Roll up, roll up, Insiders. Cannes has been in the headlines for both film festival and Mip TV reasons this week, so plenty to follow. Jesse Whittock taking you through. Don’t forget to subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.
Fremantle Moves On From Andreae
Allegations emerge: It’s been a rocky few weeks for Fremantle UK, the production giant behind the Got Talent franchise, Too Hot to Handle and The Responder. Early last Friday UK time, Jake broke the story that Fremantle UK CEO Simon Andreae was leaving his role, with the exec citing “health” issues. But Deadline then revealed the story could be a bit more complicated than that. In fact, the former Channel 4, Discovery and Fox unscripted boss had been investigated internally after facing complaints of workplace misconduct, one coming at a Fremantle diversity event in March. It was a shocking turn of events, as Fremantle seeks to hit a multi-billion euro revenue target by 2025. (You can read more about that aside here, from an investigation Jake and I undertook earlier this year.) Fremantle has dominated industry chatter ever since.
Brown u-turns: The story took a new twist yesterday, when news broke that Amelia Brown had been named Andreae’s successor. Brown had previously been one of several high-profile FM UK bosses who was set to leave the business to start a new venture. Back in January, Max had broken the news of her departure as Managing Director of Too Hot to Handle maker Thames, but, alas, the lure of the big job will keep her with Fremantle. Brown has been with Thames since 2003, and became MD in 2017 when it merged with Talkback. They later de-merged. Whether this is now the end of the Fremantle management saga, we’ll wait to see. Fremantle CEO Jennifer Mullin is keynoting at the Banff Media Festival in June, but we might not have to wait that long for more insight.
Mip TV Makes Hay
Life in the old market yet: We’ve got Max reporting after a busy few days in Cannes, where rumors of the demise of Mip TV have long been in the ether. But have they been greatly exaggerated? While the annual Cannes confab – Mipcom’s mini equivalent – felt quieter, attendees reported a positive vibe and enjoyed having that little bit more time to network and catch up with contacts. Ironically, in being a bit smaller, Mip might have found itself a cosy niche. Despite the reams of roadworks making the Croisette at times sound like the end of days, the market was a successful one, helped along by the much-discussed formats revival and a debut FAST summit that proved to be a big draw. “We have found the right format and scale for MIPTV and its working,” said event organizer Lucy Smith. While TV confabs have become so much more than sales markets in recent years, we nonetheless revealed a triple Traitors buy for Canada’s Crave along with six more local adaptions of the smash format, which dominated chatter. Other big deals included for German eco-thriller The Swarm, Red Arrow format Stranded on Honeymoon Islandand the My King Charles doc. Dive deeper here for the key takeaways, where Jesse and myself dissect the scripted slowdown, future of FAST and a strong U.S. showing at the concurrent Canneseries market.
Line up run down: Mel has been hard at work bringing you the latest Cannes updates. Here’s her report… There are just over three weeks to go before the film industry descends on Cannes for the 76th edition of the mother of all festivals. After the unveiling of the Official Selection on April 13, it was the turn of parallel selections Critics’ Week and Directors’ Fortnight to announce their line-ups this week. Overseen by the French Syndicate of Critics and focused on first and second films, Critics’ Week is coming off a buzzed-about 2022 selection topped by Aftersun, Alma Viva and Dalva. Highlights of its compact selection of 11 features for 2023 include Korean horror Sleep by former Bong Joon-Ho assistant Jason Yu and featuring Parasite star Lee Sun-kyun and Jung Yu-mi (Train to Busan), and Amanda Eu’s tale of teenage rebellion Tiger Stripes, which is the first Malaysian film to play in the section over its 62-year history. Artistic director Ava Cahen, who is in her second year in the role, highlighted the strength of the submissions out of Asia. “It was a real pleasure exploring what was on offer there,” she told Deadline in an interview unpacking the selection.
Taking direction: Over at Directors’ Fortnight, incoming Delegate General Julien Rejl unveiled his inaugural line-up for its 55th edition. The former producer, distributor and sales agent unveiled an eclectic line-up mixing new films by established names Michel Gondry and Hong Sang-soo, buzzed-about newcomers and a handful of off-the-radar titles. Rejl told Deadline that he is trying to re-position the section as a place of discovery, while supporting indie filmmakers working on their own. The icing on the cake for the section was the announcement on Thursday that Quentin Tarantino will be Directors’ Fortnight’s guest of honor this year, presenting his counter-history of cinema and a secret screening.
Meanwhile over at the Cannes Film Festival: Announcements out of the main festival continued to drop throughout the week, notably the selection of Pixar’s new film Elemental as the closer. Cannes Delegate General Thierry Frémaux told the press conference last week that he expected another five to six titles to join the Official Selection. Industry and speculation is rife over what has made the very final cut.
The Hunt For Gold
Punk ethos: Diana’s latest International Disruptors article features UK indie film veteran Phil Hunt — a colorful character whose career has taken him from punk band photographer to becoming one of Europe’s top production financiers through his indie company Head Gear. “Punk taught me to make assets out of problems,” he says, in a wide-ranging interview that covers his working life, business philosophy and the challenging state of the UK market. “The streamers have taken all of the crew and are paying people well, which is a great thing… but for the independent producers and the independent film world, it’s not working in the slightest,” he adds. For more zingers like that, read on.
Russo returns: Zac was in Scotland with Deadline Editor-in-Chief Mike Fleming Jr. this past weekend. Here’s his report… Scotland’s Sands International Film Festival of St Andrews wrapped its second edition last weekend following a tight three-day schedule of screenings, industry panels, and director Q&As. Proceedings opened with a premiere screening of Prime Video’s forthcoming mega-budget series Citadel, introduced by executive producer Joe Russo, who is a primary sponsor of the fest through his AGBO production label. That preceded the world premiere of Citadel in London on Tuesday night, attended by the likes of stars Richard Madden, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Stanley Tucci, , plus Russo and Amazon execs such as Jennifer Salke. Other Sands highlights included a Q&A with Tucci, who screened his 1996 culinary comedy Big Night, and Reinaldo Marcus Green, who brought his 2018 thriller Monsters and Men. The weekend highlight was perhaps the festival’s keynote industry panel chaired by Deadline’s Mike Fleming. The panel featured Russo, Cinetic Media founder John Sloss and writer-director Adura Onashile (Girl), who had a lively discussion about filmmaking in the modern landscape of streaming and what Sloss described as “post-movie stardom.” “We’re in a post-movie star era, except for maybe Tom Cruise,” Sloss said, explaining that few stars are able to draw people to the theater. Shortly after the festival’s closing night, Deadline spoke with fest director Ania Trzebiatowska about her plans for the festival’s future. You can read here.
🌶️ Hot One: Starter For 10, the film that launched the careers of James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch and other UK stars, is getting a stage musical remake, Baz revealed.
🌶️ Another One: Juliette Binoche leads the cast of Queen at Sea, currently shooting in the UK.
🌶️ One more: HanWay Films boarded Wim Wenders’ 3D doc Anselm ahead of its Cannes Film Festival world premiere, per Andreas.
🌶️ Very, very hot now: The BBC ordered TV’s first Lord of the Flies adaptation, with Jack Thorne writing.
🖊️ Signed up: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, whose 2002 BAFTA-nommed film Devdas premiered in Cannes, with WME.
🖊️ Also signed: Veteran actor Richard Dreyfuss, for representation with Innovative Artists. A Zac scoop.
🌍 Global Breakout: Spanish animated family comedy Mummies is making waves. Nancy with the insight.
🐦 Twitter row: Public media bodies call for Twitter to stop labelling public networks “Government-funded Media.”
🤝 Hired: Tom Watt-Smith as Creative Director at Welcome to Earth with Will Smith maker Nutopia.
🧙♀️ Fright night: The UK’s National Theatre is scaring up a musical version of Roald Dahl children’s novel The Witches. Another Baz banger.
⬆️ Upped: Prime Video’s Martin Backlund, to Managing Director of the Nordics, as I revealed Monday morning.
🏆 Winner: Norwegian political satire Power Play was named Best Series at Canneseries.
🎥 Trailer: For HBO Max’s buzzy Cold War drama series Spy/Master.
Melanie Goodfellow, Zac Ntim and Max Goldbart contributed to this week’s International Insider