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The Orchard Sells Film Group to 1091 Media (EXCLUSIVE)

The Orchard Film Group, the indie studio behind “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and “Life Animated,” is being sold to 1091 Media, Variety has learned.

The studio’s new owners are an investment group affiliated with the leadership team of digital media holding company Dimensional Associates. The companies have an agreement in principle, and under the terms of deal, 1091 Media will pick up all existing operations of the Orchard’s film and TV business.

The new company will be rechristened and is expected to continue investing in content, which likely means it will be on the prowl for movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The sale is taking place because the Orchard has decided to divest its film and TV division to focus its resources and investment on its core music operations. The agreement with 1091 Media reunites the film division with its original ownership team, which established the initial vision for the movie and television distribution business. In a release announcing the deal, 1091 says the new company will “pursue further opportunities in video content and distribution through new technologies and delivery.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Orchard’s staff is being notified of the deal on Thursday.

1091 Media’s principals are growth investors who also lead Dimensional Associates, the private equity arm of JDS Capital Management. From 2003 to 2015, they owned a variety of media companies through Dimensional, including the Orchard and Dimensional Music Publishing, which boasts a music catalog with 25,000 copyrights including compositions by Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, and John Denver. The Orchard is owned by Sony Music.

The Orchard’s past film releases include “The Hero,” a drama with Sam Elliott; the horror comedy “What We Do in the Shadows;” and the Oscar-nominated documentary “Cartel Land.”

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