Screen Media Films has taken U.S. rights to Young Ones, the dystopian sci-fier from writer-director Jake Paltrow. Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning, and Kodi Smit-McPhee star in the film about ranchers (Shannon and Hoult) at odds in a desert wasteland where water has become the most precious commodity on the planet. Screen Media is plotting an October release for Young Ones, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival and marks Paltrow’s second feature following 2007′s The Good Night. Tristan Orpen Lynch and Michael Auret produced the film, and Daniel Wagner, Robert Ogden Barnum, Marina Fuentes Arredonda, James Atherton, Peter Garde, Nathan Johnson, Tara Moross, Brian O’Shea, and Jan Pace are exec producers. Subotica, Spier Films, and Saint Shadow co-financed the film in association with BiFrost Pictures, Quickfire Films, Six Sales, and The Exchange. Screen Media’s Suzanne Blech and Seth Needle negotiated the deal with UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.
Ensemble drama About Alex, from first-time helmer Jesse Zwick, has been picked up for North America by Screen Media Films. Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Nate Parker, Max Minghella, Jason Ritter, Maggie Grace, and Jane Levy star in the pic about a group of twentysomething pals who reunite one weekend after one of them suffers an emotional breakdown and attempts suicide. Akin to a Big Chill for the Facebook and Twitter generation, the recent Tribeca premiere will see a theatrical and VOD day and date release on August 8. Zwick wrote and directed the Footprint Features and Bedford Falls Company production, which was produced by Adam Saunders and exec produced by Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz. Screen Media’s Suzanne Blech and Seth Needle negotiated the deal with WME on behalf of the filmmakers. Red Sea Media is repping international sales.
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Breaking In) wrote, directed, and stars in the raunchy high school reunion comedy Back In The Day, which Screen Media Films scooped up and will release to theaters and on VOD. Morena Baccarin, Nick Swardson, Harland Williams, Sarah Colonna, and Isaiah Mustafa co-star in Rosenbaum’s helming debut, which follows Jim Owens (Rosenbaum) as he hits his high school reunion and wrangles his now-married friends together to relive their glory days, landing him in hot water with his pals and their wives. Rosenbaum shot the pic in Newburgh and Evansville, Indiana, where he grew up. Kim Waltrip produced for Kim and Jim Productions alongside Rose and Bomb Production. Screen Media has set an ultra VOD date of January 7, 2014 followed by a February 7, 2014 theatrical debut. Screen Media’s Suzanne Blech and Seth Needle negotiated the deal with Will Lowery repping the filmmakers. Rosenbaum is repped by APA, Untitled and Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman.
Focus World, the alternative distribution initiative owned and operated by Focus Features, is partnering with Screen Media Films on acquiring U.S. rights to A Birder’s Guide To Everything, which made its debut at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. The film will hit theaters and digital platforms in the spring of 2014. Directed by Rob Meyer, A Birder’s Guide To Everything centers on 15-year-old birding fanatic David Portnoy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as he heads off on an epic road trip with a ragtag crew that includes a legendary ornithologist (Ben Kingsley) to solidify a plan in birding history. Meyer and Luke Matheny penned the screenplay. Cast includes The Bling Ring‘s Katie Chang and James Le Gros. This marks the third collaboration for Focus World and Screen Media following The Lifeguard, which hits theaters Friday, and C.O.G., which opens next month. Both played at Sundance in January.
Focus World partnered with Screen Media Films in March to acquire U.S. rights to Sundance debut The Lifeguard. Kristen Bell plays a young woman whose career and love life crises send her home to live with her parents. There, she regresses back into high school life, hanging with her old pals and reclaiming her job at a condo complex pool. Liz W. Garcia wrote and directed the pic that also stars Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr and Amy Madigan. The movie releases on digital platforms on July 30 and in theaters on August 30.
Focus World, the alternative distribution initiative of Focus Features, is partnering with Screen Media Films on acquiring U.S. rights to The Lifeguard, the Kristen Bell-starrer that debuted at Sundance. The film will hit theaters and digital platforms. Written and directed by Liz W. Garcia, the pic stars Bell as a 30-year-old whose career and love life fall into crisis. She retreats home and regresses back into high school life, hanging with her old pals and reclaiming her old job as a condo complex lifeguard. Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr and Amy Madigan also star. Bell, who stars in Showtime’s House Of Lies, just spearheaded a successful Kickstarter funding campaign that means she’ll also star in a movie version of her series Veronica Mars. CAA repped Lifeguard.
Screen Media Films has announced the formation of Primal Screen, a new label horror label that will focus on the development, production, and acquisition of new fright films. Screen Media president Suzanne Blech will oversee this new unit of the company and Michael Dwyer and Seth Needle will be at the Toronto Film Festival looking to scare up titles. That means they’ll haunt the Midnight Madness offerings and get no sleep. “Under our Screen Media Films umbrella, we are excited to launch a branded line of horror titles in this still quite profitable genre,” said Blech. “The brand will focus on connecting with fans by releasing unique genre films that literally appeal to their primal thirst for all things horror.” It furthers Screen Media’s reach into genre fare, as they have already released titles that include Night Of The Living Dead 3D: Reanimation, FDR: American Badass, Inkubus, and I Sell The Dead.
Indie distributor Screen Media Films unveiled today seven movies that it will release this year under new president Suzanne Blech, who could add to that list as she’s a buyer at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. One of the films is the Matt D’Elia-directed SXSW title American Animal, which Screen Media acquired earlier this month. Blech said the company eventually will release a minimum of 12 films during the year and an additional 30 direct to the marketplace. Here’s the slate so far:
GOOD FOR NOTHING – directed by Mike Wallis, who has worked on films ranging from “Avatar” to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the film stars Inge Rademeyer and Cohen Holloway in this gritty and entertaining western that follows a young English woman who is kidnapped by a rugged outlaw while attempting to immigrate to her uncle’s ranch. As they continue west, emotions run high and feelings begin to change, leading to new discoveries and heightened drama. This hold-onto-your-hat western creatively rekindles the feelings of the Old West.
AMERICAN ANIMAL – directed by Matt D’Elia and starring D’Elia, Brendan Fletcher, Mircea Monroe, and Angela Sarafyan, this loud, irreverent comedy features Jimmy, a terminally ill young man with a penchant for waxing philosophical and sudden costume changes. His hedonistic world of casual sex, drinking and board games get derailed when he learns that his best friend and roommate, James, has gotten a job. The film premiered last year at SXSW Film Festival.
Screen Media Ventures today announced the appointment of Suzanne Blech as President of Screen Media Films. Blech has spent more than 9 years at Screen Media in theatrical and home entertainment operations and particularly acquisition of new release titles. The indie vet worked earlier in her career at USA, New Line, Turner, Warner/Elektra/Atlantic and LIVE. She will oversee the fall theatrical releases of the dark comedy The Lie and the French action thriller L’Assault, in addition to the release of the documentary Jig on October 4th. Blech will also attend next week’s Toronto International Film Festival to buy for her U.S./Canadian slate of films. Blech succeeds Robert Baruc, who is exiting the company. Since 2001, Screen Media Films has released more than 250 titles, and Screen Media Films has a library of over 1,500 motion pictures.twww.screenmediafilms.net.
Another worthy independent film that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival has found distribution. Screen Media Films has acquired North American rights to White Irish Drinkers, a hard-edged coming of age story set in 1975 Brooklyn. Written and directed by John Gray. A spring 2011 theatrical release is planned. Two teenage brothers try to figure out what to do with their lives, each badly bruised from being raised to be terrified by the drunken rages of their father. That role is played by Avatar’s Stephen Lang who plays a hard-drinking Irish blue collar worker handing down the lessons of becoming a man that he learned from his father: repress emotion, and rule with an iron fist. One brother is an art prodigy conflicted about showing his talent, and the other is creeping into the fringes of being a criminal. The drama centers around a deal to have the Rolling Stones come to Brooklyn for a one night only performance, which has implications for all the major characters.
Screen Media Films has picked up U.S. distribution rights to director Eric Mendelsohn’s 3 Backyards, starring Embeth Davidtz, Edie Falco and Elias Koteas. 3 Backyards dives into the lives of three residents of a small town over the course of one day. Screen Media is planning on a release date some time in the first half of 2011. Meanwhile, Phase 4 Films has acquired US rights to feature documentary Vidal Sassoon The Movie, from director Craig Teper. Slated for early 2011, the film world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Finally, Fox Searchlight will start shooting The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on October 10th in India. John Madden will direct the adaptation of the novel by Deborah Moggach. The film will star Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel and will be produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin of Blueprint Pictures. Fox Searchlight Pictures will co-finance the film with Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi.