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FRIDAY, Oct. 30

Canadian Robber Tale Lands at Highland

Josh Duhamel will star in the heist thriller “Bandit,” based on Robert Knuckle’s novel and journalist Ed Arnold’s interviews with Gilbert Galvan Jr., who escaped from a U.S. prison and became known as The Flying Bandit in the 1980s.

A brilliant cop determined to take down Canada’s most wanted bank robber started the manhunt, which led to a cat-and-mouse game as the two men attempt to outsmart one another in a cross-country pursuit. A collector of frequent flyer miles, Galvan would fly himself first class to different cities across the country, sometimes robbing three banks in the same day before flying home for dinner.

Allan Ungar is set to direct the biopic. Eric Gozlan will produce under his Goldrush Entertainment banner. Duhamel is executive producing alongside Highland Film Group’s Arianne Fraser and Delphine Perrier; Kraig Wenman; and Ungar.

‘Hungry Dog Blues’ Unveils Cast

Independent feature “Hungry Dog Blues” has signed Amy Hargreaves, CJ Wilson, Irina Gorovaia and Jason Millner for its lead cast.

The feature is written and directed by Millner. Two estranged half brothers (Millner and Wilson) kidnap the lead witness (Hargreaves) against their incarcerated father in order to prove his innocence. Producers are Gorovaia, Michael Kennedy and Millner.

Principal photography is underway in the outskirts of St. Louis, Mo., all under SAG-AFTRA safety protocols for COVID-19. Millner’s recent directorial credit includes the short “A Magnificent Gray,” which he also wrote and produced.

Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron Discuss Mexican Film

Netflix is making available a recent discussion between Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón about Fernando Frías de la Parra, and his feature film “I’m No Longer Here.”

The film, winner of 10 Ariel Awards, is now available on Netflix and eligible to be selected as Mexico’s official entry for International Feature at the Academy Awards.

“I’m No Longer Here” is set in the mountains of Monterrey, Mexico, where a young street gang calling themselves “Los Terkos” spends their days listening to slowed-down cumbia and attending dance parties. After a mix-up with a local cartel, their leader is forced to flee to Queens, N.Y. where he quickly finds himself wanting to return home.

THURSDAY, Oct. 29

‘Surrounded’ Production Slated for New Mexico

“Black Panther” star Letitia Wright, Michael K. Williams and Jamie Bell have been cast in the independent Western drama “Surrounded,” with shooting scheduled for November in New Mexico.

Wright will portray a former Buffalo Soldier who is disguised as a man as she travels West to lay claim on a gold mine bequeathed by her late slaveowner father. After her stagecoach is ambushed, she is tasked with holding a dangerous outlaw captive and must survive the day when the bandit’s gang tries to free him.

Anthony Mandler is directing from a script by Andrew Pagana and Justin Thomas. Producers are Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert, Anthony Mandler and Derek Iger for Blackhand, Mandalay’s Jason Michael Berman, and Letitia Wright and Ade O’Adesina of 3.16. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Elisha Cuthbert Joins Irish Horror Film ‘The Cellar’

Elisha Cuthbert and Eoin Macken have been cast  in the upcoming Irish horror film, “The Cellar,” with production slated for Roscommon, Ireland in November.

Brendan Muldowney is writing and directing. Cuthbert portrays a mother whose daughter mysteriously vanishes in the cellar of their new house in the country. and soon discovers there is an ancient and powerful entity controlling their home that she will have to face or risk losing her family’s souls forever.

“The Cellar” is an Irish/Belgian co-production with Conor Barry of Savage Productions and Richard Bolger of Hail Mary Pictures serving as producers. International sales are scheduled to launch at the American Film Market, which opens online on Nov. 9.

Randy Arozarena Biopic in Development

Wonderfilm Media is fast-tracking to production a biopic on Tampa Bay Rays breakout star, Randy Arozarena.
Arozarena missed the first five weeks of this 60-game season with COVID-19 and wasn’t called up to the Rays until Aug. 30. His rookie postseason campaign saw him break Barry Bonds’ record for most home runs in a single postseason, with 10. He had escaped Cuba on a makeshift boat in 2015, landing in Mexico knowing no one, and starting a new life there before making his way to the US.
Randy’s story is so inspirational – his journey grabs at your heart and this film will explore the triumphs of the human spirit when driven and focused,” said Wonderfilm’s Bret Saxon.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28

Akin Omotoso Boards ‘Greek Freak’

Disney has hired Akin Omotoso to direct “Greek Freak,”  a live action film for Disney Plus inspired by the true life story of NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo and his family.

Through faith, determination and their unbreakable bond, the Antetokounmpo family united to lift themselves out of a life of poverty as undocumented immigrants living in Greece. He was born in Greece to Nigerian parents and is known as the “Greek Freak.” The Milwaukee Bucks player was awarded his second straight NBA Most Valuable Player Award in September along with being named NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Disney began work on the project last year. Omotoso is attached to direct from a script by Arash Amel (“A Private War”). Omotoso is a South African-based director, whose feature film “Vaya” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was picked up by Netflix..

Inaugural Lynn Shelton Grant Awarded 

Keisha Rae Witherspoon has been awarded the inaugural Lynn Shelton “Of a Certain Age” Grant, supporting a woman or non-binary US-based filmmaker, age 39 or older, who has yet to direct a narrative feature.
Northwest Film Forum and Duplass Brothers Productions launched the grant following Shelton’s death earlier this year. Witherspoon is an independent Caribbean-American filmmaker based in Miami and is the co-founder of Third Horizon, a Caribbean film collective that stages the annual Third Horizon Film Festival in her hometown.
Nia DaCosta, who was part of the selection committee, said, “Her point of view, visual acuity and humane sensitivity make her work electrifying. She creates in the exciting mode of our late Lynn Shelton. I feel there is a kinship in the process between them—an unbreakable and clear thread between their distinctive works.”

Sydney Sweeney Boards ‘Silver Star’

Virginie Films and The Film Community have announced that  Sydney Sweeney is attached as the lead in the feature drama “Silver Star,” directed by Ruben Amar.

Sher will portray a pregnant 19-year-old abducted by a 20-year-old following his botched robbery attempt at the bank that foreclosed on his home childhood home, triggering an unexpected journey together. Sweeney’s credits include “Euphoria,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Big Time Adolescence” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She will next be seen in the Amazon Original thriller “The Voyeurs.”

Amar is producing “Silver Star” under his banner Les Films de la Fusée with Lola Bessis, Virginie Lacombe of Virginie Films and Jamin O’Brien of The Community. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

TUESDAY, Oct. 27

Screenwriter Signs for ‘Power Rangers’ Movie

Entertainment One and Hasbro have signed Bryan Edward Hill to write their “Power Rangers” feature film adaptation from director Jonathan Entwistle.

Hill is an active African-American creator who recently adapted “Black” for Studio 8/Warner Bros, wrote “Revenge of Magic” for Stampede, and rewrote “I Am Yours”  for Paramount. In television, he is currently a Co-Producer on Greg Berlanti’s new DC series “Titans” and wrote “Gone” for Universal/Marc Platt, “Phantom” for  Paramount/Mary Parent and “The Russian Specialist” for Nu Image/Millennium Films.

eOne and Hasbro announced on Oct. 20 that Entwistle would shepherd a new Power Rangers film and television adaptations. The news about Hill was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Cinedigm Buys ‘100 Days to Live’

Cinedigm has acquired North American distribution rights to the thriller “100 Days to Live” and plans a release in early 2021 on digital platforms.

The movie follows a woman who grapples with her inner demons by running a suicide support group in Chicago. But when her fiancé is kidnapped by a known murderer, she must race against the clock to discover the identity of the killer, and more importantly – his motive.

The film was written, produced and directed by Ravin Gandhi, who shot the film over three weeks in Chicago while maintaining his job as CEO of GMM Nonstick Coatings. The film stars Colin Egglesfield, Gideon Emery, Heidi Johanningmeier, Yancey Arias and Chris Johnson.

MONDAY, Oct. 26

Father Amorth Exorcism Movie Moving Ahead

Spanish director Ángel Gómez (“Voices”) has been attached to Screen Gems’ project “The Pope’s Exorcist,” based on Father Gabriele Amorth, the lItalian priest who performed over 100,000 exorcisms for the Vatican.

Chester Hastings and R. Dean McCreary wrote the screenplay. Michael Patrick Kaczmarek, Jeff Katz of Worldwide Katz and Loyola Productions President Eddie Siebert, S.J. are producing.

Screen Gems had previously acquired the life rights to Amorth from Kaczmarek and Loyola, including the rights to his memoirs “An Exorcist Tells His Story” and “An Exorcist: More Stories.” Amorth, who died in 2016, was the subject of William Friedkin’s documentary “The Devil and Father Amorth.” The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Sound Credit Initiative Advancing 

The Cinema Audio Society, the Motion Picture Sound Editors and Association of Motion Picture Sound are launching an online petition as the next step in their Sound Credit Initiative campaign.

The organizations said Monday that they have been “overwhelmed” by the private emails supporting this initiative, which is aimed at publicizing the need for recognition of the work by sound professionals in film and television.

CAS President Karol Urban said, “From production through post-production, sound professionals contribute to creative storytelling and the elevation of the audience’s experience. This initiative allows filmmakers and studios to recognize their sound department’s importance in a film’s overall success.”

Gravitas Buys ‘Dave Not Coming Back’

Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights (excluding Canada and French Speaking countries) to the cave diving documentary, “Dave Not Coming Back.”

Directed by first time filmmaker Jonah Malak, “Dave Not Coming Back” will premiere at the 27th Annual Austin Film Festival this month before heading to video on demand on Nov. 10. The film explores the efforts of two cave divers and long-time friends diving in Boesmansgat, a mythical cave in South Africa, in 2004.

One of the divers was breaking a world record for depth and found a body at the bottom. The film follows the duo’s subsequent efforts to retrieve the body.