The company CBS Films was founded in 2007 as a division of CBS Corporation and aims to release four to six films each year. In 2014, they co-produced the GLAAD Media Award-nominated film Pride, based on the true story of a group of 1980s LGBT activists who supported a small Welsh town during the U.K. miners’ strike, and handled all U.S. theatrical distribution. Pride was nominated for Best Picture at both the Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards.
Film Movement was launched in 2002 as a distributor for exceptional independent and foreign films. The studio previously released several LGBT-inclusive films including the Polish drama In the Name Of (2012) about a gay priest who struggles with his vows after he finds himself attracted to a country boy named Lukasz; Australian film Little Sparrows (2010) about three sisters including one who is figuring out her identity; and 2004’s Canadian dramedy Wilby Wonderful about a small town in the wake of a sex scandal. In 2014, Film Movement released the GLAAD Media Award-nominated Taiwanese film Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? about repressed optometrist Weichung, who is unsatisfied with his marriage when he bumps into a former male flame who stirs up forgotten emotions.
HBO began producing films in 1983 under the HBO Premiere Films moniker. This branch eventually was folded into HBO Pictures and then joined by HBO Showcase to create HBO Films as it stands today. Last year, the GLAAD Media Award-nominated documentary The Case Against 8, an inside look at the Supreme Court case that overturned California’s ban on same-sex marriage, had a short theatrical run ahead of its television premiere on HBO.
IFC Films and Sundance Selects
Under the AMC Networks umbrella, IFC Films distributes independent films and documentaries, while its IFC Midnights arm releases films in the horror and thriller genre. Another AMC Networks property, Sundance Selects, focuses on the distribution of independent films, documentaries, and foreign films. Their most successful and critically acclaimed LGBT-inclusive films include the 2011 drama Weekend, about two men who begin a relationship shortly before one of them has to leave the country and the controversial but critically acclaimed French lesbian coming-of-age drama Blue is the Warmest Color (2013). Last year, they released the LGBT-inclusive documentaries Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia about bisexual author Gore Vidal and Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me which featured an interview with out actor Nathan Lane. The company also released the comedy Adult World about a failed poet working at an adult bookstore with a transgender woman, and the dramedy Last Weekend, which followed a dysfunctional family spending one last weekend at their vacation home.
Magnolia Pictures was formed in 2001 and is now owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban as a holding of 2929 Entertainment. The distributor specializes in foreign and independent films with some pictures also released under the Magnet Releasing label. In 2014, Magnolia released the GLAAD Media Award-nominated comedy Life Partners starring Leighton Meester and Gillian Jacobs as best friends (one gay, one straight) trying to get their lives in order and White Bird in a Blizzard from out director Gregg Araki. Other inclusive films they released last year include Stage Fright, ABC’s of Death 2, and Nymphomaniac Vol. II.
Starz Distribution, formerly IDT Entertainment and Starz Media, was founded in 2003 as an arm of Starz Inc. designed to produce and acquire original programming content, feature films, anime and other films entertainment. Last year, the company gave documentary To Be Takei a limited five-week theatrical run. The doc premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and follows the life of actor and LGBT advocate George Takei.
When Strand Releasing was founded in 1989, its primary focus was the distribution of LGBT-inclusive films. In recent years the independent distributor has branched out, releasing non-LGBT films as well, while maintaining a focus on foreign films. Some of the highlights among the many inclusive films released by Strand are The Living End (1992), about a gay movie critic and a drifter who go on a dangerous road trip; Stonewall (1995), a fictionalization of the Stonewall riots; and Yossi and Jagger (2002), about two Israeli army officers who have to hide their love for each other, as well as the sequel Yossi (2013). In 2014, Strand released the GLAAD Media Award-nominated film Lilting, which follows the journey to understanding between a British man and the Chinese Cambodian mother of his deceased partner. They also handled Brazil’s official Academy Award submission The Way He Looks about blind teenager Leonardo, his best friend Giovanna and Leo’s crush Gabriel who recently moved to their town. Additional films include Stranger by the Lake and Interior. Leather Bar.
The Weinstein Company
The Weinstein Company’s most significant inclusive films to date include Transamerica (2005, released in conjunction with IFC Films), in which a transgender woman discovers she has a long-lost son, as well as Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), A Single Man (2009), and Philomena (2013). In 2014, The Weinstein Company released the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game, which has made over $200 million dollars worldwide to date, amassed several award nominations and wins (including a GLAAD Media Award), and garnered critical acclaim. The film is now the third highest domestic grossing LGBT-themed film since 1980 and has launched a campaign helmed by star Benedict Cumberbatch and out actor Stephen Fry petitioning the U.K. government to pardon the 49,000 others who were convicted decades ago under anti-gay “gross indecency” laws like Turing. The Weinstein Company also released Yves Saint Laurent, one of two recent biopics about the legendary French fashion designer, last year.
Established in 1985, Wolfe Releasing is the oldest distributor in North America to solely focus on LGBT-inclusive cinema. The company distributes independent films that tell the stories of the LGBT community. Although the company has an impressive roster of films, a few are particularly noteworthy. The 2004 drama Brother to Brother is about an interracial gay couple that meets an older gay man in Harlem, who tells them about gay life during the Harlem Renaissance. The French drama Tomboy (2001) follows a gender non-conforming child who decides to live as a boy after moving to a new neighborhood, and Reaching for the Moon (2013) is a biographical film about the relationship between Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop. While Wolfe didn’t release any films theatrically in 2014, they did distribute several LGBT-inclusive films on digital and DVD/Blu Ray including Test, about a young gay dancer living in San Francisco during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and the drama Pit Stop, which follows two gay men living in a small town. Other releases include I Am Divine, Hot Guys with Guns, and Free Fall.