EXCLUSIVE: The indie distribution game has a new player in Vertical Entertainment, a new full service content marketing and distribution company looking to shop this month at Cannes. Founders Rich Goldberg and Mitch Budin are industry vets with a combined 40 years at WB, DreamWorks, Vivendi, and Lightning Entertainment between them and have their first two initial pick-ups slated for summer theatrical releases. Rushlights with Josh Henderson, Beau Bridges and Aidan Quinn debuts on VOD and in limited release June 21. Hot Flashes stars Brooke Shields, Wanda Sykes, Virginia Madsen, Daryl Hannah, and Camryn Manheim and hits VOD June 14 followed by a July 12 limited release. Vertical’s plan is to release two features each month for theatrical, home video, and digital release with a focus on $5M-10M budgeted family fare and genre films with A-list casts. “There’s room in this space for a very nimble independent that’s going to focus on content that studios ignore and try to realize its potential to all the new platforms”, said Goldberg. He and acquisition exec Peter Jarowey will be in Cannes looking to fill out their slate.
Rushlights, directed by Antoni Stutz, follows Billy (Josh Henderson) and Sarah (Haley Webb), delinquent teenage lovers from the suburbs of LA, who travel to small town Tremo, TX to falsely claim a dead friend’s inheritance. Stutz and Ashley Scott Meyers penned the script. Rushlights is produced by Jeffrey Coulter, Gabriella Stollenwerck and Stutz. The deal was negotiated by Jarowey and Budin on behalf of Vertical Entertainment with producer Donald Zuckerman, Simon Horseman, and Lisa Romanoff of Vision Films representing the filmmakers.
Hot Flashes is about an unlikely group of middle-aged women who challenge the high school girls’ state basketball champs to raise money for a mobile breast cancer screening unit. Susan Seidelman directed from a script by Brad Henning. Nina Henderson Moore, Siedelman, and Henning produced. Jarowey and Budin negotiated the deal on behalf of Vertical Entertainment with Jose Martinez of Jones Walker and Henderson Moore on behalf of the filmmakers.