EXCLUSIVE: As the film world converges on Park City on the eve of Sundance, Netflix is expanding its global indie film strategy with a slate of new features to be financed and distributed by the SVOD giant. The five features are Ryan Koo’s Amateur, Tony Elliott’s ARQ, Alistair Legrand’s Clinical, Osgood Perkins‘ I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House and Gerard McMurray’s Underground.
The move further cements Netflix’s strategy, first revealed by Deadline last July, to work directly with filmmakers and producers and empower them with the means and platform to have their films seen globally. All the films will be made available simultaneously on Netflix’s recently enlarged footprint of more than 190 countries.
The move is a statement of intent from Netflix, dubbed a “global TV network” by chief exec Reed Hastings. While Netflix continues to make buzzy bigger budget moves such as the Brad Pitt-starrer War Machine as well as pre-Sundance acquisitions for Paul Rudd’s The Fundamentals of Caring (nearly $7 million) and Ellen Page’s Tallulah ($5 million), it is also keen to stay active in the lower budget arena as part of its diversified offering to viewers and content generators.
Amateur, written and to-be-directed by Sundance Screenwriting Lab alum Ryan Koo, follows Terron Forte (Michael Rainey Jr.), a 14 year-old basketball phenom, whose highlight video goes viral only to find himself struggling to fit in with the older high schoolers on his new team. He then must defeat his greatest rival yet — his new coach. The pic will be produced by Jason Michael Berman of Mandalay Pictures and Chip Hourihan.
Tony Elliott writes and directs ARQ, about an engineer, trapped in a house and surrounded by a gang of mysterious masked intruders, who must protect a technology that could deliver unlimited energy and end the wars that have consumed the world. The catch: the technology has created a time loop that condemns them all to relive the same day over and over. The pic is produced by Mason Novick and John Finemore of Lost City alongside Kyle Franke and Nick Spicer of XYZ Films, in association with MXN Entertainment. James Hoppe exec produces with Elizabeth Grave and Michelle Knudsen co-producing.
Alistair Legrand directs Clinical, a dark thriller in which a psychiatrist (Vinessa Shaw) tries to put her life back together after a violent attack. As her past continues to torment her, she seeks to repair the life of a new patient… with his own terrifying history. Alistair Legrand and Luke Harvis have written the script with Campfire and Ross Dinerstein producing.
As previously announced by Deadline, Osgood Perkins’ I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House stars Ruth Wilson as Lily, a young nurse hired to care for elderly Helen Bloom, a best-selling author of ghost stories who has chosen to live out her final days in her beloved country home – a home that holds a horrific ghost story of its own. Bob Balaban and Lucy Boynton co-star. Rob Paris’ Paris Film, Inc. is producing and co-financing the film with Robert Menzies’s Ottawa-based production shingle Zed Filmworks, and Canadian real estate developer Alphonse Ghossein’s Go Insane Films. Paris and Menzies are producing and Ghossein is executive producing.
Finally, Gerard McMurrary directs Underground, which sends the audience deep into Hell Week, as a favored pledgee is torn between honoring his code of silence or standing up against the intensifying violence of underground hazing. Christine Berg & Gerard McMurray wrote the script. Stephanie Allain, Jason Michael Berman of Mandalay Pictures, Reginald Hudlin and Mel Jones are all producing.
Previous indie fare financed and distributed by Netflix includes the Duplass Brothers’ Manson Family Vacation and Tommy O’Haver’s The Most Hated Woman In America, starring Melissa Leo (The Fighter) in the true story of the controversial rise and untimely demise of Madalyn Murray O’Hair — iconoclast, opportunist, and America’s most outspoken atheist for the separation of church and state. Pitch Perfect 2 producers Max Handelman and Elizabeth Banks will produce through their Brownstone Productions.