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In today’s film news roundup, the Santa Barbara Film Festival moves back, Legion M is backing “Save Yourselves!,” Gravitas buys “Odd Man Rush,” a Tiny Tim documentary finds a home and The Creative Coalition is backing films about obesity.

FILM FESTIVAL

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has shifted its dates backwards for its 36th annual event, which will now take place from March 31 to April 10, 2021.

The festival, which typically occurs in January and is a key stop for awards campaigns, made the announcement Wednesday, two days after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences postponed the 93rd Academy Awards telecast by two months to April 25, 2021. The SBIFF had previously been set for Jan. 27 – Feb. 6, 2021.

“Like so many other prestigious ceremonies and events, we’ve had to adjust our plans in this extremely unprecedented era,” said SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “There has never been a more critical time to celebrate cinema and its ability to get us through extremely challenging circumstances, whether on a personal level or on a global scale, by keeping us entertained, informed and inspired.”

SBIFF said it will bring at least 200 films, industry panels, celebrity tributes, and educational and free community programs to Santa Barbara.

PARTNERSHIP

Fan-owned Legion M has joined forces with Bleecker Street to support the July 24 release of the alien sci-fi comedy “Save Yourselves!”

The film, directed by Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson from their own script, stars Sunita Mani and John Reynolds, who portray a Brooklyn couple who find themselves dependent on technology and unable to put down their phones. They seize the chance to head to an isolated cabin in the woods but are blissfully unaware when aliens attack the earth.

“Save Yourselves!” premiered at Sundance in the dramatic competition.The film is produced by Keshet Studios’ Mandy Tagger Brockey and Adi Ezroni, alongside Kara Durrett. Legion M said its own consumer data scored “Save Yourselves!” high in terms Film Scout reviews at Sundance, confidence in the film’s success and its projected popularity among audiences.

“Legion M has quickly made a name for itself in the industry for its innovation and remarkable ability to mobilize their passionate community,” said Andrew Karpen, CEO of Bleecker Street. “We’re thrilled to be kicking off a close relationship with the Legion on ‘Save Yourselves!’”

ACQUISITIONS

Gravitas Venture has bought worldwide distribution rights to the coming-of-age sports film, “Odd Man Rush,” and is planning a Sept. 1 release.

Pacific Northwest Pictures will release the film across Canada the same day. The film, based on Bill Keenan’s memoir of the same name, stars Jack Mulhern, Dylan Playfair, Elektra Jannson Kilbey and Trevor Gretzky — son of hockey star Wayne Gretzky. Also appearing is the film is Alexa Lemieux, daughter of hockey legend Mario Lemieux.

The film was produced by Slater Brothers Entertainment’s Todd and Grant Slater, Jonathan Black, and Karen and Howard Baldwin. Bill Keenan and Doug Dearth wrote the screenplay, with Dearth directing a story about a Harvard hockey player who deals with landing in Sweden’s minor professional leagues.

The movie was shot in and around Slater’s hometown of Hamilton N.Y., where the hockey movie “Slap Shot” was filmed. The deal was negotiated by Todd Slater and CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers. Three Points Capital assisted in the financing of the film.

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Juno Films has acquired all North American rights to the Momento Film production of “Tiny Tim – King for A Day,” a documentary inspired by “Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life of Tiny Tim” by Justin Martell.

The film will have its world premiere at Fantasia Fest followed by a theatrical premiere on Sept. 4  at the Quad Cinema in New York, which will be followed by a national theatrical roll-out.

“Weird Al” Yankovic reads Tiny Tim’s diaries from his early years growing up in an intolerant, dysfunctional family in New York City. Determined to succeed as an artist on his own terms, after years of playing dive bars and lesbian cabarets on the Greenwich Village scene, the ukulele-playing Tiny Tim landed a recording contract with Frank Sinatra’s Reprise label and an appearance on NBC’s “Laugh-In.” Tiny Tim’s success and his fortune were both was short lived.

Produced by the Stockholm-based Momento Film and directed by Johan von Sydow, “Tiny Tim — King for A Day” is executive produced by Martell and Elizabeth Sheldon.

CREATIVE COALITION

The Creative Coalition plans to award up to $150,000 in grants to three filmmakers selected to produce short films (up to 40 minutes) about the untold story of obesity.

The program is made possible under The Creative Coalition’s Spotlight Initiative, part of a multi-platform project to showcase the efficacy of the arts in bringing issues of social welfare importance to the forefront of the national agenda. The theme of this year’s competition is, “The Untold Story of Obesity in America.”

“At a time when many filmmakers are suffering and out of work due to coronavirus, The Creative Coalition’s Spotlight Initiative will provide vital resources to three film creators while helping to end the stigma around obesity,” said CEO Robin Bronk. “The power of the arts has never been clearer, and The Creative Coalition is more determined than ever to use the arts to change the conversation, challenge misconceptions, and increase critical understanding that will help improve people’s lives and the health of our communities.”

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