Gravitas Ventures Picks Up VOD Rights to Doc 'Fight to Live' (Exclusive)

Gravitas Ventures has picked up VOD rights to Fight to Live, the documentary from two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple. The film details the struggles of bringing a drug to market through the Fda and the many people that die waiting for "compassionate use" of the drug to be allowed. It's produced by Kopple alongside Glenn Rigberg, Carla Woods and Hilary Birmingham in association with Cabin Creek Films and Inphenate. Story: Indie Firestorm: What if VOD Revenue Was Made Public? Gravitas will release Fight to Live, which first premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival in 2012 before making the rounds

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Shia Labeouf to Star in The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman

Shia Labeouf has signed on to lead Dante Ariola’s “romantic actioner” The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman. Written by Matt Drake, Countryman centers on Charlie (Labeouf), a charming gent who falls in love with a girl who’s past association with an “insanely violent crime boss with a gang of thugs at his disposal,” proves slightly hazardous to Charlie’s health. However, Charlie’s willingness to keep getting his ass kicked in an attempt to woo Gabi may lead him to having his heart literally broken.

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman will be the feature film debut of Ariola, whose previous work includes commercials for Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Nike, Hp, and PlayStation. Drake’s script for Countryman was on the 2007 Black List (list of the best unproduced screenplay in Hollywood). Labeouf will next be seen in theaters this September in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
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Shia Labeouf Signs on for The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

Shia Labeouf to star as Charlie CountrymanShia Labeouf,one of Hollywood's most sought after young actors will star in The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman for Mandate Pictures. Dante Ariola will direct the romantic actioner from an original screenplay by Matt Drake. Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa of Bona Fide Productions will produce along with William Horberg. Dean Parisot and Mandate president Nathan Kahane will executive produce. Bona Fide's Carlo Martinelli will serve as a co-producer. Lawrence Grey will oversee the project on behalf of the company. Mandate has the film on the fast track toward a fall 2010 production. Lionsgate is launching international sales in Cannes next month.

Synopsis: Charlie Countryman (Labeouf) was just a normal guy... until he fell in love with the one girl who will probably get him killed. When Charlie meets the absolutely irresistible Gabi she's already been claimed by Nigel, an insanely violent crime boss
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Spotlight: Marcelo Zarvos

Brazilian-born composer Marcelo Zarvos slowly but surely makes his steps in the world of film music by gathering better and bigger credits. Having parallele careers in jazz and film music, Zarvos' first commercially released score was written for the Kim Basinger / Jeff Bridges drama The Door in the Floor. Since then, he worked on the nostalgic Hollywoodland and started collaborating with Robert De Niro on The Good Shepherd and the satiric What Just Happened. Zarvos He recently completed Taking Chance (released by Varese Sarabande) and by the time you read this, Lakeshore Records has already released his score to Sin Nombre.

What was the situation of film and film music in Brazil when you grew up?

Brazil's film industry has had many ups and downs and when I was growing up there wasn't much going on. The renaissance of Brazilian film really only happened in the 1990's when I
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Film review: 'What Happened to Tully' 'Tully' Nearly Wins Over / Birmingham's family farm tale features fine performances but can't finish what it starts

Based on an O. Henry Prize-winning story by Tom McNeal, director/co-writer Hilary Birmingham's feature debut is a straightforward tale of family farmers in the Midwest and, in particular, one young man's emotionally wrenching path to manhood.

Featuring standout performances by several cast members, including Anson Mount as the title character, "What Happened to Tully" won over audiences and critics at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, which closed April 18, claiming two awards. But the film is perhaps in need of more fine-tuning before it connects significantly with paying audiences. A modest theatrical release seems likely.

There are many good things about "Tully", from the leisurely pace devoid of shock techniques and flashy visuals to the believable characters and dialogue. With a background in documentaries, Birmingham brings a non-Hollywood sensibility to material that might have been more commercialized (with decidedly less-noteworthy results).

However, the forward momentum, particularly during the second half, gets bogged down in one-on-one scenes showcasing the actors' talents. One's fascination with such seemingly genuine characters begins to fade as they face thornier problems of crumbling family dynamics, looming foreclosures and a dark secret with potentially disastrous ramifications.

A tractor driver and all-around farm worker, Tully Coates (Mount) is handsome, rugged and a hit with the girls. Be it the projectionist at the local cinema or a "burlesque"-performing wildcat (Catherine Kellner), Tully has no shortage of candidates for summertime fun in and on top of his car out in the woods. Tully's brother Earl (Glenn Fitzgerald) is in his shadow, too shy and nervous to approach the girl he's interested in but not such a misfit that he won't eventually find happiness.

Returning for the summer from veterinary school, local girl Ella (Julianne Nicholson) is good friends with Earl, but from the start it's apparent that she's almost on the same wavelength as Tully. She makes fun of his promiscuous ways and finds amusement when things don't last. "What's it like to drive women crazy?" she asks jokingly. He's not sure if she's another potential conquest or something more serious.

Tully's quiet, introverted father (Bob Burrus) is grooming him to take over the farm, but there's minor friction over the former's girl trouble and Tully Sr.'s not including his son in decisions. The official story of Tully and Earl's missing mother is that she died 15 years earlier in a car crash, but the truth is something else. When the father is served a foreclosure notice as a result of someone mysteriously running up enormous medical bills, the sad facts start to come out.

Building to several heavily emotional scenes between father and sons, son and son or Tully and Ella, the film takes too long to reach the lovely final shot, but the journey is worth it. Mount ("Boiler Room") is impressive in a meaty role, exuding strength and confidence that should win him ardent fans. The freckled Nicholson ("The Love Letter") is a joy to watch, with her distinct looks and easygoing technique. Burrus ("Southern Comfort") is also superb as a man torn asunder inside. His scenes with Natalie Canerday ("October Sky") as a storekeeper are some of the film's sweetest and most memorable.

Filmed mostly in Nebraska and Iowa with Birmingham and cinematographer John Foster employing many long takes and much indirect lighting, "Tully" is visually satisfying, but the actors and scenery, as well as the dramatic force in several scenes, are undercut by Marcello Zarvos' distractingly routine score.


Tell Tale Films

Credits: Director: Hilary Birmingham; Screenwriters: Matt Drake, Hilary Birmingham; Based on a story by: Tom McNeal; Producers: Hilary Birmingham, Annie Sundberg; Director of photography: John Foster; Production designer: Mark White; Editor: Affonso Goncalves; Costume designer: Christine Vollmer; Music: Marcello Zarvos. Cast: Tully: Anson Mount; Earl: Glenn Fitzgerald; Ella: Julianne Nicholson; Tully Sr.: Bob Burrus; April: Catherine Kellner; Claire: Natalie Canerday. No MPAA rating. Color/stereo. Running time -- 104 minutes.

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