Eliza Hittman’s debut feature It Felt Like Love debuted in the Next section at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The coming-of-age drama centers on Lila (Gina Piersanti), a 14-year-old spending a hot summer in a blue-collar Brooklyn neighborhood. Often playing the third wheel, Lila is determined to emulate the sexual exploits of her more experienced best friend. She fixates on Sammy, a tough older guy, when she hears that “he’ll sleep with anyone”, but in doing so she puts herself in a dangerously vulnerable situation when she tries to insert herself into his gritty world. Cast also includes Giovanna Salimeni, Ronen Rubinstein, Nicolas Rosen, Jesse Cordasco, Richie Folio, Case Prime, Kevin Anthony Ryan. Variance Films releases It Felt Like Love on March 21 in New York City and Los Angeles a week later. Check out the trailer that just dropped:
Chris Eska‘s The Retrieval premiered last year at SXSW where Tishuan Scott won the Grand Jury Prize for Acting. Written and directed by Eska (August Evening), The Retrieval is set in 1864, near the end of the Civil War. It focuses on Will (Ashton Sanders), a fatherless 13-year-old boy, who survives by working with a white bounty hunter gang that sends him to earn the trust of runaway slaves and wanted freedmen in order to lure them back to the South. On a dangerous mission into the free North to find Nate (Scott), a fugitive freedman, things go wrong, and Will and Nate find themselves on the run. As the bond between them unexpectedly grows, Will becomes consumed by conflicting emotions as he faces a gut-wrenching final decision: to betray the father figure he’s finally found, or risk being killed by his gang. The Retrieval was produced by Jacob Esquivel and Jason Wehling, and executive produced by Arts+Labor’s Alan Berg, Sixth Street Films’ Tom Borders, and Sibyl Avery Jackson. Variance Films will roll out The Retrieval with a special preview run beginning March 14 in Atlanta. The pic will open at New York City’s Film Forum on April 2 before expanding to additional theaters beginning April 18.
GoDigital hired ex-Focus Features exec Kent Sanderson at the beginning of the year as EVP Theatrical Distribution & Merchandising and now has a new role for him: teaming with Variance Films president Dylan Marchetti to help run Amplify, a new all-rights film distributor based in NY that will kick off its acquisitions business at the Sundance Film Festival that starts tomorrow. GoDigital CEO Logan Mulvey will be CEO of the venture, which plans 7-10 films a year. GoDigital and Variance will also continue as separate brands. Here’s the release:
New York, NY (January 14, 2014) – GoDigital, Inc. and Variance Films are merging and will rebrand as Amplify, a new all-rights film distribution company, it was announced today by GoDigital CEO Logan Mulvey and Variance Films President Dylan Marchetti.
Marchetti will serve as Amplify’s Executive Vice President of Theatrical Distribution & Marketing and will join Kent Sanderson in Amplify’s New York City office. Sanderson was recently brought on to serve as Executive Vice President of Distribution & Merchandising from Focus Features. Mulvey will function as Amplify’s CEO, overseeing operations and administration, and will work directly with Marchetti and Sanderson to lead the merged company.
Amplify plans to release seven to ten films per year across all platforms, with an emphasis on matching quality films with the proper release strategy on a film-by-film basis, whether that be a day
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Writer-director Eliza Hittman‘s debut feature It Felt Like Love debuted in the Next section at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The coming-of-age drama centers on Lila (Gina Piersanti), a 14-year-old spending a hot summer in a blue-collar Brooklyn neighborhood. Often playing the third wheel, Lila is determined to emulate the sexual exploits of her more experienced best friend. She fixates on Sammy, a tough older guy, when she hears that “he’ll sleep with anyone”, but in doing so she puts herself in a dangerously vulnerable situation when she tries to insert herself into his gritty world. Variance Films, whose recent releases include Dave Grohl’s music docu Sound City, is eyeing a 2014 theatrical release.
The feature documentary, which debuted at Sundance, centers on U.S. evangelical influence on anti-gay laws in the African nation. Variance Films has pegged a North American theatrical run for God Loves Uganda starting October 11 in NYC and expanding into early 2014. Directed by Roger Ross Williams, who won an Oscar for the Zimbabwe-set short Music By Prudence, the film contends that draconian new policies sending Uganda toward biblical law are being funded by American megachurches. It won the Inspiration Award at the Full Frame Documentary Festival in April. God Loves Uganda is a co-production of Full Credit Productions, Motto Pictures, and the Independent Television Service. Williams and Julie Goldman serve as producers.
EXCLUSIVE: The latest indie pic from Oscar nominee John Sayles has found a home at Variance Films. Go For Sisters, shot for under $1M, stars Yolonda Ross and LisaGay Hamilton as two estranged childhood friends whose lives intersect again as recovering addict and parole officer. When one woman’s son goes missing along the Mexican border, she enlists her old pal to investigate the seedy underbelly of Tijuana with the help of an ex-LAPD cop played by Edward James Olmos. Alejandro Springall, Peter Bobrow, and Olmos produced the pic. Sayles’ 18th feature film as writer and director (he also served as editor) will get a theatrical release on November 8 in NY, expanding to LA on November 15 with additional expansion to follow. A digital and home video release is planned for early 2014, the first time in five years that Variance will venture beyond theatrical into ancillary distribution. Go For Sisters premiered earlier this year at the SXSW Film Festival and also stars Harold Perrineau, Jacob Vargas, and Isaiah Washington.
Gravitas Ventures and Variance Films have acquired domestic rights to 3,2,1…Frankie Go Boom. The comedy, which premiered at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, stars Bridesmaids’ Chris O’Dowd, Sons of Anarchy’s Ron Perlman, Chris Noth, Charlie Hunnam, Lizzy Caplan and Whitney Cummings. The film will come out on video on demand in September, with a theatrical release to follow in October from Variance. The film is directed and written by Jordan Roberts. Frankie Go Boom is the first of Gravitas and Variance’s plan to partner on purchasing and releasing eight independent films a year in theaters and on VOD.
EXCLUSIVE: Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, the controversial film that premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, has found theatrical distribution. Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks is partnering with New York-based Variance Films for a theatrical release that will begin August 10th in New York and then broaden to the top 30 markets throughout the month of August.
“From my very first joint back in 1986, She’s Gotta Have It, I have been an independent filmmaker, and even today I still am,” Lee said in a statement. “I’m elated to join forces with Variance Films for the independent distribution of my new joint Red Hook Summer. We look forward to getting this film into the marketplace, where we believe 100 percent that there is a starving audience for American independent films like Red Hook Summer.”
“Variance’s sole mission is to ensure filmmakers retain their rights and their power,” said Variance founder Dylan Marchetti, “and I can’t think of a filmmaker that would make better use of both than Spike Lee. Spike is truly one of the godfathers of independent filmmaking, and Red Hook Summer is an entertaining, yet thoughtful, film that says something we think needs to be said. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Spike and his team to ensure that audiences across the country will be experiencing this fantastic film with their friends and family.”
The latest in Spike Lee’s Chronicles of Brooklyn (which also include She’s … Read More »
Gravitas Ventures and Variance Films will jointly release seven to eight specialty titles per year theatrically in the U.S. and Canada as well as on VOD via cable, satellite, telco and online platforms. The two companies acquisition teams will be at the SXSW Film Festival seeking content for their theatrical/VOD initiative, though both companies will continue to acquire films independently at the festival.
Gravitas Ventures and Variance Films have joined forces to acquire and co-release 7-8 independent films a year in theaters across the US and Canada and on VOD with over 100 cable, satellite, telco and online video on demand operators. This new distribution offering will allow filmmakers a comprehensive turn-key distribution solution in two areas of the independent film world, theatrical and digital, that have shown year-over-year growth.
Beginning at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Gravitas and Variance will utilize their acquisitions teams to seek out the best independent, documentary, and foreign films that will benefit from a day and date theatrical/VOD release. While both companies will continue to acquire films separately for their individual slates, the companies expect to be making joint offers on select SXSW titles.
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