108 Media was launched early this year by COO Nathaniel Warsh and CEO Ahbi Rastoghi, the former Managing Director of Cinesavvy, a Canadian film finance and sales company where he exec produced Golden Globe nominated Frankie & Alice starring Academy Award winner Halle Berry and , established2012. They set up 108 Media as a unique, vertically integrated and diversified next-generation media company with activities including worldwide sales, distribution, and ownership of films, television, and digital content. The company seeks underappreciated, overlooked gems across a wide range of genres, with and without North American rights attached.
In December 2011, 108 began acquiring more than 10 pictures, some for North American Distribution, some for international sales representation and some for both.
In August 2012 the company announced a partnership with Mark Urman's Paladin for North American distribution to be led by My Brother the Devil. The new venture kicks off with an initial slate of five titles that 108 Media has acquired over the past several months. The films will be released starting late this year and will extend through the first quarter of 2013.
Of the deal Urman says, "I am thrilled to be working with 108 Media on the distribution of these impressive and varied films, and am even more excited about the projects we will be able to pursue together.” Rastogi comments, "We always had Mark in mind as the ideal partner to do the films justice and help us plant a flag in the U.S. His reputation, contacts, and talents are second to none and, with several fine films in hand, we can hit the ground running as a full-service distributor."
Exemplifying the sort of project 108 Media and Paladin plan to release– quality based, distinctive films with festival pedigree and critical cachet– is Sally El Hosaini's My Brother the Devil, which has garnered awards and acclaim at Sundance, Berlin, Frameline, and Outfest. Developed at multiple Sundance Institute labs, the film stars James Floyd as a young Londoner from a traditional Egyptian family who tries to break free from the violent street gang he belongs to, only to discover that his teenage brother is attracted to the very life he is trying to escape. The film is slated for a March 2013 release.
Also on the slate are two provocative documentaries that premiered at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival: Alexandra Berger’s Danland, a candid look at the personal life of amateur pornographer Dan Leal; and Todd Kellstein’s Buffalo Girls, a searing exposé of the world of child boxing in Thailand. Representing international cinema is Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe, Akan Satayev’s sweeping historical epic, a box-office smash in its native Kazakhstan and the country’s frontrunner to be this year’s official foreign language Oscar entry. Equally successful in its homeland is the animated feature Leafie, by Seong-yun Oh, the acclaimed, award-winning hit from Korea. Leafie will be dubbed into English for its North American release.
With its partnership with Paladin in place, 108 Media is in a position to guarantee North American distribution to its international sales clients and is also able to pre-buy domestic rights on a selective basis going forward. Current world sales titles include the aforementioned Myn Bala as well as Zack Bernbaum’s contemporary comic fable, And Now a Word From Our Sponsor, starring Bruce Greenwood and Parker Posey.
108 Media’s ancillary arrangements include a combination of direct deals with certain platforms as well as select partnerships with established companies. Announcements on these deals will be made shortly. “Thanks to Paladin and our new ancillary partners,” says Rastogi, “we are now in a unique position to offer a full spectrum of services and a customized release strategy, both domestically and internationally, to a broad range of films and filmmakers worldwide.”