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Film News Roundup: Exam Documentary ‘The Test and the Art of Thinking’ Gets Release (EXCLUSIVE)

SAT documentary “The Test & The Art of Thinking” gets sold, Sean Baker becomes an artist-in-residence at the New School and “Juliet, Naked” gets a release date.

RIGHTS DEAL

Abramorama has acquired worldwide rights to “The Test & The Art of Thinking,” the documentary feature directed by Michael Arlen Davis and produced by Davis and Jyll Johnstone .

The film explores the debate over the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. Davis interviews students, parents, counselors, test-prep professionals, and academics to focus on this uniquely American rite of passage and how it reflects deeper issues.

“The Test & The Art of Thinking” will open on April 27 in New York at the Landmark at 57 West and on May 4 in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall. A national release in select cities across the U.S. will follow.

“We spent three years researching this controversial subject, assessing its broad reach and impact, while meeting and speaking with many of the its most prominent constituents,” Davis said. “Those flummoxed by these tests can hopefully find some useful context, if not solace, in the film. And we are thrilled to be working again with the Abramorama team, as their depth of skill is so finely attuned to this project.”

Davis interviewed several coaching “stars,” including Greg Hanlon, an SAT guru, and Steven Ma, CEO of ThinkTank Learning, whose clients pay up to $1 million for a money-back guarantee of admission to the college of their choice.

BAKER RESIDENCY

Sean Baker, director of the “The Florida Project” and “Tangerine,” has been named the 2018 Hirshon Director in Residence at the School of Media Studies at The New School.

Baker, who took editing courses at The New School in 2000, will serve as director of the School of Media Studies’ annual Dorothy H. Hirshon Film Festival and lead master classes including “Begging, Borrowing and Stealing,” a discussion on micro-budget filmmaking using examples from all Baker’s features; and  “Location as Character,” and how the choice of location has dictated subject matter, budget and story structure in his films.

“The Florida Project” was nominated for Independent Spirit Awards for Best Feature and Best Director and a Gotham Award for Best Feature. Baker also was awarded Best Director of the Year by the New York Film Critics Circle.

“The New School holds a special place in my heart — It is where I studied non-linear editing which has had a profound effect on how I make films,” said Baker. “I have always held The New School in high regard for its progressive thinking in the approach to education and the wealth of talent that I observed in the student body. I’m very much looking forward to being a Hirshon 2018 Artist-in-Residence and speaking to the new generation of students about the future of film.”

Previous Hirshon Artists-in-Residence have included Laurie Anderson, James Cameron Mitchell, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Benth Zeitlin, Ramin Bahrani, and John Waters.

RELEASE DATE

Lionsgate and sister company Roadside Attractions have set an Aug. 17 release date for Jesse Peretz’s romantic comedy “Juliet, Naked,” starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, and Chris O’Dowd.

“Juliet” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19. The film is produced by Albert Berger & Ron Yerxa, Barry Mendel, Judd Apatow, and Jeffrey Soros. The executive producers are Simon Horsman, Nick Hornby, Thorsten Schumacher, and Patrick Murray.

Tamara Jenkins & Jim Taylor and Evgenia Peretz adapted the screenplay of “Juliet, Naked.” It’s based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel.

Byrne portrays a woman stuck in a long-term relationship with O’Dowd’s character, who is a huge fan of an obscure rock musician named Tucker Crowe, played by Hawke. When the acoustic demo of his hit record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to a life-changing encounter with the elusive rocker himself. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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