Happy Friday International Insiders, Tom Grater here with your weekly round-up of our top international headlines.
Ukraine Crisis Intensifies
Covering conflict: It has been another week of tough news from the embattled nation of Ukraine, with Russia’s military assault on the country intensifying and no sign of a peace accord being reached. Here’s a rundown of our coverage of the conflict over the past five days:
Foreign Affairs Correspondent Hollie McKay was back with another special report for Deadline from on-the-ground. Her interviews with people sheltering from the war in Kyiv, including Ukrainian actor-musician Roman Matsyuta, are powerful.
Bekmambetov speaks: It has been difficult for Russians to speak out against the invasion, particularly since a new censorship law was passed, but some have been able to lodge protests. Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov spoke to Deadline from Israel this week, condemning the “tragedy” in Ukraine and announcing he is now making a documentary about the digital side of the conflict. Read the interview.
More boycotts of Russia were announced this week: Netflix suspended its streaming service, following news last week that it was pausing all content work; Disney expanded its action to “pause all business” with the country; TikTok suspended new content and streaming; the BBC, however, resumed reporting despite the challenges of the new law.
Debate: The debate around boycotting Russian film and TV continued this week, with a band of Ukrainian filmmakers adding their voices to the discourse. The Polish Film Institute also called for cultural sanctions.
RIP to Ukrainian actor Pasha Lee, who was killed by shelling in the city of Irpin west of Kyiv.
Abramovich in the spotlight: The UK government continued its sanctions of Russian oligarchs, targeting Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich this week, a move that stops him selling the team.
BAFTA Celebrations Arrive In London
Party planning: The BAFTA Film Awards are on Sunday, hosted by Rebel Wilson and broadcast on BBC One in the UK and BritBox in the U.S. from 7pm local time. Nancy Tartaglione, who will be at the Royal Albert Hall for Deadline, has everything you need to know about the star-studded weekend here.
Netflix Touts French Slate, Ups UK Pricing
French connection: Netflix hosted an event this week touting its upcoming slate of French projects, including 25 titles launching this year and 20 currently in production. In total, the streamer said it was investing more than €200M in 2022. Click here for full details.
On the rise: Over in the UK, Netflix is increasing prices across its various tiers, effective immediately. More info here.
Canneseries On The Horizon
Big names: The big TV markets are just around the corner and the industry can feel the buzz. Series Mania is 10 days away and a week after that, Canneseries commences, the drama festival that runs concurrently with Mip TV. With Covid restrictions hopefully a thing of the past, Canneseries Artistic Director Albin Lewi and General manager Benoît Louvet told Max Goldbart earlier this week the show will be “back to its roots, free from any constraints.” The Long Form Competition is led by shows from two Academy Award winners, Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Punishment and Jean-Xavier De Lestrade’s The Inside Game, Seeds of Wrath, along with the likes of The Dreamer – Becoming Karen Blixen (pictured) for Scandi streamer Viaplay, which comes from Lars Von Trier’s Zentropa. Only Germany has more than one show within the list of 10, while, interestingly, three are set in the 1980s. The crop showcases “creativity at its best, reflecting the true diversity of content,” Albin tells Max. Watch this space for plenty of coverage over the coming weeks.
Bhutan Makes Its Mark
Breaking down boundaries: It’s one of the most surprising stories of this year’s awards season: a rare Bhutanese film, Lunana: A Yak In The Classroom, is nominated for the International Oscar, despite being only the country’s second ever submission to the Academy. The journey for filmmaker Pawo Choyning Dorji and his team was even more unlikely than it seemed, the director told Deadline in an interview this week, with the pic having to wait an entire year to meet Oscar criteria when Bhutan didn’t have an official selection committee. Read the full feature here.
S4C’s U.S. Co-Pro Call
Collaboration nation: Welsh language network S4C is small but punches above its weight, having successfully co-produced a string of hit international dramas such as Keeping Faith. Now, new Chief Content Officer Llinos Griffin-Williams has reached out to “global streamers and respected U.S. heavyweight broadcasters” for future co-production opportunities. She tells Deadline she will be speaking to the biggest players over the coming weeks including Discovery, Netflix, Hulu and Peacock. Will the big beasts heed her calls?
Local content chief: In the Disruptors interview hot-seat this week was Netflix VP of Italian Originals Eleonora “Tinny” Andreatta, who chatted about the strength of Italian IP and why “authentic” content is key. Read the full interview.
🌶️ Hot one of the week: The BBC is developing A24’s adaptation of 2020 Booker Prize winner Shuggie Bain.
📅 Date for the diary: The sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders will drop on Netflix around the world on June 10.
🍿 International box office: Warner Bros/DC’s The Batman got off to a flier this week with a global debut of $258.2M.
🚚 On the move: ITV has named Andrew Cosslett as its new Chairman. Sky Studios has bolstered its UK drama team with the hires of Executive Producer Sam Hoyle and Head of Development Tilly Coulson.
🎦 Trailer watch: Here’s an exclusive first trailer for HBO Max’s Hungarian spy series The Informant.
🤝 Done deal: Fremantle has acquired a 25% stake in Henrik Bastin’s Fabel Entertainment.
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