Syndicado Expands Distribution Business Into North American Theatrical Market (EXCLUSIVE)

International film and TV distributor Syndicado is expanding its operation into theatrical distribution, Variety has learned.

Toronto-based Syndicado founder and CEO Greg Rubidge announced that comedian Mark Phinney’s feature debut, “Fat,” starring Mel Rodriguez, will be the first title released under the expansion. The film, which was received warmly at it world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, is scheduled for a U.S. release on Dec. 1, followed by a North American VOD release on Dec. 15.

Since launching Syndicado six years ago, Rubidge has been working with numerous small and medium distributors, filmmakers and agents to increase their VOD revenues through the company’s partnerships with major VOD and SVOD outlets such as iTunes, Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, GooglePlay, inDemand and others.

Last year, the company’s theatrical release of Petra Costa’s award-winning documentary “Elena” in the U.S., and of two other titles in Canada, proved a successful test-run.

“We’re investing in this side of the business not just for the marketing boost it brings to VOD, but because we know there’s an engaged audience out there that wants to experience independent and documentary films in theaters,” explained Rubidge during a conversation at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. “Staff has been brought on to manage the new grass-roots theatrical division, we’ll be accessing the wider arthouse network across the U.S. and Canada, and will be looking to offer regional and event-type screenings of our titles.”

Rubidge founded one of Canada’s first interactive agencies in 1995, and planned and led the launch of several digital channels when he worked at Canada’s Corus Entertainment from 2003 to 2006.

Syndicado, which has offices in Toronto and the U.S., is now actively expanding its feature slate with titles for which it will acquire all North American rights.

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