Global Showbiz Briefs: BIFA Joint Directors Stepping Down; Ben Whishaw Toplines ‘London Spy’; More

Long-standing and admired directors of the British Independent Film Awards, Johanna von Fischer and Tessa Collinson, will jointly step down from their posts at the end of this year. The org announced the surprising news today; their departures will follow the 17th awards ceremony to be held on December 7. The BIFAs were founded by Raindance in 1998 and run under the Raindance umbrella BIFAuntil 2006, when Collinson and von Fishcer became joint directors. They have produced the show since 2001. The awards now will  return to Raindance, and the new structure is to be defined later in the year. The BIFAs are akin to the Indie Spirit Awards and have become an important feature on the awards season trail in the UK. “It has been a tough decision to move on from BIFA, but we are ready to take on new challenges and excited about embarking on a fresh chapter in our careers,” Collinson and von Fischer said today. “We are extremely proud of how BIFA has developed over the years and have been fortunate to have the incredible support of the film industry, our Advisory Committee, our partners and a loyal team who have helped to raise the profile of BIFA and without whom we could never have pulled off so many fantastic awards ceremonies. For now we are currently focused on the selection process, and it certainly looks as if 2014 will be a year to remember.” This year’s nominations will be announced November 3.

Ben WhishawWord out of the BBC late last week is that Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) has been cast to play Danny in the drama series London Spy. Working Title Television is making the contemporary thriller for BBC Two to air in 2015. Child 44 author Tom Rob Smith created the five-part series, which will begin filming next month. When Whishaw’s Danny falls for the anti-social but enigmatic Alex, they soon realize they’re perfect for each other. But when Alex suddenly disappears, Danny is utterly ill-equipped to take on his complex and codified world. Producer is Guy Heeley with Smith, Juliette Howell, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner exec producing for Working Title Television, and Polly Hill for BBC Two.

Following its world premiere in Toronto earlier this month, thriller Who Am I – No System Is Safe has been sold to Japan (Phantom Film), Latin America (Borsalino) and Poland (Hagi Film). TrustNordisk says more territories are in negotiation on the Contemporary World Cinema TIFF title directed by Baran bo Odar. Sony Pictures Releasing will release it in Germany on Thursday. Tom Schilling, Elyas M´Barek, and Trine Dyrholm star in the story of a group of young hackers who, in their attempt at recognition in the underground community, suddenly find themselves in over their heads with the German Secret Service and Europol at their heels.

Endemol is entering an exclusive first-look development and distribution deal with UK producer Feel Films. The three-year pact will see Endemol provide development funding and deficit financing in return for exclusive first-look distribution rights on Feel Films output. Founded in 2004 by Nick Hirschkorn, London-based Feel works across advertising, film and television and represents directors for commercials and multi-platform content while also developing and producing feature film and television projects. Credits include TV movie Skellig for Sky 1 UK, the seven-part drama series Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell for BBC One, and upcoming feature The Song Of Names.

Image (3) keshet__140404145629.png for post 709652Keshet International has appointed former BBC Worldwide sales executive Lucy Roberts to the newly created role of Sales Manager Central and Eastern Europe. She will work to grow KI’s business in the region, where she will be responsible for both format and finished tape sales. She previously repped the BBC’s formats slate across CEE, Africa, Benelux and Italy and more recently, the entire finished program catalogue in Russia, Ukraine and the Baltics. Her titles have included Dancing With The Stars, The Musketeers, Da Vinci’s Demons and Atlantis.

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