Former Disney, DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox executive Tim Erickson has been named executive VP of brand Peanuts Worldwide, reporting into Eric Ellenbogen, CEO of WildBrain, the majority owner of Peanuts. Working together with the family of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, WildBrain’s content and management teams and brand co-owners Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), Erickson will be responsible for sustaining a strategy supporting brand marketing and leveraging new content launches to expand the global presence of the Peanuts brand and build momentum towards its 75th anniversary in 2025. Erickson will be based in New York.
Erickson most recently held the position of COO at the media company GoldieBlox, and prior to that as senior VP of global licensing and operations at Twentieth Century Fox, preceded by the position of global head of licensing and operations at DreamWorks. He also spent several years driving consumer products and sales strategies at Disney and Lego.
The program for the 74th Locarno Film Festival (Aug. 4-14) is now complete, with the addition of the world premieres of “She Will” and “100 Minutes.”
Franco-British director Charlotte Colbert’s debut feature, “She Will” will be the gala premiere at the festival’s Fuori concorso section. The film, produced by veteran Edward R. Pressman (“The Crow”), explores the story of Veronica Ghent (Alice Krige) who after a double mastectomy, goes to a healing retreat in rural Scotland with her young nurse Desi (Kota Eberhardt).
Russian director Gleb Panfilov, who won a Golden Leopard in 1969 for his debut feature “No Path Through Fire,” will bow “100 Minutes” at the Piazza Grande. It follows Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, a literary hero whose tragic fate fascinated readers throughout the world and earned its creator, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel prize for literature.
Red Arrow Studios International has secured several European remake deals across its slate of scripted formats. In France, Calt Story has developed for M6 a short-form local version of the hit comedy format, “Lice Mother.” The new 200 x 3’30 series will be shot this summer until mid-2022. The series is set in a primary school – a mini-society with its own playground rules, competitive parents, strange teachers, and the lowest of volunteer jobs: checking the kids for head lice.
Drama format “Danni Lowinski” has been commissioned for a Polish remake by Telewizja Polsat, to be produced by TFP. It follows a former hairdresser turned law graduate who, when rejected by every traditional law firm in town, decides to change the world from her mall-kiosk law practice.
Circus has completed the production of the first season (10 x 15’) of a Turkish adaptation of comedy format “Match,” in collaboration with Fabrika Yapim, while Entre Chien et Loup is currently in production on a local version for French speaking Belgium, which will launch on public broadcaster RTBF and cable platform BeTV. The format has also been optioned by Sputnik Productions for the Netherlands and Belgium, and Boomerang TV Productions for Spain. “Match” (20 x 14’) follows Stian – a twenty-something guy with twenty-something guy problems, with two sports presenters who give a running commentary on every aspect of his life.
In the Czech Republic, Prima Group has commissioned the first season of a recently launched local version of crime procedural “Einstein,” produced by Sirena Film. It turns on Felix, a science genius and the great grandson of Albert Einstein, who is forced to work with the police to solve crimes using his brilliant but eccentric mind.
Meanwhile, Banijay has revealed “Drag Me Out,” a new entertainment format from Mastiff Denmark, where well-known drag artists compete to create fabulous personas for well-known celebrities, including high-energy lip sync battles, comedy performances and dance shows.
“Drag Me Out” will launch on TV 2 Zulu in Denmark during the week of Copenhagen Pride at the beginning of August, and is available for adaptation internationally.
Producer Ronnie Screwvala‘s RSVP has commenced principal photography on Hindi-language horror-comedy “Kakuda,” at Gujarat, Western India locations. It stars Riteish Deshmukh (“Ek Villain”), Sonakshi Sinha (“Mission Mangal”) and Saqib Saleem (“Race 3”). Aditya Sarpotdar (“Classmates”) directs.
Written by Avinash Dwivedi and Chirag Garg and developed by associate producer Salona Bains Joshi, the film explores a strange curse in a village stuck in time and the lead trio are confronted with a challenging ghost who makes them question superstition, tradition and even love.
The film is designed to bow directly on a streaming platform.
In honor of the National Film and Television School’s 50th anniversary, BFI Southbank has announced a season dedicated to the academic establishment’s alumni. Among the films on offer during the season are “Kurt & Courtney,” by Nick Broomfield, Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir” and “The Last Tree” by Shola Amoo.
The season’s centerpiece will be an appearance from film-making team (and husband and wife) Roger and James Deakins (“Skyfall”).
The program will also include shorts made by alumni while they were still students, most of which have not been screened since. – K.J. Yossman.