BAFTA this evening opened applications for the BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, an initiative that celebrates and supports the UK’s future stars of film, TV and games. To mark the start of this year’s scheme, helmer Christopher Nolan turned up at BAFTA’s London headquarters to chat with former Breakthrough Brits honorees and discuss his creative process. Other supporters of the initiative include Paul Grengrass, Miranda Hart, Toby Jones and Simon Pegg. Applications are open until May 27 and can be found here. A panel of industry pros will choose up to 20 talents for 2015, each of whom will receive bespoke career development support including mentoring, network opportunities and non-voting memberships to BAFTA. Breakthrough Brits launched in 2013 with winners including games producer Daniel Gray, game designer Rex Crowle and writer Dominic Mitchell (In The Flesh)
Ben-Hur has parked his chariot at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios. The Paramount/MGM reboot of the classic is helmed by Timur Bekmambatov and is based on the 1880 novel by Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ. Production will be in residence for four months after having shot in Matera in southern Italy. The film is benefiting from a 25% tax break on foreign shoots which are enticing production back to Italy. “We have waited a long time for our incentives to be tailored to the needs of international productions,” said Cinecittà Studios CEO Giuseppe Basso. “As soon as this happened, some very important projects signed on, confirming that Rome and Italy can still be competitive internationally in a sector that has always been considered strategic.” Jack Huston stars as Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption. Morgan Freeman also stars in the project written by Keith Clarke and John Ridley. Producers are Sean Daniel, Mark Burnett, Joni Levin and Duncan Henderson. A U.S. release is set for February 26, 2016.
Discovery Networks International has acquired U.S. rights to London-based World Media Rights’ 10-part docuseries Animal Black Ops. ITV Studios Global Entertainment is distributing in the rest of the world.Animal Black Ops focuses on the world of animal poaching. For the series, World Media Rights obtained special access to several covert animal protection units, including undercover agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Africa’s Hawks and to ongoing investigations by Thailand’s Freeland Foundation Special Investigation Unit.
FremantleMedia International has set a deal to handle world rights on Paul Abbott’s UK police procedural series No Offence. Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It), Elaine Cassidy (The Paradise) and Alexandra Roach (The Iron Lady) star as an unorthodox crack team of cops in the series for the UK’s Channel 4. From the writer of Shameless and State Of Play, it has begun shooting in Manchester for air in May this year. The eight-part series focuses on a mix of tough, but big-hearted bobbies who go above and beyond to bring down the criminal rabble in a crumbling cop-shop. The close-knit team is led by the dizzyingly capable but unquestionably unhinged Detective Inspector Vivienne Deering (Scanlan). When a particularly twisted serial killer emerges, it leaves even the most hardened of these seasoned coppers reeling. Will Mellor (Broadchurch), Paul Ritter (Friday Night Dinner) and Colin Salmon (24: Live Another Day) also star.