The Cannes Film Market has added to its previously announced Ukraine in Focus program, which will provide Ukrainian filmmakers and producers with networking, pitching and co-financing opportunities over two days during the Cannes Film Festival, on May 21 and 22. A panel discussion titled “Ukrainian Cinema: From Surviving to Thriving Again: How the Global Film Community Can Come Together to Support the Country’s War-Torn Industry” will take place on May 21.
In addition the market has confirmed the full endorsement and patronage of Ukrainian Films Now, an initiative promoted by EAVE, First Cut Lab, and When East Meets West, which aims at gathering a pool of European regional and national film funds to support Ukrainian films at a late post-production stage to complete the final financial gap.
“We hope that these initiatives will allow Ukraine’s cinema and audiovisual industry to not only survive in the challenging context, but to thrive and continue to make new films visible and accessible to an international audience. Today, our focus is on Ukraine and tomorrow. We will also do all we can to ensure that our partner territories can keep their national cinema production and distribution alive no matter the challenges,” said Jérôme Paillard and Guillaume Esmiol, executive directors of the market.
Meanwhile, the world premiere of “We Are Still Here” has been set as the opening night gala presentation at next month’s Sydney Film Festival (June 8-19). Conceived as a rebuttal of colonialization, the film is a “First Nations celebration,” with eight interweaving stories by ten directors from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. It begins with an animation set in ancient times, traverses the events of 1862 when Indigenous people in Australia and New Zealand confront the prospect of a terrifying future, passes through contemporary stories of activism, racism, romance and of ancestral love, and finishes with a vision of a dystopian future. Sydney festival organizers describe the film as “a strident story of endurance in the face of colonialism, racism and attempted erasure. It is also evidence of thrilling new First Nations cinematic talent from our region.” – Patrick Frater
Elsewhere, the 24th edition of Docaviv, Israel’s biggest documentary film festival (May 26-June5), will open in Tel Aviv with the world premiere of the U.S.-Israeli film “The Devil Speaks: Eichmann’s Lost Confession” by Yariv Mozer. The festival will present a total of 122 films, including 26 world premieres and three international premieres, along with a special focus program on Ukraine. This year’s guests of honor are directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West, who will attend the festival with three of their latest films, which center on larger-than-life women and non-binary people – “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” “My Name Is Pauli Murray and “Julia.” The full program is here.
Beyond Rights has sold packages of factual programming totalling some 1,000 hours to media in Australia and New Zealand. Pay-TV group Foxtel has taken packages for its A&E, History and Fox Docos channels. A&E will be airing new seasons of “Highway Thru Hell” (seasons 9 & 10) and “Bangers & Cash” (seasons 3 & 4). History will premiere the latest seasons of “Abandoned Engineering” (S7 & 8) and 6-parter “Britain’s Lost Battlefields.” New Fox Docos channel has acquired “The Prince and the Paedophile,” “Britain’s Biggest Families,” “Sugar Babies” and “Caroline Flack: Her Life & Death.” SBS also acquired “Caroline Flack,” “Sugar Babies” and “Bismarck: 24 Hours to Doom,” “Secret Life of Lighthouses S2,” “Underground Worlds S2” and “Countdown to War.” Free TV Australia, which broadcasts in the Pacific Islands, has acquired three series of reality title “Beach Cops” and nearly 150 hours of kids’ content: “History Hunters,” “Lab Rats Challenge” and the pre-school series “Pipsqueaks.2 The Australian Broadcasting Corporation pre-bought “Days Like These…with Diesel,” a new 12-part music documentary series produced by Beyond Entertainment and Bloodlines Music. – Patrick Frater
Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s Berlinale title, Hindi-language Indian social drama “Gangubai Kathiawadi,” starring Alia Bhatt, is the #1 non-english film on Netflix globally, and the #1 film in 25 countries, the streamer has revealed. For 14 of the 17 weeks in 2022, nine Indian films have featured in the global non-English film top 10. They include the Malayalam-language superhero film “Minnal Murali,” Hindi-language cop movie “Sooryavanshi,” gender bending Hindi romantic comedy “Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui,” Telugu-language romantic drama “Shyam Singha Roy” and comedy thriller “Looop Lapeta,” the Hindi remake of “Run Lola Run.”
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