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SXSW Horror Title 'Stage Fright' Goes to Magnolia's Magnet

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 5, 2014 at 5:24PM

The genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, Magnet Releasing, has acquired U.S. rights to genre film "Stage Fright," a horror/comedy/musical about "bloodthirsty gorehounds and musical theatre geeks," says rookie writer/director Jerome Sable, whose short “The Legend of Beaver Dam" cut a swath on festival circuit. "Stage Fright," which world premieres in the Midnighters section at March's SXSW Film Festival, stars Allie MacDonald and Douglas Smith, with Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf.
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'Stage Fright'
'Stage Fright'

The genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, Magnet Releasing, has acquired U.S. rights to genre film "Stage Fright," a horror/comedy/musical about "bloodthirsty gorehounds and musical theatre geeks," says rookie writer/director Jerome Sable, whose short “The Legend of Beaver Dam" cut a swath on festival circuit. "Stage Fright," which world premieres in the Midnighters section at March's SXSW Film Festival, stars Allie MacDonald and Douglas Smith, with Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf. 

The filmmakers are calling "Stage Fright" a “Scream” meets “Glee” comedy mashup. Teen Camilla Swanson (Allie MacDonald) wants to follow her diva mom (Minnie Driver) to Broadway, but is stuck working in the kitchen of a snobby performing arts camp. She sneaks into the audition for the summer showcase and lands a lead role, but as rehearsals begin, Camilla soon discovers the bloody horror of musical theater.

“STAGE FRIGHT is smart, stylish and incredibly fun—an assured debut from Jerome Sable, with excellent musical numbers that really deliver.” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “Its inventive and entertaining blend of slasher horror and musical comedy will appeal to genre fans of all stripes.”

Produced by Ari Lantos and Jonas Bell Pasht of Serendipity Point Films, "Stage Fright" has music and lyrics by Jerome Sable and longtime collaborator Eli Batalion, who also appears in the film as the wildly obsessive camp music director. 

Magnet is releasing the film through its Ultra VOD program, launching it on iTunes and On Demand on April 3rd--soon after it builds buzz at SXSW, a releasing model that is picking up currency-- followed by a theatrical release on May 9th.

The deal was negotiated by SVP of Acquisitions Dori Begley and VP of Acquisitions Peter Van Steemburg with Nate Bolotin of XYZ films on behalf of the filmmakers. XYZ is selling international rights at this year’s EFM.

Upcoming Magnet films include Ti West’s "The Sacrament," "The ABCs of Death 2," and many more.

LA-based production and sales company XYZ Films executive produced and handled international sales on the hit action film "The Raid: Redemption," which was released by Sony Pictures Classics. They are also handling international sales on the recent Sundance competition film "Life After Beth," starring Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Anna Kendrick, and John C. Reilly.  Other recent projects include the action thriller "The Night Comes for Us," which Radius-TWC has scheduled for a 2015 release and Gareth Huw Evans' "The Raid 2," which world premiered at Sundance.

This article is related to: SXSW, South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), Magnolia, Magnolia, Magnolia Pictures, Magnet/Magnolia


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.