Applian Way Productions, co-run by Leonardo Dicaprio and Jennifer Davisson, already has two projects at Apple – the thriller series Shining Girls, (adapted from the 2013 novel by South African writer Lauren Beukes) starring Elisabeth Moss and directed by Dicaprio, and the Martin Scorsese feature Killers Of The Flower Moon, (adapted from the non-fiction book by American journalist David Grann) in which DiCaprio will star.

The Shining Girls centers on a Depression-era drifter who must murder the “shining girls” in order to continue his travels. Elisabeth Moss will star as a Chicago reporter who survived a brutal assault, only to find her reality shifting as she hunts down her attacker. The series will be directed by Dicaprio, and writer-creator Silka Luisa (Strange Angel) will pen the adaptation, executive produce and serve as showrunner.

Appian Way, founded in 2004, has previously produced The Wolf Of Wall Street, The Revenant and Shutter Island, and collaborated on other features including Out Of The Furnace and The Ides Of March, as well as the TV series Grant. The multi-year deal with Apple gives them first-option rights at both TV and feature-film projects developed at the prodco.

Dicaprio is the latest in a number of high-profile stars to sign first-look deals with Apple, with Oprah Winfrey, Idris Elba and Alfonso Cuaron also inking similar agreements with the streamer.

Jake Gyllenhaal Signs First-Look Film Deal With New Republic

(By Dave McNary, Variety Magazine)

Jake Gyllenhaal and his Nine Stories production company signed a first-look feature film production deal with New Republic Pictures, the company headed by Brian Oliver and Bradley Fischer.

Gyllenhaal has previously collaborated with Oliver on “Everest” and Fischer on David Fincher’s “Zodiac.”

Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker launched Nine Stories in 2015 and have teamed on “Stronger,” “Wildlife” and the upcoming “The Devil All the Time,” launching on Netflix on Sept. 16.

Nine Stories will premiere Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “Good Joe Bell,”  starring Mark Wahlberg and Connie Britton, at the Toronto International Film Festival. Nine Stories has made a deal at Netflix for the Ubisoft video game adaptation “The Division,” starring Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain.

“Riva and I are thrilled to be in business with New Republic,” said Gyllenhaal. “Having worked with both Brad and Brian before, I’ve seen their deep respect for the craft of filmmaking first hand, and have long admired their keen and thoughtful business sense. They’re a rare breed of producer and we couldn’t be more excited to have them as partners as we begin this new chapter for Nine Stories together.”

It’s the second first-look deal signed by New Republic in recent weeks following Cate Blanchett’s new agreement for her Dirty Films company. Oliver received an Oscar nomination in 2011 for “Black Swan” and formed New Republic in 2017. The company backed “1917” and “Rocketman” last year.

Carlos Goodman of Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher negotiated the deal on behalf of Nine Stories.

SABC: CEO's Open Letter Says: "No Going Back On Cost-Cutting Drive"

Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO, in an open letter published on Sunday, says the broadcaster has learnt from its mistakes, and that urgent ongoing cost-cutting is now the only way to safeguard the organisation's future.

The financially embattled public broadcaster, having recently celebrated its 84th year in business, finds itself in dire straits, aggravated by pressure on its board from the ANC government and unions Bemawu and CWU, not to go ahead with the planned axing of 600 permanent staff and 1 200 freelancers.

However, compared to eMedia Investments and MultiChoice, the bloated SABC continues to service a massive salary bill, despite never fulfilling its 2009 promise to axe staff in order to secure a R1.4 billion government bailout. The SABC board is once again trying to reduce its staff complement, but is encountering stiff resistance.

"Globally, Covid-19 has turned the business landscape upside down. The SABC and the media have not been spared. The challenge is how to respond to the crisis. To mitigate the impact, the SABC is reducing costs as well as reviewing and driving sales and other revenues," says Madoda Mzakwe in an open letter published in The Sunday Times.

"For the future viability of the SABC, cost reductions are unavoidable, otherwise the institution will perpetually drain the public purse."

Mxakwe writes that the SABC's "executive team is working to improve efficiencies and reduce operating costs even further, while maintaining operational stability and sustainable productivity levels".

"The SABC has made significant achievements in dealing with the prior collapse of governance and financial malpractice. This has moved the SABC from a disclaimer audit to a qualified audit opinion."

"The need to ensure that the SABC becomes self-reliant, sustainable and resilient has never been more urgent. The work over the past 9 months has laid a solid foundation."

"The decisions taken now and over the next 2 years will determine the ability of the SABC to survive as a proud and relevant institution to serve the public interest for the next 84 years and beyond," Mxakwe writes.

SuperSport signs La Liga Broadcast Rights In Africa

(by Sport Business)

Sub-Saharan African pay-television broadcaster SuperSport, has renewed its exclusive rights to the top two tiers of Spanish football, LaLiga.

The deal is understood to cover the four seasons between 2020-21 and 2023-24 and includes exclusive, multi-platform English- and local-language rights in the region.

French- and Arabic-language rights in sub-Saharan Africa are understood to be unsold at the time of writing, though the rights-holder is thought to be close to agreeing a deal for those rights.

The inventory comprises all 380 matches from the top-tier Primera División as well as the promotion play-offs from the second-tier Segunda División .

The deal also extends the carriage of LaLiga’s dedicated TV channel, LaLigaTV, on SuperSport’s pay-television linear platform.

LaLiga began the sub-Saharan Africa tender process in June 2019.

Its previous deals in the region expired after the 2019-20 season and were all agreed for five seasons.

Canal Plus Afrique was the previous French-language broadcaster for LaLiga across sub-Saharan Africa. Digital terrestrial broadcaster Zap held the Portugese-language rights in Angola, and Tanzanian free-to-air broadcaster Azam held some non-exclusive rights in its domestic market.

The deal is SuperSport’s second major rights renewal this year after securing a three-year extension to its exclusive rights to motorsport’s Formula 1.

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