Annapurna Continues World Domination With New Distribution Branch

By  · Published on January 23rd, 2017

This is the kind of world domination we’re okay with.

If Annapurna Pictures were a human, it would be just entering grade school. Megan Ellison founded Annapurna in 2011, which still seems like yesterday to be honest. In the time that most six-year-olds have just started learning how to read and color inside the lines, Annapurna has produced films like Her, Spring Breakers, American Hustle, The Master, 20th Century Women.

Not content with simply producing some of the best films of the past seven years, Annapurna is now branching into distribution and marketing. That’s pretty damn cool in itself but even cooler is that their first film will be Kathryn Bigelow’s long-awaited “Untitled Detroit Project.” Annapurna produced Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (2012), so it makes sense that they would team up again.

It will be interesting to see how Annapurna tackles distribution and marketing, especially considering how they’ve been expanding over the past few years.

In 2015, they announced the start of a collaboration with filmmaker Chris Milk and his VR firm Within (formerly VRSE). Together they produced EVOLUTION OF A VERSE, which premiered at Sundance in 2015. Milk then said of Ellison, “Megan has the most vision and foresight of any producer working in cinema today. […] We can’t wait to help our fellow filmmakers write a completely new storytelling language.” It was also recently announced that Milk and Ellison will be collaborating on a new VR film project with Spike Jonze. Given Jonze’s fascination with technology (ahem, ahem), he seems like the perfect director to explore the relatively new storytelling medium.

Oh, but that’s not all. Did you think Annapurna was done? Ha. In October of 2016 they announced the launch of a TV division to be run by Sue Naegle (formerly of HBO). “We are thrilled to further expand our television business and continue our commitment to all forms of storytelling,” Ellison stated. We can only imagine the brilliant television Annapurna will dream up.

You’re probably noticing a trend here: storytelling in all forms. With film and now TV, what’s left? Oh, you know, just video games. VIDEO. GAMES. Is your mind blown? Ours is. Annapurna announced their new division, Annapurna Interactive, with two video games already in the works: Gorogoa and What Remains of Edith Finch. Gorogoa has already popped up on TIME’s 50 Most Anticipated Video Games of 2017 and the trailer for Edith Finch is mesmerizing:

If “a collection of short stories about a cursed family in Washington State” doesn’t sound like the most badass game ever, there’s the front door. The studio creating the game, Giant Sparrow, also created the beautiful BAFTA-winning (because, yes, video games win BAFTAs too) The Unfinished Swan.

It’s hard to tell where Annapurna could go next in their quest to explore storytelling in all mediums (children’s story books maybe?) but it’s clear that Chris Milk was correct in his assessment of Ellison, that she possesses vision and foresight. It’s one thing to push the boundaries of storytelling in film, but branching out to different technologies, like VR, and entirely different platforms, like video games, is unique and exciting. These platforms very well could become the norm over the next few years and we’ll remember that it was Megan Ellison and Annapurna who were first in line.

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