By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

PHASE 4 FILMS ACQUIRES SUNDANCE HIT ‘NEWLYWEEDS’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE 

PARK CITY, UT, January 25 – Berry Meyerowitz, President & CEO of Phase 4 Films, announced today that the Company has acquired all North American rights to NEWLYWEEDS, the debut feature written and directed by Shaka King.  Produced by Jim Wareck, Michael Mathews, Shaka King and Gbenga Akinnagbe, with Andy Sawyer and Neil Katz serving as executive producers, NEWLYWEEDS just enjoyed its world premiere in the NEXT <=> section of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, which concludes this weekend.

 

Phase 4 is planning a day and date theatrical and VOD release for the movie this summer.  The deal was negotiated by Phase 4’s Larry Greenberg and Katharyn Howe with Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films on behalf of the filmmakers.

 

“We are thrilled to be working with Shaka on his first feature.  NEWLYWEEDS is an audience pleaser and we are looking forward to exposing it to audiences nationwide,” said Meyerowitz.

 

In NEWLYWEEDS, a Brooklyn repo-man and his globetrotting girlfriend forge an unlikely romance. But what should be a match made in stoner heaven turns into a love triangle gone awry in this dark comedy that is part ballad of chemical dependency, part coming-of-age romance, part hallucinatory adventure. A bittersweet blend of comedy and drama NEWLYWEEDS is the story of Lyle (Amari Cheatom), a repo-man by necessity, who is also a preacher-man in his purple-hazed fantasy, who is also on the verge of becoming a family man unless he and Nina (Trae Harris), his beautiful young girlfriend, are done in first by their mutual adoration and voracious consumption of cannabis.  NEWLYWEEDS is also a clear-eyed portrait of a contemporary New York neighborhood vibrantly photographed by Daniel Patterson that makes great use of a supporting cast, which includes Tone Tank, Isiah Whitlock Jr. (“The Wire,” CEDAR RAPIDS), Tony award-winner Tonia Pinkins, Colman Domingo (LINCOLN), Hassan Johnson (“The Wire”), Adrian Martinez and Anthony Chisholm.

 

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. The company’s previous releases include the provocatively sexy road movie HICK, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Blake Lively, and Eddie Redmayne; 2011 Sundance award-winner ANOTHER HAPPY DAY, Sam Levinson’s dark comedy about a dysfunctional family, starring Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, and Ezra Miller; the Canadian tour of Kevin Smith’s RED STATE, starring Michael Parks, Melissa Leo and John Goodman; and Carrie Preston’s Sundance 2012 hit comedy THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID starring Anne Heche, Marcia DeBonis, and Alia Shawkat. Upcoming releases for the Company include Megan Griffith’s 2012 SXSW Audience Award Winner, EDEN, starring Jamie Chung and Beau Bridges, and Mark L Mann’s directorial debut GENERATION UM, starring Keanu Reeves (THE MATRIX, CONSTANTINE).

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DEADLINE: How does a visualist feel about people watching your films on a phone or VOD?
REFN: It depends on what kind of movie you make. We had great success with Only God Forgives on multiple platforms in the U.S. Young people will decide how they see it, when they want to see it. Don’t try to fight it. Embrace it. That’s a wonderful opportunity. We’re at the most exciting time since the invention of the wheel, in terms of creativity because distribution and accessibility have changed everything. A camera is still a camera whether it’s digital or not; there’s still sound; an actor is an actor. Ninety-nine percent of what you do is going to be seen on a smart phone – I know this is the greatest thing ever made because it allows people to choose, watching what you do on this format or go into a theater and see it on a screen. That means more people than ever will see what I do, which is personally satisfying in terms of vanity. But you have to be able to adapt, to accept things in different order and length than we’re used to. We are in a very, very exciting time.
~ Nic Refn to Jen Yamato

DEADLINE: You mention Tarantino, who with Christopher Nolan and a few other giants, saved film stock from extinction. To him, showing a digital film in a theater is the equivalent of watching TV in public. Make an argument for why digital is a good film making canvas.
REFN: Costwise, it’s a very effective way for young people to start making movies. You can make your movie on an iPhone. It’s wonderful seeing how my own children use technology to enhance creativity. For me it’s a wonderful canvas. Sure, I love grain in film. I love celluloid. But I also like creativity. I like crayons, I like pencils, I like paint. It’s all relative. Technology is more inclusive. A hundred years ago when film was invented, it was an elitist club. Very few people got to make it, very few people controlled it and very few people owned it. A hundred years later, storytelling through images is everyone’s domain. It’s ultimate capitalism. There are no rules, and no barriers and no Hays Code. Where does this go in another hundred years? I don’t know but I would love to see it.
~ Nic Refn To Jen Yamato