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Film News Roundup: ‘License to Drive’ Gets Female-Driven Film Reboot

In today’s roundup, Fox is remaking its 1988 coming-of-age comedy “License to Drive,” Val Kilmer is starring in a new comedy, and Spirit Award nominations have opened. 

FILM DEVELOPMENT

Fox is rebooting the 1988 teen comedy “License to Drive,” which starred Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, and Heather Graham.

The studio has set up the project with Fox-based producer John Davis, who produced the original. The writing team of Alisha Brophy and Scott Miles have been tapped to script the female-centric remake.

The original film centered on Haim’s 16-year-old character who sneaks out to party with his girlfriend, played by Graham, and damages his grandfather’s 1972 Cadillac, after failing his driver’s license tests. The original was directed by Gregory Beerman and grossed $22.4 million at the box office.

Michael Ireland is overseeing “License to Drive” for the studio. The writers are repped by Paradigm, Circle of Confusion, and attorney Lev Ginsburg. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Val Kilmer will star in the comedy “1st Born,” directed by Iranian director Ali Atshani in what’s touted as the first joint feature film co-production between Iran and Hollywood using both Middle Eastern and American cast and crew members.

Atshani’s credits include “Paradise,” which was an Iranian/German production along with the Iranian films “The President’s Cellphone,” “Wish Bone,” “Banana Peel,” “Mr. Alef,” and “Negar’s Role.” “1st Born” was written by Sam Khoze, Tarek Zohdy, and Mahdi Alimirzaee.

“1st Born,” which begins filming next month in Los Angeles, centers on a newlywed couple — Iranian-born Ben and American Kate — who are living the American dream in sunny California. When their first pregnancy has complications, it brings the whole family together. Ben’s father is an anti-American Iranian politician while Kate’s father, played by Kilmer, is an equally anti-Iranian U.S. politician.

Hollywood-based LA Independent Film and Entertainment is producing “1st Born” with Sam Khoze leading the team, which includes producer Edwin Avaness and associate producer Pourya Naserbakht.

AWARDS, MARKETS, AND FESTIVALS

Film Independent has opened entries for the 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The regular deadline is Sept. 19 and the final deadline is Oct. 10. Nominations will be announced on Nov. 21 and the awards show will be held on March 3, premiering exclusively on IFC. Nominees are limited to films with budgets of less than $20 million.

Film Independent Members comprise the exclusive voting body that determines the winners of the Spirit Awards. Members are filmmakers, film industry leaders, and film lovers. The deadline for joining to be eligible to vote for the winners of the 2018 Spirit Awards is Dec. 7.

The American Film Market will introduce an online screenings platform, AFM Screenings On Demand, in advance of this year’s market.

The new platform will allow sales companies to screen their films privately for buyers before, during, and after the American Film Market. AFM Screenings On Demand, which is free for invited viewers, will begin screening films on Oct. 23, one week before AFM, and conclude on March 31, one week after Hong Kong Filmart.

“AFM Screenings On Demand will make it easier for buyers to see every film they are interested in,” said AFM managing director Jonathan Wolf. “And with online screenings starting a week before the market, buyers will now be ready to make offers on completed films when they arrive on opening day.”

RELEASE DATES

Universal Pictures will move Illumination’s “The Secret Life of Pets 2” from July 3, 2019, to June 7, 2019.

The sequel will follow the 2016 original about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day. Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborator, Janet Healy, will produce the sequel to the comedy.

Brian Lynch (“Minions”) is writing the script and Chris Renaud is returning to direct.

ACQUISITION

Samuel Goldwyn Films has bought North American and Latin American rights to the drama “Blame,” which premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film stars Quinn Shephard (“Hostages”), Nadia Alexander (“The Sinner”), Trieste Kelly Dunn, Marcia DeBonis, Tessa Albertson, Sarah Mezzanotte, Owen Campbell, Luke Slattery, Tate Donovan, and Chris Messina.

The film, directed by Shehard, is slated to release in theaters, on demand, and digital this winter. The film is produced by Laurie Shephard and Quinn Shephard.

The movie is set at a small suburban high school and centered on Quinn Shephard’s character being cast as the lead in a production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” leading to another jealous student plotting against her.

Gravitas Ventures has bought all U.S. video on demand rights to “No Man’s Land,” the story of a right-wing militia that occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last year, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and will also show at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and will have its on demand launch at the Mill Valley Film Festival on Oct. 31.

David Byars directed and produced with Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick, David Holbrooke, David Osit, Rachel Traub, and Stash Wislocki. Exec producers are Thom Beers, First Look Media’s Michael Bloom and Adam Pincus, and Impact Partners’ Dan Cogan.

The occupation lasted 40 days and was led by Ammon Bundy.

EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENT

Participant Media has appointed veteran PR exec Amy Glickman as senior VP for publicity and corporate communications.

She will lead and supervise entertainment publicity, events, and corporate communications for the company, along with developing and executing strategic publicity initiatives across all divisions and content, including film, television, and digital, as well as overseeing internal and external communications.

Glickman will report to Christina Kounelias, exec VP of worldwide marketing.

“I am so happy to join a company that is breaking the mold of impactful storytelling to create positive change,” Glickman said. “I have been so impressed with their work on ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ in reaching broad audiences across multiple mediums and accelerating the conversation and positive work around the climate crisis. I look forward to working with Christina and the Participant team to bring awareness to important global issues that affect us all.”

Glickman’s clients have included eBay, Fox Consumer Products, Norman Lear’s Declare Yourself, Sony, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Autism Speaks, Target, Tommy Hilfiger, and the Tribeca Film Festival. She’s served in leadership roles at 42 West, PMK*BNC, and Rubenstein Communications.

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