IFC Midnight acquired U.S rights to The Vicious Brothers’ (Grave Encounters) sci-fi horror film Extraterrestrial from Vicarious Entertainment, Twin Engine Films and Buffalo Films. Pic played Tribeca. The film stars Brittany Allen, Freddie Stroma, Jesse Moss, and Melanie Papalia, with Gill Bellows and Michael Ironside. It is about a group of friends on a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods who are terrorized by alien visitors. CAA made the deal and Cargo Entertainment is handling foreign.
EXCLUSIVE: Hipster horror comedy Summer Of Blood, from writer-director Onur Tukel (Richard’s Wedding, Septien), has been acquired by MPI Media Group after debuting at last month’s Tribeca Film Festival. Tukel also stars in the indie as Erik Sparrow, a selfish, schlubby NYC hipster whose miserable life turns around when he meets a vampire in Brooklyn and becomes a blood-sucker himself. MPI’s Dark Sky Films will debut the pic, described as “Curb Your Enthusiasm meets True Blood,” in a Fall 2014 theatrical run and DVD/VOD release. Summer Of Blood opened Tribeca’s Viewpoints Section and also stars Anna Margaret Hollyman, Dakota Goldhor, Dustin Guy, Melodie Sisk, and Jason Selvig. Clifford McCurdy, Melodie Sisk, Max Heller and Matt Grady produced the film which Brooklynite Tukel shot in nine days in Bushwick. MPI’s Greg Newman negotiated the deal with XYZ Films’ Nate Bolotin on behalf of the filmmakers.
UPDATE, 6:15 PM: Hours after it was bought by RADiUS-TWC, the documentary Keep On Keepin’ On was chosen to receive the Documentary Award and the Jon Favreau-directed Chef won the Narrative Award. Both audience awards are sponsored by Heineken. Open Road begins the release rollout of Chef on May 9.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 2:32 pm PST: RADiUS-TWC has closed a deal for worldwide rights and remake rights for Keep On Keepin’ On, the documentary about a blind piano prodigy and his mentorship by a jazz legend whose pupils included Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. The film, which is produced by Jones and Paula DuPré Pesman (who won an Oscar for The Cove), made its premiere at Tribeca, where it won the Best New Documentary Director prize for helmer Al Hicks.
The dealmaking at Tribeca is not usually memorable, but several films at the fest have bites and other sales might follow this. This was a hot property; Netflix, Sony Pictures Classics, Magnolia and Samuel Goldwyn all sparked to the documentary after its premiere. I’m told the deal was low-seven figures.
Just days after its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, the extremely haunted house pic The Canal has been picked up by The Orchard. With the Irish/UK co-production horror film having premiered at Tribeca on April 18, the indie distributor now plans to release The Canal in 20 major North American markets theatrically as well as online, cable, satellite and via DVD later this year through their Shock Till You Drop banner. “Their passion and strong commitment to securing the film was clear from the outset and we look forward to working with them on it,” said producer AnneMarie Naughton of Park Films on the deal. Tracking the twin obsessions of film archivist David Williams that his wife is cheating on him and that their newly purchased period house was the scene of some very bloody and violent events, The Canal soon descends into madness and paranoia that may not be misplaced. Written and directed by Ivan Kavanagh, the 90-minute pic stars Rupert Evans and Antonia Campbell-Hughes, with Hannah Hoekstra, Kelly Byrne and Steve Oram. The film was produced by with co-producers Vaughan Sivell and Sander Verdonk. Today’s deal was negotiated by The Orchard’s Craig Sussman along with Nate Bolotin at XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers.
Writer-director Talya Lavie’s Israeli film took the Tribeca Film Festival‘s Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at the awards ceremony tonight in NYC. The Hebrew-language Zero Motivation is about everyday life in a unit of young female Israeli soldiers who pass time pushing paper, battling for the top score in Minesweeper and counting the minutes until they can return to civilian life. Paul Schneider was named Best Actor in a Narrative Feature for director Angus MacLachlan’s Goodbye To All That, and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi took Best Actress for Human Capital. Best Documentary feature went to director Marshall Curry’s Point And Shoot, about a sheltered American who joins the Libyan rebel army to take arms again Gaddafi — only to be captured and held in solitary confinement for six months. Here is the full list of winners:
EXCLUSIVE: Allen Iverson was one of the most controversial players the NBA has ever had. He was also one of the best shooters to ever hit the court, an 11-time All Star and the 2001 MVP. Now officially retired, the former Philadelphia 76er is the subject of a docu making its sold out world premiere on April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival. From first time director Zatella Beatty, Iverson features the man himself telling his own story in his own words with appearances from the Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade and former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw among others. Beatty’s 214 Productions produces alongside Ted Faye with Mandalay Sports Media and Moore Entertainment as EPs. If you didn’t get a ticket to Sunday’s 9:30 PM screening in NYC, check out the game of this exclusive Iverson clip here:
As a guy who has covered features my whole career, I find it distressing that the only time feature folks do risky things seems to be when they are making TV projects. Because theaters and studios can’t figure it out, films are frozen in an arcane system where you wait six months for a DVD and those who don’t want to wait, or see it in a theater, have no choice but to steal it. When they work in TV, these writer-directors play in a sandbox that gives viewers the ability to see that work, whenever and wherever they want to. Joss Whedon premiered a Brin Hill-directed micro-budget relationship film In Your Eyes at Tribeca, and announced right after that he’s making it available on Vimeo for five bucks. Obviously, Whedon makes a fortune on Marvel’s The Avengers movies, but he is onto something here, and other star filmmakers should take notice and empower new filmmakers by offering small-budget films directly to their audiences. Maybe it’s going to take mavericks like this guy to hasten the glacial pace of the evolution of the way consumers digest feature films. Here is his announcement:
EXCLUSIVE: Ed Perkins’ documentary Garnet’s Gold has some serious pedigree — it’s from producer Simon Chinn, who won Best Documentary Feature Oscars for James Marsh’s Man On Wire in 2009 and for Searching For Sugar Man in 2013. Both of those riviting docus scored because of their laser focus on what made their subjects tick. That is the plan here with Garnet’s Gold, which has its world premiere tomorrow at the Tribeca Film Festival. The pic tells the story of Garnet Frost, who, 20 years ago, nearly died hiking by Scotland’s Loch Arkaig, surviving by sheer chance. His brush with death has lingered with him for years, particularly the wooden staff he discovered right before he was rescued. After much research, Garnet is convinced the staff is actually a marker for a fortune hidden nearly 300 years ago, and he returns to the wilderness in search of it. Of course he ends up searching for much more than just gold. Check out the trailer here:
Hot Tribeca Clip For ‘Keep On Keepin’ On; Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock To Swing At Saturday’s Post-Premiere Performance
Mark the calendar for the April 19 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Keep On Keepin’ On, the Al Hicks-directed documentary about 23-year-old blind piano prodigy Justin Kauflin, who is helped over his terrible stage fright by his ailing mentor, jazz legend Clark Terry. Terry was Quincy Jones’ first teacher and mentor to Miles Davis. As they prepared for an elite international competition, the 89-year-old Terry saw his sight and then his health fail. While he is one of few to have played in the orchestras of Count Basie and Duke Ellington and later broke the color barrier as first African-American staff musician on NBC’s Tonight Show, the most important thing to Terry was hanging in to see Kauflin realize his dream and play his best at the competition. Jones produced with Paula DuPre’ Pesmen, latter of whom was behind the Academy Award-winning The Cove and Chasing Ice. After the festival premiere, the subjects will be there for a Q&A followed with a performance by Herbie Hancock, Esperanza Spalding, Dianne Reeves, Roy Hargrove and Kauflin, who’ll follow his star docu turn by tinkling the ivories. The performance is also being produced by Jones.
EXCLUSIVE: For his latest project, documentary filmmaker Brent Hodge turned his lens on a cult subculture of My Little Pony fans known as “Bronies”: men ages 13 to 30 who are obsessed with the Hasbro animation and toy franchise about magical talking horses that was created in the early 1980s and marketed to young girls. A Brony Tale, premiering April 26 at the Tribeca Film Festival, tracks the phenomenon through the eyes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic voice artist Ashleigh Ball, who embarks on her first trip to meet legions of Brony fans at the annual BronyCon. Check out the trailer and peek into the world of the Brony exclusively on Deadline:
Alastair Orr-directed Indigenous will make its world premiere in the Midnight section of the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival. In the ultimate vacation-gone-wrong scenario, the pic focuses on five friends who travel to Panama to rest and reconnect. Things take a turn when they befriend a local woman in their hotel bar—and despite some ominous whispers—she goes against the specific instructions of her brother and brings the Americans on a day trip into the pristine falls at the nearby jungle. What begins as an innocent outing quickly turns terrifying after she suddenly goes missing and they become prey for the legendary, blood-sucking Chupacabra. Cast includes Zachary Soetenga, Lindsey McKeon, Pierson Fode, Sofia Pernas, Laura Penuela, Juanxo Villaverde. Check out the trailer:
Paolo Virzi’s thriller Human Capital will hit theaters in early 2015 after Film Movement acquired rights to the Italian pic that stars Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Valeria Golino, and Fabrizio Bentivoglio. It is having its North American premiere April 18 at the Tribeca Film Festival. The movie begins at the end: a cyclist is run off the road by a careening SUV the night before Christmas Eve. As details emerge of the events leading up to the accident, the lives of the well-to-do Bernaschi family, privileged and detached, will intertwine with the Rovellis, struggling to keep their comfortable middle-class life, in ways neither could have expected. The deal was negotiated by Film Movement co-president Adley Gartenstein and Gilles Sousa, Head of International Sales at BAC Films.
EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea Clinton makes her filmmaking debut this month at the Tribeca Film Festival with interfaith docu short Of Many, directed by NYU professor Linda G. Mills. The 34-minute film tracks the story of orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Sarna and Imam Khalid Latif, two NYU chaplains who formed an unexpected collaboration to bring their respective Jewish and Muslim communities together in a post-9/11 New York. Mills, Clinton, Sarna, and Latif co-founded NYU’s Of Many Institute in 2012 to foster friendship and understanding between students of different faiths. The film tracks both chaplains’ efforts to inspire their students to dialogue, pray, and volunteer for disaster relief together in spite of their religious differences. Pic debuts April 17 at Tribeca and has already screened for buyers, with Brigade’s Adam Kersh handling sales. Check out the trailer:
The Tribeca Film Institute has unveiled its grant winners for this year’s TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, which supports filmmakers with cash and guidance on their films that focus on science, math and technology. It’s always a cool bunch of projects in a genre that is surely underserved, and with this year’s batch of winners getting $150,000 the fund has now awarded more than $1 million in its 12-year history. This year’s three winners include Imitation Game, based on the life of British mathematician and logician Alan Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch; the Weinstein Company acquired it for $7M at EFM this year, the highest price ever for a U.S. rights deal there. (With that kind of cash in the mix I guess the Sloan grant is more of a tip-of-the-hat kind of thing.) Recent TFI Sloan projects include 2030, the climate change pic from Vietnam that opened the Panorama section this year in Berlin; the Sundance pic and Indie Spirit Award nominee Computer Chess; and Focus’ A Birder’s Guide To Everything starring Ben Kingsley and Kodi Smit-McPhee. This year’s recipients, chosen by a jury that included John Slattery, Meg Ryan, Dark Knight scribe Jonathan Nolan, will be honored at the Tribeca fest that kicks off April 17. Part of the Alfred P Sloan Foundation-sponsored events this year include a 10-year retrospective screening and panel for Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind on April 21. Here are this year’s winners:
The judges are set for 13th annual edition of the event founded by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff. The seven competition juries for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival include 33 filmmakers, writers, producers, actors, journalists and entrepreneurs. The World Narrative Competition judges are Lake Bell, Steve Conrad, Bart Freundlich, Catherine Hardwicke and Ben Younger. Jurors for other categories include Toni Collette, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Goldblum, Alfonso Arau, Heather Graham, Anton Yelchin, HBO’s Sheila Nevins and Google’s Regina Dugan. The Nas rap docu Time Is Illmatic will open the fest, which runs April 16-27 in NYC. The recently re-retitled Begin Again closes it. Here is the full list of jurors and categories:
EXCLUSIVE: Andrew Disney’s comedy Intramural stars Nikki Reed and Jake Lacy and pretty much everyone the pic could grab backstage from Saturday Night Live: Kate McKinnon, Jay Pharoah and Beck Bennett. Brian McElhaney, Nick Kocher and Gabriel Luna also star in the Bradley Jackson-scripted pic that sends up the inspirational sports movie genre by centering on an intramural football crew that reunites later in life to play a game for the ages. The pic is set for an April 19 world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Check out the trailer:
HBO Documentary Films bought U.S. and overseas TV rights to the docu The Newburgh Sting, by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, who helmed Southern Comfort and The Cheshire Murders for the payweb. It debuts April 20 at Tribeca and will premiere on HBO in July. Pic reveals FBI involvement in the homegrown terror case of the “Newburgh Four.” Never before told publicly, the story offers startling insights into the state of surveillance in a post-9/11 world. Four street criminals with no history of violence or political ties, from an impoverished and largely African-American community, were drawn by a Pakistani FBI informant into a carefully orchestrated plot to bomb Jewish synagogues in a wealthy suburb of New York City and fire Stinger missiles at U.S. military supply planes. Their dramatic arrest, complete with armored cars, a SWAT team and FBI aircraft, played out under the gaze of major television outlets, and resulted in 25-year prison sentences. Many political figures lauded the case as a victory in the war on terror, but others have lambasted the sting as entrapment.
Jason Bateman has come aboard to narrate LEGO docu Beyond The Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary, which will make its debut this month at the Tribeca Film Festival. Pic, from Oscar-winning director Daniel Junge (Saving Face) and Oscar-nominated helmer Kief Davidson (Open Heart), is the first official LEGO documentary and tracks the globally popular toy line, as well as the community of fans that have loved them for generations. Bateman recently starred in and directed comedy Bad Words and also pulls narrator duty on NBC sitcom Growing Up Fisher. Submarine is repping domestic sales on the Lego “brickumentary” while financier GEM Pictures handles international rights, using a distribution system that allows publicly listed companies to buy film rights using shares instead of cash. Beyond the Brick premieres April 20 at Tribeca.
Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired documentary Art and Craft ahead of its Tribeca Film Festival debut next month. The company is planning a theatrical release later this year. The docu profiles Mark Landis, a still-active art forger who donates his counterfeit works to museums, as he’s tracked down by a registrar he’s duped and revealed to suffer from schizophrenia. The film is from directors Sam Cullman, who was Oscar-nominated as co-director of 2011′s If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, and Jennifer Grausman, who helmed the Emmy-nommed 2008 docu Pressure Cooker.“We’ve been discussing Art and Craft for some time and as excited as we were to see it, nothing could have prepared us for how blown away we’d be, said Oscilloscope’s Dan Berger and David Laub today. “Sam and Jennifer, along with co-director Mark Becker, capture these amazing characters with the perfect mixture of humor and heart, resulting in one of the most entertaining and moving documentaries we’ve seen in years. We’re honored that they have chosen to work with us on it.” Co-directer Becker also edited the film which is produced by Cullman and Grausman. Attorney Marc H. Simon of Cowan DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard negotiated for the filmmakers in the deal.