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The Influence

You like indie films on demand? Then you like Nolan Gallagher, whose Gravitas Ventures is the largest distributor of independent films to the VOD marketplace. Among his fans are Dave Grohl, who chose him as the VOD partner for "Sound City," and Millennium Films, which recently signed a DVD partnership.

But back in 2006, when "VOD" was more likely to have been misconstrued as an enemy race from an obscure "Star Trek" episode, Gallagher's reception was considerably less warm.

"IFC and Magnolia were the only ones thinking about it then," Gallagher said. "The first time at AFM, I went there with some crummy business cards and knocked on every door in four days. I'm 6' 5" -- not a small guy -- and one of them lifted me by the collar and said, 'Get the fuck out of my room with your VOD talk. It's never going to happen.'" 

Nonetheless, he left the 2006 AFM with his first two customers. Today Gravitas has deals with more than 100 platforms and will release more than 500 films, including 30 titles that will be theatrical/VOD releases.

Biggest Success

"Realizing we are distributing eight films that premiered in Park City this year, including 'Sound City,' 'Hell Baby,' and 'Ass Backwards.'

Biggest Disappointment

"The 'one that got away' scenario where you love a movie and you can't wait to work on it but for one reason or another they choose another distributor. More often than not you get an email from the producers six months later where they say, 'I wish we had chosen Gravitas.'

Biggest Challenge

"There's over 100,000 movies available right now on VOD and 10,000 are made every year in the indie category. Consumers are overwhelmed with choice. Morning, noon, and night, that's what I think about. Discoverability is something we have to think about in terms of ways to improve it."

What's Next

"We're moving into all-rights buys. We'll spend six figures on a movie we're passionate about and combine with core strength of releasing on VOD. And there's no scoreboard for VOD so a lot of fantastic filmmakers are making really interesting decisions, but it's very tough to get that message out. Thinking we could do a monthly filmmaker spotlight and discuss what worked and what didn't work, talk about best practices and missteps."

The Survey
My Biggest Career Break...
In Gravitas Ventures' first couple of years, a handful of filmmakers, executives at Warner Bros., Comcast, and AT&T, and early Gravitas team members Michael Murphy, Melanie Miller, and Joe Wilka took a chance on a boot strapped start up. I will forever be grateful for all those big breaks.
Best Filmmaker Working Today...
I admire prolific artists including the Coen brothers, Alex Gibney, Steven Soderbergh, Howard Stern and the recently deceased Roger Ebert and Tony Scott.
A Guilty Pleasure Movie...
I was an early The Big Lebowski "Achiever," but not sure if that is really a guilty pleasure. I have certainly picked up a few life lessons overs the years from "Roadhouse."
My First Job...
Lemonade stand at my next-door neighbor's annual garage sale
The age that Nolan got his first job
Attended this year by Nolan
The average amount that Nolan travels for work each year
Nolan has been to the Sundance Film Festival