Coming on the heels of last weekend’s robust opening of Obvious Child, A24 is opening the first Cannes 2014 title The Rover, boasting an A-list cast including Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson and Scoot McNairy. Sundance Selects will bow the Aaron Paul-Juliette Lewis starrer Hellion exclusively in New York, while Music Box will also take A Coffee In Berlin to NYC for its initial launch. Samuel Goldwyn Films is partnering with Participant for Sundance doc Ivory Tower which asks whether higher education is worth the trillions in debt in the U.S. Adopt Films is countering this weekend’s 22 Jump Street and How To Train Your Dragon 2 studio releases with French film Violette while Gravitas Ventures opens I Am I.
Director-writer: David Michôd
Writer: Joel Edgerton,
Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy, David Field, Anthony Hayes, Gillian Jones
Producer Liz Watts produced filmmaker David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom through her company Porchlight Films and was lured to the current project after reading the screenplay for The Rover. The crime drama takes place 10 years after a global economic collapse in which a hardened ex-soldier tracks down the men who stole his only possession, traveling through the lawless Australian outback and taking a damaged young man as his accomplice. “I was keen to work with David again,” said Watts. “As a director and collaborator he is brilliant, but I also loved his screenplay for The Rover. I read it around the time we were traveling for Animal Kingdom’s release in January 2010.” Though the film is Australian in tone it has an international cast and backing. David Linde’s Lava Bear Films also produced as did FilmNation during the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. “By the shoot we’d pre-sold around 75% of international territories,” said Watts. “A24 came on board in May 2013 for domestic.” Watts said that critically important was shooting in Australia meant the filmmakers were able to seek significant investment through Screen Australia, together with the Producer’s Offset, and with state bodies South Australian Film Corporation (for shooting in South Australia) and Screen NSW (for post-production in Sydney). Read More »
Keshet Set To Shop ‘Elevator Pitch’ At Mip-TV
At next week’s Mip-TV, Keshet International is launching interactive format Elevator Pitch. CEO Alon Shtruzman calls the high-concept entrepreneur-focused show “the new Rising Star.” That singing competition series was the hot property at last year’s Mipcom and went on to sell to more than 25 territories including the U.S. and UK. Elevator Pitch sees entrepreneurs step inside a high-tech elevator and pitch their concepts to the viewing audience in a limited amount of time. As with Rising Star, viewers will be able to vote yay or nay via a specially designed app. A minimum percentage of positive votes will advance the would-be innovators up to the penthouse, where five business tycoons await. If they don’t achieve the necessary percentage, they are sent back to the ground floor and out the door. The live show asks the audience, “Would you buy the product/idea being pitched?” which Keshet says provides an instant form of market research. Those who ascend to the penthouse will enter a studio where they are the subject of a bidding war with the business people who have voted “in.” Keshet again has teamed with Tedy Productions, with which it is also partnered on Rising Star, to produce the primetime show. Elevator Pitch will launch later this year on Keshet Broadcasting. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Just more than a week after Sundance Selects picked up North American rights to Hellion, the pic’s writer-director Kat Candler has signed with ICM Partners. In competition in this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Hellion is Candler’s feature debut and stars Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, who was also a co-exec producer. Newcomer Josh Wiggins and Juliette Lewis co-star in the the film, which focuses on a family falling apart fast after the death of the mother. Candler adapted Hellion from her own short film that screened at Sundance two years ago. The film is produced by Kelly Williams & Jonathan Duffy and executive produced by Jeff Nichols (Mud) and Sarah Green. It is scheduled to be released theatrically and on VOD later this year and to play at SXSW this week. Candler continues to also be represented by attorney Deena Kalai.
Related: Sundance: Aaron Paul On ‘Hellion’, ‘Exodus’ & ‘Breaking Bad’s Golden Globes Win
Kat Candler’s Hellion debuted in Park City last month, and now Sundance Selects has taken North American rights to the pic. Exec produced by Jeff Nichols (Mud), Hellion stars newcomer Josh Wiggins as Jacob, a 13-year-old obsessed with metal and dirt bike racing whose delinquent behavior begins to raise concerns around town. Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul co-exec produces and stars as Hollis, father to Jacob and his younger brother Wes (Deke Garner), who’s drowning his own sorrows over the loss of their mother and must repair his family when CPS sends Wes to live with the boys’ aunt (Juliette Lewis). Candler wrote and directed the drama and adapted it from her own 2012 short, which also debuted at Sundance and starred Garner. She returned to the fest last year with another short, Black Metal, before debuting the feature-length Hellion produced by Kelly Williams and Jonathan Duffy. Sundance Selects has set a theatrical and VOD bow for later this year. Arianna Bocco, SVP Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films negotiated the deal with UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.
Related: Sundance: Aaron Paul On ‘Hellion’, ‘Exodus’, Producing & ‘Breaking Bad’s Golden Globes Win
“My heart truly lies with independent filmmaking,” says the now former Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, whose next project is decidedly not indie: 20th Century Fox’s Ridley Scott-helmed Bible epic Exodus. “Jumping on to a big blockbuster like Exodus, yes we are all making the movie together and it is very exciting and Ridley Scott is a badass and the script was brilliant, but it doesn’t have that intimate feel for me that independent filmmaking has,” says Paul. To that end, Paul is putting his name where his mouth is: After having played a hellion as Jesse Pinkman for 5 seasons, he’s carving out a new role for himself as an executive producer with the world premiere of Hellion going on right now at the Sundance Film Festival. Paul also stars as a widowed father in the shattered family drama based on a 2012 Sundance short by director Kat Candler. “The moment I met her I knew I had to work with her. She just breathed excitement,” says Paul of Candler. The actor first became aware of her after his Smashed helmer James Ponsoldt passed along the Hellion script accompanied with a letter of recommendation of Candler. “I thought it was just a beautifully honest story of struggle and this family,” says Paul. “I got on the phone with Kat, she flew out to Georgia where I was making Need For Speed, and we just talked about the story over milkshakes.” Soon after Paul became attached to the project and came onboard as a co-executive producer to give the film “more legs” and attract cast mates like Juliette Lewis. It’s now competing in the U.S. Dramatic category here.
Hellion isn’t Paul’s first film at Sundance. Ponsoldt’s booze-drenched Smashed played at the 2012 festival and took home the U.S. Dramatic Jury Award. “What’s so great about Sundance is that they only accept such a small handful of films per year for dramatic competition so you know when you’re going to Sundance that you’re going to see top-quality projects. Man, to be one of those 16 is just incredible,” Paul says.
Not that Paul won’t be on a lot of non-Sundance screens in the near future. Disney’s cross-country racing pic Need For Speed comes out March 14 with him behind the wheel in the lead role. Late last year, the actor wrapped his Joshua role in Exodus opposite Christian Bale as Moses — the Biblical epic comes out December 2. Paul’s also in Long Way Down, the Paschal Chaumeil-directed adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel, and the Gabriele Muccino-helmed Fathers & Daughters with Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried. And while Hellion is the first project Paul has executive produced, it’s not his only one this year. There’s the upcoming Neflix 12-episode animated series BoJack Horseman he’s EPing and voicing along with Will Arnett. That’s set to launch close to the midpoint of this year. Of course, there’s always the Breaking Bad prequel spinoff Better Call Saul, which Paul says he and Bryan Cranston are talking about finding ways to appear in.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Need For Speed’ Read More »
One day before Hellion has its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, its star has gotten some big new friends through his onscreen father. Josh Wiggins has signed with UTA and Leverage Management. Playing Jacob, Wiggins co-stars in the film, which debuts in Park City on Friday, with Aaron Paul. The Breaking Bad actor, who is a co-EP on Hellion, plays Jacob’s widowed father. Paul is also repped by UTA and Leverage. Juliette Lewis also stars in the film. Discovered by director Kat Candler from YouTube videos Wiggins made with pals, the dysfunctional family drama is the first professional acting gig by the 15-year old from Texas. “Josh had never acted before, and in every single take he blew me away. He really had an instinctual grasp of the character which helped set the tone for the entire shoot,” said Candler in a statement today. Hellion is based on Candler’s short film that screened at Sundance two years ago. The film is produced by Kelly Williams & Jonathan Duffy and executive produced by Jeff Nichols and Sarah Green. UTA is handling worldwide sales on Hellion.