In today’s Global Bulletin, Facebook News launches in the U.K.; Paul Feig begins Netflix shoot in Belfast; Storyglass hires Steve Carsey, Laura Jones joins Blink; The TV Foundation bows Black talent podcast; Conecta Fiction sets dates; Enact invests in post outfit Evolutions; and Locarno sets Alberto Lattuada retrospective.
Social media giant Facebook is rolling out Facebook News, an aggregator within the Facebook app that features news from hundreds of national, local and lifestyle outlets in the U.K. The new platform goes live from Tuesday.
Partners for the service include Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group. These are in addition to previously announced outlets including The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, STV and hundreds of local news sites from Archant, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midlands News Association and Reach as well as lifestyle outlets such as GQ, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Vogue and many more.
Key features of Facebook News include curated news stories chosen by a team of journalists; personalization based on the news users read, share and follow; news sections; and controls to choose content. The service is set to launch in France and Germany imminently.
“In order to bring Facebook News and other news products that help publishers transition in the digital age to more countries, it is critical that regulatory environments invite this kind of investment and innovation,” says Facebook.
Netflix‘s “The School for Good and Evil” is commencing production at Belfast Harbour Studios under the aegis of Northern Ireland Screen. Directed by Paul Feig (“Ghostbusters”). and produced by Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum, Paul Feig, Jane Startz and Laura Fischer, the film is based on a best-selling series of young adult fantasy novels by Soman Chainani and follows a group of girls and boys who are taken to an institution and trained to become fairy tale-like heroes and villains.
The production will adhere to strict COVID guidelines and follow British Film Commission protocols. Netflix will utilize the full 125,000 square feet of studio, workshop and office space in Belfast Harbour Studios for what will be its first film where the bulk of the production will be shot in Northern Ireland.
U.K. podcast producer Storyglass has appointed Audible’s Steve Carsey as managing director, reporting into chair Bob McCourt. Carsey served six years at Audible, where he held the role of senior director for international English (Originals). During his tenure, he built the U.K. commissioning team and greenlit more than 200 podcasts and original audio series, including Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” and “Aliens: Out of The Shadows.”
Under Carsey’s leadership, Storyglass will develop and produce projects across all scripted and unscripted genres, self-publishing content and partnering with all of the major podcast distribution platforms.
German media conglomerate Bertelsmann’s U.K. content businesses, Penguin Random House, Fremantle, BMG and DK, teamed up to launch Storyglass in June 2020.
Meanwhile, U.K. factual indie Blink Films has appointed BAFTA and RTS Award-winning producer Laura Jones as executive producer for special projects. In her new role Jones will be responsible for winning business and executive producing projects as she helps to expand Blink’s factual slate, working closely with Justine Kershaw and Dan Chambers, creative directors of Blink Films.
Before joining Blink, Jones co-founded Antidote Productions, where she was responsible for originating and executive producing the company’s content for major broadcasters and networks in the U.K. and North America. Her credits include “Professor Green: Suicide and Me” (BBC), “What Makes a Woman” (Channel 4), “Mummifying Alan: Egypt’s Last Secret” (Channel 4/Discovery) and “Generation YouTube” (National Geographic).
The TV Foundation, the charitable arm of the Edinburgh TV Festival, have launched interview podcast series “Say It Loud,” conceived and hosted by columnist, writer and presenter Jackie Adedeji. The series features interviews with U.K. Black creatives, with the first episode highlighting the acclaimed content-creating trio behind online platform Wall of Entertainment, Percelle Ascott, Joivan Wade and Tafara Makopa. Stand-up comedian Dane Baptiste will appear in a future episode.
The bi-weekly podcast is now playing on the festival’s YouTube channel, and available to download and listen on the Acast, Spotify and iTunes platforms.
Conecta Fiction, the annual international co-production and networking event focusing on TV fiction content, which takes place at Pamplona, Spain, annually, has announced its 2021 dates. The fifth edition of the event will have two components: an online event June 28-30 and an on-site and online event Sept. 13-17.
Investment firm Enact has become a major investor in U.K. post-production outfit Evolutions. The partnership will see a growth strategy put in place to strengthen Evolutions’ standing as a full-service post production house, delivering high-end quality work for the U.K.’s production outfits.
Under the terms of the new deal, Jim Campbell steps into the role of chairman and Enact’s Chris Cormack will hold the position of non-executive director. Evolutions CEO Simon Kanjee will continue alongside sales director Darren Musgrove, technical director Owen Tyler, and creative director Tim O’Brien.
The Locarno Film Festival will dedicate an extensive retrospective to late Italian director and screenwriter Alberto Lattuada, who combined neorealist filmmaking with a taste for genre and popular storytelling in works depicting changing social and sexual customs in postwar Italy.
Lattuada, who died in 2005, debuted as a helmer in 1942 with the 19th century-set costume drama “Giacomo the Idealist,” about the torment of a young woman raped by a village nobleman. This indictment of Italy’s oppressive establishment was the first of more than 30 pictures Lattuada made over the course of four decades, several of which centered on sexual mores.
In 1946, mixing neorealist ingredients with Hollywood gangster movie flavor, Lattuada made “The Bandit,” the tale of a WWII prison-camp survivor who returns from Germany to Turin and becomes a bordello-based mobster. In 1950, he gave Federico Fellini, then a screenwriter, his first break as a helmer, picking Fellini as co-director of “Variety Lights,” a portrayal of a traveling vaudeville troupe, which Lattuada and Fellini co-wrote.
In 1951 he scored his greatest commercial success with “Anna,” a drama about the conflict between the flesh and the spirit in which Anna Magnani plays a former nightclub entertainer who becomes a nun.
In 1960, he created a stir with “Sweet Deceits,” starring Catherine Spaak, in her screen debut, as a love-struck 17-year-old who observes other lovers while wondering if she is ready to lose her virginity.
The retro, curated by critic Roberto Turigliatto, is organized by Locarno in collaboration with several Swiss and Italian national film archives, and will travel internationally.
The 74th edition of the Locarno fest will run Aug. 4-14. – Nick Vivarelli