Imax has inked a deal with Vox Cinemas, the Middle East’s largest exhibitor, for a minimum of four new theaters in Saudi Arabia. Four theaters will be added to new multiplexes in Riyadh, after the first Imax theater opened at Vox Cinemas’ Riyadh Park Mall venue. Vox Cinemas was awarded its licence to operate cinemas in the Kingdom and plans to invest SAR2 billion (US$533.3 million) to open 600 screens in Saudi Arabia over the next five years. Today’s agreement brings the Imax-contracted network in Saudi Arabia to at least five, with two currently open.
Kelly Macdonald’s Puzzle, which is directed by Big Beach principal Marc Turtletaub and was picked up earlier this year by Sony Pictures Classics, will open the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The drama will be joined at the Scottish festival, which runs June 20-July 1, by Anna and The Apocalypse, Jack Lowden-fronted thriller Calibre (which has been picked up by Netflix), pop-art drama Make Me Up, Paul Raschid-directed and Shauna Macdonald-fronted horror White Chamber, James Cosmo’s crime drama Papillon and Anthony Byrne’s Natalie Dormer and Emily Ratajkowski starrer In Darkness. High-profile documentaries playing at the festival include Kevin Macdonald’s Whitney, Almost Fashionable: A Film About Travis, directed by the band’s frontman Fran Healy, Kenny Glenaan’s Dirt Road To Lafayette and Becoming Animal. Mark Cousins will introduce two of his films, The Eyes of Orson Welles and Storm In My Heart.
Northern Europe powerhouse Nordisk Film is looking to ramp its production efforts and has signed a five-picture deal with Swedish production company BRF (B-Reel Films), the company behind film and TV including Mikael Marcimain’s Gentlemen and Pernilla August’s A Serious Game. This follows a three-year output deal with Swedish directors Helena Bergström and Colin Nutley. Nordisk Film Distribution has recently picked up books for development including Lena Andersson’s Wilful Disregard, Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry and Emmy Abrahamson’s How to Fall in In Love With a Man Who Lives In a Bush.
Kino Lorber has picked up all North American rights to SXSW doc Gospel of Eureka by directors Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher. Film is set for release in spring 2019. Narrated by trans-genre artist Justin Vivian Bond, the film follows the spirited residents in the Southern Bible Belt town of Eureka Springs, AK and the simmering tension between drag queen performers and LGBTQ residents and the town’s conservative Christians. Deal was negotiated by Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell and Jason Ishikawa of Cinetic Media.
Peaky Blinders and Yardie investor Screen Yorkshire has hired former Creative England executive Caroline Cooper Charles as Strategic Development Executive. Reporting to Screen Yorkshire’s Chief Executive Sally Joynson, Cooper Charles work will have a dual focus. The first will be the development and delivery of Screen Yorkshire’s new Film Office, which will launch later this year. Cooper Charles will also explore additional strategic opportunities for Screen Yorkshire. Charles was most recently Head of Film at Creative England. Screen Yorkshire’s investments include Yardie, Ghost Stories, Testament of Youth, ’71, Peaky Blinders and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.
UK film producer Robbie Leacock has joined LA/Shanghai-based film and commercial production company Assembly Line Entertainment as head of its newly formed UK division. Leacock previously worked at Potboiler Productions (The Constant Gardener) and was assistant producer on Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait. Last year in South Africa he was an as associate producer on Gideon Raff’s thriller The Red Sea Diving Resort. Leacock’s first project for Assembly Line is to produce the feature Fairfax, a comedy about three struggling young actresses in Hollywood, from his own script. He’s also producing Thai-set indie romcom Where Are They Now? Chris Blim (Mondo Hollywoodland) also joins Assembly Line as a creative executive.