In brief: Jump, Darling leaps to the U.S.

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Plus, Canadian Geographic launches a film grant for emerging documentary filmmakers, Levy joins Thunderbird board and Dune, Nightmare Alley rack up more award nominations.

Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to Phil Connell’s Canadian LGBTQ family drama film Jump, Darling, which features the late Oscar-winning actor Cloris Leachman in her final starring performance.

The deal was negotiated between Philadelphia-based Breaking Glass’s Rich Wolff, CEO, and Scott Motisko, VP of acquisitions, business development and sales; and writer-director Phil Connell and producer Katie Corbridge of Big Island Productions. It will see the film (pictured) arrive in theatres in early March followed by an on-demand, digital and DVD release later that month.

Connell wrote and directed the Ontario-shot story, starring newcomer Thomas Duplessie as a drag performer and aspiring actor alongside Leachman as his grandmother. Telefilm’s Talent to Watch Program supported the feature-length project, which is produced by Big Island Productions with Katie Corbridge as producer, and Karen Harnisch and Allison Black as executive producers.

Jump, Darling has already had international sales in Europe, Asia and Latin America negotiated by the international sales agent Wide Management. LevelFilm holds Canadian rights and released the film across VOD platforms in Canada last March and on Crave in June. The Film Collaborative has been handling U.S. festival distribution.

MEC partners with Canadian Geographic for doc grant program

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Mountain Equipment Company (MEC) have launched the Exploration Film Grant program to support emerging Canadian documentary filmmakers. The program includes two grants, one for production of a feature documentary and another for post-production on a short documentary, with a total of $27,500 in funding to be given across eight projects.

The documentary production grant will give three producers $5,000 toward a feature doc already in pre-production that is 40 minutes or longer. The post-production grant will give $2,500 to five short docs who began post-production between Jan. 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021. Canadian Geographic Films (Can Geo Films) will distribute and promote the completed films through its media channels and MEC will showcase the films for in-store programming at its retail locations. The deadline to apply is Feb. 25 while the film delivery deadline is Sept. 30.

Can Geo Films released its first documentary feature, Sean Stiller’s Returning Home, in 2021. It won Best Canadian Documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival this fall.

Levy joins Thunderbird board

Vancouver-headquartered Thunderbird Entertainment Group has appointed Jérôme Levy to the company’s board of directors as an independent member. Levy was recently vice-chair of Archie Comics Publications, where he negotiated production and licensing deals and oversaw aspects of TV and film production, publishing, digital, international expansion and merchandising. Levy’s career roles have also included managing director of Houlihan Lokey’s Technology, Media & Telecom Group.

Marni Wieshofer, formerly EVP corporate development at Lionsgate, is interim chair of the board. Directors on the board include Thunderbird CEO Jennifer Twiner McCarron; Frank Giustra, president and CEO of Fiore Financial Corporation; Linda Michaelson, a partner at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, LLP; and Azim Jamal, CEO and founder of Pacific Reach.

More awards love for Dune, Nightmare Alley

The Screen Actors Guild Awards have recognized Quebec filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune and Toronto-shot feature Nightmare Alley, directed by Guillermo del Toro and produced by Toronto’s J. Miles Dale. Dune, which counts Villeneuve among its producers, earned a nomination for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture. Nightmare Alley star Cate Blanchett is up for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.

Both films are also on long lists announced this week for the British Academy Film Awards, and recently earned nominations for the Critics Choice Awards and made Academy Awards short lists.

With files from Kelly Townsend