The chief executive officer of Moon River Studios announced Thursday a two-picture deal with renowned director Penny Marshall.
The deal was reached between Marshall and Studioplex City LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of FONU2. Jake Shapiro, the CEO of Moon River, is the president of Studioplex City and has been appointed chairman of FONU2.
“Penny Marshall has directed some of the greatest stories ever told for the big screen,” said Shapiro. “Films such as ‘Big’ and ‘A League of their Own’ transcend time, generations and global boundaries.”
The first film Marshall is set to direct is the story of Effa Manley, the first woman to be inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Manley rose to fame in the sport while managing the National Negro League’s Newark Eagles in the 1930s and ’40s.
“The film is about a strong woman who was ahead of her time, the history of baseball and the Negro Leagues,” Shapiro said. “We are proud to be working on such a meaningful project with such a powerful and talented director.”
Marshall also will be the film’s executive producer. Byron Motley, who wrote the screenplay, will be an executive producer, and Wendi Laski will be the producer.
Studioplex City will finance and produce the film, and principal photography is scheduled to start early next year.
“The story is a fascinating tale of a woman who broke through so many barriers and accomplished so much for the players and the game, during a time when the face of baseball changed forever,” Marshall said. “I look forward to begin casting the film and shooting in Savannah.”
According to Georgia Secretary of State records, Studioplex City was formed July 7. It is a Georgia-based independent feature film production company. FONU2 is a social commerce company based in Florida, with offices in Coral Gables, Fla., and London.
“We are very excited to welcome Studioplex City to the FONU2 family,” said FONU2 CEO Roger Miguel. “This acquisition is a major accomplishment for FONU2 and its shareholders. With a number of Ms. Marshall’s films grossing in excess of $100 million, this represents a tremendous opportunity for us to work with one of America’s top directors. FONU’s proprietary social media platform will be instrumental in the marketing of the company’s film projects.
“I am also pleased to welcome Jake Shapiro as chairman of our board of directors,” Miguel continued. “Mr. Shapiro is a veteran financier and serial entrepreneur. He currently serves as chief executive officer of Moon River Studios and has served as a founder or co-founder of several technology and commercial product companies and has helped structure and or finance companies in Asia, South America, Australia, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and North America. Mr. Shapiro brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in both the capital markets and entertainment industries. He will add tremendous value to our company’s future growth.”