Fifth Season Expands TV Distribution Team in EMEA Region
FIFTH SEASON DISTRIBUTION TEAM
Fifth Season, the TV company previously known as Endeavor Content, has announced a raft of executive appointments that constitute a major expansion of its Europe-Middle East-Africa television distribution team.
Jennifer Ebell has been promoted from senior VP of EMEA sales to executive VP of EMEA sales and acquisitions. Under this expanded role, Ebell will now oversee the company’s London-based acquisitions team, which is led by Liz Tang, who was recently promoted from director, content to executive director, acquisitions. Ava Mustos also joined the team in January as associate director of acquisitions from BBC Studios, reporting to Tang.
Additionally, Fabio Tinchant has been promoted from executive director sales, French Europe, CEE, MENA & Turkey to VP sales for the same markets, with the addition of southern Europe to his remit. Based in Rome, Maria Grazia Ursino has also joined as director, southern Europe.
Additionally, the company is making new hires. Simon Algie has been appointed as executive director, digital sales, spearheading Fifth Season’s AVOD/FAST exploitation and digital transactions business. Ann Schroeder has been elevated from director, sales: Nordics, Benelux and Ireland to executive director for the same markets, and Kaia Roemer joins as senior sales manager for Germany and CEE.
Led by the recently-promoted president of television distribution, Prentiss Fraser, the company’s distribution operations are headquartered in London, with executives located in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Rome, Colombia and Beijing.
SRIDEVI AT LAST
Eros International’s comedy drama film “English Vinglish” is set to get a theatrical release in mainland China more than a decade after its original outing and exactly five years after the death of its female lead star Sridevi. Eros reports that the film will have a 6,000-screen debut on Feb. 24, 2023. The film narrates the story of a sweet-tempered housewife who endures small slights from her well-educated husband and daughter because of her inability to speak and understand English. Her attempt to learn the language helps her rediscover herself and reassert her value as a mother and a wife. It originally opened at the 2012 edition of the Toronto film festival and went on to become India’s official entry to the Academy Awards in the best foreign-language film category that year. It was the feature debut for writer-director Gauri Shinde.
The Asian Film Awards Academy has announced that its Excellence in Asian Cinema Award will be presented to renowned Japanese actor Abe Hiroshi at the 16th Asian Film Awards ceremony in Hong Kong on March 12, 2023.
Abe’s acting career has spanned more than 30 years and 90 films since his debut in “Haikara-san ga Toru” in 1987. He has taken on daring and challenging roles and appeared in several international productions, including the Hong Kong co-production “Saga of the Phoenix” and “Tokyo Raiders.” He also appeared in the Thai action film “Chocolate,” the Japan-China co-production “The Legend of the Demon Cat” and “The Garden of Evening Mists.” He also scored international success with Japanese-produced comic book adaptation “Thermae Romae.”
Abe will be the third Japanese recipient to receive the award, following Nakatini Miki in 2015 and Yakusho Koji in 2019. Other previous AFA special award winners include Yamada Yoji, Amitabh Bachchan, Zhang Yimou, Michelle Yeoh, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Ann Hui, Kiki Kirin, and Lee Byung-hun.
ANDREW TATE DOCUMENTARY
Abacus Media Rights, part of the Amcomri Entertainment group, has acquired worldwide sales rights (excluding the U.K.) to Amos Pictures’ feature documentary “(In)Famous: Andrew Tate,” which examines the rapid rise of controversial social media influencer Andrew Tate.
The 36-year-old American-born ex-kickboxer and porn entrepreneur Andrew Tate achieved global superstar status on social media by mixing self-help techniques and get-rich-quick schemes with toxic misogyny. He gained millions of followers on TikTok and Twitter, but was banned on other platforms. At the end of last year Tate was arrested by Romanian police on suspicion of rape, organized crime and human trafficking. He and his brother Tristan are currently in jail.
Directed by Maggie Gaudin and executive produced by Dan Reed the film will meet some of his legions of Tate supporters to ask why his message of self-actualization through wealth and control over women speaks powerfully to so many, while also hearing from parents and educators who are terrified of Tate’s influence on the teenage boys in their care. The documentary was commissioned in the U.K. by Channel 4.
Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s Oscar-nominated “Close” collected six prizes this weekend at the Ensors Ceremony, his hometown awards ceremony. They included best feature, best director, best screenplay (Angelo Tijssens and Dhont), best D.O.P (Frank van den Eeden), best sound (Yanna Soentjens and Vincent Sinceretti) and best performance in a lead role (Eden Dambrine). Dambrine’s prize was only the second time that the Ensors have handed out gender neutral acting awards. Other winners included Robin Pront’s “Zillion” (four awards, including best supporting role), “Our Nature” (best feature-length documentary), “The Eight Mountains” (best co-production) and “Roomies” (best series, best direction, best script). Both “Close” and “Zillion” have been long-running box office successes in Belgium.
The BMW Filmmaking Challenge in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI) is offering an opportunity for five emerging filmmakers to work with “I May Destroy You” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” star Michaela Coel, who will provide mentorship and guidance to the selected filmmakers, drawing from her personal experience in the industry.
The challenge is inspired by the all-electric BMW i7, which features an ultra-wide 31.3-inch rear-passenger theater screen. It will provide the five selected filmmakers with access to the latest technology and a £10,000 ($12,000) production budget, enabling them to experiment with the 8K / 32:9 format.
The winning film will premiere as part of the closing night of the BFI London Film Festival in October and all five films will also be available on BFI Player. The challenge will be run through BFI Network, the BFI’s U.K.-wide talent development program for new and emerging filmmakers.
To launch the challenge, which launches in March, Coel stars in a 90-second promotional film featuring the BMW i7, written and directed by Aliyah Otchere.