Andy Serkis will receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at this year’s BAFTAs on February 2. The actor’s notable performances as Gollum in the Lord Of The Rings films and as Caesar in the Planet Of The Apes franchise have seen him rise to the top of his field in the performance-capture medium. He also co-founded the Imaginarium with Jonathan Cavendish, a production entity and digital studio – its work to date includes on Star Wars pics The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens, as well as Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle. Upcoming, the outfit is producing Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins, and Serkis himself will helm a re-telling of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Serkis has been up for two BAFTAs before, for playing Ian Dury in Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll, and for playing Ian Brady on television in Longford. His upcoming work includes helming Venom 2, with Tom Hardy. Previously recipients of the honorary BAFTA include Number 9 Films co-founders Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen, Ridley and Tony Scott, and Tessa Ross.
Warner Bros and Netflix are partnering with UK industry body ScreenSkills on a pilot program geared towards enabling more young people to join the film and TV industries through apprenticeships. A total of 20 people will be trained as broadcast production assistants and as production accountants – both positions the UK has a need for more qualified workers. The scheme also has backing from the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. ScreenSkills will employ the apprentices, and will organize them to do industry placements on Netflix and WarnerMedia productions, after initial training. The UK continues to experience a production boom, with companies flooding to its shores to shoot due to a combination of the tax credit, highly-skilled existing crews, and the weakness of the Pound. Netflix and Disney have taken long-term residences at Shepperton and Pinewood studios respectively. However, this influx of production has led to numerous shortages, including with available space, and also trained crews – the burden of which has affected independent productions.
This year’s Locarno Film Festival will dedicate its retrospective program to a woman for the first time. In the spotlight will be Kinuyo Tanaka, the Japanese actress and filmmaker whose career spanned 50 years before she died in 1977. The festival will screen her complete filmography as director, plus a selection of the films in which she acted, which count more than 250. Tanaka worked as an actress with some of Japan’s most famous directors, including Kurosawa and Ozu. The retrospective will be organized in collaboration with the Cinémathèque Suisse, the Japan Foundation, National Film Archive of Japan, Shochiku Co and TOHO Co. Elsewhere at the festival, Locarno will this year for the first time host the Swiss Films Previews, a showcase of upcoming Swiss works for delegates.