On the heels of New York-based IFC establishing a presence on the West Coast in March, sibling WE tv too is opening a Los Angeles outpost. Promoted from director to senior director, Megan Lawrence will move from New York to LA to oversee WE tv’s unscripted development efforts in the market, reporting to Deirdre O’Hearn, VP, development and talent, based in NYC. She will work out of AMC Networks’ Santa Monica office. WE tv’s production and development is overseen by NYC-based SVP, Lauren Gellert. WE tv’s summer original slate got off to a solid start last week with the launch of the network’s Friday lineup.
We already scooped the some of the top castings in The Spoils Of Babylon, IFC’s six-episode epic miniseries spoof produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny Or Die, including Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig and Haley Joel Osment. Now IFC has officially unveiled the cast of the project, which also includes Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Michael Sheen and Tim Robbins, as well as more details about the mini. Here is the release:
BREAKING: IFC Films acquired U.S. rights to the Arie Posin-directed The Face Of Love, which stars Annette Bening, Ed Harris, Robin Williams, Jess Weixler and Amy Brenneman. Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn at Mockingbird Pictures produced the project. The company is planning a September 2013 release. Exclusive Media is handling international rights. The plot: Five years after losing the love her life, Nikki (Bening) falls in love at first sight. Tom (Harris) is an art teacher with a kind heart and a zest for life. Unbeknownst to him, he’s also practically an exact lookalike of her dead husband. “I was incredibly fortunate to have Annette Bening and Ed Harris in front of the camera; their brilliance and unflinching search for the truth was a constant inspiration,” Posin said. IFC’s Arianna Bocco made the deal with WME and CAA repping the filmmakers.
EXCLUSIVE: Haley Joel Osment is set to co-star opposite Will Ferrell, Tobey Maguire and Kristen Wiig in The Spoils Of Babylon, IFC’s six-episode miniseries produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny Or Die. In the vein of The Thorn Birds and Winds Of War, the epic story of The Spoils Of Babylon chronicles the sexy and dramatic lives of the Morehouse family who made their fortune in the oil business.
EXCLUSIVE: Why wait for Cannes? IFC is taking domestic distribution rights off the table for Sils Maria, the Olivier Assayas-directed film that will star Mia Wasikowska and Juliette Binoche. The title refers to the Swiss setting, and the film explores middle age and that introspective period where one questions how they’ve spent their life so far and what they’ve accomplished. Assayas reportedly wrote the script for Binoche, with whom he worked on Summer Hours. She plays an actress obsessed with her past choices, and Wasikowska plays her assistant.
IFC today announced a slate of 11 comedy projects, including three pilot orders. Here are details:
TIMMS INDUSTRIAL PIPING (Pilot; working title)
A scripted comedy set in the fictional town of Timms Valley, Wisconsin, where the lives and livelihoods of its citizens are intertwined with the fate of the town’s biggest employer, Timms Industrial Piping. When the company’s founder and CEO goes missing in a plane crash, the lives of the characters are turned upside down. Shot in stop-motion animation with baby dolls repurposed as an array of adult characters, and modeled on 1980s primetime soaps like Dynasty, the show is written by Steven Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Pursuit of Happyness), and created by Conrad, Jeff Dieter and Tom Glynn.
As it ramps up original programming, New York-based IFC is establishing a presence on the West Coast with the relocation of Erin Keating, Director of Development, who will be based at AMC Networks’ offices in Santa Monica. The goal is for IFC to be closer to the vast Hollywood creative community and take more meetings and pitches with writers, agents and producers. Additionally, IFC has a growing roster of Los Angles-based productions. They include Comedy Bang! Bang and the two new scripted comedy series the nwtwork greenlighted last week: The Spoils Of Babylon, produced by Funny or Die, and The Birthday Boys, a sketch comedy series executive produced by Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller. Keating, who developed the two new shows, reports to Dan Pasternack, VP Development and Production, who remains based in New York. She has been at IFC for four years.
Michael Winterbottom‘s The Look Of Love premiered in Sundance where it was acquired by IFC for North America. The film stars Steve Coogan as Paul Raymond, aka ‘The King of Soho.’ Raymond built businesses that included the notorious Raymond Revue Bar and Men Only magazine through the 60s and 70s, to ultimately become Britain’s richest man, but lose those closest to him in the process. The movie also stars Anna Friel, Tamsin Egerton, Imogen Poots, Stephen Fry and David Walliams. Winterbottom previously directed Coogan in 24 Hour Party People and The Trip. Studiocanal releases in the UK on April 26. Here’s the trailer:
IFC has greenlit original scripted comedy series The Spoils Of Babylon, produced by Funny or Die, and The Birthday Boys, a sketch comedy series executive produced by Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller who first worked together on Saturday Night Live and The Ben Stiller Show.
The Spoils Of Babylon, which has received a six-episode order, is an adaptation of a best-selling novel by fictional famous author Eric Jonrosh (played by Ferrell). The blowsy century-spanning saga chronicles the sexy and dramatic lives of a family who made their fortune in the oil business. Andrew Steele (Saturday Night Live) co-wrote the script with Matt Piedmont (Casa de mi Padre) who is directing. The two executive produce with Ferrell and McKay. “This is a crazy and maybe even a stupid idea,” said Will Ferrell. “IFC is either really courageous or really stupid which makes them the perfect partner for us.”
IFC has picked up a second season of original series Comedy Bang! Bang!, hosted by comedian-writer and podcast host Scott Aukerman (Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis). The network has ordered 20 episodes, double the first season’s order, to air in 10-episode arcs on IFC. The first 10 episodes will debut in third-quarter 2013, with the remaining 10 slated to air in fourth quarter. Production is currently underway in Los Angeles. Comedy Bang! Bang! riffs on the late-night talk show format with improv elements and Reggie Watts (Conan) as music cohort. Season 1 featured a rotating lineup of known comedians and actors including Amy Poehler and Galifianakis. “Comedy Bang! Bang! perfectly embodies the type of sharp, smart comedy space IFC inhabits,” said Debbie DeMontreux, IFC’s SVP Original Programming. Comedy Bang! Bang! is produced by Abso Lutely Prods; Aukerman and Dave Kneebone serve as executive producers.
EXCLUSIVE: In the second seven-figure deal so far today at the Toronto Film Festival, IFC is acquiring U.S. rights to Byzantium, the vampire film by Neil Jordan that has festgoers feeling the filmmaker has returned to the terrain of Interview With The Vampire. I’m told that the deal coming together is several million dollars in minimum guarantee and marketing commitment. While IFC has been heavy into multiplatform, this film has designs on a theatrical release broadening out to several hundred screens.
Scripted by Moira Buffini, Byzantium stars Gemma Arterton, Caleb Landry Jones, Daniel Mays, Jonny Lee Miller, Sam Riley and Saoirse Ronan. It is produced by Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen. The story focuses on two vampires who are on the run from the past and who are hiding a terrible secret.
IFC has launched an “Adopt-A-Comic” program designed to spotlight the standout work of comedians who share the cable network’s “Slightly Off” sensibilities. The network’s first “adoptee” is comedian Chris Gethard (The Chris Gethard Show) who will develop his own comedy series for IFC based on his recent book, A Bad Idea I’m About To Do: True Tales Of Seriously Poor Judgment And Stunningly Awkward Adventure. IFC has ordered a pilot script of the project. Additionally, Gethard will host on-air programming, create exclusive content for IFC.com and more. “When I told my parents I was being adopted by a television station, they said ‘Why do you need to be adopted? You are 32 years old. We gave you a pretty good, easy suburban life,’” Gethard said. “They don’t get how much of an opportunity it is for me that a hip cable network wants to raise me like a human baby.” Next year, Gethard will be seen in Iron Man 3 and is currently shooting Paul Feig’s The Heat starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy for 20th Century Fox.
New York, NY (August 9, 2012) – IFC Films announced today the company is acquiring all U.S. rights to director Bill Guttentag’s (SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION) political drama KNIFE FIGHT. Guttentag wrote the screenplay with political consultant Chris Lehane, who served as White House advisor to President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton andserved as Vice President Al Gore’s press secretary. The film stars Rob Lowe,Jaime Chung, Julie Bowen, Richard Schiff, Saffron Burrows, Jennifer Morrison, David Harbour, EricMcCormack, and Carrie-Anne Moss. Guerrino De Luca and Catherine and Daniel Davila produced the film, with Lowe and William Green executive producing. KNIFE FIGHT had its world premiere earlier this year at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
If a political candidate is personally flawed, but stands to make a positive difference in millions of lives, would you help him win? That question looms over the life of “true believer” Paul Turner (Lowe), a savvy strategist sharply maneuvering politicians out of scandal and into public office in KNIFE FIGHT. With the help of a bright young assistant (Chung) and a seedy operative (Schiff), Turner spins every news cycle and a shrewd reporter (Bowen) on behalf of his clients: a philandering Kentucky governor (McCormack), a blackmailed California senator (Harbour), and an idealistic doctor turned gubernatorial candidate (Moss). When the ugly side of Turner’s work begins to haunt him, he learns that even in the bloodiest of battles, sometimes you have to fight clean.
IFC‘s bloody and unabashedly politically incorrect new half-hour drama Bullet In The Face allegedly made network execs shocked and nervous during a screening. Now comes our first peek at the series, about a German assassin-turned-cop who is without conscience or filter, shooting people indiscriminately and accompanying the acts with radically offensive invective. The series premieres as three episodes back-to-back on two consecutive nights — August 16-17, from 10 PM-11:30 PM.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
When IFC and Sundance Channel president Evan Shapiro departed his post in April, the forthcoming IFC original comedy Bullet In The Face lost its biggest champion. And champions are exactly what a show like Bullet needs considering that the broad, over-the-top half-hour may be the most violent comedy in television history. According to sources, when IFC execs screened the six-episode series, there was shock and nervousness in the room. And now the controversial Bullet, which was not mentioned during IFC’s upfront presentation in March, is being scheduled in a very odd pattern: three episodes back-to-back on two consecutive nights, August 16 and August 17, from 10 PM-11:30 PM.
The uncertainty of what to do with Bullet In The Face is understandable. While its first three screened episodes show it to be uproarious and twisted, it’s also rife with cinematic-level violence and wildly politically incorrect imagery. It stars Canadian actor Max Williams as Gunter Vogler, a brutally psychopathic, deliriously misogynistic German assassin-turned-cop. The character is utterly without conscience or filter, shooting people indiscriminately and accompanying it with radically offensive invective. The blood spurts freely and often. Eric Roberts and Eddie Izzard co-star as wacko mob bosses. But here is the kind of stuff that may have spooked IFC into turning Bullet into a two-night event rather than a weekly series: We see Gunter in a church using a crucifix as a backscratcher and casually lumping former VP Dick Cheney with Hitler and Stalin in conversation. He mows down basketball players on a court as if taking target practice. It isn’t difficult to see watchdog groups taking offense at the material and using it to demonize IFC.
As expected, AMC Networks has promoted Jennifer Caserta to IFC president and general manager. She succeeds IFC TV and Sundance Channel president Evan Shapiro, who recently left the company to become president of Participant Television. AMC Networks was not expected to seek a replacement for him, with Caserta, EVP and general manager of IFC, and Sarah Barnett, EVP and general manager of Sundance Channel, absorbing his duties. Both have reported to AMC Networks COO Ed Carroll, and in her new capacity, Caserta will continue to do so. “Jen has been a tremendous asset to the network, leading IFC’s successful rebrand and its transition last year to an ad-supported model, and implementing an original programming strategy that’s resonating with viewers,” Carroll said. As EVP as GM of IFC, a position she had held since 2008, Caserta spearheaded IFC’s 2010 rebrand around new tagline “Always On. Slightly Off”; implemented the network’s transition from a sponsorship model to an ad-supported network; and greenlit original comedies The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret, Onion News Network, docu-comedy Whisker Wars and the upcoming Comedy Bang! Bang! and Bunk, premiering June 8. Before becoming GM, Caserta was IFC’s EVP of marketing, communications, scheduling and alternative programming.
IFC has picked up a third season of breakout Portlandia, the cable network announced at its first ever upfront presentation today in New York on the heels of becoming an ad-supported network earlier this year. IFC also unveiled a programming slate that includes several new comedies. Among newcomers are the animated coming-of-age series Out There; the unscripted comedy/talk show Comedy Bang Bang, based on comedian Scott Aukerman’s podcasts; the comedy game show Bunk; and the tentatively titled Maron, inspired by the life of edgy comedian Marc Maron. In addition to Portlandia, other returning shows on the IFC slate include Whisker Wars, from Original Productions and a new installment of rapper R. Kelly’s “hip hopera” Trapped In The Closet (the original aired in 2007). Here is the release:
UPDATE, SATURDAY AM: IFC’s sister label Sundance Selects has acquired U.S. rights to Mungiu’s film, which now has a title: Beyond The Hills. The official announcement was made today. The release follows the original exclusive below.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, FRIDAY PM: IFC has acquired U.S. rights to Cristian Mungiu’s upcoming untitled film that’s expected to turn up as an official selection in Cannes. The Romanian director’s first feature since 2007′s Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days centers on a young woman’s descent into madness at an Orthodox convent. Wild Bunch, which is co-producing and handling international sales, also concluded deals in Spain, France, Greece, Israel, Mexico and Colombia at the European Film Market. IFC has also acquired Wild Bunch’s Hélène Fillières-directed Tied, which stars Benoît Poelvoorde and Laetitia Casta as a banker and his mistress in a sadomasochistic relationship. That film sold in the UK to Momentum along with several other territories including Switzerland, Russia, Israel, South Korea, Singapore and Turkey.