ARMORY FILMS CONTINUES TO WORK ITS MAGIC WITH UNIKORN,
TAPS DEBBIE BERMAN TO MAKE DIRECTORIAL DEBUT
Armory to Produce with Motor Content
Los Angeles – Rising independent production company Armory Films is gearing up to produce Unikorn, a feature adaptation of Don Handfield & Joshua Malkin’s original graphic novel which Armory developed and financed with Handfield and that Scout Comics is publishing in early 2021.
The film will mark celebrated, in-demand editor Debbie Berman’s (Black Panther, Spider Man: Homecoming, Captain Marvel) first effort behind the camera.
“Unikorn has heart, humor and ultimately leaves you feeling inspired and hopeful, story elements which define some of our favorite films like The Goonies, ET and The Black Stallion, and feelings we are all desperately seeking more now than ever,“ said Armory Films co-founders Chris Lemole & Tim Zajaros. “With Debbie Berman at the helm, this film is destined to be a magical feel-good adventure that will be remembered for decades to come,“ they added.
In Unikorn, Maeve “Mae” Everhart inherits Percy, an old horse with a strange nub in the center of his forehead that makes her believe it’s a unikorn - a unicorn with a broken horn. Mae soon discovers the horn was removed for a reason - to keep Percy safe from those would exploit or harm him. Mae must find the unicorn’s broken horn and prove to her skeptical father that her horse really is magical before everything she cares about is lost forever.
Unikorn is based on the graphic novel by Handfield and Joshua Malkin, which they have adapted for the screen, and will be produced by Armory’s Lemole and Zajaros, and Handfield.
Debbie Berman is most well known for her work as an Editor on Black Panther, which is the first super hero film ever to be nominated for several Academy Awards® (including Best Picture), and winner of 3.
Debbie is one of the very few females working on big budget features, and has had a meteoric career rise over the last couple of years. This began with her first foray into Marvel Studios editing Spider-man: Homecoming. This film was critically and commercially acclaimed, and reinvigorated the franchise to become 2017’s top grossing superhero film.
She then worked on Black Panther, which is nothing less than a cultural and film phenomenon. It received a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes (Marvel Studio’s highest scoring film), made $1.2 billion worldwide, and is one of the top grossing films of all time. Using her unique life experience of being born and raised in Africa, Debbie was able to help ensure the authenticity of Marvel’s first film set on the continent. One of her major contributions was to guide the narrative and the performances in a way that accentuated a multitude of powerful, interesting and inspiring female characters.
Debbie's third film in a row at Marvel Studios was Captain Marvel. It is the first female led film in their cinematic universe. It grossed over a billion dollars within its first month of release, had the biggest worldwide opening weekend for a female led film, set the worldwide opening weekend record for a solo superhero film, and is the highest grossing female superhero film of all time.
Debbie was selected as one of Variety's 'Artisans Elite' in 2018, and is now in high demand as one of the most exciting new talents in Hollywood.
Don Handfield is the co-creator of the History Channel drama series Knightfall. This is the fourth comic series he has sold or optioned to television. His first comic series THE RIFT was picked up by Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment, and lensed as the season finale of the recent Amazing Stories anthology reboot on Apple +, for which he also co-wrote the teleplay. Handfield has several other properties in active development at various companies including the upcoming YA graphic novel Loot, The Mall also from Scout Comics and The Dark Age published by Red 5 comics.
"Unikorn was born when we both found ourselves dealing with the loss of a parent and wanted to create a story that could not only address our own pain, but also help our children process and deal with the subject in a manner that was full of hope, heart and wonder. We wanted Unikorn to have the magic of an Amblin film, the heart of Disney classic, and the action-packed fun of a mini-Marvel movie, and can’t think of a better director to bring that vision to life than Debbie, who was such an integral part of three of the biggest franchises of all time,” said Handfield & Malkin in a joint statement.
Handfield developed and produced The Founder starring Michael Keaton and Kill the Messenger starring two-time Academy Award® nominated actor Jeremy Renner, with whom Handfield co-founded their production company The Combine.
Joshua Malkin (Cabin Fever 2) has written feature projects for Sony, Fox, Cross Creek, Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures and is repped by Echo Lake Entertainment. Together, Malkin & Handfield co-wrote the top-selling comic series The Source, also for Scout Comics.
Scout Comics is launching SCOOT!, their new Kids & Teens division with the publication of Unikorn.
"The Unikorn graphic novel reminded us of the books we looked forward to getting from the Scholastic Book Fair as kids, perennial classics like Charlotte's Web, Watership Down and Black Beauty. These were more than just great books for children, they were hopeful and heartbreaking stories that, like Unikorn, tackled deep and meaningful themes adults could also relate to. We can't think of a better story to launch our new imprint, and can understand why it's already fast-tracked for film and television." said Scout's President James Haick III.
Scout has had epic growth in just the past two years, optioning properties to Amazon and Freeform among others and quadrupling their sales and market share.
About Armory Films
Founded in 2013 by Christopher Lemole and Tim Zajaros, Armory Films is a film finance and production company that creates, develops, produces, and finances high concept and commercially viable content. With the ability to finance projects from initial creative inception through production and release, Armory has amassed an impressive slate spanning numerous genres and styles, nurturing distinctive stories into groundbreaking films.
Armory produced the award-winning hit The Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Jon Bernthal, Bruce Dern, and newcomer Zack Gottsagen. The Peanut Butter Falcon received rave reviews and the Narrative Spotlight Audience Award out of its SXSW premiere. The film was acquired by Roadside Attractions, has a 95% score on Rotten Tomatoes and made over $20 million at the box-office, making it one of the biggest indie releases of 2019. Armory will also be teaming with Don Handfield on the sci-fi comic book series The Dark Age.
Armory also produced Joe Penna’s Arctic, starring Mads Mikkelsen which made its world premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where it was acquired by Bleecker Street for North American distribution and released in the US on February 1, 2019, and Dee Rees’ lauded feature Mudbound, which Armory produced and financed, starring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund and Academy Award®-nominee Mary J. Blige. The film rose to critical success following its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, and after being acquired by Netflix, went on to receive a record breaking four Academy Award® nominations, making the film a milestone in Netflix’s history in the awards race.
Additional recent productions include Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair’s horror/thriller Mom and Dad, which premiered in the Midnight Madness section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.
About Motor Content
Motor is a content engine focused on film, television and original IP. Motor is currently producing Switched On, the critically-acclaimed book from John Elder Robison at Focus Features with Marc Platt and the US remake of top-grossing Vietnamese horror film, Housemaid, with CJ Entertainment (Snowpiercer, Parasite) that was adapted by Academy Award®-winning writer Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious).
About Scout Comics
Scout Comics & Entertainment is one of the fastest growing indie comic labels in publishing. The label has had several breakout hits recently, including White Ash, The Mall, Grit and It Eats What Feeds It. They have properties in development with Amazon Studios, Freeform/Disney, among others.