Socially Conscious Screening Company Picture Motion Acquires Film Sprout

SCIENCE FAIR Still 1 - Sundance 2018 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

The companies have worked on non-theatrical screening series for titles such as 'Science Fair,' 'The Tale' and 'The Hunting Ground.'

Picture Motion, the company that provides non-theatrical screening experiences for sociocultural impact filmmaking, is expanding its reach with the acquisition of Film Sprout, a fellow screening company with a focus on doc films.

Most recently, Picture Motion organized more than 3,000 screenings of National Geographic's Science Fair for junior high and high schools students, with the purpose of increasing student interest in S.T.E.M. The company also worked with HBO's Laura Dern-starring The Tale and the nonprofit Stop the Silence, organizing a four-day training workshop to help illustrate the complexities of child sexual abuse.

"As the range of distribution options increase, attracting and engaging audiences to documentaries, independent films and series with important social messages is harder and more important than ever," said Picture Motion founder and CEO Christie Marchese. "But we have found time and again that communities want to organize around stories that matter to them. We believe that Picture Motion's leadership in impact strategies, combined Film Sprout's expertise in community engagement, will allow us to better meet that demand and be leaders in the industry."

Film Sprout, founded in 2008 by Caitlin Boyle, spearheads national screening tours for doc features. The company worked with Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick on the nontraditional distribution for the Oscar-nominated docs Invisible War and The Hunting Ground, coordinating hundreds of military and campus screenings for the films about sexual assault.

"The sale represents the next chapter in our 10-year journey to build a vibrant and viable infrastructure for grassroots distribution of independent film," said Boyle. "By joining forces with a broader scope of services to the industry, we will also continue to enhance the power of film to foster public engagement, civic dialogue and social equity in our communities."

Added Picture Motion president Wendy Cohen: "I've long admired Caitlin and her team at Film Sprout for their dedication to storytellers and social-issue films. Picture Motion's history of effective impact strategies, coupled with Film Sprout's passion for grassroots engagement and their screening host relationships, will allow more independent movies from new, diverse voices find and inspire audiences in unexpected places." 

Picture Motion and Film Sprout's first combined campaign will be for doc Roll Red Roll, an examination of the intersection of sexual assault and toxic masculinity through the lens of a notorious high school sexual assault case in Steubenville, Ohio, and Unlikely, a look at the college drop-out crisis. 

As part of the partnership, Film Sprout's Denae Peters has been named Picture Motion's director of impact distribution, overseeing the company's nontheatrical screenings and reporting to vp impact distribution Ellis Watamanuk.