Hopkins, Costner & Wahlberg Honored At Joy Awards; BBC & Virgin TV Order Revenge Drama; Miss World Plans; STV Studios & Mettlemouse Hires; ZDF Studios Greenlight In Canada; UK Pitch Film Fund Winners — Global Briefs

Saudi’s Joy Awards Honors Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Costner & More

The likes of Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Costner and Mark Wahlberg were honored at Saudi Arabia’s Joy Awards 2024 on Saturday. Jean Reno, Eva Longoria, Salman Khan, Martin Lawrence, Quincy Jones, Alia Bhatt, Georgina Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson, Sam Worthington and Paul Anderson were also either celebrated or in attendance in Riyadh, along with the likes directors Zach Schneider and Doug Liman, and global sports stars Tyson Fury, John Cena and Francis Ngannou. The awards are part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program and recognize major names in music, cinema, television, sports, and more from the Arab world. Hopkins, Costner and Jones were among several recipients of Lifetime Achievement honors, while industry awards went to Bollywood star Bhatt, Schneider and Bad Boys actor Martin Lawrence among others. MBC Group, the Middle East’s largest broadcast and media firm, co-hosts the awards, which are led by Saudi’s General Entertainment Authority.

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Annabel Scholey & Colin Morgan Star In BBC Drama ‘Dead And Buried’

Annabel Scholey (The SplitThe Serial Killer’s Wife, The Salisbury Poisonings) and Colin Morgan (HumansBelfastDead Shot) will star in Dead and Buried, a psychological drama series for BBC Northern Ireland and Ireland’s Virgin Media Television. Colin Bateman is the writer. Cast for the series, made in association with All3Media International, also includes Kerri Quinn (Hope Street), Waj Ali (Carnival Row), Owen Roe (Vikings) and Niamh Walsh (The Sandman). Three River Fiction and Vico Films are co-producing with support from Screen Ireland, Northern Ireland Screen and Coimisiún na Meán, and filming has begun in on the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The series is set on the border between the two countries. It follows a woman who intimates a clandestine relationship with the man who brutally murdered her brother 20 years prior, engaging in a campaign of harassment and deceit. As her obsession grows, dark fantasies of revenge and reality blur as she tries to destroy the man’s life.

Endemol Shine India To Produce Miss World Festival

The Miss World Organization has appointed Endemol Shine India as the producer of coverage for the 71st Miss World Festival. The event is scheduled to take place between in New Delhi, kicking off with an opening ceremony on February 20, with the finale held at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai on March 9. It will be streamed and telecast around the world, and marks the first time in 28 years that it’s been held in India. “This opportunity allows us to bring our expertise to one of the most celebrated global events, right here in India,” said Rishi Negi, Group COO – Banijay Asia & Endemol Shine India. Negi took on his new role in December following Banijay Asia’s full takeover of Endemol Shine India, which was previously a joint venture between Banijay and CA Media.

‘Beat The Chasers’ Co-Creator Joins STV Studios & ‘Gladiators’ Exec Heads To Mettlemouse

The co-creator of Beat the Chasers and Tenable is joining STV Studios to head up development in its entertainment division, while, BBC Studios-backed producer Mettlemouse has signed Gladiator exec Katrina Grant. Andy Sockanathan joins Screw producer STV Studios from RDF, where he has also headed up development for the past couple of years. His hire comes alongside James Smales, who also joins from RDF as a development exec. “Between them, Andy and James have developed some of the most original and engaging shows on TV, so it’s fantastic to have them bring their experience and creativity to the STV Studios Entertainment team,” said STV Creative Director of Entertainment Gary Chippington. Sockanathan co-created two ITV stalwarts in Beat the Chasers and Tenable and joins at a time of growth for STV’s production arm, which recently acquired indie incubator Greenbird. Elsewhere in the UK indie space, Grant is taking on the Director of Development role at Mettlemouse, having left Hungry Bear. Grant will oversee the development slate of the newly-launched indie, which is run by former TOWIE exec Sarah Tyekiff. Grant’s past credits include BBC smash Gladiators, The Wheel and Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad. “Katrina has been heavily involved in some of the biggest shows of the past 10 years,” said Tyekiff. “Having entered into funded developments in such a short space of time, we’re thrilled to continue the momentum and get someone with Katrina’s expertise on board.”

Germany’s ZDF Studios Greenlights Canadian-Made Space Series

ZDF Studios in Germany has ordered an eight-part science series from Canadian indie Go Button Media. Canadian network Super Channel is also attached to Into the Universe: The Secrets of the Cosmos Uncovered, which is billed as “an accessible and entertaining space and science series that will shine a light on some of the universe’s most intriguing and baffling questions.” Produced in 4K, episodes will cover subjects such as the size, scope and shape of the universe, how stars collide to become supernovas and the origins of existence on Earth. This is the first time ZDF’s production and sales arm has commissioned a series from the Canadian indie. ZDFS will also get international sales rights outside Canada. The show will begin delivering at the end of 2024.

UK Pitch Film Fund Unveils 2024 Winners

The UK’s Pitch Film Fund has unveiled winners for 2024. Our Child from Anatole Sloan and Maddie Dai’s comedy Jael Drives the Nail scooped the gongs in the Sheffield ceremony, while this year’s Lucy Scher Award went to Olga Thompson for Stavros & Demetra. The fund is into its 15th year and seeks to find the next generation of short films in the UK, handig £60,000 ($76,000) to its winners. “Our winning ideas are of course always timeless and current and this is particularly true of our winners this year,” said founder Luke Walton. “We were presented with cinematic, truly original adaptations of Bible stories that have remarkable resonance with our times.”

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