This weekend’s specialty releases includes Friends With Kids, which will open in over 300 locations on one end and doc Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, slated for two initial runs in New York before heading slowly out in other cities on the other. Fresh from its string of Berlin acquisitions, Adopt Films will open The Ballad Of Genesis And Lady Jaye Stateside, while New Zealand “spaghetti western” Good For Nothing makes its way to theaters from down under. Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is also among this weekend’s specialty offerings – a project he took over before shooting.
The Ballad Of Genesis And Lady Jaye
Director: Marie Losier
Cast: Genesis P-Orridge, Lady Jaye Breyer P’Orridge and Big Boy Breyer P’Orridge
Distributor: Adopt Films
One of the early pick ups by Adopt Films, the documentary about artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and his wife and collaborator, Lady Jaye was picked up by Adopt Films last Labor Day by the newly formed company co-headed by the veteran specialty distributor Jeff Lipsky who co-founded October Films back in the ’90s. “I don’t know that I’ve ever been involved with another film after distributing over 230 films that has been in production for seven years,” Lipsky told Deadline. He and partner Tim Grady made news at the recent Berlin International Film Festival picking up a number of films from the event’s competition lineup, surprising even Lipsky. “It was a surreal experience. We saw so many films in main competition that blew me away, so we decided to go for buying films. We thought we’d never get them but we did. That (experience) never happened at October or Lot 47 Films.”
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EXCLUSIVE: In a deal that just kisses seven-figures, WWE Studios has acquired U.S. distribution rights to The Day, the Douglas Aarniokoski-directed post apocalyptic thriller that played last night in the Midnight Madness program. WWE Studios is a surprise combatant in the film acquisitions ring, but newly named WWE Studios president Michael Luisi said the company will use its TV, digital/social media and print assets–which reach more than 20 million people each week–to generate heat for the film.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, five survivors wander along the back roads, trying to survive. Food and ammunition is dwindling and their attempt at seeking shelter leads them into a battleground where they must make a final stand. The film takes place over a nightmarish 24 hours. Shawn Ashmore, Ashley Bell, Michael Eklund, Cory Hardrict, Dominic Monaghan and Shannyn Sossamon star. The soundtrack is by Rock Mafia. The film first screened for media on Monday, and distributors including eOne, Anchor Bay, IFC and Lionsgate circled all week before a deal was closed right after the film’s midnight premiere at the Ryerson. Luke Passmore wrote the script and Guy A. Danella produced. Aarniokoski, Michael Finley, Tim James, Antonina Armato and Ross M. Dinerstein were exec producers.
“The Day is a renegade thriller ride that will not disappoint audiences,” Luisi said in a statement. “We went to Toronto looking for flms to showcase and expand the WWE Studios brand and found exactly that with Doug’s exceptional film.” … Read More »
Content Film announced today that it has landed foreign sales rights to Doug Aarniokoski’s action thriller The Day ahead of its world premiere screening in the Midnight Madness section of the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. The film, which stars Shawn Ashmore, Ashely Bell, Michael Eklund, Cory Hardrict, Dominic Monaghan and Shannon Sossamon, revolves around a group of survivors who fight to stay alive amid a war against humanity. Luke Passmore wrote the script, and Guy Danella is producer; Aarniokoski, Michael Finley, Tim James, Antonina Armato and Ross Dinerstein executive produce. Kevin Iwashina of Preferred Content is handling North American sales. Content also will be selling at Toronto foreign rights on the Sarah Palin documentary Sarah Palin: You Betcha!, which was acquired earlier today for domestic release by Freestyle Releasing, and the Chloe Moretz-Blake Lively pic Hick.
Preferred Ventures and Might Entertainment have acquired the ancillary rights to the Kino Lorber film library. The fund will exploit the rights of more than 700 past titles plus 36 more titles over the next three years on cable VOD, IPTV, satellite and broadband outlets that will include iTunes, Xbox and PlayStation. Preferred Ventures, a newly established digital investment fund formed by Kevin Iwashina and Ross Dinerstein’s Preferred Content, Freecreditreport.com founder Ed Ojdana and ex-Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, paid in the six figures for those ancillary rights. Kino Lorber has separate deals with digital vendors that include Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, Fandor and Epix. Preferred Ventures’ Iwashina made the deal with Might Entertainment president Andy Bohn and Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber.
Might and Kino Lorber partnered on the VOD releases Winnebago Man and Mademoiselle Chambon, and they have six films scheduled for release over the next few months. Those titles include the French kidnapping thriller Rapt, the crime drama The Robber, the Romanian drama Tuesday, After Christmas, Giorgio Moroder’s Metropolis, and the documentary El Bulli. This will probably not be the last film library to make niche deals to further exploit its library in areas that hadn’t previously brought much revenue. As evidenced by The Weinstein Company’s formation of a VOD label, film companies are finding more and more ways to realize revenue from film library assets.
“As we look to expand the audience for independent film on emerging platforms, we … Read More »
Little Birds, the Elgin James-directed drama about two restless teenage girls who leave their dying Salton Sea hometown to take a dangerous road trip to Los Angeles with three street kids, has been acquired for North American distribution by Millennium Entertainment. The film stars Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Kate Bosworth and Leslie Mann. James is the reformed former gang member who in March was sentenced to spend a year in jail by a federal judge in Chicago. James had to answer for an incident from his past, the charge involving a 2005 attempt to extort $5000 from a man. I met James at Sundance, and found him to be very honest about himself, his rough upbringing, and in how he had turned his life around with a decision to embrace non-violence. Seeing his movie get a chance to reach audiences has to be a spot of good news in an EKG year in which he debuted the film at Sundance to acclaim, started getting hired to write studio films, and then drew the jail sentence. The plan is to release the film in the fall, and timing will be key here, because James is eligible to be freed 10 months into a sentence rendered in early March. Will he be released before his film is? Read More »
EXCLUSIVE:They saved the best for last on the final movie day of the South By Southwest Festival. In the biggest deal of SXSW this year and possibly ever for the Austin fest, Anchor Bay paid low seven figures for U.S. rights to the Xavier Gens-directed genre thriller The Divide. Multiple territories are still in play. France was acquired by BAC Films, and a deal will be made shortly for Canada, with Anchor Bay a contender for that territory as well. Content Film is handling international.
The Divide made its world premiere Sunday at midnight, and the deal was closed this evening by Kevin Iwashina of Preferred Content, WME Global’s Graham Taylor and Anchor Bay’s Kevin Kasha. The Divide is a post-apocalyptic Lord of the Flies, set in the basement apartment of a New York building. It’s a gritty film but played through the roof at its premiere. Michael Biehn and Milo Ventimiglia star, and Ross Dinerstein and Darryn Welch produced.
WME Global had a strong SXSW, closing three deals in Austin. In the other two deals brokered by the agency, The Weinstein Company paid low seven figures for the high school gridiron documentary Undefeated, buying distribution and remake rights, and a multi-faceted deal was made by WME Global for the Rodman Flender-directed Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. That documentary is about the concert tour the late-night host undertook … Read More »