Rising indie distributor Phase 4 Films, in Cannes for the second time, has scooped up North American rights from the Cannes Film Market to SXSW audience-award-winner Brotherhood. Berry Meyerowitz, president & CEO of the year-old distrib, plans a late 2010 release for rookie director Will Canon’s college fraternity hazing thriller starring Jon Foster, Trevor Morgan, Arlen Escarpeta, and Lou Taylor Pucci. The film is based on Canon’s NYU film school short Roslyn, which aired on HBO, Showtime and the Sundance Channel. Canon participated in the new Directors Lab at Fox Searchlight.
Toronto-based Meyerowitz and his LA-based acquisitions chief Larry Greenberg are combing Cannes for “commercial films with a targeted audience,” says Meyerowitz, who thinks a niche sell is one way to break through market clutter. “Or you need an edge from an actor or director.” Phase 4 considers itself to be in competition with Sony Pictures Classics, Magnolia and Screen Media, among others, and is willing to invest in fully-packaged films under $7 million at the pre-production stage. The company, which has a staff of 65, is slowly ramping up from four to six releases in 2010 to eight to twelve in 2011.
Phase 4 (which absorbed Peace Arch and Content Films and boasts a 1000-title library) released in its first year IRA drama 50 Dead Man Walking, starring Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess, and the DVD release of the Matt Tyrnauer doc Valentino: The Last Emperor. Coming up next on July 30 is Brigitte Berman’s doc Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel. The company acquired its first festival acquisition at Sundance 2010: writer-director Katie Aselton’s relationship comedy The Freebie, starring Aselton and Dax Shepherd. Also coming in 2010 is the romantic comedy Finding Bliss, starring Leelee Sobieski, and the actioner Dead Man Running starring Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.
Brotherhood was produced by Chris Pollack, Steven Hein, Tom O’Hair, and Jason Croft, and was executive produced by Jamie Patricof, Kevin Iwashina, Darryn Welch and Chris Ouwinga. Cinema Management Group is selling foreign rights in Cannes. Phase 4’s Meyerowitz and acquisitions chief Larry Greenberg negotiated the deal with IP Advisers’ Iwashina, attorney Darin Frank and Nate Bolotin of XYZ Films, which helped to finance the film.