Hulu/Firelight Kindling Fund Sets Inaugural Participants; Richard T. Jones Pic The Hard Hit Goes To Vertical; Andrew Dice Clays Warrior Strong Unveils Clip – Film Briefs

EXCLUSIVE: Stanley Nelson’s Firelight Films and Hulu have set Julianna Brannum (Now I Lay Me Down), Ivan MacDonald (Breaking the Silence) and Juan Carlos Dávila Santiago (When Reggaeton Was a Crime) as the first filmmakers to benefit from their new Hulu/Firelight Kindling Fund. Through the initiative, each will be awarded $25,000 to develop their original documentary feature or limited series for a first look by the companies.

The mid-career filmmakers, who are alums of Firelight’s artist programs, will be expected to develop their project into a robust treatment, pitch deck, budget, and schedule for the aforementioned first look, and in addition to the financial prize, will receive one-on-one professional development sessions on producing for Hulu with Hulu’s documentary division. Project pitches considered for additional development or greenlight from Hulu will, if selected, be co-produced with Firelight Films, executive produced by Nelson, for streaming on Hulu.

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“Firelight Films is proud to continue our support of these three filmmakers – each of whom has previously received grants or fellowships through our nonprofit sister organization, Firelight Media,” said Firelight Films co-founder Nelson. “The range of subjects presented through these projects – from murdered and missing Indigenous women, to the dark history of the residential school system, to the criminalization of reggaeton music – highlight the many untold stories that documentary filmmakers of color are uniquely positioned to tell. We are grateful to our partners at Hulu for their support in developing these projects.”


EXCLUSIVE: Vertical has picked up rights for North America, the UK and Ireland to The Hard Hit, an action pic starring The Rookie‘s Richard T. Jones that will bow in theaters October 20th.

Directed by Darien ‘DBuck’ Smith of DBuck Films along with Omie Blue of Omie Blue Films, the film follows an Irish Interpol agent hunting the head of a global crime syndicate who tracks his target to Las Vegas. But when the criminal organization kills his wife and daughter, he and a team of undercover agents go above the law to get revenge.

Produced by Jamie Ohlsen of Ohlsen Productions, pic also stars Brian Ronan Mulroy, Ohlsen, Malachi Durant, and Rob LaColla Jr. S&R will be selling international rights at the upcoming AFM. Tony Piantedosi negotiated the deal on behalf of Vertical, with Gato Scatena of Scatena & Rosner Films on behalf of the filmmakers.


EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has an exclusive clip from the basketball drama Warrior Strong, starring comedian Andrew Dice Clay (A Star Is Born) and Jordan Johnson-Hinds (The Retirement Plan), which is coming up for release by Quiver Distribution on September 29th.

Directed by Shane Belcourt (Red Rover) from a script by Dan Gordon (Wyatt Earp), the film centers on the egocentric basketball protege Bilal Irving (Johnson-Hinds), who is asked by school principal Jules (Sarah Podemski) to serve as the assistant coach of his former high school team, the Dumont Warriors, alongside Coach Avery Schmidt (Clay). Bilal subsequently learns that true coaching involves far more than simply teaching the game. The question is, will this rag-tag team of misfits have what it takes to put aside their differences and become Warrior Strong?

Nicholas Tabarrok and Leah Jaunzems produced for Darius Films, with Quiver’s Berry Meyerowitz, Jeff Sackman and Larry Greenberg serving as EPs. Check out the clip below.

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