Gugu Mbatha-Raw to Star in BBC Adaptation of ‘The Girl Before’ – Global BulletinJanuary 7, 2021
In today’s Global Bulletin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw headlines BBC’s “The Girl Before”; VFX veteran Oikonomopoulou joins Cinesite; Channel 4 appoints Ally Castle as disability lead; Meihodo festival reveals winners; Snipple Animation launches U.K. originals outfit; and “Little Birds” and “My Big Family Farm” sell worldwide.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“The Morning Show”) is set to star in a BBC adaptation of J.P. Delaney’s best-selling novel “The Girl Before,” with 42 (“Military Wives”) producing. The series will follow a woman who falls for an architect and gets an eerie feeling about his house when she discovers another woman died there.
Marissa Lestrade (“Casualty”) is co-writing the adaptation, which is being overseen by Delaney, while Lisa Brühlmann (“Killing Eve”) will direct. ITV Studios will handle international distribution.
The BBC declined to comment.
The story was first reported by Variety sister publication Deadline.
VFX Supervisor Artemis Oikonomopoulou (pictured, left) has joined the London headquarters of award-winning animation and visual effects studio Cinesite. Oikonomopoulou has more than 20 years of experience in the field with credits including tentpoles “Venom,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Annihilation” and “Ant-Man.”
Oikonomopoulou has just delivered sci-fi thriller “Infinite,” and prior to that she was the visual effects supervisor for “Mermaid 2,” the sequel to the Chinese blockbuster. Recently she was on location at the pyramids in Egypt, shooting with drones and capturing background plates for “Death on the Nile” (pictured, right).
Cinesite is a homecoming for Oikonomopoulou, having begun her career there. She joins fellow VFX supervisors Aleksander Pejic (“The Witcher”) Ben White (“Black Widow”), Salvador Zalvidea (“Adrift”) and Simon Stanley-Clamp (“Avengers: Endgame”).
Elsewhere, U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has appointed Ally Castle as its new creative diversity and disability lead, reporting into the head of creative diversity, Babita Bahal. She will work closely with independent producers and commissioning teams within Channel 4 to increase disability representation both on and off screen, as well as ensuring the quality of authentic portrayal.
Prior to joining Channel 4, Castle worked as an independent disability consultant, working with clients including Sony Pictures Television, ITV, Nickelodeon, BBC Studios, A&E Networks, ScreenSkills, BBC and Disney.
Iranian filmmaker Komeil Soheili‘s documentary short “Coexist” won best film at the third annual Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival, taking home the top prize of $10,000. “Coexist” was also among the festival’s four gold prize winners, each of which earned its director’s $3,000. The other gold winners were “Heimat Europa” (dramatic short), by Isabel Jansson from Germany; ”Untouchable” (themed short) by Pi Chengdong from China; and ”Quarantine” (photography) by Maryam Saeedpoor of Iran.
At the virtual awards ceremony, Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche was on hand as guest of honor and special advisor.
Snipple Animation has launched U.K.-based outfit Snipple Originals focusing on the development of long form animated content for global audiences, with $8 million funding from investment firm BGF for a minority share in the company.
Karina Stanford-Smith, who has experience with Disney and Nickelodeon, has been appointed as animation development director, reporting into CEO Kaine Patel. Creative director Vincent James brings BBC and Nickelodeon experience, creative development producer Simon Godfrey has worked with Amazon and Coolabi.
First up are comedy action adventure series “Peeled Prawn & Shaved Sheep,” magical adventure series “Snö,” metaphysical mystery series “Cassidy’s Castle,” environmental series “Wise Island Woohoos,” and “Trippin’,” an 18+ comedy series based around a U.S. road trip.
ITV Studios has sold Warp Films’ six-part series “Little Birds,” based on Anaïs Nin’s erotic short stories, to Starzplay for Belgium, Brazil, France, Luxembourg, Spain, French-speaking Switzerland, the Netherlands and Latin America, Stan for Australia, TVNZ for New Zealand, Lionsgate for India, KT Corporation for Korea and PCCW Media Limited for Hong Kong, as well as RTL in Germany, MORE.TV in Russia and COSMOTETV in Greece.
The series was originally commissioned by Sky in the U.K., directed by Stacie Passon (“The Affair”), written by Sophia Al-Maria and produced by Ruth McCance and Peter Carlton (“The Last Panthers”), with Kara Manley serving as executive producer for Sky Studios. It stars Juno Temple (“Dirty John”), Yumna Marwan (“The Translator”) and Hugh Skinner (“Fleabag”).
Meanwhile, Cineflix Rights has sold U.K. broadcaster Channel 5’s documentary series “Our Yorkshire Farm” to CBC for Canada, Nine Network for Australia, Discovery Networks for New Zealand, TV2 for Denmark, YLE for Finland, NENT for Norway and Sweden, Manoto for Iran, TRT for Turkey, Tanweer Alliances for ERT Channel, Greece, and First HDTV for CIS and Baltic states. It has been renamed “My Big Family Farm” for these territories.
Produced by Renegade Pictures and Motion Content Group for Channel 5, the series chronicles the adventures of hill shepherds Amanda and Clive Owen as they raise their nine children and more than 1,000 sheep on one of the most remote farms in Britain.
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