Digital-entertainment executives Marc Hustvedt and Max Benator have formed Supergravity Pictures, a feature-film studio aiming to produce and distribute three to five full-length features and premium long-form specials per year featuring stars from YouTube and other digital venues.
Supergravity’s first project is “The Chosen,” which began shooting in Los Angeles on Monday. The supernatural thriller stars YouTube creator Kian Lawley, whose two YouTube channels have 2.8 million subscribers, along with Elizabeth Keener and Dayna Devon.
“The Internet has fundamentally changed the film business, particularly around distribution,” Hustvedt said. “We are building an entirely new kind of studio that will break more than a few of these old rules, putting audience above all else.”
Supergravity Pictures has received funding from private-equity firms and strategic investors; Benator and Hustvedt declined to disclosed their backers or the amount they’ve raised. The studio’s film slate financing is structured by American Entertainment Investors.
Benator is manager and producing partner for YouTube’s Fine Bros., who have landed TV deals with Nickelodeon and the Sundance Channel. Previously he was head of production and development for multichannel network Collective Digital Studio. Hustvedt produced feature film “Camp Takota,” starring top YouTubers Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart, which was released digitally earlier this year. He is also co‐founder of online-video trade publication Tubefilter and co‐founded and serves as executive producer for the Streamy Awards.
“The Chosen,” which has a placeholder website at thechosenmovie.co, is produced in partnership with Sunrise Pictures’ Terror Films. Terror’s Joe Dain, Jim Klock and Miles Fineburg are producing with Peter Schafer, Hustvedt and Benator serving as executive producers. Ben Jehoshua directs an original screenplay by Barry Jay Stich.
According to Benator and Hustvedt, Supergravity (whose website is supergravity.co) will be an Internet-first studio designed for “passionate audiences.” They duo are not ruling out theatrical distribution of the films but said their distribution strategy will focus on direct-to-consumer digital platforms rather than relying on traditional windowing.
“We’re using the Internet to scientifically identify our audience and make our product directly available to them, which includes the theatrical experience as well,” Benator said.
Supergravity’s entertainment legal is being handled by Phil Daniels of Ginsburg Daniels, with corporate legal handled by Donald Lee of LKP Global Law.