Former THINKFilm executives David Hudakoc and Michael Baker have launched the Toronto-based distributor, one of several new players that are expected to arrive in the wake of the eOne-Alliance merger.
The goal is for levelFilm to release 10-12 “quality independent films” a years starting with Chen Kaige’s Caught In The Web.
The plan will balance platform theatrical releases with day-and-date digital.
Baker [pictured at right] and Hudakoc [pictured at left] will handle acquisitions together while Baker will oversee content development and Hudakoc will supervise distribution and marketing.
Caught In The Web will open in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto in October and expand into 15-20 major markets.
The contemporary ensemble drama centres on the story of a young woman with a terminal illness who becomes the victim of a viral internet campaign after she is caught on video mistreating an elderly bus passenger.
Yuanyuan Gao stars alongside Chen Yao, Mark Chao, Hong Chen and Xueqi Wang. Kaige co-wrote the screenplay with Danian Tang.
“I am excited to be working with levelFILM and having my film brought to North American audiences,” said Chen. “My film speaks to the dangers of a digital age and it is comforting to be working with a company that not only understands this message, but utilises the advantages of digital technology in its distribution.”
“We are thrilled to be working with Kaige on such a poignant and topical film,” said managing director Hudakoc. “It’s an honour to have the levelFILM journey begin with such an accomplished and talented filmmaker.”
“It’s an exciting time to be in this business”, said Hudakoc. “The market changes so quickly and continuously that we see an opportunity for an experienced, nimble and quick-to-act partner to provide producers and rights holders with quality execution to bring their films to audiences across all platforms.”
“THINKFilm afforded both Dave and I a tremendous amount of experience and allowed us to work on an incredible number of outstanding films,” added Baker. “We are confident in the opportunity that now exists to leverage traditional tactics with the advantages of new digital partners and bring a great story to a broader audience in this market, starting with Caught In The Web.”
Hudakoc most recently served four years at Alliance Films directing sales and marketing for the home entertainment division. Before that he oversaw North American theatrical marketing at Phase 4 Films and home entertainment marketing at THINKFilm.
Baker served as vp of acquisitions and development at THINKFilm and went on to consult on acquisitions for eOne and produced a number of films including Sacrifice and Penthouse North.
He started in 2008 at Bunk 11 Pictures, his independent production arm, which he will continue to operate.