By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

30WEST CONTINUES HOLLYWOOD EXPANSION TAKING MAJORITY STAKE IN FILM STUDIO NEON

LOS ANGELES (January 19, 2018) – 30WEST, a leading-edge investment and advisory company focused on film, media and other areas of popular culture, is continuing its Hollywood expansion, acquiring majority ownership in NEON, one of the most coveted theatrical marketing and distribution companies in the independent film space.  Both companies collaborated successfully on the theatrical release, I, TONYA, starring Margot Robbie, which was widely feted in the recent awards season, garnering numerous nominations for Golden Globes, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild awards, with a win for Allison Janney at the Golden Globes for best supporting actress. One component of the deal is the acquisition of SR Media’s interest in the company. CAA negotiated on SR Media’s behalf.

30WEST continues to carve out a significant presence in filmed entertainment. Production has now started on both Karyn Kusama’s DESTROYER, starring Nicole Kidman, and Peter Hedges’ BEN IS BACK, starring Julia Roberts. At the Toronto Film Festival last year, the company made some highly strategic deals, including acquiring the North American distribution rights to Michael Pearce’s debut full-length picture, BEAST, a psychological thriller starring Jessie Buckley (TABOO), Johnny Flynn (CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA and Geraldine James (CALENDAR GIRLS). BEAST will be released, in partnership with Roadside Attractions, this spring.

NEON has been an active player in the acquisition and distribution space, most recently co-releasing I, TONYA with 30WEST. Previous releases include acclaimed films such as Matt Spicer’s INGRID GOES WEST, starring Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen, and Nacho Vigalondo’s COLOSSAL, starring Anne Hathaway. Last year, NEON inked a streaming output deal with Hulu and formed a partnership with Blumhouse Productions to manage the genre label BH Tilt. On the production side, NEON’S co-acquisition of Harmony Korine’s THE BEACH BUM, starring Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron, wrapped last month.

With offices in Los Angeles and New York, 30WEST provides capital and strategic guidance to high caliber creative projects and forward-thinking companies operating throughout popular culture. Its media practice works with filmmakers to guide every stage of creative packaging, providing direct capital investment for production, sales, distribution and licensing in order to maximize production quality and audience reach. Since its launch eight months ago by Dan Friedkin and Micah Green, 30WEST has assembled an impressive team of executives including former Black Bear Co-President and COO Dan Steinman, who joined immediately as a partner, former CAA Agents Tristen Tuckfield and Adam Paulsen, Sloss Law attorney Sarah Hong and creative executive Katie Anderson.

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ABOUT NEON

Co-founded by Tom Quinn and Tim League, NEON’S debut film was Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal, starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis in April of 2016. NEON was an active buyer at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, acquiring Matt Spicer’s Ingrid Goes West, winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and Eliza Hittman’s Beach Rats, winner of the Directing Award, U.S Dramatic. In its inaugural year, NEON released Academy Award winning director, Laura Poitras’s Risk, Ana Lily Amirpour’s The Bad Batch and Errol Morris’, The B-Side.  They’ve acquired the French language Belgian thriller, Racer and the Jailbird, SXSW audience sensation, Aaron Katz’s Gemini, Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum and the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival opening night film by Janus Metz, Borg vs McEnroe.  NEON’S latest acquisition in partnership with 30WEST, Craig Gillespie’s, I, Tonya, stars Margot Robbie, Allison Janney and Sebastian Stan.  In a span of 6 months from its purchase, I, Tonya opened in December to the one of the highest per screen averages of the year, garnered three Golden Globes nominations including one win, received two SAG nominations, a WGA nomination, and won two Critics Choice Awards for Allison Janney and Margot Robbie.  To date, the film has grossed over $11mm.

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch