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Breaking Film and TV Industry News — July 20

More of this month's news for industry insiders.

Friday, July 20

– The first summer edition of the New York Television Festival has announced its winners. With 59 pilots showcased throughout the week, NYTVF’s flagship Independent Pilot Competition (IPC) wrapped up by recognizing top projects across 16 categories. “Best of the Fest” honors and the NYTVF Critics Award were presented to “Hammerhead.” In its second year, the NYTVF Scripts competition featured 21 selections, with “The Curse” and “Granted” tying for Best Comedy Script and “Ticker” winning in the Best Drama Script category. Visit the NYTVF official website for the full list of winners.

Tuesday, July 17

– Grasshopper Film announced today the acquisition of exclusive US distribution rights to “The Load,” the heraded debut feature from filmmaker Ognjen Glavonića, a taut, suspenseful thriller about a truck driver hired to undertake a treacherous journey to deliver a mysterious cargo. “The Load” will receive a theatrical release next year. “The Load” premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes.

Per the film’s official synopsis, “Vlada works as a truck driver during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. Tasked with transporting a mysterious load from Kosovo to Belgrade, he drives through unfamiliar territory, trying to make his way in a country scarred by war.”

– Netflix has acquired nearly global rights to “Illang: The Wolf Brigade,” a new action thriller from leading South Korean director Kim Jee-woon, Variety reports.

The film was previously also known as “Inrang”  and is a live-action adaptation of 1999 Japanese-made animation “Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade.” Per Variety, it is “set in 2029, it follows the actions of a special forces squad set up to quell a terrorist sect which opposes the formation of a joint government between North and South Korea.”

Friday, July 13

– SFFILM, in partnership with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, announced today the projects that will receive a total of $250,000 in funding in the latest round of SFFILM Rainin Grants. Ten filmmaking teams were granted funding to support the next stage of their creative process, from screenwriting to post-production. SFFILM Rainin Grants are awarded twice annually to filmmakers whose narrative feature films will have significant economic and/or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community or meaningfully explore pressing social issues.

Applications are currently being accepted for the Fall 2018 round of SFFILM Rainin Grants; the deadline to apply is August 29. For more information and to see the list of winners, visit sffilm.org/makers.

– The Orchard announced today that the company has secured North American rights to “Song of Back and Neck,” written and directed by first-time filmmaker Paul Lieberstein. The Emmy award-winning writer, producer and actor stars in the film alongside Rosemarie DeWitt, Brian D’Arcy James, Robert Pine, Clark Duke, and Paul Feig. The film is slated for a 2018 release.

Per the film’s official synopsis, “Fred wakes, collapses on the floor in back pain, and continues his day as usual, on the floor. It’s hardly the first time – he’s resigned to a life of pain, having tried every remedy possible and been told by a top surgeon (Paul Feig) that there’s nothing to be done.  But he hasn’t yet tried having an affair with a client (DeWitt) at the start of her complicated divorce. He hasn’t yet tried her acupuncturist, whose 200 needles in Fred’s back reveal a bizarre talent.  And he hasn’t yet begun to wonder if his problems are more psychological than physical.”

Thursday, July 12

– Abramorama announced today a deal with Cinereach to theatrically release the intimate and personal documentary film “MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.” across the U.S. starting September 28, 2018. Following a successful debut for the film at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Abramorama and Cinereach have teamed up for the domestic theatrical release of the never-before-seen look into the life and career of M.I.A. Elevation Pictures will be distributing the film in Canada. Dogwoof will be releasing in the UK and handling international sales.

The film originally premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award, and has since screened at festivals across the U.S. including opening New Directors/New Films at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and internationally at Berlin, Hotdocs and beyond.  The film is scored by Paul Hicks and George Harrison’s son, Dhani Harrison.

Tuesday, July 10

– Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired North American rights to Ondi Timoner’s feature film “Mapplethorpe.” The film stars Matt Smith, Marianne Rendón, John Benjamin Hickey, Mark Moses, Carolyn McCormick, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Kerry Butler. The film will be released in late fall.

The film explores artist Robert Mapplethorpe’s “life from moments before he and Patti Smith moved into the famed Chelsea hotel,home to a world of bohemian chic. Here he begins photographing it’s inhabitants and his new found circle of friends including artists and musicians, socialites, film stars, and members of the S&M underground. Mapplethorpe’s work displayed erotisim in a way that had never been examined nor displayed before to the public. The film explores the intersection of his art and his sexuality and his struggle for mainstream recognition. The biopic offers a nuanced portrait of an artist at the height of his craft and of the self- destructive impulses that threaten to undermine it all.”

“The Party’s Just Beginning”

– The Orchard has secured North American rights to Karen Gillan’s directorial debut “The Party’s Just Beginning.” Gillan also wrote and stars in the film, which was produced by Gillan’s producing partner Mali Elfman, as well as R. Andru Davies and Claire Mundell. The cast also includes Lee Pace, Matthew Beard, Paul Higgins, Siobhan Redmond, Jamie Quinn,  and Rachel Jackson. The film is slated for a theatrical release this fall.

The film follows “Liusaidh (Gillan) is a sharp-witted, foul-mouthed, heavy-drinking twenty-something who is still reeling from a recent loss. Living with her parents in the remote Scottish Highlands, she spends most nights boozing at the local pub and embarks on what she assumes—perhaps rightly—will be yet another short-term fling when she hooks up with an out-of-towner (Pace) who is going through a midlife crisis. At the same time, a wrong number leads Liusaidh to an anonymous connection with an old man grappling with his own end-of-life questions and regrets. These three characters, each at their own crossroads, search for answers—together and independently—in the cold northern landscape, under fleeting glimpses of the Northern Lights.”

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