EXCLUSIVE: Vertical Entertainment has acquired U.S. rights to Yes, God, Yes, the coming-of-age pic that stars Stranger Things‘ Natalia Dyer and had its world premiere earlier this year at SXSW, where it won a Special Jury Award for its ensemble cast. The pic written and directed by Obvious Child scribe Karen Maine in her feature helming debut will now hit theaters next year.

Alisha Boe (13 Reasons Why), Francesca Reale (Stranger Things), Wolfgang Novogratz (The Last Summer) and Timothy Simons (Veep) co-star in the film. Dyer plays Alice, a Catholic teenager in the early 2000s who, after an innocent AOL chat turns racy, discovers masturbating and struggles to suppress her new urges in the face of eternal damnation.

The Maiden Voyage and RT Features film was produced by Katie Cordeal, Colleen Hammond, Eleanor Columbus and Rodrigo Teixeira. Executive producers are Chris Columbus, Lourenço Sant’Anna, Sophie Mas and Maine.

“We’re so excited to have the opportunity to share Yes, God, Yes with the world, and couldn’t be happier to be partnering with Vertical, whose enthusiasm and passion for the film matches our own,” said Maine. “Our film is for everyone who’s ever been told that they should be ashamed of their sexuality, or that they should feel guilty for wanting to explore their desires. It’s the kind of film I wish I could have seen as a young girl growing up Catholic in the Midwest.”

The deal was negotiated by Vertical’s Peter Jarowey and Josh Spector and Endeavor Content on behalf of the filmmakers.

By Patrick Hipes, Deadline


In the 1988-set horror-thriller We Summon the Darkness, three best friends —  Alexis, Val, and Beverly — embark on a road trip to a heavy metal music festival where they bond with three guys in a band. Following the show, the group heads off to Alexis’ parents’ secluded country home for an afterparty. What should be a night of fun and youthful debauchery instead takes a dark and deadly turn. With satanic killers on the loose, can anyone be trusted?

To watch the clip: here

We Summon the Darkness stars Alexandra Daddario, Keean Johnson, Maddie Hasson, Logan Miller, Amy Forsyth, Austin Swift, and Johnny Knoxville. The film is directed by My Friend Dahmer filmmaker Marc Meyers.

“The wild mind of screenwriter Alan Trezza crafted a really fun script,” says the director. “The moment I read it I thought it was the perfect film to do after My Friend Dahmer. Where My Friend Dahmer leaves off, the adventure for me as a filmmaker continues here. It’s funny, bloody, wild, and non-stop. I learn something new making every movie. This was my first experience working with pyrotechnics, practical special effects, stunts, and lots of knives. And now as filmmaker, I look forward to having more opportunities to bring such color and action to the screen.”

We Summon The Darkness is a Fyzz Pictures, Common Enemy, and Nightshade Entertainment production in association with Litecoin Foundation, Iconic Media One, Grey Hawk Productions, and MEP Capital. Highland Film Group is managing worldwide sales.

The film will have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Tex. on Sept. 21.

Exclusively watch an — expletive-containing — clip from We Summon the Darkness, above.

By Clark Collis, Entertainment Weekly


In the wake of HellboyNeil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) is next headed to the 1600s for a witch hunt in The Reckoning, and THR shared the first image from the film this week.

Highland Film Group is shopping the film at the Toronto Film Festival.

The Reckoning is set around the witch hunts and the great plague in England in 1665 and follows Evelyn Haverstock (Charlotte Kirk), a young widow, haunted by the recent suicide of her husband Joseph (Joe Anderson), who is falsely accused of being a witch by her jealous Landlord, Squire Pendleton (Steven Waddington), after she rejects his unwanted advances.

“Grace must endure physical persecution at the hands of England’s most ruthless witch-hunter Judge Moorcroft (Sean PertweeDog Soldiers, Event Horizon) and face her own inner demons as the Devil himself starts to work his way into her mind.”

Also starring are Matt Ryan (“Constantine”), Ian White, and Emma Holzer.

Marshall co-wrote alongside Edward Evers-Swindell and Charlotte Kirk.

By John Squires, Bloody Disgusting


EXCLUSIVE: Jaeden Martell, who is having a busy weekend between It Chapter Two opening and Knives Out making its world premiere here at TIFF, has just joined the Highland Film Group feature Tunnels opposite Oscar winner Susan Sarandon.

Directed by John Krokidas (Kill Your Darlings) and written by Victoria Rose, the pic is set years after a school shooting and follows a grandmother (Sarandon) who raised the shooter. She finds an unlikely but wonderful friendship in a bullied teenage boy (Martell) whose brother was one of the victims. Through each other, these two outsiders find redemption against the backdrop of a town still grieving. With their strength and ability to forgive, they help one another heal.

Colin Bates (Kidnap, Maggie) and Michael Jefferson (Son of the South) will produce under the Lucidity Entertainment banner (Southland) alongside Circle of Confusion’s Matt Smith (Maleficent) and Brad Mendelsohn (Daisy Jones and the Six). Ethan Terra and Cindy Bru are serving as executive producers together with Circle of Confusion’s Frank Frattaroli. Highland Film Group is handling international sales here in Toronto.

Martell reprised his role in It Chapter Two as young Bill Denbrough (the older version is played by James McAvoy). Martell is also starring in the upcoming Apple TV+ series Defending Jacob alongside Michelle Dockery and Chris Evans, based on William Landay’s best-selling novel of the same name. This fall he will also be seen in A24’s Low Tide and Neon’s psychological thriller The Lodge. He previously appeared in Masters of Sex and the critically acclaimed Midnight Special opposite Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon. Martell is represented by CAA, Dayton-Milrad-Cho, and Relevant.

Highland Film Group’s slate also includes: Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s Becky starring Lulu Wilson, Kevin James, Joel McHale, Amanda Brugel, Rovert Maillet; Jiu Jitsu starring Nicolas Cage, Alain Moussi, Tony Jaa, Frank Grillo, Rick Yune, Marie Avgeropoulos and JuJu Chan; Persephone starring Mary-Louise Parker and Brianna Hildebrand; Karen Maine’s Yes God Yes;  Vaughn Stein’s Inheritance starring Lily Collins and Simon Pegg; Marc Meyer’s thriller We Summon the Darkness starring Johnny Knoxville and Alexandra Daddario; David Stassen’s Happy Life starring Evangeline Lilly, Ike Barinholtz and Daddario; Trauma Center starring Bruce Willis; Michael Polish’s Axis Sally starring Al Pacino; Southland starring Bella Thorne and Jake Manley; Skylines, the third chapter of the successful franchise, starring Lindsey Morgan; and Ghosts of War starring Brenton Thwaites, Theo Rossi and Skylar Astin.

By Anthony D’Alessandro, Deadline


Dennis Quaid and newcomer Madalen Mills are set to co-star opposite Queen Latifahin The Tiger Rising, a film adaptation to Kate DiCamillo’s 2001 New York Times Bestselling children’s book. The pic will be presented at the Toronto Film Festival via Highland Film Group, who is managing worldwide sales.

Ray Giarratana is directing the piece which follows reserved 12-year-old Rob who, after starting a new life in rural Florida at the Kentucky Star Motel, lets his imagination run wild, a contrast to his life as a bullied boy who has just lost his mother. One day, his reality is met with something more whimsical than his own mind can ever desire: a full-grown Bengal tiger hidden in the woods and held captive by the mean-spirited motel owner, Beauchamp (Quaid). With the help of the wise and mysterious maid Willie May (Latifah) and the stubborn new girl in school, Sistine (Mills), Rob must decide whether to set the tiger free and in turn uncage his emotional grief.

Producers are GG Filmz’s Deborah Giarratana and Streamline Global’s Ryan Smith, while Queen Latifah, Allen Cheney and Christophe Suchet serve as executive producers.

Quaid, repped by WME, was most recently seen on the big screen in Universal Pictures’ A Dog’s Journey and Sony’s The Intruder. He has forthcoming the Netflix series Merry Happy Whatever and Lionsgate’s Midway.

Mills, who performed in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-nominated School of Rock: The Musical on Broadway, will appear in David E. Talbert’s Netflix live-action movie musical Jingle Jangle, with Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad. She is repped by Abrams Artists Agency.

By Amanda N’Duka, Deadline

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