Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Facebook Watch has announced that the original series, Sorry For Your Loss, produced by Big Beach has been renewed for Season 2. Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Kelly Marie Tran, Mamoudou Athie, Jovan Adepo, and Janet McTeer, Sorry For Your Loss is a half hour drama on Facebook Watch that explores the life of a young widow trying to piece her life back together.

Recently named one of the “Best Series of 2018” by The New York Times, The Atlantic, New York Magazine and many others, Sorry For Your Loss premiered to rave reviews at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and has emerged as a critically acclaimed series with a star turn performance by Elizabeth Olsen. Cited as “a gorgeous and poignant new drama” by The Atlantic, and a series that “can make a person feel seen for the first time,” by Vulture, the show was not only lauded for being an authentic depiction of grief and survival, but it also proved to be an outlet for viewers to share their stories and find comfort within the Facebook community. This week, Elizabeth Olsen was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Dramatic Series.

Big Beach TV’s Robin Schwartz commented, “Everyone involved in this project put their hearts on the screen. Kit Steinkellner created an honest and vibrant world anchored by James Ponsoldt’s accomplished direction and Elizabeth Olsen’s superlative and deeply affecting performance. I was moved and surprised by the immediate outpouring of empathy that the show created on this budding streaming service and I look forward to providing more space for these important conversations during season 2.”

Produced by indie film powerhouse, Big Beach and created by award-winning playwright Kit Steinkellner, Sorry For Your Loss is executive produced by Elizabeth Olsen and James Ponsoldt, who also directed the pilot and multiple episodes of the first season. The series is also executive produced by Robin Schwartz, Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf for Big Beach TV, Cynthia Pett, Brad Petrigala and Jon Liebman for Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Steinkellner.

Creator/Executive Producer Kit Steinkellner’s Eisner-nominated graphic novel QUINCE was published this past year. She is also adapting the memoir Mad About Men for television with Sundial Pictures.

Big Beach TV is behind two of the top “30 Minute Dramas” available right now, Sorry For Your Loss and Vida, both critically acclaimed series that are also a hit with the audience. The Starz’ award winning and groundbreaking new series Vida is currently shooting season 2. Big Beach TV’s next project will be HBO’s Gorilla and the Bird with Jean-Marc Valée attached to direct. Big Beach is Executive Producing alongside Valée, Nathan Ross and Free Association. In addition, the writers’ room for Brujas, Big Beach’s next collaboration with Tanya Saracho and Starz, will open in early 2019.

Big Beach TV is a subsidiary of Big Beach, producers of the upcoming Untitled Tom Hanks / Mr. Rogers project for TriStar and Lulu Wang’s The Farewell starring Awkwafina which will premiere in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Previous projects include the Academy Award nominated film Loving, the ultimate crowd pleaser Little Miss Sunshine and recent films including Puzzle starring Kelly Macdonald and Irfhan Khan and the animated White Fang featuring Nick Offerman, Rashida Jones and Eddie Spears.

Elizabeth Olsen is represented by Gersh, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and Sloane, Offer, Weber, and Dern. James Ponsoldt is represented by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein, & Selz. Kit Steinkellner is represented by ICM Partners, Circle of Confusion and Felker, Toczek, Suddleson and Abramson.

Facebook Watch is available on mobile, desktop, and Facebook’s TV apps.


Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Production wrapped today in Rome on one of the most buzzed about films of the year – the feature adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s prize-winning novel “Waiting for the Barbarians”, directed by Ciro Guerra, produced by Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi, and starring multiple Academy Award® nominee Johnny Depp (“Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise), Academy Award® winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” “Dunkirk,” “Ready Player One”) and Robert Pattinson (“The Twilight Saga”, “Good Time,” “The Lost City of Z”).

The film was financed and produced by Andrea Iervolino’s social entertainment platform TaTaTu. Alongside TaTaTu, the movie was produced by Iervolino and Monika Bacardi’s AMBI Media Group, as well as Michael Fitzgerald and Olga Segura.

“Waiting for the Barbarians” centers on the crisis of the conscience of the Magistrate (Rylance) – a loyal servant of the Empire working in a tiny frontier town. A warrant officer for the Empire, Mandel (Pattinson), is sent to replace the Magistrate’s position after the Magistrate has been charged with treason – consorting with the barbarians. Johnny Depp plays the sinister Colonel Joll.

The story is a startling allegory of the war between oppressor and oppressed. Mandel is a character that must choose between what he feels is right and his duty to the Empire in the midst of conflict.

AMBI Distribution, the global sales arm of AMBI Media Group, is handling worldwide sales.


Thursday, December 13th, 2018

The movie stars (and was produced, co-written and directed by) Daniel Roebuck, one of the busiest character actors in Hollywood. Among his credits are Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Matlock, Nash Bridges, and River’s Edge. It also features an amazing breakout performance by Madelyn Dundon as the title character. Roebuck cast Dundon out of his hometown of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.That same town plays a specific role in the movie,as Roebuck purposely set the story in Bethlehem. The idea of filming in the picturesque Lehigh Valley had been brewing in Roebuck’s mind for many years. Getting Grace allowed him to finally make that dream come true in this, his directorial debut.

Getting Grace is an independent film about Grace, a teenage girl, dying of cancer. She crashes a funeral home to find out what will happen to her after she dies, but ends up teaching the awkward funeral director, Bill Jankowski, how to celebrate life.


Thursday, December 13th, 2018

GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, announced it has acquired the North American distribution rights for the animated feature BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES. GKIDS will release the film theatrically next year.

BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES made its world premiere at this year’s Animation Is Film Festival, garnering a Special Jury Prize for its innovative handling of unexpected subject matter. The film from The Glow Animation/Sygnatia and Submarine animation studios, was co-written and directed by Salvador Simó, and produced by Manuel Cristobal. BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF TURTLES captures an early moment in the career of master surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel and his friend and new benefactor Ramón Acin, who set out to make the unexpected and ambitious documentary on the Las Hurdes region in Spain. The film is sold worldwide by Latido Films, and the all-rights deal was negotiated by GKIDS’ CEO and Founder Eric Beckman and Latido Films’ Antonio Saura.

“Luis Buñuel constantly pushed the visual and storytelling boundaries of cinema,” said GKIDS President David Jesteadt. “It’s only fitting that the story of such a unique and legendary artist would be told through animation, in a wonderful film that uses the medium to its full potential.”

In a stranger-than-fiction tale befitting the master surrealist filmmaker, BUÑUEL IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE TURTLES tells the true story of how Luis Buñuel made his second movie. Paris, 1930. Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel are main figures of the Surrealist movement, but Buñuel is left penniless after a scandal surrounding his film L’Age d’Or. However, his good friend, the sculptor Ramón Acín, buys a lottery ticket with the promise that, if he wins, he will pay for his next film. Incredibly, luck is on their side, and so they set out to make the movie, an ambitious documentary on the Las Hurdes region in Spain. Both a buddy adventure and fascinating episode of cinematic history, Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles presents a deeply affecting and humanistic portrait of an artist hunting for his purpose.

Paladin & iDreamMachine Bring “Billboard” To Cinemas Nationwide This Spring

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

Filmmaker Zeke Zelker (“InSearchOf,” “Loggerheads”), under his iDreamMachine production banner has joined forces with Mark Urman’s Paladin to bring his latest film, “Billboard,” to cinemas nationwide in over 25 markets beginning on April 5th, 2019. Zelker wrote, directed and produced “Billboard,” which stars: John Robinson (“Elephant,” “Lords of Dogtown,”), Heather Matarazzo (“Welcome to the Dollhouse,” “The Princess Diaries”), Eric Roberts (“The Dark Knight,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), Leo Fitzpatrick (“Kids,” “Bully”), Darlene Cates (“What’s Eating Gilbert Grapes,” “Picket Fences”), and Oakes Fegley (“Pete’s Dragon,” “This is Where I Leave You”). The film will expand to additional multiple major markets nationwide.

“Billboard” transcends the “normal” movie going experience in that its content can be consumed in a number of ways and on different portals. The story, premise, and characters from the feature film can also be enjoyed via live events, a web series, social media, and a virtual radio station. Zelker calls this a “cine•experience,” and plans to entertain audiences with multiple narratives, told across various platforms, allowing viewers to be enveloped in a richer storytelling experience.

The underlying feature film, “Billboard,” which begins its nationwide theatrical run on April 5th, 2019 in New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, (expanding to over 25 markets on in the month of April alone). “Billboard” focuses on a struggling radio station in Pennsylvania that hosts a billboard-sitting contest in a last-ditch attempt to stay on air. Zelker has also created a twenty-five episode web series that follows a day in the life of the four contestants, “The Billboard Sitters,” which will be available to digital audiences as of February 1st, 2019. He has also created a virtual radio station, WTYT960.com, that parallels the station portrayed in the film and features the music of over a thousand bands from twenty-two countries and forty-nine states. The radio station promotes the participating bands who, in turn, will be promoting the film. Zelker used this sort of mutually beneficial interaction throughout the filmmaking process whereby people created submission videos for the contest as a casting tool, where some were included in the movie, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. Additionally, Zelker and his team will be hosting live events around the country sponsored by the fictitious radio station WTYT 960

“We’re excited to be sharing “Billboard” in cinemas across the country, doing pop-up events at various theaters. We want to make the movie going experience fun again. In every twist and turn of this project we want to entertain people in different ways,” states Zelker.

Urman adds, “Billboard deftly blends comedy and drama in showing us the extraordinary things that ordinary people do to get by in today’s America. Zeke has created a trenchant commentary on the way we live now, made all the more exciting because he’s presenting it in such a strikingly contemporary way.”

A long-time pioneer in what has been called “transmedia” entertainment, Zelker is committed to changing the face of film. The “Billboard cine•experience,” tells variations of its story in different ways per medium, which is something unique and not yet fully embraced by the mainstream movie industry. Zelker explores multiple sides of the narrative and is unafraid to push traditional boundary lines between truth and fiction; all while enabling audiences to become a part of the story.

In “Billboard,” Casey Lindeweiler (Robinson) inherits WTYT 960 from his legendary radioman father only to discover that it’s on the brink of financial collapse. To right the sinking ship, Casey pulls out the oldest trick in radio, the wacky contest. His grand plan is to host a billboard sitting contest where four people will live on a catwalk in front of a billboard for the chance of winning a mobile home and “nine-sixty thousand” dollars. Unprepared for the spotlight, Casey rises to the challenge of running a business but is faced with relentless attacks from his competition (Roberts), the local authorities, the media, and mother nature herself. Casey struggles to keep his father’s legacy alive while fighting to stay independent. “Billboard” is inspired by an actual billboard-sitting contest Zelker recalls from his youth.


Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Producers Tim Headington and Theresa Steele Page have teamed up to open Ley Line Entertainment, a content development, production, and financing company with projects spanning film, television, stage, and music.

Over the years, the duo has been involved in all facets of the entertainment business. Headington financed and produced such films as The Young Victoria, Argo, Hugo, and World War Z, while Page, a former music industry and advertising executive, was instrumental in overseeing the career development of many internationally recognized artists, including Britney Spears, NSYNC, Justin Timberlake, and Backstreet Boys.

Ley Line is hitting the ground running with Paul Harrill’s upcoming Sundance 2019 NEXT entry Light from Light, which Headington and Page produced with the Sailor Bear trio of David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston, alongside actor Elisabeth Moss and Kelly Williams (Sorry to Bother You). The film stars Marin Ireland and Jim Gaffigan.

Ley Line is also co-financing and co-producing David Lowery’s next effort, The Green Knight, a re-telling of the classic English tale Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, along with A24 and BRON.

“We started this company in order to foster both new and established talent while telling unique and meaningful stories across a broad range of mediums,” said Headington. “I’m looking forward to embarking on a long and creative partnership with Theresa.”

“Tim and I have diverse and complementary professional backgrounds and artistic tastes,” said Page. “I feel really good about the current lineup of projects we have and I’m excited to find and support the next generation of artists.”

Their first stage production is a musical–set to the international megahits of Max Martin–to be announced in January of 2019 and opening in the West End the following November. The company’s next stage project will be an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, with an eye towards a 2021 West End release. Headington produced the 2011 Oscar®-nominated film version (Hugo), and reflecting back on it, he says “it’s one of the projects I’ve remained the most fond of in my career, and I still feel a deep personal attachment to the story. Brian is truly a genius and the stage seemed like a natural progression for his work.” Selznick is currently writing the libretto for the musical.

Also on their slate is an as-yet untitled bio-doc of musician Brian Wilson from director Brent Wilson (no relation) which Ley Line financed and produced. Executive produced by Brian and Melinda Wilson, the film follows the legendary Beach Boys co-founder as he has in-depth, intimate conversations with his old friend and Rolling Stone editor Jason Fine. Featuring new and classic music this doc will be a favorite for Wilson fans. The film is in post-production and is slated for a 2019 release.

Other upcoming projects include The Mercy of Thin Air, based on the novel by Ronlyn Domingue, which the company has optioned and is developing, and a film based on the award-winning indie game by Atmos Games, Pinstripe.


Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, announced it has acquired the North American distribution rights for the animated feature OKKO’S INN, the new feature film from Studio Ghibli veteran animator Kitaro Kosaka. The film world premiered at the 2018 Annecy International Film Festival, and additionally played at Animation is Film this past October. GKIDS will release the film theatrically next year in both its original Japanese language and a new English dubbed version.

OKKO’S INN follows Okko, who goes to live with her grandmother in the countryside after losing her parents. While she prepares to become the inn’s next caretaker, Okko discovers there are playful ghosts who live there. However, only she can see them.

The all-rights deal was negotiated by David Jesteadt of GKIDS and Haruko Watanabe of GAGA Corporation.

“From the moment we saw Okko’s Inn at Annecy, we knew this was a film we wanted to share with audiences nationwide,” said David Jesteadt, president of GKIDS. “Director Kitaro Kosaka has made a film of effortless warmth and generosity of spirit, and that feels more necessary than ever.”

After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live in the countryside with her grandmother, who runs a traditional Japanese inn built on top of an ancient spring said to have healing waters. While she goes about her chores and prepares to become the inn’s next caretaker, Okko discovers there are spirits who live there that only she can see – not scary ones, but welcoming ghosts who keep her company, play games and help her navigate her new environment. The inn’s motto is that it welcomes all and will reject none, and this is soon put to the test as a string of new guests challenge Okko’s ability to be a gracious host. But ultimately Okko discovers that dedicating herself to others becomes the key to taking care of herself. The latest feature from famed anime studio Madhouse and director Kitaro Kosaka, who was a key animator on numerous classic films at the venerable Studio Ghibli, seamlessly blends immersive, idyllic landscapes with the storybook charm of Okko’s beloved ghosts. Okko’s Inn delivers a rare ghost story that – despite several floating characters – is firmly grounded in the trials and joys of humanity.


Saturday, December 8th, 2018

Beginning today, Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers can sync their accounts with Movies Anywhere and seamlessly combine eligible movie purchases from the Xfinity Digital Store with those from other Movies Anywhere digital retailers and access them on Xfinity X1, the Xfinity Stream app and other Xfinity TV platforms. Comcast is the first pay TV provider to join Movies Anywhere, the pioneering movie service that launched last year in the U.S. with an unprecedented five Hollywood studios and now – with Comcast – seven major digital retailers (Xfinity, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and FandangoNOW).

Comcast has joined Movies Anywhere in time for Xfinity TV customers to take advantage of Movies Anywhere’s current syncing offer. For a limited time, fans who sync for the first time with Xfinity, or one of the other participating digital retailers, will receive a copy of “Happy Feet.” Those who sync for the first time with two digital retailers also receive “The Martian” and “The Fate of the Furious.” For more information on this offer, visit Movies Anywhere’s website.

“Comcast is one of the country’s leading pay TV providers with a customer base that, like ours, consists of people who are passionate about the movies they love,” said Karin Gilford, General Manager, Movies Anywhere. “We are thrilled to now include Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers among those who can benefit from Movies Anywhere’s ability to bring their favorite movies together in one place that can be accessed across a multitude of devices using the Movies Anywhere app and across Xfinity TV platforms.”

“Xfinity X1 is the only platform that provides customers with seamless, integrated access to all of their entertainment choices within one user interface, whether that content is live, on demand, streamed, recorded, rented or owned,” said Daniel Spinosa, Vice President, Entertainment Services, Comcast Cable. “And by joining Movies Anywhere, Xfinity TV customers can now easily link their accounts across participating digital retailers and watch their consolidated digital library on X1, or anywhere in the country via the Xfinity Stream app and portal.”

To get started, Xfinity TV customers will need to create a Movies Anywhere account on the Movies Anywhere app or website. Once logged in, they can connect their Xfinity TV account, as well as their accounts from any other participating digital retailers, to Movies Anywhere and create one centralized digital movie collection that can be accessed on Xfinity X1, the Xfinity Stream app and other Xfinity TV platforms.

With the addition of Comcast to the Movies Anywhere lineup, customers’ Movies Anywhere collections will be accessible for the first time directly on the TV through Xfinity On Demand, and on devices via the Xfinity Stream app and web portal. All Movies Anywhere users are also able to access their collections via the Movies Anywhere app and web portal on an array of additional platforms.

Movies Anywhere extends Xfinity TV customers’ ability to purchase digital movies across their favorite platforms and retailers, including the Xfinity Digital Store. One of the top digital retailers for new releases, the Xfinity Digital Store offers Xfinity TV customers the ability to easily purchase and access thousands of movies, many featuring enhanced extras via X1 and across devices via the Xfinity Stream app and web portal.


Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Following the global success of 2014’s “Godzilla” and 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island,” and in the lead-up to the 2019 release of the highly anticipated “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” comes the next chapter in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Entertainment’s cinematic Monsterverse: “Godzilla vs. Kong.” Beginning production today, the epic action adventure will pit two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another – the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong – with humanity caught in the balance.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” is being directed by Adam Wingard (“The Guest,” “You’re Next”). The film stars Alexander Skarsgård (“Big Little Lies,” The Little Drummer Girl”), Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”), Rebecca Hall (“Christine,” “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women”), Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta,” “Widows”), Shun Oguri (“Gintama”), Eiza González (“Baby Driver”), Jessica Henwick (“Iron Fist”), Julian Dennison (“Deadpool 2”), with Kyle Chandler (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Manchester by the Sea”) and Demián Bichir (“The Nun,” “The Hateful Eight”).

In a time when monsters walk the Earth, humanity’s fight for its future sets Godzilla and Kong on a collision course that will see the two most powerful forces of nature on the planet collide in a spectacular battle for the ages. As Monarch embarks on a perilous mission into uncharted terrain and unearths clues to the Titans’ origins, a human conspiracy threatens to wipe the creatures, both good and bad, from the face of the earth forever.

Wingard directs from a script written by Terry Rossio (“Pirates of the Caribbean”). The film is being produced by Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Eric McLeod, and Brian Rogers, with Kenji Okuhira, Yoshimitsu Banno, Jon Jashni and Thomas Tull serving as executive producers. Jay Ashenfelter, Jen Conroy and Tamara Kent are co-producers.

Behind the scenes, Wingard’s creative team includes director of photography Ben Seresin (“World War Z,” “Unstoppable”), production designers Owen Patterson (“Godzilla,” “The Matrix” Trilogy and “Captain America: Civil War”) and Tom Hammock (“The Guest,” “Blindspotting”), editor Josh Schaeffer (“Molly’s Game,” “Kong: Skull Island”), costume designer Ann Foley (“Altered Carbon”), and VFX supervisor John “DJ” DesJardin (“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Watchmen”).

Filming is taking place in Hawaii and Australia. A presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Entertainment, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is currently scheduled for release on May 22, 2020. The film will be distributed in 3D and 2D and in select IMAX theaters by Warner Bros. Pictures, except in Japan, where it will be distributed by Toho Co., Ltd.


Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Adi Shankar, the nerd-icon producer behind Netflix’s highly successful Castlevania (which has been renewed for a third season) is joining with PaperChase Films (The Kindergarten Teacher, Skin) and Marc Rosen (Sense 8, The After) to bring the story of SUPERMAN VS THE KU KLUX KLAN to life.

“Superheroes operate outside the scope of law and offer us hope that someone will rise up and protect us when government and other institutions cannot or will not. This story shows the power of the superhero mythology and it’s tangible impact on the physical world.” Said Shankar.

“Adi Shankar has long been inspired to fight for just causes; he has successfully taken on the status quo and broken barriers long seen as insurmountable. This story highlights the power of the people against the alarming resurgence of some the darkest chapters of our country’s past. It is as historical as it is timely, as the nation is once again facing challenges to the principles of truth, justice and ‘The American Way’.” Said Rosen.

SUPERMAN VS. THE KU KLUX KLAN is based on the book of the same name by Rick Bowers. In a time of post-WWII Klan resurgence, the need for a hero had never been so great; the KKK was rapidly gaining influence, and law-enforcement turned a blind eye to their shocking acts of violence.

This true-to-life story follows Stetson Kennedy, a man who courageously went undercover to infiltrate the KKK in 1946. In a remarkable alliance, Mr. Kennedy, the Anti-Defamation League and the Producers of the Superman Radio Show, joined forces to expose the cultish insanity of the KKK, severely damaging their influence.

This empowered a heroic coalition of everyday citizens, artists and civil rights groups to effectively thwart the KKK’s agendas and strike a powerful blow against racism and hate in a time when all other options had failed.

The film is currently in development. Casting announcements and more news will be forthcoming.