Gravitas Ventures and First Run Features announced today a comprehensive licensing arrangement that will allow
dozens of films from First Run Features to be enjoyed by movie lovers across North America on Video on Demand (VOD). Key titles included in the deal are theatrical films Man on a Mission and American Teacher, and as well as titles from the First Run Features library including Orgasm Inc., Plastic Planet and Secret Things.
Pact will allow First Run Features to release select films in theaters while Gravitas distributes simultaneously or “day and date” in 100+ million Video on Demand homes. First title to be released in this fashion is the Mike Woolf documentary Man on a Mission, which opens in theaters January 13, 2012. Man on a Mission, which won an audience award at the 2010 SXSW film festival, examines renowned video game visionary Richard Garriott as he follows in his astronaut father’s footsteps to travel in space.
As part of the arrangement, numerous titles from First Run Features with play in the Documentaries On-Demand offering that Gravitas Ventures programs monthly for dozens of North American cable, satellite and telco providers. Designed to satisfy the growing demand for high-quality nonfiction content, Documentaries On-Demand will highlight recent critically-acclaimed works delivered to a viewer’s home soon after a theatrical release or film festival debut.
“For over 30 years, First Run Features has made renowned independent film accessible to a wider audience” said Nolan Gallagher, founder and CEO of Gravitas Ventures. “This key relationship will allow us to offer even more ground breaking films to our cable, satellite, telco and online VOD partners.”
“We want people to continue to be able to see our films on whatever technology is most comfortable to them. While the methods of viewing a film often change, the effect of a great movie remains the same.” said Seymour Wishman, president of First Run Features. “Through this collaboration with Gravitas Ventures, First Run Features can provide filmmakers with one point of contact on projects looking for a theatrical, DVD and VOD release.”
First Run Features titles covered in the Gravitas Ventures collaboration include:
 Man on a Mission – Best known as the father of early computer RPGs like Ultima and Tabula Rasa, Richard Garriott always wanted to follow in his astronaut father’s footsteps. But when eye problems made a career at NASA impossible, he turned to private space travel to make his dream come true. Man On A Mission captures everything from Garriott’s training in Russia, to his launch aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, life aboard the International Space Station, and his capsule’s fiery re-entry to Earth.

 American Teacher – As the debate over the state of America’s public school system rages on, one thing everyone agrees on is the need for great teachers. Yet, while research proves that teachers are the most important school factor in a child’s future success, America’s teachers are so woefully underpaid, in some states, that almost two thirds must divide their time between a second job in order to make a living. Chronicling the stories of five teachers in different areas of the country, American Teacher, narrated by Academy Award winner Matt Damon, reveals the frustrating realities of today’s educators, the difficulty of attracting talented new teachers, and why so many of our best teachers feel forced to leave the profession altogether. But this wake-up call to our system’s failings also looks at possibilities for reform. Can we re-value teaching in the United States and turn it into a prestigious, financially attractive and desirable profession? With almost half of American teachers leaving the field in the next ten years, now is the time to find out.

 Orgasm Inc. – Explores the strange science of female pleasure and in the process reveals the warped mentality of our pharmaceutical and medical industries. Director Liz Canner embarks on a nine year odyssey as she follows the companies who are racing to be the first to win FDA approval for a product to cure “female sexual dysfunction.” The prize: billions of dollars in profits. Featuring illuminating footage and interviews with activists, doctors and medical experts, Orgasm Inc. will change the way you think about sex.

 Plastic Planet – We live in the Age of Plastic. It’s cheap, it’s practical, and it’s everywhere –from the highest mountains to the hottest deserts, from the North Pole to the South Pole. It’s even part of us – inside out blood. Should we be worried? In Plastic Planet, director Werner Boote takes us on a journey around the globe – from the Moroccan Sahara to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, from a factory in China to the highest peaks of the Alps – to reveal the far-flung reach of plastic. Interviews with the world’s foremost experts in biology, pharmacology, and genetics shed light on the perils of plastic to our environment and expose the truth of how plastic affects our bodies…and the health of future generations.

 Secret Things – Two young women discover the power of sex to get what they want in the male-dominated business world. Nathalie, a performance artist-stripper, instructs her new friend, the beautiful but inexperienced Sandrine, on the art of seduction. Without delay they put their skills to the test at a Parisian bank, where both rise to the top. But they meet their match in the ruthless son of the bank’s president — a vain, unbridled, power-hungry monster.