Gravitas Ventures acquires U.S. distribution rights for Greg Barker’s ‘Legion of Brothers’ produced by Passion Pictures/CNN Films at Sundance
January 26th, 2017
04:19 PM ET

Gravitas Ventures acquires U.S. distribution rights for Greg Barker’s ‘Legion of Brothers’ produced by Passion Pictures/CNN Films at Sundance

Additional screenings at Sundance scheduled

for Saturday, Jan. 28 & Sunday, Jan. 29

legion-poster

Park City, Utah CNN Films and Gravitas Ventures have closed on a deal for the sale of U.S. content distribution rights, other than television, for acclaimed filmmaker Greg Barker’s LEGION OF BROTHERS, fewer than 36 hours following the film’s several minute-standing ovation reception at its 2017 Sundance Film Festival world premiere.  The deal means Gravitas Ventures will acquire theatrical, SVOD, electronic sell-through, and other platform exhibition rights; CNN Films will retain rights to broadcast the film on CNN/U.S. and on CNN-branded authenticated television platforms.  The film will continue to screen with the U.S. Documentary Premieres (Saturday, Jan. 28, and Sunday Jan. 29). FULL POST

The Orchard & CNN Films Acquire North American Rights to Shaul Schwarz's, Christina Clusiau's Documentary TROPHY at 2017 Sundance Film Festival
John Hume, the world’s largest rhino breeder, walks at his Buffalo Dream Ranch in North West Province, South Africa (November 2016)
January 24th, 2017
02:27 PM ET

The Orchard & CNN Films Acquire North American Rights to Shaul Schwarz's, Christina Clusiau's Documentary TROPHY at 2017 Sundance Film Festival

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On the day of its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, The Orchard and CNN Films announced that they had acquired North American rights to Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau's documentary TROPHY, produced by Lauren Haber, and Julia Nottingham of Pulse Films.

The Orchard will handle all North American rights except television.  CNN has acquired U.S. and Canadian television rights.  A studio is closing international rights to the film.  A startling exploration of the evolving relationship between big-game hunting and wildlife conservation, TROPHY screens at the festival in U.S. Documentary Competition.  The Orchard will release the film later this year on a minimum of 150 screens.

Endangered African species like elephants, rhinos and lions march closer to extinction each year.  Their devastating decline is fueled in part by a global desire to consume these majestic animals.  TROPHY investigates the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation.  Through the eyes of impassioned individuals who drive these industries—from a Texas-based trophy hunter to the world’s largest private rhino breeder in South Africa—the film grapples with the consequences of imposing economic value on animals.  What are the implications of treating animals as commodities?  Do breeding, farming and hunting offer some of the few remaining options to conserve our endangered animals?  TROPHY will leave viewers debating what is right, what is wrong and what is necessary in order to save the great species of the world. FULL POST

International Rights for Greg Barker’s ‘Legion of Brothers’ Acquired on Eve of Sundance by Content Media Corporation
A production still from 'Legion of Brothers,' directed and produced by Greg Barker, an official selection of the Documentary Premieres program at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Image courtesy of CNN Films.
January 24th, 2017
11:58 AM ET

International Rights for Greg Barker’s ‘Legion of Brothers’ Acquired on Eve of Sundance by Content Media Corporation

CNN Films and Passion Pictures-produced documentary had World Premiere

at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, January 21

Park City, Utah – On the eve of the Sundance Film Festival, Content Media Corporation and CNN Films jointly announced an agreement for the international distribution rights to LEGION OF BROTHERS, a film produced by CNN Films and Passion Pictures.

Directed by Greg Barker and produced by John Battsek, Barker, Peter Bergen, Tresha Mabile and executive produced by Amy Entelis and Vinnie Malhotra, the film had its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, January 21, at the MARC in Park City, Utah.  The next public screenings for the film are Saturday, January 28 at 8:30pm at the Prospector Square Theatre in Park City, and Sunday, January 29 at 6:15pm at the Grand Theatre in Salt Lake City. FULL POST

HOLY HELL Debuts at #1 in Demo for CNN
September 2nd, 2016
05:32 PM ET

HOLY HELL Debuts at #1 in Demo for CNN

CNN Films Holy Hell

Film Encores Saturday at 8:00pm & 10:00pm ET; Now Available Across CNN’s Mobile Platforms

CNN was first place among cable news networks last night with 384k viewers aged 25 to 54 and 102k viewers aged 18 to 34 with its CNN Films broadcast of HOLY HELL, the fascinating documentary feature about life inside the Buddhafield, the mysterious spiritual community that originated in the 1980s in West Hollywood.  FOX had 370k and MSNBC had 357k viewers aged 25 to 54.  Among viewers aged 18 to 34, MSNBC had 86k and FOX had 64k.

Among total viewers, HOLY HELL delivered 1026k viewers for CNN.  FOX had 1997k and MSNBC had 1575k among viewers P2+.

HOLY HELL will encore Saturday, Sept. 3 at 8:00pm and 10:00pm Eastern and is currently available On Demand on CNNgo via desktop (www.CNN.com/go), mobile, iPad, and Apple TV, and across CNN’s mobile platforms.

HOLY HELL had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.  The director, Will Allen, is also a producer of the film along with Tracey Harnish and Alexandra Johnes.  The executive producers are Michael C. Donaldson, Julian Goldstein, Jared Leto, and Cheryl Wheeler Sanders.

Source: The Nielsen Company, Fast National time-period based data for Thurs 09/01/16. FULL POST

Director Will Allen's HOLY HELL Premieres TONIGHT as CNN Films Broadcast at 9pm Eastern
September 1st, 2016
04:37 PM ET

Director Will Allen's HOLY HELL Premieres TONIGHT as CNN Films Broadcast at 9pm Eastern

HOLY HELL captures what life was like in the mysterious, California-based spiritual community, the Buddhafield.  Just out of film school, a young, idealistic Will Allen was introduced to the Buddhafield, eventually becoming a personal aide to Michel, “the teacher.”  As a member and unofficial documentarian of the utopian group for 22 years, Allen’s film of his fellow followers and Michel is both revealing and intimate.

Allen’s singular point of view offers a compelling exploration of why Buddhafield, and its even more mysterious, charismatic leader, are powerfully attractive and terrifying at the same time.  After many painful years, Allen eventually found the courage to leave the Buddhafield – taking hundreds of hours of his footage with him.  Since leaving, Allen has grown increasingly fearful of the guru and the guru’s continuing extreme influence over some followers, voicing his fears even at the film’s festival premiere in January.

This film made its dramatic debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.  The CNN Films broadcast premieres TONIGHT, Thursday, Sept. 1 at 9:00pm and 11:00pm Eastern.

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HOLY HELL Lands at CNN Films for September
August 2nd, 2016
02:50 PM ET

HOLY HELL Lands at CNN Films for September

Will Allen reveals life inside mysterious Hollywood sect in film that made theatrical debut at Sundance Film Festival

CNN Films Holy Hell

CNN Films will premiere HOLY HELL on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 9:00pm and 11:00pm Eastern, the network announced today.  The film reveals the compelling story of life inside Buddhafield, a mysterious spiritual community that originated in the 1980s in West Hollywood.  The film is directed by Will Allen, himself a member and the unofficial documentarian of the sect for 22 years.

The close-knit Buddhafield aspired to an artistic utopian communal life, led by an enigmatic, charismatic guru, Michel.  Buddhafield members pursued his vision for fulfillment while living together, exploring nature, and performing together.  Gradually, several Buddhafield members came to grow disenchanted with Michel, including Allen, and allege emotional manipulation and even physical abuse by Michel.

Throughout his years among Buddhafield, Allen filmed life from within the group.  After what Allen describes as “many painful years” living among Buddhafield, he grew disillusioned, ultimately leaving and taking many of his films with him.

Allen’s resulting film is as revealing as it is terrifying.  HOLY HELL offers a mesmerizing look into how powerfully attractive a spiritual sect like Buddhafield can be, and how alluring a powerful personality like Michel can be in the universal search for meaning and purpose that all humans seek.

In addition to the premiere broadcast, HOLY HELL will encore Saturday, Sept. 3 at 8:00pm and 10:00pm Eastern.  For additional content about HOLY HELL, please visit: www.CNN.com/HolyHell. FULL POST

March 17th, 2016
12:27 PM ET

CNN Films Picks Up Broadcast Rights for HOLY HELL

Documentary on life inside mysterious spiritual sect directed by Will Allen and executive produced by Jared Leto to come to CNN Films

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Fresh from its stunning world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, CNN Films has acquired HOLY HELL, directed by Will Allen and executive produced by Jared Leto, it was announced today.  CNN Films purchased U.S. domestic broadcast rights to the feature for telecast later this year.

“We are really pleased to bring this electrifying project to CNN Films,” said Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide.  “This cautionary story is made uniquely insightful by the deeply personal perspectives of Will Allen – and the film speaks to the broader search we all share for finding fulfillment.”

Allen’s HOLY HELL captures what life was like in the mysterious, California-based spiritual community, the Buddhafield.  Just out of film school, a young, idealistic Allen was introduced to the Buddhafield by his older sister, eventually becoming a personal aide to Michel, “the teacher.”  As a member and unofficial documentarian of the utopian group for 22 years, Allen’s film of his fellow followers and Michel is both revealing and intimate.  Allen’s singular point of view offers a compelling exploration of why the Buddhafield, and its even more mysterious, charismatic leader, are powerfully attractive and terrifying at the same time.

After many painful years, Allen eventually found the courage to leave the Buddhafield – taking hundreds of hours of his footage with him.  Since leaving, Allen has grown increasingly fearful of the guru and the guru’s continuing extreme influence over some followers, voicing his fears even at the film’s festival premiere in January.

Jared Leto, now an executive producer for the film, described HOLY HELL as “relentless, haunting, and unforgettable” to Variety last month.

HOLY HELL is produced by Allen, Tracey Harnish, and Alexandra Johnes.  The CNN Films acquisition of HOLY HELL was negotiated by Stacey Wolf, vice president of business affairs on behalf of CNN, and Andrew Herwitz of The Film Sales Company, and Michael Donaldson and Dean Cheley of Donaldson + Callif, on behalf of the filmmakers.

About CNN Films

CNN Films produces and acquires documentary feature and short films for theatrical and festival exhibition and distribution across CNN’s multiple platforms.  Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development, oversees the strategy for CNN Films; Courtney Sexton, senior director for program development, works day-to-day with filmmakers to oversee projects.  For more information about CNN Films, please visit www.CNN.com/CNNFilms and follow @CNNFilms via Twitter.

About CNN

CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Domestically, CNN reaches more individuals on television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the United States; internationally, CNN is the most widely distributed news channel reaching more than 271 million households abroad; and CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news, and social media.  Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with hundreds of local and international news organizations around the world. CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company.

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January 6th, 2016
03:11 PM ET

Television Premiere for SUNSHINE SUPERMAN Set For CNN

Film debuts as CNN Films broadcast Sunday, Jan. 17 at 9:00pm and 12:00am Eastern

SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, the immersive love story of Carl and Jean Boenish, the husband and wife team who invented BASE jumping – and their devotion to the freedom and beauty of foot-launched human flight – will make its global television premiere on CNN/U.S. Sunday, Jan. 17 at 9:00pm and 12:00am Eastern, the network announced today. The CNN Films broadcast will be presented with limited commercial interruption by Volkswagen.

Carl Boenish, a trained electrical engineer and experienced skydiver, as well as an innovator of film techniques and film technology, zealously chronicled the pioneering days of BASE in the early 1980’s in exquisitely beautiful 16mm film. Boenish sometimes mounted cameras to his head and the heads of his small band of fellow fliers in order to document a bird’s-eye view of their jumps. Director, writer, and producer Marah Strauch interweaves this archival footage along with new photography and reenacted events (recreated from the Boenishes’ personal audio diary recordings), for a visually stunning feature film debut. Strauch and producer / editor Eric Bruggemann, develop an intimate portrait of the Boenishes as risk-takers who passionately loved both each other and BASE.

BASE, which stands for “building,” “antenna,” “span,” and “earth” was, in its experimental early days, initially opposed by the U.S. Parachute Association. Those first jumps also brought inquisitive fame and attention to the novel sport – along with a risk of arrest. Phil Smith (BASE #1, the first person to ever successfully complete a series of jumps from all four types of objects – in Houston, TX), Phil Mayfield (BASE #2), and the Boenishes (BASE #3 and #4), describe first-person accounts in the film, adding insight into their preparation and collective genius. They also vividly recall their frustrations with the legal obstacles to their adventures, taking viewers on a thrilling emotional ride of beauty and suspense. Cameos of Phil Donahue, Pat Sajak, and Kathie Lee Johnson (later Gifford) yield a glimpse into the excitement of the followers and fans of BASE that some found difficult to understand.

At the pinnacle of Carl’s and Jean’s extraordinary achievements, they together broke the BASE jumping Guinness World Record in 1984 by jumping from Trollveggen, ‘Troll Wall,’ along the western coast of Norway’s Trolltindene mountain range. Incredibly, within hours, that astonishing triumph was followed by heartbreaking disaster.

“We want to feel like we’re astronauts walking on the Moon….it just gives us a feeling of power, and of joy. And, we want to share it with the world…,” says Carl Boenish in the film, describing the allure and exhilaration of BASE.

SUNSHINE SUPERMAN will be available via desktop (www.CNN.com/go), iPad, Apple TV, Roku, and across CNN’s mobile platforms.  After the broadcast premiere, the film will be On Demand for seven days via CNNgo.  The film will encore on CNN/U.S. Saturday, Jan. 23, at 8:00pm Eastern.

SUNSHINE SUPERMAN had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and was produced by Scissor Kick Films, Flimmer Films, and Submarine Entertainment. It was executive produced by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney and was exhibited nationally by Magnolia Pictures and internationally by Universal Pictures.  For more information about SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, please visit www.CNN.com/cnnfilms and follow @CNNFilms via Twitter and use #SunshineSuperman to participate in conversations about the film.

About CNN Films

CNN Films produces, acquires, and commissions documentary feature and short films for theatrical and festival exhibition and distribution across CNN’s multiple platforms.  Amy Entelis, executive vice president of talent and content development for CNN Worldwide, oversees the strategy for CNN Films and CNN Films Presents.  Courtney Sexton, senior director of program development, manages the day-to-day operations for CNN Films and works directly with filmmakers to supervise original projects.  For more information about CNN Films, please visit www.cnn.com/CNNFilms and follow @CNNFilms via Twitter.

About CNN

CNN Worldwide is a portfolio of two dozen news and information services across cable, satellite, radio, wireless devices and the Internet in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.  Domestically, CNN reaches more individuals on television, the web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the United States; internationally, CNN is the most widely distributed news channel reaching more than 271 million households abroad; and CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news and social media.  Additionally, CNN Newsource is the world’s most extensively utilized news service partnering with hundreds of local and international news organizations around the world.  CNN is division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company.

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November 10th, 2015
03:07 PM ET

CNN Films to encore #Blackfish documentary Nov. 14 at 8pmET

CNN Films will encore the thought-provoking documentary film, Blackfish, on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Blackfish explores the extraordinary nature of Orcas and their decades-long history in captivity.  This revealing film also explores the chilling 2010 incident in which an experienced Sea World trainer was killed by the 12,000-pound Tilikum, a whale previously also associated with the deaths of two other people.

CNN Films will encore #Blackfish Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8:00pm Eastern (5:00pm Pacific).

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August 17th, 2015
03:06 PM ET

CNN Films Gets FRESH DRESSED For Fall

FRESH_DRESSED_27x40 - poster artPremiere set for Thursday, Sept. 3 at 9:00pm & 10:45pm Eastern

FRESH DRESSED, director Sacha Jenkins’ exuberant chronicle of hip hop and urban fashion – and their global influence on pop culture, will premiere as a CNN Films broadcast with limited commercial interruptions on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 9:00pm Eastern on CNN/U.S., the network announced today. The CNN Films and Mass Appeal co-production will be exclusively presented on the network by Volkswagen.

Produced by Peter Bittenbender, Nasir Jones, and Marcus Clarke for Mass Appeal, FRESH DRESSED traces how fat-laced sneakers, Kangol hats, Cazal sunglasses, and graffiti jackets inspired the style and vibe of rap artists and high fashion designers, through its expression of aspirational swagger that gave voice – and visage – to a culture whose passionate originality and artistry took the world by storm. The music-drenched, fun-to-watch history features interviews with music and fashion entrepreneurs from the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and today, including Dapper Dan, Pharrell Williams, April Walker, Karl Kani, Daymond John, Carl Jones, Jeff Tweedy, Russell Simmons, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Damon Dash, Riccardo Tisci, Guy Wood, and many more. FULL POST

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