Tonko House and Netflix’s ‘Oni’ Lands Anime Screenwriter Mari Okada — Film News in Brief

Tonko House / Netflix

Tonko House and Netflix’s ‘Oni’ Lands Anime Screenwriter Mari Okada

Tonko House has teamed up with acclaimed Japanese anime screenwriter Mari Okada for its animated series “Oni,” currently in production for Netflix.

The series follows Onari, the daughter of a creature who lives in a world filled with the oddball gods and monsters of Japanese mythology. With her unique powers not yet revealed, Onari wonders whether she has what it takes to fight to protect her peaceful village from the encroaching threat of the gods’ mysterious enemies.

Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi serves as creator and directing showrunner of the series, while Sara K. Sampson producers and Robert Kondo and Kane Lee executive produce. Production partners under Tonko House include Japan-based CG production studios Megalis VFX, Marza and Anima.

“When Dice first pitched ‘Oni’ to me, I was blown away,” Okada said. “I saw a lot of myself in his deeply personal connection to the story and felt many people around the world would feel the same. I felt I had to take this opportunity even if it meant facing unusual challenges for the first time, such as writing for an English-language production.”

Samuel Goldwyn Films Acquires U.S. Rights To ‘The Last Rite’

Samuel Goldwyn Films announced the company has acquired the U.S. rights to “The Last Rite,” starring Bethan Waller and Johnny Fleming.

The exorcist horror film follows Lucy (Waller), a study from home medical student who suffers from sleep paralysis and moves in with her boyfriend. Things are not as they seem, as Lucy falls prey to a demonic force — and is forced to contact a local priest, Father Roberts (Kit Smith) for help. Father Roberts must make a decision to get help for Lucy from the church, or perform his own exorcism on her against the church’s will.

Tara Hoyos-Martínez, Ian Macnaughton, David Kerr and Deborah Blake also star.

“I feel incredibly excited and thrilled to have my debut feature film find its home with the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Films,” said creator Leroy Kincaide. “After all the blood and sweat equity that has gone into making ‘The Last Rite’ possible, it feels great that the American audience will soon be able to watch my tale of a supernatural horror.”

“The Last Rite” was written and directed by Kincaide. The film was produced by Kincaid and Chloe Chudasama. The film will hit theaters later this year, followed by a video on demand and digital release in the Fall.

The deal was negotiated by Taylor Devorsky on behalf of Samuel Goldwyn Films and Daisy Hamilton of Tricoast on behalf of the filmmakers.

“Cyrano” to Open Mill Valley Film Festival

The Mill Valley Film Festival will open with the California premiere of “Cyrano,” directed by Joe Wright and written by Erica Schmidt, adapted from Schmidt’s 2018 stage musical of the same name, which is based on Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play “Cyrano de Bergerac.” Opening night takes place on Oct. 7 at the Sequoia Theatre and Smith Rafael Film Center.

Peter Dinklage stars as Cyrano de Bergerac, who, believing himself to be ugly, feels unworthy of the love of his friend Roxanne (Haley Bennett). Before he confesses his feelings, Roxanne falls in love at first sight with Christian (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.). Bashir Salahuddin and Ben Mendelsohn also star. The film features music by Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner with lyrics by Matt Berninger and Carin Besser. Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Guy Heeley produce, with Cass Marks as co-producer and Enrico Ballarin as line producer.

The 44th annual Mill Valley Film Festival runs from Oct. 7 to 17. The centerpiece film is Mike Mills’ “C’Mon C’Mon,” while Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” is the closing night film. Tickets go on sale to CFI Members beginning Sept. 12 and to the general public on Sept. 16. Early bird festival tickets and passes are on sale now at MVFF.com.

AMC Plus and RJLE Films Acquire “Silent Night” Starring Keira Knightley

AMC Plus and RLJE Films have acquired the Keira Knightley-led “Silent Night” ahead of the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Following a group of friends that reunite for an eventful Christmas dinner at an idyllic country home as the rest of the world faces impending doom, the film also stars Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp, Ṣọpé Dìrísù, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Lucy Punch, Rufus Jones and Trudie Styler.

Out in theaters and streaming exclusively on AMC Plus this December, “Silent Night” marks writer Camille Griffin’s directorial debut. Claudia Vaughn, Peter Morton, Stephen Marks, Carlos Peres, Adam Bohling, David Reid, Hélène Théodoly, Audra LaBrosse and Pietro Greppi executive produce, with Matthew Vaughn, Styler and Celine Rattray serving as producers and Greg McManus co-producing.

The deal was negotiated by Ward on behalf of RLJE Films and AMC+ with Endeavor Content on behalf of the filmmakers.

Pixomondo Launches London Studio Led by Alex Webster

Pixomondo (PXO) announced the launch of a London studio focused on virtual production services, with Alex Webster heading operations.

In his new role, Webster will facilitate the growth of PXO’s virtual production services in Europe, working closely with the wider company’s management team. Previously, Webster served as the managing director of Framestore Pre-Production Services in London.

Potential locations for the new U.K. facility are under review pending client consultations, but it will be closely integrated with PXO’s existing German operations, located in Frankfurt and Stuttgart.

“Over the last few years I have witnessed first-hand the speed with which the integration of VP with visualization is reshaping the VFX industry,” Webster said. “PXO is driving innovation in this space and making VP central to its workflow, becoming one of the most agile and creative studios working in the industry today. I’m thrilled to be working in close collaboration with the whole PXO team to design and build a state of the art integrated VP studio, which will combine teams in concept art, previs, virtual art and in-camera VFX with a brand-new LED volume in the UK.”

VMI Worldwide Closes Multiple Territory Sales for “Old Henry

VMI Worldwide has closed multiple territory sales for Potsy Ponciroli’s Western film “Old Henry,” which premiered Sept. 7 at the Venice International Film Festival. The film is a co-production between Shout! Studios and Hideout Pictures. 

After competitive bids, deals were closed in Italy Blue Swan, U.K. and Australia Signature, France Ace Entertainment, Germany Koch, Benelux Three Lines, Middle East and Turkey Phoenicia Pictures International and South Korea Jaye Entertainment.

“It is not surprising due to the quality of the film but feels great all the same,” said Andre Relis, CEO of VMI Worldwide.

“There has always been, and always will be, a place in the international market for an elevated Western with high profile cast, compelling characters and lots of action. So we’re thrilled to partner with VMI, whose deep experience with genre films and strong relationships with buyers will propel sales of ‘Old Henry’ far and wide,” said Shout! Studios head of new content sales Julie Dansker and executive producer and vice president of acquisitions Jordan Fields in a joint statement.

“While this is a traditional American Western, the story and characters transcend the genre and are relatable in any region of the world. We’re excited to see how the international community responds,” said Shannon Houchins, producer and CEO of Hideout Pictures.

“Old Henry” stars Tim Blake Nelson as Henry, a farmer who takes in an injured man (Scott Haze) with a satchel of cash. When a group, led by a man called Ketchum (Stephen Dorff) comes for the money, Henry must decide whom to trust. Ponciroli writes and directs, with Shannon Houchins and Michael Hagerty as producers. Executive producers include Nelson, Fields, Alex Siskin, Garson Foos, Bob Emmer, Richard Foos and Trevor O’Neil.