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Smallwood Takes Helm at Spectrum

11 Jan, 2002 By: Joan Villa

Video veteran Jerry Smallwood has been around the block in nearly two decades at Coliseum Video and A-Pix Entertainment. But his newest venture as c.e.o. of New Jersey-based Spectrum Entertainment Products is a labor of love that he hopes will marry his flare for marketing with a distinctive line-up of movies.

"You're going to see a very unique way of marketing titles," Smallwood says. "That's one thing I've learned from A-Pix is innovative packaging and the importance of that to the consumer and to renting independent titles. We've taken that to the next level with an innovative presentation to the retail community."

Smallwood signed on to revitalize Spectrum domestically and internationally, while spearheading acquisitions of innovative fare and launching a new production arm that will bring a handful of films to video sometime next year. In addition, Spectrum begins this month offering its 100-title library for the first time on DVD at a budget-priced $14.98 suggested retail price, including Meet the Feebles, from Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, and Dingo, featuring jazz trumpeter Miles Davis in a rare acting role.

Also this year, he and Spectrum president Yvette Hoffman plan four new releases a month for the company's three labels: Spectrum, geared to "edgy" independent films; Dead Alive Productions, for "campy" cult horror; and the new Vision Factory line of more "mainstream, theatrical-type films," he says.

All will carry flat pricing of $54.99 suggested retail for VHS and $24.99 for DVD, with minimum purchase requirements or copy depth programs bringing retailers' VHS price to under $40 from distribution, he says.

The first Vision Factory titles, due out in March, are The Perfect Heist, a thriller, and Embalmer, an urban horror film with an African American cast touted in fanzines like Fangoria, he says. Spectrum Films will release An Intimate Friendship, an award-winning lesbian film, while Dead Alive Productions will feature Flesh Hunters, described tongue-in-cheek as a "flesh-eating alien invasion movie."

With titles like Biker Zombies from Detroit—the next installment from Dead Alive—Smallwood hopes campy tag lines such as "In Detroit, no one cares if you scream" will draw attention and build consumer brand awareness for the genre line.

"We want people when they see the product to get a little bit of a smile and say, ‘I gotta see this movie,'" he says.

Vision Factory, on the other hand, will focus on theatrical-quality films that may have niche interest or film festival notoriety. A Packing Suburbia, for example, due in April, won film festival awards and received press coverage in New York, Smallwood notes.

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