Phase 4 Films acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to writer-director Shana Betz’s feature directorial debut Free Ride. The film stars Anna Paquin, Cam Gigandet, Drea De Matteo, Liana Liberato, Jeff Hephner, Brit Morgan and Ava Acres. Scripted by Betz, the film is produced by Susan Dynner, Cerise Hallam Larkin, Chris Swinney and Paquin, and executive produced by Mark Larkin and Stephen Moyer. This is the first film production from Paquin and Moyer’s new production company CASM. Phase 4 will release the film later this year in theaters and on demand. Paquin and Moyer star together in HBO’s True Blood. Set in the 1970s and based on her life story, Betz’s accomplished directorial debut is a provocative crime thriller: Paquin plays a single mother who moves to Florida with her daughters in search of a better life but gets pulled into the high-stakes drug-trade business.
FILM ROUNDUP: Steve McQueen & Chiwetel Ejiofor Join ‘Twelve Years A Slave’, Film Movement Buys ‘Corpo Celeste’, ‘Straight A’s Lands Leads
Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor are going to be seeing a lot of each other. McQueen has come aboard to direct Twelve Years a Slave, which will star Ejiofor in a true story about a New York man who was kidnapped in the mid-1800s and forced to become a slave on a Louisiana cotton plantation. Brad Pitt’s Plan B is producing. The news comes more than a year after Deadline told you that McQueen and Ejiofor are teaming on a Focus Features film based on the Broadway musical Fela!, about African musician-activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Ejiofor has learned to play piano and saxophone for that role. It’s unclear which of these movies will be made first. McQueen — who made waves with his debut film Hunger, about the Irish hunger strike that starred Michael Fassbender and earned the helmer the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 2008 — will premiere his latest feature, Shame, this fall in Venice. …
Film Movement has acquired North American rights to the Cannes Film Festival drama Corpo Celeste, the Italian-language feature that played in the Directors Fortnight sidebar. Alice Rohrwacher’s debut feature follows a 13-year-old girl’s coming-of-age in the poor southern Italian province of Calabria. The company plans a first-quarter 2012 theatrical launch day and date with VOD, with a national rollout to follow.