Dowdle Brothers to Write, Direct Action Thriller 'Six Minutes to Freedom'

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John Erick Dowdle, Drew Dowdle

Based on a book by John Gilstrap, the action thriller centers on the true story of an American who was imprisoned for broadcasting a pirate radio station that challenged Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

Marc Butan’s MadRiver Pictures has tapped John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle, the brothers behind the Owen Wilson starrer No Escape, to write and John Erick Dowdle to direct Six Minutes to Freedom.

Based on a book by John Gilstrap, the action thriller centers on the true story of American Kurt Muse, who, in 1989 was imprisoned for broadcasting a pirate radio station that propagated dissent against Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, and the saga of his rescue from prison by the U.S. Delta Force. Muse is the first and only American civilian rescued by the elite special force.

Butan, Drew Dowdle, Sam Franco, and Laura Bickford are producing. Ed Fee is executive producing.

The Dowdles credits include As Above, So Below for Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures, Devil for Universal Pictures and Quarantine for Screen Gems.

The Dowdle Brothers are represented by WME.

Launched in May at the Cannes market, MadRiver is looking to finance and produce 3-4 director- and star-driven films per year in the $15 million-$50 million budget range for global wide release. The company has raised development and production financing from a consortium of private and strategic investors, with Vendian Entertainment making a $30 million equity investment into MadRiver in the form of a revolving equity fund.

MadRiver Pictures is financing and producing Harmony Korine’s The Trap, which stars Idris Elba, Benicio Del Toro, James Franco and Al Pacino; and Mark Romanek’s Norco. Butan’s current slate includes John Hillocat’s Triple 9, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul and Anthony Mackie, which was released by Open Road Films on Sept. 11; Burr SteersPride & Prejudice & Zombies starring Lily James and Suki Waterhouse, which will be released by Screen Gems on February 19; and James Gray’s The Lost City of Z, with Charlie Hunnam, which is currently in production and will be released by Paramount Pictures.

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