Anatomy of a Love Seen

Does true love really exist?

Marina Rice Bader has been responsible for some of the more beautiful and romantic lesbian movies of this generation, including "Elena Undone" and "A Perfect Ending".  So, I was excited to view her latest film, "Anatomy of a Love Seen", and so disappointed when it turned out not to be anywhere near as good as her other films.

The film is actually a film within a film. Marina Rice Bader plays Writer and Director, Kara Voss, who has cast Zoe Peterson (Sharon Hinnendael) and Mal Ford (Jill Evyn) as her principal actresses. During the filming of their love scene, they both fall in love at the same time. You can see it on the film. This love scene is the most beautiful and genuine part of the film.

It's soft, tender and very believable that these two really do fall in love. Their off screen romance lasts about six months before Mal leaves the relationship for no apparent reason. In the meantime, Kara needs to bring the two back together to film a "clothed" love scene for a broadcast deal.

This could have been a wonderful film about love found, love lost and trying to get back to love. But, the film loses itself in a subplot between Kara and her Assistant, Anne (Constance Brenneman). As Zoe and Mal try to process what happened in their relationship, we get glimpses of what might have happened, but nothing concrete. The subplot is completely unnecessary and takes away from the real story between Zoe and Mal.

Bader has made the film available on Vimeo.com to rent for 72 hours for $5.00. The actresses who play Zoe and Mal are wonderful together, and their scenes are worth the rental price. I recommend skipping through the subplot.

Rent the movie here: Anatomy of a Love Seen

Watch the trailer here:

ORIGINAL ARTICLE


LA Times

Review 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' is insightful and timely

By Kenneth Turan

'Black Panthers' review

Huey P. Newton and Eldridge Cleaver are dead, Bobby Seale is 78, Kathleen Cleaver is 70, the events that turned all of them into national figures are decades in the past. So how is it that "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution" comes off as the most relevant and contemporary of documentaries?

Part of the answer is that the social crisis that helped to create the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in the 1960s is still very much with us. You only have to hear a network TV newscaster say nearly half a century ago that "relations between police and Negroes throughout the country are getting worse" to feel a frisson of despair at how up to the minute that sounds.

Also a factor is the skill with which writer-director Stanley Nelson has told this story. A veteran documentarian, eight of whose films (including "Freedom Summer" and "The Murder of Emmett Till") have premiered at Sundance, Nelson expertly combines archival footage, photographs, music and his own interviews to assemble the pieces of what is a complicated story.

Nelson understands the play of outsized personalities and unexpected events, and he's helped that enough time has passed for former Panthers to feel comfortable telling their stories, especially to someone of Nelson's stature in the documentary world.

Still, none of this was easy, and the Panthers even today remain nothing if not a controversial organization. As former member Ericka Huggins says at the film's start, "We were making history, and it wasn't nice and clean. It wasn't easy. It was complex."

As if to prove her point, Seale, one of the organization's founders, did not agree to be interviewed by Nelson, and former party chairwoman Elaine Brown, who did speak, slammed the finished film and asked unsuccessfully to have her interview segments removed.

Despite this brouhaha, the thoughtful approach Nelson takes to the material feels right. He does not look into every skeleton in the organization's closet, but he doesn't hesitate to deal with problem areas, including the group's chauvinism. Though "The Black Panthers" empathizes with the outrage that brought the party into existence and the pride individual members continue to take in their work, his tone is measured, not incendiary.

California gun laws made it legal for citizens to bear arms, and the Panthers got their first publicity break in 1967 when they went to Sacramento to protest a potential change in the statute. When they ended up on the floor of the Legislature (almost by accident, in one account) their black leather jacket and beret look blew people away. As one member recalls, "We had swagger."

One factor "The Black Panthers" underscores is how much individual leaders influenced the organization's actions. Newton was arrested in the shooting death of an Oakland police officer ("Free Huey" became a '60s battle cry, and he was ultimately was released after a hung jury). Writer Eldridge Cleaver, a literary star after writing "Soul on Ice," became the face of the party, with mixed results.

As an articulate provocateur whose natural tendency was to escalate a situation, Cleaver's oratory brought new converts but created other difficulties. "He was a Rottweiler," says one former member, "an uncontrollable personality."

While the Panthers worked hard to connect to poor black communities, creating a free breakfast program for schoolchildren that served 20,000 meals a week in 19 communities, their violent rhetoric had made an unswerving, unscrupulous enemy of J. Edgar Hoover, the omnipotent head of the FBI.

Convinced that the Panthers were the biggest threat to national security, Hoover expanded the scope of COINTELPRO, the bureau's secret counterintelligence division, to include the Panthers and determined to use any means necessary to undermine and destroy the group.

Of all the stories told in "Black Panthers," perhaps the saddest is the 1969 death of Fred Hampton, the charismatic 21-year-old chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party who was gunned down by the Chicago police under circumstances so suspicious that a lawsuit brought by the family led to a $1.85-million settlement.

An organization that stubbornly resists being pigeonholed, the Black Panther Party emerges from this documentary with its significance enhanced but some of its tactics questioned. Seeming to speak for the film is Stanford history professor Clayborne Carson. "The leaders," he says sadly, "were not worthy of the dedication of the followers."

ORIGINAL ARTICLE


Ping Pong Summer

Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde Comedy ‘Longest Week’ Lands U.S. Distribution

 

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Gravitas Ventures will release Peter Glanz’s directorial debut in theaters and on VOD this September

Gravitas Ventures has acquired all U.S. rights to Peter Glanz’s directorial debut “The Longest Week,” a comedy that stars Jason BatemanOlivia WildeBilly Crudup and Jenny Slate.

The film will be released theatrically and on VOD on Sept. 5.

Glanz’s script is based on his short film “A Relationship in Four Days,” which played both Cannes and Sundance.

Bateman stars as Conrad Valmont, heir to a hotel fortune, who is cut off from his allowance following his parents abrupt divorce and tossed out into the unforgiving streets of the Upper West Side. Luckily, he is taken in by his old friend Dylan (Crudup), and returns the favor by immediately falling for Dylan’s girlfriend Beatrice (Wilde). As Conrad attempts to woo Beatrice while keeping both their relationship and his bank balance secret, Dylan tries to set him up with Jocelyn (Slate). Committed to the charade that he eventually finds difficult to maintain, Conrad quickly realizes his charm can only extend so far into debt.

“‘The Longest Week’ and the performances of Jason BatemanOlivia Wilde and Billy Crudupoffer a refreshing new perspective on a timeless love triangle. With the film, Peter Glanz follows in the great tradition of Woody Allen, Whit Stillman and Wes Anderson in incisively and hilariously portraying the challenges of falling in and out of love in Manhattan” remarked Gravitas Ventures founder/CEO Nolan Gallagher.

“Upon hearing Gravitas Ventures strategy for the film, we realized immediately that they are at the cutting edge of independent film distribution and would do a fantastic job with this film,” said YRF Entertainment CEO Uday Chopra.

YRF Entertainment (“Grace of Monaco”) financed “The Longest Week” and produced in association with Armian Pictures, Atlantic Pictures, and Far Hills. The film was produced by Uday Chopra and Neda Armian, and executive produced by Jonathan Reiman, Chris Marsh, Stone Douglass and Taylor Materne executive produced.


Perfect Sisters

Gravitas Ventures Picks Up U.S. Rights To Teen Horror Thriller ‘Jamie Marks Is Dead’

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Sundance entry and Outfest 2014 competitor “Jamie Marks Is Dead,” a teen horror thriller written and directed by famed fashion photographer and filmmaker Carter Smith (“Bugcrush,” “The Ruins”), has been picked up by Gravitas Ventures for U.S. distribution.

READ MORE: Sundance Review: ‘Jamie Marks is Dead’ is a Poetic but Flawed Meditation on Human Connection

In the film, a tragic death forges a supernatural bond among three small town teenagers, played by TV-kid-veterans Cameron Monaghan (“Shameless”), Morgan Saylor (“Homeland”), and Noah Silver (“The Borgias”). Fifteen year old Adam McCormick’s (Monaghan) life hasn’t been the same since classmate Gracie Highsmith (Saylor) found Jamie Marks’ (Silver) dead body at the edge of the river. The town is shocked by the news, but as speculation swirls, it becomes clear that they knew as little about Jamie as they do about the circumstances surrounding his death. Adam becomes fixated on Jamie’s death and gradually a deep bond develops between the living teenager and the dead boy’s ghost, their unlikely relationship providing Adam with the support and friendship he needs as the rest of his world falls apart. But the more attached Adam becomes to Jamie’s ghost, the weaker his ties to reality become. As he struggles with real world relationships, Adam is forced to rediscover what it means to be alive.

Based on Christopher Barzak’s acclaimed novel ”One for Sorrow,” the movie is described as a love story infused with elements of horror and the supernatural. Produced by Verisimilitude’s Alexander Orlovsky (“The Place Beyond The Pines”), Hunter Gray (“Another Earth”), Jacob Jaffke, Omri Bezalel, and Smith, the film also stars Madisen Beaty (“The Fosters”), Liv Tyler (soon to be seen on HBO’s upcoming drama “The Leftovers”) and the always dependable Judy Greer (“Arrested Development”).

“Jamie Marks Is Dead” will receive a theatrical release on August 29, making it available not only in theaters across the country but on demand nationwide and on such iVoD platforms as iTunes.


Perfect Sisters

Crowdfunding From a Distributor’s Perspective

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These days when making a film, there are two stories to tell.  There is, of course, the actual plot of your film replete with characters, locations, and costume changes.  And then there is the other story: the tale of how that film came to be.  The genesis of the idea, the relationship that inspired it, the cans of bug spray and rolls of toilet paper that it will take to bring it to light in relative human comfort, the reason why this world simply cannot exist without this film.  The first story invites relaxation or rumination.  The second story incites action and passion. And like everything else in American culture, two for the price of one…what a bargain!

There is a surfeit of films today, films for every disparate desire and obscure obsession. But the question of taste still remains as elusive as it ever was.  Who creates taste these days? The celebrities who dutifully tweet out the links of their upcoming films?  The multi-million dollar P&A fund?  Certainly, these things contribute.  But these are factors that are often beyond the reach of the independent filmmaker.  And therein lies the power of crowd-funding.  By building an audience and inciting passion for your project, the independent filmmaker suddenly has a voice.  And voice that has resonance.

If the ’70s were the golden age of Hollywood, we may be entering our golden age of crowdfunding.  Why else would iTunes put a new section on their storefront specifically for Kickstarter films?  Now allowed to exist as their own genre, these are the modern day fairy tales.  They are not just a facet of a film’s existence, they are a reason to rent a film.  For those who have contributed to a project, it is the final reveal of the process they have been a part of: the grand finale to the Adventure they have Chosen.  For those who have not been involved  from the start, to know that the film comes with the financial endorsement of dozens makes for a suddenly compelling choice.  If 1,000 people jump off a bridge, you probably still shouldn’t do it.  But if 1,000 people contribute to a crowdfunding campaign for a film, shouldn’t you pay five bucks to check it out?

As a distributor, knowing that second story helps inform the first.  When a film comes to us with a significant crowdfunding following, that tells us this film comes with a built-in audience.  The more stalwart of the cable and digital operators we work with are always happy to hear when we have a movie with Amanda Seyfried or Susan Sarandon, but that little indie gem they make take a chance on, is the one that comes to the table with $50,000 in Seed&Spark funds and a Twitter fanbase to beat the band.  For a distributor, a film that has already activated its fanbase is a film that already has a presence in a vast marketplace.

We look to crowdfunding platforms as a place not only to find great stories, but to find great filmmakers.  More and more, a filmmaker has to be an entrepreneur, and what better way to demonstrate passion than through a successful crowdfunding campaign.  To understand the dynamics of marketing, to know how to tap into an audience, to make people fall in love with what you love, and THEN bring that concept into reality; these are traits we look for in filmmakers.  The motivated filmmaker who is excited about all the steps of the process is a great match for the motivated distributor who knows how to best utilize that momentum.  We work most effectively with a filmmaker who is just as energized to be tweeting up a storm, as he was to coach an actor through a scene; to relish strategizing as much as she loved scriptwriting.  We know how to sell a film and make it shine in the marketplace, but you will always have that emotional bond with your audience.  We are your partner for the last part of your story, that of releasing your film into the world, and who doesn’t love a good happy ending?

From the inception of crowdfunding, through paroxysms of social media updates, to the final link of the completed film on an iTunes, Amazon, or Googleplay, a filmmaker can lead her audience effectively across the Red Sea of digital pathways.  As Norma Desmond famously pronounced in Billy Wilder’s SUNSET BOULEVARD, “I am big.  It’s the pictures that got small.”  We may be at the same junction here, as indie film filters away from the big screen to the computer screen.  The pictures may be smaller, but the stories keep getting bigger.


Perfect Sisters

Gravitas interviews Georgie Henley, star of Perfect Sisters

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This role is a big departure from Lucy in the Narnia series, is one type of character more fun for you to play than the other?
They are both hugely different characters, and I’m so lucky to have been given the opportunity to play them. I think Beth was more fun in the sense that it was amazing to completely transform my whole look and be a total goth but playing Lucy was fantastic because of all the amazing stunt work and sets that I experienced.

Beth’s character takes a lot of dark turns in this movie but still remains very sympathetic. What do you think makes Beth so likeable?
There is definitely an interesting juxtaposition within her character, but above all I think that audiences sympathise with Beth because she ultimately tries to protect Sandra from anything. Also, I think her moodiness and her defiance resonate with people because she’s witty and she won’t allow people to dominate her.

PerfectSisters_still2The bond you had with Abigail on screen was so strong, how did you two develop that kind of chemistry?
Abbie and I spent so much time together, all of the cast did. From the very beginning we would go to dinner together, shop together, go to the cinema, even work out together, and spending so much time with her meant that we felt really free around each other. We could play and experiment and improvise on set without feeling self conscious.

What was your favorite moment to play in this movie?
I really loved filming the scenes that I’d originally auditioned with, even though some of them were very dark. These moments reminded me that in a way I’d come full circle, from being just another girl auditioning to being lucky enough to be playing an amazing part. Having said that, the second bathtub scene with Abbie was not that fun to shoot given the huge emotional toll and the copious amount of pea soup flying everywhere!

What was the biggest difference that stood out to you on how high school kids act in America versus England?
I think the biggest difference (and I see this a lot with other scripts I’ve read set in high school) is that girls and boys are slightly more separated in America in terms of friend groups, whereas in England it’s much more integrated. However I could be completely wrong having only gone to school in England.

What do you think of boys who wear eyeliner like your costar Jeffrey Ballard?
Playing with the way you look is such an amazing way to express yourself, so I think if a guy wants to wear eyeliner, there’s no reason that he shouldn’t. I only really ever saw Jeff with eyeliner on (even on the weekends he wouldn’t be able to get all of it off) so to see him without it on is actually so weird!

PerfectSisters_still6What does the rest of your family think of the film? Did they come away from it thinking, “We better not mess with Georgie!”?
My family were so supportive of me making this transition, although I doubt my grandparents enjoyed the excessive swearing, smoking and PDAs!

We hear you are currently attending Cambridge. How is that going so far and are you doing much acting there?
I was very nervous about going to university, and I was worried that I’d get imposter syndrome from attending a place like Cambridge. However it really has been the best experience of my life; I have an amazing group of friends, I love my course, which is English, and it’s such a beautiful place to live. In terms of acting, I’m doing a lot of theatre which is so great because I hadn’t really acted on stage much before I came to Cambridge. I’m learning so much and I’ve played such a diverse collection of roles so it really couldn’t be better.

The premiere just happened for Perfect Sisters, how was that? How long has it been since you’ve gotten to see these people you worked on the movie with?
I’m so glad that I was able to come to the premiere. It was so great to see everyone, particularly those I hadn’t seen since filming, and it was so wonderful to finally show the film to an audience. It got such a great reaction and I just cannot wait for more and more people to see ‘Perfect Sisters’.


VOD

Huge uptick for VOD uptake

The latest Rentrak State of VOD Report, which includes five years of video-on-demand (VOD) analysis, has shown a huge leap in terms of time spent viewing free prime time on-demand content.

The report found that such viewing increased 24% compared with a year earlier, with two-thirds of such viewing occurring after the third day of its original airing. This, says the analyst, provides an opportunity to generate ‘untold’ millions in additional advertising dollars for VOD. For example it calculates that transactional movies on demand generated $1.5 billion.

The research also found an average of 43.3 million televisions accessed VOD content with almost nine hours of time spent viewing per month. The total time spent viewing all VOD content was 4.4 billion hours, a 3% year-on-year increase. The TV Entertainment category, which includes programming from many of the top broadcast and cable networks, also saw a 17% increase in time spent viewing with two-thirds of cable network viewing occurring after the 72-hour period.

“The consumer is utilising the VOD button on their remote in a bigger way than ever, and TV networks have responded with their best programming,” said Rentrak CEO and vice chairman Bill Livek, commenting on the results. “TV networks will be able to tap into untold millions of dollars in revenue through the VOD platform.”


VOD

VOD market to more than double to $45BN by 2018

The video-on-demand (VOD) market is set to grow from $21.08 billion in 2013 to $45.25 billion in 2018, at a CAGR of 16.5%, says a study from MarketsandMarkets.

The Video On Demand Market By Solutions; By Delivery; By Applications; Global Advancements Market Forecasts And Analysis (2013-2018) report says the VOD market is being driven by user demand for high quality videos to any connected device. This has given operators a key competitive advantage in terms of consumer reach despite the various challenges involved such as diversified bit rates, operating systems, digital rights management (DRM) and multiple screen formats.

The analyst adds that as users’ TV experience is changing rapidly from traditional linear TV, over-the-top (OTT) viewers are surpassing IPTV viewers. VOD providers are thus consolidating their ground in a highly competitive market through mergers and acquisitions to build feature-rich solutions and attain better market visibility. It also says that the challenges occurring while delivering VOD can be overcome by combining on-demand content with live streaming events and other similar solutions.

The report also shows that North America is expected to be the biggest market in terms of revenue contribution, while the Asia Pacific (APAC) and Latin America are expected to experience increased market traction during the forecast period.


Home Media Magazine

Deloitte: Americans Three-Times More Interested in Renting, Not Buying, Digital Content

 

The home entertainment industry’s infatuation with electronic sellthrough of movies and TV shows could be wishful thinking.

A Deloitte study of 2,000 consumers, ages 14 and older in the United States in 2013, found that three-times as many respondents preferred to rent transactional VOD content than buy it. The ratio was two-times in favor of renting than purchasing in 2012.

The survey revealed that consumer interest in streaming content has nearly doubled in the past year (from 17% in 2012 to 32% in 2013), with interest in digital formats outpacing demand for physical media.

This trend is particularly evident in “trailing millennials” (aged 14 to 24), who indicated they now spend more time watching television and movie content on non-traditional devices than on TVs.

Indeed, a majority of “millennials” (66%) spend more time watching content on portable devices other than the television.

Deloitte said that 37% of consumers are now digitally inclined, a 42% growth over the previous year. The growth is primarily driven by continued tablet adoption (33% increase) and, to a lesser extent, smartphone ownership (18% increase). Moreover, women, who made up over one-third (35%) of digital consumers two years ago, now account for 45% of this group.

The trends underscore the rise in subscription streaming, which saw SVOD leader Netflix add more than 6 million subscribers to a domestic base of 31.7 million. Hulu Plus ended the year with 5 millions subs; Amazon Prime reportedly has about 20 millions subscribers.

So while electronic sellthrough increased 44% to $424 million in 2013, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, it paled in comparison to the $1.4 billion spent collectively on transactional VOD and SVOD.

“The continued rise of the digital omnivore is an indication that consumers, across generations, are hungry for content across devices, especially media and gaming content on mobile devices,” Gerald Belson, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. media & entertainment sector leader, said in a statement. “Consumers are now able to watch the content they want on the device of their choosing. As an example, they have decoupled the notion that TV shows have to be watched on home TVs.

Pay TV Still Dominant

Despite increased interest in digital formats, consumers’ preference for pay-TV subscriptions remains consistent with last year’s finding, as U.S. consumers indicate they are largely content with their current Pay TV services.

The survey notes than only 6% of consumers who have pay-TV services are considering giving up their service in the next year. Furthermore, interest in accessing and purchasing a la carte programming is equal to consumer interest in bundled cable packages with both at 47% in 2013.


Nolan Gallagher

INTERVIEW: GRAVITAS VENTURES’ NOLAN GALLAGHER ON GETTING A BILLION PEOPLE TO WATCH INDIE FILM

 

After seven years filling television and computer screens as a video-on-demand distributor, Gravitas Ventures is taking their act to the big screen, an evolutionary step that they’re not taking lightly if this Presidents Day weekend is any example. In Los Angeles, they’re overseeing the release of “Down and Dangerous,” a scrappy crime thriller that’s one of three films they’ll have in theaters this month. In New York, their recent pickup, the Joel Edgerton potboiler “Felony” will be screening at Film Comment Selects. And between the coasts, a hundred million homes will have access to the company’s considerable catalog of movies, one that’s growing more impressive in quality as much as quantity now that Gravitas has begun to dip their toe into theatrical distribution.

It’s an exciting time for the company, which operates out of a humble two-story building in El Segundo, and its founder Nolan Gallagher, a veteran of Comcast and Warner Brothers before going out on his own. With a staff that includes more than a few filmmakers of its own – its vice president of acquisitions Melanie Miller naturally debuted the claustrophobic horror film “Detour” she produced through the company’s many distribution channels and manager of marketing Joe Wilka is a director of shorts, Gravitas has served as a platform for new talent in building a network for indie film across cable and satellite providers, as well as online outlets such as Amazon and iTunes.

While most distributors are headed in the other direction, learning the VOD business to take advantage of the audiences that never have a shot to see their films theatrically, Gravitas’ development into a full-fledged distributor has resulted in attracting films whose ambition matches the company’s reach, evident in their recent acquisition of Michael Tully’s nostalgic ‘80s comedy “Ping Pong Summer” out of Sundance. Armed with new hire Dusty Smith, whose handling of the multi-platform releases of “Arbitrage” and “Margin Call” at Roadside Attractions was the only thing more impressive than his work on the company’s popular Twitter account, Gravitas plans to distribute 12 to 18 films theatrically annually in addition to their robust slate of VOD offerings.

In the midst of a very busy winter, Gallagher spoke about why it made sense to get into theatrical distribution, the maturation of video-on-demand as a platform and the company’s even greater ambitions to distribute indie films throughout the world.

When did buying all rights to films, including theatrical, start to seem like a good idea?

We really started this last year. There were just great films that we came across that we wanted to work on. It’s just so much easier than trying to get just video-on-demand rights. Most producers or sales agents don’t want to have to do two or three different deals with a distributor. They would rather do one deal with one distributor for all rights.

Last year, we got to work on some really interesting movies, especially some Sundance movies like “Hell Baby,” which was a horror comedy from the producers of “Reno 911.” Later in the year we worked on “Sunlight Jr.,” which was a Tribeca film with Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon and Norman Reedus. We also released a documentary called “Dear Mr. Watterson,” which is about the legacy impact of the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip, in November.

In all those instances, we wanted to get all-rights. We would then partner up with different entities on the theatrical piece, or we would hire people to book the theaters. We liked the experience of working on these higher-profile, cast-driven films, but we really wanted to have a one-to-one relationship with exhibitors and really glean that information of what works for certain exhibitors.

That’s why we launched Gravitas Theatrical and announced that in conjunction with hiring Dusty Smith, who had been at Roadside Attractions and had really helped build up their business over the last nine years.

Are you having a different conversation with filmmakers now than you did a few years ago? It would seem as video-on-demand has become more accepted, there would be less resistance to it.

Certainly three, four, five years ago, we would have to spend a lot more time talking about video-on-demand and why it’s important. I think the industry has embraced video-on-demand, whether that be producers or directors. They are using VOD in their own life, generally, whether it’s renting movies on Comcast or DirectTV, or using iTunes and watching movies on their IPad, or they have an Amazon Prime account, or they watch Hulu.

As consumers have become more familiar with all these different viewing options and more and more distributors, including Gravitas, have had successful simultaneous theatrical and VOD releases, it has allowed our company to focus more on marketing or [launching] theatrical releases as opposed to trying to explain the benefits of VOD where you can release in 100 million homes in North America, or a billion homes globally, on the first day.

Has the influx of higher-profile titles on video-on-demand been a rising tide that lifts all ships or has it made it more difficult to stand out?

Part of why we really enjoy VOD and our company has grown is that we’ve had relationships with video-on-demand [providers], whether it be cable operator or some of the other companies that I mentioned, like iTunes, going back to when I started the company in 2006. We’ve been working with our core partners just to raise the profile of our films with cable operators, whether that’s running advertising when we think people are going to be interested in renting our movie or doing co-marketing campaigns where we have talent interviews and cite certain VOD operators where people can easily find film. We try to really draw focus to our films out of the all the other hundreds of thousands of choices that people have.

You’ve done some interesting things to stand out from an acquisitions standpoint. Last year, you struck blanket arrangements with Slamdance and the Austin Film Festival to distribute their award winners. Have those deals worked out well?

Yeah, we’re really happy about it. There’s so many great films that maybe don’t get into the five most high-profile film festivals out there, but are just tremendous films. We’re actually releasing [one right now] called “Brightest Star,” which was identified and acquired out of the Austin Film Festival, It’s a great film that tells about lost love of someone in his twenties, but in a very non-linear fashion and has a really unique point of view on love at that time in your life.

We’re just thrilled that we could work with the Austin Film Festival or Slamdance to raise the profile of quite a few films. There’s been a half a dozen films that we saw either at Slamdance or Austin that we hope to do theatrical releases on. You’ll see that that might be part of our ongoing festival strategy where the filmmakers will have the option to work with Gravitas, but it’s not binding. We want any filmmaker to evaluate all of his or her options. It’s a great way where a prominent film festival can validate, either through audience awards, or with a hand-picked jury, what are great films and then we’re happy to get it out to 100 million homes, and sometimes in theaters. That’s really worked for us.

Is there anything you’re particularly excited about in terms of the direction of the company?

One thing that we’re really going to be focusing on is growing our international footprint. We think that there’s a real opportunity for a lot of films to release globally on the same day, and get into a billion video-on-demand homes.

“Sound City,” the Dave Grohl film, really, I think, will be seen as a trendsetter. Last year, we handled the global release on the film. Dave and his management team said, “Look, we got into Sundance. We’re going to play at this epic concert in Park City, Dave is going to be a tireless promoter between Sundance and South by Southwest, where he was a keynote speaker. His fans have been waiting for this movie and we want you guys to release it in a billion homes ten days after it’s Sundance premiere.”

We said, “Sure.” He didn’t want to go the traditional route of hiring a sales agent, waiting for the movie to sell in 24 hours or three months, waiting another four months to set a theatrical date, and similarly, hiring an international sales agent who took it from [international film marketplaces such as] MipCom to AFM to Berlin, and so on — all of that took time. It takes months or years. He wanted to have fans interact globally on day one.

In hindsight, the film has performed exceedingly well. It’s not the perfect path for every film. There are good international film companies out there that for certain films that’s the right path. But for a lot of films, including documentaries, we think it makes sense to harness all of the marketing, all the reviews, that might be happening in North America, and allow consumers in other countries to rent or buy it immediately.

We did that with “Dear Mr. Watterson” because the Calvin & Hobbes strip has been published in over 200 different countries. And “Brightest Star,” we subtitled the film, and we’re releasing it in numerous markets. That’s really what gets us excited about not just what the landscape looks like today, but where we think it’ll be three to five years from now.

In all those homes and theaters, the first thing audiences will see is the company’s name affixed to a napkin. Where did the logo come from?

People like it. It was kind of like a little bit of an inspiration from my father. He had worked for the same company for 38 years. I came up with the logo before “Mad Men” came out, but it’s along the same ethos of that generation. You do the deal on the back of a napkin. Your word is your bond. I always liked that concept and have tried to be a straight shooter and encouraged everyone in our organization to be as candid and transparent as possible. When you do a deal with a filmmaker or a producer, you’re getting into a five- to 10-year relationship. I thought that the napkin imagery was a good way to convey some of the core values of Gravitas.