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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Participant Media and AFFRM Acquire U.S. Theatrical Rights to 2012 Sundance Selection MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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.

About AFFRM

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.

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2 Responses to “Participant Media and AFFRM Acquire U.S. Theatrical Rights to 2012 Sundance Selection MIDDLE OF NOWHERE”

  1. Sid Barish says:

    Congratations, great movie, great cast
    I loved every second of it

    Sid

  2. AllenR says:

    Nice job everyone!

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The Atlantic: You saw that the Academy Awards recently held up your 2001 acceptance speech as the Platonic ideal of an Oscar speech. Did you have a reaction?

Soderbergh: Shock and dismay. When that popped up and people started texting me about it, I said, “Oh, it’s too bad I’m not there to tell the story of how that took place.” Well. I was not sober at the time. And I had nothing prepared because I knew I wasn’t going to win [Best Director for Traffic]. I figured Ridley, Ang or Daldry would win. So I was hitting the bar pretty hard, having a great night, feeling super-relaxed because I don’t have to get up there. So the combination of a 0.4 blood alcohol level and lack of preparation resulted in me, in my state of drunkenness crossed with adrenaline surge. I was coherent enough to know that [if I tried to thank everyone], that way lies destruction. So I went the other way. There were some people who appreciated that, and there were some people who really wanted to hear their names said, and I had to apologize to them.
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“I have made few films in a way. I never made action films. I never made science fiction films. I never made, really, very complicated settings, because I had modest ambitions. I knew they would never trust me to have the budget to do something different, so my mind is more focused on things I know. So they were always mental adventures I wanted to approach and share. Working for cinema with no – not only no money, but also no ambition for money. I was happy and proud [to receive the honorary Oscar] because of that, that [the Academy] could understand what kind of work I have done over 60 years. I stayed faithful to the ideal of sharing emotion, impressions, and mostly because I have so much empathy for other people that I approach people who are not really spoken about. I have 65 years of work in my bag, and when I put the bag down, what comes out? It’s really the desire of finding links and relationships with different kinds of people. I never made a film about the bourgeoisie, about rich people. about nobility. My choices have been to show people that are, in a way, more common and see that each of them has something special and interesting, rare and beautiful. It’s my natural way of looking at people. I didn’t fight my instincts. And maybe that has been appreciated in the famous circle of Hollywood.“

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