In today’s Global Bulletin, Vice Distribution announces its spring slate; Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson doc gets theatrical launch dates ahead of its Amazon Prime Video premiere; Channel 4 commissions COVID lockdown-inspired docu-series “Sex Odyssey” with Alice Levine; South African streamer Showmax commissions a local version of “Temptation Island” and Fremantle promotes several execs in EMEA.
Following its launch in summer 2020, Vice Distribution has announced its first slate of spring programming featuring 250 hours of new non-scripted programming from across Vice Media Group.
Upcoming true crime titles include in-house produced series “Criminal Planet,” a three-part series about Jack the Ripper, and, “Point Blank,” examining gun ownership in the Asia-Pacific region. Several pop culture and entertainment series will be coming this spring, including Crave-produced wrestling series “Dark Side of the Ring,” “Dark Side of (American) Football” from 44 Blue Productions, “Dark Side of the ‘90s” from Railsplitter Pictures and Insight Productions, as well as in-house productions including obsession doc “Fanatics: The Deep End” and video game history program “Reset.”
Vice has produced several series covering politics and current affairs for its spring slate including “Border to Border,” “Fringe Nation,” “QAnon: The Search for Q” and “Wet Markets Exposed.” The company has also commissioned Efran Films to produce “While the Rest of us Die,” based on the bestselling book “Raven Rock” which examines the gap between normal people and the powerful elite.
Other highlights from Vice’s spring arrivals include Season 3 of “Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia” and Icon Films’ “Unknown Amazon with Pedro Andrade.”
Legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s life story is getting the documentary treatment with “Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In,” heading to U.K. cinemas on May 27 and Amazon Prime Video in the U.K. and Ireland on May 29.
Featuring previously unseen archival footage and testimonies from his wife and three sons, including the film’s director Jason Ferguson, the documentary will take an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the life of the United great, including his childhood in Glasgow, his successful playing career in Scotland, the historic run he went on as manager of Aberdeen and his record-breaking decades as manager of Manchester United.
“Losing my memory was my biggest fear when I suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2018. In the making of this film I was able to revisit the most important moments of my life, good and bad. Having my son Jason direct this film has ensured an honest and intimate account,” said Ferguson of his desire to document his experiences.
“Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In” is a DNA and Passion Pictures production in association with Ventureland.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s lives in more ways than could ever fit into one series, so Channel 4 has elected to focus on the effects that a year of lockdown has had on the sex lives of British citizens with its latest commission “Sex Odyssey” (working title).
In the series, “My Dad Wrote a Porno” podcast host Alice Levine will ask “What turns the nation on?” through three one-hour episodes examining recent social phenomena such as a 900% increase in Brits searching for couples’ sex toys and the unprecedented growth in subscriptions to webcam services over the past 12 months.
“Sex Odyssey” is produced by Mindhouse Productions with Louis Theroux as executive producer.
Banijay Rights has closed a deal for a South African version of “Temptation Island” with African streaming service Showmax, to be produced by Afrokaans Film & Television. The streamer has ordered 12 episodes and plans to premiere them later this year.
“Temptation Island” will be the first international reality series format licensed by MultiChoice Group owned Showmax. Afrokaans, however, has an existing relationship with Banijay’s format catalog, having produced the South African version of “Survivor,” now in its eighth season.
Amanda Wilson and Elliot Johnson, the duo behind formats including “The Chase,” “Four Weddings,” “Strictly Come Dancing,” “The Waiting Game,” “Who Dares Sings” and “Raised by the Village,” are joining BBC Studios’ production business and will lead creative development for managing director Suzy Lamb’s entertainment and music department.
The two will be tasked with creating and advancing new original format ideas for a range of broadcasters and platforms domestically and abroad. They will be responsible for providing editorial direction as well as business leadership for development teams, working closely with creative directors Mel Balac, Pete Ogden and James Payne.
Fremantle has announced several promotions among its senior teams in EMEA, CEE and Russia. Jamie Lynn has been promoted to executive VP of co-production and distribution for EMEA while Anahita Kheder has been promoted to executive VP of formats and licensing for the territories.
Lynn will head co-productions across EMEA in addition to handling distribution for the region, while Kheder’s role has been extended from managing Middle East and Africa to handling format sales and licensing across all EMEA.
Joining Kheder’s team are Nick Pawsey as new senior VP of distribution for CEE, Russia and CIS; Andrea Gavacova as format sales director for CEE and Anne Kirsipuu as format sales director for CIS and Baltic States.
London-based sales agent Cornerstone will be at this year’s European Film Market with “Nude Tuesday,” where the company will launch worldwide sales excluding Australia and New Zealand, where Madman already has distribution rights.
With “Nude Tuesday,” writer and lead actress Jackie van Beek (“What We Do in the Shadows”) and director Armağan Ballantyne (“The Strength of Water”) present a modern-day relationship comedy delivered through dialogue which is complete gibberish. The lack of dedicated dialogue means Cornerstone is offering up two differently subtitled versions of the film as well as offering buyers the unique opportunity to commission local writers to create their own.
“Nude Tuesday” is produced by Firefly Films and Good Thing Productions with investment from the New Zealand Film Commission in association with Screen Australia, and was financed with support from Film Victoria.