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Film News Roundup: Demetrius Shipp, Essence Atkins to Star in ‘Same Difference’

In today’s film news roundup, Demetrius Shipp Jr. stars in a mystery and the newest “Puppet Master” and the documentary “The Last Horsemen of New York” get distribution.

CASTING

“All Eyez on Me” star Demetrius Shipp Jr., Essence Atkins, Terrence Jenkins, and Edwina Findley have all signed on to star in the indie mystery/drama “Same Difference.”

Produced by Datari Turner and written and directed by Derege Harding, the film follows a young woman (Atkins) who is told that her death is imminent by a mysterious group of people who all start dying one by one. The woman becomes compelled to let go of the past and reconcile with her estranged twin sister, also played by Atkins, who is suffering from alcohol addiction.

The film co-stars Kandi Burruss, Affion Crockett, Kris D. Lofton, Gabby Douglas, Lew Temple, and Page Kennedy. Production has begun in Los Angeles.

Turner, who will produce through his Datari Turner Productions banner, currently has a first-look television deal with Entertainment One for unscripted projects. Jenkins serves as an executive producer on the film, along with Atkins. Tim Weatherspoon, Louis Steyn, TJ Steyn, Phil Thornton, Jash’d Belcher, Jamal Chilton, Damone Smith, JP Ramzy, and Shaun Livingston also are executive producers.

Shipp Jr. is repped by CAA. Jenkins is repped by WME, and attorney Darrell D. Miller. Atkins is repped by Don Buchwald and Associates. Turner is repped by CAA and attorney Linda Lichter.

ACQUISITIONS

RLJE Films has acquired all North American rights to horror movie “Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.”

The reimagining of the Full Moon Features cult classic stars Thomas Lennon, Jenny Pellicer, Nelson Franklin, Charlyne Yi, Michael Pare, and Barbara Crampton. Udo Kier (“Brawl in Cell Block 99”) stars as the titular character.

Written by S. Craig Zahler and directed by Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund, RLJE Films plans to release the movie in theaters in August.

Dallas Sonnier and Amanda Presmyk produced “Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich” for Cinestate, the Texas-based entertainment company that recently acquired Fangoria magazine. This will be the first feature released under the resurrected Fangoria label. Sonnier and Zahler courted original franchise creator Charles Band for the right to produce an all-new take on the idea, with Band serving as executive producer.

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Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, has acquired U.S. rights for the digital release of director Mary Haverstick’s feature documentary “The Last Horsemen of New York.”

The fim debuts on VOD and will be available to rent and own on digital HD across cable, internet, and satellite platforms on May 15 and will also be released theatrically in select locations in New York City and other cities beginning May 11.

The film follows leaders of New York’s historic horse carriage industry as they fight Mayor Bill De Blasio, who had vowed to eliminate them on day one of his term. Haverstick’s cameras captured the struggle for two years, with the working-class carriage drivers (and their working-class equine charges) under assault from animal rights activists on one side and politicos receiving funding from real estate developers with an eye on the horsemen’s West Side stables on the other.

It includes interviews with Liam Neeson. “The Last Horsemen of New York” was written and directed by Haverstick, and produced by Haverstick, Michele Mercure, and Sarah Chase.

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