By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

SCREEN MEDIA, FOCUS WORLD TEAM TO ACQUIRE U.S. RIGHTS TO THE LIFEGUARD, STARRING KRISTEN BELL

NEW YORK, March 22, 2013 – Focus World, the alternative distribution initiative owned and operated by Focus Features, and Screen Media Films have partnered on acquiring U.S. rights to The Lifeguard, starring Kristen Bell following its debut in competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Screen Media and Focus World will release The Lifeguard in theaters and on digital platforms this summer.

The Lifeguard is written and directed by Liz W. Garcia, and marks her first feature after working as a writer and producer on such series as Cold Case and co-creating Memphis Beat with The Lifeguard producer Joshua Harto. Ms. Bell, who currently stars on the hit series House of Lies and who recently delighted fans of Veronica Marswith a very successful and record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, is joined in the cast by Mamie Gummer (Side Effects), Martin Starr (Knocked Up), and Academy Award nominee Amy Madigan. The film’s producers are Mike Landry and Carlos Velazquez of C Plus Pictures, Harto and Garcia of La Pistola, and Attic Light Films’ Milan Chakraborty,

Leigh (played by Ms. Bell), almost 30, is living a seemingly perfect life in New York. But when her career and love life both come crashing down, she flees to her suburban hometown and regresses right back into high school life. Picking up right where her teen halcyon days left off, she moves into her old room with her parents, hangs out with friends who never left town, and reclaims her high school job as a condo-complex lifeguard. But as Leigh enjoys shirking off adult life and responsibilities, and enters into an illicit affair, she begins a chain reaction that affects those closest to her.

The deal was closed for Screen Media by Suzanne Blech, President, and Seth Needle, Director of Marketing and Acquisitions; for Focus by Avy Eschenasy, Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning, Business Affairs and Acquisitions, and Kent Sanderson, Director, Alternative Content & Distribution; and for the filmmakers by CAA. Joker Films is representing international rights to the feature.  Bell is represented by CAA, Brookside Artist Management, and attorneys James Adams and Ira Schreck. Garcia is represented by CAA, Madhouse Entertainment, and attorney Jeffrey Frankel.

Ms. Blech said, “We’re thrilled to team up with Focus World on Liz’s really special, unique film. I think the journey that Kristen’s character takes is one that so many can relate to, and both Focus and Screen cannot wait to share this with audiences around the country. Kristen’s fans, in particular, we believe are going to be thrilled to see her in new kind of role that’s at once fun, exciting, funny, and challenging.”

About Screen Media

Screen Media Ventures, LLC, a leading global independent motion picture distribution company with a broad distribution network that includes US and international theatrical, home video, television, cable and new media distribution, with one of the largest independently owned motion picture libraries in the world. In 2011, Screen Media launched its wholly-owned ad-supported streaming channel Popcornflix, which is now available in multiple international territories and soon to expand worldwide. The company was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit www.screenmedia.net.

About Focus World

Launched in 2011, Focus World (www.focusfeatures.com/focusworld) identifies and curates the most exciting voices in international and independent cinema. Part of Focus Features’ multi-platform strategy, Focus World presents titles of genuine vision and originality across platforms both new and traditional.

Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. Comcast Corporation owns a controlling 51% interest in NBCUniversal, with GE holding a 49% stake.

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“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch