Electric Entertainment Acquires Rights to Drama ‘Year of the Fox’

Electric Entertainment, the Los Angeles-based production and distribution company, has acquired the exclusive North American distribution rights to the 2023 Seattle International Film Festival Official Selection Year of the Fox. The deal gives Electric all media rights.

Directed by Megan Griffiths (“Sadie,” Amazon’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty”) and written by Eliza Flug, who also produced alongside Lacey Leavitt Gray and Jennifer Roth, Year of the Fox stars Sarah Jeffery, Jane Adams, Jake Weber and Balthazar Getty.

Inspired by true events, the searing depiction of a wealthy community in the ’90s providing cover for predatory behavior delves into the complexities of power, privilege and personal agency. In the film, a biracial teenager who was adopted into extreme wealth by white parents, 17-year-old Ivy (Sarah Jeffery), finds herself navigating the fallout of her parents’ bitter divorce. Set adrift in Aspen’s bacchanalian party scene in the ‘90s, Ivy’s previously idyllic world begins to unravel as she is plunged into a playground of toxicity where those with infinite wealth look to prey upon the young and innocent. In a society that allows men to dictate who she should be, Ivy must determine whether to follow the paths of her peers and the women before her or forge her way on her own terms. 

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“This film offers a beautiful and intimate portrayal of a young girl’s coming of age as she navigates through the complicated and difficult situations that life has given her,” Dean Devlin, CEO of Electric Entertainment, said in a statement. “We are happy to be providing audiences in the U.S. and Canada with the opportunity to experience this film.”

“We have been so gratified by the powerful dialogue the film has generated during our festival run, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Electric Entertainment to bring that conversation to wider audiences,” Griffiths said in a statement.

Year of the Fox won Best Directing and Best Feature at the Catalina Film Festival.

Lionsgate Nabs SVOD, AVOD, Cable and FAST Rights to Hit Comedy Series ‘The Conners’

Lionsgate’s Worldwide Television Distribution Group and distribution company Debmar-Mercury have partnered with Tom Werner’s Werner Entertainment on a global licensing deal for the hit comedy “The Conners,” the companies announced Aug. 8.

Lionsgate will handle global distribution, including SVOD, AVOD, basic cable and FAST rights, while Debmar-Mercury will oversee domestic syndication. The deal covers all five seasons of the series as well as rights to future seasons following ABC’s first window.

“The Conners,” which has been renewed by ABC for a sixth season, ranks as the network’s top-rated scripted series. It leads in key demos and has posted strong season-to-season growth in its fifth season, a feat matched by only by “Seinfeld” among all syndicated off-network sitcoms, according to the release. The show garnered 4.9 million viewers in its season finale, with an adult 25-54 audience of 3.6 million.

“We’re proud to be selected by a great force in television like Tom Werner and Werner Entertainment to bring this incredible property to buyers around the world,” Jim Packer, Lionsgate president of worldwide television distribution, said in a statement. “This agreement shows Lionsgate’s ability to marshal all of its resources, combining the strength and prowess of our global distribution with Debmar-Mercury’s unparalleled syndication expertise in support of a remarkable brand and series.”

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The series, a spinoff of “Roseanne,” stars Sara Gilbert, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Lecy Goranson. “The Conners” is produced by Werner Entertainment. Tom Werner serves as executive producer, along with Gilbert, Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen and Tony Hernandez.

The deal was negotiated by Packer, Bernstein and Marcus for the studio, and UTA and Jackoway Austen on behalf of Werner Entertainment.   

Gravitas Ventures Acquires Rights to Horror-Comedy ‘Slotherhouse’

Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights to the horror-comedy Slotherhouse and is teaming up with Iconic Events Releasing to bow the film in theaters nationwide Aug. 30. 

Directed by Matthew Goodhue and written by Bradley Fowler from a story by Fowler and Cady Lanigan, the creature feature stars Lisa Ambalavanar, Sydney Craven, Olivia Rouyre, Bianca Beckles-Rose, Andrew Horton, Sutter Nolan, Grace Patterson, Milica Vrzić, Annamaria Serda, Rudi Rok, Tiff Stevenson and Stefan Kapičić.

In the film, it’s senior year of college for sorority sister Emily Young and for the first time ever, Sigma Lambda Theta is having elections for who will be president. Wanting to have a killer year, Emily Young realizes she might just be the best option for her sorority. While beginning her campaign, she finds an adorable sloth that steals her heart and soon realizes she just might steal the hearts, and votes, of her sorority sisters. But when bodies slowly begin to pile up in the Sigma Lambda Theta house, Emily and her sorority sisters realize the deaths are being caused by their new house mascot, the cuddly sloth Alpha.

In addition to releasing the film in North America, Gravitas is representing the film internationally. Several key territories including Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have been sold during the Cannes Film Festival, according to Gravitas.

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Slotherhouse was inspired by iconic cinema with a dedication to practical effects,” Lanigan said in a statement. “It’s an homage to our favorite creature features and slashers with a FURocious horror icon for the modern world. Slotherhouse is simply bonkers.”

Slotherhouse is a killer sloth movie because … duh. We are thrilled to bring the film to the big screen,” said Fowler in a statement.

Slotherhouse is an outrageously fun ride, and we can’t wait for North American audiences to see the film in theaters on Aug. 30,” Danielle Gasher, VP of acquisitions and international sales at Gravitas, said in a statement.

“Gravitas Ventures is excited to partner with Iconic Events for the theatrical release of Slotherhouse,” Cameron Moore, senior director of theatrical distribution at Gravitas, said in a statement. “We are hopeful that this is the start of many films to come. Slotherhouse is a fun, end of summer film that will play great to audiences.” 

Slotherhouse is a movie that embodies the reckless abandon genre films can bring to the table,” Nick Royak, of Iconic Events Releasing, said in a statement. “It scratches the sloth itch we didn’t know we had! Our team is thrilled to work on a project that really goes for it, claws and all.” 

Paradigm negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Gasher negotiated the deal for Gravitas Ventures. Moore negotiated the partnership with Royak.

Abramorama Licenses Rights for Doc ‘What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears?’ to Virgil Films

Abramorama has licensed global sales rights across all platforms to Virgil Films for the documentary What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears?, about one of the biggest rock bands of the late 1960s and early ’70s.

Abramorama launched the film in theaters across the United States in late March.
Blood, Sweat & Tears, known for hits such as “Spinning Wheel,” “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” and “And When I Die,” headlined the legendary Woodstock Music Festival and won multiple Grammy Awards, most notably a 1970s win for Album of the Year, besting The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and “Johnny Cash at San Quentin.”

What The Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears? explores a unique moment in time that has surprisingly powerful resonance and parallels to the world today. It’s the never-before-told story about a top rock band that was unknowingly embroiled in a political rat’s nest involving the U.S. State Department, the Nixon White House and a controversial concert tour of Yugoslavia, Romania and Poland, countries that were behind what was then known as the Iron Curtain. As a result, they found themselves in the crossfire of a polarized America.
Written, produced and directed by John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Chasing Trane, Who Is Harry Nilsson …?), produced by Dave Harding (Herb Alpert Is …), and executive produced by James Sears Bryant, the film was created with the full cooperation of the surviving members of Blood, Sweat & Tears. 

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“John Scheinfeld has once again applied his singular talents to a fascinating but little-known piece of American musical history,” Abramorama partners Richard Abramowitz and Karol Martesko-Fenster, alongside head of music Evan Saxon, said in a statement. “Blood, Sweat and Tears now fills another, entirely different, category beyond the jazz-pop innovations and No. 1 hits of the ’60s and ’70s: espionage-pop fusion! Critics and moviegoers have flipped for it, and we’re delighted that Virgil will make it broadly available across multiple platforms.”
“We are really proud to take this incredible story out to the masses around the globe,” Virgil Films CEO Joe Amodei said in a statement. “The story still resonates today.”
Chief operating officer Karol Martesko-Fenster from Abramorama alongside Jay Shanker of Jayaram Law for the filmmakers negotiated the deal with Amodei for Virgil Films.  

FilmRise Acquires North American Rights to Tech Thriller ‘The Admirer’

New York-based film and television studio and streaming network FilmRise has acquired the exclusive North American distribution rights to Martin Makariev’s tech-thriller feature The Admirer from Starlings Television in association with Mediawan Rights. 

Director Makariev’s feature film In the Heart of the Machine served as Bulgaria’s official submission for the 2023 Academy Awards Best International Feature Film.

The Admirer, starring Roxanne McKee (“Strike Back,” “Game of Thrones,” “Dominion”), Richard Fleeshman (“The Ark,” “Call the Midwife,” Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Tina Casciani (“Jane the Virgin,” “Pandora,” “How I Met Your Mother”), follows a woman searching for answers when her life is hacked by a mysterious person from her past, harboring a dangerous obsession. In the film, a year after her fiancé’s death, Nancy (McKee) is trying to move forward with her life. But when her smart house and social media are hacked, Nancy’s mind goes into overdrive. She witnessed her fiancé’s murder, and now she believes the culprit has returned. When more lives are taken and the killer closes in on her, it’s up to Nancy to stop her deadly secret admirer.

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“This film will have audiences on the edge of their seat — rethinking their computer passwords and security codes,” FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher said in a statement. “It’s an all too familiar theme of cybersecurity hacks, and one could see this thriller as a cautionary tale for how vulnerable we are as our lives become more consumed by A.I. and tech.”

“FilmRise is the perfect partner for this female-driven thriller franchise,” said co-writer Chris Philip in a statement. “It shines a light on the all-too-real possibilities we deal with today and how invisible the perpetrators can be.”

The deal was negotiated by the FilmRise Acquisitions team and Philip for Starlings Television, with production services provided by BUFO Ltd.

Electric Entertainment Acquires U.S. Rights to Thriller ‘Exile’

The Canadian feature film Exile has been acquired by Electric Entertainment in the United States, Vortex Media in Canada and Nicely Entertainment for international.

The thriller, shot in Powell River, B.C., stars Adam Beach (Power of the Dog, Suicide Squad) as Ted Evans, a father struggling with his past. It also stars Camille Sullivan (Hunter Hunter), Garry Chalk (“The Killing”) and Marshall Williams (The Ice Road). The film had its world premiere in December at the Whistler Film Festival.

In Exile, Ted Evans receives a threat from the man whose family he killed in a DUI. In order to protect his family when he is released from prison, Ted exiles himself and commits to a reclusive life; separating himself from the people he loves. His wife, Sara (Sullivan), believes the threat is a manifestation of her husband’s profound guilt. Determined to rebuild their family, Sara tracks down Ted to confront him, but she has no idea who he’s become or how real the threat may be.

“This nail-biting thriller features stunning performances by Beach and Sullivan,” Dean Devlin, CEO of Electric Entertainment, said in a statement. “Their on-screen chemistry, married with the lavish sets of the beautiful British Columbia countryside, are certain to make this a must-watch for U.S. audiences.”

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“We’re thrilled to be working with Electric, Vortex and Nicely,” director Jason James said in a statement. “Exile is a film about isolation, loss and love. With such universal themes and exceptional performances, we’re excited to share this film with audiences worldwide.”

Gravitas Acquires Rights to Documentary ‘The Ark of Lilburn’

Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the feature documentary The Ark of Lilburn.

The film is slated for a digital platform release on Dec. 6.

Directed by Nicholas deKay from Athloach Pictures and produced by Jaye Tyroff from NoBull Productions, the film follows Lowe Porter, the owner of the multimillion dollar steel company Porter Steel, and his son Cole Porter, VP of Porter Steel, as they try to realize their dream of transporting their 55 foot long, 19 foot high, 130,000 pound steel yacht “The Hardship” from Lilburn, Ga., to Knoxville, Tenn., down to Tampa, Fla. The only problem is the yacht is encased in a large building, and no one wants to move it. After months of searching, the Porters finally find someone willing to move it, a Florida man with a ponytail who is a house-mover — not who they envisioned.

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“The idea of building a vessel came up in 2002 and in late 2003, production started on the boat,” Lowe Porter said in a statement. “For four years, a small crew and I poured our passion into the vessel only to see it come to a screeching halt in 2008. With the economy crashing, the business hurting, and a divorce on the horizon, the project was put to sleep for the next 12 years.”

Producer Jaye Tyroff discovered the boat while on a location scout at Porter Steel for another film and immediately saw the potential for a riveting story.

“We are excited to have partnered with Gravitas on the release of our film,” he said in a statement. “It’s been a long process to get it to this point. We have poured our blood, sweat, and tears into this project, and we believe Gravitas will provide the release this film deserves.” 

Director deKay (five-time SAG Award nominee with 1 win) and producer Tyroff (two-time SAG Award nominee) have been stuntmen for almost 17 years and have appeared in more than 300 films and television shows. This is their first foray as filmmakers.

FilmRise Acquires Rights to Holiday Comedy ‘A Christmas Karen’

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has acquired the exclusive worldwide distribution rights, all media, to the holiday-themed comedy A Christmas Karen.

FilmRise will initially release A Christmas Karen to select theaters and digital platforms in North America this November in time for holiday celebrations.

“We look forward to sharing this very clever, comedic twist on Dickens’ classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ with streaming audiences everywhere,” Max Einhorn, SVP, acquisitions and co-productions for FilmRise, said in a statement. “This film represents the type of lighthearted, feel good, funny entertainment we are looking for as we approach the holiday season.” 

Directed by Jon Binkowski and Lisa Enos Smith (Because of Charley), the film tells the story of an entitled egocentric middle-aged woman named Karen. Her demanding and inconsiderate nature has alienated her from her neighbors and family. After a series of instances displaying her privilege and prejudice on Christmas-eve, Karen receives an “intervention” by some unconventional spirits who take her on a journey of self-awareness and self-reflection.

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The film stars Michele Simms (also known as “the over-sharing mom” in the Carvana car TV spots) as Karen, Meghan Colleen Moroney as Jackie, Ashley Jones as Robin, Rolin Alexis as Gary — Ghost of Past, Leyla Lawrence as Joy — Ghost of Present, and Lee Karlinsky as Damon — Ghost of Future, among others.

In statements, Smith said, “Jon and I both agree that while this film shines a harsh light on the lack of civility in our society today; it also illuminates the true grace of redemption for a lost soul” with Binkowski adding, “in a hilarious way.”

Group Forms to Address Problem of ‘Lost’ Films

Filmmakers Mary Harron, Shola Lynch, Nancy Savoca, Ira Deutchman and Richard Guay; entertainment lawyer Susan Bodine; and archivist/distributors and co-founders of Milestone Film and Video Dennis Doros and Amy Heller have joined forces to create the new organization Missing Movies to address the problem of “lost” films, movies that are completely unavailable due to rights and ownership problems, difficulties in locating original materials, and the lack of a business model to support the creation of restorations suitable for the current marketplace.

The idea for Missing Movies began when Savoca and Guay discovered that their 1993 film Household Saints could not screen in a retrospective at Columbia University because of problems with all three of the issues above.

“We began an extensive research project, and with the help of our lawyer Sue Bodine and the original distributor of the film, Ira Deutchman, we were finally able to create a scenario where the film could be made available again,” Savoca said in a statement. “In talking to other filmmakers about our journey, we realized that many other films — particularly independent films made in the 1980s and 1990s — were in similar straits.”

Last November, Savoca and Guay organized a panel discussion with the Directors Guild of America to share their concerns with other filmmakers. It was this panel that brought together the group that has created Missing Movies and written a manifesto.

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Many filmmakers are unprepared — financially or logistically — to embark on the research and financial commitment to recover their own “lost” films, according to the group. The group has discovered that many award-winning movies — including some that premiered at prestigious film festivals — are completely unavailable for audiences to see on any platform or format. Some examples are Victor Nuñez’s Gal Young ‘Un; Marcel Ophuls’ Memory of Justice; Mirra Bank, Ellen Hovde, and Muffie Meyer’s Enormous Changes at the Last Minute; Glen Pitre’s Belizaire the Cajun; Sherman Alexie’s The Business of Fancy Dancing; and Bill Couturié’s Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam.

“Among the Missing Movies are independent productions representing a diverse cross section of American society, including films by and about women, African Americans, and members of the LGBTQ community,” Heller said in a statement. “The loss of these films impoverishes cinema culture and distorts our history. By working to educate the industry and the public about this issue we hope to find practical and timely solutions.”

The Working Group includes Mary Harron, Shola Lynch, Nancy Savoca, Ira Deutchman, Richard Guay, Amy Heller, Dennis Doros and Sue Bodine.

The Advisory Group includes Mira Nair, Maggie Renzi, Allison Anders, Maggie Greenwald, Dolly Hall Allyson, Nadia Fields and Ruby Lerner.

FilmRise Acquires N.A. Distribution Rights to ‘The Justice of Bunny King’

FilmRise, the New York-based film and television studio and streaming network, has acquired North American digital, broadcast and theatrical distribution rights to The Justice of Bunny King.

Starring Essie Davis (The Babadook, Assassin’s Creed) and Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit, Last Night in Soho, The Power of the Dog), the film is New Zealander Gaysorn Thavat’s feature directorial debut and follows the triumphant and heart-breaking story of a mother who tries to battle her way back from the bottom to regain custody of her children.

In the film, Bunny King (Davis), a headstrong mother of two with a sketchy past, makes a living by washing windows at traffic lights. Using her razor-sharp wit to charm money from gridlocked motorists, she saves every cent in order to try to regain custody of her two children, who have been placed in foster care. After promising her daughter a birthday party, Bunny must fight social services and break the rules to keep her word, but in doing so she risks losing her children altogether. Accompanied by her niece Tonyah (McKenzie), a fierce teenager running away from home and desperate for her aunt’s help, Bunny is in a race against the clock and headed towards an epic showdown with the authorities.

“This is another set of excellent performances that will be added to our ever-growing library of diverse and independent films that tell often overlooked stories,” Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise, said in a statement. “Through a rawness of someone who has hit rock bottom, both Essie Davis and Thomasin McKenzie convey through the very real struggles that many families face on a daily basis.”

The film, produced by Emma Slade of Firefly Films, had its worldwide premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival where it received the Special Jury Mention for the Nora Ephron Award. The film was an Official Selection at the 2021 Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival, and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, where Essie Davis was nominated for the Best Performance by an Actress award.

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The deal was negotiated by Katie Carroll Manager, independent film acquisitions for FilmRise, and Jonathan Walik, international sales executive for Protagonist Pictures.

“Essie Davis gives yet another tour de force performance in what has become a career full of them in this critically acclaimed debut,” Walik said in a statement. “We’re thrilled that The Justice of Bunny King has found a home with FilmRise in North America and have no doubt that their expertise in handling outstanding independent film will allow the film to reach as wide an audience as possible.”