NEWS


Highland Film Group has bolstered its AFM slate with international rights to Skylines, the third entry in the Skyline sci-fi franchise that puts the focus on returning cast member and rising Latina star Lindsey Morgan.

XYZ Films represents North American and Chinese rights and also serves as executive producer to the ongoing humans versus aliens saga.

Skylines centres on Captain Rose Corley, a human with extraterrestrial superpowers that mean she is the only person powerful enough to vanquish the marauders.

When a virus threatens to turn earth-dwelling friendly alien hybrids against humans, Corley assembles an elite team of mercenaries on a mission to the alien world to save humanity.

Skyline and Beyond Skyline screenwriter Liam O’Donnell returns to writing duties, and Matthew Chausse and O’Donnell will produce alongside franchise creators the Strause brothers. Morgan’s roles include The CW series The 100, and feature Summertime by Ed Burns.

Highland’s ADM slate includes Joe Carnahan’s Boss Level starring Frank Grillo, Naomi Watts and Mel Gibson; Michael Cristofer’s The Night Clerk starring Tye Sheridan, Ana de Armas and Helen Hunt; and Marc Meyer’s thriller We Summon The Darkness with Alexandra Daddario.

By Jeremy Kay, Screendaily.com

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Amid the blur of technological change, producers at the American Film Market are seeking to become an all-encompassing destination for storytellers.

That was the prevailing sentiment that emerged Friday the panel titled the Producer and Financier Perspective at the Fairmont Hotel that drew an audience of some 500-plus. Variety‘s Asia editor Patrick Frater moderated the 45-minute session.

“We are thinking about how to be a platform for storytellers,” said Milan Popelko, chief operating officer of FilmNation. “As the lines between different forms of content bleed — the idea for us is to be a destination for storytellers. And we become an engine that powers those stories.”

He also said that the proliferation of platforms has made actors and directors less available to work on feature films.

“The biggest risk today is seeing something going on and not doing anything about it,” Popelko added. “You have to treat every film like it’s your only film; otherwise, you’re going to be out of business.”

John Friedberg, STX’s president of international sales, concurred and asserted that companies need to constantly figure out what consumers are going to want. SVOD platforms such as Hulu allow STX to operate in multiple areas on such projects as the “UglyDolls” animated movie.

“We have to continuously ask ourselves what the future is going to look like,” he said. “Consumers today are so fast, and you have to find multiple ways to tell your story. We’re always looking for stories that can connect with audiences around the world.”

Arianne Fraser, CEO of Highland Film Group, said that sales agents remain a key component of the indie business because producers need to know specific forecasts of each territory — even amid Netflix’s penchant for worldwide rights deals. “Sales agents are incredibly important,” she added.

By Dave McNary, Variety

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Simon Pegg and Kate Mara will star in the high-stakes thriller InheritanceThe Hollywood Reporter has learned.

British filmmaker Vaughn Stein is set to direct, fresh from his recent work with Pegg and Margot Robbie in his noir thriller and directorial debut Terminal.

Matthew Kennedy penned the script, with Richard B. Lewis (The Space Between UsAugust Rush) producing through his Southpaw Entertainment banner alongside David Wulf (The Night Clerk) of WulfPak Productions and Convergent Media’s Dan Reardon and Santosh Govindaraju (The Night Clerk). UTA and Highland Film Group are co-repping U.S. rights, with Highland Film Group handling foreign sales, which commenced this week at AFM.

Inheritance is set to explore what happens when the patriarch of a wealthy and powerful family suddenly passes away, leaving his wife and daughter with a shocking secret inheritance that threatens to unravel and destroy their lives.

The film marks HFG’s second collaboration with Stein, having previously partnered on Terminal, which was released earlier this year.

Mara is repped by UTA, Mosaic and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern. Pegg is with UTA and Dawn Sedgwick Management. Stein is repped by UTA and Grandview.

By Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter

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The first look at Tye Sheridan in The Night Clerk is here.

Sheridan stars as late-shift hotel clerk Bart Bromley, a highly intelligent autistic man who uses surveillance cameras to record guests in an effort to improve his social skills. When a woman is murdered during his shift, Bart becomes the prime suspect but can’t reveal his cameras have captured evidence to prove his innocence.

As the police investigation closes in, Bart makes a personal connection with a guest named Andrea (Ana de Armas), but soon realizes he must stop the real murderer before she becomes the next victim.

Highland Film Group is handling international sales on the Michael Cristofer-helmed thriller that also stars Helen Hunt and John Leguizamo.

Sheridan, WulfPak Productions’ David Wulf and Highland Film Group are producing, with Santosh Govindaraju, Dan Reardon and Robbie Brenner exec producing. Convergent Media is financing the film.

Hunt, with UTA, will next be seen in the Netflix comedy Candy Jar. Leguizamo, repped by UTA, is set for the third John Wick film. De Armas, who is repped by CAA, Impression and Grubman Shire, is filming the untitled Danny Boyle-Richard Curtis musical for Universal.

By Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter

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Alexandra Daddario and Nashville actor Keean Johnson are set to star in We Summon the Darkness, a horror thriller to be directed by Marc Meyers (My Friend Dahmer).

Maddie Hasson (ImpulseNovitiate), Logan Miller (Love, Simon), Amy Forsyth (Beautiful Boy) and Austin Swift are also on the call sheet for the movie, which began shooting this week in Winnipeg.

The script, by Alan Trezza, is set in the Midwest against a backdrop involving a killing spree thought to be orchestrated by a satanic cult. Three best friends embark on a road trip to a heavy-metal show, where they bond with three aspiring musicians and head off to one of the girls’ country home for an afterparty. A night of fun and youthful debauchery takes a deadly turn as bodies begin to pile up, with each side thinking the other hides the killer.

Daddario will play the girls’ leader who invites the group of boys to her parents’ estate.

Robert Jones, James Harris and Mark Lane, who produced the horror hits 47 Meters Down and The Strangers: Prey at Night, are producing and financing the project via their banner The Fyzz.

Also producing are Magna Entertainment, with Kyle Tekiela (Mudbound) and Jarod Einsohn of Common Enemy, Christian Armogida of Nightshade Entertainment and Thomas E van Dell of Iconic Media One.

Andrew Kotliar, Elizabeth Zavoyskiy, Joshua Sason, Rebecca Schaper, Lee Broda, Mike Donavan, Eytan Rockaway, Robert Girard and Trezza are executive producing. Jody Girgenti (My Friend Dahmer) is co-producing.

Highland Film Group will introduce We Summon the Darknessto buyers at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival.

Meyers is best known for 2017’s My Friend Dahmer, an adaptation of a graphic novel starring Ross Lynch. The well-received movie opened doors for the filmmaker, with Meyers currently developing the dramatic comedy All My Life for Universal. He is repped by UTA, Aperture Entertainment and Bloom Hergott.

Daddario appeared with Dwayne Johnson in the films Baywatch and San Andreas, and will next star in the mystery thriller We Have Always Lived In the Castle, an adaptation of the Shirley Jackson novel that also stars Sebastian Stan and Taissa Farmiga.

Keean Johnson, who appeared on TV’s The Fosters and Nashville, will next be seen in Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel, which Fox will bow in December. The actor, who also will be seen in RZA’s Cut Throat City, is set to appear in Roland Emmerich’s World War II naval drama Midway alongside Woody Harrelson, Patrick Wilson and Aaron Eckhart

Daddario is repped by UTA and Untitled Entertainment, while Johnson is with CAA and Management 360. Meyers is repped by UTA and Aperture Entertainment.

By Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter

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