By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

PHASE 4 FILMS ACQUIRES U.S. AND CANADIAN RIGHTS TO JAMES WESTBY’S RID OF ME

SUBMARINE TO PARTNER ON A FALL THEATRICAL RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Los Angeles, CA (August 31, 2011) – Berry Meyerowitz, President & CEO of Phase 4 Films, announced today that the company has acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to director James Westby’s black comedy RID OF ME.  Phase 4 will partner with Submarine on an aggressive theatrical run this fall. Westby (Film Geek, The Auteur), who wrote and edited the film, also produced it along with Katie O’Grady via her Alcove Productions banner.  Phase 4 will begin with a limited release this Fall and then expand around the country.

Set in Portland, Oregon, RID OF ME is a black comedy that follows Meris (O’Grady), an awkward young woman trying too hard to perfect her marriage, amongst a new group of friends.  With a breakthrough lead performance by O’Grady, and an ensemble that includes Art Alexakis (of rock band Everclear) and Theresa Russell (Black Widow, Bad Timing), RID OF ME follows Meris’ rejection from the cool crowd down a path towards truth and salvation which includes a job at a local candy shop, a group of punk friends, community gardening and a newfound love for Cambodian rock music.

“After screening RID OF ME at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, we at Phase 4 were blown away by the film’s sharp wit and offbeat originality,” said Meyerowitz. “Katie O’Grady is a true discovery that will undoubtedly have audiences and industry insiders buzzing. That, combined with James Westby’s unique, insightful direction and a terrific ensemble cast, make this a film that we are all very excited to share.”

“We are thrilled to be working with Phase 4 and Submarine” said O’Grady. “This film is so incredibly important to both James and myself, and we’re delighted to have partners in Phase 4 and Submarine that are as passionate and dedicated to the project as we are.  We’ve had an amazing experience showing it to audiences across the country at festivals and can’t wait for more people to have the chance to discover it.”

The deal was negotiated by Larry Greenberg, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions for Phase 4 Films and Josh Braun at Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.

RID OF ME has its world premiere at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and recently was the recipient of the Founder’s Prize for Best US Fiction Film at the 2011 Traverse City Film Festival.

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About PHASE 4 FILMS

Phase 4 Films distributes feature films and special interest content across all traditional theatrical and new media platforms in North America.  Phase 4 is currently in release on Kevin Smith’s Canadian tour of RED STATE starring Michael Parks, Melissa Leo and John Goodman; and the company’s previous releases include VIDAL SASSOON THE MOVIE, director Craig Teper’s revealing, and inspirational portrait of the iconic hairdresser who changed the world with a pair of scissors; and Matt Tyrnauer’s acclaimed fashion documentary VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR.  In November 2011, Phase 4 will release the Sundance 2011 award-winner ANOTHER HAPPY DAY, Sam Levinson’s dark comedy about a dysfunctional family, starring Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth, Thomas Haden Church, Ellen Burstyn, and Ezra Miller.

About SUBMARINE
Submarine, founded and run by twin brothers Josh and Dan Braun, is a hybrid sales and production company, consulting and strategizing on the sale and distribution of feature films and documentaries and producing unique and high quality feature films, documentaries, web and television properties. Submarine has represented such films as Winter’s Bone, Food, Inc., Valentino The Last Emperor, Page One: Inside the NY Times, Buck, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Tabloid, Bill Cunningham NY, Humpday, Project NIM, Tanner Hall, Tiny Furniture, House of the Devil and many others.

This fall Submarine will launch the Submarine Deluxe label to theatrically release James Westby’s Rid of Me and the Sundance Special Jury award winning documentary Being Elmo. www.submarine.com

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas