Sept. 24, 2014 LOS ANGELES, CA -- Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that the company is acquiring all U.S. rights to Liv Ullmann's MISS JULIE. The film, which premiered earlier this month at The Toronto International Film Festival, stars two-time Academy Award® nominee Jessica Chastain (THE TREE OF LIFE, THE HELP, ZERO DARK THIRTY), Golden Globe® winner Colin Farrell (IN BRUGES, TOTAL RECALL) and Academy Award® nominee Samantha Morton (THE MESSENGER, IN AMERICA). With a screenplay by Ullmann based on the August Strindberg play, the film was produced by Synnøve Hørsdal, Oliver Dungey, and Teun Hilte. Wrekin Hill will release the film in theaters in December 2014.
The film, an adaptation of the classic Strindberg play, is set during the course of a midsummer night in Ireland in 1890. It centers around the unsettled daughter (Chastain) of Anglo-Irish aristocracy, who encourages her father’s valet (Farrell) to seduce her. The valet is already engaged to the cook (Morton), which complicates matters even more.
"We are thrilled to be involved with such a captivating film and we look forward to bringing this incredible film which features mesmerizing performances by Chastain, Farrell and Morton to U.S. audiences," said Rene Cogan, COO of Wrekin Hill.
The deal for MISS JULIE was negotiated by Ball and Cogan for Wrekin Hil, with CAA on behalf of the filmmakers. Wild Bunch is handling all foreign sales.
Ullmann was born in Tokyo and raised in Toronto, the United States, and Norway. Her long filmography as an actor includes Persona (66),The Emigrants (71), Cries and Whispers (72), Scenes from a Marriage (73), Face to Face (76), The Serpent's Egg (77), The Bay Boy (84), and Saraband (03). Her films as director include Sofie (92); Kristin Lavransdatter (95) Faithless (00) and Miss Julie (14).
Wrekin Hill has a multi-year U.S. home entertainment distribution deal with Lionsgate, and a three-year multi-platform output deal with Canadian distributor eOne. The company's upcoming releases include the animated film YELLOWBIRD starring Seth Green and Dakota Fanning, and THE PHYSICIAN starring Ben Kingsley and Oliver Martinez.
Feb. 10, 2014 BERLIN, GERMANY (February 10, 2014) -- Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that the company is acquiring all North American rights to Christian De Vita’s 3D animated feature YELLOWBIRD from TeamTO and Haut & Court. The film, which is currently in production, is written by Antoine Barraud and Guilhem Lesaffre with Cory Edwards (HOODWINKED). Based on fantastic artwork by Benjamin Renner (ERNEST AND CELESTINE), YELLOWBIRD features the voices of Seth Green, Dakota Fanning, Danny Glover, Elliott Gould, Jim Rash and Christine Baranski. Wrekin Hill will release the film in theaters in Fall 2014.
Charting a path from Europe to Africa, YELLOWBIRD is the epic story of a young teenage bird so scared to venture out into the world that he nearly misses the fun of discovering who he really is.
"We believe that YELLOWBIRD will capture the imagination of children, teens and adults alike. It is a beautifully written story about the power of self-discovery and community that will surely take audiences on an incredible emotional journey with its characters," said Ball. "With films like FROZEN and THE NUT JOB showing strength at the U.S. box office, it is clear that there is a real hunger for satisfying family entertainment."
TeamTO producer Corinne Kouper says: "YELLOWBIRD is both a fable and a touching human comedy about self-realization. We are thrilled to work with Wrekin Hill as our American distributor."
The deal for YELLOWBIRD was negotiated by Rene Cogan, CFO/COO and Alex Mandell, Director of Acquisitions for Wrekin Hill with Simon Crowe for UK-based SC Films International on behalf of the filmmakers.
Wrekin Hill has a multi-year US home entertainment distribution deal with Lionsgate, and a three-year multi-platform output deal with Canadian distributor eOne. The company's most recent acquisitions include Bille August’s NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON starring Jeremy Irons, Melanie Laurent and Charlotte Rampling; and Gabriele Salvatores' upcoming DEADLY CODE starring John Malkovich.
Oct. 31, 2013 - Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that the company is acquiring all North American rights to Donovan Marsh's South Africa-set heist thriller iNUMBER NUMBER. The film, with a screenplay by Marsh, stars S'dumo Mtshali and Presley Chweneyagae. The film was produced by Quizzical Pictures' Harriet Gavshon, JP Potgier, Marsh and Mariki Van Der Walt; and executive produced by Nim Geva and Owen Kessel. The film recently had its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Wrekin Hill is planning a nationwide limited theatrical day-and-date release in the Spring of 2014. Universal Pictures' announced earlier this week that it bought remake rights to the film.
Set in South Africa, iNUMBER NUMBER follows Chili Ngcobo (S'dumo Mtshali), an honest and ambitious undercover cop who is cheated from a major reward by his corrupt supervisors. He decides to then infiltrate a cash-in-transit heist gang, and instead of busting them, he decided to participate in a one-off score. He must then face off against his partner Shoes (Presley Chweneyagae), who refuses to let him do it and one of the gang members who recognizes him as a cop.
Commented Ball: "Donovan Marsh has crafted a tremendously tense heist thriller with an extraordinary South African cast. Universal Pictures was smart to acquire remake rights to this film, and we believe that audiences will also truly blown away by the original version here. It was one of those gems at the Toronto Film Festival this year that we feel very fortunate to have found."
The deal for iNUMBER NUMBER was negotiated by Alex Mandell, Director of Acquisitions and Rene Cogan, CFO/COO for Wrekin Hill with Nate Bolotin and Aram Tertzakian for XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers. Universal's planned remake is being produced by Chris Morgan, Emile Gladstone and Aram Tertzakian of XYZ Films.
Wrekin Hill has a multi-year US home entertainment distribution deal with Lionsgate, and a three-year multi-platform output deal with Canadian distributor eOne. The company's upcoming slate includes Bille August's NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON starring Jeremy Irons, Melanie Laurent and Charlotte Rampling; and Gabriele Salvatores' SIBERIAN EDUCATION starring John Malkovich.
Sept. 19, 2013 - The $14m film recounts the story of a trophy hunter who clashes with a crypto-zoologist over the hunt for a dragon-like creature in the jungle. The UK's Scott Adkins also stars.
Wrekin Hill plans a day-and-date early 2014 release. CFO Rene Cogan and director of acquisitions Alex Mandell brokered the deal with GFM's Fred Hedman.
GFM is currently in pre-production on director Asger Leth's The Job with producer Lucas Foster, as well as animation Secret Defenders based on the Slinky toy.
Wrekin Hill has a multi-year US home entertainment distribution deal with Lionsgate and a three-year multi-platform output deal with Canadian distributor eOne.
The company's upcoming slate includes Bille August'sNight Train To Lisbon starring Jeremy Irons, Melanie Laurent and Charlotte Rampling, as well as Gabriele Salvatores' Siberian Education starring John Malkovich.
May 19, 2013 - Chris Ball, President and CEO of Los Angeles-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today from the 2013 Cannes Film Festival that the company is acquiring U.S. rights to Gabriele Salvatores' SIBERIAN EDUCATION. Based on the novel by Nicolai Lilin, with a screenplay by Sandro Petraglia, Stefano Rulli and Salvatores, the film stars John Malkovich, Arnas Feravicius, Vilius Tumalavicius, Eleanor Tomlinson, Peter Stormare, Jonas Trukanas and Vitalji Porsnev. SIBERIAN EDUCATION was produced by Catteya's Riccardo Tozzi, Giovanni Satabilini, Marco Chimenz, and executive produced by Gina Gardini. The deal for the film was negotiated by Rene Cogan and Alex Mandell for Wrekin Hill with WestEnd Films on behalf of the filmmakers. WestEnd is handling international sales on this title. Wrekin Hill will release the film in late 2013.
SIBERIAN EDUCATION, set in the ghetto of Soviet Russia, follows the path of two boys who are members of a gang of exiled Siberians. The best friends grow up together, mastering a unique education focused on illegal arts such as theft, banditry and weaponry. Their clan has its very own stringent code of honor, which, while criminal, sometimes actually coincides with what is generally considered ethical and moral. It is a code that must never be broken, no matter what. As the boys turn to men, everything they have come to know and learn is tested.
"Gabriele Salvatores has crafted a tense and disturbing drama about the Eastern European criminal underworld that we found completely fascinating," says Wrekin Hill Co-Founder/Partner Rene Cogan. "We are proud to be able to bring this film to audiences in the U.S."
The film has already been released in several territories including Italy where it has already taken in more than $6 million at the box office.
May 9, 2013 - Chris Ball, President and CEO of Los Angeles-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that the company is acquiring U.S. rights to acclaimed filmmaker Bille August's international thriller NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON from K5 International. Based on the best-selling novel by Pascal Mercier, with a screenplay by Gregg Latter and Ulrich Herrmann, the film boasts an award-winning cast that includes JeremyIrons, Jack Huston, Melanie Laurent, Martina Gedeck, August Deihl, Bruno Ganz, Lena Olin, Christopher Lee and Charlotte Rampling. Studio Hamburg FilmProduktion and C-FILMS AG Zuerich produced the film, in co-production with C-Films Deutschland GmbH, Cinemate Portugal and with Tele Muenchen Group. NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON made its world premiere at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival, and Wrekin Hill will release the film in the U.S. later this year.
NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON follows Swiss professor Raimund Gregorius (Jeremy Irons) who meets a beautiful and mysterious young Portuguese woman in Berne. Through her, he learns of a mesmerizing book by Portuguese author Amadeu de Prado, which compels him to spontaneously abandon the boring life he has led, and to embark on an enthralling adventure in Lisbon.
"This film boasts a dream cast of actors, and having them all in one film is an incredible feat," says Ball. "I have been a fan of director Bille August ever since he made Pelle the Conqueror, and I'm proud to be bringing his newest film to U.S. audiences."
"NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON is now very much a proven success with international audiences voting with their pockets!" says K5 Co-Founders Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur. "Having Wrekin Hill now on board for the U.S. shows how universally powerful this story is."
The deal for the film was negotiated by Ball and Rene Cogan for Wrekin Hill with Carl Clifton at K5.
NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON was financed with support from FFHSH, FFA, MBB, DFFF, Eurimages, Media, Zuercher Filmstiftung, Bundesamt für Kultur BAK, ICA, and by Schweizer Fernsehen SRF and Teleclub. Filming took place in Berne, Switzerland and in Lisbon, Portugal.
The film has already been released successfully inseveral foreign territories including Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and in Germany, where the film's German distributor Concorde has already seen the film surpass the $5 million mark at the box office. K5 is handling all international sales.
September 11, 2012 - Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that the company is acquiring all North American rights to Morgan O'Neill and Ben Nott's surf drama DRIFT. The film, with a screenplay also by O'Neill and an original story by O'Neill and Tim Duffy stars Myles Pollard (WOLVERINE), Xavier Samuel (TWILIGHT ECLIPSE), Sam Worthington (AVATAR,) and Lesley-Ann Brandt (SPARTACUS.) Tim Duffy, Michele Bennett and Myles Pollard produced the film for World Wide Mind Films. Wrekin Hill is planning to release the film theatrically in early 2013.
In DRIFT, brothers Andy and Jimmy Kelly have one great passion: riding big waves. Free-spirited Jimmy (Samuel) is a gifted surfer and innovator but starts to slip towards a life of crime to help his family out of debt. Quitting a stable job, Andy (Pollard) bets on Jimmy's surf inventions and his own business skills and launches a backyard surf gear enterprise. They rethink board design, craft homemade wetsuits and sell their merchandise out of their van. After they get mixed up with a local drug dealer, it looks like everything they built up will be ruined and that surfing, the one thing that has bound them together, may ultimately smash them apart. Set in stunning locations and inspired by the true story of Australia's legendary surf wear moguls like Quiksilver, Billabong and Rip Curl, DRIFT is a rags to riches story of passion and corruption, friendship and betrayal, and the will to survive against all odds.
Commented Ball: "Morgan O'Neill and Ben Nott have made a fantastic film that will not only keep audiences at on the edge of their seats with its breathtaking surfing action but that is also an insightful and emotional look at the power of family ties. We are incredibly excited to be on board with a film that sports such phenomenal talent as Sam Worthington, Xavier Samuel and Myles Pollard."
Noted O'Neill and Nott: "We set out to make a film for surfers and non-surfers alike, where the unrelenting human drama is as compelling as the big wave surf action, a modern day Big Wednesday. We're stoked to be working with Wrekin Hill to bring it to the big screen."
The deal for DRIFT was negotiated by Ball and Rene Cogan for Wrekin Hill with Gregory Chambet at TF1 and Executive Producer Peter Lawson on behalf of the producers.
June 7, 2012 - Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that the company will open the overseas phenomenon THE INBETWEENERS in the U.S. on September 7, 2012.
Created, written and executive produced by Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, produced by Chris Young, and directed by Ben Palmer, the movie is based on the hugely popular and multi award-winning British TV series of the same name, and also stars original cast members Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison, and Joe Thomas.
The British answer to AMERICAN PIE, THE INBETWEENERS is a racy comedy about four uncool friends (Will, Jay, Simon and Neil) who go on their first vacation to Greece in search of high times and wild sex - with no parents, no teachers, no money, and little to no chance with the ladies.
THE INBETWEENERS was the UK box office smash of 2011, spending four weeks as the UK's #1 film. The film broke several records, including the biggest opening week ever for a live action comedy at the UK box office. It went on to see its final British box office total over $70 million, and nearly $100 million worldwide.
"I love this film, and it's no surprise to me that this film stood at the very top of the UK box office alongside THE KING'S SPEECH, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 and TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY when it hit theaters there," says Ball. "We think American audiences will be equally charmed and 'offended' by this film."
Creators Morris and Beesley added: "We're delighted that our film is being released by Wrekin Hill in the US, and hope that in the year of the Jubilee and Olympics it can go some way towards restoring a balanced view of the British.
In the UK it spent as long at the top of the box office as the final Harry Potter film, and we will be delighted if Americans take these four other British teenagers to their hearts in the same way."
eOne will release THE INBETWEENERS: THE COMPLETE SERIES, a complete DVD set of the original British TV series on July 17, 2012.back to top
May 9, 2012 - Rene Cogan, Chief Operating Officer of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that the company is acquiring North American rights to writer-director Kerry Bellessa's found footage thriller AMBER ALERT. The film, which was co-written by Joshua Oram, stars Summer Bellessa, Chris Hill and Jasen Wade. Kerry and Summer Bellessa produced the film along with Trevor Engelson, with Oram and Nicholas Osborne executive producing. Wrekin Hill plans to release AMBER ALERT day and date in theaters and on VOD in early Fall 2012.
The film follows best friends Nate and Samantha, who stumble upon the car described in an Amber Alert while filming their audition video for a popular reality television show. With police slow to respond, the two friends fight to stop a possible child molester before it's too late.
Noted Cogan: "AMBER ALERT is an immensely entertaining thriller and an exciting addition to our slate. We're thrilled to be in business with Kerry Bellessa and his talented young cast."
Commented Bellessa: "AMBER ALERT has been a passion project from the beginning and having the film seen in theaters has already exceeded my wildest dreams. I'm grateful for Wrekin Hill and couldn't ask for a better company to work with."
The deal for AMBER ALERT was negotiated by Cogan and Chris Ball for Wrekin Hill with Mark Ankner and Deborah McIntosh at WME GLOBAL on behalf of the filmmakers.back to top
January 19, 2012 - LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), a leading diversified global entertainment company, and Wrekin Hill Entertainment, an LA based film production and distribution company, in association with Row 1 Productions, announced today their multi-tiered release strategy to distribute the Academy Award® winner Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez action thriller DARK TIDE. Wrekin Hill Entertainment, in association with Row 1 Productions, acquired the US rights to director John Stockwell's deep sea adventure for theatrical exhibition. Lionsgate, as part of its agreement with Wrekin Hill Entertainment will release the film on Video-on-Demand (VOD), Electronic Sell-Through (EST) and packaged media. The distribution plan leads off with a three week Ultra VOD window on March 8th with a theatrical release on March 30th, culminating in a packaged media and Digital Download release.
"The star power that Halle Berry brings to DARK TIDE paired with a genre that hits VOD audiences make it a perfect addition to our Ultra VOD strategy." said Jim Packer, Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television and Digital Distribution.
Noted Chris Ball, President and CEO of Wrekin Hill Entertainment: "We are thrilled to be working with our partners at Lionsgate to attack the U.S. with this terrifying suspense thriller. Our multiplatform release assures that audiences across the country will have the opportunity to be bitten by DARK TIDE."
Director John Stockwell (BLUE CRUSH, INTO THE BLUE) returns to the ocean with the thrilling feature DARK TIDE starring Academy Award® winner Berry and award-winning actor Martinez in their first on-screen roles together. The film, written by Amy Sorlie and Ronnie Christensen and based on a story by Sorlie, was produced by Jeanette Buerling and Matthew Chausse.
Kate (Berry) is a shark expert whose business has been failing since a shark attack killed a fellow diver under her command. Once dubbed "the shark whisperer," Kate is haunted by the memory of the attack and unable to get back into the water. With bills piling up and the bank about to foreclose on Kate's boat, Kate's old flame Jeff (Martinez) presents her with a lucrative opportunity: lead a thrill-seeking millionaire businessman on a dangerous shark dive…outside the cage. Battling her self-doubts and fear, Kate accepts the proposal -- and sets a course for the world's deadliest feeding ground: Shark Alley.
The deal for DARK TIDE was negotiated by Ball and Rene Cogan for Wrekin Hill and Brandt Andersen on behalf of Row 1 Productions, with Stuart Ford and Jonathan Deckter of IM Global on behalf of the filmmakers.back to top
January 12, 2012 - Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that the company is acquiring U.S. rights to director Ben Palmer's UK box office phenomenon THE INBETWEENERS. Iain Morris and Damon Beesley penned the script for the film, which is based on the award-winning British TV series of the same name. The film stars James Buckley, Blake Harrison, and Joe Thomas, with Christopher Young serving as the producer. Shane Allen, Head of Comedy at Channel 4, executive produced the picture with Beesley and Morris. Wrekin Hill plans to release theatrically in the U.S. in the late Spring of 2012.
THE INBETWEENERS was fully financed by UK's Channel 4 Television through its Film4 and 4DVD divisions. The film has seen great success in the UK, having grossed nearly $70 million at the British box office to date since it opened in British theatres in August 2011. Additionally, it has grossed over $10 million in Australia/New Zealand. MTV is also currently shooting an American version of the television series. The original television series was commissioned for Channel 4's digital entertainment channel E4.
The UK's answer to AMERICAN PIE, THE INBETWEENERS is a raunchy teen comedy about four loser friends navigating their way through life armed only with their hormones. Step into a world of humiliation and awkward moments as Will, Jay, Simon and Neil go on their first vacation to Greece in search of high times and wild sex - with no parents, no teachers, no money, and little to no chance with the ladies.
Noted Ball: "With the tremendous response that THE INBETWEENERS has received from audiences overseas, we are exceptionally excited to be bringing this film to the U.S."
Commented Young: "We are all very excited at the prospect of THE INBETWEENERS reaching a new audience in the United States following its huge success with British audiences."
The deal for THE INBETWEENERS was negotiated by Ball and Rene Cogan for Wrekin Hill with Stuart Ford and Jonathan Deckter of IM Global on behalf of Channel Four and the filmmakers.back to top
December 6, 2011 - Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, and Joel Weinshanker, President and CEO of the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA), a movie merchandising powerhouse that has become an essential tastemaker for the all-important Fanboy culture, announced today that they have jointly acquired Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock's fanboy documentary COMIC-CON EPISODE IV - A FAN'S HOPE. The film will be released theatrically in Spring 2012 in conjunction with a multi-city tour of the film with major events for film and merchandising fans across the nation. Additionally, as a supplement to Wrekin Hill and NECA's plans, the film will screen at various fan gatherings and have an online presence via one of the film's producers, Thomas Tull, and his Legendary Entertainment.
"As a young kid growing up in West Virginia, I was obsessed with comic books and horror films so the first time I ever attended Comic-Con in the summer of 2009 was a dream come true for me. I was blown away by the passion and the creativity there -- the panels, parades, costumes, crowds and camaraderie that makes Comic-Con one of the largest cultural events in America," said Spurlock. "As a filmmaker, I felt compelled to show audiences what Comic-Con is all about and I am now excited to have the film in the hands of Wrekin Hill and NECA to help do that."
Presented by Stan Lee and Joss Whedon, COMIC-CON EPISODE IV - A FAN'S HOPE takes a behind-the-scenes look at this amazing cultural phenomenon where fans gather by the tens of thousands annually to attend the ultimate geek mecca in San Diego --- a fringe comic book convention that has grown into the pop culture event of the year. The film was produced by Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick, Matthew Galkin, Harry Knowles and Thomas Tull; and written by Spurlock and Chilnick.
"I have been a Morgan Spurlock fan ever since SUPER SIZE ME, and this film – which wowed audiences at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival – should win over additional fans for Spurlock's fascinating look at what has become the Superbowl of fanboy events," says Ball.
"In the spirit of the film, we plan to go out on the road with the filmmakers to cities across the country so that fans and audiences can see the film in large theaters and small arenas, with Q&As, contests, give-aways and all sorts of special cultural presentations," says Weinshanker.
The Spurlock acquisition marks the latest joint acquisition by Wrekin Hill and NECA as part of a strategic partnership whereby the two companies will join to distribute four to five titles theatrically each year. Previous titles this year have included Spencer Susser's HESHER, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, and Rainn Wilson; Alexandre O. Phillipe's documentary comedy THE PEOPLE VS GEORGE LUCAS and writer/director J.B. Ghuman Jr's colorful and foul-mouthed musical comedy SPORK.
Ball and Rene Cogan negotiated the deal for Wrekin Hill with Weinshanker at NECA, with attorney Gary Hirsch representing both Wrekin Hill and NECA, and CAA handling the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.back to top
November 7, 2011 - Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that his company, in association with Row 1 Productions, have acquired the North American distribution rights to award-winning Chinese director Zhang Yimou's (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero) and producer Zhang Weiping's THE FLOWERS OF WAR starring Academy Award® winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Dark Knight). The film has been selected as this year's official foreign language entry for China at the Academy Awards. Wrekin Hill, in association with Row 1, will open the film in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in late December 2011 and the film will then expand through early 2012.
THE FLOWERS OF WAR will have a wide release in China on December 16th following three premiere events in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Chris Ball, President and CEO of Wrekin Hill said, "THE FLOWERS OF WAR just blew me away. Not only is it incredibly powerful but the artistry is absolutely sensational. We are really excited to be bringing this wonderful film to North American audiences. It follows in the tradition of some of the classic films we have had the privilege of releasing over the past decade. I am also thrilled that Row 1 shares our passion for the film."
Producer Zhang Weiping said: "We were very impressed by the passion that Wrekin Hill and Row 1 showed for the film. Their aggressive release strategy coupled with their desire to focus on an effective awards campaign for THE FLOWERS OF WAR immediately captured our attention. We are thrilled to be in their very capable hands and in bringing this powerful and emotionally engaging film to North American audiences."
Based on a screenplay by Heng Liu (The Story of Qiu Ju), THE FLOWERS OF WAR is adapted from Geling Yan's historical novel 13 Flowers of Nanjing. The film is a work of historical fiction set against the backdrop of the Rape of Nanking, a brutal chapter in the Sino-Japanese War, which was a significant event in Chinese history. Produced and fully financed by Zhang Weiping under his New Pictures Film banner, THE FLOWERS OF WAR is inspired by true life events, and tells a genuine story of hope, love and sacrifice.
Set in 1937, Nanking stands at the forefront of a war between China and Japan. As the invading Japanese Imperial Army overruns China's capital city, desperate civilians seek refuge behind the nominally protective walls of a western cathedral. Here, John Miller (Bale), an American trapped amidst the chaos of battle, and the ensuing occupation, takes shelter, joined by a group of innocent schoolgirls and thirteen courtesans, equally determined to escape the horrors taking place outside the church walls.
THE FLOWERS OF WAR is executive produced by David Linde, Chaoying Deng, and Bill Kong. International Sales are handled by Glen Basner and FilmNation Entertainment.
The deal was negotiated by executive producers Linde and Deng along with attorney Stephen Saltzman of Loeb & Loeb on behalf of the filmmaker, Zhang Weiping, by Chris Ball and Rene Cogan on behalf of Wrekin Hill and Brandt Andersen on behalf of Row 1.back to top
October 25, 2011 - Wrekin Hill Entertainment along with NECA Films announced today they have acquired US rights to STUCK BETWEEN STATIONS, a new drama from director Brady Kiernan featuring standout performances by rising indie stars Sam Rosen (THE ORANGES) and Zoe Lister-Jones (BREAKING UPWARDS), and supported by Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos") and Josh Hartnett. The film is written by Nat Bennett and Sam Rosen, and produced by Todd Cobery, Spencer Kiernan, Sam Rosen and Brady Kiernan.
Casper, a young soldier home on leave, has a chance run-in with his childhood crush, now a grad student coping with conflicts of her own. In one night, the two traverse a striking Minneapolis cityscape, growing closer but knowing they will inevitably have to part ways at dawn.
Wrekin Hill is releasing STUCK BETWEEN STATIONS theatrically at Brooklyn's ReRun Theater on November 4th and in Minneapolis at St. Anthony Main Theater December 16th, with further dates TBA. The film will be available on DVD and VOD through Lionsgate in March of 2012.
"STUCK BETWEEN STATIONS features wonderful performances from Sam Rosen and Zoe Lister-Jones and they are perfectly complimented by the rest of the cast," said Wrekin Hill Entertainment's President and CEO Chris Ball. "The filmmakers have skillfully created a terrific film and we're proud to be bringing it to theaters."
The deal was negotiated for Wrekin Hill by Chief Operating Officer Rene Cogan, with Kevin Iwashina and Christine D'Souza of Preferred Content working on behalf of the filmmakers.back to top
September 25, 2011 - Independent Film From the Producer of "Funny Or Die" Shot on University of Michigan Campus, Stars Christopher Gorham, Arielle Kebbel, Chris Parnell and Kip Pardue
"Answer This!" the independent film made by brothers Michael and Christopher Farah, has been acquired by Chris Ball and Rene Cogan's Wrekin Hill Entertainment along with NECA Films, and is slated for a Midwest theatrical release with a Detroit premiere on October 13, 2011, followed by an opening in five other markets.
"The Farah brothers are incredible talents and we at Wrekin Hill are delighted to be working with them," says Ball, who has an amazing track record with indie classics.
"Answer This!" was shot entirely on the University of Michigan campus and is the first movie the university has ever allowed to use its name – not to mention shoot a scene in a live football game at the Big House. The film stars Christopher Gorham ("Covert Affairs"), Arielle Kebbel ("Vampire Diaries"), Chris Parnell ("30 Rock," "SNL") and Kip Pardue ("Remember the Titans"), in an authentic college story set at the University of Michigan about friends who would rather discuss women, drink beer and play pub trivia than figure out what to do with their lives.
Michael Farah, who produced the film, is President of Production at Funny Or Die. Last summer he took a two-month hiatus from Funny Or Die, and returned to his Ann Arbor, MI hometown to shoot the film with his brother Chris, who wrote and directed the film. Chris, who has collaborated with Mike on Funny Or Die videos, is a former journalist who contributed to The New York Times, Salon.com and Foreign Affairs Magazine.
"We're incredibly excited to be working with Wrekin Hill and Chris Ball, whose team has so much experience getting classic indies out to the world," says Mike Farah. "Our movie is an authentic college story with a true Middle-America aesthetic, so starting our theatrical release in the heartland is a great way for us to tap into our core audience as we branch outward."
After its limited run, "Answer This!" will be released in DVD and VOD in 2012, by Lionsgate as part of a multi-year US home entertainment distribution deal between Lionsgate and Wrekin Hill Entertainment. The October 13 Detroit premiere will be a red carpet charitable event hosted at the new Emagine Theater in Royal Oak and sponsored by Variety, the Children's Charity, and the anti-bullying movement Defeat The Label. For more information on the movie, go to answerthismovie.com, facebook.com/answerthismovie or @answerthismovie on Twitter.back to top
March 14, 2011 - Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, and Joel Weinshanker, President and CEO of the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA), a movie merchandising powerhouse that has become an essential tastemaker for the all-important Fanboy culture, announced today a strategic partnership whereby the two companies will join to distribute four to five titles theatrically each year. The first film to be released and marketed theatrically via this new partnership will be Spencer Susser's HESHER, which screened last night at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival. A Wrekin Hill release of a Newmarket/NECA/Corner Store Entertainment presentation acquired in conjunction with Newmarket Films, the film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, and Rainn Wilson. The film has been set for a May 13th opening in major markets across the country.
Wrekin Hill and NECA have also partnered to acquire and release Alexandre O. Phillipe's documentary comedy THE PEOPLE VS GEORGE LUCAS (which premiered at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival) (all rights in English-speaking territories excluding Canada) and writer/director J.B. Ghuman Jr's colorful and foul-mouthed musical comedy SPORK (which premiered last year at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival) (all North American rights) . Both films will be released in 2011.
Wrekin Hill is also launching a new genre label called Underhill Films. In addition to the theatrical titles that Wrekin Hill intends to release with NECA, the companies will also partner on the release of a broad spectrum of DVD and VOD titles for Underhill Films. The first acqusitions for Underhill Films are Suri Krishnamma's mind-bending thriller LOCKED IN starring Ben Barnes and Elza Dushku, and writer/director Brian A. Metcalf's fantasy horror film FADING OF THE CRIES starring Brad Dourif.
Wrekin Hill and Underhill releases will benefit from home entertainment distribution via Wrekin Hill's ancillary output deal with Lionsgate, as well as Canadian distribution via Wrekin Hill's Canadian output agreement with eOne.
NECA makes this move into feature film distribution following its recent purchase of the assets of Hollywood Movie Gallery, one of the largest movie and game rental companies in the United States, giving NECA access to millions of moviegoers around the country and expanding NECA's already well-established relationship with movie-loving consumers via its merchandising business. NECA has handled the merchandising for virtually every major horror franchise (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, FRIDAY THE 13TH, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, HALLOWEEN, HELLRAISER, SAW) and for some of the coolest directors in the business (Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Zack Snyder, just to name a few). NECA also brings to its new foray into distribution deep and long-standing relationships with major retailers across the country through which NECA sells over 10 million units of specialty entertainment merchandise yearly.
"The Wrekin Hill team has built a reputation working on such classic indie films as MEMENTO, DONNIE DARKO, THE PRESTIGE and BOONDOCK SAINTS, films that helped ignite the "Fanboy" culture that now dominates the mainstream. The partnership of Wrekin Hill and NECA will create an unprecedented presence within the marketplace: genuine, trusted voices introducing films to the Fanboy community and guiding the conversation about them, from the earliest press announcement through the on-going life of the brand. We are thrilled to be launching this partnership with Spencer Susser's fantastic film HESHER," says Ball.
Adds Weinshanker: "We are excited to bring the power of the NECA community and the resources of the Hollywood Movie Gallery acquisition to the world of film distribution. We are uniquely positioned to market these films in innovative ways via our direct relationships with movie lovers. Our colleagues at Wrekin Hill are the perfect partners for this endeavor. We love their taste, their ingenuity and their drive, and are looking forward to our collaboration."
Told through the eyes of 13-year-old TJ, HESHER is a dark fairy tale about an eccentric unhinged drifter who appears out of nowhere to help a struggling family deal with loss in the most unconventional of ways. Directed by Spencer Susser from a script by Susser and David (ANIMAL KINGDOM) Michod, HESHER stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Devin Brochu, Rainn Wilson, Piper Laurie and Natalie Portman The film was produced by Lucy Cooper, Matthew Weaver & Scott Prisand, Natalie Portman, Spencer Susser, Johnny Lin and Win Sheridan. It is a Wrekin Hill Entertainment Release of a Newmarket Films, NECA Films, Corner Store Entertainment presentation of a production by The Last Picture Company and Handsome Charlie Films in Association with American Work, Inc., DRO Entertainment, Dreamagine Entertainment and Catchplay.
About THE PEOPLE VS GEORGE LUCAS
Compiled from celebrity interviews and fan submissions, THE PEOPLE VS GEORGE LUCAS is a hilarious work of "digital democracy" as a courtroom debate asks a singular question: who truly owns the world's most famous film franchise -- its creator, or the fans who have embraced it?
Featuring a vintage 80's and 90's soundtrack (that includes 2-Live Crew, JJ Fad's "SuperSonic," Dimples's "Get It Girl"), a score by Casey James and the Staypuft Kid; and extended school hall dance sequences, SPORK is a film about a frizzy-haired, pink-cheeked outcast named Spork who is trying to navigate her way through the annals of junior high. The film made its world premiere at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and its international premiere at the 2010 London Film Festival.back to top
February 10, 2011 - Entertainment One (eOne) and Wrekin Hill Entertainment announced today
that they have signed a multi-year Canadian output agreement. Under the terms of this three-year agreement, eOne will distribute Wrekin Hill films in all media formats across Canada.
Founded last year by former Newmarket Films Co-Founder Chris Ball jointly with his long-time Newmarket colleague Rene Cogan, Wrekin Hill Entertainment is rapidly expanding as an active producer and acquirer of feature films.
"We are extremely pleased to enter this relationship with Wrekin Hill Entertainment," said David Reckziegel, Co-president of Entertainment One Films Canada. "Chris Ball and his team have an established track record of delivering quality content and Wrekin Hill's strong relationships with independent content creators will allow it to rapidly add to its film roster and continue to feed our extensive distribution pipeline in Canada."
Adds Ball: "We, at Wrekin Hill, are in the process of acquiring a number of films that will be covered by this agreement. We have had a long and profitable working relationship with Patrice Theroux and David Reckziegel and are excited about this new association. eOne will offer a terrifically high quality of distribution for our titles. We share a similar entrepreneurial sensibility with eOne, both on a business level and on a creative level and we look forward to a synergistic partnership."
The contract was brokered by Reckziegel and Richard Rapkowski, eOne Films Canada Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs. Chris Ball and Rene Cogan, COO&CFO, and Gary A. Hirsch negotiated for Wrekin Hill Entertainment.back to top
November 1, 2010 – LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), the leading next generation studio and Wrekin Hill Entertainment, the newly established distribution company founded by Chris Ball, former Co-Chairman of Exclusive Media Group and President and Co-Founder of Newmarket Films, have announced that they have entered into a home entertainment distribution deal including DVD, Blu-ray, digital delivery, and Video On Demand (VOD). Under the terms of the arrangement, Lionsgate will become the exclusive home entertainment distributor for all Wrekin Hill Entertainment theatrical releases in the United States. The announcement was made by Steve Beeks, President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Lionsgate, and Chris Ball, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wrekin Hill.
"We have had a great relationship with Chris for many years and are thrilled to be working with him on this new venture." said Beeks. "We are proud to have Wrekin Hill as our partner and look forward to the opportunity to release their films on multiple formats."
Rene Cogan, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Wrekin Hill said, "Chris and I are very pleased to be continuing our long relationship with Steve Beeks and Lionsgate."
Added Ball, "We will be announcing several acquisitions shortly and we are looking forward to working with Lionsgate on these films."
The deal between Wrekin Hill and Lionsgate gives the former a strong output deal for its recent and upcoming acquisitions and builds on Lionsgate's tremendous success distributing some of the most prominent product in the marketplace.
Lionsgate is the industry leader in box office-to-home entertainment revenue conversion rate, over-converting industry packaged norm by 20% and VOD norm by 18%. Lionsgate has boasted most of the top converting titles of 2010 for films over $10 million box office with Killers, Kick-Ass, From Paris With Love and Daybreakers.
The deal was negotiated by Rene Cogan on behalf of Wrekin Hill and by Wendy Jaffe, Executive Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, Acquisitions & Co-Productions, on behalf of Lionsgate.back to top
Sep. 27, 2010 - Chris Ball, Co-Chairman of Exclusive and President and Co-Founder of Newmarket Films, announced today that he will be leaving Exclusive Media Group to establish Wrekin Hill Entertainment, a newly formed and independently financed production and distribution company. Joining Ball at Wrekin Hill will be long time Newmarket colleague Rene Cogan (COO-Chief Financial Officer). The new company will release films under the Wrekin Hill label and has also licensed the Newmarket Films label for use on a non-exclusive basis.
Newmarket and Wrekin Hill will also be jointly releasing select upcoming titles from Exclusive, including the Exclusive label’s maiden production Peter Weir’s The Way Back starring Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong and Colin Farrell, and the Spitfire Pictures produced Billy Joel rock documentary The Last Play at Shea and the Newmarket Sundance acquisition Hesher, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson. Additional co-ventures with Exclusive are in the works.
Ball said, “Whilst there may be challenges in the independent theatrical world right now, it is also a time of great growth and opportunity as new methods of distribution are being tried and developed. Forming Wrekin Hill will give me and my partners the flexibility to work on a wide variety of films and craft distribution plans that are unique and appropriately scaled for each film we acquire”.
Moving forward, Wrekin Hill will acquire and distribute independently made feature films for all platforms and several acquisitions will be announced shortly as well as a home entertainment distribution partnership.back to top