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Film News Roundup: Music Drama ‘Song of Names’ Bought by Sony Classics

In today’s film news roundup, buyers take rights to “The Song of Names” and “Chain of Death” while and Shaquille O’Neal becomes an executive producer for legal thriller “Foster Boy.

ACQUSITIONS

Sony Pictures Classics has bought U.S. rights to the music drama “The Song of Names,” starring Tim Roth and Clive Owen.

The film is directed by “The Red Violin” helmer François Girard and is produced by Robert Lantos, Lyse Lafontaine and Nick Hirschkorn. Jeffrey Caine wrote the screenplay, based on the novel by Norman Lebrecht. The original score is by Howard Shore.

The film unfolds at the start of World War II and centers on 9-year-old violin prodigy who is a  Polish-Jewish refugee in London. The prodigy’s brother is devoted to him. Hours before his debut concert performance at the age of 21, he vanishes without a trace. Years later, the prodigy’s brother recognizes a stylistic flourish that could have only been taught by his brother.

“’The Song of Names’ is one of those emotionally rich stories that defies description,” Sony Classics said. “Filial love surviving the jaws of history by way of the spiritual magic of music. François Girard is the perfect director here, expanding what he achieved with his classic
‘The Red Violin.'”

Sony Classics is planning a 2019 release. HanWay Films is handling worldwide sales.

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Cleopatra Entertainment has secured the North American rights to the thriller “Chain of Death,” directed by David Martín Porras from his own script.

The film stars John Patrick Amedori, Madeline Zima, Jamie Clayton, Dey Young, Neus Asensi,  Adrienne Barbeau and Ray Wise. Producers by Elisa Lleras, the film follows a brilliant young doctor who’s married to the girl of his dreams while enjoying the big city life. The lifestyle comes to a screeching halt when he learns that his mother (Barbeau) can no longer take care of his father who decides to voluntarily enter a “chain” of assisted suicides to end his own misery.

“Chain of Death” will be released on VOD platforms and on DVD on July 30.

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Vertical Entertainment has picked up North American rights to “Katie Says Goodbye,” a coming-of-age drama written and directed by Wayne Roberts.

Olivia Cooke, Mireille Enos, Christopher Abbott, Mary Steenburgen and Jim Belushi star. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, and will receive a multi-city theatrical and VOD release on June 7th.

Cooke plays an optimistic and kind-hearted waitress in a struggling desert town in the Southwest who prostitutes herself to a handful of regulars at the diner where she works. She winds up having to decide to either accept her lot and stay in the destitute town she was born into, or pursue a new life despite losing everything to those she loved and trusted.

“Katie Says Goodbye” is produced by Eric Schultz of Relic Pictures, Carlo Sirtori, David Steiner and Benjamin Steiner of Parallell Cinéma, and Jake Wasserman and Kimberly Parker of Unknown Subject.

SHAQUILLE O’NEAL

Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal has signed on as an executive producer for “Foster Boy,” a legal thriller examining the abuses of the for-profit foster care placement system.

O’Neal also receives a “Presented By” credit on the film. RKO Pictures Vice Chair Mary Beth O’Connor and O’Neal’s partner Michael Parris have also joined “Foster Boy” as executive producers.

“Uncle Mike was my friend and role model growing up, teaching me the value of mentorship and, together, we’ve worked on projects over the years devoted to helping young people,” O’Neal said.

“Foster Boy” was written by attorney/screenwriter-and-producer Jay Paul Deratany, based on his experiences as a litigator in Chicago. Matthew Modine and newcomer Shane Paul McGhie star in the legal drama about a high-powered litigator who takes on the case of an African-American young man who suffered in the foster care system.

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