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Film News Roundup: Bill Nighy, Jack Lowden to Star in Comedy ‘Made in Italy’

In today’s film news roundup, Bill Nighy and Jack Lowden join “Made in Italy,” a new distributor named Anerke launches with a focus on films for minorities and women, Jeffrey Tambor gets an award and the Sloan Summit announces its panelists.

CASTINGS

Bill Nighy and “Dunkirk” star Jack Lowden have signed up for the comedy “Made in Italy,” James D’Arcy’s feature directorial debut.

Developed by London based CrossDay Productions, the film is produced by Pippa Cross and Sam Tipper-Hale with co-producer Nicola Serra for Italian production entity Palomar. HanWay’s Gabrielle Stewart and CrossDay’s Janette Day are executive producers.

D’Arcy  previously wrote and directed the  short film “Chicken/Egg,” starring Hayley Atwell and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, which screened at the 2017 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

“Made in Italy” is set in Tuscany with Nighy as a bohemian London artist who returns to Italy with his estranged son (played by Lowden) to make a quick sale of the house they inherited from his late wife. Renovations go badly, and father and son find themselves at odds – not for the first time. Nighy’s character then falls for a vivacious young Italian chef, who restores both body and soul until the pair find their relationship in jeopardy from her jealous and threatening ex-husband.

The film will go into production during 2018 in Tuscany and London. HanWay Films will oversee worldwide sales and distribution and will commence sales at the American Film Market.

Nighy is represented by Alex Irwin at Markham Froggatt and Irwin and CAA. Lowden is repped by John Grant at Conway van Gelder Grant and UTA. D’Arcy is repped by Alex Irwin at Markham Froggatt and Irwin.

DISTRIBUTORS

New York-based Anerke is launching as a theatrical distribution company to focus on releasing feature-length films produced by women, people of color and other marginalized voices, Variety has learned exclusively.

The company is headed by entrepreneur and film sales agent Henry Hewes with Princeton Holt as head of acquisitions.

“Yes, there are other independent distributors that for years have been opening on a handful of screens and then going wider based on performance, but we’re doing so with a concentrated focus on films and points-of-views that have until now been virtually ignored,” Hewes said. We’ve always believed the theatrical release to be one of the best ways to market a picture.”

The company’s first acquisition is “The House, The Hand, and the Hatchet,” a documentary on American sculptor James Surls, produced by Ashley Arnold and Barclay Lottimer. Maitland and Austin Lottimer directed “The House,” which will have a theatrical and VOD release in the winter.

FESTIVALS

Jeffrey Tambor will receive the Israel Film Festival Achievement in Television Award, and ​​Israeli star Lior Ashkenazi will be honored with the Cinematic Achievement Award on Nov. 5 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.

​​This year’s Festival Chairman is Adam Berkowitz, Co-Head of TV at Creative Artists Agency. Serving as Honorary Chairman of the Festival is Arnon Milchan, owner of New Regency Productions. ​

The 31st edition of the Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles runs Nov. 5-21 with screenings  at the Ahrya Fine Arts by Laemmle, Laemmle Royal Theater and the Laemmle Town Center.  The opening night film is Yariv Mozer’s documentary “Ben-Gurion, Epilogue, winner of the 2017 Israeli Academy Ophir Award for Best Documentary, to be ​screened following the award presentation at the​ Saban.

SUMMITS

Diane Kruger and Michael Almereyda will join the 2017 Sloan Film Summit as panelists at the event, taking place Oct. 27-29 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Other confirmed panelists are Angelina Burnett (“Halt & Catch Fire”) and Alison Tatlock (“Stranger Things”). The summit, which takes place every three years, is produced by Film Independent.

The four will join previously announced industry names including Chris Milk, Alex McDowell, Lydia Pilcher, Ginny Mohler, and Shawn Snyder, for programs including: an immersive VR experience and “conversation” with Milk and McDowell, a panel with Kruger to discuss women in film and science, a screening of “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” and a panel with Burnett and Tatlock to talk about networking opportunities with working scientists and representatives from leading film schools and film organizations.

The summit will also include a public screening of Almereyda’s “Marjorie Prime” and sneak peeks of Pilcher and Mohler’s “Radium Girls,” Snyder’s “To Dust” and Ben Lewin’s “The Catcher was a Spy.”

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