Digital studio Supergravity Pictures and Ray William Johnson’s Mom & Pop Empire are coproducing a documentary aiming to shed light on how U.S. cable operators captured “monopolies” on TV service – and how they’re poised to do the same with broadband.
The currently untitled film will be hosted and narrated by Johnson (above left), who previously starred in YouTube comedy show “Equals Three.” Johnson and his producing partner Kaja Martin (above right) will produce, through their Mom & Pop Empire banner, along with Supergravity founders Max Benator and Marc Hustvedt.
“Cable monopolies have had this coming for a long time,” commented Johnson. Martin added, “There has been no better time in history to make a project so important to our generation.”
The chief target of the film is likely to be Comcast. The No. 1 cable operator’s pending takeover of Time Warner Cable has drawn fire from consumer advocates, who argue the deal would give Comcast undue market power. Comcast denies the deal is anti-competitive, claiming the merger will provide benefits to consumer and business customers. Meanwhile, the FCC has proposed changing its rules to presume cable operators are subject to “effective competition.”
Release date for the docu has not been set. In addition to coproducing, Supergravity will finance and distribute the film, planning an “event theatrical” release and a global digital release. Producers are meeting with potential directors this week and preproduction has begun in Los Angeles.
“Both as someone who’s constantly frustrated by the way we’re falling back into a consolidated, controlled media landscape and as a huge fan of Ray’s vocal, comedic take on the universe, I can’t wait to dive into this project and ultimately share it with a wide audience,” Benator said.
Supergravity was formed last year by Benator, manager and producing partner for YouTube’s Fine Bros., and Hustvedt, whose producing credits include “Camp Takota.” The studio is in postproduction on thriller “The Chosen,” starring YouTube creator Kian Lawley, and is set to release buddy comedy “Man Up” with Justin Chon and Kevin Wu.
Johnson and Martin’s Mom & Pop Empire most recently produced indie feature film “Manson Family Vacation” with Mark and Jay Duplass (“Togetherness,” “Transparent”), which premiered at South by Southwest and was acquired by Netflix. This year, the duo released two online shows, “Booze Lightyear” and “Top 6,” and are developing a feature film starring Johnson and a long-form scripted series based on “Booze Lightyear.”