Luis Fonsi, Rudy Youngblood Castings; Horror Pic ‘Nyctophobia’ From EP RZA; Gravitas, Freestyle Acquisitions; ‘Ouija Shark 2,’ ‘The Mulligan’ Trailers; More – Film Briefs

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EXCLUSIVE: Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, actor and television host Luis Fonsi (Despacito) has signed on to star in the romantic comedy The Answer to My Prayer, in his feature film acting debut, with Oscar nominee Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver) coming aboard the project as an executive producer.

(L-R) Edward James Olmos, Patrick Perez Vidauri, Cristina Nava and Nancy De Los Santos - Credit: James Calvos; Michael Ori; Vanessa Rodriguez; Patricia De La Rosa
(L-R) Edward James Olmos, Patrick Perez Vidauri, Cristina Nava and Nancy De Los Santos - Credit: James Calvos; Michael Ori; Vanessa Rodriguez; Patricia De La Rosa

James Calvos; Michael Ori; Vanessa Rodriguez; Patricia De La Rosa

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The film from director Patrick Perez Vidauri follows the romantic travails of three friends in San Antonio, Texas whose destinies are changed by an ancient prayer that guides them to true love. Cristina Nava and Vidauri will produce the pic written by Nancy De Los Santos via their companies Migrant Filmworks and Citizen Skull. Roberto Treviño and Eileen Kret (Selena) will serve as its co-producers.

Fonsi is represented by CAA; Olmos by CAA and Untitled Entertainment; and Vidauri and Nava by Citizen Skull Management.

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EXCLUSIVE: Acoryé White (The Seventh Day) and Augie Duke (Mayans M.C.) will star in Trinket Box—a new horror feature that White wrote and is directing with Patrycja Kepa (Bellmount). Others joining the film’s ensemble include Sandra Ellis Lafferty (The Hunger Games) and Cindy Hogan (Stranger Things).

(L-R) Acoryé White, Augie Duke, Sandra Ellis Lafferty and Cindy Hogan - Credit: Michael Justice; Chris Violette; Mohamed Zohry; Michael Helms
(L-R) Acoryé White, Augie Duke, Sandra Ellis Lafferty and Cindy Hogan - Credit: Michael Justice; Chris Violette; Mohamed Zohry; Michael Helms

Michael Justice; Chris Violette; Mohamed Zohry; Michael Helms

Trinket Box follows a newlywed couple intent on starting a perfect life in their new neighborhood. They begin enjoying all that life has to give, but unbeknownst to them, their new home is not as perfect as it seems. A historical darkness that has been locked away for years is about to break free and wreak havoc on their relationship—and their lives. White and Kept will produce under their Anchored Lens Productions banner, along with Charles Bridwell (Under the Stadium Lights), with Anthony Valenzuela (One and the Same) and Codie Williams III serving as exec producers. Production kicks off in Atlanta in late August. Anchored Lens will be donating a percentage of its profits from the film towards the development of its Homeless Outreach and Rehabilitation program, which offers homeless students apprenticeship, training and post-program opportunities.

White is repped by J Pervis Talent and Robert Stein Management; Duke by HRI Talent, Mitchell & Associates and Unified Management; Lafferty by People Store; and Hogan by Aligned Stars Agency and Littman Talent Group.

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EXCLUSIVE: Bianca D’Ambrosio (Call Jane), Chiara D’Ambrosio (High Heat), BJ Tanner (Station 19), Dana Powell (Bridesmaids), Sean O’Bryan (Olympus Has Fallen) and Dean McDermott (Open Range) will star in the indie horror movie Nyctophobia, from executive producer RZA.

(L-R) Bianca D’Ambrosio, Chiara D’Ambrosio, BJ Tanner, Dana Powell, Sean O’Bryan and Dean McDermott - Credit: Diana Ragland; Albert L. Ortega; Kevin McIntyre; Tenice Powell; Katherine Kendall; Helen Tansey
(L-R) Bianca D’Ambrosio, Chiara D’Ambrosio, BJ Tanner, Dana Powell, Sean O’Bryan and Dean McDermott - Credit: Diana Ragland; Albert L. Ortega; Kevin McIntyre; Tenice Powell; Katherine Kendall; Helen Tansey

Diana Ragland; Albert L. Ortega; Kevin McIntyre; Tenice Powell; Katherine Kendall; Helen Tansey

In the film, twin sisters Rose (Bianca D’Ambrosio) and Azalea (Chiara D’Ambrosio) and their friend Brooks (Tanner) find themselves trapped in a supernatural blackout in which monsters are real. Their only hope for survival comes from the light of their cellphone. Kim Noonan (Pepper) is directing from a script by Koji Steven Sakai (The Commando), with Little Nalu Pictures (The Commando) producing in association with Mirror Image Films (Sometimes I Think About Dying). Individual producers include Sakai, Stanley Yung, Brian Tedeschi and Vicki Vass. Additional executive producers on the project include Mike Smith, Mike Meade and Pascal Counts. Smith and RZA’s Razor Sharp Records will score the movie, with the pair also lending their song “Lost In Insanity” to the picture. Production kicks off this month.

Bianca and Chiara D’Ambrosio are represented by Embrace Real Artists, Savage Agency, Snow Entertainment and Holmes Weinberg, PC. Tanner is repped by Momentum Talent and Literary Agency, Midwest Talent Management and Onyx Talent Group; Powell by Brave Artists Management and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols; O’Bryan by Clear Talent Group and Alan Siegel Entertainment; McDermott by National Talent LA, Play Management and Established Artists; Sakai by Atomik Content; and RZA by CAA and King, Holmes, Parterno & Berliner.

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EXCLUSIVERudy Youngblood (Apocalypto) will star alongside Antonio Jaramillo in Verloren Productions’ drama Macho!, based on the book by Victor Villaseñor.

Rudy Youngblood - Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Rudy Youngblood - Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The coming-of-age tale taking place during the 1960s centers on Roberto Garcia, who at age 17, already has big dreams of making his fortune, building a family, and gaining the respect of his community. With ambition to burn and a passion to prove his manhood, Roberto takes the dangerous journey north, crossing the Mexican border to pick fruit in the “golden fields” of California. It is said that a good man can make more money there in a week than in an entire year in the mountains of Michoacán, his home. With dreams that overshadow harsh realities, Roberto is unprepared for the jammed boxcars and bolted trucks that carry undervalued migrant workers through the searing desert to long days of harsh labor. The film will examine the brutality of migrant labor, as well as Cesar Chavez’s efforts to unionize workers, offering vivid portrayal of the immigrant experience through the eyes of a brave young man who bids goodbye to everything he knows to follow his dreams.

Verloren Productions Founder Walt Perez adapted the screenplay and will produce alongside Soren Odom, Melanie Tirado, Ralph Esparza and Jaime Peralta. Renowned music producer A.B. Quintanilla will craft its score, with production kicking off next spring. Best known for his starring role as Jaguar Paw in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, Youngblood is repped by Prieto Consulting Group.

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EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to Jay Giannone’s family drama, It Snows All the Time, starring Brett Cullen (Joker) and Taryn Manning (Orange Is the New Black). The Anthem Sports & Entertainment company plans to release it in select theaters and on VOD on July 29.

It Snows All the Time - Credit: Gravitas Ventures
It Snows All the Time - Credit: Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures

Based on the personal story of actor-producer Erich Hover (M.F.A.), the film follows the members of a disconnected family as they come together in the wake of their patriarch’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Joining Cullen, Manning and Hover in the pic written by Giannone and Eric Watson, from a story by Hover, are Giannone, Lesley Ann Warren (Victor/Victoria) and Sterling Knight (Melissa & Joey). Pic was produced by Hover, Giannone, Ben Drickey and Chad Bishoff. It was exec produced by Cullen, Jack Fox, Manning, Jonas Roeser, Gato Scatena, Jordan Rosner, Josh Klein, Jane Bovingdon Semel and Walter Thurmond III. 

The deal for It Snows All the Time was negotiated by Gravitas Ventures’ Manager of Acquisitions, Brett Rogalsky, and Gato Scatena from Scatena & Rosner Films. Watch the film’s trailer below.

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EXCLUSIVE: Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the musical feature Past Future, and to Myles Yaksich’s first feature, Albatross. The digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group plans to release the former title across VOD platforms on July 26, unveiling the latter on August 2.

Past Future - Credit: Freestyle Digital Media
Past Future - Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

Freestyle Digital Media

Past Future examines one day in the life of an American family in the summer of 2020. The film is billed as a meditation on where we’ve been, where we are and where we might go as we share this world and pass through time together. Alexander Baack served as the film’s writer, director and producer, also starring alongside his real-life wife, Hillary Baack.

Albatross - Credit: Freestyle Digital Media
Albatross - Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

Freestyle Digital Media

Albatross is a dramatic thriller in which worlds collide at an awkward dinner party in 1959 New England. After moving to a new town, Elizabeth (Katherine Gauthier) and Thomas Miller (Romaine Waite) are at a crossroad; they are childless, he’s an unpublished writer and she’s tired of cutting checks to keep them afloat. Thomas’ work suffers to the point that his publisher wants him to ditch his novel about the Black experience to write a more commercially viable harlequin romance. Carol (Sarah Orenstein) and Dr. Lloyd Burke (David Keeley0 have built an imposing façade glorifying the societal ideals of the era; an impressive home, prominent role at the country club, and son studying medicine. But, behind closed doors, the couple’s haunted by the cracks in their relationship and his use of controversial psychiatric techniques. The film written and directed by Yaksich is riddled with opposing philosophical perspectives, forcing the characters to question the stability of their respective relationships and consider how the past or future will continue to nurture or deteriorate them. Ultimately, tables are turned, secrets revealed, and we’re left questioning who really pulls the strings in this game of chess.

Albatross also stars Jill Frappier, David Huband, Thom Nyhuus, Mikaela Bisson, Daniel Krmpotic and Jonathon LeRose. The film was produced by James Mark and Bruno Marino, with Jennie Lew Tugend, Myles Yaksich, Aleksey Petrov, Larry & Gayle Yaksich, and Todd Slater serving as executive producers.

Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deal to acquire Albatross directly with Todd Slater of Slater Brothers Entertainment, negotiating the deal for Past Future with Alexander Baack of Force Studios. Watch the trailers for both films below.

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EXCLUSIVE: First-time filmmaker Andrew Burton’s indie comedy All the Lord’s Men will expand regionally and across digital platforms via his Burton Pictures banner through next month, after being released in select U.S. theaters on July 1st.

All the Lord’s Men - Credit: Burton Pictures
All the Lord’s Men - Credit: Burton Pictures

Burton Pictures

The film written and directed by Burton follows Jerry (Noel Mirabal) and Jimmy (Burton), two unskilled detectives in Los Angeles who fall under the influence of a mysterious cult leader while on a mission to nowhere. This cult leader, a certain Dr. Busner (Matt Fling), is joined by an ensemble of societal castaways as he seeks to integrate his vision for a new world with the demands of Myra (Iris Braydon) from Geneva, a woman who claims to be the new God. As we follow these characters on their investigations into the veracity of Myra’s claims, we begin to ask ourselves, like Jimmy and Jerry do, whether reality can ever really be real.

All the Lord’s Men also stars Ilia Volok, William Castrogiovanni, Ayden Skye, Rachel Pendinoff and Olivier Riquelme. Watch the film’s trailer below.

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EXCLUSIVE: Wild Eye Releasing is prepping a North American release for Ouija Shark 2—its follow-up to the 2020 direct-to-video cult hit, Ouija Shark.

Ouija Shark 2 - Credit: Wild Eye Releasing
Ouija Shark 2 - Credit: Wild Eye Releasing

Wild Eye Releasing

The original film watches as a group of teenage girls summon an ancient man-eating shark after messing with a spirit board that washes up on the beach, tapping an occult specialist to rid the world of the deadly spirit ghost once and for all. The sequel, from actor-director John Migliore, promises to tell a tale of Kaiju-sized proportions, delving deep into the mystic realm of the Ouija Shark and expanding upon the original’s supernatural elements.

The movie, produced by Rob Hauschild, has already been acquired for Japan, where it’s set for an August theatrical release. While a specific release date hasn’t yet been set for North America, the film is poised to hit the States in the coming months. Watch the trailer for it below.

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EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has a new trailer for Michael O. Sajbel’s drama The Mulligan, which has been acquired by Cinedigm for a home entertainment release on August 16.

The film centers on Paul McAllister (Eric Close), who seems to have it all before his life starts to fall apart. Guided by the wisdom and advice of an old golf pro, Paul learns about playing a good game both on and off the course.

Randall Eldridge, Rick Eldridge, Roland Eldridge and Jimmy Hager wrote the pic, which also stars Pat Boone and Nancy Stafford. Watch the trailer below.

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