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.

Katarina
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)

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

Posted by Larry Gleeson

THE COLOMBIAN SET DRAMA STARS ACADEMY AWARD WINNER TILDA SWINTON

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)

DUSTIN HOFFMAN, CANDICE BERGEN, SIMON HELBERG AND OLIVIA THIRLBY JOIN FILM MODE ENTERTAINMENT’S ‘AS SICK AS THEY MADE US’

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)

 

ZOEY DEUTCH’s “BUFFALOED” ACQUIRED BY FILM BRIDGE INTERNATIONAL AT AFM

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.

 About LOST CITY

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.

About BOLD CRAYON

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)

KATHERINE HEIGL’s “FEAR OF RAIN” FROM VOLTAGE PICTURES LAUNCHES SALES AT AFM

Posted by Larry Gleeson

STARRING HARRY CONNICK JR., ISRAEL BROUSSARD, MADISON ISEMAN & KATHERINE HEIGL

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.”

ABOUT VOLTAGE PICTURES

Voltage

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

A CONVERSATION WITH BRON STUDIOS TO OPEN AFM’S FINANCE CONFERENCE ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8

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®

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 10.30.58 AM

 

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.

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 10.36.59 AM

 

BEN AFFLECK TO STAR IN HYPNOTIC, DIRECTED BY ROBERT RODRIGUEZ

Posted by Larry Gleeson

First Green Lit Picture Under Studio 8 and Solstice Strategic Partnership

LOS ANGELES (November 6, 2019) Academy Award® winner Ben Affleck will star in Robert Rodriguez’s mind-bending action thriller Hypnotic. Production is scheduled to start in April. This is the first greenlit film under Studio 8 and Solstice Studios strategic partnership.

Hypnotic is an action thriller directed by Robert Rodriguez (Alita: Battle Angel, Sin City) and written by Rodriguez and Max Borenstein (Godzilla franchise, Kong: Skull Island). The film follows a detective (Affleck) who becomes entangled in a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program–while investigating a string of impossible high-end heists. Rodriguez, Studio 8 CEO Jeff Robinov and his colleagues Guy Danella & John Graham will produce the film with Solstice, which will spearhead US distribution and international sales beginning at the AFM this week.

“Working with Ben on his award-winning projects, including Argo and The Town, I have seen how his versatility and creativity have made him one of the most talented filmmakers both in front of and behind the camera,” said Robinov. “It’s very meaningful to be collaborating with Ben again on this uniquely riveting suspense thriller, and I know he and Robert will make a terrific film together.”

BEN AFFLECK credit John Russo
Ben Affleck (Credit: John Russo)

Affleck is a multiple award-winning actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. He has won two Academy Awards as well as multiple Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. He’s best known for his work directing and starring in the Warner Bros. Best Picture Academy Award ® winner Argo and The Town in which he starred, directed and co-wrote. Previous leading roles include Justice League, The Accountant, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gone Girl and State of Play. He directed Gone Baby Gone and starred in and co-wrote Good Will Hunting. Affleck is represented by William Morris Endeavor (WME).

 ABOUT STUDIO 8

STUDIO 8 is a filmmaker-driven company focused on building longstanding relationships with filmmakers in order to develop, produce and acquire both potential tentpoles and prestige pictures. STUDIO 8 partners with filmmakers and talent to make possible their unique creative vision and deliver that vision to audiences globally. STUDIO 8 founder and CEO, Jeff Robinov, previously served as an executive at Warner Bros., climbing the ranks to serve as President of Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

ABOUT SOLSTICE STUDIOS

Solstice Studios is an independent movie company based in Los Angeles, founded in October 2018. The studio develops, fully finances, produces, sells internationally and distributes feature films in the U.S. on a wide-release basis.  Solstice plans to produce 3-5 movies per year for a global audience—generally in the $20-80M budget range.  It also plans to co-finance or acquire another 1-2 films per year for wide US distribution.  The company has a partnership with Ingenious Media.  Solstice recently completed production of its first feature film, Unhinged starring Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius opening August 28, 2020.

The Solstice team has a $5 billion production track record and is expected to grow to 65 people. The company’s senior team includes President & CEO Mark Gill, Head of Production Lisa Ellzey, Co-Production Head Guy Botham, Marketing/Strategy Head Vincent Bruzzese, Acquisitions & International Head Crystal Bourbeau, Business & Legal Affairs Head Karen Barna, Chief Financial Officer Shaun Williams and Head of US Distribution Shari Hardison.

 

Palm Springs International Film Festival Celebrating 30 Years

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By

It started as a dream, then a vision for Sonny Bono,  a man with big Hollywood ties and a love of Palm Springs. It’s what helped lead him to be elected mayor of Palm Springs in 1988.

Bono floated the idea for a major film festival in Palm Springs in the early 80s, but it took years of hard work for that to come to fruition.

In 1990, Bono’s vision became a reality and Palm Springs launched its first film festival, with the backing of major corporate sponsors like American Airlines and Wells Fargo and the help of local deep pockets.

The first festival drew over 17,000 filmgoers and was received positively by industry trades live variety. In the following years, the festival quickly grew and by its fifth year, it welcomed more than 42,000 visitors and became an economic force within the community.

To honor the 30 years of great movies and galas, the festival is offering a retrospective, re-screening films from previous years that were chosen by the audiences as well as the programmers along with other festival favorites.

Lilly Rodriguez
Lilly Rodriguez

“So this year we’ve actually planned something really special. We’re doing like 30 films that have played the festival in the past, so we’re doing retro screenings of them,” said Lilly Rodriguez, festival programmer.

 

Michael Lerman
Michael Lerman

“For us, all of it is the films. So like, remembering that this festival once showed cinema parodies on the first year, being able to kind of honor that is an interesting thing,” said Michael Lerman, the festival’s artistic director.

 

Stay tuned for more on the 30th edition of the Palm Springs International Film Festival!

Until then, I’ll see you at the movies…

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(Excerpted from kesq.com/news)

 

 

AFM® OPENS WITH 77 NEW EXHIBITORS AND BUYERS FROM 70+ COUNTRIES

Posted by Larry Gleeson

BIGGEST PROGRAMMING LINEUP TO DATE

MORE THAN 400 SCREENINGS, INCLUDING 80 WORLD PREMIERES

Los Angeles, CA – November 5, 2019 — The 40th American Film Market® (AFM®) will open its doors tomorrow, November 6. An estimated 7,000 attendees, including finance, production, sales, and distribution executives will be in attendance for screenings, meetings, networking, and panels, and to solidify deals on both completed films and thousands of projects destined to reach the audiences around the world.

The AFM will welcome 375 exhibiting companies, including 77 new exhibitors from 22 countries, who combined are representing thousands of films and projects in every stage of production. The United States will have the biggest exhibitor presence with 160, followed by the United Kingdom (31), France (26), Russia (19) South Korea (17), Germany (12), Italy (8), Romania (8), and Thailand (8).

The world’s leading buyers will also be in attendance with companies from more than 70 countries confirmed to date, the largest number coming from the United States, followed by Japan, South Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, and China. Buyers from the world’s leading digital platforms are also confirmed.

AFM continues its programming expansion this year with the addition of dedicated AVOD, Television, and XR conversations on its main stage at the Fairmont Hotel. Over six days and 52 sessions, the topics, opportunities, and practical information most relevant to global filmmakers will be presented across three stages providing attendees the chance to hear from more than 150 thought leaders, decision-makers and experts.

The Conference Series begins Friday, Nov. 8 with Breaking the Mold: The Innovators bringing together industry visionaries Erik Feig, CEO, Picturestart, Tim League, Founder, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and Aron Levitz, Head of Wattpad Studios, and Christian Parkes, Chief Marketing Officer of NEON to discuss what differentiates their business models and what the future holds.

The new half-day Immersive Summit presented by Winston Baker on Saturday, Nov. 9, will offer opportunities for bringing content, such as virtual and augmented reality, to market with creators and experts. Ted Schilowitz, XR expert and Futurist at Paramount Pictures, will present the opening keynote followed by panels featuring Rick Hack, Intel Studios, Laura Hertzfeld, Verizon Media’s Yahoo! News, Randal Kleiser, Film Director, and Lauren Xandra, National Research Group, among others.

The new half-day Television Conference on Monday, Nov. 11 will look at long-form programming for the small screen moderated by Variety’s Michael Schneider and featuring producers Paul Bales, The Asylum, Pierre David, ReelOne/Lance Entertainment, Brad Krevoy, Motion Picture Corporation of America, Chevonne O’Shaughnessy, American Cinema International, and Tony Vassiliadis, MarVista Entertainment. Presentations by network executives including Disney’s Lauren Kisilevsky, the History
Channel’s Mike Stiller, and Lifetime Original Movie’s Tia Maggini on their feature-length programming needs and priorities will follow.

AFM’s The Rise of AVOD panel on Tuesday, Nov. 12 will explore this rapidly expanding model and the opportunities for independent film with panelists Floris Bauer, Gunpowder & Sky, Jeff Shultz, Pluto TV, Adam Lewinson, Tubi TV, Julian Franco, Vudu, Anthony Layser, Xumo, and moderator Bruce Eisen, Digital Advisors.

AFM’s Palisades and Venice Stages at the Loews will host Roundtables and Presentations, including:

  • Audiences Want More: Bringing Diverse Projects to the Marketplace
    In partnership with ReFrame on Saturday, Nov. 9, with Glen Basner, FilmNation, Producers Zanne Devine and Cassian Elwes, and Monica Levinson, ShivHans Pictures, and Jane Fleming, Court Five Productions.
  • Seizing the Moment: Producing LGBTQ Content in a Time of Unprecedented Visibility
    In partnership with Outfest on Sunday, Nov. 10 with River Gallo, Ponyboi, Stephen Kelliher, BanksideFilms, Keya Khayatian, United Talent Agency, LaShawn McGhee, Revry, and Valerie Stadler Big Swing Productions & Outfest.
  •  Animals in Film: From Script to Screen on Saturday, Nov. 9 with Animals for Hollywood Senior Trainer Mark Harden and K9 dog actor Benny.

Other notable speakers include producer Roxanne Benjamin (V/H/S), producer Effie Brown (Dear White People), Sherryl Clark, The H Collective, Mark Gooder, Cornerstone Films, Katherine MacDonald, Paramount Pictures, Nat McCormick, The Exchange, producer Alysa Nahmias (Unrest), Vanessa Saal, Protagonist Pictures, Nick Spicer, XYZ Films, and Carrie Wong, Sony Pictures Entertainment.

AFM will also host more than 400 screenings of 313 films from 114 exhibiting companies. A record 80 films will make their World Premiere. In addition, more than 25 of the Academy Award® entries submitted for consideration for the “Best International Film” category are among the films being represented at this year’s market. LocationEXPO®, in its third year, will take place over the course of four days of AFM – November 9-12 and feature more than 50 Film Commissions, Government Agencies, Production Facilities and Services from around the globe.

In order to best serve the needs of its diverse sales companies, AFM launched a new program this year for companies who prefer to set up their sales offices outside of the Loews. The American Film Market is produced by the Independent Film & Television Alliance.

For more information visit AmericanFilmMarket.com.

For AFM’s Programming Lineup: AmericanFilmMarket.com/programs-events;

For the Exhibitor List: AmericanFilmMarket.com/exhibitor- list;

For AFM Screenings: TheFilmCatalogue.com/afm/screening-schedule.

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About the American Film Market®
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 catalogue 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.

About the Independent Film & Television Alliance®
The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA®) is the global trade association of the independent motion picture and television programming industry. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IFTA represents and provides significant entertainment industry services to more than 145 Member companies in 23 countries, consisting of independent production and distribution companies, sales agents, and financial institutions engaged in production finance. Collectively, IFTA Members produce more than 500 independent films and countless hours of television programming each year, generating more than $5
billion in distribution revenues annually. For more information on IFTA, please visit www.IFTA-online.org.

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MARTIN SCORSESE TRIBUTE ADDED TO AFI FEST 2019 PRESENTED BY AUDI

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SPECIAL EVENT ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15

Martin Scorsese

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— Los Angeles, CA, November 5, 2019 — The American Film Institute (AFI) today announced that AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi will honor Martin Scorsese with a tribute on Friday, November 15 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.  The evening will celebrate the AFI Life Achievement Award recipient and Academy Award® winner’s indelible impact on culture as one cinema’s most acclaimed filmmakers. Following the conversation with Scorsese, AFI FEST will present his most recent film, Netflix’s THE IRISHMAN, an epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler, and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century.

Bob Gazzale, AFI
Bob Gazzale

“Martin Scorsese is an American master,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “It is a profound honor for AFI to bring movie lovers together for one night to stand and celebrate this visionary storyteller whose passion for cinema echoes from film preservation to the advancement of the art form.”

Tickets to this event and all other screenings and events are now available at Fest.AFI.com.

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AS PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED

AFI FEST 2019 takes place November 14-21, 2019, at historic theaters in Los Angeles. Screenings, Galas, and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Hollywood Roosevelt and will open with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumna Melina Matsoukas’s QUEEN & SLIM. The festival will close with the World Premiere of Apple’s THE BANKER. The full program and schedule can be found here.

Audi returns for the 16th year as the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of AFI FEST, enabling the festival to host the very best of world cinema. Audi and their visionary support reflect a continuing commitment to create opportunities for equality in film and television. Audi also supports AFI through the Audi Fellowship for Women, a full-tuition scholarship created in 2017 to support promising female directors entering the AFI Conservatory. This Fellowship is part of the Audi commitment to drive progress and a landmark investment in the future of the storytelling community.

Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2019. Additional top sponsors include AT&T and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

Sponsor Audi

About the American Film Institute (AFI)

Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations.  Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media at Facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstituteyoutube.com/AFItwitter.com/American Filmand Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About AFI FEST presented by Audi
Now in its 33rdyear, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the eight-day festival presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices. World premieres, Galas and other special events take place at iconic LA locations, such as the historic TCL Chinese Theatre and the glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt. This year’s edition takes place November 14-21, 2019. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at AFI.com/AFIFEST. Connect with AFI FEST at facebook.com/AFIFESTtwitter.com/AFIFESTand youtube.com/AFI.

About Audi 

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.812 million vehicles globally in 2018. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 224,000 vehicles in 2018. 2019 marks 50 years for the brand in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

 

Film Review, Marketing & Distribution

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