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Film News Roundup: Audrey Wells Scholarships Launched by UCLA, China’s Pearl Studio

In today’s film news roundup, Pearl Studio and UCLA start a “Say Yes!” scholarship in memory of Audrey Well; Gina Lollobrigida and Claudia Cardinale are honored; and the “General Magic” documentary gets bought.

SCHOLARSHIPS UNVEILED

China’s Pearl Studio has made a gift of $100,000 for endowed scholarships to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in memory of screenwriter-director-producer Audrey Wells.

Wells, a UCLA alumna, passed away on Oct. 4, the day before the opening of “The Hate U Give,” which she had scripted. Her final screenplay, the animated musical “Over the Moon,” was developed internally at Pearl and is in production for a 2020 release under the direction of Glen Keane (“Dear Basketball”). Pearl Studio will distribute the film in China and Netflix will distribute in all other territories.

Two current-use scholarships will be awarded from the Audrey Wells Memorial “Say Yes!” Scholarships, first to a screenwriting student in the 2018-19 academic year and, in the 2019-20 year, to a directing student. Beginning in 2021, scholarships will alternate annually between a screenwriting student and a directing student.

Wells, who graduated from UCLA in 1989, also wrote “A Dog’s Purpose,” “The Game Plan,” “George of the Jungle” and “Under the Tuscan Sun.”

“Audrey’s motto was ‘Say yes’ — yes to life, to art, to creativity and, most of all, to opportunities,” said Brian Larky, Wells’ husband. “With this scholarship, we say yes to new waves of filmmakers, to voices of transformation and healing, to voices of diversity, and to stories of women, crafted by women. Stories told with strength, with vision, and with compassion, that will lead conversations of inclusivity and universality for generations to come.”

ITALIAN HONORS

The upcoming Filming in Italy – Los Angeles event has selected Claudia Cardinale and Gina Lollobrigida as honorees at its upcoming edition.

Cardinale will be presented with the Filming Italy Career Achievement Award, the Harmonist Annual Excellence Award and the Los Angeles Creativity Award on Jan. 30 at the Italian Culture Institute. Lollobrigida will be inducted as honorary president of the event.

The three-day event promotes Italy as an international production hub and acts as a cultural bridge between Italy and the United States. The festival is presented under auspices of the Consulate General of Italy of Los Angeles.

ACQUISITION

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to the documentary “General Magic,” directed by Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, will be available in theaters in May with an ancillary release to follow in the fall.

General Magic was software and electronics company that launched in 1990 with members of the original Apple Mac team and developed precursor products to current technology such as small touchscreens, networked games, streaming TV and e-commerce. The company went out of business in 2002.

“General Magic is a fascinating and entertaining documentary filled with unbelievable behind-the-scenes footage detailing the innovators and creators of the amazing technology that we all use today in our everyday lives,” said Nolan Gallagher, CEO of Gravitas Ventures.

Gallagher negotiated the deal with Jason Ishikawa from Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.

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