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Four ‘Social First’ Movies Planned Under Indigenous, Gunpowder & Sky Pact

Variety logo Variety 6/1/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

Get ready for more movies made for viewers on Snapchat, Instagram and other social platforms.

Indigenous Media — the digital studio that produced horror movie “Sickhouse,” the first scripted film created for and distributed initially on Snapchat — has teamed with indie studio Gunpowder & Sky to jointly develop, produce and distribute four movies that will premiere on social media.

“Sickhouse,” starring Andrea Russett, generated more than 110 million views on Snapchat when it was released last year as a series of 10-second video clips (later edited into a 68-minute film distributed on digital platforms). Based on the results, Indigenous Media and G&S will focus primarily on the thriller genre, although execs say they will explore other genres.

The deal encompasses the previously announced sequel to “Sickhouse” that’s been in development at Indigenous. Under the deal, Gunpowder & Sky Distribution (the division comprising the former FilmBuff) will handle marketing and distribution for the four films.

“The Snapchat release of ‘Sickhouse’ is a testament to [Indigenous founders] Jon Avnet, Rodrigo Garcia and Jake Avnet’s ability to successfully experiment with storytelling and the way content is distributed,” said Gunpowder & Sky CEO Van Toffler, a former longtime Viacom and MTV exec.

Added Gunpowder & Sky president Floris Bauer, “We’re always looking for ways to take risks with new formats and new models for how to release and market content — whether it’s via social media, theaters, and/or through [video-on-demand] services.”

Jake Avnet, COO of Indigenous Media, said the deal with Gunpowder & Sky will bring the social-first film concept to a larger audience. “Millennials are clamoring for new types of native, digital content, and we can’t wait to deliver it,” he said.

Indigenous launched “Sickhouse” (pictured above) on Russett’s Snapchat channel and the Snapchat accounts of others in the cast — deliberately trying to blur the line between reality and fiction. (Some fans grew concerned that Russett was in real danger.) In the movie, Russett and a group of friends embark on an expedition to explore an allegedly haunted cabin on the outskirts of L.A.

Producing the four social-first films for Indigenous are Ben Fast, executive VP of development, and Kip Pastor, executive VP of production.

CAA brokered the deal between Gunpowder & Sky, which is backed by AT&T-Chernin Group’s Otter Media joint venture, and Indigenous Media, whose investors include WPP and the U.K.’s ITV.

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