Vertical integration and the ability to control the supply chain. That’s the vision for the entertainment properties that Todd Wagner and I have put together. We have acquired great companies like Rysher Entertainment, Landmark Theaters and Magnolia Pictures We have also created great companies like HDNet and HDNet Movies , HDNet Films and 2929 Entertainment, with more to come.
The goal in putting all of these companies together is to be able to control our own destiny. We want to be able to create films in HDTV format via HDNet Films and 2929, acquire them through Magnolia and thendistribute them digitally to our Landmark Theaters. We also have the ability to sell, show and distribute themin whatever (DVD, HD, etc) format we think consumers want, rather than what Hollywood dictates . Our goal is to provide entertainment to consumers, how, where and when they want. As Todd says, “what a concept, give the consumer what they want, rather than have someone tell them what they want.”
Things are going great, but there has been a side benefit that I had hoped for, but never really expected to happen so quickly. We are making and distributing movies that can truly impact peoples lives. HDNet Films is completely a documentary about the Enron debacle called Black Magic, which should be out this winter. Magnolia has taken the idea of movies that change peoples lives to an even greater level with the release of two movies:
Woman is a movie featuring Bishop TD Jakesand Kimberly Elise that is an adaptation of Bishop Jakes’ self-help novel, chronicling a woman’s struggle to come to terms with her legacy of abuse, addiction and poverty. It has had an amazing impact on the African American community and although the subject is very difficult, the message is uplifting. It’s a movie that we are very proud to have been part of. The movie extends to a very wide release across the country on October 22nd, so if you get the chance, check it out.
Voices of Iraq is another amazing film. It’s the one film that EVERYONE should be required to see before they vote. Former MTV producers Eric Manes and Martin Kunert partnered with actor and Gulf War vet Archie Drury to distributemore than 150 digital video
cameras across Iraq. Beginning amidst the Falluja uprising in April, going
through the marshlands in the South and Kurdish communities in the North and
ending less than a month ago, thousands of ordinary Iraqis became filmmakers. The 450 hours of tape they created show all the things the media never has access to. The real life of Iraqis. Eric, Martin and Archie edited those tapes into a powerful view of life that our media has no access to.
Honestly, when they sent the first cut of the movie to me, I sat down to watch it merely out of curiousity. Once it started, it was immediately obvious that this wasn’t a documentary about Iraqis. It was “the real story” behind all the rhetoric we are receiving from the media and our candidates. As I watched, with each scene and interview, it was if I was on a political rollercoaster. Jumping back and forth between “Bush was right for invading”, to “no he wasn’t. It was a mistake” I won’t tell you how I came out, but in watching this movie I felt far more informed and ready to vote. You will too. The movie opens in 10 cities October 29th. We are also working to get it out on DVD for those who can’t make it to theaters before election day. Watch the blog for more details.
Two great movies that I’m very proud of. I hope you will see them and let me know what you think.