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Documentary Production and Distribution News
Cinedigm (NASDAQ: CIDM) announced today it is elevating its Docurama Films independent label into a multi-platform “DOCURAMA” brand with a series of national theatrical screening events and a proprietary over-the-top (OTT) network. For almost 15 years, Docurama Films has presented audiences with the most acclaimed documentaries of our era, including Oscar-nominated films The Invisible War and Hell and Back Again, audience favorites Detropia, Rivers and Tides and Beauty is Embarrassing and classics of the genre, Dont Look Back and Primary.
Taking full advantage of the digital revolution that has enabled new distribution options for independent films and documentaries, the multiple-platform DOCURAMA brand launches on April 22 with a 7-week, 7-film series of screenings in theaters across the country. At the same time, the company will launch a free-to-consumer, ad-supported OTT streaming service, further broadening the scope of the brand to an audience of millions. Cinedigm’s 360-degree release infrastructure allows the company to seamlessly distribute theatrical titles to all digital and physical retailers, creating a larger audience and a maximum number of revenue streams.
“Cinedigm is reinventing distribution for the digital age by taking full advantage of the technology now at our fingertips,” said Chris McGurk, Cinedigm's Chairman of the Board and CEO. “These outstanding films deserve a theatrical release, the boost from which provides ongoing community engagement and discussion. We fervently believe that most consumers desire to see what they want, when they want, on the device of their choosing. This program satisfies everyone – all due to the exploding technological advances in digital cinema both for theaters and platforms like iTunes, Hulu, Netflix and others serving a plethora of new viewing devices, from tablets to gaming consoles to smartphones.”
Cinedigm manages a total of nearly 1200 documentary films through its partnerships with producers and aggregation partners. The company will leverage this library in new ways this year, utilizing an alternative distribution model merging traditional theatrical releases with new digital platforms and aggressive windowing strategies to bring films to the widest possible audience.
“We know from years of experience that the best stories are ones you can’t make up. Documentary filmmakers are a passionate breed with equally dedicated fans,” says Steve Savage, Co-President, Cinedigm Entertainment Group. “We are providing a most-crucial theatrical release for these great films where it might otherwise be cost prohibitive, while activating new and larger audiences.”
Cinedigm has led the digital theatrical conversion, transitioning nearly 11,700 theater screens from film to digital. Digital theaters are fully networked, turnkey systems that are simple and cost-efficient to operate.
Resembling a film festival format, Cinedigm will present seven feature-length documentaries at theaters in up to fifteen U.S. markets, with each film being screened multiple times per week. Markets currently booked for the series include: Los Angeles, CA (Laemmle Claremont, Monica, NoHo); Pasadena, CA (Laemmle Playhouse); Encino, CA (Laemmle Town Center); San Diego, CA (Media Arts Center); Austin, TX (Alamo Drafthouse Village, Slaughter Lane); San Antonio, TX (Alamo Drafthouse Park North); Phoenix, AZ (Harkins Shea-Scottsdale); Cleveland, OH (Cedar Lee, Capital); Pittsburgh, PA (Southside Works); New Haven, CT (Criterion Cinemas @ Movieland); Hartford, CT (Cinema City at the Palace); Ithaca, NY (Cinemapolis); Winchester, VA (Alamo Drafthouse); Richmond, VA (Criterion Cinemas @ Movieland). All seven films will also be available for by-demand theatrical screenings across the country through a partnership with Tugg. (http://www.tugg.com/).
The slate of seven films (see appendix below) includes newly acquired titles fresh off the festival circuit. The hand-picked selection spans the breadth of subject matter currently occupying documentary filmmakers: politics, the environment, social issues, personal profiles and pop culture. Each feature film screening will be preceded by a 3-minute short film from GE FOCUS FORWARD – Short Films, Big Ideas, a curatorial program inspired by GE’s vision of innovative people being the catalyst for world change. Launched at select film festivals around the globe and as a primarily digital initiative in 2012, these short films will be screening for the first time theatrically as part of the DOCURAMA series.
Films in theaters will be made available on the DOCURAMA OTT application – and later on basic digital – once theatrical windows have closed. The OTT app will launch with approximately 150 library titles and be updated with 10-15 titles each week, including premieres of titles from the theatrical series. In addition to the featured content, digital channels will include bonus content, filmmaker interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and other short-form material.
All seven titles are slated for DVD; some will be available on Cable VOD and standard digital.
G-DOG (April 22 – April 28)
Written and directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock (Maya Lin: A Strong Vision), G-DOG is the remarkable story of Father Greg Boyle, a white Jesuit priest in East Los Angeles, and the tough street kids there who love him. (Releasing April 23 on Cable VOD; April 30 on DVD; May 28 on SVOD)
¡VIVAN LAS ANTIPODAS! (April 29 – May 5)
Russian director Victor Kossakovsky’s kaleidoscopic documentary juxtaposes tranquil landscapes of Argentina with the clamor of Shanghai – two of eight “antipodes” explored in this beautifully rendered world-spanning film. (Releasing June 11 on DVD; July 9 on SVOD)
THE WORLD BEFORE HER (May 6 – May 12)
Moving between the transformative action of a boot camp in Bombay for beauty pageant contestants and Durgha Vahini, a right-wing military camp for young women, director Nisha Pahuja places the faces and voices of young Indian women at the center of her provocative film. (Releasing August 6 on DVD)
THE FRUIT HUNTERS (May 13 – May 19)
Acclaimed actor and community activist Bill Pullman (Independence Day, 1600 Penn) stars in director Yung Chang’s exploration of nature’s sweetest bounty. (Releasing July 16 on Cable VOD and DVD)
CHARGE (May 20 – May 26)
From the director of Faster and Fastest (Mark Neale), and narrated by actor and motorcycle enthusiast Ewan McGregor, CHARGE is proof that maniacs on motorcycles can be a force for global good. (Releasing May 28 on Cable VOD and DVD)
PING PONG (May 27 – June 2)
Veteran TV producer Hugh Hartford’s debut documentary feature follows 8 senior citizens from around the world – with 703 years between them – competing for gold in the Over 80 Table Tennis Championship in Inner Mongolia. (Releasing October 8 on Cable VOD and DVD)
LONDON: THE MODERN BABYLON (June 10 – June 16)
Director Julien Temple (Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten) time-travels through London from the start of the 20th century to the 2012 Olympics, threading past and present voices with film archives and popular music across the century. (Releasing July 16 on DVD; August 13 on SVOD)