News round-up: ‘Model Railway’ goes Dutch; Sky scores Liverpool FC doc; South Africa opens ‘Love Island’; Oz Directors’ Guild hire

The Great Model Railway Challenge

Great Model Railway Challenge leads to Netherlands

NPO Max in the Netherlands has optioned rights for a local remake of The Great Model Railway Challenge, following a deal with distributor Silverlining Rights.

The format was sold to MGM-backed prodco Concept Street last month and NPO has now optioned a Dutch version of the show, which was first produced by UK indie Knickerbockerglory for ViacomCBS-owned Channel 5. SVT in Sweden acquired the UK version last year.

Samantha Sintes, Silverlining’s global content sales executive, said: “As a concept it really is truly unique and with two seasons having broadcast on Channel 5 it was only a matter of time before it got picked up beyond our borders.”

The series will be known locally as The Big Small Trains Competition and has been slated to debut on NPO Max in Autumn 2021. The format sees teams of railway modellers competing against each other to build miniature wonderlands in accordance with weekly themes to impress judges.

Love Island Australia

Love Island opens in South Africa

South African channel M-Net 101 has ordered a local version of hit reality show Love Island, marking the format’s 20th remake.

The ITV Studios-owned format – which is co-owned with Motion Content Group – will be produced by BBC Studios-backed Rapid Blue in South Africa and will be recorded in the country’s Western Cape. The show will launch in late February.

Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net CEO, said: “We at M-Net are ecstatic about partnering with ITV Studios and joining this global brand as we become the 20th version of Love Island. This a continuation of M-Net’s strategy to provide premium quality shows in line with global trends.”

Maarten Meijs, president of global entertainment at ITV Studios, added: “The multi-channel phenomenon is having a fantastic year, traveling the world at a rapid pace. This is the second version on African continent, following the Nigerian acquisition earlier this year and we can’t wait to see how this local adaptation will find its way to the South African viewers.”

The End Of The Storm

October Films scores Liverpool FC doc

Sky is preparing to air a feature doc from UK-based producers October Films, Brutal Media and distributor Altitude that will track English football club Liverpool FC’s 2019/20 Premier League winning season.

The End Of The Storm is from Emmy Award-nominated director James Erskine (One Night In Turin) and will feature unprecedented access to the club as it follows the team’s efforts to finish top of English football’s top flight for the first time in 30 years.

The doc is being produced in association with Sky, which will broadcast the show in the UK and Ireland via Sky Documentaries in 2021. It will also be available to own on digital, DVD & Blu Ray from 30 November.

Erskine said: “The End Of The Storm is an ambitious, cinematic feature film that tells a story 30 years in the making. This isn’t simply a story about an outstanding sporting achievement. It is also a story about emotion, community and self-belief – in a moment when we need all these things more than ever before.”

Alaric McAusland

Oz Directors’ Guild names exec director

The Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG) has appointed Alaric McAusland as its new executive director, replacing Diana Burnett.

McAusland starts on 16 November having most recently been COO at LA-based Grace – A Storytelling Company. He was previously MD at Deluxe Entertainment Services Group and Atlab, and also served as chairman of Ausfilm and Council Board Member of Screen Producers Australia.

“We’re in a period of seismic change and the coming months and years will be critical for Australian Directors and for our industry,” said Alaric McAusland. “It is an absolute honour and a privilege to join the ADG as Executive Director at this time and it’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly. The ADG has close to a 40-year foundation of industry leadership and right now its leadership has never been more needed.

“Under the strong stewardship of my predecessor Diana, the ADG’s membership has increased substantially and its collective voice has strengthened. I look forward to building on this momentum on behalf all its members across Australia and, together with its incredible staff, its hard-working Board and Committee members, to leading the ADG into the next decade.”

ADG president Samantha Lang added: “We are incredibly fortunate to have Alaric join the ADG to lead our team. Alaric’s drive and ambition for the ADG will help the Guild expand on the great work we’ve been doing for Australian directors over the past few years.”

The ADG has also announced the appointment of Ana Tiwary to the new role of strategy & development executive. Tiwary is a director and producer with her own company – indiVisual films – and she also serves on the board of WIFT Australia.

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