Image, Berner bonding

Several projects in works for new venture

NEW YORK — Fred Berner’s 10-year-old Gotham-based production company is in talks to form an equity joint venture with Image Group Entertainment’s Bill Dalessandro and Michael Schlossman.

Berner and Image Group previously collaborated on Marcus Spiegel’s “The Farmhouse,” which made its world premiere Sunday at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

A murder mystery about a family living in the exact geographic center of the U.S., “Farmhouse” stars Blythe Danner (“The Myth of Fingerprints”), Leo Burmester (“Devil’s Advocate”) and Katherine Kendall (“Swingers”).

Berner, whose credits include such films as 20th Century Fox’s “The Great White Hype,” Louis Malle’s “Vanya on 42nd Street” and Maggie Greenwald’s “The Battle of Little Jo” for Fine Line Features, has several projects in development.

He and Ron Shelton (“Tin Cup”) are producing “Blonde and Sand,” which they have set up at Warner Bros. Written by Tony Hendra, “Blonde” follows two middle-aged men through Spain in search of a beautiful female matador. A director will be announced shortly.

Screen ‘Antigone’

Elizabeth Pena (“Lone Star”) has committed to star in the screen adaptation of Janusz Glowacki’s play “Antigone in New York.” John Coles will direct from Glowacki’s screenplay about three disenfranchised immigrants who set out to retrieve a friend’s body destined for an anonymous burial.

Legit producer Daryl Roth and Good Machine — Ted Hope and James Schamus’ Gotham-based indie production company — will serve as co-producers on “Antigone,” which is scheduled to shoot in Gotham in the fall.

Olympia Dukakis will lead an ensemble cast in the screen adaptation of Paula Vogel’s play “The Oldest Profession,” which Berner will produce. Vogel has penned the screenplay about five aging prostitutes trying to make a living with a dwindling elderly clientele. Joanne Zippel will co-produce.

New ‘Worlds’

Berner will produce writer-director Greenwald’s “Between Two Worlds,” a film based on the classic S. Ansky play “The Dybbuk.” Set in Eastern Europe in the late 1800s, “Two Worlds” is the supernatural story of the sexual awakening and spiritual enlightenment of star-crossed lovers.

Berner and his team — director of creative affairs Elaine Frontain Bryant and creative associate Annie Young — also are developing an urban TV drama called “The Run.”

Based on an original play by Charles Fuller (“A Soldier’s Story”), “Run” will be directed by St. Clair Bourne (“John Henrik Clarke: A Great and Mighty Walk”).

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