Art and Experience:

After taking 2020 off, BAFTA’s Children’s Awards are set to return in November 2022 following a review starting in May of last year. The upcoming awards will place a stronger focus on engaging young audiences through updated categories and a ceremony to be held at the end of a larger weekend of BAFTA Kids activities. Entry to the awards will open in May of next year with an extended eligibility period reaching back to July 1, 2019. Details for the revised categories, eligibility and rules will be announced in due time. BAFTA was recently recognized, alongside children’s mental health charity Place2B, by Action for Children’s Arts with an outstanding contribution award.

DOCUMENTARY

Discovery Plus has commissioned a new docuseries with former England striker-turned-pundit and podcaster Peter Crouch, “Save Our Beautiful Game.” Banijay’s Workerbee will produce the eight-part series, which follows Crouch as he returns to grassroots soccer in an attempt to turn the tide for a struggling non-league club. Inspired by the financial hit clubs across the U.K. took during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns, the series hopes to drum up support that many of Britain’s 40,000 clubs need to stay afloat.

THEATRICAL

Bona Film’s Chinese “main melody” patriotic film “Chinese Doctors” has set a July 9 release date, hitting a week after the politically key 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party on July 1. The period ahead and just after the date will be stacked with patriotic films to celebrate China’s progress under the party’s leadership.

The film is inspired by real events that occurred in Wuhan in the early days of the pandemic, with characters based on real-life medical staff in Wuhan or who came from elsewhere in the country to aid the city at its darkest time. It centers on happenings at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, an early hub for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The title is directed by Hong Kong’s Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, helmer of the classic “Infernal Affairs” trilogy and past Bona-backed patriotic blockbusters like 2019’s “The Bravest” and “The Captain.” The film stars “The Captain” actors Zhang Hanyu and Yuan Quan, as well as TFBoys idol Jackson Yee, the lead in Oscar-nominated Hong Kong drama “Better Days.”

APPOINTMENT

Entertainment communications agency Organic has appointed former Channel 4 executive Ryan Davies to the newly created role of head of television. Reporting to Organic managing director Caragh Cook, Davies brings with him 15 years of PR experience, having recently managed the high-profile publicity for Russell T. Davies’ global hit “It’s a Sin.” Davies joins a new-look executive team including senior TV publicity consultant Christina Joyce, who will transition to executive director, and recent hire Jenny Heaton, who joined as account director earlier this year.

*****

Scotland’s Centre for the Moving Image has appointed Kristy Matheson as its new creative director. Matheson will lead the Edinburgh International Film Festival and Filmhouse Cinemas. She will join CMI following the delivery of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2021 (Aug. 18-25) and will lead plans for the 75th anniversary edition of the festival in 2022. Matheson comes to CMI from her role as director of film at Australia’s national museum of screen culture, ACMI. She previously worked at Brisbane International Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival and Dendy Films.

 

STREAMING

Netflix is to release “This Little Love of Mine” on July 7, 2021. The film has the distinction of being the first to start production in Australia last year after peak coronavirus. The romantic drama stars Saskia Hampele (“The Heights”) and Liam McIntyre (“Spartacus: Vengeance”) in a tale about a U.S. lawyer who, on a business trip to a tropical paradise, asks whether she is engaged to the right man. With location filming entirely in north Queensland’s Palm Cove, the film was directed by Christine Luby and produced by The Steve Jaggi Company.

CASTING

Sasha Frost (“His Dark Materials,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) will star in Kieran Bourne’s “All Is Mum,” an upcoming feature about the challenges faced by single mothers during the COVID-19 crisis, and the long-term affects of the psychological strain it caused. Frost is joined by up-and-coming youngsters Keira Chansa (“Come Away”) and Mimi Soetan (“Eastenders”). “All Is Mum” is produced by the London’s all women-run production company Candid Broads (“Smudged Smile”), dedicated to supporting diversity on both sides of the camera.

DISTRIBUTION

Eccho Rights has closed a deal with CJ ENM to distribute Korean drama series “Doom at Your Service” globally. This spring’s biggest Korean drama launch, “Doom at Your Service” stars Park Bo-young (“Oh My Ghost, Abyss”) and Seo In-guk (“Hundred Million Stars From the Sky”) in a romantic comedy about a young woman in a deal-with-the-devil scenario after she’s diagnosed with a terminal illness. The show is produced by Studio Dragon and Studio&NEW.

ANIMATION

WarnerMedia’s Cartoon Network has revealed its first Indian local superhero “Ekans – Ek Se Badhkar Snake,” which debuts on June 27. The series features the 13-year-old street-smart and tech-savvy Ekans, who has serpent-like powers, and his quest to keep humanity safe. It is produced by Kolkata-based studio Hi-Tech Animation and joins other recent local originals in India including “Dabangg – The Animated Series” on Cartoon Network; as well as “Titoo – Har Jawaab Ka Sawaal Hu,” “Smashing Simmba” and “Lambu-G Tingu-G” on companion channel POGO.

Source: Variety