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Film News Roundup: Penn Badgley Joins Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish in ‘Here Today’

In today’s film news roundup, Freida Lee Mock gets a lifetime honor, Isabelle Fuhrman and Penn Badgley get cast, AFI is unveiling rare footage of Alfred Hitchcock, and a faith-based baseball drama and a spy comedy get release dates.
CAREER HONOR
The International Documentary Association has selected Freida Lee Mock as the recipient of its career achievement award, to be presented at the 35th Annual IDA Documentary Awards on Dec. 7 at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.
Mock has been nominated for five Academy Awards, winning for “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision” in the documentary feature category. She received short subject nominations for “To Live or Let Die,” “Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember,” “Never Give Up” and “Sing!” Mock’s television credits include the 2013 documentary “Anita” and Emmy winner “Lillian Gish: The Actor’s Life for Me.”
Emmy nominated filmmaker Rachel Lears (“Knock Down the House,” “The Hand That Feeds”) will be honored with the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which provides pro bono legal representation and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the news gathering rights of journalists, will be presented with the Amicus Award. The Pioneer Award will be given to film foundation and production company Cinereach.
Simon Kilmurry, executive director of the IDA, said, “Freida Lee Mock’s Career Achievement Award is overdue. Her films have tackled a wide range of topics with an insightful artistic vision, and her unparalleled body of work continues to inspire and impact the world. In her film ‘Knock Down the House,’ Emerging Filmmaker Award recipient Rachel Lears brings us a powerful story of what it can mean when ordinary citizens decide to get involved in the political process and shows the change they can make.”
The IDA Documentary Awards 2019 shortlists for Best Feature and Best Short categories will be announced on Oct. 10.
CASTINGS
Isabelle Fuhrman, Amy Forsyth and Dilone will headline Lauren Hadaway’s debut feature, “The Novice,” Variety has learned exclusively.
Ryan Hawkins of Picture Movers, Steven Sims of H2L Media, Kari Hollend, and Zack Zucker are producing. Al Engemann of Picture Movers, Charlotte Ubben and Michael Tennant of RBF Productions, and Billy Hines and Christopher Hines of H2L Media are executive producing. Production will start in mid-October.
The film tells the story of a college freshman who joins her university’s cutthroat rowing team and undertakes an obsessive journey to make the top varsity boat.
Fuhrman’s credits include “Orphan,” “Down a Dark Hall” and “After Earth.” Forsyth most recently appeared in Amazon’s “Beautiful Boy” and previously starred in NBC’s “Rise” and and Hulu’s “The Path.”
Hadaway, a 2018 Outfest Screenwriting Fellow, is repped by Bellevue Productions. Fuhrman is repped by UTA and attorney Cheryl Snow. Forsyth is repped by Gersh and David Dean Management. Dilone is repped by Framework.
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Penn Badgley, Laura Benanti, Anna Deavere Smith and Nyambi Nyambi will join Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish in the feature “Here Today.”

Crystal is writing, directing and starring in the film. He plays a veteran comedy writer who is slowly but surely losing his grip on reality when he befriends a talented young New York street singer, portrayed by Haddish.  The two form an unlikely, touching friendship. Louisa Krause will play the wife of Crystal’s character.

Astute Films’ president Fred Bernstein is also producing. Principal photography is underway in New York City.

PARTNERSHIP UNVEILED

Spotlight Cinema Networks and American Film Institute have formed a year-long partnership to showcase rare and never-before-seen footage from the AFI Archive, Variety has learned exclusively.

The footage will appear within Spotlight’s pre-show entertainment to luxury exhibitors and  independent film theaters nationwide in October. The inaugural pre-show will feature stories about the making of the thriller “North by Northwest” as told by director Alfred Hitchcock.

“Our partnership with AFI allows our sophisticated, nationwide audience to enjoy their history of iconic films and directors during our popular pre-show,” said Michael Sakin, president of Spotlight Cinema Networks. “AFI’s content is a natural fit for us. We’re especially pleased to offer it exclusively to our network of art house and luxury exhibitors around the country.”

RELEASE DATE

Faith-based sports drama “Full Count” has received an Oct. 25 release in select theaters and on VOD and digital.

“Full Count” tells the story about an unfortunate chain of events that force a young baseball phenom to give up his dreams of playing college baseball and return home to the farm and town he fought so hard to escape.

John Paul Kakos makes his film debut as the young lead character. The movie also stars Natalia Livingston, E. Roger Mitchell, Adam Boyer, Victoria Staley, Rick Hearst, Afemo Omilami and Jason London.

Roger Eager is the director, writer, and executive producer. Martin Kelley, Eddie Singleton, and Bennie Swint are the producers.

ACQUISITION

Cinedigm has acquired North American rights to the comedy “Spy Intervention” from producer Sunil Perkash, and director Drew Mylrea.

The film stars Drew Van Acker (“Pretty Little Liars”), Poppy Delevingne, Blake Anderson, Brittany Furlan, Max Silvestri and Natasha Bassett. Cinedigm will release the film in select theaters, on demand and digital in February with a DVD release to follow later in the year.

In the film written by Mark Famiglietti and Lane Garrison, Van Acker portrays the world’s greatest spy who suddenly meets the woman of his dreams (Delevingne) and decides to abandon his adventurous existence to settle for the security of suburbia. But it doesn’t take long for him to become completely bored — until an evil plot to ruin the world arises.

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