DDA Public Relations has made some executive shifts, notably hiring Neil Bhatt in the newly formed role of President, Film & Television. The exec was most recently Head of UK Theatrical Publicity at StudioCanal and previously spent three years at DDA before moving to Optimum Releasing in 2008. Bhatt will assume responsibility for the global PR consultancy’s film and TV clients, leading UK-based release campaigns across all platforms as well as international theatrical release campaigns; production publicity; film and television festival activity; and UK-based BAFTA and AMPAS Awards campaigns. DDA Blueprint will continue to be headed by Co-CEOs Aimee Norman and Janet Balmforth, who will work closely with Bhatt to maximize opportunities in the television space. In addition to running the Brands practice, Aimée Anderson will take on the role of Managing Director, responsible for implementing company-wide structures and processes, and Ben Hayes, currently Head of Digital, will take on the role of Chief Innovation Officer. Rounding out the new exec team is Robert Prevezer, who has joined as Non-Executive Chairman, responsible for overall strategy and business development. Prevezer founded and ran The Communications Agency, for 25 years, before it was purchased by Communisis in 2014. Anderson, Hayes, Prevezer and Bhatt will be seated on the board alongside DDA CEO Lawrence Atkinson, COO John Stannard, and President Dana Archer.
Never Let Go and The Dead helmer Howard J. Ford has signed with the UK’s Space Age Films to direct crime thriller Husk. The script is by novelist Louise Wener. A revenge tale, it’s the story of a trophy wife who takes down her drug-lord husband with her housekeeper/partner-in-crime. Robert Chandler (The Canterville Ghost) is producing. Ford’s zombie pics The Dead 1 & 2 have found niche status, and his action-thriller Never Let Go is set to debut at London’s FilmFour Frightfest this month. Casting begins this fall on Husk. Ford is repped by Gersh.
Metrodome Distribution has acquired UK and Irish rights from Fortissimo Films on Terrence Davies’ Sunset Song (the BBC retains TV rights in the UK). The film, which stars Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan and Kevin Guthrie, will receive its world premiere as a Special Presentation in Toronto. Metrodome will release it during the fourth quarter. Based on the classic novel by Scottish writer Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song takes place in the early years of the 20th century — a time of momentous shifts, reflected in the conflicts and choices one young woman experiences in the struggle between tradition and change. The picture also will screen in competition at the 2015 San Sebastian Film Festival. The deal was negotiated by Fortissimo Films’ Nicole Mackey, EVP International Sales, and Jezz Vernon, Metrodome’s Head of Acquisitions Giles Edwards and MD.
ABC’s Galavant is returning to the UK’s Bottle Yard Studios for filming on Season 2. Shooting started Monday at the Bristol-based studios. Galavant’s was the first U.S. network pilot to shoot in the UK, taking advantage of lucrative tax breaks for high-end drama. The full first season then shot there last summer, and the new 10-part season will film for 16 weeks in purpose-built sets in the Bottle Yard’s Tank House 3 space. Screenwriter/executive producer Dan Fogelman reunites with award-winning musical team — composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater — for the return of the breakout musical comedy. Galavant’s adventures continue as our hero embarks on an unlikely bromance with King Richard and fights to rekindle his romance with true love Isabella. Cast for the new season includes Joshua Sasse, Timothy Omundson, Vinnie Jones, Mallory Jansen, Karen David and Luke Youngblood. Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville also recently said he’d be coming back as the Pirate King, reprising a cameo from Season 1. Fogelman, Menken, Slater, Chris Koch, Kat Likkel and John Hoberg are executive producers. Abbey C Studios produces Galavant for ABC Studios. Bottle Yard’s other recent residents include The Living And The Dead, Poldark, Sherlock and Wolf Hall.