Film News Roundup: ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ Director Sets Comedy ‘Silent Retreat’ at Miramax

In today’s film news roundup, Miramax has set up the comedy “Silent Retreat,” sci-fi romance “Clara” and “Cold Case Hammarskjold” get distribution and Olivia Wilde is honored for directing “Booksmart.”


Miramax has set up the comedy “Silent Retreat” with “Isn’t It Romantic” director Todd Strauss-Schulson attached to helm from a script he co-wrote with Matt Fogel (“The Lego Movie 2”).

Pre-production has started on “Silent Retreat” with plans to shoot in late spring and the early summer supervised by Matthew Anderson at Miramax.

The project centers on a man and woman with relationship issues who decide to go on a meditation retreat that requires absolute silence for three days along with the man’s best friend and recently widowed mother. Disaster ensues in what the filmmakers describe as, “If Gus Van Sant and Buster Keaton made a silent comedy about wisdom, compassion, and the difficulties of digesting a tempeh-based diet.”

“Matt and Todd (who are best friends) have a new best friend in Miramax, a company who is bold and creatively supportive. We’re mostly just thrilled that someone believed in us enough to give us money to make a silent comedy about meditation,” said Strauss-Schulson and Fogel.

Popular on Variety


Screen Media has bought U.S. rights to Akash Sherman’s sci-fi feature “Clara,” which premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and won best narrative feature film at the Austin Film Festival.

Starring Patrick J. Adams and Troian Bellisario, “Clara” tells the story of an obsessive astronomer and a curious artist who form an unlikely bond which leads to a profound, scientific discovery. Screen Media plans a May theatrical release.

Sherman wrote and directed “Clara,” which is produced by Ari Lantos and executive produced by Anant Singh.


Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to “Cold Case Hammarskjold,” which received the world cinema documentary directing award at the Sundance Film Festival last month.

Mads Brügger directed the film about the 1961 death of United Nations secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld in a plane crash. With the case still unsolved, Danish journalist and filmmaker Brügger investigated leads that were either false starts or dead ends before uncovering a critical secret.

“Mads Brügger has gotten ahold of a whopper of a tale,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “’Cold Case Hammarskjold’ is destined to be one of the most hotly-discussed films of the year.”


Olivia Wilde will receive this year’s CinemaCon breakthrough director of the year award for her directorial debut “Booksmart.”

Wilde will be presented with the honor at the trade show’s awards presentation on April 4 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

“Booksmart,” starring Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, will be released on May 24 by United Artists Releasing. The movie is comedy about high school friendships and the bonds that last a lifetime.

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