‘Sisters’, ‘Soul Mates’ Castings; Vision Films Hire; Vertical, Random Media, Buffalo 8, Freestyle, DeskPop, Homestead, Indican Acquisitions; More – Film Briefs
Andrea-Rachel Parker (Power), Lil Mama (CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story), Columbus Short (Scandal), K.D. Aubert (Friday After Next), Cocoa Brown (Never Have I Ever), Tobias Truvillion (Brooklyn’s Finest) and De’aundre Bonds (Father Stu) will lead the cast of the crime drama Sisters, from writer-director Jahmar Hill (Run), which is heading into production in October.
The film tells the story of three family members reunited by tragedy. After their mother’s early passing, Diamond and her “sisters” grew up under the care of their loving grandmother. But when her health deteriorates, threatening that relationship, the trio is willing to do anything to save her life — even take someone else’s.
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The cast for Sisters also includes Hill, Alisa Reyes, Christine Lakin, Jensen Atwood, Ciera Angelia, Sade Whiting, Heidy Javier, Latoya Ward, Isaac J. Sullivan, Mia Mendez, Eduardo M. Pulido, Charles W. Harris III, Crystal T. Williams, Del Harrison, Devon Ray and Nabillah Nahim. Michelle Brooks of BMG Castings oversaw casting.
Monica M. Brown, Crystal T. Williams, Sade Whiting and Heidy Javier are producing the pic eyed for release in the first quarter of 2023, with Hill serving as EP. Parker is repped by Eris Talent Agency and Astra Media Artists; Lil Mama by Pallas Management Group and Sunni Gyrl; Short by TCA Mgmt and Great Picture Show; Aubert by Miles Anthony Associates in the UK and Steve Owens Mgmt; Brown by Innovative Artists, J Pervis Talent Agency in Georgia and Hess Entertainment; and Truvillion by TCA Mgmt and Talent Connect.
EXCLUSIVE: Annie Ilonzeh (Getaway) and Charlie Weber (How to Get Away with Murder) will topline the horror pic Soul Mates from director Mark Gantt, which is slated for release this fall.
Manfred Baumann; Manny Halley Production
The film written by Joe Russo and Chris LaMont centers around Allison (Ilonzeh) and Jason (Weber), two unsuspecting strangers who find themselves participants in a twisted new dating service that forces two singles inside a nightmarish maze designed to help them find their Soul Mate. The two must find their way out of this sick maze, but with every twist, turn and setback curated by the Matchmaker, they may never escape!
Pic’s producers are Rodney Turner II, Yolanda Halley of Faith Media Distribution, and William K. Baker. Manny Halley served as exec producer. Ilonzeh is repped by APA and Etcetera and Company; Weber by APA and BMK-ENT.
EXCLUSIVE: Scott Kamins has joined the independent worldwide sales and VOD aggregator Vision Films, Inc. as Executive Director of International Sales and Strategic Partnerships. His role supports Vision’s ongoing expansion into the world of direct global distribution, and strengthens relationships with existing clients, with Kamins reporting directly to CEO/Managing Director Lise Romanoff.
Scott Kamins/Vision Films, Inc.
Kamins comes to Vision Films from Cinedigm Entertainment Group and Vivendi Entertainment, where he previously held executive posts in Digital Distribution, Sales, and Content Partnerships. He has also held leadership roles at Geffen and Interscope Records over his 20-year career in the entertainment business that has spanned music, film, TV, digital, and new technologies.
Vision releases three to four new films each month and maximizes all windows of release including theatrical, TVOD, SVOD and Pay TV, to AVOD and Free TV. The company has expanded its efforts into the international marketplace over the past couple of years, closing output deals directly with VOD operators around the globe including Rakuten in Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Benelux, and the UK); Amazon’s FreeVee in the UK; Dutch Channels and OD Media in Holland; Zylo.tv, W4tch.tv and Molotov in France; and Vix, Univision and Televisa in Latin America, as well as a number of global YouTube Channels such as Movie Central, Amago and Little Dot, as US-based channels like Roku, Pluto.tv, Peacock, iTunes, GooglePlay and Amazon have also reached new parts of the world.
EXCLUSIVE: Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights to the ensemble female comedy Rosé All Day from actor-director Marla Sokoloff (Blending Christmas), slating it for a day-and-date release in November.
Rosé All Day follows a group of college friends who meet once a year for a Rosé All Day pool party. But after years of babies, careers and different life paths, the cracks in their relationships become all-consuming sinkholes filled with vomit, tears and confessions. Jenna Ushkowitz (Glee), Veronica Dunne (K.C. Undercover) and Chelsea Alden (13 Reasons Why) lead the cast of the film written by Katie Amanda Keane, with Briana Cuoco (The Flight Attendant), Cameron Kelly (Masters of Sex), Alice Hunter (Another Period) and Avery Norris (White Elephant) playing supporting roles.
Corey Moss and Brad T. Gottfred produced for Bold Soul Studios, along with Milan Chakraborty (Plus One, Assassination Nation) of Marginal MediaWorks, with Michael J. Norris, William J. Norris, Jeanette M. Norris, Michael Masukawa and Kelly Frey serving as exec producers. Pic’s co-producers are Keane, Allyssa DelPiano, Jaki Silver, Bradford Downs, Blake Edward Boyd and D’Elia Guarnieri. Tony Piantedosi negotiated the deal for Rosé All Day on behalf of Vertical Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Random Media has nabbed worldwide rights to the teen dramedies Teenage Girl: Skip Day and Teenage Girl: First Wheels, featuring Cory Feldman, as well as to horror-comedy It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, in a three-picture deal with Dead Rabbit Films and Mutt Productions.
The first two features, directed by Aaron Lee Lopez, are billed as modern takes on John Hughes’ classic films of the ’80s, highlighting high school girls and their families. Their release follows Random Media’s unspooling of titles including Teenage Girl: Valerie’s Holiday and Teenage Vampire.
The first film up for release on digital platforms is Teenage Girl: Skip Day, the story of four girls from different social cliques who meet each other during Senior Skip Day, then discovering they are more like each other than they thought. The second to roll out is Teenage Girl: First Wheels, which follows Alex and fellow geek band friend Claire as they decide to take Alex’s candy apple red 1966 Mustang on a weekend joyride, in hopes of appearing cool and impressing her high school crush, with her family out of town. The third feature, also directed by Lopez, follows Jeremy Adams, a hopeless romantic high school senior who has just scored a date with his dream girl, Amanda Lawton. When Amanda is kidnapped, Jeremy and his best friend, Minka, are forced to go on a horrific quest to save her from a ruthless serial killer.
Lopez produced the projects alongside David Chackler and Kurt Wipfli, with Nadia Redler and Mark Pavia serving as exec producers. The deal for the three films was negotiated by Chackler at Dead Rabbit Films, along with Wipfli of Mutt Productions, and Eric Doctorow on behalf of Random Media.
EXCLUSIVE: Buffalo 8 has announced that it will release the documentary For Walter and Josiah, marking the feature directorial of Jamie Elias, across digital and VOD platforms on September 16th.
The film transports us to the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. Their small community is shaken to its core by a teen suicide epidemic that claims 22 Native lives in a single year — including those of two high school basketball team members. The documentary follows the team during their season as the surviving members play to honor their fallen brothers and uplift their community.
Buffalo 8’s release of the pic is being timed to raise awareness around the shocking statistics for Montana and its indigenous communities’ suicide rates during Suicide Prevention Month, with a portion of iTunes and DVD sales being donated back to the Flathead Reservation. Montana has recently had one of the highest per-capita death-by-suicide rates in the country — over double the national average — with Native Americans being 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than their white counterparts.
In addition to directing, Elias produced the film alongside Trent Cooper, Benjamin Blank, Addison Neville and Kurt Campbell-Anderson. Kristen Klabin, Alex Klabin, Dana Hewankorn, Laura Lewis, Nikki Stier Justice, Grady Justice, Matthew Helderman and Luke Taylor are its exec producers. Lewis negotiated for Rebelle Media on behalf of the filmmakers with Nikki Stier Justice for Buffalo 8.
EXCLUSIVE: Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the action-comedy The Take Out Move, and to the documentary A Pebble in the Pond. The digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group will release both titles across digital and VOD platforms on September 13.
Freestyle Digital Media
Made for only $3,500, The Take Out Move is an action-packed, R-rated comedy that tells the story of what happens after a shadowy figure instructs two different men to take out the same woman. When they end up at her home at the same time, they must fight each other through absurd situations to be the one to complete the assignment. Written, directed and produced by Andrew Simonian, the film stars Jeremy Sless, Nick Grace, Alexandra Miles and Zack Kozlow.
Freestyle Digital Media
A Pebble in the Pond tells the story of Anne Banning, a forgotten American pioneer who formed the female-organized-and-run non-profit organization Assistance League, which has been helping people for 125 years. The doc hosted by Ann Benson takes viewers on a journey that includes multiple chapters of Assistance League and the people whose lives the organization has touched — including a former NFL player, an assault survivor who now helps other women, an orthodontist who was helped as a teen, the organization’s dedicated volunteers, and the countless children impacted even today by Assistance League’s signature program, Operation School Bell. Benson also produced the pic from writer-director Paul Howard, alongside Gareth Fient, Marc Wiercioch, and Ettore Zuccarelli of EZ Productions. Howard served as EP, with Karis Campbell as narrator.
Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deals to acquire The Take Out Move and A Pebble in the Pond with Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films. Watch the trailers for both films below.
EXCLUSIVE: DeskPop Entertainment has secured worldwide rights to writer-director Josh Hope’s indie Alex / October, slating it for for release in select U.S. theaters, and on digital and VOD on September 30th.
Courtesy of One Good Man Productions
The film centers on the self-destructive Alex (Brad Hunt), who wants to end his life amid another lonely, cold Chicago winter. In desperation, he places a bizarre classified. October (Tara Shayne) and her “besties” Josh (Ethan Cutkosky) and Cait (Rivkah Reyes) are twenty-somethings on their own aimless downward spiral. And when October’s morbid curiosity leads her to respond to Alex’s post, their lives collide, sending them on a journey to face their own secrets. When small choices are the difference between life and death, compassion matters.
Lisa Freberg produced for One Good Man Productions, in her narrative feature debut. The deal for Alex / October was brokered by Mat Levy from DeskPop and Ilyssa Goodman and Deborah Gilels from LA Media Consultants.
EXCLUSIVE: Homestead Entertainment has acquired worldwide rights to actor, director and comedian Brian Hooks’ thriller Adam + Eve from Left Of Bang Entertainment, slating it for a late summer AVOD release across major platforms.
The film written, directed by and starring Hooks centers on an emotionally scarred ex-marine with intense trust issues who finally meets the woman of his dreams. No sooner than he finds the strength to open up his heart and love, her checkered past comes to light, resurrecting his emotional demons. Hooks produced the pic, which is based on his and Terence DeShawn Mitchell’s story. Its cast also includes Cherish Michael, Kareem J. Grimes, Teck Holmes, Trae Ireland and Mihara India.
Homestead Entertainment is a 100% Black-owned and operated production and distribution company that has thus far found great success shepherding BIPOC content in the VOD space. Rights to Adam + Eve were acquired in conjunction with Glass Slipper Pictures, with Homestead Entertainment’s Rob Johnson, and Glass Slipper Pictures’ Merc Arceneaux and Shondrella Avery brokering the deal. Watch the film’s teaser below.
EXCLUSIVE: Indican Pictures has acquired the romantic drama Highway One, from writer-director Jaclyn Bethany (Indigo Valley), slating it for release in select theaters on August 26, and on DVD and VOD on September 20. The film will open at Cinelounge Hollywood and San Francisco’s Cinelounge Tiburon on the 26th, running in theaters through September 1st.
Courtesy of Indican Pictures/BKE Productions
Highway One is set in rural California, where Anna (Marié Botha) is hosting a New Year’s Eve party. Nina (Juliette Labelle), a long-gone friend from high school, unexpectedly shows up, bringing out the sexual yearnings of Maria (Aisha Fabienne Ross). Over the course of the evening, Maria struggles with her newfound feelings and facing the partygoers: a gaggle of eccentric millennials.
The indie won Best Ensemble Performance at the 2021 Nòt Film Fest in Italy. Its cast also includes Ivy George, Stella Baker, Bailey Edwards, Sadie Scott, Belle Aykroyd, Dan Shaked and Greta Bellamacina.
EXCLUSIVE: Damascus Road Productions, Uptone Pictures and SaltShaker Media have announced that their faith-based film Paul’s Promise will be released in theaters in 200+ markets via Integrity Releasing on October 21, with its home entertainment release to follow on December 6.
Set in the peak of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Paul’s Promise tells the story of Paul Holderfield, a bigoted firefighter-turned pastor, who started one of the first integrated churches in the American South. Linda Purl, Nancy Stafford, Ryan O’Quinn, Shari Rigby, Josef Cannon and Dean Cain lead the cast of Damascus Road’s debut project to be released under its newly announced, multi-picture pact with film executive, producer and financier Mike Ilitch, Jr.
Ryan O’Quinn and Heather O’Quinn produced for Damascus Road Productions, alongside Uptone Pictures’ Michael Davis, with Nick Logan and Ty Nsekhe serving as executive producers. Watch the trailer for Paul’s Promise below.
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has an exclusive trailer for John Barker’s South African heist comedy The Umbrella Men, which will have its world premiere at part of the Toronto Film Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema slate on September 10.
A Barking Rat Film
Set in the colorful and culture-rich Bo-Kaap area of Cape Town, The Umbrella Men follows a troupe of musicians who are forced to rob a bank during the city’s Carnival in an effort to save their beloved nightclub — which serves as the spiritual home to their whole community.
Jaques Da Silva, Shamilla Miller, Keenan Arrison and Bronte Snell star in the pic written by Barker and Philip Roberts. Barker, Joel Phiri, Dan Jawitz, Tshepiso Chikapa Phiri and Themba Mfebe served as producers, with South African Jazz pianist Kyle Shepard providing the film’s original music. Watch the trailer for The Umbrella Men below.
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