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iW ANNOUNCEMENT | SnagFilms Acquires indieWIRE

iW ANNOUNCEMENT | SnagFilms Acquires indieWIRE

[EDITORS NOTE: The following press release is an announcement from indieWIRE.]

SnagFilms, which brings the best nonfiction films to a global web audience and promotes viral web distribution through virtual movie theater widgets, today announced the acquisition of indieWIRE, the leading news, information, and social networking site for the international independent film community, from its publisher GMD Studios. SnagFilms went into beta release this morning and its launch was announced here.

IndieWIRE will provide archival and news content for SnagFilms.com and the company’s virtual movie theater widgets, including breaking news from the indie sector, comprehensive film reviews and analysis, and the top relevant blogs. IndieWIRE will feature virtual movie theater widgets from SnagFilms, including the indieWIRE editors’ top selections from the SnagFilms library. At the same time, SnagFilms will provide new resources to extend indieWIRE’s coverage and enrich its offerings to the entertainment community and consumers passionate about independent film. IndieWIRE will continue to operate as an independent, standalone site. Eugene Hernandez, Editor in Chief and co-Founder of indieWIRE, will also become Editorial Vice President of SnagFilms, overseeing journalistic content on both sites. He will be assisted in this by his indieWIRE colleagues, Brian Brooks and James Israel, who will continue in the same functions after the acquisition. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

SnagFilms (www.snagfilms.com) was created to address the bottleneck in distribution for quality documentaries that has left many great films unable to reach their potential audience or to provide a viable financial return. It also offers established media companies with deep libraries a way of getting “long-tail” documentaries out of the vaults and before a worldwide, on-demand audience.

“This is an incredibly positive development for the independent film industry. IndieWIRE is its indispensable resource, and Eugene Hernandez and GMD Studios have built a great franchise that is completely in synch with what we’re doing with SnagFilms,” noted SnagFilms’ founder and chairman Ted Leonsis. “We love combining SnagFilms’ revolutionary offering of free films, widgetized sharing, and easy connections to causes with indieWIRE’s iconic heritage and journalistic excellence. Together, indieWIRE and SnagFilms can offer everything the industry and consumers need to know about these important films, while also giving viewers an opportunity to see and share the films they love.”

“Eugene Hernandez has an encyclopedic knowledge of the indie circuit and an ideal editorial sensibility for what we’re trying to do,” said Rick Allen, SnagFilms’ CEO. “He and his colleagues will give our SnagFilms audience unmatched context to deepen their film enjoyment, and we’ll help indieWIRE continue to extend their 12-year tradition of being the trusted source for industry insiders about the world of independent films. Today the sector faces the most unprecedented changes it has seen in the 12-plus years I have worked with filmmakers – and that’s why it’s the perfect time to extend the celebrated perspective, passion and analytic power of indieWIRE.”

Brian Clark, Founder and CEO of GMD Studios, and Publisher of indieWIRE, “We have always been focused on driving greater appreciation of independent filmmaking. While indieWIRE has had many potential acquirers who have come courting, SnagFilms was the right one worth waiting for. Ted’s vision for indieWIRE is completely consistent with ours, because Ted is an independent filmmaker and already part of the community. In every important way, nothing changes for indieWIRE except for the new resources it will have to pursue its mission to evangelize independent filmmaking.”

Eugene Hernandez, Editor in Chief and co-Founder of indieWire (and now additionally Editorial Vice President, SnagFilms) said, “We created indieWIRE twelve years ago to fill a gap for filmmakers and the industry. We wanted to create a platform to deliver news, information and other resources. Along the way, indieWIRE emerged as a hub for the community. As the industry thoughtfully examines its traditional methods, a generation of indies is showing tremendous inspiration and creativity. Change is in the air and filmmakers are more open to employing new approaches for production and distribution that at any time in the history of indieWIRE. In Ted, Rick and the entire team at Snag Films, we have found partners similarly aimed at developing indieWIRE as an even more vital link during this dynamic moment for our community.”

Background on indieWIRE: Founded in 1996, indieWIRE is the leading source on independent film, publishing breaking business news, dispatches from hundreds of film festivals, weekly movie reviews, interviews with emerging and established filmmakers, links to leading blogs, and resources for filmmakers and the entertainment industry. IndieWIRE was founded by publishers GMD Studios and Eugene Hernandez’s prior company, iLine, in collaboration with the Founding Publisher of FILMMAKER Magazine, Karol Martesko, and Ken Tabachnick, now Executive Director of the New York City Ballet.

Awarded the Webby for best film website, indieWIRE was branded the “online heartbeat of the world’s independent film community” by Forbes, and dubbed “best indie crossroads” by film critic Roger Ebert. Branded “a must read” by Variety, indieWIRE was highlighted as one of the best entertainment web sites by Vanity Fair. Recent partnerships include coverage of film festivals with AMC TV, an ongoing series of conversations with filmmakers at Apple Stores around the country, print dailies published in conjunction with the Marched du Film at the annual Cannes Film Festival, and daily news in a special movie section at Yahoo.com.

Background on SnagFilms: SnagFilms features free ad-supported viewing of hundreds of award-winning titles from some of the greatest names in documentary film production and distribution, including PBS, National Geographic, Sundance Preserve, IndiePix, Peter Jennings Productions, Arts Alliance America, ITVS, Koch Lorber Films, and many others. Many of the most prominent documentary filmmakers are participating not only by having their films distributed via SnagFilms, but by engaging with their audience through blogs and offering special “bonus” material, as well as suggesting nonprofit organizations that viewers motivated by these films can link to and support via charitable contributions, volunteering or spreading the word. The company was founded by digital entrepreneur, documentary film producer, sports entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Leonsis, and is additionally backed by AOL co-founder and Revolution LLC Chairman Steve Case, and venture capitalist Miles Gilburne.

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