Giant Interactive Sold to Global QC Company Testronic Labs

Giant Interactive has been acquired by Testronic Labs, a global QC and localization company providing services to publishers and developers around the world.

According to a July 28 press release from Testronic, “this move will enable
Giant Interactive to greatly expand their capacity and services domestically and internationally. Together, we will make a significant investment in people and infrastructure. The result of this acquisition will immediately create a bigger, stronger company that can meet the increasing demands of our clients to deliver more content to a growing number of streaming platforms domestically and internationally.”

Jeff Stabenau

Expansion of facilities in both New York and Burbank are already underway, according to the release, as is the establishment of a content delivery services branch in Warsaw, where Testronic has an office with more than 800 people.

Jeff Stabenau, the founder and president of Giant Interactive, said, “We have partnered with Testronic on many projects over the years and know them to be a high-end company that executes to perfection. This expansion will enable Giant to better serve our clients throughout the U.S. and internationally, transforming Giant Interactive into a truly global provider.”

Giant Pictures, Giant Interactive’s content distribution company, will continue to operate as a separate stand-alone business and is not a part of this deal.

Drama ‘The Keeping Room’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray July 12 From MVD

The Civil War story The Keeping Room (2014) will be released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD July 12 from Drafthouse Films, Giant Pictures and MVD Entertainment Group.

In the reimagined Western set near the end of the Civil War, Augusta encounters two renegade soldiers who are on a mission of pillage and violence. When the pair of soldiers track her down intent on revenge, the trio of women are forced to take up arms to fend off their assailants, finding ways to defend their home and themselves as the attacks become more unpredictable and relentless.

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From director Daniel Barber (Harry Brown) and writer Julia Hart (Miss Steven’s, Disney+’s “Stargirl”), the film stars Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, The Edge of Seventeen), Sam Worthington (Avatar), Brit Marling (Another Earth), Ned Dennehy (“Peaky Blinders”) and Amy Nuttall (“Downton Abbey”).

Kino Cult, Giant Expand Library With Seven ‘Midnight Classics’

Kino Cult is again expanding its library with seven “midnight classics,” presented in cooperation with Drafthouse Films. These films join a growing list of hundreds of new and rare, theatrically released cult hits, all presented in high-definition.

Kino Cult is a free, ad-supported streaming platform for horror and cult films launched in October 2021 by indie film distributors Kino Lorber and Giant Pictures, both of which landed a slot on our Top 20 Indie Power Players list for 2022.

Kino Lorber and Giant also have launched a linear FAST Channel (Free Ad-Supported TV) for Kino Cult on kinocult.com and in all associated apps. It features a curated and scheduled program of back-to-back films drawn from the channel’s library of “unapologetically weird cinema,” according to a press release.

Additionally, Kino Cult is now offering an ad-free subscription plan for $4.99 per month.

The seven new “midnight classics” are:

  • Ms. 45 (1981), directed by Abel Ferrara:  This revenge thriller classic follows a mute garment-district seamstress who, after falling victim to multiple unspeakable assaults, ignites her one-woman rampage against New York City’s entire male population.
  • Wake in Fright (1979), directed by Ted Kotcheff: Starring Donald Pleasence, Wake in Fright tells the nightmarish story of a schoolteacher’s descent into personal demoralization at the hands of drunken, deranged derelicts while stranded in a small town in outback Australia. 
  • Miami Connection (1987), directed by Richard Park and Y K Kim: This action comedy finds motorcycle ninjas tightening their grip on Florida’s narcotics trade, viciously annihilating anyone who dares move in on their turf. 
  • The Visitor (1979), directed by Giulio Paradisi: An intergalactic warrior is in battle against a demonic 8-year-old girl while the fate of the universe hangs in the balance.
  • Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013), directed by Sion Sono: 10 years ago, Yakuza mid-boss Ikegami led an assault against rival don Muto. Now, on the eve of his revenge, all Muto wants to do is complete his masterpiece, a feature film with his daughter in the starring role, before his wife is released from prison and The F Bombers are standing by with the chance of a lifetime: to film a real, live yakuza battle to the death … on 35mm film.
  • Raiders! (2015), directed by Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen: After Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark was released 35 years ago, three 11-year-old boys from Mississippi set out on what would become a seven-year-long labor of love and tribute to their favorite film — a faithful, shot-for-shot adaptation of the action adventure film.
  • Dangerous Men (2005), directed by Jahangir Salehi: This comic actioner by Salehi, under the pseudonym John S. Rad, took 21 years to make and release, and is filled with all sorts of sadistic debauchery. 

Kino Lorber, Giant Pictures Add 20 More Films to Kino Cult Streaming Service

Kino Lorber and Giant Pictures on Dec. 9 announced nearly 20 additional films available to stream on Kino Cult, the new free ad-supported streaming service aimed at horror and cult film fans.
 
These films join a growing list of hundreds of new and rare theatrically released cult movies, all presented in high-definition. Kino Cult is now offering an ad-free subscription plan for $4.99 per month for the first time.
 
With the holidays in mind, Kino Cult has added a holiday sidebar featuring such films as Red Christmas and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
 
Two more films —Lips of Blood and The Living Dead Girl — have been added to the growing collection of erotic fantasy horror cinema from Jean Rollin. 
 
Other highlights include Losing Ground, a restored underground indie film from director Kathleen Collins, who just received the inaugural “Gotham Icon Award” at the Gotham Awards; Post Mortem, an early film by Pablo Larraín; and Luis Buñuel’s classic Un Chien Andalou, co-written with Salvador Dalí.
 
 

Month-Old ‘Kino Cult’ AVOD Platform Adds 20 Horror and Cult Classics

Kino Lorber and Giant Pictures have announced 20 new films available to stream on Kino Cult, the free ad-supported streaming platform for horror and cult films the two companies launched a month ago.

The slate includes five Italian mystery thrillers, or “gialli,” including Mario Bava’s Five Dolls for an August Moon and Pete Walker’s Schizo. Also now streaming on the channel are two titles — Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance — from venerated South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook’s vengeance trilogy; and the Italian exploitation classic Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine, as well as Spanish filmmaker Jesus Franco’s The Demons, his take on Ken Russell’s The Devils.

“In our second month of operation, Kino Cult is not only beefing up its library of midnight movie essentials, but guiding viewers into weird niches that encourage deeper exploration,” said Kino Cult curator Bret Wood. “We want to rekindle the thrill of discovery that some of us remember from attending actual midnight movies, surfing basic cable after all the broadcast channels have gone off the air, or spending hours wandering the aisles of mom-and-pop video stores. There is still much to be discovered!”

Kino Cult offers hundreds of hours of curated, theatrically released films, all shown in high definition. New titles are added monthly. Kino Cult is available widely in the United States and Canada across web, mobile devices and connected TVs, with VOD apps on all major devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Google TV, iOS, Android and more.

Giant Pictures, a leader in the free ad-supported (FAST) channels space, is the technology partner for Kino Cult, responsible for the device apps, channel distribution and ad-tech in the new venture. Kino Cult will also launch as a linear channel experience, with its free ad-supported programming running 24/7 across multiple streaming devices. An expansion to the library is also planned, to include more genre greatness from other venerated cult labels like American Genre Film Archive, Code Red, Scorpion Releasing, Severin Films, Something Weird, and Vinegar Syndrome, in addition to the current offerings from Kino Lorber partners Artsploitation Films, Palisades Tartan, Raro Video and Redemption Films.

Giant Pictures Sets Digital Release Dates for Doc on Global Water Crisis

Giant Pictures has announced the Nov. 2 digital release of River’s End, a documentary by filmmaker Jacob Morrison on the global water crisis.

The film will be available on-demand on Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, and Vudu, as well as most major cable platforms, including Comcast, Spectrum, Cox and AT&T.

River’s End explores the global water crisis, focusing on California as an example. It reveals how water politics that led to the draining of the Owens Valley by Los Angeles, made famous in the film Chinatown, continue to this day in ongoing efforts to take ever more water from Northern California’s San Francisco Bay estuary. This time, the film asserts, the water grab is at the hands of industrial agriculture and its powerful corporate investors.

River’s End is Morrison’s feature directorial debut. He has produced series for Viceland and Fullscreen, written and starred in a multi-episode explainer series for Vice, and directed a half-hour television pilot. He is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and a native of Southern California.

Giant Pictures, Collective Eye Team to Distribute Indie Docs to Educational Market

Giant Pictures is entering the educational market through a distribution partnership with Collective Eye Films.

The two companies will jointly distribute independent documentaries to the educational market. Films also will be available through digital retailers like iTunes, Amazon, FandangoNow as well as educational streaming services such as Kanopy and various SVOD/AVOD platforms.

Nick Savva

The multiyear agreement kicks off with The Passengers, a feature documentary that tells the story of the final community of Ethiopian Jews and its struggle to emigrate to Israel. The film was an Official Selection of the IDA 2019 and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2020.

Other titles headed for joint digital and streaming distribution include The Vanishing Trial, a documentary produced by the NADCL and FAMM about the issues with mandatory minimum sentencing, and The Burning Field, a look at life in an environmental wasteland through the eyes of four young Ghanaians. The Burning Field, from filmmaker Justin Weinrich, won the Asja.energy Award for Best International Documentary and was named Best Environmental Film by Docs Without Borders in 2019 and Best Documentary at the Eugene Film Festival 2020.

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Collective Eye Films also will handle educational market sales, outside of streaming, on select library titles from Giant Pictures, such as Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks, on the history of Hong Kong martial arts cinema and its influence; Our New President, the story of Donald Trump’s election told entirely through Russian propaganda; The Panama Papers, an exposé of the rogue offshore finance industry from director Alex Winter; Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook, about voter suppression in U.S. presidential elections; and There’s Something in the Water, from producer Ellen Page, on the struggle of minority communities in Nova Scotia as they fight officials over the lethal effects of industrial waste.

James-Michael Boyer

“These films are ideally suited for online learning, a market that has really flourished during the pandemic,” says Nick Savva, GM of Giant Pictures.

“The documentary collection at Giant Interactive is well suited for our audience. Our goal is to bring impactful films to classrooms around the world,” said James-Michael Boyer, director of operations at Collective Eye Films.

‘Chicago 10’ Animated Documentary Reissued On Demand

Participant, River Road Entertainment and Giant Pictures will re-release Chicago 10, the acclaimed 2007 feature documentary written and directed by Brett Morgen (On the Ropes, Jane).

The documentary, about the arrest and trial of eight Vietnam War protesters on charges of inciting a riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, will be available on demand via Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video and FandangoNow.

Chicago 10 explores the build-up to and the unraveling of the protesters’ conspiracy trial. The protesters include such famous counter-culture figures as Abbie Hoffman,  Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, and Tom Hayden. After numerous outbursts, Seale was severed from the case and sentenced to four years in prison on 16 contempt charges. The title of the film is drawn from a quote by Rubin, who said, “Anyone who calls us the Chicago Seven is a racist. Because you’re discrediting Bobby Seale. You can call us the Chicago Eight, but really we’re the Chicago 10, because our two lawyers went down with us.”

The trial resulted in five of the seven convicted for inciting riots. All were acquitted of conspiracy, but sentenced to lengthy jail terms for contempt of court. Later, the contempt charges were reversed, and all of the convictions for inciting riots were overturned.

The film blends interviews with narration, and archival footage with animation. The film moves back and forth from the streets of Chicago to the courtroom, merging the past and present.

Animated segments are voiced by actors Hank Azaria, Mark Ruffalo, Jeffrey Wright, Roy Scheider, Liev Schreiber and Nick Nolte.

Savva Upped to VP, Content Distribution at Giant Interactive and GM of Giant Pictures

Giant Interactive on Sept. 22 announced the promotion of Nick Savva to VP of content distribution and GM at Giant Pictures.

Savva most recently served as director of content distribution, overseeing Giant Pictures’ global digital distribution efforts. In his new role, Savva will further expand content opportunities for the boutique digital distribution label.

Nick Savva

Over the last three years, Savva has guided the Giant Pictures label to become one of the leading independent content distributors on a wide range of digital platforms. He has negotiated more than 45 direct accounts with such major streaming platforms as Apple TV, Peacock, Prime Video and Roku, among others. Savva, according to a press release, has also been essential in steering Giant into the world of direct-to-consumer OTT, most recently with the deployment of the Baby Einstein app on Roku.

Savva has acquired and distributed hundreds of movies, documentaries and TV titles in multiple territories since founding Giant Pictures in 2017.

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Giant Pictures’ releases include the horror film Ghost Light, a Jury Award winner at the 2018 Austin Film Festival; Matanga/Maya/M.I.A., an Official Selection at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival; and Love, Antosha, a portrait of the late actor Anton Yelchin that was an Official Selection at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Cyber Group Studios Lands Kidvid Distribution Deal with Kidoodle.TV, Giant Pictures

Cyber Group Studios on Sept. 11 announced it has secured distribution deals with Kidoodle.TV and Giant Pictures for multiple series for kids.

Kidoodle.TV, a global AVOD service targeting children under 12 and their families, will increase its content offering in the United States by securing a number of series from Cyber Group Studios. Several of Cyber Group Studios’ popular series that are based on books, such as “The Pirates Next Door” and “Mirette Investigates,” will be new additions to Kidoodle.TV’s content library.

Giant Pictures, a digital distribution firm focused on independent content, will distribute 10 series across various AVOD platforms in the United States. Series include “Leo the Wildlife Ranger” for preschoolers and “Mini Ninjas,” based on the video game of the same name, for older kids.

“Giant is in an ideal position to support the digital streaming industry’s increasing demand for children’s content with our streamlined global distribution capabilities,” said Nick Savva, head of Giant Pictures. “We are thrilled to be in business with Cyber Group Studios as Giant continues to rapidly expand and diversify our digital services with exciting new distribution relationships.”

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Cyber Group Studios is a leading producer and distributor of animated series and a developer of global entertainment brands for children and families worldwide. Founded in 2005 and employing around 150 people, the company has set its headquarters in Paris, two production studios in Paris and Roubaix (France), an office in Los Angeles and strategic partnerships in Russia and China. The company says its mission is to produce safe and entertaining content for children around the world.

Kidoodle.TV is a family-focused AVOD streaming channel committed to ensuring children have a safe alternative to stream their favorite TV shows and movies. Available in over 140 countries, on thousands of connected devices, Kidoodle.TV is available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Fire TV, LG, Samsung, Chromecast, Roku, Amazon, Connected TVs, HTML5 Web, and many other streaming media devices.

Giant Pictures is a subsidiary of Giant Interactive, an award-winning digital media and technology services company based in New York City and Los Angeles. For 15 years Giant has provided leading Hollywood studios and entertainment companies with delivery solutions for OTT, digital platforms, discs and streaming. With 40+ direct accounts as a digital aggregator, Giant distributes movies, documentaries and TV content to VOD and OTT platforms in North America and worldwide.