April 20, 2016




Dark Comedy Produced by NeoClassics Films’ Irwin Olian Stars Anthony Michael Hall, Sean Astin, Aly Michalka, Victoria Smurfit, Nic Bishop And More Fill Out Ensemble


Los Angeles, CA (April 20, 2016) – Noted art house distributor NeoClassics Films Ltd. has announced the start of production on its first self-produced film, Carl Bessai’s THE LEARS. A darkly comic, loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s King Lear, the film stars two-time Academy Award nominee Bruce Dern (THE HATEFUL EIGHT, NEBRASKA); Anthony Michael Hall (FOXCATCHER; THE DARK KNIGHT; THE DEAD ZONE, SIXTEEN CANDLES); Sean Astin (THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy); Aly Michalka (EASY A), Irish leading lady Victoria Smurfit (ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”), and Aussie favorite Nic Bishop (ABC’s “Body of Proof”) among its ensemble cast.


The relatively quick shoot will take place in Malibu and other parts of the Los Angeles, area and will be produced by NeoClassics Films’ CEO Irwin Olian, in association with director Bessai's Raven West Films Ltd. through the production company The Lears, LLC. NeoClassics will also serve as the film’s international sales agent.


“Carl’s script is a smart, modern day derivative of Shakespeare’s King Lear,” said producer Olian. “In the classic play, the old King wanted each of his three daughters to prove their love so that he could determine who was most worthy of his kingdom. In our modern spin, ‘Davenport Lear’, iconic architect, has created a family retreat –also to test the love of each of his children as he is contemplating his future.”


Award winning writer-director Bessai will be helming from his own script, which focuses on world-renowned, cutting-edge architect ‘Davenport Lear’ (Dern), who, nearing retirement, summons his dysfunctional children and their spouses to a weekend family retreat in one of his signature architectural creations. When they hear the bombshell that he has decided to marry his personal assistant that Sunday, it sets off an explosive and humorous round of devious behavior and conflict as each of them jockeys for position, borne by self-interest, greed and jealousy. In the end, the contemporary interpretation of this classic story raises timeless fundamental questions about the nature of love, sexuality, family relationships and honesty, demonstrating that what lies below the surface is often very different from outward manifestations.


Carl Bessai is one of Canada’s leading directors of independent films, having won numerous film festival and North American awards, including those at the Vancouver and San Francisco International Film Festivals, as well as several Leo Awards. Based in Vancouver and Los Angeles, Bessai has directed 14 highly regarded feature films to date, including Johnny (1999), Lola (2001), Emile (2003), Severed (2006), Normal (2007), Mothers & Daughters (2008), Cole (2009), Fathers & Sons (2010), Sisters & Brothers (2011) and most recently, Bad City (2014). His work has screened at film festivals all over the world, including Sundance, TIFF, Moscow, Pusan and Thessaloniki.


Producer Irwin Olian is the CEO of independent film distributor NeoClassics Films Ltd. and has served as the CEO, member of senior management or director of a number of public and private companies in entertainment, technology and other industries. He served as a senior business affairs executive with talent agency ICM in the Berg/Wiatt era as well as Senior Attorney for Warner Bros Inc. at Burbank Studios for a number of years.


About Neo Classics Films Ltd.


Longtime art house distributor NeoClassics Films, Ltd. has successfully released numerous award-winning foreign titles theatrically in the U.S., including French favorites THE HEDGEHOG from director Mona Achache and Christian Carion’s L’AFFAIRE FAREWELL, as well as Amin Matalqa’s multiple-award winning CAPTAIN ABU RAED (Winner of 2008 Sundance World Cinema Audience Award). Other films NeoClassics has distributed in the US include Flemish gems LA MERDITUDE DES CHOSES, MOSCOW, BELGIUM and THE BLACK BALLOON, one of the first feature films to explore life on the autism spectrum. THE LEARS is its first American film and first in-house production. http://www.neoclassicsfilms.com ###







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