DEADLINE – The Los Angeles Film Festival is on the move from June to this month, where it opens on Thursday with the world premiere of the music documentary Echo in the Canyon. Over the course of the next week, the festival will be offering an array of cinematic programming of all kinds including several more world premiere features.
One of those is the locally based Brian Banks, which marks a return to narrative filmmaking by director Tom Shadyac, whose most recent work was the spiritual documentary I Am in 2010 , and whose most recent commercial film was 2007’s Evan Almighty. A powerful and inspiring film, Brian Banks is a decided departure for the man whose filmography includes Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty, Dragonfly and Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor. Independently made, Brian Banks stars Aldis Hodge in the title role alog with Greg Kinnear, Sherri Shepherd, Melanie Liburd, Xosha Roquemore and Tiffany Dupont. It is produced by Shivani Rawat, Monica Levinson and Amy Baer.
The very timely and true story revolves around Brian Banks, an All-American football player already committed to USC when he is falsely accused of rape during his junior year of high school. Despite maintaining his innocence, he is railroaded through the system and sentenced to a decade of prison, parole, and registering as a sex offender. Driven by the same thoughtfulness and focus that propelled him as an athlete, Banks continues to fight to clear his name, ultimately partnering with the California Innocence Project.
Written by Doug Atchison, the movie premieres Saturday at LAFF and is one of the festival’s top distribution prospects.