Dustin Smith has been hired as VP of Theatrical Distribution to oversee Gravitas Theatrical. Gravitas Ventures says it will release 12 films a year under the new division, starting with Matthew Saville’s thriller Felony. Gravitas Ventures founder and CEO Nolan Gallagher announced the move today on the eve of the 2014 Sundance Film Fest. Smith will primarily be responsible for developing the distribution and marketing strategy for Gravitas’ theatrical releases, booking global, attending film fests and advising on acquisitions. Smith will report to Michael Murphy, President of Gravitas.
Smith joins Gravitas after nearly a decade at Roadside Attractions where he most recently served as VP, Acquisitions and Business Affairs. While at Roadside, Smith oversaw the acquisition and release of Winter’s Bone, and also worked on such releases as All Is Lost, Stories We Tell, Mud and The Cove.
“Dusty’s track record has been unmatched over the last decade,” said Gallagher. “His reputation as a good-humored relationship builder with an uncanny knowledge of independent cinema made him an ideal choice to shepherd our new in-house theatrical division.”
Gravitas’ first pic slated for release is Felony starring Joel Edgerton, Jai Courtney and Melissa George. Felony follows decorated cop Malcolm Toohey (Joel Edgerton) who has it all until a tragic mistake, and the resulting cover-up, endangers his job, family and even his freedom. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Gravitas plans a late summer theatrical release across North America. Felony, from Goalpost Pictures and Blue-Tongue Films, was produced by Rosemary Blight, Joel Edgerton and Michael Benaroya. Executive producers are Joel Pearlman, Lisa Wilson, Ben Grant, Seph McKenna, Myles Nestel, Craig Chapman, Ben Sachs and Logan Levy.
The deal for Felony was negotiated by Nolan Gallagher at Gravitas Theatrical and CAA on behalf of the producers. The Solution Entertainment Group is handling international.