Netflix to Open Office in Colombia

Netflix will open an office in Bogotá, Colombia, the company announced.

“Ten years ago Colombia opened its doors to Netflix, a new way to enjoy the best series and movies directly in their homes,” read a Netflix announcement. “A few years later we embarked on our first local production and quickly witnessed the incredible talent of the country and the opportunity to create Colombian stories, by Colombians. This led to series such as ‘Siempre Bruja,’ ‘Distrito Salvaje,’ ‘Chichipatos,’ ‘Frontera Verde’ and ‘El Robo del Siglo’; comedy specials such as those of Liss Pereira, Ricardo Quevedo, Antonio Sanint, Julian Arango and Alejandro Riaño; and movies such as Lavaperros, but our story in Colombia is only starting.”

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The new office “will allow us to be even closer to the creative community and our members, taking Colombian stories to millions of homes around the world so that they can discover the incredible potential, talent, landscapes and culture of this country,” according to the Netflix announcement.

Additionally, through 2022, Netflix will bow more than 30 new projects, which include the already announced “Ritmo Salvaje,” “Locombianos,” “Juanpis,” “Nada Es Igual,” a comedy show starring Alejandra Azcárate, “Goles en Contra,” ‘Pálpito,” “Perfil Falso,” “Diomedes” and “Chichipatos” season two.

The titles are part of Netflix’s local content investment of more than $175 million since 2014, according to the announce.

‘Face to Face,’ ‘Box 21’ Among Walter Presents Programs on PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in April

Five new international programs from Walter Presents are streaming on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel beginning in April: “Face to Face,” “Box 21,” “Devil’s Throat,” “Seizure” and “Silent Hunt.”

The subscription rate for the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Available now is the eight-episode Danish series “Face to Face.” In the series, when investigator Bjørn is called in to identify a young woman, he is horrified to find his own daughter lying on the autopsy table. Her death is ruled a suicide, but Bjørn refuses to believe his daughter has taken her own life. As the evidence begins to point towards murder, Bjørn begins to track the last day of his daughter’s life. This sends him on a whirlwind journey where he encounters people important to his daughter, revealing a network of truths, lies and criminal acts woven into her and Bjørn’s own life. In order to understand his daughter’s death, Bjørn must confront himself — until he finally faces the unavoidable truth of why she died.

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Also available now is the six-episode Romanian crime thriller “Box 21.” The series follows Lidia, a young Romanian woman who is lured to Sweden with promises of a better life. Through a wicked turn of events, Lidia is forced into prostitution. Looking for revenge, her fate is interwoven with police officer Ewert Grens, who chases a dangerous criminal.

Due April 16 is the 12-episode Bulgarian crime thriller “Devil’s Throat.” The series follows a DANS employee and an ambitious local investigator at the height of the Bulgarian refugee crisis. They are looking into the murder of a retired police officer in the border town of Smolyan. The clues are gradually turning toward a terrible secret about a crime that will overturn their investigation and their personal fates.

The Norwegian series “Seizure,” which starts streaming April 23, follows two Oslo detectives, played by popular Norwegian actors Anders Danielsen Lie (“Oslo, August 31st,” “22 July”) and Anders Baasmo Christiansen (“Kon-Tiki”), as they investigate the deaths of four immigrant boys. Set against an intense backdrop of personal trauma, violent weather and otherworldly apparitions, the show mixes elements of traditional Scandi Noir with a more supernatural twist.

Due April 30 is the German eight-episode series “Silent Hunt.” It follows an aristocrat by birth and gentleman by nature, Detective Hanns von Meuffeels, who brings a unique but effective approach to police work. He draws a suspect in with the power of good investigative skills and a well-practiced silence. Von Meuffels applies his own particular investigative style to reveal the truth, often confronting his own past and mistakes in the process, on cases involving satellite control systems for the arms industry, Turkish extremists, international money laundering, among others.

Korean Hit ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ Due on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 25 From Well Go

The Korean box office hit Deliver Us From Evil will debut on digital, Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 25 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The film stars Hwang Jung-min (The WailingThe Spy Gone North), Lee Jung-jae (Tazza: One-Eyed JackAlong with the Gods franchise), Park Jeong-min (Svaha: The Sixth Finger), Park Soi (Parasite) and Choi Moon (Anarchist from ColonyOkja).

In the film, after the shocking kidnapping of a little girl in Thailand, a mercenary with a murky past as a government black ops agent (Hwang) is forced to re-emerge from the shadows when he learns the incident is closely connected to him. With the help of expat Yui (Park), he flies to Thailand and begins tracking the girl’s whereabouts, moving ever closer to the notorious child trafficking ring responsible for her abduction. However, when an infamous gangster nicknamed The Butcher (Lee) learns just who has entered the country and is finally within his grasp, he goes on a bloody rampage to thwart the ex-agent’s rescue mission as retaliation for a killing that even he will never be able to forget — or forgive.

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Bonus content includes making-of and filming locations featurettes.

Cinedigm Acquires Series ‘The Island’ for Screambox SVOD Service

Cinedigm has acquired all North American rights to the coming-of-age, pandemic thriller series “The Island” from ZDF Enterprises.

The series is slated to premiere on Cinedigm’s recent digital network acquisition Screambox, a SVOD service for horror movies and TV series.

The eight-part series centers on a remote island in the North Sea that falls victim to a merciless and mysterious virus. As authorities rush to contain the disease, a fever of madness sweeps across the island.

The limited series was released in Germany last Summer. Cinedigm plans to premiere the series this July exclusively on Screambox, with two episodes releasing each week. The episodes will be offered in its original language with English subtitles and English dubbed.

“We are thrilled to bring ‘The Island’ to audiences this summer,” Yolanda Macias, chief content officer at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “The acquisition of Screambox gives us the opportunity to pursue titles within this incredibly popular and diverse genre to an underserved audience. Horror has a history of originality and we are eager to seek out titles like ‘The Island’ and provide a subtitled and dubbed experience to horror and thrill-seeking super fans.”

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“In ‘The Island,’ a coming-of-age-drama and post-apocalyptic disaster thriller merge into a modern epic. In a radical, uncompromising manner, the series raises the question of what happens to us modern people when the thin varnish of our civilization collapses. It has all the hallmarks of a top-quality thriller,” Robert Franke, VP, ZDFE.drama at ZDF Enterprises, said in a statement.

The series is directed by Christian Alvart, who also wrote and directed the Netflix series “Dogs of Berlin,” and Adolfo J. Kolmerer.

Paraguayan Horror Film ‘Morgue’ Arises on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 11 From Well Go

The Paraguayan horror film Morgue will come out on digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 11 from Well Go USA Entertainment

In the supernatural thriller, after a harrowing accident, a down-on-his-luck security guard accepts a promising new gig at the local morgue. He gets locked in and eerie occurrences (and a not-quite-lifeless body) leave him to wonder: how much otherworldly rage does it take to wake the dead?

A huge breakout hit in its home country, the film is — according to first-time writer/director Hugo Cardozo — based on real events.

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The cast of newcomers includes Pablo Martínez, María del Mar Fernández, Willi Villalba, Abel Martínez, Dr. Aldo Von Knobloch, Raúl Rotela and Francisco Ayala.

‘Presumed Guilty,’ ‘Fear by the Lake’ Among ‘Walter Presents’ Titles Coming to PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in February

Episodes from four new international programs from “Walter Presents” will be added to the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in February: “Fear by the Lake,” “Presumed Guilty,” “Luna & Sophie” and “Agathe Koltès: Murder in Brittany.”

The subscription rate for the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Season one of the French crime drama “Fear by the Lake Season” is available Feb. 5. Lise Stocker and Clovis Bouvier are facing a completely new threat when several people are suddenly struck down by a mysterious and deadly disease. A virus is spreading in the French alpine city of Annecy. It’s a race against the clock to find out where the virus came from and to stop its spread from becoming an epidemic.

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The Spanish series “Presumed Guilty” is available Feb. 12. In an idyllic fishing village in the Basque Country of northern Spain, a terrible event forces Jon Aristegui, a researcher living and working in Paris, to come back to his birth town six years after leaving it. Upon his return, he will have to confront the ghosts of his past and a mystery that was never solved and haunts him to this day: the disappearance of his girlfriend Anne.

Season two of the German crime drama “Luna & Sophie” debuts Feb. 19. Childhood best friends, the female investigative duo Luna and Sophie, return for a second season of crime fighting. The new cases tangle Luna and Sophie’s personal and professional lives together, as Luna’s father, who has been incarcerated in the Potsdam prison system, suddenly comes back into their lives, claiming to have witnessed a murder. Sophie starts an affair with a colleague on the team, which not only strains her marriage, but her friendship with Luna. When a hostage is taken in a Potsdam jewelry store, the case takes an unexpected turn. Then a mission into the deepest part of Brandenburg shows Luna and Sophie that the world there is completely different.

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The French crime drama “Agathe Koltès: Murder in Brittany” debuts Feb. 26. At 50, police commander Agathe Koltès is beautiful, funny and charming. She’s about to take up a post in a small town in Brittany, where everybody is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the great veteran cop. What nobody knows is that Mathilde Sirach, the young police captain who was fiercely opposed to Koltès’ coming, is actually her daughter. They haven’t seen each other in years. As expected, the mother-and-daughter reunion is stormy, but soon their investigations will lead them to rediscover the strong love and bond they have for each other.

Mexican Genre Film ‘Batwoman’ and ‘The Panther Women’ Double Feature Due on Disc Jan. 19 From MVD

The 1960s Mexican genre films Batwoman and The Panther Women will be available in a double feature in English on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 19 from MVD Entertainment Group and VCI Entertainment.

In Batwoman, after the body of a professional wrestler is found off Acapulco’s coastline, the victim, by all appearances, is believed to have drowned. However, the autopsy reveals a very perplexing and disturbing prognosis, when it’s discovered the victim’s pineal gland has been surgically drained of all fluid. With this prognosis eerily imitating the findings in the autopsies of murdered victims in Hong Kong and Macao, the police turn the investigation over to Mario Roble, who enlists the help of a beautiful crime fighting luchador known as Batwoman. Their thorough investigation leads them to an evil neurosurgeon who is using the fluid in his endeavors to genetically engineer a half fish, half man hybrid.

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In The Panther Women, in an effort to resurrect the dead leader of their satanic cult, the Panther Women must perform blood sacrifices in order for him to arise from his cold grave. Using the wrestling ring as their sepulcher and their unsuspecting opponents as their blood sacrifice’s, these beautiful sirens of Satan perform their life-resurrecting rituals, shedding much innocent blood. However, the accomplishment of their goal is thwarted, after Captain Diaz becomes wise to their evil dealings and quest.

Director Rene Cardona was later known for his luchador (masked wrestler) adventure movies such as Santo vs. the Riders of Terror (1970) and Night of the Bloody Apes (1969).

Cinema Paradiso

4K ULTRA HD REVIEW:

MVD/Arrow;
Drama;
$49.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R.’
Stars Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili, Marco Leonardi, Salvatore Cascio, Jacques Perrin, Agnese Nano.

With movie theaters facing an existential threat, there is perhaps no better time to revisit this 1989 Best Foreign Film Oscar winner about the magic of cinema, available in 4K for the first time.

Through extended flashbacks, the Italian film traces one man’s love affair with the movies beginning as a boy in war torn Sicily in the pre-television era. The boy Toto is fascinated by his small town’s movie theater and the projectionist, Alfredo, who creates magic on the screen from his small booth above the balcony. The booth also houses treasure, stolen kiss clips from various films that the local priest has had the projectionist excise from reels shown in the theater. Through his special relationship with the projectionist and the theater, the fatherless boy grows to cherish the magic of cinematic storytelling. Revisiting the town as an accomplished filmmaker, he reminisces about love, movies and loss.

Director Giuseppe Tornatore’s loving homage to the cinema also earned five BAFTA Awards, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more plaudits.

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The original award-winning theatrical version of Tornatore’s classic is presented here for the first time on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with DolbyVision. Special features include audio commentary with Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus; “A Dream of Sicily,” a 52-minute documentary profile of Tornatore featuring interviews with the director and extracts from his early home movies and interviews with director Francesco Rosi and painter Peppino Ducato, set to music by Ennio Morricone; “A Bear and a Mouse in Paradise,” a 27-minute documentary on the making of Cinema Paradiso and the characters of Toto and Alfredo, featuring interviews with the actors who play them, Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio, as well as Tornatore; “The Kissing Sequence,” in which Tornatore discusses the origins of the kissing scenes with clips identifying each scene; and the original director’s cut theatrical trailer and 25th anniversary re-release trailer. This 4K combo pack also includes the expanded director’s cut on Blu-ray, which delves deeper into Salvatore’s backstory.

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While the extras provide interesting backstory information, especially about the climactic and affecting “Kissing Sequence,” the real star here is the film itself polished for 4K. I saw the film when it first came out, and it has lost none of its power. As we move into the digital age, and physical media and theatergoing are increasingly labeled passé, Cinema Paradiso is a loving look back at moviegoing in a time when moving pictures were projected on a film strip of successive photos, capturing moments of magic.

‘All Creatures Great and Small,’ ‘Miss Scarlet & the Duke’ Among Titles Available on PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in January

Four new “Masterpiece” programs and several international series will be streaming on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in January.

“Masterpiece” titles include a new adaptation of “All Creatures Great and Small,” starring Dame Diana Rigg in one of her last appearances, the newest “Masterpiece Mystery” installment “Miss Scarlet & the Duke,” “Elizabeth Is Missing” based on the acclaimed novel starring Oscar-winner Glenda Jackson, and “The Long Song” based on the award-winning novel.

The subscription rate for the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

“Elizabeth Is Missing”

“Elizabeth Is Missing,” debuting Jan. 3, stars Jackson as the feisty grandmother Maud Horsham, a woman desperately trying to solve two mysteries as she declines ever deeper into dementia. Maud’s only friend, Elizabeth, ominously goes missing, leaving Maud determined to find her. The other mystery in Maud’s mind is a puzzle from her past, kindled when she unearths the top of an old cosmetics compact while gardening with Elizabeth. The discovery takes Maud back to her teenaged self and like many younger siblings, Maud looked up to her big sister, Sukey, considering her the height of glamour. This childhood idyll ended with Sukey’s failure to come home one night in 1949, never to be seen again. As Maud thinks back on it, she wonders if the family’s lodger at the time, Douglas, had anything to do with Sukey’s vanishing. And the cryptic warnings from the long-ago mad woman with the umbrella only deepens the riddle. In her increasingly disoriented perception, the disappearances of Sukey and now Elizabeth get mixed up. She attacks the problem with a system she uses around the house: sticky notes, posted everywhere, documenting daily reminders to herself — mostly about locking the door or turning off the stove, but also recording her meetings with Elizabeth and chance observations. Maud’s granddaughter, Katy, helps her arrange the notes. As memories, clues, and deductions pile up, viewers come to see the world as Maud does, and solve the mystery as this tenacious, vision-haunted sleuth does.

“All Creatures Great and Small,” debuting Jan. 10, is based on the autobiographical books by James Herriot and tells the adventures of a veterinarian in 1930s Yorkshire. The series takes place in 1937, when James Herriot, fresh out of Glasgow Veterinary College, follows his dream to become a vet in the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, one of England’s most beloved and beautiful landscapes. He soon discovers that treating the animals is as much about treating their owners, and the Dales’ farmers are a tough crowd to please. At Skeldale House, James gets to know his newly formed dysfunctional family: his chaotic and erratic boss Siegfried Farnon, his wayward brother Tristan and the shrewd Mrs. Hall, who is endlessly steering the ship. When local beauty Helen Alderson attracts James’s attention, he finds another, more enduring reason to stay in the Dales. The late Dame Diana Rigg plays Mrs. Pumphrey, the delightfully eccentric owner of the overly indulged Pekingese Tricki Woo.

“Miss Scarlet & the Duke”

“Miss Scarlet & the Duke,” coming Jan. 17, is set in the same 1850s London society that gave rise to Jack the Ripper. The Victorian detective drama features a fearless, independent heroine played by Kate Phillips (“Peaky Blinders”). With her inquisitive mind, Miss Eliza Scarlet has always been more interested in running her late father’s detective agency than behaving like a proper lady, much to the chagrin of family friend Inspector William Wellington of Scotland Yard (Stuart Martin, “Jamestown”). But nothing has prepared her for the dangers she is about to face as a woman in the murder investigation trade.

“The Long Song”

“The Long Song,” due Jan. 31, is an adaptation of the award-winning novel by Andrea Levy set during the final days of slavery in 19th century Jamaica. The story follows the strong-willed, young slave July on a sugar plantation owned by her odious mistress Caroline Mortimer. When a charming new arrival to the island, Robert Goodwin, becomes the new overseer, July and Caroline are both intrigued by his seemingly revolutionary determination to improve the plantation for the slaves and mistress alike.

“As Time Goes By: Reunion Specials,” available Jan 26, is the continuation to the long running series “As Time Goes By.” “Reunion Specials” follows up as Jean Pargetter’s (Dame Judi Dench) great anticipation for grandchildren is revealed much to husband Lionel’s (Geoffrey Palmer) dismay. With son-in-law Alistair and daughter Judy having problems things don’t look too promising. But will Jean’s dream of becoming a grandmother come true when their other daughter Sandy and her husband Harry return from Canada?

Also due in January are five “Walter Presents” series.

The French series “Walter Presents: Due North” is streaming starting Jan. 1. Set on the verge of the 20th century, “True North” is the untold story of the colonization of the Laurentian mountain rage in Quebec known as the “Wild West.” The series explores the turbulent period of the settlement and development of this northern region of Canada as the territory wreaks havoc on the new colony and an array of colorful characters try to make their mark

The German series “Walter Presents: The Nordic Murders” is coming Jan. 8. On the secluded island of Usedom off the north shore of Germany, former district attorney Karin Lossow has just been released from prison after serving a six-year sentence for shooting her husband. Her daughter Julia is the Detective Chief Inspector and their fragile relationship is put to the test as they team up to investigate criminal cases on the island.

The French-language series “Walter Presents: The Wall” is coming Jan. 15. In the remote Canadian mining colony Fremote, in the endless frozen hell that is the far North, the body of a young exotic dancer is found. The Quebec City police sends one of their toughest, most experienced detectives, Céline, to the colony to investigate. She is always up for a challenge. Being cooped up in the massive structure that is the colony which the inhabitants call “The Wall,” soon presents her with some challenges that exceed her investigative efforts. Not only does everyone here seem to have a secret and a connection to the victim, Céline’s own past has a way of catching up with her. Her estranged daughter Sophie has built a life of her own in the very same icy middle of nowhere where Céline is currently working. As Céline comes under increased pressure to find the killer of the dancer, she has to connect the dots to the suspicious death of a young boy three years ago. The inhabitants of the mine each think they know exactly who the culprit is, creating a sense of distrust and alarm among the community, but one fear is always present: will the murderer strike again soon?

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Season three of the Italian series “Walter Presents: Rocco Schiavone” starts streaming Jan. 22. Deputy Police Commissioner Rocco Schiavone finds himself more and more alone, in the increasingly colder and inhospitable city of Aosta, forced to come to terms with everything that has happened. His best friend, Sebastiano, is under house arrest and refuses to speak to him as he’s convinced that Rocco had him arrested before he could kill Enzo Baiocchi, the man who murdered his wife. Rocco’s future doesn’t look great after Sebastiano escapes house arrest and everything in Rocco’s life starts to fall apart. It appears that he has no choice but to escape, leaving no trace of his whereabouts.

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From the acclaimed novel by Louise Edrich comes the adapted historical German drama “Walter Presents: The Master Butcher,” due Jan. 29. After the social and financial destruction caused by World War I in Germany, a German butcher, and former military sniper, attempts to create a better life for himself and his family by moving to the United States. As the family struggles to acclimate to their new surroundings, many unexpected events occur, necessitating their plans and their lives to drastically adapt.

Korean Epic ‘The Swordsman’ Bows on Digital and Disc Feb. 16

The Korean action film The Swordsman will swing to digital, Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 16 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

In the hybrid of mainstream historical drama and traditional martial arts action, after failing to protect and prevent the downfall of the King, the best swordsman in Joseon leaves and lives in seclusion with his daughter in the mountains. As his eyesight begins to fail due to an old injury, his daughter seeks to find a treatment for him. When she is captured and taken away by a slave trader, the swordsman is forced to raise his sword again in order to save her.

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The Swordsman was directed by Choi Jae-hoon and stars Jang Hyuk as the main character.

The film was released theatrically in South Korea in September. The Swordsman was invited to the 40th annual Hawaii International Film Festival and was picked as the opening film in the 2020 Korean Indonesian Film Festival.