Focus Features Press
Production Beginning on PROMISED LAND
Posted April 24, 2012
Directed by Gus Van Sant and written by & starring Matt Damon, John Krasinski
Gus Van Sant, a two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Director, is directing Promised Land, a contemporary drama from an original screenplay written by John Krasinski and Matt Damon, based on a story by Dave Eggers. Participant Media is co-financing the movie, for which Focus will hold worldwide rights and commence overseas sales at the Cannes International Film Festival in May. Filming begins this week in Pennsylvania for release next winter. Focus president of production Jeb Brody made the announcement today.
Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) is executive-producing Promised Land with Mr. Van Sant and Ron Schmidt (Bandslam). Mr. Damon and Mr. Krasinski are producing the movie with Chris Moore. Mr. Moore co-produced Good Will Hunting, which brought its stars and co-writers, Mr. Damon and Ben Affleck, the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Mr. Van Sant earned his first Oscar nomination for directing Good Will Hunting; his second came for directing Focus’ Milk, which won two Academy Awards. Mr. Krasinski previously starred for Focus in Away We Go, which was co-written by Mr. Eggers. Mr. Damon previously starred for Participant in Contagion.
In addition to Mr. Damon and Mr. Krasinski, the cast of Promised Land includes Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), Academy Award nominee Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild), Scoot McNairy (Monsters), Titus Welliver (The Town), and, in her fourth film for Focus, Academy Award winner Frances McDormand. The movie’s crew includes Linus Sandgren (Shelter) as cinematographer, Dan Clancy (The Dilemma) as production designer, and Juliet Polcsa (The Sopranos) as costume designer.
Mr. Damon plays Steve Butler, a corporate salesman who arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (Ms. McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Mr. Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Mr. Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally.
Mr. Krasinski commented, “Matt and I wanted to write a story about American identity. In all of today’s political and economic rhetoric, I feel people often lose sight of the deeper, core principles of what defines us as a country. We knew we needed to find a contemporary issue that would serve as the backdrop to the story but, more importantly, allow us to fully explore this idea.”
Mr. Brody said, “Matt and John’s script is rich in Frank Capra-esque qualities, blending humor and heart while exploring the power of community in this day and age. An actor’s director like Gus will bring forth all the emotions in the story, which is a true passion project for everyone. We’re proud to be making Promised Land with Participant as our creative and financial partner.”
Focus World partnering with Tugg, Inc. to release Nacho Vigalondo’s EXTRATERRESTRIAL
Posted April 17, 2012
Sci-Fi comedy to be released simultaneiusly in theatres and via video on demand
Focus World, the unique alternative distribution initiative owned and operated by Focus Features, will distribute Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo’s science fiction comedy Extraterrestrial in partnership with Tugg, Inc. The movie will be released in theaters and via video on demand (VOD) beginning Friday, June 15th, 2012, and will also be available for audiences nationwide to create their own theatrical screenings through the Tugg platform. The announcement was made today by Focus President Andrew Karpen. The deal was closed by Avy Eschenasy, Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning, Business Affairs and Acquisitions, with Kent Sanderson, Director, Alternative Content & Distribution.
The unique distribution strategy will provide moviegoers with the opportunity to see Extraterrestrial both theatrically, via Tugg, as well as through Focus World’s digital distribution network. While also being available to filmgoers across the country through Tugg, Extraterrestrial will have an initial theatrical release in select cities including Brooklyn, NY (at reRun’s Gastropub Theater) and Seattle, WA (at the Uptown Theatre), on June 15th; North Hollywood, CA (at Laemmle’s Noho 7), on June 22nd; and in Texas (at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations) in June.
Tugg’s collective action web-platform will complement the established theatrical and VOD options by giving viewers in additional cities the ability to bring Extraterrestrial to their local theater. Through Tugg, an individual can create personalized theatrical screenings by selecting the date, time, and theater of their choice, and then spreading the word to their friends and fellow film fans. Once enough people commit to attending, the event will be confirmed and fans can host their own screening of the movie. To request a screening through Tugg, visit www.tugg.com/extraterrestrial; for more information on how Tugg works, visit www.tugg.com/howtuggworks.
In Extraterrestrial, a world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, Spanish writer/director Nacho Vigalondo follows up his cult feature Timecrimes by way of another sly and unexpected twist on a sci-fi genre – an alien-invasion tale. Two strangers in Madrid, fresh off a one-night stand, find their morning after disrupted by a suspicious neighbor, a jealous ex, and a mysterious flying saucer suddenly hovering over the city. Entertainment One will release Extraterrestrial on DVD later in the summer.
“We’re thrilled to be able to bring Nacho’s work back to audiences in the United States. This strategy allows his fans to see Extraterrestrial either on the big screen with an audience, or in the comfort of their own homes,” said Focus’ Avy Eschenasy.
Launched in 2011, Focus World identifies and curates the most exciting voices in international and independent cinema. Part of Focus Features’ multi-platform strategy, Focus World presents titles of genuine vision and originality as premiere releases on EST, iVOD, and VOD, along with DVD and other formats.
Focus World has also confirmed another new selection, Worried About the Boy, which tells the life story of George O’ Dowd, better known to the world as Boy George. Douglas Booth, the star of this month’s PBS miniseries Great Expectations as well as the upcoming movie Romeo and Juliet, portrays George. Worried About the Boy is currently available on VOD and iTunes, where it can be owned exclusively for a limited time.
Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall Begin Production on John Crowley-Directed International Suspense Thriller
Posted April 16, 2012
Supporting Cast, Crew Set for U.K. Shoot
Production begins next week in the U.K. on Focus Features and Working Title Films’ untitled international suspense thriller starring Eric Bana (of Focus’ Hanna) and Golden Globe Award nominee Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Town) for director John Crowley (Boy A). The original screenplay is by Steven Knight, Academy Award nominee for Dirty Pretty Things and BIFA Award nominee for Focus’ Eastern Promises.
Rounding out the cast are British Independent Film Award nominee Riz Ahmed (Four Lions); Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent (Iris); Olivier Award nominee Kenneth Cranham (An Inspector Calls); BAFTA Award nominee Anne-Marie Duff (Nowhere Boy); in his fifth film for Focus, Ciarán Hinds (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy); and Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Julia Stiles (Dexter). Adriano Goldman (Focus’ Jane Eyre) is the feature’s cinematographer; Jim Clay and Natalie Ward, both of Focus’ The Debt, are the production designer and costume designer, respectively.
Mr. Bevan and Mr. Fellner are producing the film with Chris Clark (The Guard), and Working Title’s Liza Chasin is executive producer. Focus holds worldwide rights to the feature, and will commence overseas sales at the Cannes International Film Festival in May.
In the thriller, two ex-lovers, Martin (to be played by Mr. Bana) and Claudia (Ms. Hall), find their loyalties tested and their lives at risk when they are joined together on the defense team in a terrorism trial.
Working Title Films, co-chaired by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner since 1992, is one of the world’s leading film production companies. Founded in 1983, Working Title has made nearly 100 films that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide. Its films have won 6 Academy Awards, 30 BAFTA Awards, and prestigious prizes at the Cannes and Berlin International Film Festivals. The company’s 2012 slate includes Baltasar Kormákur’s Contraband, starring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale, which recently posted the company’s all-time biggest domestic box office opening weekend; Les Misérables, directed by Tom Hooper and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway; and Joe Wright’s epic love story Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Aaron Johnson.