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Welcome, Des!

October 22, 2014 Orchard News No Comments

DesFiniganIntroducing Desiree Finigan, Office Administrator, Film & TV, Los Angeles

Hi Everyone, my name is Desiree Finigan, but feel free to call me Des.

I’m a native Californian from the San Francisco Bay Area, which makes me a proud and faithful 49ers and SF Giants fan. I found my way to Los Angeles when I was accepted to Loyola Marymount University, and graduated with a degree in Television Production. I’ve been a Production Coordinator and Associate Producer for multi-camera series for Sony Pictures Television, TV Land and the Disney Channel.

I’m an active member of the Junior League of Los Angeles, a women’s volunteer organization, where my focus has been in Development (fundraising) for the league. I’m chairing my first fundraiser this fall. I also enjoy doing home improvements and hope to add some stamps to my passport!

I’m excited to be joining The Orchard team and look forward to meeting everyone!

Welcome, Kellie!

September 24, 2014 Orchard News No Comments

KellieMcElderryIntroducing Kellie McElderry, Manager, Film & TV

In a world where the millennials have made cable cutting cool, you have to decide if you’re going to wait for each phase to pass or jump on the boat before you’re left on an island alone. Several years ago I took a leap (no cable or TV) and it all made sense. These kids aren’t crazy — they see the future before most people do and embracing it is the key to success. Not only do you realize you have everything you need via Apple TV, Roku, etc. but you find yourself happy to pay any price for good quality content. Consumers are hungry for the next Jiro Dreams of Sushi and The Orchard is going to fulfill that need and more. When Paul started talking about picking up films from the festivals and really getting behind great content in a new way I already envisioned myself on the team and knew I had to be in this role.

A little bit about me, I’m a Los Angeles native who has adored the entertainment world since I used to sneak into every cinema class I could at USC. I started in Marketing after I graduated then explored the exciting world of PR, working on Fox Searchlight titles at ID Public Relations. I was always curious about what it would be like to be on the corporate side so I went on to work in Digital Marketing at Fox, helping develop the Digital HD brand and pushing the TV studios to do more Fox firsts with free pre-air premieres.

I’m thrilled to be joining The Orchard family!

Chimères: A New Vampire Tale

ChimeresThe newly released Chimères is not your typical vampire flick. Swiss director Olivier Beguin brings the genre some international allure with a dark, romantic twist. The film takes place in Romania — the setting of all true vampire tales — where a romantic vacation takes a violent turn for Alexandre and his girlfriend Lavia. When a car accident sends Alexandre to the hospital, he receives a blood transfusion that supposedly saves his life. But leaving Romania with new blood in his veins, Alexandre begins the metamorphosis into a vampire.

The change is slow-burning and suspenseful, set against the backdrop of a love story. It is this relatable transformation from man to monster that recalls cult classics such as 28 Days Later, according to horror genre resource Fangoria. The site has already given Chimères 3 out of 4 stars.

Chimères has been well-received at genre festivals around the globe, including Neuchâtel International Fantasy Film Festival, Los Angeles Screamfest and Fantastic Film Festival. Ain’t It Cool News calls it a “blood spattered masterpiece” that is equally “touching and haunting… horrific and heartbreaking.”

Chimères will give you a hint at the type of rich, intense Horror flicks The Orchard will be releasing this Fall — Horror fans, stay tuned! You can catch Chimères on iTunes now — trailer below:

What The #&@$ Do You Do, Danielle?!?

DanielleDiGiacomoDanielle DiGiacomo
Senior Manager, Film Distribution
Joined The Orchard in January 2012 (right after Sundance that year — I think about all my time in relationship to film festival schedules)

You seem to always be in multiple places at once: panels, movie premieres, signing indie film deals. Tell us, please, what the #&@% do you do, Danielle??!
Here at the Orchard, I work on acquiring documentaries and indie films for distribution, both digital-only, and now, all rights distribution. With the release of Rich Hill, our first big theatrical, my job has shifted slightly to really being focused on acquisitions where we can get all rights to a film — theatrical, broadcast, DVD, AND digital. That said, I also spend a large part of my time signing deals for straight to digital releases, as well as larger catalogs, which are still an incredibly important part of the film business here.

I also do client management which means that along with working as a quarterback among all the other departments here to make sure all aspects of a film’s release — marketing, sales, PR, accounting, etc. — are on target and necessary things are being communicated to the filmmakers. I do this not only for these tentpole releases, but also oversee a small team of Abe Schwartz, our kickass Film/TV Coordinator, and Kayleigh Butera, who just recently joined us and also rules, in making sure that the lines of communication are always open between The Orchard and our film clients, and that all of their questions and concerns are answered.

It’s so nice to see our Film/TV department growing and we loved making the premiere of Rich Hill an Orchard outing! Are there any other upcoming films you’re working on that we should look out for?
Yes, the film/TV department here has grown aggressively and ambitiously! With some amazing and experienced new team members having joined us from Focus Features, Tribeca Film, Sesame Street and SnagFilms, Doug ramping up and leading the Film Biz Dev team, and a new fearless leader — Paul Davidson — we are poised to take over the galaxy! Now all we need is a talking raccoon. But seriously, the films that we are releasing for the rest of this year and early next, and the manner in which we are releasing them — to the top indie cinemas, on major Cable/Satellite platforms including Comcast and DirectTV — are really making us a player in independent film, and the industry has definitely taken notice.

I’m super excited about the upcoming releases of some of the films I’ve recently acquired — Rich Hill (obviously); No No: A Dockumentary — a really fun and well-done Sundance and SXSW documentary about Doc Ellis, who pitched a no hitter while on LSD in the 70s; Harmontown, about the controversial and hilarious Community showrunner Dan Harmon, which features comedians like Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, and Jason Sudeikis; and Point and Shoot, an incredible doc by Marshall Curry, who has already been Oscar-nominated twice for two recent documentaries. There are a few other big ones, but they will be released later and I’ll have plenty of time to get the word out about them!

Here’s another one worth spreading the word on… It turns out you’re kind of a big shot and won a Peabody Award (no less!) for your work producing the Orchard-distributed documentary, Best Kept Secret. What’s your secret, and what other superpowers are you hiding from us?
Ha! No superpowers, unfortunately. If I had them, we would’ve won an Oscar and I would’ve flown onstage to pick it up. Working on Best Kept Secret was an amazing — and time-consuming — experience. For a documentary, the timeframe was short — it actually only took a couple of years from start to finish, but it was more than a full time job. I actually did work on it full time for a little over a year before I joined The Orchard, and by that time, we were in post production, so I was able to concentrate that work on nights, lunch breaks and weekends. But, now with The Orchard, there’s no way I could be that hands-on of a producer again. For projects I do now, I’ll co-produce or Associate Produce, take a role that is less demanding and more advisory/helpful.

My only secret there is that I work after work. And before work. And on weekends. And I have insomnia. Also, my husband likes to clean and do dishes. The triple whammy of getting married, working on the film and getting a job at The Orchard forced me into a very antisocial place for a while, and I’m glad to take a break and prove to my friends that I haven’t gone off the grid.

Well now that everyone knows how amazing you are, your social calendar is going to fly off the wall. Thanks for sharing with us what the #&@$ you do, Danielle!

favorite dance move: My favorite dance move is not mine — it’s my husband’s. He does an award-winning robot. (If you count winning his high school talent show an actual award).
best panel you’ve ever been on and why: A panel on distribution at Krakow Film Festival in Poland, because they gave us all wine to drink while we panel-ed! Eastern Europe knows how to do it right.
must-see movie of the year so far: Rich Hill, obviously. Aside from that, Boyhood is a must see for many reasons, not least of which it’s the first fiction film to ever be filmed with the same actors over the course of 12 years. An incredible achievement and just top notch filmmaking.
random fact: Here’s a couple of fun ones: I have an identical twin who is 2 minutes younger and lives 10 minutes away from me, in Clinton Hill. You can tell her apart by the two tiny kids she has with her. My grandfather discovered Element 61, Promethium, a fact which a few people have thought I was making up?!

SXSW Panels: Get Your Vote On!

logoHere at The Orchard, we love a good roundtable chit-chat about what’s going on in the industry. So, as you might’ve guessed or already know, we’re really big on conference panels! Next year’s SXSW is no different (yes, we’re already deep in planning…). For the occasion, we have two very important topics to discuss, along with killer speakers who’ll knock your socks off with their knowledge. We just need YOU to get your vote in by September 5th so that we can make these hot-topic discussions come to life.

Vote to see my session at SXSW 2015!Everyone is on YouTube these days, probably even your grandmother. It’s one of the best places out there for new music discovery, and can also be a great tool in an artist’s revenue-making back-pocket. But lots of artists and labels keep getting caught up in the same YouTube conundrum — which is more valuable: making a profit off these videos, or reaching worldwide glory status through exposure? Do we even have to choose? In the panel we’ve pitched, titled “Exposure vs. Revenue on YouTube: Must We Choose?,” our own Sarah Caliendo, VP of Video Services, along with YouTube’s Elliott Walker and Bob Lugowe of Relapse Records will lead you through the ins and outs of creating your own YouTube strategy. Exciting, informative stuff, right?!

Vote to see my session at SXSW 2015!Film distribution is another heavy-hitter in conversation these days — think day-and-date release rise — and we’re all over it with plenty to say. In our suggested panel, which we’ve called “To Window Or Not To Window: Film Release Strategies,” we’ll talk about all the different elements to consider when releasing a new project. From release platforms to distribution strategies, each film needs its own, specific implementation process, and who better to take you through them than our Senior Manager of Film Distribution, Danielle DiGiacomo, along with Adam Klaff of VHX and Harmontown Director Neil Berkeley. Together, they will discuss and give concrete examples of all the windowing opportunities out there and, depending on the film, audience and genre, determine which tactics to use.

Hopefully you’ve already gotten your SXSW badges and are all set for the big shindig. We hope you’ll support our panel picks and will choose to be part of the conversation by voting away (just click on the “vote for my session idea” icons above!). Don’t delay — voting ends September 5!  See y’all in Austin.

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