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HDNet greenlights seven projects

New productions intended for simultaneous release

TORONTO — HDNet Films, the hi-def film production arm of Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner’s 2929 Entertainment, has greenlit a spate of films to head into production in the coming months.

All the new productions are intended for simultaneous release through various 2929 holdings, with distribution through Magnolia Pictures, theatrical exhibition through Landmark Theaters, a TV premiere on HDNet Movies and a DVD deal to be announced.

Headed by Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente, HDNet’s seven new projects include:

  • “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” helmer Alex Gibney’s follow-up doc “Hunter,” centering on gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Pic is being produced by HDNet and Jigsaw Prods., with Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter.

  • Another Gibney pic for HDNet will be the docu “Herbie Hancock: Possibilities,” a performance-driven, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the musician’s just-released album of the same title.

  • Carter will also produce for HDNet the docu “Surfwise,” about legendary Malibu surfer Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, who introduced the sport to Israel in the 1960s. Doug Pray is directing.

  • HDNet also said Monday it will add to its slate a Steven Soderbergh-directed docu on a never-performed monologue that humorist Spalding Gray left behind before he committed suicide last year.

Pic will be exec produced by HDNet with Amy Hobby, Kathie Russo and Joshua Blum producing.

Pic does not fall into a separate deal Soderbergh has inked with HDNet to helm six films. The first film in that deal is “Bubble,” which is playing the Toronto fest.

  • Another docu will be “S&Man,” an in-depth look at the horror film genre directed by helmer JT Petty.

  • Carlos Brooks will direct for HDNet the drama “Quid Pro Quo,” starring Stahl and Vera Farmiga. Pic, being produced by HDNet, Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury, is based on Brooks’ screenplay about a wheelchair-bound NPR personality who begins an intense relationship with a seemingly able-bodied woman. Production begins in Gotham next month.

  • Hal Hartley will direct “Fay Grim” for HDNet. Pic, to be produced with the This Is That banner, will star Parker Posey in a story of international espionage. Mike Ryan is also producing the pic, which begins production in Europe early next year.

HDNet’s pics “One Last Thing…” and “The War Within” are also screening here.

The banner is in post on “All Fall Down,” starring Anthony LaPaglia and Isabella Rossellini, and “Diggers,” starring Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Josh Hamilton, Ron Eldard, Maura Tierney, Lauren Ambrose and Sarah Paulson.

Kliot and Vicente said the new films, which were announced at a company breakfast here Monday, are an expansion of the shingle’s original plans. When the shingle launched two years ago, the duo was aiming to produce two or three pics per year, but, Kliot said, Wagner gave them the latitude to produce up to 10 if they found material that moved them.

“We don’t want to grow unless we have to,” said Kliot, however, of the company’s intention to stay lean on Monday. “We are staying as light on our feet as possible. Studios do so much managing of films, and for us it’s all about making great films.”

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