In today’s film news roundup, a pair of long-running film festivals in San Francisco and Cleveland are moving ahead and Warner Bros.’ Fred Hampton biopic gets additional backing and Dule Hill gets cast.

FILM FESTIVALS

The San Francisco International Film Festival has set the documentary “Boys State” as its opening night film for April 8 at the Castro Theatre.

“Boys State,” directed by Jesse Moss and Amanda McBain, follows a group of Texas teens selected to participate in the program. The film won the U.S. documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Moss and McBaine will be in attendance at the San Francisco event.

The festival, which is the longest running film festival in North America, had announced this week that it plans to go ahead with its 63rd edition in the face of the coronavirus epidemic.

“SFFILM staff continue to monitor on a daily basis the developments and latest guidelines provided by local, national, and international authorities and at this time we are confident and comfortable in moving forward with the Festival, which will run April 8–21,” the announcement said.

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The Cleveland International Film Festival plans to go ahead with its 44th edition later this month amid concerns about the coronavirus epidemic.

“The CIFF staff and Board of Directors are continually monitoring the developments, as well as the most up-to-date procedures and practices put forth by local, national, and international authorities,” the festival said. “With that information top of mind – and with an abundance of caution – we are confidently moving forward with CIFF44, which will take place March 25 – April 5, 2020.”

“Per the advice of health experts, we encourage everyone to take part in the day-in and day-out practicalities of staying healthy, including regular hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you are ill,” the festival said.

“Military Wives” opens the festival on March 25. The film centers on a group of women from different backgrounds whose partners are away serving in Afghanistan. Peter Cattaneo directs Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan.

The festival will close April 5 with “Dream Horse,” starring Toni Collette as a small town Welsh bartender who convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise the horse in the hopes he can compete with the racing elites.

FINANCE PARTNERS

Participant and Bron Creative will co-finance with Warner Bros. Pictures and Macro an untitled story about Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton.

Shaka King directed the film, which is slated for release Aug. 21. Daniel Kaluuya plays Hampton, who was killed in 1969 while sleeping in his apartment during a raid conducted by a state tactical unit in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His death was ruled as a justifiable homicide by the inquest.

LaKeith Stanfield plays William O’Neal, who had provided the FBI with detailed plans of Hampton’s apartment. O’Neal died by suicide in 1990. O’Neal. The film also stars Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Algee Smith and Martin Sheen as J. Edgar Hoover.

Bron Creative was a co-financier on half a dozen Warner Bros. titles including “Joker.” Participant has a focus on socially impactful films and television shows such as “Just Mercy” and “When They See Us.” The news was first reported by Deadline.

CASTING

“Pscyh” star Dulé Hill has been cast opposite Andrea Riseborough in the supernatural thriller “Geechee” from Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios.

Riseborough stars as a New York scientist who decides to leave the city with her son to start life over in the remote Sea Islands, inhabited by descendants of a group of African slaves. Her world starts to unravel as the souls of the subjugated begin to haunt her.

“Geechee” will be directed by Dubois Ashong. AGC’s Glendon Palmer will produce, along with Ford. Production is due to start this year. Hill is repped by ICM Partners and Washington Square Films.

Popular on Variety

https://variety.com/2020/film/news/san-francisco-film-festival-boys-state-1203526773/