He brought “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” to a sizable audience and worked with the likes of John Sayles and Spike Lee. Now, veteran distribution executive Dylan Marchetti is leaving his post at Amplify to help an established company in the Asian film space find its footing with American titles. Marchetti joined Well Go USA as senior vice president of acquisitions and theatrical distribution this month, Indiewire has exclusively learned, and will be attending the SXSW Film Festival scouting for titles.
Most recently, Amplify collaborated with Well Go on the release of Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Cannes-acclaimed “The Assassin,” which was shortlisted for the foreign language Oscar and grossed an impressive $632,542 in limited U.S. release. Other recent Well Go titles include “Ip Man 3,” which was also jointly released by Amplify and grossed $2.7 million domestically.
The hiring of an experienced distributor in the traditional theatrical market is the latest indication of a shift away from a focus on day-and-day strategies based on VOD. Marchetti founded Variance Films in 2008 as a one-man operation. In 2014, Variance merged with GoDigital to create Amplify, where he ran distribution and marketing. Other titles released under his watch include Xavier Dolan’s “Tom at the Farm” and the Bela and Sebastian musical “God Help the Girl.”
Marchetti told Indiewire that he will be seeking to help Well Go find similar success in the theatrical marketplace with a carefully curated slate of non-Asian fare. “I think the theatrical marketplace works, but not if you try and fake it,” he said. “A film like ‘Kumiko’ can do $750,000 at the box office because people want to go and see it. They’re fine when they’re released digitally, but will do a lot better with word-of-mouth marketing that’s essential to the right kind of film. You can’t fake it.”
While the bulk of Well Go’s staff is based in Plano, Texas, Marchetti will be its first New York employee, and plans to build a team there. The company maintains its focus on the Asian market with the recent launch of its Hi-YAH! OTT channel hosting martial arts and other action films. Additionally, “Kill Zone 2,” starring Tony Jaa, is among its upcoming theatrical releases.
But the current slate of 2016 films already branches out beyond the Asian world, with Felix Thompson’s coming-of-age drama “King Jack” and the Nicholas Holt vehicle “Kill Your Friends” among its upcoming releases.
“There are too many great films out there not getting the individual attention they need and I am delighted to bring everything I learned at Variance and Amplify to this energetic new team,” Marchetti said. “I’m incredibly excited to dig in and get to work.”