In today’s Global Bulletin, Inclusive Cinema addresses racism; Swipe pops champagne documentary; BFI seeks film fund director; Sky goes green; Sovereign acquires “Verdict”; and Blackstone buys “Stars Wars” building.
The U.K.’s Inclusive Cinema project has launched a guide for improving the cinema experiences of ethnically diverse audiences and staff — a directive that challenges institutions to make good on their Black Lives Matter and anti-racism statements from 2020.
The guide, titled “Dismantling Structural Inequality in Your Cinema,” was commissioned from artist and freelancer Sadia Pineda Hameed, and is cited by its writer as “the last toolkit that cinemas should need.” The toolkit examines the role of cinemas in the context of systemic injustice and focuses on preventing harm towards people of color. From immediately actionable tools, to encouraging inner, reflective and dialogue-based work, towards undoing systemic injustice, the guide is intended to create lasting change for future generations, and sustain organizations in a meaningful way.
Inclusive Cinema is a U.K.-wide project funded by the BFI Film Audience Network. The project is overseen by Toki Allison, BFI Film Audience Network access officer.
Swipe Films has boarded world sales on Frank Mannion‘s feature documentary, “Sparkling: The Story of Champagne.” The film features Stephen Fry and a cast from the world of champagne including Taittinger heiress Vitalie Taittinger, Bruno Paillard, Oz Clarke, best-selling authors Don & Petie Kladstrup, Cristal wine-maker Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, and Sir Nicholas Soames, Conservative party MP and grandson of Winston Churchill, who allegedly consumed over 40,000 bottles of Pol Roger in his lifetime.
Major champagne houses featured include Pol Roger, Piper Heidsieck, Taittinger, Dom Perignon, Bruno Paillard, Pommery, Cristal/Louis Roederer, Bollinger, which has appeared in 15 James Bond movies including “No Time To Die”, Jay Z-owned Armand de Brignac and Brad Pitt’s newly launched Champagne Fleur de Miraval.
Swipe Films is completing post-production on the film.
The British Film Institute (BFI) has advertised for the position of director, film fund, a job that carries an annual salary of £100,000 ($136,200) annually. The position is initially for three years with a provision to extend it up to two more years. The director of BFI will lead on the strategic and cultural direction for investing in filmmakers and new work, representing the breadth and diversity of independent filmmaking in the U.K.
The position has been lying vacant since Ben Roberts was elevated to CEO in 2019. “This is an exciting time to lead the film fund,” said Roberts. “The quality of U.K. films released over the last year has been outstanding, and storytelling and expression has never felt more urgent. This is a major role that carries significant responsibilities – to support exceptional independent filmmaking, to ensure an openness in approach and, above all else, celebrate diversity in the work we support. We’re looking for someone with vision to lead a highly talented team and point the fund to the future.”
Recent BFI-funded projects include “Supernova,” “Ammonite” and “Herself.”
Every new original production from European pay TV giant Sky will adhere to sustainable production principles, and the org has also committed to a new Planet Test to make sure all its production, editorial and commissioning teams across Sky and Sky Studios actively consider the environment and champion sustainability on screen and off. This will focus on three areas: raising the issues, showing action and using content to raise awareness. Sky intends to be net zero carbon by 2030.
Sky will also be the principal partner and media partner for the COP26 international climate change summit taking place in Glasgow this November.
Sovereign Film Distribution has acquired U.K. and Ireland rights to Raymund Ribay Gutierrez‘s acclaimed crime drama “Verdict,” which was the official Philippines’ entry in the 2020 Oscars’ international category, and was the Special Orizzonti Jury Prize Winner at the Venice Film Festival.
The film follows an abused and battered wife who stands up for justice against her alcoholic husband.
Multinational investment group Blackstone is reported by Bloomberg to be buying the purpose-built building that is home to Lucasfilm Singapore. Known as The Sandcrawler, it was modeled on a transport vehicle from the “Star Wars” films and opened in 2013 in the presence of George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is said to be worth $132 million (S$175 million).
Singapore is currently the regional base for many U.S. television and streaming businesses, and Bloomberg reports that tech giants Amazon and Facebook are looking to expand in the country. Singapore could also be a beneficiary as several international media companies currently operating Asia regional headquarters out of Hong Kong are said to be studying possible exits from the territory, following last year’s imposition of a Chinese National Security Law. They could also be joined by Chinese media-tech companies, including TikTok-owner Bytedance, Tencent Video and iQIYI, setting up Southeast Asia regional hubs in Singapore. – Patrick Frater