In today’s film news roundup, Crispin Glover is starring in “Smiley Face Killers,” “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” will open the Hawaii Film Festival, and a virtual reality advertisement is launched for “Jigsaw.”


Ronen Rubinstein and Crispin Glover are starring in the independent horror movie “Smiley Face Killers,” scripted by Bret Easton Ellis, Variety has learned exclusively.

Production has commenced across multiple states with Tim Hunter directing. Braxton Pope is producing with David Wulf and Ellis. Jason Miller of Silver State Productions is executive producing.

The film’s plot has been kept largely under wraps, but is based on actual events and the conspiracy theories that have arisen on the internet as a result of serial deaths of young men that shared common characteristics.

Rubinstein will play the lead. The film reteams Glover with Hunter, who directed him in “River’s Edge.” Pope and Ellis teamed on “The Canyons,” the erotic thriller starring Lindsay Lohan.

Mia Serafino co-stars. Garrett Coffey, Amadeus Serafini, Australian pop star Cody Simpson, and Ashley Rickards round out the cast.

Rubinstein most recently appeared in the Freeform series “Dead of Summer” and will next be seen in Olivia Milch’s independent feature “Dude.” Hunter is in post-production on the neo-noir feature film “Looking Glass” starring Nicolas Cage and Robin Tunney, which Pope also produced, as well as helming recent episodes of the Amazon original series “Bosch” and the CW hit show “Riverdale.”

Ellis’ novels include “American Psycho” and “Less Than Zero” and he recently wrote and directed digital series “The Deleted,” which was nominated for a Webby Award for best dramatic series.

Highland Film Group is handling international sales. Rubinstein is repped by WME and manager Oren Segal of MPE. Glover is repped by APA. Serafino is repped by CAA and Luber Roklin. Ellis is repped by UTA and manager Brian Young of the Three Six Zero Group. Hunter is repped by APA and manager Andrew Hersh.


The 37th edition of the Hawaii International Film Festival will open Nov. 2 with the animated film “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” in Honolulu.

Hiromasa Yonebayashi directed the Japanese anime film, which tells the story of a young girl named Mary who discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night.

“Last year, we closed with another anime film, ‘Your Name,’ which was a smashing success,” said Anderson Le, co-director of programming. “Hawaii loves manga and anime, so we wanted to open the festival with a major Japanese anime film like ‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower,’ especially since it is family friendly and want to welcome audience members of all ages to experience this fun romp of a film that is reminiscent to Harry Potter.”

The festival’s centerpiece film will be “The Upside,” a remake of “Intouchables,” starring Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston.

Other titles will include “The Final Year,” “Lady Bird,” “Downsizing,” “I, Tonya,” “The Square,” and “In the Fade.”


Unity Technologies has launched what it touts as a first-of-its-kind virtual reality advertisement for the theatrical release of Lionsgate’s “Jigsaw,” the eighth film in the “Saw” horror franchise.

The ad will appear in VR apps made with Unity. “The Jigsaw Virtual Room” features props from the movie rendered in VR, custom voice-over from actor Tobin Bell and includes shrines to each of the eight films in the “Saw” franchise.

“The Jigsaw Virtual Room is just the beginning. Now that we’ve proven broad-reaching, deeply immersive ads are possible, we expect to see this trend continue with formats including VR, AR, 360 mobile video, and playables,” said Julie Shumaker, VP of advertiser solutions at Unity.

“Jigsaw” will open on Oct. 27, four days before Halloween.