×

Gunpowder & Sky Acquires FilmBuff Indie Film Distributor

Gunpowder & Sky, the digital content studio launched by Van Toffler and backed by AT&T and Chernin Group, has acquired independent content sales and distribution company FilmBuff.

Financial terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. New York-based FilmBuff, founded in 2008, has been an early mover in digital distribution and has expanded into digital-first content in recent years. FilmBuff will be rebranded as Gunpowder & Sky Distribution, and will be led by FilmBuff CEO Janet Brown in her new role as executive VP of distribution.

“Now we have development, production, marketing and distribution – it’s a full panoply of services for independent creators,” said G&S chief Toffler, formerly CEO of Viacom Media Networks Music Group and a longtime MTV exec. “Now we have an arm that will let us sell stuff around the world, and not only our own stuff, but also for to the Fullscreens, Vices and Mashables.”

According to Toffler, the acquisition of a distribution firm like FilmBuff was part of Gunpowder & Sky’s original business plan when he teamed with AT&T, Chernin Group, and ex-Endemol strategy head Floris Bauer in late 2015. “We felt that as we were going into production on content, we wanted to optimize distribution for that content,” he said.

Popular on Variety

FilmBuff’s owners included indie veterans John Sloss (“Boyhood,” “Boy’s Don’t Cry”), who co-founded the company, as well as Jeff Sagansky, Todd Wagner and Gigi Pritzker. The company’s library of 1,500 titles include “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” “Senna,” “The House I Live In,” Jared Leto’s “Artifact,” “Burt’s Buzz,” “The Internet’s Own Boy,” “CodeGirl” and “The Invitation.”

On the digital front, FilmBuff worked on the Duplass brothers’ series “Wedlock” and Vulcan Productions’ short-form initiatives “We the Economy” and the upcoming “We the Voters.” The company has also partnered with digital media companies including Vice Media, YouTube, Conde Nast Entertainment and Mashable, and recently handled worldwide distribution for Rooster Teeth’s “Lazer Team.”

“I am thrilled to be part of Gunpowder & Sky, which has positioned itself to be a forward-looking studio that takes risks with new creators, formats and content,” Janet Brown said in a statement. “It was a no-brainer for FilmBuff to join forces with a revolutionary studio that brings the same appetite for innovation and creativity to content creation that we bring to content marketing and distribution.”

FilmBuff’s 15 employees, based in New York and L.A., are joining G&S, bringing the company staff to about 25 total, according to Toffler.

Gunpowder & Sky’s recent deals include the launch of animated series “Drawn & Recorded” on Spotify in partnership with T Bone Burnett, animator Drew Christie and music TV producer Bill Flanagan, as well as developing the film adaption of Jeff Hart’s “Eat, Brains, Love” and Sarah Benincasa’s “DC Trip,” in partnership with Adaptive Studios and Bona Fide Productions.

G&S also has closed investments and strategic partnerships with digital studios Cut (“100 Years of Beauty,” “Grandmas Smoking Weed”), Supergravity (“The Chosen,” “Gaby Baby”), and branded-content viral video specialist Shareability.

Pictured above: Gunpowder & Sky CEO Van Toffler, FilmBuff CEO Janet Brown

More Digital

  • Apple-Coronavirus

    Apple Warns of Sales Shortfall for March Quarter, Blaming Coronavirus Outbreak

    Apple said the spread of the coronavirus in China has disrupted iPhone manufacturing and driven down sales in the country. As a result, the tech giant said it now expects to undershoot the revenue guidance it previously provided, of between $63.0 billion and $67.0 billion its fiscal 2020 second quarter (which ends March 28). “Work [...]

  • Jeff Bezos

    Jeff Bezos Forms $10 Billion Fund to Fight Climate Change

    Multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person, announced a $10 billion fund to invest in projects that will combat the alarming trend of climate change. The Amazon founder and CEO announced the formation of the Bezos Earth Fund in an Instagram post Monday (Feb. 17).⁣⁣⁣ According to Bezos, the fund will begin issuing grants this [...]

  • Jake Paul

    YouTuber Jake Paul Launches Entrepreneur How-To Platform, Financial Freedom Movement

    YouTuber Jake Paul wants you to be financially free, for $19.99 a month.  At a rally on Saturday, the content creator — along with influencer friends and around 50 teenage and tween-age fans, some chaperoned by parents — launched the Financial Freedom Movement (FFM) in partnership with GenZ Holdings Inc., a Los Angeles-based brand development [...]

  • HQ Trivia

    HQ Trivia Live Game App Shuts Down

    After a two and a half years, HQ Trivia — the live game-show app that gave away cash prizes to winners — is shutting down. HQ Trivia’s move to shut its doors was first reported by CNN. The company is laying off its 25 full-time staffers, according to the report. In a tweet Friday, CEO [...]

  • Golden Mics - The Podcast Academy

    The Oscars of Podcasting? First 'Golden Mics' Awards to Debut in 2021

    The burgeoning podcast biz is looking for its own version of the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys. On Friday, a group of podcast publishers and producers including Spotify, NPR, PRX, Sony Music Entertainment and Wondery announced the formation of the Podcast Academy, a membership-based organization dedicated to promoting the medium. As part of its charter, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content