Concord Originals, Outfest Fusion Unveil Pitch Contest; Passionflix’s ‘This Man’ Sets Cast; Acquisitions By Freestyle, Video Project, Adventure Entertainment, Cranked Up, Tubi; More – Film Briefs

EXCLUSIVE: Concord Originals has partnered with Outfest Fusion to launch a one-of-a-kind short film financing and IP licensing initiative, in support of up-and-coming LGBTQIA+ filmmakers of color.

During Outfest Los Angeles in July, eligible filmmakers will pitch original short films incorporating one of three Concord-licensed songs to Outfest’s Artistic Director Faridah Gbadamosi, Concord Originals’ Director of Development and Production, Charles Hopkins, and a special guest judge yet to be announced. The winning filmmakers will be announced at the conclusion of the festival and will produce their short films with the support of Concord Originals and Outfest, ahead of being showcased at Outfest Fusion in 2023.

Concord Originals will provide financing of up to $25,000 per short film. The songs to be featured in them are “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” by Sylvester (co-written by James Wirrick), “Tres Días De Carnaval,” by Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel. The submission deadline for the written application to be considered for the pitch competition is June 15th. More information on the competition can be found here.


EXCLUSIVE: Kristy Dawn Dinsmore and Tyler Cook have been tapped to lead the upcoming film This Man, which is heading into production next week and will debut worldwide on Passionflix this December.

The romance-themed streaming service’s biggest project to date is based on book one in the #1 New York Times bestselling series by Jodi Ellen Malpas. It watches as young interior designer Ava O’Shea (Dinsmore) takes on a new project at The Manor, getting caught up in a passionate affair with its devastatingly handsome, mysterious and dominant owner Jesse Ward (Cook).

The film from director Tosca Musk will also star Delaney Keith, Alexander Nedvidek, Charles Ambrose, Jay Hector, Vanna Pilgrim, James Crawford, Kate Bryce, Kenjah, Steve Etienne and Amato D’Apolito. Mary Pocrnic adapted the screenplay. Michael Buttiglieri will produce, with Musk and Malpas exec producing. Dinsmore is repped by SMS Talent, Untitled Entertainment and Webster Talent Management; Cook by Vamos Talento.


EXCLUSIVEFreestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group, has acquired global rights to the YA family drama Evan Wood, with plans to release it across VOD platforms on May 10.

The film tells the story of Rachel (Charlotte Louise Spencer), a writing student in Los Angeles, who finds her life disrupted when she receives news of her grandmother’s passing. At the encouragement of a trusted professor (Jere Burns), she decides to return home after years away from her relatives, to process the family’s trauma through her writing. The return to her small town is filled with both healing and painful revelations: a romantic rekindling with an old love interest (Trevor Stines), and most notably, the challenge of helping her brother Evan (Alex Sorian Brown) as he struggles with issues of mental health and addiction.

Evan Wood also stars Michael Parr and Amy Walker. Niki Byrne directed from a script by Spencer and Alejandro Lopez, with the latter producing alongside Matthew Minshall, Lucinda Bruce and John Rodenkirk. Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deal to acquire Evan Wood directly with Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films. Check out the film’s trailer below.


EXCLUSIVE: Gunpowder & Sky’s subsidiary sci-fi streamer, Dust, has set an April 18 premiere date for FutureDude’s short 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).

The sci-fi drama takes us to the year 2029, when an amazing breakthrough in whale-human communication is at 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.

FutureDude’s Jeffrey Morris directed from his and Kimberly Morris’ script, and produced alongside Anne Marie Gillen. He is represented by Espada PR & Entertainment.


EXCLUSIVE: Educational doc distributor Video Project has acquired worldwide rights to the film 12th Hour, directed by Susan Kucera (Hot Money) and narrated by two-time Emmy nominee David Morse (The Chair), for release this spring.

The documentary looks at climate change, which poses great risks to humanity and all other forms of life. With insight from noted evolutionary biologists, climate scientists, cognitive researchers and psychologists, it explores how human traits evolved to solve short-term challenges for our immediate survival, and how we might bridge the gap between short and long-term planning.

12th Hour will also be available beginning April 26 via Kanopy, the on-demand educational streaming video platform for public libraries and universities. Timing the film’s release to Earth Day, Video Project has also launched a 500-school outreach program, wherein any school can receive a 38-page study guide and screen the film for free.

Jim Swift wrote for the doc and served as its producer, with Kucera also serving as cinematographer. Video Project’s Michael Kuehnert and Arlin Golden negotiated the deal for 12th Hour directly with Kucera and Swift.


EXCLUSIVE: Adventure Entertainment has acquired North American rights to Untethered Productions’ documentary The Race to Alaska, for release in theaters in over 40 markets on May 20th—beginning with a special preview on the evening of the 19th at the Laemmle Monica Film Center in Los Angeles, with the filmmakers in attendance for a Q&A.

The Race to Alaska is a visceral film, embodying the triumph over adversity of a real-life Amazing Race-type test of endurance. Described as “the Iditarod on a boat with a chance of drowning or being eaten by a Grizzly bear,” this epic endurance race attracts the intrepid and unhinged who find their edge along a coastline that is as punishing as it is beautiful.

Pic marks the feature directorial debut of Zach Carver, who produced alongside Ian Morland (Dear White People) and Liv von Oelreich (The Girl in the Spider’s Web). Check out the trailer for The Race to Alaska below.


EXCLUSIVE: Good Deed Entertainment’s genre label Cranked Up Films has acquired North American rights to the award-winning documentary Bleeding Audio, about punk rock band The Matches, for release on digital and VOD on May 27.

From their inspiring triumphs to heartbreaking setbacks, Bleeding Audio relives the explosive career of The Matches and explores what it means to succeed in the digital age of music. The critically acclaimed doc has earned several film festival honors including the Spirit of Slamdance Award and the Audience Award at Dances With Films.

Chelsea Christer directed, and produced alongside Erin Persley and Jannette Bivona, with Justine Cassidy and Stephen Wade serving as executive producers. Erik Donley, who serves as Head of Acquisitions for Good Deed Entertainment & Cranked Up Films, negotiated the deal for the latter company, with Christer on behalf of the filmmakers.


EXCLUSIVE: Tubi has acquired writer-director Jared Cohn’s action film Lord of the Streets, starring Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Anthony ‘Treach’ Criss, for release this spring.

In the film, Jason Dyson (Criss) refuses to make his prized fighter throw an MMA match. Subsequently, a notorious gangster collects his debt by killing the fighter and kidnapping Jason’s daughter. Now, he must train a prisoner to endure five consecutive underground fights, in order to save her.

The Mutiny Films production also stars Anderson Silva, Richard Grieco and Khalil Rountree. Demetrius Stear produced alongside Jubal ‘Ace’ Kohn. Tubi negotiated the deal for Lord of the Streets with Demetrius Steer of Mutiny Films.


Building on its unique position at the intersection of Silicon Valley and Hollywood, Baobab Studios has announced its latest new key hires across animation and gaming.

Oscar nominee Erick Oh, who helmed the animation studio’s acclaimed short Namoo, joins as Director, as does Blue Sky Studios veteran Jony Chandra. Hayley Porter has joined as Director of Marketing, with Michael McCormick and Brian Tinsman coming aboard as Games Creative Directors.

The hiring announcements underscore the studio’s momentum on the heels of winning nine Emmys for projects including Invasion!, Asteroids!, Crow: The Legend, and Baba Yaga. Disney Branded Television recently announced that it is teaming up with Baobab to create The Witchverse, an animated anthology series based on Baobab’s three-time Emmy-winning short film and VR experience, Baba Yaga, for Disney+. The studio’s most recent release, Namoo, was acquired by Warner 150 earlier this year and is now streaming exclusively on HBO Max.


Kino Lorber announced this week that it has acquired U.S. rights to writer-director Alejandro Loayza Grisi’s Bolivian eco-drama Utama, with plans for a theatrical release later this year.

Utama is set in the arid Bolivian highlands, where an elderly Quechua couple has been living the same daily routine for years. When an uncommonly long drought threatens their entire way of life, Virginio (José Calcina) and Sisa (Luisa Quispe) face the dilemma of resisting or being defeated by the passage of time. With the arrival of their grandson Clever (Santos Choque), the three of them will face, each in their own way, the environment, the necessity for change, and the meaning of life itself.

The film made its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, there winning the Grand Jury Prize in World Cinema Dramatic competition. Grisi wrote the script and produced for Alma Films, with Federico Moreira co-producing for La Mayor Cine. The deal for Utama was negotiated by Kino Lorber Senior Vice President Wendy Lidell, Virginie Devesa for Alpha Violet and CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers.


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