EXCLUSIVE: GVN Releasing, the indie distributor with a focus on faith-based fare, has launched Forgiven Films, a new division that will aim to release wide-appeal movies from underserved voices. The company has tapped longtime Sony Pictures Home Entertainment exec Steven Belmont as president and already has its first film for the label, acquiring North American rights to Shine, the Anthony Nardolillo-directed Latin dance drama that stars David Zayas, Orange Is the New Black‘s Alysia Reiner and world-renowned dancers Gilbert Saldivar and Jorge “Ataca” Burgos.
GVN founder and CEO Geno Taylor said Belmont will head acquisitions for both GVN and Forgiven. The plan is to distribute 10-16 theatrical films each year, with a mix of day-and-date and 600-plus theatrical releases. The hunt is on for acquisitions, and the company will be active on the fest scene starting off at Toronto later this year.
Since launching in 2010, GVN’s releases have included I’m in Love With a Church Girl, Sister Code and Despite The Falling Snow. Its upcoming slate include Mario Van Peebles’ Armed and Nick Searcy’s Gosnell starring Dean Cain and Michael Beach.
“I am excited and proud to be in the GVN family,” Belmont said. “Forgiven Films will seek to provide content to hungry, underserved audiences and to champion quality indie films that fly under the radar.”
Shine, which won the audience award for best feature at last year’s Urbanworld Film Festival, will hit theaters nationwide in third-quarter 2018. The story revolves around two brothers (Saldivar and Burgos), once celebrated Salsa dancers, who are reunited years after the death of their father on opposing ends of a New York City in full-bloom gentrification. Nardolillo produced via his 13 Paces with Sandra Varona and in partnership with Sugar Studios LA and The Exchange.
“Shine is a timely narrative framed by Latin entertainment at its best,” Taylor said. “Its multi-platform marketability is the result of a passionate team of creators with a culturally unifying message, and we are proud to bring the film to audiences.”
The deal for Shine was negotiated by Belmont and Brian O’Shea from The Exchange on behalf of the filmmakers.