August 25, 2014 at 5:41PM
As Participant Media prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary at Toronto with the world premiere of animated “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” the company led by eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll has been broadening its narrowly defined social action niche to include commercial feature fare. The message is still there--but it's more hidden.
Ten years after its founding, Participant Media has released some 55 films, from docs "An Inconvenient Truth," "Food, Inc.," "Waiting for ‘Superman'" to upcoming Toronto International Film Festival title "Merchants of Doubt" to uplifting features such as "Good Night, and Good Luck," "Syriana," "The Help," "Contagion" and "Lincoln." As Participant prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary at Toronto with the world premiere of animated “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” the company led by eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll has been broadening its narrowly defined social action niche to include commercial feature fare. The message is still there--but it's more hidden.
In one example, the company just sold U.S. rights to supernatural thriller "Out of the Dark,"
starring Julia Stiles, Scott Speedman, and Stephen Rea, to Vertical Entertainment (“Behaving Badly” and “The Calling"), for early 2015 theatrical release accompaniied by a social action campaign in partnership with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) tied to environmental issues raised in the film.
Lluís Quílez shot the Spanish-Colombian co-production about a young family's move to South America, where they confront ancient stories, ghosts, and a dark secret, on location in Colombia. “Lluís is an outstanding first-time director," said Jonathan King, Participant’s EVP, Narrative Film, "who made a thrilling ghost story with a powerful message."
Written by Alex Pastor & David Pastor, and Javier Gullón, "Out of the Dark" is presented by Vertical in association with Participant Media and Image Nation. It is produced by Apaches Entertainment, Cactus Flower, and Fast Producciones and Belén Atienza, Cristian Conti, Enrique López Lavigne and Andrés Calderón, in association with Dynamo and XYZ Film, and executive produced by Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Roy Azout, and Nick Spicer.
“Out of the Dark is much more than it seems on the surface," said Vertical’s Co-President Rich Goldberg. "We think it will surprise genre fans with its ability to reach beyond just the scares and great storytelling, and have a thought-provoking motif that will stay with them well after they see it.”