People/Biz

Sandbox Films to build NYC headquarters, announces new distro hire

Sandbox Films, the indie prodco behind major science documentaries like Werner Herzog’s Fireball and this year’s Sundance premiere Fire of Love, will construct a new headquarters in New York City ...
January 20, 2022

Sandbox Films, the indie prodco behind major science documentaries like Werner Herzog’s Fireball and this year’s Sundance premiere Fire of Love, will construct a new headquarters in New York City — complete with post-production facilities and a large screening room — as part of its mission to support the non-fiction filmmaking community.

The company also announced that it has brought Sheffield DocFest’s Patrick Hurley on board in the newly created position of distribution producer. In this role, Hurley (pictured) will be charged with developing personalized distribution strategies for Sandbox’s projects right out of the gate, in order to amplify each film’s reach and audience.

“As an impact-minded company, we hope our films connect with large audiences to inspire critical thinking and expand minds. But this can’t happen if nobody sees them,” said Jessica Harrop, Sandbox’s head of production and development. “So we are making distribution a part of the conversation from the start — from development through production, and then collaborating with our distribution partners throughout the life of a film’s release.”

“It’s brilliant that [Sandbox] thinks strategically about distribution and global reach for new productions right from the get-go,” commented Hurley. “I’m thrilled to join the team to lead on this as the slate expands.”

As industry manager at Sheffield for five years, Hurley oversaw the festival’s pitching forum, which connects feature-doc projects with potential financiers, distributors and sales agents. Previously, he worked as distribution manager for Dogwoof Films, running theatrical campaigns and non-theatrical distribution for notable non-fiction titles like Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing, Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor‘s Leviathan, and Michael Moore‘s Where to Invade Next.

With both the new headquarters and the Hurley hire, Sandbox is building upon its already existing initiatives that support non-fiction films and filmmakers. One of the most notable is the Sandbox Fund (operated in collaboration with the Sundance Institute), which distributes annual grants to independent filmmakers to develop or produce science-focused doc projects.

Sandbox’s latest co-production, Fire of Love by Sara Dosa, will premiere tonight as the kick-off film of Sundance 2022′s US Documentary Competition.

Photo by Joe Barker

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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