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Film News Roundup: ‘Just Dance’ Movie in the Works at Screen Gems

In today’s film news roundup, the “Just Dance” video game is in development as a movie; Capstone Entertainment hires a key exec; the Writers Guild Initiative promotes an exec; and Metrograph Pictures launches.

PROJECT LAUNCH

Sony’s Screen Gems has acquired the motion picture rights for a film based on Ubisoft’s video game “Just Dance.”

Ubisoft Film and Television and Olive Bridge Entertainment will develop and produce the project. Jason Altman and Margaret Boykin will produce for Ubisoft Film and Television alongside Jodi Hildebrand and Will Gluck for Olive Bridge Entertainment.

The “Just Dance” franchise is touted as the best-selling music video game of all time with more than 120 million players worldwide. The video game is celebrating its 10-year anniversary and includes songs by Shakira, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, Camila Cabello, the Chainsmokers, Jennifer Lopez, and Calvin Harris.

Eric Paquette and Brian Dukes are overseeing for Screen Gems. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

EXECUTIVE HIRES

In a pre-Berlin Film Festival move, financing and international sales company Capstone Group has hired veteran executive Ruzanna Kegeyan in the newly created role of head of acquisitions.

In her new position, Kegeyan will spearhead sourcing projects for development and financing by the company as well as identify third party productions for sales. Kegeyan will report to Capstone Group’s president and CEO, Christian Mercuri.

Mercuri said, “Ruzanna is one of the best acquisitions executives I have had the experience of dealing with from both a creative and commercial perspective. She has an impressive record in sourcing high caliber projects that resonate with audiences. We’re thrilled to have Ruzanna join the Capstone team.”

She joins Capstone Group from Arclight Films where she oversaw Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed” and “Hotel Mumbai,” starring Armie Hammer and Dev Patel. Prior to Arclight Films, she served as president of Synchronicity Entertainment, a division of the Solution Entertainment Group. She also worked as exec vice president of sales and acquisitions at IM Global, where she was involved in acquiring and selling “Paranormal Activity” and the Oscar-nominated “A Single Man.”

Capstone Group’s current slate includes “Come Away” starring Angelina Jolie and Michael Caine; “Afterburn,” starring Gerard Butler, and the recently released “Papillon,” starring Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek.

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The Writers Guild Initiative charitable foundation has named Jenna Jackson as executive director.

Jackson has been with the Initiative for eight years and oversees the production of the annual Writers Guild Initiative Benefit Gala and runs its programs, including the Helen Deutsch Writing Workshops, which began in 2008 in Ohio with professional writers mentoring military veterans.

Jackson has expanded the WGI’s Writing Workshops’ focus to include working with exonerated death row prisoners, documented and undocumented immigrants (Dreamers), people displaced by Hurricane Sandy, Muslim writers, inmates at Pendleton Correctional Facility in Indiana, and a group living with chronic illness, their family and caregivers in Portland, Ore.

The WGI also has two long-running programs which connect writers and performers with schoolchildren: The Nora Ephron Book Club and Pen Friends.

DISTRIBUTOR LAUNCH

Metrograph Pictures is launching on Feb. 22 with the opening of Claire Simon’s “The Competition,” a documentary of the admission process at French film school La Fémis.

“The Competition” will expand nationally after its New York opening at the Metrograph theater. Metrograph Pictures will be led by Head of Distribution George Schmalz, who will work closely with Jake Perlin, artistic director
and director of programming, on all acquisitions.

Metrograph Pictures will release newly restored versions of Djibril Diop Mambéty’s “Hyenas, opening April 26; “A Bigger Splash” (1973), the documentary portrait of David Hockney; and three films by Éric Rohmer — “The Aviator’s Wife” (1981), “Boyfriends and Girlfriends” (1987), and “Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle.”

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