FRIDAY Sept. 25
Mill Valley Film Festival Announces Lineup
California Film Institute announced the lineup for the 43rd Mill Valley Film Festival and Doclands Documentary Film Festival, which will be presented virtually and at drive-in screenings.
The drive-in screenings, from Oct. 8 to Oct. 17, include “Blithe Spirit,” a Noël Coward adaptation from Edward Hall, and Gia Coppola’s “Mainstream.” Francis Lee’s “Ammonite,” starring Kate Winslet, and “Nomadland” by Chloé Zhao will also screen during the week.
This year’s special events, available in the festival’s digital screening room, include the screening of Regina King’s directorial debut, “One Night in Miami,” and Clare Dunne’s Sundance stunner, “Herself.”
American Film Institute Presenting Four Tributes at AFI Fest 2020
The American Film Institute will honor Sofia Coppola, Kirby Dick, Rita Moreno and Mira Nair at AFI Fest 2020.
Coppola made her directorial debut with “The Virgin Suicides” and will return to the screen with the release of “On The Rocks,” a co-production between Apple and A24. AFI Fest will also host a conversation with Dick, the documentarian behind “The Hunting Ground” and “The Bleeding Edge,” to discuss his film career.
Moreno’s latest works include co-starring and executive producing Steven Spielberg’s remake of “West Side Story,” as well as starring in Norman Lear’s “One Day at a Time.” Nair, who helmed “Salaam Bombay!,” will lead a special conversation at this year’s AFI Fest, followed by the U.S. premiere of “A Suitable Boy,” based on Vikram Seth’s classic novel.
THURSDAY Sept. 24
RLJE Films Acquires ‘Archenemy’
RLJE Films, part of AMC Networks, has acquired North American rights to the action thriller “Archenemy” ahead of its premiere at Beyond fest. Joe Manganiello stars in the film, which will be released in theaters and on demand on Dec. 11.
Written and directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer, it co-stars Skylan Brooks, Zolee Griggs, Paul Scheer, Amy Seimetz and Glenn Howerton.
Manganiello’s character Max Fist claims to be a hero from another dimension who fell through time and space to Earth, where he has no powers. Together with a local teen named Hamster, they take to the streets to wipe out the local drug syndicate.
Mark Ward and Jess DeLeo from RLJE Films negotiated the deal with SpectreVision on behalf of the filmmakers.
WEDNESDAY Sept. 23
Gravitas Acquires ‘My Dad’s Christmas Date’
Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to the holiday dramedy “My Dad’s Christmas Date” starring Jeremy Piven, Olivia Mai Barrett, Hadar Cats, Megan Brown Martinez, Roger Aston-Griffiths, Nathalie Cox, and Joely Richardson. The film will be released in theaters and on demand on November 6.
Piven plays the father of 16-year old Jules, who like her father is struggling from the death of her mother in a car accident two years earlier. Inspired by happy memories of her mother, Jules decides to take matters into her own hands.
Nick Royak negotiated the deal on behalf of Gravitas Ventures with Karinne Behr of MSR Media International on behalf of the filmmakers.
Screen Media Acquires Chad Faust’s ‘Girl’
Screen Media has acquired all U.S. rights to Chad Faust’s feature directing debut, “Girl.” The thriller will premiere at Fantastic Fest later this week, followed by a day-and-date release in November.
Faust also stars in the film along with Bella Thorne, Mickey Rouke, Glenn Gould, Lanette Ware and Elizabeth Saunders.
Thorne plays a young woman who returns to her hometown to exact revenge on her abusive father, only to find out someone murdered him the day before.
The deal was negotiated by Seth Needle, SVP Global Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Screen Media with Jason Moring, President and CEO, and Mark Padilla, SVP of Sales & Acquisitions, of Double Dutch International on behalf of the filmmakers.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 22
Olivia Munn Boarding Syrian Refugee Drama ‘Aleppo’
Olivia Munn is attached to play the lead in the Syrian refugee drama feature “Aleppo” for MiLu Entertainment, currently in pre-production.
“Aleppo” centers on a Syrian boy refugee and Munn’s United Nations journalist, brought together by tragedy in their escape from Syria to survive. Brazilian director David Schurmann is helming from an original script by Beto Dantas.
“Olivia is a strong, dynamic leading actress, whose passion for the project under David’s direction will bring this powerful and important story to life,” said producer Andre L III, CEO of MiLu Entertainment.
Academy Award-winning art director/set decorator Brigitte Broch and composer Antonio Pinto are also attached. Juan Bergaz of Bergaz Productions is serving as executive producer.
Munn is also producing and starring in the science-fiction action movie “Replay” for Dark Castle Entertainment, which was introduced to international buyers at the virtual Cannes Film Market by The Exchange. She’s also in post-production on the independent social drama “The Gateway.” Munn’s credits include “X-Men: Apocalypse,” “The Predator,” “Office Christmas Party,” “The Rook” and “The Newsroom.”
Schurmann directed “Little Secret” (Pequeno Secreto), the Brazilian entry to the 89th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign-Language category. Broch won her Oscar for Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!” Pinto composed the Brazilian song “Despedida,” performed by Shakira in “Love in the time of Cholera” and nominated for a Golden Globe.
MiLu Entertainment holds the sales rights to “Aleppo.” The company is also producing the crime drama “The Thicket,” starring
Peter Dinklage, Noomi Rapace, Sophia Lillis and Charlie Plummer. Munn is represented by Atlas Artists and CAA.
Sarah Paulson Thriller ‘Run’ Slated for November
Streaming service Hulu has set a Nov. 20 release date for Sarah Paulson’s thriller “Run,” which had been scheduled for a theatrical release before Lionsgate opted to sell the domestic rights last month amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Run” is directed by Aneesh Chaganty. Natalie Qasabian and Sev Ohanian are producing from a script by Chaganty and Ohanian. Paulson portrays the mother of a teenage girl — played by newcomer Kiera Allen — who has been raised in total isolation. The girl’s life begins to unravel as she discovers her mother’s sinister secret.
“Run” is being released theatrically in select international markets. “Run” is the second feature from the filmmaking team behind “Searching,” which starred John Cho as a father searching for his missing daughter.
Christopher McQuarrie Honored by Location Managers
Christopher McQuarrie will receive this year’s Eva Monley Award from the Location Managers Guild International at the 7th Annual LMGI Awards celebrating “2020 Vision: We See It First” at Oct. 24 virtual ceremonies.
Awards Co-chair and former LMGI President Lori Balton said, “McQ ‘gets’ the importance of location pros and the legacy of Eva Monley who worked with some of his influencers (David Lean and John Huston). Having Edgar Wright present the award spotlights our craft, with two consummate professionals championing location managers and scouts.”
McQuarrie won an Oscar for his screenplay of “The Usual Suspects.” He has directing credits on “The Way of the Gun,” “Jack Reacher,” “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation,” “Mission Impossible: Fallout” and is directing the seventh installment of the franchise.
Regal Cinemas Expands California Reopenings
The Regal Cimemas chain has expanded its California openings to 11 locations in Riverside, Solano and San Luis Obispo counties.
Those counties were moved Tuesday from the state’s “purple tier” to a “red tier,” which takes place when COVID-19 rates drop. That designation allows movie theaters to begin operations with capacity limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is less.
Regal began reopening California multiplexes in early September with its theaters in San Diego, El Dorado and Tuolumne counties, then opened its sites in Orange County on Sept. 8. Los Angeles County remains in the top “purple” tier due to its COVID-19 rates being seven new daily cases per 100,000 and a positive test rate above 8%.
MONDAY, SEPT. 21
‘Antebellum’ Leads Weekly Streaming Lists
Janelle Monae horror thriller “Antebellum” has topped the the lists of the week’s movies streaming on Fandango’s streaming services Vudu and FandangoNOW.
Lionsgate decided in early August to ditch a domestic theatrical release for “Antebellum” amid an uncertain outlook for launching movies at brick-and-mortar theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The movie, directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, had originally been set for an April 24 release that was delayed several times amid the outbreak.
Monae portrays a successful modern-day author who finds herself trapped during the era of American slavery and must find a way to escape from the horrifying reality. The cast includes Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons and Gabourey Sidibe.
‘Residue,’ ‘Feather & Pine’ Win at Mammoth Lakes
The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival has awarded its top prizes to Merawi Gerima’s “Residue” for top narrative feature and Star Rosencrans and Michael James Beck’s “Feather & Pine” for top documentary.
The festival was held online during Sept. 16-20 and screened 56 feature and short films. Audience awards went to Marjorie Conrad’s “Desire Path” for narrative feature and to Michal Bielawski’s “The Wind. A Documentary Thriller” for documentary.
The festival hosted a Q&A with “Airplane!” directors Jim Abrahams and David Zucker in celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary. Actor Robert Hays made a surprise appearance during the discussion.
Gravitas Releasing ‘Don’t Read This on a Plane’
Gravitas Ventures has acquired Stuart McBratney’s drama-comedy “Don’t Read This On A Plane” and is releasing it on Tuesday on digital and DVD.
The film won the Audience Award at Dances With Films-LA earlier this month at its world premiere. “Don’t Read This On A Plane” was filmed in some of the world’s most famous and beautiful independent bookstores in Venice, Maastricht, Budapest, Oradea, Berlin, Burgundy, Santorini, and Porto and centers on an author who discovers on a book tour that her publisher has gone bankrupt.
“Don’t Read This On A Plane” stars: Sophie Desmarais (“Sarah Prefers to Run”), Eugene Gilfedder (“Baby Teeth”), Allen C Gardner and Dorotheea Petre. It was produced by McBratney under his McBrat Motion Pictures Banner, alongside Laszlo Kun of Amazing Visuals.