BBC Three Orders Reeva Steenkamp Special
Fast-turnaround specialiast Mentorn Media is at it again. The producer has been commissioned by BBC Three for a quickie doc about the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. Steenkamp’s shooting death has been making headlines since she was killed on Valentine’s Day with star athlete Oscar Pistorius accused of murder. He has pleaded not guilty. Nick London is producing and directing for BBC Three. Rick Edwards, who presented Paralympics coverage for Channel 4, will host. Mentorn’s credits include Ricky Gervais’ An Idiot Abroad for Sky and HBO documentary For Neda. It also recently made fast-turnaround docs about Hurricane Sandy and the Aurora, Colorado massacre. Mentorn’s sister company Passion Distribution is handling sales.
Luketic, Former MGM Exec Sutherland Team On Oz Thriller
Los Angeles-based Australian director Alan White is set to direct Reclaim, a psychological thriller about an American couple who come to Australia to adopt a child after their unborn child dies in a car accident. Due to shoot in Oz later this year, the film is the first from a co-venture between U.S.-based Australian director Robert Luketic and Ian Sutherland’s Origin Productions, who will serve as producers with Brian and Josh Etting of L.A.–based Garlin Pictures. Sutherland, a former EVP of international theatrical distribution for MGM, and Luketic have been developing projects for several years. It will be the first Aussie film for White since 2000’s Risk. The screenplay is by Luke Davies (Candy) and Carmine Gaeta. Casting is underway. Arclight Films, which is selling worldwide rights, pitched the project to buyers at the Berlin festival’s European Film Market.- Don Groves
ITV Wins Prizes For Jimmy Savile Coverage
The Royal Television Society has handed out its TV journalism awards with three prizes going to ITV for its coverage of the Jimmy Savile scandal. Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile, the ITV documentary that blew the lid off the sex-abuse allegations against the late BBC host, won two awards including Scoop of the Year, and a third award went to ITN for ITV News’s Savile coverage. BBC News won in the international news coverage category for its handling of the events in Syria and CNN International was named News Channel of the Year. A full list of winners is here.
BBC Trust Chairman Says He Was Misled About Savile
Lord Patten has sought to distance himself from mistakes made by the corporation over its handling of the Jimmy Savile furor. The Independent reports Patten’s evidence to the Pollard inquiry – which looked at the sequence of events leading to the shelving of a Newsnight report detailing Savile’s offenses – includes expressions of betrayal and unhappiness about being misled about the reasons for the report’s cancellation. The BBC will publish redacted witness statements from the inquiry this week, including Patten’s, with the redactions the subject of much controversy as the BBC Trust seeks maximum transparency. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports today that a 100-page report has been filed with the corporation by the National Union of Journalists, alleging bullying, harassment and intimidation at the BBC. Forty pages of the report, it is said, detail the actions of a single, long-serving exec. BBC HR management will investigate the complaints, and a version of the report has been submitted to the inquiry into bullying and sexual harassment at the BBC being overseen by Dinah Rose, which was set up in the wake of the Savile scandal.
Former Fox Exec Haslingden Builds Mini-Production Empire
David Haslingden is assembling a collection of production businesses in Asia Pacific. The latest acquisition by the former president/COO of Fox Networks is the Queensland-based factual producer Northern Pictures. The newly appointed chairman of Australia’s Nine Entertainment Co.bought New Zealand-based factual producer NHNZ from Fox Television Studios last October, a deal that was only revealed last week. The NHNZ acquisition includes Singapore-based subsidiary Beach House Pictures and its majority stake in South Africa’s Aquavision TV Productions. Haslingden has said he is looking for further acquisitions and he told New Zealand media he is keen to see NHNZ expand into scripted dramas, including historical works. Northern Pictures, run by managing director Sue Clothier, is co-producing with Beach House Pictures Kakadu, a four-part doc on Australia’s vast Kakadu National Park, for Australian pubcaster ABC. Later this year she will embark on a co-prod with NHNZ, Shark Attack 360, a one-hour doc for Discovery Networks U.S. and Australia. NHNZ’s slate includes nature series Life Force 2, a co-production with NHK, Arte, Science Channel and Discovery Networks International; L.A. Frock Stars, which follows fashion entrepreneur Doris Raymond on her search for rare gems, a JV with Smithsonian Channel and BBC Worldwide; and I Survived… for A&E Television Networks. – Don Groves