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AFM: Covert Media Boards Film Based on Teen Thriller ‘Need’

Covert Media has come on board to fully finance and produce a movie based on Joelle Charbonneau’s teen thriller “Need.”

Covert will handle worldwide sales on the feature film adaptation at the American Film Market, which opened Wednesday.

Paul Hanson, CEO of Covert Media, made the announcement. Covert’s Elissa Friedman, Media Content Capital’s Sasha Shapiro and Anton Lessine are executive producing the project.

The filmmaking team of Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann will write and direct the film adaptation. The duo’s credits include the documentary “Best Kept Secret,” which won a Peabody Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe, along with their shorts “Canary,” which played at the Palm Springs ShortFest, and “The Mink Catcher,” which played at Telluride & SXSW.

“Need” revolves around a new social networking site offering high school students the chance to get anything they desire in exchange for a price. A female student seeks a kidney for her younger brother learns that there is a high price to be paid — and as her peers’ demands escalate, so does the body count.

“Need” was awarded the 2016 Anthony Award for Best Young Adult Novel. Variety reported last year that the movie project was in development with Bill Block’s Merced Media.

“‘Need’ is a fan favorite YA novel that we know will make for an exciting and chilling look at the world of social media,” Hanson said. “With the fresh perspective of the creative team we have in Samantha and Marie and the twists and turns of Joelle’s novel, this is a film that already has us on the edge of our seats.  It’s a dynamic and frightening story of our times.”

Charbonneau is the author of the New York Times Best-Selling trilogy “The Testing,” the Rebecca Robbins mysteries and the Glee Club mysteries. Paramount Pictures optioned “The Testing” following its publication.

Buck & Schlingmann are represented by Lee Stobby of Lee Stobby Entertainment and lawyer Stephen Clark of Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler & Feldman. The deal was negotiated on Covert’s behalf by Chet Devaskar.

Covert’s own production slate includes “Ophelia,” starring Naomi Watts and Daisy Ridley; “Forty-Six,” directed by Alik Sakharov; and “Resurface” alongside Broken Road Productions.

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