Chaz Bono, Bonnie Aarons Join The Bell Keeper; Acquisitions By Atlas Distribution Company & Freestyle Digital Media; FutureDudes Gunpowder & Sky Deal; More Film Briefs

Chaz Bono, Bonnie Aarons Join The Bell Keeper; Acquisitions By Atlas Distribution Company & Freestyle Digital Media; FutureDudes Gunpowder & Sky Deal; More  Film Briefs

EXCLUSIVE: Chaz Bono (American Horror Story) and Bonnie Aarons (The Nun) have signed on to star alongside Randy Couture, Reid Miller, Mike Manning, Kathleen Kenny and Cathy Marks in the action-horror pic The Bell Keeper, from director Colton Tran (Snow Falls).

In the film, a group of friends travel to a secluded campsite to film a documentary. What they find is something much more sinister than they could have ever imagined. Artisha Mann-Cooper, Nick Theurer and Jonathan Cooper are producing, with Final Destination scribe Jeffrey Reddick exec producing alongside Martin Ngongo.

Bono is represented by Luber Roklin Entertainment and Mills Kaplan Entertainment; Aarons by Mills Kaplan Entertainment and Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs.

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EXCLUSIVE: Atlas Distribution Company has acquired U.S. rights to writer-director Allen Wolf’s romantic comedy The Sound of Violet, based on his award-winning novel, with plans to release it theatrically in 15+ U.S. markets on April 29.

The film centers on Shawn (Cason Thomas), who is desperate to find a wife. When he meets Violet (Cora Cleary), he thinks she’s his perfect soulmate, but his autism keeps him from realizing she’s actually a prostitute looking for a ticket out of her trapped life.

Wolf produced The Sound of Violet, which also stars Jan D’Arcy, Kaelon Christopher, Michael E. Bell and Tyler Roy Roberts. Harmon Kaslow negotiated the deal for the film on behalf of Atlas Distribution Company, with Wolf on behalf of Morning Star Pictures. Check out the film’s trailer below.

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EXCLUSIVEFreestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group/Entertainment Studios, has acquired North American rights to Sarah T. Schwab’s family drama Life After You, with plans to release it across digital and VOD platforms on April 5.

The film inspired by Linda Lajterman’s book, Life After You: What Your Death from Drugs Leaves Behind, tells the story of a suburban family that struggles with the death of their 19-year-old son following an overdose of heroin that was laced with fentanyl. Florencia Lozano, Gary Perez, Kathryn Erbe, Tina Benko, Craig “muMs” Grant, Jake Ryan Lozano,, Domenica Feraud, Erick Betancourt, Emily Kratter and Melanie Nicholls-King star. Schwab penned the script with Lozano and produced with Brian Long under their Cardinal Flix banner, with additional producing credits going to Charlene Giannetti, Lozano and John Beamer.

Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deal to acquire Life After You directly with Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films. The film’s trailer can be found below.

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EXCLUSIVE: Filmmaker Jeffrey Morris‘s production company FutureDude Entertainment is bringing his shorts Parallel Man: Infinite Pursuit and Oceanus: Act One to Gunpowder & Sky‘s subsidiary sci-fi streamer, DUST, as part of its development deal with the company.

The animated world-hopping adventure Parallel Man: Infinite Pursuit, featuring the voices of Ming-Na Wen (The Book of Boba Fett), John Cho (Star Trek) and Lance Reddick (John Wick), will debut on the streamer on March 28, with the live-action, underwater Oceanus: Act One, starring Sharif Atkins (Guardians of the Galaxy), Bruce Davison (X-Men), Megan Dodds (For All Mankind) and Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations), arriving on DUST on April 18.

Parallel Man: Infinite Pursuit is the story of Nick Morgan (Cho)—a super soldier chased through the multiverse by commandos from a totalitarian regime. To escape, he jumps between parallel Earths including a polluted industrial hellscape; a planet where dinosaurs evolved into humanoids; and a fungal world populated by giant mushrooms.

Oceanus: Act One takes us to the year 2029 when an amazing breakthrough in whale-human communication is at a hand. Before the final experiment can be conducted, a marine biologist and her aquatic engineer husband are caught in a catastrophic global disaster that separates them from each other and their spectacular underwater city.

Morris produced both films with Anne Marie Guillen. He is repped by Espada PR & Entertainment.

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EXCLUSIVEBasset Hound Distribution has optioned Moments Like This, the first book in the From Kona with Love series by Anna Gomez and Kristoffer Polaha, for development as a film. Basset Hound will produce the adaptation alongside Polaha’s production company Podunk Productions.

In Moments Like This, from Vesuvian Media imprint Rosewind Books, a young woman travels to Hawaii following a career disappointment where she meets a mysterious man over coffee, and in a moment their lives are irrevocably changed. The novel depicts multicultural romance, love, loss, and redemption woven into a family saga set in the beautiful islands of Hawaii. The second installment in the From Kona series, titled Where the Sun Rises, has not yet been released.

Gomez is repped by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management; Polaha by Gersh and Industry Entertainment.

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EXCLUSIVE: DEDZA Films has received backing from Sundance Institute’s independent film financing program, Catalyst, to support Kino Lorber‘s Noth American theatrical release of their film Neptune Frost, from directors Anisia Uzeyman and Saul Williams.

DEDZA’s founder Kate Gondwe was one of two fellows selected for the program, with support coming in the form of a crowd-sourced grant, and will now develop and execute an audience engagement campaign for Kino Lorber’s release with the aim of reaching audiences outside of the traditional arthouse demographic. Sundance Catalyst investors backing the project include LinLay Productions and Genuine Article Pictures, with additional support from XRM Media, Amanda Kelso, Sons of Rigor Films and Martha Gregory.

Uzeyman’s Afrofuturistic punk sci-fi musical made its world premiere in the Directors Fortnight section of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. The film takes place amid the hilltops of Burundi, where a group of escaped coltan miners form an anti-colonialist computer hacker collective. From their camp in an otherworldly e-waste dump, they attempt a takeover of the authoritarian regime exploiting the region’s natural resources – and its people. It’s set for release in North American starting on June 3, with a digital release on Kino Now and other major TVOD platforms to follow.

Williams penned the script. Uzeyman, Maria Judice, and Ezra Miller produced, with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ekaterina Baker, Luke Daniels, The Halluci Nation, Stephen Hendel, Che Kothari, Michael Orange, Juliette & Walter Pryor and Kyle Stroud exec producing. Dave Guenette and Sol Guy co-produced, with Kara Walker serving as an associate producer.

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EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has a new clip from Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music, a documentary from writer-director Kathleen Ermitage that is making its world premiere at the Sonoma Film Festival on March 24th.

Mixtape Trilogy: Stories of the Power of Music is a celebration of the power of music and its ability to transform lives, which explores one of the most intense relationships between people who rarely meet: music artists and their fans. The doc features interviews with Amy Ray and Emily Sailers, of the Grammy-winning folk-rock duo Indigo Girls, as well as Talib Kweli and Grammy-nominated composer and pianist Vijay Iyer.

Check out the clip from Ermitage’s directorial debut below.

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EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has a pair of exclusive clips from Exploited, a psychological thriller starring Sierra McCormick, Makenzie Vega, Leah Pipes, Spencer List, Will Peltz, Hannah Rose May, Jordan Ver Hoeve, Andrew Matthew Welch, Colin Bates and Lisa Thornhill that Gravitas Ventures is releasing on VOD today, following a release in U.S. theaters this past January.

The film from director Jon Abrahams follows a college freshman who, along with his friends, is terrorized by a voyeuristic hacker after becoming obsessed with a missing male webcam model. It explores real-world fears such as privacy and camming. Carl Moellenberg and Anthony Del Negro penned the script and produced alongside Shane O’Brien and Zach O’Brien, with Darclight Films representing worldwide rights.

Check out the clips from Exploited below.

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Gkids has acquired North American rights to writer-director Makoto Shinkai‘s early films The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004), 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007), Children who Chase Lost Voices (2011) and Voices of a Distant Star (2002), with plans to release both the original Japanese-language version and English- dubbed version of each across home entertainment platforms later this year.

In Shinkai’s feature directorial debut, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, three teenagers in an alternate post-war Japan become obsessed with a mysterious tower across the Union border, which reaches far into the sky. Hiroki and Takuya work on a makeshift airplane, which they promise their friend Sayuri they will use to visit the tower together someday, but she disappears before it is completed. Several years later, the tower suddenly activates, starting a phenomenon that threatens the world. And the young men now discover their long-lost friend Sayuri may hold the key to it all…

Told in three vignettes, 5 Centimeters per Second: A Chain of Short Stories About Their Distance centers on Takaki, who yearns to spill his heart out for childhood crush Akari, though their families move away before any feelings can fully blossom. They stay in touch, but eventually drift apart with school and new friends to distract them. As the seasons pass, Takaki navigates his relationships while haunted by all the things he left unsaid with Akari, his first love.

Children who Chase Lost Voices is an epic fantasy adventure in a world of ancient gods. It centers on Asuna, an introvert who prefers spending her time listening to a radio left by her deceased father. One day, she hears an odd song that resonates in her heart unlike anything else. It leads to a chance encounter with a mysterious boy, who transports Asuna to Agarthaa land of legend where the dead can be brought back to life. Compelled by the song and the boy, Asuna journeys through the mythical lands, but hostile warriors and ghastly creatures will stop at nothing to prevent Asuna from uncovering the secrets of their world.

In the short Voices of a Distant Star, set several years into the future, alien invaders threaten the safety of Earth. Mikako joins global forces to defend the planet, but leaves behind her middle school crush, Noboru. They stay connected through emails even while their lives diverge. The galactic war soon sends Mikako further out into space where the time it takes to send and receive messages grows longer. As years start to pass between emails, Mikako and Noboru each grapple with unspoken feelings while hoping for the next message.

Gkids previously handled North American distribution for Shinkai’s most recent feature Weathering With You, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in 2019, before going on to become both a box office and critical success.

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Shudder has acquired rights to the film Deadstream, ahead of its world premiere in the Midnighter section of the SXSW Film Festival, and will serve as the exclusive streaming home for the film in North America, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

The first feature from the husband-and-wife team of Vanessa and Joseph Winter follows a disgraced and demonetized internet personality (Joseph Winter) who tries to win back his fans by live-streaming himself spending one night alone in an abandoned haunted house. When he accidentally unleashes a vengeful spirit, his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for his life (and social relevance) as he faces off with the sinister spirit of the house and her own powerful following.

The Winters produced the film with Jared Cook and Melanie Stone, who also stars. Emily Gotto negotiated the deal for Deadstream on behalf of Shudder, with Mike Chapman of Blue Finch on behalf of the filmmakers.

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