Venice Fest Reveals Robust Lineup Featuring Hollywood Stars and International Auteurs by Casey Manley

Nick Vivarelli, Variety, July 29th

ROME — The Venice Film Festival has unveiled a potentially strong lineup with enough studio/specialty titles toplining A-list stars — including Jake Gyllenhaal (“Everest”), Johnny Depp(“Black Mass”) and Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”) — to boost its role as a classy awards-season platform, plus new works by Charlie Kaufman, Alexander Sokurov, Amos Gitai, Marco Bellocchio and many other high-caliber international auteurs.
Venice’s cutting-edge Horizons section, which Barbera called “the other competition,” mixes esoteric entries with known names such as American actor Brady Corbet’s “The Childhood of a Leader,” toplining Robert Pattinson; Dito Montiel’s post-apocalyptic war thriller “Man Down,” starring Shia LaBeouf as former U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer; French film journo Nicolas Saada’s “Taj Mahal,” a thriller set against the backdrop 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack starring Stacy Martin; and Algerian auteur Merzak Allouache’s “Madame Courage,” about a North African immigrant in Paris, who is addicted to a psychotropic drug, after which the film is named. Allouache was namedVariety‘s Arab Filmmaker of the Year in 2013, when his previous feature, “The Rooftops,” screened in Venice.
The fest’s main jury, headed by Alfonso Cuaron, includes Elizabeth Banks and Diane Kruger alongside Turkish auteur and 2014 Palme d’Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan; Poland’s Pawel Pawlikowski, the director of Oscar foreign-language film winner “Ida”; French author, screenwriter and director Emmanuel Carrere; Taiwanese helmer Hou Hsiao-hsien, who won director at Cannes this year for “The Assassin”; Italian director Francesco Munzi (“Black Souls”); and British director and screenwriter Lynne Ramsay (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”).

Fest will run Sept. 2-12.

“Madame Courage,” Merzak Allouache (Algeria, France, U.A.E.)
“A Copy of My Mind,” Joko Anwar (Indonesia, South Korea)
“Pecore in erba,” Alberto Caviglia (Italy)
“Tempete,” Samuel Collardey (France)
The Childhood of a Leader,” Brady Corbet (U.K., Hungary, Belgium, France)
“Italian Gangster,” Renato De Maria (Italy)
“Wednesday, May 9,” Vahid Jalilvand, Iran
“Mountain,” Yaelle Kayam (Israel)
“A War,” Tobias Lindholm (Denmark)
“Interrogation,” Vetri Maaran (India)
“Free in Deed,” Jake Mahaffy (U.S., New Zealand)
“Boi Neon,” Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil, Uruguay, Netherlands)
“Man Down,” Dito Montiel (U.S.)
“Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?,” Hadar Morag (Israel, France)
“Un monstruo de mil cabezas,” Rodrigo Pla (Mexico)
“Mate-me por favor,” Anita Rocha Da Silveira (Brazil, Argentina)
“Taj Mahal,” Nicolas Saada (France, Belgium)
“Interruption,” Yorgos Zois (Greece, France, Croatia)

Venice International Film Festival Announces the 2015 Lineup by Casey Manley

- No Film School, July 29, 2015

Coming on the heels of TIFF 2015 announcements, we've now got the films playing the 72nd Venice International Film Festival.

There are a few carryovers from Toronto in the competition section, including Cary Fukunaga's newest film Beasts of No Nation, which is actually going straight to Netflix. We've also got the new films from Drake Doremus, Atom Egoyan, and Tom Hooper, and Martin Scorsese's insanely expensive short The Audition, which stars Robert De Niro, Brad Pit, and Leonardo DiCaprio. In addition, there is the animated film Anomalisa, directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, which successfully Kickstarted $406,237 in September 2012, and is now appearing in both Toronto and Venice three years later.

Orrizonti (Horizons)

o    NEW EYES [SHORT FILMS] director Hiwot Admasu (France, Germany)
o    MADAME COURAGE director Merzak Allouache (Algeria, France, United Arab Emirates)
o    E.T.E.R.N.I.T. [SHORT FILMS] director Giovanni Aloi (France)
o    A COPY OF MY MIND director Joko Anwar (Indonesia, South Korea)
o    EN DEFENSA PROPIA [SHORT FILMS] director Mariana Arriaga (Mexico)
o    VIOLENCE EN RÉUNION [SHORT FILMS] director Karim Boukercha (France)
o    PECORE IN ERBA director Alberto Caviglia (Italy)
o    TEMPÊTE director Samuel Collardey (France)
o    THE CHILDHOOD OF A LEADER director Brady Corbet (United Kingdom, Hungary, Belgium, France)
o    ITALIAN GANGSTER director Renato De Maria (Italy)
o    IT SEEMS TO HANG ON [SHORT FILMS] director Kevin Jerome Everson (USA)
o    CHAHARSHANBEH, 19 ORDIBEHESHT (WEDNESDAY, MAY 9) director Vahid Jalilvand (Iran)
o    HOU (MONKEY) [SHORT FILMS] director Shen Jie (China) — Animation
o    MOUNTAIN director Yaelle Kayam (Israel)
o    KRIGEN (A WAR) director Tobias Lindholm (Denmark)
o    VISAARANAI (INTERROGATION) direcrtor Vetri Maaran (India)
o    FREE IN DEED director Jake Mahaffy (USA, New Zealand)
o    BOI NEON director Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil, Uruguay, Netherlands)
o    MAN DOWN director Dito Montiel (USA) Mpower Pictures

Hollywood Partners with Hawai'i by Casey Manley

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hawai’i has a long history of being a filming location for Hollywood movies.   From Bing Crosby’s romantic comedy “Waikiki Wedding” in 1937, to last year’s remake of “Godzilla”, where Waikiki is destroyed by the bullet-proof atomic monster.  Rarely have our stories been told by our storytellers and produced for a global audience.

Third generation Hollywood filmmaker Steve McEveety and producer of such epics as “Braveheart”, “The Passion” and the recent “Man Down” along with his company MPower Pictures is partnering with Hawaii based Jumping Flea Productions and Big Island filmmaker David L. Cunningham to adapt the Hawaiian cowboy story of Ko’olau for the big screen.   This true story, memorialized by author Jack London in the short story “Ko’olau the Leper” takes place in1893 just after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy when a famed paniolo and his son contract the dreaded leprosy also known as the “separating disease”.   Tricked by the new provisional government, Ko’olau takes his wife and son deep into Kauai’s valleys to live out their final days in peace.   Perceived as an embarrassment to the new Republic of Hawaii government, headhunters, mercenaries and even a Civil War hero are contracted to hunt down the Hawaiian family.  Ko’olau’s skill on horseback, rifle and local knowledge of the valleys prove to be too much for his pursuers.  Eventually, after three years of constant pursuit, Ko’olau and his family are granted amnesty when their story hits international press.

Known for helping pioneer Hawaii independent filmmaking with his hit indie “Beyond Paradise”, Kona boy and Konawaena High graduate David L. Cunningham went on to be a studio director in Hollywood and has now developed this movie with veteran screenwriter John Fusco.  Fusco is known for writing such hits as “Young Guns”, “Hidalgo”, and Netflix’s “Marco Polo” and the upcoming sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. 

Cunningham returned home from Los Angeles to his four generations of family members in the islands to help support Hawai’i based filmmaking.  “It has been my life-long pursuit to make movies in Hawai’i about Hawai’i.  There are so many footnotes in our history that need to be told.  Although we are very grateful for visiting productions, we are not only a filming location.  We have a voice and that voice needs to be heard.   I believe that a healthy partnership with Hollywood and producers like Steve who really get it is a significant leap forward.”

Producer Steve McEveety has recently been spending more time in Hawai'i - “I have close family members that live in the islands and have worked in Hawaii’s film industry for many years.  Hawai’i has a special place in my heart and deserves to have its filmmaking community grow to the place where it can develop and produce its own movies.  New Zealand and other communities have done this.  "What has been great to learn is the tremendous diversity Hawai'i has to offer to filmmakers.  11 of the 13 climates zones, the bustling city of Honolulu, new studios and incentives , we are excited to produce more projects here" said MPower Pictures President John Shepherd successfully – I believe it is time for Hawai’i.   I am thrilled to partner with David Cunningham, John Fusco and this team of Hawai’i based filmmakers.   I started our company MPower Pictures to empower the storyteller and their vision.  I believe that this special, true story of Ko’olau and his family can be Hawai’i’s “Braveheart”.  I am honored to play a role in bridging Hawai’i and Hollywood.”

Jumping Flea Productions (the translation of “ukulele”) is a graduating company from the GVS Accelerator which is a recent public/private program that is generating Hawai’i based media companies.  Jumping Flea Productions received $50,000 in development seed financing from the Accelerator Program which was named one of the top 50 most innovative accelerators in the nation. As a successful graduate of the Program, Jumping Flea also has the opportunity to tap $250,000 in matching follow-on investment from the Accelerator Fund. Production of "Ko'olau" will be done entirely in the State of Hawai’i and will receive the 25% production and post production rebate for the outer islands.

Applications for the GVS Accelerator begins August 1 at

Named one of the 50 most innovative accelerators in America by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Hawaii’s “GVS Accelerator” is announcing its second cycle.  

A partnership between Global Virtual Studio (GVS), the Hawai’i Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), the County of Hawai’i and the GTA Development Fund, the Accelerator aims to empower Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs to launch their original transmedia franchises. The program is based out of Honua Studios in Kona on Hawai’i Island and will accept applications from August 1st through August 31st.  This year individual entrepreneurs/producers may apply as well as startup teams - the former to be “match-made” with selected startup companies. 

The program includes a $50,000 seed investment and access to entertainment and innovation industry insiders such as producer Ralph Winter (“X-MEN,” “Fantastic Four” and “Planet of the Apes”), Academy Award nominated screenwriter Tab Murphy (“Gorillas in the Mist,” “Tarzan” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”), Mike Frank (co-founder of Level 3 Communications) and Lance Priebe (creator and co-founder of Club Penguin).  Last year, the Accelerator selected five companies from more than 100 applicants.

Successful graduates of the program can now tap up to $250,000 in matching funds (in addition to the $50,000 seed funds for development) if they raise at least 25% of their follow-on budget in private equity and secure product distribution.  The first round’s cohort is now in the follow-on fundraising phase with graduate Jumping Flea Productions currently in talks with MPower Pictures’ Steve McEveety (“Man Down,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “Braveheart”) to co-produce “Jack London's Ko'olau the Leper.”  Production will be done entirely in the State of Hawai’i and will receive the 25% production and post production rebate for the outer islands.

Selected startups will soon have the benefit of the new cutting-edge broadband tools of GVS Connect, a spinoff startup of GVS that is pioneering a broadband pilot program in partnership with the HSDC that will utilize broadband connectivity, virtual collaboration and digital asset management.  The connectivity will allow Honua Studios to connect to over 400 major studios and post production companies on a private and secure, dedicated line in partnership with Sohonet Media Network.  GVS Connect will have hubs on both Hawai’i Island and Oahu, and will open up “self serve data transfer” services to the general public where up to 10GB of burstable connectivity will be accessible.  GVS Accelerator Founder and “Chief Instigator”  David L. Cunningham states, “We hope to pave a way for big data transfer in the islands which will open up new opportunities for Hawai’i entrepreneurs.”

The GVS Accelerator was chosen as one of the top 50 most innovative accelerators in the nation from over eight hundred accelerators in America by the SBA.  This honor came with a $50,000 award that helped to build out a new sound recording studio and 7.1 surround sound screening room at the Accelerator’s Co-Work Space at Honua Studios.  Other Program sponsors include Hawaii’s Creative Industries and Creative Lab, Hawaii International Film Festival, the High Technology Development Corporation, Big Island Gigs, and the Hawai’i Visitors & Convention Bureau.

If you are an entrepreneur in the creative industries and would like to apply to the Accelerator, please visit for more information. 

Hollywood Reporter: Toronto: Shia LaBeouf, Kate Mara and Gary Oldman to Star in ‘Man Down’ by Casey Manley

Shia LaBeouf, House of Cards star Kate Mara and Oscar-nominated actor Gary Oldman have signed on to star in Man Down, a psychological thriller from director Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints).

Screenwriter Adam Simon (Synapse) penned the script to Man Down, about an Afghanistan war veteran haunted by his experiences who is searching for his family in a post-apocalyptic America.

The Solution Entertainment is handling international sales for the project and will be pitching it to buyers at the Toronto Film Festival... Continue Reading

Shia LaBeouf, Kate Mara, Gary Oldman to Star in Mpower Picture's ‘Man Down’ by Casey Manley

Variety September 4, 2014

Shia LaBeoufKate Mara and Gary Oldman will star in the psychological thriller “Man Down,” with shooting commencing Oct. 30 in New Orleans.

The Solution Entertainment Group is handling international rights and will present the project to buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Producers are Dawn Krantz, Stephen McEveety and Jon Burton. Dito Montiel (“A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints”) will direct from a screenplay by Adam Simon (“Synapse”).

Lisa Wilson and Myles Nestel from The Solution are exec producing “Man Down” alongside Roger Goff, Russell Geyser and Clay Pecorin.

The film follows a haunted Afghanistan war veteran who attempts to come to terms with his past while searching for his family in a post-apocalyptic America.

“When I read the script for the first time I knew it was something very special,” said Krantz, who produced “Doonby.”... Continue reading

Snowmen Distributed Worldwide by Casey Manley

Mpower is partnering with companies worldwide to distribute the film Snowmen across multiple regions. Look forward to releases in Latin America, Poland, Turkey and Benelux in the coming months.

Snowmen is currently available in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada on DVD.

Synopsis: A surprising discovery in the snow catapults three small-town boys into the spotlight. When their instant celebrity fades, the boys hatch a plan to set a Guinness World Records® title ensuring their names will never be forgotten.  Along the way, the trio battles schoolyard bullies, unites their community and discovers that while fame may be fleeting - true friendship lasts forever.  The film stars Bobby Coleman (Last Song), Ray Liotta (Wild Hogs), Bobb’e J. Thompson (Role Models), Josh Flitter (Ace Ventura Jr.) and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future).

Snowmen Receives Distribution in Latin America by Casey Manley

Look forward to Snowmen’s Latin American debut on July 1st. The film will be made available on pay TV throughout the region on July 1, 2013.

Synopsis: A surprising discovery in the snow catapults three small-town boys into the spotlight. When their instant celebrity fades, the boys hatch a plan to set a Guinness World Records® title ensuring their names will never be forgotten.  Along the way, the trio battles schoolyard bullies, unites their community and discovers that while fame may be fleeting - true friendship lasts forever.  The film stars Bobby Coleman (Last Song), Ray Liotta (Wild Hogs), Bobb’e J. Thompson (Role Models), Josh Flitter (Ace Ventura Jr.) and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future).

For more information on the film’s release contact:

Machine Gun Preacher Nominated for a Golden Globe by Casey Manley

Machine Gun Preacher has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Song. The song, ‘The Keeper’, was written by and performed by Chris Cornell.

Film Synopsis:

Gerard Butler (300) delivers a searing performance in Golden Globe-nominated director Marc Forster’s (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland) moving story of violence and redemption. When ex-biker-gang member Sam Childers (Butler) makes the life-changing decision to go to East Africa to help repair homes destroyed by civil war, he is outraged by the unspeakable horrors faced by the region’s vulnerable populace. Sam breaks ground for an orphanage in the middle of territory controlled by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a renegade militia that forces youngsters to become soldiers before they even reach their teens. Childers leads armed missions deep into enemy territory to retrieve the kidnapped children, restoring peace to their lives - and his own. The explosive, real-life tale of a man who has rescued over a thousand orphans from starvation, disease and enslavement, Machine Gun Preacher also stars Michelle Monaghan (Due Date) and Academy Award® nominated Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road).