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The European Film Awards ceremony is just kicking off in Berlin tonight for what is the 26th running of the event. The prizes are presented jointly by the 2,900 member European Film Academy and by EFA Productions to honor the greatest achievements in European cinema. Coming in to last year’s kudofest, Michael Haneke’s eventual Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner and Best Picture nominee Amour led the pack with six nominations. It ultimately won four EFAs. This time around, Felix van Groeningen’s Berlin and Tribeca prize-winner, The Broken Circle Breakdown, is the most-nominated picture with five nods in each of the top categories. The film is also Belgium’s entry for the Foreign Language Oscar. Paolo Sorrentino’s Cannes competitor, and Italy’s Oscar entry, The Great Beauty, has four nominations. Other films vying for prizes include Giuseppe Tornatore’s English-language The Best Offer; François Ozon’s In The House; Jan Ole Gerster’s Oh Boy!; and Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina. Blue Is The Warmest Color also has two nods. The EFAs have added a new category this year, for Best European Comedy. Veteran French actress Catherine Deneuve will be on hand as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, as will Pedro Almodovar for the honorary European Achivement in World Cinema prize. The European Co-production Award – Prix Eurimages is going to Romania’s Ada Solomon. Competitive categories which have already been decided include Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Composer and Sound. Those results are listed below. I’ll be updating the winners tonight live as the ceremony continues:
Asaf Sudry, Fill The Void
Cristiano Travaglioli, The Great Beauty
European Production Designer
Sarah Greenwood, Anna Karenina
European Costume Designer
Paco Delgado, Blancanieves
Ennio Morricone, The Best Offer
European Sound Designers
Matz Müller and Erik Mischijew, Paradise: Faith
Mild Spoiler Alert…
Although Downton Abbey‘s fourth season doesn’t begin airing in the U.S. for another few weeks, the regular UK season wrapped last month and the Christmas special is now nearly here. As is custom, the episode will air over two hours on Britain’s … Read More »
BBC Two Preps Musical Telefilm, British Airways Docu
BBC Two has a pair of new projects on deck: a musical TV movie and an inside look at national carrier British Airways. Drama Tubby And Enid will star Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton and Olivier Award winner Michael Ball and is an adaptation of Victoria Wood’s stage play, That Day We Sang. Hilary Bevan Jones’ Endor is producing with shooting to start January 6. The story’s roots are found in the recording of Henry Purcell’s Nymphs And Shepherds as sung by the Manchester Children’s Choir in 1929. Jumping ahead 40 years, it focuses on a reunion of the same choir being filmed for a documentary. Wood writes and will direct. Meanwhile, BBC Two has greenlighted an observational documentary series about British Airways. The three-part series will feature unprecedented access to the airline and promises to be the “most in-depth analysis of British Airways in 25 years.” Lion Television is making the doc for BBC Two.
British And French TV Networks Celebrate Nelson Mandela
British and French networks are turning over time to tributes to Nelson Mandela this weekend. BBC One aired the special Nelson Mandela: The Fight For Freedom on Friday night and also will extend its news coverage. Sky1 aired the special Nelson Mandela: The Struggle Is My Life, while the news division will have presenter Jeremy Thompson live in South Africa from Saturday. I’m also told the funeral service for Mandela, who died Thursday, will be aired live. Channel 4 ran Nelson Mandela Superstar, a celebration of his life and legacy on Friday night local, and at the same time, ITV also aired a special program. In France, pubcaster France Télévisions’ France O and Franco-German channel Arte aired specials and documentaries. National network France 2 has scheduled Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman in an Oscar-nominated turn as Mandela, to air on Saturday night. Eastwood shot part of that movie in France.
Related: Nelson Mandela’s Death: Hollywood Reacts
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Stephen Frears‘ untitled Lance Armstrong film is currently shooting on location in Europe with Dustin Hoffman set to come along for the ride once production moves to the U.S. for the final stages. Lee Pace (The Hobbit trilogy) has also boarded the movie. Hoffman and Pace are joining Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Guillaume Canet and Jesse Plemons in the film about disgraced Tour de France champion Armstrong. Foster plays the cyclist with O’Dowd as journalist David Walsh. Trance‘s John Hodge wrote the screenplay based on sportswriter Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong. The film charts Armstrong’s rise through the 1990s and early 2000s, his battle with cancer and his dominance of pro cycling. It also follows Walsh who was at first charmed by Armstrong, but ultimately became an integral figure in exposing the doping rife within the sport. Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing as are Kate Solomon and longtime Frears collaborator Tracey Seaward — who most recently worked with the director on Philomena. Studiocanal is fully financing and will distribute in its own territories.
Related: Ben Foster To Play Lance Armstrong
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Laurence Olivier did it, and so did Colin Firth. Now it’s Matthew Rhys‘ turn to portray Jane Austen’s Mr Darcy. Rhys is playing the iconic character in Death Comes To Pemberley, a three-part mini that unspools on BBC One in the UK over three days beginning … Read More »
Warner Bros UK Gears Up For Creative Talent Initiative
Warner Bros UK has recruited its first group of scholars, apprentices and trainees for the inaugural season of Warner Bros Creative Talent. The first selection will participate in the program to gain industry insight and work experience across Warner’s UK film, TV, games and theater operations. The initiative is part of Warner Bros’ long-term commitment to the UK’s creative industries. Among the first folks chosen to take part are students Rienkje Attoh, Sam Coleman and Sam Hughes who are receiving the first Prince William Scholarships supported by BAFTA and Warner Bros. Four others will work as camera trainees and sound trainees on Ron Howard’s Heart Of The Sea and Guy Ritchie’s Man From U.N.C.L.E. More information on the program is available here.
Hugh Bonneville Back As Ian Fletcher In BBC’s ‘W1A’
Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville will reprise his role as Ian Fletcher in a new BBC comedy, W1A. The show is a follow-up to BAFTA-winning comedy series Twenty Twelve, from BBC In-House Comedy. Shooting starts next month on the series that sees Fletcher, the ex-head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, taking up his next big job – the (fictional) Head of Values at the BBC. His task is to clarify, define, or redefine the core purpose of the BBC across all its functions and to position it confidently for the future. In Twenty Twelve (available on iTunes in the U.S.), the network poked fun at the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics and here looks to be taking a shot at itself after the broadcaster suffered a string of PR scandals in the past year. But John Morton, who wrote the series, says: “It isn’t a demolition job on anybody or anything, and it isn’t one giant in-joke, and this isn’t a game of guessing who is supposed to be who. If it is satirical then it’s satirical about an environment, an ethos, and the absurdities of modern corporate life itself. The key principle is to operate at a level of reality just to the left or the right of fact, to create stories that haven’t actually happened but that could happen or might have happened.“ Says Mark Freeland, head of BBC In-House Comedy: “This is a kind of love letter to the BBC. But a letter that gets mislaid, because the remote computer system is not working.” Twenty Twelve’s Morton also directs the comedy that’s produced by that show’s Paul Schlesinger and executive produced by Jon Plowman. There will be an initial run of four 30-minute episodes to be screened in 2014 on BBC Two. Read More »
Fish-out-of-water dramedy Lilyhammer is closing in on a greenlight for a third season. I understand that Norwegian broadcaster NRK is in the final stages of negotiations with producer Rubicon TV in a scenario that would see … Read More »
The UK is already busting at the seams trying to accommodate all of the TV and film productions flocking there. With adjustments to film tax incentives that were announced today, it’s just upped the ante as a desirable place to work. British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered the Autumn Statement to Parliament this afternoon, outlining new economic policies that will go into effect from April 1, 2014. In an incentive that lowers the barrier to entry, the government plans to reduce from 25% to 10% the minimum UK expenditure required in order to access the coveted film tax relief. From April, the relief will be worth 25% on the first £20M of qualifying production spend, and 20% thereafter. (The rebates are available on the lower of either 80% of total core expenditure or the actual UK core expenditure and there is no cap on the amount that can be claimed.) That last measure will benefit producers of bigger budget films who’ll get an extra £1M on the first £20M. The government said it will seek to clear an increase to 25% for all qualifying expenditure on larger budget films in 2015. That should keep Hollywood tentpoles keen on Britain, especially given the concern over California’s Film/TV Tax Credit program which currently excludes features with budgets over $75M.
Related: Pinewood Earnings Grow Amid UK Studio Capacity Crunch; Whither Expansion?
Dropping the spend requirement to 10% is going to help the independent sector, too. John Graydon, partner at accounting firm Saffery Champness which specializes in film and TV tax incentives, tells me, “If a producer just wants to do post in the UK, trying to get to that 25% spend was incredibly difficult. So in some cases, they went elsewhere.” Now, those seeking to do just post or VFX in Britain will have a better shot at making the numbers work. There are also changes to come to the cultural test which determines eligibility for tax relief. The test will be modernized to allow for European as well as British elements. It will become a 35 point barometer with a pass mark of 18 and will include an increase in the points available for principal photography/special effects/VFX and projects in the English language.
Related: Hollywood Pics Pack UK Soundstages As Space Crunch Starts To Squeeze
Overall, the moves are positioned to drive inward investment. In the first three quarters of 2013, it’s already up 28%. That’s partly due to a lucrative TV tax credit that offers a rebate on high-end dramas costing £1M or more to produce per hour. But with soundstages filled to the rafters, many TV productions are already being relegated to converted warehouse space. It’s also because several big budget Hollywood films are camped out at Pinewood and Warner Bros’ Leavesden Studios. But if Pinewood doesn’t get approval for its expansion plans next year, more big ticket pics could be turned away. As I recently reported, Marvel’s Ant Man was forced out of the UK due to space constraints. Graydon doesn’t see the new incentives as necessarily exacerbating the capacity issue since those enticed by the changes won’t always be the kinds of productions that would require soundstages. He does allow, however, “Stage space is an issue. We absolutely want to see that resolved as quickly as possible.” Read More »
This morning, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer touted the UK’s falling unemployment rate as he delivered the Autumn Statement to Parliament. Unfortunately, he may have to recalculate his figures. A month after Dish Network said it would close … Read More »
Sally Woodward Gentle was most recently creative director at Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films. Now striking out on her own, the exec has launched production company SID Gentle Films with financial … Read More »
BSkyB Opens Its Sky Store Rentals To All Broadband Users
BSkyB set a challenge today to streaming providers in the UK such as Netflix and LoveFilm by announcing it has opened its Sky Store movie rental service to anyone with a broadband connection. The service does not require a Sky subscription, meaning all users in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will have access. Sky, which is controlled by 21st Century Fox, says new films including Man Of Steel and Despicable Me 2 are available from today with other fresh titles available at the same time as they drop on DVD. Those will rent for £3.49 ($5.70) each. Library titles will go for 99p-£1.99. There are already about 1,200 movies online which can be streamed through SkyStore.com, or via NOW TV, Roku and YouView. Sky’s had success with renting movies to its existing customers with 2.1 million rentals in the third quarter.
Report: Netflix Mulls Expansion Into France
Netflix has been a long time coming to France, Europe’s third-largest market, but is the tide about to turn? According to Reuters, executives from Netflix met with the staff of French President François Hollande this week to discuss the move. Netflix is available in 41 countries including France’s neighbors to the north such as the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic region. A French launch has been rumored over the years, but moving into the fiercely protected territory is ornery for the streaming service given a complex film-windows chronology. There is no such protection for TV series, but many U.S. shows air as much as a year later than they do in the U.S. on traditional networks like TF1. TF1 has a VOD service that offers first-run U.S. series on a one-day delay and pay-TV leader Canal Plus airs first-run series within a few days; it even launched a new channel this year on which to showcase them. But movies are hampered by rules that prohibit films from appearing on monthly SVOD services until three years after a theatrical release. Rentals via a set-top box are permissible four months after theatrical. The windows issue has long been a thorny one in France, with industry opinions divided, but discussions are ongoing. A Hollande rep told Reuters, “Netflix wanted information about the legal conditions that would affect its potential arrival in France.” Read More »
Victorian-era drama Ripper Street will not return for a 3rd season after failing to pull sufficient numbers for BBC One. A spokesperson tells Deadline, “We are very proud of Ripper Street which has enjoyed two highly ambitious … Read More »
Julie Walters Tapped For BIFA’s Richard Harris Award
Julie Walters is to receive the Richard Harris Award at the British Independent Film Awards this coming weekend. The prize was introduced in 2002 to recognize outstanding contribution to British film by an actor. Walters started out in television and broke into film with her BAFTA- and Golden Globe-winning performance in 1983’s Educating Rita. She was also nominated for an Oscar for the film and later received a further Oscar nomination for Stephen Daldry’s Billy Elliot. More recently, she played Ron Weasley’s mother Molly in all of the Harry Potter movies. Among Walters’ other credits are Prick Up Your Ears, Calendar Girls, Becoming Jane and Mamma Mia! She next will be seen in The Harry Hill Movie and in 2014’s live-action Paddington. The BIFAs will be held on December 8 in London.
New Zealand Film Body Picks 10 Best NZ Films Of All Time
A government-backed film body in New Zealand has released its list of the Top 10 New Zealand films of all time. Rather than select any of the Lord Of The Rings movies, NZ On Screen selected Peter Jackson’s 1994 Heavenly Creatures as the director’s entry. The organization recognized that “much dissension will arise from the exclusion of Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. … Although Jackson’s film company WingNut was involved in all productions, they are generally viewed as Hollywood films made in Wellington. For the purposes of this Top 10, it’s sensible to preclude them.” Instead, it said that Heavenly Creatures, which gave Kate Winslet her first big screen role, was “the best film to mark the extraordinary talent of our most commercially successful director.” NZ On Screen is funded by NZ On Air, an independent government funding agency that invests in local content. Along with Heavenly Creatures, the Top 10 also includes: Goodbye Pork Pie (1981), Smash Palace (1981), Utu (1983), Vigil (1984), The Piano (1993), Once Were Warriors (1994), Whale Rider (2002), In My Father’s Den (2004) and Boy (2010). Of the somewhat dark choices, NZ On Screen said: “We are a weird people and we seem to prefer making films about how weird we are. We depict what we know.” Read More »
Listen to (and share) episode 17 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch, With Nancy Tartaglione.
Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about whether China’s boffo box office can sustain its remarkable growth rates of recent years; a potentially important Sino-British trade accord on film and TV production and what that might mean for U.S. film and TV production; the very warm welcome in South Africa for epic biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom; and whether a U.S. legal settlement for singer Cheryl Cole might pave the way for her return as a judge on the UK version of The X Factor or even on ITV’s newest music competition, Rising Star.
Global Showbiz Watch podcast 17 (.MP3 version)
Global Showbiz Watch podcast 17 (.M4A version) Read More »
Jeff Pope, who shared the Venice Film Festival best screenplay prize with his Philomena co-writer Steve Coogan, is prepping a biopic about legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. The 90-minute TV movie Stan … Read More »
The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts has set nominations for its 3rd AACTA Awards. The feature prizes, considered the local equivalent of the Oscars, aren’t as young as they seem: they’re a continuum of the Australian Film Institute Awards which were established in 1958. Baz Luhrmann’s Oz-filmed The Great Gatsby scooped 14 nods followed by Kim Mourdant’s foreign language Oscar entry The Rocket with 12. The AACTAs also honor TV and gave 10 nominations to Jane Campion’s New Zealand-set BBC mini Top Of The Lake. Along with Gatsby and The Rocket, the nominees for Best Feature include Tony Krawitz’s drama Dead Europe; Ivan Sen’s thriller Mystery Road; family pic Satellite Boy by Catriona McKenzie; and omnibus The Turning, with directorial efforts by the likes of Mia Wasikowska and Justin Kurzel. Rose Byrne is nominated for lead actress in that pic, along with Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby; Tasma Walton in Mystery Road; and Naomi Watts in Adoration. Leonardo DiCaprio is nominated as Best Actor for Gatsby; Tribeca winner Sitthiphon Disamoe has a nod for The Rocket; Ewen Leslie is nominated for Dead Europe; and Hugo Weaving picked up a mention for The Turning. That film’s ensemble of helmers has a Best Director nomination along with Luhrmann, Mourdant and Sen. The AACTAs will be handed out over two events on January 28th and 30th. Following is a full list of nominees: Read More »
‘The Inbetweeners Movie 2′ Ready To Start Filming
The sequel to the UK’s most successful homegrown comedy film of all time is gearing up to shoot next week. The original Inbetweeners Movie was scripted by Iain Morris and Damon Beesley and based on the British TV series. Morris and Beesley will direct the second feature (Ben Palmer helmed the orignal) about four friends navigating their way through life, this time in Australia. The duo also scripted the film that’s got kangaroos, Aussies “and possibly koalas.” Bwark Productions is producer and will co-finance The Inbetweeners Movie 2 with Channel 4/Film4. There’s an August release set; a summer date that reflects the first film’s debut in 2011.
Tribeca Film Taking ‘Palo Alto’ To North America
Tribeca Film has acquired North American rights to Gia Coppola’s Venice debut Palo Alto. The ensemble teen drama stars Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer, James Franco, Nat Wolff, Zoe Levin and Val Kilmer. It’s written and directed by Coppola, based on Franco’s short story collection of the same name. Tribeca is planning a spring theatrical release. Read More »
Official figures released by China‘s film watchdog the SAPPRFT show 2013′s box office tally through November 25th was 19.3B yuan ($3.17B). That’s a 17.4% leap over 2012′s full take of $2.7B. But with only a month to go in the country that now has over 17,600 screens, will China be able to maintain the kind of growth it’s seen in recent years? The jump in 2012 was 35% and the year prior about 30%. A last-minute surge this year is likely, says Rob Cain, a producer in both the U.S. and China who writes the ChinaFilmBiz blog. That’s because there is a host of local movies on deck which he estimates stand to bring in about $500M by the end of December. If the math is correct, that would put 2013 about 36% above 2012.
Related: UK-China Co-Production Treaty Inches Closer
There are no more big U.S. productions expected to release in 2013, but November has been relatively good to Hollywood in China. The town’s movies are faring better than in the first half of the year when market share was down 21.3% year-on-year and imports to China had only $717M in sales. This quarter, U.S. films have about 55% of the market. Recent titles to go out include Escape Plan, Thor: The Dark World, Gravity and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Gravity just added $20.7M in its second week on 5,854 screens for a 13-day cume of $56.7M. Released a day after Gravity, Catching Fire did not have the same impact. Its worldwide success is undeniable: in the first 11 days of international release, the film has nearly equaled the entire international run of the first Hunger Games. It has $24.2M through Sunday in China, nearing the $27.9M lifetime gross of the original in the territory. I understand that Lionsgate execs are happy with the performance and Cain says it “looks like it will do better than the first one.” However, he opines, “In a market that’s grown by 80% [since the original was released] that’s not saying that much.” Another exec familiar with China tells me that Catching Fire likely suffered from the head-to-head positioning against Gravity. The exec says, “Bureaucrats try to stack the deck… and that causes a cannibalization of those films.” Cain agrees it may have been a factor that the films were released so close together — China “had to get the last few quota films out before December” — but also says the Hunger Games books and films haven’t been part of the zeitgeist in Asia. In his blog, he noted that Gravity benefited from a “liberal use of James Cameron’s quote calling it ‘The best space film ever’.” China is known as an especially brand-conscious country and Cameron’s Avatar is still the highest-grossing film there ever. Read More »
British Prime Minister David Cameron is in China this week on a mission to strengthen ties with the booming nation across many sectors, the film industry among them. He’s traveling with a large delegation that includes Culture Secretary Maria Miller, head of the British Film Institute Amanda Nevill and Pinewood Shepperton CEO Ivan Dunleavy. Although details were still being hammered out as of yesterday, it’s been hoped that a long-in-the-works co-production treaty between the UK and China would be unveiled on the ground. In the meantime, the pair today did announce a “cultural agreement” that includes in its text an accord “in principle” to support the conclusion of the treaty, and a bid to facilitate TV productions in both countries.
A treaty could still be signed this week, but it’s not a guarantee of more British films making their way into China since true co-production status, which eliminates the quota barrier on foreign movies, remains elusive across the board. A treaty wouldn’t relax the censors either as all movies are susceptible to cuts. Last year’s Skyfall, which was shot at Pinewood and also partly in China, saw some scenes excised from the version that went to local theaters.
However, in a longterm move, Cameron is also pushing for a free trade agreement between China and the EU – curiously at a time when Britain continues to debate whether it wants to remain part of the Union at all. I’ve heard conflicting thoughts on whether free trade would permit UK films to bypass the quota system, and the proposal overall is likely to rankle other EU countries. In a letter he penned in the current edition of Chinese business weekly Caixin, Cameron remarked on the increasingly prosperous Chinese population and cited James Bond and Downton Abbey, among Britain’s “world-class goods and services they need.” He wrote that he would back “an ambitious and comprehensive EU-China Free Trade Agreement… that could be worth tens of billions of dollars every year.” Read More »