Film News Roundup: ‘House of Cardin’ Fashion Documentary Bought by Utopia

Dave McNary

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In today’s film news roundup, the documentary “House of Cardin” and crime thriller “Devil’s Night” find distributors and “Lucky Grandma” is raising funds for New York Chinatown.

ACQUISITIONS 

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Utopia has acquired the North American rights to the fashion documentary “House of Cardin” by filmmakers P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes.

The film, centering on the life and work of designer and entrepreneur Pierre Cardin, held its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival and was set for a North American tour at the San Francisco, Dallas, Boston, and Seattle Film Festivals before the widespread COVID-19 cancellations and postponements.

Ebersole and Hughes produced under their banner, The Ebersole Hughes Company, alongside Cori Coppola. Utopia will release the film in August ahead of September’s New York Fashion Week and a subsequent Paris premiere hosted by Cardin himself.

“’House of Cardin’ brings a fresh understanding of just how incredibly groundbreaking Pierre Cardin’s role in the fashion industry has been,” said Robert Schwartzman, co-founder of Utopia. “From his unique and fearless design aesthetic to his vision for brand licensing development and celebration of diversity, Cardin laid a foundation for much of the modern-day fashion industry that we see today.”

David Betesh negotiated the deal for Utopia along with Ben Schwartz at Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers. Party Film Sales is handling international rights. The executive producers are Matthew Gonder and Othar Raven Pictures’ Margret Raven, while co-producers are T. Bankolé, Alison Martino, Carol Ann Shine, Marc Smolowitz, Daniel Thom and Ben Wilkins.

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Cinedigm Corp has acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to Sam Logan Khaleghi’s crime thriller “Devil’s Night:Dawn of the Nain Rouge” from Kyyba Films and SLK Media Group, Variety has learned exclusively.

Directed and produced by Khaleghi, he also shares the screen alongside co-stars Jesi Jensen and Nathan Kane Mathers, the brother of Marshall Mathers a.k.a. rapper Eminem, in his first role. Aaron Herman Russman wrote the screenplay for the film, which features original music from Swifty McVay, who also appears.

The story follows a pair of local police officers from a small town just outside of Detroit being plagued by mysterious murders. As the evidence mounts up, they can no longer deny the presence of a long forgotten supernatural entity, the Nain Rouge, the city’s harbinger of doom. The film is set for release on digital and DVD on June 23.

The deal was negotiated by Josh Thomashow at Cinedigm, with the film’s producing team of Khaleghi, Tel Ganesan and Jesse Dean Crawfis.

‘LUCKY’ PARTNERSHIP

Good Deed Entertainment is partnering with the grassroots initiative Welcome To Chinatown on “Lucky Grandma” to support New York’s Chinatown businesses, following the decline in revenue as a result of COVID-19.

The partnership will consist of a fundraiser via “Lucky Grandma” and Good Deed Entertainment’s social channels and website, aligned with the virtual theatrical release of the film on May 22. In addition, the boutique studio plans to donate a portion of its proceeds from all iTunes pre-orders of “Lucky Grandma” purchased ahead of the film’s digital release in August. All funds raised will go directly to Welcome to Chinatown’s small business grant, which will provide cash to cover losses and costs that threaten to shutter businesses.

“Lucky Grandma” held its world premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and was the second recipient of the AT&T Presents: Untold Stories $1 million grant initiative. It also had an international premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.

Set in New York’s Chinatown, Tsai Chin portrays an ornery, newly-widowed 80-year-old eager to live life as an independent woman, despite her family’s concern. When a local fortune teller (Wai Ching Ho) predicts a most auspicious day in her future, she decides to head to the casino, only to land herself on the wrong side of luck by suddenly attracting the attention of local gangsters. She then employs the services of a bodyguard from a rival gang, played by Corey Ha.

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