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Film News Roundup: Jason Alexander Joins Comedy ‘Faith Based’

In today’s film news roundup, Sarah May Sommers is starring in “American Cherry,” Jason Alexander has signed on to a film, Outfest has a new leader and BAFTA has awarded student prizes.

CASTINGS

Jason Alexander has joined the cast of “Faith Based,” a comedy from director Vincent Masciale and writer Luke Barnett.

The satire of the Christian film industry follows two friends, played by “Funny or Die” regulars Barnett and Tanner Thomason, who come to the realization that all “faith based” films are extremely profitable and set out on a mission to make one of their own.

Alexander will play the eccentric head of a weight loss tea pyramid. The previously announced ensemble includes Lance Reddick, Danielle Nicolet, Carly Craig, Danny Woodburn, and Christoph Sanders.

The news was first reported by Deadline.

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Sarah May Sommers, who plays a Manson Family member in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” is starring in “American Cherry” along with Hart Denton and Leonor Varela, Variety has learned exclusively.

The psychological thriller-romance from Louis Arriola’s NYLA Media Group is directed by Marcella Cytrynowicz from her own screenplay. “American Cherry” is Cytrynowicz’s feature film debut.

Set in small town, low-income suburbia, “American Cherry” follows a teenage girl who must navigate her freedom and personal identity within a fractured, dysfunctional family. Varela plays her mother, suffering with mental illness and substance abuse, and Denton plays the boy next door who becomes the object of her fascination. Sommers is a co-producer.

Denton is represented by UTA and Thruline Entertainment. Sommers is represented by Sovereign Talent Group and Echo Lake Entertainment. Varela is represented by LINK Entertainment.

OUTFEST DIRECTOR

The Board of Outfest has named Damien S. Navarro as the new executive director, replacing Christopher Racster.

He will oversee its programs, staff, fundraising efforts, fiscal management and other day-to-day operations. Racster had announced last year that he was departing.

The Los Angeles-based Outfest festival opens on July 18 with “Circus of Books,” and closes on July 28 with “Before You Know It.”

The news was first reported by Deadline.

BAFTA WINNERS

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has awarded student film prizes to four films in ceremonies in Santa Monica. 

The animation award went to Léo Brunel, Loris Cavalier, Camille Jalabert and Oscar Malet from École des Nouvelles Images, France for “Hors Piste” and the documentary prize went to Ingrid Holmquist and Sana Malik from Columbia University for “Guanajuato Norte.” The live-action trophy went to Asher Jelinsky from American Film Institute for “Miller & Son.”

The special jury prize was presented to Rikke Gregersen from Kristiania University College, Norway for “Dog Eat Dog.”

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