Impact Agency Picture Motion Acquires Distributor Film Sprout


Newly Combined Company Becomes The Largest Community Distributor for Indie Film, Adding to Its Focus on Impact Film and Media

NEW YORK CITY - January 5, 2019 - Picture Motion, the leading agency for impact film and media, today announced that is has acquired Film Sprout, an industry pioneer in the grassroots and community distribution of independent documentaries. The acquisition further enhances Picture Motion’s ability to meet the needs of filmmakers seeking to connect with audiences outside the traditional theatrical format, as well as distributors and networks who understand the value of non-theatrical screenings for their release strategy. 

“As the range of distribution options increase, attracting and engaging audiences to documentaries, independent films and series with important social messages is harder, and more important, than ever.” said Picture Motion founder and CEO Christie Marchese. “But we have found time and again that communities want to organize around stories that matter to them. We believe that Picture Motion's leadership in impact strategies, combined Film Sprout’s expertise in community engagement, will allow us to better meet that demand and be leaders in the industry.”

The combined company will service their clients’ films to thousands of new community and non-theatrical venues and screening hosts in the U.S., and continue to expand how they work to create local cinematic experiences. Their first combined campaign will be for Nancy Schwartzman’s documentary, ROLL RED ROLL, and Three Frame Media’s UNLIKELY. 

“The sale represents the next chapter in our 10-year journey to build a vibrant and viable  infrastructure for grassroots distribution of independent film,” said Film Sprout founder Caitlin Boyle. “By joining forces with a broader scope of services to the industry; we will also continue to enhance the power of film to foster public engagement, civic dialogue and social equity in our communities. 

Picture Motion works with filmmakers, theatrical distributors, streaming platforms, foundations and brands releasing films or series about pressing social issues. 

Most recently, the company organized more than 3,000 screenings of National Geographic Documentary Films’ SCIENCE FAIR for junior high and high schools students, to increase enthusiasm for STEM. Working with HBO’s THE TALE and the non-profit Stop the Silence, they organized a 4-day training workshop to help illustrate the complexities of child sexual abuse. Previous campaigns include a screening tour of Red Bull Media House’s BLOOD ROAD, which resulted in the clearing of 23,750 square meters of land mines in Laos; and the Academy Award nominated LION, through which $650,000 was raised online to directly aid 3 organizations in India to make railways stations safer for young people.

Founded in 2008 by Caitlin Boyle, Film Sprout has supported more than 400 documentary films in the last decade, spearheading national screening tours for 50 titles, and reaching millions of viewers in non-traditional cinema settings, from campus quads to military bases to vacant lots and town halls. They are best known for their groundbreaking distribution of Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick’s films INVISIBLE WAR and THE HUNTING GROUND, for whom Film Sprout worked to coordinate hundreds of military and campus screenings that are credited with shifting the national conversation about sexual assault in America. Likewise, their distribution of Dawn Porter’s TRAPPED brought that film to tens of thousands of viewers in states where access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare is severely curtailed, and where traditional distribution outlets for independent film, including arthouse cinemas, are few and far between. 

“I’ve long admired Caitlin and her team at Film Sprout for their dedication to storytellers and social-issue films,” said Picture Motion president, Wendy Cohen. “Picture Motion’s history of effective impact strategies, coupled with Film Sprout’s passion for grassroots engagement and their screening host relationships, will allow more independent movies from new, diverse voices find and inspire audiences in unexpected places.” 

Film Sprout Campaign Director Denae Peters will be taking a leadership role at Picture Motion as Director of Impact Distribution, overseeing the company’s non-theatrical screenings and reporting to the VP of Impact Distribution, Ellis Watamanuk. 

In addition, this acquisition lays the groundwork for a to-be-announced joint venture collaboration between Film Sprout founder Caitlin Boyle and Picture Motion. Asked about her next move, Boyle said, “We’re developing a tech platform that will revolutionize the way audiences interact with films in brick-and-mortar spaces across the country and the world.  Stay tuned.” 

About Picture Motion

Picture Motion is an award-winning impact agency for film and media. We work with filmmakers, studios, and networks to amplify awareness, create conversations, and drive engagement, all with the goal of expanding and activating audiences. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC, we provide unmatched industry experience, services and access. This powerful combination allows us to effectively handle all aspects of an impact campaign, from strategy & planning to project management and implementation. Tactics can include impact strategy, partnership development, grassroots screening tours, impact events and online engagement. 

About Film Sprout

A pioneer of grassroots distribution for independent films, Film Sprout has been the architect of campus and community screening campaigns and audience engagement efforts for 50 feature documentaries, including King Corn, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, The End of the Line, A Small Act, The Invisible War, DamNation, Vessel, The Hunting Ground, Fed Up, Frame by Frame, Trapped, Audrie & Daisy, Newtown, Where to Invade Next, Unrest, Whose Streets?, and The Devil We Know. Film Sprout’s screenings facilitate the creative use of documentary to augment the work of social justice changemakers, to support grassroots movements for change and to offer forums for informed dialogue in the community. Paired with robust social-action strategies and in collaboration with seasoned advocates, Film Sprout’s screening campaigns create powerful forums for civic dialogue on some of the most polarizing and sensitive issues of our time.