Global Bulletin: El Gouna Announces Finalists for its CineGouna Platform

In today’s Global Bulletin, El Gouna announces CineGouna Platform finalists, “Decrypted” gets back to filming in the U.K. after a five-month layoff, ZDF boards a Danish co-production and Vice appoints a new VP for its U.K. non-fiction branch.

FESTIVALS

Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival (GFF), rescheduled to take place in person Oct. 23-31, has announced the 18 finalist projects selected to participate in this year’s 4th edition of the CineGouna Platform for projects produced or co-produced by MENA countries, running Oct. 25-30.

Also in its fourth year, CineGouna SpringBoard, a co-production lab dedicated to supporting regional projects, will feature 65 projects in development and 34 films in post-production.

This year, 18 projects were selected to participate in CineGouna Platform, 12 in development and six in post. At the end of the Platform, a best project will be selected and receive the CineGounda Platform Certificate and a cash prize of $15,000.

“CineGouna Platform was conceived and inaugurated alongside GFF’s first edition, a powerful testimony of the festival’s commitment to engage positively with the stakeholders in the national and regional film industries,” said festival director Intishal Al Timimi. “We are proud that CineGouna has managed to become an important hub that launches film initiatives in the Arab world, attracting the most ambitious filmmakers.”

This year’s projects come from Egypt, Bahrain, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Algeria, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Palestine, and demonstrate the growing international reach of Arab cinema with several featuring co-producers in Spain, France, Germany and Brazil.

FILMING

After being halted by the COVID-19 production shutdown in March, British dark comedy feature “Decrypted” will resume filming on Sept. 1, produced by Substantial Films.

Full casting has also been announced, headlined by Sophia Myles (“Transformers: Age of Extinction”) and David Hoflin (“Z: The Beginning of Everything”), who are joined by Amanda Abbington (“Sherlock”), Kevin McNally (“Pirates of the Caribbean”), Clive Francis (“The Crown”), Talisa Garcia (“Baptiste”), Akie Kotabe (“The Man in the High Castle”), Don Gilet (“The Stranger”) and Sophie Barker (“The Holly Kane Experiment”).

“Decrypted” comes from the team behind best comedy winner at the 2020 National Film Awards, “Rupert & Rupert,” and takes a wry look at the world of cryptocurrency and the political organizations involved therein. Mick Sands wrote the screenplay to be directed by his son Tom Sands. The two also produce with Phil Harris.

CO-PRODUCTION

ZDF Enterprises has teamed with Rocket Road Pictures and SF Studios Productions to co-produce “Grow,” a drama series commissioned by Danish broadcaster, TV2, for which ZDF will handle international sales after launching the program at Mipcom 2020.

Described as a “tale of self-discovery and morality,” “Grow” follows a stockbroker who, after growing apathetic toward his current situation, gets involved in drug dealing and begins working his way to the top, or bottom as it were, of Denmark’s criminal underground, eventually leading to a confrontation with his police officer brother. The leads are played by real-life brothers Andreas and Sebastian Jessen.

SF Studios is distributing the series in the Nordics, with TV2 Play and TV2 Zulu set to premiere the series this month.

APPOINTMENT

Vice Media Group’s production arm Vice Studios has appointed Alex Moore to the newly created role of VP for the company’s U.K. non-fiction division, based out of London. Moore’s responsibilities will include building up Vice Studio’s U.K. slate of non-fiction content from all genres meant for broadcasters domestically and internationally.

Moore will report to U.K. creative director Yonni Usiskin and lead a team responsible for the development of original non-fiction series, singles and returning series while also developing lifestyle formats, talent-led programming and the adaptation of pre-existing IP from throughout Vice Media Group.

The appointment is the latest in a series of high-profile moves at Vice, including the appointments of Bea Hegedus as senior VP and global head of distribution, and Jannat Gargi as VP and head of documentaries.

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