In today’s Global Bulletin, the BBC announced more than 500 complaints about a Black Lives Matter tribute during this year’s New Year’s Eve fireworks; Lux Vide and Arrow Pictures make key appointments; the Nordisk Film & TV Fond announces this year’s prize jury and Mark Lazarus is named as this year’s NATPE opening keynote speaker.
NEW YEARS EVE
The BBC started 2021 with a televised bang as it took London’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display, traditionally held at the London Eye but reformatted for a TV audience this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to the airwaves. The night didn’t pass without controversy however, as the broadcaster received 500 complaints from angry armchair warriors who were unhappy about a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement.
As fireworks were launched, LED-lit drones flew nearby and formed iconic images from the past year including a tribute to Captain Tom Moore, who raised millions of pounds for the NHS walking in his back garden, a muted microphone icon spoofing many workers’ migration to Zoom, and eventually several clenched fists, which have become synonymous with the BLM movement.
As the festivities kicked off, a poem was recited which began: “In the year of 2020 a new virus came our way. We knew what must be done, and so to help we hid away. Old habits became extinct and they made way for the new. And every simple act of kindness was now given its due.”
The evening finished with a message from Sir David Attenborough calling on the British population to step up their efforts to protect the planet in the new year.
Italy’s Lux Vide, the company behind the “Medici” saga, “Devils” and the upcoming “Leonardo” series toplining Aidan Turner, has appointed former pubcaster RAI exec Valerio Fiorespino as its chief corporate officer.
Fiorespino, who is currently chief corporate officer of Telecom Italia’s Sparkle subsidiary, is a prominent Italian exec who has spent most of his career at RAI where he oversaw disbursement of its large TV drama resources and headed the Human Resources department.
Fiorespino’s appointment takes place amid Lux Vide’s ongoing expansion. Despite COVID-19, the company has been highly active lately, managing to keep several sets, including “Leonardo,” open during the pandemic. They recently announced a reboot of widely exported cult Italian series “Sandokan,” with Turkish star Can Yaman (“Daydream,” “Bitter Sweet”) attached as the show’s titular 19th-century pirate, and launched a new unit dedicated to podcasts.
U.K. factual production company Arrow Pictures has appointed senior development veteran Katie Elmes as its new development executive, effective immediately.
Over Elmes’ 15 years in the television industry, she has spent time working in both production and development and is responsible for developing more than 100 hours of factual programming with companies such as BBC, Blink, Nutopia and Voltage. Her freelance development credits include “Our Coast” and “London: 2000 Years of History.”
In her time at Big Wheel Film and Television, she worked on “Sue Perkins: Along the US-Mexico Border” for BBC One and with Blink Films her commissions included “The Missing Evidence” for Channel Five and Smithsonian, “Nazi Secret Files” for American Heroes Channel and Discovery International, and “Titanic: The New Evidence” for Channel 4.
The 2021 Göteborg Film Festival’s conference event and series market will, for the fourth year running, host the presentation of the Nordisk Film & TV Fond’s Nordic TV Drama Screenplay Award, which today announced its three-person jury.
Comprising this year’s panel are Emmy Award-winning producer and head of international content development at The Mediapro Studio Ran Tellem (“Homeland,” “The Head”), festival director at Denmark’s THIS – Future Stories & Engagement and Aarhus Series Felicia Elisabeth Jackson, and Swedish actor Evin Ahmad (“The Rain,” “Beyond Dreams”).
Jurors will choose from five nominated Nordic drama series competing for a $23,800 prize. The winning series will be announced during an online awards ceremony on Feb. 3.
NBCUniversal’s TV and streaming chairman Mark Lazarus will be the keynote opening speaker at this year’s entirely online National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE). Leading the session and interviewing the executive will be NBC’s “Today” co-anchor Hoda Kotb.
Running Jan. 19-22, NATPE will start with Lazarus’ fireside chat before hosting a series of panels and meetings focusing on business, audience, content and production. Several major international companies have teased executive involvement, with specific name announcements expected in the coming days. ViacomCBS, Fox, Netflix, AMC, A+E and Canal Plus are all scheduled to feature in dedicated sessions.