Gravitas Picks Up Border Docu "The River and The Wall" ahead of SXSW Bow

By: Greg Evans

Gravitas Ventures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to director Ben Masters’ documentary feature The River and The Wall ahead of its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival this March. The film, which follows five friends on a 1,200 mile journey along the US-Mexico border from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico, will hit theaters this spring.

“When we started filming The River and The Wall two years ago when the ‘build that wall’ rhetoric just began,” said Masters, “we had no idea that the issue would blow up into a government shutdown and one of the most controversial topics in the world. We’ve spent the past two years documenting the border, travelled every mile of the Texas-Mexico border on bikes, horses, and canoes, and met with dozens of people on both sides of the Rio Grande to make a film that shows what the borderlands actually look like, how a wall would actually work, and how it would impact immigration, landowners, water access, wildlife, and border culture.”

Gravitas plans a major U.S. theatrical release to over 100 theaters nationwide starting later Spring 2019. The company previously released Masters’ Unbranded doc about four young cowboys determined to move wild mustangs across 3,000 miles from Mexico to Canada.

The River and The Wall is produced by Hillary Pierce (Tower). The acquisition was announced today by Gravitas, a Red Arrow Studios company.

“Gravitas is thrilled to be collaborating with Ben Masters and his team on The River and the Wall,” said Brendan M. Gallagher, Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Gravitas Ventures. “The film is visually stunning and provides much-needed human, practical, and environment perspectives on the divisive border wall issue that has shut down our government and polarized the country.”

Added Masters, “We interviewed border patrol agents, immigrants, ranchers, wildlife biologists, Republican congressman, Democrat congressmen, Mexicans, and Americans to hopefully give an accurate portrayal of the border and let the audience decide for themselves if a physical border Wall is a good way to approach our immigration and border security challenges. At a time when there’s so much division, ignorance, and false reporting about the border, I’m excited to release the film and allow the incredible landscapes and people there to speak for themselves.”

The film includes interviews with former Democratic Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Republican Texas Congressman Will Hurd.

See full article.


Variety

Gravitas Ventures acquired North American rights to "General Magic"

By Dave McNary

ACQUISITION

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to the documentary “General Magic,” directed by Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, will be available in theaters in May with an ancillary release to follow in the fall.

General Magic was software and electronics company that launched in 1990 with members of the original Apple Mac team and developed precursor products to current technology such as small touchscreens, networked games, streaming TV and e-commerce. The company went out of business in 2002.

See full article.


In ‘TransMilitary,’ troops fight for the country, banned or not

By Megan Thompson, Melanie Saltzman

A recent documentary "TransMilitary," follows four trans troops in their military journeys as the federal government flip-flops on whether they should be banned. As the battle over the ban continues in federal courts, NewsHour Weekend's Megan Thompson talks to a former soldier featured in the film and the film’s director about the soldiers' fight to end the ban and the risks they took speaking out.

See full interview transcript


‘A Breath Away’ Trailer Survives a Massive Catastrophe in Paris [Exclusive]

By Brad Miska

Gravitas Ventures has shared with Bloody the first official trailer for the Daniel Roby-directed A Breath Away (Dans La Brume), releasing in theaters and on VOD platforms February 1, 2019.

In the film, a family attempts to survive a massive catastrophe in Paris.

Duris and Kurylenko play parents who are desperately trying to save their daughter from a deadly toxic mist that has engulfed Paris after an earthquake. Only those lucky enough to escape to the rooftops of the city were able to survive; their daughter, who suffers from a genetic condition requiring her to live in a hermetic box that filters the air, is trapped below.

Starring Romain Duris, Olga Kurylenko, and Fantine Harduin, the film was acquired ahead of the Fantasia Film Festival last July.

Bloody Disgusting’s Meagan Navarro reviewed the film calling it a “well shot, tightly wound, and expertly paced” thriller.

See full article.


In ‘Egg,’ questions about parenthood might make audiences uncomfortable. That’s the idea.

By Caitlin Gibson

Alysia Reiner, left, and Christina Hendricks in "Egg." (Gravitas Ventures)
Faced with the prospect of parenthood, many would-be moms and dads are consumed by questions that range from the trivial to the profound: Is a bite of soft cheese okay while pregnant? Will you find out the sex of your baby? (Do you have a preference?) How will you balance family and career? How strong is your marriage?

And then there’s the biggest, scariest one: Will you be happy?

As the working mom of a 10-year-old daughter, actor and filmmaker Alysia Reiner — best known for her role as prison administrator Natalie “Fig” Figueroa in the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” — is familiar with these questions. And as the star and co-producer of the new movie “Egg,” a snappy dramedy that examines the personal and societal pressures that shape how we see motherhood, Reiner hopes to make audiences think about those familiar queries in a different way.

Reiner and “Mad Men” alum Christina Hendricks portray Tina and Karen, two former art school friends who reconnect over a casual dinner with their spouses. The reunion comes at a fortuitous moment for both women: Each is expecting a baby.

And that’s about where their commonality ends. Tina (Reiner) is an eccentric artist and a rage-against-the-patriarchy feminist who, along with her husband Wayne (Gbenga Akinnagbe), has enlisted a surrogate (Anna Camp) to carry their child as part of an art project that she smugly describes as a “dismantling and restructuring of the traditional family unit.” Karen (Hendricks) is six months pregnant, content to be supported by her wealthy husband, Don (David Alan Basche, Reiner’s real-life husband), and quick to declare that she feels sorry for people who don’t have children. The ensuing collision of their disparate worldviews is every bit as messy — and ultimately revealing — as you might expect.

We spoke with Reiner about “Egg” and the importance of telling different stories about motherhood. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: You mentioned that you first read this script many years ago, when you were still deciding whether to become a parent, and reread it years later after your daughter was born. Can you talk about the ways the story resonated with you at those different moments in your life?

A: When I first read it, I thought I had never read anything that said these things, and said them in such a smart way, and explored parenthood — not just motherhood, but parenthood — from all these different sides. Personally, I was at a moment where I had known my husband more than half my life, and everyone was asking us, “When are you having kids?” The pressure that women feel to be a mother — I don’t think most women ever ask themselves, “Is this something that I really want?” So when I first read the script, I felt like, “I think I do want to have a kid, but I don’t want to be part of this system that makes me assume that I have to want this.” And then when I read it again, years later as a mother of one, I was shocked yet again by how many people had mourned for the fact that I only had one child.

In both cases, the resonance was that feeling of “it’s never enough.” I’m not enough as a woman if I don’t have children, and I’m not enough of a woman even if I only have one child. And I think there is this cultural significance about how we serve that message to women as a way to keep them down.

Q: There are so many insecurities and judgments that surround parenting choices — what do you think this story tells us about how to find common ground?

A: That’s another thing I loved about this script — that it’s about friendship, too. How friends can make totally different choices but honor each other’s choices. In the end, there is a moment where Tina does not tell Karen’s secrets. And that’s huge, considering who Tina is. She decides that being right is not as important as Karen living her truth, whatever that is.

I remember thinking how excited I was to make a film about women who don’t believe the same thing, who respectfully agree to disagree, without judgment. Well, maybe they have judgment but at least they shut their mouths about it.

Q: These aren't necessarily characters that a lot of people will find relatable. Was that the idea, to make people think about their own reactions to perspectives outside their comfort zone?

A: One hundred percent. As filmmakers, we did not want people to necessarily identify with one character or feel like, “Oh my God, that’s me.” Our goal was to bring up some of the ways we as a society think about these things, and let people see their own beliefs and stereotypes in a new way. As an artist, I’m always curious, where are my blind spots? This story made me look more deeply at my preconceived notions about only children, being a mother of “just the one” and mother-daughter relationships in general. That’s what this film is about: Where are your blind spots, and are you ready to go there?

Q: In the wake of the Me Too and Time's Up movements, we're seeing a broader focus on gender inequality issues in Hollywood and beyond, and more interest and investment in telling stories that center on women. Are you hopeful that will continue?

A: I would say I am hesitantly optimistic. What’s so important is that it’s not just talk, but how do we create a new culture, how do we create systemic change? And I’m really glad that there is a lot of brains behind that, and a lot of passion and commitment behind that.

All stories that portray complex women are vital, and the parenting experience is one where we have a lot of work to do in portraying deeper layers, getting beyond our stereotypes and preconceived notions. It’s my hope we do that in “Egg.”

See full article.


Variety

Film News Roundup: Andy Garcia’s Spy Thriller ‘Against the Clock’ Bought by Gravitas

By Dave McNary

In today’s film news roundup, Andy Garcia’s spy thriller is sold, “Battlestar Galactica” gets a screenwriter, and Brooklyn Decker gets an award.

 

ACQUISITION

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to spy thriller “Against the Clock,” starring Andy Garcia, Dianna Agron (“Glee”), and Justin Bartha, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film, formerly titled “Headlock,” is written and directed by Mark Polish and produced by Benaroya Pictures. “Against the Clock” will be available in theaters and on demand Jan. 11, 2019.

Polish plays a CIA agent who is seriously injured during a mission, and Agron portrays his wife, a former CIA operative who becomes determined to find out what happened — a truth the CIA director, played by Garcia, wants concealed at all costs.

“Mark has fused a mind-bending premise with stylish visuals and a strong female protagonist, delivering an experience that is both ahead of its time and of the moment,” said Tony Piantedosi, director of acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures.

Piantedosi negotiated the deal with Pip Ngo of XYZ Films and CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers. Garcia, Agron, and Bartha are represented by CAA. Garcia is also represented by Brillstein Entertainment Partners; and Bartha by MGMT. Night Fox Entertainment was a 50% financier.

 

See full article.


Gravitas Lands ‘The Divorce Party’

By: Amanda N'Duka

Gravitas Ventures has secured the U.S. distribution rights to The Divorce Party, which will get a day-and-date release on February 8. The pic marks the directorial feature debut of Will Thompson and stars Thomas Cocquerel, Matilda Lutz, and Claire Holt. The story follows a newly dumped divorcee (Cocquerel) who hires his former wedding planner (Lutz) to throw a “divorce party” celebrating his newfound singledom after being left by his wife (Holt). Comedian Max Silvestri, Katrina Bowden, Will Brittain, Todd Lasance, Tom Wright, and James Dumont co-star. Sunil Perkash, Ryan Johnson, Martin Sprock, and Paresh Ghelani produced the pic which was financed through Sprockerfeller Pictures and 2020 Productions. The deal was negotiated by The Solution Entertainment Group, LLC on behalf of the filmmakers and Tony Piantedosi on behalf of Gravitas Ventures.

See full article.


Variety

Film News Roundup: Cybill Shepherd-James Brolin Romance Film ‘Being Rose’ Bought by Gravitas

By Dave McNary

ACQUISITION

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to Rod McCall’s romance “Being Rose,” starring Cybill ShepherdJames Brolin, and Pam Grier, Variety has learned exclusively.

The film will be available in theaters and on demand on Jan. 4. Shepherd plays an ex-cop diagnosed with serious health issues who goes on a road trip in a wheelchair to search for her estranged son. Along the way, she falls in love with Brolin’s cowboy character, who has come to a crossroads of his own.

“I consider ‘Being Rose’ the crown jewel of my career,” Shepherd said. “Rod McCall, who wrote and directed the film is one of the finest directors I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.”

McCall said, “When I started ‘Being Rose,’ the comic and dramatic possibilities of the story of a female ex-cop on a road trip seemed delicious. The cast of seasoned pros, Cybill Shepherd, James Brolin and Pam Grier – and the gorgeous New Mexico location – made the film a joy to realize. We are so excited to be partnering with Gravitas Ventures in bringing the film to such a wide audience.”

Tony Piantedosi, director of acquisitions for Gravitas Ventures, negotiated the deal with Greg Clonts on behalf of the filmmakers.

See full article.


Variety

Gravitas Buys Bill Murray Documentary ‘Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man’ (EXCLUSIVE)

By Dave McNary

The film, which premiered at the South by Southwest festival in March, features interviews with everyday Americans as they recount their memorable interactions with Bill Murray. It’s directed by Tommy Avallone, executive produced by Glen Zipper, and produced by Max Paolucci, Derrick Kunzer, Raymond Esposito, and Kevin Sisti Jr. The movie will be released in select theaters on Oct. 25 and on demand the following day.

“My friend, Brian, told me my first Bill Murray story in 2006 and I was hooked,” Avallone said. “The more stories I discovered, the more I became convinced that there had to be some deeper meaning behind Bill’s quirky interactions with everyday people. And that’s what my journey in this film is all about — my search for that deeper meaning and how it surprisingly changed the way I look at life. I hope audiences have a similarly eye-opening experience, and, of course, plenty of laughs too!”

The pic was produced by Double Windsor Films and Old Lime Productions. It contains never-before-seen footage of Murray bartending, washing dishes at parties, singing karaoke late at night with strangers, and crashing a kickball game.

“Tommy has made a quirky and hilarious documentary full of surprising revelations that explore the deep meaning behind Bill Murray’s lovable interactions with everyday people,” said Laura Florence, VP of sales and marketing. “Gravitas is excited to be partnering with him and his team in bringing this documentary to audiences everywhere.”

Nolan Gallagher from Gravitas Ventures negotiated the deal with CAA and Endeavor Content.

 

See full article here.


Gravitas Ventures Acquires SXSW Sci-Fi Thriller ‘At First Light’

by Dino-Ray Ramos

EXCLUSIVE: The Jason Stone-directed sci-fi thriller At First Light has been acquired by Gravitas Ventures. The Red Arrow Studios company landed U.S., Australia, and New Zealand rights to the film which made its world premiere at SXSW. At First Light will be released in theaters and available on demand Sept. 28.

Written and helmed by Stone, At First Light follows Sean (Théodore Pellerin) and Alex (Stefanie Scott) as they go on the run after Alex has a close encounter with mysterious orbs of light that leave her with extraordinary powers. As they flee from their families, the police and a covert government agency, Alex and Sean find themselves at the center of an unprecedented event in human history. As her powers grow stronger and more dangerous, Sean must decide whether staying with Alex and discovering the truth behind her transformation is worth dying for.

“We were drawn to this coming-of-age sci-fi thriller because of its emotional journey, exceptional special effects, and the opportunity to work with Jason Stone and the talented filmmaking team that he has assembled,” said Nolan Gallagher, Founder and CEO at Gravitas Ventures.

Stone adds, “It’s been a crazy adventure just getting this movie made and we couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Nolan and the entire Gravitas team to take it out into the world.”

The film also stars Kate Burton, Saïd Taghmaoui, and Percy Hynes White. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones serves as executive producer and Chris Ferguson is the producer.

Gallagher from Gravitas Ventures negotiated the deal with CAA Media Finance.

Watch the trailer below.