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In today’s film news roundup, the Animation Guild steps up with a $210,000 donation for IATSE members, Fathom Events hires a former AMC executive, the Vail Film Festival goes virtual and Breaking Glass comes on board Gabriel Sousa’s “Waking Up Dead.”


The Animation Guild is donating $210,000 to support International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees members impacted by the coronavirus pandemic through the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the Los Angeles Federation of Labor.

The guild, which operates as IATSE Local 839, noted that while most sectors of the entertainment industry are suffering significant job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of its members’ work has not been impacted and guild membership has increased since the last quarter. As a result, the guild’s executive board determined that the organization should pay it forward by supporting those who are in need.

“It’s very difficult to meet with other union representatives and hear about the struggles our IATSE brothers and sisters are facing. So many people are in need. Yet, our Guild members have been very fortunate; animation employers quickly understood our work could continue effectively from home,” said Steve Kaplan, the guild’s business representative. “Times are hard for all of us, but 839 members are in a unique position to help the rest of our IATSE family. Donating these funds was the quickest way for us to do that.”

The MPTF will receive $200,000, while Labor Community Services will receive $10,000 to support their ongoing efforts to bring food to union members.


Fathom Events has hired former AMC Entertainment executive Letha Steffey as head of marketing.

Steffey spent six years with AMC, where she led the development and launch of the AMC Amazing initiative. Prior to joining Fathom, Steffey was chief marketing officer at Edelman Financial Services.

“I am thrilled to join the passionate team at Fathom Events,” said Steffey. “As one of the top distributors of content to movie theaters in North America, Fathom has clearly pushed the industry forward and beat box office expectations year over year. While this is certainly a unique and challenging time for the industry, I’m excited to use it as an opportunity to invigorate the brand and reimagine the future.”

Fathom, a joint venture between the AMC, Cinemark and Regal theater circuits, specializes in one-night showings of concerts and revival movies.


Organizers of the Vail Film Festival have scheduled its 17th iteration for May 15-17 in a virtual format.

Titles include “Beautiful Dreamer,” from director Amy Glazer and starring Wendie Malick; “What Lies West,” from director Jessica Ellis; Hannah Black and Megan Petersen’s “Drought,” produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass; “Toprak,” from German writer-director Sevgi Hirschhäuser; the documentaries “Fresh Tracks,” about the launch of the adaptive skiing movement, and “A Towering Task,” directed by Alana DeJoseph and narrated by Annette Bening.

“An online film festival enables us to continue our mission to support independent filmmakers by showcasing their incredible work and honoring the winning films through our juried and audience awards. It also allows us to protect the health and well-being of our filmmakers, guests, sponsors and the local community, which has always been our first priority,” said co-executive director Sean Cross.


Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired North American rights to Terracino’s upcoming feature comedy “Waking Up Dead,” starring Gabriel Sousa, Judy Geeson and Traci Lords.

“Waking Up Dead” is currently in pre-production, with filming set to begin in early July.

Sousa will portray a hard-partying, self-absorbed Hollywood actor whose life and career have hit rock bottom. Geeson will play an actress-turned-real-estate-agent who tries to intervene, and Lords plays Sousa’s agent. Jason Caceres, Angelic Zambrana,  Makeda Declet, Nelson Arrieta, Jr.,  Antonio Ardolino and Bryce Morton are also in the cast.

Jupiter J. Makins, Patricia Mckenzie, Joe Bohn, Emmi Grullon and Terracino are the producers. Rich Wolff serves as executive producer, and his company, Breaking Glass Pictures, will be distributing theatrically.