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In today’s film news roundup, Benedict Cumberbatch’s spy drama “The Courier” and supernatural thriller “Star Light” get release dates, and the Quarantine Cat Film Fest is unveiled.

RELEASE DATE

Lionsgate and sister company Roadside Attractions have set an Aug. 28 theatrical release for the spy drama “The Courier,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

The film, formerly titled “Ironbark,” is based on the true story of an unassuming British businessman, Greville Wynne, who is recruited at the behest of the U.K.’s MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan) to form a covert partnership with a Soviet officer to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Dominic Cooke directed from a script by Tom O’Connor. The film is a 42, SunnyMarch and FilmNation Entertainment production. Adam Ackland, Ben Browning, Ben Pugh and Rory Aitken are producers. Leah Clarke, Cumberbatch, Ashley Fox, Glen Basner, Alison Cohen, Milan Popelka, Cooke, O’Connor and Josh Varney are executive producers.

“Theaters have indicated gradual openings this summer, with health and safety guiding the way. If everything proceeds favorably, we feel the true spy thriller ‘The Courier,’ with a must see performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, is just the type of film that will have audiences excited to return to their local cinemas in late August,” said Roadside co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff.

ACQUISITION 

1091 has acquired all rights to the supernatural thriller “Star Light,” starring Scout Taylor-Compton, Rahart Adams, Liana Ramirez and Tiffany Shepis.

“Star Light,” directed by Mitchell Altieri and Lee Cummings, will be available on digital and on demand on Aug. 4.

The story centers on a kind-hearted teenager, played by Cameron Johnson, who crashes into a beautiful young woman (Taylor-Compton) while skateboarding. She turns out to be a world famous popstar, who is on the run from her handlers. While he and his group of friends try to help this mysterious woman, unexplained events begin to occur within the home.

Written by Mitchell Altieri, Jamal M. Jennings and Adam Weiss, the film was produced by Cheryl Staurulakis at Orama Filmworks, Jeffrey Allard at Indie Entertainment and Altieri’s San Francisco Independent Cinema. Executive producers were Stan Holland and Leo Staurulakis.

Staurulakis and Allard negotiated the deal with Lev Avery-Peck of 1091.

FILM FESTIVAL

Organizers have announced plans for a Quarantine Cat Film Fest on June 19 at about 100 “virtual cinemas” in the U.S. and Canada.

Until May 15, the producers — the owners of the Row House Cinema in Pittsburgh — are accepting videos from cat owners, some of which will be compiled into a feature-length film that can be viewed at home, with ticket sales bringing revenue to individual cinemas. Submissions will be judged in four categories (cutest, funniest, bravest and most loving) to compete for cash prizes.

“As we discussed the devastating impact of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders with other movie-theater owners around the country, we began hearing a common refrain: Moviegoers are at home with their kitties,” says Brian Mendelssohn, owner of Row House Cinema. “At the same time, we saw the growth and innovation of virtual cinema. That’s how we cat-apulted into this idea to celebrate cats, our moviegoers and our love of cinema all at once, and to help raise revenue for independent movie theaters, who are deeply at risk due to closures.”