Film News Roundup: Sylvester Stallone Documentary ’40 Years of Rocky’ to Premiere Digitally

Dave McNary

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In today’s film news roundup, “40 Years of Rocky” gets a release date, Pierce Brosnan’s “The King’s Daughter” finds a home and the 2020 Lower East Side Film Festival unveils its programming.

RELEASE DATE 

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Virgil Films has set a June 9 digital release date for the documentary “40 Years of Rocky,” which chronicles the behind-the-scenes journey of the 1976 classic “Rocky.”

Sylvester Stallone recounts the making of the film — which won the 1977 Academy Award for Best Picture — through rare home movies filmed by “Rocky” director John G. Avildsen. The documentary was written and directed by Derek Wayne Johnson, who served as co-producer with Chris May of Cinema 83 Entertainment and Cinema 83 Documentary Films.

“The documentary is a golden nugget for ‘Rocky’ fans and casual audiences alike,” said Johnson. “It’s a charming piece of film history narrated by Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, and will give audiences an intimate, and at times, emotional experience. We’re proud of the film, and audiences can expect new stories and new footage that they’ve never seen before in a blend of director John Avildsen’s home movies, rehearsal footage and behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the ultimate underdog film.”

Executive producer David Polemeni funded the picture through Visionary Private Equity Group. Cinema 83’s next project will be a new documentary via Related Pictures Group about comedic legends Don Rickles and Bob Newhart’s long friendship and their impact on comedy.

FILM FESTIVALS

Arclight Films is buying sales rights to the fantasy-adventure “The King’s Daughter” for this month’s Cannes virtual market.

The film stars Pierce Brosnan with Julie Andrews providing narration. Arclight is handling worldwide distribution rights, excluding mainland China.

Sean McNamara produced and directed the film, which was adapted for the screen by Barry Berman and James Schamus from the best-selling, Nebula Award-winning novel “The Moon and the Sun.” The film is a fantasy tale of King Louis XIV’s (Brosnan) quest for immortality that leads him to capture and steal a mermaid’s life force, a move that is further complicated by his illegitimate daughter’s discovery of the mythological creature.

“We have listened to our buyers and they are looking for completed quality films to fill their pipelines for when the industry is back on its feet. This gorgeous film has all the ingredients you need for success: a wildly popular novel, brilliant performances by the inimitable Pierce Brosnan and Kaya Scodelario and now wonderfully narrated by the incomparable Julie Andrews,” said Arclight’s Gary Hamilton.

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The 2020 Lower East Side Film Festival has been set to place virtually on June 18 through June 29.

The first five days of the online festival will roll out premieres of feature films, short film showcases, and virtual events. The entirety of the program will remain live for the following week

The film lineup includes “Blunderpuss,’ written and directed by Shaina Feinberg with Chris Manley, Jeff Seal and Drae Campbell starring; “Mentally AI,” directed by Joshua Edelman and featuring Judd Apatow, Sarah Silverman and Al Lubel, a former Star Search grand champion; and “Unschooled,” directed by Rachel Beth Anderson and Timothy Gruczae.

Notable presentations will include a conversation with Ramy Youssef that will offer audiences free access to a talk with the Golden Globe winner and the writers behind the second season of Hulu’s “Ramy.”

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