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Film News Roundup: ‘Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City’ to Open San Francisco Film Festival

In today’s film news roundup, the San Francisco Film Festival will open with “Tales of the City,” the late Henri Bollinger is honored, and deals are closed for the Toni Morrison documentary and JD Dillard’s next project.

FESTIVAL

The world premiere of Netflix’s “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City” will open the 62nd edition of the San Francisco Film Festival on April 10 at the Castro Theatre.

It’s the first time that the festival — one of the longest-running in North America — has opened with episodic content.

The evening will include a screening of the full first episode and a preview of the upcoming series. Attendees will include showrunner, writer, and executive producer Lauren Morelli; director and executive producer Alan Poul; author and executive producer Armistead Maupin; and star and executive producer Laura Linney, who are expected to participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Linney’s Mary Ann character will return to present-day San Francisco and be reunited with her daughter Shawna (Ellen Page) and ex-husband Brian (Paul Gross), 20 years after leaving them behind to pursue her career. Mary Ann is quickly drawn back into the orbit of Anna Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis).

The series will begin streaming this summer. It’s a Working Title Television and NBCUniversal International studios production for Netflix. Working Title’s Andrew Stearn, Liza Chasin, Tim Bevan, and Eric Fellner executive produce.

The “Tales of the City” books are a series of nine novels with the first four titles appearing as regular installments in the San Francisco Chronicle starting in 1978. The book series was among the first to address the AIDS crisis. PBS carried the original six-part “Tales” miniseries in 1994. Showtime ran the subsequent miniseries, 1998’s “More Tales of the City” and 2001’s “Further Tales of the City.”

AWARD

The International Cinematographers Guild Publicists is creating a new award for the late Henri Bollinger, who died in August.

The new Henri Bollinger Award will be presented Feb. 22 at the 56th annual International Cinematographers Guild’s Publicists Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The trophy will be presented to Bollinger posthumously as the first recipient. His wife, Sandy, will accept on his behalf.

“We established this award to celebrate the life and memory of a true giant of the entertainment publicity world,” said Tim Menke, who has succeeded Bollinger as chair of the ICG Publicists Awards.

“Henri has set the bar for professionalism, creativity and integrity, and has made service to the larger community a part of his second nature,” Menke added. “His dedication to the guild and IATSE was inspirational to so many people inside and outside the union. His committed leadership shaped the ICG Publicists community and helped develop future leaders and publicists nationwide. We are proud to establish this award in Henri’s name and honor.”

In the future, the Henri Bollinger Award will be bestowed to recognize “a person who epitomizes the definition of special merit in the field of entertainment.”

Bollinger served for over 55 years on the Publicists Awards Committee and chaired the annual awards for over 37 years. He was a publicist for 60 years and received the Les Mason Award, the highest award bestowed upon a publicist by his peers, and the Bob Yeager Award for community service.

ACQUISITIONS

Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to the documentary “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Morrison was the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize. In addition to Morrison, the film features conversations with Hilton Als, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, Sonia Sanchez and Oprah Winfrey, who turned Morrison’s novel “Beloved” into a feature film.

Magnolia is targeting a theatrical release this year for the film, which recently world-premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film will stream on Hulu, and will have its U.S. broadcast premiere as part of the “American Masters” series in late 2020 on PBS.

****

Legendary has bought rights to JD Dillard’s “Mastering Your Past,” following the premiere of his horror movie “Sweetheart,” starring Kiersey Clemons, at the Sundance Film Festival.

Dillard will direct “Mastering Your Past” and co-write the script with Matt Owens. He and Owens, whose credits include “Luke Cage,” will also produce.

The story centers on a black woman who enters into a relationship with a white man, only to find out that he is not what he seems to be.

Dillard broke out at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival with his debut feature “Sleight,” a science-fiction drama centered on a young street magician. Blumhouse picked up the rights to “Sleight” and partnered with him on “Sweetheart,” which screened during the midnight section.

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