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by Eric Kohn
July 30, 2013 2:23 PM
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Paramount Launches Division For Acquiring Indie Films, Hires IFC's Jeff Deutchman As Director of Acquisitions

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.

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10 Comments

  • Hank | August 1, 2013 3:44 PMReply

    I have the greatest respect for Ira D. Along with folks like Donna G and Tom B., Lindsay L. and others who know very well how to do this well. If I were a filmmaker I'd feel blessed to have any of them distribute my film. That said, the problem that has always plagued the majors trying to run what they consider the "minors". Mentality, culture, perspective and expectations - when the above have picked great projects that work, the mentality of the studio culture, their perspective on the "little" projects and their expectations are all driven by money and it better come in fast as a tentpole or it is pulled faster than you can say regional rollout - And that same studio culture spends more on the ad campaign than the budget of many of the films made leaving the filmmakers needing to get back twice as much before investors are whole. That is what happened to a filmmaker I know who was released by a major/minor division - not by any of the folks above.

  • Common Sense | July 31, 2013 4:09 PMReply

    The author of the article should have done more research and found out that Paramount HAD an enormously successful and profitable indie division in Paramount Classics which Mr. Grey dismantled the moment he took the reins of the studio, quickly converting it into the bloated boondoggle of Paramount Vantage which burned through tens of millions of dollars almost overnight with nothing to show for it. If Mr. Grey is having second thoughts about the relevance of independent films to be acquired at festivals, good for him. But he's the one who screwed up in the first place by flushing Paramount Classics down the toilet, even as it was proving itself remarkably adept at acquiring profitable pictures for virtually no money.

  • CinemaPsycho | August 1, 2013 12:59 AM

    Paramount Vantage released No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, two of the biggest indie films of the past decade. So if they lost money, that's their own damn fault.

  • Shadoe Knight | July 31, 2013 1:03 PMReply

    This is great and about time. I wrote a script in 2007 but never registered it, my mistake. I sent it to a producer who then changed the name and just a few minor details. What the producer didn't know was it was a three part script and he received the middle or second script. The film did very well but was incomplete in the story line, which was obvious in the film. Now, as an Indie Filmmaker I have directed the first part of the script,(film), using the Original Title and with no changes. Hopefully someone will see it and want to make it a "big budget" film.

  • Derek | July 30, 2013 6:51 PMReply

    Do Indie producers really need a major studio to handle VOD when they could quite easily organize that themselves ? If Paramount was planning some sort of theatrical release
    ( however limited ) that would be something - but VOD sounds like a crafty attempt to relieve Indie movie makers of any profit they could have earned. I would be interested to hear what the thousands of indie filmmakers out there have got to say about this.

  • Hank | August 1, 2013 3:46 PM

    Check out Kinonation. Roger Jackson. Majors do not have to handle VOD.

  • R.G. Studios | July 31, 2013 3:24 PM

    Release your own film..I have been doing this for years,..yes it's a much smaller reach than a Major studio, but I have limited my reach to my own surrounding area which cost a way lot less than trying to go Blockbuster big....I have my own studio, my own effects operation in my studio, and release my films DVD and on the internet...and I retain the power of creating ART and not films that must bend to marking Trash...I am inspire by Hollywood but I don't want to work in hollywood!.. I love Wichita Ks. it's just Fine...The Kids here love my films ..but the adults that's another thing...some like them mostly because they have kids who they pawn them off to....as an artist you got to be please with your own work and forget what others really think! and just enjoy your creative work! R.G.

  • Eric | July 31, 2013 1:30 AM

    On one hand, I agree with you. VOD is something all filmmakers should be capable of doing themselves, no matter if it's Amazon, Hulu or Netflix. On the other hand, it sure would be awesome to have Paramount's logo in front of my films!

  • Jim McLain | July 30, 2013 5:40 PMReply

    Now we just have to find the money to make our films in the first place. Sometimes it kinda sucks to be a screen writer.

  • David | July 30, 2013 5:48 PM

    Here, here!