The digital media content company has already chosen the anticipated female-led films ‘Assassination Nation’ and ‘Little Woods’ as their first releases.
Digital media site Refinery29 is perhaps best known for it’s minute-long Facebook videos celebrating the likes of A Quiet Place stars John Krasinski and Emily Blunt’s enviably adorable relationship, but projects such as the women-powered Shatterbox anthology short film series have signified a move towards more striking and bold content.
Most recently, their focus has come to the allure of feature-length films, leading them to begin a partnership with the independent film distributor Neon. Having experienced success in distributing the Oscar-winning biopic I, Tonya and the indie darling Ingrid Goes West, both of them led by young women, Neon’s expansion alongside Refinery29 appears as a driven move with a clear focus on the types of features they wish to present to a particular audience.
The companies’ combined aim will be to identify, acquire, and co-distribute films with a focus on delivering content for a “smart, passionate audience of women” and “to bolster our shared dedication to female filmmakers and female-driven films,” Neon vice president Christina Zisa stated (via Deadline) following the announcement of the partnership.
The features already chosen for distribution under the partnership include the acclaimed film festival selections Little Woods and Assassination Nation. The former, described as a female-led crime-thriller Western, is written and directed by Nia DaCosta and stars Tessa Thompson and Lily James as sisters. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won its Nora Ephron Award, a plaudit given to “a new generation of female writers and directors.” That’s a nice tagline for Refinery29 and Neon to play on, particularly to their target audience.
Assassination Nation, which was written and directed by Sam Levinson, was presented at Sundance, where we championed it as one of the best of the fest, a “loud, violent, and in your face action/comedy…with a heavy dose of social commentary and righteous indignation…a terrifically caustic and entertaining ride.” The empowering revenge fantasy stars Bella Thorne, Hari Nef, Suki Waterhouse, and Odessa Young plus It star Bill Skarsgard and is expected to hit theaters on September 21st.
Under the Refinery29-Neon agreement, Neon has also pledged to distribute a number of the Shatterbox films. One way could be attaching the shorts to features, so audiences would see the likes of Kristen Stewart’s recent directorial debut, Come Swim, play alongside, say, Little Woods. So far, the Shatterbox series has garnered more than five million views across numerous social media channels while providing a platform for female filmmakers to create and share their work. Other past entries, such as Gabourey Sibide’s directorial debut, The Tale of Four, and Chloe Sevigny’s Kitty, might now also hit the big screen, or at least future Shatterbox shorts will have the opportunity.
It’s clear that Refinery29 is set on the types of films and themes within features that they wish to distribute. With a set audience they’re ready to target — young women interested in female-led narratives — there is hope that with possible branches into production itself, such as the Shatterbox series, the partnership will present opportunities for more women to find places behind the camera, and encourage more women in the audience to support the female creatives of feature pieces.