FRIDAY, AUG. 14
HS Productions to Release ‘The Real Exorcist’ in Select Cities
HS Productions has announced that their second film, “The Real Exorcist,” will be distributed by Freestyle Digital Media in select cities on Aug. 28. It will also be available to rent and buy via Internet, satellite and cable platforms starting Sept. 1. “The Real Exorcist” follows Sayuri, a young waitress at a café in Tokyo where patrons come not only for coffee, but to use her psychic powers. The movie released in Japan on May 15, topping the weekend box office for five consecutive weeks. It has also received 55 awards from film festivals across the world. “The Real Exorcist” is the directorial debut of Shokyo Oda, with executive production from Ryuho Okawa and screenplay by Sayaka Okawa.
Topic Acquires Streaming Rights For ‘Bellingcat: Truth in a Post Truth World’
First Look Media’s streaming service Topic has acquired the North American rights for acclaimed documentary “Bellingcat: Truth in a Post Truth World.” Directed by Hans Pool, the film will debut on Oct. 1 under the Topic Original label. The film tracks the progress of journalist group Bellingcat as they investigate disinformation campaigns that aim to bolster authoritarian regimes around the world. In addition to winning an international Emmy award for best feature documentary in 2019, “Bellingcat: Truth in a Post Truth World” appeared at film festivals such as SXSW and HotDocs and has a 100% rating from Rotten Tomatoes.
11th Street Lot Marketing and Publicity Relaunches as Bright Iris Film Co.
Film publicist Lisa Trifone has announced the relaunch and rebranding of her agency, 11th Street Lot Marketing and Publicity, as Bright Iris Film Co. The company offers distribution as well as marketing and publicity services for independent and arthouse filmmakers and festivals. Trifone has worked in the independent film space for over 15 years, having held roles at regional film festivals and in arthouse distribution, in addition to starting her own agency in 2017. Most recently, Bright Iris Film Co. helmed the virtual release of the documentary “Flannery,” which centers on the life and work of author Flannery O’Connor. Bright Iris Film Co. orchestrated the film’s distribution plans, branding and marketing, social media campaign and virtual theatrical bookings. This fall, Bright Iris Film Co. will partner with NewCity Films to release their latest project, “Dreaming Grand Avenue.”
THURSDAY, AUG. 13
HBO Max Makes ‘On The Record’ Available for Free on Twitter, YouTube and HBO Max
“On The Record” is being made freely accessible by HBO Max, starting tonight at 7 p.m. PT. It will be the first feature-length film uploaded directly to Twitter, where it will be available for 24 hours. It will also be uploaded to YouTube and put on HBO Max’s landing page at 8:30 p.m., where it will be up until Sept. 12.
The documentary about sexual assault and rape accusations against music mogul Russell Simmons is being made more easily available to facilitate conversations about the experiences of Black women and the importance of protecting them. Drew Dixon and Sheri Sher, subjects of the film, will take part in live tweeting as the project launches on Twitter.
Directors Dick and Amy Ziering recently started a fundraising campaign through Jane Doe Films to help provide sexual assault support spaces to women.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 12
The UN Human Rights Office and The Krim Group Relaunch ‘World Is in Our Hands’ Initiative
The “World Is in Our Hands” initiative has been relaunched by the UN Human Rights Office and The Krim Group to spread awareness of the first two articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Justin Wu photographed influencers Jazz Jennings, Pablo Alboran and Nia Sioux for the campaign, along with a personal message sharing why the movement is so important to them and encouraging their followers to do the same. See the photos and visit the official campaign website here.
Dances with Films Festival Goes Virtual For 2020 Edition
Dances with Films Festival has announced that the event will take place virtually Aug. 27 to Sept. 6. The independent film festival will feature over 200 titles this year made by young filmmakers including narrative features, television pilots, web series, music videos and short films. The fest’s virtual edition will offer interactive opportunities like red carpets, trivia challenges and panel discussions. Pre-sale tickets start at $11 and can be purchased on their website. Dances with Films will kick off with a screening of “Paper Spiders,” directed by Inon Shampanier and starring Lili Taylor, Stefania LaVie Owen, Peyton List and Max Casella. “Before/During/After” will close the event, a story focusing on middle-aged women dealing with divorce directed by Stephen Kunken and Jack Lewars and written by and starring Finnerty Steeves.
The Method Fest Independent Film Festival Opts For Drive-In Screenings
The Method Fest is offering drive-in screenings at the Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks on Aug. 21-23 and Aug. 26-30. The event, which celebrates the craft of acting for cinema, is showing 26 features in drive-in format, including Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven.” Four selections will show each night of the festival, with two playing simultaneously on separate screens at opposite ends of the parking area. To see a full list of films, showtimes and reservation information, click here.
TUESDAY, AUG. 11
Participant Boards ‘Abacus’ Banking Movie
Participant has boarded “Abacus” with Justin Lin directing and producing the story of the Sung family, whose family-run bank was the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges during the 2008 financial crisis.
Participant and Perfect Storm will produce the narrative feature, which Lin will direct from a script written by Kenneth Lin and James Schamus. Lin most recently directed and produced “Fast & Furious 9” for Universal Pictures. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.
“Simply put, we are just thrilled to be working with such wonderful artists as Justin Lin and Kenneth Lin,” said Participant CEO David Linde.
Veteran Executive Zack Conroy Joins Doug Belgrad
Zack Conroy has joined 2.0 Entertainment, the production and financing company founded by Doug Belgrad in 2016, as senior vice president of finance and operations.
Conroy will oversee all financial affairs of the company, including supervising accounting and tax matters and investor relations; he will also manage the banking facility led by Union Bank and the financial relationship with 2.0’s home studio, Sony Pictures.
“Zack is a smart and savvy financial executive and a great fit with the 2.0 culture. His experience at SunTrust, a significant participant in our credit facility, will add to our expertise and expand and grow our relationships with the financial community,” said Belgrad.
Festival Winner ‘Isabella’ Bought by Cinema Guild
Cinema Guild has bought North American distribution rights for Matías Piñeiro’s “Isabella,” which made its world premiere earlier this year at the 70th Berlinale, where it won a special jury mention in the Encounters section.
Cinema Guild plans to release the film theatrically in 2021. The film stars María Villar, who wants to play the role of Isabella in a local theater troupe’s production of Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” but money problems prevent her from preparing for the audition.
Melanie Schapiro is the producer of “Isabella,” an Argentine production.
MONDAY, AUG. 10
Drive-in Screenings Scheduled for Outfest
Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival will hold drive-in screenings at the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, launching with the Los Angeles premiere of Sundance 2020 title “The Nowhere Inn,” starring Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein.
The 11-day festival kicks off Aug. 20. and features more than 160 films, including 35 world premieres with more than 70% of films directed by female, trans, and POC filmmakers including Tribeca selections “P.S. Burn This Letter Please,” “Cowboys,” “Freedia Got A Gun,” “The Carnivores” and Outfest LA’s U.S. Centerpiece selection “Shiva Baby.” The digital portion of the festival will be powered by the Vimeo OTT platform.
The documentary centerpiece is “Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story.” International centerpiece is “Monsoon,” starring Henry Golding, ;and breakthrough centerpiece is “The Obituary of Tunde Johnson,” the feature directing debut of “Everybody Hates Chris” co-creator Ali LeRoi. The closing film will be the world premiere of Travis Fine’s “Two Eyes.”
Colorist Awards Competition Launching
The Colorist Society International is joining the Independent Colorist Guild as partner and co-organizer of the newly-launched Colorist Awards in the first international competition focused exclusively on the craft of color.
The event recognizes outstanding work by colorists across feature films, television, documentaries, commercials, music videos and shorts. Winners will be announced in March.
“We want to highlight the great work being done by colorists around the globe and raise awareness for color’s artistic role in movies, television, advertising and other media,” said ICG founder Alexander Prohorushkin. “We feel that an awards competition for colorists is long overdue.”
First Trailer Drops for Drama ‘Lingua Franca’
The first trailer has been released for Isabel Sandoval’s drama “Lingua Franca,” which will premiere on Netflix on Aug. 26 along with select cities theatrically.
Sandoval directed, wrote, produced, edited and stars in the film. “Lingua Franca” was the first movie directed by and starring a trans woman of color to screen in competition at 2019’s Venice International Film Festival Venice Days program. Ava DuVernay’s Array bought the release a month ago.
Sandoval portrays an undocumented Filipina trans woman who secures a job as a live-in caregiver for an elderly Russian woman named Olga, played by Lynn Cohen, in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood. But when she unexpectedly becomes romantically involved with Olga’s adult grandson, portrayed by Eamon Farren, issues around identity, civil rights and immigration threaten her very existence.