Veteran distributor Susan Jackson, who co-founded indie film distribution label Freestyle Releasing in 2004, died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 54. The UK-born Jackson dove into the distribution game after serving in exec positions in sales, acquisitions and marketing at the Samuel Goldwyn Co, Vestron, Goodtimes, BMG/Bertelsmann, Sony and the BBC. She headed BMG Independents, snagging rights to indie titles for BMG’s North American Video and DVD collection.
In 1999, she founded independent sales company Turtles Crossing in Los Angeles. Three years later, she became more directly involved in filmmaking as executive producer of Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever, which she helped finance and sold to Lionsgate out of the Toronto Film Festival. Similarly, she helped finance, co-produce and sold the Juno Temple starrer Dirty Girl in 2010 out of TIFF.
Jackson co-founded Freestyle Releasing in 2004 with partner Mark Borde, and the company went on to successfully releases such titles as The Illusionist, The Haunting Of Molly Hartley, Bottle Shock and Me And Orson Welles. In 2010 she negotiated direct deals with VOD, SVOD and AVOD outlets to add film and TV projects for VOD to the company’s vaults for new distribution offshoot Freestyle Digital Media. Freestyle began this year with the faith-based hit God’s Not Dead and most recently opened the Nic Cage actioner Left Behind, which is in theaters.