Cinedigm (NASDAQ: CIDM) has acquired North American theatrical, digital and home entertainment distribution rights to A BRAVE HEART: THE LIZZIE VELASQUEZ STORY. The highly acclaimed documentary premiered last month at SXSW, received multiple standing ovations and won the prestigious festival's Audience Award in its category. The film is targeted to have a traditional theatrical release in October 2015, followed by full distribution in the physical, television and digital home entertainment channels and Cinedigm's DOCURAMA digital network in early 2016. From the producers of the most viewed TEDxWomen event of 2013 comes A BRAVE HEART: THE LIZZIE VELASQUEZ STORY, a film which follows the inspiring journey of 26-year-old, 63-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist. First-time director Sara Hirsh Bordo's company, WOMEN RISING, produced TEDxAustinWomen, where Lizzie's famous "How Do You Define Yourself?" talk was presented. The film's production was funded via a Kickstarter campaign and was one of the site's most successful crowd-funded documentary projects of all time. Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Velasquez was first bullied as a child in school for looking different. As a teenager, she was bullied even more prominently online when she discovered a YouTube video labeling her "The World's Ugliest Woman." The film chronicles unheard stories and details of Lizzie's physical and emotional journey up to her multi-million viewed TEDxAustinWomen talk and follows her evolution as motivational speaker and activist as she lobbies Congress for the first federal anti-bullying bill; the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA). The film features private moments with Lizzie's family including her parents, Rita and Lupe, and siblings Chris and Marina Velasquez. Anti-bullying advocate and Founder of the Megan Meier Foundation, Tina Meier, anti-bullying expert Dr. Bob Faris and Congresswomen Linda Sanchez, author of SSIA, also appear in the film, which showcases original music from multi Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. YouTube celebrity Justine Ezarik ("iJustine") and Alexis Jones, founder of I AM THAT GIRL, serve as executive producers alongside Velasquez.
"Rarely have I seen a film that touches an audience in such a primal way," says Yolanda Macias, Cinedigm's Executive Vice President of Acquisitions. "We think everyone in the world should see this film and that Lizzie should be extolled for her extraordinary work in human rights activism. In a similar vein to our award-winning projects THE INVISIBLE WAR and GIRL RISING, we could not be more proud to distribute this prestige film.""Cinedigm is building a legacy around supporting important films with extraordinary heroes," said Sara Hirsh Bordo, Director and Producer, and Founder of Women Rising, the shingle that produced the film. "We wanted more than a distributor; we wanted a partner. Cinedigm is the perfect addition to Team Lizzie and we are excited and ready to share Lizzie's inspiring story of hope with audiences everywhere." Abby Davis and Kevin Iwashina of Preferred Content negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers, with Kristin Harris representing Cinedigm. About Cinedigm Cinedigm is a leading independent content distributor in the United States, with direct relationships with thousands of physical retail storefronts and digital platforms, including Wal-Mart, Target, iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon, as well as the national Video on Demand platform on cable television. The company's library of films and TV episodes encompasses award-winning documentaries from Docurama Films®, next-gen Indies from Flatiron Film Company®, acclaimed independent films and festival picks through partnerships with the Sundance Institute and Tribeca Films and a wide range of content from brand name suppliers, including National Geographic, Discovery, Scholastic, NFL, Shout Factory, Hallmark, Jim Henson and more. Additionally, given Cinedigm's infrastructure, technology, content and distribution expertise, the Company has rapidly become a leader in the quickly evolving over-the-top digital network business. Cinedigm's first channel, DOCURAMA, launched in May 2014, and is currently available on iOS, Roku, Xbox and Samsung, with additional platforms currently being rolled out. Cinedigm launched CONtv, a Comic Con branded channel in partnership with WIZARD WORLD, on March 3, 2015. The Company's third OTT channel, DOVE ENTERTAINMENT CHANNEL, will be a digital streaming subscription service targeted to families and kids seeking high quality and family friendly content approved by Dove Foundation. Adding to Cinedigm's diversified portfolio of digital networks, in early 2015 the Company announced an OTT partnership with TV4 Entertainment and the planned launch of the BRIGHT edu-tainment OTT channel.
Cinedigm™ and Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp™ are trademarks of Cinedigm Corp.About Women Rising Women Rising champions unique stories and creates memorable experiences that empower women and girls worldwide. In 2013, Women Rising produced and programmed the inaugural TEDxAustinWomen in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The event became the #1 viewed TEDWomen event of 2013 from over 220 events across 58 countries. In 2014, Women Rising produced the documentary "A BRAVE HEART: The Lizzie Velasquez Story." The film's production was funded via a Kickstarter campaign and was one of the site's most successful crowd-funded documentary projects of all time. A BRAVE HEART premiered opening weekend of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival and went on to win the Audience Award in its category. Directed by Women Rising CEO and Founder, Sara Hirsh Bordo, the film will begin its release in the US by Cinedigm in October 2015.