Gravitas to Distribute Horror Flick ‘Wintertide’ in U.S.

Farpoint Films’ latest feature Wintertide has been picked up for distribution in the United States by Gravitas Ventures, an Anthem Sports & Entertainment company.

Directed by John Barnard, the horror film is arriving in the United States after playing at film festivals around the world.

Written by Barnard and Carrie-May Siggins, Wintertide is about an isolated northern city battling a plague of depression that transforms its victims into zombie-like automatons, when a woman discovers the key to immunity lies within her dreams.

“After the great reception and acclaim The Swearing Jar received, we are excited to partner once again with the great team at Gravitas Ventures in bringing Wintertide to the U.S.,” said Farpoint president and co-founder Kyle Bornais in a statement. “They have the track record and integrity that audiences trust and we can’t wait for them to share Wintertide.”

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This is the second feature film directed by Barnard, who previously wrote and directed the award-winning Menorca (Whistler Film Fest 2016) and the music documentary Bachman (Hot Docs 2018) on legendary singer/songwriter Randy Bachman.

Wintertide stars newcomer Niamh Carolan (Elephant Sheets), an Irish immigrant to Canada in her first feature film. Rounding out the cast are Solange Sookram (Tales From the Loop) and Jesse Nobess (The Perfect Match).

Wintertide has also been picked up for distribution in India by VR Films and Studios Ltd.

Wintertide is produced by Kyle Bornais (From the Vine), Tony Wosk (The Swearing Jar) and John Barnard of Farpoint Films with the participation of Manitoba Film & Music and Super Channel.

Electric Entertainment Acquires U.S. Rights to Thriller ‘Exile’

The Canadian feature film Exile has been acquired by Electric Entertainment in the United States, Vortex Media in Canada and Nicely Entertainment for international.

The thriller, shot in Powell River, B.C., stars Adam Beach (Power of the Dog, Suicide Squad) as Ted Evans, a father struggling with his past. It also stars Camille Sullivan (Hunter Hunter), Garry Chalk (“The Killing”) and Marshall Williams (The Ice Road). The film had its world premiere in December at the Whistler Film Festival.

In Exile, Ted Evans receives a threat from the man whose family he killed in a DUI. In order to protect his family when he is released from prison, Ted exiles himself and commits to a reclusive life; separating himself from the people he loves. His wife, Sara (Sullivan), believes the threat is a manifestation of her husband’s profound guilt. Determined to rebuild their family, Sara tracks down Ted to confront him, but she has no idea who he’s become or how real the threat may be.

“This nail-biting thriller features stunning performances by Beach and Sullivan,” Dean Devlin, CEO of Electric Entertainment, said in a statement. “Their on-screen chemistry, married with the lavish sets of the beautiful British Columbia countryside, are certain to make this a must-watch for U.S. audiences.”

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“We’re thrilled to be working with Electric, Vortex and Nicely,” director Jason James said in a statement. “Exile is a film about isolation, loss and love. With such universal themes and exceptional performances, we’re excited to share this film with audiences worldwide.”

FilmRise Acquires Rights to Documentary ‘The Thief Collector’

New York-based film and television studio and streaming network FilmRise has acquired North American distribution rights to the true-crime documentary feature film The Thief Collector.

From Emmy Award-winning director Allison Otto (“The Love Bugs”), the 2022 SXSW Grand Jury-nominated documentary follows the true story of one of the most elaborate art heists of the 20th century, the theft of “Woman-Ochre,” Willem de Kooning’s iconic painting, and the eccentric couple — both schoolteachers — at the center of the heist. It was one of the most audacious and puzzling art thefts of a generation. In 1985, “Woman-Ochre” was brazenly sliced from its frame and stolen off the walls of the University of Arizona Museum of Art, disappearing into the desert. More than 30 years later, in a remote town in New Mexico, the $160 million dollar painting was rediscovered in the unlikeliest of places — the home of an eccentric married couple with a keen eye for great works but a very unconventional method of collecting them.

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The Thief Collector

“We are confident streaming audiences will be drawn to Allison Otto’s new film as it uniquely combines the strong appeal and captivating nature of crime documentaries together with the true story of one of the most audacious art heists in history, making it irresistible,” Max Einhorn, FilmRise SVP of acquisitions and co-productions, said in a statement. “We are also always thrilled to bring premium true crime stories by stellar independent filmmakers to our streaming offerings in the genre so we can reach even broader audiences.” 

The film was also nominated for the Ad Hoc Docs Competition at the 2022 Cleveland International Film Festival.

The trailer is here.

BayView Entertainment Acquires Passion River Films Assets

BayView Entertainment has entered into an agreement to acquire certain assets of Passion River Films, the independent film and documentary distributor behind such releases as Between the Shades, Murder in Coweta County (1983, starring Johnny Cash) and The Diabetes Solution.

BayView Entertainment will handle the bulk of Passion River’s catalog, both currently available titles and recently acquired films that have yet to be released.

Passion River’s catalog features Academy Award nominees and Emmy-winning films as well as hundreds of films that have been recognized at the Independent Spirit Awards, Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Tribeca Film Festival and many other events.

Launched in 1998, Passion River Films has been devoted to acquiring, distributing, and representing unique independent films and documentaries. 

Passion River’s Josh Levin has joined BayView as its VP of sales.

“This agreement will add an exciting new dimension to our library,” Peter Castro, BayView’s VP of acquisitions and business development, said in a statement. “Passion River’s wide-ranging titles will be an essential part of BayView’s ongoing release strategy. We are committed and eager to make Passion River a successful part of the BayView family.”

“I am so excited to be able to present buyers around the world the quality horror, arthouse, comedy, action, thriller, fitness and educational titles in BayView’s portfolio in addition to the outstanding documentary and indie catalog of films coming over from Passion River,” Levin said in a statement.

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“It’s exciting to watch Bayview persist in our goal of supporting talented filmmakers and releasing impactful films for communities,” Passion River president Allen Chou said in a statement.

Earlier this year, BayView announced it had acquired U.K.-based Genre label VIPCO as well as Mutiny Pictures, the independent label responsible for uncovering the film Skinamarink, currently in theatrical release from IFC Midnight Films.

Gravitas Ventures Acquires Rights to Actioner ‘Among the Beasts’

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American distribution rights to the action film Among the Beasts and will release it in theaters and on demand Feb. 10.

In the film, when a gangster’s daughter reluctantly teams with a former Marine to find her kidnapped cousin, the combat veteran must overcome his own demons in order to rescue the child.

Directed by Matthew Newton, the film stars Tory Kittles, Libe Barer, Sarunas J Jackson, Jon Bass and Jim Norton.

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“As the writer/director of Among the Beasts, I was privileged to work with such a talented cast and creative team,” Newton said in a statement. “Shooting on the streets of New York is an adventure and a thrill, there’s energy and life on every corner. Gravitas are the ideal people to partner with for this project.”

 

Blu Digital Acquires Danish Media Services Company

Blu Digital Group, a media and entertainment industry digital supply chain company, has acquired Dicentia Studios, a technical audiovisual services company based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Dicentia Studios specializes in content distribution, localization and post-production services for the European market. 

Dicentia Studios is one of the few digital media fulfillment companies  in the world that is both an iTunes Preferred Encoding House and a Netflix Preferred Fulfillment Partner, according to a Blu Digital release. Through the acquisition the combined group is now positioned as a premier provider of media management, localization and distribution services, handling all aspects of the value chain from content to market. 

Blu Digital Group has made a series of strategic acquisitions in 2022. The acquisition of Dicentia Studios follows the purchase of Haymillian in November 2022, a deal that established Blu’s presence in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, most notably in the United Kingdom, Greece and Mexico. In May 2022, Blu Digital expanded its English dubbing capabilities with the acquisition of Central Post LA, an audio recording facility in Hollywood. The facility, now known as Blu Digital Group’s Hollywood studio, has enabled Blu Digital Group to significantly grow its localization services. 

“Adding Dicentia Studios to the Blu team offers a huge opportunity to provide a premium solution to content owners looking to drive the maximum value from their content and rights,” Paulette Pantoja, Blu Digital Group’s CEO, said in a statement. “Our acquisition of Haymillian substantially grew our localization footprint by adding over 6500 translator team members. Through our acquisition of Dicentia Studios we are expanding our media management and distribution services further across Europe.”

Dicentia specializes in the physical and digital distribution of film, music, games and audio books. The company works across physical and digital media platforms to help customers capitalize on their content delivered to video streaming platforms around the world.

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“The mission of Dicentia has always been to help media license holders maximize the value of their content and rights. It was clear from our earliest conversations with the Blu team that we were very well-aligned in terms of our focus, goals, and the solutions we offered,” Bobby Johar, Dicentia Studios CEO, said in a statement. “Joining forces with Blu provides us with the opportunity to see our vision applied across a much broader landscape.”

Screen Media Acquires Rights to Michael Douglas Drama ‘Blood Knot’

Screen Media, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company, Nov. 4 announced the acquisition of worldwide rights to the upcoming drama Blood Knot and will have its Foresight Unlimited division launch international sales at AFM.

Blood Knot stars Cameron Douglas (The RunnerIt Runs in the Family) and Academy Award winner Michael Douglas (Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, “The Kominsky Method,” Benjamin Franklin in Paris) with the additional casting of other key roles underway. The film will be directed by Howard Deutch (“Young Sheldon,” “Empire”) and is written by Rowdy Herrington (Road House). Cartel Pictures’ Stan Spry (Creepshow) and Eric Scott Woods (Day of the Dead) will produce with Robert Mitas (“Ratched”). Screen Media’s David Fannon and Seth Needle will serve as executive producers, along with Foresight Unlimited’s Tamara Birkemoe and David Nagelberg.

The film follows a father who invites his estranged son to visit him in Puerto Rico to compete in a father/son fishing competition to try and mend their broken relationship. It is based on the book Looking Through Water by Bob Rich.
 
Blood Knot is a movie about redemption, love and forgiveness, about several generations of a family brought together and torn apart by mystery, murder and true confessions, with a cast led by Michael and Cameron Douglas,” Deutch said in a statement. “I could not be more thrilled to start production on Blood Knot.”

“We’re excited to work with Michael and Cameron and all the immense talent involved with Blood Knot,” said David Fannon, chief acquisitions and distribution officer at Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. “We’ve been big fans of the story since we first read it and can’t wait to bring it to audiences around the world.”
 
The deal was negotiated by Seth Needle on behalf of Screen Media and by Stan Spry on behalf of Cartel.

Gravitas Picks Up Rights to Thriller ‘Stalker,’ Doc ‘Doctor Who Am I’

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American distribution rights to the 2022 FrightFest thriller Stalker and the documentary Doctor Who Am I, both from from  Kaleidoscope Film Distribution.

A March 2023 day-and-date release is planned.

Stalker

Stalker, which had its world premiere at the 2022 Frightfest, is directed by Steve Johnson (Convergence) and stars Sophie Skelton (“Outlander,” 211), BAFTA winner Stuart Brennan (Plan Z, Risen) and Bret Hart (WWE). It’s produced by Stuart Brennan and Gareth Wiley (Vicky Cristina Barcelona). In the thriller, returning to an eerily empty hotel after a day of filming, young actress Rose Hepburn finds herself suspended on the 12th floor of an old freight elevator, trapped dangerously high with an unwanted companion. Left with no phone signal as a storm approaches, and with no other way to reach hotel staff, tensions escalate and suspicions rise when Rose discovers the identity of the mysterious man is Daniel Reed, a camera operator who is seemingly obsessed with her.

In the documentary Doctor Who Am I, directed by Vanessa Yuille and Matthew Jacobs, “Doctor Who” screenwriter Matthew Jacobs is reluctantly dragged back into the American “Whoniverse” to face the fandom that brutally rejected his work 25 years earlier. In 1996, a “Doctor Who” TV movie was envisioned to lead the franchise into an exciting new future with a fresh direction but was met only by an outcry from disapproving fans. The documentary follows the film’s screenwriter Matthew Jacobs as he is pulled back into the world of “Doctor Who” fandom, where he unexpectedly finds himself a kindred part of this close-knit, yet vast, family of fans. The documentary features the original cast of the 1996 movie, including Paul McGann (The Three Musketeers, Queen of the Damned), Eric Roberts (Inherent Vice, The Dark Knight, The Expendables) and Daphne Ashbrook (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”).

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“We at Kaleidoscope are excited to be working with the smart and talented team at Gravitas again; and delighted that these two great projects have found such a perfect home for North American audiences,” Daniel Cooper, director of sales at Kaleidoscope Film Distribution, said in a statement.

“Gravitas loves working with Kaleidoscope,” Brett Rogalsky, Gravitas Ventures’ manager of acquisitions, said in a statement. “They always find such compelling, quality content, and these two films are no different. Doctor Who Am I is a fun documentary that will continue to feed the massive ‘Doctor Who’ fanbase, and Stalker is a welcome and unique addition to the thriller genre.”

Gravitas Acquires Rights to Documentary ‘The Ark of Lilburn’

Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the feature documentary The Ark of Lilburn.

The film is slated for a digital platform release on Dec. 6.

Directed by Nicholas deKay from Athloach Pictures and produced by Jaye Tyroff from NoBull Productions, the film follows Lowe Porter, the owner of the multimillion dollar steel company Porter Steel, and his son Cole Porter, VP of Porter Steel, as they try to realize their dream of transporting their 55 foot long, 19 foot high, 130,000 pound steel yacht “The Hardship” from Lilburn, Ga., to Knoxville, Tenn., down to Tampa, Fla. The only problem is the yacht is encased in a large building, and no one wants to move it. After months of searching, the Porters finally find someone willing to move it, a Florida man with a ponytail who is a house-mover — not who they envisioned.

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“The idea of building a vessel came up in 2002 and in late 2003, production started on the boat,” Lowe Porter said in a statement. “For four years, a small crew and I poured our passion into the vessel only to see it come to a screeching halt in 2008. With the economy crashing, the business hurting, and a divorce on the horizon, the project was put to sleep for the next 12 years.”

Producer Jaye Tyroff discovered the boat while on a location scout at Porter Steel for another film and immediately saw the potential for a riveting story.

“We are excited to have partnered with Gravitas on the release of our film,” he said in a statement. “It’s been a long process to get it to this point. We have poured our blood, sweat, and tears into this project, and we believe Gravitas will provide the release this film deserves.” 

Director deKay (five-time SAG Award nominee with 1 win) and producer Tyroff (two-time SAG Award nominee) have been stuntmen for almost 17 years and have appeared in more than 300 films and television shows. This is their first foray as filmmakers.

Screen Media Acquires Rights to Feature Directorial Debut of Blink 182’s Tom DeLonge

Screen Media, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company, has acquired worldwide rights to the feature film Monsters of California. The upcoming sci-fi adventure marks the directorial debut for Blink-182’s lead singer and guitarist Tom DeLonge, who also wrote and performed original music for the film.

Screen Media will have its Foresight Unlimited division handle international sales at AFM.
 
Monsters of California is co-written by DeLonge and Ian Miller and is produced through DeLonge’s To The Stars Media along with Stan Spry and Eric Scott Woods of Cartel Pictures (Creepshow, Day of the Dead). The film stars Jack Samson (Zodiac), Camille Kostek (Free Guy), Casper Van Dien (Salvage Marines), Richard Kind (The Watcher) and Arianne Zucker (“Days of Our Lives”). The film follows teenager Dallas Edwards and his derelict friends on a quest to find the meaning behind a series of mysterious, paranormal events in Southern California.
 
DeLonge recently announced his return to multiplatinum rock band Blink-182, as well as an upcoming new album and a worldwide tour with Live Nation.
 
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“If you take skateboarders, UFO’s and Bigfoot, which pretty much sums up my entire life, you get a wild ride that will remind everyone of our early love of Amblin Films that inspired so many,” DeLonge said in a statement. “I’m so thankful that Screen Media believed in me and my partner Stan Spry to create a coming-of-age adventure that will give the entire family a thrill that they won’t ever forget.”
 
“We are excited to be bringing Tom Delonge’s feature film directorial debut to audiences,” Seth Needle, EVP of global acquisitions and co-productions for Screen Media, said in a statement. “We know that fans of both Tom’s music with Blink-182 and his work in the field of extraterrestrials and UFOs will love going on this sci-fi adventure. As the band returns to arenas, and global interest around UFOs builds, we couldn’t be more thrilled with our timing in releasing this exciting movie. When you see Monsters of California, you, too, will be sure aliens exist.”