Editors Guild, Urban League Partner with Ri-Karlo Handy

The Editors Guild, the Los Angeles Urban League, showrunner/editor Ri-Karlo Handy and the Handy Foundation are collaborating to address diversity in Hollywood through the Backstage Careers Program.

The partnership resulted from a June 16 Facebook post by Handy to recruit Black editors as an assist to post supervisors looking to address a lack of diversity in their staffing. The post took a turn when several commenters misunderstood his intentions and accused him of “reverse racism.” Handy said Thursday that he’s found more than 300 Black editors and will start connecting people with the representatives from companies that have contacted him about job opportunities.

“The response has been awesome; it’s very exciting to have these conversations,” Handy said. “Hiring mangers from Viacom, Tyler Perry Studios, Netflix, NBCUniversal, CBS, and so many more have reached out to me directly, or have downloaded the Black Editors list.”

R&C PMK Chief Cindi Berger Honored by Ithaca College

Ithaca College has selected R&C PMK Chairman Cindi Berger to deliver the main address at its 125th Commencement during the school’s virtual ceremonies held Aug. 2-5.

Berger, a member of the college’s 1983 class, will also be awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Berger started her entertainment career as a receptionist at PMK, rising through the ranks to serve as an assistant, account executive, vice president, managing director, and partner.

In 2019, she played an instrumental role in PMK•BNC’s merger with Rogers & Cowan, bringing together Hollywood’s two largest public relations and entertainment marketing agencies.

Colombian Drama ‘Days of the Whale’ Scheduled for U.S. 

Outsider Pictures has scheduled a July 24 virtual U.S.  cinema premiere of “Days of the Whale,” the debut feature by Colombian writer-director Catalina Arroyave.

The film, which had its world premiere at the 2019 edition of SXSW, is set in the bustling city of Medellín, the country’s second-largest city.

“Days of the Whale” follows a pair of young graffiti artists, played by Laura Tobón and David Escallón as part of an art collective that is the center for a group of young revolutionaries. Tensions rise when they  paint a mural over a threatening tag at the center.


Walmart Teaming With Tribeca on Drive-in Movies Effort

Walmart is partnering with Tribeca Enterprises on a drive-in movie theater initiative that will transform Walmart parking lots into outdoor cinemas starting in August at 160 of its store parking lots.

The movies will be programmed by the Tribeca Drive-in team, which will also launch screenings of modern classics and family favorites such as “Space Jam” and “Jaws” on Friday at six locations, including the Rose Bowl parking lot in Pasadena, Calif. Walmart said the program will run though October for a combined 320 showings of hit movies, with appearances from filmmakers and celebrities and concessions delivered to customer vehicles.

“Drive-Ins have been a signature program for Tribeca since we started the Tribeca Film Festival 19 years ago after 9/11,” says Jane Rosenthal, CEO and Co-Founder of Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival. “But now, the Tribeca Drive-In is much more than a fun, retro way to see movies — it’s one of the safest ways for communities to gather.”

California Tax Credit Goes to NBCUniversal Sound Stage Project

The California Competes Tax Credit program has awarded NBC Universal $20 million in tax credits with NBC Universal committing to creating 800 full-time jobs during a five-year period.The jobs are mostly in production/post production and content development with the investment for the construction of sound stages at the NBC Universal lot. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development announced the project this week as part of $73 million in tax credits for 22 companies.

The California Competes Tax Credit was created in 2013 to focus on helping businesses grow and stay in California. In 2018, the program was extended for an additional five years with at least $180 million in tax credits available for allocation to business each year through 2023.

Faith-based Urban Crime Drama ‘The Answer’ Bought by Freestyle

Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the faith-based urban crime drama, “The Answer,” and has set a July 28 release for DVD and digital.

The movie is set in a city infested by crime with a notorious gangster, portrayed by Asa Nails, finding himself at a crossroad in his life and befrieds a pastor who’s also a detective. “The Answer” is written, directed, and produced by David Rivers.

“We need to stop seeing our brothers and sisters as enemies, and start using that same energy we’ve used to hurt one another to help each other,” said Rivers. “We can then create something so monumental, forceful, powerful, that the answer we seek, will be within our means, and our reach.”


Midsommar Director’s Cut’ Collector’s Edition Unveiled 

A24 has released an exclusive collector’s edition of the “Midsommar Director’s Cut” for purchase at shop.a24films.com. The Blu-ray release of Ari Aster’s 2019 horror film comes enclosed in a hardcover, clothbound slipcase and includes an illustrated book featuring a foreword by Martin Scorsese and original artworks from the film by artist Ragnar Persson.

A24 said the release follows a series of quarterly zines and a collection of hardcover screenplay books exploring “Ex Machina,” “The Witch,” and “Moonlight.” The “Midsommar” Blu-ray marks the first disc release by A24.

The film on the Blu-ray has a runtime of 171 minutes, 33 minutes longer than the theatrical release. “Midsommar” stars Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Ellora Torchia, Archie Madekwe, and Will Poulter.

Great Point Backing Film Studio in Buffalo, NY

Great Point Capital Management, a media-focused  investment fund run by Robert Halmi and Fehmi Zeko, has filed plans with the city of Buffalo to build a major new film and television studio complex.

The $50 million-plus full-service film and television production facility will include two 20,000-square-feet stages and 70,000-square-feet of office and support space. The studio will be built in two phases, with construction on Phase-1 slated to start this September with projected completion in autumn 2021. 

 “Buffalo is an ideal city for a state-of-the-art film and television complex,” said Zeko. “A combination of great locations, well-trained crew and tremendous support from local government, has made Buffalo a desirable destination for filmmakers.”

‘Farewell’ Director Lulu Wang Keynotes Film Independent Forum

Film Independent has announced keynotes for the 15th annual Film Independent Forum, with the U.S. Filmmaker Keynote with Lulu Wang, director of “The Farewell.”

The organization has also set a U.S. executive keynote with Elissa Federoff, president of Distribution at Neon; a documentary keynote with Dawn Porter (“John Lewis: Good Trouble”) and a global executive keynote with Ashok Amritraj, chairman and CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment Group.

Traditionally a weekend event, the forum has expanded to a full week-long event accessible online to global audiences the week of July 31 to Aug. 7.


Robert De Niro’s ‘War With Grandpa’ Sets Opening

101 Studios announced it will domestically distribute Robert De Niro’s comedy “The War With Grandpa” on Sept. 18 in partnership with financier Brookdale Studios.

The film, directed by Tim Hill and produced by Marro Media Company, is based on the children’s fiction novel by Robert Kimmel Smith and centers on a boy being forced to give up his bedroom when his grandfather moves in. The boy, player by Oakes Fegley, schemes with friends to devise a series of pranks to drive him out, and the situation devolves into an all-out war

Marro Media Company financed the production, while Ingenious and Joe Gelchion of Tri-G provided additional financing and serve as the film’s executive producers.

Film Festival Celebrates Moms

The Center for Active Learning is launching its “Making Our Movies” Film Festival, dedicated to filmmakers who are mothers.

Submitted entries must be short-form content, up to 40 minutes long, created anytime after 2015 in one of the following categories: narrative, documentary, series, mom-themed content and social justice. The deadline for submission is July 17.

The 2020 Making Our Movies Film Festival (MOM Film Fest) will take place online with selected films shown Aug. 10 through Aug. 17.

Robin Thede, Jordan Peele Help Feed Healthcare Workers

Frontline Foods has teamed with creative leaders, including Robin Thede, Jordan Peele, Jonathan Kidd and Sonya Winton-Odamtten, to feed healthcare workers in underserved Black neighborhoods.

Frontline Foods has fed healthcare workers with the support of World Central Kitchen and Chef Jose Andrés. Donations go to restaurants, which then provide takeaway meals for delivery to local hospitals. in the past month, the organization has pivoted resources to support Black Lives Matter protests, Black-owned restaurants and local chapters of Black and youth-led organizations.

Kidd and Winton-Odamtten, co-executive producers of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” organized over 40 Black leaders in Hollywood to sponsor meals to healthcare workers in Black neighborhoods. Supporters included Ayanna Floyd, Anthony Sparks, JaSheika James and JaNeika James, Tracy Oliver and Maisha Closson.

Outsider Pictures is proud to announce the U.S. virtual cinema premiere of
Days of the Whale (Los días de la ballena), the auspicious debut feature by Colombian writer-director Catalina Arroyave that offers a vital portrait of the urban culture of a city in flux. The film, which had its world premiere at the 2019 edition of SXSW, will be available through virtual cinemas across the country starting on Friday July 24, 2020.

Set in the bustling city of Medellín, Colombia’s second-largest city, Days of the Whale follows Cristina (Laura Tobón) and Simon (David Escallón), two young graffiti artists who tag spots around where they live. Simón comes from a more working-class background and lives with his grandmother. They are part of an art collective that is the center for a group of young revolutionaries. Cristina is a college kid from an upper-middle-class family who finds herself living with her dad because her mother is a journalist who moved to Spain when threatened by the city’s criminal street gangs.