EXCLUSIVE: Gigi Pritzker and Clint Kisker’s MWM (formerly Madison Wells Media) has just completed an investment in Breakwater Studios, the digital short and documentary content company founded by CEO Ben Proudfoot. The Series A transaction expands MWM’s portfolio as it streamlines its operations under one company umbrella.
Co-founded in 2015 and then re-branded to reflect a different management approach, MWM is a diversified media and entertainment company that allows creators to cross-pollinate content between film, TV, live events, digital video and AR/VR in order to grow brands in an engaging way.
“I see eye-to- eye with Gigi’s approach to building a studio for the long-term, with a horizon stretching in decades, not quarters,” said Proudfoot. “My team and I are proud of the success we’ve had so far, and with MWM as a partner, we’re ready to take our work to the big leagues.”
Founded in 2012, Breakwater Studios most recently released the short documentaries Lost at Sea, the story of Bill Durden, a man who fell off his fishing boat 25 miles off the coast of Florida. It also was the company behind Kunstglaser which profiled the stained-glass master craftsman Norbert Sattler.
The company’s first feature documentary Rwanda & Juliet was about an English professor’s quest to stage a production of Romeo and Juliet in post-genocide Rwanda; that film was an official selection at the prestigious Sheffield Doc/Fest and the winner of Best Documentary at the Phoenix Film Festival in 2016.
The company also produced the short documentary series Life’s Work, which features the stories and oeuvres of various Canadian master craftsmen and women and earned Proudfoot a Best Director win at Raindance WebFest. Together, the work has also earned five Vimeo Staff Picks (and millions of views).
In addition to original content, Breakwater produces bespoke branded content for individual, governmental, and corporate clients, including Charles Schwab, Unity Technology, SyFy Network, and Annapurna Pictures.
“Ben (Proudfoot’s) vision for the future of the studio aligns wonderfully with our commitment to next level storytelling, and we’re eager to see what magnificent stories Breakwater Studios will share with the world,” said Pritzker.
The investment was advised by DNS Capital, representing the business interests of Pritzker and her immediate family. Board members include Proudfoot, President and CFO Richard Graham, DNS Capital Associate Emily Casey and veteran Canadian media executive Norm Bolen.
The transaction was negotiated by Latham & Watkins LLP on behalf of MWM, and by Raines Feldman LLP and Boyne Clarke LLP on behalf of Breakwater Studios.