IMAX and Bad Robot Announce ‘The Blue Angels’ Documentary — Film News in Brief

Blue Angels 2021
United States Navy

Bad Robot has set its first feature-length documentary, “The Blue Angels,” about the storied Navy and Marine Corps flight squadron.

The company has teamed with IMAX, along with Glen Powell, Zipper Bros Films, and Dolphin Entertainment, to collaborate on the project. Filming has commenced for the documentary, which will chronicle a year in the cockpit of one of the world’s most exclusive aviator teams.

“Bad Robot has been so lucky to collaborate with IMAX for years, and there isn’t a project we’ve been more excited about doing together than our very first feature documentary, ‘The Blue Angels,'” stated J.J. Abrams, co-CEO of Bad Robot. “The creative team is incredible, the subject matter thrilling, and it feels so fitting that a film about the very best of the best will be shot in the most exceptional cinematic format available.”

Currently slated for release in late 2023, the film will follow the latest “Blues” recruiting class as they undergo intense training to perform jaw-dropping aerial tricks, as well as the veterans on the team who will make their final ventures into the air. The film will mark the first time that the famous blue and yellow F/A-18 Super Hornet planes will be captured in IMAX.

“The Blue Angels” is directed and edited by Paul Crowder (“UFO”) and produced by Oscar winners Glen Zipper (“Undefeated”), Mark Monroe (“Icarus”), Sean Stuart (“Challenger: The Final Flight”), Rob Stone and Greg Wooldridge. J.J. Abrams, Hannah Minghella, and Bad Robot Productions will also produce, along with Powell, who stars in the upcoming “Top Gun: Maverick” and produces and stars in “Devotion” for Sony Pictures.

“I made two naval aviation films back-to-back, lived on bases among our men and women in uniform, and learned firsthand what it takes for them to be the best of the best,” Powell said. “After flying with the Blue Angels in an air show, I saw an incredible opportunity to make a world-class documentary.”

Dolphin Entertainment will co-finance “The Blue Angels” with IMAX.

“The Blue Angels exemplify unity, trust, and teamwork, and I can’t think of a better creative team to bring this inspirational story to the world through the expansive lens of IMAX,” added John Turner, Head of Documentaries for IMAX. “’This film marks a new beginning for IMAX’s pioneering filmmaking, as the first in a next generation of IMAX documentaries combining the best in image capture technology and contemporary narrative storytelling.”

CAA Media Finance brokered the deal.

Michael Quigley to Serve as Jury President for American Black Film Festival

The American Black Film Festival has announced that Michael Quigley, executive vice president for content acquisitions for TNT, TBS, truTV, HBO and HBO Max at Warner Media, will serve as the jury president for the 2022 edition of the festival.

As jury president, Quigley will be in charge of curating a diverse slate of film and television for the festival. He’ll also be responsible selecting members to fill out the jury.

“I am honored to serve as jury president at this year’s ABFF, the preeminent film festival for discovering and championing Black and Brown filmmakers,” Quigley stated. “Some of the most talented directors of our time, as well as some of the most impactful stories, have come through ABFF and gone on to create breakthrough series and films that spark dialogue on important social issues and celebrate our rich diversity and history.”

The 2021 ABFF jury president was Will Packer (producer of “Girls Trip” and “Ride Along,” as well as the 2022 Oscars ceremony), with basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson and filmmaker Lee Daniels among those who’ve previously led the panel.

ABFF returns to Miami Beach for its in-person program, running June 15-19, followed by virtual programming from June 20-30 on its ABFF Play platform. In addition to screenings of Black independent cinema, the festival will host studio and network premieres, and panels featuring Black entertainment executives and creators, and networking events.

LuckyChap Entertainment, Indian Paintbrush to Produce Megan Park’s Next Feature ‘My Old Ass’

Megan Park has set her highly-anticipated second feature with LuckyChap Entertainment and Indian Paintbrush.

Following her SXSW-winning feature debut “The Fallout,” Park has written and will direct a coming-of-age comedy, titled “My Old Ass.” The film will begin casting soon and is expected to start filming this summer.

Park was named to Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch” list for 2022 with “The Fallout,” which stars Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler and Julie Bowen and follows the teenagers as they attempt to rebuild their lives following a school tragedy. The film debuted at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, where Park received the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for narrative feature, as well as the festival’s Brightcove Illumination Award for her screenplay. “The Fallout” was released in January on HBOMax.

Park is represented by ICM Partners, Burstein Co., Cohen Gardner LLP and ID. LuckyChap Entertainment is represented by CAA, Management 360, attorney Jeff Bernstein and Narrative.

Issa Rae and Jimmy Kimmel Lead Lineup of Presenters for 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards

The Critics Choice Association (CCA) announced its lineup of presenters for the awards ceremony, hosted by Taye Diggs and Nicole Byer on Sunday, March 13. Issa Rae and Jimmy Kimmel will bestow special honors during the awards ceremony, with Rae presenting the SeeHer Award to Halle Berry and Kimmel honoring Billy Crystal with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Additional presenters include Ava DuVernay, Carey Mulligan, Jamie Dornan, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Kristen Wiig, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mandy Moore, Zoey Deutch, Joel McHale, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, J.K. Simmons, Ray Romano, Ken Jeong, Alan Kim, Angelica Ross, Annie Mumolo, Dominique Jackson, Dylan O’Brien, Hailie Sahar, Indya Moore, Jacob Bertrand, Jung Ho-yeon, Kaci Walfall, Lee Jung-jae, Maria Bakalova, Mayim Bialik, Nasim Pedrad, Park Hae-soo, Ralph Macchio, Robin Thede, LA Rams Coach Sean McVay & Veronika Khomyn, Shawn Hatosy and Sonequa Martin-Green.

Kelsey Grammer’s ‘High Expectations’ Sets One-Day Theatrical Release Event

An inspirational new film from Emmy winner Kelsey Grammer and former Fifth Harmony singer Ally Brooke has set a one-day eventized theatrical release via Fathom Events and CDW Films. “High Expectations” will roll out on 850 screens nationwide on April 7, from directors Jonathan Southard and Christopher D. White.

In the lead is Taylor Gray, who finds himself adrift after his father — the legendary Coach Davis (Grammer) — cuts him from his renowned soccer club. Estranged from dad and at odds with his all-star brother (Adam Aalderks), Jack turns to his ex-girlfriend Sophia (Brooke) for support. He is inspired by her tough love and unwavering pursuit to become a recording artist. He tackles his depression and takes one last shot at his lifelong dream by trying out for a rival soccer club. White wrote the script wiht Kristinn Thordarson, and both served as producers.

Watch the trailer:

Award-Winning Documentary Filmmaker Robert Rippberger Tapped to Direct Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Renner’

Written by Martin Medina and David Largman Murray, with a story by Luke Medina, the script was a 2020 Screencraft Horror Competition Finalist, “Renner” centers on an introverted computer genius with severe compulsive tendencies who has completed a revolutionary form of A.I., known as ‘Salenus’. As the film’s logline explains, when an attractive neighbor, Jamie, moves in next door and shows interest in Renner, his life begins to upend as she pulls him into a dark conspiracy that may lead to his destruction.

“Renner” is produced by Rippberger, Medina, and Jeremy Walton, with casting currently underway and production set to begin in August. The deal was put together by executive producers Jay Burnley and Greg Gertmenian of Slated, the film packaging and financing platform.

Rippberger is best known for his documentaries, including “Public Enemy Number One” and “7 Days in Syria.” The filmmaker recently directed the horror-thriller “Those Who Walk Away,” starring Booboo Stewart. He is currently producing the documentary “How to Build a Truth Engine,” with executive producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, as well as the stop-motion animated film “The Inventor” from “Ratatouille” writer Jim Capobianco, starring Daisy Ridley, Stephen Fry, Marion Cotillard, and Matt Berry.

Vertical Entertainment Acquires ‘The Walk’ Starring Justin Chatwin and Terrence Howard

Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights to distribute the movie, which tells the story of the court-ordered forced integration of the Boston School System in the 1970s.

The Walk” follows Bill Coughlin (Chatwin, pictured below), a Boston Irish cop, who must contend with social pressure and bigotry in his neighborhood and within the police force after being assigned to protect Black students bused into the all-white South Boston High. The plot chronicles the political and social fallout following the court’s 1974 decision, which resulted in brutal violence and city-wide protests, as three stories collide during the fateful first day of school. Malcolm McDowell, Jeremy Piven, Katie Douglas, Lovie Simone and Anastasiya Mitrunen also star.

Directed by Daniel Adams (“The Lightkeepers”) under his Mooncusser Filmworks banner, who also co-wrote the script alongside prison reform and civil rights activist George Powell, the film will be released in theaters and digitally on June 10.

“Vertical has a long and successful history of presenting films with important social themes to audiences,” stated Adams. “That would be reason enough to be excited about this partnership, but add to that what a pleasure it is to work with Peter and Tony and the rest of the Vertical team, and it makes this deal truly wonderful.”

The project is executive produced by Alex Nazarenko, and produced by Michael Mailer (“Blind,” “The Ledge”), Hank Blumenthal and Paul W. Hazen. The deal was negotiated by Hazen on behalf of filmmakers and Peter Jarowey and Tony Piantedosi on behalf of Vertical Entertainment.

Added Jarowey: “’The Walk’ gives a critical insight into an instrumental yet conflicting time in U.S history. Efforts to desegregate schools had a profound impact on the students who lived through the systemic change, and this film sheds some light on what it was like to live through such a change.”

Lazy loaded image
Justin Chatwin as Bill Coughlin in “The Walk.” Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment