Two important forces in Northeast Ohio’s film community are coming together to help expand distribution for great documentaries.
The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival and Cleveland-based film distributor Gravitas Ventures announced on Friday, Feb. 7, that Gravitas “will offer guaranteed distribution to over 100 million homes in North America,” via its partnerships in the cable, satellite, telco and OTT (over-the-top) space, to the winners in two categories in this year’s festival. The 11th edition of the Chagrin festival is scheduled for Oct. 6-11, 2020.
Gravitas president Michael Murphy said in a statement that the collaboration “furthers our ability to bring real stories from great filmmakers” to audiences. Gravitas distributes movies of all genres, and documentaries comprise one of its most popular categories. (Go here to read a March 2019 Crain’s profile of the company.)
The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, born in 2010, has grown consistently and drew more than 13,000 people in 2018, when it screened 83 films from 37 countries. The festival in seven of the last 10 years has made the influential “Top 50 Festivals Worth the Submission Fee” list produced by MovieMaker magazine. (The 2019 list, which included the Chagrin festival as well as the Cleveland International Film Festival, is here.)
Mary Ann Ponce, founder and director of the Chagrin festival, said in a statement, “From the beginning, our festival has been all about empowering talented filmmakers. A guaranteed distribution deal from one of the top distributors in the country is a huge continuation of that founding mission.”
Several Gravitas films have played at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival. Among them: “Dear Mr. Watterson,” “Armstrong,” “Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk,” “Just One Drop” and “Return to Hardwick.”
Submissions for this year’s Chagrin Documentary Film Festival are open and can be made here. The early submission deadline is Feb. 24; the regular deadline is May 25.