Locarno’s Africa-Focused Industry Program; Reel Suspects ‘Bloodthirsty’ Deals; The Asylum Buys ‘Killer Advice’; ‘The Unreason’ Adds Cast; Hong Kong-Focused UK Film Season – Global Briefs

Tom Grater
·4 min read

Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival is launching a new industry event focusing on Africa. The Southern Africa-Locarno Industry Academy, hosted in collaboration with the Realness Institute of Africa, will take place online from 26 September to 2 October 2021 and will welcome 10-12 participants from all over the African continent. The project offers a tailored program featuring masterclasses and meetings with internationally established professionals. The aim is to enhance participants’ understanding of the challenges facing the film industry, while allowing them to expand their personal network of contacts and develop their professional skill set. “The Southern Africa-Locarno Industry Academy will allow us to introduce our program for young professionals in this region. Participants will be able to connect with Industry Academy alumni in Latin America, the Middle East, the USA and Europe, joining an international network of future industry players,” said Markus Duffner, the new head of Locarno Pro.

EXCLUSIVE: Paris-based Reel Suspects has inked a series of deals on Amelia Moses’ sophomore feature Bloodthirsty ahead of the film’s U.S. release on April 21 via Brainstorm Media. The pic has sold to Factoris Films (France), Alamode – Pierrot le fou (GAS), Signature Entertainment (UK, Ireland), Koch Media (Italy), Eagle Entertainment (Australia, New Zealand), Premiere TV (Benelux), Njuta Films (Scandinavia). Led by a female filmmaking team, Bloodthirsty is produced by Wendy Hill-Tout and Michael Peterson. David Bond and Alan Bacchus served as executive producers.

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EXCLUSIVE: The Asylum has acquired foreign distribution rights to Jared Cohn’s Killer Advice starring Kate Watson and Eric Roberts. Mutiny Films’ Demetrius Stear, Jared Cohn, and Jubal Kaplankohn produced the thriller, which also stars Meredith Thomas, Steve Richard Harris and Gina Hiraizumi. When Beth suffers a traumatic attack, her family and friends suggest she see a therapist to help her cope. However, her new therapist gives her more than she bargained for. Cohn’s other credits include Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash, Fast and Fierce: Death Race and Devil’s Revenge. He is currently lensing Reactor starring Bruce Willis. A&E Network holds the domestic rights.

EXCLUSIVE: Cast has been finalized on UK time-travel comedy The Unreason, with Johnny Vegas, Felicity Montagu and Brian Bovell joining the previously announced Tony Way and Sophie Thompson in the movie. Chris Reading is directing, producers are Hillary Shakespeare and Anna-Elizabeth Shakespeare. Production co Shakespeare Sisters also recently acquired rights to Love, Simon writer Becky Albertalli’s The Upside of Unrequited. Filming on The Unreason will take place in the UK this summer. Story follows follows best friends Ruth and Megan, who run a vintage shop in leafy Muswell Hill. After stumbling across a time machine, they embark on trips to the past, ‘borrowing’ items to sell in the present Johnny Vegas is represented by Curtis Brown. Felicity Montagu is represented by Independent Talent. Brian Bovell is represented by Zoë Nathenson Agency.

EXCLUSIVE: An online showcase of Chinese-language cinema is being launched with the goal of sparking constructive public debate about the situation in Hong Kong. Titled ‘Hong Kong, Reimagined’, the program will run from April 6 to May 12 on the chinesefilm.uk website with passes available for £9.99 a go. It is presented by Trinity CineAsia, Filming East Festival and UK-China Film Collab. The season features Golden Gate Girls (2013), Havana Divas (2018), My Heart is That Eternal Rose (1989), Keep Rolling (2020, UK premiere), Ip Man (2008) and its sequel Ip Man 2 (2010), Echoes of the Rainbow (2010), Shock Wave (2017), plus a surprise closing film.

Industry winners have been crowned at Lithuania’s Vilnius International Film Festival. This year’s virtual edition of the E-Meeting Point industry forum saw 320 delegates connect over the three days for live events and individual meetings. This year’s winners include the Lithuanian Film Center Award winner A Hero of Our Time by Mirac Atabey, in which Lermontov’s infamous hero crosses paths with a contemporary Anatolian; the AVAKA – Best Lithuanian Pitch winner, Doviljė Šarutytė’s Feature Film about Life, a formally inventive family portrait with documentary elements; the Marché du Film Producers Network Award winner Aurora’s Sunrise, by Armenian director Inna Sahakyan and producers Vardan Havhannisyan and Justė Michailinaitė, presented by ARTBOX, Lithuania; a second Marché du Film Producers Network Award winner, the tragicomic A Dying Showgirl and Her Son in Space by the debut Swedish team of director Charlotte Eliasson and producer Elin Bennett; and the Sunny Side of the Doc Award winner Aurora’s Sunrise, by Armenian director Inna Sahakyan.

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