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Film News Roundup: Julianne Moore-Michelle Williams’ ‘After the Wedding’ Gets Distribution

In today’s film news roundup, “After the Wedding,” “Premature” and “Encounter” get distribution, Jacqueline Lyanga gets a new gig, Quiver Distribution launches and “The Aeronauts” sets an Imax release.

ACQUISITIONS

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all rights in North America, France, India and several other Asian countries to “After the Wedding,” starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams.

Directed by Bart Freundlich, “After the Wedding” is an adaptation of Susanne Bier’s Academy Award-nominated Danish film of the same name. It premiered as an opening night selection at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Williams portrays a woman who has dedicated her life to working with the children in an orphanage in Calcutta. She travels to New York to meet her benefactor, played by Moore.

Sony Classics is planning an August release. The distributor released “Still Alice,” for which Moore received a best actress Academy Award. The news was first reported by Deadline.

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IFC Films has bought U.S. rights to the romantic drama “Premature,” starring Zora Howard and directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green.

“Premature” premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Howard and Green co-wrote the screenplay, based on Green’s 2008 short film, in which Howard’s character is spending her last summer in Harlem before heading to an out-of-state college. She’s not really looking for love until she meets a musician, played by Joshua Boone, and finds herself torn between her own vulnerability and self-sufficiency.

The movie also stars Michelle Wilson, Alexis Marie Wint, Imani Lewis and Tashiana Washington. Green also produced with Joy Ganes and Darren Dean. IFC Films is planning a theatrical release later in 2019.

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Vega Baby Releasing has acquired Paul J. Salamoff’s alien thriller “Encounter,” starring Luke Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson and Tom Atkins, Variety has learned exclusively.

“Encounter” is set for a multi-platform release on Oct. 1. The story centers on a group of grief-stricken friends dealing with a recent tragedy who must deal with an otherworldly organism with uncertain intentions.

Vega Baby will be handling domestic distribution. Octane Entertainment will be handling foreign sales for the title and will be bringing it to market at Cannes.

“Encounter” was produced by Amy Bailey and executive produced by Rob Hollocks. The deal was negotiated by Sheldon Brigman of Vega Baby Releasing.

HIRING

Film Independent has hired festival veteran Jacqueline Lyanga as the organization’s new artistic director to expand the organization’s film, television and new media programming.

Lyanga was director of the AFI Fest for eight years. Film Independent runs the Spirit Awards and the Film Independent Presents screening series. She began her collaboration with Film Independent last year at the LA Film Festival as a guest director of virtual reality and immersive storytelling.

Film Independent pulled the plug on the LA Film Festival in October and said it would replace it with year-round events aimed at building community and broadening its support of visual storytellers.

COMPANY LAUNCH

Veteran executives Berry Meyerowitz and Jeff Sackman have launched Quiver Distribution as a company that will acquire, market and exploit films across all media in the United States and Canada.

Quiver’s first release will be John Travolta’s suspense thriller “The Fanatic” with a Sept. 6 opening. It will release action-thriller “Running With the Devil, starring Nicolas Cage and Laurence Fishburne, on Sept. 13.

Meyerowitz sold his company, Phase 4 Films, to Entertainment One in 2014, and became head of its U.S. film business. Sackman was the first president of Lionsgate Films and then launched and led Thinkfilm until its sale in 2006. Subsequently, he ran Tajj Media Services for 10 years, which focused on consulting, producing and executive producing in the film and television industry. For the past two years, the duo has collaborated with producers to help finance and sell a total of 14 feature films to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Sony and Paramount.

“Our collective experience and relationships will bring value to all constituents,” Meyerowitz and Sackman said in a statement. “Quiver Distribution will capitalize on the emergence of new platforms by providing entertaining and star driven films for consumers, no matter where they choose to watch them.”

Sean Monson will oversee finance and operations, and Larry Greenberg will oversee acquisitions and U.S. distribution. Quiver Distribution has offices in Toronto and Los Angeles.

RELEASE

Amazon Studios and Imax have set a one-week exclusive release for “The Aeronauts,” starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, beginning Oct. 25.

The movie will expand nationally for a full theatrical run in additional theaters on Nov. 1. Written by Jack Thorne and directed by Tom Harper, “The Aeronauts” marks the first Amazon Studios film to be released in Imax.

Set in 1862, “The Aeronauts” follows a wealthy young widow, portrayed by Jones, and Redmayne’s headstrong scientist as they mount a balloon expedition to fly higher than anyone in history. The film is produced by Mandeville Films’ Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman and Harper, and executive produced by Richard Hewitt and Thorne.

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