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Netflix Unveils Slates In Germany & UK


We’re back again, Insiders. Jesse Whittock with you this week, as Netflix showcased its latest wares, Hong Kong welcomed the entertainment world and Argentinian film was plunged into crisis. Here we go. Sign up to the newsletter here

Slates Of The Nations

Tom Kaulitz, Bill Kaulitz and Jenny Augusta at last night’s Next on Netflix event in Berlin, Germany

Ben Kriemann/Getty Images for Netflix

Netflix struts: At times, the past year has felt like a succession of bad news stories from the international streamers, as they pull out of local markets and axe originals from their services to reduce costs. Not so from Netflix, which this week held content showcases in London and Berlin as it sought to reaffirm its credentials in the UK and Germany. On Wednesday night, Netflix Germany showcased 17 titles, including new original film Brick from prolific production pair Wiedemann and Berg, reality show Kaulitz and Kaulitz and reality competition format, Fight For Paradise: Who Can You Trust. Local stars such as Tokio House musicians and new reality stars Bill and Tom Kaulitz attended. Somewhat surprisingly, some Netflix wanted to play down the event’s scale — no official word on why, but it could be speculated Netflix is trying to dial down the fanfare in a market where the likes of Sky Deutschland have pulled out of local commissioning, a streaming levy introduction is being explored and local funding laws are being assessed. There’s more to come here, for sure.

UK’s okay: The following evening, Netflix went big at a showcase in London, with stars out in force. Benedict Cumberbatch was on hand to discuss his new Netflix UK original, Eric, while Billie Piper and Rufus Sewell discussed the upcoming Prince Andrew interview car-crash film Scoop. Its trailer received one of the best receptions of the evening. Gillian Anderson even made an appearance via video link, revealing she almost turned down the role of interviewer Emily Maitlis in the film. There was no sense Netflix was holding back in England’s capital, as the starry event was used to reveal Netflix’s Black Mirror will return to the USS Callister in its seventh season, which is now official. Elsewhere, Jamie Dornan will play twins in a crime noirPeaky Blinders maker Steven Knight is turning his attention to Ireland’s most famous stout-making family in House of Guinness (working title) and Stephen Graham, Jack Thorne and Philip Barantini will join forces once again for a one-shot drama. Matt Charman’s latest project, which Max had revealed earlier in the week, was also confirmed. On the unscripted front, Bear Grylls format Bear Hunt (working title) was the standout order, while Guy Ritchie is exec producing Millennium Diamond Heist, about an audacious raid at London’s Millennium Dome. There was also confirmation of another Deadline scoop in The Final: Attack on Wembley, which we first told you about in January 2023.

Bigger picture: Netflix UK’s VP of Content, Anne Mensah, noted the event was “the biggest UK-led entertainment show” the streamer has held to date, but also took the chance to credit her rivals. In a speech, she praised Film4 for its BAFTA and Oscars wins, said ITV had “smashed into January” with Mr Bates vs the Post Office and added The Traitors is “surely the BBC at its most fun.” As for Netflix’s latest slate, she said: “Our ambition is simply to make shows and movies that appeal to the different tastes and interests of our members… I don’t expect you to love it all — it’s not all for you — but I am 100% sure that you are going to find something you love.” The fact that Netflix this week struck a deal with the UK’s scripted TV writers over minimum fees and rights for the first time is indeed an example the streamer is taking its UK business seriously. And Mensah and co need to be serious: in a UK market has that been impacted by the U.S. labor strikes, a commissioning downturn and a crisis over out-of-work production crew, the pressure is on to find hits and boost a troubled sector. Also worth reading on the Netflix UK front is Max’s investigationinto why the streamer’s joint content initiative with the BBC to create content from disabled creators has not yielded a single show more than two years after it was announced.

A Picture Of Filmart

Filmart

Hong Kong Trade Development Council

The art of business: Liz and Zac were both on the road this week for Filmart, the Hong Kong TV and film fest. Word on the ground was the event was bigger and busier than the 2023 edition, when Hong Kong and mainland China were still only just reopening borders after the Covid pandemic. However, Liz’s wrap article yesterday noted that despite the noisey conference halls, dealmaking felt decidedly quiet — albeit Filmart has never been a place of furious business. Plenty of European sellers were in town, and most felt it was worth the trip to catch up with Asian buyers, but it’s a tough game these days. Indeed, during a co-pro panel in which the Hong Kong Film Development Council introduced a new scheme to bridge the continental divide, the talk was of collaboration because “there’s less money everywhere.” Later in the week, visionary filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda warned production staff in Japan are currently “not making a living in the industry.” That said, there was some good news on the deals front, with Liz revealing FIlipino studio ANIMA is tyingwith Project 8 Projects to co-produce Antoinette Jadaone’s teenage pregnancy drama Sunshine, and that U.S.-based Filipino filmmaker Isabel Sandoval is returning home to shoot her fourth featureMoonglow.

Alibaba burnishes HK: The other big news of the week was Chinese tech and media giant Alibaba revealing it will plough HK$5B ($640M) into Hong Kong’s creative industries over the next half-decade. The plan, a joint initiative between Alibaba and leading Hong Kong production companies, was announced on day one at an event attended by key execs and local government officials. Another announcement later in the day revealed Alibaba will work with Media Asia to, among other lofty culture goals, “nurture a new generation of stars, promote talent development, and inject new vitality and creativity into the cultural and entertainment sectors.” China’s cultural and economic integration of Hong Kong, once a British territory, grows more and more evident and questions are being asked how the island can maintain an identity distinct from the mainland as things progress. Liz noted that international press could not attend the Alibaba event — a sign of change and challenges ahead.

Disaster In Argentina

Argentina.

GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images.

INCAA defunded: There have been concerns about the future of Argentina’s film business ever since the far-right Javier Milei became the South American country’s leader in December. Those fears became reality this week when the ominous-sounding Human Capital Ministry suspended all funding for the country’s national film body, the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA) after claimed to have found a $4M budget deficit. “The time when film festivals were financed with the hunger of thousands of children is over,” the ministry stated provocatively. INCAA’s everyday operations will cease, as will support for national film releases. Gutting INCAA’s funding would be “the end of Argentinian cinema as we know it,” LA-based Argentinian producer Axel Kuschevatsky told us back in January, and that is now the situation facing the business. The news is all the more devastating in the knowledge that Milei had walked back plans to scrap INCAA funding in January. Milei has seen widespread plans for austerity measures rejected in parliament yesterday, so there are more twists in the story coming, but the gutting of INCAA represents a disastrous development given Argentina’s proud filmmaking traditions.

Stan To Attention

Stan's new slate (L-R) clockwise from top left: Invisible Boys, Critical Incident, Exposure and Thou Shalt Not Steal

Stan‘s new slate (L-R) clockwise from top left: Invisible Boys, Critical Incident, Exposure and Thou Shalt Not Steal

Stan

LA goes Down Under: Over the past year, there are been growing number of U.S. actors and networks investing in Australian-created projects. Streaming service Stan has been at the forefront of the trend, with shows including C*A*U*G*H*T and Population 11 bringing stars such as Sean Penn, Matthew Fox and Ben Feldman across the world to film. This week, I revealed the latest in this trend is comedic procedural Good Cop/Bad Cop, starring Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester, Dexter: New Blood‘s Clancy Brown and Australian actor Luke Cook. The CW and Roku are co-production partners, as is Jeff Wachtel’s Future Shack Entertainment. Shooting will take place in Queensland. International co-pros are becoming an increasingly useful, cost-effective tool for the likes of The CW and Fox, and despite concerns the U.S. is looking inwards for its drama and comedy projects, Australia is winning business. For more on Stan, meanwhile, check out my exclusive report on its latest slate, which includes projects from Universal International Studios-owned Matchbox Pictures and Colin From Accounts producer Easy Tiger Productions. 

International Oscars

'The Zone of Interest' director Jonathan Glazer and 'Oppenheimer's Christopher Nolan

‘The Zone of Interest’ director Jonathan Glazer and ‘Oppenheimer’s Christopher Nolan

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Record breakers: Sunday night’s 96th Oscars ceremony was a good one for those outside the U.S. As Mel reported, a record number of non-English-language movies took home statuettes (five), with Justine Triet and Arthur Harari’s French-language courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall notably winning the Best Screenplay award. Though produced out of the UK, Jonathan Glazer’s German-language holocaust drama The Zone of Interest bagged Best International Feature Film, and Japanese animation guru Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron won the Best Animation Oscar. Of course, the UK had a very good evening thanks primarily to a certain Christopher Nolan, who scooped Best Director and Best Picture for film-of-the-hour Oppenheimer. However, controversy arose following The Zone of Interest director Glazer’s acceptance speech, which referenced the “dehumanization” in the Israel-Gaza conflict. The film’s executive producer, former BBC Director General Danny Cohen, was among those to reject the comments. The incident reminds us all of the great human tragedies that continue while cinema recognizes its brightest and best.

The Essentials

Vladimir Putin Paul McCartney

Vladimir Putin (left) & Paul McCartney

MIKHAIL METZEL/POOL/AFP / Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images

🌶️ Hot One: The BBC ordered On Thin Ice: Putin V Greenpeace, about the Russian leader’s battle with climate protestors who attracted the support of Paul McCartney.

🌶️ Another: Skybound Entertainment signed a “first-of-its-kind” deal with Prime Video for dystopian thriller series VAKA. Max with this.

🌶️ That’s spicy: The Gurin Company, UTA and South Korea’s Nikki Semin Han teamed to create a reality series hunting for undiscovered American K-pop stars.

📹 Casting: Jessica Plumber, Richard Armitage and Lenny Henry help to round out cast on Netflix’s latest Harlan Coben adaptation, Missing You.

🎭 Awards: Sarah Jessica Parker, Andrew Scott and Sarah Snook are among the nominees for next month’s Oliviers.

🤝 Done deal: Universal Television Alternative Studio struck a first-look agreement with Emma Cooper’s UK indie Empress Films.

✊ Solidarity: Entertainment unions around the world pledged their support to IATSE, as it begins negotiating a new deal with Hollywood producers.

🏃🏽‍♂️ Off to the races: Jake and Max outlined the runners and riders for the next CEO of BBC Studios Productions.

🏢 Agency: UTA’s Curtis Brown launched an unscripted and entertainment UK rep division under ex-YMU agent Martha Atack.

Ⓜ️&🅰️: The UK’s Signature Entertainment plans to acquire Latin America’s Particular Crowd.

🇮🇳 India: Paramount Global shopped its $500M stake in Viacom18 Media to Indian conglom Reliance Industries.

👩🏻 New role: Juliette Binoche has been appointed President of the European Film Academy after Agnieszka Holland stepped down.

👀 Actual first look: At Daniel Brühl as fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld in Disney+’s upcoming bio series, after an initial first look showed only a silhouetted image.



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