Matt Reeves to Deliver USC School of Cinematic Arts Commencement Address – Film News in Brief

Matt Reeves Variety Batman
Frank Ockenfels 3 for Variety

“The Batman” director Matt Reeves, an alumnus of USC, will deliver the 2022 commencement address for the School of Cinematic Arts. USC also announced that “Insecure” producer-writer-director Prentice Penny will receive the Mary Pickford Alumni Award at the May 13 graduation ceremony to be held in person at the Shrine Auditorium, dean Elizabeth M. Daley announced.

“It is an honor to have Matt address our graduating class this year. His experience and insights will be invaluable for our students as they continue to establish themselves in the entertainment industry. Prentice is a distinguished alum whose continued support and participation has had a direct impact on our students, and we are proud to honor him with the Mary Pickford Award. Both participants represent the best of the industry and are incredible role models for our students. We are so happy to have them join us this year,” Daley said.

Penny, a 1995 BFA in Writing from USC, will also be the Keyote Speaker for the 2022 USC Black Graduation Ceremony on May 11.

Netflix Unveils Summer Movie Slate Featuring Kevin Hart, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Foxx and More

Netflix has set release dates for nearly 40 movies debuting between May and Labor Day Weekend.

Lazy loaded image
“Me Time” Netflix

The streamer shared a first look at the Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg-team up “Me Time,” which follows a stay-at-home dad (Hart) who finds himself with some “me time” for the first time in years. While his wife (Regina Hall) and kids are away, he reconnects with his former best friend (Wahlberg) for a wild weekend that nearly upends his life. Hart also produced the movie, which debuts August 26. Fans of the comedian will enjoy a double-dose of laughs this season, with Hart’s action comedy “The Man From Toronto,” which co-stars Woody Harrelson and Kaley Cuoco, also planned to debut this summer.

Netflix unveiled their full star-studded season lineup, which boasts Jennifer Lopez (“Halftime” documentary, June 14); Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett (“Spiderhead,” June 17); Adam Sandler and Queen Latifah (“Hustle,” June 8); Jamie Foxx (“Day Shift,” Aug. 12); Dakota Johnson and Henry Golding (“Persuasion,” July 15) and “The Gray Man,” starring Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas and Regé-Jean Page (July 22).

Other major releases include “Senior Year,” starring Rebel Wilson (May 13); “Interceptor,” led by Elsa Pataky (June 3); “Operation Mincemeat,” with Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen (May 11); and the animated movie “The Sea Beast.”

Romance fans also got a sneak peek at the upcoming “Purple Hearts” starring Sofia Carson and “Love in the Villa” with Kat Graham and Tom Hopper. “Purple Hearts” tells the story of aspiring singer-songwriter Cassie (Carson) and marine Luke (Nicholas Galitzine), who in spite of their many differences and against all odds, fall hopelessly in love. “Love in the Villa” closes out the summer season with a Labor Day weekend release (officially launching on Sept. 1), and follows a young woman (Graham) on a trip to romantic Verona, Italy, after a break-up, only to find that the villa she reserved was double-booked, and she’ll have to share her vacation with a cynical and very good-looking British man (Hopper).

Other romance movies set for summer are “Along for the Ride,” with Emma Pasarow, Belmont Cameli, Kate Bosworth, Dermot Mulroney and Andie MacDowell (May 6); “A Perfect Pairing,” starring Victoria Justice and Adam Demos (May 19); and “Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between,” featuring Jordan Fisher and Talia Ryder (July 6).

The streamer also announced release dates for “Civil,” the Tribeca festival-selected documentary about civil rights attorney Ben Crump (June 19), and Nickelodeon’s “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie” (August 5). In the animated movie, the Ninja Turtles are faced with their greatest challenge yet when a mysterious stranger arrives from the future with a dire warning. Leo (Ben Schwartz) is forced to rise and lead his brothers, Ralph (Omar Benson Miller), Donnie (Brandon Mychal Smith), and Mikey (Josh Brener) in a fight to save the world from a terrifying alien species…the Krang! The movie’s voice cast also includes Kat Graham, Eric Bauza and Haley Joel Osment.

“13: The Musical” is a new adaptation of Jason Robert Brown’s Broadway play, which follows Evan Goldman (Eli Golden), as he moves from NYC to small-town Indiana after his parents’ divorce. As his 13th birthday nears, he must master the complex social circles of his new school and win friends by turning his Bar Mitzvah into the coolest party ever. Starring opposite Golden are Debra Messing, Rhea Perlman, Josh Peck and Peter Hermann.

Also set to debut this summer are “Beauty,” written by Lena Waithe and starring Niecy Nash and Aleyse Shannon, about a gifted young Black woman struggling to maintain her voice and identity after she’s offered a lucrative recording contract; and “Wedding Season,” which follows a pair of singles (Pallavi Sharda and Suraj Sharma), pressured by their parents to find spouses, who pretend to date in order to survive a summer of weddings and soon find themselves falling for each other.

International offerings were also dated, including Argentina’s “The Wrath of God” (June 15), Italy’s “Love & Gelato” (June 22) and France’s “Dangerous Liaisons” (July 8). Other locally-produced releases set to debut this summer are “Buba: Once Upon a Crime” (Germany), “Carter” (Korea), “Don’t Blame Karma!” (Mexico), “Fenced In” (Brazil), “For Jojo” (Germany), “I Came By” (U.K.), “Pipa” (Argentina), “Seoul Vibe” (Korea) and “Togo” (Uruguay).

American Black Film Festival Announces Lineup of Narrative and Documentary Features

The 2022 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) today announced its lineup of narrative features, documentary features and web series, with Netflix’s new documentary “Civil” set to open the festival.

The festival presents a range of independent films, studio and network previews, talk events, master classes and live entertainment. The features program includes narrative competitions, world premieres and first-time directors representing a diverse group of independent filmmakers from around the globe. The lineup at ABFF offers an assortment of authentic stories aimed to uplift and highlight Black culture.

“Civil” offers an intimate look at the life of trailblazing civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Crump, who has represented the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Black farmers and banking while Black victims, challenges America to come to terms with what it owes his clients. It is directed and produced by Nadia Hallgren and produced by Kenya Barris, Roger Ross Williams and Lauren Cioffi.

Exile Content Studio and Pop Front Pictures Team to Co-Produce Marine biopic “War Game”

“War Game,” a new film based on the true story of former Marine Paul Van Riper, is currently in development from Exile Content Studio and Pop Front Pictures.

Based on a 2020 Jacobin Magazine article by Daniel Bessner, “War Game” focuses on Van Riper, a decorated Marine who served for over four decades, and his participation in the 2002 Millennium Challenge. The war game exercise was designed to test out tactics for a potential Iraq invasion, and Van Riper, a vocal opponent of U.S. action in Iraq, participated in the event as the opposing “Red Team.”

“General Paul ‘Rip’ Van Riper wasn’t just playing a game — he was trying to stop the disastrous invasion of Iraq before it even started,” Pop Front Pictures co-founder C.C Kilpatrick said in a statement. “This is the true story of how outsiders and mavericks like Rip, though they may fall out of favor within powerful institutions, are — sometimes — the only ones capable of seeing the disaster that lies ahead.”

The story for “War Game” was developed by Kilpatrick, and the screenplay was written by Janek Ambros, who produces under his Assembly Line Entertainment banner. Van Riper himself will serve as a consultant on the project.

LAIKA and ‘Ozark’ Creator Bill Dubuque Team Up For Stop-motion Animated Film Project ‘The Night Gardener’

LAIKA has announced a new stop-motion animated film project in conjunction with Bill Dubuque, creator of Netflix’s hit series “Ozark,” “The Night Gardener.”

LAIKA’s CEO and President Travis Knight, director of “Kubo and the Two Strings” and Paramount’s “Bumblebee,” will direct from Dubuque’s original screenplay. Adding to the studio’s diverse catalog, “The Night Gardener” is a gritty neo-noir folktale centered on a young man in rural Missouri fighting to keep his family together in the wake of a tragedy. The film will paint an unflinching portrait of sacrifice, self-reliance and revenge.

“’The Night Gardener’ is a beautiful and timeless story that quickens the pulse as often as it breaks the heart,” says Knight. “Bill is a masterful storyteller. He’s crafted a lyrical world layered with complex characters, provocative ideas, and keenly felt emotion. It’s gonna be one helluva movie.”

“I’m delighted that Travis Knight saw in ‘The Night Gardener’ a story worthy of the time intensive process and collective talent of LAIKA’s in-house artisans,” says Dubuque. “LAIKA’s creativity and dedication to detail is, in my opinion, as close as one can come to conjuring storytelling magic.”

The studio is currently in production on Wildwood, the first film set in LAIKA’s hometown of Portland, Oregon. Knight is directing the animated film, based on the bestselling fantasy novel written by Colin Meloy, lead singer and songwriter for the rock group The Decemberists.




Adrian Per, Director of Lil Nas X and More Presents AAPI Month Photo Essay

Adrian Per, a self-taught director, photographer, DJ, and production company co-owner from the Bay Area is launching the “We Are Golden” exhibit.

Per’s photos celebrate every AAPI ethnicity, age, gender, and sexual orientation alongside a short excerpt of their story and what it means to be AAPI. It also highlights the culture’s traditional clothing, food, small businesses, communities, and occupations. There will be a printed copy of the photo essay released on May 10 online and he will be hosting an event at the Fil-Am owned gallery The LA Art Box on May 14.

Per is the mastermind behind Lil Nas X’s viral video and the photo where he revealed his pregnancy of the 5x Grammy-nominated “Montero” album. Aside from Lil Nas X, he worked with other notable names across the music and fashion industry including Nike, Reebok, Jhene Aiko, Tyga, 24KGoldn, Megan Thee Stallion, G-Eazy, and E-40 to name a few.