Annapurna Pictures to Self-Distribute Kathryn Bigelow’s Civil Rights Drama
Movie fans have long been enamored with Annapurna Pictures, the production company of billionaire heiress and noted cinephile Megan Ellison. Under her careful guidance, Annapurna has become a home for visionary filmmakers, producing films by writer-directors such as Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell, Richard Linklater, Spike Jonze, and Harmony Korine. And with a growing stable of respected filmmakers and award-winning movies, it was only a matter of time before Ellison and company expanded into the distribution world as well.
According to an article at /Film, Ellison has announced that Annapurna Pictures will make the untitled Kathryn Bigelow project about the 1967 Detroit race riots the first film to be both produced and distributed by Annapurna Pictures. Ellison singled out Bigelow for her dedication to the fledgling production company with Zero Dark Thirty back in the day:
Kathryn took a chance on me 6 years ago and I’m honored that she has put her faith in me and my team once again. I could not be more excited to be launching this new part of our company with such a groundbreaking filmmaker, tremendous collaborator, and dear friend.
While the creative talent behind the studio certainly speaks for itself, audiences also have to be excited by the prospect of a studio both run by a female executive and treating a female director as its biggest star. The creative partnership between Ellison and Bigelow is a rare spot of inspiration in a Hollywood where even Lucasfilm seems ambivalent on bringing more female directors into the fold.
If you’re an established filmmaker looking to avoid studio interference on your next project, Annapurna Pictures has to be near the top of your list. It’ll be interesting to see if independent filmmakers continue to flock to the studio now that they are in the business of distributing films as well. Keep an eye on Megan Ellison’s company: they’ve already proven themselves to be a major force of disruption within the industry, and from where I’m sitting, their future’s so bright they gotta wear shades.
Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit film will be released in theaters on August 4, 2017.