BBC films set for Venice and Toronto Film Festivals

BBC films set for Venice and Toronto Film Festivals

BBC Film titles The Eternal Daughter, Blue Jean and The Damned Don’t Cry will premiere in Venice, alongside BBC Storyville documentary Casa Susanna. Cannes prize winner Triangle Of Sadness will screen in Toronto, where Allelujah and The Lost King will premiere.

The BBC has backed seven films selected for two major international film festivals this autumn. The films, which include six world premieres, represent some of the most exciting new voices and revered established talent in British filmmaking.

The Venice International Film Festival (31 August-10 September) will see the world premiere of BBC Film-backed titles The Eternal Daughter, written and directed by Joanna Hogg, which will premiere in Venice in the Official Competition (‘Venezia 79’) before also screening as a Special Presentation in Toronto.

Georgia Oakley’s debut feature film, Blue Jean, will premiere in the Venice Days sidebar (also known as Giornate degli Autori), which focuses on innovation and expressive originality. Also premiering in Venice Days is Fyzal Boulifa’s The Dammed Don’t Cry (French title: Les Damnés Ne Pleurent Pas), his second film following the critically acclaimed debut Lynn + Lucy in 2019, which was also backed by BBC Film, the feature filmmaking arm of the BBC.

Storyville, the BBC’s international feature documentary strand, has backed Casa Susanna, directed by Sébastien Lifshitz, which will premiere as a Special Event in the Venice Days sidebar.

The Toronto International Film Festival (8-18 September) will feature Ruben Östlund BBC Film-backed Cannes Palme d’Or winner Triangle Of Sadness. Two further BBC Film titles will have their world premieres as Special Presentations in Toronto: Allelujah, directed by Richard Eyre from a screenplay by Heidi Thomas and based on the stage play by Alan Bennett, and The Lost King, directed by Stephen Frears and written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope.

The latest festival selections follow the announcement that Medusa Deluxe, the debut feature from Thomas Hardiman, will premiere in the Piazza Grande at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland in August.

Eva Yates, Director of BBC Film, says: “It’s wonderful to see BBC Film titles by debut and second-time feature filmmakers featuring alongside established heavyweights in Venice and Toronto.

“Georgia Oakley’s powerful and timely debut feature Blue Jean and Fyzal Boulifa’s evocative second film The Damned Don’t Cry hugely deserve their selection for Venice Days. Congratulations to Georgia and producer Hélène Sifre, and to Fyzal and his producers, Vixens, all of whom we feel privileged to support early in their careers.

“We’re incredibly proud to have worked with Joanna Hogg and the team at Element Pictures again on the mesmerising The Eternal Daughter, in Official Competition in Venice, and with Richard Eyre and Stephen Frears and producers Kevin Loader and Damian Jones, and Steve Coogan, Christine Langan and Dan Winch and their teams on Allelujah and The Lost King respectively. Together with Ruben Östlund’s brilliant and biting Triangle Of Sadness, whose team includes UK producer Mike Goodridge, these will be very special presentations in Toronto.

“We’re also delighted that Sébastien Lifshitz’s hypnotic Storyville title Casa Susanna has been selected for Venice.

“Congratulations also to filmmaker Thomas Hardiman, Emu Films and the whole team behind the creatively exceptional Medusa Deluxe, which has been selected by Locarno for its much anticipated world premiere.”

About the films (in alphabetical order):


Allelujah – Ross Tomlinson Gerald conducts the hospital choir

Directed by Richard Eyre, from a screenplay by Heidi Thomas. Based on the stage play by Alan Bennett.

When the geriatric ward in a small Yorkshire hospital is threatened with closure, the hospital decides to fight back by galvanizing the local community, and invite a news crew to film their preparations for a concert in honour of the hospital’s most distinguished nurse. What could go wrong?

Allelujah celebrates the spirit of the elderly patients whilst paying tribute to the deep humanity of the medical staff battling with limited resources and ever-growing demand.

The cast is led by Jennifer Saunders and newcomer Bally Gill, supported by Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, David Bradley, Russell Tovey and Julia McKenzie.

Allelujah is produced by Kevin Loader and Damian Jones. It is a Pathé, BBC Film and Ingenious Media presentation of a DJ Films/Redstart Production. Executive Producers are Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé, Rose Garnett for BBC Film, Andrea Scarso for Ingenious Media; Alan Bennett, Nicholas Hytner, Charles Moore and Paul Grindey.

Blue Jean

Written and directed by Georgia Oakley.

England, 1988. Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government is about to pass a law stigmatizing gays and lesbians, forcing Jean, a gym teacher, to live a double life. As pressure mounts from all sides, the arrival of a new girl at school catalyses a crisis that will challenge Jean to her core.

Blue Jean stars Rosy McEwen as Jean. The cast also includes Kerrie Hayes and newcomer Lucy Halliday.

Produced by Hélène Sifre for Kleio Films, executive produced by Eva Yates for BBC Film and Jim Reeve for Great Point Media and financed by BBC Film and the BFI in association with Great Point Media. Blue Jean was developed through iFeatures 5 (2018) and Inside Out Finance Forum (2019), with the support of BBC Film.

Casa Susanna

A film by Sébastien Lifshitz with the collaboration of Isabelle Bonnet.

In the 50s and 60s, deep in the American countryside at the foot of the Catskills, a small wooden house with a barn behind it was home to the first clandestine network of cross-dressers.

Diane and Kate are now 80 years old. At the time, they were men and part of this secret organisation. Today, they relate this forgotten but essential chapter of the early days of trans-identity. It is a story full of noise and fury, rich in extraordinary characters, including the famous Susanna, who had the courage to create this refuge that came to be known as Casa Susanna.

Casa susanna is an Agat Films production in coproduction with ARTE France, American Experience Films in association BBC Storyville with the support of La PROCIREP – ANGOA, with the participation of CNC International sales PBS WGHB.

The Eternal Daughter

Written and directed by Joanna Hogg.

An artist and her elderly mother confront long-buried secrets when they return to their former family home, a once grand manor haunted by its mysterious past. Starring Tilda Swinton, Joseph Mydell, and Carly-Sophia Davies.

The Eternal Daughter is an Element Pictures production in association JWH Films presented by A24 and BBC Film, who backed development and production. The producers are Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Emma Norton, Joanna Hogg. Executive Producers are Rose Garnett and Martin Scorsese.

The Damned Don’t Cry / Les Damnés Ne Pleurent Pas

The Damned Don’t Cry

Written and directed by Fyzal Boulifa.

Fatima-Zahra and her adolescent son Selim move from place to place, forever trying to outrun the latest scandal she’s caught up in. When Selim discovers the truth about his past, Fatima-Zahra vows to make a fresh start. Arriving in Tangier, they each find new opportunities that promise the legitimacy they crave – but not without threatening their fragile love for one another.

Principal cast: Aicha Tebbae, Abdellah El Hajjouji, with the participation of Antoine Reinartz.

BBC Film presents a Vixens production in co-production with Frakas Productions and Kasbah Films in association with Rosetta Productions with the support of BBC Film, Eurimages, Aide aux cinémas du monde – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée – Institut Français, Centre du cinéma et de l’audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Centre Cinématographique Marocain, Fonds Image de la Francophonie, Belga Productions, Tax Shelter du Gouvernement Fédéral Belge, Proximus, Charades and New Story.

The producers are Gary Farkas, Clément Lepoutre, Olivier Muller, Karim Debbagh. The coproducers are Cassandre Warnauts, Jean-Yves Roubin. In association with Camilla Bray. The Executive Producer for BBC Film is Eva Yates.

The Lost King

Directed by Stephen Frears, written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope.

In 2012, having been lost for over 500 years, the remains of King Richard III were discovered beneath a carpark in Leicester. The search had been orchestrated by an amateur historian, Philippa Langley, whose unrelenting research had been met with incomprehension by her friends and family, and with scepticism by experts and academics.

The Lost King is the life-affirming true story of a woman who refused to be ignored and who took on the country’s most eminent historians, forcing them to think again about one of the most controversial kings in England’s history.

The film stars Sally Hawkins in the lead role of Philippa Langley, alongside Steve Coogan in the role of Philippa’s husband, John Langley, and Harry Lloyd as King Richard III.

The film is produced by Steve Coogan, Christine Langan and Dan Winch and is a Baby Cow production for Pathé, BBC Film, Ingenious Media and Screen Scotland. Executive Producers are Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé; Rose Garnett for BBC Film; Andrea Scarso for Ingenious; Jeff Pope and Philippa Langley. The film was co-produced by Wendy Griffin.

Medusa Deluxe

(Locarno Film Festival – Piazza Grande)

Written and directed by Thomas Hardiman.

A murder mystery set in a competitive hairdressing competition. Extravagance and excess collide, as the death of one of their own sows seeds of division in a community whose passion for hair verges on obsession.

The film features Clare Perkins, Anita-Joy Uwajeh, Kae Alexander, Harriet Webb, Darrell D’Silva and Luke Pasqualino.

Medusa Deluxe is produced by Michael Elliott, Louise Palmkvist Hansen and Lee Groombridge and is an EMU Films production. The film was developed and financed by the BFI and BBC Film, and produced in association with Time Based Arts. Executive Producers are Eva Yates for BBC Film, Lizzie Francke for BFI, and Jim Mooney & Walli Ullah for EMU. 

Triangle Of Sadness

Written and directed by Ruben Östlund.

Triangle Of Sadness is an uninhibited satire where roles and class are inverted, and the tawdry economic value of beauty is unveiled. Models Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean) are navigating the world of fashion while exploring the boundaries of their relationship. The couple are invited for a luxury cruise with a rogues’ gallery of super-rich passengers: a Russian oligarch, British arms dealers and an idiosyncratic, alcoholic, Marx-quoting captain (Woody Harrelson). At first, all appears Instagrammable. But a storm is brewing, and heavy seasickness hits the passengers during the seven-course captain’s dinner.

The cruise ends catastrophically. Carl and Yaya find themselves marooned on a desert island with a group of billionaires and one of the ship’s cleaners. Hierarchy is suddenly flipped upside down, as the housekeeper is the only one who knows how to fish.

Triangle Of Sadness is produced by Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober. Among the co-producers are Marina Perales Marhuenda, Giorgos Karnavas, Per Damgaard, Julio Chavezmontes and Mike Goodridge.

Imperative Entertainment presents in association with Film i Väst, BBC Film, 30 West a Plattform Produktion production in co-production with Essential Films, Coproduction Office,Sveriges Television, ZDF/Arte, Arte France Cinéma, TRT Sinema with the support of Svenska Filminstitutet, Eurimages, Council of Europe, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, The Danish Film Institute, MOIN – Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein and BFI with the participation of Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Arte France, DR, Canal+ and Cine+, in association with Heretic, Bord Cadre films, Sovereign Films, PIANO.


Channel 4 commissions a second series of Rescue: Extreme Medics

Channel 4 wins rights to FIFA Club World Cup UAE

Channel 4 has commissioned a second series of Rescue: Extreme Medics from Glasgow based Indie Firecrest Films along with single film, The Welsh Village that Won the Lottery (wt).

Rescue: Extreme Medics (4X60) tells the gripping stories of those unfortunate enough to need extreme, life-saving medical care when they’re struck low in Scotland’s wild and inhospitable landscapes. And it follows the extraordinary work of the clinicians, expert call handlers and specialist life savers who respond to these emergencies and make critical decisions in less than perfect conditions.

With multiple access-points across Scotland, this series will show the minute-by-minute decisions that are made as medics and paramedics battle to save lives, revealing the unique challenges they face on a daily basis. Where possible the series will follow from the initial 999 call through to the moment the patient leaves the hospital to return to their life at home.

Rescue: Extreme Medics was commissioned by Will Rowson and Madonna Benjamin from Channel 4 Documentaries. Executive Producers for Firecrest Films are Mick McAvoy and Iain Scollay.

Firecrest Creative Director Iain Scollay said, ‘We’re delighted to be returning with more Rescue: Extreme Medics. It’s one thing if you have a medical emergency when your minutes from an inner city emergency room, but when you set these stories against Scotland’s epic Highland landscape it feels like a genuinely fresh take.’

Will Rowson, Commissioning Editor said: “I’m delighted that Rescue is returning. Firecrest has forged a very strong relationship with the extraordinary Scottish Trauma Network and the result is a blue-light medical show like no other. It’s a distinctive, dramatic offering capturing stories from right across the nation”

The Welsh Village that Won the Lottery (w/t) was commissioned by Deborah Dunnett and Jane Handa from Channel 4 Daytime and Features. It is a co-production between Firecrest Films and Specky Productions, led by Anne-Claire Pilley. The single film is set in Rhymney, South Wales, where more than 400 people shared a multi-million pound lottery win in May. The film follows on from Firecrest and Specky’s single The Scottish Island That Won The Lottery which transmitted on Channel 4 in June 2021.

Deborah Dunnett, Commissioning Editor said, “What I love about these lottery wins is that they take us to places we don’t often see portrayed on UK-wide TV. But the themes are universal – love, money, community and hope.”

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Dom Littlewood gives viewers top security tips in new BBC One series Maximum Security

Dom Littlewood gives viewers top security tips in new BBC

Maximum Security will see presenter Dom Littlewood travel across the UK to explore the secrets of some of Britain’s most secure institutions, businesses and buildings.

Maximum Security coming to BBC One on 29 August, will see presenter Dom Littlewood travel across the UK to explore the secrets of some of Britain’s most secure institutions, businesses and buildings.

Apart from exclusive behind-the-scenes access to top-security locations, Dom and his team of experts will also provide viewers with useful tips on how to make their own homes and other valuables safe with the help of the latest technology. Additionally, the series will hear first-hand testimonies from victims of crime, and give valuable insight into how they have mitigated against it happening again.

Dom will shadow UK Border Force teams in Dover, where he will learn more about their work and how they ensure nothing illegal crosses the UK border. Throughout the series, audiences will discover how drug hauls and smuggling are handled at the Channel, and how the force patrols the ferry traffic.

Elsewhere in the series, Dom finds out what it takes to make Britain’s largest exhibition and stadium venues safe when hosting high-profile concerts and sporting events, he will also be learning how the UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow, operates its passport control and security checks.

Dom says: “Criminals are cunning, but luckily there is some amazing technology as well as simple tricks on how to make their lives harder. In Maximum Security, viewers can learn from top professionals in the security industry, and visit amazing locations which normally remain hidden.

“I am thrilled to be working on such an informative and educational show that provides audiences with practical tips to keep themselves safe and secure in their own homes.”

Acting Head of BBC Daytime and Early Peak, Lindsay Bradbury says: “Maximum Security doesn’t only bring entertainment, it takes viewers behind the scenes to normally inaccessible locations, providing practical tips which they can use in their day-to-day lives to be more secure. The programme reflects Daytime’s commitment to educate and inform its audiences perfectly.”

Juliet Rice, Creative Director Factual Entertainment, BBC Studios Bristol and Cardiff says: “It has been both eye-opening and reassuring to gain such privileged access to some of the UK’s most secure businesses and institutions, and see how they are keeping us all safe.”

Maximum Security (10 x 45) is commissioned by Lindsay Bradbury, Acting Head of BBC Daytime and Early Peak, Eve Winstanley is the BBC Daytime Commissioning Editor, the Series Editor is Maddi Knibbs for BBC Studios, Factual Entertainment Cardiff.

Watch Maximum Security on BBC One at 10am from 29th August. The full series will be available on iPlayer from 9 September.

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Curious Films to explore impact of Operation Yewtree in new documentary for Channel 4

Curious Films to explore impact of Operation Yewtree in new

This year marks ten years since the launch of Operation Yewtree, a police investigation that put some of Britain’s biggest entertainers in the dock for historic sex crimes. Now, Channel 4 has commissioned Curious Films (Caroline Flack: Her Life & Death, Reclaiming Amy) to produce a landmark documentary about the operation’s lasting impact on the country’s values, attitudes, and culture.

The Accused: National Treasures On Trial (1×60’) features three figures accused by Operation Yewtree or one of the subsequent investigations it spawned, three men who were accused but either never arrested, charged, or never convicted: Sir Cliff Richard, radio DJ Paul Gambaccini and former Pop Idol judge and DJ Neil Fox.

Led by their personal stories and experiences of being investigated, while in the full glare of the national media, including video diaries recorded with Paul Gambaccini and Neil Fox at the time, the documentary explores the immediate and longer-lasting impact the process had on them, their families, careers, and reputations, as well as examining the wider legacy of Yewtree through their eyes.

The documentary also hears from some of those close to the police investigation, along with journalists who were involved in the national conversation surrounding Yewtree.

Lee McMurray, commissioning editor, Factual Entertainment, Channel 4 says: “This film offers a unique and fresh take on events that changed us forever, compelling viewers to ask important questions about a watershed moment in recent British history. The hurt and anger felt by three household names caught in the eye of the storm sparked by Yewtree, is weighed against the need for and value of a police operation that, while not perfect, delivered long overdue justice to victims of heinous crimes.”

Jessie Versluys, executive producer, Curious Films added: “The Accused: National Treasures on Trial explores what it’s like to find yourself at the heart of a police investigation into alleged historic sex crimes. Using first-hand testimonies, it looks at the role of the media during this period, and the argument around whether celebrities should be named in the press before any charge has been made. At the same time it asks searching questions about Yewtree and assesses its role in changing Britain’s attitudes towards sex, morality, consent, gender relations and what we expect from public figures.”

The Accused: National Treasures on Trial is a 1×60’ documentary commissioned for Channel 4 by Lee McMurray, commissioning editor, Factual Entertainment. It is made by Curious Films and produced by Lauren Rowles, directed by Christian Collerton and executive produced by Jessie Versluys, alongside Dov Freedman and Charlie Russell, co-Founders of Curious Films.

The Accused: National Treasures on Trial will air on Wednesday 24th August at 9pm on Channel 4 & All 4.

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