Veteran executive Elizabeth Sheldon has launched Juno Films as a distribution-sales company to partner with agents, producers, and filmmakers for investment, sponsorship, and distribution strategies.
Sheldon has two decades of experience in distribution and international sales, with a specialty in distribution to the educational and non-profit market. Juno Films’ distribution model calls for bringing together specific films with organizations or individuals to financially support the film’s release in North America in addition to community outreach.
One of Juno’s initial acquisitions, “Train of Salt and Sugar” by Licinio Azevedo, will be financially supported by Railroad Development Corp. with a national theatrical release in early 2018. The film, which won the independent Italian critic’s prize at Locarno in 2016 and the best film trophy at the Joburg Film Festival, is based on historical events during the civil war in Mozambique on the rail line connecting the northern cities of Nampula and Cuamba.
Henry Posner III, chairman of RDC, said, “As the former operator of this railway, which served as the region’s lifeline during the civil war, we see supporting the film as a way of honoring its historic legacy. This builds on our initial support of publication of the English language version of the screenplay as a book in 2007.”
Juno has also acquired North American rights to the Swiss-German documentary “Cahier Africain” by Heidi Specogna, based on the testimonies of 300 Central African women, girls, and men revealing what Congolese mercenaries did to them in the wake of a 2008 conflict. The film was awarded the German National Film Award (Lola) for best documentary and the Swiss National Film Award for best documentary.
Juno will offer the film for festivals and a limited theatrical campaign as well as to the educational market through its educational portal Cinedu.com beginning in September, followed by a consumer digital release in early 2018.
Both films were licensed from RushLake Media. Juno is looking to co-acquire worldwide rights for select films with RushLake.
Philipp Hoffmann, founder and managing director of Rushlake Media, said, “I’m glad to kick-off a long-term cooperation with Juno Films, by bringing two outstanding titles from our current line-up to North American markets. Elizabeth and I share the same passion for arthouse films, particularly from the African continent, and the potential a changing distribution landscape can offer for quality cinema.”