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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“I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. I like to subscribe to Susan Sontag’s thought of no highs and lows. I think dismissing popular culture and popular films can be really dangerous because they may seem innocuous, but some are works of art and even when they’re not they can say so much about the culture that they’re reflecting. This also gets into the idea of canon. What is good and isn’t good? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Specifically, who writes these canons? Mainly, straight white guys — which basically rigs the system. So, if you have a knowledge of female filmmakers, queer filmmakers, African or Asian filmmakers, some people won’t give them the same culture capital. They’ll say, “Oh, that’s nice niche knowledge.” No, it’s not. You’re just seeing it through the prism of something white and male. Like Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Scandal.’ I love that show, but is it a guilty pleasure because it’s a soap on TV? No. I think it has incredible writing, incredible thought and characters, so we should take it seriously. That’s a long-winded answer to say, “Yes, I love Titanic.” I was 10 years old when it came out and my mom took me to see it three times. I was so obsessed with it. A big thanks to my mom who’ll never get those nine hours of her life back.”
~ Toronto Int’l Programmer and Critic Kiva Reardon

“A lot of us felt blindsided,” Van Vliet told me. In the seventies, Van Vliet was drafted out of film school by Industrial Light & Magic, where he worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now 62 and semi-retired, he said, “Once you get into your fifties, you’re pretty disposable.” Van Vliet was in the middle of reviewing DVD screeners before casting his Oscar votes, a process he estimated would take a hundred and twenty hours. “The Academy is essentially asking us to give them three weeks of labor, and then they’re going to take our results, put them into a ceremony, and sell it,” he said, referring to the seventy-five million dollars that the organization earns from the television broadcast. “Then they’re turning around and kicking us in the teeth.”
~ “Shakeup At The Oscars”