GENIUS PRODUCTS / WELLSPRING
RYAN WERNER, HEAD OF THEATRICAL DISTRIBUTION -- (212) 686-6777, x 164
For immediate release: August 24, 2005
GENIUS PRODUCTS’ WELLSPRING ACQUIRES ALL NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS TO JOHN ROECKER’S ‘LIVE FREAKY! DIE FREAKY!’
Company plans Midnight Screenings followed by a DVD release
NEW YORK, NY --- August 24, 2005 --- Wellspring announced today that it has acquired all North American rights to LIVE FREAKY! DIE FREAKY!, the outrageous stop motion animation musical-comedy retelling of the Manson family crimes directed by John Roecker and voiced by a legion of alternative rock icons, including Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong (as the voice of the Charles Manson-inspired lead character) and Rancid/Operation Ivy’s Tim Armstrong. The film is the first from Tim Armstrong’s production company Hellcat Pictures.
LIVE FREAKY! DIE FREAKY! gleefully pushes the boundaries of good taste as it tells the story of a young man who discovers a copy of Helter Skelter (the definitive book on the Manson killings) in the year 3069 and decides to interpret it as a biblical tome, with Charles Manson as the Messiah. The film follows the young man and his followers though the trials and tribulations of teaching the world better living through “music, murder, and mayhem.” It is safe to say that never before has so much sex, violence, and ribald tongue-in-cheek humor appeared in a stop-motion animated production. Paper Magazine recently called it "the most deliciously tasteless piece of filmmaking since John Waters’ PINK FLAMINGOS.”
In addition to Billie Joe Armstrong and Tim Armstrong and the actress Asia Argento, the film features an all star alternative rock cast including Lunachick's Theo Kogan, AFI's Davey Havoc, X's John Doe, Jen Johnson, The Go Go's Jane Wiedlin, and other members of Green Day, Good Charlotte, Rancid and Blink 182. The soundtrack includes original songs performed by Billie Joe Armstrong and Jane Wiedlin. Tim Armstrong arranged the score and the songs were written by Roddy Bottum (Faith No More/Imperial Teen).
Wellspring will premiere the film theatrically as a midnight engagement in major markets around the country in first quarter 2006. The company will follow these screenings immediately with a release on DVD and UMD, as well as a special DVD/CD soundtrack box set featuring the songs, score, and dialogue from the motion picture.
The deal was negotiated by Marie Therese Guirgis, Head of Acquisitions for Wellspring and Peter Paterno and Jeff Silberman of King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner on behalf of John Roecker and Tim Armstrong.
Marie Therese Guirgis of Wellspring stated, “John Roecker has made a clever, creative, insane envelope-pushing film. Much like Jonathan Caouette’s TARNATION and Vincent Gallo’s THE BROWN BUNNY, LIVE FREAKY! DIE FREAKY! is as bold and defiantly independent as filmmaking gets.”
John Roecker added, "I had no restrictions or boundaries of any kind of when I made this movie. I knew the the kind of distribution I wanted -- truly independent, collaborative and fearless -- and I’ve found all of this in Wellspring. They have the best roster of films and I am so proud to join them.”
Wellspring is one of the leading arthouse distributors in the country. Current releases include Jacques Audiard’s critically acclaimed THE BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED which is the summer’s #1 foreign film and Steve James’ REEL PARADISE following John Pierson and his family during their year in Fiji showing movies to the locals. Upcoming releases include Thomas Vinterberg’s DEAR WENDY which was written by Lars Von Trier and will be shown next month at the Toronto Film Festival.
Wellspring has released films by some of the most important directors of our time including Akira Kurosawa, Arnaud Desplechin, Edward Yang, Francois Ozon, Bruno Dumont, Alexander Sokurov, Jafar Panahi, Leos Carax, Tsai Ming-liang, Cédric Kahn, Jonathan Caouette, Olivier Assayas, Jean-Luc Godard, André Téchiné, Claire Denis, Bahman Ghobadi, Liz Garbus, Karim Ainouz. Wellspring has also been committed to the theatrical re-release of classic films including the works of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Demy and François Truffaut.
Current and upcoming Wellspring Home Entertainment releases include Todd Solondz’s critically acclaimed Palindromes starring Ellen Barkin and Jennifer Jason Leigh; Savi Gabizon’s smash Israeli hit Nina’s Tragedies; Andrew Bujalski's indie film Funny Ha Ha; Anders Ronnow Klarlund's stunning animated feature Strings; the powerful Italian war drama El Alamein by award-winner Enzo Monteleone; the inspiring self-instructional The 5 Keys to Mastery, based on the works of best-selling author George Leonard and Michael and Me, Larry Elder's provocative counter-argument to Michael Moore's 'Bowling for Columbine.'
Together, the Wellspring Home Video and Worldwide Sales libraries boast over 1,000 titles including major works by François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, Luchino Visconti, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, The Taviani Brothers, Peter Greenaway, Jacques Demy, Akira Kurosawa, Pedro Almodóvar, Michelangelo Antonioni and Lina Wertmüller among others.
Wellspring Media, Inc. is a division of American Vantage Media Corporation, a recently acquired, wholly owned subsidiary of Genius Products, Inc.
ABOUT GENIUS PRODUCTS INC.
Genius Products, Inc. (OTCBB:GNPI) produces and distributes affordable entertainment products including DVDs and CDs. Its products are sold in retail outlets nationwide under well-known brands including AMC®, TV Guide®, Wellspring, IFILM®, Sundance Channel Home Entertainment˙, Bazooka®, Jay Jay The Jet Plane®, National Lampoon®, The Twilight Zone, Baby Genius®, Tonka®, My Little Pony®, Curious George® and Paddington Bear. Genius Products also licenses the Baby Genius brand to third-party companies for a variety of products including books, apparel and infant care products. Promotional partners include the world famous San Diego Zoo®, Gerber®, Fazoli’s® and Child® Magazine.
SAFE HARBER STATEMENT
Except for historical matters contained herein, the matters discussed in this news release are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements reflect assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties, which may affect Genius Products’ business, forecasts, projections and prospects, and cause results to differ from these forward-looking statements. Actual results could vary for many reasons, including but not limited to, the timely development and acceptance of new products, the market demand for independent films and general market conditions. Other such risks and uncertainties include Genius Products’ ability to grow its business, to obtain additional licenses, to meet anticipated release schedules and other matters, which are described in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Genius Products assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this press release.