Sobini Films, NAACP Team For Shields Green Biopic ‘Emperor’ Release; Freestyle Digital Acquires ‘The Real Exorcist’; Straight Up Films Tackling Youth Mental Health Crisis – Film Briefs

Briarcliff Entertainment

Sobini Films, the production company behind soon-to-released Shields Green biopic Emperor, said it will donate $1 for every digital transaction during the first month of film’s release to the NAACP. Set for a digital release on August 18, via Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, the film is based on the inspiring journey of Green, an American freedom fighter who escaped from slavery and joined the raid on Harper’s Ferry, the key battle of the abolitionist movement which helped spark the beginning of the Civil War and alter the course of American history. “All too often vital narratives, such as EMPEROR, are left out of Hollywood and our history books,” said Robin Harrison, director, NAACP Hollywood Bureau. “The NAACP is inspired by this portrayal of a true American hero and grateful for the opportunity to put the proceeds from the movie to use in our modern-day fight against systemic racism and racial injustice.” Mark Amin directed the pic, which stars Dayo Okeniyi as Green, James Cromwell, Kat Graham, Naturi Naughton, Mykelti Williamson, Ben Robson, and Bruce Dern.


HS Productions

Freestyle Digital Media has picked up the North American distribution rights for The Real Exorcist and will release it theatrically in select cities on August 28 as well as through DVD, digital, cable, and satellite platforms on September 1. The HS Productions film spent five consecutive weeks as the number one film at the weekend box office in Japan. Directed by Shokyo Oda of Japanese TV show The Best Hit USA, the film stars Fumika Shimizu, Mirai Irako, and Rin Kijima. It’s set in Tokyo and follows Sayuri, a young waitress serving exceptional coffee at an off-the-beaten-path café, Extra. Tucked away in the most mystical city in the world, where spiritual spots are found in the most unexpected places, Extra is no exception, and nor is Sayuri. It turns out that the customers come to the café for more than the expertly brewed coffee; they also secretly come seeking her consultation using her psychic power. Sayaka Okawa wrote the script based on an original story by Ryuho Okawa, who served as executive producer. Kaoru Ota, Yusaku Hamada, Mia Tomikawa and Yoichi Utebi produced.


Straight Up Films (The Education of Charlie Banks and Jane Got a Gun) is prepping a three-part short film series that shines a light on the systemic issues contributing to the alarming increase in depression, anxiety, and suicide among young adults and teens. Each film will follow a different teenager struggling to find meaning and fulfillment within a system that often fails to recognize their humanity and uniqueness. Matt Ogens (Why We Fight) is directing the shorts, which are being produced by Straight Up Films’ Kate Cohen and Marisa Polvino. Production is slated to commence mid-September in Los Angeles. Author and most-watched TED speaker Sir Ken Robinson will serve as executive producer alongside education reform advocate, Pam Roy, psychotherapist and filmmaker Alexander Vesely, Trevor Davis, and Kate Robinson. The shorts series aims to highlight the value of a meaning-centered approach to life developed by renowned psychiatrist and best-selling author, Viktor Frankl. “As filmmakers,” said Cohen and Polvino, “we felt an urgent call to action after seeing the alarming rates of suicide and mental illness among young people. We hope through this series we can inspire change and spark, not only a conversation, but a movement.” Added Ogens, “Both as a filmmaker and as a human being, I felt immediately compelled to help tell these important stories. The stakes could not be higher for these kids and our community as a whole. Our intent is to create a series of films with an emotional call to action that will inspire people to think, feel, and to act.”


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