In today’s film news roundup, the M. Night Shyamalanathon is unveiled, Black List founder Franklin Leonard is honored, and “Brown’s Canyon” gets a release.
Alamo Drafthouse and Universal Pictures are launching the M. Night Shyamalanathon, the first-ever marathon screening of the filmmaker’s trilogy of “Unbreakable,” “Split,” and “Glass.”
The screenings will take place at Alamo Drafthouse cinemas in 25 theaters on Jan. 12 and include a conversation with M. Night Shyamalan, broadcast from Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn. Universal has partnered with Beyond Fest and American Cinematheque to screen all three films on the same day at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
The showings will be the first public screenings of “Glass,” starring Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, and Sarah Paulson, which opens on Jan. 18. “Glass” brings together the narratives of Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable,” which was released in 2000, and 2016’s “Split.”
The Writers Guild of America East has selected Black List founder and CEO Franklin Leonard as the recipient of the Evelyn F. Burkey Award.
The award will be presented at the 71st annual Writers Guild Awards at the Edison Ballroom in New York City on Feb. 17. Veteran producer-writer James Schamus will make the presentation.
The award was established in 1978 in honor of Burkey, who helped create the WGA East and served as its executive director until her retirement in 1972. Past recipients include Schamus, Norman Lear, Walter Bernstein, Joan Didion, Sidney Lumet, Arthur Miller, Claire Labine, and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Leonard wrote, “I have always believed that the greatest honor of my career is serving the community of screenwriters. To have that same community believe that my service has been of value is frankly overwhelming.”
The Black List was launched in 2005 as an annual survey of the best unproduced screenplays. The organization also supports film production, an online marketplace, live staged script readings, screenwriter labs, and film culture publications. More than 400 scripts from the annual Black List survey have been produced as feature films.
Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the comedy-drama “Brown’s Canyon” and has set a Jan. 29 release date for internet and satellite platforms.
The film stars Lisa Every, Jenn Ruzumna, Sara Thiessen, Carter Rodriquez, and Eric Jordan in the story of two life coaches who head into the Utah mountains to lead a mindfulness retreat, only to have their own lives unravel over one awkward weekend. “Brown’s Canyon” was written and directed by John Helde and produced by Every, Ruzumna, and Helde.
“‘Brown’s Canyon’ was developed collaboratively with the cast, which is fairly unusual in the world of narrative movies,” said Helde. “I love this process because it gives me the opportunity to work with the cast for a much longer period, and because it brings the energy and spontaneity of multiple creative minds to the story.”