D Films expands into film, TV production

By: Jeremy Kay

EXCLUSIVE: Canadian venture kicks off with TV series Headhunter, feature slate.

August 1, 2017 – Toronto-based distributor D Films has launched a production division in partnership with Brain On Fire producer Rob Merilees.

The venture will develop film and TV content in Canada and launches with the series Headhunter, an eight-part series based on criminal lawyer Michael Slade’s bestselling Mountie Noir thrillers about the Special X psycho-hunters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The production division’s upcoming slate includes co-productions with Luxembourg and Belgium on Bruce MacDonald’s Dreamland, Ireland on April Mullen’s Bloody Knuckles, and Dolphin Tale director Charles Martin Smith’s The Maclean Boys.

“Vertically expanding the company through content creation has been a key business objective for D Films,” D Films CEO and president Jim Sherry said. “Launching this new division with Rob, one of the most successful producers in North America, realises that goal and strengthens the company’s position for future growth.”

“I’m thrilled to be working with D Films on this new shingle,” Merilees (pictured) said. “This is such an exciting time for Canadian film and television and I believe that we will be welcomed by content creators across the nation.”

Cemetery Dance Publications will release an all-new version of Headhunter as a limited signed hardcover in October and a trade paperback in January 2018.

“Moving into content creation is a very exciting opportunity, and a natural evolution for the company,” D Films senior vice-president of acquisitions and business development Michael Robson said. “Rob has been part of the D Films family since the beginning. His experience in film and television production is tremendous, and formalising this partnership is a huge asset for our new venture.”

D Films’ recent release slate includes the critically acclaimed Lady Macbeth starring Florence Pugh.


By: Jeremy Kay

EXCLUSIVE: The edgy distributor has picked up Canadian rights to Justin Tipping’s coming-of-age drama and winner of the best cinematography in a US narrative feature prize at Tribeca.

July 28, 2016 – D Films will open Kicks theatrically in September after securing rights from Visit Films. Focus World holds US rights.

Tipping makes his feature directorial debut and is regarded as one of the independent and festival space’s hot emerging talents after his Student Academy 2012 bronze medal- winning short Nani and Swimming In Air earned plaudits.

Kicks tells the story of a 15-year-old boy who enlists a friend to undertake a dangerous mission through Oakland, California, to recover his stolen Air Jordans sneakers.

Kicks is an accomplished first feature and will resonate with Canadian film lovers,” said Michael Robson, senior vice-president of acquisitions and business development for D Films. “The film boasts breakout performances from a mostly unknown cast and is a perfect complement to D Films’ roster of titles.”

Robson brokered the acquisition with Ryan Kampe of Visit Films.

The D Films release slate include the polarising, oddball Sundance buddy movie Swiss Army Man starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, as well as Natalie Portman’s directorial debut A Tale Of Love And Darkness, and Oasis documentary Supersonic.


New Feature Film From the Academy Award® Winning Producers of AMY Features Never Before Seen Footage of the Gallagher Brothers

April 19, 2016 – Toronto, Ontario – It was announced today that D Films Corp. have acquired exclusive Canadian rights in all media to the Untitled Oasis Documentary, currently in post-production. Helmed by award winning director Mat Whitecross, the film was co-produced by the team who recently won the Oscar® for the hugely successful documentary AMY.

Formed in Manchester in 1991, Oasis has sold in excess of 70 million records and was a force of the 1990s Britpop movement. Despite years of volatility and in-fighting, Oasis have had eight UK number-one singles and eight UK number-one albums, won fifteen NME Awards, nine Q Awards, four MTV Europe Music Awards and six Brit Awards, including one in 2007 for Outstanding Contribution to Music and one for the Best Album of the Last 30 Years as voted by BBC Radio 2 listeners; they have been nominated for three Grammy Awards. 

“We are thrilled to be bringing the story of one of the most iconic bands of our time to the big screen,” said Michael Robson, SVP Acquisitions and Business Development for D Films. “Mat’s experience with and passion for the genre promise to tell the band’s story in a way that will captivate new fans while meeting the high expectations of the long-time lovers of Oasis.”

The deal was negotiated by Michael Robson for D Films and Nada Cirjanic at Independent Film Company.


Andrew Cividino’s Award Winning and Critically Acclaimed First Feature Posted a Three Day $14K Screen Average

April 11, 2016 – Toronto, Ontario – The award winning Canadian independent feature film SLEEPING GIANT opened to rave reviews and a strong box office performance this weekend taking in $14K at the Varsity Cinemas in Toronto, placing the film first overall in the complex.

Directed by Andrew Cividino, SLEEPING GIANT is the coming of age story of three teenaged boys and a life-changing summer on the northern shores of Lake Superior. The film, which is being distributed by D Films in Canada, will expand into Vancouver and Montreal this weekend before rolling out nationally on April 22nd.

“Andrew Cividino, Karen Harnisch, Aeschylus Poulos, and James Vandewater, along with the extraordinarily talented team behind the film have done an incredible job,” said Michael Robson, SVP of Acquisitions and Business Development for D Films. “We are thrilled to represent this film and help it reach Canadian audiences nationwide.”


By: Jeremy Kay

The Toronto distributor has promoted Michael Robson to senior vice-president of acquisitions and new business development.

February 10, 2016 – Robson will report to D Films’ CEO Jim Sherry, who made the announcement on Wednesday and said Robson was an “integral part of the company’s growth since its beginning” and “ideally suited” to lead expansion in the digital age.

Prior to joining D Films in 2009 as vice-president of marketing and acquisitions, Robson spearheaded online and interactive marketing initiatives at Alliance Films. He also brings experience in film production.

D Films recently distributed The Gift and its pipeline includes Fifty Shades Of Black, Max Steel, Green Room and Neon Demon.


By: Jordan Pinto

Angie Burns moves from Strut Entertainment to the Toronto distributor

January 11, 2016 – Toronto-based indie distributor D Films has hired industry veteran Angie Burns as its VP, publicity and promotions.

Burns will handle all aspects of D Films’ publicity and promotional campaigns, as well as its corporate communications. Previously, all the company’s publicity/communications work was outsourced.

The hire is the topper on what is “by far” D Films’ best year of business to date, Michael Robson, VP of marketing and development, told Playback Daily.

Burns worked previously with D Films’ CEO Jim Sherry at Maple Pictures, which was acquired by Alliance Films from Lionsgate Entertainment in 2011. In her most recent position, Burns was VP, public relations and promotions at Toronto’s Strut Entertainment.

The company’s first theatrical release of the year is 50 Shades of Black on Jan. 29, followed in April by TIFF Midnight Madness thriller Green Room and Andrew Cividino’s Sleeping Giant, which D Films acquired prior to its debut at TIFF. The distributor will then release Keanu Reeves-starrer Neon Demon and sci-fi Max Steel later in the year.

D Films will also release a second film through its output deal with Blumhouse International toward the end of 2016. The two companies inked the agreement in October 2014, with D Films releasing the deal’s first film The Gift in Canada last year. Robson described the release as the most successful in the company’s seven years of business.

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