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Film News Roundup: Henry Winkler, Rosa Salazar Join ‘Pink Skies Ahead’

In today’s film news roundup, Henry Winkler and Rosa Salazar get gigs, “Teacher” and “16th Episode” are acquired and Mattel and ABS Payroll make executive hires.

CASTINGS

Henry Winkler and Rosa Salazar have joined Jessica Barden in the drama “Pink Skies Ahead,” the first feature film from Greg Silverman’s Stampede.

Winkler will play a doctor who used to be the pediatrician to Barden’s character, who she visits when she discovers something alarming.  Rosa Salazar (“Alita: Battle Angel”) will portray her best friend.  Lewis Pullman and  Devon Bostick have also joined the cast.

The Kelly Oxford film, which will begin production this June in Los Angeles, tells the story of a wild young woman whose life unravels after dropping out of college, moving in with her parents, and being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. It’s based on the essay “No Real Danger” from Oxford’s second book, “When You Find Out The World Is Against You.”

Silverman and Lisa Zambri are producing alongside with Divide/Conquer’s Greg Gilreath and Adam Hendricks as producers and Zac Locke as executive producer. Yu is also an exec producer. Silverman is the former Warner Bros. Pictures President who’s now CEO and co-chairman at Stampede.

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Winkler won a Primetime Emmy Award for supporting actor in a comedy series for his role as a drama teacher in HBO’s “Barry,” now in its second season.

Winkler is represented by CAA and Management 360. Salazar is represented by Paradigm Talent Agency and Vanderkloot Law. Pullman is represented by ICM and Anonymous Content.

ACQUISITION

Cinedigm Corp has acquired North American rights to the psychological thriller “Teacher,” starring David Dastmalchian and Kevin Pollak, Variety has learned exclusively.

Adam Dick is directing from his own script. Following a limited theatrical engagement, Cinedigm will release the picture on demand, digital HD, and DVD in August 2019. The film follows the downward spiral of a high school English teacher (Dastmalchian) as he goes to disturbing lengths to protect his favorite students from bullies and challenge the power of a wealthy patron (Pollak) within the community.

Dick also produced along with  Matthew Helderman of BondIt Media Capital and Buffalo 8, and Zachary Kamen.  Executive producers are John August Glassgow, Markie Glassgow, Ted Reilly, Carol Smith, and Kelly Waller.

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Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to “16th Episode,” previously known as “Little Horror Movie,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Written and directed by Jérôme Cohen-Olivar, the film stars Cody Heuer, Rebecca Ramon and Einar Kuusk. The film will be in theaters and on demand on June 28.

The film centers on three YouTubers, each with their own inner demons, visiting the mythical town of Casablanca. With their viewership down, they get invited to attend a satanic ritual and soon realize that maybe all their audience wants is to see them die.

The film is produced by Cohen-Olivar and Yasmina Hadimi and was executive produced by Mohammed Rizky and Hinda Sikkal.

EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS

Mattel Inc. has hired Jamie Cygielman, former chief marketing officer of Iconix Brand Group, as senior vice president and general manager of its American Girl brand.

She will lead the  brand across its global consumer base through toys, content and experiences and she will be responsible for brand and product strategy. Cygielman will report to Richard Dickson, president and chief operating officer.

Mattel and MGM announced plans in February to develop a live-action motion picture based on the American Girl line of books and dolls.

“American Girl is a beloved brand whose legacy of inspiring girls to develop a strong sense of character through creative play and imagination is more relevant than ever,” said Cygielman. “I look forward to partnering with Richard and the entire team to unlock the full potential of this storied brand.”

Cygielman has worked on such brands as Revlon, The Radio City Rockettes, Thomas & Friends and Barbie.

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ABS Payroll has hired veteran entertainment executive David Reynolds as the company’s CFO and director of strategic development, Variety has learned exclusively.

Reynolds joins ABS with extensive entertainment payroll experience, having most recently served as present and CFO of Greenslate (previously IndiePay) for the past five years.

ABS Payroll is part of the BondIt Media Capital family, which has provided debt financing to more than 300 feature films and TV shows, resulting in more than $200 million of production spending.

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