The British Film Institute has launched a Commission on UK Independent Film to look at the health of the UK indie film business with a plan to make evidence-based recommendations on what should be done to improve conditions for its long-term future, in particular for stronger growth at home and internationally. Establishing the Commission is one of the key priorities identified in the BFI’s new five-year plan for UK film, BFI2022. Lionsgate UK and Europe CEO Zygi Kamasa will chair the commission and report on the findings from evidence and contributions from cross-industry specialists in production, sales distribution and exhibition sectors over the next four months. The conclusions for the report will be published in Autumn 2017.
The newest season of long-running Brit detective drama Midsomer Murders has secured key renewals across the globe, alongside the launch of an extensive restoration program and a host of promotional activity for the show. The latest 20th season has been licenced by ABC (Australia); DR (Denmark); FTV Prima (Czech Republic); SVT (Sweden); VRT (Flemish Belgium); Sky (New Zealand); Acorn Media (U.S. and English-speaking Canada); Knowledge Network (English speaking-Canada) and Societe Radio-Canada (English and French-speaking Canada). These acquisitions come in addition to further recent renewals in territories such as Italy (LA 7); Portugal (Fox) and Italian-speaking Swizterland (RSI) for season 19, as well as renewals for France TV and ZDF in Germany. All3Media International, which handles global distribution has also recently partnered with Deluxe on remastering the drama. Midsomer is produced by Bentley Productions for ITV in the UK, with Jonathan Fisher exec producing.
Shooting has begun in London on Max Minghella’s feature directing debut, Teen Spirit. Elle Fanning stars as an aspiring singer in the coming-of-age drama that’s set in the world of pop music. Additional cast now includes Zlatko Buric (Pusher) and Agnieszka Grochowska (Child 44), along with up-and-comers Clara Rugaard, Mille Brady, Olivia Gray, Ruairi O’Connor, Archie Madewke and Jordan Stephens. Teen Spirt is an Automatik production, produced by La La Land’s Fred Berger and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones in association with Interscope and Minghella’s Blank Tape. Jamie Bell is an exec producer. Mister Smith Entertainment is financing and handling international sales will CAA arranged the financing and will rep domestic rights. Minghella is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.
Pearson has sold a 22% stake in book publisher Penguin Random House to its joint venture partner Bertelsmann for $1 billion. The 173-year-old group said on Tuesday that it would reduce its stake in the world’s biggest consumer book publisher from 47% to 25%, thereby enabling the company to return $387.5 million to its shareholders. Shares in the group were initially up 3% after the announcement but were down 6% by 9am GMT. Pearson has struggled in recent years, having been largely affected by a sharp downturn in the publishing arena. In 2015, the group sold the Financial Times to Nikkei for $1.32 billion and that same year it agreed to sell its 50% stake in The Economist for $731 million, both moves that the company said would enable it to invest in its core business of education.
Viceland is set to launch its 24-hour television network in Israel later this month. The channel will be carried by Partner Communciations’ newly-created TV platform “Partner TV” (channel 50) with Viceland programming made accessible as part of its next-generation OTT service. The channel will be available to subscriber homes across the country. At launch, Viceland Israel programming will include: docuseries Jungletown; skateboard scavenger show King of the Road; and marijuana-infused culinary series Bong Apetit.