EXCLUSIVE: Months after starting a slate financing fund to coin big pictures, indie company Unified Pictures has secured a second fund for genre films, in partnership with Look to the Sky Films and The Fyzz Facility. It kicks off with Ride, a thriller that marks the directorial debut of Jeremy Ungar and will star Bella Thorne, Jessie T Usher and Will Brill (The OA). Production is underway in the cautionary thriller aimed at a technology-obsessed society. Usher (Independence Day: Resurgence) plays a ride-share driver, and Thorne plays his passenger as they pick up the charismatic but manipulative passenger (Brill) who turns a normal Los Angeles night into a psychological battle for survival.
The fund is entitled Unified Film Fund II, and it will allow Unified to produce three films a year for five years, with budgets of up to $10M per picture, sometimes less. Also coming together is a female-centric stoner movie to go next, and a horror film to go third. Look to the Sky will co-produce each of them. This follows the formation of a first Unified Fund for larger films that begins with American Violence, co-produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Unified Pictures founder Keith Kjarval said his company has gotten all of its pictures funded on a one-off basis, and this was a way for him to spend more time as a creative producer. “I am extremely happy that Unified is partnering with Look to the Sky and The Fyzz,” he said. “This fund will allow films like Ride, helmed by remarkable filmmaker discoveries like Jeremy Ungar, to come to life and flourish Jeremy’s thriller is the perfect film to start our new slate in that it is a tension filled story that trades on society’s obsession and fears related to the ride sharing cultural phenomenon and yet it allows for our long standing commitment to director driven storytelling.”
The filmmaker’s repped by WME and Exile Entertainment, Thorne by CAA and Thirty Three Management and Usher by CAA and MGMT Entertainment and Brill by Authentic and Stewart Talent. Ride is being repped by WME Global.