Film Presence co-founders Sara Kiener and Merrill Sterritt are joining Cinereach, the not-for-profit company and foundation that has supported more than 200 films since 2006, Variety has learned exclusively.
Recent Cinereach-produced films include “Salero,” “Teenage,” “The Cold Lands” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” which was produced with Court 13. It’s supported “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” “Evolution of a Criminal,” “Cutie and the Boxer” and “It Felt Like Love.”
Kiener and Sterritt are coming on board to pioneer the company’s expanding focus on audience and distribution strategies. The duo’s work at Film Presence focused on audience engagement for non-traditional theatrical releases through new online platforms and strategic community screening campaigns. Their clients have included Radius, Magnolia Pictures and A24.
“Innovative audience strategies are increasingly important as our films navigate the evolving distribution landscape,” said Philipp Engelhorn, Cinereach founder and executive director. “Sara and Merrill are at the forefront of the space and will greatly expand how Cinereach fulfills our commitment to filmmakers. We’ll be able to offer Cinereach-supported films more opportunities to reach audiences and add to the cultural conversation.”
While at Film Presence, Sterritt and Kiener worked on over 60 theatrical campaigns for films including “Citizenfour,” “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” “Call Me Kuchu” and “The Great Invisible.” They have helped client films raise over $1 million, including $340,000 for Don Cheadle’s forthcoming “Miles Ahead.”
Prior to Film Presence, Kiener was exhibitor relations manager at Magnolia Pictures. Sterritt previously managed the production assistance program at Women Make Movies.