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Freestyle Digital Media Acquires VOD Rights to ‘State of the Unity’ – Film News in Brief

Freestyle Digital Media has acquired the North American VOD rights to “State of the Unity,” the 2022 deep-dive documentary about the history of music in America. The feature film will be available via internet, cable and satellite platforms starting Oct. 6.

The project started back in 2016, following the Brooklyn band The Bergamot on their U.S. tour through all 50 states. As they trekked cross-country roads, they offered people to scribe a “message of unity” on their station wagon they dubbed the Unity Car. “What ensued is a heartwarming tale of human perseverance, empathy and understanding during one of the most polarizing times in American history,” reads the film’s synopsis.

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Nathaniel Paul Hoff and Jillian Speece, directors and producers of the film, said in a statement, “Music is the great unifier that allowed us to travel to all 50 States peacefully bringing people together, and we spent 8 years making this film because we deeply believe in a better future for America.”

The “State of the Unity” deal was helmed by Freestyle Digital Media and Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films. Freestyle Digital Media is a subset of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group.

Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival Announces 2023 Lineup

The 16th Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival (LABRFF), which will take place at the Culver Theater in Culver City from Oct. 23-26, has announced the films comprising their 2023 lineup.

“Red Monet,” written and directed by Halder Gomes, will open the festival and “My name is Gal,” directed by Ferreira and Lô Politi, will close the festival. Other films featured include Gustavo Fernàndez’s “A Dangerous Practice,” José Eduardo Belmonte’s “A Happy Family” and Leonel Vieira’s “The Last Animal,” among many others.

“We kick off our 16th edition of LABRFF with an important mission: to continue to work very hard to promote the Brazilian cinema for the Latino community in the entertainment industry,” said Meire Fernandes, co-founder of LABRFF.

Learn more about the lineup and purchase tickets at labrff.com.

Bradley Cooper’s ‘Maestro’ to Close out AFI Fest

Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro” will close out AFI Fest on Oct. 29. The film, which screened at the Venice Film Festival to a 7-minute standing ovation, follows the life of legendary stage composer Leonard Bernstein and his relationship with Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan).

“’Mastro’ displays Bradley Cooper’s symphony of talent with the power of a cymbal crash,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “It is AFI’s honor to shine a light upon this extraordinary work of art on the festival’s Closing Night.”

Aside from directing and starring in the film, Cooper co-wrote the script with Josh Singer. The supporting cast includes Matt Bomer (as Bernstein’s lover), Maya Hawke (as Bernstein’s daughter Jamie) and Sarah Silverman (as Bernstein’s sister Shirley).

Casting Society Announces New 2023-2024 Board of Directors

Casting Society (CSA) has announced their new board of directors for the year. “Only Murders in the Building” casting director Destiny Lilly will serve as President for a second term. Steven Tylor O’Connor, who has worked on “13 Reasons Why,” will serve a second term as treasurer and Elizabeth Berra, who has worked on “Creed III” and “Pose,” will also serve a second term, this time as VP Governance. Becca McCracken, a casting director for the 2022 Tony award winning Court Theatre in Chicago, will serve as secretary.

Additionally, leadership has been decided for the European Chapter Board of Governors, with Cassandra Han as president, Gillian Hawser as vice president, Olissa Rogers as secretary and Claudia Blunt as treasurer.

Visit the CSA website for a full list of the new board of directors.

Kaitlyn Dever Comes Face to Face With an Alien Invader in ‘No One Will Save You’ Trailer

Kaitlyn Dever is battling an alien invader in the trailer for Brian Duffield’s thriller “No One Will Save You,” which is set to premiere via Hulu on Sept. 22.

Dever stars as Brynn Adams — a woman who comes face to face with an alien home invader. After seemingly being frightened by an unknown intruder, Brynn quickly realizes that this home invasion is unlike any other.

Brynn is forced to clean up the havoc of the strange creature which has wreaked chaos across her town. Throughout the trailer, she hides from the creature but also gains the courage to fight back, ultimately uncovering its mysterious (and chilling) nature. By the end of the trailer, audiences are left with a clip of Dever running away from a skinwalker, an insect hybrid creature.

Alongside Dever, Ginger Cressman, Zack Duhame, Geraldine Singer and Dari Lynn Griffin are set to star. Duffield helms “No One Will Save You” while Dever, too, joins as an executive producer with Joshua Throne. Jonathan Deiner serves as production executive alongside producers Brian Duffield, Allan Mandelbaum, Tim White and Trevor White.

Watch the full trailer below.

Visual Effects Society Announces New Inductees to VES Hall of Fame

The Visual Effects Society has announced the newest inductees to the VES Hall of Fame. Set to be inducted at a special event in October, the new Hall of Famers will include Samuel Z. Arkoff; Lawrence W. Butler; Wah Chang; Norman Dawn, ASC; W. Percy Day OBE; Marcel Delgado; Farciot Edouart, ASC; and Edward D. Wood, Jr. The honorees worked on a wide range of classic films including “King Kong,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Casablanca,” “Pinocchio” and many more.

“Our VES Hall of Fame honorees represent a group of exemplary and pioneering artists and innovators who have had a profound impact on the field of visual effects,” said VES Board Chair Lisa Cooke. “We are proud to recognize those who helped shape our shared legacy and continue to inspire future generations of VFX practitioners.”

Janusz Kamiński and Stephen Lighthill to Be Honored at 25th Annual Emerging Cinematographer Awards

The International Cinematographers Guild will be honoring Janusz Kamiński and Stephen Lighthill, ASC at the 25th annual Emerging Cinematographer Awards.

“We’re delighted to award two of the most influential film artists and practitioners of our craft at this year’s ECA ceremony,” said ECA chairs Steven Poster, ASC and Jimmy Matlosz.

Kamiński is an award-winning cinematographer and director who has worked as Steven Spielberg’s DOP for the last three decades. While with Spielberg, he earned two Oscars for best cinematography on “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan.” Kamiński will be honored with the Distinguished Filmmaker Award.

Lighthill has worked on numerous documentary projects and network news programs in his career including “Berkeley,” “Gimme Shelter,” and CBS’s “60 Minutes.” He previously served as ASC president and is now the current head of discipline of cinematography at the American Film Institute Conservatory. Lighthill will be awarded the ASC Mentor Award.

The ECA awards ceremony and showcase is set to take place on Oct. 1 at the Television Academy’s Saban Media Center Wolf Theater.

Motion Picture Studio Mechanics, I.A.T.S.E Local 52, Partners With Reel Works For Early-Career Program

Motion Picture Studio Mechanics, Local 52, will partner with Reel Works for the next edition of its MediaMKRS I.A.T.S.E Studio Mechanics Training Program that benefits electricians in the entertainment industry.

The program’s latest workshop cohort ran from April through July on-site at New York’s Silvercup Studios and Kaufman Astoria Studios through a new collaboration with The MBS Group, the industry’s largest studio operating production services.

“Local 52 is committed to promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion within our membership, offering opportunities to the underserved communities within our jurisdiction. Training programs like the one we participate in with Reel Works are one way we are able to put this value into practice,” said William “Dusty” Klatt, president of Local 52.

The I.A.T.S.E Studio Mechanics Training advances early-career professionals in the grip, electric, shop craft and prop departments of film/TV production.

“We’re thrilled to partner with I.A.T.S.E Local 52 and Reel Works to bring this remarkable training program to Silvercup and Kaufman Astoria Studios,” said Irene Phan, senior VP at The MBS Group, who spearheads the Illumination Training program. “Our shared mission is to develop the essential working skills required for students to build careers in the entertainment industry. It makes all the difference in the world for students to be learning in an actual studio setting.”

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