‘Whelm’ Getting 35MM Roadshow Treatment; Gravitas Kicks It In ‘Hood River’; Freestyle Acquires ‘The Forever Room’ – Film Briefs

Whelm, the Great Depression-era indie written and directed by Skyler Lawson and shot on Kodak 16mm, is setting its rollout that will include a 35mm roadshow screenings that begins next month in Beverly Hills.

The news comes as Gravitas Ventures came aboard to acquired North American digital rights to the pic, which is set in the Midwest at the height of the Great Depression and follows estranged brothers (Ronan Colfer and Dylan Grunn) as they become tangled in a rivalry between a legendary bank robber and an eccentric young criminal, finding they are a part of a larger historic scheme.

Lawson’s Endrow Pictures has theatrical rights to the pic, which will screen it in 35mm format at select theaters beginning with the Fine Arts Theatre Beverly Hills from August 13-21.

Lawson is executive producer via Endrow, Lawson, Ed Herrera and Noelle Hubbell are producers, with Herrera also the cinematographer. Lawson also co-composed the score with Underoath’s Chris Dudley.

Whelm premiered at the 2019 Heartland Film Festival in Indiana, where the film was shot and produced, before Covid halted its festival run.

“It has been an incredible journey creating Whelm with some of the finest collaborators in the business,” Lawson said. “It has always been the goal to craft an immersive work that transcends genre, and perceptions of what an indie film can be: to evoke a rich cinema heritage while carving out a space amongst it. I’m excited to finally share with audiences what we put on that celluloid; theatrically with the 35mm Roadshow and select cinemas, and digitally with Gravitas Ventures.”

Here’s the trailer:


Hood River

Hood River
Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American distribution rights to Hood River, the high school soccer documentary directed by Steven Cantor and Jonathan Field and executive produced by Robert Rodriguez. The pic, which premiered at SXSE 2020, will now bow day-and-date in theaters and on-demand September 10.

The doc focuses on a high school soccer team in a small Oregon community striving to overcome class and racial divide in a quest for both individual and team success. While one player deals with the deportation of his father to Mexico and another learns how to become a captain and command the respect of his Mexican-American teammates, the coach struggles to keep the team together amidst the pressure of academics and athletics.

Cantor and Jamie Schutz are producers on the pic, from Cantor’s Stick Figure in association with the PepsiCo Content Studio and Wavelength. It

“Steven and Jonathan’s film utilizes the contrasting perspectives of its subjects to showcase how individual experience can either divide us or be harnessed to strengthen a team effort,” said Tony Piantedosi, VP Acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures. “Their film is a reflection of the ongoing struggles that we face in small towns, in large cities, and as a nation. We look forward to presenting this timely documentary to North American audiences.”

Piantedosi negotiated the deal with Eric Sloss at Cinetic Media.


Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American VOD rights to The Forever Room, a horror-suspense film directed by Kevin Hicks. Samantha Valletta, Nicole Skelly, Vickie Hicks, Luca Iacovetti, Kevin Hicks, Christopher Hicks and Michelle Hicks star in the film, which will be available on digital platforms beginning August 24.

The pic, written and produced by and co-starring Vickie Hicks, centers on Claire (Valletta), held captive by her mother (Vickie Hicks) as she becomes the victim of strange apparitions and frightening experiences. Ultimately, she’s forced to face an awful truth.

“It was a challenge developing a compelling project that could be produced during the Covid lockdowns,” said Kevin Hicks. “We’re happy to have come up with such a big story in such a small space.”

Freestyle Digital Media’s Chris Gray negotiated the deal with Vickie Hicks for Chinimble Lore.

Here’s the trailer:

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