Gorilla, AMG enrich partnership

Co-production projects include 'Debt Collectors'

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CANNES -- Bill Gottlieb's U.S. production banner Gorilla Pictures and L.A.-based American Media Group are ramping up their co-production partnership with a slew of projects including Jesse V. Johnson's "Debt Collectors."

Going into preproduction in the fall, "Debt Collectors" is written and will directed by Johnson and is billed as neo-noir drama centering on the story of two professional debt collectors.

The project marks the second collaboration for Gorilla and AMG on a Johnson movie. The first will see the duo unspool the filmmaker's noir drama "Charlie Valentine" here in the Marche du Film.

"Valentine" stars Raymond J. Barry, Michael Weatherly, Tom Berenger and Steven Bauer and details the story of a gangster and his relationship with his son.

Also in development at AMG is "Within Screaming Distance," written by Joseph Stefano before his death in 2006. Stefano was living next door to Sharon Tate when she was savagely murdered by Charles Manson in 1969. His screenplay centers on a Hollywood party occurring next door to Sharon just before she was murdered.

Also heading into the preproduction phase in early 2010 is "Dead Man's Party," a horror pic written by Lou Aguilar, and "Hard Dazed Night" written by Steve McKean, Frank Elkins & Jack Airey.