellen is responsible for overseeing development of original and book-based drama content for UK and international audiences. The exec joins from Oscar-winning indie On the Corner, where he ran the scripted development slate, working with David Morrissey and Asif Kapadia to develop shows for the BBC, ITV, SKY, Showtime and AMC with writers including Danny Brocklehurst, Helen Edmundson, Tim Firth, Ben Schiffer and Matt Charman. He was previously Development Executive at BBC Scotland Drama.
BBC Three has acquired six-part series Can’t Cope Won’t Cope for broadcast later this year. The Irish comedy follows two young women as they navigate life in Dublin and the perilous waters of adulthood. Seána Kerslake (A Date For Mad Mary) and Nika McGuigan (Philomena) star. The coming-of-age millennial tale is made by Moone Boy’s Deadpan Pictures; rights are handled by Content Media. Creator is playwright Stefanie Preissner.
FremantleMedia is restructuring its UK production business by bringing together entertainment and factual labels — Thames, Boundless and Talkback — under one unscripted umbrella. Liam Humphreys is moving over from his post as Channel 4’s Head of Popular Factual Television to become CEO FMUK Unscripted. FMUK’s drama and comedy businesses will continue to operate separately with Kate Harwood and Jon Rolph reporting directly to Cécile Frot-Coutaz, while FremantleMedia’s UK business will be represented at operating board level by its Chairman David Liddiment.