EXCLUSIVE: Veteran producers William Shockley and Tom Brady have partnered with Allen Gilmer and Riki Rushing to launch Thunderbird Pictures, a new production company to have a presence in both Los Angeles and Austin, TX.
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Thunderbird’s launch was teased last month at SXSW, where the company served as the official awards sponsor of the inaugural Thunderbird Rising Award, presenting prizes to first-time directors Paris Zarcilla (Raging Grace) and Brittany Snow (Parachute). The quartet will be joined at the banner by Head of Casting, Tiiu Loigu; Head of Business Development, Jason Chilton; production exec Robert Abdou; and Chief Financial Officer Aldo Waker.
Thunderbird’s initial slate of films includes the Miguel Bardem-directed drama Castro’s Daughter (fka Alina of Cuba), starring James Franco and Ana Villafane, which was produced in partnership with Mankind Entertainment, and is now in post-production; the follow-up documentary Revolution’s Daughter, directed by Thaddeus Matula, which is currently in production; and the Shockley-helmed Last Dollar, a period Western inspired by European cinema, which begins filming on May 8th.
“I met Allen Gilmer while acting in Death in Texas, of which Allen was an EP. Allen and I shared similar stories, the common theme being the desire to control our destinies as filmmakers,” Shockley told Deadline. “Our goals were similar; to produce masterful films, navigate the distribution, and optimize revenue with transparency. Thunderbird Pictures was born with that creed in mind. We partnered with Tom Brady, and our alliance with UTA Independent Film Group solidified the effort.”
“At Thunderbird, we are thrilled to channel our uniquely varied and battle-tested experience into championing new voices and creating thought-provoking, yet exciting films people want to see,” added Brady, who is not to be confused with the iconic NFL star of the same name.
A 30-year veteran of the L.A. film industry as an actor, writer, producer and director, who appeared in Paul Verhoeven’s films RoboCop and Showgirls, Shockley is best known for his six-year run as Hank Lawson on the popular CBS series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. He also directed the award-winning short Common Threads and has produced and written numerous indie features.
The L.A.-based Brady is a writer, director, producer and showrunner whose feature credits include writing and co-producing the Rob Schneider starrer The Animal, and co-writing and directing Disney’s The Hot Chick, also starring Schneider. He also helmed the sports comedy The Comebacks and exec produced Sean Patrick Flanery’s directorial debut Frank and Penelope, starring Kevin Dillon, Caylee Cowan, Billy Budinich, Lin Shaye and Donna D’Errico, as well as the award-winning documentary Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End. Brady’s TV credits include The Critic, The Simpsons, Home Improvement, Sports Night, Men Behaving Badly, Good Vibes and Chozen.
Austin, TX’s Gilmer exec produced the SXSW-premiering Before the Music Dies before going on to EP the indie actioner Death in Texas, also producing and distributing Frank and Penelope.
The Austin, TX-based Rushing has, in addition to Death in Texas, exec produced titles including Radley, Frank and Penelope and QT8: The First Eight, a documentary on filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.
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