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Variety

Gravitas Buys Bill Murray Documentary ‘Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man’ (EXCLUSIVE)

By Dave McNary

The film, which premiered at the South by Southwest festival in March, features interviews with everyday Americans as they recount their memorable interactions with Bill Murray. It’s directed by Tommy Avallone, executive produced by Glen Zipper, and produced by Max Paolucci, Derrick Kunzer, Raymond Esposito, and Kevin Sisti Jr. The movie will be released in select theaters on Oct. 25 and on demand the following day.

“My friend, Brian, told me my first Bill Murray story in 2006 and I was hooked,” Avallone said. “The more stories I discovered, the more I became convinced that there had to be some deeper meaning behind Bill’s quirky interactions with everyday people. And that’s what my journey in this film is all about — my search for that deeper meaning and how it surprisingly changed the way I look at life. I hope audiences have a similarly eye-opening experience, and, of course, plenty of laughs too!”

The pic was produced by Double Windsor Films and Old Lime Productions. It contains never-before-seen footage of Murray bartending, washing dishes at parties, singing karaoke late at night with strangers, and crashing a kickball game.

“Tommy has made a quirky and hilarious documentary full of surprising revelations that explore the deep meaning behind Bill Murray’s lovable interactions with everyday people,” said Laura Florence, VP of sales and marketing. “Gravitas is excited to be partnering with him and his team in bringing this documentary to audiences everywhere.”

Nolan Gallagher from Gravitas Ventures negotiated the deal with CAA and Endeavor Content.

 

See full article here.


Gravitas Ventures Acquires SXSW Sci-Fi Thriller ‘At First Light’

by Dino-Ray Ramos

EXCLUSIVE: The Jason Stone-directed sci-fi thriller At First Light has been acquired by Gravitas Ventures. The Red Arrow Studios company landed U.S., Australia, and New Zealand rights to the film which made its world premiere at SXSW. At First Light will be released in theaters and available on demand Sept. 28.

Written and helmed by Stone, At First Light follows Sean (Théodore Pellerin) and Alex (Stefanie Scott) as they go on the run after Alex has a close encounter with mysterious orbs of light that leave her with extraordinary powers. As they flee from their families, the police and a covert government agency, Alex and Sean find themselves at the center of an unprecedented event in human history. As her powers grow stronger and more dangerous, Sean must decide whether staying with Alex and discovering the truth behind her transformation is worth dying for.

“We were drawn to this coming-of-age sci-fi thriller because of its emotional journey, exceptional special effects, and the opportunity to work with Jason Stone and the talented filmmaking team that he has assembled,” said Nolan Gallagher, Founder and CEO at Gravitas Ventures.

Stone adds, “It’s been a crazy adventure just getting this movie made and we couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with Nolan and the entire Gravitas team to take it out into the world.”

The film also stars Kate Burton, Saïd Taghmaoui, and Percy Hynes White. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones serves as executive producer and Chris Ferguson is the producer.

Gallagher from Gravitas Ventures negotiated the deal with CAA Media Finance.

Watch the trailer below.


EXCLUSIVE Cuba Gooding Jr. Plays a Boxing Champion in Trailer for His Directorial Debut Bayou Caviar

By Alexia Fernandez

“Show me you can be great.”

Cuba Gooding Jr. does just that in a PEOPLE exclusive trailer for his directorial debut Bayou Caviar.

The actor, 50, plays former boxing champion Rodney Jones who dreams of reclaiming victory in the ring from his dull life as a night club bouncer.

Despite his attempts to stay on a narrow path, he is unwittingly dragged into business with mafia members after he witnesses them murder his boss. Jones sets out to bring down a rival mafia boss but finds himself struggling with the life or death consequences.

Gooding Jr. directs and stars in the film alongside Richard Dreyfuss and X-Men: The Last Stand’s Famke Janssen. The Oscar-winning actor also co-wrote the script with Eitan Gorlin.

This is Gooding Jr.’s first time in the director’s chair and it was a long time coming. The actor shared a photo of himself in the editing room in December 2017 in which he shared, “Directorial debut coming soon….”

He’s been hard at work in the theater as well, with a turn as Billy Flynn in the West End’s Chicago the Musical earlier this year — one he will reprise on Broadway beginning Oct. 6.

Gooding Jr. has dabbled in TV as well, with star roles in American Horror Story and American Crime Story as O.J. Simpson, for which he was nominated for an Emmy award.

In 2014, he was also in Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed film, Selma.

The movie opens in select theaters and will be available on VOD platforms Oct. 5, 2018.


Variety

Cobie Smulders Comedy ‘Alright Now’ Lands at Gravitas Ventures (EXCLUSIVE)

by Dave McNary

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock (9641317ae)
Cobie Smulders
Chanel Tribeca Film Festival Artists Dinner- Arrivals, New York, USA - 23 Apr 2018
CHANEL Tribeca Film Festival Artists Dinner - Arrivals[/caption]

Gravitas Ventures has acquired all North American rights to the Cobie Smulders comedy “Alright Now,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Jamie Adams, whose credits include “Black Mountain Poets,” directed from his own script. “Alright Now” is produced by Unstoppable Film & Television and Dignity Film Finance through its Fivelanes label. The film will be released in select theaters across the country and on demand on Sept. 7.

“Alright Now” follows Smulders as a rock musician who drunkenly enrolls in college after she breaks up with her boyfriend and her band falls apart. Convinced she will give the youngsters a run for their money, she is shocked to discover that no one knows who she is, and they could not care less about her rock star past.

“Working with Gravitas Ventures on ‘Alright Now’ is incredible, to know that my latest improvisation-led comedy is being released by such a legendary distributor is exciting,” Adams said. “Cobie Smulders and the rest of ‘Alright Now’ team had a lot of fun making this movie and we can’t for everyone to see it!”

Smulders stars in the Netflix series “Friends From College.” She portrays S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in “The Avengers,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

“Cobie Smulders is a comedic force to be reckoned with in this feel-good comedy about one woman’s search for a new beginning,” said Nolan Gallagher, CEO at Gravitas Ventures.

Gallagher negotiated the deal with James Norrie from AMP Films.

See the trailer for “Alright Now” below:


French Thriller ‘Just A Breath Away’ Acquired By Gravitas Ventures

by Patrick Hipes

EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has acquired U.S. rights to Just a Breath Away (Dans la brume), the French-language apocalyptic thriller directed by Daniel Roby and starring Romain Duris and Olga Kurylenko.

The deal was struck just ahead of its North American debut later tonight as the opening film of the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, and a 2019 theatrical release is in the works.

Duris and Kurylenko play parents who are desperately trying to save their daughter from a deadly toxic mist that has engulfed Paris after an earthquake. Only those lucky enough to escape to the rooftops of the city were able to survive; their daughter, who suffers from a genetic condition requiring her to live in a hermetic box that filters the air, is trapped below.

“This is a thrilling story of survival, set against the backdrop of an apocalyptic Paris,” said Tony Piantedosi, Gravitas’ director of acquisitions. “We are very excited to be partnering with the filmmaking team behind Just a Breath Away.”

Guillaume Lemans, Jimmy Bemon and Mathieu Delozier penned the script for the genre thriller. The Quebec-born Roby’s previous credits include Louis Cyr and Funkytown.

“I directed this for the French market but the story is universal, the backdrop is exotic and never seen before in a movie like this,” Roby said. “I hope the heart-wrenching dilemmas this family, in survival mode, is facing will captivate audiences all over the U.S.”

Piantedosi negotiated the deal with Aurelia Tahar, VP International Sales at TF1, which has already made deals in more than 130 territories.


Variety

Jeremy Irons-Jack Huston Comedy ‘An Actor Prepares’

by Dave McNary

Gravitas Ventures has acquired all North American rights to the comedy “An Actor Prepares,” starring Jeremy Irons, Jack Huston, Ben Schwartz and Mamie Gummer, Variety has learned exclusively.

Steve Clark directed from a script that he co-wrote with Thomas Moffett. The project was introduced at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where international sales were launched.

Irons portrays a famous, hard-drinking actor who suffers a heart attack and is forced to drive across the country to make it in time for the wedding of his daughter, played by Gummer. His only hope of making the wedding lies with his estranged son, played by Huston, is a devoted husband and professor who couldn’t be more different from his father. As the two set out on their adventure, they become closer and realize they are more alike than they thought.

“Jeremy Irons and Jack Huston make a hilarious father and son duo in this delightful comedy,” said Laura Florence, VP of sales and marketing for Gravitas Ventures.

Gravitas Ventures plans to release “An Actor Prepares” in theaters and on demand on Aug. 31. Nolan Gallagher from Gravitas Ventures negotiated the deal with CAA.

Watch the first trailer above.


Variety

Variety’s 2017 Dealmakers Impact Report

Jan David Frouman and Nolan Gallagher

http://variety.com/gallery/dealmakers-impact-report-2017-variety/#!15/jan-david-frouman-nolan-gallagher


Variety

Germany’s Red Arrow Buys Gravitas Ventures, Moves Into Film

By  | 

Red Arrow Entertainment, the Munich-based content arm of German broadcast giant ProSiebenSat.1 is getting into the movie business, buying L.A.-based Gravitas Ventures.

The two parties have been in talks since March and have now sealed a deal which sees Red Arrow buy a majority stake in Gravitas, with a view to eventually taking full ownership. Red Arrow International, the company’s distribution arm, and Gravitas will work side by side but remain separate distribution brands.

“We weren’t explicitly looking to be in the film business, but we were looking to be deeper in the content business. And the fact is being better at distribution and having more capacity to access, finance, and own projects, and then distribute more compelling packages and catalogue, is key for us,” Red Arrow Entertainment Chairman and CEO Jan Frouman told Variety.

Gravitas releases about 400 new films annually, recently picking up sci-fi thriller “Alien Invasion: S.U.M.1,” which stars “Game of Thrones” actor Iwan Rheon. It has a library of more than 2,400 English-language titles. Red Arrow and Gravitas said they intend to make significant investments in global film and TV projects via acquisitions, co-production, and co-financing.

“The amount of creative firepower that is coming through their door every year is remarkable,” Frouman said of Gravitas. “A lot of people who make TV make movies and vice versa. And [with] the ability to have relationships with all of them on a broad basis, to have production shingles you can attach to projects, have a distribution arm that can handle formats, finished product, TV shows, and movies, you become a much more dynamic player.”

Gravitas CEO and co-founder Nolan Gallagher and his fellow senior managers at Gravitas, Michael Murphy and Brendan Gallagher, will remain with the business. “We were looking to find a strategic partner,” Nolan Gallagher said. “We have relationships with hundreds of filmmakers, and we saw an opportunity to, over time, bring that talent to bear in future opportunities with Red Arrow.

“Creative people want to explore different mediums,” he added. “It allows us to have a deeper conversation with our producers and directors. Before, we were so focused on finding the next film and distributing the next film. Now we can say to filmmakers, ‘What is it you want to achieve over the next five years [in film and TV]?'”

Red Arrow has built an international network of production companies during a sustained period of M&A. Many of these are based in the U.S., including Fabrik Entertainment, Left/Right, Half Yard Productions, and Kinetic Content. Red Arrow companies program about 15% of the grid of ProSiebenSat.1 channels, one of the biggest broadcasters in Europe. The U.S. business, however, accounts for the lion’s share of Red Arrow revenues – about 70% – and that was before the Gravitas deal.

Salem Partners and Greenberg Glusker advised Gravitas Ventures on the transaction. Red Arrow was advised by Stella EOC and Milbank.

http://variety.com/2017/tv/global/red-arrow-buys-gravitas-1202609972/


SVOD Surges as Multiple Services Become a Trend

By: Joseph O'Halloran

Oct 17, 2017

Bundling services is now a driving force in a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market that continues to escalate across Europe in particular, according to the latest Ampere Analysis SVOD report.

ampere 16oct2017The analyst found that nearly three-quarters (71.6%) of Internet users in the US have at least one SVOD subscription and in nine of the 13 markets researched at least half have one or more subscriptions. Right behind the US was Denmark (69.9%) and Sweden (66%) with the US around ten percent points behind.

Looking at where SVOD was growing, the survey showed that the subscriber base in Spain increased from 14.1% in Q3 2015 to 51.5% in Q3 2017. During the same period the audience increased by 33 percentage points in Italy and 30 percentage points in Poland. Spain also recorded the largest subscriber base increase between Q1 2017 and Q3 2017, with eight percentage points.

The survey also highlighted that bundling multiple SVOD services is a growing trend, with over two-fifths having a custom-built package. A quarter of Netflix customers were found to also subscribe to Amazon Prime video, while one in five have a Spotify premium subscription, 8% have Apple music and 5% have Google Play Music All Access. Games were also a popular choice: 15% had PlayStation Plus and 10% Xbox Live Gold.


Pluto TV Raises $8.3 Million in Funding Led by Samsung

By: Todd Spangler

Oct 17, 2017

pluto-tv

CREDIT: COURTESY OF PLUTO TV

 

Pluto TV, the startup aiming to build a Spotify-like free service for TV content, has received $5 million in funding from Samsung Venture Investment Corp., the venture-capital arm of the Samsung Group. The financing is part of an $8.3 million round that included participation from other investors.

The funding brings L.A.-based Pluto TV to a total of $51.8 million raised to date. A year ago, the company raked in $30 million in Series B funding led by Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 with participation from investors including Scripps Networks Interactive.

Pluto TV said it will use the funding to further build out its product, content and marketing efforts. Founded in 2013, Pluto TV offers more than 100 channels of free, ad-supported curated content in a cable-like guide.

“Samsung is the global leader in the TV market, changing the way people experience entertainment through constant innovation,” Pluto TV CEO Tom Ryan said in a statement. “Their investment in Pluto TV is a great vote of confidence in our mission to bring free internet television to consumers everywhere.”

Added Jihong Kim,‎ senior investment manager at Samsung Ventures, “Pluto TV is the leading free internet TV service in America, and we see huge potential for the company as they scale their cutting-edge offering to viewers around the world.”

In 2017, Pluto TV has announced over 40 content deals. Its partners include Warner Bros., Lionsgate, MGM, Bloomberg Media, Al Jazeera English, Cheddar, Gravitas Ventures, Asylum, Viz Media, Electronic Music Awards, Big Sky Conference, Stadium, Jukin Media, and JASH, the comedy studio formed by Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, and Reggie Watts.

Other investors in Pluto TV include U.S. Venture Partners, Sky, Luminari Capital, Chicago Ventures, Third Wave Capital Partners, and LionTree Advisors.