TORONTO/Barbados – News that CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution has partnered with a US-based marketing and distribution firm to promote and sell Caribbean films, has received a thumbs up from two of the region’s well-known filmmakers.
“I think this is great news for independent filmmakers,” says Mitzi Allen of independent film and TV production company, HAMAfilms Antigua. “Caribbean Tales is giving hope to all of us that we can reach our intended audience wherever they are.”
Barbara Blake Hannah of the Jamaica Film Academy says “I think the more links regional films have with international distributors, the better. I hope for the day when Caribbean films get distribution through mainstream companies, especially global cable TV and the Hollywood film industry. Till then, every effort counts.”
CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution, the first film distribution company in the English-speaking Caribbean and New York-based Autonomous Entertainment Inc., entered a long-term partnership to promote and sell Caribbean films and television programs worldwide. Under the terms of the agreement, Autonomous Entertainment will handle CTWD’s acquisitions, and help with sales, marketing and outreach of CTWD’s catalogue in the US and around the world. In addition, CTWD and AEI will collaborate on a number of planned special releases and events featuring Caribbean filmed content over the coming months and years.
AEI is led by CEO Michelle Materre, a veteran of the independent film distribution and marketing business. In 1991, as co-founder and Vice President of KJM3 Entertainment Group, Michelle oversaw the theatrical distribution of Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, the first film by an African American female director to be released theatrically in the United States.
Since then she has held management positions across the industry including Curator of the Channel Thirteen/WNET series Reel New York, Executive Director of International Film Seminars at the Robert Flaherty Film Seminars, Associate Director at Women Make Movies, and Director of Distribution for Third World Newsreel. She is the founder and curator of the Creatively Speaking film series at BAM cinematek. In 2009 she formed Autonomous Entertainment with Head of Operations Cedric Beasley and Head of Production Paul Gennaro to bring greater visibility to independent film, illustrating how entertaining and informative work can also be commercially viable, high quality and low cost without compromise.
“We are very pleased to be working with AEI,” says CTWD’s CEO Frances-Anne Solomon, “It makes a lot of sense because of the many synergies we share. Michelle’s experience in marketing and distributing films in the US that are specifically targeted to our markets is invaluable to us. It is a partnership that will provide both CTWD and AEI with immediate growth opportunities in the US and worldwide through our combined networks.”
Michelle Materre says: “We are thrilled to form this unique partnership with CTWD, and are committed to bringing the work of Caribbean filmmakers to as broad an audience as possible. I am certain that this collaboration with CTWD, combining community engagement with new technologies, will set a groundbreaking model for how distribution works in the very near future. We look forward to all the possibilities.”
About CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution:
Established in May 2010, CTWD is a full service marketing and distribution company that acquires exclusive, long term rights to Caribbean-themed content for television, educational, home entertainment and Internet distribution. The company also holds marketing events through the CaribbeanTales Film Festival Group, and provides co-production services to producers. Positioned to become the go-to solution for producers and buyers seeking quality content, CTWD is led by Frances-Anne Solomon, founder and Chief Executive Officer, with other principals including Creative Industries specialist Dr Keith Nurse (Chair), celebrated economist Dr Terrence Farrell, Producer Lisa Wickham, and filmmaker Mary Wells. The organization was launched internationally with a Market Development Program for Caribbean producers during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, and already holds the rights to almost 40 projects. CTWD is a member of the Barbados Business Enterprise Corporation that provides Seed and Venture Capital Services.
About goldenmedia Montserrat
goldenmedia Montserrat is a public and media relations firm that has been working with young entrepreneurs in the creative arts and the non-profit sector in the Caribbean for more than five years. Its flagship brand is trulycaribbean.net, which is a web portal that celebrates the work of Caribbean people, and provides information and resources to boost spirit, mind and body.
Photo Captions: (1) Michelle Materre, CEO of Autonomous Entertainment Inc.
(2) Mitzi Allen, Independent film and TV producer for HAMAfilms Antigua.