In The News:
NEW YORK, June 9th, 2016 – The world’s largest multicultural celebration, Loving Day (www.lovingday.org) is coordinated by the Loving Day Project to remember a love story. For a 13th consecutive year, Loving Day festivities commemorate the June 12th, 1967 anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court decision that ruled in favor of married couple Richard and Mildred Loving, who got the Court to reaffirm the very foundation of the right to marry.
NEW YORK, March 1st, 2016 – Focus Features is partnering with Time Inc. and The Advocate to debut the new digital short film documentary series We’ve Been Around today, Tuesday, March 1st @2:00 PM ET. The series, which shares previously untold histories of transgender pioneers, will premiere exclusively across three Time Inc. websites – People.com, EW.com, and Essence.com – as well as on Advocate.com.
NEW YORK, October 5, 2015 – Filming has begun locally on The Book of Henry, director Colin Trevorrow’s (Safety Not Guaranteed) first feature as director since this year’s blockbuster Jurassic World (which has grossed nearly $1.7 billion worldwide). Focus Features is overseeing the production and holds worldwide rights, including for domestic release.
PRAGUE, October 19, 2015 – Production has begun in the Czech Republic on The Zookeeper’s Wife, adapted from Diane Ackerman’s nonfiction book of the same name which was based on the diaries of Antonina Żabiński. Focus Features will release the film domestically; Universal Pictures International has distribution rights to the film in the U.K., France, Germany, Scandinavia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.
Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman narrates NBC Sports Films’ latest project, More Than Gold: Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympics, a one-hour documentary which chronicles Jesse Owens’ historic performance at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. Debuting Sunday, February 14, at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC, More Than Gold follows Owens’ journey during the Berlin Games, and explores the context and historical impact of the 1936 Olympics.
Focus Features has acquired the North American distribution rights to SUFFRAGETTE, directed by Sarah Gavron from a script written by Abi Morgan, for a Fall 2015 domestic release. SUFFRAGETTE is a moving drama that will empower all who are striving for equal rights in our own day and age. The stirring story, inspired by the early-20th-century campaign by the suffragettes for the right of women to vote, centers on Maud (played by Carey Mulligan), a working wife and mother who comes to realize that she must fight for her dignity both at home and in her workplace. Realizing that she is not alone, she becomes an activist alongside other brave women from all walks of life. The early efforts at resistance were passive but as the women faced increasingly aggressive police action, the suffragettes become galvanized - risking their very lives to ensure that women's rights would be recognized and respected. In addition to Mulligan, the cast includes Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw, Anne-Marie Duff, Brendan Gleeson, and Meryl Streep. Peter Schlessel, CEO of Focus Features, said, "SUFFRAGETTE is a story that will resonate with men and women across the generations; it is about parents and children, courage and dedication, and making hard choices. Sarah, Abi, Alison and Faye are women who represent an amazing convergence of filmmaking talent. We're proud to partner with Pathé to bring this powerful drama to audiences worldwide."
Focus Features's CEO Peter Schlessel announced today that THE DANISH GIRL will be released by Focus Features in exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles beginning Friday, November 27, 2015 and by Universal Pictures International overseas.
THE DANISH GIRL, directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper, is the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Einar and Gerda Wegener (being portrayed, respectively, by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander), whose marriage and work are cast into the unknown when Einar begins a groundbreaking journey to become one of the world's first transgender women, Lili Elbe. THE DANISH GIRL has been adapted into a screenplay by BAFTA Award nominee Lucinda Coxon, based on the novel of the same name by David Ebershoff. The film's cast also includes Matthias Schoenaerts (The Drop), Ben Whishaw (Skyfall), and Amber Heard (The Rum Diary). Mr. Schlessel commented, "In the tradition of Focus' history of epic and moving love stories, THE DANISH GIRL promises to be unforgettable. Tom Hooper is an extraordinary storyteller who always elicits beautiful performances from his actors. We are so pleased to be working with Eddie Redmayne again after our shared success with Working Title on THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING."
The magic continues. LAIKA and Focus Features, the companies behind Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls, today announced production on their fourth collaboration, Kubo and the Two Strings. LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight and Focus CEO Peter Schlessel made the announcement today.
Based on an original screenplay by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler (ParaNorman) and marking the directorial debut of Mr. Knight, Kubo And The Two Strings is a sweeping, swashbuckling adventure set in a mythical ancient Japan that will be brought to life with the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, Brenda Vaccaro and Art Parkinson (who will voice the character of Kubo). In the epic fantasy, scruffy, kindhearted Kubo ekes out a humble living while devotedly caring for his mother in their sleepy shoreside village. It is a quiet existence - until a spirit from the past catches up with him to enforce an age-old vendetta. Suddenly on the run from gods and monsters, Kubo's chance for survival rests on finding the magical suit of armor once worn by his fallen father, the greatest samurai the world has ever known. Summoning courage, Kubo embarks on a thrilling odyssey as he faces his family's history, navigates the elements, and bravely fights for the earth and the stars."
The movie, slated to open domestically on August 19th, 2016, will be first movie in the new three-picture partnership between LAIKA and Focus. "Kubo and the Two Strings is a rare gem," said Mr. Knight. "It's a gripping yarn woven from Japanese folktales and mythology, with lost civilizations, mystical origami, noble heroes, star-crossed lovers, and blood-curdling monsters. At once epic and intimate, Kubo is a funny, intense, and ultimately uplifting fairy tale draped in some of the most bizarre and exciting imagery I've ever seen. Most importantly, it's deeply moving. It's a story that means something, a story that deserves to be told. In short, it's a LAIKA movie. And with a poetic script, sublime cast, and our freakishly talented artists and craftspeople, Kubo will be a strange, stirring, and altogether stunning film. I can't wait to share it with the world." "LAIKA raises the bar on animated movies as a creative art," said Mr. Schlessel. "Each picture Focus does with them is unique yet identifiably theirs. Travis and Arianne have convened a wonderful group of animators, actors, and artisans to tell a story that moviegoers of all ages will be transported by."
The New York Times speaks with director James Marsh about what it was like to direct the story of Stephen and Jane Hawking in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. Fascinating video piece.
On MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes," KILL THE MESSENGER star/producer Jeremy Renner and director Michael Cuesta talk with Hayes about Gary Webb and the imporantance of getting his story out and onto the big screen with this movie. Smart stuff.