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US Briefs: HBO takes US rights to 'Cries From Syria'

HBO has acquired Evgeny Afineevsky’s Sundance selection and follow-up to Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom in a deal with executive producer David Dinerstein.

Cries From Syria chronicles the Middle East country’s civil war and draws on hundreds of hours of war footage as well as testimony from child protestors, human rights activists, citizens and high-ranking army generals who have defected from the Army.

The film receives its world premiere in Park City this month in the Documentary Premieres strand and will debut on HBO on March 13.

  • Annapurna Television is partnering with the Coen Brothers on Western anthology The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs. Annapurna issued a press release saying it intended to pursue “an innovative television and theatrical integrated approach” without elaborating. Joel and Ethen Coen wrote the script and will direct and produce through their Mike Zoss Productions label. Ellison and Annapurna Television president of television Sue Naegle are executive producers. UTA represents the Coens.
  • Film Movement has acquired US rights from ARRI Media International to Andrei Konchalovsky’s Russian film Paradise, one of nine selections on the Oscar foreign-language shortlist.
  • Brainstorm Media has picked up Prodigy Pictures drama The Other Half from American Entertainment Investors. The distributor will release Joey Klein’s film in US theatres on March 10 day-and-date with the VOD launch. It premiered at SXSW last year.
  • BOND/360 has acquired US and Canadian rights to Toronto 2016 entry Karl Marx City. Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker directed the documentary about the feared former East German Stasi secret police. BOND/360 will premiere the documentary on March 29.
  • Writers Guild of America, West board member Dan Wilcox will receive the 2017 Morgan Cox Award “in recognition of his exemplary service to the Guild” at the 2017 Writers Guild Awards Los Angeles ceremony on February 19. His writing credits include M*A*S*H.
  • Lionsgate will release Pantelion Films’ Everybody Loves Somebody on February 17. Karla Souza, José María Yazpik, Ben O’Toole, K. C. Clyde, Tiaré Scanda, Patricia Bernal and Alejandro Camacho star in Catalina Aguilar Mastretta’s Mexican rom-com.
  • Hugh Gibson’s drug addict documentary The Stairs has won the $100,000 20th Anniversary Toronto Film Critics Association’s 2016 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award.
  • Universal has come on board as US distributor of R-rated comedy The Pact starring Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena and will release on April 20, 2018. Point Grey Pictures’ Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver produce with Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg alongside DMG Entertainment’s Chris Fenton. Good Universe represents international rights to Pitch Perfect writer Kay Cannon’s directorial debut about parents who plan to block their daughters’ plan to lose their virginity on prom night. Good Universe’s Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake are executive producers with Chris Cowles of DMG. 

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