Bohemia Group Invades New Zealand; ‘Timbuktu’ To Screen In Paris Suburb After All

Bohemia Group is expanding into New Zealand. The Hollywood-based international management firm has consolidated its yearlong collaboration with Gail Cowan of Gail Cowan Management, who will spearhead the new offices for Bohemia Australasia. Bohemia Group logoCowan, a longtime talent manager based in Auckland, will bring to the agency a pool of high-profile New Zealand actors, many of whom have had roles in the Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings franchises. CEO Susan Ferris says: “I would like to think that we are leading the charge with this global way of doing business in management, and that you really don’t have to be trapped by geography anymore. Even though we are continuously building and expanding Bohemia, we will always keep our actors’ feet firmly planted on the ground, while they keep their heads in the clouds. Now we can do it without borders.” Ferris also has brought in two new LA-based managers: Zach James, formally of D2 Management, and music manager Jonathan King. Longtime Bohemia manager Alison Buck has been newly promoted to EVP International, while producer Peter Basler of Supernova Films has been charged with heading up Bohemia Group Originals, a department dedicated to film and TV production. Bohemia has 16 managers worldwide with offices in LA, NY, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Dallas, London and Auckland.

Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks on January 7 in Paris, the mayor of suburb Villiers-sur-Marne had postponed the release of the soon-to-be Oscar-nominated TimbuktuTimbuktu. Jacques-Alain Bénisti said he made the decision because he didn’t want Abderrahmane Sissako’s drama to be misconstrued. The film was inspired by the 2012 death by stoning of a man and a woman in a small town in Mali during the occupation by radical Islamists. When postponing the film, Bénisti also made reference to the fact that Hayat Boumeddiene, the wife of terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, had grown up in the town and is seen as a hero by some of the young people there. Bénisti now says two screenings and a debate have been organized for January 27 in the neighborhood cinema.

Going into the Berlin EFM, Paris-based Films Distribution has boarded worldwide rights to Agnus Dei, the historical drama directed by Coco Before Chanel‘s Anne Fontaine. Mandarin Cinema’s Eric and Nicolas Altmayer (Saint Laurent) are producers with Phillippe Carcassonne, Eliza Oczkowska and Klaudia Smieja for Aeroplan Film. Sabrina B. Karine, Alice Vial, Fontaine and Pascal Bonitzer penned the script. Lou de Lâage and Ida‘s Agata Kulesza star. The movie tells the story of Mathilde Beaulieu, a young doctor working with the French Red Cross in 1945 on a mission to help survivors of the German camps. One day, while she is working in a hospital in Poland, a nun begs the nurse to follow her back to her convent. Once there, Mathilde discovers that several nuns are pregnant, and the community is caught in a tragic double bind: accept the responsibilities of motherhood or abandon the children of sin. Shooting began last week with delivery expected this winter.

Protagonist Pictures has hired Dimitra Tsingou as COO. She takes up her post immediately, reporting to CEO Mike Goodridge. Tsingou will have a wide remit at the fast-growing production, finance and sales outfit, overseeing day-to-day protagonist-pictures-logooperations of the company with chief focus on finance, legal, business affairs, delivery, HR and office administration. She is based in the London headquarters. Tsingou formerly was a senior business affairs executive at Future Films and Aramid Capital Partners before moving to the role of head of production and business affairs at then-startup Swarovski Entertainment in 2010. Most recently Tsingou was at Film4 in a senior legal and business affairs position working on projects including Protagonist titles The Lobster and Dark Horse. Protagonist is coming off its most successful year since it was founded in 2008. Highlights included ’71, Calvary, My Old Lady and Frank. This year will see the rollouts of Testament Of Youth, Trespass Against Us and The Lobster and production of films including Maggie’s Plan, Special Correspondents, American Honey and Free Fire.

The UK’s Soda Pictures has appointed Nick McKay as its new Head of Distribution. McKay joins from StudioCanal, where he was integral to the releases of The Imitation Game and Paddington. The exec was one of the first employees at Optimum Releasing in 2003 and moved up the ranks as the company grew and was acquired by StudioCanal. Other previous posts include a stint at Entertainment Film Distributors. McKay’s appointment comes amid Soda’s plans for expansion after merging with Canada’s Thunderbird Films to grow their business in the UK and to build a distribution division in North America. He will be responsible for managing the core UK distribution team and activity as well as overseeing the implementation and results of each release, getting involved in acquisitions, strategic partnerships and overall business development. Recent Soda acquisitions include Gemma Bovary from Anne Fontaine and starring Gemma Arterton, and Michael Winterbottom’s Face Of An Angel with Daniel Brühl, Kate Beckinsale and Cara Delevingne.

FamilyFeud_Logo_500x281FremantleMedia International is bringing global formats, Family Feud, Got Talent and Idols to Latin America. Family Feud will head to the Caribbean as a locally produced series for the first time in history and is expected to air in 22 countries across the region, including Trinidad and Tobago (CNC3), Jamaica (CVM Television), Bahamas (ZNS), Dominica (Marpin), Bermuda (ZBM-TV) and the Cayman Islands (Island 24). Production on Caribbean Family Feud will begin in Trinidad this spring, produced by Pavilion Entertainment. In addition, Chilevision will be entering into its sixth season of Got Talent, while Ecuador’s Ecuavisa network will begin its fourth. Idols also will have an expanded presence in Latin America via Paraguay on Canal 13.

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