FRIDAY, SEPT. 4
ICG Raising Funds With Photos
All proceeds from sales of the photographs will benefit the ICG’s Hardship Fund, which
provides emergency financial assistance to members facing unprecedented hard times during the ongoing global pandemic. The exhibit was curated by Aline Smithson, Kim Gottlieb-Walker and Lisa Guerriero.
The online exhibit, which launched Friday and runs through Sept. 21, will include over 200 selections from the personal galleries of artists. The ICG reps about 8,400 members as IATSE Local 600 and is the largest below-the-line guild in Hollywood.
Gravitas Buys ‘I’ve Got Issues’ Comedy
Gravitas Ventures has bought the comedy “I’ve Got Issues,” written and directed by Steve Collins, Variety has learned exclusively.
It’s Collins’ third narrative feature following “Gretchen” and “You Hurt My Feelings.” The film explores existential dread through a series of intertwining stories populated by a motley — but soulful — crew of characters. It has screened at the Austin Film Festival, the Oxford Film Festival, and Lighthouse International Film Festival.
Jim Gaffigan narrates and the cast includes Macon Blair, Claire Titelman, Maria Thayer, John Merriman and Courtney Davis. The film was produced by Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams along with Micheal Mobley. Gravitas will release “I’ve Got Issues” on Sept. 18.
Animated ‘Henchmen’ Scheduled for October Release
Vertical Entertainment has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Bron’s animated action comedy “Henchmen,” and has set an Oct. 9 digital release date.
“Henchmen” is written and directed by Adam Wood with the voices of Thomas Middleditch, James Marsden, Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Jane Krakowski, Rob Riggle, Bobcat Goldthwait, and Craig Robinson. Producers are Brenda Gilbert and Luke Carroll for Bron Animation.
The film is based on the story by Jay D. Waxman and Adam Wood in which a fresh-faced recruit joins the Union of Evil and accidentally steals a super villain’s ultimate weapon.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 3
Saban Buys North America for ‘Ambush’
Saban Films has bought the North American rights to Vietnam War thriller “Ambush,” starring Aaron Eckhart, from Highland Film Group.
Cody Christian, Dermot Mulroney and Jason Genao are joining the cast of “Ambush,” written and directed by Mark Earl Burman, co-written by Michael McClung about a deadly high-stakes subterranean mission into enemy controlled territory and the Cu Chi tunnels. On the edge of the jungle, the team is attacked by the overwhelming invisible force of the enemy army.
Principal photography will commence in Colombia this fall, amid strict compliance with Covid-19 health guidelines to ensure the cast and crew’s well-being. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.
Horror-drama ‘Test Pattern’ Bought by Kino Lorber
Kino Lorber has acquired North American rights to Shatara Michelle Ford’s “Test Pattern,” which won awards at the BlackStar Film Festival and New Orleans Film Festival.
“Test Pattern” is part psychological horror, part realist drama set against the backdrop of national discussions around inequitable health care and policing, the #metoo movement, and race in America. The film follows an interracial couple whose relationship is put to the test after a Black woman is sexually assaulted and her white boyfriend drives her from hospital to hospital in search of a rape kit.
Shot in Austin and Los Angeles in 21 days, the feature had a woman at the head of every department on the film. “Test Pattern” is produced by Ford, Pin-Chun Liu with Yu-Hao Su; The cast includes Brittany S. Hall, Will Brill, Gail Bean and Drew Fuller.
Sony Classics Pushes ‘The Climb’ to November
Sony Pictures Classics will release Michael Covino’s comedy “The Climb” in New York and Los Angeles theaters on Nov. 13, pushing it back five weeks.
Written by Covino and Kyle Marvin, “The Climb” premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Sony Classics bought the film and slated it for a March 20 release before it was postponed and dated for Oct. 9 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Covino produced, directed and starred with Marvin. The duo portray best friends who share a close bond until Covino’s character sleeps with Marvin’s fiancée. Covino was the winner of the Un Certain Regard – Jury Coup de Coeur prize at Cannes.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 2
AAFCA Awards Show Set for April 7
The African American Film Critics Association will hold its 12th Annual AAFCA Awards honoring outstanding achievement in film on April 7 — two-and-half weeks before the Academy Awards on April 25.
AAFCA president and co-founder Gil Robertson IV said a dozen awards will be handed out to winners, which will be announced on March 8 along with AAFCA’s annual “Top 10” list highlighting the top 10 films of the year and the top 10 television programs of the year.
“It is anticipated that in light of the pandemic, the AAFCA Awards will also be held as a virtual event, but we’re monitoring the situation closely and can adapt to an in-person or hybrid event if the situation improves,” Robertson said.
Wall Street Media Veteran Drew Borst Joins ErosSTX
ErosSTX has named veteran Goldman Sachs media analyst Drew Borst to the post of executive vice president of investor relations and business development.
Chief financial officer Andy Warren, to whom Borst reports, made the announcement Wednesday. ErosSTX was created in July through the merger of STX Entertainment and Indian studio Eros International, first announced in April.
Borst served for the past decade as vice president and lead analyst for Goldman Sachs’ media and entertainment sector. Borst’s stock recommendations in aggregate exceeded the sector return for three consecutive years, including by 4% in 2019, and 8% cumulatively in the 36-months ended on Dec. 31, 2019.
Kathie Lee Gifford Rom-Com Getting Released
Vertical Entertainment has acquired the North American distribution rights to Kathie Lee Gifford’s romantic comedy “Then Came You.”
The film, written by Gifford and directed by Adriana Trigiani, centers on Gifford’s lonely widow who plans a trip around the world with her husband’s ashes to visit the places they loved in the movies. During her first stop in Scotland at a beautiful estate, she meets an innkeeper (Craig Ferguson) who changes her life forever.
“Then Came You,” which also stars Elizabeth Hurley, will have one-night showings nationwide via Fathom Events on Sept. 30, followed by an on-demand and digital release on Oct. 2. The film was produced by Gifford, Matthew T. Weiner and Trigiani.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 1
‘Our Lady of the Nile’ Scores Festival Award
Atiq Rahimi’s “Our Lady of the Nile” has won the jury award for best feature film at the 14th annual Methodfest Independent Film Festival.
The event was postponed three times because of the coronavirus pandemic before organizers opted to showcase the films as a drive-in movie experience on the rooftop outdoor deck at Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
“Our Lady of the Nile” is set at an all-girls Catholic school in Rwanda and serves as the backdrop for a story about class division, colonialism and economic disparity and the resulting genocide. Other winners were Jackson Rathbone, best actor for “The Wall of Mexico”; Patrycja Planik, best actress for “Lillian;” and Amy Glazer, best director for “Beautiful Dreamer.”
Jimmy Yang’s ‘Opening Act’ Bought by RLJE
RLJE Films, has acquired the North American rights to the comedic film “The Opening Act,” starring Jimmy O. Yang.
The film is expected to be released in theaters and on demand on Oct. 16. Written and directed by stand-up comedian Steve Byrne, the film also stars notable actors/comedians including Alex Moffat, Cedric The Entertainer, Neal Brennan, Debby Ryan, Ken Jeong, Bill Burr, Jermaine Fowler and Russell Peters.
Yang portrays an aspiring comedian stuck in a thankless job but he gets the opportunity he’s been waiting for, the emcee slot on the road opening for his hero, the realities of life on the stage come crashing in.
Horror Movie ‘Tar’ Scheduled for October Release
1091 Pictures has bought the North American rights to Howling Wolf Productions’ creature thriller, “Tar,” and plans a theatrical run targeting drive-in theaters starting in early October followed by a digital rollout on Oct. 20.
“Tar” begins in the murky depths of Los Angeles’ La Brea Tar Pits wherein lies an ancient creature that, awakened by subway construction, emerges to terrorize its unsuspecting victims.
The film star Timothy Bottoms, Aaron Wolf, Tiffany Shepis, Max Perlich and Graham Greene. Aaron Wolf directed while Tim Nuttall and Andrew Kappel produced. The deal was negotiated by 1091 Pictures Emma Manfredi and Sam Curphey on behalf of the filmmakers.
MONDAY, AUG. 31
Shailene Woodley, Julie Bowen Join ‘Fallout’
Shailene Woodley and Julie Bowen have joined the cast of Jenna Ortega’s high school drama “Fallout,” which has been shooting in Los Angeles.
John Ortiz, Will Ropp, Maddie Ziegler and Niles Fitch are also starring in “Fallout.” Megan Park is directing from her own script about Ortega’s character dealing with the emotional fallout from a school tragedy. David Brown will produce for U.S. outfit Clear Horizon alongside Rebecca Miller and Cara Shine. Joannie Burstein and Giulia Prenna will also produce.
Clear Horizon is selling worldwide rights at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival and the American Film Market, with SSS Entertainment financing. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.
David Newman, Keith Merryman Sign With A3 Artists
Writing-producing team David Newman and Keith Merryman have signed with A3 Artists Agency.
The duo previously teamed up on “Friends With Benefits,” starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, and the two “Think Like a Man” movies. Most recently, they completed the script for “Father of the Groom” for Kevin Hart and STX.
Newman and Merryman continue to be managed by Writ Large and represented by Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher.
Shira Haas Drama ‘Broken Mirrors’ Set for September
Level 33 Entertainment has set Sept. 22 as the North American theatrical-digital release date for the Israeli drama “Broken Mirrors,” starring Shira Haas.
Haas was nominated for an Ophir award for “Broken Mirrors” for her portrayal as the teenage daughter who uncovers a secret bout her strict military father. Aviad Givon and Imri Matalon produced and directed from their own script.
Haas is up from an Emmy Award for her role in the Netflix series “Unorthodox” as a young woman living unhappily in an arranged marriage.