For immediate release
Contact: Cara White 843-881-1480
Abbe Harris 908-233-7990
FIVE SISTERS FILM “MANNA FROM HEAVEN” WIDENING NATIONAL RELEASE THIS FALL
+ BENEFIT SCREENINGS OPENING NIGHT FOR HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
COMEDY CHOSEN FOR CANADIAN CIRCUIT
MANNA FROM HEAVEN, an uplifting comedy from Five Sisters Productions, will widen its release this fall, because of its popular appeal among audiences.
“Manna from Heaven” stars Academy Award winners Shirley Jones, Cloris Leachman, Louise Fletcher, Academy Award nominee Seymour Cassel, Ursula Burton, Shelley Duvall, Jill Eikenberry, Faye Grant, three time Tony nominee Harry Groener, Frank Gorshin, Wendie Malick, and Austin Pendleton in a feel-good family film about finding hope at any age. THE WASHINGTON POST called it “a much-needed reprieve from the angst, irony and mean-spiritedness that is endemic to modern cinema.” MANNA was produced by the five Burton sister team who helm FIVE SISTERS PRODUCTIONS (Jennifer, Maria, Ursula, Gabrielle and Charity), and directed by siblings Maria and Gabrielle Burton.
The opening night screening in each new market will be a benefit for Habitat For Humanity. On their tour, the sisters donate their proceeds from an opening night screening in each market to the charity. Habitat For Humanity is their chosen charity, which mirrors “Manna’s” theme of community coming together through a given project. For the occasion, the filmmakers will appear at the benefit screening, as well as select screenings through the opening weekends. They will also be available for Q&A sessions with groups of 20 or more people over the course of the opening weekends.
MANNA FROM HEAVEN has also been chosen for the Canadian “Circuit” release, and will open in multiple cities across Canada this fall, beginning with a gala celebration premiere in Sudbury on September 18. It is an honor to be chosen for the Circuit, and the sisters will be at the Toronto Film Festival to screen their comedy for Canadian buyers on September 7.
With comparisons to “Waking Ned Devine,” “Strictly Ballroom,” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” this prize-winning truly independent comedy (the sisters do not have studio funding) is a fable about what happens when you get a “gift from God” (a financial windfall), but, many years later, it turns out to be a loan — due immediately.
Followers of Box Office Charts know that it is once in a blue moon that a “true Outsider film” (to quote NY Times Dave Kehr’s description of MANNA) is able to thrive in US movie theaters. MANNA FROM HEAVEN has defied the odds repeatedly making the box office charts (and getting renewed in theaters), despite the virtually nonexistent marketing budget for its domestic release (the average advertising budget for a film now is 35 million dollars). In only ten markets, it has grossed over $412,000 — an extraordinary achievement for a non-studio-backed independent film. Along the way, it has been building a steadily growing audience in market after market through a truly old-fashioned grass-roots campaign.
Members of the Five Sisters Filmmaking team (which includes the five real life sisters Maria, Jennifer, Ursula, Gabrielle, and Charity Burton and their parents, Gabrielle and Roger Burton) are making personal appearances at the AMC, Regal/Edwards, and independent theaters around the country, traveling together in the “MANNA Van.” “It’s very hands-on,” says producer Jennifer Burton. “We hand out green fliers to ticket buyers before shows to let more people know about MANNA. Then, we do special Q&As after shows for the audiences. What’s really amazing is how many people have been volunteering to hand out fliers to their own friends and at work, service organizations, or church.” A key theme of MANNA is about a community coming together through a project, and that is what is happening in real life, with audiences joining in to make the word-of-mouth campaign a success.
Why are audiences embracing MANNA FROM HEAVEN? Because it’s different. How many American Independent films are about finding hope at any age? How many times do you get to see so many classic actors playing against type (i.e. Shirley Jones as a con artist, Wendie Malick as a tough-talking casino dealer, and Jill Eikenberry as a nurturing hairdresser)? How often do you get to talk about a movie afterwards, not only with other audience members but with the filmmakers themselves? How many movies can you bring your kids and parents to?
The third feature from Five Sisters Productions, MANNA FROM HEAVEN is literally a family film, written by their mother (award-winning screenwriter Gabrielle B. Burton), co-produced by their father (former jazz musician Roger Burton), and filmed in their hometown of Buffalo, NY. Their first film “Just Friends” is currently playing on AMC and the WE channel, and their second film “Temps,” which has been in development for a TV series and will come out on video next year.
MANNA FROM HEAVEN has won awards at film festivals and is a critic’s pick at The Washington Post. It has already had extensive runs in diverse markets, including Washington, D.C., Buffalo, Columbus, Kansas City, San Diego, Los Angeles, and New York City, where it opened to positive reviews and strong audience appeal.