WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25
Romcom Release Scheduled for December
Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the romantic family comedy “Love, Repeat” and set a Dec. 22 DVD and digital release date.
The story revolves around a New Yorker, played by Bill Connington, who sets out to win the heart of his ex-wife again before she marries another man. Directed by Shelagh Carter from Connington’s script, “Love, Repeat” also stars Leenya Rideout, Marcus Ho, Nandita Shenoy, Vivia Font, Carole Monferdini, Stu Richel, Leon Andrew Joseph, Elizabeth Pojanowski, Donovan Mitchel, Rich Liu, Sarah Megan Thomas, Chalia La Tour and Ryan J. Haddad.
The film was produced by Kelley Van Dilla with Connington executive producing. Joseph Pojanowski and Michael Vanderpool are co-producing.
Faith-based ‘Miracle on Highway 34’ Sold to Cinedigm
Cinedigm has bought North American rights to the inspirational drama “Miracle on Highway 34” and set a Dec. 1 release date.
The film, a modern retelling of the Nativity story, stars Sharonne Lanier, Nathan Clarkson, Josh Murray and Dan Davidson. Lanier portrays a hardworking waitress who takes the late shift on Christmas Eve to help cover her mounting bills and meets a world-weary trucker (played by Davidson) who shows up looking for a hot meal and company. “Miracle on Highway 34” is written, directed and produced by Clarkson.
“For a long time, faith-based films have been very insular, only connecting to a very niche audience,” said Clarkson. “Our desire is to tell stories of faith that are also human, stories that have the ability to connect to a wide range of people regardless of belief, background, or experience.”
TUESDAY, Nov. 24
Freestyle Release Scheduled for December
Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the sex-trafficking drama “Angie: Lost Girls” for a digital release on Dec. 18, Variety has learned exclusively.
Written and directed by Julia Verdin, “Angie: Lost Girls” stars Jane Widdop, Olivia d’Abo, Randall Batinkoff and Dylan Sprayberry, is co-written by Janet Odogwu Butters. The film won best feature film at the Moving Parts Film Festival in Los Angeles, as well as the best actress award for Widdop.
The film centers on a young woman deep in her rebellious teen phase, acting out against her absent parents with her secret new boyfriend, who drags her into a horrifying world of rape and abuse. When she escapes and is brought home, she is haunted by the atrocities done to her and by the shadowy figures still pursuing her.
Crime Drama ‘Paradise City’ Scheduled
Buffalo 8 has set a Dec. 4 digital release for the crime drama “Paradise City,” starring Chris Petrovski (“Madam Secretary”) and American rapper Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones as head of a corrupt police network.
Inspired by true events, “Paradise City” centers on three men from different walks of life: a young cop with a checkered past (Kareem Saviñon), an ex-con turned devout Muslim (Hassan “Giant” Bradley), and a junkie with affluent roots (Petrovski). Their worlds collide when a plot to justify New York City‘s counter-terrorism campaign against homegrown extremists is uncovered.
The film is written and directed by John Marco Lopez (“The Hudson Tribes”). The cast features Robert Morgan, Gordon Joseph Weiss, Roger Hendricks Simon, Christopher Tramantana, Thaddeus Street, Leslie Lopez, Dexter Strong, and Christopher “Mr. Dead” Davis.
Very Short Conference for Writers Unveiled
Final Draft and Dell Technologies are launching the inaugural “Amplifying New Voices: A Very Short Conference for Film and TV Writers” on Dec. 5 at 11 am PT.
The free event will last 90 minute and feature panels aimed at illuminating finding representation, what every writer should know before signing a contract, coping with carpal tunnel syndrome and social isolation and constructive tips from established screenwriters.
Panelists and moderators include screenwriters Andy Siara (“Palm Springs”), Alice Wu (“Saving Face”), Deon Taylor (“Black and Blue”), David E. Talbert (“Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”), E. Brian Dobbins (Artists First), James R. McGinnis (Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson) and Valarie Phillips (A3 Artists Agency).
MONDAY, Nov. 23
HanWay Films Closes Sales on ‘Peggy Jo’
HanWay Films has closed multiple international sales for Phillip Noyce’s “Peggy Jo,” with Lily James attached to star as Peggy Jo Tallas, who robbed Texas banks in the early 1990s while posing as a man.
A deal with Universal Pictures Content Group includes Benelux, German speaking Europe, Italy, Portugal, Scandinavia, and the UK. HanWay Films has also closed deals with DeAPlaneta (Spain), Tohokushinsha (Japan), Noori Pictures (South Korea), Shaw (Singapore), Odeon (Greece) and Front Row (Middle East). “Peggy Jo” is being adapted for the screen by “Appaloosa” writer Robert Knott and will be shot in the United States.
“Peggy Jo” is produced by Simon Brooks through his Canyon Creek Films. UTA Independent Film Group is handling the U.S. sale. James’ recent credits include “Rebecca,” “Yesterday,” “Baby Driver” and “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.”
‘The Vineyard’ Scheduled for 2021 Shoot
“Love Guaranteed” director Mark Steven Johnson is boarding the coming-of-age drama “The Vineyard” for The H Collective, which is eyeing a mid-2021 start of principal photography in Italy.
“The Vineyard” will re-team the H Collective with Academy Award winning producer Mark Johnson, whose credits include “Rain Main,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Halt and Catch Fire,” following their collaboration on the thriller “The Parts You Lose,” starring Aaron Paul, Scoot McNairy and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
“The Vineyard,” written by Tory Kamen, follows an American teenager whose life is uprooted when she unexpectedly moves to Italy to live with a grandfather she never knew existed with foodie elements of films like “The Big Night” and the beauty of “Under the Tuscan Sun.”
Film Commissioners Select Kevin Jennings for President
The Association of Film Commissioners International appointed New Zealand film executive Kevin “KJ” Jennings as its new president.
He replaces Jess Conoplia, who joined AFCI’s leadership team in 2017 and has stepped down from her role as president to pursue other opportunities within the film and TV production industry. Jennings served for 13 years as executive manager of Film Otago Southland, which was a location for “Mulan,” “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” and “The Hobbit.”
Jennings served as AFCI board chair from 2016 to 2019.