Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson, the principals of Epic Pictures have been around the independent and international scene for many years. Mr. Berenson
has served on the IFTA Board of Directors since September 2011. (IFTA, Independent Film and Television Association is the indie lobbying and trade
organization that puts on the American Film Market every November in Santa Monica)
From film development, financing and production to international sales representation and U.S. distribution, Patrick and Shaked attribute their success to
the people they work with rather than upon genres or formulaically successful pictures. They stress the need to find unique standout films to be made by
people they trust and like. With so many films now being made (and released) Patrick and Shaked both stress the need to find films which will rise above
the “white noise” of current films.
Making the film is only a small part of the process and so they value the filmmakers themselves and in fact, choose their projects based upon the
individuals making the film who will be with them for at least 18 more months making the festival and market rounds, publicizing the release in U.S. if not
also for the launches in other countries and more importantly who will be with them on the next films they make as well.
They seek out relationships with exceptional producers and talent in order to secure A-level, high-quality projects both domestically and in Europe and
Asia. Films they name as “standout unique films” are “She’s Gotta Have It”, “Laws of Gravity”, “Tampopo”.
They are gratified that Sundance has recognized the special qualities in both “Turbo Kid” and “ Entertainment.” It affirms and legitimizes their own recognition of the next generation of
filmmakers with unique views of what makes a movie special. And to see them in the almost sold-out vintage 1,500 seat Theatre at the ACE Hotel, one of
L.A.’s most lavish and historic film venues, downtown at 9th and Broadway will be great.
Both of these films are distinctly unique. One was in Sundance’s Midnight Section and the other was in the NEXT section this past January.
“Turbo Kid” producer Ant Timpson from “The ABCs of Death” of Magnolia Pictures called them about the
project. He had some money and the film was in pre-production but they needed final equity. Anne-Marie Gélinas
in Quebec arranged the equity with a Canadian bank. She is very straight forward; it took four days to make the deal and in six or seven days the money was
all in. Being independent allows for such quick turnaround. And knowing the people attached for such a long time made the decision easy. Jason Eisener from “Hobo with a Shotgun” and Ant Simpson were key.
“Turbo Kid” is a fan boy comic book film but when they read the script, they knew it was not easy; other companies would be more risk-adverse, but they
trusted the filmmakers to deliver. Now everyone is bringing them special films. Formula films are more certain, but less interesting to them. When they
choose well, as they did with “Turbo Kid”, then they want to make more movies with those filmmakers.
“Turbo Kid” which premiered in Sundance has gone on the festival route to win Best Director at Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, the Audience
Award at SXSW Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Film and Best Art Direction (Sylvain Lemaitre
) at Fantaspoa International Fantastic Film Festival. Epic Pictures Releasing will release the film “day & date” in theaters and premium VOD in the
U.S. and U.K. (through Lionsgate) on August 28. NEXT will be its Los Angeles Premiere.
/ Canada, New Zealand (Directors and screenwriters: Anouk Whissell, François Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell) — Set in a post apocalyptic year of 1997, this
nostalgic tribute to ’80s action-adventure films follows an orphaned teenager who goes on an adventure to save his female-robot companion from the hands of
the evil warlord who controls the only water supply. Cast: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Aaron Jeffery, Edwin Wright.
The comparison between “Turbo Kid” and “Entertainment” is vast. Where “Turbo Kid” was completely planned with a perfectly orchestrated
visual style, dialogue, pacing, music, clearly blueprinted in every detail, “Entertainment” which they entered at pre-production stage was in Rick
Alverson’s head and not at all on the page. Rick said he knew it would work and they had to trust him to deliver. Initially Epic was financing a big chunk
of equity but at a certain point another investor took a larger piece; however Epic was committed to financing whatever was missing. Magnolia will release
the film in the U.S.; it is a perfect fit for them. Cinetic was the producer rep on the film. Epic will represent the film internationally and has already
licensed it to NonStop for Sweden. It is playing Locarno this August 5-15 competing for the Golden Leopard; that is a perfect stage for it to be seen by
” / U.S.A. (Director: Rick Alverson, Screenwriters: Rick Alverson, Gregg Turkington, Tim Heidecker) — In an attempt to revive his dwindling career and
reunite with his estranged daughter, a broken, aging comedian plays a string of dead-end shows in the California desert. Cast: Gregg Turkington, John C. Reilly, Tye Sheridan, Michael Cera, Amy Seimetz, Lotte Verbeek. Los Angeles Premiere
Epic not only acquires third-party projects but initiates and produces its own films like “Tales of Halloween” which just premiered in Fantasia Film Festval. Mike Mendez presented the concept to them and two months later they were shooting this omnibus by ten
high profile genre directors. Epic will release it theatrically on October 16, to be followed by “ Jeruzalem” a perfect film at a perfect time for an Israeli horror film.
Headquartered in Hollywood, California, Epic Pictures Group is a worldwide film and television production, financing, international sales and domestic
distribution company. Epic Pictures Group represents worldwide sales for both its own slate of films and third party content with an annual slate of ten to
twenty films. Its U.S. distribution operation Epic Pictures Releasing directly books in theaters, and makes its own TV and home video digital deals.
Patrick Ewald became the CEO of worldwide theatrical motion picture company Epic Pictures Group, Inc. in 2007. Mr. Ewald’s career in the film business
spans over 17 years as a senior level executive and he has been involved in the development, financing, production and marketing of over 100 films. A New
York City native, Mr. Ewald graduated from Duke University with a degree in film studies.
Shaked Berenson is the COO and Co-Founder of Epic Pictures Group and oversees the day-to-day operations with an active hand in the development and
production of all its films and television projects. During his five years with Epic Pictures Group, Mr. Berenson has produced and executive produced over
twelve movies including the Animated “Space Dogs 3D” which grossed over $20 million in worldwide box-office. Most recently, Mr. Berenson produced ‘Mega
Spider’ by Mike Mendez (‘gravedancers’).