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AwesomenessTV is acknowledging the growing importance of its movie business with the launch of a film division, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The Brian Robbins-led digital media company has created Awesomeness Films and has hired Chapter One Films founder Matt Kaplan to build out the new division.
Kaplan will work closely with Robbins to release between 12 and 15 films for theatrical and digital distribution. Awesomeness Films is already in production on several projects and will look to produce and acquire additional young adult projects that combine traditional and digital talent.
“AwesomenessTV has made a major commitment to film production and we are looking to Matt with his strong track record in independent film to help us deliver on our very ambitious slate of films,” said Robbins.
Kaplan’s Chapter One Films, which he founded in 2013, had a first look deal with Blumhouse Productions during which he produced Akiva Goldsman‘s Stephanie and The Lazarus Effect starring Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass. He also produced Viral from directors Henry Joost and Ariel Shulman and 6 Miranda Drive starring Kevin Bacon.
He previously worked as a senior vp at Lionsgate Films, overseeing projects such as They Came Together starring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd. He also spent time at CBS as director of digital development.
As president of Awesomeness Films, Kaplan will be charged with producing projects that span budgets with an eye toward both limited and wide release.
ATV, which has filmmaking in its DNA thanks to founder and CEO Robbins (Varsity Blues), has built out a burgeoning film business over the last year following the release of Expelled in December. The film, which stars Viner Cameron Dallas, was No. 1 on iTunes following its release. Since then, ATV acquired Shovel Buddies, a 2013 Black List screenplay about four teenagers who set out one night to honor their deceased friend. Bella Thorne and YouTube creator Kian Lawley are set to star.
ATV also recently struck a deal with YouTube to release several films over the next two years. The films, which will star YouTube creators, will have their worldwide premiere on the Google-owned streamer before they are distributed elsewhere.
“At Awesomeness Films, we’re excited to take on material that traditional studios just aren’t making, and it’s helping us attract top-notch directors and talent to our projects,” Kaplan said. “Add in the formidable power of digital creators plus AwesomenessTV and we have an unrivaled ability to connect young adult audiences to feature films like never before.”
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