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FRIDAY, Nov. 13

‘Nowhere Special’ Sold for U.S., U.K.

Cohen Media Group and Curzon have jointly acquired all US, UK and Eire distribution rights to Uberto Pasolini’s drama “Nowhere Special” with a theatrical release expected in 2021.

James Norton stars as a 35-year-old window cleaner who has dedicated his life to bringing up his 4-year-old son after the child’s mother left them soon after giving birth. But their worlds are turned upside down when he learns he has only a few months left to live. He sets out on an urgent mission to find a new, perfect family for his son.

The deal was announced Friday at the virtual American Film Market. “Nowhere Special” is a co-production between U.K., Italy, Romania. The film is produced by Picomedia SRL, Nowhere Special Ltd., Avanpost/Digital Cube SRL, in association with Rai Cinema, with the support of Northern Ireland Screen and Eurimages.

Freestyle Buys Fantasy Drama ‘Shedding’

Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the fantasy-drama “Shedding” and will release the film on Dec. 8.

The film tells the story of what happens when a cat mysteriously transforms into a human and then ventures into the outside world to inadvertently help a grieving family find peace. Written and directed by Jake Thomas, “Shedding” stars Lex Quarterman, Karla Droege, and Jacquelyn Zook. It was produced by Erin Brown Thomas.

“’Shedding’ was inspired by our pet cat,” said filmmaker Jake Thomas. “He’s very modest and unobtrusive, and there were times when I observed him napping or spying out the window that I wondered, ‘What are his dreams? Does he want more out of life?’ So as the story developed, I wanted to make it a genuine fable that matches his warmth and yearning.”

‘The Changing Times of Ike White’ Documentary Sold 

Kino Lorber has acquired U.S distribution rights for Daniel Vernon’s “The Changin’ Times of Ike White” and will open the  documentary in virtual and physical theaters on Dec. 4.

White was serving a life sentence for murder in the early 1970s but his musical skills were exceptional enough to capture the media’s attention. He was able to record an album inside prison with producer Jerry Goldstein. Stevie Wonder lobbied successfully for an early release from prison and White was poised for stardom but then went off the grid for over 40 years.

“Discovering Ike White and his music was a revelation for me,” said Kino Lorber’s Wendy Lidell. “Daniel Vernon tells a poignant story of Ike’s unbelievable life, which will fascinate audiences and certainly gain him a new legion of fans.”

THURSDAY, Nov. 12

‘As She Climbed Across the Table’ Movie in Works

Oscar winner Michel Gondry will direct the romantic sci-fi pic “As She Climbed Across the Table,” based on Jonathan Lethem’s 1997 novel of the same title.

Joe Penhall, creator of Netflix’s “Mindhunter,” will write the script. The story centers on Alice, a physicist contemplating ending her relationship with anthropologist Philip. At the lab, Alice and her colleagues have created a black hole that they call Lack, which absorbs a pomegranate, an argyle sock and light bulbs, yet rejects a bow tie, scrambled egg and ice axe. To Alice, this selectivity translates into an irresistible personality. To Philip, it makes Lack an unbeatable romantic rival.

Amazon Studios will release the movie and Chernin Entertainment will produce it. Gondry won the Academy Award for original screenplay in 2005 for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” a film he co-wrote and directed.

‘Elvis: That’s the Way It Is’ Returns

Trafalgar Releasing and Warner Bros. are teaming on the release of “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is (Special Edition),” coming to North American cinemas on Dec. 3 until Dec. 6.

This follows the success of its release earlier in the year across the U.K. and other territories. The film took the number one spot at the U.K. box office on the night of its release. The movie covers Elvis Presley’s 1970 return to the concert stage from which he had been absent for almost a decade.

The feature-length documentary and concert movie features performances including “Love Me Tender,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Suspicious Minds.”

‘The Englishman’ Thriller in Development

AGC Studios has optioned the rights to “The Englishman,” a new book series from best-selling author David Gilman, to be developed into a feature film.

“The Englishman” centers on Raglan, a former soldier whose work in the French Foreign Legion taking on terrorists in sub-Saharan Africa draws the attention of MI6. He is soon recruited for a secret, undercover mission that takes him on a relentless search through the network of an international organized crime operation. He finds out just how dangerous the mission is when he lands in a Siberian penal colony.

“We’re thrilled to have acquired the right to make a film or maybe multiple films from David Gilman’s compelling, enigmatic action hero Raglan and are looking forward to introducing some top tier writing and directing talent to the project in the near future,” said AGC chief Stuart Ford.

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 11

Clooney Fundraiser Slated for Dec . 7

The Museum of Modern Art’s 2020 Film Benefit will honor George Clooney on Dec. 7 with a program that recognizes Clooney’s work with a special musical performance.

To help address impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, this year’s event will also benefit Artist Relief, an emergency initiative created by a coalition of national arts grantmakers to offer financial support and informational resources to artists. Clooney, whose new film “The Midnight Sky” debuts on Netflix in December, has been nominated for eight Academy Awards. He won best supporting actor in 2006 for his role in “Syriana” and best picture in 2013 as producer of “Argo.”

“George Clooney’s vast contributions as an actor, director and producer are surpassed only by his deep commitment to advocating for social justice and humanitarian aid around the world,” said Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film at MoMA.

The evening will be presented by Chanel.

Gravitas Buys ‘Trail of Ashes’

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to Arturo Lizardi’s thriller “Trail of Ashes” and will release the film on Dec. 1.

Written and directed by Lizardi, “Trail of Ashes” was produced by Samari Vega and Lizardi. The film stars Lizardi, Hector Escudero, Cecilia Arguelles and Carlos Miranda.

The story centers on an imaginary world in which the search for an empress’s daughter reunites two long-lost brothers who must choose between family bonds and political alliances.

Trailer Released for ‘Assassins’ Documentary 

Greenwich Entertainment has released the first trailer for the documentary “Assassins,” which explores the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong-nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Ryan White directed “Assassins,” which premiered on Jan. 28 at Sundance. The film will be released to theaters on Dec. 11 and become available on PVOD on Jan. 15. Watch the trailer below.

 

TUESDAY, Nov. 10

Arclight Selling ‘A Very Senior High’ 

Arclight Films is handling the worldwide rights at the American Film Market for romantic comedy “A Very Senior High,” starring Ellen Burstyn, James Caan, Ann-Margret, Jane Curtin, Loretta Devine, Christopher Lloyd, Elizabeth Mitchell and French Stewart.

“A Very Senior High” is an Astute Films production with Harrison Powell, Dominique Telson and Fred Bernstein producing. The film is directed by Michael Lembeck from a script by Donald Martin. It is based on a story created by Powell which was inspired by his grandmother’s own experience of moving into a retirement community.

Burstyn plays an independent widow who moves into the Pine Grove Senior Community and discovers it’s like high school all over again. Though she initially avoids the cliques, power plays and flirtatious suitors, her life is forever changed when she steps outside her comfort zone and learns to love again.

Gravitas Buys Thriller ‘Bad Impulse’ 

Gravitas Ventures has acquired the thriller “Bad Impulse,” starring Grant Bowler, Sonya Walger, Paul Sorvino, Stephanie Cayo and Dan Lauria for release on demand and in theaters on Dec. 18.

Archstone Entertainment is selling the film. Michelle Donner is directing from Jason Chase Tyrell’s script, in which a suburban husband and father buys a cutting edge home security system, only to find that it slowly destroys what he most wants to protect.

“‘Bad Impulse’ is a psychological horror/thriller that tells the story of a family like any other family, until a new high-tech security system causes them to be unable to suppress their deepest, darkest inhibitions,” Donner said. “These freeing yet troubling experiences force each family member to look into their own black mirror that causes them to live out their innermost fears and desires, and ultimately sends their lives spiraling out of control.”

Kino Lorber Buys ‘Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts’

Kino Lorber  has acquired the North American rights to Jeffrey Wolf’s documentary “Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts” and plans a spring 2021 release.

The films portrays Traylor, who in his late 80s, living homeless on the street in the thriving segregated Black neighborhood of Montgomery, Ala. Born into an enslaved family in 1853 on a cotton plantation in rural Alabama, he witnessed profound social and political change during his life spanning Reconstruction, Jim Crow segregation and the Great Migration.

In his later years, he poured out those memories from within, drawing and painting over 1,000 pieces of art from 1939 to 1942. Using historic and cultural context, the film brings attempts to bring the spirit and mystery of Traylor’s art to life and shine a spotlight on a creative gift that was long ignored and marginalized.

MONDAY, Nov. 9

Jordan Peele ‘Horror Event’ Film Slated

Universal Pictures has scheduled its untitled “Jordan Peele Horror Event” movie for July 22, 2022, without revealing any plot details.

The studio has seen Peele’s two horror films — 2017’s “Get Out” and 2019’s “Us” — generate $510 million in worldwide box office as each grossed $255 million. Peele received an Academy Award for original screenplay for “Get Out.”

Universal made the announcement Monday, shortly after Warner Bros. said it would open “Fantastic Beasts 3′ on July 15, 2022.

Oprah Winfrey Network Buys ‘(In) Visible Portraits’

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has the documentary “(In)Visible Portraits” from first-time director Oge Egbuonu and plans to air the film in 2021.

The documentary focuses on Black women sharing their stories of struggle and resilience, and beyond. It’s aimed at celebrating exceptional Black women and igniting hope for the next generations.

“(In)Visible Portraits” was released digitally through Vimeo On Demand on Juneteenth (June 19, 2020), the day commemorating the end of slavery. It was also screened at the Bentonville Film Festival in August. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Pandemic Thriller ‘Social Distance” Release Scheduled 

The pandemic thriller “Social Distance” gets a worldwide release on Nov. 21 from Koa Aloha Media through VOD in more than 100 markets worldwide.

“Social Distance” is a voyeuristic look into the lives of six people working from home while in quarantine during the 2020 pandemic. Each must battle the destructive demons of isolation, addiction, jealousy, and conspiracy.

The movie is written and directed by B. Luciano Barsuglia. It stars Vernon Wells, Jed Rowen, Rachel Riley, and Kasey Brown. It was filmed entirely while filmmakers and actors were in their own isolation, during the quarantine period from April to June.