Cheryl Freeman

Allumination scores direct account with Walmart

Company: Allumination FilmWorks

Title: CEO

Leadership: Freeman, a former VP of finance at Unapix and Artisan, founded a small homevid company called Ardustry back in September 2002.

Over the next several years, Ardustry steadily built a respectable catalog of feature films and special interest titles, hitting a few “triples,” according to Freeman, with releases like “Oxygen,” a 1999 Adrien Brody film that Ardustry managed to turn into a 700,000-unit DVD seller.

Things began to get bigger for the Woodland Hills, Calif.-based company in March 2005, following its purchase by veteran TV execs Jeff Sagansky and Kerry McCluggage; the name of the outfit was changed to Allumination FilmWorks, and its scope was broadened out with international TV sales.

Then, last year, the company was acquired by the U.K.’s ContentFilm; Sagansky and McCluggage assumed the roles of chairmen, with Freeman taking on the title of CEO.

Now the subsidiary of a company traded on the London stock exchange, Allumination is poised for luminescent growth — in fact, ContentFilm already kicked in $7 million to help Allumination acquire its own rackjobber, UAV, which allowed the distrib to establish its own direct account with Wal-Mart.

Meanwhile, Allumination continues to add to a library thick in family- and faith-friendly programming, while looking for the next big kids-market breakout — it acquired vid rights to the brown, blobbish Japanese character Domo at last month’s Licensing Show, for example.

POV: “Right now, we’re releasing about two features a month, as well as two to three special-interest titles,” notes Freeman, who says the company has no plans to dive into full-scale production of any kind. “We have three acquisitions people, as well as myself and Kerry, and we’re constantly looking for product.”

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