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Film News Roundup: Russo Brothers Partner With Slamdance for Fellowship (EXCLUSIVE)

Russo Brothers
Joanne Davidson/Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock

In today’s film news roundup, the Russo brothers are launching a Slamdance fellowship, Magnolia buys “The China Hustle,” and Bryan Singer is producing and possibly directing “The Anomaly.”

SLAMDANCE FELLOWSHIP

The directing team of Anthony and Joe Russo are launching the Russo Brothers Fellowship, to be presented to a Slamdance filmmaker at January’s Slamdance Film Festival.

The brothers will select one filmmaker, who will receive a $25,000 prize consisting of filmmaker support, an office at their new Los Angeles-based studio, mentoring from the duo, and a cash stipend for one year. The Russos’ new studio is in the downtown art district and has been developed with the goal of empowering and cultivating filmmakers.

“We’re very proud to partner with Slamdance,” said Anthony and Joe Russo. “Having begun our careers at this festival, we’re honored to partner with such a great organization, and to foster and support young filmmakers while creating a platform for new and emerging talent.”

The Russos launched their career when their first film, “Pieces,” premiered at the 1997 Slamdance Festival. Steven Soderbergh, who was attending the festival, saw their film and offered to produce their next movie, “Welcome to Collinwood,” starring George Clooney, William H. Macy, and Sam Rockwell. The brothers made their Marvel Studios directorial debut with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and followed with “Captain America: Civil War.”

“Joe and Anthony embody what Slamdance’s community is all about,” said Peter Baxter, president and co-founder of Slamdance. “Their artist driven partnership and open studio environment takes our support for emerging filmmakers to the next level. Thank you both for this fantastic Fellowship and growing our organization.”

Slamdance was established in 1995 as an alternative to Sundance, specializing in low-budget films. The 2018 Slamdance festival will run Jan. 19-25 in Park City, Utah.

ACQUISITION

Magnolia Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to director Jed Rothstein’s documentary “The China Hustle,” which premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Magnolia is eyeing an early 2018 release for the movie, which begins in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, when investors on the fringes of the financial world feverishly sought new alternatives for high-return investments in the global markets. With Chinese indexes demonstrating explosive growth, the country emerged as a gold rush opportunity although U.S. investors were prohibited from investing directly. Makeshift solutions led to a market frenzy, until one investor discovered a massive web of fraud.

“Anyone with an investment portfolio or pension should rush to see this movie,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. “Jed Rothstein has fashioned an incredibly compelling film about these jaw-droppingly scary financial schemes.”

“The China Hustle” was produced by Sarah Gibson and Ryan Suffern. Production companies are Jigsaw Productions, the Kennedy/Marshall Company, 2929 Productions, and S.J. Gibson Films. Executive producers are Alex Gibney, Frank Marshall, Mark Cuban, Todd Wagner, Ben Cosgrove, Jeff Cuban, and Stacey Offman.

PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT

The Gotham Group is launching development of a movie version of Michael Rutger’s upcoming novel “The Anomaly” with Bryan Singer’s Bad Hat Harry on board to produce with an eye toward Singer directing.

Gotham bought the movie rights in a preemptive deal. The book will be published in July by Grand Central in the U.S. and by Bonnier in the U.K. “The Anomaly” follows an amateur archaeologist who realizes that he has discovered something in the Grand Canyon that threatens to end the world.

Singer is currently directing the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” starring Rami Malek. He’s directed six X-Men movies, include the upcoming “X-Men: Dark Phoenix.”

The deal was brokered by Luke Speed on behalf of Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown Group. Rutger’s book agent is ICM Partners, with film handled at CAA. Gotham is repped by WME. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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