Better Call Sauls Patrick Fabian Joins The Way We Speak; Cinedigm Takes The Ancestral; SXSW Trailer For Until Branches Bend, Clips For Citizen Sleuth And Peak Season – Film Briefs

EXCLUSIVE: Following six seasons as Howard Hamlin on AMC’s megahit Better Call Saul, Patrick Fabian has signed on to lead the indie The Way We Speak from writer-director Ian Ebright (From the Sky).

Billed as an allegory about America’s fractured politics and culture, the film follows Simon (Fabian), an up-and-coming commentator whose world is turned upside down when his best friend and debate opponent suffers a fatal heart attack. Simon refuses to leave the spotlight at an annual thought-leader summit, leading to an obsession with his new opponent and a growing rift with his ailing wife, Claire (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’s Diana Coconubo).

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Ebright’s Broken Telegraph is producing the pic, also to star Kailey Rhodes (Black Pool), Ayanna Berkshire (Twilight) and Lowell Deo (Z Nation). Fabian is repped by The Kohner Agency and Essential Talent Management.


EXCLUSIVE: Cinedigm has acquired North American rights to the horror film The Ancestral from rising Vietnamese filmmaker Le-Van Kiet (The Requin, Furie), with plans to release it on their Bloody Disgusting-powered streamer, Screambox, later this year. The release stateside comes following a 2022 bow in Vietnam, where the film held the #1 spot at the box office for two consecutive weekends. 

The film starring Lâm Thanh Mỹ (Hollow), Quang Tuấn (Glorious Ashes) and Mai Cát Vi (The Third Wife) follows a widower who, after suffering a family tragedy, moves his two daughters into a centuries-old ancestral home. When both fall prey to sleep paralysis and night terrors, their father seeks the help of a local psychologist. These chilling secrets and frightening visions eventually prove that not everything is what it seems in the old family house.

Script was written by Kiet with contributions from Vo Nguyen Dan. Kiet, Nguyen Le Lan Anh and Dan Trong Tran produced, with Tran also acting as exec producer. Cinedigm’s Director of Acquisitions Brandon Hill negotiated the deal for the company, with WME Independent on behalf of the licensor Blue Lantern LLC.


EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has an exclusive trailer for Until Branches Bend, a psychological thriller from Swiss-Canadian filmmaker Sophie Jarvis, which will soon make its U.S. premiere at SXSW, after world premiering at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival.

The film screening at Violet Crown Cinema 1 on March 13 at 6:15 p.m. tells the story of Robin (Grace Glowicki), a cannery worker who struggles to get an abortion. When Robin finds an invasive bug in a peach at work, she turns her focus towards proving to her community that the danger it poses is real. And as her obsession alienates her from friends and family, she only sinks deeper into her task.

Tyler Hagan, Magali Gillon-Krizaj, Sara Blake, Michela Pini and Olga Lamontanara produced the pic, also starring Alexandra Roberts, Quelemia Sparrow, Lochlyn Munro and Antoine DesRochers. View the trailer below.


EXCLUSIVE: Deadline also has an exclusive clip from the SXSW-bound Citizen Sleuth — the first feature doc from director Chris Kasick, which is world premiering as an acquisition title, with Cinetic Media handling sales.

The film examining the ethics of the true-crime genre chronicles the rise, fall, and redemption of Emily Nestor, who with her Mile Marker 181 podcast, conducts an amateur murder investigation into the death of Jaleayah Davis. With a growing audience of millions, Emily’s podcast becomes a hit. But as she probes deeper into the case, she’s confronted with a new truth that she struggles to tell her listeners.

Low Spark Films (Emily the Criminal) produced the pic, which will have its first screening at Alamo Lamar A this Saturday, March 11th at 2:45pm. Kasick, Tyler Davidson, Fabiola Washburn, Drew Sykes and Jared Washburn produced, with Mike Mannino, Kimberley Hassett, Jason Kohn, Kevin Flanigan and Dexter Braff among the EPs. Watch the Citizen Sleuth clip below.


EXCLUSIVE: Our final exclusive clip for this week’s edition of Film Briefs is from the romantic dramedy Peak Season, which is affording directors Henry Loevner and Steven Kanter the long-awaited first opportunity for an in-person SXSW world premiere, following the virtual bow at the fest of their debut feature, The End of Us.

Screening for the first time at Violet Crown Cinema 2 on Sunday, March 12th at 11:15am CT, the acquisition title centers on Amy (Claudia Restrepo), an emotionally adrift young woman, who comes to Jackson Hole from NYC with her workaholic fiancé Max (Ben Coleman), quickly sparking an unexpected friendship with the carefree local fly-fishing guide, Loren (Derrick DeBlasis). Both lonely and lost in their own lives, Amy and Loren share an instant connection. And as her bond with Loren grows into something more than friendship, Amy questions whether she’ll return to NYC with Max after all.

Also starring Fred Melamed, Stephanie Courtney, Will Neff, Caroline Kwan, Ron Hanks, Gadiel Del Orbe and Natasha Dewhurst, Peak Season was penned by Loevner, who produced alongside Kanter, Lovell Holder and Patrick Ward. Watch the clip from the film below.

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