By Bree Rody-Mantha, special to realscreen
Acclaimed documentary distributor Kino Lorber is expanding its reach beyond the North American market as it prepares to launch its first slate of doc titles for international sales.
The launch will take place at the upcoming MIPDoc and MIPTV conferences in Cannes. The distributor, which releases more than 40 titles annually, will present more than a dozen selected programs, now available as broadcast hours for worldwide TV and digital platforms. In addition, feature length versions will be available for regional distributors.
At the helm of this initiative is Elizabeth Sheldon, senior vice president of acquisitions and business development. Speaking with realscreen, Sheldon said that the projects on offer for international buyers have proven themselves in the domestic market across platforms, and should find wider audiences globally.
“We’ve released the films domestically — theatrically, television, home video and digital, as well as educational,” said Sheldon. “It seems like a natural extension to offer them internationally.”
Kino Lorber’s films cover a diverse range of arts and culture, social justice and environmental topics. Sheldon anticipates the films will resonate with an international audience, especially those tackling topical and wide-reaching issues.
“The stories are personal and they are universal,” she said. “Many of them take place in the United States, [but] the themes that they address are not local.”
Such buzz-worthy films include the Oscar-nominated King: A Film Record, which Sheldon deemed “the original Selma, in documentary form.” Other titles Sheldon highlighted included arts and culture documentary Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay, and the social-justice driven Invitation to Dance.
The initial MIPDoc slate will also include environmental award-winner Seeds of Time, and LGBT-focused Just Gender and Goodbye Gauley Mountain.
The effort will continue throughout the year, with the international sales arm adding more titles and offering its slate to assorted film and documentary markets around the world. Sheldon believes that this will allow the company to expand its reach and appeal to more filmmakers. “We have an output deal with Netflix in the United States,” she explained. “Select films could extend to an international license.”
“We have partnerships in various territories, and this will enable us to expand the type of films that we’re offering.”