Richard Matson is the vice president of theatrical distribution at The Orchard, the distribution company behind the Oscar-nominated films Cartel Land and Life, Animated. The Orchard’s commitment to transparency stands in stark contrast to an industry-wide inclination to obscure distribution numbers, and they demonstrated that commitment by making the revenue streams for Cartel Land publicly available. Recently The Orchard made entertainment headlines again by spending $5 million to purchase Louis C.K.’s latest film, I Love You, Daddy, at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Prior to his current role with The Orchard, Richard worked for Gathr, a theater on demand company, and his own distribution company, Matson Film where he worked with the likes of Participant Media, Kino Lorber, and The Orchard. Those experiences have shaped how he handles the distribution campaigns he currently oversees.
I interviewed Richard a few weeks before TIFF, so I didn’t get to ask him about I Love You, Daddy, but since we initially met at South by Southwest, our discussion does include some festival strategies and a brief overview of The Work. That’s a documentary set in Folsom Prison which The Orchard acquired at SXSW. The film is scheduled to open in mid October.
We also discuss the approach behind the releases of The Hero, the Sam Elliot picture they acquired at Sundance; The Music of Strangers, a documentary about Yo-Yo Ma’s efforts to bring together a global assembly of musicians, and Cartel Land.
Other films distributed by The Orchard include Blue Jay and What We Do in the Shadows, and we briefly touch on the release of those films as well.
Some of the other topics that we discuss include
- When it make sense to do a theater on demand screenings
- How The Orchard brings transparency into their collaborative partnerships
- What to think about when considering a film-festival strategy for a project
- How filmmakers can leverage The Orchard’s music library and expertise for their projects
- The key release windows for a film after it screens in theaters and how to manage them
After the interview concludes, I share some of my takeaways from a few of The Orchard’s films and how they influenced my thoughts on art and inspiration.
Listen to the Episode
Sponsor for this Episode
- The Orchard
- Matson Films
- Richard on LinkedIn
- The Transparency Project – costs and income streams for Cartel Land
- Some free distribution resources over at Film Trooper
- Podcast interview with Xan Aranda, producer of Blue Jay
- Podcast coverage of SXSW 2017 – film interviews, music interviews & festival takeaways
- Podcast coverage of LIFF 2017, where I saw and briefly discussed The Hero
- Blue Jay
- Cartel Land
- The Hero
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople
- I Love You, Daddy
- Life, Animated
- Lord of the Rings
- The Music of Strangers
- What We Do in the Shadows
- The Work
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