*RLJE Films and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), brands of RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE), have acquired all North American rights to the upcoming Unified Pictures thriller Ride. The film stars Bella Thorne (“Famous in Love,” “Shake It Up”), Jessie T. Usher (Shaft, “Survivor’s Remorse”) and Will Brill (“The OA”). RIDE marks the feature film debut of writer-director Jeremy Ungar. RLJE plans to release the film nationally in theaters, VOD and Digital HD this Fall.
“With its talented young cast and thrilling plotline, we know audiences are going to be drawn to Ride,” said Chief Acquisitions Officer Mark Ward for RLJE Films. “The story is incredibly relevant to today’s culture.”
“In Ride, Jeremy created a quintessential millennial thriller wrought with tension and fueled by our darkest fears related to the cultural phenomenon of ride-sharing,” said Producer Keith Kjarval. “We could not be any more pleased to join forces with RLJE, who continue to have their fingers on the pulse of genre fans everywhere.”
In Ride, when James (Usher), a rideshare driver, and his passenger, Jessica (Thorne), pick up the charismatic but manipulative Bruno (Brill), a night out in L.A. becomes a psychological war for survival.
Ride was produced by Unified’s Kjarval (The Layover, Rudderless), Tyler Jackson (What They Had) and Sefton Fincham (Drone), and was financed by the Fyzz Facility along with Unified Film Fund II. Robert Jones (The Usual Suspects) and Wayne Marc Godfrey (The Foreigner) executive produced, along with David Grace (Dope), Mike Rowe (Drone) and Levi Sheck (Dragged Across Concrete) and Dean Buchanan (Drone).
Ward and Jess De Leo from RLJE negotiated the deal with Endeavor Content on behalf of the filmmakers.
About RLJ Entertainment
RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE) is a premium digital channel company serving distinct audiences primarily through its popular OTT branded channels, Acorn TV (British TV) and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), which have rapidly grown through development, acquisition, and distribution of its exclusive rights to a large library of international and British dramas, independent feature films and urban content. RLJE’s titles are also distributed in multiple formats including broadcast and pay television, theatrical and non-theatrical, DVD, Blu-ray, and a variety of digital distribution models (including EST, VOD, SVOD and AVOD) in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Additionally, through Acorn Media Enterprises, its UK development arm, RLJE co-produces and develops new programs and owns 64% of Agatha Christie Limited.
RLJE Films new and upcoming features include Terminal starring Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg and Mike Myers and written & directed by Vaughn Stein; and the 2018 Sundance Film Festival hit Mandy from writer/director Panos Cosmatos and starring Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough and Linus Roache. RLJE Films’ past films include I Kill Giants starring Zoe Saldana, Pilgrimage starring Tom Holland, and writer/director S. Craig Zahler’s Brawl in Cell Block 99 starring Vince Vaughn and Bone Tomahawk starring Kurt Russell. www.us.rljentertainment.com.
About UMC — Urban Movie Channel
Created by Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), Urban Movie Channel (UMC) is the first subscription streaming service created for African American and urban audiences in North America that features quality urban content and showcases original series, feature films, drama, comedy, documentariesand other exclusive content. UMC is available on iOS, Apple TV, Android, Amazon Prime Video Channels, Comcast/Xfinity, Roku, Amazon Fire TV & Fire TV Stick. At www.UMC.tv, UMC offers a free 7-day trial and thereafter is just $4.99/month or $49.99/year. Keep up with UMC on Facebook at Facebook.com/UrbanMovieChannel and on Twitter/Instagram @WatchUMC.
Unified Pictures is a Los Angeles-based production company that develops, finances and produces independent motion pictures including live-action and animated films. Founded in 2004 by Keith Kjarval and Kurt Rauer, Unified has produced over twenty films and has become a dynamic force in the motion picture industry. Early films include David Lynch’s Inland Empire, Werner Herzog’s My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done, David M. Rosenthal’s A Single Shot, Clark Gregg’s Trust Me, and George Tillman Jr.’s The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete. Recent films included Gary Michael Schultz’s Vincent N Roxxy, and William H. Macy’s Rudderless.
After premiering in the Sundance International Film Festival earlier this year, Elizabeth Chomko’s What They Had starring two-time Oscar® winner Hilary Swank and Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon, Unified entered post-production on S. Craig Zahler’s crime thriller Dragged Across Concrete, starring Academy Award® winner Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn. Now in production for Unified is The Ark and The Aardvark, a $55 million animated feature with voice cast including Miles Teller, Aubrey Plaza, Jenny Slate, Stephen Merchant, Rob Riggle, and Craig Robinson.
About the FYZZ
Based in London and Los Angeles, The Fyzz is a proliﬁc production and ﬁnancing company specializing in feature film content and international television drama series.
The company has invested more than $297m into over 224 feature ﬁlms with an aggregate production spend in excess of $2bn. As well as co-financing such titles as Taylor Sheridan’s WIND RIVER and Martin Scorsese’s SILENCE, recent in-house productions include US box oﬃce smash hit 47 METERS DOWN, THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT starring Christina Hendricks and Martin Henderson and Jackie Chan’s THE FOREIGNER, which has notched up over $140m box office worldwide.
Upcoming projects ﬁnanced and produced by The Fyzz include thriller THREE SECONDS starring Rosamund Pike, Joel Kinnaman, Ana de Armas, Common and Clive Owen, DESTINATION WEDDING starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder and FINAL SCORE starring Dave Bautista and Pierce Brosnan.
The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.
The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.
“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”
Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”
The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.
“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”
Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”
In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.
“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”
Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.
“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”
Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”
New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’
*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.
“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).
It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.
EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.
Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars. As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.
This year has been a year like no other. “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead. Radio Programmers click here for adds.
“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA. Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita. The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture. “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms. Click here to listen on Spotify.
Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH
*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!
Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All Fears, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family. He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai
SCREENPLAY BY | Kurt Wimmer
STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.
Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language
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