In today’s Global Bulletin, “Line of Duty” season 6 pulls staggering ratings for its penultimate episode; Venice picks another winner in “Nomadland”; All3Media and SPT strike catalog content deals with Filmzie and Sinema TV respectively; Far East Film Festival reschedules hoping for eased COVID restrictions; Fremantle appoints Uber’s Matthew Wilson to head its legal teams; and Abacus Media Rights (AMR) deals Nike doc in key territories.
The Venice Film Festival has joined the rest of the cinema world is celebrating Chloé Zhao, Frances McDormand and the “Nomadland” producers for their Oscar wins on Sunday evening. Venice organizers are doing so with extra vigor, however, as “Nomadland” becomes the second Venice Golden Lion winner in the last four years to take the top prize at the Academy Awards, after Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” managed the feat in 2018.
Notably, this also marks the second time in Oscars’ history that a film directed by a woman won both Best Film and Best Director. Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker,” another Golden Lion winner back in 2008, broke that barrier at the 2009 awards.
“My congratulations to Chloé Zhao and Frances McDormand for the three Oscars that award the artistic daring and the human and social sensitivity with which they gave voice to those who have been forgotten by an idea of progress that ignores the most genuine values of solidarity and community. Having helped make this exceptional film known to the world is an honor and a source of pride for the Venice Film Festival,” said festival director Alberto Barbera.
BBC’s “Line of Duty,” available exclusively on BritBox in the U.S. and Canada, is breaking viewership records, with the series’ most recent episode pulling in the highest overnight ratings in series history at 11 million overnights, or a 51.7% share. Sunday’s episode was the penultimate of the series’ sixth season, meaning that next week’s finale could be bigger still.
You have to go back to 2008 to find a more watched drama broadcast, when that year’s “Doctor Who” Christmas special pulled in 11.7 million overnight viewers. This season’s numbers put “Line of Duty” among the likes of “Downton Abbey” and “Bodyguard” as recent drama series to pass the 10 million viewers mark.
“Line of Duty” is created by Jed Mercurio, one of Britain’s top writers, who is also responsible for the aforementioned “Bodyguard.” World Productions produces “Line of Duty,” which goes behind the scenes of the controversial police anti-corruption unit AC-12, which investigates crimes within the police force.
Growing on a pre-existing content deal, All3Media International is releasing a batch of new content to AVOD streaming platform Filmzie, available as a linear channel on Samsung TV Plus and on Fire TV, iOS and Android apps, or through web browsers at filmzie.com.
Key titles made available on the free service include reality programming such as “Culinary Genius USA,” “Masterchef Junior US,” “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares,” “Worst Bakers in America,” “The F Word” and the Gordon Ramsay documentary “Shark Bait.” Several popular international drama series will also hit the platform including New Zealand series “The Almighty Johnsons” and “Westside,” Australia’s “Anzac Girls,” and more.
Expanding on a fruitful, long-standing relationship, Sony Pictures Television (SPT) and Turkish broadcast network Sinema TV have struck a three-year deal which will see a wide range of SPT catalog content made available on the channel, including recent blockbuster titles such as “Bad Boys for Life,” “Little Women” and “Jumanji: The Next Level.” Beginning this month, the deal also includes a plethora of back catalog content of fan favorites like the Spiderman franchise and “Charlies Angels.”
The Far East Film Festival in Italy’s Udine will this year shift from its normal dates in late April to a new calendar position at the end of June. Anticipating an easing of coronavirus control measures, the festival will operate June 24-July 2, 2021. It will also shift venue to one previously used site and another new one, giving more flexibility to programming and more time for sanitization of the theaters between screenings. The festival, which went digital last year, this time anticipated being able to restart its industry activities, a project market, its co-production workshop held in association with Ties That Bind, and its film journalism program.
Fremantle has appointed Matthew Wilson as general counsel for the company leading its global legal teams. He will join the Fremantle executive board and report directly to global CEO Jennifer Mullin, working out of the company’s London offices from Aug. 2. Wilson has spent the last six years working with Uber as associate general counsel, leading its legal teams in EMEA and APAC.
Abacus Media Rights (AMR) closed a raft of sales in key territories for the feature-length investigative documentary “Nike’s Big Bet: Alberto Salazar and the Fine Line of Sport” ahead of its April 29 North American premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs.
“Nike’s Big Bet” is directed by Paul Kemp and co-produced by his company Paul Kemp Productions and Cream Films with partners the Globe and Mail. AMR is selling both the full 84-minute version and a 60-minute edit, and has closed deals with Sky in the U.K., DR in Denmark, Channel Hot8 in Israel, Watcha in South Korea, Canal Plus in Poland and Nordic Entertainment Group in Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and the Baltics. CBC in Canada and ZDF/Arte in Germany and France boarded early on as partners with the film’s producers.