Goldwyn picks up ITC’s ‘Black Hat’

“Fear of a Black Hat,” one of the most talked-about indie projects that’s yet to be released, was picked up for domestic distribution by Samuel Goldwyn Co.

The film, written, directed and starring Rusty Cundieff (“House Party II”), will be distributed internationally by ITC Entertainment Group, its producer.

“Fear,” which has been dubbed “Spinal Rap,” is a mock-umentary about a rap group, N.W.H., or Niggaz With Hats. Cundieff stars as Ice Cold, the leader of the group.

Cundieff is currently signed to helm “Tales From the ‘Hood” for Savoy Pictures; Spike Lee will produce the film.

“Fear,” a hit at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival, has been one of the hottest videocassettes passed around among agents and studio execs. Completed last summer and re-edited in the fall, it was waiting for ITC’s new management when it took over last April.

“This was really one of the treasures when we got here, one that had a lot of commercial potential,” said Michael Birnbaum, ITC senior veepee.

After the new management crew got situated, it worked on a deal for “Fear.” ITC plans to sell the film at the American Film Market that begins today in Santa Monica.

“We think it will be a hot property at AFM because of Goldwyn,” Birnbaum said. “Goldwyn brings a certain pedigree.”

Goldwyn, whose 1994 slate is filling out quickly, plans to release the pic this summer. Since the Sundance Film Festival last month, Goldwyn has either acquired or announced production on five films, and the indie has roughly a dozen films skedded for 1994.

Picking up “Fear” achieves another Goldwyn goal of inking deals with first-time directors the company believes show promise.

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