Most independent producer/financiers would be glad to have one hot title up for sale in Toronto. Limelight arrives this week with three: the Jane Fonda/Lily Tomlin-led comedy-drama “Moving On,” plus a pair of distinctive coming-of-age dramas, “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” and “Wildflower.”
Now Limelight is developing the script for a comedy tentatively titled “Coachella,” written by Andy Siara (“Palm Springs”) and Joey Siara. The feature centers on teens who tell their parents they’re going on a church trip, but sneak off to the famed desert music festival instead. The Siara brothers are loosely drawing on their experiences playing the fest with their indie rock band, The Henry Clay People. (Andy, creator of Peacock’s “The Resort” and writer of an upcoming Apple Studios sci-fi comedy starring Andy Samberg, is repped by UTA, LBI Entertainment and Morris Yorn. Joey is repped by UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment.)
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By any measure, Limelight partners Dylan Sellers, Chris Parker and Alex Dong are on a roll. Their comedy “Palm Springs” sold to Neon and Hulu for around $22 million in 2020, a record-breaking Sundance deal at the time. Their 2021 TIFF premiere “The Starling,” a Melissa McCarthy-led dramedy, sold to Netflix for more than $20 million based on a script and footage. IFC Films and AMC+ picked up their comic thriller “Spin Me Round” and gave it a theatrical/streaming/VOD premiere in August. They nabbed Spanish-language rights to the hit South Korean comedy “Miss Granny,” and on Sept. 23, Pantelion/Lionsgate will theatrically release “Cuando Sea Joven,” the remake they produced with CJ ENM, 3pas Studios, the Lift and Boies Schiller Entertainment.
Even the downside of their packed TIFF schedule has an upside. On Sept. 12, after buyer screenings and the “Aristotle” premiere, Sellers and Parker will fly back to Los Angeles to attend the Emmys, where their Hulu miniseries “Pam & Tommy” received 10 nominations. Despite missing that afternoon’s “Wildflower” premiere, they’ll be in good company: the film’s co-stars Jean Smart (“Hacks”) and Alexandra Daddario (“The White Lotus”) will be up for Emmys as well.
Limelight’s run of TIFF world premieres starts Sept. 9 with the Discovery section bow of first-time feature director Aitch Alberto’s “Aristotle,” the story of two Mexican American teens in late 1980s Texas, based on the bestselling young adult novel by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. UTA is repping sales on the project Limelight produced with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Big Swing Prods. and 3pas Studios.
Next up is first-time narrative feature director Matt Smukler’s Contemporary World Cinema entry “Wildflower,” the portrait of a young woman (Kiernan Shipka) caring for her intellectually disabled parent. CAA, WME and Sierra/Affinity are repping the film, produced alongside Entertainment One, Hunting Lane Films and Morning Moon, based on Smuckler’s eponymous doc.
And on Sept. 13 is the Gala debut of writer/director Paul Weitz’s “Moving On,” which centers on estranged friends (Fonda and Tomlin) who plot revenge against the widower of their old pal. UTA is repping sales on the wild comedy-drama, produced with Depth Of Field and Boies Schiller Entertainment.
Since he co-founded Limelight with Parker and Dong in 2018, Sellers says they’ve “tried to avoid straight genre movies,” aiming for projects along the lines of films he developed as a Weinstein Co. exec. “We want to make cool films from writer/directors with something on their mind. If we do horror, we want to do [something like] ‘Get Out.'” They also want to work with more first-time feature directors like Alberto, Smukler and Max Barbakow (“Palm Springs”).
Limelight just completed production on Robert Siegel’s true-crime miniseries “Welcome to Chippendales” (streaming on Hulu on Nov. 22) and Potsy Ponciroli’s all-star ensemble comedy “Providence,” which they hope to premiere and sell at Sundance.
The company was named after Charles Chaplin’s 1952 drama “Limelight,” and Sellers says he hopes to follow in the path of that film’s distributor, United Artists, by finding “great new writer-directors and giving them a home.”
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