Refinery29 has been bitten by the cinema bug.
The digital media company, which targets young female audiences, struck a partnership with indie-film distributor Neon. Under the the pact, the two New York-based companies will work to identify, acquire and co-distribute films centered on “rule-defying storytellers.”
The first films distributed by Neon and Refinery29 will be “Assassination Nation,” a modern-day re-imagining of the Salem witch trials in which four high-school girls take up arms against their accusers, and “Little Woods,” a spin on Westerns from the female perspective.
Refinery29’s video business to date has revolved around short-form films and series, including its Shatterbox project with female filmmakers. Now it’s going into business with Neon to extend R29’s brand into feature films.
“We are excited to expand our storytelling and experiential offerings and make our mark on the feature film business,” said Amy Emmerich, Refinery29’s chief content officer. Neon is “disrupting the way the next generation consumes and views films, which aligns with how we speak to and challenge our audience and the media industry as a whole.”
The R29/Neon joint release of “Assassination Nation” (pictured above) is slated to bow in theaters Sept. 21, after premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film is directed by Sam Levinson and stars Hari Nef, Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse and Abra, along with Bella Thorne and Maude Apatow. “Little Woods” — winner of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival’s Nora Ephron Award — is written and directed by Nia DaCosta and stars Tessa Thompson and Lily James.
Neon, formed in 2016, has made a mark in the indie world with the release of critically acclaimed films including Craig Gillespie’s “I,Tonya” starring Margot Robbie (for which Allison Janney won the Oscar for supporting actress) Matt Spicer’s “Ingrid Goes West,” and Tim Wardle’s “Three Identical Strangers.”
“We’re excited to be working with Refinery29 and launching films like ‘Assassination Nation’ and ‘Little Woods’ for the company’s smart, passionate audience of women and to bolster our shared dedication to female filmmakers and female-driven films,” Neon senior VP Christina Zisa said in a statement.
In addition, under the agreement, Neon will distribute select Shatterbox short films by Refinery29. The Shatterbox series has included Chloe Sevigny’s “Kitty,” Kristen Stewart’s “Come Swim” and Anu Valia’s “Lucia Before and After.” To date, Shatterbox shorts have generated over 5 million views across Refinery29’s channels.
In January 2018, 30West, the media investment firm founded by Dan Friedkin and Micah Green, took a majority ownership stake in Neon in a deal with Neon co-founders Tom Quinn and Tim League.