Breaking Film and TV Industry News — June 28

More of this month's news for industry insiders.
IndieWire’s Film and TV Industry Breaking News Roundup - June 2018

Thursday, June 28

– Cinema Guild has announced the acquisition of U.S. distribution rights to Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “The Wild Pear Tree,” which premiered in competition at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival last month. Cinema Guild will release the film in theaters in early 2019.

The eighth feature film from Palme d’Or-winner Ceylan, “‘The Wild Pear Tree’ follows Sinan (Aydin Doğu Demirkol), an aspiring writer who returns home after university hoping to scrape together enough money to publish his first novel. He wanders the town encountering old flames and obstinate gatekeepers and finds his youthful ambition increasingly at odds with the deferred dreams of his gambling-addict father (Murat Cemcir). As his own fantasies mingle with reality, Sinan grapples with the people and the place that have made him who he is.”

“The Wild Pear Tree” will mark the second film of Ceylan’s released by the Cinema Guild. They also partnered on the Cannes Grand Prix-winning “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.”

“The Wild Pear Tree”

Wednesday, June 27

– The Pitch competition has announced its 2018 call for entry, free until September 24, 2018, with the online premiere of 2016/2017 Pitch finalist “Promise,” a timely and celebrated short film directed by Neville Pierce and starring Rebecca Callard. The short was made through The Pitch, a prestigious competition now in its tenth year, that provides roughly $40,000 (£30,000) in production funds for the winning short film pitch.

First-time screenwriter Hannah Lee entered “Promise” in the 2016 Pitch competition. While the story didn’t win – it was a finalist in the competition – it grabbed the attention of judge Neville Pierce, a contributing editor to Empire, the world’s biggest film magazine, and an award-winning director.

“The Pitch provides a production budget of £30,000 for the winner each year,” said Pierce, who has been a judge for The Pitch since its inception in 2008. “But this particular year there was a small cash prize for the runners up, too. We used that as a starting point for more funding. I thought the story felt timely and inventive and Hannah was a natural storyteller, so I offered to direct it.” The film will be released right here and on Vimeo on July 23.

The Pitch is an annual online pitching competition which invites filmmakers to submit a two-minute video pitching their idea for a short film inspired by The Bible. It can be in any genre, can emerge from any perspective, and can draw on any story, passage, character or theme. In return The Pitch provides £30K production budget support for the overriding winning idea. Entries are free until September 24, and can be submitted right here.

Pitch finalists are first selected by public vote. They then pitch live to top industry professionals. The winner will fly to Hollywood to meet industry veterans, who’ll watch the winning film and give hints and tips to the winner on taking their filmmaking skills to the next level.

– The 41st Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF41), presented by Asian CineVision and taking place July 25 – August 5 in New York City, announced its full film lineup today. The first and longest running Asian interest film festival in the country, AAIFF41 is proud to present the following program, which includes 13 narrative features, 10 documentary features, and 57 short films, representing over 14 countries. You can see the full lineup right here.

Monday, June 25

– Getting Real ‘18, a three-day conference presented by the International Documentary Association (IDA) in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is the largest gathering of its kind in North America. The 2018 edition will take place September 25-27, 2018, in Los Angeles, California.

IDA announced the keynote presentations for the forthcoming Getting Real ‘18, a biennial conference on documentary media. Getting Real ‘18 starts off with a special pre-conference screening of Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc., presented by the  Academy, Participant Media and River Road Entertainment. The screening celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the film that prompted a new conversation around food consumption, corporate farming, and the health of a nation.

Launched in 2014, Getting Real is designed as a filmmaker-to-filmmaker conference where peers throughout the documentary field can share skills, information, and build networks to help accelerate careers and amplify stories. This year, conference panels and keynote presentations will focus on three themes: Sustainability, Transparency, and Creativity. You can see the full list of presentations right here.

– Greenwich Entertainment has announced its acquisition of Jeremy Workman’s documentary “The World Before Your Feet.” The film, which had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, was directed by Workman and executive produced by Jesse Eisenberg. Greenwich will release the film theatrically later this year.

This personal and moving documentary follows Matt Green, who for six years has walked every block of every street in New York City. This journey of over 8000 miles takes Green and the audience to each neighborhood in the five boroughs and reveals the humanity and wonder of the world’s greatest city.

– The 23rd annual Nantucket Film Festival (NFF) has announced the audience winners for this year’s festival. “Burden,” written and directed by Andrew Heckler (NFF ‘18 New Voices in Screenwriting Honoree), was awarded Best Narrative Feature, and Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions’ “Juliet, Naked,” written by Evgenia Peretz, Jim Taylor & Tamara Jenkins, and directed by Jesse Peretz, was runner up. “Bathtubs Over Broadway,” directed by Dava Whisenant is the Best Documentary Feature winner, and Rudy Valdez’s “The Sentence” was the runner up. Irene Taylor Brodsky’s “Homeless: The Soundtrack,” was awarded Best Short film, and Randall Christopher’s, “The Driver Is Red” was the runner up.

Thursday, June 21

– Kino Lorber has acquired all U.S. rights to Cameron Yates’ new documentary feature, “Chef Flynn,” which had its world premiere at 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film had its international premiere at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival and was also an official selection at SXSW this year.

The film “centers on chef prodigy Flynn McGarry who started his young culinary career at age 10, transforming his California living room into a restaurant using his classmates as line cooks and serving a tasting menu foraged from his neighbors’ backyards. The supper club, Eureka, eventually operated as pop-ups in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. With sudden fame (including a New York Times Magazine cover story at age 15), Flynn outgrows his bedroom kitchen and sets out to challenge the hierarchy of the culinary world. Featuring a trove of over eighteen years of personal archival footage from Flynn and his mother, Yates’ portrait is an intimate look at a talented teen’s coming-of-age with a glaring media spotlight, critics, and a loving mother who questions giving up her own identity to help further her child’s passion.”

The film will be rolled out in theaters in November 2018, followed by VOD and home video release late next winter.

“Chef Flynn”

– newportFILM has announced its lineup of world-class documentaries for their annual summer series newportFILM Outdoors, the sunset screenings kick off on June 21 with Morgan Neville’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and run through September 6 with weekly Thursday night screenings, accompanied by pre-film live music and post-screening filmmaker conversations, moderated by esteemed film and arts journalists from around the country. This marks the ninth summer season of hosting screenings at various beautiful outdoor locations, thoughtfully paired with each film, in and around historic Newport, RI.

Other highlights include “Three Identical Strangers,” “Chef Flynn,” “Two Train’s Runnin’,” “Studio 54,” and “Unstoppable: Bethany Hamilton.” Check out the full lineup right here.

Wednesday, June 20

– Wolfe Releasing has acquired writ​er-director Yen Tan’s ​”1985,” starring Cory Michael Smith (FOX’s “Gotham”), Academy Award nominee​ Virginia Madsen (​Sideways), Emmy and Golden Globe winner Michael Chiklis (“The Shield”) and Jamie Chung (FOX’s “The Gifted” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”), for a theatrical release this October.

The Texas-set family drama had its World Premiere at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. “1985” marks a continuing relationship between Tan and Wolfe, following their release of his acclaimed romantic drama ​”Pit Stop.” The film was inspired by Tan’s award-winning short film of the same name, and follows Adrian (Smith), a closeted young man returning to his Texas hometown for Christmas during the first wave of the AIDS crisis. Burdened with an unspeakable tragedy in New York, Adrian reconnects with his brother (Aidan Langford) and estranged childhood friend (Chung), as he struggles to divulge his dire circumstances to his religious parents (Madsen and Chiklis).

Thursday, June 14

– Strand Releasing has acquired all U.S. rights to Christophe Honore’s “Sorry Angel” which had its world premiere in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival from MK2 Films. The drama set in Paris, 1993, “follows Jacques, a renown writer and single father in his thirties who is desperately trying to maintain a sense of normalcy against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis and follows his whirlwind romances and trysts.” The film stars Pierre Deladonchamps, Vincent Lacoste, and Denis Podalydes.

– NEON has acquired North American rights to Nia DaCosta’s debut film “Little Woods” which premiered in April at Tribeca Film Festival. Written and directed by DaCosta, the resulting film is a reimagining of the traditional western film as told from the female perspective.

The film is a “modern Western that tells the story of two sisters, Ollie (Tessa Thompson) and Deb (Lily James), who are driven to work outside the law to better their lives. For years, Ollie has illicitly helped the struggling residents of her North Dakota oil boomtown access Canadian health care and medication. When the authorities catch on, she plans to abandon her crusade, only to be dragged in even deeper after a desperate plea for help from her sister. Little Woods is an intimate look at the plight of the working class in rural America.”

“Little Woods”Neon

– The Directors of the 8th annual Lower East Side Film Festival and their Judges Panel, including Rosario Dawson, cinematographer Sam Levy, music supervisor Matt FX, and Heather Burns, have announced winners in the selected categories:

  • Best Feature Film – “Wobble Palace,” written and directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko
  • Best Live Action Short Film – “Allen Anders – Live at the Comedy Castle” (1987), directed by Laura Moss

  • Best Animated Short Film – “Two Balloons,” directed by Mark C. Smith

  • Best Documentary Short Film – “Slave One: The Kung Fu Judge Story,” directed by Juan Leguizamón

  • Best Music Video – Radiator – “Spaceface,” directed by Federico Torrado Tobon

  • The LESFF Neighborhood Award – “A New York Bagel,” directed by Virginia Chiang and Mike Lee

  • Best of Fest – The L.E.S. Prix D’Or – “A Sniper’s War,” directed by Olya Schechter

In addition, the LESFF Audience Award went to “A Maine Movie,” directed by Matt Nelsen. You can find out more about the festival right here.

Monday, June 11

– The 23rd Annual Stony Brook Film Festival presented by Island Federal Credit Union will take place at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University this July 19 – 28 and has announced its full schedule. You can check it out right here.

Sunday, June 10

– The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) announced the winners of the 2018 Golden Space Needle Audience and Competition Awards. The awards were presented at a ceremony and breakfast held at First & Bell. The 25-day Festival, which began May 17, featured over 400 films representing 90 countries, including 35 World premieres (6 features, 29 shorts), 46 North American premieres (32 features, 14 shorts), 25 US premieres (16 features, 9 shorts), and 750 Festival screenings and events.

Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade” won the Golden Space Needle Award for Best Film, while Morgan Neville’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” won the Golden Space Needle for Best Documentary. You can check out the full list of winners right here.

Thursday, June 7

– The Lighthouse International Film Festival (LIFF) has announced the complete lineup for its tenth annual event, which will take place June 7 – 10, 2018 on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. The Festival will open with Madeleine Olnek’s acclaimed “Wild Nights With Emily,” a rousing Emily Dickenson comedy starring Molly Shannon that brought audiences to their feet at SXSW 2018.

LIFF will again present both Documentary and Narrative Centerpiece Films, including Jeremy Workman’s “The World Before Your Feet” as Documentary Centerpiece. The film tells the story of Matt Green, a man who has dedicated more than six years to walking every block of every street in New York City – a journey of more than 8,000 miles, as he seeks out moments of understanding about his world and the people who live in it.

The Festival’s Narrative Centerpiece film is “Madeline’s Madeline,” the latest feature from dynamic director Josephine Decker. The acclaimed film received rave reviews out of its Sundance premiere and features a breathtaking debut of Helena Howard as a teenager who has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theater troupe.

Closing the 2018 Festival will be “Anote’s Ark,” a documentary about the low-lying Pacific nation of Kiribati, which faces a daunting challenge: imminent annihilation from sea-level rise. As Anote Tong, Kiribati’s President, races to find a way to protect his nation’s people set against the backdrop of international climate negotiations and the fight to recognize climate displacement as an urgent human rights issue, Anote’s personal struggle to save his nation is intertwined with the extraordinary fate of Sermary, a young mother of six, who decides to migrate her family to New Zealand.

The festival’s full schedule, plus ticket information, can be found on its official website.

“Madeline’s Madeline”

– The Orchard has secured North American rights to Luis Ortega’s “El Angel,” which is slated for a 2018 release. The film recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film follows Carlitos, “a seventeen-year-old youth with movie star swagger, blonde curls and a baby face. As a young boy, he coveted other people’s things, but it wasn’t until his adolescence that he found his true calling – to be a thief – manifested itself. When he meets Ramon at his new school, Carlitos is immediately drawn to him and starts showing off to get his attention. Together they will embark on a journey of discoveries, love and crime.”

– The Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. has announced that Henry Taylor is the 2018 recipient of the esteemed Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize. Established in 2011 by Robert De Niro, in honor of his late father, the accomplished painter Robert De Niro, Sr., the prize recognizes a mid-career American artist for significant and innovative contributions to the field of painting.

Nominated each year by a distinguished selection committee, Henry Taylor is the seventh recipient of the $25,000 merit-based prize, administer by the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) for which Robert De Niro is a co-founder. This marks the first time that Henry Taylor has been awarded a solo monetary prize for his achievements in painting.

Since the inaugural prize was awarded to Stanley Whitney in 2011, the list of recipients has grown to include acclaimed painters Joyce Pensato (2012), Catherine Murphy (2013), Robert Bordo (2014), Laura Owens (2015), and R.H. Quaytman (2016). The Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize is among the first of its kind to celebrate and shine a light on influential mid-career artists.

Tuesday, June 5

– Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, has acquired North American rights for the show business industry drama “Limelight.” The film will debut on VOD and will be available to rent and own on digital HD across North American cable, internet, and satellite platforms through Freestyle Digital Media on June 26, 2018.

Per the film’s official synopsis: “In a society obsessed with fame, validation, and social media, one small-town narcissist pulls out all the stops in his pursuit of absolute stardom. Based on a true story, ‘Limelight’ follows a small-town social media up-and-comer Miles Chance as he moves from Colorado Springs to Hollywood after being offered a starring role in a big Hollywood movie. ‘Limelight’ explores the current climate of a social media-obsessed culture as well as the hidden world of predators manipulating Hollywood hopefuls in this tell-all cautionary tale that serves as a very timely reminder to always follow your heart.”

The film was directed by James Cullen Bressack and written and produced by Paul Vandervort.

Monday, June 4

– monterey media has acquired all U.S. rights to Kirsten Carthew’s multi Award-winning film “The Sun at Midnight.” Filmed in the breathtaking beauty of the Arctic Circle, starring award winning actress Devery Jacobs and Duane Howard.

“The Sun at Midnight premiered at the prestigious Whistler and American Indian Film Festivals, and is the winner of five major awards and seven nominations including two Best Picture Awards. The deal was negotiated with IndustryWorks Studio’s Anna Rasmussen and Caterina Scrivano, and monterey media’s Scott Mansfield. Theatrical launch is planned for this fall.

– The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today the projects selected for the fourth annual Screen Forward Labs, IFP’s yearlong fellowship for content creators with story-driven, serialized projects. The program kicks off today, running June 4-8 at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP located in DUMBO, Brooklyn including for the first time both non-fiction and fiction series aimed at television and digital platforms.

“We are thrilled to be able to expand this year’s slate of incredible projects to also include nonfiction along with fiction serialized content. This year 73% of projects selected are created by female creators and 50% are led by all-female teams,” said Joana Vicente, IFPs Executive Director, in an official statement.

The twelve selected projects all have completed pilots and/or proof of concept shot; they represent a mix of genres ranging from comedy, nonfiction, to sci-fi, with intended formats ranging from app-based, digital series, television, and cross-platform storytelling:

“& Daughters” (Nonfiction): a documentary series featuring the daughters of ‘& Daughter’ family businesses operating in industrial fields where women are the minority of the labor force. Sarah Keeling (Creator, Director, Writer, Producer)

“Art Camp” (Dark Comedy/Mockumentary): A young woman enrolls in a secluded, suspicious art camp unaware she’s on the verge of uncovering the sinister legacy of the Odalvi Center for Artistic Practice. Daniel Cook (Creator, Editor), Alysse Campbell (Executive Producer), Will Feichter (Executive Producer)

“Audio Smut” (Comedy/Drama): inspired by the award-winning podcast, Audio Smut is a half hour comedy-drama series following Kaitlin Prest and her rad crew of BFF’s as they struggle to make a radio show about sex and love. Kaitlin Prest (Creator, Writer, Producer), Drew Denny (Creator, Director, Writer, Producer)

“Cancer: A Love Story” (Nonfiction): a cancer diagnosis forces a 40-something feminist performance artist to re-evaluate her relationships, her artwork, and confront her painful past. Christen Clifford (Creator, Director, Writer, Producer)

“Changed World” (Sci-Fi): starvation, exploitation and mutated beasts are constant threats to survival in this post-apocalyptic world set thirty years in the future, overcome only by the endurance of the human spirit. Dan Cooper (Creator, Director, Writer, Producer, Executive Producer, Editor).

“Crossing the Line” (Nonfiction): legal and forensic experts, Michael and Linda Kenney Baden, take an unprecedented look behind the scenes of the American criminal justice system. Illuminated by some of their most notorious cases, the Baden’s will re-examine a flawed investigation, shedding light on the systemic injustices that dominate the current headlines. Sophie Finkelstein (Creator, Producer), Reka Posta (Creator, Producer) ‘

“Fake News” (Comedy): Welcome to the Internet Research Lab (IRL), the first Russian troll farm set here in our fine United States. Made in the mockumentary style of “The Office,” Fake News is about the lies we tell ourselves, each other, and our countries in order to survive. Alex Dobrenko (Creator, Director, Writer, Producer), Andrew Turner (Creator, Director, Writer, Producer).

“I Adore Dolores” (Dark Comedy): In a surreal sitcom world, Dolores – a manic, over-optimistic divorcée – tries to win back her clown stepdaughter by purchasing the apartment building where she lives under house arrest. Sam Marine (Creator, Director, Writer, Producer), Jo Roueiheb (Creator, Writer, Actor), Emily Wilson (Creator, Director, Writer, Producer, Editor).

“I Married a Lemon” (Comedy): A newly married couple bumbles through the most absurd, bizarre, best days of their lives together, starting with their wedding day—despite a steadily growing realization that they knew almost nothing about each other’s true pasts, families, and accomplishments. Timothy Cooper (Creator, Director, Writer), Simon Taufique (Producer, Composer), Surina Jindal (Producer)

“The Limits of Dissent” (Nonfiction): a limited documentary series examining the line between radical activism and revolutionary terror. Episode One features former Weather Underground member Judith Clark and her controversial fight for clemency. Jessica Vale (Creator, Director, Producer, Executive Producer), Rebecca Teitel (Producer, Executive Producer), Traven Rice (Consulting Producer)

“Owls & Echoes” (Dark Comedy): a dark comedy anthology comprised of multiple vignettes exploring happiness, identity, common sense and the fragility of assumptions. Hope Olaidé Wilson (Creator, Director, Writer, Producer), Rhett DuPont (Editor), Quincy Ledbetter (Post Production Consultant, Colourist).

“Tethered” (Dark Comedy): a new mom suffers an identity crisis after giving birth to her son and her alter ego. A rebellious headstrong younger version of herself who refuses to let go of the past. Leslie Rathe (Creator, Director, Writer).

"White Rabbit" director Daryl Wein
“White Rabbit” director Daryl WeinTyler Beus

– The winners of the 2018 Inside Out LGBT Film Festival were announced this weekend in Toronto at the annual awards ceremony where $28,000 in prizes were handed out to various LGBT filmmakers. Top honors went to Kiko Goifman and Claudia Priscilla’s “Bixa Travesty” (Inside Out Special Award for Innovation), Alvaro Delgado Aparicio’s “Retablo” (Best First Feature), Laura Marie Wayne’s “Love, Scott” (Best Canadian Feature) and Luis De Filippis’ “For Nonna Anna” (Emerging Canadian Artist).

The Audience Award winners included Daryl Wein’s “White Rabbit” for Best Narrative Feature, PJ Raval’s “Call Her Ganda” for Best Documentary Feature and Nate Trinrud’s “Pop Rox” for Best Short Film.

The festival, which launched the first ever annual LGBT Finance Forum, has become an international home and incubator for LGBT filmmakers, both emerging and established. The 2018 Inside Out LGBT Film Festival ran May 24 – June 3 in Toronto at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and screened 28 narrative and 21 documentary features from 27 countries. The festival also screened 84 Shorts from a wide variety of exciting LGBT filmmakers.

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