Category Archives: American Film Market

Indie Contenders Inform and Entertain at AFI FEST 2019

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The AFI FEST sponsored by Audi Summit Indie Contenders took place on Sunday, November 17, 2019, inside the Roosevelt Hotel Ballroom. Presented by The Hollywood Reporter, moderated and created by columnist and blogger Scott Feinberg, the annual panel featured a 90+ minute discussion with major talent from the AFI FEST 2019 lineup and recent releases, including Awkwafina, Jon Hamm, Florence Pugh, and Alfre Woodard.

AFI FEST Director, Michael Lumpkin welcomed the room with brief introductory remarks. Feinberg prepped the audience for the program and warmly introduced each panelist. While the panel focused on its members, a powerful undercurrent pulsed with each film’s potent messaging. Feinberg provided a monetary definition of an indie production of 22.5 million dollars.

Actress Awkwafina, left, addresses the issues of being an American and working on films Crazy Rich Asians and The Farewell, with Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg at the AFI Summit, November 17, 2019, at the Roosevelt Hotel Ballroom in Hollywood, Calif.. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

Each panelist discussed issuers related to working on an independent film and their importance in the age of the massive budgeted “Hollywood blockbuster” studio projects based on comic book narratives steeped with heavy doses of computer-generated imaging. Not surprisingly, the talent present represented some of the year’s most thought-provoking films of the year.

The film’s and talent on this year’s panel were Alfre Woodard (Clemency), Jon Hamm (The Report), Awkwafina (The Farewell), Sterling K. Brown (Waves), Jimmie Fails (Last Black Man in San Francisco), Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Kerry Washington (American Son), and Florence Pugh (Fighting with Family, Midsommar).

AFI FEST 2019 sponsored by Audi continues through Thursday, November 21, 2019. See for the festival’s full schedule and ticketing.








Posted by Larry Gleeson

LOS ANGELES (November 10, 2019) – Saban Films announced today that they have acquired North American rights to John Suits’ (Pandemic, The Scribbler) Breach starring Golden Globe Award® winner Bruce Willis (Glass, Die Hard franchise).  The sci-fi thriller also stars Cody Kearsley (“Riverdale,” Power Rangers), Callan Mulvey (Avengers: Endgame, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), Kassandra Clementi (“UnREAL,” “Home and Away”), Timothy V. Murphy (The Lone Ranger, “Snowpiercer”) and Corey Large (In Like Flynn, The Ninth Passenger).  Danny Roth produced under his Almost Never Films banner along with Corey Large and Edward Drake.

Breach follows a young stowaway (Kearsley) aboard an interstellar ark to New Earth. With the help of a seasoned crewmate (Willis), he must outwit a malevolent cosmic terror intent on using the spaceship as a weapon.  The film was shot in Fitzgerald, GA.  Executive producers are Danny H. Chan for Almost Never Films, Mike Donovan, Ryan Charles Griffin, Mary Aloe and Roger Dorman for Aloe Entertainment, Carlos Velazquez, Benjamin Krause, Stephen Eads, Johnny Messner, Edward Drake, and Elizabeth Zavoyskiy and Andrew Kotliar from MEP Capital, who are also financing.

Bill Bromiley
Bill Bromiley

Bill Bromiley said, “Bruce Willis leads a fantastic cast fighting to survive in this highly suspenseful, action-packed thriller that will keep audiences captivated.”

Bromiley also negotiated the deal for Saban Films along with Danny Roth on behalf of the filmmakers.  Screen Media is handling international rights at the upcoming AFM.

Saban Films continues to grow its presence in the industry, remaining active in the acquisition, production and distribution space. The company’s successes have run the gamut from critically acclaimed theatrical films such as The Homesman starring Hilary Swank, to two of the biggest Fathom events with horror icon and heavy metal mastermind Rob Zombie’s 31 in 2016 and 3 From Hell earlier this month, as well as Kevin Smith’s highly-anticipated Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, the sequel to the 2001 comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back which the company partnered on after coming on board at script stage.  Its upcoming slate includes Steven C. Miller’s Line of Duty; Will Forbes’ John Henry starring Terry Crews and Ludacris and executive produced by Matthew Antoun.

About Saban Films

Saban Films

Saban Films, an affiliate of Saban Capital Group (“SCG”), is a film acquisition and distribution company that acquires high-quality, feature films to distribute in North America.  Focusing on commercial, talent-driven films, the company looks at projects in all stages of production for release across multiple platforms, including a day and date theatrical/VOD release strategy. Based in Los Angeles, Saban Films was established by Haim Saban, SCG Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, and is led by Bill Bromiley who serves as President, Shanan Becker, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer and Ness Saban, Vice President of Business Development.

(Source: Press release from Rachel Simmons | DDA Group)


Posted by Larry Gleeson

Beverly Hills, California (November 9, 2019) – Leading entertainment company Arclight Films, led by chairman Gary Hamilton, announced today the company has closed worldwide distribution rights (excluding Kazakhstan), for the action adventure Tomiris, the powerful and epic portrayal of the legendary Queen Tomiris, directed by multi award-winning director Akan Satayev (“The Liquidator”) and Kazakhstan’s official Golden Globe submission. 

Starring Kazakhstan superstars Almira Tursyn (as Tomiris), Adil Akhmetov (as Argun), and Aizhan Lighg (as Sardana) who perform all of their own action packed stunts, Tomiris, tells the real life story of the great Queen who along with her female warriors united divided tribes of nomadic warriors and created a powerful nation.

Queen Tomiris lived 2,500 years ago but her legacy lives on and continues to thrive today. She was a mother, warrior, and incomparable strategist known and credited for the creation of female warrior divisions. Her beauty inspired many artists in Europe, her life even described in great detail in the chronicles of Greek historian Herodotus, and her legacy still inspires thousands of women throughout Central Asia.

“The story of Queen Tomiris is extraordinarily powerful, filled with heartbreak, loss, inspiration and victory,” stated Arclight Chairman Gary Hamilton. “This feature is full of action and beautifully shot in Kazakhstan where it has received a rave reception at the box-office where it is currently in theatrical release and is the highest grossing action film in the history of Kazakhstan.  We are delighted to share this special and rare film with our distribution partners around the world.”

The film is a co-production between Kazakhfilm Studios and Sataifilm. The film was released in Kazakhstan on October 1, 2019 with a strong reception, making it one of the highest grossing films in the history of Kazakhstan.

The distribution deal was negotiated directly by Gary Hamilton and Ying Ye on behalf of Arclight Films and Gaukhar (Gia) Noortas, a Kazakh-American film producer, and the head of the Honorary Consulate of Kazakhstan in Los Angeles on behalf of Sataifilm and Kazakhfilm Studios.


Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 8.24.15 PM

Arclight Films is one of the world’s leading international sales companies for theatrical, television and home entertainment.  Arclight Films has sold over 300 motion pictures including the Best Picture Oscar® winner Crash, Golden Globe® Best Picture Nominee Bobby and Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto and Ethan Hawke and the recent Oscar® nominated feature First Reformed (for Best Original Screenplay).

 Arclight Films’ slate includes the Australian the action thriller Long Gone Heroes starring Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, and Maggie Q, Twist currently in production and starring Michael Caine and Here are the Young Men starring Travis Fimmel, Dean Charles Chapman, Finn Cole and Anya Taylor-Joy, the true-life prison break story, Escape From Pretoria, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Daniel Webber, the sci-fi thriller Possessor starring Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Sean Bean, Jennifer Jason Leigh, directed by Brandon Cronenberg, the 2019 Berlin Film Festival official selection Öndög from Berlin Golden Bear winning director Wang Quan’an, and the big budget Chinese co-production Killer 10 to be directed by Phillip Noyce.

The company’s recent films include the highly anticipated Hotel Mumbai starring Armie Hammer, Dev Patel, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, and Jason Isaacs, directed by Anthony Maras released in the US by Bleecker Street on March 22nd, the powerhouse actioner Triple Threat starring Chinese stars Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Tiger Chen, and the Vietnamese action thriller Furie both films released by Well Go USA in March 2019, and the successful biopic Jungle starring Daniel Radcliffe released by eOne.

Arclight’s past films include 2016 Official Cannes Directors’ Fortnight selection Dog Eat Dog starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe, The Confirmation starring Clive Owen and Maria Bello, directed by Academy Award-winner Bob Nelson (Nebraska), 2016 Sundance Official Selection Frank & Lola starring Imogen Poots and Michael Shannon, Predestination starring Ethan Hawke released through Sony Pictures, Last Knights starring Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman, Paper Planes starring Sam Worthington, and Shangri-La Suite starring Emily Browning and Luke Grimes.

Arclight Films additionally encompasses subsidiary labels Darclight Films, the edgy genre-driven division of the company whose films include the worldwide horror hits Wolf Creek, Wolf Creek 2 and action thriller Bait 3D (the highest grossing Australian film in the history of Chinese cinema), and Easternlight, a specialty arm showcasing Asian cinema with the largest film library of any non-Asian-based indie film label. Films sold under the Easternlight banner include the worldwide blockbuster Forbidden Kingdom starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li, 14 Blades starring Donnie Yen, and legendary auteur Chen Kaige’s Sacrifice.

The latest additions to Easternlight includes Guardians Of The Tomb starring Kellen Lutz and Bingbing Li, Snow Girl And The Dark Crystal starring Bingbing Li, Wolf Warrior starring Wu Jing (which opened #1 at the Chinese Box Office, earning more than $32.5M in one weekend) Outcast starring Nicolas Cage, Special Id Starring Donnie Yen, and Badges Of Fury.

Arclight Films maintains a presence at all major motion picture and television festivals and markets with offices in Los Angeles, Sydney, Hong Kong, Beijing and Toronto.

About Kazakhstan Studios

The film studio was founded in 1934 as the Alma-Ata newsreel studio, in 1936 the first documentaries were released. On November 15, 1941, the Alma-Ata film studio merged with the Mosfilm and Lenfilm film studios that were evacuated to Kazakhstan to the Central United Film Studio – TsOKS, which worked in Alma-Ata until 1944 and produced 80% of all domestic feature films during the war years. On January 9, 1960, it was renamed the Kazakhfilm film studio from the Alma-Ata film studio of feature and chronicles films. In 1984, the film studio was named after the outstanding figure of national cinema Shaken Kenzhetayevich Aimanov.

In the context of decades, the average dynamics of production of feature films of the Kazakhfilm film studio, starting from the 60s of the last century, is annually: 60s – 3 films; 70s – 4 films; 80s – 7 films; 90s – 3 films. In the period from 2000 to 2008, there were 4 films. And only in the last few years, the average annual production rate is 7-10 films.

Over the years since Kazakhstan gained independence (from 1991 to 2016), the Kazakhfilm film studio has created about 136 full-length feature films (including 6 television feature films); 73 short films; 258 documentaries (including 8 documentary series); 67 animated films (of which 1 animated series, 1 full-length animated film).

In the period from 2008 to the present, over 200 films of the Kazakhfilm film studio have become participants in more than 220 festivals and international shows in 60 countries.

 About Sataifilm

The company was founded in 2003 by Akan Satayev. Initially, it was engaged in the production of commercials for a long time. The first full-length film was launched in 2006, it was a sensational “Racketeer“, the film completely recouped its budget and did very good in local box office, and most importantly became one of the most loved movies of domestic audience. After the success of “Racketeer” the company moved to a permanent mode of production of multi-series and feature films. Biggest projects are pictures as “Racketeer”, “Brothers” (a multi-part full-length series), “Strayed“, “Hacker“, “Racketeer 2“, “Raiyony” and “Alone“, which was released recently not only in Kazakhstan but also in the CIS.

An interesting fact is that the company’s logo depicts the profile of Akan Satayev’s father in the role of Akane Sery in the film Trizna / Kulager of 1972. Today the company is considered one of the largest private film studios in the territory of Kazakhstan and to this day is engaged in the production of feature films and series.


Thai Night Reception at American Film Market 2019

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Thai Night at American Film Market 2019, took place on Friday, November 8th, 2019, at the Colonnade Ballroom, Hotel Casa Del Mar, Santa Monica, California, hosted by the Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, Royal Thai Government. Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi of Thailand, graciously presided over Thai Night, an evening filled with ambiance and the Thai Royal Princess’s presence as the door to a brilliant and captivating film industry opened.

One of my top World Cinema films comes from Thailand and Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul the 2010 Cannes Palme d’Or winner,  UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES – a layered film delving into the human condition, transformation and annihilation. Since then, the Thai film industry has exploded expanding exponentially becoming the top producing cinema in the region.

In addition to Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi and the Thai Dance Troup, the top eight Thai film companies were on display to inform about filming in Thailand and to showcase Thai films during a cocktail and networking reception. Thai inspired finger foods and canapés and specially crafted Thai Mocktails were all the rage followed by a Thai Select Buffet line. For those who aren’t familiar with the work being done in Thailand, now is an excellent time to check it out!

(To note: One of the first deals announced out of AFM, NEON landed North American rights to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s latest film, MEMORIA.)





Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies

Thai HollywoodGlee
Larry Gleeson

*Featured Photo: Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi of Thailand (Photo by Larry Gleeson)

Created in Moscow premieres at the AFM

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Santa Monica. November 7 — The key Moscow-based producers of feature films, TV series, and animation are presenting new projects at the American Film Market that opened yesterday. The presentation of Russian content under the umbrella brand “Created in Moscow” has put together about 100 major global buyers. Supported by Moscow Export Center, 17 production and distribution companies brought more than 50 projects to the US. Russian filmmakers will show their titles to global producers in Russian, French, German, English, and Chinese. At the AFM, Moscow opened a series of presentations of the top world film production hubs.

The participation of Moscow companies in the largest film market is part of the Moscow Export Center’s program to support local creative powerhouses and its access to international markets.

Russian Film
Kirill Ilichev

“Moscow authorities pay great attention to supporting the export of products and services of creative industries, and in particular, film and animation products,” says Moscow Export Center’s General Director Kirill Ilichev, “Last year, exports of audio-visual and related services from Russia were up 5.2%, coming in at USD 210.7 million. We hope that the excellence of the projects from Moscow companies and the grand scale of the American Film Market, a place where over USD 1 billion worth of deals are made each year, will ensure that all its participants can be successful.”

“Global promotion is a crucial growth driver for the global film and entertainment

Evgenia Markova
Evgenia Markova

industry and Russia is no exception here. At one of the busiest film markets in the world we are standing together as a major industry player in films, TV content, and animation. And this year there is a good case for the most of leading companies to appear at the AFM under a single brand, Created in Moscow,” adds Evgenia Markova, Industry Relations Director at Expocontent. Russian film companies have brought to the US commercial films that have reached mass audiences in recent years and generated growing box office receipts outside Russia. The annual growth rate of Russian content sales abroad over the last three years has topped 20%…Created in Moscow brand is not only about content but also about the people involved and their professional excellence and readiness to cooperate. A shared history shows our foreign partners that Russia – and Moscow, in particular – can see new opportunities arising for the creative industry, including the co-production of international projects. These new opportunities emerged with the launch of a rebate scheme for foreign producers that has come into effect today, with the rebate ranging between 30 and 40%

Russian line-up at the AFM

Central Partnership, a major Russian distribution and rental company, is launching the sales of two large-scale projects. One is Chernobyl. Abyss, a drama directed by Danila Kozlovsky and produced by Non-Stop Production and DK Entertainment, focusing on the repercussions of Chernobyl accident elimination. The other is Fire, an action movie produced by Nikita Mikhalkov’s TriTe Studio, with the participation of TV Channel Russia 1, an epic about firefighters and rescuers, for whom heroic deeds are all in a day’s work.
At the AFM, Central Partnership will premiere The Blackout, a fantasy/action/thriller from Premier Studios.

Katerina Pshenitsyna

“International buyers would be able to see the premiere of this movie’s final cut with a working CG version. The project has already been sold to several European territories, and after the AFM we expect to strike deals with the Asian buyers who continue to show a great interest in the project,” says Katerina Pshenitsyna, Central Partnership’s VP, International Distribution, “We will also continue to sell Silver Skates, a romantic adventure film, which is a joint project between Central Partnership, the GPM KIT group of companies, Nikita Mikhalkov’s TriTe Studio, and Kinoslovo; and The Ninth, a thriller from Non-Stop Production.”

The company’s slate also includes the animated feature film The Fixies vs. Crabots of the Aeroplane studio.

AFM Animation

Art Pictures Studio will offer fantasy blockbuster Invasion directed by Fedor Bondarchuk; Ice 2 by Zhora Kryzhovnikov, co-produced with Vodorod; and sci-fi Sputnik by Yegor Abramenko, which is a co-production of Vodorod, Art Pictures and Hype Film. In its line-up, Art Pictures Studio also has Fedor Konyukhov, Fedor Bondarchuk’s new international project about the famous Russian explorer and his recent extreme adventure to circumnavigate the world in an air balloon. Still in productions, Fedor Konyukhov is to be released in late 2020.

The flagships of Mars Media include A Dog Named Palm, an adventure film for family viewing by Alexander Domogarov Jr., and Sabre Dance by Yusup Razykov, an Aram Khachaturian biopic co-produced by Russia and Armenia. The picture tells the story of how the famous music composer wrote his most famous piece in just eight hours amid World War 2. “Sabre Dance has already been sold to Japan, Thailand and Latin America, and we plan to finalize negotiations with some other countries in Santa Monica,” says Mila Rozanova, Mars Media’s Global Sales Head. Sabre Dance’s release is scheduled for December 2019. In Santa Monica, Mars Media will also present Rzhev, a war drama by Igor Kopylov.

Premier Studios continue to negotiate TV series still in production, Six Empty Seats, a thriller by Pyotr Todorovskiy; Dyatlov’s Pass, a drama by Valeriy Fedorovich and Evgeniy Nikishov based on real life events and detective series detective Identification by Vladlena Sandu.

Production company Sreda will present their TV series, premiering the trailers for Vano Burduli’s The Actor; Roman Volobuev’s dramedy Irregulars and Nurbek Egen’s action/thriller/drama Sherlock Holmes in Russia, featuring Maxim Matveev as Sherlock Holmes.

Created in Moscow suite at the AFM also features recent productions by All Media Company, Ark Pictures, KD Studios, Mint Films International, Planeta Inform Telecontent, Revolution Film, RFG Distribution, Russian World Vision, Vega Film.

Russian animation at the AFM

Licensing Brands will present two new 3D projects for family viewing, Pinocchio and Big Trip 2: Special Delivery. Licensing Brands intend to sell the rights to these projects to uncovered territories such as the US and Western Europe.

Kolobanga Media will offer in Los Angeles its own 3D animation: full-length adventure films Kolobanga. Hello, Internet and Netski. The Universe of the Net. As Kolobanga planned to distribute Netski in Europe, North and South America at Marche du Film and MIFA in Annecy, it intends to continue pre-sales and cover new territories for Kolobanga. Hello, Internet at the AFM.

A turning point for the Russian film industry

Positioning the national Russian cinematography brand at all key industry events is part of a general strategy to internationally promote the Russian film industry and content production.

(Source: Press release from Created in Moscow ExpoContent)

NEON Nabs MEMORIA From Palme d’Or Winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul at AFM

Posted by Larry Gleeson


Los Angeles, CA (November 7, 2019) –  In one of the first deals announced out of AFM, NEON has landed North American rights to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s MEMORIA. The Colombian set drama, written and directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, stars Tilda Swinton, Jeanne Balibar, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Juan Pablo Urrego and Elkin Diaz.  The film is produced by Weerasethakul’s Kick the Machine, Burning and Illuminations Films. Weerasethakul previously won the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2010 for his fantastical film, UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES.

Details of the plot are being kept under wraps.

The deal was negotiated by Jeff Deutchman on behalf of NEON and Thania Dimitrakopoulou of The Match Factory on behalf of the filmmakers.

At last year’s AFM NEON announced the acquisition of Bong Joon Ho’s Palme d’Or winner, PARASITE, which has  gone on to gross over $100mm worldwide and set box office records in the US after launching on October 11th.

About NEON

A little more than 2 and a half years since inception, NEON has grossed over $100M at the Box Office and continues to push the boundaries and take creative risks on bold content with films such as: Bong Joon Ho’s critically acclaimed, record-breaking drama PARASITE, which unanimously won the Palme d’Or this year at Cannes and when released on October 11 broke multiple box office records including highest per screen average of the year and highest per screen average for a foreign language film of all time.  Other noteworthy releases include Todd Douglas Miller’s APOLLO 11, the highest grossing documentary in the world at $16M and growing, Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers, winner of the Sundance Special Jury Award for Storytelling which surpassed $13m at the box office, and Craig Gillespie’s I,TONYA, which garnered multiple Academy Award® nominations, one win for Allison Janney and amassed over $30M in box office in North America.

With other recent acquisitions such as the critically acclaimed Cannes hit PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, NEON continues to be an impressive force at festivals. Recent releases include: Alejandro Landes’ cinematic thriller MONOS (the Colombian selection for the Academy Awards®); Abe Forsythe’s LITTLE MONSTERS with Lupita Nyong’o, Julius Onah’s LUCE starring Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer; Tom Harper’s WILD ROSE starring Jessie Buckley; John Chester’s THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM; Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov’s award-winning HONEYLAND (the Macedonia selection for the Academy Awards®)and the electrifying documentary about Aretha Franklin, AMAZING GRACE. Its upcoming slate also includes: Chinonye Chukwu’s CLEMENCY starring Academy Award® Nominee Alfre Woodard and Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz‘s horror film THE LODGE starring Riley Keough.

(Source: Press release from Cassie Kauffman)


Posted by Larry Gleeson

New comedy-drama from the star of The Big Bang Theory and Blossom, and the producers of After Everything, Burn, Stage Mother and Quinceañera, Announces All-Star Cast at World’s Largest Film Market

LOS ANGELES (November 7, 2019) – Clay Epstein’s Film Mode Entertainment and producers Anne Clements (Stage Mother, Quinceañera), and Ash Christian (After Everything, Burn) are pleased to announce the lead cast and AFM (American Film Market) market premiere of As Sick As They Made Us. The new comedy-drama features a multiple-award-winning cast that includes two-time Academy Award-winner, Dustin HoffmanAcademy Award nominee and five-time Emmy Award winner,  Candice Bergen,  Simon Helberg and Olivia Thirlby.

AS SICK AS THEY MADE US is written and directed by multiple award-winner and nominee Mayim Bialik a two-time winner of the Critic’s Choice Television Award for best-supporting actress for The Big Bang Theory, that has also won The People’s Choice Award for Best Comedy 3 times, a 4-time Emmy-nominee and a 3-time SAG award-nominee.

Hoffman is a two-time Academy Award winner and seven-time nominee. He is well known for his film roles in The Graduate, Tootsie, Lenny, Midnight Cowboy, Kramer vs. Kramer, Wag The Dog, Rain Man, and most recently, Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) opposite Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Candice Bergen. Hoffman is currently starring in Donato Carrisi’s Into the Labyrinth opposite Tony Servillo. Bergen is known for her starring role in the hit series Murphy Brown for which she won 5 Emmy Awards, and her Oscar-nominated performance in Starting Over to the more recent hit Book Club, and the upcoming Let Them All Talk directed by Steven Soderbergh and co-starring Meryl Streep and Diane Weist.  Helberg – who starred opposite Bialik on The Big Bang Theory – has impressive credits in features including his Golden Globe-nominated performance in Florence Foster Jenkins opposite Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant for director Stephen Frears. He is currently filming a starring role in Leos Carax’s highly anticipated musical Annette with Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. Thirlby quickly gained momentum on screen after her performances in films such as Juno, United 93, The Wackness, and New York I Love You. Her other credits include Dredd 3D, The Wedding Ringer, and The Stanford Prison Experiment to name a few. Thirlby will next be seen in the revival of the Showtime series, The L Word: Generation Q set to air this December.

As Sick as They Made Us is about a successful divorced mother of two who rekindles love in her life amidst the crazy antics of her dysfunctional family. Now she attempts to convince the stubborn, and comically unfortunate family members to hold it together while they embrace one final farewell.

The film marks Mayim Bialik’s screenwriting and directorial debut. In addition to playing the beloved title character on Blossom, she also starred as Amy in the longest-running multi-camera series on television, The Big Bang Theory. The show premiered on CBS in September of 2007 and concluded in May of 2019, having broadcast a total of 279 episodes over 12 seasons. The show is syndicated in approximately 100 countries around the world to date.

“We can’t wait to see this stellar cast bring such lovable and interesting characters to life. It’s evident that these amazing actors share our love of the materials and we are thrilled to see Mayim’s vision become a reality.”  Said Epstein.

“It is an incredible honor and a writer and director’s dream come true to work with actors I’ve respected and adored my entire life. I cannot wait to see what we can create together! “ Said Bialik.

Most recently, her production company, Sad Clown Productions, inked a multi-year deal with WBTV including a talent-holding provision for her acting services. A multifaceted artist and entrepreneur, Bialik, who also holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCLA,  has published 4 books, two of which were NY Times bestsellers focusing on the neuroscience and psychology of puberty.

Producers include Anne Clements and Ash Christian. Clay Epstein/Film Mode Entertainment will serve as an executive producer.

Hoffman is represented by WME and Tavistock Wood Management.

Bergen is represented by ICM Partners.

Helberg is represented by UTA, MGMT Entertainment, and Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher.

Thirlby is represented by ICM Partners, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman LLP.

Bialik is represented by Tiffany Kuzon at Mosaic, Shep Rosenman at Katz Golden Rosenman LLC, and WME.

Film Mode Entertainment is representing worldwide rights on the film.

About Film Mode Entertainment

Film Mode

Film Mode Entertainment is a leading worldwide sales agent, production entity and distribution company, focusing on commercially driven feature films of all genres and budget sizes. Film Mode represents projects at all stages of the filmmaking process, often as Executive Producer, with the aim of helping producers and distributors achieve maximum exposure for their films. Film Mode’s recent titles include CRYPTO starring Kurt Russell, Luke Hemsworth and Alexis Bledel, BAILEY AND DARLA starring Brittany Snow, Sam Richardson and Vivica A. Fox, STAGE MOTHER starring Academy Award nominee Jacki Weaver, Lucy Liu and Adrian Grenier, BURN starring Josh Hutcherson and Suki Waterhouse, and RABID, a reimagining of David Cronenberg’s 1977 Cult Horror Classic, directed by the Soska Sisters. Previous releases include SUGAR MOUNTAIN starring Jason Momoa, and THE GOOD NEIGHBOR starring Academy Award nominee James Caan. Film Mode accelerated their growth and expanded their capabilities by entering into a partnership with SCREEN MEDIA, representing their catalogue of over 600 titles, including WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE starring Leonardo DiCaprio, who was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his performance, and MONSTER, starring Charlize Theron who won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress for the film. The company also has its own distribution arm, as well as a documentary label, DocMode. Film Mode is based in Beverly Hills, CA.

(Source: Press release Lon Haber & Co. | IPPR)



Posted by Larry Gleeson

Crime Dramedy Premiered at Tribeca and stars Zoey Deutch, Judy Greer and Jai Courtney

Los Angeles, CA (November 7, 2019) ­ Leading sales agent Film Bridge International has come aboard to handle international sales rights for the comedy, BUFFALOED, starring and produced by Zoey Deutch (Netflix¹s The Politician and Set It Up, Zombieland: Double Tap).  The announcement was made today by Ellen S. Wander, CEO of Film Bridge International.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 10.26.02 AMSet in the underworld of debt collecting, BUFFALOED follows homegrown hustler, Peg Dahl (Deutch), who will do anything to escape Buffalo, NY. After getting into some trouble, Peg finds herself crippled by debt. With her chances of a brighter future outside of her hometown squandered, she decides to become a debt collector herself and wages war with Buffalo’s “king pin” of debt collecting.

 The feature was directed by Tanya Wexler (Hysteria, Ball in the House, Finding North) and was penned by Brian Sacca. This is Sacca¹s first feature film as a writer. As an actor he is a series regular on TBS¹s WRECKED, and was featured in WOLF OF WALL STREET, BAND OF ROBBERS, and KINGS OF SUMMER.  Wexler is currently in post-production on JOLT, a female-driven action comedy starring Kate Beckinsale, which she is directing for Millennium Films.  She first made waves with the romantic comedy HYSTERIA, her 2011 film about the invention of the vibrator starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, and Felicity Jones, which premiered at the Toronto Film festival. In TV, she most recently directed an episode of GIRLFRIENDS’ GUIDE TO DIVORCE and THE ARRANGEMENT.

Zoey Deutch can currently be seen starring in ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP alongside Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Emma Stone. On the small screen, Deutch can be seen starring in Ryan Murphy¹s Netflix series THE POLITICIAN opposite Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jessica Lange, in which Murphy serves as writer, showrunner and executive producer. Recently announced, Deutch will be re-teaming with Glen Powell, whom she co-starred alongside in Netflix¹s SET IT UP. Together they are working with the same team of filmmakers for a new Netflix romantic comedy, tentatively titled MOST DANGEROUS GAME. The film will go into production in early 2020, with Deutch also on board as an executive producer. Other film credits include FLOWER opposite Kathryn Hanh, Tim Heidecker, and Adam Scott, THE YEAR OF SPECTACULAR MEN alongside her sister Madelyn Deutch and directed by their mother, Lea Thompson; REBEL IN THE RYE opposite Nicholas Hoult; and BEFORE I FALL, the adaptation of the 2010 young adult novel of the same name.

 The film also stars Judy Greer (Ant-Man and the Wasp, 13 Going on 30, Where¹d You Go Bernadette), Jermaine Fowler (Sorry to Bother You, and the upcoming Coming 2 America), Noah Reid (Schitt¹s Creek) and Jai Courtney (Divergent, Suicide Squad, Terminator Genisys).

 BUFFALOED was produced by Lost City¹s Mason Novick (Tully, Juno) and John Finemore and Bold Crayon¹s Bannor MacGregor and Jeffrey Katz, along with Deutch and Sacca. James Hoppe, Elizabeth Grave and Brooke Davies executive produced for Lost City, Phil Quartararo for Bold Crayon, along with Mary Anne Waterhouse and Kirsten Ames. Hyperion Equity Partners provided the financing on behalf of Bold Crayon.

“It is my pleasure to bring Buffaloed to the masses,” says producer John Finemore. “This meaningful film is a conversation starter and we know it will be a fun and thought provoking, treat for moviegoers everywhere, anchored by a performance by Zoey Deutch that’s nothing short of incredible.”

“We are excited to work with Zoey Deutch, Lost City and Bold Crayon on Buffaloed. The film is a gem and we know it will do extremely well with international audiences,” stated Ellen S. Wander, CEO of Film Bridge International

Film Bridge

 BUFFALOED is being introduced to and screening for international buyers this week, and producers will announce their domestic distribution partner shortly.


Lost City is a film production and financing company managed by principals, partners and producers John Finemore and James Hoppe. It operates from headquarters in Los Angeles with additional offices in Melbourne, Australia. Lost City is currently in post production on DESPERADOS, a Netflix Original, starring Nasim Perdrad, Anna Camp, Sarah Burns Lamorne Morris and Robbie Amell. Previously, Lost City produced and financed Drake Doremus¹s feature NEWNESS, starring Nicholas Hoult and Laia Costa, which premiered at Sundance in 2017 and produced Tony Elliott¹s ARQ for Netflix, which starred Robbie Amell and Rachael Taylor and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016.


Bold Crayon is film production and financing company managed by principals Bannor Michael MacGregor, Jeffrey Katz, and Phil Quartararo with offices in Santa Monica, Raleigh, and NYC.  Bold Crayon is currently developing feature films including SPREAD THE WORD, an urban story of redemption and THIEF, an action thriller to be set in South Korea.  Bold Crayon expects to be publicly traded through the OTC Venture Market in 2020.

(Source: Press release from Prism Media/Maggi Simpson PR+Media Relations)


Posted by Larry Gleeson


LOS ANGELES, CA (November 7, 2019) — Voltage Pictures has boarded international sales on Castille Landon’s (Apple of My Eye) upcoming thriller Fear of Rain starring Katherine Heigl (27 DressesThe Ugly Truth), Harry Connick Jr. (Dolphin Tale, “Will & Grace)”, Israel Broussard (Happy Death Day, To All the Boys I’ve Loved) and Madison Iseman (Jumanji: Welcome to the JungleGoosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween) and will present the project to buyers at the upcoming AFM, it was announced today by company President and COO Jonathan Deckter. The film is currently in post-production.

Dori Rath is producing the project with Joseph Restaino and Robert Molloy at Pinstripe Productions and Joe Riley at Zero Gravity Management. Endeavor Content is handling US rights. Jonathan Deckter negotiated the deal with Chris Slager at Endeavor Content on behalf of Voltage Pictures.

The pic follows a teenage girl living with schizophrenia who struggles with vivid and terrifying hallucinations as she begins to suspect her neighbor has kidnapped a child. Her parents try desperately to help her live a normal life, without exposing their own tragic secrets, and the only person who believes her is Caleb – a boy she isn’t even sure exists.

Fear of Rain typifies the highly commercial projects our international partners are looking for at AFM,” said Deckter. “Psychological thrillers continue to dominate at the international box office and the fact that it’s led by a much-beloved cast with legions of fans globally, only adds to its immense appeal.”



Voltage Pictures, established in 2005, is a privately held, film and television production, financing and sales entity, purchased in 2016 by Chinese Anhui Xinke New Materials, a company primarily involved in copper processing and manufacturing wires and cables. Voltage has won six Academy Awards including Best Picture for The Hurt Locker, and three Academy Awards for Dallas Buyers Club.

 Recently released by Voltage is the blockbuster comedy I Feel Pretty starring Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski, and Naomi Campbell, which had a wide theatrical release via STX Entertainment in April 2018 and has since generated nearly $100m in the worldwide box office. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starring Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Kaya Scodelario, Jim Parsons, and John Malkovich premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival to great acclaim.

After based on the internationally best-selling series of books by Anna Todd, debuted number one at the box office in 17 international territories including Germany and Italy when released in April 2019 and is currently the highest-grossing independent film of the year. After recently won three awards at the 2019 Teen Choice Awards including Choice Drama Movie, Choice Drama Movie Actor and Choice Drama Movie Actress. Production on the highly anticipated sequel After We Collided commenced in August 2019.

The company is currently in post-production on Ava directed by Tate Taylor and starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, John Malkovich, Common, Geena Davis, and Joan Chen.

 Other titles released by Voltage include Colossal starring Anne Hathaway released in April 2017 by Neon and A Family Man starring Gerard Butler, and Keep Watching, starring Bella Thorne which released by Screen Gems.

Voltage was a co-financier and sales agent for the acclaimed Wind River, from Taylor Sheridan in his directorial debut, starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, which premiered to rave reviews at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival which took over $44 million in worldwide box office. Chartier and Deckter were executive producers on the project.

Recent titles on the Voltage sales slate include the Toronto International Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize winner Skin from the Academy Award-winning director, Guy Nattiv, and starring Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, and Vera Farmiga. The film was also an official selection in the Panorama section at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival and was released in the US by A24. The short on which the film is based won the 2019 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. All Eyez on Me from director Benny Bloom and starring Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira and Kat Graham took $53 million in the worldwide box office. Her Smell, starring Elisabeth Moss, Amber Heard, Cara Delevingne, and Dan Stevens was released in April 2019.

BRON Studios Executives Join AFM Opening Conference

Posted by Larry Gleeson


American Film Market

Los Angeles, CA – November 5, 2019 – The American Film Market (AFM®) will kick off it Conferences with The Future of Film session featuring a conversation with BRON Studios on Friday, November 8.

BRON’s top executives Aaron L. Gilbert, Chairman & CEO, Ashley Levinson, Chief Strategy Officer, and Anjay Nagpal, Chief Content Officer will take the main stage at the Fairmont Hotel for a candid conversation on the future of film and the company’s current position on the changing industry landscape.  Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter’s European Bureau Chief, will moderate the session.

Founded in 2010 by Aaron L. Gilbert and Brenda Gilbert, BRON is a global leader in the media and entertainment sectors. The parent company BRON Media Corp., has divisions which include BRON Studios, BRON Creative, BRON Animation, BRON Ventures, BRON Releasing, and BRON Life. An established award-winning motion picture and series television producer, BRON is a driving force in studio and independent production. Having built a reputation for work ethic, honesty, and transparency, BRON has become the first stop for both established and emerging talent; and for business leaders in the global M&E space.

BRON has been behind such films as Fences, The Mule, The Front Runner, The Addams Family, Tully, and most recently Joker.  Their upcoming releases include Bombshell, Queen & Slim, The Good Liar, The Green Knight, Those Who Wish Me Dead, and Ghostbusters 2020. BRON is headquartered between Los Angeles and Vancouver, with offices in New York and Toronto.

About the American Film Market®

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The American Film Market is the most efficient film acquisition, development, and networking event in the world. Unlike a festival, AFM is a marketplace where production and distribution deals are closed. More than US$1 billion in deals are sealed every year – on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production.

Over 7,000 industry professionals from more than 70 countries converge in Santa Monica every November. They include acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, the world’s press and all those who provide services to the motion picture industry.

At AFM, participants can discover the entire global catalog of available films and projects, attend 50+ best-in-class class conferences, summits, roundtables, and presentations, and connect with the independent film community’s decision-makers, all in one convenient location without the distraction of a film festival.

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