Posted by Larry Gleeson
A film produced by a Chattanooga-based production company will hit local big screens Friday as part of a national release to over 50 theaters.
The movie, “Hunter Gatherer,” produced by Chattanooga’s Mama Bear Studios, landed a national distribution deal in November. It has since received critical acclaim from national outlets like the New York Times and L.A. Times, which called the film a “warmly eccentric little indie that’s amusing, authentic and works against expectation.” It currently has a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But January 13 will mark the first time the film is shown in Chattanooga. It is scheduled to run at Carmike East Ridge for one week.
“It’s fun to play the film for audiences all over the country, but the thought of showing it to our people is much more exciting,” said Isaiah Smallman, CEO of Mama Bear Studios, who added that Chattanoogans have been asking to see the film since it premiered and won an award at SXSW Film Festival in the spring of 2016. “Now there’s finally an opportunity to for local audiences to see it on the big screen — which is always the best way to see a movie.”
The movie, “Hunter Gatherer,” traces the journey of a man (Andre Royo of “The Wire” and “Empire”) trying to regain his footing after a three-year stint in prison. It was written and directed by Josh Locy, a Bryan College alumnus, and was shot on location in Los Angeles in August of 2015.
Of the thousands of independent feature films produced each year, only a few hundred secure theatrical release, Smallman explained.
“Considering that this is the first film we produced from start to finish, it’s a massive win for Mama Bear,” said Mr. Smallman. “Carmike actually booked the film the same way they would if it was The Avengers.”
Mama Bear Studios was founded out of local ad agency Fancy Rhino with the help of The Lamp Post Group. Mr. Smallman produced the film and Drew Belz, Ted Alling, Barry Large and Allan Davis executive produced.
In addition to expanding audience reach, the theatrical release for “Hunter Gatherer” has made it eligible for important indie film awards and will increase its cache with digital platforms like Netflix and Amazon.
“We’re really hoping that the community shows up to support the film so that we can continue this partnership with Carmike,” Mr. Smallman added. “It’s our goal to continue to bring locally produced films to audiences here in town, but for that to happen we have to sell tickets.”
The movie will be released digitally on iTunes and other platforms on Feb. 7.