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Film News Roundup: ‘Jurassic World’s’ Colin Trevorrow to Direct ‘Atlantis’ Thriller for Universal

Colin Trevorrow exits Star Wars
Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

In today’s film news roundup, three projects — “The Culling,” “Atlantis” and “A Savannah Haunting” — are unveiled; “Transhood” wins the Audience Award at AFI Docs; the WGA East announces 15 candidates; and the Visual Effects Society honors five members.

PROJECT LAUNCHES

Universal Pictures is developing the thriller “Atlantis with “Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow and his Metronome Film Co. with Trevorrow directing and producing.

The project is based on a story about the mythical city of Atlantis by Trevorrow and Matt Charman. Dante Harper, who wrote the original spec script that became Tom Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow,” will write the script for “Atlantis.”

Metronome and Universal are also collaborating on “Space Opera,” a musical with producer Marc Platt based on Catherynne Valente’s book.

Treverrow’s directing credits include “Safety Not Guaranteed,” “The Book of Henry” and the upcoming “Jurassic World: Dominion.” The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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Lionsgate has bought Stephen Herman’s horror script “The Culling” with “Shazam” helmer David F. Sandberg attached to direct.

“The Culling” centers on a troubled priest confining himself to a remote cabin in the middle of the woods where he attempts to make a last stand against the demon that terrorized his family when he was a child. Sandberg and Lotta Losten will produce via their newly formed Mångata production banner, alongside Good Fear Content. Chris Bender and Jake Weiner will produce for Good Fear with the company’s Scott Stoops to executive produce.

Lionsgate’s Aaron Janus is overseeing the project along with Aaron Edmonds. Sandberg’s other directing credits include “Lights Out” and “Annabelle: Creation.”

Sandberg is represented by CAA, Gotham Group and attorney Jeff Hynick of Jackoway Austen. Herman is represented by Good Fear and attorney Marios Rush. Robert Melnik negotiated the deals for Lionsgate. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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Actor/filmmaker William Mark McCullough has announced he will direct “A Savannah Haunting” at a reputed haunted house in Savannah, Ga.

McCullough will co-produce the pic with his Fort Argyle Films co-founder, Alexis Nelson, marking their fourth project together following the comedy “Doublewide Blues” and the psychological thrillers, “Every Breath” and “Play Time.”

Also on-board as producers are Matthew Imes, Christina DeRosa, Guido Grimaldi of D.I.G. Entertainment and executive producers Ken Hannigan and Chris Feeney.

“A Savannah Haunting” centers around a family who moves to Savannah to escape the memory of their young daughter’s tragic drowning. Once in their new home, the mother begins to experience chilling phenomena that lead her to believe she is being haunted by her dead daughter.

PRIZE WINNERS

The American Film Institute has presented the Audience Award for Best Feature to Sharon Liese’s “Transhood” for the AFI Docs festival.

“Transhood” was shot over five years following the lives of four children discovering their specific trans experiences alongside their families. It shows each of the kids and their parents navigating the day-to-day challenges of their home lives and their lives out in the world.

The Audience Award for Best Short went to “Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible,” directed by Kristen Lappas and Tom Rinaldi. The Grand Jury Prize for Short Films went to “Abortion Helpline: This Is Lisa,” directed by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Mike Attie. The 18th edition of AFI Docs presented 58 films from 11 countries.

ELECTION

The Writers Guild of America East has announced 15 candidates for 10 expiring council seats with online voting beginning on Aug. 27.

The 12 candidates for the seven open Freelance seats are Christopher Kyle, Erica Saleh, Kyle Bradstreet, Gina Gionfriddo, Jason Kim, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, Kaitlin Fontana, former WGA East President Michael Winship, Michael Rauch, A.M. Homes, Monica Lee Bellais, and Benjamin Rosenblum. Kyle, Bradstreet, Cullen, Fontana, Winship, Homes and Bellais are incumbents.

The three candidates for the staff seats are incumbents Kelly Stout, Gail Lee and Ashley Feinberg.

VES HONORS

The Visual Effects Society has named industry executive Ray Scalice as recipient of the 2020 VES Founders Award.

The VES has also given lifetime membership to visual effects producer Debbie Denise, professor and FMX founder Thomas Haegele, visual effects supervisor Richard Hollander, and VES and model shop supervisor-special effects artist Eugene P. Rizzardi, Jr.

Scalice has serviced for more than 40 years in executive management positions with Lucasfilm Ltd, Industrial Light & Magic, Walt Disney Company and Pacific Title Digital. Currently, Scalice holds the position of general manager/executive producer for Pixel Magic. Scalice started his career at Disney in 1976.