Media executive plans movie adaptation of Mississippi trilogy

By JACK WEATHERLY

Robert Schnitzer is going to the well once again, this time drawing from the creativity of Mississippi writer Ramona Bridges by buying movie rights for her trilogy set in the state.

Schnitzer made a movie in Jackson in the mid-’70s, “The Premonition,” a horror thriller that by some accounts became a minor cult classic.

His Century City, Calif.-based Movicorp Media has acquired exclusive film rights to novelist Bridges’ trilogy, “Sweet By and By.”

The script is being developed for a six-part series by screenwriter Sarah Cutler-Weiss.

Actually, this will be the third time he’s been drawn to the state.

In early 2015 Schnitzer moved to Jackson to start up an Internet streaming network, OTV, that would be holistic in nature.

After rounds of funding-raising, the venture never got off the ground.

He moved the headquarters of OTV’s holding company, Elation Media, to Sedona, Ariz., in June 2016.

At the time, he said he was not cutting ties with Mississippi. During the two years he lived in Jackson, he discovered Bridges’ trilogy said he aimed to turn it into a movie.

“Sweet By and By” is a southern gothic romantic thriller about a woman’s journey from victimhood to victory, set in the decades following the Civil War in rural Mississippi. “This is a highly emotional, multiracial drama with broad, international appeal,” Schnitzer said in a release.

Bridges lives in Seminary, Miss.

The trilogy targeted a Christian readers but quickly attracted a mainstream following, according to Schnitzer.

“I grew up Jewish in New York City,” says Schnitzer. “If I can relate so emotionally to the characters, dialogue and multi-layered storylines, everybody can.”

Schnitzer has not given up on Elation Media, according to publicist Mara Quigley.

His corporate team still includes Gerald “Jerry” Levin, former head of Time Warner and founder of HBO, Quigley said.

Jerry Kowal, a former content executive for Netflix and Amazon, will join them as chief executive when Elation resumes operations in the second quarter of 2018, she said.

And Schnitzer “fully intends” to make the movie in Mississippi if at all possible, Quigley said.