The European Film Academy has awarded the Andalusian desert the title “Treasure of European Film Culture”. The desert, in the Spanish province of Almeria, saw more than 300 films shoot there between the 1950s and 2020, famously including Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western trilogy A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Further projects to have filmed on the location include Lawrence Of Arabia, Conan The Barbarian, and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade. In more recent times, series such as Doctor Who, Black Mirror and Game Of Thrones have all shot footage in the desert. The EFA hopes that the new title will raise awareness of the location’s history, encourage it to be protected, and highlight it as a cinema destination for the tourist industry.
Starzplay, the streaming arm of U.S. network Starz (not to be confused with MENA streamer Starzplay), has further increased its international expansion by launching on Rakuten TV. Rakuten users from Spain, UK, Italy, France and Germany will be able to add the service for around $6 (£4.99) per month. Programming will include Tony McNamara’s upcoming series The Great with Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, which launches June 18.
The BBC has acquired a feature-length documentary on London’s iconic Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. Ronnie’s is made by producer-financier Goldfinch, which is also targeting a short UK theatrical release before its premiere on BBC Four. The film is directed by Oliver Murray (The Quiet One) and features archive performances and interviews with friends, family and musicians including Quincy Jones. Stephen Fry is among the film’s early admirers, and the Doctor Who star said: “It’s beautifully, sensitively and perfectly presented. Aside from being a superb piece of film-making and storytelling, it’s an important film.”