Happy Friday International Insiders. Tom Grater here delivering you a round-up of this week’s international news. To get this sent to your inbox every Friday, sign up here.
Edinburgh TV Fest 2021
High-profile gathering: One arguably positive impact of lockdown life has been how efficient international industry events have become, admittedly after a few bumps in the road. Hats off to organizers of the Edinburgh TV Fest, who this week put on a jam-packed procession of high-profile panels, not just one after the other but even at times overlapping. It was hard to keep up with it all, but no doubt that the overall quality of discussion was high.
Highlights: Where to begin? Jack Thorne set the tone for the event in the prestigious MacTaggart Lecture slot. The National Treasure scribe called out the TV industry, saying it had “failed disabled people. Utterly and totally.” His words echoed throughout the following days, being regularly put to top TV executives during their panels – none disagreed with Thorne’s assessment. Also worth checking out were a couple of intriguing debates held during the fest. Read our wraps of ‘Is TV Too Woke?’ and a showdown between the UK Government’s Minister for Media and Data and UK TV professionals over the future of Channel 4.
Catch up: If you didn’t take part in the Edinburgh TV fest this week, Deadline has you covered with reports from all of the major talks. Here’s a list of some of the biggest: Amazon; Discovery+; Sky; Lin-Manuel Miranda; Whoopi Goldberg; Greta Thunberg and Jo Nesbo; Billy Connolly; NBCUniversal: Neil Gaiman and Douglas Mackinnon; Disney; Netflix; BBC; ITV; Channel 4. And breathe.
The show goes on: The global cinema business may still be hurting due to the pandemic, but the show must go on, and indeed it did during Las Vegas showcase CinemaCon this week, which held a largely physical edition despite the current difficulties. There was plenty to get your teeth into, with highlights including new footage from the likes of Spider-Man: No Way Home, No Time To Die, Matrix 4, Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent, Top Gun: Maverick, the Downton Abbey sequel and Spencer.
Fighting talk: “Unity has helped us prevail through this pandemic,” hailed MPA chief Charles Rivkin during his speech early in the conference. Few seemed to get the memo. Patty Jenkins declared she was “not a fan of day-and-date” and that the WW 1984 HBO Max release was the “best choice in a bunch of bad choices”, Sony’s Josh Greenstein called day-and-date “devastating to our collective business”, while NATO’s John Fithian stated bluntly that “simultaneous release does not work”, and ACM boss Adam Aron told studios to “show movies in theaters first”. You can trawl through our full coverage here.
Afghanistan Rescue Efforts Continue
Kabul chaos ongoing: The situation for those looking to flee the Taliban rule in Afghanistan remains incredibly precarious, and that spilled into deadly this week when a terrorist attack outside Kabul airport claimed the lives of more than 60 Afghan nationals and a dozen U.S. service members. Evacuation efforts continue, and news unions this week urged President Joe Biden to help journalists leave the country. One rare piece of good news came on Monday when Shahrbanoo Sadat, the Afghan filmmaker whose credits include 2019 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight pic The Orphanage, was successfully evacuated, her Danish producers reported. ICYMI: Hollie McKay’s special report for Deadline from Afghanistan is worth a read.
“I Finally Have My Life Back”
Venice interview: Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov faced the prospect of never seeing his family again after being arrested by Russian authorities in 2014 on “terrorism act” charges that were widely decried as corrupt by human rights orgs. After being released as part of a prisoner exchange in 2019, Sentsov is back in his native country and doing what he loves again – making films. His latest, Rhino, a story set during the “wild” days of 1990s Ukraine, premieres at Venice. Deadline had the first interview with the director.
Federation Sets Up UK Shop
Global growth: Paris-based Federation Entertainment (The Bureau, Marseille) has established itself as a powerhouse of European television production, and the company has been eyeing international expansion. Diana had the scoop yesterday that the outfit is setting up shop in the UK, with former eOne execs Polly Williams and Arielle Gottlieb hired to run the new office as Managing Director and Creative Director respectively. The goal will be to develop English-language content, with a focus on female-led series.
AFM Goes Digital (Again)
Pivot: Bad luck to those international execs hoping to soak up some Los Angeles sunshine in November this year, the American Film Market has again been forced to go entirely online. “We wish we could welcome the global industry back to Santa Monica but travel regulations, increased concerns about coronavirus variants around the world, and government restrictions on the ground prevent us from moving forward,” explained Michael Ryan, Chairperson of IFTA.
🌶️ Hot one of the week: Saint Maud and The Lord Of The Rings series star Morfydd Clark is attached to star alongside Sam Riley and Dominic Cooper in revenge thriller The Duchess Of Malfi.
🌶️ Another one: Ghostbusters: Afterlife star Mckenna Grace is joining Thomasin McKenzie in Olivia Wilde’s Perfect.
❌ Cancelled: Sky’s sci-fi series Intergalactic will not be returning for a season two.
🚚 On the move: Paris-based Elevate Artist Management is eyeing expansion into LA and Dubai.
🏆 Awards circuit: The European Film Awards revealed the first wave of titles competing for its feature and documentary prizes.
Law and order in the UK: Bad luck to Sex Pistols’ frontman John Lydon, who lost his court case with his bandmates this week to block the use of his band’s songs in upcoming TV series Pistol, which Danny Boyle is directing. Lydon previously told The Times the project is the “most disrespectful shit I’ve ever had to endure”. Say what you really think, Johnny.
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