Cannes First Look: Zoe Saldana, Madison Wolfe Battle Monsters in 'I Kill Giants'

Imogen Poots also stars in the adaptation of the graphic novel about a misfit girl battling real and imagined monsters in her life.

Anders Walter makes his feature-length directorial debut with I Kill Giants, an adaptation of Joe Kelly's graphic novel about a misfit girl battling real and imagined monsters in her life.

Here, The Hollywood Reporter debuts first-look images of stars Zoe Saldana and Madison Wolfe. Wolfe plays the main character Barbara, while Saldana plays her school psychologist. Imogen Poots also stars in the film.

Kelly also adapted the screenplay. Shot in Ireland and Belgium, I Kill Giants is produced by Chris Columbus through his 1492 Pictures/Ocean Blue Entertainment, along with Kim Magnusson, Kyle Franke, Man of Action Entertainment, Umedia, and XYZ Films.

The film will be financed by Umedia, backed by Ingenious. XYZ is handling international sales at the Cannes Film Festival, where footage will be screened for buyers.

I Kill Giants, illustrated by J.M. Ken Niimura, Kelly's co-creator, won a Gaiman Award in 2013 (an overseas manga award selected by readers); the International Manga Award in 2012; was named to the "Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens" in 2010 by the Young Adult Library Services Association; as well as "Best Indy Book of 2008" by IGN; and was an Eisner Award finalist.
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Alfred Hitchcock Anthology Series In The Works From Universal Cable Prods & Vermilion

Universal Cable Productions has signed an overall development deal with the Alfred Hitchcock estate to bring a re-imagining of his classic tales back to the small screen.

UCP is teaming on the project with Vermilion Entertainment, the newly formed TV production company from the founders of Cross Creek Pictures, along with Oscar-nominated producer Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures/Ocean Blue Entertainment. This marks Vermilion's first project for scripted television.

In the works is Welcome to Hitchcock, described as an inspired take on the master filmmaker's unique brand of storytelling that encompassed such iconic stories as The Birds, Psycho and the popular television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The new anthology series will focus on a single season-long mystery or crime in the spirit of the classic Hitchcock style and legacy. The studio plans to continue collaborating with the Hitchcock estate to design a series "that will entertain Hitchcock enthusiasts and entice an entirely new generation of fans."

Columbus, Oscar-nominated producer Michael Barnathan, Timmy Thompson and Todd Thompson will serve as executive producers along with the Hitchcock family. Columbus will direct the pilot. Emmy winner Casey Tebo will serve as co-producer. "Long after his death, Alfred Hitchcock continues to be one of the most celebrated directors and visionaries in the world, a master manipulator of the macabre," said Dawn Olmstead, EVP Development at Universal Cable Productions. "We're honored that the Hitchcock estate has put its trust in our studio to pay homage to his work."

"Our grandfather always collaborated with the best and the brightest to help shape his vision," said Katie O'Connell-Fiala on behalf of the Hitchcock Trust and MTK Corporation, which was founded by O'Connell-Fiala and her sisters, Mary O'Connell-Stone and Tere O'Connell-Carrubba. "We're confident that Universal Cable Productions will take great care in helping us to continue preserving his legacy."

Just as the original series utilized prominent directors from Hitchcock himself to George Stevens Jr., Arthur Hiller, Stuart Rosenberg, Robert Stevenson and Robert Altman, the new anthology series will seek out premiere filmmakers and talent to pay homage to the spirit of Hitchcock's style and legacy.
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Umedia To Finance 'I Kill Giants' Starring Zoe Saldana – Cannes

EXCLUSIVE: Ahead of an August production start on I Kill Giants, Umedia, with backing from London-based Ingenious, has come on board to finance the picture. Anders Walter is making his feature debut on the adaptation of Joe Kelly’s graphic novel. Zoe Saldana and Madison Wolfe star. XYZ is handling world sales on the project in Cannes.

Kelly adapted his novel for the screen. The story focuses on Barbara, a young misfit girl battling both real and imagined monsters. Saldana will play Mrs. Mollé, the school psychologist who helps Barbara through her struggles and forms a tight bond with her as a result.

Chris Columbus is producing through his 1492 Pictures/Ocean Blue Ent, along with Kim Magnusson, Kyle Franke, Man of Action Entertainment, Umedia, and XYZ Films.

I Kill Giants, illustrated by J.M. Ken Niimura, won a Gaiman Award in 2013 and the International Manga Award in 2012. It was named to the Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens in 2010 by the Young Adult Library Services Association; and was an Eisner Award finalist.

Since its inception in 2004, Umedia has invested over $500M in 300 films via its tax shelter, equity, and development funds. The international finance, production and VFX group has recently said it plans to grow its UK/U.S. production pipeline by increasing the amount of equity it brings to projects it produces.
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Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures Acquires Hot Novel 'Jane Steele'

Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures has acquired Lyndsay Faye's acclaimed novel Jane Steele along with Ocean Blue Entertainment and Prescience in association with Altus Media. The book, which has received ecstatic critical notices across the board, will be published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on Tuesday.
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Sean Bean discusses THE YOUNG MESSIAH on the Kevin & Bean show

 

Radio Show Recap: Mar 4

5:30PM EST - Filmmaker and director for the upcoming movie The Young Messiah Cyrus Nowrasteh are here to discuss the latest and greatest from CPAC. Both have been at the conference and have a lot of feedback from the people on the ground to the debate last night amongst the Presidential hopefuls.

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Director Chris Columbus on "The Young Messiah"

Producer and director Chris Columbus is out with a new movie called "The Young Messiah". He joins Closing Bell to discuss his work, The Oscars, and much more.
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Chris Columbus: 'Young Messiah' is 'greatest story never told'

If you think back to some of your favorite films, chances are Chris Columbus had something to do with them: He directed "Home Alone," two Harry Potter films, and "Mrs. Doubtfire." The filmmaker tells Kathie Lee and Hoda about his new film, "The Young Messiah," a story about Jesus at the age of 7.
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The 21 Best Films of Sundance 2016

"Tallulah." The lives of three disparate women collide in writer-director Sian Heder's smart, funny, piercing debut feature. A staff writer on "Orange Is the New Black," Heder brings that series' still-too-rare interest in women's secret lives to a story packed with twists and turns and finely nuanced performances from Ellen Page, Allison Janney and Tammy Blanchard. (G.B.)
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So Far, Amazon and Netflix Are Sundance's Top Buyers

PARK CITY, Utah - It was the independent film equivalent of a crack of thunder.
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Sundance Film Review: Ellen Page in 'Tallulah'

Ellen Page lands her best starring vehicle since "Juno" in "Tallulah," a very different story of a young woman coming to terms with the idea of being a mother. The feature-length scripting-directing debut of "Orange Is the New Black" staff writer Sian Heder offers juicy roles not only to Page but also to Allison Janney and Tammy Blanchard, in a strong showcase of female talent both behind and in front of the camera. Netflix acquired SVOD rights prior to the pic's premiere in competition at Sundance, but Heder's compassionate, audience-friendly dramedy deserves a shot in theaters, too.
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'Tallulah': Sundance Review

It takes a village to raise a child, especially in Tallulah, an often funny and moving drama about two disparate characters: a drifter who ends up becoming the unlikely caretaker of a one-year-old child; and the middle-aged soon-to-be-divorcée she tricks into thinking is its grandmother. In her first feature, writer-director Siân Heder sometimes overdoes the gentle dramatic ironies and cutesy, feel-good tone, but Tallulah has much to say about the ways that society judges women: as mothers, as wives, as lovers. Helped enormously by deeply-felt performances from Ellen Page and Allison Janney, this film mostly overcomes its unevenness by finding rich pockets of emotion and insight.
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Sundance: Netflix Buys 'Tallulah' With Ellen Page, Allison Janney (EXCLUSIVE)

The Sundance Film Festival is still a week away, but Netflix isn't waiting for the throngs to descend on Park City before making a big move.

The streaming giant has snapped up worldwide distribution rights to "Tallulah," Variety has learned. The story of a young drifter (Ellen Page) who takes a baby from a negligent mother was expected to be one of the hot titles at this year's festival. It reunites Page with her "Juno" co-star Allison Janney.

Janney plays a woman who mistakenly believes she's the child's grandmother in what is being billed as a dramatic comedy.

It's a homecoming of sorts for writer and director Sian Heder. She has a preexisting relationship with Netflix having worked as a writer and producer on "Orange is the New Black." Her first short film, "Mother," was honored at Cannes Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and Florida Film Festival.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but insiders pegged the price as being in the mid-seven figures. The purchase comes as Netflix is moving aggressively to build up its feature film offerings, having scored by backing original television shows such as "House of Cards" and "Daredevil." The company is currently on the Oscar hunt with last year's child soldier drama "Beasts of No Nation" and released the Adam Sandler comedy "The Ridiculous Six" in December. Upcoming movies include "War Machine" with Brad Pitt, "Jadotville" with Jamie Dornan and a sequel to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

"Tallulah" was backed by Route One Entertainment, Maiden Voyages Pictures and Ocean Blue Entertainment. Russell Levine, Heather Rae, Chris Columbus and Todd Traina served as producers. The cast includes John Benjamin Hickey, Zachary Quinto, Uzo Aduba and Tammy Blanchard.

"Sian Heder is an exciting new voice in cinema and I am so proud to see her work continue from writing on the groundbreaking 'Orange is the New Black' to writing and directing this heartfelt crowd-pleasing film 'Tallulah,'" said Levine, CEO of Route One Entertainment. "Audiences worldwide are now going to be able to see Sian's amazing growth as an artist through the support of Netflix."

ICM Partners and Good Universe represented the sale of the film.
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The Young Messiah Trailer Looks Biblical, Dramatic And Epic

Cyrus Nowrasteh, Director of The Young Messiah interview with Hugh Hewitt for The Hugh Hewitt Show on Salem Radio Network. Discussing the upcoming release of The Young Messiah on March 11th. Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show (75 stations) is heard in more than 120 cities across the United States every weekday afternoon.

 

The Young Messiah Trailer Looks Biblical, Dramatic And Epic

Cyrus Nowrasteh, Director of The Young Messiah interview with Raymond Arroyo which aired 12/10 on EWTN's The World Over. Discussing the upcoming release of The Young Messiah on March 11th. Raymond Arroyo is a New York Times bestselling author, and a producer. He is the news director and lead anchor of EWTN News, the news division of the Eternal Word Television Network, a Catholic broadcast network founded by Mother Angelica, a nun of the Poor Clare order. He is creator and host of the news magazine The World Over Live.
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Sundance 2016 Lineup: U.S. & World Cinema Competition Slates Unveiled

Tallulah / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Sian Heder) — A rootless young woman takes a toddler from a wealthy, negligent mother and passes the baby off as her own in an effort to protect her. This decision connects and transforms the lives of three very different women. Cast: Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Tammy Blanchard, Evan Jonigkeit, Uzo Aduba. World Premiere
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9 Hidden Gems from the 2016 Sundance Lineup

"Tallulah"

For her feature debut, award-winning shorts filmmaker (and current "Orange is the New Black" writer) Sian Heder is adapting her own work — her 2006 Cannes-nominated short "Mother" — into a longer narrative, starring Ellen Page and Allison Janney. Based on her own experiences working as a babysitter in a posh Beverly Hills hotel, "Tallulah" looks to explore questions of motherhood, femininity, possession and obsession with a fresh approach. Reuniting Page and Janney is just icing on the cake. —KE
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Christmas Pic '12/24' Moves Forward With ZAG Joining 1492 & Ocean Blue

Family entertainment company ZAG is joining Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures and Ocean Blue Entertainment to finance and produce the live-action/hybrid Christmas pic 12/24. Matt Lieberman penned the script based on an original idea by David Guggenheim. 1492 and Ocean Blue pre-emptively purchased the spec by Lieberman (Mr Toad's Wild Ride) in June 2013.

The logline: When some old home video is discovered, two brothers set out to prove Santa Claus is real, setting an elaborate trap on Christmas Eve. Santa ends up incapacitated by their trap and with the help of Santa's magical elves, the brothers end up on an epic adventure to save Christmas.

ZAG Animation Studios is a partnership with 1492's Columbus and Michael Barnathan; Columbus, Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe are producing for 1492 with Guggenheim's Madhouse Entertainment. Jeremy Zag's company develops TV series, movies and games, most recently the animated feature Miraculous Ladybug which will premiere next week on Nickelodeon.

1492 and Ocean Blue have a long-term producing and financing deal. The first film under their tie-up is Focus Features' The Young Messiah about 7-year-old Jesus discovering his true identity and destiny. Cyrus Nowrasteh directed and it has a March 11 release date. Next up will be I Kill Giants and The Battle Of New Orleans.


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AFM 2015: Cutting Through the Buzz to Pick the 10 Most Bankable Films for U.S. Audiences

I Kill Giants

Adventure (Pre-Production)
Director: Anders Walter | Writer(s): Joe Kelly | Producer(s): Chris Columbus, Justin Nappi, Kim Magnusson, Kyle Franke, Michael Barnathan | Main Cast: Zoe Saldana, Madison Wolfe No U.S. Distribution at Press Time | U.S. Rights Contact: XYZ Films

Logline: Barbara Thorson is a misfit, who battles the monsters in her life, both real and imagined. SSN Insight: It's amazing that this film lacks a U.S. distributor given the imaginative fantasy graphic novel it's based on by Image Comics (pictured left). It is directed by Anders Walter, known for his 2013 film Helium, which won Best Live-Action Short at the 2014 Academy Awards and produced by veteran fantasy filmmaker Chris Columbus. Not to mention the film centers on a female action hero to be played by Zoe Saldana, a move that's certainly on trend given the recent gender switch of Ghostbusters and the box office clout of Hunger Games and Divergent, among other franchises. This film also has the added bonus of being adapted by the writer of the original graphic novel, Joe Kelly. Snatch this one up before it's gone.
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The Young Messiah Trailer Debuts

The Young Messiah trailer delivers a look at Christ's childhood

Focus Features has revealed the first trailer for The Young Messiah, the upcoming film about the early life and upbringing of Jesus. Check out The Young Messiah trailer below!

The Young Messiah tells the inspiring and unique story of seven-year-old Jesus Christ and his family as they come to a fuller understanding of His divine nature and purpose. It features Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings) as Severus, David Bradley ("Game of Thrones") as the Old Rabbi, Jonathan Bailey (Testament of Youth) as King Herod, Isabelle Adriani (The American) as Seleni, Christian McKay (Me and Orson Welles) as Cleopas and Adam Greaves-Neal ("Sherlock") as Jesus Christ.

Written by Cyrus Nowrasteh and Betsy Nowrasteh (The Stoning of Soraya M.) based on the novel "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" by Anne Rice, The Young Messiah is directed by Nowrasteh and produced by Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe (Pixels).

Focus Features will release the film just in time for Easter on March 11, 2016.
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The Young Messiah Trailer Looks Biblical, Dramatic And Epic

In case you missed it, faith based movies were a big story recently as War Room, a movie that almost no one had heard about previously, and that, by almost all accounts from the mainstream media, is terrible, shocked many by finishing it's debut weekend in the number two spot at the box office race. It then went on to take the top slot the next weekend. Realizing there is, in fact, a market for films of this nature, studios are getting more and more behind them, and FOCUS Features has released this new trailer for The Young Messiah.
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Zoe Saldana, Madison Wolfe Join 'I Kill Giants' Graphic Novel Adaptation

Zoe Saldana has joined the cast of "I Kill Giants" as a school psychologist opposite Madison Wolfe's misfit girl battling both real and imaginary monsters in her life.

Anders Walter is directing "Giants," based on Joe Kelly's 2008 graphic novel, with filming set to begin in early 2016. XYZ Films is handling international sales and is meeting with distributors at the Toronto Film Festival.

Producers are Chris Columbus through his 1492 Pictures/Ocean Blue Entertainment; Justin Nappi through his company, Treehouse Pictures; Kim Magnusson; Man of Action Entertainment, where Kelly is a partner; and XYZ Films.

Treehouse Pictures, which acquired the movie rights in March, is also financing the film.

Kelly, who created the graphic novel with illustrator Ken Niimura, has also written the screenplay adaptation.

Saldana stars as psychologist Mrs. Molle, who plays a key role by helping the protagonist face both internal and external threats, forming a bond with her in the process.

Wolfe, who was seen in the first season of "True Detective," was selected after a nationwide search of over 500 girls. She will next be seen in David O. Russell's "Joy" opposite Jennifer Lawrence and in Jay Roach's "Trumbo" opposite Bryan Cranston.

XYZ has already closed sales in multiple territories including Sun in Latin America, Falcon in the Middle East, Camimovie Srl in Italy and Abbolita in SE Asia, South Africa, Greece, Portugal and Turkey.

Saldana starred as Gamora in Marvel-Disney's "Guardians of the Galaxy" and recently starred as the titular character on NBC's mini-series "Rosemary's Baby." Credits include "Avatar" and the two most recent "Star Trek" films; she's set to reprise her roles in the third "Star Trek" and the upcoming "Avatar" sequels.

Walter wrote and directed the 2014 Academy Award-winning live action short "Helium," which was produced by Magnusson.

Saldana is repped by ICM and Morris Yorn. Wolfe is repped by Clear Talent Group and Untitled Entertainment.
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New details emerge on film adaptation of Anne Rice's Christ the Lord

A film adaptation of Anne Rice's bestselling novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt now has a release date, a distributor, and a new title.

The film is will be called The Young Messiah and will premiere nationwide March 11, 2016 to coincide with the Easter season. Focus Features, the indie film distribution arm of NBCUniversal, is backing the project for distribution. Sean Bean, whom readers likely know from The Lord of the Rings films, plays one of the main characters in the film.

The story follows Jesus' life as a 7-year-old, a period the gospels leave mostly untold. That allows for some creative narrative, which Rice did carefully in her novel. She relates a childhood during which Jesus is "growing in wisdom" while also being God Himself.

The gospels do provide a dramatic framework for the story: After his family fled Herod's slaughter of children in Bethlehem, Jesus spent a portion of his childhood in Egypt. The book follows Jesus and his family's return to an Israel suffering under Roman occupation.

Cyrus Nowrasteh, who directed the critically acclaimed The Stoning of Soraya M., directs The Young Messiah and wrote the script with his wife Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh. The Nowrastehs are Christians.

"It's important to us that The Young Messiah inspires people to visit, or revisit, Jesus' story from a fresh new angle, one that centers on an unexplored moment in His life between the nativity and His crucifixion and resurrection," Cyrus Nowrasteh said in a statement. "We also hope that, in some small way, our film leads viewers to the transformation and grace that Jesus extends to us all."

The film has some experienced producers as well. Chris Columbus, who produced several of the Harry Potter movies among many others, is on the team, as well as producers from such varying films as The Help (Michael Barnathan)and Snowpiercer (Miky Lee). With a high caliber team and distributor, The Young Messiah has the potential to be a well executed film. WORLD will have a review closer to its release.
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Chris Columbus Producing ‘I Kill Giants'; Natasha Lyonne Toplines ‘Antibirth'

The graphic novel I Kill Giants is coming to the big screen, with Chris Columbus producing. Anders Walter, who won an Oscar last year for the live-action short Helium, will make his feature directing debut, and Joe Kelly — who penned the graphic novel about a young misfit girl battling real and imagined monsters in her life — is aboard to write the screenplay. Treehouse Pictures is financing the pic and will produce with Columbus via his 1492 Pictures/Ocean Blue Entertainment, along with Man of Action Entertainment and XYZ Films, which is handling worldwide sales. Casting is underway for a targeted production start this year.

Natasha Lyonne is set to star in Antibirth, an indie horror pic from writer-director Danny Perez. She will play Lou, an anti-heroine struggling with a strange illness, paranoia and fragmented visions who embarks on an insane journey to regain control of her life. Chloe Sevigny, Meg Tilly, Marc Webber and Neville Edwards co-star. Lyonne, repped by WME and 3 Arts, stars on Netflix's Orange Is The New Black. Recent credits also include Portlandia, Comedy Bang! Bang! and the features Sleeping With Other People and Fresno. She next appears on the big screen in #Horror and Bloomin Mud Shuffle.
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'I Kill Giants' Movie Gains Financing From Treehouse

Treehouse Pictures has come on to fully finance Anders Walter's feature-length directorial debut "I Kill Giants," adapted from Joe Kelly and illustrator Ken Niimura's graphic novel about a misfit girl battling monsters in her life.

Chris Columbus is producing through his 1492 Pictures/Ocean Blue Entertainment, along with Treehouse, Man of Action Entertainment and XYZ Films. Kelly will write the screenplay adaptation for "I Kill Giants."

Danish filmmaker Walter and Kim Magnusson won the live-action short film Oscar in 2014 for "Helium." Kelly is a partner in Man of Action Entertainment, creators of the team and characters in "Big Hero 6" and creators of the "Ben 10" franchise.

Treehouse Pictures' producing credits include "All Is Lost," "Arbitrage" and "That Awkward Moment." The company recently financed and produced "Mediterranea," which is in post-production, along with Chris and Eleanor Columbus' Maiden Voyage Pictures.

"I Kill Giants" won a Gaiman Award in 2013 and the International Manga Award in 2012. The producers are casting, with production targeted for later this year. XYZ is handling worldwide sales on the project.

WME reps Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson, Chris Columbus and 1492 Pictures.
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FilmDistrict Buys 'Christ The Lord' Pic Based On Anne Rice Novel For 2015 Bow

Anne Rice's 2005 novel Christ The Lord: Out Of Egypt was one of the titles on Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures slate being developed and financed by Rise Entertainment based on the two companies' five-year deal inked in November. Christ The Lord centers on the formative years of Jesus Christ with script by Betsy and Cyrus Nowrasteh, with the latter aboard to direct. 1492, Hyde Park, CJ Entertainment and Ocean Blue Entertainment are producing. FilmDistrict has now acquired U.S. distribution rights to the adaptation and plans to distribute wide in March 2015. Here are the details via the distributor's release:

FilmDistrict announced today that it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to CHRIST THE LORD directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh from a script that he and his wife Betsy Nowrasteh wrote based on Anne Rice's best-selling novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. Hyde Park International will be handling the sale of foreign rights to the picture being produced by 1492 Pictures' Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe, and Michael Barnathan, along with Hyde Park Entertainment, CJ Entertainment and Ocean Blue Entertainment. Ocean Blue owns the project and is arranging the financing for the film, with Tracy K. Price producing and Bill Andrew executive producing on its behalf. Hyde Park's Ashok Amritraj is Producing, and for CJ Entertainment Miky Lee is executive producer, with Min Young Hong producing, and Keo Lee and Yeonu Choi co-producing.

FilmDistrict plans to distribute the release wide in the U.S. in March of 2015, and Hyde Park International will be introducing the film to foreign buyers this summer. The feature film, CHRIST THE LORD is based on author Anne Rice's best-seller, a fictionalized version of the story of Jesus as a young boy, who is just beginning to learn the truth about his identity and purpose.
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'Christ the Lord' Gets U.S. Distribution

FilmDistrict has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the upcoming "Christ the Lord" movie with plans for a release in March, 2015.

The project, first announced in late 2011, is based on Anne Rice's "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt." Cyrus Nowrasteh will direct from a screenplay he penned with Betsy Nowrasteh. That story is a fictionalized version of the story of Jesus as a young boy, who is just beginning to learn the truth about his identity and purpose.

Producers are 1492 Pictures' Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe, and Michael Barnathan, along with Hyde Park Entertainment, CJ Entertainment and Ocean Blue Entertainment.

Ocean Blue is arranging the financing for the film, with Tracy K. Price producing and Bill Andrew executive producing on its behalf. Hyde Park's Ashok Amritraj is producing; for CJ Entertainment Miky Lee is exec producing with Min Young Hong producing and Keo Lee and Yeonu Choi co-producing.

Nowrasteh came on board the project when Rice asked him to do so after seeing his film "The Stoning of Soraya M." After agreeing to write and direct the project, Nowrasteh brought it to Columbus and Barnathan at 1492.

Hyde Park will begin foreign sales for the project this summer.
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Chris Columbus' 1492 and Ocean Blue Make Spec Deal For Santa Claus Tale '12/24'

Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures and Ocean Blue Entertainment have pre-emptively purchased the spec 12/24, which was written by Matt Lieberman based on an original idea from Safe House scribe David Guggenheim. Guggenheim will produce with Madhouse Entertainment. Columbus, Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe will produce for 1492. The plot, in the spirit of Super 8 and Chronicle, sees two brothers who set out to prove Santa Claus is real using their home video camera. They get more than they bargained for when they end up joining Santa's epic Christmas Eve ride. After inadvertently causing Santa's sleigh to crash, the brothers need to work together to save Christmas. Lieberman most recently wrote Short Circuit for Dimension Films. He also wrote Disney's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride which just attached Peter Candeland to direct, as well as Evil Genius for the studio. Columbus, 1492 and Lieberman are repped by WME, and Lieberman additionally by Madhouse. Guggenheim is repped by Paradigm and Madhouse.
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Chris Columbus 1492 Pictures Acquires Found Footage Santa Spec

Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures, along with Ocean Blue Entertainment, have pre-emptively purchased the spec "12/24" written by Matt Lieberman.

The spec is based on an original idea by "Safe House" scribe David Guggenheim who will produce with Madhouse Entertainment along with Columbus, Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe for 1492 Pictures.

Story revolves around brothers set out to prove that Santa Claus is real, using their home video camera. The boys get more than they bargained for when they end up joining Santa's epic Christmas Eve ride. After inadvertently causing Santa's sleigh to crash, the brothers need to work together to save Christmas.

1492 hopes to see similar success of other found footage pics such as "Cloverfield," "Super 8" and "Chronicle" which were all made on a budget and over-performed at the box office.

Matt Lieberman most recently wrote "Short Circuit" for Dimension. He is repped by WME and Madhouse Entertainment. Guggenheim is repped by Paradigm and Madhouse and most recently sold the spec "Black Box" to Universal with Scott Stuber attached to produce.

1492 is repped by WME and most recently produced "Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters."
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Cannes 2015: Cutting Through the Buzz to Pick the 10 Most Bankable & (Still) Available Films for U.S. Auds

There’s a lot buzzing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival that’s running from May 13 through the 24. But the films with flashy premieres at the festival are just the tip of the iceberg, what with the market, Marché du Film, running concurrently and over 5,000 films being offered up to distributors.

Many films have already been scooped up by distributors for a domestic release. Lionsgate picked up the Colin Firth/Nicole Kidman starrer Genius as well as Sicario with Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt and the studio is teaming up with Roadside Attractions to distribute the Matthew McConaughey-starring The Sea of Trees.

Weinstein will distribute the much talked about lesbian romance film, Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara along with the Robert De Niro Boxing pic, Hands Of Stone. Woody Allen’s Irrational Man and the Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Our Little Sister will be released by Sony Pictures Classic. Fox Searchlight also made a deal for Paolo Sorrentino’s Cannes Competition film Youth.

Not to mention Elvis & Nixon and Macbeth have been making waves at the fest, both of which were picked by SSN in our AFM most bankable list (which you can read here). Macbeth will also be distributed domestically by Weinstein.

You’ll need to be fast on the trigger, but there are still a lot of titles up for grabs, so SSN is wading through the titles to pick the most bankable out of the lot for U.S. audiences. Since it is Cannes, these won’t be blockbusters, but they also won’t come with a blockbuster price tag. These are the types of indie and mid-budget films that will give investors a solid return on investment and if handled correctly could pick up awards in fall.

Fantasy, Active Development
Director: Anders Walter Writer: Joe Kelly Producers: Chris Columbus Key
Cast: TBD
Logline: Barbara Thorson is a misfit, who battles the monsters in her life, both real and imagined.
SSN Insight: Bankability has a lot to do with cast, which in this case has yet to be pinned down, but this film (fully financed by Treehouse Pictures) has a lot going for it even early on. For starters it’s based on a critically-acclaimed Image Comics graphic novel, it features a female protagonist (think Frozen) and includes fantasy elements of monsters. Most notably though, it marks the feature directorial debut for Anders Walter who won an Oscar for his short Helium and is produced by the veteran and beloved filmmaker Chris Columbus. Sales: XYZ Films
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