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We Go Up & Away With “Above and Beyond”

1779882_226268220904570_1655526331_nIsrael’s 1948 War of Independence has been well-documented in textbooks and feature films over the years, but one aspect of that war had yet to be uncovered. Until now. Director Roberta Grossman and Producer Nancy Spielberg (yep, that Spielberg) teamed up to create Above and Beyond, the story of a group of Jewish-Americans who risked their lives to support Israel’s fight for freedom.

The documentary sits down with the core group of men who comprised 90% of the Israeli air service, though none of them was actually from the country. Rather, they were the Machal, or “volunteers from abroad” who left their established lives in America to support their Jewish brothers in Israel the best way they thought possible. One such member of this band of brothers, Al Schwimmer, used his flight engineer expertise and WWII air transport experience to smuggle aircrafts and pilots into Israel. Upon reading about his death in the New York Times, Spielberg felt the need to tell his (and so many others’) story.

The documentary gives an account of a rarely-mentioned part of Israeli Air Force history — the foreign men who assisted in its creation — and the airmen give detailed accounts of how, through perseverance, they helped secure Israel’s independence.

We are thrilled to announce that we’ll be releasing the film to all North American audiences beginning this Friday, January 30th! Check out more press coverage from Variety, and watch the trailer below:

Sundance Special: We Get Swingin’ With “The Overnight”

the-overnightSundance, we have arrived! And in a very big way. Just last night, we nabbed rights to The Overnight in Park City, UT on the 4th day of the Festival. It’s a steamy, sexy comedy that already created sparks on Sundance’s red carpet, and after some intense bidding rounds, we secured it for distribution in North America.

The film stars some of Hollywood’s finest: Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), Jason Schwartzman (The Darjeeling LimitedThe Grand Budapest Hotel), Taylor Schilling (Orange Is the New Black) and Judith Godreche (The Man in the Iron Mask). As if that’s not enough for this A-lister soiree, the Duplass brothers (yep, the ones basically owning Sundance this year with all their projects) are behind the film’s production.

So what’s the story here? Well, even though the movie’s storyline is based on a chance meeting of two kids at a playground, it’s definitely not suitable for children’s eyes. Alex (Scott) and Emily (Schilling) are new to the LA area and on the lookout for friends their age. Their son hits it off with Kurt’s (Schwartzman), who incidentally invites the couple to his home for dinner and a playdate of their own. As you might’ve guessed, the dinner party tuns into a swingers’ party and the couples’ night gets steadily kinkier.

Check out all the news in our official press release, press coverage from Variety and Consequence of Sound, and hear director Patrick Brice‘s take on his film below:


Going to Extremes With Fanclub Media

947008_484432661628221_1218504280_nWe sure know how to pick ‘em. And they know how to pick us! We’ve just sealed a deal with Action Sports Film heavyweights Fanclub Media and we could not be more thrilled to have our two powers combined. We’ve always been huge fans of the digital Film & TV distributor, but now we get the remarkable honor of working side by side with them!

What’s happening, exactly? Well, Fanclub’s CEO Jim Martin and VP Marc Cuevas will join us in our LA and New York offices to help with our ongoing Film projects, specifically in the realm of Action Sports (remember our Red Bull announcement?).

These dudes have been doing the Extreme Sports thing for a while now. Fanclub began in 2008 and was the first ever (yes EVER) company to sell an Action Sports film in the iTunes movie store. So yeah, you could most definitely say these guys were ahead of their time. Since then, they’ve honed their craft, making huge waves in the world of digital film distribution and Action Sports. They’ve been at the top of the charts with their films, with features like Spike Jonze’s Pretty Sweet, Sherpas Cinema’s All.I.Can and all-time top-grossing Action Sports film, Art of Flight.

With our two catalogues put together, we’ll be able to give you the greatest, most awe-inspiring Action Sports films out there. Get ready for plenty of high-quality, action-packed adventure, and a very warm Orchard welcome to Fanclub Media!

For more reading material, check out the full press release here.

Down! Set! Hut! with “The Roughnecks”

33e8064b8860bab1a212adb756b07462_large‘Tis the season for halftimes, bowl games, touchdowns and fantasy leagues — the magic of football is in the air! There’s the College Football Playoff happening next week, shortly followed by Super Bowl 49 (less than a month away). So we thought, why not add the cherry on top with some of our very own news? We’ve just picked up Pee-Wee football documentary The Roughnecks!

That’s right — once the season winds down and you feel the need to retreat from your off-season woes, we’ll be there to bring you this exceptional film about some of the toughest kids in the youth football business. The documentary, which was co-directed and co-produced by Marty Bowen (Twilight, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, The Fault in Our Stars, Maze Runner) and Richard Cameron White (The Sleeping Bear), takes a look at what it’s like to play for Fort Worth’s Ridglea Roughnecks who, FYI, are some of the very best in the nation.

The 11-year-old players take “two-a-days” to a whole new level. Bowen and Marty capture the intense training and rigorous struggles they face, both on and off the field. For Bowen, the film was a dream come true. Being a Ridglea Roughneck himself, he wanted to show just how influential this program has been to so many other young boys in Texas. Likewise, White felt compelled to tell a similar story through film, one that pays homage to the sport that so deeply influenced who he is today.

So when February 1st rolls around and you’re down in the dumps about the end of the season, don’t wallow too much! The Roughnecks is set for a 2015 Spring release date from yours truly. Until then, check out all the info in our official press release and wet your whistle with the trailer below:

The Roughnecks – teaser trailer from Richard Cameron White on Vimeo.

“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:

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