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HBO’s Francesca Orsi Given Series Mania Award; ‘The Whirlpool’; Banijay Launch Winners; British Animation Awards – Global Briefs

Francesca Orsi Wins Series Mania Award

HBO programming boss Francesca Orsi is to be awarded Series Mania’s Woman In Series Award and will take the stage with Bad Wolf CEO Jane Tranter at the Lille confab later this month. Orsi, whose slate has included the likes of The Last of Us, The White Lotus and Euphoria, along with Bad Wolf-made shows such as Industry, will speak about her career and the industry during the Tranter chat. She is one of the biggest draws for the Lille event, which takes place in two weeks and is featuring the likes of Patricia Arquette and Narcos showrunner Chris Brancato. “Awarding Francesca Orsi with this award for 2024 was an easy decision and an obvious choice for us,” said Laurence Herszberg, Series Mania founder. “Francesca is a true leader and I am incredibly honored to be presenting her with our award this year.” Last year’s award went to It’s a Sin exec Nicola Shindler.

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Black Mandala Takes On ‘The Whirlpool’

EXCLUSIVE: Black Mandala has picked up Denis Kruchkov horror The Whirlpool for international distribution. The Radragon-produced movie will launch in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, U.S., Canada and the UK/Ireland following the deal, which was struck at EFM. The Whirlpool tells the story of a woman who is unable to stand up for herself and seeks help from shamans, ancient spirits, and occult rituals. Set in the middle of an unknown forest, the film delves into the darkness that comes from within and deals with themes of womanhood, abuse and the long history of oppression. “Despite recent movements such as #MeToo, to this day many women are afraid to fully exercise their rights,” said scriptwriter Olga Loyanich. “Psychology explains that the centuries-old oppressive status of women, which is transmitted from generation to generation as a norm and routine, could cause this phenomenon.”

Banijay Unveils Launch Winners

Banijay has unveiled the first winners of its Banijay Launch program for emerging unscripted creators. Amber Kane and Emily Wilson won for the Double Act and Can’t Buy My Love formats respectively, and the judges commended both entries as “fantastic ideas with significant international appeal.” Unveiled at last year’s Mipcom Cannes, the program will now see the creators given mentorship by the French powerhouse’s creative heads to aid them in developing the formats from concept to pitch to sale. The jury comprised Endemol Shine North America CEO, Sharon Levy; Banijay Chief Content Officer, Development, James Townley; Banijay Chief Business Officer, Fred Balmary; Banijay Iberia CEO, Pilar Blasco; and Founder and CEO of Everywoman Studios, Abby Greensfelder. “Banijay Launch was envisioned as a bridge for women to gain access to our industry, and based on the sheer volume and quality of pitches we received, its time was long overdue,” said Levy.

Cillian Murphy-Voiced ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’ Wins Big At British Animation Awards

Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry’s Kensuke’s Kingdom, featuring Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins in the voice cast, topped the awards at the British Animation Awards on Thursday evening. The pic, produced by the Lupus Films animation studio, won Best Feature as well as the Writers Award for Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Best Original Music for composer Stuart Hancock. Adapted from the eponymous book by Michael Morpurgo, the adventure tale revolves around a young boy who is shipwrecked with his dog on a remote island where he encounters a hostile, old Japanese soldier who retreated there after World War Two. Lupus Films also picked up the Best Long Form prize for its Judith Kerr adaptation Mog’s Christmas directed by Robin Shaw, in Ex aequo with A Bear Called Wojtek. Best Voice Performance went to the cast of The Amazing Maurice featuring Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis, Himesh Patel, Gemma Arterton, Hugh Bonneville, David Tennant and Ariyon Bakare.

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