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Freestyle Digital Media has acquired global VOD rights to missing-person comedy The Disappearance of Toby Blackwood.
The digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group is set to release director Joe Ahern’s movie on global digital HD internet and satellite platforms Dec. 20. The madcap comedy features a script from Ahern and Doug Mellard, and producers are Mellard, Dan Riddle, Flynn Fletcher and Katie Middleton.
The Disappearance of Toby Blackwood focuses on the titular YouTube personality (played by Mellard), known for his wild conspiracy theories, who goes missing during the pandemic. It’s up to his childhood pal Wes Crowley (Ahern), himself enduring a painful divorce, and friend Luke Dalton (Grant Harvey) to track down clues at a time when even basic human interaction is a challenge. Dana DeLorenzo, Natasha Hall and Todd Giebenhain co-star, and The Octopus Project handled the score.
The film went into production shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the script was set up so that no two castmembers were ever in the same room, with the exception of two external scenes. The characters’ virtual exchanges include numerous cameos, with appearances from such performers as Luis Guzmán, Rick Gomez, Doug Benson and Dan Cummins.
Accolades for the project include the 2022 Gasparilla International Film Festival’s grand jury award for best narrative feature and the 2022 Richmond International Film Festival’s audience choice award for best narrative feature.
Ahern explained that the characters’ challenges mirrored those of the film’s real-life team, and that the story felt appropriate during a time when conspiracy theories were particularly pervasive.
“We didn’t want to make a film about COVID — we just wanted to use the pandemic as a backdrop, as if this were a period piece,” Ahern said in a statement. “But the most important thing is that we just want to make people laugh. The world has been in a pretty dark place, and we wanted to do whatever we could to bring some humor into people’s lives.”
The Disappearance of Toby Blackwood is available for rental and purchase Dec. 20. Check out the above trailer.
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