Strand Releasing Acquires Rights to Joshua Diaz’s “Straight Up”

Joshua Diaz is heading straight (up)to theaters…

Strand Releasing has acquired the American rights to James Sweeney’s feature film debut Straight Up, starring the Latino actor.

Joshua Diaz

Written, directed and starring Sweeney, the comedy follows Todd (Sweeney), a persnickety half-virgin diagnosed with OCD who thinks maybe he was socially conditioned to be gay. Rory (Katie Findlay) is a whip-smart aspiring actress with her own set of insecurities, sexual and otherwise. Over time, Rory’s stagnant career and Todd’s self-doubt begins to dismantle their odd couple routine, despite their unwillingness to let each other go.

“We’re thrilled to have James’ singular and humorous vision, his knack for snappy dialogue and smart visuals are inspired by period screwball comedies and create such a unique hybrid for modern cinema,” said Marcus Hu, of Strand Releasing.

“I am over the moon that Straight Up has found a home in Strand Releasing, and look forward to sharing shelf space with some of my favorite independent films,” said Sweeney.

Along with Diaz, who stars as Zane, the film also stars Randall ParkBetsy BrandtTracie ThomsJames ScullyDana Drori and Brendan Scannell

The film is produced by David Carricoat Valparaiso PicturesRoss Putman, and Sweeney. 

Garcia Debuts on the Billboard Charts with “GTFO My Room”

Nearly four years after being eliminated on American Idol’s ninth season, Andrew Garcia has made his first appearance on the Billboard charts.

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer, who first gained national attention for singing an acoustic version of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” during Hollywood Week in 2010, has been working at his craft ever since.

Andrew Garcia

Three years ago he was doing a live show with a group called YTF.

Ryan Higa and I were in our hotel jamming on guitar and we came up with a chorus,” Garcia tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We loved it but we scrapped it until we recorded it last summer.”

Higa and Garcia took the song to producer Andy Lange to record it and then shot a video of the tune, titled “GTFO My Room.”

“Ryan uploaded it to his channel, which has 11 million subscribers. I uploaded the acoustic version to my channel and Andy uploaded ‘the making of’ to his channel,” says Garcia.

The official music video was posted on Feb. 6 and has already garnered 1.8 million views.

All of this exposure had led to sales of the digital audio download, which debuts at No. 6 on Billboard’s Comedy Digital Tracks chart.

Garcia is the first Idol alum to appear on this list.

He is the fifth Idol from season nine to chart, following Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox, Casey James and Michael Lynche, the top four finalists from that year.

Garcia is the 71st Idol to appear on the Billboard charts and the first to join this exclusive club since Candice Glover and Kree Harrison became the 69th and 70th Idols to chart in May 2013.