PBS Acquires DARK MONEY with PBS Distribution to Lead Theatrical Release and Documentary to Broadcast on POV in Fall 2018

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PBS Distribution to Lead Theatrical Release

Documentary to Broadcast on POV in Fall 2018


(ARLINGTON, VA & NEW YORK, NY)— PBS announced today it has acquired North American distribution rights for “Dark Money,” which premiered in the US Documentary Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and won the Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award.

Through the perspective of an investigative reporter in Montana, “Dark Money” investigates one of the greatest present threats to American democracy—the influence of corrupt money on our elected officials. A century ago, secret money swamped Montana’s legislature, but citizens rose up to prohibit corporate campaign contributions. Today, in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision — which allows unlimited, anonymous money to pour into elections nationwide — Montana is once again fighting to preserve open and honest elections.

Following a robust festival and community screening campaign, PBS Distribution (PBSd) will release the film in theaters, followed by a POV broadcast on PBS this Fall, prior to the 2018 midterm elections. PBSd will handle all home entertainment, digital, educational/non-theatrical and Canadian rights.

“Dark Money” was produced and directed by Kimberly Reed and produced by Katy Chevigny.  It was written by Reed and Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, who also edited the film. Executive Producers are Michael Bloom, Adam Pincus, Nancy Stephens and Rick Rosenthal, and David J. Cornfield and Linda A. Cornfield. The production companies that produced it were Big Sky Film Productions, Inc, Big Mouth Productions and Meerkat Media Collective.

"In this era, it is crucial that we give a platform to stories that shine a light on the impact of political forces outside the traditional corridors of power,” said Marie Nelson, Vice President of News and Independent Film for PBS. "Dark Money deftly examines the way that money in politics can affect our political process from the ground up, and we are deeply committed to getting this film seen by the widest possible audience as Americans head back to the polls this November.”

“Dark Money is essential viewing in 2018,” said PBSd Head of Theatrical Distribution Erin Owens.  “Now more than ever, the American electorate needs and deserves to be aware of the influence of money in our politics and the ways it affects our everyday lives. Through the human story at its center, Dark Money allows viewers to connect deeply to a problem that governs every single issue we face as Americans.  We feel privileged to partner with the filmmakers to bring this important story to theaters and communities nationwide ahead of this defining election.”

“The story Kimberly Reed captures in Montana not only illuminates the hidden underbelly of campaign finance, it also provides an example of the potential power of citizens on both sides of the aisle getting active and engaged in the democratic process,” said POV executive producer, Justine Nagan. “With a topic that resonates coast to coast,

Dark Money finds its protagonists in our country’s heartland. Campaign finance reform is something that many know is important, but find impenetrable. This film opens up the issue with memorable characters and fearless journalism, and we are proud to include it on POV.”

Said the filmmakers, "Poll after poll says that Americans are concerned about the impact of money in politics, regardless of which party they belong to, if they belong to a party at all. The problem is that most Americans also believe that there's nothing that can be done. What happened in Montana is in many ways a playbook for other states to follow. We're thrilled to be working with PBS to bring DARK MONEY to all Americans with the message that we can only achieve the ideal of being 'a government for the people, by the people' if we believe, collectively, we can.”

The deal was negotiated by Emily Rothschild, Justine Nagan, and Chris White on behalf of PBS/POV and Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.


About PBS Distribution

PBS Distribution is the leading distributor of public media content around the world, reaching audiences through multiple platforms including digital distribution of OTT branded channels, TVOD, SVOD and VOD, as well as through theatrical licensing, DVD and Blu-ray sales, inflight entertainment and international licensing.   

The theatrical department at PBS Distribution offers audiences and educators the highest quality documentary and narrative films through customized theatrical, non-theatrical, and awards campaigns. Recent releases include the Academy Award®-nominated documentary ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL, directed by Steve James, and critical darling and audience favorite DOLORES, directed by Peter Bratt. Other notable titles include BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION, directed by Stanley Nelson; OKLAHOMA CITY, directed by Barak Goodman; COMMAND AND CONTROL, directed by Robert Kenner; and BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY, directed by David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg. Upcoming releases include THE CHAPERONE, directed by Michael Engler.

PBS Distribution offers consumers and educators over 4,000 programming hours of the highest quality factual, scripted and children’s programming, including films from producer Ken Burns, hit dramas from MASTERPIECE, entertaining and educational children’s series, award-winning documentaries from NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and many independent producers. For over 20 years, the company has extended the reach of PBS-branded content beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system, stations and producers.


About POV

Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives. In 2018, POV will be exploring issues related to science and the environment as part of its commitment to timely, essential stories – including the upcoming premiere of Bill Nye: Science Guy.

POV films have won 37 Emmy® Awards, 19 George Foster Peabody Awards, 12 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards®, the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award and the Prix Italia. The POV series has been honored with a Special News & Documentary Emmy Award for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, three IDA Awards for Best Curated Series and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers Award for Corporate Commitment to Diversity.

POV’s Community Engagement and Education team works with educators, community organizations and PBS stations to present more than 650 free screenings every year. In addition, we distribute free discussion guides and standards-aligned lesson plans for each of our films. Learn more at www.pbs.org/pov/. @povdocs on Twitter.


About PBS

PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and nearly 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a new 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.