EXCLUSIVE: Producer Rich Middlemas, who won an Oscar this year for the feature documentary Undefeated, announced today he will produce a film version of House To House: An Epic Memoir Of War (Free Press). It’s the critically acclaimed book about the Second Battle of Fallujah written by Silver Star- and Bronze Star-decorated Iraq War vet David Bellavia. The 2007 book is a deeply personal account of Bellavia’s life-threatening experiences during the November 2004 battle for insurgent-occupied Fallujah and details his conflicted relationship between duty to country and his family. It has sold several hundred thousand copies and been issued in four languages to date. ”From the moment I read House To House it became a passion project of mine, so I’m truly humbled that David has entrusted me with this opportunity,” said Middlemas, who will produce through his Five Smooth Stones Productions. ”I have the utmost respect and admiration for our soldiers, and very much believe filmgoers will embrace a faithful retelling of this incredible story in the same way readers continue to embrace the book.”
Exclusive Media has sealed a deal with the UK’s Dogwoof on the Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin-directed Oscar-winning documentary Undefeated. The film caused a stir at the Oscars when Martin uttered a swear word during his acceptance speech (the delay button caught it — he later apologized). The doc focuses on three underprivileged student athletes and the volunteer coach who guides them through a football season in North Memphis. Hip hop impresario Sean Combs boarded the film as an executive producer in February, just ahead of the Oscars. Exclusive’s documentary arm Spitfire Pictures and Zipper Bros Films produced the pic in association with Level 22 and Five Smooth Stones Productions. The Weinstein Co released Undefeated in the U.S. on February 17. Sales have also been concluded in Australia (Madman), Latin America (CDC) and Israel (United King) among others.
SPECIALTY BOX OFFICE: This Weekend’s ‘Undefeated,’ ‘Bullhead,’ ‘On The Ice,’ ‘Michael,’ ‘Putin’s Kiss’
Two Academy Award-nominated films are on this weekend’s offerings of specialty releases. Undefeated directors Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin shared with me their charmed experience bringing their Oscar-nominated doc to the screen, while Bullhead director Michael R Roskam gave me insight into the maze of funding he exploited behind his feature heading to theaters Friday. On The Ice producer Cara Marcous offers her take on self-distribution. Strand Releasing’s Marcus Hu talks about walking a fine line releasing Michael, a film with good word of mouth but a taboo subject. And distributor Kino Lorber shares its marketing outreach to maximize its roll out of doc Putin’s Kiss.
One of two specialty Oscar-nominees coming out this week, the trajectory of this project from concept to completion is the sort of thing aspiring filmmakers dream of. After moving to Los Angeles, producer Rich Middlemas met up with Dan Lindsay for breakfast. The two lamented having to “find permission” to make a film. Lindsay told Deadline, “So we said, ‘let’s just find something and do it’…”
BREAKING: Sean Combs has joined the Oscar nominated documentary Undefeated as executive producer, and he will be involved in a narrative remake that The Weinstein Company is working on. The remake was part of the deal when TWC acquired the film after it debuted at SXSW. The hip hop icon known as P Diddy will take the executive producer title on both the docu and the remake.
Directed by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin, Undefeated is a verite style documentary that focuses on three underprivileged student athletes and the volunteer coach who guides them through a football season in North Memphis. They play for the Manassas High School Tigers, which never won a playoff game and at one point was so bad that the school would sell its regular season games to rival schools looking for a punching bag to beat up. That changed when businessman Bill Courtney volunteered to help and put the Tigers in a position to end a 110-year old playoff drought. TWC will begin rolling out the film February 17. The docu was produced by Exclusive Media’s Spitfire Pictures and Zipper Bros Films.
This documentary feature chronicles an inner-city Memphis high school’s struggle to win its first football playoff game in the school’s 110-year history. Directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin, The Weinstein Co. release opens February 17th.