BBC, Channel 4 Commit to 50% Women Directors for Documentaries – Global Bulletin

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REPRESENTATION

BBC Documentaries, Channel 4 Documentaries, Specialist Factual and Current Affairs and independent production companies, Gold Star Productions, ie ie Productions, Lambent Productions, Middlechild, Mindhouse and Yeti Media are among the first to commit to 50% women directors across their output, thanks to a groundbreaking campaign by We Are Doc Women. WADW’s 2021 factual TV survey, showed that men are three times more likely than women to direct documentaries and the organization has launched a campaign for change and is contacting indies, broadcasters and SVODs demanding a fairer playing field for women directors and asking them directly to commit to employing 50% of women directors on all factual and current affairs output.

“WADW’s survey findings exposed the barriers facing women directors. Our response was a call for industry-wide change, from the broadcasters, SVODs, commissioners, the production community and award organizations,” WADW said in a statement. The organization pointed out that two women — Tanya Stephan for best specialist factual for “The Missing Children” and Sarah Collinson for best current affairs for “Fearless: The Women Fighting Putin” won director awards at Sunday’s BAFTA TV awards, in striking contrast to last month’s BAFTA Craft Awards where no woman was nominated for best factual director.

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Warner Bros. Discovery and Media Trust have revealed a new initiative titled Black Britain Unspoken ahead of Black History Month U.K. 2022, which aims to give opportunity and voice to Black filmmakers who are entering the media sector. Recent data from the creative industry network demonstrates that Black people remain underrepresented across director, writer and producer roles in the U.K.

Applications are open now and close on June 6. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel including Simon Downing, senior VP marketing and head of factual and docs at Warner Bros. Discovery; Clare Laycock, senior VP planning and insights, head of entertainment at Warner Bros. Discovery; Emma Cassidy, director creative services at Warner Bros. Discovery; BAFTA-winner Joanna Boateng, producer at Minnow Films and Concordia Studio; Leon Oldstrong, film director at Solaris2 Media; and Daisy Church, screen industry program manager at Media Trust. The panel will select up to five pitches that will then move into production, fully supported and funded by Warner Bros. Discovery U.K.. In October, the selected films will run across Discovery+ and a selection of Warner Bros. Discovery U.K. linear and digital channels.

“The Five Devils” - Credit: Mubi
“The Five Devils” - Credit: Mubi

Mubi

STREAMING

Streamer Mubi has acquired Léa MysiusCannes Directors’ Fortnight title “The Five Devils,” starring Palme d’Or winner Adèle Exarchopoulos (“Blue is the Warmest Color”), for North America, U.K., Ireland, Latin America, India and Turkey. The film will be released theatrically in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland and stream thereafter on Mubi. Wild Bunch International is handling international sales and negotiated the deal.

CONTENT DEALS

Janus Films has acquired the complete catalogue of renowned post-French New Wave director Jean Eustache for North America, U.K. and Ireland. Eustache’s best-known film, “The Mother and the Whore,” is newly restored in 4K and will be presented as the opening of Cannes Classics at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, 49 years after winning the special jury prize and international critics’ prize at the 1973 edition. Titles under the deal also include “Robinson’s Place” (1963), “Santa Claus Has Blue Eyes” (1965), “The Virgin of Pessac” (1968), “The Pig” (1970), “Numero Zero” (1971), “My Little Loves” (1974), “A Dirty Story & A Dirty Story Told by Jean-Noel Picq P.” (1977), “The Virgin of Pessac 79” (1979) and “Les Photos d’Alix” (1980). The deal was made with Les Films du Losange, who initially acquired the catalogue earlier this year.

Jean Eustache - Credit: Janus Films
Jean Eustache - Credit: Janus Films

Janus Films

Elsewhere, Vice Distribution, the global distribution and licensing arm of Vice Media Group, has set its first partnership with South African broadcaster e.tv. More than 400 hours of premium non-fiction content from Vice Media Group will be available on the national free-to-air broadcaster for the first time across South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Titles include “Dark Side of the Ring,” “Most Expensivest,” “Black Market,” “F*** That’s Delicious,” “The Big Squeeze” and “Betraying the Badge.”

PRODUCTION

Kids’ entertainment specialist Cake, France’s La Cabane and Belgium’s Thuristar have signed a deal with WarnerMedia Kids and Family EMEA for season 2 of the Emmy-nominated comedy adventure, “Mush-Mush & the Mushables” and 50 new episodes, including two specials, are now in production and will air on HBO Max and Cartoonito in EMEA. Canal+ (France), VRT-Ketnet, RTBF (Belgium) and RTS (Switzerland) have already confirmed their commitment to season 2. Created by Elfriede de Rooster, the series is produced by Perrine Gauthier and directed by Joeri Christiaen. Copyrights Group, brand owner and licensing agent for Paddington, are acting as the global licensing agent.

TOUR

Following its world premiere at the 2021 BFI London Film Festival, and festival play at CPH:DOX and Ann Arbor, Charlie Shackleton’s collage film “The Afterlight” will tour the U.S. and Canada, starting with opening the Prismatic Ground festival at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image. The film will then tour the U.K. and Ireland from June 29-July 31. “The Afterlight” exists as a single 35mm film print further eroding every time it screens, a living document of its life in circulation. Eventually it will disappear entirely.

MENTORING

CICAE, the International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas, has kicked off its six-month mentoring program for senior exhibitors. Arianna Calza (Cinema Pasubio – Cineforum Altovicentino, Schio – Italy), Natália Centková (Cinema Úsmev, Kosice – Slovakia) and Francesca Rossini (ABC Centro di cultura Cinematografica, Bari – Italy) will be trained in diversity in film programming and film circulation; Marieke Jonker (Filmhuis Alkmaar, Alkmaar – the Netherlands) will get support in green cinema development; and Juliette Duret, (Bozar – Center for Fine Arts, Brussels – Belgium), Carla Molino (Il Kino, Berlin – Germany) and Rachel Pronger (Invisible Women, Edinburgh – United Kingdom) will receive mentorships in developing new business models and innovative projects.

COMPANY

Veteran producer Kevin Loader‘s Free Range Films (“The Death of Stalin”) and Embankment Films have formed a new company, Free Range Entertainment, to develop, produce, co-produce, sell, and distribute screen-based and allied content, and investing directly into production and working with third party investors and financiers, with an eye on the new generation of filmmakers. The key shareholders of the new entity are Embankment’s Tim Haslam and Hugo Grumbar and Loader.

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