Horror Film ‘The Free Fall’ Due in Theaters and On Demand Jan. 14 From Gravitas Ventures

The horror film The Free Fall will be released in theaters and on demand Jan. 14 by Gravitas Ventures.

In the film, Sara finds herself in a house she doesn’t recognize, with a husband she doesn’t remember, and the creeping and foreboding shadows of a previous life closing in. Clues turn up, people, places and vague memories of friends and family, and as Sara tries to piece together the shreds of her missing past, she finds herself in a terrifying struggle for her very survival against the house itself, its occupants and guests. As she uncovers the truth, Sara makes the horrific discovery that her true adversary is far more powerful and intimate than she can possibly understand, and the only way out of this hell is to fall into it.

Directed by Adam Stilwell, the film stars Andrea Londo, Shawn Ashmore and Jane Badler.

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Pierce Brosnan Film ‘The King’s Daughter’ Due in Theaters Jan. 21 From Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures is releasing the Pierce Brosnan adventure The King’s Daughter in theaters Jan. 21.

In addition to Brosnan, the film stars Kaya Scodelario, Bingbing Fan, Benjamin Walker and Rachel Griffiths, and is narrated by Julie Andrews.

In the film, King Louis XIV’s (Brosnan) quest for immortality leads him to capture a mermaid’s (Fan) life force, but his immovable will is challenged when his long-hidden illegitimate daughter (Scodelario) forms a bond with the magical creature.

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Anthem Acquires Gravitas Ventures

Anthem Sports and Entertainment, a multi-platform media company, has acquired content distributor Gravitas Ventures from Red Arrow Studios.

Anthem purchased the distributor for $73 million in cash and an additional common stock consideration component, according to the companies.

Gravitas founder and CEO Nolan Gallagher, president Michael Murphy, EVP and general counsel Brendan Gallagher, and CFO Brian Kenyon join the Anthem executive team. Additionally, the entire Gravitas Ventures organization will remain intact.

Gravitas Ventures joins Anthem’s roster of properties that includes AXS TV, HDNET Movies, IMPACT Wrestling, Invicta Fighting Championships, Fight Network, Game+ and GameTV. The purchase gives Anthem more than 8,000 hours of sports and entertainment content in its library to complement its seven consumer-facing streaming channel brands, according to a press release.

Cleveland-based Gravitas Ventures has been part of Red Arrow Studios since November 2017, and typically releases more than 300 films and documentaries per year. The most recent high-profile films in the portfolio include the 2020 feature The Secret: Dare to Dream, starring Katie Holmes, and the 2021 film Queen Bees, starring Ellen Burstyn and James Caan.

The deal gives Anthem’s properties access to Gravitas Ventures titles and opens up new areas of growth and revenue for Anthem’s existing content library, “allowing Anthem to utilize Gravitas’ rich partnerships with top digital platforms,”according to the release. Upon completion of the transaction, Anthem will add more than 200 customers to its ranks, while unlocking additional promotion opportunities for its various business units and enabling Gravitas to invest further in content opportunities, new themed channels and to enter the television distribution market.

The deal will allow Gravitas “to harness the full power of the library  leveraging Anthem’s expertise in launching highly-successful global FAST digital channels to create all-new themed channels specifically based around their unique content offerings,” according to the press release.

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“This is a significant step forward for Anthem in its mission to build a next-generation media company that is primed for the digital future, keeping Anthem ahead of the curve with the current trajectory of the fast-paced streaming-first entertainment ecosystem,” Leonard Asper, founder and CEO of Anthem, said in a statement. “Gravitas is a world leader in film and documentary distribution and provides Anthem with a major presence across the top digital platforms. We are happy to welcome Nolan, Michael, Brendan, Brian and the Gravitas team on board, and to broaden our shareholder base to include Gravitas Ventures’ management and Red Arrow Studios. We are excited to build upon the incredible success that they have already achieved.”

“Anthem perfectly complements Gravitas Ventures’ mindset and mission, presenting several major platforms where our films can thrive while opening up dynamic new areas and opportunities that will be vital in helping our company grow,” Nolan Gallagher, founder of Gravitas, said in a statement. “They have had tremendous success with all of their acquired properties, taking a hands-on approach that shows a great understanding for their unique products and what it takes to keep them on top in this highly competitive industry. We feel confident being a part of a talented Anthem team that is more than equipped to lead the charge for our filmmakers on this journey, and we could not be more excited to begin this new era in the legacy of Gravitas Ventures.”

Bigfoot Comedy, ‘Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre’ Among Titles Due on DVD in November From Gravitas Ventures

The comedy Bigfoot Famous and The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre are among the titles coming to DVD in November from Gravitas Ventures.

Bigfoot Famous is available now. In the film, when a viral video of Bigfoot emerges, a once popular influencer goes on a mission to film a vlog with Bigfoot and regain her fame. The comedy stars Stephanie Barkley, Chris Kleckner, Sam Milman, Lauren Howard Hayes, Anthony Ma, Kelsey Gunn, Marlon Webb and Chris Guerra.

The action horror comedy The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie is due Nov. 9. In the zombiefest, Wrestling’s most hated tag team, The Manson Brothers, now in the twilight of their careers and relegated to doing smaller wrestling promotions, take a midnight cage match on Halloween night, only to find themselves trapped in the arena with wrestlers and fans infected with a mutated rabies zombie virus. Armed only with their wrestling skills, and enchanted lucha libre masks, they must fight for their lives and ensure the virus is contained to prevent an all-out massacre and pandemic. It stars Max Martini, Adrian Pasdar, Randy Couture, Bas Rutten and D.B. Sweeney.

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The drama The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain comes out Nov. 16. The film is based on the true story of the events that led to the death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an elderly African American veteran with bipolar disorder, who was killed during a conflict with police officers who were dispatched to check on him. It stars Frankie Faison, Steve O’Connell and Enrico Natale.

The sci-fi film Repeat will be released Nov. 19. A zealous cognitive psychologist stumbles across an unbelievable discovery-a way of communicating with the other side. His joy is short-lived, however, as his daughter is put into potentially grave danger. It stars Charlotte Ritchie, Nina Wadia, Ellila-Jean Wood and Tom England.

The documentary Lady Bugs is due Nov. 26. From a Latinx LGBTQ activist to a Black Catholic school principal, six small businesswomen hit California’s newly legal cannabis trade. But as aggressive regulations bogart the market, can they each keep their green American dream alight?

The actioner Hustle Down will be release Nov. 30. A two-bit hustler finds himself relying on bounty hunter, to evade the grasps of a merciless assassin, and vicious thugs led by a rival gang leader, after he steals a money car stuffed with cash meant for his boss. It stars Tom Sizemore, Bai Ling, Kevin Gage, Paul Sidhu, Noel Gugliemi, Vanessa Angel and Raymond J. Barry.

 

 

AFM Panel: Digital Marketplace Shifting to PVOD, AVOD and FAST

The digital marketplace is shifting, said panelists at the virtual American Film Market Nov. 1. Premium VOD has accelerated during the pandemic while subscription services’ pullback from buying independent content has made free ad-supported services such as AVOD and FAST the new target for content distributors.

The pandemic made PVOD a necessary distribution model, said Michael Murphy, president of Gravitas Ventures. As it subsides, “it’s going to be interesting” to see if the move to PVOD continues, he said.

“Let the consumer decide how they’re going to spend their dollars,” he said, noting a Gravitas release scheduled for January will have a 21-day theatrical window followed by PVOD.

“The splits in PVOD are better than the splits in theatrical,” he noted, adding “we still believe in the theatrical moviegoing experience.”

“We’re experimenting as the world continues to evolve,” he said.

Greg Barnard, director of content and acquisitions, at Vizio, said that based on the data collected via the company’s Smartcast system, consumers are turning more and more to free ad-supported content.

“People are looking for free options,” he said. “They’re looking to watch free content somewhere. It’s a very high-search term.”

Ad-supported free services are “breathing new life into our library” as SVOD services such as Netflix have “scaled back the number of films they acquire and what they want to pay,” Murphy added.

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Noting that Peacock has licensed a lot of content from Gravitas, he said, “It’s a little bit of a gold rush now in AVOD.”

Discovery and marketing in the digital space is still a work in progress, they said.

“Sometimes, it’s thought that you’ve got to do traditional television, traditional commercials for an awareness campaign,” Murphy said. “With PVOD, we felt that you could be a little bit more specific in your spends, try to spend maybe with the platform, spend with Amazon. And also knowing that although maybe someone’s not going to rent the movie on Amazon, everyone goes to Amazon to shop, so it’s kind of two birds with one stone there. You can get an awareness campaign, as well as potentially a click through or tap through to that ultimate buy.”

“Making content easy to find, discoverable, accessible … is absolutely critical to what we’re doing,” Barnard said. Placement on the screen of the smart TV is prime real estate.

“We own all the marketing on our platform, and that’s really powerful for us,” he said.

Packaging content and gathering the right creative for the digital space is key, they said.

Vizio likes collections around “a series, a moment, a vertical,” he said, adding he’d rather have all the seasons of two series, rather than just one or two seasons of 10 series.

To attract viewers, Vizio often asks for better creative.

“Creative that is just not intriguing enough” for the digital space is a common problem, he said.

Murphy noted he “just added some horsepower to our creative team” with a new hire.

“We need to be more aggressive and forward leaning with our providers,” he said.

Despite the move to digital distribution, Murphy said Gravitas hasn’t abandoned physical disc release, if it’s cost effective, mostly via manufacture on demand.

“Our filmmakers like it,” he said.

‘The Subject’ Available Now For Digital Purchase From Gravitas Ventures

The drama The Subject is available now in limited theatrical release and on TVOD and digital platorms from Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company.

Director/producer Lanie Zipoy’s (“17 Things I Wish I Could Tell You Since You Died,” “Kid Sister”) feature film directorial debut features a screenplay by New York native Chisa Hutchinson’s (Showtime’s “Three Women” and Hulu’s “Tell Me Lies”).

The film stars Jason Biggs (“Orange Is the New Black” and American Pie), Aunjanue Ellis (“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Emmy nominee for “Lovecraft Country”),  Anabelle Acosta (“Quantico,” “Ballers”), Carra Patterson (Straight Outta Compton, and Disney+’s “Turner & Hooch”), Nile Bullock (“Ray Donovan,” “Bull”), and Caleb Eberhardt  (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” “The Post”).

In the film, Phil Waterhouse (Biggs) is a successful documentary filmmaker with a thriving career, brilliant girlfriend, and a lovely suburban home. His last film — The Price of Brotherhood — was a rousing critical and commercial success. During its making, though, baby-faced Harlem teenager Malcolm was murdered. Now, journalists, who once lauded him, hound Phil about his role in Malcolm’s death, and he is haunted by fears he could have prevented it. While working on his latest project, someone films his every move. With the tables turned, Phil is unnerved being the subject of someone else’ s movie. As his world collapses around him, he preps for a showdown with the person who threatens all that he holds dear.

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The Subject is shot on four different cameras — one for the documentary about Malcolm, one for Phil’s new documentary  footage, the narrative camera and a consumer camera that is used to record Phil. Each camera offers a different viewpoint on the world, coalescing into a film that asks viewers how exactly we belong to each other in this fractured world.

Gravitas Ventures to Bow Horror Anthology ‘Isolation’ on VOD Nov. 2

Gravitas Ventures and Kamikaze Dogfight  have acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to horror anthology Isolation, which will have its North American premiere Oct. 15 at Screamfest L.A., followed by a release on VOD platforms Nov. 2.

The film is a feature-length anthology, weaving together nine standalone yet interconnected tales of terror from all corners of the world as people confront their darkest fears in an attempt to survive an increasingly deadly pandemic. The film had its world premiere in London at FrightFest U.K. 2021.

Director and producer Nathan Crooker created a fictional world many months into the future that is based around the current global pandemic. All 11 filmmakers used the same unifying framework in creating their stories. The filmmakers were tasked with how to stay creative using only what was available to them at the time. They were not allowed to use Zoom or any other video conferencing services and were only allowed to use the equipment and resources they had with them when they entered into lockdown, including cast and crew, adhering to their respective COVID-19 protocols.

Isolation directors include Dennie Gordon, (“Jack Ryan,” “Legion,” “Hunters,” “Waco”),  Larry Fessenden (“The Last Winter,” “Habit,” “Depraved”), Bobby Roe (“The Houses October Built” one and two), Andrew Kasch, (“Tales of Halloween”), Zach Passero (“Wicked Lake”), Christian Pasquariello (“Alien Invasion: S.U.M. 1”), Alexandra Neary (“The Innocent”), Alix Austin and Keir Siewert (“Retch”), and Kyle I. Kelley and Adam Brown (“The Music Lesson”).

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“We are thrilled to be working with Gravitas Ventures and Kamikaze Dogfight in bringing this unnerving and suspenseful anthology out into the world,” Crooker said in a statement. “Making this film with the many talented directors was such a rewarding process, and I am incredibly proud of having created a story unlike anything else in the horror genre.”

“This bloody take on COVID-esque isolation makes us look at our own darkest fears,” Megan Huggins, acquisitions coordinator for Gravitas Ventures, said in a statement. “Using an anthology format, the various filmmakers have shown us how citizens of the world are one and the same when confronted by a terrifying outbreak, but how we survive is different.”

“It’s always fun working with new directors and veterans to create something unique to the times we are living in,” Andrew van den Houten of Kamikaze Dogfight said in a statement. “This grouping of films brings some thought-provoking ideas to the mix in the genre and gives the audience lots to feast upon.”

True Crime Drama ‘Last Testament’ Coming to VOD Oct. 19 From Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to distribute writer-director Anthony Catalano’s Last Testament. It will be released Oct. 19 on VOD, with DVD and Blu-ray releases to follow.

The indie true crime drama was produced by Catalano and stars Dominick Alesia, Anna Roemer and Rima Sabal.

Last Testament explores the true story of Ricky Rodriguez and the Children of God cult. Born into the infamous cult, Ricky (Dominick Alesia) was subjected to years of abuse while also being groomed to one day lead the cult. He was finally able to escape with his wife Elixcia (Anna Roemer), but he remained haunted by his past. Ricky reaches a breaking point and he vows to take down the cult and its leaders — including his mother — by any means necessary.

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“As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and someone who struggles with mental illness, I became fascinated by the harrowing story of Ricky Rodriguez,” Catalano said in a statement. “His story isn’t a happy one, it isn’t easy or convenient, but it’s one that needs to be known.”

Last Testament was filmed in Northeast Wisconsin in May 2020, just as statewide COVID restrictions were being lifted. Its world premiere was held at the 2021 Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival, where Anthony Catalano was nominated for Best Experimental Feature Filmmaker.

Last Testament Trailer #2 from Dead Letter Productions on Vimeo.

 

Gravitas Ventures to Distribute Doc ‘The Holy Game’ on VOD

Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights (excluding Canada) to distribute the documentary The Holy Game. The title will come out on cable and digital video-on-demand platforms June 29.

From director Brent Hodge (I Am Chris Farley, Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary), the film offers an exclusive look at an officially sanctioned Vatican soccer tournament for priests. Beyond the Vatican walls, there is a soccer championship like no other in which young priests in seminary from around the world gather to play in the Clericus Cup. The documentary feature explores religion, sport and tradition, and looks at why anyone in this era would sacrifice so much to become a priest.

“Brent’s documentary is a fascinating peek behind the curtain, grappling with controversy and harsh truths alongside inspiring observations and amusing anecdotes from the next generation of the priesthood, all set against the backdrop of this unique tournament,” Tony Piantedosi, VP of acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures, said in a statement.

Gravitas Ventures released Hodges’ previous documentary, Who Let the Dogs Out in 2019.

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“We are thrilled to be working with Gravitas again on the release of The Holy Game,” Hodge said in a statement. “I am always in search of projects that reveal unique windows into different worlds, and this doc is truly that. Not only do we have direct access to the priesthood, the Vatican, but we also get a glimpse into this one-of-a-kind soccer tournament and where religion fits in modern day culture. We are excited for people to see it.”