DIRECTOR MARIA PULERA LAUNCHES PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION COMPANY ‘RISE UP, LLC’ WITH ERIC BANOUN AND DAVID HILLARY
FIRST FILM ‘BETWEEN WORLDS’ STARRING NICOLAS CAGE DEBUTS IN CANNES
NEXT SEVEN PROJECTS GREENLIT FOR PRODUCTION
Cannes, FRANCE (May 10, 2018) Writer, director, and producer Maria Pulera, whose upcoming mystery thriller Between Worlds will have its debut screening for buyers at the Cannes Market, is launching her production and distribution company Rise Up LLC with partners Eric Banoun and David Hillary, it was announced today.
The company is backed by a Spanish-Israeli finance fund with the goal to shoot and distribute three to four globally diverse stories told through a range of different voices per year. Its first production, Between Worlds starring Nicolas Cage, Franka Potente, and Penelope Mitchell, centers on Joe (Cage), who is obsessed with the death of his wife and daughter, meets Julie (Potente), a spiritually gifted woman who enlists him in a desperate attempt to recover the lost soul of her comatose daughter, Billie (Mitchell). Billie suddenly awakens in Joe’s presence, but she’s not herself — her body has been taken over by another soul: Joe’s dead wife, who has returned to settle her unfinished business with the living. Voltage Pictures is representing worldwide rights to the film.
They have seven new projects greenlit for production under their banner – the first of the seven to go into production is the Spanish neo-noir titled El Matador which Pulera penned and will direct this July 2018 in Marbella, Spain. The story follows an assassin who takes on his final job and a beautiful singer in a nightclub who is witness to it all. Although brought to a lineup, he is released when she does not come forward. He now goes from being the hunter to the hunted, trailed by determined police, as well as crime bosses. It is an introspective story of the race against time as impending death approaches and understanding who we live for and who we die for.
Johnny Thunders is the biopic about American punk rock hero Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls. The feature film will be directed by Swedish director Jonas Akerlund whose recent film Lords of Chaos was well-received by critics at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
The Clean Up is a dark, sexy, funny, violent contemporary noir thriller in the vein of Pulp Fiction, written and to be directed by Alex Turner. The story follows Matthew Worth whose life is a complete mess. He works the night patrol at a robbery-prone Omaha supermarket. Every night he wears his uniform and asks shoppers if they want paper or plastic. If that isn’t enough, he suspects he might be falling for Gwen, the shy checkout girl who may be an even bigger mess than he is. One night, Gwen comes to him scared and desperate for help and Worth discovers just how far he’s willing to go to protect and serve.
No-No Boy is based on the only novel published by Japanese-American writer John Okada and to be directed by Musashi Alexander. After World War II, Ichiro Yamada, a Japanese American student returns home to a Japanese enclave in Seattle, Washington after spending two years in an American internment camp and two years in federal prison for refusing to fight for the U.S. during World War II. Now home, Ichiro struggles with his family for embracing American customs and values while facing ostracism from the Japanese American community for refusing to join the U.S. military to fight Japan when many in his community did. Perceived as disloyal to the U.S. but not fully Japanese, Ichiro struggles to find his path. Ichiro’s story examines what it means to be American in a post-war society whose non-white communities are struggling to find their places.
When the Nines Were Sixes is a wild, coming-of-age story about Marty who works a mindless job doing the same thing day in and day out, just well enough to get by. He falls in love with a girl, Sarah, and moves in with her—after his parents kick him out of the house for his failure to conform to societal norms—and discovers what he didn’t realize he was looking for: rock n roll. Once Marty’s band starts getting the attention of record labels and radio stations, they fall into the dangerous and exciting world of sex, drugs, and rock n roll. It’s up to Marty to make sure they keep it together or else everything will fall apart. The film will be directed by Joshua Evans (Che Guevara, Glam).
In addition to the five feature films, Rise Up has two television series in the works: “Gaddafi Stories” a limited series based on Gaddafi’s inside circle and close family accounts, and a reality series called “Finding the Good” created by Dominic Pulera, which takes us around the world to find goodness in humanity, glamour and positivity.
“David Hillary and I hit it off instantly after producing Between Worlds together. We have the same ideas about what makes a good film and the kinds of stories we want told and to be put out into the world,” shared Pulera. “Together with my producing partner Eric Banoun, we knew joining forces to build our own company and produce our own films on our terms was the natural next step for us. Cannes is the perfect platform to launch our company on the back of the debut of our very first film, Between Worlds. I am very proud of this film and look forward to many, many more.”
David Hillary added, “Our aim is to create high-quality, thought-provoking projects that appeal to the wider audience but more importantly also appeal to our own tastes. We don’t want to make movies that we wouldn’t pay to see ourselves. We have a fantastic slate coming up and I look forward a beautiful and fruitful partnership with Maria and Eric.”
Maria Pulera is a writer, director, and film producer who divides her time between Spain and the US. She relishes in taking risks and experimenting with both unconventional and traditional narrative storytelling. Through her avant-garde style, Pulera strives to strategically place the viewer outside of familiarity and entice them to become truly submerged within her atypical universe. A place where thrillers are transformed into something unreal and devastating, and where darkness, desire, and deviance dance into a mélange to bring us beautifully bizarre worlds that explore the sordid, hidden parts of humanity. Pulera’s first film Falsely Accused, starring Rosanna Arquette and Jon Gries, was released by Gravitas Pictures. She made what she considers her true directorial debut with the thriller Between Worlds.
David Hillary is a trailblazer in independent filmmaking. His credits go back to the days as Co-head of production at Muse Productions known for its edgy films such as Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, Jonas Akerlund’sSpun starring Jason Schwartzman and Mickey Rourke, and the cult favorite American Psycho starring Christian Bale. Hillary’s credits also include Dog Eat Dog starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Defoe, Nick Cassavetes’Yellow, the comedy The Clapper starring Amanda Seyfried and Ed Helms, and London Fields. Hillary has also produced the upcoming Peel starring Amy Brenneman and Emile Hirsch and the crime drama Charlie Says starring Suki Waterhouse and Matt Smith.
Rise Up is attending and has a booth at the Cannes market to meet with buyers and collaborators from around the world.