Global Bulletin: Britbox Brings Royal Shakespeare, Opera, Ballet into U.K. Homes

With live performance venues subject to heavy admissions restrictions, U.K. fans of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera, and Royal Ballet will soon be able to get their performance art fix thanks to a deal struck with BBC and ITV’s streaming platform Britbox, which will allow subscribers to tune in to their favorite productions starting July 23.

Falling under the service’s Centre Stage Collection — a showcase of concerts, documentaries and comedies celebrating British entertainment and performers — the new programming includes 25 Royal Shakespeare Company productions featuring film and TV stars such as Antony Sher in “King Lear,” David Tennant in “Richard II” and Christopher Eccleston in “Macbeth.”

Royal Ballet productions include Tchaikovsky’s “The Sleeping Beauty” and “The Nutcracker” as well as Talbot’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” while the Royal Opera will contribute Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly,” Gounod’s “Faust” and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” among others.

Several theatrical productions from Donmar Warehouse and performances from Glyndebourne Festival Opera are also included in the new deal.

DISTRIBUTION

Blue Ant International and David Rocco’s Rockhead Entertainment have signed a distribution deal for 11 seasons of the celebrity chef’s “Dolce Vita” franchise programs. Rocco hosts and executive produces the collection of lifestyle and cooking programming focused on travel and appreciation for local cuisines.

Under the deal, brokered by Kate Blank, senior director of international sales at Blue Ant International, Blue Ant will now represent the series: “David Rocco’s Dolce Italia,” “David Rocco’s Dolce Southeast Asia,” “David Rocco’s Dolce Vita,” “David Rocco’s Dolce Tuscany,” “David Rocco’s Dolce Napoli,” “David Rocco’s Dolce India,” and “David Rocco’s Dolce Africa.”

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Fremantle has closed deals to send a raft of new and catalog content to Russian broadcasters Viasat and more.TV, with library volume commitments over the coming years.

Viasat Channels and ViP Play online cinema secured several new Fremantle titles such as the Larraín brothers-produced Chilean series “La Jauria” and historical drama “The Windermere Children,” as well as popular library content including “The Young Pope,” “Dublin Murders,” “Deutschland 83” and “Deutschland 86.”

Series included in the deal with more.TV include “Picnic at Hanging Rock” and “Hard Sun.” The platform will also offer exclusive first-run screenings for new series “We Are Who We Are” and “The Investigation.”

AWARDS

London Film & TV Charity has announced the first round of award winners for the 2020 John Brabourne Awards. £60,000 ($75,730) has been divided among the 12 winners to help them develop their projects and careers.

Twice a year, the Charity’s talent development award provides £5,000 ($6,300) to help with costs of development, training, production and living expenses. Writers, producers, directors, distributors and exhibition professionals are eligible for consideration.

This round of winners includes filmmakers Chloe Abrahams, Dhivya Kate Chetty, Dominic Davey; writer-directors Taratoa Stappard, Abraham Adeyemi, Kyla Simon Bruce, Jack Benjamin Gill, Moin Hussain; producers Emily Everdee, Elettra Pizzi, Kate Phibbs; and freelance consultant Jonny Tull.

FESTIVALS

Zurich Film Festival has selected France as its guest country for this year’s New World View section, and will host a special selection of auteur French films to celebrate the country’s diverse and prolific cinematic industry.

“France is the motherland of cinephilia,” said festival artistic director Christian Jungen in a statement. “This grand nation is currently experiencing a new dawn of auteur cinema, with young directors using film to portray a multi-cultural society. We’d like to promote this cinema in Zurich, where we aim to restore the tradition of screening French movies.”

Zurich head of program Georg Bütler is curating the section, which is meant to spotlight young, auteur French filmmakers. It will feature 12-14 features, a block of shorts to be announced on Sept. 10, and a series of special events focused on French cinema and French filmmakers.

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Sarajevo Film Festival has announced its competition jury for this year’s 16th edition, running Aug. 14-21.

Presiding over the jury is Oscar-winning writer-director Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”), who will be joined by Berlin Film Festival artistic director Carlo Chatrian, Croatian actor Jadranka Đokić (“Behind the Glass”), Sarajevo Audience Award-winning director Srdan Golubović (“Circles”), and Morelia head of industry and training Andrea Stavenhagen.

The jury will announce the Heart of Sarajevo Award winners at a ceremony on Aug. 20 at the National Theater.

FORMATS

NENT Studios U.K. has finalized two new deals for the reality format “The Farm” with Greek broadcaster Antenna and Hungarian network TV2. Already in pre-production, the Hungarian version will include a celebrity VIP cast and is planned to broadcast this fall. NENT has also re-licensed the format with TV2 in Denmark where the show is in its fifth season, and Nelonen in Finland, which is also considering a celebrity version of the program.

Created by Strix, a NENT company, “The Farm” throws a group of contestants onto a working farm without running water, electricity or modern communication devices. The participants must then learn how to live off the land while engaging in weekly challenges. Versions of the series have aired in more than 50 territories since the original was launched in 2001.

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ITV Studios’ Armoza Formats has closed a deal with Discovery Finland on a new local format of the popular documentary-reality series “Connected,” for the network’s linear channel and streaming service Dplay.

Discovery’s version will be the fifth season to air in Finland, with the previous four having broadcast on MTV 3. The new season will feature four local celebrities: life coach Martina Aitolehti, influencer Sara Sieppi, YouTuber Tuure Boelius and singer-songwriter Leo Stillman.

Examining a culture of online self-exposure, the series gives cameras to each participant who then documents their own lives, which eventually intertwine. Created by Koda Communications, the series has already broadcast in 13 countries including the U.S., Ireland, Netherlands and Norway.

APPOINTMENTS

Steve Coogan and Henry Normal’s Baby Cow Productions has hired Maisah Thompson as its new development producer, where she will work to grow the company’s scripted comedy slate and develop new original comedy ideas. In the role, she will focus on expanding and diversifying Baby Cow’s talent network.

Maisah comes from Objective Fiction, where she was a junior producer for scripted comedy development. Before that, she was at Fremantle where she worked on popular programs like “QI” and “Celebrity Juice.” In her new role, Maisah will report to head of comedy development Rupert Majendie.

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