Film News Roundup: Environmental Doc ‘The Human Element’ Set for January

In today’s film news roundup, environmental documentary “The Human Element” and romancer “Frank and Ava” get release dates and NBA player Dwight Howard backs Christopher Walken’s “Percy.”


The Orchard has set a Jan. 29 digital release date for James Balog’s environmental documentary “The Human Element,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Balog uses his camera to reveal how environmental change is affecting the lives of everyday Americans. Following the four classical elements — air, earth, fire and water— to frame his journey, Balog explores wildfires, hurricanes, sea level rise, coal mining, and the changes in the air we breathe. “The Human Element” is aimed as providing inspiration for a more balanced relationship between humanity and nature.

Balog’s previous film “Chasing Ice” was awarded an Emmy for outstanding nature programming. “The Human Element” is produced by Earth Vision. Here’s the trailer:


8th House Entertainment is releasing “Frank and Ava,” based on the relationship between Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, in Los Angeles, New York, Palm Springs and San Francisco through Gravitas this weekend.

The film is produced by Rico Simonini, who also stars as Sinatra. Emily Alicia Low (“Ray Donavan”) stars as Gardner. Emrhys Cooper portrays Montgomery Clift. Also starring are Eric Roberts, Richard Portnow, Lukas Haas, Domenick Lombardozzi, Jonathan Silverman, Dionne Warwick and the late Harry Dean Stanton.

“Frank and Ava” was shot in Rome, Palm Springs, and Hollywood. Michael Oblowitz directed from Simonini’s script, which details Sinatra’s pursuit of Gardner while getting cast in Columbia Picture’s 1953 drama “From Here to Eternity.” Sinatra won a best supporting actor Oscar for the role.


Grasshopper + Marks Productions and NBA player Dwight Howard’s Mansa Productions will executive produce the drama “Percy,” starring Christopher Walken, Christina Ricci, and Zach Braff.

Clark Johnson is directing from a script by Hilary Pryor and Garfield L. Miller. Principal photography recently wrapped in Winnipeg, Manitoba with additional filming on location in India slated for December.

The film, based on events from a 1998 lawsuit, follows a small-town Saskatchewan farmer (played by Walken) who challenges a major conglomerate when the company’s genetically modified canola is discovered in the 70-year-old farmer’s crop. As he speaks out against the company’s business practices, he realizes he is representing other farmers around the world fighting the same battle.

Ricci will play an anti-GMO activist and Braff will portay a lawyer. Other cast members include Roberta Maxwell as the farmer’s wife; Adam Beach as his neighbor; Luke Kirby as his son; and Martin Donovan as the conglomerate’s lead lawyer.

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