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Welsh Government invests in development of High-End TV

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The Welsh Government, advised by Pinewood Pictures, has invested in the development of a High-End television series, Minotaur, from the ambitious, North Wales based production company, Mad as Birds.

It is the second television project supported by the Welsh Government’s Media Investment Budget.

The series will be written by Celyn Jones, actor/writer behind Set Fire to the Stars, and tells a darkly original, unique tale of human redemption and fear. It will be set between France and North Wales and has already attracted the attention of major global talent who wish to be involved.

Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates said: “I am particularly pleased the Media Investment Budget is supporting home grown talent like Mad as Birds and that our funding will ensure the majority of filming takes place in Wales.

“TV and film productions provide work for a wide range of freelancers, creative industry companies and local businesses that create economic benefits for the region.”

“The Media Investment Budget has successfully invested in a number of high profile films that have boosted the economy and helped raise the profile and expertise of the creative industries in Wales.”

Sean Marley, Director of Mad as Birds, said: “Minotaur is an exciting take on the crime thriller genre and a poignant character study from the creative mind of Celyn Jones, an emerging Welsh talent. We’re delighted to have attracted funding from this new partnership and that they share our belief in the worldwide potential of this Welsh based drama series.”

Robert Norris, Senior Vice President of Pinewood Pictures, said: “We are delighted to bring Media Investment Budget funding to this exciting Welsh-based TV project – original and compelling drama of this sort is exactly what we are looking for.”

The project is aiming for pre-production in early 2017.

Read the full story here.

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Take Down announced as part of EIFF official selection

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Edinburgh International Film Festival have today announced their full programme for the 70th Edition of the festival, with Take Down included in the official selection.

Taking place on 15th – 26th June 2016, the programme showcases the most exciting, original and challenging new films and the most promising new talent.

 Take Down, a Pinewood Pictures’ financed and distributed film, is directed by Jim Gillespie (I Know What You Did Last Summer) and was the first film to receive funding from the £30m Wales Media Investment Budget.

Starring Jeremy Sumpter (Peter Pan, Friday Night Lights), Phoebe Tonkin (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals), Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl, J. Edgar), Sebastian Koch (Bridge of Spies, Danish Girl), Dominic Sherwood (Shadowhunters, Not Fade Away), Max Deacon (Into The Storm), Ashley Walters (Top Boy, Demons Never Die), Julia Ragnarsson (The Bridge) and Elliot Knight (Once Upon A Time, How To Get Away With Murder).

 Take Down will be screening at the festival on Monday 20th June and Tuesday 21st June. Tickets will become available on 27th May, and can be purchased here.

To see the full EIFF Programme, click here.

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Princes William and Harry Visit Pinewood Studios

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As the President of BAFTA, the Duke of Cambridge was invited to Pinewood Studios as part of an initiative to acknowledge and celebrate the wealth of British talent involved in the production of the Star Wars films. His brother Harry happily tagged along.

The self-confessed Star Wars fans didn’t miss their chance to visit the set, play with the props, and, most importantly, meet the cast. Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in the new instalments of the beloved series, acted as their tour guide.

For more information and pictures of the royal visit, check out the Telegraph.


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Yu-Fai Suen joins Pinewood Pictures as Managing Director

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Pinewood Studios Group is pleased to announce that Yu-Fai Suen will be joining the Company on the 7 March 2016 as Managing Director of Pinewood Pictures administering Pinewood’s own investments and those on behalf of its client funds.

Prior to joining Pinewood, Yu-Fai was Chief Operating Officer at Rocket Pictures. Before that Yu-Fai held senior roles at Aramid Capital Partners and Momentum Pictures and was involved in the film financing of District 9, Blue Valentine and Bronson amongst others, as well as arranging a number of Studio slate deals and corporate media transactions.

As part of Pinewood Pictures’ commitment to broaden its content offering, Robert Norris will take up a new position as Senior Vice President.

Ivan Dunleavy, Chief Executive, Pinewood Group plc said “The Pinewood Group has been iconic in the creative industries for over 80 years. Pinewood Pictures has benefitted in the last year from growing interest in our offer to independent film and television producers and our ability to introduce funding from our relationship with the Welsh Government and Isle of Man Government. Yu-Fai will be working with the existing Pinewood Pictures team successfully driven by Robert Norris to extend our offer to the wider production community and to further raise the funds accessible by Pinewood Pictures to grow its media investment portfolio.”

Yu-Fai Suen added: “It is a privilege to join a company like Pinewood, home to some of the most iconic films in cinema history and I look forward to the opportunity to grow the Pinewood Pictures brand and its offering and to help increase shareholder value to Pinewood and its financing partners.”

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Pressure’s Joe Cole longlisted as Promising Newcomer by BIFA

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At December’s BIFA Awards, Colin Farrell presented the award for Most Promising Newcomer. The winner was chosen from a longlist of 17 newcomers.

The longlisted performers are the British Actors that have been pegged as the ones to watch out for this year by BIFA. Among these performers is Pressure’s Joe Cole.

Starring as Jones in Pinewood Pictures’ Pressure, Joe performed the majority of his own stunts in the film, which partially shot in Pinewood’s Underwater Stage. Following TV appearances in Holby City, Skins and The Thick of It from, Joe’s film career kicked off with a number of short film and feature roles. He was cast in Carol Morley’s The Falling in 2014 and, since playing the part of Jones in Pressure, has completed filming on the acclaimed Green Room and Secret In Their Eyes.

To see the full longlist of newcomers, visit the BIFA website.


Pinewood Group and StoryFirst to launch Pinewood Television

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Pinewood Group has announced a joint venture with StoryFirst PST Limited, part of the family investment office of Peter Gerwe and partners. The new company is named Pinewood Television Limited and its principal business is to create, develop and finance high quality drama series for television for the international market. Helen Gregory, formally of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Sky, has been appointed Creative Director to lead the company.

Pinewood Television is expected to be both an originating producer and a co-producing partner for major drama projects. It aims to become a mainstream originator and financier, building a library of TV content, with the ability to facilitate the development, greenlighting, production, marketing and distribution of high end TV drama.

For more information, head to Variety.

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Wales Identified as World Class Filming Location

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With its incredible natural beauty, huge variety of locations, and a swiftly growing crew and talent base, Wales is truly on its way to becoming a firm favourite with film and television productions from around the world.

The Welsh Media Investment Budget, as advised by Pinewood Pictures, is designed to help facilitate growth in the Welsh industry by attracting high-quality, world-class projects to the country.

For more information, check out Screen.

(Picture: the Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons. Photograph by Caine-Douglas)

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Genius to World Premiere at Berlin 2016

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Michael Grandage’s Genius, starring Jude Law, Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, and Guy Pearce, has been selected among the first nine films to play at next year’s prestigious Berlin Film Festival.

The stirring drama, based on the real-life complex friendship between renowned book editor Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth) and literary giant Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), will have its world premiere at the festival and joins the likes of the Coen brother’s Hail Caesar and Jeff Nicholl’s Midnight Special.

Genius was backed by funding from Pinewood Pictures and will release in cinemas next year.

For more information head to Screen Daily.


Amazon Orders First UK Drama Original, With Backing From Pinewood Pictures

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We are very excited to announce that Amazon has ordered its first UK drama – a period fashion drama from War and Peace co-producer Lookout Point – with investment backing from Pinewood Pictures and the Welsh Media Investment Budget.

The Collection, from Pretty Little Liars and Ugly Betty exec producer Oliver Goldstick, tells the story of an extravagant Paris fashion house post World War II and follows the lives of two brothers.

It marks the company’s latest step into original programming following its big-budget buy-out of Jeremy Clarkson’s new upcoming motor show and its commitment to continue the ex-BBC drama Ripper Street after it was axed by the broadcaster.

“We’re delighted to be bringing such a smart, sophisticated period piece to Amazon Prime members in the UK,” said Chris Bird, film and TV strategy director, Amazon Video UK. “We aim to bring our customers the best international TV has to offer, and we’re sure our members will enjoy this window into the seemingly glamourous world of Parisian haute couture, perhaps hiding a more sinister undercurrent.”

The programme will be produced in Wales and France starting next January and will air later on in the year.

For more information, check out Deadline.

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Nadya Jary joins Pinewood Studios Group as Group Brand Director

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Pinewood Studios Group is pleased to announce that Nadya Jary will be joining the Company on the 1 December 2015 as Group Brand Director.

Nadya is currently the Head of Integrated Brand Partnerships EMEA at The Walt Disney Company.

Prior to joining Disney in 2011 Nadya held senior roles in marketing and partnership development at 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures International and MGM.

Ivan Dunleavy, Chief Executive, Pinewood Group plc said “The Pinewood brand has been iconic in the creative industries for over 80 years. As the brand continues to grow internationally new commercial opportunities present themselves and I am pleased that Nadya is joining us to explore those possibilities as well as strengthening the Pinewood reputation.”

Nadya Jary said “Pinewood is truly one of the great brands with a rich heritage and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to further develop its brand strategy.  I am looking forward to exploring new commercial opportunities that will ensure that the brand continues to go from strength to strength.