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Film News Roundup: Cybill Shepherd-James Brolin Romance Film ‘Being Rose’ Bought by Gravitas

In today’s film news roundup, Cybill Shepherd’s “Being Rose” gets acquired, Booboo Steward gets a lead role, ITVS reaches a Sundance milestone, and oilfields drama “The Iron Orchard” gets a release.

ACQUISITION

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to Rod McCall’s romance “Being Rose,” starring Cybill Shepherd, James Brolin, and Pam Grier, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film will be available in theaters and on demand on Jan. 4. Shepherd plays an ex-cop diagnosed with serious health issues who goes on a road trip in a wheelchair to search for her estranged son. Along the way, she falls in love with Brolin’s cowboy character, who has come to a crossroads of his own.

“I consider ‘Being Rose’ the crown jewel of my career,” Shepherd said. “Rod McCall, who wrote and directed the film is one of the finest directors I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.”

McCall said, “When I started ‘Being Rose,’ the comic and dramatic possibilities of the story of a female ex-cop on a road trip seemed delicious. The cast of seasoned pros, Cybill Shepherd, James Brolin and Pam Grier – and the gorgeous New Mexico location – made the film a joy to realize. We are so excited to be partnering with Gravitas Ventures in bringing the film to such a wide audience.”

Tony Piantedosi, director of acquisitions for Gravitas Ventures, negotiated the deal with Greg Clonts on behalf of the filmmakers.

CASTING

Booboo Stewart has been cast in the lead role of the independent thriller “Ryder,” with principal photography launching in early summer 2019 in Lucerne Valley and Big Bear, Calif.

“Ryder” is directed by Ian Clay from his own script about an outcast Texan teen hunting for revenge after a horrific attack against his girlfriend by a town bully. Ken Morris of Cineglitch Entertainment will produce.

The project is rooted in Clay’s childhood in rural Alberta (including time spent on a First Nations Reservation) and merges the traditions of the Western with a contemporary young-adult thriller set in a remote Texas town in the 1990s.

“The tone of the movie really intrigued me and drew me to the project” said Stewart. “I love stories with a ‘slow burn’ and really connected with Ian. I loved his take on it.”

Stewart, who is of Blackfoot ancestry, is known for playing the werewolf Seth Clearwater in the “Twilight Saga” movies and Jay, son of Jafar, in the Disney “Descendents” movies.

MILESTONE

ITVS has announced that, with four new films premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the organization has now funded and co-produced more than 100 Sundance premieres.

Mandated by Congress in 1988 to address the lack of diverse voices in public media, ITVS has served as an incubator for filmmakers and a funder of more than 1400 films. Since debuting at Sundance in 1994 with Arthur Dong’s documentary “Coming Out Under Fire,” ITVS has backed Marlon Riggs (“Black Is…Black Ain’t”), Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco (“Daughter from Danang”), Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt (“The Education of Shelby Knox”), and Byron Hurt (“Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes”).

This year’s ITVS Sundance premieres are “Always in Season” (Jacqueline Olive, producer/director), which spotlights recent grassroots efforts to acknowledge victims of lynching; “Bedlam” (Ken Rosenberg, producer/director; Peter Miller, producer), which goes inside Los Angeles County’s system of dealing with people afflicted with severe mental illness; “Midnight Traveler” (Hassan Fazili, director; Emelie Mahdavian and Su Kim, producers), an account from the front lines of the refugee crisis; and “Words from a Bear” (Jeffrey Palmer, director), which examines the enigmatic life and mind of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Navarro Scott Momaday.

RELEASE DATE

Texas-based Santa Rita Film Co. has set a Feb. 22 release date in Texas for oilfields drama “The Iron Orchard,” starring Lane Garrison, Ali Cobrin and Austin Nichols.

The film, directed by Ty Roberts, will open March 1 in New York, Los Angeles and additional markets. Garrison portrays a young man thrust into the vibrant and brutal West Texas oilfields in 1939. Cobrin plays his wife.

“The Iron Orchard” is based on Tom Pendleton’s 1966 novel of the same name. The script is written by Gerry De Leon and Roberts, who also produced with Houston Hill, Camille Scioli Chambers, and George Sledge, Executive produced are Peter Atherton, Greg McCabe, Gary Newsom, Ryan Haggerty and Brint Ryan. Co-producers are Van Scott Folger and Anne Fleitas.

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