Warner Into Urban DVDs27 Jul, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold
In yet another move to exploit the lucrative direct-to-video market, Warner Home Video is partnering with Film Life Inc. to distribute urban films on DVD.
The films will be distributed under the “American Black Film Festival” label. The film festival is owned by Film Life, a leader in independent black and urban cinema. The 10th annual festival has just concluded its four-day run in Miami, with more than 2,500 attendees.
Eva Davis, VP of targeted acquisitions and marketing for Warner Home Video, said the studio will leverage its multicultural marketing and sales expertise, previously focused on the Spanish-language market, to build unique campaigns for the movies distributed by the new label.
Plans call for at least four branded films to be released on DVD each year, beginning in the first quarter of 2007. Initial releases will be selected from American Black Film Festival entries, although later the selection process will be opened to all black and urban films deemed to be of film festival quality.
“These movies will allow African-American filmmakers to display their skills, talent and vision as well as enjoy the potential of being extremely successful in the DVD marketplace by providing retailers with a slate of appealing and relevant films that meet the needs of their diverse consumer base,” Davis said.
Jeff Friday, who founded New York-based Film Life in 2002, said his company's mission “has always been to make and market movies that go beyond the stereotypical portrayals of the black experience — films that enlighten and inspire, but also entertain.”
The move into urban films is Warner's third venture into building up its direct-to-video business.
In March, the studio announced its new “Raw Feed” line of edgy sci-fi and horror movies, produced exclusively for DVD release.
Last week Warner announced a deal with DC Comics to produce and distribute up to three feature-length animated DVD premieres a year based on such popular comic characters as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.