Doc ‘Maybe Next Year’ Coming to DVD and Digital HD Nov. 10 From Virgil

The documentary Maybe Next Year, about Philadelphia football fans, will come out on DVD and digital HD Nov. 10 from Virgil Films.

Since 1776, Philadelphia has existed in the shadows of New York City and Washington D.C. Counted out and overlooked, Philadelphians turned to football as a way to let out their frustrations. After 58 years of coming up short, a Super Bowl title has become Philly’s holy grail. What started out as the most promising year in decades, the 2017 season quickly unraveled with the season ending injury of their MVP quarterback. With the deck stacked against them, an “underdog” city bands together and puts their faith in an unlikely backup.

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From throwing snowballs at Santa Claus to having a jail in their stadium, this fan base has earned their title of “worst in the NFL.” Maybe Next Year peels back the veil and offers an intimate look at the lives of four very different and very dedicated Eagles fans, unified by their commitment to family, unwavering passion, and the common dream of becoming Super Bowl Champions. Eagles fans paint their own portrait of what brotherly love truly means in this comeback sports story.

‘Two Boston Guys’ Comedy Program Due on Digital HD Oct. 6 From Virgil

Two Boston Guys, featuring a pair of Boston comics, will come out on Digital HD Oct. 6 from Virgil Films.

Jimmy Dunn and Tony V., the two comics, met more than 30 years ago while working their way up through the New England comedy circuit. Both are Massachusetts natives, Tony from Charlestown and Jimmy from Beverly. In their very first joint special, they paint a portrait of married life in the suburbs of Boston and crack wise about their wives, their neighbors, and the people they really wish they could punch in the throat. With their combined comedic talents, they represent the very best of what Boston has to offer.

Two Boston Guys from Virgil Films on Vimeo.

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Animal-Rescue Doc ‘Breaking the Chain’ Coming to Digital HD Sept. 1

The animal-rescue documentary Breaking the Chain will come out on digital HD Sept. 1 from Virgil Films.

From executive producer Anjelica Huston, Breaking the Chain follows fieldworkers with PETA’s Community Animal Project as they visit impoverished areas of Virginia and North Carolina to give care to mistreated animals who — without their help — would continue to suffer or even die. The film explores the uphill battle that faces neglected animals and their champions who work on the frontlines of the animal neglect and overpopulation crisis. Forgotten animals rely on PETA’s field team for even the most basic necessities of life as often these are the only humans in their lives providing them with adequate shelter, basic medical care, or even much-needed affection.

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Confronting misconceptions from within the animal sheltering community and beyond, Breaking the Chain celebrates real efforts to change the world for companion animals and the behind-the-scenes work of the people who are making it happen.

Breaking the Chain from Virgil Films on Vimeo.

 

Shudder’s ‘Belzebuth’ to Come Out on Disc, Digital and VOD July 7 From RLJE

RLJE Films, a business unit of AMC Networks, has picked up select rights to Belzebuth from Shudder, AMC Networks’ streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural.

The title will be released on VOD, Digital HD, DVD and Blu-ray on July 7.

Belzebuth is Emilio Portes’ (Pastorela) fourth feature film and first horror film, from a script co-written by Portes and Luis Carlos Fuentes (“Kipatla”). The horror/thriller stars Joaquín Cosio (“Narcos: Mexico,” The Lone Ranger), Tobin Bell (Saw franchise), and Tate Ellington (Sinister 2). The film premiered at the 50th Sitges Film Festival and received Best Picture at 2019 Santiago Horror Film Festival and Best Special Effects at 2019 Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre. 

In Belzebuth, Special Agent Emanuel Ritter leads a police investigation into a series of shocking deaths. But after a priest from the Vatican finds a link between the murders and an ancient demon, a descent into horror ensues.

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Lionsgate Heroes Get Dads Into Action for Father’s Day

Lionsgate has an army of heroes ready to ramp up the action for dads on Father’s Day, June 21. The studio’s catalog is filled with classics that feature iconic characters, including Rambo, John Wick and the Highlander; the genre’s top directors, including James Cameron, Paul Verhoeven and Roland Emmerich; and the genre’s biggest stars, including Sylvester Stallone, Keanu Reeves, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and many more.

All five installments in the saga of Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo are available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Lionsgate. In First Blood (1982), Stallone originates the role of the war hero, an ex-Green Beret haunted by memories of Vietnam. In Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), with a screenplay by Stallone and James Cameron (Titanic), Rambo’s survival skills are tested on a top-secret mission that takes him back to the jungles of Vietnam in search of American POWs. In Rambo III (1988), the veteran has finally begun to find inner peace inside a monastery — until his friend and men-tor Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) shows up to ask for his help on a top-secret mission in Afghanistan. Rambo (2008) finds the hero leading a group of battle-scarred, combat-hardened mercenaries on a mission to rescue aid workers in war-torn Burma. Finally, Rambo: Last Blood, billed as the last chapter of Rambo’s story, finds Stallone’s tortured warrior in a brief moment of relative peace before he must unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission.

Lionsgate’s catalog also includes the saga of another hero driven by vengeance, John Wick. Keanu Reeves stars as Wick in three chapters available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. In John Wick (2014), the ex-hitman comes out of retirement to hunt down the gangsters that killed his dog and took everything from him. The sequel John Wick: Chapter 2 finds Wick returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt with a large bounty on his life. In John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, Wick has a $14 million price tag on his head after killing a member of the High Table, the shadowy international assassins’ guild.

No action catalog is complete without Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Lionsgate has two of his iconic movies, Terminator 2, available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, and Total Recall, available on Blu-ray plus Digital HD, DVD and Digital. In the science-fiction classic Total Recall (1990), directed by Paul Verhoeven, Schwarzenegger plays a mild-mannered construction worker who takes a virtual vacation and finds himself embroiled in espionage on Mars unable to determine if the experiences are real. Director James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) has the action star in another sci-fi classic, reprising his role as a robotic killing machine — this time on the side of humans Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her son John (Edward Furlong).

Another classic 1990s action film, Universal Soldier, is available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Lionsgate. The Roland Emmerich-directed science-fiction actioner (1992) pits Jean-Claude Van Damme against Dolph Lundgren in a story of military experiments gone wrong.

Lionsgate has two star-studded ensembles in 2010’s RED and The Expendables. RED, on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, stars Bruce Willis as a former black-ops agent who reassembles his old team to battle an assassin. It also stars Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Mary-Louise Parker. Boasting a who’s who of action stars, The Expendables features Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and many more in the story of a CIA operative who hires a team of mercenaries to eliminate a Latin dictator and a renegade CIA agent. It features an appearance by Schwarzenegger and is also available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.

Government intrigue also figures into Sicario, about an idealistic FBI agent enlisted by a task force to aid in a drug war at the border. Available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, the 2015 dramatic action film stars Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro.

Finally, Lionsgate’s catalog features action-filled adventures Cutthroat Island (1995) and Highlander (1986). Directed by Renny Harlin, Cutthroat Island, available on Blu-ray and DVD, stars Geena Davis as a pirate racing against rivals to find a hidden island harboring treasure. Highlander, also available on Blu-ray and DVD, stars Christopher Lambert as an immortal Scottish swordsman battling through time.

‘Evil Takes Root: The Curse of the Batibat’ Due on DVD and Digital HD Sept. 15 From Mill Creek

The horror-thriller Evil Takes Root: The Curse of the Batibat will come out on DVD and digital HD Sept. 15 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

From Genre Labs and Elevate Pictures comes the tale of Felix Fojas, a paranormal investigator, and his journey to investigate the mysterious loss of his old lover, Amanda, in a sleepy midwestern town. Quickly, he discovers she fell victim to the Batibat, an ancient evil that followed her home from the Philippines. Felix must now battle the forces of evil and unravel the mystery of the Batibat in order to save Amanda’s daughter, Sarah, from its hellish grip.

“We wanted a fresh take on the classic demonic possession tale,” said writer and producer Aaron Mack in a statement. “Along with jarring terrors, we wove in elements of police investigation, tortured family dynamics, and elements of the occult that is layered onto the ancient batibat folklore.”

Genre Labs teamed up with writer-director Chris W. Freeman to make Evil Takes Root: The Curse of the Batibat in their home state of Ohio. The cast includes Nicolas Gonzalez (“The Good Doctor”), Stevie Lynn Jones (“Nancy Drew”), Sean Carrigan (Ford v Ferrari) and Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Battle Los Angeles).

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“We at Mill Creek are excited to bring this unique, engaging horror film to market as well as working with the talented group at Elevate Pictures,” said Jeff Hayne, SVP of content acquisitions for Mill Creek.

The film will premiere at the Cinema Columbus Film Festival in July.

Doc ‘Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies’ Debuts on Digital HD July 7 From Virgil

The documentary Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies is coming to Digital HD July 7 from Virgil Films.

It explores the career of Alan Ladd Jr. — known to friends and colleagues as Laddie — the understated studio chief and Oscar-winning producer behind the films Star Wars, Alien, Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire, Police Academy, Braveheart, The Omen, Thelma and Louise, Young Frankenstein, Gone Baby Gone and a staggering 154 more. During his 50-plus year career, garnering more than 50 Academy Award wins and more then 150 nominations, he worked with world-famous filmmakers and actors — many of whom became household names on his watch — and brought to life some of the most influential films of our time.

In Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies, Amanda Ladd-Jones endeavors to better understand her father — to see him not just as “Dad,” the man who spent the majority of her childhood at the office — but the way his collaborators do, as a doyen of modern American cinema.

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The doc includes interviews with Ben Affleck, Mel Brooks, Richard Donner, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Ron Howard, George Lucas, Ridley Scott and Sigourney Weaver.

Doc ’40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic’ Due on Digital June 9 From Virgil

The documentary film 40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic will premiere on Digital HD June 9 from Virgil Films & Entertainment.

The film is narrated by “Rocky” star and creator Sylvester Stallone, who shares insights about his battle to get the story of a down-on-his-luck boxer greenlit and onto the big screen.

In 1976, a low-budget movie written by an unknown actor was released, inspiring audiences around the world. Rocky became the ultimate underdog film. More than 40 years later, Stallone recounts the making of the beloved classic through rare home movies provided by director John G. Avildsen and Production Manager Lloyd Kaufman.

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Stallone pitched the idea of the film to director Derek Wayne Johnson and producer Chris May after a private screening of their documentary John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs, in which Stallone also is featured. The documentary features behind-the-scenes footage that Oscar-winning director John G. Avildsen shot, as well as never-before-seen footage found in “Rocky” production manager and Troma Entertainment president Lloyd Kaufman’s basement nearly 40 years after it was filmed.

Exclusive Interview: Tyler Gildin, Director of Doc ‘The Starfish’

An act of kindness had a ripple effect in Tyler Gildin’s family, and he chronicled it in his first feature documentary The Starfish, available now on digital HD from Virgil Films.

The title refers to a parable about a boy on the beach who throws a starfish into the ocean to help it escape the burning sun as the tide goes out. When a man tells him there are so many starfish that he can’t make a difference, he replies, “I made a difference for that one.”

Gildin’s grandfather Herb retold the parable in 2001 when he reunited with a family in Sweden 60 years after staying with them as a refugee German-Jewish boy. During Nazi persecution in 1938, Herb’s parents sent him and his two older sisters to live with non-Jewish families in Sweden. After living in Sweden for two years, the trio made a frightening and chilling journey to be reunited with their parents as refugees in America.

“Ultimately it’s a feel-good story,” Gildin said. “It’s a story of connection and it’s a story of resilience. My grandfather was given a bad hand at first, but he was so fortunate to be ultimately able to succeed.”

Herb went on to build a successful lighting business in America, not speaking much of his early years or his Swedish family. After hearing of the siblings’ ordeal in Herb’s eulogy for his sister Cele, Tyler decided to tell their story — and to interview his grandfather.

“I was surprised at how forthcoming he was,” said Gildin, who also interviewed his grandfather’s nieces, whose mothers had made that fateful journey with Herb.

“Getting a full story from perspectives of all three children was just really interesting,” he said. “As much as this is my grandfather’s story, it’s also their story as well, so I thought that was important — to let them speak for their parents who are not around to speak for themselves.”

After refuge in Sweden, the journey to America was particularly grueling as, instead of traveling through Europe, the trio crossed Russia and the Pacific.

“Because of the war, I guess they were scared to go across Europe,” said Gildin. “I mean you would think to go the other way to come to the East Coast, it should be significantly easier, but for whatever reason, this was the route that I believe HIAS [the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society] guided them on. This is what they were told was the best, safest way, but took the longest.”

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The director used illustrations to portray the fear of the journey, with silhouettes evoking the inner turmoil of the trio. He also gathered archival footage and family photos, as well as photos from the Swedes who had sheltered his grandfather.

“The Swedish families in their attic kept all these photos,” he said.

The director had not been to the reunion in Sweden in 2001 because he was at a summer camp where, strangely enough, campers often heard the story of “The Starfish.” Luckily, two relatives had recorded Herb’s speech on VHS, used in the documentary.

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“When I saw him tell that speech I got goosebumps,” Gildin said. “Who knows? I could have been told that story at the exact same moment, halfway across the world. When I saw that footage, I immediately knew I wanted to title the film The Starfish, and I wanted to bookend it with that speech.”

Music Drama ‘Broken Poet’ Coming to Digital HD May 15 From Virgil

The music drama Broken Poet will come out on digital HD May 15 from Virgil Films and Entertainment exclusively through music site Backstreets.com.

The site boasts a large fan base for Bruce Springsteen, who has a cameo in the film.

“On Broken Poet we are experimenting with going direct to the actual fan base, releasing before the national release,” said Virgil president and CEO Joe Amodei. “Backstreets.com is the go-to for every Springsteen fan, so we were lucky to get to work with them on the release and offer the exclusive.”

The film will have a wider digital release in the summer.

Broken Poet is the story of the 1970s rock star Jake Lion, who is presumed dead in Paris until a former roadie happens to be riding in the Paris Metro 40 years after his much-publicized suicide and hears an aged street musician who sounds just like him. Rolling Stone sends a rock journalist to investigate, and she uncovered something unexpected.

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Directed by Emilio J. Ruiz, the film stars Elliot Murphy, Joanna Preiss and Marisa Berenson.

Broken Poet – Backstreets Exclusive from Virgil Films on Vimeo.