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“The Sheik”: Break Your Back. Make You Humble.

1This week sees the release of the fascinating and heartwarming documentary The Sheik. The film follows the life of Khosrow Vaziri, known to many as the legendary pro-wrestling heel “The Iron Sheik” from his beginnings as a child wrestler to the present day. After serving as a bodyguard for the Shah of Iran, The Sheik fled to the U.S. in the midst of Iranian political turmoil, and began teaching high school wrestling. He even helped coach the U.S. Olympic wrestling team.

But Vaziri couldn’t be kept out of the ring forever, and soon found himself in the nascent pro-wrestling circuit that would eventually become the WWE. Using anti-Iranian sentiments to his advantage, he created the wrestling persona “The Iron Sheik” to become wrestling’s most notorious villain. Through this avatar he inspired the careers of wrestlers like The Rock and made the career of Hulk Hogan.

The Sheik doesn’t just highlight Vaziri’s career high points. It shows us a flawed man who succumbs to the trappings of fame and drugs as a form of pain management. We see The Iron Sheik at his absolute worst as he fights for redemption from his family and eventually uses his outlandish personality to become a Twitter sensation. We’re not only given insight into the life of a legendary wrestler, but also his place in U.S.-Iranian relations and the meteoric rise of American professional wrestling.

The Sheik was an Official Selection at the 2014 Hot Docs International Documentary Festival and features over 25 celebrities including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It’s a labor of love from Iranian-Canadian twins Page and Jian Magen who grew up idolizing The Iron Sheik and were instrumental in helping him turn his life around. The film is available today on your favorite digital store. Check out the trailer below:

“The Yes Men Are Revolting” So You Don’t Have To

1546038_10152338680821616_109959633723675853_nIf you’ve been following The Yes Men on their hilarious journey to raise awareness of social, political and economic issues, you’ll be thrilled to hear that their latest release, following 2003’s The Yes Men and 2009’s The Yes Men Fix the World, will make its US premiere tomorrow night at DOC NYC!

Yep, you read right. The Yes Men Are Revolting will take the stage tomorrow as DOC NYC’s closing night film. If you’ve never heard of these activist pranksters, you’ve been missing out; if you have, you’ll be very eager to see where Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno (are those even their real names??) have been in the past five years — Hint: saving the world, one outrageous boycott scheme at a time.

What’s new in the third round? The activist duo show their audience another side to their story. While they’re still running around the world, impersonating and hounding one big-name corporation or government entity after the other to get the word out about climate change, this third installment also focuses on the lives Andy and Mike lead beyond their newsworthy hijinxes (jabs are made at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.N. climate change summit, to give you an idea). This time, we get to see more of what it takes to produce these pranks and maintain stability outside of a job that calls for frequent illegal undertakings.

If you’re headed to DOC NYC tomorrow, be sure to find a seat early at the SVA Theatre. If you can’t make it, be on the lookout for the film in theaters and available digitally in 2015 via yours truly. And it you’re still looking for more info, check out our official press release on the newly acquired doc and IndieWire’s press coverage.

Check out The Yes Men Are Revolting trailer below:

The Orchard’s Globetrotting Affair with “Meet Me in Montenegro”

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 5.33.54 PMEver have one of those summer study-abroad romances? Those short, stinging flames tend to burn out quickly, never to be though-of again. But Alex Holdridge and Linnea Saasen are a one-of-a-kind couple. Not only did they rekindle the flame, they’ve got a movie to prove it!

Meet Me in Montenegro follows LA-based filmmaker Anderson (Holdridge) and Norwegian dancer Lina (Saasen) as they attempt to revive a once vibrant romance. After another film project falls through, Anderson packs his bags for Berlin for some R&R with friends (played by Homeland’s Rupert Friend and Jennifer Ulrich). While staying in the city, Anderson unexpectedly runs into Lina and the present-day love story unfolds. Although the stars finally align for the couple, Anderson and Lina must ultimately decide if they’re love can survive given the circumstances.

As you might’ve already guessed, the film’s lovers are real-life couple Alex and Linnea, who co-direct and star in the movie. The two met randomly while in Berlin and clicked. But rather than let their chance destiny fall to the wayside, the two decided to quite literally write their own fate by traveling around the world, hand-in-hand, to make a film that reflected their extraordinary romance.

There’s the real love story, and a remarkable one at that! After its TIFF premiere, we decided we needed to reel this one into The Orchard catalog. Lucky for you, we’ll be releasing Meet Me in Montenegro next year in theaters! For now, read the official press release and Indiewire’s coverage to get more details.

The Orchard Goes Haute Couture for “Dior and I”

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 12.47.13 PMRemember R.J. Cutler’s The September Issue, the riveting look into the world of Anna Wintour’s Vogue? The documentary brought fashion to a forefront in the entertainment world, but there hasn’t been anything as high-quality or comparable since. That is, until now.

This past April, Frédéric Tcheng premiered Dior and I, his solo directorial debut and the next-big-thing for fashion docs, at Tribeca Film Festival. Tcheng was given a very rare chance to document a pivotal point in the history of fashion institution Christian Dior: Creative Director Raf Simons’ debut couture collection.

The hire of the industry veteran did not go as seamlessly as hoped; Simons is known in the fashion world for his minimalist design, not exactly on par with the elegant extravagance that is Dior. To top it off, Simons had only eight weeks to prepare and produce his debut collection for the fashion house. With that kind of controversy and intensity, you know you’re in for a treat.

Tcheng captures every bit of those eight weeks in his film, which is just as beautiful as the story itself. It’s a glossy and glamorous behind-the-velvet-curtain exploration of Dior’s past and present; it’s picturesque, dreamlike, and romantic, shot in just the style you’d expect to see from a Dior-centered documentary.

So, if you’ve been pining for a true-to-life, artfully distinct fashion film, this is your next go-to. Thankfully, we’ve acquired all US and Canadian rights to this gem, so we’ll be rolling it out your way in the next year! Read the full press release for more information, and check out what folks at The New York Times and Hollywood Reporter had to say about it.

While you’re waiting, check out a sneak-peak below:

The Orchard Catches Big Air with Warren Miller Entertainment

It’s pretty cool to be able to tell the world you were the first person to take skiing to the big screen. It’s equally as awesome to hold the world record for the longest running film series; Warren Miller Entertainment has accomplished both. The ski film phenomenon began in 1950 under Warren Miller himself, and we’re psyched to now offer WME a digital distribution home for their massive, ever-growing catalog!

Here at The Orchard, we love a good adventure sports film – just take a look at our campaign around Into the Mind! WME shares our passion: as soon as Miller returned home from WWII, he began his ski-themed filmmaking career; by 1950, Deep and Light hit the big screen, and thus began the biggest film franchise in the world. Every year since, WME has released a ski-related picture with the count going up to 65 this year.

If you’re not familiar with the annual movie drop, you’ll have lots of catching up to do. Where to begin? There’s the flick that launched 64 more to come, mentioned above – it’ll give you a rundown of how the entire WME name began. There’s also #52: Cold Fusion, which includes two ski world records, #49: Freeriders, with plenty of nods to the late 90s, and #58: Playground, featuring the latest and greatest ski parks around the world.

Not only do WME films give you access to the world’s “Best in Show” among skiers, the movies also take you to some of the most exotic snow-capped mountains and top-tier ski resorts you could only hope to visit. Hence why we are stoked to be bringing this long-running and fabulously crafted series to the web for all to see. You can find more info on the deal itself in our official press release and VideoInk’s news coverage.

Check out what’s coming in this year’s No Turning Back below:

About The Orchard

The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. Founded in 1997, we empower businesses and creators in the entertainment industry.

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