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Ambush, Hurt jump into ‘River Why’

Leutwyler film co-stars Gilford, Heard, Quinlan

Ambush Entertainment is starting production on its ninth low-budget film: William Hurt starrer “The River Why,” an adaptation of the Sierra Club’s first book.

Ambush partner Matthew Leutwyler directs. Kristi Denton Cohen of Peloton Prods. will produce.

Based on the 1984 David James Duncan coming-of-age novel, “The River Why” also stars Zach Gilford as a fisherman who abandons his big-city family to find himself in the wild.

Amber Heard, Kathleen Quinlan and Dallas Roberts also star.

Ambush partner Miranda Bailey is exec producing along with Charles Mastropietro of D/F Management and Thomas A. Cohen, who co-wrote with John Jay Osborn Jr.

Leutwyler also produces with Kristi Denton Cohen of Peloton Prods.

Pic begins lensing in Portland, Ore., this month.

Filmmakers are shooting under a SAG low-budget agreement without a North American distributor in place. “It’s like playing Russian roulette,” Leutwyler said.

During production on “The River Why,” Ambush also will produce an environmental documentary that Bailey will direct. “Some films shoot in pristine areas of the world and leave the location in ruins,” said Bailey, who will use ‘The River Why’ to explore what can be done to go green.

Starz Anchor Bay plans a fall release for Ambush’s $2.6 million broad comedy “Lower Learning.” The shingle’s “Wonderful World,” starring Matthew Broderick and Sanaa Lathan, is seeking a fall fest berth. A third pic, “Against the Current,” starring Joseph Fiennes as a man who swims the Hudson River, is in post-production.

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