EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has acquired worldwide rights to documentary The Rise And Rise Of Bitcoin by putting its virtual money where its mouth is: The distributor sealed the deal in units of bitcoin and will sell the film online accepting the controversial “cryptocurrency.” The feature-length film examines the global currency that was created in 2009 as the future of digital transaction, as seen through the eyes of a computer programmer who becomes obsessed with all things bitcoin.
In The Rise And Rise Of Bitcoin, director Nicholas Mross tracks his own bitcoin-enthusiast brother from his Pittsburgh basement bitcoin-mining operation as well as other figures in the developing online movement. Despite its stigma as the preferred currency for internet criminals engaged in money laundering and black marketeering, bitcoin usage has transcended the tech community and entered the mainstream economy; Dell, Dish Network, and Expedia accept payments in the format, and today PayPal announced that it will accept it within a few months. So does the official Rise And Rise of Bitcoin website, where viewers can preorder the film for $12.99 in bitcoin, in addition to regular, old-fashioned credit cards. Gravitas Ventures tells Deadline its acquisition and release commitment on the film tallied over 500 BTC — or about $234,323 at current exchange rates. Coinbase, a bitcoin startup portrayed in the film, helped facilitate the acquisition transaction, which Gravitas is heralding as the first of its kind.
Ben Bledsoe, Patrick Lope, and Mross produced the film and debuted it at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Gravitas is plotting a limited NY/LA theatrical release on October 3 followed by a VOD/iTunes debut a week later. The film also will screen in Cleveland at the Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights, AKA Bitcoin Boulevard US, home to the country’s first organized bitcoin merchant community.
Said Gravitas President Michael Murphy: “When we saw this film at Tribeca, we knew that to do it right we had to be all-in. That meant buying the film with bitcoin, accepting bitcoin, going global with the film, and generally immersing ourselves in this growing community. We have really enjoyed working with Nick, Ben, Pat, and their team on the release of this film. They’re super sharp and engaged. No one can predict what Bitcoin will become over time, but it’s apparent that it will be a very interesting part of our 21st century history. This documentary couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.” Preferred Content’s Zac Bright and Kevin Iwashina negotiated the deal with Murphy on behalf of Gravitas.