The 54th Cannes Critics’ Week sidebar has named Israeli actress and filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz as jury president. Elkabetz co-helmed this year’s Golden Globe nominee Gett: The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem with her brother Shlomi. It ran last year in Directors’ Fortnight. Elkabetz’s jury will include director Katell Quillévéré, cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, Toronto Film Fest programmer Andréa Picard and journalist Boyd van Hoeij. The panel will award the Nespresso Grand Prize and the France 4 Visionary Award for feature films and the Sony CineAlta Discovery Prize for short films. Elkabetz came to international attention in 2004 when she starred in Keren Yedea’s Or, which ran in Critics’ Week that year and won the festival’s Camera d’Or. She has also featured in films by André Téchiné and lauded 2007 film The Band’s Visit. As a director, Elkabetz opened Critics’ Week with 7 Days in 2008. That film was the second in a trilogy that began with To Take A Wife in 2004 and concluded with 2014’s Gett. Critics’ Week runs May 14-22.
BBC Two has commissioned two new shows to air in the run-up to the UK’s general election on May 7. The channel is looking to be the “place to come for the smartest, funniest, sharpest take” on the election, which will choose the nation’s new government. Jack Dee’s Election Helpdesk will help a live studio audience dispel their election problems and aims to shed light on their dilemmas and issues relating to the vote. Dee will be accompanied by a panel of four comedic guests with no script as they take questions from the audience. The three-part series premieres in mid-April. Also joining the lineup is Charlie Brooker’s Election Wipe, which will bring viewers a summary of “the good, the bad and the inevitable ugliness” of the campaign. The previously announced Rory Bremner’s Election Report will offer a post-election special.
A year after its launch, Canada’s Gusto TV has committed an undisclosed seven-figure amount to producing a slate of original programming to feed the independently owned food and lifestyle channel. More than 100 hours of culinary content for linear and online viewing is being prepped in Gusto’s kitchen. At Mip-TV, a new distribution arm will be offering such titles as One World Kitchen which celebrates international influences on Canadian cuisine, and the millennial-focused cooking series A Is For Apple. A Canadian alternative to Food Network which develops its programming with a “digital first” strategy, the company’s Gustotv.com aims to compete with U.S. websites that dominate the Canadian market. Other new programming includes Taste Of Canada — which asks “what is Canadian cuisine?” –and Fish and More Fish, respectively a fishing documentary series and a seafood cooking series.
AMC Networks International has acquired a wide range of first-run original series and miniseries for Sundance Channel Global’s linear, VOD and television everywhere services. They include the second season of the Sundance Channel original series The Red Road as a first window for Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as key European territories including France, Iberia, Benelux, Poland and CEE. Acquired from eOne, it will debut less than 24 hours after its premiere in the U.S. Also on deck is Maggie Gyllenhaal political thriller The Honourable Woman for Asia, acquired from BBC Worldwide; period drama The Great Train Robbery from Content Media.; Avalon’s Catastrophe for Dutch Benelux; and the Amy Poehler-exec produced Welcome To Sweden from eOne.
Icelandic helmer Baltasar Kormákur will be honored with a special International Filmmaker of the Year Award as part of CinemaCon’s International Day. The NATO convention runs April 20-23 in Las Vegas. Kormákur will receive the award on April 20. He is in postproduction on Universal’s Everest starring Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, John Hawke, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright and Keira Knightley. He is also in development on Viking, a big-budget action adventure inspired by Iceland’s epic sagas, as well as eco-disaster film Cascade and an untitled crime thriller based on the events that inspired the Filipino film On The Job. He is in postproduction on Icelandic serialized crime drama called Trapped. His earlier credits include 2 Guns, The Deep and 101 Reykjavik.