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Film Acquisition Rundown: Bleecker Street Buys ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas,’ Grasshopper Gets New Jem Cohen and More

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe.

“Betting on Zero”

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe. Check out last week’s Rundown here.

– Bleecker Street has announced it has acquired U.S. and select territory rights to “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” to be directed by Bharat Nalluri. The film will start shooting next month and is targeting a holiday 2017 release date.

The cast includes Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens, Christopher Plummer as Scrooge and Jonathan Pryce as Dickens’ father. The Solution is handling rights for the rest of the world. The script is written by Susan Coyne and is based on the book “The Man Who Invented Christmas” by Les Standiford, published by Crown. The film recounts how Charles Dickens created the classic holiday fable, “A Christmas Carol.”

EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has announced it has acquired exclusive distribution rights in the United States and Canada for award-winning indie filmmaker Kathleen Behun’s new paranormal thriller, “21 Days.” The movie is written, directed and produced by Behun.

The award-winning film follows “three filmmakers embark on a paranormal challenge by barricading themselves inside a house so haunted no one has been able to live there for more than 21 days, in order to film the supernatural phenomena which presumably occur.”

– Sundance Selects has announced from DOC NYC that the company has acquired U.S. rights to Matt Tyrnauer’s “Citizen Jane: Battle Cry from the City.” Tyrnauer’s film was produced by Robert Hammond, Corey Reeser, Jessica Van Garsse, and Tyrnauer, and was executive produced by Pierre Lagrange, Bernard Lagrange, and Juliet Page. The film made its world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, and Sundance Selects will release the film in 2017.

The film “chronicles the life and work of Jane Jacobs, author of ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities,’ and how she changed the way we look at cities and urban living. The documentary focuses not only on Jacobs’ writing, but also on her activism, detailing her most dramatic battles for the city in the 1960s, when she went up against New York City’s most ruthless power broker, Robert Moses.”

– Gunpowder & Sky Distribution has announced their plans to release celebrated documentary “Betting on Zero” next year. The film, which was featured on last weekend’s episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival to critical acclaim and has continued to create buzz at various festivals throughout the year. It will be released theatrically in early 2017.

The docu-thriller “focuses on controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman amidst his crusade to expose global nutritional giant Herbalife as the largest pyramid scheme in history, while Herbalife executives claim Ackman is a market manipulator out to bankrupt them and make a killing off his billion dollar short. The withering crossfire engulfs working class Latinos seeking justice, middle-Americans forging their financial future, and eventually draws federal regulators into an investigation that will affect the lives of millions around the world.”

"A Month of Sundays"

“A Month of Sundays”

– monterey media has announced the acquisition of all U.S. and Canada rights to Matthew Saville’s dramedy “A Month of Sundays” starring Golden Globe winner Anthony LaPaglia, Julia Blake, Justine Clarke and John Clarke. The film premiered at TIFF. The U.S. release is planned for January.

Per its official synopsis: “Real estate agent Frank Mollard won’t admit it, but he can’t move on. Divorced but still attached, he can’t sell a house in a property boom – much less connect with his teenage son. One night Frank gets a phone call from his mother. Nothing out of the ordinary. Apart from the fact that she died a year ago.Thus blossoms a charming and unusual friendship with an elderly woman which inspires Frank to reconnect with life.”

– Magnolia Pictures has announced that they have acquired worldwide rights to renowned British film and music video director Barnaby Clay’s hallucinatory documentary “Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock.”

The film, which premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, chronicles the extraordinary life of iconic rock photographer and artist Mick Rock, whose work with some of the most accomplished personalities of the past forty years — David Bowie, Queen, Blondie, Iggy Pop, Lady Gaga, Kate Moss and Lou Reed — created many of the images that would come to define them. Magnolia is eyeing a 2017 theatrical release.

– IFC Midnight has announced from the American Film Market conference that the company has acquired U.S. rights to Liam Gavin’s “A Dark Song.” The film, written and directed by Gavin, stars Steve Oram and Catherine Walker. The film was produced by David Collins, Tim Dennison and Cormac Fox. The film made its world premiere at the 2016 Fantastic Fest.

In the film, “a determined young woman hires a damaged occultist to conduct a magical ritual. The two prepare in a remote house over the course of six months, aware that any flaw in their preparations will result in deadly consequences. Risking their lives and souls, they enter the dangerous, unknown world of dark magic in the hopes it will grant them the one thing they want above all else.”

– Netflix has acquired international rights to “Pandora,” a South Korean nuclear disaster blockbuster directed by Park Jung-Woo (“Deranged”). The film will be available to stream to Netflix members in 190 countries, not including South Korea, sometime next year. It will have a theatrical release in Korea in December and will be available to stream at a later date. The news was first reported by Variety.

– Momentum Pictures has announced that it has acquired North American rights to the thriller “Voice from the Stone.” Eric D. Howell makes his directorial debut on the film, with a screenplay written by Andrew Shaw based on the Italian novel “La Voce Della Pietra” by Silvio Raffo. The film stars Emilia Clarke, Marton Csokas, Caterina Murino, Remo Girone, Lisa Gastoni and Edward Dring. It will be released in theaters and On Demand in the first quarter of 2017.

"World Without End (No Reported Incidents)"

“World Without End (No Reported Incidents)”

– Grasshopper Film has announced the acquisition of all U.S. distribution rights to “World Without End (No Reported Incidents),” the new documentary from Jem Cohen, director of acclaimed works such as “Museum Hours,” “Counting” and “Benjamin Smoke.” “World Without End (No Reported Incidents)” had its cinema debut at the 2016 Vienna International Film Festival.

Per the film’s official synopsis: “Quite close to London, but for many, a million miles away, Southend-on-Sea is a town along the Thames estuary. Jem Cohen’s new documentary, “World Without End (No Reported Incidents),” is a portrait of this place – everyday streets, everyday birds, unflagging tides, mud, and sky. But it is also about humanity and history, about prize-winning Indian curries, an encyclopedic universe of hats, and a nearly lost world of proto-punk music.”

“World Without End (No Reported Incidents)” will be released in early 2017.

– Marlee Robert’s indie drama “Little Miss Perfect” has been acquired by Real Big Hits (RBH) and will have a national release on November 18 via iTunes and select theaters. The film stars newcomer Karlee Roberts, Isabella Palmieri, Lilla Crawford, Tom Degnan, Peter Rini and Jeremy Fernandez, and “tells the story of an overambitious high school freshman who tries to control her life by controlling her weight.”

– Abramorama has announced the acquisition of North American theatrical and digital rights to “Bang! The Bert Berns Story” on the eve of its New York Premiere at DOC NYC. Narrated by Stevie Van Zandt and featuring Van Morrison, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Ben E. King and Solomon Burke, the film tells the story of one of the most important songwriters, producers and label chiefs of the 1960s. The film was produced and directed by Brett Berns, Bert’s son, and co-directed with Bob Sarles who also edited the film.

– Following its success with the releases of “Queen Mimi” and “It’s So Easy And Other Lies” earlier this year, XLrator Media announced the acquisition of four new documentaries that will be released globally on its LIFEFRAME label. The titles include “Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe,” “Who the F#@k is That Guy? The Fabulous Journey of Michael Alago, Smash: Motorized Mayhem” and “Tree Man.”

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