What does a global studio for the digital age look like? According to Floris Bauer, co-founder and President of Gunpowder & Sky, it looks quite a lot like a Hollywood studio — owning production, marketing and distribution. And so, G&S has acquired FilmBuff, a global distributor helmed by Janet Brown, to serve as its distribution division aptly “Gunpowder & Sky Distribution.”
The terms of the deal were not disclosed but Bauer tells VideoInk that he was drawn to FilmBuff because of its proven chops as a distributor of indie films globally, but also for its early plays in digital distribution for companies like Vice, YouTube, Conde Nast Entertainment, Mashable. FilmBuff also recently handled worldwide distribution for Rooster Teeth’s “Lazer Team.”
“We’re not a traditional studio but what we learned from a traditional studio [is that] there is a huge benefit for scaling marketing and distribution arms,” said Bauer. “We want to position ourselves as being the digital first distributor. We want to represent third party content and we want to better monetize our own content.”
Over the course of the last year since launching Gunpowder & Sky, Bauer and team have been on an aggressive acquisition and investment path — of both content and companies — to achieve the vision of a digital-first studio focused on short form to feature-length formats. Finding a distributor equipped to sell its slate as well as third party content was a final key piece.
“It was a no-brainer for FilmBuff to join forces with a revolutionary studio that brings the same appetite for innovation and creativity to content creation that we bring to content marketing and distribution,” said Janet Brown, who has taken the title of EVP of Gunpowder & Sky Distribution.
But, proof the model Bauer is building can work has yet to truly be realized. Despite its investments or strategic partnerships with Cut, Shareability and Supergravity and a budding slate of projects (”Drawn & Recorded” and “Eat, Brains, Love” book adaptation), G&S projects have yet to be released, marketed and distributed on a global scale.
Bauer notes that while the pieces are in place the company is still ramping up its content and production to be able to fully execute against the vision.
“We have a lot of projects in development and production but we’ll start to work a lot more with third-party producers,” he said. “We can provide and invest in other people’s projects through finishing funds, or co-developments and co-productions.”
And the goal is for FilmBuff / G&S Distribution to see projects through the marketing and first window distribution domestically including limited theatrical releases and US SVOD as well as secondary windows internationally.
A fine idea in theory, another in practice as windowing in a digital age continues to take shape.
“We see opportunities, especially in the international market and second windowing, as well as packaging multiple series for distribution. So how can you create more interesting packaging around short to mid-form content and package larger slates of programming — that’s how we’re thinking about it.”