Change expected after Fox Searchlight pressure

CANNES — Feature distribution services outfit SearchParty Films, which launched at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, has changed its name to Outrider Pictures and has secured a second round of financing from Park City, Utah-based DreamWeaver Film Investors.

The name change was anticipated after Fox Searchlight pressured the nascent company to alter its moniker, claiming that the similar names caused confusion and allowed SearchParty to benefit from a wrongly assumed association with Fox.

The SearchParty name had been in use since 1997, when Larry Estes joined ShadowCatcher Entertainment to create SearchParty’s earlier incarnation as a low-budget financing/mentoring program for fledgling filmmakers.

“Changing SearchParty Films’ name to Outrider Pictures is an auspicious moment for us in that an outrider by definition is an explorer who goes way beyond others to seek out what hasn’t yet been discovered,” said Estes, who serves as Outrider’s co-chairman along with Scott Rosenfelt.

Said DreamWeaver manager Brad Bond, “DreamWeaver was so impressed with the management and mission of Outrider that we decided to take the entire second round of financing ourselves. Outrider is the only company in the entertainment industry in which we have sufficient confidence to invest in at this time.”

DreamWeaver Film Investors is a division of DreamWeaver Ventures, of which Bond is a co-founder. It includes the nonprofit DreamWeaver Foundation.

Outrider recently opened a sales and business affairs office in Los Angeles, headed by Kjehl Rasmussen, and a theatrical distribution office in Gotham, headed by Richard Abramowitz.

Later this year, Outrider plans to release Ed Radtke’s “The Dream Catcher,” Philip Kan Gotanda’s “Life Tastes Good” and Stacy Cochran’s “Drop Back Ten.” As producer reps, they are currently looking for a worldwide deal on Jonathan Parker’s “Bartleby,” which opened Gotham’s New Directors/New Films this spring.

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