A Gift From Bob, the sequel to popular 2016 UK pic A Street Cat Named Bob, has started shooting. Luke Treadaway returns as James Bowen for the film, which follows a homeless man who spends Christmas with a cat, Bob, he adopted while living in sheltered housing. The real-life story is adapted from Bowen’s own memoir and the original film was a success, grossing $16m worldwide including $5.4m in the UK via Sony Pictures Releasing. Charles Martin Smith is directing the sequel, which was written by Garry Jenkins. Producers are Adam Rolston and Parkhouse Pictures with Align and Twickenham Studios.
WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks has unveiled its new Southewast Asia leadership team. The organization, which was announced in August and unites Turner Asia Pacific and HBO Asia, spanning 42 countries in 14 languages, is headed up by Clement Schwebig, Managing Director of Southeast Asia, Pacific and China. Reporting into him are: Yasmin Zahid, who will head up affiliate distribution and marketing for all HBO channels, as well as CNN International, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Warner TV and Oh!K; David Simonsen who will lead the development of HBO GO and also be responsible for driving the growth of the service through partnerships with telcos and as a standalone OTT app; Awantika Sood who will lead ad-sales, branded content and commercial opportunities; Magdalene Ew will take charge of the company’s consolidated Entertainment pillar which includes all HBO channels, Warner TV and Oh!K; Jessica Kam will oversee original Asia productions for the Entertainment pillar; Shonali Bedi will be responsible for Business Development and Strategy in the region; Marianne Lee will lead consumer Marketing and Central Services team in the interim, which includes Creative Services, Social Media, Research and Data as the process of integrating processes, workflows and systems continues. Elsewhere, Leslie Lee continues to lead all the kids brands for the network in Asia Pacific, including in Southeast Asia. “We have tremendous depth and breadth of talent across our organization and combined, we are definitely better together. As we put in place a new structure for growth, I’m looking forward to working closely with this talented group to deliver a big 2020 for us with increased investment in original programming, and an even bigger footprint for our brands, franchises and platforms,” said Schwebig.
Estonia’s Tallinn Black Nights has crowned the first winners from its Industry@Tallinn program. This year’s Script Pool Tallinn, an international script competition for film and TV, awarded Lauri Lippmaa’s series The Deep. The project receives a $5,500 prize from distribution outfit Global Screen GmbH. At Tallinn, the series also received The Hypewriter Award, an invitation to the Hypewriter International Series Pitch Forum in June 2020 in Budapest, where the winner will receive $120,000 in production support. Elsewhere, Durim Kryeziu’s project Family, from Kosovo, received the event’s Just Work in Progress award, which focuses on children and youth film projects and comes with a $1,100 prize. The festival, which runs until December 1, also presented a lifetime achievement award to Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky.
The South Australian Film Corporation and Screen Australia are investing in the production of writer/director Anthony Garland’s feature film debut Alternate. The sci-fi thriller will be produced by Anna Vincent, Ali Mueller and Anita Gou, with executive producer Timothy White. Principal production is set to begin at Adelaide Studios in 2020. Set in a high-rise office building, Alternate follows an overworked young executive who goes back in time four hours to save his girlfriend from being killed. Rialto Distribution will distribute in Australia and New Zealand.