EXCLUSIVE: James DuMont (The Righteous Gemstones), Christopher James Baker (Ozark), Manny Galan (City on a Hill), Juvian Marquez (Power Book II: Ghost) and Anirudh Pisharody (9-1-1) will round out the cast of the thriller Unit 234, from director Andy Tennant, which is currently in production in the Cayman Islands. The quintet will star alongside previously announced cast members including Isabelle Fuhrman, Don Johnson and Jack Huston.
In the film written by Derek Steiner, a lone employee at a remote storage facility (Fuhrman) discovers an unconscious man locked inside Unit 234, chained to a gurney and missing a kidney. She must then fight to survive a ruthless gang, dead set on retrieving their precious cargo…at any cost. Blythe Frank, Hadeel Reda, Lee Dreyfuss and Productivity Media’s William Santor and Doug Murray are producing, with Johnson, Colleen Camp and Radiant Films International founder Mimi Steinbauer serving as executive producers. Radiant is launching international sales of the film at the upcoming Cannes Marché du Film.
DuMont is represented by Alta Global Media, International Artists Management in the UK and Open Range Management in Louisiana; Baker by A3 Artists Agency, Armada Partners and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman; Galan by Eris Talent Agency and Entertainment Lab; Marquez by TCA Mgmt and M88; and Pisharody by TalentWorks and Robert Stein Management.
EXCLUSIVE: Kristina Klebe (Halloween), Liz Lafontant (The Oval), Brandon Lessard (Robert the Bruce), Baylee Toney (The Redeemer) and Devante Winfrey (Designed for Death) have signed on to star in the psychological horror film The Bayou, from writer-director Myles Clohessy (The Redeemer), which will enter production in New Orleans later this month.
The indie inspired by true events follows the young group led by Mariah (Lafontant) and her husband Charles (Lessard), who decide to tag along on a couples backpacking retreat down south to stay at a number of plantations, which have now turned their former slave cottages into Airbnb properties, offering a chance for descendants of former slaves to come back with the intent to reconnect and reclaim their ancestors’ past. But what starts out as an inspiring escape into the past, and a much-needed distraction from a crumbling relationship, quickly spirals out of control when Mariah, Charles and their friends start to encounter sinister forces deep in the remote Louisiana bayou.
Clohessy will produce with Antony Ware and Ramsey Heitmann via their Barefoot Kid Productions banner, alongside Mike Walsh of Philly Born Films and Rob Simmons of Jars Productions. Amadeus Productions, Allyn Smith and Big Head Productions will serve as executive producers. Klebe is repped by A List Agency; Lafontant by David Shapira & Associates and A.D.S. Management; Lessard by Silver J Management; Toney by Rage Models & Talent and manager Jenevieve Brewer; Winfrey by Citizen Skull Productions; and Clohessy by Lee Morgan Management and Jenevieve Brewer Talent Management.
EXCLUSIVE: David Giuntoli (A Million Little Things) and Mike Moh (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood) have signed on to star in the action-thriller Flying Shadow, from director Dimitri Logothetis (Kickboxer: Retaliation).
In the upcoming film, the legendary sword Flying Shadow is stolen, forcing disgraced Secret Service agent Travis Rawls (Giuntoli) and Chinese private security agent Ling (Moh) to work together to avert certain tragedy, with the U.S. President’s life hanging in the balance. Diving into the twisted criminal underworld of New Orleans, Travis and Ling unearth a plot that threatens not only the President’s life, but world order as we know it. Logothetis and Jim McGrath wrote the script. Todd Garner—head of Broken Road Productions, and former head of production at Disney and Revolution Studios—is on board to produce alongside Logothetis.
Giuntoli is repped by Verve and Anonymous Content; Moh by WME and Authentic Talent & Literary Management; and Logothetis by Peter Meyer Management.
EXCLUSIVE: Barton Fitzpatrick (Power Book IV: Force), Maryam Basir (Lace), Jeryl Prescott (Resort to Love), Bechir Sylvain (Black Summer), Starletta DuPois (True to the Game) and newcomer Deborah Lynn Lherisson have signed on to star in the romantic drama A Haitian Wedding from director Jamal Hill (Deuces).
The film written by Dieuveny Jean Louis D.J. centers on the love story of Stephanie Durant (Basir), a smart and driven young woman who has the answers to everyone else’s issues, but is challenged by problems faced with her own self-discovery and her soon-to-be husband. The two must travel to her native country of Haiti for her parents’ approval and for her fiancé to ask them for her hand in marriage. However, we soon find out there is more to this trip regarding herself, family, and a final decision she will need to make.
Sean Mik’ael Butler (Dead Places) and Melkwych Pierre-Louis (Secret Society) are producing A Haitian Wedding, which is currently in production in Miami and Cape Haitian, Haiti. Basir, Hill and Louis are exec producing, with Patrick Strøm (Dead Places) serving as co-executive producer. Fitzpatrick is repped by APA, Cultivate Entertainment Partners and Nelson Davis; Basir by DPN and Cultivate Entertainment Partners; Prescott by Stewart Talent, E Cubed Management and Fox Rothschild; Sylvain by MKS and Tash Moseley Management; DuPois by Media Artists Group and Sheila Legette Entertainment; and Hill by APA, Cultivate Entertainment Partners and Nelson Davis.
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Dallas (Kyle XY), Rick Cosnett (The Flash), Taylor Frey (It Chapter Two) and Maggie Geha (Mr. Iglesias) have been cast in the indie romantic comedy Shoulder Dance, from director Jay Arnold (What Happens Next), which enters production in Los Angeles this month.
The film written by Arnold and Nadya Ginsburg (If We Took a Holiday) follows Ira (Dallas) and Josh (Frey), who plan a quiet escape to their idyllic beach house. Little do they know it will include Ira’s estranged childhood friend Roger (Cosnett) and his girlfriend Lilly (Geha). Their quiet escape turns into a surprising reunion that reveals a complex relationship between childhood friends. During a sexy, psychedelic weekend, they attempt to resolve the past, and the messy business of friendship, sex and love.
Arnold, Rod Hamilton (The Estate) and Frank Lomento are producing Shoulder Dance, with Mark Bobadilla (Just Shoot Me) serving as consulting producer. Dallas is repped by Untitled Entertainment and Jackoway Austen Tyerman; Cosnett by Innovative Artists and manager Bob McGowan; Frey by Untitled Entertainment and CESD; Geha by Insurge-Ent and Principal Entertainment LA; and Ginsburg by Rossi Talent Management and Cohen & Gardner.
EXCLUSIVE: HBO Max has set Gauri Adelkar (The Gift), Lloyd Lee Choi (Same Old) and Chheangkea (Skin Can Breathe) as the finalists of the sixth annual Asian Pacific American Visionaries short film competition, which showcases cinematic storytellers of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. The finalists were judged by a panel of HBO Max executives, industry leaders and fellow APA filmmakers, and were selected from a pool of hundreds.
The finalists’ films exemplified this year’s competition theme, “Power of Love.” Each short will premiere at the the DGA Theater on May 6th, as part of the 2022 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, with a reception to follow at Neuehouse Hollywood. Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate will curate AAPI food vendor partners to offer various dishes at the reception, which will feature a performance by Audrey Mika and an exclusive DJ set by Amrit. HBO Max APA Visionaries will also contribute funds to kickstart an upcoming initiative by Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate—an emergency fund that will aid AAPI-owned restaurants and small businesses affected by anti-AAPI hate crimes.
Adelkar’s The Gift and Chheangkea’s Skin Can Breathe will become available for streaming on HBO Max starting May 19. A celebration of the winning films will follow in New York on May 25, in partnership with Heart of Dinner, an organization that works to combat food insecurity and isolation within NYC’s elderly Asian American community. HBO Max will highlight select vendors that work with Heart of Dinner, while contributing toward the organization’s current operations.
EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to Alex Harz’s documentary THE QUEST: Nepal, and to Joshua Guerci’s no-holds-barred documentary Baloney. The Anthem Sports & Entertainment Company has set the former title for release across TVOD and digital platforms on May 24th, slating the latter for release on June 7th.
The former film follows Harz on an extraordinary quest to climb and better understand the most iconic mountain in the world, Everest, while unveiling the fascinating culture, history and nature of Nepal. It has won dozens of awards at film festivals around the globe including at the Buenos Aires International Film Festival, New York International Film Awards, Santa Monica Film Festival, Accolade Competition, Barcelona International Film Festival, Europe Film Festival U.K., Las Vegas International Film & Screenplay Festival, Silk Road Film Awards Cannes, and the Vegas Movie Awards, among others. Tate Zandstra produced the film, with Harz serving as its exec producer.
Guerci’s feature directorial debut Baloney follows San Francisco’s wildly popular Gay All-Male Burlesque show over 18 months as the group rehearses for New Year’s Eve 2020. Told through the eyes of the group’s co-founders, as well as the larger ensemble, the film contemplates the struggles that come with being a performing artist in San Francisco, the most expensive city in North America. The film directed, produced and shot by Guerci, with Marc Smolowitz (Being Bebe) on board as an additional producer, made its world premiere at Frameline and is nominated for Best Documentary at RuPaul’s DragCon Los Angeles.
Senior Director of Acquisitions Bill Guentzler negotiated the deal for Baloney on behalf of Gravitas Ventures, with 13th Gen CEO Marc Smolowitz on behalf of the filmmakers. Check out the trailer for THE QUEST: NEPAL below.
EXCLUSIVE: Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group, has acquired North American rights to the dramatic thriller Greed, slating it for release across internet and satellite platforms on May 31st.
The film from director Jon-Claire Lee tells the tale of a teenager growing up in an impoverished Indian village. Abused by his father, Young Jay (Ellie Georges) finally escapes into a world of drugs which promises him all the money and luxuries he has ever dreamt about. As his drug boss expands into Australia, his destiny takes him to the glittering night life of Sydney. Here, he rises within the ranks in a white man’s gangland empire and gains the trust of the godfather Enzo (Robin Royce Queree). “Being in favor” comes, however, at a heavy price. Jay is tortured by what is left of his conscience. All he wants is to make enough money to go back to India and rescue his parents from poverty.
Greed also stars Asif Khan, Emma Jensen, Lorry D’Ercole, Daniel Sassen and Jean-Pierre Yerma. Robert Luxford wrote the script, which was based on an original story by Khan, with Lee and Khan producing. Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deal to acquire the film directly with Mark Shady and Leif Holt of First Focus International. Check out the trailer for Greed below.
EXCLUSIVE: Damiano Films will bring Gerard Damiano Sr.’s Deep Throat to theaters worldwide this year, in celebration of the controversial film’s 50th anniversary. The filmmaker’s son Gerard Damiano Jr. and daughter Christar will go on tour with the film and participate in Q&As, beginning with a sneak preview in New York on June 10th.
Breaking box office records in 1972, Deep Throat was the first adult film to debut in mainstream theaters. The light, campy comedy centered on an unsatisfied and unfulfilled young woman (Linda Lovelace), who derived little pleasure from sex. She’d previously felt a lot of “little tingles”, but wanted “Bells Ringing! Dams Bursting! and Bombs going off!” Her roommate (Dolly Sharp) then sent her to an unconventional therapist (Harry Reems), who discovered the root of her problem—the solution being a technique known as “Deep Throat.” Once cured, she devotes herself to helping others to find the sexual satisfaction that she so desired.
Damiano Films holds the rights to Damiano Sr.’s most important features, including Deep Throat. A doc on Deep Throat helmed by Damiano Jr. is currently in the works.
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has a new trailer for Anthony Banua-Simon’s award-winning documentary Cane Fire, examining waves of Asian migration to Hawaii along with the legacy of U.S. colonization and Hollywood exploitation, which Cinema Guild is releasing in the U.S. on May 20th.
While the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i is seen as a paradise of leisure and pristine natural beauty, this escapist fantasy obscure the colonial displacement, hyper-exploitation of workers, and destructive environmental extraction that have actually shaped life there for the last 250 years. Cane Fire critically examines the island’s history—and the various strategies by which Hollywood has represented it—through four generations of Banua-Simon’s family, who first immigrated to Kaua’i from the Philippines to work on its sugar plantations.
Banua-Simon and Michael Vass wrote the film, which was a selection of Hot Docs and Doc Fortnight. They also served as its producers, with Steve Holmgren exec producing, and Sam Schild serving as associate producer. Check out the new Cane Fire trailer below.
EXCLUSIVE: Actress and screenwriter Zita Bai and producer Qiyu Zhou will be bringing their coming-of-age feature Baby, Don’t Cry to the Dances With Films festival for its West Coast premiere on June 16th at 9:30 p.m.
A fantasy thriller mixed with horror elements, Baby, Don’t Cry tells the story of Baby (Bai), a withdrawn and sensitive 17-year-old Chinese immigrant from a troubled home, who is living in the outskirts of Seattle. One day, she meets a 20-year-old delinquent named Fox (Vas Provatakis), and together, they embark on a journey to escape their hopeless fate. The Mad Hound Production from director Jesse Dvorak also stars Helen Sun and Boni Mata. Qiyu Zhou and Zeron Zhao produced, with Shincy Lu co-producing. Check out the film’s trailer below.
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