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Film News Roundup: Buffalo 8 to Launch Freewater Creative Development

In today’s film news roundup, Freewater Creative Development is unveiled, David Oyelowo gets a directing gig and Lionsgate has a faith-based slate in the works.

DEVELOPMENT LAUNCH

Production-finance company Buffalo 8 is launching Freewater Creative Development and has hired veteran journalist Kyle Ryan to head the new division, Variety has learned exclusively.

Buffalo 8 is part of five-year-old BondIt Media Capital, which has provided debt financing to more than 250 feature films and TV shows, resulting in more than $200 million of production spending. Recent BondIt-financed projects include Netflix’s “To the Bone,” starring Lily Collins; “Driven,” with Jason Sudeikis, and the Oscar-nominated animated film “Loving Vincent.”

Companies hire Freewater to assess their intellectual property and identify potential opportunities within it for web series, episodic TV, film, documentaries and podcasts. Freewater then develops projects in conjunction with the companies.

Ryan began working in development years ago as leader of Onion Studios, the content studio behind The Onion, The A.V. Club, and ClickHole. He’s a former editor at The A.V. Club, The Onion, and Entertainment Weekly.

DIRECTING ATTACHMENT

David Oyelowo will make his feature directorial outing with the drama “The Water Man,” with Oprah Winfrey executive producing.

Oyelowo will also star in the movie and produce with Rosario Dawson, Lonnie Chavis, Amiah Miller, Alfred Molina and Maria Bello.

Emma Needell wrote the script, which centers on a young boy who runs away from home to find the Water Man in the belief that he can cheat death. Shivani Rawat of ShivHans Pictures is financing the project as well as producing with Oyelowo’s Yoruba Saxon and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

FAITH-BASED SLATE

Kingdom Studios, founded late last year by the creators of “I Can Only Imagine,” has announced a a slate of faith based film projects to be released through their partnership with Lionsgate.

The slate was revealed Wednesday at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Anaheim, Calif. “The dream of Kingdom Studios is simple: to create a media company dedicated to telling life-changing stories by empowering incredible artists and creatives,” said co-founder Jon Erwin.

The slate includes the previously announced “I Still Believe,” scheduled for release on March 20, 2020, based on the life Christian music mega-star Jeremy Camp. New films include “Jesus Revolution,” the story of a national spiritual awakening in the early 1970’s and its Southern California origins; a trilogy of films inspired by the Bible starting with “Apostle: Resurrection of Christ”; and “The Drummer Boy,” a period musical being developed with the faith-based group King & Country.

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