October 01, 2013For the past 2 years, Evokative was pretty much put on the backseat while I concentrated on setting up the Frontières International Co-Production Market at the Fantasia International Film Festival. But things still advanced slowly but surely for the company, changing direction away from domestic distribution and towards production. I have also established myself in Los Angeles in the past year.
I very much wanted to input the Evokative library on the new VOD channels years ago, but they were not yet ready to take in International films from an independent distributor. This past spring, I met the good people at FilmBuff, who saw the potential of Evokative's library of films. I'm happy to announce that FilmBuff now officially represents the VOD and TV rights through Canada for ADRIFT IN TOKYO, BLACK, CRYING FIST, DAYTIME DRINKING, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, DOWN TERRACE, HANSEL & GRETEL, HAZARD, THE KILLER, THE MISFORTUNATES and PARKING, as reported this morning by Screen Daily.
Hopefully, we will very soon see these films on iTunes, Netflix, other VOD channels and TV stations.
Since last year, I've been offering consultation services for filmmakers and acquisition scouting for distributors and sales agents.
My first extended endeavor was setting up representation, as well as festival and release strategy for the VHS documentary REWIND THIS! by Josh Johnson. The film had an extensive international festival tour, starting with a world premiere at SXSW Film Festival and earning the Best Documentary Audience Award at Fantasia. The film signed with FilmBuff for North-American distribution. It got an exclusive worldwide release on iTunes on August 27, followed by leading broadband platforms in North-America on September 10. It is also now available to purchase worldwide on its own marketplace website (RewindThisMovie.com) managed by VHX. This is a model of self-distribution with worldwide day-and-date release in which I very much believe.
I've been involved as Associate Producer on production development for SPRING and STRATA, the next films by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who earned praise on their worldwide festival tour and an 100% score on RottenTomato with RESOLUTION this past year. SPRING is presently set-up for production this fall with top-notch partners yet to be announced.
I've also been involved on the development of TURBO KID, the feature debut of RKSS (François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell). An extension of their short film T IS FOR TURBO, created for THE ABCS OF DEATH competition, it is produced by Anne-Marie Gélinas at EMA Films, Ant Timpson and Tim Riley at T&A Films, and counts on Jason Eisener as Executive Producer. It has received production grants from Telefilm Canada and NZ Films and it actually in casting process.
I'm now working on the international sales placement and festival strategy for PATCH TOWN by Craig Goodwill, which will have its World Premiere at the Whistler Film Festival, as part of its Borsos Competition.
I also worked on the placement of festival favorites CITADEL and CHEAP THRILLS with Films Distribution for international sales.
Most recently, I have officially attached myself as Producer on two projects that I very much believe in.
RADIUS is the second feature film project by Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard. Coming from a Quebec filmmaking duo, RADIUS is an english-language supernatural thriller very much made for the American market. We will be shooting a proof of concept for the project this fall, to be ready for a tour of meetings in Los Angeles in December.
CANUXPLOITATION is a documentary project by Josh Johnson (REWIND THIS!) on the films that forged the Canadian genre film industry (also coined Maple syrup thrills). The specialist on the subject Paul Corupe is attached as writer and Derek Clayton is also producing. The project is currently recruiting talking heads and will be applying to institutions shortly.
And so this is where Evokative is at nowadays. While keeping going as Market Director at the Fantasia International Film Festival and its Industry Rendez-Vous, and preparing both for the new edition of Frontières International Co-Production Market in Brussels in April 2014 (project submissions opening November 18 and closing January 8) and then back at Fantasia in July 2014 (project submissions opening January 28 and closing March 26), I will keep advancing on these various projects.
For the love of film,
|Posted in Acquisitions, Events|
September 30, 2013Published in Screen Daily, By Ian Sandwell
Leading digital distributor takes VOD and TV rights to Canadian boutique distributor’s catalogue, including Down Terrace.
FilmBuff has picked up VOD and TV rights through Canada to Evokative Films’ library. Titles in the Canadian company’s library include Satoshi Miki’s Adrift in Tokyo, Ben Wheatley’s debut feature Down Terrace and Cédric Anger’s The Killer.
Stephanie Trepanier, Evokative Films founder, commented: “I very much wanted to input the Evokative library on the new VOD channels, but they were not yet ready to take in international films from an independent distributor. “This past spring, I met the good people at FilmBuff, who saw the potential of Evokative’s library of films. Hopefully, we will very soon see these films on iTunes, Netflix and other VOD channels and TV stations.”
FilmBuff’s head of content partnerships Steven Beckman added: “We are thrilled to be working with Stephanie to make these films available digitally in Canada. Our distribution reach in Canada allows for us to really help these films reconnect with audiences in a meaningful way.”
Based in New York, FilmBuff films reach an audience of over 200m people, with titles available on all major on-demand and digital platforms around the world. Recent FilmBuff releases include The Network, Red Obsession, The House I Live In and 3 Days of Normal.
|Posted in In the Press|
February 09, 2013Published in Screen Daily, By Ian Sandwell
EXCLUSIVE: Company's founder Stephanie Trepanier is at the EFM repping SXSW title Rewind This! and two new projects.Canada's Evokative Films is reorientating its operations towards international sales consultancy.
Evokative's founder Stephanie Trepanier is at the European Film Market in Berlin representing Josh Johnson's VHS documentary Rewind This!, which will receive its world premiere at the upcoming SXSW, and is produced by Carolee Mitchell and Christopher Palmer.
Trepanier is also at the EFM with two new projects: Chelsea Peters' slasher film The Night Stalkers, produced by Ryan Turek and set to shoot this summer, and supernatural horror-romance Spring, the sophomore feature from filmmaking duo Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson whose critically acclaimed debut feature Resolution premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Spring is also looking for an Italian co-producer at the market.
"My years of experience with film programming at the Fantasia International Film Festival, as well as with Evokative's acquisitions, have allowed me to develop a great contact base, alongside an accumulated knowledge of each sales agent's strengths and tastes" commented Trepanier.
As market director of Fantasia's Frontières International Co-Production Market, Trepanier is also currently working on curating film projects for the second edition of the market, which runs July 25-28. Project submission deadline is March 26.
|Posted in In the Press|
January 25, 2012KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND, one of the great successes of 2011’s Norwegian cinema, will finally be making its way to Montreal. The film will be screening beginning February 10th at the AMC Forum theatre in Norwegian with English subtitles, and at the Cinéma Beaubien with French subtitles. The release is made possible through a collaboration with Film Movement.
This film by Norwegian filmmaker Marius Holst is based on the real-life story of a notorious reform school uprising in 1915 that forever altered the way juvenile delinquents are thought of and treated in Scandinavia.
Erling, a seventeen-year-old rumoured murderer, arrives at the Bastøy Boys Home correctional facility. He immediately clashes with the island facility's governor (Stellan Skarsgård), who believes manual labour, rigid discipline, and harsh punishments are the only methods that can turn the boys into honourable members of society. Refusing to accept the constant abuse, Erling slowly rouses the rest of the boys out of their resigned existence and encourages them to fight to lift up their spirits. When tragedy finally falls at the hand of the sadistic dorm master, Erling leads his comrades in a courageous and vicious rebellion that will bring them head-to-head with no less than the Norwegian Army.
KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND is both a personal film about a group of children changing their fate, as well as a universal story of the dangers of authoritarian regimes, isolated and unchecked by society at large.
An official selection at the Rotterdam, Seattle and Edinburgh International Film Festivals, winning a Best Breakthrough Performance Award for its young lead actor at the latter, KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND stars Berlin Silver Bear award-winner Stellan Skarsgård (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Melancholia, Dogville). KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND won the Best Film, Best Supporting Actor and Best Score awards at the 2011 Amanda Awards (Norway’s film awards), and was nominated in 5 other categories. It received its Canadian Premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival this past summer, followed by screenings at the Halifax, Calgary and Edmonton film festivals.
|Posted in Theatrical Releases|
September 13, 2011The last installment of Julien Temple’s trilogy of documentaries on British music of the ‘70s, OIL CITY CONFIDENTIAL, will finally be screening in Quebec. The series of screenings will begin with its Quebec premiere at the Film POP Festival in Montreal on September 24th, followed by a screening at the Quebec City Film Festival on September 28th and a theatrical release at Cinéma Parallèle from September 30th. This is a first documentary release for Evokative Films.
OIL CITY CONFIDENTIAL focuses on the band Dr. Feelgood, four men in cheap suits who crashed out of Canvey Island, UK, sandpapered the face of rock’n’roll and paved the way for punk rock. Featuring contributions from members of The Clash, Blondie and the Sex Pistols, OIL CITY CONFIDENTIAL sets out to explore this unique time, place and social landscape, all of which were responsible for shaping the identity of the band and defined the strange cultural vacuum which existed before the coming of punk rock. Dr. Feelgood was composed of the lead and singer Lee Brilleaux, Wilko Johnson at the guitar, John B. Sparks (aka Sparko) at the bass and John Martin (aka The Big Figure) at the drums. The pub rock band was formed in 1971 and became popular for their high-energy live gigs as well as the albums Down by the Jetty (1974), Malpractice (1975) and Stupidity (1976), which topped the UK charts.
Julien Temple is a famed documentarist who has concentrated its oeuvre on rock music. He is most known for SEX PISTOLS: THE FILTH AND THE FURY and JOE STRUMMER: THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN, the two other films of the trilogy. Rather than making standard “rockumentaries”, Julien uses the music as a prism through which he examines the social and cultural conditions of the times. The films share his characteristic cinematic language, an irreverent and anarchic style of montage or archive and fictive footage, which he pioneered in THE GREAT ROCK & ROLL SWINDLE. Other rock documentaries by Temple include GLASTONBURY and ROLLING STONES: AT THE MAX. He is now working on a five-part documentary series on cities and music. The first two ones, CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION, set in Rio, and THIS IS LONDON are filming this year. The next ones will explore Tijuana, Havana and Berlin.
OIL CITY CONFIDENTIAL won the Best Documentary Award at the 2011 Kermode Awards, the Vision Award at the 2010 Mojo Best Film Awards and the Cult Award for Best International Film at the 2009 Torino Film Festival. It has screened around the world, including the London, Stockholm, Dubai, Sydney, Karlovy Vary and Oldenburg International film festivals. Its Canadian premiere was at this past edition of Toronto’s Canadian Music Week.
|Posted in Theatrical Releases|
May 02, 2011DOWN TERRACE, an English dark comedy by Ben Wheatley, will be released on the Evokative Collection of DVDs this May 17th. This is the 10th release of the collection and its first in the English language.
Father and son Bill and Karl have just been released from jail, but all is not well at Down Terrace. Patriarchs of a small crime family, their business is plagued with infighting: Karl has had more than he can take of his old man's philosophizing and preaching; Bill thinks Karl's dedication to the family is seriously compromised when he takes up with an estranged girlfriend who claims to be carrying his baby; they have to explain the profit drop to the bosses in London and figure out who’s the mole who turned them in. It’s time to clean house. Recrimination, betrayal, murder and a spot of redecorating are quick to follow. Always remember: you’re only as good as the people you know.
DOWN TERRACE breathes new life into the gangster genre by mixing-up family drama in the style of Mike Leigh, The Sopranos’ gangster reality and the body count of a splatter flick, caught with a fly-on-the-wall camera.
The film, shot over only 8 days in Brighton, is a real family affair. The characters Bill and Karl are real life father and son Bob and Robin Hill. Karl’s girlfriend Valda is Robin’s wife Kerry Peacock. Down Terrace is really their family home. This is the first feature film for Brighton-based Ben Wheatley, after writing and directing many animated and live-action short films, sketches and advertisings (some can be seen at mrandmrswheatley.blogspot.com) and work on Channel 4’s Modern Toss and the BBC’s Time Trumpet, Comedy Shuffle, The Wrong Door and Ideal. His following feature film, KILL LIST, recently premiered at SXSW to much buzz. Ben Wheatley wrote DOWN TERRACE with Robin Hill and allowed space for improvisation by the cast, including Julia Deakin (Spaced), David Schaal, Tony Way, Micheal Smiley and Mark Kempner.
DOWN TERRACE won the Next Wave Award for Best Film at Fantastic Fest, the Raindance Award at the British Independent Film Awards, the Jury Prize for Best UK Feature at the Raindance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize Narrative Feature at the international Film Festival of Boston. The film played to acclaim at many film festivals around the world such as Rotterdam, Glasgow, Belfast, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Puchon, Perth, Melbourne and Espoo. In Canada the film was featured amongst the programming of the Fantasia and Vancouver International film festivals. Ben Wheatley recently won the Most Promising Newcomer Award at the Evening Standard British Film Awards.
The DVD features UK English dialogue with optional Québécois French and Spanish subtitles and English Closed-Captions. An Audio Commentary with Ben Wheatley and Robin Hill, Acting & Camera Tests, an Extended Scene, a Deleted Scene, a Special Effects Featurette, a previous Short Film also starring Bob and Robin Hill and set in the same house, and the Festival Trailer are included as extra features. The DVD packaging is an environmentally-friendly and elegant digipack made of 100% recycled materials and wrapped in a 100% biodegradable cellophane.
|Posted in DVD Releases|
How We Are All Responsible For Our Cultural Diversity, or, How Freakin' Hard It Is To Get Your Bums In A Theatre's Seat.
October 26, 2010Hey there friends and cinephiles,
Today I’d like to exchange on a very important subject with you, one directly related to Evokative’s very existence: Let’s talk about your interest in International films. It’s a bit of a long read, but I promise I get to a point.
For a long time, mostly when I was lining up for films at Fantasia and later on when I became part of the staff, I kept hearing the film fans complain about the lack of decent releases for International films, dissing the Bad Big Distributors who didn’t give the proper love to the titles they did pick-up and deploring all the great films that had been left on the side of the road after festival acclaim, because they had been deemed “Not Commercial Enough” by the Bad Big Distributors. I totally agreed on the discourse.
I thought, “Hey, isn’t there a market right here, film fans who are passionate about the art and want to see someone go out there and nurture these films? Wouldn’t they be happy about that and support that company that would go against the mentality of the Bad Big Distributors to be a Nice Small Distributor?”. Then I started out in the business and more seasoned folks would tell me how “courageous” I was to venture out in this type of film, and I would always reply with confidence that I knew that the audience was out there, it just never had been properly listened to.
So I went out and I started picking out films I thought were lacking in our cinematic landscape. I tried out many different countries and genres to see what would stick with you most. I cuddled the films for months, gave them festival plays to make sure it would start getting word of mouth as early as it could. When the theatrical release came around we would get (mostly) amazing reviews, stars abound, the texts stating these were one of the better film to see these days in the theatre. We would do all the bugging we could do on Facebook and via email to plead with you to please go see the film on the first week-end. I would bite my nails all of that week-end waiting for the box-office numbers on Monday morning. And then it would come, disappointingly low, with the news that the theatre would be cutting the film at the end of the week. There aren’t enough screens around and they can’t afford to keep an underperforming film in the hopes that the word-of-mouth will pick up. We would maybe get lucky and get a second week. Never a third.
Then I’d think that all is not lost, because at least all those publicity efforts would help the DVD release later on. We’d work for weeks to hunt down extra features, create the subtitles and design a collection-worthy digipack. All these things are much more expensive than a regular black-box release but I thought that it was worth it, to give the film the nice release it deserves. Then we’d work on selling the films and I realized quickly that the buyers of most videoclubs and retail locations don’t really care much about cinema. They sell apples and oranges and I was offering the passion fruit that might end up rotting on the shelves for looking too different. It’s too much of a risky purchase for most of them. So I set up a webstore to go around that wholesale-buyers-barrier and sell the films directly to you, at even better prices than what you would find in stores. Alas, sales have been much lower than expected there as well.
What happens when you underperform in sales? You lose money. Acquiring and releasing films is an expensive affair, even when you are careful with the costs. I was very lucky because I was given access to a personnal investment fund that allowed me to start the company. I could have bought a nice house, travelled around the world or pursued a higher education, but I decided to invest in my dream business. I was not planning on becoming rich, but I wasn’t planning on losing it all either. If I did, I could have just given it to a charity to better results in a worldly point of view. But I believed in the possibilities and throughout the last two years kept believing that if I wasn’t reaching the appropriate results, it had to be because I had not done my job well enough, I had not picked the right film yet or the company still had to be better known, and that things would work out better with the next film coming up.
A few days ago I went to a conference on distribution where one of the speakers talked about online marketing. He told us there are two way to look at our audience: its quantity, the number of people you “follow” you in the various medias; and the quality, the amount of people who will actually react to your news with an action, like commenting on a post or making a purchase. If the quantity is high and the quality is low, you have a problem because your audience is asleep at the wheel. And I confronted the truth I had been pushing aside for far too long: My company’s audience, you, are asleep at the wheel. I need to wake you up or the car’s gonna crash.
Here’s the sad truth: Most film fans are hypocrites. They like to complain about the sorry state of the International film industry, but when it comes to actually making the trip to the theatre in a timely fashion, or buying the DVD before it gets in the “15$ or less” bins at the store, they disengage themselves. It’s easy to complain about the lack of diversity in the theatres and state that we are in an era of blockbuster-based cultural stupidity. It’s less easy to make the efforts to actually do what it takes to keep the cultural economy alive.
So let me ask you: how much is a wide availability of quality International films important to you? If it’s very important, make the efforts: Don’t download. Go to the theatre on the first week-end and help spread the word about the film. Buy the DVD for your collection and tell your friends to rent it. We are in a free market economy. Your dollars vote. You are responsible for your cultural diversity. The same goes with the state of our wider economic, environmental and political issues. Nothing gets better if we don’t each make our own little effort. If it’s not so important to you in the end, then keep things as they are. I’ll end up closing my business as will many other independent distributors. We’ll find other things to do, don’t worry about us. But don’t ever, ever again complain about the poor offerings of the market, because you were partly responsible for its thinning.
I realize that most of those who will read this actually are the one who have been awake, listening and giving us your support. To those of you, thank you so very much. To the other ones, I ask you to please wake up now. If this note strikes a chord with you, you may share it with your network of cinephiles friends or even post it on your blog. Spread the word around. Comment on this note and let me know how right or wrong I am. Get in the discussion. I started this company for you, so I’d like to know who you are.
If you want to contribute to Evokative's survival, there are many things you can do: Go see DOWN TERRACE and DELIVER US FROM EVIL when they come to your city. If a release is not planned in your area, ask your local theatre to book the films. Rent our films at your local videoclub and if they are not available, ask the manager to buy them. Head over to our webstore and help us get rid of our inventory by actually owning one or a few of our titles. I promise you’ll have a good time with every one of them and they’ll look good in your library! I’ll even give you an extra 10% discount to be applied above our already existing discounts, just for reading this far (WAKEUP10).
For the love of film,
|Posted in In the Press|
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