As the 2019 American Film Market kicks off, Screen highlights some of the buzziest projects being offered by international sales companies.
AGC Studios seem to be cornering the market on high-end independent sci-fi of late and, after introducing projects from Neil Burger and Roland Emmerich earlier this year, arrive with a new feature from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp. Inferno will star Taylor Kitsch as a cop who goes head-to-head with a violent supernatural force in a murder investigation. Production is set for February 2020.
Eerie thriller The Devil’s Light from Lionsgate International is a Lionsgate-Gold Circle co-production about a female trainee exorcist. James Hawes (Penny Dreadful) is set to direct in the first half of 2020. Lionsgate will distribute directly in North America, the UK and Latin America.
Montreal-based WaZabi Films launches sales on Frankel, which will star Jeremy Irons as racehorse trainer Henry Cecil, and explore the bond he formed with superstar thoroughbred Frankel. WaZabi handles worldwide sales and jointly represents US rights with CAA Media Finance.
MadRiver International drew buyers in Cannes with a film about an exorcism on a plane, and keeps the focus on aviation with The Plane. Gerard Butler will star as a commercial pilot who crash-lands in a conflict zone.
Mark Damon’s Foresight Unlimited — which has just been acquired by Chicken Soup For The Soul — will be talking up Nicolas Cage horror Wally’s Wonderland, in which the genre veteran plays a janitor trapped in an amusement park where animatronic characters come to life.
Maggie Q, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce and Peter Facinelli star in action title Long Gone Heroes from 7ONE7 Films and Adventist Films, which Arclight Films introduces to international buyers. Director Santiago Manes Moreno is shooting the story about a former elite soldier (Pearce) who returns to Burma to face his nemesis.
Millennium Media has The Asset from veteran action director Martin Campbell and starring Maggie Q, Michael Keaton and Samuel L Jackson in the tale of an assassin (Q) who teams up with a mysterious figure from her past (Keaton) to avenge the death of her mentor (Jackson). Production is set to commence on January 8, 2020, taking in London, Bucharest and Da Nang in Vietnam.
Magnolia International has boarded sales on DW Young’s documentary The Booksellers, profiling avid collectors. Parker Posey narrates.
Paradigm is introducing buyers to Never Too Late, a comedy starring Ellen Burstyn, James Caan and Ann-Margret, which is in post. Astute Films finances and produces the title, which Michael Lembeck directs.
Toronto-based genre specialist Raven Banner brings Hangar 18 Media’s completed documentary Nail In The Coffin: The Fall And Rise Of Vampiro from Michael Paszt. The film follows an ageing pro wrestler who reinvents himself as a talent director in Los Angeles and Mexico City while raising his teenage daughter in northern Canada.
Premiere Entertainment Group will be in town with Simon Pegg and Juno Temple drama Lost Transmissions from Royal Road Entertainment and Pulse Films. The Tribeca Film Festival selection centres on a schizophrenic music producer who goes on the lam in Los Angeles, pursued by his concerned songwriter friend. UTA Independent Film Group handles US rights.
Red Sea Media has the completed thriller Judy Small starring Alicia Silverstone, Haley Joel Osment, Rob Corddry and Sarah Shahi. Jumanji franchise producer William Teitler directs the tale about a marriage counsellor who is more than she seems.
Miramax Films will be talking up the thriller Cash Truck, to be directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Jason Statham and Scott Eastwood.
Voltage Pictures arrives with exorcism thriller The Seventh Day from Cinestate and Fangoria, which stars Guy Pearce and is described as The Exorcist meets Training Day.
Myriad Pictures will be talking up fantasy drama The Lost Girls starring Ellen Burstyn and Emma Thompson, which follows the Darling girls as they resume their lives after meeting Peter Pan.
Bleiberg Entertainment will be talking up thriller Cold Providence starring Karl Urban and Malin Akerman. The story follows a novelist with writer’s block on the run with a bag of money and a troubled woman. Bill Jones and Ben Timlett direct the film, which is set to shoot in the first quarter of 2020.
The latest animation on the roster at Cinema Management Group is Panda Bear In Africa, a 3D adventure that Amsterdam-based animation studio Katuni and Copenhagen-based A-Films are co-producing.
The Exchange is selling worldwide rights on Anna Faris dual-role comedy Summer Madness, in which she plays a broke, foul-mouthed woman with a successful and elegant twin sister who must rally her dysfunctional family to win a cash prize. James Mottern will direct the project, which is in pre-production.
Epic Pictures will be touting thriller Avarice, about a woman who must rescue her cryptocurrency specialist husband after he is kidnapped during a home invasion. John V Soto will direct the film starring Alyssa Sutherland, scheduled to commence shooting in April 2020 in Australia.
Concourse Film Trade arrives with worldwide sales rights to The Last Victim, a thriller starring Ali Larter (Resident Evil) as an anthropologist in New Mexico on the run from a terrifying idealist, played by Ralph Ineson (The Witch). Ron Perlman (Hellboy) plays a smalltown sheriff. Naveen A Chathapuram directs for Peach Partners, Blind Alley Entertainment, Immortal Thoughts, The Catalyst Group and Todd Berger.
Toronto-based DDI swings into town with completed animation Cranston Academy: Monster Zone with a voice cast featuring Ruby Rose (Batwoman) and Jamie Bell. Leopoldo Aguilar (Monster Island) directs the story from Prime Focus World and Mexico City-based Anima Estudios about rival geniuses at a school for prodigies who team up to thwart a monster invasion.
Buenos Aires-based FilmSharks will drum up enthusiasm for Paraguayan thriller Morgue, in which a new security guard on the night shift gets locked inside a sinister hospital. Hugo Cardozo directs Pablo Martinez, Willi Villalba, Maria Del Mar Fernandez and Abel Martinez. FilmSharks is also touting remake rights.
Shoreline Entertainment will be talking up the completed comedy Enormity Of Life starring Breckin Meyer, Emily Kinney from The Walking Dead and Giselle Eisenberg from Life In Pieces. Eric Swinderman directs the story of a suicidal middle-aged man who comes into money and meets a likeable woman and her daughter.
Hyde Park International will be touting Spy Intervention, an action comedy starring Drew Van Acker (Titans, Pretty Little Liars) and Poppy Delevingne (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) and set to be released by Cinedigm in the US in February 2020. Drew Mylrea directs a cast that also includes Blake Anderson and social-media star Brittany Furlan.
Producer David Brown’s new Los Angeles-based sales and production company Clear Horizon will tempt buyers with Bille August’s A War Of Their Own, the story of female ambulance drivers on the front lines in the First World War. Cine 3, Clear Horizon and Galleon Films are producing the project, which is out to cast.
AMBI Distribution will screen coming-of-age teen comedy This Is The Year starring Lorenzo Henrie (Fear The Walking Dead), Gregg Sulkin (Marvel’s Runaways) and Vanessa Marano (Switched At Birth) in the story of a nerdy high school senior who sets off to a rock concert to win the girl of his dreams. David Henrie directed and Andrea Iervolino produced through AMBI Media Group with partner Monika Bacardi, and through his TaTaTu social entertainment platform.
Vision Films will be revving up sales on female-led biker film Nation’s Fire, starring Krista Grotte Saxon, Gil Bellows and Bruce Dern. The completed film from TeKnocentric follows a former bike club leader who teams up with the old gang and goes after the gangster who killed her son. Thomas J Churchill directed.
Octane Entertainment has the thriller Obsession starring Mekhi Phifer, Brad Dourif and Elika Portnoy about a farmhand who begins an affair with the young wife of his elderly boss. Goran Dukic directs and Samuel Goldwyn will distribute in the US.
MPI Media Group will be screening 1BR: The Apartment, about a new arrival who learns her seemingly friendly neighbours harbour a dangerous secret. David Marmor directs.
XYZ Films is touting the thriller Gilded Rage, starring Christoph Waltz, Lily Collins and Bill Skarsgard. XYZ produces with Nine Stories and represents the world, including US rights with ICM Partners and Endeavor Content.
Jessica Chastain will star in the comic drama Losing Clementine for Sierra/Affinity. Argentina’s Lucia Puenzo will direct the tale of a celebrated artist who uncovers tragic family secrets. CAA Media Finance arranged financing and represents US rights.
Endeavor Content launches talks on romantic comedy The Last Drop — to star Vince Vaughn and Sharon Horgan — from 21 Laps and 3311, which co-finances with Endeavor Content.
Visit Films will talk up Night Kitchen Productions’ Hearts And Bones, a completed film starring Hugo Weaving about a war photographer who bonds with a Sudanese refugee harbouring a secret.
Highland Film Group brings Lindsay Gossling’s tornado thriller 13 Minutes, starring Trace Adkins and Thora Birch.
Submarine has international sales rights to Andrew Slater’s 1960s Laurel Canyon music scene documentary Echo In The Canyon, which Greenwich Entertainment has for the US.
CJ Entertainment is financing, producing and selling the English-language romantic comedy Press Play, shooting now in Hawaii. Clara Rugaard, Lewis Pullman, Lyrica Okano and Danny Glover star.
Film Mode brings sci-fi thriller Anti-Life, starring Bruce Willis, Cody Kearsley, Thomas Jane and Rachel Nichols, which is in post.