– Miramax has acquired U.S. distribution rights to “Whitney” from director Kevin Macdonald and will reteam with frequent partner Roadside Attractions to handle the U.S. theatrical release. The forthcoming documentary feature about the career of the late legendary singer Whitney Houston will be produced by Simon Chinn, along with his Lightbox Media partner and Emmy-winning producer Jonathan Chinn and producer Lisa Erspamer. Executive producers on the film are Will Clarke, Andy Mayson and Mike Runagall from Altitude Film Entertainment, who are handling international sales and introduced the project to buyers at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where the project sold out.
– Wolfe Releasing has acquired gay coming-of-age family drama “Akron” and has secured all worldwide rights (except U.S. theatrical) and will release across all platforms in early 2017. The film was directed by Brian O’Donnell and Sasha King, and stars Matthew Frias, Edmund Donovan, Andréa Burns, Amy da Luz, Joseph Melendez, Isabel Machado and Cailan Rose. The film is described as “a gay coming-of-age family drama about two handsome college freshmen in the Midwest who meet playing football, and begin a sweet romance. As their love for each other grows, a past tragic event involving their mothers comes to light. This revelation tests their own love and their close-knit families.”
– Gravitas Ventures has secured all U.S. rights to “Ace the Case: Manhattan Mystery,” a family-friendly caper starring Ripley Sobo, Lev Gorn and Susan Sarandon. The film follows 10-year-old Olivia Haden (Sobo) who “takes her dog Charlie for a late-night walk and witnesses a brazen kidnapping on the deserted streets of New York City. But when she tells her brother Miles what she has seen, he dismisses her, and when she reports it to the NYPD, only a sympathetic detective named Dottie (Sarandon) will even listen. Without solid evidence, there’s nothing Dottie can do, so the intrepid tween sets out to solve the crime herself. Facing down a trio of bumbling crooks, a mysterious fixer (Gorn) toting his oversized pet bunny, and a rapidly ticking clock, Olivia crisscrosses lower Manhattan in an exciting family-oriented thriller sure to delight kids of all ages, as well as their parents.” The film opens in select theaters and will be available on demand August 26.
– Cinema Guild has acquired all U.S. distribution rights to Patrick Shen’s documentary “In Pursuit of Silence,” an Official Selection of the SXSW, Sheffield, CPH: DOX and Full Frame festivals. The film “is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound and the impact of noise on our lives. Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s ground-breaking composition 4’33”, ‘In Pursuit of Silence’ takes us on an immersive cinematic journey around the globe– from a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, to the streets of the loudest city on the planet, Mumbai during the wild festival season –and instantly inspires us to experience silence and celebrate the wonders of our world.” The film will be released theatrically this fall.
– FilmBuff has picked up Moritz Rechenberg’s “I Am Gangster.” The film “tells the story of three young men in East Los Angeles trying to survive on a daily basis. While idealistic rookie cop David is able to keep his family safe until use-of-force incidents put him under pressure to make a fateful decision, hardcore gang member Lito steps into dangerous territory when he defies gang matriarch Tia in his hustle for wealth and power. At the same time, rebellious teenager Rio flirts with gang life until he has to deal with his own guilt over a tragic death.” FilmBuff will release the film on all VOD platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu, later this year.
– Adopt Films has acquired theatrical rights to the Detroit-based comedy “The Pickle Recipe,” which world premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February. The film “is the story of a local party emcee who teams up with an unscrupulous uncle to steal his grandmother’s secret pickle recipe so he can replace his professional equipment lost in a fire in time to play at his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.” A platform release is planned beginning in late October.
– Sean Gannet’s “Chasing Taste” will be released on August 12 on iTunes and Verizon FIOS via Seed&Spark. The film “follows down-and-out writer Chase Guidry (Kirk McGee), who is transformed overnight into NYC’s next big food critic before a freak accident robs him of his senses of taste and smell. In order to keep his new-found fame and pursue the love of his life, he relies on a team of super ‘smellers’ and tasters to fake his reviews. Riding his lie for as long as it will carry him, Chase is bound for a collapse of epic proportion.”