‘Emmerdale’ Actor Paige Sandhu, ‘Jubilee’ Star Aditi Rao Hydari to Lead U.K.-India Co-Production ‘Lioness’ – Global Bulletin

CO-PRODUCTION

“Lioness,” an official Indo-U.K. co-production being made under the 2008 bilateral treaty, will star Aditi Rao Hydari (“Jubilee”) and Paige Sandhu (“Emmerdale”), it was revealed at the Cannes India pavilion on Tuesday.

Written and to be directed by Kajri Babbar (“Khoj”), the film is inspired by the research of Peter Bance, the historian who wrote about Princess Sophia Duleep, one of the key leaders of the suffragette movement in the U.K., the Princess of Punjab, granddaughter of Maharajah Ranjit Singh and the goddaughter of Queen Victoria. The film will tell the story of two British Punjabi women living in the U.K., a century apart. While Sophia’s story is rooted in history, the second story is a fictional tale of Mehak Kaur an educated, married immigrant woman living in 1990’s Southall.

Bance is also one of the executive producers on the film, which is produced by Vivek Rangachari, Vaishalli Paatil, Faraz Ahsan and Clare Cahill with Ajit Pal Singh serving as executive producer. The project has been certified by the National Film Development Corporation and the British Film Institute, the filmmakers said.

English Heritage will be unveiling a plaque at Hampton Court, U.K., in memory of the princess on May 26.

APPOINTMENT

Rebecca O’Connor is set to join Sky Studios as director of production, a new position created to oversee physical production and the broad range of productions across the comedy and drama production slates.

She will work closely will Jo Hunter, who leads the comedy production team, Livia Burton, who leads the drama production team and Eugenio Perez who leads in-house and partner projects.

O’Connor is set to join Sky Studios later this year. She is currently head of business, scripted at the BBC with a remit that includes drama, film and comedy. and will report to Sky Studios COO Caroline Cooper.

FAST HAND

Kuaishou Technology, the Hong Kong-listed company that operated the biggest short video competitor to TikTok / Douyin in China, announced that it is close to achieving profits. It said that net losses in the three months to March were just RMB876 million, down from a whopping RMB6.25 billion in the same period last year. Revenues were up 20% to RMB25.2 billion. “We recorded group level adjusted net profit for the first time since our listing on the Stock Exchange in 2021, representing a significant breakthrough in our profitability. This milestone was achieved on the back of a strong first quarter performance driven by new records in user metrics, revenues growth and efforts in operating efficiency improvement,” the company said. The company now claims that daily average usage exceeds 374 million and that monthly average usage has climbed to 654 million – or about half of the entire mainland Chinese population.

EXPANDED PITCHING

The Taiwan Creative Content Fest is opening its pitching program to international entrants, the event’s organizer Taiwan Creative Content Agency said. With two sections, story to screen and project to screen, the event will be held in November with the winning pitch earning a $30,000 first prize. Some $300,000 is available through TAICCA’s co-finding program. Applications are open June 1 – July 31. Past recipients “The Settlers,” by Chilean director Felipe Gálvez, and “Tiger Stripes” by Malaysian director Amanda Nell Eu, were selected for screenings at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

TAIPEI TRIBUTES

Taipei Film Festival announcd that the German director Angela Schanelec, who won the Berlinale Silver Bear twice for “I Was at Home, But…” and “Music,” and the upcoming Belgian director Bas Devos, will be given the ‘filmmaker in focus’ treatment at the upcoming Taipei Film Festival. Five films by Schanalec and all four of Devos’ feature efforts will be screened. The pair are in addition to the previously announced focus on Hollywood legend Douglas Sirk. The festival runs June 22 – July 8.

MELBOURNE PREMIERES

The Melbourne International Film Festival has set two Australian films as the festival’s opening night and ‘Music on Film’ gala features. “Shayda,” which was co-financed by Melbourne’s Premiere Fund and which premiered in Sundance, will open the festival on Aug. 3. “Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story,” a Paul Goldman-directed look at a music pioneer, will play on Aug. 10. The festival runs Aug. 3-20 in the Victorian capital. Before moving on to regional locations and a ten-day online run.

TRAILERS

Temple has revealed a trailer for “Brand Bollywood – Down Under,” directed and written by Anupam Sharma (“The Run”) and co-written and edited by Karin Steininger (“Remember Anne Frank”). The feature documentary looks at the ‘Bollywoodization’ and globalization of Indian cinema through its 89-year-old relationship with Australia. The film explores the successes and failures of Bollywood’s rise as a serious subculture in Australia and features well-known practitioners including Anupam Kher.

The trailer was launched at Cannes and comes on the eve of an Australia-India film co-production treaty which was discussed at a panel on co-production at the India pavilion on May 17 in the presence of Indian Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L. Murugan along with Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason and head of content Grainne Brunsdon.

The film will have a theatrical release through Forum Films, in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji after screenings around Australia.

Watch the trailer here:

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Ukranian short film “Nadija” has finished shooting and is now in post-production and taking enquiries at Cannes’ Marche du Film. Based on a true story about a young Ukrainian woman who loses both her parents and her fiancé during the Russian invasion, “Nadija” follows her journey of resilience and hope as she struggles to survive. It is directed by Artem Kocharian and produced by Julia Kabitsyna-Cabiere and Karl Hillbrick. Infilmpact is repping global sales.

Watch the trailer here:

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