Adam Beach Brings First-Run Hollywood Films to First Nations Audiences

Fox Searchlight

A pact between the "Big Love" star and Entertainment One will bring titles like Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" and Neil Burger's "Divergent" to an untapped market.

TORONTO -- Big Love's Adam Beach has pacted with Entertainment One to bring first-run Hollywood films to under-served First Nations communities, initially in Canada, ahead of forays into the U.S. market. 

Beach's Bandwidth Digital Releasing will use portable pop-up movie theaters, fitted with the latest digital projection and surround-sound systems, to bring titles like Neil Burger's Divergent, The Lego Movie and Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave to an August 11-13 run at the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, just north of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Jeremy Torrie, president and head of distribution at Bandwidth, a partnership with Beach and former broadcast executive Jim Compton, said digital technology is being harnessed to reach First Nation audiences with Hollywood and aboriginal films.

"They're starved of Hollywood films. We're looking at 2 million people who have not been seen as a target market. It's about the theatrical window," Torrie told the Hollywood Reporter.

Backed by movie titles from eOne, Bandwidth plans successive screenings from April 17-20 on the Norway House Cree Nation Reserve in Manitoba and on the Sandy Bay First Nation reserve from April 25-27.

Torrie added Bandwidth is in talks with southern U.S. state tribes, especially in Arizona and California, to bring still more first run movies to community screenings.

As in Canada, all profits will go to the Adam Beach Film Institute, which aims to encourage aboriginal youth to secure and sustain careers in film production and distribution.

"We don't just want to come in and take your money. We want to help you develop your stories, train your own people and create a legacy," Torrie explained.