Directors UK, the trade body for Brit screen directors, has named Andy Harrower as its new CEO following the retirement of Andrew Chowns after 10 years in the role. Harrower is joining from his position as director of licensing at collecting society PRS for Music, and is seen as a leader in the field of rights management. At PRS, he has been responsible for securing more than £250m ($330m) per year in royalties for music composers, songwriters and publishers, leading negotiations with the major UK broadcasters and SVOD companies. Directors UK collects and distributes royalty payments for its more than 7,000 members and also offers services including campaigning, commercial negotiations, legal advice, events, training and career development. Steve Smith, Directors UK chair, said on the hire, “Andy has very significant expertise in collective rights management and is a passionate advocate and champion of creators’ rights. He is an energetic leader with a strong track record of creating highly engaged teams, and an experienced negotiator with sound commercial judgement and a collaborative working style that suits Directors UK’s culture.” On his new role, Harrower added: “I am excited to be joining Directors UK, it is a fantastic organisation doing great work on behalf of creative authors. I have been impressed by how Andrew Chowns and his team have raised the profile of Directors UK and made it the strong membership organisation it is today at the centre of the UK film and television industry. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to build on this solid foundation, to working on behalf of all members and to leading Directors UK into the next decade.”
The five Nordic drama series projects that will compete for the next edition of the Nordisk Film & TV Fond’s Drama Screenplay Award have been unveiled. Three of the projects have a terrorism theme: Sara Johnsen’s 22. Juli, which tells the story of the people affected by the real-life terrorist attack in Norway in July 2011; Wilhelm Behrman and Niklas Rockström’s Caliphate, about five young women whose fates are intertwined in an examination of how religious fundamentalism can seduce individuals; and Dorthe Høgh and Ida Maria Rydén’s When The Dust Settles, about two masked men who attack a restaurant, dramatically changing the lives of eight characters; The two further projects are: Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir’s Happily Never After, about a 38-year-old couples counselor and mother of three whose life is turned upside down when she discovers her husband’s infidelity, and Matti Laine’s The Paradise, about a detective who investigates a series of murders in the the Finnish community of Fuengirola in Malaga. The projects will compete for a NOK 200,000 ($18,000) prize, with the winner announced on January 29 during the 2020 at Göteborg Film Festival’s TV Drama Vision program.
WildBrain Spark, the UK digital kids’ network and studio, has appointed Clare Bennett to the newly created role of Head of Paid Media. Clare will work with WildBrain Spark’s partners to maximise the effectiveness of their paid media across digital platforms, in addition to supporting the marketing and commercial teams in building WildBrain Spark’s own brands and IP. WildBrain Spark builds brands through the management and creation of preschool and children’s entertainment content on platforms such as YouTube, Amazon Video Direct and ROKU. Its library has approximately 13,000 half-hours of kids’ and family content, including Peanuts, Teletubbies, and Strawberry Shortcake.