Werner Herzog at UCA

I was thrilled to sponsor and arrange Werner Herzog’s trip to Arkansas, Memphis, and Hot Springs.  I first got to meet Werner while working as an assistant to his agent David Gersh and then later as part of the agency’s finance and sales division.  This was his first trip to the Mid-South and he was a fantastic guest and mentor.

Bloody Disgusting: Freestyle Downloads ‘Bedeviled’ Distribution Rights

FROM BLOODY DISGUSTING (read full article here)

Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, has acquired the North American rights to the modern technological horror feature Bedeviled for limited theatrical release and digital distribution beginning August 11, 2017.

Bedeviled, which Luiz reviews and called “a well-crafted supernatural thriller,” tells the story of five teenagers who receive an invite to download a Siri-like application.  Once they accept this app — which calls itself ‘Mister Bedevil’ — it begins to torment each of them by tapping into their worst fears. To stop this malevolent force, the teens must learn to trust and depend on each other’s wits and courage.

“We’ve created a new, charismatic horror villain, and we hope audiences will find him terrifying and lovable at the same time,” said filmmakers Abel Vang and Burlee Vang.

Co-written, and co-directed by brothers Abel Vang and Burlee Vang, Bedeviled features a cast that includes Saxon Sharbino (Alice Gorman), Mitchell Edwards (Cody Mathershed), Carson Boatman (Gavin Briggs), Victory Van Tuyl (Haley Davis), Brandon Soo Hoo (Dan Moua), Jordan Essoe (Mr. BeDevil), and Alexis G Zall (Nikki).  Bedeviled was produced by Abel Vang, Burlee Vang, Leng Yang, Cheng Yang, and Kirk Roos with Executive Producers Stephen Stanley, Brad Brizendine, Fuabkuab Yang, Scott P. Barlow.

Master Class with Jean-Pierre Jeunet

While working as a Visiting Professor in SCAD Lacoste’s summer program, I had the opportunity to moderate a Master Class/Q&A with renowned filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet.  He’s been a personal hero of mine since I first saw Delicatessen at a midnight screening in Paris in the 90’s, and his insight was incredible for the students (and for me!).

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Hollywood Reporter: “The Revival” – Outfest Review

Read the full review here.

‘The Revival’: Film Review | Outfest 2017

David Rysdahl (center) in ‘The Revival.’

Jennifer Gerber’s feature debut is about a Southern preacher who has an affair with a troubled young man passing through town.

With an attention-grabbing hook and two riveting central performances, Jennifer Gerber’s feature directorial debut The Revival holds you in its grip even when it stumbles. Adapted from a 2010 play by Samuel Brett Williams, this striking, if erratic, drama about a Southern Baptist preacher succumbing to a very forbidden desire is hardly a game-changing or groundbreaking entry in the nebulous, gradually expanding genre that is queer cinema. But it is a worthwhile one, showcasing a pair of deeply gifted leading men and a promising new talent behind the camera. The Revival is also notable for its unblinking look at the excruciating inner tug-of-war between one man’s homosexuality and his religious devotion; the movie isn’t subtle or always persuasive, but it goes there, boldly and with integrity.

Films like Antonia Bird’s Priest (about a gay priest in Liverpool) and Sandi Simcha DuBowski’s moving doc Trembling Before G-d (about gay Orthodox Jews) have tackled similar subject matter — though the The Revival‘s setting amid small-town, working-class evangelicals feels particularly timely given the reinvigorated cultural war pitting Trump’s rural conservative base against urban “elites.” It’s a milieu the director knows well, having been raised by devout Christians in Hot Springs, Ark., where the play is set and the movie was shot. Gerber’s familiarity likely accounts for the confident, unshowy sense of place that’s one of the film’s key strengths.

There are shades of French master Claude Chabrol both in the broad outlines of The Revival — in its close study of a man’s guilt and a community’s rottenness beneath a squeaky-clean surface — and in Gerber’s approach: the brisk narrative rhythm, the slyly humorous juxtapositions (gay love scenes punctuated by glimpses of Eli driving home while listening to fiery sermons on the radio), Lucas Carey’s mischievous, mercurial score.

The Revival‘s portrayal of the vitriol reserved for gay people in conservative Christian communities is nothing if not unsparing. But given our ostentatiously pious vice president and his disturbing record on LGBT issues, there’s something urgent, even cathartic, about the film’s bluntness. And Gerber manages to add nuance through certain directorial choices, like her use of recordings by the Sacred Harp Singers of Cork. The stirring flights of church-choir harmony lighten the movie’s mood, suggesting that while there’s potential for violence and hatred in religion, there’s beauty, too.

Production companies: Natural State Films, Raptor Films
Director: Jennifer Gerber
Screenwriter: Samuel Brett Williams (based on his play)
Cast: David Rysdahl, Zachary Booth, Lucy Faust, Raymond McAnally, Stephen Ellis
Producer: Sophie Finkelstein
Co-producer/sales: Stephen Stanley
Executive producers: Cathleen Ihasz, Nicole Ihasz
Cinematography: John Wakayama Carey
Production design: Eimi Imanishi
Music: Lucas Carey
84 minutes

Voltage sparks with supernatural thriller ‘Bedeviled’

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Voltage Pictures is at the EFM talking up Bedeviled, a new supernatural thriller from The Vang Brothers.

President of international sales John Fremes and his team will present footage to Berlin buyers of the story about a seemingly harmless Siri-like app that manipulates the deepest fears of users to literally scare them to death.

Saxon Sharbino of the Poltergeist remake stars alongside Brandon Soo Hoo, Mitchell Edwards, Jordan Essoe, Carson Boatman, Victory Van Tuyl, and Alexis G. Zall.

Kirk Roos, Cheng Yang and Leng Yang produce the film and Stephen Stanley, Brad Brizendine and Scott P. Barlow are the executive producers.

 

Continue reading “Voltage sparks with supernatural thriller ‘Bedeviled’”

Ketchup Entertainment & Bridge Independent Ink Digital Deal

From Deadline.com. Click here for the full story.

EXCLUSIVE: Straight Outta Compton producer Bill Straus’ newly relaunched sales outfit Bridge Independent and indie distributor-financier Ketchup Entertainmentare teaming on a digital distribution pipeline for select titles from Bridge’s indie slate. The plan is to distribute 5-10 titles a year with a marketing push.

As a former executive at New Line, Straus in 2012 founded New York-based BGP Film, where he has repped recent pics including Darling, Buzzard, Through A Lens Darkly and Sweaty Betty.

“As Ketchup continues to expand its U.S. distribution business we are excited to partner with Bridge Independent,” said Stephen Stanley, Ketchup’s Head of Distribution and Acquisitions. “Bill Straus has repeatedly shown extraordinary vision in finding smart, commercial, and forward looking independent films and we’re excited to formalize an already great working relationship.” Continue reading “Ketchup Entertainment & Bridge Independent Ink Digital Deal”

New Project “BeDeviled” Announced on Deadline!

From Deadline.com. Click here for the full story.

From Deadline.com. Click here for the full story.

Interview with Filmback podcast!

I had the great pleasure of recording an episode of Filmback TV.  I met Claire when my short premiered at Macon Film Festival and was able to catch up with her later and discuss my filmmaking, my time in the industry, and advice for people just starting out on their creative journeys.  Check it out here (link to the podcast at bottom of page).