Amid last year’s shake-up at Focus Features, the group’s international sales arm was shuttered. Focus is now turning to Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity to handle rights outside North America on select titles from the company. The formalized relationship will complement the activities of Universal Pictures International, which distributes Universal and Focus movies internationally. The new tie-up had been expected, notably after Sierra/Affinity took over Mike Flanagan’s Oculus and follow-up, Somnia, at the AFM, both of which were previously with Focus Features International. The relationship with Focus and Sierra/Affinity kicks off at this EFM where the latter will service existing licensing and distribution agreements on Kevin Macdonald’s Black Sea and Jeremy Renner-starrer Kill The Messenger, a hot property for FFI last Berlin. Click over for more details on the new pact:
Berlin Briefs: Rebecca Hall Joins Romantic Comedy ‘Tumbledown’; Nikki Reed Answers ‘Email’; Content Steering Steve McQueen Docu ‘The Man & Le Mans’
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Rebecca Hall has been cast in the romantic comedy Tumbledown, directed by Sean Mewshaw from a screenplay by Desi Van Til. We’re The Millers’ Jason Sudeikis, Blythe Danner and Joe Manganiello are already aboard the pic, which Kristin Hahn is producing with Aaron L. Gilbert and Margot Hand of Bron Studios. It is set to begin production in March in Massachusetts. Previously, Rose Byrne was the co-lead when the project was announced in April 2013, with CAA packaging the project and repping North American rights. CAA remains aboard, and Sierra/Affinity is repping the international rights at next month’s European Film Market in Berlin. The plot: Deep in the Maine woods, Hannah (Hall) is unable to move on after the death of her husband, an acclaimed musician and the subject of the biography she’s struggling to write. That’s when she meets Andrew (Sudeikis), a brash New York academic who has a different take on her husband’s life — and death. The unlikely pair must collaborate to craft the famous singer’s story and begin to write the next chapter in their lives together. Hall, repped by WME and Julian Belfrage Associates, just wrapped production on Wally Pfister’s Transcendence for Warner Bros.
Los Angeles, CA – January 13, 2014 – Lakeshore Entertainment announced the launch of their partnership with Sierra/Affinity to acquire worldwide distribution rights from independent film producers. The new venture will provide producers and financiers with a unique one-stop-shop alternative to license all or a portion of their worldwide territories.
It will be financed and operated under Lakeshore’s long-standing international sales, distribution and marketing division, Lakeshore International. Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity will work with Lakeshore to identify projects to acquire and the international sub-distributors to exploit the rights. The company will provide producers with levels of speed and certainty to sell their international distribution rights that do not currently exist in the marketplace.
AFM Briefs: Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane To Star In ‘Somnia’; Image Acquires ‘Drive Hard’; Myriad To Sell ‘Frontera’ Overseas; ’10 Things I Hate About Life’ Revived; More
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Sierra/Affinity has added two titles to its lineup for the AFM, both directed by Mike Flanagan, and both originally with the soon-to-shutter Focus Features International. The first is Flanagan’s Oculus, which premiered in Toronto and was acquired by Relativity for U.S. distribution. The other is Flanagan’s follow-up, Somnia, which will star Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane. Flanagan wrote the script with his Oculus partner Jeff Howard (the pair recently sold their original pitch, Peekers, to Lionsgate). Production starts November 11th. Somnia is about an orphaned child whose dreams and nightmares manifest physically as he sleeps. Demarest Films and MICA Entertainment are financing, with Intrepid Pictures’ Trevor Macy and Demarest’s Sam Englebardt and William D. Johnson Producing. Mali Elfman and D. Scott Lumpkin are executive producers. Bosworth is repped by CAA, Radius Entertainment, and Sloane Offer Weber and Dern. Jane is repped by Paradigm and Ziffren Brittenham. Flanagan and Howard are with APA, Affirmative Entertainment, and Nelson Davis Wetzstein.
Image Entertainment has acquired U.S. rights to the actioner Drive Hard starring John Cusack (The Number Station, 2012) and Jane (The Punisher). The pic recently finished production in Australia and is set for a theatrical release next year. Brian Trenchard-Smith directed from a screenplay by Chad and Evan Law about a former race car driver-turned-driver’s training instructor (Jane) who is abducted by a mysterious thief (Cusack) and forced to be the wheelman for a crime that puts both in the sights of the cops and the mob and leads them all on a chase across Australia’s Gold Coast.
Myriad Pictures said it will handle worldwide sales outside the U.S. and Canada on the dramatic thriller Frontera starring Ed Harris, Eva Longoria, and Michael Peña. Michael Berry directed and co-wrote the script with Luis Moulinet III. CAA is repping U.S. and Canadian rights to the pic, which follows the events that take place after a former U.S. sheriff’s wife (Amy Madigan) is fatally injured while riding on her ranch property in the dangerous border area between the U.S. and Mexico.
EXCLUSIVE: Winter’s Discontent is the 2008 Black List script by Paul Fruchbom which Sony acquired for Atlas Entertainment a few years back. The well-liked project, which taps into the current zeitgeist of adult comedies, is moving forward with Billy Crystal attached to star as a widower who moves into a reputed, active mature community in an attempt to reinvigorate his sex life. Frank Oz, director of such pics as In & Out and Death At A Funeral, has come aboard to helm. Sony Pictures will distribute domestically and has taken rights in select foreign territories. Atlas is producing and Sierra Pictures is financing. Sierra/Affinity starts foreign sales in Cannes. Charles Roven and Alex Gartner are producing. Exec producers are Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg, Kelly McCormick and Jake Kurily. Crystal recently starred in Parental Guidance and is next up in Monsters University from Pixar. He’s repped by CAA and managed by David Steinberg and Larry Brezner. Oz is repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity has committed to finance Blackout, an action thriller script by Sidney King. Broken Road Productions’ Todd Garner will produce with Sierra/Affinity, and Broken Road’s Jeremy Stein will be exec producer. A cop tasked with transporting a mysterious and dangerous criminal across town finds that job much more difficult when a city-wide blackout plunges them into darkness and chaos.
The companies’ newly launched Sierra/Engine Television creates a new distribution and production venture for the global TV marketplace. The entity will debut at MIPCOM this year and combine Sierra/Affinity‘s international film sales and distribution expertise with Engine Entertainment‘s strength as a distributor of TV programming for global audiences. It will be run by Engine CEO Chris Philip. It’s the latest move into the TV business for Sierra/Affinity, which earlier this month pacted with Georgeville Television to distribute overseas Georgeville’s Crossbones, a 10-episode order for NBC from Luther creator Neil Cross and producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald; Hunters (aka Epidemic), a 13-episode order for ABC from J. Michael Straczynski and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment. The new Sierra/Engine will offer the titles to MIPCOM next month.
Sierra/Affinity will handle international sales for The Trials Of Cate McCall and Plus One. Currently shooting in LA, the legal redemption drama Trials stars Kate Beckinsale and Nick Nolte. The thriller Plus One, directed by Dennis Iliadis, stars Rhys Wakefield, Ashley Hinshaw, Logan Miller and Natalie Hall. “Trials and Plus One are both strong projects that I know will resonate with audiences worldwide and we are very pleased to have been chosen to handle what I know will be strong international sales,” Sierra/Affinity CEO Nick Meyer said.
The 18-month-old Sierra/Affinity also has two films in production in partnership with Incentive Filmed Entertainment; the Taylor Hackford-directed crime thriller Parker, starring Jason Statham and Nolte, and the suspense thriller Wer are scheduled for release next year. Partnering with OddLot Entertainment, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Bold Films, Sierra/Affinity has seven films in postproduction and five planned to start production before the end of the year, including the sci-fi prodigy pic Ender’s Game.
The creative team behind horror hit The Devil Inside have lined up a new untitled project that will be financed vby Sierra/Affinity and the Incentive Filmed Entertainment Fund. The Untitled Bell/Peterman Project will be directed by William Brent Bell from a screenplay he and Matthew Peterman wrote. It will bring a similar filmmaking style to another classic horror mythology. The plot is being kept under wraps but the project will begin production in Romania in April. Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity, Insidious), Peterman (The Devil Inside) and Morris Paulson (The Devil Inside) are producing. Bell, Peterman and Paulson will oversee the movie through their production company Pototype. Sierra/Affinity will pitch the project to buyers next month in Berlin during the European Film Market. Sierra/Affinity and Incentive are also behind the upcoming Parker starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez and directed by Taylor Hackford from a screenplay by John J. McLaughlin. It’s based on the Parker novels by Donald E. Westlake. FilmDistrict is distributing in the U.S. Incentive also financed the Area 51 project written and directed by Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity).
Newcomer Sierra/Affinity announced today that it will rep international sales at Cannes for the dark comedic thriller Filth, based on the bestselling Irvine Welsh novel. The adaptation was penned by Jon S. Baird; Ken Marshall is producing via Steel Mill Pictures (London to Brighton). In the book, an Edinburgh police detective manipulates those around him to secure a promotion and win back his wife and daughter, hitting on themes of abuse of power and all things sleazy.
LOS ANGELES — January 5, 2011 – Capitalizing on the ever-evolving global film marketplace, Sierra Pictures and Affinity International announced today the creation of a new sales company called Sierra / Affinity. The new entity will represent sales of third party films as well as act as the exclusive sales agent for films developed and produced by OddLot Entertainment, Bold Films and Sierra Pictures and its partner, Incentive Filmed Entertainment. Sierra / Affinity will offer commercial films designed to appeal to both the North American marketplace as well as top markets around the globe.
Sierra / Affinity will be run by CEO Nick Meyer with his partner Marc Schaberg who will serve as the company’s COO and CFO. OddLot’s founder Gigi Pritzker and Bold Films’ founder Michel Litvak will serve on Sierra / Affinity’s three-person Board along with Meyer. The new company will capitalize on an economy of scale by harnessing the development, production and financing capabilities of respected producers OddLot and Bold and combining them with Sierra’s sales, sourcing and financing infrastructure. The relationship between the companies also offers co-financing opportunities on film projects.
“The creation of Sierra / Affinity offers the marketplace a new world class sales organization that is primed to represent third party product as well as films developed produced and financed both jointly and independently from Sierra, OddLot and Bold,” said Meyer. “Gigi and Michel have produced many notable films and their companies continue to remain at the forefront