Martha Kelly, Scarlet Envy, Chibuikem Uche Castings; Taran Killam Short; The Ninth House Producing ‘Christmas Treasure’; ‘The Daphne Project’ Theatrical Release; More – Film Briefs

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EXCLUSIVEMartha Kelly (Euphoria) and Scarlet Envy (RuPaul’s Drag Race) will star alongside Natalie Palamides (Nate – a One Man Show), Bob Clendenin (Scrubs), and newcomer Eve Donnelly (Chad) in the short film Only Worn Once, which is heading into production this month.

The film from writer-directors Claire Downs and Brenden Gallagher centers on recent divorcée Darcy (Kelly)and her daughter (Palamides), who sell Darcy’s used wedding dress on the internet to an 18-year-old (Donnelly) getting married to a much older man. When Darcy’s ex, Don (Clendenin), discovers the sale, a fight ensues. Phil Rosenberg is producing.

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Kelly is repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners; Envy by King’s Queens Entertainment and My Best Judy; Palamides by ICM Partners and Archetype; Clendenin by Artists & Representatives and Insight; Donnelly by 3 Arts; Downs by Quattro Media; and Gallagher by Art/Work Entertainment.

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EXCLUSIVEAndrew Chappelle (Blindspotting) and Devere Rogers (Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.) will star in Fanatic—a short film directed by SNL alum Taran Killam, which has wrapped production.

Devere Rogers and Andrew Chappelle in Fanatic - Credit: Portrait PR
Devere Rogers and Andrew Chappelle in Fanatic - Credit: Portrait PR

Portrait PR

The short, written by Chappelle, is about two failed boy band members, Charlie Trasche (Chappelle) and Gerald Dumpts (Rogers), who reunite for a competition where the prize money could remedy all their financial woes. What could go wrong? Additional cast includes Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch), Matt Cook (The Greatest Beer Run Ever), Sam Pancake (A Million Little Things) and Shannon Dang (The CW’s Kung Fu). The film will also notably feature an original song written by Chappelle, Julia Mattison and Este Haim, of the group Haim.

Chappelle is represented by SMS Talent, Cornerstone Talent and Magnolia Entertainment; Rogers by A3 Artists Agency, Entertainment 360 and attorney Ryan LeVine of Jackoway Austen Tyerman; Rhea by CESD; Cook by Innovative Artists, Magnolia Entertainment and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols; Pancake by BRS/Gage; Dang by Magnolia Entertainment and Myman Greenspan Fox; and Killam by UTA.

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EXCLUSIVE: Chibuikem Uche (Peacock’s One Of Us Is Lying) has signed on to star in the post-Civil War epic Steal Away from Realm Pictures International, which will begin filming this winter.

Chibuikem Uche - Credit: Irvin Rivera
Chibuikem Uche - Credit: Irvin Rivera

Irvin Rivera

Based on Andrew Ward’s epic Dark Midnight When I Rise, Steal Away is the true saga of the legendary Fisk Jubilee Singers, a sensational young warrior choir fighting the KKK’s reign of terror against their schools, including the newly founded HBCUs, not with bullets or bombs but electrifying songs of faith and freedom, the spirituals. Pic will follow the choir’s titanic rise from the darkness of slavery to the glittering ballrooms and throne rooms of England as they conquer the world, and must then conquer their own demons. Uche will play young Wallace Moore, a once-tender boy turned raging militant following the murder of his family by supremacist forces. Coarse, crass, and full of gangster swagger, Moore is the love interest of the film’s prim protagonist, Ella Sheppard.

Eugene Simon and Paul Amos have also come aboard to star in the pic, which Stephen Ashley Blake is directing. Uche is repped by Zero Gravity Management and Encompass; Simon by Stewart Talent and Luber Roklin Entertainment; and Amos by The Characters Talent Agency and Open Entertainment.

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EXCLUSIVETaylor Frey (It Chapter Two) and Kyle Dean Massey (Nashville) will star in Christmas Treasure, a new holiday indie that Autumn Federici and Jake Helgren are producing under their production banner, The Ninth House (List of a Lifetime).

Taylor Frey, Kyle Dean Massey - Credit: Courtesy of Benji Rivera
Taylor Frey, Kyle Dean Massey - Credit: Courtesy of Benji Rivera

Courtesy of Benji Rivera

The film follows Austin (Frey) and Everett (Massey) as they reunite at Christmas time in the town they grew up and fell in love in. Summoned home as adults to fulfill one last wish after the passing of a friend, the two men start to rekindle the romance they never got to have decades earlier. Mary-Margaret Humes and Cort McCown are also on board to play Austin’s supporting and accepting parents. Helgren wrote and is directing the film, which Vanessa Shapiro will exec produce.

Frey is repped by Untitled Entertainment; Massey by Untitled and Gersh; Humes by Aligned Talent Group; McCown by A3 Artists Agency; and The Ninth House by Bradley Garrett, Esq.

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EXCLUSIVE: Jaclyn Bethany (Indigo Valley) is gearing up to direct the feature Good Grief, written by and starring Emily Rued (Good Grief).

Jaclyn Bethany - Credit: Courtesy of Lauren Maccabee
Jaclyn Bethany - Credit: Courtesy of Lauren Maccabee

Courtesy of Lauren Maccabee

In the film shooting in Los Angeles, a pushover painter (Rued) whose mother suddenly dies must battle through the opinions and expectations of family, “friends” and a toxic boyfriend to plan the funeral. Johnny Whitworth (Limitless), Jorge Garcia (Lost), Brynn Thayer (Blue Jasmine), Steven Culp (Thirteen Days), Melanie Cruz (Scandal), Jamie Renée Smith (Hidden Canyons), Emmy winner Kim Estes (Dicks) and Dan Shaked (Highway One) round out the cast. Rebecca Morandi and Jennifer Sherer will produce, with Nimby Pictures exec producing and Sarah Keyes co-producing. Jamie Castro, C.S.A. handled casting.

Bethany is repped by Buchwald; Rued by Eileen O’Farrell Personal Management; Whitworth by TalentWorks and Jackoway Austen Tyerman; Garcia by APA and Link Entertainment; Thayer by House of Representatives and David Steinberg Entertainment; Culp by SMS Talent and Miriam Milgrom Management; Cruz by Cornerstone Talent Management; Smith by Bohemia Group; Estes by 24/7 Management; and Shaked by Cultivate Entertainment Partners.

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EXCLUSIVE: John West Jr. will exec produce and star in the action pic Smoke from director Segrin Phillips, which is going into production in July. Additional cast includes Tamika Scott, Amandah Rochelle, Karla Monay Shaw, Neecy J., Darvinique Hawthorne, David Walker, Daphne Austin, Lateef Williams and Flame Century.

. - Credit: JW Entertainment
. - Credit: JW Entertainment

JW Entertainment

The film from West’s JW Entertainment is about six crooked female police officers robbing armored trucks in a plot to undermine the entire police department. Scott is repped by CAA, Pantheon Talent and Shakir Entertainment Management; and Rochelle by The Avenue and manager Sean M. Pharms.

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EXCLUSIVEMichael Kirschner has joined L.A.-based production agency Intrinsic as Partner. He will launch a Commercial Department there (representing Directors of Photography, Production Designers and Costume Designers) after more than eight years at APA, where he ran a department of the same sort. He’s joined as an L.A.-based Partner by Jonathan Silverman and Dana Salston, who founded the agency in 2015, and Danica Pupa, who has been with it since 2020.

Michael Kirschner - Credit: Personal Courtesy
Michael Kirschner - Credit: Personal Courtesy

Personal Courtesy

Kirschner began his career at International Creative Management (now ICM Partners) and later moved on to Paradigm, where he was the sole commercial agent for years, before heading to APA. He brings with him 40+ clients, including cinematographers Karsten “Crash” Gopinath, Joe Labisi, ASC and Glynn Speeckaert, ASC, among others.

Intrinsic also has a London office, which is run by partners Rob Little and Jarek Zapora. Its Warsaw office, set up in partnership with the agency High Spot, is managed by partners Donata Rojewska, Hanna Kisielinska and Angieszka Hermanowska.

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EXCLUSIVEFreestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to writer-director Crystal R. Emery’s documentary The Deadliest Disease in America, and to director James Jones, Jr.’s historical musical-drama, Freedom of North Carolina. The digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group plans to release both titles across VOD platforms on July 12.

The Deadliest Disease in America - Credit: Freestyle Digital Media
The Deadliest Disease in America - Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

Freestyle Digital Media

The Deadliest Disease in America traces the history of racism in American healthcare, beginning with the brutal medical experimentation that enslaved people were forced to undergo. As this story unfolds over our nation’s history, the very same inequalities and biases continue to plague our healthcare system, creating disparities in the quality of care that Black, Brown, and indigenous people receive. Commentary from medical and public health experts is interwoven with personal stories of patients who have been victimized by healthcare inequities, including the filmmaker’s own experiences as a quadriplegic African American woman. Emery and Stacey L Holman served as the film’s producers.

. - Credit: Freestyle Digital Media
. - Credit: Freestyle Digital Media

Freestyle Digital Media

The latter film set in colonial North Carolina chronicles the daily struggles of the 14-year-old slave, Sarah Jones (Vinetrice Reynolds), who dreams of her family one day living outside the Hoperville plantation in Washington, North Carolina. There’s only one elder who has the answer to what Sarah needs, sharing it with her just before she dies. Jones and Carmichael Griffin wrote the pic, which also stars Yanna Buttons, Sarabeth Marie Franz, Kenny Keen, Terryn Pinder and Lisa Rae Ring. Jones produced, with Carmichael Marquise Johnson co-producing.

Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deal to acquire The Deadliest Disease in America with Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films, negotiating the deal for Freedom of North Carolina directly with Jones of Bearhug Productions. Watch the trailers for both films below.

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EXCLUSIVE: The mockumentary The Daphne Project directed by Alec Tibaldi and Zora Iman Crews is set to open in theatres, beginning with the Quad Cinema in New York, on July 22nd—ahead of its platform release through Fuse+ later this year.

The Daphne Project - Credit: Mailuki Films
The Daphne Project - Credit: Mailuki Films

Mailuki Films

The film watches as actress and social justice warrior Daphne Wilco (Crews) hilariously wreaks havoc on an off-off Broadway production of Euripides’ The Bacchae in the name of progress—her progress. Jake Horowitz, April Lavelle, Reed Lancaster, Geena Quintos, Annie-Sage Whitehurst, Yael Rizowy, Ed Norwood, Austin Letorney, Duncan Menaker and Piper De Palma round out its cast.

Tibaldi and Crews also wrote and produced the pic, with Hani Saqr, Dasha Khritankova and Madeleine Tibaldi serving as co-producers. Watch a teaser for the project from Mailuki Films below.

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EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has a new trailer for Anthony Nardolillo’s boxing drama 7th & Union, which is slated to premiere on Amazon on June 23rd.

7th & Union - Credit: Courtesy of Stefania Rosini
7th & Union - Credit: Courtesy of Stefania Rosini

Courtesy of Stefania Rosini

The film watches as Mexican ex-fighter Raymundo (Omar Chaparro) forms an unlikely bond with a disgruntled man, whose life and relationship with his daughter are unraveling. The two men then join forces to win a fight that could very well save Raymundo, his wife and their child. Edy Ganem (Devious Maids), Oscar Torre (The Haves and the Have Nots), Gregg Daniel (Insecure), Erinn Westbrook (Riverdale), Felipe Esparza (Superstore) and Jay Hieron (Pam & Tommy) also star.

Oscar Orlando Torres scripted the pic from Alexander Robb’s story. Nardolillo, Torres and Jolene Rodriguez produced, with Chaparro exec producing. The production companies involved were Broken English and 13 Paces. Watch the trailer for 7th & Union below.

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