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PBS & PBS Distribution Announce Plans to Expand Theatrical Distribution Efforts for Independent Film

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Erin Owens (left) and Emily Rothschild (right)

Tap Distribution and Acquisitions Execs Erin Owens and Emily Rothschild

Arlington, VA – January 19, 2017 – Today, PBS and PBS Distribution (PBSd), the leading media distributor for the public television community, announced they will together broaden their ongoing support of independent film and filmmakers by greatly expanding their theatrical distribution efforts for independent film, as well as expanding non-theatrical sales. To help lead this effort, seasoned distribution and acquisitions executives Erin Owens and Emily Rothschild, previously of Long Shot Factory, will join PBS Distribution as Head of Theatrical Distribution and Director of Theatrical Acquisitions and Marketing, respectively.

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, building on successful recent theatrical campaigns, including Stanley Nelson’s THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION, PBS and PBSd will be looking to acquire theatrical and non-theatrical rights along with Home Entertainment and VOD rights, in joint partnerships with public media’s WNET, WGBH, ITVS, and POV, with a goal of acquiring and releasing up to six feature-length documentaries a year to engage new audiences and broaden the discussion on important stories and issues.

Beth Hoppe, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, said, “PBS is the home of the best in independent film, and we are pleased to be working with PBS Distribution to expand our efforts to bring this important work to new audiences in theaters and on television and digital platforms.”

Andrea Downing, PBS Distribution Co-President, commented, “We are thrilled to add Erin and Emily to our team. Their extensive experience designing, managing and implementing theatrical campaigns, including festival and non-theatrical strategies, will further enhance what PBS Distribution and our partners can offer to filmmakers and help bring films to a much wider audience.”

Owens and Rothschild, through their company Long Shot Factory, worked with PBSd and PBS to direct the theatrical release of Stanley Nelson’s THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION prior to its February 2016 broadcast. The film, which screened in more than 65 cities nationwide, became the highest-rated INDEPENDENT LENS program ever and the most-tweeted about program in PBS’ history. Owens and Rothschild also handled the release of the recently Academy Award-shortlisted and critically acclaimed documentary COMMAND AND CONTROL, by Academy Award nominee Robert Kenner, on behalf of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Owens and Rothschild are currently handling the release of Barak Goodman’s OKLAHOMA CITY, set to premiere at Sundance in the “Documentary Premieres” section, in theaters on February 3, and airing as part of the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE series on PBS on February 7.

Owens and Rothschild, who began working together at THINKFilm, have collaborated for a decade at various companies, including Long Shot Factory, Arthouse Films and Cinedigm/New Video. While at Arthouse Films, they released Lucy Walker’s Academy Award-nominated film WASTE LAND. At Cinedigm/New Video, Rothschild acquired a variety of acclaimed documentaries, including Kirby Dick’s THE INVISIBLE WAR and Danfung Dennis’s HELL AND BACK AGAIN, both of which garnered Academy Award nominations. Owens released the latter through her company Long Shot Factory, on behalf of New Video. Owens was also part of the production teams behind the Academy Award-nominated documentary CARTEL LAND and acclaimed doc THE PUNK SINGER.

"We've long admired the work that PBS and PBSd have done to support independent filmmakers and bring new audiences to this work," said Owens and Rothschild. "We look forward to joining the team and to leveraging our background in film distribution to help expand the audience and conversation for independent films from PBS and its public media partners."

About PBS
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About PBS Distribution
PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally, extending the reach of programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system and production partners. PBS Distribution offers its customers a diverse range of programming, including Ken Burns’s films, documentaries from award-winning series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, and dramas from MASTERPIECE, as well as films from independent producers and popular children’s programs. As a multi-channel distributor, PBS Distribution offers consumers high-quality content in multiple formats including DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and digital streaming. PBS Distribution is also a leading source for factual content for international broadcast, cable and satellite services.

Contact:
Jennifer Rankin Byrne, PBS
703-739-5487 office, 202-257-6495 mobile
jrbyrne@pbs.org

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