EXCLUSIVE: Filmmaker Walter Hill was honored with a Tribute Ceremony in France on Tuesday evening, which marked the opening night of the International Thriller Film Festival – Reims Polar.
A retrospective of Hill’s films are being shown at the festival, which runs through April 10, including The Warriors, 48 Hrs., starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, Extreme Prejudice, Last Man Standing and Bullet to the Head, starring Sylvester Stallone. The filmmaker attended a screening of his film Southern Comfort in Paris earlier this week, and will be presenting a masterclass moderated by Jean-Francois Rauger, who serves as Head of Programming at La Cinémathèque française.
Hill’s many other credits include the Westerns The Long Riders, Geronimo: An American Legend and Wild Bill. He co-produced Alien and served as producer or exec producer on its three sequels, winning an Emmy and DGA Award in 2005 for the pilot of HBO’s Deadwood. He also directed AMC’s Broken Trail, for which he won an Emmy Award for producing and a DGA Award for directing. Hill most recently wrote and directed the upcoming western Dead for a Dollar, starring Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe, Rachel Brosnahan and Benjamin Bratt.
The International Thriller Film Festival moved last year to Reims, after spending 25 years in Cognac and 12 years in Beaune. This year, more than 50 films are being shown. Bruno Barde is Director of the festival, which is also presenting tributes to directors Martin Campbell and Rodrigo Sorogoyen, and actor Vincent Lindon, among others.
EXCLUSIVE: Kadeem Hardison (Teenage Bounty Hunters), Rebecca Creskoff (Claws), Rob Benedict (Supernatural), Matt Peters (Orange Is the New Black) and Jessica Meraz (Major Crimes) have signed on to star in the ensemble thriller ClearMind, from director Rebecca Eskreis (What Breaks the Ice), which is set to begin filming later this month.
The film scripted by Seana Kofoed (30 Miles from Nowhere) explores the dark side of Virtual Reality therapy and the slippery slope of using simulated life to avenge the real. Kofoed is producing alongside Kristin Tegtmeier Higgins (The Boy’s Gone).
Hardison is represented by Global Artists Agency and Untitled Entertainment; Creskoff by Innovative Artists and Framework Entertainment; Benedict by SMS Talent and Thruline Entertainment; Peters by Griffin Talent and Brillstein Entertainment Partners; and Meraz by Innovative Artists and Vault Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Ryan Ochoa will star alongside Hayden Byerly (The Fosters), Zachary Gordon (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Amber Frank (The Haunted Hathaways), Neel Sethi (The Jungle Book), Noel G (The Fast and the Furious), Geno Segers (Banshee), Carolyn Hennesy (General Hospital), Jason Earles (Hannah Montana) and more in the indie comedy Second Chances, which longtime 1st AD David H. Venghaus Jr. (Spider-Man: No Way Home) is directing.
The film written by Ochoa and Steve Weinberger follows down-and-out former teen star Nick Stone (Ochoa), who gets dragged into going to a wake with his sister, Disney (Destiny Ochoa), and his now mega star ex-girlfriend, Kayla (Frank). Trouble ensues along the way that sets them on a journey they were not expecting. Ryan Ochoa and his family are producing via their company Triple R Productions, which commissioned and developed the script, alongside producer and co-writer Weinberger. Falcon Pictures is also producing, with filming currently underway in San Diego, California.
Ochoa is repped by KMR Talent and Pafundi Law Firm; Byerly by CESD and Meyer & Downs; Gordon by Neon Kite and Felker Toczek Suddleson; Frank by The Polygon Group and Yorn, Levine, Barnes; Sethi by Buchwald and Jackoway Austen Tyerman; Gugliemi by AEFH and Zero Gravity Management; Segers by APA, LA Management and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis; Hennesy by Mavrick Artists Agency and Bohemia Group; and Earles by Gray Talent Group, Randy James Management and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum.
EXCLUSIVE: Danielle Harris (Halloween franchise), Tim DeZarn (Cabin in the Woods), Adam Budron (Night Night), Emily Rafala (Katy Keene) and Olivia Scott (Altered Reality) will topline Project Dorothy, a sci-fi thriller from Kinogo Pictures and Liberty Atlantic Studios, which has wrapped production.
The film from director George Henry Horton (Anne, With Love) picks up after a botched robbery, watching as two men (DeZarn and Budron) take refuge in a remote and lifeless scientific facility, inadvertently awakening a monster within. It is a story of cat and mouse against a hyper-sophisticated, nuanced artificial intelligence (Harris). Horton wrote the script with Ryan Scaringe, who is producing for Kinogo Pictures (The Djinn, Boy Behind the Door), alongside George Henry Horton of Liberty Atlantic Studios. Harris is serving as executive producer. The film will be up for sales in all territories.
Harris is repped by GVA Talent Agency; DeZarn by House of Representatives; Rafala by manager Jeff Blue; Scott by Mavrick Artists Agency; and Horton by Bohemia Group.
EXCLUSIVE: Greenwich Entertainment has acquired North American rights to A.B Zax’s feature directorial debut, Hello, Bookstore, with plans to release it in theaters starting with the Film Forum in New York on April 29. It will open in L.A. at the Laemmle Monica on May 6.
Zax’s documentary watches as a small New England town rallies to protect a beloved local bookstore in the shadow of the pandemic. A landmark in Lenox, Massachusetts, The Bookstore is a magical, beatnik gem thanks to its owner Matt Tannenbaum, whose passion for stories runs deep. The intimate portrait of The Bookstore and the family at its heart offers a journey through good times, hard times, and the stories hidden on the shelves.
Hello, Bookstore made its world premiere at the Berkshire International Film Festival. Zax produced the film alongside Mark Franks, Melissa Nathan and Sydney Flint. Greenwich’s Ed Arentz negotiated the deal for the title directly with Zax.
EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures, an Anthem Sports & Entertainment Company, has acquired North American rights to the pandemic documentary Wuhan Wuhan, from director Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze), for release on demand and in select theaters on May 6.
In a time when the world needs greater cross-cultural understanding, Wuhan Wuhan is an invaluable depiction of a metropolis joining together to overcome a crisis. Peter Luo (Crazy Rich Asians), Academy Award winner Donna Gigliotti (Hidden Figures) and Academy Award nominee Diane Quon (Minding the Gap) produced the film, with Donnie Yen serving as its executive producer.
Manager of Acquisitions Brett Rogalsky negotiated the deal for Wuhan Wuhan on behalf of Gravitas Ventures, with Adriana Banta at 30West on behalf of the filmmakers.
EXCLUSIVE: Dark Star Pictures and Uncork’d Entertainment have acquired rights to Alessandro Guida and Matteo Pilati’s romantic comedy Mascarpone, for release in theaters and on digital in May.
Pic centers on Antonio (Giancarlo Commare), a family man whose life takes an unexpected twist when he’s suddenly dumped by his husband. Antonio needs to find a new place to stay, a job and a new purpose in life: through this process, he discovers the value of independence.
Pilati, Guida and Giuseppe Paternò Raddusa wrote the script for Mascarpone, which has snared awards at major festivals including Cinema Diverse, Reeling Chicago and OUTshine, among others. Eduardo Valdarnini, Gianmarco Saurino, Michela Giraud, Lorenzo Adorni and Barbara Chichiarelli also star. Pilati produced, with Guida, Nicola Liguori and Tommaso Ranchino exec producing.
Catia Rossi of Vision Distribution in Italy negotiated the deal on behalf of the film team with Keith Leopard of Uncork’d Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Uncork’d Entertainment has also acquired John Real’s survival thriller Breath, starring Rachel Daigh (Veep), for release on digital this spring.
Pic centers on Lara Winslet (Daigh), an expert geologist in volcanology. She is with her team to conduct some surveys, and one day decides to stay longer to finish some work. She has an accident, falling inside a hole in the ground and remains blocked inside there, where no one can neither see nor hear her. It is now a race against time to get out safely.
Real directed from the script he wrote with Adriana Marzagalli. James Cosmo (Game of Thrones) and Neb Chupin (The Fanatic) also star. Emanuele Moretti of The Motus Studios negotiated the deal on behalf of the film team with Leopard of Uncork’d Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group, has acquired North American rights to the feature-length documentary Mayor Mohamed for release on VOD platforms on May 3.
The film from director Jeffrey M. Togman centers on Mohamed Khairullah, a long-serving Muslim mayor, who fights emerging forces of Islamophobia in the United States, while simultaneously risking his life to bring humanitarian relief into his country of origin, Syria. When a local politician in his small town rails against “Sharia Law” and runs a campaign to unseat Mohamed as mayor, his own political survival and a particular view of what it means to be American are on the line.
Togman produced alongside Joshua Atesh Litle and Pierre Defendini. Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deal to acquire Mayor Mohamed with literary agent Richard Abate of 3 Arts Entertainment on behalf of the filmmakers. Check out the film’s trailer below.
EXCLUSIVE: EarthX has unveiled the full lineup of over 75 feature-length and short films for its 2022 Film Festival, taking place in the Dallas Arts District from May 12-15.
Its opening night film will be Ben Masters’ Deep in the Heart, narrated by Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey—the first feature-length wildlife film about Texas ever produced, which will be making its world premiere. Festival favorites coming to Dallas include Sara Dosa’s Fire of Love, Ron Howard’s We Feed People, Alex Pritz’s Sundance Audience Award winner The Territory, Lucy Walker’s Bring Your Own Brigade and Rachel Lears’ To the End.
Other notable filmmakers with titles screening at EarthX include Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Ice), Raj Patel & Zak Piper (The Ants and the Grasshopper) and up-and-comer Lindsey Hagen (California Natural).
The EarthX Film Festival’s mission is to bring awareness of the environmental crisis in order to create sincere action on both an individual and communal scale; to inspire local and global change on how we as humans affect our home planet and our fellow beings. Check out the full lineup for the 2022 edition by clicking here.
EXCLUSIVE: Buffalo 8 announced today that it will release Samesh Ramjattan’s feature directorial debut, Intervention, on digital and VOD on April 22.
The horror film centers on Laura Green (Amber Doig-Thorne), who ever since a near-fatal attack, has suffered from a rare type of amnesia that causes her memories to be erased every night, once she goes to sleep. Each morning she must reacquaint herself with her own life, painstakingly piecing together fragments of her jagged past from cryptic clues on her computer.
When her friends video call her to celebrate her birthday, reminding her of a life she cannot recall, she becomes suspicious. Are they being completely truthful? Are they even her real friends? Soon, Laura learns that her friends are not who they say they are, and the truth behind her attack harbors the key to a sinister twist to her own identity.
Bibi Lucille (Purgatory) and Heather Elise Nelson (Hello Au Revoir) also star in the film, written by Ramjattan and Tiffany Flynn. Buffalo 8’s founding partners, Matthew Helderman and Luke Taylor, exec produced and negotiated the distribution deal with Ramjattan. Check out the trailer for Intervention below.
Gkids has acquired North American rights to Summer Ghost, the debut “short feature” from acclaimed Japanese illustrator loundraw, for release in theaters this summer, in both its original Japanese-language version, and an all-new, English-language dub. It will be paired in theaters with a documentary about the production of the film, and additional special content.
The film centers on a local urban legend, which claims that lighting fireworks at an abandoned airfield will call the “summer ghost,” a spirit that can answer any question. Three troubled teenagers—Tomoya, Aoi, and Ryo—do not know each other yet, but each has their own reasons to show up one day. When a sparkler is lit, a ghost named Ayane appears, and she reveals she is only visible to those “who are about to touch their death.” The three teens then return home, but Tomoya soon begins visiting the airfield alone, as he becomes obsessed with the mystery surrounding Ayane and the true purpose of her visits.
Summer Ghost opened in Japanese cinemas in November of last year. Pic was developed from a single illustration by loundraw, and features original character designs from the artist. Novelist Hirotaka “Otsuichi” Adachi wrote the screenplay, with loundraw’s Flat Studio producing. Check out the trailer below.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.