In today’s film news roundup, film commissioners have teamed up to launch a production resource service with information related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dave Franco’s “The Rental” finds a home, Saban Films will release “Most Wanted” in the summer and the Sun Valley Film Festival unveils its winners.


The Association of Film Commissioners International is launching the AFCI Global Production Alert service, providing updated information on coronavirus-related policies and restrictions worldwide.

The organization, which represents more than 300 film commissions on six continents, unveiled the initiative Thursday on its website. The goal is to ensure that film and TV production industry decision makers have the information they need to make informed decisions during and following the pandemic along with preventing misinformation, speculation and confusion about COVID-19’s impact. Information in the Global Production Alert is provided directly by AFCI-member film offices

“AFCI’s new Global Production Alert provides a one-stop source for COVID-19-related information direct from film offices around the world,” said AFCI president Jess Conoplia. “We’re focused on helping the industry stay up-to-speed throughout each phase of the pandemic, from the current shutdown through the lifting of restrictions and return to production.”

AFCI member film offices are using the Global Production Alert to communicate updated information on how their jurisdictions (cities, states, provinces or nations) are dealing with a range of issues such as restrictions on public gatherings and business activity, restrictions on travel, availability of key filming locations, processing of on-location permit applications and government programs, industry relief funds and other resources to help out-of-work crew members.

“AFCI’s Global Production Alert is a key tool for the industry as it waits for the green light to re-commence work on projects around the world,” said Jay Roewe, an AFCI Advisory Board member and HBO senior vice president of production.

“We rely on updates from trusted sources internationally with respect to travel restrictions, location access and industry readiness,” he added. “Film commissions are well positioned to provide honest intelligence in this regard.”


IFC Films is acquiring U.S. rights to Dave Franco’s directorial debut “The Rental,” starring Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Jeremy Allen White and Sheila Vand.

“The Rental” was produced and financed by Black Bear Pictures, with Franco, Elizabeth Haggard, Teddy Schwarzman, Ben Stillman, Joe Swanberg and Christopher Storer serving as producers. Michael Heimler and Sean Durkin served as executive producers.

The screenplay is based on a story by Franco, Swanberg and Mike Demski. IFC Films is set to release “The Rental” on July 24 nationwide.

The story centers on two couples on a weekend getaway to a seemingly perfect house they’ve booked online. But what begins as a celebratory weekend for the four close friends turns into something far more sinister. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.


Saban Films is planning a summer release for crime thriller “Most Wanted,” starring Antoine Olivier Pilon, Jim Gaffigan and Josh Hartnett.

Inspired by a true story, “Most Wanted” was written and directed by Daniel Roby and produced by André Rouleau and Valérie d’Auteuil under their Caramel Films banner. Saban Films partnered with Highland Film Group on the project from script stage.

Hartnett portrays an investigative journalist as he unravels a twisted case of entrapment in which Pilon’s character is forced into a dangerous drug deal against his will and is sentenced to 100 years in a Thai prison.

Bill Bromiley and Jonathan Saba negotiated the deal for Saban Films along with Highland Film Group’s Arianne Fraser on behalf of the filmmakers. Highland Film Group is handling international sales.


The Sun Valley Film Festival, which was canceled last month due to coronavirus pandemic, has announced its juried film award winners with the Winston Duke science-fiction drama “Nine Days”  winning the Producers Vision Award.

Shia LaBeouf received the High Scribe award for his script “Minor Modifications,” which was judged by Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan as part of the Screenwriters Lab presented by Variety. The One in a Million Awards went to “Once Upon A River,” directed by Haroula Rose as the narrative winner and “Donut King” directed by Alice Gu as the documentary winner.

Ann Druyan, creator, writer, director and exec producer of “Cosmos” received the Nat Geo Further Award. Four finalists were selected as part of the Ford Producers Grant for the opportunity to receive a $25,000 grant: “Picking Cotton” from Jessica Sanders: “Rocket Night” from Scott Taylor; “Foreign” from Mariyam Mahbub; and “Memphis” from Ben Edelman