Harrison, Rosenfelt aim to fill specialty film void

Independent producers Janet Harrison and Scott Rosenfelt are teaming on PicturePlay Films, specializing in projects in the $5 million-$20 million range.

Slate includes “City of Angels,” “Tougaloo,” romantic comedy “Admissions,” vampire drama “Minion,” CIA thriller “Nanda Devi” and buddy comedy “Casa Joe.”

Harrison, former head of development at Morgan Freeman’s Revelations banner, is based in New York, and Rosenfelt — whose resume includes “Home Alone,” “Mystic Pizza” and “Smoke Signals” — is based in Hollywood. With the majors putting less emphasis on non-tentpole properties, the duo aim to fill the vacuum.

“There’s a void that exists in the indie and specialty film business,” Rosenfelt said, describing the dearth of the sort of film “with an appropriate budget that can make its way to 500 screens, have good ancillary value and won’t demand a hefty marketing campaign” — the sort “that have done so well for Fox Searchlight, Focus and Sony Pictures Classics. The old model doesn’t work anymore. There isn’t the same kind of payoff possibilities with a platform release like there used to be.”

Harrison and Rosenfelt are aiming for a fall start in Connecticut on “Admissions,” penned by Adam Rodgers and Glenn German and centering on two parents, married to other people, who end up having a great half-day while chaperoning their children on a visit to a college campus. Rodgers will direct.

Harrison and Rosenfelt secured producing rights to “City of Angels” late last year and have since teamed with Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne’s Unique Features banner. Barry Levinson’s aboard to direct.

“Tougaloo,” which teams scribe Alfred Uhry with docu director James Moll, is inspired by Jewish refugee Ernst Borinski’s teaching at the Mississippi-based black college of the title and his work to bridge the gap between the races.

“Minion,” based on the Vampire Huntress books, is a coming-of-age story about an African-American female vampire slayer. Laura Brennan penned the screenplay.

“Nanda Devi” tells the story of civilian mountain climbers recruited by the CIA to place a nuclear-powered listening device in the Himalayas to spy on the Chinese in 1964. “Casa Joe” is written by writer-producer Dennis Koenig.

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