As part of the deal, Starlings will establish a fund for film and TV development, also meeting co-financing and P&A commitments on projects shared with Kino.
To this point, Kino Industries has been best known for creating CtrlMovie, a “pioneering, interactive technology” allowing film and TV audiences to have real-time collaborative influence over the direction of a story and its characters. The first CtrlMovie production involving Starlings Entertainment will be Echo on Sunset (working title), a feature from BAFTA-winning director Tobias Weber (Late Shift), who co-founded Kino Industries and invented its “proprietary, patented film, streaming and gaming experience.”
Echo on Sunset is a life-or-death crime thriller set in Los Angeles, which blurs the lines between good and evil. The CtrlMovie audience acts as the moral compass of its protagonists, and is forced to navigate the shades of gray to find their own truth and act on their convictions in hopes of unlocking the best ending, without becoming the bad guy themselves.
Kino Industries CEO Chady Eli Mattar and President Scott C. Silver joined Starlings Entertainment CEO/Executive Producer Karine Martin to announce the partnership between their companies.
“Our entire focus over the past three years has been on rapidly building our television business into a global success, which has now afforded us the opportunity to re-enter the film world with like-minded partners poised for rapid growth,” Starlings’ Martin said. “Chady, Scott and Tobias bring to us their incredible vision, creativity and superior, game-changing, wisdom-of-the-crowd technology that will allow innovative film and TV content to flourish. It is a perfect fit.”
“We are extremely fortunate to enter into this broad-based partnership with Starlings at this time in our company’s evolution,” added Kino’s Mattar. “Karine is a true visionary, having built a forward-thinking company rooted in both strong business acumen and brilliant creativity. We are going to give it everything we have to unleash the full potential of CtrlMovie, merging entertainment and technology in a fantastic synergy that will engage the next generation of movie audiences – communally in theaters and at home or individually on personal devices.”
Kino’s pact with Starlings Entertainment comes on the heels of the latter company’s return to the film business, following its early success with Elton John biopic Rocketman. It also furthers Kino’s ambition of transforming from a technology company into “a next-generation entertainment powerhouse,” drawing on the power of interactive branched storytelling. Thus far, CtrlMovie has caught the attention of studios including 20th Century Studios, which has already licensed their tech to develop a Choose Your Own Adventure feature, as well as Paramount Pictures, which is in talks with Kino to produce and create features with CtrlMovie.
At the moment, Kino Industries is also working with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners on an interactive haunted house movie, to be directed by Alexandre Aja, from a script by Jeff Howard, Nick Simon and Aja. Kino’s Mattar and Silver will produce the picture, while Aja will exec produce alongside his longtime partner Greg Levasseur. Weber will also exec produce the project, which Jeb Brody is overseeing on behalf of Amblin.