Paramount announced today that Syrinthia Studer has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Marketing and Acquisitions for Paramount Home Media Distribution, effectively launching a new division at the studio for acquiring and releasing independent films from the festival circuit.
In addition to Studer's promotion, Paramount has hired former IFC Films acquisitions director Jeff Deutchman to serve as Director of Acquisitions for the initiative. Deutchman and a small team within the home media division will report to Studer as the company develops a strategy for releasing indie fare. While Paramount has occasionally acquired films in recent years, it hasn't maintained a dedicated team specifically for acquiring and distributing specialty fare since its Paramount Vantage division was folded in 2008. However, this latest initiative will allow Paramount Home Media Distribution to further explore possibilities in the VOD arena.
The new venture, which does not currently have a name, will focus on acquiring films out of major festivals and partnering with other distributors on day and date releases. Deutchman, who wrapped up seven years at IFC and moved from New York to Los Angeles earlier this month, will attend the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival to scout for new films.
In the meantime, the company has already started working on the release of several upcoming films, two of which premiered at Sundance in January: The provocative family drama "Adore," previously titled "Two Mothers" and co-starring Naomi Watts, will be released by the division on VOD at the same that Exclusive Releasing will open the movie in theaters on September 6. Additionally, Paramount Home Media Distribution is working on the upcoming release for the divorce dramedy "A.C.O.D.," which stars Adam Scott and will be released theatrically by The Film Arcade later this year. Paramount will handle domestic home entertainment, television licensing and digital distribution rights. The company is also working on the independent horror comedy "Ghost Team One."
Collectively, these recent acquisitions hint at a burgeoning model for the studio's latest efforts to play a role in the indie space. At festivals, Paramount will be tracking titles that it can release in ancillary markets in conjunction with theatrical partners (although not all releases will be necessarily day and date, according to the studio). The move both introduces a new buyer to the festival scene and opens up a wider arena for distributors seeking greater resources in ancillary markets.