Docs

Sundance ’19: Doc distributors round-up, part one

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival is almost upon us. Ahead of the annual mountainside event in Park City, Utah, Realscreen reached out to assorted distributors and sales agents that will ...
January 23, 2019

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival is almost upon us. Ahead of the annual mountainside event in Park City, Utah, Realscreen reached out to assorted distributors and sales agents that will be on the ground between Jan. 24 to Feb. 3 to find out what films they are bringing to the annual event and what types of projects they are looking to scoop up.

DOGWOOF
Dogwoof is a London-based documentary distributor that sells worldwide rights and distributes theatrically within the UK, along with investing in the production of docs and docuseries.

Who from Dogwoof is attending Sundance?
Anna Godas (CEO), Oli Harbottle (head of acquisition & distribution ), Ana Vicente (head of sales)

What documentary/unscripted projects are you bringing to Sundance?
Films: Halston, MaidenOne Child Nation (pictured, above) and American Factory.
Projects currently in production: Women Make Film, Without Compromise, Cunningham.

Can you describe the projects you’ll be showcasing?
Halston – World Premiere
“From Iowa to Studio 54 to Wall Street, Halston lived an American dream. Prodigiously talented, he reigned over fashion in the 1970s, becoming a household name. But everything changes in the Wall Street era. With his empire under threat, Halston takes the biggest gamble of his life.”

Maiden – U.S. Premiere
“The incredible, against-all-odds story of sailor Tracy Edwards, who skippered the first all-female international crew in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.”

American Factory
Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s American Factory, from Participant Media, follows a Chinese billionaire as he opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans.

Cunningham – in Production
“A 3D cinematic experience about the legendary American choreographer Merce Cunningham.”

Without Compromise (working title) – in production
“A look at Martin Margiela, the fashion world’s answer to Banksy, an elusive and enigmatic designer whose revolutionary creations changed the face of fashion while remaining completely anonymous.”

Women Make Film – 16 hour odyssey through cinema. A preview of the first four hours screened in Venice 2018.
“Over a thousand film clips spanning 13 decades, across five continents, over 16 hours, Women Make Film is an epic exploration of cinema history through the lens of some the world’s greatest directors – all women. Narrated by Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda and more, shot and edited by Mark Cousins – life, love, politics, humor and death, are all explored and examined in this cinematic road-trip like no other.”

What kinds of documentary projects are you looking to acquire, if any?
Feature film documentaries with compelling stories that have a wide appeal.

What films has your company bought or sold at Sundance in the last year or two?
The Price of Everything, Studio 54, Minding the Gap, Matangi / Maya/  M.I.A.

What’s the value of Sundance to your business?
Sundance is the key festival of the year for Dogwoof. It is always the start for some of the best documentaries during the year and many make it to the [Oscar] nominee list, like Minding the Gap.

Answers sent to Realscreen via email from Ana Vicente, head of sales

FILMRISE
FilmRise is a New York-based film and television distribution company founded by veteran producers and financiers Danny Fisher, Jack Fisher and Alan Klingenstein.

Who from FilmRise is attending Sundance?
Faye Tsakas – Director, Acquisitions
Rachel Swearingen – Manager, Acquisitions
Melissa Wohl – Head of Sales

Can you describe the projects you’ll be showcasing?
We’ll be showcasing some exciting new projects, including Mountain Rest, Wildland and Bachman (pictured, below).

What kinds of documentary projects are you looking to acquire, if any?
We’re looking for films that will spark organic conversion and buzz, that will stick with viewers well beyond screen time. We’re particularly interested in documentaries that have built-in audiences, whether it’s through a social cause, [an] iconic public figure, or known story. We strategically implement grassroots marketing campaigns to target these audiences in creative ways.

What’s the value of Sundance to your business?
Sundance showcases some of the top emerging talent in our industry. We’re particularly excited about this year’s line-up given the representation of female and diverse filmmakers, and Sundance’s ability to champion underrepresented voices.

Answers sent to Realscreen via email from Faye Tsakas, director of acquisitions
bachman

THE ORCHARD
The Orchard is a music, film and video distribution company founded in 1997 in New York City. The company is now headquartered in New York and London, with operations in more than 30 markets around the world, including France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, India, Australia and more.

Who from The Orchard is attending Sundance?
As in previous years, The Orchard will be bringing its key leaders across all areas of the film business – acquisitions, marketing, theatrical, etc.

What kinds of documentary projects are you looking to acquire, if any?
We are looking to acquire long-form documentaries that will perform across all platforms and release windows, starting with theatrical. In years past, we have acquired Oscar nominees such as Cartel Land and Life, Animated, so we are looking for something in the vein of those films — transcendent, universal, and cinematic.

What films has your company bought or sold at Sundance in the last year or two?
In the last couple of years, we bought Bart Layton’s American Animals, Jeremiah Zagar’s We The Animals, Antonio Santini and Dan SicklesDina, Brett Haley’s The Hero, Cristina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz’ Trophy, Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople, and Antonio Campos’ Christine, as well as the aforementioned documentaries.

What’s the value of Sundance to your business?
Sundance is one of a handful of festivals that is essential for us in filling out our theatrical slate for the year; it is the first movie showcase/market of each year in which we find at least two films that are cinematically invigorating, and fit our brand and mandate of working with the most visionary and exciting films — both unscripted and scripted. It is truly one of the most exhilarating, exhausting, and significant weeks of our year in terms of acquisitions.

Answers sent to Realscreen via email from Danielle DiGiacomo, VP of acquisitions.

KINO LORBER

Kino Lorber was founded in 2009 by industry veterans Donald Krim and Richard Lorber. Combining the staffs, libraries and resources of Kino International, Lorber Films and Alive Mind Cinema, Kino Lorber distributes art-house and international films, and offers contemporary, classic and documentary films that aim to engage, provoke, stimulate, and entertain today’s audiences.

Who from Kino Lorber is attending Sundance?
Richard Lorber (CEO), Wendy Lidell (SVP of theatrical distribution and acquisitions), and Nicholas Kemp (director of marketing) will be attending. We’ll all be screening films and meeting with filmmakers, agents, and other partners.

What kinds of documentary projects are you looking to acquire, if any?
We only acquire completed films, but beyond that we keep a very open mind. We’re a diversified distribution company with talented teams devoted to theatrical, digital, home video and educational releases. As a result, there’s room for almost every kind of documentary in our catalog. We’ll be looking for films that will draw crowds to theaters and ones that will entice the at-home viewer. We’ll be seeking out titles that will resonate with students and educators as well as our large and dedicated home video customer base. We’re also looking for documentaries that will factor into next year’s awards conversation. Above all, we’re looking for films and filmmakers that will stand the test of time – the classics of tomorrow that will live alongside the established ones in our 2600 title-strong library.

What films has your company bought or sold at Sundance in the last year or two?
We currently have in release Talal Derki’s Of Fathers and Sons (pictured, below), which was last year’s World Documentary Grand Prize winner and is now nominated for the Academy Award for best documentary feature and will release on iTunes on Feb 5. Out of Sundance 2018, we also acquired Cameron Yates’s Chef Flynn, which is soon to be released on digital and home video following a successful theatrical run last fall. The year before that we picked up two other World Documentary prize winners: Rahul Jain’s Machines and Catherine Bainbridge‘s Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World. Sundance is always fertile ground for our doc acquisition pursuits.

Answers sent to Realscreen via email from Richard Lorber, Kino Lorber CEO.
Of Fathers and Sons - Still 3

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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