Coming Soon, an ongoing editorial feature from Playback,
highlights the distribution strategies for soon-to-be released Canadian
films. Here, we speak to Pacific Northwest Pictures’ Emily Alden, VP
production and development, and Lindsey Hodgson, PNP’s director of
distribution, about the strategy behind the platform release of October Gale.
The film: October Gale follows a
doctor named Helen (Patricia Clarkson) who is mourning the recent death
of her husband, and decides to spend some time on the remote island
cabin home they loved. A series of events leave her cut off from
civilization once she arrives to the cabin. A boat then washes up on
shore carrying a man who is unconscious and suffering from a gunshot
wound. Helen saves the man but then is left alone on the island with
this potentially dangerous stranger. The film stars Clarkson, Scott
Speedman and Tim Roth.
Production credits: Directed by Ruba
Nadda, the film is produced by Daniel Iron of Toronto-based Blue Ice
Pictures, with Myriad Pictures’ Kirk D’Amico, Killer Films’ Christine
Vachon and Pacific Northwest Pictures’ Emily Alden executive producing.
Distributor: Vancouver-based Pacific
Northwest Pictures is handling the Canadian distribution of the film in
the theatrical and post-theatrical windows. IFC Films has the U.S. distribution rights to October Gale.
Theatrical run: Prior to the theatrical run, the distributors began a pre-release strategy on October Gale
last fall via the TIFF Film Circuit in an effort to build a grassroots
audience for the film, said Emily Alden, VP production and development
at Pacific Northwest Pictures and Lindsey Hodgson, director of
distribution, in a joint interview. The distributor also used the same
strategy for Jason Priestley’s Cas & Dylan, which won the Film Circuit’s People’s Choice Award for best Canadian film in 2014.
A platform theatrical release for the film kicks off on
March 27, with runs in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal and more markets
to be added throughout April. The staggered release allows the film to
build word-of-mouth buzz, and marketing and PR efforts can be focused on
audience-building in expansion markets as time goes on, Alden and
Hodgson said. The distributor is also in discussions to include the film
as part of the Cineplex Event Cinema program in secondary markets.
Marketing: The distributor will be use
both digital and traditional media to promote the film, including
outdoor, TV, radio and print ads. A publicist is also working to secure
radio, TV and print interviews across the country leading up to the
theatrical release date.
Target audience: The target audience for
the film are cinephiles, indie film fans and Ruba Nadda fans. The film
has elements that can appeal to both male and female audiences, such as
the thriller and action aspects as well as the dramatic and romantic
sequences, said Alden and Hogdson.
Additional windows: After the theatrical release, October Gale will be available on on-demand channels across the country, iTunes and on DVD. After that, October Gale has an exclusive engagement on Movie Central and The Movie Network.
What makes this film unique? “It’s rare
to have a character-driven, intelligent thriller played by an amazingly
talented Academy Award nominated actress. There are also wonderful
supporting performances by Scott Speedman and Tim Roth. The
cinematography is stunning, supported by the backdrop of the Georgian
Bay,” Alden and Hodgson said in a joint statement.
Financing: The film received financial
support from Telefilm Canada, the OMDC, the Harold Greenberg Fund, the
Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, Movie Central, The Movie
Network, Myriad Pictures and Pacific Northwest Pictures. The budget for
the film came in around $5 million, producer Daniel Iron told Playback Daily.