Taking advantage of the lucrative UK TV tax credit, AMC is the latest U.S. network to head to London to make a pilot. Film London, the body that promotes shooting in the British capital, confirmed today that the AMC Studios-produced Knifeman will follow in the footsteps of Fox’s 24: Live Another Day which recently shot there. The six month 24 shoot generated about £37M worth of local production spend and helped up the city’s profile as a TV production center. Knifeman is inspired by the biography of John Hunter by Wendy Moore, The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching And The Birth Of Modern Surgery. It’s set in 18th Century London and centers on a charming, arrogant surgeon who robs graves and harvests organs. The pilot was written by Rolin Jones (Low Winter Sun) and developed by Jones and Ron Fitzgerald (Friday Night Lights), both of whom will serve as executive producers. Media Rights Capital (House Of Cards), Josh Donnen and Robert Zotnowski are also executive producers. Craig Zisk recently stepped in to direct after Brian Percival pulled out for personal reasons.
The tax credit, which has also lured ABC pilot Galavant and Disney Channel’s multi-part movie Evermoor, is one of the factors which has helped to double filming in London. The film tax credit, which was recently expanded, has also lately helped to attract such features as The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Night At The Museum 3, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Edge Of Tomorrow and Jupiter Ascending. Read More »
Channel 4 Orders Comedy Pilot From Rob Delaney, Sharon Horgan
The UK’s Channel 4 has commissioned the pilot Catastrophe from Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan. The pair will write and star in the single-camera comedy about an Irish woman and an American man who make a bloody mess as they struggle to fall in love in London. Catastrophe is an Avalon Production for Channel 4. Adam Tandy will serve as a non-writing producer with Avalon Television UK producing. Delaney won the award for “Funniest Person on Twitter” at the Comedy Central Comedy Awards. His television credits include Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Fuel TV’s The Daily Habit, and the pilot Movie Nook for TBS. Delaney is repped by Kara Baker at Avalon Management, WME and CAA Touring.
Endemol Bets $13M On Social Casino Gaming Company Plumbee
Endemol said today that it has invested $13 million in social casino gaming company Plumbee. The digital start-up’s existing investor, Idinvest Partners, also participated in this round. The deal values the business at $40 million. Launched in 2011, Plumbee creates, operates and markets free-to-play online and mobile games on social networks. The two companies will create premium social casino games, exploiting Endemol’s global entertainment brands and building on Plumbee’s worldwide user base. Read More »
Graeme Mason Tapped As Screen Australia CEO
National film body Screen Australia has named Graeme Mason as its new CEO. Mason has over 20 years of international experience in film, television and multimedia. He was formerly the CEO of the New Zealand Film Commission and was selected from a field of over 250 international candidates. He begins his tenure in November as former CEO Ruth Harley’s five-year term comes to an end.
Despicable Me 2 Release Barred By Chinese Government
Universal’s Despicable Me 2 has been denied release in China. The film, which has made $592M, will not be seeing the inside the country’s theaters. However, it’s worth noting that the original Despicable Me was not released in China either. There’s a feeling that China is wary of Hollywood animation taking too big a chunk out of the local box office; in June, DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods was pulled from release two weeks ahead of its scheduled stop date. Universal has also had four other films approved for release in the territory this year. Read More »
London Mayor Boris Johnson has pledged to invest £2M ($3M) to broaden the reach of Film London, the body responsible for attracting film and TV shoots to the British capital. The org’s remit will be expanded to bring in £200M in additional expenditure and to create 1,000 industry jobs. With the new 25% tax rebate for high-end drama and animation coming into effect this past Monday, the UK is angling to stem runaway production and encourage foreign shows to shoot in Britain. Sam Mendes’ Showtime series Penny Dreadful will be among the first U.S. TV dramas to benefit. But when the tax credit was recently cleared, it stirred fears that the funds ear-marked for the rebate could be gobbled up by U.S. productions employing British talent on UK shores.
Johnson today stressed the importance of both local and foreign productions. Unveiling the plan at Ealing Studios, home to the Downton Abbey set, Johnson said, “We have an unprecedented opportunity to grow this exciting sector to deliver jobs, produce more world class British drama and, above all, make London the city of choice for TV and animation production… Let’s make sure that all future Downtons are filmed on our turf.” Read More »
Documentary Makers To Pitch BFI For Funding
The BFI Film Fund will dish out funding to documentaries via twice-yearly public pitch sessions, in London and at Sheffield Doc/Fest. Documentarians will pitch ideas to a panel of senior execs “from within the BFI Film Fund and wider documentary funding community”, with selected candidates benefitting from a day of expert-led development to help them focus pitches and strengthen ideas. Documentary filmmaking in Britain is on a high after a string of high-profile successes like Man On Wire and Senna, as well as this year’s Oscar- and BAFTA-winning Brit-produced Searching For Sugarman and the BAFTA-winning The Imposter. “Documentary is the punk of the film industry,” said the BFI’s Lizzie Francke. “We’re absolutely committed to supporting the UK’s visionary documentary filmmakers and we’re pleased to be working with Sheffield Doc/Fest on this new way to deliver support directly to the sector.” – Joe Utichi Read More »