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‘WeRiseUP’ Documentary Featuring Moby & The Dalai Lama To Be Turned Into Long-Form TV Series

news-featured image WeRiseUP series

Deadline article by Peter White, November 14, 2019


EXCLUSIVE: Feature documentary WeRiseUP, which includes interviews with the likes of the Dalai Lama, Moby and Richard Branson, is set to be turned into a long-form TV series.

The doc, which had its world premiere at the Aspen Film Festival in September, is directed by Michael Shaun Conaway.

Tent City USA director and producer Steven Cantor, via his Stick Figure Entertainment, and Social Construct Films are now partnering with documentary producer and entrepreneur Kate Maloney and Storyworks to produce a series titled The World is Ending: Time to Rise Up.

The World is Ending: Time to Rise Up will show organizations and communities in action, working to find solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, and pairs them with a team of experts, resources, and connections. The teams will look to solve local crises, while aiming to scale solutions globally. The series will also provide resources to viewers who want to get involved or implement the ideas in their own community.

The film WeRiseUP is the brainchild of producer Kate Maloney and brings together social, political, and business leaders including the Dalai Lama, Secretary-Deputy of the United Nations Amina Mohammed, Blake Mycoskie, CEO of TOMS Shoes, Moby, John Mackey, Founder of Whole Foods, NBA star Dwight Howard and Richard Branson. The film questions cultural narratives of success, and looks at the world’s most pressing challenges.

Cantor and Jamie Schutz of Stick Figure are executive producing the series, along with Zak Kilberg of Social Construct Films, Kate Maloney, and Michael Shaun Conaway of Storyworks. Iz Web of Social Construct, Alex Melnyk of Storyworks and Jessica Cozzetta of Stick Figure, will serve as co-EPs.

The deal was negotiated by Anita Surendran of Ganderson Des Rochers. Stick Figure is represented by Paradigm.

“Ever since seeing this inspiring film at Aspen, we knew there was a bigger vision and movement possible,” said Schutz. “We’re beyond thrilled to be involved in this series project, which not only showcases the solutions that are available to us, but which actively solves global problems as part of the show.”

Judy Garland’s Manager & Female Power Agent Stevie Phillips’ Memoir To Be Adapted Into ‘Mad Men’-Style Television Series

news-featured image STEVIE

Deadline article by Peter White, November 13, 2019

 Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me, the memoir written by Judy Garland’s manager and female power agent Stevie Phillips, is being adapted into a ‘Mad Men’-style television series.

Athena Pictures, the new banner set up by Andra Gordon and Sarena Khan, and American Entertainment Investors, which has backed feature films including Hotel Mumbai, are developing the project.

Stevie, written by Gordon, who worked on Tatiana Maslany-fronted feature The Other Half, will tell the story of Phillips’ rise from secretary to tour manager to agent to producer in a pre-MeToo era.

Having started as a secretary, working for MCA’s Freddie Fields and David Begelman, under the glare of Lew Wasserman, she moved with the pair to Creative Management Associates, where she became Judy Garland’s “shadow”. Phillips went on to manage Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli as well as Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, George Roy Hill, Bob Fosse, Cat Stevens, and David Bowie. Sue Mengers, who worked with Stevie at CMA, will also be featured.

The series is being exec produced by Gordon and Khan and Zak Kilberg of Social Construct Films as well as Scott Winant, the Good Girls Revolt and Californication exec producer who won an Emmy for his work on Thirtysomething. Winant will direct the pilot episode. Jon Levin of Fourward produces and Phillips will be a consulting producer.

Gordon said, “Stevie is a true inspiration who paved the way for women in the entertainment industry. She is an unapologetic, strategic force of nature who in her own words ‘learned to play her cards close to her chest and never fold.’ I’m honored to be able to tell her story, which reflects many other women’s stories coming up in the business, including my own.”

Winant added, “I’m thrilled to be a part of this compelling project that brings to light the life of an extraordinary woman. Stevie Phillips broke gender barriers and became a true pioneer in the industry. I’m especially excited to collaborate with Andra and Sarena, who represent the next generation of female powerhouses.”

Winant is represented by UTA and Fourward. Athena Pictures is represented by CAA.  Elsa Ramo of Ramo Law PC and Chris Matson of SmithDehn LLP negotiated the book deal.

Finally, a Mad Men–Style Show About Judy Garland’s Hollywood

news-featured image STEVIE

Meet Garland’s high-powered female agent, Stevie Phillips.

Ryan Murphy, look away. This does not concern you. There’s a new TV show in the works about Stevie Phillips, the high-powered female manager and agent for Judy Garland. Phillips also managed numerous other stars, including Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli, Bob Fosse, Robert Redford, Henry Fonda, David Bowie, and more. Yes, this does seem like something that would spawn forth from the Murphyverse, but somehow, it has not.

Deadline reports that Stevie is an adaptation of Phillips’s 2015 memoir Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me. The book is described as a dishy examination of one woman’s journey from being a Mad Men–era secretary in Manhattan to managing some of the biggest stars of the day, as well as a look at Garland’s tumultuous career. Stevie will also include time spent with Sue Mengers, the legendary agent and a close friend of Phillips. (She’s the “Sue” in the memoir title.) A brief New York Times review of the book characterized it as an unsparing, if cruel, look at some of the legendary figures in Phillips’s life, namely Garland. Phillips writes bluntly about Garland’s issues, including allegations that the star self-harmed.

The show will be developed by Athena Pictures, the newly created shingle from producers Andra Gordon and Sarena Khan; Gordon will pen the script, per Deadline. “Stevie is a true inspiration who paved the way for women in the entertainment industry,” Gordon tells the outlet. “She is an unapologetic, strategic force of nature who in her own words ‘learned to play her cards close to her chest and never fold.’”

The show is not yet attached to a streaming service or network, nor have any actors been announced as part of the cast. But it’s certainly well-timed. Stevie will arrive after the success of Judy, the biopic starring Renee Zellweger as the late icon; Zellweger is predicted to be an Oscar frontrunner thanks to her tip-top performance. The show also arrives on the heels of news that Darren Criss is set to star in Hollywood, a Netflix show about the town’s golden age in the 1940s. Hollywood is created by…Ryan Murphy. Who should definitely not be reading any of this right now.

Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim and Shailene Woodley will join the previously announced Benedict Cumberbatch in Prisoner 760, directed by Kevin Macdonald

GD cast announce news

An exciting announcement from Social Construct’s joint venture, Convergent Media!

Screen Daily article by Orlando Parfitt, November 1, 2019 

Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim and Shailene Woodley will join the previously announced Benedict Cumberbatch in Prisoner 760, directed by Kevin Macdonald.

The film is based on Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir, GUANTÁNAMO DIARY and tells the story of a man captured by the US government and his desperate fight for justice. Michael Bronner wrote the screenplay, with shooting set to begin in South Africa on December 2, 2019.

STXinternational, a division of STX Entertainment, is handling international rights and will be distributing in the UK and Ireland. STX will introduce the project to buyers at this year’s American Film Market (AFM).

Cumberbatch is producing with  Adam Ackland and Leah Clarke for their company SunnyMarch, alongside Lloyd Levin and Beatriz Levin for Black Sheep Pictures,  Mark Holder and Christine Holder through Wonder Street and Branwen Prestwood Smith. Michael Bronner also serves as producer.

Financiers are 30West and Topic Studios with BBC Films, which also developed the project. Executive producers are 30West’s Micah Green, Dan Steinman and Dan Friedkin, Topic Studios’ Maria Zuckerman and Ryan Heller, BBC Films’ Rose Garnett, and Convergent Media’s Russell Smith and Zak Kilberg. Larry Siems and Mohamedou Ould Slahi are co-producers.

UTA Independent Film Group helped structure the financing on behalf of the filmmakers and are representing the US sale with 30West.…

Bella Thorne to Star in “The Friendship Game”

Bella Thorne

From article – Bella Thorne Starring in Sci-Fi Horror Movie ‘Friendship Game’ by Dave McNary
May 9th 2019:

Bella Thorne will star in science-fiction horror movie “The Friendship Game,” directed by Scooter Corkle.

Daniel Bekerman of Scythia Films is the producer. CAA and Tannaz Anisi’s 13 Films are launching sales at the Cannes Film Festival, which opens May 14. Production will start in August in Vancouver.

Corkle is direction from a script by Damien Ober, whose credits include writing segments for Netflix’s sci-fi series “The OA.” “The Friendship Game” follows a group of teens in a small town as they come across a strange object that tests their loyalties to each other with increasingly destructive consequences the deeper into the game they go.

Thorne was the lead on the Freeform series “Famous in Love,” which was canceled last year after two seasons. Her other credits include Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up” and the films “Blended,” “The DUFF,” “You Get Me,” “Amityville: The Awakening,” “The Babysitter,” “Midnight Sun” and “Assassination Nation.”

“The Friendship Game” is the second feature gig for Corkle, who previously directed “Hollow in the Land,” starring Dianna Agron. Thorne and Ober are also executive producers of “The Friendship Game”  along with Gabriel Chicoine, Zak Kilberg of Social Construct Films and Anisi and Greg Schenz for 13 Films.

Thorne is repped by CAA and Thor Bradwell of Thirty Three Management, while Corkle is represented at CAA and Grandview. Ober is repped by WME and Echo Lake Entertainment.


More News:

“The Song of Sway Lake” set for September Release

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After enjoying a successful festival run beginning nearly one year ago at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 21st, 2017, “The Song of Sway Lake” is set for release with The Orchard and Kew Media this coming fall. 

Though the festival run is now winding down, the film is still set to screen at several international festivals through the end of the year. The German premiere will take place later this month at Munich International Film Festival, followed by the Italian premiere at Ischia Film Festival on July 3rd, 2018.

The film was presented by Kew Media Group at the international film market at Cannes Film Festival last month. 

The film, which Variety called “Engaging”, is set for a limited theatrical release beginning September 21st, 2018. It will become available for VOD and digital HD shortly after on September 25th, 2018.

The U.S. rights to the film have been acquired by The Orchard, who negotiated the theatrical run and VOD deal with Benjamin Weiss and Derek Kigongo of Paradigm and attorney Orly Ravid from MSK.

The film is a nostalgic, character driven piece that focuses heavily on weathered family relationships and lost glamour. During an interview with Sarah Delpizzo for LA LifestyleAri Gold spoke on the powerful presence of the character Ollie Sway, played by Rory Culkin

“Whether or not it is a real spirit, there is a malevolence in the energy of a suicide that could kill him. Rory Culkin is someone who carried that, you could see it in his face, the risk that he might go off the deep end. When he smiles it’s heartachingly beautiful, because you know how hard it is for someone carrying that kind of weight to actually smile” said Gold. 


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