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Breaking Film and TV Industry News — April 20

More of this month's news for industry insiders.

Friday, April 20

Deadline reports that Amazon Prime has acquired exclusive rights to Drake Doremus’ “Zoe” ahead of its April 21 premiere as the Tribeca Film  Festival’s Centerpiece title. Per the outlet, Amazon’s deal covers U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. The film will hit Prime this summer.

The “futuristic love story follows two colleagues, played by Ewan McGregor and Léa Seydoux, at a revolutionary research lab that designs technology to improve and perfect romantic relationships. As their work progresses, their discoveries become more profound than they could ever have imagined.” Christina Aguilera, Theo James, Rashida Jones, and Miranda Otto also star in the film.

Thursday, April 19

– Sundance Institute and Picturehouse announced today the program of feature films, short films and panel discussions for the Sundance Film Festival: London 2018, taking place May 31 – June 3 at Picturehouse Central, presented in association with Adobe. The festival will present twelve feature films from this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, U.S.A., selected for London by the Sundance Institute programming team in collaboration with Picturehouse.

The festival will open with the UK premiere of Jennifer Fox’s “The Tale,” starring Laura Dern and Elizabeth Debicki, which paves the way for a weekend of bold female-focused stories. The festival will close four days later with the UK premiere of “Leave No Trace,” Debra Granik’s highly anticipated follow-up to the Academy Award-nominated “Winter’s Bone.” Other films set to play at the fest include “Hereditary,” “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” “Skate Kitchen,” “Yardie,” “Never Goin’ Back,” and “An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn.”

Tuesday, April 17

– The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival’s Ninth Annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards (TDIA) will unveil the diverse field of disruptors, revolutionaries, and game-changers whose breakthroughs are creating radical solutions to some of the world’s most vexing problems.

This year’s awards will be hosted by Tamron Hall, and honorees will include DJ Kool Herc, Beatrice Fihn, eleven-year-old activist/sensation Naomi Wadler, Sheila Nevins, Dr. Waleed Hassanein, Tarana Burke, Joe Lubin, Etty Ausch and more. TDIA takes places on April 24 at the Tribeca Festival Hub at Spring Studios. The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, runs April 18 – 29, 2018.

– Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Content Group has purchased North American rights to Hannah Fidell’s road trip comedy “The Long Dumb Road,” which made its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Fidell and co-written by Fidell and Carson Mell, the film stars Tony Revolori, Jason Mantzoukas, Taissa Farmiga, Grace Gummer, and Ron Livingston, and is produced by Fidell, Jacqueline Ingram, Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams.

UPHECG is planning an upcoming theatrical and VOD, day and date release for the film.

– Rooftop Films has announced the dates for Opening Night of the 2018 Summer Series (May 19), and their annual New York Non-Fiction program (June 30). Both events will feature live music, a short film program, and a complimentary after-party, and will take place outdoors at the newest Rooftop Films venue, The Green-Wood Cemetery.

Tickets are now on sale for Rooftop Films and Green-Wood Cemetery members, and will be available to the general public at the end of the month. Find out more information right here.

– Kino Lorber announced today that David Ninh is joining the company as Director of Press and Publicity, beginning at Kino Lorber on April 23, 2018. He will report to the company’s Senior VP Theatrical, Non-theatrical Distribution & Acquisitions Wendy Lidell and to Company CEO Richard Lorber for corporate communications.

Ninh was previously at Kickstarter as their Senior Communications Specialist overseeing press and publicity outreach for their Film and Arts & Culture categories (including Art, Performance, Publishing, Music, Food and LGBTQ communities).

– The Nantucket Film Festival announced today the honorees for the 2018 festival – including the Screenwriters Tribute to Oscar-nominated writer/director Noah Baumbach; the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award to Oscar- and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville; and the New Voices in Screenwriting Award to Sundance Film Festival Audience Award winner Andrew Heckler. T

he Screenwriters Tribute will take place on Saturday, June 23, 2018. The festival will also see the return of the popular All-Star Comedy Roundtable, with a twist: This year’s event has a focus on improv, led by actors and comedians Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz, and presented by Ben Stiller, who will join in on the evening of improv. Nantucket audiences will also have the unique opportunity to participate in a live taping of NPR’s entertaining game show “Ask Me Another” hosted by NFF regular Ophira Eisenberg.

The 23 Nantucket Film Festival (NFF) will take place June 20-25, 2018, celebrating the art of screenwriting and storytelling in cinema and television, on a beautiful island rich with history.

Monday, April 16

-The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, today announced the members of ten juries, which reflect the tone and texture of the annual cultural showcase, which celebrates storytelling in film, television, virtual reality, music and games. The jurors will be tasked with honoring the new works of emerging and established members of the creative community with unique art awards and cash prizes as they present their works at the annual Festival.  Mirroring the breadth of Tribeca’s programming, the team of jurors include acclaimed filmmakers, award-winning actors, noteworthy producers, and cultural leaders. The Festival takes place April 18 – 29 in New York City.

Notable jury members include: Jenny Lumet, Martha Coolidge, Norman Reedus, André Holland, Ray Liotta, Chris Messina, Zosia Mamet, Sasheer Zamata, Alyssa Reiner, Josh Charles, Dan Cogan, Haifaa Al Mansour, Lakeith Stanfield, and more.

Wednesday, April 11

– The Hamptons International Film Festival announced Aemilia Scott as the 2018 Beneficiary of the Melissa Mathison Fund. Scott participated in the HIFF Screenwriters Lab, which took place April 6 – 8 in East Hampton with her project “Birthday Suit.” Additional selected lab participants were Esra Saydam’s “The Mesopotamian,” and Anu Valia’s “We Strangers.” This was the first time ever all the selected lab participants were women.

This year’s Lab was funded with support f​rom​ the Melissa Mathison Fund, ​established in 2016 and named for the late beloved Oscar-nominated screenwriter, which strives to foster female writers in the industry and their continued development.

– The International Documentary Association announced the appointment of Leslie-Anne Faireshire, Chris Perez, and Brenda Robinson as new members of the Board of Directors. In addition, IDA Director of Filmmaker Services Amy Halpin has been appointed the Deputy Director of the organization.

“We are thrilled to welcome Brenda, Leslie-Anne and Chris on to the IDA’s Board of Directors,” said Simon Kilmurry, IDA’s Executive Director, in an official statement. “Each of them brings a wealth of experience and talent to IDA. They will be key allies and counselors to ensure that IDA’s work is effective as we continue to grow, seek to serve more filmmakers and support an expanding documentary community.”

Following a successful career as an International Banker, Leslie-Anne Faireshire’s passion for film led her to film school in London and subsequently to open her own production company in 2012. In a short time, she is already making waves in the industry with completed projects including a feature film and four other projects currently in production. One of her recent productions, “6 Weeks to Mother’s Day,” premiered at DOC NYC in 2017.

Chris Perez joined Donaldson + Callif, LLP in 2009 and became a partner in the firm in 2014. Chris specializes in all aspects of the firm’s practice, including representing independent filmmakers through financing, production, rights clearance and distribution.

Brenda Robinson is an entertainment attorney and Chicago native who currently serves as Director of Business Development for the Los Angeles law firm Greenberg Glusker LLP. Brenda’s prior law practice focused on intellectual property and entertainment matters on behalf of clients in the music, film and television industries. Throughout her career, Brenda has provided counsel to numerous recording artists, musicians and composers, actors and actresses, production companies, authors, arts organizations, athletes, entertainers and social media influencers. Brenda has also been an executive producer on numerous documentary and narrative projects.

Amy Halpin is the Director of Filmmaker Services at the International Documentary Association (IDA). With the organization since 2006, she has worked closely with hundreds of independent documentary filmmakers, with a special focus on consulting and advising on all aspects of documentary funding. Amy is responsible for the design, planning and implementation of all of the organization’s filmmaker services.

Tuesday, April 10

– Cinema Guild has acquired the U.S. distribution rights for director and award-winning photographer RaMell Ross’ “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” produced by Idiom Film and Louverture Films. The film has emerged as one of the most acclaimed documentaries of 2018 since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Award for creative vision.

Over the weekend, it won the top prize, the Reva and David Logan Award, at the Full Frame Film Festival and was the closing night film of the New Directors/New Films, the annual showcase presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art. The film will next compete in the Golden Gate Competition at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Cinema Guild is planning a theatrical release later this year.

– Greenwich Entertainment has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to “The Bookshop.” Written and directed by the acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Isabel Coixet and based on a Man Booker Prize short-listed novel by Penelope Fitzgerald, the film stars Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, and Patricia Clarkson. The film played as a Special Gala selection at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival and was the winner of three Goya Awards in Spain, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Greenwich Entertainment will release the title theatrically in the U.S. on August 24.

The film “is set in a seaside village in England in the 1950’s where a widow (Mortimer) pursues her lifelong dream of opening a bookshop. As she introduces the townsfolk to the world’s best literature and stirs a cultural awakening, her efforts are ruthlessly opposed by a powerful local grand dame (Clarkson) causing a reclusive resident (Nighy) to join the fight to keep the bookshop open.”

– Good Deed Entertainment has acquired the North American distribution rights to “Don’t Leave Home.” Written and directed by Michael Tully, the film recently premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and will be shown at the Overlook Film Festival in April. The film — billed as “an atmospheric, unpredictable, psycho-religious horror” — follows an American artist plagued by an obsession with a disturbing Irish urban legend. Investigating the origin of the myth, the artist ends up in the eerie estate of a reclusive painter in Ireland.

– Northwest Film Forum Executive Director Courtney Sheehan and the organization’s board announced today that Sheehan will conclude her tenure as Executive Director this fall, effective October 15, 2018. In an official statement, Sheehan said, “After five years of service, I feel this is a healthy time for myself and the organization to start planning for the next chapter.”

Northwest Film Forum Board President Sudeshna Sen said in a statement, “Courtney is a dynamic and visionary leader who has rejuvenated the Film Forum with her innovative approach, creating unique experiences with exciting live components that leave our theatergoers clamoring for more. Under her watch, the Forum met and exceeded our goals – our financial health and high staff morale are a testament to her leadership. While we are sad to see her go, she’s once again led with the future in mind and given us plenty of time to plan for a smooth transition. We wish her the very best in all her future endeavors.”

Sheehan joined the Northwest Film Forum staff in 2013. At the upcoming Northwest Film Forum future-themed gala on April 19, Sheehan’s contributions will be celebrated as the organization looks ahead to the next adventure.

Monday, April 9

– FilmRise has announced today that HBO has acquired the U.S. rights to two of the distributor’s recent theatrical releases: writer/director Marc Meyers’s acclaimed drama “My Friend Dahmer,” starring Ross Lynch in a breakthrough performance, and the crowd-pleasing romantic comedy “The Boy Downstairs,” featuring Zosia Mamet in her first leading role since HBO’s “Girls.” Both films will air on the HBO programming services this year.

“We are thrilled that these incredible films have found a home on the HBO programming services, and will be available to millions of subscribers who have come to expect top-quality entertainment,” Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise, said in an official statement.

The Boy Downstairs Zosia Mamet

“The Boy Downstairs”

Jon Pack

Thursday, April 5

– The Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) has announced the lineup of official feature film selections for the festival’s fourth edition, May 1 – 6. The inclusive lineup includes an impressive slate of films – more than half from underrepresented creators – including 42 Competition Films, 13 episodic content presentations, notable showcase screenings of top festival films, critical favorites, and anniversary screenings of classics.

BFF, already noted for its innovative approach to joining filmmakers with business leaders under a film festival umbrella to foster more diversity and inclusiveness in the film industry and elsewhere, announced the new Legacy Award, celebrating filmmakers and entertainers that have represented inclusion in the film and entertainment industries in exemplary fashion and have been leaders in pushing the industry toward better practices regarding diversity. Actor and Filmmaker Meg Ryan will be BFF’s first Legacy Award honoree. You can see the full lineup right here.

– Samuel Goldwyn Films announced today that the company has acquired world-wide rights to the acclaimed Sundance Film “A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.,” directed by Qasim Basir and written by Qasim Basir & Samantha Tanner. The film stars Omari Hardwick, Meagan Good, Jay Ellis, Dijon Talton, Wesley Jonathan, and Affion Crockett. The story follows a Los Angeles club promoter named Cass (Hardwick), who on the night of the 2016 Presidential Election meets a woman named Free (Good) who challenges him to revisit his broken dreams. This happens during a series of unfortunate events during the time that Trump is surging ahead of Hilary Clinton.

Wednesday, April 4

– Benicio Del Toro will serve as the head of the jury of the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival. “The man who will preside over the fate of the Un Certain Regard jury is not only a film lover but a brilliant actor, entirely devoted to his art,” festival organizers said. “Born in Puerto Rico, raised in Pennsylvania, he is an artist who knows no boundaries.”

Tuesday, April 3

– Sundance Selects announced that it has acquired U.S. rights to the film “Blaze,” co-written, produced and directed by Ethan Hawke. Sybil Rosen co-wrote the film with Hawke based on her memoir “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley.” Jake Seal, John Sloss and Ryan Hawke produced alongside Ethan Hawke.

The film held its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival where newcomer Ben Dickey won the Special Jury Award for Achievement in Acting for his portrayal of Blaze Foley. The is inspired by the life of Blaze Foley, the unsung songwriting legend of the Texas outlaw music movement that spawned the likes of Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson.

Monday, April 2

– Francis Ford Coppola narrated an April Fools’ Day ad for his winery featuring a new innovation: the Claret Smart Bottle. “Can we do one more take of that? he asks. “That’s all right, we’ll fix it in post. Let’s improvise, see what happens.” Watch:

– The 20th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, co-founded and hosted by Chaz Ebert and also known as “Ebertfest,” has announced today the final slate of films in this year’s festival. The lineup will include a 70mm showing of “Interstellar,” along with screenings of “Selena,” “Columbus,” “A Page of Madness,” “American Splendor,” “Rambling Rose,” and “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” along with previously announced screenings of “The Big Lebowski,” “The Fugitive,” “13TH,” “Belle,” and “Daughters of the Dust.”

Special guests for this year’s festival include: directors Ava DuVernay, Amma Asante, Rita Coburn Whack, Gregory Nava, Kogonada, Julie Dash, Martha Coolidge, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini; producers Ted Hope and Andrew Miano; executive producers Ruth Ann Harnischand Bill Harnisch, and film critics Leonard Maltin, Richard Roeper, Claudia Puig, Michael Phillips, Scott Mantz, Matt Zoller Seitz, Brian Tallerico, Nick Allen, Matt Fagerholm, Richard Neupert, Sheila O’Malley, ReBecca Theodore-Vachon, Nell Minow,  Susan Wloszczyna, and Sam Fragoso.

– Applications are now open for the next cycle of Borscht Commissions. It’s free and easy for anyone to submit an idea for a project in, of, or about Miami; the only stipulation is that projects must be by artists from, residing in, or engaging with the identity of our city in some capacity. You can apply right here.

Depending on the nature of the project, you may be eligible for a cash commission, full production support, and/or other considerations. Commissions are awarded on a rolling basis until June 1, 2018 or until funding runs out. Of note: This is not the application for completed projects. Submissions for completed projects will open in Winter 2018/2019.

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