Focus Features Press
Focus Features Acquires worldwide rights to PARIAH
Posted January 28, 2011
NEW YORK, January 28th, 2011 – Focus Features has acquired worldwide rights to the contemporary drama Pariah, the debut feature from writer/director Dee Rees. Pariah world-premiered In Competition this past week at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Spike Lee is among the feature’s executive producers. Pariah is produced by Nekisa Cooper.
In tandem with the Pariah acquisition, Focus has engaged Ms. Rees to write a screenplay. The script deal is for a new feature-length film that the writer/director would conceive.
Pariah is one of the Festival’s most acclaimed entries this year; Kyle Smith of The New York Post wrote that Pariah is “emotionally satisfying…with a likeable and believable heroine at its core.” Andrew Barker of Variety wrote that actress Adepero Oduye gives “a wonderful lead performance.” The feature is an expansion of Ms. Rees’ short film of the same name, which screened at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Ms. Oduye, who had starred in the short film, portrays Alike (pronounced “ah-lee-kay”), a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell) and younger sister (Sahra Mallesse) in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the support of her best friend Laura (Pernell Walker), she is especially eager to find a girlfriend. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity – sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.
Focus Features CEO James Schamus said, “Dee Rees has made a debut film that celebrates with astonishing artistry the journey of a young woman who simply never gives up on the power of love. We’re thrilled to join her on this next step of a remarkable journey.”
“We’re thrilled to be working with Focus Features. They’re such smart marketers and they love movies, so that we knew Focus was the perfect home for Pariah. We are excited for the film to reach the broadest audience possible,” said Ms. Rees.
In addition to Mr. Lee, the executive producers of Pariah are Jeff Robinson, Sam Martin, Mary Jane Skalski, Susan Lewis, Ann Bradley, Stefan Nowicki, Benjamin Weber, Joey Carey, Julie Parker Benello, Wendy Ettinger, Judith Hefland, Douglas A. Eisenberg, and Matthew J. Simon.
Focus Features is making THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT available for SAG members on iTunes
Posted January 14, 2011
The Kids Are All Right Has Been Nominated for 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards
LOS ANGELES, January 14th, 2011 – Focus Features is inviting the nearly 100,000 Screen Actors Guild eligible voting members to screen its movie The Kids Are All Right in HD on iTunes for viewing on an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac or PC, or with Apple TV on their HD TV.
The Kids Are All Right, which is nominated for 3 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards®, is available to SAG members – pending confirmation of valid current ID – for a complimentary 24-hour rental any time from Friday, January 14th through Friday, January 28th, when voting for the SAG Awards closes.
The Kids Are All Right, directed by Lisa Cholodenko from the Writers Guild of America-nominated original screenplay that she wrote with Stuart Blumberg, is nominated for the following Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, and Josh Hutcherson); Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role (Annette Bening); and Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Mark Ruffalo).
“The movie is all about family, and now members of the SAG family will enjoy the opportunity and the flexibility to see the picture and experience the performances of the SAG Award-nominated cast – whether in a repeat viewing or for the first time with iTunes,” commented Focus president Andrew Karpen. The Kids Are All Right was made available to iTunes customers last November.
Screen Actors Guild members can obtain information on accessing their free 24-hour rental of The Kids Are All Right at www.focusawards2010.com/sag. The 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® will be simulcast live coast-to-coast on TNT and TBS on Sunday, January 30th, 2011, at 8 p.m. (ET), 7 p.m. (CT), 6 p.m. (MT) and 5 p.m. (PT) from the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles.
Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.
Focus Features and Focus Features International are part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.
ONE DAY sets summer release date of July 8
Posted January 13, 2011
NEW YORK, January 13, 2011 – Focus Features has announced a domestic theatrical release date of Friday, July 8, 2011 for One Day, directed by Lone Scherfig. David Nicholls has adapted his internationally praised and bestselling novel One Day into the screenplay for One Day. Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess star in One Day, a co-production in the unique partnership of Random House Inc.’s Random House Films division and Focus. The U.K.’s Film4 is co-financing. Nina Jacobson (the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies) is producing One Day, and Tessa Ross, controller, Film4 & Channel 4 drama, is executive-producing.
The book was #1 on both the hardcover and paperback bestseller charts in the U.K. It was published in the U.S. as a trade paperback original last June 15 by Vintage Books, a paperback imprint of Random House, Inc.’s Knopf Doubleday Group. One Day spent 12 weeks on The New York Times Trade Paperback Fiction Bestseller list, rising to the #4 position.
The New York Times Book Review named One Day among the 100 Notable Books of 2010. People called the novel “an instant classic,” while Entertainment Weekly cited it as “[a] surprisingly deep romance [that is] so thoroughly satisfying.”
The domestic run will commence in select cities, as a platform release; additional cities and theaters will be added later in the prime summer play period. Focus holds worldwide rights – excluding U.K. free-TV, held by Film4 – to the movie version. The U.K. release will commence on Thursday, September 29, 2011.
Academy Award winner Rachel Portman (Emma) has just been signed to compose the film’s original score. Filming took place last fall on location in the U.K., as well as in Scotland and France. Ms. Scherfig previously helmed the Best Picture Academy Award nominee An Education. Focus senior vice president, European production Teresa Moneo is supervising One Day with Focus director of production Matthew Plouffe for Focus president of production John Lyons. The film is also being supervised by Claudia Herr, executive story editor, for Random House Films president Peter Gethers.
Mr. Gethers commented, “This has been a wonderful process for all of us from beginning
to end: from working with David Nicholls on the tremendously successful Vintage publication of the novel; to working with Focus during the development and filmmaking process; to seeing the superb film that Lone Scherfig has made. We’re all extremely excited that, come July, audiences will get to experience the film – and so many more people will go out and discover the book.”
After only one day together in 1989, Emma Morley (played by Ms. Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (played by Mr. Sturgess) cannot stop thinking about one another. Over the next twenty years, key moments of their relationship are revealed on the same day – July 15th – of each year. Dex and Em face friendship and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.
In the unique multi-year filmmaking partnership between Random House Films and Focus, the companies develop movies together and co-finance and co-produce a substantial slate of feature films for theatrical release, all based on books published by Random House imprints in North America and internationally. Random House Films and Focus jointly acquire film rights for the books and partner together on script development, director selection, all phases of production, and marketing and publicity. Films co-produced by Focus with Random House Films are jointly owned, with Focus holding worldwide distribution and sales rights.