Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan’s ‘Just Mercy’ to Close Austin Film Festival

In today’s film news roundup, “Just Mercy” is the closer for the Austin Film Festival, Tyler Christensen’s “Vulture” gets an award and Simon Helberg is cast opposite Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard in “Annette.”


The Austin Film Festival will close with legal drama “Just Mercy,” starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson, on Oct. 31 at the Paramount Theatre.

Andrew Lanham, who co-wrote the script with director Destin Daniel Cretton, and cast member Tim Blake Nelson will participate in a Q&A.

“Just Mercy” is based on the case of Walter McMillian, an African American death-row prisoner who was exonerated in 1993 after being convicted five years earlier for a 1986 murder in Alabama. Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, took on McMillian’s cause in 1988 in his first case as an attorney.

Jordan stars as Stevenson while Foxx portrays McMillian in the Warner Bros. film. The cast includes Rafe Spall, Rob Morgan and O’Shea Jackson, Jr. “Just Mercy” held its world premiere on Sept. 6 at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival and will open in limited release on Dec. 25.

The festival, now in its 26th year, will also show “Last Week at Ed’s,” a documentary presented by Meg Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan about a 60-year-old diner in West Hollywood called Ed’s Coffee Shop. AFF also announced the world premiere of “Pilgrim,” the upcoming edition of Hulu and Blumhouse Television’s “Into the Dark” anthology series.


The first Sleepy Hollow International Film Festival has selected Tyler Christensen’s “Vulture” as the winner of its best unproduced screenplay award.

“Vulture” is a female-led horror-western in which a widow is on the run from corrupt Arizona Rangers and finds herself in Vulture City, where she squares off against a ruthless cartel and a supernatural entity. Christensen wrote and directed the 2016 horror-thriller “House of Purgatory.”

“Sunshine State: Duende” by Kai Thorup received second place and third place went to “Egghead” by Andrew Pelosi. Honorable mentions went to “Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Sussex Skull” by Staton Rabin, “The Crimson Legacy” by Adam Lapallo and “Wildman” by Dan Bruno.


Simon Helberg has joined Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard in the Leos Carax romantic musical “Annette,” which has launched production after many years of planning.

The project is inspired by songs, music and original story from the American rock band Sparks. “Annette” is in production through November and shooting in Germany, Belgium and Los Angeles.

The movie tells the love story between a stand-up comedian (Driver) and a modern opera star (Cotillard) in Los Angeles. Helberg will play a conductor.

Amazon Studios will distribute “Annette” in the U.S. CAA Media Finance brokered the deal with Amazon Studios. French company UGC will distribute the film in France, and Kinology is handling international sales.

“Annette” is produced by Charles Gillibert, Driver and Paul-Dominique Vacharasinthu (Tribus P Films). The movie will be released in 2020. The news about Helberg was first reported by Deadline.



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