EXCLUSIVE: Sophia Bush (Good Sam) and Jeremie Harris (Fargo) will star alongside Simona Brown in MPI Original Films’ drama Freedom Hair from Oscar nominee Dianne Houston, which is currently in production in Atlanta.
The film written and directed by Houston and produced by MPI is based on the true story of Melony Armstrong (Brown), a determined mother who sets out to start a natural hair braiding business to achieve financial independence, but must overcome unexpected obstacles imposed by a powerful cosmetology cartel and the state of Mississippi. Melony’s efforts led to thousands of African American women in Mississippi following in her footsteps and realizing their own entrepreneurial dreams.
Bush will play the lawyer Dana, who helps Melony in her fight, with Harris as Melony’s loving husband, Kevin. Stacey Parks, Lana Link, and Rob Pfaltzgraff are producing, with Armstrong, Kim Coleman and Nick Reid exec producing. Bush is represented by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Jackoway Austen Tyerman; Harris by CAA and ATA Management.
EXCLUSIVE: Award-winning director-producer Bryan Ramirez (Line of Duty, Sanitarium) has exited Davies Entertainment after wrapping the third season of MotorTrend Discovery’s truck building series, Built for Business.
“I am taking this time to go back into narrative feature filmmaking. I am happy to partner with actor writer and producer, Jeremy Ray Valdez and his feature film, “Pine Ridge”, and with Walter Perez (Fatal Attraction, Quantum Leap) in “Oliver,”” said Ramirez. “I am very honored to have spent the last two years working with Cameron Davies and his team at Davies Entertainment producing what I believe to be one of the best build shows in the world. They will always be family.”
The upcoming film Pine Ridge is a thriller about a recent college graduate volunteering on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation who uncovers his true origins and finds himself in a dark, unfamiliar world. Oliver is a series about an actor struggling to make his mark in the entertainment industry — juggling his career, relationships, and family — in the diverse, unique and mostly unseen landscape of the non-Hollywood, L.A.
Ramirez is also attached to direct the film A Brother’s Badge, which he scripted with Samuel French and Jarett Leger. He is represented by UTA and Rafterman Media.
EXCLUSIVE: Misha Calvert (Revry’s Strut) is gearing up to direct the thriller Rager for Good Question Media, from her own script.
The film going into production next spring follows a group of billionaire friends who gather for a drug-fueled blowout on a private island. The weekend takes a turn for the worse when the men push the party games too far, and the women decide to change the rules.
Rager will be produced by Dan Bekerman (The Witch, Ready or Not), Chris Yurkovich (Slash/Back, Percy Vs Goliath) and Jordan Hart (Dear Mama, 7 Lbs 8 Oz). Calvert is repped by Gray Schwartz.
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin (Stillwater) will exec produce and star in Magda — a short film examining the realities of women who lack access to reproductive healthcare in Poland, where a near-total abortion ban went into effect in 2020.
The film from writer-directors Kasia Pilewicz and John Eric Steiner will present a cinematic snapshot of the lived experience of a Polish woman, Magda (Breslin), whose life is threatened by a non-viable pregnancy, also providing insight into the road ahead for women in the United States following the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Going into production this month in Los Angeles, Magda also stars Pilewicz, Lucy Walsh, Yvette De Vito and Collin Carter. Mike Mckee is producing, with Breslin and De Vito exec producing, and Kate Rees Davies serving as co-producer. Breslin is repped by CAA and Definition Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Rob Schneider‘s family adventure-comedy Daddy Daughter Trip, which he produced, directed and stars in, has been picked up by Cinemark to be shown in theaters across the country following a successful opening with Harkins Theatres. The film will be shown in 45 Cinemark locations starting today, having premiered in an exclusive roll-out at fifteen Harkins Theatres locations on September 30. Pic will also expand to additional Harkins Theatres on the 14th.
The live-action/animation hybrid tells the story of a 2nd grader (Miranda Scarlett Schneider) who dreams of a fun-filled spring break vacation her family can’t afford. Against the better judgement of her mom (Jackie Sandler) and with only coins in their pockets, her dreamer father (Schneider) decides to take her on a spring break trip anyway. After a series of misfortunate adventures, their vacation is saved when the duo meet a couple of famous travel bloggers (Monica Huarte and Miguel Ángel Muñoz).
John Cleese, Elle King and Gavin Guerrero also star in the pic written by Jamie Lissow & Patricia Schneider. Rob Schneider produced alongside Patricia Schneider, David Tanner and Angie M. Cruz from Mandalini Pictures, with Dusty Desert Trailer’s Todd Graves exec producing, and Joss Monzon and Francisco Herrera creating the animation.
EXCLUSIVE: Director Patrick Perez Vidauri has rounded out the cast of his rom-com The Answer to My Prayer led by Grammy winner Luis Fonsi, with Vannessa Vasquez (Divorce Bait), Jackie Cruz (Orange Is the New Black), Vivian Lamolli (East Los High), Chris Kattan (Saturday Night Live), Angélica María (Graves) and Dyana Ortelli (Curb Your Enthusiasm) signing on for roles.
The film written by Nancy De Los Santos-Reza (East Los High) follows the romantic travails of three friends whose destinies are changed by an ancient prayer that guides them to true love. Vidauri and Cristina Nava’s Migrant Filmworks, Inc. is producing alongside Citizen Skull Productions, with Edward James Olmos exec producing. Production is set to kick off in Texas next week.
Vaszquez is repped by Buchwald, DePaz Management and Meyer & Downs; Cruz by APA and John Carrabino Management; Lamolli by CESD and Brave Artists Management; Kattan by Singular Talent, Fourth Wall Management and Cohen & Gardner; María by Mexico’s M3 Talent Agency; and Ortelli by House of Representatives.
EXCLUSIVE: Abramorama has acquired U.S. rights to Emmy winner June Beallor’s documentary 2020 Chaos and Hope, slating it for a nationwide theatrical release following its opening at Village East by Angelika in New York on October 28.
The film conceived and produced by ACE91 founder Ceci Chan brings together a diverse group of individuals including frontline workers, everyday citizens, educators, activists, historians, scientists and politicians, as they reflect on the turbulent year 2020 and contemplate America’s future. Where do we go from here? It’s up to us to decide.
Experts featured in the doc include Cornell William Brooks, Harvard Professor and past President of the NAACP; Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, U.S. Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden; Adam Kinzinger, U.S. Congressman (R-Illinois), who serves on the January 6th Committee; Erika Lee, University of Minnesota immigration historian and award-winning author; Chris Stirewalt, political analyst and author of Broken News; Joan Donovan, Harvard Professor and author of Meme Wars; Hany Farid, UC Berkeley Professor of Digital Forensics; Deva Woodly, Associate Professor of Politics at the New School; Scott Galloway, NYU-Stern Professor and bestselling author; and Heather Cox Richardson, American historian and author of Letters from an American.
Beallor produced 2020 Chaos and Hope alongside Chan, with Sandy Gervay and Madeline Bouldin serving as associate producers and Susan M. Baker and Pamela Rikkers as co-producers.
EXCLUSIVE: Vertical Entertainment has nabbed North American rights to the Dayna Hanson-directed thriller Confession in advance of this year’s American Film Market, slating it for a day-and-date release on December 9.
The film written by Gregory Mulligan follows an ambitious, up-and-coming district attorney who takes on the recently dismissed small town case of a young woman who has accused three men of sexual assault. As she puts her career on the line to uncover the truth, little does she know the web she is untangling will lead to a sobering tale of murder, lies and deceit that may change the city’s history forever.
Sarah Hay (Black Swan), Nolan Gerard Funk (The Flight Attendant), Clark Backo (I Want You Back), Michael Ironside (Top Gun), Sterling Beaumon (Lost), Marsha Dietlein (Adopting Audrey) and Aidan Kahn (Upload) star. Pic was produced by Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman and Michael J. Rothstein of Yale Productions, as well as Hay, Anne Clements, Jason Kringstein and Todd Slater of Convoke Media. Exec producers are Scott Levenson, Gregory Mulligan, Roseanne Mulligan and William Mulligan.
Tony Piantedosi negotiated the deal for Confession on behalf of Vertical Entertainment, with Convoke Media’s Slater on behalf of the filmmakers.
EXCLUSIVE: Freestyle Digital Media has taken North American rights to the comedy-adventure pic Hello from Nowhere written and directed by Anthony Orkin, with plans to release it across VOD platforms on November 8.
In the film, two couples are on a camping trip when they meet a stranger who says he’s hiking to Canada. The truth is more complicated. Desperately lonely, Jason (Sean Paul Ross) tries to peel someone – anyone – off this group, to join him in the woods, forever — all set to the jaunty melodies of an imaginary Gilbert & Sullivan musical.
Hello from Nowhere also stars Summer Menkee, John Armour, G. Scott Brown, Denah Angel, Todd A. Robinson, Alyssa Roehrenbeck and Orkin. Robinson and Roehrenbeck produced alongside Lara Cuddy. Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deal to acquire Hello from Nowhere with independent sales rep and distribution consultant, Liz Manashil. Watch the film’s trailer below.
EXCLUSIVE: Scatena & Rosner Films has acquired North American rights to writer-director Jonathan Salemi’s action-thriller The Last Deal, with plans to release it in theaters on February 7, 2023.
The film starring Anthony Molinari (Barry) and Sala Baker (Jungle Cruise) takes place in pre-marijuana legalization Los Angeles where a cannabis dealer (Molinari) looks to make one final big score before the game’s over.
Mister Fitzgerald, Jeffri Lauren, Mike Ferguson, Conner Floyd and Gigi Gustin also star in the pic, which earned the Best Director award upon its world premiere at the Boston Film Festival, later claiming the Jury Prize for Best Performance at the San Antonio Film Festival.
The L.A.N.E. 38 and Bohemia Group Originals production was produced by Salemi, Carl Ciarfalio, Aaron David Roberts and Tracy Martin, with Cleo, Mary Albanese, Molinari and Danny Simeone serving as EPs. The film’s deal was negotiated between Jordan Rosner on behalf of Scatena & Rosner Films, and Simeone and Ron Miranda on behalf of L.A.N.E. 38.
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has an exclusive teaser trailer for writer-director Sascha Just’s documentary Ellis, examining the life and times of pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr.
Prior to his 2020 passing, Marsalis established himself as a towering figure in the history of jazz, composing and performing major modern works infused with a uniquely New Orleans touch. Along with his own uber-talented children Wynton and Branford Marsalis, he mentored a ‘who’s who’ of jazz, from multiple Grammy winner Jon Batiste to Harry Connick Jr., to the hundreds of students who passed through his classes.
Marsalis lived through the Jim Crow era in New Orleans. With his music and his teaching, he defied the strictures of this rigidly segregated society and reframed jazz as a powerful tool in moving beyond racist oppression. He continually defined his own standards of excellence and instilled in Black students a deep understanding of their own cultural history — a civil rights act in and of itself. Watch the trailer for Ellis by clicking below.
Gravitas Ventures has set a December 6 digital release for John Waite: The Hard Way, a feature documentary about the former Babys and Bad English singer and solo act. The pic reflects on his five-decade career, using raw, emotional and very personal interviews during the Covid lockdown and explores the idea of what happens when your whole life revolves around live music, and suddenly life gets interrupted. Producing more than a dozen hits from the 1970s through the ’90s, Waite hit No. 1 with his solo track “Missing You” and with Bad English’s “When I See You Smile.” Among his best-known Babys songs are “Isn’t It Time,” “Every Time I Think of You” and “Back on My Feet Again.” Here is a trailer for the film:
Deadline has the new trailer for Renaissance Entertainment and FilmRise’s A Christmas Karen — a new, comedic take on Charles Dickens’ beloved novella A Christmas Carol, which is coming to VOD and digital platforms on November 18.
A Christmas Karen centers on an entitled, egocentric middle-aged woman named Karen (Michele Simms), whose demanding and inconsiderate nature has alienated her from her neighbors and family alike. After a series of instances displaying her privilege, prejudice and bad attitude on Christmas Eve, Karen receives an “intervention” by three unconventional spirits who take her on a much-needed journey of self-awareness and self-reflection.
Pic was co-directed by Renaissance Entertainment co-founders Jon Binkowski and Lisa Enos Smith. Its cast also includes Meghan Colleen Moroney, Ashley Jones, Rolin Alexis, Leyla Lawrence and Lee Karlinsky. Binkowski, Gary Dean, Brian Kivlen, Ben Kupfer, Lauren O’Quinn and Alexa Timon produced, with Smith serving as EP. Watch the trailer for A Christmas Karen below.