Film exec, producer and financier Mike Ilitch Jr. has pacted with Damascus Road Productions, led by Ryan and Heather O’Quinn for a slate of multiple upcoming films to be announced in the coming weeks. With Ilitch as executive producer, the O’Quinn’s company produced the upcoming “Paul’s Promise,” a biopic about former racist firefighter-turned-pastor Paul Holderfield at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Nick Logan also serves as executive producer.
The team, along with actor-director Dean Cain, recently wrapped production on “Little Angels,” about a 12-year-old girls’ soccer team.
“Inspiring audiences through entertainment has always been a goal for our companies,” said Ilitch. “The films on our slate have a broad budget range and extensive genres.”
L.A.-based Damascus Road focuses on family and faith-based entertainment across all platforms. Its global distribution arm, Integrity Releasing, allows independent filmmakers access to theatrical and home entertainment distribution.
‘Women of the White Buffalo’ Documentary Debuts First Trailer Chronicling the Lives of Modern Day Native Women
The new documentary “Women of the White Buffalo,” captures the lives of the modern day Native women as we listen to their stories of loss, suicide, murder and epidemic meth addiction among their community, mirrored by their deep ancestral roots, traditional ceremony, prayer and hope.
“Women of the White Buffalo” features testimonials by nine women from the Lakota nation, ranging in age from 10 to 98, living on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations. The documentary spotlights a matriarchal society upended by centuries of genocide and colonialism, which has disenfranchised the women and simultaneously reinforced their roles as the backbones of their communities and the keepers of their people’s ancient wisdom. By rising up against the forces that continue to suppress them and preserving and protecting their ancestral values and wisdom, they provide a source of hope to their people.
Written, produced, and directed by Deborah Anderson, the documentary tells the powerfully rich stories of the brave women and children living in one of the poorest counties in the United States. The documentary will be released on VOD April 12. Watch the full trailer below.
SundanceNow Set to Debut Documentary ‘Since I Been Down’
The award-winning documentary will premiere March 28 on SundanceNow, joining the streaming service’s robust slate of critically acclaimed originals, films, and true crime series.
Directed by Gilda Sheppard, the documentary looks into the racial history of “tough on crime” laws and their impact on a generation of Black and brown youth. In particular, the “Since I Been Down” tackles the fear-based political policies enacted in Tacoma, Washington in the 1980s and 90s, influenced by the national drug war frenzy, escalating crime, and gang activity.
In 1993, Washington State voters passed the three-strikes law and sent children labeled “irredeemable super-predators” to prison for life without parole. “Since I Been Down” spotlights prisoner Kimonti Carter and follows his efforts, as well as a wide group of prisoners, as they break free from their fate and create a model of education that is transforming their lives, their communities, our prisons and our own humanity.
“SundanceNow is the perfect home to premiere ‘Since I Been Down,’” stated Sheppard, who also wrote and executive produced the documentary. “We are thrilled that our film will now be widely available, particularly on a platform dedicated to inspiring the imagination and the possibility of justice through the power of story.”
Shannon Cooper, SundanceNow’s vice president of programming noted: “More than a decade in the making, Gilda Sheppard’s ‘Since I Been Down’ is a highly powerful and deeply moving film, and we’re grateful to our friends at Passion River for the opportunity to bring it to the U.S. audience.”
The documentary has impacted legislation in Washington State, inspiring three new bills which address the tendency for long sentences, juvenile justice supported by brain science and the clemency pardons board. The documentary has also gotten attention from national thought leaders Angela Davis and Adrienne Maree Brown, Washington State Supreme Court, and prosecuting and defense attorneys across the country.
Following “Since I Been Down’s” SundanceNow premiere, worldwide audiences will be able to pre-order the documentary exclusively on iTunes and Apple TV. It will be released May 24 on VOD and is available to rent or own on iTunes, Apple TV, GooglePlay, Youtube, Amazon and Vudu. In celebration of this year’s National Teacher’s Day on May 3rd, Passion River will release the film on DVD format via Amazon and online retailers.
Cinema Audio Society Announces 2022 Board of Directors; Releases Statement about the 94th Academy Awards
The Cinema Audio Society announced the results of their March election for the CAS Board of Directors. “We were fortunate as an organization to have volunteer board members who respond to challenge with a renewed sense of service and a commitment to the community,” says CAS President Karol Urban.“With tremendous gratitude, I thank the dedicated individuals of the Cinema Audio Society’s Board of Directors.”
Re-elected to their executive positions were Vice President Steve Venezia and Secretary Frank Morrone. They will continue to serve with President Karol Urban and Treasurer Lee Orloff.
Two incumbent production directors, Willie D. Burton and Stephen Tibbo, were re-elected to serve with Amanda Beggs, Peter Kurland, Phillip W. Palmer, Mark Ulano (Former CAS President) and Jeff Wexler.
In post-production, CAS welcomes a new board member, Christian Minkler. Christian fills the seat vacated by Marti Humphrey. Additionally, incumbents David Bondelevitch, Tom Fleischman, and Sherry Klein were re-elected. These directors will serve with the remaining sitting members: Onnalee Blank, Bob Bronow, Mike Minkler (Former CAS President), and Tara Paul.
Earlier this week, the Cinema Audio Society Board of Directors has urged The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to use these last remaining days before their 94th Academy Awards ceremony to incorporate all 23 categories, including the plans to present eight categories before the live ceremony.
The statement said: The Association of Motion Picture Sound urges The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to revoke the decision to move the presentation of eight award categories outside the main broadcast event, as in doing so these categories are marked out as somehow less important “second-tier” skills.
There is a clear desire for this decision to be reversed amongst every aspect of the filmmaking community. The Academy aims to promote “excellence in the motion picture arts and sciences” with no mention of hierarchy. This decision undermines the important principles of inclusivity and diversity and sends a disappointing message to young viewers who may dream that one day they might win an Oscar.
These categories include crafts and skills that are at the very core of filmmaking. As sound professionals we are acutely aware that many people go to the cinema to watch a film because of the sound – they cannot get that experience at home. We again ask The Academy to take the right decision here with confidence and reinstate all categories and restore equal status. #presentall23″
Indeed’s Rising Voices Program Sets Panel Series with Lena Waithe, Danielle Brooks, Skai Jackson and Yvonne Orji
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Indeed’s Rising Voices program assembled the top-tier group of women of color to discuss their powerful and meaningful work in the entertainment industry and the realities of what it takes to make an impact.
Hosted by award-winning journalist Danyel Smith the panel discussion, dubbed “Building the New Future of Hollywood,” also features Indeed’s Senior Vice President of Environmental, Social and Governance, LaFawn Davis.
The first episode of the conversation, which focuses on opportunity in Hollywood, is now live on Indeed’s YouTube channel. The remaining three 20-minute episodes launch every Thursday and will cover the themes of flexibility, inclusivity and money.