News round-up: MHZ lands Japanese duo; AFM latest; Upgrade Films lines up slate

Pension Metsa

MHZ lands Japanese duo

MHz Networks in the US has picked up tow Japanese shows originally produced for pay TV operator Wowow.

Kinpika is a 5 x 55-minute drama that follows a former yakuza member, an ex-politician and a self-defence official who join forces to get even with the people who betrayed and deceived them.

It is based on a novel by Jirô Asada and distributed by UK-based sales house Videoplugger, which has also struck a deal for Pension Metsä. The show, from 2021, is a 6 x 25-minute series that explores the lives of visitors to a guest house. It is directed by Kana Mastumoto.

Lance Schwulst, VP of content strategy at MHz, said: “This is our first venture into Japanese drama and I’m sure this will be well received by our audience. Kinpika is a hard-boiled noir and Pension Metsä for the lush Japanese landscape and wisdom.”

AFM latest

The American Film Market (AFM) will return to an in-person event in Santa Monica for its 43rd edition.

The event will take place Tuesday, 1 November through Sunday, 6 November at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and theatres throughout the city.

Registration will open Monday, 9 May 9 for exhibitors, both returning and new.  Accredited buyers and industry attendees may register beginning 5 July.

Upgrade Films lines up slate

LA-based Upgrade Productions has unveiled its first three development projects.

The firm, led by co-presidents Matt Brodlie and Jonathan Kier, is working with German outfit Constantin Film on Twenty Faces, based on the novels by Japanese mystery writer, Edogawa Ranpo.

The series, about a group of teens who help a detective solve mysteries in 1930s Japan, is co-produced with Japanese production and distribution company, The Klockworx (Room Camp), and is produced with Akiko Funatsu. Seishi Minakami (Paprika) is on board as the shows writer.

Elsewhere, fantasy horror La Jaula is being co-produced with Spanish production and distribution companies DeAPlaneta and Minoria Absoluta, while Sausages is from Australian comedian Ryan Shelton.

He write writes, produces and stars on the show, which is set in Oz and follows the comedian’s semi-fictional struggle to get his first television show off the ground. Upgrade is attached as executive producer.

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