BBC Two has confirmed an order for comedy series Upstart Crow written by Blackadder’s Ben Elton. The six-parter about the life of William Shakespeare will air as part of the BBC Shakespeare Festival 2016. David Mitchell (Peep Show) will play the Bard at the beginning of his career. Also featured are Harry Enfield, Paula Wilcox, Liza Tarbuck and Game Of Thrones’ Gemma Whelan. Part of the throughline will be the unlikely places from which Shakespeare drew inspiration. Elton says, “I have tried very hard to think myself into Shakespeare’s creative world, writing only with a small chicken feather and not changing my underpants for a year.” The 2016 festival of programming and events will mark four centuries since Shakespeare’s death. BBC Two’s The Hollow Crown also forms part of the celebration with three new installments starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Judi Dench. Russell T Davies is also shooting A Midsummer Night’s Dream for BBC One with Maxine Peake, Matt Lucas, Bernard Cribbins, Elaine Paige and Richard Wilson starring.
Collective Studio 71, the global MCN that was formed by the merger of Collective Digital Studio and ProSiebenSat.1’s Studio 71, has hired Adam Boorstin as EVP Global Digital Distribution. Boorstin most recently served as Head of Partnerships at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. In his new role, he will oversee distribution for all CS71 content and lead the expansion of its distribution network. CDS is best known for producing the hit web series Video Game High School. At BuzzFeed, Boorstin developed and managed relationships with more than 25 video distribution platforms, including YouTube, Yahoo, MSN, Comcast and Verizon Go90, as well as global partners in Germany, France, China and Turkey, with content translated into over 10 languages. Prior to BuzzFeed, Boorstin worked in Disney’s theatrical marketing department and in CAA’s Film finance group.
Australian family movie Paper Planes, Tagalog film Scarecrow and Spain’s Walls have been named the top winners at the third Ajyal Youth Film Festival, presented by the Doha Film Institute. Paper Planes, directed by Robert Connolly, was a sleeper hit at home and traveled extensively in the past year. It tells the story of an 11-year-old boy who must come up with funds to enter a paper-plane world championship. Scarecrow, from Filippino helmer Zig Madamba Dulay, centers on the life of a widowed, illiterate woman in a rural Philippine provence. Walls, from Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina takes a compelling look at lives on either side of the world’s border walls. Further winners were announced this weekend in the concurrent Made in Qatar section of the festival. The Palm Tree, directed by Jassim Al-Rumaihi, took the Best Documentary Film award. The Notebook, with script, cinematography and direction by Amna Al-Binali, won the Special Mention for the documentary category. Heart Of The House, written and directed by Gabrielle Sol, was the Jury Award victor. Asfoora, written and directed by Mayar Hamdan, was named Best Narrative Film. Man Of The House, with script, cinematography, editing, music, production and direction by Khalifa Al Marri, won the Jury Award for that same category. The winners of the Best Documentary and Best Narrative Film each received $5,000 through the Ajyal Film Fund, while Jury Award winners received $3,000 each.