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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.

Let’s Go to The Movies: “Rich Hill” Premieres in Theaters

Rich Hill PosterDoors opened on Friday to the highly anticipated theatrical release of Rich Hill. The buzz around this film began in January, when it won the prestigious Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and it hasn’t stopped. Now the wait is over: Rich Hill is in theaters and — beginning today — available on iTunes.

The documentary chronicles the lives of three boys in an impoverished Midwestern town and the unique struggles they confront with their families. A year and a half of filming was masterfully edited into a 92-minute feature film, and the result is breathtaking. Critics have been singing the praises of Rich Hill as a social document, calling it a “vital documentary” and a “great service.” Indiewire even said that the film is “the type of media object that could and should be put in a time capsule for future generations.”

Visually, it has been hailed as “overwhelmingly gorgeous,” the work of a “gifted cinematographer with a poet’s eye.” The doc has earned spots on the “Must-See Lists” of Indiewire and Rolling Stone, as well as comparisons to the likes of Terrence Malick and to the recent film Boyhood.

For the film’s theatrical premiere, 15 year-old Andrew Jewell, one of the three boys from Rich Hill, joined Emmy Award-winning director Tracy Droz Tragos in New York City. The pair gave interviews on WNYC Radio and MSNBC, and participated in a Q&A following the theatrical premiere. Next, look out for Tracy Droz Tragos discussing the film on The Daily Show on August 7th. As the buzz around Rich Hill continues, you can find its theatrical listings here and box office information here. Rich Hill is also available on iTunes here.

Check out photos from the premiere and Andrew’s trip to NYC below:

 

“This Is Where We Live:” The Power of Unlikely Friendships

This Is Where We Live filmMaking their directorial debut, Josh Barrett and Marc Menchaca, who appeared on several episodes of Showtime’s hit show, Homeland, bring us This Is Where We Live, a film about the true meaning of family. It tells the quietly profound story of a friendship that develops between a twenty-five-year-old boy with cerebral palsy and a loner handyman who becomes his caregiver. But that’s not all — the boy’s father is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, his sister has grown dangerously distant, and his mother is the sole provider and slowly falling apart. The family is close to its breaking point, and the question is whether this new relationship can be its saving grace.

Set in Texas Hill Country, This Is Where We Live juxtaposes a complex family dynamic with a simple landscape. Its Texas backdrop makes it fitting that the film premiered and was “chosen from among 1,200 as one of eight to compete for best narrative feature” at the SXSW Film Festival in 2013. The setting is brilliantly paired with the story, allowing the film to ultimately challenge whether the place where we live is a physical space or an emotional one.

Official selection at Dallas International Film Festival 2013, Nashville Film Festival 2013, and Florida Film Festival 2013This Is Where We Live is out now on your favorite digital stores. Check out the trailer below:

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