By Peter Knegt | Indiewire January 27, 2012 at 5:56PM
Participant Media and AFFRM ((African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement have teamed to acquire U.S. theatrical rights for "Middle of Nowhere."
Written and directed by AFFRM founder Ava DuVernay, the film was produced by DuVernay and Howard Barish with producer Paul Garnes.
Full release below.
Park City, UT – January 27, 2012 – Participant Media and AFFRM (African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement) have jointly acquired U.S. theatrical rights to MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, an elegant and emotional drama chronicling a woman’s separation from her incarcerated husband and her journey to maintain her marriage and her identity. Written and directed by AFFRM founder Ava DuVernay, the film was produced by DuVernay and Howard Barish with producer Paul Garnes.
Staring into the hollow end of her husband Derek’s eight-year prison sentence, Ruby Sexton fights to support him on the inside and survive her own identity crisis on the outside. Through a chance encounter and a stunning betrayal that shakes her to the core, Ruby is propelled in new and, often frightening, directions of self-discovery.
AFFRM will distribute the film theatrically later this year, activating marketing and promotional support through its broad grassroots collective powered by the nation’s top black film organizations. AFFRM’s inaugural feature through this innovative model was the critically-acclaimed drama, “I Will Follow,” released in March 2011. In December 2011, AFFRM distributed last year’s Sundance World Cinema Drama Audience Award winner, “Kinyarwanda.”
“As a filmmaker and film distributor, I embarked on the Sundance journey with a best case distribution scenario in mind, and this partnership with Participant is exactly that,” stated DuVernay. “For AFFRM and Participant to combine forces on this film is a bold, ground-breaking move for two companies dedicated to connecting and empowering audiences of every hue through cinema.”
Said Jonathan King, Participant Media’s Executive Vice President of Production, “Middle of Nowhere is only Ava DuVernay’s second feature, but it reflects the finesse and sensitivity of a far more experienced storyteller and the kind of quality filmmaking that’s been a hallmark of Participant. We’re very excited to be joining forces with her and her team at AFFRM, and look forward to developing a marketing and Social Action campaign that illuminates the film’s themes and engages communities around the country.”
The deal was negotiated by Ben Weiss of the Paradigm Motion Picture Group with Nina Shaw and Gordon Bobb of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano, on behalf of AFFRM, with Jeff Ivers of Participant.
About Participant Media
Participant Media (www.participantmedia.com) is an independent media company focused on theatrical, television, and digital entertainment that illuminates important issues in today’s world. Chairman Jeff Skoll created Participant in 2004 to fuel his pursuit of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Led by CEO Jim Berk since 2006, Participant inspires and accelerates positive social change by delivering well-told stories across multiple platforms and producing robust social action campaigns that galvanize communities around related causes. TakePart (www.takepart.com) is the online Social Action Network™ of Participant and serves as a hub for public engagement. Participant films include The Help, Contagion, An Inconvenient Truth, Charlie Wilson’s War, Waiting for “Superman,” Good Night, and Good Luck, The Cove, The Kite Runner, Syriana, and Food, Inc.
Founded in 2011, AFFRM is the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, a distribution collective of like-minded black film organizations dedicated to the domestic theatrical release of quality black independent films. AFFRM’s founding organizations include Urbanworld Film Festival (NYC), Imagenation (NYC), Reelblack (Philadelphia), Langston Hughes African-American Film Festival (Seattle), BronzeLens Film Festival (Atlanta) and DVA (Los Angeles). AFFRM's theatrical releases to date include: 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee for Best Independent Picture, I WILL FOLLOW, and 2011 Sundance World Cinema Drama Winner KINYARWANDA.