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Alchemy Boosts Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival

Independent distribution specialist Alchemy has announced a trio of deals to boost its profile as the largest non-studio aggregator for Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Sam’s Club.

Alchemy has formed a strategic alliance with ARC Entertainment to distribute ARC titles and provide financial support for the growth of Geena DavisBentonville Film Festival as well as provide a larger framework for distribution of all titles — both physical and digital — that are associated with the festival.

Founded by ARC, Davis and Walmart, the Bentonville Film Festival launched its first edition in May with the theme of championing women and diversity. TriStar’s faith-based drama “War Room” opened the festival May 5 and Universal’s comedy “Pitch Perfect 2″ closed the festival May 9.

The deals also included the acquisition of the film distribution assets of ANconnect, the physical distribution arm of Anderson Media Corporation; and the acquisition of Anderson Digital, a digital distributor of feature films and television series.

Anderson Companies president and CEO Charlie Anderson will become an investor in Alchemy, and Freyr Thor will serve as Alchemy’s senior VP of product management.

The deals expand Alchemy’s content flow to over 1,300 films and more than 3,000 television episodes.

“These transactions allow us to close the gaps in our direct relationships with dominant retailers and exponentially grow our digital distribution capabilities globally,” said Alchemy topper Bill Lee. “Alchemy is now the industry’s leading champion of independent content.”

Alchemy new content partners including Bagdasarian Productions (owner of the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise); DreamWorks Animation’s nontheatrical and classics divisions (which includes sequels of DreamWorks properties such as “Shrek” and “Madagascar,” the “VeggieTales” franchise, as well as “Frosty the Snowman,” “Casper the Friendly Ghost” and “Rocky and Bullwinkle”); Ketchup; Microsoft; Team Marketing; Vertical; Well Go USA; and XLrator.

Alchemy made three acquisitions at Cannes — Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster,” starring Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and Lea Seydoux; U.S. distribution rights to Gaspar Noe’s sex-infused threesome drama “Love”; and U.S. right to Italian director Nanni Moretti’s comedy-drama “Mia Madre.”

Alchemy rebranded itself last year from Millennium Entertainment and has been acquiring rights this year to film festival titles such as Mitch Dickman’s marijuana documentary “Rolling Papers,” Antoine Bardou-Jacquet’s action-comedy “Moonwalkers” and post-apocalyptic thriller “The Survivalist.”

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