Nesta/UKFC digital innovation programme - Part 2: Revolver Entertainment

Revolver Entertainment’s managing director Justin Marciano


Editor’s Note: ScreenDaily is running a year-long series following the progress of 12 film companies working with consultants on finding models to make money from digital in a UK Film Council/Nesta project called Take 12. Part 1 talked to onedotzero and Huge Entertainment. Now inPart 2, wetalk to Justian Marciano of Revolver Entertainment.

When Justin Marciano set up independent distribution company Revolver Entertainment in 1997, it was a very different climate. But then Revolver was also a very different company, specialising in branded content, and selling its products directly to consumers off the pages of magazines. Although as Marciano puts it ‘we sold an unbelievable amount of copies and it was how we got our break. ‘

12 years on, with titles such as Kidulthood, Tell No One, and Destricted on its books, Revolver is not only one of the most interesting distribution companies in the UK, but also one of the most innovative.

On Boxing Day last year, the company took the controversial decision to challenge the established releasing windows structure, by simultaneously bringing out the Microwave/Film London feature Mum and Dad (directed by Steven Shiel) theatrically, on DVD, VOD and pay per view.

And Marciano is planning to do the same with City Rats, Steve M Kelly’s film starring Danny Dyer which Revolver picked up ahead of its world premiere at Slamdance in January.

Another example of the company’s novel approach to marketing is its current promotion of the release of The Wackness on DVD. In a Willy Wonka style competition, the first 1000 copies of the DVD have a golden ticket in them, although the prize is a rather different trip - a weekend in Amsterdam with a gram of high class skunk or marijuana thrown in.

Revolver has also jumped on board the Film London/BBC Films/UK Film Council film, Freestyle, an urban feature film set in the world of ‘freestyle basketball’, to be directed by Kolton Lee.Not content with normal marketing strategies, Marciano and his team set up a competition - Search for a Star - to find young people to take roles in the film, through social networking site Bebo and the National Basketball Association of America (NBA). The cast are due to be announced imminently, and the film is due to shoot in two months time.

‘As one of the leading independents in the UK with a marketing-led strategy, Revolver Entertainment has shaken up the industry in recent years with a unique approach to managing releases, including the recent day-and-date release of Mum and Dad’, says Haidee Bell from Nesta.

‘This makes them well placed to lead the way in exploring the impact of digital distribution and we are thrilled to have them as one of the 12 companies taking part in the digital innovation programme,’ she adds.

Morgan Holt from digital consultancy firm HUGE Entertainment, who will be mentoring Revolver over the next year says: ‘We’re working with Revolver to enhance their ability to gain digital audiences on behalf of their rights holder partners. This will involve helping them understand the partnership options, helping them understand the points of leverage with digital outlets, and helping them develop a route to market that becomes additional to their traditional theatrical and DVD distribution.

We’re also helping them develop new marketing methods, by putting them in front of some of the best digital marketing people and giving them the opportunity to develop a top-class digital marketing strategy of their own.’

Click here for Q & A with Revolver’s managing director Justin Marciano