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Gravitas Acquires Tribeca Best Screenplay Winner ‘Abundant Acreage Available’

By: Anita Busch

June 15, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Angus MacLachlan’s Abundant Acreage Available, coming off its premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival where it won the Best Screenplay Award in the U.S. Narrative Competition, was just acquired by Gravitas Ventures for theatrical and on-demand release this fall. Martin Scorsese was the executive producer for the film from MacLachlin (Junebug), who wrote, produced and directed.

Abundant Acreage Available is about grown siblings coming to terms with the transitory nature of life, and what we regard as property. Kate Churchill (Spotlight) also produced the film and the other executive producer is Jeanne Hagerty (Enlighten Up!).

The film, specifically, unravels the story of Tracy (Amy Ryan) and Jesse (Terry Kinney), who are reeling from their father’s recent passing on their North Carolina tobacco farm. Their quiet and simple existence is unexpectedly disrupted by the arrival of three mysterious brothers, camping on their land and possessing a surprising connection to their family. The two sets of siblings are set on a direct collision course that will change all of their lives, for better or for worse.

The deal was negotiated by Josh Spector, director of acquisitions for Gravitas Ventures, and by Gersh’s Jay Cohen on behalf of the filmmakers. MacLachlan is repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners.


Variety

Pluto TV Inks Deal With Gravitas for Streaming Rights to 2,000-Plus Movies (EXCLUSIVE)

 

Sound City - Dave Grohl -

By: Todd Spangler

Pluto TV, a video-streaming service stocked with free premium content, has secured a deal with Gravitas Ventures for access to the indie film distributor’s entire catalog of more than 2,000 titles.

Under the terms of the pact, Pluto TV is launching a dedicated “Gravitas Movies” channel on the service, adding to its 100-plus channels that stream content in a TV-like linear feed. Pluto TV, which is available only in the U.S., has rights to Gravitas Ventures’ catalog that comprises a total of 5,000 hours of programming. Content includes documentaries and feature films such as comedies, dramas, and horror films.

Some of the Gravitas titles to be available on Pluto TV are: music documentary “Sound City,” featuring Dave Grohl (pictured above), Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood, Rivers Cuomo and Trent Reznor; Cassie Jaye’s “The Red Pill,” about the men’s rights movement; comedy-horror movie “Hell Baby,” starring Rob Codry and Leslie Bibb; crime drama “Perfect Sisters,” starring Abigail Breslin and Mira Sorvino; and documentary “The Secret” based on the controversial self-help book of the same name by Rhonda Byrne.

Pluto TV’s efforts “to be more competitive in the streaming TV market have established them as a leader in the space and we look forward to building this new relationship,” said Laura Florence, Gravitas’ VP of sales and marketing.

The Gravitas deal comes after Pluto TV signed licensing deals with Lionsgate, MGM and Warner Bros. for library-title movies and TV series. Other Pluto TV content partners include CNN’s Great Big Story, Hearst Entertainment, The Orchard, Defy Media, Warner Bros.’ Machinima, Studio71, Tastemade, FremantleMedia, Endemol Shine International, Yahoo, CNBC, Cheddar and Mashable.

And earlier this month, the startup added an on-demand viewing capability to augment its original linear-streaming model. While Pluto TV is currently a free, ad-supported service, the company may at some point move to a hybrid business model with a subscription option (like Spotify).

Gravitas Movies is on channel 721 on Pluto.tv, which is available free on mobile, web, and connected-TV devices including Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, PlayStation and Xbox.

Investors in L.A.-based Pluto TV include by USVP, ProSiebenSat.1 Media, Scripps Networks Interactive, Sky, UTA, Luminari Capital, Chicago Ventures, and Pritzker Group.

Pictured above: Dave Grohl in “Sound City”


Long And Short Form Content Demand to Push VOD Value to $77.7BN by 2024

NetflixJaPan 23 Aug 2016
By: Joseph O'Halloran | 25 May 2017
apple tv
Swelling demand for programming in all forms and lengths will be a major factor driving video-on-demand (VOD) market growth making the market worth $77.7 billion over the next seven years, says Ameri Research.

The analyst saw worldwide media consumption increasingly occurring in digital formats, with a snowballing in the number of digital media players such as Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Roku, Boxee and Apple TV challenging the conventionally maintained domination of the television as the foremost entertainment hub.

It believed that most viewers appeared to be augmenting, rather than replacing paid conventional TV services, which is expected to hinder market growth. However, the analyst added that the rapid growth of VOD programming preferences where viewers can stream or download content from either a traditional TV package or an online source was creating extensive growth opportunities for manufacturers.

Assessing where the revenue spike would be derived, Ameri Research regarded advertisement video-on-demand (AVOD) as the fastest growing business model segment, majorly accredited to the evolving consumer preferences resulting in mounting demand for ads displayed before, after or during VOD programming. In the survey, over-the-top (OTT) emerged as the dominant platform segment in 2016 and was forecast also to flourish over the coming years attributing to the leverage offered by OTT platform to watch videos anywhere and anytime or every time on-the-go.

Not surprisingly, North America emerged as the dominant regional market in 2016 and accounted for more than 35% of the overall revenue share in the same year. Ameri noted the large presence of early technology adopters is a major factor driving the regional market growth.


‘Gilbert’ Gottfried’s Tribeca Docu Lands At Gravitas

 

Gravitas Ventures  has acquired North American rights to Gilbert, the Neil Berkeley-directed documentary about zany comedian Gilbert Gottfried. The film, which had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, will have its theatrical release with Submarine Deluxe in September followed by a digital and DVD rollout. Gilbert, who came into fame in the 1980s, is known for his brash personality, unique vocal tone, and off-kilter comic timing. Now, foul-mouthed and unapologetic after decades of flying solo in both his work and in his personal life, Gilbert has reinvented himself…as a family man. The docu features other comedy heavyweights like Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Belzer, Lewis Black, Susie Essman, Arsenio Hall, and Anthony Jeselnik. Berkeley co-wrote the film with James Andre Leche. The two also produced  along with David Heiman, and Maggie Contreras. Executive producers are Eddie Schmidt, Clay Tweel and Bart McDonough. Nolan Gallagher negotiated the deal on behalf of Gravitas with Josh and Ben Braun of Submarine Deluxe repping the filmmakers.


Variety

Slamdance Winner ‘Dave Made a Maze’ Lands at Gravitas

Dave McNary
Film Reporter
@Variety_DMcNary

Gravitas Ventures has bought all North American rights to offbeat Slamdance Winner “Dave Made a Maze” in the wake of the film winning an Audience Award for Best Narrative at the Slamdance Film Festival.

Starring Nick Thune, the movie merges fantasy with reality from the confines of a living room chock-full of cut-up cardboard boxes. Meera Rohit Kumbhani, James Urbaniak (“Difficult People”), Stephanie Allynne (“In a World”) and Kirsten Vangsness (“Criminal Minds”) also star.

Dave is portrayed by Thune as an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career. He builds a fort in his living room out of pure frustration, only to wind up trapped by the fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his own creation. His girlfriend Annie leads a band of oddball explorers on a rescue mission — but find themselves trapped in an ever-changing supernatural world, threatened by booby traps and pursued by a bloodthirsty Minotaur.

“We wanted to re-imagine classic 80s adventure films with a comedic edge and a higher body count,” said director Bill Waterson. “To reignite that tactile sense of wonder triggered by those films, we played in the sandbox of old-school practical effects – puppetry, miniatures, stop motion animation, and in-camera optical illusions.”

The deal for “Dave Made a Maze” was negotiated by Nolan Gallagher on behalf of Gravitas and by Matt Burke of Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.


Variety

Gravitas Ventures Buys Documentary ‘Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web’

Internet entrepreneur and political party backer

MAY 16, 2017 | 06:00AM PT
Gravitas Ventures has secured U.S. as well as the foreign sales rights to territories outside North America for the documentary “Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web,” which follows the notorious internet hacker, Variety has learned exclusively.

Gravitas announced the deal on Tuesday on the eve of the opening of the Cannes Film Festival, where it will be selling international rights.

Dotcom was born Kim Schmitz in Germany and moved to New Zealand with his family in 2012. Dotcom was raided and arrested by the New Zealand police that year and has been fighting extradition to the U.S. ever since. Charges against him include copyright infringement, racketeering, conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering as he and three co-defendants could face up to 80 years in prison.

Dotcom maintains that his Megaupload platform was merely providing a service, and under current copyright law, he is not responsible for the actions of its millions of users. The documentary includes interviews with Dotcom and his ex-wife Mona Dotcom, Glenn Greenwald, Dotcom’s chief global counsel Ira Rothken, Larry Lessig, Gabriella Coleman, Jonathan Taplin, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Jimmy Wales, MPAA’s Steve Fabrizio, and Moby.

The film had its world premiere at SXSW in March. Gravitas is working with the producers to align the film for an Aug. 22 release in the U.S. and other markets. “We were drawn to this fascinating documentary because love or hate Kim Dotcom, it is hard to take your eyes off this iconoclastic renegade,” said Gravitas CEO and founder Nolan Gallagher.

“Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web” was written and directed by Annie Goldson (“Brother Number One”). Alexander Behse produced. Gallagher negotiated the deal for Gravitas with Nate Bolotin of XYZ Films on behalf of Behse.


Josh Spector, Zach Hamby Join Gravitas Ventures As Acquisitions Executives

ARTICLE BY: ANITA BUSCH

Josh Spector has joined distributor Gravitas Ventures as its new director of acquisitions moving from MGM where he was manager of acquisitions. Zach Hammy has also joined the company as acquisitions manager, coming from RLJ Entertainment. Spector will report to Gravitas Founder and CEO Nolan Gallagher and will oversee Hamby.

In his new role Spector will set a yearly strategy for identifying and tracking more than 30 theatrical releases and 300 direct-to-VOD films. He will also oversee the company’s film festival and market coverage program. Spector will be attending the Tribeca Film Festival this year, but will forego Cannes.

While at MGM Spector was responsible for licensing content for MGM’s domestic theatrical and international TV distribution. He began at the studio in 2013 after working with the team at Entertainment One. His experience extends to development, production and finance as well as sales.

Hamby previously served as the acquisitions coordinator for RLJ Entertainment assisting in the acquisition and distribution of titles such as: Bone TomahawkBushwickThe CobblerThe RewriteDog Eat Dog, and The Phenom.

Prior to moving to Los Angeles, he served as the Marketing Coordinator for Acorn TV, assisting in the development and management of the streaming service. His experience extends to digital distribution, film packaging, financing, marketing, and production.

Gravitas Ventures Hires Scott Kaplan As SVP Global Sales

ARTICLE BY: PATRICK HIPES

EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has hired Gunpowder & Sky exec Scott Kaplan as SVP Global Sales, a newly created post. He will launch Gravitas’ new New York office, and the plan is to boost the indie distributor’s international presence selling and licensing new releases and library titles worldwide. He exited G&S on Tuesday and will be on the ground in his new role for the Cannes film market which kicks off next month.

It’s the latest ramp-up for Gravitas, which recently tapped Josh Spector as director of acquisitions and Zach Hamby as acquisitions manager.

At Gunpowder & Sky Distribution, where he held the same title, he oversaw all aspects of domestic and international sales for more than 400 releases including The Little Hours, the Sundance pic that bows in theaters June 30 that will mark G&S’ biggest distribution play to date. He also worked on acquisitions, corporate strategy and business development.

Before that he held the same position at FilmBuff, which G&S acquired last fall. While at FilmBuff he helped shape the global distributor/foreign sales agent hybrid. He sourced and negotiated hundreds of deals for a library of more than 1000 films.

“In addition to having great sales acumen, Scott brings a critical expertise to our team,” Gravitas president Michael Murphy said. “He has a great eye for global acquisitions. In the last few years we’ve seen strong international growth and with the addition of Scott we’re going to step on the gas to further increase global awareness.”

 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE 


Slamdance Winner ‘Dave Made a Maze’ Lands at Gravitas (EXCLUSIVE)

ARTICLE BY: DAVE MCNARY

Sundance Winner 'Dave Made a Maze'

COURTESY DAVE MADE A MAZE

Gravitas Ventures has bought all North American rights to offbeat Slamdance Winner “Dave Made a Maze” in the wake of the film winning an Audience Award for Best Narrative at the Slamdance Film Festival.

Starring Nick Thune, the movie merges fantasy with reality from the confines of a living room chock-full of cut-up cardboard boxes. Meera Rohit Kumbhani, James Urbaniak (“Difficult People”), Stephanie Allynne (“In a World”) and Kirsten Vangsness (“Criminal Minds”) also star.

Dave is portrayed by Thune as an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career. He builds a fort in his living room out of pure frustration, only to wind up trapped by the fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his own creation. His girlfriend Annie leads a band of oddball explorers on a rescue mission — but find themselves trapped in an ever-changing supernatural world, threatened by booby traps and pursued by a bloodthirsty Minotaur.

“We wanted to re-imagine classic 80s adventure films with a comedic edge and a higher body count,” said director Bill Waterson. “To reignite that tactile sense of wonder triggered by those films, we played in the sandbox of old-school practical effects – puppetry, miniatures, stop motion animation, and in-camera optical illusions.”

The deal for “Dave Made a Maze” was negotiated by Nolan Gallagher on behalf of Gravitas and by Matt Burke of Submarine on behalf of the filmmakers.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE


Tribeca Film Festival Isn’t Really a Film Festival: How the New York Event Has Sought a 21st Century Identity

ARTICLE BY: GRAHAM WINFREY

Now in its 16th year, Tribeca is still carving out a niche within the film festival ecosystem.

Tribeca Film Festival

And Then There’s The Movies

As to the vision behind what they’re offering, in 2010 Rosenthal could only describe it as “a diverse group of films to a wide group of audiences.” That’s a good-enough intention, but it also suggests trying to be something for everyone. In recent years, it has branded itself as a showcase for the future of storytelling, as well as an early adopter of virtual reality, immersive storytelling, and television programming.

In 2016 the festival launched Tribeca TV with shows including HBO’s “The Night Of” and AMC’s “The Night Manager;” the closing night film was “The Bomb,” a “multimedia experience” about nuclear weapons. This year’s Tribeca Immersive program will feature 29 VR and interactive exhibits, including the world premiere of Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s first VR project, “The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes” about African rangers protecting elephants from ivory poachers. Bigelow co-directed the short with visual artist Imraan Ismail in partnership with African Parks, National Geographic, and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.

At different points it’s opened with premieres for anonymous blockbusters like “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” and “Mission Impossible III.” Recent years have favored the movie-and-a-concert model like this year’s “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives,” which will feature after-film performances by Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson and Earth, Wind & Fire. In 2013 it was The National documentary “Mistaken For Strangers,” with the band at the afterparty, and in 2015 it was Bao Nguyen’s “Saturday Night Live” documentary, “Live From New York,” which was followed, somewhat incongruously, with a performance by Ludacris.

The festival also continues to lean heavily on De Niro’s legacy: Last year’s edition closed with a screening of “Taxi Driver” and this year’s finale will involve back-to-back screenings of “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II.”

Tribeca has also successfully positioned itself as one of the best documentary forums on the festival circuit. While most of its A-list docs premiere elsewhere, Alex Gibney’s 2007 “Taxi to the Dark Side” had its world premiere at Tribeca before going on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary. “Jesus Camp” (2006) and “Street Fight” (2005) both earned Oscar nominations; other critically acclaimed docs that premiered at Tribeca include “The War Tapes” (2006), “My Winnipeg” (2007), “Racing Dreams” (2009) and “Bombay Beach” (2011).

Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to the Dark Side”

Shutterstock

On the other hand, the 2016 festival came under fire for accepting the controversial anti-vaccination film “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe.” De Niro initially defended the decision to program the film, then changed his position and pulled the title from the festival’s lineup.

The festival’s narrative competition doesn’t spark major bidding wars, but films do sell. Recent acquisitions include “Adderall Diaries” (A24), “Always Shine” (Oscilloscope Laboratories), “Freakonomics” (Magnolia Pictures), and “Virunga” (Netflix). However, Tribeca has become an especially vital source for smaller distributors like VOD-driven provider Gravitas Ventures.

“It is a must-stop for Gravitas,” said founder and CEO Nolan Gallagher, who comes to this year’s festival having purchased the Elián González documentary “Elián,” a Tribeca premiere. Last year, Gravitas Ventures acquired the Leonard Nimoy documentary “For the Love of Spock” and Katie Holmes’ directorial debut “All We Had.”

“Tribeca is clearly an audience-facing rather than industry-facing festival, but it has gathered heightened prestige and curatorial credibility over the last few years,” said Kino Lorber president and CEO Richard Lorber. “We do business at Tribeca.”

Tribeca has also consistently succeeded in landing major sponsorships, particularly from AT&T and American Express. However, one would-be moneymaking endeavor, Tribeca Film, released a string of well-reviewed but underperforming titles before quietly folding last year. “That’s a really tough business,” said one former Tribeca executive. “I suspect it was just a lot of work and not a lot of financial gain.”

Launched in 2010, Tribeca Film released a few movies that broke $1 million at the box office, including 2014’s “Palo Alto,” starring James Franco and Emma Roberts and directed by Francis Ford Coppola’s granddaughter Gia Coppola, but the vast majority of the shingle’s more than 100 releases were commercial duds. Despite releasing well-reviewed films like Alex Ross Perry’s “Listen Up Philip” and the documentary “I Am Big Bird” in 2014, Tribeca Film’s output dropped sharply in the past couple years, releasing just five titles in 2015 and none in 2016.

Emma Roberts in “Palo Alto”

Tribeca Film

Rosenthal insisted that the company’s internal team members are its “harshest critics at how to improve the festival,” adding that they refine aspects of the fest every year. “We have always been passionate about new ways to tell stories and support artists and filmmakers as they test the boundaries of what film storytelling is,” she said. “There is always room for improvement.”

The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 19 – 30.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE