Polaroid Doc ‘Instant Dreams,’ Comedy ‘Birds Without Feathers’ Available on DVD From MVD

Two Synergetic Distribution titles, the Polaroid documentary Instant Dreams and the comedy Birds Without Feathers, are available on DVD in February from MVD Entertainment Group.

In Birds Without Feathers, desperate for human interaction, six emotionally damaged individuals get attention and validation out of one another in toxic and possibly ineffective ways. Among them are a wannabe Instagram celebrity who compulsively asks people to take her picture, a literal identity thief with an endless cache of costumes to match her personas and a depressed motivational speaker on his way to give the performance of a lifetime. Over the course of a weekend, people are punched, posters of celebrities are violated, birthdays are ruined and everyone’s sense of worth is challenged. The film, which stars Wendy McColm (“Community”), Alexander Stasko (Child 44) and William Gabriel Grier (Twelve), won the Certificate of Outstanding Achievement Style at the 2018 Brooklyn Film Festival and the Special Jury Prize Best Narrative Feature at the 2018 Oak Cliff Film Festival. It was an Official Selection at the Whistler Film Festival, the 2018 Denver International Film Festival and the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.

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Instant Dreams brings viewers into the lives of Polaroid enthusiasts to create a portrait of Dr. Edwin Land, a pioneer in American technology. When Polaroid announced the end of instant film in 2008, a small group of enthusiasts bought the last operational factory in the Netherlands. Although they have the factory, a house fire destroyed all of Dr. Land’s private notes, including the chemical formula behind instant film. As a result, engineer Stephen Herchen is brought in to recreate the magic behind Polaroid. Despite all of their progress, their version of the instant film is still too slow to share with the world. Meanwhile, artist Stephanie Schneider stores her last remaining Polaroid stock in a refrigerator, using them for her work in the California desert. Her primary medium is instant film, and most of her stock expired years ago. In New York, Christopher Bonanos is also running out of the Polaroid stock he needs to document the growth of his son. As the author of Instant: The Story of Polaroid, Christopher offers the audience a history of Dr. Land, the scientist and innovator at the heart of Polaroid’s success. Director Willem Baptist interweaves the film with archival footage showing a man at the cutting edge of technology and the downfall of Polaroid at the turn of the digital revolution. The film was an official selection at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival, the 2018 San Francisco Docfest, the 2018 Sofia International Film Festival, the 2018 Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, the 2019 Rose d’Or Light Entertainment Festival and the 2018 Doc NYC Festival.

Roku Announces TV Brand Expansion, ‘Roku TV Ready’ Program

Roku announced that 15 TV brands will launch Roku TV models in Canada, Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom in 2020.

Roku TV brands in 2020 include ATVIO, Element, Hisense, Hitachi, InFocus, JVC, Magnavox, onn., Philips, Polaroid, RCA, Sanyo, TCL and Westinghouse.

In Mexico, new partner brands InFocus, Polaroid and Walmart’s ATVIO will sell Roku TV models, while existing partner brand Westinghouse and others will extend their Roku TV offerings to Mexico. In addition, TCL and Hisense will expand their Roku TV offerings with new Roku TV models launching later in the year.

“2019 was a tremendous year for Roku TV, with more brands, retailers and consumers choosing the platform than ever before,” said Mustafa Ozgen, SVP and GM of account acquisition at Roku in a statement. “We believe that Roku TV represented more than one in three smart TVs sold in the U.S. during the first nine months of 2019, and the number of our licensees keeps growing.”

Roku also announced “Roku TV Ready,” a new program that allows consumer electronics companies to partner with Roku to help their products work seamlessly with Roku TV. The first partners under the program are TCL North America and Sound United, parent company to Denon, Polk Audio, Marantz, Definitive Technology and Classé, which will feature Roku TV Ready products for select brands later this year. Products under the program will display a Roku TV Ready badge on marketing materials to identify that they have been tested and certified to work with the Roku TV. Consumer electronics companies can add Roku TV Ready functionality at no additional cost to their products, according to Roku.

“Our goal is to make the TV experience incredibly simple, accessible and fun. Roku devices continue to delight millions of consumers for these reasons. And now with this new program we hope to make it super easy to setup and control soundbars and audio/video receivers using just a Roku TV remote,” said Mark Ely, VP, retail product strategy at Roku in a statement. “Meanwhile, consumer electronics brands benefit by offering their products in a more appealing way to our large and engaged audience of millions of active accounts.”

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“Denon is consistently at the forefront of technology trends and services. Our joining the Roku TV Ready program demonstrates a continued dedication to this ethos while offering consumers an incredible value, endless entertainment and new features delivered over time,” said Brendon Stead, SVP, product development at Sound United, parent company to Denon, in a statement. “The Roku TV Ready program enables Denon users to easily access Denon product features via the Roku TV Remote, among other features. In the name of seamless entertainment, this is a boon for watchers everywhere.”

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“TCL and Roku have been working to deliver incredible home entertainment innovation to consumers for many years and we’re thrilled to be extending our partnership to home audio compatibility,” said Chris Larson, SVP, TCL, in a statement. “As America’s fastest-growing TV brand, we’re focused on providing a first-class home theater experience and a big part of that is ensuring consumers know their TCL television will work well with other products throughout the home.”