Gravitas Acquires ‘Lost Transmissions’

Gravitas Ventures has obtained the North American rights to Katharine O’Brien’s directorial debut film, Lost Transmissions, starring Simon Pegg, Juno Temple, and Alexandra Daddario. Based on a true story, the pic premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and will get a day-and-date release in theaters and on-demand March 13. Written by O’Brien, the plot follows Theo Ross (Pegg), a respected Los Angeles music producer and his friend, Hannah (Temple), a shy, aspiring songwriter, who discovers that he has lapsed on his medication for schizophrenia. In an effort to get Theo the help he needs, Hannah and their group of friends, chase him as he outruns his colorful delusions through the glamour and grit of Los Angeles’ music scene. Producers are Filip Jan Rymsza for Royal Road Entertainment, Tory Lenosky for Pulse Films, Al Di for Underlying Tension, and Royal Road’s Olga Kagan. O’Brien served as an executive producer alongside Pulse Films’ Thomas Benski and Brian Levy, Underlying Tension’s Bo An and Alan Li, and Robert Schwartzman. UTA Independent Film Group negotiated the deal with Gravitas on behalf of O’Brien with Tony Piantedosi from Gravitas. Read the full article here.


‘The Rest of Us’ Trailer: Heather Graham Leads Family In Crisis

The Rest of Us, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019, has a distribution deal with Gravitas and a new trailer.

The dramedy centers on two mother-daughter duos who must contend with their grief and complicated relationships with each other when the man who ties them together dies.

The film stars Heather Graham (Boogie NightsThe Hangover), Sophie Nélisse (Mean Dreams) and Jodi Balfour (The Crown) and Abigail Pniowsky (Arrival).

The Rest of Us is Aisling Chin-Yee’s directorial debut, and the first feature from female-driven production company Babe Nation Creations. Alanna Francis wrote the screenplay.

The film is produced by Katie Bird Nolan, Lindsay Tapscott, Emma Fleury and Will Woods. Executive Producers are Patrice Theroux and Damon D’Oliveira.

The film opens on February 14, Valentines day, in the U.S. Read the full article here.

Watch the trailer here.


Toronto Title ‘The Friend’ Lands At Roadside Attractions And Gravitas Ventures, Will Hit Theaters In Fall

Roadside Attractions and Gravitas Ventures are teaming on the U.S. distribution The Friend, the Gabriela Cowperthwaite-directed drama starring Jason SegelDakota Johnson and Casey Affleck that world premiered at Toronto. The pic is based on Matthew Teague’s autobiographical essay published in Esquire. The companies are now eyeing a fall 2020 theatrical release.

It marks the second tie-up of Roadside and Gravitas Ventures; the two are teaming on The Secret: Dare to Dream, starring Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas, which bows in April. Roadside of course most recently distributed with LD Entertainment the Judy Garland biopic Judy, for which Renee Zellweger is up for an Oscar.

The Friend, adapted by Brad Ingelsby, tells the true story of Nicole (Johnson) and Matthew Teague (Affleck), whose friend Dane (Segel) puts his own life on hold and moves into the Teague family home after Nicole is diagnosed with cancer. Dade’s movie has a greater and more profound impact than anyone could have imagined. Gwendoline Christie, Cherry Jones, Isabella Kai, Violet McGraw and country singer Jake Owen co-star.

The film from Black Bear Pictures and Scott Free Productions is produced by Kevin Walsh, Michael Pruss, Ryan Stowell and Teddy Schwarzman. Ridley Scott, Ben Stillman, Michael Heimler, Ted Deiker, Ingelsby and Teague are executive producers.

“Everyone knows the value of a great friend, yet it’s rare to see friendship dramatized in film,” said
Roadside’s Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff. “To see these three great actors shine the light on what friendship means when the going gets tough adds up to something quite profound.”

Added Gravitas Ventures’ VP Acquisitions Tony Piantedosi: “Gabriela and her outstanding cast have crafted a profoundly moving portrait of the emotional bonds that sustain us. We are thrilled to be partnered with Roadside Attractions in presenting The Friend to U.S. audiences this fall.”

Nolan Gallagher and Tony Piantedosi negotiated the deal with Endeavor Content. STXinternational is handling international sales and releasing in the UK. Read the original article here.


Gravitas Picks Up Sundance Drama ‘Blush’ Starring Wendi McLendon-Covey

Gravitas Ventures has secured the North American distribution rights to Blush, the drama written and directed by Debra Eisenstadt. Formally titled Imaginary Order, the pic, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, will get a day-and-date release on April 10.

Bridesmaids and The Goldbergs standout Wendi McLendon-Covey stars as Cathy, an obsessive-compulsive, middle-aged woman, struggling to maintain control and significance amid fears her husband is having an affair and her thirteen-year-old daughter is becoming estranged. Cathy retreats to her sister’s home where she cat-sits, compulsively cleans and spies on a neighboring family. One by one these neighbors lure Cathy into their lives, inspire her rebellion and threaten to unravel everything, from her precarious marriage to her daughter’s innocence to her own wavering sanity.

Eisenstadt produced the pic with Cosmos Kiindarius, Timur Bekbosunov, and Peter Wong for ACE Pictures. Tony Piantedosi, VP of acquisitions at Gravitas, negotiated the deal with ICM Partners and Cinetic.


'Kings Of Beer' Named one of the 10 Best Business Movies of 2019 by Inc.

If the business films of 2019 are remembered for one thing, it will probably be fraud.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and Fyre Festival creator Billy McFarland were both the subjects of fascinating documentaries in 2019, which is natural given the scale of their business scams. Filmmakers this year also tackled uplifting business stories, including the true tale of a teenager in Africa who built a wind turbine to help save his village from famine. While not every film on this list has made its way to theaters, all have earned high praise from critics, some of whom had to travel to film festivals to get an early look.

Here are the 10 best business movies of 2019 (listed alphabetically).

American Factory

IAN COOK/COURTESY SUNDANCE INSTITUTE

Produced by Barack and Michelle Obama as the first project in their production deal with Netflix, this documentary goes inside Fuyao Glass, the Chinese auto-glass factory that took over an abandoned General Motors plant in Moraine, Ohio, in 2016. Led by Chinese billionaire Cho Tak Wong, the company provided jobs for around 2,000 unemployed auto workers, but tensions related to Chinese work standards eventually led to new problems for many of the company's U.S. employees.

Where to see it: Netflix

The Biggest Little Farm

COURTESY OF SUNDANCE INSTITUTE

A documentary more than eight years in the making, The Biggest Little Farm follows newly minted organic farmers John Chester and his wife Molly as they try to build a sustainable farm outside of Los Angeles. Despite having the backing of a very patient investor, their dream of successfully practicing regenerative agriculture--a type of organic farming that can help reduce climate change--becomes something of a nightmare, thanks to seemingly endless setbacks.

Where to see it: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

ILZE KITSHOFF / NETFLIX

This drama starring and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor tells the story of William Kamkwamba, a 13-year-old boy in Malawi who learned how to build a wind turbine that could save his village from famine. Based on the book of the same name, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize for a film that focuses on science or technology.

Where to see it: Netflix

Framing John DeLorean

SUNDANCE SELECTS/COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION

Part documentary, part narrative film, this hybrid movie includes Alec Baldwin playing the role of John DeLorean, the General Motors executive who went on to found DeLorean Motor Company. While much of the film comprises archival footage and interviews with DeLorean's friends, family, and colleagues, reenactments by Baldwin help tell the story of how DeLorean's eponymous sportscar nearly revolutionized the automobile industry, before his company went bankrupt.

Where to see it: YouTube, Google Play

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

COURTESY NETFLIX

A behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a music festival that never stood a chance of actually taking place, Fyre captures the shockingly fraudulent efforts of Billy McFarland, who conceived of the Fyre Festival as a way to promote an app for booking celebrity talent. The documentary demonstrates the power of viral social media campaigns, while also  serving as a cautionary tale for how experimental marketing in the wrong hands can lead to disaster.

Where to see it: Netflix

Ford v. Ferrari

GETTY IMAGES

After Ford Motor Company's unsuccessful bid to buy luxury sports car manufacturer Ferrari in the 1960s, Henry Ford became determined to beat Ferrari's model at Le Mans, the world famous sports car race. Ford v. Ferrari stars Matt Damon as car designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as driver Ken Miles, who work together--when not fighting each other--to help Ford beat Ferrari.

Where to see it: In theaters on November 15, 2019

The Great Hack

COURTESY OF SUNDANCE INSTITUTE

A documentary about the data breach that led to Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, The Great Hack focuses on the personal journeys of several individuals at the center of the story, from whistleblower Paul-Olivier Dehay to Cambridge Analytica's former director of business development, Brittany Kaiser. The doc reveals how data can be weaponized to deepen cultural rifts and fight political battles.

Where to see it: Netflix

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

DAVID ORRELL/CNBC VIA GETTY IMAGES

The Inventor serves as a companion to Wall Street Journal investigative reporter John Carreyrou's best-selling book Bad Blood, which is about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes's blood-testing startup that was built on a lie. The film helps explain how Holmes deceived business leaders around the world into thinking she was on the verge of revolutionizing the U.S. health care industry. Interviews with dozens of insiders and never-before-seen footage make for a fascinating case study of one of the biggest business cons in U.S. history.

Where to see it: HBO

Kings of Beer

COURTESY GRAVITAS VENTURES

A master class in quality control, this documentary goes inside Budweiser's annual  brewmaster competition, which names the best brewmaster from 65 Budweiser breweries around the world based on a rigorous judging process. While the brewers all work for the same company, their competitive instincts and dedication to making the best possible product should strike a chord with any entrepreneur.

Where to see it: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu

Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!

SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS/COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION

Fifteen years after exposing the ugly truth about fast food in 2004's Super Size Me, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock is back for more, this time to document his own attempt at creating a restaurant chain specializing in chicken sandwiches. This documentary sequel exposes its own fair share of shady corporate practices that keep a stranglehold on U.S. chicken farmers, while also skewering the way marketers have convinced consumers that fast food can also be good for you.

Where to see it: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu

Read the full article here.


Emily Ting’s SXSW Comedy ‘Go Back To China’ Acquired By Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights to Emily Ting’s second directorial feature Go Back to Chinastarring Anna Akana. The film will have a limited theatrical release and be available on VOD starting March 6, 2020.

The semi-autobiographical film made its world premiere at SXSW earlier this year. The story follows Sasha Li (Akana), a spoiled rich girl who after blowing through most of her trust fund is forced by her father to go back to China and work for the family toy business. What begins simply as a way to regain financial support soon develops into a life-altering journey of self-discovery, as she learns the business from the ground up and reconnects with her estranged family in the process.

Go Back to China serves up a heartfelt story of cultural identity, family relationships, privilege and an honest look at the human cost of things made in China.

“I had an amazing time partnering up with Gravitas on my first film Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, and I am ecstatic to be working with them again to bring this extremely personal film to audiences worldwide,” said Ting.

The film also stars veteran Hong Kong actor Richard NgLynn Chen and Kelly Hu. Ting produced the film alongside Sophia Shek and Frederick Thornton. Lowell Shapiro and Mike Dill serve as executive producers.

The distribution deal for Go Back to China was negotiated by Tony Piantedosi, VP Acquisitions at Gravitas, and Eric Sloss of Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.

Read the article here.


Katie Holmes & Josh Lucas Drama ‘The Secret: Dare to Dream’ Lands At Gravitas

Gravitas Ventures has secured the North American distribution to rights The Secret: Dare to Dream, starring Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas. Gravitas has partnered with Roadside Attractions to release the film in theaters on April 17.

The pic, which hails from tri-G Films, was directed by Sweet Home Alabama helm Andy Tennant and inspired by Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 NYT bestseller, The Secret. Adapted by Bekah Brunstetter, Tennant, and Rick Parks, the plot centers around Miranda Wells (Holmes), a hard-working young widow struggling to raise three children on her own. A powerful storm brings a devastating challenge and a mysterious man, Bray Johnson (Lucas), into her life. In just a few short days, Bray’s presence re-ignites the family’s spirit, but he carries a secret—and that secret could change everything.

Celia Weston and Jerry O’Connell co-star. Producers are Byrne, Robert Cort, Paul Hanson, Joe Gelchion, Matthew George, and Robert Katz.

Read the article here.


Gravitas Ventures picks up Toronto premiere 'The Rest Of Us' for the US (exclusive)

Gravitas Ventures has acquired US rights to recent Toronto festival premiere The Rest Of Us from sales agent Voltage Pictures. 

The drama-comedy about the complicated relationships between two women and their daughters stars Heather Graham, Sophie Nélisse, Jodi Balfour and Abigail Pniowsky. Aisling Chin-Yee directed from a script by Alanna Francis.

Katie Bird Nolan and Lindsay Tapscott of Babe Nation Films, William Woods of Woods Entertainment, and Emma Fleury served as producers. Executive Producers are Damon D’Oliveira and Patrice Theroux.

Gravitas, part of the Europe-based multi-national Red Arrow Studios group, will make the film available in US cinemas and on demand on February 28 next year.

Voltage Pictures president and chief operating officer Jonathan Deckter commented: “We’re thrilled to partner with our friends at Gravitas to bring The Rest of Us to US audiences. This thoughtful, genuine film centered on the portrayal of authentic, complex women will no doubt resonate with audiences.”

Gravitas vice-president of acquisitions Tony Piantedosi added: “In her remarkably assured feature debut, Aisling draws out deeply affecting performances from her quartet of actresses. As both a female-led story and an example of overcoming shared resentment in favor of personal and communal growth, this is a film that domestic audiences need to see in 2020.”

Read the article here.


Variety

Gravitas Ventures Acquires SXSW Doc 'Red Dog'

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to the documentary “Red Dog,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The film, which premiered at 2019 SXSW Film Festival, was directed by singer-songwriter Luke Dick and Casey Pinkston. The documentary tells the story of the infamous topless bar in Oklahoma City, Red Dog, and will be available on-demand on Jan. 7.

Piantedosi negotiated the deal with Endeavor Content.

Read the article here.


Gravitas Ventures Partners Strikes multi-year sales deal with Myriad Pictures

Myriad Pictures and Gravitas Ventures have announced at AFM a multi-year deal granting Myriad exclusive sales rights to hundreds of Gravitas’ new release and library narrative films.

Key narrative titles Myriad Pictures will be selling include the Tye Sheridan (pictured) and Jeffrey Wright drama Age Out; drama Already Gone with Seann William Scott and Shiloh Fernandez; drama I’m Not Here with J.K. Simmons and Mandy Moore; thriller Wetlands with Heather Graham; thriller Dark Crimes with Jim Carrey; and family title Christmas Break-In with Denise Richards.

The deal covers new narrative acquisitions and catalogue narrative titles with international rights available. D’Amico has begun tlaking to buyers at AFM. Gravitas Ventures will continue to distribute in North America.

“We look forward to collaborating with Gravitas on future titles especially since Gravitas has demonstrated over many years and many titles that they know what works commercially at every level of distribution,” said Myriad CEO Kirk D’Amico. “Nolan and his team have consistently shown excellent results on the titles that they have released.”

“Gravitas Ventures is thrilled to collaborate with Myriad Pictures, an industry leader in film distribution,” said CEO Nolan Gallagher. “Our catalog has now grown to the point where working with Myriad will allow us to expand the international presence of our diverse slate of narrative films and continue to acquire commercial films for global audiences.”

Bo Stehmeier, president of Gravitas owner Red Arrow Studios International and the executive in charge of distribution at Red Arrow Studios, said: “Selling independent film is a specialist business, and as the Gravitas catalog continues to grow rapidly, it makes sense to appoint film specialists to ensure that Gravitas’ international business continues to expand.”

Read the article on Screen Daily.