News for the ‘Movies’ Category

LAIKA ANNOUNCES NEXT FILM; ANNAPURNA PICTURES TO RELEASE THE OSCAR®-NOMINATED STUDIO’S FIFTH ANIMATED FEATURE

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

LAIKA, the animation studio behind the Academy Award®-nominatedKubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman, and Coraline, has announced its fifth film. The feature, which is currently being referred to as “Film Five,” is in production at the studio and will be released in the U.S. by Annapurna Pictures. The announcement was made today by LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight and Megan Ellison, Founder and CEO of Annapurna Pictures.

Bursting with humor, heart, and a profound message of acceptance and finding one’s place, the animation team at LAIKA is thrilled to be bringing this globetrotting comedy-adventure to life. “Film Five” is directed by Chris Butler (ParaNorman), with a voice cast led by Hugh Jackman (The Greatest Showman, Wolverine), Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover).

“Our next film represents an evolutionary shift for LAIKA,” said Mr. Knight. “It’s an exciting bridge to our future. Director Chris Butler and the wizards at LAIKA have crafted a moving work of art, layered with wit and imagination and soul. Plus it’s really, really funny. It’s a privilege to partner with Megan and her exceptional team at Annapurna to bring this beautiful original story to the world.”

“We’re excited for the opportunity to collaborate with Travis and the amazing team at LAIKA,” said Ellison. “We appreciate their trust and look forward to having some fun together.”

HELEN MIRREN AND IAN MCKELLEN HEADLINE DIRECTOR BILL CONDON’S DRAMA “THE GOOD LIAR,” STARTING PRODUCTION APRIL 23 IN LONDON

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Principal photography begins today on location in London, on the New Line Cinema drama “The Good Liar,” pairing Oscar winner Helen Mirren (“The Queen”) and two-time Oscar nominee Ian McKellen (“Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “Gods and Monsters”) on the big screen for the first time. Bill Condon, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Gods and Monsters” will direct and produce from a screenplay by Jeffrey Hatcher (“Mr. Holmes”), based on the widely acclaimed book by Nicholas Searle. Career con artist Roy Courtnay (McKellen) can hardly believe his luck when he meets well-to-do widow Betty McLeish (Mirren) online. As Betty opens her home and life to him, Roy is surprised to find himself caring about her, turning what should be a cut-and-dry swindle into the most treacherous tightrope walk of his life. “The Good Liar” also stars Russell Tovey (TV’s “Quantico”) and Jim Carter (TV’s “Downton Abbey”). Condon produces alongside producer Greg Yolen. Serving as executive producers are Jack Morrissey, Nick O’Hagan, Aaron L. Gilbert, and Jason Cloth. The creative filmmaking team includes director of photography Tobias A. Schliessler (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Mr. Holmes”), production designer John Stevenson (BAFTA nominee, “Burton and Taylor”), editor Virginia Katz (“Mr. Holmes,” ACE Award winner for “Dreamgirls”) and costume designer Keith Madden (miniseries “Patrick Melrose,” “Mr. Holmes”). “The Good Liar” will film on location in London and Berlin. It is set for a 2019 release. A New Line Cinema presentation, in association with BRON Creative, “The Good Liar” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company.

STEVEN SPIELBERG’S “READY PLAYER ONE” SURPASSES $500 MILLION WORLDWIDE

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

The widely acclaimed action adventure “Ready Player One,” from Warner Bros. Pictures, Amblin Entertainment and Village Roadshow Pictures, has crossed half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office. Directed by Steven Spielberg, “Ready Player One” has been a hit in every corner of the globe. Domestically, the movie has taken in more the $120.6 million to date and counting. On the international front, where the box office has been climbing steadily, the film is already at an estimated $379.5 million, including China, where “Ready Player One” has earned more than $200 million (RMB 1.3b). Other markets continue to show strong results, including the UK ($21.1 million), Korea ($17.7 million), France ($16.8 million) and Russia ($12 million). Completing its worldwide release, “Ready Player One” opened this weekend in Japan, where anticipation has been extremely high. Spielberg directed “Ready Player One” from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on Cline’s global bestseller of the same name. The film was produced by Donald De Line, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Spielberg and Dan Farah. Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris deFaria and Bruce Berman served as executive producers. “Ready Player One” stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen, with Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance. Spielberg’s behind-the-scenes creative team was led by director of photography Janusz Kaminski, production designer Adam Stockhausen, editors Michael Kahn and Sarah Broshar, and costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone. The score is by Alan Silvestri. Warner Bros. Pictures and Amblin Entertainment present, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, an Amblin Production, a De Line Pictures Production, a Steven Spielberg Film, “Ready Player One.” Playing in 2D and 3D in select theatres and IMAX, the film is being distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures. This film has been rated PG-13.

Freestyle Digital Media Acquires THE LAST HORSEMEN OF NEW YORK

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, has acquired U.S. rights for the digital release of director Mary Haverstick’s feature documentary THE LAST HORSEMEN OF NEW YORK. THE LAST HORSEMEN OF NEW YORK debuts on VOD and will be available to rent and own on digital HD across cable, internet, and satellite platforms through Freestyle Digital Media on May 15, 2018. THE LAST HORSEMEN OF NEW YORK will also be released theatrically in select locations in New York City, Lancaster, PA and other cities beginning May 11, 2018.

THE LAST HORSEMEN OF NEW YORK is a documentary feature that follows leaders of New York’s historic horse carriage industry as they fight Mayor Bill De Blasio, who had vowed to eliminate them on day one of his term. Haverstick’s cameras captured the struggle for two years, with the working-class carriage drivers (and their working-class equine charges) under assault from animal rights activists on one side and politicos funded by billionaire real estate developers with an eye on the horsemen’s West Side stables on the other. Christina Hansen and Stephen Malone, the two industry spokespeople, are thrust by necessity into the limelight and find themselves in a bare-knuckle brawl in a city known for political hardball. The ongoing saga frequently captures the headlines of every New York newspaper and has even launched investigations into the mayoral election and financing surrounding this issue—with revelations continuing to this month. Di Blasio himself has retreated from the issue, claiming the City Council won’t back a horse ban. With a political stay of execution and joined by Liam Neeson, the carriage drivers and their horses remain on the street, but in a changing world, the question remains: For how long? The film’s exploration of money and influence in elections is even more timely now than when filming began.

Featuring extensive interviews with Oscar-nominated actor Liam Neeson, THE LAST HORSEMEN OF NEW YORK was written and directed by Mary Haverstick, and produced by Mary Haverstick, Michele Mercure, and Sarah Chase. Freestyle Digital Media Acquisitions Director Rachel Koehler negotiated the deal for THE LAST HORSEMEN OF NEW YORK with filmmaker Mary Haverstick.

Haverstick & Mercure presents THE LAST HORSEMEN OF NEW YORK. Directed by Mary Haverstick; Executive Producer, Sam Lombardo; Producers Mary Haverstick, Michele Mercure, and Sarah Chase Composer, Michele Mercure

Haverstick says, “We’re delighted that audiences will get to see THE LAST HORSEMEN. While the film was years in the making, the story is very much of today. We thank Freestyle Digital Media for bringing the film to a national audience.” She continues, “The horse carriage controversy captivated New York while our cameras followed the action of this colorful controversy for over two years. We filmed in vérité style as the two elected spokespeople for the carriages fought, and eventually won, their battle against City Hall. In this era when elections can be bought and sold by foreign or domestic powers, this film offers a sober warning of how easily electoral interference can be accomplished by special interests. It also adds a much-needed glimmer of hope that our democratic system is not yet beyond repair.”

Gamechanger Films Sells North American Rights to Hannah Fidell’s THE LONG DUMB ROAD

Thursday, April 19th, 2018



Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Content Group has purchased North American rights to Hannah Fidell’s road trip comedy “THE LONG DUMB ROAD”, which made its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Fidell and co-written by Fidell and Carson Mell, the film stars Tony Revolori, Jason Mantzoukas, Taissa Farmiga, Grace Gummer, and Ron Livingston, and is produced by Fidell, Jacqueline Ingram, Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams.

THE LONG DUMB ROAD follows college-bound teenager Nat (Revolori), who offers itinerant 30-something mechanic Richard (Mantzoukas) a ride during a stop-over in small-town Texas. Nat, an aspiring photographer, is heading towards a bright future in art school in Los Angeles and wants to find the real America en route to new beginnings out West; Richard, a lovably unkempt motormouth, is simply looking for connection in the moment — and maybe a beer or ten — while he grapples with indecision, past mistakes and dead-ends. As they travel through the American Southwest, taking in picturesque towns and crossing paths with an assortment of old flames, fellow travelers, kooky cons, and Good Samaritans, both passengers come alive through the myriad possibilities of the open road. Finding connection, comfort and chaos in their shared journey, this improbable and unforgettable screen duo forges an epic bond few will
forget.

Critical response to the film out of Sundance has been positive, with special praise for both the comic pairing of Mantzoukas and Revolori and for Mantzoukas in a leading role. Elizabeth Weitzman of the Wrap applauded the two as “unflaggingly delightful companions”, writing, “Mantzoukas and Revolori are ideally cast, bouncing off each other with a salty-sweet chemistry that’s as natural as it is entertaining.” Film School Rejects hailed the film as “the next great American road trip comedy”, declaring it “delightfully weird, relentlessly funny, occasionally vulgar, and thoughtful in all the right ways.”

“This is a dream come true,” said director Hannah Fidell of the acquisition. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Universal, a company that actually understands the value of diversity both in front of and behind the camera.”

THE LONG DUMB ROAD was executive produced by Mynette Louie, Alicia van Couvering, Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, and Wendy Ettinger, and co-executive produced by Abigail E. Disney, Regina K. Scully, and Jenny & Douglas Patinkin. The film was financed by Gamechanger Films.

UTA and Anita Surendran of Gray Krauss Sandler Des Rochers LLP negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

2018 INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF LOS ANGELES ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERS

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

The 16th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) concluded on Sunday evening (April 15) with a red carpet and gala that featured the Los Angeles premiere and official HFPA screening of Rima Das’ VILLAGE ROCKSTARS, one of the most lauded Indian films on the festival circuit, which also just took home four top awards at the National Film Awards in India, including Best Feature Film. The evening also featured the presentation of the festival’s Grand Jury and Audience Choice Awards presented by HBO.

VILLAGE ROCKSTARS took home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature. In awarding the Grand Prize, the narrative jury stated: “This film explores gender expectations in a gentle manner. It blends beautiful cinematography with naturalistic performances in a fun and uplifting coming-of age story. Working as a one woman army, this director created an unforgettable portrait of childhood.”

A special jury mention was made for Sushama Deshpande’s performance in AJJI. The jury stated: “Taking on difficult characters is always a challenge for an actor. It takes courage to humanize and portray a role that breaks the stereotypes. This actress demonstrated undeniable talent and commitment to deliver an authentic and grounded performance.”

The Grand Jury Prize for Best Short was presented to THE CAREGIVER, directed by Ruthy Pribar. Regarding the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short, the jury awarded, “a film that we loved for its elegant representation of the nuances between compassion and survival, and for its understated yet decisive storytelling.”

A special jury mention was made for COUNTERFEIT KUNKOO, which the jury called “an incredible short film about apartment hunting in Mumbai that not only manages to be well-paced, gripping and bold but also a heart-wrenching perspective into gender inequality in metropolitan India.”

The audiences at this year’s IFFLA chose TAKE OFF directed by Mahesh Narayanan as their favorite narrative feature film of the festival. LOVESICK, directed by Priya Giri Desai and Ann S. Kim took the Audience Award for Best Documentary, and AN ESSAY OF THE RAIN directed by Nagraj Manjule was chosen as Best Short.

IFFLA is widely recognized as the premiere showcase of groundbreaking Indian cinema globally. The 16th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) took place April 11-15, 2018 at Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles, California. This year the festival featured four world premieres, three North American premieres, two U.S. premieres, and 14 Los Angeles premieres. The lineup represented an impressive 12 languages and a strong list of first and second time filmmakers, including 11 female filmmakers.

Narrative Jury:
Carlos Aguilar (Film critic)
Haifaa Al-mansour (Director)
Sujata Day (Actor)

Shorts Jury:
Giulia Caruso (Film producer)
Aneesh Chaganty (Director)
Guinevere Turner (Screenwriter)

GRAND JURY AWARDS

Best Feature: VILLAGE ROCKSTARS, directed by Rima Das
Features Special Mention: Sushama Deshpande’s lead performance in AJJI
Best Short Film: THE CAREGIVER, directed by Ruthy Pribar
Short Film Special Mention: COUNTERFEIT KUNKOO, directed by Reema Sengupta

AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS

Best Feature (Narrative): TAKE OFF, directed by Mahesh Narayanan
Best Documentary: LOVESICK, directed by Priya Giri Desai and Ann S. Kim Best Short: AN ESSAY OF THE RAIN, directed by Nagraj Manjule

THE BEATLES’ YELLOW SUBMARINE IN THEATERS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA THIS JULY TO CELEBRATE THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Abramorama announced today a deal with Apple Corps Ltd. and Universal Music Group (UMG) to theatrically release The Beatles’ classic 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, across North America this July in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Abramorama, Apple Corps Ltd. and UMG have teamed to give Beatles fans of all ages the opportunity to come together and share in this visually stunning movie and soundtrack. Abramorama originally partnered with Apple Corps, Imagine Entertainment, White Horse Pictures, StudioCanal and UMG’s Polygram Entertainment on the Ron Howard documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years. Abramorama has a proven track record in the music-driven film space, partnering numerous times with Neil Young, Pearl Jam and Green Day and now once again with Apple Corps Ltd.

Yellow Submarine was restored in 4K digital resolution by Paul Rutan Jr. and his team of specialists at Triage Motion Picture Services and Eque Inc. The film’s songs and score were remixed in 5.1 stereo surround sound at UMG’s Abbey Road Studios by music mix engineer Peter Cobbin. Due to the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork, no automated software was used in the digital clean-up of the film’s restored photochemical elements. This was all done by hand, frame by frame.

Richard Abramowitz, CEO of Abramorama said, “We’re thrilled to have the privilege of bringing Yellow Submarine back to the big screen so that 3 generations of happy Beatles fans can enjoy the ground-breaking animation and classic tunes and that have long been part of our collective cultural DNA.”

Directed by George Dunning, and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and Erich Segal, Yellow Submarine began its voyage to the screen when Brodax, who had previously produced nearly 40 episodes of ABC’s animated Beatles TV series, approached The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein with a unique vision for a full-length animated feature.

Yellow Submarine, based upon a song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is a fantastic tale brimming with peace, love, and hope, propelled by Beatles songs, including “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “All You Need Is Love,” and “It’s All Too Much.” When the film debuted in 1968, it was instantly recognized as a landmark achievement, revolutionizing a genre by integrating the freestyle approach of the era with innovative animation techniques.

Inspired by the generation’s new trends in art, the film resides with the dazzling Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Martin Sharp, Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake. With art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, Yellow Submarine is a classic of animated cinema, featuring the creative work of animation directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes with a team of animators and technical artists.

Information on local screenings can be found here: http://www.yellowsubmarine.film/

WARNER BROS. PICTURES CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF STANLEY KUBRICK’S 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

‘Unrestored’ 70mm print of Kubrick’s landmark 1968 masterpiece to be released in select U.S. theatres, following world premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, introduced by filmmaker Christopher Nolan. Burbank, CA, March 28, 2018 – Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Warner Bros. Pictures will debut an ‘unrestored’ 70mm print of the director’s groundbreaking science fiction epic at the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival. Widely considered among the greatest films of the 20th century, 2001: A Space Odyssey will return to select U.S. theatres in 70mm beginning May 18, 2018. Set for Saturday, May 12, the world premiere will be held during the Cannes Classics section of the Festival, featuring an introduction by award-winning filmmaker Christopher Nolan. The screening will also be attended by members of Stanley Kubrick’s family, including his daughter, Katharina Kubrick, and longstanding producing partner and brother-in-law, Jan Harlan. For the first time since the original release, this 70mm print was struck from new printing elements made from the original camera negative. This is a true photochemical film recreation. There are no digital tricks, remastered effects, or revisionist edits. This is the unrestored film that recreates the cinematic event audiences experienced 50 years ago. A longtime admirer of the late American auteur, Nolan worked closely with the team at Warner Bros. Pictures throughout the mastering process. Christiane Kubrick said, “I’m delighted that 2001: A Space Odyssey will be reissued in 70mm, and that Cannes has chosen to honour it. If Stanley were alive today, we know he would be in admiration of the films of Christopher Nolan. And so, on behalf of Stanley’s family, I would personally like to thank Christopher for supporting his film.” Nolan stated, “One of my earliest memories of cinema is seeing Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 70mm, at the Leicester Square Theatre in London with my father. The opportunity to be involved in recreating that experience for a new generation, and of introducing our new unrestored 70mm print of Kubrick’s masterpiece in all its analogue glory at the Cannes Film Festival is an honour and a privilege.” Nolan will also participate in a Cannes Masterclass, set for Sunday, May 13, during which he will discuss his highly acclaimed filmography and also share his passion for the singular work of Stanley Kubrick. For this milestone anniversary, Warner Bros. will continue the celebration later this year when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time in 4K resolution with HDR. Also produced in close collaboration with Nolan, the home entertainment release will be available in the fall of 2018. With 2001: A Space Odyssey, director Stanley Kubrick redefined the limits of filmmaking and cemented his legacy as one of the most revolutionary and influential film directors of all time. Originally released in 70mm Cinerama roadshow format on April 4, 1968, the film ignited the imaginations of critics and audiences alike and its impact continues to resonate to this day. An award-winning director, writer and producer, Christopher Nolan most recently earned dual Academy Award nominations, for Best Director and Best Picture, for his experiential tour-de-force Dunkirk, which in July of 2017 received the largest 70mm release in the last quarter century. His diverse filmography also includes Interstellar, Inception, the blockbuster Dark Knight Trilogy, The Prestige and Memento, for which he received his first Oscar nomination, for Best Original Screenplay.

“CREED II” RETURNS TO THE RING AS PRODUCTION BEGINS IN PHILADELPHIA FOR METRO GOLDWYN MAYER PICTURES AND WARNER BROS. PICTURES

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Production begins today in Philadelphia on Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures (MGM) and Warner Bros. Pictures’ Creed II, starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, reprising their roles of Adonis Creed and Rocky Balboa respectively. Creed II is the continuation of the Rocky saga and sequel to the 2015 critically acclaimed and crowd-pleasing 2015 hit Creed, which took in more than $170 million at the worldwide box office. Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), who directed the first film, returns to the franchise as an executive producer on Creed II. The new film is being directed by Steven Caple Jr., who helmed the acclaimed 2016 drama The Land.

“When I wrote and directed Creed, I wanted to tell a human story about a family from a new perspective, while also paying homage to the Rocky characters we’ve all grown up knowing and loving. I’ve known Steven was an amazing filmmaker since our days at USC film school together, so I can’t wait to see what he, Sly, Mike and Tessa bring to this next chapter,” said Coogler.

Caple Jr. said, “It’s an honor to be a part of the franchise and work with such a thoughtful team. I got involved because I’ve always been a Rocky fan and I enjoy stories with heart and substance. But when Ryan put his touch on Creed I felt another level of connection to the franchise. It started to feel personal for many different reasons. This next Creed is a tale beyond the boxing ring and dives deep into family, legacy, and fears. I’m excited to share my view and collaborate with the talented cast and crew.”

“Ryan and Steven are voices for their generation and their shared vision for Creed has brought the Rocky franchise to an entirely new audience. We know audiences will continue to embrace the legacy that Sly created so many years ago,” said producer Irwin Winkler.

Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.

Also reprising their roles from the first film are Tessa Thompson as Bianca, Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne, Wood Harris as Tony ‘Little Duke’ Burton, and Andre Ward as Danny ‘Stuntman’ Wheeler. The new cast is rounded out with Florian “The Big Nasty” Munteanu as Viktor Drago, Dolph Lundgren returning to the role of Ivan Drago, and Russell Hornsby as Buddy Marcelle. Creed II will be distributed theatrically in the U.S. by MGM on November 21, 2018, and Warner Bros. Pictures will distribute the film internationally.

Caple Jr. directs from an original screenplay written by Stallone based on characters from the Rocky franchise. The film is produced by Irwin Winkler, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, David Winkler, Kevin King-Templeton and Stallone. Coogler, Jordan and Guy Riedel will executive produce.

Collaborating with Caple Jr. is a creative team led by director of photography Kramer Morgenthau (Thor: The Dark World, Game of Thrones); production designer Franco Carbone (The Expendables, Billionaire Boys Club); costume designers Lizz Wolf (A Single Man, Dreamgirls); art director Jesse Rosenthal (Black Panther, Trumbo); fight coordinator Daniel Hernandez (Avengers: Infinity War, The Fate of the Furious); technical boxing advisor Robert Sale (Grudge Match, Ali); special effects coordinator Patrick White (Baby Driver, Deepwater Horizon) and VFX producer Crystal Dowd (Straight Outta Compton, Pitch Perfect 2). Filming will take place primarily in Philadelphia with additional locations in New Mexico.

Creed, directed by Coogler, was released by Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema in November 2015 and went on to garner many honors for Stallone, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

MICHAEL SHOWALTER JOINS ANNAPURNA TELEVISION WITH NEW PRODUCTION DEAL

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Annapurna Television has partnered with writer, director Michael Showalter and his new production company Semi-Formal Productions, it was announced today. The multi-year, first-look deal to produce, direct, and write will cover both a current TV project in development at the company and future TV projects.

The creative alliance comes in the wake of Showalter’s critically acclaimed Critic’s Choice winner and Oscar nominated, THE BIG SICK. His other projects include the feature film, HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS, he is the co-creator of the TBS series Search Party and the co-creator for Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer. He’s currently an executive producer and director of the Corinne Kingsbury CW pilot In The Dark with CBS TV Studios and Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films. It was recently announced, that he will direct an untitled holiday comedy for Universal Pictures starring Academy Award® nominee Jessica Chastain and Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer.

“I’m thrilled to launch Semi-Formal Productions with Jordana,” said Showalter. “She has long been a trusted colleague who always inspires me with her incredible taste in material and passion for championing artists and we are honored to partner with Sue Naegle and her team at Annapurna, who are defined by their reputation for nurturing diverse and talented writers and directors, and telling daring, inventive and contemporary stories.”

Jordana Mollick joins Semi-Formal Productions as the President of Development and Production. Mollick, an award-winning producer, was a partner at Haven Entertainment where she managed writers and directors and produced film and television. She has served as an executive producer on various shows including, In the Vault, Play by Play, and Embeds, as well as produced films such as Susanna Fogel’s directorial debut Life Partners. She also was a producer and collaborator with Showalter on HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS. Showalter’s newly formed company, Semi-Formal Productions, produces film and television that is edgy, contemporary, and socially aware, and tells commercial stories with unconventional characters that have as much heart as they do humor.