Producer Derek Curl and investors have purchased a controlling 75% interest in TLA Releasing from TLA Entertainment Group, the company said Tuesday. The sale includes both its domestic operations in North America as well as its United Kingdom subsidiary. Curl will become the President and Chief Executive Officer of TLA Releasing, a newly formed LLC.
In a telephone conversation with indieWIRE, New York-based Curl said the company will maintain its North American operations in Philadelphia as well as its European operations out of London. Curl said that the company will ramp up its genre label, Danger After Dark, with additional titles added to the distributor's overall slate in the fourth quarter.
Stateside, TLA Releasing will increase its acquisitions from eight to 24 over the next 12 months, while in Europe, the company plans 30 acquisitions over the next year. North American pick ups will be for worldwide rights, while U.K. and European acquisitions will be focused toward DVD, internet and television rights.
"The new focus is to bring the filmmaker to be a businessman and take him/her worldwide, while getting him/her in the position to make the next movie," Curl told indieWIRE, adding that while TLA will reinvigorate its Danger After Dark division, it will maintain its focus on its core LGBT content. "We will continue in this area, which we are well-known for, while we rebuild the Danger After Dark brand. [LGBT titles] will include original productions along with acquisitions."
Curl added that TLA's current release slate is not affected by the changes at the company and the group's next film, "Children of God" by Kareem Mortimer, will open May 20. Theatrical releases will continue to be a part of the company's overall strategy for particular titles along with a day and date strategy.
Curl began his film career producing music videos and has been Acquisitions Director at TLA since 2009. Most recently, he has been overseeing the production of such films as Ti West’s “The House of the Devil” and Adam Green’s “Hatchet II.” His most recent productions are West’s new haunted-hotel thriller “The Innkeepers” and James McKenney’s upcoming “Hypothermia.”
In addition to announcing the change, TLA said that Raymond Murray will remain with TLA Releasing as its Acquisitions Advisor to retain continuity between TLA’s past and its future.
"With the market changing I felt it wass the right time to take a leap of faith and have a filmmaker take a leadership role in a large distribution brand," Curl told iW.
Commented Murray: “The partners of TLA Entertainment are firm believers in Derek’s vision for the releasing company in both the types of films he wishes to acquire as well as expanding the distribution structure with aggressive ideas for VOD, broadcast and foreign sales. Evolving technology is challenging the old way of doing business in film and a fresh approach is needed to capitalize on the opportunities being created in this new entertainment world. Derek is the man to meet this challenge.”
Murray also added: “The Entertainment Group’s plan is to focus our energies and resources on our core business, which is being a prominent home entertainment e-tailer and mail order company.”
About the company (provided by TLA Releasing):
TLA Entertainment Group, based in Philadelphia, is a privately held corporation founded in 1981. The company began as owners of the Theatre of the Living Arts, a repertory cinema as well as the Roxy Screening Rooms. In 1985, it opened the first of several award-winning video stores in the Philadelphia area and in New York City. In 1996 it launched www.tlavideo.com, a direct-to-consumer movie site that has since expended into the sale of DVDs and most recently, VOD. In 2000 it launched TLA Releasing, a film and video releasing company for North America. In 2005 it opened a British distribution company based in London. Today, TLA Entertainment’s primary business remains as a DVD and VOD e-tailer through it many sites including www.tlamovies.com, www.tlagay.com, www.tlaraw.com and www.tlacult.com.
[Editor's Note: Comments from Derek Curl were added to this article after its original publication.]