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Film Acquisition Rundown: Factory 25 Grabs Celia Rowlson-Hall’s ‘Ma,’ James Franco-Starring ‘I Am Michael’ Finds Home

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.


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.

– Factory 25 has announced tody that it has acquired the U.S. rights to the multiple festival award-winning “Ma.” The film first screened at the Tribeca Film Festival as a work in progress screening and Tribeca, and it went on to screen at Venice for its official premiere, where it played at Venice Days as part of the Tribeca Film Festival exchange. The film is Rowlson-Hall’s feature directorial debut which, in addition to writing and choreographing, she also plays the leading role in.

Rowlson-Hall previously served as a choreographer for such directors as Lena Dunham, Gaspar Noe, and musical artists Alicia Keys, MGMT, Sleigh Bells, and Chromeo. She was also the movement coach for the 2016 Spirit Award nominated film, “The Fits.” Her short films have played festivals and museums including  SXSW, Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center, MoMA PS1, and the New Museum.

Factory 25 will premiere the film theatrically on January 13 in New York City at IFC Center, followed by screenings across the country through spring. “Ma” will also be available digitally in February via iTunes, Vimeo, Amazon, VUDU, X-Box, Sony Playstation and other many other digital outlets.

– Amazon Studios is partnering with Roadside Attractions once again to distribute the psychological thriller “The Wall,” directed by Doug Liman and starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena. The film “follows two soldiers pinned down by an Iraqi sniper, with nothing but a crumbling wall between them. Their fight becomes as much a battle of will and wits as it is of lethally accurate marksmanship.”

“The Wall” will be released by Roadside Attractions on March 10, 2017.

"The Wall"

“The Wall”

David James, Courtesy of Amazon Studios

– Brainstorm Media has picked up distribution rights to writer-director Justin Kelly’s “I Am Michael,” starring James Franco, Zachary Quinto, and Emma Roberts, and plans to release the film in U.S. theaters and on digital January 27. The film premiered at Sundance 2015.

It is based on a Benoit Denizet-Lewis New York Times article and “the film tells the true-life story of Michael Glatze (Franco), a high profile queer youth activist who created national controversy when denounced his gay lifestyle and became a straight Christian pastor. It follows Michael from his life in San Francisco with his boyfriend Bennett (Quinto),  to his days of personal self-discovery and religious reawakening. He lands at a Christian Bible school in rural Wyoming where he meets his girlfriend, Rebekah (Roberts), and becomes the pastor of his own church.” The news was first reported by Deadline.

– Momentum Pictures has announced that it has acquired North American rights to country music film “Wheeler,” starring Stephen Dorff. The film features original music and score written and performed live by Stephen Dorff as Wheeler, who also co-wrote and produced the film with director Ryan Ross. Additional cast and live performers include country music legend Kris Kristofferson; Grammy, CMA, and ACM award nominee Bobby Tomberlin; and rising Nashville country star Audrey Spillman.

The film “is the story of an aspiring musician from Kaufman, Texas, who travels to Nashville with the lifelong dream of trying his hand at country music. By embodying the title character under prosthetic make up, actor Stephen Dorff successfully infiltrates Music City and takes his character on an authentic singer / songwriter journey. With the help of key allies on the ground, ‘Wheeler’ converses with real people in real locations, with every musical number performed live. The line between reality and fiction blurs as Wheeler chases his dream in this touching tribute to old school country legends.”

The film will be released in theaters and On Demand February 3, 2017.

"I Am Michael"

“I Am Michael”

– Samuel Goldwyn Films has announced they have acquired worldwide rights to director/producer John Papola’s “At the Fork.” Samuel Goldwyn Films has partnered with Whole Foods Market and The Humane Society of the United States to bring this farm-to-plate documentary to the masses.

In the film, Papola “offers up a timely and refreshingly unbiased look at how farm animals are raised for our consumption. With unprecedented access to large-scale conventional farms, Papola asks the tough questions behind every hamburger, glass of milk, and baby-back rib. What he discovers are not heartless industrialists, but America’s farmers — real people who, along with him, are grappling with the moral dimensions of farming animals for food.”

The film is slated for an early release on select digital platforms December 27. It will be available On Demand, Digital and DVD January 3 at participating Whole Foods Market locations.

– Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired North American rights to award-winning director John G. Young’s LGBT thriller “bwoy.” The film follows “one man as he finds chaos and passion through an online love affair in the wake of tragedy.”

The film premiered as the festival centerpiece at the Reeling Film Festival and stars Anthony Rapp and De’Adre Aziza.

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