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The Orchard and Independent Lens to distribute 'Rich Hill' documentary

Rich Hill poster
The Orchard / ITVS

Filmmakers Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo announced yesterday that the Emmy Award-winning television series Independent Lens will partner with film and music distribution company The Orchard to distribute their film "Rich Hill," winner of the 2014 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary.

Independent Lens, which acquired linear broadcast rights for the US, is broadcast nationally on PBS. The Orchard acquired the film for all rights in the US and Canada outside of linear broadcast. The company will release "Rich Hill" theatrically in 18 markets, as well as across all major digital outlets as part of The Orchard’s new acclaimed and festival documentary imprint Opus Docs.

"'Rich Hill' is a beautiful, powerful, and important film that puts a human face on rural poverty in a respectful and artistic way. The Orchard is thrilled to be able to use our expertise, technology, and relationships to distribute the film across theatrical and digital platforms in North America, engaging audiences and creating impact for a film that we feel should be seen by the widest possible audience," says Danielle DiGiacomo, The Orchard's head of documentary acquisitions, who negotiated the deal for The Orchard.

“We are so happy to be teaming up with The Orchard and Independent Lens for 'Rich Hill,'” said co-director Andrew Droz Palermo. “From our earliest conversations, it was clear to us that they both share a real desire and enthusiasm to have the film seen by as many people as possible, and in doing so, to touch the lives of struggling families in communities like Rich Hill, Missouri across America.”

“It was important for us and the film to find partners who clearly understood our movie and could use their influence to reach the widest audiences,” adds co-director Tracy Droz Tragos. “Personally, I felt a kinship with Independent Lens since they took a chance and supported my debut film 'Be Good, Smile Pretty' which went on to win an Emmy. And to be working with The Orchard on our theatrical and digital release, I feel confident that 'Rich Hill' is in great hands.”

“Independent Lens funded Tracy's film 'Be Good, Smile Pretty' which premiered on Season 2 and went on to win an Emmy Award for Best Documentary," said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Senior Series Producer. "We're very pleased to be working with Andrew and Tracy again on 'Rich Hill,' an immersive portrait of the devastating economic blight that has clouded the American dream."

"Rich Hill" follows the stories and lives of three teenage boys and their families living on the edge of poverty in the town of Rich Hill, Missouri, as they deal with daily challenges of growing up.

The film premiered in January at Sundance Film Festival 2014, where it won top honors as Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary.

Zac Bright and Kevin Iwashina of Preferred Content and Linda Lichter of Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler and Feldman, Inc brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

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Source: The Orchard/ITVS/David Magdael & Associates, Inc.

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