Magazine article Variety

New Player the Orchard Is Ripe for Indie Breakout

Magazine article Variety

New Player the Orchard Is Ripe for Indie Breakout

Article excerpt

WHEN PAUL DAVIDSON Of the Orchard boarded a plane for Park City last January, he knew he had to make a splash at the Sundance Film Festival. The company's senior VP of film and television scooped up five buzzy titles in Utah, including the raunchy sex comedy "The Overnight," starring Thylor Schilling and Adam Scott, which opens in selected cities on June 19. "It was a go big or go home scenario," Davidson recalls.

"The Overnight" will be a crucial test for one of the splashy new players in film acquisition. As attendance continues to drop, the indie business is a tricky one. Many titles are enthusiastically received at film festivals - just ask Paramount about Toronto's "Top Five" - only to be met with indifference by general audiences. But if "The Overnight" succeeds, it could help position the Orchard for the long haul.

In just six months, the distributor has transformed from a company that few in Hollywood had heard of to a formidable buyer. Davidson and his team of 30 (based in New York and Los Angeles) have landed films at all of this year's major festivals: SXSW (roadtrip drama "Lamb"); Tribeca (doc "Crocodile Gennadiy," set in the Ukraine) and Cannes ("Louder Than Bombs," beating out A24 and Magnolia for the Jesse Eisenberg-starrer). The Orchard doesn't specialize in any one genre, but Davidson says, "When you look at the slate of movies we picked up, we don't shy away from topics that are risque or tough to market. It sets our movies apart."

The distrib was founded in 1997 as a music distribution and sales company, and had been releasing straight-toVOD movie titles. …

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