In today’s film news roundup, Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions will close, “Kajillionaire” gets delayed, IFP Week goes digital, BAFTA Breakthrough is unveiled and the documentary “InstaBand” finds a home.
Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions has announced that it will be closing at the start of 2021, 23 years after Allen launched the company with his sister Jody Allen.
“This difficult decision was made as part of the ongoing transition after Paul G. Allen’s passing in 2018, and in light of the unprecedented crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ruth Johnston, general manager, on Wednesday.
Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, launched Vulcan under the name Clear Blue Sky Productions and produced “Titus,” “Far From Heaven” (which received four Oscar nominations), “Where God Left His Shoes” and “Hard Candy.” With its name change in 2011, Vulcan shifted to social impact entertainment and issues including wildlife and conservation, global health, contemporary social issues, science, technology, history and exploration. Recent titles include “USS Indianapolis: The Final Chapter” and “Oliver Sachs: His Own Life.”
“From feature films and television series to virtual and augmented reality experiences and digital shorts, we’ve produced more than 80 titles, each unique and each important, and developed countless more,” Johnston said. “It’s been our honor to tell these stories at amazing film festivals and to gain inspiration from world-renowned scientists, elected officials and regular people doing amazing things. We’ve been nominated for Academy Awards, won Emmys, screened content for world leaders and activated millions of viewers who were inspired to make the world a better place.”
Focus Features is moving Miranda July’s comedy “Kajillionaire” from June 19 to Sept. 18. It will release in theaters domestically in North America.
Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins portray con artists who have spent 26 years training their only daughter, played by Evan Rachel Wood, to swindle, scam and steal at every opportunity. During a desperate heist, they charm a stranger (Gina Rodriguez) into joining their next scam, only to have their entire world turned upside down.
The film’s producers are Youree Henley and Plan B Entertainment’s Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner. Plan B co-founder Brad Pitt, Annapurna’s Megan Ellison, and Jillian Longnecker executive produced.
The Independent Filmmaker Project has scheduled the 2020 edition of IFP Week as a virtual event on Sept. 20-25 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Given the ever-changing landscape of today’s world we have decided to host IFP Week virtually this year to provide a safe and creative vision for the event, while also providing an opportunity for us to expand our reach to creators, audiences and the industry at large,” said Jeffrey Sharp, IFP’s Executive Director. “We are beyond grateful to all of our sponsors and partners who continue to embrace the spirit of IFP and our mission of independent storytelling in launching this virtual edition of IFP Week with us.”
IFP Week has helped to build early connections with industry attendees and creators and filmmakers. It’s helped launch “Moonlight,” “American Factory,” “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” “Crip Camp,” “The Witch,” “Selah and the Spades,” “Knock Down the House,” “Swallow,” “The Hottest August” and “Love, Gilda.”
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is launching BAFTA Breakthrough as a new talent initiative that showcases and supports the next generation of creative talent in film, games and television.
Applications opened Wednesday for the U.S. and U.K., with entries for India and China opening later this year. Previously known as Breakthrough Brits, the initiative has been running in the U.K. since 2013.
Netflix is the official supporting partner for BAFTA Breakthrough, in the U.K., U.S. and India. Successful Breakthrough applicants will receive one-to-one mentoring and career guidance, access to BAFTA events and networking opportunities in the UK and internationally. Supporters of the initiative in recent years include Olivia Colman, Brad Pitt, directors Tom Harper, Barry Jenkins and Asif Kapadia, game designers Brenda Romero and Tim Schafer, actor-writers Sharon Horgan and Amy Schumer, and writer-director Amma Asante.
Gravitas Ventures has bought the documentary ”InstaBand,” a Reality Films production from Bob Rose about the digital evolution of today’s music artists, Variety has learned exclusively.
Gravitas will release the documentary across North America on VOD, digital platforms and DVD and Blu Ray beginning July 28. The film features Paul McDonald (“American Idol,” “The Twilight Saga”), Sam Tinnesz, PHANGS, Stealing Oceans and Ray Wimley.
“We are in the middle of the biggest shift that the music industry has ever experienced. This is a major part of music history and is something students will be learning about in classrooms in years to come. I hope viewers take from this film a new appreciation for their favorite artists and the work that goes into making the music and especially everything behind the music,” said Rose.