for IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Five Sisters Productions’ film “Manna from Heaven” opening nationally in theaters on whistle-stop tour
WHAT: MANNA FROM HEAVEN (the feel-good film from Five Sisters Productions) is currently being released in theaters nationwide. Like MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, the film has begun with a roll-out, and is catching fire, now opening in multiple theaters in new areas. In an unique move, the independent company of five real-life sisters has decided to release this old-fashioned film in an old-fashioned way — as a whistle-stop tour (similar to a concert tour), where the sisters travel with the film to personally spread the word about this project close to their heart. In addition, the sisters, partnered with R.S. Entertainment, decided to launch the national distribution in the midwest and other regional markets. MANNA will open in New York and LA in April.
What’s more, MANNA FROM HEAVEN could be truly called a “family” film. Shot entirely in their hometown of Buffalo, MANNA FROM HEAVEN is the third film from the five Burton sisters (Jennifer, Maria, Ursula, Gabrielle, and Charity Burton) of FIVE SISTERS PRODUCTIONS. The film was written by their mother (award-winning screenwriter, Gabrielle B. Burton) and was produced by the Burton sisters along with their father (Roger Burton).
The stellar ensemble cast includes Academy Award winners SHIRLEY JONES, CLORIS LEACHMAN, LOUISE FLETCHER; Academy Award nominee SEYMOUR CASSEL; URSULA BURTON, SHELLEY DUVALL, JILL EIKENBERRY, FRANK GORSHIN, HARRY GROENER, FAYE GRANT, WENDIE MALICK, and AUSTIN PENDLETON.
MANNA is an uplifting, quirky comedy about a neighborhood caper which is getting strong positive word-of-mouth. Now, awareness of the underdog true indie and its passionate band of sibling creators is growing, spurred on by positive reviews about the prize-winning film, as well as a swelling number of enthusiastic movie-goers using the internet for word-of-mouth. Of interest to film exhibitors, MANNA has outperformed many studio films in its theaters during its successful runs in Missouri, Kansas, and the Washington DC area. AMC has offered to help the film with marketing support because of its proven public appeal.
In addition to their commitment to making high quality films, Five Sisters Productions is committed to community involvement and social responsibility. Notably, they have partnered with HABITAT FOR HUMANITY on MANNA’s national release. They have offered to donate proceeds from an opening screening in each market to the charity. “One of the themes of the film is community coming together to improve itself,” said Ursula Burton, sister #3, who produced and acted in the film. “We want to take this opportunity to reach out to the communities to which we are traveling, to reach beyond the boundaries of the film as a piece of entertainment, and to use it as a chance to do something good for a local charitable cause.”
The Burtons are so committed to their third feature film that they are going to spend the next year touring the country with it, personally appearing at theaters to talk with audiences. (THE MANNA VAN — in which they tour the US — is currently being painted as part of the 2003 Western New York art project, “Art on Wheels.”)
“People have said they want to see more intelligent, feel-good films about rediscovering hope at any age,” said Maria (director, actor, and sister #1). “They often say that there just aren’t films like MANNA out there now — an American-made independent comedy with a terrific cast. In fact, the big hurdle is competing against the studio films. Movies today have a $35 million dollar average budget for advertisement — well, we’ve got green fliers. But people are coming to see MANNA FROM HEAVEN and telling their friends or bringing back groups. The response is overwhelming.”
Even in the face of daunting competition, the grassroots campaign to get and keep MANNA FROM HEAVEN out in theaters is working. With the success of the whistle-stop tour, the sisters hope that the film industry will see the desire in the marketplace for quality, independent movies with a mature cast. The Burtons are also talking with audiences across the US about the power they have over the future of films. “By buying a ticket, every person can influence the types of American movies being made and offered to the public,” said Gabrielle, co-director and sister #4. “With the focus now on weekend box office reports, people are, in effect, ‘voting’ for the types of movies they want to see.”
WHO: The Burton sisters of FIVE SISTERS PRODUCTIONS (directors Maria and Gabrielle, producers Jennifer and Charity, and actor Ursula), as well as their parents (co-producer Roger Burton and writer Gabrielle B. Burton) are available for interviews. All of the stellar cast are enthusiastic about the film and are available for telephone and/or remote interviews, dependent on their work schedules.
SEE ATTACHED FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MANNA FROM HEAVEN, CAST, STORY, ITS RELEASE, AND ABOUT FIVE SISTERS PRODUCTIONS (bios attached).
MEDIA CONTACT: Julie L. Slead – (816) 210-3447, pr@NOSPAMfivesistersproductions.com; or call (310) 403-9774
For further information, visit http://www.fivesistersproductions.com.
An extraordinary story about a family working together creatively:
- Two of the FIVE SISTERS went to Yale, two to Harvard and one to Denison. After years of doing other things they combined their creative talents and formed a movie production company, Five Sisters Productions. Everyone wears at least two hats: production and finance; directing and producing; acting and directing, etc.
- Their mother went to film school (the oldest student at the time to go to AFI), where she began to win awards for her screenwriting. She wrote a script set in Buffalo (where the five sisters grew up) that their company produced — “MANNA”.
- Their father retired from the University (SUNY) at Buffalo to join his daughters’ production company. He produced MANNA along with his daughters.
- The sisters are doing another unusual thing as a family — they will be on the road together for the next year to promote their film. They will be traveling in THE MANNA VAN, carrying the film with them from city to city.
- MANNA FROM HEAVEN opened in Branson, Missouri on August 2nd and was renewed for six weeks. (Most independents that make it to theaters now play for one to two weeks.) MANNA then opened in Kansas City, KS and MO. The film ran for eight weeks, and was also expanded into additional theaters.
- MANNA screened for the United States Congress in October at the MPAA, with a reception hosted by Jack Valenti (President of the MPAA), Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-NY), and Rep. Karen McCarthy (D-MO). MANNA opened in theaters in the DC area, including MD and VA, and was renewed four times.
- MANNA FROM HEAVEN is the third feature film by Five Sisters Productions in six years. Their first film, the romantic comedy JUST FRIENDS, is currently playing on AMC and on the WE Channel, and their film TEMPS is being developed into a TV series.
(a financial windfall)
but, many years later, find out it was just a loan
— and it’s due immediately!
Manna From Heaven
~A comedic fable ~
Love, laughter, happiness… everything money can’t buy.
Bob Garfield – NPR
“Capra-esque — charming, charming, charming!”
Natalie Hopkinson – WASHINGTON POST
“CRITICS PICK! Two feel-good hours of old-timey family entertainment… A much-needed reprieve from the angst, irony and mean-spiritedness that is endemic to modern cinema.”
Liz Smith – NEW YORK POST
“The Burton siblings [had a special screening of] their film, “Manna From Heaven,” at the Cantor Film Center on East Eighth Street this week, and a great little movie it is. Dig this cast… Several Oscar winners and nominees and even a Tony citation are in this amazing group. You’ll be hearing more about the Burtons!”
Ain’t it Cool News
“This movie has it all: a good plot, great characters and performances, hilarious moments, and genuinely touching personal moments… What follows are some hilariously funny actions and reactions between the family members and anyone outside the family who inadvertently gets involved, along with some surprisingly tender moments in which characters think about some of their forgotten dreams and missed opportunities. I’m generally pretty cynical, but I still really enjoyed this movie. I wish more good family movies like this came along.”