BBC Two Acquires Tom Rob Smith Thriller ‘London Spy’
Child 44 author Tom Rob Smith has created a new drama series that’s been picked up by BBC Two. London Spy is a five-part contemporary thriller that sees an innocent young man drawn into a dangerous world of espionage. In the center of London is a street with the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service on one side and the headquarters of gay clubbing on the other. A chance romance between two people from opposite sides of that street takes a turn when one of them disappears. The series will shoot this year and air in 2015. Smith is producing; Juliette Howell, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are exec producing for Working Title Television. Polly Hill exec produces for BBC Two. Smith’s Child 44 is being adapted as a feature directed by Daniel Espinosa and produced by Ridley Scott. The film stars Tom Hardy, who signed on Friday for the second season of BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC Two Picks Up Tom Rob Smith Thriller Series ‘London Spy’; EU Admissions Down 4.1% In 2013; More
BBC Two Acquires Tom Rob Smith Thriller ‘London Spy’
The European Commission has opened formal antitrust proceedings to examine certain provisions in licensing agreements between several major U.S. film studios and Europe’s biggest pay-TV groups. The EC said today that it’s looking into whether certain deal clauses covering satellite and online streaming transmissions prevent broadcasters from providing their services across Eurpean Union borders. The studios mentioned in an EC press release today include 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Sony, NBCUniversal and Paramount. The broadcasters in question include BSkyB, Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland (Fox has controlling stakes in each), France’s Canal Plus and Spain’s DTS.
In essence, the Commission is looking at whether the practice of selling film rights for one country at a time infringes on EU antitrust rules that prohibit anticompetitive agreements. The Commission says that deals between the studios and the broadcasters grant the latter “absolute territorial protection” and mean that films cannot be made available outside that member state, even in response to requests from potential subscribers in another EU country. According to the Associated Press, EC antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia told reporters today in Brussles that the question is whether a subscriber to, say, a German pay-TV channel should be able to stream content online while in another EU country. “Or if you live in Belgium …
Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about The Rocket, the best film to come out of Laos in perhaps ever, and why the Laotian government is banning it; Keshet’s Rising Star continues to rise in the U.S. and U.K.; so-past-rising star Simon Cowell’s newest three-year deal with ITV; what new EU film-support rules may mean for getting more films made there; and a French film debut that may redeem a poor year at the box office for local productions.
Global Showbiz Briefs: EC Unveils “Film Support Rules” For European Union; AFI/IDG China Story Fellowship Announced; More
European Commission Unveils “Film Support Rules” For EU
European Union member states provide films with an estimated €3B ($4.03B) per year in grants, soft loans and tax incentives. About 80% of that goes toward film production — one reason pricey indies are turning to the UK and the Continent. Today, in a long-awaited move by the European Commission, the body has published its new “film support rules” for the EU. The revised criteria for assessing member states’ support systems for film and other audiovisual works is being referred to as the “Cinema Communication.” It allows aid for a wider scope of activities, highlights individual countries’ discretion in defining support targets, introduces the possibility for more aid for European co-productions, and promotes film heritage. Among the highlights (the full text is here) is that co-productions funded by more than one member state now will be eligible to receive aid of up to 60% of the production budget. There are no limits on aid for script writing or development. In-country spend requirements will remain at the discretion of the individual states. The new Communication was met today with praise from both the UK and France. The BFI welcomed the news that the Cinema Communication “safeguards the UK’s film tax relief and Lottery funding for film. … The continuation of the successful UK film tax relief framework is a huge reassurance to the UK film industry and will support the growth of the sector.” French filmmakers also hailed the EC’s decision to “preserve the complex but efficient fabric of European cinematic support.” Commission VP Joaquín Almunia said, “The objective of these revised rules is to encourage vibrant audiovisual creation in Europe while preserving cultural diversity everywhere in the EU.”
U.S. Writers Will Head East With AFI/IDG China Story Fellowship
The American Film Institute announced today its AFI/IDG China Story Fellowship, a scholarship program at the AFI Conservatory aimed at developing screenplays that foster greater understanding of Chinese history, culture and literature. The fellowship provides nine AFI Fellows with travel to China for cultural research. They will write a feature-length screenplay and receive a full scholarship for their second year at the AFI Conservatory. “Too many Americans only know Chinese culture through animated films like Kung Fu Panda and Mulan,” said Hugo Shong, Chairman of IDG Greater China. “Americans deserve to see other types of movies about China, ones that hopefully can entertain them, educate them and at the same time touch their hearts.”