EXCLUSIVE: FilmNation Entertainment and ZQ Entertainment have finalized a multi-year feature film development fund deal.
The first project to be developed under the initiative is Josephine Decker’s feature adaptation of Karen Russell’s 2011 Pulitzer Prize-nominated bestselling novel Swamplandia!
Decker is best known for her Berlinale- and Sundance-selected features Madeleine’s Madeleine (2013) and Shirley (2020) as well as the recently released The Sky Is Everywhere Else for Apple TV+ and A24.
Russell’s Southwest Florida-set tale follows the story of 13-year-old Ava Bigtree who, after an illness befalls her mother, embarks out of her family’s Everglades theme park to piece her family back together.
Development on the feature is ongoing.
The new fund is the first collaboration between the two like-minded companies and is intended to pay for the development of feature films and create project co-financing opportunities.
The partnership will allow Glen Basner’s FilmNation to further expand its strategy of acquiring early-stage, high-profile development properties. At the same time, it will broaden the film slate of Ara Keshishian and Petr Jakl’s upstart development and production company ZQ Entertainment in the global market.
All projects are intended to be financed under FilmNation’s existing credit facility and will provide the company’s production and financing arms with extended resources to grow its award-winning slate. The partners did not reveal the size of the fund.
FilmNation is currently in production in Rome on Edward Berger’s Conclave starring Ralph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci, John Lithgow and Isabella Rossellini. The company also recently wrapped production on Christos Nikou’s Fingernails, starring Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed, for Apple TV+.
Further upcoming titles include Rightor Doyle’s Down Low, starring Zachary Quinto and Lukas Gage, and Tayarisha Poe’s sophomore feature The Young Wife, starring Kiersey Clemons and Leon Bridges. Both films will world premiere next month at SXSW.
Keshishian and Jakl’s ZQ Entertainment announced two high-profile films in the lead-up to the European Film Market: God’s Country, produced with Matt Reeves’ 6th & Idaho, and Locked, starring Glen Powell and Anthony Hopkins, with Sam Raimi Productions.
In addition, the company is in development with George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures on the John Grisham novel adaptation Calico Joe as well as on a Stephen King adaptation of his short story Obits.
The company is also working on a slate of Stan Lee-created films with Timur Bekmambetov, and Black Cotton Star directed by Reginald Hudlin.
“We are incredibly excited to expand the collaboration with our friends and trusted partners at ZQ Entertainment and grow our film slate with an ambitious portfolio of new and compelling projects,” said Milan Popelka, FilmNation’s Chief Operating Officer.
“FilmNation has set the standard for pedigree, taste, and making great films across the global marketplace,” said Jakl.
“We are excited to be partnering with their entire team to continue to develop projects at the highest level,” added Keshishian.
The deal was negotiated on behalf of ZQ Entertainment by CEO Keshishian and CAA and FilmNation’s COO Milan Popelka and general counsel Alison Cohen.
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