Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment has teamed with former IDW Entertainment President David Ozer to launch Landmark Studio Group. The new company will be focused on the ownership, development and production of entertainment franchises in both TV and film. Ozer will serve as CEO for the company, which will be headquartered in New York with offices in Los Angeles.
Landmark content will be funneled through outlets such as Crackle, which Chicken Soup took majority control of last spring in a new arrangement with Sony. The company also owns Screen Media, which will distribute Landmark titles.
Landmark will develop, produce, distribute and own all of the intellectual property it creates. The studio will be independent, having the ability to sell its content to any network or platform, while hanging onto worldwide rights.
Cole Strategic Partners will co-fund Landmark with Chicken Soup for the Soul. “We are thrilled to join forces with Bill [Rouhana] and David to launch Landmark, which we anticipate will become a major force in the entertainment industry,” said Simon Misselbrook, president of Cole Strategic Partners.
Landmark has set several television and film projects in development including The Fix, a scripted drama series based on the book by Declan Hill, docuseries The History of Gangster Rap, based on the book by Soren Baker, and Safehaven, a supernatural horror series based on the graphic novel, directed by Brad Turner (Homeland, 24). See details below. Landmark will also be producing various stand-up comedy specials and animated series.
“All of us at Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment are thrilled to be in business with David Ozer. He has the ability and talent to turn Landmark into a high-volume content production operation that we anticipate will provide an additional revenue stream for our company while mitigating production risk,” Chicken Soup for the Soul CEO Bill Rouhana said. “We expect Landmark to provide valuable original content to Crackle and the other six AVOD networks that are part of our Crackle Plus subsidiary, as well as our other Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment divisions.”
“It’s incredible what Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is creating in the AVOD space, and I’m excited to launch Landmark as an important studio operation for tomorrow’s media consumers,” said Ozer. “With the support of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, we are poised to become a significant player in the global content marketplace.”
As Landmark CEO, Ozer will spearhead its content development and production operations. During his time at IDW Entertainment, he was credited with the independent mini-studio’s expansion, and the success of its two most prominent series, overseeing the development and production of three seasons of Wynonna Earp for Syfy, and two seasons of Dirk Gently for BBC America. He also oversaw the development of Locke & Key and V-Wars for Netflix.
Ozer has also previously held executive level positions at multinational media corporations including Starz Media, RHI Entertainment, Sonar, DIC Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television.
Landmark’s television projects in development:
THE FIX – A scripted drama series that explores the most explosive story of sports corruption in a generation based on the book by Declan Hill. The Fix is written by David Dilley and produced by Calamity Jane’s Ellen Pompeo and Laura Holstein. THE HISTORY OF GANGSTER RAP – A documentary series based on the bestselling book by Soren Baker, who serves as producer along with Jorge Hinojosa and Ice-T, and features Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and many others.
SAFEHAVEN – Directed by Brad Turner (Homeland, 24), Safehaven, a supernatural horror series based on the graphic novel about a female comic book artist whose drawings come alive to haunt her. Safehaven is produced by Turner, Thomas Vitale (Pandora), Jessica Petelle (V-Wars, Hawaii Five-0), James Seale (30 Below), Kevin Duncan and Michael Bay’s 451 Media.Continue reading
Screen Media has picked up all North American rights to “The Sonata,” a thriller that features one of the late actor Rutger Hauer’s final film roles.
“The Sonata” centers on young violinist Rose (Freya Tingley) who inherits an old mansion after the death of her composer father (Hauer). After moving in, she discovers that his final work was a mysterious musical score with strange symbols that unlock keys to her father’s shadowy past, unleashing a horror beyond imagination. Screen Media is planning a theatrical and VOD release in early 2020.
The film has already sold key foreign territories and played as part of Lincoln Center’s “Scary Movies” summer series and at the Popcorn Frights Film Festival. “The Sonata” was co-written and directed by Andrew Desmond, marking his first time behind the camera for a feature-length production. “The Sonata” was co-written by Arthur Morin.
Tingley, best known for her work on “Hemlock Grove,” appears opposite Simon Abkarian (“Casino Royale”). Hauer, whose credits include “Blade Runner” and “Nighthawks,” died in July at the age of 75.
The film is produced by Laurent Fumeron, Rodolphe Sanzé and Daniel Goroshko from The Project Film Club; Julien Loeffler, Fabrice Smadja and James Kermack from Featuristic Films; Sergey Selyanov from CTB Film Company; and Aija Berzina and Alise Gelze from Tasse Film.
Screen Media has been active on the acquisitions front. In recent months, it nabbed North American rights to John Turturro’s “The Jesus Rolls,” a spin-off of “The Big Lebowski,” as well as Charlie Lightening and Gavin Fitzgerald’s feature documentary “Liam Gallagher: As It Was” and Alec Baldwin’s crime thriller “Crown Vic.”
Seth Needle, senior VP of worldwide acquisitions at Screen Media, negotiated the deal with Moritz Hemminger at ARRI Media on behalf of the producers. ARRI Media is handling international sales for the film.Continue reading
Screen Media has acquired North American rights The Jesus Rolls, the movie from John Turturro that returns his Big Lebowski character Jesus Quintana to the big screen more than 20 years later. Turturro wrote, directed and stars in the pic, which the indie distributor now plans to release in early 2020.
The movie — part Big Lebowski spinoff, part remake of Bertrand Blier’s 1974 pic Going Places (this film’s original name) — follows a trio of misfits whose irreverent, sexually charged dynamic evolves into a surprising love story as their spontaneous and flippant attitude towards the past or future backfires time and again, even as they inadvertently perform good deeds. When they make enemies with a gun-toting hairdresser, their journey becomes one of constant escape from the law, from society and from the hairdresser, all while the bonds of their outsider family strengthen.
Bobby Cannavale and Audrey Tautou also star in the film, which features Jon Hamm, Susan Sarandon and SNL‘s Pete Davidson.
“It feels like a good time to release a transgressive film about the stupidity of men who try and fail and try better to understand and penetrate the mystery of women,” Turturro said in a release Monday announcing the deal. “I look forward to working with Screen Media and bring our work and the character of the Jesus to American audiences.”
Turturro played Jesus Quintana in the Coen brothers’ 1998 The Big Lebowski opposite Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi. He was only in a couple of scenes but stole them both as the foul-mouthed, purple-clad, sex-offender rival to the bowling team led by Bridges’ The Dude. The Coens were not involved in The Jesus Rolls, though they gave Turturro their blessing to further explore the character.
The new pic is produced by Robert Salerno, John Penotti, Fernando Sulichin, Sidney Kimmel and Paul-Dominique Win Vacharasinthu. Max Arvelaiz, Lawrence Kopeikin, Michael Lewis, Bruce Toll and Robert S. Wilson are executive producers.
Screen Media’s Seth Needle negotiated the deal with ICM Partners on behalf of the filmmakers. Cornerstone Films Limited is handling international sales.Continue reading
Screen Media has acquired North American rights to Charlie Lightening and Gavin Fitzgerald’s feature documentary “Liam Gallagher: As It Was.” The film follows the former Oasis frontman as he finds himself on the periphery of the rock ‘n’ roll world after years spent at the white hot center of the music world. Screen Media will release the film in the fall and will time it with the debut Gallagher’s upcoming second solo album.
“Liam Gallagher: As It Was” premiered at the Cannes Market this week. Lightening, who previously directed the video for Gallagher’s video “Chinatown,” and his co-director Fitzgerald were granted behind-the-scenes access as Gallagher mounted a comeback. For years, Oasis topped the charts with catchy songs such as “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova,” but Gallagher also dominated headlines with his loutish behavior and feuds with his brother and bandmate Noel. He was able to recapture some of that heat with the 2017 debut of his solo album “As You Were,” a critical and commercial success.
The deal was negotiated at Cannes by Seth Needle, senior VP of worldwide acquisitions at Screen Media, with Mike Runagall at Altitude Film Sales on behalf of the filmmakers. The movie is set for release in the U.K. and Ireland on June 7, including a screening at the legendary Alexandra Palace venue, a special event that sold out in 90 seconds.
“Liam is one of the most influential and accomplished musicians of the last 30 years,” said Needle. “‘Liam Gallagher: As It Was’ showcases his talent and personality like nothing before.”
Lightening previously directed projects about Paul McCartney and Jamiroquai. Fitzgerald directed “Conor McGregor: Notorious,” as well as “The Fighting Irish,” a look at MMA fighters. “Liam Gallagher: As It Was” is produced by Steven Lappin.
Screen Media also bought the sci-fi/horror anthology movie “Portals” at this year’s Cannes.Continue reading
With a new parent company and a mandate to back bigger films with A-list casts, Screen Media is raising its profile. Historically, the company has been known for releasing genre titles that lacked visibility. Many of these made money, particularly when DVDs were a major business and in the early days of on-demand.
But that’s no longer the case. Over the past two years, Screen Media has worked on prestige fare such as “Bel Canto,” a well-reviewed drama with Oscar-winner Julianne Moore and Oscar-nominee Ken Watanabe, and Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” a fantasy adventure that stars Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce. It’s the kind of fare you’d expect from blue-chip indies like Sony Pictures Classics, and it hints at the changes afoot at the company.
“When I started it was a DVD business with a license to print money,” said David Fannon, president of Screen Media. “We needed to evolve.”
Fannon says the company, now in its 20th year, has been granted a fresh life after it was sold in 2017 to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, a publicly traded company that recently made headlines with its acquisition of Crackle.
“Chicken Soup was looking for us to really grow our revenue, grow our business,” said Fannon. “For a couple of years before that we were really acquiring small niche product. Some did well for us, but it wasn’t enough to move the needle.”
Now, the New York-based Screen Media is looking to release between 16 to 18 movies a year, many with top-shelf talent, and is hoping to establish a presence in Los Angeles.
“Screen’s had a volatile ride, but there’s a big difference between where we are versus where we were three years ago,” said Seth Needle, senior VP, worldwide acquisitions, at Screen Media.
The company has been busy at Cannes, announcing it had nabbed global rights to the sci-fi/horror anthology movie “Portals,” which features segments directed by genre veterans such as Eduardo Sanchez (“The Blair Witch Project”) and Liam O’Donnell (“Skyline”). And it’s still looking to make a few more deals before the festival closes. It also went into the festival having picked up rights to Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary feature “Memory: The Origins of Alien,” an exploration of the making of the Ridley Scott classic that will be released in conjunction with the film’s 40th anniversary. The company is partnering with Legion M, a company that allows fanboys and and fangirls to invest in content.
“It’s not really a volume play,” said Michael Messina, executive vice president of distribution. “We want to make sure every single release is handcrafted and we’re trying to build up our reputation for being able to release these movies with care.”
Of course, it’s tough out there for an independent studio. Other companies such as Broad Green or Relativity have marched into the space with grand ambitions only to close up shop in short order. Screen Media’s leaders say they’re aware the film business has a high rate of failure, but they also point to their longevity as a sign they have what it takes.
“We’re survivors,” said Fannon. “We’ve seen a lot of changes and we’ve kind of been ‘Steady Eddie’ throughout. You’ve seen a lot of flavor of the day come in and they make a big splash and two years later they’re nowhere to be found. We stick to our knitting.”Continue reading
Screen Media has acquired worldwide rights to the sci-fi/horror anthology movie “Portals.” The film features segments directed by genre veterans Eduardo Sanchez (“The Blair Witch Project”), Gregg Hale (“V/H/S 2”), Timo Tjahjanto (“The Night Comes For Us”) and Liam O’Donnell (“Skyline”).
Created by Chris White, the genre-bending story is set around a series of worldwide blackouts — after which millions of mysterious cosmic anomalies appear everywhere across the planet. While many flee from the sentient objects, some people are drawn toward — and into — them with horrifying consequences.
Produced by Brad Miska and Chris White alongside BoulderLight Pictures’ J.D. Lifshitz and Raphael Margules, the distributor is planning a fall multi-platform release, and will be begin handling foreign sales at Cannes under its partnership with Film Mode Entertainment.
Lifshitz and Margules produced together with Miska, White and Bloody Disgusting’s Tom Owen.
Seth Needle, senior VP, worldwide acquisitions, at Screen Media, negotiated the deal with BoulderLight Pictures on behalf of the filmmakers.
Miska, co-founder of Bloody Disgusting, previously produced the “V/H/S” film trilogy as well as “Under the Bed,” “A Horrible Way to Die” and “Southbound.” White first collaborated with Miska on “V/H/S Viral.” His other credits include “The ABCS of Death” and “My Super Psycho Sweet 16.”
BoulderLight, which will handle sales on a few select Asian territories for the film, recently produced IFC Midnight’s “Pledge.” Pigrat’s Griffin Devine and Alyssa Devine also serve as producers with O’Donnell, while Screen Media’s Mike Messina, Seth Needle and Conor McAdam are on board as executive producers.
“We are thrilled to be working with Screen Media to help bring this innovative new anthology to life with so many creative collaborators we admire,” said Lifshitz.Continue reading
Screen Media has acquired North American rights to Corporate Animals, the horror comedy from Patrick Brice that bowed in January in the Midnight section of the Sundance Film Festival. Demi Moore, Jessica Williams, Karan Soni, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Dan Bakkedahl, Calum Worthy, Nasim Pedrad, Martha Kelly, Jennifer Kim and Ed Helms (and the voice of Britney Spears) topline the film, which is now getting a summer day-and-date theatrical release.
Moore plays Lucy, the egotistical, megalomaniac CEO of Incredible Edible Cutlery, America’s premier provider of edible cutlery. In her infinite wisdom, she leads her staff, including her long-suffering assistants Freddie (Soni) and Jess (Williams), on a corporate team-building spelunking weekend in New Mexico. When disaster strikes, not even their useless guide Brandon (Helms) can save them. Trapped underground by a cave-in, this mismatched and disgruntled group must pull together in order to survive. Sam Bain wrote the script.
Seth Needle, SVP Worldwide Acquisitions at Screen Media, negotiated the deal with ICM Partners and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.
Helms and Mike Falbo of Pacific Electric Picture Co. produced with Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder of Snoot Entertainment.
“This is a really special movie and Screen Media gets that,” Helms said. “I know we’re in great hands, and I can’t wait for the world to see what the warped minds of Patrick Brice, Sam Bain, and this epic cast have served up.”Continue reading
U.S. distributor Screen Media and Clay Epstein’s sales outfit Film Mode have struck a deal whereby the latter will represent Screen Media’s international sales titles. Where possible, the duo will also look to acquire world rights on projects going forward.
The partnership gets underway at this week’s EFM in Berlin, where Film Mode will handle sales of Screen Media’s lineup including movies Stray, A Very Nutty Christmas and You Might Be The Killer. Film Mode will also represent Screen Media’s 600-strong international sales library.
“Screen Media has been looking for new strategic partnerships as we begin to aggressively grow our business,” explained Screen Media President David Fannon. “Partnering with Film Mode not only allows us to work with a top-notch sales company and maximize our foreign presence, but we can now actively pursue more worldwide acquisition and co-production opportunities.”
“We’re delighted to be working more closely with the Screen Media team,” said Film Mode President Clay Epstein. “They have an excellent track record in distribution and a valuable catalogue that provides a competitive advantage in the marketplace, enabling us to better service our clients and producers.”
The two companies previously collaborated on 2016 thriller Sugar Mountain, starring Jason Momoa, Cary Elwes and Anna Hutchison.
Screen Media, acquired in 2017 by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, is due to domestically release Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in April. The firm’s sales library includes Monster and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
Film Mode’s recent slate includes The Good Neighbor with James Caan and Gangster Land starring Milo Gibson and Jason Patric. Upcoming releases include Crypto starring Beau Knapp, Alexis Bledel and Kurt Russell, and the remake of David Cronenberg’s Rabid.Continue reading
Indie film distributor Screen Media has hired Michael Messina as EVP Distribution and Lisa Burgueno as VP Digital Distribution. The moves from the company, acquired in 2017 by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, comes at it plans to increase its release slate to 20 films or more per year.
Both execs are on the ground in Park City with the Sundance Film Festival kicking off today.
Messina, most recently VP Global Distribution & Acquisitions in Starz’s digital distribution division, has been consulting with Screen Media and now takes on oversight of domestic distribution, sales and marketing. Burgueno, previously at Lionsgate/Starz Digital and before that in distribution positions at Cinedigm and Microsoft Movies & TV, will manage Screen Media’s transactional partnerships and media planning across digital and on-demand services.
They will join Screen Media SVP Worldwide Acquisitions Seth Needle and Director of Marketing Abbey Warner at Sundance.
“Screen Media has been building a robust slate over the past year as we continue to aggressively expand our distribution business,” said Screen Media president David Fannon. “Mike has an excellent reputation for working with filmmakers and delivering revenue growth. Lisa brings a wealth of knowledge and experience marketing and distributing film and television series in the digital space. Together they greatly expand our distribution capabilities and we are thrilled to add them to the team.”
Screen Media’s recent releases include Paul Weitz’s Bel Canto, and it just acquired Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote starring Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce. Other 2019 pics include Adult Life Skills with Jodie Whittaker and A Violent Separation toplined by Brenton Thwaites and Ben Robson.
Screen Media has picked up North American rights to Terry Gilliam’s long-in-the-works drama The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, starring Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard, Olga Kurylenko and Jordi Molla.
Screen Media, in partnership with event cinema specialist Fathom Events, is planning a theatrical release for March 2019. The deal was negotiated by Seth Needle, SVP of Worldwide Acquisitions at Screen Media with the filmmakers.
The film had its world premiere as the Closing Night Film at Cannes 2018. Directed and written by Gilliam, the film is co-written by Tony Grisoni and produced by Mariela Besuievsky, Amy Gilliam, Gerardo Herrero and Gregoire Melin.
In Gilliam’s tale, Adam Driver plays Toby, a frustrated filmmaker and disillusioned advertising executive who becomes pulled into a world of time jumping fantasy when a Spanish cobbler (Pryce), who believes he is Don Quixote, mistakes Toby for his trusted squire Sancho Panza. Pulled further into the cobbler’s world, Toby gradually becomes unable to tell his dreams from reality.
“Terry Gilliam is a true auteur and his latest film does not disappoint. It is the perfect pairing of a film with a filmmaker, the story of Don Quixote, a man who believes in things that seemingly no one else believes in, until finally, they share his vision,” said David Fannon, President of Screen Media. “Screen Media is thrilled that U.S. audiences will finally get to see Terry Gilliam’s quest.”
It has indeed been quite the ride for the filmmakers. After a tortured journey to production, the film was a hot button topic at Cannes where a producer tried to block the film’s distribution, leading to Amazon’s exit as U.S. partner and additional legal issues.Continue reading
Jerry O’Connell and Katie Aselton star in the comedy-horror film from director Nick Corirossi.
Screen Media has snatched up North American rights to Deep Murder, a comedy-horror film that marks Nick Corirossi's directorial debut.
Jerry O’Connell, Katie Aselton and Chris Redd star in the feature, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in September.
Screen Media plans to give the film a multiplatform release in the first half of 2019.
Deep Murder is in the alternate reality of a tacky soft-core porn film, where a group of increasingly self-aware stock characters are up against a mysterious killer offing them one by one.
"I set out to make a film both funnier and more successful than Billionaire Boys Club and I have 100 percent accomplished that,” said Corirossi, citing Kevin Spacey's recent thriller, which infamously flopped. "Deep Murder is the The Phantom Menace of soft-core porn comedy horrors."
Deep Murder is produced by Dark Web Productions, Defiant Studios and Life Entertainment, in association with Slated. Eric B. Fleischman, Andrew Swett, Jesse Berger, Brent Johnson, Drew Foster, and Patrick McErlean produced, with Teddy Cabugos, Michael Yedwab, Craig Dobbin, Alan Sliper, Cary Anderson and Christopher McDonald as executive producers. Carl Braid is a co-executive producer and Josh Berger is co-producer.
The deal for Deep Murder was negotiated by Seth Needle at Screen Media, with ICM and CAA on behalf of the filmmakers.Continue reading
Screen Media has acquired North American rights to A Violent Separation, the crime thriller directed by Kevin and Michael Goetz and starring Brenton Thwaites, Alycia Debnam-Carey and Ben Robson. With the deal, struck at the American Film Marketwith sales agent Double Dutch International, a first-half 2019 day-and-date theatrical release is planned.
Claire Holt, Francesca Eastwood, Gerald McRaney and Ted Levine also star in the pic, which is set in a small Midwestern town and centers on two brothers (Thwaites and Robson) who struggle with the terrible truth behind a tragedy that aims to tear three generations of family apart. Michael Arkof penned the script.
Dan Clifton produced via his Mortem Aut Triumphum along with Catapult Entertainment Group’s Kevin Goetz and Christopher Watkins. Screen Media’s Seth Needle made the deal with Double Dutch’s Mark Padilla.Continue reading
Screen Media International kicks off worldwide sales excluding China here on supernatural neo-noir Straystarring Karen Fukuhara from the Suicide Squadfranchise.
The story centres on an orphaned teen who teams up with a detective to investigate her mother’s murder and confront the ghosts of her family’s past.
Screen Media plans a day-and-date North American release for the first half of 2019. Joe Sill’s makes his directorial debut and the cast includes Christine Woods, Ross Partridge, and Japanese singer-songwriter Miyavi.
J.D. Dillard and Alex Theurer co-wrote the screenplay, while the producers are Eric B. Fleischman, Sean Tabibian, Dillard and Theurer.
“With Stray, I wanted to tell a universal story about a struggling family that was inspired by the science-fiction and noir genres that I love — and just so happens to feature Asian characters at the forefront,” said Sill.
“I think it’s important that stories that are more mainstream represent more people of different voices and ethnicities, simply because there aren’t enough of them out there yet.”
“Joe Sill is someone you need to be watching for,” said Screen Media’s Seth Needle. “What he accomplished with Stray – between the mythos, storytelling and the stunning visuals – is mesmerising. Audiences are going to love it.”
Needle negotiated the deal with CAA on behalf of the filmmakers.Continue reading
Screen Media has acquired all North American rights for Tilman Singer’s psychotropic horror film “Luz” and is planning a first quarter 2019 release in theaters across the U.S.
“Luz” premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and has screened at the Fantasia Film Festival. It will have its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest this week and will screen as a part of the Sitges Film Festival next month.
“Luz” stars Luana Velis as a young cabdriver who drags herself into a run-down police station while being pursued by a woman (played by Julia Riedler) who is possessed by a demonic entity. Singer also wrote the script. Singer and Dario Mendez Acosta produced.
Seth Needle and Conor McAdam of Screen Media negotiated the deal with Joe Yanick, Hugues Barbier and Justin Timms on behalf of Yellow Veil Pictures.
“Every so often there’s a film that really unnerves, and just flat-out scares us,” Needle said. ”Luz’ does exactly that. Tilman has made a beautiful but truly terrifying movie that people are going to be talking about for sure.”
Singer said, “To see this kind of reaction to our film, visit festivals and now release it in North America is a little bit like shooting a movie itself; It’s hard to fully grasp. Producing ‘Luz,’ I had no idea where it would go and I am excited for the life that it will have.”
Dennis Harvey gave the film a strong review for Variety at Berlin: “Comparisons do not come easy with ‘Luz,’ an arresting first feature for German writer-director Tilman Singer that is equal measures demonic-possession thriller, experiment in formalist rigor, and flummoxing narrative puzzle-box. Done, almost incredibly, as a film-studies thesis project, this modestly scaled yet slick and conceptually audacious enterprise commands attention. At the very least, it’s an auspicious debut."Continue reading
Screen Media Films has signed a first-look deal to distribute content from Comedy Dynamics on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States.
Among the first titles slated under the new agreement are two stand-up comedy specials: Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape and Kevin Smith: Silent But Deadly are scheduled to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray later in 2018.
In 2019 and beyond, Screen Media will annually release Comedy Dynamics’ comedy specials, feature films and TV shows, such as “The Toys That Made Us,” an eight-part documentary series that can currently be seen on Netflix about the history of iconic toy brands.
“Screen Media Films is very excited to work with and distribute Comedy Dynamics titles,” said Laura Giampino, VP of sales at Screen Media Films. “Their properties are second to none and we are thrilled to bring these top-of-line features and stand-up specials to market. Our market base is still hungry for this type of physical product and it’s a win/win for both of our companies.”
“Partnering with Screen Media to release our content is symbiotic for so many reasons,” said Brian Volk-Weiss, CEO of Comedy Dynamics. “We are more than ecstatic to have them as an integral part of our company and its journey.”Continue reading
Screen Media has bought U.S. distribution rights to Josh Hutcherson’s animated movie “Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer” and set a holiday-season release for Nov. 30, Variety has learned exclusively.
The voice cast includes Josh Hutcherson as Elliot, Samantha Bee as Hazel the goat, John Cleese, Martin Short, Jeff Dunham, and Morena Baccarin. The animated film is directed by Jennifer Westcott from her own script, and produced by Lucas Lynette-Krech and Awesometown Entertainment in association with Elgin Road Productions.
“Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer” centers around Blitzen announcing his retirement on Dec. 21, giving a miniature horse three days to fulfill his lifelong dream of earning a spot on Santa’s sleigh during the North Pole tryouts. Elliot and his friend Hazel set out to prove that no dream is too big if you believe in yourself.
“‘Elliot’ is an awesome inspirational tale of overcoming the odds and dreaming big to achieve your goals — all of which is what we strive for at Screen Media. ‘Elliot’ is the perfect family holiday movie and we know audiences nationwide are going to love it,” said Seth Needle, senior VP of worldwide acquisitions at Screen Media.
The deal was negotiated by Needle and Double Dutch International’s Jason Moring and Mark Padilla. Elevation Pictures will release the pic in Canada.Continue reading
Screen Media has acquired North American rights to “Bel Canto,” Paul Weitz’s adaptation of the acclaimed Ann Patchett novel. The drama about a hostage crisis stars Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe. Opera legend Renée Fleming contributes vocals to the film. A national theatrical release is planned for September.
“Bel Canto” centers on Roxane Coss (Moore), a famous American soprano, who travels to South America to give a private concert at the birthday party of a Japanese mogul (Watanabe). The festivities are interrupted by guerrillas demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades. A lengthy standoff ensues, and as talks drag on bonds are formed between hostages and captors.
Sebastian Koch, Christopher Lambert, Ryo Kase, Tenoch Huerta and María Mercedes Coroy round out the cast. The film was written by Anthony Weintraub and Weitz. It is produced by Caroline Baron and Anthony Weintraub of A-Line Pictures; Weitz and Andrew Miano of Depth of Field; and Lizzie Friedman, Karen Lauder and Greg Little, who are producing and financing through their company Priority Pictures.
“I’m so happy with Screen Media’s passion for the movie,” said Weitz. “It was a joy filming it, and working with actors from such disparate backgrounds”
Seth Needle of Screen Media negotiated the deal. Endeavor Content represented the filmmakers.Continue reading
EXCLUSIVE: Screen Media has acquired U.S. rights to Blue Iguana, the comedy written and directed by Hadi Hajaig that stars Sam Rockwell, Ben Schwartz and Phoebe Fox. The company plans a day-and-date release this year sometime in the third quarter.
The deal comes with Rockwell a frontrunner to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar on Sunday for his role in Fox Searchlight’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Blue Iguana, meanwhile, is a black comedy that revolves around ex-jailbirds Eddie (Rockwell) and Paul (Schwartz), on parole and working in a New York diner, They are enlisted by and English lawyer Katherine Rookwood (Fox) to go to London and steal a gem called the Blue Iguana. Usually able to wriggle out of danger with a wisecrack, a weapon and a smile, this time a psychotic small-time crime boss (Peter Ferdinando) is in their way, and the unexpected consequence of Eddie and Katherine’s quest is true love.
Hajaig produced with Tom Lassally. Iain Coventry, Martin Muncaster, Crispin Corfe and Nasser Hajaig are executive producers. The film was produced by UK Film Studio Productions.
“Sam Rockwell and Ben Schwartz exhibit great comedic chemistry together and Hadi Hajaig is a filmmaker to take notice of,” said Screen Media’s SVP Worldwide Acquisitions Seth Needle.
He negotiated the deal with James Norrie at AMP International on behalf of the filmmakers.Continue reading
Screen Media has picked up worldwide rights to Change In The Air, a drama from first-time director Dianne Dreyer and starring recent Golden Globe-winning actress Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Mary Beth Hurt, Aidan Quinn, Macy Gray, M. Emmet Walsh, Seth Gilliam, and Olympia Dukakis. After finalizing the deal during EFM in Berlin, Screen Media will release the pic in theaters sometime this year.
Written by Audra Gorman, the story follows a beguiling young woman (Brosnahan) who moves in next door, and awakens a quiet neighborhood, bringing people face to face with their secrets and, ultimately, themselves.
Benjamin Cox’s Red Square Pictures produced the film in association with M.Y.R.A. Entertainment, Fish Hook Media, and Home Plate Pictures. Dreyer, who worked as a script supervisor on titles like The English Patient, Air Force One, and You’ve Got Mail, served as exec producer on the film, along with Gorman, Margarethe Baillou, and Allan Neuwirth.
The deal was negotiated by Seth Needle from Screen Media, and by Cox on behalf of the filmmakers.
Kevin Iwashina and Preferred Content repped sales on the film.
Screen Media Films has nabbed North American distribution rights to director Eric England’s thriller Josie, toplined by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, Dylan McDermott and Jack Kilmer. The film, based on the Black List script Huntsville by Anthony Ragnone, will be released day-and-date in theaters in March. It follows the tattooed, sweet-talking stranger Josie (Turner) who, upon arriving to a small, southern town, strikes up relationships with local young punk Marcus (Kilmer) and her loner neighbor Hank (McDermott). She quickly becomes a hot topic of local gossip, but her true intentions for arriving in town are far more sinister when her dark past comes to light. Luisa Iskin, Jeff Kalligheri, Kevin Matusow, and Johnny Wunder produced the pic, while Candice Abela, Karam Abulhusn, Stephen Bowen, Carissa Buffel, Fouad Mikati, Steven Chester Prince, Ash Sarohia and Lauren Russell served as exec producers. The deal was negotiated by Screen Media’s Seth Needle with Gersh and CAA on behalf of the filmmakers. Lightning Entertainment is handling foreign sales.Continue reading
Screen Media will also take over international sales on the time travel thriller, starring Lyndsy Fonseca and Linda Hamilton.
Screen Media Films have picked up worldwide rights to Curvature, a time travel thriller starring Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass).
Screen will release Curvature in North America, with a bow planned for early 2018. The company is also handling international sales on the feature and will be shopping the project to foreign buyers at AFM.
“Diego and Julio have crafted a really smart and tense film that audiences will really respond to,” said Seth Needle, senior vp worldwide acquisitions at Screen Media Films, who negotiated the deal with Scott Freije at XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers. “We can’t wait to bring it to genre fans across the world.”
Diego Hallivis directed Curvature in his feature debut and produced the film, together with brother Julio for their 1inMM Productions banner. The plot of the film, from a script by Brian DeLeeuw, has Fonseca playing an engineer who travels back in time to stop herself from committing a murder. Terminator actress Linda Hamilton and Glenn Morshower (Bloodline) co-star.
Curvature had its world premiere last month at Spain's prestigious Sitges fest dedicated to genre cinema.Continue reading
Screen Media Films has acquired the North American rights Temple out of Cannes, Bloody Disgusting has learned.
Directed by Michael Barrett, and starring Logan Huffman, Brandon Tyler Sklenar, and Natalia Warner, Temple follows three Americans on a trip to Japan are fascinated by a haunted temple, and, despite warnings from the villagers, decide to spend a night there.
Bloody can announce that Temple will be released in theaters and VOD day-and-date on September 1, 2017.
Red Sea Media is handling worldwide sales for the film at the current Cannes market. The deal was negotiated Seth Needle, SVP Worldwide Acquisitions at Screen Media Films, and the filmmakers.
“Temple is a great current homage to J-Horror classics, while remaining unique and scary as hell,” said Needle.
Producers include The Ring‘s Neal Edelstein, with Mike Macari, Eric Bassett and Shinya Egawa.Continue reading
Screen Media Films has secured the North American rights to Ryan Eggold directorial debut film Literally, Right Before Aaron, which had its world premiere at last month’s Tribeca Film fest. Starring Justin Long, Cobie Smulders, Ryan Hansen, John Cho, Kristen Schaal, Peter Gallagher, Dana Delany, Lea Thompson, and Luis Guzmán, the film will bow in theaters later this year.
The deal was negotiated by Screen Media’s Seth Needle with Jay Cohen at Gersh on behalf of the filmmakers.Continue reading
Screen Media Films is ready to party with Ripped, bogarting North American and UK rights to the time-travel stoner comedy starring Russell Peters and Faizon Love. The red-eyed pic will get a day-and-date release June 23.Continue reading
The distributor has acquired US rights to Cave Painting Pictures’ horror title directed by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski.
Screen Media has earmarked a theatrical and VOD day-and-date launch for the first quarter of 2017.
Aaron Poole, Ellen Wong, Kathleen Munroe, Stephanie Belding, and Kenneth Welsh star in The Void, about a series of transformations at a rural hospital.
The Void premiered at Fantastic Fest earlier this year. Screen Media negotiated the deal with XYZ Films and CAA.
The company has acquired worldwide rights to the Iceland-set sci-fi from Zealous Pictures in association with Vintage Pictures and Kansha Films and is introducing to AFM buyers this week.
Geoffrey Orthwein and Andrew Sullivan directed Maika Monroe and Matt O’Leary in the story of an American couple on a romantic getaway to Iceland who wake up to discover every person on earth has disappeared.
Their struggle to survive and reconcile the mysterious event leads them to reconsider everything they know about themselves and the world.
Screen Media Ventures has set Bokeh for US theatrical and VOD release in the second quarter of 2017.
Doug Daulton, Kent Genzlinger and Briene Lermitte produced and Dirk Junge and Sullivan served as executive producers.
“Andrew and Geoffrey have created a beautiful and haunting film,” said Seth Needle, senior vice-president of worldwide acquisitions at Screen Media Ventures, who brokered the deal with Adam Galen and Marc Bortz at Preferred Content on behalf of the filmmakers.Continue reading
The indie distributor will do a multiplatform release for the crime drama in the U.S. and will handle international sales.
Screen Media has picked up worldwide rights for Stray Bullets, a low-budget crime drama from 16-year-old Jack Fessenden, son of indie-film vet Larry Fessenden.
The younger Fessenden stars in the film alongside Asa Spurlock. The two play a pair of teenage boys tasked with cleaning out their father’s old mobile home on an abandoned property, only to find that three cons on the run (James Le Gros, John Speredakos, Larry Fessenden) are using the trailer for a hideout.
The movie, produced through the Fessendens' New York shingle, Glass Eye Pix, premiered at the Oldenburg Film Festival in Germany earlier this year.
Screen Media is planning a multiplatform release for Stray Bullets in the U.S. in February of next year. The company also has taken on international rights and will be selling the title to foreign buyers at AFM.
“We have a great track record working with Screen Media, and we’re delighted they’ve shown such enthusiasm for Jack’s movie,” said Larry Fessenden. “We look forward to building on that to make an impact with this humble but resonant film.”
The deal for Stray Bullets was negotiated by Seth Needle for Screen Media, with Larry Fessenden and Jenn Wexler at Glass Eye Pix on behalf of the filmmakers.
Screen Media's recent releases include Michel Gondry’s Microbe & Gasoline and the South American horror thriller Colonia, starring Emma Watson and Daniel Bruhl.Continue reading
EXCLUSIVE: Screen Media Ventures has scooped rights to Sugar Mountain, an Alaska-set thriller starring Jason Momoa and Cary Elwes. The distributor plans a fourth-quarter theatrical and VOD release in North America and other territories including the UK and Australia.
The Film Mode Entertainment pic, which premiered at the Cannes Film Market, follows two debt-ridden brothers who fake their disappearance in the Alaska wilderness so they’ll have a great survival story to sell. But the hoax turns out to be more real than they planned. Anna Hutchison, Melora Walters, Drew Roy and Haley Webb co-star in the film directed by Richard Gray from Abe Pegos’ script. Gray also produced alongside Virginia Kay, Michele Gray and Jamie Houge.
“Richard is an emerging talent whose tight thriller really impressed us,” Said Seth Needle, SVP Worldwide Acquisitions for Screen Media Ventures. “Fans of the genre and Jason Momoa specifically should mark their calendar.”Continue reading
Screen Media Films has acquired U.S. rights to writer-director Michel Gondry’s Microbe & Gasoline, which bowed at the 2015 New York Film Festival. A July 1 release is planned in New York (the Landmark Sunshine Cinema) and Los Angeles (the Nuart Theatre) ahead of a platform release.
The StudioCanal pic is about two young friends who embark on a road trip across France in a vehicle they built themselves. Ange Dargent, Theophile Baquet and Audrey Tautou star. Georges Bermann is producer.
StudioCanal SVP International Sales Aska Yamaguchi negotiated the deal with Screen Media SVP Worldwide Acquisitions Seth Needle on behalf of the filmmakers.Continue reading
"Rio, I Love You" is the third feature in the "Cities of Love" trilogy.
Screen Media Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights from WestEnd Films for the collaborative film "Rio, I Love You." The film is a spiritual sequel to “Paris Je t'Aime” and “New York I Love You” and the third in what is called the "Cities of Love" trilogy.
The film is a collaboration of 10 short stories, all of which deal with love in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Each of the segments come from a different director. "Quando não há Mais Amor," for instance, is a one-man passion project for its writer, director and star John Turturro. Harvey Keitel stars in another one of the shorts as well.
"We are pleased to be working with the team at Screen Media to bring 'Rio, I Love You’ to the U.S. market," said producer Joshua Skurla in an official statement. "The film offers the audience an opportunity to embrace Rio de Janeiro through the lens of some of the greatest filmmakers from around the world."
"Being fans of the ‘Cities of Love’ series, we at Screen Media couldn’t be more excited to bring this beautiful film to American audiences, just in time for Rio’s big summer," added Tom Yagielski, Senior Vice President at Screen Media.
"Rio, I Love You" will be in theaters on April 15.Continue reading
Screen Media Films and Verdi Productions have acquired worldwide rights to Bad Hurt, Mark Kemble’s drama that premiered at Tribeca Bad Hurt last year. The film will hit theaters and VOD day-and-date on February 12. Bad Hurt chronicles a family’s hopeful battle to stay together as personal demons and destructive secrets threaten to rip them apart. Theo Rossi, Karen Allen, Michael Harney, Johnny Whitworth, Ashley Williams, Calvin Dutton and Iris Gilad star. Kemble and Jamieson Stern penned the screenplay for the pic, which is produced by Rossi, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Nick Koskoff, Nicholas Carmona, Jamieson Stern and Pamela Thur. Tom Archdeacon, Brian Arnott, Timothy Evan Jones, Patrick McErlean, Chad A. Verdi, and Michelle Verdi are the exec producers. Screen Media Films control the worldwide rights. The deal was negotiated by Seth Needle, Screen Media’s Director of Worldwide Acquisitions, and Nate Bolotin of XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers.
Screen Media has acquired U.S. rights to the Pedre Morelli-directed dimension-hopping sci-fi comedy Zoom, with plans to release it day and date sometime during Q3 2016. Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Alison Pill, Jason Priestley and Tyler Labine, the partly animated, partly live action film sees three creative spirits — a comic book artist, a novelist, and a film director — who live in different realities but end up each writing a story about one of the others.
The Rhombus Media and 02 Filmes Canada/Brazil co-production was written by Matt Hansen and produced by Niv Fichman and Andrea Barata Ribeiro. Zoom saw its world premiere at TIFF 2015. The deal was negotiated by Needle for Screen Media, with Gregory Chambet of WTFilms on behalf of the filmmakers.Continue reading
Daniel Bruhl and Michael Nyqvist co-star in the drama, set in Chile during General Pinochet’s military coup of 1973.
Screen Media Films has picked up U.S. rights to Colonia, a South American-set thriller featuring Harry Potter star Emma Watson and German actor Daniel Bruhl (Rush, Captain America: Civil War).
Seth Needle, director of worldwide acquisitions, at Screen Media negotiated the deal with UTA Independent Film Group and Dirk Schurhoff of world sales outfit Beta Cinema on behalf of the filmmakers.
Directed by Florian Gallenberger (John Rabe), Colonia is set in Chile in the 1970s, when General Augusto Pinochet seizes power in a brutal military coup. Bruhl and Watson play Daniel and Lena, a young German couple involved with anti-Pinochet protesters, get swept up in a wave of arrests following the coup. When Daniel is sent to a Christian cult for reeducation, Lena decides to go undercover, joining the cult to try and free him.
Swedish star Michael Nyqvist (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) plays the cult leader Paul Schafer. The film is based on Schafer's real-life Colonia Dignidad cult, which operated for decades in cooperation with the Pinochet regime.
"The incredible true story behind Colonia needed to be told," said Gallenberger. "I’m happy and proud that thanks to our outstanding cast a wide audience will not only see a gripping thriller, but also find out the truth about one of the darkest chapters of South American history."
Colonia premiered in Toronto, where it generated strong buyer interest.
In addition to the U.S. deal Beta inked sales for multiple territories, including France, Italy, Benelux, Scandinavia, South Korea, and Latin America.Berlin-based Majestic Film, which produced Colonia, will release the film in Germany.
“It’s not often we see a film with the scale of Colonia come to market,” said Tom Yagielski, VP, domestic distribution at Screen Media. “The cast, led by Emma Watson and Daniel Bruhl’s stellar performances, is what drives the harrowing escape at the heart of the film. We can’t wait for audiences to be thrilled by Florian Gallenberger’s vision for these shocking true events.”
Screen Media recently released the Ethan Hawke/Emile Hirsch-starrer Ten Thousand Saints and the mother-son comedy Ride, written, directed by and starring Helen Hunt, which premiered at AFM last year.Continue reading