New shingle backs quasi-sequel to 'Happiness'

New indie production and finance shingle Werc Werk Works has stepped in to fully finance and produce writer-director Todd Solondz’s next film, an untitled part-sequel, part-companion piece to his controversial dark comedy “Happiness.”

Founded by Elizabeth Redleaf and producer Christine Kunewa Walker (“American Splendor,” “Factotum”), the company will initially produce three to four films a year.

Solondz wrote the screenplay, which revolves around a group of struggling individuals. struggling to find a place for themselves in an unpredictable and volatile world. The narrative is told through a series of intersecting love stories.; the past haunts the present and imperils the future: ghosts circle and loom, trouble and console.

The project has been incubating for years, with Emma Thompson, Demi Moore and Paul Reubens rumored to be attached. “Happiness,” which featured themes of child molestation and rape, initially received an NC-17 from the MPAA board but was eventually released unrated.

Walker, Mike S. Ryan and Derrick Tseng are producing the untitled film. Exec producers are Redleaf and Ken Bailey.

The film is scheduled to begin principal photography in October in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Casting is currently under way.

Werc Werk Works “operates on an economic model that recognizes, champions, honors and rewards the artistic efforts of filmmakers as well as their investors,” Redleaf said.

In addition to traditional film production, Werc Werk Works is set up to take advantage of digital convergence in the entertainment arena and become a vertically integrated film production, distribution and financing operation.

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